Monday, April 30, 2012

In Which Connor's Day Takes A Turn For The Worse

Connor had a little seizure this morning, but he perked back up after a short nap and I sent him off to school.  He apparently had a pretty good day at school.  Unfortunately that was the end of his fun times today, because by eight this evening he'd had ten seizures.

When he wasn't having a seizure he was asleep; he spent about eight hours of the day snoozing and he's conked out right now.  We think he's probably getting sick; he's running a low-grade fever so we dosed him up with Tylenol.  It's hard to tell whether or not the fever is related to an actual illness or if it's just a side effect of all the seizures, though. 

He hasn't had this many seizures in a long time, and this was totally out of the blue.  So we're really hoping that this is related to an illness and isn't an indication that his medication is failing.  He's been doing so well recently, so if these seizures aren't sickness related this is definitely quite the setback. 

Either way, I just hope he feels much better tomorrow. 


Sunday, April 29, 2012

In Which I Am Back From Idaho

I'm back!

I went down to Boise, Idaho this weekend to skate with a pick-up team called the Blitzkrieg Bruisers in a bout against the Treasure Valley Rollergirls.  Most of the players on the Blitzkrieg Bruisers hadn't actually ever skated together; our warm-up was the first time we'd ever stepped on the track as a team.  So it was pretty exciting when we managed to hold our own and ended up losing by only 19 points, which in derby is a really close bout! 

So I had a fantastic time and I've came back with a glorious bruise or two, but I can't show you any pictures because none of the bruises are in places that are appropriate for me to put photos of on the Internet.  However, I didn't break anything or get seriously injured and I had a blast, so the trip was a success!

We spent all of today driving back, and I got home, gave Connor a few snuggles (he promptly fell asleep on my chest, so he got an early bedtime) and grabbed a change of clothes because then it was time for a two hour scrimmage with my league.  It was all derby, all the time this weekend!  While I had a great time, I'm glad to be home and back spending time with my family, and I think that's probably the last of my long weekend derby trips for the season. 

Unless something pops up at the last minute, of course.  It happens.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Heading off to Idaho for a fun bout of roller derby tonight-- I'll try and check in if I can!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

In Which We Go Out To Dinner And Have A Pretty Great TIme

Jer, Connor and I all went out to dinner tonight at our favorite Greek restaurant, where Connor cooed over the avegolemono (a tasty Greek-style chicken soup) and Jer and I enjoyed stuffing our faces with the aforementioned soup, lamb shank and American-style saganaki.

Saganaki, for those of you not familiar with it, is pan-seared cheese, which is exceedingly tasty.  American-style saganaki takes the dish up one notch on the dramatic scale.  Basically you take cheese, already one of the world's most delectable foods, and you set it on fire, which instantly makes it 8,000 times more awesome.  You yell "Opa!" while you are doing this.  I have no idea what "opa" means since I don't speak Greek, but I assume it's something along the lines of: "Hey, were you aware of the fact that this cheese is on fire?  Because it totally is."  Then you eat it with ridiculously tasty pita bread warm from the oven, or at least you do if you are at our favorite Greek restaurant.  I do recommend that you wait until it's not on fire any more before you dig in, though.  Unless you have something against eyebrows.

Anyway, so we haven't been out to dinner as a family in quite a while and it was pretty refreshing.  Connor did extremely well in the restaurant, and we didn't feel rushed or like we were ruining the other diner's meal with our shrieking little banshee.  Of course it probably helped that we went to dinner pretty early-- just after five-- and it was a Thursday night, so practically no one was there.  Connor does much better with a quiet, calm atmosphere in restaurants.  Also the little guy is familiar with the restaurant and the owners adore him, so he was on his best behavior.

One of the fantastic things about living in this town is we've been able to really get to know a lot of the people who work in our frequent haunts, and they're extremely tolerant of our family's quirks.  Oftentimes the people in our favorite stores and restaurants go out of their way to make us feel welcome, and not only do they love having Connor come in, they're actually disappointed when I don't bring him with me, probably because he is way, way more adorable than I am. 

I'm so glad we live here!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

In Which Jer Has A Birthday And Connor Has A Clean Smile

Jeremy is thirty one today!

This doesn't really seem possible-- he was nineteen when he and I started dating, which is only five years older than our soon-to-be daughter.  Crazy!  Since our daughter won't be allowed to date until she's at least fifty I can think about it without totally freaking out.

Okay, maybe that's a little too strict.  We'll let her see boys at forty-five.  If she double dates.

So we're going out for Jer's birthday celebration tomorrow night, as we had too many things going on today.  One big thing that happened was that Connor had his dentist appointment, which went very well.  We use a circular toothbrush with a rotating head for his daily dental hygiene (recommended by the dentist since his teeth are so small and far apart) and it's very similar to the cleaning tool that the dentist uses in her office.  So he was extremely good for the cleaning, and it only took them about ten minutes to do the whole thing.  He even opened his mouth on command.  Way to go Connor!

The dentist said that she's not worried about Connor's stubborn loose teeth unless his permanant teeth start coming in behind or in front of them, so that's a good thing too.  We'll just have to see how long they hold on; it's been nearly five months now and they show no sign of falling out.  Guess he's got to do everything in his own time!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

In Which Connor Has A School Meeting And The Tooth Fairy Has It Easy Around Here

We got off to school about an hour early this morning because Connor and I had an evaluation for services meeting to attend in preparation for him transitioning to full day school next year.  All of his services have to be changed, of course, because he'll be in school for six hours a day instead of two and a half, and he'll be going five days a week instead of four.  We'll have an IEP meeting some time in the next month to make sure everything will be in place for next year. 

In the meantime I plan to be in total denial that my son is going to be in first grade next year, because there is absolutely no way that he's that big, and also because his school program is so fantastic right now and I'd love for him to be in it forever.  Of course I'm sure whatever program we end up in will be fantastic too because Connor's school district is amazing, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to stick my fingers in my ears and yell "La la la la la" every time the subject comes up until next September.

Tomorrow he has a dentist appointment, which should be interesting.  He's got four loose teeth right now, and two of them have been loose since late December of last year and show no indication of falling out any time soon.  So we'll see if they end up wanting to pull those, or if they'll just let nature take its apparently extremely slow and winding course.  Since the little guy doesn't chew, it makes sense that they'd be holding on-- they don't get near the amount of wiggling that they would if he was biting things with them.

Of course he's losing his teeth all out of order, but that's to be expected with this kid, especially as his primary teeth came in all out of order too (and way, way early).  The ones we're really waiting to see are his two upper central incisors (his two top front teeth) because those are the primary teeth that have major enamel issues.  Basically the enamel didn't form on them properly before he was born, either due to his genetic condition or because his kidney shut down while they were forming, and as a result not only are they a lovely pumpkin orange color but they also have an interesting shape to them-- kind of like a cookie with a bite taken out of it. 

Since the permanent teeth form at a different time from the primary teeth, we're hoping that the permanent versions of those teeth will have a stronger coating of enamel and he won't need to have them painted with fluoride every six months for the rest of his life.  We probably won't be finding out any time soon though, because those teeth have only been loose since February so it'll probably be another six months before they fall out.

I'll let you all know how things go!


Monday, April 23, 2012

In Which We Get Some Fantastic News And I Unearth A Chair Massacre

If you'd peeked into the window of my house today around 10:30 in the morning or so, you would have seen me dressed in yoga pants and a long t-shirt dancing crazily around in the middle of the living room in my socks and singing a ridiculous song, the lyrics of which went something like "We're getting night nursing, woo hoo! Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo!" 

It's very difficult to find anything to rhyme with "nursing," other than "cursing," which definitely did not fit the tone of the song.  Hence the "doo doo doos."

Anyway, so we got the call today that we officially qualify for forty hours of night nursing a week, and this is about the best news I've ever gotten in my entire life-- especially coming just after yet another night where Connor stayed up until three in the morning.  I have no idea what the heck I'm going to do with all of that sleep, but whatever it is I'm sure it will be awesome.  Also this is going to majorly cut down on the amount I spend on caffeine every month. 

Okay, so it will probably be a little weird knowing that somebody is sitting around in our house after I go to bed, but I'm sure I'll get used to it quickly.  It will probably take a couple of weeks to set things up, but that's okay.  I've waited six years for more than two decent nights of sleep in a row, so what's a couple more weeks?

In celebration, Connor and I went out to my favorite antique mall and found the last two pieces of furniture we needed for Ellen's room-- a little side table and a chair for her desk.  The chair I found had a beautiful frame, but was upholstered in a pink floral broadcloth that doesn't at all go with our girl's room.  Also we know that she's not a huge fan of pink.  I've recovered a few chairs in the past and it's not a terribly difficult project, so I went ahead and bought the chair with every confidence that I'd be able to fix it up in no time.

You can probably see where this is going.

So the previous owners of all the other chairs I've recovered in the past have been reasonable, rationally-minded people who used reasonable, rational amounts of hardware to affix their chosen material to the wood on the underside of the seat of the chair.  Once I got my chosen chair home and turned it over to take a close look at the underside, it was clear that I was not dealing with one of those reasonable, rationally-minded people.  Apparently the person who owned this chair before me had access to an industrial staple gun and severe anger issues, which is not a good combination.  The cambric on the bottom of the chair was attached with about forty staples, some of which had been driven so deeply into the wood that they were obviously going to be impossible to get out.

So I decided to cut the cambric off, which is when I discovered this:

There are 17 staples in the about three square inches worth of chair pictured here. 
The entire chair is like this.  Whee.
 There have got to be well over two hundred staples in the bottom of this chair.  I think that whoever recovered it last needs to take some courses in deep breathing or yoga, and also maybe not be allowed to touch any power tools ever, ever again.

So I think my best option is to put my new cover straight over this old one.  I kind of wanted to completely recover it because I was planning on adding some more padding, but I can probably just put a layer of batting over the old cover and then nail the whole mess on.  Provided I can find some space for my carpet tacks that isn't already covered in staples.



Sunday, April 22, 2012

In Which Potty Training Continues And Connor Amuses Himself

Day two of potty training went just as swimmingly as day one. 

I went out first thing this morning and bought a little potty chair for Connor, the idea being that maybe our problem is that he doesn't like going on his modified toilet chair in the bathroom.  So if we could convince him to start going on the potty chair, we could eventually move it into the bathroom and then slowly transition him back to his toilet chair.

So we talked all about the potty, sang a song about the potty, etc.  We put him down on the chair in the living room (sitting on the couch and holding him in place with our knees because there's no way he would actually stay on the chair by himself).  We decided that resorting to bribery was totally not a bad parenting strategy in this case, and told him that if he went pee pee on the potty, he would get to go to the park as a reward.  Connor loves going to the park. 

Evidently he loves not going on the potty a whole lot more, though.

Connor sat on the potty for the next four and a half hours.  During that four and a half hours he figured out a few amusing things to do, none of which involving actually peeing on the potty.  For example, he discovered an exciting game in which he would scoot himself forward to where he was, um, aimed at the floor instead of in the potty, make some grunting noises and then watch mom and dad fall over themselves trying to get him aimed back in the potty.  This was apparently highly amusing.  After a couple of hours it lost its appeal though, so he quit doing it until four and half hours in he decided he absolutely couldn't hold it anymore, at which point he quickly scooted forward and peed all over the floor.

Well played, Connor.  Well played.

So that was the end of potty training for today.  I suppose we'll keep sticking him on the thing after school until he figures out that if he pees, his reward is that he doesn't have to sit on the potty any more.  Since this kid is every bit as stubborn as I am, I figure we won't be leaving the house a whole lot.  Fun times. 

Also I'll be adding paper towels and floor cleaner to tomorrow's shopping list.  I have the feeling we'll be going through our supply a wee bit faster than usual here.  No pun intended.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

In Which Connor Does Not Like Potties

Today we decided to try another round of potty training with Connor.

A few years ago Connor was dang near completely potty trained, and then a couple of things happened.  The first was that Connor's seizures started and as they worsened he began to regress in a bunch of areas, potty training included.  The second was that Jeremy got himself blown up and Connor was introduced to the utter terror that was Harborview Medical Center's automatic flushing toilets.  Between those two things the kid regressed to the point that being almost potty trained was a distant memory. 

Since then he's shown absolutely no indication that he's ready to be potty trained.  Still, the kid is six years old now, his seizures have currently died down to just a couple of times a week instead of multiple times a day, and he's almost outgrown the diapers we can buy in the grocery store, so we figured we'd try another intensive round this weekend and see if we could make any progress towards getting him in some big boy pants.

Since he wasn't letting me know when he needed to go, I figured putting him on a timed schedule might be the way to go for now, and then we could work on the communicating-when-he-needs-to-go part later.  He doesn't usually go when he has his diaper off, so just before I got him up this morning I set up a plastic-protected area on the couch and set the kitchen timer down in a prominent place on our side table.  The idea was that I'd put him on the potty for ten minutes or so twice an hour until he went, praise him copiously and then rinse and repeat until he was used to that.  Then we'd slowly extend the time between potty breaks until he was on a schedule of every three hours or so or was telling us when he needed to go-- whatever came first.  Since the kid's on a liquid diet, he's more than hydrated enough for this sort of thing.

The first hour and two visits to the potty produced nothing.  About fifteen minutes after his return from his second trip to the potty, he peed on the couch.  I took him back over to his potty and sat him there while Jeremy cleaned up the mess.  Another hour and another two trips to the potty went by with no result.  I sat him back down on the couch and he promptly peed on it again.

We decided to change tactics.

What if we put him on the potty until he peed?  Maybe if we could give him the idea that he was supposed to go on the potty he'd eventually get the hang of it.  I took him back into the bathroom, plopped him down and told him that we'd be staying in there until he peed on the potty.  Connor seemed fine with this.

We read some stories about potties.  We sang some songs about potties.  We did a potty dance, which Connor found immensely entertaining.  In fact Connor seemed to be pretty cool with hanging out on the potty, as long as he didn't have to pee on it.

Three excruciatingly long hours later, Connor finally decided to use the potty for its intended function, and received copious praise as a result.  There was a repetition of the potty dance with additional invented verses, and talk about what a big boy he was and how proud of him I was, which is always a big hit in the Connor camp.  I asked him if he was finished and he said yes, so I took him off the potty, cleaned him up, flushed the toilet and we returned to the living room couch in triumph, where Connor heaved a huge sigh of relief and immediately proceeded to pee all over the couch and floor. 

At that point I threw in the towel and decided potty training was done for the day.

So what did I learn from this glorious exercise, other than the fact that it was a really, really good idea to cover my couch in plastic?  Evidently Connor does have some bladder control, which was somewhat in question at the beginning of this exercise.  The issue seems to be not with whether or not he can control himself enough to pee on the potty, it's whether or not he will pee on the potty.  For whatever reason he seems to have decided that it's okay to pee pretty much anywhere else, but the toilet is strictly off limits.  Perhaps he thinks that it's just waiting to automatically flush underneath him and scare the bejeezus out of him or something.  Who can blame him?  Heck, those toilets scare the bejeezus out of me. 

So tomorrow's plan of attack includes buying one of those little portable potty chairs (provided we can find one that he'll fit on) and seeing if we can get him to pee on that before slowly transitioning it to the bathroom and then on to the toilet.  Unfortunately we'll have to hold him on it rather than him being able to sit in it unassisted like his current toilet chair, which is made specifically for a child with special needs, but we'll do what we need to do because while in some ways Connor continuing to be in diapers would be more convenient for me, I'm much more concerned about what's most dignified and empowering for him. 

So tomorrow I'll be potty shopping, and also buying more plastic for my couch.  I have a feeling I'll need it.


Friday, April 20, 2012

In Which Connor Grows Some More And I Might Get Some Sleep

Connor got a haircut today, and once again looks a bajillion years older.  He was extremely good for his hair cut, and no ears were chopped off or anything.

He really looks six years old now, which is crazy.  I had to raise the height on his stander again today; I swear the kid is growing like a weed.  He's heavy enough now (over forty pounds!) that we're starting to talk about lifts and whatnot.  Luckily he helps a little bit when he's being picked up out of his wheelchair by pulling to stand, because otherwise my back would probably be killing me. 

We got a phone call from our insurance program yesterday, and apparently we should be hearing from a nurse triage some time in the next couple of weeks about starting up some night nursing for Connor!  I am incredibly excited about this whole thing, and I have absolutely no idea what I'll do with all of that sleep.  I don't think I've gotten eight full hours of sleep more than two nights in a row since the little guy was born, so this is a big occasion.  Hopefully we'll get that set up soon so that I can start catching up!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

In Which I Work On Ellen's Room Some More

I managed to put Ellen's curtains up today, and I didn't stab myself with any drapery pins or anything!  Of course the curtains are badly in need of a good ironing, but that will have to wait until I borrow an iron since I don't seem to actually own one anymore.  In my house, if it can't go in the washing machine, we don't buy it.  That's what happens when you live with a kid who drools on everything.  And it's not like Jer wears a suit to work or anything, so I'm not exactly ironing his dress shirts.

I can hear all you good housekeepers judging me.  Oh well.  Heck, some days I feel proud that I actually put on clothing, let alone wrinkle-free clothing.  Pajamas are pretty comfy.

Anyway, so Ellen's curtains are up, I put up her bullitin board and some small shelving, and her bedspread came in the mail today too, so the room is really starting to come together!  I still need to find her a floor lamp, a couple of occasional tables, put up an artwork/whatever hanging area (like this) above her desk, recover her window benches, hang up the one piece of art we got for the room and pick up a few odds and ends like a laundry hamper and some more wall shelving.  I'm starting to get a feel for what the room will look like when it's ready for her to move in, though, and I hope she finds it as cozy and comfy as I do.  I can't wait to see how she makes it her own!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

In Which Connor Has A Meltdown

So today I had a bunch of errands to run-- Connor needed a hair cut and we needed to run by the fabric store, the hardware store and the grocery for various odds and ends.  I decided to hit the fabric store first since it's the farthest away and work back towards home.  This proved to be a mistake.

Connor loves the fabric store.  His favorite aisle is the tulle aisle, because all of the tulle is brightly colored and sparkly and it sticks out far enough that he can run his hands through it on either side when I push his wheelchair through the row.  He adores all the colors and patterns and things to look at, but by that same token it can be pretty overwhelming-- especially when it's busy.  Because the store was having a major sale today, it was really, really busy.

I couldn't just run in and out because I wasn't sure exactly what I was looking for; I wanted a fabric to recover the bench cushions on Ellen's two storage benches under her window.  Currently they are covered in a plasticky canvas-like material that is a color I think of as "nursing home beige."  Ew.  So I wanted something that was going to go with the rest of her room but not be too matchy-matchy. 

I would normally go without Connor for something like this, but they were having a 50% off sale today on their upholstery fabrics, which makes a huge difference since they can get pretty pricey.  So I had to take the little guy.  Connor, however, was not exactly thrilled with the idea of wandering up and down the upholstery fabric aisles for half an hour.  Connor wanted to race up and down the tulle aisle a couple of times and then go home.

After about twenty minutes, I found the fabric I wanted and pulled a number to get it cut.  We were two numbers away from our turn when the little guy decided he'd had more than enough.  So he started shrieking at the top of his lungs.  We're talking ear-piercing, breaking glass sort of shrieking.  Heads turned.  People looked taken aback.  Somehow I'd missed the warning signs, and Connor was in full-blown overstimulation mode.

Now, Connor knows how to behave in a store, and he understands the concept of an "inside voice," though when he has his hearing aids out he does get a bit loud sometimes.  But in this case it was less him acting out and more him being entirely, completely overwhelmed.  When he starts shrieking like that it's not because he's acting out deliberately, it's because he's trying to cover up all the other stuff going on by giving himself a familiar sound to focus on.  I can tell him "no" all I want at that point, but he's completely blocked out everything and he's not hearing me.  Normally I'd take him to the women's restroom-- hopefully an industrial white box with as little stimulation as possible-- and let him calm down there. 

But since it was almost our turn and I didn't want to either wait another fifteen minutes (which would prolong the problem) or put my fabric back and leave the store, I sat down in the nearest chair, picked him up and put him in my lap.  He immediately stopped shrieking and pressed his entire face into my chest as hard as he could to block everything out.  I made shushing sounds into his ear and I could feel his shoulders, which were rigid when I picked him up, slowly relax.  We stayed that way until it was our turn and I had to put him back in his chair.

So that little break gave us both a reprieve until we were almost through the check-out aisle, which is when he started losing it again.  The check out aisle has all these bins at Connor eye-level filled with all sorts of brightly colored objects, and I'm pretty sure that's what set him off.  At that point there was little I could do except grit my teeth, smile at the other folks in line and put my hand over his mouth to cover up the worst of the shrieking.  Luckily the line moved quickly, so it didn't take very long.

So I cut the rest of our errands short as there was no way we were getting through anything else without a meltdown and took the little guy straight home.  I grabbed a book and a popsicle, plopped down on the couch with him, and within five minutes he was leaning over asleep on my chest, which is how Jer found us when he got home this afternoon.  Jer moved the little guy to his bed, and Connor slept through the rest of the afternoon and on into the evening. 

It's been a long, long time since he's gotten that overwhelmed in a store.  He's made so many strides in the last few years that I forget sometimes how impossible it would have been for me to even take him into a store like that on a busy day when he was two or three.  I guess that he was still tired from our trip yesterday, and this was just too much for him.  Next time I need to hit a sale at the fabric store, I'll save the trip for a day when the little guy is in school!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

In Which I Shop Willingly And Connor Shops Under Protest

Today after Connor's school let out we stopped by the house just long enough to get his noon medication and his feeding supplies before we were off to do some shopping.  I wanted to find Ellen's curtains today as well as pick up a few things at Ikea, like a replacement hinge for her cabinet door since I stripped the screws on the one that came with the darn thing trying to get it in.  I am not exactly the handiest chick in the world, and things I put together have a tendency to end up a bit crooked.  .This is okay if I'm putting together, say, a cabinet, but it's probably best if I leave projects that need to have decent structural integrity to other people.

Of course since we were at Ikea we had to look at all of the other things there, and we ended up spending almost three hours tootling around the store, partially because it's fun to shop and partially because once you enter Ikea you can't find your way out again without touring practically the whole dang store.  I did get the hinge I needed, but I also picked up a few things I probably could have lived without. 

By the time I was ready to wrap things up Connor was more than finished shopping.  When waving "bye bye" to absolutely everyone we met didn't do the trick he resorted to pretending to fall asleep in his wheelchair.  Every time I'd stop to look at something (or we passed a television that was on) he'd crack his eyes open and peek around, and then as soon as he saw I was looking he'd quickly squeeze them shut again, the little stinker.

As soon as we got out into the parking lot he miraculously recovered and got really excited when he saw our van because I told him that we'd be heading home after the shopping trip.  I put all our stuff in the car and started walking back towards the store entrance with him to put the bag we'd borrowed away, and Connor started signing "NO NO NO NO," waving bye bye frantically and yelling at the top of his lungs.  Evidently he thought we were going in for round two. 

Silly little guy.


Monday, April 16, 2012

In Which I Head To The Doctor And Play With More Power Tools

Today while Connor was at school I took a trip to the doctor's office.

It felt really weird going to the doctor without Connor and for something other than my annual well-check; I think the last time I went in was back in January when I injured my shoulder.  My fever was actually gone when I woke up this morning, but I promised Jeremy I'd go in and since I've been sick for over a week now it was probably time. 

They did a rapid strep test, which thankfully came back negative.  The results of the cultures they did should be ready in a few days, but it's pretty likely that this is either a really, really nasty virus or I got two different bugs back-to-back.  I'm hoping for the two different shorter bugs, because now Jeremy is sick too and I don't want him to have a whole week of misery like I've had. 

Connor feels great-- which is sort of a mixed blessing as he's absolutely full of energy right now-- but of course I'm glad that he's not sick.  He's happy to be back in school and has been spending a lot of time playing with the day-glo, vibrating frog toy I brought him back from Montana.  Of course he won't pull the string out himself; he just yells until I do it for him and then giggles a whole bunch as it runs across his arms.  Silly little guy.

I've been trying to slow down and take it a bit easier so I'll get well faster (besides the Montana bout, which probably wasn't slowing down given all the driving, playing derby, etc. but was totally fun so it doesn't count) but it's pretty difficult because Connor needs entertainment and the chores aren't going to do themselves around here.  I also still have plenty of work to do on Ellen's room. 

I made her curtain rods today; I bought a closet rod for four bucks, cut it in half and cut each half to size, drilled holes in the ends and painted them because heck if I'm going to pay thirty bucks per curtain rod.  Then I screwed finials into the things and I think the end result is pretty decent.  The finials are a tad crooked, but since I'm hanging two curtain rods (they will be short rods for the individual panels that will hang on either side of the window to match the rest of the house) and I paid under twenty dollars for the whole mess I don't really care.  Now I just have to find (or make) the curtains to go on the rods, and that's one more project done!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

In Which I'm Still Sick, Dang It

And right on cue, I'm running a fever again.

It's a low-grade fever, so it's not a big deal, but since I've been sick since Easter it's probably about time to go to the doctor.  My sore throat and scratchy voice have never really gone away and I've had a lovely accompaining headache off and on for a while too.  Hopefully this is just a virus and it will go away soon, but better safe than sorry-- I really don't need to pass strep throat or something on to Connor. 

I'm tired of being sick!


Saturday, April 14, 2012

In Which I Go To Montana And Thoroughly Enjoy Myself

I'm back from Montana!

The area we drove through was absolutely gorgeous, but I saw most of it from behind the steering wheel of my car because we had an eight and a half hour drive back and so we didn't want to take too many side trips.  I'd love to head down that way for a vacation some time though, because we certainly passed a lot of things worth exploring!

Our bout was on the University of Montana campus and it was completely worth the long drive down; I have to say it was one of the most fun bouts I've ever played in.  No one got hurt, everyone had a great time both on the track and at the afterparty, and the Hellgate Rollergirls were extremely gracious and made my whole team feel like a million bucks.  It's so fantastic to play a team that is genuinely friendly and welcoming whether they win or lose!

From what Jer told me it sounds like the boys had a pretty great time while I was gone too!  He had a really quiet day Friday because Connor was still under the weather, and they missed Connor's Personal Parade this year (apparently it was on Thursday when the little guy was so sick).  However, today they did go down to the actual Daffodil parade, because Connor's fever was gone and he was feeling so much better. 

They started out down at the very front of the street nearest to the parade, but Connor was too overwhelmed by all the noise so they retreated to the little park near city hall.  He could still see, but it wasn't quite as loud and overpowering.  He perked right up and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the parade.  The music was by far his favorite part, and he danced when the marching bands went by. 

So while the weekend was great for all of us, I'm really glad to be home!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

In Which Connor Catches A Bug And I Fret About Leaving

I'm feeling a little bit better today, which is great.  Connor, however, is not.  We started out the morning running errands, but I had to cut them short and take him home because he started looking more and more droopy.  I figured this was because he stayed up until three in the morning, but then he started having a bunch of seizures and spiked a fever.  He had nine today and at one point was running a 102 degree fever while on Tylenol.  So I guess I shared whatever crud I had with him, and considering how hard it hit me this is not a good thing.  He spent literally the entire day either having a seizure or sleeping with his covers pulled up half over his eyes and a death grip on his favorite stuffed animal.  Poor little guy.

I'm leaving for Montana tomorrow night, so Jer will be nursing him through this one.  He's a great dad and knows just how to take care of the little guy, so I'll only freak out and call him once an hour or so to see how they're doing.  I've never been that far away before when Connor is sick, so I'll probably be a nervous wreck and worrying about him every second even though I know Jer has things covered.  That's part of being a mom, I guess.

I hope he's feeling well enough by Friday to venture outside and watch his annual Personal Parade-- the high school marching band always practices on our street the day before the Daffodil Parade in town, and Connor believes that they are performing especially for him.  They usually stop and play in front of our house, and he applauds wildly for all of them.  I'm sure he'd hate to miss them, so hopefully he'll be up for the event! 

Since it happens on a Friday, he's never gotten the chance to share the parade with his daddy.  I think they'd have a pretty good time together, especially since Jer was in the marching band in high school and college.  He played tuba.  I sort of wish he still had a tuba, because I think Connor would find listening to his daddy play to be tremendous amounts of fun.

Of course, I have no idea where we'd keep the thing.  Tubas are not exactly something you can stick on a shelf in your closet.  So perhaps it's for the best!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

In Which I Have A Slightly Better Day And A Date Night

I'm feeling slightly better today; I no longer feel like I'm hearing everything from underwater and my fever is completely gone, thank goodness.  I took the opportunity while Connor was in school to do some more napping, and that helped.

Connor decided that today was a day for naps too; he slept half the day away at school.  His strategy was to pretend he was falling asleep whenever it got to be his turn for anything, and as soon as they skipped him he was suddenly fine.  He stayed up until three in the morning last night, so it's not too surprising that he was tired.  He had a couple of seizures today too, so I was expected him to be pretty worn our tonight.  Apparently the naps he stole during the day were just enough to refresh him though, because now he seems determined to pull an all-nighter.  Oh well.

Despite looking like death warmed over and sounding like I'm gargling gravel, Jeremy and I went out on a date night.  Because dang it, we've had this date night scheduled for a while and as long as I'm breathing and retain the use of most of my limbs, I'm not missing an outing with my husband where I can enjoy every last second of my blissful Uninterrupted Adult Conversation Time.  And it was glorious, even if my half of the conversation was delivered in a scratchy monotone at just above a whisper. 

So that was lovely, and hopefully we'll do it again soon!  Only without the being deathly ill part.  We can skip that.


Monday, April 9, 2012

In Which I Am Soooooooo Sick

I think my brain is melting.

I am so ridiculously sick right now.  Connor, on the other hand, is feeling great.  This is not a good combination.  Miracle of miracles, the kid actually took a nap today after school so I was able to pass out for a while, but I think I need about fourteen more hours of sleep and maybe a replacement head before I'll see any real improvement.  This isn't a continuation of last week's illness either-- this is an entirely new and fun disease that's making me miserable.  Joy of joys.

So, um, good night.  Bleagh.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

In Which We Celebrate Another Easter With The Sniffles

Happy Easter, everyone!

Since we once again spent this Easter being horribly sick as a family (this is the, um, third year in a row I think so it's sort getting to be a tradition) I didn't take any pictures, as we are all-- me in particular-- looking particularly festive with our bright red noses and chapped lips. 

So instead you can enjoy the only picture Connor has ever taken with the Easter bunny.  He was a week old and also asleep so he couldn't protest, and also this one at least didn't have the full face mask on.  That's the only reason he isn't yelling his little head off. 

The one at the mall this year did have the giant mask, though he was sans the four-inch long teeth in an effort to make him slightly less menacing.  He made up for the lack of terror-inducing teeth by holding really, really still to lure children in by posing as a giant stuffed animal and then making sudden lunging motions when the kids were within range.  I think it was probably because he could barely see in that thing and could only tell there were children there once they were about three feet away, but it was basically every nightmare you ever had as a child of your stuffed animals coming to life and eating you.  You could hear the children screaming from halfway across the mall.  The only way the parents could get them to sit on his lap was to bribe them heavily with candy. 

So anyway, we stuck to the house, went through a ton of tissues and throat lozenges and focused on the much more important non-Easter-bunny-related aspects of the holiday.  Happy Easter, everyone-- hope the bunnies didn't get you this year!


Saturday, April 7, 2012

In Which I Am Really Sleep Deprived But Get A Whole Bunch Of Stuff Done Anyway

This post may be a little disjointed, because I'm running on about two hours of sleep right now.  That's not because of Connor, though.  That's because I spent last night at a sleepover with my roller derby team, and just because I'm almost 30 now and not 13 doesn't mean that I go to bed any earlier at sleepovers.  They are still every bit as fun as they were when I was a teenager, too.

Anyway, I was going to try to get a nap in today to make up for the lost sleep, but somehow that didn't end up happening.  Instead I applied a couple coats of paste wax to Ellen's dresser and then in a burst of caffeine-fueled enthusiasm drove up to Seattle to find the knobs to finish it off. 

I wanted something a little oversized to make it super easy for her to be able to grasp them and pull the drawers out; we're not sure what her fine motor skills look like so I figured I'd error on the side of caution.  I think what I found will probably work, but if it doesn't we can always change the knobs out for pulls, which are easier for a person with fine motor issues to handle.  If the desk survives her teenage years we can always replace the knobs with something a little more neutral and grown up (I'm thinking something in milk glass, white porcelain or brass) later, but for now these will work!

I still need to line the drawers and the bottom shelf, but otherwise her desk is officially done!

I'm thinking that maybe this will not be the first teenager this desk has belonged to.  I'm basing this on the condition of the desk when I bought it.  Sadly all of my "before" pictures, which were shot in a badly-lit garage, are too blurry to post up here.  But basically picture the desk with a beautiful mahogany finish on it that would have been perfect (and probably way out of my price range) if someone hadn't spilled what looked like half a bottle of nail polish in a color probably called something like "Ravishing Red" all over the top of it and down one side and then tried to get part of it off using nail polish remover and/or steel wool.  Basically it looked like the owner had gotten into a knife fight on top of the desk and lost.  Badly. 

So even though this is the first piece of furniture I have ever painted in my entire life and someone else who actually knew what they were doing could probably have done it a bajillion times better, it still beats what the desk looked like when I got it.  I'm expecting that it will probably take quite a beating in the next few years, but hopefully Ellen will keep her nail polish in the bathroom where it belongs.

Anyway, I also picked up a magnetic bulletin board with a world map printed on it for above her desk (she wants to travel the world, so this way she can stay organized and keep track of where she's been all in the same place) as well as a couple rolls of really pretty wrapping paper to cover some plain storage boxes that will go in her room-- way, way cheaper than buying the patterned ones.  And I couldn't resist buying her first stuffed animal: an adorable plush badger.  Because hey, it's a badger.  I didn't even realize that stuffed animals came in that brand of awesomeness.

Oh, and I finished off what will probably be the last of the pillows for her bed, unless I run out of other projects and go crazy while I'm waiting.  She'd probably appreciate me stopping now, though.  There are only so many throw pillows you can have on one bed at a time before things just start getting ridiculous.

I did try to take a nap in the afternoon while Connor was down for quiet time and Jeremy was at the gym, but since Connor interpreted the words "Quiet Time" to mean "Attempt To Set The World Record For Highest Decibel Level Ever Attained By A Small Child Who Thinks The Sound Of His Own Voice Is Hilarious," it didn't work out so well.  Then by the time Jeremy got home it was late enough in the afternoon that taking a nap would just mean going to bed and then waking up at three in the morning.  Oh well. 

But anyway, today was pretty productive despite my sleep deprivation, and I managed to get the vast majority of the big projects I wanted to finish over Spring Break wrapped up.  So that means tomorrow can be a total day of rest.

Speaking of which, happy Easter, everyone!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

In Which I Paint And Paint And Paint Some More

Print by Iveta Abolina
Hoo boy I did a heck of a lot of painting today.

I've put one coat of primer and three coats of paint on Ellen's desk in the last two days, and despite my best efforts at screwing everything up it's actually starting to look pretty cute.  I'm going for a vintage, slightly worn look, which involves priming and painting and sanding and painting again and then sanding and painting one more time and then glazing and waxing the whole mess.  Who knew making something look old could be so much work?  Heck, most days I look way older than I really am and I'm not even trying.  I finished all the painting today, but I still have the glazing and waxing to do. 

Then I have to pick out some cute knobs for it, line the drawers and I can show you the finished project!

Anyway, in the process of doing this desk I've learned a bit about paint-- mainly, that the paint base you use makes a huge difference in how the paint goes on.  Since I got the paint colors I'm using at three different times in three different places, they all have a different paint base.  The mid-range priced Sherwin Williams paint base goes on like butter, covers like a dream (only one coat needed on my walls with no primer!) and looks like a million bucks.  The relatively inexpensive paint base from Home Depot behaves itself if you ask really, really nicely, but you're going to need at least two coats of the stuff to get a nice finish.  And last (and also least), the dirt cheap bottom-of-the-rung Sherwin Williams paint base openly laughs in your face and then leaves to go hang out in the back alley and smoke cigarettes with all the other delinquent paint. 

That paint is a total jerk.

So moral of the story-- if you are covering a large area and want it to look nice, go for a slightly pricier paint base.  It all looks pretty much the same and may initially seem more expensive, but the fact that you don't have to put six coats of the stuff on will probably end up saving you money-- not to mention all the quarters you won't have to put in the Swearing Jar once you realize just how much work it's going to take to get the stuff on the walls.

Luckily I was just painting topcoat on the desk with the cheap stuff, or I'd be totally broke today.

 So besides completely covering myself in paint, I also went to Ikea today and picked up a dresser for Ellen's clothes.  Except I forgot to get one of the shelves.  Then I managed to break one of the hinges on the thing while putting it together.  So guess where I'll be going back to tomorrow?  Sigh.

I also picked up the one print I bought for her room from the frame shop.  While she'll be picking out the rest of the decorations for her walls when she gets here, I didn't want them to be totally blank when she arrives.  If she doesn't like it I'm sure I can find somewhere else in the house to put it. 

The fabric in the picture is going to be used in a variety of small projects, like lining her desk drawers and for a throw pillow or two.  The poppy fabric is one of the ones being used in her bedspread, and the cream fabric is also being used in her bedspread, but in a different colorway.  I already had the little vases, and I picked up the silver jewelry box at a local antique store for a song.  I'm redoing the liner, and then she can use it for bracelets and whatnot. 

Despite all my complaining, I'm having kind of ridiculous amounts of fun. 


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

In Which I Have The Snuggliest Child In The World

I might have a bit of a biased opinion, but I'm relatively sure I have what might be one of the cutest little guys in the entire universe right in my very own house.  Also the snuggliest.

The kitty agrees with the snuggly part. 

Connor spent a couple of hours napping next to me on the couch after his stander time-- he spent a full hour and a half in the stander and after all that work he was just plumb tuckered out.  Otherwise he spent most of the day with his daddy, because I was out and about buying various things for Ellen's room.  Jeremy contributes in a ton of ways to our family, but decorating is not his thing.  So I'm doing the picking and choosing of furniture and whatnot, and I'm having a blast!

I bought two mattresses for her room (she's got a trundle bed) that are fairly firm-- we figure that Ellen is probably used to sleeping on a relatively hard bed, and even if she isn't it's a lot easier to make a hard mattress softer with a topper than it is to make a soft mattress harder.  I also found a desk for her today.  It had good bones but the finish was pretty ratty, so I'm painting it to go in her room. 

Hopefully it will turn out well!


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

In Which I Paint A Room

Today I figured it was time to get started painting Ellen's room!

I've never painted a room before, and I have to say that it ended up being a lot easier than I expected.  We didn't need a primer and the paint was forgiving and went on really easily.  I did two walls of her room and left the other two (and the ceiling) the color that most of the house is painted.  I think it looks pretty nice.

I did have one Heart Attack Moment when I discovered that a spot of paint had soaked through my drop cloth and into the carpet on the other side, but luckily some water and a little elbow grease got the spot up and you can't tell it was there at all now.  At one point Loki also managed to get into the room and narrowly missed running through my paint tray, which would have been a complete and total disaster.  Luckily Jeremy managed to corral him before he did any major damage.

The whole thing, with prep and taping, took me about three hours and the room looks completely different now.  It's amazing what a coat of paint can do.

Ellen picked out a beautiful blue for her bedroom, and I have to say that I'm loving this color now that it's actually on the walls.  It's so happy and airy, and it makes her room feel about ten times larger.  I finished too late in the day to get any really good pictures so you'll have to wait until tomorrow to see how it looks, but here's a picture of me in-progress so you can get an idea of what the color looks like. 

I'll also be sure to post before-and-after pictures once I've got the rest of the room set up, which will probably happen in the next few days.  Tomorrow the plan is to go furniture shopping-- she still needs a mattress, desk, dresser and shelving.  Once we've got all that in place, I make the last of her pillows and her quilt arrives her room should be ready for her to come home and put the finishing touches in place!



Monday, April 2, 2012

In Which Connor Goes For A Ride

Today was a fantastic start to our Spring Break!  Though the forecast was originally for rain, the day dawned mild and beautifully sunny.  We decided that it was the perfect day to have Connor's tricycle make it's official debut outdoors!

Connor started getting excited when I put his helmet on to adjust the fit (he's grown quite a bit!) before we got in the car and drove to the park.  When I took it back off again for the drive he got kind of ticked-- he wanted on his trike now.  It's great to see him so fired up about a family activity!

Jer's taken most of this week off, though we had to cancel our visit to Canada because there are a few work-related things keeping him close to home right now.  He'll be home most of the week though, and I'm already really enjoying having so much family time.  Because Jer was coming to the park too, I got to strap on my outdoor skates and while Jeremy slowly guided Connor up and down Bradley Park's gentle hills, I zoomed around and got a great skating workout in-- my first outdoor skating session of the season!  Every once in a while I'd skate up alongside of them, flip around and go backwards in front of Connor, who thought this was pretty funny.

The park was absolutely packed, and we weren't the only ones out putting new adaptive equipment through its paces.  While we were sitting on a park bench letting Connor take a break (to his adamant protests-- that kid will ride his trike until he positively droops in the seat) a little guy in a new walker came by with his mom.  He was about Connor's age and obviously enjoying the walk and the lovely weather.  His mom and I chatted a bit and ended up exchanging phone numbers with the plane to set up a play date between the kids at some point.  Turns out they live really close to us.

Have I mentioned just how much I love this town?

Anyway, Connor had an absolute blast and completely wore himself out.  He's still not able to push the pedals down all the way by himself, but he still got quite the workout from all the effort he put into it.  He also played with a branch of pine needles.  Pine needles-- can you believe it?  Even I don't want to touch those things!  Not only did he happily pat the branch with his right hand, but he felt it with his left too.  It was pretty fantastic.  I think that the trike was giving him enough grounding and calming sensory input that he felt comfortable exploring things with his hands.  Of course he still won't hold the handlebars, but we'll keep working on that.

So all in all it was a great kickoff to what promises to be a fun-filled vacation.  Here's to sunny days!


Sunday, April 1, 2012

In Which Connor Has A Birthday And Now We Are Six

Happy birthday, Connor!

My little guy is six years old!  That doesn't seem even remotely possible.  Where has the time gone? 

Since the little guy wasn't excited about the idea of having a party, we had a super fun day Connor-style.  Connor's idea of fun isn't really the same as most other six year olds that I know so it was a bit of an unconventional birthday celebration, but hey, he had a fantastic time so as far as I'm concerned it was a big success!

We started off the day by singing the Happy birthday song.  Then we got him dressed, took him into the dining room and opened presents.  It's all about the instant gratification around here! 

Then we were off to a movie theater about twenty minutes from our house.  It's a tiny theater that shows a lot of stuff that's been out a while, and they had Beauty and The Beast playing in 3D.  While I think that movie would be pretty scary at Connor's age in 3D if he was seeing it for the first time, he's seen Beauty and The Beast quite a bit during his standing sessions because he loves the music, so we thought we'd try it out. 

We got to the shopping center with the theater in it really early, so we stopped in a local deli and ate a late breakfast.  Connor had some chocolate mousse, which is probably the best birthday breakfast ever.  We walked over to the theater after we were finished and took our seats pretty early.  I was happy to see several other kids and adults with developmental or physical disabilities in line, which told me that this was a good theater for us.  And once we sat down there were only three other families in the entire theater-- all of them with toddler age children.  Connor could be as loud as he liked and it wouldn't have mattered.

But actually he did a fantastic job in the theater!  I don't think he enjoyed it quite as much as he did the dinosaur production we saw back in February, partially because Beauty and The Beast wasn't originally made for 3D production so it didn't have nearly as many jump-out-at-you moments (Connor loved those the best) and partially because it wasn't about dinosaurs.  It was also a bit long for him-- he took little nap about halfway through.  But I think he still had a pretty great time, and I'd probably take him back to this theater again. 

After that we went to a mall and let Connor ride a jeep-- one of those in the middle of the aisle that makes noise, rocks back and forth and that I never let him ride because it's way too expensive.  Then we walked around a nearly deserted arcade, which for a kid who is fascinated with lights was absolutely hypnotic.  Next we drove across the street to the pet store, where he happily watched the mice running around their wheel and cooed over the parakeets. 

Then we walked down to the bookstore, where he picked out a new book.  And finally we ate a very late lunch at a Thai restaurant, where Connor gobbled as much tom kha gai (medium spicy-- he likes it with a kick) as I could shovel into his mouth.  It was a great end to his birthday outing.

He was drooping in his seat but really, really happy by the time we brought him home.  That's how a birthday outing should be!


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