Sunday, July 05, 2015

Our Week at Family Camp

Our Week Day at Family Camp

Last summer when my autistic son refused to stay at scout camp because he had to sleep in a tent and eat food made in their dining hall, I did some research and found they had a family camp with cabins we could sign up for. I was excited because then we could just bring Galen (our autistic son) to his troop everyday so he could join them in earning merit badges and doing all other fun camp things while still being able to sleep indoors and eat mom’s cooking.


So six months after we made family camp registration, our family packed up the van and spent 3 weeks in a national park-hoping camping trip (mostly in Utah and Arizona). We even got Galen into a tent (that took 3 nights) and hiking on trails. And two weeks after that we again threw our camping supplies in the back of the van and headed off to Family Camp.


We drove the 2 hours to the middle of nowhere, dropped our 12 and 14 year old scouts off to join their troops and continued down the road for the Family Camp. It took 25 minutes to get to the Family Camp from where the troops were staying, down a long and winding road. Then we met the director, handed our health forms over, all of which are supposed to be signed by a doctor. Did I mention that meant 6 Camp Physicals just for Family Camp?, Yeah, we are a family of 9.


Then we were directed to our cabin and told our cabin councilor would come along and share all the rules with us, and they handed us the paper wristbands that we were supposed to wear all week so that the Family Camp would know we belong there. Of course these wristbands are the kind used in water parks and fairgrounds to show you paid for entrance that day. We went to the fair on Saturday, and had wristbands just like this. My toddler chewed hers off in ½ hour.


We emptied our van into the cabin and I let my husband park the van and hike the ½ mile back into the cabins. By then I had already had to pull the knife that is part of the cabin’s supplies out of my toddler’s grip and turn off the stove. The stove’s controls were on the front, right at toddler level. Our cabin counselor came and ran down a list of things that makes camp more fun (an interesting euphemism for nicely requested rules. Of course our 9-year-old with a mood disorder saw right through that.)


Interesting things about the family camp cabins, they have a kitchen sink with hot and cold water, a couch that pulls out into a double bed and 4 bunk beds, but no toilet or showers or baths. The nearest facilities was an out-house down a little trail. When we were on our national park trip, our 4 year old, who we are currently trying to potty train, did a really good job keeping dry. We also managed to be close to restrooms with flush toilets and running water for each of our campsites, which he was constantly running off to, but whenever our bathroom stop included an outhouse or pit toilets, then he refused to use them and would rather go in his pants. Of course some of those out-houses looked like they would be happy to eat anybody under 8 , sucking them in in one swallow, to go swimming forever in the lake of urine and poo. So I could see why he would refuse.
It wasn’t a large surprize that the toddler’s diaper was nasty and leaked all over. I bathed her in the kitchen sink and started a dirty diaper bag (that we set outside the cabin for odiferous reasons).


After we settled into our cabin we hiked off to the lakefront and spent 25 minutes in an orientation of the rules, buddy system, buddy boards and boat cabin before we even set foot in the water. By that time, our 9 year old (with a Mood Disorder, and a learning disorder) was already throwing a fit because there were too many rules for him to remember. We had to keep on top of Clay (our 9- year-old) because he began throwing sand and rocks. But he eventually calmed down and went in the water, where he became unhappy because it was too shallow in the area he was allowed without passing any sort of swim test. His main complaint at this point was that he couldn’t even remember what he was supposed to do for his swim test. So he and the 4 year old, 2 year old and 7 year old all played in the shallow water.


I decided that because we could only take out any boats with someone who classifed as a swimmer, that the week would be more fun if I took a swim test, so I went and got my suit on. Upon my return I requested a swim test for both me and Clay. After jumping in the water and being shocked with the cold, I started the 6 laps that were required, but because I need to wear my glasses to see anything, I usually have to swim with my head out of the water. After 4 laps of the side stroke, surprised at how out of breath I was, I stopped to catch my breath. When I didn’t feel caught up in my breath after a short break, I gave up wondering if I played too hard this weekend  (if dragging kids to a parade and a fair and then packing for a camping trip is playing).  or was just out of shape. Clay didn’t pass his swim test either. He touched bottom too many times in his required 2 laps, he wasn’t very happy about that, but did try again, which he also failed. We cheered him for trying, and trying again, because that is a big accomplishment for Clay.


When the toddler begin to get shivery, we pulled the kids out of the water to head back to the cabin. One of the staff felt he had to tell us that Clay had been throwing sand and rocks, so we apologized, recognizing that they had no comprehension that not engaging the anger issues is often the best approach to defuse the bomb that Clay was becoming.  At no time did Clay pose a threat to himself or others, but he did pick on his siblings a little (we were on top of that too).


I checked the activity board, that afternoon they would be making postcards and offering swimming lessons for those who would want it. Tomorrow they would offer sailing lessons, (for those with swimming qualifications), an unspecified fitness class and another craft project. On Wednesday they would be doing more swimming and crafts and so on the rest of the week. So the scouts were doing archery, wood carving, riffle shooting, high ropes courses, video game design and the Family Camp does crafts and swimming, all with many rules to follow. Yikes. I started to miss the hikes and activities at the national park, that were parent led, and available whenever we wanted them, I also felt jealous of my scout boys.


We hung around the cabin through dinner time, made a nice spaghetti. But I bumped the stove when I reached grab and glass and it turned on and melted the  plastic bag that was on it. After dinner we decided to go for a walk and find the shower house, with laundry and flush toilets! About a block down from us and behind the row of cabins sat 2 shower houses and a brick storm shelter that doubled as a game room. My kids had fun playing fussball while I perused the bookshelf looking for interesting games and books. Finding nothing too interesting, I wandered over to the shower house and used the flush toilet in a little closet and looked that the layout of laundry facilities; 1 washer and 1 dryer in each bath house, and a laundry sink. The showers were tucked into the toilet closets, I am not sure if there was enough room to actually get in and out of the shower, I never had to try and find out for myself. We all used the flush toilets, but Reuben (potty training 4 year-old) refused to.


Before we made it to the lodge  Reuben was smelling stinky and and obviously wet himself, but I had neglected to bring the diaper bag on the walk, so we let him live with it until we got back. Down at the lodge the councillors were singing (yes, literally they sing activity announcements) about the religious meeting that was going to happen down at the group fire pit. We had just found a box labeled “yard toys” with badminton rackets and birdies with a net already set up.


Badminton was the most fun, teaching the kids how to serve, attempting to volley the birdie, even though the net was set up under trees and powerlines (and the birdie kept getting stuck in the tree, and knocked off its course by the power lines.) After badminton and time watching fish on the dock we wandered back to our cabin, and I had finally figured out how to get Reuben clean, because I felt they would frown upon us dumping a poopy bottomed boy into the lake (and they allow no access to the lake when the beach is closed). I realize we could wash him in the laundry tub, like we have often done at home, when he was smaller. So I got all the stuff to bath Reuben and we went back to the bath house (14th block of the day with toddlers in tow for those of you counting), and that is when I found out it only had cold water in the laundry tubs. So I double checked all the shower stalls to see if there was any chance of an actual bathtub, and ended up scrubbing the poo off the butt and legs of a 4 year old boy in a laundry tub, who was screaming, because the water was nearly freezing.


Some of the kids begged to go home, nothing new, we survived the last trip, and I didn’t let my optimism for it die no matter how hard they begged (and they learned to enjoy most of it too), but I had to admit to Mike, that maybe this wouldn’t work out, but we would sleep on it and see if we couldn’t get Galen to join his scout troop for some activities tomorrow (and maybe even for us to find something interesting to do). As the day finally waned we did our scripture study and family prayer and tucked the kids into their beds. Then we went to the kitchen/ living room, pushed the table to the counter and had just enough room to lay down our king sized air mattress that was so awesome on our last trip. The mattress set up with not even an inch to spare between the table, that was pushed up to the counter, and the couch.  We didn’t use the pull out of the couch because a double is just too small for the 3 of us.


I held off until the last rays of sun were shining before setting off on the hopefully last trip to the outhouse before morning. Then brushed my teeth and snuggled in for a well deserved good-night’s sleep.


Clay did come out of his bed several times to stand at the foot of our mattress, finally I woke up enough to ask what he needed, he said he couldn’t sleep. My bladder had awoken me, and I had already started dressing to go to the out-house again, and asked him if he needed to go too. He said yes, so we went. At this point the out-house that is snuggled off a short trail in the woods, might as well have been up a 50 foot climbing wall as far as accessibility was concerned,and there are no lights inside of it, so you better hope you have a flashlight. or you will be groping around in the spider infested outhouse in the dark. And there was quite some nice specimens of wolf and daddy long legs hanging around (literally) in there. That must have worked for Clay because slept the rest of the night.


Naturally, our toddler, who is still nursing refused to take to her crib and insisted she stay physically attached to me all night. And then the air mattress must have sprung a leak (at a seam most likely) because it kept deflating in the night, and it turns out that I wake up when my hips or shoulders press against a hard floor at night, of course moving off the air mattress to deflate it requires waking the toddler/baby, but the husband was already awake.  We re-inflated it 3 times. Then the toddler/baby and I moved up to the couch to sleep. The couch is only 4 feet long. At first the cushioning felt good, but then the crick in the neck and the cramping of the legs get you. I was up and dressed before 6 am. I had given up on sleep and also on this trip. We were not going to managed this trip if I couldn’t sleep.


So I made muffins, and packed up, and as the children got up they were mostly happy to hear that we were going home. By 8:30 we were finishing cleaning up and headed up to the lodge to let the staff know we would be going. They were just getting done with a morning meeting and made check out painless, handed us back the health forms, the ones that were supposed to have doctor’s signatures, and did a quick cabin check.


We then called our boys and troop leader to let them know we were not staying. Luckily, both the 12 and 14 year old scouts were having a great time.

After the 2 hour ride home, I put away the food and slept for 4 hours. All the kids crashed before 10:30 tonight, I look forward to more sleep. I don’t like to give up, I don’t do it easily, but while lying in my own bed, all that ran through my mind before I fell asleep was “There is no place like home, there is no place like home, there is no place like home.” And I clicked my heels together 3 times.

Living with a toddler

I'm trying to convince my 23 month old that she doesn't have to nurse *all* the time. "There is this thing," I tell her, "called a glass of water. It doesn't come attached to a sarcastic mother.

And why is it that she refuses to walk more then 10 steps should we be trying to get anywhere, but will run and run and run should we try to sit down and pay attention in church or go to a movie?

Friday, December 12, 2014

When Aliens Came (to eat my brain)

The aliens came to take my brain, last night as I lay sleeping.
I tried to ignore them, but at last I implored them to turn off the noise that was bleeping.
But then they said through a hole in their head, that it wasn’t my brain that they wanted.
They wanted a part, that wasn’t my heart and continued to pester me, undaunted.

So I turned on my light and saw in fright, that they were all gelatin blob-ish.
Green and all bluish, and shaped like a shoe-ish, almost a little bit glob-ish.
They were making plans to invade our lands, or at least all the oceans on Earth.
They wanted my gut, only a single piece they’d cut, to see what to them it was worth.

Then I saw,  that they felt the major flaw, on their part was being all photosynthetic.
They wanted to eat, they thought it a treat, but didn’t have the needed genetics.
So they’d be studying us, didn’t think it a fuss, to take a piece I would offer.
But they already had, up in their lab, a mouth, some teeth, and the epiglotter.

They ask if I’d mind, donating to their kind, a part of my lower GI tract.
So I had a choice, to give a voice to the part  they had come to extract.
What would you choose, were you in my shoes, to give to some strange blue-green aliens?
My stomach?, my liver?, my intestines? Oh dither, can’t they ask another mammalian?

I felt kind of attached, to my gut, almost latched to all the parts that I had inside.
How could I persuade them to utilize their brain stem? another answer to provide.
Can’t they instead, do what our ancestors did and become a microbe symbiont?
Search the oceans for examples, the choices are ample, and end this bizarre experiment.

But they wouldn’t be persuaded, so I felt a little jaded, an answer would have to be found.
The epithelium lining to the serous membranes combining, what choice would be good and sound?
Inside my head, I thought of what my teachers said about all of my digestive tract parts.
The stomach, the liver, the pancreas, I shivered, oh what could I live best without?.

The stomach is useful and serves a frugal, place to store my whole dinner.
It’s stretches so great, and I know my fate, without it I would be much thinner.
it secretes the acid that keeps bacteria placid, and starts the proteins dividing
The signals it sends tells when hunger should end, and for hormones it does ample providing

It churns the food, until it does extrude through the sphincter to the duodenum.
It has microvillus galore, and that is all for the absorption to be quite optimum
The border enzymes marches to break down the starches,
then the blood takes the sugars away.
The liver adds bile, and in a little while the micro chorions are conveyed
through the lacteals , which is ideal, into the blood they are delayed.

The pancreatic juices have so many uses, and are not to be ignored,
it adds bicarbonate, that coordinates, ‘til neutral pH is restored.
It also contains enzymes amaze, trypsinogen, chymotrypsinogen,
carboxypeptidase, lipase, nucleases and amylase.

But should I forget the pancreatic islets, for the importance they do play?
They send the hormones, it does it alone, helping your blood sugar stay level all day.
Insulin links with cells and we think, it helps load them with the glucose.
In the liver it sends a quiver, to get some glycogen produced.
On the other hand when glucagon from the pancreas does swell
the glycogen the liver made no longer there doth dwell.

When the small intestine has had it’s say,
it goes through the ileocecal valve and gets pushed away.
There is it met by microbial pets, and gets even further digested,
ions and vitamins and  water are all from there sequestered.

As it moves up and around it often makes sounds and gasses do depart.
and then  all the brown starts bearing down, and through my anal valve comes a fart.
About every half hour I feel the power, as the haustas does contract.
and if I don’t comply, it will get dry, as more water it does extract.

My rectum and anus is designed in the plainness of layers of squamous epithelium
the layers of skin is a strong and yet thin way to protect me from painful delirium.
My anal sphincter’s my friend and keeps me from offend-ing all of my nice underwear.
its voluntary control, keeps me on a roll until I find a bathroom somewhere.

The aliens were waiting while I sat there debating, all of the if ands and buts.
So I  told them that in the end,  a piece of me they are not going to cut.
for I had decided, they’d be better off guided to have the GI tract in whole
How it’s connected with blood and lymph vessels, would help them reach their goal.
and better yet, they needed a complete set to see how it all fit together.

So I will vow, you can take me now, in the finals week of this semester!

When I Aced my A & P

When I Aced my A & P (with apologies to the author of “The Cremation of Sam McGee)



Strange things are done in the midday sun by students preparing their labs
they read the directions to start the dissections and then tentatively give it a stab.
These fluorescent lights have seen queer sights
But the queerest they ever did see
t’was that day in the lab, fetal pig on the slab,
When I aced my A & P


The formaldehyde will cause tears in your eyes and snot drip from your nose
you will try to breath, but the smell will cleave and stick to your hair and clothes
as you cut the pig it burns and stings and you think that you may faint
but there are structures to learn, it’s nearly time to adjourn, so you wont give no complaint


Cardiovascular system, veins and arteries I missed them as I cut my pig right through.
Pull the pericardium apart, so you can see the heart, the vena cava has a bluish hue.
Things I was supposed to get a good look at disappeared beneath my blade;  
“You mean I needed to know that?” I vowed to be more careful with the cuts I made.


The heart was out, and the lungs were flung, the brachial arteries exposed
The renal, gonadal, iliac and femoral, and the kidney sat juxtaposed.
Submandibular we found the salivary gland, and the epiglottis and the esophagus
Followed stomach rugae, the duodenum assayed, and we searched for the urogenital orifice.


From the external nares to the microvillii hairs, I felt I knew my pig well enough
Don’t have to worry about spelling, which is quite compelling,  Can the quiz be really that tough?
25 names of structures, Kay Rezanka would instruct us and then point to it we would.
So we hope and pray to make no guesses today, and see if our studying would make good.


Thyroid gland was found, a brownish mound, at the brachiocephalic junction.
Found the liver lobes, and then I took my probe and pointed to the bladder of urinary function.
10 more to go, I was on a roll, getting every one correct
I was doing so well, my hope began to swell until the one structure I did not suspect.


My head hung in shame, for I had forgotten the name of the structure that was before me.
So I sat there and stared, sifting through my memories in err, but the answer was not to be.
I thought it out logically, compared it homologically,  naming everything else I saw
I winced and I cried, brought a tear to my eye, this item was my one flaw.


Then I looked at my pig, tied and rigged , with the skin peeled from its face
Until I saw it’s eyes, in their baby size, staring back at me from space.
As the eyes stared at me they seemed say “I understand why you are doing this.
but I just wanted to say, since I have your attention today, here’s the ductus arteriosus that you missed.”


My brain was wracked, for I had cracked, but now I could scrape by
A glimmer I saw, and I was in awe, as a light beam, hit my eye,
Above the heart, just beyond the start, was the pulmonary trunk’s little connection
to the aortic arch, my mouth became parched, as I quickly made my selection.


Strange things are done in the midday sun by students preparing their labs
they read the directions to start the dissections and then tentatively give it a stab.
These fluorescent lights have seen queer sights
But the queerest they ever did see
t’was that day in the lab, fetal pig on the slab,

When I aced my A & P

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Learning

We are homeschooling all of our children this year. 7 kids and we are trying to survive in harmony.

The interesting this is that we are discovering that we are teaching art, chores and cooperation more then academic work. We are letting the kids explore the work around them. Everything to Caterpillar and butterfly pets to learning music and horse-riding. The youngster are beginning to ask questions and are finding their own personal thirst for knowledge, rediscovering innate curiosity.

I find it interesting how many of the essential life living skills are ignored entirely in schools, things like tying your shoes, working in cooperation, doing things because you want to make life better for yourselves or loved ones, making food, growing food, chores, teaching others, being kind, living in a community. I find it interesting that we put so much effort into academic pursuits that we forgot how to feed ourselves, and we put so much emphasis on ¨earning a living" that we forgot how to live our lives everyday.

Schools also seemed to forget that the foundations of academic learning lie in the arts and essential life skills.  Once those skills are mastered, then it is much easier to understand and incorporate the academics skill sets.

Nothing quite liking having 2 weeks at home with your kids to realize what essential skills they are lacking. Maybe we will start with conflict resolution.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Unleash the Youth!

In the Book of Mormon there is a story about a group of people who buried their weapons of war and committed to peace. This was great until a big war came about. Then the people felt bad that they couldn't help fight to protect their lands and people, but their children had not made that covenant. So the young people, just kids 10- 16ish years old stepped up and created an army.

Untrained, and young enough to be fearless, they learned the art of war while protecting their people. In the larger army, these young people, what we would call tweens and teenagers (usually with a sigh, rolling our eyes), repeatedly stepped in and saved the older warriors. Over and over they had the energy and vitality to do what was needed doing to save the day.

In our fight to keep our planet inhabitable, in our fight for a better world, should we leave our young people in Jr. High? Or should we let them form an army of doers, designers, and  thinkers?

Are our young people not up to the task of saving our planet from us? Do we not need the help in redesigning our systems?

They have bodies stronger and more supple then ours. They have brains as fast as lightening, and  energy to do and lots of energy to do. They were born using computer technologies, and They are also free of the distractions of making a living.

WHY ARE WE NOT UTILIZING THIS GREAT RESOURCE?

We can trust them, they are un-jaded, they just need to be pointed in the right direction and given a few course corrections now and then.

They learn responsibility by having responsibility. They learn to do things by doing things. They have pure motives.

We need to trust them and watch them earn it and re-earn it 100 times over.  They will save the day if we let them.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Food Count- last 24 hrs

I found some old food counts on here.... thought I randomly start some again. The changes will be interesting to compare.

9pm- 3 zucchini brownies (vegan, whole wheat) with PB topping
7pm- 1 coconut bliss ice cream cone (sugar cone)
6pm- banana, 2 PB and J sandwiches, grapes
5pm- (in car) nuts and dried fruit
12pm- big salad with apples, carrots, greens, peas, some walnuts.
8:30 am- bowl of berries and peaches with almond milk and 1/2 C granola on top.

Totals:
Brights Fruits- 3 cups
Leafy Greens- 3 cups
Other veggies- 3 cups
Refined foods- some 1/2 wheat bread, cooked nuts (rather then preferred raw), fake ice cream and cone, touch of refined sugars in brownies.

Greens- yes
Beans- missing
Onions- only a little in salad
Mushroom- none- I should go eat one right now
Berries- yes
Seeds- yes

1 point for each cup of F and V.
1 point for each g-bomb filled.
-1 point for each serving of refined foods.
3 points for serious exercise.

Total today:  11.5