Friday, August 29, 2014

Chapter Closes for Alanna's Digestive Issues

In January I started briefly chronically some problems Alanna was experiencing. In February I mentioned some of the issues we were still enduring. My last update on it was in March where more testing was to be done.

So let me just fill in on what's happened and where we are now.

I had to collect more stool samples (which is awful to do). All those tests basically came back negative.

This was all done in April.

The gastroenterologist in Dayton told me that whatever her digestive issue is, it is not caused by all these horrible things they were testing for. So, kind of a huge sigh on relief on that front... but since we were still dealing with diarrhea we wanted answers. Gastro told us to get referred to allergy.

Because of the crazy that was our life before the PCS we waited and I finally got her in to see the base allergy clinic down here in Texas. Since that time the issue had improved, though it is not gone.

Early on at Wright-Patt, they did blood tests for major food allergies which all came back negative. I wasn't sure what we would find out.

After going over her case I was given a probable answer. They didn't think it was allergy related. They believe it is Toddler's Diarrhea. Gastro had also said this was a possibility.

Basically, it just happens. The children who experience this are still healthy and are growing appropriately. Changes in diet can sometimes help, which we had already done and seen improvement. Cutting out juice and sugary snacks was a big one for her. Supposedly these problems resolve as the child ages and the digestive system becomes more mature.

I sure hope so. We still have incidents, but it is not happening several times a day or even daily anymore. At least once or twice a week now. This I can live with, as long as improvements continue. For now we close the chapter on Alanna's doctors and digestive issues with hope that they do not get worse.

Anyway, before I go I wanted to add this. While at the allergy clinic they did decide to do some basic allergy skin testing: trees, grass, pets, etc.

All those came back negative as well.

So this is what I know: there were times in Ohio where Alanna was experiencing seasonal allergies but she apparently is not allergic to anything. I just hope we won't have those problems here in Texas.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

And school begins

As the weather (hopefully) begins to turn cooler, a special time of year has begun.

Monday, the children of San Antonio started school. And my firstborn started Kindergarten.

He was excited to go. After meeting his teacher last week I was pretty sure he was going to be in the right classroom. It is such a milestone... Kinder. I realize we started him a year late, but I still think it was the right choice, and I think he will grow and learn well in this placement. The difficult part for me is that he is gone all day. All. Day.

My heart felt those tiny tugs and my eyes did well up with tears as from the doorway I watched him settle into the class.

Then before any tears could fall, I walked purposefully back down the hall to see how my daughter was acclimating to her new preschool classroom... I had dropped her off only a few minutes before. It was as if mommy didn't exist. I peeked in and found her sitting quietly at a table with her peers, looking at a book, and smiling as she "read" to herself.

They are getting so big, so fast. I'm proud of them for growing and learning and really becoming their own persons.

Although I enjoy having my "big kids" and the independence and the growing self sufficiency that comes with it, at times I miss those baby and toddler years where the cuddly little ones' world revolved around mommy.

Sentimental, I know. I love my kids and am happy to see them make those steps of growing up. I pray for their safety as they step away from me and continue on their paths of learning.

And then I'm happy to have them come home and tell me about their day and spend time with me. Really, I feel so lost without them with me.

If you've got little ones, or even big ones in school... how did you cope with the time?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Currently Watching: Netflix

We have been long time Netflix customers. In Japan we could only get the DVD's so we had the 3 disc deal and rotated them out every week. Apparently living offbase and having a Japanese internet connection prevented us from being able to stream content.

Once we were back in the states and had the ability to stream we went down to 2 DVD's at a time.
Then they did that ridiculous price hike but we weathered through and downgraded to 1 DVD at a time and our unlimited streaming. Even now we keep our DVD plan, though we don't use it as often as we should.

We love streaming. I think we watch that more often that cable. We also have an Amazon prime account so we'll see what's available on their streaming as well. There are times when nothing else beats curling up on the couch alone, as a couple, or as a family with a bowl of popcorn and finding something fun to watch.

Netflix has great children's options for streaming. Right now my kids love My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.

For Ryan and I, we recently finished 30 Rock and have now moved on to Battlestar Galactica.

In the evenings, when it's just me... well, I'm up to date on Land Girls and am currently watching Mad Men.

I'm always up for finding new things to add to my queue. Have you found anything good? Let me know!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tegan Visits Texas Pt. 2

The other week I wrote about my best friend coming from New Mexico with her kiddos to visit us for a week. You can read that HERE.

Already we had gone to Ft. Sam Houston to explore the Quadrangle, we went swimming, and had spent an afternoon at the Alamo and Riverwalk.

Saturday rolled around and Ryan joined us all as we checked out Morgan's Wonderland. Now that is a fun place! I think the kids and I will be going back repeatedly. It is a family friendly amusement park-type place that is fully accessible regardless of age or ability and is open to the public at large. We loved it. What was cool is that Will and Tegan's oldest daughter were both free since they are considered "special needs"... and they also provide military discount.
We weren't sure exactly what to expect so the kids were dressed to encounter water, but it was not necessary. The only water we dealt with was the water table area, which was of course a big hit with the kiddos.
A very intriguing offering by the park are GPS Adventure Bands. These allow members of a group to scan and be able to locate other members of their group in the park. It also links up certain activities and photos which are instantly sent to your e-mail. What I liked is that it gave a sense of security in case anybody got separated (which did not happen).
The kids, Ryan and Tegan went on the carousel. I don't do carousels if I can help it. I can go on roller coasters all day... but carousels and teacup type rides make me feel queasy.
We went on the car track.
Rode the train around the grounds and we were able to see the "Walk and Roll Trail" with the fun themed stops.
After the train, we spent a lot of time in the Sensory Village. In here they created car pictures, played pretend on the horses, "shopped" in the little market, and had their shadows interact with some cool projections. Will also checked out the green screens in the weather area.
To end our time the kids were allowed to run and climb and chase and play all throughout the shaded Butterfly Playground. Honestly, I would have paid our $20 and spent all our time there.
There was more to see, but we didn't check it all out. Apparently there is real fishing on the dock, another playground, a big sand box, music garden, amphitheater, and swings.

When we got home I think we were all pretty much done.

Sunday Tegan joined us for church and then we pretty much took a rest day. Ryan and I went out to the store to try to solve my cell phone issue. In the end we just got a replacement SIM card to put in Ryan's old iPhone3 until the new iPhones are released in September... then I'll upgrade.

Monday brought another adventure. Tegan and I took the kids to the Natural Bridge Caverns. It is just outside the city and next to it is a wildlife park, which I think I'll have to check out sometime.

Once we arrived and had our potty breaks we ate our picnic lunch under some trees. When we went back in to purchase our tickets we realized maybe we should have bought our tickets before lunch because we were now looking at an hour wait before our tour. It worked out though because there were other things to see. Like the ropes course and ziplines (which we did not do since our kiddos are still too little).
Something we did do was the panning. I bought a couple bags of "dirt" that we divvied up between the 5 kids to sift through the troughs of running water. They found "treasures" and were happy. It kept them busy and filled up our open hour.
Then we met up with our guide and group of people and went down into the caverns. We stayed at the back of the group. It was very steep inside. The kids did great holding the railings and doing exactly as they were told.
The caverns were interesting. They were not as massive and expansive as Carlsbad Caverns, but still fascinating. We hiked down to 180 feet below the surface in 70 degrees with 99% humidity.
After hiking down, we had to hike UP and it was pretty steep, somewhat slick, switchbacks. Our kiddos were champs and with encouragement were able to make it up to the top. Tegan was also amazing... she had her youngest strapped on and she was napping for the entire tour. When we reached the surface you would think the kids were spent, but they weren't. They ran on our 1/4 mile walk back to the park.
Treated with ice cream, we then went back home to rest and recover.

Tuesday rolls around and it is our final full day together. After a casual morning I take everyone to the base. I showed Tegan where BMT is located and where her husband lived for a time in his life (all enlisted Air Force get their training at Lackland.)

From there we took the kids to a park to play for awhile while we just chilled. I was reading a magazine and trying to relax. Our time together was coming to an end... I was already feeling a bit down about that.
After a quick bathroom break we wandered over to the graduation field and got some pics of the kids next to the planes.
That afternoon Will had therapy so we quickly made it back to the house and I had to run out again. Tegan spent the time preparing for her departure the next morning.

Tegan's youngest was going to turn 3 the next day so we celebrated her birthday the evening before with cupcakes and singing!
Of course that night we stayed up way too late talking. Man, I miss that girl living close by.

Wednesday morning dawned and it was time to say goodbye. Alanna had a doctor appointment in the morning so we didn't have a long time to really dwell about separating. Maybe that was for the best, because I'm sure we both could have just sat there and cried. We each loaded up our kiddos, said farewell, and went our different ways.
Tegan did call to let me know she made it to her destinations safely... and now she's at home again in New Mexico.

Life can be hard. Having a best friend helps get us through.