Tuesday, 29 September 2015


So on Friday last week Andrew woke up and couldn't talk properly and when he tried to drink, the milk came out his nose.
I took him to the doctor, who consulted another doctor and rang an expert, and the general consensus was "very unusual".  There seems to be something wrong with Andrew's soft palate (palate insufficiency/incompetence/inadequacy - the terms seem to be fairly interchangeable) as it is not doing its job of closing off the back of the nose during speech and swallowing.  He's otherwise healthy, mostly over the last cold, and in no discomfort.  Andrew can't whistle, as when he blows the air comes out his nose as well as his mouth.  For speech, he can only manage "m", "n" and "ng" sounds as well as vowels, the rest of the consonants are gone.  Over the last few days he's managed to produce very faint "t", "g" and "k" sounds but I'm not sure if it's an indication of his palate improving, or him adapting to produce the sounds some other way.  I suspect the latter as he pulls faces while enunciating.  If he holds his nose he can talk but is still hard to understand, and can't speak loudly.  He can drink but only in sips or it comes out his nose. Eating is fine.  In typical Andrew fashion, he hasn't let it slow him down, or get him down; he's still in pretty good spirits.
So we are waiting for a letter from the hospital so we can take him in for an expert opinion.  I've had a look around on the internet but most of the information is concerned with the problems associated with cleft palate and fixing it surgically.  There doesn't seem to be much about what could cause it in a previously healthy (apart from the colds/flu we've all had this winter) 8-year-old, or whether it will go away by itself.  I did find one thing about a child who had it and it "resolved spontaneously" after a month, but nothing about cause or treatment.  So, apart from making sure he has enough to drink, we just have to wait...
Prayer would be appreciated, especially that it won't be permanent. Thanks :)

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Spring Flowers

Hannah spent some of her hard-earned pocketmoney on flowers, specifically hyacinths, which are flowering now.  They look lovely, and Hannah can't wait until we get the back yard sorted out so that she can plant them properly.

 Bryony has also been growing bulbs.  She was pleased to see the pups she picked off her lilies are growing.

We're working on terracing the slope up the back.  Realistic economics has led to the decision to build our retaining walls from tyres, which are free at the local tyre shops.  All we need to do is drag them up the hill and do a lot of digging and filling.  We have been digging a trench for a few weeks now (part of our homeschooling!) but haven't made any headway on getting the tyres down as it seems to rain every weekend.  Once the first row is down and level the kids and I can work on the rest during the day.  The next job will be to find some trailing plants to cover it all up, and plant the fruit trees which arrived yesterday from Southernwoods nursery.  We have a couple of apricots, a prune plum and 2 cherries to go in up the back, as well as a Hetlina Apple to go onto the bottom end of our line of apple trees.

Carnivorous Plants

Daniel has started a carnivorous plant collection this year, and was very excited the other morning to see a flower on one of the Venus Flytraps. 

 He's hoping for seeds so he can grow more.  We found 2 plastic bins at the tip shop which are ideal for a mini glasshouse, although his new Pitcher plant was a bit tall for it so Grandad made some spacers
to make a bit more headroom.  The pitcher plant had a spectacular flower a few days ago.

Daniel's still looking for a decent Sundew, as the one he and Andrew bought off trademe was a LOT smaller than the picture and looks pretty dead right now.  The plant shops get their carnivorous plants in later in the year (next month) so he's saving up.