Thursday, May 31, 2012

Paige and Whooping Cough and Some Pleasant and Some Stressful Moments

So so much has happened over the past couple of months.  Where to start?

Li became very interested in the idea of getting a dog.  Makana also liked that idea.  I remembered how much Katie wanted one at about Li's age and how we tried having a pup for about a week and then giving it up due to sleepless nights and Makana being just one year old and both Li and Makana needing so much of me still that I could just not handle it.  Plus, Jim was getting so grumpy with the night waking.  Instead of saying, yes, let's get a dog and try it again, I reminded the kids of how Kanoa is still needing me so much and that I didn't feel we were ready for a dog and went over some other things we could do (and we did do) like read books and stories of dogs and take neighborhood dogs for walks or visit to play with them or volunteer at the shelters and watch dog movies.  I thought that maybe we could immerse ourselves into a pet world as much as possible without having our own actual pet.  Well, after seeing the joy they got from being around other people's dogs time after time and after reading so many stories about people's emotional connection to dogs and how dogs and other pets have touched and even saved their human friend's lives, I started thinking that maybe we should and could have a pet...maybe.  Kanoa was beginning to have periods of time where he was engaged in an activity for a time and that could maybe be when I could walk the dog.  Eventually we visited the shelters in the area a few times to pet the cats and look at the dogs.  Li and Makana always talked about how if we were to get one, which one would be a good fit and why and which ones wouldn't and why.  Although I never gave any inkling that I was starting to think about the possibility of having a dog, I was.  But I would go back and forth about the idea as Jim and I both love being able to stay out at the beach in the summer or go somewhere on the fly and if we had a pet, that would change.  It would require being responsible  for a beloved pet, and we know WE'D be responsible for it, not the kids.  And we would likely not want to leave it either.  Would we really want to do that?  Whenever we visited friends with pets or our neighbors dogs came over, I'd notice how much our kids loved the dogs.  I thought about how good it would be for our kids to have one.  If only I could get over my fear of ticks and lyme.  That was another thing. day at a shelter we were visiting yet again, a nice man who worked there and recognized us from prior visits told us that some puppies were coming and we could fill out an adoption form.  They were from a kill shelter down south and were half border collie and half black lab.  I suppose he thought we kept visiting to find a dog, even thought my intention of the visits was to give our kids a chance to visit with and play with the animals.  But when he mentioned that these puppies were coming, I started thinking about Li and what he said earlier (that "Today will be the day something will happen, I know it!") and let the man fill out the form for us.  I figured that we'd still have the chance to say yes or no on the pups, but only if we filled out the paperwork.  Maybe we did want one after all.  I even started thinking that it might have been meant to be!  I was nursing Kanoa and so the man filled out the form for us.  He told us that he thought we would be a great family for one of the pups.  Li was so happy that I agreed to fill out the form that he had tears streaming down his face.  (Oh dear, now what if I wanted to say no to getting the puppy?!  I knew Li really wanted one, but I didn't realize how much!!)

One day, we got the call that the puppies had arrived and we could come by and see them!  We were so excited that we drove there all excited about the possibility of getting a puppy - I was so excited too!  Even to see the puppies would be fun.  There were five of them.  One of them plopped itself right into Makana's lap, looked up at her with these sweet, meek eyes and licked her.  It seemed to have picked Makana.  Although there was a frisky runt that was cute, we all kind of felt an attachment to the one called Paige that was in Makana's lap.

Paige sat in Makana's lap right away!  It was so adorable the way Paige would look up at Makana and she had the sweetest eyes and demeanor.  She truly was a good fit for our family.

 People started coming in and choosing the pups that they wanted.  I took a photo of a couple who had just picked out their dog, one recommended by one of the staff.  I felt that if we didn't pick Paige right then, someone else would.  And I figured that if we changed our mind, no harm would be done as someone else would gladly want her.  So, we told the staff that we'd like to adopt Paige and that I'd love for my husband to come back with us to see her.  We could pick her up on Saturday March 17th, St. Patrick's Day.  We stopped into Jim's office to talk to him about it.  He said that he didn't think we should get a dog and that his plate was full, but that if we were still wanting to get one, we'd have to be the ones to take care of it.  He said, "It will be your dog."  He meant he really didn't think it was a good idea, he didn't want one, yet he didn't want to prevent us from giving it a go if we really wanted to try and if we could take care of her.  He was too busy to leave the office to look at her.

We picked her up after attending a birthday party for one of Li and Makana's friends.  We were SO excited.  I could write and write about how much we learned over the course of having Paige with us and about so many sweet moments and many, many hectic moments where I felt so stressed out and was beginning to realize that I couldn't handle having a puppy and a busy toddler and three other kids, a husband,  do anything I hoped to do for myself and still have a calm, pleasant household.  I became very sleep-deprived, stressed out, and felt like I often wasn't feeling or acting kind or patient.  Kanoa, who was very active already and needed so much supervision and attention now needed even more and that was hard because I now had to give Paige lots of attention too.  Not to mention walks outside at least every two hours and getting up with Paige to take her outside between 2 and 3 times a night.  So....that was hard, even when Jim began to help out.  We weren't crate training in the beginning either, but when I was almost ready to cry and return the pup (at about two weeks after we got her), I gave a call to a friend who knows about dogs.  She gave me lots of good advice which I wrote down and I began doing more crate training.  That did make things easier.  It was so nice talking to this person as I didn't feel like a terrible person for trying to make it all work out like I did after speaking with our family friend.  Our family friend said that with the way I parent and with all the kids, she thought we should return the dog right away and afterward I felt like a horrible and neglectful person for even trying to do it.  I felt like I couldn't be there enough for my kids nor for the dog.  And yet I wanted to be.  I thought that if other people could do it, surely I could too.  Yet others probably don't have the whole lyme/tick phobia either and maybe those other people don't have four kids, one of whom is a busy three year old.  I was even letting my whole idea of clean floors go for the most part.  And I was going to put Revolution or some other pesticide on our pooch when it was time.  I really wanted to make it work.

As time went on, I realized it was true that I was getting overwhelmed with taking the dog out, as often the kids did not want to take her out and then I had to so she could do what she need to do.  And if Kanoa didn't want to go out with me, yet I needed to take the dog out, then he got upset and I felt I couldn't figure out a way to make him feel okay and let the dog pee/poo or get exercise.  I usually ended up putting on shoes and a coat and maybe a hat on Kanoa and taking him out with me.  If we stayed in the pen, that would work pretty good - many afternoons Kanoa and I would pretend play in the dog pen while the dog chased balls or us.  But many times if Kanoa came outside, he'd often run to the backyard, not go to the pen where I was trying to get the dog used to peeing and pooping.  And so the dog and I would follow Kanoa around.  Or I'd hook Paige up to a leash thing in the back yard and be able to play with Kanoa for a while, until Kanoa then went to the front yard to play baseball.  Then the dog would miss us and bark.  So then I'd try to take the dog's leash and hold it while playing  baseball with Kanoa in the front yard.  But the dog would get the ball and although I'd get it back and try to make it into a fun game, eventually Kanoa would get mad.  He didn't want the dog to get the ball.  If I put the dog in the pen, she'd bark.  I got another ball for pup, but she still liked to chase the one Kanoa and I were playing with.  And Kanoa didn't like throwing the ball for the dog.  He liked Paige and would pet her lovingly when he felt it, but he is only three and was still wanting to play baseball and catch like we normally did.  Not with the dog taking the ball.  Understandable.  Eventually we'd move onto another activity.  Sometimes Kanoa and I would walk the dog on the street or by the pond.  Paige loved going by the pond.  Sometimes Kanoa would like to take this certain walk through the woods to the street and then race home, wanting to be first and he wanted to have a big head start.  If it was just me, I could do that, but Paige got so excited and wanted to race with him.  I had to make her wait a bit and then we'd run and catch up to Kanoa.  If I somehow let Paige get ahead of him, he got so upset. I had a hard time dealing with Kanoa's upsetness that was getting to be more and more frequent since we had Paige.  I want so much for my kids to be happy and feel good, but he was not feeling okay and his upsetness was showing me that.  In turn, I felt like a failure.  I started thinking that it might be a good idea to return Paige as meeting Kanoa's emotional needs was more important than keeping her and trying to make it work - because who knows how long it would be before or if things smoothed out.

And yes, although I had said it was MY responsibility to walk the dog and such, I did begin to feel resentful at times when the kids were doing things and Paige needed to go out and then I'd have to grab something to keep Kanoa warm and carry him with me (he's heavy and I got tired!) or if Kanoa got upset at something that wouldn't have happened if I had not been the one to take the dog out.  I felt SO guilty for even feeling this way because I knew the deal up front and I was willing to take on full responsibility of Paige.  When it was easy to take out Paige, I enjoyed it.  But when it felt stressful, I felt resentful, in spite of wishing I didn't feel that way and in spite of saying I knew I'd ultimately be responsible for Paige.  It became pretty clear to me that I couldn't do it all and feel good, even if I wished I could.  I felt responsibility to create an environment where Kanoa felt cared for and where he felt like he was getting lots of love and attention - an environment where he could thrive.  I think having Paige in our home was hard because Paige needed so much attention too and that took some away from Kanoa.  In fact, Paige was a huge focus of my day.  

Another thing that happened was that we had acquired whooping cough right after we adopted Paige.  I think Katie brought the cough home from school, but apparently it was going around in neighboring towns as well.  The younger two kids had it worse than the rest of us as they would cough, cough, cough and then gag or spit up or vomit.  I did start to suspect whooping cough as I had read about it long ago and also had a friend whose family had it in 2006.  However, I also wondered if they had a gag reflex that was brought on by the mucus that came along with this nasty cold.  So, although I was paying lots of attention, at first I just thought it was a nasty cold.  We had not only been up with Paige to take her out at night, but also had some nights where we'd be up with one of the kids almost ALL night because of the awful cough and watching their breathing and then they'd seem better and then the other kid would get it and we'd be up almost ALL night with them.  Then they'd seem better and the first one would get it back.  Eventually it ended up with only Makana being really sick.  Li hardly had anything for the most part.  Jim had an annoying cough and although it mostly went away, he still coughed occasionally for some time.  Katie had an aggravating cough too for a while and like Jim it lasted a while, but then mostly went away with just occasional coughing.  Kanoa coughed occasionally for a long time.  Makana was so sick for so long and then finally made big strides in recovery.  She had an awful time of it.  I rarely go to the doctor's office and called them once for Kanoa, brought Kanoa in once and brought Makana in twice.  The second time I brought Makana in was because I wanted them to test her for pertussis. Our doctor's office didn't have a kit to test her with though and said that if we didn't want to wait for them to order and receive it, we could go to the local hospital to have it done.  I chose to wait since it wouldn't make a difference in how we would treat the cough and I thought that since she had just been to their office and met some of the staff, that would be easiest for her to deal with and we'd have more chance of her being willing to do the test which consisted of a swab stuck up her nose to get a mucus sample.  Finally they had the kit, but the person who did the testing was out of the office for one more day, so we waited again.  I pretty much knew she had it by this point, but just wanted confirmation so I would know for sure and for her records.  Then they could also assume our whole family had it too since it is so contagious.  I also wanted them to check her lungs to be sure they were clear.  They were.  Phew.

Back to the dog...
Anyway, when we first got Paige and I'd walk the dog with either or both Makana and Kanoa, they would cough, cough, cough and spit up a bit of mucus outside.  I felt bad that the kids kept coming outside with me on the walks, but they wanted to and the dog needed to go out.  It was at this time that I was beginning to suspect the whooping cough.  They weren't whooping yet, but had that gagging at the end and a cough for a while now...telling signs.  I thought too that we were getting through whooping cough or whatever-it-was well because it seemed to either stay the same or not get worse.  At least for a long while.

Jim and I were EXHAUSTED mentally and physically.  I didn't realize how calm and peaceful, albeit loud, our house was until we had Paige.  I longed for that time again when I could feel calm and not anxious and not feel resentful that I had to take the dog out or that one of the kids (namely Li or Katie, as I understood Makana's fear of being alone outside or inside) *should* take her because it was obvious Kanoa wanted and needed me to do xyz and I couldn't do xyz for him or be with him if I was the one taking the dog out yet again.  And I didn't want to just let Paige go out in the pen or she'd bark.  Though we did do that a little bit and there were times she did like it and didn't keep barking.  But even in the pen, she truly wanted us to just be there, even if she was busy playing by herself or chewing on things.  Li liked to take her out and lay with her in the grass.

Li would take her out and lay with her in the grass.  

 He loved her so much!  Because they knew I was ready to give up on having her and after I explained why to him and Makana, they said they'd like to give it just a little more time and they'd try to help out way more.  So, they did.  They took her out and helped to watch her when she was out of the crate (most of the time, but not all the time of course..but I was amazed at how much they did do, especially Li).  And Katie continued to get up in the morning to take Paige out for a quick pee/poo which helped too.  She did this right from the start and for the whole time we had Paige unless I left her a note saying I just took her out and not to do so.

Well, even with all this trying on our family's part, I was coming to a difficult decision that I couldn't take care of Paige the way I wanted to and meet Kanoa's needs and my own needs for a calm, happy household with a kind, patient mother and I wanted a family that could feel well and rested again and Jim needed to get more sleep because he has to get up for work and wanted to feel good too.  So, I let the kids know that although they were trying and helping out so much, those were my thoughts.  They thought they could do even more.

One Friday night, Jim came home late and I had just found a tick on the dog and was trying to get it out and couldn't.  I freaked out. Really freaked out.  Katie and Jim tried to get it out too.  Finally Katie got part of it out.  I couldn't handle having a dog anymore.  I think it wasn't the tick itself, but the realization that between the tick and all the many, many other things that were stressing me out related to the dog and to Kanoa, something had to change.  I had just listened to someone's wise words saying how we were the only ones who could change things  (can't recall exact words, but I heard them in relation to what my own issue was and I thought I should do something).  I thought it would be best if I returned Paige.  I took her back the next day.  We took lots of pictures of her and felt terrible bringing her back.

Here are some of my favorite pictures of her, not necessarily only from the day before I returned her.

This was an earlier photo, not one we took before we returned her.  Those eyes...makes me want to hug and pet her and tell her we love her!  She was such a sweet, sweet dog!
Katie holding Paige the afternoon before we returned her.

Kanoa and Paige when they fell asleep on 3.20.2012  Adorable!

Paige sitting on Kanoa and Makana on 3.18.2012

Makana played with Kanoa and Paige and made them a little bed to rest in. 3.18.2012 - One day after we got Paige.

Love how they are looking at each other here. 3.18.2012 - Day after we got Paige.
4.4.2012 Daddy holding two sick kids who sat with him and then fell asleep..very unlike either of them!
4.9.2012 Paige

Right before we took Paige back.  Li feeds her some special treats.
Also right before we took Paige back.  Makana gave her many many hugs.
Makana with Paige...she may be sort of smiling, but I think inside she was very sad even if she partly understood how I was feeling that was leading me to return Paige.  Physically, she was having an okay day.  It was after this that her coughing got worse again.

We all cried.  She knew something was up.  I spent much of that Saturday before we brought her back writing a three page letter of what she was used to and what she enjoyed and how we took care of her so the new owners would understand how she was treated for the time we had her and what her likes and dislikes were, etc.  We brought all of her favorite things with her.  The shelter people were so kind and told us we could let them know if we changed our mind.  I had tears streaming down my face when we dropped her off, even as I was talking to the shelter staff.  I felt so much like I abandoned her there.  Like she'd be missing us so much and didn't have us there to love her when she needed us and how frightened and sad she must feel in that noisy, stark, cold kennel.  And yet I felt I needed to be able to be there for my kids, for Kanoa, for Jim so he could get back to getting sleep and me too and so we could all get well again.  And that wasn't happening when we had Paige.  I thought I needed to prioritize family first, above Paige (who I wish I could have kept as part of our family).

After we returned Paige (and it was only me, Li, Katie and Makana who returned her, Jim stayed home with Kanoa)  we tried to do something to help us feel a little better on the way home.  Makana was doing a little better this day, and we all needed cheering up, so I took up Katie's suggestion to stop at the lake and throw rocks and skip rocks into the water.  I said maybe we could make a wish on the rocks for Paige too.  We stopped at Lake Chickie and took deep breaths and ran around a little and had some rock throwing contests and found rocks to skip. Then Katie really wanted to go to Walmart to pick up special shampoo and wanted to go to Dunkin' Donuts for a mocha and Makana really wanted a burger at Burger King.  So we did all that with a ten dollar bill I found in the glove compartment.  Makana, Li and I waited in the car for Katie when she went into the store, but all of us did go into Burger King as Makana felt like she wasn't going to cough and felt okay and the restaurant was practically empty and we made a plan that if she had to cough we'd go outside quickly (even though we didn't have lab results back at this point yet).

We returned Paige on April 21st!!! So we had her for five weeks.  That week following Paige's return was when Makana got much worse with the coughing and began to whoop where I was sure it was a whoop.  On the 25th, she got tested at the doctor's office to see whether it was pertussis or not.  The lab called the doctor's office on Friday the 27th to tell them she tested positive for whooping cough.  The doctor's office called me and told me that it was very important to fill that prescription for the antibiotics I had picked up on the 25th when we had come in.  I told them I had taken the prescription just in case we chose to fill it and would now fill it to have it handy if I needed it, but that I would likely try to treat her with alternatives as much of what I had read stated that the antibiotics are only effective to reduce cough in the beginning before you realize you even have whooping cough and they do have side effects.  I also read that the antibiotics will kill the bacteria and after five days on the antibiotics, you will no longer be contagious.  But I also read that vitamin c would kill the bacteria and has no side effects (except diarrhea if too much) and I would rather go with vitamin c and self-quarantine for a few weeks until she'd no longer be contagious naturally.  I don't want to take antibiotics if they aren't necessary and they can cause side effects, destroy the good bacteria in your body, and a person might be allergic to it.  Vitamin c is supposed to work well in treating whooping cough with no bad side effects (except maybe diarrhea if you have too much).  A person can choose to stay inside and out of public places until they are no longer contagious.  That to me seems the best thing to do.  I had already been investigating whooping cough in books and online.  One of the nurse practitioners (M) again insisted that I give her the antibiotics and even Mucinex and said that I should watch her closely.  I told her I'd watch her closely and asked about antibiotics being useful in prevention of a secondary infection.  She told me that they would be.  I filled the prescription in case I changed my mind, but did not intend to give it to Makana.  

Here's what one site states about antibiotics:

What is the treatment for whooping cough?


The bacterium which causes whooping cough can be killed by antibiotics. However, once the bouts of coughing have started, treatment with antibiotics makes little impact on the course of the illness. In effect, the bacteria will have done what they need to do to the airways to set off the bouts of coughing for the next few weeks.

However, a course of antibiotics is still usually given if the disease is diagnosed in the first few weeks of the illness. This is because after five days of antibiotics you are no longer infectious. Without antibiotics, you can remain infectious for about three weeks after the bouts of coughing start.

That Friday I made phone calls, reread information in books and online and talked with local people familiar with treating sickness with herbs and homeopathy and other natural remedies.  I bought Ester C for starters (not the best product), later switching to the NOW brand of Sodium Ascorbate and finally purchasing Nutrabiotic brand of Sodium Ascorbate and lypo-spheric vitamin c.  I began keeping a log of what I gave Makana and when and wrote down notes about her coughs, etc.  I contacted the owner of the "Beyond Vaccination" forum who put me in touch with a licensed doctor who lives in Maine who left her job because she saw the harm that vaccinations were doing to people and patients and who wrote a paper on treating whooping cough with Sodium Ascorbate.  She wrote the paper in late 2011- lucky for me!  It was the most concise and best paper I read on treating whooping cough as it had all the bits and pieces I was reading in one place that was organized and easy to understand.  I was so grateful! And she's a homeopath and is well versed on alternative therapies for dealing with ailments and various conditions.  And she has met with Gary Null (one of my heros! used to listen to him when he was on wbai in NJ!)  and she is on the board of the International Medical Council on Vaccination.  And she lives just like two towns away!  Weird thing is that Hilary who put me in touch with her lives in New Zealand.  Wow!  We met with Suzanne Humphries on Monday May 7th and she was such a nice person and my kids loved her and I was (and still am) grateful to have her on my side to help me best help Makana.

So, as I am beginning to write this on May 14th, Makana is making great strides getting well, although she still coughs about four times a night at the moment and maybe the same during the day.  But it is just loose mucus mostly at night.  During the day, if she eats alot, she may cough and vomit food and mucus.  She doesn't cough often, but when it happens, she needs to concentrate and wants me there next to her.  She's gotten used to throwing up and I've gotten used to cleaning up vomit and doing extra laundry.

We haven't been contagious since 21 days after the coughing began according to the person from the State of Maine CDC who I spoke to on April 30th.  But we've been lying low because Makana likes to be indoors and doesn't have tons of energy just yet, although it is coming back more and more each day.  It is SO nice to see my spunky Makana feel more and more like herself again!

Note: It is now May 31st and she has had one night of no coughing and then went back to coughing a bit, but not throwing up.  She continues to get better and better.  As of last week, Suzanne thinks she is still a little dehydrated, but overall doing great.  She is still taking vitamin C, but less of a dose and she now takes usually 2 vitamin D gelatin capsules a day instead of 4 or 5 like she did when things were intense.

If you ever do get whooping cough, take lots of vitamin c as pertussis uses up so much of it from your body.  (And use enough vitamin c to actually make a difference - I used way too little at first.)  Suspect it if your cough lasts for more than two weeks (so I've read) or if you gag at the end of the cough (I've read, heard from friends who had it years ago, and can now say from experience!).  Sodium ascorbate is the best way to get the vitamin c as it won't cause an upset stomach like ascorbic acid might do.  The quantities you'll need are alot - Makana is about 60 pounds and took 10,000mg a few days, 8,000 mg most days (after I realized that she needed way more than I had began to give her...and wow, her coughing did reduce when I got up to the right amounts of vitamin c).  There is a formula for calculating approximately how much you could try, but basically it is to bowel tolerance (like until you get diarrhea or tapioca like stools) and then less of course.  See Suzanne's paper for the formula on how much vitamin c to give at first.  A glass of orange juice has approximately 100 mg of vitamin c.  That is why people turn to the powder to get the quantities they need because they'd never be able to drink enough of it.

Another thing I noticed with whooping cough is that I was craving lemons like crazy.  So was a friend of mine who I think had it also (though she wasn't tested for it, she had all the signs of it and that cough that went on for weeks).  Both of us were buying lemons like they were going out of style!  She got it before me (but she didn't know she had it) and had been vaccinated just last year.  The vaccinations aren't as effective as people think they are.

Here's some info to look at that may be helpful to someone if their child or they get whooping cough:

Here is Suzanne's youtube video about vaccines:

Here is the article Suzanne wrote based on Hilary's information - this is excellent and the most important resource for treating whooping cough naturally in my opinion: ALSO

Here is a link to Suzanne's website:

International Medical Council on Vaccination:

Beyond Vaccination Forum:

Symptoms, Sounds and a Video of whooping cough:
Yep.......we went through the tears streaming from the eyes too and the vomiting food or thick mucus And as she got better eventually clear mucus which either came out of the mouth or could be blown out of the nose.  Once enough mucus came out, she would feel better and the bout of coughing was over.  During the intense period, there were times when it was very difficult for her to breathe or she actually couldn't breathe for a second or two.  But then the mucus would clear out of her windpipe and she could again.  Glad that didn't happen but maybe three times that she told me about.  When she was in the thick of it, she would turn red during the coughing spells, but never blue or black like I read was possible in more extreme cases.

Here is a video of our room setup that might be helpful for what to have nearby or on hand during the night with a child who is sick with whooping cough - How we prepared our bedroom for whooping cough:

And one more little part that I added that I forgot in the first video about not emptying the throw up bowl until the morning unless necessary as it usually only has some bits of mucus or throw up in it, not enough to spill out and all over: 


Here's much of the same info from my facebook notes about whooping cough page: 

My favorite and most helpful article on the treatment of whooping cough:

To hear what whooping cough sounds like or to see a video of a child with it (links to right of page to access video or audio):

Brand of Sodium Ascorbate that I think is most pure and non-gmo: "NurtiBiotic" brand. Here is a link to amazon where I purchased ours:
 - It is recommended by many to use Ester-C, but that is calcium ascorbate and you don't want the article above to find out why and research yourself for more info as well.  Use sodium ascorbate.  

And another product we bought is lypo-spheric vitamin C:

And Suzanne Humphries (the dr who wrote that paper on vit c and whooping coughin the above link) suggested taking Vitamin D - we used Carlson brand, VitaminD3, 2000IU, 360 soft gels. The gels can be pricked with a pin and popped intoyour mouth and chewed enough to get out the oils (which taste fine to us..evenmy kids are okay with them). Then you spit out the gelatin capsule (at leastthat is what we do. Or you can simply swallow the capsule or put the oil on something you're eating.  

Our daughter (six years and almost 60 pounds) is doing about 10,000 mg ofvitamin c (about 2,000mg of lypo-spheric vitamin c and 8,000mg of sodiumascorbate form of vitamin c) daily, some days a little less, a couple days alittle more. She's took five capsules of the D3 for a couple of days and then we reduced the amount to three capsules.  

This was a site that had a link (click on "this story") which led to Hilary's forum full of information:

Hilary's site/forum:

To contact Dr. Suzanne Humphries via facebook:
And if you live in Maine, you are lucky as she lives not too far from mid-coast Maine!  

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Massachusetts ALLIn May 2012

I have wanted to meet Sandra for so long and was thrilled to finally do so!

We had such a nice time at the ALL In May gathering!  I had that great feeling that I get after being with other unschoolers afterward!  Here's the link to the Massachusetts ALL in May 2012 conference:

The presenters, all of whom are lovely and inspirational:

Sandra Dodd

Joyce Fetteroll

Meredith Novak

Brie Jontry

This was the main cabin where the discussions were held, where people hung out and where there was a great buffet table.  It had three bathrooms, several bedrooms, a large living room, a dining room, a kitchen and a porch.

View of the front of cabin looking toward the lake and Gaga Ball Pit.

Lots of people drew with chalk.  Kanoa drew a bit too!
 Wolfie was so kind hanging  out with Kanoa so I could attend the talks.  

These 2 videos are of the kids playing in the Gaga Ball Pit.

For those who want to make one in their own backyard now, here is a site with directions on how to do so:

Some photos of the kids in action:

Photos take on Saturday May 19th, 2012 during some of the talks.  They came out a bit dark (sorry!).

Joyce's presentation

Brie's and Michael's and Noor's presentation.  Loved what Brie and Michael and Noor shared - thank you  Michael for being so honest and sharing your experiences!

Joyce is as lovely in person as she seems from her writing! So glad to meet her!

Wolfie following Kanoa.

Run!  Fast!  Everyone's counting to start another game of Gaga Ball!

Joyce and Me holding Kanoa

Makana holding the REAL Smilie ball!  Haha!  Smilie stayed ALIVE! :D

Makana made these snowmen and the I love Mom behind it.

And I made an I love Makana back to her!

Me, Jules and Amy - Always so good to see them!

Meredith!  Another person whose words are so clear, right on and inspire me so!

Ken and Erika always know how to have alot of fun and put smiles on people's faces.  
Erika says so many great things and during one of the sessions said "I run towards joy!" - I love that!! 
What a picture that gives me in my mind!  Shouldn't we all run towards joy!

Edwin, Fernanda holding Zolay Dezta and Karen Dematos

Getting ready for the ropes courses.

Love those missing teeth!!!  And two more are missing on the bottom (ones next to the middle ones)!

Waiting to pull the first person so they can SWING!

Amelia was the first to go.  Ken assisting with the ladder.

Katie, the instructor, explaining what to do.

Now she's in the air....


And there she goes!

Ken standing by Lily as she gets ready for a turn on the swing.
Katie explains how to check the gear.

There goes Lily!

Marla watching as Lily enjoys the swing.


This ropes course was vertical...and high!  If you look carefully, you can see someone climbing (they were up higher, but I missed the opportunity to get that shot).

Another swinger

Look!  No hands!

Makana eagerly waiting to swing

Katie explaining what to do to Makana

Up, up....and swing!

The poster many folks signed!

Yeah!  So glad to have finally met Sandra in person!

It was an honor to listen to and talk with Sandra as she is such an inspiring and caring person as are Joyce, Meredith and Brie and others. So lucky were we all to be able to come together with such great weather and company! It was so uplifting to be around this group of people and to talk about unschooling. I feel blessed! Thank you!!

All three kids (Kanoa, Li and Makana) fell asleep for part of the ride home.  When that happens, it is so quiet and Jim and I talk, talk, talk.  

 The last talk on the schedule for Sunday morning was about changing the world:

Changing the world
What are we doing, beyond the "unschooling without a curriculum"? How does unschooling affect our larger lives? How do we affect others and pass on what we are learning?

A friend emailed me a speech by Nipun Mehta this morning and it reminded me of unschooling and that morning talk.  How does unschooling change the world?  Read the last part of Nipun Mehta's graduation speech to UPenn's 2012 graduates (see below).  My favorite part is the underlined section, especially the last sentence of the large paragraph although it is summed up in "Change yourself - change the world."  I like the part about the things that help us often being small and invisible and happening within ourselves, that's why I think that sentence is so true!  When we shift our thinking and our attitude, we can feel more appreciative and treat ourselves and others better.  How we treat our children does make a difference in how they think and treat others, including their children.  The principles behind unschooling which include acts of kindness and generosity and peace have ripple effects.  Laurie

"I want to close with a story about my great grandfather.  He was a man of little wealth who still managed to give every single day of his life.  Each morning, he had a ritual of going on a walk -- and as he walked, he diligently fed the ant hills along his path with small pinches of wheat flour.  Now that is an act of micro generosity so small that it might seem utterly negligible, in the grand scheme of the universe.  How does it matter?  It matters in that it changed him inside.  And my great grandfather's goodness shaped the worldview of my grandparents who in turn influenced that of their children -- my parents.   Today those ants and the ant hills are gone, but my great grandpa’s spirit is very much embedded in all my actions and their future ripples. It is precisely these small, often invisible, acts of inner transformation that mold the stuff of our being, and bend the arc of our shared destiny. 
On your walk, today and always, I wish you the eyes to see the anthills and the heart to feed them with joy. 
May you be blessed. Change yourself -- change the world."

If you want to read the whole speech, you can read it at