Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Time for Cider

Last week we picked apples for cider again, maybe 15 bushels or more.  We have lots of apple trees - surrounded by even more thorn trees and briars.  It makes for interesting picking.  It's also in our pasture.

Everyone likes to get involved, until a couple of hours into apple picking, then they're done until we head for the press.

A very sanitary process as you can see.

Hmm...I'm not sure many hands make light work.

In they go

Up the conveyor 

through the wash system

chopped up apples get layered 

Upon layers

Upon layers

Until the batch is ready to be pressed.

Just what every parent loves...eager helpers...everywhere.

We finally got jobs spread out.  
Emily set out jugs, one kid filled, one capped, I rinsed, 

one toted, 

and one filled up the back of the truck.  

Eighty-eight gallons.

Stop by for a drink. :-)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What's Up?

Our three-year-old has discovered the joy of hanging.  From the silverware drawer, the potholder drawer, the toothbrush drawer, etc.  She also likes to hang from the door handles while straddling the door.  It's amazing that we have anything in this house that isn't totally destroyed.

Her second joy in life is sticking things up her nose: beads, barrettes, paper, plastic, the strings from MY sweatshirt.   How long before we add an ENT doc to our roster?

Things with the "money" pit are moving along.  The men came to start setting up forms.

This is for Den.  Don't you love what's been done to your mom's landscaping?
Think things will ever get back to normal around there?

The kids are loving all the big dirt piles.
Their socks are not.  I think every kid will get a pack of socks for Christmas.

I've had a chance to do some sewing.  
I have almost all the piecing done and I need to put it together.
I am terrified.  
What if it doesn't fit?!?

The kids had a break from school one morning while I was on the phone.  

And, yes, that is my kiddo running through the yard in footie pajamas mid-morning.
Your point is? 

Emily had a cardiologist appointment yesterday.  She's taking the increased dose of amitriptyline recommended by Dr. Li and her EKG was fine.  No more visits to Dr. Philips for a year.  He approved the changes and recommendations made by Dr. Li.  We ran into one of her peds doctors at the grocery store and she is on-board to try picu sedation if the increase in meds doesn't prevent an episode and at-home sedation is unsuccessful.  We stopped by the peds ward to drop something off and show off our healthy, growing, LOUD child.  They seemed to enjoy seeing the well-version of Emily.  

If I haven't said it recently...

for your prayers and support.  

Friday, September 13, 2013


After losing Pepper, Kenton promised the kids a puppy
after we got home from Minnesota.

You'll be happy to know that she is rapidly working herself
into the hearts of our family...

and tearing up the trash, destroying toys left in the yard, and pooping in the flower beds.

Great! Now we have TWO destructive and untrained toddlers.

My straight-jacket is ordered.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


We got back from Milwaukee this morning.  It was a fast trip.  Emily has gained 12 pounds since we saw Dr. Li back in March.  No more "failure to thrive" for this girl. She's 35 pounds and 35 inches tall, a nice little butterball.

What we learned:

  • The sato variant of CVS is when the onset comes with high blood pressure and low sodium. 
  • They are going to try increasing the amitriptyline to 40 mg/day and see if that helps give a longer period between episodes.  We are so thankful to already have a scheduled visit to her cardiologist in two weeks so he can check her then to make sure this is safe for her.  Dr. Philips already approved trying this if Dr. Li thought it might be helpful.
  • We can try sedating her at home.  Sometimes this will "reset" the system and squelch an episode.  Potentially it should put her out for eight hours.  Frankly this sounds terrifying to me but worth trying.  I will probably be pounding on the doors of the nurses I know for some advice/help.
  • If nothing else works it might be possible to have her sedated at the hospital.  They would put her in ICU and knock her out for 18 hours.  She would not need a breathing tube or anything.  It sounds very extreme and terrifying...but it may be worth it.  This can "reset" the system.  If she continues to have 11 day episodes every 108 days that means that at least 1 month of every year she will be hospitalized and very sick.  If a 24 hour visit to ICU can keep the misery down to a couple days every year it might be worth it.  For school aged children this can be very important to their academic success.  If we continue to homeschool we can provide more flexibility for her but I still think that's a lot of time to be that ill.
I'm so glad we made the trip.  It has been suggested that maybe we could switch her back to our local pediatric GI now that they know what meds have been somewhat successful.  I've felt pretty strongly that I'm willing to make the trip to Milwaukee to have up-to-date information from someone who specializes in this pretty unusual disease.  We think it's the right choice for now.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Reaching New Heights

We've got friends in high places.

They offered to take us (meaning kids and Kenton) rock-climbing.

Even Emily got in on it.

(Inspite of this total destruction thing she has going on, it IS fun to see 
some "me,too!" independence finally developing.)

They started them off pretty easy and then moved to the harder climbs.

Kenton had a hard time getting off the ground...

but eventually persistence paid off.

If at first you don't succeed...
(and wind up swinging like Tarzan)

try, try again.

Everyone had a good time.

Even Riley and Sawyer who are "experienced."

Kaitlyn the monkey climbed right up.

although she needed to be talked down right at first.

 Emily needs a little help on her form.

We had a great time!

Thank you, Cooper's Rock Climbing Guides!

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Money Pit

No, no, for once we're not talking about our house.

This particular money pit involves a big hole and manure.

Soon no more daily hauling of manure here.

Someday(boy, that should be paired with "my prince will come"....

well, actually he did, rode through in farmer armor on an excavator)

Okay, enough with the dumb tangent.

Kenton rented an excavator and bulldozer.

He's excavating for his pit.

The original plan for the pit location is not going to work out
so we will need to back-fill and re-dig.

The kids are enjoying all this big equipment.

Everyone thinks they need a turn.

They need to be ready soon so I haven't seen much of Kenton lately.
I doubt if Martha's seen much of Carl either.

When the kids aren't riding along, they are hunting for clay.
This chunk was heavy enough to require some teamwork.

They break them up with a pick-ax.

I suspect that since Jamison didn't get the machete he wanted for his birthday
he'll try for a pick-ax for Christmas.

Unbelievably, I MISSED getting my equipment boy in a pic.
Unfortunately there will be more opportunities.

Someday things will be done.

Tomorrow Kenton and I are taking Emily for a quick trip to Milwaukee to see Dr. Li.  Since she's been on the full dose of meds she's had two episodes.  One back in April shortly after she began them and one in August one hundred and eight days later.  I have a whole bunch of questions.  We'd appreciate your prayers for answers and safety.  I'm a little concerned how fast Kenton plans to make this trip.