Sunday, March 22, 2009

March Break Part #1 - Chatham

On the first days of the March Break we took off for a visit to the Chatham area. It was nice that the kids also had the Friday off before the actual March Break week and so we could get that extra day in and be less rushed in our visiting. Rob was just at the end of his in-between-semesters "break" (if you can call it that considering the amount of work he was swamped trying to do and catch up on), so we managed to convince him to take two days off from his studies (minus the time he spent studying on the drive up) and relax a little. I love seeing him away from the pressures of the books, it's so refreshing. So we went to Chatham from Friday to Sunday night ... had to be home so Rob could go back to school Monday.

We had a lovely time ... like we always do. Good fellowship, great conversations, very upbuilding and strengthening. The weather was lovely and the kids got some good country air along with lots of socializing ... as did the adults too :)

Last time when we went to Chatham we left with a healthy boy (or so we thought) and arrived with a sick boy. So this time we decided to try leaving with a sick boy in hopes of arriving with a healthy boy :) Okay, we knew that wouldn't happen, but wishful thinking :) All our kids had been suffering from this lovely vicious long-term cold/flu virus that has attacked the school and area. Marietta and Rebecca had been sick most of the week and were still not all the way back on their feet, although doing better. Rebecca was over the fevers and Marietta was still worn out but seemed to be mostly over her fevers. Matthew had also gotten hit by this virus and after seven days I took him to the doctor as he was just getting more and more miserable, even though his fever had finally left on the seventh day, he was refusing to eat and even starting to decrease on his drinking. The doc said his ears were not infected but had plenty of fluid behind them. In the end she said he just didn't look well and could possibly have a sinus infection, so she prescribed some antibiotics. So the next day, armed with antibiotics, our handy-dandy ear themometer, and our bottles of Tempra and Motrin we headed off for Chatham. We figured he was so miserable at home (the "old" Matthew was back) that maybe just getting out and seeing new thing and keeping busy would help him. I would say he did well over the weekend. We did see some fevers again and he did have some meltdowns where he just couldn't cope anymore, but mostly he did good and thankfully he was so exhausted by the end of the day that we had no trouble getting him to sleep (something we always do when we go away) and he even slept thru the nights (yahhh!). To date Matthew's back to drinking good and his eating has picked up a bit (with much effort on our part) but is not anywhere near what it was before he got sick.

Left: Matthew has a fascination with glasses and loves to ask for sunglasses when we are driving.
Right: Marietta trying to read story to two boys with very short attention spans

Matthew loved Buddy. He showed a bit of caution but typical Matthew not too much fear.

Typical boy - Matthew loves trucks and trains, especially trains right now. So it was very fortunate that almost every house we went to has some trains ... and if there wasn't trains there was cars and trucks. He loved all the new toys to play with and since he wasn't feeling well these really helped him get through the weekend.

We were introduced to a new "toy" over the weekend. Seeing as we don't watch TV (just vidoes on our ancient old TV and VCR) guess we don't really know what's out there these days ... not that we're missing anything. Over the weekend we were introduced to Wii. The kids enjoyed various sports games on there ... and even the adults gave a few of them a try.

The girls hanging out for dessert time.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fructose Malabsorption #3 and #4

Yup ... here we go again. A few weeks ago Marietta and I went for Fructose Malabsorption Breath Hydrogen tests to see if we too have FM. Not surprising, the results came back positive for both of us.

Due to a long list of symptoms and a search for answers on my continual headaches as well as recent GI issues I requested a test as I suspected I had some form of FM, although certain things just didn't add up. Whether this is the answer to my headaches issues it debateable and rather unlikely, but I do see it as being related to the GI issues. I have always blamed my headaches on TMJ, but I also know that certain foods and smells give me headaches, so I have been on a quest to try and get these under better control. The last few months of trying to figure things out lead me to believe that my TMJ does play a large factor, as well as the dry eye syndrome I have. A trial of a low fructose diet is the only way I'm going to figure out if it is also a factor. A couple months ago I did a complete sugar-free and low fructose, preservative-free diet but did not feel any better afterwards ... actually I felt worse, but I wonder if that is because of the lack of proper nutrition on the diet. So we will try just a low-fructose diet, something we're somewhat used to around here anyways, and sort of incorporate already into our daily eating.

My reasoning for taking Marietta to be tested was sort of on a whim. For some time she had been complaining of a "side-ache" or sharp pains in her chest area. She would also continously complain that she didn't feel well but would not be able to explain what didn't feel well ... just that she felt "under the weather". I felt that she was likely looking for attention with all the diets and health issues in our house so we provide a bit of extra attention but she persisted. I noticed that some of her complaining came after eating and began to wonder if she had some form of indigestion or bloating. I happened to be at the doctor a couple days later and just requested to get her tested to. It was sort of just to check and sort of just to allow her some medical attention. About ten minutes into the test Marietta began to feel unwell and her regular complaints of chest pains, etc came out. I could tell she was being honest, and about an hour into the test she complained that she felt like she was going to throw up, something she had not previously complained about. By the end of the test she said it was starting to go away. The technician completed her test already while we were there, so we weren't surprised when she told us that the test was positive.

What does this mean?? Not really sure.

For myself. I will have to do a trial of a very low fructose diet to see how this fits into the scheme of things.

For Marietta. I don't think it means anything major as she's generally healthy and well. We have told her to take note of when she has any indigestion and let us know and we will slowly figure out what foods trigger her symptoms. I have a feeling she only reacts when she has a decent over-dose, but can handle a fair amount of fructose. At this point we have done very little to change her diet, but the positive result lets us know that if she begins to have more problems we know what is likely bothering her and what to do.

For Rebecca. It gives me more confidence that Rebecca's FM is mild and likely not the true problem that we are dealing with. Rebecca now has a pretty normal diet, avoiding the obvious fructose issues. This is allowing her to feel like she's normal and not different (something we came to realize was bothering her). Lately Rebecca has been doing quite well, we still have issues, but we are often able to related these to a anxiety or stress issue. We feel the less focus on what she eats and medicines has helped her relax and do better.

For Matthew. It just makes me wonder, but no changes there. He definitely is our most sensitive FM case.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Four Eyes are Better then Two

Last week the girls picked up their new prescription glasses. While Rebecca was in great need of glasses, Marietta was on the borderline of needing them. We decided since we were out glasses shopping we would get Marietta some too so that she could use them at school and church, it will be up to her if she wants to wear them all the time. They have had them for almost a week now and you can tell how wonderful Rebecca finds it to be able to see things clearly now. She wears her glasses all the time, even though by the end of the day her eyes are a bit strained or her ears a bit sore, she is really enjoying being able to read signs and see things clearly. I look forward to hearing about her experience when she goes back to school (March Break right now) and can see the board clearly. Marietta on the other hand enjoys to wear her glasses when she goes out so other can see them, but since she is not in such a great need of them it's not uncommon for her to have them off at home.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Rebecca is Seven

On March 6th we celebrated Rebecca's 7th birthday. As with most kids she has been looking forward to this birthday for a long time ... especially because on her 7th birthday she was finally allowed to have a pet. Since Marietta's last birthday Rebecca has been asking for a pet. She decided near the beginning she wanted a fish ... a goldfish ... and has since constantly talked about the fish she was going to get. Santa gave her a small 5 gallon aquarium and so two weeks before her birthday we got it all set up and ready for her fish ... and then finally came the day she was allowed to go pick out her fish.

Left: The tank all set up and ready
Right: Swimmer and Goldie

Thankfully Rebecca was healthy this year for her birthday. This time it was Marietta who was sick. Marietta spent the day at home, resting, so she'd have energy to party later on. After school Rebecca had her friend Meaghan over and we all went to Chatters Indoor Playground for a couple hours of fun. We hit the place on a good day as there were no birthday parties going on at the time and we left before any arrived.

I think Matthew enjoyed the place the most, and was far from ready to leave when the girls decided to call it quits. The playset is designed in such a way that he could get up and around it all on his own. Parents are also able and allowed to play/crawl around. The only help he really needed was a little boost to get up to the big slide ... I imagine done on purpose to prevent little kids from going down ... but Matthew showed no fear and quite enjoyed it.

Left: The kids are all lying down on the "stairs". It was Matthew who started this idea. The girls found him lying on one of the stairs ... guess he was getting a little tired out ... so they all joined in.
Right: No Fear ... Matthew heads down the slide.

They had great fun making trains and racing each other down the slides.

Punching bag time ... ahhhh ... watch out for Matthew

Birthday cake time. I had planned on making a goldfish cake, but Rebecca found a Garfield cake mold downstairs and insisted on Garfield ... even though she hasn't the faintest idea who he is. Either way it still tasted the same :)

Left: Marietta made bookmarks for Rebecca who requested these for her new Bible and Psalm book, which she knew she would be receiving for her birthday. Marietta even made enough that she has some for her regular reading books too.
Right: new sunglasses

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Our thoughts are prayers are with the student who will be examine by Classis this week in order to receive permission to speak an edifying word. Five students are being examine in Kerwood today and one in Burlington on Friday. May the Lord grant strength to each of these students so that they make speak clearly and faithfully about their love and understand of God and His Word. May He also grant that whatever the outcome may be each may accept and see this also as coming from the Lord.

Rob is off to witness several of the exams. We were suppose to leave early this morning to watch all five examines, but the kids had other plans. Rebecca and Matthew have been sick for several days and continue to struggle with fevers and a bad cold ... the latest virus that is going around and has hit the school quite badly. I will not complain as we have done quite well when it comes to sickness this winter ... but why do they always get sick when we have plans for the day????

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sarah, Plain and Tall

So as I mentioned a few posts back, Marietta's class was going to performed the play Sarah, Plain and Tall. Before the performance they each gathered whatever items they had at home that would be useful. Marietta needed an apron to go with her dress and so she got this great idea that mom was going to make her an apron. I decided that if she needed one so badly she could make it herself, which in turn meant even more work for me ... but we had fun.

Since it was a bit of a last minute idea, and since she insisted it had to be white, we dug around until we game up with a while blanket that they used for her dolls and off we went to cut and iron and pin and sew. Marietta was quite thrilled as she has been asking for some time to be allowed to use the sewing machine. Unfortunately she doesn't have the greatest teachers, as I have very little knowledge and most definitely no talent when it comes to sewing ... but needless to say we had fun together. We kept it simple and even managed to make three aprons, which she proudly brought to school so the other kids would have aprons as well. When all was said and done she asked if I had any other sewing work that she could do for me ... hmmm ... I'll have to think on that one.

I only managed to get one picture of Marietta facing me during the play. This could partly be due to the fact that I also recorded it on video since she so nicely begged me to record the whole thing. By the sounds of it the kids had a great time making the set and preparing for the play. They did a nice job, except for the fact that they were very hard to hear. Thankfully I read the book beforehand so I could follow what was going on, but otherwise I would have been lost. After the play I took a picture of Marietta in her outfit ... with her apron on. I think I'll have to add one of the aprons to her memory box ... I can still remember the first time I was allowed to use the sewing machine.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Christmas Program

Yes, the title is right. Yes, this is a picture from the Christmas Program. Yes, I'm a bit behind on my blogging ... but ... no, this is not from December.

On February 20th the kids of Timothy were finally able to present there Christmas Program after it was cancelled in December due to the last day of school before the Christmas Holidays being a snow day. The bad weather carried on into the evening and so the Christmas Program was postponed until February

I must say it was quite nice to have the program in February. It would be worthwhile for the staff to consider moving away from always having a Christmas or Easter Program (they rotate, so next year we'll be having an Easter Program) and instead have a program at someany point throughout each year. This would mean that the theme would not always have to be Christmas or Easter related and the audience would not be over tired and busy from the steady Christmas rush. Easter time isn't so bad, but in December it seems we have a constant stream of parties, dinners and gathering, on top of the regular busy schedule of life. I think we would enjoy it much better if we just didn't have the program at Christmas time. I realize we are there to listen to the beautiful music telling us of the riches of the true meaning of Christmas ... but I must say it was quite enjoyable in February also.

Last year we got front row seats and learned that front row isn't always so great. We got to see just that ... the front row of the student. Since the student are all standing on one level only the tall ones stuck out after that. So this year we got smart and found ourself a seat on the balcony. It was a much nicer view ... just not so great for those with cameras that don't have high zooming capabilities.

Rebecca is busy looking for us. She never did find us ... this would likely be due to the fact that she needs glasses.

Last minute Rob decided he was going to come along. I had not gotten a babysitter since he had originally said there was no way he'd have time to get away from his studies. So we attempted to take Matthew along. I suppose we were hoping for magic ... most certainly we were dreaming if we thought he'd behave (which we didn't really think, but thought it worth a try). Needless to say I don't think I got to see more then 15 minutes of the program before we gave up and realize there was no way we could contain him any longer.

I brought him back in at the end and and amused himself in the chair for a bit and then enjoyed the clapping part at the end and got right in there adding his vigorous clapping to the rest of the noise.