Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mommy's special pill

I take many pills each day, albeit a bit less now that my asthma has gone away. I take several pills each day for blood pressure, one for my sinuses when they're acting up and a couple vitamins to make me feel a bit more rounded at the end of the day. The best pill of all is one I don't actually take myself. It's Connor's pill.

For a few years now, Al has been trying to convince me that we should take Connor to a psychiatrist to have him evaluated for ADHD. I've been reluctant, especially since I teach Connor and his attention issues haven't bothered me. However, just before Thanksgiving, we started having some behavioral issues from Connor. We took away all his typical rewards---Nintendo DS, Wii, reading in bed, listening to CDs in bed, the privilege of staying up later than the girls, etc. After several weeks of having lost his privileges, we realized he didn't seem to care. He had no motivation to do anything. He no longer wanted to play piano, which he once loved doing. He became very emotional, we were always yelling at him, sending him to his room or threatening him to try to get any positive response

I broke down, I told my husband it was time. Fortunately, my husband knows a great doctor. Al, who has ADD, has been seeing Dr. Brody since he was a kid. And when Al's mother was being tormented by Al's behavior as a child and teenager, she started seeing Brody, too. So Brody has now seen 3 generations of Al's family :)

Brody was happy to schedule an appointment with Connor. He has a large TV on the wall and plays video games with his young clients. Within one Wii session (about 30 minutes), Brody walked out to say, "Yup, ADHD. We should start him on some meds." Voila! That's it, it was that simple?

Brody suggested the same meds that Al takes for his ADD, Vyvanse. Can I tell you how special this little pill is? Miracles are encased in this little capsule!!! Now it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows, right away.

After leaving Brody's office, the guys went to the pharmacy and then home to see what happens when the pill is consumed. This part proved to be quite tricky. Connor was willing to try the pill, but when he couldn't swallow it, he panicked. Then Al and I panicked. We all yelled, screamed, argued and cried. After 45 minutes of promises, bribes and threats, it ended with Al having to hold Connor down while I forced it into him. It was not pretty, but it worked.

Within 2 hours, we noticed Connor couldn't stop reading. He had picked up a ThinkGeek catalogue and was reading it from cover-to-cover. When I realized what was happening (read: the medicine was working), I decided to test it a bit. I asked Connor to play piano, this really challenging piece he's been working on for months and typically gets so frustrated with that he can't make it through 2-3 measures without wanting to give up. He moaned when the piano teacher assigned it for another week. This time, when he tried to play it, he didn't get frustrated. He took his time, played each measure while actually reading the music (he once loved playing from memory because it took too much effort to look up and find his place on the sheet music). He persevered through the entire piece, no complaints, no quitting. I was so amazed that I asked him to play it again and he did. Willingly!

As he finished the piece, he turned to Al and I and said, "Thank you mommy and daddy for taking me to that Dr and getting this medicine. Thank you for everything." I was nearly in tears while he was playing the piano so I was ready to burst when he said this.

For 2 years I've been telling myself that Connor didn't need meds because I was OK with him and since I was the one spending so much time with him that it was OK. My husband finally clued me in by telling me, "The meds aren't for you, they're for him." I understand, now. And I was grateful for a husband who understood Connor's symptoms, his frustrations and his need to have some control over his actions. If it weren't for Al having experienced the same frustrations as a child, poor Connor would still be a sad little boy who on occasion wished himself dead (that was a hard one for me to 6 year old thought things would be better if he weren't alive).

Connor recognized the change in himself with the very first dose of his medication. He promised that he would take it willingly the next day because he was so happy with the results. And he did! And he's gotten better at swallowing it every day and Al and I haven't had to threaten him or yell at him since.

His improved behavior has changed the dynamics of our entire house! The girls are behaving better and the yelling has really calmed down. We had 3 hours of school yesterday! 3 hours, straight! That is a first. He did 7 pages of math (fractions) and never complained...he actually offered to do the 7th page when he had finished the 6th page.

When we were visiting my parents this past weekend, Connor was a bit bored. So he started cleaning. First he closed himself in their bedroom and started cleaning and rearranging the room, lined up the shoes, straightened all the decorative pillows on the bed and so on. Then he came to the living room where he lined all the shoes up by size, smallest to largest, then noticed things were dusty, grabbed a cloth and very systematically began dusting the furniture in the room.

The magic that this little pill creates has changed our lives! The only negative thing about this pill is Al's gloating. Thanks, Al, for being patient with me and for not rubbing it in more than once or twice a day.

I love, I love my....

I made up this simple little song that I would sing to Lillee when she was a baby:

I love, I love my Lillee Bean, my Lillee Bean, my Lillee, Lillee, Lillee Bean.

When Bel was born 14 months later, the lyrics changed slightly from Lillee Bean to Belly Bear. Bel loves to hear me sing this, even at alomst 4 years old. Over the last 4 years, any time I start singing this, Isabel curls up in my arms, sucks her thumb and listens. As soon as I'm finished with the short song, Isabel chimes up, "Adin, Adin!" (translation, "Again, Again!")

Another thing I always want to remember about Bel is how much she loves to snuggle. Every night and during nap time when I put her to bed she asks, "Mommy, will you put my blanket on me."

"Yes, Bel" then I cover her and walk to the door where I turn around to tell the girls a last goodnight and switch the light off. At this point Isabel always says, "I'll come snuggle with you in the morning. In the middle!"

And she never forgets. She actually becomes quite mad if I'm up before her because that means she can't snuggle. She and Lillee also race to our room in the morning to see who can get the middle spot first. This often means our day starts with crying and fighting. So the girls are sent from the room and told to come back when they've stopped crying and arguing.

Fun times! These are the things my blog was meant for :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Amish Friendship Bread

Photo courtesy of

Doesn't this loaf look beautiful and delicious? Well it is! And the real beauty is you share it with your friends.

That is, if you have friends. I've discovered that I don't actually have friends, well at least not Amish friends who appreciate a good loaf of bread or two or twenty. Nor do I have non-Amish friends who are grateful that I want to share something so delicious with them.

10 days ago, a good friend asked if I would like an Amish friendship bread starter. I chuckled at first, remembering my mother receiving one of these in a mason jar when I was a kid. The reason I chuckled was the memory of a slew of cursing that occurred with each feeding, separating and sharing time. I had been wanting a bread starter (sourdough, not a sweet bread like this) but figured this would be a way to get my feet wet and back into bread baking, regularly.

I accepted the offer of the starter. I spent ten days mushing the bag, feeding it and lovingly baking two gorgeous loaves of bread, but not before I separated out 4 servings of starter to share with my friends...well, the people I thought were friends.

I posted on Facebook to see if anyone wanted a starter---I figured this was a good way to ask for volunteers without sending a direct email to people or worse, calling them! I sent one starter with my mother-in-law who was going to visit a friend that she only sees once a year. It just happened that they were heading to a church fundraiser at a local restaurant and would see lots of people they knew. My mother-in-law gave it to her friend with the caveat, "I don't care if you take it over there and throw it in the trash, but you have to take it." So abrupt over friendship bread, where's the friendliness surrounding this sacred starter?

I saw the first hit to my Facebook plea, I was hopeful as I opened the email. Nope, no response to the bread...she wanted to know what soup I would be bringing to soup and swap.

Second response, WAHOOO!!! It was about the bread, YIPEEE!!!

It read, "Haha. I just saw your mother-in-law trying to get rid of some at Cici's. good luck to you!"

Friendship bread, my foot! You don't make friends with this stuff, you run them off as they're laughing in your face.

Well, for all you HAHA friends, I won't mention any names, there is a cure for someone who has lots of Amish Friendship Bread starter: Take Control of your Amish Friendship Bread Starter

I will be fine with my Amish friendship bread starter and my 10 step program (HA, I don't need 12!---if you don't get this joke, congratulations). I am in control and am now equipped with the tools to liberate myself from the oppressive thumb of a simple bread starter.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Happy, happy birthday Connor dear

Happy days will come to you all year
If I had one wish then it would be
A happy, happy birthday to you from me

If you're LDS, you know this little tune and have probably had to sing it a few thousand times in your life. It is one of my favorites, lately. maybe because we've had so many birthdays and I'm singing it a lot :)

Well, today Connor turned 7 years old! And I did my motherly duty and made him listen to the (insert number of years here) years ago on this day story for the 6th time-I didn't recount it for him on his 1st birthday.

This was probably not his best birthday, as I was sick and feeling pretty yucky. But I still fulfilled my motherly duty of making his cake. Connor doesn't like icing so he requested a cake with no icing and the sprinkles in it (meaning Funfetti cake mix from a box). No problem! The hard part was, he requested a bullet bill cake. WHAT?!?! and I can't use icing?!?! Well, here is what I came up with and he was thoroughly pleased :)

He had a nice birthday and said, "This was a great day. It will become a memorable day for me" and then he gave me a great big hug. We did OK :)
Connor's new go-cart
He received a balloon physics kit from Mamaw & Papaw (VERY cool!), and lots of fun games and toys from grandma (including some awesome magnet blocks).

Friday, January 1, 2010

Catching up again

I felt like I was back into a routine of blogging, here on my family blog and my food blog as well. Then Christmas came, which brought lots of family to our house and we were busy. Then Chase got sick.
I had slowly increased his nebulizer treatments over about 1.5 weeks and then Monday night he had a rough time. Tuesday morning we had a neb treatment at 7:30am and he was still struggling to breathe at 8:30am. I called our pediatrician and we were there by 9:30am. They gave him oral and inhaled steroids, administered another neb treatment (usually we go 4-6 hours between treatments) and still no change. Off to the ER we went.

After another neb treatment in the ER and Chase falling asleep, the Dr determined he was fine and sent us home around 2:00pm. We dropped off prescriptions, grabbed some lunch and headed back to the house. 15 minutes later, I had to give another neb. Still, he struggled to breathe.
I called our Dr and asked, "What am I looking for to determine if he should go back to the ER?" The Dr told me to give him a few hours and if he wasn't better to go back in. Within 15 minutes of being off the phone with the Dr I had determined we couldn't wait a few hours, we couldn't even wait an hour....this kid couldn't breathe. He walked around grunted, coughing and struggling to get air. So I packed us a bag, grabbed some reading material, a change of clothes and headed out the door again.

5:00pm we're back at the hospital where we were met by the same people we had seen a few hours before so they knew this was serious and did not make us wait for anything. They took us right in and started more neb treatments. After a series of nebs about 1-1.5 hours apart they realized he wasn't getting better and it was time to admit him.

We finally had a room by 10:00pm. When we made it upstairs I chuckled as they led us into the exact room we were in a year early when Chase was hospitalized with RSV. We settled in and was hoping to calm Chase down. Fat chance! This kid was hopped up on steroids and albuterol and was finally in a space that he could move rather than having to sit on my lap for 5 hours in the ER. He was bouncing off the walls! Andy and Koryn came out to give Chase a blessing and he would not sit was like hitting a moving target.

I did get him to sleep by midnight and the respiratory staff came in every 2 hours to administer a neb. I was so grateful that someone else was giving him nebs because I needed a break. It felt so self-indulgent to have someone else do that for Chase because I felt that I should be doing it, but I was just exhausted.

The long and short of it, Chase did better as the steroids kicked in and we were able to stretch his nebs out over a longer period of time and made it home around 5:00pm the next day.
I love this picture. I have one of Al holding Connor, as a newborn, in a NICU rocker just like this.
This is a hospital crib/jail cell. There is a nice handmade quilt in the corner that was donated by Project Linus and we were able to take it home.
This is Chase getting into EVERYTHING! Here he is under the sink-we couldn't keep him from climbing in and out, in and out, and in and out!

Here is Chase on day #2. There was a nice little playroom across the hall from our room. He enjoyed being here.

I hope this New Year begins with a healthier family!