Sunday, September 18, 2011

We Plan and God Laughs

I had the full realization this week that I can plan to my hearts content, but if it's not in God's plan then I am just wasting my time.  I will be the first one to admit I am a planner.  I love to make lists and organize things and keep a neat calendar, it keeps me sane.  Its not that I don't trust God, but for some reason I just feel the need to have everything planned. 
A few months ago yall read that Frank and I had decided not to have any more children, but to focus attention on the 2 we have and on therapy for Thomas.  We prayed and thought this was the way God was leading us.  If I am completely honest at the time I still really wanted to have a baby and my prayer was that if it was meant to be God would soften Frank's heart to having another child.  But we agreed right now was not a good time to plan a baby when Lily and Thomas needed us so much.  Now I can picture God just sitting up there saying, "You have no idea what I have planned for you!" 
On Tuesday morning of this week, much to our surprise Frank and I found out we were going to have another baby.  We were shocked, and excited, and overwhelmed!  This was a complete surprise to us, but not to Him.  He has always had this baby planned for us, just as he had Lily and Thomas planned for us.  A baby is a blessing, even when it is not our plan it was His plan from the beginning.  And we know that all He does is good. 
We are all very excited.  This week seems to have gone in slow motion!  Lily is so excited to be a big sister and I think she has told every teacher and staff member at her school!  Thomas doesn't really understand what is going on, but I am sure he will before the baby is born.  Frank and I are also very excited, a little afraid because the kids will outnumber us! For some reason I feel like I am already behind in my planning!  Like the baby is going to be here next week or something!  Told yall I was a planner!  I don't necessarily think being a planner is a bad thing as long as you understand ultimately God is in control.  We know God loves us and this baby is a wonderful blessing!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Advocate vs. Enabling

A week ago I had a very dear friend that gently let me know I was enabling Thomas. I tried not to get defensive because after all I had ask her if I was enabling. I felt very strongly I was his biggest advocate and just making the world just a little more user friendly for him. But in fact I was only teaching him that the rules didn't always apply to him and mommy would always take care of it. I took a week to let this sink in and plan a course of action.
This morning I got up and put my stubborn panties on and T apparently donned his stubborn diaper unbeknownst to me! About 9:30 it was time to leave for the grocery store, not my favorite chore, but it had to be done. I told T he couldn't take his cars or his backpack and needed to put them in his room. Well he quickly informed me he was taking them with him and this is where the fun begins! After about 10 minutes of following me around the house, throwing himself on the floor and screaming he decided he wasn't going to win and decided to put his backpack in his room. I left for the store with a sense of accomplishment, Mommy-1, Thomas-0! Yay, my common sense told me from here on out the fits would get shorter and I can handle a 10 minute fit here and there! So I cockily posted on FB I had won this battle, yay me! Off to the grocery store we go. All the way there I am preparing T that he will have to ride in the front of the buggy, he prefers the back, but I had so much to get that he wouldn't fit. He tells me "ok mommy". Well apparently between the car and the front door he had a complete change of heart! I try to put him in the buggy and he starts screaming. So remind him we are riding in the front, and he loudly squeals like a pig! SO I sit down in the lobby of walmart and tell him I will wait. He screams and cries and I point out every child that passes that is riding in the front of the buggy (and pretend not to see the ones in the back of the buggy!), we talk about all the people looking at him because he is screaming like I'm pulling his nails out and the occasional old man tries to talk to him only to have his volume increased. After 50 minutes of this, yes 5-0 he tells me he is ready to get in the front of the buggy. Once I lift him up he changes his mind and starts kicking, at this point I decide he is going in the buggy. So in he goes and buckled and we pass a little old lady who scowls at him and shakes her finger, I couldn't help but laugh! Mommy-2, Thomas-0 Yay me! So I'm exhausted, but so excited that I have held out. Finally as we are finishing up we get our cookie and he decides 1 is not enough, he wants 3. And back comes the squealing pig! He screamed the rest of the time we are in the store and checking out. Mommy-3, Thomas-0.
So what have I learned from today, he is one stubborn little boy and it is going to be a long road. But there is a fine line between Thomas problems and being a brat. I never want him to use this as a crutch so I have to stop making life easier for him. We will continue play therapy and working with him, but I am adopting a no tolerance policy in my house. All rules that apply to Lily also apply to him. We are not going to work our family around his problems/attitude any longer; we are going to work on his problems so he can be a contributing member of our family. I am sure this is not going to be convenient or easy, but this is what is best for all of us in the long run.
Please pray for us: me-patience, Thomas-obedience

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Our Summer Update

WOW!!! That best explains our summer. It has been crazy around here. Being our last summer before Lily starts Kindergarten we wanted to make sure she got to do things like visit grandma and grandpa in Austin and have lots of fun before she starts school. SOOOO here is our update
Lily: We are very excited that lily is #2 on the waiting list for the dual language program at her school. They will place children in that class up until January. This would be an amazing opportunity for her to be immersed in the Spanish language until 7th grade at which time she will be able to study a 3rd language. Seeing as though more than 50% of our state is Hispanic we believe this is a great way for her to get a head start. We have started purchasing school supplies and this weekend mommy is school clothes shopping, there aren't many choices to make because the kids wear uniforms. Lily visited Austin 2 weeks ago and had a lot of fun. She saw big grandma and grandpa (great grandma and grandpa Zendejas) for jello, played with her cousin Lexi, got to swim everyday, had lots of ice cream and of course Grandmas famous chocolate chip cookies (no worries Patsy, I wont give away the secret ). This week is VBS, she (and I) was a little scared the first day, I bet there were 500 kids in there! But when she got home yesterday she said it was so much fun, she wanted to go back today. Mommy had a little taste of what Kindergarten was going to be like and I didn't like it! At the end of July we are going back to Austin to visit and see uncle Michael who will just have come home from the Army, we are all very excited to spend some time with him.

Thomas: We are very proud to say Thomas is making tons of progress with his therapies. He sees a behavioral therapist weekly and a OT (for sensory) every other week. We have found ways to avoid and defuse about 75% of his fits. His vocabulary is growing by the day (it helps to have a sister that talks 24/7!). He had a dr appt yesterday and even the dr commented that he was doing so well during the visit (this used to be a trigger). Thomas loves cars and the movie Cars! When in Austin Grandma and Grandpa took him to see Cars 2. He has not put down his McQueen car since, he even sleeps with it. Thomas carries a backpack with probably 25 matchbox cars everywhere he goes (it is heavy) and it has replaced his blankey (yea!!!) Thomas is loving the water this summer and will even jump into your arms, just as long as you don't let him go under! Earlier in the summer Thomas got to go to the City of Rowlett's Touch a Truck. He loved it, he got to touch lots of trucks, but his favorite is getting to operate the arm on the trash truck...Oh I am proud!

Pups: We rescued a female Boxer at the end of April, her name is Gracie. She is adjusting well, she really likes to bug her brother. She still needs some training, but is VERY smart. Duncan has improved considerably since his hospital stay. I would say he is better now than before he got sick. He is putting on some weight and even chasing Gracie around the yard. He is learning to sit in his new highchair (Bailey chair), he really hates it!

Mommy and Daddy: We are doing great, busy busy as always!

Hope everyone Else's summer is going as well as ours and I think I am ready for school to start so things can slow down!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Our Fur Children

I used to say I liked dogs more than people and on some days that is true. Dogs always greet you when you walk in the door, wag their tail and are happy to see you; people not so much. Dog are appreciative to have a home and be fed and played with; people not so much. Dogs are always there to listen and not give their opinion; people not so much! I have been a dog lover since I was about 7 and I got my first dog Dryphus. I don't think any dog can reach the status Dryphus did in my heart. He was a HUGE dog, but so loving and protective. Dryphus lived 13 years, a very long time for a Boxer and when he died it was one of the most emotionally devastating times of my life. Dryphus was a rock in our lives always there and I still miss him.

About 2 years after Dryphus died I was in college, Frank and I had been dating about a year and we got Duncan. He was our first Fur baby. Don't get me wrong things were not always rosy. Duncan peed on my bed almost every day, cried when we left him in his kennel and was difficult to potty train. But after we got through the first year he was a GREAT dog. We have so many memories with him, like when Frank let him fall out of the cart at Petsmart and trying to get "family" photos taken with him, taking Duncan camping and to the park. Everyone loves Duncan, partly because he is a Boxer and people love Boxers, but also he has this sweet dumbness about him!

When I say Duncan has been a great dog I mean truly a great dog. One night when lily was about 18months, Frank and I had gone to bed for the night and closed the door. Duncan was crying at the door, after telling him to go away for about 5 minutes Frank got up to see what he wanted. When Frank opened our bedroom door he was meet with a wall of smoke. Our dishwasher had caught on fire. I ran up to get Lily, thankfully everyone was fine and there was minimal damage to the house, but I always wonder what would have been if it wasn't for Duncan. In the past few years Duncan has been company to me when I am home with the kids, he always alerts me when the kids are doing something that is not safe. He really is a great dog.

About a year ago Duncan started having problems eating. Every time he would eat he would regurgitate his food. He lost a lot of weight and we decided a trip to the vet was needed. They did xrays to find he has Mega esophagus. This means his Esophagus (the tube that carries food to his tummy) does not constrict and take the food from his mouth to his tummy, it just sits in his esophagus. We found a homemade diet that sort of worked, but it was better than anything we had tried. Last week Duncan found some raisins (which are toxic to dogs) and began vomiting, when this was happening he aspirated some of the vomit into his lungs and developed Pneumonia. He was in the hospital for the weekend on nebulizer treatments, oxygen and antibiotics as well as IV fluids. He come home on Saturday night and was still very sick. Frank and I discussed at what point do we say this is enough and let him go. Over the next few days Duncan improved, we have found a food that is working great. He gets spoon fed 3 times a day and then has to be held upright for 20 minutes following being fed. We are working up to 20 minutes (he is not crazy about this) we are at 10 minutes now. He is on 5 different meds and hopefully when we go back to the vet next week his lungs will be clear. Life with a dog with Mega esophagus is very difficult, they could aspirate at any time, Duncan has problems with water so I make him gelatin out of chicken broth and water. This is similar to what a stroke patient would get so they don't aspirate. We have already decided that we will give Duncan the best care he can get at home, but we are not putting him though further testing, treatment or hospitalization. Some dogs live their whole lives with this disorder, some don't make it through their first bout with Pneumonia.

We have prayed that we will not have to make the decision to put him to sleep, I know it would be very difficult and I would carry a lot of guilt from it. We hope when the time comes Duncan can go peacefully and not in any discomfort. He has been such a great dog to our family and I know we Will never be able to replace him.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Homemade Doggy Food

When most people find out I make my own dog food they think I am nuts and that my dogs are spoiled, the first is not completely true, but the latter is! I started this journey of making dog food about 6 months ago and it has been a journey. Duncan was diagnosed with a fairly rare problem with his esophagus that causes him to regurgitate all storebought food. The truth is he ate a hobenaro plant when he was a puppy and it permanently scared his esophagus...I know hes not the sharpest tool in the shed! So we started experimenting with different recipes and this is the one we have finally after 6 months perfected.

3 cups rice - you can use all white all brown or mix. brown rice is better for them, but mine will not eat all brown rice so I mix it half and half with white rice

27 eggs

4-12 oz cans of chicken packed in water

2-16 oz bags of frozen peas and carrots


10 cups of puppy food (more on this later)

In one large pan put all 27 eggs and cover with water boil for 12 minutes. while the eggs are boiling put 3 cups of rice, 6 cups of water, 2 TBS of butter and some salt in another large pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling cover and turn down to low for 18 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE TOP!!! While the rice and eggs are cooking I take the chicken and shred it, be sure to save the water it is packed in, you don't necessarily have to shred it but Duncan has a hard time with chunks so I do. When the eggs finish boiling transfer them to an ice bath immediately. The begin peeling, this is the most time consuming part of this recipe. When the rice finishes, turn the burner off and put both bags of veggies and the water from the chicken in and stir well. Once you are finished peeling eggs you can just slice or chop them up and throw them in the pan with the rice and veggies. At this point I have to take 1/2 the mixture and put it in the pan I boiled the eggs in. Then add 1/2 of the chicken to each of the pans and mix well. At this point your dog food is done.

Recently Duncan has been losing weight so we have started adding some puppy food to the mixture to get some weight on him, so I consider this the bulk up recipe! You would just add the 10 cups of puppy food and then 5 cups of water to the recipe. The water helps to soften the dog food. That might not be necessary for your dog unless they have problems with dry food. Another reason you might add the dog food is if you are transitioning your dog from regular food to homemade, you could slowly add less and less dog food in until they had straight homemade food. It upsets their tummy less.

So here is the cost breakdown, keep in mind I buy most of the ingredients from Costco so your cost might be a little different

Regular recipe

Rice - $1.00

Eggs - $3.00

Chicken - $6.67

Veggies - $2.00


TOTAL $12.67 and makes approx 24 cups of food. This feeds my 2 boxers for 3.5 days

Bulk Up Recipe

Rice - $1.00

Eggs - $3.00

Chicken - $6.67

Veggies - $2.00

Puppy Food - $4.50


TOTAL $17.17 and makes approx 31 cups of food. This feeds my 2 boxers for 4.5 days

Most of the experimenting stage came from determining how much food they should eat a day. There is lots of information out there, but my vet told me without having the food tested for nutritional content there was not for sure answer, you just have to experiment. The guidelines say approx 1 cup a day for every 20lb your dog weighs. This is just a guideline it also depends on activity level and the stage of life they are in.

Some things I have learned along the way:

Onions, Garlic, Grapes, Raisins, Chocolate and Caffeine are all fatal to dogs

Dogs do not like cold food, you have to nuke this for a few seconds

It is easiest to put this mixture into Ziploc sandwich baggies in serving size portions

You look really silly walking out of Costco with 12-18ct cartons of eggs every month!

Sometimes your hubby gets a little upset when they he is having a sandwich for dinner because you are making dog food!

Let me know if you have any questions; there is lots of recipes out there, this is just what works for us. We also add a multivitamin to their food just to make sure they are getting all the nutrients they need. SO at a cost of a little more than $110.00 a month; this is probably not a cost effective way to feed your dogs if you have large dogs, but this beats the heck out of cleaning up dog throw up all the time! :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Yummy Yougart - For Ms Breanne

My kids eat yogurt like it is going out of style. I was spending about $6 - $10 a week on yogurt before I decided to try making my own. To say I was a little intimidated would be an understatement . To my surprise (and the hubby's) it was a success. The first batch was a little runnier than we liked, but with a few adjustments we came up with a recipe that was easy and worked really well.

I have had a few friends ask for the recipe so I thought I would take some pictures and blog! Also I will include a price comparison at the bottom.

Things you will need:

Large pot

8 cups of milk or approx 1/2 gallon

yogurt starter

candy thermometer

powdered milk (optional)

sugar (optional)
flavorings (optional)

1. Pour 8 cups of milk into a large pot. Attach candy thermometer so it is in the liquid but not touching the bottom of the pan.

2. Add 1 cup of powdered milk. The powdered milk is optional, but it does make a thicker yogurt and adds to the protien content of the yogurt. Turn the burner on low, I usually put it between 3 and 4. Whisk until all of the powdered milk is dissolved. At this point you can add sugar. Homemade yogurt is very tangy if left unsweetened, but some people like to add honey when they eat it. I add about 3/4c of sugar to the milk and stir.

3. No is the waiting game, you have to bring the milk SLOWLY to between 185 - 200 degrees. I say slowly because if you burn the milk you have to start over. I have never had a problem with putting the burner on a low setting and stirring occasionally (about every 1-2 min). I usually take this time to do dishes or something else in the kitchen. It takes about 20 minutes for this step.

4. After you reach 185 - 200 degrees you ill take the pot off the burner and let it come down to 118-110 degrees. I am not a patient person so I pot it in an ice bath. Run some cold water in your sink, throw some ice in and put your pot into the sink. Watch carefully and stir occasionally, it takes about 5 minutes for the temp to come down.

5. Once the temp is between 118-110 degrees take approx 1 cup of the milk and add your starter. I used Dannon all natural plain greek yogurt. After your first batch you will take 1 cup of your yogurt and set it aside for your next batch. Mix the starter and milk well and then add back to the pan, mix well. The purpose of the starter yogurt is to add the good bacteria needed to make the yogurt.

6. Put a lid on the pan and wrap in a blanket. Put this in an over with the light on for between 6-12 hours. This is where you have to experiment and see what you and your family like. The longer you leave the yogurt the tangier it will get. It will also get thicker. My kiddos don't like it too tangy, but they do like it thick so I have added a step. We remover ours between 6 and 7 hrs.

7. take out your starter for next time and add any flavoring you like. Our favorite right now is lemon, but the sky is the limit. Some choose to add flavoring as they put it into individual cups so you can make a variety at one. Whatever works for you!

8. Line a colander with coffee filters or cheese cloth and set over large bowl. Now pour in the yogurt, it will be runny. This step drains the whey off of the yogurt and makes it much thicker. I put mine in the fridge for this step because I don't want it to get any tangier. Usually between 3 - 5 hrs later it is the right consistency for me. Remember if it gets too thick just add some of the whey back in and mix well.

9. We divide into small containers for lunches and ENJOY!!

I know this seems like allot of work, but its really not. About 20-30 minutes of actually watching and stirring occasionally and the rest is waiting. As for the cost comparison:

Store bought Yoplait - $0.50 per serving ($0.40 if I have a coupon)


milk - $1.50 for half gallon

powdered milk - $1.00 ( this is about $3 and enough for at least 3 batches)

sugar and flavorings - i don't use enough to figure into cost

TOTAL $2.50 and I get about 10 containers = $0.25 a piece

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Little Man

I know I know I haven't blogged in forever. I think I am the worst blogger ever! Oh well sometimes I feel the need to blog about something and I figure that means it is especially important and may potentially help someone. So here is my blog about my little man and our learning to live with each other.

Thomas from the time he was put in my arms has been a mama's boy, I don't know what it is about little boys, but I definitely did not have the same bond with Lily. Don't get me wrong I love my Lily, but for different reasons. I love her because she is independent, creative, she doesn't just believe what someone tells her, she asks tons of questions, she is smart and beautiful and oh dear her teenage years are going to be trouble. I love Thomas for almost exact opposite reasons, he is loving, he is needy, he believes whatever his sister tells him and does everything she does, he is very OCD and sometimes a total mystery to me. Why you ask? Because I am Lily, I know what she thinks, is going to say or do before she does it, which is why raising her has been ...... well not easier, but less challenging. Trust me when I tell you it is not easy to look into the eyes of a 4yr old that just told you off and KNOW you did the same thing while trying to explain why we don't behave that way! But Thomas is a different kind of challenge.

We have spent the better part of the last year trying to figure out what we (Frank and I ) are doing "wrong". It all started on day last May when T woke up from his nap screaming and inconsolable. After about an hour of trying to calm him I take him to the pediatrician to see if maybe he has an ear infection or something that is causing him pain. We get to the dr office, he is still screaming, the dr checks him over to find nothing wrong except his pulse is sky high. After having another dr come in to assess him they send us to the emergency room for a CT scan to look for a specific problem. On the way to Lakepointe he calms down and seems to be fine upon arrival at the ER. We go ahead and go in because this was such an ordeal I am convinced there is something going on. They decide against the CT scan, but do a blood draw to look for infection....NOTHING. No diagnosis, just watch him and if this happens again bring him right back....REALLY?

At the time I had no idea what was going on, but in hind sight I can tell you this was the beginning of our battle with losing control of our emotions. I didn't realize this until a few months back because from last May until October/November we didn't have any "moments" that were abnormal for a 2 yr old. Then around the end of last year and the beginning of this year these moments increased, significantly. At first, being the strong willed person I am, I decided I was going to WIN, yeah right....I got over that quickly. Like one of my dear friends told me, "you cant pick every battle." Oh she is very right! So we decided on specific rules we were not going to let go; no running in the street, no hitting, ect. You know the big ones! And then we let the other little stuff slide. We thought we will deal with those things once we are past this phase. So lets fast forward to March. I am at a friends house for the day and Thomas starts one of his moments over a peanut butter cracker being stuck to the top of his mouth....yes I am serious, and it lasted 2 hours. I am not exaggerating and had it not been for my friend being there I am not sure we would have all made it thought the day! After that day, these moments became a regular occurrence in our house. We were all walking on egg shells all the time.

In March at the recommendation of our pedi we contacted Early Childhood Intervention for an evaluation. They evaluated Thomas to see if he had a speech delay that would prevent him from communicating what he was upset about. They found a slight delay, but nothing that would prevent him from accurately communicating with us. They offered therapy every other week to help in the areas that needed some work. His behavioral therapist (i call it anger management for toddlers) has been able to make suggestions that have helped T relieve some of this tension. We were seeing improvements and becoming very hopeful until this week.

I am not sure what happened, its like a switch flipped and he digressed. This was so frustrating, we decided again to take him to the dr and make sure nothing was causing him pain. Everything checked out so we decided to talk with the dr about what we should do. She gave us a few suggestions and we have an evaluation scheduled for Sensory Integration. This seems to be the next step, I am unsure how I feel about all of this.

I have a very close friend who has been through this very thing with her son who is now in Kindergarten and thriving. I feel that God brought her back into my life after 8 years for a reason and this is it. She has been there to hold my screaming baby that is covered in vomit, she has reassured me and made recommendations, I really don't know if I would still have my sanity without her!

Thomas continues to be my baby, he always will be. We just have to figure out how to get a handle on his emotions and feel things the way he feels them. Our goal is to have this under control before he goes to Kindergarten.

Interestingly enough a few months ago Frank and I were considering having another baby, we prayed about it ALOT! The one thing that kept coming to mind when I would pray was the word disability. I told Frank about this and really forgot about it. We decided later that 2 was enough for us. Then it hit me this week, God was not telling me that the baby we were praying for would have a disability he was telling me the child I already had did and he needed all my time and attention.

I am going to try and be better about blogging, to keep everyone up to date on our family.