Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Florida vacation and the unexpected guest

Rod and I hadn't been away by ourselves for over 3 years so we were excited to take a trip to Florida and relax and be together.  It's so hard for him to get away from the shop and for me to take care of the homeschool end with the boys.  But we got everything done and were ready to go for our Wed. night red eye flight.

I had been to the doctor the day before for my terribly itchy eye lid that was swollen shut that morning.  She said to take Benadryl.  By the time we left Wednesday along with the eye thing were hundreds of red sores appearing all over my face.  weird.

The flight went ok, although flying is a hassle.  We had one layover, and got to the motel at 1:00am.  By 7:00am the next morning i told Rod i need to go to Urgent Care.  So we had the privilege of starting our vacation at the doctor!  Since there was an hour wait we went to the Phillies Spring training stadium about 3 miles away and watched them practice for a little.  It was really cold that day!

The doctor thought i had a bad reaction to a lotion, or something, to break out so bad.  He prescribed Prednisone to zap out the rash and swollen eyes.  The next morning i could open my eyes pretty easily and was encouraged.  It was a bit warmer so we laid by the pool.  It hurt my face though, so i had to keep it out of the sun.  We also went back to the Phillies and ABC News interviewed me and said it would be on the 5:30 news that evening.  We didn't see it, but may have had the wrong channel.

Getting ready for the interview...


I was getting extremely uncomfortable in my face.  The rash was screaming and the prednisone was not working other then with eye swelling.  I wanted to enjoy and take in the vaca, so we kept active.  I took a run over the one bridge by our motel.  It was really beautiful where we were staying in Clearwater.
Rod parked along the beach and dropped me off for my run..



at the Hotel

Saturday we traveled down to Sarasota and enjoyed their beaches down there.  We ate lunch at Der Dutchman where i've eaten several times over the years with my grandparents when they had a place in Florida.  We also drove by their old house which was sentimental.  We walked some beaches, and saw a beautiful sunset.  I also found a little keepsake, a tiny sand dollar..


The sand dollar i found compared to a regular sized one

Sunday I looked like death warmed over.  But we wanted to visit a church in Sarasota that we've been  watching online each week for almost a year.  The pastor does prophecy updates and puts them on youtube.  It was neat to sit in on his update verses watching on TV.

Before we left for home on Sunday we ate in town, outside on a 2nd floor restaraunt.  That was a good memory, but i was still so uncomfortable and worried about my face.  Things were starting to show up inside my eye lid and on my lips.

Rod was so supportive!  We enjoyed being together and  I appreciate all he did for me.  He even went pad shopping for me (because of course i had to get my period early this month).  

We had delays and a missed connection but we made it home safely, again at 1:00am.  Right away on Monday i got into the natural doctor, she hooked me up to the machine (Asyra Technology) and she was able to see i had viral issues.  She thought i had shingles and gave me some meds for the virus.  I was so relieved to finally know what it was and that it wasn't an allergy or hormonal.  I wanted to see what the medical doctor would say, for confirmation, so i went in there that eve thinking she'd confirm but she said the opposite...a bacteria, for sure not shingles.  She said it's definetly impetigo.  She gave me all different meds then i got earlier.  Um ok, now what!?  i already started the anti viral meds.  So I went straight over to our neighbor, a highly respected head doctor of a local practice.  He's never been wrong with us.  He said it's neither of those, you need a stronger dose of Prednisone for an allergic reaction/contact Dermatitis.  He gave the script to start right away.  I went home with all kinds of drugs and no idea what to do with them.

I decided it can't be Shingles since it wasn't extremely painful and was covering both sides of my face, so i went off the Viral meds and started treating for Impetigo (2nd diagnosis) with antibiotics even though i didn't quite think it was Impetigo, but i had to rule something out...I called the doctor the next day (tuesday) just to share my concerns with her diagnosis.  She was sure it's a bacteria.  But she felt so bad for the way it looked that she got me into the Dermatologist that afternoon in case it was an allergic reaction/Dermatitis that turned into this..  Dermatologists are scheduled 6-8 months out, but she got me in.

I was skeptical.  I told Rod i know i'm going to get a 4th diagnosis that won't make any sense just like the rest of these!  They immediately ruled out all 3 of the previous diagnosis ...and said it's along the same line as Shingles (a virus), they call it Eczema Herpetium.  It's treated the same as Shingles, so i should have just stuck with the first diagnosis  :)  Apparently this is rare, but you get it when a cold sore or mouth ucler interacts with an open patch of eczema.  I just so happened to have had my first patch of eczema a few weeks ago on my forehead, at the same time as mouth ulcers.  I remember the ulcers well, i got 4 - one after the other and i thought that was strange.  So good grief, how random can that be!  No wonder noone knew what it was.  I have a lot of respect for Dermatologists now!!  The one i had has been in the practice 8 years and i'm her 2nd case.  An older doctor came in as well to see it and said he's sent people to the hospital for it.  It can get out of hand very fast and i'm lucky it didn't spread or get in my eyes.  This thing loves eyelids.   It's more common in babies and they can die from it.  I immediately went back to anti-viral meds.  That's where it's at now and I am starting to feel some relief.

I need to give God the glory.  I am not good at researching.  i don't comprehend things well and get overwhelmed with internet research.  But i prayed for wisdom, and i really feel like God allowed me to be calm and persistant, have a clear mind, ask the right questions, and learn what each diagnosis meant and if it made sense for me regardless of what 'they' were insisting.  (and there was plenty of insisiting going on at every doctor visit, would have loved to have them all in the same room together)  Yesterday's diagnosis was the missing piece that was needed and now it makes sense.  It was interesting to work with a Natural doctor and medical doctor at the same time.  They have completely different ways of doing things but everyone was trying to give me the right answer.  I appreciate all of them.
On the mend.....It was much worse friends.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Fire & Ice Festival

As i pack for warm sunny Florida, i reminisce about Friday night's nippy family Valentine's outing.   We were fascinated by the 50 some ice sculptures that graced the town of Lititz.  Most of them were finished but we did see 2 of them being worked on.  The town has been doing this for 10 years. It was our first time going to one and I think it was extra memorable because it was so cold out.  it was a big deal to be outside for one minute, let alone 3 hours that night.  The boys did great and didn't complain about the cold.
My favorite one....
we ended up eating here.  Along main street businesses sponser the event, then the 'ice people' sculpt an ice sculpture that fits with the business.  This was a bbq restaraunt.

These were some of the sculptures at the Park in Litiz


This picture was taken by lancaster online, it was on their website friday night-saturday






I think we'll do that again.  I couldn't believe how many people came out for the event!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

February-ness

I know a lot of people say February is their least favorite month, but i see the light at the end of the tunnel this time of year.  The long month of January is behind me, and the daylight is noticably longer.  This week for the first time in months we ate supper while it was still light out!  Plus February is usually 3 days shorter then January so that's nice too :)  I could be a canidate for SADS.  I did get bloodwork done this week for no particular reason, just to have numbers on file.  They took 5 tubes for different things.  I'm interested to see what my Vitamin D level is.  But it could just be my interests and personality require warmth and outdoors so i feel lost this time of year!

We have a few projects under way this month.  First, the valentines.  The boys are generally all-boy in their interests.  So it cracks me up that they get so into Valentines day.  (I'm sure it has nothing to do with all the candy).   They finished up their valentines yesterday.  As always a big thanks to the Dollar store and Pinterest for making this all possible :)

My tradition for the boys is to hang hearts from our dining table lights and write something i love about them.

I love this!

On to the greenhouse...The lettuces are still producing for us. We took down all the tomato, pepper, and cucs in order to start over.  I planted new seeds in rockwool this month for the hydroponics system.  And also planted cool weather crops in soil to transplant to the garden.  Brocc and cabbage can be planted outside in early march, with some plastic laid over top.

little bit of production, slow growth with lack of daylight hours and temps dropping to 40 in there at night.  We have the heat set to kick on once it hits 40 degrees.


I'm reading a book!  gasp.  No actually TWO books!  I'm not much of a reader other then the kids books and the Bible.  But i joined a women's study and we will be reading through a Praying Life.  I think i will learn a lot from the book and from being a part of a great group of women.


 And while i was at the store getting that book, i saw a book by Candace Cameron (from Full House, "D.J")  I'm almost done with it and it's very good.  A lot of what i liked was hearing about her days on the Full House set, (i loved that show) and what it's like to be married to a professional hockey player.  But she also has great wisdom and advice on keeping our lives in balance and keeping God first in and through our days.  I needed some of her reminders.  

Adam started basketball games at the rec center.  The first 4 weeks were just practice which he didn't like, but now that the games started he's loving it.  And he's very good!  Last week they were short a couple players so Adam played the entire first half and then some, without a break!  I asked him why the coach didn't sub him out (everyone else was taken out for subs a couple times at least) and he said "because i was the only one who wasn't complaining about being tired!"  that's my boy.

Adam is the one front and center, with a green pinny and skinny legs.....

I'm brewing some Kombucha right now...Rod calls it my "Turban Tea".  I tried it a few times over the summer and 75% of the time the batch would mold.  We keep our thermostat at 80 in the summer, so i think it was too humid.  Now that the humidity is way down i decided to try it again.  I'm on day 4 and no mold so far!  Can't wait to try it.  I love Kombucha and the wonderful probiotic benefits of it.
 

 The animals keep us entertained.  From the noisy early morning rooster, to the bunnies who keep escaping their cages, and the funny looking lovable guineas, and the interesting relationship between one of our chickens and the cats.  Our animals do not discriminate!
The only thing we're leaving alone is the bees.  I have not checked on them since before Christmas, i really hope they are still alive and have enough honey in there to last them through the winter.  One of these days i'm just going peek in and see for myself.  But i'll wait till it's sunny and at least 40 degrees.  that could be awhile,  i am aware!

Thanks for reading, hope your days are finding you well.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Grandma's basement

i just love my parents basement!  They have the finished side, with a comfy sitting area, space for long tables for the family to eat, a toy area, and a fireplace.  But what sets it apart is the unfinished part, the 'kids zone'.  that is where is all happens, and noone really knows what exactly happens because the adults don't go over there and we often close it off :)  but we know they are having fun.  and since my parents live about 40 minutes away, we always hear the non-stop stories on the way home about what all they did together.   They are always into something different.  Over the weekend, during the Super Bowl they turned their side into a roller rink.  It was so neat to watch them all skating around in a circle together (yes i peeked in).

Super Bowl supper


When Clay takes a picture it's usually pretty delete-able.  but this one is a keeper!  good job Clay
I love watching the boys make memories, it's simple things like Grandma's basement that they will always remember and reminisce about.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

homefront updates

The snow has been good to me this week!  2 days with a school delay, and hours of entertainment for the boys while i indulge in a quiet house.  still would be ready to move on and have spring under way though :)

the boys have been sledding with different friends, mostly here at our house.  i was delighted when our long lost "daughter"(neighbor) came over to sled with the boys last weekend.  our trail was nice and icy at the time and we could start in the field out back and go quite a ways.  They had a great time together again.

What an angel he is

Our fancy chicken, miss Ameraucana, started laying a couple weeks ago.  It's no secret when she lays an egg!  we love getting the blue/green eggs she lays.  i even watched her lay one this week, in person.  it was the coolest.

This week i took out all our tomato, pepper, and cucumber plants from the greenhouse and started new seeds in rockwool, for the hydroponics.  i also planted some cabbage, brocc, and lettuce seeds in soil to transplant to the garden in early march.  We are still getting lettuce from the greenhouse.  The heater out there is set to kick on when the temp gets down to 40, which keeps the lettuces producing.  Everything is very slow growing, from lack of daylight.

I never have been very good at making bread.  I can do dinner knots and biscuits, but struggle with bread.  I saw this bread recipe that says it takes 1 hour from start to finish.  i had to give that one a try.  it was very good!  I will plan to make it again.

Easy Peesy French Bread:
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 T honey
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 T active dry yeast
3 1/2 - 4 1/2 cups flour

Combine water, honey, salt, and yeast.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes until there is a foam on top.
Knead in flour until no longer sticky.
Cover with a towel and let it sit for 15 minutes while preheating the oven at 425 degrees
Cut slits in the top and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Winter activities

The farm show has been my winter highlight.  Yup, that's how bad winter is for me :)
We've been going regularly since Clay was born and as the boys get older, there's more for them to learn.  I love the mix of fun and education that is provides for us.  And it's a great break from the norm of our days.  We did our school work tuesday evening and went for the day Wednesday.  We were there 8 hours and still didn't get to the large or small arenas for their shows.  So much to do there.  The boys played the detective game they offer to the kids, and before we left we sat in on a maple syrup tapping demonstration.  very cool.
The past couple years we paid the $2 per person to tour the butterfly house.  So worth it.  We probably don't need to do it every year though.


This is normal and happend to all of us!
The chickens are always a hoot


Mid day milkshakes are a staple


 A lot of time was burned at the tractors and corn bins




I think Clay did this for about 1/2 hour.  

This is an example of a station geared toward kids...It was about bees and pollination.  The velcro balls only stuck on the center of the flowers where the pollen would be.  The ball was a bee.  If the ball stuck, you successfully pollinated.  A cute way to get the point across. 

Same idea with the bean bag toss

This flower was not in the mood to be pollinated

I was talked into this!
Late last week we started going over to our neighbor's pond to skate.  They were gracious and said they didn't mind at all if we came over to do that.  The boys are really taking to it.  On Saturday Rod took us to a bigger "pond hockey" pond nearby.  And he reintroduced the boys to pond hockey.  I think we tried it a couple years ago.  With them holding the stick and concentrating on the puck, it's helping them to become better skaters.  This pond gets used a lot for skating.  They have lights set up and everything.






Clay is a disaster on skates!  Just boots for him for another year or two.  He fell enough the way it was :)

We went back today and there was a thin layer of slush on top..which would cause ruts when it would refreeze so we didn't stay.  we'll try again in a few days.  for the first time ever i'm hoping the temps stay low enough so the pond freezes!  i need something to keep my caged monkeys busy!