Special children can interrupt the best laid plans

Well yesterday I accomplished NOTHING. For those that do not know, several of my children are on the special needs spectrum. I have several with ADHD, a couple of mood disorders thrown in the mix, and one diagnosed as bipolar. These issues coupled with the stress of the past weeks and everyone cooped up inside because of the weather, life was a powder keg waiting to explode.

And yesterday it did. Tempers were flaring all day. There were several times when fists and hands went flying over little things. I spent the day refereeing and stopping these flair ups. It was a trying day all around for everyone.

On the flip side once tempers cooled, apologies were freely and genuinely offered from the heart.

But over all it was a trying and emotional day for me. Stepping in and trying to diffuse tense situations is hard work. I have to work to remain emotionally detached and remember when they yell at me “I HATE YOU!” they don’t really mean it.

I hope another day like yesterday doesn’t not happen for a long, long time. Spring arrives in about a month. With warmer weather and outdoor play, we don’t have these flair ups happen so often. I can’t wait for spring to arrive for SOOO many reasons.

I have some errands to run today and then I will attack my to do list from yesterday.

I hope you are having a wonderful and blessed weekend!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

A Productive Day

I took my plan for yesterday and worked it.

Here is my embarrassing buffet. This thing truly is THE hot spot in this house. Everything gets put there, or should I say piled on. And if I don’t stay on top of it daily, then it looks like this in a short amount of time:

buffet 1

buffet 2

buffet 3

So I spent a couple of hours throwing out trash, filing everything that needed to be filed, putting everything back where belonged. And now I have a functional homeschooling storage area. And if needed, I could actually use it as a buffet.

post clean 1

The pink crate contains our files. Those bags contain files for the PTA and a church woman’s group. I am treasurer for both of these organizations. My task for the weekend is to get these two bags organized so at the end of the year I can pass them off to another person. Given our current situation, I really don’t think I will have the time or energy for these activities next year.

post clean 2

post clean 3

The bin on the right contains materials for future use. On top of that bin are dictionaries. The bin in the middle contains puzzles and the books for the girls. The bin on the left contains Patrick’s current in-use materials. On top of the this are bins with office/school supplies.

The dresser to the left of the buffet contains the girls hair stuff, supplies for Shimmer the fish, first aid supplies, and those reusable grocery store bags. Once I get those treasurer bags organized and passed off, then will free up space on the shelf to put those supply bins and dictionaries.

I also put together my menu for the rest of this week:

Tuna Casserole
Homemade bread

London Broil
Baked Potatoes
Broccoli/Brussel Sprouts

Chicken and Rice

I have next week’s menu done too, but I will post that another day.

I looked over my schedule yesterday too. I am not going to make any changes right now. I will be following it for the next couple of weeks to see if any adjustments need to be made. I did not get my master cleaning list done, since the buffet took quite a while to clean and organize.

Today my goal is to get the computer table cleaned off. It is the secondary dumping area and while no where near as bad as the buffet, it desperately needs some work. After that is done I will get the master cleaning list done. The children are home on another snow day, making a total of 9 so far this year. I am not going to push my luck trying to get a lot done today. It has definitely been a long, hard winter around here.

I hope you are having a productive day too.

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Getting back to normal

We had weeks of snow, school closings and a major health crisis in the family. My routines and house are trashed. I know what I need to do, the problem is the motivation to do it. I should go to bed earlier, I should get off the computer and clean, I should plan my meals, I should track the homeschooling better. I am having a hard time with these shoulds.

The avoidance of doing anything has helped me get through it all. The computer has became an escape from the reality of my life. It takes energy to clean and plan those meals. Energy is in short supply right now for me.

So what am I going to do about it? Give myself a kick in the rear. When the girls go down for nap today I am attacking the buffet. That one piece of furniture is the keystone to how I feel about my house. It has become piled and cluttered again. By the end of the afternoon it WILL be a functional piece of furniture.

Once the buffet is done, I am going to tackle that meal plan for the rest of the week. We all need to be eating healthier foods. I have been eating horribly over the past month and when I have been home, I have been fixing quick and simple. I figure that is part of the reason for low energy. So I will be focusing on healthier, traditional foods. Once I have that done, I will move onto next week’s meals, continuing with those healthier foods.

After that, I am going to review my schedule and make sure it works for me right now. Things have definitely changed so I need to make sure it is reasonable for the here and now.

Then I am going to get my list together again for the big clean. I had it all planned out and the house should have been completed by now, but you know what they say about the best laid plans.

Finally I am going to make sure I get to bed at a decent hour tonight. One in the morning has been the norm for the month. And with a 7 AM wake up call, plus a visit or two in the night by a little one has made for very little sleep. Another energy drainer for sure.

Now that I have a plan laid out, I am feeling less out of control.

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Another Liz update

Liz saw the neuro-opthamologist yesterday. The optic nerve disc swelling is going down very slowly. The vision in her right eye had a pretty dramatic improvement. She can now see the eye chart E at about 20 feet away. Last week she was seeing it at about 3 feet. Her left eye appears to be about a week behind the right eye. Last week she was only able to detect light from the left eye. This week she could detect movement and the letter E at about 3 feet. She had a visual field test done and did not do well on it. The doctor seems to think that is actually seeing better than she is reporting. Most likely because she isn’t sure of what she is seeing so she is saying she can’t see it.

So we go back in three weeks to see the improvement in that time span. We continue to pray and wait for God’s timing.

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Snail steps.

We had a follow up appointment for Liz with the eye surgeon today. The optic nerve swelling is going down, slowly. The vision in the right eye is getting better. She can now see some things about a yard away (rather than inches. The left eye is the worset. But it had the most swelling to beging with. Right now she is able to detect light with the left eye. The doctor is seeing lots of nerve fibers instead of dead stuff so he remains optomistic for more of her vision to return.

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

.00003 Percent Chance

Last week Liz was dealing with a headache and vomiting for many days. On Monday the 1st she went to the campus health center with a migraine. She was told she needed to get an MRI on spring break to rule out anything causing the migraines. On Tuesday she started throwing up. That continued through Wednesday. She went back to the health center on Thursday since she was still throwing up. She was told to go the the hospital for dehydration. They treated the dehydration and sent her back to rest for the remainder of week. There is a stomach bug going around, and you won the lottery and you have a nasty case of it.

While the first blizzard in the area was raging, she was telling me she was having trouble with her eyes. Things were looking blurry. We all assumed it was from the forceful vomiting that had been going on earlier in the week. That continued through the weekend. With the snow and after effects we could not get to her. Early Monday morning she woke up with no vision. She was again taken to Gettysburg Hospital and eventually transferred back to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.

The opthamologist discovered she had swollen optic discs. An CT scan was done and found normal (rule out a stroke). Next came an MRI to rule out tumors and and other types of blockages. Again perfectly normal. So all that is left was Idiopathic Intercranial Hypertension also known as Pseudotumor Cerebi, a rare condition where the pressure of the spinal fluid increases with no physical cause. This increased pressure pushed fluid into the optic nerves which was why her sight was affected. Normal pressure is between 18 and 24. Hers was over 55 (they can only measure to 55).

Tuesday afternoon she had surgery to place a VP Shunt to manage the fluid pressure. The spinal fluid can now drain continually and keep the pressure low. Her eyesight improved somewhat by Wednesday night where she could see “blob” and could “see” light as the color red.

When the ophthalmologist checked her eyes on Thursday morning, it appeared that she had lost some ground. So that afternoon she had surgery to release the pressure on the optic nerves of both eyes with the hope to restore her sight. Her vision right now remains very low with her seeing shapes and light and some colors. The ophthalmologist seems to think the swelling on the nerve is going down. So we remain hopeful that she will regain more of her sight, but right now the actual outcome is unsure.

She was released today and we are now home. It has been a rocky and emotional week. Continued prayers are appreciated as we all get through this trying time.

This usually occurs in morbidly obese females of child bearing years. She is not morbidly obese, she is a female. Her opthamologist seems to think it was caused by a medication she has been on for a little over 2 years.

I am very thankful we have such a world renowned place as the Wilmer Eye Institute in our area. Her lead doctor is a world renowned neuroopthamoligist and actually wrote the book about this type of thing, so if anything can be done to improve her chances to regain her sight, I doubt we could find it.

So what are the chances of this happening to you: 3 in 100,000. That makes it .00003 percent. Such a small number, but when it happens to you and your family it is 100 percent.

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Blizzardy Saturday

So what do you call it? Snowzilla? Storm of the Century? SnowNo! What ever you call it, it way too much snow. This is the back deck at first light this morning.



This is our front porch. Can you see where it ends and the snow begins? It is about a three foot drop off here into the side yard.


This is right off the front step. Notice the rose bush? It is about 4 feet tall.


Our shed roof:


See the drifts on the back roof:



And here are our cars this morning at first light:


And the cars around 1 PM:


Notice the heavy snow starting up again. The small Scion is just about buried. The huge 15 passenger van is almost as bad.

This is our neighbors house. Notice the evergreen tree.


Some afternoon deck pictures



Off our Front Porch this afternoon



Notice the everygreen leaning more.

So it is about 2PM and it is still snowing quite hard here. I wonder how many more inches of snow will fall?

Oh the bombshell dropped in passing today: More accumulating snow expected on Tuesday.

I guess the children will be going to school until July….

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Hamburger Mushroom "Helper"

Here is my “recipe” for the homemade helper that is a hit around here. Keep in mind I make a large quanity since I feed a mini-army and Richard likes to take some for leftovers for lunch at work. This is really a throw it together quick without a real recipe so this is what I do, each batch is a little different, but it is always a hit.

3 pounds ground beef (you could subsitute any type/combination of ground meats)
3 pounds of mushrooms, sliced (any type or combination, you can also use canned)
2 Onions, chopped
3 Tablespoons butter
10 cups beef stock (you can use water and boullion cubes too if you need too)
1/4 cup corn starch
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon salt (more or less to taste)

In a big dutch over melt butter over medium high heat. Add sliced mushrooms and onions. Cook until the onions are soft and translusent and mushrooms have reduced in size. Add ground meat and brown. Drain and return to pan. Add salt, pepper and beef stock. Bring to a boil. While waiting for the pot to boil, mix cornstarch into some cold water. Once at a boil add the cornstatch mixture and stir until thickened. Cook for about 5 more minutes

Serve over egg noodles or rice.

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Hamburger & Mushroom Helper
Egg Noodles

Beef Roast
Baked Potatoes

Roast Chicken
Seasoned Rice
Green Beans

Fish Sticks
Macaroni & Cheese

Pork Chops
Sweet Potatoes

Garlic Bread

Pork Roast
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome