Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What exactly is the definition of "Experimental"?

BLOG? I have a blog? Oh yeah.

Sorry, seems like we've been dealing with too much stuff to post about. Some good - birthdays; some not so good - family situations, job situations, family's job situations...

One thing I did want to write about was yet another thing we've been dealing with - our health insurance company.

A couple of months ago, we had to replace Kelly's mouthpiece. It is an oral device that helps with his sleep apnea. The last one we bought was nearly four years ago and was starting to crack. The only place, at least in San Antonio, to get one is through a dentist who does nothing but make oral appliances for sleep apnea. Because this dentist in not in our medical network, we paid for the device out-of-pocket (which was quite a chuck o' money, lemme tell ya!), and filed the claim.

Four years ago when we bought the last one, we had the same insurance company. At first they denied that claim because it "wasn't a medical, but a dental issue." We submitted paperwork, like a letter of medical necessity from Kelly's medical doctor saying that is was a treatment for a medical condition and the results from his sleep lab. So they approved it and paid for it.

I was hoping that since we've already been through this once, it wouldn't be as hard this time. We thought we'd be smart. This time when we submitted the claim, we went ahead and submitted 13 pages worth of paperwork, including: 2 letters of medical necessity from two doctors, a prescription for the mouthpiece from a doctor, his sleep lab results, etc.

Two weeks later, we received a letter denying the claim, but stating that they had insufficient records to make a determination. But that if we would submit documents they would reconsider.


Needless to say Kelly called and found out that they "never received the documents." Since they were in the same envelope as the claim we found that too hard to believe. So we re-sent the documents and was told to wait 4-6 weeks. When 6 weeks had gone by without a word, we called and found out a determination had been made 2 weeks before, but a letter was never sent to us. Our claim was denied because it was considered by the doctor on staff who reviewed the claim to be "an experimental treatment, and so not covered."

AHHHHH! We spent the next two days gathering additional paperwork. This time we sent copies of the paperwork showing they had paid for the same type of device four years earlier, and it wasn't considered experimental then! I also found a report put out by the American Academy of Sleep Doctors, spelling out the parameters for using oral appliances. In it, they clearly specify that oral devices can be used for cases such as Kelly's and are no longer experimental. We sent off the packet and waited, wondering.

Yesterday we received a letter saying that the claim had been approved and that payment would follow within 30 days. Hallelujah! I just love insurance companies, don't you?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Let Me Outta Here!

A couple of days ago, the older kids were playing outside. Kelly raised the blind so that Ashlynn could watch. After observing for a while, Ashlynn turned to me and said, (really, she did!)

Let me out! I wanna go outside and play!
I'm as big as they are!
This is discrimination, I tell you! Hey girls, how 'bout a rescue operation?
Her life is so rough. Anyone feel sorry for her?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Decorating Tips

Before I leave the topic of my bathroom behind, I wanted to pass on a couple of tips that I learned while doing it. And they all involve saving money.

First, I wanted to put brushed nickel door pulls on the doors on the bathroom. The house came with no door or drawer pulls at all. The only problem was that the hinges were this (rather ugly) antique brass color.
However the hinges worked perfectly well. And if I bought new ones, not only would I spend more money, but the holes probably wouldn't line up and we'd have to drill new ones while filling in the old ones.

My solution? Spray paint! I'd seen this on tv, but wasn't sure it would work. I considered this my test run before I did the same thing to the kitchen hinges. And it worked! I don't know if you can see from the picture, but the hinges got a nice even color of a matching brushed nickel, and now look great alongside my new door pulls. Total cost for four "new" hinges: under $6.

I also needed to fill up a wall. But I had something very specific in mind. I wanted framed pictures that were pretty neutral expect for the pop of color I wanted as an accent color. I was using burgundy as an accent and I really wanted it in the artwork. So I hunted appropriate pictures I could put in inexpensive frames. But I could not find what I had in my head.
My solution? I grabbed my camera and went to my neighbors' houses and took pictures of their flowers in their front flowerbeds. Again, I'd seen this done on tv but was unsure it would work for me. Although I was prepared to go to a nursery to find some if I needed, both houses on either side of us have beautiful flowers in the perfect shade. My camera has a setting that blurs the background while keeping the fore object in focus. I then printed them out on our home computer using photo paper I already had. I shopped around to find the four matching frames for a good deal. Total cost for art work: under $30.
Actually I also saved a lot of money shopping around for other things as well. I found the mirror for about $30 and used coupons on the cubbies. I used paint leftover from when we painted the living room. It was actually more fun trying to figure out how I could do what I wanted less expensively than just going to one home store and buying everything.

Now I'm going to take a few weeks off from ANY decorating project. I have a few others in mind but promise not to touch a paintbrush until school is over!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Before and After: the Powder Room

OK, so I'm finally getting around to posting some before and after pics of my latest project - re-decorating the half bath/ powder room in our downstairs entry hall.

Before it was just a plain vanilla bathroom. Toilet, sink, mirror, light. Really ugly, builder grade light. I forgot to take the before pictures before my husband removed the builder grade mirror for me, so those black spots on the wall are the adhesive that was holding up our old builder grade mirror. Before:

Monday, April 20, 2009


Over the weekend, I received a letter from a company I had bought a doll dress ensemble from. The dress was a doll belonging to Aubrey who is 10 years old. This letter informed the reader that the Consumer Product Safety Commission recently enacted new safety guidelines, requiring stricter testing for products sold for children. Yeah, I think I heard of that one. Oh yeah, in fact I wrote both my senators about that one. It might go down as the dumbest piece of legislation this century.


Anyway, The letter was sent to inform me that the soles of the shoes from the dress ensemble failed to meet the new lead requirements. It went on to say:

Therefore, we request that you please take these shoes away from children and dispose of them. The primary safety concern is that IF THESE SHOES WERE SWALLOWED, THE LEAD IN THE SOLE OF THE SHOES COULD BE ABSORBED BY THE BODY and cause adverse health effects. (emphasis most definitely mine)
The company generously offered a $20 credit to compensate for the inconvenience. Grrrr. So not only is Big Brother making these companies do this impossibly strict testing, they now have to compensate us for it?

I'm sorry, but I am not the least bit concern that my TEN YEAR OLD will accidentally swallow these doll shoes. And frankly, if I were, I'd have bigger problems to deal with than lead poisoning.

Oh, and BTW, I do NOT intend to throw away any shoes, and I do not intend to take the company up on the $20 credit, tightwad though I am. This is my way of tossing the tea overboard.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday, Ashlynn!

A year ago today, Ashlynn Faith looked like this:
Ashlynn has probably brought more pure joy into the life of our family than any other baby. Not that she's loved more, but I think most of the girls were old enough to really enjoy a baby like none other I've had. Ashlynn belongs as much to her sisters as she does to Kelly and me.

We gave Ashlynn the middle name Faith because having her was an act of faith and I knew making it through the first few months after she was born would be as well. But I can say that God was faithful, allowing me to get through the nursing difficulties and keeping the PPD I usually struggle with at a minimum.

Happy birthday, Ashlynn! We love you!

Friday, April 17, 2009

What I've Always Wanted

My girls are all into the "Life of Faith" dolls based on the Martha Finley books (or rather the modern renditions of her books from Mission City Press). You might (or might not) remember that Kora and Aubrey each bought one a couple of years ago with money partly from saving up and partly from birthday/Christmas gifts.

Ever since then Brynna has wanted the "Kathleen McKinley" doll, a red headed doll who's character is set in the Great Depression. I told her that she had to wait until she was 8, and had to save up for a good bit of it herself. We have have found that making the girls save up for all or most of something expensive like this makes them appreciate it much more than if they were just given the doll for their birthday.

Well, a couple of weeks ago, Brynna gave me her part of the money for Kathleen. I ordered it, wrapped it, and last night was the big night!
She is so in love with this doll, it's very cute to see.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Happy 8th Birthday, Brynna!

Today, Brynna is turning 8 years old! Brynna makes me think of sunshine. She is very loving and cuddly. In fact, one of her family nicknames is "Brynna Bear" because she has always been such a teddy bear. Although at six months old, she more resembled the Michelin baby.
She loves to read, even calling herself a bookworm. She loves her friends and her sisters (most of the time). She also loves to play and has quite the imagination.
We love you, Brynna. Happy birthday!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

How to have hot, fresh rolls anytime

For our Easter dinner after church with friends, I wanted to serve hot, fresh rolls. I admit that I am something of a bread snob, especially regarding dinner rolls. There is just nothing like having freshly made bread to top off a meal. Of course, I wasn't going to have time after church to make fresh yeast rolls before everyone showed up to eat lunch. So I employed a trick I've often used in order to have fresh rolls after church or for supper after a busy afternoon.

Start off by making your favorite yeast roll recipe. I've used recipes from the bread machine (using the dough cycle) or by hand. This particular one is my friend Candace's recipe. Let the dough rise once and then punch it down. Then form it into balls and place on baking sheets, plates, cutting boards, anything flat that will fit in your freezer. You can put them almost touching because they won't have time to rise.
As soon as you are done, pop them in the freezer. And then if you are like me, set the timer for 30 to 45 minutes. I'm forgetful and have left rolls in for days like this because I didn't set a reminder timer. (Please excuse my messy freezer. I can never seem to keep it clean and organized.)
At the end of the 30-45 minutes, take them out of the freezer and pop them into a Ziploc bag, and immediately put them right back in the freezer.
There now - you have just made yourself a gold mine. Ready to rise homemade dinner rolls. Yum!

About four hours before you are ready to bake them, take them out of the freezer bag. The flash freezing you did just after forming should have frozen them just enough so that they don't stick together. Set the frozen dough balls on the pan; this time leave plenty of room in between for them to rise.
Cover with clean towels and leave alone for about 4 hours.
Come home and you'll find these beauties awaiting you.
Just preheat the oven and pop them in when the oven is ready. You'll have hot, fresh rolls ready to eat just minutes after you walk in the door. Goes great with crockpot dishes! Happy baking!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He is Risen!

He is risen, indeed!

Highlights of Easter:
Kora (aged 12)
Aubrey (aged 10)
Brynna (8 in 4 days)
Hailey (aged 6)
Lauryn (aged 4)
Ashlynn (almost 1!) - her first Easter!
Getting ready to egg hunt

It's great to spend Easter with good friends.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Just call me Lauryn Croft, Tomb Raider

Yesterday, Lauryn decided to build a gun with the Duplo Legos. This isn't exactly a new occurrence around here. The by-product of a house full of girls and no boys is that Daddy shares his hobbies with the girls rather than his non-existent sons. Thus the girls have all built guns and swords.

So yesterday, Lauryn decided to build a gun. And not just any gun, but a shotgun! Here she is taking aim through the sites.
(For those of you who are gun aficionados, note that while she is right handed, she is aiming with her left eye. That is because she, like a couple of her sisters, is left eye dominant, which means she'll actually do better shooting left handed. Just a bit of trivia for you.)

After she pulls the trigger she then takes a couple of Legos off the top and throws them in front of her. When I asked her what she was doing she told me that she was taking the ammunition and throwing it, so she could pretend her shotgun was actually shooting.
Looks like her magazine is empty. Wait, do shotguns have magazines?
And looks like someone needs to come clean up her brass. I hope she hadn't been aiming at the baby...
Wouldn't YOU be scared if you saw this aimed at you?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Excerpts from Maundy Thursday

I promise I do have some longer blog posts in the works, but for tonight I had to share something that happened at dinner tonight.

Kelly was reading the passages from Luke about the Lord's Supper and his prayer at the garden and then we were discussing it with the girls. Then Kelly got to this section:

Luke 22:36

And He said to them, "But now, whoever has a purse is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his robe and buy one.
The girls then got the weirdest look on their faces. I just thought it was because it was strange to think of the disciples needing swords. But what really worried them was the robes.

Or rather the lack of them. They were picturing a bunch of naked disciples running around, brandishing their swords. Kelly and I got a good laugh out of that one before he explained that it meant their outer cloak or coat. So much for a serious discussion about Holy week!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

If it's not one thing, it's ten!

Did you ever get in the middle of a project that you thought would be easily accomplished in a day, but then it drags on and on and on? But of course it's not MY fault that the first light fixture I bought for the half-bath re-do was too small to cover the hole the wires come from.

Nor is it my fault that the second light fixture only had three lights when, after getting it in the room, we decided that we really needed four lights.

Nor is it my fault the shelves I bought were broken and had to be exchanged.

Nor that the picture frames have the smallest little rings that are nearly impossible to hook on the nails.

And we won't even talk about the caulk.


If I ever get this half-bath done, I promise on all the Dr. Pepper in the land NOT to re-do another room in the house. EVER.

At least not until next month. :-)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Opening Day!

I haven't watched as much baseball the last 2-3 years as I used to, but there's always an excitement about opening day!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

City Slickers

Last night at supper, Aubrey, my 10 year old - who should know better! - asked us, in all seriousness,

"What part of the cow do these pork chops come from?"

Friday, April 3, 2009


I felt like I was back in West Texas yesterday! The wind was blowing so hard that it blew one of our chairs from our front porch into our yard. For those of you unfamiliar with our house, we have about 10 steps UP to our front porch, which is enclosed with railing. So the chair was blown off the porch from behind the brick columns, down the stairs and onto the grass. (This is a picture from last summer, BTW. Our grass is NOT that green yet.) The cute throw pillow I had in the chair was nowhere to be found. I guess someone down the street found it and is using it to decorate their house now. :-)

I had forgotten how much I hated the wind.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


What does it say about you (or your house) if your girls speculate on things like this while eating lunch:

"If we were on Designed to Sell, I think they would re-do our guest room, play room, and upstairs bathroom. But they would love the new half bath. We would definitely have to de-clutter our rooms though."

I don't know whether to laugh or be completely embarrassed.