Archive for January, 2011

Renal Update on Ben

We went to see the renal doctor today to get an update on all of the testing and to find out what our game plan for Ben’s hypertension was.  Here are the results:

The good news.  The DMSA scan showed two equally functioning kidneys. There was no scarring inside the kidneys and normal looking flow within the kidneys.  The only abnormal test was a high level of the hormone renin.  This hormone is produced by the kidneys in response to a lowering blood pressure somewhere in route to the kidneys or within the kidneys.

The plan right now for Ben is to wait until Ben sees the cardiologist at the end of February.  Since Ben’s high blood pressure is secondary to his heart condition, Dr. Feig (our nephrologist) wants to wait until we see Dr. Altman and have another sonogram of his heart. After those results, they will confer and decide what course of action to take.  If his heart is good, we will probably start to try and wean him off the enalapril.  We will see what that will do.  But we will just have to wait and see.

The not so good news. Dr. Feig is leaving TCH to go to Birmingham, Alabama to become the head of nephrology. We really liked him and so we are not looking forward to changing doctors. But this is life and we will survive.

Ben will go back in May to see Dr. Feig one last time before he leaves and we will meet Ben’s new doctor at that time.  The long term prognosis is that we will be visiting the renal doctor every six months for a while.  There is a possibility that is some narrowing of the arteries leading into the kidneys.  But as long as his pressure is stable under medication Dr. Feig is not interested in doing another test or anything else invasive.  Especially since this is a secondary issue.

At least we know what Ben’s problem is not.  Elimination of issues is a good thing.   It is a wait and see right now.  Until the end of February when we have another set of tests and another visit to another doctor at TCH.

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Such a sweet faith

There they were.  Miss A and her friend holding the hymnal in front of them singing the songs with the congregation.  Then they quietly folded the hymnal and brought the bulletin out.  Then they sang the liturgy together (including pastor’s part).  At 4 and 5, these girls may not have understood all of the words that they were singing, but they understood the joy of being a part of a community of people who loved them and who were all singing praises to our God.  It was a good day to be at church!

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The fruits/veggies won, but the kids think that they did.  Ben and Madie went with me to the grocery store today and I told them that they could pick anything that they wanted in fruits and vegetables.  Madie picked blueberries and Ben picked . . . cabbage!  I am not kidding!  Of course, I only know one way to cook cabbage. To boil it, but put enough butter on it and its edible.   So normally I don’t like to take kids with me, but we had fun picking out tons of veggies and fruits.  So between the three of us we picked: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, bananas, celery, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, broccoli, sweet onions, purple onions, cantaloupe, and pineapple.  I think we should be set for a couple of days. My kids love their veggies and fruits!!!

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sleeping in, wii, rollerskating, passing out Boy Scout flyers for food drive, purging book shelves, finally bringing 5 big boxes of chapter books from attic, nailing missing siding while standing on very steep roof,  quick trip to Hastings to buy birthday presents, making dinner, pruning azalea bushes, grocery shopping, cleaning office, visiting with neighbors, doing laundry, scrubbing bathroom, and loving on children.)   This makes for a happy but tired mom and dad.  Time for bed.

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When you get children who are 5,7, and 9 to play Barbies together, the script goes something like this . . .

Ainsley – “My Barbie is the mommy and I get to tell you what to do.”

Ben – “Look my Barbie can fly through the air — Hey!  look there are evil black things coming this way!  — Shoot them!!”

Madie – “I have a secret to tell you. (Great pause.) You are really a witch.  Do you know who Lord Voldemort is?”

I swear I can’t begin to make this stuff up.  All three scenarios were being played out simultaneously tonight.  I swear it probably sounds insane, but it worked out really well.  They all had a good time.  Even me.  I got to play Barbie/Superman/Harry Potter all in one night.  I can only wonder what tomorrow will be like!


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This has been a rather difficult month.  I really thought that there would be a small break after the holidays, but we have hit the ground running and I feel like I will never catch up.

Chris and I are systematically going through closets and piles to purge and get rid of things (too many Hoarder episodes).  We have so much stuff for the church garage sale that Chris is threatening to donate it all to the curb if we don’t have a garage sale soon.  Although it feels good to find space again and to get rid of things, right now it is just moved into the garage.  It will feel better when it goes completely away.

My scout troops have met and planned the rest of the school year.  This is good.  I like having a plan, but it does take some work to get that organized.  We have had almost 10 girls join between the two troops.  This has only added to my stress. I love having all of the new girls, but just when I thought we were settled more lovely girls jump in with us.  I could never turn down a girl who wants to join scouting.

After a rough first week back to school when both Miss A and Benben got in trouble for talking, we have been reprioritizing our schedule.  None of the kids have doing well with the later evening activities.  Especially since their bedtimes are 7:00,7:30 and 8:30.  If Ainsley doesn’t get into bed by 7:00, she doesn’t do very well.  She doesn’t always get into trouble, but she becomes really whining!  So we have found a lovely new babysitter, whom we have hired before, to watch the other kids in the evening if I have a meeting or if we have an evening activity that will run late.  That way those kids who are not involved in the meeting or activity get to at least go to bed on time.  This seems to be helping. And the kids absolutely love the new babysitter.

Chris and I are taking the Financial Peace University.  Wonderful class.  Good info. But we are starting to get to the overwhelming part that requires lots of work and details. But I’m ready to delve into it.

We have another doctor visit for Ben on Monday.  I really hope that we are going to find out what is going on with him.  Chris is going to meet the doctor for the first time.  It will be another busy day or at least a tiring one.

I had to have a teacher conference for Ben this month.  The results: 1. Ben is ADD.  But we can’t do anything about it medically.  All we can do is ask that the teacher do modifications in the classroom which she is gladly doing.  This is heartbreaking.  2.  But  . . . the teacher wrote me a lovely email the next day.  She wanted us to know how wonderful Ben is and she especially loves his stories and comments.  They always make her smile.

So all in all a good visit.

Madie has started a new program with the gifted and talented class at school. It is brand new to the school so they are working out all of the kinks in the system.  So far this has just created a tremendous amount of stress with Miss Madie.  She loves the ideas and the research and learning, but the teacher seems to not be clearly communicating with her about deadlines and this has caused a lot of stress.  This has caused enough problems that when I emailed the teacher she turned around and made Madie cry in class about it.  So of course Daddy is involved now. This is not going well.  I loved the fact that Chris wants to take this teacher out, but he willing to talk first.  We always support the teachers first.  We believe that our children should think that the teachers and the parents are a united front when it comes to the children.  So this is the first time ever that we are standing up against a teacher.  But shame my daughter like that and I will stand up for her in a heartbeat.  So this has only added more to our stress load.

Luckily the month is over this weekend.  Thank goodness.  The only good news is that we are not caught up in this winter weather blast that is griping the rest of the nation.  As much as I love snow, even I would have grown tired of it all.

Soon February will be here and we can start all over.

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Quote of the Day

“MOM!!!!!!! Madie is being a bucket-dipper because she won’t let me do whatever I want and she won’t let me win at Wii.  It’s not fair.  I’m telling her what to do and she won’t do it.  And then she is being bossy and telling me what to do.  Tell her to stop being a bucket-dipper and let me win! She is hurting my feelings and that is being a bucket-dipper.”

“Ainsley.” said with my calm and rational voice as I am trying not to burst out in laughter.  “Do you think that telling Madie what to do is being a bucket-filler or a bucket-dipper?”

“Bucket-filler.  She is the one being a bucket-dipper.”

“Ainsley. I think that telling her what to do and insisting on winning isn’t being very nice to your sister.”

“Mom.  I am being VERY nice.  I used my nice voice when I told her what to do.”

Now it is official.  There was no winning this argument.

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Up and ready to go

So I am amazed.  Shocked. Stunned. For two mornings in a row, Madie has been up, dressed, bed made, and ready to go to school at 6:30am.  Chris and I are just getting out of bed at 6:30.  By the time, I go downstairs she has eaten breakfast and is playing the wii with her backpack on ready to walk out the door.  This weekend she spent all day Saturday and Monday cleaning and organizing her room.  Her desk, her drawers, her closet.  Everything. She even made her own chore charts. Seriously!! I can’t even make this stuff up.

She rocks. My prayer is that it stays this way for a while.  But I am going to love it until the end!

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Girl Scout Cookie Time

So ’tis the season for cookies.  You know. Those tasty delicious cookies sold only once a year by adorable dewy eyed girls.  That’s right. They are irresistible.  The girls and the cookies.  The only problem . . . you can never just eat one.  You have to stock up for the entire year in one purchase.

So . . . both of my girls are selling cookies. Madie and Ainsley.  I tried to prepare Madie last year.  I told her that this was the last year that she wouldn’t have to share her sales.  But the reality of it all is hard.  Madie and Ainsley have not reached their goals yet.  Miss A just has to giggle when she gets to a house and she sells cookies. Madie is the power broker.  Someone sold down our street this year, so we had to venture out into our neighborhood to make sales.  And unfortunately (or very fortunately if you are the church) we have done a good job of recruiting people from church to be in Girl Scouts and people from Girl Scouts to join our church.   So Madie has some competition.  That is ok. It is good for her to share.  That just means we have to work a little harder to meet our goals.  So I have a babysitter coming on Saturday to watch “the boys” (Gordon and Ben) while “the girls” and I go around the neighborhood and sell more cookies.

We are working really hard. Madie, Ainsley, and I are determined.  I don’t have an office for the girls to sell too, so I am finally doing it . . . I am soliciting.  For anyone who would like some delicious Girl Scout cookies from two very adorable, yet powerfully determined, girls . . .  you know how to reach me. (Cookies can be purchased and donated to our local food bank.)

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No recess again

The kids still didn’t have recess again today.  Are you kidding me?  Send them outside pleeeeease.  They need to run some of this energy off!!  I even made sure that they went to school with winter coats, gloves, scarves, and hats.  Of course, they were the only kids who climbed off the bus without the coats on (except Ainsley who didn’t wear her coat but had her hat and gloves on), but at least they remembered to bring them home!

Maybe tomorrow they will get to go outside to play.  I really wanted to send them outside today, but by the time they got home and did their homework (and Ainsley won’t go outside by herself) it was time to eat dinner.  Then it was baths and bed.  Just not enough time to get it all done . . . except the running outside part.  Hopefully we will accomplish that tomorrow.  It is the last day of school for the week, so at least we won’t have homework!

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