Monday, November 24, 2008

Mutt and Jeff

...aka Tucker and Blaze.

I'm curious...
Do you suppose Tucker ever wonders if standing by Blaze makes him look short and round? :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

a post for Lynn

So... how could I not post after getting such a nice comment from Lynn.

I guess I'll have to think of something to write about...

Things are "kind of" ok here... and kind of not.

M's had a difficult couple of months, I've had to slowly increase the haldol again... trying to get him back to a place of stability. Each time I increase it he stabilizes a bit more, but I feel worse... because I know the TD is going to get worse. The latest increase was just a few days ago, and it might be the one that really gets him to the point of being able to function without disconnecting as frequently as he has been doing. It's been almost a week since the last "disconnect" so I'm cautiously optimistic. My goal is to have him as stable as possible by Thanksgiving...

The pdoc's been rattling my chain again. After pretty much ignoring M for months, she breezed back into our lives about a week ago. After she made several emailed promises to call (to talk about the recommendations from the second opinion consults we got, two and six months ago, and have never discussed!)... calls that never happened... she emailed saying she was leaving, would be out of the country for a while, and could we talk in December sometime? I very angrily told her "never mind", that I didn't want to talk,  and there must not be anything of value in those recommendations or we would have already talked about them. I said I was stupid (yes, that's a quote) to think that she'd make time for a conversation, or that talking would change anything. She replied with "maybe M should be in the hospital". 


So I've spent the past 5-6 days keeping up with a slow-motion email conversation with her about how ludicrous that suggestion was. (No, I didn't use the word ludicrous... but I was thinking it, along with a lot of other words that aren't polite enough to make their way onto this blog.)

M is still home, for now... but day treatment is once again looming over us.

In my spare time, when I'm not agonizing over every word in whatever email to the pdoc I'm currently working on, I'm working around the house (and barn, and pasture, and yard, etc.)

It's like the less control I feel I have over the circumstances surrounding M's illness... the more restless I am. I wrote about it once in my sz journal...

"I may not be able to control the chaos that takes over in M's brain when he disconnects, but I can control some things, so I do.
I create order in ways that are ridiculously unimportant, because I can't create order in a way that is vitally important... in the chaos of my son's mind."

So, since I last posted I've hauled approximately 10 sq. yards of wood mulch (there is not an inch of our land that needed mulch, that doesn't have it now!), hundreds of pounds of large river rock (you know... to keep the mulch from blowing away!), cleaned the barn and the house, and created a "computer station" for the kids in the guest room closet.

A computer in a closet probably sounds weird, but I think it turned out nicely. (I still need to fill some small holes in the walls and paint the closet... M couldn't wait that long to get the computer moved.)
Here's the guest room... closet door closed.

And with the door open, showing the computer station...

The keyboard is in the drawer of the cabinet, and the software is stored on the shelves below.

The computer had been taking up precious space in the classroom, so now the classroom is a little less crowded...

I also found this wonderful old armless oak rocker at a second hand store. It was dirty and the seat was gone (bare wood covered by an ugly chair pad)... I cleaned it up and recovered the seat.

I think it looks pretty good now.

 So, Lynn, that's what we're up to... nothing too exciting... and the same old, same old with M...but thanks for asking. :)

And thanks to  Kathy for the lovely flowers...

...they're beautiful, what a nice treat when all my outside flowers are frozen!

 And more thanks to Jove for linking to my blog in her "Messy Tuesday" post. (I'll have to post a "messy Tuesday" post soon... you'll see... my messiness can rival anyone's!)

I'm sorry I haven't gotten around to visit people's blogs lately... I think I'm deep in hibernation mode right now. Hopefully things will feel more settled soon and I'll feel more like posting.

Friday, November 7, 2008

This week, history was made in the United States.

Barack Obama was elected as our next president.

You've probably already seen his victory speech, but if you haven't it's here (part 1) and here (part 2). I've already watched it twice... it is an amazing speech. 

The kids and I had been anxiously watching the election... cautiously optimistic that "our guy" would win. 

This was so much more than just another presidential election to us. It's a milestone for our country, one that has deep personal meaning for our family... especially Rhianna. It's also the first election that either of the kids had much understanding of what was going on...

So I wanted to make sure the kids remembered the day he was elected. Both of them struggle with memory problems though, and R especially has huge "holes" in her memory... Things can be there one day, and literally gone the next. So I knew I needed to do something BIG to help them to remember...
What did I come up with?

 All-you-can-eat chocolate chip pancakes with whipped cream, and hot chocolate for breakfast. (Keep in mind they have been been on a fairly restricted diet for years... For the most part we eat low carb, low fat protein, minimal dairy, and lots of fruit and veggies. Chocolate chip pancakes have not been on the menu for about 8 years!) The kids loaded them up with syrup, powdered sugar, and whipped cream (sometimes all on the same pancake!)... they were in carb heaven.

Because of the election day unit study we did last month, and the fact that one of their aunts and one of their big sisters were volunteering with the Obama campaign, the kids  followed this election very closely.

R walked around most of Weds. saying "I just can't believe he won"...

LOL, she wasn't happy or anything...

We've been super busy this week. We went to a birthday party on Weds. at Amazing Jakes, and the kids had a blast. Yesterday we spent part of the day at E's (dd#1) house babysitting. (It was extremely easy babysitting... the baby napped while I knitted and M and R played Wii.) Today we work at the library in the morning, and R has another birthday party this afternoon. This one's a sleepover... I hope she has fun and doesn't get too anxious. (This makes 8 birthday parties and one holiday since Oct. 1st... I'm ready to be done with all this celebrating!)

I'll finish up with a couple of pictures from the last birthday party. Here's R and a friend getting ready to do the race cars at Amazing Jakes.

After driving around the track for awhile (and panicking several times, stopping her car in the middle of the track and throwing her arms up over her head as the other cars came zooming up behind her), R decided she's NEVER driving.

M, unfortunately, decided he's really good at it and can't wait to drive....

... it might be time to start hiding the car keys! :)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Today was a beautiful day.... warm and sunny with just a few wisps of clouds in the sky. It didn't feel at all like November...

I worked outside all day, raking, cleaning the barn, spreading mulch, and helping a neighbor with her horse. I love being outside, and although I miss the snow we should be having this time of year, it's wonderful to still be able to be outside all day so late in the year...

 It's been a pretty wild couple of days... It started when Tilly got sick on Thursday. She went down with what looked like colic Thursday right after lunch. She wouldn't eat or drink, and it was hard to keep her on her feet. After watching her for a while and checking her heart rate, temp., etc. I decided I'd better get a vet out right away. Unfortunately, that was virtually impossible to do!

Evidently last Thursday was "out of town" day for half the vets in the county, and the other half didn't want to come out for a donkey. Finally, after calling around for hours trying to find a vet who would come out and look at her, I ended up calling the big, fancy, large animal hospital (about 20 miles away!) and spending twice as much as I should have for one of their vets to come out. It was especially hard to be overcharged so much because this vet was VERY young, and had never even treated a donkey before. 

The vet was a little afraid of Tilly (she said she'd heard "horror stories" about donkeys" but did tube her (taking two tries to get the tube down her throat!) and flushed out her belly and gave her fluids and electrolytes. Then she cleaned out the other end too, and thought she felt a twist in her intestines. She gave her a shot of anti-inflammatory medication (taking 6 tries to find a vein, it's a good thing Tilly was the sick one... neither Tucker nor Blaze would have put up with all her fumbling around!), and then we talked. If the intestine really was twisted, Tilly would sicken quickly and have to be put down. If it was just a gas colic, she would probably get better. The vet said she was pretty sure the intestine was twisted though... and it was a sad night.

R was falling apart, remembering last winter when Grant died. Seeing Tilly down brought it all back to her... M was a mess too, panicking several times when Tilly would lay down... sure she was already dead.
I got up yesterday morning almost afraid to look outside, afraid I might see her laying out there...
But she was on her feet! And she was hungry!!

I babied her all day yesterday, feeding her small frequent meals, softening her grain with water, and watching her closely. She seemed to be doing pretty well, but still wasn't drinking much. The vet called yesterday morning to check on her and was pleased at how well she was doing, but said we weren't out of the woods yet.

By today Tilly seemed like herself again... eating, drinking, pooping (very important when you are an equine!), and braying... sure I was starving her! We have all been so thankful that she's ok... As each day goes by it looks more and more likely that what the vet thought was a twist in her intestine might have been something else, and we won't lose this funny, sweet, little donkey too soon.

So... we were all appreciating the little things today. The sunshine, cleaning manure out of the stalls, filling water troughs, and having an animal recover from a colic... after losing Grant in such a similar way.

 We squeezed Halloween in around taking care of Tilly. We met E (dd#1) and the grandkids for lunch at Country Buffet, then ran home and watched Tilly for awhile, then ran to the homeschool group Halloween party, leaving early to get back to Tilly.

I was so proud of the kids... they both understood that taking care of Tilly was more important than keeping our original Halloween plans.

I did get a few Halloween pictures (of course! :)

Here are the kid's scary jack-o-lanterns... this year they carved them with almost no help! (please ignore the messy kitchen in the background!)

And with the lights on...  R made the two on the left, M made the two on the right (dh helped a little with the big one).

Since I'm always posting pictures of M and R, I decided to post Halloween pictures of the grandkids instead this time...

Here's RR, she's almost 6...

And JM (aka Dash from the Incredibles), he's 4

And KC, who will be 2 in January. E's dh dressed as the "man with the yellow hat" for Halloween, to go with this little "Curious George"

Here's Curious George trying on M's hockey mask costume...

Peek-a-boo! He thought he was too funny!

That's all for now... Next week is "unit study week" at our house and guess who hasn't got the unit study put together yet.... 

It's time for me to stop playing on the computer and get something done!