Kids’ Tree

Here is the tree in our dining room, with only handmade ornaments.

We will add to it again this year, as we help the kids make ornaments like we did last year. Then the kids who stay have some to add, and the kids who go will have some to take with them.


Thanksgiving Family Adventures

This is my mother’s family!

Her cousin Mike is next to me, and my brother on the other side.

On the left is my mother’s Aunt Peggy, and then seated is my cousin Debbie and my Aunt Jennifer (mom’s sister) and my cousin David:


Me and my baby brother, Kirk:


Nathan and Kirk:


Me and Aunt Peggy:


#GlutenFree #Cancer Breakfast

While on this treatment, we have to maintain a careful balance of protein in me, so this carb-full holiday will be interesting.

We are keeping the delicious, though!

We began with breakfast of scrambled eggs (and egg substitute) with these yummy lemon scones and blueberry muffins, gluten free and with added protein powder.


#GlutenFree #Thanksgiving Dinner

We had the usual turkey, but also ham because that’s my family’s tradition:



That needed gravy and gluten free gravy:


Meat needs potatoes! I made sweet potatoes with pecans and brown sugar, and “volcano potatoes” – a family tradition of my mother’s, which involved mixing shredded cheese and cool whip and spreading it over the mashed potatoes and baking it until it bubbles over:



I made wild rice with cranberries and apples and bacon and onions and vegetable stock:


And the classic deviled egg, to which I add avocado and fresh dill:


I made the cranberry sauce with orange juice:


And the old school green bean casserole, but with potato chips crunched on top instead of the gluten filled onion strings – Nathan found garlic and sea salt flavored chips to use:


And I made gluten free stuffing, with onion and bacon and cranberries and apple and sausage:


It was a lovely table! Nathan’s mom brought jello salad with strawberries, and a lemon meringue pie.

What a feast!


How to Fail a Drug Test

Yep, it’s true.

I failed a drug test today.


It was all so humiliating.

So you know how I got the job for the psych team at one of the hospitals, just for on call on the weekends, thinking it would be a helpful part-time job to cover my cancer costs?

Well, I kept not getting called to work, and we wondered if it was because they didn’t need me or because something was still waiting on my new hire paperwork.

Today we got a strange call from Oklahoma City of all places, and they were calling with some “concerning test results”.  This made us both panic, because we thought cancer!  Failing a drug test wasn’t even on my radar, and not anything we were worried about!

But that’s what it was: I failed the new employee drug test at the hospital.

What a mess!

I have never failed a drug test before in my life.

It was very confusing, and I was shocked!

I assured them that my life is pretty boring, and that there is no alcohol or drugs at all of any kind happening in my body. But they don’t know me, of course, and are just doing their jobs, and so there I am in hot water trying to figure out what was happening.  We could not identify what would have tested positive, and even the normal little things like pain medications or something, because I am so anti-pain medication, even the approved pain medication I have because of treatments and surgery were never even picked up or taken.  We couldn’t figure out what happened!

They went over my list of medications with me again, carefully, seeing what would have turned up positive – and then we realized, finally, it was my pneumonia.

The cough syrup I was prescribed when I got pnuemonia had codeine in it, and I only took it for two nights, which just happened to be the two nights before my drug test, so that showed up positive.

But since it was a prescription, it should have turned that false-positive into an official negative, and not been a big deal.

Oh, silly Emily, you are thinking.

No, it gets worse.

I never picked up my prescription because I didn’t have a chance between all the kids things, court for Five, doing my real job, plus the extra meeting I had, blah blah blah.  So I never took the time to go pick it up.

Which left me with a positive test but no bottle of medicine to show for it.

So what had I done?

I had taken some leftover medicine from when Nathan was sick with bronchitis or something earlier this fall.

The doctor said I could! Really!

I should have known better!

And “it was only 1 teaspoon, two nights in a row, and that’s all” sounded like a weak defense when I didn’t even have a prescription bottle to show for it.

So they sent me to get a note from my doctor saying that he prescribed the medicine to my husband, and told me it was okay for me to take it while waiting to pick up mine and get my follow-up appointment.

… which I did.

He just laughed at me, and said, “I can’t even get you to take Tylenol!  How did you manage to fail a drug test?”

It was really so very embarrassing.

And I have never failed a drug test before, so had no idea what would happen next?

Or if I could lose my license to practice automatically?

Worse, my temple recommend?

It was terrifying.

My doctor wrote the note, and allegedly faxed it both to the lab that did my test and to employee health at the hospital, though they turned the phones off for the day before I was available to call back to be sure it got done.

It was so scary, and so embarrassing, and so humiliating.

Nathan keeps making druggie jokes, but it really isn’t funny yet.  Maybe next year, but not yet.


Bath Time

This is how we do bath night at our house, starting with youngest and working our way up. The other kids get to stay at the table and color, and then after their bath they get to sit on the couch with flash cards to practice. That’s what works for us, and keeps them busy and happy. It takes us almost two hours to get all seven kids bathed, plus another hour to do Six’s hair.