Monday, April 19, 2010

This day....

This day is just screaming to be documented. Thank Goodness, last night was the first night in weeks that I have gotten a decent night of sleep. I woke up after 7 to a house with no kids out of bed. Awesomeness. It’s all downhill from there, though. Nat REFUSED to simply take six consecutive breaths from her inhaler/spacer. She just stood there and didn’t inhale (or did inhale so slowly that it was impossible to tell.) She does this often and it really sets me off.

Breakfast = mama the short-order-cook. “I want a cream cheese bagel!” “I want cream cheese TOAST!” “I want rice cheerios!” “I want cheese toast!”

I only have 2 kids!

Then the outings came. I went to beautybrands to spend a birthday gift card on some much-needed beauty supplies, and after no more than 5 minutes, the kids were running wild. To check out, I had to make them SIT on the floor next to me because they would not stand. I realize that this is not atypical 2- and 5- year old behavior, but it is way out of normal for my kids. They are just not rowdy kids. I left with $40 left on my gift card because it was obvious we needed to leave.

The grocery store was uneventful (read: the shopping carts allow you to fasten your children into them,) but Isaac did manage to sneak a package of hamburger buns into the “car” part of the cart where he was sitting and stomp the heck out of them while I was trying to find a bread with less wheat than our current whitewheat bread that did not contain milk. Yes, I bought the buns.

When I got home, my husband and I had a brief conversation with a sidebar that went something like this:

Mama: Whew! Somebody is stinky!

Hubby: Guessing that’s Isaac

Mama: Well, with the day we are having, I’m half expecting Natalie to poop in her pants.

Hey Internets! Guess what just happened! So...a couple of hours after that phone call, Isaac is napping and Natalie is having quiet time. I walk out of my room to get the next load of laundry and find Natalie standing at the toilet with poop all over her bum and a wad of flushable wipes in her undies trying to pull up her pants. Further inspection reveals a toilet absolutely full of more wipes.

Mama: Wha????

Nat: I didn’t want to go poopie.

Mama: Wha?

Nat: I was playing and I didn’t want to get up to go poopie.

Mama: (pointing at wipes wad in undies) Wha?

Nat: I thought I could get the poopie out of there with those.

Mama: Why didn’t you call me for help?

Nat: (very thoughtful face) ummm....I didn’t want you to get poopie on your hands or on your clothes...?

Mama: Wha?

Nat: Next time I’ll come get you.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

I'm still alive

Just a quickie -

The other day we were driving home in the car and Nat told us - very tentatively and with clear anxiety on her face - that she had a bad dream the night before.

Mama: Oh no, honey! Can you tell me about it?

Nat: It's too scary. And I've had it lots of times.

Mama: Do you want to talk to us about it?

Nat: Well....I was in the bathroom. (dramatic pause) And there was someone there with me.

Mama: Who was there?

Nat: I don't know.

Mama: Was it someone scary? (At this point my mama alarms are going off big time - some mystery stranger is scary in the bathroom?)

Nat: No, that wasn't scary.

Mama: OK....what happened then?

Nat: Then we heard A SOUND! A scaaaaary sound. (High drama voice)

Mama: What sound was it? What was it like?

Nat: I don't know what it was. It was like...(huge pause, anxious face, obvious FEAR of the sound)....

Mama: It was like...?

Nat: like this (more pause) DU DU DU DUUUUUUHHHHHHH. DU DU DU DUUUUUUUUUU. (Think dramtic organ music)

Mama: And then?


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Milk is the Enemy

Jumping right back into things here...

In late October, my little NatterPrincess was not feeling good. The usual doses of asthma- and allergy-related medications were not controlling her coughing and wheezing, so we made an appointment with an asthma-allergy-pediatric specialist. On the 30th, Nat went in for the dreaded skin-prick allergy test. They tested her for 24 common allergens, and she was allergic to no less than 18 of them. There were some non-surprises like cats, dogs, dust mites, and grass. There also some big surprises, namely milk, wheat, and egg whites. There were also some “Huhs?!” (hamsters – why do they test for that?) and some “Good to knows,” (goose down, shellfish.) Mercifully, she is not allergic to soy, pine trees, peanuts, or tree nuts, so she can eat something and go outside in Texas. Also, she has been exposed to everything on the list at least once, so we know there are no anaphylactic reactions.

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The whole thing left me very confused and conflicted. Natalie has eaten milk, cheese, and yogurt not only every day of her life, but quite possibly at every meal of her life for five years now. How serious can an allergy be if she has been exposed that much without us knowing? According to the test, her reactions were on the high end of the scale. She has never had eczema, chronic ear infections, or tummy troubles. On the other hand, I breastfed Natalie exclusively for the first year of her life, and I consume very little milk. Hindsight being 20/20, the introduction of cheese and yogurt probably DID coincide with her oxygen-tent-hospitalization episode around 10-months old, and she has had asthma-related issues off and on since then.

So do I feel guilty that I have been poisoning my kid into a life of chronic wheeziness? Or do I get angry that her pediatrician took this long to recommend allergy testing? We heard “Give her more Xopenex!” from the doc so many times that it became a household joke. Undeniably, the chest and sinus x-rays ordered by the allergist showed “very significant” inflammation and infection, most likely caused by all these allergies.

Natalie is now on a strict milk-free, shellfish-free diet supplemented with daily allergy medication. We cut back on wheat at a reasonable level (no wheat crackers, lower-wheat bread, etc.,) but we have not eliminated wheat completely. The allergist said there was no need to get rid of our cat as long as we keep her out of Natalie’s room – which kind of blows my mind. Then again, she can put her face in the cat’s fur and pet and snuggle her with no itchy nose or watery eyes. Apparently I don’t really understand allergies. I’m still looking for good literature on the subject that is not focused on how milk and wheat elimination cures autism. We have just completed 40 days on antibiotics, and the follow-up sinus x-rays show significant improvement. Natalie hasn’t needed a tissue in weeks, except for the day she played in the snow (yes, snow – more on that later.)

While I am overwhelmed with the task of handling a 5-year old who can’t eat any of her favorite foods, I am thankful that we have found a way to make our baby girl feel better that is simple and non-invasive. I’m just hoping that the path forward becomes a little clearer, because right now I feel like I am flying kind of blind.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Day 56309 or Something Like That

Brief summary of the continuing saga of our house and the flood of aught nine:

1- The house is done, but we still need to repair the garage door opener that was blown up in the power surge and get some blinds on the new window that has replaced our former fake back door.

2- About two weeks ago, the FEMA people denied our supplemental claim. They said that, although we had to tear out our lower cabinets, the walls behind them, and the backsplash, the fact that our countertops did not come out in one piece that could be re-installed was “within our control” and therefore not reimbursable. They also denied our claim for our oven, which was just plain flooded out, simply because it was filed with the counter tops. Our adjuster advised us to protest the decision and re-file the oven separately, so my husband is doing that. I am just DONE with this part of the process.

3- Our MUD board did a big study on the drainage in our neighborhood. Despite the fact that they have pictures of flooding at my house showing water nearly three feet over the top of curb (which they actually put elevations on based on their own survey,) they contend that that their study – which shows that the water would only get about 1.5 feet above the curb in such a storm- is correct and complete. They have said that they think any money spent on helping our area drain properly is a waste. At the same time, they say they are going to the county to ask for money and we should not go to the county on our own because it will reduce their chances of success. They also won’t give us a timeline for their appeal to the county. I might dedicate a whole post to these shady, shady people in the future, but right now I can feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about them. On my own, I have spoken to someone at FEMA who wants to help, but based on the existing study we don’t qualify for help. And I can’t actually apply for such help as an individual –the MUD or county has to apply for the help.

Yet there are some sunny spots, and they are these:

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Backyard Buggy

You were just a buggy-wuggy, buggy wuggy, buggy guy...

Now you are so beautiful, you turned into a butterfly!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pork Chops like Grandma Used to Make

I really have nothing to say. Work is work. The kids are in one of those rare, fleeting periods of semi-static behavior. The house is finally done. That should have been a post in itself, really. My camera is missing, so that line of posting is also on hiatus.

In lieu of something deep, here is something that might be more interesting to some you: My grandmother's pork chop method. I call it a method rather than a recipe because the process is more important than the ingredients. I have modified it to make it a little less guilt-inducing, but I'll give it to you both ways here.

Pork Chops - Grandma liked the bone-in kind because she liked to chew on the bones. I like the thicker boneless type.
Flour - about a cup
oil - Grandma probably used some kind of fat she saved from cooking some other meat. I use olive. Canola gives you a little extra breathing room with the temperature because it has a higher steam point.
Seasoning - whatever you like. Grandma used salt and pepper. I add garlic powder.


Put the flour into a large plastic bag. Add the seasonings. For me, it's a couple pinches of salt, 3 or four shakes of pepper, and 5 or 6 shakes of garlic powder.

Place chops in the bag, one at a time, and shake to coat evenly with powder.

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Next, coat the bottom of a frying pan with about a quarter inch of oil and heat to medium-high heat. Place chops into pan and increase heat to about 85% of the maximum heat.

Cook chops on this high heat for 4-5 minutes, then flip and repeat on the other side. This will result in a crispy coating that makes the chops what they are. Once this is done, you have a choice to make - your taste buds or your arteries. Grandma would turn the heat down to very low and continue to fry the pork chops in the oil for about an hour, covered, flipping them every ten minutes or so. I prefer to take them out of the oil at this point and bake them in the oven for 45 minutes at 350. Either way, you get a juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside result. If you go with the long term frying, don't use olive oil because it will burn. You probably need to be a little more generous with the oil at the beginning, too.

My husband likes these served over rice with cream of mushroom soup. I prefer something a little fancier, but I have to admit that his way is tasty.

I realize this is a really basic recipe, but it is one of those traditional things that I hope my own kids enjoy cooking some day, and it is one meal my family is always glad to see on the menu.