Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I love Autumn...sweatshirt weather is my favorite (and not just because sweatshirts cover up my muffin top) and with two kiddos around, it seems that Fall is more fun than ever. Check out these pics from our recent trip to Apple Holler:

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I have aviophobia. I am extremely afraid of much so that I have talked my way out of flying on a couple of instances and if I do end up having to fly, I am physically sick for weeks before the flight.

For quite some time, Aaron and I had been talking about taking a trip back to Disney World, just the two of us, to celebrate our anniversary. (Grace of the future...I am sorry we didn't tell you where we were going, but you would have flipped your shizzy. Plus I'm sure you had a blast with Grandma and Grandpa anyway.) We decided that since MPS kids have off the last Thursday and Friday of October for Teacher's Convention, that would be a good time for us to take our trip--we wouldn't have to yank Grace out of school at all. So, we booked our flight and our hotel, and I made an effort to forget about the whole thing for a while.

A couple of weeks ago, though, the panic started to set in. I started checking the "fear of flying" forums online. I spent an unwarranted amount of time researching safety stats for the aircraft we will be flying in. I began having thoughts of impending doom. I started to feel convinced that I would never have the chance to see my children grow up. My palms would sweat when I would even think of getting on a plane. I even thought about trying to convince Aaron that we should extend our trip by a couple of days so we could drive or take the train (I never broached the subject with him, though, because I don't think it would have been well-received.)

Yeah. This is a problem for me.

I am generally a fearful person. I remember as a child I would lay still in my bed to listen for sounds of intruders in the middle of the night. I would creep around the kitchen at night while my parents watched television in the living room, looking for signs that someone was trying to break into our house. I had to go home from Girl Scout camp several days early because I was terrified of the whole thing. And as an adult, I'm still fearful of many things. I have a hard time getting on the El in Chicago because I know there's a chance that the train will go underground, and that terrifies me. When someone I love gets sick, I lose sleep worrying and thinking that they might die. I think the same thing when I get sick. And on days like today when Grace goes on a school field trip, I worry that she will be in a bus accident or that she will get separated from her group and will be lost.

I don't like feeling like this, and I really wish I didn't.

For this upcoming trip, I decided that I would bite the bullet and ask for pharmaceutical help. I went to the doctor on Monday and he prescribed some Ativan (he considered Xanax first but then decided that Xanax wears off too that man). Funny thing...once I had those pills in my hand, my fear of flying started to fade ever so slightly...could I be afraid of the fear I know I will feel?

I did a trial run with the Ativan last evening, just to make sure it would work out ok for our flight next week, and it did its job. Mostly I just felt mellow, my limbs felt a little heavier, and I was a little tired. I tried to make myself afraid by thinking about flying, and I couldn't force myself to get too worked up about it. We'll see what happens when I'm actually confronted with the thing I fear...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dispatch From the Infirmary

So, where were we? Last week Grace was home sick on Friday, and even though she was showing signs of feeling better late Friday morning, I still took her in to the doctor Friday afternoon. Good thing I did...she had strep throat...again. Luckily, this bout of strep was much less severe than the last time she had it, but this time, just for fun, she had an allergic reaction to the antibiotics that she had to take. Since Grace is allergic to virtually every other antibiotic known to man, the doctor on call that I had paged on Sunday afternoon (after Grace's new rash flared up) decided to place her on one final antibiotic that might work. Here is the conversation that I had with the pharmacy tech at Walgreen's when I went to pick up the new antibiotic:

Pharm Tech: So, does your daughter like to take prescription medication?

Me: Um, no.

Pharm Tech: Because she's gonna HATE this one.

Me: *blank stare*

Pharm Tech: It is the worst tasting medicine ever.

It would appear as though this is true. The first time Grace took this new medicine, she cried because it tasted so bad. And she has to take it three times a day for the next five days. Humph.

At least Grace is on the mend. As you all know from my constant bitching not only here but also on Facebook and Twitter, Harrison has been sick for a month now, since the day after he started day care. He had a cold, then he was a little better. He had a cough, and then it went away for a day or two. Then, he caught the flu, got swabbed for H1N1 (which was negative, thank goodness), and then got a teeny bit better. Then, this past weekend, he got sicker than I have ever seen him. His nose was so congested he could barely breathe. His cough was worse and more painful-sounding than ever. He would wake up at night just howling because he was so miserable. And, yesterday morning when we woke up his right eye was crusted shut and the skin underneath was purple and swollen. Awesome.

So, back to the doctor we went...and Harrison has not only a severe case of pink eye, but the infection from the pink eye somehow made it into his skin surrounding his eye (perhaps from a small crack in the skin) and he has a case of cellulitis in the tissue around his eye. In case you don't know, cellulitis is a skin infection, and if it's not treated, the infection can spread to the bloodstream and can be life-threatening. Needless to say, the boy is on a high dose of strong antibiotics...which cause terrible diarrhea, so that's fun.

The only bright side to all of this is that Grace is already on antibiotics, so the chance of her catching pink eye from Harrison is very small.

We might be overreacting, but we decided to yank H out of day care. I'm staying home and he can deal with other kids' germs when he's bigger. And we're gonna try like hell to make sure Grace stays healthy and washes her hands very frequently so we can minimize the germs she brings home from school.

For those of you that know me well, you know that I have been having a tough time with this. I tend to imagine the worst when my kids are sick, so when the doctor told me yesterday that my baby has a serious infection, it wasn't pretty. I managed to hold myself together until last evening, after I had put H down for a pre-supper nap and after I got Grace busy playing with paper dolls in the living room. I was preparing dinner and I was suddenly seized with an overwhelming sense of panic and guilt, and all I could do was sit on the back steps and cry. Yeah, it's been a long month.

Friday, October 09, 2009

And Gracie Makes Four

That's four of us that have been sick in the past couple of weeks. For those of you keeping score, that means all four inhabitants of our house have been sick...Grace just got sick yesterday and Aaron and Harrison are still showing signs of illness. Me? I had the sinus headache of the century for like two days and then I was better. Why? Because I am a mom and as such I am not allowed to be sick for more than 48 hours. My body just knows that.

Anyhoo, since I am home from work again with a sick kiddo and that red-cheeked, glassy-eyed kiddo is contentedly lounging on the couch watching Sesame Street, I thought I would take a moment to sip some coffee, plan my cleaning strategy for the day (must wash sheets! must scrub floors!!), and catch all of you up on the non-illness-related happenings...

Harrison turned 7 months a couple of weeks ago and he is growing by leaps and bounds. When I took him to the doctor earlier this week to be checked out when he was sick, he weighed in at 19 pounds, 14 ounces. Holy crap. The boy likes to eat, and let's face it, his parents are no lightweights, so this shouldn't be a surprise, really. He is enjoying all sorts of new foods, his favorites of which are turkey and sweet potatoes, and as soon as those two bottom teeth pop through (which from the looks of it could be any moment now), we'll introduce him to some more tasty stuff.

One of my favorite things about this age is watching H discover things. Babies at this age are so animated and it is so fun just watching H watch bubbles floating in the air or steam rising from a cup of coffee or leaves blowing in the wind. He reminds me that the world is full of simple, wonderful treasures.

H is also sitting up on his own now, which makes play time much more fun for both him and whomever is playing with him. He's *this close* to fact, he can hoist himself up onto his legs and crawl backwards for a bit, so I have a feeling he'll be mobile soon enough. (Mental note: baby proof house.) Harrison's favorite thing to do, though, is to jump. He loves his Jumparoo and when he's standing on someone's lap, he'll just smile and start bouncing up and down, indicating that he wants to jump. And when you let him jump on your lap, he rewards you by squealing and laughing in delight.

H is quite possibly the most laid-back baby I have ever met, too. He cries when he's hungry, and that's about it. He's incredibly smiley, saving his sweetest and most sincere smiles and giggles for his big sister. And, his transition from being home with me full-time to going to day care every day was ridiculously easy. The kid just goes with the flow.

Gracie, when she's healthy, is also doing very well. She is in love with kindergarten, so much so that she protested this morning when I told her she would need to stay home today and rest. Whereas last year she was hesitant when it came to school work (reading especially), this year she approaches learning with gusto. Her reading is improving every day (I'd like to think that's partly due to reading a chapter of Junie B. Jones with me each night at bedtime) and she loves to write down the new words that she's learning. And, every now and then, she'll come out with a new math problem that she has solved--yesterday afternoon on the way home from school, as sick as she was, Grace said, "Mama, two plus two plus two is six. And three plus three is six. Isn't that cool?"

And those of you who haven't seen Grace since she was a shy, tentative little kid wouldn't even recognize her now. Because she will run up to you, ask you your name, and tell you not only her first name but her middle name as well. We go to McDonald's every Wednesday for supper before swimming lessons, and it never ceases to amaze me how she seems to make at least one or two new friends each time she plays in the McDonald's Playland. She's no longer the kid hanging back on Mom's lap watching the other kids play--she's the kid organizing the games. She has emerged from her shell and she wants to play.

My mom was right when she told me that the early school-age years are the best years. These really are Grace's best times, so far anyway. She's old enough now that she can and wants to do lots of things for herself, but she's still young enough that she needs me. She can express herself and her wants, but she still likes to snuggle in my lap when she's sad. I have the best of both worlds right now and I'm going to enjoy these years.

Oh, and Aaron and I are both doing fine.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

So Yeah...

I went back to work on September 17th, and H has been sick since September 18th. Ugh. Cough, cold, diarrhea, sleepless nights...ugh.

I have been known to tell moms who have been distraught about having sick babies that they should look on their bright side because their kiddos are "building up their immunity" for when they go to kindergarten. If I could go back to each moment I said that to someone, I would punch myself in the face and tell myself to shut the hell up. Because it sucks, plain and simple.

This is pretty much how my mood has been since I went back to work. Makes you glad you don't live with me, huh?