Sunday, September 30, 2012

In Which The Little Guy Is Rip Van Winkle

Connor seemed to be feeling a bit under the weather today; he slept in until 9:30 in the morning, and during Thai lessons he fell asleep on my lap.  I ended up leaving a bit early because once he woke up he told me he wasn't feeling very well.  So we went home and he napped until early evening.

Then he woke up for about an hour, had a small seizure, and promptly went back to sleep.  I ended up putting him down for the night around six, and he hasn't stirred since then.  I don't know if he simply felt the seizure coming on all morning, or if he's getting sick again. 

Either way it made for a pretty quiet day.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

In Which We Attend A Party For The Moon

Today Connor and I had a very busy day planned, but it didn't end up being nearly as busy as we expected.  He seemed to be feeling pretty good-- other than that lingering cough-- so I figured we'd give it a try and see how things went.

Since it was National Free Museum Day, we had scheduled a play date in the morning with some friends for the Tacoma Children's Museum.  After that, we were going to drive up to Gig Harbor where another friend was holding a grand opening party for her business.  Then finally that evening if Connor wasn't completely exhausted we were going to try and visit the first ever Tacoma Moon Festival.  The Moon Festival is a holiday celebrated in many Asian countries marking the autumn equinox, and the festival was going to be chock full of performances that I knew Connor would love.

Unfortunately none of the kids wanted to cooperate in the morning, so our museum trip was pushed back to early afternoon.  I was the first to arrive, and glanced in the museum windows as I drove past towards the parking lot.  It was wall-to-wall children in there.  Uh oh.  I suppose I should have guessed this would be the case, given the whole "free admission" thing, but suddenly going to the museum didn't look like such a great idea.  Not only was it going to be very, very difficult to maneuver the wheelchair around in there, but the noise level would probably be through the roof.  So I called up our play date and suggested we might want to rethink things.  We agreed to meet up and figure out something else to do.

I decided to feed Connor a quick bit of lunch before we left the parking lot, and I got almost all of it into him before he had a coughing fit and his formula lunch made a reappearance all down his shirt and pants.  Luckily I always carry a backup outfit for him in his wheelchair.  I'd just gotten him into it when he had another coughing fit and the rest of lunch made a second appearance.  Fantastic. 

So we made a long detour to find someplace that sold clothing so that Connor didn't have to spend the rest of the day in wet clothes.  By the time we finished up and made it back on the road it was obvious that there was no way we were going to be able to make that grand opening party, as it was already well into the afternoon and by the time we got to Gig Harbor it would be over.  So we figured that since the Moon Festival was on our agenda anyway we'd move the play date there.

I'm so glad that we went!  Connor had a blast; he loved the Korean drummers, the Taiko drummers, the lion dance-- okay, pretty much anything that involved drums.  He got to examine one of the lion dance costumes close up and see how the dancer made it blink and open and shut its mouth, which he thought was very interesting.  The only time he seemed to get a bit bored was during the boat race; he watched for just a little bit but then quickly requested we move on and get back to watching the Hula lessons and the Cambodian dancers. 

Unfortunately we had to leave just before the Thai cultural exhibition because the kids were pooped, but I'm pretty sure they all had a terrific time.  Next year I'll try and have Connor go down for a bit of quiet time earlier in the day so he (and Ellen, who should be here!) can stay up late and watch the lantern release; I think that's something they would really enjoy.  Someday I'd love to see Yi Peng-- the lantern festival held in Northern Thailand every year. 

Maybe in a few years when we visit Thailand again we'll get the chance to go!


Friday, September 28, 2012

In Which Connor Is Stopped Up

Connor's stuffy nose is refusing to go away and seems to be developing a rather worrisome cough, which means we may end up at the doctor's office again next week.  We'll just have to see how he does over the weekend; it could be allergies of course, but since the stuffy nose dates from the cold he got I'm doubtful that's the case.

He's been pulling out his hearing aids a lot too, which isn't like him.  I suspect that having his nose all clogged up changes how the sound is amplified in his hearing aids.  I need to call his audiologist next week, because he's actually pulling his hearing aids apart when he tries to take them out and then I get to play a frantic game of Find The Really Expensive Computer, as he always seems to leave the ear molds in and drop the computer portion on the floor.  Whee.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

In Which Connor Gets A Workout And I Call The Roll

Connor saw his physical therapist at school for the first time today; he's been out for the last three Thursdays due to various doctors' appointments so he kept missing her.  So now he has a stander that's adjusted at school and he can do some of his standing time there, which will be really nice.  Trying to cram two hours of standing in before bedtime has been a bit rough on the little guy, so he'll probably appreciate it being spread out a bit more.

He's started wearing his knee extension braces for a couple of hours before bedtime per his outside physical therapist, who he also sees on Thursdays.  Thursdays are probably going to be Early Bedtime Day for Connor; he crashed at 6:15 this evening.  I guess he's getting a workout!

I spent a good portion of today on the phone, talking with various people at Ellen's future school, doctor's office, etc. to try and get as much done in the way of enrollment as we can before she gets home and to give them a heads up that we're getting closer to her getting here.  Ellen will probably be starting up school right after Christmas break, so I talked with a counselor at the junior high she should attend about what that process should entail.  We're going to try and get her school records while we're in Thailand to help with the transfer, but there's no guarantee we'll be able to make that happen. 

We won't know for sure yet exactly what grade she'll be placed in, but we're guessing it will probably be 8th grade based on her age and where she is in school now.  The junior high schools here are 7th-9th grade, so this will give her the chance to be with the same kids for a year before she starts high school; something we think will be pretty beneficial. 

I was talking to Jer and called Ellen "Connor" for the first time today.  She's not even home yet and I'm already mixing up my kid's names.  I'm pretty sure this is a rite of passage for any kid with siblings-- I even got the cat's name every once in a while.  I haven't called Connor "Ellen" (or her actual name) yet, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

In Which Connor Tries On Shoes And I Have More Cooking Adventures

I picked Connor early from school today so he could go in for his first fitting on his ankle-foot orthotics (AFO's).  The outer shells and inner foam of the AFOs has been made, but they don't have any straps yet and the final trimming still needs to be done.  The shells go quite a bit higher on his calves than his last pair, so he'll get some more stability with them while he's standing at the expense of some of his flexibility. 

The fitting went well, and they only need to make a few little tweaks to the AFO shells.  His next appointment will be for his final fitting, and then we should be able to pick them up.  I'll be sure to post a picture of his cool new shoes when he's got them!

After that we stopped by the house to discover a package on the door-- a care package I'd sent to Ellen this past summer.  Apparently it got all the way to Thailand before they decided the postage was wrong, and then it sat there for a while before it ended up being sent back here.  I'd sent almost all of her previous care packages via priority mail, so I think I'll be going back to that.  So I'm combining this package (or portions of it, anyway) with the current package I'm working on and she'll just get two letters in it instead of one, written several months apart.  It's suddenly become much more urgent to get this next package out; I'm worried she's going to think we've forgotten about her.  I'm going to try and get this latest letter out to the translator tomorrow so I can get the package back in the mail and on its way to her again.

Then we stopped by the adoption agency to drop off a bit of paperwork.  On the way home we hit the Asian grocery store to pick up ingredients for Yam Kun Chiang and discovered a new favorite food.  I'd never tried dried Chinese sausage (lap chong) before, and it's not something I would have taken home on a whim without a specific recipe in mind.  But after slicing it up and pan frying it for this recipe, I was tempted to skip the rest of the salad and just eat the stuff directly out of the pan.  It's really sweet, so when you sear it (or in my case, half-burn it) it tastes sort of like meat candy. 

Which doesn't actually sound very appetizing when I write it out, but trust me when I say that the stuff is delicious.  It reminds me a little bit of what I call Death By Bacon, which is where you take a big ol' mess of bacon, brush it with maple syrup and dip it in brown sugar before popping it in the oven.  Lap chong isn't quite that sweet and the flavor's a bit more complicated, but it has that same sort of overall effect, and while it's probably not great for you it's got to be a lot better for your arteries than Death By Bacon is. 

I did end up making the rest of the salad too, and that only made it better, but I think I'll be adding lap chong to my growing list of foods I'll be using in the rest of my non-Thai recipes.  My kitchen is becoming this weird food fusion place where I've started mixing Thai spices and ingredients in with my regular cooking, where I do things like use smoked red chili paste on my turkey sandwiches and put coconut cream in my hot cocoa. 



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

In Which Loki Helps With Everything

Loki has been going nuts today for some reason.  He keeps following me around the house helping with everything.  And by "helping," I mean "sticking his nose into the middle of whatever I'm doing."  Apparently he feels neglected or something.  This is absurd since he demands petting at least once an hour.  I oblige because if I don't he'll start doing something like ripping pages out of my books with his teeth. 

Really.  A lot of my favorite books have little wedge shaped sections torn out of the corners.  Loki is a weird mix of really smart and really dumb, but he's definitely got my number.  If he can't get what he wants by being ridiculously cute, he has no compunction about getting my attention in some other fashion. 

Anyway, today he was nicer about it and simply sat right on top of whatever I was working on.  Right now I'm having to type around him, as he is draped over my keyboard.  There he is with the book I was trying to study from earlier, looking so ridiculously adorable I can't help but pet him even if he is being really annoying.  How could I possibly resist that face? 

Also, when the heck did I adopt a tabby colored seal?  I don't remember that happening.

Anyway, so when he wasn't helping me read, he helped me out with many other important things, for my own good of course.  There was absolutely no way I could possibly use the restroom without his help, for example, so he rammed the door until he managed to pop it open and provided a Helpful Audience completely with meowed commentary.  He also went through my shopping bags, helped me file my receipts (on the floor) and made sure that all of my clean laundry had an appropriate coating of cat hair.  Cricket just watched him cavort around me like a maniac every time I tried to go down the hallway with a vaguely disgruntled look on her face, as if he was a disgrace to feline kind everywhere by acting in such an undignified fashion. 

Both cats abandoned me the second our night nurse got here, though, and Cricket's concern with feline dignity goes out the window.  They are completely convinced that instead of hiring a nurse for Connor, I actually got them a Personal Petting Assistant.  They've taken to hanging out by the front door in the evenings waiting for her to arrive.  They aren't allowed in Connor's room, so they sit outside the door all night and every time the nurse leaves the room they start flinging themselves at her ankles.  They seem to be trying to convince her that they are Horribly Neglected and that she must remedy this At Once by petting them or they will Surely Perish. 

The only way I think they would possibly be more intrigued by her is if she was allergic to cats.  If you are allergic to cats and you come to my house, my cats are instantly convinced that they must be your best friends in the whole wide world.  They're just nice like that.

Crazy cats.


Monday, September 24, 2012

In Which Connor Plays Hide And Seek With His Medical Equipment And Gives Me More Gray Hair

I'll be making a trip to our local Asian grocery store this week because I'm almost out of palm sugar and I'm running dangerously low on Thai peppers.  I've been in a big Thai food cooking kick as I try to work out how to make a lot of the dishes Ellen might be eating right now. 

It helps that the orphanage website posts a lot of the menus and that I'm able to take a look at those, but occasionally the translations don't work out very well.  Today she's apparently having something called "Prikking Fried Morning Glory."  After a bit of detective work I'm pretty sure this is Pad Prik King (a green bean curry), but it's hard to be sure.  I've been working my way through Leela's recipes over at She Simmers, and while I have no idea whether or not I'm doing them right I'm at least eating well in the process. 

So now I find myself incorporating a lot of Thai flavors into the rest of my cooking as well.  It's been fun playing with flavors like galangal and tamarind pulp in my sauces and marinades.  Connor seems to enjoy the intense flavor of a lot of the spices, but that's not really a big surprise.  This is the kid who likes to literally suck on lemons.  He's a flavor extremist.

Speaking of Connor: he went back to school today, which was pretty exciting.  He's mostly over his cold, and seems to have gotten through the entire thing seizure free.  Hooray!  Today was pretty much without incident, though he did pull his right hearing aid apart and throw the super-expensive computer portion of it over the side of his wheelchair; something I discovered once we returned home from running errands.  This prompted a frantic phone call to the grocery store and the coffee shop and a search of the whole house, driveway and van.  I finally found it when I deployed the ramp, apparently it was hidden under the vehicle when the ramp retracted and it rolled down when I put it down to take the little guy back to grocery store to search the parking lot. 

He likes to keep me on my toes.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

In Which I Write A Whole Bunch (But Not On This Blog) And Connor Feels Better

Connor is finally starting to get over his cold, so he should be returning to school tomorrow.  I'm still really excited about how quickly and easily he's recovering, and so far I haven't managed to pick it up, though I'll wait a few days before deciding I've dodged the bullet.

This will be a short blog because I've stayed up far too late writing a letter to Ellen for her latest care package.  This letter is taking me quite a bit of time to write because I'm outlining more about what will happen over the first few weeks she's home, and also talking about things like her name.  We love her Thai name and she doesn't have to change it, but if she wants to add an American first or middle name she's welcome to.  We're also giving her the option to keep her current last name as a middle name, too.  Her name is one of the things she was given by her biological parents, and we aren't about to take that away from her. 

There are a ton of issues like that to address, and I want to give her as much of an idea about what to expect as I can.  I'm of the opinion that the more knowledge you have about something, the less scary it is.  So the more information we can give her the better, because adoption is pretty darn terrifying for all parties involved. 

I have the problem that I like to write really, really long letters and then I have to cut them back because the interpreter charges sixteen dollars a page, and this letter is no exception.  Oh well-- better than not having anything to say, I guess.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

In Which I Have Too Much Fun With Cardstock And Tape

Connor was sick again today, so other than a quick run to the store we spent our time at home.  So I used the time while he was napping to sit down with a Thai-English dictionary, some cardstock, and clear tape and get to labeling. 

There are a ton of things that are stored in various bottles and tubes around here-- shampoo, sun block, hand lotion, etc. that Ellen will probably want to use when she gets here.  We've got some clear bottles to put shampoo and conditioner into, and I've also picked up some basic toiletries that won't expire until well after she's home.  We're not sure how much English Ellen knows, but it probably won't extend to a lot of that stuff. 

So to help ease her transition while she learns English (and to help me practice my Thai, which is always a good idea) I made up labels in Thai for all of those basic things and taped them onto the bottles.  They aren't the most stylish things in the world as I used plain cardstock and my handwriting (in both languages) isn't the best, but they're at least legible.  So now she won't accidentally use body wash in her hair or something; provided, that is, that I spelled the words correctly and didn't actually label everything in jibberish or use words that are completely wrong.  Knowing me it could definitely happen.

It's just one more little step in the process of getting ready to bring her home!


Friday, September 21, 2012

In Which Connor Has A Cold And It's Awesome

Finding out the fantastic news about our adoption wasn't the only fantastic thing that happened yesterday!  Connor had a neurology appointment, and that went really, really well.

His neurologist was thrilled to hear just how well the little guy has been doing in the past few months.  During August and September, he's only had four seizures total and three of those were during an illness.  That's amazing.  The incredible change in the frequency and severity of his seizures that we've seen since Connor started taking Zonegran and we received the anhidrosis diagnosis has been dramatic.  He hasn't had a single seizure where he's completely stopped breathing since 2011, and while we've still had to use oxygen his seizures in general have been less virulent-- we haven't had to use Diastat since June! 

I got the impression that it wasn't at all what our neurologist was expecting; he told us at an earlier appointment that once you've tried more than three or four seizure drugs the odds of finding one that will work are pretty abysmal.  I'm glad that we've found a medication that, while it's not stopping the seizures entirely, is greatly improving Connor's quality of life.

So not only are we going to see the neurologist in six months rather than our usual four, but we're going to start trying to work down off of one of the little guy's seizure medications!  He's been on Keppra since he was first diagnosed with seizures, and we're going to start very slowly working him down off of it.  He was taking  eight milliliters twice a day, and we'll be going down to seven this month, six in October, and so on and so forth until we discontinue the medication entirely in April. 

Obviously if Connor's seizures pick back up we'll bump his medication back up, but we're really hoping things will go well and he'll have one less medicine with potentially nasty side effects that he needs to be on.  Keppra tends to be one of those medications with a sedative effect, so the neurologist said we might expect Connor to become more alert and aware of his environment as the levels in his system go down. 

The little guy tolerated the appointment reasonably well, considering that he has a nasty cold right now and is grumpy and sleepy and sniffly as a result.  It's actually been really exciting for me to see him have a cold-- though that sounds kind of weird-- because that's all we've been seeing.  He started popping a fever initially but we've been managing it well with Tylenol, so we've seen no seizures.  We're not in the hospital.  We haven't seen a whole bunch of mysterious symptoms that turn a cold into something much more complicated.  It's not four different diseases at once.  It's just a cold.  This is the first time I can remember in a long, long time that I can say that.

Hooray for colds!  Or at least, hooray for just colds.  Now if only I can avoid getting it too.  I'm not so excited about this cold that I want him to share!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

In Which We Hear Some Wonderful News

We received some stunning news today; our agency has received Ellen's To Whom It May Concern Letter!  This was the last major piece of paperwork we needed from the Thai government in order to bring our daughter home.  It will still take a little while to file her immigration paperwork, procure our final approval from the embassy and receive our invitation to travel, but we're anticipating flying to Thailand in December of this year.  We should become a family of four just before Christmas: about three weeks before Ellen's fifteenth birthday.  I'm giddy just typing those words.

In just a few months we'll be face to face with our daughter for the first time.  Instead of visiting the orphanage website to see what she's eating, we'll be sitting down to dinner with her.  We'll be learning her favorite song, the cadence of her laugh, how she holds a spoon and what kind of tea she drinks.  We won't have to content ourselves with poring over pictures or video of her, because she'll be sitting right in front of us. 

It's been a long journey-- through night and day, and in and out of weeks, and almost over a year (or two).  But soon all the waiting will finally be over, and our real wild rumpus can begin.

We don't live in a Lifetime movie; there will be no ticker tape parade when we first meet.  She's not going to run into our arms and then we'll all dance off into the sunset together into some unimaginably happy life while the credits roll.  Adoption is messy and painful and tragic and somehow breathtakingly beautiful all at the same time, much like the rest of life.  Our daughter is an incredibly brave, resilient, extraordinary girl whose very foundation was torn apart in infancy, and she didn't get to choose the path she's been set on.  She'll have nearly fifteen years of life that we weren't a part of, and she has every right to be hurt and angry, to miss the familiar faces, smells and comforts of Thailand, and to resent the strangers who have uprooted her to bring her halfway across the world.  We don't expect things to be easy.

We can't change the past for her, as much as we'd like to.  We're not able to reach out and fix things so that she was never in the situation where she needed to be adopted-- much less adopted by a family from a different country and culture.  And we can't make up for all those years we weren't there.  But what we can do is choose to be her family now

We can keep ourselves from trying to fit her into a mold of our making.  To help her and support her wherever her journey might take her, to give her unconditional love and a home to return to no matter how far she might travel and what monsters lie in wait.  To say no sometimes when it's needed.  To hold her hand when her heart is broken.  To help her move into her first apartment and to walk her down the aisle at her wedding.  To be there for the big events but also for the small ones-- for homework and swim meets and sick days and all the minutiae of daily living that most children are able to take for granted that someone will be there to help them with. 

We can do our best to live up to the tremendous, precious gift we've been given; the chance to be a part of our daughter's life and to stand by her as we watch her write her own story in the years to come.

Though we'll do everything in our power to help her journey, we can't promise her that it will always be a smooth one.  But we can promise that we'll sail with her every mile of the way.  And no matter how far away her travels take her, there will be always be a room and a hot supper waiting for her here.

We'll see you soon, daughter.  We can't wait to welcome you home!



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

In Which I Am Not Top Chef

Today was a Crock Pot Surprise sort of day, which is when I am cleaning the kitchen and making dinner consists of throwing a whole bunch of things into a pot and hoping the result is edible.  I actually make most of my meals this way, come to think of it.  I've managed to come up with some pretty tasty stuff every once in a while, though I've also served some pretty spectacular failures.

The problem with cooking like this is that you never end up with the same meal twice.  There have been a few times that I've made really tasty meals that I've never been able to duplicate because I don't measure anything and I never write any of the ingredients down.  I've considered writing up some recipes, but that never works out both because of the whole not-measuring-anything issue and also because I get off on huge tangents and my recipes end up being three pages long.  Take tonight's dinner, which is something I'm calling beef stew because it happens to have beef in it.  I liked the results and tried writing it down, and I ended up with this:

1.) Peel and chop 1/2 onion, a parsnip, some carrots, a few small potatoes or substitute whatever root vegetables you happen to have in your kitchen and 1 apple and put in crock pot.  Cut up a whole mess of beef chuck, dust with a heaping spoonful of sweet rice flour (regular flour will work too) and add to pot.  Pound a couple of garlic cloves, a smallish chunk of palm sugar and a piece of fresh ginger about as big around as your pinky together in a mortar and pestle and then add to the other stuff.  Brown sugar will work too if you don't have palm sugar, but don't use plain because what's the point. 

Add a generous dollop of fish sauce, a pinch of pepper and a heaping spoonful of Thai roasted red chili paste-- that kind made by Thai Kitchen that comes in the little glass bottle with a black lid. It's mild enough to eat right off the spoon-- it adds just a bit of a kick and a nice smoky flavor. Yum!  If you don't have roasted red chili paste for Pete's sake don't use more than three fresh Thai chilies unless you really like spicy food or you will sear the roof of your mouth right off. 

Stir up the whole mess and then throw in a single bay leaf, because it's a rule that all meals identifying as stew have to have a bay leaf in them.  Pour in plain apple cider until you're halfway up the ingredients and then top off with water until all the stuff in the pot is covered.  Toss in a packet of mulling spices and a small hunk of frozen beef stock (if you are out of homemade beef stock you can use the paste, but skip this if all you've got is the cubes because they're too salty).  Throw in a shot of Tuaca or Fireball for added flavor.  Shot for the cook optional.  Cover and cook until done.

Just realized I put all of that as one instruction.  Whoops.  Anyway, this goes really well with a big ol' hunk of dark bread with lots of butter and a glass of milk on the side. 

After reading that, not only is that meal kind of bizarre (Mulling spices and fish sauce?  Really?) but it's pretty well useless as a recipe because unless you speak Southern Cooking Dialect you probably have no idea what a 'whole mess' or a 'generous dollop' would look like.  I don't speak with a southern accent, but apparently I cook in one. 

So yeah, I don't think a recipe book is going to be happening any time in the near future. 


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

In Which Connor Straightens Out

Today I went to the dentist, which was every bit as fun as it sounds.  This time I was in the same room where I got the phone call about Jer three years ago, which was a little surreal but not really uncomfortable. 

I'm happy to say that while I have terrible eyes, I have great teeth; I've never had any work done whatsoever on them other than the occasional cleaning, and they seem to hold up just fine.  I am mystified as to how this works, considering I eat a ridiculous amount of chocolate, but hey-- I'm not complaining!  At any rate, other than being told I need to floss more (something I've heard at every single dentist appointment I've ever had) things went swimmingly.

In other news, we brought home Connor's knee extension braces today!  They are Wheaton Pediatric Knee Immobilizers, for those who are interested in the technical side of things.  Connor will be wearing these during his standing time, and working up to wearing them during the night.  They should not only help with his stability, but also help stretch out his hamstrings and to get a better stretch of his hip flexors and thigh muscles. 

He's been using them at his weekly physical therapy for a while now, so hopefully it won't take him too long to get the hang of them at home.  We're hoping that since they aren't too bulky he will be able to wear them for quite a while before he ends up in danger of overheating.  He's really cute when he stands up in them because all he wants to do is stare down at his legs with this really puzzled look on his face.  I figure he's thinking "why aren't my hinges bending?"  

While I was going through the little guy's stretching today, I noticed something really exciting.  Connor's clonus-- the involuntary jerking motion that is a big indicator of neurological damage that happens when you push up on his feet-- is almost entirely gone!  Last year this progressed to the point that you literally could not flex Connor's feet at all without setting off the muscle spasms, so this to my mind points to some major improvement in his overall neurological state.  He goes in to the neurologist on Thursday, so I'll be sure to talk to him about it then and see what he has to say about it.  I'm hopeful though that this is a sign that the serious skill regression across the board we saw with all of last year's seizures might potentially be at least partially reversible. 

It just makes me so happy that he's doing so well!


Monday, September 17, 2012

In Which I Can See Clearly Now

So this morning I dropped Connor off at school, ran a couple of errands and then saw the eye doctor. 

I was, long, long overdue for an appointment; I was down to my last pair of my emergency stash of contacts and my glasses are ten years old.  I tend to put making appointments for myself into the same category as shopping for shoes; it's just about the lowest priority and I only do it when things are falling apart.  I don't recommend this as an appropriate health care regime.  The one exception to this is my yearly well check with my primary care manager, which I do every year because she's the same doctor that Connor sees and I feel guilty every time we go in and see her if I'm overdue for an appointment.  Never underestimate the power of a good guilt trip.

Anyway, since this is a new eye doctor for me and I hadn't been to see anybody in Far Too Long, they ran me through the full gamut of tests.  They also did this because all kinds of nasty eye issues run in my family in addition to the whole being mostly blind without correction thing, they wanted to get some good baselines in case my eyes decide to explode or something another fifteen or twenty years down the line. 

So they did that test where they puffed air at my eye and I jumped a foot in my seat despite them telling me fifteen seconds before that they were about to puff air in my eye, and the one where I had to press a button every time these weird little squares blinked on and off, and various other fun little things meant to put my eyes through their paces.  I am now the proud owner of a glorious shot of the backs of my eyes, which I would totally frame and put on my mantle or something if it wasn't a bit egotistical.  I have very photogenic eye innards. 

That's not the only thing I'm good at either-- apparently I'm a paragon of decisiveness when it comes to the part where you have to "pick which is better: one or two" about fifty different times.  Considering the sheer amount of time it takes for Jeremy and I to figure out where the heck we're going to go on a date (wherever you want to go, honey!) this is nothing short of amazing.  The doctor actually praised me for my prompt decision making skills, so evidently I have a hidden talent.  A very deeply hidden talent useful for nothing other than visits to the eye doctor, but still, a talent is a talent.

So as it turns out my eyes have managed to get both simultaneously better and worse.  My eyesight has gone from Horribly, Horribly Nearsighted to Slightly Less Horribly But Still Really Horribly Nearsighted.  However, I now have astigmatism in both eyes, and the left one is shaped enough like a football that it needs a special contact for correction.  Huzzah!

So I walked out with a new pair of contacts that would hopefully help me with things like actually being able to read street signs again, and an order for a pair of glasses, which I should get in another eight to ten days.  I'll wear the contacts for a couple of weeks and then go back in for another appointment to make sure that they're working well and, if so, to order a larger supply.  It was a little difficult to tell right off the bat how well they were working though, because they had to dilate my eyes due to that whole Way Too Long Since Your Last Eye Doctor Appointment thing.

For some reason my eyes have always reacted relatively strongly to those dilating eye drops; I know they're supposed to wear off after about three hours but my pupils finally returned completely to normal around six hours after my appointment.  When I was a teenager they would sometimes last for over a day.  Even more bizarrely the drops would affect one eye more than the other.  After a few hours I would end up with one normal sized pupil and one huge pupil, making me look like I had suffered severe head trauma.  Fun! 

Nothing like that happened this time, which I was slightly disappointed about.  Instead I just spent half the day being that weird chick who wears her dark sunglasses indoors.  Oh well.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

In Which Connor Watches Things Beyond His Ken

Today I tried to clean up a house a bit, as I have been neglecting chores recently and it is rapidly approaching the point where it is less a Welcoming Home and more a Slovenly Embarrassment, and I'll have to step out on the front porch to visit with the neighbors rather than inviting them in.  So I set Connor up to do his stander time, turned on the 25th anniversary version of Les Misérables, and got to work.

Les Mis may not be the most appropriate musical in the world to let a six year old watch.  It's chock full of depressing themes like prostitution and suicide and the looting of dead bodies and such, which are not generally things Sesame Street addresses (T is for Tuberculosis, kids!).  However, Connor absolutely loves Les Mis-- probably because literally the entire thing is music.  He also probably likes it because there aren't any visual depictions of any of the action to distract him from the music, and to top it all off there are tons of flashing light effects.  I doubt he's picking up on the fact that all the people who step away from the microphones are dying, because he's not so good at subtext, he's not picking up all the words anyway because of his hearing loss and also, hey, he's six.  He probably just thinks I'm weird when I start bawling every time Eponine opens her mouth. 

It's not like Disney hasn't done Victor Hugo before.  I still wonder who the heck read The Hunchback of Notre-Dame-- a book in which almost every main character dies in despair in a horrible, horrible way-- and thought it would make a fantastic children's movie.  I mean for Pete's sake, Esmerelda is tortured into a false confession and is hung, and Quasimodo starves to death embracing her dead body in the cemetery after murdering his father figure and a couple dozen other people.  It's a cheery story. 

Connor has never seen Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and there are plenty of other Disney movies he won't be seeing any time soon, either.  The whale scene in Pinocchio terrified him, and the wildebeest scene in The Lion King had a similar effect.  He doesn't like the voodoo skulls in The Frog Prince, and he isn't a huge fan of the end of Hercules, either.  I think it's the visual stuff that really gets to him; Les Mis in his mind is simply good music.  This is why even though he loves the musical, he will absolutely not be watching the new live action version when it comes out at Christmas.

I need to find some opera DVDs.  He'd probably love them too.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

In Which Nothing Happens

Not much happened today!  We took it easy and spent most of our time at home, with the exception of a quick errand run.  Connor has apparently decided to stay up until the wee hours of the morning in protest, so it looks like I'll be up for a while.

Really, that's all I've got!  It was a quiet day.  Sometimes those are nice every once in a while.


Friday, September 14, 2012

In Which We Gear Up For Another Busy Week

Connor did well at school today, and it looks like he's fully recovered!  I'm excited that he shook this bug off so quickly and seems to be bouncing right back to his usual self.

We've got another busy week coming up, though a lot of it is actually appointments for me; I'm headed to the dentist and the eye doctor.  Since I spend a lot of time acting as a caregiver for somebody else, it's easy to forget to make sure I'm taking care of myself too!  I've scheduled these appointments a couple of times in the past only to cancel them when something Connor had going on took priority, and now I'm way, way overdue for both.  I'm down to my last pair of contacts, and I don't even want to think about the current state of my teeth.  So I'll be getting those taken care of next week while Connor's in school.  If I don't take care of myself it will be really hard to do a good job taking care of somebody else.

We'll be spending most of the weekend trying to catch up on things around here; the house is a shambles and I have crafting supplies scattered everywhere.  It's time for some major cleaning and to think about getting the house ready for winter, which is fast approaching.  The cats seem to sense the coming weather change and are busy shedding copious amounts of fur on every available surface. 

The gerbils seem largely unaffected, though they have slowed down quite a bit.  This is probably less because of the rapid approach of cooler weather and more because they are little geriatric rodents now.  Gerbils typically only live two to four years, and our little guys are over two and a half now.  They've been fantastic pets (other than that whole cannibalism thing that got us off to a rough start) and Connor seems to really enjoy them.  We'll probably get a new pair once these little guys have moved on; I think it's nice to have something in Connor's room that he can interact with, and they're certainly easy to take care of. 

Hopefully they'll stick around a while longer!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

In Which We Have A Busy Day

Today was an extraordinarily busy day for us, so it was lucky that Connor seemed mostly recovered.  Of course he was still a bit cranky because for some reason he stayed up literally all night last night, but with all the sleep he'd been indulging in earlier in the week that's perhaps not a surprising turn of events.

We started off the morning with Connor dunking one of his hearing aids in my glass of milk.  At least it wasn't tea this time-- he does manage to dip his hearing aids into my beverages rather too often for it to be entirely coincidence.  So he went without his hearing aids today as his left one was drying out and he refuses to wear one without the other.

After that diverting adventure we were off to the hospital for Connor's first appointment of the day: his ankle-foot orthotic (AFO) casting.  The little guy was surprisingly patient with the two women who placed his feet on wooden bases cut to his size, used gauze strips dipped in plaster of Paris to fit the boards to the contours of his arches and then wrapped his feet from toes to midcalf in a cast, which quickly hardened.  Then they carefully scrapped a groove down either side with a razor and used medical scissors to cut his feet out of the casts, which were then put back together and covered with another layer of plaster of Paris.  These will be used to make molds of his feet so that they are able to design his AFOs to his exact size.  He'll have his first fitting for the resulting orthotics in about two weeks.

We took a short break for lunch and then returned to the hospital for Connor's second appointment of the day, to discuss wheelchair, bathing and commode chair options for Connor.  His current wheelchair doesn't give his back enough support but otherwise suits our needs very well.  Luckily the manufacturer also makes a wheelchair seat for the same frame with a hard back rather than the flexible one we have now.  That way we don't have to replace his whole chair; just the actual seating portion. 

We'll also be requesting larger sizes of his commode chair and his bathing chair, both of which he is rapidly outgrowing.  We're hoping to add wheeled bases to both of these so that we can use Connor's lift (once we have the lift) to get him into them and then move him into the bathroom already in his equipment.  The little guy-- or not-so-little guy, as the case may be-- is getting heavy enough now that my back is not going to appreciate me hauling him around the house very much longer, so a lift will be a huge help.

After that appointment we took another short break and it was on to physical therapy, where Connor spent a whole lot of time not really wanting to work on anything.  He was understandably a bit tired after the busy day we'd had and his sleep strike the night before.  He lasted the full hour but was literally shaking with exhaustion by the time we finished, and he fell asleep in the car on the way home.  Of course he's awake now and shows no signs of going back to sleep, but I really hope he gets a bit more than he did last night or he won't have a good time at school tomorrow.

Go to bed, little guy!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

In Which Connor Seems Over The Hump

Connor and I both started out the morning in less than stellar moods.  The little guy stayed home from school today and slept until nearly ten in the morning-- an impressive feat, considering he went to bed around five.  Then he was Mister Grumpypants once he finally decided to get up.  I didn't bother to get either of us out of pajamas until well after noon.  It was one of those kinds of days.

His fever got up as high as 101 degrees, but it broke around 2:00 in the afternoon and as of this writing hasn't made a reappearance.  His mood improved accordingly, and by the late afternoon he was mostly back to himself-- albeit a slightly droopy, tired version of himself.  Other than the ridiculous amounts of sleep and the seizures, he hasn't really shown any other symptoms.  I'm assuming it was probably some sort of garden-variety bug, and hopefully this means he's over the worst of it. 

By early evening he'd improved enough that we actually ventured out to have a bit of a walk at the nearby park.  I'm still feeling under the weather, and I've found that when I'm feeling lousy it helps to get myself moving as soon as possible.  Exercise seems to help me recover faster, though I don't particularly enjoy it at the time. 

Of course the Himalayan blackberries are at the peak of ripeness right now so I ate my way down the trail, which probably made my walk one of the least effective forms of exercise ever, but hey-- I'm sure fresh ripe blackberries are good for recovery too, right?  And also I'm doing my civic duty; those things are terribly invasive and bad for the local environment, so it's important that I eat as many as possible to prevent them from spreading. 

Anyway, after that we made a quick trip to the grocery store because I was out of just about everything, and then we headed home where Connor proceeded to fall asleep on the couch.  We managed to get through the day with no seizures, which is rather remarkable considering the fever he had the first half of the day.  Still, the continued early bedtime is a pretty good indicator that he still has some recovery to do.  Here's hoping he'll be back to his usual self in no time!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In Which The Plague Descends Upon Us

Connor had what might have been his first seizure this year at school today; turns out he was running a fever.  So he's not feeling so hot right now.  To make things even more fun, over the course of the day I've started feeling progressively more and more under the weather.  It's not that I'm congested or anything-- I just constantly feel like I need to sleep for about sixteen hours.  Bleagh.  Connor's got four appointments on Thursday, so I'm really hoping we'll both feel better by then.  I don't really want to think about how much fun it would be to reschedule all of that.

I'm totally not surprised by this-- seems like Connor manages to get sick the first or second week of school just about every year.  It's just chosen not to pass me by this year, dang it.

So we'll both take it easy tomorrow, and hopefully we'll get to feeling better soon!


Monday, September 10, 2012

In Which Connor Heats Up

Of course, Connor had to go and break his long seizure-free streak today.  Oh well.

The good news (or not so good news, depending on whether or not you're looking at it from a Responsible Parenthood point of view) is that I'm pretty sure he had the seizure because he got overheated and not because he's getting sick or that he was just having one out of the blue.  He apparently got pretty hot in school today (the room has huge windows and while they have a fan, on sunny days it can heat up) and so they changed him out to a short sleeve shirt and took off his socks and shoes. 

I should have stripped him down further in the car when I noticed he was looking pretty flushed, but I figured he'd be fine until we got home.  We made a stop at a little bakery on the way, which was warm inside, and the car heated up enough while we were in there to set him off once we got back in the car.  Luckily it was a fairly mild seizure and once it was over, I stripped him down, turned the AC on him full blast and we got home without further incident. 

Otherwise the day went well; while Connor was at school I spent a few lovely hours with a couple of friends, enjoying adult conversation, being fed tasty things (pecan stuffed, bacon-wrapped dates are awesome) and working on my latest craft project.  While I love Connor very dearly, it's so nice to be able to get away every once in a while and do things that don't involve the little guy-- especially when they involve spending time with awesome people.

I put Connor down to sleep it off after we got home, and rescheduled his knee extension brace fitting for later in the week. He's been asleep since then, and shows no signs of waking up any time soon. That's kind of unlike him, come to think of it-- especially since he slept for twelve hours the night before. Maybe he is getting sick after all.

I guess we'll find out depending on how he feels tomorrow.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

In Which Connor Is Doing Just Fine And We Have Cause To Celebrate

Today was a day for celebration!

It's officially been one month since Connor's had a seizure, which is the most time he's gone between seizures in a long, long while.  I think it's been about two years since he's had such a big break!  It's been so fantastic to not be on edge all the time, and to see Connor doing so well and actively engaging with his world.  He's become so much more social and willing to sign and interact with other people-- even strangers.  When we go shopping he now waves "hello" and "goodbye" to every person we pass on the way in and out of stores, he comments on the music we hear, he'll dance on command (he rocks from side to side on the beat-- it's adorable) and he's started making choices and asking to look at things on the shelves.  It's fantastic!

So I thought we needed to go spend the day doing things we would both enjoy.  The little guy rejected most of my suggestions-- he wasn't interested in the zoo or the aquarium today-- but he lit up when I mentioned the bookstore.  He's a kid after my own heart for sure!

So we drove up to the big bookstore and he picked out a new book, Goldilocks And The Three Dinosaurs, by Mo Willems.  It had the advantage of appealing to all of us: to Connor because it had dinosaurs in it, me because it was well written and had excellent illustrations, and Jer because it models proper predator-prey relationships. 

Then it was off to the mall, where Connor got to ride the carousel a couple of times and I picked up some chocolate and fizzy bath bombs for my own personal celebration later that evening after Connor was in bed, which would involve a lounging in a giant bubble bath for long enough to get all wrinkly, while reading a favorite novel, drinking tea and eating truffles. 

Finally we stopped by the fabric store, and we walked at a fast clip up and down the tulle aisle about ten times.  Connor loves going to the fabric store because it means he gets to visit the tulle aisle.  All the bolts are arranged by color, and there are glittery and sequiny and iridescent fabrics to admire, and the tulle sticks out into the aisle so it brushes up against his wheelchair whenever we go through.  I knelt down to see it from his perspective, and it actually looks really neat; it's probably the closest he can get to running through a rainbow. 

So we visited the tulle aisle, and then we took a break to go finger the velvet and the suede, and to stroke all of the fake fur.  Then it was back to the tulle aisle for round two of sparkly glory.  Connor never fails to show me a new way to appreciate things.

That's my boy!


Saturday, September 8, 2012

In Which We See Some Signs

Today Connor and I were stopped at a stoplight and I was signing and talking to him about what we were going to do that day when the car next to me honked.  I looked over and the guy in the passenger seat of the car complimented me on my signing (in sign language, of course)!  I'm always tickled when stuff like that happens, and I'm so glad we live in an area where there's not just a healthy Deaf community, but plenty of people who are not Deaf that can sign too!  It makes me so happy when we meet people in the grocery store or at the park who sign to Connor and make him feel welcome-- even if he usually doesn't sign back. 

Other than a few brief errands, we actually spent most of today at home.  It got pretty hot outside today, and thanks to our new air conditioning we were able to actually stay in our cool, comfortable house rather than having to trek down to the mall.  Connor was in a bit of an odd mood today; I think he was disappointed that he didn't have school.  So he was a bit clingy and pouty, but overall did all right.  He's got another very busy week coming up, so it's nice that he's getting a bit of down time-- even if he'd rather be playing with all of his new friends.


Friday, September 7, 2012

In Which I Play With Fire

This morning I dropped Connor off at school and then spent well over an hour listening to Katzenjammer while I singed all the edges of the fabric leaves on the bustled overskirt I'm making.    So readers take note: if you inhale synthetic fabric fumes for an hour while listening to weird Norwegian bands and then take a nap immediately afterwards, you will have really, really strange dreams.  Next time I think I'm burning polyester I'll do it outside, or at the very least do it while listening to music that doesn't involve a contrabass balalaika with a Cheshire Cat face painted on it.

Anyway, I actually went out and shopped for shoes today, as I discovered that my nicest pair of good dress shoes now has holes worn completely through the soles.  I'm not a huge fan of shoe shopping (or for that matter, shopping for myself in general) and I generally wear a pair until they literally fall apart, so it was way past time.  This is one of those errands that it is best not to take Connor on as he finds shoe shopping incredibly boring and usually degenerates into shrieking by the time I've tried on the second pair.  So it's nice to have him in school!

Luckily a lot of the stores were having one-day sales for whatever reason, so I picked up a nice pair at a price that won't sink my budget.  They're a nice little pair of sturdy ankle platform boots, and I should be able to wear them not only with my church dresses but also with my outfit in October, so they serve a dual purpose.  So I'm glad that's over with.  Hopefully I won't have to go shopping for another pair of shoes for a while.

Connor had a good day at school and seems to be settling in well.  Today was his first full day, and I think he came home pretty tired.  He actually went down and took a bit of a nap once he got home.  We're going to keep it kind of low-key this weekend, and then he'll be ready for another jam-packed week on Monday!


Thursday, September 6, 2012

In Which We Have One Heck Of A Crazy Day

Well, that was a day.

This morning I loaded Connor up bright and early and we headed down to the hospital for his first appointment.  Because he's back in school, I'm trying to stack his appointments on the same day so he doesn't have to miss more days than necessary.  His earliest appointment today was with the GI doc, and it went very well.  All of his appointments went very well, actually.  It was in between the appointments that we had issues.

So the GI doctor said that Connor's g-tube site looks fantastic and that we don't need to move up a size.  We don't have to see him again for another twelve months, which I'm always pretty excited to hear! 

We got out of the GI clinic around 11:00am, and Connor's next appointment (with cardiology) was scheduled for 1:00pm. I had a couple things I needed to pick up for the house, so I figured I'd swing by the PX (the supermarket on post), buy the necessary items and eat lunch there before returning to the hospital.  As I was loading Connor in the car I noticed he had a small bright red patch on his left arm, but I didn't think too much of it. 

We got to the PX and I was standing in the diaper aisle when I looked down and noticed that the red mark seemed to have spread down a good portion of his arm.  I lifted up his shirt and his upper arm and shoulder were sporting huge, palm sized blotches.  Hives.  I immediately wheeled over to the medication aisle to see if we could pick up some children's Benadryl, but they were out.  So we left the PX and headed back towards the hospital to see if they could give us some, as the hives were spreading at a rather alarming rate.

 As you all know, Connor is very allergic to lavender.  He doesn't have a reaction to it if he smells it, but if it gets on his skin he usually breaks out in some form of hives.  Evidently somebody in the doctor's office at some point (I'm thinking probably a patient, as the medical personnel normally don't use scented products for exactly this reason) used a lavender product and it somehow made its way into contact with Connor's skin.  Maybe they sat in the chair we were in and put on lotion with lavender in it, or used lavender soap, or something of that nature.  At any rate, Connor usually just breaks out in a red rash in the immediate area of the contact, but it doesn't spread out much more than that.  Of course, the more times he comes into contact with lavender, the stronger the reaction grows, so apparently the confined-to-one-area thing has changed.  Either that or he's developing some new mysterious allergy.  Whee.

Normally I actually carry Benadryl with me because of his allergy, but took it out of Connor's wheelchair when he went to school yesterday since leaving easily accessible bottles of medication around in a room full of children is a bad idea.  While I'd replaced his epi pen and Diastat, the Benadryl hadn't made it back into the chair because (ha ha) we've only had to use it a handful of times over the years.

It took me about ten minutes to get Connor back into the hospital, and by the time I wheeled back into the GI clinic the hives had completely covered both arms, had spread themselves across his chest and back, and were starting to pop up on his face.  I wheeled him up to the nurse, said "I think he came into contact with lavender somewhere in here," and he took one look at Connor, and then turned around and half-ran through the staff door.  The GI doctor came out almost immediately, said "Whoa," and immediately agreed that some Benadryl was an order.

 Another nurse came out with a full bottle and a medication syringe a couple minutes later, and we dosed him up in the waiting room.  Then we hung out in the waiting room for about twenty minutes until it became clear he wasn't going to need the epi pen too.  The Benadryl ended up working really well and it only took about three hours for his hives to disappear completely.  I'm very glad that the Benadryl was so effective so quickly, and that we didn't end up needing to use the epi pen.  That was my first adrenaline rush for the day.

Then I scarfed down a sandwich from the coffee shop downstairs and hauled my grumpy, spotty, half-sedated kid over to cardiology, where they took a look at his heart, declared it to be functioning well, and told us they'd see us next year.  We headed out to the parking lot, where unfortunately due to the hot weather Connor ended up overheating while I was strapping his wheelchair into the car and I had to strip off all his clothing, aim all the air conditioner at him while it was going full blast and sponge him down with my bottled water until he no longer looked like a boiled lobster and quit acting like he was going to have a seizure at any minute.

By that point we were both more than ready to go home, but we weren't finished yet.  We went to physical therapy, which went well despite the fact that Connor was understandably rather tired and didn't really want to do anything.  We also had a consult with the local orthopedic expert and determined that Connor really needs a new wheelchair, as the one he currently isn't giving him enough support and is probably making his scoliosis worse.  And then we dropped by the prosthetic place where Connor is getting his knee extension braces from and discovered that they'd accidentally only ordered one instead of two. 

And then we went home and collapsed.  Connor fell asleep practically as we were walking in the door; he went to bed at 5:30.  I ordered a pizza as there was absolutely no way I was cooking tonight, and now I'm ready for bed too, as I'm kind of dead on my feet.  And also I'm exhausted all over again just typing this-- it was that kind of day.



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

In Which Connor Goes To School

Today was Connor's first day of school!

Last year Connor was pretty anxious about going to school, and I was worried that since he'd be at a new school this year he'd be even more nervous.  So I've spent the last few days reminding him how much fun he had in school last year, and how he's going to have such a great time at school this year too, with meeting new friends and music class and PE and all, which made him pretty enthusiastic. 

Then I upped the ante and spent the morning calling relatives and demanding that they tell him how great first grade was going to be, because every time someone told him what a big boy he was and how proud they were he got this huge smile on his face and practically started vibrating with excitement.  It was ridiculously cute.

I took a bunch of the obligatory First Day of School Photos, which mostly turned out blurry.  This was because he was applauding wildly from the time we left the house until we actually arrived at school, which was pretty impressive considering it's almost a twenty minute drive.  He first picked out his black fedora to wear today (apparently this is a Classy Hat in General obsession rather than just a Top Hat obsession) but then changed his mind and settled on his white fedora, which he cheerfully insisted on wearing it into the classroom. 

He calmed down once we got out of the car, and by the time we took a few more first day shots outside the school and were ready to go in he'd morphed into a quiet, well-behaved gentleman.  He still seemed excited, but he was a bit more reserved about the whole affair.

He sat on my lap while I showed his teacher how to use his oxygen tank.  I'm hoping they won't have to use it very often at all; certainly less than they had to his last two school years.  After I finished talking with the nurse and his teacher, Connor spent a few brief moments snuggling with me, and then he was ready for his day. I managed to get outside before I started tearing up over just how much I was going to miss him, while at the same time making a reasonable effort to jump up and click my heels together like George Banks towards the end of Mary Poppins. I've found that motherhood tends to produce these sorts of conflicting emotions. 

He had a great, noneventful day at school while I drove around on various Important Errands, like a Cupcake Buying Errand and a Read Books In The Coffee Shop errand, in a kind of giddy, overemotional state, constantly remembering at the last minute that I couldn't use handicapped spaces since Connor wasn't in the car.  The rest of the day was also uneventful, which is actually the first year that's ever happened.  The last two years he had big seizures on his first day, and the year before that we were right at the beginning of Jer's recovery from the Land Mine Incident and everything was insane.  So I could totally get used to this whole normal first day of school thing.

That's my big boy!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

In Which Connor Gets Ready For School

Connor stayed up until the wee hours of the morning, and as a result didn't want to do anything at all today.  He fell on the couch at around 8:00am.  I had errands to run today though, and we needed to drop one last round of paperwork off at the doctor's office for signatures before school starts, so I let him sleep on the couch about an hour and then got Grumpy McGrumpypants ready to go.

Connor's top hat was sitting on the coffee table, and he immediately announced that he wanted to wear it.  When we popped outside to the mailbox and every neighbor we saw on the way cooed over how handsome he looked, he decided it should become a permanent part of his wardrobe and insisted on wearing it to the doctor's office, grocery store and the rest of our errands.  I badly want to draw a tiny handlebar mustache on him, but I managed to restrain myself.  Once the little guy latches on to something he won't drop it for weeks, so I expect the top hat will become a regular part of his wardrobe for quite some time.  I have absolutely no problem with this.

Sadly, despite my best efforts I was unable to find him a pinstriped suit in time for the first day of school, but no doubt whatever he wears will be adorable anyway.  Maybe next year I'll just make him one.  We'll be going in a bit late tomorrow so that we miss the stampede of parents and kids (on the first day of school all the parents are invited to the classrooms, so it gets a wee bit hectic) and Connor won't be totally overwhelmed. 

Thankfully it looks like the little guy is sleeping well tonight, so he'll be bright eyed and bushy tailed for his first day!


Monday, September 3, 2012

In Which Connor Is A Dashing Rogue

Today Connor and I went thrift store shopping, which was both a bad and a good thing.

It was a bad thing because I didn't take into account that all of the thrift stores were having huge labor day sales.  This meant that the lines for the checkout were fifteen people deep, you had to take a number to use the fitting room, and getting the little guy's wheelchair through the already narrow aisles was a nightmare.

On the up side, I found him a top hat.  And Connor in a top hat has to be one of the best things I have ever seen.  Not only is he thrilled about his new stylish headgear (really-- who would have imagined Connor would like a hat?) but for some reason whenever I put it on him he immediately puts his hands together and starts twiddling his thumbs in what we call his "plotting world domination" posture.  He looks like a ridiculously adorable Victorian villain. 

It's a little big for him and has a tendency to slide down over one eye in an adorable manner, but that's an easy fix with a quick application around the inside of the brim of that foam tape you can find at craft stores.  I'll also be giving it a nicer trim to make it a bit nicer, since at the moment it's obviously a Very Cheap Hat. 

After that, all I will need is to find him a miniature waxed mustache and he nations will have no choice but to give way before his unstoppable power of cuteness.  We got the hat for Halloween and Steamcon, but if Connor wants to wear it on other occasions I will have zero objections to that.  Heck, I kind of want to get a matching one.  Then we could really go out on the town in style.

For that matter, the world at large would probably be much improved if there were more top hats worn by the general population. 

Top hats for everyone!


Sunday, September 2, 2012

In Which We Take A Family Day And All's Quiet On The Adoption Front

We spent a quiet day at home today, because a certain stubborn little guy decided to stay up until three in the morning.  So I didn't really feel a whole lot like going out today, and judging by the fact that he fell asleep at seven in the evening he probably didn't either.

So we spent the day doing laundry, a bit of cleaning, and snuggling up on the couch to eat ice cream and watch the paralympics on my laptop.  I took a break from crafting today and we just had some family time, which was nice.  Everyone needs some quiet family time every once in a while!

Connor starts school up next week, and he seems pretty excited about it.  I'm still shocked that he's going to be in first grade-- that just doesn't seem possible.  I remember being in first grade.  I also remember that I thought my parents were ancient.  I believe I seriously asked my mother at that age whether or not she was around when dinosaurs ruled the earth.  And now in my son's eyes I'm the one who might have grown up eating wooly mammoth for breakfast.  Crazy. 

It just doesn't seem like he could possibly be six years old.  And heck, for that matter we'll have been pursuing Ellen's adoption for two years in October, which doesn't seem possible either.  She's probably coming up on her fall break right now; most Thai children have a break between semesters in September.  She's growing up and we're missing it.  I hope we'll get some news soon; she's been waiting far too long already. 

We're still really hoping to have her home by the end of the year, but December is coming up very soon and we're still waiting on her To Whom It May Concern letter.  We know that the Thai government is doing their very best for these children, but that doesn't mean it's easy to wait-- especially since Ellen will be turning fifteen in January.  We'd really, really like to have her home before she has another birthday.  Let's hope we get some good news this month!


Saturday, September 1, 2012

In Which We Throw A Party And Connor Is Not Amused

Connor and I slept in a bit this morning, and then we hopped in the car and drove off to the farmer's market for some fresh fruit, bread and cheese.  I was hosting a group of crafting friends today, and so I wanted something tasty for us to snack on while we worked on our various projects.  You can't go wrong with fruit, bread and cheese. 

After that I cleaned up the sadly neglected house a bit, and when my co-host arrived I put Connor down for his quiet time and she and I got to crafting while we waited for the rest of the ladies.  Everyone either brings their own project, makes something with what other people brought, or just hangs out and socializes depending on their mood.  I felt like doing something a little bit different than the sequin-filled stocking and the costuming I've been working on recently, so I got started on one of the stockings based on botanical prints that I'd drawn up a few weeks ago. 

I decided to start with the poppy stocking; it's the most complicated and was inspired by some poppies drawn by Alphonse Mucha.  I've got some hand dyed, mottled felt in various colors I've been dying to use, and this seemed like the perfect time.  It's fun trying to figure out how to use the variegation on the sheet of felt to suggest shading-- I've got to cut the piece out at just the right angle to give an illusion of depth (though some of the pieces are lightly stuffed for added effect).

Because this stocking has no sequins and will only be beaded around the center of the poppies, it's going really, really fast.  I might actually be able to finish the front piece of this one up tomorrow, depending on how the day goes.  I've got the first flower laid out but not sewn down yet, so we'll see how quickly the detail work goes.

So crafty day was a big success; there's nothing I like more than sitting around a table with a bunch of friends and working on fun projects!  Connor was not nearly as thrilled with the whole thing, though, once I got him up from quiet time.  This was because there was a baby on the premises; one of my friends brought her adorable five week old girl.  If there's one thing that Connor likes less than a baby, it's a baby invading his own personal house.  Horrors!  I didn't even hold her and he still declared that he was sad and that she needed to leave.  He refused to sit up at the table with me, and instead hung out on the floor, where he didn't have to look at the baby and could therefore pretend she didn't exist.  The second she left he suddenly was perfectly fine with sitting at the table and being part of the gathering.

Silly little guy.

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