Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sickness

I have been thinking over some of my blessings today and one of them that has really made me think is the general wellbeing of our family when it comes to illness.

Despite Evan's heart defect he has been an amazingly healthy little boy (knock on wood). He has had a grand total of one ear infection. His only major and kind of scary illness (to me any way) was a nasty bug he had to have picked up in the hospital while he was there recovering from his stroke. A few days after his discharge he started throwing up a lot and was not keeping anything down. Luckily it was short lived even though he was kind enough to pass it on to mommy and daddy.

Harry has also been a pretty healthy kid. A mild fever and an assortment of colds have been the extent of his illnesses. We made it through the winter in awesome shape. I have been feeling a little icky the last few days (which is what made me think about illnesses) but it was not devastating just a bit annoying. Even my husband has been very healthy with out anything more serious than a few sniffles.

It really is nice to only have to go into the pediatrician's office for well child visits. It is great that the monthly winter visits for Synagis shots seem to be paying off for Evan. Three cheers for a healthy family!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Cut the cable

My husband and I decided that we were sick of cable television. We only have a few shows that we watch regularly and the only one that I really must watch every week (Lost) is available online. So, we decided to sign up for Netflix and get all the movies and old TV shows we could ever want and ditch the cable. The cost is comparable to our cable bill, so we will not really save much money but we will get out of having to watch a ton of commercials.

We set it up so that my husband gets one disk at a time, the kids get one disk (Evan has to have his Thomas fix and I am getting tired of the same four dvds that we actually own) and I get one all to myself.

What I need from you dear readers is suggestions for things to watch. I am hopelessly behind on movies, like seriously behind. So if there are any movie recommendations you have for me hit me with them. I am trying to stay away from R movies, but if it is a really good one with out a lot of gratuitous extra marital (or premarital as the case may be) nookie in it I will consider it.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Pediatric Grand Rounds

The latest edition of Pediatric Grand Rounds is up. There are a lot of great submissions including this one exploring the ethics of alternative treatments for children.

Lalala I am not listening! lalala

Ok so Evan is turning three on Saturday. I am not really sure that I am ready for my little baby to be that old. I was chatting with the mother of one of Evan's nursery mates and she was asking me if I was going to put him into preschool. Preschool? Evan is a baby, there is no way he is ready for preschool!

In reality I do need to make this decision and stop deluding myself. I really think it would be good for him to get extra help before he faces school (I am still on the fence about homeschooling or not but I am not going there in this post). It would be great to have the extra one on one time with Harry. Running errands with one kid would be such a breeze compared to hauling the both of them around. It would make for a busy week since he would probably be going Monday, Wednesday and Friday with physical therapy Tuesdays and Thursdays.

It is just going to be so hard to drop him off and leave him there. I am so used to having him around all the time and being there for all of his activities. Heck I am even with him in nursery now. Mostly though it is hard just admitting that he is getting older and is already starting to develop his own personality and his own life.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Kid pics


Harry is now the proud owner of a baby doll. My husband was not all that thrilled about it but did not actively prevent me from getting Harry one. The doll I picked out has a pacifier that Harry loves putting in his own mouth. If you ask him where his baby is he will look for it until he finds it which is quite cute.

Here is Evan and Harry holding hands in the car on the way home from our trip. I thought this would a priceless picture to show them when they are older and frustrated with each other.

Evan helped keep every one entertained by playing peek-a-boo with his blanket. There was a whole lot of giggling going on in the back seat of our car.

I heart Battlestar Gallactica

I am a huge science fiction nut so when a new science fiction themed show comes out I am eager to at the very least watch the pilot to see if it is any good. Often there is a lot of junk out there that bears the trappings of a science fiction show but now and then you find a true gem of a show. Battlestar Gallactica is such a show.

I love that this is a well written show. Often times the dialog in science fiction shows is just plain stupid (think Star Wars) or the show ends up being about special effects. BSG has a great blend of eye popping action scenes and intelligent dialog. The themes of the show explore timeless human themes. The question of whether humanity even deserves to continue it's flawed existence is frequently brought up. The main characters are flawed but they do not become stereotyped one themed beings, they are complex people with complex motives. Just when once character seems so hopelessly flawed a moment of greatness pops out showing that even the bad guys are not single minded.

Since we do not get the Scifi channel I have to acquire episodes by alternative means. I do surveys for a few different marketing companies and now and then I will get $10 amazon.com gift certificates which I have saved up and purchased all the released DVD sets. The company that makes the show was quite tricky with the second season and released it in two parts so you had to pay twice as much to get an entire season (boo!). After recently discovering the wonders of iTunes I was finally able to get current episodes by using some left over Christmas money to purchase a season pass to download episodes as they become available. It stinks a bit watching them on the computer but the show is so gripping that I forget where I am and get sucked into the plot.

I am counting down the days until the next episode.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Things not to do to your son

I am sorry to say that my promised pictures of chainsaw sculptures of Bigfoot did not happen. Torrential rain made the prospect of getting out of the car unappealing so we just drove straight through. We should have done all this on the way up since it was a super beautiful day. Oh well, we will be back up there before long so I will make sure that some day before we leave this state the pictures will be taken.

Instead of the other pictures I will show you what can happen when a mom that knows how to fix hair and all that other girl stuff has all boys.


The first picture is of Evan when he was one. He had much longer hair than Harry since he kept it through out all his infancy. Harry had a bald period so all I could manage were some small pigtails. They were quite cute though.


"Mommy, you had better not be putting this picture up on your blog!"


"Oh dear, oh dear. How will I even be able to live this down?"


"Well I do look awfully cute even with the pigtails. Man my thumb is awfully tasty!"


Harry did take an interest in the small baby dolls that my mother-in-law had at her house for the grandkids to play with. My husband is a bit iffy about his boys playing with dolls but I think I will add them to our prodigious toy collection. I think boys need to be exposed to more toys than just things with wheels especially since Harry is showing an interest in something different.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A lovely evening

I had never been to an Eagle Scout court of honor before so it was a very interesting and novel experience for me. It was neat hearing about my brother-in-law from the leaders that had helped him on the path to this very high honor. It is easy to see him as a rather trying teenager rather than the good man that he is becoming.

I was the photographer for the event which was a bit tricky at first with two kids that wanted to run around and my husband up on the stage with his family (At a court of honor all other Eagle Scouts are invited to sit up front). Luckily my mother-in-law had thought to ask one of her friends to help me. Evan who was the loudest and friendliest went with this kind woman to run the hallways of the church while I hitched a cranky and sick Harry around on my hip. My husband's grandmother helped me entertain him the few times I did sit down by letting him play with her keys.

I am excited that there is a chance that my boys will be able to follow in their father's footsteps and have the chance to earn the highest scouting award. I did not get much exposure to scouting since I came from a family of all girls but it is a very worthy program. It will also be neat that my husband will have the chance to be involved in something like that with his sons.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

I am blogging from a different computer, I bet you couldn't tell

creeping pages load
missing blazing fast surfing
dial-up goes so slow

We had a rather uneventful drive up north. We did not leave until late since we neglected to pack last night, leaving it for this morning. Things were left behind but nothing that could not be replaced easily. My husband learned a very important life lesson: never order anything from Burger King except a Whopper. He got one of those new BK stacker burgers thinking that it would be a rather large burger fit for his manly hunger. His double contained roughly the same amount of meat that my single whopper contained. Needless to say he was quite miffed.

Evan and Harry have been busy helping grandma and grandpa baby proof. They also ran around in circles between the kitchen and the living room. For some reason they were very tired at bed time and went down with out a peep. Evan loved that he got to have his medication mixed with ice cream instead of his usual yogurt.

I have convinced my husband that on the way home we will be taking it slow and actually stopping at some of the truly odd road side attractions. I am planning on taking pictures to share since I have a good feeling that there are a lot of laughs to be had. There are many chain saw sculptures of Bigfoot and that is just too ripe for mocking to pass up.

A cure for the winter blahs

All it takes to get rid of the winter blahs are a few simple things.
  • A wonderfully balmy day where it gets into the 70s
  • My first daffodil bloomed
  • I got to get out in our tiny garden and do a bit of weeding
  • Yarn came in the mail today
  • My husband had a half day at work so I got to run all the errands that had been bugging me all week with out having to drag the kids with me. (Mom, your chocolate is finally in the mail)
  • Driving with the windows open
  • Having the computer that had been acting very wonky fixed by my super sexy tech support guy aka my husband
  • Spending the evening with friends that I had not seen in months. I went to the baby shower of a friend of mine that moved away. It was so great getting out of the house on my own and getting to scare (just kidding) a first time mother to be.
Now all I have to do is finish my laundry so that we can pack for out trip. We are leaving tomorrow so I have plenty of time, right?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Nice

Here are some things I wish my husband would say to me.

Argh!

I wish I knew what was wrong with me. My motivation has up and left me. I have no desire to do anything and just want to hide in my bed all day. Harry has been waking early and not napping, I think he is either teething yet again or getting sick. I am dealing with all the fun hormonal stuff that comes from being a woman. It seems like Evan is going out of his way to do things that he knows he is not supposed to be doing (Like getting out of bed during nap time. I found him sleeping on the floor yesterday). Every thing seems wrong and annoying. I think I need a vacation.

We did our taxes last weekend and I am thinking that we should dump the kids off at grandmas and go out and have a real vacation. We could go somewhere exciting and not have to worry about if the kids were having fun or not. I wish we had the money to go to Europe but I think that would be out of our reach even without the kiddos. There is still a lot to see in the US though. Sigh.

This is what I found Harry doing while I was busy trying to get Evan dressed.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

How I met my husband

I was a fun carefree 21 year old and he was a carefree 21 year old almost 22 year old. I had moved "home" (my parents had moved on me my freshman year at college so it really was not home to me especially since it was in another state) so that I could earn money to go on a mission for my church.

I had had a disappointing year romantically since I was very attracted to nerdy shy guys. Nerdy shy guys who would rather play a computer game than actually get the nerve up to ask a girl out. I was so over running after them, so when my husband (who is a very nerdy shy guy) started working at the same Target I was I pretty much blew him off. He would sit at the same break room table as me and chat with my work friends and me but nary a date request was made. I was not going to chase him in any way shape or form especially since I was supposed to be concentrating on other things to help me get ready for my mission.

Then came his final day at work. He had put in his two weeks notice because he was not getting the hours he needed. It was the last break of the night when he finally got up the nerve to ask me out after "slyly" trying to find out if I had a boyfriend. He asked me if I ever went to movies with my boyfriend. I just about laughed out loud at him since it was pretty obvious what he had in mind by asking me that question.

Even since that rather odd date (another topic for another time) we have pretty much been inseparable. It truly was amazing how well we fit together. I knew by our second date that he was the man I wanted to marry, it took him a few weeks more to figure that out. The mission went by the wayside and I ended up going on a different sort of mission becoming a wife and then later on a mother. I could not be happier.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bleh

I have been having one of those weeks where is seems like every time I get one small task completed twenty more difficult tasks pop up. This is not helped by Harry waking up as 6:30 this morning. For the last month or so the boys had been sleeping in until 8 which was perfect for me. I don't do early mornings.

One important thing that I learned this week was that I should never ever tell the physical therapist that Evan's balance seems to be improving since he has not tripped and fallen on his face lately. The very next day after I said that Evan fell on his face in a very spectacular fall and is now the owner of anther forehead bruise.

I am hoping to get my act together before this weekend. We are going to my husband's parent's house for an extended weekend. My brother-in-law is having his Eagle Scout court of honor dinner and we thought it would be neat to help him celebrate such an amazing accomplishment. I am hoping to make it a knitting weekend and possibly finishing the scarf I am working on.

Here is a classic Evan picture, he was about four or five months old in this picture.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Pediatric Grand Rounds 1:22


Thanks to Hallmark and other card and candy companies February 14th has been turned into a manufactured holiday that is supposed to evoke feelings of love towards a romantic partner or feelings of depression when one does not have a romantic partner. The symbol of this holiday is the heart. It was only natural that when the Congenital Heart Defect community was looking for a way to increase awareness Valentine's Day was a natural fit.

Heart defects are near and dear to my heart because my eldest son Evan (who is not actually pictured in this post because of a recent reluctance to have his picture taken) was born with a very complex heart defect which requires a series of three surgeries so that he could live a fairly normal life. Previous to his birth I was not even aware of the prevalence of heart defects. The media hypes up the rarer birth defects but is not so enamored of the more common yet still fascinating heart defects.

According to the American Heart Association %1 of all children born have a heart defect of some kind. They are the most common type birth defects but are sometimes not detected until it is too late. There are a variety of factors that can result in a heart defect and they happen long before a woman even knows that she is pregnant since the heart is one of the first organs to form. There is often no strong genetic tie to many heart defects but many genetic syndromes such as Down's syndrome include the possibility of a heart defect occurring. Sandy Szwarc at Junkfood Science gives a great account of some of the myths that surround birth defects. Take heart parents! Often they do not happen because of something that you did or did not do while pregnant.

In his latest addition to The Not So Normal Newborn Nursery Clark Bartram discusses a heart defect that has a much clearer cause. He is looking for a heartbeat.

In ancient times the heart was seen the place where thinking and feeling took place. The brain was seen as filler to keep your head from caving in. We still use references in modern times that hint that we still see the heart as the place where feelings happen which is how Valentine's day became associated with hearts.

My own submission helps others know that when talking with a parent in the midst of a child's health crisis often all that is needed is A Kind Heart and listening ears, no guilt required.

Pediatric Grand Rounds is getting a bit of link love over in India. Dr Sidharth Sethi at pediatricsinfo.com submits this link to an article written by him for a pediatrics publication in India. It is good to know the word is getting out about great medical blogging going on.

Student Nurse Jack talks about following her heart in Bull. Shit. by not allowing her daughter to be a guinea pig for a new vaccine. Her reasons are very well thought out and may give other parents of girls something important to think about.

VitaminKMD listens to her heart which is telling her that there is something not quite right with her adorable little patient in Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play? Her heart hurts when she later discovers that she was right but that the child was sick with a life-threatening illness.

Kim from Emergiblog recounts a heart stopping moment she had as a parent in Call 911, He's Dead! The love she had for her son temporarily overwhelmed her abilities as a seasoned nurse.

Does the American Academy of Pediatrics love their little patients more than market share? Flea explores the issue in Because We Care... About Market Share.

The NICU is filled with broken hearts (both figuratively and literally). Neonatal Doc shares the heartbreaking story of some of the ups and downs that can happen with premature babies in Bungee.

Some parents think that they are showing love for their children by filling their schedules with many different enriching activities which are supposed to keep them from the alternative which could be sitting around and watching tv all afternoon. They carefully monitor their child's diet. Shinga points out in The Duvet Diet that a good night's sleep might do more towards children's health than many other medical or dietetic interventions.

Vahid Chaychi discusses the long road of childhood cancer and some of the heartbreaking moments that can happen during treatment in Detecting Cancer in Children and After. It is a great guide for parents that may have just had a child diagnosed with cancer.

That concludes this edition of pediatric Grand Rounds. It sure was a fun challenge putting this together. A big thank you goes out to all the participants. I would like to give thanks to Shinga for her help with this edition of Pediatric Grand Rounds. The next edition of PGR will be hosted by Dr. Lourdes de Asis at Allergy and Asthma Source. Clark is looking for more hosts of Pediatric Grand Rounds. The schedule can be found here.

Here are a few links about heart defects that I have discovered in my online wandering. Enjoy!

  • This is a website about the first operation done on babies to help relieve some of the effects of the cyanotic heart defects.
  • CHIN is a great place for parents and health care professionals to get information, support and education about heart defects.
  • The American Heart Association while often associated with adult acquired heart disease also has a wonderful section for children with heart defects.
  • Another link that gives a brief history of heart surgery.

Friday, February 09, 2007

A kind heart

I have been thinking on this idea for quite some time and now I think I can fully talk about it.

When Evan was first born and I was adjusting to my new reality having never even imagined that heart defects would be in my future I was not sure how to deal with the pity that I often saw in people's eyes when I told them about my son. Once I told them they suddenly started thinking that anything they might complain about was paltry in comparison to what I was dealing with.

It may be my personality but I never really understood that kind of feeling. I was lucky where so many parents were not. My child had gone through scary things but he was alive and had the expectation of having a very normal life should his repair surgeries go well.

A good friend of mine would often preface her comments when we were talking about the health issues of our children that they were nothing compared to what I had gone through. Yeah, her son had not endured an open heart surgery, but he had still been gravely ill. Her terror for her son's life was just as valid as mine and just because I had been through something worse did not mean that my heart was so drained of emotion that I would stop empathizing with other people just because they had not been through what I had. My own mother started saying things like that too until I told her to knock it off. I needed to hear all the boring every day stuff going on in her life so that even though I was stuck in the hospital with my son I could still feel connected to my family.

I am so incredibly lucky to have such a sweet loving little boy as a son who has stuck around so that I will be able to see him grow up more. Each day with him is a gift, but then each day is a gift even for people that are seemingly healthy and have no concrete expectation to die any time soon. Don't feel bad when someone tells you about bad things going on in their life if things are going good for you or even if they are not. An ear to listen and a kind heart are all that are needed to help when you are confronted with someone who has a child dealing with health issues, no pity is needed for them or you.

And now for something completely different. Here is a cute picture of Harry taken this afternoon. He had been breath holding and did his normal pass out routine but instead of getting right back up and whining some more he fell asleep right where he was. I had to keep Evan from waking him up while I was making lunch.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

These boots are made for splashing

Evan finally got to try out his new rain boots today. We had been enjoying a bit of a dry spell that is now over. We are facing rain all weekend. Harry was a bit miffed that I had to leave him inside with daddy but there was no way I was going to chance him ruining his Robeeze shoes, those suckers are expensive! Enjoy the pictures.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Smile


Being a mother is a tough job and is quite often a very thankless job. Sometimes however there is some thanks, a little bit of validation.

Not too long ago I was taking the kids to the store to pick up a few things. I did my usual routine of getting Evan out of the car, placing his hand on the car bumper and telling him sternly that he needed to stay where he was. I then proceeded to get Harry out of his car seat so that we could go into the store. An amazed mother came over to me just as I got Harry out of the car. She complimented me on how well Evan was behaving. She told me that her own son at that age would have run off as soon as she turned her back. The compliment brightened my day and left me with a smile on my face.

We have also been approached at restaurants several times with people complimenting us on how well Evan and Harry behave. Each time it makes me feel good about how I am parenting and disciplining my children. These events have made me more aware of the people around me that are in my daily life. Because of Evan's health issues we have had to deal extensively with doctors, nurses and other wonderful people that do things every day to make out lives go much more smoothly. They lift a lot of the burden off of me by doing their jobs every day. I have started letting them know that I am grateful for the things they are doing for us and I am finding out that as great as getting compliments feels it is even better giving the compliments. The joy I am feeling is magnified even more. If you are feeling down or frustrated give it a try and see how wonderful you will feel making someone else feel good.

Gratuitous kid picture

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Proof that Awesome Mom is not always awesome


This is a cake I made on Sunday just because Evan asked. I did not grease the pan good enough so the cake layers would not come out of the pans properly. I just mashed the crumbled pieces together and frosted the entire thing. It tastes the same but my husband sure has a fun time teasing me every time he has a slice.

My next imperfection as a parent is what Harry had for a snack this morning. What is so bad about a snack? Well if it is a large hunk from some sidewalk chalk that I left out there is a problem. I fished quite a bit of it out of his mouth (at peril of having my fingers chomped on) but he was still drooling blue for a bit after.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Awesome Mom's new look

A big thank you goes to Chelle for giving my blog a new look. She did an awesome job and I am thrilled with my new look. Her rates are super reasonable so if you are a HTML clutz like me and tired of the same blog template as everyone else go ask her nicely and she may take pity on you.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

PGR



Just a friendly reminder that you have less than one week to submit something to the next edition of Pediatric Grand Rounds hosted by yours truly. In honor of Valentine's Day and Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day (February 14) we will be having a heart themed PGR. Please have your submission in by Saturday February 10th by 10:00 Pacific time.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

It is a war zone in there

Harry is the loudest sleeper ever. I will be quietly doing something downstairs and suddenly I will hear loud crashes and bangs as Harry tosses about in his crib. With all the noise he makes I am surprised that he does not wake up with bruises on his head.


Harry does sleep very peacefully when he falls asleep while I am holding him.

Friday, February 02, 2007

My mind is officially boggled

I read in the local newspaper that there are six Starbucks in my small town and one in the adjoining and much smaller town. That is 7 with in a ten minute drive of my house. Maybe it is just me but that seems very excessive. Maybe I just do not get it since I am not a coffee drinker. What next? Will there be one in every house in ten years?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Awww