Hello!

So … I haven’t had much to post this past week … sorry!

It’s been pretty quiet around here. Work, work and more work. Garrett had another progress report come home on Friday. He’s doing so well in kindergarten! I’m so proud of my little guy. Sometimes I look over at him and am just in awe of who he is and what he can do! It’s amazing to watch children grow up! One night last week he read almost an entire book to me! Proud momma moment right there! He definitely doesn’t give himself enough credit for what he’s capable of. Hopefully he gains more confidence in himself and his abilities.

Tomorrow we have to take Garrett back to the doctor. He’s still having a lot of trouble swallowing ūüė¶ The scope we had done back in September with gastro showed nothing wrong. So now I want ¬†an ENT to look at him. Maybe it’s more of a tonsil/adenoids issue since he definitely struggles more when he’s congested. We have to figure this out one way or another – he’s gotten sent home from school twice now because he threw up at school at lunch. A total of four missed days because of his swallowing issue….

He’s also been monitored by a growth stature clinic because of his size for the last year. He’s now been listed as failure to thrive! I’m just flabbergasted by that. He’s not failing to thrive … he’s thriving just fine. Sure he’s a small guy, very little by 5 year old standards, but he’s for sure thriving. He’s most definitely the smallest kid in his class (and his best friend is the tallest – they’re a pair to see!) But he’s happy and healthy. Plus according to his teacher last month, he’s at the head of the class academically! I’m tired of doctors and hospitals and pokes and prods. It’s time to leave my kid alone and let him be a kid. What pisses me off is that he’s always been small, he’s always been in the 1-2 percentile. Well now he’s in the 10th percentile for height and 25th for weight …. but that doesn’t seem to account for anything?! Don’t give me that failure to thrive bullshit.

They did a bone scan of his hand to check his bone age to see if he’s potentially just going to be a late bloomer.¬†¬†They keep talking about genetic testing and potentially doing growth hormones. We have made the decision not to go down that route. I’m not pumping by child full of hormones that will do god knows what to him in the future just to potentially get him an additional 1-3 inches. (And let’s not even talk about the cost …. one estimate I saw said that one inch will cost you approximately $52,000…) The risks don’t outweigh the benefits to me in our situation. If he ends up being 5’4″ (which is where he’s being projected now…) then so be it. He’ll just be a small guy. He’s healthy and happy. That’s enough for me.

Can you tell that I’m at the end of my rope with all this junk with doctors and my son? I honestly feel like they¬†want there to be something wrong with him. They¬†want him to have some rare genetic disorder causing his slow growth. I’ve heard nothing but criticism about his size for his entire life (he was born small, 5lb 14oz at 39 weeks). I’m so over it. It’s time to move on and figure out his swallowing issue. Maybe if he could eat better he’d grow better … there’s an idea! Even though the endocrinologist we saw last week told us that his small stature had nothing to do with his eating habits. Whatever. It’s still a pain in the ass to deal with a kid that throws up and can’t swallow because he says food won’t go down his throat. Something’s wrong, that’s not normal – to me that’s a more important issue than any stupid genetic test could show. I never should have opened up this can of worms, it boils my blood every time I think about this whole issue.

Moving on….

Garrett has some sort of a Thanksgiving performance on Tuesday – he says he’s a pilgrim and his line is “bang bang”. I’ll be curious to see how that goes! He’s best friend is going to be a turkey. This is sure to be a cute performance!!

I can’t believe it’s almost Thanksgiving. Christmas will be right around the corner. And my Christmas shopping is almost all done! Talk about being on the ball this year! Ha!¬†Well I think that’s all I’ve got for this quiet Sunday morning. I’m going to a painting event later today with some girlfriends. Going to be painting a snowman door hanger! I’m looking forward to that.

I sure hope you’ll stop back by on Tuesday for my blog tour stop for Deborah Crombie’s¬†Garden of Lamentations!

Advertisements

I’m back!!!

I hope, lol!

This year has been really wonky for my blogging mojo. I have been reading … as of this writing I’ve finished 57 books for the year, with most of November and all of December remaining … last year I only managed 53. But real life has intervened more than once.

Katelyn had to have tubes put in her ears in April. My grandmother was sick in June/July with a pretty serious cancer scare – she was extremely lucky only a surgery was required. In August Garrett started kindergarten ūüė• In August and September Nathan had carpal tunnel surgery done on both hands. In September we finally had Garrett’s scope on his throat (with negative results of anything being wrong …. so we still don’t know what causes his swallowing issues) And the medical bills, tubes – carpal tunnel – scope … ugh! We have “good” insurance, but good lord we’ve been drowning in medical bills. Plus Garrett did t-ball in the spring/summer and flag football in the fall, so we spent 2-3 times a week out on a field. It’s been crazy around here!

So it’s been a crazy busy and somewhat rough year. It’s just been one thing after another. And so the blog fell by the wayside. It juts wasn’t a priority with everything else going on. Somehow though I managed to keep reading – I think that was my escape as to how I dealt with a lot of the stress I was under.

Hopefully though we’re past the rough part, lol. One can hope at least! And I can get my schedule back on track and get back to the blog. I’ve missed ya’ll. I know I’ve been posting those mini reviews so I was at least keeping a teeny tiny presence here. But not what I would like.

So here’s to hoping I can get back on track here and start producing some good quality stuff for the blog again.

Until next time…

Life Lately…

Well. When I last posted, I was fresh off of the funeral of my grandfather. I was really amazed at how hard his death hit me. I wasn’t particularly close to him, but he was my only living grandfather (I lost my other grandfather at 11) and watching him slowly deteriorate the last few months was especially hard. I’m still grieving, but his peace eases that grief.

I hadn’t broached the subject with our son yet. Yesterday was my grandmother’s birthday, and when I told him we were going to her birthday party he started asking questions about who would be there. Of course Grandpa T. was mentioned. It was time to discuss it with him as best as I could.

Let me just say that you should never¬†ever ever ever discuss death with another person’s child. EVER. There are absolutely no excuses for this. But apparently my ever so helpful father-in-law thought it would be a good idea to teach Garrett about Heaven and Hell while they were watching him. So when I sat him down yesterday morning to tell him that Grandpa was in Heaven, he looked at me with the most fear I’ve ever seen and said to me “don’t talk about it, it’s a bad place,” and that Grandpa had gone “bye bye.” I still have not convinced him that Heaven is indeed a wonderful place. Why in the hell would someone try to explain Hell to a 3-year-old? I never would have brought that aspect into it. He can’t differentiate it at 3-years-old! All he needed to know was that Grandpa T. had gone to Heaven, that Heaven is a wonderful place, and that he was ok but wouldn’t be back. Very simple. He didn’t need a lot of details. He didn’t need a big long explanation. Just simple. But noooooo. My father-in-law had to complicate it. We are furious! My husband said that he was going to be talking to his dad to let him know that he crossed a line. It was my grandfather. He is my child. It was my responsibility to have that conversation with him. I am beyond pissed that I was not able to have that conversation first with him and that he is now completely confused about the whole situation. Goodness knows what else he told him. But whatever it was it completely terrified my child. Not okay.¬†Not okay.

Anyway, now that I’ve got that rant out of my system ….

I don’t know if I ever mentioned that I joined Book of the Month based on Beth Fish Reads‘ recommendation. Well, I did. And October was my first month. I chose¬†Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. To be honest, none of the selections really caught my eye, this one was the one that I felt was closest to something I would enjoy. I finished it. It took all freaking month to do so, but I finished it. And when I was done I wanted to kick myself in the rear because I should have walked away from it, not wasted 3 weeks reading it. I was not impressed, to say the least. I am not yet sure if I will even write a review for it, because the review would not be nice at all (I can’t really think of even one nice thing to say … except that it finally ended … yes, I feel that bad about it). ¬†I probably will write something up just for tracking purposes, but I doubt it’s a full review. On a better note, I just selected November’s book and it’s one I’m excited about …¬†The Witches by Stacy Schiff!! Plus because I filled out a survey I am getting an extra book free and I’ve chosen¬†Lacy Eye by Jessica Treadway.

We’re getting a new accounting system implemented at work this week. I’m nervous and excited about it. Nervous because who knows how smoothly (or not) this will go; excited because it will ease my workload considerably.

The kids are doing great, but they’ve both been battling snotty noses. Better than the stomach bug that’s going around though ūüôā Garrett was Batman and Katelyn a bunny rabbit for Halloween. Garrett was obsessed with his costume, and I have a feeling we will be wearing it quite often at home until he outgrows it. Katelyn was not impressed by her costume. Well, she would have been okay with it had I not put that part over her head to give her the bunny ears, that’s when she revolted, ha!

Hopefully I get my reading (and blogging) mojo back soon so I can update this blog more often than 2-3 times a month. But October was a tough month for my family, hopefully November will be better. Plus we’ve got Christmas coming up and I’m looking forward to our first Holidays as a family of four!

Well – I’m off, Katelyn is fussing. I’m surprised she gave me long enough to get this all written up. Take care and happy reading!!

Saying Goodbye is Tough

On Tuesday we laid my grandfather to rest.

He would have turned 84 on Wednesday. Until 7 months ago he was a healthy, vibrant 83-year-old man who had not a care in the world. He had a loving family. He enjoyed seeing his great-grandchildren every chance he got. He loved talking politics (even if he was the only Republican in the family…). He watched the stock market like a hawk. He liked the St. Louis Cardinals¬†and the University of Illinois football and basketball teams.

He was my Grandpa T.

But liver and lung cancer took him from us.

In March he fell. He had fainted. When he fell he caught his arm on the dog crate and had a terrible gash open up. That wound would be the first of many issues he faced in the next 7 months. They finally determined that his fainting episodes (he would have numerous) were due to a racing heart issue. He had a procedure to fix that. It worked. Then he had some issues with his prostate and not being able to urinate. He had to have a catheter. He finally had to have some sort of procedure where they “microwaved” his prostate. That seemed to help things. All through this, he was steadily losing weight. We knew there was something else going on. But he was a stubborn old man who played his personal health very close to his chest. In March he weighed a healthy 175 pounds. When he died he was 120 pounds. When he was finally diagnosed with the cancer it was a crushing blow. Honestly, he had taken pretty good care of himself his whole life. He stayed active until he was unable to. But by the time he was finally diagnosed treatment was not an option. We discussed hospice instead.

Never in a million years did I think I would watch my grandfather slowly die. But I did. Over the months, weeks and days, we slowly watched him essentially waste away. He had to have been in a great deal of pain, but he was stubborn and nearly refused to ask for help. His pain tolerance level was ridiculously high. So near the end when he finally admitted that his pain level was a 9 on a 1-10 scale, we knew it had to be out of this world pain. We were lucky that we were able to keep him at his house for as long as possible. When he was a few days away from his death they took him to the hospital. He spent a couple of days there and then was moved to hospice. He was in hospice for less than 24 hours before he passed peacefully just before 1am on Oct. 17, 2015.

I was never close to my mother’s side of the family. There was no real reason for this, it’s just how things happened to end up. But the last few months I spent more time with my grandparents than I probably had in the last 5¬†years combined. I’m thankful for that now. His last words to my dad were “I feel like shit.” That was my grandfather. Classic Grandpa T. right there.

I was lucky enough to have one final conversation with him the night before he was moved into hospice. It was the night he admitted he was at a pain level of 9. And while most of his conversation made absolutely no sense, he left me with the most precious words ever. As I was leaving he told me he loved me. Those were his last words to me. It’s a memory I will cherish forever. The next time I saw him it was just a few hours before he passed and he was completely unaware of his surroundings. I was very glad that I had made the decision to visit with him the night before. I was able to say my final goodbye.

Of course that didn’t make his actual passing any easier. I was still heartbroken when my mom called me Saturday morning with the news. But his pain was over and that eases my pain a great deal.

It’s tough to tell someone goodbye. It’s tough to walk out of a hospital room knowing it’s the last time you will see someone alive. It’s tough to sit through a funeral knowing that once the casket is closed you will never see that person again.¬†It’s tough to know that my children never had a chance to fully know him. It’s tough to figure out how to tell your 3-year-old Grandpa T. has passed away (something we still haven’t dealt with…).

But it’s a part of life. It’s the sucky part of life. But it’s life. I was lucky to have him in my life for 30 years.¬†And I have a lot of wonderful memories of him.¬†And like all people dealing with grief, we will heal. Slowly. But it will happen.

But those last words … “I love you, I truly do.”

That’s the beautiful part of life.

Sometimes I just got nothin’….

I have no reading mojo.

I have no blogging mojo.

I just got nothin’.

But that’s okay. I’ll come out of my funk eventually. Until then, I’ll just continue to buy 700+ page books at Target that I doubt I ever read (The Goldfinch) and I’ll pop in here occasionally.

I’ve been seeing a lot of people “rebranding” recently. I have a feeling that this is the direction I will be heading as well. I am so much more than just books these days. I always feel like I bore people with my mundane life, but ironically, those personal posts are the ones that I always enjoy reading the most from other bloggers.

I’ve been doing a lot of online stalking of journaling/planning addicts. I’ve been doing crossword puzzles in the evening while my husband and I catch up on our TV shows that we’ve been putting off for months (our DVR is quickly running out of space…). Essentially, I’ve been doing everything but reading.

Until I figure out what’s going on and¬†where my mojo has gone to¬†… stay tuned ūüôā

Family Vacation, September 2015

Well, we’ve been home from vacation for far too long (boo!). But when we first got back I had to jump straight into my insane time at work. Then I came down with a cold (which I’m still nursing….this thing will never end) and I didn’t feel like getting on the computer much. But now it’s time to sit down and “document” our vacation.

It had been over a year since we had a vacation and 3 years since our last “big” vacation (Hawaii in 2012).¬†And it was our first big family vacation for Garrett. He had been to Florida once¬†to spend a few days at my grandmother’s condo down there, but this was on a whole different scale for him. We were a little more than nervous because this was also the first time that Nathan and I had taken Garrett on vacation by ourselves. We usually had other family members accompany us to help us. And we were leaving the country with him – we figured we were either incredibly brave or incredibly stupid! Ha! But really, things turned out pretty well so it wasn’t that bad. Poor Katelyn had to stay home with the grandparents, she was not old enough to go on the cruise with us and we didn’t really want to wait for her to be old enough, we needed the break ASAP. It was also the first time I had been away from her overnight, it was a little difficult but¬†it all worked out ūüôā

Now, on to the trip. We flew out of St.Louis down to Ft. Lauderdale the night before our cruise was to leave. We were booked for an 8 night cruise on the Carnival Conquest visiting St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Antigua and Nassau.

IMG_0126Carnival is not usually our first go-to cruise line, but I really fell in love with the itinerary, plus the price was good. That being said, we were actually pretty happy with our experience on Carnival this time around. The Conquest is a nice ship, but it is showing its age in a few spots and could definitely use a little bit of a refresher in the near future. But the crew really made this cruise exceptional, I was extremely pleased with the service we received throughout the trip.

First sea daysWe started our cruise with two full days at sea. When I was a kid I used to love days at sea because it meant I could spend most of my time with the other kids in the kids club. Garrett wasn’t too impressed with the kids club. He went 4 nights for about 2 hours each, so we did get some free time to ourselves, but not as much as we had hoped for. I hope by the time we go on our next cruise he will enjoy the kids club much more. So the first two days at sea were spent with some time at the pool and a really cool Cat in the Hat parade/story time! Garrett loved seeing the Cat in the Hat!!

Butterfly FarmOur first stop was St. Maarten. We chose to do an excursion to the Butterfly Farm. We obviously had to choose kid-friendly excursions, and while this would not have been something we would have chosen if we were cruising child-less, we really enjoyed our time at the Butterfly Farm. Garrett was a little leery at first, but he soon warmed up to the place and really enjoyed seeing the different colors on the butterflies. Overall, St. Maarten was just an okay place in my opinion, they never really recovered from the terrible hurricane 20 years ago, and the French side is having some issues with really high property taxes, so St. Maarten was not exactly as nice as I had come to imagine it (my parents went shortly before the hurricane hit and have raved about the island all these years – so I had really high hopes). But we did enjoy being there for a day trip.

AntiguaNext up was Antigua. We just planned a simple beach day. The last time Garrett had been to the beach he was about 18 months old. He was not impressed at that point, so we really didn’t know how he would respond. He’s quite particular about his hands being clean, so I didn’t figure he would be all that interested in digging around in the sand (he gets that little “quirk” from me – and I hate sand, the darned stuff gets everywhere.) But he ended up really loving it. Him and Nathan had to build the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse sand castle, ha! Nathan was mad at me that I didn’t pack his shovel and pail for the beach, but we just didn’t have the room!

St ThomasSt. Thomas was our third stop. Once again we chose a simple beach day. But this beach was absolutely gorgeous! We were at Magen’s Bay. Just such a beautiful place!! The trip there was a little crazy, quite hilly and such, but the views were stunning. I would highly recommend everyone to check this beach out if you’re ever in St. Thomas. Also, St. Thomas is definitely an island that Nathan and I would love to go back and stay like a week at sometime in the future – we enjoyed it that much!

Green Eggs and HamThen we had one last day at sea. This was the day Garrett loved the most. We got to do the Cat in the Hat breakfast! He was in heaven! This was also where my camera died (I had a second battery … back in the cabin!) so I only got a few shots here. I couldn’t believe it, but he even ate the Green Eggs and Ham. He’s a pretty picky eater, so I didn’t really know how he would take to the eggs being green, but he didn’t even notice! He was just too enthralled with everything going on around him to even notice, probably! It was a really cute thing the ship put together for the passengers. Nathan and I even enjoyed it!

NassauOur final port was Nassau. Nathan and I had been to Nassau once before on a cruise, and we had a lot of trouble deciding which excursion to choose. We wanted to head out to the Atlantis Hotel, but we figured it probably wouldn’t be ideal for Garrett (he hasn’t had swim lessons yet), so instead we decided to do a city tour with a stop at the Ardastra Gardens. We figured we really couldn’t go wrong with a zoo stop for our animal-obsessed son!

We just had such a wonderful time. I can’t wait until Katelyn is older and we can go as a family of 4 – what a wonderful time we will have!!

Misc Vacay

Being a parent can be tough…

… especially when your little one is sick and you don’t really know why. For those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you probably have some idea of what’s happened, but for those of you who don’t I wanted to pop in and post a little update.

Two weeks ago our sweet Katelyn started vomiting. And let me tell you, this went WAY beyond spitting up. This was forcefully splattering our faces, getting in our hair, drenching bath towels. Yuck. I didn’t know what had happened. My precious girl went from a happy not-at-all spitty baby to this vomit machine. In just a few days. It was ridiculous. We were both at our wits end not knowing what to do. I was afraid to even put her down because even when sound asleep¬†she would open her mouth and formula would come back out! Without her ever waking up, I was afraid she would choke.

So I did what any parent would do after about 24 hours of her throwing up forcefully after every bottle (sometimes during a feeding while the nipple was still in her mouth!). I took her in to the doctor. Unfortunately, that first day I was only able to see a nurse practitioner. I didn’t care, I just wanted to get an opinion on what was going on with Katelyn. I knew something was wrong. Babies don’t just start randomly throwing up like this. It wasn’t normal. Her weight was fine. Her belly sounded normal. I was told it was “probably” reflux but to come back on Monday for a weight check (we went in on a Thursday).

After a very long weekend, Monday finally rolled around. I told my husband that I didn’t care what he had going on at work, I wanted him to come to the doctor with me. If I was going to have to make an ass of myself to get the help we needed for our daughter, I wanted him by my side. I knew this wasn’t reflux – we dealt with that with Garrett. This was something totally different and I was scared something was seriously wrong. Luckily we saw the doctor this time.¬†And he immediately saw something different. He told us she had lost 4oz in 4 days,¬†asked us a bunch of questions, felt around on her belly,¬†and then calmly told us that he wanted us to go down the hall for an ultrasound, that he suspected something called pyloric stenosis. He also explained that if it was indeed pyloric stenosis then she would require surgery.

Wait, what?! Surgery?!? Yes, surgery. Our baby girl had to have surgery on the day she turned 1 month old. Very, very scary.

To explain, pyloric stenosis is, in the most simplest terms, when the muscle that connects the stomach and the small intestine gets too large to let food pass through for complete digestion. Since nothing or very little can pass through, the vomiting takes place. Dehydration and extreme lethargy can also occur. So the surgeon had to go in and cut through the muscle to make it where food can pass through again. So you know, this condition usually presents between 2 and 8 weeks of age. It is something that is seen in 3 out of 1000 babies. It is most common in males, especially first-borns. So for our girl to have it is even more rarer. It’s also hereditary… we’re still trying to figure out where it came from. In addition, now that she has had it her future children are 20% more likely to have it.

And while my daughter had to have surgery at 1 month old and will forever bear the scar on her belly, she is back to being her happy self. No more vomiting. Hardly even any spitting up. I can lay her down without fear that she will choke on vomit. It was scary for all of us. It was tremendously stressful. But our girl is happy and healthy again. I am just so relieved that what we went through was so easily fixed – a lot of parents and children don’t have it as easy as we did.

Think of this as a public service announcement. While you may never come across another parent dealing with pyloric stenosis … I want you to know to trust your parenting instincts. I was told my girl had reflux. I had my doubts. I knew it was something more serious than just plain old reflux. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion.¬†Trust your instincts … no one knows your baby better than you.