Thursday, April 9, 2015

Our MacBook Pro is a Dud!!!

I am sure I sound like a broken record on this blog, venting about being unable to post pictures because of computer problems.  Well, the problems continue.  Our "silver" computer is dead... like the gray screen that never ends dead!   Our computer is 2.5 years old and it has been nothing but problems from the first day.  We have called the Apple Care people in the early days.  We have taken it to the Apple Store more than once.  Of course it often performed better there than at home. 

Computers are expensive!  Macs are VERY expensive.  I am a Mac person... and not because I am trendy and flashy... but because I have used them all my life and I love them.  Their trendiness does not fit with my fleece wearing, mini-van driving, kid carrying personality, but their convenience does!  I love that photos on the phone sync to the computer (in theory).  I think the simple commands and the easy navigation etc. are lovely. Macs are great... but our last Mac has tainted our view of them.  Should we spend A LOT of money on another computer that could be a dud?  It is a hard call.

My inner quest for justice has me wanting to march into the Apple Store and demand a new computer or half price or greatly reduced.  After all, Apple products are supposed to work for a long time... right?  More than 2.5 years of half working, right?  Ahhh!!!!

I feel like we pat Apple on the back if we go ahead and order a new MacBook, esp. if it is one of the brand new ones coming out tomorrow... they go on thinking that our family is another happy and loyal Apple family.  This is not true, but what can really be done.  There was a time when companies cared more about making things right and maintaining relationships with their customers than selling lots of products.  I am pretty sure that Apple will do just fine without this mini-van mom supporting their product.

So, seriously, what should we do friends?  Should we try our luck at a refund or markdown at the Apple Store... even if it is full of kids half our age but clearly 50 times more cool than us?  Should we just order a new MacBook and hope for he best?  Should we explore other types of non-Mac computers even if I can't stand them/Windows 8 at all?  Who knows?

In the meantime, guess what?  Our OLD white MacBook from Brandon's seminary days came out of retirement.  It is working faster and better than our newer computer. It feels a dream writing on it.  It is awesome.  It does prove that if you have a non-dud Mac, they last a long time.

Sadly, this means I will not be photo blogging for a while most likely... it will happen once we get the computer situation figured out.

If you stumbled across this post because of the title and you truly have an idea to help us... or if you work for Apple and want to give us a free computer (just kidding, well... unless you really do) please leave a comment with your wisdom!  I promise I will brag about you in a future post! 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Spring Break Recap and Tonsillectomy Recovery Update

M went back to school today.  Spring Break is over!  Routine has returned!  Thanks be to God!  

Much of Spring Break was spent recovering and feeling miserable.  There was WAY too much screen time and WAY too much sugar!  What a combination!  Yes, withdrawals are happening... on both counts!  

M finally turned a corner (in his tonsillectomy recovery) on Friday.  It took him a full week and two days to feel "better" again.  It was a very long 10 days.  Days 5-10 were worse than days 1-4.  We hears this would be the case and it surely was. I still feel like we are coming out of the fog a bit.  Because of the way M metabolizes medicine, he would take a dose and then no longer feel the effects of it after 1.5 hours.  We then had to endure 2.5 hours of waiting for another dose.  It was agony for both of us.  I of course never gave in to his begging and pleading, but it is pretty hard to watch your child suffer in that way.  

The first days after coming home I was pretty good at staying up late and only having to set one alarm, but with wake ups in the night I finally gave in and set two alarms so I could go to bed earlier some nights.  Last night I set no alarms!  Bliss for me!  Bliss for M!  Yay!  

Our Spring Break didn't consist of big trips this year.  We didn't go to any museums or even the library.  We did however do several fun things.  

I have been searching around closets for a while trying to remember where I stashed a bag of dress-up clothes.  One day last week I remembered and they were an instant hit for my kids.  T has been putting on several tutu's and princess dresses every day.  She is a hoot with her fashion sense!  M has been enjoying a clown suit and other costumes as well.  

We introduced T to the art of coloring Easter Eggs.  She was in awe of the dye, but wanted to put all the eggs into one bowl at a time.  I wrote our names and little pictures on the eggs in crayon before dunking them. It was so sweet to see her awe over the images that appeared when she dunked them. M was in need of meds and a bit less than thrilled with the whole process.  I am voting we take a year or a few off from this ritual.  

One Tuesday M and I went over to church for the final CC lunch of the year.  While we didn't attend Classical Conversations this year, they allowed us to come to the lunches.  We missed many this year, but were glad to go to the last one.  M was still not feeling great, but he enjoyed just sitting in his chair and watching the other kids play.  

Tuesday was also Chicken Day!  Charissa and I order 80lbs of split breasts and then cut them, remove fat, and bag them up.  The dads are in charge of the kids and we can get them all ready for the freezer in about one hour.  The kids and dads had great fun playing in the church nursery and in our backyard.  It is such a blessing to do ministry and life with special people. 

By Wednesday we decided that M was ready to go biking.  We met up with Charissa and L and J and went on a big walk/bike ride to Y park!  Overall M did great.  It was NOT cool that this mama forgot his meds in the van and he was 1.5 hours late in getting them.  The way back to the van was pretty brutal.  I felt horrible about it.  Because he was taking secondary meds he did have a painkiller in his system the whole time, but not the big guns. We made it back and I never had to carry him or stow the bike so I call it a success.  If felt great to get a walk in and it was great to see M flying down the hills. 

The kids got such a kick out of April Fool's Day this year.  Most of the jokes were things like, "Look, I see a bear in the backyard."  So cute.  T really got me for real when we were on the walk I mentioned above.  She said, "On no, I dropped my "tired" (her tag blanket).  She does this a lot so I quickly stopped and turned around to get it... it is more precious to me than almost any object we own.  As I was turning around she said "April Fools."  I was so proud of her.  What a smart girl to get that concept. 

We were really struggling to get M to eat and drink, but we found a couple of things that he really liked.  He was a huge fan of Potato Soup and Watermelon!  Both have lots of liquid so we were thrilled!  He is now insisting he is ready for Chili (his very favorite food) so I think we will make it tomorrow. 

The kids and I did one bigger day trip!  We drove south one day to the place Brandon and I lived while he was in seminary.  We spent the day with some dear friends.  It was so much fun to watch my kids play with "two sweet boys."  I got such a huge kick out of my kids begging to do something over and over again and the boys being less than thrilled to play.  They are awesome with the kids and such a blessing, but it sure made me smile and think about some of the things I used to do with them over and over and over again.  It is a reminder that my children will grow and change quickly too... they already are.  While we were visiting we were able to stop at my favorite grocery store for some amazing deals!  Friends, I get such bargains there that it easily pays for our gas for the trip.  I focus on produce, rice, coconut milk, spices, tortillas, other ethnic foods.  We also were able to go on a little walk/bike ride to a park near our friend's home.  It was almost all up hill on the way there.  M pedaled the whole time and didn't need a single much to get started.  I was so proud of him! T had quite the potty training drama.  TMI warning!!!  Poo Warning!!! Suddenly on the way she needed to go to the bathroom... NOW!  Well, I did eventually look for a bush on a property line and allow her to go.  Sadly she had already gone a little bit.  I took on her under and allowed her to just wear her pants and skirt.  She was fine with this.  We arrived at the park and started playing.  I didn't expect that she would holler "Mommy, I did go poo."   I asked in a hopeful voice... "April Fools?"  Nope!  This was real.  She did indeed have poo in her pants and no panties to hold them so down the leg it went...  Usually when I go walking I have wipes and two sets of pants and panties... this time... nothing.  I found three tissues and one wipe in the stroller... oh dear.  Well, I managed to get her cleaned quite well and she did still have a skirt on so we were able to continue at the park for a while.  Another walk, another lesson learned!  Later, back at the house T wanted a snack and chose dried apricots.  I was distracted and later noticed she had eaten all that was left in the bag... many apricots. Oh dear!!!  Luckily we were at their house because Little Miss had many quick trips to the bathroom that afternoon.  I was a bit nervous to drive home for fear of explosive issues, but everything ended up fine.  I typically try to keep the kids awake when we are driving home in the late afternoon, but this time I let them sleep and there were no tummy rumbles!   Even with all the potty stuff, it was a great day with great friends!  

On Friday we hosted a small play group here in the morning.  T had a hard time with Baby J which is typical, but draining for me.  It was fun to see another friend's Baby B and for T to help hold the baby.  It is heart warming to see her treat the baby gently. It was fun to catch up with the moms.  It was awesome to see M feeling better.  He was acting for better or worse like our typical M.  I was celebrating that the pain was coming to an end!  

On Friday evening we went to church for the Good Friday service.  Two of the CC Directors volunteered to do nursery duty so I was able to attend the service.  It was an incredible service.  Brandon (and many others) work so hard on this service and it shows.  There were many videos, music, interactive elements, communion, etc.  The setting was the sanctuary, but it was transformed to a place of total darkness with the cross in the center and the seating all facing the cross.  It was a very powerful time for all who attended.  

On Saturday I had a great Huddle in the morning while my crew went to the Men's Breakfast and helped reset the Sanctuary for Easter.  On Saturday night Brandon was ahead of schedule and was able to watch much of the Final Four game.  He even called me in for the last intense minute.  It was so exciting to see the Badgers win... yes they are also playing as I type this... so Go Badgers!  M wore his lucky shirt to school today and on the last two game days as well!  I stayed up way late working on prep for Sunday and cleaning the kitchen. 

Finally Sunday was here!  Jesus Is Risen!!!!  What a glorious morning celebrating with our church family!  We usually just munch on fruit at the church breakfast, but this year I made an egg bake for my crew.  It was so tasty.  We were able to eat it at church and the kids felt like they were not missing anything.  Both kids were excited to see college kids in town for the weekend.  The services were wonderful.  So much time goes into them and it shows.  It was truly a celebration for our Risen King!  After church there was a quick lunch and then a nap for M and a fight with no nap for T.  Brandon dealt with her while I started prepping dinner.  I made a huge Easter dinner for our family and for some neighbors/friends and their two kids.  There were only 8 total people and one was a tiny baby, but we had plenty of food.  The crowd favorites were a spinach and strawberry salad and the best ever sweet potatoes (that is what the recipe is called).  I made my first ever big girl (non-cured) ham and gravy.  I did call my mom twice.  It turned out great.  Everything was tasty.  Our friends brought two beautiful desserts and we feasted.  The left over feasting has continued today.  Huge blessing for me... no cooking and very few dishes!  I was such a fun time with friends and the kids both ate well and did quite well while our friends were here.  

M was so excited to get back to school day and we were all excited to get back into routine.  Our break was good.  We made some good memories.  We survived the tonsillectomy and recovery!  We are hopeful that warmer days are coming!  

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The LONG road to tonsillectomy healing!

It has been a couple of days since my last update.  We have surely had our ups and downs since then.

The first night home (Thurs) M and I both slept well!  It was such a blessing to wake up feeling somewhat rested.  I think M was so overtired that his natural seemingly supernatural abilities to fight sleep would not hold up.

Friday and Saturday night did not go as well.  M has quite a cough (surgery related most likely) which means he wakes up frequently.  Once awake he feels throat pain and cries and it not easily comforted and does NOT go back to sleep easily.  Each wake up is at least 30 minutes.  Last night there were 2 or 3 before I went to bed.  The last two nights it took him almost 2 hours to fall asleep as well.  That is a lot of rocking and singing and praying and back rubbing.  Whew, does my shoulder hurt.  I am thankful for his small stature.

During the day we try our best to manage pain.  He doesn't want to drink much and this is the key to healing so we try to push drinking anything he is willing to drink.  Interestingly, we have been offering and begging for him to drink juice. He usually chooses water!  He also rejected Jello and the popsicles with corn syrup.  We have some healthier ones that the family seems to like better.  While I deeply appreciate his taste for real foods without dyes, sugars and other nastiness, keeping his hydrated is the top priority right now, so we will keep trying every liquid we have!

M does best when he is distracted.  He went to Sunday School and church this morning and church tonight at that was his best time.  If you saw him there, you would have no idea how he is at home and esp at night.  I guess that means we need to schedule some playdates this week.  It is Spring Break which is great for him to recover, but hard because it pulls us out of routine and strips away a great pain distraction.

My parents were great pain distractors, but they left yesterday so we are now on our own.  It was so wonderful to have my parents here to care for T while we are at Children's and to help with things once we were home.  M slept great in my dad's arms.  The kids love having them here, though they crave routine so usually behavior and fears creep up the longer guests are here.  I am so thankful that my parents toughed out the trauma and stayed and served and loved on us and our kids.

Besides people distractions, the TV has proved very beneficial.  It seems the only thing he wants to watch is Dr. Quinn.  He loves the adventure element of it, although violence on the screen feeds his need for violence in real life so it might not be the best option... but it does distract him.

The other amazing distraction is special gifts and cards.  M has been showered with cards and gifts and even flowers after his surgery.  I try my best to be time strategic with the cards.  When the pain meds are wearing off times are hard.  If I give him cards and he totally forgets the pain.  We have also learned that he needs to open cards and gifts when T is not around.  This really helps.  To each of you who has sent something, called, prayed for him, send an email/text/video etc I say Thank You!  It means so much to all of us.  Please know that even if a Thank You doesn't come in the mail, your thought were so appreciated by Brandon and I and also deeply by M.  He seems genuinely touched that people are thinking about him and praying for him.

Mealtimes have been very hard.  M wants to eat and his hungry, but then eating seems to hurt and that makes him very upset.  Funny enough, the one thing that M has really enjoyed eating is Fritos!  Seriously, hard scratchy corn chips!  I think the salt must be soothing, at least that is what I can guess.

We learned something incredible at Children's... the "Tylenol Cocktail."  Wow!  So basically you measure out the Tylenol in the syringe and then you suck the Rx into the syringe too (measuring first of course).  M can't taste the Rx and willingly takes the meds.  Brilliant!  Huge answer to prayer!  I didn't realize we would go through SO MUCH Tylenol.  I thought I bought a lot, but might need to make a run later this week for more!

In case you are seeing this late posting and wondering why I am not sleeping, there is a reason.  I am staying up for the 11:30 Rx dose before bed.  This way I only have to set one alarm for 3:30am.  It is hard to wake up twice in the night (besides the other wake ups which happen) to an alarm.  I like staying up much better.  Tonight I have so much to do, I am not even feeling sleepy.

If you would like to continue to pray for him that would be great.  Please pray that his cough would end allowing him to sleep better.  Please pray that the surgery sites would be healing and the pain would be less and better controlled by meds.  Also, pray that he would keep drinking!

We would also love some prayers for T.  She has been a hot mess since we got home from the hospital.  She is very VERY needy and cries and screams A LOT!  Wow!  It is so hard.  Amazingly M has been doing better than usual with handling her neediness.  Please pray that her heart would feel at peace and that Peace in general would reign in our home!

Thanks so much for walking the journey with us!

*OK, I just read this post quickly since I noticed I typed out the kids names in full a couple times.  As I read I thought, "What a downer!"  Sorry if this post is a downer.

I will tell you something fun to end.  One of my best friends just found out she is having a baby girl!  We are so excited for their family.  I decided to sort through all of my kids outgrown clothes to see if there was more I could part with to share with her.  I found 4.5 paper grocery sacks.  Pretty impressive since I have send several boxes to my niece Baby A.  Anyway,  along with the sorting I am labeling exactly what is in each bin so I can find it easily if someone wants to borrow something, or if a LONG time from now I need little clothes again.  I am not ready to part with all of them just yet, but it feels good to slowly let go.  Taking on this project right now might be silly, but it is sort of mindless and in between all of M's wake ups last night it was a fun distraction for me!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

We are home!

We arrived home just before 11:30 this morning.  M had to drink a certain amount of liquid and when he did was able to go home.  It wasn't easy for him, but eventually he managed.  The drive home was easy.

Sweet T had a very hard time leading up to nap.  M's meds were wearing off and he needed me and she missed me and needed me.  On top of that M received gifts and T didn't... oh the jealousy... oh the crying.  Even with Grandma and Grandpa here I was apparently voted most popular and whoever wasn't being held by me needed... NEEDED to cry... loudly.  Pretty draining on a mom who only had a couple of hours of sleep max.  Finally Brandon took T into the family room where he and Grandma Kathy worked hard to calm her down.  It wasn't successful, but in the kitchen I was able to eat while holding M.  He fell asleep in my arms quite quickly and I was able to transfer him to Grandpa Daryl. Then I was able to comfort T and life was good!

M slept most of the afternoon in Grandpa's arms.  I am SOOO glad that my parents are here.  Being propped up in dad's arms allowed him to sleep longer without coughing which meant he slept for 50 minutes at one point without waking up.

T had a great nap too and woke up in a much better mood.  She has been getting over a stomach bug herself so a good nap for her will go a long way.

I relaxed.  I knew that nappy would make me a cranky mommy so I enjoyed chatting very quietly with my parents.  Then my mom and I went on a 2ish mile walk.  It felt good to move.

The kids are now watching Charlotte's Web with my parents.  M and I recently read Charlotte's Web and I surprised him and told them there is a movie.  He was SO excited to watch it.  I can hear it and am impressed how well it follows the book. Chicken and Sweet Potatoes are baking in the oven.  Things are going OK!

M has really been rejecting fluids though is willing to take a syringe of water every 10 minutes so that is something.  Thank you for your continued prayers for fluid intake, pain management, and good sleep for all!  We have taken many photos, hopefully I will get them up soon.  It is kind of fun to blog a lot again... sort of feels like an adoption process... and I do indeed feel jet-lagged ;)

Surgery Day/Night Part Four

Wow!  I am not sure if I should say the night was looong or short.  After I finished the last post I sent a quick email to hubby and family and just as I hit send M started coughing.  Coughing and not sleeping were the main themes of the night.

He and I slept off and on between 9:30 and midnight.  A nurse came in to give meds etc at midnight and I really woke up.  M went back to sleep for an hour then woke up wide awake and in pain.  I later learned that he thought it was daytime.  We got more IV meds and watched a movie. I was wide awake for a while too.  I was really missing Facebook at this point.  I was thinking about all my lovely friends living on other parts of the world that I could chat with and ask to pray.  Oh well, I did log in a lot of desperate mommy prayers and nodded off and on as the movie played.  I came to realize that melatonin (or lack of melatonin) is pretty hard on my son.  

I slept between 2:40ish and 4:00, but the nurse said that when she would do her rounds M's eyes were open.  Poor wide awake guy longing for morning.  We both slept pretty well from 4:30-6:00.  Then after meds etc we both slept another 30 minutes and the Dr. came in.  M is now back to sleep and told me he didn't need me to lay with him.  I decided to take this opportunity to update all of you.

He has not wanted any liquids overnight.  We will see if his will to go home is stronger than his will to not drink.

A nurse just came in and woke him up.  She was not quiet.  He coughed.  Sad boy needs his mama.  I think we are done sleeping. No proofing at all so ignore the typos.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Surgery Day Part Three

M is finally asleep.  He has such a strong will.  He didn't really nap at all since the surgery and he finally fell asleep at 8:45.  I am going to go to bed soon too as I have heard they will be in at midnight and 4:00am for meds and vitals.

He had a great dinner. It didn't come until after 7:00 so he was very hungry.  The food place kept saying that the "clear liquids" label on his chart hadn't been lifted so they wouldn't let me order for a while.  He ate a lot of baked chicken breast (like 2.5 servings I would guess since it was a bone in breast) and a few peas.  He really has resisted drinking any fluids.  He has to drink more before they will release him, so please pray that he will have a much bigger desire to drink tomorrow.

He really doesn't like taking meds.  I imagine this is going to get much worse at home.  Please pray that he will be willing to take the meds so that the pain can be less.

I think he was really feeling a lot of pain tonight before bed.  Hopefully the 8:00 dose of meds will help allow for some sleep.

There have been a lot of tears today, mostly he wants to be home.  He misses Grandma and Grandpa and T and Daddy!  I know he is really looking forward to being released.

Since arriving at the room he has watched DVD's, gone to the floor playroom twice to play, made a walking circle around the 10th floor, read books, sat a long time at the end of the floor viewing area to look out at the city.  I am sure you know that he was thrilled to see several ambulances.  We have been busy.

He continues to ask every few hours, "Are my tonsils out?"  I guess he is just making sure.

Tonight while trying to rig something out for my pillow I knocked a water bottle all over my PJ's.  I am a bit soggy, but better me than M.  I am going to attempt to sleep with M on the single hospital bed.  I am pretty tired so I think I will manage.

Thank you for all of your prayers today!  We can feel them.  So far no blood and no vomit.  I call that a major victory.  Also, I just noticed that his snoring is much softer than it has been.  This is a surprise as they said it could take 3 weeks to notice any difference in breathing.  Yay!

Surgery Day Part Two!

It is now shortly after 3:00 on surgery day.  We are settled into our room.  The surgery went very well.  Dr. S is wonderful and made us feel so at ease beforehand, during and after the surgery.  She said that his tonsils (which were smaller than they have been at times) were very large.  They rate tonsils one-four on largeness of size, four is the largest.   M's tonsils were a four.  His adenoids were also swollen and were removed.  Dr. S said the nurse that took the tonsils once out actually commented, "Whoa, those are really big tonsils for someone his size."

After speaking with the Dr. I was able to go back to see M.  As soon as we walked through the double doors I could hear him crying loudly.  I ran to him and he was not happy.  I quickly asked what could be done so that I could hold him.  He was in a lot of pain and I think also just really overwhelmed. Soon I was holding him and he was getting his first dose of meds right into his IV.  He actually had three rounds of this med along with Motrin and Tylenol while in recovery.  He had other meds as well.  Finally he said his throat felt better.  The nurses in recovery are great.  They deal all day every day with very sad kids and they stay upbeat.  A nurse got him to start eating a melted popsicle as well.  M wanted to get dressed right away.  He even wanted his shoes on and could not be talked out of it.  He was begging to go to his room and watch a DVD and take a nap.

Finally we were cleared to go to the room.   On the elevator on the way M said, "Whew, I am so glad we are going to my room."  So sweet. We are on the 10th floor so we are up pretty high which M loves.  Our view is of the back of the hospital so not an incredible view, but there is some construction going on near us with a huge crane/boom thing.  M LOVES it.  He thinks his view is great.

Once getting settled in M slept for about 15 minutes and then woke up wide awake.  He wanted to sit near the window and check out the view.  We actually got to see the big crane move and he was so excited.

M is currently watching a Auto-B-Good DVD which he loves.  He has Jello, Popsicle, and juice on the tray next to him.  He has had one bite of Jello so that is something. He is finally letting me sit right next to him with the computer so I could write and update.  He has wanted me to stick pretty close which isn't a surprise. The meds are powerful because at the moment he seems to have no pain.

Brandon is still here and has been able to set up a work station so he can get things done.  This is a very busy time of year for him so it is good that he has been able to get some work done today.  He will be going home before too long.  I will stay here tonight and he will come and pick us up early in the morning.

We have taken more pictures, but they will come later as it seems to take a while to get them and I want to get this posted.  Not being on FB, I can't see any FB comments, so feel free to comment here or send me an email if you know the address :)

*update: Email actually isn't working right now.  Yahoo just isn't responding.  It was several hours ago so hopefully it will before too long.  I guess I won't be responding to messages for a while. Keep sending them.  M actually asked me to check my email to see if anyone sent a note for him ;)

Tonsils No More! Surgery Day Part One

The big day is finally here!  We have been waiting for so long for the tonsillectomy.  You can read HERE about M's tonsils and the reason we need this surgery.

M woke up at 5:30 (pretty good for him) and took a bath.  He was pretty excited to have popsicle and juice for breakfast.  He was allowed to have certain liquids before 8:30.  We didn't know that gum was off limits and we let him have some gum.  Oops!

We left for the hospital in plenty of time.  M was nervous.

Once at the hospital we got checked in and all really to go.  Apparently gum can cause some added gases or something but he was still cleared for surgery.  Oh how nervous I was that he would not get to have surgery.

He was scared of taking the goofy juice.  It tastes awful and he put up quite a fight in taking it.  Once it starts working it really lives up to its name.  He was so silly.  It was funny to watch him but a bit intense to make sure he didn't throw his head back or anything.

We just arrived in the parent waiting area and the surgery is beginning anytime.  I will try to continue to update on the blog since I am still on a FB break.  If you are checking in here because of the post on FB, I have been writing many many blog posts so feel free to check those out too!

Thank you all for your prayers!

Here are some photos from our morning so far.  Brandon's phone isn't syncing fast enough to iPhoto (oh how I love iPhoto) so he has to email them to me to post so uploading is going very slowly.

Happy in the waiting room!

Happy to have an arm band for him (and for Cat).  PBS kids was a great distraction.

The goofy juice is starting to work!

All ready for surgery! 

Brandon's Birthday Overnight.

Brandon's parents came to visit us this March.  They arrived on a Tuesday afternoon and stayed until Saturday morning.  It was a lengthy visit and a great visit.  The weather was much, much warmer than it typically is here this time of year. Lovely! Brandon and I were able to spend one night  at a friend's lake place.  It was our first time away from T and our first time away from M since we were traveling to get T.  This was all a pretty big deal. 

Tuesday -
 The morning of they arrived was bitter sweet.  We learned via text from Grandpa Tom, that their beloved dog Maggie died the night before.  Maggie had eaten raccoon poison and fought hard, but ultimately died at the Dr's office.  Our hearts broke for Tom and Judy and also for M who loved Maggie so well and so deep.  His initial reaction was not very typical, but typical for him.  He was bouncing on the coach and said, "Oh, but I am thinking about rocket ships and astronauts."  He likes to avoid deep stuff.  He continues to process his grief with waves of sadness.  He has received four cards and even a special window hanging heart that he treasures.  Our community has loved him well through this. I think it was helpful to have Tom and Judy here as he was processing things.  T was sad and wanted to draw a picture to remember Maggie.  She often talks about missing Maggie as well.

 Tom and Judy arrived on Tuesday afternoon in time to see M and T at gymnastics.  The kids were very proud to have their grandparents watch!  Judy brought her amazingly yummy veggie beef soup which was ready to go after gymnastics.  What a blessing!

Wednesday morning M went to school and T and I took Grandma and Grandpa on my walking route. T did great on her first stroller ride of the year and we all got a little workout.  During naps I worked hard to prepare Tom and Judy for our big night away.  I got packed and made lots of notes and prepped smoothies and meds and vitamins and oils.  Dinner for kids and grandparents was in one crock pot.  Dinner for Brandon and me in another crock pot and rice cooker.  Yay!  So glad that we have all these things for days like that.

After naps I continued to get things ready and the kids did science stuff with Grandma Judy.  Brandon and I made it out the door by 5:30.  The crew here was just beginning to eat dinner.  They had a quick meal and then the kids went to iGnite at church.  It was farmer night as you can tell from the photos below.  Tom and Judy were able to go out for dessert during iGnite! Bedtime went well for T and was a bit harder for M, but eventually he was also able to go to sleep.

--- Our Getaway---
Brandon and I arrived at the lake around 6:00ish and unpacked and ate.  We played games, washed some bedding, watched part of a movie, talked and just enjoyed being together.  We both fell asleep quickly and slept well.  It was glorious to not have to get up to help a child a single time all night.  It was glorious to move slowing in the morning, to read my Bible in silence, to get ready at my own pace, to catch up with Brandon. We stayed at the lake until about 3:00 the next day.  We drove home on roads we had never traveled before.  It was nice to drive through the countryside. Brandon had to work from there for a few hours Thursday afternoon.  I spent time trying to sort out iPhoto.  In the end I might have made things worse and decided to just move on, but it didn't matter what I was doing, it was special just to get away.  We are so thankful for the team of people that made this little getaway possible!

Thursday -
Back at home, Thursday started out busy.  Tom and Judy got both of the kids ready for school and on the bus on time!  Tom and Judy went to the Y while the kids were at school.  The kids had lunch and naps and we arrived right after they woke up from naps.  The kids were excited to see us and excited to wish Brandon a Happy Birthday!  M told me he had fun while we were gone, but I could not leave again for 31 years! The kids and grandparents were about ready to go swimming at the Y when we arrived.  Brandon had a meeting and I got in a walk and Pilates and had time to get unpacked before they came home.  Once home we got ready to go to our favorite place for dinner. Brandon met us there and we all feasted.  It was very busy there so it was late when we got home.  The kids were weary and went to sleep rather quickly.  Once the kids were in bed Brandon opened presents and we all had a good time chatting.

Friday was a bit intense.  The kids didn't have school.  Tom took M to Playland while the rest of us slept.  I should have gotten up and showered... I didn't.  I also didn't get clothes for M.  I also didn't give him his much needed L-theanine.  T woke up early and when M got home it was a perfect storm in our home.  There was very little regulation.  Once L-theanine and his lotion (with EO's) happened, things got a bit better.  Poor guy loves his routine and while he had done many special things in the previous days, he had some major overwhelm going on.  Luckily things turned around and I was able to get in a shower and walk and the kids played outside with Tom and Judy.  The rest of the day and the visit was pretty low key.

It was such a great blessing to have Tom and Judy here and to get to have time away with Brandon over his Birthday.  Here are some fun photos from their time here.

We love making volcanos and dancing popcorn with Grandma Judy. 

M: I tucked in my shirt, just like a farmer.  I have a hankie in my pocket, just like a farmer! 

T: M sure looks like a farmer.  I a Princess farmer! 

They must be dairy farmers with all that CHEESE!

Ready for the bus!

Reading with Grandma Judy.  

T: I love my Birthday presents!!!! I sleep with my Kitty and I wear my apron. 

M: First I learned about Dinosaurs in school and then Grandma Judy taught me even more! 

T: I love this book.  I get to talk about all the things I want to be when I grow up.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Winter Photo Overload

Oh wow!  This post could be so many many posts, but it is time to get this blog up to date so this post is attempting to do that!  Every picture is a story in itself.  I will try to explain as I ago.  Enjoy!

The first photos are an attempt to capture a really sad and messy event.  M had gone to school.  Brandon was home and I had high hopes of getting much done that morning.  T wanted some applesauce so I got it out of the fridge and opened it.  Apparently applesauce doesn't keep long in the fridge.  Apparently if you tip applesauce upside down in the fridge it will create a seal and when you open it, an explosion of fermented apple sauce will occur.  I have never seen anything like it.  Apple sauce was EVERYWHERE.  I am still finding it.  It was across the room, under things, in tiny corners, all over the walls, all over the ceiling.  If I remember correctly it took me 47 minutes to clean up.  By the time I got the mess cleaned and a casserole prepped it was time to get M off the bus.  Amazingly I kept calm and never felt frustrated.  The fermented smell in my hair all day was a bit gross, but I got over it. The lighting in the photos isn't great, but since there was apple sauce all over the window we couldn't close the blinds for a better shot.
Applesauce Anyone?

Zoom in to check out the destruction.
Sometimes there are photos that I find that I have no idea what they are about...

I am guessing they are watching birds at the feeder and squirrels collecting corn. 

T pretending to be a baby.  

With so many rounds of Strep this year, M was often sick and T was quick to want to fix him with Dr. stuff.
T: Open wide!

T: One more dose!

T: Do you like my hair?  (This is what it looked like after nap)

Brandon took the kids to the grocery store and the got to pet a lobster.  T was brave enough to touch it.  M decided to wait and see how things went with T.

T: I pet a lobster.  It fet like a lobster.  It smelled like fish. 

We made GF/DF cupcakes for M to take to school for his half Birthday.  We have a few extras so the kids had a very special snack on their playdate.  The playdate was bitter sweet as it was the last one with H and Y in our town.  H and Y now moved north.  We are hopeful to see them every once in a while.
M: I am finally 5 AND A HALF! 

M and T: We are watching a DVD (in the microwave).
Our church canceled their typical Wednesday night kids ministry one week and had a Skating party at a local skating place.  Over 85 people came out and skated.  Brandon took the kids.  The kids were not very into actually skating (I think this is as far as M made it), but they loved the play structure to climb on.  They had a fun night even if they didn't skate.

Skating might not be their favorite sport. 

T: Now I can stand!

T:  Yay, Christine is going to help me skate. 

T: Look, I am really skating!
This is how a dog princess hoarder dresses :) 

Three going on Thirteen!  I had to get a photo of her looking so grown up. 

T: The iGnite theme was polk-a-dots vs. stripes.  I wanted to represent both sides. 

We love E! 

M: Be careful T.  T: Don't worry I will be.  (And she was removed right after this photo)

One night while Brandon was at a meeting we attempted to make fluffy soapsuds like all the "good moms" who posted the link did.  It was pretty fun for a little while.  It was also dysregulating for all of us and out of our routine so we didn't really know how to handle it.  Hey, live and learn!
M: I love using this mixer.  I am never going to stop.  T: I love splashing suds everywhere! 

M has become my cooking buddy.  He really gets into helping me cook.  He does most of the hamburger browning and all the ingredient adding and most of the soup stirring.  It is super regulating for him and a great time for us to connect in a positive way!

M: I like stirring down the pasta, but the steam sure is hot. 

T often says, "You cry and I come."  This means she wants us to pretend to be the baby and she will be the mommy.  I think she also wanted Brandon to "be sick, just for tend."  When they started the hallway was empty.  As you can see from the photo, T made several trips into the family room to get Brandon all of the things a sad/sick baby must have!

T: Are you OK now baby? 

T: Don't mind me, just doing a little reading. 

I have mentioned in other posts that T loves Chinese food, right?  :)  Well, our dear friend X made T and Brandon some dumplings.  T LOVED them and ate EIGHT of them.  She really really loves dumplings.
T: Is this Chinese Food?  I love Chinese food! 

M worked two whole afternoons on this amazing Valentine for this secret Valentine.  The kids drew a name of someone in the class and then made a Valentine for them. M cut out all the hearts and glued them together.  On one side he drew a picture of him and his friend G (the recipient) and added stickers.  I asked him to tell me things he liked about G and we came up with a long list of sentences. I then wrote the sentences around the outside.  On the back side he wrote his name and G's name.  He was so very proud and I was almost sad to send the heart to school after all of his work.

M: I really hope G likes it!

M: Check out the back!

T: My cheeks hurt! 

M: I decided I needed to make a parade.  This is my flag. 

Curt and Deb... the amazing local grandparents!

Our family room blinds have not really worked properly since we moved in.  We don't mind.  We are in no hurry to fix them.  One of them falls off from time to time.  M decided to create a runway for his cars.  He also uses it with marbles.  He has races.  In the photo below, other cars are watching the race.  We love these blinds.
M: Go brown car!
T got some dolls and dollhouse parts for her Birthday.  She loves playing with the people (like she does at therapy) and having them do different things.  She knows this is a great activity to do "when M at school."
T: My family is all ready to eat!