Friday, March 28, 2014

Spring Break And Other Sundry Days Off

It's been a crazy couple of weeks here and we've even been on spring break this week. It technically had only been four weeks of our six week session, but our six year old nephew came to visit for part of his spring break and the homeschool group was taking break this week, so a reschedule of our break was in order.  It's going to be a LONG last session.

Last week we also took a couple of days off; it's been a slow time for book work.  Last Monday Amber used her March coupon from her Christmas gift to have a special Mom and Amber day. We shopped at the Disney store, had lunch with my mom, and played together. It was a nice way to relax after a busy and early Sunday. 

Amber and I survived our first hand bells performance at church too.  It wasn't perfect, but then again I had only been playing handbells for three weeks. That's total, in my life.  It was even enjoyable, except the part where we had to get up super early to make rehearsal before 8 am church. Fred spent most of that weekend (two weekends ago) working.  There were scheduled major system changes and he has to oversee, or so I gather.   I really don't understand everything he does because I never made it past "senior developer" in my career.

St. Patrick's Day - Also Amber's March "Amber & Mom Fun Day".  Disney store shopping where she got a stuffed Sven from Frozen.

Tuesday of last week I decided that I'd had it with a barely clean house and we were going to work on that. Amber and I spent the whole day deep cleaning the house. It's still not perfect, but I feel better. The basement always needs some serious help, however even that was improved this past weekend in a mad scramble to clean up the indoor basketball and ping pong area for our nephew. It might have been spring break, but it was positively frigid with snow flurries.  We now have three more car loads of stuff to donate with a third of the basement still left to sort (not to mention the guest bedroom and my closet).

Of course, Frozen finally arrived on our doorstep last Tuesday afternoon and there was the requisite viewing that evening.  We've only watched it three times so far, but then again Amber has been busy playing with her new Disney Infinity game.  The Toy Box mode will really suck you in; I know from experience. 

Even with all the days off we managed a goodly amount of book work and even two science experiment.  Besides her normal history reading and assignments, Amber also watched 5 or 6 episodes of Drive Through Ancient History last week. She and Fred, who both took a sick day last  Friday, found Drive Through History interesting, but Amber prefers Crash Course History.

Amber has also reached the point where we breath a small sigh of relief each year: she has finished all the hours required by the state of Missouri for the school year.  In my mind (and plans) she has 9 weeks of school left to complete. However if something major were to come up, while Amber might be a bit behind where I'd like her to be content-wise, she has hit the required core hours and total hours for the year.  Whew.   I always feel somewhat relieved to know that we can be done if needed.

(TOP-LEFT) Outside tea. (TOP-RIGHT) Inside Tea.
(BOTTOM-LEFT) Science book work. (BOTTOM-RIGHT) Both tea jars after hours.  Does the sun's rays heat things? (we took temperature of water too)

Last week I inadvertently put Amber through a food trial that failed. I honestly thought I had researched oats (certified gluten free just to be safe) and that they should be a no-brainier pass for Amber. Guess I was wrong. I made Amber a batch of oatmeal breakfast cookies and she loved them. Unfortunately her finicky small intestine did not.  This was one of the worst failures since Amber healed up from the original duodenitis. Dark eye rings, pain, exhaustion, diarrhea and then constipation (tmi ?) all within 24 hours of eating the first cookie. Sigh.

After researching oats, for what I thought was a second time, it was clear I had not even remotely checked them out. Front and center in my go-to Monash app was a red light on oats for Oligos - Fructans AND Galactans. Great, not just one but both of them. It took Amber five unpleasant days and a small clean out (because we couldn't do a real one without messing up the prep for her lactose test) before Amber felt "mostly" better.

I had forgotten how far reaching the reactions can be in terms of affecting more than only the intestinal area.  Amber was sad, unhappy, and in constant need of my approval and attention for most of those reaction days.  I should have known something was up earlier than I did because she acted fairly odd at the homeschool group classes last Thursday.  Let this be a lesson to me the next time she behaves this way. Instead of being put out with her strange behavior I need to figure out the cause.

(LEFT) Playing PS3 with her Frozen dolls, Sven, and a sleeping kitty on one of the oat reaction days.
(TOP-RIGHT) Assembling LEGO Cloud Cuckoo Palace from the LEGO Movie.

This week, even though it's been cold, we've had tons of spring break fun. Monday morning nephew Spencer arrived and we started with indoor basement games. Then moved on to indoor swimming at the gym's natatorium before heading to dinner at a safe restaurant for Amber. Tuesday we took Spencer out for lunch and then to the LEGO movie. Amber and I had seen it, but he had not. That was a fun afternoon all around. We originally planned to take Spence with us to bells practice, however by 4:30 pm both kids were exhausted and, to be honest, so was I.  I couldn't guarantee Spencer would be patient or quiet during practice or that Amber and I would even be able to play.  After discussing it with Fred, my Mom, my sister, and BOTH kids we decided to forgo bells practice this week. I felt really guilty, but it was the best decision for everyone.

Wednesday, before my sister arrived to take Spencer back home, we went for a super exciting bowling session of three action packed games, and then directly on to Amber's flute lesson. Interspersed over the three days of Spencer's visit was lots of indoor playing. Amber even got an extra Monster's University character for her Disney Infinity so that both kids could play in that world together. They could both play in the Toy Box with any character, but you can only play in one of the "worlds" with the characters from that "world". Disney really sticks it to you with the Infinity. We've had it one week and already have acquired five extra characters and four power discs. If only they made a Frozen world; Elsa and Anna can currently only be used in the Toy Box mode.

(TOP-LEFT) Playing "Basketball Player & Cheerleader".  Their team won the trophy .... which is an old cat scratching post. LOL 
(TOP-RIGHT) Ping Pong! 
(BOTTOM-LEFT) Dinner out after swimming with her cousin. 
(BOTTOM-RIGHT) Playing the same DS game on their own DS consoles.  They'd run the same race next to each other and compare notes.

Our calendar is once again a crazy mess of doctor's appointments for the foreseeable future... okay, just until May. But still, Amber has at least one and sometimes two doctor's appointments each week until May.  As always, some of those appointments are recurring, so once they happen they will be put back on the schedule for a few weeks down the road.  I am so grateful that we have decent medical insurance through Fred's work and good medical professionals for Amber.

Today was Amber's lactose intolerance test.  The food log data indicates that Amber has random problems with milk, but we (the dietician and I) can't tell if it is lactose, casein or something else.  Lactose would be the easiest to deal with and would fit with Amber's general inability to digest sugars, but she has clearly reacted to lactose free milk (lactaid).  She had an absolutely awful morning today, complete with a blood sugar crash because the prep diet yesterday did not allow for any carbs. Thankfully Amber's liver started converting glycogen to glucose in time and she was able to finish the test, yet I monitored her blood sugar throughout the whole thing.   We don't have the official results yet, but it looks like a negative on intolerance to lactose from past experience with hydrogen breath tests.

(TOP-LEFT) Exhausted children playing Disney Infinity on the PS3.
(TOP-RIGHT) Disney Infinity with Monster's University characters (and Elsa waiting in the wings)
(BOTTOM-LEFT) Waiting to see the LEGO Movie
(BOTTOM-RIGHT) Bowling fun!

I'd like to think we are going to have a relaxing weekend, but I doubt it.  There is a lot to still clean in the basement and we need to get ready for Spring. We also have some furniture to deal with for Amber's room.  More on that next week.  At least it is supposed to warm up into the 50's this weekend.  I'm secretly a little happy that the winter has gone on so long.  I wasn't ready for outside Spring maintenance yet. 

Happy Weekend

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  1. Christy you would not believe how often you and Amber are in our prayers and conversations. Keilee is forever asking me if Amber is feeling better. I love that you are both playing bells. I wish I could do ANYTHING musical! Besides sing way out of tune. :) Looks like Amber and Spencer had a blast!! I wish Keilee had cousins closer to her age. Amber is looking so grown up! She likes so many things that Keilee likes. I bet they would have a blast together. Happy weekend friend!! Give Amber hugs from us.

  2. I waited and waited to get to your wrap up today. My Friday's just aren't complete without being able to read how Amber is doing! It's not just me either as my 12 yo son is constantly asking me about Amber and how she's doing, is there any more he can be praying about for her etc. I love that little man. You and Amber are in our daily prayers each morning but he makes a special effort to pray for her at meal times and bed time. His favorite thing to add at meal time prayers for Amber is: "And may You bless Amber today while she eats (breakfast/lunch/supper) so that she may have a good day and the food will nourish her as You intend."

    1. Oh that is so sweet and kind of you both. I'm tearing up as I type. We greatly appreciate all the prayers. Amber is doing so much better than months ago. It's just a constant process of keeping her healthy and then making her sick with food trials. Thank you both for such faithful prayers.

    2. Amber is such a trooper. All we can offer are our prayers but they are heartfelt

  3. Christy, I'm praying for Amber's health... I am astounded by the amount of research you need to do just to figure out what Amber can eat. You are a GOOD mom, and Amber is blessed to have you. AND, I'm really impressed with the bell playing :-)

    I do hope you have a relaxing weekend!

  4. We love Crash Course History and have been using Crash Course Biology as our science spine. We'll be looking to add more of their subjects as we go.

  5. Well, despite the oats, it looks like she had a wonderful time! All those outings and smiles! Would you believe that we've not seen Frozen? I think we're the only ones in 'the world' who haven't! LOL

  6. Your family is often on our prayers. I am sorry oats was such a failure.
    Blessings Dawn

  7. Oh we bought Frozen too! Looks like all your other adventures were fun. I'm visiting from Weekly Wrapup.

  8. It must be terrible for both of you to go through the food experiment failures. I hope and pray that what Amber can and can't eat gets sorted out soon. She looks so happy on her Mom and me shopping day! I'd like to try that tea experiment if we'd just get some sun! I hope this new week finds all of you feeling fine!

  9. As always our prayers are with you. I know that Philip reads my blog every week but it had never occurred to me or him to read some of the others. So I have suggested and given him permission to read ones from my blog roll during school time. I pointed out the ones that had kids his age.

    I am also amazed at the tracking you have to do and all the information you have to keep straight. You are doing an amazing job.

    I feel that my wife and your husband are at similar points in their careers. She quite often has projects that must be done and the hours get long. She still uses me to bounce ideas off of but more and more she has to explain the terminology.