Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Upside

With Squeaker's crazy sleep schedule I'm awake at odd hours and for long periods of time. A lot of times I'm too spaced out to do anything. But there are nights where I'm wide awake listening to Squeaker breathing or just waiting for a freak out of some kind. During that I'm I like to be productive. I'll research different school things, or understanding a diagnosis, this is when a lot of flash cards get made :)

This week is Retro's 14th Birthday and he is having a Minecraft party. He or my mom... not sure whodecided that they should play Minecraft Bingo. I don't know if you have ever googled that but it comes up with the online Bingo game, or a Bingo card you can use while playing the regular game. Nothing for a group game. Mom was not excited to make a new game from scratch so I offered to do it. Especially since yesterday was a sick day and I knew I'd be up with Squeaker.

After spending no less than 10hrs on this project I figured I had better share it for several reasons. I want recognition. I'm really proud of this one and it was hard to figure out what to use since I know nothing about the game. So yup I looking for pats on the back. Secondly as the saying goes "If I can't find it online, then it must not exist." Online research is one of my super powers. And if I couldn't find a good Minecraft Bingo game it must not be out. Minecraft parties are growing in popularity and another activity for already stressed moms would appreciated. Bingo is a great activity for parties and play dates, it's simple straight forward and it doesn't take an adult to run it. A child/teen with and understanding of the game and some reading skills can run it. Giving the adults a chance to heaven forbid get something else done :)

It's in two files. The Master Sheets, and Bingo Cards. There are 20 Bingo Cards.
***Please make sure you click on the links to print the cards. Not just the pictures.***

Monday, September 16, 2013

Best Kept Secret

I'd hate to say it but the government (federal and state) has been keeping a really big secret from you. Big surprise, right? Well you maybe surprised to hear that they are keeping affordable children's health care a secret.

It's probably not intentional because they want kids to have affordable health care otherwise the program wouldn't exists, but it's not like they do a whole lot of advertising. We've all heard of Medicaid for poverty level families. There are many people who don't qualify for Medicaid because they make too much. But they either have a job with no benefits or like us can't afford the jump in premium.

As we were preparing for Squeaker's arrival we were looking at the cost of adding her to our insurance plan. Trey's work offers pretty good medical coverage, the only problem with adding Squeaker would take us from an employee+1 plan to a full blown family plan. A premium jump of about $200 a month. Now the family plan covers up to five kids I believe so for having two or more children it's a great premium. For our budget (which still included utilities for the house we hadn't sold yet) we couldn't afford it. I started looking into state and federal aid but we didn't qualify for any of it.

One day Trey was talking to a friend, Scott, at work and explaining our insurance conundrum. Scott jumps in and says, "Apply for All Kids". His daughter was diagnosis with a heart condition shortly after birth and one of the nurses suggested they apply for All Kids so they wouldn't be stuck with horribly large medical bills. They had never heard of the program but of course Scott filled out the paperwork and a year or so later when their daughter needed heart surgery
it cost them $300. Yeah you bet we applied.

For three years All Kids as been our saving grace. When we needed a nebulizer we had one, fully covered. Extensive blood tests covered. X-Rays, CT scans, Ultrasound, Barium Swallows, Ear Tubes placed, teeth removed a small copay. Then of course all the medicines $5 a piece! Even as cost have gone up it is still far cheaper than Trey's work plan.

Every time we think about applying for a management job we look to see how much the cost of living is. Including if the state has a supplement insurance program and it's requirements. Most states only have income requirements, paired with the number in your family. Including unborn children. Some of them though have exceptions for children with high medical needs, or mental
impairments such as autism.

Take a look and see what your state offers.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tex Mex Casserole

I've been meaning to post this for a while because it is really good, and reheats REALLY well. The original the original recipe was called Skinny Tex Mex. I'm not sure I agree with that statement since noodles aren't exactly low calories. Most of my adjustments to the recipe came out of what I had in my pantry. That way if I have a whole in my menu plan I can whip this out :)

1 can 10.75 ounce Campbell's Healthy Request Tomato Soup
1 Cup Water
1 cup chopped onion
1/2lb to 1 lb lean ground beef (90% lean) (or any other ground meat)
1 10 ounce can Rotel Mild tomatoes
1 15 ounce can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 ounce can Sweet Corn, drained
1 12-16oz box whole wheat penne pasta
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic, minced
Optional: 1/2 Cup Cheddar Cheese

1) Preheat Oven 305 degrees F. 
2) Spray Casserole dish or 9x13 pan with non stick spray and set aside. 
3) Cook Pene Pasta
---- While the pasta is cooking you can make the rest of the meal.
3) In a skillet (or pot) brown meat adding in garlic and onion. 
---- You can use pre-cooked meat just warm up in skillet with garlic and onion)
4) Drain any liquid out of the meat and return the pan to low heat
5) Add the Rotel Tomatoes, water, salt, pepper, tomato soup and stir well. 
6) Make sure your pasta is drained and then mix the meat/sauce mixture with the pasta. 
7) Let sit on low heat 
8) Rinse the black beans, then add corn. 
9) Pour Noodles into the casserole dish
10) Spread Black Bean/Corn over top the noddles. 
11) Sprkinle with cheese if desired. 
---- If you are going to freeze it stop right here. 
12) Bake 15 Minutes

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Family Home Evening Charts

Family Home Evening (FHE) is a program in the LDS church to help strengthen families. You can read more about it here. But the basics are the family that prays together stays together. And to help make sure the whole family is involved we make these cute little boards or charts so we can keep track of who is supposed to do what.

Well Trey and I decided it was time for a FHE chart. I want a nice wooden one but I could find one I liked. Which means I'm going to be designing and making my own, with character meant for our family. Until then I needed something. I went searching for papers and found some adorable ones at MeinLilaPark. Then I whipped these up.

Frog FHE Chart

Stars and Stripes FHE Chart

Grey FHE Chart

They print out on a standard sheet of paper. My plan is to laminate the sheet and use wooden clothes pins with our names on them. I'll post pictures of those once they are done. I was just to excited to get these done that I had to share.

You could also use magnets or once laminated you can write on it with a dry erase markers.

Have any ideas for other themes or patterns??

Friday, September 6, 2013

It's Medical...

I tell ya this just sucked to read. I'm not sure why since the day before I went over this information with the doctor and it was alright. I guess reading it in black and white just made it so real. Then I made a bad choice and pulled out her testing order sheet. I almost always just toss those out so I don't think about it too much. Put that day I pulled it out and looked at it....

This just sent me into worst case scenario mode and I had to look it all up. 

IgG Subclasses- Immunoglobulin G has four subclasses. Each with their own crucial roll but when all put together IgG makes up nearly 75% of Blood Plasma serum (the part of the plasma that isn't water). As part of the immune system the IgG helps kill viruses, bacteria, fungi, and neutralizing toxins. IgG can also pass through placenta to protect and unborn child while their immune system is still developing.
Mannose Binding Protein- is a lectin that is instrumental in innate immunity. I'm going to make you look those innate immunity because it's an article everyone should read. It's really fascinating. :) 

Post Pneumococal Titers- 6 weeks ago Squeaker was given a Pnumonia vaccine and pre-titers were drawn. They took the post titers so they compare and see what her body did with the vaccine. The last time we did this test it didn't look so great. It's actually what put us in the immunology clinic. 

CH50- Complement CH50 is a blood test which helps us determine any protein abnormalities and deficiencies in the complement system. This is the test that we have run no less than 4 times already and according to the doctor will be running a lot. Because even after a 100 times it being abnormal it can come back normal. 

AH50- Tests and measures alternate-pathway function of the compliment system. Another test that will probably forever be run.

Now for Factor B Antigen and Factor B Function I can't quite figure those out yet. I know they don't have anything to do with blood type. It specifically relates to the function of the B Cells in the immune system but I'm not sure how. What I do know is that Dr. Atkinson said it is the most common cause of and IgG deficiency, but the IgG deficiency it's exactly common. Yeah.. a common cause for an uncommon deficiency.
In other medical news:

Teeth 3 and 4 were extracted without a hitch. Since there are now no top front teeth Squeaker is having to have her food cut up a little more, but she is a lot happier not having rotting teeth in her mouth.

Squeaker has broken the 26lbs barrier!!! Our little girl is 26lbs and 36in tall. I LOVE seeing numbers go up!

We have begun potty training. :) I know that's not entire medical but what has stopped us in the past was as soon as Squeaker would sit down everything would squish and she wouldn't be able to get the muscle to work. In the last few weeks it's all started working.. HOORAY! She still can't use an adult sized potty, even the potty seats are too big for her. So when we go out she needs a diaper, at night time and to go poop. But when we are at home she will wear underwear and even pants over the underwear and be able to go in her potty bench. We haven't had a single accident. Of course Squeaker has had great bladder control and awareness since she was bout 9 months old we just couldn't get the muscles to work.

Lastly this week we have been dealing with some stomach issues. Trey and I are thinking she picked up a bug somewhere and stomach just decided to stop working instead of dealing with it. It does that from time to time. It just means our days are filled with lots more fluids, bathroom breaks, and little eating. Night times bring stomach cramps, tossing, turning, overall sleeplessness. The upside is so far she's only thrown up once, and in general Squeaker is pretty happy. She is such a trooper :)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Just A Day

  As I sat down to update about the most recent in Squeaker medical I couldn't figure out how to do it. I just didn't know where to start. Although nothing really has changed... I think... it just seemed depressing to write about it. For the moment I'm just going to post about daily life. I'll save all the medical stuff for another time.

  Most mornings she wakes up and she immediately wants to go "outside pool water" I could be 5:30 in the morning and that's what she asks to do. I'm not joking she's done it. About 50% ehhh maybe 40% of the time I manage to drag myself out of bed and go outside with her (It will be less an less as fall comes) I try really hard to get her to eat something or play a little before we go out. That way I have a chance to wake up and stretch. If I can do that I don't feel like death and can really enjoy being with her. The last few days me waking up and moving just hasn't happened. Which has a lot to do with Squeaker not sleeping well. I have no clue why but she has been in uber cuddle and I'm going to lay on mommy mode. Which means I end up contorted, laid on, and smacked more than usual.

   Once done with breakfast or pool or whatever we are watching the puzzles come out. Well the puzzles were probably already out but we go back to them. Squeaker loves her puzzles. She is doing 24 pcs puzzles by herself now. The ones with little pieces... it's one of the few fine motor activities Squeaker will do consistently. One of the other activities she loves is her Cheerio book. We do that a lot too, which I really like. 1) Because what I'm supposed to do is well defined. When playing puzzles or reading the rules change. With her Cheerio book it's the same. 2) It involves food. Cheerios may not be high calorie but it is calories. 3) Fine motor skill work out. Have you ever tried to pick up one Cheerio at a time? It's fine motor skills at their best. Squeaker's occupational therapist loves that we have the book. 4) It travels well. I try to keep a bag of Cheerios in the diaper bag and I just have to grab the
book and no matter where we end up I have an activity and food for Squeaker.

  About 9:30 Squeaker goes in a wakes up Trey. Trey works from 3pm- 12am at a call center. Which means he doesn't get home until 12:30 and often isn't asleep until 2am. So yes I am an awesome wife and let him sleep, most days. If I am sick or Squeaker is more than I can handle I will get him up earlier to help out or even take over so I can sleep. I try not to do it a lot because I can nap later but some days it's just what has to happen.

  Okay we get Trey up at 9:30. Squeaker will grab Trey's phone and climb into bed snuggle up close and play a game on the phone while he wakes up. Often I will go in too and we will snuggle as a family. Other times I'll start dishes, cleaning, laundry or just enjoy the few moments of quiet. By 10am we are now all up and moving, or in Squeaker's case jumping. I swear she never stops.

  The next few hours are filled with trains, books, movies, music, tickles, puzzles, jumping, running, catching you name it we probably do it. Somewhere around lunch time we try to do family scriptures and prayer. It doesn't always work out but we do try. Then it's time for Trey to shower, shave, and dress for work. He leaves at 2:30.

  Once we say "bye, byes I love you" Squeaker and I head off to the bedroom for nap. Naptime can be a great time as any mom will tell you. I especially love it because I get to sleep in the big bed. See at night Squeaker and I sleep in the TV room. Squeaker is on couch and I have twin bed pulled up right next to the couch. My bed is comfy enough and it's much better than the couch, which I slept on for 2 years. But for nap time we sleep in the master bedroom in the big bed. The bed that has the 3 inch memory foam topper on it. The bed that assures minimal sleep smacking from my toddler. I do not understand why this set up works but it does. Night time in the TV room and nap time in the master. We tried several other arrangements and they were giant flops. So for now this is the way.

  After nap which can last from 1hr-3hrs. It's time for more play. It's pretty much the same as before. Even the requested to go play in the pool. Not that I can blame Squeaker we do have a pretty nice set up. We have a slide that goes into a little plastic kiddie pool. Those sit right next to a 6ft wading pool, which she loves to crawl/swim in. Honestly it's like having a mini water park. When we do get outside I will do some work in the yard or just hang out with my feet in the wading pool. After pool is the same inside games we did in the morning.

  If we do have errands often we will do them in the evening. Just to break it up, and it gives me a break from entertaining a toddler. Oh and it cause lots of running on Squeaker's end so she gets good and worn out for bed.

  Ahh bed time. This tends to happen around 9pm. I know that "experts" will say that is too late for healthy sleep. I'm my expert opinion they can eat their own books. I have read so many articles and things about sleep training, no cry sleep, early to bed/late to rise toddlers. I've also tried most of it, it just doesn't work for Squeaker. For a while there this kid just didn't know how to sleep at all, naps or night time. Now that we have some sense of schedule that works for our family guess what I'm keeping it. If the experts don't like that my child naps later in the afternoon and I let my child stay up until 9-10pm then they can come and wrestle her to sleep, cause more anxiety, stress, and breathing distress. I will NOT do that to my child.

  Okay rant over... About 9pm I give Squeaker her "yuckies". This is her sleeping med, an antibiotic, and pain killers. Depending on the level or tiredness Squeaker maybe out in 15 minutes, like tonight, or it may take an other 1 and a half. Sometimes I will do treatment to help Squeaker fall asleep, and other times it happens after she is asleep. I kind of leave that up to Squeaker. If she wants treatment she gets it, if not I'll happily let her try to doze off on her own.

  I'm sure you have noticed I have a lot of pictures of Squeaker sleeping. I bet most parents do, I'm just willing to share them more often. Getting Squeaker to sleep used to be a nightmare. And then keeping her asleep could be just as hard. I'm not talking about once and a while I'm talking nightly. I would be up at 1am holding her, rocking her, praying she would go to sleep. Other nights she would fight. I'd have to keep her in a bear hug for 10-15 minutes while she screamed, tried to kick, and I sang to her to keep Squeaker calm enough to avoid breathing distress. Those where just the things needed to get her to sleep the first time. These techniques would have to be repeated during the night. When Squeaker is sleeping in total peace I can't help but share that wonderful moment.

  As of now with a sleeping medication Squeaker still wakes a couple times a night but because the stress and anxiety have been taken out of it she will fall sleep much better. Most of the time it's just a matter of grabbing a bottle and rolling over. I often don't even remember these encounters, or I can't tell them from the dreams. But it does still disrupt my sleep cycle. Of course there are still other nights where it's really rough but we've gone from nightly battles to ehh twice a month. I'll take it.

  So after some sleep, you never know what your going to get. Squeaker wakes up between 6:30am-8am. The process will start all over again.