Friday, August 31, 2012

Pills are not for Preschoolers Book Review

When I first read the title of the book I'd be reading, Pills are not for Preschoolers - A Drug Free Approach for Troubled Kids, by Marilyn Wedge, I assumed that it would be focused on the preschool age group.  But the title is slightly misleading, because the book actually approaches all the age groups, from toddlers to kids just leaving the home. 

If you've been following my blog for a while, you know I like to be conservative with medications in general, particularly in children.  Having worked with juvenile delinquents for a number of years (and visited many a residential treatment facility), I was curious to read more about Wedge's treatment approach. 

Wedge is a family systems therapist, and as such views the symptoms a child has not as a psychiatric disorder, but rather as a sign that something is wrong in the family.  She feels that the family can be fixed through therapeutic intervention, after which the child will stop displaying so many symptoms.  Now this isn't to say that she blames the family or the parents - not at all!  Just that there are areas which may be causing concerns that need to be healed.  In addition, family therapists may meet with siblings and even extended family, teachers, and other involved people. 

A few shocking stats from the book that will give you pause:
  • More than 4.5 million kids are diagnosed with ADHD
  • More than 1 million are diagnosed as bipolar
  • Child psychiatrists prescribe psychotropic drugs in children as young as two years old
  • For every 100 children that are prescribed ADHD drugs for a year, 1-2 will have a drug related psychotic event
  • 2-4 million kids are on medication for mental diagnoses
  • Parents are often unaware of the dangerous side effects in medications
The thing I loved most about this book was reading all of the case studies.  Many of them reminded me of teens that I worked with myself.  It gave me pause to wonder if they might have responded in a different way had the family seen a family systems therapist, who would have aimed at changing the system that the child was a part of (i.e. the family) and subsequently producing a positive change in the child's feelings and behavior.  According to Wedge's book, often a behavior is a way of protecting a parent in some way, so when issues in the parent's life are addressed, the child's behavior will improve.

Of course, the key to this sort of therapy is that the parents must be actively involved or it just won't work.  In addition, if the underlying family issues are not addressed, another family member may later develop symptoms.  I often saw children who didn't respond well to intervention, whose parents seemed to sabotage my efforts.  And later, we'd see younger siblings come through the court system too.  It can be a vicious cycle. 

The other consideration is that the therapist needs to have a really strong relationship with the patient.  It can be tricky to find the right therapist, but Wedge does offer some guidelines at the end of her book.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this.  So much, that I devoured it in two days.  All of the case studies of the children Wedge has worked with really make this an interesting book.  I also think the tips inside would be helpful to many parents.  And if you have a child that has some behavior problems, it would be a must-read prior to considering medication.  Having the background that I do, I feel that there are some (limited) times when medication is warranted in children, but I also think that kids are significantly overmedicated, and that parents should empower themselves by doing research prior to filling a prescription for their child. 

If you'd like to know more, you can visit Marilyn Wedge's website.  She has a PhD from the University of Chicago and has more than twenty years of experience working with children, adolescents, and families.  She is a family therapist in private practice in Westlake Village, California. 

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book for review purposes.  The opinions stated above are my own. I participated in this review through TLC Book Tours.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Know What This Is? Rural Thursday

Do you know what this is?  It's one of my favorite kitchen gadgets.  And I generally don't like kitchen gadgets.  They just take up space in my rather small kitchen.  But I do like this one:

No clue?  It used to belong to my grandmother.  Okay, I'll give you a little picture hint - you open it up to see this...

Surely you know by now?  Okay, here's a REALLY BIG HINT.  You put citrus fruits inside and it does this:
It's an old juicer, and it truly does a wonderful job of juicing!  It's so much easier to use than this squeeze over the tops of bowl types.  Do you have any vintage kitchen gadgets that still do a great job after so many years?

It's Rural Thursday!  Time to link up your rural related posts with Nancy from A Rural Journal and myself.  We are excited each week to read your posts about nature walks and flowers and wildlife and home canning.  Whatever fits - we want to read it.  Just grab the code below the button and paste it into your post.  Then come back and link up in the linky.  Can't wait to read what you write! 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ice Cream in Chincoteague

So before we even came to Chincoteague, I kept reading about how ice cream was a really big deal there.  Ice cream isn't usually my first dessert choice, but Paul and the boys sure love it, so I was looking forward to testing out the different options.
 The first place we visited was the Island Creamery.  We'd already tried their blueberry ice cream at the Blueberry Festival.  Their cones are HUGE.  Cort had cotton candy, Reid had peach, and Pierce had cotton candy.
 To be truthful, these cones were just a bit too large for little guys.  They made quite a mess! Good thing we were outside.

As for me, I had a Reeses Cup sundae.  If you've been following Two Bears Farm for a while, you probably already know I have a thing for Reeses cups.  Particularly the minis.  Mmmmm.

It's a pretty inviting little place - cute umbrella tables outside and a fairly large deck.  Several times when we drove by, the line was way out the door.

I will say that as much as we enjoyed the ice cream from here (and it was very very good), it still can't touch the ice cream from our local Homestead Creamery. 

Our next ice cream sampling took place at Mister Whippy, which has a bit of a nostalgic feel to it. 

I got a cone this time, but we got smart with the twins and got their ice cream in cups instead of cones this time around.

This soft serve seemed very similar to what you might get at Dairy Queen.  I heard this statistic on the radio one morning when I was running that something like 80% of people prefer hard ice cream.  Me?  I prefer soft serve.

I think Pierce just prefers any type of ice cream he can get his hands on!

My favorite part of Mister Whippy's?  Seeing this cute tiny little old ice cream truck!  How adorable is this?

So there is a third ice cream place on Chincoteague that is an old fashioned ice cream parlor (I think it was called Muellers), but we went there our last night (on a Friday, at around 5:45 pm) and it was closed!  We were disappointed.  Not sure if it was just closed during this time or if it has shut down.  Instead, we went to Orange Julius.  I thought they'd all disappeared, but it turns out that there is still one on Chincoteague (and maybe in other places too?).  Total yum - I hadn't had one since I was a teenager!

We had a fun quest to try out all the ice cream on Chincoteague!  The boys were definitely loving it.  Readers, what is your favorite ice cream?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

First Day of Kindergarten

Pierce was so excited to start kindergarten this year.  We stocked up on school supplies and crammed as much fun as we could into the past few weeks.  And before we knew it, summer vacation was over.  The day before school started, we went to get a 'real' haircut (normally I just cut his hair myself).  And the lady at the salon gave him a fun little spike for the day.

The next morning, it was on to the school bus, bright and early!  Pierce picked out his clothes for the day.

I was ready with my camera when he got home that afternoon.  I couldn't wait to hear how his first day went.

And you know what?  The boy was all smiles!  His only complaint?  That I didn't send enough snacks.  Bad mom!

How about you, readers?  Do you remember much from kindergarten? 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mexican Pizza Man on Muffin Tin Monday

You know what is always a hit in my house?  Mexican Pizza Men.  Since I make the tortillas myself, they take 45 to put together, but aside from that this is a quick meal. 
Refried beans and cheddar cheese on a homemade tortilla with garden tomato, green olive, and avocado features, and a mushroom muffin tin cup body of corn.

Find more Muffin Tin Monday ideas here

Friday, August 24, 2012

Going for a Ride with Pierce

Last week I dreamed of riding.  In the dream, I felt so carefree and happy.  The next day, I awoke determined to ride by the end of the day.  Paul was happy to watch the boys for me in the evening while I rode Phoenix.  Afterwards, I tacked up Pierce's pony and decided to see how she handled being ponied behind Phoenix.  Previously, I've always just led her on the ground.  She seemed to do just fine, so I yelled up to the house for Pierce to go get his helmet and come join me.

Pierce is finally at the point that he balances well enough that he can ride along behind me without me worrying so much about him randomly toppling off. 

In fact, he really seemed to enjoy himself.  Of course, his current fascination is Little House on the Prairie, Season One, so we have been talking about horses a lot recently.  Not to mention our trip to Chincoteague!

After several trips around the arena to see how he did, we then headed down the driveway, along the old road, and then cut over into the large pasture.

After that, Cort and Reid, who had been watching from the porch, begging for a ride.  They're so tiny, they don't stay on very well, so I kind of have to lead the pony AND hold on to them!

Luckily, Harriet is a pretty lazy pony, so she doesn't object to much of anything.  As you might notice from her immense belly, her biggest concern just seems to be where her next meal is coming from.

After the boys all had a little walk around, I decided to put a bridle on Harriet to see what she'd do.  When I tried her out (when I was 4 months pregnant with the twins) the lady I bought her from said that she didn't do well in a bridle.  It did make her a little grumpy, although she wasn't really bad in it.  I think I may start looking around for a used hackamore for her.  Pierce will soon be at the point he doesn't need to be on a leadline anymore.
My feet just almost touch the ground....and now, reader, I guess you've had your laugh for the day!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Oh, Henrietta! Rural Thursday

The first year I blogged, I used to do regular chicken updates.  It's been ages since I've done one, so I think I'm overdue.

After the big raccoon slaughter last summer, we have had 5 layers and one rooster.  But we just got in an order of chicks.  They are meat birds, and we'll be keeping half of them and a friend has claim on the other half.

This is our mystery chick.  We are hoping for someone that will be a good layer.  We could use another layer.

This is Black Betty.  She is one that we raised under a broody hen last summer, from our own eggs.  She's a mean little thing.  Just look at her staring down the camera.  Waiting for a chance to get in a good peck I suspect.

And this is one of our sweetest hens.  She's one of the original batch of chicks we got 2 1/2 years ago. Her name is Henrietta.  Oh dear.  Henrietta appears to have found a pot that is too small.  I think she needs me to go buy the next size up...
I will not make muffin top comments.  I will not make muffin top comments.  I will not make muffin top comments.

It's Rural Thursday!  Time to link up your stories and pictures from the rural life with Nancy from A Rural Journal and myself.  Just grab the code below the button, and paste it into your blog post.  Then come back and add your link to the linky.  Please be sure to visit the blogs of 5 other participants, and leave them some comment love.  I can't wait to see what you write!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mommy Works A Little Magic

Recently the library was hosting a free magic show for kids, so the boys and I piled in the car and headed over.  We sat in the back (always handy with 3 young boys in case of the need for a quick exit) and settled in for the show.  It was packed - the room was full of kids and adults.  There must've been at least 100 people there.  The magician really worked the crowd, pumping the kids up and getting them all excited.

He had already pulled several kids from the audience as volunteers when he decided he needed an adult.  Now why exactly he decided to call on the unassuming, introverted adult with her hands most definitely in her lap, not raised, is beyond me.  I thought myself well-hidden in the back of the room.  Somehow, my plan failed and he called me up anyhow.  I'm a good sport, though, so I went up to the front of the room. 

Speaking in front of large groups of people is not my favorite thing on earth, but I can and will do so if called upon.  I was thankful not to have issues with public speaking or anything like that.  While the magician was building up suspense, and talking to the audience, I saw Pierce waving his hand madly, trying to speak, "UM....".  I kept catching his eye, giving him the finger to the lips hush sign, and shaking my head no.  Several times we went through this and finally the librarian, who we know well from story hour, went over and sat with him.  I know Pierce, and I realized what he needed to say so badly.  He wanted everyone to know it was his mom up there with the magician.  He could barely stand not being able to announce it.  But finally he calmed down to watch.

The magician had me put on a commercial for a bottle of Dad's root beer.  Now I am not a performer.  In fact, the year I took drama I was in one of the worst plays ever.  I stink at acting.  But I good-naturedly told the audience why they should drink Dad's root beer, in a matter of seconds. 
Then the magician wrapped the bottle in a piece of newspaper. He asked if I had a belly ache, to which I responded no.  He took the bottle, wrapped in newspaper, and pushed it through my stomach.  I watched it go in, but felt nothing.  Then he grabbed it from my back and pulled it out.  Fascinating!  I have no idea how he pulled this off, but I was impressed.

And so were my boys.  The whole way home, they jabbered on and on about how the magician put the bottle through mommy's tummy.  And I realized, suddenly, that they were proud of me.  Proud that it was their mom that got chosen to go up with the magician (after all, Pierce had wanted everyone to know) and excited that he'd used my stomach to put the root beer through.  I know that the future will hold days that the boys won't want to be around me, or that I will embarrass them.  So for that moment, for that day, I relished the idea that they were happy to call me their mom, and to let the world know about it.  Indeed, it was a day when I felt the joy of parenting magic.

This post linked with Pour Your Heart Out at Things I Can't Say.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

NASA Wallop's Visitor's Center

Since Pierce has been so into all things space, we wanted to stop by the NASA Wallop's Visitor's Center while we were at the beach. Luckily, it was only about 10 minutes away, and it was free!

The twins love to work puzzles right now, so they were really drawn in by these huge foam space puzzles.

Pierce liked this bottle rocket launcher.  You press it down and it fills with air, then you let go and it soars up on the line.  It was kind of noisy, so he was initially scared, but then he came around.

Space suited Pierce.

They had one of those globe things that shows a movie you can sit and watch. 

It was nice and cool in the room, and I loved watching the movie evolve across the giant glowing globe.

Outside is a huge rocket.  It was used years ago to launch Sam the Monkey and Miss Sam the Monkey into space.  The flight took a mere 3 minutes.

On the top of the visitor's center is an observation deck.

You can see many of the satellites across the field.

The boys had fun pretending to talk on the phone.

And of course, we had to finish off our visit with some Astronaut ice cream.  This was the first time the boys had tried it, and they loved it!  I hadn't had it since I was a kid myself, and I have to say - it does taste just like ice cream!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Fuzzy Headed Mom on Muffin Tin Monday

Last week I completely forgot to actually link up my Muffin Tin Monday post with Muffin Tin Monday.  Kind of funny.  I've been running around doing last minute things before Pierce starts school later this week, so I've been kind of forgetful.  I'm looking forward to getting back into a rhythm of school days though. 

This was Reid's dinner the other night:
He had homemade bread with butter, cheese tortellini in a marinara sauce, salad (cucs and tomatoes from our garden) with ranch, and a fundamiddles cupcake (my mom brought over a couple of boxes of the mix that she'd found on clearance, so we had fun making them).  He liked this dinner pretty well. 

Now, if only I can remember to actually add this to the link up this week!  Anyone else feel like they're missing a few brain cells lately?  Please tell me I'm not the only one....

Friday, August 17, 2012

Amazement Square for the Twins' Birthday

It's becoming an annual tradition that around the twins' birthday we take a little road trip to Amazement Square in Lynchburg.  It's a four story children's museum, and they boys enjoy it so much.  For the second year in a row, my sister-in-law and the boys' cousins met us there.

They always seem to enjoy the first farm room of Amazement Square the most.  Picking veggies and trains.  What more could you ask for?

Well, now that you mention it, a cow that could be milked might be kind of a nice addition...

And some rocking horses to "gallop" all around the room would be kind of fun as well. 

Later, on the other floors, we found things like chariots to race (note Reid's gladiator armour):

And some boating.  I think they were traveling down the Amazon, but I'm not certain.  I was too nervous about anacondas to get in.

My favorite part is always the big waterway.  A flowing river complete with little boats to float down.

It even has dams you can control with levers to make the water go fast or slow.  I think the boys could play with this all day long and never grow bored. 

Then there was the bug room.  Cousin Grady debated crawling into the bug tunnel, but he couldn't ever quite work up the nerve.  He went back to it over and over, but never made it through.

Pierce climbed up into the ant hills.  There are so many tunnels that with 3 boys I kept thinking I'd lost one.  Fortunately, I never did!

Pierce also discovered that bugs can reside under big rocks, if you only take the trouble to push them out of the way.

Before leaving, Pierce wrote his name on the wall.  We're wondering how long it'll stay up there.

Our adventures were followed by lunch at The Depot, and free brownie sundaes for Cort and Reid.  It was so much food that they shared with us all.  Yum! 

The boys are already excited for next year.  What's your favorite museum to go visit?