Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Braces Begin

Heather began the process of getting her braces. We had the final consult with the orthodontist yesterday, and she had her spacers put in. She has been in a lot of pain. I've second-guessed the wisdom of starting this now. She is scheduled for braces on Tuesday, the day before school. I'm not sure pain on her first day of school is going to be very helpful when she's trying to concentrate on a new school, a new school schedule, p.e., a locker combination and teacher expectations. If I'd had any idea that she would be this uncomfortable, I would have pushed for starting this process a week or two sooner.

Is there ever a good time to start braces?? Poor girl.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Last Full Week of Summer

With just one full week of summer vacation left, we are planning on making the most of it. In fact, my cherubs are still asleep as I post this (it is 9:49 a.m.). I've been sleeping in myself and not feeling too guilty about it. I don't get as much done, but hey, pretty soon I'll be up with the chickens (in other parts of the county since we don't have any ourselves), and back in the non-vacation time zone.

Is anyone wondering how we are doing on our Summer Bucket List? If not, you can stop reading (hee-hee). If you are interested, well, we are doing pretty well. Although it normally pains me to begin a list and not check everything off, two items had to be deferred. We missed pumpkin planting. I kept thinking we had time, but before we knew it, we'd passed the window. It is on the list for next June. We also had to defer our trip to Grandpa's house when Aunt Michelle and Gavin had to postpone their visit. The girls wanted to go there all together. We most likely won't wait until next summer to visit Grandpa's place, but we're hoping we can still make the trip with Aunt Michelle.

As for the rest of the list, we're doing pretty well. These are the things we'll be finishing up this week and probably into the first week of school or so mostly because we could all use a smoothie or a shake after a hot day in a stuffy, un-airconditioned classroom (thank you very much District Office for not installing air when you had the opportunity--oh, sorry, wrong post).

Disneyland (must come up with money for a pass)
Kite flying (need wind)
Bake (need temperature to drop outside)
Homemade shakes
Color Me Mine gift cards
Sleep in backyard (need motivation to set up tent... and sleep with insects)
Jump rope (double dutch style; still need to get the long ropes)

We've added one for the week as well...the new 12-year-old needs pierced ears before next week. I'm off to find a good place to get that done. Any suggestions?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pictures With Judy

They speak for themselves...




Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Soccer Season

We're into soccer season! Practices started while we were still wiling away the hours on the beach. Who knew the season started so early? Not us! We are done vacationing and slowly easing our way into the season. Jenna's first game is on September 10. Kelly and I are signed up as the team photographers and website updaters. These seem to be good jobs for us. Jenna is loving soccer. She loves that she gets to play a game she loves, have a friend on the team, make new friends, and have a fantastic coach. I'm sure we'll have many more pictures to share of our soccer athlete.

Monday, August 22, 2011

River Weekend

This is where we spent our weekend...

No joke. The Neuberts graciously invited the Holbrook and Peterson families to join them at their river house for the weekend. The views of the house and from the house (view from family room window below) were stunning. Debbie shared that the plans for the house were titled "The Lake House", and it certainly looks like something out of a catalogue of East Coast homes. It was the prettiest one we saw on the river.

The girls and I carpooled with the Neuberts on Thursday evening with the Holbrooks following. Kelly joined us on Friday after work. We spent every single minute on the river, watching movies in the theater (pics of the theater are from 2008 during our last visit), playing games and visiting. It was SO much fun. What a special treat. We cannot thank the Neuberts enough for this fabulous weekend!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Vitamin D and Me

I have a new relationship with Vitamin D, and it's so important that we will once again have another blog post about me (sorry honey). Actually, I am documenting my journey just in case my experience can help someone else. It's that important.

In March and April, I posted about my lack of energy here, and then about meeting my new doctor here. Things had gotten bad enough I had begun to investigate milder forms of Bi-Polar Disorder and other aspects of depression. Although I've written a little bit of my experience in the posts mentioned above, it warrants some more detail.

At the end of July I had my follow up doctor appointment to see how the massive doses of Vitamin D were working for me. Before my new number was revealed, we discussed how much better I've been feeling. About seven weeks after taking the Vitamin D, I literally woke up one morning and knew I was back. I have had energy to do things, and more importantly, the desire to do them. I have smiled and laughed more, felt the need for friends and contact with those outside of my home, and been overall more positive when I'm out in public. While watching my favorite dance show this summer, I began to spin around in my kitchen now and then and try out choreography that was popping into my head. I am awake and aware and ready to accomplish great things. Oh how I have missed this feeling.

The more we discussed the Vitamin D numbers, the more I learned. A normal range for Vitamin D is between 30 and 100. The range is wide because some people are just great at a number of 30, while others are feeling very low at numbers higher than that. This is the range they have found to be normal for many people. Numbers between 20 and 30 are considered to be Vitamin D deficient. Anything under a 20 is considered a severe deficiency. My number was an 18. Moreover, the research I've been reading has reported that by the time people experience the symptoms of severe deficiency, they have had it for quite a while. If you are interested in reading some of the literature I have found this article and this article very helpful.

My new Vitamin D number is 56. It is feeling like a great number for me. I am now going to reduce my dosage to a normal daily intake of Vitamin D as remaining at the high 50,000IUs is only productive for one to two months (after that, you can run into some other problems). I cannot believe the difference over the last 14 weeks. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of depression is weight gain (I would assume from the lack of energy or concern for one's diet, or anything else for that matter), and I have gained a lot of weight. My next hurdle will be to get back to a healthier weight and lifestyle, but I am so grateful to finally have some energy to do something about it that I remain positive.

I am concerned about the "simplicity" of my diagnosis. Not that health issue is ever simple, but considering I was very close to asking about antidepressant medication, and a simple blood test, combined with a very on-the-ball doctor, revealed that a vitamin was all I needed to treat my health issue, I use the word simple. I was prepared for a hard core mental health diagnosis and whatever meds may have been needed, and I was surprised and grateful that there was another answer. I wonder how often our concerns are overlooked or misdiagnosed by our doctors? I had to leave a beloved doctor to find a new one because I knew he wasn't hearing me, and I found the answer in a vitamin rather than a prescription medication. It's a little unsettling, but that's why we need to share our experiences. I have had my best medical and educational hurdles resolved because loving friends and family have shared their experiences.

Prior to the second week of June, 2011, I was not doing well. I didn't know how I got that way or why, but I knew something was wrong. I continued to forge ahead, but not in that locomotive way that gets things accomplished. It was more like trying to walk through sludge with heavy boots on. I did not want to talk to people; I had no energy for deep conversations with good friends, nor did I have energy to say hello to moms at school during drop off or pick up. I became a little reclusive, even from my church community feeling more and more like I didn't belong in my ward and/or that I was not valuable and needed there. I lost my drive and passion to do even the things that used to make me geeked-out giddy like performing or dancing. I did the things that the normal me would have done because I knew that the me I knew would have liked whatever activity, but I went through the motions without enjoying myself. My head knew this wasn't like me, but my heart didn't have the energy to do much about it. It took every tiny ounce of will I had not to drop out of everything I loved. When I think about the last couple of years, it makes me anxious. What if I hadn't switched doctors? How long would this have gone on? What have my kids and husband and friends been seeing all this time, especially my little girls? What kind of example have I been to them? And how many other people are walking around in those same shoes with little hope? This shouldn't have to happen when a simple blood test could possibly be the answer for someone.

Dear family and friends, please have your Vitamin D level checked. Please share my story with anyone you feel might benefit from it. If you are feeling similar to what I have felt, don't wait. If you are not feeling down or concerned, have your level checked anyway. Remember -- the symptoms don't show up until you've been deficient for a period of time. Catch it now before it goes unchecked for too long. Vitamin D could be your new best friend. It is certainly mine.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Torrey Pines State Reserve

We spent one of our vacation afternoons hiking in the Torrey Pines State Reserve. Since it was our first time, we stopped at the Visitor's Center to ask the guide for advice on the best trails to take. We were able to hike two trails in the time we had, and what a fantastic adventure. Everywhere we hiked had views of the oceans or pine trees or both. This land was purchased originally by the Scripp family and later sold to the city of San Diego with the intent that the pines would be preserved in their original beauty. If you are ever visiting the area, this is a phenomenal place to explore.

San Elijo Beach Week

We spent our annual family vacation week at San Elijo State Beach in Cardiff-By-The-Sea. As always, we had a blast. There were long days on the sand, lots of water time, yummy doughnuts from VG's Bakery, two days with the Holbrooks camping near by, and spooky stories by the campfire. These are some of my favorite pictures from the trip...

This is the statue that sits on PCH in front of the campground. It is tradition for individuals or groups to decorate the statue which usually means dressing it in clothes or wigs. The last morning at the camp we found this elaborate display which had been erected overnight. The surfer statue is being carried off by the Pterodactyl.

Friday, August 5, 2011


The girls got their hair cut again, and this time they were going for a little style. I want to give them some say over their hair, but until they can blow it dry and style it, it's got to be a brush-and-go style. They are fine with that because neither one considers the blow dryer a close friend. Jenna went short, and Heather went for a few long bangs. They were both soooo happy. Chelsea does an amazing job with them.

Later on, Heather got dolled up for a play her friend was in. Her new hair and shirt were perfect and she looked so cute. When did she grow up??

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Earning Money

Jenna decided that she needs to earn some money. Last night she announced that she will be willing to do what I suggest for jobs. Today she decided that washing the cars was worth the $5 per vehicle (I gave her $6 per vehicle for her great effort and initiative). She was a trooper. She collected her money, paid her $4.63 debt to me, set aside her tithing, and happily stored the rest in her wallet. She's already asking what she can do tomorrow.

I'd love any ideas for what you've had your kids do for extra jobs and what you've paid them.