Friday, March 25, 2011

Lainie Update

We had Lainie's appointment with her neurologist this week in Kansas City, and were very happy with the results. He is happy with the progress that she's made, and we are still planning to do a repeat EEG this summer. If the EEG does not show any irregular activity, then she'll wean off her anti-seizure medication. That's the hope, since the medicine has the potential for some serious side effects and any time we can stop medication, we will. But, if she need it, if the EEG is still abnormal, then she'll stay on the medication and be thankful for our safety net.

I realize more and more I am getting frustrated with the stuff she doesn't know or doesn't remember or won't tell us. I wish I knew how much to push her, how much to let it go, how much to force her out of her comfort zone, how much to protect her. Then again, that wish is not limited to Lainie. That wish goes for all my girls. That is probably the knowledge wished for by all mothers for all time. How can we be the best moms for our children, let them be babies, let them be kids, but help them grow up strong and independent?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Potato planters


In twenty years, Katie and Natalie will sit down and realize how very, very different their childhoods were. I know it's bad when I can see it already.

For instance, Katie, Maggie, and Lainie were all out of the crib at or near their second birthday, mostly because a little sister was on the way and the crib needed to be vacated. Natalie loves to lay down on the big bed, but I just don't want to mess with it. She goes to bed so easy now and I'm afraid it would be too much to try to get her to stay in a toddler bed when I'm trying to cram for a test or finish a homework assignment. And so, she's still in the crib, at least until this summer.

On the flip side, in some ways she is growing up faster than her sisters. Tonight, Natalie was outside with a small bucket of potatoes, helping plant 10 short rows before the rain came. With her older sisters, I would have worried about it being too cold or too late or too hard or of course she can't do it! Now, we treat her the same as her sisters, or else she lets us know her displeasure, in a very loud, vocal way.

I think some differences in upbringing are okay, like freedom on the playground and extra babying now and then. But when it comes to rights-of-passage, like when you get your ears pierced or when you have your first sleepover or permission to date, I'm adamant that they all reach those milestones at the same age.

Then again, maybe I better write that one in pencil. Ask me again in 15 years.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Break Sibling Sweetness

Maggie (to Lainie): You are NOT the boss of ME!
Lainie: Am too.
Maggie: You are NOT the BOSS of ME, Bossiest Bossy!
Lainie: I am TOO the Boss. You are only FIVE!
Maggie: I am NOT five, I am seven!
Lainie: Oh. Well, then. Here you go. (giving up whatever toy started the fight.)
And peaceful playful bliss returned!


Today we were in the basement when Jay calmly announced, "Building C is airborne." Building C is one of our high tunnels, and the east side was in fact taking off, like a big, giant, expensive kite. Jay took off running, and I followed, pausing just long enough to say, "Maggie, you're in charge. Watch your sisters."

And so, while I held onto the east side of the building and Jay reattached and re-secured what the crazy Kansas winds had undone, Maggie was in charge, babysitting of sorts.

I was more than a little anxious when I returned to the basement, but my anxiety immediately changed to amazement. Maggie had Lainie in the chair next to her and Natalie on her lap, and the three of them were peacefully playing on  "I'm teaching them how to read," Maggie said. Proceed! Proud moment indeed!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

St Patty's Day Race 2011

Before the race
I ran a race today and really struggled to not cry through most of it. I wasn't in pain, I felt great physically, but I kept tearing up from what happened 20 minutes before the race.

Katie ran her first 2 mile in 22:27.

Katie at the finish line
She had never ran the full two miles before. She'd run about a mile, then walk, then run, then walk, etc. I was hoping she'd finish in 30 minutes, so at 22 minutes, I was stretching near the finish line. I heard her call "MOMMY!" as she ran past. I looked at the timing clock, and literally started to cry. Apparently little miss ran the entire race! I'm so proud of her! She's so proud of herself. Or, she was proud of her time. She's disappointed that she got 13th place for her age bracket, when only the top 10 get a ribbon or medal.


She is so my daughter. I also ran today, my first 10K. I was hoping to finish under 65 minutes, but realistically was aiming for less than 75 minutes. Even in the rain, wind and cold temps, I finished it in 58:39, beating my expectations considerably. I give big credit to my in-race couch, Chuck, Andrea's dad, who kept me on pace the first four miles and then told me to "go after it." But, just like my Katie, I too was a little disappointed in my 37th place finish for my age bracket. I guess we'll see what my time looks like in two weeks, when I run the Abilene race.

(Why do I have my hands in my pockets while I'm running? Because I'm about to take off my jacket to give to Jay, at the 4-mile mark. But this is proof you CAN smile and run at the same time.)

But how can you stay disappointed with cheerleaders like these:
Mags and Dad, looking like thugs
My girls and I, post race

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spareribs for Supper

Tonight's pork sparerib supper is my favorite! It's messy, takes hours to cook (if you're doing it right, IMO), but oh so delicious. And, I can throw in some potatoes for baking while it cooks!

My favorite sparerib recipe is based off a Taste of Home recipe, with some kid-friendly adaptations:
  • 4 pounds pork spareribs
  • 1 bottle (28 ounces) barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons honey
  1. Boil ribs in water for 10 minutes. 
  2. Cool just enough to be able to pick them up. Then, cut into serving size portions and place ribs in an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.  
  3. Combine the barbecue sauce, onion salt, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, molasses, and honey. Pour sauce over ribs.
  4. Bake, covered, for 1 hour at 350 degrees.
  5. Bake, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes or until ribs are tender and sauce is thickened, turning ribs several times to coat with sauce. 
How do you make YOUR ribs?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Or maybe not better...

Both girls felt better for not quite a full day, and then restarted the fevers and respiratory symptoms. I decided to take them to the doc today, thinking that if it IS bacterial, they can start antibiotics and feel better by Monday. My prediction going in was Lainie sinus infection and Natalie ear infection and possible bronchitis.

I was close. Lainie, doc said, might still just be fighting the virus, but she's willing to go ahead and start the antibiotics for sinuses and see what happens. Doc said with a fever that high (102.5+) that it made her think it was viral.

Natalie surprised me with a possibly ruptured ear drum, definite ear infection in both ears, and "her lungs don't sound good either." She also is starting antibiotics, with instructions that if she isn't much better by Monday, she needs to be seen again. Much better than what?! She was fussy, wouldn't eat, and had an on-and-off low fever. I would think a ruptured ear drum would elicit more response than that!

But then again, Natalie IS Maggie's little sister. Maggie, who never cried when her ear drum ruptured multiple times, who had a bit of a cough and ended up hospitalized for bronchiolitis, who fell down the stairs and came up laughing.

And Lainie's symptoms and reaction this past weekend mean an appointment with her neurologist in two weeks. I wonder what THAT appointment is going to bring.


Because our lives aren't completely engulfed by illness, school is going well, too. We now have less than 40 days of classroom time until graduation. I think we have 3 ATIs (a standardized test) yet to do this semester, and who knows how many more classroom tests, worksheets, critical thinking exercises, care plans, assessments, and journal entries. I can see the finish line.

And, speaking of finish lines, in 8 days, I will run my first 10K race. I've been training for it since New Years and am scared, anxious, and already feeling the adrenaline. My goal is to not walk any of it, but I also know it's a tough, hilly course.

I love running. I don't love getting started, but once I'm out and moving, I love it. It's alone time, prayer time, quiet time, thinking time. This is the first year since college that I've been able to dedicate scheduled time to exercise. It's also the healthiest year I have had in years. This nasty round of sickness that hit Jay, Katie, Lainie and Natalie? I didn't get it, despite being sneezed on, coughed on, cleaning up all sorts of body fluids, and the added germs from school/clinicals. I don't think I'm doing anything different than last year, except the exercise. If that's not motivation to keep it going, I don't know what is.


And since my life right now DOES revolve around (sick and healthy) kids and school, I didn't realize anything was going on in Japan until after noon today. The pictures and video are so stunning, breathtaking images of mass destruction. But I just keep thinking with each wave, how many people were killed? How many lives destroyed?

We watched the move 2012 last year and enjoyed it. But, you can't watch that movie and not get a little freaked by the recent events. What would you do if this was our last year on earth? Shouldn't we live as if every year, every day, is our last on earth? If you knew what tomorrow would bring, what would you change?

The more I think about it, the more my plan is simple: enjoy the present, plan for the future, let go of the past.

What's your plan?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Much better

A quick photo opp this morning shows just how much better they are.

Monday, March 7, 2011


L's better, much better. I can let her sleep in her own bed tonight and not worry. She kept her medicine down last night, no more fever, ate toast and waffles today, and is feisty enough to fight bedtime tonight. Three good signs in my book.

I'm not trying to be over-dramatic. I know there are others out there who deal with a lot worse on a daily basis. Lainie's health just happens to be my ultimate fear, my test of faith. Some days my faith is overcome by my fear. She makes me really mean those words when we say the Goodnight Prayer and Angel of God prayer. Some nights, it's more a plead than a prayer. And every night, it is a "thank you", knowing how close we were to not having this adorable little girl to worry about.

The rest of the family didn't skate by this round, though. Katie, Natalie, and Jay all came down with some version of the illness, all a milder version (at this point). Maggie and I apparently are too ornery to get sick. Or, maybe it was the cutie oranges and Sunny D we were downing Saturday and Sunday, and the "wash hands until they are cracked and bleeding" routine. Or, I froze the germs off me during a 5-mile run early Sunday morning. Either way, I'm grateful.

So, now we return to our regularly scheduled program. Homework awaits.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Oh, now I remember!

I am hyper-sensitive when Lainie gets sick with even the simplest of colds, but had forgotten why. This weekend reminded me. (warning: this is not for those with an aversion to snot, vomit, or other fluids.)

Lainie got a cold, some sort of virus, that produced lots of snot. She doesn't blow her nose, like most kids her age, and the nasty stuff went down her throat instead.

All that mucus in her stomach made her start vomiting. I know it was the cause because that's all that's come up: lots of mucus. (My classmates who know my aversion to mucus KNOW how awful that was to see.)

Because she kept vomiting, she also vomited up her anti-seizure medicine that she takes each night. This is one of those medicines that you MUST take every night, or risk serious side effects. So, after seeing the undissolved pills in the toilet, I called the on-call pediatrician who said to give them again, just once more, and hope she absorbs some medicine.

That's when I got a clear picture of why medical professionals don't take care of their own family members. I was in pure mom mode, and it was Jay who thought to take the medicine out of the capsule, mix it with applesauce, and give it a better chance of absorbing. So, she got her second dose of zonegran, which came back up after 20 minutes.

This is a double-blow, because illnesses trigger her seizures, and she just lost the safety net to prevent them. All we can do is hope, pray, watch and wait.

Taken last night
Today, no tonic-clonic seizures, which was the optimal hope last night. She's been awake all of about 15 minutes today, but isn't dehydrated. She was just able to keep down about 1/4 cup of applesauce and about that much apple juice. She is talking to me now. That's the good news.

The bad news is, what looks like seizure activity in her legs. She says she can't control it and can't stop it. That makes me so sad for her. For the nurses out there, her pain is still localized to the right eye and right side of her skull, and her right pupil is sluggish but reactive. And, she is very slow to follow any commands, her left eye is half-closed and she's unable to open her eyes wide.

All because of a simple, stupid cold.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Banana Bread and bits of randomness

Lainie has her first real illness of the school year, at least as far as I can remember. If she's been sick since August, it must have been minor enough that I didn't take off school for it. And, just by bringing her home before lunch, a lot of juice, fruit, Dora the Explorer and reading books, and one hefty 3 and a half hour nap, she already looks a thousand times better than she did last night. That makes me a very happy mama.

I'm more than a little paranoid at any illness Lainie picks up. And I wonder if I'll ever stop being that way. Probably not.

Updated to add: or maybe not. A trip to Manhattan confirmed that it's just a virus, not influenza. And Lainie punctuated my poor judgment in running her to the doctor by vomiting all over my car at the Tuttle Creek - Anderson Ave intersection. Never a dull moment. 

Updated again to comment: probably not the best idea to post a recipe and vomit story in the same post.


I have one cousin at 34 weeks gestation with twins, on bedrest, and another cousin 36 weeks gestation, on bedrest. It's a sprint to the finish, if by sprint you mean waddle race, and I'm so very excited to meet all three bambinos!

Bedrest is a lot more fun from this side -- the lame advice side -- of things, and not so much from the couch-side of things.


Katie's been struggling with how to deal with a difficult personality lately, and my advice had been to avoid her or just ignore it. But then a friend posted this quote on facebook:
A Rattlesnake, if cornered, will become so angry it will bite itself. That is exactly what the harboring of hate and resentment against others is - a biting of oneself. We think we are harming others in holding these spites and hates, but the deeper harm is to ourselves. ~E. Stanley Jones
It got me thinking, a lot. Suppressing her frustration is probably not the best course of action, but neither is confronting this bully. I don't have the answers, and that is tough for a mom to admit. Right now, the best I can do is try to show Katie what difficulties this young person is going through, a possible explanation for her rudeness. I can hope Katie won't stoop, but will instead rise above all this. But in the end, Katie will do what she needs to do, make her own decisions and actions, right or wrong.

Either way, mean people just suck.


Tomorrow is Saturday, and I'm not studying. Take that, ATI test! I am going to cram like crazy on Sunday and the rest of the week, but tomorrow is Girl Day. So far, our to-do list includes pancake breakfast, making sugar-free banana bread, putting on fake tattoos and painting fingernails. Oh, and laundry and dishes and bathroom cleaning and all that boring stuff. But, for tonight, I'd rather just focus on fun stuff tonight:

  • 1 1/4 cup ripe Chiquita Bananas 
  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Splenda brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk, regular or reduced fat
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray one 9.5-inch loaf pan. 
  2. Place oil, buttermilk, Splenda, vanilla and mashed Chiquita Bananas into mixer. 
  3. Mix on low speed for two minutes. 
  4. Add flour, baking powder, salt and carrots and mix for one additional minute. 
  5. Pour batter in pre-greased pan. 
  6. Top with walnuts or pecans (optional). 
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick pulls out clean.  


Ash Wednesday is just 5 days away, and I'm planning to try to attempt to maybe possibly if I can manage give up pop for Lent.

... I'll wait until you stop laughing in disbelief. ...

I might as well try, right? But I also have 2 1/2 two-liters of Diet Coke in my house right now, and we certainly don't want that temptation staring at me next week, do we? So, if you see me in the next few days and notice a jittery, I-AM-CORN-HOLIO* level of hyperness, now you know why.

* this is a beevus and butthead reference, for those unschooled on such juvenile television.