Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thursday, July 9, 2009


If I may be so bold as to say, life has thrown me a few lemons lately. So bear with me through this post as I try to make some awesome lemonade! As some of you may know, my second child, Tanner, has been diagnosed with epilepsy. Four weeks ago to the day, we initiated a very rigid and unusual diet known as the "ketogenic diet". The concept is to put his body in a state of starvation so that his blood produces what are known as ketones; hence the name of the diet. Doctors and other smart people who have studied epilepsy and the diet extensively honestly don't know why, but the high amounts of ketones in the blood cause an absence of seizures. This diet has been around for more than 100 years and was initially growing rapidly in popularity but approximately 50 years ago, along with the introduction of several new anti-epileptic medications, the use of the diet faded and seemed almost forgotten. However, fortunately, a famous director in Hollywood whose son was diagnosed with a difficult-to-control form of epilepsy was initiated on the ketogenic diet and had great success. So, his director dad made a film about the ordeal (called "First Do No Harm" starring Meryl Streep) which spread the word about the diet once again. I feel extremely blessed to live in a day and age where the medical community is making great strides in pediatric epilepsy and am grateful to live in a day where this diet is more widely accepted than it used to be. Tanner's story is a long and difficult one to tell but we will save that for another post! And even with all the positive things said about the diet, it is EXTREMELY rigid and difficult to follow. This is where the lemons come in...
After over a year of trying (and failing) one medication after the other, we finally convinced doctors that this diet is what we really wanted. So we began researching what exactly it was that we were getting ourselves into. The month to two months before he was started on the diet, I can remember sobbing tears of joy at the similar stories of other parents with their epileptic toddlers who had had great success on the diet and yet sobbing tears of sadness at the difficulty and rigidity of the diet. I remember reading how one little girl began having seizures after being on the diet for a few months and they finally pinpointed it to the fact that she was eating 4 (that's correct - FOUR) extra nuts in a day!!! Oh my gosh!! I was scared out of my mind and overwhelmed at the thought of the task ahead of me but nontheless, I knew this is what would work for my little boy and would be the only thing that would eventually bring my son (or "son-shine" as I like to call him) back for good. Thus, Tanner was hospitalized June 9 through June 12 of this year to initiate the diet. One has to be hospitalized to begin the diet because, like I mentioned earlier, your body literally goes into a state of starvation. Which can cause some serious problems, as you can probably imagine. Due to the difficulty of controlling Tanner's epilepsy (his diagnosis is "Doose Syndrome") it was recommended by the dietitian that he begin the diet at a 2:1 ratio of fats to carbs/proteins and be worked up to a ratio of 4:1 by the third day of hospitalization. By Thursday, June 11 he was worked up to the full ratio and there has been no turning back (looking back, maybe, but no turning!). After being released from the hospital and being home for a few days, the diet really seemed almost too much to bear. He was constantly asking for foods he couldn't have and for more food in general. Oh yeah, did I mention his caloric intake is restricted as well?? And he can have absolutely NO sugar!! That's right, starvation means starvation!! Now, don't get me wrong, I am not "starving" my child - he is getting sufficient calories to continue growing as he should and is not in a constant state of hunger. The amount of fat he eats sticks to his ribs and fills his belly just fine.....but it is for that exact reason that his caloric intake needs to be limited....too many fats means a fat kid!! And fat has a LOT of calories in it!! My goodness! So, if you are still with me at this point, I will try to sum things up -- my life has been flipped upside-down as I knew it!! Not only has Tanner had to change his eating habits, but our entire family has had to do things a little differently than we used to. My girls can no longer carry bowls full of fish crackers or packets of fruit snacks all over the house. I can no longer wait 'til dinner time to put away the boxes of cereal (like I did that! lol) and my sweep and vacuum have become my best friends. Maybe I am a little paranoid but if a little girl can have seizures over four extra nuts, Lord only knows what is stored beneath the couch cushions will do to him! Yikes! Although this has not been my most favorite four weeks of my life, I try to remain positive, count my blessings, and focus on the positive. So far, Tanner's seizures have reduced at an amazing rate and we have already begun to wean his anti-seizure medicines. And although it can be SO discouraging when he refuses to eat a meal (that I carefully calculated and weighed) and ends up dumping his cup of cream on the newly mopped kitchen floor or vomits his previous meal because his stomach decided it didn't like that particular combo of fats, and I just want to pull my hair out and run to the nearest mental healthcare facility...............I take a deep breath, type out another chapter on my blog, and squeeze the heck out of my lemons so that I can at least get a small glass of lemonade (sweetened with Stevia, of course!). And although my posts seem to get longer and longer, I hope you all bear with me and perhaps together we can combine our lemons to make one awesome pitcher of that refreshing summer drink!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Grocery shopping and cooking dinner

The story of every stay-at-home mom's life, right?? So, you know that lady in Meijer with the disruptive and out-of-control 3-year-old? Ya know, the one who was running up and down the aisles while his tired and distressed mother chased him? Well, I feel the need to write (and rant) about some of the craziness I go through from time to time. Don't get me wrong...I love being a mom and it's what I've always wanted, but motherhood doesn't come without a price. Anyway, I attempted to take my younger two children shopping with me today because Kylene was in school and I thought to myself, "I used to take Kylene and Tanner to the store all the time....I should be able to handle this!" Hmmmmm......I believe my memory failed me and I had forgotten how difficult it is to take a 3 and 1-year-old to the store. I thought I was being so clever. I carefully planned my meals for the week and typed out a grocery list. I even created a grocery list for Tanner using pictures so that he could "help" me shop. Well, the trip started out well enough. Shopping for fruit and vegetables was a breeze.....Camryn kept busy with the sample cookie from the bakery and Tanner helped me fill bags with apples and other assorted fruits. We selected our meat and headed toward the cereal aisle. I turned to glance at Tanner but he wasn't there! I paused, took a deep breath and began scanning the aisles to look for any sign of him. I ended up parking the cart in an "out-of-the-way" location so that I could hunt down my little terror. After using every trick in the book, I discovered I simply could not keep Tanner under control! We ended up in the back of the store and while I was trying to decide between ravioli and tortellini, Tanner took off again.....for probably the 6th or 7th time. (I know, I'm very embarrassed to even admit that!) This time was different, though. The other times, he stayed within my sight and I was able to coax him back to me as I drug him down the next aisle. But I knew this was it.....he was done with this grocery shopping nonsense and we ended up in a full-on chase throughout the ENTIRE grocery section of the store. The muffled laughter from strangers echoed through my ears as I whizzed by with a cart full of groceries, desperately trying to gain control of my son. The desperation in my face must've been quite apparent because a teenager joined me in my quest and helped me tackle my little one. Luckily I had gotten everything I needed and we were able to check out without incident. After we got home and ate some lunch, I settled down for a nice, calming episode of Oprah from my DVR. Ah, the joys of motherhood!

I have to get to bed for now....but unfortunately my day didn't end there! Tune in tomorrow for part two...."cooking dinner."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

An "A-ha" Moment...

On my way home from helping with Kylene's class today, I came to the sudden realization that the vision I had of myself nearly 9 years ago had come to be!! As a naive teenager, my future dream of being a wife and mother seemed so distant. This memory, however, seemed like it happened just yesterday. I was in the driveway of the house I grew up in with my best friend at the time, Amber. Our silly girlishness led us outside to enjoy the fading days of summer when suddenly, I decided to try on her baseball cap. Amber told me I looked like a "soccer mom". I gleamed on the inside (trying not to appear too pleased with what I knew wasn't a compliment) and proceeded to check out my reflection in the window. We went on to "joke" about the minivan, the kids in the backseat, the juice boxes that littered the cupholders, and the constant driving in order to shuffle the kids to their designated sporting events. The thought of cleaning my car out when I got home triggered this sudden memory and produced an immediate sense of accomplishment within the essence of my being – I believe Oprah would call it an “a-ha” moment. :) At times, the troubles and trials of motherhood get me down but moments like these make me realize how satisfying my role as wife and mother to my little family truly is. I'm right where I want to be....what more can I ask for? :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Valentine's Day Summary

My hubby and I have tried to "boycott" Valentine's Day since we were engaged! I don't think we are very good at it because we have always done something sneaky and romantic for one another on V-Day. Perhaps it is an over-commercialized "Hallmark" holiday in which many rush to the stores to overstock and over-indulge in chocolate. But maybe there is something more to this day of love...

My sweetheart took me to the Blue Fin Restaurant here in Howell. We had delicious sushi rolls made with fresh salmon and our buddies Lara and Steve had us try raw eel and octupus! I didn't care much for the eel but the octupus was really good! This surprised me. In fact, liking sushi to begin with surprised me. (I first tried it a few months ago and LOVED it!!) I think it helps that I've only eaten well-made sushi. :) But, before we dined on the delicious feast of raw fish, Alan and I got to attend a temple session together. We haven't been to the temple in a long time but I am so blessed and have a wonderful visiting teacher and amazing friend who offered to watch our crazy kids. I really can't think of a better place to spend Valentine's Day with the man I love mostest in the world!!

So I've come to the conclusion, with this being our 8th V-Day together, that devoting a day to simply show love for the ones you love and care for the most isn't such a bad idea after all. I guess it's not such an awful thing to have a day set aside especially for that. Life is busy and crazy and scheduling a day of romance definitely has its perks!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Random happenings...

I know these pictures are all of my kiddos when they are really little - but I came across them today and simply had to share the cuteness!!!! :) And it dawned on me that the picture of Camryn was taken exactly one year ago! :(

Ok! Since it has been a while since I wrote...I thought I would share some happy adorable moments of my life - the ones I will live off of when I'm an old gramma rockin' in my chair knitting a doily. Just a few weeks ago, Kylene was playing "this little piggy" on Camryn's toes and said, "This little piggy goes to Hutchings....this little piggy got married!" And just when I thought she couldn't get any more adorable she continued, "This little piggy goes to college...and this little piggy goes to work! And this little piggy went wee, wee, wee all the way home!" I don't know that I've laughed so hard in my life! What an intuitive little 5-year-old that I have!

Then there is my Tanner. One evening when Alan tucked him in for bed, Tanner asked, "Am I your son??" Alan replied an exuberant, "Yes!" Tanner sweetly replied, "I like it." And then he rolled over and fell fast asleep. What a heart melter!!

Camryn is a sweetie all around and lately her favorite phrase is, "You! I love you!" Every time we say thank you she says, "Elcome!" And she ALWAYS says, "Bless you!" every time somebody sneezes.....or coughs! I love her to pieces and enjoy just about everything that comes out of her mouth....even when she says, "No!" Sometimes it is SO cute....I guess the key is to not let HER know that! :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

It's a New Year!!

Ok, now that it's 2009, I made it one of my New Year's resolutions to make more posts on my blog! So here I am! I guess I want to start by apologizing for being "technically challanged". :) I didn't even realize until today that people had posted comments! Wow, I feel so lame! I'm sorry - I promise to be more diligent about blogging and following others' blogs.

With that said, we had a wonderful Christmas and New Year! Christmas '08 was our first one with just our little family. It was definitely different but it was very nice, too. Although a little quieter than our other Christmases, our kiddos are finally getting the hang of this Santa Claus thing and were very excited this year! (Well, Kylene and Tanner at least!) Kylene was the first one up and was thrilled when she discovered all the presents under the tree. Once Alan and I rolled out of bed and got the camera and camcorder out, the present opening began. There was plenty of snow on the ground from prior storms but I've always wanted a true "white Christmas" with snow falling as we opened presents. I grew up in Colorado Springs so you would think I've had plenty of white Christmases but actually, it only snowed once on Christmas that I can remember and it was extremely early in the morning, so I really don't count it! LOL, anyway, this year I got my wish. The snow was gently drifting down just like a snow-globe! The ambiance it provided was perfect - I couldn't have asked for anything more! :)