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The story of our precious little girl's 17 months of life with Trisomy 18 (July 4, 2010 - December 15, 2011) and of us, re-learning to live "after Lilly."
"I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made ...." Psalm 139:14

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Book List - December 2015

I can't believe January is almost over!  These past weeks of sickness have not been a cheerful/productive way to bring in the new year.  But thankfully, we're almost all better.  Tabby felt well enough to go back to school yesterday.  In the days before, she tried to catch up with schoolwork. 

One thing was to practice her recitation of Mark Anthony's Funeral Oration for her rhetoric class.  Thankfully Hunter can read well, so he was able to help her.  It cracked Tabby and I up because at the end of every line she got right he would vigorously nod his head "yes."

"Friends, Romans, countrymen ..."
I read a quote recently that even shocked Hunter.  That is:  Only 15% of Americans read more than 5 books a year.

The perfect end to my day is to read a book.  :)   Here is my December list:

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder (edited by Pamela Smith) - If you've had an extended conversation with me since I read this book, I most likely started talking about it!  If you liked the "Little House on the Prairie" books - this is a must read!  Before the Little House books, which Laura wrote with her daughter Rose's editing help, Laura wrote her autobiography and tried to have it published.  She was never able to. 

About 2 years ago, I learned that you could get a copy of the autobiography on microfiche from a certain library and was looking into doing that when I stumbled across The Pioneer Girl Project.  I learned that a group had transcribed Laura's original manuscript and were annotating it and adding photographs.  It was turned into a massive, beautiful coffee table sized book that was published last year.

I have read the book - though not every single annotation - and want to go back and do that at some point.  Laura wrote her autobiography for an adult audience and so she mentions scandals and other situations that would not be appropriate in the children's books.  (Those times weren't really as innocent as we thought!). 

The scariest story in the book happened when Laura's family lived in Indian Territory (Kansas).  There were two women that ran a little house where they invited weary passerby's in for a meal.  The small home was divided by a sheet and the table by the sheet.  While the innocent person(s) were eating, one of the women would go behind the sheet, pick up her weapon, and murder them right through the sheet!  Then they'd throw the body(ies) into the basement and steal all that persons things.  These women invited Pa in, on his way home from a trip to the town of Independence.  Thank God he decided not to stop or who knows what Laura's life would have been like!  Eventually a group of vigilantes found out what was going on and went after the women - after more than 40 people had been murdered.  Goodness!  Can you imagine the horror movie this would make?  (Note - this is the last story in the book - Tabby and I both made the unfortunate mistake of reading this right before trying to go to sleep.)

It was so fascinating to get more details into Laura's real life.  Like about her baby brother Freddie that died at 2 months old.  And about when the family had to work at a hotel to make ends meet.  And - well I don't want to spoil all the goodies for you.  Just read this book!

Family movie night & Hunter's choice- he picked his favorite documentary:  Tesla: Master of Lightening . Tesla was so brilliant!

The Artistic Mother: A Practical Guide for Fitting Creativity into Your Life by Shana Cole - I don't remember where I picked this book up, but it really spoke to me.  I NEED to have creative outlets in my life.  And I have realized how much I like to create with my hands.  The book includes stories by a number of mamas who share how they fit creative time into their daily lives.  There are also a number of mixed media art projects to try, with step-by-step instructions. 

From the Tesla documentary - Hunter thinks these motors are "so cute!"
Math Works:  Montessori Math and the Developing Brain by Michael Duffy - Since Solomon likes Montessori type activities, I was curious what Montessori math methods were.  This book was a quick read.  It had good descriptions of Montessori math materials and how children learn from them.  It sounded pretty rigorous.  There was not any instructions on how to teach this math at home so if I go that route any, I would need another resource.

Pilipinto's Happiness: The Jungle Childhood of Valerie Elliot by Valerie (Elliot) Shephard - We recently watched "End of the Spear" with Tabby.  It is the story of Steve Saint, Jim Elliot, and a few other men and their families who worked as missionaries to reach the dangerous, primitive Eucuadorian tribe of Auca Indians.  The men were all martyred - speared to death.  Valerie was only 10 months when her father died.  She, her mother Elisabeth Elliot, and Rachel Saint, later moved in with the Auca tribe to teach them about God.  (How brave is that!!)  Valerie wrote this book for children, about her childhood with the Aucas, and it is really a fascinating story.  You can read all about how she learned to suck out fish eyeballs to eat and other interesting ways of life.  Valerie wrote that she and her mother ended up loving living with the Aucas because their life was so "simple, happy, and interesting."  (Unfortunately, this book currently seems to only be available as used, and is rather expensive.)

By the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder - I read this book to Hunter and Solomon.  They are as fascinated by Laura's stories as I was as a child - and still am.  In this book, the Ingalls family traveled to Minnesota in their covered wagon. They first lived in a dugout home.  Then Pa built a house.  Then their wonderful crops were destroyed by billions of grasshoppers.  Once again, as I am re-reading these books as an adult, I am so amazed at the family's resourcefulness.  I wish I had more of their skills and knowledge!

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Eye of Tabby - Photography for the week of Jan. 24

Last Saturday, Tabby aka pneumonia girl, couldn't stand it any more and she bundled up, took her camera, and headed out into the snow.  She asked me to tag along to make sure she didn't pass out or anything.  She got so many pictures!  And she apologizes for how many there are in this post.  ;)

"Always" - tribute to Alan Rickman aka Snape

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Snow and an attack

The children are all recovering from pneumonia.  The boys just have a little coughing here and there and still want to go to bed at night earlier than usual. Tabby's lungs still hurt and she is spending most of the day laying on the couch.  But she has been up and about some, which is progress.  And she's gained back 4 lbs.  Yay!  (I'm flashing back to when I used to triumphantly post that Lilly had gained another pound.)

The weather has been quite cold which means taking hot water out often to the animals.  We had some snow, then some sleet, and last night a little more snow.  Not much of an accumulation but the boys have been enjoying playing outside.  I just came back inside from taking pictures and thought I would post some.

our sweet rooster and hens enjoying the wood box
Tabby's Silkies like to hang out under the bird feeder so that they can eat the birdseed that the birds drop

"Hello" from Sundrop! (the goats seem to like the snow way better than all the rain and mud we had recently)

the Guinea fowl - a close knit group always marching together

deer track!  we have lots of tracks all over the yard.

trampoline fun

snowball fight!
view from the road

a wagon??!!  where's the sled??

frozen camellia buds/flowers - love the icicle effect

smile for the camera!

pneumonia girl, watching from safe inside

If you are squeamish about animals, then stop reading now.

The other night, I could not find Exhaust Pipe.  When it's cold, we bring the dogs into our enclosed porch so they will be comfortable.  I had a bad feeling because this was not like him to be gone, and especially to miss supper!

The next morning while doing the animal chores, I was calling him and praying.  I got a strong feeling that I needed to look in the woodshed.  I did and there he was.  Curled up and bloody!  I was horrified.  He had bite marks scattered over his body.  One leg in particular was quite bloody.  I picked him up but he was so heavy I couldn't carry him far.  Luckily he could limp along.

I got him to the enclosed porch and cleaned up his wounds.  The were big, deep bite marks.  I am thinking he got into a fight with a coyote.  (Exhaust Pipe most likely has a good fighting instinct - he is a mix of German Shepherd/Collie/Pit Bull.)  The wounds were fresh but cleaned up very nicely.  I only had to wrap the one on his leg that was still bleeding some.  I gave him a dose of silver, which is an antibiotic, and have continued with aggressive doses.

I covered him in warm towels and blankets and turned on the heat lamp to make sure he was extra toasty.  Then I gave him some chicken soup.  He drank it very nicely and even ate some dog food.

Just like the kids, he is slowly but surely recovering. (Thank God because everything is shut down around here because of the ice and snow.)  His wounds are there, but looking better.  He is drinking and eating.  And getting lots of rest.  I think I am annoying him at times by covering him with the blanket because when I check him a few minutes later, he's taken it back off.  He's limped outside a few times too.

Man.  As I was treating him (and then consulting a book to make sure I did everything right) I was thinking "I never wanted to be a vet!"  Then I thought about my kids and how hard I've been working to get them well.  "I never wanted to be a nurse!"  And that nurse thing - I sure was forced to have a crash course on that one when Lilly was alive.

You know what I wanted to be "when I grew up?"  Something safe and sensible.  First it was a detective.  Then a writer.  Then a probation officer.  I ended up being a paralegal.  And I tell you - working full-time as a paralegal was SOOOOO much easier than what I do now.

But I wouldn't change it.  :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

To the hospital and back again - Tabby's unexpected adventure

Last Thursday evening, I decided that Tabby needed to go to the doctor.  She just couldn't keep food down with the persistent coughing.  She had lost about 10 lbs. and didn't need to lose more.  Then Hunter started coughing until his supper came up - third night in a row.  I told him he would go to the doctor too.  Then Solomon had a rough night of coughing.  So Friday morning I called the pediatrician and got all three kids a mid-morning appointment.

After I made the appointment, Tabby announced that she had lost more than 10 lbs. - it was now 26 lbs.  Oh my goodness.

Before long I learned that all three kids had pneumonia!  Their doctor said it is rampant in this area right now.  And highly contagious.  Soon we were headed to the pharmacy for two antibiotics per child and medicine for the nebulizer.  (Thankfully I still had Lilly's nebulizer.)

By evening, Tabby's breathing wasn't good and her lungs hurt her very badly.  She and I headed to the hospital.  I figured they would give her a more powerful breathing treatment and send her home.

The breathing treatment didn't really work. 

Tabby kept having what I called breathing spasms.  Her throat would close up and she couldn't breath well.  It was scary.

Soon she was on oxygen.

The hospital we were at did not have a pediatric unit.  So we were transferred to the big hospital in Raleigh that Lilly spent time at.  We rode in style - Tabby on a bed on wheels in the back, and me as a passenger in the front.

We arrived at 11:00 p.m. and the check in and initial examination took awhile.  Tabby was on oxygen and an IV and pulse ox.  Finally, after midnight, we were alone.

We ended up talking about Lilly a bit.  This happened so much like her hospitalization in Jan./Feb. 2011 for a virus.  (Honestly I had a fear of coming back to this hospital.  But this helped me work through that.)  Tabby knew I was really worried about her.  She said "I'm not Lilly.  I'm not going to die."  Then she said "You have bad luck with daughters."  My response was "God gave me the exact children He wanted me to have."

Saturday Tabby did a good job eating and keeping her food down.  Even though it was just "hospital food."

The doctors were all really concerned about her loss of 26 lbs.  And Tabby's lungs hurt her really bad.  She found a good distraction - watching FOX News and HGTV.  We don't have cable TV at home so this was a treat for both of us.  Tabby's actually a politics junkie and was really excited that we got to watch some of the Republican candidate debates that night.

There was a Ronald McDonald room down the hall where I was able to go and eat some food for free: Hot Pockets, chips, applesauce, and pudding.  It wasn't Trim Healthy Mama but oh it was good!  The volunteer in there asked me to please pick out a little homemade stuffed animal from a basket for Tabby.  I picked a little green dog.  She really liked it!  She named it Barkdogeïphontes from the character Argeïphontes (Hermes)  from The Odyssey. 

Later that day, Tabby ended up with an Xbox.  This was her first time playing one.  She played several Lego games:  Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Lord of the Rings.  It helped her stay quiet and distracted from her discomfort.

Sunday morning she was off the oxygen.  And we were so surprised to look outside our wonderful big window and see SNOW!  It snowed pretty hard for a bit but didn't stick.  It was so pretty.

One of the nurse assistants came in for a bit and played Lego Star Wars with Tabby.  His name was Russ and he was really kind.  After he left, Barkdogeïphontes ended up with a nickname:  Russ.  We really liked all of the nurses Tabby had.  Some were more personable, but all were kind, gentle, and seemed to really care.

Sunday night Tabby was back on oxygen.  Sleeping was just harder without it.

Monday morning, Tabby was off oxygen, but still having some of the "breathing spasms."  Painful and exhausting.

When doctors made their rounds, they decided that Tabby would recover better at home.  So she got her discharge papers that afternoon and we got ready to leave.

Frank and the boys came to pick us up and off we went.  After a nap and supper, Tabby began to perk up a little.

The kids all finished one of their antibiotics today.  They will be on the other for several more days.  (I'm stuffing as many probiotics and yogurt into them as they will let me to help their upset from the antibiotics tummies.)  And the boys are continuing to use the nebulizer some.

Hunter and Solomon are doing much better.  They still tire easier than normal and still cough.  But they are much more active.  Tabby is having a good day resting on the couch and eating huge meals.  She has a lot of weight to gain back.  Her lungs still hurt, but not as terribly as they did.

We can not do nebulizer treatments around here without thinking of Lilly.  It makes me smile.  She had high opinions about that nebulizer and thought they were most annoying!


Solomon and I just loaded the above grumpy Lilly pictures.  We did find another one where she looked pretty calm that he wanted me to post:

What a wild ride January has been so far.  Good thing I didn't make any new years resolutions or goals to accomplish in January because the month is almost over.  We will continue to take it slow and encourage complete recovery around here for a bit.

"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." - Lamentations 3:22-23