Sunday, January 31, 2010

So How Did It Go? Sunday

Review of last weeks meals. I only got to make 2 of the 3. On Friday we went shoe shopping with the kids after work, and it took too long to make a big meal.

So the Candied Salmon with wait until next week.

So this week I made the enchiladas and the shrimp

Enchiladas - 5/5. This were REALLY good. They were not hard at all, but this recipe is time consuming. It took me several hours to get it ready and I started at 4pm. By 6:30 it was done and ready. A lot of little steps and a lot of ingredients. Bu they were very tasty. I did (accidentally) leave off the enchilada sauce. But it didn't make a difference. After I smelled it I think I wouldn't have liked the enchilada sauce.

Shrimp - 4/5. This were pretty good and really easy. I think that 1) it needed more BBQ sauce for a little more flavore. 2) the bacon DEFINITELY needs to be pre-cooked. I put it in the microwave for 2 minutes before I cooked it in the oven, and it needed more. It was too soft. I also followed the advice and laid the skewers across he baking pan and let them drip into foil in the baking pan. That worked great. It took the whole 15 minutes to bake and it tasted great!

So I hope you try some of the meals. I am having fun trying new things. Casuality of the week - I burned one of my oven mits. I laid it on a hot stove top (that I forgot was hot). Bummer. I really liked those oven mits.

See you tomorrow for Making Meals Monday!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

By the light of the moon - craziness shall be in bloom

This week, with the appearance of the "wolf moon" made me realize why the kids at the school were acting so nutty. By Friday morning, I was spent and asked a co-worker if there was a full moon, and she told me yes - a "wolf moon". (click on the words to read more about it)

That did not sound promising.

And it wasn't. Friday I was ready to tell the kids to "get a grip" when they came in hoards to my office for one thing or another. No one was sick - they just were out of sorts. All this week - I just couldn't put my finger on it. The teachers and I thought we had turned a corner with the kids - less nurse visit requests, smoother days, more work getting done......

Then....the moon appeared.

If you are a pediatric nurse, or work with children in any field, you will be with me when I say - the full moon has an effect on kids. I believe it. They go off the deep end - can't focus, don't eat well, whine more than normal. It is pretty crazy.

But we made it through. Last night over night, though, Finley woke up crying that she needed a kleenex. Started screaming her head off a 1:00 in the morning. Doing this woke and startled Arlington and Arlington came into the room and said "I can't sleep with Finley screaming like that!" Huh - really? The girls never wake up and never have a bad night.....

Full moon, I tell ya. Ha ha ha!

So today, we are all exhausted. We don't feel like doing much around the house. Mat did work on the cabinets in the basement. Then realized that some pieces he bought were not right. So back to the store tomorrow. Slow but sure it is coming together.

Mat is working on Finley's DNA today. And by that I mean - he has the results of the samples back and he is going through them to see if she has the RPE65 gene in LCA. I am not going to get my hopes up (I will explain) because it would be too easy if that was the version she had. See, the RPE65 gene of LCA is the one they have had success on restoring sight. They have the ability to reverse the damage in this gene alone right now. I should know before I post this tonight if she has RPE65 or not.

The girl's had their swimming lessons this morning. Finley had a chance to wear her new goggles and I think that helped with the underwater moments. She would still try to wipe her eyes as soon as she came up from under the water, but then realize she didn't have to. They only have 2 more swimming lessons left.

Then is will be Cainan's turn. Wha ha ha ha ha.........

Tonight I am going to dinner and a movie with my friend Mindy from work. Mindy is on extended maternity leave and I haven't seen her in ages. I am going to see her and her baby before we go to dinner. After dinner we are seeing "When in Rome". We were going to see "Lovely Bones" but it is 150 minutes long, and we are too old to go to a late movie with that kind of length. I am looking foward to spending time with her.

As for the answer to the RPE65 question.........she doesn't have that one.

Bummer. On so many levels.

Clarification - if you do not understand the above information on the LCA update: We are still waiting for the blood work from the lab in Iowa. Mat ran his own set of DNA from Finley's saliva. The results he sent in are starting to come in. He has to sit down and go through the information he received to discover if she has a particular gene of LCA or not. There are 14 LCA genes. 14 differnt types of LCA (that they know of). The 1 gene - RPE65 is just one type of LCA. Finley does NOT have this type. This is the ONLY type of LCA they have been able to "cure". So now - Mat will look at ANOTHER type. When those results get to us. I hope this helps.
See you tomorrow for "So How Did It Go?" Sunday.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Count down to Winter break. Week one

We have a little less than 3 weeks until our next break from work/school. In Connecticut, there are winter breaks. Ours if for the week of Feb. 15-19th. Another 9 days off from school (counting weekends) and work. What could be better? I could think of one thing......getting out of school earlier than June 16th. But I DO enjoy these breaks in the routine.

This year winter break overlaps Arlington's birthday. We are taking her to NYC to the American Girl store for lunch, and then to a show, and then to dinner. Then the next day, myself and the kids are driving back to Pennsylvania to visit with family for the week. Mat cannot take that much time off, so he is enjoying some "me" time. And by "me" time, I mean "working on the bookcases in the basement before I go crazy" time.

(no idea why she has the goggles on inside the house)

Sunday - Mat and the kids were feeling under the weather, so we didn't venture out. Mat spent the day on the couch "working" while I got some things done around the house. I just tease because 1) he did have a lot of work to do and 2) he always let me stay on the couch while he takes care of everything else when I am sick.

Monday was a crazy day at work. We have been struck again by a "bug". Not sure what? H1N1? Not likely. Over half the school already had it and the other half got vaccinated. Strep throat? Could be. We have a lot of sore throats and fevers. Something completely weird? Almost definitely. I swear those kids lick each other for fun to get out of school. I sent 5 kids home on Monday for one illness or another. This almost never happens because I am just that mean. Most days - no one leaves. Wha ha ha ha ha ha.....

Monday Mat picked up Finley and Cainan from daycare. When he got there around 4pm, the lights were out. They did not have any power and hadn't had power for about 1 1/2 hours. They said they called me, but there is no record of the call. They didn't call work, or my cell, or my home phone. And they didn't bother to call Mat who works about 1 mile away. I wasn't pleased, but not that upset. The kids were fine- they weren't the last one's there. The biggest concern wat that they were losing daylight at this time and they were worried because they still had children in the center and soon they would be in complete darkness. Kind of strange! I guess I never thought about a big center like that not having a backup power source. It was quite natural that most places in Florida had backup generators for times like this. I guess I assumed everywhere else was like that too. We are giving them enough money for tuition - some of it should go for some backup power sources!

Finley was funny. When Mat picked her up she said "Ms. D. tried to turn on the lights but they were out of batteries."

Today was another crazy day at work. I don't complain because it goes by really quickly when my office is a revolving door. I am deep in Kindergarten registration now and that is taking a lot of time. It is hard to believe next year at this time I will be filling out paperwork for Finley and Cainan to start Kindergarten. Sniff Sniff!

Today was Daisy Scouts for Arlington and a pot luck and puppet show for the little ones at their school. Mat said that they really loved the puppet show and ate a lot of yummy food. They didn't get home until almost 6:30. Arlington and I had a peaceful evening. Arlington did her homework and then wanted to type letters to Mat and I on the computer. She is quite computer efficient. I knew she could work a mouse because she plays Webkinz. But she is quite the typer as well! Go public school!

I don't think I have updated everyone lately on what Arlington is reading/listening to us read her these days.

She is still working through the Ivy and Bean series on her own. This is a fun series. She is on book 4.

I think there are 7 books in this series. It is a cute little series, and I recommend it.

Mat and I take turns reading to her (and the other two of course) each night. When Mat and I read to Arlington, we get to pick the book to work on, and read to her until the book is done. Right now, Mat just finished with her book one of "A Wrinkle In Time"

She really loved it. He is going to continue the series with the next book "A Wind in the Door"

I think both of them are enjoying the series.

Finley and Cainan are both lovers of books as well. Cainan is in love with any book that is about cars or trucks or Thomas the Train. Finley will listen to just about anything - she likes to change it up every night. But one of her favorite books are about the alphabet. I can't remember the name of her favorite right now and she is asleep or I would go and look.

Teaching Finley the sigh words went pretty well. She has learned "Finley" "Cainan" "Me" "Mom" "Dad" "Cat" "Dog" and "at" . We did those in just a day. I don't think I will add any more until next weekend. She already knew Finley and Cainan. But it was fun. She loved it. We have been going over them every day and she hasn't forgotten yet.

Arlington has been practicing her lines for her upcoming Destination Imagination Challenge/Competition. She has a cute little line and the skit they are doing is hilarious. I don't want to put the lines on here becuase I am not sure of the rules, but once the competition is over, I will share. She learned them quickly and thinks they are hilarious. She is having most trouble not laughing at herself while she says her lines!

I ask for prayers for my cousin, Alissa. She was in a bad car accident. She was lucky and walked away just pretty banged up. But her car was totaled and she was pretty shaken. We pray for a full recovery.

I also ask for prayers for Mat's Uncle Bob. He had a serious heart attack last week and is recovering in the hospital. We pray for him to recovery quickly and be home with his family soon.

See you Saturday!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Making Meals Monday

Before I start this post, I ask for prayers for Mat's Uncle Bob. He had a heart attack and is in serious condition. Please pray for a full recovery.

This week I have time for our three usual meals, so here we go! Here's what we are making:

Angela's Awesome Enchiladas (no idea who Angela is)


2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast meat - cut into chunks
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion - chopped
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained
1 (1.25 ounce) package mild taco seasoning mix
1 bunch green onions, chopped, divided
1 cup water
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
5 (12 inch) flour tortillas
3 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives


1. Please the chicken in a large pot and add water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the chicken pieces are no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Shred chicken by placing two forks back to back and pulling meat apart. Set the shredded chicken aside. Meanwhile, combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream, and chili powder in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, then turn off the heat and cover to keep warm.

2. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the shredded chicken, chopped gree chilies, taco seasoning, half of the bunch of chopped green onion, and water. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the lime juice, onion powder, and garlic powder, simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

3. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Stir 1 cup of the soup mixture into the skillet with the chicken mixture. Spread the remaining soup mixture on the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.

4. Fill each tortilla with chicken mixture. Sprinkle Cheddar cheese over the chicken filling before folding the tortillas, reserving half of the shredded cheese for topping the enchiladas. Fold tortillas over the filling and place seam-side down in the prepared pan.

5. Pour enchilada sauce evenly over the enchiladas. Cover with the remaining 1 1/2 cups of Cheddar cheese. Sprinkle the reserved chopped green onions and the sliced olives on top of the cheese. Bake in the preheated oven until filling is heated through and the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 25 minutes.


Candied Salmon
(okay not REALLY candy, but the name DID catch my attention)

1/4 cup butter
1 clove garlic
4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets
3 large onions - thinly sliced
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup brown sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and grease the foil with cooking spray.
  2. Combine the onions, vinegar and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce begins to caramelize, about 15 minutes.
  3. Melt butter with garlic in a small skillet over medium heat. Lay salmon fillets on the prepared baking sheet, and brush with garlic butter. Pour the onion mixture over the fillets.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until the fish flakes easily. Cooking time may vary with the thickness of your fillets.

Bacon Wrapped Barbeque Shrimp

Okay - this one is not healthy, but my husband loves bacon. I guess we can allow it every once in awhile......


  • 27 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 13-1/2 slices bacon
  • barbeque seasoning, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  2. Wrap shrimp with 1/2 slice of bacon, securing with a toothpick. Be sure and use the large shrimp--the cooking time for the shrimp and the bacon is similar. If you use medium-sized shrimp, you might want to precook the bacon a little--over cooked shrimp are tough and rubbery--and a real shame.
  3. Line a jelly roll pan with extra heavy duty foil, and place baking rack in pan. Place the shrimp on the rack, and sprinkle heavily with the barbecue seasoning, turn and sprinkle second side. Let the shrimp sit for 15 minutes. The bacon will turn from creamy white to a little opaque, and the seasonings will soak in.
  4. Cook the bacon for 10 to 15 minutes. The rack keeps the shrimp from sitting in the draining bacon fat. With a little luck, you won't tear the foil -- you can throw that away and only have to scrub the rack.
*When reading the reviews of the above recipe - some people said they skewered the shrimp instead if they didn't have a baking rack (like me) and laid them across a pan - so they were above it. That should work. And almost everyone said you needed to precook the bacon a little.

**Side note - just in case you were curious - all of my recipes I post are for 5-6 servings since that fits our family. You made need to adjust.

See you tomorrow for our regular post!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

"So How Did It Go?" Sunday

So on Sunday's I will be reviewing what we thought of last weeks meals. It was my husband's idea. He thought if anyone in blog world cared what we were making for dinner, they might be interested to know how it turned out.

This is a good week to start this because we only made two things.

Grilled Shrimp Scampi - 5/5 stars. This was a keeper. It was easy and fun. It took very little time to prepare, I could make it on an indoor grill (since it is a bit cold to be outside right now), and the kids loved that they were on the skewers. No one poked their eye out. Big plus. Or poked their sibling. Bigger plus.
I would probably add some veggies or pineapple to the skewers just for some added flavors. We ended up having veggies and rice on the side. I recommend this one.

Asian Beef with Snow Peas - 4/5 starts. This one was very tasty. I loved the sauce - it had just enough flavor. The kids loved it and they hardly ever like the beef dishes. The snow peas stayed crispy in the pan - they didn't get soggy.
I don't give it 5/5 because the meat can quickly overcook. It was a bit on the chewy side, but not terrible. It is out stove - it is about 12 years old and hates me. So.......not my fault at all, of course. You believe that, right? But it was good. We served it with rice. The recipe does not say to dry the meat first, but I did feel that doing this made it brown faster.

So there you have it! My "novice food critic of my own food" review. Stay tuned tomorrow for Making Meals Monday!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A little of this, a little of that

This was a busy week in the Pletcher household. A lot of running around, so we were glad to see the weekend arrive.

Thursday was Kindergarten registration at my school. I think it is a little on the early side to have next year's Kindergarten parents come in and fill out paperwork. Mostly because there is always a handful of parents with children who have fall birthday's, and they are on the fence - "should I send them, should I wait?" Right now, some of them have JUST turned 4. They have almost 8 months until their child starts Kindergarten, and at that age, a lot can change in 8 months. If Connecticut would just become a normal state and have the cut off at the end of August, we wouldn't have so many problems.

But anyway - because of Kindergarten registration I had to stay an extra 4 hours at work. I have no idea why, but they make the nurse stay to talk about the medical requirements for school. Honestly - we put a nice letter in the packet explaining what the parents need to do, and I think that is probably enough.

I did get a nice dinner out of the deal, though, so that was....yum.

Friday after school Arlington had a playdate with her friend "B". We try to stay and play with him after school almost every Friday. It also gives his mom and I a chance to catch up, which is nice.

Today was swimming lessons for the girls. They are still going well. Arlington is showing some improvement in her skills and will hopefully be able to move up a level the next time she takes lessons. Although that is hard to tell when that will be. She wants to do softball this spring. And soccer. And Daisie Scouts. Something is going to have to give.

Finley did well in swimming. They have been practicing putting their faces in the water. This is not her favorite activity. She doesn't mind going under the water, but her problem is water in her eyes. Vision impaired kids have a hard time with water in their eyes- every night with bath she has a mini fit when the water falls in her eyes. So - we are going to get her some goggles and see if this makes a difference.

This afternoon Mat is out shopping alone. He is doing mostly errands, but I am here with the kids. The cabinets and shelves for the playroom are coming along but he needs more wood.

This evening I am going out to dinner with a few girl friends and then we are seeing a movie afteward. We are seeing "Up In The Air". I am looking forward to going. I haven't had a chance to go out with these ladies for a little while, so we are excited to catch up. It is with three of my mommy friends. Our kids are all friends, and so we became friends last year. Now we try to get together and go out as often as possible.

Arlington took her first challenge spelling test this week. We were really proud of her! She had mastered all the first grade spelling words already, so the teacher has her (and a few others) working on harder words each week instead.

She was most excited because she got a "smiley face" paper - I guess it is a big deal in Mrs. M.'s classroom. She was the only one who took the spelling test and got them all right. Way to go girl!

This week we are going to start to teach Finley some sight words. That sounds funny to say with her. She sees well enough right now that we are going to make enlarged print flash cards in bold with some words. This is about the time Arlington learned, so we will see how it goes. I am tempted to have her vision teacher braille the cards as well so we can work on both at the same time.

Cainan is still mastering letters and numbers, so it is not time for sight words for him. But he is doing well. Mat and I are definitely going to be putting him in an enrichment type class starting this summer. It will help him be ready for Kindergarten. We worry about him the most out of the three, so we want to make sure he is as ready as possible.

So, that is all. Not much to report because we have been so busy! Mat thought it would be a good idea to report on how my meals turn out each week, so Sunday nights I was let you know.

See you Sunday!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

To see or not to see

That still remains the question.

Today was Finley's vision field test. I think the appointment went very well. We were at the appointment for 3 hours, and - if the weather had not gotten so bad - would probably have been there longer.
(Finley has a pony tail!!!)

Finley and I left for her appointment at 10:30am. We stopped for gas and lunch and then met her teacher from BESB (Board of Education Services for the Blind) at 11:45. We then drove to right outside Boston (Michelle I was wrong - it was Watertown!) to the Perkins School of the Blind.

Our appointment was at 1:15. The doctor was WONDERFUL. She specializes in vision field tests for kids under the age of 6. How more specific can you get? I love living near a large city. Anyway, we spent the whole 3 hours with her and the head of the program (another doctor). They were intrigued with Finley.

They did several tests, and were very impressed that our 3 1/2 year old was so cooperative and patient. One test took about 45 minutes where the whole time she had to sit in a device kind of like you have when you go to the eye doctors (where you put your chin on the paper and the forehead on the metal piece???) . And she had a patch over one eye. And she had to hit a buzzer every time she saw a light. I was totally impressed with her, but for some reason, she likes putting her chin on this device. She does it at all the eye doctor appointments, and doesn't mind.

She also had to watch some lights in a big dome and point to them when she saw them. This took about 30 minutes. She did great with that too.

And she had a regular vision test - like you would if you went to an eye doctor (except because she is little, they use pictures). And they did some flash cards that got lighter and lighter and she had to tell them what was on them. The did some light following - where she had to follow a light with just her eyes and not move her head. And she had to do some coloring and writing.

So - the results. Well, we won't know anything for sure until we get the official report because I am not that great at remembering 3 hours worth of information.

But - it looks like her peripheral vision is okay as long as she is paying attention. What that means is that she has to really pay attention to her surroundings to see people, objects, etc. peripherally. So, if she is focused on sliding, or climbing, or running and I am doing a dance off to the side - she isn't going to see me.

So - during the peripheral vision test - she was able to catch the dots off to the side, but her eyes and head were always in motion. She knew what she was supposed to find in this test, so she was on alert to find them. They would bring her eyes back to the center, but then when the lights in the center of the tunnel disappeared, that meant that there were lights somewhere else. She was always able to locate them, but Finley is smart. She knew she had to.

Then during the 45 minute test where she had to sit absolutely still, she had to find a light in different areas of a dome around her. They would flash a light, and when she saw it, she would push a button once she saw it. I couldn't believe this held her attention because it was boring to watch. But she loved the button. The doctor told us that NEVER before - in all of her years of practice - has she had a 3 1/2 year old sit to complete the entire test. She was beyond impressed. And for Finley to do it - knowing that she is our maniac child - was kind of unreal.

Anyway - again - she saw everything around her. But - when they got to central vision, she struggled a little. The doctor did think that she probably does have some gaps in her central vision, but not very big ones. So that was good news.

So the bottom line is - her vision is not good, but it may not be "choppy" like we thought. She seems to either 1) have very small or no gaps in her vision or 2)she is SO good at accommodating that at this point, we just can't tell, and she is too young to tell us.

Her vision at her last appointment - last August - was 20/70 (20/20 being perfect vision and 20/60 being about what her vision should be at 3 years old). Today her vision was 20/100 with the vision test they did. The doctor said it isn't very reliable, but if she were to guess, she would say that Finley's vision is somewhere between 20/80 and 20/100. So, her vision is poor. She has blurry vision - which is probably why she stands so close to the TV or so close to books. But still - they don't think that glasses will make a difference or correct anything at this point. I don't completely understand this, and may ask our pediatrician opthamologist why this is. I would think that if it is blurry, then wouldn't they want to make it better? But I guess that even 20/80 or 20/100 at 3 years old isn't that far off from normal, and little kids don't always do well with glasses.

Anyway - she did okay with the cards that got lighter and lighter. It was really bright in the room, so she saw all but the last two - which were REALLY light. They dimmed the lights some, and she had a harder time. This made the doctor think that her night vision is probably going to prove to be low. (That test is at the end of Feb. The fun never ends).

The light test - they shined a little light in her eyes and had her follow it. Finley doesn't look at us in the eye most of the time - she looks off to the side. They saw that her one eye is definitely more dominant (the left) and it leads the other eye. And that is why she doesn't look directly at us. She THINKS she is, but she is looking down and to the left. It is kind of strange. It isn't always, but it is mostly when she is tired, or not trying very hard. This will mostly be a social issue as she ages - she will have to be taught where to put her eyes so she is looking into people's faces.

The writing test proved to be the most interesting to them. Once I told the doctor about her "mirror writing", she was intrigued. So, I gave Finley paper and had her write her name - which she wrote perfectly backward. And fast may I add! So, I drew the "F" correctly, and then had her write the rest - and she fixed her whole name to be correct. This was fascinating to the doctor. She said they do study after study on stuff like this and it is rare. This is not what we were recently told by the preschool and the occupational therapist. We were told this is normal. But the doctor did not agree. She didn't say it was abnormal - just rare. So, then she drew two parallel lines, and wanted Finley to write her name between the lines - writing from top to bottom. I wish I had a picture. she wrote her name BACKWARD AND SIDEWAYS all at once. It was baffling and the doctor was just beside herself with amazement. She kept all of her writing samples and was going to share them with other doctors and work on studying them further. It was kind of interesting. Oh, and even MORE interesting- she gave Finley the letters in her name (puzzle pieces). She mixed them all up, and had Finley use them to make her name. This was the most interesting- Finley put the letters UPSIDE DOWN, and backward - like laid them out as a "mirror" image but upside down.

This seemed to answer a question for the doctor. The doctor thinks she may be seeing things upside down. She couldn't be sure, but it was perfectly upside down. And she did it fast. But then, we put the F on the left hand side and Finley was able to put her name the right way, however it took her a long time to do this.

The vision teacher that works with Finley (that came with us) is well known at Perkins. So it was nice to have her with us. She asked some questions that I would have never thought of. She was able to tell them about her visits with Finley and show them the video she has taken of Finley at the preschool. The doctor told the teacher what she thought should be next in Finley's education from BESB.

The other doctor that was with us specializes in finding ways to improve her function. He thinks Finley needs a definite magnification for when she looks at books and when she watches TV. Apparently they make magnification glasses, but she is a little young for them. But in a few years, they will work perfectly for her to watch TV. And he talked to the teacher about what level of magnification she will need for books. So the teacher will get her that.

That doctor wants to see Finley over the summer to do more work with her and see what other equipment she may benefit from. So we will have to set that appointment up. He asked a ton of questions about how she watches TV and reads books, and colors, etc.

The vision field doctor wants to see Finley again in the fall. I am not sure why, but maybe just to keep up with changes. I am fine with that. She was amazing.

So it was 3 very informative hours. It was also nice because we weren't rushed, and they really heard me. I mean REALLY heard me. All the things that I say over and over that we think are weird and the other doctors nod and say, yes, or we will watch - these folks really listened. And they asked questions and made suggestions. They thought every question I had was worth answering.

I left there with a good feeling. It was worth the day long appointment and our tiredness tonight. Finley was an angel. She listened and cooperated and didn't demand. I couldn't believe it. Well, actually, at most doctor's appointments she is like that. But she is 3, and 3 can STILL be ornery at the worst moments.

So, that is the update. I am sure I have forgotten some things, but when the report comes in, I will update if that is true.

Oh! The doctor did say that she is not sure if Finley's condition is degenerative or dystrophy. Meaning - she doesn't know if it will get worse or stay the same. She read all the reports from the other doctors, and wasn't convinced that it would get worse. She said my favorite line (not) "only time will tell".

So there we are. Now, up next - the night vision test and HOPEFULLY some results from genetics about what LCA gene she has. We have a little more of a wait on that one.

(by the way - doesn't Finley's hair look cute in a pony tail????)

So, I will see you Saturday!!!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Making Meals Monday

This week I have only two meals to add, and if we get to those, it will be a miracle. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday - we won't be eating at home as a family due to committments, meetings, appointments, etc. So! Here are the two things I hope to fit in on Friday and Sunday this week.

Grilled Shrimp Scampi

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced garlic
ground black pepper to taste
crushed red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined


1. In a large, non-reactive bowl, stir together the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, garlic, and black pepper. Season with crushed red pepper, if desired. Add shrimp, and toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minuts.

2. Preheat grill for high heat. Thread shrimp onto skewers, piercing once near the tail and once near the head. Discard any remaining marinade.

3. Lightly oil grill grate. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until opaque.


Asian Beef with Snow Peas

3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger roots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 pound beef round steak, cut into thin strips
8 ounces snow peas


1. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, brown sugar, and cornstarch. Set aside

2. Heat oil in a wok or skillet over medium high heat. Stir-fry ginger and garlic for 30 seconds. Add the steak and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until evenly browned. Add the snow peas and stir-fry for an additional 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce mixture, bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower heat and simmer until the sauce is thick and smooth. Serve immediately.


See you tomorrow! Finley has an eye appointment, so I will have an update.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Brace for Impact

I am an absolutely terrible flier. Even watching shows or movies with airplane travel makes me very nervous.
So, I surprised myself the other night and watched the show about Sully Sullenberger who landed the commercial airline one year ago in he Hudson River.

Watching it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I found myself very tense sitting and watching the events unfold of that flight. I can't imagine what it would have been like to be on that plane that day.

The bottom line is - Captain Sullenberger saved those people's lives that day, and it was not by luck. That is a very talented pilot. And I would fly with him ANY DAY.

Do you think I can request him when we fly to Disney World later this year?

It got me thinking about how our lives changed with Finley's diagnosis last summer. Every day I still find myself getting a little teary if I think about her losing her sight. I can't imagine what it is going to be like the day that it finally is gone for good. We know that day is coming, but we just don't know when. I have that white knuckled feeling all the time. We watch her all the time for changes in her vision. When she says her new favorite saying "I can't see it", I am immediately on alert. But - we are finding that, true to Finley form, she is saying it to get out of things.


God is piloting out plane right now, and I know he is in control of what is going to happen with Finley. I need to trust Him - just like I would trust Captain Sullenberger - to know what he is doing. We are putting her vision in His hands. Only he can control what the outcome is going to be. I need to trust that what will happen, is what is meant to happen, and let some of my control - or lack their of - over the situation go. I have to, or I am going to go mad.

Just like I would if I was on a plane and they told me to "brace for impact". In Finley's case - the end will be what it is. The impact of our situation is coming. I just hope we are ready.


On a lighter note. The grandparents are going to be VERY upset that I don't have more than a few pictures for this post. I neglected my camera this week.

Swimming lessons took place this morning. All went well. Finley did a sitting dive - which meant she had to get her face wet. That wasn't a huge hit, but she didn't cry. For those of you who don't know - kids with vision problems don't like to get water in their eyes. She also jumped in which I was surprised about. She seems to be liking the lessons.

Arlington was her usual maniac self in her lesson. She kicks like a wild woman. I have no idea how she swam so well when we were in Florida. Her maniac skills baffle me.

Cainan did not have to go to the pool today. I went alone, so I am sure that made him happy! He stayed home with Mat and together they worked on getting our newly forming bookcases for our playroom a little further along.

Finley had an occupational therapy screening on Thursday this past week. She will probably have it on a regular basis while she is in Kindergarten, but now that she is in a state program for the blind, a screening was needed. She had a good time - Mat took her. She did very well. The therapist told us we really need to work on her balance (duh - she is SO clumsy), and a lot of pressure and touch. That way, if she does lose her sight she will be "more aware of herself and her surroundings". It sounds good, doesn't it? Yeah - this is FINLEY was are talking about.

Two funny stories I wanted to share about Finley.

1 - Thursday Mat was home with her during the day. She had her occupational therapy appointment and then Mat worked from home. In the afternoon he called me at work to tell me that she was being silly. She had been playing in our family room and then decided she wanted to go to her room to play. She started upstairs, turned and looked at Mat and said, "call me if you need me, okay?" (in her most serious voice). Mat said she was playing in her room for awhile, then came to the top of the stairs and yelled down, "daddy - don't forget to call me if you need me, okay?"

Now - mother's everywhere are thinking "that girl is up to something" - am I right? Hint: any kid that doesn't want you to check on them and "surprise" them ---- up to something. Parenting 101. You're welcome.

So a little more time goes by, and Mat calls her downstairs. She comes down and her face is covered in her sister's makeup. Glitter and color all over her face. He should have grabbed a camera. He couldn't even get it all off she had so much on her. If you are a "Twilight" fan - he said she was "sparkling like a vampire". Nice.

2 - Arlington was doing some homework, and Finley wanted to "write" as well. So she said at the table next to her sister and wrote her name and letters all over a paper. Then she brought it to me and told me it was an "I'm sorry" note. When I asked her what it said she said "I'm sorry I pushed sissy off the chair".

At least she was sorry.

And good news! Finley has been in underwear for 2 full weeks. I didn't want to jinx it, but we FINALLY jumped the hurdle of being afraid to go in the potty. She is such a weirdo. But we have used our LAST pull ups. Can I get an AMEN?

I like this picture of the girls
Arlington is helping Finley to see a doll she wanted to look at. Arlington has found that if she covers most of the other things on the page, Finley can focus faster on her target. Here she wants to show her a certain doll in a magazine.

Arlington is reading "Ivy and Bean" book series. She read one book before, and is on book two. She seems to really like them. She said it is like reading about her and her friend "E". I can tell you - these little girls in the story get into mischief together, so I would say it is EXACTLY like Arlington and her friend "E".

Poor Cainan - I don't have any pictures of him for this post. The pictures I took didn't come out for some reason. So next time. He is doing great. He is our only kid that eats everything on his plate, uses the bathroom when he is supposed to, takes a nap, goes to bed without a problem, and plays quietly in his room each morning. I think we will keep him around.

See you Monday for "Making Meals Monday"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


"I love smiling. Smiling's my favorite" - Buddy the Elf.

Raise your hands if your kids are funny.
Mine. Are. Hysterical.

I think this is what keeps you from giving them away - their cuteness and ability to make you laugh.

I try to remember all of the funny things my kids say, but don't always write them down. I need to get better at that because I want to be able to share with them, when they are older, how funny they were.

Sunday morning, Finley and Arlington came into our room. Arlington has a polly pocket with a leg broken off. She says "Finley broke the leg off the doll". Finley looks at me, very seriously as says, "No I didn't. The doll broke her own leg off."

Uh, huh. I see.

Finley is by far the funniest one in our house right now. I think this is about the age when Arlington proclaimed her life long dream was to be a "statue". Dream big, girl. Dream big.

**Finley calls a knife a "life".

**Her favorite song is "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" from Spamalot the musical. If you knew this song, you would think this was funny.

**She STILL thinks it is "girl" cheese instead of grilled cheese. There is no changing her mind.

**Finley and Cainan think that the character "Lightening McQueen" from the movie "Cars" name really is "Wiping them clean". So close.

I was checking on everyone Sunday night before going to bed. My girls are amazingly sound sleepers. I can move them all over and they never truly wake up. Anyway, I was in the girl's room, and after tucking them in one more time, I put some clothes in the hamper in Arlington's closet. At this point, Finley sat straight up - eyes STILL closed - and starts bobbing her head up and down. As if she is nodding yes. she says, "the cat ran away" and then laid back down. She was not awake, just talking in her sleep. For the record, we do not have a cat. I have no idea what she was talking about.

On New Years Eve we went to Pizza Hut (I know - classy) and Finley found gum under the table and proceeded to remove it. So gross. But funny. She had gone under the table and I had this quick thought that there might be gum under there, and I was right! At least she didn't try to eat it. I never got a kid's hands washed so fast.

The kids at work are always funny. Many of you have read some stories of mine in the past about kids who I work with. They never cease to amaze me. I have a little Kindergarten girl that walks by my room every day and shows me the hole in her mouth where her tooth used to be. Every day. Maybe 3-4 times a day. She pauses, shows me the hole, I smile, and she moves on. It is kind of unreal that she still feels the need to show me after 7 full days of school since she lost it.
I have had kids at work eat lunch tickets, put markers down their pants to hide them, put green beans in their chocolate milk and drink it on a dare. I don't put anything past them, and nothing surprises me any more.

Research has shown health benefits of laughter ranging from strengthening the immune system to reduce food cravings to increasing one's threshold for pain. There's even an emerging therapeutic field known as humor therapy to help people heal more quickly, among other things. Humor also has several important stress relieving benefits.

So find funny in each day. It is there - lurking around every corner - looking to put a smile on your face.

"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e.e. cummings

See you Saturday.