Chapter Books

I mentioned to Nora a while ago that I would be willing to read her a chapter book if she thought she might enjoy that. I picked up the first Harry Potter book for Noah, but he wasn’t interested, so I thought Nora and I could read it. However, then I had a baby and Noah moved back home and we were adjusting to trying to get four kids to bed around the same time every night. It got put on the back burner to say the least.

We have begun to get Henry on a schedule and he’s been in bed around 7p lately, so I find that I have a few minutes to think at night. I can actually feel my brain lighten at this realization! Nora asked again last night if I would read to her and I agreed. We sat down in the big recliner together and began the story.

I love the Harry Potter books. I also enjoy the movies as does Nora, but reading a chapter book together is different. There are no pictures and it isn’t exactly quiet while we read. Lorelei came over and asked to sit with us at least three times and tried to convince us to read another book during the 20 minutes it took to read the first chapter. Nora stuck with it, though, she didn’t complain and she paid attention. It takes great imagination to read or hear a chapter book. She’s used to a story concluding in about that time and colorful pictures, but I hope she’d like to continue. I may have to read Harry Potter again even if she doesn’t because after one chapter, I’m hooked. If she’s not interested in Harry, I may pick up a Junie B.Jones book or something similar because I really enjoyed devoting that time to her.

Nora at the dentist

Nora reading at the dentist.

Nora was almost reading before she started kindergarten. We’ve read to her or she’s “read” to herself every night for maybe four years now. They all get time to read before lights out and I’m so glad they do. Lorelei and I visit the library once a week and the bigs get to go at least twice a month. Noah walks out of the library with a stack of books about Fossils or whatever strikes his fancy that week and once in a while a SpaceHeadz or Wimpy Kid book. I love it! I do not mind one bit him spouting random trivia at me. I had questions about Umbra and Penumbra within the phases of the moon in my Physics homework last week and Noah could’ve helped me!

I’ve seen the difference over the years in people who actively read or don’t. People who seemed smart in ten years ago who have since stopped reading, it seems have also stopped growing. They speak the same way, are interested in the same old things, and are ignorant basically. I’m just talking about fiction; reading words, expanding your vocabulary, being introduced to different situations fantastically I believe all keep our brains awake and functioning. Throw a nonfiction book in there once in a while and look out!

We have begun to read to Henry now too. I hope the kids always enjoy reading!

Nora’s Skintest

We had Nora’s Bee Allergy Skintest on Monday. I think we were both nervous about it. I had it all planned out to head to Asheville at the crack of dawn (630a), get in, get it done and be back to pick Lorelei up from Preschool at 12pm. Aaaaaand, Lorelei had a fever and Daddy had to stay home with her and miss work anyway.

Monday Morning

It was a beautiful drive there, though very early for us. I got there right on time, no rushing, which was nice. We were called in quickly and explained about the procedure. It turns out they do not use the plastic thingy, like I thought, they do a two step process like a tb test is done. Basically she got 12 mini shots under the skin. Oh what fun! Thankfully, the nurse was wonderful with Nora and with me letting me know that the kicking and screaming was a typical reaction for a six year old.

Bee Allergy Skintest

We did seven shots to begin with; Honey Bee, Yellow Jacket, White Face Hornet, Yellow Hornet and Wasp. The bottom two are a positive and negative for control. Nora let me take a picture of her arm and it was a great distraction. We waited about ten minutes and then the nurse came in to check. The first go around was something like 1/10000 of the venom of these insects. These were negative for Nora. They did a higher diluted dose and only did the five insects again. It turns out she got a positive on the Wasp and Yellow Jacket shots. We thought she had been stung by a hornet the first time, but I guess not.

The doctor who did the tests (or looked at the results) was not our doctor and he only confused me more by pushing the immunotherapy and not really answering any of my questions. I stewed a little bit on the information we gained and then talked to her original doctor who is much more helpful without being an immunotherapy salesman. What immunotherapy entails is two months of twice weekly shots (the buildup for her immune system) and then up to five years of 4-6 weeks maintenance shots. After the buildup period her chance of a life threatening reaction to a bee sting goes from 70% to 2%.

My questions were:
Are these the only insects she is allergic too or does Yellow Jacket, for example, have the same type of venom as another bee? A) She is allergic to only these two. Hornets are similar to Yellow Jackets, but she tested negative for both of those.

Will puberty change anything? She’s so young and her body will go through a lot of changes will that affect the immunotherapy? A) Puberty will not affect her status and kids actually react better to the shots than adults.

What if something happens in a couple of years and we lose our insurance or move and are unable to continue the shots? Will it all be for nothing? (5 years is a heck of a commitment!!) A) Anything past the buildup time period will have helped her. The maintenance shots help her maintain the 2% status, so the longer we maintain, the more likely she will stay at 2%.

So, now we decide whether to go ahead with immunotherapy or not. It’s hard because It isn’t a total cure. She could still be apart of the 2% after all of this or she could not be stung again. I’ve only ever been stung by a wasp once in my entire life. I guess it’s better to be safe rather than sorry, but what are the chances that she’ll not be near her epi-pen or a hospital if she does get stung or what are the chances that it will be a full on sting (sometimes it’s a dry sting or just a tiny bit of venom) and that she’ll have a reaction? Even after the therapy she is still considered allergic and will have to carry an epi-pen around with her for the rest of her life. Maybe if I wasn’t so turned off by Dr. Immuno-salesman this decision would be easier.

I’m still doing a little bit more research, but most likely we will go ahead with it.

Cleaning out her toy box


Going through Nora’s toy box has to be one of my least favorite things to do. It’s right up there with going to the dentist. My neurotic sense of organization goes on overdrive and I start twitching.

We had four piles going. One for trash, one for papers and stuff to burn, another for toys to keep and one for Goodwill. As I watched her go through her toy box it was amazing to see what she wanted to keep and what she wanted to give to Goodwill. I’m sorry to say that the stuff she liked was random things like a dollar bin rose or light up plastic shoe key chain and the stuff she wanted to get rid of was the expensive toys she’s received for Christmas and Birthdays. I immediately decided that this year if we had a big birthday party for her I would ask that people bring her books. She loves books. Better yet, perhaps we keep it to immediate family like we did with Lorelei this year.

I can’t help but think we must be doing something wrong if she cares so little for her things. We have a rule that she has to pick up her room everyday after school. I want her to learn to take care of her things (and I’m hoping it dawns on her that putting something away when she’s done with it is a good idea) and make it a habit to pick up after herself. This has been good for her which I’m reminded of when she skips a day for whatever reason and has a complete meltdown because of the state of her room (after two days?!).

We didn’t finish on Saturday, so we picked it up again Sunday afternoon. She did very well until the bottom layer of her toy box. The broken crayons, puzzle pieces, pieces of other toy pieces, potato head parts, and vegetables were overwhelming, so in stepped mama. The entire bottom layer (except for veggies and potato heads) went in the trash bag and then I was able to vacuum out the bottom. Oh, the wonderfulness of a clean toy box! At that point we had one large pile instead of two distinct toy piles, so we began the tedious task of going through the toys. It was most obvious that she is growing up and no longer plays with the little toy stuff. It seems as if Barbie shoes were the extent of tininess that should be allowed back in the toy box. There were a few items I hadn’t seen her play with since the last purge, so they went in the goodwill bag first. Then went in all of the McDonald’s type toys and silly dolls that she has accumulated and ignored.


I have to say that we were partners in this adventure and she was a part of each process, I pretty much just gave structure and organizational creativity to this project. :o) She is much happier with less toys and cleaning up her room will be much easier as well.

This past weekend was spent cleaning and organizing and was started by Jason and Nora, no nagging from me, whatsoever. Perhaps they are getting a little bit of the nesting bug too. Haha!

Nora’s Bee Allergy

I can’t find where or if I ever wrote about Nora’s incident with a hornet last September. At least I think it was September.

Nora, Lorelei and I went for a walk before Jason got home from work one afternoon. Nora ran ahead for some reason on our way back to the house and cut through our front yard. She screamed (not an unusual occurrence), so I assumed she tripped or something, but she was actually stung by a bee. I didn’t think anything of it. I put the green stuff on it that we always use for stings and let her freak like she does (drama is this girl’s middle name), but it didn’t get any better. It actually got worse! Her whole entire body turned bright red except for her face which became swollen and white especially around her lips, so we hopped in the car and went straight to the ER. This was all within a few minutes. Her reaction was quick and severe. At the hospital they got some info and then quickly set her up with benadryl and gave her a shot of epinephrine. They gave her a prescription for an epi-pen and diagnosed her with an allergy to bees.

We followed up with her doctor who explained a little more to us and gave us a prescription for more epi-pens for the house, the vehicles, her school and then made an appointment with the allergist. I didn’t understand how she could just all of a sudden be allergic to bees. SHe had been stung by a small bee a couple of weeks prior and not had any reaction. It was determined that she was probably stung by a hornet, which is more aggressive than a regular bee and basically that’s what happens. I was also told by the allergist (and her pediatrician) that each reaction would be quicker and more severe. That scared me because it was really bad the first time. The next step would be to get a skin test to determine which type of venomous insects she is allergic to and how severe, which would take at least two hours and would be unpleasant. I would need to be able to focus completely on Nora, which means finding a sitter for Lorelei.


I guess Fall turned to Winter, the bees hunkered down, I got sick during the first trimester of this pregnancy and it turned out to be extremely difficult to find someone to watch Lorelei during the day for a few hours, so here it is April and the bees are back…with a vengeance. Now that Lorelei is in preschool I can make an appointment for Nora. It turned out to be extremely difficult because the one allergy place here is only open on Mondays and Thursdays. Monday morning was the only option, but the allergist we saw doesn’t come to Franklin on Mondays and they didn’t have any appointments until mid May with any other doctors. I offered to drive to Asheville, so the receptionist got us an appointment on April 29th with a different doctor because the one we saw the first time doesn’t go to Asheville, but supposedly they are all wonderful doctors according to the receptionist. Sigh. I wasn’t particularly attached to the first doctor, so whatever. The appointment is at 815a which means leaving the house by 645a, but being able to return by 12p to pick up Lorelei from preschool (fingers crossed).


I looked up skin test images on the internet and let’s just say it didn’t get me excited about the appointment. I’m not sure how much to tell her about what’s going to happen at the office besides telling her she won’t be getting a shot. She doesn’t like shots. I read some places that kids aren’t really bothered by the testing. You pretty much hang out after being poked, so I really hope that’s the case. I guess we’ll find out in a couple of weeks.

Source pic 1, pic 2, more info on bee allergies