Sunday, July 31, 2011

In Which Ellen (No Not That Ellen) Is In Town

My friend Ellen (not my daughter Ellen, though that would be fantastic) is in town right now for a few days, which is, as always, turning out to be tremendous amounts of fun.  This is the Ellen that our daughter would be named after if she didn't already have a perfectly good name and also was able to pronounce Ellen, which she probably can't.  Got that?

Anyway, Ellen and have been really, really close friends since I was twelve years old, which is kind of a ridiculously long time to be friends with somebody.  We usually try and see each other a couple of times a year, and any time we are around each other we instantly revert to around the age we met.  Needless to say, all sorts of shenanigans happen.  So no doubt I will have a tremendously good time while she is here, and Jeremy will be doing a lot of justified eye-rolling.

So I don't have a whole lot to report today, because I spent the first half cleaning and the second half giggling over old sketch books with Ellen, in which I'd drawn a bunch of extremely bad renditions of people in various action poses, dragons that look a whole lot like the pet iguana I had at the time with wings, and chunky, fat horses with legs that bend the wrong way.  Ellen has a bunch of similar sketch books at home.  Ellen and I were Very Serious Artists.  Of course, Ellen could actually draw people and dragons and horses.  Particularly horses-- we've got some of hers hanging in our hallway, and their legs bend the right way and everything.  Also they look amazing, but that's beside the point.

So anyway, it's fantastic to see her, and we'll no doubt enjoy ourselves way more than is probably healthy and/or legal for people our age.  Yay for company!


Saturday, July 30, 2011

In Which I See An Improbable Pair Of Kayaks

So I spent today cleaning in preparation for a friend's visit and trying to resist the strong temptation to write a theme song for Semi-Flexible Plastic Boy.  Please note that 'plastic' rhymes with, among other things, 'drastic,' 'fantastic,' 'bombastic' and 'sarcastic.'  I had a very, very hard time restraining myself. 

Jer and Connor spent quite a bit of quality time together today.  I love it when Jeremy is home on the weekends and I get to watch the two of them interact.  Jer is a fantastic dad, and he's never happier than when he's bouncing the little guy up and down and telling him silly stories.  Connor loves every second of it, of course.

The weather here has finally decided to cooperate, and we've had some absolutely glorious sunny days.  I think everybody has gone a little nuts; traffic on the weekends has been ridiculous because so many people head out towards the coast or the mountains, ready to spend some time hiking or kayaking. 

And it's not just ridiculous because of the number of cars on the road, either.  Today on my way to the grocery store I saw a smart car with not one, but two sea kayaks strapped sideways to the roof.  It looked like they'd rolled the windows down and managed to wrap bungee cords through them and around the whole mess.  I'm pretty sure the whole thing would tip over if the driver took a turn a bit fast or if we got a strong breeze.  I gave him a wide berth.

What's next?  A kayak strapped to a unicycle?


Friday, July 29, 2011

In Which Connor Needs Another Part Recall

Well that was a fun doctor's appointment.

I called to make an appointment to get Connor's school paperwork filled out and also because I figured I'd better get his knee checked out.  I thought they'd get me an appointment some time in the next couple of weeks, but when the woman making the appointment heard about Connor's knee she kind of freaked out and insisted we get an appointment for tonight.  So off we went.

We ended up having to call on the way there and reschedule for a later appointment time because traffic was so bad, but we made it to our second appointment and were whisked off to see the pediatrician.  He asked us to leave the school paperwork at the desk, and then took a look at Connor's left knee.  He actually visibly cringed when the leg popped out. 

"Whoa," he said.  "His knee is really messed up."

This is always what you want to hear coming out of a pediatrician's mouth.

He said that it looks like Connor's experiencing "tibial subluxation," which essentially means "shin bone partially dislocates," and that it is both "passive and active," meaning "the doctor can make it happen and Connor can do it to himself."  He said that it should hurt like a son of a gun every time Connor does it, too, so either the kid has some really weird nerves in there or an insanely high pain tolerance.  This is why I didn't think it was that big a deal-- the kid pops it out twenty or more times a day and doesn't even flinch.  I think that thanks to Connor's seizures my bar for what consists of an emergency is set so darn high now that I'm much less likely than the average parent to deem something a big problem if it doesn't involve bleeding, screaming or imminent death.  Cue the Mommy guilt trip.

So we have a referral to the orthopedist, who I'm supposed to call on Sunday to get an appointment.  The pediatrician refused to speculate on what exactly Connor would potentially need because it's "not his field," but he did say that at the very least he would expect the little guy to need a brace, or possibly some other more invasive measure because his knee "really has some crazy stuff going on in there."  If he ends up getting a knee brace (or two, though his right shin seems to stay where it should so far), then combined with his ankle-foot orthotics and back brace it's going to look like this kid is armor plated.  Of course, I'd much rather do a brace than surgery any day, so if a brace is what we need, sign us up.  Maybe we can get one with flame-decorated velcro like his other braces so it'll look like he has a matching set.  We can give him a superhero name to go with it.  Orthotic Wonder Boy has a nice ring to it.  Or maybe Semi-Flexible Plastic Kid. 



Thursday, July 28, 2011

In Which Connor Pulls An All-Nighter And We Get Some Adoption News

I just woke up!

Jeremy graciously let me go to bed after he got home, and I slept for a blissful four hours.  Connor decided last night that he wasn't going to go to sleep.  At all.  And then he didn't nap today either.  He was actually in a pretty good mood, too-- unlike his mother.  Pulling an all-nighter doesn't really do wonderful things for my sunny disposition.

Thankfully he crashed tonight, so hopefully I'll be able to take advantage of that and get a full night's rest. 

I probably would have felt a little down today anyway, because we learned that the wait for referrals of waiting Thai children now is likely to be 18-24 months rather than the 8-18 months it was when we entered the program.  This is partially because Thailand hosts a Nativeland Tours program every couple of years in which children from all over the world who were adopted from Thailand visit their birth country for a week.  The social workers put aside everything for a couple of months to prepare for the tours, and as a result adoptions currently in progress end up being delayed.  Another reason is the massive decrease of adoptions from China, Russia and Ethiopia, which has caused a flood of families trying to get into other programs.  I'm not sure yet just how this affects our adoption, as that timeline is for people just entering the process.  However, it's likely that we won't be seeing a referral next spring like we hoped. 

Of course this is still nowhere near the wait that many adoptive families experience-- couples adopting a non-special needs child from China are waiting an average of five years or more now-- but we really want to get Ellen home!  She's been waiting for thirteen years for a family now, and I wish she didn't have to wait any longer.  Of course we know that the Thai government is doing the very best it can for Ellen and the other children like her waiting, but it's hard knowing that she's growing up on the other side of the world.

We'll keep sending her care packages and love in the meantime, and hope that the adoption process goes smoothly and quicker than we're expecting!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

In Which Connor Sleeps In Forever And I Break In My Skates

Connor went to bed promptly at 7:00pm last night, and he slept in until noon today!  I think he's just decided to sleep every other day or something.  I tried waking him up earlier in the day so that he'd sleep well tonight, but it was an unmitigated disaster so I had to put him back down.  Of course now he's still awake, which I kind of expected.  Oh well.  At least I got to sleep in until dang near noon too, which was good.  I needed the sleep!

I started breaking in my new roller skates today!  I bought them a few months ago, but I've just been wearing them around the house trying to loosen them up a bit until the season was over.  It's always an adjustment breaking in new skates, and since I'm a fairly new skater anyway changing equipment in the middle of the season didn't sound like a good idea.  So now we're in the off season and I figured it was time-- especially since my old skates are starting to fall apart.  I do a lot of skating outdoors, which is not particularly good for the leather. 

Also I fall down a lot, which isn't good for them either.

It's interesting getting used to new, higher quality skates.  My new skates are a lot lighter and also much more responsive, so tonight I found myself moving over to the other side of the track way, way faster than I expected, which made for some interesting timing issues.  I would go to hit someone and end up completely missing them because I tried to start the hit way too early, and then end up flying off the track because I'd overcompensate in the other direction.  It feels kind of like I suddenly switched to power steering!  By the end of the scrimmage, though, I felt like I was finally getting a better handle on how they moved.  I'll keep working at it and hopefully in a couple of weeks they'll feel as natural an extension of my body as my old skates did. 

Of course, I still have to really break the leather in, which is not going to be fun for my feet.  Tonight was especially interesting because I took the inserts that came with the skates out and then forgot to put my new ones in, so I ended up with my feet directly on the bolts inside the skates.  I don't really recommend this as a good idea if you like having, oh, skin on the bottoms of your feet.  I should probably go ahead and put my inserts in so I don't forget again. 

My feet will probably thank me for that.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In Which Connor Stays Up Late

Okay, this is going to be a really short blog post, because I am very, very tired.

Guess what time Connor decided to go to bed last night?  Or perhaps I should say, what time he decided to go to bed this morning.  5:30am-- that's what time.  He went to bed at around 7:00pm, his usual time, napped for about an hour and a half and then decided it was Fun Play Time until literally about ten minutes before the sun rose.  Then he napped again until around 8:00am, and then refused to go back to sleep. 

As a result my sweet, happy child was replaced today by Grumpster McSaddykin, the crabbiest child in the whole entire universe.  He went into hyperactive delirious mode in the morning and got steadily more frantic until he had a complete and total meltdown around 11:00, which is when I tried to put him back down for a nap.  He fell asleep almost immediately, but there were Real Tears beforehand, which is pretty unheard of for my kid.  He slept until 2:00 and then woke up and almost immediately had another major meltdown.  Fun times. 

We went to occupational therapy at 4:00-- we were supposed to go this morning but Jolie graciously rescheduled when I called her and asked for a post-nap time.  The kid seemed to be interested in the new toys she brought out, and when I say interested I mean "didn't have a major meltdown when being forced to touch them," which is pretty much all we could ask for today.  He also refused to open his eyes for most of the hour, and in between touching things he kept telling us he was tired and waving goodbye to Jolie.  All in all it was not one of our more productive sessions, and needlesss to say he didn't show off any of his new bouncing skills.  About the only time he perked up was when I told him it was time to go home.

He crashed this evening, so I'm going to take advantage of it and get as much sleep as I possibly can!  Hopefully he'll stay down tonight.  There are only so many days I can run on less than two hours of sleep without getting kind of loopy!


Monday, July 25, 2011

In Which Connor Discovers His Hinges

So today Connor discovered that his legs have these crazy hinges on them, and it is possible to actually bend them while standing up.  Who knew?  Before this he very emphatically believed that standing up required one's knees to be in the firmly locked position, and that it was only possible to bend them when it was time to sit down.

So now he has discovered the joy of bouncing!  He spent about twenty minutes today carefully bending his knees just a little, straightening them back up again and then laughing about it maniacally for several minutes.  Connor has what is quite possibly the best laugh ever in the history of everything (here's a sample, if you'd like to hear it), and it's incredibly infectious.  So there was a whole lot of giggling and silliness going on this morning.  Hearing those adorable little squeals of joy just makes my whole day brighter.

So after Connor thoroughly wore himself out with his oh-so-careful bouncing, we decided to go to the park.  Unfortunately the second we got there and unloaded it started to rain.  So we got back in the car and went to get some lunch instead.  After that we spent some time tooling around in various craft stores, shopping the sales for art supplies.  One can never, ever have too many art supplies, and I was feeling the creative bug today.  So after Connor went to sleep I spent some time working on my Steamcon costume to scratch my crafty itch.  I think that so far things are going pretty well!

So now we'll be adding a daily bouncing session to our normal routine.  An physical therapy exercise that generates as much giggling as laundry day and box delivery day?  Sign me up!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

In Which Connor Has An Uplifting Experience And Jer And I Write A Letter

Connor had no seizures today!  Whoo hoo!  He was pretty feisty today; we did a whole lot of standing practice and he's started doing something new.  He very carefully lifts one leg up and puts his full weight on the other leg!  This is a huge step (almost literally) for him, as this is the first time he's realized he can lift a leg up and put it down without falling over.  He still needs plenty of support and balance from us, of course, but it would be amazing if we could get him to the point where he could use a walker and be able to move around independently.  Yay Connor!

Today Jeremy and I finally finished up Ellen's letter for her latest care package.  It was so incredibly difficult to figure out what to say!  It's about a page and a half long and took me about three hours to write, which is around two hours and forty-five minutes hours longer than it normally takes me to write a letter of that length.  Hopefully now that we have our introduction letter out of the way future letters will be much easier to compose.  We've sent it off to our adoption agency for translation, and hopefully when we get it back in a week or two we can send Ellen's care package on its way to her!

We'll probably start working on the next one right away.  Packages are pretty expensive to send to Thailand and we don't want to overwhelm her, so we're limiting ourselves to about one a month.  It takes us a little while to find just the right things to put in them though, so that's okay!


Saturday, July 23, 2011

In Which Jer And I Take A Day Trip And Dodge Optical Illusions

Today Jer and I took a day trip to Vashon island!

Actually there's not a whole lot to Vashon island.  There's a large lavender farm, which Jeremy and I immediately labeled the Farm of Death due to the fact that Connor is wildly allergic to lavender.  There's a tiny downtown area in Vashon, where we got some tasty Indian food and popped into a number of cute art galleries and antique stores.  There's a coffee roasterie too, where Jeremy found some green coffee beans.  Guess I'll be hearing the smoke alarm go off tomorrow!  I found some Jamaican rum tea at the same place-- who knew such a thing existed?  It smells like just what it sounds like-- spiced rum.  I'll give it a try tomorrow morning and see how it is, though I'll probably feel strangely guilty about drinking it before four in the afternoon.

Other purchases of the day include smelly soap, some extremely tasty caramels and, of course, a book or two.  What date of ours would be complete without books?

So anyway, one of the highlights of the trip was actually the ferry ride over; I saw a seal in the wild for the first time!  A harbor seal swam alongside the ferry for a few minutes, bobbing up every once in a while to take a good look at the cars and people.  I've seen harbor seals in zoos of course, but it was really neat to see one in its natural habitat.  I always forget how big they are.

Connor stayed with Joanna of course; apparently he wasn't too happy about sharing his toys with Jo's daughter-- who is old enough now to start getting enthusiastic about whatever Connor's playing with-- but otherwise he had a much better day.  He only had two seizures and they were both really tiny.  Oh, and of course he's not asleep right now.  But other than that he was good!

Jer and I left the island in the early afternoon and stopped at one of my favorite cafes in Tacoma for a sandwich and some time with (of course) our current novels.  We finished out the night in the movie theater, where we saw Captain America.  My official review: it was so-so.  It had a few good one liners, but otherwise we weren't terribly impressed.  We actually ended up leaving about five minutes early so we could be home in time (and also so we could stop by the cupcake store, which was on the way and which I had been raving about all day) but I don't think we'll sit through the whole thing again just to find out what happened.

We accidentally saw the movie in 3D, which was interesting.  The last time I went and saw a movie in 3D I had to put on those little paper glasses where one lens was red and the other was blue, so I was a bit taken aback when they handed me what looked like a pair of cheap but otherwise perfectly normal pair of glasses.  Guess the technology has advanced quite a bit from when I was a kid!  They still did that thing where they threw stuff directly at the screen so it looks like it's going to hit you in the face, though.  I spent half the movie ducking, which I'm sure was highly amusing to the people seated behind us.

So all in all it was a good day!  I love spending time with Jeremy wherever we end up going, and it's so fun to explore the Puget sound area and see what neat discoveries we can make together!


Friday, July 22, 2011

In Which Duct Tape Makes Great Nautical Props And Cupcakes Are Delicious

Today I had respite care for a good long while, which was lovely.  I used it to do a little cleaning, spend some time shopping and just as a chance to get out on my own for a while!  Connor had four seizures, but they were all really small ones, which was good.  Despite the seizures Joanna kept him awake today in an effort to get him to sleep through the night, but it doesn't seem to have worked as the little guy keeps waking up.  Oh well.

Other activities today included building a four foot high anchor out of cardboard, dowels and duct tape with a friend (which looks every bit as impressive as you might imagine an anchor prop made out of cardboard and duct tape might look) and also going out for a rather disappointing dinner with Jeremy.  It certainly wasn't the company that was the trouble; it was the fact that the sushi place we went to has really gone downhill.  They used to have fairly decent quality conveyor-belt style sushi, but then a Vietnamese restaurant moved in next door to them and to compete they lowered all their prices to $1 a plate.  Then they started slicing their fish really, really thin and stocking the conveyer belt almost exclusively with maki (heavy on the California rolls and imitation crab spider rolls) instead of nigiri sushi, which means in order to get any nigiri plates you have to request them from the chef.  On a busy night now it can take twenty minutes to get a single plate of nigiri.  I think Jer and I are going to need to find a new sushi restaurant to frequent.

Luckily I did have one thing later on in the evening that made up for the lousy dinner: dessert!  There's a new cupcake shop that's just opened up in town, and not only do they serve coffee, but on weekends they're open until one in the morning.  This is incredibly awesome, because if I wake up at midnight and decide I need a cupcake, I can just hop in the car and go get one!  And their cupcakes are delicious, too.  I tried a chocolate raspberry one today and it had a raspberry ganache center that seriously made me want to whip up a batch of truffles to try and recreate the experience.  I think Jer and I have found our new end-of-the-date hang out spot now that our beloved bookstore is shutting down.

Midnight cupcakes for everyone!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

In Which Connor Needs A Trauma Scale And I Am A Cartoon

Connor had four seizures today.

I'm not much of one for updating the look of my site, but I sort of think the blog need a Seizure Threat Level bar at the top so instead of blogging about them practically every day I can just set the level based on however many he's had.  Or I could simply put up a version of that trauma scale I was going to submit as a possible revision for What To Expect The First Year.  Today would be a Coffee Heath Bar Crunch and Bailey's Irish Cream day. 

I have no idea where that would actually fall on the scale, but it sounds delicious. 

Anyway, so the other major-- and much more amusing-- activity of the day was that I got to be a roller derby life model!  The Cartoonist's League of Absurd Washingtonians (CLAW) holds monthly open salons, and they invited us to pose!  So me and a couple of my teammates dressed up and spent a couple of hours holding poses while a whole bunch of ridiculously good artists drew our portraits.  It was a ton of fun!  Not only did we get to watch some really cool people at work, but they even paid for our drinks and let us pick out an ACEO by the lovely Anique Zimmer, whose work was on gallery display there!

We attracted rather more attention than we anticipated, as there was a large picture window facing the street directly behind where we were posing.  Since we were all dressed in fishnets and hot pants, we were quite the window dressing!  Apparently the expressions of the pedestrians who glanced in the window were just a tad comical.  I believe we drummed up a bit of business for the coffee shop, and also possibly caused a couple of elderly gentlemen to have heart palpatations.  Whoops.

I wish I could show you all of the really neat artwork from tonight!  If any of the artists post their work anywhere I'll have to put up a link to it. 

So the evening was certainly an improvement on the rest of the day, even though it didn't involve any ice cream.  It did involve a lovely cup of free hot cocoa though, which will work in a pinch! 


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

In Which I Have A Me Day

Today Joanna came over and while Connor watched How To Train Your Dragon, she gave me a much needed massage.  I pulled my lower back a week or so ago and then skated a couple of derby scrimmages in a row shortly afterwards, which probably didn't help any except that it distracted me from noticing how my back hurt because so many other things hurt too. 

Anyway, after I got my much needed extremely-painful-at-the-time-but-feels-great-later medical massage, Jo watched Connor for a few hours and I got to go play!  I spent some time in various thrift and craft stores finding things that I could potentially convert into costume pieces for my steampunk roller derby outfit, because I'm just that excited about making this thing that I want to get started right away.  Then I came home and spent a while at the dining room table with a pair of old knee pads, some metallic copper paint, patina acid wash, a square of leather, a brass grate cover and a pair of plastic tentacles.  I'm having some serious fun!

I'm sad to say that Connor didn't have quite as much fun as me today, despite getting some time to play with Joanna.  He had a pair of seizures today and ended up spending a good portion of his time with her sleeping off the effects.  Looks like probably what we're seeing is a medication failure again, as his temperature was normal and he seemed otherwise fine.  I'll be giving the hospital a call, though Connor's neurologist is on vacation for the week so it may take a little while before we get things adjusted. 

I know-- shocking, right?  Neurologists aren't supposed to go on vacation.  They're supposed to sleep on an exam table by the phone waiting for parents like me to call them. 

Anyway, so hopefully Connor will be doing a bit better by this weekend.  Jer and I have a long day trip planned while Joanna watches the little guy; we're headed out to Vashon Island.  We haven't been to the island before, and we figured it might be fun to check out the art galleries and shops in Vashon, hike a bit of the shoreline and just take in the sights.  I'm looking forward to spending some one-on-one time with Jer!

And also looking for more parts for my costume.  Vashon has thrift stores, right? 


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

In Which Our Bookstore Is Closing And I Am Distraught

So I found out today that the large bookstore five minutes from my house will be closed by the end of the week.  We have one tiny independent used bookstore in town, and that's it.  Now if I want to browse through new books, I'll have to drive half an hour to a neighboring town in order to buy them.

Is it sad that I sort of teared up a little when I found out the store would be closing?  Probably, but I don't really care; first my favorite fabric shop went under, and now this.  What the heck is a crafty English major supposed to do these days?  I know, I know-- buy electronic books like everyone else.  Well, I'm not having it.  I like the feel of books, dang it, and noticing the little intricate details that go into making a book a work of art, like the typeface and the end papers.  And I can't imagine being in the middle of a good passage and suddenly realizing I'm almost out of batteries. 

Plus, there's the thrill of going into a bookstore and having no idea what kind of book you are going to leave with.  You get to stalk up and down the aisles, waiting for the right novel to leap out at you from the shelves so you can pounce and make the kil-- take it up to the checkout counter.  I refuse to confirm or deny whether or not I actually growl under my breath like a velociraptor while I'm hot on the trail of a good find.   

I can't really imagine getting the same thrill from Amazon's "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" scrolling bar, even if I am ordering books in their non-electronic form.

This sort of thing always makes me worry that the printed book is going the way of the record and the tape deck and will be obsolete in twenty years.  Yes, you still have record and (to a lesser extent) tape deck enthusiasts running around and you can still find old records and tapes in various antique stores and on eBay, but you don't really see a whole lot of stores selling new ones, now do you? 

So like I said, I'm really sad to see it go-- Jer and I have spent many, many hours and probably ridiculous amounts of money in that store and we have many fond memories of it.  We almost always end our dates side by side in a coffee shop with our books in hand, enjoying each others' quiet company.  While we'll still end up doing the same, I guess we'll be spending a whole lot more time at the coffee shop with library books in hand.  Either that or we'll be putting a few more miles on the car.



Monday, July 18, 2011

In Which Connor Is Suddenly Fine

So I didn't end up needing that overnight bag after all!

Yes, my child took the "miraculous recovery" route; he slept an unbelievable seventeen hours straight and then woke up at seven in the morning happy as a clam.  Not only did he not have a single seizure today, but except for a slight difference in muscle tone probably brought on by yesterday's Diastat he was his normal, happy self.  Thanks so much for all your prayers, support and well-wishes. 

I'm so relieved! 

Even so, I'm still I'm wondering what the heck was up with yesterday.  I mean, seriously-- did the kid think we weren't getting enough excitement around the house or what?  Maybe it was the weird sleeping habits he's been keeping recently.  Maybe his brain got bored and decided a game of Neuron Whack-A-Mole was a good idea.  I have no clue what happened, but I"m sure glad that he's feeling much better!

So instead of spending the day at the hospital like I expected to, instead I spent it shopping online for costume parts.  I just discovered that the theme for this year's Steamcon, to be held in October, is "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea."  As you all probably know, I absolutely love Jules Verne and my roller derby name, Gita Kraken, is a nod to his fantastic storytelling.  And did I mention that my number is 20K?  So obviously I must go to this years Steamcon, and I must revel in all my nerdy glory by dressing up in a costume.  Preferably a roller derby steampunk costume, which might just be the coolest idea I have ever had in my entire life provided I can actually figure out a way to pull it off.  This is what happens, people, when I get all worked up about possibly taking Connor into the hospital and then he suddenly recovers.  All of that nervous energy has to go somewhere.

For those of you who have no idea what the heck I'm talking about, here's a quick explanation of steampunk.  And Jules Verne, though I will be very disappointed in you all if you don't already know who Jules Verne is.  Also the kraken.  Basically it's like they designed this entire convention specifically for me.

Anyway, I spent Connor's nap time sketching up wildly impractical costume ideas and trying to figure out how to incorporate functional roller derby gear into them, which was a whole lot of fun.  This would be the first costume I've ever made for one of these things, thereby catapulting me into the official realm of the Really, Extremely Nerdy.  However, I figure I've been dressing up in various types of roller derby costumes for the last nine months or so, so this really isn't a big step for me. 

And of course I will have to make Connor a matching costume.  Because Connor in a little leather aviator hat with goggles would only be just about the cutest thing known to mankind. 

I'm so happy he's okay!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In Which Connor Is Not Doing So Well And I Come To Terms With Some Things

So my posts in the past few weeks may not have been the most interesting things in the universe.  Some of them have probably bordered on boring.  That's because we haven't had a whole lot going on around here.  But you know what?  I kind of like boring.  Especially when the alternative is the kind of day we had today.

The short of it is that Connor had eight seizures, we used pretty much every form of emergency medication available to us at home, and then he spent the rest of the day sedated and sleeping.  He's been asleep now for about nine hours-- since around two in the afternoon.

He's not running a fever.  He doesn't seem to be sick.  He hasn't gained a ton of weight or been under a whole lot of stress.  Yesterday he was fine.  Today he spent in an exhausted, seizure induced half-coma.

So we have absolutely no idea what tomorrow is going to look like.  Either Connor will make a mysterious and miraculous recovery and we'll have no idea what the heck that was all about, or we'll go to the hospital.  It's going to be one of the two, and while I'd really like to think it's going to be the former I get the feeling that I should probably go ahead and pack an overnight bag.

It's been a good run-- we've gone about four months without being admitted, which is a relatively long amount of time for us.  It's pretty frustrating, though, to continually get blindsided by this sort of thing.  I mean, one day the kid is fine, and the next-- BAM!-- he's not.  Sometimes I can almost manage to forget that we have a child who could literally die on us at any moment.  Then we have a day like this and reality comes crashing back in.         

When we first got the news that Connor was going to have some serious medical issues, when I was halfway through my pregnancy, I remember reviewing everything I'd eaten over the past four months.  I'd picked some blackberries on the side of the road one day; had they been covered in pesticide?  Did I not drink enough water?  Did I exercise too much?  I was looking for someone to blame for the fact that I was most likely going to lose my child, and the easiest person to blame was myself.  I absolutely did not cause Connor's disabilities, but it took the results of a genetic test several months after his birth to completely absolve me of the last of that guilt.

I find myself having to be really careful not to do a similar thing with Connor's seizures when they come on so suddenly like this.  Did I leave him in one position too long?  Feed him too quickly?  Logically I know that there's no way I could have caused him to have them, but it's difficult to get rid of that magical thinking because of the other side of the coin: if I caused him to have seizures by leaving him in one position/not paying him enough attention/singing the alphabet song backwards/insert completely ludicrous activity here than I can magically solve the problem simply by doing or not doing whatever one of those things is needed to make the seizures stop.  We all want a magic wand that we can use to fix our children when things like this happen.  I think mine is out of batteries right now; I keep waving it and nothing changes: Cinderella stays a chambermaid, the pumpkin stays a pumpkin.  My son's seizures don't magically disappear, and we're running out of medication options that don't involve dangerous side effects. 

I suppose that's the nature of life.  Life is a heartbreaking, wonderful, sad, terribly beautiful thing, and we don't get to wrap everything up in a nice fairytale happy ending, no matter what the Lifetime Movie channel might tell us.  We don't choose the paths our children walk any more than we choose our own.  No matter how much I'd like it to be true, I can't change the fact that Connor has a difficult and bumpy road to travel.  I can do my best to smooth his way, and make his journey as happy and fulfilling as possible.  But I don't get to control where his journey ends, or how it ends.  That's not my decision to make.  That's a hard truth to come to terms with, but it's an important one.  I can't control how much time I have with him, or for that matter, anyone else, but I can choose how I use that time.  And weighing myself down with guilt instead of focusing on what things I can do for my son is not the way I want to spend it.

So I'll go in to Connor's room tonight, and kiss his small cheek, and stand over his bed for awhile, watching him breathe.  I'll pray that I'll get the chance to stand over his bed many more nights, doing the same thing.  I don't know how much time I have with him, but then I don't know how much time any of us has.  I just know I want to spend every moment I can filling him to the brim with love.  And with every smile, he reminds me why I started this whole crazy journey of parenthood in the first place. 

I love you, little guy.  Every step of the way.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

In Which Connor Helps Me Discover New Hobbies Through Insomnia

Connor stayed up until four in the morning yesterday, continuing his quest to drive his parents absolutely insane.  Then we all slept in until an hour normally reserved for college students the morning after a particularly good fraternity party.  I know that technically I should be waking Connor up the same time every morning regardless of what time he went to sleep so that we'll break the cycle, but that means I have to be awake too and neither Connor nor I function very well on two hours of sleep.  So we'll just be nocturnal instead, I guess.

Here's the big problem I have with Connor's crazy sleep cycle-- he only does this sort of thing two or three times a week.  All the other nights he goes down just fine.  This doesn't really matter for me, though, because I am completely incapable of alternating between 8:00pm and 4:00am bedtimes at the drop of a hat.  So on the nights he goes down, I usually end up staying up way too late anyway because my body is used to that sleep cycle.  That means that when Connor wakes up bright and early on the mornings after he chooses not to invoke his Bedtime Strike, I am not a particularly happy camper.

Oh well.  This is probably really good training for having a teenager.

I have developed some strategies regarding Things To Do While Waiting For My Child To Fall Asleep.  These include, but are not limited to:

--watching ridiculously cute videos of animals and/or small children on YouTube.
--stalking my daughter on the Internet in a completely non-creepy way, I swear.
--playing Spider Solitaire on intermediate until I win a game, which usually takes a while (games played: 1347, games won: 249).
--discovering how many bon bons I can fit in my mouth at one time (answer: seven).
--watching my cats do things they are not allowed to do because they know I won't get up from my armchair to do anything about it.
--drinking too much tea.
--drawing highly researched, elaborately detailed plans for my garden that I have no intention of ever actually doing.  The latest involved a multi-level water feature, a lovely Japanese maple selection and a seven foot high bronze sculpture of a velociraptor, which in my opinion should be right up there with the gnome as a beloved fixture in the garden.  Please note that I have gone so far as to plug "garden velociraptor" on Google Shopping and have been extremely disappointed in the results, which seem to consist mostly of computer parts and the odd cookie cutter.  What statues I did find were a scant six or seven inches tall or looked ridiculously non-threatening.  And yes, I am aware of the fact that velociraptors were actually about the size of a turkey, but that's what poetic license is for. 

Why, when people could choose to be sculpting terrifying sickle-clawed creatures of death they would instead decide to sculpt a small bearded man mooning people is a little beyond me.  Clearly there is an untapped market here, people: bronze workers take note.
As you can see, I at least manage all the time I have to stay awake wisely and productively!  It's amazing the kinds of things you can get done at 3:00am when you are completely delirious and also on a sugar high from too many bon bons.

Seriously, kid.  Go to sleep before you drive your mother nuts.


Friday, July 15, 2011

In Which I Narrowly Avoid Death By Laundry

Listen closely.  Hear those gentle thumping and swishing sounds?  That's the glorious noise an actual working washing machine makes after it's been put back together.  That's right: after nine days the part we needed came in the mail, Jeremy put things back together, and so we can finally wash our clothes again.  And the machine doesn't dump water all over our floor or anything!

I never thought I would be so excited about being able to do laundry.

Seriously, laundry is my least favorite chore in the entire universe, even though Connor still thinks me folding anything larger than a hand towel is hilarious.  It just seems so completely pointless, as approximately eight seconds after I take the laundry out of the dryer it somehow manages to become completely covered in cat hair, whether or not the cats are anywhere in the vicinity.  Cricket usually moseys on over anyway once I've started folding to give the clothes an inspection just to make sure they're thoroughly coated, and also to defend us from the dreaded Static Snakes that lurk in the innocent looking pile.  So really I don't know why I bother.

Crazy cat.

Anyway, after almost a week and a half of not doing laundry, I have changed my mind and decided that laundry is my favorite chore in the universe, and also one of the most important.  You know why?  Roller derby, that's why. 

Every once in a while I mention going to practice, or a bout or whatever on here, but I don't usually talk about it every day so you all probably don't realize just how much skating I do in any given week.  The short answer: a lot.  I do a whole lot of skating, both at regular practices and on my own.  And know what else I do a lot of?  Sweating, that's what.  Yes, not only do I have super fair skin that turns beet red whenever I exercise for more than five minutes so I look like I am going to keel over at any given moment-- making for gloriously attractive Derby Action Photos-- but I also sweat way, way more than is proper for a woman raised in the south to ever admit to in public.  No, really.  I can usually wring out my shirts by the end of the night. 

Ew.  I'm sure you all really wanted to know that.  It totally makes me wonder how the heck I ended up with a kid with no sweat glands.  Don't think that means he produces less laundry, though; he makes up for his lack of sweating by drooling all over everything.  No doubt he just wants to do his part to make sure I fold as many hilarious things as possible.

Yeah.  So anyway, so after a solid week of unwashed derby gear along with Jeremy's daily weight lifting clothes all sitting in the hamper, my bedroom is starting to lose any resemblance to a romantic adult retreat.  Instead, the room is rather disturbingly beginning to channel a feel that I can only call "eau de high school boys' locker room." 

This is not exactly a mood setter, if you know what I mean. 

So I'm extremely glad that I have my washing machine back now and don't have to haul that entire nine days worth of, um, fragrant clothing down to the laundry mat, which I was either going to have to do soon or otherwise start making daily trips to the mall in my pajamas in order to buy a clean outfit for the day.  Especially since I was clean out of sports bras, and while I won't hesitate to wear a pair of, say, blue jeans twice in a week, wearing the same sports bra would be really, really gross.  It might improve my derby game because no one would be able to get within ten feet of me without passing out, but I'm pretty sure I'd be unconscious too so I wouldn't really be able to take advantage of that.

All the people down at the laundry mat probably should be really relieved that I'm not hauling our clothes down there too.  Not that I'm entirely sure I would have made it there; in the close confines of the car the fumes would probably have overwhelmed me before I even left the driveway.  Goodness knows what Jeremy would have put in my obituary if I succumbed to Death By Laundry. 

At any rate, Jer gets Major Brownie Points for fixing the washing machine all by himself, thereby postponing the writing of my obituary for what will hopefully be quite some time.  Not that I should really be worried about what Jer would put in my obituary anyway, as it will no doubt be awesome whatever my cause of death.  My guess is that he will probably work in velociraptors somewhere. 

Also maybe chickens.  Because chickens are awesome.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

In Which Connor Tickles The Ivories And Ellen Gets A Bed

Today Connor rediscovered his keyboard as his Favorite Toy In The Whole Wide World.  He spent a good portion of the day mashing his hand down on the keys and then grinning at the cacophony.  He also gets an extremely serious and focused look on his face when I help him play "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star."  It's extremely cute.

As soon as I find my camera cable (missing since our vacation) I'll have to take some pictures to show you all how ridiculously adorable he looks while he is making the keyboard sound like a dying cat. 

I was happy to see him take some initiative and actually play with the keyboard on his own; lately it seems like he doesn't want to touch any of his toys by himself.  I'm not sure what exactly is going on there; this kid goes through some weird phases sometimes.  I was starting to worry that this whole refusal to interact with his toys was somehow related to all the seizures he's had and that maybe he was losing some skills, but now I just think he's being stubborn.  Oh well.  We'll be adding back in some more deep pressure sensory work and hopefully he'll get back to using his hands more often!

For the most part we stayed home today, though we did run one very important errand.  We bought Ellen's bed today!  This is the first piece of furniture we've gotten specifically for her, so I was pretty excited about it.  It's a very feminine white trundle bed with porcelain knobs on the posts that looks really similar to the bed I had growing up.  Over the next few months I'll be slowly transitioning our former craft room into Ellen's room, and buying her bed was the first big step!  Items of furniture still on the list for us to find include a dresser and a desk.  Her room is relatively small, so we'll stick to the essentials.  Right now the bed is still in pieces in our garage, but it should be really easy to set up once I've cleared the room for it.  It makes me feel more connected to Ellen to know that we have the bed that someday she'll be sleeping in.  Hopefully putting together her room will make the wait go faster!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

In Which Connor Has A Trick Knee

Connor had a much better day today!  He didn't have any seizures, and he seemed to be in an extremely good mood.  We kept busy for a lot of the day, which probably helped; he loves to keep moving!

Today we went in to get his hearing aids checked out and it looks like he probably won't need new earmolds for a while.  His hearing aids are in great working order so the appointment ended up being much shorter than we expected.  I don't really have a problem with that!

We haven't had to use the Sad Hat in a long, long time by the way; Connor leaves his hearing aids in all day and now he even asks for them if we haven't put them back in after his nap.  The only time he takes them out is when it's extremely noisy, and in that case they probably aren't doing him a whole lot of good anyway.  It's probably good that we haven't had to use Sad Hat, because I think he's probably outgrown it! 

He's developed some other interesting quirks, such as his trick knee, which I am probably going to have to take him in for to get checked out.  Connor likes to put his toes in his mouth.  On the right side this isn't a problem, but on the left side he gets his toes up far enough by partially dislocating his leg at the knee.  This is a bit disconcerting to watch to say the least; obviously it's not causing him any pain or he'd quit doing it but it isn't really something I'm very excited about!  It pops back in (sometimes audibly) when he puts his leg back down.  I'm sure that will be a fun doctor trip.  We have to break in a new primary care manager anyway, so we'll add this to our list of things we need to cover.


In other news, Jeremy and I sat down this evening and had a good talk about what exactly we want to put in our introduction letter to Ellen.  While we of course already love her to pieces and wish we could share those sentiments with her, we decided it's probably going to be best if we don't gush about how amazing she is, how we already feel she is our daughter, and the eight billion other things we could say about how we feel about adopting her.  This is because she hasn't spent the past nine months poring over every photo, video and piece of information she can find about us like we have about her.  Also she hasn't had a family for thirteen years and we might overwhelm her if we come on too strong.  So while we probably won't be able to resist putting in a line or two like that, for the most part her letter will likely cover more mundane things, like who the heck we are, where we're from, things we like to do, etc. 

We'll keep it simple.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

In Which Connor And I Are Much Improved And I Consider A Letter To Ellen

Connor and I both felt about 800 times better today.  In fact, I felt perfectly fine.  I suspect that maybe the late lunch I ate on Sunday at Art on the Ave really didn't agree with me and that was the root of the problem.  This is the second time in the past couple of months that I've managed to get food poisoning, and I can now say conclusively that I don't recommend it as a regular recreational activity.


Anyway, Connor did much better today as well; his fever broke last night and he seemed to be feeling so much better today that we actually left the house in the morning and tooled around the mall for a little while, looking for things to put in Ellen's care package.  He started feeling a little punky again in early afternoon and left after he had a short seizure.  He had one more in the evening, but both were less than 15 seconds long so I'd say he is definitely on the mend.  Either that or the Diastat is still working, but he really seemed to be so much better today that I'm going to go with the former explanation. 

Anyway, we found some locally made caramel corn and a book of stickers for Ellen, both of which she can probably share with her friends.  I think that with the addition of another letter to the orphanage (and maybe a short one to Ellen this time) that this care package will be finished.  We'll write those in the next week or so and send them to our agency for translation.  We'll put Ellen's letter in an unsealed envelope and make sure the orphanage director knows about it so that she can read it, and if she feels it's inappropriate she can take it out of the package. 

If we do end up writing a letter to Ellen this will be our first direct communication with her.  It's really hard to figure out just what to say; how do exactly do we introduce ourselves to the girl who will be our daughter?  There are so many things that we want to tell her, but it's difficult to know where to start.  I'm trying hard to imagine what kind of questions she probably would like to know the answers to.  Some of those questions-- like when we'll meet her for the first time-- I'd like the answers to myself. 

I'm sure Jer and I will sit down, pour out our hearts and after a few dozen drafts manage to come up with something that sounds about right.


Monday, July 11, 2011

In Which Connor And I Are Sicky Sadkins

So Connor and I spent the majority of today in bed.  This is because we are both not feeling so hot right now.

Connor was running a fever and had five seizures before I gave him some Diastat.  He actually perked up after the Diastat, which as it's a sedative tells you just how punky he was feeling.  He was a little limp wet noodle, of course, but much more cheery.  I'll keep him on Tylenol for the next few days and hopefully the Diastat will keep the seizures at bay until he's better.  Usually the effects last a couple of days with him.

I'm not running a fever, but I seem to have picked up some sort of a stomach bug, which has not been particularly fun.  I asked Jeremy to bring me home some saltines, chicken broth and chicken soup, and that's pretty much what I've eaten today.  No doubt I've gotten about 400% of my required sodium intake.  Oh well.  I started out with the saltines and the chicken broth, and then I tried a little chicken soup, which proved to be a mistake.  I've gone back to the saltines and chicken broth for now and I'll repeat the experiment in the morning.

The fact that I actually requested saltines should tell you that I'm really not feeling good, by the way.  Normally I far prefer crackers that have way, way more butter in them.  Because butter is awesome.  But I don't really want to think about butter right now because it's making me kind of queasy.

Luckily Jeremy feels fine, which is a very good thing.  I hope he stays healthy and free of either one of these bugs (I'm not totally convinced that Connor and I have the same thing) because having the whole house sick would really not be any fun. 

Who would restock us on saltines and chicken broth?


Sunday, July 10, 2011

In Which I Find Some Art On The Avenue

Today I woke up early and drove to Tacoma to check in for Art on the Ave.  AotA is an annual arts and crafts show that happens on one of the main streets in the city.  My roller derby league has had a booth there for a few years running and it's one of our big promotional events.  This year we also had room to set up a miniature track so we could hold a scrimmage or two and show off our skating skills. 

This is actually the first year I've ever been to AotA, so I didn't really know what to expect.  It was huge!  There were over 100 vendors there, two stages, a skating ramp, a dog fashion show, and a whole lot more.  A ton of people turned out and quite a few stopped by to chat and get more information about the crazy sport of roller derby.  I had a whole lot of fun people watching, too.  Craft fairs seem to be great places in general for that sort of thing; they really bring out all kinds of folks.

After my shift was over I of course had to check out the rest of the craft fair.  You all know how I am about these sorts of things; how could I pass up the opportunity to look at so many great things people have made?  And of course a few of those great things had to come home with me.  I ended up buying a neat t-shirt with a kraken on it (of course) and this amazing mirror framed in salvaged wood and decoupaged with letters of the alphabet and an octopus wearing a crown.  I haven't decided yet if I'll put it in Connor's room, by our front door or in the hallway near the kids' rooms yet, but I'm sure I'll figure it out.  I have a small pile of artwork right now that needs to find a home in my house, so that's another project for me to work on at some point.

I also got some henna done, because I know the artist who was working today and besides, henna is awesome.  It's the perfect tattoo for people like me who change their minds way too much to get a real tattoo. 

Connor and Jeremy stayed home; Connor had another small seizure today and apparently felt a little punky.  I started feeling a bit under the weather myself this evening, to tell you the truth, but that may be because despite taking precautions and dunking myself in sunscreen I managed to still get sunburned.  Sunburns do that sort of thing to me.

The sunburn was worth it though, because Art on the Ave was a total blast.  I can't wait to go next year and see what cool (and probably octopus or squid related) things I can find then!


Saturday, July 9, 2011

In Which Connor Doesn't Feel So Hot And We Finish The Deck

Today Connor had a small seizure-- his first in about two weeks.  We think he might be coming down with a virus; our respite care worker's daughter is sick and the timing would be about right.  He seemed a little worn down and clingy today, so it may be that he's not feeling very good.  We'll see what things look like tomorrow.

Can I just say that going for two whole weeks without any seizures has been pretty fantastic?  Seriously-- it's been a huge weight off my shoulders to see a happy, healthy kid for a little while and know that he's had a chance to recover.  I think that it'll make it so much easier for him to bounce back quickly if our suspicions are correct and he is getting sick. 

In between snuggle sessions Connor today I still managed to get quite a bit done.  While Jeremy alternated between playing with the little guy and tinkering with the washing machine I put a second coat of stain on our deck.  So the deck is now officially finished!  Well, until the next time it needs to be restained, anyway.  Hopefully that won't be for a little while.  We found this tool called a

Jeremy also vacuumed the house and cleaned the kitchen, because he is awesome like that. 

After the deck dried and we were able to walk on it again, Jer and I wheeled the boy outside and got to work installing the arbor.  It's been leaning up against the house for weeks now, so it's high time we got it in the ground.  After a lot of digging, checking levels, digging again, checking levels again, filling in holes and so on and so forth we managed to get it pretty upright and even.  It's cemented in place now, so whether or not it's perfectly level it's not going anywhere!  I'll plant the akebia vine tomorrow and then we'll have one more project finished.  Next on the list is staining the inside of the fence.  Hopefully that will go quickly and I'll be able to install our trellises.  After that I'll mulch, and then I think that the biggest construction-type projects we plan to accomplish outdoors this summer will be finished! 


Friday, July 8, 2011

In Which We Still Have No Washer And I Find My Daughter On The Internet

I still don't have a working washing machine, but at least the leak is fixed now!  Unfortunately in the process of getting the door off Jer took apart the latch mechanism and we can't figure out how to put it back together.  So we've ordered a new latch and once it comes hopefully I'll have a working washer again!  In the meantime I'll be digging quarters out of my change jar and looking for a local laundry mat.  Oh well.

While Jeremy worked on the washing machine, I got out the scrub brush and used some elbow grease to clean our deck from top to bottom in preparation for staining it tomorrow.  It probably won't end up looking like a professional job by any stretch of the imagination, but it should at least keep the deck somewhat protected from the weather and bugs.  I'm looking forward to being able to cross a project off my list!

I also picked up our farm share today and judging by the bounty of produce, it looks like summer has finally come in!  This week's share included a ton of greens-- so many that I couldn't fit them in the vegetable drawers-- and sugar snap peas, strawberries and cherries among other things.  To use up some of those greens I made Thai lettuce wraps tonight, and they were ridiculously tasty.  I'm trying to incorporate more Thai recipes into what I cook so that I'll be comfortable whipping up some of Ellen's favorite dishes when she comes home.  Whether or not this particular meal was authentic Thai cooking (I am completely incapable of following a recipe's directions and ingredients lists to the letter) I think we'll add it to our list of meals to make again!

Speaking of Ellen, I've been spending some of my free time tracking photos of her down on the Internet.  It's amazing what you can find on Google and YouTube if you know how to look; once I figured out how to get around the fact that all the websites are in Thai it was astonishingly easy.  So far I've found over twenty photos or videos of her posted in various places.  I've found a lovely dance performance she and some of the other girls put on, her singing along to a popular Thai song, and a brief news interview.  I've also seen pictures of her meeting some Liverpool soccer stars, eating lunch courtesy of Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, watching Spiderman 3, and at a wilderness camp.  Oh, and also meeting Ronald McDonald, who apparently treated all the kids to free hamburgers.       

Actually I'm a little freaked out by just how many pictures and videos of her I've managed to find on the Internet.  The kid doesn't even have access to Facebook yet and already she's all over the place. 

Not that I really mind at the moment, of course.  The more pictures I can find to ease the wait for us, the better!  Also it's pretty neat to see some of the cool things she's done over the years, and we love having pictures of her growing up.  I think I'm going to find a scrapbook and start making an album of all the photos we have of her so we can give it to her when she gets here.  I can't wait to hear the stories she'll have to share about them.

And I get a little thrill every time I find her in a photo.  It's kind of like Where's Waldo, if Waldo was a small Asian child hiding in a sea of small Asian children. 

Anyway, it's obvious that we're adopting a kid with a sense of adventure.  It looks like she probably signs up for as many activities that will take her outside the orphanage walls as she possibly can.  Our house may be positively boring as a result; we don't have a whole lot of visiting royalty or soccer stars in these parts. 

Oh well.  I'm sure that coming to the USA and being part of a family will probably be adventure enough! 


Thursday, July 7, 2011

In Which The Washing Machine Saga Continues And Can We Just Get This Kid Home Already?

I planned on staining the deck today, but the morning dawned gloomy and rainy, which is pretty much the exact opposite of what one wants when staining a deck.  Not that I minded the gloom and rain for once.  Spending ten days in 100+ degree temperatures will do that to you.

Jeremy continued his Washing Machine Repair saga today, and he discovered the problem!  There's a quarter-sized hole in the outer washing machine tub-- the part that fills with water-- and so basically all of the water was flowing into the tub and then running straight out the hole.  He took the drum off the washer and used a patching kit to repair the hole.  Hopefully tomorrow he'll put it back together and we'll have a functional washer again.  I'm sure my roller derby teammates would really, really appreciate that.  I kind of need to wash my sportswear.

I stopped by the adoption agency today to drop off some paperwork, and on the way home I stopped by the mall to start picking up things for Ellen's next care package!  Her hair is long enough to put partially up and it looks like she can probably wear it in other styles when she's not in school, so I found some cute hair clips to send her.  Other things in this package so far include a travel chess set, some snacks, a pair of sunglasses and a Discovery Girl magazine.  I'm not a huge fan of a lot of teen magazines, but Discovery Girl is one of the more innocuous ones and I figured that even if she can't read the magazine yet she and her friends might enjoy looking at the pictures.  It's technically geared towards the preteen crowd, but that's just fine-- most of the teen magazines are just a little too adult for my tastes.

Anyway, so can you believe that Jeremy and I have been in the adoption process for well over a year now?  And we've been pursuing Ellen's adoption specifically since last October, which doesn't seem possible.  Our dossier has been in Thailand now for almost four months, which means the earliest we can expect to hear anything from the Thai government would be around eight months from now.  Some days it seems like the time is just flying by, and then other days it feels like forever.  I'd love to have her home soon!

Once we have our big outside projects finished the next thing I plan to tackle is her room!  While I won't be all-out decorating it-- we'll wait until she's here to do that so she can make the room her own-- she does need some basics like a bed, desk, clothing storage, etc. to build on.  Right now her room is our guest bedroom/craft room.  I'd like to get this done before we send her pictures of our house, because I don't want her thinking that she has to sleep on a couch! 

I considered a loft bed as her room is fairly small and that would give her a bit more space, but we don't know how well she can climb so that might now be a good idea!  Right now I'm thinking that a trundle bed is the way to go.  I had one growing up and it was fantastic for sleepovers and every once in a while it doubled as a guest bedroom when we had couples come visit.  I've started searching for a nice used one, and I'm sure I'll know the right one when I see it.  Not that we'll need it any time soon, of course. 

Can we bring her home tomorrow?  Please? 


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

In Which We Are Home!

We're back home!

I am utterly exhausted, so this post may not make a whole heck of a lot of sense.  Because we bought last-minute tickets, there weren't a whole lot of available flights left when we made our purchase.  Booking an airplane flight with Connor is always interesting because it's like playing Health Russian Roulette, and we don't like to speculate too far out in advance.  Anyway, I had to make a choice between booking our flight at an ungodly hour or having a five hour layover between flights.

So that's how we found ourselves getting up at 3:15 in the morning (1:15 in the morning our time) in order to get to the airport a couple of hours before our flight.  Glorious.

Added to the fun was the fact that Connor didn't get the memo about us needing to get up so early, and so he stayed up until the wee hours of the morning.  I ended up getting just under two hours of sleep, which is not a particularly good way to start out a plane flight.  Connor slept in the car on the way there and in the plane, of course.  I coped by consuming amounts of caffeine that probably should have caused heart palpitations. 

It's a good thing we didn't skimp on how early we got there before the flight in the interests of getting a little more sleep though, because Jeremy forgot to take Connor's extra formula and the camera out of his backpack at security so they had to search the backpack and send it back through the x-ray and then give him a pat down and I had to go through the scanner.  Connor got his usual pat down check, and they searched his wheelchair, of course.  Also they had to check all of Connor's medications to make sure they weren't illegal drugs or explosives or something.  They took extra precautions because somebody's g-tube pump came up positive for explosive residue again.  Whee!!!  We're guessing that this time the "explosive residue" was from when I stored a container of Connor's glycerin suppositories (we use them when he gets sick and sort of, um, stopped up) in the top part of the g-tube backpack a few weeks ago. 

So learn from my precautionary tale, gentle readers.  Don't store glycerin suppositories in anything you're planning on taking to the airport, okay? 

At any rate, it took us a pretty long time to get through security for obvious reasons, but we still didn't have to rush for our flight because we got there a full two hours early.  Not only that, but because the flight wasn't full and we were pleasant to the kiosk manager when we got the tags for our bags, the gentleman behind the counter let us know that the front row of the plane was totally empty and we could sit there instead of our cramped middle-of-the-plane seats.  So we got extra foot room and the full attention of the flight attendant, who thought that Connor might possibly be the Just The Cutest Child Ever To Draw Breath. 

Connor acted obligingly adorable the entire flight, of course.  He knows a good audience when he sees one.

Getting to the second flight was just a little more hectic; the Minneapolis airport (where our layover was) is laid out in the most ridiculous convoluted fashion and our connecting flight was on the complete other end of the terminal.  We ended up racing there at top speed and arriving somewhat out of breath just as the last large body of people on our flight boarded.  After another uneventful flight (though sans the adoring Connor fan, which made it slightly less pleasant) we arrived home.  I spent the rest of the day dragging myself around the house doing various chores, and Jeremy spent the day taking apart our washing machine, which is currently lying in about eight different pieces on our laundry room floor.

But we're home! 


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

In Which We Have A Lazy Day

Connor had yet another sleepless night; he woke up off and on through the wee hours.  I find that I prefer having my sleep in four hour blocks (even if four hours is all I get) rather than two hour time blocks throughout the night.  I ended up taking a really long nap in the afternoon, which was nice except now I'm not sure I'll be able to sleep!  Oh well.

Jer and I spent a lazy day today; other than Connor's daily golf cart ride we pretty much stuck to the house.  It's been so nice to have that option; normally our days are so busy that we have to catch quick moments to ourselves, so it's a luxury to have so much free time together.  We got to see some really neat pictures of Jer's aunt's trip to Egypt, which made me think a lot about how excited I am to get to travel to Thailand!  Not that our trip will be any time soon; we'll be lucky if we're traveling this time next year.  But it's fun to think about how we'll plan things and what we'll try to see while we're there.  Hopefully we'll have time to do at least a little bit of sightseeing with Ellen when we go.

Her care package should have gotten there by now, and I'll be working on a second one to send to her when we get back from vacation!  I'm hoping it didn't get held up in customs or anything; this is the first time we've tried to send anything to her by mail so it's kind of new territory for us.  I'm already thinking about what we should send her for the next one!  I'd like to get at least two or three more off to her before our agency travels to Thailand again in the fall.

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about how great it will be to show Ellen the lake when she gets here.  Some people don't like the idea of adopting older kids because then they miss all the "firsts:" first step, first loose tooth, etc.  But there are so many "firsts" that we'll get the chance to share with her, like her first time on a waverunner!  We'll get to take her fishing, out on a boat (though living in Thailand she's probably done that), for a spin in the golf cart, swimming in the lake and even wakeboarding or water skiing if that's something she wants to do. 

I can't wait to see her experience all of those things for the first time; I think it will make them just as new and exciting for me! 


Monday, July 4, 2011

In Which It Is The Fourth Of July

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

We spent ours together happily as a family.  Connor stayed up entirely too late last night (three in the morning!), probably due to the thunderstorm, so we didn't go out and find fireworks again tonight.  Instead he watched a few on television with the rest of the family while I took a nap.  He seemed to enjoy this, if the level of screaming I heard coming from the living room was any indication.

Other activities today included the now-traditional evening golf cart ride, in which Connor applauded after all of the really big hills.  Also Jeremy and I took the waverunners out for a spin again.  The water was much smoother today and we caught some big wakes behind a few cruisers, though I kept hitting them just wrong and ending up with a nose full of water on the second wave.  There's an art to wake jumping that I haven't quite mastered yet.  Jer's been coming out to the lake and riding around on a waverunner practically every year since preadolescence, so he's slightly better at it than me.  Oh well.  I've got plenty of summers to figure it out!

I hope everyone had just as wonderful a time today as we did, and my thoughts go out to all of our fellow military families, some of whom are celebrating without their loved ones nearby this year.  Much love to you and yours!


Sunday, July 3, 2011

In Which We Have A Day Of Fun

Today was the big day of festivities out on the lake!  They do the big celebration a day early here because there are so many other celebrations in the area on the holiday proper.  Things started off with the annual golf cart parade.  We thought Connor would enjoy watching the golf carts decked out in all their finery, but since the parade was in the middle of the day and it was nearly a hundred degrees outside some maneuvering was required. 

Connor doesn't have sweat glands, and he overheats really, really quickly in hot weather.  So we planned ahead and parked a car out on the golf cart route an hour or so before the show was supposed to begin.  Then we drove down there in the golf carts when it was time for the parade, and Connor, Jeremy and I sat in the air conditioned car while everyone else watched outside.  It took the little guy a bit to perk up because the ride over was still pretty hot even with the wind blowing in his face, but by the time the parade was halfway over he had recovered and seemed to enjoy himself.

After that the little guy cooled off in the swimming pool with his grandmother and aunt while Jer and I took the waverunners out for a spin.  While the traffic on the lake was pretty sparse compared to prior holidays (no doubt due to the ban on swimming caused by the Blue-Green Algae Of Death) the water was still really choppy and we didn't go very fast today.  It wasn't the big waves that were the problem-- they weren't any bigger than what we'd see jumping wakes-- it's the fact that there wasn't a break at all between them so we didn't really have any time to recover between jumps.  I hit a couple of them just the wrong way and rattled my teeth a bit, and I think I'll be pretty sore tomorrow, but it was still a ton of fun. 

This evening the lake held its huge fireworks display!  We took chairs out to a hill overlooking the lake and sat down to enjoy the show.  First they had a small airshow with various historic planes.  Connor was completely uninterested in that, but he did enjoy watching all the boats maneuver into place out on the water in preparation for fireworks viewing.  Then there was a short break, and since it was still a little warm outside we threw Connor in the golf cart and went for a refreshing drive to cool him off.  He absolutely loves going up and down the hills and I'm relatively sure if he was able to he'd try to sneak the golf cart home in his luggage.

We sat back down in our chairs and waited for the fly over.  I was a little worried about how Connor would react to the F-16 fly over as I remembered it being really loud in previous years, but the little guy hardly even noticed the planes because he was too busy being excited about how the wind was really picking up.  I'd forgotten just how quickly the weather can change down here.  Within ten minutes the wind was so strong that all of the boats started being pushed across the lake and some major traffic jams happened down there.  Boats ran into each other, into docks, people swimming (despite the Death Algae) were left behind as their boats drifted away from them faster than they could swim. . . it was chaos out there!  Police boats formed a ring around the firework barge to prevent boats from drifting in too close and ramming it.   Soon we could see lightning out on the horizon.  It was quite the show!

Connor thought the wind was hilarious.

Luckily things mostly settled down by the time the fireworks show was set to begin, though every once in a while we could see lightning in the distance.  This is the first time Connor's ever been awake for a fireworks show, and he loved it!  He kept signing "More light!  More light!" and kept his eyes riveted on the sky.  They're able to set off the fireworks much earlier here than they can up in Washington because it gets darker here sooner.  So he didn't even really stay up much past his bedtime.  I'm glad his first fireworks show was such a spectacular display too; they really do put on a beautiful performance here.  Jer's aunt took some pretty cool pictures of the fireworks and one of us enjoying the evening, too.  Doesn't it look like we're in a wind tunnel?

The little guy is much too riled up to sleep now, of course.  There's a thunderstorm going on outside, which he's not used to hearing because we don't really get them at home very often.  Maybe he thinks the thunder is more fireworks!


Saturday, July 2, 2011

In Which We Look At Houses And Connor Loses A Tooth

It's been a week since Connor has had any seizures and he seems to be feeling pretty good right now!  I'm so glad that this round of good health has lined up with our vacation; he's been having a blast with his relatives and seems to be loving every minute of the time he's spent here.

We couldn't go out on the lake today because there's been an outbreak of toxic blue-green algae, which apparently can do glorious things to people like poison their livers.  So instead of hitting the water we hopped on the golf cart and went to look at the open houses in the area. 

Jeremy and I like to walk through houses that are for sale sometimes, not because we're interested in buying (and we are never, ever selling our house so we're not going to be interested in buying any time soon) but because it's neat to see what other people have done with their houses.  Most of the houses here are in close to the million dollar range, so they are really, really nice inside.  It's neat to see how other people lay out their homes, and right now I'm looking at their porches and gardens to see if there are any ideas I can incorporate into our space back at home.  We didn't stay out very long because it was ridiculously hot outside, but we managed to see three or four houses.  Some of them were pretty neat-- one even had a separate apartment built just for the owner's train collection!

What they didn't have, of course, was accessibility.  One of the first things Jer and I look at in a house now is how hard it would be to convert it into a wheelchair accessible home, and it's amazing how few homes have that potential.  Personally I think that any home-- especially one constructed in the last few years-- should be constructed with the idea that eventually the owners are going to become, you know, old.  And of course it isn't only old people that need accessible homes, as our family can certainly attest to.  But really there are so few homes that even have the potential to become accessible without tens of thousands of dollars of remodeling.  It's kind of short-sighted of our society to build them that way, in my opinion.

In other news, Connor lost his second bottom tooth today!  So now he has an adorable gap-toothed grin.  He's spending a whole lot of time sticking his tongue out right now; I think he's trying to figure out where the heck his teeth went.  Jeremy told him that his teeth were falling out because he has leprosy, and his nose will probably fall off next.  Then he sang Connor a little song about leprosy that he made up on the spot.  Jeremy is a great dad like that.

I made sure Connor knew that he did not have leprosy and his nose would not be falling off, of course.  But I didn't do it in song form, so it wasn't as well received. 

Mommy is No Fun. 


Friday, July 1, 2011

In Which I Go Shopping And Indulge A Bad Habit

Connor finally slept through the night!   I can't tell you how thrilled I was with this.  I mean, I love sleeping in as much as anyone on vacation, but I prefer it to be because I want extra sleep and not because I want any sleep at all.

I didn't sleep in this morning, though-- I got up early to drive into the city with my mother-in-law and go shopping!  I left Connor in Jer's capable hands.  Apparently they slept in until one in the afternoon, so I don't think they missed me too much. 

It was nice to have some girl time-- we shopped for clothes (at the consignment shops, of course), ate lunch at an Indian restaurant, looked at shoes and stopped at a bookstore, where I indulged my habit of buying terrible, terrible romance novels.  We're talking bottom of the barrel, 50 cents a pop sorts of books, folks.  I have yet to find a book to top Pregnesia, but that doesn't stop me from searching.  I get weird looks when I read them in public and keep busting out laughing, but I can't help myself.  I picked up three romances that made me giggle when I read the back covers, and one mystery that I'll actually read for something other than comic relief. 

We'll see how they are!

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