Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hot hot hot! Fires, Feingold, and Fun

Well, fire season 2014 has begun! Several fires have begun within just the last couple weeks. The  morning after the Fourth of July, my husband woke me up at some early AM hour to show me that the hillside across the river from us was on fire. It was quite breathtaking of a view. I attempted a picture, but my camera skills aren't so great that early in the morning.

That fire didn't last very long thankfully, since it did get awfully close to some houses (like in t he back yard of a couple houses up there!).  Currently, the biggest one is just about 15 miles from here and over 20,000 acres, but the good news is that no homes or lives have been lost. Its been pretty close to town though! (See pic below...NOT my pic)

It doesn't help that the weather here has been HOT HOT HOT! We've had a couple triple digit days already, and next week is forecast to be ALL triple digits: 103, 105, and even as high as 110.  Yikes.

We tried to cool off the kids by taking them to the river. You can see how smokey it was in the background. I think the boys had fun though, although they complained the water was too cold. Amazingly, my wild energetic 5 year old was the first to get wet. That child has no fear. Good or bad thing, I don't know yet!

Love how the boys always help watch out for their sister(s).

And lastly, I forgot Feingold Friday, I know. I had planned on getting that post done last night while baby was sleeping, however I got suddenly busy. We are currently ripping out our front overgrown flower bed and putting in an awesome patio...stay tuned for before and after pictures (and by WE I mean my husband...). Last night we bought the stone for the patio. Then my husband worked into early morning preparing the ground and digging up roots (because its much cooler at night then during the day!).
Back to Feingold though...its going! I did my first shopping trip, and it was stressful. Things were going well until I left the healthy/organic foods section. It seems every brand we usually eat is full of the bad stuff (aka not real food).'s going to be a long learning process.
I'd say we are 80% Feingold this week...and 20% junk still. I bought the wrong hot dogs, it was free slurpy day at 7-Eleven yesterday, and I wanted to eat up some non-Feingold foods this week because I hate to waste. Next week will be better though! I have my meal plan done through the month. However we are going camping next weekend, and I have no idea how to go camping with a large family on Feingold. The organic hot dogs were $8 for a six-pack. Yeah. Not happening. It will be our last camping trip for the year though, so we might just have to forget about Feingold that weekend. Uggh I hate how easy and cheap junk "food" is. We'll get there though! I do have some recipes for homemade marshmallows...but I'm still working on how to make hot dogs healthy. Maybe that's an impossible feat though...

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Trying this again...The ADHD Diet

I've researched and read about this so-called ADHD diet before, named the Feingold program. However it seemed overwhelming and I never had time to really seriously try it. Lately, though, with medication issues and more reading I've done, I've taken another look into the Feingold program.
And then I bought it! Then I put it aside for a few months....

Reading the testimonials of how much Feingold has helped others and symptoms it helped really inspires me to give it a good, honest try!
Some symptoms in my boys that I am hoping to alleviate include:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Mood swings
  • Impulsive actions
  • Compulsive actions which include chewing of clothes, licking, facial tics, etc.
  • Other emotional issues such as depression, anxiety, irritability, etc
  • Learning problems
  • Health problems such as frequent headaches, upset stomachs, allergies, skin rashes
All of my boys could benefit from this diet change as I see these issues at different levels in all of them.
Summer is the perfect time to test it out!

I will be journaling our progress here under the labels Feingold and ADHD for easier future reference.

Step 1:
Going through the cupboards and cleaning out anything non-Feingold approved.
Make my first week's grocery shopping list/meal plan
Organize my cupboards (Right now they are a hodge podge mess and we often don't even know what we have available to eat or snack on!)

Stay tuned! I will be posting how week one's meals went next Friday. I think I shall call it "Feingold Friday" for Feingold related posts and updates. ;) (witty I am!)

For  more info on what the Feingold program is all about, visit the website

Sunday, June 29, 2014

ADHD or Typical Boy Behavior?

I've read many a books, visited many websites, frequented many message boards and Facebook groups and yet I feel that I'm not any closer to an answer. When is behavior attributed to ADHD and when is it typical boy behavior?

Some books I've read have even gone as far as saying that ADHD doesn't even exist. These authors suggest that ADHD is an invented disorder to label hyperactive or busy children. There is a startling statistic that boys are diagnosed with ADHD at a much more frequent rate then girls are.  Also, many of these children are diagnosed based on behavior or academic issues at school. However, how much of that is ADHD verses different learning styles and personalities?

I'm going to share something - maybe a little shocking, or maybe not. So far all three of my oldest boys have been suggested to possibly have ADHD by their teachers. Only one has been diagnosed. My oldest son's teachers began to mention ADHD in as early as kindergarten. Every conference seemed to revolve around his behavior issues and ADHD. Finally we had him evaluated when he was in second grade. The pediatrician also ordered an IQ test. Our trusted pediatrician diagnosed my son not with ADHD but with being highly intelligent and bored, and his IQ test proved that "diagnosis". However,  still the school wouldn't accept that and even suggested we get a second opinion.  Thankfully my oldest son grew out of those behavior issues, thrived in school, and has succeeded on his own just fine. Imagine though if we had gotten a second opinion and that doctor had suggested medication. We would have been medicating him for no reason.

Then there is my second son. He's quite active and hyper. Teachers also began discussing his behavior very early on and throwing around the ADHD suspicions. I tried a new experimental program in which a pediatric psychiatrist from Children's Hospital met with my son and I via teleconferencing. He interviewed me and Brayden for an hour - asking a variety of mostly yes/no questions about his behavior. Afterwards he faxed a diagnoses of ADHD to our primary doctor along with a prescription for medication. I was really unhappy. I felt that it was way too easy to throw a prescription at us, and that he never got to actually get to know my son. The whole diagnosis process seemed to be far from an exact science. It would have been easy for me to over-exaggerate on my answers and receive the diagnosis and prescription even if my son hadn't had ADHD.
A couple years later we decided to try two different therapists. I think that the suggestions and information that they gave him helped a lot. They confirmed his diagnosis of ADHD. One of them suggested medication, and we decided to revisit that idea. The new psychiatrist evaluated Brayden on a couple different occasions as well as worked with his therapist. He prescribed medication and we decided to give it a go. Brayden's academics were also struggling now, and this was one of our biggest concerns. The medication had to be adjusted and changed a few times, but eventually it seemed to really work! He started middle school with A's and B's and got on the honor roll for the first time. Amazing! People were actually complimenting us on his behavior.
But then he started having adverse side effects from the medication. He developed a tic. Upon reading more about this medication, I really didn't like the idea of giving him a powerful stimulant for his growing and developing brain. So we switched medication again - this time a non-stimulant type. The tic seems to be going away finally. Yet, watching him and talking to others I really begin to doubt the ADHD diagnosis again. Yes, he's my most difficult child. Yes, he struggles with reading (although he got an A in writing!). Yes, he has impulse control issues. But he can also loves to spend  hours learning about something he loves - such as metal detecting, or rock hunting, or medical procedures. He says that he wants to be a surgeon when he grows up. He has behavior issues - but how much of that is his personality and how much of it is a disorder? And what about diet? Diet has become a big possible cause of ADHD and other disorders. Studies have shown that processed foods and artificial dyes can cause ADHD-like behavior. So then, is it his diet that is out of whack?

Lastly, there is my third son. My third son had a pretty successful kindergarten through third grade. However, fourth grade hit and he was becoming Mr. Social. He has always been silly and goofy, but he really started to get out of control in fourth grade. He gets into trouble at school WAY far less then my oldest two did, yet his teacher suggested that I have him evaluated for ADHD because he has a hard time concentrating on work in class.  I was surprised, yet not extremely surprised that the teacher brought that up at our last conference. It seems anytime a child has difficulties sitting still in their desk and focusing on work for long periods of time then they are suggested to have ADHD. natural is that? How natural is it for busy, active children to be expected to sit still in a desk and focus quietly for hours? Studies show how important it is for boys to get up and move around. Some classrooms have actually experimented with this by allowing children to stand at their desk or play with a ball, etc while listening to lessons. Results showed that the students were still listening and learning while doing that, if not better!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I believe that ADHD is a completely made up disorder. I know that some children really do have things they struggle with. I am merely speaking from my own experiences and asking my own questions.  Is ADHD over-diagnosed? I'm betting it is - based on my experience. So then, what exactly defines ADHD? Is it an exact science or is there room for error?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun...

We made a dirt pile recently because there are not many things more fun then a pile of dirt for boys to play in....well for that matter, girls too.

Unfortunately Abby doesn't yet know the rules about taking off the Sunday best clothes before play. So, while the rest of us obediently changed clothes , Abby sneaked out to the dirt pile. She was head first in it, laying on her belly and having a grand time when we found her. Oops. I have a feeling this won't be the last time, however. While Abby loves her pretties, she also loves dirt and playing with the boys!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Time to change the blog name. Need ideas!

I thought I had updated here since I've had the new baby. However, I realize now that I hadn't! *gasp*

Well in big news, for those who don't have me as friends on Facebok, baby number seven was another GIRL!  This means that we are no longer Bunches O' Boys and One Little Girl. Therefore, I need to change the blog name and I'd love some ideas! Please comment with some new blog name suggestions.

Now for the details. Baby girl was born on April 7th, which also happens to be my late Grandmother's birthday, who also happens to be the one I planned to name the baby after if we had a girl. We came up with the name Eden Mae after my grandmother Edna Mae when we were pregnant with our fifth child. However, our fifth was a boy so we didn't get to use it. Then we had our girl, yet the name still didn't seem to fit. So we didn't use it.  Now I know that its because our seventh, and final, child was meant to have the name!

Eden is fitting in well with our family now at almost three months old already.  The boys love her and love to take turns holding her. Big sister Abby loves her, but also is learning how to be gentle.  The big brothers have also really stepped up to give Abby lots of extra love and attention, which I'm sure helps with jealousy issues.

I am slowly adjusting to a new baby. I have to admit that I don't do well with new babies. They stress me out and I miss the freedom I had to get certain chores done (like even taking a shower...).  It's like I get stuck in the new baby haze for the first year. After a year, I'm good. Getting babies on sleeping schedules is a big important milestone.  I don't push for schedules so early on though and let the baby lead her own feeding/sleeping schedule. This makes it more difficult to get anything done, but its only for a short time.

You may have noticed me write earlier in this post that she is our *final* child. Yes, this is true. I'm 32 years old and have seven children. I've been parenting since I was 17 years old. I'm exhausted. I love my babies but I am SO EXCITED about moving on to the next chapter of life. I was never ready to talk about being done with having new babies after my fifth son. Then, having Abby, I felt a lot more comfortable with being done having children. Now that Eden is here, I feel even MORE comfortable and excited about being done. I want to enjoy her as my last baby. It was a perfect pregnancy, delivery, and now Abby has a little sister.  I think it's a perfect time to end on a good note.   Not to mention that my boys are getting older, and in three years will start the oldest kids graduating high school. I'm ready to move past the baby phase and on to the raising big kids phase. And I'm HAPPY about it. :)

One more update - Gabe graduated from preschool! He was so excited though that he couldn't keep still or quiet during the program. He was quite entertaining!

So that's my semi-brief update for now. Its summer break here, and as I said the new baby doesn't allow me much personal time (as I finish typing this she's to hurry up and finish!!). However, I will update later with more exciting things happening in our family.

Don't forget to pass along some new blog name ideas!

Thanks for reading :)

Monday, March 31, 2014

Odds and Ends - Quick Update


I haven't been able to post much on my blog lately. So sorry! After I made it through my last quarter of school, I went on a thinking/writing vacation. I will work on getting back to posting more though, I promise. :) I now have a nice long break from school until the fall.

So some odds and ends updates...

First of all - NO BABY yet!  However, it can be pretty much any day now. Keep watching the next two weeks and you'll see a baby announcement soon enough. :) We still don't know if we're having a little Caleb or a little Eden. When we know - you'll know!

As I  mentioned my classes are over until the fall because I'm taking Spring quarter off. Yahoo! I also made the Dean's list for first quarter, and my second quarter grades are actually just as good if not better! I got a 110%, 100%, and 98% in my classes. Awesome Possum!

The boys are doing well. Its been a rough couple of months. Alex didn't make the high school soccer team that we've been waiting for the last two years. That was a major bummer. :( However, he focused his efforts on a new exciting avenue...DRIVING! He turned 15 and started Driver's Education classes. I can't say I'm not a little frightened by the idea though... He, however, is ecstatic of course.

Next Owen is doing well - super excited to be turning 10 tomorrow!! He's been doing well in school and is starting soccer now. Yay!
Billy Jr  tried wrestling, but I'm afraid it didn't pan out so well. He thought it was fun at first, and then he started losing matches at the tournaments and wrestling lost its "fun factor" for him. Perhaps he was just a tad too young still... maybe we'll try again next year. He should get plenty of practice with his brothers!
Gabe is doing well in preschool and is now officially signed up for kindergarten! Oh my gosh! He's pretty excited to start kindergarten in the fall.
Abby is growing and talking more and more. She may even be done with her speech therapy by this summer. Yay! She refers to all of her brothers as "Brother". No names, they just all are "Brother". Its pretty cute. And she still has them wrapped around her finger of course! She loves babies, but I'm not sure how he's going to do with sharing the spotlight... time will tell soon enough!

I left Brayden until last on purpose, because there is a lot to tell there. Right before Spring Break started he was chased and corned on playground equipment by four kids in his class who had the intent to "beat him up". One of them pushed him off of the top of the playground equipment, in which he landed on his arm. As he lay crying on the ground saying that his arm was broken, one of the kids continued to pick on him and kick him to try and get  him to get up and fight back.  They left him alone eventually but Brayden did end up breaking his wrist - in two places. He now has on a cast for the next few weeks. He's doing okay now and the kids responsible are getting into big trouble. :(

That is about it for now though! Daddy has been busy working and now coaching soccer again! We have some big projects in the works including a new garden and a new front patio/entertaining area... hoping to get that done this spring.

Keep checking back for a baby announcement as well!

Until next time....

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lots of updates!

Oh wow - what a busy 2014 and its only barely just March!

So some quick recaps and pictures (of course)...


Not long after Abby's birthday, the oldest two boys tried out their new snowboarding/skiing lessons. Unfortunately, the first day of lessons resulted in a broken wrist. One might think it was Brayden who broke his wrist, considering how active and energetic he is, but no - it was Alex. At least he got a full day of snowboarding fun in before breaking it during the final few minutes before he was to leave...


Next we celebrated Gabe's 5th birthday! Unfortunately I didn't get any good pictures, even though we had some awesome Minecraft cupcakes made for him, because he was sick on his birthday. :(

I also got to take the oldest three boys to a hockey game because it was Boy Scout night. After the hockey game, the boys got to ice skate on the rink for over an hour. It was a long night, but fun!


February is our big birthday month! Because Owen's birthday isn't until April, I decided to take him out and have a fun "mommy/son" date with shopping and ice cream. But shhhhh...I'm not supposed to call it that according to Owen! He says its just an "outing".

Now for birthdays....

Billy Jr turned 7! What a big boy. He also started wrestling (a few pictures down...)

Alex turned 15! Scary how time flies... He will be starting Driver's Ed very soon!

Then Brayden turned 12!

As mentioned previously...Billy Jr started wrestling. He's having a fun time with it, I think. However it may be a bit intimidating for his first year. He had his first tournament and did good in the beginning but then soon was way too tired/overstimulated. He gave up on his last match and when we got home he slept for four hours! (Billy is in the blue...)

Abby is doing good - spoiled as ever. I love this picture - here she is getting horsey rides from biggest brother.

 Also! Brayden got on the honor roll last semester! Way to go!!
 (I had a picture to post..but realized that it says his school name which I don't really want posted publicly....sorry!)

And finally, baby seven is still growing well! We're still on track for an April delivery. :) So stay tuned!