"Grieving the loss of a child is a process, it begins the day your child passes and ends the day the parent joins them."

Monday, March 29, 2010

My Menu Plan Monday

Okay...back at it. I'm finally over the crud that I had last week. I've passed it on to Brad and Paul. Although, they are both doing better this afternoon.

This week our menu includes some grilling out. We're suppose to be in the mid 70's!!

Monday: Grilled Steak, rice and toss salad

Tuesday: Grilled Burgers, fries and macaroni salad

Wednesday: Grilled Chicken, baby potatoes and veggies

Thursday: Lasagna, broccoli with cheese sauce and garlic bread

Friday: Pizza night

Saturday: Left over night

Sunday: Ham with all the fixin's

My recipe is just a helpful hint really.

I dice up red baby potatoes and toss with olive oil. Then place on a sheet of tin foil. Add garlic, spices, salt and pepper. Drizzle more olive oil over the potatoes. Then place a second sheet of tin foil over the top and close all sides up tight; forming a packet. Poke holes in the top of the 'packet'. Place on grill for about 30 minutes. Delicious!!

I also add sliced onions. I've been known to add zucchini, when they are in season. Sometimes I even throw in green beans. I only use fresh ones from the garden.

We make this quite often during the summer months.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Even though they don't look like Christmas
Halloween cupcakes.

They sure do taste mighty good!

I decided to make some cupcakes when Carly came home from school today.
She, of course wanted to put sprinkles on them.
Well.... all I had for sprinkles, were red and green Christmas sprinkles and orange and black
Halloween sprinkles. Ha!
Oh well, she was happy. And I got them used up!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Puts a smile on my face.

I believe Carly has mastered yet another task. Small task to some. HUGE for Carly!

Carly has been able to draw shapes for quite a few years now.

However, her smiley faces were simply a circle, with a bunch of dots in the

She did this on her own. With no prompting from me.

She called for me to come see what she had drawn.

And I all but fainted on the floor.

I made a BIG deal over it and embarrassed her terribly.

Until I suggested she draw one for sissy too.

And draw she did. In fact, she drew four smiley faces in a row.

One for sissy, mama and grandma and one for Paul (as she calls her dad)!

I tried to convince her to write her name on each picture, but no such luck.

Needless to say, Carly and her smiley faces, put a smile on my face.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


...is the best way to describe how I have been feeling.

I've been sick. Feeling miserable. Coughing. Stuffy head. Sore throat. Headache. Body aches. Just plain miserable. I'm on antibiotics, and they seem to be slowly working. Thankfully, I haven't been sick in about 3 years. Other than a sinus bout here and there. I just don't have the time to be sick.

Poor Carly. She is still dealing with strep throat. It WILL NOT go away. Other than complaining that her throat hurts, and for the red spots and red throat...she is showing no other symptoms. Which is good, I guess.

We were back to the doctor yesterday. Carly received a second shot of Rocephin. She is now done with 2 different oral antibiotics, that she was on back to back, as well. Now, we worry about thrush. Oh and her allergies are kicking in to. Not fun times.

So there you have it. The reason for my lack of blogging. Oh, I missed my menu plan Monday. Trust me, I'm cooking very little. Paul was put in charge of that! I can tell you, tonight we are having soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Who knows, I just may hit the kitchen myself. Sadly, it won't be homemade soup tonight.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Who would guess..

..that behind this sweet little face.

Is one strong willed.
Little girl.
And even though,
she can push
my buttons, like
no other.
I wouldn't
trade her
for the

Thursday, March 18, 2010

To the circus we went..

Sorry for lack of posts. I've been so busy the last week or so. Spring is vastly approaching and I've been trying to do some spring cleaning/down sizing.

We did take time out last Sunday to take Carly to the circus. She loved it. She was a little upset though, because she wanted to see "giraffes"! They didn't haven any. Aside from her asking a million and one times to see the giraffes, she enjoyed herself.

Carly really like the Ariel Artistry.
I was surprised these girls did this stuff without nets
under them.

This lady was really good.
When she was done, Carly wanted "more mama, more"!

This little guy was making his first Circus appearance.

Ahh, the dancing girls. Another of Carly's favorites.

These white tigers were beautiful. They had a female trainer. Which for some reason really surprised me. No way would I be in the ring with 6 tigers!

The pony rides. Carly was a little nervous getting on this pony. She refused to let go of Paul for one second.

We had a very good time. Carly really enjoyed herself. Paul and I were very impressed with the show this circus put on. It was really something. It lasted forever... close to 3 hours. But, Carly did just dandy. She sat in her seat and watched the entire show. Although, Saturday, when I finally told her where we were going on Sunday, she kept telling us we were going to the "zoo". I guess she figured, you see animals at the zoo... Silly kid!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why does it bother me??

Paul and I had Carly's conference at school last night. All in all, it went pretty well. We learned, on the academic end, Carly is progressing nicely. For her anyway. She is getting more vocal..which is GREAT! She is showing pre-reading skills and that's great too! She is getting numbers and working very hard to grasp the math concepts. We are all thrilled that she is more vocal. That she can write numbers and letters. That she can spell/write her name. That she knows all of her colors and shapes. That she is beginning to read. She can do word searches for crying out loud! Not bad when put to parents in those terms.

Socially, Carly is blossoming. She is quite popular. All the girls in her classroom want to be her friend. Everyone wants their turn to sit with Carly during story time. Stand in line next to Carly. Sit at the lunch table, next to Carly. Anything Carly does, a steady stream of girls want to be there with her. The girls and boys, take great pride in any accomplishment that they see Carly master. The teacher told us, "they are Carly's cheerleaders". That makes us smile!!

But,,,,,there seems to always be a, but! Funny how that works isn't it? The teacher and resource teacher, (who Carly sees every day for 30 minute sessions) had to do it. I understand that. It just doesn't make it any easier to hear. They had to tell us, Carly is very behind her peers in terms of learning. Yes...she is progressing, but it's at her rate. Not at the rate of the class. Okay, so honestly, Paul and I know that. But, like I said, it doesn't make it any easier to hear. It kind of feels like a kick in the gut. Not a big ole kick in the gut, but a kick in the gut, nonetheless! However,we are thrilled with what she is doing. So is her resource teacher.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not at all upset with how conferences went. Not too much. What I mean is, they didn't tell us anything that we didn't already know. It's just hard to hear. As parents, we want what every parent wants. Their kid to thrive. To learn along side their peers. To gain independence. We understand that it will take Carly longer to get there, than say...her peers. But we have confidence that she will get there. How far she will go with her ability to learn is any one's guess. Of course we hope she continues on with her learning for many years to come. And from what I've read online recently..it's very possible that our kiddo's with Down syndrome continue to learn way into adulthood. Many educators feel that our kids will get to a point, where they maxed out their learning ability. So to speak.

At the end of the conference, I told the teacher's that we feel that any progress Carly makes in school, is HUGE. Even if it's a small accomplishment in the eye's of the educators...it's HUGE for Carly. And we're going to take whatever we get, and be proud of her! To that, they agreed!

Just wish I knew, why does it bother me?

After conferences, we headed down to the Girl Scout cookie stand. I've thought about signing Carly up for the Girl Scout's, but honestly I thought she would be too shy. And, up until this year, I believe that would have been the case. I guess I'd better start to think about it for next year. Hopefully, she will be even more vocal and more social. Anyway, we purchased 5 boxes of cookies. Oh my gosh...are they good!

Then we hit up the Book Fair that was going on in the library. Have I ever mentioned how much Carly LOVES books? She walks into a library and her eyes get as big as saucers. She is on cloud nine! We ended up buying her 4 books, a pencil...that she just had to have, and an eraser too. She thinks writing and erasing is just the coolest thing ever!

As we were getting ready to head home, we popped into the gym teachers office. I was curious as to how Carly was doing in gym class. At the beginning of the year, she was very shy in gym. She would stand back and observe the kids, rather than join in. Not anymore. This gym teacher video tapes bits and pieces of each child doing "their thing" in gym. He then loads them onto his computer, making it possible to share a little bit of gym class with the parents. So cool! Sadly, he only started doing this 3 months ago. We watched 2 clips of Carly in gym. The first clip was taken 3 months ago. The clip showed just how leery Carly was. She would take part, but was very hesitant. The second clip was taken last week. Holy Cow, what a difference in Miss Carly. She was involved. Focused. Having fun. Doing the activity for that day, which was under hand throwing. The gym teacher was very pleased with her progress. Although, he did admit...Carly does great as long as he keeps his distance! Apparently, Carly prefers the gym aide, over the gym teacher! After spring break, they will start doing over hand throwing. The gym teacher is excited for that session to start up because he has already seen Carly throw over hand. He thinks she has quite the arm on her!

In a nut shell. Conferences went okay. It's just so hard to hear what your child cant do. I hate that she has to be compared to her peers, but that's how the public school system works. That's how mainstreaming our kids works. And some how, I need to grow a little thicker skin. That way, maybe I can stop wondering, why it bothers me so.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Appointment day with no insurance. Yeah, I have a chip on my shoulder today!

Carly had a dentist appointment today. I was so dreading it. She was too. She flipped out each and every time we mentioned the word "dentist". But, to my surprise, she did a good job today.

We met a new dentist. A female, Dr R. She was so sweet, gentle and soft spoken. A very pleasant person to talk to. Of course Carly did panic a bit. Who could blame her after Aug's appointment with Dr. J. Who by the way, I have heard terrible things about. From other dentist offices. I only wish I would have heard it all before I took Carly there last summer. Live and learn I guess. Sadly, it was at Carly's expense. This time around, I did a TON of homework. I even called adult dentist offices for recommendations.

Things went okay. The teeth/tooth, in question looked good. Well, as good as a damaged tooth can look. No major problems going on at this time. However, this dentist said due to the trauma that her teeth have had, we will be watching for problems for the next several years. Even into her adult life. Nice. Just what a mom wants to hear. But, no cavities today! Honestly, I was hoping for a cavity over anything major. So I was very happy to hear, "all clear for now". Whew!

April 6th, I'll take her in for another recheck. To make sure that something isn't trying to creep up on her. She will have a cleaning at that time also.

This dentist told me that she will not mess around with Carly and her teeth. If the time happens to come, where Carly would need extensive dental work, due to her injured teeth. Dr R, will take Carly to the OR at our local hospital. Which I prefer. Extensive dental work is traumatic enough on anyone...times 50 for Carly! Not to mention, we don't want her to associate root canals, extractions and any other major dental procedures with the dentist office. Again, thanks Dr. J., for freaking my daughter out completely.

After the dentist we headed over to our doctor's office. Carly has been battling a nasty nose for about a week now. Last night, I noticed spots in the back of her throat. Today's diagnosis: Strep throat and a sinus infection. I can not believe how many times this poor kid has had strep throat this year. Back on antibiotics she goes! I swear, it's never ending.

If you read the title to this post, you'll notice the part that says, "no insurance". Well, that's because, we have no flippin' insurance. Thank you Mr. D (Paul's boss), who jips his employees out of hours and pay. Oh yeah, benefits too.

Paul works for the Laborer's Union. Which is a JOKE! Paul has worked with this union for most of his life. He started when he was 18. Took a break for about 10 years, but went back to it. 15 straight years he's been working steady (with the exception of being laid off for 6 months a couple years back) with the union. Well, the way the union works is so nuts. You have to pay your dues each month. Come Hell or high water. You HAVE to pay them....But, you can lose your benefits if.........your boss stops turning in your time and paying for them. Here's the kicker...There is NOTHING you can do. Sit back and wait until Mr. D decides he's good and ready to pay up his employees benefits. So. As of Feb 1, 2010, we have NO medical/dental insurance.

You see, the union does nothing for anyone but the big boss men sitting in their offices. Makes me sick to my stomach! So, today I paid $103 for Carly to see the dentist and have a couple sets of x-rays done. Then, I went over to the doctor's office, where he reduced his rate from $75 per visit, to $50 for today. Only after I told him about having no insurance.

Thankfully, Carly does have a second insurance, through the state of Michigan. It's called Children's Special Health Care Services. They will pay for her prescriptions, thank goodness. But, they will not pay for her to see a dentist or a general care doctor. They tell me that's up to our other insurance. Which normally, isn't a problem.

I just spoke with our insurance company. They informed me that our insurance was terminated and it will take 300 continuous work hours to reactivate it. Oh, and they take no back hours..because it was terminated. We start all over. So, the hours Mr. D didn't turn in are no good now. Isn't that sweet?! Mr. D has until March 15th to turn in Feb, hours...or we may lose those too. Un-freakin' believable. We are looking at April..and if there isn't 300 hrs, it could be May, before we may be able to have insurance back. Unbelievable! After 15 straight years of being in the union. Paying dues on time. Working everyday. It all falls upon Mr. D. Who quite frankly doesn't give a rats A double S about his workers or their families.
So, yes...I do have a HUGE chip on my shoulder today!

Monday, March 8, 2010

It's a Manic Monday

Carly woke me up at 10pm last night. I could tell she was having stomach cramps. She was pulling her legs up and in toward her chest. Like a big dummy, I convinced her to lay back down. Which she did. She even closed her eyes and feel asleep. For a minute or two. She then woke up telling me she had to go "potty". So, off we went. Much to my surprise, poor Carly had already had a major accident. She was a mess. She sat on the potty and went even more. Poor kid. Guess I should have gotten her up and taken her potty before she told me...I knew she was having a stomach ache..I just never dreamed she'd have an accident.

This is how she's doing today.

Not awful, but just not herself. Thank goodness she hasn't had anymore accidents. She gets so upset with herself. Even tho I tell her, it's okay and that it's just an accident.

To top off the morning...Carly discovered that Penny, our cockapoo (dog), had been sick in our living room. Likely in the wee hours of the morning. In two different spots. Fun, NOT! I got the cleaner out, which Carly hates the smell of. It makes her gag. Me too for that matter. Got the dog puke out of my house and all cleaned up. Laundry is going and I'm off to take a shower and try to wake myself up!

Told ya, It's a Manic Monday for me today!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Teeth. Sissy and missing poppa and grandma.

..Carly's complaining of a tooth ache. Remember this post?

Carly's teacher has sent me a note home on Wednesday and Thursday, telling me that Cary was complaining about her tooth hurting. Ugh! I have checked her teeth out each day. Even using a flash light. I wanted to make sure there was no abscess going on. Everything looks okay. To me anyway.

Yesterday I broke down and called the dentist. I didn't call the one we went to the end of Aug. That place was just too uncomfortable. Not to mention their receptionist was probably one of the most unpleasant persons I've ever come across. She was full of smart little comments, that stung just a bit. You can click here, for a refresher.

Anyway, I found a local kids dentist that sounds like she is wonderful. The receptionist was bubbly and sweet. Hopefully, this time at the dentist Carly will come out without tears streaming down her little face. I did some pretty intense searching this time around. I called other dentist offices in the area asking for recommendation for a pediatric dentist. I mentioned we had been to one in a nearby town. Each time I mentioned that dentist office, I was told, "Oh no, were not recommending them". Hmmm, I wonder why???

Come next Tuesday morning, Carly will be heading off to the dentist to see if any of those damaged teeth are in need of a root canal. I'm praying all checks out. I'd even be happy with a cavity at this point. Anything would be better than major dental issues.

Carly freaked out just hearing me talk to all the dentists offices I called yesterday. Poor kid. She is terrified of the dentist. Thank you Dr. J, for scaring the holy H out of my daughter. Needless to say, I'm dreading next Tuesday with a passion.

On a brighter note. Ashleigh is coming home for a visit tomorrow. To say that Carly is happy would be an understatement. She is on could nine! We're all pretty anxious to see "sissy". We haven't seen her in over 7 weeks. Carly has been telling us all the things she and "sissy" are going to do. Here's the run down so far: puzzles, read all books (as Carly says), paint, color, play games, build with blocks, write letters and numbers...Yep, they're going to be busy sisters this weekend!

Another thing Carly is looking forward to next week. My parents will be coming home from their winter in Florida. They should be home by the 14th or 15th. Carly is missing them awful this year. In fact, she woke up twice this week, very early and I mean early, like 5 am early, asking for "poppa and grandma". She even shed tears. Poor little girl.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Carlys story. Part 6

Finally, Carly's story continued....

If you missed the previous "Carly's story" click on the following. 1 2 3 4 5. Or click on them if you need a refresher.

Shortly after we arrived at the ER we were taken into a room. Doctor’s began to file in and out. One by one.

The focus with any child who has ever had a heart condition before, is…let’s just say, about the only thing that the health care pro’s focus on. After they finally realized this had nothing to do with her heart, we finally got some labs ordered.

As Paul and I sat with Carly, we soon noticed that she was this awful color of yellow. Neither of us had noticed it while at home. Her tiny little lips were of no color. They were, well, colorless. White, to be exact.

Labs were done and we waited. As we waited, a very intense and nasty ER Doc., “head doctor” (as she put it) came into our room. She more or less scolded us. Her words will forever stay etched in my mind. Along with her finger wagging in our faces, “This is a seriously sick child, do you understand that?” We were really put off by her. I of course snapped back, as I took on my defensive roll, “We know she's sick, or we wouldn’t be here”!

Even though we had the nasty head doctor that night in the ER, we had several very concerned and compassionate doctors and nurses. One that came in with the preliminary results of the lab work, told us of course the devastating results. Leukemia. She talked with us for quite a while. She explained that they couldn't be certain, but it looked like it. I now know that she, couldn't confirm the diagnosis for us. It had to be done by Oncology. This is how she put it. She said, “We aren’t 100% certain. Think of it like this. It’s like your standing a beach, looking out into the horizon. You see an object way, far out. You can’t really make out the object, but you assume that it’s a boat of some sort. As you stand there, it becomes a little clearer to you. Yes, a boat. What kind, you’re still not sure. Time will tell as it gets closer to you. Whether or not it’s a sailboat or a ship.”

As we cried for what seemed like forever. Paul and I sat holding Carly and each other. We decided it was time to make those dreaded phone calls to family members. Paul called Ashleigh and Brad. He also called my parents. I was too much of a wreck to do either of those calls. My parents were at a wedding in Bay City that night. We were in Ann Arbor. Quite a distance between the two. They told Paul they were heading to the hospital and would be there in a few hours.

After I gained my composure. I finally went outside with my cell phone. I called the kids and my parents (who were at that time heading to Ann Arbor) and my brother. Ashleigh, was in total disbelief. She kept telling me, "no, mom, they're wrong". My brother, he was in shock too. Matter of fact, there was a very long pause from him after I told him the news. At one point, I thought I had lost my connection. I even looked at my phone to be sure I still had a signal. I soon realized he too was in shock. I asked him to call our oldest brother. My call waiting was ringing. It was my mom. We cried and cried forever while on the phone. She just kept saying, “We’re on our way, we’re on our way”.

Within an hour of talking to my family. Pastor Bob, from our church came into the ER. He sat with us. Cried with us. Prayed over Carly. Prayed over all three of us. He did so, all while he was battling an awful sinus infection. He ended up staying with us into the wee hours. He wanted to see us to our room on that scary 7th floor of Motts Children’s Hospital. We didn’t get to our room until around 11pm. My parents finally made to Ann Arbor shortly after midnight. We all held Carly. Cried and prayed.

During that time, a resident came into our room. She told us that she had just viewed the blood slide in the lab. She confirmed that we were diagnosed with AML. She went on to tell us the entire treatment plan and then she left the room. It was around 1am and my parents and Pastor Bob left too. Leaving Paul and I alone with Carly. Alone on that God fearing 7th floor. All while the dreaded diagnosis settled in.

Part 7, to be continued….

Monday, March 1, 2010

Snow fun Sunday and Wintery Cuteness!

Sunday was a beautiful day. Full of sunshine and warmth...mid 30's warmth!
Paul and I thought it was high time to get Carly outside to play.
Due to illness and extreme cold, oh and very little snow, we haven't been able to take Carly outside to play up until Sunday.

And play she did.


Building a snowman.
"Frosty", just in case you're wondering!

Putting the finishing touches on "Frosty"!

Hard working!

Almost done.

Frosty at his finest..
complete with a Detroit Lions hat!


Then we had to capture some cuteness!

Taking a break after working so hard while building Frosty!

Saying "eese"!!

Miss Smiley!

Align CenterOne final pose. At this point, she was so done with me taking pictures. I took 115 pics that day!

We sure had fun. We spent over 2 hours outside that day. Paul finally had to drag Carly into the house. The snow was kind of wet..due to some really nice sunshine. Which we were not complaining about, but wet snow makes for wet snow pants.

Not sure if we'll be able to get back out and play some more in this snow. It's melting quickly with all this sunshine. Which I'm not complaining about.

My Menu Plan.

Last week, Paul worked a very late night. So, I changed up my menu from last week just a bit. Oh, and Ashleigh didn't end up coming home last weekend. Carly was kind of sad about that. She will be home this weekend though.

This weeks menu is including the grill. It's suppose to be in the mid 40's!! That means, I'm taking advantage of grilling out! It's yummy and saves a mess in my kitchen!

I've switched our Friday night pizza night to Saturday for this week. Per Ashleigh's request. She wants it ordered from her favorite pizza shop in our town. Which is okay by me, as I've been making homemade pizza the last three weeks! It's cheaper and tastes pretty darn good too! Plus, Carly eats homemade pizza way better than take out!

Monday: Grilled burgers, french fries and toss salad

Tuesday: Grilled pork chops, grilled potatoes and veggies

Wednesday: Crock pot meal...roast, carrots and potatoes

Thursday: Crock pot chili and corn bread

Friday: Chopped steak sandwiches with coleslaw

Saturday: Pizza night (Ashleigh wants to be home for pizza night)

Sunday: Ashleigh's choice

I'm leaving you with this recipe, that I got from The Pioneer Woman herself! Love her blog. Love this easy, yummy sandwich. Although, I don't make this often, it's a hit here and it was requested for this week's menu!