Monday, December 31, 2007

Year in Review

Okay this year has zipped by. I tried to recall little things through the year and couldn't so I am thankful that I had the blog to look back on.

January of last year found us having a little snow. Of course Braden wants to see big snow and lots of it, so we are going to have to just plan to go do that maybe next winter. I didn't need much help remembering the girl scout cookie sales, boy was that busy. At least this year I am just helping a troop and not in charge of one myself. Looking back I had to chuckle at a Brittney story. We also visited the aquarium for home school day. Another chuckle rereading Braden's question.

February had me laughing at Matt's balloon picking out. Also found more info on tetnus shots. Those posts in February also made me quit griping about doing basketball every weekend until March, because last year I was coaching two teams so I will quit griping (at least as often) and enjoying being a spectator and not a coach.

March found us visiting Anne in Indiana.

April found us finishing up our trip to Anne's. Going to the amusement park for Girl Scouts and found my good friend from Pennsylvania in for a visit.

May found Braden turning 8!! I smiled when I reread this from my sweet boy.

June found us going to swimming lessons that we were less than thrilled about. Also my birthday, Matt's, tennis lessons, friends in lots went on in June.

Okay I am halfway through the year and getting tired of looking through the archives. But I am also loving remembering the things the kids said, etc. Makes me determined to put this over into Microsoft and print it all off eventually. But for now I will say Have a HAPPY AND SAFE NEW YEARS and I will be back in 2008!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Eating healthy = high grocery bill

We have been doing more and more organics for months now. This month however we are trying some new stuff in reference to even more diet changes for Brae. This meant a trip to Tulsa to Wild Oats. Wow some of the things I just could not justify on a few things I went with natural as opposed to organic, rationalizing that the natural was still better than normal store brand that had perservatives, etc. Example organic chocolate chips $6.88 a bag, natural $1.99, store brand $ see I can justify the extra 75 cents after reading the ingredients on the back but not the extra 5 dollars.

All in all I think we did good comparing prices, labels, etc. I was ready for the higher bill but still yikes. I did get some of the things at WalMart and I noted it was the same brand that was at the "health food store" for cheaper. I am thankful they are carrying so many more organic products.

I am also going to be doing several recipes out of the cookbook "Deceptively Delicious" so I will let you know how that goes. It looks like such a neat cookbook. I am going to be doing the pureing that it calls for tommorow and putting the pureas in the freezer to grab as needed.

Of course it goes without saying if the diet changes make the big differences that we hope they will it doesn't matter we will do what we have to and make the higher grocery bill work for us. I was also pleased with the amount of gluten free items that they carried. Harps is also starting to carry more gluten free and organic items at a reasonable price (or at least reasonable in terms of organic foods).

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Wrap Up

Christmas was overall a huge success.
Even relatively drama free and that is saying a lot if you know my SIL.

Christmas Eve basically consisted of 3 rounds. First round was Matt's dad, he did not want to be here when SIL was over so he came for breakfast. It was a nice time with just him and the kids loved playing video games that he had bought them. I think this was the best year that I had done as far as picking gifts that FIL really liked.

Round 2 was the SIL and BIL or as I refer to them (crazy and lazy) as well as MIL. It went a lot better than I had thought it would. I think everyone was pleased with their gifts. I had a few things that bothered me in regards to MIL but I tried not to dwell on it and I just went on and things went okay. They stayed for awhile the nephews loved playing with their new stuff.

Round 3 was my family gifts took over the living room. My family goes all out on Christmas. Even my brother came this year and didn't cause any drama.

Christmas Day (just barely) started at 12:30 with "mom mom mom" because of course they heard jingle bells....yeah...well anyway there was no going back to bed so we got up to see if Santa had visited and sure enough he had. We looked at all the goodies and were up about an hour and I sent everyone back to bed. We got up again at 6:00 and then opened all the other presents.

I think we were all spoiled rotten. I got the one expensive thing I asked for and I love it which is my chi straightening iron. I have always just bought cheap ones at the store not thinking their could really be that big of difference but there certainly is. Matt got lots of books and movies, and things he requested. Big kids gifts were wii and computer. Like I said we were all spoiled rotten! All in all a great Christmas. I have now reclaimed the house and the decorations are all down, tree down, etc.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Jenny McCarthy Book "Louder Than Words"

I have a lot to say about Christmas, and pictures to share but I just couldn't wait to share this book. As most of you know 3 months ago Braden was tentatively diagnosed with Aspergers Autism. I didn't share much about it because even though most of you know I put up a brave front we have been dealing with medical issues going on six years now and it has taken it's toll. Anyway, as always I threw myself into research as that is the way I have always coped. A friend of mine had mentioned a book by Jenny McCarthy. I was not immediately interested because frankly I was not a fan of hers, I thought her persona was not something I would want to read about and she was not someone whose work I followed. Anyway Matt bought me the book for Christmas. I sat down casually reading at 7:40 and did not go to sleep until I read the last page.

Even if your child is not autistic the book is heart wrenching as Jenny fights to find what is out there for her son. Two things that totally stand out to me the first is this qoute "When your child is diagnosed with cancer, neighbors stop by your home bringing precooked meals, hugs, and support. When your child is diagnosed with autism, families who see you in the supermarket will slip away down another aisle." This is so true. I remember back when we were dealing with sensory disorders and Braden would have melt downs and I would get the "control your child" look.
Autism is not something people understand. Of course Braden's medical conditions are not all confined to one diagnosis and the Autism does not cover all of it but it covers a lot of things, and explains a lot including the metals. Jenny talks about all that in her book. While there is some language in the book, I didn't care I cried when she was in despair. The other comment that I just took so much to heart and echoed my thoughts so much was when she was finding holistic and non main stream medication and they would work she was like "wait why didn't the doctor tell me about this, why isn't it on CNN, why isn't it on 20/20 why don't they tell us".

I just can't stress how this book touched me. I feel connected as I have went off the path and not taken the pat answer so many times sometimes in spite of the fact that my family, friends even church did not encourage it. It is like Jenny patted me on the back and told me I was and have done right, and I didn't even realized how much I needed that validation. She describes the seizures, which chill you especially if you have seen your own child do that. She describes the panic. You feel her pain, I identified with it, I identified with the remarks people make thinking they are helping and you just want to rip their heads off. I identified with thinking that the doctor was a quack. I identified with feeling like I have a doctorate in Google. I identified with the endless questions from doctors and the duplicate tests and the answers from them that made no sense. She is working to raise awarness of autism, and vacination coorelation, she talks a lot about vaccines and why she believes there is a connection. What I liked is she is not anti vacination (I am not either) but she does believe that certain children can't handle them and that the government should test children first. I have always said I was anti time frame and now even more so I understand more than I did before. It really is the most awesome book.

I promise a lighter post full of all the goodies we got for Christmas and lots of pictures soon but this is so on my heart. I think I needed this as part of the process of accepting this portion of Braden's medical issues.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2007

This and that

The countdown is getting down to the hours here as far as Brae is concerned. He had to sit and figure out that there was 24 hours in a day and this many days and how many hours he had left till Christmas....he is just a little excited.

I caved and we ended up taking off for Christmas break two days early. I was going to do this whole week but we only made it to Wednesday, I didn't have their minds so it was better to just cut it at Wednesday.

Last night we made the drive to Muskogee and looked at the inflatable world that is at a castle there, and then drove through the beautiful park. My mom went with us and it all went well.

Tonight going to help FIL do a good thing. My FIL doesn't talk to my BIL or his wife anymore because of lots of circumstances, most because they don't take care of their kids. Anyway he has put away those bad feelings to get something really special for the boys, and it is something they desperately we are going to go help him get bunk beds, sheets, comforters tonight and deliver since he doesnt want to have to talk to them, but at least he is helping in a way that he is comfortable with. I am excited about finding fun sheets and comforters for them.

Kids are going over to my parents tonight, will help Matt and I finish wrapping, getting stuff prepared, etc. Matt and I wanted to go to a movie but nothing out that I want to spend for.

A few have asked about Braden's newest meds, unfortunately so far things are not going in the direction we want. However we did start new things on Monday so that is good.

Having lunch with my good friend Christy for lunch as our Christmas to each other... a kid free lunch...sounds like a good present to me...LOL.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Persistence paid off...yeah

A little background: Braden does speech a couple days a week, we have the best speech therapist ever. Our insurance company has refused to pay for his speech this entire year. We have a huge balance of several thousand dollars, and our therapist kept telling us it would work out and she kept fighting with the insurance. They kept denying.

We found out last month our therapist was retiring, she hadn't yet mentioned all the money we owed her, but on top of that we knew that the new young therapist would not be able to hold our bill. We were going to have to cut his therapy time and somehow pay as we went. We got a final refusal from the insurance in November. It said our options were appeal and then a civil lawsuit. Well I told Matt that we were going to appeal. I sat down and wrote what I thought was a good appeal and sent it off. They were suppose to get back within 30 days. I told Matt we might as well be prepared to file the civil suit. I thought about it yesterday and told Matt to call them and get the official denial of our appeal so that I could go ahead and prepare the lawsuit. Well SO THANKFUL to hear that they cut checks on the 12th going from January to July so far, YEAH! I am assuming this means that they will now pay for the upcoming year because if it is medically documented with them now they should have to continue. This is such a relief off of us you just don't know. Also I was talking to Matt and how many people get those rejection of coverage letters and never do anything about it, well in this case it paid to keep going it was a pain I guarantee you Matt spent probably a total of 20 hours on the phone before we even started the appeal but YEAH it is now covered. Just such a relief it is like a Christmas present to us.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

From now till March

What will I be doing every weekend from now till March? Watching this....

They played a very agressive team. Britt is getting more agressive. One player on her team is a little taller than her, but she definetly has the height needed. Some of her facial expressions are so funny. She loves it. Today her legs are sore she played 3 full quarters with no breaks, and lots and lots of running. This was her first game, I know she will feel more comfortable as she gets more comfortable with the rules, etc. The rules are different than in the community league she has played in the last 3 years, way different, which suprises me to some degree since they are both competitive. I am looking forward to seeing how the season unfolds.
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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Brae's Christmas present logic

Braden riding in the car with my mom his nana.

Nana: so what else do you want for Christmas?
Braden: hmmm let me think, I know a wii game.
Nana: A wii game? (because we don't have a wii)
Braden: Yes, because I really want a wii but I know I won't get that but I would at least like to say I have a wii game.

I think I will have a very excited boy on Christmas morning!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas Goodies

I have posted these goodies before but I thought I would participate with Shannon with her Works for Me Wednesdays these are some of my favorite goodies. I have lots more Christmas stuff that I make but haven't got the pictures handy, maybe I can get them done by next week.

Super easy. I take crescent rolls shape into a circle, bake then cool. I then coat with the vegetable cream cheese spread, top with brocolli, cherry tomatoes and make a bow from a red bell pepper.

Nutter Butter Santa's
Take Nutter Butters and melted white almond bark. Dip both ends in the white chocolate. One end will be the beard and you will do nothing more to it. The other end you will place red sprinkles on and place a small mini marshmellow(I cut one into 1/4's and use it), place a dob of almond bark and place mini choc chip eyes and a red hot nose.

This is the tray we made last year for our neighbors. Starting from the bottom:
Angels (these are not one of the easier things that I do, but I think they are worth the extra effort): coat a sugarcone with white almond bark add sprinkles, the head is made from marzipam which you can buy at any grocery store or craft store. I then took a toothpick to draw the face, dyed coconut for the hair, pretzels attached with chocolate for the wings, vanilla wafer (also attached using melted chocolate for the halo---Cherry Thumbprint cookies---Snowman Nutter Butters: Take a Nutter Butter dip in White Almond Bark push in the pretzel arms, place the mini m&m buttons, the choc chip eyes, I used a tooth pick and dyed some melted white chocolate orange and placed on the nose.---Chocolate Mice: Use a Hershey Kiss, then dip a cherry with stem in melted chocolate almond bark place on the kiss, use choc to attach mini choc chip ears, I also use white almond bark to make little eyes.---Peanut Butter Rudolphs: Make your normal peanut butter cookie dough or buy refrigerated on cookie sheet place a small ball and then touching it place a larger ball on top of the large ball place the mini pretzels. They will spread out and give you your reindeer as soon as they come out of the oven place chocolate chip eyes and red hot nose.

Santa Cupcakes These are new to us and I just thought they turned out adorable. Make your basic cupcakes and frost them white. Then on wax paper you are going to use white almond bark make it thick and form a hat shape and a beard shape, the hat shape sprinkle with red sugar and place marshmellows on the brim and top, on the beard do nothing, wait for them to dry and place them on the cupcake (the icing will hold them in place), I use choc chip eyes, red hot nose, red sugar for cheeks and red smile for his mouth.

Rudolph Cupcakes: Regular cupcakes, chocolate frosting, I break off the large pretzels for antlers, m&m's with a dot of black decorators frosting for eyes and a candied cherry for the nose.

Fruit Wreath (my picture got wet and didn't scan well) Basically just cut up lots of fresh fruit dip parts in chocolate and place in wreath shape.

Snowflake cupcakes, these didn't turn out exactly as I pictured but I thought still cute. Regular cupcakes, frosted blue. On a piece of wax paper use a toothpick, spoon, butter knife whatever works for you and make snowflakes out of white melted almond bark. Let them dry and gently (I broke a lot of them) remove and place ont he cupcake.

This is a tray I took to a Christmas party last year. It has most of the stuff I described above. I made large snowman shaped sugar cookies, used fruit by the foot for scarf, m&m buttons, an M&m turned sideways for a nose, mini choc chip eyes, and m&ms for ear muffs, connected with decorator icing.
I also did santa hat cookies just triangle sugar cookie, red icing, coconut for the brim and a marshmellow for the top.
The poinsetta cupcakes are made from gum drop candies that I rolled out placed on the frosting, the yellow centers are mini m&m's

This picture shows my vegetable tree. Just take a cone shaped styrofoam and place the veggies on with toothpicks.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Shopping, ballet, parades...oh my

Busy month.

We are almost finished with Christmas shopping! I am actually hoping to finish the last of it today. Matt was off work yesterday and we threw out a December yard sale. I had never done that before but we had lots of Christmas decorations that we no longer needed, etc so we did. It went well and gave us a little extra shopping money. After the yard sale we went shopping, and out to dinner, poor kids were both about to drop. We had planned to go look at Chirstmas lights but that will have to wait till another night.

We also got our outside decorations finished up. Matt had put the lights up awhile back but our inflatable snowman didn't work this year so we replaced it with a snowglobe which looks cute.

Had a fun Wednesday getting together with friends. Stephanie did so good on getting fun stuff for gingerbread houses. Brae had to give his to his speech therapist because he said she didn't have one in her office.

Today Britt and I attended the Nutcracker Ballet this is the 3rd year we have went together and we just love it. Britt has already said she wants to go again next year.

Unfortunately because of the time of the Ballet we had to miss Braden walking in the parade with his scout troop.

A few pics from this week...

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana Concert

My friend Christy and I and 4 girls braved the Hannah concert in OKC this weekend. FUN FUN FUN. Of course things were going too smooth and we ended up with a flat on the dark interstate and were home 3 hours later than planned, but other than that glich that I will talk about more later the concert was GREAT! We loved it. Christy and I enjoyed it more than 30ish year old women probably should. It was just a great concert. Here are a few pics. I am going to put tons more in my flickr account I took so many. I am going to get them all developed today or tommorow so I can take them to my friends house to share on Wednesday! I think I have 204 pics. There were so many pics, but I can definetly see why it is such a popular concert.

We had so much fun and laughed so much this weekend. We even laughed stranded on I40 we even took pics of the blown tire, the tow truck that had to come help us all for our scrapbook....what an ending that will be for our scrapbook!