Thursday, January 02, 2014

2014 the Year of Medical Stuff

We just might have someone in our family seeing some sort of doctor about every other day in January...

Let's see, Simon has some booster shots tomorrow and a dentist appointment Tuesday. Jonas will see the eye doctor the following Tuesday, then a dermatologist appointment the Tuesday after that (to check out a big ol' hairy mole on his knee, he was born with it), and then he has a dentist appointment the day after that. Charlotte will see the dentist the same day as Jonas.

How I felt
I had a crazy bloating episode on Christmas Day. Seriously, I ate two medium pancakes for breakfast and then my body filled up with gas. It was miserable; I couldn't eat a thing until the next morning when I had a small bowl of gluten-free Chex cereal. Then it happened again. I ended up going to an urgent care (we were visiting family in Kentucky) where they did an x-ray to be sure there was no blockage, and the doc told me my stomach and intestines were filled with gas. It was more than bloating; I had nausea and other, ahem, symptoms... That was the fourth time that month that it happened, but the other three times it happened in the evening and was gone by morning. This time it's lasted for over a week. I saw my doc on New Year's Eve and he ordered some bloodwork. I got most of the results today and they were OK (we're still waiting on the Celiac's test). So I see a GI specialist on Monday afternoon. Really, it doesn't seem to matter what I eat, afterward I bloat. It's not miserable like it was when it started, but it's quite uncomfortable. At least I'm up to eating three meals a day again and even one or two snacks. I lost six pounds in four days and it was kind of scary. I'm glad to say I'm currently holding steady and no longer losing weight.

Chase has been wearing a heart monitor because he's been having some episodes of rapid heart beats. He's been to prompt care, an internal medicine doctor and a cardiologist. The preliminary diagnosis is something long that I don't remember, but basically he has some nerves or something telling his heart to beat at times it shouldn't. He's started taking some medicine to hopefully take care of it; another option is surgery. The medicine has side effects that make him feel bad, but surgery is scary. He has an appointment to meet with the potential surgeon next week, and he'll see his cardiologist at the end of the month.

So it's looking like our 2014 is The Year of Medical Stuff or maybe The Year of Co-Pays. I'm going to try not to think of it and be thankful we have insurance. Also, I'll think about my trip with my sister to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter I have planned this month.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Semi-wasted Morning Ending in Donuts

Our Internet kept dropping because our modem was too old (we've only had it a bit over a year, but Comcast upgraded or something since then). After dropping Simon off at school this morning, I went to Comcast to switch to a new modem, but Google sent me to a non-existent location prompting me to call customer service to find out where they actually were.

I had to go through all the "Press 1 for ____" and "Enter your 10-digit phone number for this account" and "Does your phone number end in 2000?" (it doesn't, that is not what I entered, the robot asked me this twice). I had to go through many of those prompts two or three times before actually getting to speak to a person, who also wanted me to tell her all that info yet again. All I wanted to know was where the freakin' building was! She looked it up for me and Jonas, Charzie & I were on our way. Seriously, I think I sat in that parking lot for 20 minutes trying to talk to someone! I'd come that far and there was no turning back. I wanted my Internet! Amazingly, the kids were great even though I felt like I was on the verge of a panic attack.

There's just something about being sort of lost and having kids in the car that makes me feel on the verge of panic. I mean, I wasn't really lost, I knew where I was and how to get home and all; I just felt like I was wasting soooooo much of our morning looking for this stupid building so we could have our stupid Internet working so we could watch our stupid shows and I could stop using all my stupid data on my stupid phone. Stupid.

ANYWAY, we got to the actual building and I saw & talked to an actual person right away. I was sure to let him know about my predicament and told him I know it's not his fault, but whoever is in charge of that sort of thing, you know, letting the biggest & most popular search engine know that your building is no longer where it once was, should get on fixing that.

As I was receiving our new modem, Charzie informed me she had to go potty. Not to be outdone, Jonas decided he needed to go, too. And since we were in a building where we had never been before, I knew Jonas needed to mark his territory with a poop. He did. They both did. I guess it was fun for them. I assure you it was not fun for me, especially the part where Charzie wanted to touch every crack/hole/weird thing on the bathroom floor. Kids are gross. I knew it was best for us to all wash hands together, otherwise we'd be washing them over and over and over and over. Again, kids are gross.

I was stressed. It was snack time. I had seen a Mel-O-Cream Donuts near the non-existent Comcast location. We had donuts for snack. Now we're home. I got out some markers and a big roll of paper for the kids. I'm ready for a nap, but I should probably check whether they actually colored on the paper or on the walls first...


Friday, November 15, 2013

We're Still Breathing

It's been what, almost two months since my last post? That sounds about right.

If you follow me on twitter, you may have read:
I feel like most of my day is spent having small tyrants yell at me. When one makes behavior progress, another gets worse. But I guess that's just the way these things go.

Photo by Emily B Photography
These little things aren't tyrants 100% of the time, though. The other day 4-year-old Jonas "walked" at least a quarter mile of the walk home from school dancing like Jamiroquai. Seriously, when I asked him who he was being (suspecting his answer but not wanting to influence it), he said, "Jamiroquai." Lately he's been singing "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" by the Backstreet Boys, "Volcano" by The Presidents of the United States of America (this is his favorite to sing while sitting on the potty), "The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)" by Ylvis, and "Talk on Indolence" by The Avett Brothers (who he calls "Ado Brothers"). The kid has said for a couple years now that he has music in his bones. I've started playing rhythm/pattern games with him on his drums.
Jonas in his favorite sweater. Photo by Emily B Photography
Simon has a best buddy at school. He and his auntie have been to our house twice now. Everyday I ask Simon who he played with at recess, and the answer is always this friend. When I ask him what they played, 95% of the time it's Spider-Man (and there's often a game or two of "Chase the Girls" as well). I took this picture of them at their friend's birthday party. It makes me happy. Both boys have a framed copy now.
Best Buddies
Charzie, oh Charzie! This one is so incredibly smart, so incredibly adorable and so incredibly manipulative! She is an absolute joy one moment and will drive me to the brink of insanity the next. We had to take pretty much all of her toys out of her room to keep her from getting up to play during nap time. It is vital that I get her into bed for nap before 1:00pm, otherwise legendary battles ensue. She doesn't have to be asleep by 1:00, just in bed. But this girl completely melts my heart when she does things to make me happy. She will say, "Are you happy, Mommy? I want to help you and make you happy!" then she will give me a bite of what she's eating or clean up or whatever she can think to do.
Photo by Emily B Photography
Let's see, what has happened in the last couple months? Well, Halloween happened...
Boo-tiful Ghost, Swamp Creature & Skeleton
I made/adapted the kids' costumes. Jonas' make-up irritated his eyes and we had to go with a partially painted face with a bandit-type mask for actual Halloween since we had family portraits scheduled for a couple days later. The kids had fun with Halloween, but I sort of lost my love for my favorite holiday. The weather was dreary, we didn't really do anything all that special and the kids misbehaved pretty badly. But Chase & I had a pretty great couple costume (even if no one got it)...
Vampire Weekend at Bernie's
In case you need it explained, Vampire Weekend is a hipster-y band. Weekend at Bernie's is a movie from 1989 where a couple guys have a party at Bernie's house only Bernie is dead and they pretend that he is alive and partying with them. (There are sequels.)

Let's see, what else? I'll be discontinuing my job as our church's administrator, but I do hope to start doing the occasional freelance cake and/or invitation designs. I was on the ball and already designed and ordered our Christmas cards for this year; I just received an email that they've been shipped! And now you're probably pretty much caught up. So here are a few more pics from our session with Emily B Photography:

Accurate depiction of what it's like wrangling our kids for a nice pic
Check out Charzie's face
Sword sticks
Sword sticks



Okay, I guess by a few more pics I really meant a bunch more. Oh well!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Colorful School Days & a Park Poop

So my kindergartener has been getting into trouble lately at school. Mostly he finishes his work, gets bored and gets chatty. Really chatty. He had his first "red day" at school this week.

His school uses a color-coded behavior chart type of discipline/encouragement and here's a little of how it goes:

Green = good/neutral, everyone starts off on green
Yellow = bad, note home
Orange = worse (I was unaware that orange existed until this week), note home
Red = really bad & a chat with parents

So that's from acceptable to bad. But then there's...

Blue = better than good
Purple = super good, great even!
Pink = pretty much unattainably good! You win the behavior chart! Or something...

It's all pretty confusing. I think I really just got the hang of it this week, mostly because Simon has been a few different colors. I emailed with his teacher and we've hopefully found a way to help. Mostly, Simon (and a few other kids) will be given extra busy work allowed to practice their "word wall words" when they finish their work. I even let Sime pick out a brand new little notebook to take to school for this.

Another thing that will hopefully help is rewarding him if he stays at green or above all week. Simon's teacher suggested this. Since he had a bad last couple days, this morning I told him if he got above green today, we would celebrate. The kid got all the way up to purple (super good, great even!). So to celebrate we got McDonald's for dinner and had a picnic at the park.

Yay, right?! Well, so far this post has only focused on one child. Enter Charzie, my newly potty-trained two-year-old. She's been constipated/refusing to poop for the last three or four days. She had a few painful poos and got scared of going. I gave her stool softener. Then I got some prune juice. She wouldn't drink the prune juice. Then I found the right mixture of prune juice + apple juice + water so that she would drink it. She drank quite a bit of it today. I also gave her half of a FiberOne bar. Then she finally pooped! Hooray! She worked up quite the sweat and it was rock hard (yeah, too much detail, I know, but poop is a subject frequently mentioned here). So I was relieved that I wasn't going to have to deal with poop at the park now! Or was I?

Yes, yes I was. And not just Charzie's...

The kids and I were mid-McD's picnic when Charz announced she had to go potty. I thought it would be a quick pee-pee but it turned out to be a big ol' poop. This one was much easier to push out, I could tell. She had gotten like four days worth out in an hour! So we wiped, flushed, washed hands and went back to our McD's picnic. We cleaned up, took our toys & drinks to the van, then went to the playground. We'd been at the playground maybe five minutes when Charzie announced that she once again had to go potty, just pee-pee. Simon & Jonas also announced that they had to go potty, too.

Since the main doors to the bathrooms were open and there was someone else in the women's room, I let the boys go pee in the men's and told them to come stand outside the women's when they were finished. As I was helping Charz, I smelled something stinky. I looked down and saw she had some remnant poo in her panties. I don't think she even realized she had gone, it was more of a shart really (when you pass gas and a little something extra comes out...), but poo nonetheless... and I had left the diaper bag in the van. Then I heard Jonas' poop song, the one where he sings to the world that he just pooped. Did I mention that I had taken the kids out for this picnic alone? Yeah...

I yelled to Jonas that he would have to wipe himself because I couldn't go in the men's room. All the while people were walking by and going in and out of the bathrooms. I wiped Charz up as best I could with the cheap toilet paper. I got her undies and pants off. Thankfully her shirt was long enough to cover her. We washed hands and I wrapped her messy stuff in a paper towel and walked out to see Jonas standing at the door of the men's room with his shorts & undies around his ankles. He looked at me and said, "I pooped, Mommy."

So I picked him up, took him to the women's bathroom, wiped him, flushed, had him finally pull up his shorts, washed hands and headed to the van with both boys and a pants-less Charzie. Got her cleaned up and put fresh undies & pants on her and we went back to the playground even though I really just wanted to go home.

We were there to celebrate Simon's "purple day" and had only played for five minutes before Poop-fest 2013 happened. So we went back and played. Both boys bonked their heads. Charz threw a fit because she wanted to do things big kids were doing, but we stayed. And we saw some friends! Then we went home, I gave the kids a bath and got them all ready and put them to bed.

One would think I would have learned by now that at least one child always has a poop incident whenever I take them all somewhere by myself, right? But if I did, I wouldn't have as many amusing stories for you, then, would I?

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Epic Win

Model Charzie
Guys... guys... guys, guys, hey GUYS! (I'm using the gender neutral, casual you version of "guys" here) I have an epic win in my house and I really needed it...

After 5 years and 4 months of having from one to three children in diapers, they are ALL POTTY TRAINED! My 2-year-old Charzie worked hard this past week, earned M&M's, ice cream, stickers & jelly beans, and she's been wearing adorable toddler undies during the day (pull-ups for sleep times). She wakes up from nap dry. She wakes up dry about half the time overnight. She'll pee on pretty much any potty. She's pooped on the potty for the last three days. AND two of those days she was sick and still used the potty! Oh, this mama is super-pumped! And I'm gonna brag on her.

Kitty bath
You see, a certain eldest child was three-and-a-half before he would consistently pee on the potty or poop on the potty at all. The middle one was potty trained before the eldest. We used all kinds of rewards/bribery/calendar-with-stickers tactics, but it was sibling rivalry + "dump dollars" from my mom that got the eldest one motivated. Being naked and a poop fascination motivated the middle one (and we were totally surprised when he just potty trained himself). Mini M&Ms for everyone + the promise of a big Hello Kitty toy and lots of excitement were Charzie's motivation. I think mostly M&Ms, though.

With having three kids, I can say potty training was truly different for each child. But the one thing that they all had in common was that they had to be motivated and/or feel like it was their idea.

The only outfit she'd willingly wear to church one Sunday
 Oh, we are so excited in this house! Next, we'll have to get rid of the pacifier & bottle. But we'll let her hold onto those baby things a little while longer...

Friday, August 23, 2013

An Adventure Requiring Chocolate

This morning has been... well... um... an adventure, we'll say... an adventure requiring chocolate, yeah, that sounds better. It hasn't been all-out bad, but I wouldn't say it's been good.

I guess this morning really started last night when I couldn't stop reading this Reddit topic. (I really must warn you that if you click the link, you will probably get sucked in, too. This comment was particularly engrossing.) So I went to bed later than I intended. Then about 30 minutes after going to bed, Charzie fell out of hers and I had to help her back into bed. She fell out again just after 5:00 this morning, only she wouldn't get back into her own bed after that...

So Charzie was in our bed not sleeping at 5:15 or so this morning. Then by the time she started settling down like she was going back to sleep, the boys come bouncing into the room. We were able to get them to snuggle for a bit, but Charzie got jealous and angry. And then we needed to get up and get all ready for the day so Chase could go to work and I could take Simon to school.

Despite Jonas wanting to pick up every nut he saw along the way walking Simon to school, we were on time. Jonas and Charzie rode in the double stroller on the way home. I let them watch a show and have a snack while I finished getting ready to run my work errands.

As we were heading out the door we saw two of our neighbors chatting. One of those neighbors had a baby almost two weeks ago and was showing him off. Of course we had to go check him out! (He was all squirmy and perfect and looking snuggly in his car seat.) As I was chatting, Jonas & Charzie started playing in dirt. This wouldn't have been a big deal had they not just had baths last night (we generally do two bath nights per week). And I didn't have time to clean them up before running errands. So they were just dirty kids. I'm not talking just dirty hands or a smudge or two of dirt here, they had been throwing the dirt and watching the wind blow it on each other. Yeah, they were kind of covered.

On the way to the Post Office, Charzie, who had been up since 5:00AM, fell asleep. I was lugging her, wrangling Jonas and trying to get the mail out of the little box (it was crammed in there). Charzie fell asleep again on the way to the building where our church holds services and keeps a sort of office space (if you can call it an office, it's really more of a tech booth/library/office space). We share a building with a Goodwill regional headquarters. So, again, I lugged Charzie, wrangled Jonas, carried mail and the diaper bag (which was heavier than usual because I packed the iPad to occupy Jonas).

Charzie woke up by the time we got to the "office." I did my work while she drew & Jonas iPadded. Then I locked up and left. Jonas had gotten defiant and lost iPad privileges and then we headed out to the van. I got to the van and noticed that the key was gone off of my keychain. The van was locked. We have one key.

I did as much peeking as I could to see if I had dropped the key inside the van before locking it. Couldn't see it. I was having visions of being stuck with fussy small children who were ready for lunch while awaiting roadside assistance. Tears hadn't welled up in my eyes yet, but I could tell they were close. So we headed back into the building. Thank God it was where I thought it might be! It had fallen off my key clip when I unlocked or relocked the "office."

Jonas seemed to pick up every tiny object up off the ground in his path. Some of those objects made it into the car with him. One was a rock. When we got home, he not-so-lovingly threw that rock at me. He was in trouble. He was also angry that he was in trouble so he got sassy, which got him into more trouble and sent to his room all by himself. At least this time he only dumped one box of toys rather than making a giant mess of every toy and book he could reach in his room like he did last night.

We had a heart-to-heart after he cleaned up his mess. Then we had lunch. I'm pretty sure lunch saved the day. Getting to eat lunch in the living room while watching Pee-Wee's Playhouse is quite a treat. (And that treat was all Charzie's idea!) Lunch and sneaking myself some chocolate.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Jonas' Super Rad Aquabats Water Balloon 4th Birthday Extravaganza

As of today, my Jonas is four years old. We had been planning on having an all-out party for him since last year he didn't get one due to our big move (we bought a house and moved in four days before his third birthday). We had thought he would have a Batman theme and were looking for someone to show up dressed as Batman, tights and all...

But right before I started gathering party supplies he told me he wanted an Aquabats party. I said OK and that I wasn't sure if there were Aquabats party supplies, but we'd figure something out. Turns out there are Aquabats party supplies but only online at one web site. Before ordering I made sure he actually wanted an Aquabats party, and he told me he wanted "an Aquabats WATER BALLOON birthday!" So that's what we did...
Invitation front
Invitation back
So the Aquabats would be an actual rock band who also happen to be super heroes. I was a fan in the 90's but sadly never got to see a live show where they dress in their super hero costumes and battle evil monsters while playing music all live on stage. They now have a TV show for kids on The Hub and there's a season on Netfilx. Rock band + super heroes = awesome in Jonas' book.

For Jonas' cake, I made it chocolate with buttercream icing and drew the Aquabat logo guy on it. I also made a bunch of funfetti cupcakes with cookie burgers on them (thanks Pintrest!) in honor of one of Jonas' favorite segments on an episode of the show: Burger Rain. (You can watch a video of Burger Rain at the end of this post.)


I altered some decorations I had from Charzie's Yo Gabba Gabba party (I'll have to post on that later) to make them Aquabats-appropriate. And we had fruit, veggies, chicken nuggets, cheese & crackers to snack on.

Decorations & snacks
I had ordered some official goodie boxes & fillers for our kid guests, and then Jonas helped me choose some extra stuff to stick in there, too.

Guest loot
We started out just hanging out and snacking. I had a water table set up for the two-and-under crowd. Then we really kicked things off with a water balloon toss.

Water balloon toss
Next, the kids got to take turns chucking water balloons at Snakey. Snakey is actually a monster from the show. I painted him on cardboard and covered it with contact paper. After they all had a couple turns, we had them line up and attack together. They thought it was awesome.

The boys chucking water balloons at Snakey
But even more awesome than that was when they got to use a water balloon slingshot to battle the Floating Eye of Death (another actual monster from the show, which I also painted & contact-papered). I rigged this bad guy up on the kids' fort. I tell you what, boys ages 3-6 were all about that slingshot.

This guy had some fantastic aim.
After defeating Snakey and the Floating Eye of Death, we had a water balloon and water gun free-for-all. Then it was cake time.

Cake time
Jonas blew the candle out at the wrong time and freaked out. I re-lit it, he blew it out at the end of Happy Birthday and all was well.

We had cake and ice cream (vanilla or "monster" which had M&Ms and cookie dough in it) and then opened presents. Jonas got quite the birthday loot! The big surprise was our big gift at the end...

Jonas discovering his drums
Yes, we're crazy and bought our four-year-old drums, real drums, for his birthday. Kid's got rhythm.

And of course, Jonas being Jonas, had to go and do this:

This picture sums up Jonas

Now watch yourself some Burger Rain!