Monday, December 31, 2012

Weekly Update 12-31-2012

Christmas morning in front of Jaedyn's Christmas tree
 Tuesday, Christmas, we woke up late, for Christmas (after 8) and had pancakes and yogurt-berry parfaits with gluten-free granola.  We opened presents around Jaedyn's homemade Christmas tree (she is so creative).  I decided not to go to the trouble to put up our artificial tree since she had so lovingly and creatively made this one out of a laundry basket, a stick, green plastic wrapping stuff, and construction paper.  She made the angel out of a stuffed sock.  She had made it when she finished her own Christmas gifts and we didn't have a tree put up yet the previous week.  While Tim and Jaedyn were gone to Anchorage I had asked Ciara to help me put up the other tree, and she wasn't interested in the work of it either, so we decided not to do it at all.  Anyway, we spent the rest of the day playing games and hanging out together as a family.  It was nice not having the stress of going anywhere.  Tim cooked up steaks on the grill for our Christmas dinner!  Yum.
Tim, Eliana and Josiah enjoy a Christmas gift from family in Illinois
Wednesday through Friday I was back to work with my usual full-time schedule.  There is a lot of influenza and pertussis (whooping cough) on the peninsula right now, and I saw a lot of sick people.  On one of those days I took advantage of Eddie Bauer's semi-annual sales to order 7 new tall winter clothing items.  Looking forward to getting some new clothes to wear to work!  Mostly they are sweaters and a blouse.  I had wanted some new skirts too, but there weren't any left in my size.  Jaedyn and Ciara had friends over one day during the week too.
A moose came to visit on Saturday. 
He had a friend with him, but the other moose
stayed out of range of a picture.
Friday night/Saturday we celebrated Shabbot and went to MoAdim to fellowship with our friends.  On Saturday we also spent the evening with some new friends, the Engebreitsens, chatting and having dinner.  My son had a friend there, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

One of Josiah's fish likes veggies.
 This was a cucumber he'd chowed down. 
See the spokes it left?
Yesterday, Sunday, we all slept in and hung out at home.  It has been in the upper 30s around here, so the snow is melting and it feels warm outside.  In the evening, Eliana and I played "Seafarers", then I played with Josiah, Tim and Ciara.  I barely won both games.  It is fun seeing how my two youngest can learn to strategize with this game.  Eliana had 12 points at the end of her game with me (13 wins).  She wanted to have a "Mom and Daughter" time, and it was fun to do something with just the two of us.

Tim and I have been watching some episodes that he picked up at Blockbuster of "Northern Exposure".  Uh, this is definitely not for families!  I don't think we'll be watching any more.  It is erotic at times and definitely amoral!  It may be about Alaska, and there is some good humor about Alaskans, but, ahem, yikes!

I think I will be at work for just a short time today, then will get tomorrow off for New Years.

Have a Happy New Year, Friends!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

It is interesting that I post that this week when 10 days ago I was posting about Chanukkah...  For some of you it may seem odd, but for me it is right.  I think Chanukkah came first - without it we would have no Messiah, no Savior, no remnant of Israel, perhaps.  I don't really say any longer that we wouldn't have any Christmas, but perhaps not even that.  Why do I distinguish this?  In the past few years I've come to learn that the origins of Christmas really didn't start with Yeshua's birth.  Christmas started as the holiday of other religions and got molded by our western cultures to become what it is today.  It isn't in the Bible, and Yeshua likely wasn't even born that day.  This used to bother me, and I had a time of considering not even wanting to celebrate it because I didn't want to "accidentally" be celebrating a "pagan" holiday.  This year, I am realizing, and trying to come to terms with the fact that I am an American Gentile Christian as well as a grafted-into-the-Abrahamic-covenant-Yeshua-follower.  I don't even know what that really means half the time, but I'm seeing that there is, indeed, a difference between who I am, and the Jews.  It is actually a welcome word for me, as trying to be grafted into a people who don't even know I exist, or let alone want me, was quite confusing to say the least.  I do think that one day we will all be one, and love one another, and until then, I will continue to love and pray for everyone, but for now, I am caught somewhere in between.

Anyway, where was I going with this?  I think this year, I can embrace Christmas again as a cultural holiday.  It is part of my American upbringing and part of my Christian culture.  I don't agree with everything about it, but it is part of who I am, so therefore I will let it be.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Day Before Solstice

Time flies when you're busy.  Having 4 kids is just nuts, especially when 2 are sick.

Jaedyn had her procedure last week and came through okay.  It took her about 5 days to get any sort of appetite back, which is hard for a mama to watch when is already so underweight.  I've spoken with the gastroenterologist a couple times this week.  She is still leaning towards Crohn's disease as a diagnosis, although the testing has not been conclusive so far.  Today she is undergoing another cleanout, and tomorrow she and her daddy will fly to Anchorage and do what is called a "capsule endoscopy".  Essentially this procedure is where she swallows a dime size capsule that has a camera inside it.  Is a camera goes throughout her GI system it takes thousands of pictures.  This enables the doctors to see inside her small bowel.  On her colonoscopy Jaedyn had one small area that was suspicious for Crohn's.  The gastroenterologist thinks that she probably has much more widespread disease in her small bowel, and feels this test may be helpful in nailing down the diagnosis.  They will come back tomorrow night.

My son, Josiah, has had a cold since the beginning of the week, and a swollen left lower eyelid for 3 or 4 days.  Yesterday he came home from school early with an earache, and today both ears are hurting and he is running a fever.  He has pretty much slept most of the time since he came home from school yesterday afternoon.  He watched TV for a little while last night, but then asked to go back to bed.  Today we brought him to the doctor, who is, along with me, puzzled by the swelling under his eye and the redness of his conjunctiva on that side.  He thinks it may be a cellulitis.  Now he is on eyedrops and antibiotics for the eye and a double ear infection.  I'm hoping he has a quick turnaround and can get back to school tomorrow, otherwise I may have to stay home with him while his daddy and sister are in Anchorage.

Sorry, no new pictures today.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Jaedyn and I are in Anchorage for a few days while she sees a gastroenterologist and undergoes some testing for failure to gain weight and delayed puberty.  Yesterday she saw the doctor who is suspicious of Crohn's disease. 

This morning she had an MR endoscopy (nasty contrast didn't go down well).  Tomorrow she will have an upper and lower endoscopy (scopes).  Today we are doing the prep.  She had to take two little laxatives and now is having to drink an entire bottle of miralax split up in two 32 oz bottles of yellow or green gatorade.  Already her stools are clearing up.  I didn't think it would take too long since she hardly eats.

After she recovers tomorrow from her procedures, we will head back to Soldotna.  A storm is coming in tomorrow but I am hoping to beat it.  Our test got moved up from 1:00 pm to 10:30 am, which will be helpful to keep us from missing it... 

Thanks all for your good thoughts for Jaedyn and for your prayers.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dark is our Winter, Long is our Night

Sunset in Kenai
The words from that song just popped into my head to describe what is happening in Alaska these days, but it isn't that we're in a dark place spiritually... just geographically!  Our sun rises around 10 am and sets around 4 pm.  Days will continue to get shorter as we near the winter solstice on the 21st.

Sunrise in Kenai
Jaedyn has been homeschooling about a month now, and I must say it is going well.  I love the Beautiful Feet curriculum and books that go with it.  We've decided on Apologia General Science since I last posted, and I think that it has gone well too.  Jaedyn is loving being at home and not having the stress of the social circles in junior high.  She is so motivated to make homeschooling work that she does her work cheerfully and completely without any complaining.  This is a big change from her schoolwork at school and homeschooling last time.  She knows, however, that if she gives us grief she will be put back into school, and absolutely does not want that!  By Christimas break, she will finish her first semester of junior high, and I am very proud of the young lady she is turning out to be.  She is doing Home Ec for one of her classes, and has been planning and helping to prepare a few meals (including Thanksgiving), doing knitting, took a SafeSitters class at the hospital, and has made some desserts.

Jaedyn in her new coat showing a hat she knitted for one of the infants in our church.
Ciara is thriving at the private school.  Socially she hasn't made any close friends, but academically she is shining and, I think, loving the challenge of high school.  I am happy to see her happy and doing so responsibly.  Last weekend she and I went to help at a camp called Cristo Vive.  It was for children with disabilities.  We had a great time and I was very proud of the responsibility Ciara took on with this camp.

Ciara on left with her "friend" from camp, who, as it turns out, was a perfect match for her.
Both loved to draw and do crafts, etc.  Both are also beautiful young ladies.
Eliana is having issues with grumping about anything that she doesn't want to do - be it school work, going to church, or wearing socks.  You name it, if she doesn't feel like doing it, she is going to give me grief about suggesting it.  This attitude is affecting her grades in attitude and behavior at school.  She too is getting all As, like her sister, Ciara, but it makes me sad that she is not getting As in attitude and behavior.  She is asking to homeschool as well, but I don't see us doing that with an 8 year old with an attitude when I am working full time.  Besides, she is a very social girl, and I think this would make her lonely for other children.  She doesn't get along very well with Jaedyn either.

Eliana is on the bottom of this sledding pic, and Josiah in the back in blue.
 This was Josiah's 6th birthday party.
Josiah has been having trouble with behavior in school too.  He even got called to the principal's office this past month for having his name on the board.  He is trying to rectify his behavior and is getting his name on the board less.  He doesn't do anything mean, he just doesn't listen well and tends to get out of his seat without permission.  He isn't ADHD, just has trouble with impulse control, I guess.  Academically, he still shines. 

Josiah (in front) playing with a buddy on his 6th birthday.

We came across a math program for Jaedyn called Life of Fred.  I bought the elementary books as well and am thrilled with how excited Josiah and Eliana are with doing math when I get home from work.  They run up to me and say, "Can we do math now, Mom?!"  I'm loving it!

Monday I will be taking Jaedyn to Anchorage for a visit with the gastroenterologist and to have some testing done on Wednesday.  We'll have to stay in a hotel for two nights.  She is extremely underweight, but finally, in the last week, has started some of her female pubertal changes.  I'm very glad to see this happening as she is now 13.5, and this has been delayed.  Keep us in your prayers.  This is hard on Mom to see her have health problems, and even harder to watch her do invasive testing.  I especially am praying that she won't have any seizures from the stress of it all.