Friday, March 29, 2013

Birthday Girl

Today is Skye's 12th birthday. This is the first year she opted out of having a party. She has always loved parties and has requested and even planned her own parties in the years gone.

Lucas had originally planned to drive to Austin for the week of her birthday/Easter, but unexpected work related travel came up that prevented him from making the trip. Skye (as were we all) was a bit upset about him not coming and decided that nothing that we did  for her "day" would be any fun without him so she ended up requesting a quite birthday at home. Secretly, I was relieved.

Her "cake" of choice was a cookie cake. Since it was her birthday I honored her request but just the looks of that gigantic cream filled ball of sugar gagged me. I don't often crave sweets and when I do it's usually something in the dark chocolate category. I also knew that Toby with his gluten issues would not be able to help out in the consumption of the large cookie cake. I also know that from experience Skye will eat only a couple of pieces of it before she also will find it "gross".  I guess I'm going to have to enlist my neighbors help to rid me of that grotesque food source sitting on my kitchen counter.

It was a pretty uneventful birthday. Other than the helicopter Skye and I watched hover very low over the neighborhood for about 30 minutes in search of...something or someone, our day was spent like any other ordinary day.

When it came time to eat the cookie, Skye requested there to be no singing, but that we could light one candle for her to blow out and take a couple of pics. We granted her request....

Happy 12th Birthday Skye!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Stars

More times than not, I get bored with my daily routine. Not the kind of bored that I don't have anything to do kind of bored.  There is always laundry, yard maintenance, dusting or cooking to keep me busy.

I'm talking the kind of bored that makes me spend time watching mindless T.V., surfing the net for nothing in particular, reading trash e-mails, now....blogging about stupid stuff that has no relevance other than to give me an outlet for personal entertainment.

Earlier tonight, in one of my extreme bored modes I opened an e-mail I received from some kind of Numerology Website. Curiosity always kills the cat, plus things of the occult nature have always intrigued me. Not that I take much stock in it, but like to keep an open mind just in case. After all, there are many people that believe in the invisible man in the sky, why should this be any different??

I read the e-mail instructions to figure my "number"  based on a simple calculation of my birth date. My calculations made me a number 5.  Already....iinteresting that my favorite number has always been 5...

I read the summary of characteristics for the "number 5"....

The number 5 is the most dynamic and energetic of all the single-digit numbers. It is unpredictable, always in motion and constantly in need of change. Although it is molded from an almost equal mix of masculine and feminine qualities, in general the 5 is slightly more feminine -- albeit a daring, tomboyish kind of feminine, with nothing demure or submissive about her. Hmmm....just in the first paragraph my number pegged me to a T.  I assumed it was most likely beginners luck so I read on....

The 5 is extremely independent in mind and soul. She is an adventurer and a risk-taker who has a hard time staying in one place, in one job, in one house or in one relationship. Change is an absolute necessity, and yet the 5 is surprisingly loyal. The 2 and 6 are the most harmonious relationship numbers but either one will, when temptation is strong enough, cheat on his or her partner. The 5 will not. The 5 may break off a relationship due to her restless nature, but while in a relationship she will not deceive her partner. However, when she is not in a relationship she considers herself free to date anyone she chooses and has no problem going out with a different person every day of the week  Wow, this thing has me pegged! I am very independent and refuse to let people run my life or make decisions for me...hence, most likely the reason me and my mother never quite meshed.  I also love change...hence, the reason I packed up and moved 500 miles away from my hometown and always have my next destination lurking in the back of my mind.  I bore easily and need the fix that keeps me "changing". I am very loyal to those I love and care about, but I do have a very "wild hair" that has been known to get me into trouble. I also notice the #2 is a harmonious relationship for me. Hubby is a #2 and we happen to be very harmonious 95% of the time...and no, it doesn't  surprise me that  my #2 could "slip up" when tempted. 

The 5 generally does not find a suitable career until she has tried a number of different jobs, many of them lasting barely long enough to warrant a full paycheck, especially if there is any kind of routine involved; boredom sets in almost immediately and the 5 simply cannot put up with anything predictable or repetitive.  Many 5s take up careers that require travel or otherwise offer a change of environment regularly, becoming tour guides, salespeople, small business owners, independent consultants, and so forth. Yep, I hate repetitiveness and am always looking for a ways to change things up. I hate doing the same thing twice. The idea of traveling or being a tour guide is EXTREMELY intriguing to me. I could also easily be a salesman if I was selling something I really believed in.  The only way I would be satisfied with owning a business is if it were profitable enough that I would be able to travel on it's revenue.

The 5 can adjust quickly to pretty much anything coming her way. On top of that, the 5 is usually tall and good-looking, charming, and charismatic -- all qualities that support her in her career once she sets her mind to it. In addition, the 5 is versatile, adaptable, smart, progressive and tolerant. Anything conventional bores her, while she is drawn to the eccentrics and misfits of society. She is a social creature, funny and uplifting, and very good at making others feel comfortable around her. She is generally well-liked and is often surrounded with friends and acquaintances. However, she also tends to polarize people and those that don't like her tend to be the uptight, self-righteous and judgmental kind. This one is questionable. Anybody can adjust if they have to. As far as tall, good-looking, and charming,??..not so sure. Nowadays I just feel like an old hag most of the time...maybe because of the boredom thing.  It is true that I have always been attracted to the weirdos...

I am social...or at least I used to be when I was single and free from the drudgery of wife and motherhood. Not sure if I'm all that funny....I find myself amusing anyway.

There are a lot of people that don't like me and now that it's mentioned it does tend to be the uptight, judgemental types....most likely why I have an aversion to religious folk.

Polarizing? Yep, as unappetizing as it may be that's me for sure.

But perhaps the most dominating trait in the 5 is her uncompromising demand for freedom in thought and action. She makes up her own mind, rebels against any and all dogmas and ideologies, and does not allow herself to be absorbed into clubs, cults, religious sects or ideologies of any kind. Her adventurous, daredevil nature may get her to ride motorcycles but she will not ride with a large group. Chances are she will be rather opinionated and passionate about political issues, but she will not be a member of any party or be nailed down in any way. She changes her mind regularly, but never without good reason. She cannot be controlled but she is flexible and can be converted if the argument is solid and makes sense. She has a healthy sense of humor and doesn't sweat the little things, but she carries her heart on her sleeve and it is not at all uncommon for her to give her heart to the wrong person, as she is not the greatest judge of character. Hit the nail on the head on this one 

On the negative side, she can be selfish, thoughtless and irresponsible. She rarely considers the future beyond tomorrow or next week, and worrying is not in her nature. She tends to procrastinate and can be unreliable. However, the most common downfall for the 5 is a tendency to experiment with sex, drugs, alcohol and other weaknesses of the flesh. A desire for instant gratification can be her downfall; add to that a sense of invulnerability, lack of discipline and restraint, and you have a recipe for disaster. Yep, again me...selfish, thoughtless, and irresponsible. I do live my life day by day. No, I don't think about what may or may not happen in the future because in my mind the future is no guarantee. I used to be very unreliable, but have been working on that one for the past few years. Yes, I do have an affection for alcohol and don't turn down drugs as long as I don't have to tend children or drive afterward....and sex is only "fun" if there is something different on the menu.  

The shape of numbers reflect their nature, 5 is a symbol of dynamic motion.  The 5 is random energy, elastic and constantly in motion. Random and constantly in motion..that's me.

So the experiment here is is Numerology accurate? Well, in my case I say yes it was 99% accurate. The only part that was a little iffy was the tall and good looking part.

Mine was so accurate that it prompted me to do me to do other family members just to see if mine was just a fluke.
Interestingly enough, theirs all hit the nail on the head also.

It's been said that numbers are the universal language. Maybe it's not far from the truth....

Canyon Lake, Texas

Photos of our day trip to Canyon Lake, Texas

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pflugerville Skate Park

Yesterday Skye suggested we go to the skate park today. I was glad that someone besides me had made a decision about what to do with our day so I immediately agreed. I also knew the forecast for the day was going to be sunny and warm which makes a day outdoors a must. I also love the hike trail at the skate park.

The trail was desolate so our hike to the skate park was nice. Once we got to the park I realized I had forgotten it was spring break week so the skate park was a little crowded. We did enjoy sitting on the bleachers watching people bust their butts.

When we were about to leave I also found out Skye's true motive for wanting to go to the skate park. When we go to this particular park I always let her practice her driving skills. She is obsessed with the idea of the day she can drive a car and get out and get a job.  I know she is only 12, but I'd like to think this is a good sign of motivation in the latter years.

The very first time I ever let her drive - after her relentless begging - I was very surprised at the ease she has behind the wheel. No slamming on breaks or revving up the gas on take off on her first trial run. She's definitely a natural behind the wheel, which will work to my advantage one day in the not so far off future.

Memories from our day....

Taking a water break

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Medic Mania

I took a little break from blogging. I do that sometimes.

In light of Toby's recent gluten issue, I have spent the last couple of weeks perusing gluten-free menu options, studying up on the "allergy", and doing research on GF substitutes for some of  his favorite foods.

Luckily,  HEB has a large selection of GF items and has even added to their selection since my last shopping trip a week ago. Interesting, that aside from those that have gluten intolerance/Celiac it seems to be the "fad diet" of the day. Over the past two weeks I have questioned many times why someone who does not need to medically cut gluten out of their diet would voluntarily do it. Beats me.

I never realized how much our life revolves around food until this GF challenge. It's been challenging at times but not as hard as I thought it would be. We already had changed over to a more plant-based diet in the past  year so all we had to do was tweak it a little bit.

Because we are out and about a lot on Toby's off days, eating out has been our biggest challenge.

Quite honestly it's all worth it to me to see Toby feeling and looking better. No more poop-fests at Walmart, the park, or wherever we may be at the time, clear skin, no more afternoon crashes, no more stomach cramps and bloating, etc.

As a wife and caregiver of the family I've privately scolded myself for letting him go that long without me taking charge of his health. Growing up, my dad would always take the newspaper with him into the bathroom immediately after every meal so I guess I just assumed that it was normal for a man to immediately expel his food...hmmmm, now that I think about it maybe dad had a gluten allergy....

Skye also has an issue I had to take action with. A few weeks ago she came in from playing basketball with her friends and told me her thumbnail was sore. I looked at it and didn't see anything so I assumed she just jammed it something playing ball.

A few days went by and she still complained about it. I looked at it again and saw nothing. After another week she still was flinching and pulling back anytime anybody got near her thumb. I looked at it again and noticed it was a little white underneath the nail and assumed maybe she had a splinter or something underneath her nail.

A few more days went by and it just got worse. The pain is so bad she can't even use her thumb and grows horns and a potty mouth anytime anyone accidentally bumps it.

As it grew I came to the conclusion it is a wart underneath her fingernail and as the wart grows it's pushing her fingernail up from her nail bed which is causing the severe pain.

Once I figured out the source of her pain I have been soaking a cotton ball in vinegar and placing it on her thumb wrapped in a band aid every night. It's only been 3 days since I have been using this method so I will have to wait a little longer to see if it will do the trick.

She suggested we go to the beach because the last wart she had disappeared after a trip to the beach. I know sea water is good for wounds but I'm sure the Gulf water is not warm enough to swim around in yet..not for me anyway.

Good news is the nurse (me) is as healthy as a horse. :-)

Monday, March 4, 2013

What's A Name?

Back eons ago when I was in elementary school I decided, for whatever reason at the time,  that I no longer wanted to be called "Laurie". Everybody that knew me or interacted with me called me Laurie because that's what my parents, family members and friends called me. When I wrote my name on my school papers I spelled it L-A-U-R-I-E.

I don't remember much about my self-elected name change other than the fact that I decided one day that I didn't like the name Laurie. I felt it sounded prim and proper. Even at my young age, I knew that I was not a prim and proper kind of girl.

I started signing my school papers with the name Laura instead,. I thought Laura sounded more exotic and free flowing than Laurie. I strongly urged all my classmates, friends, and family members to start calling me Laura. Whenever one would stray I would relentlessly correct them until they eventually were conditioned to call me Laura.

Some people...distant relatives and very old friends that weren't around during my self-elected name change days still will call me Laurie. Ironically now, when someone calls me by the name Laurie it sounds so sweet and clear.

Here's the kicker to this story. Somewhere along the way I came across my birth certificate and discovered that my birth name was in fact LAURA and not the LAURIE that my parents had always referred to me. Maybe mom decided that she didn't like my birth name she had chosen for me and had discretely changed it herself???  Maybe it was an error that she didn't take time to change? I don't know. It's been so long ago that I'm not quite sure that maybe my mother didn't just tell me that my birth name was Laura and I intentionally changed it to meet that criteria. Either way, I do remember not ever liking the name Laurie.

Incidentally,  there are so many variations of the name Laura - e.g. Lori, Laurie, Laura, Lora -  I have been called every version known so it doesn't even matter much any more and years ago gave up bothering to correct people.  Even my dear hubby calls me LORA when he actually uses my name. 98% of the time he calls me ANGEL, probably most likely to avoid the name pronunciation thing because I KNOW that I am not an angel especially to

There is rhyme and reason to this post. Recently Summer has requested that everyone call her SKYE which is her middle name. It's no trouble for Toby because he has always called her SKYE, but I'm having to constantly correct myself when I call her Summer.

So, from this day forward when refer to the name SKYE know that I am really speaking about SUMMER!!

How confused everyone must have been when I put the demands of my name change upon them all those years ago.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sherwood Forest Faire

After having attended the "big" Renaissance Festival that happens every year two hours away in Plantersville, Texas I was not prepared to be so impressed with any other Medieval related festival. We have always been super impressed with Ren Fest in Plantersville and still are, but after checking out the Sherwood Forest Faire  in McDade which is much, much closer to home I think we will head there from now on instead.

Not 10 minutes after we walked in the entrance Summer exclaimed how much better it was than  Ren Fest. It did immediately have a smaller more personal feel while still having everything the bigger Ren Fest does. It also was much less crowded and therefore we got to see and experience it on a more up close and personal level. The performers also seemed to be more "into it" posing willingly for pictures and purposely interacting with the crowd...or maybe it just seemed that way because we didn't have to fight a crowd.

Even though Summer had her friend with her she still mentioned a couple of times how she wished her dad was with us. I don't blame her. We knew he would have really enjoyed it and we don't do many things without Toby with us. Toby is what makes our outings fun and full of personality. He's also a very good sport at hanging out with us girls. Hopefully next year he can schedule the time off for the weekend in advance....

Photo trip through our day at the Faire....

Saturday, March 2, 2013


My last few days have been spent researching and collecting.

A bit of backround; For the last few years...heck, maybe even several years, Toby has had some un-explained bodily issues that weren't really debilitating but noticeable...e.g. frequent loose stools...and I'm talking very frequent, acne and skin sensitivity, fatigue, unexplained lethargy and weight gain, joint pain and some other minor issues.

As many times as he sits on the toilet I would always say to him.."that's just not normal". A couple of years ago I went about doing some research and had his symptoms narrowed down to his thyroid. Again, the lack of health insurance issue left us with no other choice than to try and self medicate/diagnose. Goodness only knows how much they would rob us for the battery of test it would take to pinpoint his ailment.

We began to eat healthier and added more veggies to our diet...Toby more than any of us. After a few months of a healthier eating style we still didn't see any big changes in his ailments.

Then a few months ago one of my neighbors was telling me how he had to cut gluten out his diet because he had a gluten intolerance. Curious, I began to ask questions and the symptoms he described were almost an exact replica of  Toby's symptoms...minus the weight loss he had.

Like us, my neighbor has no health insurance and only went to the doctor once and forked out a couple of hundred dollars for a test the doc said he couldn't read because said neighbor had probably not eaten enough gluten for the test to show any results.

Neighbor said he just came home and totally removed the gluten from his diet rather than go back and fork out more money for more tests. He got better after a few weeks of being gluten free,...self diagnosis success story.

After our conversation I did more research and all Toby's symptoms matched gluten intolerance...except that he has weight gain instead of weight loss. I researched a bit more and found out that some people do have the reverse reaction and have weight gain instead of weight loss with gluten allergy...BAM!!!

So, my menu making has been bumped up a notch to delete out anything that even remotely resembles gluten for a few weeks to see if his symptoms subside.

I went through my pantry and almost every item in there contains gluten...some of it I just bought and still unopened!! The local food pantry will be getting a nice donation from me if it turns out to be a gluten issue.

Luckily I noticed that the items that I do have that are gluten-free clearly state it on the package, bottle, can, etc....funny how I never noticed those labels until I was searching for it. Guess it shows you how much I read a label.

My neighbor told me it was really stressful for him at first because he resorted to eating salad all the time until his wife had done enough research to figure out what all he COULD eat instead of what he COULDN'T eat.

That's sort of where we are  right now. I'm constantly monitoring food labels and worrying that Toby is not full or satisfied or that I won't be able to find a replacement for some of his favorite foods. Ugghhh...

I know it will get easier but my cooking style is definitely going to have to change.  I also realize that  I will most likely be spending a bit more on groceries for those fancy dietary replacement items...Ugggghhhhhh....

I feel confident that it will all work out though and I will eventually easily adapt to his dietary needs AND now that we feel he most likely has a gluten allergy I want him to feel better so that motivates me even more to make the changes we need to make.

On another note, I am taking Summer and her friend to the Sherwood Forest Faire tomorrow. We are looking forward to it!!