Monday, October 31, 2011

In Which It Is Halloween And Connor Gets Sick

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Well, I spoke too soon yesterday on the seizure front, I'm afraid.  Connor had a pretty good morning, and then late in the afternoon he had his first seizure in two weeks, which is when I discovered he was running a 101 degree temperature.  He had two more seizures before the Tylenol brought his fever down enough to get them stopped.  Other than the temperature and saying that he was tired he didn't seem out of sorts, though.  He spent a good portion of the afternoon sleeping, so maybe his body is coping with the fever that way.  I'll keep an eye on him tomorrow and make sure his temperature doesn't get any higher.  Since he doesn't have any other symptoms right now, I'm wondering if maybe he's got a bit of an infection going-- maybe a UTI.  We'll just have to see.

Once the Tylenol kicked in he seemed to perk up, and by the time Jeremy got home he was feeling pretty good, so Jer took the little guy out for just a bit of trick-or-treating.  Connor was a yeti again this year; he got so excited about that costume when I took it out that I figured he could just wear it again this year.  So while the boys were out I stayed home and passed out candy.  We had a slim crop of trick-or-treaters this year, possibly because it was pretty cold outside.  There were quite a few teenagers who came to the door; I'm hoping that next year Ellen will be home and able to try out trick-or-treating for the first time! 

My sister left today and I miss her already.  It was lovely having her here; I wish we had the chance to get together more often.  While I absolutely love living up here in the Pacific Northwest, it is difficult having most of our family 2100 miles away in Texas.  I guess I just have to convince them all to move up this way!

Anyway, hopefully the little guy will be feeling better tomorrow.  I'll be spending that day helping him out with the vast majority of his Halloween candy, which he can't eat.  It's a horrible job, but somebody's got to do it. 



Sunday, October 30, 2011

In Which Connor Looks Great And My Sister And I Grow Facial Hair

It was yet another fun-filled day of sisterly shenanigans over here, as Mary and I decided to go check out The Sock Monster (thank you, astute reader "rbn" for that lovely suggestion) up in Seattle.  But first we had to stop by Adamos and pose with chocolate mustaches.  For Science!

Anyway, so we took the lovely scenic drive up to Seattle to go buy many, many socks, which The Sock Monster luckily had in abundance.  Mary and I both found several pair, and I also got a couple pair for Connor.  Since he wears his braces for most of the day his socks are on display a lot of the time, and so I like for him to have stylish tootsies.  I have a feeling I'll be visiting that store on a fairly regular basis.

After that we ate some gelato, because it is physically impossible for me to pass a gelato shop without going in and eating some.  Then we drove over to the shopping center Jer and I frequent when the little guy is staying up at the hospital in Seattle (something that thankfully hasn't happened for a while) and did some browsing around the various shops there. 

We mostly window shopped, and found a whole lot of cute things in various stores that we decided we could make fairly easily ourselves in all of the spare time (ha!) we have.  We also had to look at, touch and comment on every single thing in every single store we went into, because we are the most annoying customers in the world.  Oh well.  All in all it was a pretty great day!   

Oh, and Connor had yet another fantastic day too.  Tomorrow marks two whole weeks without a single seizure!  I believe the last time that happened was somewhere around July, which is kind of crazy.  Here are a couple of pictures from yesterday that Joanna took.  In one he's decked out in all of his Yeti glory with his best friend baby C, who as usual is annoying the bejeezus out of him.  I'm pretty sure he secretly likes it though, because he gets pretty excited when I tell him that she's coming over.  In the second one he's painting his pumpkin.  Doesn't he just look great? 

That's my big boy!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

In Which I Have A Bout And Connor Visits The Pumpkin Patch!

So today was bout day for me; my roller derby team, the Trampires, played the Terrormedixxx up in Bremerton.  This was the first bout my sister had ever seen me play in, so I was hoping it would go well.

Bout day takes up way more time than just showing up shortly before play time; our team lunch today was at 2:00 in the afternoon, which meant we left the house just before 1:00pm to get there.  We ate at this little tiny Filipino place that had an interesting choice in decor-- it was lined on both sides with full size broken refrigerators.  Seriously-- there must have been at least eight fridges in a space slightly larger than my laundry room.  It was very, very strange and more than a little creepy.  Oh well.

While we were eating at the Filipino Lumpia And Broken Refrigerator Emporium, Connor was off with his respite care worker and her family at the pumpkin patch!  First they stopped by to trick-or-treat at Joanna's mom's house though, and he received a giant package of pudding which was apparently the most exciting thing he'd ever seen in his entire life.  He wore his yeti costume again because what the heck-- he likes it and it still fits. 

Then they were off to the pumpkin patch, where Connor was forced to do all sorts of horrible things, like sit in a pile of corn and touch pumpkins and stuff.  Horrors.  He also painted a pumpkin today, which is currently sitting on my kitchen island.  It is very cute, and I'll be putting it out on the porch tomorrow so the whole neighborhood can see what a fantastic budding artist we have in the house!

So the bout was really fun and I felt like I played well, which is always nice.  We lost by quite a bit, but we still had a great time!  A lot of people were dressed up in all sorts of crazy costumes (including some absolutely adorable kids) so I had fun checking out all of the creative get-ups people were wearing.  Jeremy and Mary both got to come, so that was pretty fun too!  I'm glad things worked out to where Mary was able to see me play; I love getting the chance to share the sport I enjoy so much with family. 

And now it's way past my bedtime, so I should probably go to sleep!


Friday, October 28, 2011

In Which My Sister And I Go Out On The Town

Today my sister and I went out and did a whole lot of sister-type stuff!

While Connor was in school we played around in the local area.  First we went out for coffee, and then we drove over to the mall and shopped for a little while.  I found a lovely winter coat which I'm pretty sure is going to be my new best friend now that winter is coming on.  Mary ogled all of the awesome socks in the stores here.  Mary loves socks even more than I do, if that is possible.  Particularly argyle socks.  She owns a ridiculous number of argyle socks.  Also tights.

Anyway, so after we picked Connor back up from school (the little guy had another great day, by the way) Joanna came over to watch him so Mary and I could go play further afield.  We decided to drive down to Olympia and do some more shopping, because shopping is awesome.  Since the rain was still holding off though, we made a side trip to the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge, where Mary took many pictures and accused me of having secretly manufactured all of the fallen maple leaves, as they were way, way too big to actually exist in real life.  Many of them were about the size of my head.  Also she declared all of our vine maples to be fake too, because there was no way that trees could really have leaves that red.  In her defense, I think all the trees in Texas went directly from green to dead this year thanks to the drought, so I indulged her and admitted stapling all the fake red leaves to the trees before she got here so she would feel better about the Dallas area's less-than-glorious display.

The things we do for family, huh?

Anyway, so it started sprinkling halfway down the trail, and by the time we got back to the van the rain was really coming down.  We drove the rest of the way to Olympia and ducked into one of my favorite restaurants to eat a late lunch.  After that we visited the neat toy store downtown, where I picked up some stickers for Ellen, a Christmas present for Connor (a stuffed Gobo doll from Fraggle Rock!), and Mary and I drooled over the giant selection of Playmobil toys and argued over who owns* the large collection currently sitting in storage until Ellen comes home. 

Anyway, so then we drove back to the house, met up with Jeremy and went out to dinner at our favorite Greek restaurant, which was lovely as always.  My entire fridge is full of delicious leftovers right now, which is not really a problem as far as I'm concerned.

It's so great having my sister here!


*Hint: it's me.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

In Which My Sister Comes To Visit

My sister Mary is in town!

My sister looks like a younger, thinner, possibly evil carbon copy of me.  There is absolutely no way we can possibly deny each other ever.  So good thing we like each other!  Otherwise she could totally rob a bank or something and pin it on me. 

We are also both extremely sarcastic, and we feed off of each other.  So if you see us together, be prepared.

So I swung by the airport to pick up Mary directly after I got Connor from school.  Connor was not particularly excited by this routine change; normally he goes down for Quiet Time directly after school is over.  So he was a little perturbed by the fact that we were instead driving across town.  He was even less excited by the fact that after we collected his aunt we proceeded to go, not home for Quiet Time like we should have been doing if all was right with the world, but instead out to lunch.  So he spent the entire time we were out either ignoring us completely, bending his fingers back on his teeth (which he knows he's not supposed to do) making an angry face or shrieking at the top of his lungs.  Lovely.  As soon as we got home and he had his thirty minutes or so of quiet time he instantly reverted to the sweet, snuggly child I'm used to.

He has me well trained.

Anyway, so I'm really excited about having my sister here (no matter what Connor's opinion is) and I can't wait to spend some time with her!  It's always lovely having family in town.  Who knows what evil plotting we'll get up to?


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

In Which I Witness A Comedy Of Errors

Seriously, this sleep thing is growing on me.  And nine whole days without a single seizure-- how long has it been since that last happened?  I have no idea what is causing this trend, but I'm really liking it.  Keep it up, little guy!

I spent most of today either cleaning or sewing, which Connor was not particularly thrilled about.  I'm way behind on my housework, so when I'm catching up he tends to get pretty bored.  So I'd clean for about twenty minutes, play with him twenty minutes, clean another twenty minutes; you get the drift.  It doesn't really make for very efficient cleaning.

Also I did a whole lot of sewing.  This is because the birthday present I'd made for my sister was destroyed yesterday in a ridiculous Stooge-worthy comedy of errors.  I'd modified a lovely green messenger bag for her by covering it in poppies, and just before I was going to wrap it I held it up to show Connor.  He promptly threw up all over it.

Apparently Connor doesn't like poppies.

So I freaked out, because that bag represented an obscene number of hours of sewing and the messenger bag was made of leather, felt and beads, which I can't exactly throw in the washing machine.  I set it down on the floor next to the couch and ran for the paper towels, which proved to be my second mistake.

Now, Loki is a very tidy sort of cat.  He doesn't like messes, and if he finds one somewhere he will do his part to get rid of it by burying it.  So when I jogged back, paper towels in hand, it was to discover that my cat was standing on top of the bag, claws extended, burying the poppies for all he was worth.  By the time I managed to yank it out from under him (he gave me a very wounded look, as clearly he was just doing his job) he was surrounded by a ring of Pediasure, gold and black beads and shredded felt. 


So anyway, now I'm throwing together another messenger bag, which I will be keeping far, far away from both the cats and Connor.  I had to start over completely because leather is not forgiving as far as sewing holes go, and I would have had to have deconstructed the bag entirely as I'd added a lining, so I figured I might as well save myself some time and start from scratch.  This time I'm doing a sugar skull theme, because I figure Connor is less likely to throw up on a death-themed bag.  And also sugar skulls are easy and fast to do. 

Oh well.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In Which Connor Goes To The Doctor

Three!  Three whole nights of sleep!  My body has no idea what to do with that kind of rest anymore.  Connor's asleep again, so what the heck-- I'll go for four nights! 

I could totally get used to this sleeping thing.

So Connor had yet another fantastic day at school, and then after a short quiet time we were off to a pediatrician's appointment.  The little guy needs a referral for a new stander, as he has outgrown his old one.  He weighs 37 pounds now, which is five pounds up from the last time he was weighed!  He is actually on the growth chart right now (in the bottom 5%, but still on it!)-- isn't that crazy?  The next time he goes up a size in clothing I'll have to shop for him in the Boys section, which kind of freaks me out a little.

We also needed new referrals for a few of his doctors, and I went ahead and got him his flu shot while we were there.  Connor was not particularly appreciative of this.  Otherwise the appointment went well, and I like this new pediatrician; our old one deployed so we were switched to a new provider.  I think this is pediatrician number five or six for Connor, but I've kind of lost count so I'm not really sure.

Anyway, after we were finished at the hospital we stopped by the bookstore to pick up Connor's Good Boy At The Doctor's Office celebratory book, and of course I had to browse for me too.  And then we came home because the flu shot was making the little guy a bit sleepy, and also I had to get some dinner going before it was time to go to derby practice.  I made beef stew.  It was delicious.

Hooray for another good day!


Monday, October 24, 2011

In Which I Get To Sleep A Whole Lot And Connor Is Fantastic

Last night I went to bed at 9:00 at night, telling Jer that he could wake me up if Connor stayed up past when he went to sleep, since he had to work the next morning.  Well luckily Connor conked out before Jer came to bed, and I got to sleep through the entire night.  This means I actually had more than six hours of sleep two whole nights in a row!

It was amazing, people.  I can not express just how awesome it was.  Connor is actually asleep right now, so as soon as I'm done blogging I'm going to go for an unprecedented three nights in a row.  I'm a little awestruck just reading that sentence.  I'm pretty sure the last time that happened, Connor wasn't born yet.

Anyway, the little guy had another fantastic day!  We stopped by the park today after his nap as it was a lovely crisp-but-sunny afternoon, but Connor declared it too cold for swinging so we just took a walk around the trail and then went back home.  The fact that he was actually telling me that he was uncomfortable and wanted to go home was fantastic to see and a major sign that he's feeling great.  Yet again we didn't see a single seizure, and he was engaged, happy, vocal (actually I didn't really miss the shrieking directly into my ear, but that's okay) and just generally feeling really good.  Today marked a full week without any seizures, and it's not just me-- they've also noticed a huge difference at school in his behavior and attention to his surroundings. 

I'm liking this trend!


Sunday, October 23, 2011

In Which I Return Home

I'm back home!

I was mobbed by the cats at the door, and they frolicked around me, the glorious Giver of Food, for about five minutes before they got distracted by a squirrel outside and abandoned me for the windows.  Connor gave me a little smile before he realized that he was supposed to be mad at me for leaving, and then he put on his best Angry Face and kept it on for a good portion of the afternoon. 

It's good to be missed.

I'm happy to say that Connor enjoyed his Daddy time; he didn't have any seizures and seemed cheery, though he didn't really want to sleep last night.  Apparently they stuck close to the house, though they did take a walk or two around the block. 

I really enjoyed the trip, but even though I got more sleep last night than I probably have in the past several weeks, somehow I'm exhausted anyway.  It was probably a combination of all the driving I did today and the large amount of socializing I did over the weekend.  I'm an introvert at heart, and while I enjoy going to parties I don't usually stay for long, and they always leave me completely worn out afterwards. 

So I have about a week to recover before we're off to another bout-- this time in Bremerton.  We've got a crazy schedule in the next month or so!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

In Which I Have A Bout!

So I'm down here in Salem, Oregon, after our first bout of the season!  We had a ton of fun, though we ended up losing by quite a bit.  It's always great to get the chance to visit a new town and meet a bunch of skaters I might not otherwise have the chance to play with. 

But now I'm sitting in the kitchen surrounded by my derby buddies, so it's time to go!  I just wanted to check in and let you all know that I'm having a fantastic time here.  More tomorrow!


Friday, October 21, 2011

In Which Our Daughter Is Safe And I Prepare For A Road Trip

Today I'm so happy to tell you that we received information on the conditions at Ellen's orphanage, and they are high and dry!  The children's home she lives in, as well as the surrounding orphanages, have not experienced any flooding or water damage.  While they aren't out of the woods yet, hopefully the worst is over as the water begins to drain through Bangkok and they will not see the flood levels rise any more in her area.  We're so thankful and relieved to know that she and the other children are safe!  Please continue to keep them in your thoughts and prayers as the situation continues to develop.

Bright and early tomorrow morning I'll be kissing Jer and Connor goodbye and heading down towards Salem, Oregon to play in a roller derby bout.  So there may or may not be a blog tomorrow, depending on my Internet access.  I'm excited about the road trip, and I haven't visited Salem before so it will be fun to see a bit of the city, even if I won't really have time for any major sightseeing.  Wish me luck!

Connor seemed a bit sleepy and lethargic again today; I'm wondering if the return to dark, rainy weather is affecting him a bit.  I know I always tend to want to hibernate when the weather turns gloomy here.  He didn't have any seizures, though, and hopefully he'll sleep well tonight.  Last night I'm pretty sure he had some nightmares; the little guy woke up several times obviously terrified, and he sobbed into my shoulder for a while before going back to sleep.  It was pretty heartbreaking.  I always wonder what it is that he dreams about.  Thankfully his dreams seem to mostly be happy; oftentimes we'll hear him laughing in his sleep.  So far this evening he's been sleeping peacefully, so maybe he'll be in a better mood tomorrow when he has his Daddy Day with Jeremy.  He always enjoys spending time with his daddy!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

In Which Connor Is A Sleepy Boy

Connor had another good day today, though this afternoon he was in a super sleepy mood.  He didn't nap during his quiet time, but when it was over and I brought him out into the living room, ten minutes later he was slumped over the arm of the couch, fast asleep.  I lay him down and covered him with a blanket, and he spent the next two hours snoozing away.

Surprisingly, he actually went to sleep tonight, too.  So this will be a short blog as I'm going to take advantage of it.  I have an away bout with my roller derby team down in Salem, Oregon this weekend, so I want to get some sleep! 

In other news, we scheduled our homestudy update visit today, and we'll be meeting with our social worker in early November as the last step of renewing our immigration paperwork for Ellen.  December will mark one year since we filed our immigration paperwork, and so we need to renew it before it expires and we have to repeat the process.  We're really hoping that this will be the only time we'll need to renew her paperwork and that we'll be bringing her home some time in 2012, but we don't have any news and unfortunately the current flooding in Thailand is likely to stretch out the wait times even longer as the government struggles to cope with the disaster.  In mid-November, our dossier will have been in Thailand nine months.  The earliest we could possibly hear anything would be around next March, but it's more likely we'll get word closer to the two year mark than the one year. 

So in the meantime we'll be filling up the waiting by sending her care packages; we have another one ready to go right now, but we're delaying sending it for another week or so because the postal service to her area is apparently currently shut down.  I was planning on baking some pumpkin bread for this package, but I think I'll hold off and stick to non-perishable items because I'm not sure how long the package may be sitting.

Hope our girl is doing okay!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In Which I Worry About My Daughter

So Connor has actually had a couple of fantastic days!  Not only have we seen zero seizures, but he's been feeling much more like his cheery, happy self than in recent weeks.  So that's been pretty fantastic!

Of course, now I'm worried about my daughter.

As many of you may already know, Thailand is currently experiencing its worst flooding in the past 50 years.  The death toll currently sits at about 320 people and continues to rise.  Unfortunately, about 80% of the province that Ellen's orphanage is located in is currently underwater, and portions of her district have been evacuated, as the water in some areas is as deep as chest high.  Officials are expecting the water to continue to rise over the next few days.  Thankfully, so far as I know the water has not currently flooded the orphanage. 

Ellen and the other higher functioning children, along with the staff of the orphanage, have been working hard constructing and distributing sand bags to fortify the orphanage and the surrounding village, and they have stocked up on food and supplies.  The district is now almost completely cut off due to water flooding the surrounding highways. 

So please keep Ellen and the other approximately 2,000 disabled children in the large orphanage complex in your thoughts and prayers as the situation over there continues to develop.  I'm sure they'll keep the children safe, but that doesn't mean it's not driving me crazy to be sitting over here on the other side of the world, relying on the orphanage website and news reports to piece together what's going on. 

I'm really hoping that this will be the last monsoon season Ellen will experience in Thailand!

My monthly blog for Hopeful Parents is up-- you can find it over here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

In Which Connor Is Asleep So There Is No Blog

I just got home from derby-related activities, and wonder upon wonders-- Connor is asleep!  So consider this a blog placeholder, because I am planning on squeezing every second of sleep out of tonight that I can. 

Good night!


Monday, October 17, 2011

In Which My Creative Brain Keelhauls My Logic Center And Suddenly I'm Making Another Hugely Impractical Costume

So I'm taking a break in my sewing to write this blog post. 

Yes, sewing-- my brain wore me down through sheer persistence.  Last night before I went to sleep I couldn't get my mind to shut up about all the amazing costumes I could make.  After I went to sleep, it kept throwing things at me, so by the time I woke up I had a glorious idea for an autumn dryad-themed costume and exactly how I could make it. 

Not that I need an autumn dryad-themed costume, or have any idea where the heck one would wear such an outfit to.  Do you think my brain cares?  Oh no.  Logic is not its strong point.  Nagging is its strong point, because I just could not get it to shut up about this highly impractical dress.

So it nudged me over and over and over again until somehow I found myself in sitting in front of the fabric store despite having intended when I got into the van to go to the grocery store.  Clearly my brain was going to allow me to do absolutely nothing else until I at least started on this project. 

So I gave up, went in and bought everything I need for the overskirt, which is now about halfway done.  Oh well.  At least my brain is happy, which means it's shut up about the darn thing and I can actually focus.

I had plenty of time to work on the project because Connor slept way, way too much today.  He took a nap at school after he had a seizure in the morning as I was dropping him off.  When he got home he took a second nap during his usual time.  Then despite my best efforts to keep him awake, he crashed again in his wheelchair late in the afternoon (shortly after seizure number three of the day) and slept for another two hours.  I spent a good portion of his nap time sewing. 

So of course he has zero interest in going to bed now.  Looks like more sewing time for me!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

In Which I Need To Turn Off My Brain

So today was a super lazy day for us around here, as we recouped from our Steamcon expedition of yesterday and Connor continued to feel under the weather.  He seems to be in the middle of a seizure cycle right now; he had five seizures today and was kind of droopy.  By the time bedtime rolled around he was having real trouble staying awake, and when we put him down he crashed immediately.  Hopefully that means that his body will get the sleep it needs to recover, and he'll have a better day tomorrow.

I spent a good portion of today thinking up all kinds of crazy costumes that I'd like to do just because.  This is an ominous sign, people.  I have nowhere to wear random crazy Victorian costumes to, and it's not like I don't have other things I should be doing.  Somehow this isn't convincing my brain, though, which continues to throw out ideas at a rather alarming rate.  Next year's Steamcon theme is "Victorian Monsters," and I keep finding myself doodling harpies and unicorns and sprites all over margins of other stuff I'm working on.

Because if there's one thing I need, it's another hobby. 


Saturday, October 15, 2011

In Which We Go To Steamcon

Today was Steamcon Day!

Okay, so Steamcon is technically a three day convention, but Jer and I only had the energy and/or babysitting for one day.  So we chose today, as it not only had the greatest concentration of interesting events but was also the day we could get respite care.  Joanna came to the house at ten this morning to watch Connor, and after a little costume preparation (on my part-- Jer is naturally awesome without a costume) off my darling husband and I went!

Steamcon, for those of you who have not followed my obsessing over my costume for the last four months or so, is a steampunk convention.  This year's theme was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and since I have a Jules Verne-inspired roller derby name I decided that for my first ever convention I just had to make a steampunk roller derby costume to attend in style. 

I'm pretty proud of how the costume turned out, though of course I ended up doing that frantic oh-my-gosh-this-thing-is-tomorrow-and-my-costume-is-only-half-finished song and dance, which I am told is tradition for conventions like these.  I made my bustle, bloomers and spats from scratch, and modified my pads, helmet, gloves, shirt, vest, goggles, hair tentacles (what the heck else would you call them?) and skates.  I bought the corset and the tights.  The ensemble was surprisingly comfortable, though I wouldn't want to actually play roller derby in it or anything.  Also it took a long time to get into; I had to divide my hair up into eight braids and I am terrible at braiding hair, so that part was not particularly fun.  Luckily I had a helmet on over it so you couldn't see how badly parted the mess on top of my head was. 

We were a little worried there weren't going to be a whole lot of people at this thing, but that turned out to really, really not be a problem-- I'm not sure what the actual numbers were but I would guess we saw well over 600 people during the course of the day.  Jeremy was actually in the minority; at least 400 of those were wearing some form of costume, which made for perhaps the best people watching ever.  I've never seen such a concentration of creative people in one space before, and it was a delight to see how everyone had interpreted the theme.  Some of the notable standouts included a giant fish in a suit (he had an upper crust British accent, wore diving flippers and carried a cane), a woman with mechanized crutches, a stilt walker, a man with a working mechanical arm and a gal sporting a neon green Mohawk and wearing a glorious lime green, cherry red and grey ensemble.

Oh and also there were octopi everywhere; in people's hair, draped over shoulders, worked into jewelry-- there was even a giant octopus balloon sculpture in the lobby, complete with angry eyebrows.  It was awesome.  You can see just a few of the amazing costumes over here.

So with all of these crazy costumes, somehow I wasn't quite expecting the reception mine received.  Basically I was mobbed by photographers.  I couldn't walk more than fifteen feet in any direction without someone stopping me and asking if they could take my picture.  I'm not entirely sure how many photos I posed for by the end of the day, but it was probably a pretty substantial number.  

I guess the novelty of the skates made the costume unique enough that it stood out, because it seemed to meet pretty universal approval.  At one point I actually had a random woman run up to me as I was headed into the bathroom, yell "You are a badass!!" and give me a high-five.  

I would kind of like for that to happen more often, actually-- like maybe in the grocery store or after I fill Connor's prescriptions at the pharmacy or something.  I think we could all definitely use more random high-fives and acknowledgement of badassery in our lives.  Someone should start a service or something.

Meanwhile back at home,Connor had a couple of seizures and was apparently pretty morose today.  Maybe this was because he didn't get to see the giant fish in a suit-- I know I would have been disappointed too.  All kidding aside, I hope he has a much better day tomorrow and stays seizure free.

So in addition to the people watching, we spent some time wandering around with a group of friends, checked out the vendors' booths (where I had an amazing freehand silhouette portrait done and conceived plans to deck the rest of the family out in costume at a later date and have theirs done too) and sat in on a panel or two.  And then I changed out of my costume, we took off and spent the remainder of the evening at a bookstore and a coffee shop.

Overall it was just a whole bunch of fun!


Friday, October 14, 2011

In Which A Friend Needs Some Kind Words And Connor Has A Rough Day

 If you have the chance today, take the time to go visit my friend Carrie's blog; she and her family could use your supportive thoughts and prayers.  One of the great things about the online special needs community is the support it offers to parents during times of great hardship and sorrow.  This is one of those times for Carrie, folks.  Her lovely, vibrant three year old daughter, Hannah, has a rare life-limiting genetic disorder and her condition has taken a sharp turn for the worse in the past few days. culminating in them receiving some devastating news. 

We're over here sending good thoughts your way, Hannah.

So I spent the morning at the doctor's office; we're in the process of renewing our adoption visa and so I needed an updated medical form.  The visit was largely uneventful, though I did get asked about the bruises covering large portions of my anatomy.  After three roller derby scrimmages in a week, I get pretty beat up looking sometimes!

Connor had a good day at school, but then he had three seizures this afternoon-- one a seven minute long jerking one in which I literally had the cap off the Diastat and was about to give it when it finally stopped.  So instead of doing anything productive today, I mostly spent the afternoon on the couch with a miserable little boy curled up asleep on my chest. 

That's the way it goes sometimes.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

In Which Connor Loses A Hearing Aid

Well today was interesting.

Somehow I forgot to mention it yesterday, but late in the afternoon I was changing Connor's shirt and realized that his left hearing aid was missing.  Evidently he'd yanked it out of his ear some point during the afternoon and then managed to pull it completely off the cord attaching it to his clothing. 

I wasn't too worried about it at the time; he's done this before and it's always turned up pretty quickly-- usually hiding somewhere in his wheelchair.  I searched the chair and came up empty.  Then I checked the couch cushions where he'd been sitting.  No dice.  I figured it was probably out in the van and decided that as soon as Jer got home I'd go out and find it. 

Jer came home, and in the rush to get off to my derby scrimmage I completely forgot to check the van.  So first thing this morning I dashed out before he left for work and went over the whole interior with a fine tooth comb.  Nothing.

By this point I was getting kind of worried.  Connor and I had run a lot of errands yesterday, and while I knew he'd had both hearing aids on for most of our outing, I couldn't remember if I'd noticed them in the last two or three places we'd been.  He pulls them out so rarely now and they're such a part of his usual appearance that I don't really notice them all that much any more.

I wasn't panicking yet, though; there was still a strong possibility that one of the cats (guess which one?) had carried the aid off or batted it under a piece of furniture.  So after I dropped Connor off for school I went over the house, carefully searching under the couch, the refrigerator, the closet doors and all of Loki's usual hiding spots.  Nada.

My heart sinking, I picked up the phone and started retracing my steps.  No one answered at the craft store, so I left a message.  Everyone else hadn't seen a hearing aid.  It was starting to look like the thing was well and truly gone.  Not good.  Connor will only wear his hearing aids together-- it's either all or none with this kid.  Also the hearing aid missing was the one for his more affected ear; without it he can hear only about 30% of what is going on around him.  I was pretty sure the warranty had expired by this point too as he's had them for about three years, which meant that there was a good chance we might have to replace it ourselves to the tune of $1400 or so.  Those things are not cheap.

I bit the bullet and called our speech and hearing center to let them know Connor's hearing aid had migrated off to parts unknown. Then I went and picked up the little guy from school.  Once we got home I decided to give the craft store one more call this afternoon just to cover all my bases.  The woman at customer service said she didn't think she'd seen anything like a hearing aid come through, but she'd double check just to make sure.  I left my number with her in case she turned up anything. 

And guess what?  They had his hearing aid in their safe!

Turns out a good Samaritan customer had found it in the parking lot of the store and brought it inside sometime yesterday evening.  It rained steadily all last night, but they found it before it got wet or damaged in any way.  Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers!

I called Connor's audiologist back and let her know that disaster had been averted, and then we hopped in the car and rode down to retrieve it and heartily thank the manager for keeping it safe for us.  The rest of the day was thankfully uneventful, and went very smoothly.  I'll be shopping around to see if I can find a more secure way of clipping Connor's hearing aids to his clothing to make sure this doesn't happen again; once was more than enough.

I'm so relieved!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In Which We Have A Good Day

Connor had a great day today!

We spent the morning running errands downtown, and then we stopped in Pioneer Bakery for lunch.  Connor tried some of their chicken soup (with noodles made from scratch, which tells you how awesome it is), and he thought it was pretty good.  He was not as impressed with the marionberry cobbler, which was fine with me.  That way I didn't have to share.

Then we came home and I worked on some of the finishing touches for my steampunk roller derby costume while he took his nap.  After that we opened up our latest theme box from the library and got to work on Connor's therapy for the day. 

The "Going Fishing!" theme box includes, among other things, a pair of fishing rods with a couple of different "catches" you can hook to them to reel in.  I remember those things from the annual block party the neighborhood I grew up in would always hold in the fall.  They would open up a card table, decorate it like an aquarium and set it on its side.  Then the little kids would "fish" over the top of the card table, and a volunteer hiding behind it would attach a little goody bag to their fishing rod.  It was good, cheesy wholesome fun.  I decided to set something similar up for Connor so he could practice holding the rod.

Apparently fishing is not a sport Connor is interested in getting into.  Ever.  He was okay with feeling the rod, and the clicking noise it made when I turned the handle was pretty interesting, but holding was way out of his comfort zone.  I made him do it anyway, because I'm evil like that. 

Then we watched this weeks educational video while he did some kneeling and standing practice.  This was the first video in a new series about the ocean and I was not particularly impressed.  I don't think I'll be checking any more of that particular series out.  Connor could have cared less about the educational content, but they only sang one song, which to his mind meant the video tanked.  Oh well.

Anyway, so overall it was a pretty nice, relaxing, happy day.  I could use a few more of those around here!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

In Which Connor Sleeps And Derby Comes Full Circle

So I'm sitting here on the couch, icing my left knee and coming down off the adrenaline high that I always get after roller derby scrimmages.  Don't worry; there's nothing really all that wrong with my knee.  I just came down a little hard on it during a superman dive in the middle of a scrimmage, and I tend to baby the heck out of my knees because I want to play derby as long as possible.  I certainly didn't have to stop scrimmaging, and it's not even swollen; it's just a little sore and I'll probably have a bit of a bruise tomorrow. 

I'm just super paranoid like that. 

Anyway, the scrimmage was really, really fun and it was made even more fun by the fact that I was not completely delirious because my child slept last night.  Yes, Connor decided that it was finally time to actually sleep, and he only woke up a couple of times.  Of course, he threw up all over the place when he did wake up-- he's still having a little trouble with the transition to colder weather at night-- but once we got him cleaned up he went right back down and slept through until morning.

Speaking of the weather, it absolutely could not make up its mind about what it wanted to do today.  First it poured.  Then the sun came out.  The it drizzled.  Then it was just cloudy.  Then it poured again.  Then somehow it managed to be cloudy and sunny and pouring all at once.  It was very confusing-- basically it looked like the seasons were having a giant fist fight up there.  I'm not sure who won. 

I hope it was summer, though.  I'm not ready for the rain yet!

Anyway, back to the scrimmage.  My team, the Trampires, have several bouts coming up this month and next month that we're gearing up for.  To help us prepare, the Rainy City Roller Dolls graciously drove up all the way from Centralia to scrimmage with us.  So not only did I get to skate against a fantastic bunch of gals, but it just so happens that their coach, Thurston Gore, is the guy who graciously explained what the heck was going on down on the track to Jeremy and me when we attended our first bout ever in September of last year.  It was great to see him again and a ton of fun to play his team!  Who knew that roller derby would end up being such a huge part of my daily life?


Monday, October 10, 2011

In Which Connor Has A Long Day

Connor's final bedtime last night: a glorious 5:30 in the morning.  I was well into delirium by the time he finally decided to go down.

He gets his medication at 7:00am, and he crashed again pretty quickly after Jer administered them.  I called the school at a little past eight and asked them if they wanted me to bring him in.  Technically he wasn't sick, but the likelihood of him having a productive day was not very high.  They told me to keep home, so I went back to bed. 

Thankfully, it was Murder All The Indigenous People Day-- a.k.a. Columbus Day-- so Jeremy had the day off of work and I could sleep in while he watched the little guy.  I took full advantage of this and slept completely through my normal chore time; I didn't actually leave my bed until noon.  This meant I got a luxurious six and a half hours of sleep, leaving me relatively functional. 

Connor woke up again for the day around ten in the morning, so he got around four hours of sleep total.  I decided I needed to try and wear him out today so he'd actually go down tonight instead of continuing the cycle.  So I decided it would be a good time to go drop off some adoption paperwork (we need to renew our home study, since it's due to expire soon).  I loaded him in the car and we were off to Renton.  After that we grabbed a bite to eat.  Then we stopped by the library to pick out a new theme box (this week it's "Going Fishing") and some books.  By the time we left the library Connor was drooping in his seat.  He apparently went down hard shortly after I left for derby practice, and he is actually asleep right now!

You have no idea just how excited I am about this.

So we were browsing the video section of the library (I've taken to checking out one educational video a month for Connor to watch as a special treat while he does his home therapy) and instead of videos appropriate for him I kept gravitating towards all the older kid videos, like Bill Nye the Science Guy and Mr. Wizard's World.  Then I realized that I was picking out videos I wanted Ellen to see.  Whoops!

Guess I've just got the kid on the brain all the time!


Sunday, October 9, 2011

In Which I Discuss My Anti-Sleep Plan

It seems that Connor is back in insomnia mode again, which means that I'm spending a whole lot of late night hours sitting in the living room wishing that I was asleep in bed instead.  This is night number three of Connor's current sleep strike, but thankfully it's been over the weekend so Jeremy's been a sweetheart and letting me sleep in so that I'm not completely zombified.  Now that we're getting into the week, we'll see how long I stay capable of forming actual sentences. 

Since I'm forced to stay up an additional seven or so hours a night more than I would like to on regular occasions, I've developed a number of coping strategies to keep myself from passing out on the living room couch.  Here's a general timeline of activities that I pursue during my nocturnal hours:

8:00-10:30 (Level One): Sew, read intellectual books, work on chores, and do generally quiet-but-productive things, depending on how many nights in a row Connor has been on a sleep strike.  If it's been more than two days, forget anything remotely productive and skip straight to Level Two.  Drink tea and eat a bowl of ice cream.

10:30-12:30 (Level Two): Read run-of-the-mill fiction, look up funny videos on the computer, browse blogs and Facebook stalk all of my friends.  Drink more tea.  Organize my bookcase.

12:30-2:30 (Level Three): Play endless losing games of Spider Solitaire.  Refresh Facebook every five seconds to see if the three people still on have said anything.  Watch the cats stare fixedly out the windows and creep myself out by imagining they're staring at an intruder.  Read bad romance novels.  Drink more tea.  Eat more ice cream.  Make eighteen trips to the bathroom. 

2:30-4:00 (Level Four): Alternate between laughing maniacally and weeping softly into my tea.  Start trying to write something, but get distracted by how weird the word "rough" is.  Stare at the word rough until it doesn't look like a word anymore.  Raid the pantry and eat every piece of chocolate I can find.  Watch the cats run around the house like maniacs.

4:00-whenever (Level %&$#@): Rock back and forth in a corner staring at the wall and gibbering.  Drink tea.

It's currently just shy of one in the morning and Connor is still going strong (yes, I usually backdate my blogs on Insomnia Nights so they are assigned to the appropriate day), so I'm anticipating tonight I'll go at least as high as Level Four-- we'll just have to see how the evening progresses.  I'm already way, way past the point where I should be doing anything productive, like answering e-mails or attempting basic math.  Or blogging, for that matter.  You wouldn't believe what this looked like before I used spellcheck on it.

Oops!  The tea kettle is whistling, so I need to go.  Get some sleep for me, will you?


Saturday, October 8, 2011

In Which I Do A Whole Lot Of Stuff

Today was a very busy day!

I spent the morning running errands, and doing a bit of shopping.  Connor has been growing really rapidly; he's in 5T clothes now, which means we're just one size away from moving over to shop in the boys section instead of the baby/toddler section.  I find this mildly terrifying.  Anyway, he'd outgrown (or pulled completely out of shape, as he just loves to pull on long sleeves) pretty much all of his heavier winter shirts and sweaters, so I picked up a couple for him at the mall.  I also picked up a new pair of flats for me, because I've worn my old pair into the ground.  I'm kind of hard on shoes; basically I wear them until they have huge gaping holes in them and they fall apart.  Huge gaping holes in shoes aren't very pleasant in the rainy season here. 

Then I stopped by the photo center to pick up the large pictures of Ellen I'd had them print.  We wanted to send her some more recent family pictures of us, and thought it would be neat to hold a photo of her in some of them so she knows she's part of the family.  Of course, what would be really crazy is if we then received a photo of her holding the photo of us holding her photo.  Whoa.

So then this afternoon it was off to the park, where Connor absolutely refused to cooperate as far as having his picture taken.  Mostly he wanted to look at the ground, and while the top of his head is as adorable as the rest of him, it's not really the focus we were going for.  Eventually he perked up a little bit, so hopefully there's a good shot or two in there.  We'll just have to see!

So we came home after that and I made some fruit salad, hopped in the car and was off to a potluck party with my roller derby team.  It's always great hanging out with the gals, and also I got to eat a whole lot of yummy things that somebody else fixed, so I thoroughly enjoyed myself. 

To finish out the evening, after the party I stopped by the house, grabbed my skates and was off to Derby Appreciation Night at one of the local rinks.  I spent the next hour and a half or so skating around and chatting with some more lovely ladies both from my roller derby league and from others in the area.  It was a great way to end the evening.  I'm pretty sure I'll sleep well tonight!


Friday, October 7, 2011

In Which Connor Does The Chica Chica Boom Chic

Short blog tonight-- Connor stayed up until three in the morning last night, and I need my beauty sleep!  Thankfully it sounds like he's actually gone down tonight.  Let's hope he stays that way.

So it turns out that he does like Carmen Miranda.  We danced around to "Chica Chica Boom Chic" and some of her other songs for a while in the living room, and he greatly admired her collection of fruit hats.  Perhaps I should get some plastic fruit and make one for myself.  If it will make him pay attention to me while I'm trying to teach him something I will gladly wear bananas on my head.  I will even learn a bit of Portuguese.

I don't think I'll be learning his favorite song of hers, though.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

In Which We Declare A Pajama Day

Since I figured Connor would probably need to take it easy today, I declared the day an official Pajama Day.  This is a made-up holiday in which we both stay in our pajamas and don't brush our hair and spend the entire day lounging around the house and doing absolutely nothing.  Oh, and also there is ice cream involved.  Ice cream is an extremely important part of every Pajama Day.

Or really any day, for that matter.  Yum.

Anyway, you aren't allowed to do anything productive on Pajama Day.  Well, okay, I did spend Connor's nap time sweeping the floor, but I was still in pajamas and dancing to big band music and also on roller skates so it totally doesn't violate the spirit of the holiday. 

So we did pretty much nothing today, and it was great!  I think every once in a while it's important to declare a silly holiday like this one-- it's a chance to relax and really enjoy our time together.  That's not to say that we don't have other days where we sit at home and do nothing-- we definitely do-- but somehow it makes a difference when I declare one deliberately rather than feeling like I'm forced into it because of Connor's health issues. 

Yesterday's Diastat did its work well, because the little guy didn't have a single seizure today!  It was a much needed break for the little guy; by the afternoon he seemed to be feeling much better.  We snuggled, and read lots of books, and sang silly songs and, of course, ate ice cream.  I had mine frozen, and Connor had his microwaved until it was all melty because the cold hurts his teeth.  Both of us thoroughly enjoyed it.

I put on Muppet Treasure Island as a special treat, and Connor politely clapped his hands at the end of every song.  The rousing musical number "Cabin Fever" received particularly enthusiastic applause, so we replayed that scene a few times.  He particularly liked the fruit hats worn by several of the characters.  I think I need to introduce him to some Carmen Miranda films.

Tomorrow it will be back to business as usual; I'll clean the house, we'll run some errands, and so on and so forth-- provided the little guy's brain cooperates, of course.  But Pajama Day did its work well and I'm feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the mountains of housework and other stuff I need to get done. 

Hooray for silly holidays!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

In Which Connor Has A Not So Great Day

Connor and I initially had a pretty good day; he slept in until just past nine in the morning and then we spent some time playing around the house before heading out the door shortly after noon.  I wanted to pick up a couple more things for Ellen's care package, and I was also completely out of books, which is a dire predicament in our house. 

So we drove down to a neighboring town to spend some time at the bookstore.  I'm still saddened by the fact that I have to drive a whole thirty minutes to get to a bookstore instead of the two minutes I had before the local one closed, but this is probably a heck of a lot better for my budget.  Oh well.  So Connor and I browsed and found a few good titles.  Then we sat in the coffee shop attached to the store and had lunch.  Connor wasn't interested in my smoothie or my strata, but he helped out quite a bit with the cream puff I had for dessert. 

So after that we ran a couple more errands and went home, where the little guy and I spent some quality time snuggling.  He seemed to be pretty worn out from our outing.  We took it easy until Jeremy got home and it was time for me to get ready for derby.  I was grabbing my skate bag and just about to walk out the door when the little guy decided it was time for a seizure.  A seven minute long seizure of the trembling, jerking variety.


So we ended up having to use the Diastat, and we were getting pretty close to calling the EMTs when he finally stopped shaking and twitching.  It's pretty easy to tell when this kind of seizure is over because it's literally like someone has flicked a switch-- one second he's trembling and jerking, the next second he's perfectly still.  He stayed awake through this one the whole time, and was obviously aware it was going on, and towards the end he was starting to get pretty upset, which is always hard.  I kind of prefer the ones where he ends up completely out of it because then it probably isn't nearly as scary for him then the ones where he knows it's happening but has no control over what his body is doing. 

So Jer and I sat with him on the couch, kept the oxygen flowing to make it easier for him to breathe, and held his hands and sang to him until the seizure was over to try and keep him calm-- when he starts getting upset during a seizure it does bad things to his breathing. 

When it was all over and he stopped, Jer and I stroked his hair and told him that he had done a great job and was such a brave big boy.  He looked gravely at us for a minute, then broke out in a huge, delighted smile that lit up his whole face before giving a little sigh, closing his eyes and falling asleep, his head cradled on my hand and his legs across Jeremy's lap.

I love that kid so much.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

In Which Connor's Brain Misfires Some More And I Work On A Letter

Connor had four more seizures today-- three of them a minute or longer-- which means he's probably back on a seizure cycle.  After seizure number three he spent most of the rest of the afternoon curled up next to me on the couch, drifting out of sleep, with one of his little hands clenched tight around my finger just to make sure I was there. 

Somehow he manages to be adorable and to break my heart, all at the same time.

While he dozed, I used my free hand and the hunt and peck method to type out the first few paragraphs of our next letter to Ellen.  I talked about the weather here, about how school has started up and what the schools are like here, about fall holidays and the celebration at one of our local farms, at the high point of which we get to shoot pumpkins out of a cannon.  I'm having a hard time figuring out how to finish up the last paragraph, but I'm hoping to wrap things up tomorrow and get it sent off for translation.  It will hopefully go a little faster if I have two hands to type.

The little guy is out of school for the rest of the week due to in-service days, so I'm hoping we'll be able to go out and pick up a couple of pie pumpkins at one of the local patches, depending on how he's feeling.  I was thinking about how fun it will be to make Ellen a pumpkin pie for the first time, and now I find myself craving the delectable stuff. 

Not that it will be the first time she's tried pumpkin of course-- they can actually grow them year-round in Thailand-- but they usually prepare them very differently from the way we do in America.  They pickle them and serve them with a spicy dipping sauce, stir fry them, serve them cubed in vegetable soup and seafood curry, and cook them with coconut milk as a dessert.  With pumpkins in abundance here I may have to try out some of the Thai recipes-- some of them sound pretty tasty, and it would be great to be able to find a way to incorporate a Thai dish or two into our Thanksgiving dinner!


Monday, October 3, 2011

Connor jumped right back on the seizure bandwagon today; he had four total today.  Thankfully all of them were pretty small, but they succeeded in completely wiping him out.  He spent most of the day snuggling, when he wasn't napping in a postdictal haze.

We probably would have hung around the house today anyway; I think we've officially skipped fall and are fast heading into winter.  The temperature today was downright chilly, and the rain didn't help anything.  I feel kind of cheated, considering how late the summer was in coming this year.  Hopefully the rain will clear up soon and we'll have a few more of those glorious Indian summer days; I'm not ready to stop my outdoor skating sessions just yet, even if I do have to dodge more fallen leaves (and lately, the occasional fallen tree).

So it was a cleaning day for me again-- I did tons of laundry, which barely got a peep out of the boy today (and you know he isn't feeling good when laundry isn't funny anymore) and general pickup around the house.  The cats apparently didn't get the memo about it being a quiet day, though.  They apparently thought it was Run Around Like A Maniac And Get Into A Whole Heck Of A Lot Of Trouble day.

See, I've been working on all of my sewing projects at the dining room table, because it's nice and wide and I'm able to spread things out and really make a mess instead of having to be all contained in our guest room.  Of course, the guest room has the advantage of being a cat free zone.  The dining room table is supposed to be a cat free zone too, but apparently Loki decided he was going to forget all of his manners today because dang it, there were all sorts of fun and interesting things up on that table that he could jump up, knock off onto the floor, and quickly bat under whatever piece of furniture looked like it would be the most difficult to retrieve them out from underneath.  Every time I turned my back he'd jump up there again. 

Maybe it was the weather or something.  Who knows?

The real fun started when he managed to get up there and knock off my container of seed beads.  It broke open, spilling approximately 2,000 tiny, tiny beads (which had been neatly sorted by color, and no, that's probably not an exaggeration as far as numbers go) onto the laminate, where they skittered across the floor in every direction.  Loki went and hid under the bed.  I suspect he realized he'd reached his trouble quota of the day and knew it was time to go take a nap.

So after about half an hour of time on my hands and knees with a miniature dust pan, I now have a large jar of 2,000 beads of various mixed colors and, since I hadn't swept the floor yet today, also little bits of fluff, cat hair, dust, and things I don't want to look too closely at.  And now I'm also finding little seed beads in the most inexplicable places-- in my couch, in my socks, in Connor's hair-- I swear they're migrating.  I suspect I'll be picking them out of my food, clothing and furniture for the next three months.

Crazy cat.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

In Which Not Much Happens

I woke up this morning and immediately decided that today was going to be a take-it-easy kind of day.  I decided this because I wasn't sure I could physically get out of bed.  I was just a wee bit sore from yesterday's workout.  Basically it felt like somebody had beaten my quadriceps and glutes with a sock full of quarters. 

So other than a little light skating (because seriously, the best way to get sore muscles to stop hurting is to loosen them up with a bit of exercise, even if it's the last thing you feel like doing) I spent a good portion of today either catching up on chores, reading or watching derby.  All in all it was a pretty quiet day, and a good one as far as quiet days go.

Connor didn't have any seizures, which was fantastic, but he seemed a little down in the dumps today.  It might have been the weather; it's turned dark and rainy again, and so we didn't go on our usual walk today.  Also he stayed up until three in the morning last night, which also might have contributed to his crabbiness.  Thankfully he's asleep tonight, which will hopefully mean he'll be in a better mood tomorrow so he'll enjoy his school day.

So yep!  Nothing happened today.  There wasn't even a single velociraptor to liven things up around here.  It was kind of nice!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

In Which I Go To The Gym And Meet A Future Roller Girl

So I was at the gym today hip checking a punching bag, when I heard a sort of high pitched squealing.  I looked over and-- wait, maybe I should explain what the heck hip checking is for the non derby-initiated.

Basically, it's where one derby girl slams her hips into the mid-thigh area of another derby girl, putting her on the floor.  It's one of the more powerful legal blocking moves you can do in derby because you can put your whole weight and momentum behind the swing, and for taller, more, um, padded women like me who have a larger "battering ram" to use it can be really, really effective.  Here's a stellar example of this move:

Ouch.  So yeah, really effective.

Or at least, it can be really effective when it's done correctly, which is why when I'm at the gym doing my weight workout I often stop by the punching bags for a little off-skates practicing of my form.  I'm still in many ways a derby novice, but I've noticed a big improvement in the quality of my hip checks since I started practicing my timing against the bag.  Also it's yet another activity that keeps my ego from getting overinflated. 

The punching bags are located in a room with a full wall of glass windows that look out onto the main floor of the gym, and trust me when I say that I tend to attract a bit of attention.  I'm a red-faced, sweaty woman squatting in the middle of an otherwise empty room, slamming my rear into a punching bag over and over again.  Since I'm not dressed in anything roller derby related and hip checks aren't exactly a staple of most martial arts, basically I just look like I'm either practicing horribly bad dance moves or really, really don't understand the art of self-defense.  Let's just say that personal dignity is not one of the things I'm working on during my visits to the gym.

Anyway, so I was merrily hip checking away when I heard something I can only describe as what the Wicked Witch of The West would have sounded like on helium.  I glanced over and there was a little girl, young enough to still be a bit unsteady on her feet, with her entire face smashed up against the glass watching me.  Her mother smiled at me and gave me a little wave from her perch on a bench across the hall.  Every time I landed a particularly good hit and the bag swung out in an arc, the little girl would bounce up and down on her chubby legs and let loose with another enthusiastic shriek of glee. 

She was adorable.

So I may have a few bruises from my workout today, because I spent a good half an hour hitting that bag as hard as I possibly could to really make it fly.  There's nothing so inspiring as an adoring fan-- especially when that adoring fan is three feet tall, has blond ringlets and is still cutting teeth. 

Eventually she had to leave for her nap time, and I finished the rest of my workout upstairs on the track.  But I think I need to hire a small children cheering section for future bouts; they are really great motivators!

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