Thursday, August 30, 2012

Very Frustrated

Anna has her pre-school check-up with her pulmo-cardiologist today. She had a post-school check up at the beginning of summer. We did not get good news, and I am very frustrated and agitated. I am edgy and cannot sit still or concentrate on much of anything.

Anna has COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). She was diagnosed with this at 8 months. Since this we have had our ups and downs. Our ups are the fact that she is out of of the hospital more than she is in. HOORAY!! Also that the meds she is on seem to being doing a good job keeping her symptoms in check. This disease is silent. Although her coughing fits are down and she does a good job keeping up with the kids running around, riding her bike and breaking her leg we go dealt a blow today. Her lung capacity is down to 75%. This is huge blow to me. I don't talk much about Anna's illness on my blog. I think I have only my reference to her illness one other time, but I have all these thoughts roaming through my head and I just need to write them all down.

As of this moment there is nothing more we can do. I have to be very vigilant in making sure she gets her meds on time everyday. Make up a schedule for us to follow at home as well as one for the school to follow. If need be I can set up a medical IEP for her at school that will allow her to be inside for recess during inclimate weather to keep her from getting sick. What worries me is that I have no warning signs she needs an extra boost. When she as an asthma attack she has a coughing fit or wheezes. This lets us know to give her meds. But with diminished lung capacity there is nothing. No outward signs. I could keep her hooked up to her machine all day, but where is the fun in that?

Ben and I will keep pushing her physical activity. That really is our best defense. She is still pretty gun shy on her bike, understandable so, but we will take her on walks and hikes as well as swimming. We have done a lot of swimming this summer because it was good physical therapy for her leg.

She will go back in six months if she stays healthy and have a check up at that time. Our regular Dr. is retiring, he will be missed as we have gotten very attached to him over the years but I have every bit of confidence he is leaving us in good hands.

Friday, August 17, 2012

I married McGyver

So we are heading out on our annual Priest Lake camping trip and wondering how do we keep our cell phones charged so people can get a hold of us or we get a hold of someone in emergency. Ben to the rescue. He made a 12 volt charger.
 Taped two 6 volt batteries together, wired in a 12 volt car charger and TA DA!
 I guess he used to do this a lot up in Alaska for camping and emergencies. I gotta tell the folks about this. Losing their cell phone charge is a big worry for them when the power goes out.  You can charge anything you want as long as you have the proper AC adapter. AMAZING!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Touring the Idaho Panhandle

We continue with our day trips visiting local sights and learning about our local history. This trip we toured the Idaho Panhandle (to the non-natives, that is the top portion of the state of Idaho). We started off at the Cataldo Mission. Driven by several times but never bothered to stop. I am glad we did.

This is the old mission bell. It was rung at the end of everyday to call everyone to meeting. This mission was put in place by some of the very first Catholic missionaries called to serve the Native Americans in the area.
 The inside of the mission is beautiful. Very peaceful and has been kept in wonderful condition. Being raised mormon we did not understand a lot of the symbolism in the church. Luckily Ben was able to fill us in. He was not raised Catholic but Lutheran's share a lot of the basic art styles and beliefs.
 I love the artictecture of the mission. The pictures do not do this building justice.
 This is the parish house. We were able to go in and see some examples of what the rooms would have looked like at that era. They also have an amazing visitors center. No cameras allowed inside so no pictures, sorry. But I would highly recommend this as a fun field trip.
 Next was off to Kellogg, Idaho for the Crystal Mine Tour. Each kid got their very own hard hat and flashlight before heading down into the mine. That's right. We got to go down into the mine.
 Ben thought this one fit Ike perfectly.
 There are really colorful crystal formations all throughout the walls of the mine because of the high copper content in the soil.
 As you can see the ceilings are quite low and water is contantly dripping on you. Ben knocked his head good a couple of times.
 Now for a very brief history of this amazing mine. It was discovered in 1881 by two gentlemen. Several worked at the mine, blasthing their way through the mountain in search of gold. They found it! In fact there is still gold in the mine. You can see it in the walls! One day then men left, and never came back. No one knows why. When it was discovered in 1995 their tools were still down there. Like they were planning to show up for work the next day, but never did. Very weird. The gentlemen that found it is a miner himself. He cleaned it up and put in lights, poured concrete paths and set it up for a tourist attraction. It can no longer be mined because of it's location to the freeway and the town.
 This in the lowest spot on the tour. The constant cool temps inside make it a nice break on a hot day.
 After the tour they have a spot you can try your hand at panning for gold. The kids had a lot of fun doing this as did Ben and I.

 We each found little bits of stuff. Sadly it was not real gold. Jakey had great plans as he was panning. He was going to buy a boat, and Cuba. It seemed a shame to crush those dreams. Luckily being a middle child, he is used to having his dreams crushed.
 This is the original opening to the mine. It was able to reamain hidden for over 100 years because of the overgrowth. I have not done the story or the history of this mine justice. You will just have to check it out for yourselves.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Huckleberry Picking

We did a last minute huckleberry run on Thursday. Paulino wanted to go up with his kiddos but did not want to go up alone. Just not a smart move. So he called his best friend. When that friend was busy, he called his second best friend. He was busy as well. Then he called a general aquatience and he was going to be out of town that day. Finally he has his wife, my BFF Princess Princess, and she talked me into going. I was not thrilled being left alone in the woods with a temperamental rican with a gun. But for huckleberries, I could risk it. Ben stayed home with the girlies. He had to close at the restraunt the night before and did nto get in til 1:30. Next time I am definatly dragging him out there.
 I am not allowed to tell you where we went (remember, temperamental rican) all I can say is we were on trail No. 23. The ride up was dusty and dirty. Mainly because Paul likes to drive like Mario Andredi on switchbacks.
 Ike giving Jake advice in case we see a bear. His advice was, "stay outta my way because I will trip you."
 We each found our little patches and hunkered down for the day. We picked from 10 am to 3 pm. We had to leave at three because Paul had to pick his wife up from work. As fierce a Paulino might be, he is scared to death of his wife. Good man.
 Here is Daniel. He really enjoyed huckleberry picking.
 Ike made me nervous. He and Ryen, Paul's youngest son, liked to go off on there own away from the pack and through the thick under brush it was difficult to see them at times. We had to do vocal checks.
 Heading back to the trucks for lunch break The kids did not want to break for lunch. They were having too much fun picking.
 This was our haul. It was a great patch that we found. I am looking forward to huckleberry waffles and huckleberry muffins. Yum!
As for Paul and I, once I was notified that I was the back up plan for him, I can to accept the fact and we had a great time. Out in the woods, with no one to witness any crime, he is actually a pretty decent fellow. :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

And now for a real mystery

While Ben and I were shopping at our favorite thrift store I spotted a few books from the Trixie Belden Series. This brought back memories of sharing a bedroom with Regina, she was an avid Trixie Belden reader and had quite a few of her books.
 Then I thought back to my favorite female sleuth, Nancy Drew. I had quite a few of her books when I was young and still have them on my bookshelf in my room. I want to finish out my collection of the original series.
Anyways, back to the matter at hand...
I texted my sister and told her of my find. Yes, it is so much easier to text than to call. We then had a short debate on the merits of Nancy Drew vs Trixie Belden and who is the better female sleuth.

Nancy Drew:
Awesome convertible
Blonde hair
Spiffy pants suits
Amazing Boyfriend.

Trixie Belden:
to quote my sister..
"Trixie had a red head boyfriend and work jeans and t-shirts. Clearly the superior sleuth.

Here is what I have against Trixie. First off the name alone. Trixie. Obviously her parents did not love her enough to give her a real name. Instead they named her after their Cocker Spaniel. Secondly, you cannot get taken seriously as a sleuth dressing as a slob, just look at Columbo. No one ever took him seriously. And last of all no one messes with Nancy. Don't let the pantsuits fool you. She is one tough chick.

So I ask you, dear reader, who is the best sleuth?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The boys are back in town

This past week was scout encampment. They had 3500 scouts on 112 acres of land, and still the smell over powered the local flora and fauna.
My boys did their part to contribute to this problem. Small fact, there were no mosquitos in the area.

My happy little campers.
This is the gift they gave me. It smells bad. It is too bad your computer cannot share the smell.

 This is just ONE of the shirts to show you just how dirty these boys and their clothes were. I guess I should be very grateful they at least changed their clothes......I think.
Luckily my washer and dryer (thank you Lanae) have a santize cycle on them. The poor washer estimated it will take it 2 hours and 20 minutes to clean this first load of clothing. I have NEVER had a load of laundry take this long clean.
I am going to have to run the self clean cycle after I finish washing all their clothes. As for the dryer, it does not have a self cleaning cycle. I will just have to throw that one out and get a new one. I consider it a mercy killing.

As for camp, they had a lot of fun. There were tons of activities for them to do as well as merit badges to earn. Ike is very passionate fisherman and there was a fly fishing merit badge. This kept him occupied for the week. He was excited to show me his casting when he got home. I need to get him out to a body of water, preferably with fish in it, so he can practice some more.

Daniel got his cooking merit badge and weather merit badge. We know he is a good cook. He does this quite a bit at home.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Oh the delima

Our chimney is crumbling. We noticed this problem this past spring. Obviously someone else noticed this before we bought the house and tried to fix it by coating the top in concrete. Although a quick fix, it has left a mess for us. Now not only does the top need to be re-done. We cannot re-use the bricks because they are coated in concrete. Mr. Contractor has to track down bricks of this design from 1950 that are of course no longer being made. So far two months later and no dice. Winter is just around the corner and we have no chimney. Our furnace vents through this chimney.
 So now we ask ourselves, "Hmmmm where oh where do we find the 500 bricks needed to repair this mess?"

Then I looked across the driveway, at the neighbors house. The house they are renting. The house made up ENTIRELY of the exact type of brick we need!! I call that an answer to prayer. Now just to figure out how and where to start chipping bricks off. Do you think 500 bricks would be noticeable? I like to think of this project as a life size game of JENGA.