Showing posts from June, 2012

Eye-Catching Title

Opening sentence that captures your attention and encourages you to open your mind to the possibilities of this blog post. Imagination-stimulating thought. Description that helps your imagination soar. 

"What if" statement. 

Explanation that brings you down to earth followed by witty observation. 

Inspirational quote by famous person.

Personal thoughts on quotation explaining its relevance to and importance in our lives. 

Closing paragraph full of heartwarming sentiment and a challenge to change your life for the better.

The Lowest Point

Over 170 feet beneath the earth's surface - the lowest point in Lincoln Caverns - was one of the highest points of my week. On an hour-long tour of Lincoln Caverns and Whispering Rock in Pennsylvania, I climbed up and down countless stairs, kept up with my family and our guide as we explored the caves, and had a thoroughly good time doing it. It felt wonderful to have a body that barely complained, especially considering just a couple weeks before I was dependent on two canes or a wheelchair to get around.

I did fall behind once. It was at that low point, when I knew I had a lot of climbing ahead of me. As I soaked in the beauty that was around me, I let go of any fear that my body would give out on the way up and any doubt that I wouldn't make it. The peacefulness of the cavern washed over me and I held on to that as we made our way back to the surface - and up a steep hill to another set of caves.

As we sat on benches to catch our breath after the steep climb, my gaze fell on …

I Hate This!

I hate it when ...

I hate ... she's so ....

I hate .... they're disgusting.

According to Mirriam-Webster hate is an:

intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury.

To me, hating someone or something is extreme. I can say that I dislike the taste of certain foods, but to say I have an intense hostility toward lima beans would be quite an exaggeration.

When I was first diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that destroys my joints, causes extreme pain and exhaustion, and has done irreparable damage to my body, I found myself saying, "I hate this!" Saying that I hated psoriatic arthritis was saying that I hated something about myself - an integral part of my being. Embodying the stress and anger of hatred only served to worsen my health. 

Hatred's tendrils wrapped around my patience, my sense of well-being, and choked my ability to enjoy or even participate in life. Working its way through my body, tension and pain increased. Reaching m…

New Part-Time Job

I have a new part-time job. It requires organizational skills, financial skills, and good inter-personal skills. I can work from home, although some travel is necessary. I do everything from research, product acquisition, and packaging, to filling out paperwork and planning events. The most time consuming aspect of the job is organizing everything, including time. The amount of prep-work is staggering.

The pay? Well, it doesn't pay anything now, but the payoff is going to be fabulous in a few weeks!

You see, I'm packing for a week of vacation and another week camping. Two separate trips with a week of work in between. It will be great once we're on vacation ... if I don't totally cripple myself in the process of packing. Packing for seven people isn't easy. Packing for seven people with various food and medical issues is nearly impossible. I need to pack food, pots and pans (to safely cook gluten-free food), air mattresses, a tent, sleeping bags, clothing for seven p…


A Dad is someone who takes you to the driving range when you're home "sick" from school with the chicken pox, and then lets you play a game of miniature golf on the deserted course because you entertained yourself so nicely in the car while he was practicing his swing.

A Dad is someone who answers your calls of  "Mom or Daaaaayaaaad" in the middle of the night and escorts you to the bathroom so the snakes under your bed and the alligators in the toilet don't get you. 

A Dad is someone who lets you curl up next to him on the couch on Sunday afternoons when you're little while he's watching "old movies" and then is surprised when you reference movies such as "The Bridge Over The River Kwai" and "Seven Brides For Seven Brothers" as a teen.

A Dad is someone who gets so excited when you and your husband announce you're pregnant that he asks if you've told your grandmother yet while dialing her number and then hands the …

A Weighty Discussion

My weight is out of control and it's killing me - both physically and emotionally. My nine-year-old daughter is overweight as well, and that's difficult for me, too. Healthwise, she seems to be having the same childhood I had - with joint pain, exhaustion, and weight gain no matter what foods or how little or how much she eats. Teaching her to eat healthy and encouraging her to exercise is easy, as that's normal life for us - modeling acceptance of our body types is more difficult due to my own issues. 

Growing up, I was never thin. I didn't care much until I hit my teen years. In my late teens, I worked very hard at covering up my eating disorders. I was finally at a healthy weight, but how I got there put my health and probably my life in danger. In fact, the anorexia/bulemia combined with the amount of pain medication I was on may be to blame for the liver issues I have today. 
In my early twenties, my health issues worsened and I put on some weight. After each child,…

It's Time

Time off, that is.

I'm taking a week ... or two ... or three... off. You see, there's Father's Day, followed by H turning 10, followed by July 4th festivities, and then I need to get used to the idea that Z will be 12.

Also, I'm feeling better. Not great, but perhaps good. I have a bit more energy. Less pain when moving. I don't know if this is the new normal, or working up to a newer, healthier normal, but I want to enjoy it while it lasts.

Frankly, I need the time with my family. During the time between stopping Enbrel and starting Remicade, and the interval between starting Remicade and just now feeling better, my energy levels plummeted, as did my patience levels and my ability to use my sense of humor instead of my sense of frustration. I need to regroup.

I need to focus on my family for a while...not that I don't usually, but in a way that's free of thinking about keeping up with blog posts and, well, just about anything on the internet. I need to turn of…

Not the Average Teenager

Or, A Blog Post In Which I Embarrass My Eldest Child

My eldest saw a pediatric neurologist a year ago and was diagnosed with Aspergers. Well, he would have been diagnosed with aspergers had the pediatric neurologist been willing to officially diagnose him based on her own observations and my observations, but she felt she needed one of his school teachers "who sees him every day" to fill out and evaluation as well. We homeschool. I'm the teacher that sees him every day, but she needed an independent evaluation - as in, independent from family members. So he has a diagnosis, but not a diagnosis, as none of his medical paperwork says he has aspergers. 

At the time I was going through a lot with my health and we decided not to pursue it further. The question now is - to label or not to label. We can revisit this with medical professionals and seek a formal diagnosis, or we can let it be. 

There are pros and cons of giving him that label. Would it do more harm than good? More g…

Open Windows

I love open windows.

Fresh air wafting through open windows floods my house with energy that seems lacking throughout the coldest months.
Sounds of Summer filter through as well ... birds, chatty squirrels, crickets, and even frogs. The sound of children's laughter as they rejoice in fresh air fun instantly brings a smile to my face.  That one glance out the window is all I need to check on the children brings peace to my heart. 

Sunlight streaming through the window, my youngest dances with the "sun fairies" flying through the air as I shake out towels before folding them. Somehow folding laundry is more pleasant with a gentle breeze that hints of lilacs and freshly mowed grass aiding the process.

My house becomes roomier with the windows open. Open-window weather is play-outside weather. 

Somehow open windows, with the sounds, the scents, and the sights that accompany them, form a connection between the house-dwellers and the outside world, inviting the outside in and the i…


I arrive and am invited to sit, recline, put my feet up, and make myself comfortable. A pillow is placed beneath my head. Covered with a nice warm blanket, I settle in for a few hours of relaxation. A refreshing drink arrives and I'm informed a gluten-free meal will be on its way in an hour. Aaaah...this is the life! it's not so much like the photo above. Actually, it's nothing like the photo above. Let's try again...

As the remicade is infused into my vein, I visualize it traveling through my body, seeking out Sporadic Artie, and strangling him to death.

Ok, no, I do not in envision that. Actually, the antihistamine I take before the infusion makes me a bit loopy, and I can't concentrate on much of anything, nevermind visualize anything. I try to read, but after reading the same paragraph several times and not remembering a word, I give up. Instead I listen to podcasts of NPR's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me or This American Life.  I doodle. I make lists.…

This is...

Sitting around the dinner table telling stories of my childhood, laughing with my family. 

On my bed cuddled up with a pile of children reading books or watching movies. Most days, not all of the children are mine. 
Folding seven people's clothing, buying food for seven, cleaning up after seven, and sharing a bathroom with six. 
In a single day discussing puberty, sex, genetics, and death - all with a four year old child.
Decorating a wheelchair, painting a belly cast, and gathering bumper stickers for my new twelve-passenger (!!!)  van.
Researching things related to celiac, psoriatic arthritis, the anatomy of a blowfish, how to make marshmallows, mythology, and why you can't get just a tetanus vaccine all in one day.
Teaching and learning in coffee shops, a former warehouse, museums, the forest, at fairs, in the car ... while shopping, cooking, singing, dancing, playing ... from parents, kids, pastors, librarians, friends, family, strangers and animals. 
Supporting breastfeeding mot…

Just Another Sunday

My favorite photos from last Sunday...
which leaves me wondering what today will bring...

Dear Parents,

Dear Parents Who Allow Their Children To Spend Any Length Of Time Here,

We are not a normal family. This, you should already know, if you know us at all. As a not-normal family, we need you to understand a few things about your kids' stay with us. 

1. One change of clothes is usually not enough. Kids around here get messy in many different ways - as a result of helping to bake or cook, with any number of craft-type items, and in a variety of outdoor activities such as water battles, playing in the rain, digging in the yard, and epic mudfests. We, however, have been known to loan clothing and wash a child's clothes to ensure the child remains comfortable. We may also hose down bathe the child as needed.

2. If your child is here for a sleepover, we will in all likelihood end up playing with fire. Roasting marshmallows for gluten-free/diary-free cookie s'mores is a wonderful sleepover activity. Since I, the mom, am REALLY bad at building fires, this falls to the soon-to-be 12 ye…