Thursday, October 29, 2009

You tell me...

This time last year, KayTar was approximately 29 pounds and 37 inches tall. She was wearing a size 3T and could still fit into many of her 2T clothes.

This time last year, we were in quarantine, preparing for a feeding tube placement.

Today, KayTar is approximately 35.4 pounds and 41.5 inches tall. She wears a size 5. In one year, she has gained almost 6.5 pounds and grown 4.5 inches. She went up two clothing sizes.

What do you think made the difference?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

This week, I...

Made it to class every night!

Completed all of my Composition II assignments for the week (minus the essay, which I saved for today)!

Worked in the Book Fair for three days!

Recopied two weeks worth of Biology notes!

Finished my Biology note cards!

Grocery shopped!

Spent admittedly too much time working on privacy settings on Facebook (my mom AND mother-in-law friended me, enough said)!

Made an invitation for BubTar's Halloween party!

Had a conference with BubTar's teacher!

Completed several loads of laundry!

Read a good-sized portion of Othello for my upcoming research paper!

Cleaned/swept/mopped the living room on more than one occasion!

Got a haircut!

Grocery shopped again!

Made cookies with KayTar!

Visited my parents!

Went on a date with Josh!

Slept in on Sunday!

Things are finally getting back to normal around here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Books for Christmas!

This week I have been volunteering at the Book Fair at the kids' school. I just couldn't hang out around those books all day without finding an excuse to buy a few, so I started my Christmas shopping a little early. BubTar always has a book in hand these days (and 3 or 4 more in his backpack every day), so it was a perfect place to shop for him! These are the books I purchased for BubTar.

1. Time Traveler's Journal:

This is one of those cool hardback books with the appearance of a homemade journal, with envelopes and notes, and all kinds of cool extras (including a backward spinning pocket watch).

2. Blast Lab

BubTar is really into science and science experiments right now and this one has simple experiments to do at home, that seem to have a very high fun factor.

3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw

4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

He got the first two books in this series today (to start reading now), so I decided to pick the rest up for Christmas. The trick will be some how preventing him from burning through the first two too fast!

5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book

He was very interested in this fun do-it-yourself version of Wimpy Kid, too, so I snatched it up.

6. Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2009

I bought him a Guinness Book of World Records the year he was born (2002) and he has been dragging it around everywhere lately, it only stands to reason that he would love an updated version that deals with one of his favorite hobbies, video games! My mom bought this one for him.

I also purchased a Phinneas and Ferb book (a KayTar and BubTar pick), Dora Saves the Crystal Kingdom (a KayTar pick), Wimpy Kid #2 (a BubTar pick), and Nighttime: Too Scared to Sleep (a collection of mildly scary stories I chose for BubTar)...all for a surprising grand total of $24! Volunteering in the library has its perks, evidently, one of which is MAJOR discounts on Book Fair fare. I intended to pay full price for these, but the surprise at the register sure was nice!

Monday, October 19, 2009


I seem to have lost my groove. I have missed two Biology lectures and two Chemistry lectures in the past month or so, either due to my falling apart or KayTar's recent illness. Prior to that, I hadn't missed a single one. Last week I got behind in my Composition II assignments, they were completed on time, but I procrastinated right up to the last instant. I've only missed one volunteer shift at the hospital (when I was hobbled by my defective knees), but I've missed 3 volunteer days at the school library, 2 due to my injuries and 1 due to KayTar's illness. Today I should be there, though it isn't my regular day, because it is the Book Fair and I really wanted to help the librarian this week. This weekend Josh and I were scheduled to host a game night (we even had my parents slated to keep the kids overnight) but we had to cancel it once KayTar spiked a fever. On the invite I even wrote something like AS LONG AS THE KIDS DON'T GET SICK, KNOCK ON WOOD. Evidently, the knocking on wood was ineffective. I have a poetry analysis essay due (I hate poetry, HATE IT) at the end of this week and a prospectus for an 8 page research paper due next week in Comp II. I have a Biology exam over cellular respiration and photosynthesis a week from today. My Chemistry exam is soon after that. Life is happening, but that extremely efficient routine I had going has been disrupted and I'm having a bit of difficult getting with it again. It is a feat equivalent to jumping back on a high speed treadmill, really. We all know how that ends.

Yeah, that.

I can't really tell if KayTar is improving yet or not. Wednesday we were up all night, coughing and puking. Thursday with the help of medicine she slept, but had very little to drink all day. Friday she didn't drink, but we gave her 8 ounces of half and half (Pediasure and Pedialyte, the lighter mix helps her to keep it down when she is heavily congested) through her tube, and she slept some. Saturday we tubed her 16 ounces of half and half, but she was up coughing and vomiting (due to the coughing) in spite of medication from 4-6am, after going to bed at midnight. Sunday we tubed her 12 ounces of half and half , she napped for 3-4 hours, and slept well after going to sleep at 1am. We've been giving round-the-clock doses of Benadryl and Albuterol, plus Ibuprofen when her fever spikes. This morning she asked for chips and Pediasure (regaining an appetite seems hopeful), but she only had negligible amounts of both and specifically asked for medicine to help her feel better, plus she is complaining about her bones hurting. It is a toss up this morning. I'm sure she'll be on the upswing pretty soon, but it has been almost a full week (last Tuesday) since she has had a regular amount of Pediasure, which makes me a little nervous. It has been 95 since her last episode and we'd really, really, REALLY like that number to keep rising.

We're having gorgeous weather, so KayTar spent part of the day watching her brother out the window while enjoying the cool breeze. I think we would all be outdoor people if we had that kind of weather more often!

All that vicarious playing and fresh air wore her right out.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Speaking of allergies...

KayTar had an allergist appointment yesterday! We had previously seen an allergist (who we loved, but left us when her husband's fellowship ended and he found work in another state) that was not affiliated with our local Children's Hospital, so when we came to the point of deciding KayTar would need a peanut challenge, she had to refer us to the hospital's allergy department because they only allow peanut challenges on their patients.

Her initial appointment was this summer, but we ended up having to cancel it. The thing about allergist visits is that your child has to be off of all antihistamines for 7 days prior to the appointment. KayTar got sick this summer and we absolutely had to give her Benadryl, she was coughing and puking and having some minor difficulties with breathing. We held off for as long as we could, but in the end, we had to give it. It ended up being a non-issue because she landed in the hospital the day of her appointment with an episode and we would have had to cancel in any case.

We discontinued antihistamines last Thursday and when we found ourselves at a birthday party over the weekend in a germ laden bouncy house kingdom full of snotty and coughing kids, we experienced an ominous sense of foreboding. What were we thinking?!

You can probably fill in the rest. Wednesday night she was miserably congested and we were up all night. LITERALLY. As in, I went to bed at 1am and she woke up for the first time at 1:15am. From 1:15am-3am, we stayed in my bed, but she was fussing/coughing/gagging so frequently that sleep was not happening. At 3am, I caved and we came to the living room (kicking Josh off of the sofa and back to bed) so she could sit upright in her baby papasan seat. From 3am-5am I dozed off a couple of times, never for more than 30 minutes, before she would cry out again. At 5am, she fell asleep and so did I. My alarm went off at 6am. Awesome.

Our appointment was at 9am and we were on time, however, the office was not. We didn't see anyone until 11am! Two whole hours. All I could think was, I could be sleeping right now. Once it began, the appointment went smoothly. KayTar had negative scratch test results to all tree nuts and peanuts, which was old news. The new news is that she didn't cry or fuss at all this go 'round. She was a total pro. She is still classified as nut allergic for now, but we have a peanut challenge scheduled for November and from there we will schedule a tree nut challenge. If all goes well, then we can lift the nut ban! CHOCOLATE, PEANUT BUTTER, REESE'S CUPS. I can taste it already. On the other hand, if all goes well, then we are left with idiopathic angioedema (fancy talk for this type of swelling without an obvious cause) and she'll have to go through some immune testing to determine if things are functioning properly, like her complement system.

As soon as we got home (which was around 3 in the afternoon!), I gave the Snot Factory some Benadryl and she ended up falling asleep on my chest for 3+ hours. I skipped class because I was too tired to function on any type of intelligent level (and Chemistry is crazy difficult to stay awake in on a normal night) and I had a sweet little girl asleep on me that I didn't want to disturb. Last night we BOTH got some sleep. It was awesome. She's still feeling rough, but we're managing it with Benadryl/Albuterol and fluids through her g-tube. She has had little to no Pediasure in the past couple of days, which makes me a tiny bit anxious about the possibility of this resulting in an episode, but we'll play it by ear and hope for the best.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Scene from a birthday party

As you all know, KayTar has a peanut allergy, so she can't eat cake at a birthday party. We've been priming her about this, teaching that she can't eat cakes and cupcakes and candy (and a host of other things) without our approval. This weekend we decided to let her answer for herself when offered cake and this is how it went...

Jumping Jungle Guy: Do you want cake?
KayTar: (doesn't respond because it is noisy and she's half-deaf)
JJG: Would you like some cake?
KayTar: (doesn't respond because it is noisy and she's half-deaf)
Josh and I: KayTar! He's asking if you want cake! Answer him!
JJG: Want some cake?
KayTar: Yes, please!
Josh and I: No no no no! You can't have cake! (to JJG) She can't have cake, sorry.

Pretty sure that Jumping Jungle Guy thought we were screwing with him on purpose.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Say what you will about public school...

But I know my kids are well-loved there!

Yesterday at morning drop off, B (the awesome speech therapist) was the adult who helped BubTar out of the car. KayTar started pouting, because SHE wanted to get out of the car at B's stop! B told her that one day she would go to KayTar's stop and help her get out of the car, but that the principal wanted her to stay where she was for today. She smoothed things over with KayTar by offering to bring a book of Halloween jokes by KayTar's classroom later for KayTar to read to her. That did the trick. After school, I was delighted to hear that she really did find the time to bring the joke book to KayTar and I was over the moon this morning when we pulled up to KayTar's drop off stop and B was there (clearly not on morning duty) waiting for us!


Last week when I was in line, waiting to pick up KayTar, B came to my window. She told me that BubTar's teacher had asked her to evaluate his articulation and she wanted to get my permission. I've had concerns about his articulation and had actually planned to ask his teacher about it that very week, so of course I said yes. He struggles with his S/SH/TH sounds as well as his R/W sounds, and I've noticed that I've had to ask him to spell things lately to clarify what he is saying. He's young, though, and has many teeth in various stages of regrowth, so I was unsure how much of this was still considered age appropriate. Well, he was evaluated that same week and he is now attending articulation lab for the rest of the semester. If he shows adequate improvement by Christmas break, we'll stick to this arrangement, if not, then we'll move ahead with more formal speech therapy. After his first session, he came home and said he worked on this sound (and he made a sound that was like a combo of S and TH, which is obviously the problem). To clarify, I asked him, "Oh...was it the TH sound?" He says, "Oh yeah...that one or maybe it was S." Ha! Clearly he's in the right place.


We struggled with the decision to pull BubTar from his private school, though there were many reasons to do so (finances, time, changes at his school we didn't approve of), we were still very nervous. The start of the year was difficult, BubTar cried many mornings (which in the end had more to do with how little he was seeing me and much less to do with the new school) and I had seriously doubts about whether we had done the right thing in moving him. As the school year has progressed, I know more and more that we did the right thing. He's excited about school this year, he has access to more activities in his school, they have an extensive library and he is just gobbling down books one after another. Although much of this year is review for him (his last school had advanced curriculum), his teacher provides extra challenges for him when necessary. His behavior is so much better this year than last, not that he's ever been in much trouble at school, but the difference between last year and this is noticeable. Also, he has access to speech therapy which is something that would have been entirely unavailable at his previous school. Most importantly, the staff at this school know both of my kids and obviously care for them, which is not something I would have said about BubTar's private school. They are interested in helping them succeed, whether that means putting KayTar in an advanced reading group or noticing that BubTar needs a little help with speech and setting him up with appropriate services. I hear a lot about the negatives of public education, but our experience has been quite different from all of that. I know that when I drop my kids off in the morning, they are in excellent hands. That is a good feeling.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Falling apart.

My body is out to get me. Seriously.

You recall the whole trip to the ER/cancer scare from a month ago? Well, it gets better.

A couple of weeks ago, I can only guess that I injured my knee pushing gurneys around the hospital. I have historically bad knees, I've already had knee surgery once, at 17 just a few weeks before my wedding. My left knee, the one that had been previously operated on, was the one I injured. Somehow, in favoring my left knee, my right knee became inflamed as well. I had to miss my volunteer shift at the kids' school for two weeks (can't stand, sit, kneel to sort books if my knees aren't working) and my shift at the hospital for a week (can't push wheelchairs and gurneys if I can barely walk). I did the proper thing and RICE-ed my knees as frequently as possible and my right knee began to feel much better. Unfortunately, though, one day back at normal functioning and my left knee AND my left ankle were swollen and painful. Last Friday, I was actually on crutches, because it had become so unmanageable. I spent much of the weekend with my knees and ankles elevated with ice packs and tried to stay off my feet as much as possible and FINALLY by Sunday I had regained most of my joint function. Yesterday night I was finally able to get back to the hospital, with the help of a knee brace. This morning my left ankle is once again inflamed, but it is nothing that rest, ice, compression, and elevation (plus some NSAIDs) can't fix in a couple of days. Two weeks of being largely immobile was torture and I will be pleased when I'm back at 100%, without these constant setbacks.

In addition to my musculoskeletal issues, my reproductive system is also out to get me. If you don't dig hearing about lady-troubles, go ahead and skip this portion of the post, okay? Last month, I had the heaviest period of my life. This is what landed me in the ER, I was actually concerned about the rapid blood loss. It was insane. I'm a light-flow kind of gal and this was like internal hemorrhaging levels. It sucked, though not as much as the pelvic exam I had to have in the ER. I think that might be as mortifying as it gets. Anyway, skip ahead to this month. I start my period on time, Monday. The cramps are so insane that it began to give me intestinal problems, if you get my drift. I got all the way to college for my evening class and had to turn around and come home. I was definitely too sick to make it through a lecture. I had to miss Biology class. Tuesday, I was feeling a little better. I had a pretty normal day, made it to Chemistry class and did well on the exam. On the way home, I started to experience some pain, similar to the pain I feel when ovulating, though by the time I arrived at home, it was reaching blinding-pain levels and showed no signs of slowing down. I had to take an actual pain pill to make it bearable and I hardly slept at all. In the morning, the pain was worse (if possible) and I was unable to get out of bed to get the kids ready. I had to lay immobile on the bed while giving instructions to Josh. It was pitiful. He had to drive them to school, because I still couldn't move when it was time to go. I took more pain medication and tried to sleep. By the time I had to start the pick up rounds, I was able to hobble to the car, with the help of medication. By evening, I was still in such pain that I again had to miss class, which of course was once again Biology, which puts me a week behind. Finally by Thursday I was feeling better and was able to hobble to class with only my mostly manageable joint pains. I'm fairly certain it was a ruptured ovarian cyst, I've had one before and it is the only time I've ever experienced that kind of pain. I don't recommend it.

Lately, I've felt like a car losing parts as it speeds down the freeway. Yesterday was the first 100% normal day I've had in more than two weeks and it was so wonderful. Yes, my ankle is swollen and sore today, but it was WORTH IT. I cannot stand being laid up, I don't like putting everything on hold to basically sit and do nothing, even if it is the right decision at the time. I just hope that yesterday is the first of MANY days in which I can function like a normal, healthy human being again. I might be interested in medicine, but I'm no good at being a patient.

Since you patiently read through all of that whining, I will now reward you with photos of cute children, I'm sure you've missed their bright and shiny faces:

This kid is crazy handsome, no?

This kid is a nut who no longer poses for anything resembling a normal photograph. I can't even sneak one when she isn't looking.