Amber has started to gain some weight, even though she still hasn't grown since October. It's becoming a tad worrisome that she might be at her full height (4' 11.75"). I was basically done growing at her age; we have my doctor's records that prove the fact. We still haven't been given the green light to resume dance, and at this point I'm not sure where it will fit in the schedule this semester.
We have been working on deliberate exercise though. On Saturday, Amber finally used her birthday gift scooter. She accomplished one lap around our subdivision, which isn't that big, with me running / walking along. Then we turned around on Monday and went to the gym for walking. Amber managed a sedate mile on their elevated track, but she was wiped out pretty much until Wednesday. She did feel pretty cool though because this was the first time I didn't have to walk with her since she completed the weight room orientation class. That also meant I could use an elliptical machine, the one thing we don't have at home.
I made a bunch of new and old recipes this week, some of which we won't be using all that often, but they all turned out pretty good. I made edible baked macaroni and cheese (gluten free) for the first time, ever - just to realize that we might have a dairy issue with Amber. I also made gluten free yeasted doughnuts that had to rise overnight in the refrigerator, be rolled out, cut, rise again and finally be fried. They were good, but that's not happening often. I also tried making my own gluten free English muffins, which turned out to be the best of all my endeavors. They didn't have quite as many nooks and crannies as the store bought brand, but they tasted just right and only had one 30 minute rise. I can make those regularly.
|(LEFT) Homemade English Muffins. They look a little crude, but tasted wonderful.|
(RIGHT) An old favorite of Amber's - yeasted doughnuts. Cut out and then fried with a simple glaze. Not quite Krispy Kreme, but close.
We met with the dietician last week to discuss the array of food reactions we have seen and to get feedback. I just love our dietician. She is not pushy, but helps me sort the data we have gathered and gives me structure and goals for the future. Some of the data had looked to me like Amber was reacting to almond flour (fructans), which it seems she was. Almond milk is still questionable because even though the fructans are water soluble, which means a goodly amount are lost in making the milk, we don't know if enough are lost. We had switched to Lactaid, lactose treated cow's milk, because it is also believed that Amber reacts to lactose. That brought about a whole new set of symptoms that the dietician believes to be a casein intolerance. We have removed dairy and added it back in a couple of times with the same result. We go next week to see the GI doctor, but it appears more testing is coming up to determine the exact nature of Amber's milk issues. For now we are back to almond milk and no dairy except for limited amounts of cheese (okay, so today was the only day with cheese) and butter at restaurants only. Baking is fun around here with the substitutions.
Amber finished her art classes at the Painted Pot this week. I'm a little sad that she won't be going back for the last session of the school year, but we just don't have time that day because of "church stuff". We've also been working on Amber's crocheting skills. She decided that loom knitting was limiting her too much and sat through a crochet lesson with me. She has so far learned the simple chain stitch and single crochet stitch. She's still pretty awkward with crocheting, but then she was the same when she first started knitting.
The new activity... it's actually an activity for both Amber and me. This new activity is an old activity come back around at the new church. Did that make sense? The new church's adult handbell choir had a couple of openings, for reasons unknown to me. We were asked about joining and ultimately it was decided that both Amber and I would join. Amber is the minimum age they take, but she has the experience with bells and chimes from our previous church. I have the desire and know how to read music. My piano experience is apparently a hindrance in this situation.
Our first practice with the group was this week. Amber did great! I ... am a work in progress. At least I kinda know how to ring a bell now. If I could only manage to not get lost in the music. I'm hoping a good deal of the problem was my inability to get noise from my bells at the moment I desired. We have a performance in mid-March. Amber is working with me at home on my bell technique. Talk about a reversal in roles.
Amber has always adored bell playing and it was the one sadness about leaving our previous congregation. Now she is back in bells and giddy about performing. This is an activity that Amber and I can do together (we stand right next to each other), instead of me leaving her for one of her activities. It also helps us get involved with our new congregation. If that wasn't enough I learned after our first practice that Bell choir counts as church service hours for Amber. If she continues with the bell choir through middle school it will be all the church service she is required to complete for confirmation. There will be other events she participates in, but we will have the required hours covered easily.
|(LEFT) Scootering! She never did take to bike riding, so back to scootering she goes.|
(RIGHT TOP) Her first crochet chain
(RIGHT BOTTOM) Working with exponents. Our dry erase wall has seen a lot of use in all subjects this week
Sometimes our schedule and Amber's dietary needs become so overwhelming, but this week I've been purposely trying to concentrate on the positive in our life. I really am astonished at all the wonderful changes that have occurred in the 2+ years since we started homeschooling. We found the best dance studio imaginable, even if Amber isn't dancing right now. We've found the perfect flute teacher, by accident, and a great band that Amber loves to attend. The homeschool group has been one of the biggest blessings and it was a random Facebook add for me in the beginning. The homeschool group lead us to find our new congregation where Amber is thriving and makes new friends weekly. It's also a very homeschool friendly church as demonstrated by three of the kids in Amber's smallish 6th grade confirmation class being homeschooled. I've even found a great group of moms to socialize with and a Bible study that I'm enjoying more than any other in years.
We have truly learned these past couple of months that every perceived negative can be a positive in some way; it all depends how we let it affect us. We are actively trying to find positives in every situation. So, even though dairy may not be Amber's friend anymore, without the compounded affect of dairy and other minor reactions, daily chia seeds might be all Amber needs instead of daily Miralax. Which is definitely a positive!