Great News!


We received great news! G-man’s excisional biopsy showed no cancer or lymphoma!  We are beyond excited to hear this news! I can’t begin to explain the weight that was lifted when I received that e-mail!

We are still waiting on cultures to get back. A general culture came back and after 72 hours showed no bacteria growth.

*sigh* Now I feel like we are back at square one with trying to figure out what is causing all of the swollen lymph nodes all over his body. Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond excited that it’s not cancer; I’ve just got more questions! I can’t wait to meet with his ENT to re-group and keep moving forward to find the cause.

Thank you for all of your prayers and good thoughts!



G-man’s Excisional Biopsy

gmanwaitingG-man had surgery yesterday. (read here for back story: When Our Children Are Sick.) We had to be at the hospital at 8:30 am. We didn’t find out later that his surgery wasn’t until 9:50  am. I was worried at this point. I had a hungry baby that was asking to nurse every once in a while…which was heart breaking. Aside from this, he did surprisingly well waiting! There was a cute little play room that we were able to wait in. Instead of the boring, sardine packed adult surgery waiting room.

We were soon called back to the pre-op area (where they gave him a bear!)


We were met with very friendly nurses and doctors. We were then visited by his ENT doctor who was very reassuring that the surgery is a simple one. I feel comfortable with him as we have an established relationship as he is also our older son’s cleft lip/palate surgeon.

The second doctor who saw us was the gmanleavinganesthesiologist. He was very friendly and great with G-man. He did look familiar though; I knew I had seen him somewhere before but I just couldn’t pin point it so i didn’t say anything. Andy did speak up though and asked him if he got told that he looked like Mike Rowe! It immediately clicked in my brain that it was the show Dirty Jobs I had recognized him from. He laughed and said that he got comments all of the time. After chatting for a bit he ordered some relaxation medicine for G-man so that the would easily go with him to the OR. It was heart wrenching watching the anesthesiologist walk with him to the OR.

From the time he left my arms, to the time we were by his side again was a little over an hour. The wait really wasn’t that bad. My husband had a prescription filled at this facility (one we don’t normally visit); so that took the first 20 minutes or so. We then headed to the cafeteria to grab a bite to eat. By the time i was finished with my sandwich the ENT doctor was calling me. I ended up missing the call because my phone wouldn’t recognize that I was swiping to answer! He left a very nice voicemail that everything went well and that he did has “a lot of swollen lymph nodes and they took a few to send to pathology.” He couldn’t stick around as he had to head back to his regular facility. He took time out of his normal clinic day to come do Grayson’s surgery on a day that he normally doesn’t do surgeries! So, after listening to the voicemail, my husband and I quickly head back to the waiting room to be reunited with out sweet baby.

Our oldest son was born with a cleft lip and palate. In his 8.5 years he has had 7 surgeries. I thought I was used to the whole surgery process. I’ve gone through it all before. (with my oldest son and my husband) The one thing I forgot was how babies look when they are still in the deep dream state of anesthesia after surgery.

Our little mister doesn’t normally just lay on his back like this:



I admit there was a moment that had to catch my breath because he looked so lifeless. That was a little irrational as the doctor had just spoken to me about how well he did. I pray that I never have to see Grayson like that again.


I am so thankful that he has bounced back to his normal self quickly! The pain of this minor surgery will quickly fade from his memory; unfortunately the worry that comes with awaiting test results will remain with me for 1-2 more weeks.


When our children are sick

It is so tough when a child is sick. It’s even harder when there aren’t any answers to WHY the child is sick.

My youngest son, 16 month old, G-man, has Chronic Lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes >1cm for longer than 6 weeks.*) I first noticed a small lymph node on the left side of his neck back in October while I was playing with his beautifully fluffy strawberry blonde hair.


Around this same time my other children were sick so i assumed he was getting sick as well. I didn’t give it a second thought until we all came down with strep throat at the end of October. On Oct. 28th me and my two older children were diagnosed with strep throat. At the kids’ doctor’s appointment G-man was diagnosed with a double ear infection. I brought up his swollen lymph node to his doctor and we both agreed that it was probably related to his ear infection. We then started a 10-day course of antibiotics.

A few days later his neck exploded with swollen lymph nodes. I called her back and she still thought it was because of his ear infection. After the course of antibiotics was done his lymph nodes continue to grow and multiply. At this point, my mama bear starts to show up. There is something else going on. I pushed for blood work and oncology. He had blood work done 4 times (once at birth and 3 times since October). The first two times in November were all within “normal” range and consistent with the numbers done at birth. The third time, Dec 5th, there were lots of changes in his blood work. It concerned me because the rest had been consistent. Even though the change was still in the “normal” range, I was concerned. the doctors have all told me not worry about it. I’m one of those that thinks every person has their “normal”


I met with the oncologist…I anxiously waited for this appointment. I thought MAYBE I would get some answers or a “it might be this…”. Nope. All I got was “I’m 85%-90% sure it’s not cancer.” Which is great, but also frustrating at the same time.


What is going on with my baby?

I finally requested a referral to see our ENT doctor. (I couldn’t just make the appointment because this was his first time seeing Dr. P.) Dr. P is wonderful. He has done my older son’s cleft lip/palate surgeries for the last 5 years. I met with him and FINALLY a doctor with a plan.

<rant> Instead of all of the other ones who couldn’t give me answers to what is going on with my son and never had a plan to move forward. They wanted to leave it as “We tested for this, this, this, and this. They are all negative.” OK, great, but that doesn’t answer why my son has chronic lymphadenopathy. </rant>

During our appointment with Dr. P we realize that G-man was never tested for cat-scratch disease.

I start thinking “Oh! Great! That HAS to be what is going on. Simple enough, just let it run it’s course!!”

Nope. That’s not it either. *sigh* Back to square one.

So now the plan is to do an open biopsy. They will make a small incision and take out the largest/most abnormal node and send it off to several departments for examination. Hopefully after this point we will get some answers.

I hope and pray that it is nothing serious. Some may say that I’m over reacting. I’d rather be too cautious and it be nothing, than be so laid back that we miss something.

Having a sick child and not knowing how to properly treat it is leaving me a bit helpless. Which may be why I’m advocating so much for figuring out what this is. I’ve had experience with misdiagnoses before, I don’t want it to happen to my son.

(Click here to read about G-man’s Excisional Biopsy.)

*Coughlin, Andrew. “Pediatric Cervical Lymphadenopahty.” Utmb Health. Utmb Health, 24 Sept. 2009. Web. 15 Dec. 2015.

Observe the Weeds

While helping type up a science book (Furneaux Nature Book) in the Ambleside Online typing forum

I came across a short paragraph that really spoke to me. We live in a big city…there are hardly any beautiful fields to explore. After the book explained that if the circumstances (rain or otherwise) call for observation of a plant in doors…it went on to explain this:

“The study of plants thus isolated from their natural surroundings is, however, far less instructive and much less interesting than the study of the same species in their natural habitats, and every available opportunity should be secured for the observations of plants under their natural conditions, even if there is no better ‘field’ than a patch of waste ground, a weedy wayside, or the neglected corner of a garden.” [p116]

See the last two lines? (emphasis mine) That patch of weeds outside is a better observation than a picked plant brought inside.

ANYWHERE that there is plant life outside to observe…observe it there.

No matter WHAT it looks like.

A Family Trip

This past weekend we went on a last minute trip with my husband. He had a job interview in a small town about 3-4 hours away.

The drive was beautiful…and adventurous with three kiddos! We stopped several times and slowed down on the windy roads because the kids were getting carsick; the baby actually did get sick. We were also not expecting to see snow! So we stopped a few times to rest the little tummies.❄️

Things really got interesting when we stopped for lunch. Everyone was off for a potty break and I was tending to G-man who was sitting in the passenger seat while I stood outside of the truck. Then someone in a HUGE truck just had to park next to us, even though there were a billion spaces available. So I shut my door and went to the sidewalk…so that they wouldn’t hit me or the door! In the two seconds it took for me to get back to the door, G-man had locked himself in! My husband didn’t tell me he left the keys in the ignition after he turned the truck off!! Andy went inside the store and used their phone (both of ours was locked in the truck) to get AAA to help us. Fifteen minutes later G-man finally figured out how to push the unlock button. He was having a blast teasing us!

We weren’t expecting snow! So we all got hats and gloves. The kids had a blast in the snow and exploring this tiny town of 17,000 (including the inmates, so more like 11,000 residence.) It would be quite a change for us…going from a city of over 500,000 people will likely be a welcomed culture shock!

Once we got settled in on Sunday, we had dinner and relaxed in the hotel room. We were all too tired from the drive to do much of anything else. Monday morning we got ready for the day and went and explored our potential new home. One really great park we came across was Susanville Ranch Park. The older kids and I had a blast while Daddy and G-man stayed in the warm truck. There was an old brick building that had stairs to nowhere…Eli loved this part! Bugging me to explore more, I finally agreed. We ended up walking through tall reeds, finding a stream, a bridge, and a picnic bench where E-man promptly said “We can do our school work here!”.

C-girl and I explored Uptown (which is just the hill part of their one main street, ha!). We found a few antique shops, book stores, and our favorite…a little shop filled with Christmas decorations!!  The shop owner and I started chatting and I was glad to find out that there is a huge homeschooling community there.

Later that day we were able to meet with some sweet friends that we haven’t seen in a few years. They have a beautiful home on 60 acres! We had some spaghetti, wine, coffee, and great conversation.

We are praying and hoping that he gets this job…the kids would love to roam and explore nature…instead of the concrete jungle.

C6’s 2016 Curricula


2016: 6year old

We do school year-round, therefore we start new curriculum when we are done with the current one. We aim to finish curricula within a 12mo period with breaks scattered through out the year.

ABC Mouse

Language Arts




Foreign Language

History, Geography, Natural Science, Science, Music and Arts

  • Following along with E8

E8 2016 Curricula

We home educate year-round, therefore we start new curriculum when we are done with the current one. We aim to finish curricula within a 12mo period with breaks scattered through out the year.

Ambleside online Year 2 

  • History:
    • 1000 AD to Middle Ages
    • Medieval England
    • Discoverers
    • Joan of Arc
  • Citizenship
    • The Little Duke
  • Geography
    • Compass
    • Earth’s Orbit
    • Midwest
    • Oceans
  • Literature:
    • De La Mare, Field, Riley, Rosetti, Pilgrim’s Progress, Robin Hood, Wind in the Willows, Understood Betsy
  • Science:
    • Mammals
    • Nature Study


Language Arts

Foreign Language

Various free materials found online and the library



  • Tang So Do
  • Swimming/walking/running/generally being a kid