Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all the best for the coming year.

Love Always,
Erin, Steve, and Luke

* Font is Script MT Bold
* Swirly Frame Stamp, a weekly freebie from Designs by Lauren at Digital Scrapbook Place
* Ribbon by Cheryl Whitesel from June Group Kit Freebie at Gotta Pixel
* Photograph by Mark Warren

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I'm so tired of doctors

I swear, I've seen more doctors in the last three months than I know what to do with, and most of them weren't for me! Sheesh.

Luke's ENT appointment was yesterday. (That's Ear/Nose/Throat doctor, for those unfamiliar with the term, though I imagine those with kids in the US are quite familiar with it.) They reran all of the same audiology tests that were run on him previously, which sort-of irked me (we've done this already!), but I knew it was to see if things had changed. His tympanagram was normal, so the fluid behind his ears is gone. Each of the four data points used to measure his actual hearing did move up a notch on the scale, which means 1 out of 4 is now in the normal range. With the other three still below normal, though, that means the fluid was not causing all of the hearing loss. There is something else causing his hearing to be below average.

As she put it, we should expect many repeat visits to the ENT over the next several years to monitor and (hopefully) diagnose and treat the hearing loss. It is minor, and even if it is uncorrectable, he can live a completely healthy and happy normal life. But the only way to find out what exactly is wrong (and thus determine if it is correctable) is to do a bunch of tests that require his understanding and participation, and he is just to young to make such tests reliable or even practical right now. We'll have to wait until he is in the 3-4 year old range.

So, at this stage, we are handling the speech delay and the hearing loss separately. His hearing may be contributing to his speech delay, but since there is nothing we can presently do about his hearing, we should move forward with the speech therapy immediately. They will continue to see him every so often to recheck his hearing, using yesterday's visit as a baseline. When they feel he is old enough and developed enough to perform the tests correctly, they will begin the extensive testing for his hearing loss, probably in the late-2007 to mid-2008 range. So, once again, not horrible by any means, but no parent ever wants to hear that there is something wrong with their child, no matter how minor.

Then today, it was my turn. My congestion, while better than it was when I thought I was dying last week, has not gone away, while DH is almost completely well. Since I was running 1-2 days ahead of him in symptoms, this tells me that there is something more wrong. Not that my wheezing, stopped-up head, and plugged and somewhat painful ear wasn't telling me that already. So I made an appointment to see my doctor today. It was actually the first time I've ever met him! I've always seen the PA (physician's assistant). I adore her, but she didn't have any appointments available before tomorrow in the late afternoon, and I really didn't want to wait that long if I didn't have to, so when she said the doctor had availability today, I said sure. My ear is not technically infected, yet, but it is thoroughly plugged up and starting to turn red, so it is only a matter of time. Apparently whatever I had last week lead to the almost-infected ear and a sinus infection (which is why I'm still congested while DH is well). He was also very unhappy with how my lungs sounded, even though I'm not coughing much (mainly just some tightness and wheezing). He didn't make a specific diagnosis like bronchitis or anything, but he did insist on checking me again in six weeks to see if the wheezing is still there.

He really wanted to give me Biaxin, but I asked if that was really necessary. I know it is good for stuff like this, and I'm not technically allergic to it, but it makes me extremely nauseus and makes my stomach physically hurt. Not what I want right before Christmas. So he offered me a Z-pack instead, which is what I usually take when I have bronchitis. He didn't like the fact that it doesn't offer much in the way of anti-inflamatory action, but I promised to take Advil to help wiht that. Maybe I'll be able to hear again by the new year! If this is what it was like for Luke trying to hear for several months, no wonder he's not talking yet! I can't figure out what most people are saying to me right now, and it's only in one ear for me. Sheesh!

I am, however, completely done with Christmas gifts. The last one will be mailed out this afternoon, and all of the ones staying here are wrapped. In fact, I almost have my entire list completed. See!

Movie meme is something I just need to sit down and do, probably tonight actually. Might do my winter movie preview instead. Guess I'll have to call it a review, though, since the winter movie season is almost over. ::rolls eyes:: *Anyway*, decorating will most likely happen either Thursday night or Friday afternoon. Just hand the stockings and put up the tree (2-foot fiber optic, so quick and easy). An hour, max. The family has not discussed activities yet, so that one may not even happen, which is fine. And we'll probably do the train tonight or tomorrow. They run a little train around the "Christmas Village" at the mall, and I thought Luke would enjoy it, but I want to take my camera and I keep forgetting. Soon, though.

Currently feeling: a little better

Monday, December 18, 2006

@#$!&% Credit Card

Doesn't do you much good at Target when it is sitting on your desk at home!

Currently feeling: stupid

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Snowflakes for Charity

Need a Snow Day?

Online snowflake maker; been meaning to post this for a couple of weeks now. Great fun, great cause, and great price (free!). No affiliation, just having a blast making flakes.

Currently feeling: flakey

The Grinch

We tried showing it to him last year, and he couldn't have been less interested. But today, Luke sat mesmerized as he watched "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" from start to finish. (I am, of course, referring to the Chuck Jones animated version, not the live action abomination.) He just couldn't take his eyes off the screen. He loved Max (the dog), and he even said "yay" and clapped when the Grinch rescued the sled with "the strength of ten grinches plus two." It was so cute.

I think DH and I are finally starting to see light at the end of the tunnel, or more importantly, oxygen at the end of our noses. I don't think I'm going to die any longer, and my father even knew who I was on the phone today, so there has been some improvement. I'm starting to cough more, though, like it is settling in my chest. Not good. We'll see how I progress over the weekend, but if I'm still coughing come Monday, I will have to go to the doctor. The last thing I need is full blown bronchitis (or worse) come Christmas.

Busy week coming up and running right through Christmas week, so I'm not sure if I'll be blogging much between now and the new year. My front brakes are starting to grind, so I need to get that checked, probably Monday. (We just sank $400 into DH's car on Friday for a new alternator.) Luke has his ENT appointment on Tuesday, so I'll try to get you an update on that. DH's office Christmas party is Friday morning, followed by getting to see one of my best friends from high school who is in town from California (and who is cringing at the horrible construction of this sentence, silly English teacher that she is, but we love each other anyway). Saturday, family arrives. Sunday the adults will open gifts after Luke goes to bed so that we don't have to tell him that he can't touch all the expensive breakable stuff. Maybe next year we'll do it all together Christmas morning, but he's just not quite ready. Monday is Luke's gifts and the big dinner. Tuesday is lunch with my grandmother, and my parents will return home for one night so that Mom can do payroll at work on Wednesday and then drive back to Atlanta. I think Thursday is free (can I breathe yet?), and sometime that weekend we will be going back to my grandmother's for the day to have the big family get-together with my uncle and his crew. We're also hoping to squeeze in a movie sometime (two, if I am extremely lucky). Family leaves Jan 1, parents by car, brother by plane, and DH and I are back at work on Tuesday.
Currently feeling: better, but not well by any means

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Put me out of my misery

I am so sick! So is DH. We are quite the pair. My own father didn't recognize my voice when I called home a few minutes ago; I sound that bad. UGH!! I just hope this is the adult version of what Luke had last week, because if he comes down with this next week, it is going to be awful.

Currently feeling: terrible

Let's talk about gifts

gift –noun
1. something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion, or make a gesture of assistance; present.
2. the act of giving.
3. something bestowed or acquired without any particular effort by the recipient or without its being earned: Those extra points he got in the game were a total gift.
4. a special ability or capacity; natural endowment; talent: the gift of saying the right thing at the right time.
In this particular post, I am concerned with the first definition given, specifically this part: "without payment in return." Why is it that we have such a hard time with that part?

It is Christmas! I give gifts because I enjoy (hopefully) bringing a little cheer into people's lives, not because I expect anything in return. Now, admittedly, I would be a bit shocked if I did not receive any gifts at all from my family, but that would not prevent me from wanting to give them something. For me, Christmas really is about giving!

So if I give you something and you weren't expecting it, for heaven's sake, please do not send me something in return! It is a GIFT! I didn't give it to you because I want something from you, I gave it to you because it made me think of you and I wanted you to have it. It does not make you indebted to me, you do not owe me. It is supposed to make you feel happy that you received a gift, not bad because you didn't get me anything. Just accept it with good grace, enjoy the gift, and maybe pay it forward when you get the chance. It is an amazing feeling to know that you brightened the day of someone who was not expecting it. Just try it sometime!

And if you think I'm talking about you, you just might be right. I'm expecting at least one, perhaps two people who read my blog to balk when something unexpected arrives in their mail next week. So I'm telling you right now, do NOT email me and say "I'll send you something." Just accept it and enjoy it. Okay?

I know, I shouldn't be grumpy about gifts, especially ones I'm giving. I'm just sick as a dog right now with the cold from hell (DH has it, too; he's about a day behind me in symptoms), DH's alternator died but they can't fix it until tomorrow, and I to have all the stuff on that list right there done by Friday, December 22. Uh-huh. Speaking of the list, here is the current status:

Currently feeling: giving

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Just temporarily, of course. The sunbursts will return in January. And because it is only for such a short time, I'm not going to bother to recolor the progress bars or change the Blogrolling "recently updated" graphic. Just too much of a pain! LOL

12 days and counting

It has become popular on scrapping blogs for people to create checklists and post them on their blogs. It was sincerely faster for me to just hand-write one, but I did take the liberty of scanning it for posting. I apologize if some of them seem cryptic, but they are meaningful to me. Let's see how much of this list gets knocked off in the next 12 days, shall we?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

2006 Family Portraits

You may remember that we were having family portraits made over Thanksgiving. They turned out quite good, all things considered. I was not impressed with the facility, the photographers, or the portrait ordering system they had. Add to that a 2 year old being stubborn (not looking at the camera, not smiling, wanting to pick his nose, not wanting his picture made by himself, etc etc etc), and I was not a happy camper by the end of the shoot. Hope it doesn't show up too badly in the pictures. Next time we do this, it will be in Atlanta! No more of this small town ameteurs-posing-as-professionals stuff.

Currently feeling: still irritated

Friday, December 08, 2006


Finally! Blogger invited me to convert to Beta. Things certainly look different on the dashboard. That's not a criticism, just a fact. I'll go back and start labeling things soon. I hope that doesn't cause the posts to show up as new for all of you who use feed managers of some sort (like bloglines), but I will apologize in advance in case it does.

Oh, speaking of which, Melanie told me she couldn't find the feed for my site to be able to use a news reader. I knew I had one, because the Blogspot settings said it was being published, and I know people who do read this site using a feed reader. But just in case anyone else is having this problem, I added a link for this site's feed on the left sidebar under the "Online" heading.

Currently feeling: technical

Friday, December 01, 2006

Some good news on Dad

His email from a few minutes ago:
Just heard from the neurosurgeon. The neurulogical radiologist who read the films says the discs look fine, but there are some degenerative changes. I am to stay on the steroids and keep the appointment for Monday at 10:00 am for when Dr. [edit], my original surgeon, will look at the actual films himself.

In my opinion this is the best news that I could have received. If I know I am not damaging anything, I can live with the tingling -- I have lived with it off and on for over 4 years now.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Not what I wanted to hear, Parts 2 and 3

Part 2: Pediatrician agrees with fluid in the ear diagnosis. However, she is not sure tubes will be required, and she thinks it is ridiculous to "withhold treatment" (her words) for speech therapy on that basis. She said if that was the only problem he was having, then he would be talking more or less the way he should, just with bad pronunciation because he can't hear the nuances of the speech. But he's hardly talking at all. She said some kids just take longer to begin expressing themselves verbally, and that speech therapy can help them make that leap. The more she talked, the more I started thinking that this may be like potty training: he'll talk when he's ready to talk, so why are we getting so hyper about it at this point? I don't mind going to the ENT, and I don't mind getting his speech evaluated (she referred me to other therapists who do not require a "clean hearing exam" to evaluate speech; CHOA is apparently the only group she knows of with that requirement). But why is everyone in a tizzy? Yes, I'm concerned, and yes, he is behind, but he is making great improvements. His teacher even commented on his improved talking just yesterday. I don't know. I'm just conflicted over the whole thing right now, and I'm really tired of doctor visits. Speaking of....

Part 3: My father had another unexpected doctor visit today. I don't think I said anything here about his "episode" while we were home over Thanksgiving. It was Monday (just three days ago, sheesh), before we had left to come back home, and his school called the house to say he was feeling really bad and his blood pressure had spiked (about 160/100), and that we needed to come get him. Of course, everyone immediately assumes impending heart attack or stroke, but he wasn't showing any other symptoms. He did say that it was similar to what he felt not long before his neck surgery 4 years ago. Went to the doctor, BP down, ran some tests, come back for stress EKG in three weeks. (Uber-brief recap: Four years ago, he noticed he was going numb and having a tingling/pins and needles sensation in his hands and feet. Had an MRI that showed two bulging discs in his neck, but instead of bulging out and pinching the nerves (causing the classic pains), his blew inward and were compressing his spinal column. Had surgery over Thanksgiving 2002, where they removed both discs and a vertebra, and inserted a metal plate.)

Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, he started having increased episodes of tingling in his arms and legs, but they do come and go sometimes, so he didn't think much of it. Today, though, he started having the pins and needles sensation in places he had not felt it before, like his chest. He did say (this was new information to me) that his follow-up MRI after the surgery showed the discs above and below the plate starting to bulge, due to the increased stress on them from removing the vertebra. He has an appointment with the neurosurgeon tomorrow at 10 AM, almost certainly requiring another MRI. He did see another doctor today as a stop-gap measure until tomorrow, and he was put on steroids and given a neck collar, just in case. Joy.

Currently feeling:

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Not what I wanted to hear, but not so bad either

Real quick, because I know some of you are wondering: Thanksgiving went fine, grandfather is all moved and I am not nearly as stressed anymore having actually seen the facility myself, and no I did not get to see a movie. In fact, I hardly watched any television of any kind, much less went to the theater. But that isn't the point of today's post.

Luke had his hearing evaluation today. Children's Healthcare of Atlanta requires a hearting evaluation before any speech evaluation is allowed. I wasn't concerned. He can hear the television come on from a room away; his hearing is fine. Right? All we had to do was prove it to some silly machines. No problem. He'll pass the hearing exam, then we will proceed to his speech evaluation on Thursday (as in, the day after tomorrow), and we will finally get some answers.

The test itself mostly went well. He did fine with all of the inner ear testing (air puff and tonal imaging), which actually surprised me a little. He did NOT want to go into the quiet room for the rest of the test (noises of various tones and volumes coming from different directions). He fussed and squirmed, not wanting to sit in his own chair or in my lap. Once she actually started the test, he did pretty well for the first 2/3, but it was blue-blazing hot in there (at least 85 degrees, and we were both in jeans and long sleeves) and he was desperate to get down by the end.

I know things could be so much worse, but having a Doctor of Audiology say "your child's hearing is below normal" just does not boost your spirits. (Full details in a minute, if you are still interested after reading this paragraph.) The good news: it is almost certainly cureable, and once cured, the speech issues will probably resolve themselves without intervention (though he will still be tested to be sure). The bad news: until the ear issues are resolved, there is no point in continuing with any evaluations or treatment. Thus our Thursday speech evaluation has been cancelled until further notice.

The details (warning, this is going to be long): She believes that his hearing is being decreased by fluid in the middle ear. When she puffed air at his eardrum, the machine sent back a curve representing the deflection of the eardrum. It should look like a steep hill (think Stone Mountain, for all you locals). His came back looking like a contact lense flipped upside down. This is most likely caused by an obstruction preventing the ear drum from moving as much as it should, and in most cases, that obstruction is fluid. This was confirmed by some brief tonal tests to try and get a picture of the inner ear. All of the information came back garbled, due to passing through the obstruction twice, on the way into and out of the ear. That is actually a good thing, since it essentially confirms the obstruction diagnosis. (If the deflection test had come back poor but the tonal test had come back clear, then it would have indicated a problem with the eardrum itself, which is much harder to correct.) This causes two separate problems. One: it prevents the eardrum from vibrating as dynamically as it could otherwise, thus it is transmitting less sound. Two: the fluid itself also prevents soundwaves from being properly received by the rest of the ear. She thinks he really can hear just fine, but it is the nuances of speech that he cannot distinguish with his muffled ears, which is why his own speech is not progressing.

Then we moved to the quiet room. I remember this room from when *I* was a kid! It is a soundproof room where they play different noises from speakers to the left and right. Something I did not know: it isn't really testing for a problem in the left ear versus the right (they do a headphone test for that), it is simply trying to determine what sounds can be heard, if one ear is stronger than the other, and if both ears are working together to help echo-locate the direction of the sound. She would play a sound at the same time she flipped on a video monitor; left monitor for left sound, right monitor for right sounds. This was to condition him that if he heard a sound and looked in the correct direction, he would get to see a brief movie clip (maybe 2-3 seconds, mostly Disney films that I could identify, how sad). Then she would repeat the sounds at different volumes without turning on the monitor to see if he would look at the monitor on the correct side. I was in the room, and he was sitting in my lap. But I had to look straight ahead so as not to influence him to turn in one direction or another. It was one of the most heart-breaking moments of my life to realize that I was hearing things that he clearly was not.

He is the least below normal (two steps down, out of about 12) in the upper middle range of tones, similar to a woman's voice. His very high tones and his lower middle range tones are three steps below normal, and his very low tones are 4 steps below normal. This explains why he behaves more and reacts more to my voice than to my husband's. I always assumed it was because I stayed home with him for two years and he saw me as the "mean mommy" he had to listen to, while "fun daddy" didn't necessarily have to be obeyed. The fact is, he can literally hear my voice better than my quite bass-voiced husband's, thus he is more likely to respond. I had to laugh when she said "I don't know how much you know about physics?" Um, I'm an engineer. "On, then this will make perfect sense to you!" (At least she got a smile out of me.) Higher pitch tones have more energy than lower pitched tones of similar volume. The fluid in his ear causes those tones to dissipate energy before reaching the inner ear. The higher the pitch, the more easily they pass through the fluid. Lower tones simply don't have the energy to make it through. But super high pitches need assistance from the eardrum to pass effectively, and with its vibrations being affected by the fluid, those are not passing well either. So, he can most likely hear fine, it's just muffled.

You know how you hear when you have a cold? Or when your ears are plugged with water from swimming? That's what it is like all the time for him. This causes a two-fold problem. First off, it is difficult to hear others and understand what they are saying. But as adults, we know what most words sound like and have years (and years and years) experience with language to draw on, so it is easier for us to guess at what is being said, even if we don't quite catch it all. Luke has only two years experience to draw from, and with no idea of how long this has been a problem, he has no way to really hear the nuances of what we are saying. Which explains why when we try to do the ABCs with him, he says A fine, but B C D and E all sound the same when he says them, even if he is repeating each letter after us. He simply cannot hear the difference. Second issue: your own voice sounds louder to you. Some kids like that; once they get the fluid problem fixed, some children start talking very loudly because that is what they are accustomed to hearing. Others who are sensitive to loud noises (like Luke) may not like how loud their own voice sounds to their own ears, so they simply don't talk as much.

She also said that the problem is difficult to diagnose without specialized equipment. You can't really *see* middle ear fluid. You hear most about it with ear infections, but not because doctors can (generally) really see it. It isn't the infection that causes the fluid; it is that fluid gets back there and then gets infected. It is the infection that is being seen when the poke the light in there. So it is not that the doctors missed it, it's just that it is a difficult problem to detect simply by looking, especially when he doesn't have the usual symptom of chronic ear infections.

Obviously, the solution is to get the obstruction (presumably fluid) out of the middle ear. She said they will probably try some medications first to just dry it up. After informing her that we tried two different medications to help that after his last ear infection, and neither of them worked, she said they may send me to an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist). Reading between the lines and hearing (loud and clear) what she did not say: surgery, as in ear tubes. That is not official from any doctor of any sort, but as I said, I heard what she didn't say as much as what she did, and I'd bet my house that she thinks that is where we are headed. They may try one or two more meds, but tubes is probably where we'll end up. And with as many times as I have spoken up to other frantic moms that ear tubes are no big deal, they are routine, and I myself had two sets as a kid, the thought of my baby having surgery still scares me. It doesn't terrify me like it does lots of people, but that's not to say that I won't be pacing every moment from the time I leave his side until the time he is back home safe and sound.

So, instead of a speech evaluation on Thursday, we have an appointment with his pediatrician to discuss the results. Because an ENT is a specialist, we have to get a referral from his primary care physician. The audiologist cannot do it for us. She is faxing her findings and her opinion of the matter to his pediatrician today, and hopefully it will be as simple as showing up, hearing "yes, he needs to see an ENT," and walking out with a referral. Trust me, you do NOT want to see me throw a fit about the medical care of my kid. I was raised by a nurse, and I know when you are treating me like a hysterical hyper-reactive mother (which I am generally just the opposite of). Don't push me! Shouldn't be an issue, though. I'll keep you posted.

But here is the other frustrating thing: none of this will happen quickly. Oh, we should get the referral quickly, and we will most likely be able to be seen by the ENT within a week or two of being referred. But they may try a round or two of meds to clear up the problem without surgery. Most likely two weeks per med. Now it is Christmas. Then the surgery, plus time for things to clear up. I'd say minimum of two weeks (likely longer); it is now mid-January. Now we can call for a repeat hearing test (required by Children's Healthcare). Last time I called, the earliest appointment I could get was 5 weeks out! Having been blessed to grow up in areas with very easy access to medical care, I think that is *outrageous*. (Yes, I know some of you have this problem on a routine basis, but I am admittedly spoiled and not used to it.) But there isn't much to be done about it, since I can't afford the tests out of my own pocket. We'll be generous and say it is now mid-February. And we'll be optimistic and say he passes with flying colors. Only now can I make a speech evaluation appointment, which will be another month away. We're talking St. Patrick's Day before we even find out if he has a speech problem!! I am NOT a patient person for this kind of thing. We have a diagnosis, we have a solution, FIX IT RIGHT NOW! Not four months from now before you can even tell me for sure if there is a problem; NOW. I hate all this waiting. It makes me crazy.

Who knows. Maybe by the time they *finally* get around to testing his speech, he'll be so recovered from fixing the fluid problem and finally being able to hear that his speech will have improved to the point that he sails through his speech evaluation with flying colors. One can hope, right?
Currently feeling: equally dismayed and relieved

Monday, November 20, 2006

A lament for my former life

Okay, so I lied. I thought that would be my only post this week. Then my husband came home with the following news:

"Doug [a coworker] was trying to give away free tickets to see Bobby tonight, and he couldn't find any takers."

Let us examine that statement, shall we? One of the most-talked about films of the year, starring a bazillion people, that isn't even supposed to be in wide release until Thursday/Friday, with Oscar written all over it, and free tickets are available, and no one wants them?!?! Well, that's not true. DH wanted them, and he knew I would give anything for them, but there was nothing we could do. Too late to get a sitter, and too much to do tonight even if we could find one. Now, if it was packing just for us, we would have thrown stuff in a suitcase and made a night out of it at the theater. But packing for Luke is quite a bit more complicated, including burning his own custimized DVD of favorite shows (Blue's Clues, Sesame Street, Tom and Jerry, Bear in the Big Blue House, and (don't laugh) Good Eats; actually been working on it off and on all day). If only it were 3 years ago, if only we had a sitter, if only I didn't feel compelled not to abandon my husband and go anyway, if only I didn't feel the need to burn this DVD so that my son will have something to keep him on routine in the mornings and evenings (he doesn't watch each of those every day, BTW, just a selection of 1-2). If only....

But instead I am sitting here, folding size 3T clothes into a suitcase, collecting up some of his favorite toys, some for in the car and others for after we get there, watching some DVR'd poker while Blue's Clues is being burned to DVD. It's not that I regret my life as it is, but I sure do (occasionally) miss that "drop everything and go if you want" possibility that my "old life" held.

Currently feeling: wistful

My only post this week

Credit: Blinkies By Otto

Don't think I'll be posting much else this week. Too much going on with family and all. I hope you all enjoy your holiday (for the USA folks) or your weekend (for everyone else).

I'm making good progress on preparations, but not as much as I'd hoped. I have burned most of Luke's DVD today (his favorite shows, so we have them "on demand" while we're gone). I've done all of my Christmas cards that do not require photograph inserts (50+ cards, which is just under half). Boxed up one baby gift and two Christmas gifts for mailing, hopefully today. Most of the clothes are washed. Still need to swap out the baby monitor and clean out a bit more room on the DVR (which has to wait for tonight). And swing by somewhere for "the essentials," like Coke and milk! LOL (We underestimated with our grocery trip Friday.) Oh, and pack. Gee, it sure seemed like I had a lot more done before I started writing it all down!

Busy week coming up as well. Thursday is Thanksgiving, but what sort of meal we'll have is still up in the air (love you, Dad, but we are NOT doing sandwiches; I don't want Granny coming down from on high and chastising us for not properly caring for her husband on his first Thanksgiving without her). We will be moving my grandfather into assisted living that day as well, plus we have to squeeze in a trip to MIL's (lives in the same town as my grandfather), so it won't be the most relaxing day in the world, but it all has to be done. We're having family portraits done with my whole family Saturday. We'll also have someone take a snapshot for me to "fancy up" with a little digital scrapbooking for the rest of the cards. Hope to get those sent off for printing while I'm there. Saturday is also the day of the only football game I ever make it a point to watch: Georgia vs. Georgia Tech. Go Jackets!!

Need to go on and order my Amazon stuff, but I don't want it to come while we're away and just sit on our porch. Same goes for the prints I need to order. I'm hoping if I place both orders Friday, they'll arrive before December, which would be really nice. Those two should take care of about 1/3 of my Christmas shopping. If I really get on my pony, I might have everything decided and ordered before December. Wouldn't that be nice?

Currently feeling: gobbled

Thursday, November 16, 2006

All of you were right

And I just felt I should tell you so. Thank you all for your support over the last two months!

Created using the Newspaper Snippet Generator

Currently feeling: relieved

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Wild animals

On the way to drop off Luke at daycare the other day, I saw something standing in the road. It looked kind-of like a large dog from a distance, but not really. Then it turned sideways, and I realized it was a deer! Now, I realize this does not sound like a big deal, but I live in the city! No forest anywhere near. There is, however, a "nature preserve" just up the road that I have never been to, always derriding it in my mind, thinking "yeah, right, how much nature can possibly be in there in the middle of the city?!" Guess they have deer! It was just so bizarre. In the 10+ years that I have lived in Atlanta, I have never ever seen a deer, unless I went significantly outside the perimeter. Squirrels and chipmunks, sure. Lots of birds. A raccoon or possom here and there, even the occasional rabbit. But never a deer. Sorry, it still just blows my mind!
Currently feeling: totally amazed

Monday, November 13, 2006

Pay It Forward

I have been reading about the Pay It Forward movement on various blogs, but every time I found one, they were full! Finally, Melanie had an open spot, so I signed up with her.

The first five people who leave a comment on my blog, with their e-mail address, will receive a hand-crafted gift from me in the next 12 months, probably either a cross-stitched bookmark or a temari, your choice. (If you do not wish to leave your email address in the comments, please email me at erinmarie AT rocketmail DOT com, but please be sure that you also leave a comment!) In return for signing up to receive a gift from me, your obligation is to make the same offer on your blog. If you don't have a blog, then you can still participate but you'll have to find a way to make the same offer to your friends :)

Currently feeling: giving

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Alphabet Soup

Here's the game. Comment to this message and I will assign you a letter of the alphabet. (Since Blogger does not provide me with your email address, please check back at the bottom of this post for your letter assignment.) Then go to your journal and post a list of 10 words that begin with this letter and what they mean to you.

I received the letter T from Ann. Unfortunately for you, I do not have her t-t-talent for brevity, but that's not why you read my blog, right? LOL I actually came up with 17 T-words without t-t-trying very hard and had to whittle it down. Here they are:

1. Tech, as in the Georgia Institute of Technology, more commonly referred to as Georgia Tech. I'm a second-generation graduate, married to a fellow graduate. I've visited the campus since I was a child. "I'm a ramblin' wreck from Georgia Tech and a helluvan engineer...." And if the fact that I willingly sing that *entire* song with gusto, while changing only one single word (daddy to mommy), doesn't tell you something about how proud I am to be an alum, then you clearly know nothing about me.

2. Trek, as in Star Trek. Seems as though this one would be obvious from #1 up there, but I had to list it. It is one of my favorite franchises ever, and while I am a TNG fan more than the rest, I still watched and (generally) enjoyed them all. I think it is part of the reason that I have a healthy love for sci-fi, exploration, discovery, technology, engineering, and diversity as an adult.

3. Treble, as in music. Actually, I'm more of a bass fan myself, but this will work! LOL Music has always been a huge part of my life, though it has been missing recently. My life and my memories have soundtracks. I am a child of the 80s; what better soundtrack is there? I was in choir, handbells, and band during my entire childhood. A capella musing makes my heart flutter. Josh Groban's voice can move me to tears. John Williams is one of the most brilliant composers ever to walk the planet. Music rocks!

4. Thankful, for most everything in my life. I really do have so very much to be thankful for in this world, and I try to remember that specifically each day. I have an awesome family, from my parents to my sibling to my husband to my son, right on back up the family tree and out among the branches. They are an amazing group of folks, and it is my honor and privilege to be amongst them. I have friends who truly care about me, from all over the world and right across town, and I know I can call on them at any moment for anything. I have a job I enjoy that is bringing in some much needed extra money that we hope to put to very good use on things like braces and college and retirement. I am in generally good health, in spite of my weight, and I generally wake up quite content each day, if still a little sleepy (I am not a morning person, LOL).

5. Table, a place to gather, eat, and enjoy the company of others. Some of my fondest memories of my family and friends, particularly my grandmother who recently passed away, took place at a table of some sort. Great holiday meals, long long talks, fun and games. Dominoes, Scrabble, Uno, Canasta, Texas Hold 'Em, Double Solitaire. Lots of great discussions, and tons of laughter. Just a great place to spend time....

6. Together, with those I love. The only measure on the Myers-Briggs Personality Test that is hugely tipped in one direction or the other for me is the first one, Introvert/Extrovert. And I'm an E all the way! That's not to say that I don't want to be alone every now and then, but I enjoy being with people, especially family and friends. There's no place I'd rather be than together with my loved ones.

7. Travel to see new people and places. Okay, so I don't like the actual journey part so much (how can sitting on a plane or in a car possibly be so tiring?!), but I adore the destinations. It's something I wish we could do more of, but limited vacation time and a child really puts a dent in both our time and finances for gallivanting across the globe. I've been to three countries (USA, Germany, and Canada) but hope to do several more, and I have visited 21 states plus Washington, DC, with several others on the agenda in the moderately near future. And there are still so many other places to go!

8. Thespian, as in movies! Well, I know *many* people who would argue that today's actors and actresses are not thespians in the least, but it was the only word I could come up with to figure out how to wrangle movies in here! LOL I love watching them, I can't get enough of them. I had no idea how difficult it would be to go from seeing an average of one a week to one every 6-8 weeks. I feel like I've amputated a part of myself. Watching them at home just isn't the same! (Hmm, maybe I should have made "theater" one of my words.) The fun, the thrills, the action, the drama, the emotion, the effects, the explosions, the music, the stories. What's not to love?

9. Technology, that keeps me sane. It helps me keep in touch, it helps me do my job, it helps me meet new people, it helps me be creative, it helps me stay informed. It touches almost every part of my life, and I find it fascinating. I distinctly recall saying one day to my husband, "what, does *every* company have a website they have to flash during their commercials now?" For some reason, it irked me. I also have an equally distinct memory, just a few brief years later, of being rather annoyed and saying to my husband, "what kind of company doesn't show a website address during commercials?" My, how times have changed.

10. Two, as in the age of Luke! Some days, I simply cannot believe it has been two years. Other days, it has been the *longest* two years of my entire life! LOL Two years since he came into our lives, two years since I said the words "my son" for the first time (and it still feels strange to say it sometimes), two years since we wondered if his eyes would stay blue (yep), two years of watching him grow and change and become his own little person, with more laughter and tears along the way than I ever would have dreamed possible. Here's to many more!

* Shalini: M
* Kelli: B
* Kirsten: E

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Lightbulb conspiracy

Apparently, the lightbulbs at our house had a meeting recently and declared last week to be "Lightbulb Burnout Week." We seemed to have one failing right after the other. Three in the computer room (out of 5; one of those candelabra looking things), two in the living room, one in our bathroom, and one in the hall. So, what did I do last weekend? I made a note of all the bulbs that were out (all different kinds and wattages, of course) and bought replacements. Came home, spent over an hour installing them (opening packages, moving the stepstool, etc), and once again, we have light!

And what happened in our bedroom just now? One of the bulbs blew! Is that one of the kinds I bought? No, of course not. Did I remember to check current inventory to make sure we had replacements for all house bulb types before I went on my shopping spree? NO! So now, we have a light out in our bedroom, and no replacement bulb. Guess I'll pick some up this weekend.
Currently feeling: not so bright (pun intended)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Will someone please tell me...

... what exactly I did to anger whatever higher power it is that you believe in? Admittedly, nothing truly serious or life-affecting has happened, even when there was potential (like the wreck last weekend), and I really am grateful, but I am tired of all of the small to medium things that keep going wrong. Every 1-2 days it is something else to be fixed or handled or that gets messed up, and I am TIRED of it!!

Currently feeling: aaarrrggghhh!!!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

10,000 Hits!

Woo-hoo! I am very excited to announce that I have finally recorded 10,000 hits on my blog. Actually, it is more than that (close to 17,000, IIRC), but it is 10,000 since I switched to StatCounter. The hit was registered Oct 31 at 11:49PM (no idea if that is local time or GMT, but I would imagine local) by someone from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I have a pretty good hunch who that is, actually! I hope she enjoyed her visit. I realize that may not seem like a lot of hits to some of my readers, but I've been watching the number steadily climb the last few days, and I think it's pretty cool (like watching a car flip 100,000 miles on the odometer, which mine should be doing not too long from now).

And no, I haven't forgotten the CSNF recap. I was just a little busier this weekend than I expected. Soon, I hope.

Currently feeling: popular and loved

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trick or Treat!

The baseball player who refused to wear his hat or carry his glove.

The Great Pumpkin!

This is not his costume (that is a whole different saga that you will hear later), but it is what he wore to school today. We didn't carve a pumpkin, but this is cuter than any jackolantern I could have carved! I'll try to get costume pics up either tonight or tomorrow.

Currently feeling: grim grinning ghost

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Adding injury to insult

What happened to that relaxing weekend I was supposed to be having? Seems to have been just one thing after another. Today (Sunday) is going well, but yesterday was not our best day.

First off, Luke woke up at 6 AM, coughing. His cough is getting worse, so that probably means a visit to the doctor on Monday. Joy. And with him coughing, no one was getting any sleep. DH, wonderful man that he is, got up with Luke so that I could sleep. So I did get extra sleep. But when I woke up, I felt like I'd been run over by a bus. We've always called it "sleeping hard" in my family, and I hate it when that happens. It takes me forever to get going, and I almost inevidably have a headache. Had a doozy yesterday when I woke up.

Luke has seemed pretty hungry lately. Not sure if that is because he isn't eating much at school, or because he is going through another growth spurt (yeah, just what we need). Let's take him somewhere that he can eat his fill: Ryan's! For those not familiar with this chain, it is a buffet restaurant, and on the weekends, they serve fried shrimp. Luke can eat more shrimp that DH can, and he eats at Ryan's for free (with paying adult) because he is under three. It's the best deal around. So we get there, only to find out they've changed their policy. Shrimp is only available Friday and Saturday *evenings*, and Sunday all day. The problem there is that he doesn't really each much else at Ryan's, so that was a big bust. (We did get him to eat mashed potatoes, though, so that's good.) Fine, no problem. We'll just go to Captain D's for dinner. They're running a shrimp basket deal where we can get lots of shrimp for him for not a lot of money.

We come home, we nap, but not for very long due to more coughing, which leads to much fussing. We know he's hungry, so he gets two snacks, trying to keep him satisfied until dinner. Normally, we would have just fed him early, but with the time change, we didn't want to get him on a cycle of eating earlier when we really needed to push it back an hour if possible. Finally, it's about 4:15, and we've had about all we can take. Like my brother when he was young, the hungrier Luke gets, the more unreasonable he gets, and he was *beyond* unreasonable by this point. There was no way we were taking him out to eat in that mood, so DH decided to take him in the car, pick it up, and bring it back. Luke was so upset, he didn't really want to get in the car. They almost decided to not even go, but DH finally convinced him to get in the car.

Less than 3 minutes after leaving the house, they were in an accident. Everyone is fine. It wasn't even that bad (pictures below). DH was the *second* car through the intersection after the light turned green, and this woman ran the red light in her direction. His front right corner and her driver's side door connected. Basically, it broke the front right blinker on my car and did a little bit of body damage. Something seems to be leaking from the front of the car, but we have no idea what. To complicate matters, she is from out of state, and she was driving her daughter's car. I immediately left the house, without really knowing where they were, figuring DH could use some help managing Luke while they were waiting for the police to finish their business. I knew where they were headed, and I knew they hadn't been gone long, so I figured I'd find them, and I did.

The cop arrived not long after I did. I sat in the car and tried to entertain Luke (not hard when you let him romp around the front seats of the car, where he is not normally allowed to be) while they talked outside. She did admit to the cop that she ran the light, so I'm hoping that will help us. Naturally, we can't talk to our agent until Monday, so we're not really sure what to do right now. We'll call Monday and find out. I know we can't get the police report until like Friday or something (and you have to go in person and pay a fee, of course). Still, it could have been much worse. No one was hurt, the car is still driveable (though we won't drive it much with that leak). Not bad for our first wreck since we've lived in Atlanta. DH is more upset about the hastle that is to come than the wreck itself.

By the time we were free to go, it was about 5:20. We decided it wasn't worth trying to get food now, so we just went back home. I doped them both up with ibuprofin, fed them dinner, and prepped Luke for bed. We were just about to start watching Good Eats (our pre-bedtime ritual; he gets to watch to the first commercial break), when he decided to run some laps through the kitchen (pretty normal). As he was running, he slipped and banged his mouth on the windowsill, busting his lip open. Lots of crying, a good amount of blood, etc. So after all that, including the wreck, he managed to get injured in our own kitchen five minutes before bed. Nice.
Currently feeling:

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Christmas-time is here

No, seriously, it is. There were trees and garland up at most of the stores I went in today at the mall, they're already working on the center mall display for the holidays, and I bought my first gifts for the year.

Ahem, I'm sorry, I should say that proudly, shouldn't I? I bought my first gifts for this year. I didn't mean to! It just sorta happened. These things jumped up and down in front of me and said "you have to buy me right now!!" Got one of my bestest buds already done, and I got some stocking-stuffers for Luke. And I bought this year's Christmas cards. I usually buy after the season when everything is on sale, and I did do my BB card that way, but I could not for the life of me find good cards for my personal folks! This year, I found two that I liked, and one store was having 50% off through the end of the weekend on all boxed cards, so I've actually already bought this year's and next year's personal cards. They had some I liked for BB cards, but I'll wait until after I see this year's list to see how many I think I'll need.

I'm usually the first person to complain that it isn't even Halloween yet and all the Christmas stuff is up, but I'm actually pretty happy that I have some gifts already purchased now, since it has been stressing me a bit lately. Just don't make me sing "Jingle Bells" yet. I'll stick with "Zombee Jamboree" for another week or so, thanks!

And no, I haven't forgotten a Canada update. That will just take more time than I have right now. It is my goal to get it done over the weekend. Hang in there!

Currently feeling: spirited (for both holidays)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Photos now, details later

Okay, photos are up, CSNF/CreativFestival and Niagra Falls in separate folders. Here's the link. Details will have to wait a while.

Currently feeling: like browsing

Monday, October 23, 2006

Back. Tired. Later.

Back home. Extremely tired (had to take a nap this morning). Details and photos later.
Currently feeling:

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Canada, eh?

I'm sure my Canadian friends hate that stereotype. I'll let you know when I get back whether it is justly earned or not! LOL That's right, I'm leaving on a jet plane today for Toronto. Okay, technically not. It saved me $300 to fly into Buffalo, NY, then drive with two friends across the border, but still, I should be in Canada by the end of the day. My first time ever to visit Canada! My first visit to Buffalo for that matter, but I have been to New York before (NYC, though; not sure that counts! LOL).

I'm way excited. New country, new people, new convention (CSNF), and new sites to see (The Needle, and hopefully Niagra Falls on the way back). I just hope I don't freeze to death. The high for tomorrow is only supposed to be 48. BRRR!! I think our low here is supposed to be higher than that!

Currently feeling: giddy

Friday, October 13, 2006

Hey, I scrapped!!

I know, I can't believe it either. Here is a layout I did for BIL and his new fiancee: Mike and Jennifer.

Currently feeling: shocked

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

How to win my business

There is much talk of late about how to win business and customers (not that they aren't always discussing this, but it seems rather frequent lately). And I'll be the first to admit, I am one of those loyal and lazy customers. If I find something I like, it is going to take something pretty impressive to convince me to try something different. If I find a place I like shopping, you're going to have to work super-hard to talk me into visiting your store instead of the place I already know. But keep in mind that it only takes one mistake for me to jump ship in a heartbeat (ask Red Lobster).

However, Target won me over this week. I will now be having all of Luke's prescriptions filled there. Why? Because of nice employees and smart business practices. The place I had his current prescription filled gave me a syringe to use to administer the medication (whoever thought of using the syringe has my eternal thanks!). The problem? The syringe only reaches half way into the bottle! How am I supposed to get to the other half of the medicine? GGRRR! So I asked the pharmacy at my grocery store (where I get my own prescriptions) if they had the long syringes. No, they only had a long dropper (which they did give me for free, which was nice), but with Luke, I really need the control of the syringe.

So when I was in Target the other day for something else, I decided to ask if they happened to have the longer syringes. No, but they have this nifty little contraption instead! It is a stopper with a small hole in the top that the syringe fits into. Plug the bottle with the stopper, put the tip syringe in, turn the bottle upside down, and pull the plunger. No mess, no loss of medication, no contaminating the entire bottle with the body of the syringe, and they have different stopper sizes to fit different bottles. The screw-on lids even fit back over the stopper, so no need to put it in and take it out every time. And she gave me one *despite* the fact that she knew I did not get my prescriptions filled there. Good design, good service, nice people, and generosity. Is that really so much to ask? And it is standard procedure for them to provide the appropriate stopper and a syringe with every liquid medication they dispense. Yep, they just earned my business!

Currently feeling: grateful

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Official Two Year Old Stats

Luke had his two year well visit today. Once again, he is literally off the chart in height, even more than last time. Using an online calculator, all it can say about his height is "above 97 percentile," followed by this remark: "According to the most recent federal guidelines, the height range appropriate for this age group is 31.9 - 37.1 inches." So once again, he is federally inappropriate in his height. Here are his stats:
* Height: 38 inches (off the chart; that is average height for a 38 month old!!)
* Weight: 31.5 lbs (85th percentile)
* Head Circ: 19.1 inches (45th percentile)

Per those numbers, he has actually gained a pound since Thursday. But when you consider that by Thursday, he was on day 5 or 6 of barely eating due to being so sick, and how much food he's been snarfing down the last two days to compensate, I guess that isn't surprising. He usually eats Eggo Frozen Mini-Waffles for breakfast, which come with four mini-waffles to a sheet to pop in the toaster. It is normal for him to eat 1.5 sheets or so (six mini-waffles). Today, with the exception of half of a single mini-waffle, he ate 3 entire sheets and drank 1.5 glasses of juice. Starving baby!

She said his ear is looking much better. There is a little fluid left in there, but not much, and all of the fluid is clear. She says it should clear up just fine as long as we complete the antibiotics as prescribed. Unless he starts showing symptoms again, there is no reason to bring him back.

And as I suspected, she is sending him for evaluation for speech. And as my mother suspected, she said that she thinks he is fine, but it is worth having a specialist check him out just to be sure. They will not even do a speech evaluation without an auditory (hearing) evaluation, so I have to call today to book that (probably 2-4 weeks out for an appointment). Once those results come back, assuming they are fine (and I'd be shocked if they were not), then he will be sent on for speech evaluation. And it is entirely possible that, by then, he will already be talking more just from being at daycare and stuff. Just this week, he has started *saying* yes and no, instead of nodding and shaking his head, so we are continuing to make progress. I'm sure he's fine, he just doesn't have much to say yet!

So, all in all, a good report. Now if I can just find pants for him that are long enough without being so big around that they fall off!
Currently feeling: thrilled

Monday, October 09, 2006

Two layouts posted

I actually finished them way back in August, but I never got around to posting them on my scrapping blog. Hope you enjoy.

Maybe if I can ever get my life to settle long enough to establish some kind of routine, I'll find the time scrap something new, like Luke's second birthday or my brother-in-law's proposal to his girlfriend.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Happy Birthday to Luke!

Credit: Blinkies by Diane (site no longer active)

My baby is two!! How on earth did that happen?? I'm not sure where the time has gone. All things considered, today went *extremely* well. Was he his usual happy go lucky self? No, but he was obviously feeling much much better than he has for about a week now. We even got some laughs and giggles out of him, something that I hadn't realized had been missing for several days until I heard it this afternoon. Yes, he was very tired, and yes, he got quite cranky and fussy at one point, but all in all, given all the new people and all he's been through the last week, I could not have asked for things to go any better.

This is about the best photo I have of the birthday boy right now. There were four cameras going all day, so I didn't actually take very many myself, and I didn't get a chance to download from the other three cameras tonight. I'll try to do it tomorrow. But right now, I am going to bed!

Currently feeling: pleased

Friday, October 06, 2006

A little better

We did end up going back to the doctor today. His eye was a little less red, but significantly more puffy. She apologized for not telling me yesterday that being horizontal for any length of time (say, in the morning or after nap) can make it puff up so much, since the tissue is already angry and inflamed. That would have been good info to have, but I'm still glad we went. The eye is progressing fine. She checked his ear, too, and she said she is already seeing some improvement, so we should be good to go there. Just finish the antibiotics and we should be all done (with this one, at least).

He does seem a little better, but I'm not sure that is a good thing for my sanity. Yesterday, he was so sick, he layed around like a wet dishcloth all day. Just a little quiet zombie baby. Today, he is feeling enough better to be tired and grumpy and cranky, fussing and screaming about *everything.* >sigh< I am still running a fever of about 99 for no reason that anyone can figure out. Every time I sleep, either at night or for a nap, I feel like I wake up immediately after having *just* closed my eyes, despite the clock insisting that I have been asleep for 8 hours. I am just exhausted. Add in PMS, and I am really not a happy camper right now. I just want to crawl in a hole and sleep for the next three days. But I can't cancel the party because 1) half the folks are already on their way, and 2) one of them has to ask for time off 3 months in advance (seriously), so it's pretty much now or never for him to visit. But in the mean time, I get to stress that Luke will be miserable and everyone will have a horrible time. Not that anyone would ever admit that to my face, but still. And I still have to clean the kitchen, wrap presents, and decorate.

Is it November yet? I've already had more than enough October for this year.

Currently feeling:

Thursday, October 05, 2006

His first ear infection

Not the thing I would have wished for him for his second birthday. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, at the age of practically-2, Luke has come down with his first ever ear infection. Now, I have been completely paranoid about his ears since he was born. I had horrid innumerable ear infections as a child, resulting in 2 sets of tubes. In fact, I still get them if I get any sort of water in my ears whatsoever, and yes, that includes in the shower and in the pool. I have to be extremely careful. So I have been extremely pleased that Luke has not had one. Until now.

I am not one of those moms who runs him to the doctor for every little sneeze and sniffle. As long as he's acting okay or it goes away within 48 hours, I'm good. Every time I have ever said "if he's not better by tomorrow, we'll call the doctor," he's been better. But he started daycare three weeks ago. And after only three days, he came home with his first cold that ripped through Luke and me, and that my husband is currently attempting to get over. But Luke was improving; he was almost well in fact. I figured he'd be totally fine by his party this coming Saturday (with the possible exception of a runny nose, which I expect to be practically permanent for the next several months).

Then I went to pick him up Monday from daycare. I happened to spot him peeking over the half-door in the infant room as I was on my way outside, thinking he would be with the other toddlers and two-year-olds. Odd, but the teacher said nothing to me when I picked him up out of the room. He was a little hot, but I didn't think much of it at the time. As I was walking out the front door, the director caught me. "Did she tell you he has a fever of 101?" NO! That would have been useful information, don't you think? The director said she was just looking up his file to call me to come get him. He has to be fever free for 24 hours before he can go back, so I knew he would be home at least Tuesday. I figured it was a 24-48 hour bug, and he'd be fine come Wednesday or Thursday. Little did I know!

He ran a fluctuating fever of 99-102 all of Tuesday and Wednesday. He clearly was tired and not feeling well, but I wasn't alarmed. Still, I felt it best to call to find out if and when he needed to be seen by the doctor. I called the nurse, and she said that 72 hours of an up and down fever was not uncommon, but if it went in to day 4, or if he started showing some other symptoms beyond fatigue and loss of appetite, I should call and make him an appointment. Good to know; we'll wait it out. By Wednesday evening, his temperature was normal and he was up and about playing for the first time in days, and I figured he'd be back to his tired-but-normal self by Thursday. Ha!

Thursday dawned, and he clearly was feeling poorly again, though his temp was only 99. He was also crying a lot, something he had not done to this point in the illness. I got him to eat a little breakfast (yes, I bribed him with Cookie Crisp), but he was clearly worse today than yesterday, which was odd considering the drop in temp. He only ate about 2/3 of the cereal, then started crying again. He cried most of the morning, actually. I could get him to stop briefly while we watched Finding Nemo and some of Empire Strikes Back, but it never lasted more than 20-30 minutes, and he would then cry for a good 15-20 minutes straight. He had also progressed from mearly being tired and lethargic to extremely listless. My gut told me to call the doctor, but I put it off for a bit to see if I could get him to sleep some. I know he didn't sleep well; maybe he's just really tired.

I let him sit with me in the recliner, and that helped, but he still started crying. After I changed his diaper (which he screamed through), he was just inconsolable. Then he climbed up onto the couch, curled up into a fetal position facing away from the television, and just started whimpering and moaning. I was totally alarmed! He has NEVER done that before in his life. I took his temp again, which was now reading 101.5, and immediately phoned the doctor's office. He was booked for an 11 AM appointment. That gave us just enough time to get dressed and get there.

He seemed to perk up quite a bit in the car. Maybe he was just really bored being home with me for 3 days? He seemed significantly better playing in the "sick waiting room" at the doctor's office (our first time ever in that room). Maybe I was over-reacting? As we waited to be called back, I noticed some redness and puffiness under his left eye. It had not been there yesterday, and with all the crying he had been doing all morning, his whole face was too red and puffy for me to see it before now. I'll just ask her about it when we get back there.

We were called back, and I ran down his symptoms with the nurse. She weighed him (30.5 lbs), but didn't measure his height (his 2 year check-up is Tuesday, so we can wait). Then she took his temp. Still 101.5. Okay, at least I'm not totally crazy. The doctor then comes in, and the very first thing she asks about is his eye. How long has it been this way? (Just today; it was fine yesterday.) How long has he had the fever? (Since Monday.) Has he had pink eye recently? (No.) She was clearly much more concerned about his eye than anything else. She listened to his chest, which sounded fine, then turned her attention to his ears. She checked his right ear first. "This ear looks perfect!" Yay! Then on to his left year. "And this ear is totally infected!" Joy. It is also his left eye that is pink and puffy, which is probably not a coincidence.

She said that the eye thing is called "pre-septal or orbital cellulitis," and it needs to be watched very carefully. The antibiotics she gave us are stronger than what she would normally give just for an ear infection to help with the eye as well. If he isn't better from the ear infection by the end of the weekend, we should come back Monday. But, if his eye gets any worse, AT ALL, we are to come back tomorrow. I'll admit, being the daughter of a medical professional, this alarmed me quite a bit. It is rare that you are given such a short window for "if symptoms continue," and her extreme concern of the eye over the ear/fever makes me very uncomfortable. I truly hope it does not come to that. She did say that we should see a remarkable improvement in how he feels by Saturday, but there is also a possibility that the ear infection will not respond to the antibiotic she prescribed (it never worked for me; I had to use something different), which means he will still be sick for his party come Saturday. I truly hope it will work for him. I'm not sure how much longer I can watch him feeling *this* bad.

Please send any good thoughts you can spare his way. This is the first time he's ever been really and truly sick, and neither of us is handling it very well.

Currently feeling: concerned and helpless