Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Emergency Shutdown Mode.

In the miraculous absence of episodes, a new, much less seriuos phenomenon has arisen. We've coined it the Emergency Shutdown.

KayTar goes from being 100% fine to being somewhat panicked, exclaiming things like, "Give me ENERGY! I need energy NOW!" We immediately get her something to eat and or drink, and after ingesting something, she rapidly falls into a deeeeeep sleep and stays that way for several hours.

It tends to happen when we are out and about, when KayTar is walking a lot or otherwise exerting herself, though not always. This weekend, it just took a walk through the bookstore parking lot to bottom her out. This isn't just a hungry or tired thing, we see her in both those states pretty frequently. This is a near-miss episode, as close as Josh and I can figure. We think she's learned the impending feelings of doom that precede an episode and is able to fix it before it takes her out.

It is under control for now, we keep cans of Pediasure in the car at all times. We've had to pop them open for her on several panicked occasions, like once after a trip to the mall, once while out looking at Christmas lights after she had run around a parking lot with one of her buddies. This weekend at the bookstore we didn't have one on hand, so we took her to the cafe and got chips and a drink, then tube fed her some Pediasure once we were home and she was already fully zonked out. It has happened more often recently, we think she might be hitting a growth spurt.

Of course, we don't know exactly what causes it, but it seems to be another facet of the same problem that causes episodes. It reinforces the theory that all of this is metabolically triggered somehow. I have not been able to check her glucose when it happens, we are very quick to get her what she needs and the glucometer hasn't been handy since it tends to happen when we are out. Her neurologist suggested a referral to an endocrinologist for testing, so we might pursue that. Though it is well controlled now, as she grows it might be more difficult to handle without a clearer cause and plan of action in place. It is just one more small mystery in the glorious puzzle that is our darling KayTar.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Christmas postmortem of 2009

The short version: It was wonderful!

The longer version: It was wonderful! I'm currently writing this on my new netbook from my warm and comfy bed while watching old episodes of Dawson's Creek, so that tells you what my big gift was. I also got a Garmin for the minivan...oh so suburban are we. The children are happily playing with their brand new gifts (there were many and they are in heaven) and Josh is at Academy scoping out goodies to buy with his gift card. Later today BubTar and I will go to Barnes and Noble so he can by a guinea pig care book with his $65 worth of BN gift cards and then we might be having mexican food with my parents for dinner.

Santa brought BubTar a big castle, complete with knights and a dragon. He also acquired several new science kits, books, board games, a Didj and a couple of games, a Nerd dart tag game, and the aforementioned Barnes and Noble card, among other things. He was in geeky heaven! He kept hugging me and exclaiming "Thank you!" When it was all said and done, we asked what his favorite gift was and he said, "EVERYTHING!"

KayTar received a Barbie pet vet set from Santa. She also got the Disney princess musical vanity from us, a deal I got on Black Friday for 50$ off and we couldn't resist. She got lots of girly things, board games, stuffed anmials, a baby doll, Barbies, costumes, jewelry...all kinds of magical pink stuff. Her room looks like the pink aisle at the toy store. Her birthday is in two months and I can't imagine what we'll get for her or where we will put it. The highlight of the Christmas experience with her was at Christmas Eve with Josh's family. She opened a Barbie 3 Musketeers Viveca doll and SQUEEEEEEEED and jumped up and down before saying, "Oh my, this is just a dream!" and faux-fainting onto the ottoman. My father-in-law got it on video, so I should be able to post the whole thing soon. It was so hilarious!

At the last minute, well, two days before Christmas actually, Josh went to the pet store and fell in love with a guinea pig. We had just enough left in the Christmas budget to get the guinea pig and all of the goodies for him. So we did! We kept it hidden in my closet in the bedroom for a couple of days and gave the kids strict instructions to stay out of our room...we also put up the baby gate. We wrapped a present (a ball and house log for the guinea pig) and addresses it to G.P. and after everything else was opened, we asked BubTar who it was for. He was puzzled and we suggested he look the present over really well. On the underside of the gift, there was a map to the cage of the guinea pig. BubTar followed it and TA DA! There he was. The reaction was somewhat lackluster...I mean, they are THRILLED with our new pet, but we were expecting some more of that SQUEEING and it was more like quiet amazement. Josh and I have been insanely excited since we bought him, so we expected more fireworks. GP is now named Gizmo and we are working on a P middle name so we can keep calling him GP if we want. Puccini is the front runner for the middle name currently.

As far are celebrations go, on the 23rd we had dinner with my parents and nieces and nephew and exchanged gifts between the cousins. On Christmas Eve, the Elves dropped off their traditional early Christmas gift, new jammies and a Christmas DVD. This year I was busily playing video games with BubTar when they dropped it off and Josh was at work. They must REALLY be magic! Then, we had dinner with Josh's family and opened gifts from his grandmother. Then my parent's spent the night, as they do every Christmas Eve. Santa dropped off the gifts (unwrapped and ready to go at our house, I think I heard his elves cursing in the night as it was no easy feat to put things together this year!) and we opened our gifts and my parents gifts first thing in the morning. BubTar woke up at 3am and my dad kept his busy for 2 hours until 5 when he woke the rest of us up. After we were done here, we went back to Josh's parents to open with them and Josh's siblings. We came home and rested and in the evening we had takeout from Denny's and our best friends came over to exchange gifts with us. We gave them bartending goodies and they gave us three new super fun games and between the two sets of gifts, our New Year's Eve celebraion is rapidly taking shape!

On to the cute kids...I know that is why you people really stop by here. ;)


















Hope your Christmases were just as wonderful as ours!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Our first annual Christmas letter


Dear Family and Friends,

2009 has been a very busy year for our household! Josh and I are both full time college students, he is pursuing a degree in criminal justice and I am completing my premed requirements and working on my bachelor's degree. Josh is still working in the IT department at the bank and is also BubTar’s cub scout leader. In my spare time I'm volunteering at the children's hospital and at the kids' school. When I can squeeze it in, I also do some advocacy work for children's healthcare reform. I have had the privilege of traveling to New York City, Washington DC, and our state Capitol to share our story, and we have been featured in a magazine, newspapers, and on local television. Between work, school, and the kids, we are on the go all the time it seems!

BubTar switched schools this year for second grade and although he misses his best friend quite a bit, he is doing very well at his new school! He has made straight A's all year and is being recommended for the Gifted and Talented program. He is also involved in Cub Scouts and sold over $1100 worth of popcorn this year, a goal he set for himself, more than twice as much as anyone else in his pack. He's already planning for something bigger next year! He loves to learn about science and he almost always has his nose in a book. We would go to the bookstore every day if it were up to him! He is reading at fifth grade level and is known to consume entire novels in a single sitting. He has big plans to be a writer/engineer/magician/ventriloquist when he grows up.

KayTar has had the most wonderful year! Last November she had a feeding tube placed and had her tonsils and adenoids removed, and since then we have been amazed at the improvements in her growth, development, and overall health! Last school year she had missed over 50% of her days in the first semester and this year, I can count her absences on my fingers. She has only been hospitalized once this year and her neurological episodes seem to have tapered off now that her nutrition has improved so much. She has gained 6.5 pounds and grown 4.5 inches this year. She attends school half-days in the Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities, in a classroom with both normally developing children and high-functioning, developmentally delayed children and is doing wonderfully. We just had an ARD meeting to create new goals for her because she has already achieved all of her goals for the year! Her teachers are confident that she will be mainstreamed for Kindergarten next year. She, too, is a big reader and can read nearly anything we put in front of her. She is an aspiring actress, singer, and comedienne and can be found acting, singing, and cracking jokes any day of the week. She has a magnetic personality and makes an impression everywhere we go.



We have had a very blessed year and we hope the same is true for all of you!

Merry Christmas,
The 'Tars

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Great Debater

Yesterday BubTar and I were debating the existence of aliens. I was taking the con position, and despite his recently acquired fear of aliens, he was taking the pro. His argument was simple:
Moooom! The UFO and alien books are in the NON-FICTION section of the library. NON-FICTION! Those are real!
Entirely accurate or not, I sure like the way his brain works!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Overheard at dinner....

Pertinent backstory: This here blog is a secret, meaning that the only person in either our friends or family who knows about it is Josh, who doesn't actually read it. No one else knows I blog.

Me: (telling one hilarious KayTar or BubTar story after another, while everyone at the table laughs uproariously)

My sister-in-law, between fits of laughter: Oh my God, Kyla, you should BLOG about your kids, people would LOVE it!

Me, chuckling: Yeah, TOTALLY!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Santa Interviews

BubTar is asking EVERYONE whether they believe in Santa or not. He's scientifically minded and because the Santa-hypothesis can't actually be tested to his liking, he's having to come at it from a different angle. He's getting lots of mixed reviews, lots of adults saying, "YES! SANTA IS REAL!", some kids saying, "Santa isn't real!", and some kids saying, "Yes, he's real! Who else can sneak in my house and give me presents?" In spite of these mixed answers, BubTar still believes. Do you know why? He has what he believes to be real, incontrovertible proof in favor of St. Nick.

Do you remember when BubTar lost his first tooth? He was SO EXCITED! The next day after the Tooth Fairy absconded with his tooth, he was heartbroken, a pitiful sobbing mess. He deeply regretted selling something so precious as his very first tooth to a complete stranger...and it was gone FOREVER! It was very sad. However, you might recall that Santa Claus, being the wise and all-knowing man that he is, worked out a deal with the Tooth Fairy in which the bemourned tooth was returned to its owner on Christmas morning. This was a most impressive feat.



Recently I overheard BubTar on the telephone, asking his best friend whether or not he believed in Santa, he listened and then he said, "Well, I believe in him, because this one time...I sold my tooth to the Tooth Fairy and Santa got it back for me! He HAS to be real if he could get my tooth back!"

Score one for Santa.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

WE SURVIVED!

Josh and I are done with finals!

KayTar sailed through her surgery!

WOOHOO! WOOHOO! WOOHOO!

I don't have the juice left in my brain to write anything of note, but I'll leave you with a scene from A Life with KayTar...

When they took KayTar back to surgery, in the wagon she handpicked, she called back to me, "Bye Mom! Go enjoy your coffee! I'm going to enjoy my root beer mask (they flavor the anesthesia gas in a flavor of the kiddo's choice)!"

Everyone in the pre-op area cracked up at this and when we got to recovery, the recovery nurses (who weren't present in pre-op) were all talking about it and chuckling! Our girl sure makes an impression, even when she is unconscious for the majority of something!

She insisted on wearing her scrubs and stethoscope to the hospital, everyone thought she was the CUTEST LITTLE THING, of course.


Here she is in her special surgery pjs and scrub cap. She loved it!

I leave you with her description of the surgery:
"Well, I just had my root beer mask and then when I woke up
DING! I had my new tube!
"
I kind of wish that finals had been that easy. ;)

Friday, December 04, 2009

SNOW DAY!















Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Shorts.

BubTar brought home a girl's phone number on Monday. She is a girl from his reading group (the highest reading group in 2nd grade at his school). He said that when she was picked up from school that day, she flashed him the "Call me!" hand signal. I find this both hilarious and a little frightening.

****

Here's a little experiment: Fold your hands together, interlocking your fingers. Now look at which thumb is on top. Which is it? If your left thumb is on top, you are expressing the dominant phenotype! If your right thumb is on top, you are expressing the recessive phenotype.

Seems like such an odd thing to be genetically determined!

****

The wrapped Christmas gifts are killing KayTar this year. She's losing her sweet little mind with curiosity. She has been pleading with me for days, "Can I just open ONE? Can you give me a clue? What letter does it start with? Just tell me ONE letter! Can I just open it a LITTLE and take a peek? Let me open it! OBEY ME!!!!!" It is so hilarious, I'm going to have to try and catch it on video. This is going to be such a fun Christmas for her, she is definitely into it.

****

Sunday night BubTar approached me and said, "I'm gonna be watching you and dad on Christmas Eve...just so you know." I asked him why and he said, "Well, I think two things...either Santa is real or PARENTS are really the ones who put out the toys, because who stays awake after kids go to sleep? PARENTS." I told him, "We have to sleep, too, you know." He said, "Maybe you put out the presents AFTER we go to sleep and BEFORE you go to sleep. Or maybe Santa does it. I'M WATCHING YOU."

****

Last night was my last Chemistry lecture of the semester, tonight is my last Biology lecture of the semester...now I just have exams this week and finals next week. My Chem final happens to fall on the day of KayTar's day surgery next week (swapping of the g-button). What luck.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Since everyone else is doing it...

30 things I am thankful for, both big and little:

1. Having Christmas $ set aside and ready to go this year. Last year Josh didn't get a bonus and we didn't know that until Christmas was nearly upon us. A sweet angel friend helped us out last year, which I will ALWAYS be thankful for...but this year we have been setting aside our excess financial aid awards for college and have a nice little amount ready to go!

2. My Biology grade, which is roughly a 103. I have made 100's on both lecture exams and 105's on both of my lab exams. '

3. The balance we seem to have struck in this crazy life of ours.

4. KayTar potty training herself.

5. BubTar getting so many badges at his scouts award ceremony.

6. Being able to be at his award ceremony, even though it meant sneaking out of Bio lab early.

7. New "winter" coats!

8. I waited to write the rough draft for my Comp II research paper until the last day and I churned that thing OUT. It was extremely satisfying to put it off for so long and then rock its face off. My professor gave me really great remarks on it, too. I'm thankful that I can procrastinate to the LAST SECOND and still put out good work.

9. The super fun girls weekend KayTar and I had a couple of weeks ago.

10. The way KayTar does the robot to Safety Dance.

11. The fact that my security badge at the hospital now WORKS for everything I need. No more asking, "Can you badge me in?" 500 times a shift. It is amazing.

12. The kids' school. I'm really enjoying it a lot. I'm pretty involved and I've made some friends there.

13. My H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines.

14. BubTar, my little bookworm. That kid can a finish a book in no time flat.

15. The fun weekend the kids and I had while Josh was hunting this weekend. We saw Santa, spent time with my parents and niece and nephew, and even helped decorate my mom and dad's tree.

16. KayTar's year. It has been a big one for her. She is a totally different (yet equally awesome) kid than she was a year ago. This has been a year of major growth for the littlest 'Tar, both physically and developmentally. I never thought she would accomplish much of what she has this past year.

17. Insurance for the kids. We were able to renew their coverage without a major crisis this time, though Josh had to ask his boss NOT to give him a raise this year.

18. The way BubTar set a goal for his popcorn sales and reached it. He's already upped the ante for next year!

19. My husband. Though we are very different, we really enjoy each other and have a ton of fun together, even when we are doing nothing.

20. Television. I'm a television addict and it is my favorite way to relax. I'm actually thinking of writing a post about this one soon.

21. The opportunity to follow my (very expensive and time-consuming) dreams.

22. The end of my semester being VERY near! The month of break will be heavenly!

23. That our Christmas tree is up and decorated!

24. That I am done shopping for the kids! It isn't even December yet!

25. My van. I'm so glad we found it for such a reasonable price. I spend a ton of time in there and it is perfect for us.

26. Extended family. My parents spend a lot of time with the kids and are wonderful and involved grandparents. Josh's parents have always been a great support to us, too. I'm thankful that I happen to be best friends with my sister-in-laws, we've been friends for a very long time.

27. Black Friday. I know some people don't go for it, but I LOVE it. It is the one thing that my parents and I do together, just us, every year. It is fun to wake up super early (they picked me up at 3:30am this year) and go shopping together. This year I didn't HAVE to go for anything major, I mostly purchased board games for significantly reduced prices, but I just really enjoy it.

28. Hand-me-downs. KayTar and BubTar have pretty great wardrobes and most of it has been provided by friends and family with kids a bit older than mine. I really only buy a few filler pieces through the year. We either pass the clothes on to someone else we know who can use them or we donate them to local shelters and such, once they outgrow them.

29. Hot colored index cards, my preferred study aid. This year I'm using pink and orange for Biology and yellow and green for Chemistry. The cards are arranged so they alternate in color (pink/orange/pink or green/yellow/green), then they receive a single hole punch and are put on a ring. Josh thinks I'm nuts, but I love my index cards.

30. Our faith and the way the kids are learning about it. KayTar, her school librarian, and I had a crazy deep conversation about Jesus the other day. You don't realize how much they are absorbing and then it just comes out of nowhere. I'm especially thankful for our faith and our Savior around the holidays.

As a bonus, I am thankful for these bright and happy faces.

Friday, November 27, 2009

KayTar said grace yesterday...

And this was what she prayed before our meal with my parents...
Dear God,

Thank You for this food, but I do NOT appreciate the cheese so I will not eat it. I will eat turkey and mashed potatoes, but I will NOT eat the cheese. AMEN!

We got a huge kick out of it at the table. Gotta give her credit for telling it like it is!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Last night

Friday, November 20, 2009

Miscellany

1. KayTar is potty trained! She took to it easily and we are beyond thrilled. NO MORE DIAPERS! It took her less than a week once SHE decided to do it.

2. BubTar and KayTar are learning to cook. It started on BubTar's scout trip...he made bacon and french toast for the whole camping group! This week, Josh has taught them to make tuna casserole and macaroni and cheese with sausage. Tonight we are doing french bread pizza. They are so excited about it and the best part is, next semester when Josh is taking an evening class and I've got the kids, THEY can do the cooking. Heh. They are better than me in the kitchen already!

3. BubTar got a bunch of badges at his Cub Scouts award ceremony. He got one for fishing, camping, his Bobcat badge, and his golden arrow (for accomplishing 10 goals). He is doing such a great job! He set a goal of selling $1100 worth of scouts popcorn and he did it! He got a microscope and telescope set for his hard work and will also be getting a gift card.

4. BubTar is reading at an average of a 5.3 Accelerated Reader level, which is FIFTH grade. Quite impressive for my little 2nd grader. He's reading these books in a single day mostly and always gets a 100 on his AR tests.

5. KayTar and I had a girls' weekend when the boys went on their camping weekend. We went out to dinner on Friday (IHOP, she had the grilled tilapia and devoured it..she also stole my bacon). We rented Monsters VS Aliens that night. Saturday we went to the mall, which is was insanely excited about. It was fun traipsing around the mall with her. We looked at kids' clothes and made a turkey (who she named Candace) at Build-A-Bear. We planned on having lunch out, but she was too exhausted from all of the walking. I sometimes forget about how easily she fatigues, but by the time we were leaving the mall, she said that she was feeling hot and shaky and NEEDED A PEDIASURE. I gave her a can in the car and she guzzled a bit and went right to sleep. She was pooped! We came home for her to get her nap out and then we went to the toy store for some browsing, then out to dinner with my sister-in-law at Applebees. It was such a fun weekend! She's at the age where she is great company, funny and smart and well-behaved. Who could ask for more? Both my kids are at really wonderful ages and we are enjoying them so much.

6. I'm sick with some little upper respiratory infection. Josh is on vacation today and it sure has been nice to get a chance to totally laze around on my sick day for a change. I took the kids to school this morning and picked KayTar up (after taking a nap for a couple of hours) and that is the most I've done all day. I don't have class tonight and I couldn't be happier about that! I'm curling up with my book, blanket, and DVR remote and taking it easy. Ahhhh.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Proof


A tattered flag, cross-stitched by Josh.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

27 things about Josh!

1. He is a criminal justice major.
2. He is going to be a game warden.
3. He enjoys hunting and fishing and all kinds of outdoorsy things.
4. He is my opposite in many such ways.
5. He always gets a day off on his birthday (Veteran's Day).
6. He painted KayTar's fingernails and toenails for her today.
7. He enjoys video games.
8. He likes Sci-Fi shows.
9. He's a horror flick fan.
10. He makes some yummy jerky.
11. He does all the dishes, plus most of the cooking and kitchen cleaning.
12. He is a bit of a homebody.
13. He is very funny.
14. He is probably the ONLY person I'm really, truly myself with.
15. He dislikes sports. All of them.
16. He is the scout leader for BubTar's pack.
17. He has migraines.
18. He loves peanut butter candy.
19. He gets Milk Duds at the movies.
20. He makes a mean baked potato.
21. He has a red beard, but brown hair.
22. He likes to wear his t-shirts until they practically dissolve into nothingness.
23. He likes girly drinks.
24. He can cross-stitch.
25. He is very supportive.
26. He is a super amazing dad.
27. He is the love of my life!

Happy 27th birthday, Joshie. We love you!

The Potty Report: Day 3

This might be the most stereotypically mommyblog-esque post I have ever written.

The Ups:
* 2 out of 3 days, no accidents at school
* 3 accident-free nights
* All but one pee made it into the toilet
* Several twosies made it into the potty

The Downs:
* One pants wetting accident yesterday on the playground
* Several partial twosies have ended up in the undies

She is still very enthusiastic about it and is making a great effort. I think the Miralax is to blame for the partial twosie accidents. The current consistency is more like what you might expect from a newborn which makes it somewhat difficult to control, as you can probably imagine. We're playing around with her dosage to try and get something a little less unpredictable, but that doesn't totally shut down production (in the poop factory, as she affectionately refers to her colon) altogether. That is a whole different problem!

I'd say, so far, so good. She's happy with her pretty little princess under-roos and I'll be happy when my years of bottom cleaning finally come to an end.

Monday, November 09, 2009

She's wearing underwear today.

If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you probably know that I have a 4.5 year old who previously had global developmental delays but now only seems to have ONE major delay, POTTY TRAINING. We have tried and stopped, tried and stopped, tried and stopped. KayTar has chronic constipation (and a level of intelligence that makes bribes and other motivators a little bit beneath her) and every time we have tried, she has ended up badly constipated and we've had to quit. Honestly, though, she has never been too terribly motivated to use a toilet. She has even been known to say that it would be too much work to use the toilet all of the time, why stop and potty when you can keep playing?

You can imagine my (delighted) surprise when she walked into my room yesterday and said, "I'd like to wear underwear. This diaper feels like PAPER! Ugh!" I said, "Okay, sure." And she said, "I mean TONIGHT." in a tone that suggested that I get up NOW and put her in some underwear, STAT! She used the toilet and then she put on undies. She stayed dry and clean until bed. We then put her in a diaper for overnight, but she woke up dry this morning and used the toilet. She insisted on underwear at school today, too. We will see how it goes!

We always said it would have to happen this way, one day SHE would have to decide it was time, we just never really believed she would get there! I was shocked when she came in and demanded some underpants yesterday. I'm sure it will take some work on all of our parts, but I've got my fingers crossed that it is important enough to her to stick with it this time and we will be able to work through the other issues, as long as she is motivated to keep trying. This might be it!

Wish her luck!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

A Girl and Her Dumptruck