Monday, January 30, 2012

The plan WAS working

Well, it's that time of week again and I guess you are all dying to know about the state of my fat cells.

Not good.

I have officially gained back some of the weight that I lost.

98 kg as of last night rather than the 97kg  weighed in at the week before.

I completely lost track this week.  I didn't even print out my little plan which does show me that it WAS working.  I feel like I spent 95% of my waking hours in the last week sitting in an arm chair pumping breastmilk or trying to calm a very sad baby and I did not take time to keep myself on track - which is silly.

There is a reason they recommend you put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others if they come down on the plane - it is so you don't end up useless on the floor while those less able suffer from not having you take care of them.

So yesterday, I took a walk - only 15 minutes, but a walk none-the-less.  I have printed out my plan and I have signed up at so I can track my calorie intake.

And I still have time to reach that goal of 95kg before Kaylee's surgery.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


This week has been tough.  On Wednesday Kaylee upped the ante and went from vomiting yellow with a brown tinge and flecks of a coffee ground like substance through it (stomach juices with semi-digested blood) to vomiting what looked like coffee made from dirty water without a filter in the peculator (lots of semi-digested blood).  The good days took me off guard because most days she has been upset and vomiting most of the time.  We started her on a new drug last night to help her gut motility - to keep her intestines moving things a long.  The docs thought perhaps things were backing up and creating pressure in the intestine  against the valve from the stomach causing her to become nauseous and reflux.  This does make sense because she does get worse just after I give her meds which puts a larger volume through her tube but at the same time she didn't really seem to worsen when the feed rate was put up so I do not think we have a magical fix - but I am willing to give anything a go at this stage.  I read the possible side effects before giving it to her which was kind of horrifying (the words "may become permanent  condition" beside a particularly debilitating - but thankfully rare - neurological side effect almost put me off) and gave the drug to her anyway.  So much of what we do with Kaylee is choosing the lesser of two evils.  And this morning DID NOT wake up to the sound of her vomiting and choking for the first time in I don't know how long.  It is too early to throw any parties yet, but I am allowing myself a glimmer of hope.

There is still no word on what date we will have the surgery but we will get the call sometime in the next two or three weeks.  I have a love/hate relationship with the surgery.  I love the thought of it being done and being able to focus on some of the other issues - I hate the thought of doing it with a passion. 

We have had good moments and fun moments too.  Friday is cleaning day when we focus on life skills rather than academics.  Anna came up to me at about eleven in the morning and said "We forgot to do history!  We have to do history." She is quite taken with the tales of British and Scottish Royalty.  I'd say it was because of all the crowns and princesses but the fact that "Bloody Mary" is actually one of her favourite royals is a little disturbing and she got far too excited about tales of the Gunpowder Plot and Guy Fawkes being tortured and beheaded.  There is a little element of "off with her head" about that girl. 

I have put a cupboard in the girls room to keep craft stuff in - a LOCKED cupboard with a condition that if I find craft elements strewn over the floor I will be confiscating Erin's key!  So the girls room is a whole lot more usable now.  As I type Erin is painting her paper maché ladybugs she started making before Kaylee was born with Christopher as her apprentice and they both seem to be loving it.  It is good to have all her craft stuff organised so perhaps now we can get some project completed.

Billy has graduated to the next reader and has exploded academically.  I find kid usually have a moment when they "click" and it all starts falling into place.  It is great that he has had that moment as he has been DESPERATE to read for about a year now and discontent to just plug away at it slowly with so many of his favourite books waiting to be read.

Andrew is now well and truly walking and his vocab is exploding.  We are getting more than just "Dog....woof-woof" now.  The opinionated child had decided that he is feeding himself and outright refuses to eat if someone else tries to feed him.  Messy for spaghetti, fried rice, sandwiches...pretty much messy all the time at the moment!

Christopher is now painting Erin's aphids for her (the ladybugs needed something to eat).  He has gotten Erin to give him "school work" a few times this week, being discontent with the simple letters and numbers stuff I was having him do.  He adores his older siblings and wants to join in on this school work caper.

Here's praying that this week Kaylee will be able to start healing from the damage the reflux was doing to her body, that we will get a call with a date for this surgery, that we will continue to have all the good times we've been having and we will find even more along the way.

Have a good week all!


This past four months has given me a gift.

I'm not talking about the adorable Kaylee Grace, as deliciously wonderful as she is, I am talking about a different gift.  Lovingly wrapped in heart stopping terror and topped with a quaint bow of grief and trauma.

It's called PERSPECTIVE.

Source: via Sandi on Pinterest

And it pervades every aspect of my life.

I thought I was a person who would tell a friend what I thought but I now realise I too often shut my mouth, pretending it was because I was open minded or cared about their feelings.

The truth is, it was often because I was afraid of what they would think of me if I disagreed with them.

Now, I pray I will always have the strength, wisdom and fortitude to lean over, place a loving hand on their arm and say with a voice filled with love and compassion, "Dude, you are totally screwing up your life", when the situation warrants it.

Because when you have seen birth and death brush so closely, you realise that stuff matters and life is short.

I thought I was a person who realised what really mattered in life.  I thought by being thrifty and not buying nice clothes or nice things even when I had money to do so I was being good and righteous.  I thought that by quashing the little thrill of joy that simple pleasures gave me I was earning my place and not being any trouble to those around me.

The truth is I was still carting around baggage that told me that I wasn't worth the cost of those small pleasures.

Now, I pray I will drink deeply of the joys of simple, pretty things.  That I will sip a mocha without feeling guilty because it cost money.  That I will spend a few dollars on things that serve only to bring me joy occasionally without beating myself up over it.

Because when the only thing you can do for your baby is put a bow in her hair, you realise bows matter.

I thought I had a good grasp of what it meant to be a good friend.  I thought I realised the importance of friends in my life.  I thought I had a pretty good idea who was and was not a true friend in my life.

But the truth was I had no idea.

I had no idea that a friend from halfway around the world who I have never met, or even spoken to, in real life could carry me through hell with a hand full of eclectic love tokens she had tossed in a box months before - and that the weekly-ish emails we exchange filled with the sweet and sour nothings of every day are actually an elixir to my soul.  I had no idea that people were so kind.  I had no idea of how much those prayers, words of encouragement and the time people put into ministering to me and my family could mean.  That a fruit basket from a stranger would help me put one foot in front of the other when my world was falling apart.

Now I pray I will always be there for those I love as much as they will allow me to be.  Even when they are not fun.  Even when their drama is no longer exciting or new or thrilling to be a part of - I will recognise that they still need to live it.  Every. Single. Day.  And that a kind word, a few moments of my time, a touch, a look, a gesture just might be the fuel they need to keep going.  

Because when you are falling apart, the people who are there to pass you back pieces of yourself matter.

The word "crisis" comes from a Greek root word meaning to sift or separate.  This is what the last few months have done for me.  They have distilled my life.  Forced me to let go of all of those things that did not truly matter and hold hard - FIGHT for - those things that do.

Monday, January 23, 2012

And the dream is back on....

I have lost 1kg.  I've gone from100kg (220 pounds) to 97kg (213.4 pounds) 

60% of the way to my February goal so if I get into gear maybe it will still happen.

Even with the cake/PMS brain, horrendous reflux from Kaylee meaning I spent most of my time in an arm chair and lack of time meaning I defrosted meat pies for lunch or ate chips on more than one occassion - it's progress.

So, Olympic dreams aside, why do I want to loose weight?

* I need to be in decent condition to cope with the physical demands if raising my beautiful brood.

* I will handle stress better if in reasonable condition and I anticipate a little stress in our future!

* I want to feel good about myself and catch the eye of my darling hubby.

* Seeing as Kaylee may be dependent for her whole life I need to be as healthy as I can for as long as I can.

* I want to be able to help my kids out when they are adults - either with my grandkids or whatever other endeavour they choose to pursue - and I need to be fit in order to do that!

* I am cheep and finding decent quality clothes, in styles I like, in my size is expensive and time consuming

So eyes on the prize.

No birthdays this week.

Perhaps I will even get to go for a walk??

Saturday, January 21, 2012


OK so on Monday I blogged that I lost 2kg.

After that I felt fantastic.

I felt invincible.


"Pffft," I thought "This weight loss thing is so licked.

Hey I may even be down to my pre-ERIN weight by the end of the year at this rate.  I am going to run a 10 Km race this year.  And maybe a MARATHON next year.

After that I should totally go in the Olympics.  I would rock the Olympics.

If I win a gold medal in the Olympics I should totally become a writer and motivational speaker.

I am sure that the fact that when people call me inspirational I crack under the pressure of living up to their expectations and become a quivering mess in the corner will in no way impede my success as a writer, motivational speaker and Olympic Athlete.

And when I am a writer, motivational speaker and Olympic Athlete I will give my testamony and thousands, nay, MILLIONS of people will love Jesus and the world will be a Happy Place.  There may even be world peace.  I should have started loosing weight YEARS ago."

And then, just when I was figuring out my training schedule for my Olympic dreams around my mothering commitments etc. TUESDAY came.

And with it came Anna's third birthday.

And cake.

Now I think I have mentioned before that I am a former bulimic.  While I haven't actually done anything actually bulimic for over ten years now, I still have traces of food obsession and compulsive eating....just to keep me humble.  This means that when there is cake/chocolate/sweets/anything remotely yummy-treat-like in the house a part of my brain gets like this

(by the way, if you are not bothered by the use of one four lettered word - which is technically a six lettered word because it has -ed on the end - click through to the blog that pic is from.  It pretty much describes that part of my brain in detail and it makes me laugh so hard I snort)

But I figured that seeing as I was practically an olympic athlete now and on the cusp of winning the world for Jesus I would be fine with a little cake in the house - right?

I took Anna to the shop to choose the lollies she wanted for her cake.  I used to think that I should make cakes like this

But I actually make cakes like this

and so now I just let the kids choose a bag of lollies and decorate it themselves.

Which meant I had half a bag of Jelly Beans AND a vanilla cake, iced and covered with Jelly Beans.

The  cake-obsessed part of my brain was going into overdrive and my olympic dream was starting to look a little shaky.

I would be working away, minding my own business and cake-brain would say "Cake?"

"No, we are going to the OLYMPICS we will be FAMOUS and HELP PEOPLE.  You do not need cake."

Then five minutes later.....








This went on for about two hours.

But I was good, I was strong.

I waited until after we sung happy birthday then dutifully ate onlyone piece of cake with the children to celebrate Anna's birthday.  Then got it out after the kids went to bed and ate another two pieces.

All week I have been contending with the harassment of cake-brain which, toward the end of the week, was joined by PMS-brain.  I lothe PMS-brain.  I lothe it so much, I stay pregnant most of the time to avoid it.  If PMS-brain was a person, it would be a hard-drinking, chain smoking, sarcastic, bitter woman with a drive to get what she wants, whatever it takes.  And when cake-brain and PMS-brain get together, the result is scary.

It starts out wheedling and 'nice'...and very tricksy.

"You know, you have had a really hard day today.  Kaylee needed you heaps, the kids were ratty.  You deserve the simple pleasure of a piece of cake."

Of course it doesn't mention that once I have one piece of cake, cake-brain will take over and there may be no cake left for the children the next day.

Then it gets really nasty.

"You have no self control you know - here are fifteen ways you failed to be perfect today.  Why don't you just go and eat cake - it's what you're good at.  Then you can just resign yourself to being a big fat, fatty failure the rest of your life."

Hmmmm, nasty.

So PMS brain does the nasty and nice thing while cake brain provides a background beat of:

Cake cake cake cake CAKE cake cAKE cAkE CAke cake caaaaake Cake cake cake cake CAKE cake cAKE cAkE CAke cake caaaaake cake cake cake.......

and after a while I kind of start to melt down

So at the end of the day - I did manage, with some prayer and a stupidly huge amount of self control (so much more than I think one ought to have to use in order to not eat a child's birthday cake), to not consume every crumb of cake and jelly bean in the house this week.  The last piece of cake was given to one of the kids yesterday.  I do not know what the scales will say tomorrow but with the whole cake-brain/PMS-brain thing and Kaylee's needs meaning that I spent most of the week in an arm chair holding her or attached to a breast pump, I am not expecting the result to be mind-blowing.

And the Olympic dream and World Peace may have to be put off a few weeks.

Please pray for Kaylee

She is vomiting old blood again.

Her reflux is irritating her stomach and oesophagus to the point where it bleeds a little bit.  She is on the maximum dose of the drugs she can take now, after her cardio op she can start taking a more powerful drug and/or have a surgery to attempt a fix.  Today, however, she started vomiting at 4:30am and has been vomiting on and off until now.  She is still blowing spit bubbles and is unhappy which tells me that she is still silent refluxing - but she has finally dozed off in her rocker - restless sleep though it is.  Cardio surgery is still at least 2-4 weeks away.  Please pray that she get some relief and also that she does not asparate - if she inhales some vomit and gets sick from that, it could mess with our cardio surgery plans and longer term plans to relieve her reflux

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Money can't buy me love...or time

Last year a friend was relating her "busy day" to me and it included three hours sewing while her children napped.  I think I managed not to snort.  For the past few years, I have said it is not a busy day unless it includes a tough choice between sleep and basic hygiene.

Some dear friends have asked us many times if we need any money at the moment and we may take them up on the offer one day in the future if we need to, but right now what I am running low on is  time.

Unfortunately most of our friends and family:
work full time and have a million other commitments
are exceptionally busy with their own family and other commitments
live many hours drive away/on the mainland/on a different contenant
ALL of the above.

So time is a much harder thing to give than money.

The other week a dear friend came and helped Jon clear out a whole heap of his workshop so we could fit a new freezer and some kitchen cupboards we got second hand for a fantastic price in there.  The time he invested in us is as greatly appreciated as the other types of support people have shown us.

I think back to the days when I THOUGHT I was busy and I realise what a precious commodity I used to regularly waste.  I wish I had been more generous with my time back then.

I wish I had used it more wisely to serve my family and keep our home more comfortable and our tummies pleasingly filled.

I wish I had cooked meals or muffins and dropped them around to people who needed them - or even just to people who would be given a boost to have someone think of them.

I wish I had offered to take a basket of ironing for someone who was busy or under stress.

I wish I had offered to clean the bathroom or kitchen of a friend who was pressed for time or energy.

But I didn't do those things. 

I didn't offer to do things for others because I was worried about offending them by implying they couldn't cope and I didn't realise what a true blessing it would be to have someone come in and non-judgementally give a hand.

And I thought I was SO busy.
I spent so much time worrying about the BEST way to do something in my home or with my kids, researching, checking blogs, collecting resources, that I ended up DOING very little.

Instead of just getting in and doing stuff I let it pile up until it was overwhelming and then rushed around being "busy".

And I missed the opportunity to be generous with my time.

If I could write to myself five years ago I would say:  

Relax....and get up of your backside and do stuff.

Stop stressing about getting it right and just do it. 

There will never be a perfect schedule, routine, resource, moment to do all those things you are planning so just do them anyway and you will be amazed what happens.

Don't worry about being the best, just worry about doing better than you did yesterday.

If you make a compassionate offer to help someone without judgement - it will rarely offend.  And if it does, you can always apologise.  It is rare that it will loose you a friend.

Quit filling your time with fancy things you think will impress others or trying to instigate big, fancy traditions you think will make memories for the kids.

It is better to do small things with your children than big things for them.  

The fancy cakes you stress over and fail to make every birthday are insignificant; the simple, round cake with lollies smushed into the icing by little fingers build far more memories and joyThey will be your tradition and you will not feel guilty about that.   

Big birthday parties, dinner parties, fancy schmancy craft projects are great, when done in moderation and during the right season.  If they stop you being available to your family and friends they are not worth it.

Quit the computer for six months and you will be amazed how much time you find.

LIVE your life to the full.

Pick up your Bible, read it daily with your kids and to yourself.

Memorise chunks of it.

Learn that the fact that you like steam punk, tattoos and Dr. Who does not make you less Holy - but your stinkin' judgemental attitude and selfishness kind of does.

And you will find you have time to be kind.

To show love.

To help.

And that is priceless.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The slightly less fatty boombah post

Last week I mentioned my fabulous new weight-loss and health strategy.

I turns out it kind of works.

Now it wasn't a great week for me keeping with the plan.  There was one particular day where the only thing that I ate that wasn't from a vending machine, service station or fast food restaurant was one banana.  I did not exercise once - Kaylee's reflux was REALLY bad  for most of the week and seemed to sense when I was about to walk out the door or put the exercise DVD on.  Yes, Jon can handle it but (a) I am a control freak and I'm OK with that and (b) he is wrangling five other kids so sitting tethered to a feed pump while trying to calm a cranky baby isn't really a fun prospect for him.  Over all I managed 195 points out of a potential 245+ - which isn't wonderful.

HOWEVER, 40 of those points are because I lost 2kg - that's 4.4 pounds for you imperialists out there (by the way, I highly recommend this clip to you if you still work mainly in imperial measurements - just sayin')

I have gone from 100kg (220 pounds) to 98kg (215.6 pounds).

And I am calling it a start.

The points kept me motivated to keep doing SOMETHING, even on the days when most of the things I wanted/planned to do became impossible.  Knowing that I was going to come on here and bare my flabby soul to the world motivated me to refrain from making 3 PB&J sandwiches as a before bed snack.  Having a concrete and attainable goal gave me the strength to grit my teeth and say NO to the emotional, compulsive urges that would try and entice me to eat everything not nailed down every time I thought about broken baby hearts and Other Sad Things.

Over all I am drinking more, taking my supplements and eating a little more of that Sometimes Food that the Cookie Monster sings about.

I am now 40% of the way to my pre-Feb goal.

And I am feeling pretty good about that personally.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mini-crashes happen.

The road of parenting Kaylee, I have found, is fraught with emotional fender benders.

The other day Jon and I were talking parenting talk and I melted into tears because I missed out on two months of my children's lives.  My youngest son was a different person when I came home.

And it will always hurt, just a little bit.

So I took a moment to grieve, exchanged insurance details with my psyche and asked it to use its indicator to give me a little more warning next time.  And I moved on.

Kaylee started vomiting old blood last week.  As gruesome as this sounds it was not totally unexpected and it just indicated that we needed to adjust some medications, which we did.  However, it does indicate that Kaylee's reflux is getting worse.  The old blood and the fact that I am spending approximately 1/3 of my time settling a tired, sore, Kaylee.  If I hold her she relaxes which helps things calm down.  If the reflux hits and I have to leave her she tenses against the pain and stresses, which makes it worse, which makes her stress and tense more which sends her into a spiral of pain, stress and ultimately, usually, vomiting stomach juices.

You don't hear much, she is so quiet you could be forgiven for not noticing, but I do hear it and I feel it in her when I pick her up.  I have been watching her for four months so I tend to know by the crease in her brow and the way she is holding herself how bad it is.

And sometimes I get tired, weepy and fed up on her behalf, and my own behalf, and on behalf of my husband and other children who are also robbed of time and energy by the curse of Kaylee's pain.

I back up, forgetting to check my rearview mirror, and bump into grief.  I check the panels and wonder if anyone will notice the damage, then move on.

As much as I try not to borrow worry from the future, there are moments.  Moments when I imagine a scalpel slicing down the thin mauve zipper scar on Kaylee's chest and the terrible destruction those gentle, skilled hands will have to wreck in order to fix that tiny pump.

I remember seeing the machines helping my daughter breathe and having to suppress the urge to tear them off her.  The IV lines dripping medicine into her veins and her splinted arms waving in the air as she struggled against it all.  Listening to anaesthetists tell me all the ways a procedure can go wrong then signing the paper for them to do it anyway - because if I don't, she will die.  And I know that  we will have to do all that again in the near future.

And after her heart, comes her cleft.

And after her cleft, perhaps gastro surgery.

And more tubes, different tubes, the same tubes - who knows?

And whatever those tiny little monkey feet present as she grows - therapies, more surgery?  Who knows.

And before I know it I forget to hit the brake and rear-end grief and anger and helplessness.

The cleft palate people from Hobart sent me information on how to introduce solids to my cleft palate baby.  I had to suppress the urge to scream in frustration and tear it up.  Solids are not even on my radar yet.

I have defect envy.

There are people whose children have 'just' a cleft palate, OR a heart problem, OR potential intellectual issues, OR feeding issues, OR digestive issues, OR potential developmental issues etc.

There are people child's heart condition is fixed with an overnight stay in hospital at age five, or one quick surgery with a ten day recovery and no infections or complications.

There are people who take their CdLS baby home from hospital drinking under their own steam.

Screeeech, CRASH, tinkle.......sorry officer, I didn't see the light.

And on days when I am tired, pressed for time, frustrated or sad, I feel every ding.

Kaylee is snuggled into my lap.  Her soft pudgy thighs showing a faint sheen from the cold sweat raised by her latest encounter with the reflux monster.  She is asleep and most people would think that she is peaceful but I know by the furrow of her brow and the way she holds herself, she is just too exhausted to fight against it any more and resting against my soft chest is the most comfortable she is going to get.

And I type because I can do that without disturbing her.

And I see the soft folds of her plump, perfect baby arms.

I see her crazy, wild, untameable locks pointing in every direction like a dark, silky sparkler.

I see her beautiful long lashes, her sweet pink lips, her tiny little monkey feet that look so weird - and so beautiful.

And I am thankful.

Thankful that I get to hold my little girl.

Thankful that after this surgery, which is a comparatively simple one for our brilliant surgeons, Kaylee's heart will beat every day without medicine or concern.  And that silvery mauve zipper will be allowed to stay healed forever.

I am thankful that through that tube there runs my milk with no supply issues or concerns, helping her get strong and working to prevent a million different problems and issues that we COULD have but don't.

Thankful that my daughter is likely to live and grow, not wither and slowly die like so many beautiful children, loved children, who have "genetic issues".

I watch my tired husband cleaning up the dinner time mess from a meal which he cooked with our children sleeping in beds he tucked them into so that I can sit and hold our sleeping baby.

And I am thankful.

A wise man once said:

Source: via Jess on Pinterest

OK, perhaps a writer wrote those words and an actor pretending to be a wise Time Lord (who isn't actually a man but an alien who is shaped kind of like a man but has two hearts and is very, very smart) said those words but...........sorry, geek babble, moving on.

and it's true.  The bad things are bad.  Very bad.  And the good things don't make the bad things go away.  They don't even always soften the blows of the bad things.  Sometimes the best the good things can do is provide a nice distraction from the bad things.

But the bad things don't steal the good things.

No amount of medications, procedures, heart break or frustration can steal from us the small, perfect moments that we share.

Some times my days look like this:

Some days they look like this:

Other days they look like this:

And on far too many days, I look like this:

Source: via Jess on Pinterest

But the bad, it doesn't kill the good. The good is good.

And day by day, I pray I will remember this:

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Enquiring minds and homeschooling

We are busy here in the Guest household.

Like CRAZY busy.

We are starting to get a rhythm to our days .  We will probably get it sorted just before we need to go to the mainland for Kaylee's surgery and then we will have to start all over again, but anyway.

Enquring minds want to know if/how we are going to homeschool still.

The short answer is:  Yes, for now - the same way we always have.

The long answer you really don't want to hear unless you are having trouble sleeping.  No, seriously once I get going I can be REALLY boring.  I use phrases like "The cultural transferability of the Finnish, American and Asian educational principles..."  and "The political bastardisation of the purpose of NAPLAN in response to cultural demand driven by unscrupulous popular 'journalism'..." and using acronyms like OECD and PISA and giving really LONG detailed definitions of words and phrases like "socialisation" and "academic success".  


But the medium length answer is this:

We don't homeschool our kids out of a fear of what's "out there".  We don't homeschool our kids because we believe homeschooling itself  is perfect.  I have met people who attended school AND people who were homeschooled who have passionate relationships with Christ, are successful in their chosen field and are genuinely nice people.  I have also met people from both modes of schooling who do not have a relationship with Christ (in spite of a home which was, from all appearances, deeply Christian), do not experience success in their chosen field and/or are really not nice people to be around.

We homeschool our kids because we believe it's the best choice for us right now and the choice that God is leading us to make.  It allows us a huge degree of flexibility - giving us the freedom to take all the kids with us to Melbourne without fear of interrupting their academic progress.  It allows us to tailor the children's academic program around their individual needs which supports them in progressing at their own rate through the material rather than struggling to keep up or waiting for the rest of the class to catch up.  It allows us to spend time together as a family nurturing, passing on values, explicitly teaching our faith and generally having a jolly good time.

But enquiring minds also want to know:  how do we find the time in our crazy busy day?

I think most people vastly over estimate the amount of time needed to school a child.  Yes, at SCHOOL school, kids spend 6 hours a day being taught.....or do they?  Take away all the time children spend at lunch and recess, lining up, waiting for assembly to start, waiting for the teacher, walking to special lessons, attending special programs, on excursions etc. and it starts to look substantially less than 6 hours.  In fact, at uni I was told that the majority of students average about two to three hours a day actual school work.  And of that time, less than an hour is spent under direct instruction by the teacher. 

Do you know how many hours a day I spend hooked up to a breast pump?  About a bazzilion (well, at least 4-6).  And guess what?  I can listen to kids read, teach math, play phonics games and supervise bookwork while I am hooked up to the breast pump.

Do you know how long it takes for us to eat lunch and breakfast?  About an hour.  And I can read aloud, discuss and ask questions while we eat.

Do you know how much time Jon and I spend preparing meals and cleaning the kitchen?  Neither do I but it's a lot.  And we can do it while someone perches on a chair in the corner and reads to us, or while supervising someone at the table who is completing an assignment or even while teaching someone how to cook and clean.  

Measurement and basic maths is a huge part of cooking and Erin can already double and treble recipes in her head - including doubling and trebling fractions.  Billy, Christopher and Anna can all count out the number of onions, carrots or potatoes we need.  Chores require sequencing, self organisation, fine and/or gross motor skills and have many other educational benefits.  Many schools are now taking part in a program to grow a kitchen garden and teach the kids to cook....just like we already do except we don't really call it school, we just call it life.

And the majority of actual school work does not need myself or Jon to give our undivided attention.

I strongly believe that if a child cannot do the work without an adult prompting them they cannot do the work so our schooling program has always been organised so that the kids are largely self-sufficient.  Only requiring occasional standing over with a big stick (it's a figure of speech.....the stick is actually quite small) to get the daily stuff done.

Socially, the kids are getting even more time with people outside our family now that Kaylee is a part of our lives.  They also still make it to pretty much all the things we were participating in before Kaylee was born.  There are also about a million articles and studies available online which explore the question of socialisation and the homeschooled child so I am going to let enquiring minds do their own googling and leave it at:  "we have thought of it, are aware of it and aren't planning on making our children into socially inept individuals who can't hold a polite conversation or maintain meaningful relationships....thank you for your concern."

So for now, we are planning to continue homeschooling, it is actually the high point of our day.

This fits with my high tech plan of "do what works while it works and when it stops working, change it".

Hopefully, enquiring minds will now be satisfied ;)

Monday, January 09, 2012

The Fatty Boombah Post

OK so it turns out that medicinal mochas have a teensy weensy side effect when combined with donuts and large amounts of inactivity.

I am hugemungous.

No, seriously, in some cultures they would worship me as a symbol of fertility.

I have been trying to work out what I could do about this and I kept hitting a wall.  I'd start exercising, then things would get crazy for a while and I'd not find the time.  I'd start eating better then I'd be stuck in an ER eating out of vending machines for seven hours or spend two hours on hold/getting cut off with Centrelink and need to self medicate with chocolate before my head exploded.

Now I could wait until things settle down....but I figured about two or three kids ago that things probably weren't going to settle down and Miss Kaylee Grace's special features just add to the mix.

What I need is a flexible plan to help me recreate good habits and loose some of the bad habits.

The hitch was I don't have time to actually formulate said plan.

So I was pinning on Pintrest while expressing and sitting on hold (again) and I came accross this:

I checked it out and the link took me to a great little blog that had done the hard work form me called Six Sisters.  They had a really good little weight-loss/fitness plan which I took and tweaked for my own use.  You can check out my tweaked version HERE.  The idea is I can keep track of those good habits I am trying to re-establish and if one or more slip for a few days, I can still keep focusing on what I CAN achieve - even if we are in hospital or things are crazy at home.  My short term goal is to loose 5kg before Kaylee's cardio surgery.  My long term goal is to loose 10 - 15 kg and run a 10km race.

I will be keeping myself accountable by blogging.

So you get the lovely priveledge of reading all about it.

Aren't you glad?

Saturday, January 07, 2012


Happy New Year!

It has been a crazy busy week in which I went exactly NOWHERE.

That is nowhere as in not to the hospital, not to the doctor, not even getting in the car once.


Very, very happy here.

Kaylee's reflux has not loved the hot weather and we have spent a bit of time cuddling, rocking and cleaning up vomit.  Lot of vomit.  Lots and lots of vomit actually.

It is heart breaking to see her retching and choking but in between all that she is happy, content and even occasionally giggling!  Or making a funny honking noise that I am pretty sure is her version of giggling.  She got a new rocker a few days ago which makes her sit up more and that helps the reflux a bit. 

Unfortunately there is no way to stop Kaylee's reflux right now.  She is on some medication to reduce the acidity to make it less painful and reduce the harm to her body.  Reflux is likely to be our longer term adversary.  I don't often think much past February and the big heart op (which scares the pants off me but not the surgeons thankfully) but really once we get past the heart op that is when we start changing Kaylee's feeding regime and trying some new things to help her reflux.  Unlike her heart problems, which have a definate fix and not much of a long term day to day effect on her life, reflux may have a pretty huge say in how we live our lives from here on in.  The fictional conversation in my head goes sort of like this:

Me:  Soooo, lots of people with CDLS have major life long issues with reflux, is that right?

The Other Me:  Yep, according to my research.

Me:  So Kaylee will have major life long issues with reflux?

The Other Me:  I don't know.

Me: OK, well, let's say she does.  There are things we can do about it right?

The Other Me:  A few things.

Me: Like surgery, medications, diet?

The Other Me:  Yes

Me:  And that will fix it right?

The Other Me:  I don't know.

Me:  So worst case scenario, how bad can it get?

The Other Me:  Really?  You really want to put the words "worst case scenario" and "Kaylee" in the same sentence?  Have you learned nothing?  That never ends well.  And anyway, there is no way to know right now.

Me:  Right.  So you know we MAY be battling this demon for the rest of our lives but you don't know that we will be for sure.  You know there are some things that help others in this situation that we may be able to try if we need to but you don't know that any of them will work well for Kaylee.  You know that it may not be a problem or it may be really, catastrophically bad or it may be somewhere in between but you have no idea which it will be.

The Other Me:  That's right.

Me:  You don't know much do you.

The Other Me:  I know I love my daughter.  I know that together with God and our amazing little family we will fight whatever dragons lie before us.  I know she has long lashes, fat rolls and a smile I'd walk over hot coals for.  And I know I love my daughter

Me:  You said you love your daughter twice.

The Other Me:  Yes, I know.  That's how much it matters.

Me:  Right, well.  I guess that you know something then.

The Other Me:  I know what matters.

Disclaimer:  I don't actually talk to myself ....Oh....Wait....Hang on....Yes I do.....Carry on.

 The other kids are all fantastic.

Erin is completing a project on germs and microbiology (school holidays this year will be February and whenever Kaylee's cleft gets fixed - love the flexibility of homeschooling) and is doing a great job.  She has really blossomed in the past year and has a confidence about her that is wonderful to see.

Billy is doing great with his reader and is now halfway through the grade 1 readers we have.  He is streaking up and seems to grow before my eyes.

Christopher is doing great too and is still Kaylee's biggest fan.

Anna is all of a sudden tall and beautiful and almost three.  I can't believe her birthday is in ten days.  What happened to my baby girl?

Andrew is joining the ranks of the walking.  He is now total BOY and goes at approximately 100 miles an hour whenever awake.

I have a new sewing machine that I am planning on trying out tonight.  I bought it to fill in all that spare time I have - HA!  I made a funny!