Friday, April 30, 2010

April 2010 Round Up

Click mosaic to biggify. Created using Big Huge Labs Mosaic Maker.

What books and/or magazines did I read this month?
Stared reading The Joy of Cooking, which was given to me by Annette 3 or 4 years ago (hard to remember now; ah, blog archives say April 2007). I've read all of the preface stuff and started flipping through recipes. Really want to learn to do something pretty basic, but no idea what yet. Also got to read another large chunk of Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade while waiting at the emergency vet.

What movies and/or tv shows did I watch this month?
* TV Time: Oh good heavens, nearly everything! Plus Law & Order: Criminal Intent and In Plain Sight have now returned as well. Love our shows, I really do, but I'm ready for June (when most new shows are over until fall). Remind me I said that when I'm complaining in August about having nothing to watch, okay?
* New Films: How to Train Your Dragon (cute, but too intense for Luke), Sense and Sensibility (didn't like it as much as I expected to)
* Old Favorites: A Beautiful Mind, The Breakfast Club, The Little Mermaid, Pixar Shorts, Atlantis, Bolt, Beauty and the Beast, Fried Green Tomatoes, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, The Rookie

What special days did I celebrate and how?
Both of my best buds have April birthdays, so I sent some cards. And we celebrated our niece's 2nd birthday and Easter with BIL and SIL and SIL's family, which was very nice.

What gifts did I give and/or receive?
Sent a bunch of photos (as in actual prints) to several different people, all of which seem to have been very much appreciated.

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?
I'm continuing on beta blocker for headache issue. Hope to come off it in a couple of months. Discovered that I've been having ophthalmic migraines for years without knowing they had a name! Nothing to worry about, apparently, it just never occurred to me they had a name.

What fun things did I do with my friends and/or family?
We went to the Renaissance Festival with Ginny, Justin, and Riley. We actually didn't see my family at all in April (I know!!).

What new foods, recipes or restaurants did I try this month?
I was looking for something a little different from "the usual" during a recent dinner out, so I tried the cream of chicken and wild rice soup at Panera. It was good, and I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it.

What special or unusual purchases did I make?
We now have tickets for Cirque du Soleil's Ovo, which will be Luke's first ever Cirque show, and my first one since well before he was born. (Dad actually paid for the tickets. Thanks, Dad!) I'm so excited! It has the added benefit of being one that no one in my family has ever seen.

In the general housewares department, we also bought some slimline tower fans my parents recommended for the house (trying to figure out how to keep it cool inside this summer without breaking the bank), and new towels for us (first new ones since we got married, I do believe). Also picked up some reusable shopping bags. Now if I can just remember to use them....

Does paying to have stuff removed count as a purchase? If so, then we had the very old rusty metal shed torn down in the back yard, and we had the fireplace cleaned and inspected. They'll come back to put a cap on the chimney and replace the damper in May.

What were this month's disappointments?
More work frustrations. Also a little disappointed in myself for not following through on a few personal things for me. I just need to do better.

What were my accomplishments this month?
101 Things: Working on it! See note about Cirque tickets (item 40). And with the half way point rapidly approaching, I have started actively working on current item 101 (have a new list of 101 things ready by day 1001). Quite a few items so far. Not sure if they'll all stay on the list (still 18-ish months before I need it), and several of the things I might not get to this round (craft items aren't looking good right now) will likely roll over. But, I figured I should start writing ideas down as they occur to me so I don't get to the end and have to scramble to get it done.

What were Luke's accomplishments this month?

Luke attended his first ever non-family birthday party for his best friend at daycare. They've been best buds for well over a year now, but they are now in separate Pre-K classes. I'm actually glad to have him in after school care just so they get to play together most days. I know he misses O terribly. I made friends with a couple of the other moms, which was very nice, too. I did find out that all four boys who were there will each be attending different schools next year. We'll have to work hard and stay in touch to keep the boys friends. We're already trying to set some play dates for this summer.

Luke also successfully tied a shoe for the first time! Took a lot of coaching, and he doesn't really "get it" yet, nor can he do it when the shoe is actually on his foot, but we're working on it. It's going to take lots and lots of practice, but it is really something I want him to be able to do before he starts Kindergarten.

We've had some behavior issues again. Part of it, I think, is just cabin fever/boredom. We were told back in December that they "didn't have anything else to teach him." Things did get better with him, interest wise, with his new teachers, but they've started waning again. Combine that with the appearance of his 6-year molars, and it's been a bit of a rough month. I had a long talk with his teacher, and she thinks he is a kinesthetic learner, which means he pretty much has to be moving in order to be able to pay attention and learn. It is similar to (and often goes hand in hand with) but is NOT the same as being ADD/ADHD. I've been doing a lot of research, and we're hoping he can learn to cope. The fear is that he will be "labeled" ADHD and won't ever be able to escape the label. I sure hope things start improving soon, both at school and at home. We're all very frustrated.

Anything else noteworthy to record?
Discovered we seem to have carpenter bees digging into the deck! Need to call the exterminators to find out what to do about it. We've been meaning to have the deck sealed, but it won't stop raining and/or being covered in pollen.

Monthly Round Up courtesy of Katie the Scrapbook Lady.
Currently feeling: rounded

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Festivals and Celebrations

We were a little busy on Sunday. We had plans with our friends the Zimmermans to attend the Georgia Renaissance Festival on Saturday, but the venue is completely outdoors and the weather was abysmal, so we pushed it off until Sunday. The weather was beautiful! We saw Barely Balanced first (sorry, no pics), then headed over to the joust:

After that, it was time to eat, and we let the boys romp around and play some. And yes, I insisted on a group shot (and I'm posting it, even though I look awful!).

Luke loves the Flights of Wonder show so much at Disney that I wanted to take him to see the Birds of Prey show at GARF. We wandered over that way to see what else there was to do, and we got caught by Maxx as he headed to teach his king-ordered chivalry class. (You may recognize Maxx from the first joust photo up there. He's the bad guy.) Even funnier, Luke remembers that word even now, though he says it more like "shiver-y." It was actually a joint class with Maxx and Mauldron, just to make sure Maxx behaves himself. Mauldron even came to sit with Luke and Riley for a moment!

The raptor show started immediately afterward, and we got to see four amazing birds: a hawk, an owl, a vulture, and a condor (yes, Darla, I thought of you immediately!). The condor was just huge, with a 10-foot wingspan.

After that, it was about time for us to leave for Sunday activity #2. Luke *really* wanted to ride something, though, and Ginny and Justin were kind enough to share their ride tickets with us. We weren't sure if Riley would want to ride, but he did fine with Luke with him. Looks like they're having a great time to me!

A photo from the parking lot (field), just in case you've never actually seen Georgia red clay. When we say red, we mean it! We all brought a change of shoes and socks so we didn't track it all over the car and into the next venue.

Sunday was also the day of Luke's first ever non-family member birthday party. He and O have been best friends for nearly 2 years now. We've never been able to work out a play date with him, and when they got split into separate Pre-K classes, I was afraid they would grow apart. But, they are both in after school care, so they get to see each other daily and are still great friends. O's mom was kind enough to invite Luke to the party (there were only a couple of other kids from school there, all from O's class), and I really felt that it was important for us to be there, so we shortened our GARF visit and made it on time to O's birthday party at Monkey Joe's (indoor venue full of inflatable bounce houses and slides). I only got a couple of (not very good) photos, but all 4 boys had an absolutely blast!

I also made friends with the moms of the other two boys, which was very nice. We were all very disappointed to learn that the boys will each be attending different elementary schools from each other, but we made it a point to exchange contact info and we hope to schedule some play dates over the summer. All in all, a very good day for everyone, even if we were exhausted by the end!

Currently feeling: chivalrous

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mommy, my teeth are broken

Yes, those words are about as heart-stopping as you would imagine when you hear them coming from your 5-year-old. He has been complaining of his teeth hurting on and off for a few weeks, but it was very intermittent, and I could not trace it to anything other than his "big teeth" shifting in his skull. He started saying his teeth were broken on Thursday, and again that they hurt. I ran my finger along each of his teeth, feeling for anything abnormally sharp, but found nothing. I decided to see if it continued over the weekend, and if it did so without any obvious cause, I would call the dentist on Monday.

Again Saturday night, before bed, he complained of his teeth hurting and that they were broken. He was sticking his finger in the back of his mouth trying to show me. I finally grabbed a flashlight and took a peek. Sure enough, I saw jagged tooth points sticking out of his gums, but they were so far below the level of the rest of his teeth that I did not notice them by touch during my previous check. I had a very brief moment of panic, until I realized they looked largely the same on both sides. Somewhere in the back of my brain, the phrase "6-year molars" floated to the surface. Google confirmed that there was such a thing, usually putting in an appearance between ages 5 & 7. Maybe that explains some of the general crankiness of late. It may also explain his restless sleep of late. His 2-year molars coming in nearly killed us all. He was *so* miserable! Hopefully a little Children's Motrin at night going forward will help until they have completely come in.

Currently feeling: toothy

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Friday Night at the Emergency Vet

I had plans for last night. They weren't exactly thrilling, but they were plans nonetheless. We had already been to the grocery store (for more than just critical essentials) for the first time in weeks, and we'd eaten dinner at Panera. On the way home, DH asked me what I wanted to do that evening. I wanted to watch Avatar, which we had purchased earlier in the week (on Blu-ray, of course). I did see it in the theater (3D IMAX, no less), and I did really enjoy it, but I was also terribly sick that day, and I wanted to see it again when I was at full capacity, so to speak.

After putting Luke to bed, DH went to our bedroom to change clothes. Normally, we keep our bedroom door closed to keep the cats out (they like to "pump" the bedding, which makes it look terrible with all the picks from their claws), but I decided to open our bedroom door before we left around 4:30 to try and help some air circulate in there because it was getting awfully stuffy. DH returned from our bedroom almost immediately, holding Luke's Disney balloon. I had put the balloon in our room because all of the cats like to chew on the ribbon. Clearly, I had forgotten it was in there, or I would never have left the door open. Sure enough, a large section of the ribbon was now missing. I'm guessing it's somewhere in the 3-6 feet (1-2 meters) range.

I knew from previous experience with a friend's cat that this can be very *very* bad. As it tries to move through the digestive tract, it can actually tangle up the intestines, which cuts off blood flow and causes the intestine to "die." If you can get the elongated item out of their system (i.e. make them throw it up) before they try and digest it, you don't have to worry about it. So we packed up all 3 cats, not knowing which one (or two or three) might have done it, and off I went to the emergency vet. This would be at least my third trip there in the last 10 years, which also meant I knew just how expensive this was likely to be. It's over $100 per animal just to be seen, not including any diagnostic tests or treatments.

They were much busier than I expected for 9 PM on a Friday. I first saw the doctor around 10:30, and we started with Bengal, the most likely culprit. (In fact, we took him to this same emergency vet when he was less than a year old for eating yarn. They did get him to throw that up way back then.) Apparently, making cats vomit is a rather difficult thing to do. I never would have guessed since we clean up cat vomit almost daily in the spring (hairballs), and at least weekly most other times of the year! Sheesh. And naturally, neither method worked on Bengal this time. So, we moved on to Cleo, the next most likely candidate. No go there either. I figured we may as well go ahead do Tigger while we were there, even though she was least likely to have done it. It actually worked on her, but no ribbon. That doesn't necessarily mean she didn't eat it, just that none came up.

Besides just "watch and wait," there was one additional possibility. They could do a barium contrast x-ray. Per the doctor, non-metallic ribbon rarely shows up on an x-ray. The barium would hopefully bind to the ribbon to make it visible. But all that would tell us was which of the cats had eaten ribbon, and remember, it still could have been all of them, so even if ribbon had shown on Bengal's barium contrast x-ray does not mean we wouldn't have to test the other two. Barium contrast studies cost about $500. Per cat! And not only that, but it still wouldn't tell us whether or not the ribbon might pass on its own, which is the preferred solution (if you can't get them to vomit it back up). So we would still have to "watch and wait," the only advantage would be knowing which cat(s) to watch. It is still possible that the ribbon is in small enough pieces not to cause a problem, but there's no way to know. There are likely still to be additional vet visits and possibly surgery if the ribbon doesn't pass without issue. I'd rather save the $1500 for that inevitability possibility.

I think I got home around 1:30 AM. Four hours and several hundred dollars later, and all I had to show for it was three groggy and grumpy cats who may yet still get very sick and/or not make it. Lovely way to spend a Friday evening.

Currently feeling: hoping things go well for the cats

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010

Happy Earth Day!

We are Family Emoticon by Ticu at Deviant Art. I was looking for an emoticon for Cheryl when I stumbled on this big one. Absolutely loved it, downloaded it immediately, but I had no idea what I would do with it. When I started this post today, I knew it would be perfect. Thanks, Cheryl! LOL

So how did I celebrate Earth Day today? By going shopping for the first time ever with a reusable bag! What can I say, I'm slow getting on the bandwagon. I also used a very special bag! This one was given to me by my friend Cyndi (the same one from Jacksonville a few weeks ago). I unfortunately had to miss their wedding a couple of years ago because I was feeling very sick that day. Cyndi and Matt are very environmentally conscious (he designs wind farms, for goodness sake!), so they gave out reusable bags as wedding favors. She still had some left, so she gave me one when I was there.

At the wedding, they had the bags rolled and stacked in baskets so they looked like flowers. Leave it to Cyndi to come up with something like that! See the flowers?

I had to pick up my prescription and a birthday party gift from Target today, so I took it with me. Here is an "action shot" of the bag in its intended habitat:

And a posed shot so you can actually see it well (all of the above are camera phone shots, which is why they're so crummy). It says "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

In an effort to try and be more environmentally conscious, I picked up some additional bags when I placed the order with Disney for Luke's Superhero Squad shirt from yesterday. They have several different designs, but these were the ones I liked best, plus the purchase of these two in particular also made a donation to a Disney conservation fund.

My biggest problem with most of the reusable bags is that they are so small. I'm not always buying small things. Sometimes a bigger bag is required. And that's when I found these. Not only do I love the design, look at how much bigger they are than the typical size reusable bags!

I have two each of all the Disney bags, all of which have stiff flat bottom inserts. Not only are they good for shopping, I think they'll be great for taking to the park or the beach and such. (No affiliation, just a happy customer.) Here's to more environmentally friendly shopping!

Currently feeling: it's in the bag!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Marvel-ous Mom

At Luke's daycare, they keep the younger and older after school kids separate until there are few enough left that a single teacher can handle them. I arrived just as the two classes were combining, and an older boy was admiring Luke's new shirt.

Luke has been playing the Superhero Squad game and watching the related cartoon for several weeks now, but he's still learning all of the characters' names. As I walked in the door to the classroom, the other boy was naming all of the ones on the shirt, but when he got to the one on the top right, Luke insisted it was Magneto (who wears a purple costume in the show, so I think that threw him off), even though the other boy correctly identified him as Wolverine. Luke turned around and saw me standing there. "Mommy, this is Magneto, right?" No, honey, that's Wolverine.

And the 8-year-old's mouth just fell open. "Moms aren't supposed to know who Marvel characters are!" LOL Well this mom sure does! So I then proceeded to name the other three. The look on the boy's face was priceless.

Currently feeling: super

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Blog Photos

I really enjoy blog posts with photos. It is nice to not only read about what is going on with someone, but to be able to see it as well. As both a blog reader and blog writer, I appreciate that long passages of text can be really boring from a visual perspective, though as with books, if the writing is engrossing enough, you won't miss the pictures (not that I always manage to be that engrossing! LOL).

Some bloggers post photos with every entry, which I find pretty amazing. Many of those blogs belong to amateur (or professional) photographers, or the theme of the blog makes it more prone to "needing" photos in every post, such as a scrapping or cooking blog. But there are some other bloggers that use stock images when they post, if they do not have any of their own photos to share. Now, I'm not knocking this practice. I will admit that many of the photos are beautiful or funny or otherwise entertaining.

So I guess my question is this: for posts where I would usually have only text, would you prefer that I go out looking for some stock photos to accompany the entries? Or is it okay with you for it to be just text? I'm thinking specifically of longer posts (like this one). I don't think anyone minds short bits of text going photo-less. I do consciously try not to go more than a few posts without photos, but sometimes, there just aren't photos to add, like the several consecutive posts about not closing on the house. I don't know, maybe I could have just posted more photos of the house? Since this is my personal blog, I feel like most of the photos should be mine (or borrowed/given to me, like Dad's shots of the gymnastics or Gina's from the birthday party). I do sometimes use images I did not take that are related directly to what I am posting about, like product photos from websites to show a recent purchase. I realize part of the solution is for me to take more pictures, but that wouldn't solve the problem of posts like this one. I guess I could use a stock photo of a camera or photographer in the process of taking a photo, or maybe an empty frame to "illustrate" the theme of no picture? I just think I would feel strange and almost dishonest posting some random picture on my blog *just* so it will have more than plain text.

Your thoughts? Would you prefer all lengthy posts to have images of some kind, even if they aren't mine or expressly related to the post? Or are you satisfied with blocks of text when there really is no relevant photo to post?

Currently feeling: ponderous

Friday, April 16, 2010

Chicken of the Sea: A Conversation With Luke

They just finished a health unit at school a few weeks ago, and ever since, Luke has been obsessed with "look how big my muscles are." This was his conversation with DH last night while getting changed for bed.

L: Daddy, Kitty wants some candy.
DH: Kitty doesn't need candy. Candy won't help you get big muscles.
L: Vegetables help me get big muscles?
DH: Yes, veggies help, and also meat.
L: I don't like meat, Daddy, I like chicken.
DH: Oh, okay.
L: And shrimp is a chicken, too!

Currently feeling: strong

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spring Has Sprung

Spring has finally come to Atlanta. Actually, it's been here for about 2 weeks. When we left for Easter weekend in North Carolina, we still had more "sticks" than trees in the neighborhood. By the time we came back, tiny new leaves were beginning to appear. So was all the pollen! We set a near record with a pollen count well over 5000 on April 7. Keep in mind that the top level of the pollen scale is 120, meaning anything above that is "extremely high." Uh-huh. Does that scale seem pretty much useless to anyone besides me, considering we routinely run a full order of magnitude higher than that? Want to see what a pollen count of over 5000 looks like?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, those are footprints in the pollen. Keep in mind that this is a well used parking lot, and this corner of it is driven on frequently. We did arrive a bit early that day, so not too many people had been driving on it yet that morning, but plenty of folks had driven on it the previous afternoon/evening while picking up their kids from daycare, so that is only about 12 hours worth of pollen. Yeah. Sure does make for a pretty yard, though, don't you think?

Currently feeling: bloomin' beautiful

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The 6-Day Headache

For about a week in mid-March, I had a headache. Unfortunately for me, headaches in general are not terribly rare. Having some sort of mild headache a few times a month, especially with all the stress and busy-ness of late, is something I have just learned to deal with. Generally, they only last a few hours and are easily knocked out with over the counter medication. Sometimes, they last all day, and even rarer still into the following day, requiring repeat doses of analgesics, but that's about it. (2-3 times a year, I come down with a full-blown migraine, but that is a whole different beast.)

Thus, when I developed a headache on Thursday, March 18, I didn't think much of it. Take something for it, move on. Thus ended Day 1. Day 2 dawned, and my head still hurt. I think I even made mention of it on Twitter. I knew hormones were likely involved (I had started my "off week" of pills a day or two before), so I wasn't too troubled about it, except that the medicine started wearing off sooner than it should have. Day 3 was Saturday, and my grandfather's birthday party. I took two doses of Excedrin that day, back to back, as the closest interval the package recommended, something I never do because the caffeine gives me the shakes, but I was determined not to hurt the whole day. Once I dropped the Excedrin for Day 4, the pain was constant. It would get better or worse depending on what I took for it, but it was always there. Day 5 was Monday, and work was crazy. Yes, my head hurt all day, but I did not have time at the time to go to the doctor. I had decided that if it still hurt on Tuesday (that would have been Day 6), I would call the doctor.

Well, lo and behold, I was headache free nearly all day Tuesday. I figured the problem had corrected itself. Maybe it was all the traveling. Maybe it was the change in altitude going from Atlanta (about 1000 feet (305 m) above sea level to technically below sea level at my parents' house). Maybe it was the start of allergy season. (I had also restarted my active pills, so maybe that was it.) Who knows! All that mattered to me at the time was that I didn't hurt for the first time in days. As I went to bed, tired from travel and work, I could feel some tension in my head/scalp, but I tried to ignore it. All I need to do is sleep, and all would be well.

Or not. I woke up Wednesday morning with my head hurting just as badly as it had been, and the longer I was awake, the worse the pain got. Up until this point, I had been running somewhere in the 1-4 range on the pain scale (1 being mild discomfort, and 10 being the worst pain you can imagine (and remember, I've had kidney stones, so I truly comprehend a *real* 10! LOL)). By 10 AM, I was up to about a 6, and pain meds were barely taking the edge off. I had now officially had a headache for 6 of the last 7 days. I called the doctor's office to see if my usual medical professional (actually the physician's assistant I've been seeing for 7 or 8 years now) had any slots available for that day or the next day. Apparently, "6-day headache" is the magic password to get you fit in before lunch!

Now, here is where being the daughter of a medical professional can get you into trouble. I knew just enough to have myself very slightly concerned. Not worried, really, but I knew a whole lot more of the possible causes than the typical layman off the street. It could have been a tumor, aneurysm, clot, some type of encephalitis (swelling of the brain), lupus (thanks, Mom, for telling me about a friend's son who was diagnosed with that due to chronic headaches (and other symptoms) just the weekend before), or any one of a bunch of other things. Now, I also knew enough (or knew how to google enough) to know that I didn't think I was showing any of the other classic symptoms of any of those possibilities, but there was still this niggling feeling that it could be something *really* bad, especially when this was so very abnormal for me.

Naturally, the PA asked me a zillion questions, which I expected. As silly as it sounds, she thankfully came to the conclusion that the only thing she could diagnose me with was a headache. There were no other symptoms of any kind that pointed to anything other than a stubborn headache. Now, my blood pressure was up, but that was a "chicken and egg" type problem. Did my head hurt because my blood pressure was high? Or was my blood pressure high because I was in so much pain? There was really no way to know. After consulting with one of the doctors (that's only the second or third time in the 7-8 years I've been seeing her that she has done that, which did alarm me slightly), they decided I was likely caught in some sort of headache cycle. It could also be morphing into a rebound headache where, after taking OTC meds for several days, taking more pain meds actually start to *cause* the headache. They started me on a beta blocker to see if that would break the cycle, and told me to take only Tylenol (no NSAIDs, like Advil, my usual pain med of choice) if I really felt I could not cope with the pain. But they did allow me to go on my trip to Jacksonville (as you saw) as long as I promised to go immediately to the ER if the pain came on suddenly.

It took about 3 days for the pain to fully go away, but I am happy to report that I have had only 2 headaches since then. Both have been mild, only one required use of Tylenol, and it responded immediately to a single dose. They were also much more "normal" headaches, if that makes any sense. I had also been told to watch out for *anything* unusual, especially if it was brain related, and I did end up with two things to report. Nearly every day, I would wake up with very clear memories of that night's dream. Now, remembering my dreams is not necessarily odd in and of itself. I remember them probably 3-4 times a month. But ever since I started the beta blocker, I was remembering them 4 out of 5 nights! Definitely brain related, and definitely unusual for me. They also aren't very restful, varying from simply strange to truly frightening. I don't feel exhausted, really, but just very slightly tired when I wake up. The other thing is that I have had a dramatic increase in the occurrence of ophthalmic migraines. Now, I didn't even know that's what they were called until I talked to my mom last night. I've been having the symptoms ever since I was a teenager, but it's only 2-3 times a year, they go away in less than an hour, they aren't painful, so I'd never bothered to ask about them. But since starting the beta blocker, I've had them about once a week, and one day, I had 3 or 4 back to back. As soon as one would clear (I have the kind that enlarges, like the graphic in the link, except that mine are crescent shaped and they flicker), the next one would start. So strange!

So, I had my follow-up with the PA yesterday, and she has decided to leave me on the beta blocker for a couple more months, but if I continue to have no further issues, she hopes to take me off of it at that point. She is also going to run the symptoms by a neurologist. That statement certainly got my attention! She doesn't think there is anything wrong, but she wants to make sure that it is just my brain reacting to the altered blood flow caused by the medication that is causing the dreams and the increased ophthalmic migraines, and that those symptoms combined with the previous headache don't set off alarm bells of something obscure for the neurologist. Better to ask and be officially told there is nothing wrong than to start having symptoms later and find out we should have mentioned it before. I should hear back from that in the next few days. Either the neuro will say there's nothing to worry about, or I'll be referred. And assuming all is well, I should be able to come off the beta blocker sometime in June. Wish me luck!

Currently feeling: seeing strange things

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Patterns: A Conversation With Luke

In the car Wednesday morning, on the way to school.

Luke: Mommy, what's for dinner tonight?
Me: I'm not sure, why? What do you want?
Luke: I want pizza!
Me: We just had pizza Monday for dinner.
Luke: I know. It will be a patterin [sounds similar to splattering].
Me: A what?
Luke: A patterin. Like chicken, pizza, chicken, pizza....

(And yes, we had chicken for dinner Tuesday night.)

Currently feeling: hungry

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Blog vs Facebook vs Twitter

I've been mulling over this topic for quite some time. I've seen some discussion of this in various places, particularly on the bulletin board I frequent. There was some talk a while ago that Twitter and Facebook seem to be "luring" people away from the boards, and based on anecdotal evidence, that is hard to argue with. I also recall a comment left somewhere on my blog (I recall by who, but not on which post) teasing me to remember to keep the blog updated in addition to Twitter and Facebook, since she only keeps up with me here. For me, my blog, Facebook, and Twitter (and the boards, to some extent) all provide different outlets for different audiences, and I use them for different reasons and purposes.

My blog, as you may have noticed, is used largely for in depth reporting. For better or for worse, you get much more detail on my blog than you do via any other means (except perhaps speaking with me in person). This blog also gets more photos than anywhere else. I use it largely as a chronicle of what is going on with us, mostly for the big things, but sometimes for the small things (when I have the time, which hasn't been much lately).

Twitter, on the other hand, is for whatever is passing through my head at any given moment. Consequently, my "tweeps" (people who follow me on Twitter) end up hearing a lot more of my ranting! LOL When I get annoyed about something, I will frequently pop off on Twitter about it. Sometimes it is big things, but more often, it is about small, random, and ultimately inconsequential things. Twitter does get more links to things I find interesting, though. That's hard to do when I have to sit down and make a whole blog post, but on Twitter, I can just say "hey, check out this cool link," and be done with it. Twitter does get the occasional photo, but again, they are either just random and mundane, or they are important enough to end up in a blog post a few hours (or days, possibly weeks) later.

Facebook is somewhere in between, though I have not been on it nearly as frequently in the last few months as I had been. I use that mainly to keep up with what is going on in friends' lives who don't have blogs. I try to also keep them up to date on what I'm doing. They are more prone to getting photos of "big things" earlier than the blog does, but the blog gets more photos once I finally get around to posting about whatever the event was.

So there you go, my general uses for the three formats. (The boards, for those wondering where they fit in, are really where I go to hang out and just "chat" with friends.) This is the place to find all the big news, even if it is sometimes days or weeks late. Facebook is the place to get more immediate "headlines" of big news, but they don't get all the details (or all the pictures). Twitter is where to look if you want some sort of inside view of my random daily thoughts, as scary as that may be! A rolling list of my most recent 3 tweets are also posted to the sidebar of my blog (assuming the link is working), so if you don't use Twitter but want to see "the latest" from me, you can always just pop by the blog and check it out.

As I mentioned, there is a good bit of overlap between the groups who "follow me" on each platform. Most of my Twitter followers are friends from the boards, plus a few IRL (in real life) friends. Many of my Facebook friends are IRL friends who neither follow me on Twitter nor read my blog. There are a good number of board folks there as well, but most are people I have met in person. My blog readers tend to be my closest friends and family, those who really want to know the details of what I'm up to (and who must genuinely love me to read some of the very long posts I write! LOL).

Years ago when I started this little blogging adventure, I was mainly using it to keep family and friends informed of what was going on with us, knowing that a baby was likely to be entering the picture in the not too distant future. In fact, I gave birth almost a year to the day after I started blogging. After that, it served a dual purpose: to keep family and friends informed about Luke, and to record Luke's development for my own uses. I've said several times that I was never really able to keep a journal before, but for some reason, I have stuck with blogging for over 6 years now, and I still love it. For a brief moment in high school, I wanted to be a writer. I can't say that I'm a very good one, but I still enjoy it (obviously), and this blog is about my only outlet for it. So thank you to all of you who read it! It really is nice to know I'm not just talking to myself.

Currently feeling: yappy

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Two Years, Plus Easter

Happy second birthday to our niece! We had the honor of attending her birthday party this past weekend. I didn't realize it had been over 2 years since we had been to North Carolina to visit with DH's brother and his wife. We've seen N since then, but both times were at Luke's birthday parties here (Oct 2008/2009). Of course, when they planned her party, they didn't realize it was also Easter weekend, but that's okay; it actually worked out great. That weekend was the "overlap" weekend between my father's spring break (week before Easter) and Luke's (week after Easter). We'd been trying to work out a way to meet my parents somewhere for the weekend, but we never could make anything fit. Now we know why: we were meant to be somewhere else!

Jennifer (my sister-in-law) has two older sisters who both live nearby, as do her parents, plus some friends attended as well, so it was quite the full house. Everyone is just as nice as they can be, though, and it is always a pleasure to see them. I've even borrowed some of Jennifer's sister Gina's photos for this post (hers are the properly exposed ones! LOL). Here is the birthday girl, looking all coy and adorable outside:

The party theme was Wow, Wow, Wubbzy! We're a Disney Channel family, so all this Nick Jr stuff was new to us, but N clearly new who was on her cake.

In fact, everything was going great, until we started singing "Happy Birthday." Gina caught the deterioration with her camera:

I don't know if we scared her or what. (I don't think our singing was *that* bad.) I actually wondered if it was everyone standing away from her, leaving her alone in the chair, but it was Jennifer's other sister Laurie's birthday that weekend as well, and N also cried when we sang to her on Sunday, so it had to be the singing specifically. Poor N! She did eat come cake, though (unlike some children), and perked up when it was present time.

N is Luke's only cousin at the moment. As you can see, Jennifer is expecting cousin #2 in a few weeks, and we are all excited to meet our second niece sometime in late April or early May. But that didn't stop Gina's older daughter from adopting Luke into the family. He and S had a great time playing together, and I know Luke was exhausted both Saturday and Sunday nights.

In fact, all of the kids were exhausted by the time the party was over. Jennifer's family departed, and we returned to the hotel so that N (and L, and we!) could nap. We returned to Mike and Jennifer's house later that evening for dinner and egg dying, something neither N (obviously) or Luke (bad mom!) had ever done before.

After drawing on the eggs with the wax, they were ready to take the plunge!

Here is a close-up of Luke's first egg:

And all of the dyed eggs, which I think turned out just beautifully!

We intended to let the eggs dry overnight, then photograph the kids with them Sunday morning, but we never got to it. We checked out of the hotel and headed to Mike and Jennifer's house, where we gave Luke his basket that I had prepared the night before (and also forgot to photograph). He was most excited about the Spider-Man eggs! LOL He also got a small die cast car, a very bouncy ball, and a LEGO Star Wars watch (photos taken afterward, at home):

I had actually seen the watch on the Star Wars website many moons ago, but they didn't have the pre-orders available to ship until after April 1, which wouldn't work for Easter. I was so bummed! Then DH and Luke stumbled on them for sale at Toys 'R Us several weeks ago, and Luke has been practically *begging* for one ever since, not knowing that we had already bought it for him and were holding it for his basket. He would mention it every day or two, including in the car on the way to North Carolina. "Daddy, can we got to the toy store while we're gone? I still don't have a LEGO Star Wars watch." Luke, you will get a LEGO watch, I promise!

Mike and Jennifer were kind enough to get him a basket as well, even though I had told them I would be bringing one (I'm sure they wanted to have one, just in case I forgot). It was shaped like a Star Wars clone trooper helmet, and it was just too cute! We had also been invited to Gina's house to join Jennifer's family for Easter dinner, which was so very nice, and given what fabulous cooks Jennifer's whole family is (YUM!), we would have been fools to say no. They, too, had Easter baskets and stuffed animals for all of the kids, including Luke! He may have made out better with the Easter Bunny than he did with Santa last year. Check it out:

Yeah, I think the smug grin says it all. From left to right, the blue bunny and the dinosaur eggs (behind the clone trooper basket) were from Jennifer's parents; the clone trooper basket was from Mike and Jennifer; the wrapped basket was from Gina's family; the purple bucket was from his egg hunt at school the previous Friday; and the basket from us on the end.

Alas, we had to leave soon after we cut Laurie's birthday cake. As you all know by now, we had been out of town 4 of the last 5 weekends, and each trip was very long, though the path to North Carolina was the longest. We decided to leave Sunday night and head half-way home, then finish up the journey on Monday (neither DH nor I had the day off as a holiday, but we both took the day off anyway). But it was absolutely worth the trip to celebrate the birthday of our most favorite niece and to spend time with them. We see them all too rarely.

We had decided to stop at Charlotte on the way back. On a whim, I texted my friend Melissa (board folks know her best as melissawow or Ursula's mom) Friday night as we passed through to see if she and Ursula might be available for breakfast Monday morning. I knew the likelihood of both them being available and them being close enough to the interstate to make this work was slim, but sure enough, I received an affirmative reply to both queries. Melissa and I have been online friends for probably 10 years now (WOW!), and we've met only once, before either of us had children. Given that Ursula will be 7 in July, that means a minimum of 8 years had passed since we saw each other. I'd really like it not to be another 8 years before we do so again!

So, a most excellent Easter weekend for us! I hope your weekend was equally wonderful.

Currently feeling: hippity-hoppity