Monday, December 31, 2012

Sick kids

Sadly, I have had sick kids the entire holiday break from school.  They have only gone out in the snow once, and have had fevers, coughs, runny noses, etc.  Even though, Mayhem says, "my nose isn't running.  It doesn't have any legs!"  Three year olds are so stinking cute! 

Mischief keeping an eye on me!
The sickness doesn't hold me inside, however!  I definitely have to take adorable pictures of the dogs!  When I do, I always have an audience.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Today, after I spent the night in the ER with my nephew who was struggling to breath (even though he was happy as a lark and blowing bubbles at us the whole time), I wake up to the dog have diarrhea AGAIN!!!  I am so aggravated, and I am ready to stick a cork in her and call it quits.

Is it possible to divorce a dog and send her packing?  Because, even though I love her dearly, that's what I am ready to do!  Stinkin' mutt!  This is what I get for picking out a dog, after months of searching for one.  Hmm... I wonder if the pound has a health guarantee, so I can send her back?

Any suggestions on cleaning up the yard (besides bleach) and curing diarrhea forever???

Charkie thinks she's sooo cute after playing outside and sleeping in the car!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Riley Kid

Today, somebody told me, "I had no idea she was a Riley kid," and it made me realize that enough people do not know Mischief's story.  So, here is my attempt to shed some advise to other mothers who are dealing with something that is quite common (even though it usually isn't as severe as Mischief's condition was), but most people know little about it.

Let me start off by saying that Mischief had a lot of tests, exams, doctors' visits, etc at Riley, but she never was admitted or anything like that, because (being a nurse) I was able to care for her at home.  So, we never had to stay in the hospital more than a day for tests, or anything along those lines - Thank you, God, for that blessing.

Now, let's start at the beginning.  When Mischief was born, she had a lot of problems gaining weight, etc because she threw up a lot.  I don't know that I can stress what a lot means.  Take a 10oz bottle, waive it around in the air, spilling it everywhere, and that is what she did by throwing up 8-12 times a day.  For the first four weeks of her life, she gained exactly no weight at all.  I was trying to nurse, but she threw that up, so I had to supplement with bottles.  I only nursed two months, because it became more of a pain than it was worth.  For the first year of her life, she literally (and I am not kidding you) threw up on three to four loads of laundry a day.  Most people (doctors' included) thought I was exaggerating, and she was a FTT (failure to thrive) baby.  Even her father, who worked full time, had no full extent of the problem, until he was left alone with her, and was quite scared to be left alone with her for a long time, after the first time.

Now, on from the annoying part to the scary part,  When a child is born and developing, obviously, they cannot hold themselves up.  This meant for us, basically, when Mischief threw up, she choked.  She had fluids running out her nose and her mouth, she would panic, and try to breath while projectile vomiting, and she would choke.  At least once a day, she had to have the baby Heimlich, which may not seem like a big deal, until it is your child who is turning blue and cannot breath even enough to cry.  They simply have their eyes wide open, and lips turning blue.  It's the most terrifying, horrifying experience, besides giving your baby CPR.  I only had to do actual rescue breaths for her a couple times, but the Heimlich had to be done daily.  I had to sleep with her, sitting on the couch, holding her all night long. She didn't dare be laid down, or left alone at all, for she would choke.

One doctor, asked me one time, "if it's so bad at home, why is she never in the ER?"  This question actually offended me, because, if I didn't treat her at home, and let her go breathless until the ambulance got there, she would have been brain dead, or worse.  I did what I had to do to keep her alive.

Now, we did all the usual treatments of rice in the bottle, but that gave her problems with constipation, so she had to have apple juice and prune juice daily.  I don't know the rice did any good, as it just made the stuff she was throwing up thicker.  They told me not to feed her after she threw up, but then I had an angry child who was hungry, so I fed her.  Otherwise, she simply got more angry about being hungry, and would get herself so worked up she would start retching.

When she was old enough to eat solid foods (and I started them at 3 months), she refused to eat.  Therefore, I took a large dosing syringe for infant medicines, and held her arms down and her head back, and I had to force food in her mouth.  Most of this she threw up, so we just kept feeding, until she was able to keep enough down she was satisfied.  It took over an hour to feed her a single meal.  It grossed me out at the time, but every time she threw up, the dog was there to clean the carpet!  At first, I scolded him and told him to not, but then, I realized that he was saving the carpet, and it was all fresh food, so I just looked the other way.

One day, I was so frustrated with her and the situation we were in, I was talking to a mother of one of several of my 4-H kids, and she was telling me about the experiences with her own kids.  She gave me the best advice anyone ever did:  Just keep her alive.  Do what you have to do to keep her alive.  Be ruthless and selfless, and keep her alive.  The rest will work itself out.  I have since passed this advice onto other young mothers that I know, because it made so much sense to me, and nobody had ever said anything so plain and simple to me before.

A picture of the serious scientist these days, to break up the wordiness of the post!

We were at Riley several times for day long visits for evaluations, tests, and appointments.  We had several observation sessions, where the medical professionals simply watched her take a bottle or food and throw it up.  When she had a barium study done, they laid her on her back to do the study, and she immediately threw it up, and choked on the strawberry flavored barium formula they had fed her.  All anyone ever found in the studies was REFLUX.  Simply, GERD, nothing more.  We were going through all of this, for a simple and extremely common condition.  I was floored there was nothing more to the condition.  There was nothing structurally wrong, no pyloric stenosis, etc, simply GERD.

During our doctors' visits and tests, she developed a fear of people and closed rooms, so I could not go to the bathroom with her in the room, because she was scared of small closed rooms.  During one trip to Riley, the GI doctor decided that I was keeping her alive, she was gaining weight, and she was developing correctly, so he was going to do nothing to treat the GERD, when other doctors were talking about surgeries, etc.  His main reason for waiting to treat it, was that she was terrified of people.  She would immediately start screaming and was get so upset, they could not even do an exam on her.  The only thing that ever calmed her down, was leaving the office.  He decided a surgery and hospital stay was more at risk of damaging her psychologically than the GERD was of damaging her physically, as long as I could handle her at home.

So, that's what I did.  I handled her at home.  It was a long road, and she wasn't considered medically clear until she was four years old.  She still tells me about how she spits up in her mouth, or variations of the same thing, so our journey is not over, but it is not hurting her yet, so we are playing a waiting game.  Eventually, it will start causing more damage than her body can repair, and we will have to have surgery, but I am holding out hope that this will not be until she is an adult.

Mischief is a beautiful, intelligent, growing girl who loves life and everything in it.  She does everything with gusto, loves school, and loves to learn.  She does not remember most of what went on the first two years of her life, and I am thankful for that.  The only thing I wish was that somebody had been there for me, to share their experience of a similar condition with me.  So, here it is,  Here is the support, and the story that I wished I could of had when I was going through this.  I hope this post finds somebody out there who is going through this common condition, and tells you:  There is light at the end of the tunnel!  Hang in there, and do your best.  Keep doing your laundry, use blankets as burp cloths, and keep them alive and happy.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Promises, promises

We are all full of promises.  Face it, we all say, "I promise..."  I try to never say those words, unless I am certain, beyond all, that I will follow through.  There is nothing worse than a broken promise.

Mayhem is in this, I Promise ---, phase, and he says he promises everything.  "I promise I won't steal your phone.  I promise I won't feed the dog my dinner.  I promise I will stay in bed next time!  I promise I didn't let the dog outside."  I promise, I promise, I promise.  Obviously, most of his three year old promises get broken, so I have been working on him understanding the concept of a promise.  I constantly preach to him, "Do not say you promise, if you aren't going to really try to do it."  I feel like I talk until I'm blue in the face over this, and he doesn't get it.

Tonight, as I am trying to put him to bed, and beginning our nightly ritual of whether he will stay in bed, go potty, need a drink, wake his sister up, etc, I asked him to promise he would stay in bed.  Normally, he does everything he can to get out of bed, including get a glass of water and dump it on himself, then cry that he is wet and made a mess.  Yes, this is very frustrating and gets on my nerves, and it goes on EVERY night.  Anyway, I asked him if he promised to stay in bed.  His response?  "Nope,"  I pleaded with him to promise to stay in bed, and he says, "I cannot promise something that I'm obviously not going to do!"

Gee, I guess he is hearing me after all...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Enemy attack!

We all know how much the kids love Charkie (the puppy we got last Christmas time that the kids named).  They get along with the dog so well, Charkie is doing really well with the kids and the other dogs.  She is extremely laid back, when it comes to the kids, yet is high drive enough for agility, etc.  Charkie (besides the name) is pretty much everything I was looking for when I got a dog, even though she chews (on everything) and jumps (on everybody except the kids).

Today, I found her enemy.  She is terrified of these barrels our housing addition puts out filled with salt, in the event that it ever actually gets cold enough for snow accumulation and ice.  They are on pretty much every corner, and they all look the same.  Charkie hates, and I mean HATES, these barrels.  We drove past them, and had to stop near one in the car, and she came unglued, growling, barking, and trying to attack the barrel through the window.  Big, scary barrel.  Bad barrel.  Now, since she took a disliking to one barrel, she has taken a disliking to all the barrels in the neighborhood.

 Somebody had better do something about these big, horrible monsters invading her neighborhood, before the Charkinator gets them!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sound it out!

As we all know, Mischief has been working on learning how to read - as all kindergarten kids are doing these days.  She is really taking off, and she loves all kinds of new books.  Mystery books, Amelia Bedelia, and anything science related are her favorites.  We just started Fancy Nancy books, as I thought it would be a challenge for her, but she loves them and is able to read them mostly on her own.  So, if you have a daughter (or a son) around the level of kindergarten, check into Fancy Nancy.  I like these books, because they introduce a lot of big words (which we have to make her sound them out and help her read/pronounce them), and then they give an explanation of the big word.

Happy reading!

Friday, November 16, 2012


Mischief on career day, dressed as a DVM!

So, we all know Mischief wants nothing more than to be a vet when she grows up.  She is only five, and she wants to be a vet, show dogs, and ride horses.  She wants to be a mommy, too, but only after she has done all the rest of her list!

The other day, as the dog was sick and had diarrhea all over her crate for days, I took the dog back to the vet.  It is just what I wanted to do - pay for another vet bill.  Anyway, I had to pick Mischief up from school, and she had to go along to the vet with us, because there simply wasn't time to work the schedule any other way.  Mischief informed me that was one thing she always wanted to do, was to go the vet because, "if I'm gonna be one, I need to start going to them!"  She sat quietly, listened to the conversation between the me and the vet, asked a couple questions, and overall, behaved extremely well. 

When we got up the next morning, Mischief is sitting on the couch, getting her socks on for school, and asks, "How are Charkie's stools today?  Are they still red?  You know you need to monitor that for the next couple of days, and let me know." 

I laughed and laughed and laughed.  It still is making me laugh a bit! (of course I didn't let her see me laughing, as I simply answered her question and moved one)  Quite precocious for a five year old DVM!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

The kids had a blast going from door to door, begging for candy!  I never went trick-or-treating when I was young, because my mom was not a huge believer in the practice.  However, the kids, obviously, hear about it from school, so we have to go :)

So, this year, I gave the kids the option of what costumes they wanted to wear.  Mischief wanted to be a nurse, and Mayhem (finally) decided on a spider, after he went through a crab, spider, bear, daddy, etc.  I finished his costume at 5:30 for a 6:00 treat time, in fact!

Anyway, the super funny thing that happened tonight was Mischief's explanation of the rules of Halloween candy.  We went through holding hands, staying together, not crossing the street along, and being polite.  Then Mischief informs me that I have to check her bucket before they eat their candy.  Ok, yes, I have to check the candy.  Then, she tells me that, no, her teacher said I have to check the bucket for holes because somebody could have put holes in her bucket.  If there are holes in her bucket, she would probably lose some candy.  So, I needed to do the bucket check, IMMEDIATELY!  I tried to explain that it was the candy which needed check, and I was obviously wrong, because, "My teacher said it was important to make sure the bucket didn't have any holes in it before I eat the candy!"

Oh brother, I believe she somehow got the message mixed up - or has certain priorities!!!

Mischief is a nurse

Mayhem is a spider

Spider Mayhem!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Important education

Both of my children have an incredible sweet tooth!  They love cinnamon or orange rolls, and we used to have them quite often.  Since school has started, I do not have time to make them like I used to, so we try to have them on the weekends. 

This morning, we had orange rolls for breakfast.  Mischief and Mayhem were both completely thrilled to have orange rolls again, as it's been a while since we have had them for breakfast.  Now, Mischief usually eats a really good breakfast, in the form of 3-4 small cinnamon rolls.  She has always been really good about eating the whole roll. 

Today, at breakfast, Mischief starts eating just the icing and asking for another roll.  I understand this is normal kid stuff, but uncharacteristic.  So, I just reminded her to eat the whole roll.  She tells me, "Nope!  I can't!  I want to be just like my teacher and learn from her, and she just eats the icing!"

I suppose it's good they learn the important stuff at school!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Skeletal Stories

All of the Halloween decorations and treats are full of ghosts, goblins, and skeletons.  Funny how it is supposed to be a fun holiday for the kids,  but there aren't very many cute decorations anymore!  Everything has to be gross and grotesque. 

Mischief had her Halloween party at kindergarten today.  I made the cupcakes, went to the party, and did all of the "mom helper" duties.  It was a cute party, and each kid got a treat bag when they were done with the party.  The goodie bag had several things in it, but the most intriguing to Mischief was the squishy skeleton toy.  Fun stuff.  It's just what we need, a skeleton toy!  It turned out ok for a while, as we were looking at the skeleton, naming the bones.  Then, we talked about the teeth, and whether teeth were bone or not.  I said they are not, but similar to bone.  Mischief says the teeth are bones, because the teeth wouldn't be on the skeleton, if they weren't bone.  Fair enough.  She got me there!  So much for explaining that to her....

Then, she chimes up from the back seat about Ilo.  Ilo is her middle name.  Mischief is named after my grandmother who had the first name of Ilo.  Before, when she asks about Ilo, we talk about how my grandmother is dead but would have loved Mischief very much and how my grandmother was so special to me, I gave Mischief her name as a middle name.  As she starts talking about Ilo and is looking at the skeleton, she has decided these are what Ilo's bones look like.  When I tell her they are not Ilo's bones, she insists that she needs to see Ilo's bones to make sure her teeth are all there. 

Huh, my kindergartener is now wanting to be an anthropologist and study her great grandmother's bones.  All I can say is GROSS!!!  That's really what I want to think about!  It took forever to get her off that subject today!  Why can't we just go back to the super cute pumpkins and ghosts who smile and look like little cartoons!  Are skeleton toys and treats really necessary to give to kids?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mother of the Year Award

We all know life is about lessons.  Today, we had to learn a lesson in listening and doing what you are told, when you are told to do it.  Mayhem and I went to the grocery today, after we dropped his sister off to school.  I opened Mayhem's door, and asked him to unbuckle his seat belt and get out.  He told me, "No," several times.  I threatened to leave him in the car, and he still refused!  So, I got tired of him calling my bluff, and decided to prove my point!

I, very calmly, locked the car and took a step back, where Mayhem wouldn't be able to see me due to the giant blind spot my car has on the back end.  I never left the side of the car; Mayhem just thought I did!  He took about 30 seconds of looking for me, then he started crying.  Instantly, I unlocked and opened the car, and asked him to unbuckle his seat belt and get out of the car.  He immediately followed directions, and got out of the car.  And, just to teach me a lesson, he sobbed the entire time in the parking lot, "I can't quit crying because you left me!"  Yep, he broadcast to the whole world!  I guess I just got awarded the "Mother of the Year Award."  However, I definitely had a very obedient child the entire rest of the day and evening, with no more arguing about what was going to happen and when, so I guess it worked ;)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Size appropriate kindergarten?

I will be the first to admit that my kids are big kids.  They are big, strong, healthy kids.  They will both be tall adults, as they are tall for their age.  Mischief is not the biggest in her class, but one of, as the other kids in her class are almost six or already six.  On our way to school today, Mischief says, "Do you know what is going to happen on another day I don't have school?  My teacher is finally going to put the table up high enough, so I can put my legs underneath the cubby in my desk!"

Evidently, even though she is not the biggest in the class, she cannot sit with her legs under the table, unless the tucks them under her chair for the whole time, or straddles the desk part under their table.  Really?  She is not an amazon, this should not be that difficult!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Preschool sheltering our kids?

We do everything we can do to protect our children.  We shelter them from outside influences that will lead them astray.  We try to educate our children, so they will have the life that we wished we had or are striving towards.  Then, we put our children in preschool and get excited when they do well, get along with others, play nicely, follow directions, and all the other stuff that is required of children in grade school.

I have come to the realization that preschool shelters our kids a little too much.  Mayhem has started preschool this year, and he goes two days a week for two and a half hours each day.  Next year, he will only go three days a week for half day.  Then, they have the option of going to kindergarten on time, or they can be held back and go to a kindergarten prep class that is five days a week for half days.  Now, I understand there are other preschool programs out there, and I love the program and the teachers at our preschool.  However, we checked into the other programs when we sent Mischief to preschool a few years ago.  Many of the other programs are almost or more than twice the price of our preschool, for not a whole lot more time.  

My problem with preschool is that it does not fully prepare our kids for kindergarten.  That is why we send them to preschool, is it not?  Mischief went from three days a week, going half days to five days a week going for seven and a half hours.  She was more than adequately academically prepared, but that is kind of a ridiculous, shocking change.  There are not very many preschools, who are preschool only that offer full day programs, unless you hold the kids back a year.  There are preschool programs who are mixed with daycare programs who will take your kids all day, but the price is astronomical and not necessary when I am a stay at home mom! 

Mayhem's first day of school!
Anyway, moral to my rant, make sure the preschools you choose will flow nicely into the type of kindergarten your kids have to go into.  We are sending Mayhem back to the same preschool because of the program and the price, but we are going to change some things at home, so he will not be so shocked a couple of years from now, when he goes to kindergarten!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Kindergarten, cont...

As you know, we have been struggling with issues surrounding kindergarten, and they do nothing but continue.  Our big problem right now, is the school still cannot figure out how to spell Mischief's name.  Before school started, I knew they were spelling it wrong, and the secretary of the school told me she did not have time to change it right then, so she asked me to come back a couple weeks after school started to have her change the spelling.  In the meantime, her teacher and the computer lab teacher were all told to spell it incorrectly.  During writing exercises, Mischief tries to spell it correctly, and the teacher was making her trace it incorrectly.  Obviously, I took care of that problem, and the school finally has it changed, but they will not tell the computer teacher to change the spelling of her name!

The computer program having Mischief's name misspelled has been causing huge problems.  The students' legal name is the password to log on to the computer.  So, it took some time before I was the one who figured out they had it spelled wrong, and she was spelling it correctly, so it would not let her onto the website.  Now, they are making her spell her name incorrectly in order to be able to log onto the computer system to do the computer work.  If she does not do the work, she does not get credit for being in computer class that day.  The computer teacher will not change the spelling of the name, until the school tells her to change the spelling!

I am completely appalled that the school is forcing Mischief to spell her name incorrectly, when they are at an age where they need to be learning how to do things the right way!

On a good note, Mayhem has entered the world of preschool, and is sooo excited, he prances every where when he talks about preschool!  His explanation of the day was, "Yay!  I went potty without my teacher!"  His poor teacher....

Monday, August 27, 2012

Homework Overload

After much confusion with Mischief's school not having any idea what is going on, we ended up in all day kindergarten.  I gave Mischief the choice whether she wanted to stay for the fun classes in the afternoon, and she decided to stay all day, after she spent the first week going to half days.

Then, the kids get into the swing of school, and I have no idea how we, at home, are supposed to get all of the work done.  For example, we got a note from the teacher that the homework will start next week, but we have had work to do every day!  We were informed today that we are supposed to let the kids on the computer at home to do the assignments they have for the computer program through school.  However, Mischief cannot even log in because the school has her name spelled wrong, even after I have told them the correct way to spell it several times.  When I asked her about the computer work, she simply burst out into tears saying she will never learn how to log in!

Somehow, I do not think this is ok to put the children through stress like this, when it is completely unnecessary for them to have homework every night before homework even starts!  When are the kids supposed to get to play, or run around, or have fun when all they have to do is work to keep up with what is being taught in school?  Why am I sending my five year old to all day kindergarten when we still have to come home and do homework?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Full time kindergarten

Apparently, schools today expect kindergarten to gear toward much older and mature children.  Kids do not come out of kindergarten as adults, and they will not be adults for a long time.  So, why is the only kindergarten we can afford a full day kindergarten?  My 5-6 year old does not need to keep full time hours and full days.  She is a CHILD!  So, just because I cannot afford a private school, I have to send her to full time kindergarten.  Why is the cheaper school longer hours?  The students that come out of private schools do fine on half day kindergarten, so why does public school force a whole day kindergarten on students?  Are private schools really that much better that they can teach the same curriculum in half the time?

Enough of my ranting.  We are enjoying our summer and hope you are, too!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Mischief!

Today was an important day in our household.  Mischief had her fifth birthday today.  We made the plans to go to the zoo several weeks ago, if the weather was nice.  So, as she woke me up this morning, she informed me the sun was shining, so the weather was nice and the zoo was open!  It did not matter if the wind was blowing, and the wind was chilly, we had to go to the zoo!

Now, on to the funny part of the day.  For the last couple days, Mischief kept telling us that (on her birthday) we had to hide and jump out and surprise her with "Happy Birthday!"  So, today, whenever she walked into a room and nobody shouted "Surprise," Mischief shook her head and says, "oh no, you forgot to say Happy Birthday.  Try again!"  It is no wonder all of the birthday cards are made out to the princess!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


My children never cease to amaze me with the things they will or will not do.  To continue on with things I never thought I would have to say to my children:

Stop barking at the cat!

Yep, Mayhem has decided that crawling after the cats, barking, is a good idea.  He also loves when he manages to make them growl and hiss at him!  All in a day's work, I guess.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Long time no see

Hello all.  I apologize for the absence of my posts, as things have been a little crazy at my house.  We have been dealing with all of the winter illnesses, the spring grass/plants coming on, the early arrival of bugs, and (most importantly) our newest addition to our family.

In December, we got a new puppy!  I had her named Chesney, so we would have a Paisley and Chesney, but the kids started calling her Charkie.  Now, for all of you who are unaware, the mischievous/ trouble making dog in the Curious George television show is named Charkie.  So, in my effort not to confuse the poor, poor puppy, we named her Charkie.

Now, Charkie is six months old and has figured out how to remove Mischief's socks as she is putting them on!  This causes a lot of squealing and screaming on the part of the kids, so the puppy is pretty sure this is the best game ever.  Bring on those socks!  Charkie and Paisley get along very, very well.  Charkie is either making Paisley feel her age, or keeping Paisley young, one or the other!