Monday, April 30, 2007

The most depressing day ever

I'm never going to find a job. Hours and hours of looking today, and nothing looks even vaguely acceptable. I've been reduced to tears more than once already. And please, don't fill the comment section with "you'll find one" type comments, because you just don't know that. I know too many people with far more to offer who have been looking for far too long to have any kind of faith in that. And after crunching the numbers this weekend, we are short $700 a month with all of our current bills on DH's salary alone. Every bit of that $700 (plus some) is accounted for in the form of Luke's daycare tuition, but it would totally break my heart to pull him out. He loves it so much, and I would totally lose my mind.

Currently feeling: trying not to be depressed

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Waycross fires

I haven't talked about it here, really, but the south Georgia wildfires that are currently making national news are very near where my grandfather and my MIL live. Schools in Ware County have been closed more days than not since they started, especially after the swamp caught on fire (peat moss fires are notoriously smokey). So far, neither of them have had to evacuate (the fire is still a fair way south of them), though MIL teaches school, so it will affect her work schedule. I don't know how many days they will have to make up. Even one county over, where my father teaches, has been closed a few days here and there. This news story is saying it is about 70% contained. If we could just get a little rain! So, if you have any rainy thoughts to send, they could sure use them.

Currently feeling: wishing for the wet stuff

Saturday, April 28, 2007


For the past few days, Luke has insisted on sitting on the potty. He just seemed to want to play, but that's fine. The fact that he is showing *any* interest is a step in the right direction. Well today, he asked to be on the potty three times, and twice he actually peed! Progress? Or coincidence? We shall see.

Currently feeling: surprised

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Can we forget today?

If it were not for the important info we learned today at Luke's speech evaluation, I would be perfectly happy to wipe today completely from my memory. It's just been one of those days. Nothing major or serious, but a zillion little things that have just totally worn me out. I am way too weary to recap the eval right now. It requires visual aids, and I'm just not up for it at the moment. Maybe tomorrow.

Currently feeling: frazzled

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Love Note to Shadow

I've been really good about keeping my digital scrapping babble confined to my scrapping blog since I started it. I have posted very few layouts here. If you want to see what I've been up to lately (admittedly not much) and find links to a great digital scrapping freebie (no affiliation), you can check out my scrapping blog here.

But, this layout was very important to me, even if it isn't the most artistic, so I wanted to put it here. I'm sure you'll understand why. The text of the layout is listed below the credits, since I know it is way too tiny to read on the picture.

A Love Note to Shadow
  • Font is Guttenberg MF
  • Everything except large swirl flourishes from Half Past Midnight by Misty Cato at Scrapbook Elements
  • Large swirl flourishes from Starting in Style by Misty Cato at Scrapbook-Bytes
  • Completed April 23, 2007
  • Journaling reads:

    "A Love Note to Shadow

    Dear Baby Girl,

    We had no idea we would lose you so early. You were with us for almost 9 years, our faithful companion, The Good Kitty. We saved you from the pet store in September after we got married. You were sick, though we didn't know it, and it took $1000 worth of care to save you. Your sister was sadly not so fortunate. We still miss Gypsy. I can't imagine how long we will miss you. You slept on our pillows, you climbed the Christmas tree. You got lost in the shadows your first night with us, earning your name. You ate an entire Arby's roast beef sandwich all by yourself when you were just a kitten. You faithfully served as a fantasy baseball GM, Wall Spirit Shaman, Dragon Ninja, and President of the Kitty Financial Committee. You took on two new kittens in your domain with virtually no protest, and you all became fast friends, though there was no denying that you were Queen Bee of the house, keeping both "the kittens" and the new Orange Kitty in check. Without you, Bengal and Tigger would never have accepted Cleo as a member of the team. You also paved the way for The Red Kitty's acceptance. You worried about him and guarded him as an infant, and you generally tolerated him as a toddler, even after he snatched your tail right out of mid-air during a jump. You sure loved your milk and your Blizzards, and your mind powers were amazing, because just by staring, you knew you would get at least a sip or a bite. I had never heard the term "pastel tortoise shell calico" before we had you. All we knew was that you were beautiful. Your bright green eyes, your tiny head, your cute little black nose, and your too-long tail that wrapped around your paws as you sat.

    Goodbye, Baby Girl. Thank you for being with us. We miss you terribly.

    With love always,
    Steve, Erin, Luke, Bengal, Tigger, and Cleo"

    Currently feeling: missing my gray kitty
  • Wednesday, April 18, 2007

    Good News, Bad News

    Good news: Luke's teacher at daycare, who vanished about a month ago with no explanation from the center, has returned. Apparently, she left to pursue other opportunities, but they didn't work out for some reason, so she's back. Luke's development has really slowed since she's been gone (they have a temp in there right now), and he really responded to her and her style of teaching, so we are absolutely thrilled to have her back!

    Bad news: My contract will officially not be renewed, though they may be able to see it through to its original end date of late August (still waiting to hear on that one). Have I mentioned how much I *hate* job hunting? ::sigh::

    Currently feeling: who knows

    Tuesday, April 17, 2007

    Officially unstitched

    This is going to be more of a bullet-type post than a real one. Sorry. Just been busy lately, and unusually tired. (Shalini, I haven't forgotten you! I'll try to email you before the end of the week.) Some things will be more fully expounded upon later, but these are the major events of late.
  • Luke officially got his stitches out today. The doctor seems pleased with his healing. He healed so well, in fact, that it scabbed completely over one of the stitches and she had to break it open to dig out the stitch. Yes, he cried this time, and I can't blame him. But only at the very end when she was really poking around in there. Still need to keep a band-aid on it for a week or so (she was impressed that I brought my own, and she had never seen a fingertip bandage before).
  • Parents were here this weekend. Won't see them again for six weeks. Not sure if we or they are more upset by this. But we did try a new recipe that was way yummy and embarrassingly simple: Cheesecake Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups! Will post full recipe with the April round-up. And congratulations to my parents on their weight loss! They've lost a total of 60+ pounds between the two of them. Since Christmas!
  • I had a great visit with Annette Sunday and Monday. She finally got to meet Luke. We also went to the Titanic exhibit here in town. I had been to this same exhibit already, but that was (mumble, mumble) 11 years ago, so they had all kinds of new stuff. Including "The Big Piece", which is truly breathtaking. I could have stood in that room looking at it for hours. More on this topic later, I promise. Also had lunch at Mary Mac's and ice cream at Zesto's. Yum!!
  • Seems like there were some other things, but they are escaping me at the moment. I'm just so behind right now, on work, emails, housework, blogs, scrapping, everything. I'm supposed to be job hunting, I'm supposed to be planning a baby shower, I have two other baby gifts that are terribly overdue and need to be mailed, I have cards that I did actually address last night but did not make it to the post office today (didn't want to wait in the tax day lines; a few are airmail). Having had three visits to the pediatrician's office in the last two weeks has not been good for my schedule, and we still have another scheduled doctor visit this month (speech evaluation).

    I just need to sleep for a couple of days! I'm sure that would help tremendously.
    Currently feeling: rather fatigued
  • Wednesday, April 11, 2007

    A stitch in time

    I actually have stitching to report on! Unfortunately, it is not the kind that involves fabric and floss. Nope, we're talking flesh and silk in this case, and not mine. Luke decided to follow in his uncle's footsteps and require his first (dare we hope only?) set of stitches at age two and a half.

    Do not read if you are squeamish! Got it? There will be graphic descriptions and a macro photograph at the end of stitches and a still-bleeding wound (as in "you can see his fingerprint ridge detail" type of close-up photo). I'm not kidding!

    I had just finished an Excel consultation with my now-former boss when the phone rang. I could tell from the number that it was the daycare center. Great, now what? He should not be running a fever, since he is being treated with antibiotics. It is possible he is throwing up or something. But I was not prepared for what she had to say.

    It seems that Luke "cut" his finger. No one really knows exactly what happened. The problem is that whenever it was that he hurt himself, he didn't cry, so the teacher didn't know there was anything wrong. They were having some free play time, where they are allowed to play in the different play areas without being directed in certain activities. The teacher was roaming from group to group, checking on the kids. When she got to Luke's group, she noticed a sizable puddle of blood on the floor (not a drop or two), so she started checking kids to see who was hurt. He had blood all over his shirt (but not on his pants; how that happened, I have no idea), and his finger was still actively bleeding. They got out the first aid kit, cleaned it a bit, and tried to stop the bleeding. After 10 minutes, it was *still* actively bleeding, so they called me. Granted, the fact that he isn't clotting doesn't necessarily mean anything, especially if he inherited my clotting ability (which is virtually non-existent) along with my looks. "It is pretty deep, and it looks like the flesh is bulging out of it. I'm pretty sure it will need stitches." Lovely.

    I call my boss, to explain the situation. She is a mother of three and a very firm believer in "family comes first," so all I had to say was that daycare had called and they think he needs stitches, and all she said "I'll be praying for you. Take care of him, and just give me and update when you get back or tomorrow. Now go!" and hung up on me! LOL Next call was to my mother. (Yes, I am a horrible wife. I called my mother before my husband.) I knew the injury was to the pad of his finger, but I didn't know if they could/would actually put stitches there, so I didn't want to sound like an idiot when I called the pediatrician's office. Mom (the registered nurse) said yes they could, so I called the pediatrician. Yes, I will call my husband, but I wanted to be able to tell him where we were going when I called! I didn't know if stitches were something they could do in the office, or if I just needed to take him on to the emergency room. Yes, depending on the injury, they did do stitches, so bring him in, they'll take a look, and decide where we need to be. It was now 10:50. We got a Noon appointment (they do not take walk-ins under any circumstances; if you walk in, you are given the next available appointment (whenever that may be), but they do reserve appointments each day for same day booking). Called DH on the way to daycare.

    When I arrived, the assistant director met me to explain what they theorized had happened. All they could figure is that he caught his finger on a split in the wood of one of the book cases, and when he tried to pull his finger away, it ripped the skin. They bandaged it up and put him in the three-year-old room where they were watching a video (instead of the two-year-old room where everyone was still playing). As soon as he saw me, he wanted to be picked up, which was about the only sign he showed that something was wrong (he is normally very adamant about NOT being carried). We checked out his bandage, but it seemed secure, and he did not seem bothered by it, so I just left it, even though I really wanted to see the wound for myself. She did say she was surprised that it had not bled through the gauze yet. As we headed out to the car, he didn't want to get in to the car himself, or even to be put down. He wanted me to pick him up and put him in the car seat, again a sign that there was something wrong. Besides that, though, he seemed just fine.

    It was 11:15. They were due to have lunch at daycare in 15 minutes, and being an idiot mom (hey, I was in a rush to get to my injured child!), I had left the diaper bag at home. It would only take 20 minutes or so to get to the doctor's office, so I knew I needed to kill a little time, and I definitely needed to get the boy a snack. Thankfully, his juice cup from this morning was still in the car (any juice he does not finish at breakfast, he gets to take with him to drink on the way), so we stopped at a gas station and grabbed him some juice and pretzels, while I had a Snickers and a Coke (I had not had anything at all to eat at this point).

    We arrived at the office at 11:50, and he was still clingy, insisting on sitting in my lap. I don't even think we waited 5 minutes before we were called back to a room. I explained what I knew of the situation and the daycare's explanation to the nurse, and she copied it all down in the chart. She looked at the bandage, and we noticed that blood was now showing on the gauze, a clear sign that it was still actively bleeding. She decided to leave the bandage on until the doctor came in. Well, actually, the nurse practitioner, which is fine. We like Leslie, and I think we've seen her more often than anyone else in the practice. Anyway, the nurse left us in the room with the fateful words of "Leslie will be right with you." It was high Noon. Leslie did not materialize until 45 minutes later!

    Aside: This is a huge peeve of mine. WHY did you take us out of the waiting room, where there are plenty of toys and distractions for him while we wait, and stick us in a room with a single toy and two books, where we were then expected to wait for almost an hour?! They did that to us at the ENT in March, only there were NO toys in the room, and it was not child-proofed (seeing as it is not a pediatric practice), and I worked my butt off to keep him out of all the drawers and cabinets and away from all of the shiny sharp metal objects that were easily within his reach (at the ENT). Yes, I understand that you don't really know how long it will be before we are seen, but you do know that each medical professional takes a break between patients to make notes in the chart and things. Why not wait until then to take us back?! I've worked in a doctor's office, and I more or less understand why they do what they do, but when I am on the patient end (or the parent of the patient end), it is really annoying! GRRR /end rant

    It was now over an hour past due for Luke's lunch and rapidly approaching his nap time. I feared an impending meltdown, but he did very well, and Leslie is really good with him. She took off the bandage, and I finally got my first look at the damage. As soon as the gauze was removed, the blood welled up in the wound. She dabbed at it with gauze (I can't tell you how much gauze we used!), trying to clean it up, but it kept oozing at a pretty steady rate. Still, we could see that the edges were very very raw, and the finger was quite swollen and puffy, more than just a slice, or even a rip, could account for. It ran from the very tip top of his finger (as in, you couldn't see the start of the wound if you held his palm facing you because it was on top of his finger) down the entire pad of his finger, almost half-way to his first knuckle; maybe 6-7 mm total. I couldn't help myself; I sucked in a huge breath and the word "wow" escaped my lips. I think this panicked Leslie into thinking I was about to faint (I wasn't, I just felt bad for him because it clearly had to hurt). I'm a nurse's daughter, I'm fine, though I did understand her concern, since even for nurses, it is different when it is your own kid (ask my mom). And admittedly, DH would have been a basketcase and may well have been in the floor by now. Had Luke been upset or acting like he was in pain, it would have been an entirely different matter! But since he was okay, I was okay.

    She irrigated with water, which helped enough to get a good look at it while the water was running. She said it looked like there was an actual chunk of flesh missing, and there was some serious bruising at the base of the wound. After flushing with water, you could also see two small slits in the skin at the base of the wound. They looked like paper cuts placed in a very wide V shape (130 degrees or so, by my guess). Her theory on what happened is that it looks more like he pinched it in something, and when he yanked out his finger, it took a chunk with it. That would account for the cuts, the bruising, and the extra swelling. I am going to ask to see "the scene of the crime" when I drop him off at daycare tomorrow to see if we might can figure out exactly what happened. I'm not upset (well, I am, but just that my child is hurt; it is not directed at them specifically), but I would like to find the cause so that maybe we can prevent it from happening to someone else's kid.

    Now, through all of this, Luke has not made a peep. Very stoic about the whole thing, in fact. At this point, with it still bleeding, she decided to have him soak it in some warm diluted betadine for a bit to thoroughly clean the wound and to help soften the edges (the wound was at least 2.5 hours old by this point, and though he was still bleeding, some clotting had taken effect). That he did not like, though all he did was immediately pull his hand out and whimper. The liquid was warm, like bathwater, but not hot. I wonder if just with the blood loss in the finger, it may have been cold, thus making the water feel hotter than it actually was. They cooled it a bit, and he did fine the second time around. I don't know if betadine has any affect on clotting, but after the soak, the bleeding did slow somewhat. She applied some pressure, which caused Luke to whimper again, but it did stop the bleeding long enough for her to get a good look at the edges. She said she wasn't sure if it could be stitched or not, so she would go find a doctor for a second opinion. In our many visits with her, it is the first time she has felt the need to call in a doctor. That scared me. (Admittedly, we mainly saw her for routine checks or ear infections, but still.)

    She comes back with Dr. Nunn, who just happens to be the same doctor we saw *last* week about the ear infection, so she checked out his ears while we were there (doing much better, BTW). Yes, she did think it could be stitched. Probably two stitches total. It needed a third at the top, but that is where the chunk was missing, so there was really no place to put it, but the other two stitches would help facilitate the healing of the top part. And they could do it in the office, IF they had all the stuff they needed. If not, we'd have to go to the ER. Oh, please no! We'll be waiting there for hours in a room with nothing to do and patients with higher priorities than us and staff who are not dedicated to the care of children. And it will be an additional $75 co-pay to boot (not including the $20 for the peds visit). And we still haven't eaten lunch! But fortune smiled on us, and they had the suture kit and the numbing agent, so we were all set.

    Except that the numbing agent takes 15-30 minutes to work. People, it is after 1 PM. Neither of us have eaten, it has already been a very trying day, and it is approaching nap time. But it is either that, or they will have to use injectable local anesthesia, which will take several needle jabs. ::sigh:: Can you put the stuff on, and then us go eat and come back in 20 minutes? No, guess not. So they got him all taped up (you soak a cotton ball in the topical solution and tape it to the site so it remains in contact), and we waited. Thankfully, they brought us several more books and a couple of (working) electronic toys to try and keep him entertained. He was just getting to the "I'm so tired, I'm rubbing my eyes and pulling my ears" phase (and I know he was starving) when they came back and declared it was time.

    We laid him down on the exam table (which he as never liked), with Dr. Nunn up by his head, a nurse at his torso, and me at the foot of the table. They took his hand and put it palm up by his head. The nurse used the hand closest to the table to hold his elbow, resting her elbow on his chest to keep him steady, and her other hand to hold his wrist. I laid over the end of the table on his legs and held his other hand. Everyone took a deep breath, and she started stitching. I was fine with the blood, but I don't think I could have watched her stitch him up. As it was, though, I couldn't see from my position even if I wanted to. Luke, however, watched her from start to finish, which almost unnerved her.

    Since she knew I could not see, she was kind enough to narrate what she was doing so I would know how things were progressing. When she very first stuck the needle in, he did scrunch his face and stick out his lip and his eyes filled with tears, like he was about to start crying. They had focused on making sure the main pad of his finger was numb, so it may not have covered as well at the base of the gash and still been a little tender. But we all reassured him that he was doing really well and being such a big boy, and he took in one huge shuddering breath, and didn't make another sound. She got two good stitches in, and that was that; we go back Tuesday to have them taken out.

    No one could believe how well he did, especially once they realized he's not even 3 yet. If you had told us everything that was going to happen to and be done to him today and tried to convince any of us that he wouldn't cry at all, we'd all have said you were nuts, but he did absolutely amazingly awesome. Everyone kept telling me he deserved a special treat, "maybe even a Happy Meal." You know he has to be doing something special when a *doctor* is recommending McDonald's for your child! LOL

    By the time we left, it was 2 PM. Two and a half hours past lunch, and an hour past the start of nap. I made a beeline for the closest Wendy's (he doesn't care for McDonalds, actually) and got him 10 nuggets to go. He ate six in the car, and the other four after we got home while I was making the phone call rounds to my husband, my boss, and my mother (yes, in that order; see, hubby is first sometimes). He even brought the empty container over to me and said "want more." Nearly broke my heart, but I never in a million years thought 10 nuggets wouldn't be enough. I placated him with a bag of marshmallows and Star Wars. By 2:30, he was rubbing his eyes, so I put him down for a nap, and he slept for almost two hours. He was practically hysterical when he woke up. I think he slept hard and was very groggy, and I'm sure the numbing agent had worn off by then so his finger probably hurt like heck. We doped him up with some Advil, turned on Ice Age (his favorite movie, at least this week), and let him cuddle as much as he wanted.

    And after all day of not making a peep about this thing, he pitched an absolute *fit* when I had to change his finger bandage before he went to bed. And as I suspected, DH swayed a bit when I got the bandage off and he took a good look. He turned pretty white, but he stayed upright. He's pretty upset about the whole thing now that he's seen the damage. "Mangled little nubbin" were his exact words, I believe. ::sigh:: I was, however, able to snap this quick photo of said mangled digit (using the spiffy macro setting on my camera) before applying the fresh bandage:

    Way way way more exciting than I ever would have predicted today to be. Can I please just have a normal calm boring week? Please? You know the illness/health concern section of the monthly round up I have started doing? I would *really* like to have a month where I only had one word to type there: none! Is that so much to ask?

    Currently feeling: so tired of doctors

    Tuesday, April 10, 2007

    March 2007 Round Up

    Monthly Round Up idea borrowed from Katie the Scrapbook Lady.

    Credit: Pinky Blinkies

    Guess I should post this before it is so late no one cares anymore. I actually typed it up on April 1 or 2, so everything would be fresh. I was waiting to finish my Disney report, but I still need to re-do the last entry. Here is something to entertain you in the meantime.

    March 2007 Round Up

    What books and/or magazines did I read this month?
    Did I even read this month? I don't think that I did. I flipped through a copy or two of Parenting magazine (free with KinderCare enrollment, which I didn't know until the first issue came in January). And the latest Kraft foods magazine. Even have the ingredients for a new recipe sitting in my refrigerator right now, but that will have to wait until next month since I haven't actually cooked it yet.

    Books? What are those? Sheesh! I know I toted around both Inkspell and The Devil Wears Prada to several places, but I never once opened either of them. I miss reading.

    What movies and/or tv shows did I watch this month?
    Um, uh, er.... no movies come to mind. (I should give up my Movie Muse title!) No, wait, I did re-watch a film I had not seen since its theatrical release back in the mid-1990s: The Nightmare Before Christmas. Wasn't impressed then, and while I can appreciate the technical skill and musical cleverness as an adult, I still don't care much for it now. Sorry to Kelli and Annette and the rest of you TNBC fans; it just doesn't do it for me. Just too Tim Burton-y, sorry. Though I did not realize that he did not direct it! That was a shock. He wrote and produced, but someone else directed (can't recall who off the top of my head; IMDb to the rescue: Henry Selick, who also directed nothing else I've ever heard of, besides Monkeybone which I would like to forget ever existed, and I've never even seen it).

    Television wise, we started watching Raines on NBC, with Jeff Goldblum. I absolutely love him, so I had to give it a shot. He is a Los Angeles homicide detective who converses with imaginary versions of the victims who change as he learns new details about the victim. It is really very interesting. The first episode was a little dark and stiff (it is a drama, not a comedy, though it does have its moments), but they are letting him and the show loosen up a bit as they figure out the right balance between serious and quirky, and the show is rapidly growing on us. And it has Linda Park in it, from Star Trek: Enterprise, so it's nice to see her in a different role. After three episodes, we set it to a series recording on the DVR, in hi-def even. Oooo, special. Besides that, just the usual.

    What special days did I celebrate and how?
    BIL's wedding! I now officially have a sister-in-law. My grandmother turned 74, and my grandfather turned 87. And one of my best bud's daughters turned 17, but I missed the boat on that one and owe her a gift (or at least a card!).

    What gifts did I give and/or receive?
    Well, a wedding gift, obviously. I sent cards and school photos of Luke to the grandparents for their birthdays, and Luke visited each of them (with Mom (we were at the wedding) for Este Mom's and with all of us (after Disney) for PaPaw's).

    Seems like I received something, but I cannot for the life of me think of what! Isn't that awful? Must keep better notes.

    What illnesses or health concerns did I have?
    DH was dreadfully sick the day before we left for the wedding. As in throwing up, in bed all day type sick. I think he only made it through by sheer force of will! (And a generous dose of all the OTC meds we could think of that might help.) Luke came down with it right after we got back from the wedding, so he was vomiting both at the very beginning and at the very end of the month (last Thursday, March 29). Just a couple of times on a single night each time, though, so not too terribly awful (but not exactly fun either).

    And then upon our return from Disney, spring officially "sprang" as the Yellow Haze descended upon Atlanta in the form of some of the highest pollen counts ever recorded. I don't have much in the way of allergies, but when the "extremely high" level is 120, and we're scoring counts of close to 6000 (not a typo: six thousand), most anyone will react to some extent, even me (and DH and Luke, who probably now has an ear infection because of it, but that will have to be in April's review).

    What fun things did I do with my friends and/or family?
    DISNEY!!! We took Luke to Walt Disney World. While technically his second trip, he was only 5 months old the first time, so I consider this his first "real" trip. All of the blog chapters of the story have plenty of pics, so I won't repeat them here.

    Oh, the wedding was fun, too. Can't forget that! I enjoy meeting new people and seeing my husband's extended family.

    We also took Luke for his first (again, first "real") trip to Georgia Tech (DH and I are both alums). We used some of their open green space to play a little ball, we wandered around the campus, then he became the third generation of Warren to eat at Zesto's! My parents used to go on dates there, DH and I frequented it often, my mother still begs to go there for ice cream when she is in town, and Luke is now quite the fan himself. A few pictures for you:

    What new foods, recipes or restaurants did I try this month?
    Well, we tried Cafe Luna in Raleigh, NC, by default, since that was the location of and catering for the wedding. I tried Carolina barbecue for the first time since I was a kid (it was okay, not great not bad), and had homemade from-scratch Italian Wedding Soup. YUM!! Um, I tried something new at Tony's this year, does that count? I usually just get the spaghetti, because it is so good, but I took a chance on the baked ziti this time. Not bad, but given the choice, I'll take spaghetti next time. Oh, and I actually *made* risotto all by myself. I watched my brother do it over Christmas (twice, actually), but this was the first time I personally attempted it. Should have let it cook a touch longer, I think, but it was quite yummy, even if I do say so myself.

    What special or unusual purchases did I make?
    Most Disney purchases are special and/or unusual. Light wand blinkies, blinky mouse ears, pins, t-shirts, etc. Nothing out of the ordinary for general Disney buying. We did finally buy an umbrella stroller, though Luke hardly used it. He just walks everywhere, so we've never had one before. Glad I didn't spend much on it, since he wasn't really interested in it. Oh, and Luke's adorable little backpack, though that was technically Mom's purchase at my suggestion.

    What were this month's disappointments?
    I found out my contract with AT&T will probably be ending two months early, though as of today, there may be new life on that one. We'll have to wait and see. We also found out that the first speech therapy appointment we could get for Luke was the last week of April. We actually learned this in late February, but I forgot to put it in that recap, so I'll stick it in here. Very frustrating.

    Most importantly, though, we lost our beloved Shadow very unexpectedly to kidney failure, which lead to multiple organ failure. She hid it from us until it was too late to do anything. We discovered it right after returning from Disney, and it really knocked all of us for quite a loop. I had never had to have an animal put to sleep before, and even though I know it was the best thing for her, it has still scarred my soul quite deeply.

    What were my accomplishments this month?
    Surviving! I think that was more than sufficient.

    Anything else noteworthy to record?
    Luke had his follow-up hearing appointment, and his hearing test was totally and completely NORMAL!! We are so thrilled, I cannot even begin to express it. He finally began truly using two-word phrases, he is picking up more and more words every week. And as of the very last few days of the month, we may be starting to make some potty training progress. He can (or should I say will) now tell us when he has a poopy diaper! Ah, the odd things only parents get excited about. What a way to end the round-up! LOL

    Monday, April 09, 2007

    It snowed on me!

    Yes, I know I still owe you the write-up of our last day at Disney: Atlanta Braves Spring Training. I actually had almost the whole entire thing written up late Wednesday night. I'd spent well over an hour on it, when IE glitched and shut down on me. I lost the whole thing, and I literally cried. I just haven't had the heart or the time to try again (I was sick in bed almost all day Saturday). I hope to get to it either tonight or tomorrow.

    In other news, it SNOWED on me today! ::checks calendar:: Yes, the calendar does indeed say April 9. ::checks GPS:: Yes, according to the satellites, I am still located in Atlanta, GA, USA. Not Atlanta, Michigan, or Atlanta, Illinois. And not Georgia as in the former Soviet Union. But there were indeed flurries the entire way to and from taking Luke to daycare this morning. Nothing stuck, of course, but still, it was a total shock to see it. It was 15 degrees *colder* here on Easter morning than it was Christmas morning. Seriously! BRRR!! They say it should be 80 by Friday. I sure hope so. This is ridiculous!
    Currently feeling: flurried

    Tuesday, April 03, 2007

    ACK!! I'm not ready!

    We interrupt this Disney trip recap to bring you two special news bulletins.

    #1: Luke has yet *another* ear infection. Was fussy this weekend, spiked a fever Monday, and was officially diagnosed and prescribed antibiotics this morning. Joy.

    But the real reason for this post in the midst of the Disney trip review:

    #2: Luke climbed out of his crib tonight! We didn't even know he could. And he did it almost silently. As in, we didn't know he was out of his crib until we heard him close his bedroom door behind him. It took a minute for what we had heard to sink in. Unless the cats have learned to open and close doors, there was only one explanation. He was standing at the top of the stairs by the time we got to them. He went back to bed without a fuss. I don't know if he just wanted to prove he could or what, but he definitely got our attention. I see a toddler bed and a baby gate for the top of the stairs in our near to immediate future. And let's hope it won't require a lock on the outside of the door.

    I'm not ready for him to have a big boy bed!!
    Currently feeling: overwhelmed

    Disney 2007 Trip Report, Chapter 6

    March 16, Part 2: The Return to The Magic Kingdom

    It rained and poured and thundered throughout nap time, but it had blown itself out by the time we were ready to leave again for the parks. It had also dropped the temperatures, which was a nice surprise. (Usually, rain in Florida just ups the humidity instead of altering the temps.) We didn't think there was much for Luke to do at Epcot, and we weren't sure if just walking around and looking at animals would be enough to entertain him at Animal Kingdom. That left us with a return to the Magic Kingdom for our last few hours at the Disney parks. Once again, we took the ferry across, but this time, there were not many people so Luke could easily get to one of the panels where he could see out. He looked so happy!

    It was also some time in here that emergency light saber surgery was necessary. For some reason, the mechanism that held the keychain part to the end of the light saber broke. I had each of his blinky toys on lanyards of some sort, both to keep them from getting lost if he dropped them, and to limit his reach with them (he can't stab someone with a light saber that is on an 18-inch lanyard unless they are really close). And being the particular child that he is, he was very distressed that it wasn't the way it was supposed to be. The lanyard itself was too large to fit through the hole on the end of the light saber, and none of the other links on the chain were thin enough to be opened without pliers. Come on, Erin, you're an engineer. Think! All we really needed was a large jump ring of some sort. And I remembered DH's keys. A few years ago for Christmas, my father gave DH a keychain where each key is on its own ring so it slips off the large ring easily, for things like when we get the car fixed and have to leave a key. So, we pulled off one of DH's less important keys, releived it of its ring, and used the ring to reattach the end of the light saber to the lanyard. Problem solved! Whew. And all before the end of the boat ride.

    We knew he liked trains, and since we were at the very front of the park, we hopped on the Disney Railroad right at the main station on Main Street. I thought it would be great fun for him, but I had forgotten how little there was to see on the train. Because they are so concerned about theming, and one theme not bleeding over into another, most of the train is shielded from the lands it is riding through by greenery. Guests in the park can't see the train, and and train riders can't see any of the park. There are a few "scenes" set up just to keep you from being bored out of your skull, but that's about it. We stayed on at Frontierland, and got off at Mickey's Toontown. Gee, what might we be doing there?

    The Barnstormer! We stood out front and watched it for a few minutes, as much to give my husband an idea of what it was like as to watch Luke's reaction. Luke seemed quite interested, and DH was looking a bit green. But DH was not about to be shown up by a 2 year old! LOL We had Luke officially measured at the entrance (he cleared by over three inches), and into line we went. The ride queue actually winds around the supports under the coaster itself, so you get a good view of the track and the vehicles. I was afraid the noise would bother or frighten him, but he did just fine. My husband and mother gave me the honor of riding with him for his very first ever roller coaster ride. I didn't know if he was going to cry, scream, or do what the rest of the Warren family coaster lovers do: laugh! Actually, cackle would be a more accurate term. We climbed in, pulled down the safety bar, and took off. And the cackling began! We both just laughed our way around the track, with the biggest grin I have ever seen on his face. Woo-hoo! Another coaster lover is born! Too bad that will be the only one he can ride for a few years to come, but still, the seed has been planted, and I can't wait to watch it grow as he does.

    We got back to the loading platform, and Luke pitched a fit! He absolutely did not want to get off. He screamed, he cried, he turned into "noodle pudding" (as my mom put it) falling down on the exit platform, and pointing to the ride vehicle while screaming "MINE!" Guess he really did like it. The line was still short, so we rode it again, this time letting Nana have her turn with him. And without even having to ask, they were put in the front seat. DH and I sat behind them, where I was able to get this! Be sure you have the sound on. Hear the high pitched squealing? That's Luke! (Sorry about the quality. It is much better on the real file than it is on this uploaded version, but what do you expect from a free service.)

    Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos

    Much screaming and crying ensued again as we got off the ride, and we realized it was past time to eat, so we headed on out of Toontown and over to The Starlight Cafe on the outskirts of Tomorrowland (you could see it from the entrance to Mickey's Toontown). We glanced at the Winnie the Pooh ride on the way by, but the wait was 45 minutes, and the Fast Passes were for after 9 PM. Guess we'll just have to pass on that one this trip. The Starlight Cafe is another place we tend to eat when we're at Disney. They have a nice selection of fast food type options, more than most counter service restaurants. And best of all at that moment, they have an animatronic alien music lounge show in one of the rooms to keep Luke entertained while Mom and I ordered. Burger with fries for DH, Luke got his own fries (and, yep, a granola bar), and Mom and I split half a rotisserie chicken with mashed potatoes. Yum!

    After this, we decided to let Luke just play for a bit. Sometime in the last couple of years, Disney built Pooh's Playful Spot (right on top of the old 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride, boo-hoo!), a soft foam play area designed specifically for those ages 2-5. There was another of those flat fountains (GRRR!! please stop putting those where my kid will find them!), but we kept him dry. They had honey pot tunnels to play in, a treehouse (he didn't show much interest in), and a slide which he loved. We'd done a lot of walking and waiting and riding in the last two days, but just not much playing, so we turned him loose and just let him burn off some energy in the fading sun.

    After all that playing, Luke was pretty thirsty. (Actually, I'm just looking for an excuse to put these two photos in here. I love them!)

    Our time at the Disney parks was also setting. How should we finish off our trip? How about another spin on Buzz Lightyear! The line was short, and the Fast Pass times were too late, so we just got in line. This time, we let him ride with his Nana, who in true magical-grandparent style, managed to get him off the ride without the slightest whimper or tear. How? They said and waved "bye" to Buzz during the last scene. "Bye Buzz!" And he got right off. If only we'd remembered it could be so easy, LOL! With no wait, as usual, we decided to end our trip with one more ride on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. As we toured Fantasyland, we waved bye to Disney, got off the ride, and left the park. Thank you, Mickey, for such a fantastic trip!

    We put Luke down to bed at the hotel, took showers, and then DH and I headed out to Downtown Disney for a little alone time. So where did we go? The movies? A nice restaurant? Nope. The toy shop! LOL (Well, and the pin shop. We're Disney pin collectors, though not hard-core.) This let us shop without light saber meltdowns and such. But we were good parents and picked up something for our son: a Buzz Lightyear doll. Excuse me, action figure. But our motives were not completely parental doting. We were going to hold it in reserve and smuggle it into the ballgame the next day, hoping it would buy us an inning or two once he got bored with the game. Jacob called while we were there, saying that he was almost there. We decided to just let him meet us at Downtown Disney instead of trying to explain to him how to get to the hotel. Steve went on back to the hotel to relieve Mom from babysitting duty, while I waited for Jacob. He picked me up, we wandered through The World of Disney briefly (picking up a thank you gift for Mom while we were there), and headed back to the hotel.

    Next will be the final installment of our trip: the Braves game!

    Monday, April 02, 2007

    Disney 2007 Trip Report, Chapter 5

    Anyone still need them?
    Chapter 1: Departure and Arrival
    Chapter 2: Downtown Disney
    Chapter 3: The Magic Kingdom, Part 1
    Chapter 4: The Magic Kingdom, Part 2

    March 16, Part 1: Disney/MGM Studios

    Friday morning unfolded much like Thursday: wake at 7, waffles, sunscreen, etc, except for two things. The first difference was that the weather forecast was showing rain from 9-11 AM or so. Great. I'm starting to have flashbacks from two years prior, where we were also spending the morning at MGM and the afternoon at the Magic Kingdom, and it rained the whole freakin' day. Not much fun for Mommy, Daddy, or 5-month Baby Luke. The second difference was that we were ahead of schedule. Normally, this would be a pleasant miracle, but getting to the park before it opened was going to be really boring for Luke. Especially since Mom and I were going to completely abandon Luke and DH for an hour or so to run over and ride the Rockin' Roller Coaster first thing. But once he was all sprayed with sunscreen, he wanted nothing more to do with cartoons. He grabbed his backpack and started fussing at the door. Guess we'll go on and figure out the rest later.

    We did pretty well. By the time we parked and walked and got through security, we had about 7 minutes until the park opened. I know, it doesn't seem like much to an adult, but it really is to a two-year-old. They were letting us in through the gates, but they had the street blocked off just where Hollywood and Vine split. Now, in their defense, they were running what they call "streetmosphere." They had a "director" up on one of those cranes with a camera and a megaphone, with his assistant, trying to entertain the crowd, I mean extras, as we prepared to "roll film" on a new movie. (I.E. They were trying to keep the guests happy until they decided to actually let us in.) And in one of the rare cases where being short is a great advantage, Mom and I (5' and 5'2", respectively) left Luke and DH (with his permission) and started slowly and carefully weaving our way through the crowd and up toward the front of the line. Being short, no one really noticed us. Finally, they shouted "ACTION!," and we were off to the races. Walking as quickly as we could without running, we made straight for the Rockin' Roller Coaster at the far end of the street. I think the wait was about 15 minutes, and at our request, we got to ride in the front seat! Mom hadn't done that before, though she said it ultimately didn't matter since she had her eyes closed. Silly woman! LOL

    So, the first part of our plan was fairly well executed, as far as Mom and I were concerned. We were totally exhilarated! DH, on the other hand, seemed rather frazzled. Apparently Luke was a little fussy, and there really wasn't much for him to do. He played on some of the steps, though, and was generally in a pretty good mood when we got there. Again, we had something of a "hit list" for the park: Rockin' Roller Coaster, the Villain Store, the Indiana Jones store, and the Star Wars store. There were other things on the "maybe" list, but those were the biggies. Yes, I know that three of the four things are shops; the year that I was pregnant (and thus could not ride the roller coaster), we still went to MGM, *just* to go shopping! But it was with a heavy heart that DH informed me that he had been in the Villain Store, and it was merely a shadow of its former glory. It was now almost entirely Jack Skellington and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Now, I realize that for several of my readers, this sounds like pure heaven! But alas, not for me. It is not a movie I care for very much. They had a little bit of Jack Sparrow, and just one or two other things, and that was it. Very little in the way of any of the classic animated villains, including my personal favorite, Maleficent. ::pout::

    So as not to repeat the mistake of Thursday, we now headed for the Commissary to have a morning snack. Getting there was interesting, because I always think it is one street sooner than it is. The first route we tried was about to dump us right at Star Tours, which we were not ready for yet. We wanted to hit that on our way out! So we had to backtrack, but we did eventually get there. Some water, some fruit snacks, and a granola bar for Luke, plus water and Cokes for the adults. I also went down to the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater to see if they had any lunch reservations still open. It is a restaurant that has booths that look like classic cars, all facing a huge movie screen, and it is very dim inside with the walls painted like a landscape. You'd swear you were at a drive in theater. And all the servers are on roller skates (seriously!). It is so cool! I figured Luke would love it. Watching cartoons while he eats, has to be good, right? They did have a few slots, right at 11 AM, which I thought would be perfect. And much to our delight, it still had not rained. Maybe we'll luck out after all?

    Well, we have some time to kill, now what? DH had wanted to try Luke with the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, but after checking the times, the first show wasn't until 11:30, which was not going to work. Another small disappointment for the day. We knew there wasn't a whole lot for Luke to do at MGM, but we were quickly realizing just how little. Hmm.... what might keep his attention? Maybe the Muppets? So we headed over to the Muppetvision 3D Theater. I didn't really think he would wear the 3D glasses, and I was right, but I knew he would get the gist of it, and it might keep him happy until it was time for lunch. We got there about 10 minutes before showtime, so we looked at the fountain for a while before we went in. The pre-show on the television monitors kept his attention moderately well, and he was just about to start fussing when we went inside the theater. We very intentionally sat at the very end of a row so that we could make a hasty exit, if need be, but it was unnecessary. He didn't want to wear his glasses really (the photo was a quick shot before he ripped them off his head), but he still seemed to think the movie and the animatronics were pretty nifty.

    Not quite time for lunch yet, so we killed some time on New York Street, where they have various facades (a hotel, an apartment building, a subway station, etc) and props out for you to enjoy. It kept Luke fairly entertained, though, which was the point.

    Finally, it is 11 AM. Time for lunch! We'll sit down, let Luke watch cartoons, relax, have some casual food (sandwiches and such), then see what we want to do. And this is where things all started to unravel a bit. Out in front of the Sci-Fi Dine In Theater, they have one of the classic car booths so you can see what they look like. Luke pitched a fit to get to play in it. Honey, we have 11 AM reservations, we need to go in. Nope, wouldn't get out. They have these cars inside! Come on inside! You get to sit in a car *and* watch cartoons. It will be fun! We got him out of the car out front, but he was not happy about it.

    When we entered the restaurant, though, his eyes lit up. Look at all the cars! We were seated, but he didn't want to sit in our designated car. He wanted to get up and run around and play in all the other cars. No, Luke, we have to sit in this car. "No!" Great. So we pick him up and take him out to the lobby, trying to calm him down and get him to agree to sit down. We tried *everything.* Granola bar, corn pops, fruit snacks, marshmallows, even M&Ms. We had Mom sitting in the car to try and get him to sit with her. No go. After three additional attempts, and him continuing to scream and cry and not sit in our booth, we gave up. Thankfully we had not ordered yet, and all of the cast members were reassuring us that it was fine, it happened all the time (I think they thought he was scared or something), and not to worry about it, but I was still quite embarrassed and irritated about the whole thing. I really thought it was something he would enjoy, and instead it was a miserable failure.

    There was a little area off to the right that had benches and everything, so we sat down there to try and get him calm and to figure out what we were going to do. DH and I got into an argument (about what, I can't even remember), which should have been a clue that we were all just tired and hungry. He and I virtually never fight, ever. I can count on two hands the number of fights we've ever had in the 12 years we've been together, and still have fingers left. We let it go, but I think we were both still angry (as in, if my mother had not been with us, I probably would have kicked him in the shin! but not with my mommy watching me).

    We agreed that the Backlot Express was probably now our best bet for lunch, but no matter what route we took to get there, we were going to encounter a major obstacle: Star Tours. Once Luke saw it, or even heard the music, it was going to be all over. So we just bit the bullet and went on. But first, we posed for pictures with the speeder bike. As we were going into the store, we passed the character greeting area, which was featuring a storm trouper, Boba Fett, and Darth Vader, but the line was already closed. I hated it, because I knew he would have loved it. They did say they were coming back. At 1 PM. No good. So we went on in, and Luke actually didn't fuss too much. Things actually went very well at the store, better than I would ever have guessed. He picked up a "Jedi Training Academy" light saber keychain (available only at Star Tours), we got him a shirt (that will be too big for him to wear for a couple of years to come, but it was too cute to pass up), I got a hat, and a few other this and thats. Did pretty well, though. The first photo isn't be best, but it shows off the light saber keychain pretty well.

    Finally made it to the Backlot Express, and we were thrilled to discover chicken nuggets on the menu. Not chicken tenders (he won't eat those; no, I can't explain it), but actual chicken nuggets. Thank goodness! Finally some protein Luke will eat. Ha! He wanted nothing to do with them. I tried one, and I thought they were pretty good, so I don't know what the problem was (besides that it wasn't Wendy's). He had a double helping of fries and a granola bar instead. If he didn't eat granola bars, I think he would have starved while we were there. So, it is now about 12:30, what do we want to do? Let's go see what the line looks like for the next Indiana Jones show. We walk outside and ran right into the rain! It had held off for us all morning, but it was now coming down at a fairly moderate pace. We stopped by the Indiana Jones store (which had nothing we either wanted or could afford), then headed on out of the park for our afternoon nap.

    Next up, our return to the Magic Kingdom, including the Barnstormer. There's even a video!