Accelerated Reader!

28 01 2011

There are some great things about the AR Assembly.

Seeing Eden excited (and wearing the sparkly skirt I made for her thankyouverymuch) about her reading trophy is fantastic.

And so are the Jesus sightings!

Happy weekend, everyone!





Pamidronate Update

26 01 2011

Since writing my post about Osteogenesis Imperfecta last summer, I have had at least one click per day from someone who was doing a web search for more information. Because of that, and because, shoot, I’m just a generally caring and thoughtful person, I decided to share a little bit more about the treatment Zack and Rainbow have been getting.

I wrote a post last February about hard decisions that a parent sometimes has to make. I didn’t want to bore you with details, but since going to the conference I have realized other parents are going to be in my shoes, trying to make the same decisions. So I’m sharing the information I have in hopes it might help someone else with theirs. The decision reached last year by me, my kids’ father, and our medical team (pediatric endocrinologist, pediatric orthopedist, and registered nurse) was to put the kids on a drug called pamidronate, to be given by infusion.

At that time, when I asked what the side effects were, I was told, “There aren’t any.”

Hey! Great news, right?

When I went to the OI conference several months later (after the kids had received two treatments), I learned some disturbing things.

First of all, putting the kids on pamidronate is a Commitment. I realized this, but simultaneously didn’t realize it. Pamidronate slows the reabsorption of bone (bone continually reabsorbs and rebuilds itself in everybody) so that the bone becomes denser and, as a result, (hopefully) stronger. However, if you stop administering pamidronate while a child is still growing, the point where the pamidronate bone meets the new regular-density bone is at extremely high risk for fractures. A mistake many people have made is to think, “Oh, she’s doing so well; we haven’t had a break in two years!” Then they discontinue the pamindronate (because she’s doing so well!) and break even worse than before. So, now that we’ve started, we are in this for the Long Haul.

Second, not all doctors like pamidronate. One doctor was almost angry as she explained that pamidronate changes the structure of bone and NOT all kids with OI need it. At one point near the end of the conference, a different doctor was explaining a new drug that is similar to pamidronate and a mother brought her child in the room. “Do you think he needs it?” she asked. The doctor asked how many fractures he’d had in the past year. “Three,” she said. “No. He doesn’t need it.”

At this point, my heart had sunk clean into my toes. I’d learned that once you start, you can’t stop (like so many drugs! Drugs are bad!), and then I’d learned with the rate of my children’s fractures, they probably didn’t even need it. (Insert large helping of parental guilt here.) Not only that, I’d also found out they don’t have any longitudinal studies about the effects pamidronate use has on girls and their ovaries. (Second helping of guilt.) My Rainbow, the little mother . . . WHAT HAVE I DONE?

Deep breath.

Anyway, earlier this week we went in again to talk to the medical team. The kids both had DEXA scans (to check bone density) late last year, so we were going to compare the results to the ones we took before treatment started.

They have both made great gains.

Not only that, no spinal deformities were present. One of the main reasons we decided to have the treatment done in the first place is because both children were found to have numerous vertebral compression fractures–like “9” and “6” numerous.

My daughter used to complain constantly about her back hurting. (More guilt! I’m getting  full.) She hasn’t done that, not for a long time.

So, I’m not saying it’s the right choice for everyone, but I really do think it was the right choice for my kids.

And look–Zack is as tall as a street sign, now! So something must be working, right?

No guarantees, warranties, or any other kind of tees are made with reference to the height of this sign. Just so you know.

 





Opinions, Please

22 01 2011

I’ve been considering opening an Etsy shop. If you are unaware, Etsy is an online marketplace for handmade goods. You get your own shop, then pay the people who run Etsy a small fee for everything you sell. I’ve heard of people making pretty good money, but I’m still not entirely convinced that I could make anything people would want to buy.

I made this for my friend’s daughter.

What do you think? They are drawn on cardstock in ink, colored with colored pencil, and laminated. Velcro attaches them to the board and onto strips on the back when not in use. Each square is 2″ x 2″ and the background is 5 1/2″ by 8 1/2″. Would you buy something like this for your daughter or would you (like me, I admit) just think, “I could make that,” and do it yourself? How much would you be willing to pay if you were, in fact, interested? Is $10 too much?

Please consider yourself the market I’m researching and reward yourselves accordingly.

Post edit: Here’s a shot of the back.





“Security”

21 01 2011

Do these pictures make you feel as “secure” as they do me?

[Shiver.]





Pinewood Derby the Last (at least for four years or so)

20 01 2011

Hot on the heels of my furniture re-makeover triumph comes a post chock-full of my ineptitude. The pendulum of greatness, it does swing.

So here’s the story. The pinewood derby was scheduled for Wednesday, and I thought, “What a great family home evening! The girls have always wanted to make pinewood derby cars. It will be perfect.”

In my mind, I saw us sawing and sanding and painting–with copious amounts of smiling and singing. Kind of like little elves.

In reality, I can’t use a coping saw for love or money. I had the kids draw out their designs on paper, then trace them on the car blocks. When the saw proved to be more than I could handle, I had this great idea to drill little pilot holes all along the car edges. The saw would cut through much more easily, right? Right.

It worked! Sort of.

If you could ignore the gigantic gouges throughout the car body, that is.

I discovered something, though. I work well with children. I work well with tools. But when you mix those together, I don’t work so well. A case of 2 + 2 = 3, if you get what I mean.

Since I was visiting Home Depot the next day for Plexiglas anyway, I picked up some sandpaper for the belt sander and worked on smoothing out the body while Zack was at school.

 The car, Sonic Boom, was salvaged. It didn’t race particularly well (the weight placement needed to be different, I think), but it looked really cool. And that’s all that really matters, anyway, right?

 Here’s a shot of Eden’s Blue Wave and Rainbow’s Rainbow Racer. Even though they didn’t get to race on the track (and probably wouldn’t have done very well if they had), they did get to participate in an extra game the troop had set up, where you pushed your car from the foul line and tried to get it closest to the basketball court boundary without going over it. Guess who won?





Before and After

19 01 2011

Once upon a time, I had grandparents. One set of grandparents lived in a tiny town in a farmhouse with giant cottonwood trees around the property and a barn out back that always looked like it was going to fall over. (Eventually it did. The wind really blows in Idaho.)

There were lots of interesting places to explore when we went to my grandparents’. There was a closet in the upstairs bedroom chock full of fun stuff. There was always food in the candy jar in the kitchen. And then there was the basement.

The basement was kind of dark and little bit cold. But once you got past the storage room with the troll, there was a big rec room with crazy carpet, a pool table, and a wet bar. I remember playing down there for hours, especially in the first bedroom. It had a ping pong table, an old wood-burning range that was great for playing chef, and a little dish cupboard.

After my grandpa died, it seemed kind of crude to be asking for “stuff,” but I must have gotten over it because I said to my mom, “And if no one wants that little dish cupboard I would really like it.”

Either no one else thought to ask for it, or my mom arm wrestled everyone for it and won, because I got it.

I’ve lived in Washington for 7 1/2 years. I think we hauled it back with us about five years ago.

Which means it’s been sitting in my garage for a long time.

Behold the cabinet:

I had already taken the back off before I took this picture. I think at one point it survived a flood because there was a lot of damage on the back where moisture seemed to have leached halfway up, and the lower trim was missing a piece and turned out to be basically unsalvagable. But despite its eye-sored-ness, I still loved it and couldn’t give up on refinishing it.

I believe it was built by my great-grandfather, who was a carpenter, for my aunt Rosalie. You can’t buy a cabinet like that, folks!

Over winter break, I decided I was going to use some of the ‘free time’ available to finish some projects. Good intentions often meet bad ends, though. The cupboard is old enough for me to be worried about lead paint issues, so I put off doing anything until after the kids went back to school. I did, however, pull it out of its little garage corner so there was no room for me to park my car inside. On the iciest month of the year. (I really need to rexamine my timing.)

Anyway, I went to Lowe’s about 14 times over the past three weeks (and to Home Depot once) and it’s finally finished. Wahoo!

I bought a miter box and re-did the lower trim. Check out that corner! (But not too closely!)

I used a power saw for the first time to get the bead board backing to fit. I wasn’t exactly manly about it, but I think I weilded it with womanly authority (whatever that means). And I put Plexiglas in the windows (hence the trip to Home Depot). You can’t tell what color it is from the picture, but after using a sealing-type primer (darn lead paint!) I painted it in a light turquoise blue. Here she is:

I feel like it turned out well. Eden LOVES it, and has already begun adorning it.

Yes, that is a giant stuffed tiger in the bottom. Yes, that is a stick horse with reindeer ears. The adventure of its new life has already begun!





Sisters

18 01 2011

This post is dedicated to my mom (and my dad, too, I guess). Behold the dresses (you know, Dad–the ones you gave them for Christmas?):

Hm. I really need to find a better place to take pictures than in front of the fridge.

Growing up, I always wished I had a sister so we could dress the same. Tell me, all you who have sisters, was it so fun dressing the same? I remember one time when I got a hand-me-down from my friend Niki, and she got a hand-me-down from her sister Amber, and they were the same shirt and so we wore them on Field Day and I thought it was the Best Day Ever. Even if I didn’t get any blue ribbons.

It’s not that I don’t love my brothers, because I do. I just couldn’t ever convince any of them to dress like me.

Guess who’s tired of the photo shoot?

In other news, guess who can do the splits?

Both ways?

Yeah, it’s my Rainbow. She does the splits several times a day, just for fun. In fact, the other day I had her with me at Sam’s Club. I was busy watching my groceries be checked, playing that game where you look at the total on the screen and you look at the remaining groceries on the conveyor belt and calculate how close your initial estimate is going to be (don’t you just love that game?) when I looked over my shoulder and caught a movement from my peripheral vision. My lower peripheral vision.

Rainbow was, in fact, doing the splits. Chinese. In Sam’s Club. I know, right? Ew. But I couldn’t stop laughing anyway. I’m not sure if she was showing off or simply bored. I’ll have to keep an eye on that.

I bet if I had a sister to call, she would know.

Call your sister! She wants to talk to you.