Sunday, April 30, 2006

One more month before the big move!

We only have one more month before we make the big move! We're waiting until school is out to move into our new house.

One hard part is over since we have signed on the dotted line, but the next hard part, that of actually getting all our stuff to the new place, has yet to be done. We have 10 years worth of accumulated junk and not much room to put it in, since the house isn't any bigger than the one we are currently living in.

A lot of things we are going to sell and we're coming up with some ways to save space. One thing we're going to do is put drawers under the girls' beds for their clothes instead of having dressers sitting out taking up space. We are going to do something similar in our room, except the drawers are probably going to go in the closets.

For the bathrooms we're going to put those toilet space-savers up and I'll probably get the same type of containers as we're using for bedroom drawers, only smaller, to store things in the bathroom.

If anyone has any good storage and/or space-saving ideas, please let me know!

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

The doctor is IN

Mr. Living the DAD Life and I have teamed up against the Terrible Case of Ringworm and it seems to be working. It's not something that clears up overnight but we're optimistic about the progress.

She started on prescription antifungal and antibiotic medications this time last week, and I had already been treating it topically with tea tree oil (which is highly antifungal and a natural substance to boot) and antifungal cream. A few days ago we added to our cleaning routine hydrogen peroxide and apple cider vinegar. Her beautiful black hair is turning red and even blonde in some spots in the back! I can't believe it but that'll just have to be okay. We also started putting baking soda on it at night to pull out the infection, and it's really working.

A few days ago we went to the health food store and got a few medicated shampoos for scalp conditions and an herbal supplement that contains black walnut and other herbs. We washed her hair with the shampoo and added the herbal supplement to the treatment routine. I almost immediately noticed a difference with the herbal supplement and am very glad the young man at the health food store recommended it. He too had suffered with ringworm and he knew just what to suggest.

I kept her home from school for two days so I could treat it during the day as needed and so that it could have that much more exposure to the air. It started draining on its own and drying up yesterday so I was really glad. I sent her to school today so I hope all is still as well as it can be when she gets home.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006


We took our little cat family next door this past Saturday since we were going to be gone for the weekend and then taking care of business — buying our new house! — on Monday.

Getting them over there was a feat in itself. The mother had moved them out of their box in the laundry room and put them over by the washing machine. If they weren't going to have to go anyway, they sure were on account of that. I just put them back in their box and took them next door. Next step was getting the mother cat over there, and that didn't go very well since the neighbors have several dogs, both inside and outside the house. After several scratches and some help from the neighbors, we got her back together with her babies.

Things went well at the neighbor's house over the weekend, I was told. The mother cat allowed another cat (her friend boy) and the dogs in the box and a child was allowed to play with the kittens, but she didn't care for another one of the children to even be in the room. At least she didn't try to move them all over the house.

The neighbors brought them back yesterday morning, and I just set the box out on the carport. The mother cat immediately started trying to move them back into the house, and she got one little one in the house. I put it back outside with the others, and she put it in between the wood and screen door. After a while I put it back where it belonged, and she left them in the box then.

During the night it stormed and turned chilly, so my husband put a towel (one of the good ones, of course) over the box for warmth. They're still outside, all together, warm and cuddly.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Filling out school applications

The girls will be going to new schools in the fall so this week I'm filling out applications for them to go to the public elementary school right around the corner from our new house.

It's unbelievable all the paperwork needed to enter school these days. For the child who will enter second grade, there is a one-page sheet mainly for information purposes and a lunch form disclosing family income to apply for free/reduced price meals. Of course they need to see proof that she has been immunized, but that is all simple enough.

The time-consuming part is applying for pre-kindergarten for the other child. They need to see shot records, social security card, Medicaid/Arkids1st card, proof of residency, proof of income, and the meal form. I guess I should be used to it since we needed all that to apply for head start here; they also had to have proof of physical and dental examinations.

I'm trying to get all this in this week; the older child will get into school of course, but it's the younger one I'm worried about. We are probably over income for this program, and she doesn't have any factors like speech problems or low birth weight that would give her preference. She IS four years old, and that is one thing in her favor.

Well, at least I can say I tried!

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Monday, April 24, 2006


It's finally official! We are moving! We closed the deal on our new house today and will be moving after school is out.

This has been a long time in coming. My husband has been commuting to the city where we are moving for the last 12 years. That's an hour one way, five days a week. Because of that and a few other factors, we decided about a year ago that we needed to move, and started house-hunting several months ago.

Less than a month ago my husband looked at this one with the realtor and immediately liked it. He told me about it that night and the next day emailed me a photo with the message, "Let's buy a house!" I knew he was very serious since he hardly ever emails me! We made an offer that next day and it was accepted that weekend. He worked on the financing and all the particulars of buying a house and we finally got it all wound up today.

Now we must concentrate on selling this house and getting it cleaned out to move!

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Saturday, April 22, 2006


A friend of mine built this pond and stocked it with these pretty Japanese koi fish, and another friend snapped the photo. It took our Creator, a waterscaper, and a photographer to make this beautiful work of art. I love it! Plus it's a lot more pleasant than what I've been talking about the past day or so!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Taking matters in my own hands

This might be a little gross for you with weak constitutions. Consider yourself forewarned.

I talked to a certified natural health professional today in my line of work and asked her about that bad ringworm spot on my daughter's scalp. (Man, I'm starting to itch right now.)

The first thing she said was, "Do you have a cat? Ringworm comes from cats." Well, yes, as a matter of fact we do. There's a whole family of them in my laundry room. The nurse and nurse practitioner we've been seeing about these spots have asked about cats but didn't make the proclamation so bluntly. Sometimes I need to be hit in the head so I can understand things. Hopefully when we get the cats out of the house for the weekend so we can go somewhere they'll stay gone.

This ringworm spot she has on her scalp is also infected. (I told you this was going to be gross. It's going to get worse before it gets better.) She's on a prescription antibiotic for the next several days and a prescription antifungal for the next several weeks. The natural health practioner gave me some good ideas of things to do along with the medication.

The first suggestion she gave me was to give her garlic, a natural antibiotic. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I knew that but it didn't come out when I needed it. As far as treating the spot, she recommended cleaning it first with hydrogen peroxide, then putting apple cider vinegar on it followed by tea tree oil. I actually cleared up a bad ezcema spot on the back of my daughter's neck like that a couple of years ago so I know how it works — very well! I had been putting tea tree oil on it and an antifungal cream with tea tree oil on it, but hadn't used the peroxide or vinegar.

She also said I need to break open a black walnut capsule and put the contents of it on her sore, but I don't have any of those lying around. I do have everything else, though. Since she's on prescribed antibiotics the alternative health advisor recommended giving her a probiotic, which I had already been giving her since I know from personal experience how rough it can be after the antibiotics kill all the good bacteria along with the bad.

Talking about treating the ringworm spot was one thing; I knew this procedure wouldn't be fun in actual practice. After school I doctored her up with the peroxide, vinegar, and tea tree oil and then once the crust that covered the sore was soft I gently removed it, hoping all the while I was doing the right thing. My child cried and carried on as normal when I'm doing her hair, partly from genuine pain and partly for theatrical purposes.

After I had the spot cleared and cleaned to my satisfaction, I had her lie with her back to a fan. That was for two reasons: to soothe her burning sore and so the air could keep it dry. Before she went to bed I repeated the entire process in an abbreviated version. I hope it's doing okay in the morning. At least I hope it won't be any worse, because that would be gross!

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More bad news

sore on my older daughter's scalp kept getting worse — she's been seen twice about it and my younger daughter was seen a couple of times, too and was given the diagnosis of pityriasis when I thought she contracted ringworm from school — so I took her back to the doctor AGAIN this week.

We got bad news. It is for sure a fungus (AKA ringworm) on her scalp that has caused her so much trouble lately. She's had a few other spots but for some reason it's just way worse on the scalp. When ringworm gets in the scalp it doesn't respond to topical antifungal creams — I've been using mostly tea tree oil and an antifungal cream with tea tree oil in it — and an oral medication is necessary. On top of the ringworm she has an infection in that same spot!

We got two medications, an antibiotic to take for about a week for the infection and then an antifungal medication that she's going to have to take for weeks. I'm so disappointed about all this medicine because I don't like my children to take synthetic substances like this because it upsets the body's natural processes. Antibiotics are a two-edged sword because they get rid of the infection but they also kill the good bacteria that the body needs along with the bad. She has been taking a probiotic for a while now so I hope it's built up enough in her body to keep things from getting out of whack.

She has had so much trouble with her health lately — mainly with allergies and her colon — and I'm so frustrated. I feel like I did everything I could to ensure her health — took care of myself when I was pregnant, breastfed her for two years, tried to maintain a good bacteria balance both inside her body and in the environment, feed her healthy foods as much as possible, and all that stuff — but still we are faced with all this.

Sometimes I feel like all my diligence was for nothing, but then I realize that it really wasn't. I did the best that I knew how and got a beautiful, bright, and mostly healthy child out of it. I just really wish we could get all these health situations under control.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

That looks familiar!

This mother cat who has carved out a living space for her new family in my laundry room is starting to get annoying — I love cats but I don't really like her because she's just so, well, annoying — because she wants to take over the entire house.

I understand that she needs a break from the little ones, who just while away the day and night sleeping in a pile and hardly ever make a peep — for now — but she just pads around rubbing her neck glands on everything. We didn't want the cat family in the house anyway but since they're here she's supposed to either be in the laundry room with them or outside.

Though she is extremely bothersome, we do have motherhood in common and she did something familiar a little while ago. She had been outside for a while so I opened the door to check on her. She was trying to get in the house through her custom hole in the screen door but of course the wood door was closed. She was glad to see me and went in to her babies, well, after rubbing her neck on a few things.

They were all sound asleep on top of one another, but she just jumped right in there in the box with them and started licking them. Those little things were sleeping so soundly they didn't respond to all the licking, so after she got one or two to stirring, she just laid down on the rest of them. That woke them up!

The familiar part wasn't her laying on her babies to wake them up but I do recall having to wake my little dears a few times so I could get some relief. My mantra always was "Let sleeping babies lie" but sometimes lactating mothers need a little help!

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Kittens in the laundry room: Day 2

The wee ones in my laundry room are doing fine today, healthy as they can be as they are getting lots of love, care and good milk from their mom. I'm growing to tolerate the mother cat more as I guess we have something in common now — motherhood.

My little ones got right out of bed this morning to greet their little babies. The girls are so cute because they keep counting the kittens to make sure all five of them are there. As soon as they get home from school they'll be right back in there with the cats.

I introduced the new residents of my laundry room to what actually supposed to take place in there — doing laundry! I started the dryer last night and the babies didn't flinch. Their mom was a tad worried but she soon got over it. Running the washer this morning was a little more frightening for her, I guess since it involved the running of water, but she didn't make too much of a fuss although she was scared at first. Again the little ones didn't mind at all.

It's a good thing I did laundry all day the day before they were born but it's going to start accumulating again. I'll need my laundry room back or at least will need to share it.

We're in a quandry as to what to do with the cats. They're too little to go outside but we don't want them in here. We're heading off for the weekend and are thinking of asking the neigbors to take them for a few days. We'll take it from there after that. In the meantime we'll just indulge in the fascination of having newborn kittens in the house!

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Newborn kittens in the laundry room

The outside cat had kittens in my laundry room late this morning!

I'm thrilled they're here and all the cats are okay but I DID NOT want them in the laundry room. She made a tear in the screen a while back and has been working on it, coming in the house every chance she gets. She somehow got in the house without me knowing it, probably when I went out to get the mail.

Her friendboy was outside looking for her like crazy this morning so I knew she had the kittens. He was looking for her up next to the house so I was looking around the house. I figured she wouldn't go far. I was coming back in the house and SHE JUMPED OUT THE DOOR sans kittens in her belly. Oh my goodness!

I went right in the house and looked in the laundry room and there they were: five little kittens. Two are black, two are tabby like her, and one is a mix of black and tabby. I got her back in the house and back with the babies to make sure she was going to take care of them. Careful not to touch them, I put a pair of socks over my hands to move them around and get them off the laundry. Thankfully it was just old kitchen towels.

The neigbors, who had been watching her with me for about two weeks, heard the news for me first. They came over and put her and the kittens in a box (they made sure the mother cat was okay with all of that first; I was scared to touch them and most certainly to move them) in the laundry room.

My little girls are just fascinated with them and keep going in the laundry room to check on them. At one point early this afternoon the four-year-old came out of the laundry room with a tiny black kitten wrapped up in a washcloth. I can't believe the mother cat let her do that. I nearly freaked out and put it right back. I just don't want to take the chance on the mother not taking care of them although she is doing a good job.

I set her up in the laundry room with a food bowl and a litter box and fretted about her using it but she finally did!

Now the big problem is my husband doesn't want cats in the house. I called him at work and told him. He flipped out! It was hilarious! He'll be all calmed down by the time he gets home tonight and the girls will be very attached to the kittens.

He actually likes the mother cat for some reason and I never have, which is odd for both of us. I don't like her because she's annoying AND she tore a hole in my screen. My husband feeds this cat faithfully every day and makes sure to let me know when we are out of food. I gave her some canned food, no less, that I had left over from another cat I liked.

Here's MY problem: how am I supposed to do laundry now? They are right next to the dryer and my laundry room isn't very big!

Well, that cat has worked so hard to get in this house and I have worked so hard to keep her out, and it's obvious the better woman won.

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Friday, April 14, 2006

A great Friday indeed

The weather is perfect, the children are quiet, and it is turning out to be a really great Friday.

Many people already consider this to be a good Friday and have their minds on Jesus Christ this time of year, and our family is no different. We attended the Memorial of Jesus Christ's death this past Wednesday at the local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses.

On the night before he died, Jesus Christ instituted the Memorial of his death. Using wine and unleavened bread as symbols, he commanded, "Keep doing this in remembrance of me."

We were privileged to be among the 77 who attended locally; my husband even delivered the evening's speech explaining how Christians benefit from the death of Jesus Christ and the importance of not only observing the Memorial each year but of taking action to share this with others.

A very enlightening timeline of the last days of Jesus' life here on earth can be found here.

I hope everyone has as wonderful a Friday as I am!

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What a lazy day!

The kids are out of school today so we didn't even bother to get up this morning. That set the tone for a lazy, restful day at home.

The girls got up around 9 a.m. and for some strange reason didn't bother me whining about something to eat. I smelled baby lotion and tea tree oil in my sleep, but no one bothered me.

I finally got up around 10 a.m. and all the damage I found was a washcloth with lipstick or something like that smeared on it. The four-year-old had greased her hair down with baby lotion but I didn't find any overturned bottles of tea tree oil, so that must have been their father dousing himself with that earlier in the day! I went up to the front of the house and found two little girls quietly munching on apples and watching fuzzy educational television.

I brewed a pot of coffee and sat checking my email, message boards and a few blogs and then finally got around to getting dressed and having breakfast around 1 p.m. I have some work scheduled for today and I really need to get some housework done, but at this rate, I won't get to any of it until bedtime!

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Friday, April 07, 2006

A beautiful family

My daughter brought home from school yesterday a little package from Colgate that contained a toothpaste sample and a coupon. Imagine my delight when I saw on the page with a toothpaste coupon a photograph of a Caucasian mother with her beautiful biracial black-white child!
I heartily applaud this company for using this photograph of a family that looks like mine.

There are so many beautiful multiethnic families in this world but we are often overlooked in advertising and other materials. It is so refreshing — albeit surprising — to see a photo of a family that looks like mine in magazines, advertising materials or anything, for that matter.

I have contacted this company through their website to praise them for the use of this photograph, which I have posted below. Here is a
photo of my family as well.

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Kids sick, again

My children are home from school sick again and I'm getting frustrated with all these illnesses and weird symptoms and strange rashes we've been dealing with since winter started.

Today it's a sore throat, cough, fever, runny nose, and a little stomach ache, mainly on the part of the older child. The younger child has what you call "sympathy illness" although she'll probably come down with a fever tomorrow. They both stayed home from school.

At the urging of my husband and my sister-in-law, I took my older daughter in to the doctor's office today. She was tested for flu and strep throat but doesn't have either one. It's just something that needs to run its course, I was told, and I had figured that anyway.

While we were there, I had the strange rashes they both have looked at. My younger daughter broke out with them back in December and since I thought she had ringworm, I kept her out of school. They kept popping up in random places like her temples and the back of her neck so I had her tested then. The diagnosis was pityriasis, skin rashes that go away in a few weeks or months and that are not contagious.

Interestingly enough, my older daughter came down with these same rashes in the same spots, only hers are worse since she has trouble with her skin. I've been treating both of them with tea tree oil, which is antifungal, antimicrobal, and anti-everything else bad. A trace of fungus showed up in the test done on my older daughter's rashes, so I was given a prescription for an ointment.

We've also been to the doctor in the past few months for other things like allergies and colon troubles. I'll sure be glad when we get all of this worked out.

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Monday, April 03, 2006

School breakfast fiasco

Our school morning routine was turned upside down today and boy, do I ever feel like a loser mom! Normally I get up after 6 a.m. and get the girls up at around a quarter to seven so my first grader can catch the bus to school at 7:25 a.m. in time to eat breakfast there. My preschool daughter must be taken to school at around 8 a.m., and she eats breakfast around 8:30 a.m.

This morning I just couldn't get up, I guess because of the time change. I decided to feed my kids breakfast at home and then drop them off at school, both at the same time. I got them up, got them dressed, and went to the kitchen to grab some cereal and there was none! There was no bread to make a quick sandwich either.

I looked at the clock and realized that if we hurried, my older daughter still had time to get breakfast at school. I combed their hair and we dashed out of the door. We got there just in time to see the cafeteria close up for the morning.

Oh man, what to do? I assured my daughter that she would be okay since they eat lunch before 11 a.m. before I dropped my other daughter off with her teacher. I felt so guilty walking back out to the car and realized that even a lunch as early as 11 a.m. would be a long time in coming to a little six-year-old who had eaten no breakfast.

When I got home I sliced up some apples and fixed her a bag of cheese and crackers, thinking all the while that I should have done that when I realized there wasn't any cereal instead of rushing them off trying to make it to school before the cafeteria closed. I put the bag of apples and the bag of cheese crackers in one of their little backpacks along with a small bottle of water and went back to school.

I had my daughter summoned up to the office, and we sat there for a few minutes munching on apples and crackers. She was glad I had brought something up to her, and delightedly put the little backpack on with snacks for later and went back to class. I felt better knowing that she had eaten and vowed not to let that little fiasco happen again.

She was so sweet about the whole thing. She didn't complain when I left her at school with no breakfast and didn't fuss when I came back with some. That afternoon after she got home from school I gave a better apology, to which she answered, "It's A-okay, Mommy."

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