Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Update on 'Cyclic Vomiting'...

If you have read any of my previous posts on dealing with the whole 'cyclic vomiting' issue, then you might like this next one as her symptoms have GREATLY improved!!!

And if you haven't read them, but would like are the links:

In the last post related to this one (posted waay back in October), we had mentioned trying 4 things: adding in a multi-vitamin, a digestive enzyme/probiotic, cutting out gluten, and making an appt. with Texas Children's.

As far as the multi-vitamins, we are hit and miss with those, but especially on days when their diet has not been as well balanced as it should be, I make sure to have the kids take them.

With the digestive enzyme and probiotic, I have my daughter take one before breakfast and dinner. Sometime, we'll add in one before lunch too. Not sure if this has aided in her symptoms improving, but hey, I figure it can't hurt :) 

This is the BIG one! We cut gluten completely out of her diet. I had been keeping a food diary and out of everything she was eating, dairy and flour/gluten were at the top of the list. We were already aware she had a dairy intolerance, but we were pretty good at managing that (well, most days anyway), plus that only caused her tummy to be a little upset, nothing like the horrendous pain and vomiting she had been having. So, we took on the daunting task of cutting out gluten. It was really hard at first ESPECIALLY with Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner. Needless to say, we were hit and miss until mid-January or so. Until you get the hang of things, it is very easy to miss all the ingredients gluten can hide in. She has vomited just a handful of times since February, but they have been fairly short, without all the abdominal pain, and can be traced back to a slip-up with her ingesting gluten. It is still too early to start 'counting my chicks', but we are hopeful this is what had been causing her all that trouble.

As far as the last thing we wanted to try, we had to wait 4 whole months before we actually got into our appt. for Texas Children's as they have a looong waiting list, but we finally made it. Through blood tests, a gluten and wheat allergy have been ruled out. And while she is not allergic to those, the doc said  she most likely has a severe intolerance. The only way to check for that?!? Put her back on gluten for several months, see if the symptoms return, and do a scope to look at her intestinal lining for signs of irritation. Ummm, no thanks! My daughter is old enough to know how she felt then and how she feels now. She cried and begged for us not to put her back on. So, we do not plan to. When we are at birthday parties or other places where food (that she cannot have) is involved, she voluntarily abstains from eating it. She knows the few times she has slipped up or cheated, she immediately reverted back to vomiting. Anyway, other than that, we are going to have an upper GI done just to check and make sure things are all flowing where and how they need to. 

Because of cutting out gluten, I have seen major changes in my daughter's behavior. That was quite unexpected. I had no idea cutting that out would have an impact on how she behaved. She used to have terrible mood swings and tantrums that would last for hours (yes, literally hours). Oh, she still has her moments, but they are what I would call 'normal' and manageable. 

Another change is she is hungry, all. the. time. For a kid that has always been puny, underweight, and small for her age, she is liking eating again. I think she is even gaining a little weight :-D 

She feels better too. No more complaining of her tummy hurting all. the. time. Oh sure, she still has tummy aches from time to time (usually because we overdid it with the dairy that day), but nothing like before. She is more active and has more energy. 

It is so good to see my little girl overall happy and healthy again :)

Like I said though, it is still too early to tell if she is 'cured' or if the cyclic vomiting and abdominal pain will return. But, we are hopeful and thankful to God for putting people in our path to suggest these things and steer us in the right direction :-D

100th Day Party - Spanish Style!

100th Day Party - Spanish Style!!!

This year, we had the unique opportunity to participate in a 100th Day celebration with friends - Spanish style!

The kids had a blast! We are all learning spanish thru Rosetta Stone, so our friend, who is from Puerto Rico, thought it would be fun to mix it up a bit by throwing in a spanish theme.

We divided the kids evenly into 2 teams. Each team completed the same activities and the winning team was awarded points for each activity. The team with the most points at the end wins!

Meet Team Republic...
Meet Team Stingray...

They went on scavenger hunts, pieced together Bible verses, sang and danced, ate, and much more.

The kids are following a recipe in Spanish. It was yummy!
Singing the song 'Las Hormiguitas'

It was 3 full hours of non-stop fun!

At the end of the game, the points were tallied, and the winning team earned $100!!! Go Stingray!!!

The only catch was that team had to choose to use the money in a way that honored God.


I am pleased to announce the winning team chose to share their earnings with the other team.

Each child went home with a whopping $10 :-D

My brown-eyed girl and blue-eyed boy said this was the best 100th Day Party ever!!!!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Messianic Passover/Seder

We had the unique privilege of participating in a Messianic Passover/Seder. 

My sister's church, a few hours away from us, was offering this in preparation for a study they were about to begin. She invited us, and other members of our family, to participate. 

Armed with our Haggadah (a compilation of the rituals and passages used for the Seder service), we were ready to begin!

This was so perfect for us because we are studying Creation to the Greeks in our home school studies this year and the Passover was the next Biblical Feast we were planning to cover in the next few weeks. We have covered several Biblical feasts already (ShabbatRosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Booths) and let me tell you, they are a lot of work! They are also extremely meaningful and I love how God used/uses these feasts to draw His people closer to Him and cause them to remember everything that He has done and continues to do.

To be able to participate in a Biblical Feast that was basically done for us was a HUGE blessing! Not only that, but it was led by an Israeli Messianic Jew by the name of Zohar Gonen. Zohar partners with Chosen People Ministries in order to bring the gospel to Jewish people around the world. Unlike me, trying to glean information from the book Celebrating Biblical Feasts by Martha Zimmerman, this guy knew exactly what he was doing! He has an amazing testimony and the ministry he participates in is awesome. Check out the ministry link for more information. 

My husband and I, along with our children and other members of our family, participated in this 2/2.5 hour memorable event. I wish I could tell you about every single detail of the Passover because it was all so interesting and exciting, but I will just highlight a few things. 

The Seder plate contained:

-salt water
-Karpas (parsley)
-Z'roah (shank bone) - Our individual plates did not each contain this item, but the speakers plate did
-Maror (bitter herbs)
-Cha-gee-gah (boiled egg)
-Charoset (mixture of apples, honey, nuts, and wine)

Each item signifies certain things and has great meaning wrapped up in it. The karpas was nasty. I am not a fan of parsley and the bitter herbs just about brought tears to everyone's eyes. I think boiled eggs dipped in salt water might just be a new breakfast hit with the kids though ;)

As we went through the Passover, Zohar explained each step and item in great detail. It was so neat to hear him recite/sing most things in the Hebrew language. 

Here is my goofy, but beautiful sister lighting the festival candles (Nay-rot shel Pesach). 

Her husband singed off most of his arm hairs later on in the Passover when he was reaching across the table for something....too bad I didn't get THAT on camera ;) 

And here is my husband breaking the middle Matzah (unleavened bread).

It was so much fun participating in this Passover/Seder. We all learned so much. Of course, after 4 glasses of wine each (aka - grape juice), we were all about to bust our britches...LOL!

I wish I could participate in all the Biblical feasts this way!

CtG Weeks 20, 21, & 22

Here are a few highlights from our weeks...

The kiddos finished painting their fish from a few weeks ago. They did a great job!

My son was not terribly thrilled about having to draw more with the History of Art curriculum, but the fact that it was dragons, made it a little easier. 

I asked the kids to focus on the different parts of the dragon and draw a few of the main parts in each little box.

Next, I asked them to put all the parts together and draw the dragon in its entirety.

On this day, the kids had to draw their own renditions of the angel Michael slaying the dragon as noted in Revelation 12:7-8

A little info about the pictures above...Notice the arrows  by the angels? Apparently, my son said they needed a jump start on flying. So, they pooted which gave them a little extra gas power in order to sustain the flight needed for slaying the dragon during the battle. Boys will be boys, right?!?

We have been learning about Samuel, David, Goliath, Saul, and Jonathan. They were already familiar with most of these stories, but these have been a great in-depth review.

The kids enjoyed the Trojan Horse Story, but they are not terribly fond of The Children's Homer. Sometimes, it is hard for them to follow. We'll stick with this book for a little longer, but I'm not really seeing much value in it.

Science has been a little slow again as the experiments have not been all that appealing. We tried the 'designed for living underwater' experiment (twice) and it did not work either time. The kids enjoyed the 'sense sent scents' activity. They had some difficulty in telling between some of the citrus smells, but they figured them all out in the end.

We did not do many of the experiments and activities called for in the Teacher's Manual these past few weeks...especially the 'fruit fly farm'. Nope, ain't happening. We had a fruit fly plague several months back (everyone was struggling with these in our area) and I was not about to intentionally try to get fruit flies to come back for some experiment!

And just for fun during one of these weeks....the kids designed Minecraft masks and acted out their own Minecraft battle.

Well, there you have the last 3 weeks in a nutshell. Hope your last few were memorable as well :)