Emily's Sick With Croup

Sunday, May 29, 2011
WOW...after about a week of cuddling with Emily (which I absolutely LOVED), 4 days after being diagnosed and treated for croup, I noticed that Emily's breathing rate was crazy high. It was Friday evening and Craig and I were getting ready to leave for a birthday day dinner celebrating my dad.  I was getting Emily ready, and I noticed that she was breathing super fast. I decided to count her breaths per minute, and, on average, I counted 50 breathes each minute. Concerned, I called our on-call doctor and he also seemed concerned at her rate. He asked if she was running a fever, and according to our thermometer...she wasn't. The doctor told me to treat it as though she had rapid breathing due to a fever and give her Tylenol. He directed me to count her breaths again, about 30 minutes after administering her Tylenol...if it was still high, he wanted us to take her to Marybrige Children's Hospital.  
I gave Emily her dose of Tylenol, and was confident that her breathing rate would go down in 30 minutes, so...since we were already running late, we continued with our plans of meeting my family for dinner. At the restaurant, after we had ordered our food, we took Emily outside, to a more quiet place, so that we could count her breathes again...no change, she was still breathing at about 50 breathes/minute. Craig and I knew that we were going to have to leave the restaurant and take Emily to the hospital.
This is a first for us!! When I went back into the restaurant to gather our belongings and to tell my parents what we needed to do, the tears started to well up in my eyes. I couldn't even say it, they knew exactly what we were doing and why we had to leave. My mom got up and gave me a big hug and told us they would be praying for us all!!

When we arrived at the hospital it didn't take long before we were called back to get Emily assessed. Her temperature had risen to 101.3 yet her oxygen levels were good...so that was a relief. They gave us a little gown to put Emily in as we waited for the doctor...for about TWO HOURS!!! Once the doctor came in, she was extremely thorough. She just reassured us that...we brought Emily in because something has us very concerned about her, so she will do whatever she can to bring us peace of mind that all of the I's are dotted and the T's are crossed before sending us home. She told us that with croup, a lot of times kids can get a secondary infection. She listened to her lungs to see if Emily had pneumonia, unfortunately since Emily was crying so loudly it was difficult for her to hear what she was listening for, so she ordered a chest x-ray for Emily.

The x-ray process was ridiculous!! I'm told, by my mother, that this new method is a HUGE improvement of what my brother had to go through (literally taping the baby to the table so that they couldn't move), however...to see my baby girl squeezed between the Plexiglas with her arms stuck in a raised position...as she is screaming at the top of her lungs...and mama can't do anything to help her...that was just a feeling that I never want to experience again. When we went back to our room to wait for the results, Emily was out like a light from sheer exhaustion. My poor little girl!! (The baby in this picture isn't Emily...just a stock photo, but I can't believe the baby looks like it is just hanging out. The x-ray technician actually said that he has had baby's fall asleep in there. Emily had the complete opposite reaction)

Picture Afterwards, the doctor came in to tell us that her chest x-rays were clear and that she does not have pneumonia, but she wanted to run some blood work on Emily to check for one more type of infection before sending us home. It didn't take long before the IV technicians arrived. We had to wake Emily, who wasn't happy to see new strangers in her room. Craig and I both thought that it was just going to be a little poke on the foot and then they collect the drops of blood into a vial...just as they did when she was a newborn. Well, we were wrong. Her blood draw was just like any ordinary adults blood draw...with a tourniquet and everything. It didn't take long to figure out that the second IV technician was here to hold Emily down...in what looked like a very gentle head lock position *tear*.  Craig even admitted, after that horrible process, that he almost lost it. Meanwhile, I couldn't hold back the tears.
Throughout most of this evening, I seriously wanted to call my own mother and ask her to come in for support, but I was honestly repeating in my head, "You ARE the mother Heather!!! You ARE the mother now...you have to be the strong one!!!" I felt like this was a sink of swim sort of test!!!
Well, the worst was over!! After waiting for another hour and a half (5 hours total in the ER), the doctor came in with the good report that everything looks great and that she feels very comfortable sending us home. HOLY TOLEDO...If I never have to go through that again, it would be too soon!!! NO THANK YOU!!!

The Real Housewives of the O.T. ~ Deborah

Our church (Life Center) devoted a weekend to infertility. The message was on Deborah from the Old Testament. Here are my notes from Pastor's message:

Judges 4:3-10
  • When the moment came, the people in Judges spoke words in faith and saw miracles happen. They were people that did heroic things...in the land of promise.
  • First God chooses a people, then God gives them a promise. These people are in the right place and the right time, and bad things still happen.
  • Everything God promises you, you WILL be opposed!!! The life of promise is not a life of ease. It is a life of battle. The more you become the person you are meant to be...the more opposition you are up against.
  • Deborah is more attentive to the promises than to the problem!!!
I want to be like Deborah! I want to keep my eyes on God's promise! I believe that I will be the mother to more than one child, and I don't want to be distracted by all of the disappointment I am surrounded with each and every month. Emily is a daily reminder to me of how NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR MY GOD!!!

Emily's Sick With Croup

Friday, May 27, 2011
Picture Yesterday, by the end of the day, I noticed that Emily was starting to get a bit of cough but we didn't think anything of it because she was acting normal and being just as active as is regularly. Unfortunately, the very next day, during my 1st period class, I received a call from Craig informing me that Emily was too sick to go to our friends house for the day and that I needed to come home so he could go to work (he had stayed home the previous day because our friends daughter was sick).

When I arrived home, Emily was laying on Craig's chest and when she saw me she started to cry...(tears of joy, I'm sure) and she hoped out of his lap and came running for me. I picked her up and she immediately rested her head on my shoulder. POOR BABY!!!!

For a couple of hours before her nap, she was just super clingy and cuddly, but nothing else out of the ordinary. Craig said that he had already taken her temperature and that she was fine. After lunch, I put her down for her nap and she was out cold...lickity split!!! She normally sleeps on average for two hours, maybe a little more. Emily ended up sleeping over three and a half hours long. Since so much time had passed...as soon as I heard her making some noises in her crib I went in to go and get her (I didn't want her to sleep the day away for fear that she would struggle going to sleep on time for her normal bedtime).

Well, when I got her out of her crib, I didn't like what I heard. She sounded like she was really struggling to breath. I called the doctor's office immediately to see if they could squeeze me in (I guess that's the nice thing about living just a couple miles away). They had an opening within 15 minutes...PERFECT. Once we arrived, it didn't take long for the doctor to diagnose Emily with croup. She said that the sound that Emily was making was called, "stridor". She gave us a prescription and basically prepared me for battle if Emily's symptoms got worse.

Emily Loves Her Some Chips And Salsa

Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Craig and I took Emily to our favorite Mexican Restaurant for the first time...and let's just say, it didn't take long for Emily to warm up to the chips and salsa. She started out with just eating the chips...and then when she saw "mama" dipping her chips into the colorful salsa, I quickly hear, "bite, bite, bite". So I let her dip her chip in the salsa, thinking for sure she wouldn't like it. Well, write this one in the books...I was actually wrong. It was quite the opposite...she couldn't get enough of the stuff. She went from eating her chips to using the chips as a vehicle to suck down some salsa. She just stopped biting the chips and reused the same one to dip into the salsa...HA!!! Eventually, she just did away with the chip as though it was slowing the process down, and she began to simply dip her own finger. Such a bright young lady. HA HA!!

My Students Actually Said They Enjoyed Taking Notes Today!!!

I couldn't believe it! Today, for my science lesson, I was presenting a power point for my science lesson. Normally, I either prepare a worksheet for the student's to fill out as I go through the presentation (which is somewhat successful, but I feel like sometimes the students can check out. All they are interested in is filling in the blanks and not really listening to the content of the actual presentation) or I have students take down their own notes in their science notebooks (SNB's)...but unfortunately what usually happens is they end up writing everything down word for word, slowing the presentation down tremendously.

PictureI decided to take this presentation slow and model for the students how to take organized notes. Students pulled out different colored pens, highlighters, and their SNB. I have my classroom set up in such a way that the projector screen is at an angle just at the end of my whiteboard. So, as the presentation was projected onto the screen, I was able to model how to pick out the important information and how to organize it in such a way that it makes it easier to refer back to and to study. Not only did no one complain about having to write down notes (which is a miracle in and of itself), but I actually had a few students comment about how fun it was...imagine that!! This was actually fun for me (I am an organized freak!!). I will definitely keep this up. The more practice the students have, the more capable they will be in the future!! YEA for organized notes!!

Entering The 2's Stage

Monday, May 23, 2011
I've heard stories about this stage...and I don't want to believe any of them. My daughter is perfect! Ha...I can't even keep a straight face while writing that!!! My daughter is absolutely a joy and I wouldn't change a thing about her...but I do need to be a responsible parent and learn how to equip myself to be able to guide her through difficult stages in such a way that it will encourage and teach her how to make wise decisions and understand the consequences of her choices. This is where "Love and Logic" comes into play. As a new mom, I really want to get it right (I know there are no guarantees) but I just don't want to be one of those parents who learns right and wrong parenting with the first child and then makes improvements when parenting the second child.

Picture I recently ordered the book, "Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood". Lately, I have really been struggling on how to handle Emily's new desire to express herself in inappropriate ways: hitting, yelling "NO", doing the opposite of what she is being asked, throwing food, etc. I feel like I am being too quick to hand out her discipline and not allowing her to have a learning experience as a result of her actions.

Craig and I just finished chapter one from the book, and it was already hugely informative. It talked about "the four types of deposits" we need to make in our child's life:
  • Build the self-concept
  • Share the control or decision-making
  • Offer empathy, then consequences
  • Share the thinking and problem-solving
According to the book:
    I can help my daughter to build a high self-concept by: offering empathy, understanding, and unconditional love, allowing her to struggle and solve her own problems, and by encouraging her to learn to succeed through personal thinking and learning. The idea is that we, as parents, provide them with the gift of personal success by allowing our children the opportunity to handle situations that appear without warning-that require them to think for themselves. "Every time we rescue our children, we erode their self-concept. Each time they solve a problem instead, we help them to strengthen it."
    The key to the second type of deposit, sharing the control or decision-making, is to provide our children with choices that are framed by firm limits:
  • Do you want to wear your jacket or carry it?
  • Are you going to wear your red shorts or your blue ones?
  • Are you going to brush your teeth now or in five minutes?
"These choices allow our children to feel a sense of control, while at the same time they do not create a problem for "anyone on the planet."
The third deposit is to provide a strong dose of empathy BEFORE delivering consequences. The idea is that when we feel threatened or in danger, our brain goes into "fight of flight" mode. "When we deliver consequences with anger, children's brains go into survival mode rather than learning mode. They think more about escaping, or possibly getting revenge, than about how to make smarter choices in the future".
  • "How sad. Dinner is over."
  • "Bummer. I feel so sad when I break my things."
  • "This is so sad. We can have pizza sometime wen I don't have to worry about tantrums at the restaurant."

"The more empathy and understanding we display, the more our children are forced to think about the pain they have created for themselves."

Picture The final deposit is to share the thinking. "Shared thinking means using lots of love and empathy and guiding a child toward solutions rather than either rescuing or automatically doling out punishment." "Give your kids a lifelong gift. Every time they cause a problem or make a mistake, allow them to think more about he solution than you do.

The Real Housewives of the O.T. ~ Hannah

Saturday, May 21, 2011

This was an amazing message at Life Center from Pastor Eric Boles last week about Hannah. I think he did such a great job with taking Hannah's story and applying it to all areas of life while still having a sensitivity with those struggling with the same hurts as Hannah. This really spoke to me and I hope it speaks to you as well. No matter what you are going through, hold on to your promise from God...it will not return to him void!!! Nothing is impossible for Him...I have to hold on to that, I have no other choice because I know that HE is the only way!!

This Was A Rough Weekend

Friday, May 20, 2011
I was SO positive that this month...WAS THE MONTH!!! You know what I mean..."the month" *wink, wink* Normally, I show absolutely no signs of the end of the cycle coming, nor any signs of pregnancy...which is why I didn't know that I was pregnant with Emily until I was 2 months along (don't forget, I had extremely irregular cycles). Well, this last cycle, out of the blue...my chest was ridiculously sensitive. This was so out of the blue...that it could only mean one thing, right? It made sense to me. The uncomfortableness started right after mid-cycle..and never went away...until...well, good ol' Aunt Flo arrived.

PictureI'm telling you, I was so confident in believing that I was pregnant, I was going to tell my mother!!! We had a "girls" day in Seattle to shop, eat, and see the Broadway production of Mary Poppins. I was so uncomfortable then, I just wanted to shout it from the roof tops: "I THINK I'M PREGNANT!!!" Well, I guess it goes without saying...it's best that I didn't do that. I even bought a home pregnancy test (that's how sure of myself I was)...and wasn't disappointed that it came up negative because Emily's first test, at about 40 days, was negative.

Needless to say, that when Aunt Flo arrived, I was crushed!!! I became broken again, in such a way that it took me back to before Emily was here. I cried a lot that day...that whole weekend actually, and the times that I wasn't crying, I felt as though I could in a heartbeat if I let my guard down for just a second. I hated that feeling so much! I hated it back before Emily, and I especially hate it now!!!

This "secondary infertility" is so different the second time around. I don't have that desperate feeling of despair as much as I had the first time, but I do have this overwhelming feeling of guilt!! Guilt that I am not satisfied with just Emily (which, by the way...if God chooses to only bless me with one child...Emily is by far the greatest gift ever and I would never take that for granted), guilt that I feel like I'm not trusting the Lord as I should...after He has proven himself over and over for me, and guilt that I feel like I am the poster child for infertility at my church...and here I am again, crying at the alter begging God for another gift of a child. Coincidentally, the weekend that Aunt Flo arrived, our church was doing an "Infertility Service". It couldn't have been better timing! I just need to remember God's promises will not return to him void!! I will hold on to that!!!

Bad Math

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Some days I can really relate to this video. I haven't the slightest clue as to how some of my students get their answers. Oh well...this video is worth a good chuckle!

Classroom Experiment

I don't know how I came across this article...I was probably searching for more strategies on classroom management ( I can never get enough of classroom management...mainly for my own sanity). The headline of this website drew my attention right away: "Where Hands-Up In Class Is Banned".

I found many of the points made in the article to hold true to my class. I have the SAME students raising their hands to participate and the same students zoning out and not paying attention. It doesn't take long for those students to get quickly behind in the new concepts...giving them more reason to get lost and zone out and, as a result, not participate in class discussions.

After finding this article, I was excited to put it to use because I was so tired of having only half (on a good day) of my students raising their hand to participate. I would try whatever I could think of...I would bribe them with my classroom den dollars, I would pull "sticks" with their names on it, etc. So, after reading this article, I put it into action the very next day in my math classes. I passed out my small white boards and expo pens. We continued to take notes together in our spiral notebooks, but the change came when we worked on practice problems. Instead of having students raise their hands to give individual answers, they all had to write their answer on their white board. I have a bell that I rang when I wanted them to present their boards...and to my amazement ALL of my student's white boards were lifted up. I was able to instantly see how many of students understood the concept and if I needed to provide more practice problems or if they were ready for me to move on. PURE GENIUS!!! I only wish that my principals could have walked into my room at that very moment. All of my students were listening, taking notes, and PARTICIPATING!

I have been using this system for about a week now, and the students still enjoy it. I don't know if it is the fun of writing on a white board, or maybe it is taking away the fear of being wrong and saying the incorrect answer in front of the class. I make sure to not call out any students who have the wrong answer. I only make a comment to tell them an estimated percentage of how many students have the correct answer. Another thing that I have noticed is that it has increased their desire to find out where their mistake occurred if they got the answer wrong.

I totally recommend this system. I also teach science classes, so I imagine that I would have to be much more purposeful in creating questions that students can give a quick answer on their white boards.

Classroom Economy

I just started to use a money system in my class this year and it has been extremely successful!! My husband created the money for me...one of the many  benefits of having a husband who is a graphic artist, in all different amounts ($1, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100). My husband also helped to come up with their name: Den Dollars. Our school mascot is the wolf, so it was perfect.

There are many different ways that my students can earn money: classroom jobs, completing their homework, retaking quizzes and improving their score, participating in class, turning in exceptional work, etc. In turn, the students can save up their money and use it on a number of different things: $2 for a hallway pass, $20 for a no-homework pass, $2 for getting a copy of a lost assignment, $5 for borrowing the teachers supplies, $6 for classroom candy, etc. I also have a Wheel of Fortune Wheel and a Plinko board. Students can pay $25 to spin the wheel. On the wheel they can lose money (get anywhere from $20-$1 back or even go bankrupt) or they can win big time (earn $40-$100 back or even get a jackpot which is an envelop that holds all of the money that past students lost on previous spins). As for my Plinko board, students only pay $10 to play and they can earn smaller prizes depending on where the chip lands.

This system has been so successful in helping to keep the students prepared. I found that many of the students who regularly didn't complete their homework assignments started to come to class with it all finished just so that they can earn money. I also had an increase in the number of students that came before and after school to retake their quizzes.
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