Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In Which More Seizures Happen

Another day of seizures-- Connor had three today.  He slept in this morning, woke up briefly, had a seizure and then went right back to sleep.  That set the pattern for the day; he dozed on and off throughout the afternoon, and finally perked up later in the evening. 

He spent part of that time with his respite care worker while I drove up to Seattle and ran errands I needed to get done.  I feel guilty about leaving the house knowing that he will probably have more seizures while I'm away, but I know she can handle them just as competently as I can.  Unfortunately it's gotten to the point that if I canceled respite care every time he was having seizures, I would never go anywhere. 

Not that I really want to go anywhere right now; it's just below thirty degrees outside at the moment, though it should heat up into the forties tomorrow.  I'm planning on spending a lot of time sitting next to the fire sipping a cup of hot tea and sewing-- it feels like it's going to be one of those days.  Especially since the little guy slept all day today, and has now decided as a result to be up all night.

Oh well.

~Jess

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In Which I Start Making The Meeting Rounds And Do Some Seizure Sewing

Today was a day of meetings.  It's the time of year when Connor's annual appointments for everything start coming due, so I end up doing a lot of coordinating to make sure everything happens when it should.  Today was an EFMP meeting day.  EFMP, or the Exceptional Family Member Program, is a military program that provides a lot of the services Connor needs, such as our respite care and determining where we're allowed to travel as a family.  We spent most of the afternoon after Connor came home from school on post getting things squared away for the upcoming year.

For Connor, it was a day of seizures.  The kid had three today-- just before and after our trip to post-- and was in a generally grumpy mood as a result.  Who can blame him?  Seizures are no fun.  As soon as we got home he crashed on the couch until I finally moved him to his room, so once again I had plenty of sewing time. 

I like sewing time.  But I like Connor not having seizures better.  I'll have to give him a stern lecture on the topic.  No more seizures, big boy!

I finished the front piece of the polar bear stocking today, and then I set it aside and made a little poinsettia throw pillow to sit in the armchair next to the Christmas tree.  That chair really needed a little seasonal pillow to make the festive scene complete, and heck if I was going to buy one when I could just as easily make one with a little bit of time and leftover fabric from another project.  It only took me about half an hour, and I think it came out pretty cute.

Connor did perk up a little this evening after his daddy got home, and I'm hoping he'll have a better day tomorrow .  I'm headed up to Pike Place to hopefully complete my Christmas shopping, which I am determined not to procrastinate on this year.  I've got way, way too many other things going on to leave it 'till the last minute. 

So it was a busy day today, and it will probably be a busy day tomorrow.  I feel like I got a lot accomplished though, so that's a good thing.  There's a lot to do this time of year!

~Jess

Monday, November 28, 2011

In Which Connor's Day Goes Downhill And We Get A Letter

We received a letter in the mail today from USCIS, saying that they'd received our application for renewal of our adoption approval and would be processing it over the next several weeks.  So we're one step closer to being approved by US Immigration for another year to adopt Ellen.  Our current approval expires in December.

So sometime over the next few weeks we'll be getting another letter requesting that we go and get fingerprinted again.  Then once we receive our new approval we should be good for another year.  We're hoping that this will be the only time we have to get our approval renewed.  No news on that front, though.

Connor had a rough day today; he stayed up until nearly three in the morning and of course had to get up for school.  He was not particularly excited about me waking him up, but apparently he had a pretty good day in school anyway.  He had his first seizure shortly after he got up from his quiet time, and then two more over the course of the day.  He's not running a fever and doesn't seem to be sick this time, so we're probably just headed into another seizure cycle, which is never fun.

I hope he has a better day tomorrow.

~Jess

Sunday, November 27, 2011

In Which Our Vacation Is Over

Connor has decided once again that it's Stay Up All Night time.  It's currently about 1:45 in the morning, and he's still going strong. 

I'm pretty tired; I had my second banked track practice this morning, and I'm using a lot of muscles that don't necessarily get all that much exercise with the flat track derby.  I felt much steadier on the track today, though-- about a third of the way through the practice I really started to feel like I'd finally found my balance and wasn't just going to fall off the track the whole time.  I think the bout is going to be a whole lot of fun!

Today was Jeremy's last day of vacation; he's back to work tomorrow.  I really enjoyed having him home, and I think he enjoyed getting the chance to really relax and spend time with Connor and me, even if we didn't go out and do anything big this time. 

Connor's vacation is also up; between being sick and the Thanksgiving holiday he was off from school a full week.  So I'm sure he'll be happy to get back in the classroom, though I'm not sure how thrilled he'll be about it tomorrow, depending on how late he stays up.  Oh well-- hopefully they'll wear him out and we won't have a repeat of this tomorrow night. 

So it's back to the grindstone!

~Jess

Saturday, November 26, 2011

In Which I Go Banked

Today was a day of new experiences!

In December, I'm playing a my first ever banked track bout with a mixed group of ladies from our four different league teams.  So today I climbed up under the rail for my first ever banked track practice!

Normally I play what is called flat track roller derby.  This means just what it sounds like-- along with about 98% of roller derby leagues out there, we skate on a flat, level track.  But there are still a few banked track leagues alive and well today, and one of them, the Tilted Thunder Rail Birds, just so happens to call Seattle home. 

I felt like a beginning skater all over again; skating on the banked track is very, very different from skating on the flat track.  The lowest point of the track is about an inch and a half off the ground, and the highest point is about four and a half feet.  At the apex of the track it's a pretty steep angle, and skating with my feet on an uneven surface definitely took some getting used to.  I imagine that once I figure out how to actually skate on the track I'd be able to use centrifugal force to go much, much faster than the speeds I'm able to hit on the flat track.

It was a little intimidating at first, and I'm pretty sure I did more falling today without anyone hitting me than I've done in a long, long time.  But overall I had a blast, and I think it's going to be a great bout!

~Jess

Friday, November 25, 2011

In Which It's Looking Kind Of Festive In Here

The day after Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year.

Not because it's Black Friday-- I'm not a huge fan of shopping trips in general, and trust me when I say that getting up at three in the morning so that I can fight the crowds for the privilege of spending a bunch of money is not the way I like to spend my time.  No, I like the day after Thanksgiving because that's traditionally the day in my family when it's time to start putting the Christmas decorations up.

When I was growing up, Christmas was by far the biggest holiday of the year, and I'm pretty sure that's a tradition I'll be passing down to my kids.  The past few years we've generally traveled to Texas for Christmas, with the exception of 2009, when we weren't exactly in a position to be doing a whole lot of traveling or, for that matter, decorating.  So this is the first year in a long while that we've pulled out the boxes of Christmas decorations, and I got pretty excited about decorating our house for the very first time!

So first thing this morning I got out the long ladder and started to put up our Christmas lights.  I got about halfway through and realized that I'd greatly underestimated how many we would need, which meant that I had to run down to the store halfway through to get some more.  I was not exactly thrilled about this, but I wasn't about to leave the Christmas lights halfway strung on the house either, so off I went.

It was horrible, but I survived.  Barely.

Anyway, so after I returned home from the Great Retail Mauling, I finished up the lights and was getting ready to retrieve the rest of the decorations when Joanna arrived to watch Connor.  So Jer and I stopped by the storage unit together and then were off to pick out a tree!

I'm not a huge fan of artificial trees.  Part of this is because I like the whole experience of picking out the perfect tree every year, and the other part is because Loki shreds all greenery in our home whether it is real or artificial, so at least if he strips all the needles off the lower half of our real tree we just get a new one the next year instead of me having to try and glue all the needles back on or something.  Plus we're in the Pacific Northwest, where it seems a little silly to have an artificial tree since we pretty much live in a forest of the real thing.   

So off we went!

While picking out a Christmas tree is typically a family affair, we didn't bring Connor for a couple of reasons.  The first was that we didn't want to try and put the tree on top of our wheelchair van, and that meant we wouldn't be able to take the little guy's wheelchair with us.  He's kind of heavy to carry around these days.  The second reason was that we were planning on decorating the tree tonight, and we knew that would be more than enough stimulation for Connor.  The excitement of picking out the tree and then decorating it too would probably have been way too much for him.  And also he was still taking a nap.  So Jer and I went just the two of us to find our tree and bring it home.

Connor's been so adamant about wanting one of the giant trees in the mall that we knew we needed to get a spectacular tree for the house.  None of those measly little eight-footers would do for us; we have a twelve-foot high ceiling in our living room and we intended to use every inch of that to get as close to Connor's Dream Tree as possible.  So we drove about ten minutes away from our house and passed around eight tree farms (I'm not exaggerating-- we have a lot of Christmas tree farms here) before we decided on one, because it was the first one we didn't have to make a left hand turn across traffic to get to.

They had four different types of trees, and a very helpful woman listed the pros and cons of each and then handed us a saw so we could go find our own.  We walked about three feet to the left, handed the saw back to her and picked out an eleven foot tall Noble Fir that was already cut.  They stuck the tree in what looked like a giant paint mixer to shake out any excess needles, drilled a hole in the bottom for the tree stand and then fed it through a tube that put netting on it to make it easier to get it into the house.  It was pretty cool to watch.  Then Jeremy and I somehow managed to wrestle this giant tree on top of our car, and we were off!

This is by far the biggest Christmas tree I have ever had in my entire life, and I absolutely love it.  And even if it isn't a Giant Mall Tree of Doom, Connor seems to think it's pretty great too!  We set it up and put the lights on this afternoon, and then this evening we put on some Christmas music, turned on the fireplace and trimmed the tree.  Connor didn't really want to touch the tree, but he was very interested in the individual ornaments.  The whole process really wore him out though; he was asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow tonight.

So Connor got his big Christmas wish, or the closest to it we could come, and I'm sure he'll spent many happy hours over the next month just staring at the tree and smiling.  The whole house smells wonderfully fragrant, there's a fresh wreath on the front door and the stockings are hung on the mantle.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

~Jess

Thursday, November 24, 2011

In Which We Celebrate Thanksgiving

Happy Turkey Day, everyone!

This year was the first in a long while that I wasn't cooking a ridiculous amount of food for just the three of us.  Instead, I made mashed potatoes and we carried them down to the home of our neighbors, who had graciously invited us to their family Thanksgiving.  There were enough folks to need two tables, which with my large extended family felt just like the holiday I remember growing up.  The food tasted fantastic, the hosts were gracious and the company just lovely.  Jeremy and I had a fantastic time.

Connor also seemed to really enjoy himself after he finished his nap.  He snoozed for a while before dinner in my arms and later then in an easy chair.  I could have done with a bit of a nap too.  The little stinker literally did not go to sleep last night; he had a 7:30am bedtime and slept until just after 10:00am.  I guess Santa and that giant Christmas tree were just too exciting!

After he finished up his nap, he perked up and turned on the charm, especially after he discovered a new favorite food: glazed sweet potatoes.  Or rather, just the brown sugar glaze-- he sucked it off the potato pieces and then spit out the sweet potato. 

Oh well.  I ate enough for three Connors, so that probably makes up for it.

So anyway, it's been a hard year for the little guy, but I'm just so thankful to see him still smiling and that cheery personality once again really shining through.  And I'm so grateful to have Jeremy by my side through it all.  Here's to family, good friends and neighbors, and all those people who make the world just a little bit sweeter.

Like you, dear readers.  A very happy Thanksgiving to you all!

~Jess

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In Which Connor Meets Santa

Connor made Santa Claus cry today.

The little guy woke up feeling pretty chipper and with zero fever, much to my relief.  So we decided that if the morning went well we'd take him down to the South Hill mall to see the giant Christmas trees and to get his picture taken with the Big Man In The Red Suit.

Yes, I know it's not even past Thanksgiving yet, so it's awfully early to be taking Christmas photos and whatnot.  But we have a reason for doing it this way; no one is at the mall taking pictures with Santa on the day before Thanksgiving.  That way we miss the crazy holiday crowds which are overwhelming for me and Jeremy, let alone Connor with his sensory issues.  Plus we don't have to wait in a huge line, and we can spend a bit more time making the little guy comfortable with the idea of sitting in some stranger's lap while another stranger snaps pictures of him. 

The plan worked out perfectly.  We dressed the little guy up in his nice Christmas outfit, parked him in front of the giant tree for a while and he stared at it in utter fascination before declaring, just like last year, that he wanted one for his very own.  We took a couple of pictures in front of the tree; isn't he cute in his Christmas outfit?  Then we headed across the practically deserted mall to visit Santa Claus. 

When we got there only one family was ahead of us.  It ended up working out perfectly because Connor got to see those kids get their picture taken and we could talk him through what was happening so he knew what to expect.  Then it was Connor's turn. 

He behaved just beautifully; he snuggled right into Santa's arm and turned on the charm.  The guy playing Santa was fantastic, and the photographer kept snapping away until he was sure he'd gotten at least one or two really good ones.  By the time we were finished, a line of waiting children was forming, but Santa stopped me anyway as we were leaving to tell me how touched he was by Connor and what an amazing kid he is, and that's when Mr. Claus teared up a bit.  We didn't tell Santa anything about the little guy's story, but I guess we didn't have to because Connor's such a sweet-natured kid anyone can see how special he is. 

So yep, Connor made Santa cry.  He tends to have that effect on people.

The photographer got a couple of great shots-- one of Connor and Santa reading a story together, and even one of those rare, glorious shots of Connor smiling!  I don't have digital copies of the photos, but trust me when I say that they're absolutely adorable.  While Jer and I picked out which pictures we wanted to buy, Santa and the photographer took a little break and spoke with the assistant handling the picture sales.  Then when we went to the counter with our selections, we were told that our pictures were free of charge, which is when I teared up a little too. 

So I know it's a little early, but today we discovered the spirit of Christmas is alive and well. 

Thanks, Santa.

~Jess

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

In Which Connor Uses Passive Resistance And I Set Off The Sequin Apocalypse

The fever and sewing saga continues. 

I drove Connor down to the clinic for his doctor's appointment this morning to see if we could figure out what was going on.  We have yet another new Primary Care Manager because they switched us over to the Puyallup clinic-- I believe this is the third new PCM in four months.  Whee!  Anyway, the doctor checked out the still-feverish little guy, listened to his chest (clear), looked in his ears (normal) and then presented us with one of those glorious little baggies that you stick, to use a traditional southern term, where the sun don't shine, to collect a sample to check for a UTI.

Connor was a good sport overall about the bag thing and didn't protest it-- he's much more into passive rather than active resistance.  He simply decided that he was never, ever going to pee ever again.  Other than a short trip home for Connor's noon medication, we spent our waiting time wandering around the Target nearby the clinic.  We were there for nearly four hours before he finally gave in and produced a sample. 

Four hours in Target is a long, long time.  There are only so many times I can walk down the Lego aisle before even I begin to lose interest.

I had to check on the, um, proceedings every fifteen minutes or so because there's a time limit on getting the sample back to the clinic.  So four times an hour I'd take Connor down to the restroom.  After our fifth trip I started getting some weird looks from the clerks.  Around our eighth trip the security guard began subtly following us around the store. 

After the twelfth trip she approached us and we ended up having to explain the situation.  There's nothing like discussing your five year old's bodily functions with a guard who suspects you are shoplifting to liven up the day.  Good times.

Anyway, finally Connor cooperated and we got to turn in the sample and go home, where I put the little guy down for a nap and spent some time working on the Chinese dragon stocking, which will be known from now on as the Sequin Apocalypse. 

I'm not entirely sure just how many sequins I'll be using on this stocking, but I don't really want to know because it's probably some really depressing number.   The dragon is starting to take shape now, and I think he's going to look pretty neat when he's finished, even though he'll probably doom us all to sparkly, sparkly Armageddon. 

Anyway, Connor's doctor called while I was working on the stocking.  Apparently preliminary results weren't indicative of a UTI, but they'll do a culture to double check.  In the meantime, we should keep a close eye on him and if he's still running a fever on Friday they want us to bring him back in. 

So I'm glad that it's looking like a UTI is not the problem; hopefully it's just a little virus of some sort and it will clear up soon!

~Jess

Monday, November 21, 2011

In Which Connor Keeps The Heat On And It's Really Cold In Here

Connor had another feverish, seizure-filled day today, though thankfully it was a lot better than yesterday on both counts because his fever didn't have a chance to climb very high at all before we were throwing medication at it.  The highest temperature I clocked on him today was 101.7. 

He had six seizures and slept a good portion of the day, (which meant another ten hours sitting on the couch sewing for me), but towards the evening he perked up a little bit and even sat up on his daddy's lap for an hour or two before bedtime. 

 Because of all the sitting and sewing I've now almost finished the stocking I'm working on.  I've done everything on the front except for the polar bear, and I'm waiting on the felt for that to arrive in the mail.  So depending on when that gets there I might actually have the project finished by Thanksgiving.  Crazy. 

Another reason Connor's fever probably stayed lower today was that it's so darn cold in our house; the furnace decided to go out on us.  So we've got the furnace guy coming tomorrow too.  Right now I've got the gas fireplace going and we're all bundled up.  Connor's sleeping in our room tonight because his little room is pretty tiny and has a giant window, which means that it's freezing in there.  I've got a blanket over the gerbils' cage and they're buried down in their bedding; hopefully they'll be all right.

Look how mistreated they are.
Cricket demonstrated her feelings on the general temperature in the house by sitting down literally three inches away from the fireplace and refusing to move.  Every once in a while she'd shoot me a wounded look because obviously she was just freezing in her nice thick fur coat.  I finally put a blanket down in front of the fireplace for her, and she and Loki called a truce and spent the entire day curled up by the fire.  As far as they're concerned, I've turned the fireplace on specifically for their benefit. 

Anyway, I'm taking the little guy in tomorrow morning to the doctor's office, so we'll see whether or not he has some sort of an infection going.  We're still not seeing any coughing or congestion at all.  For a typical kid, having a fever like this wouldn't be a big deal, but with Connor it can quickly cause some major issues so we need to have him seen.  I tried to get an appointment for today, but they didn't have any so it was either wait until tomorrow or take him to the Emergency Room today where he could sit for a while and marinate in everyone else's germs. 

Whee!

~Jess


Sunday, November 20, 2011

In Which Connor Visits Seizure City

Well, this was not a particularly fun day.

It started out well enough; I popped down to the coffee shop to do a little bit of sewing before Joanna came; she was watching Connor for a little while today so Jer and I could go do a bit of Christmas shopping and grab some lunch.  I was doing quite a bit of sequin work today, and I usually try and do that outside the house as the cats are more than happy to help me with it.

Anyway, by the time I got back to the house Connor had already had two seizures and Jer gave him a dose of Lorazepam.  By the time we got back from lunch he'd had two more.  After seizure number six we gave him a second dose of Lorazepam and I checked his temperature.  He was running at 102.4. 

Seizure mystery solved.

So we gave him a dose of Tylenol to start bringing his temperature down.  An hour (and two more seizures) later I checked his temperature again.  Now he was at 102.9.  That wasn't exactly the direction we wanted to be moving in.

We tried giving him a sponge bath.  That brought his temperature down three tenths of a degree-- not enough to make him stop having seizures.  I went down to the store and bought some children's ibuprofen.  Normally we don't use it on Connor because of the possible side effects and the fact that he's on an aspirin regime, but he'd just had seizure number nine and it was either that or the hospital.  We checked his temperature again after an hour and it was down to 101.2. 

And it kept going down.  And down, and down some more until he started shivering uncontrollably.  When I checked his temperature he clocked in at 96.4.  Apparently this isn't uncommon; the body overcompensates a bit sometimes after a fever breaks.  So we bundled him up for half an hour or so until his temperature evened out, and then put him back to bed with his regular covers.

So we're not sure what the heck that was all about-- he didn't have any symptoms other than the fever and of course, the many, many seizures.  The little guy doesn't even have a stuffy nose.  If he's still having issues tomorrow I'll be taking him in to the doctor to make sure he doesn't have a UTI or some other sort of infection.  He won't be going to school tomorrow obviously, as he has to be fever-free for at least 24 hours before he's allowed to return to class. 

Also I'm guessing he might be kind of wiped out tomorrow.  He certainly had a rough day today.

~Jess

Saturday, November 19, 2011

In Which Connor Has A Down Day

Little guy had a rough day today; he had five seizures and spent quite a bit of time napping on the couch while I sewed away and watched him sleep.  He crashed around 7:30 and has been out like a light ever since.

Recently it's been hard to plan what we do with our days because we never know how little guy is going to be when he wakes up that morning.  Some days he's feeling great and we can go out and about, and other days he's completely wiped.  It's impossible to predict which it will be when he opens his eyes.  So I've learned to be really flexible in my daily planning, because I never know when he'll have a day like today and I'll be spending twelve hours sitting on the couch with a sad snuggle bunny.

Of course, Jeremy was home so I didn't have to do that today; we could split the snuggles so I could get some other things done.  It's been fantastic having him home-- we don't even have to do anything except enjoy each other's company.  I'll be sad when he goes back to work, though thankfully that won't be for another week.

In the meantime, I'll enjoy it while I can.  Hooray for vacations-- even if they're spent on the couch!

~Jess

Friday, November 18, 2011

In Which Connor Feels Better And I Go On A Crafting Road Trip

Connor woke up at midnight last night and proceeded to yell and play in his bed until 5:30 in the morning.  That wasn't really surprising, considering he went to bed at four in the afternoon the night before.  He tried to fall asleep on me repeatedly over the course of the afternoon, but I kept him awake because I am an evil mom and also because I don't really want to get up at the witching hour again tonight. 

So Connor's making up for it now by refusing to go to bed.  It's already past 11:00 and he's currently lying in bed, warbling to himself contentedly.  Oh well.  Jeremy took him to school and let me sleep in since I stayed up on Seizure Patrol until the wee hours.  Jer's pretty great like that.

Even though his sleep schedule is totally screwed up right now, at least the little guy didn't have a single seizure today!  He hung out with his daddy while I drove up to Seattle to pick up the felt I need for my next few projects. 

Since they closed my beloved Pacific Fabrics store in Puyallup, whenever I need project materials I have to drive 45 minutes one way to their Seattle location.  It's the nearest store I've found in the area that carries felt in the colors and quality I need to make my stockings and other fun things.  The twelve inch squares that the vast majority of fabric and craft stores carry are too thin and small for most of my projects.  The local Hancock fabrics carries a few colors on bolts, but the selection is pretty limited. 

Even if they did have the colors in felt I needed, they carry only a couple of colors of sequins.  If there's one thing I need for my ridiculously complicated projects, it's sequins, which Pacific has in abundance.  So I made the long drive today and stocked up on the supplies I need for the next three projects I'm doing.  That way I shouldn't have to make the trek again for a while.

It's a hassle, but that's what I get for picking a weird hobby I guess.  I haven't run into too many other people who do large felt appliquĂ© projects.  Oh well!

~Jess 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

In Which Connor Has A Check Up And I Plan Well In Advance

Connor's day went a little bit better than yesterday; he only had three seizures.  However I think his body decided he needed to be in recovery mode, because he went to bed at four in the afternoon and has been down ever since.  He had a cardiology appointment today, and he actually fell asleep in my arms in the examining room while we were waiting for the doctor to come in!  Then he fell asleep again in the car on the way home.  The little guy almost never sleeps in the car, so that's an indication that he was just plumb worn out.

Other than the impromptu nap, the cardiology appointment went really well.  Apparently Connor's heart condition looks really good; it hasn't changed since the last time they looked at it, and everything is within normal limits.  So we don't need to change his current dose of heart medication, and we won't need a cardiology appointment again for another year!  I'm glad that Connor's heart is doing so well-- that's one less thing we have to worry about.
I finally got around to photoshopping a picture of Ellen's stocking to remove her real name so I could show you a picture of what it looks like now that it's all finished!  I think it turned out pretty well.

While Connor snoozed away today I got to work planning out my next few sewing projects.  I still have a couple that I'm finishing up right now, but I like to work on designs way in advance so that I have plenty of time to figure out how they'll work logistically. 

When I'm creating a pattern I have to figure out now only how to break the design into pieces, but how to layer the pieces to create the proper effect.  It takes a lot of figuring out!  This way while I'm working on the stuff I already know how to do my brain can be busy thinking about the next project.  Since I take a ridiculous amount of time to finish up projects, I usually have quite a bit of time for thinking!


A really, really rough draft. 

So I sketched and finished out the next stocking I'll be doing, which is a polar bear sleeping under a Christmas tree.  Then I roughed in the very first draft of the stocking that I'll be doing after that, which will be a Chinese dragon holding a Christmas wreath.  This was a relatively quick sketch figuring out the layout, so there's still a lot I have to change-- like the fact that I gave the dragon horns when he's in fact supposed to have antlers.  Whoops.  That's what rough drafts are for, right?

Both of these stockings are gifts, though thankfully not for this Christmas.  The polar bear will have a lot of sequins, but it should be fairly straightforward and I don't anticipate a lot of issues.  The Chinese dragon is going to be one of those projects I end up hating-- I can already tell.  It just screams out for lots and lots of beading and sequins and-- Heaven help me-- metallic gold embroidery thread.  But I'm going to do it anyway, dang it!   

I just hope it turns out as lovely as the picture I have in my head.

~Jess

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

In Which Connor Shakes Things Up

Well, Connor has once again demonstrated his ability to keep me on my toes.  He had five seizures today, and a couple of them were of a kind I'm not used to seeing.  Basically he starts breathing really quickly, and then he starts shaking like he's got hypothermia.  Then for the last ten or fifteen seconds of the seizure he just. . . stops.  No moving, no breathing, eyes completely fixed and pupils totally dilated-- he looks a bit like a wax model of my child.  Then he snaps out of it. 

Whee!  This kid certainly likes to keep me on my toes.  I still prefer these to the completely-non-breathing-through-the-whole-thing kind of seizures, but now I'm going to start freaking out every time the kid is just cold. 

Oh well.  Guess I'll be keeping him extra warm and cozy until I can tell the difference.

So needless to say he had a quiet, low-key day today.  Our respite care worker came over this afternoon, and Connor spent most of the rest of the day snuggling with her and watching Peter Pan, starring Mary Martin. 

Mary Martin happens to be one of my favorite actresses of all time, not because she's necessarily that skilled of an actress (though she was, and also her voice was amazingl) but because she always seemed to be having so much fun when she was doing it.  Also she was a pretty classy lady.  So If you've never seen the 1960 version of Peter Pan, you're missing out.  Now I'm happy to say that it's become one of Connor's all time favorites too! 

It's really nice to be able to pass down something like that. 

~Jess








Tuesday, November 15, 2011

In Which It's Getting Cold And Connor's Seizure Cycle Restarts

Connor had two seizures today; the first just before school started and the second late in the afternoon.  Both involved a whole lot of violent twitching, but he actually breathed pretty easily through them for once, which was nice.  I hate to see the little guy having any seizures, but as far as seizures go these weren't bad, even though they both lasted over three minutes. 

I finished up the front of Ellen's stocking today!  Jer and I decided on the English spelling of her Thai name today, and I went ahead and sewed that on.  Now I just have to line it and sew the two halves together, and then it will be ready to hang up just in time for the Christmas season.  I think it will look really nice up there with the rest of the family stockings. 

The weather is really starting to get cold; we're starting to dip down into freezing temperatures and apparently there's actually a chance of snow this weekend, which is about the same time that our first snow happened last year.  While I doubt we'll get as much as we did last year, I look forward to once again watching Loki bounce around like a maniac all over our front yard.  Somehow I doubt he learned his lesson last year.

Crazy cat!

~Jess

Monday, November 14, 2011

In Which Connor Goes Back To School And Jer Is On Vacation

Connor woke up feeling pretty good this morning, so he went back to school today.  By all reports he had a lovely day, so evidently it was the right decision on our parts.  He got to play on the scooter board during gym, which is apparently one of his favorite things to do there.  A scooter board actually might be a pretty fantastic main Christmas present for Connor, who is one of the hardest kids to shop for ever.  Jer and I have already gotten him a couple of little things, but this should be just right for his big gift.  Plus I'm pretty sure Jer and I would have some fun with it too.  We have a long main hallway and laminate floors.

What could go wrong?  I'm sure this will end well.

Anyway, we're slowly starting to get Ellen's room ready for when she comes, so her Christmas present from us will be one of the big items we need for her room, like a mattress or her desk.  We're not really able to send her any big presents through the mail right now, as she doesn't have anywhere to put them.  Watching her room slowly come together (though all the decorating will wait until she's come and can help pick things out!) gives me a way to feel connected to her through the holiday season.  Well, that and working on her stocking, of course.  I finished up the feathers today, and there's a good chance that I'll actually have the whole front of the stockng done tomorrow!  It should move a lot faster now that I'm not using that darn gold metallic thread.  Jer caught a shot of me working away at the kitchen table during Connor's Quiet Time when I should have been doing other things, like putting the groceries away (or actually brushing my hair for once).  When I get close to the end of a project like this, it's pretty tough for me to put it down. 

Today was Jeremy's first official day of vacation!  He's still getting over his cold, but I think he's looking forward to the break.  He got to sleep in until almost ten in the morning today, and then he joined me down at our local coffee shop hangout where I'd taken over a table and was busy sewing away.  We stayed until it was time to go pick up Connor from school.  I'm really loving getting the chance to spend so much time with him.  Hopefully we'll have the chance to go on some fun family outings too once everyone is completely over this bug. 

Speaking of which, this is the first time in a long time that Connor has gotten sick and not had any seizures.  Now that's something to celebrate!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

In Which We Are Feeling Better And I Work On A Peacock

We had another quiet day here; I'm happy to say that everyone was feeling a bit better.  Looks like we're on the mend!  I'm hoping Connor will be well enough to go to school tomorrow-- it probably depends on how stuffy he is.  Here he is right before bedtime hanging out in his moose pajamas.  Because moose pajamas are awesome.

I ventured out and did just a little bit of shopping today; there were a number of essentials we'd run out of that I needed to pick up, and I also picked up a few odds and ends for Christmas stocking stuffers. 

Thinking about Christmas stockings made me realize that I'd really like to finish Ellen's and hang it up this year, so I pulled it out the long-neglected project when I got home and got back to work on it.  I set it aside a few months ago and worked on other things because I got burned out on gold metallic thread, but I'm happy to say that I'm on the downhill slope now and things are moving along well.  I finished four or five layers of feathers today, so I got quite a bit of work done.  I also drew and cut out the last tracing paper patterns for the feathers and name plate and pinned them on to get an idea of how the stocking will look when finished.  I have to say that I'm pretty proud of the way it's turning out; I can't wait to get it all put together and see how it turns out!

I haven't figured out exactly what I'm going to do as far as Ellen's name on the stocking yet; we can spell her formal Thai name many different ways in English and we don't know yet what spelling will be on her American visa.  I guess I'll figure that out when I get to that point; in the meantime I have a few more layers of feathers to do before I have to worry about it.   

I hope our daughter likes it!

~Jess

Saturday, November 12, 2011

In Which We Are All Sickykins

Well it was day two of Glorious Sicky-Family Bonding Time around here, and it was not particularly fun.  I don't get sick very often and Jer catches bugs even less than I do, so it's pretty unusual for us both to be under the weather.  Connor catches absolutely everything that comes down the line, so I'm not really surprised that he's sick.  Oh well; hopefully this means that we'll all recover at the same time, too.  There's nothing more exhausting than being sick and having a kid who is completely over the illness and just brimming full of health and energy.  I'd like to avoid that if at all possible.

So anyway we took it easy today; I made us some dark, extra-spicy gingerbread with lemon whipped cream and we spent the day munching on that and drinking lots and lots of soothing hot beverages.  I did make a small start on getting the backyard cleaned up for winter, but the rain drove me indoors pretty quickly.  I spent the rest of the day balled up on the couch watching the roller derby championships, sometimes with a little guy on my lap. 

Connor basically went from one cuddle session to another today, with a brief interlude for a bath with Daddy after he threw up all over the place.  Luckily he crashed tonight, so hopefully he's getting some healing sleep.  He's snoring like you wouldn't believe either, but it can't really be helped.  The poor little guy is pretty stuffy right now.

I hope we feel better tomorrow!

~Jess

Friday, November 11, 2011

In Which We All Feel Under The Weather And Winter Is Coming

Jer, Connor and I spent a quiet Veteran's Day at home today.  The little guy was off from school, but the weather was pretty gloomy and rainy outside and everyone in the house is feeling a little under the weather, so we figured a laid back day was the way to go.  I was pretty sure that Connor and I just had some mild allergies and I actually felt pretty good today, but around bedtime my throat started getting sore and Jeremy began coughing. 

That man has a cast iron immune system, so if he feels like he's coming down with something than I'm sure the rest of us already have it.  We're supposed to have respite care tomorrow, but we may have to cancel depending on how we're feeling. 

So I'll pop in the store tomorrow and grab some lemons; any time I'm feeling sick I mix up a quick batch of honey lemon tisane and sip on it all day.  There's nothing like it for soothing a sore throat.  Sometimes I'll add a little ginger for an extra kick or a bit of vanilla sugar to smooth it out, but most of the time I keep it simple.  Or if I'm too sick to go to the store for lemons, I'll just eat honey with a spoon.  It's the best tasting cough medicine ever.

We did do a bit of work today-- we're slowly getting the house ready for the winter season, so we changed out the heating filter, replaced a lot of light bulbs and started raking up the leaves, which is quite the job in the Pacific Northwest.  I'll be cleaning out the gutters and winter-proofing our hose connections this weekend.  The nights are starting to dip pretty close to freezing, so it's about that time.  It doesn't seem possible that winter is coming up so soon!

~Jess

Thursday, November 10, 2011

In Which We Do A Whole Bunch Of Stuff And Jer Takes A Vacation

Well that was a busy day!

I'm happy to say that little guy slept quite a bit better last night!  We made it all the way until around four in the morning, when he woke up with a stuffy nose (pretty sure he's got some allergies going) which made him cry.  This of course, made him more stuffy, which made him cry more, and then we spiraled down into a vicious, snotty, crying cycle that ended with me sitting on the floor of our guest bathroom rocking the little guy with the door closed, the shower on as hot as it would go and the vent off.  Thankfully the steam did the trick and he was able to go back to bed around a quarter to five, though it's not a remedy I'd like to try often as I enjoy having paint on my bathroom walls.

Anyway, so after I got up again-- this time for good-- and took Connor to school I spent an hour or so with Jeremy making the house look spic and span for the visit from our social worker today.  Our I-800A paperwork, which allows Ellen to immigrate to the United States, expires in December.  So we needed a homestudy update to be able to extend our I-800A.  As usual I completely freaked out and cleaned the house from top to bottom, just in case she decided that we would be unfit parents for Ellen because our mantle wasn't dusted or something.  I'm pretty sure every adopting couple (or in our case, half the couple) freaks out about social worker home visits.  It's an adoptive parent rite of passage.

Anyway, so the home visit went swimmingly, which is to say that she stayed on the living room couch and didn't so much as glance at the inside of my closets or the state of my mantle.  Since our house had already been inspected to make sure it was suitable last year and we hadn't made any major changes to it, she didn't need to go over that part of things.  So the meeting was pretty quick and painless.  Our paperwork should hopefully be submitted next week and then once we redo our fingerprints (yes, we have to redo those too, though as Jeremy pointed out it's not likely they've changed) we shouldn't have to renew our paperwork again until June of 2013, and we're hoping we'll have our girl home before that.  We'll just have to see!

Jeremy, by the way, wasn't just off work for the home visit.  He's on vacation!  He's built up so much leave time that he was about to lose some of it, so he's taking a couple of weeks off.  We have big plans to spend a bunch of quality family time together, and I'm excited about having him home! 

So after our home visit was over and we picked Connor up from school, Jeremy spent some time doing yard work outside while Connor and I ran errands and then headed up to Pike Place Market for a little pre-holiday rush Christmas shopping.  Unfortunately when we got there we discovered that a large chunk of the market is under renovation right now, and the stores that I wanted to buy specific presents at were closed.  Oh well; we've still got plenty of time to go back before things get super crowded.  I'm just going to keep telling myself that.

I realized about halfway home that I'd overdone it today.  I'm still feeling under the weather, though it's less a definable illness and more a distinct feeling of malaise, which makes me unsure of whether or not it's being caused by an actual illness or if it's the ridiculously small amount of sleep I've been getting lately that's the culprit.  At any rate, I had to stop for coffee on the way home and resort to calling various friends and relatives to keep myself awake behind the wheel.  Falling asleep while driving on the highway would have put a serious damper on Connor and my afternoon.  Luckily the caffeine and conversation did the trick and I didn't have to pull over at a rest stop and nap in the van or anything.

So I took the rest of the day easy, and now I'm off to bed.  It was a pretty busy day!

~Jess

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

In Which I Am Going To Bed Right This Very Second

Once again, Connor decided to stay up way, way too late, which meant that I also stayed up way, way too late.  Also I think I'm probably coming down with something.  Thankfully, it sounds like the little guy actually is asleep now!  You have no idea just how excited I am about this.

Good night.

~Jess

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

In Which We Get Some Good News And Connor Never Sleeps

It's nearly 1:00am, and since I've had six hours of sleep in the past two days (guess who went to bed at 3:30am yesterday?) I would really like to go to bed now.  Really.  But my darling child is still awake.  This does not bode well for my sanity and/or higher brain function tomorrow. 

In other news, we received some good news today; it looks like the flood waters have finally started to recede in the area that Ellen's orphanage is located!  This is fantastic news, and hopefully means that the worst of the danger is over for the children.  I'm hoping that this is the last monsoon season she will spend in Thailand.

I've been putting together November's Thanksgiving-themed care package for our girl.  We're trying to keep them small and filled with things she can share with her friends.  Not only does she not have a lot of space to keep her possessions, but we want to be sensitive to the fact that she is probably one of very few children at her orphanage receiving care packages.  If we send elaborate or expensive gifts to Ellen, we could possibly not only make the other children feel bad, but also cause our daughter to be ostracized or bullied due to her peers' resentment and jealousy.  We figure for Christmas and her birthday (which is coming up in January-- she'll be fourteen!) we'll purchase her essentials for when she comes home, like bedding, furniture, etc. and keep her care packages small with only one or two personal items. 

And that's about all the brain function I have to write tonight.  Get some sleep for me, okay?

~Jess


Monday, November 7, 2011

In Which Connor Goes On Strike Again

Forgive me if I'm a little incoherent tonight; Connor stayed up until nearly 5:30 in the morning yesterday, and as it's now nearly midnight and he's still yodeling at the top of his lungs in his room, things aren't looking so hot for tonight either.  I kept Connor home from school, but I probably should have just sent him because he seemed totally unaffected by his two hours total of sleep.  I was not quite so lucky.

I turned into the most absentminded person in the world.  I dialed phone numbers and forgot who I was calling before they picked up.  I went to roller derby practice without my wrist guards, which I left sitting on the couch next to where my skate bag had been.  I went to grocery store and came back without half of the groceries I'd intended to get.  Today was not a day for making life-changing decisions or for anything involving higher math, and I strongly suspect tomorrow will be more of the same.

Case in point; there were a number of other things I'd meant to tell you all today, but I can't currently remember what any of them are.  For some reason this particular run of sleepless nights is hitting me particularly hard-- especially when you consider that Saturday night I was away in Oregon and actually got a full eight hours of sleep.  I think the road trip was actually part of the problem; I love going on them but for whatever reason they are exhausting for me, so coming straight off of one into No Sleep Land is pretty rough. 

Oh well.  Looks like I'll be hitting the caffeine pretty hard tomorrow!

~Jess

Sunday, November 6, 2011

In Which I'm Home And Chocolate Mustaches Abound

I'm back home!

After a leisurely breakfast, I spent the first half of the day driving back up to Puyallup.  It was a pleasant trip; the company was lovely, traffic was light and the weather cooperated, making for a pretty easy ride.  Connor gave me a huge smile and one of his rare hugs when I got home; he seemed excited to see me back, which doesn't happen very often!  Usually the little guy is so excited about his Daddy Time that he doesn't seem to even notice my absence.  At any rate, he apparently had a quiet (and thankfully seizure-free) weekend, which was probably just what he needed after last week's seizure excitement.

I did find out late last night that one of my teammates who took a bad fall at yesterday's bout broke her ankle and will need surgery, which was some rough news.  Hopefully she'll have a quick recovery and be back on her skates soon; it's so hard to see one of my ladies hurt and in roller derby it happens more often than I'd like.

My sister posted up her lovely pictures from her trip to Seattle on her photography website.  You can check them out here.  Connor looks extremely dapper sporting a chocolate mustache.  I look rather disturbingly like my father.

I miss Mary already.  Sister, come back soon!

~Jess

Saturday, November 5, 2011

In Which I'm In Oregon

I'm down here in Albany, Oregon after skating in tonight's bout-- we just got to our billeting from the after party!  We're staying at another skater's house tonight, which is my favorite way to work things when we go on road trips. 

I felt like I had a slow start but skated a lot better in the second half.  We lost, but we still had a ton of fun so our mission was accomplished.  I got up way earlier in the morning than I'm used to because it was a long drive down and we were actually stopping at another bout first; some of my team mates actually skated two bouts today!  At any rate, I'm pretty exhausted now, probably because of a combination of things.  I usually actually get better sleep at our away bouts than I do at home because the little guy isn't there to keep me awake, so I'm going to take advantage of that and get as much sleep as I can tonight! 

We'll be heading back to Puyallup tomorrow, but it was nice to get away for a little while with my team mates and have a good time!

~Jess

Friday, November 4, 2011

In Which Connor Is Back To His Old Self And I Prepare For A Road Trip

This will be a short post, because I've got to get to bed.  I need to be up bright and early tomorrow morning for yet another road trip!  I'm headed back down to Oregon for another bout; the third in as many weeks.  This time my roller derby team, the Trampires, is making the trip to Albany to face off against the Sick Town Derby Dames.  It's going to be so much fun! 

I feel comfortable leaving the little guy because Connor thankfully had a grand total of zero seizures today, and was back to his old sprightly self.  I'm so relieved!  Hopefully Jer and the little guy will have a quiet weekend while I'm away.  This will be my last bout that's out of town for a while, so after this my schedule won't be quite so crazy. 

I'm going to try to blog after the bout tomorrow night, but if I don't get the chance to I hope all of you have a fantastic Saturday!

~Jess

Thursday, November 3, 2011

In Which Connor Has A Better Day

Today was much, much better than yesterday; looks like the little guy is on the mend!  He only had three seizures total today, and seemed to be in much better spirits.  So he went back to school today, and we were able to venture out of the house and run a few errands.

One of those errands was a trip to the post office to mail our latest care package to Ellen.  We're not sure exactly when she'll get it because we don't know if the postal system is running over there right now or not due to the flooding, which is expected to remain an emergency situation for several more weeks.  Over 400 deaths in Thailand have now been attributed to the flooding, and the hazards won't stop once the water recedes.  So far as we know our daughter is still safe, but please continue to keep our girl and the thousands of other children like her throughout the country in your thoughts and prayers. 

My leg feels a whole heck of a lot better today; I went over to Joanna's house this evening and she gave me a massage, which really helped.  Apparently I'd also somehow subluxed my left shoulder, which was, um, felt less than pleasant when she worked on it.  But it feels much better now too, so that's good.  I think I need to go get a massage more often; I'm falling to pieces!

~Jess

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

In Which Connor Has More Seizures And I Discover The Perils Of A Sedentary Lifestyle

Well it was another glorious day over here in seizure land.  Connor had nine today, which is four less than yesterday but still about nine more than I'd like him to be having.  That brings the grand total of seizures in the past three days to a daunting twenty-five.  I'm hoping we're on the down slope of this particular trend; he didn't run a fever at all today and seemed to be in better spirits during the periods of the day he was conscious.

Since he was doing a bit better and was okay with me not holding him every second of the day today, I left the little guy with Jeremy this evening and took off for roller derby practice.  Unfortunately, I had to pack it in early as this did not go particularly well either. 

A word to the wise: sitting on a couch in one place with a nearly 40 pound child on your lap for twelve hours a day, two days in a row is not the best way to warm up for an exercise regime.  Especially an exercise regime which is in a new practice space with floors that are way, way stickier than you are used to when you forgot to change out your super grippy wheels for a pair that will not make it feel like you are skating through three inches of wet cement. 

Also eating a diet consisting largely of leftover Halloween candy, hummus and crackers, and whatever I could find in the back of the pantry that I didn't need to cook probably didn't help. 

At any rate, my right calf declared war on me in the first five minutes of practice, and by the time we were half an hour in I was stretched out on the carpet while a teammate massaged my right calf and shin as my left leg tried to decide whether or not it was going to get into the act and start cramping too.

So that was the end of practice for me.  I drove home, drank a bunch of water, ate a banana, took some ibuprofen and a hot bath, and now I'm calling it a night.  It stinks because derby is my stress relief, and I've had just a wee bit of stress in the past couple of days.  But I'll listen to my body and give it a rest until our bout on Saturday. 

So yeah, not a particularly great day!

~Jess

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

In Which Connor Is Sick And Has A Whole Bunch Of Seizures

Well I'm kind of glad today is over, because it was not terribly fun.

Connor's fever went down a little bit at a time throughout the day, and by the evening was completely gone, which was good.  What wasn't so good was that he had a horrible thirteen seizures.  Also we're pretty sure he had a migraine at the end of the day, which wasn't too surprising given the number of times he'd had the oxygen supply to his brain cut off.  He slept about eight hours total during the day.

So it was not a particularly great day for either one of us; basically he clung to me the whole day and got upset any time he woke up and I was out of immediate eye shot.  He only calmed down right before his bedtime after Jer got home and figured out the little guy was in the middle of a migraine.  We dosed him up with Tylenol and he perked up a bit before falling asleep on our bed. 

I still have no idea what caused his fever, but he doesn't have school tomorrow so that will give him another day of rest-- and hopefully recovery, as I would rather not have tomorrow look anything like today did.

Blegh.

~Jess
 
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