Thursday, February 27, 2014

In Which I'm Sans Computer

Unfortunately my laptop is currently a lovely paperweight but is good for very little else.  So expect shorter entries for a little while until I have a new one.  I ask that you be forgiving about spelling too for a bit-- I'm typing this on the iPad and you wouldn't believe how fiddly the little keyboard is.  Also it keeps trying to auto fill everything I write with some creative but nonsensical word choices. Huzzah.  Or as autocorrect would have it, 'Hazard.' Alrighty then.

Anyway, today was just as busy as expected; Connor and I spent all day running around to various medical facilities taking care of things.  His neurologist was very pleased with how Connor's seizures have stabilized (we're generally only seeing one every two-three weeks unless Connor is sick, and they're usually under a minute) and didn't want to mess with his medication.  It probably helps that the kiddo has been the same size for about a year and a half now, so adjusting for weight hasn't really been a problem.

The kids are going to be getting quite a bit of time with their grandparents this weekend, because I'll be at the Refresh Adoption Conference up in Redmond.  I would totally link to it if I could get it to work on the dang iPad without it freezing, but that's not working out for me.  Sorry about that.  Anyway, it's the first time I've been to an adoption conference, and I'm really looking forward to connecting with other parents and listening to some interesting seminars!  It will be nice to have a bit of time to myself too, after the hectic week we've had around here.  I hope it will be fun!


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

In Which We Will Do All The Driving

Tomorrow will be The Day Of The Medical Clinic Tours for me and the little guy, so I'm going to keep this short.  We need to leave here by 5:45 am to be able to make it through rush-hour traffic Connor's neurology appointment in Seattle.  Once it's over, we'll be headed to the pharmacy at the hospital on post, as one of Connor's new medications can only be picked up there if I don't want to have to pay for any more of it out of pocket.

  Then we need to stop by Connor's doctor's office in Puyallup to pick up the paperwork that allows the nurse to administer Connor's new medicine in school.  He needs it four times a day, and I really would rather not have to come in and give it to him every day if I can help it.

Not only is it kind of disruptive for the class, but it's a twenty-five minute commute each way.  So it eats into my important Sitting-Around-By-Myself-Eating-Chocolate time, and obviously we can't have that.  I'll be attending an adoption seminar on Friday, so I've got to cram all this stuff in tomorrow.

So basically it's going to be a whole lot of driving around to various waiting rooms.  Huzzah!

At least today was pretty good for all parties involved.  Connor had his feet measured for new AFOs, and Eden did quite a bit of studying for her classes.  I spent most of the day on the phone coordinating various appointments and running around trying to get the medication issue straightened out.  I can't say that I had a particularly good time doing it, but at least I accomplished some things, which always feels nice.

I'll be glad when things settle back down a bit, though!


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In Which We Have A Rough Day

We've had a couple of rather eventful days over here, I'm sorry to say.

Sunday night around eleven at night, I was sitting in the living room waiting for Connor's night nurse to arrive when I heard him start throwing up.  I put down my book, walked into his room, turned on the light and my heart sank.  A sizable patch on his sheets was stained pink and bright red.  Even though we'd had a false alarm a few weeks ago, there wasn't any doubt in my mind this time as to what was going on.

Connor was having a gastric bleed.

I got on the phone to make arrangements for Eden, and started packing up the things we'd need at the hospital.  Connor threw up more red-and-pink Pediasure while I was getting him ready to go.  Other than the fact that he was vomiting blood, he actually seemed perfectly fine-- a bit crabby that I was making him get up in the middle of the night, but not in any real pain.  So I drove him to the ER myself.

Because he really seemed like he was okay (and also possibly because of that false alarm earlier in the month) it took the ER about four hours to test the residual I brought with me and that was pulled in the hospital for blood.  Both tests came up positive.  At that point they inserted an IV-- which thrilled the kiddo, let me tell you-- drew levels, and gave Connor's GI doctor a call to figure out what he wanted to do.  Connor spent the time flirting with the nurses, complaining to me that he wanted to go home and patting his new gigantic teddy bear one of the techs brought him.  I spent the time watching back-to-back episodes of Sungkyunkwan Scandal and drinking massive amounts of coffee.  Thank goodness for wifi and caffeine.  

The little guy's blood levels came back without any troubles and he wasn't anemic, so that was a very good thing.  The GI doctor prescribed two new medications for Connor to help his stomach heal, and they sent us home around six-thirty in the morning.

It wasn't until much later in the day that I realized the emergency room doctor hadn't said anything about the fact that Connor was on aspirin.  The little guy takes it for stroke prevention, and he's been on it since he was six weeks old.  Long-term aspirin use is pretty notorious for potentially causing gastric hemorrhaging.  I was pretty surprised they didn't at least stop it while he was actively bleeding, so I called up the GI triage and asked them about it.  I got a call from the doctor this afternoon and we're stopping the aspirin until at least next week.  Hopefully that will give Connor a chance to heal while we figure out our next move.

So that was not a particularly fun couple of days.  I finally stopped pulling bright red residual out of Connor late Monday afternoon, and by the next morning it looked pretty dang close to the first time I'd taken him in.  By this evening I couldn't see any evidence of bleeding anymore, so that's a very good thing.  I'm glad it wasn't a serious bleed, and I'm hoping that he'll be more comfortable now that he's getting some treatment for it-- I can't imagine his poor little stomach has felt particularly wonderful lately.  

But I would really like to never, ever do that again.  As a mom of a medically fragile kid, my sense of what situations justify a freak-out on my part is waaaaay off.  Over the course of the past few years, I have performed mouth-to-mouth on the side of the highway, reinserted a g-tube on the changing table in a mall bathroom, and called 911 on multiple occasions without skipping a beat.  I have now discovered that watching my child vomit blood is well over that line, and I would never, ever like to see it again.



Saturday, February 22, 2014

In Which We Watch Some Murderball And Connor Has A Blast

Connor looks likely to pull an all-nighter tonight, so I'll be up watching dramas for a while.  I'm not sure what the issue is-- maybe he's just reviewing how exciting the quad rugby game was today!

We caught the tail end of the game between Portland and Las Vegas, and then watched the Seattle Slam play the Boise Bombers.  While Eden, her friend and I all really enjoyed it, Connor had a blast-- he was so into the game that every time there was a break between quarters he got mad and pouted until they started playing again.  He clapped, yelled and grinned his way through the entire game.  It was awesome.

Quad rugby isn't going to be a viable sport for Connor when he gets older for a few reasons; he's not able to propel a wheelchair under his own power, he has no peripheral vision, and also he has just one kidney, so he's barred from all contact sports.  And trust me when I say that quad rugby is a full contact sport; by the end of the first half one guy on the court had blood soaking the wrap around his hand all the way to the wrist, and we saw some truly spectacular flips and collisions.  It's a really fast-paced and exciting game to watch, and it definitely can get brutal.

It was also a great opportunity for Eden and Connor to see some really competent, tough, capable athletes who use wheelchairs.  For that matter, it's really difficult to find accurate, positive portrayals of disabled people doing anything on television or in other media, and so I will jump at any chance I get to give the kids access to amazing role models like the men and women we saw today.  I'm hoping someday I'll be able to turn on the television and tune into a quad rugby game; now that would be a reason for me to actually have TV reception again!

The Seattle Slam won, and they'll be playing in the crossover finals tomorrow to determine which team will advance to Nationals in Kentucky later this year.  Unfortunately they're playing in the morning, so I won't be able to take the kids since we'll be in church.  We'll be cheering them on in spirit, though!


Friday, February 21, 2014

In Which Connor Plays Hard And Eden Sees The Seasons

The kids both had pretty good days today; I used my respite care time to take Eden out for a little mother-daughter time while Connor enjoyed listening to music and playing on his rocking horse at home.  He was pretty tuckered out by the end of the day and went down quickly, which I'm happy about.  The quad rugby game tomorrow might be loud, and he always has fewer sensory issues in regards to loud noises if he's well rested.

Recently I made a questionable parenting decision and introduced Eden to donuts, and she has now decided that they are her new favorite treat.  So we went out and ate donuts at four in the afternoon, because hey, any time is a good time for donuts.  Then we did a bit of shopping and headed home.

I finally took down the pine wreath on our door today and started decorating for spring; even though we've still got nearly a month until the season is here it's really starting to feel like it's coming up soon!  Eden's been noticing all the bulbs pushing up in the garden-- last year she was too overwhelmed to really notice the changing season.  

In Thailand they have three seasons: hot and wet, hot and dry, and slightly cooler.  And by 'slightly  cooler,' I mean only ninety degrees.  So the whole concept of the seasons changing is pretty fascinating for her.  She also lived in a pretty urban area before she joined our family, and I don't think she had a lot of opportunities to notice things like new growth on plants or the habits of local wildlife because there was very little of that.  

She's getting to know our local hummingbird, Gus, very well because he's always more demanding in the winter time.  Today when Eden and I left the house, Gus was sitting on the top of our dwarf Japanese maple only inches from our front walk.  He was all puffed up and looked extremely put out that his feeder had run low.  We all eyed each other for a bit while he scolded us, and then he flew up to the top of a cherry tree and let us pass.  There are no hummingbirds in Thailand, so Eden thinks he's pretty amazing.  I'm so glad I get to share this sort of thing with her!

But close encounters with hummingbirds aside, my girl is thoroughly tired of winter by this point and has announced that fall is her favorite season so far because it's "a little bit hot, but not a lot hot."  

We'll see what she thinks of spring this time around!


Thursday, February 20, 2014

In Which Connor Depilates His Doll And Eden Makes A Plan

Connor had a bit of a clingy day today; I think he's still upset about Jer leaving.  He spent pretty much the whole morning hanging on to his Gobo Fraggle doll (we are huge fans of Fraggle Rock in this house), which is his absolute favorite, and didn't want to relinquish it when it was time to go to school.  So I let him carry it in, and promised to bring it back the second school was over.  That earned me a major pouty face, but he apparently perked up pretty quickly after I left.

Gobo is looking a bit worse for wear these days, as Connor likes to chew on his hair.  I think it's about time to add a Fraggle friend or two to the menagerie, or poor Gobo is going to end up bald.  Luckily Connor has a birthday coming up in a couple of months, so that gives me time to track down another buddy for him.  His second favorite character is Red, and she has a ton of chewable hair.  I'm thinking she might be a pretty good choice.

Eden had a good day today; she turned in her request for electives next year, and I'll be going in to help her register for her classes in a couple of weeks.  It's pretty neat to see her making choices about what path she wants to take in high school, which is coming up really quickly.  All but one of her electives will be taken up by ELL next year, but for the remaining slot she chose "Leadership" as her first pick.  I think we've got an aspiring business woman on our hands!  She's also talking about the possibility of going into a math-related field, like banking or accounting.  It's really fantastic to hear her voicing realistic career goals and starting to dream about what she'll be doing.

Making choices used to be really, really difficult for her as she didn't have a lot of prior freedom in making decisions for herself, so I'm proud to see how far she's come.  Even little things like choosing what to drink with dinner or which shoes to wear used to be major struggles, but now she does that sort of thing without any trouble.  I love how she's really starting to dream about her future and realize that so many possibilities are open to her.  That's our girl!


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

In Which We Get Fired Up

This weekend we're headed to Tacoma to check out the US Quad Rugby Pacific Sectionals!  It's a major tournament that will determine which team from the Pacific Northwest will be headed to Nationals in March.  We'll be rooting on the Seattle Slam, our local team, and I'm super excited about taking the kids.  Eden has really enjoyed the roller derby bouts I've taken her to, and I suspect quad rugby (AKA murderball) is going to be right up her alley as well.

I think there's a general attitude in the United States that disabled sports can't possibly be as interesting or exciting to watch as typical sports teams, which explains the pathetic lack of media coverage of the Paralympics in past years.  It also explains why we've spent a bunch of time explaining that the Special Olympics and the Paralympics, while both awesome for different reasons, are definitely not the same thing.  That gets old really quickly.

So this year I am thrilled that NBC will be covering the Paralympics in a much more complete fashion, and for the first time it will be possible to actually see the events live!  It's about time someone in the media world figured out what a bunch of us already know-- that not only are Paralympic athletes every bit as elite and legitimate as their Olympic brothers and sisters, but also that the sports they play are, pardon my French, completely badass.

I mean, seriously.  Look at this and tell me you don't want to see it live:

Of course, quad rugby isn't played at the Winter Paralympics-- we'll have to wait until the Rio games for that.  Instead, there's ice sledge hockey.  This is every bit as fun to watch as ice hockey, I assure you.  Also, we won the gold back in 2010, though I couldn't watch the dang game until after it was over.

So hooray for more coverage this year!  I can't wait for the games to begin!


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

In Which It's Back To Business As Usual

It was so lovely to have Jeremy here for a few days!  We spent some special time together with the kids on Friday, Sunday evening and Monday, but Saturday and the first half of Sunday was just for the two of us. We drove up to Belfair, which is a little town on the Hood Canal, and stayed in a lovely B&B close to the north shore.   It's been a long, long time (really- over nineteen months) since we've had the opportunity to have a bit of a vacation as a couple instead of as parents, so it was really nice to get away!

But Jer's back in California now, and it will probably be May when we see him next, unless I can manage to find a way to sneak down there before then.  The kids are on their mid-winter break at the moment, so they're off of school and we're spending the next couple of days taking it easy here at home.  We would be out doing fun things outdoors, but it seems like the Pacific Northwest apparently saved all the rain of the entire winter for this week.  It's been coming down sideways out there most of the day.  

Connor was a bit clingy and sad yesterday and today; he's usually that way after Jeremy leaves.  I think the transitions are pretty tough on him.  Eden's gotten used to Jer coming and going, as he's been in school as long as she's been a part of the family.  It will be interesting to see how the adjustment goes once he's back at home for a good while.  It's nice to think that by this time next year I'll be waiting for him to come home from work rather than waiting for his next visit!


Friday, February 14, 2014

In Which Jer's Here And We Make Ourselves Scarce

Jeremy's here!

I picked him up from the airport after I dropped the kids off for school.  It's so, so nice to be talking to him face-to-face instead of over the phone or on a screen.

Tomorrow he and I are headed up to the Olympic peninsula for a little mini-vacation.  So you won't see a blog from me on Saturday, because other than my cell phone we will be sans electronics.  It's going to be really nice to be able to just spend time together, relax, and focus on each other instead of the eighty billion things we have going on our lives.

So glad he's home!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

In Which Jer Is Almost Here

Jeremy comes tomorrow!

I'm so excited-- I can't wait to see him.  It's only for four days, but hey, any time with Jer is good time as far as I'm concerned.  It's just going to be really nice to spend some time with him and get the chance to relax.  Our schedule's been pretty busy of late, so I could definitely use some down time.

Today was no exception-- I spent most of it running errands, cleaning and making phone calls.  I did manage to get away long enough to fit a walk in and get my hair dyed though, which I was pretty excited about.  Since Jer is coming to visit I actually care about that sort of thing.  Three inches of dishwater blond and grayish roots are so not in this year.

I can't wait to see him!


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

In Which We Have A Busy Time Of Things

Just a quick post today, because I'm pretty tired.  It was one of those kind of busy days where I felt like I sat down for about five minutes.  I had what seemed to be about eight billion errands to run, phone calls to make, and places I needed to shuttle one or more children.  Tomorrow is likely to be just as busy or busier, so I need to get some sleep!

Thankfully this weekend will be much, much more laid back, since Jeremy will be here and we're taking a bit of time together just the two of us.  That is, if the hotel will call me back to confirm the reservation.  That's another thing to add to my to-do list tomorrow!


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

In Which We Don't Have A Particularly Fun Time

So Thursday Connor had a couple of seizures, threw up something that looked nothing like Pediasure and I pulled about 65 ml of what bore a strong resemblance to dark chocolate mixed with coffee grounds out of his g-tube.  This, for those of you who are not medically inclined, was an indication that the little guy might have had a major gastric bleed, which falls in the category of Things You Never Want To Have Happen To Your Kid Ever.  My threshold for panic over possible emergencies is pretty ridiculously high at this point, but I have to admit that after I saw the contents of the syringe I came the closest to freaking out that I have in a long, long time.

So after a phone call to the doctor's office, where the triage nurse told me that we needed to be at the hospital now, I packed up Connor, made arrangements for Eden to stay with my parents, and headed down to the emergency room.  The receptionist at the check-in and the nurse who did Connor's vitals both recognized us, because my child is a frequent flier down there.  While it gets us really good service, this is not the kind of thing I'm particularly thrilled to be able to say.

Anyway, the emergency room was apparently the cool place to hang out on a Thursday evening, because there were probably over 100 people in the waiting room.  The hospital was so crowded that they were turning away all ambulances that didn't have someone with an airway issue or who was actively coding inside.  Since the little guy, though lethargic and crabby, didn't seem to be dying at that particular moment, we settled down for what was probably going to be a long wait.

Connor doesn't like waiting.  Also he has an impeccable sense of dramatic timing.

So about fifteen minutes after his vital signs were taken, the little guy had a seizure.  I pulled him out of his chair, turned him sideways on my lap, and flagged down a passing nurse for what I thought was going to be helping me time.  She took one look at my kid, who was at that moment turning a particularly lovely shade of blue, told me to follow her and booked it through the doors.

Despite my protests that seizures with cyanosis were fairly commonplace in our house and not why we were here, they kicked some poor guy out of his room into the hallway, slammed clean sheets on the bed and told me to put Connor down.  Of course, his seizure ended just as they got the oxygen ready, and then he took a nice little nap in his new comfy digs.  That's one way to jump the line, I suppose.

So then shortly thereafter we saw the doctor, who tested the residual I'd brought in and discovered that, despite his agreement that it looked exactly like what you would expect with a gastric hemorrhage, it was not in fact blood.  So that was a very, very good thing.  However, Connor proceeded to have two more seizures in the emergency room, so they wouldn't let us go home either.  They gave him a hefty dose of Ativan after the last one, which made for a very sleepy kid.

I pointed out that Connor's seizure threshold lowered any time he got sick at all and it probably just meant he was coming down with something, that we wouldn't have brought him in for seizures and the reason we'd brought him in was resolved, and that any additional time we spent in the hospital meant adding to the risk of the little guy picking up some other nasty bug, but the doctor still decided he wanted us in overnight for observation and that the best thing would be for us to transfer up to Children's in Seattle.  I can understand his viewpoint, though I wasn't really excited about the decision.  Better safe than sorry, I suppose.  So off we went.

The ride there was probably the most dangerous part of the evening.  The roads were covered in ice and it was actively snowing along the first nine miles or so of the trip, and since Jer's gone I had to drive the wheelchair van up instead of riding in the ambulance with Connor like I usually do.  Wheelchair vans are not exactly built to drive well on icy roads, and I had a few harrowing moments where I could feel the back end start to fishtail despite traffic driving at about fifteen miles an hour.  Thankfully the weather cleared up a few miles north and it was smooth sailing after that, but I passed enough wrecks in the first part of the drive to make me very glad the roads would probably be clear by the time we came home.

So after I met the ambulance at Children's and Connor was checked in to the emergency department there, I repeated my reasoning for why we didn't need to be there to their attending physician. Thankfully I was able to convince her with the same arguments, and after a few hours, various clear diagnostic test results and a loading dose of Keppra to keep Connor from having more seizures while he worked through whatever bug he was likely coming down with, we were allowed to go home.  We finally got back at around 5:30 in the morning.

Connor spent the next few days getting over what was probably a fairly mild GI bug, and is now back to school and his usual business of being a super laid-back, happy little guy.  I'm finally caught up on sleep, and have also gotten back into my usual routine.  So all's well that ends well.

I'm hoping that's the last bit of excitement we'll have around here for a while!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

In Which I Spend Some Time Outdoors

This morning I started my new walking regime with a friend; we're going to be strolling along at a good clip together for an hour or so a few times a week.  This is a very good thing, as recently my most strenuous exercise has been walking over to the pantry to see if I have any more chocolate hidden behind the canned peas, or if I've managed to find and eat it all.

It was a lovely walk, and I'm looking forward to doing it more often.  In the last year and a half I've gotten out of the habit of being outside for any long period of time (you should see the state of my poor garden right now) because I have a child who is really, really temperature sensitive, and I was surprised at how nice it felt just to walk along outdoors for a while with some good company.  Of course, I prefer walking when it isn't twenty some-odd degrees outside, but hey, it was still fun!

Then I went back to the house and got cleaned up so I could take my mom out to lunch for her birthday.  It's probably the first time in six or seven years I've actually been able to do that since until this past summer we lived on different sides of the country, so I was excited about getting the chance to make it happen this year!  I'm really glad my parents are here; now if I can just get all my other relatives to move up this way I'll be set.

Eden had another pretty solid day of homework, so we spent the evening at home.  Tomorrow will be another really busy day; Connor has an audiology appointment bright and early in the morning.  Hopefully he'll sleep tonight so he won't be too crabby!


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

In Which Long Distance Relationships Are Not Fun

I'm throwing myself a bit of a pity party over here at the moment-- Jer and I went on our very first date around this time of year a rather appallingly long time ago, and I'm getting all sentimental and missing him bunches.

It's been nineteen months now since Jer and I have been living in different states while he attends Army PA school, and I have to say I don't think things have gotten any easier.  There are times I can lose myself in the daily routine of taking care of the kids and the house, and then there are other times  I miss him so much I can hardly breathe.  

It's not like he's deployed-- we talk on the phone literally every day, and I get to see him once every
three or four months.  He's not in harm's way, and with only eleven more months to go we're well past the midpoint of our separation now and I know that in less than a year he'll be home.  But that doesn't change how difficult this whole long-distance marriage thing is.  I don't say that because I'm worried about our marriage falling apart or anything, because after weathering all the ridiculously dramatic situations we've been through in the past ten years I'm pretty sure that nothing short of a nuclear holocaust could give us much trouble in that department.

It's more that I have to remind myself two or three times a month (or day, depending on how things are going) that as a responsible adult and parent I cannot just stuff the kids in the car, drive down to California and announce that, to heck with all the really legitimate reasons why we can't be down there with him, we're moving in.

Of course I can't actually do that, because the main reason we're not down there is that Connor doesn't have a heat release mechanism and it gets to 95 degrees there in the summer, making living there an Extremely Poor Parenting Decision.  Also Jer is living in someone else's house and I doubt they'd be okay with three more people moving into their spare bedroom.  But I daydream about it a lot.

I've developed all sorts of weird little coping mechanisms to make it feel like Jer's here.  I keep a toothbrush in the bathroom for him and a pair of his shoes in the closet by the door.  I've been careful not to take over his side of the closet even though my side is overflowing right now.  I still only sleep on one side of the bed.  Sometimes after a really hard day, I'm a bit embarrassed to admit, I even pile up pillows behind my back and pretend he's sleeping next to me.

I'm so, so proud of him for doing what he's doing, and in the grand scheme of things two-and-a-half years isn't all that long.  I guess one of the disadvantages of being utterly, completely head-over-heels for the man I married is that separations like this are always going to be pretty tough.  I'm really looking forward to the day he's home for good (or at least for a good while-- he is in the military, after all) and in the meantime I'll keep on keeping on.  That's life!

But yeah, it's hard right now.


Monday, February 3, 2014

In Which Spring Says Never Mind

The hummingbirds were out in force today!  Our in-resident hummingbird, Gus, spent the morning following me around the yard buzzing me and yelling at me until I refilled his feeder.  Every morning he sits up in the neighbor's flowering cherry tree and announces to the entire neighborhood that our house is his.  This morning at Connor's school, another hummingbird was sitting in a tree right next to our car making the same announcement about his turf.  

I had no idea hummingbirds were so incredibly loud before I moved up here, but they really are.  Gus sounds a bit like a cross between a digital watch and an electric pencil sharpener.  Also he is really, really bossy.  I'm pretty sure Gus believes we live in this house solely for his convenience.

I hope our little fluffy dictator stays nice and warm in the next few days; the temperature is supposed to get down in the 'teens a few nights this week.  It's been really nice and sunny lately, and balmy enough around here that my dutch iris are actually blooming already, so I may have to run out and cover them up tomorrow before the really frosty weather gets here.  

I'll have to make sure our walk is clear of ice too; Eden definitely has more issues with falls in the winter time if the conditions outside are slick.  Her balance and walking really have improved an incredible amount though; she's been working hard on picking her toes up instead of dragging them, and it's amazing to see the difference in how she's moving.  I think once we go back to visit Thailand in a year or two (provided things have settled down over there) that her friends will be amazed at how differently she carries herself!


Sunday, February 2, 2014

In Which We Have A Pretty Good Day

Connor had a better day today, thankfully-- no seizures, and he seemed to be feeling pretty good.  Hopefully yesterday was a one-off and he isn't getting sick again or anything.  He did spend quite a bit of time napping on me both in church and later in the afternoon, so I'm a bit surprised that he actually went down to sleep tonight without a fuss.  Yesterday was definitely a strain on his system though, so that may be why he's wanting some extra nap time.  Either that or he's getting sick.  My vote is for the extra recovery nap time.  Keep your fingers crossed, people.

We didn't spend much time at home today; after church I dropped Eden and a friend off at the mall, and then once I picked them up we headed over to my parents' house to spend some quality time watching the Super Bowl and eating corn chowder.  I'm the first to admit that I'm not a huge football fan, but judging from the sheer number of fireworks and air horns I'm still hearing outside over four hours after the game ended though, I'm probably in the minority around here as far as that goes.  That's okay.  I enjoyed the game, and I also got to eat homemade corn chowder, which makes for a great night as far as I'm concerned.

I'm just really, really glad I'm not trying to drive around in Seattle right now.  From the videos my friends are posting, it looks like the zombie apocalypse up there right now, if the zombie apocalypse only affected people wearing blue and green and involved lots and lots of beer.

Hope everybody stays safe and has lots of fun!


Saturday, February 1, 2014

In Which I Have A Close Encounter Of The Adorable Kind

Our plans for visiting the Lunar New Year festival were derailed today when I got an e-mail about a Saturday morning swim practice for Eden.  Her swim team was planning a trip up to Port Orchard to get a chance to practice in the long course pool there.  So we got up ridiculously early in the morning and made the hour-or-so trip up that way to join her teammates.

Her practice was three hours long, and I didn't feel like sitting on those metal bleachers the whole time watching the kids swim back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth ad nauseam.  I'm all about being a supportive parent, but swimming, I'm sad to say, is not exactly the most exciting sport to watch.  So I put Connor back in the van and drove up the coast until I saw signs for Manchester State Park and decided to check it out.  Access to all of the state parks is free for disabled park visitors and their caretakers, which is pretty awesome, so when the chance for a spontaneous visit to one I haven't seen before comes up, I almost always take advantage of it.

Manchester State Park turned out to not be the most accessible park ever-- many of the trails were sort-of paved in chunks of asphalt and large pebbles-- but Connor was okay with that because it made for a bouncy ride, which he thought was fun.  I took him down the path along the coast for a bit, and we stopped and watched a small group of grebes diving for fish out in the sound.  It was very peaceful, if a little cold, and since it was only nine in the morning it seemed like we pretty much had the park to ourselves.  

On the bouncy way back to the car Connor started rubbing his eyes, and shortly after we reached the paved park of the trail again he was asleep against the side of his wheelchair.  I didn't want to put him back in the car immediately since that would wake him up, so I kept going and took the short paved path down by a little rocky beach.  I parked him on the trail where I could see him easily and walked down the beach towards a large speckled granite boulder to sit for a minute and let him have a rest.

I was about three feet away when the top of the boulder rose up and locked eyes with me.

I froze in shock.  The harbor seal and I stared at one another.  His plump, grey mottled body was almost the exact same color as the lichen-covered stone, and he'd curled himself neatly into a cup-shaped depression on top of the rock so from the trail he was nearly invisible.  He regarded me solemnly for a minute while I did my best not to breathe, blinked his huge black eyes a few times, seemed to come to some sort of conclusion about me, yawned widely and then flopped back down like a cat and went to sleep. 

I stood there for a while and watched his side rise and fall as he napped.  A few of his long white whiskers curled up at the ends, and every once in a while his nose would twitch like he was dreaming.  Finally Connor woke up and began making his happy "train whistle noise" from his chair, so I knew it was time to go.  I carefully backed away from the rock, but halfway back to where Connor waited the seal lifted his head again, and he locked eyes with me one more time before casually turning and sliding down the boulder into the ocean.  His head popped up in the water about thirty feet away, and he seemed curious about me and Connor because he swam along beside us, keeping pace until the trail turned off towards the parking lot.

So that was my accidental seal encounter, and it was pretty amazing.  I never would have approached so closely had I know he was there, but I'm glad he didn't seem to find me much of a threat.  I seem to have a knack for stumbling into really close encounters with wild animals, like when this and this happened.  Also that time I opened the front door after a big storm and a bat crawled into my house, though I may not have blogged about that because I think it happened during that big break I took from blogging.  Did I tell you guys about that?  I can't remember, but if I haven't I totally should, because, you know, there was a bat.  In my house.  

Anyway, so after that incredible morning we went home and all took a nap, which was much-needed by everybody.  Then we got up and headed out to the grocery store where Connor proceeded to have a thirteen-and-a-half minute seizure in the middle of the pasta aisle, because apparently this day was going way, way too well and the universe likes to mess with me.  He's currently sleeping off his emergency seizure medication, and we'll see how he's feeling in the morning.

Oh well.  Seals are still awesome.

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