Thursday, October 31, 2013

Household Reminders

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They didn't slow down enough to unfold it all the way, but at least it's "in" the towel holder! I use labels here and there to help with problem areas or to remind our family of certain things. Repeating everything x 7, and sometimes x 8 gets old. The little labels help and save my sanity.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Peek at an Abandoned Cannery

My husband takes me to the coolest places to explore!

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one office 
It's like they walked out and never came back. 
While I can't remember the exact year, the calendar said 1990's.

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refrigerators, processing tables, vats, etc

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empty cans waiting to be filled

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loading dock

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nature forcing her way in

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another time capsule like office

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outdoor tables

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processing area

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nature reclaiming

A hearty welcome to Sonlight and fellow homeschooling visitors!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Prayer Request

Prayer Request: Caleb has a widespread rash. It started about 48 hours after his last dose of medication. We think it is his body's way of handling the drugs leaving his system because there are no other indications of something else causing it. We've looked at everything, clothes, toiletries, exposure to new things, etc and there is just nothing else it could be. I did find a very few incidences of this kind of rash in other people who had been on the same medications. We were told the drugs he given were very strong and hard on the body. In fact, he had some issue with pain in his kidneys from them at one point. Those drugs were justified due to the nature of his infection. The rash has become thicker and itchier in the last 24 hours. If you Google drug rash, it is the same kind of rash you will see in the images. (fine, widespread, trunk and limbs) Right now, we are treating with an antihistamine and monitoring it. (Caleb's appendicitis journey is here.) 

I am working hard catch up on the work in our homeschool, home, farm, kennel, yard, garden, etc that fell behind during the month I lost. I am also helping with the firewood collection, doing the seasonal clothing changeover, and getting things ready for a charity which are all very big jobs. I am getting it done, but need understanding that I am not available to answer phone calls because I am trying to be a good help meet and mother which are the first priorities God has given me. I am literally working from when I get up until I go to bed. I love everybody and will be ready to chat again soon, but I need to do what is set before me to the best of my ability first.

Update 10/30/2013: Caleb's rash has improved noticeably as his liver is working to clear the toxins out. 


Everything I do and say tells a story of who I am serving. If I am acting out of anger and spite, I am serving the father of darkness and spreading his darkness. If I am honoring to the Lord with my actions, I am serving to further the name of Jesus and spreading His light. ~Lisa TerKeurst 

Monday, October 28, 2013



You are on a beautiful stage in front of a huge audience giving the best performance of your life. The electric guitar settings are just right. The microphone is tuned in perfectly. Nothing could make it better. The audience is loving your performance when... of your children walks onto the stage (also known as the family room) and asks, "So, Mom, is the broom your air guitar, the mic, or both?"

Welcome to my world. 

Enjoy the chuckle on me! I'm going back to cleaning my home with the air guitar/microphone combo.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Not a Joshua Tree,

but a Joshua IN a tree!

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Hey Mom! Look at me!
Wow! You are up there!

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How are you going to get down?

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That's easy! I'll just swing down like this.

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Wait! Amanda! Come get under me, and see if you can support my weight!

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Awesome! I have my own personal carrier!
My sister, my slave!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Recipe Review: To Die For Blueberry Muffins

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I recently made these. They are very good and received many good compliments. When I scaled the recipe up to make 108 servings, the liquids were off (play-dough consistency), but I just added extra milk. Next time I make them, I will also add some lemon juice to help bring out the flavor of the blueberries a little more. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Doctors Use HIV to Cure Leukemia

"Doctors injected a young girl with cancer with cells treated with the HIV virus in order to try to fight her leukemia. The HIV virus reprogrammed the cells in order to fight her bad cancer cells.
Emma was given the treatment and in a short time became deathly ill as her body reacted to the newly introduced disease… and then a remarkable thing happened."
Go watch the video.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Update on Caleb 10/17/2013

Caleb Updates: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

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Caleb with his IV ball. He likes to hold it up hoping it will make it run faster.

Update 10/16/2013: Caleb's PICC line dressing was changed by in home health care today. His temperature was normal. He weighs 69.4 lbs on our scales which I noted are about 3 lbs lighter than the hospital's. That puts him having gained about a pound since he's been home. He is still tired a lot, but that is normal considering everything that has happened to him. He has another dressing change next Wednesday along with a blood draw. His blood work will be sent to the hospital overnight. Next Thursday, we will go to CHKD, get the results of the blood work, and see where we go from there. If his blood work shows the infection is gone, his PICC line will be removed. If not, he will have another 10 day round of antibiotics. Caleb's parents are finally catching up on sleep and feeling normal again. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for and asking about Caleb. He appreciates all of the cards, balloons, and gifts. We are looking forward to seeing some of you this weekend! He's also wanting to go shopping with the spending money he's received.

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PICC dressing change by Nurse Judy

Update 10/17/2013: Caleb asked us to take pictures along the way. I will post a few of those tomorrow. He weighed 71.2 pounds this morning. Clint and I have him on a 6-2-10 schedule for his Zosyn. I will try to get pictures of what we do at home for him and post those soon too. It's busy here...I am trying to catch up on what fell behind and keep homeschool moving forward too. Caleb is looking forward to seeing everyone this weekend. 

11:27 a.m. This is the email I sent out a little while ago to our family, closest friends, and prayer warriors:

Caleb is looking and feeling better. The brightness in his eyes is back! His PICC dressing was changed yesterday, and he received a mini check up. His bp and temp are back to normal. Those are good signs! He has gained a little and is up from 69.4 yesterday to 71.2 today. He is still very weak and feels temperature changes quickly. He tires out very easily which is normal. I've set him up in our travel trailer for day time naps. Joshua sleeps downstairs beside him because Caleb can't manage the bunk bed right now.

Due to the appendix rupture, Caleb had an infection throughout his abdominal cavity. This started before his appendectomy. Later, it spread from where the appendix burst all the way to his left side. It was drug resistant e. coli, which is why the Augmentin did not work when they sent him home the first time. They tested the yuck they pulled out of him when he had the drain installed, and it gave them this info. The test they ran on his appendix did not reveal cancer or other reason for the appendicitis. We assume the virus that hit Bethany first affected Caleb's appendix.

He finishes his antibiotics next week on Wednesday. He will have a dressing change and mini check up as well as a blood draw then. The blood work will be sent to CHKD. Thursday afternoon, we will take him back, and they will give us the results of the blood work. He will either get sent home with another round of PICC antibiotics, or he will have the PICC removed. We are thinking it will be the latter. When the PICC is removed, we will have to watch for signs of recurrent infection like we did last time. 

Caleb was in CHKD 10 days with a day home in between. He was sick 3 days before his appendicitis, and had a 10 day PICC therapy after the second discharge. It's been a long haul, but I think we are near the end. Thank you for the love, prayers, and concern. 

Update 10/19/2013: Caleb had the drain removed a week ago. When it was removed, the pain was excruciating. The surgeon kept saying it shouldn't hurt that much, and said he didn't know why it was. When he got it all the way out, he learned his instructions for its installation had not been followed. They had put a loop on the end of it. The loop was larger than the hole it had to pass through out of his body. The surgeon apologized to Caleb profusely and then ordered the strongest dose of morphine Caleb could have to be given to him.

As instructed, I check Caleb's former drain and incision sites every day for tenderness and other signs of infection. Today, there was a change. He has a green bruise the size of a quarter and a lump under the skin in between the two places. We were able to contact a few friends for advice. 

One of them is a PA and feels this is inflammatory tissue, but he is not sure why there is bruising a week post removal of the drain. He said maybe that is a hematoma. Our friend Judi has worked as a wound nurse. She consulted with a veteran nurse, and they both concurred that this could be a hernia in the abdominal wall due to the history of the drain removal or some tube could have been left behind. She said that since he is on antibiotics, it is fine to wait until Thursday when we see the surgeon, but we should definitely follow up.

We ask that you pray whatever this is will resolve itself without Caleb having to have to endure more pain. Thank you! (Caleb's weight was 71.6 and his energy level is higher today. I am letting him "push" his saline flush into his PICC site to give him a little more control over what his happening to him. He and I went for a nature walk together.)

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taken 10/13

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taken 10/19
Just a few pounds has made a big difference in his appearance.

Update 10/20/2013: Caleb weighed 73.6 lbs this morning. That is a +5 lb gain since his surgery.

Update 10/21/2013 10:26 a.m.: Caleb has been having a slight pain in his back. At first, we thought it was from how he slept. Today, it has increased to a 4 and is stinging too, so we are en-route to CHKD to find out what is going on since the pain is in the area of his PICC line in his chest.

Update 7:14 p.m.: We are home. Caleb has a small pocket of infection in his abdomen. They think that is causing the pain around his shoulder blade because pain in the abdomen can radiate and turn up in weird places. He had a long, painful ultrasound which showed the pocket near his intestines. They are taking a wait and see approach on the area of fluid. We are to keep giving his antibiotics and will go back on Thursday for a reevaluation. Thank you for the calls, emails, texts, voice mails, offers of help, and especially the prayers. Caleb is very relieved they didn't admit him! We live quite a distance from the hospital, and the traffic was really backed up. Clint and I are exhausted! Clint is more tired than I am because he had to work long hours (30) over the weekend. We are calling it a night.

Update 10/22/2013 3:30 p.m.: We just cancelled the appointment with home health care for tomorrow. He just had three tests run on his blood last night to check for infection. We can't see putting him through another lengthy dressing change and another risk of infection if they are going to remove the PICC tomorrow. If they don't remove the PICC, they can change it there. We called his surgeon, and he agrees with us on this. We are happy we are able to save a little bit of trouble for Caleb! 

Update 10/24/2013 11:24 a.m.: Caleb left half an hour ago to make his 1 p.m. appt. He was "off" this morning, but I couldn't get him to tell me why. Then I thought about how they have told him twice that a procedure would not hurt, but due to mix ups, he ended up in a lot of pain. After that, I'd be apprehensive too! We watched some Youtube videos of PICCs being removed, and it reassured him. I stayed home with the younger children so I could catch up on some of the work that has fallen behind. We are expecting good news!

Update 10/24/2013 4:00 p.m.: This was one of the tougher trials we have seen from a parental perspective. Not only did Caleb need lifesaving surgery, but he had a secondary infection grow worse mere hours after he was released the first time and while he was still on antibiotics. That was frightening! Here's the good news: Caleb's surgeon said the sudden lump with bruise, which we had been told could be a hernia or area of infection, was only where the drain line was healing and will go down with time. He also said the areas on the ultrasound may be infection, but might not be. Caleb does not show any other signs of infection, and has been on antibiotics long enough that the surgeon is not concerned with it. The body will clear those areas up. The pain in his back that we were concerned with being due to the PICC or Zosyn (it's a complication of both) Clint and I concluded was due to him being laid up for so long and then using those muscles again. The abdominal pain that upset the ER and received a lot of testing, the surgeon calmly said is only the normal pain of healing. Everything looks good, so they pulled the PICC out. The only thing we have to worry with is if the body grows scar tissue on the intestines. If that happens, he will vomit a lot like he did with the appendicitis, and he will need to be examined. That is very unlikely of happening, so I think we can close this chapter. Caleb is on limited activity for the next week, and then he can do as he pleases after that. Thank you to everyone who prayed, stood beside us, and encouraged Caleb. (No more trips to Norfolk...yay!!)

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Look Ma, no PICC!!

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

She's Good At It

The "littles" always aspire to what the "bigs" are doing... Amanda is a state licensed cosmetologist while she is going to college. Hannah, 4, put a barrette in her unruly locks and pronounced, 

"Mom! Looook! I am a good hair do-er!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hannah Bug

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A quiet moment with tiny Fluttershy.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Article: The Pitfalls Of Too Little Sleep May Be Greater Than You Think

"The study found older people who don't get enough restful sleep have brain imaging patterns similar to people suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health looked at data from 70 adults with an average age of 76 and reported higher deposits of beta-amyloid in those who didn't sleep much or very well. ...

The study does open doors to future research studying whether or not bettering a person's sleep can prevent or delay beta-amyloid buildup and Alzheimer's progression."

You can read the rest of The Pitfalls Of Too Little Sleep May Be Greater Than You Think here.

Science Video: Awesome Octopus Camouflage

"When marine biologist Roger Hanlon captured the first scene in this video he started screaming. Hanlon, senior scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, studies camouflage in cephalopods--squid, cuttlefish and octopus. They are masters of optical illusion. These are some of Hanlon's top video picks of sea creatures going in and out of hiding." I took the embedded code out because it started on its own. I personally find noise coming from a webpage as soon as I land on it annoying. To view the video, you can go here.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Having Some Fun

Before we flush the PICC, we have to prime the syringe by getting air out of the top. Clint and I are not experts and we have dribbled a few drops of saline on Caleb in doing this. Caleb has been teasing us about it.

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Clint gave him a squirt just for fun!

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Caleb and Joshua are laughing!

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His smile is such a wonderful thing to see!

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Ah, payback! and more smiles!
As you can see, we are about back to normal!

Proverbs 17:22a  A merry heart doeth good like a medicine

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Caleb's Supplies

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Caleb gets a package!

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Sorry, not Legos this time!

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Three times a day, Caleb gets his antibiotic through his PICC. As soon as he finishes with one, I get the supplies ready for the next one. (The antibiotic has to be at room temperature, and we are instructed to take one ball out when the other is used.) The saline syringes are for flushing his line before and after the antibiotic is administered. The alcohol pads are used between the flushes, infusion ball, and the green catheter cap that goes on at the end to provide protection from contaminants. We were familiar with a lot of this because we do a lot of our own health care for our farm critters.

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The infusion balls are metered to give 100mL per hour. A thick air-filled ball pushes the antibiotic into his PICC. We've been timing it. It takes anywhere from 25 minutes to 55 minutes to administer the full dose. The ball on the left is empty. The yellow air chamber is deflated around the tube. The one on the right is full.

We are very thankful to the Lord for modern technology and antibiotics!

Psalm 34:1 I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

How We Kept Caleb's PICC Dry When He Showered

The blog starts back to the scheduled postings tomorrow. I will update about Caleb again next week after we see the doctor.

We were told to keep Caleb's PICC dry when he showered. Having seen PICC infections before, it was not something we wanted to risk for our son. We were given a sleeve with elastic ends to cover it, but it did not look adequate. A quick check on the internet revealed many people having to call for someone to do a dressing change after using it. Caleb didn't want to go through that either. So Caleb, Joshua, and I took all of the suggestions we found on the internet and combined them. We had SUCCESS! After gathering supplies, it took us about 4 minutes to wrap his arm and about a minute to remove it, so it's not too time consuming to repeat each day. Caleb was able to take a long shower and clean himself well. And, he was happy because he kept his PICC completely dry! Caleb said, "Mom, put that on the blog so other moms can keep their kids from going through another dressing change."

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plain PICC

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clean dish towel layer to soak up any water that might get through
our towel stayed dry

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saran wrap with both ends taped

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sleeve they gave us
He made me tape the ends "just to be sure!"

As he bathed, he kept the PICC arm pointed away from the spray.

Free Bird Identification Poster

Friday, October 18, 2013

Picts of Caleb's Appendectomy Journey

Caleb asked us to get pictures along the way.
Looking at these is still hard for me.
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morphine from emergency room wore off
waiting for more relief

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Clint's view

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my view

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The wear on my beloved is evident on his face.

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hurting. waiting for morphine. even noise hurt.
The cool cloth on his forehead was all I could do to help him.

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He is flushing from the morphine, but relief is coming.

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a special visitor Ali Babba

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in the game room with Fred, his aggravating IV pole, named after Nurse Heather's wicked little dachshund who ate her kittens and baby squirrels

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drain line prep

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drain line and appendectomy scar

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One of the three meal bags Child Life Services gave us.

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Joshua a.k.a "brothers are the best medicine"

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PICC pump
This is how they administered the antibiotic, Zosyn, after the iv was removed.

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2 of my boys

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looking better

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He chose to walk out like a CHAMPION!