Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Champagne Moments

Sorry I didn't post on Sunday... Between eating Christmas candy, drinking champagne and baking cookies, health was the last thing on my mind!

On the other hand, I have some great family moments! Champagne moments!

Christmas morning, after seeing what Santa brought in our stockings and opening about half the presents, we took a break. Mom checked the egg casserole, Dad turned on the espresso machine and I started pouring a mimosa for myself... as well as my five younger siblings.

I love champagne on the holidays. Always have! Ever since I was little, my parents have let us have a little on Christmas eve, Thanksgiving, Easter and a couple other special holidays. The smaller we were, the less we had, but we all learned how to drink in celebration and socially with our parents rather than learning how to binge with friends behind their back.

Anyway, Mom and Dad made lattes and we all enjoyed mimosas! Classy, fun and delicious!

The next day I went to visit my boyfriend and his family. After opening gifts, K and I popped open a bottle of champagne. No... Neither of us had eaten much... K started "celebrating"... luckily, I paced myself a little better.

Eventually we ended up sitting around the table with his mom, his dad, his sister and his brother-in-law. At one point in the conversation, his mom asked if he wanted anything from his bedroom, if they were to clean it out. He said no. I asked about his Harry Potter books. His answer:

"I wrapped them in the carpet."

Yes, the champagne hit. And we all pointed and laughed! Nothing that came out of his mouth really made sense after that.

So on your New Years Eve, don't worry about being healthy yet... that will come the next day with your New Years resolution! But before you pop open your bottle of champagne for the dropping of the ball (although it will probably be a little more exciting than mimosas with younger siblings) eat your dinner!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Squirt Gun Method

Last night...

'Twas right before bedtime, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, except for the birds;

The dishes were done and put away with care,

In hopes that no more chores soon would be there;

The children were all nestled in front of the TV,

While visions of Glee danced on the screen;

And Mamma on her computer, and Dad in his chair,

Had just settled down for a relaxing night,

When out in the kitchen, there arose such a clatter,

Dad sprang from his chair to yell,




Come one! It's a traditional story that everyone knows, so I had to use the format! And who said poems had to rhyme?

Anyways, I figured everyone knows my family now. Time to meet the other half. Yes, we have birds. Six fully feathered birds. Well, make that five and a half... one of them bites her feathers at times. But this blog post is about one particular bird. It's my Mom's bird. His name is Nikki. My Mom loves him. My Dad loves peace and quiet.

Nikki playing with S
Nikki's room (yes, a male bird with a female name) is right next to the kitchen. The two noisy things we do in the kitchen are make lattes and boil water... You know when you go to a coffee shop and the barista steams the milk? Have you ever listened to the noise the espresso machine makes? Well, that's the noise I'm talking about. And I'm assuming everybody knows the sound a tea kettle makes. Our tea kettle is extremely high pitched.
So this scene is not an exaggeration. It happened last night. We all settled down for the night and what does Nikki decide to do. He makes the espresso machine's noise or the tea kettle's whistle in order to get somebody to come back into his room and give him attention. The only problem is, Cockatoos don't specialize in their talking ability; The sound isn't pretty at all! Normal cockatoo squawks are fine, just not imitations.

Yelling at a bird is not an option. Positive reinforcement is. When it comes to the noise, we, however, use the squirt gun method. It's kept in the kitchen. It's in the sink. It's easy to grab. And it shuts the bird up... Maybe. Sometimes. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Salt Water and Sinuses

 Last night I went to a festive Christmas sweater party. It was great! Friends having a great time, green and red decorations everywhere, a huge colorful Christmas tree and about 30 penguins throughout the apartment. (My friend loves penguins... even gave her two more as a gift... she can't get enough.) Everything was Christmas themed except the music. Some scrooges voted for regular music, so we had the tv on, and turned it to the Hits station.

As songs came on, a picture of the artist and a random fact about about him or her would pop up. After about a minute, the picture and fact would change. So of course, when Taylor Swift came on, the guys were mesmerized. And every once in a while I caught myself waiting for the next random fact to pop up as well.

At one point, Drake, or T.I. or some rapper, I can't remember who came on; maybe it was just a band and the fact was about the lead singer... I'm not sure. Anyway, the random fact at the bottom of the screen said that that whoever it was clears his sinuses with salt water before going on stage to sing. I started laughing!

Several neti pots can be found through out my house. When my family gets a cold, our sinuses get extremely clogged. When we get allergies, our sinuses just keep running. About a year ago, when I got my annual Christmas cold, my mom suggested I get a neti pot. My sister already had one, along with both my parents. My brother even bought one after he called my mom for sinus advice.

Google images. This is not me!
We all of course have our own, since we don't want to share something we use to pour water in and out our nose.... Yes. It is a teapot-like devise that we stick it up one nostril and pour water through our sinuses. That water comes out the other nostril.

At first I thought this was kind of weird... I mean most people just take some drug. But after a while I began to think it was normal. I've heard of several people (outside my own house) using the pot. Either the artist was just another person to prove it was normal, or else it was just a random fact worthy enough to list on the tv Hits station because it was just that strange...

Either way, it works. The concept is somewhat strange, but it makes sense. Pouring salt water through the sinuses not only washes them out, but the salt helps cleanse them as well. On days when my sinuses are completely clogged, I can hardly get the water through. But on days when my sinuses only feel uncomfortable, the salt water gives a fresh feel. Sometimes it's uncomfortable and my eyes start watering, but in the end, when I'm finished, I feel better.

My mom uses her neti pot daily. My sister might do the same. I, however, only use it when I have a cold, allergies or can feel something coming on. Try it before you laugh at us!

To read more about the neti pot, visit the following link. I personally love the first paragraph!

Also, the NY Times suggests the neti pot! Check out the following link:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bathroom Chaos

Our sink is broken. The handle to turn the cold water on does not work. Luckily, the hot water takes quite a while to get hot, so the only time we struggle with this concept is when all five of us kids are trying to use the bathroom. We keep the water running and then can't cool it down. Usually my brothers and sisters get ready for bed an hour or two before me, so I don't have a problem. However, the other night, this was NOT the case.

I walked into the bathroom and it was chaos. I had a sister in the shower. Another sister using the sink and the two youngest in and out of the bathroom. The sink water was already getting hot, but still ok for me to wash my face, so my one sister moved to the side so I might finish in time.

I got my hands wet and splashed my face, sudsed up the soap and then started washing my face. When I went to rinse off my face, I almost burnt my hands off. Instead of water, steam was basically coming out of the faucet.
Photo thanks to Google images
(with me blinded and B hiding we have no actual photos)

"B! I have to was my face in the shower!"


"I'm going to burn my face off! Move! I'm coming in 5. 4..."

"Well don't look!"

"My eyes have soap in them! I can't see! 3... 2..." whip and I swung the curtain open.

I tried to wash my face in the shower faucet so that B could stand in the water, but ended up having to turn the water down and wash from the bathtub faucet. By this point it was only B in the shower scrambling to cover herself with the curtain and C at the sink (with no water) and we were all pretty much laughing.

We told Dad everything at the dinner table and finally used this story to convince my Dad to call the plumber. After a laughing fit he promised he'd call.

B's comment: "It was very uncomfortable."

The plummer came the next day!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Best Lotion isn't Lotion... It's Oil!

... Coconut oil. I completely forgot about this trick! If anyone ever looked in my shower caddy the first couple years of college, she would have found all the normal things like shampoo, conditioner, a bar of soap, toothbrush, tooth paste, a scrubby... but she also would have found a jar of coconut oil. Actually it was a plastic cup since I shattered the jar...

Anyways, it is so good for the human body. It's good for hair, skin, stress relief, premature aging, heart disease, weight loss and many, many more things. Personally, I sometimes use it instead of butter (especially on toast, popcorn or in my brownies), but the most common thing I use it for is my skin! I of course don't use the same jar in the kitchen as I use in the bathroom.

I forgot about this trick, so lately I've been using lotion and wondering why I've never used body lotion in the past. It wasn't until my Grandpa was visiting that I recalled the trick. My grandpa, my mom and I were all sitting in the kitchen and he was talking about how good coconut oil is for the body and how he has started using it in his food. My mom's response was that it was very good for us, but there is one benefit that he was overlooking. Then, she took a spoon, scooped out some oil and rubbed it into her hands.

Needless to say,  my grandpa was a bit thrown off. But that was when I realized why I was all of the sudden using body lotion.

Coconut oil is better! It moisturizes, but doesn't clog the skin's pores.

Tips: When the coconut oil is warm, it is quite easy to rub on. However, I keep it on the window sill and since it's snowing outside, it's hard. Hard and difficult to rub in. So... I put it on right after my hot shower, while the shower is still a bit steamy, and right before I dry off. It melts quickly and rubs right in.

Read more about the benefits of coconut oil by visiting the following link:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Mom's Lyme disease was not IDSA Lyme Disease - sixgoofykids' daughter

Dear Readers,

I had yesterday's post all planned out and ready to write until I heard about a ridiculous article bashing Chronic Lyme Disease. I found myself typing and typing and typing and now the Wednesday family moment has turned into a day-late, tribute to the Lyme community and about five years with the family. If you are only interested in the short, fun, upbeat posts, scroll down past this long detailed one, and then come back next Sunday to discover a new tip! If, however, you are wondering how the dynamics of our family came to be, this post will probably answer your question. 

This post is in response to an article posted by the Chicago Tribune. I am the daughter of a Chronic Lyme victim. This is what I have to say.


The Argument

Yesterday morning the Chicago Tribune printed an article titled, "Chronic Lyme disease: A dubious diagnosis." Why of course it is! When a tick bites its victim, the said person will find a bulls eye rash, have a high fever and suffer some muscle and joint pain. But after an allotted amount of doxycycline for 10 to 28 days, the symptoms will go away. If the symptoms continue on, and the patient develops additional symptoms, also corresponding with other illnesses, then they simply have "Post Lyme Syndrome" or must have been misdiagnosed.

That is what I hear when I read the Infectious Disease Society of America's (IDSA) Lyme treatment guidelines. If the patient just keeps getting worse, then why assume that they are misdiagnosed? Why not face the fact that 10 to 28 days of antibiotics isn't enough?

Over the years this disease has gotten complicated. Ticks don't just distribute Lyme disease when they bite anymore. Dr Richard Horowitz of Hyde Park, N.Y., president-elect of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), said "99.9 percent of the patients I see with Lyme disease are co-infected." Not only are most victims co-infected, but on the ILADS site it is stated that failure to treat these infections increases morbidity and decreases successful treatment of Lyme. 

Maybe the reason patients are still sick after a month of antibiotics isn't because they are misdiagnosed. Maybe it's because, first, a month of treatment isn't enough. And second, Lyme disease now comes in a package deal. Patients aren't misdiagnosed with Lyme, they are just missing the diagnoses of co-infections that came with their Lyme.

Chronic Lyme Disease exists and those who find themselves infected, face months, years, and for some, even a lifetime of treatments and fighting to get better again. They turn to their doctors, but since a month of treatment doesn't work, they only turn to the doctors brave enough to face criticism when they go against the IDSA guidelines.

This article struck me personally since my Mom was so sick for so many years with the exact disease they refer to as a "dubious diagnosis." At certain points in her treatment she was bedridden and affected neurologically. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning. This is my story.

My Story

When I was in 8th grade, I was homeschooled with my five brothers and sisters. My parents were health nuts and my mom had an herb for every ailment. My mom was not lazy and she was not some hypochondriac searching for meds.

When I got to high school, I was in and out of going to public schools and homeschooling, but by my junior year my siblings and I ended up in public school for good. Mom couldn't handle it anymore, although we didn't realize yet that her health was declining quickly.

I remember we attributed her health to a gluten intolerance. She began eating gluten free and she felt better. This was just the first of her food in-tolerances. Half way through my senior year, my family moved. Since I didn't want to change schools again, my mom hung back with me. We worked it out with the buyer of our house so that she and I could live in a finished cement-block barn that was located on the front of the property.

We thought that these months with just the two of us came at such a convenient time, since it gave her the opportunity to regain her strength. We didn't realize she was still declining. This is when I first remember seeing her neurological symptoms. I had to remind her of where I was multiple times throughout the day.

When I went to college, is when my mom's health really started to decline. Each time I came home, something would be different. I talked to her everyday when I was away, and could tell from the moment she said "hello" how good, or usually bad, she felt.

She began going to a doctor who diagnosed her with Pschosomatic Disorder. I was flabbergasted. By this point we noticed her declining health and the whole family knew it wasn't just in her head. She read about Lyme on the internet and ordered a test kit. When she asked the doctor if she would run the test, the doctor said she would, but only to prove that the disease was only in my mom's head. The test usually comes back inconclusive (maybe why they might be considered unreliable according to the article in the Chicago Tribune), however, my mom's actually came back positive. The doctor never admitted she was wrong and never reported the case to the Center of Disease Control.

My mom found a new doctor. This time she traveled all the way to New York. And all of a sudden, the mother who always had an herb for every ailment, was on antibiotics. And not just a few. She had a tray. The first time she asked me to bring her the tray, since she couldn't get out of bed, I brought her the wrong tray. She not only had a tray, but had a tray system.

The whole family had adjusted. Dad drove the kids around, worked full time and came home to feed Mom. The kids made dinner, even my littlest sister who was 9 years-old at the time could cook, not microwave, but actually cook a meal. That sister also stopped telling my mom about school events so that Mom wouldn't feel bad when she was too sick to go. My mom had to beg my sister to start telling her about the events again. That way, if Mom could find the energy she could go to the event.

Anyways, these changes happened while I was at school. The first time it hit me in person, rather than over the phone, was when I came home for one night, unexpectedly, with a friend during spring break. I walked in the room and my mom was lying on the couch, unable to move. What little light that was in the room was reflecting off of the grease in her hair. When she had to go upstairs to bed, she never let go of the walls or furniture the whole way to the staircase and then literally crawled up the stairs. The only reason she probably didn't have to get a cane was because she had so much furniture and so many people to help her move. If she would have known I would have been home, she probably would have mustered up just enough energy to take a shower, just like she found energy the two times she visited me at school that semester. But at least I finally got to see how bad she had really gotten.

At one point, my sister went upstairs to help my mom to the restroom. She didn't think, however, of staying to help her back to bed. Hours later, when my Dad came home, he found her on the bathroom floor.

Around this time I had also heard about her "rages." As I understood, she would blow something out of proportion and yell. Let's face it. That happens to all of us at one point or another. 

I remember, however, the first time I was home for one. She couldn't find something in the cupboard. She proceeded to yell and rip into three of my siblings while she took every single item out of the cupboard and threw it on the floor. I escaped and stood around the corner to listen. She couldn't see me, but my brother and sisters could. I was silently cracking up even though this was awful. I had just never seen anything like it. My siblings knew she was having a rage and didn't even utter a response. They held back their laugh when they saw me, let her get it out, and then silently put the cupboard back together.

The bacteria had gotten into her brain and her rages weren't the only time you could see this. Her tendency to forget things became much more often. My siblings developed this entire method of letting her know what was going on (they didn't and still don't have cell phones). On days that she could make it downstairs, she could find a row of sticky notes on the counter with notes from each kid letting her know where each of them was. It didn't matter how many times they told her, she wouldn't remember.

One day, I was going to put on a movie for her. I thought I was having a conversation with her discussing two of the movie options. That was until I looked up at her and realized she was unable to comprehend what I was saying. So I simply asked which one she wanted to watch. Same response; couldn't comprehend. Finally, since I knew that she was always able to type but sometimes struggled with speaking, I asked her to point. It worked.

This whole time she was getting weaker, losing weight, and when she could move, Dad wouldn't let her go anywhere alone. At least one of the kids had to be with her. The foods she could eat became fewer and the amount that she ate became more, yet she couldn't put on any weight.

The next summer one of the medications the NY doctor put her on was an injection. I was the one who was going to have to inject her. After the first injection, which I watched to learn what to do, my mom didn't even have enough fat in her butt to absorb the shot. She wasn't able to get anymore injections.

Antibiotic treatment helped my mom. She was still sick, but I can't even imagine how bad it could have gotten if she wasn't on the meds. Her first visit to New York, my dad said he basically had to carry her. He made her open her eyes to look at New York City. Eventually she was able to go with one of my sisters, who had a much milder case of Lyme. And one of the last times she went, I went with her. By this point she probably could have gone alone, we just didn't want anything to happen while she was there. 

She still had good days and still had bad days. The bad days began getting less severe. She eventually heard about this doctor over in Germany who was using experimental treatment involving light frequencies to treat Lyme patients. She decided she had nothing to lose, dropped all of her antibiotics and went to Europe for the three-week treatment. She came back so much better! She brought a light back with her and for the following year she continued treating her bacterial co-infections.

Now the antibiotics, in the end did not cure her, but if she hadn't had them long term, then I don't think she would have ever made it to Germany.

A Personal Dose of My Argument

I could provide pages of arguments, but instead I'm just going to make a few points disputing the Chicago Tribune's article.

She was not lazy. She was not faking the disease to get attention or to get antibiotics. People can not fake these symptoms. On "good days," when she was still very sick, but could find the energy to get out of the house, she appeared somewhat normal. She was skinny like today's society fantasizes about. She could walk. She could talk. Some people didn't realize that she was sick. They didn't know that for three days after leaving the house, she would be so exhausted that she would not be able to get out of bed. She played the flute at church. Not many people realize that the reason she sat on a stool was because she didn't have enough energy to stand like everyone else.

Like I said, she wasn't trying to get attention. In fact she would do the opposite and try to act like she wasn't sick when she was in public. She was in fact chronically ill. She was weak from the disease, but she was also extremely tolerable of pain and in fact stronger than I probably would be. 

Not only was my mother's Lyme, Chronic Lyme, but it was also treatable. The treatment took YEARS. There was, and still is, no right answer to what the best treatment is yet, but more than a month of antibiotics is needed. As a result, all of the treatment was experimental. If further antibiotic treatment is considered risky and unreliable, what is neglect of treatment considered? If my mom had treated for only a month, then, at her rate, her "Post Lyme Syndrome" would probably have neurologically and physically handicapped her.

If further treatment is referred to as "risky," then I have a question. Should doctors risk lives by ignoring a fatal disease, or should they risk lives by trying to cure it?

Nobody can tell me this was just "Post Lyme Syndrome." That first month of antibiotics did nothing, it was only the beginning.

Maybe antibiotics aren't the answer, since my mom ended up being cured by the light in Germany followed by natural treatments. But at least its a start. It's a lot more humane to give antibiotics than to expect them to be better after 30 days and then just allow them to suffer in intolerable pain. Nobody has an answer yet, but if an experiment is going to work, these Lyme patients want to be a part of it.

To read the Chicago Tribune's article, visit the following link:,0,5671843.story
To read more of what Dr. Horowitz had to say in an unbiased article (unlike the Chicago Tribune's) covering both sides of the Lyme argument, visit the following link:
To read more about the IDSA guidelines, visit the following link:
To read more about the ILADS guidelines, visit the following link:
To read more about my mom's treatment and her story from her eyes, visit her blog:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Trampoline in the dining room

We have a trampoline in our dining room. Ok, don't picture one of those huge outdoor ones, it's just a little one. But when it is where it is supposed to be, it is in the dining room.

I was going to write about the trampoline right before Thanksgiving, because every once in a while we get this bad idea to jump on it right after we eat (Yes I did this recently). But when I went in the dining room, it was gone. Was probably gone just because we had company coming over, and who wants to move after such a big dinner, much less jump.

I realized it was back in it's rightful place last night when I was lying on the couch and I could see my Dad jumping on it for a good five minutes, right after devouring his pizza. When he got off, he mumbled some comment about how his pizza was rolling around in his stomach. But sure enough, after the kitchen was clean, he got back on and jumped some more.

You might be asking yourself why we have a trampoline and why we keep it in the dining room. Well... despite what I've written so far, it's not so that we can jump off what we just ate. There is actually a health benefit!

When my Mom was sick with Lyme, it was hard for her to exercise, walk around, and she doesn't run (running has the same affect I am about to describe). The result: Since she was sick, her Lymph system was completely full. And since she had trouble moving around, practically was bedridden, she had no way to pump the toxins out of her body.

With the trampoline in the dining room she could bring herself to jump for only a couple minutes, if that. The action of the jumping made it so that her lymph nodes let go of some of the bacteria that it was holding onto and let it drain out of her system. The pounding of feet on the ground when you run has the same affect.

So obviously a trampoline is not necessary to keep the lymph moving. Just make sure you have some sort of daily activity that involves the feet pounding on the ground and your muscles working and you will keep the lymphatic system chasing the toxins away. We simply have a trampoline because when my mom was sick for, what was it? How many years? That became an easy way to help.

What do us kids use the trampoline for? Well, when we are running (or walking fast... not allowed to run in the house) we have perfected the art of taking one step on the trampoline and flying through the dining room. I think my littlest sister, 12 years old, has the best jump ;)

To learn more about the lymph system, visit the following link:
To learn more about draining the lymph system, visit the following link:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Salt your napkins!

My Grandpa came to visit for Thanksgiving! Great Visit! I mean the oven broke right before we finished the mashed potatoes, but we got it working just long to finish them. Dinner was a hour late, but the company was a half hour late, so everything worked out. Except that we went out to eat the rest of Grandpa's visit.

Back in the day, my Grandpa was a beer salesman. He sold that business and now he owns a bar, just for fun. Beer has always been around.

We went out to dinner, however, and when he went to drink his beer, the napkin of course stuck to his beer. I took care of it... you know, took the napkin and salted it, then the beer doesn't stick anymore. My Grandpa stared out the napkin and then me, the napkin again and then me again like I had ants crawling out of my ears.

My mom and I started cracking up. You would think he would have known this trick or at least heard of it.

"I may have heard of it," he corrected, "doesn't mean I remember it."