Monday, February 19, 2007

Truck Shopping

Well, my husband has wanted a truck since I met him fifteen years ago. He drove a really horrible old Toyota Supra for years that smoked and was so bad that I couldn't even ride in it when pregnant because it leaked so much exhaust into the cabin area that it made me sick and concerned for the baby. Everyone who actually worked for him drove FAR better vehicles and still, he didn't complain (too much). We bought a used Volvo station wagon and I drove that with the baby while he drove the toxic mobile each day commuting in the DC metro area. Then we finally got a larger vehicle for him to use for work, but the gas was so expensive for it that he gave it to me with the boys and one more on the way, and he drove the old Volvo, which by this time had a lot of issues of its own. But still, he did it because it made sense and it was what we could afford. That one finally died and we ended up buying another one that was less than the repair cost of the first one, so he was set again (sort of).

Finally we moved and when we got here he treated himself to a 1976 Ford F150, all green, and dubbed "the Hulk". While fun, this puppy gets maybe 10 miles to the gallon and has left him stranded here and there about town. The other Volvo died too, so now here we are ... truck shopping!

My only issue with this is the fuel economy. It's not the cost, its the environment that concerns me, so we have agreed to go with a flex-fuel or bio-diesel vehicle that will at least be less of an environmental nightmare!

I hope he loves this thing, he will be driving it for a LOOOOONG time!!! :-)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Homekeeping quiz

Aprons – Y/N?
No, I dont usually use one

Baking – Favorite thing to bake:

Clothesline – Y/N?
Not right now, but will in the spring

Donuts – Have you ever made them?

Every day – One homemaking thing you do every day:

Freezer – Do you have a separate deep freeze?
Yes, a standup in the pantry

Garbage Disposal – Y/N?

Handbook – What is your favorite homemaking resource?
Usually the internet, other people's blogs

Ironing – Love it or hate it?
I love it periodically

Junk drawer – Y/N? Where is it?
Oh yes. In the kitchen by the back door.

Kitchen: Design & Decorating?
Eclectic and fun

Love: What is your favorite part of homemaking?

Mop - Y/N?
No, Im a hands and knees gal

Nylons - Wash by hand or in the washing machine?
Does anyone even have these anymore??

Oven - Do you use the window, or open the door to check?
I used the window until the bulb blew out, now I use the door

Pizza - What do you put on yours?
Pepperoni, tomatoe and onion

Quiet - What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?
Read a magazine or play around on the computer

Recipe card box - Y/N?
Yes . . . not that I actually use it.

Style of house -
Ranch style southwestern

Tablecloths and napkins - Y/N?
Yes, on holidays and special occasions

Under the kitchen sink - Organized or toxic wasteland?
We dont use chemicals, but it isnt organized either

Vacuum - How many times per week?
Five if Im having a good week, 0 if Im not

Wash - How many loads of laundry do you do a week?
Between 7 and 10

Do you keep a daily list of things to do and cross them off?
Yes I do, my friend Kathy and I email our lists and updates to one another each day

Yard - Who does what?
I do the gardening, Dad does the heavy labor, GM tends the chickens

Zzz’s - What is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed?
Hmm, I dont have one specific, but perhaps I will start one. Oh, I do start the dishwasher!!!

We "heart" fencing!

On a really great note, GM is really doing great with his fencing. Even the coach told us last night that he is doing really good and improving steadily. Im so happy that he has found something that really motivates and suits him so well. He fits in fairly well with the other guys and has a good time with them at practice. He is definitely the youngest in his group, but that is good for him as having younger kids with more energy doesnt really set him up for success. He is too distracted by the silliness, and cant focus on the lesson or the coach.

He got several really good touches last night on one kid and seemed to hold his own with another who is really quite good. He certainly left feeling really good about himself and how he did, and THAT is the goal! So Woohoo!!!!

Update on our choices with GM

Okay I feel I have had enough time to absorb and process this new advice and have decided that we owe it to him to give it a try. Simply because it may make a great improvement in his daily life and we cant keep that potential from him. I will be really keeping an eye on things and watching for that point when the interventions have become more of a hindrance than the diagnosis is. I know it exists, but we havent come across it yet.

So we have been Casein Free for over a week and he didnt starve to death, so that is a good thing. I made him some delicious brownies which really boosted his idea of how this was going to be, and he likes the Rice Dream Vanilla and hasnt complained once about it not being "real milk". We did find a cheese substitute which we have managed to melt quite nicely for a quesadilla or pizza and that has helped tremendously. The first pizza was a huge flop, but the second seemed to go over fairly well. He hasnt had pizza in the way others eat it in so long that I dont think the comparison is still there and that helped out a lot. Although he did really love the Rice Crust frozen pizzas from the coop. :-(

We will do this for a while, and begin the Diflucan for yeast either next week or the one after that. We might visit with family next week and I dont want him to be an emotional mess from yeast die-off, so it depends on what we do with those plans. His stool has been much better lately, so Im hoping that the gfcf, enzymes and probiotics are helping with the yeast already and we can have the Diflucan come in and kick it's butt on out of there! :-)

Once we have done these two things, then I will start him on the fish oil and the Curcumin, along with slowly starting his other supplements, followed after by the Methyl B-12 injections. I want to be sure this is the right route first and feel I need more time to research and process the info I receive.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

DAN! Dr. Visit

In my search for a Dentist who works with children who have special needs and particular issues with their oral senses, I stumbled upon a DAN Dr. in Santa Fe. I feel that I have done searches for this in the past years, but never found anyone; but there he was. So I called expecting to get the usual five-eight month out appointment, and BAM, they had an opening the very next day. So we hopped right on it!

I typed up my usual information sheet which outlines our therapeutic history and our strides. Also including his current diet and our current concerns. Thank goodness because when I got there they were a bit upset that I didn't have the 18 page history packet that they usually send out to new patients. Not my fault obviously because the appointment was from the day before, but none the less I am bothered that the DR didn't have it to review. Although my little two page sheet was of some help (minimally).

So we go, and he is the usual eccentric, way too smart, egotistical, socially challenged specialists we are accustomed to seeing. All that aside, they are usually the best and they know their stuff! So we sit down and he begins to ask why we aren't Casein Free yet, I knew this would be the hit I took walking in the door, and I knew it was going to be the beginning of us taking that next step, so that was all good. Then he began explaining to me that he wanted GM to begin the Methyl B12 regimen. This is a shot every three days of 3cc of Methylcobalamin. It is administered by me and the concept is that it will help us to make another leap in function. Read here for more info.

He then proceeds to ramble off a list of books for me to read, and research for me to do and gives me a prescription for Diflucan for yeast and writes a few supplements down for us to begin at home.

So, that was that.

He did say something that resonated with me, because it is true, and it gave me some hope that this man is indeed experienced with what he is talking about and that he could become a good resource for us. He said that "you are the expert, I am just the facilitator for what you want to do for your child, you tell me what the next step is". I agree with this wholeheartedly and have always known that while we see this specialist and that therapist, in the end, it is the parents who are driving the bus, making the choices and navigating their child through this forest of options and theories. So having him recognize that, gave me hope that this guy might be okay after all. But the jury is still out. I haven't decided yet.

Driving home, my mind is just reeling. I'm asking myself questions like, how good is "good enough"? How far do we go before we can say, we did all we could? At what point is the balance between intervention and obsession? Can continuing to intervene actually make enough difference to make the realities of the intervention (shots every three days) worth it? At what point do the interventions actually become more life inhibiting than the diagnosis? If we didn't do the shots, is there this whole different level to GM that we would be keeping him from reaching? Could this be the bump that puts us into meaningful friendships, love and marriage? Is it possible that we have become so accustomed to who he is that we can no longer see the potential that could exist for him? Or as he said it, "which parts of me are the Asperger's, and which parts are just me"? It used to be easy to see, it used to be easy to point out what areas concern us, but now it is much harder, like needing a microscope to see clearly instead of it being obvious to the naked eye.

So now I am trying to determine our motivation, and our choices as to how far we choose to go. I know that until I make this determination I cant make a decision regarding the choices before us (methyl B12, hyperbaric O2 treatments). It is a process, an ongoing, often life-changing process.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Menu Planning

Okay, this is WAY outside my box!!! But I wanted to try to see how long we could go without grocery shopping and on how little we could live (grocery wise). I really didn't do any grocery shopping in January, with the exception of milk and bread. I wanted us to eat up everything in our pantry (for the most part) and our freezer. We were able to go all of January this way! So now I have a clean freezer and a clean pantry. I made a list of what food I wanted to buy based on my Nourishing Traditions book and our regular family favorites and I went to Costco. The Albuquerque Costco has a surprising amount of Organic food, much more than my old store in VA (although maybe they do now). So I bought a lot of our food in bulk at Costco, and the rest at Walmart (UGH) but I had a gift card to use up and only bought their organic stuff so hopefully I did my little part to promote organic purchases from the Titan store. It was hard for me though!!!! Anything else I can get at the coop.

So I was able to get all our shopping done for the entire month of February and sat down and did the menu planning for the month. I feel like a cafeteria lady... today's lunch will be pasta with cheese and apple slices..... LOL But hey, until we can get into the habit, it will have to work.

I want to be more frugal with our monthly spending, especially in the area of groceries. I watched a show "Kids By the Dozen" and the Jeub family feeds a family of 13 with a household income of less than $40,000.00 per year. They live off less than that. Now they do live in CO and I don't know about the cost of living scenario, but we don't live far from them, so hey, surely we can do this with our tiny family of five!!!

I like the menu planning too because it takes the "what's for dinner tonight" question out of my head. I can actually just know that tonight is salmon with rice and veggies, and somehow it takes the dread out of the chore for me. I don't have to think, I just have to do! I like that. It seems that it is the thinking part that gets me tied up in dread and procrastination. I'm learning........

Anyway, I love this so far this month, and I'm excited to see if we can make it. I just have to keep ME out of the cheese and I need to bake about two loaves of bread per week to meet our needs.

Wish us luck!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Family Closet

Okay, I have had an ongoing battle with laundry. Yes, that somewhat benign thing that everyone else on the planet does without much thought or worry, has been known to kick my butt on a regular basis. It is sad, but true. BUT NO MORE!!! I have a secret weapon, I have knowledge handed down to me by other, more experienced mothers who have fought the laundry dragon and come away victorious!!!!

First, what was my issue, where was this sort of assembly-line scenario falling apart. First you gather, then wash, then dry, then put away. Isn't that how it goes? Well i had a few extra steps in there... I had gather (I'm good at that one) and wash, then I have sit and start to get that weird smell, then wash again, then dry, then fluff because we forgot it in there and everything is all wrinkled, then put in big pile on chair in bedroom, let rest.... dress from this pile until you cant remember if parts are clean or dirty, and then wash all the pile again. This brings us back to gather, the part I'm good at!!!

Okay, its ugly, but there it is, my not so streamlined version of a laundry assembly line. So, where is the back up? It comes from two places, first if my husband gets involved it can throw me into a terrible backspin that has been known to cause years of laundry hell. I kid you not! There was the removal of wet clothing to dry one shirt incident of 2003 that left us behind and continually screwed for over a year! So there is that....

Then there is the whole folding, hanging, putting away thing. I hate it! I feel so defeated by it and I basically avoid it like it is some sort of terrible manual labor that involves pick axes and a lot of sweat. But why? Oh yeah, because I will fold them and put them away and then in a little one's attempt to find that perfect shirt they will end up all over the floor, where they are then napped on by the dog! Frustrating? YES!!!!

So if I can get that end of things situated, I could then dry fast, and therefore wash faster (without the weird smell) and then we are back to gathering (the part I'm good at)!!!!

Well, a wise mother of sixteen posted on her site about the family closet (insert sound of angels singing here). Yep! One closet for the entire family. Not only one closet, but NO DRESSERS! Freedom! (again with the angels). So here is what we do and why...

Once closet for five people
  • the clothes range from ME to GD to GM to myself and then my husband
  • Below the clothes on the floor are two bins, one for kiddy socks, one for adult socks
  • everything is hung on hangers, including t-shirts. This keeps us from keeping clothes we don't wear because they aren't hidden in a drawer, it also makes it so the kids can see exactly which one they want and we don't end up with clothes on the floor.
  • the only clothes not on hangers are underclothes and pjs. These are in my closet in drawers below the hanging clothes.

This is why it is great...

  • All the laundry in one room means it is easy to put away
  • hangers only makes it VERY fast to put away
  • clothing in one room means everyone dresses in there, so laundry is already gathered
  • bedroom closets in the children's rooms are free for toys, and special things they want in there (personal storage)
  • no dressers frees up space in each child's room so they have more room to play
  • I keep a couple bags on the floor (the paper ones with handles) one for donate, one for outgrown and needs to be stored; this really helps me not over accumulate and keep things streamlined and uncluttered.
  • I keep clothes that are in the cycle (outgrown by one, but about to be worn by another) on the shelf above the soon to wear child's clothes, this prevents forgetting about them and finding them when the second child has already outgrown them too.

Mommy is sane! I win! I am victorious! I wouldn't even claim victory if I hadn't been doing this for quite some time now. It has been a couple months and the system has not failed me yet. I don't even have to think about it. EVERYTHING is right there. It is so simple and obvious.