Monday, September 22, 2008

Look back at Summer

A video from our past summer. :) Make sure you mute the player on the right sidebar.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

How my son greeted me this morning

Do you think our Narnia outing inspired this outfit this morning?

the lincoln log he's holding is his sword, btw. ;-)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Field Trip

We joined some of our fellow homeschoolers on a fun filled field trip today!  We went to the Narnia exhibit at our local Science Center.  If  you ever get a chance to see this exhibit, go!  It was really neat and well done.  You can't take pictures inside the exhibit, so I don't have any of that to share.  But, I can tell you that in the exhibit, you will walk through the wardrobe straight into Narnia, just like Lucy, complete w/ snow and pine trees.  There are clothes and other props from the movie.  If you go here, you'll be able to see and read about this awesome exhibit.

Outside of the museum

After we left Narnia, we headed to the museums cafe for a surprisingly delicious lunch.  You know how museum food isn't always the greatest. ;)  Our science center's vendor is a really great restaurant that serves locally grown organic fresh products.  It was really, really yummy.  We headed back into the science center to finish looking around.  They had changed some of their exhibits since we were last there, which was a really nice surprise.  Their exhibits were kindof old and most were broken, which is why we don't go to our science center too often.  I think I'm spoiled and a bit biased though when it comes to Science Centers, since I worked at, what was said to be, the best science center in the world the years I was working there.  I believe that's totally coincidental by the way.  I don't think I was the reason for their world wide distinction LOL.  

Anyway, the kids had a blast playing and experiencing the exhibits, and I do have photos of our time outside of Narnia. :) 

Watching the combustion demonstration

Waiting for the "Forces of Nature" experience to start.  This was a really cool exhibit.  You stand in the center of a ring w/ large screens showing various types of storms.  While they had the video playing there would be "interactive" special effects like wind blowing, the ground shaking, heat representing a forest fire and volcano.  There was even rain!  Yes, we got wet. :-)

A. playing with virtual sand.  Another really cool exhibit.

The boys making music with light.  Although, all the J liked to do is push the buttons, which didn't make music.  Instead it just made a really obnoxious noise. LOL

A. morphing her face.

Making metal files "dance".

R. watching sound waves in action.

Playing at Water Works.

When we were heading out, we stopped for some ice cream and sat in the grass (and 98* heat ) and ate our Ice Cream bars.  Yum. :)

We had a great time and were sufficiently worn out by the time we got home!  :-)

Monday, September 15, 2008

National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week

**This is a sticky that will remain at the top until the end of the week. Scroll down for new entries**

Did you know there are millions of people who are suffering from a Chronic Illness and you'd never know.  These sufferers can be your friends and neighbors, people you see and talk to every day, yet you'd never know they were sick.  Millions of people suffer from what is called an Invisible Illness.  Which means, to look at them they look perfectly healthy.  You wouldn't know they live their lives in chronic pain or fear or anxiety or are so dizzy, that it's hard to get up in the morning.

Next week, September 8th through the 14th,  is National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week. 

My friend Jen, challenged me to participate and dedicate my blog this upcoming week to bring awareness to the challenges people that suffer with invisible illnesses face, sometimes on a daily basis.

So the next week I will be focusing on helping others understand how some of these millions live day to day.  How can I bring awareness?  I happen to be one of the millions.  I suffer from Ulcerative Colitis, one of the two Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.  The other IBD is Crohn's Disease.  I also have Chronic Sinusitis, which would probably also qualify as an invisible illness.  It has definitely stopped me from participating in and enjoying activities that I otherwise would have loved being involved in, but due to severe headaches, I'm left at home trying to make the pain go away.

Rest Ministries has a website devoted to National Chronic Illness Week.  Take a look at the website throughout the week.  They'll have guest bloggers and seminars posted throughout the week.

Jen suggested taking 5 minutes from your day and praying for those with chronic illnesses.  It's like a family on the FIAR boards and Jen has set up a prayer board on her blog for us to know who amongst us that is suffering from an invisible illness.  If you can take just a few minutes and check out the needs of some fellow homeschooling moms who, get it done regardless, your prayers and thoughts would be much appreciated.

If you are one of the millions that also suffer silently, leave a comment and tell us about yourself.  I'd be happy to add you to my list of fellow sisters to pray for.

Monday, September 8, 2008

What is Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes chronic inflammation of the digestive tract.  The inflammation usually affects only the innermost lining of the large intestine (colon) and r*ectum.  The inflammation occurs in continuous stretches of the colon.

There is no known cure for UC, but there are therapies (another word for drugs LOL) that may dramatically reduce the signs and symptoms of UC and can bring about long term remission.

The symptoms of UC can vary, depending on the severity of inflammation and where the inflammation occurs.  Based on those factors is how UC is classified. 

  • Ulcerative proctitis:  Inflammation is confined to the r*ectum and often r*ectal bleeding is the only sign of the disease.  Others people may experience r*ectal pain, a feeling of urgency or an inability to move the bowels in spite of the urge to do so.

  • Left-sided colitis:  Inflammation extends from the r*ectum up the left side through the sigmoid and descending colon.  Signs and symptoms include bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and pain, and weight loss.

  • Pancolitis:  Affecting the entire colon, pancolitis causes bouts of bloody diarrhea that may be severe, abdominal cramps and pain, fatigue, weight loss and night sweats.

  • Fulminant colitis:  This rare, life threatening form of colitis affects the entire colon and causes severe pain, profuse diarrhea and, sometimes, dehydration and shock.  People with fulminant colitis are at risk of serious complications including colon rupture and toxic megacolon, which occurs when the colon becomes severely distended.

The course of UC varies ,with periods of acute illness often alternating with periods of remission.  Over time the severity of the disease usually remains the same.  Only a small percentage with a milder condition, such as ulcerative proctitis, go on to develop more severe signs and symptoms.

source:  Mayo Clinic

There are no known causes for what triggers UC.  It used to be thought stress caused UC.  That is no longer believed to be a cause, however, stress can aggravate UC symptoms.  Currently, thre are two popular opinons as to the cause of UC, Immune system and heredity.

  • Immune System:  Some scientists think a virus or bacterium may cause UC.  The digestive tract becomes inflammed when your immune system tries to fight off the invading microorganism.  It's also possible that inflammation may stem from an autoimmune reaction in which your body mounts an immune response even though no pathogen is present.

  • Heredity:  There seems to be a higher incidence of UC in families, which suggests genetics could play a contributing role.  Currently studies are being conducted to see what genetic mutation might increase a persons susceptibility to UC.

Risk Factors for Ulcerative colitis. 

  • Age:  UC can strike at any age, but, usually, people develop the condition when they are younger, teens to twenties.

  • Ethnicity:  UC can strike any ethnic group, but Whites have the highest incidence of the disease than any other ethnic group.  Those from Jewish and European descent are four to 5 times more likely to have UC.

  • Family history:  Higher risk for getting UC if a close family member has the disease.

  • Geographical location:  Urban, industrialized areas in Northern climates have a higher population of people with UC.

Ulcerative colitis is usually not a fatal disease.  However, it is a serious disease that left untreated may cause life-threatening complications.

All information came from the Mayo clinic, linked above.

Tomorrow I'll talk about testing and complications as well as how UC has affected my life.

The built in censor feature here is why I needed to be creative in my spelling. ;)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Big Boy Bed

J.'s First night in a big bed!

Summer Update Continued

Continuing from where I left off last night brings us to...


July brought more Monsoon Storms where we had lots of wind and rain.  These storms can be quite dangerous, they are fast moving and pretty wild, filling up normally dry washes in minutes turning them into raging rivers.  Despite their violent nature, they provide some of the most dramatic skies for photographing.

I like the way the sun is shining on the mountains in this picture.  You can also see that the wind is blowing by looking at the palm trees.  The storm hadn't hit our house yet.

Daddy reading to J and S.  S. has a new favorite book he likes to look at and have us read to him, Science, Year by Year.

The Girls and I made BIG chcolate chip cookies. Yum.  A and R are wearing their Keepers aprons. :)


July is when our state Homeschool Convention happens.  This year it coincided with my sweet A.'s 9th birthday.  I attended the convention alone on Friday, while hubby and the kids had a hotel room right across the street.  Even though we live in town, we rented the room so I had a place to go rest if I needed to during the day, which I ended up needing by the end!  The kids love to go and swim in the pool and hang out in the hotel room.  The rates are cheap here in the summer, add on the discount from the convention, and it was a pretty good deal. 

Also, since A.'s birthday was the following day, we treated her to a special night spending the night in the hotel w/ just me.  Daddy took the rest of the kids home after dinner and A. and I had the room all to ourselves.  We laid down on the bed and giggled and talked for awhile.  Then, I totally surprised her by whooping her on the head with a pillow.  An all out pillow fight pillow fight ensued, which brought peals of laughter from my gal!  She is such a sweetie.  She knew I wasn't feeling very good that night, so she was content to just hang out in bed together.

The next morning I drove A. home, our babysitter came over and Hubby and I went back for the morning sessions of the convention.  I felt bad leaving A. on her birthday but, she had a great day planned.  Grandma and Grandpa watch my sisters kids so they can go to the convention.  Since it was A.'s birthday, Grandma thought it would be fun to bring all the cousins over to spend the day together while we all were at the convention.  It was perfect.  We don't get to see them very often, so this was an extra special treat.  We came home from the convention around 1:00, watched A open her presents and enjoyed cake and ice cream.  My sister and bil came back from the convention around 6:00 and took the cousins home. 

A. had so much fun w/ her cousins, I think she hopes the convention falls on her birthday every year. :)

E. made this special dalmatian dog for A. for her b-day

Opening presents

My sister has 9 kids.  Four of them are old enough to attend the Teen Tract sessions of the convention.  The five youngest were the ones who came over.  We had 10 kids total ages 11 and younger over.  No wonder she had so much fun!  The ages here were 11 (my nephew), 10 (E), 9 (my niece), 9(A) (A and her cousin are 6 months apart), 7(R), 6 (my niece, she's 4 months younger than R), 5 (S), 3 (my niece), 2 (J) and 2 (my niece, who is 2 weeks younger than J).  Busy, busy house.   The kids all did really well and had fun.

The next pictures show more monsoon weather.  This was a storm that caused a lot of damage on the east side of town.  These clouds were huge, moving fast and full of lightening.

We always have beautiful sunsets during monsoon season.

J. being cute

S. asleep (how do they do this?)

This picture was taken about 10 minutes after I told S. it was quiet time.  He insisted he didn't need a nap.  I told him, just quietly look at books.  10 minutes later, this is how I found him!  My kids have inherited my husbands ability to fall asleep at the drop of a hat. 

We also started back to school the beginning of July.  I already posted those first day back photos, even though I neglected to get a "First Day of School" picture this year.   I thought maybe I could take one this week and years from now, we'll never know that it wasn't our first day but rather our 50th day (or something like that)!

That pretty much wraps up our July!  I'll try to hit August highlights later tonight or tomorrow.  I have been challenged to blog about something else this following week, which I'll explain in the next post, so we'll see when August gets added. LOL


Saturday, September 6, 2008

It's been awhile

I went on a partial hiatus this summer due to feeling lousy from HG and still trying to take care of the other five kids who live under the same roof I do.  I'm very happy to say that the dark hole I felt I've been living in for the past few months, I have climbed out of and I've reentered the beautiful sunshine of public life again. :)

A few days ago I stopped taking Zofran and I have been doing great.  I still get a little queasy here and there, but not enough to make me feel like I need to slow down or take some medicine.  Praise the Lord, I survived it again!   Yes, a bit melodramatic, but when you're in the middle of it, you don't feel like you are going to survive.

I will try to do a catch up on what we did this summer that I just didn't have the energy to write about when it happened. 

To start off:


In May, my sweet R. turned 7.  She is such a joy and delight.  She is usually bouncy and a ray of sunshine.  Eager to please and be with either Daddy or me, for special time alone.  She doesn't care if it's a trip to the hardware store, grocery shopping or taking out the trash.  If she can come along, she's happy.  Oh, and this girl loves to shop!  My other 2 girls aren't as interested, like their mama ;-), but R. is definitely one who likes to go to the mall and look at the clothes, jewelery, shoes, etc.  I actually find it enjoyable to go with her, even though I'm not a shopper.  She makes it fun.

When she was a baby, I co-slept with her.  She was the only one that would sleep peacefully in bed w/ us.  Consequently, I felt the most rested with her than I did with any other one of our newborns.  *yawn*  When I wasn't nursing her, I'd carefully put her back in the middle of our bed and w/i minutes, she'd have scrunched her way right back up against me.  I remember when I moved her into her crib how empty it felt not to have her right up against me.  She'll occasionally crawl into bed with us now, when she's scared or not feeling well.  Sure enough, w/i 5 minutes of falling asleep, she's right there up against me.  She is a snuggler!

Caitlin w/ my EAR
In May, my niece graduated from highschool.  A homeschooler all the way through.  She's a beautiful young lady, inside and out.  We love you Caitlin and are very proud of you! 

Next came:


June brought a couple of birthdays to our house.  Daddy's birthday came first, but, sorry Daddy, I don't have any pictures of that momentous event. :-D 

The next birthday was S.  My sweet boy turned 5!  S. has always been an absolute sweetheart.  He is so sensitive and caring and loving.  He will often give me compliments, which just make me smile.  Tonight, before bed, he asked if I'd snuggle with him for awhile.  How many more years will I hear that request?  I jumped at the chance of course and we had a wonderful time snuggling and talking about army trucks. LOL  He may be sensitive and sweet and all that, but he is still a boy you know.   I have to explain his cake. LOL  I made an icecream sandwich cake that I heard rave reviews about on the FIAR board.  The topping is coolwhip and I wanted to write something on there for him.  So I attempted to write "Happy Birthday S..." only it didn't work too well.  Well, it worked for about 2 seconds, then the syrup just sort of blobbed and ran together resulting in what you see pictured above.  Cake decorating is obviously not one of my talents.

June also was our first forray into Drama.  I want to clarify, we have drama in our house every day.  Major drama.    This was drama of a different sort. :D  I enrolled the girls into a Drama Summer camp, which they loved!  The play they put on, a musical no less, was 101 Dalmations.  I send major kudo's to the people running this camp.  They pulled off this incredible play in 4 days total.  It was entertaining and funny.  There were some very talented kids up there on that stage.   This is a picture of three of Perdita and Pongo's pups.  If one of the pups looks a little sad and bedraggled, it's because she was hot.  This was not a comfortable day.  I can't remember what the temperature was, but it was one of our first days of the summer where the mercury rose well over the 100* mark.
These pictures were taken after the play.  She was much more happy and lively while performing, in the airconditioned room. LOL

The end of June brought some big storms.  We weren't in our official Monsoon Season yet, just a taste of what's yet to come for the summer season.

To end our month of June off and to end this post for today, here's some miscellaneous pictures taken throughout the month.

Hummingbird staying cool at our fountain

E. sporting her new glasses she made out of paper.  Notice her red eyes?  She thought that looked cool and wanted me to leave it in there. LOL

J. just hangin' around.  He likes hanging and swinging off our countertops.
I think his shorts were a little bit too big, what do you think?  Fashion forward toddler or not quite ready for those hand-me-downs? LOL

And Finally,

E and R pretending to be me.  Only, I was not that large in June! LOL  I think they "delivered" shortly after these pictures were taken.  Don't they look good for being in labor?  I think E delivered a baby doll (maybe it was a pillow, I don't remember) and R. delivered a stuffed animal, probably a bear.  Yes, pregnancy was a major topic of discussion in our house over the summer. LOL

Just a quick update on the happenings in our house the beginning of summer.  I'll try to catch up w/ July and August tomorrow. :)  We had more celebrations and some pretty sad and stressful events as well as our summer wrapped up. 

Stay tuned for the next update. :)