Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sometimes You Leave (Moving On)

Today, I looked in the mirror and recognized myself for the first time in a long time.

Last summer, I found myself doing something I never expected or wanted to do - walking away from my marriage. And while I knew I was doing what the Lord wanted me to do, I struggled with why that was the right decision.

Anyone who knows anything about me, knows that music is an important part of who I am. If you really know me, you know it's not just important; it's essential. It's how I process life. So of course I've been looking for the right song. Last week I found it.

Sometimes You Leave
Carrie Underwood

All the rain drops
In the sky tonight
Can't compare with all the pain
And all the tears I've cried
But now I'm done

All the make-believe
Locked in this picture frame
Is gonna stay behind
Along with all the burning rage
That's been tearing through my heart
Killing me slowly; every beat I was falling apart

Sometimes you give
Sometimes they take
Sometimes you bend and
Sometimes they break you down
Sometimes you stick around
Trying to change them, make them
Something that they'll never be
And sometimes you leave

All this time I've spent
Staring at the door
I never had the strength to
Pack my bags and leave before
But now I'm done
Been lying to myself when it's clear
That you're not the one

Sometimes you give
Sometimes they take
Sometimes you bend and
Sometimes they break you down
Sometimes you stick around
Trying to change them, make them
Something that they'll never be
And sometimes you leave

When there's nothing left to leave behind
And you're already too far gone to say goodbye

Sometimes you give
Sometimes they take
Sometimes you bend and
Sometimes they break you down
Sometimes you stick around
Trying to change them, make them
Something that they'll never be
And sometimes you leave
Sometimes you leave

Yep. Can't say it better. And after some pondering and praying, I finally came to peace. Then I looked in the mirror and recognized myself for the first time in years. And I smiled.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Adventures in Potty Training

So in January I decided I'd had enough dilly-dallying from Tristan about going potty on the toilet. In an act of desperation, I asked my Facebook friends for help and suggestions. My MK girl, Louisa, told her story of how last year she set aside a week and just threw every potty training trick or suggestion she'd ever heard at her son, and it sounded so good. I decided to give it a go. (Haha, I kill me.)

So I went to the store, bought a potty chair, candy, stickers and some new undies for him (Toy Story 3!). I picked the week my parents would be gone because, let's be honest, you should only have to potty train your own children. That Monday morning, I laid down a tarp on the floor in front of the TV, put the potty chair on it, stripped him naked, and sat him down. I explained the rules: If you go #1, you get candy (as do we all, to encourage encouragement). Go #2, and you get to play the DS (which he loves!). It wasn't long before he was milking the system, going #1 just enough to get a candy, then going again 5-10 minutes later. I felt manipulated and exhausted by the end of that day, but this had to be done! So I persevered.

Day 2 was much like the first, except we gave him the cloth training pants. I was quickly running out of candy, and decided to switch to stickers for Day 3. There were a lot of wet pants.

Day 3 I let him have a T-shirt too. The stickers seemed to have the effect I wanted, of making him only go when he really needed to. Still a lot of accidents, but he went long periods of time between accidents.

Days 4-7 were more of the same. The only change was he started to go in his pants, and then would say to me, "Mommy, go pee!" which translates to, "Mommy, I'm going pee!" to which I would say, "Well, go to the potty then!" And he would finish on the potty. That gave me hope.

Sunday I was ready to give up, and prove that he would indeed be wearing diapers in kindergarten, when he showed me! It wasn't an accident-free day, but he stayed dry through at least 2 trips to the potty, even at church, even in pull-ups! I thought to myself, Maybe this will work.

The next week, I was unable to continue my part of the training because I was in the hospital with Lorelai (which is a whole other post), but Mom and Rhydon and several of the people who took care of the kids that week kept up with it, and he continued to progress. By the time I got back, Tristan had earned his first pair of underwear (10 stickers which meant 10 trips to the potty staying dry), and was going in the bathroom, alternating between the chair and the regular toilet.

Now here we are, 6 weeks later, and he stays dry at night, and hasn't had an accident in weeks. Today, we are had a Potty Party for Tristan, and gave him his final prizes - the rest of his big boy underwear, and a super soft kitty from Granmama. I look back and remember feeling like he would never be potty-trained, and now he's the big boy I knew he could be. I'm so proud of my little guy!


So the last week of January, I spent in the hospital.

I had taken Lorelai to her doctor appointment that morning, expecting a good report. She'd been having issues gaining weight like she "should" but I was sure she had grown that week.  The first month, I fed her myself completely. The second month, I started pumping, and giving her a little formula if she still seemed hungry after eating. Two weeks later, we upped the calorie count in the formula. But it was not enough. So they sent her to the hospital, and I went with her!

I was wracked with worry, guilt, and even fear.  I was so sure I could do it this time. I thought I had figured out all the problems. And yet she wasn't growing.  Failure-to-thrive  is a term that can stop any mother's heart, and that's what I was hearing from the doctors.

I was blessed to be visited by several people from church, and even an old friend, while I was at the hospital. Lor and I both got blessings, hers to be healthy, and me to be comforted.  I'm so grateful for those good people and their service. And I'm grateful for all the thoughts and prayers given on our behalf by the ward and all my friends.

We spent a week, and they did every test they could think of to test her metabolism, blood counts, what have you. I had to stop feeding her because it was too tiring for her and she wouldn't eat enough that way. I'm not one of those women that could feed a whole passel of children, or soaked through nursing pads several times inbetween feedings. I knew that if I stopped feeding her, I would lose my supply.  But every time I tried, she lost weight. In the end, I decided it was reflux, and started giving her the medication (baby Zantac), but it was too late. She was too weak, and I was losing the supply. I took every natural supplement I could, so I could make it last as long as possible, but I knew it wouldn't be long.

She gained a pound that week at the hospital.  She gained 3 oz the next week, and 7 oz the week after that. Today, I finally do not have to go to the doctor first thing in the morning, which is good, because she didn't feel well over the weekend, and therefore didn't eat well, and it would have reflected poorly.  She's awake and alert when she should be, and sleeps when she should. She still urps all over the place, but she keeps more down every day, and I'm confident we're on a good path now.

I still wrestle with my role in what happened. There are days when I'm hard on myself about what I could or should have done, was I too stubborn, was I not tenacious enough, why didn't I see the signs.  I try to find that silver lining, though, and the main one is that I've now entered the realm of motherhood where I'm more sure of myself, and I will not let them bully me about her weight gain. I'm pretty well convinced she's just meant to be small, and as long as she's growing a little, and developing like she should, I can stand up to them (because sometimes doctors are too by-the-book).  And my other kids turned out all right with formula.  We'll be okay.

Book Review: Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald

Wow! I loved this book! It is full of clever sayings, and laugh-out-loud situations.  I think Mom, Rhydon and I enjoyed it more than the kids, even though it was supposed to be a part of Elizabeth's schoolwork. ......

I loved this book so much, I wanted more! Apparently I am not the only one, since there are 4 more books about this strange, wonderful little lady: Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle; Happy Birthday, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle; The Magic of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle; and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm.  While they follow the unfortunate tradition of none being better than the first, they were fun and entertaining.  You've GOT to read it! This particular one is more practical and reality-based than some of the others, so you might even get some good parenting tips, too! I know I did!!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Help McKenna

This is a repost of my friend's blog post. Used with permission.

(portrait provided by her family)

Dear Readers,
   I’m interrupting my normal posting of recipes to share with you this story that is very true and very serious. This story is dear to my heart because I know her and her family personally and I know personally how hard health problems can be!  McKenna and her family are dear friends of ours. She is only 12 years old and she and her family have been dealing with her health problems for years. It has gotten so bad lately that she has had three near-fatal seizures in the last 6 months! McKenna and her families only hope is to get a medical dog that would help her prevent these seizures. The dog is ready and trained for McKenna, the only thing that they are waiting on, is the money. It cost $10,000 (US) to get this dog. If there is any way that you can help, even donating a couple of dollars, please do so here under McKenna Vogt. If you let me know (in a comment or email), I will do my best to come up with something for you in return. I am thinking of making an e-book with recipes or something, but if you have better ideas, let me know. This is not a hoax. This is a true life story. Usually you hear these stories but do not know whether they are of actual people in need and you don’t know where your money goes to. You would know in this case.  Please read the full story in McKenna’s mother’s exact words below:
Dear Friends and Family:
McKenna was diagnosed with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes on October 15, 2007.  After a stressful year of trying to regulate her blood sugars through a constant carb diet, and insulin shots, we were able to put her on a Diabetic Insulin Pump.  We had great hopes that this would “normalize” her life somewhat and regulate her sugars.  Since then we have found out that McKenna is very sensitive to insulin which makes it very difficult to regulate her blood sugars.  We have watched her struggle through school work, spending mass amounts of time in the nurses office and trying to keep up with her sugars that make her so ill.
One year ago, McKenna was watching tv with her grandmother and her mother, when she fell over, unable to move.  Her blood sugars had fallen so low that she was paralyzed.  We had no idea that is was a type of seizure, nor the damage that those cause.  We made adjustments worked closely with her doctor and did all that we could.
Recently, McKenna’s diabetes have caused some serious medical issues.   With her insulin sensitivity, we have found that it is an exhausting process.  We test her through the night, every two hours and then make adjustments.  This past July while at Girls’ Camp, McKenna’s blood sugar fell too low, she had a horrible seizure and she couldn’t breathe.   We were able to get her the help she needed and then we carried on with camp.  We had no idea, she should go to the hospital.  When we returned we went to the doctor and did all the necessary medical tests.  In October, she had another seizure and was placed in the hospital.  This time her blood sugars were too high and she went back into DKA (diabeticketoacidosis).  She was very ill.  They released her from the hospital, however we were not able to get her blood sugars down to the appropriate range and it took months to remove the ketones from her body.  She missed 31 days of school.  We then, under the direction of her Doctor, went through a battery of tests to try to figure out what is wrong with McKenna.  So far, we still have no answers.
Three weeks ago, we woke McKenna up to get ready for school.  We left the room and carried on about our business of getting ready.  We felt very uncomfortable, anxious, like something was wrong.  Tanya went in to check on McKenna who by then was completely paralyzed, lying on the floor, appearing as if she had had a stroke making a horrible sound because her mouth was paralyzed also.  She couldn’t respond and we knew she was having a horrible seizure.  We called 911, we gave her glucose and we waited for help, all the while holding our baby as she appeared to be slipping away from us.  Her blood sugar had fallen dangerously low again causing another seizure that was almost fatal.  They told us that once she was given the sugar, it would take 15 minutes to an hour and she would regain her memory and functions.  The clocked ticked by and that just didn’t happen.  She couldn’t remember her name, she didn’t know who we were, she didn’t know where she was, nor the date or time.  Her brain was functioning right with her body.  It was painful to watch.  There was a communication error between her body and the messages being sent from her brain.  We watched and waited. Then they ran a CAT Scan, a CSPINE and we waited.  She was later admitted to the PICU at Cedar Crest.  It took over 12 hours for all of her functions to come back and longer than that for her memory retention to work. Three major seizures in 6 months is a lot.  We also are fully aware of the repercussions these episodes will have if we cannot get them to stop.
We know that it was a miracle that McKenna didn’t suffer brain damage.  We know the doctors were surprised that she is functioning normally now.  We know that her life was spared once again.  We know that the Lord has a plan for her and already knows when she will return to Him.  We know that she was His first and in the end if we have done our job right, she will be His again and only He gets to decide when that is.  It is very humbling.  In the meantime, we feel we need to do everything possible to help McKenna and to try to improve her quality of life.
They currently have Diabetic Service Dogs that can be trained to help people with uncontrolled diabetes.  The dogs are trained specifically for the person that they will work for, so in this instance for McKenna.  They take samples of her saliva when she is high and when she is low.  They train the dog to recognize those scents.  The dog will then wake McKenna up, or warn her when she is too low and when she is too high.  The dog will go with her wherever she goes.  Studies have shown that these dogs can detect blood sugar changes 1 hour before a continual glucose monitoring system can.  The can detect the blood sugar change even if she is swimming in a pool and the dog is waiting by the side of the pool.  The night time is what scares us the most.  We sleep pretty light trying to listen for her, but we don’t always hear her.  McKenna is afraid of the night times now.  We are hoping the dog will help us during that time.  We want to get her this dog.  It is very expensive and so we need help raising the money to get the dog.  Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.  If you would like to donate money for the dog please click on the following link and then click on the donate button, next to McKenna’s name.
We appreciate any sacrifice that can be made whether it is monetary or if you can include her in your prayers, or if you would be willing to forward this email on to your family and friends.  We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
The Vogts
McKenna Hospital
McKenna in the hospital, where she has been way to much in her short life!
(Photo provided by her parents.)
       Please help McKenna. She needs all the help we can give her. I would give this girl everything I had if I could. She is one super strong girl and calm and peaceful about this whole situation. She has much to teach us all still in her life.  She is a wonderful girl and has made a great impact on my life and many others already. If there is any amount, a dollar even, that you can donate, she and I would really appreciate it. Her family doesn’t have the finances to pay for this dog either and that is why we need your help. The dog is ready, we just need donations. Please share what you can and SPREAD the word with EVERYONE you know!

Again, the link for the donations is:
Click on the link and then click “Donate’” next to McKenna Vogt’s name…it is at the bottom.

And again, I will come up with something in exchange for your donation if you like. I am hoping to figure out how to make an e-book or something like that. If you have any ideas, let me know.

Help McKenna!

With love, Ari