Friday, February 27, 2009

Such exciting times . . .

It was mostly gray, cloudy, and rainy yesterday. Not very refreshing or cheerful for me, but Chester loved it! He loves running around in the rain. He looks sad in this picture because he knew I was going to dry him off and make him come inside.

After helping Aaron in the bathroom and flushing, I had to look inside the tank because it didn't sound right. Aaron was absolutely fascinated with all "that stuff in there!" He wanted to know what everything part did, which is not my expertise; so as soon as Daddy came home, Aaron excitedly dragged him to the bathroom so he could explain the fabulous inner workings of a toilet. Oh, the excitement of youth! (please excuse the dust clinging to the wall behind the tank!)

A cozy nap for Aaron and Hazel.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


The blogs I enjoy reading the most are not the ones that only post about the best part of a day, or just the fun and exciting things they do or accomplish. My favorites blogs include sad things, or difficult things - real life. The good, the bad, the ugly. (okay, maybe not the really ugly!)

That being said, I want my blog to be "real" also. So I've decided to share a little about the health adventure I've been on recently. Actually, the latest chapter is recent, but the entire story began a long time ago - almost 14 years ago.

I've always had to take medication for post-partum depression after each of our babies being born. My body doesn't do well with all the huge hormone changes that happen after delivery. It was very scary and overwhelming the first time. After our second baby, we knew it was likely and I started med. right away

But then, about 2 years after the second baby was born, I began a descent into other chronic health problems and was eventually diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I was getting sick all the time, had no energy, didn't sleep well, was sluggish and achy, and had "brain fog", among other issues. It wasn't the same every day, some days were better than others. But sometimes, just taking a shower and doing the barest minimum to care for the kids was completely exhausting. I just felt yucky a lot.

Fast forward a couple years - I had discovered a holistic doctor who helped me clean out and strengthen my body, get off all medications, and get rid of the worst of my symptoms. I became aware of, and a big fan of, the whole natural health world that I had previously known nothing about. And then, I got pregnant again.

I'd hoped this third time I wouldn't have to take medication for depression. And yet, despite trying nutritional supplements first, I ended up with the same old symptoms and resigned myself to taking antidepressants again because I was spiraling downward quickly.

I was determined not to stay on the med. long though, because it eventually contributed to the fibromyalgia symptoms that I'd had before. I was able to decrease my dosage after several month, but not go off completely, though I tried many times. "You'll probably need to stay on the medication for the rest of your life" my regular doctor told me. I was worried she might be right, but I wanted to prove her wrong.

Last November, our third child turned 5, and I was still taking the antidepressant. We'd been going to a different chiropractor/natural health doctor for a while now, and he felt I was ready to try weaning off again. Thus began the latest curve of the roller coaster.

Happily, I had no problems cutting down my dosage through November and December. But by mid-January, when I was down to just a teeny amount every-other day, I started having the dreaded withdrawal symptoms of dizziness, anxiety, insomnia, and depression. Going in right away to see my natural doctor, we adjusted the nutritional supplements I was taking, and I felt tons better in less than 24 hours. Yea! I had hope that it was really going to work this time.

So . . . I've been completely off the med. for 3 weeks now. I've had lots of ups and downs. I've had my share of really yucky days, but I've also had some good days where I felt fairly "normal" and actually felt like I had my brain and body back!

We're working on getting my dysfunctional thyroid to behave properly, which I've learned was likely the main cause of my depression and fibromyalgia in the first place. My biggest enemy right now is insomnia. My thyroid has been kicking into high gear at night and slowing down during the day - apparently it thinks it's nocturnal - and we're trying to convince it that it's not.

Well, this has gone on long enough. But it's been a big part of my life and I just wanted to "put it out there". It's my hope and prayer that I will continue to see improvement, and have the opportunity to really enjoy life instead of feeling like I'm just surviving day to day.

I also wanted to say that my marvelous husband has been sooooo supportive!! I couldn't have done this without Rashed's support and encouragement. Thank You Rashed. I love you very much!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Meet Hazel and Whiskers

We've always been dog people. We've never had cats before. But last year, after Isaac kept asking and asking for a cat, we finally agreed. Then we heard from several people that we should think about getting 2 cats because they're less trouble if they have each other to play with. (good advice, we have learned)

So, we found 2 gray, short-haired sisters at a farm last June. Isaac had already named one Whiskers before we even got them. The other was eventually named Hazel. They were so cute and fuzzy and tiny when we first got them, at about 8 weeks old.

(if you look closely, Whiskers is in the background, under the grill!)

A few weeks later, after we learned that they had both fleas and worms, Rashed and I didn't think they were so cute and fun!

But after rounds of medicine and furious cleaning, we eventually we got all that cleared up and started to like them again. We also decided that they couldn't go outside anymore, which I don't think they're happy about. (besides which, as they started getting older, they were roaming too far and learning how to climb trees.)

We soon learned their personality differences. Whiskers is more moody, doesn't like to be held as much, and likes to be by herself. She also likes to eat and now weighs one pound more than Hazel. She also loves to sleep on Noah's bed, which gets the best sunlight.

Hazel is more relaxed and easy-going. She likes being held and even lets Aaron rest with her on the couch. But she's also the more sneaky and devious one. She likes running and dripping water in sinks, she likes to watch Jeffrey (Noah's leopard gecko), and was even found inside one of our nativity sets at Christmas.

Last fall, they discovered how to get up above the dropped ceiling in our basement. We're pretty sure Hazel instigated it first, but both have been caught up there.

(getting up into the dropped ceiling from the ledge of a basement window.)

(trying to get Whiskers down with a laser light)

(walking on the ceiling!)

crazy cats - they're definitely different than dogs, but quite fun and they don't bark!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Laughter is Good Medicine

more things heard around our house this past week . . .

"Technically, we can change our heads any time we want to!"

Noah to Isaac, talking about Lego figures

Last night, Aaron brought the globe over to me:

"Where are we in this world?"

I showed him Michigan

"Where is Bah-hain?" (where Daddy is from)

I showed him Bahrain, in the Persian Gulf

"Where is McDonald's?"

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Legos and Marbles and Bikes, Oh My!

Things that have been happening around the house lately:

Lego men climbing up the vertical-blind chains

More Lego sets (bought with allowance money)

Marble races on our old, needs-to-be-refinished piano, which apparently is not exactly level

A scarf that I'm knitting

What? Could it be? Almost bare ground, and slightly green grass!

Tuesday was a spring teaser - 61 degrees and sunny blue sky. Later in the day, all the snow was gone except for some of the piles by the street and driveway.

Chester day-dreams of long summer days, in the company of his beloved stuffed blue bone which had been discovered again as the snow melted. He didn't care that it was soggy and dirty.

Noah and Isaac got their bikes out from the shed, where they've been hibernating for 3 months.

Noah did a quick tune-up (this picture is especially for Grandpa!)

Wheeee!!! Freedom!

Today - snow is back. Oh, well; we knew it wouldn't last . . .

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stormy Sky

Last Saturday when a warm front was moving in, big dark clouds were racing across the sky in the morning before it cleared up. The boys thought they were awesome. Of course, I had to grab my camera!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Heat Wave!

Holy Cow! We made it up to 51 degrees today! That's about 30 degrees warmer than the average temp. we had in January. Unfortunately, all the boys have a mild cold and I'm fighting it too, so we've mostly been hanging out at home. But still, it's exciting to see some grass emerging from under the snow, and our driveway completely clear of ice and packed snow! (and piles of "gifts" from Chester all over the back yard)

Now, before this starts to turn into a weather blog, I'd better talk about something else.

I have a few posts I've been working on in my head, but haven't had time or energy to complete them. So for now, I'll post some pictures from a cropping weekend I went on a few weeks ago.

About once a year, 3 friends and I go away to one of the friends' in-law's condo (while they're traveling) and spend the weekend working on our scrapbooks together. There's also plenty of talking, eating, laughing, more talking, and the occasional watching of TLC or HGTV while eating or taking short breaks. It's always such a fun time away - enjoying each other's company, getting some pages done, and getting a break from our routines and responsibilities at home.

I didn't want to mention the weather again, but that's what their deck looked like!

Monday, February 2, 2009

More Winter . . .

I was going to title this post "More Winter" even before I remembered that Punxsutawney Phil already said it this morning. But I didn't need him to tell me that. All I have to do is look out the window at the piles and piles of snow, and look at the calendar, and I know. More winter - for Michigan, at least.

Other than the kids saying a few funny things, and me not feeling good for a few days, it feels like the only thing I have to post about is Winter. Since late November, we've only been able to see the ground maybe half a dozen days. Our high temp. in January was 36 degrees, which was just this past Saturday; overall it's been the 8th coldest January on record for our area in SW Michigan. We've had about 94" of snow this season so far; already well over our season average of 72".

At the beginning of the season, it feels so warm and cozy to all be inside the house together. But by this time of the year? Suffocating and crowded seems more accurate.

Our boys are not very big on playing outside in the winter. I force them out sometimes ("everybody outside for 15 minutes, or no computer time today!") and occasionally the older 2 will actually go out on their own. So I was surprised when they agreed to my suggestion to go sledding on Saturday (when the temperature was actually above freezing!)

I took just Noah and Isaac, and one neighbor friend. They lasted about one hour; during which I took several pictures, and then, like any good Mom would, retreated to the warm van to read (where I could still see them; I didn't totally abandon them!)

This past Friday, I also got out for a little bit (because Rashed had Fridays off in January due to cut hours at work). After having lunch by myself (just me and my book), I stopped at one of our local libraries to return and pick up a couple more books, and then I went to a local yarn store and bought a beautiful skein of hand-dyed yarn for a scarf. I've been wanting to make a scarf to match my coat for quite a while, but have had a very hard time finding anything to coordinate with the particular shade of green that my coat is, so I was excited!

Then I drove over to a small college campus in town to see if I could get a few good pictures.

Those cute ducks don't look like they have a problem with winter!