It has been a year of transitions at the Zoo. The children are growing up; it is hard to believe the “babies” are going to be teenagers in a few short weeks. The time has flown!

Since 2014, I worked as a Legislative Aide for a local County Council Member. When he chose not to seek re-election, I stepped up to run for the office. However I lost the election and the incoming council member chose not to keep me on as the Legislative Aide. I took the opportunity to focus on completing my Master in Public Administration degree which completed last month. I have also stepped out and up and opened a home based business which I am enjoying getting off the ground.

Now the challenge is to refocus where I want to spend my time and efforts.

Stay tuned as we explore this together.

Hello Again!

It has been quite awhile since I posted. Life has been moving on, and the children are growing up. Liz and Mandy are entering their last year of college. Liz is finishing her degree in biology and Mandy is completing her degree in Chemistry. We continue to home school the remaining children. Douglas is entering his senior year of high school. Becky, Emma, and Patrick are entering 11th grade. The “little” girls are not so little anymore. They are starting the fourth grade and will be 10 in October. WHERE has the time gone?!

My life took and interesting and unexpected turn in December 2014 when I began working as a Legislative Aide for a Council Member of the Harford County Council. I applied for the position on a whim when I saw an opening posted during the 2014 election season. I was hired by one of newly elected council members. In this position I have daily interactions with all levels of county government, help citizens resolve concerns and issues, research legislation issues for the council member, and complete a bi-monthly newsletter. It is an exciting job, and I am enjoying it. So much so, I have begun my Masters in Public Administration. Mandy laughed when heard about it because she says we have switched lives. She planned a career in politics, and I had wanted to pursue a career in science.

This summer is going to be an active and busy one. Douglas will be working at the Broad Creek Scout Reservation here in Harford County for ten weeks in his first official job. Richard and Patrick will be attending Mt. Norris, a Boy Scout Camp in Vermont the second week of July. After they return, they will be working the Harford County Farm Fair with Boy Scout troop. Right as Farm Fair ends, Emma and Becky will attend Camp Veritas, which will last through the first week of August. Some time this summer we hope to squeeze in a couple of days at the beach as a family.

I wanted to give a quick update on us and I hope to be posting more regularly from now on. ūüôā

Slowing down for Lent

This past week has been very busy. Early in the week, my brother and I met with the attorney to figure out what we need to do for Mom’s estate. Then there were several doctor’s appointments. We had the usual taking of girls back and forth to school. Plus we managed to fit in some homeschooling. Finally, we had Bea’s memorial services on Friday and Saturday.

Today has also been a run around day. We were out of milk, that is almost unheard of here are this house. I try not to do a lot of shopping on Sundays as I feel this should be a day of rest for everyone. However, since we were out of milk and Mandy and I had have had much mom and daughter time, I snagged her after Mass and we went out to lunch and the needed shopping.

We had lunch, ran to Walmart and then headed over to Wegman’s to pick up the milk. While we were trying to figure out something for dinner; we ran into Mandy’s IB coordinator from high school. We all had a great chat. Plus she even gave us a great, quick recipe for dinner using porch chops. We are trying it out tonight.

With Lent starting on Wednesday, so I am hoping to take the time and slow down and refocus. I plan on going to Eucharistic Adoration tomorrow and “chill with Jesus” for an hour or so and ask Him what he wants me, personally, to accomplish this Lent. One thing I plan on doing is deactivating my Facebook account. So if you would like to stay in touch, please let me know or follow this blog.

Overall the family needs to talk and make decisions. We have several opportunities open to us which we are exploring. We had originally planned to sell the house as quickly as possible and leave Maryland. Richard and I are now thinking it may not be a good idea. We want to talk to the older children and get their opinions too.

I hope you are having a peaceful and enjoyable day!

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

Wonderful Wednesday

Tuesday, Liz had an appointment with the ENT, whom she has been seeing him for three months, every three weeks. We are trying to figure out the source of her chronic sinus issues.  Each time she goes in he cultures the nasal drainage.  Today was the first time the doctor said the infection looked real. He has a very dry sense of humor.

Depending on what cultures out (if anything) he will give Liz¬†an antibiotic to kill it.¬† If nothing cultures out, then she will head in for a CT of the sinuses.¬† He is looking for a “trap” where nothing drains.¬† When asked what happens if that is the case his reply was you¬†win yourself a ticket to the OR.¬† It was said so deadpan, it was funny.

Next up after things settle down will be a trip to the allergist and immunologist at Hopkins to make sure her immune system is up and functioning, plus determine if there are any allergies.  Although she has been tested many times and nothing shows up, we know something is there.  We are hoping the doctors at Hopkins can figure it out.  There will also be an rheumetology work-up to rule out things like lupus which can start up in the sinuses.  Who knew.

I have to say with my children I am getting one heck of a medical education in some of the rarer medical conditions.¬† And to think I didn’t have to go to medical school for it.

Hoping you all have a wonderful day!

Pax Christi!

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

A change of mind

I started seeing a chiropractor for some long standing chronic pain I have been having in my lower back and my right shoulder.  Boy is my spine a mess!  The chiropractor I see is affiliated with a medical doctor and is part of a Physical Medicine office, not just traditional chiropractic care.  My first few times at the office, I was put through a gauntlet of tests. 

I had the normal series of x-rays and found out I have a birth defect: sacralization of the fifth lumbar vertebra.  This is where the fifth and sixth lumbar vertebrae are fused together and then fused to the hip bone, usually on both sides.  In my case, the fusing is on the left side only.  This explains a lot of the pain in the lower back that I have been experiencing.  This proves that Richard and the children are not the cause of the pain.  ūüôā  I injured my right shoulder about 10 years ago and since that time I have been having pain and mobility issues off and on.  I always thought the pain was from the injury, but it is appears to be radiating from the misalignment of several of the neck vertebra.  I also had peripheral artery testing, since pain can stem from issues with the vascular system.  Thankfully nothing was wrong there.

Since my neck has been misaligned for such a long time, the shoulder muscles are extremely tight and causing strain on all parts of the shoulder.  Part of my treatment includes trigger point injections of toradol.  These are small injections of the medicine into the muscles, twice a week for 3 weeks.  I have to say the muscles around the neck are feeling much looser and the shoulder pain is greatly diminished.

The practice also uses electrical stimulation and sonograms to help ease pain. I spend 12 minutes on a traction table to help stretch and loosen the spine and then have moist heat and an electrical stimulation devices put on the back and knee. After that I head to the table where the actual adjustment takes just a few minutes

I have to say my overall pain has decreased, I do not need to take a lot of OTC pain medications for pain anymore, the mobility of my shoulder is great increased, my lower back pain is manageable now, and the year long pain in my knee from a fall is gone.  So while I use to believe in that chiropractic care really was unfounded and not a “real” medicine, my opinion so far has changed.

Of course this has come at the cost of a three times a week visits, which has crunched time for other things, but if I can relieve this chronic pain and increase my quality of life then this short term inconvenience will definitely be worth it.

What has been your experience with chiropractors? I would like to know.

Pax Christi!

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

Sufferin’ with IIH Saturday

Thursday Liz had an appointment with the neurologist to try and get her migraines under control. With Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH) migraines can be a part of the condition. However, Liz has been suffering with daily headaches for over a year. Some days she spends the day in bed because the pain is that horrible. The first neurologist she saw, while a “headache” doctor, really had no experience with IIH and we felt like we were wasting time seeing him.

After her hospitalization in December, she was finally able to get an appointment with THE neurologist at Hopkins that deals with IIH. He reviewed all of her records and her headache history. He is not 100 percent sure that her shunt is draining properly. The patency test in December showed the shunt to be drainint at top level of normal, so he was concerned that it might not be draining properly.

He changed one of her medicines back to diamox to see if that helps control the level of spinal fluid and thus the pressure and the headaches. If this doesn’t work, we are looking at another couple of days in the hospital for pressure monitoring (again).  Based on those results, Liz could be looking at surgery (again) in the near future to replace the shunt hardware with something that will provide more control for fluid drainage.

In addition to the medicine change, we are going to try the Low Tyramine Headache Diet to see if there are any food triggers which are contributing to the migraines. Since there is a family history of migraines, he figured this was another tool in the arsenal we should try.

Trying to figure this diet out is going to be very interesting, but it could turn out to be blessing in disguise. Liz cannot have chocolate, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, fresh made yeast products, aged cheeses, any type of processed meats, fermented products, any nitrates/nitrites, limit citrus fruits to 1/2 cup per day, MSG, or Vegemite (THAT one won’t be so hard to avoid). We also need to limit or eliminate as many additives and preservatives as we can.

Overall this where I have been moving the family’s diet anyway, this just gives me the push and motivation to get us totally switched over as soon as I can.

I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your weekend, while I try to figure out a new menu plan for the family which won’t force me to fix an entirely different meal for Liz at every meal.

Pax Christi!

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

Update on my mom

I have spent the past month living between my mother’s house in Virginia and my house in Maryland. Since my father’s illness and death last year, mom basically lives alone. My brother does live with her, but he works as an assistant manager in an auto parts store. You all know what that means — long hours. So mom is alone most of the day, but he is home most evenings (at some point in time). Last month, he wanted to visit his children and grandchildren in Georgia. I volunteered to stay a few days with her while he was gone.

While I was staying with her, she ended up in the hospital with a COPD exacerbation. Her oxygen saturation was at 74. Her blood level of carbon dioxide over 80. In addition she has been battling fluid retention in her legs for the past couple months. This is being caused by cor pulmanale. This is where the heart has to work harder to get the blood circulated through the lungs. Fluid build up in the body and the heart works harder so fluid builds up in the body and the heart works harder. It is a vicisous circle as we all found out.

Thankfully she is home now and doing better, but we all are learning a lot about COPD and the long term effects it can have on the body.

Pax Christi,

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

Rest Stop

Today is Sunday. I am truly trying to keep Sunday as a day for family and friends and not a lot of running around. I try, but do not always succeed. I am going to truly make a more conscience effort to have all the shopping done by Saturday and keep Sunday simple for all of us at home. Sandwiches for lunch and a one pot crock pot meal for dinner.  I might even switch to paper plates and silverware for the meals so we won’t have to worry about a lot of dishes. 

I would love to give up doing all housework on Sundays, but I feel that Mount Washmore would grow to such proportions that it would take the entire week to conquer. So alas, laundry will done on for the foreseeable future at the Zoo on Sundays.

Take today and enjoy family and friends, keeping the hustle and bustle to a minimum in your life.

Pax Christi,

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