Saturday, December 31, 2011

In Which It's 2012, Can You Believe It?

Happy New Year, everyone!

It's very late, so I'll just have to fill you in on how the day went tomorrow morning.  In the meantime, I hope that every one of you had a truly lovely evening. 



Friday, December 30, 2011

In Which We Go On A Date And Plan A New Project

Today Jeremy and I took advantage of our respite care to actually go out and see the second Sherlock Holmes movie.  We don't go to the movies very often; I think the last one we probably saw in the theater was the first Sherlock Holmes movie.  At any rate we enjoyed ourselves, though we both didn't think it was anything spectacular. 

We also spent some time discussing what we'd like to do with the garage over the next few months.  We have a two car garage, but we can't keep the van in it because we wouldn't have enough room to get the ramp down.  Also our garage has stairs up to the house so we'd end up having to take the little guy up the front walk anyway.  Someday we'll put a lift on the garage stairs, but it hasn't been a priority.  Actually right now we can't fit any cars in it because it's full of stuff from our remodel and also Ellen's bed, which has yet to be assembled as we haven't gotten rid of the futon currently occupying that space in her room yet.  But I digress-- the point is that we have a two car garage and only one car that we can put in it.

So we've decided to devote the other half of the garage space to a craft area for me.  My former craft space was Ellen's room, which we are ever so slowly cleaning out.  I've been trying to do my sewing on the dining room table instead, but this is proving to be sort of difficult because the cats are also highly interested in my craft projects. 

This means that I either have to put absolutely everything away every time I'm going to be away from the table or else resign myself to the fact that my embroidery thread, felt, needles, etc. will need to be retrieved from underneath various pieces of furniture before I can resume work.  When I'm in the middle of a project I like being able to pick up immediately where I left off, so this isn't working out well for me.  Not to mention the fact that one of these days a cat is going to swallow the wrong thing and we're going to end up with a very expensive vet trip and/or a very dead cat. 

We're not going to actually enclose the garage for a number of reasons.  First of all, there's no way I want to do that much work.  Secondly, we don't want to increase the square footage of our house and have to pay more taxes.  Also if we decided sometime years and years down the road that we needed to sell the house for whatever reason, buyers would generally choose to have a two-car garage over a craft room.  Luckily we live in an area with a pretty temperate climate.  I can heat the garage with a space heater when I'm out there in the winter time, and I can open up the garage door in the summer if I need some air.  Our garage actually has a large window and good lighting too, so working out there shouldn't really be a problem. 

But even though we're not converting the garage to an enclosed space, there are plenty of things we can do to make it a great crafting studio for me.  I'd like to stain and seal the concrete floor, put down a rug and hang some curtains, paint the walls and add some more shelving and storage and a picture or two.  The craft space could still be easily converted back to a regular garage in the future if we needed to, but it would make it much more pleasant for me in the meantime.  And of course the garage is a cat free zone, so that would solve that problem.  While it probably won't be the ideal space, it's certainly better than the dining room table!  And I really need an area to exercise my creative pursuits somewhere in my living space; I've pretty much always had a corner somewhere and it would be fantastic to stretch out a bit!

I'll be sure to take some before and after photos and let you all know how it goes!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

In Which We Take A Post-Holiday Field Trip

Connor finally crashed at 4:00am last night, but he's actually gone to bed on time tonight!  So this will be a short blog post because I intend to take full advantage of the chance to get some sleep.

Connor and I spent a quiet day together slowly putting the house back to rights after the glorious mess that was Christmas, and then as soon as Jer got home we piled into the van and drove to see the Fantasy Lights display at one of our local parks.  The Christmas lights are on display in the park until right before New Year's Day, and because we chose to wait to see them until after Christmas there was no wait time and there were only a few cars ahead of us on the path, which was pretty fantastic.  Connor brought his Gobo doll along to see the lights too.  He's more excited about that doll than I've seen him get about any of his toys for a while, so we like to encourage it when we can.  I'm going to need to figure out pretty quickly if Gobo is washable, though, because he is getting drooled and chewed on in a major way.  Oh well.

Anyway, Connor seemed to really enjoy the lights, which took us about half an hour to drive through.  There were plenty of displays that moved (fish jumped over the car, Santa shot presents out of a cannon, dragons breathed fire, etc.) and they captured his attention pretty well.  He was extremely quiet through most of the car ride, which is unusual for him, and then when we got to the end of the park he started making noise again.  I'm not sure what his expression looked like because I was driving so I couldn't really look back at him a lot, but Jer said he looked like he was pretty fascinated by the whole affair.  And Jer and I enjoyed ourselves too.

I think we'll make this a holiday tradition!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

In Which Connor Misses The Sleep Train And Not Much Happens

Well so much for that whole sleeping-through-the-night thing.  Connor must be feeling better, because he's resuming his old sleeping habits.  It's almost one in the morning right now and he's still going strong.  I am not terribly thrilled by this development; I've gotten used to getting a full night's sleep and it's going to be difficult to get back into Connor's usual groove. 

Oh well.  I guess that's what caffeine is for. 

Jeremy was off of work today, so Joanna came over in the morning.  Then Jer and I ventured out for a few hours to spend some quality time together.  We stopped by the coffee shop, the library, took a load to the local landfill (romantic, I know) and just enjoyed each other's company for a while.  I'm seriously spoiled having him home so much right now with the holidays, and I'm going to miss having these sorts of fun outings when his normal work routine resumes. 

It's just so nice having him here!


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

In Which Much Gets Done

So today ended up being relatively productive. 

Joanna came over this morning and I did a tiny bit of cleaning and then headed out to run errands and play.  Mostly I played.  Because hey, it's still technically Christmas vacation, right?  Then after she left and Connor had his quiet time we went out to the hair salon and the little guy got his hair cut, thereby instantly rendering him eighty gabillion years older.  At least his hair isn't in his eyes anymore, though, and he is no longer dangerously close to sporting a mullet.  Here's a ridiculous picture of us post-Connor's haircut so you can see how it looks; me making a crazy, slightly squinty-eyed face, Gobo looking extremely traumatized and Connor looking kind of put-upon and embarrassed for us all. 

At least his hair looks good.

I also commissioned a painting today, which I'm pretty excited about.  While we have a lot of Asian-influenced artwork in our house we don't have anything that's specifically Thai related.  That's something I'd like to change before Ellen gets here.  We don't need to cover our house in elephants and Khon masks or anything, but I do think it's important that we show we're proud of Ellen's culture and heritage.  And also I think Thai-influenced artwork is beautiful in its own right, so I'd want it in our house anyway.  While I'm sure we'll probably pick up some artwork in Thailand when we travel, I'd like a piece or two already up in the house before we go. 

In particular I've been looking for portraits of Thai women.  I love paintings of strong, interesting women that tell a story, but I hadn't been able to find any I liked that weren't way, way out of my price range. 

For that matter, it's kind of difficult to find interesting paintings of Asian women period.  Oh, I can find all kinds of paintings depicting the exotic, submissive, delicate-flower stereotype, but that's not exactly the kind of thing I want hanging up in my house, you know?  Ellen will have enough problems with that stereotype outside the house: no need to perpetuate it inside our walls.  I turned to Etsy, my favorite place in the universe for amazingly affordable, incredibly gorgeous art, to solve my problem. 

So the incredibly talented Renee Nault, whose paintings I absolutely adore, will be taking on my commission.  I can't wait to see what she comes up with!  You should go check out her artwork.  Seriously.  It's beautiful stuff. 

Anyway, I'll continue to slowly build my collection of Thai-influenced artwork over the next few months.  It'll give me another way to feel connected to her as we continue our long wait to bring her home!


Monday, December 26, 2011

In Which My Child Is Rip Van Winkle And It's Fantastic

So there's one major advantage to the ridiculous month and a half of Connor's All Diseases, All The Time saga we've been living.

For the first time in literally years, my child has been consistently sleeping through the night.

Not only that, but he's been taking actual naps during the day, too.  This is pretty much unprecedented in our household.    I mean, yeah, my kid is probably only sleeping because his body is exhausted after combating, over a five week period, strep throat, RSV, a g-tube infection, double pink eye and this latest GI bug, so I'm not sure how long this is going to last, but let me tell you I have been taking full advantage of the situation and will continue to do so as long as I possibly can. 

Honestly it feels a little weird, getting a whole eight hours of sleep (or more!) a night, and the occasional nap as well.  It's been so long since I've gone a full week without staying up until three or four in the morning that my body clock is all wonky, and the first few nights Connor dropped off right after we put him down I lay in bed staring at the ceiling for a long time, trying to fall asleep through sheer willpower and failing miserably.  Now I'm getting a full nights rest and actually dreaming again (or remembering my dreams, anyway) for the first time in months: probably because I'm actually getting through a couple of uninterrupted sleep cycles. 

I've always had incredibly vivid, multiple-night dream sagas with complicated storylines-- which is probably yet more evidence of just how strange I actually am-- and I've missed them.  I can usually pick up where I left off the night before when I go to sleep, and sometimes I can direct what happens in them, though they usually contain bits and pieces of my day mixed up in them.  My dreams have been heavy on velociraptors and bears recently; probably because Jeremy is home and keeps singing songs about their epic battles to Connor.  Oh well.  It's just nice to have dreams again.

Oh, and another major side effect of getting enough sleep is that I'm not having to slather on the concealer so that my Giant Under-Eye Circles Of Doom aren't the main feature of my face.  Also I'm not needing massive amounts of caffeine just to function normally.  That's kind of nice too.

So while I'm hoping that the little guy will get better soon and quit playing Pass The Germs with everyone he meets, I wouldn't mind if he made a habit out of the going-to-bed-on-time thing!  I could really get used to this sleep stuff.  Velociraptors and all.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

In Which We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Best wishes to you all!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

In Which Christmas Is Upon Us And In The Case Of One Family Member Is Already Here

It's Christmas Eve, and Santa has come and gone, leaving the stockings filled and brunch laid out for Connor to discover tomorrow morning.  The little guy has been asleep for hours; ten seizures today left him wrung out and cut short our plans for a walk in the park and for viewing the neighborhood Christmas lights.  He's picked up some sort of GI bug that's making him miserable right now.  Of course he still had the energy to snuggle up to Jer and I and give us some little giggles and smiles in between seizures today, because that's how our brave sunshiney boy is.  Hopefully things will be better for him when he wakes up on Christmas morning. 

It's already Christmas morning for Ellen; there's about a fifteen hour time difference between Puyallup and where she lives in Thailand.  Christmas is not widely celebrated in Thailand, so it may be a day just like any other for her.  We're looking forward to introducing her to all of our holiday traditions next year if she's home. 

Of course I wish she was here to celebrate with us now!  Our dossier has now been in Thailand about nine and a half months, which is how long Ellen has known about us.  If our wait is hard, I can't imagine what hers is like.  She's an extremely brave girl to be open to starting over in a new country with a family of strangers.  I'm not sure that in the same situation I'd have that kind of fortitude.  I haven't even met her yet and I'm already proud of her. 

I think she and her brother already have a lot in common.


Friday, December 23, 2011

In Which We'll Be Home For Christmas

Connor had six seizures today, which wasn't exactly encouraging.  He spent most of the day sleeping or snuggling with one of us.  It's hard to see him so exhausted. 

He's got an appointment with neurology next week, and we'll see if they want to adjust his medications in any way.  Connor had such a hard year health-wise, and I'm hoping that maybe next year will be a little better for him.  Right now there's not a whole lot more we can do for him when he gets in a seizure cycle like this other than keep him comfortable and let him know that we're there for him.  It's extremely frustrating as a parent that I can't just wave a magic wand and fix this. 

So we'll be spending Christmas quietly at home this year.  Normally we travel to Texas for Christmas, but this year we'd decided to stay here because we're saving up for our eventual trip to Thailand for our adoption.  I think it's probably best that we've stayed here this year, though; Connor would have a very difficult time with travel right now.  He's never had a seizure on a plane, and I think we'd like to keep that track record for as long as we can. 

It looks like Christmas in our house; the presents are piled high up under the tree, our stockings hang from the mantle and our entryway table is covered with cards from family and friends wishing us well in the holiday season.  Still it feels a little lonely to me. 

In the nearly eleven years that Jeremy and I have been in a relationship, this will make only the third year that we haven't traveled to be with our large extended family for Christmas.  I grew up with Christmas time as an impromptu family reunion every year; my parents' house overflowed with relatives and Christmas morning was a noisy, joyous affair where we had so many people crammed in the living room to open presents that the children ended up sitting on the floor.  While I love living up here in the Pacific Northwest, I find myself keenly missing that sort of hustle and bustle right now. 

Still there's something nice about having a laid-back, quiet Christmas.  Certainly that's what's best for the little guy right now.  And maybe next year we'll be able to get down that way.  Or alternatively, we'll manage to convince all of our relatives to move up here from Texas.  I'm pretty sure the house next door will be up for sale soon.

I'll just wait until July and start constantly talking about our 70 degree summer weather.  Pretty sure that'll do the trick.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

In Which We Go To The Doctor

Connor had his GI doctor's appointment this morning.

It went really well!  Connor's g-tube site looks fantastic, and there's no need for him to go up a size in tubes yet.  The doctor was a little surprised that Connor hasn't ever had to go up a size since the tube was installed about two years ago.  I pointed out that the kid has only gained two pounds since we saw the GI department last year.  The doctor said that normally he'd be concerned, but that Connor looks proportional and has "a healthy layer of subcutaneous fat," by which he probably meant that the kid has a bit of pudge around his middle.  So he's not worried that Connor is small.  Also I totally want to use that expression in public.  "I have a healthy layer of subcutaneous fat" sounds way more sophisticated than "I've been eating too much ice cream recently and I'm kinda pudgy."

So Connor's clear for another year as far as GI goes, which is pretty fantastic.  I love it when appointments go quickly and smoothly.  I wish it would happen more often!

The little guy seemed to feel a little better today, and his fever was down so hopefully whatever it was that was driving his temperature up is passing.  We think he might have had a bit of a stomach bug.  Since we were on post around lunch time for his doctor's appointment, we met up with Jeremy for lunch.  Then afterwards we went shopping for the last of the Christmas presents I needed to get, because procrastination is pretty much my middle name this year.  They are all wrapped and sitting under the tree now.  Or at least they were wrapped for a while this afternoon, before the cats discovered there were tasty new presents to chew on down there.  We'll see how long it takes before they shred the wrapping paper.

Some people are probably going to be getting their presents after Christmas but in my defense it's been sort of a crazy month.  I'm just hoping that Connor's health will hold for a while and we can get back into a normal routine. 

The kid deserves a break!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

In Which We Are Fingerprinted And I Receive An Unusual Compliment

So this morning we went in to get our fingerprints redone.  It wasn't nearly as crowded as the last time we went in; I don't know if we just got lucky or if fewer people have fingerprinting appointments during the holidays.  At any rate, we were in and out this time within twenty minutes.

They use a digital machine these days-- none of that ink-and-paper business.  The lady who did my fingerprints was very quiet until she put my first finger on the scanner, which is when her whole face lit up.  "You have beautiful fingerprints!" she gushed.  "They are perfect.  So easy to take.  It is a pleasure to work with fingerprints like yours."

Now that's not a compliment you hear very often.

This woman sees hundreds of fingerprints every day, so of course mine must be truly exceptional if they made her exclaim over them.  So now I'm thinking maybe I should look into a career as a fingerprint model.  I'm sure there's a huge demand for that sort of thing, for crime shows and mystery book covers and whatnot.  I'll be waiting to hear from an agent.  The deals should be rolling in soon.

As we were walking back to the car, I accosted Jeremy.  "Why don't you ever compliment me about my fingerprints?" I asked him.  "Why do I have to hear about them from someone else?" 

Men.  Really.

So anyway, now we've got that finished again and hopefully we won't have to redo it before Ellen comes home.  It would be fantastic if we could travel sometime in 2012!  I guess we'll just have to see what the new year brings.

Besides me starting a glove collection, of course.  I have to protect my best feature from wear and tear!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

In Which Connor Is Sick Again

The good news is that Connor's eyes (yes, he ended up with pink eye in both eyes) look about 800% better after a day and a half of eye drops.  Those things work fast!  The bad news is that he's once again running a mystery fever.  He spent about two thirds of the day asleep today and crashed hard when it was time for bed.  So it looks like he's picking up a new bug.  Again.  Fun times.

Jer and I have to leave him with Joanna tomorrow morning despite him feeling punky, though, because we've got our fingerprinting appointment for our adoption USCIS update.  I'm a little unsure of why they have to take our fingerprints again; I wouldn't think they would have changed all that much.  Oh well.  At any rate, once we get this taken care of and they prove that we haven't morphed into different people in the past year we should be cleared for Ellen's adoption until early 2013.  I'm hoping that this is the only time we'll have to update our immigration paperwork and that she'll be home before then!


Monday, December 19, 2011

My monthly blog for Hopeful Parents is up!  You can find it over here.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

In Which Connor Is Full Of Germs Yet Again

Okay, now Connor seems to have an eye infection going.  Either that or he managed to scratch his right eye at some point during the day, because we noticed this evening that it's all red, crusty and weepy.  It seemed fine this morning.  Whee!

Look, I swear I bathe my kid and everything.  While sometimes the sink fills up with dishes and our laundry sits longer than it should, our house does not look like it should be featured on "Hoarders."  I have no idea why all of the sudden he seems to be trying to break some sort of record for as many ailments as possible within the shortest amount of time.  While I'm always proud of my son's achievements, I'm not particularly thrilled with this one. 

So I'll be calling the doctor's office again tomorrow to get him an appointment set up before he, I don't know, catches the bubonic plague or something.

What the heck is up with my child's immune system?


Saturday, December 17, 2011

In Which I Bout Banked And Loki Has An Adventure Of His Own

I survived the banked track!  And I didn't break anything!  And also it was a ton of fun!

So the bout ended up being pretty close-- the final score was Killer Bs 184, Dockyard 150.  I'm not entirely sure how many lead changes there were, but we seesawed back and forth quite a bit, so it was probably a pretty exciting bout to watch.  It certainly was exciting to play!  I'll have some new bruises, but didn't end up with any major trauma. 

Jer wasn't able to make it to this bout because we didn't have respite care for the little guy and the bout was over an hour away, making it a pretty long trip for Connor.  So he took advantage of the lovely day and drove down to a local park for a long walk, just the two of them.  They weren't the only ones who wanted to enjoy a day outdoors, though-- Loki ran outside as Jer was bringing the wheelchair back into the house, and Jeremy was preoccupied with maneuvering the chair over the threshold and didn't notice.

So I got home around 11:00pm from the bout and was in the kitchen eating dinner when I started hearing this really pathetic meow.  It sounded like Loki was stuck somewhere, which happens pretty often as he likes to dart into closets right before the door closes and manages to trap himself inside our Lazy Susan at least once a week.  I started wandering around the house looking for him and finally realized that the sound was coming from outside our front door.  I opened it up and there on the porch was a thoroughly miserable and very cold cat.  He'd apparently spent about seven hours out there, doing who knows what.  Given the sheer destructive tendencies he exhibits we're probably lucky there wasn't an international incident or something.  This is the Cat That Could Topple Nations, which is one of the reasons we don't let him outside. 

At any rate, Loki is now running around the house on a complete tear, making sure that every single thing in the entire house is in the exact same place where he left it.  Cricket, who is convinced that Loki disappeared and was replaced by a Stranger Cat, is slinking around after him, hissing whenever he gets within three feet of her and trying to prevent him from, I don't know, making off with the silver or something.  After venturing outdoors he is obviously a cat who is Not To Be Trusted. 

So all sorts of new adventures happened in this house today! 

Crazy cat.


Friday, December 16, 2011

In Which We All Take A Pajama Day

I spent a good portion of today sleeping-- I slept through all of Connor's school time.  Jer came home just as I was walking out the door to pick up Connor from school, and then when the little guy actually went down for a nap the two of us crashed and the whole family slept until about two in the afternoon.  So all in all I slept for about five hours today.  I'm pretty sure we all badly needed the sleep.  Connor is officially on Christmas vacation now so I won't be taking any more naps while he's at school for a while, but I'm feeling greatly recovered already so hopefully it will be a moot point.  I'm really tired of being sick.

Tomorrow is my bout on the banked track, which I'm looking forward to and nervous about all at the same time.  It should be a whole lot of fun!  Banked track derby is a whole different animal from the flat track variety, so hopefully I'll manage to pull this off without breaking any vital body parts.  I'll let you all know how it goes.  Since I'm still at only about two-thirds of my usual lung capacity, it will be an exercise in endurance for sure.

Wish me luck!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

In Which I Go To Bed Right This Very Second

This is going to be pretty much the shortest blog in the world.  I just got back late from a derby scrimmage, (scrimmaging with no lung capacity is a great endurance workout, by the way) sleep is calling me and, believe it or not, Connor is actually down tonight so I can go to bed when I want to and everything!  So here, instead of me writing a blog and being all responsible or whatever, you can look at a picture of that Chinese dragon stocking I did.  The photo was taken by the talented Jeff Bischoff, so I'm not even going to be responsible for that.  Oh well.

And that's about all the effort I'm going to put into this thing tonight.  My bed is calling me.

Yay for Chinese dragons!  And sleep!  Not necessarily in that order!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

In Which Jer Stays Home And I Nap And Nap Some More

Today Jer was feeling so lousy that he actually stayed home from work, which is an unprecedented thing around here.  Those of you who know Jer personally are probably aware of his legendary cast-iron immune system, so for him to not only get sick but to be so sick that he actually has to visit a doctor is pretty crazy.  We took turns taking care of Connor, who was off of school today, while the other person mostly napped.

I did have to leave the house briefly to take back our library books, though.  They were due shortly after Connor started getting really sick, so they were, um, a little late.  Since I was already downtown I popped by Pioneer Bakery and picked up some of their homemade chicken soup for dinner.  That stuff is amazing-- they make their own noodles and everything-- and it's the perfect I'm Sick And Don't Want To Cook Anything food.  Oh, and then I stopped by the cheese store.  Also the little tiny bookstore.  And then I went home for a nap, because I was all tuckered out.

I'm not normally a napper-- I usually wind up groggy for the rest of the day if I take one.  But since I'm pretty much groggy all the time right now it doesn't really matter, so I'm napping while I can.

Apparently this RSV stuff normally lasts one to two weeks, which I am totally completely thrilled with as you might guess.  I figure I'm just going to have to start dragging myself out of the house to get things done, because dang it, Christmas is about a week and a half away and if I wait until I'm well to finish all the things I need to do than everyone will get their presents around New Year's or so. 

But probably I'm not going to get them done tomorrow.  It's a school day for Connor tomorrow, and I already have plans for the time he'll be gone. 

I'm taking a nap.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

In Which I'm Really Tired Of Blogging About Illness So Can We Just Be Well Around Here Already

I had a whole lot of plans for today; I was going to mail all the packages I have to go out, get the house cleaned up and catch up on my correspondence-- the number of e-mails I have yet to answer is fast reaching critical levels.  But instead I spent the entire time Connor was at school sitting on the couch drinking a cup of tea very, very slowly and staring off into space.  Jeremy even came home early, and instead of being all industrious I used the opportunity to fall asleep fully clothed face down on our bed.  Methinks this cold has me kind of wiped.

Well, and the fact that Connor stayed up until three in the morning.  That didn't help matters.

So I didn't get much done.  The cats thought it was pretty great though; as far as they were concerned I was a giant heating pad just for their convenience, and they spent most of the day draped over me putting various body parts to sleep and giving me extremely wounded looks every time I tried to move.

I'm getting really tired about blogging about various people being sick around here, though.  For Pete's sake, can we move on to something else in this household? 


Monday, December 12, 2011

In Which Connor And I Switch Places And I Try A Sewing Experiment

I feel kind of like death warmed over right now, and Jeremy is about the same.  Connor is back to his usual cheerful (if slightly more snotty) self.  This is making for Fun Times in our household right now.  Things are kind of backwards; usually it's us pushing Connor to do a bunch of stuff that he doesn't want to do.  Right now he's screamy, happy and ready for play time, and the only thing I want to do is see whether or not it's possible to pile all of the blankets in the house on top of my body without suffocating.

That might be a slight exaggeration-- I'm not quite that sick yet.  I snuck off to the coffee shop (where I was extra careful not to cough on anyone) and everything.  But I'm moving kind of slowly, that's for sure.

So I set Connor up with some switch toys he could play with himself and did more sewing today, as it was something I could accomplish while moving as little as possible.  I finished up the dragon stocking and began work on the next one in my queue.  This one will be a butterfly stocking.  I've only just started it and it should have quite a bit of detail work (along with the dreaded metallic embroidery thread), so we'll see how quickly it goes. 

I'm going to try using two layers of felt for the wings, decorating each visible side and then attaching them to the stocking only at the body of the butterfly, hopefully making them three dimensional.  It's an experiment-- if it doesn't work out it won't take much work to just go back to one layer and not have them stand out from the stocking.  It makes for a lot more sewing, but I think it will look pretty cool if I can pull off what it looks like in my head.  I don't need to have this one done by Christmas, so the deadline isn't quite so urgent.

We'll see what happens!


Sunday, December 11, 2011

In Which Connor Is Back To His Usual Antics

It's pretty late right now and I'm tired, so this is going to be a short blog post.  Not that I'll actually be going to bed; Connor feels well enough now that he's decided to resume his glorious sleeping habits, so he's currently singing to himself in his room.  He's also making what we call his "Silent Raptor Of Doom" noise.  Basically it's an airy hiss-- kind of like if a velociraptor was roaring at you very, very quietly.  It's one of his favorite noises to make.

Anyway, we'll see what he looks like tomorrow, but I'm fairly sure I'll be sending him back to school, which I'm sure he will be pretty excited about.  Connor absolutely loves school, so he always gets antsy when he's on the mend and still isn't allowed to go.  Of course winter break is coming up really quickly, but at least we're going to get him back in for more than one day between Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Speaking of the holidays-- at some point this week we plan to take Connor out to view the drive-through light park near our town.  It's the largest Christmas light show in the Pacific Northwest, with two miles worth of lights, and Connor goes absolutely nuts over it.  It's one of his favorite things to do during the season.  We try and go on a weekday because the wait to get into the park on the weekends is pretty insane.  I'll let you all know how it goes.

So I'm going to go sit in bed now and telepathically will my child to sleep.  I've tried just about everything else, so it can't hurt, right?


Saturday, December 10, 2011

In Which I Indulge In Some Giving Therapy

I was feeling a little out of sorts today, so I dropped by our local grocery store where a food drive was going on. 

I had to go to the grocery store anyway because we needed some cough drops; it looks like Jeremy and I are both coming down with something. I'm assuming it's either strep throat or RSV. My bet is on RSV, because I'm pretty sure we're both out of the incubation period window for contracting Connor's strep throat. The good news is that Connor sounded significantly better today, and I think he's probably out of the woods as far as the possibility of pneumonia or bronchitis are concerned. With any lucky he'll actually be able to go to school on Monday. Whoo hoo!

But anyway, back to the food drive.  When I'm down in the dumps I like to indulge in what I call "giving therapy."  Basically it's like retail therapy, only instead of buying things for me I'm giving something to somebody else-- in this case, goods for the food bank.  It doesn't have to be something with monetary value; doing something nice for somebody else just makes me feel better.  It always reminds me of that old poem by an unknown author:

                                                           How To Be Happy

                                         Are you almost disgusted with life, little lad?
                                              I'll tell you a wonderful trick. 
                                         That will bring you contentment, if anything can,
                                              Do something for somebody, quick!

                                        Are you awfully tired of play, little girl?
                                              Wearied, discouraged and sick--
                                        I'll tell you the loveliest game in the world,
                                              Do something for somebody, quick!

                                        Though it rains, like the rain of the flood, little man,
                                             And the clouds are forbidding and thick,
                                        You can make the sun shine in your soul, little man,
                                             Do something for somebody, quick!

                                        Though the stars are like brass overhead, little girl,
                                             And the walks like a well-heated brick,
                                        And our earthly affairs in a terrible whirl,
                                             Do something for somebody, quick!

Only in my head, it's recited by Boris Badenov and is modified to "Do something to somebody, quick!"  I blame it on my Rocky-And-Bullwinkle-heavy childhood.  And also on the fact that I'm weird. 

Anyway, apparently by helping other people (note-- actually helping, not helping the Boris Badenov way) I'm doing myself a favor too-- science backs me up on this one.  Turns out that helping people can not only make you feel better, but it can actually make you live longer too!  Crazy, huh?  Plus I'm not much of one for retail therapy-- I don't really need more stuff. 

Besides chocolate of course.  I can always use more chocolate.


Friday, December 9, 2011

In Which Things Are Finally Looking Up

Today was about eight hundred bazillion times better, I'm glad to say.  Not only does Connor seem to be finally on the mend, but Jeremy is home.  He went to San Diego for a few days, which is part of the reason why things have been so crazy around here.  I just didn't mention it before because, you know, Internet Safety and all.  Anyway, so Jeremy is home and I actually got to leave the house today for some place other than the doctor's office, pharmacy or hospital!  You know, social type things! 

Oh, and also we are now fully restocked on chocolate.  Crisis averted.

So this little venture in Really Sicky Sick Time While Daddy Is Away taught me a couple of important lessons.  The first lesson is that I should probably start practicing asking for help when I need it.  I'm not very good at asking people to do things for me, so I probably need to go ahead and work out who I'm going to call when, for whatever reason, I'm restricted to the house and Jer is gone.  I really need somebody to do things like go to the grocery store for me so I don't run out of food.  Either that or I need to figure out which grocery stores in the area offer a delivery service.  Also the cats would probably appreciate being fed while I'm at the hospital with Connor.  You know-- little stuff like that.

Oh and heck, just for the social time.  I'm not the most extroverted person in the world, but I do need the occasional face-to-face interaction with other adults to keep me from going absolutely insane.  Or any more insane than I already am, anyway.

The second lesson is that I'm going to need to be more organized.  When Connor goes into Sleep Deprivation mode and I get a little punch drunk (like now) from lack of shut-eye, if I don't write it down it doesn't happen.  At some point in the future we're going to have two kids with twice the amount of things to coordinate, and so I'd better figure out a more efficient system so I don't start dropping balls when I've had no sleep and no one around to let me catch up on it during the weekends. 

So anyway, hopefully Connor is on the mend and it will be a long, long time before we see the inside of a hospital again for anything other than a routine appointment.  And I'm going to take advantage of the fact that Jeremy is home again and take a nice, long nap tomorrow.  And then I will eat a whole lot of chocolate to help me recover from the ordeal this week has been.

What could be better?


Thursday, December 8, 2011

In Which Connor Doesn't Work Up A Sweat

Today we discovered a fun new medical diagnosis to add to Connor's long, long list of really rare stuff that I get to freak out about all the time.  This morning I packed my still-miserable child in the car and drove him down to the hospital for a sweat test we've had scheduled for a while. 

See, I've mentioned on here a few times that so far as we know, Connor doesn't sweat.  We've certainly never seen him do it.  But we didn't have an official diagnosis, and for a variety of reasons it was important for us to know whether or not he does in fact sweat.  To tell you the truth, I figured he probably did, my "momtuition" was wrong, and he just hadn't been doing a whole lot of things that would make him sweat.  I mean, it's not like the kid hits the gym on a regular basis or anything. 

So anyway, they normally do this sweat test to check for cystic fibrosis (apparently people with cystic fibrosis have a higher level of salt in their sweat than typical people).  We wouldn't be doing the actual measuring-the-salinity-of-the-sweat part of the test since Connor already has a genetic diagnosis and doesn't need any more, thank you very much, so we were only doing the collection part of the test. 

The tech attached a couple of electrodes with a gel on them that stimulates sweating to the underside of Connor's arm.  Then he ran a low electrical current through Connor's arm to draw the gel into his skin and start the sweating process.  Finally he strapped on what looked sort of like a little clear plastic bottle top to the area where one of the electrodes had been to collect the sweat.  He did the same thing for the other arm.  I bundled Connor up in a blanket and we sat out in the waiting room for thirty minutes.

What I think was supposed to happen is that the sweat would evaporate upwards, go through a little one-way valve and then condense inside the collection chamber.  What actually happened was absolutely nothing.  The collection chamber was bone dry.

My momtuition was right-- not only is Connor not sweating as much as other people, he's not sweating at all.  While there are perks to this (my friend Julia pointed out that Connor won't have to wear deodorant at all when he's a teenager) it's actually a pretty serious issue.  Because Connor doesn't sweat, he's not releasing heat the way he should, which can drive his temperature up very quickly.  And of course, when Connor's temperature goes up he has seizures.  It's likely I might have even induced some seizures by bundling him up too much during cold weather. 

And of course that doesn't make me feel guilty or anything.  We probably should have had this test done ages ago.

Also he's much more likely to get heat stroke.  We'll need to limit his time outside on warm days and make sure that we wait until the very last minute to put his jacket on when we go out in the fall and winter months.  An air conditioner for our home has suddenly become an absolutely medically essential item before summer rolls around again.  And good thing we were already planning not to take him to Thailand with us when we go, because he sure as heck won't be visiting now.

So Connor's new diagnosis is anhidrosis, which basically means "lack of sweating."  One of the medications Connor is taking could potentially cause it, but we suspect he's had the problem since before he started taking the Zonegran, as he's only been taking that for a few months and we've suspected he wasn't sweating for a long time.  We'll consult with Connor's neurologist in our January appointment to see whether or not we should switch to a different medication, but my momtuition says Connor's anhidrosis probably has more to do with his autonomic nervous system issues or his genetic condition than it does with any medications he's taking. 

It doesn't really matter what's causing it though; it just matters that we know about, have an official diagnosis and a general idea about risk factors for the little guy.  We don't have any plans to add a dermatologist to the list of doctors Connor sees right now, but we can always do so in the future if we need to as he grows older.

So yeah, new diagnoses are not particularly fun.  But think of all the money I'll save on deodorant!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

In Which Connor Has ALL The Germs

Connor's doctor called today with the news that the results of the cultures done at her office on Monday had come in. 

So yeah, he's got strep throat.  But he also has a yeast infection around his g-tube and RSV.  No wonder the kid's been so sick!  He's been fighting three infections all at once. I should have known-- nobody does anything by halves in this household.

So avoid my house like the plague, people. I seemed to have somehow dodged both the strep and RSV bullets, which is nothing short of a miracle considering how contagious that stuff is, but I may just not be showing symptoms of the RSV yet.

Anyway, now I'm putting a topical cream on his g-tube site a couple of times a day and watching the little guy like a hawk to make sure his horrible upper respiratory infection doesn't progress to bronchitis or pneumonia.  RSV is not a particularly fun viral infection for a medically fragile kid to have.  If need be, we'll go back to the hospital.  Again.  I'm just hoping to avoid that since it's probably where he picked up the RSV in the first place.  Hospital waiting rooms are always an infection risk for the little guy.  I kind of want to make him a nice bubble to fit around his wheelchair for when we have to go, but there's this little thing called air circulation that he kind of needs so I don't know how well that would work.

But seriously-- strep throat and a yeast infection and RSV?  What's next, malaria or something?  I swear we haven't been dipping our kid in a vat of germs or anything. 

So yeah.  Right now he's absolutely miserable.  He keeps coughing so hard it's making him throw up, which can't be pleasant with the sore throat.  He once again spent most of the day sleeping, but he kept snoring so loud he woke himself up. 

Poor little guy.  I hope he feels better soon.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

In Which Connor Is A Sickykin

Connor had yet another Not Particularly Fun day.  At least this one was at home and not at the hospital where he could play Pass The Disease with the other people in the waiting room.  Connor is already germy enough at the moment, thank you very much.  Thankfully his temperature has stayed on the high side of normal (100.2 was the highest I clocked him at today) so no tours of various medical facilities were needed today.

The little guy woke up this morning with his nose completely crusted over, which is never a great way to start the day.  I declared it a Pajama Day and evidently he took this very seriously, as he proceeded to take about six naps.  Basically today was one long nap with little snippets of awake time in between.  He's also picked up a glorious cough, which makes him sound either like he's been sneaking out back to smoke several packs of cigarettes a day, or like he's spent about fifteen years working in a coal mine.

All those naps didn't stop him from crashing at bedtime.  He's currently passed out smack dab in the center of my bed.  It's amazing how much space a kid that small can take up.  Between him and the cats I'll have about six inches of space at the foot of the bed to cram into.

While I'm tempted to just let him sleep in here tonight, I'm afraid it might get a bit too warm for him.  And of course, when he overheats he has seizures.  Also he's been throwing up quite a bit and I'm down to my last pair of clean sheets.  So maybe I'll move him to his room in a little bit.  He's still got a few pairs left.

Not to mention that he's snoring to beat the band right now. 

Oh well.


In Which We Go To The Hospital Again

Well, it was another fun-filled day at the hospital yesterday.  Connor continued to run a fever despite being on heavy-duty antibiotics for three days, so evidently there was something else going on.  I thought that maybe he'd caught a cold on top of the strep, as he started getting pretty congested on Sunday.  I tried taking him off the Tylenol early in the day and his temperature began to rise.  Then he had a couple of quick seizures, so I put him back on the stuff and we were off to the doctor's office again. 

Connor's doctor wanted some more tests run to see what could be going on as the little guy has had a fever off and on since November 22nd or so, but they couldn't do the tests in the office.  So she sent us to the ER yet again-- this time the on-post hospital.  I like to avoid going there unless I absolutely have to because of the long waiting times, and yesterday was no exception.  We waited for about four hours before going back to see a doctor.  Connor snoozed on my chest.

So they did another urinalysis, took a chest x-ray, tested him for mono, checked his temperature, which had come down, and announced that they didn't know what the issue was and we could go home.  We got back to the house around midnight.  Fun times.

I'm still thinking that the back-to-back-to-back fevers were coincidence and that the little guy just has a viral infection on top of the strep.  We'll see what the doctor wants to do today; hopefully his temperature will stay down today and that will be the end of it.  I'm getting kind of tired of the hospital.



Sunday, December 4, 2011

In Which I'm Loopy From Sleep Deprivation

Not a whole heck of a lot to say tonight-- I'm entering that delirious state of mind where I stare at familiar words and convince myself that I'm misspelling them and/or that they've lost all meaning.  Tonight is the third night in a row I'll be waking up every four hours around the clock to dose Connor with Tylenol to keep him from seizing while the antibiotics do their work.  We tried taking him off it today and his temperature started rising, so back on it he went.  Theoretically he shouldn't be contagious anymore as we're doing the equivalent of nuking his strep throat with the strength of antibiotics he's on, but evidently his body is still fighting the infection.  Either that or he's got something else going on.  Whee!

So at any rate, I am kind of ridiculously tired right now, and I'm going to go to bed now so I can get as much sleep as possible before I have to wake up again to dose the little guy. 

Good night.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

In Which Connor Takes A Sick Day And I Turn Hypochondriac

Connor was understandably still feeling under the weather today, so we spent a quiet day at home.  He watched a movie with his daddy and spent some quality time snuggled up against me snoozing while I sewed.  I'm about two thirds of the way through the front piece for the Chinese dragon stocking now, and the hardest parts (the sequining and beading) are all done so it should go pretty quickly from here.  Luckily those pieces were all pretty skinny, so I didn't get super burned out on sequining and really tempted to just use a glue gun on the thing or something.  So the worst is over and I'm working on his head right now.  I think he's going to turn out well.

I had a tiny bit of a scratchy throat today, but I can't decide if it's just my annual the-heater-is-on-and-dries-out-everything scratchiness or if I'm coming down with the dreaded bug too.  It's kind of like when they send those notes home from school saying that someone in your kid's class has lice, and then you spend the rest of the day scratching your head and freaking out.

Okay, well maybe that's just me. 

But at rate, I'll be super paranoid for a few days until I'm out of the danger zone as far as Connor being contagious goes.  The last thing we need is for Jer and I to get sick too!


Friday, December 2, 2011

In Which We Head To The Hospital And Get Some Answers

So today didn't go particularly well.  But at least we have an explanation for what's been going on recently with the little guy!

So I got a call from Connor's school this morning around 10:30 to come and pick him up.  He'd had a couple of seizures and just wasn't recovering very well, so we figured he'd better sleep it off at home.  Shortly after we got back to the house he had two more in rapid succession.  I took his temperature and it read 101.3 degrees. 

The mysterious fever was back.

Four seizures in two hours was not a good sign.  I gave him a dose of Tylenol and then started weighing my options.  After trying and failing to get an immediate appointment with his pediatrician, I left a message on the triage nurse's machine about what was going on and that if I didn't hear back pretty quickly we'd be headed to the ER.  She called me back shortly thereafter and told me to go ahead and take him to the hospital to get him checked out.

So off to the emergency room we went.

Connor had a tiny, five-second or so seizure just as we walked in the door.  Then he fell asleep in my lap in the waiting room.  After we were shown back to our room in the ER, the doc ordered blood work, took a look in Connor's ears and mouth and then took a throat swab.  The verdict came back twenty minutes later.  The little guy had a nasty case of strep throat.

Problem found.

They said his white blood cell count was through the roof, so he'd either had it a while or just had a really nasty case of it.  Of course I felt horribly guilty that I had no idea; I'm sure he hasn't been feeling good for a while, and he might have been spiking fevers all week that I just didn't catch.  Poor little boo-- no wonder he's been clingy in the past few days.

So we stayed in the hospital for a while as they figured out what his treatment plan was going to be.  While we were waiting his Tylenol started to wear off and he had another seizure, so they gave him another dose along with a solid helping of Ativan.  Then they gave him a shot of an drug called Rocephin, which is a seriously heavy-duty antibiotic.  They sent us home with a ten-day prescription for Omnicef, which is another antibiotic.  Hopefully those two drugs will do the trick.

So while I wasn't excited about spending the whole day in the hospital and I'm sorry that Connor is sick, I am glad that the doctors found a simple problem that was easily fixable.  That doesn't happen very often in our household; usually we're the Medical Mystery Clan around here.  Of course, I did spend the rest of the day completely paranoid about how my throat was feeling because strep is one of those lovely contagious sort of bugs, but that's okay.  At least if I do end up with strep, we'll know what it is right away and won't end up waiting a week or two before figuring it out.

After we were discharged and came home little guy pretty much conked out.  I hope all the sleep is healing for him and he's feeling better soon!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

In Which Connor Would Be Better Off Having Pink Eye

Another seizure-filled day.  His mornings seem to go all right, and then he starts seizing in the afternoon.  He had four today, and once again spent most of his time sleeping.  It's not a pattern I like.

The seizures are once again taking their toll on his body.  I've though for the past few days that Connor might be getting pink eye because his left eye was all bloodshot.  His eye hasn't been gunky at all, though, and then I noticed that after every seizure it gets a little bit worse.  So I did some homework, and while I'm no doctor I'm pretty sure that what's happening is something called petechial hemorrhaging.  Basically the lack of oxygen to his head during the seizures is causing the capillaries on the surface of his eye to break.  It's a harmless, though dramatic looking, side effect of the significantly less-harmless asphyxiation he's probably experiencing during these things. 

Fun fact: apparently they use petechial hemorrhaging in forensic science to identify strangling victims.  Glorious.

So I'll be calling and making yet another appointment with the neurologist in very near future.  We'll also see Connor's pediatrician just in case my Doctor Mom diagnosis isn't the correct one and there's something else going on that's causing the issue.  Better safe than sorry-- I don't really want to mess around with this sort of thing.

But dang it, I kind of wish he had pink eye.


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