I haven't been on here in a while. Since that time ...
...I'm in my last half of highschool. I'm a junior. It takes up some time.
...Pooky is now 9 months and defying all rules of Down Syndrome. But then, our family's just generally contradictory.
...there have been many birthdays, and almost all of us can claim to be yet another year older. Yes, I'm one of them. Yesterday I celebrated my technically-15-but-still-feels-like-I'm-14-th birthday. My third gluten-free one. And the third one in which I get a cake pretty much to myself. I cut it up and freeze it, and it lasts me well into the next year. This year, everyone else got a cheesecake -Mom (and I agree) thinks that the official 'cake' is usually too expensive to just hand it out to all thirteen of us.
...a bunch of the kids (myself not included) painted the back deck white. And it's still confusing a few people who think it snowed. Which it does about once ever 1-2 years down here. In January.
...I have successfully completed driver's ed. I had the third highest score on the final, so I guess that was good.
...and I am off to do other things...
The day before Valentine's Day, we were having potatoes, asparagus, salad, and fish. I skipped the potatoes and had the rest. Turns out the fish had butter on it.
I was never terrible allergic/sensitive to dairy. It was a tiny thing resulting from gluten intolerance that had gone unnoticed. So I went back on. And it doesn't seem to be bothering me, eight days from then. So I will happily slip back onto some chocolates, cocoa, butter, sour cream, cream cheese, and other things I might have missed by going off dairy. (I was never a big cheese fan, however, so that didn't really affect me.)
One was that I went to a concert and was away from home from noon until 0030 -or, as some people prefer to call it, midnight thirty. It was a Winter Jam, the second concert of the tour. Artists like Newsong, Newsboys, and Third Day (which in my opinion was the best of all), along with many others, were playing from 6 o'clock until past 10:20, when our group decided to skip the rush and leave early.
The other things was ...while I was on my way to be picked up to go to the concert, we got "the call". We had a new brother, the eleventh baby.
What we also learned during that call was that not only was my (our) little brother having respiratory distress (which later improved a lot), but he had Down's Syndrome.
The kind of thing you always read about or imagine happening to other people, but never to you.
I'm not sure what my brain was programmed to at that point, but it wasn't 'that's terrible!' The first thought that entered my mind was, 'that's cool!'
Let me explain. What I have read about and experienced with people who have Down's Syndrome, they are some of the most joyful, loving, caring people on this earth. Who cares if they're mentally disabled. What really matters is their attitude, and if they have the joy of the Lord -God doesn't admit people into heaven based on their mental abilities or their IQ. He cares about the heart. And people with Down's Syndrome have almost no obstacle in their minds to overcome to reach God.
That's why that's so cool.
A bonus God gave us ...people who have Down's Syndrome usually have heart problems and require surgery. My little brother's heart was perfectly sound.
God. Is. Good.
We expected a baby to arrive around New Year's. With eight girls already far outnumbering the two boys in the family (not including parents), we were thinking it was going to be a baby girl.
Exactly a week ago, my little brother popped out. The delivery was quick and easy, which Mom (and everyone else) was very thankful for ...but the little boy, who is now in possession of several nicknames, such as 'Bongo' and 'Pooky', had to be transferred to another hospital because he was having a great deal of difficulty breathing. That and there is a very good chance that he has Down Syndrome. Thankfully, though, he had no heart problems, which many Down Syndrome kids have and require surgery for.
It was only a week ago, but it's been one of the longest weeks we've ever gone through. Bongo had to be able to breathe on his own (Down Syndrome kids have 'floppy' airways and more trouble breathing than most children, and he also had chemical pneumonia). It took a while before he was able to get off and stay off the respirator, but yesterday he was able to come home to his ten older siblings who couldn't wait to hold him. One thing we all know, Bongo will never be lacking for TLC.
I've been gluten- and casein- free for over a year, soy-free for almost a year, and none of my symptoms have gone away. My joints still ache, I'm still tired all the time.
Thankfully, I have an absolutely awesome mom and dad who keep trying to figure out what's wrong ...and I think we may have hit something this time. [u][/u]The Diet Cure[u][/u] by Julia Ross -filled with little questionnaires that direct you towards what chemical imbalance your body may have -has definitely helped me find out what's wrong (I think I have about five of the eight imbalances she listed, along with maybe a thyroid issue). Currently I'm testing one of those things -a sugar allergy. It's been about one day, and I've already noticed a change in my fatigue levels.
Still hoping for a cure,
As before and always be,
For those of you who don't know, I'm a fantasy fiction author. I love to write. I can't communicate all that well by talking, but writing suits me perfectly. Poems, songs, books, even papers -you name it. I love to write.
Well, with a combination of starting a story around Feb/March, writing (this is all by hand) 181 pages in April, and writing 150 pages last month and several misc. pages in between, I've finished my first book. Funny. It's also the last book in the series. It's not getting published anytime soon, partly due to editing but mostly due to not having the 7 other books finished. Well, I've started another one (the second book of the eight -I hate having to go in order, if you couldn't tell) and have plenty of ideas for others. The books aren't immensely long (or planned out -I find out the beginning and the end and go from there) but they'll all probably be around 200 pages long. And I'm planning on writing 50k words in November -now that I've got a place to actually get it done. I'm a homeschooler in a rather large family. Everything's hand-me-down. Including laptops. Technically it's still Dad's ...but the kids use it more than he does and my sister and I get to use it next. So maybe then I'll have enough time to count the words I write.
Technically April I was supposed to write 35k -or around there. I didn't have enough time on the computer to count that out. So I estimated how many pages I'd need to make 35k. Spetember I was supposed to do 40k. 150 pages. I probably got it. In fact, in April I probably got around 50k. I'm not sure, but by my estimates -2 written pages to a typed page -5 pages covers it.
Sorry if I completely bored you with this ramble. I think it interesting ...but you might not.
Anyway, something our family found out in early-ish May -Kid #11's coming in January! Oh yeah! All the kids are excited. We've been praying for another kid (it's been 3 years since the last) and this is a great answer to prayer! Thank you God for this new life!
Yesterday night was the first time I'd ever eaten out since being diagnosed. (I'm not counting flavored ices at stands and stuff like that.)
We (my dad and I) had a GREAT time at the Outback. The food was absolutely delicious, cooked to perfection (their wasabi -soy free - was GREAT!), but that's not what we paid for.
The customer service was super, and a waiter that helped us figure out exactly what I could and couldn't have on the menu. He even went into the kitchen to make sure that they did everything right. They had a gluten-free desert but I was so full by that time that I didn't order it. Afterwards the manager checked on us to make sure that everything was alright. I'd give this place a 5-star rating -even if the food wasn't perfect (and it was) -simply because of their great customer service. That's what we pay for.
Well, in less than a week I'll be going on my second gluten free vacation.
My first one was to a camp. I had only been gluten free for about a month, two months then. I brought along a good deal of Ziploc bags filled with stuff such as beef stew, chicken, rice, and peppers, and a variety of breakfast foods. The camp nurse was wheat free, so she knew something of what I could and could not have. So that week I lived almost purely on beef stew and chicken and rice ...and some desserts I had brought along.
This isn't a camp. Still, I've been pre-baking and -making (although the rice crackers didn't turned out very well) and I hope to be ready soon!
Got a haircut yesterday. About ten inches were donated to Locks of Love. That's about the third time I've done it. The first time I donated somewhere around 17 inches and still had around 8-10 inches left. The other time I donated around...10 inches. It's really fun and it's better than just a plain haircut because you help out others who have lost hair from cancer or other diseases. (http://www.locksoflove.org/).
I think I got glutened yesterday. Beats me as to how. Breakfast was completely fine -aside from the crumbs in the toaster, which might have done it though it never has before. (I'm the only one gluten free in our house, and since we don't have a whole lot of extra money with ten kids, we only have one toaster.) Lunch was at home and was completely fine unless Perdue chicken recently changed its ingredients. Dinner was the most likely culprit, though I can't think of what it might be. For beverages I had 7UP, and some Pepsi and apple juice (I did check its ingredients and they were fine). The snacks I had were nachos (that my uncle made, and I know that they were gluten- casein- and soy-free), chicken wings (we bought plain ones and BBQ-ed them ourselves, so they were safe since we checked every single ingredient), pumpkin bread (I made that, from a recipe I have elsewhere on the forum), and my own cookies (only problem with those was that the I was still finishing off the peanut butter chocolate chip ones that had soy in them). Then there is the fact that I'm not the only one with frequent trips to the bathroom, so it may just be something going around...I certainly hope it's that because I have no idea what else it would be!
I recently found out that most peanut butter has soy in it. Great. So I'll have to finish those cookies I made with it before I go COMPLETELY off...not that I really mind, though. Well, for a success story, my mother and I found soy-free peanut butter AND corn chips at Kroger's...ah well...
Monday we had spaghetti, like we always do. I concluded that Italy invented gluten.
I'm really glad for accountability at this point in my story, because if I didn't I this would probably be where the rest of my stories are: half-finished and really useless. Instead, I have someone bugging me to get this done. Precisely what I need to get through my dry spots. This friend is pushing me with "I want Chapter 5; hurry up!" so I've been pulling myself through an area where it's been harder to get through. Thank God for friends!
Well, after gathering some info from the experts in the forums, I concluded a while ago that I was soy intolerant. Two days ago I completely got off it. The reason I didn't do it sooner is that I had a whole bunch of teas from Christmas that had soy in them...so I finished that and then completely went off soy. That and now I make my own chocolate chips and eat my bagels plain because the cream-cheese substitute I had contained soy. What caught me completely off guard was the amount of corn chips that had the possibility of soybean oil in them. I'm not really one to take chances with food, so I'm not taking the risk that the chips DON'T have soy in them...I guess rice and millet will have to do as my main carbohydrates.
It's been a little while. I've been brainstorming, doing schoolwork, playing LOTR on my flute, and being generally unusual. Recently my younger sister had to be taken to the hospital. Recently meaning ten minutes ago. We think she has a concussion. She's four.
Isn't it scary how life is so fragile and it can end in a moment? I've realized it several times while barely regaining my balance at the top of a flight of hard stairs, or slipping down those same stairs because some left a plastic bag there. Then there was a time before we moved that I nearly got hit by a school bus that I didn't see rip-roarin' down a 35-mph zone. And a FedEx truck that came hurtling around a corner while I was on a walk with one of my sisters. And little kids have nearly drowned me because they were panicking in a totally harmless situation. (My little brother is a bag of bricks.) I think we should take the time to realize God's grace in keeping us alive every second of the day, and that without Him we would have been dead years ago.
I don't see what's happy this new year, and I don't know who coined the phrase "Happy New Year", but the year ahead is looking pretty bleak, what with the economic downturn and Obama's inauguration. So I say, "What's happy about the new year?" But don't listen to me. I'm a cynic if there ever was one. Dad's said he needs to replace me with a human, I guess simply because humans don't have the same capacity for cynicism and sarcasm that my older brother and I have. Ah well. I'm not going to be classic and give you the holiday's greetings (simply because I don't believe them; if I don't believe it what's the point of saying it?).
So far only one got sick (my older brother; but not anymore) enough to skip meals. Bits of colds are flying around but nothing TOO bad. Wow, I can finally read the time any time I want because I have a watch that actually WORKS. (How long has it been since that's happened?) And the backpack and story binder are perfect! Great Christmas! Anyway...
Christmas is a very informal, relaxed time in our house. Everyone gets to sleep in (especially since the older ones have stayed up past twelve the night before). When EVERYBODY is awake (and Dad has had a cup of coffee), dig into the stockings with no further ado. One requirement: Put all your stuff in a plastic bag. The tissue will get cleaned up later. Then there's breakfast (with some having cocoa from their stockings) and the dishes have to be done (but not perfectly) before presents. Dad hands those out and we continue our day by lying around, snacking on stocking goodies and using (playing for the little kids) our presents for various things. Maybe then we'll watch a movie or basketball (go Celtics!). All very laid back. There's no official lunch (but there's bread, jelly, butter, and leftover muffins out if you want them). Dinner's semi-official -buffet line and little kids have to sit at the table (with that fire hazard called two lit candles). No dessert, we've been having that all day.
What else to say? I really don't know, except thank you to all of you on the site who have been so helpful in helping me figure out the twists and turns of the Gluten-free Casein-free diet, and to my friends for...being my friends, and especially to The Bean, whose been great at helping me with my story and is keeping me on track to finish it and keeps giving me good ideas.
Oh, and an update on the water trouble thing, it came back late Christmas Eve. I went out to find the chicken coop flooded. Why? A pipe had burst out there, thus causing the low water pressure and a flooded coop. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to the stores that stay open late Christmas Eve, Dad was able to fix it that night (or the next morning, whichever you prefer). Now we have running water like we usually do and are very grateful for the Christmas gift from God of running water that actually works.
Until now. That's how long it took. To water the chickens I had to use some water from the greenhouse. Dishes were done by directing madly spurting water into containers and heating them. I have a few burns on my hands from the water [i]and[/i] the pots. The water came on about ten minutes ago, and we finally got the ability to flush the toilets and get a drink of water from the sink, instead of boiling microorganisms out of the liquid or sucking on an ever-decreasing supply of ice cubes.
Ah well. The lack of water is gone now and we have returned to a normal life. For that we're thankful. I also didn't want to wait to get a drink of liquid water and use the toilet until tonight when we will attend a Christmas Eve Party. That grants some relief.
And now we wait for lunch. The preparation has just barely started and it's 12:13. I'm hungry. Other than my fatigue and joint pains and stomach growlings, I'm pretty much fine. I've been reading [u]Blink[/u] by Ted Dekker. It's unusual, but that's what Mr. Dekker does. Since I really have nothing else to write...
Proof of the varying, useful lessons of being homeschooled:
[u]Learn how to increase water pressure (that outcome is hopeful)[/u]
First turn off the well pump.
Partly open water filter containers and find out that turning off the water didn't work it's apparent purpose (i.e. turning off the water).
Screw containers back into position and call Dad to find out what to do next.
Go climb into the pump house and turn off the water that way.
Attempt containers again. Find out that this time it worked and change filters.
Check water pressure and find out that changing the filters didn't do anything to help.
Find out middle filter container is spurting water even though screwed on tightly.
Attempt screwing it tighter and break the whole pipe.
Run to the pump house while your older brother calls Dad and get your younger sister to help you lift the roof while an even younger sister puts the pole up to support it. Don't break your back while yelling at her to put it in the correct spot.
Climb in and hope the roof doesn't fall on you while turning off the water from there.
Hope the garage isn't flooding too badly.
Live without water for as long as needed.
We haven't figured out how long that part is. Ah, the joys of learning various household necessities two days from Christmas.
The chickens decided to make me happy and turn in the full quota of eggs today. I needed that and the chocolate ice cream I described before to get through geometry. I hate that particular subject. People say that if you like logic and reason you'll like geometry. I love logic and reason. Something tells me that the people who took that survey weren't on top of everything.
At least I have reading. Sure, the study guide delves too deep for the book to be fun anymore, but at least there are some sections where I can put in excerpts of my story for the requirements they place. That and in grammar, for dialog and punctuation exercises and the like. When I go over it with my mom and my sister listening, they like it, but I tend to leave things at a suspenseful point. And I refuse to tell them more.
History is good to. I love learning about things that happened in the past -and I find a lot of things to incorporate into my stories in some way shape or form. Battles, diseases, weapons, civilizations. It's all great.
Science. I fall for biology -especially the classification. I soak up the names of phylums and classes like a sponge. And what do you know, the different organisms and the way they work somehow manage to help me along in my stories.
Home Economics is also fun -it's a way to do things useful other than academics during school time and say without lying that you're doing something okay. Baking, cooking, sewing, the works.
And flute, as an extra. I love playing the flute and ignoring everything (other than a toilet overflow that the little kids are screaming about). I also take care of our 25 chickens (down from 27 since the hawk visited) and give myself chiropractic adjustments (and massages in the places I can reach). I need it because my joints are constantly getting stuck or something like that. And my muscles easily get sore.
Reading and writing are really my passions. I've won a poetry award and read as often as possible. (I recommend the book [u]Personality Plus[/u] by Florence Littauer.) And my stories keep crawling along and new ideas pop up. As long as I don't get a headache, I'm fine.
Gardening shouldn't be a side note, but here it is anyway. Love digging in the dirt.