Thursday, November 13, 2008

Native American Roots

I'm feeling a bit verbose tonight. I have a lot of stuff ruminating in my mind, so I'm going to just type and see what comes out.

I'm getting more interested in my Native American heritage. My grandmother is quite involved in the Tribe and it's matters. We're Mohegan. The Mohegan Tribe was once a conjoined tribe with the Pequot Nation.

I wish I was more familiar with my ancestral roots. I wish I knew more about things like Naming Ceremonies and other ceremonies important to my Tribe. I want to know where my grandmothers came from.

My grandmother, Ruth E. Sweet, is very much interested and involved in our heritage. Her Mohegan name is Magnolia Blossom. My name is Doe Eyes. My children are Spider, Lark, and the youngest is yet to be named. Chubby Bald Baby will suffice for now. :)

From what I can find online, our language is Algonquin. And the Tribe operate the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT.

I fear when my grandmother dies. For, when she dies, so does much history and information.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Hopefully GFCF Lunch

So it's no secret that I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed with the GFCF adventure. It doesn't help that the whole family has been sick (allergies, most likely) for the past week.

Last night we were feeling well enough to get some grocery items. We forgot cough drops, unfortunately. But I digress. The other day my lovely daughter (now 7 yrs old and very proud of herself!) informed me that she didn't really like PB&J for lunch, even if it was on Ezekiel bread and even if it was using Laura Scudder's natural PB. So last night I bought:
Rice Cakes
sliced sandwich meat
baby carrots
Envirokids PB Bumpers cereal

I think I need to investigate what other sort of names gluten goes by. If it's as prolific as MSG, it can be under seemingly innocuous names like "natural flavor."

But at least we're off to an ok start. It's taking forever for me to jump on the GFCF bandwagon. It's a little difficult to get started w/ all the different flours and stuff that we need for baking. I don't bake a whole lot, but I did promise my girl that I'd make her some GFCF chocolate chip cookies. :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Holidays and Kids That Don't Celebrate

We don't celebrate holidays. We're Jehovah's Witnesses and we do our best to live our lives in line with Bible teachings and by following in Christ's footsteps as well as humanly possible. We do ok. There's always room for improvement, but we try.

Holidays are coming up and that poses some challenges. I know my kids have a sense of being different. I know I did. So we try our best to teach them our ways as well as respect the beliefs of other people. So far, so good.

Some holidays are a little harder to avoid having a part in. Thanksgiving, really, is the only one. I say that because it's a historical event, not something rooted in Pagan customs. I think people SHOULD learn about historical events and I support that. But they don't have to say Happy Thanksgiving.

When my oldest was in First Grade he did the Handprint Turkey with the accompanying poem:
This isn't just a handprint
As you can plainly see
I made it with my hand
Which is a part of me!
It comes with lots of love
Especially to say
Have a Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Now, since we give thanks to God EVERY day and do not choose just one day to focus on, we don't take part in Thankgiving Day celebrations.

I have decided that my kids can use the following, modified, poem:
This isn't just a handprint
As you can plainly see
I made it with my hand
Which is a part of me!
It comes with lots of love
Especially to say
Have a very happy day!

I hope that will solve the Thanksgiving issue. My daughter is her teacher's very first Witness student. I hope we are a good example and don't overwhelm her. :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bullies and clothes: A Ramble

So we've had some busy stuff lately. I don't have a particular subject in mind today, so this might be a bit rambly.

I'm feeling kind of bleh lately. I guess that's the "malaise" part of my diagnosis. I also have been feeling very worn out - the "fatigue" part. :P

We've been more active, as a family, and it's going well. We try to walk every other night and we really enjoy it. We leave about 6PM and get home around 9. We go to Barnes & Noble, maybe pick up a few grocery items, and head home. The kids enjoy it, but our daughter gets tired easily. I've considered bringing both strollers so she can ride in one. I know it seems weird since she's almost 7 yrs old, but I think she just needs time to get used to it. Also, she tends to wear bad shoes. Flip flops and sandals have been her choice the last 2 times. I think tonight we'll have her wear sneakers and see if it helps.

Speaking of my almost 7 yr old daughter, she's been getting picked on by a girl in the neighborhood. I'm not sure how to handle it. I talk to the girl doing the bullying and I talk to my girl, but I don't often see the kid's mom and haven't had a chance to talk with her. I plan to, but I want to say it in a non-confrontational way. The mom has far more on her plate right now than most single moms do, so I want to be gentle, but also stand up for my daughter.

I think I'll also speak with the school counselor.

Today I need to go through my daughter's laundry. She has more clothes than she knows what to do with! I'm not kidding. So I intend to pick out a handful of outfits and put the rest away for next winter. She's petite, so she'll wear this same size for quite some time.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Headed to Crazy Town on the GFCF Train

I'm on a mission. I didn't think I baked a whole lot, so taking the steps to become a GF family wasn't a big deal. I figured that I baked about 3 or 4 times a year. We wouldn't miss flour at all!

Or so I thought.

I've found that I: make fried chicken (in coconut oil, thank you), bake cupcakes, bake loaves of bread in my bread machine, bake zucchini bread, make pancakes (ok, so Dear Husband does that) and bake banana bread often enough to actually need an all-purpose flour on hand. I also have the motivation to make some pumpkin muffins.

But I don't have the right flour. *bangs head into wall*

So I've been scouring the internet for a recipe for an all-purpose flour that I can mix up here at home. I *thought* I bought the right ingredients, but alas, I was wrong. One thing I found out, though, is that potato flour (not potato starch, the 2 are not the same) would be really tasty for fried chicken. I'm actually looking forward to trying that.

I have Brown Rice Flour, White Rice Flour, Potato Flour, and Tapioca Flour. And Cornstarch.

So, dear readers, what do you suggest as an at-home recipe for all-purpose flour?

Also, is Rice Milk a fine sub for cow's milk or soy milk?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Autism X Six

I just watched the program on Discovery Health called "Autism X Six" and I have to say, it was really interesting. The family has 6 children, all of them fall somewhere on the Autism Spectrum. Their older 3 all have Asperger's, like my son and I, while another 2 have classic Autism, and the youngest has PDD-NOS.

Watching their 9 yr old Aspie was not unlike watching my own 8.5 yr old Aspie.

I've set my DVR to record each new episode. I do wish I could figure out when it will be on; I've been unsuccessful in that regard. I'll keep looking, but for now my DVR will do it for me. :)

The family's websites can be found here:
Autism Bites
Autism Bites Blog

Did anyone else see this program? Please share your thoughts!

*ETA: Apparently it was only a single episode. Bummer! Although I did wonder how well those kids would have handled being on camera constantly.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Gifts and after-school irritation

I had purchased my kids each a present today. My older son is interested in chess so we found a wooden chess/checkers/Chinese checkers board on sale at Target. The board flips over for Chinese checkers. My daughter likes Barbie & Polly Pocket so we bought her a tiny Polly-type Barbie. We also bought her a 3-pack of Hannah Montana pencils. We bought the baby a Cookie Monster. He likes to eat Cookie's eyes.

We did this because my daughter has been wanting presents to unwrap. lol!

Well, when my kids walked in from the bus, so did 4 other ppl. My friend, her daughter and niece, and another neighbor kid. My friend said they were just saying "Hi" and they were going. They were in my house maybe 30 seconds.

The only thing that slightly bugged me was that my friend's daughter asked for an apple and I wanted to say no, but didn't.

I feel like a jerk for thinking this because it's selfish
, but here goes... The apples are for my kids and their lunches and their snacks. I'm typically very generous and wouldn't deny a child a piece of fruit, but I just went grocery shopping and am limited on what fruits my daughter will eat. (Apples are one of the few.) Additionally, we only have 1 vehicle and it's a stick shift. I don't drive stick and my husband isn't always available for grocery store trips. (He does this thing called 'work'. It's kind of important.) Walking is not an option for me. (Texas. It's hot and I fatigue easily.)

So anyway, back to my story -- The neighbor girl asked for an apple. I said yes and just figured I'd let it go, not a big deal, really. I know that's a silly thing to be upset over. Besides, if a kid wants a fruit or veggie, by all means, eat it! It's healthier than chips or candy, right? Besides, it's one apple. Come on.

What irritated me was that the other neighbor girl that came in w/ everyone just helped herself to an apple and rushed out my door! She never asked, never said thanks, nothing. That irritated me. The rudeness. But this kid is rude anyway. I do what I can to put up boundaries, but I'm not always successful.

And all the while my kids were gleefully opening their gifts, excited, happy, and I missed it. :( (Thirty seconds goes fast w/ all the hubbub!)

Anyway, my son LOVES his chess/checker board and my daughter LOVES her tiny Barbie and her Hannah pencils. I'm glad. I had a hard time picking for her, so success is great!

I'm just really irritated that I missed their joy because I was distracted.

I'm stepping into the GFCF wading pool

Isn't that a really cool picture? My husband found that online somewhere and IM'd it to me. Since I went grocery shopping today I thought I'd stick that in my blog.

Our new doctor (an MD, Naturopath, & Homeopath), Dr. P, has recommended that we begin GFCF eating. (GFCF is Gluten Free Casein Free for those who are wondering.) So I've begun researching and finding ways to adapt our usual meals to this way of life. So far so good. I had formerly been quite unsure of how to begin, but now I think I'm at a good place mentally and I can handle it.

Today I did up a grocery list based on my meal plan below. I discovered the GF section of our groc store! Weee!

Spaghetti (rice noodles and will puree cauli and put it in the sauce)
Roast beef w/ carrots, potatoes, and rice maybe w/ gravy (anyone have a recipe for gravy? Post it!)
Chicken nuggets (printed off a GF recipe, got some flours for it)
Hamburgers (no buns)
15 bean soup w/ sausage (kids hate this, though, so I may have them eat sandwiches or something. )

I'll do enough for 2 meals then freeze leftovers. Convenient, no?

*Side note: The sausage is pork. Dr. P told us to get away from pork so I need some Pork- Free sausage suggestions! Recipes welcome.

I also picked up some GF flours and am hoping to make an "all purpose" flour mix. I had planned to make banana bread but changed my mind for now because I don't want to experiment w/ my banana bread just yet.

I found some GF breakfast bars that I hope the kids will like and I'm going to make oatmeal muffins for breakfast. My daughter didn't like the last batch, so I'm going to run my oatmeal through the food processor first and hope she'll like it better w/o the big oat bits.

I also have to find a way to limit sugar intake or change what I use, but my grocery store is limited in what they have for sweeteners. I'm thinking stevia or honey. I have molasses, at the moment. Ideas?

To summarize, I need the following:

GF Gravy recipe
Pork Free sausage (recipe? Brand name? Surprise me!)
Natural sweeteners that are NOT sugar (we also don't use Splenda, Equal, or Sweet N Low)
Any tips for GFCF living are also VERY welcome!

Thanks in advance, readers! :)

Monday, September 29, 2008

PETA has a new billboard linking Milk & Autism

This is infuriating to me on so many levels. Ok, I have issues w/ PETA anyway because I think a large portion of their marketing is fear mongering and it wouldn't surprise me if much of it is untrue.

Their marketing pamphlet mail-outs are disturbing (which is their goal, obviously) but that only made me toss them in the trash. They also like to picket the KFC by my house. And I've only ever seen 3 or 4 picketers there. I guess they forgot that people in Texas like their meat.

This 'Autism/Milk = Bad' campaign really chaps my hide.

First, my son has Asperger's Syndrome, an Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC). He's a great kid and the Asperger's is not BAD or horrible nor will it kill him. It's challenging, I assure you. But we do survive and get by in life.

Second, my kid didn't get autism from drinking milk because my kids aren't that interested in ingesting dairy products anyway, unless it's chocolate milk. And that's a rare treat -- a few times a year. I don't think humans are designed to drink the milk of another species, most especially into adulthood, but I'm not going to vilify you because you like ice cream or yogurt or use real butter or even have milk w/ your cereal. You're an adult. You can make your own choices.

Third, ASC's are from before you're even born, people. You don't "catch" autism and you can't be "cured" of it. Are there therapies to help someone on the spectrum? Sure! GFCF comes to mind, as does heavy metal chelation. Do I advocate for that? Absolutely. You must do what works for your family. But you can't make autism happen from drinking milk.

Want some links to this?
Link 1
Link 2
Link 3
Link 4

So there's my rant.

A weekend with little girls

I just spent the evening washing, drying, and folding laundry. We had a friend's little girl over for the weekend and, of course, as little girls are wont to do, the young ladies felt it necessary to try on every article of clothing in my daughter's drawers. When they were done with that, they went for the closet. In between trips to the clothing, they decided to rearrange the toys and whatnot. I should have taken pics. It was insane.

More than once I assisted in cleaning up that room so they could actually see the floor. More than once I was knee-deep in pink crap. More than once I half-expected the baby to come crawling out of there w/ hair bows and makeup on his little chubby face. More than once I wanted to hide under my bed with the cats.

I now sit here on my couch, while my husband plays XBox, surrounded by mountains of clothing yet to be put on hangers. Above my head. I am not kidding. Both sides. And in front of me is a very well packed rectangular laundry basket full to the top of neatly folded little girl clothes. Her big brother's clothes, you ask? Oh, his 3 pr of jeans and 4 shirts are neatly folded in one of the square baskets. With room to spare.

Tomorrow: Reorganize dear daughter's clothes. Again. The same as I've done the last 40-eleven times.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My child ate cat food

The baby is almost 11 mos old. He's a pretty easy going little guy and quite calm. He doesn't cause a lot of trouble and is very happy and smiley. :)

Especially when he eats the cat food.

He gets in there and smacks his hand in the water, gleeful all the while. Then he goes for the dry bits. In they go!!!! And he crawls out here chewing on something.

Hmm... Well, at least he's not getting into the litter box! :D

(FTR, this is why we typically have a gate across the bathroom door.)

Brain Atrophy and Me

My mom recently found some medical records of an MRI I had at 13 yrs old. They've been packed away and for reasons she can't figure out, she never read the results until she found them this year. (I'll be 31 in November!) Once she found them, she debated for months over whether to tell me.

I found out a week ago that I have brain atrophy. Cortical (around) and central (inside). In my research, I've found that the atrophy leads to dementia, Alzheimer's, and loss of brain cells.

I'm really kind of freaked about it. I have trouble retaining things, and that's been the case for me for a number of years. It's only gotten worse w/ time. All this time I've joked that the kids suck my brain cells out when they nursed. Not so much a joke anymore.

Now I have to find a way to have a follow up w/ a more recent MRI, which I can not afford, and hope that the original MRI is ... wrong... or something.

I don't know if this is hereditary or what, I don't know when I'll get Alzheimer's, I don't know all of the effects of cortical or central atrophy, I only know it's BAD.

If I had known this much earlier in my life (when I was insured) I could have gotten follow-up MRI's and had a clearer picture of my future prognosis.

You know, my parents actually debated whether to tell me. That freaks me out. I'm glad they did because now I can seek ways to get it checked out. Not that I can afford it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

18 ppl, a hostess w/ Asperger's Syndrome, and CHAOS

I am completely exhausted today. I'm not sure why. We went to see a new doctor recently. He's a really neat guy! He's an Md & naturopath and homeopath. He has put us on GFCF diet, limited sugar, increase veggies, starches (not carbs), and not so much chicken. Mix it up a bit.

It's been interesting. I was so distraught to give away my whole, organic, raw milk. But I did end up giving it to a friend in need (6 children and no milk and no money to buy milk!) so all was not lost.

That same day I had another friend over. Her vehicle had broken down and she was stranded clear across town from her home (about 30 minutes) with 3 little girls, one of whom is newborn. So we called around for about a half hour and finally found someone who could get her. So my neighbor went and rescued her & her kidlets and brought her to my house. When my husband got home, he took her & her girls home.

We have only 1 vehicle for our family and it's a stick shift. I can't drive a stick shift. Hence, the reason my husband drove her home and not me. Also, our car seats 5. There's no way I could have driven her home and taken her kids AND mine. Yeah, no.

So I had about 18 ppl in my house that day. I was completely out of my mind. It was so chaotic!

But once everyone went home things calmed down. :D

A Journey of Birth Choices (Part I and II)

I wrote this on April 5, 2008, my oldest son's 8th birthday. I've edited names.

8 Years Ago Today: A Journey of Birth Choices Part I

Eight years ago today, my oldest son was born. His name is M-. He's an awesome kid and we're so glad to have him in our lives! :)

On April 4, 2000 I went in to the hospital to be induced. I was 39 wks and 4 days pregnant, exhausted, and really ready to see this baby! So on the morning of April 5, 2000 my doctor broke my water with a giant plastic crochet hook. That was weird. I went through the course of the day in pain from the contractions, nobody encouraged me to walk around, so I just laid there in the bed in pain, unable to focus, and kind of nervous because this is NOT how my mother's homebirth went. They kept offering me an epidural but I kept refusing. I did not want drugs, I wanted to do this on my own because I knew I could, and I'm terrified of needles. Finally around 3:30 in the afternoon I was offered drugs for the 3rd time and I asked what they had. Stadol and Demorol. I asked a little bit about them, what the effects would be, and if either would take the edge off. Neither would, but I finally relented to the demorol because I didn't know what else to do and nobody informed me that WALKING would help. I ended up sleeping between contractions and that was really unhelpful. I woke when I heard the staff setting up metal instruments at the foot of my bed. That scared me. Metal does not belong in the human body. Around 7 or so the dr came in and said it was almost time to push. When I finally got to pushing, it was soon realized that the baby appeared to be having trouble exiting so the doctor felt a vacuum extractor was the best option. I was given an episiotomy (google that), the vacuum was inserted, and I was told push while the doctor pulled. The baby came out very quickly. In addition to the episiotomy, I also tore and the doctor classified it as a partial 3rd degree episiotomy. The episiotomy would have been avoided if I had been told to walk. Gravity would work FOR me in that case and pull the baby down through the correct opening. Instead I had been lying on my back and gravity was pulling down and the opening needed to be artificially (and unnecessarily) enlarged.

When the baby was born it cried and hollered a lot. I did not know what I would be having, so I asked several times, "What is it?" Finally the doctor told me, "It's a boy!" YAAAY! His name was M-. He kept crying and I would talk to him, "What's the matter, baby? What's wrong? It's ok!" The staff mistook this for me questioning what they were doing and someone curtly replied, "He's fine." They weighed and measured him and everyone was exclaiming that he was so big! He weighed a whopping 9lb 8oz and was 21 inches long! The nurses joked that he was as big as a 3 month old. :) They finally laid him on my chest and as soon as he saw me he stopped crying. Soon the doctor had to stitch me up so baby M- went off to the nursery. My husband went with him and his mother took pictures of them both through the glass. I soon passed out because of the demorol still in my system and the excessive blood loss. The doctor informed me that I lost more than twice the normal amount. I didn't wake up again until midnight, when a nurse's aide came to escort me to my room. I was exhausted, had an IV pole w/ a bag of fluids hanging from it, and could barely walk. I should have had a wheelchair. I would wake when the nurses brought me my baby. I had told them to bring him to me when he wakes up so I could nurse him. We had the option of rooming in, but I felt safer with him in the nursery and he was the only baby in the maternity ward. He nursed about every 2 hours or so and they would take my temperature, give me meds (if needed), and check my stitches and stuff. I left the hospital 2 days later in severe pain from the episiotomy, but otherwise doing very well. For 6 months, though, I could not engage in intimate activity w/ my husband because of the pain from the episiotomy and M- had a bump on his head for 2 yrs because of the vacuum extractor. The bump is gone and I have no pain now, but those events prompted me to seek out midwife-assisted homebirth with my daughter when I became pregnant with her. Events during her birth prompted me to seek similar care with my youngest, T-. Just 2 months before my due date with T-, however, I chose to continue my prenatal care by myself and to birth with only my husband in attendance. Self Care during that pregnancy and birth turned out to be the best decision for me and the baby.

Eight Years Ago Today: A Journey of Birth Choices Part II

After M- was born and the nurses were weighing, measuring, and cleaning him up, I was given a warmed blanket that felt absolutely glorious! I did not realize how chilled I was until I had that blanket on me. I lay there under that cozy blanket recovering from a very shocking experience after the birth.

In hospitals, doctors will massage your abdomen with a lot of pressure and force. This process is to force the placenta out. Doctors also frequently pull on the cord, which is known as cord traction. This is not a safe procedure, as it can cause your uterus to invert or even come right out of your body.

I was not spared this painful procedure. I yelled at the doctor several times to STOP what he was doing, give me a minute to gather myself. He refused. I know he felt he was doing what was necessary, and I would have consented had I been given a moment to gather myself.

When my daughter R- was born the midwife followed the same process, except that she was very gentle in the massage and when I told her not to pull the cord, she stopped.

The placenta WILL come off the uterus on it's own in due time. Sometimes it can be hours before it does that. There is no reason for someone to force it. It's not a retained placenta. It's the woman's body doing its job in its time.

While I was being mauled and then stitched up, which took about 30 minutes, my lovely baby was in the nursery being cleaned and dressed. One thing they felt he needed was a bottle of sugar water to check if he was diabetic. He was not. I would have preferred that he not have been given a bottle, but I see no reason to get upset over it. Again, the medical personnel were doing what they'd been taught and what they felt was best.

I often find when reading birth stories that doctors and even some midwives treat birth as something that needs to be fixed. If women and medical personnel would stop and think, they would hopefully realize that birth does not need to be fixed. Birth is not broken. It is the perception of the medical community that needs to be fixed.

Women are often given cesarean sections due to "failure to progress." In reality, is it really just failure to wait? The body DOES know what to do. Sometimes guidance is needed and that's ok. But we need to stop being so anxious and fearful of life.

There is no reason for routine cesarean sections, for cord traction, for routine infant circumcision, for routine episiotomies, for not breastfeeding. We have been created whole. We have been created perfectly. Why are we trying to improve on what God has made? Who are we to think that we can do better?

Yes, it's true that there are instances where a cesarean birth or maybe even an episiotomy is necessary for the safety of mother and child. In those cases, THANK GOD that doctors and hospitals exist. But largely, women CAN and WILL birth their children on their own without the interference of medical personnel. Women and doctors both need to trust that.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Dinner plans

So I'm watching my neighbor's 5 yr old this weekend. Mama is away on a training thing for work. So what the heck do I feed 3 little kids?! Oh yeah, we're GFCF.

Asperger's Syndrome isn't a death sentence

I have Asperger's Syndrome, a condition that falls within the Autism Spectrum. My older son has it, too. We're not stupid, though we are a little naive and may not get jokes as much as others do. We manage to get through life just fine. The organization known as Autism Speaks does NOT speak for me or my son. We can speak for ourselves.

Asperger's Syndrome and Autism spectrum Disorders are not a curse or a death sentence. It's just another way of being.
I hope that people on the Autism Spectrum are understood by those around them. That's been the best thing for me & my son. We need to be understood. That doesn't mean you have to know our thoughts and expect certain things. That means you need to be patient with us. Ask us what we need. Don't expect verbal response. Let us write it down or email it or text message it. We need structure, routine. Help us maintain that. I, personally, can't keep things organized to save my life (a blog for another day!), but I crave organization!

On my Special Needs parenting board a mother wrote: When you have a child with high or special needs, it's not just the child that needs treatment and therapy. Parents often need it, too.

She is so right. Having children with Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, and Anxiety is quite a challenge. How one deals with it varies. I love my children to the very depths of my being and beyond, but some days I'm just spent. I'm worn out from Max's perseverating on his video games or Rachel's anxiety over bad people in the world or each child's issues with the way socks feel or the texture of food or the long pants or short sleeves. It can definitely get to a person.

Some days, my saving grace is my Special Needs forum and I am so glad to have that. Additionally, I have an aunt with a son that has been dx'd with Asperger's Syndrome and she has been an ENORMOUS source of comfort, help, and support.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

So this is it

This is my blog. My very first, official blog. Interesting. Well here I am. Hi. I'm Carrie. I have 3 kids and a husband and we reside very happily in Texas.Texas is hot. A lot. Kind of ridiculously so. But it's not too bad, otherwise.