Saturday, May 30, 2015

Avengers Training Camp

Guys, I made a thing. It was an awesome thing and so much fun happened. So much love from friends and beauty in the day and there was happiness and joy and all of it was to celebrate my little baby boy turning 5!
I can not believe he is 5 now! It sounds cliche to say, but it really seems like just yesterday I was bringing home this little guy and was so scared and looked at the world and felt like it was nowhere near good enough to have this little child in it. And now he has made the world better just by being a part of it. He has made friends and learned so much and its all still SO brand new and amazing.

Today we celebrated his day by hosting Avengers Training Camp.

For snacks we had Hulk SPLASH! Punch, Thor's Hammer Cheese on a Pretzel, Hulk colored grapes and not Avengers related, but Nana Judy's Special Birthday Cookies. She has been making these for 18 years now for 6 grand children and great nephew's and niece's birthdays. It is just a simple sugar cookie recipe, but something about it is just perfect. This year I didn't even get to eat a single one before they all got munched!!!! We also did some hot dogs on the grill but I couldn't think of an Avengers theme to those, so they were just hot dogs.

I made the cake myself. I am a big believer in home made cakes, but I want to make them awesome too, so I had to learn. I am still learning and its far from perfect, but as the kids grow so will my skills (I Hope!). He really wanted Spiderman included, so I made it work even though there was no room on top for him.

The games were Captain America's Shield Bean Bag Toss. Yes I made the bean bags, I tried gluing the stars and stripe to the red and blue parts and it was a no go so I stayed up late last night sewing the parts back on. We nailed (yes nails, they hold the plate down and come up easy enough) paper plates into the lawn with the score, but no one was keeping score for real of course!

My husband and I have been hoarding the boxes we buy milk in (2 gallons at a time so it comes in a box) and we taped the handles shut and 4 (!!!) cans of spray paint later we had bricks for the Mjölnir throw. It was this game that was the biggest hit, the kids seemed to really enjoy smashing down the wall of "bricks"

 We also did a fun event of Hulk Smash Balloon Pop. It was fun watching the younger kids try to pop the balloons and most of the bigger kids bit theirs. 

Then we had a mask making table, but the glitter glue didn't dry in time, so many masks were left behind.... I felt a bit sad about this and if I had to do it again I would use metallic sharpies instead of glitter glue. Also, these plastic masks from Michael's craft stores were pretty gross to wear because of the sweat they held against the skin.... if I had thought about it sooner I would have bought some cardboard ones online before the party. But the big bowl of shape stickers were a big hit and easy to put on the plastic mask, plus now I have a bunch of leftovers for craft projects this summer.

Of course we ended with cake and gifts and lots of thank you's. 

I had a box of sticker books and little craft projects to do that came from the bins at Target or the clearance section of Fred Meyer and some of the little dry towels crammed into a little square that you put in the bath tub to make them big. Each kiddo got to pick a couple of toys to take home with them. I don't really do the cheapo goodie bag crap, I wanted it to be something they could enjoy and it didn't have to be Avengers themed since I wanted each kiddo to feel like they got something THEY wanted, so we had everything from Avengers stationary sets to Frozen word search games to packs of mini glo sticks. 

We saved the gifts from family members who couldn't be here for Liam to open on his actual birthday so that they would have their own special time for him to enjoy them. 

All in all, it was an AWESOME day.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Mason Jar Cozy!!

I have been loving the Melita coffee maker my husband got me for Christmas, but pouring boiling water through the coffee grounds to brew it sure does make some HOT coffee. So I've been brewing it into a quart sized mason jar so it cools faster than in an insulated cup (did I mention that I LOVE coffee), but this is a rather large vessel now filled with nearly boiling hot liquid. I was having to use a hot pad to move it to my desk so I could sit and knit and sip my super hot coffee.

I decided that I wanted to make a mason jar cozy.  I wrote it up just in case anyone else felt like making themselves one.

Without further ado, here it is.

Mason Jar Cozy (fits Quart size jars)
Yarn: Peaches and Cream Cotton
Needles U.S. #8 (5mm) circular needles (yes you can use DPN's if you like them better)
Gauge: not super important, but I did knit it pretty tight. 

Cast on 36 stitches and join to work in the round, place a marker before the first stitch if you need the help remembering where the beginning is.

Round 1-3 Knit all rounds

Round 4 *K1, P1* repeat until the end of the round
Round 5 *P1, K1* repeat until the end of the round
Round 6 *K1, P1* repeat until the end of the round
Round 7 *P1, K1* repeat until the end of the round

Round  8-13  Knit all rounds

Round 14 purl all stitches
Round 15 *yo, k2tog*  repeat to end of row
Round 16 purl all stitches

Round 17 - 38 Knit all rounds

Round 39 *k2, k2tog* repeat to end

Round 40 Knit all stitches

Round 41 *k1, k2tog* repeat until the end

Round 42 Knit all stitches

Round 43 k2tog, k2tog, k2tog, k2tog, k1

Cut yarn with enough length to thread through the 5 stitches. Draw them to a close and fasten off.

Weave in your ends, and them go put your cozy on a nice big mason jar and fill it with something hot and yummy!


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sick of the Sick

I've been losing my mind. Liam is sick, what I thought was just a cold has turned into a double ear infection and pink eye in both eyes. The antibiotics have made him feel good enough that he now is feeling well enough to be bored, but not well enough to resume things like running wild or going out in public. Mostly because I am still worried about his eyes being contagious and if I saw a kid with gooey eyes at a park I would have to go home and dip my kids into a vat of Purell because NO ONE wants to get this shit. But his boredom has turned him into a little whine beast who is giving me attitude like I would expect from a 14 year old followed by a need for some massive snuggles. Of course, I don't mind all the snuggles.

T.V., my beloved standby for sick days and Mommy Needs 30 Minutes of Peace is no longer a viable option. The only shows desired right now are Transformers Rescue Bots and My Little Pony. While I love Heatwave and Twilight Sparkle, watching all the seasons of both shows in the last 5 days has left me a little weary of both shows. The kids are equally as bored of the shows but not willing to try anything new. Netflix has a show based on King Julian from Madagascar and one of Puss in Boots from Shrek that I would love to check out, but not enough to watch them on my own. Both shows have been met with "But I HATE that show!!!" followed by me trying to be calm and saying "You've never seen it, how do you know?" and their insistence of needing BowBots (Robots, translated as Rescue Bots) or "Ponies!" So I put those shows on, and in 10 minutes both kids are bored and have moved on to torturing each other, decimating a muffin and throwing the crumbs on the floor, jumping on the couch and smacking into each other, or yelling in the dogs face.

Equally as boring are books, drawing, any of the 50 million toys they have, going for a walk or doing anything that doesn't involve something that requires me to monitor them with at least 95% attention.

I wrote up a list of fun things to do with the kids, but most of these are messy and require me to actually remove the laundry pile/legos/my work from the kitchen table to give them a place to work at being messy. Add to that their uncanny ability to take anything colorful and fun and turn it into brown puddles of paint or an argument between them over who gets to use a certain color, and I am just kind of over it.

I just don't have the energy right now. I've been thinking I have a thyroid issue and need to go pester my doctor to do some more tests, or it might just be the sleep deprivation from Evie's little routine of popping up 20 times a night and then coming into the bed at 3am to toss and turn and kick me in the face for two hours and then try to get everyone up at 5am unless put back to sleep with a bottle of milk.

Sometimes, I wish my children were the kind who could do a project without getting messy in ways I didn't even consider when taking my precautions to keep the mess contained. Or were the kind who could be content playing with their toys for even a few moments. I do love them, but my children are the kind who need to be spilled out into the wilds of the back yard or let loose in the park. They are free range kids who do best when given the freedom to be a little crazy. Our house just isn't big enough for that! Our winters are so wet and cold and muddy, it almost makes me miss California. Almost.

Spring can not get here fast enough! Or the end of this cold. Whatever comes first.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Dirt Fairy and the Quest for Sleep

Evie was three months old when the symptoms started. Tossing and turning, waking frequently, snoring, fighting sleep, needing help to get to sleep.

At first, we thought it was just her being an infant. But by 6 months she was addicted to a bouncy chair and waking 20-25 times a night, I knew there was a problem.

Sadly, her doctor did not agree. Wait it out. Maybe she has reflux. Let her cry it out.

So we let her cry. Within 5 minutes of crying, she had vomited all over her crib, herself and the floor. Well. That sucked. Crying wasn't going to work.

Months went by, she outgrew her bouncy seat and finally accepted the swing. She burned through three swing motors over the next year. Partially because of lots of use, partially because Graco apparently doesn't build motors to accommodate 14lbs. even when the manual says that the swing is good until a child is 20lbs. But they DID send us all of our replacements rapidly when I call them with all the fury of a sleep deprived mother. 

We finally talked our Doctor into a referral to a sleep specialist. But when I called Dr. Ji's office to set up an appointment, I found out that it would take them 6 months just to GET to our referral. After that, 3-4 months for an appointment. I could speed this up by having our doctor call them and tell them she had a more urgent problem. But of course, our doctor didn't agree that her problem was worth a phone call. Evie was 14 months old when we got the referral. She was waking 20-25 times a night, snoring, fighting sleep, tossing and turning, waking often and being hyperactive and pissy all day.

At about 1 year she started showing signs of having a sensory processing disorder. Seams and weird fabric and crunchy plastic on her crib mattress were making her angry, so we started taking measures to reduce those things. Inside out jammies, super soft fuzzy blankets, foam over her mattress to take away the sound from it.

About this time she also started with the food aversions. She wouldn't eat anything crunchy or hard. She wouldn't eat anything gooey. We had cheese, apple slices, milk, grapes, sauteed chicken and bunny crackers on the approved list.

She became hyperactive, burning more calories than she was taking in and leading our Dr. to ask for weight checks on her as she was getting taller, but not weighing any more.

Still she couldn't sleep. She would fall asleep in our arms and we would put her into her crib, she would last about an hour up there before she woke up crying so hard she was gagging, during her hour in her crib she tossed and turned and rolled and scooted. We then would put her into her now non-swinging swing and she would fall back asleep.

Soon after Easter, when she was 1.4 years old, she fell asleep on a dog bed, and it was all over from there. She would sleep on the bed, it was bigger than her crib mattress, and it was soft and fuzzy. So we washed it, we put her blankets on it, and she slept better. No more waking 15-20 times a night, we suddenly dropped to 5 times a night and we all rejoiced.

Dr. Ji's office called, they had finally processed our referral and we could set up an appointment. The soonest one was 4 months out. I scheduled it and put it on the calendar, but forgot about it as things worsened. 

Then, the staying up late started. She was resisting sleep. She would keep herself up until midnight or later. We started bed time at 6:30 and from 7:30 until whenever, she would alternate between dozing off and jerking awake and then jumping on the couch.

Evie had grown attached to her dog bed. Sleeping in her own bed led to episodes of vomiting from crying too hard, waking more often, and then she started climbing out of her bed.

We wound up switching doctors around the middle of summer 2014. I had some issues and our doctor at the time was dismissive and rude to me, she had never listened about Evie and I was just DONE with them.

Evie turned 2, and we moved her and her brother into a room together, thinking that maybe she was lonely and he would be another person for her to be around. It didn't help. We made her bed into a toddler bed so that when she climbed out she wouldn't hurt herself.

In October of 2013, we went to our appointment with Dr. Ji. I almost didn't go. I was so pissed off at our doctor for ignoring all of our concerns, I was tired, sleep deprived, angry all the time and if it wasn't for pictures I wouldn't remember any of my daughter's infancy. My 4 year old son was acting out and he began to throw tantrums again. I was in despair that anyone could help me. I was not in the mood to be dismissed again.

Dr. Ji was amazing. Is amazing. She listened to me, she really heard me. She spent almost 2 hours with us and saw how Evie was being hyperactive and crazy. She believed me that something wasn't right, she ordered a sleep study. I felt like maybe there was hope after all. She started Evie on a dose of Melatonin to help her FALL asleep at a reasonable time.

Almost overnight there was improvement. We gave her 1mg of melatonin, and she slept. She fell asleep. At 7:00. Sure. she woke at 9, 11, 1, 3, 5, 6....... She rolled and tossed and snored and snorted and gagged and cried. But that was our normal now. We would spend the time getting her to sleep. My husband took the 10pm to 2am shift, he stayed up late to be there for her, because once he was asleep he was dead to the world. I got the 2-7 shift, waking up with her and helping her fall back to sleep, holding her when she cried. She was sooooo tired. she wanted to sleep so much.

We showed up at Randall Children's Hospital with a dog bed, pajamas, and melatonin in hand for our sleep study. I gave Evie her pill and we watched her get drowsy. She was hooked up to all kinds of things. She fell asleep and the study began. From the moment she fell asleep, she moved. She tossed and turned and kicked and rolled. She tangled up wires on her head and chest, she woke many times. I got NO sleep that night. I think I spent about an hour asleep total but in 15 minute segments. 

We were sent home and I got to put her in the bath and scrub paste out of her hair at 6:30 in the morning before we BOTH collapsed on the couch and slept for an hour. My husband took Liam to school that day and I was so grateful for it.

A few days later we went back to see Dr. Ji. We had the results of the sleep study. Evie had roused from deep sleep 96 times in 8 hours. She had 84 episodes where her breathing became restricted, and one time where she stopped breathing for 27 seconds. She had rapid limb movements and that was waking her as well. Final diagnosis, moderate obstructive sleep apnea. Our orders were to find an ENT and see about getting her tonsils and adenoids taken out to open her airway.

She also was diagnosed with low iron, which could be a cause for her limb movements that were waking her.

So, we went to our normal doctor who gave us a referral to an ENT, no problem. This doctor loves that I do the footwork for her, I find who I want to see and she gives me the referral. We went to go see Dr. Ghaheri at The Oregon Clinic. He is a super star ENT who got rave reviews and we had lots of hope for him. He looked at Evie and said that her tonsils were not big enough to justify taking out. But to go get a second opinion from a pediatric otolarongologist.

I messaged our clinic and asked for a referral to one of those. They said they had one, I would go see him. So I set up an appointment and waited and went and we got there and we didn't even get to see the actual specialist, just someone else. But HE assured us that the guy would totally take out Evie's tonsils. I asked a lot of questions, and in the end, decided that no. This guy wasn't for us. He didn't want to do it because he saw a problem, he wanted to do it for the money. I googled him and his little assistant when I got home, and got nothing but BAD reviews. And discovered that he was NOT a pediatric otolarongologist like I had asked for, he was an ALLERGY SPECIALIST!   Auuugh! Not what I wanted.

I called Dr. Ghaheri back and asked for help, he gave me the names of two pediatric otolarongologists, one of whom was affiliated with our main medical provider! How they didn't find him I don't know, unless the person who did the referral was just lazy.... But we got a referral to them and now I am waiting for THAT to get processed and get the phone call saying we can schedule an appointment.

Evie is now 2.25 years old. She is hyperactive, easily irritated, prone to tantrums over everything. She can not sit still long enough to learn, so she doesn't know her colors, or shapes, even when I try to make it an active game. She throws things, she hits people. If she doesn't get her way she screams until she gags. She wakes a few times a night, though this week has been good, better than last week. She snores like a lumberjacks chain saw, and she wakes up gagging and crying in distress.

If her tonsils are not enlarged and causing this, I am at a loss as to what is. I just take life one day at a time and try to find ways to keep her happy without turning her into a spoiled brat.

She still will not eat many things. She just wants milk, or soft foods like pasta (nunu's she calles it), dried fruit is ok sometimes. Granola bars are out. Scrambled eggs are ok, but toast is a big nono. Smoothies are usually a good thing though, so we're doing lots of those.

We tried her on an iron supplement for the limb movement issue, but it had her so constipated that it set us back MONTHS in potty training because now pooping hurt, and she was not having it. 

I wish there was more I could do for her right now, but I just have to wait and be patient and maybe we will get an answer soon. I sure wish I could help my Evie sleep more. I wish I could sleep more. I want to find out how to help her. I want this to get better.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

I hate blogging

There. I said it.

I hate the feeling that I HAVE to post anything. That if I don't post something for a week or a month or a year that somehow I have failed at blogging.
So maybe I should say I hate what I thought blogging was supposed to be.

But I LOVE having a place to go more in depth than social media.

I love the idea of sharing my ideas with anyone who gives a damn.

I don't like feeling like I can not be myself for the fear of pissing someone off.

So.... I want to blog, and I am going to do it my way. Updates are when I have something to say. If I offend you, just stop reading.

And I am not about to write a summary of all the crap I have been through this last year and a half. I've lost folks who I love and I don't want to drag all those feelings up again.

The important thing I DO want to write about soon is that Yes my daughter has sleep apnea, we're all tired as hell. I've seen the darkest side of dawn and felt despair crash down on me in waves. I've been dragged through my daily life trailing sleep deprivation behind me like toilet paper stuck to my shoe. I have given up on playing nice with the doctors and I am gently but firmly pushing at them to help me fix this, to help me help my daughter get some sleep. I've cried in front of strangers, yelled at undeserving receptionists, had too much wine to drink a few times while trying to find any way to cope for just one more day. I've given in to the demands of a two year old just for the promise of 30 more minutes of sleep. I am not proud of everything I have done, but chances are I will do it all again.

I want a blog so I have a place to spill all these things that rattle about in my head out into the world and maybe somewhere down the road someone who needs my words and thoughts can find them.

So I am going to blog again, but I am not promising rainbows and sunshine. I'm promising my truth and my heart laid bare. As stated by Anna Nalick "These words are my diary screaming out loud and I know that you'll use them however you want to."

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