Happy Birthday Birthday Girl!

Today is our little girl’s eleventh birthday. It’s hard to believe so much time has passed. Of course, my Facebook news feed chose a picture from her forth birthday as my on this day photo. I still can’t believe how much she has grown.

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We let her open her presents before daddy and brother had to leave for work. She is currently chilling beside me, Xbox controller in her hand, playing the new game we bought her.

I’m almost lost this year just as I was last year. For everybody else’s birthday, it’s my job to bake a cake and cook a dinner. That’s always been my role on birthdays. Last year, my daughter decided she was ready to start making her own birthday dinner and baking her own birthday cake.

We are postponing the dinner and cake until the weekend so that we can enjoy her birthday together. We figured the boys would be too tired on a work night and we stay up later on weekends, leaving time for dessert.

Tonight, I’m making an easy dinner of chicken fajitas. I told her that they will be like a second birthday dinner. I do get to have a nice sized role in this year’s birthday dinner. She wants beef stew pot pies. She wants to use my beef stew recipe, and she wants to make everyone individual hand pies for the pot pies. I get the task of adapting my recipe for her to follow.

We have decided that we are going to cook the stew in the slow cooker. Usually, I use my cast iron dutch oven to cook my stew, but it’s in storage, currently. She chose chocolate cake with dark chocolate fudge icing and chocolate sprinkles for her cake. She picked scooperman ice cream to go with. (I don’t like scooperman, and the idea of it with chocolate was absolutely appalling to me, so I bought some french vanilla, too.)

My kids are growing up on me. They need me less and less as days go by. It’s the hardest part of being a parent. All we can do is hold on tightly as we prepare them for the world, and when they are ready to try their wings, we just have to let them fly, be there to catch them if they fall, and be proud when they soar. It’s our job to let them go.

Happy Birthday, Birthday Girl!

For those who have been following along, Bear B has been seizure free for over 24 hours!

Juggling is tougher than it looks…

I am going to have to postpone the giveaway. I had thought that the books were here in the house. My husband was certain he knew exactly where he had put them. It turns out that we were both wrong. He looked everywhere that he could think of. It turns out that the books are still in storage. He is going to get out there just as soon as he can. However, our storage garage has gate hours, and my husband does have to work. This means, it could be as late as next weekend before he can get out there. I do apologize for the delay.

On the other bad news front, I am doing absolutely terrible in my readathon. If this was a readathon in which I was getting paid per page or chapter or book, I would definitely be disappointed. I believe I have finished a total of two chapters in The Indian in the Cupboard. I am enjoying the story. It is full of nostalgia and adventure.

I have, once again, placed far too much on my plate. It seems like there is so much to get done, and there just isn’t enough time to do it in. Some deadlines are a month while others are by the end of the day. There is laundry and dinner and school to attend to. I want to ensure that there is time for myself. My time with my husband is limited during the day throughout the week, so I want to make certain that I take advantage of every moment we do have. Instead, I end up giving up and watching tv. It’s my worst addiction. Give me my Netflix and a pot of coffee, and I am absolutely covered for the next few hours.

This, of course, is not a good way to spend my time. I need to be accomplishing far more than I have been lately. I am tired at the end of the day. I am tired throughout the day. I am fighting to keep my eyes open, lacking the focus I need to complete some of the oh so simple tasks I have placed on my ever growing list. Which, by the way, I just added that hexagonal blanket to. It turns out that it isn’t the one I finished. For the giveaway, which I remind you has been delayed, I will instead be including my blanket I’ve named Not your Grandma’s granny square blanket. The pattern is similar to that of the log cabin afghan.

So, I’ve got projects galore that need to be completed. I have books I’d love to get around to reading. I’ve got a life I can’t seem to keep up with while dodging the avalanche falling around me. I’ve got a family to care for and a career I’m still trying to build and manage. I’ve got homeschool I never planned on teaching.

As a child, I tried to learn to juggle. I remember choosing different objects to juggle, knowing that the jugglers all chose items based on their weight. I was positive that I would find the perfect weight that I could manage. I tried balls, bean bags, and various other small objects. Whatever they were, I never did manage to keep them in the air. Over time, I became good enough to keep them off the floor. I always felt a sense of pride at this accomplishment. They didn’t fly wildly anymore. They didn’t land everywhere. I always managed to catch all three.

In life, I juggle a lot. Heck, show me a person who doesn’t. As children, we juggle school, home, chores, and play. When we grow up, we juggle bills and work with responsibilities, family, and friends. We throw in dating, then marriage mixed with children and pets. We add in our own desires and needs with those around us. We try to keep everyone happy and healthy. We take care of meals and shopping. We juggle. A lot.

As a child, I learned to keep those balls in my hands. They might not have all been in the air when they were supposed to be. Maybe I cheated and caught without release. It’s easier to control things when you hold tightly. As an adult, I still try to hold everything tightly,  gingerly tossing into the air things that don’t need my immediate focus. Problem is, I have only those two hands. The same two hands that could barely manage to keep three off the floor. Now, I’m juggling far more than three. I’m juggling countless things all at once. And, is my habit, I’m clinging tightly to every single one of them. I gingerly toss one little thing, but only so high as to not lose sight of it. I almost immediately snatch it back up again.

Even if it’s not in my hand at the moment, even if it’s not my primary point of focus, I cannot get it out of my mind. As I write this post to you, as I let my mind wander and list a few of those things for you, I have a dozen more still bouncing through my head. I’m planning dinner while remembering the conversation I need to have with my eldest child. I am thinking about the meals I want to make this week, I am thinking about the recipes I want to try in the near future. I am working through a few problems that I cannot figure the solution to while thinking of what chapters my daughter needs to do for school this upcoming week. I am fighting off the disappointment in the fact that I must postpone the giveaway. I am thinking about the books I want to read, the books I want to write, the blankets I want to crochet, and the tshirts I’d love to turn into pillows.

And when my brain is all over the place like this, how do I focus on the one thing that needs my main focus? How do I decide what that main thing is? I really don’t have the answer. But, I’m off to start crossing things off the list. Try to settle my thoughts, ease my mind. I promise I am not cancelling the giveaway. Please forgive me for the delay. Thank you all for your love and loyalty.

Our sarcasm has taught the dog…

…and our children, especially while they were really little.

We believe that like a child, a dog (or cat) that has been talked to often will imitate those speech patterns. It is how we learn to speak. It is why we speak the same language/accent as those who care for us when we are young. It is why I never allowed people to speak baby talk to my children.

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Our dog, Bear, does his best to speak our language. He tries so hard. It’s adorable. Listen closely when your pet is obviously trying to tell you something, you may be able to pick out a word or two. As time passes, and you are truly listening, you may be able to make out some of what they are telling you.

Last night, I was headed downstairs to start dinner. Bear decided that he was going to accompany me. As he walked down the steps ahead of me, I informed him that I was well aware that Daddy had just taken him outside. I then asked him why he was headed downstairs if he did not need to go to the bathroom.

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One week down, 51 more to go

We made it through the first week of 2017, and we survived. We had a really rough weekend over here starting with Friday night. Around 9 pm, poor Bear started having a seizure. These seizures continued through Saturday evening. In total, he had 5 seizures in a 24 hour period of time.

We aren’t sure what caused this round of seizures. They were some pretty awful ones. At one point, we were almost certain that he had bitten off part of his tongue. He was doing this funky snapping thing with his mouth like he couldn’t find his tongue, and there was a fairly large glob of pink caught in his fur. He was freaking out, and we weren’t able to clean him up and examine him until he calmed down.

Fortunately, that glob turned out to just be a lot of blood. He did indeed bite his tongue, and I am sure that it hurt a lot. It was quite possibly still numb from the onslaught when he first came out of the seizure. Thankfully, it is still fully attached.

Bear hasn’t had a seizure since July when I posted our dog has epilepsy. The poor guy takes 98.7 mg of phenobarbital twice daily. According to a friend of mine, 40 mg is enough to knock a 300 pound biker on his ass. Bear is only around 65 pounds. I know that humans and dogs metabolize medication differently, but I can see that he walks around stoned all the time. I worry that if he continues to have seizures while on the medication, we will have to increase his dosage again.

Dogs on strong medications like phenobarbital have a shortened life span. According to my research, it can literally cut their life expectancy in half. This is a scary thought to me. On average, dogs live to be about 15 years old. Bear is 7 and a half now. That is half of his life expectancy. This happens because the medication causes severe liver damage.

Had the DEA not made it illegal, we may be looking into how effective cannabis oil could be for a dog with epilepsy. After all, it was showing great results for humans suffering from epilepsy. Instead, big pharm is not allowing anything natural that may help those who are suffering. I know, I’m talking about my dog here, but do you really think that those harsh legal drugs aren’t wreaking the same havoc on human livers as they do on our poor puppy?

As you know, I’m not really a political person. Heck, this may be my first post that even implies I have an opinion on anything our government is doing. Believe me, I have many. I keep my political opinions to myself as not to offend the many varying opinions that are out there. However when someone I love is suffering, I am highly opinionated.

My poor fur baby is suffering. He spent most of yesterday and today sleeping it off. Today, he did spend a little time chewing his bone. This is good because yesterday he would pick it up in his mouth and drop it again. I can only guess that it was too painful to chew. He did not spend much time with it, but he chewed it for a bit.

I feel helpless as I watch him suffer. I want to make him feel better. I want to find a way to make it so he never has to suffer from another seizure again. I’m not saying that the cannabis oil would actually work. I am saying that I wish there was an opportunity to give it a try. It bothers me that we live in a country where something given to us naturally (by God, Mother Nature, the Great Spirit, or whomever you believe created earth and all it’s occupants both plant and animal) is illegal, but there are companies using God only knows what chemicals to create medications, and we have no choice but to use these lesser quality products.

Why do I call them lesser quality? Because, in my opinion, anything man made is going to be less than something nature made. I believe in science, and I know there are some really great medications out there. But, the side effects are real. The risks are real.

Read the insert that comes with your medication. Almost always you will see a line that states All medication have risks and benefits. Your doctor has weighed the risk of you taking this medication against the benefits expected… The doctor has a really thick book called The Physician’s Desk Reference. This book lists all the side effects that have ever been reported for each medication available on the market during the year it was printed. It is updated every year.

Here is what I found for the human usage of phenobarbital as listed in the PDR. However, even with it being legalized for medical purposes in many states, marijuana is still not listed in the PDR. Does this mean that there are no proven side effects? No contraindications to prescribing it?

I’m also a mother. I know that my dog’s medication is destroying his liver. I know that I almost lost my son when his ADHD medications did destroy his liver. Yet, the FDA approves of all these medications that fill a thick book to list all the potential for harm that these medications bring. Am I the only one confused here?

 

What’s the harm?

I was the kid that hid under my covers with a flashlight and a book. Bedtime was bedtime. If I got caught, there’d be hell to pay. I was breaking the rules. Never mind that I wasn’t tired or that I was doing something conventional like reading.

When my son was young, I decided that reading could be the only allowed activity after bedtime. Kids fall asleep naturally when they get tired. Hence their ability to fall asleep anywhere and in any position.

Let’s be honest, it’s conformity that sends us to bed at a specific time instead of crawling into bed when we are tired and ready to sleep. And what sends our children to bed hours before we ourselves head there? A desire to be alone with our spouse? A need to get stuff done without the little ones under a foot? Some crazy belief that children somehow need more than the requisite eight hours?

I want that time alone with my husband. There are many things I like to accomplish after my kids are out of my hair. Even at 19 and 10, I still need them out of my hair to complete some tasks. After a day of taking care of everyone, I like a little time to devote to myself. Why should this desire mean that my children should have to sleep?

At 19, my son keeps whatever hours he wants. Bedtime for him doesn’t even always include staying in his room. He seems to prefer to do his chores after the house has retired to their bedrooms for the evening. My daughter is ten years old. Bedtime for her is still governed by a few rules. She pushes the boundaries on some of them.

  1. Bedtime means bedtime, no chatting with people as they walk passed your bedroom.
  2. No electronic devices (studies have shown that a digital screen keeps your mind from settling down for sleep)
  3. Lights out
  4. You can read, but there are two conditions
    1. It has to be a paperback book (Kindle screen is a digital screen)
    2. You can use your book light for light to read by

Santa brought her a new book for Christmas. It’s his tradition to give the kids a Christmas themed book every year. This seemed to click the switch back to reading at night. She finished that book, then moved onto another holiday themed book. Both holiday books were animal themed. She then read another animal themed book. Over New Year’s weekend, she read one of my old favorites, The Indian in the Cupboard.

She informed me last night as she began Return of the Indian that her goal is to read five chapters a night. I say good for her. Sure, she’s usually still awake when the husband and I crawl into bed. We also let her sleep in until we’ve gotten a cup of coffee in our systems. She’s getting a full night’s sleep. So what’s the harm in allowing her to stay up late reading a good book?

One of the great things about being the parent is that we make the rules. We get to do things differently than our parents did. We get to change the rules that always bothered us when we were children. The things we never did figure out why our parents did them that way. After all, who says we have to do it their way?