Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My Brilliant Idea

So, the issue of social welfare, specifically food stamps, has been on my mind a LOT lately. I don't know why, but it has. I have a firm belief that a program like this is absolutely necessary and should be there for those who need it. There are always going to be people who, through no fault of their own, are in a rough situation and need some help to meet their basic needs. As a society, it is our job to provide food and necessities to these people. The trouble is that the system we currently have is broken. Just yesterday, I read something about a guy who used his food stamps to purchase over $140 in Mountain Dew, steak, and lobster. This is obviously not what the program was created for. The story goes further and it turns out that this guy was actually arrested for turning around and selling those items for cash.

Anyway, I hate hearing about people complaining about a system being broken, but not creating a solution to the problem.  So, here's my solution. Just hear me out on this one. I think it could almost work. It certainly wouldn't be any worse than what's happening now.  I wanted the solution to do the following:

  • Create jobs
  • Provide HEALTHY foods
  • Teach beneficiaries how to use the healthy foods for themselves
  • Meet the needs of those with special health issues who don't fit into a typical mold
  • Help motivate those who are receiving services to find ways to become self-reliant again as soon as possible.
  • Create a physically healthier society
  • Do all of the above in a way that does not increase taxes and makes the most of what is already being spent.
Here's how it would work.  First, the government takes a good long look at all the businesses that have gone under.  Many of those businesses have left behind perfectly good storefronts that aren't currently being used, maybe some have even been foreclosed on. Instead of building from the ground-up, the government purchases those buildings and turns them into food warehouses where people will go to pick up their food.  

These new stores are managed by managers, dieticians, cooks, nurses, employment specialists, etc. Now we've created jobs for more people. When a family gets accepted into the food program, they first meet with a dietician, who helps them figure out how many grains, fruits, dairy products, even diapers, baby formula, soaps, cleaning supplies, etc. their family needs. Included in there could be one or two "treats" as well.  Nothing fancy, but a cake mix here or there and maybe some jell-o, or the supplies to make your own delicious sweet treat. (This is an idea I saw at our church's food program and I love it. It just makes sense to me.)  During special holidays, it would be expected that other special things might be added to the supply so families could celebrate in the way they see fit.

If a family isn't sure how to use things like whole grains, unprepared beans (this is me. How DO you use those things?!?!), etc., this is where the cook comes in.  Free classes and cookbooks can be offered to teach families how to make the most of these products. Depending on the size of the storefront purchased, it's possible that some ovens and small classrooms could be built right into the building so everything could be onsite.  In doing this, we're teaching people how to be healthier by consuming better quality food rather than food loaded with preservatives and "instant gratification".  

What about the family with the child or family member with a special dietary need?  This is where the nurses come in. They can work hand-in-hand with the family to determine exactly what is needed. Perhaps it's a specialized baby formula, a glutton-free product, etc. that the food store doesn't carry on hand. This is when vouchers can be provided for that specific item so that the family can go and get what they need at their convenience.  

In addition to providing the food and basic needs services, there could be another area of the building where employment specialists can help families go over their job qualifications and review current job postings and educational opportunities.  Depending on the size of the building, there could possibly be a small childcare center for children who's parents are onsite working on their job skills or picking up much-needed food.  

Where does the food come from?  Well, the government could offer tax benefits to companies and farmers, etc. who donate a certain volume of product to the food store houses.  In addition, the government can create even more job by setting up their own farms to raise cattle for milk, grow fresh healthy vegetables, etc.  Tax dollars that we're already spending could be used to purchase any other foods or supplies that are needed.

Families would obviously not need to meet with a food planner and cook every single time they shopped. Once they get established, they would be able to go in and receive the items they already know they need. Perhaps every 6-12 months would be a good time for re-evaluation of a family's needs, and of course if a new family member joins the family or a major health issue arises.  

Would there still be kinks in my plan? I'm sure there would be.  There will always be someone willing to milk the system to get what they want out of it...though it would probably be quite a bit harder to get steak and lobster from a facility that just doesn't carry them.  :)  Still, even with the kinks, it has the potential to be more efficient and successful than what we currently have.  The monies spent would be going toward truly helping the families that need it.

So, there you go. That's my brilliant idea. Think it could work???

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Little Miracles

I copied this one from my other blog because...well, I could.


One of my favorite parts of having kiddos with some special needs is that things that would just be ho-hum suddenly turn into little miracles.  In the past couple of months, I've seen lots of little miracles with my boys. I'm not sure what to attribute them to, but I will say that the time correlates with when I started using the doTERRA oils my friend, Mindy, sent to me.  Things just got easier once we started using them.

CJ and Liam are where we've seen the most marked improvement, but Byron will often call me at work and ask me which of the oils I gave him to keep in his desk he needs for this or that. His anxiety is down tremendously even though his work load is up. He's sleeping at night, and waking feeling more rested. The list goes on.  Anyway, I digress. I wanted to talk about CJ and Liam.

CJ has gotten so that he asks for these silly oils by name. He got hold of my doTERRA magazine and read it cover to cover one night. He studied it in depth and created his own wish list for which oils he wants for himself.  He really likes the inTune because he doesn't have homework when he uses it. I think that's probably because he can focus on work and get it all done in school.  He also loves the Balance and Citrus Bliss, both of which help with stress and worry.  Balance is calming for him, and I see a difference in him when I apply it as his ADHD meds are wearing off.  In the evening, I give him some lavender or Serenity and it does help him sleep. It doesn't resolve all his sleep issues, but things are certainly better.

Liam has completely stopped with several of his sensory seeking behaviors.  In fact, things are so good that there hasn't been a single Poocasso incident in nearly two months...maybe more!  We've been able to clean up his room, repaint his walls, and make his room into his own fun little sanctuary. I still need to put the color paint on there (colonial blue!!), but that should happen sometime next week.  He isn't running through the house systematically dumping everything in sight. HE IS EATING HIS MEALS!  I sometimes still have to put a hand on his lap to help remind him to sit still, but he's eating foods he wouldn't even consider before.  He is going to sleep and staying asleep until it's actually time to wake up.  The biggest moment with him came yesterday as the missionaries were sitting here. One elder said, "What's different with Liam? He's so different from when I first met him a few months ago? He's following directions and I can understand so much of what he says." That missionary was exactly right.  Liam's words can be understood often without even being in context and by people who don't know him very well.  My friend, Anne Marie, even understood him over the phone!! This is huge!! Turns out this little dude has a sense of humor and loves to crack little jokes.  I love these miracles I'm seeing with my boys.

The oils have done other things, too.  So far, I've seen all of the following things in my own experience:
  • Strep throat wiped out in minutes...at least the pain and fever
  • Toothache totally gone
  • Teeth whitened
  • No more witching hour when I remember to keep the diffuser on during difficult times of the day
  • The dog had an accident on the floor and I mixed some lemon with baking soda. The odor was gone and the house smelled GREAT!
  • All sharpie and other writing came right off the walls
  • Lavender applied to a boiling water burn pulled the pain out instantly
  • Headaches totally gone in minutes
  • Muscle aches and pains drastically minimized
  • Asthma attacks are almost non-existent
  • The only illness any of us got was when Rachel got strep. I attacked that with onGuard toothpaste and it went away almost instantly.  Schools and church have been germ cesspools, but we've avoided it. (knocking loudly on wood)
  • A friend had a daughter with warts that they'd been fighting for a long time, and the warts were gone within ten days of applying the oils
  • Byron says he's more relaxed
  • Sore throats disappearing quickly
There's more, but I can't remember it all. I'm just amazed by what this stuff has done for my family and feeling very blessed to have it in our lives.  I love how little miracles just happen all the time around us.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Goin' to the Park

We had absolutely spectacular weather today. I mean truly AMAZING weather. It got up into the 70's, which I would normally consider chilly, but it was a welcome change from the biting cold and winds we've been having.  With weather this amazing, I could not allow the kids to just sit inside all day. I knew we needed a trip to the park. I got a text from Raelyn's mom, Jeanette, asking if we wanted to go to a local playground, so I decided that's where I would go when they all got home from school.

Mindy was napping and Aiden had a big homework assignment due, so I decided to let him watch her while I took all the others.  Given that we now drive a HUGE 12 passenger van and I had a little extra room, I told some local cuties that they could come along as well. The park is always more fun without friends to enjoy it with, right?  Being the genius that I am, I thought ahead and remembered the camera. Here are some fun pictures from today:

CJ playing with cute Raelyn

Drezden the Monkey

Some of the girls making beautiful music

Someday they will more than likely have a very noisy rock band.

Drez spent lots of time hanging around the park.

Rachel is my forever ham, as you can clearly see

Who knew so many kids could fit on one tire swing???

Liam loved climbing up the ship.

Argh, Matey!

So proud to have climbed it himself!

Crossing the rocking bridge. I never thought I'd see the day he could do this.

This picture makes me giggle because the angle makes it look like Liam is getting a naughty view. Not to worry. He  is NOT!




Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Mindy Cycle

Mindy is my sixth baby, so not much should surprise me, but somehow I'm still stupidly shocked every time she does total normal and typical baby stuff. Maybe that's because I've never had a completely "typical" baby before.  Her latest trick is a bit of a cycle, so I call it The Mindy Cycle.

She pulls herself to standing with the help of furniture and then proudly cruises along the furniture until she suddenly realizes that she doesn't quite know how to go back to a seated or kneeling position. This realization frightens her so she starts to cry. I come to her and pick her up, which consoles her, but she's too upset to be put down right away.  I decide to hold her a little bit longer at which point she falls asleep. Knowing she'll sleep better in her own bed and wanting to get things done, I go ahead and move her to her bed. Moving to her bed wakes her up and she decides she should stand up with the help of the sides of her bed.  This leads to cruising along which reminds her that she doesn't quite know how to get back to a crawling or sitting position which frightens her and makes her cry...

The Mindy Cycle.  Good thing she's so stinking cute.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Trying Something New

I mention a couple of posts ago about the essential oils my friend, Mindy, sent to me. I'm an open-minded person, but I was feeling pretty skeptical that these oils could do what she thought they could do. Since she'd sent them to me, though, and I had done some researched that showed it was perfectly safe, I figured I had nothing to lose.  I can't lie. I'm completely shocked. Here is where I described in detail some of what I saw those first few days.

I've maintained a pretty consistent regimen with the oils, and can add a few new finds to the list.  The first is Byron's sleeping. It's MUCH improved. It usually takes him hours to fall asleep, but now it's just minutes and he is staying asleep.  I've noticed that things that usually cause him to have anxiety aren't having as much of an effect on him anymore. He's just calmer.

I was using the InTune just for CJ and Liam with their ADHD, but Aiden asked me if he could try it.  He noticed enough of a difference that he now wants to use it every day.  I certainly don't argue.  He puts it on his wrists and the bottoms of his feet. Since it's a roll-on, he wants me to get him his own bottle to take to school to roll on when he feels himself getting silly or starting to zone out a bit.  I'll work on that.

In the evening, all the kids right down to Liam present their feet and request some lavender to be placed on them. They sleep so well through the night when I comply.  The really big kicker?  Liam hasn't had a single poocasso moment since I started the oils. Coincidence?  I guess it's possible, but I kind of think it's something else.

Mindy developed a really bad diaper rash. I tried everything for days, ruled out a yeast infection, and still couldn't get it to improve. I was super nervous to try the oils on her because she's so little and her skin is just so sensitive.  After two straight nights of her not being able to sleep because of the pain, I looked up on the doTERRA site what I should do. They suggested melaluca and lavender with a carrier oil, so I opted to mix those two with aquaphor since that would also protect her skin from added moisture. The stuff was on her skin less than three hours before there was a HUGE difference. She has been completely comfortable ever since. 

I can't say enough about the overall mood in the house. As long as I keep those oils diffusing in the kitchen at the key times of day, everyone is able to stay calm and under control.  There really is no more witching hour here...unless I forget to turn on the diffuser. Yikes!

Today Rachel had a fever and a sore throat.  The fever got up to 102.1 so I gave her some peppermint on her feet, and added melaluca, and onguard on her feet and neck.  That didn't do much to bring the fever down, so I gave her one dose of ibuprofen.  Forty minutes later, the fever was a hint lower, but still up at 101.7. I texted Mindy who suggested letting Rachel suck on the onGuard toothpaste.  I gave her a tiny bit to suck on and ran to the gas station for a cherry slushie. I came back less than twenty minutes later to find her happily playing and singing. SINGING!! She had a sore throat twenty minutes prior.  I decided to check her temp. one more time. 97.4!!!  In twenty minutes, it came down to normal and has stayed that way. She's happy as a clam...and cool as a cucumber.

In the chaos of trying to help Rachel, I'd forgotten to turn on the evening oils in the diffuser. Byron had to work late, dinner wasn't ready, and CJ started to have a meltdown over wanting to use the computer. I grabbed the bottle of lavender and just put it under his nose for a little while. Within 30 seconds of just breathing deeply and calmly, the meltdown was done. Over. I'm so impressed!!

Mindy had enrolled me as a doTERRA consultant, but I had no intention of doing it.  With all these great things happening to us, I can only imagine what they're doing for others.  So, I'm in. I'm going to do it. I'm no pro, but I'm working on it.  I'm enjoying what I'm learning, and I'm excited to share what I know about it.  If you have any questions about this stuff, or are wondering if it might be good for you, please feel free to message me at aimeethesupermom@gmail.com or leave a question in the comments. I imagine there will be lots of questions I don't have answers for, but I'll do what I can to look them up. 

This has been such a fun adventure for me. I love it when there is an opportunity to try something new. This time, I think it might be something that will bless our family all the way around.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tough Choices

It's a fact of life. Sometimes we have to make difficult choices that we don't want to make. I'm not talking about the choice between mint chocolate chip or brownie sundae ice cream (pick both!!) or whether to wear our super cute jeans with our super cute sweater.  I'm talking about those really tough choices that life puts in front of us.

Byron and I have been having to make those choices lately. Money is tight. We have six kids. One needs another cochlear implant. Two have dental work they need.  One keeps growing and going naked isn't a choice (although she's super cute and squishy, so surely no one would mind...too much).  Medical bills need to be paid. Tummies need to be fed.  So, we have to make a choice.  Do we sacrifice some of those needs so I can keep staying home, or do we send me back to work?  After a lot of thought and consideration, we think it's best that I find a job to help us catch up on the bills and meet the kids' needs.

We've been blessed so far. Things have fallen into place such that we have all our basic needs met.  We have a safe, warm home. We have healthy food in our tummies. We have clothes on our backs. Those are the most important things.  The thing is that we need to bring in just a bit more to insure that we can maintain those things.  I've decided to be a consultant for doTERRA, and that might help a little bit (and it's a whole other blog post. Who knew those oils could do so much????), but we also need something consistent.

I found my "dream job".  It's exactly what I would choose to do when I grow up if I could do anything.  It is a position coordinating services and working with families who have children with varying levels of disabilities. I would LOVE that job. It's my passion, and I think I'd be good at it.  The trouble is the hours. It looks like they're open until 6pm. My babies need me home much earlier than that after school, so I'm not sure my dream job is all that much of a dream.

I've found some jobs teaching pre-school, which I've done in the past and was very successful at.  We have to weigh the options on that one.  Will I be too drained at the end of the day to give anything to my own children?  It's a tough call.  I found an assistant director position at a pre-school as well. That might be a little bit better. 

I think that the job we're looking most closely at right now is as a paraprofessional in a special ed. classroom. It isn't as glamorous as the "dream job" and probably won't pay quite as well.  It would, however, allow me to be home when my kids get home and it would give me the same vacations and days off as them. I'll take less glamour for more time with them.

So, now we wait. We have to see if anyone even calls me in the first place.  Hopefully I get some interviews and then offers. Either way, I feel a sense of peace and calmness that this is what we need to do.

I put some prayer into it. I don't like praying out loud because I always feel dumb when I hear myself. Last night, though, I was able to let my guard down a little bit and just really have a chat with my Heavenly Father. I told Him what my needs are, what my fears are, my goals, and what I want to do for my family.  I prayed for each child by name and with a need specific to them individually. I prayed for Byron and his specific needs.  It was probably my best prayer ever because it was just me talking to Him.  That felt good. It wasn't mind-blowing and didn't yield some huge epiphany about what I should do, but it felt good. It felt peaceful.  It felt like I have someone in power on my side making sure I make right choices.

Now, I just have to wait. Hopefully, when the time comes, the answer will be clear and there won't be nearly as many tough choices to make.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

So, A Friend Gave Me Essential Oils

A little over a week ago, a good friend called and asked if she could send me some essential oils to try. She swears they're changing her life and that of her son, who has special needs. I was admittedly skeptical, but this is a VERY good friend and I trust her completely.  Plus, it was a gift, so I had nothing to lose.  I agreed and she placed the order.  She sent me quite a variety of stuff from doTERRA

She sent me the physician's kit, the onguard toothpaste, some Frankincense, orange, lemon, slim and sassy, and in focus for CJ and Liam.  Today was day three of trying the oils.  I've been keeping a pretty consistent log of what I've seen and giving my friend all the feedback as I've tried it.  I have to be honest: I'm completely shocked.

Day one: I put some orange in the diffuser and the kids couldn't get enough of it when they came home. They just had to all be around it.  I also put some lavender on their feet at bedtime. Liam was out cold in no time and slept through the night. In fact, he's slept through the night both nights he's had it so far. That's kind of a big deal for him. 

Day Two: I put some peppermint in the diffuser in the morning along with some OnGuard.  I keep the diffuser in the kitchen where all the family comes together.  This way, everyone gets it.  Both yesterday and this morning were amazing mornings!  The kids all got right up, dressed, fed themselves, brushed teeth, packed their bags, and made it to the bus with no crying or fighting. This. Was. HUGE!! Huge I tell you!!!  I also put some of the in focus  and onguard on CJ and Liam's neck and feet. 

When they came home from school, I again had the orange going.  The house was just kind of like usual, but not quite so wild. I'll take that.  I gave them the lavender at bedtime, and haven't seen a huge difference in getting them to go to sleep (except Liam. He is out like a light the past two nights.), but I have noticed that all the kids are sleeping through the night nicely. Plus, like I mentioned, they're getting up on time and moving out the door in a much better way.

Byron and I also starting some drops of slim and sassy in our water. It says to put 4 drops in 8 oz. of water. Not enough water!! We have to do about 1 drop to 20 oz or so of water to choke it down. Awful stuff. I won't lie. I can't say right away if it's working, but I do feel full after it. Plus, I have the energy to actually exercise like I should be. 
Day Three: I maintained the same morning routine as yesterday. CJ asked that I not put the oils on his neck because he doesn't like how it feels, so I just did his feet. I did do Liam's neck, but won't do that again because I noticed that it made his skin a little bit red. I asked his teacher, and she said there was no redness an hour later when he arrived at school. Still, I think I may stick with the feet. 

CJ stayed after school for scrapbooking club, which is run by his SLP. I came to pick up, and she pointed out that he managed to stay on task and accomplish a full page today. That's no small task for my sweet CJ.  His ADHD usually gets the best of him by the end of the day, but he managed to stick to his task. Good job, CJ!!  I'm not sure if the in focus is what did it, but I'll keep testing that one.

After school, I did the orange again and noticed something I didn't pick up on yesterday even though it was the same yesterday. Our daily "witching hour" didn't happen. Usually 4:30-6:30pm is utter chaos around here. Kids are whining and arguing over who gets to choose a show on tv, they're bugging me for snacks, fussing over not wanting to do homework, etc.  That didn't happen today or yesterday. In fact, after a long day at school and then scrapbook club, CJ managed to put a good hour and a half into math (his hardest subject) homework without whining one time.  Rachel also got her homework done, and the kids just all played nicely. No fighting or arguing or whining or anything. It was a lovely day. I intend to have that orange stuff going every day as they get off the bus and through our usual witching hour. 

At bedtime, I noticed that the tooth I need work on was hurting again. I went to the website my friend gave me where you find your symptom and it tells you what to do for it and it suggested using the onguard toothpaste. She had given that to me, but I was afraid it would taste like the slim and sassy, so I'd avoided it. I was pleasantly surprised. It just tasted like cinnamon gum. Yummy! I did take two ibuprofen, but after brushing with the toothpaste, the pain is completely gone. 

I found another use for the oils I think, but I found it totally by accident and I want to test my theory first. Plus, it's pretty TMI. 

Anyway, this is a fun experiment and I'm enjoying learning about essential oils and how they work. It's completely new and way outside my comfort zone, so I like that aspect of it.  For more information, you can go to my friend's website where she has lots of essential oils information and take a look around.

I'll keep posting about what I like, don't like, and everything in between.  If nothing else, my house smells lovely. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

It's Time to Get Back on the Bandwagon

I haven't touched the blog in ages. I've been putting all my updates on Facebook and thinking that was good enough, but I'm realizing that it's not good enough.  I need something that I can print out someday and make into a book. Or a binder. Or something.  I want my kids to really know who I am when they're not with me every single day anymore.  When they have some sort of question pop into their wacky little heads, I want them to wonder "I wonder what my mom would have done in this case" and already know the answer because they've heard my thoughts before.  I want them to know that I make mistakes because I've been crazy enough to put them all down in black and white.  I want them to know that I have a strong, deep, unwavering testimony of my faith. I know my God. I know my Savior.  I know they love me.  I know that I am a child of God and that my children are simply on loan from Him.  I want them to know that I know that. 

I want them to know that I'm funny. It's true. Sometimes I can make people laugh. At least a little bit. Really. Hey! Quit scoffing. It's true.  Okay, so I have to work on the funny. I'll make that a goal.  One bit of laughter for each family every single day whether they like it or not.

I've recently started working on family history, and I think that's when it occurred to me. I see all these names, dates, special events on paper, and I wonder to myself, "What were they like? What did they love? What broke their hearts?  What was their greatest treasure?  What was their great love story?".  So, Facebook is great. It's a perfect place to put my snippets and funny thoughts so I remember to blog them.  It's not enough, though.  It all needs to be written in full. So, here I am. I will put it all in writing and...well...it's likely no one will even notice or comment or really take much notice, but at least it will be here. Someday that might actually matter to someone. That's enough for me.  That, and the fact that someone somewhere may find me to be even a little bit funny. 

Byron took this picture of the kids and me visiting Frontier Santa at a local festival after Aiden's shift as Tiny Tim.  What an amazing holiday season we had!