Friday, August 31, 2007

Don't call it a comeback
While working through the stress of the lawsuit, the lump, the house that never sold, financial crap & family horror stories going on in Utah; I totally lost my focus on The Other Blog. I wasn't able to write anything, let alone quality content. I would open up the screen & just sit there, staring blankly at the white space in front of me.

The stress even distracted me in developing cyber-training programs. Poor Wendy (who is a freakin' awesome cyber-client, working out with my programs every week since The Blog went live in February) would get emails from me. "Here's half of your weekly routine, I'll get the other half to you tomorrow". I pride myself on meeting deadlines, like everyone getting their entire workout routine on Sunday nights so they'll be ready to rock on Monday morning. I'm lucky that she's a flexible & patient person & that it didn't screw up her training consistency.

After the ultrasound & knowing that I was going to be OK, everything meshed back together & returned to "normal". After the last workout I had with my massage friend, I had a post pop into my head. I wrote it that night when I got home & it was the first content post since The Break. Last night I sat down to write again, only to find that Reuters published this particular post.

Then when I came home from my two hour morning walk with Logan in the stroller, I found that the post I wrote last night was published by FOX News.

So, go check out these articles/posts & there's also a cyber-client results update on there too. After 15 weeks of training, Cheri lost 30 lbs, over 10 inches (close to 5 coming form the waist) & needed a whole new wardrobe before she went on a family vacation. The new wardrobe part made me get choked up with excitement for her. That's just awesome stuff.

Not only did Reuters pick up the F.I.T.T post, but also the BOSU post as well. iVillage picked up the BOSU post & IBS put it up on one of Houston's local news websites & one of Pittsburgh's local news websites too.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

How much is too much?
I'm at an interesting point in my life right now. For years & years & years, I've kept up a wall; not letting people in & giving them a chance to know the "real" me. I'm friendly & cordial, but I have secrets of my past lives that only family & the friends that I still have from my childhood know. It takes me a very long time to build trust (or rebuild trust, for that matter). This is one reason that blogging is such an important part of my life. Not only is it a way to record my life memories, but it's a way to vent or express myself without having to involve other people (& for some reason, it doesn't bother me that The World knows by reading it or that I can email some friends very personal things that I would never write about).

After having lived a year in our small town, I'm at a crossroad. This is about the length of time it takes for me to begin letting parts of The Wall down or begin trusting someone again. For example, I caught Bill smoking a while back. This was a big deal because he was hiding it from me & it's also a very touchy subject as well (thus, why he was hiding it). It's taken me almost a year & a half to finally stop checking the bank account for cigarette purchases or snoop in possible secret hiding spots. To some people this is extreme. To me, that's how I am. Trust is not an easy thing for me to do.

The inner conundrum for me is in developing real & true friendships. After a year here, I've made some great friends. They are fun & lighthearted relationships, but superficial in the way that they don't know any real details about me before Logan was born. But now, there is an opportunity to let someone in & really know who I am. To have a close friend again, someone I can share anything with, which I haven't had since high school. I'm feeling vulnerable & I really don't want to screw it up because this is a step that I very rarely take.

Since joining The Club, my massage therapist friend & I have had some similar experiences that we could share with each other. We both have openly vented about our crazy in-laws, which for me was a great emotional support in just knowing that I wasn't alone. Recently, she's been going through some things with her own family that has made her very upset & she's felt comfortable enough to share her feelings with me.

The other day I met with her for a massage. She was depressed & emotionally worn down from the family issues she has been dealing with. She mentioned how she needed a massage too, but in being in this emotional state, she would breakdown as massages tend to do that (I guess it gets out more than just muscle knots). We talked about all sorts of stuff while she attempted to get my back muscles to relax. The conversation took a bit of a morbid turn & we talked about funeral wishes & burial sites.

I told her that I didn't know if I wanted to be buried because I don't think of any particular city or state as "home". We talked about Utah (where I was born & raised) where I began to tell her things about my childhood that I just don't openly share (for fear of judgment, not shame). Out of nowhere, I began to tear up & cry. "Oh my God! This is so stupid! I'm over this!" I cried, wiping the tears from my face. I could hear her sniffle as she patted my leg saying that it was OK & it's just the massage getting things out.

Later in the day I had to laugh about it because she mentioned she would do this & didn't want to breakdown in front of somebody she didn't know & what do I end up doing. I also cringed thinking that it was way too much information (which to the "normal" person, it probably wasn't). We emailed back & forth a little while she reassured me that this happens all of the time in massages & that people will say things that they don't tell their closest friends.

We met up last night for our workout & talked a little more about it while we stretched. She was glad that I felt comfortable enough to talk about it with her & that it was probably something that needed to come out. She talked about her family stuff too & we had an awesome workout. While we were on cardio, she was talking about how joining The Club has been great for her because she finally feels like she has friends that she can share anything with, which she hasn't had since high school either.

There is so much in common between the two of us & what we both want out of a friendship. We both want to be able to talk about personal feelings, challenges with motherhood or marriage. We both want to give & receive support, be it a helping hand with the kids, a shoulder to cry on or a night out on the town to have a drink & gossip. I know that in order for me to make this happen, I have to be willing to let The Wall down. It's a scary step because I'm always afraid that if I share something personal that person will think, Did I really need to know that about you? Judgment & rejection are always scary, I suppose. But that's also the risk you have to take when developing a close friendship. The best things in life are never easy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

19 months old
Toddlerhood is in full swing now! It's a fun time, but also a very exhausting time. There's so much action, activity-both positive & negative, it becomes a sensory overloaded time.

The mornings have been starting a little earlier at 8am rather than 9. It's not that big of a difference & considering that most kids his age get up hours before that, I'm not complaining. We've been discussing when to start using the toddler bed & when to get rid of the binkie altogether. I think Logan is ready now, but we might hold off just a little longer, right before his 2nd birthday. This is when we might start potty training too.

Eating is still challenging with his continued finickiness. We've been giving him Carnation instant breakfast along with his pancakes (or toast, waffles, oatmeal, etc) & fruit to make sure he gets enough to eat. This afternoon, he had his first tuna sandwich that hadn't been cut up. Most of it ended up on the floor as usual. However, he is not picky about snacks. He would live on raisins & goldfish crackers (or animal crackers) if he could. He seems to have developed a Pavlov reaction whenever we go to a group activity, demanding that he instantly be handed his snack trap or a massive temper tantrum will ensue.

The tantrums are not getting any better, either. When I hold his hand to walk across the street, he freaks out & lays himself on the sidewalk screaming. If he doesn't want to go (like if we leave the bank), he lays down on the floor kicking & screaming. I have to pick him up & escort him to the car as quickly as possible, reprimanding him the whole time. "We do not act like this. Calm down right now."

His speech development is coming along now. He can say: "duck, quack, Kitty, meow, dog, cat, yes, car, truck, tree" all very clearly. Other words like: "cheese, juice, lunch, dad & mom" are not so clear. He still signs for & won't say: "eat, milk, drink, help, bath, thank you, all done, bye-bye, hi, sleep, socks & please". Then there's the constant gibberish. He's trying to combine two words, but it's gibberish words. At least he's getting the idea.

He still loves, loves, loves to read & I've started keeping books in the car for him. It's so cute to watch him "read" his book while we're stopped at a red light. He willingly sits & listens to bedtime stories now, where as before he would last a millisecond before trying to squirm off my lap. He knows the color red (I'm not so sure about the others yet) & he's getting really good at shapes. He can count his fingers & toes (pointing at them while I say the number). He likes to scribble (for about two strokes before he gets bored) & played with play dough for the first time today. He still tried to eat some, but it wasn't as bad as before when he tried to eat it all & wouldn't squish it. His absolute favorite toys are cars & trucks. He makes car noises while playing with them & "drives" them all over the couch, the floor, my lap & other moms laps.

He gets really excited when he hears birds, trucks, trains & car horns; making the appropriate sign for them as he runs around in excitement. It's funny how he pretends he doesn't hear me, but will have super power hearing when it comes to the train blaring it's horn from across town.

His first set of molars have come in this last month, the top two first & the bottom two last week. I think the rest of them will come in pretty quick as it didn't seem to take as long this time around. Brushing them is a pain in the butt though because he screams bloody murder.

He is certainly a social little guy who plays well with others. He likes to share, but also like to attempt to take away toys too. He plays tag with the other kids & loves to run around screaming with them. He does exceptionally well at they gym's daycare & can hang out in there for a very long time (even though he's not in there for longer than 3 hours at a time). He was invited to his first birthday party last weekend, where he was the only boy there. It was cute watching him play with the girls, all of us joking around about him being a ladies man. He has another birthday party this weekend & another one two weeks from now.
He is such a loving & cuddly kiddo, which is my favorite development right now. He cuddles on my lap to watch morning cartoons, he gives the best little boy hugs & kisses & just adores being tickled, wrestled with & teased. He even will snuggle up in my lap & sit in the rocking chair with me before bed, just like he used to do when he was a swaddled infant. I love it, love it, love it.
This next month should be a great time with more developments & exciting days. His increasing independence is invigorating for me, as it feels like I am my own person again rather than just a mom. It's amazing watching him grow up to be the cute boy that he is. I love him to pieces.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

One less thing to worry about
This morning I went into the breast center at the hospital to get further examination of the mass in my right breast. I've been keeping my cool about it, but I've been distracted & unable to focus on anything for the past week or so. I was OK with everything after the breast exam when the Doctor said she didn't think it was cancer, but then I started hearing horror stories from people. "That's the same diagnosis I got, but found out that it was cancer after the mammogram". Great, just what I wanted to hear.

I never thought it was cancer (or wanted to believe it could be), but I was worried when the pain never went away & thought that I should get checked out. During the exam with the Doctor, she kind of shrugged her shoulders. "It doesn't feel like cancer, but you could go in for a mammogram to double check". I wanted concrete proof that it was nothing rather than settling on a shoulder shrug & an opinion.

I was flabbergasted that our insurance company wouldn't cover the majority of the cost of a mammogram. During the exam, the Doctor recommended that I fill out an application with the Komen Foundation, who would cover the cost if I was approved. Fortunately, I was.

I checked in at the breast center of the hospital, where I found out that they decided to do an ultrasound rather than a mammogram. "You're too young for a mammogram", the front desk receptionist said with a smile. That's what I thought too, but when you have a "mass" in you breast, you've got to do what you've got to do. One of the nurses came up to the front desk to make sure we were going to do an ultrasound first. "Can you feel it?", she asked. "Yep. It's been there for months since I've stopped nursing & it's not going away. And it's pretty tender & that's not getting better either", I replied. "It's better to do an ultrasound first so we don't expose you to radiation" she explained. It was fine by me, as long as we could see what we needed to see.

After filling out the paperwork, I sat in the waiting room which was very comfortable with a warm kind of feeling. There were fresh carnations at the front desk & the room had a pink glow to it. I drank my coffee & read Are You At Risk For Breast Cancer pamphlets & recipe magazines. I sat there thinking, I can't believe I'm here. I'm 27 with a toddler. The other patients are over 40, some in their 80's. Whoa.

After a short wait, I was called back for the ultrasound. I changed into the examination vest & admired the artwork in the room while I waited for the technician to return. The ultrasound was just like the one's I had during pregnancy, but rather than looking for a jumping fetus on the screen, we were looking at a mass of thick tissue.

It took a while for the technician to get pictures of the area. At one angle, it looked like a cyst & at another angle, it looked like a band. She said that she could feel it with the wand as she kept sliding off of it. It was interesting to see; ducts, glands, muscle & the white space of thick tissue. She said it was pretty lumpy in there & took pictures of the left side to compare. She didn't seem overly concerned, but took the pictures to the Doctor to double check.

When she came back, she said that my regular Doctor would get a report but it looked like a thickening of sub-glandular tissue that gets inflamed during hormonal changes. It's was recommended that I continue monitoring the mass during my monthly breast exams & if it changes shape, gets bigger or more painful, then I would need to come back. With a sigh of relief, I was escorted to the front desk to check out where I was given one of the pink carnations.
As I was walking out of the hospital & back to my car, I was very thankful that everything was OK, but even more so that the Komen Foundation provides funding for those who need mammograms or ultrasounds. It inspired me to think of ways to give back to the organization & get The Club involved as well. Our yearly service project is coming up with a meeting in a couple of weeks to decide on what to do. I'm totally bringing this up for a suggestion.

I got in the car & called Bill to let him know that I was on my way home. I gave him the details of what they found. After I hung up, I put the keys in the ignition & let out a little whimper. It's just a huge relief that this is one less thing I have to worry about.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

For your viewing pleasure
At the request of Logan's Aunt R, here is another montage of Logan doing "stuff". Aunt R sits down with Cousin M to watch the videos & apparently, Cousin M loves watching Logan on the screen. I think that's pretty cute.

While making the latest montage, I realized that not all accidents are mistakes. This afternoon I was watching Little L while my friend went to a Doctors appointment. When she came back to pick up her kiddo (who was very rambunctious the entire time & even took to actually beating Logan-kicking him & socking him a few sucker punches) she put The Baby down on the floor while we talked. Well, Little L was messing around with the sleeping baby so my friend put the infant seat in the kitchen, which knocked the camcorder down from the key shelf. The camcorder bounced on the tile floor & down the "garden level" stairs. I told her not to worry about it. After she left, I found that the camcorder was broken.

I was bummed because this was our camcorder (as ancient as it was). Then I realized that our digital camera has a video option. Why didn't I think of this before!? So now we have better quality video WITH audio! Yes, I know I'm an idiot. I'm just glad I realized this was an option before we asked for Christmas presents early.

So, here's the newest montage. The last video clip is with the digital camera & you can totally tell the difference. My next project (next to the continued temper tantrum video) is getting audio of Logan screeching.

Don't you just love it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

And now he smells like toast.
Boy, did we have some adventures this morning! We went to playgroup & it was a pretty big turn out. We have a couple of new members to The Club with kids who are in our group, so it was a little larger than usual. The kids were starting to get cramped while playing in the living room, so the host opened up the sliding glass door to the deck. The kids had a great time playing outside, chasing each other & running around in circles.

I was out there chatting about workout stuff with another mom when I noticed that Logan had stuck his head through the slats on the railing of the deck. By the way he looked, I knew he was stuck. I went over to see if I could help him pull his head out, but he was really stuck. His ears were getting scraped & turning red. "Can somebody grab some butter for me please?" I asked.

Logan started to cry because he realized at this point he was stuck & it was hurting his ears trying to pull back through. Some other moms ran off the deck & into the yard to help calm Logan down. My massage friend got the butter & greased up Logan's ears while I rubbed his back telling him it would be OK as he started to scream hysterically. I was feeling pretty calm (& actually thinking this was pretty funny) because I never doubted that we couldn't get Logan out. Plus, the more a mom freaks out, the more the kid will scream. One of the moms trying to calm Logan down didn't really get that. She's a sweetheart & she's a great friend, but she got a little worked up over the situation which just got Logan even more upset.

Once Logan's ears were buttered he slid right out. It was a piece of cake & nothing to freak out about. Logan was scared, of course & I hugged him trying my hardest not to laugh because he had butter all over the sides of his head & in his ears. The other moms were surprised at how calm I was during the situation & I thought to myself, because it's more funny than scary! He was going to get out!

He recovered just fine after some cuddle time on the couch. Not more than a minute later, he was back to running around with his friends, but this time smelling like toast.

Speaking of Logan's friends, many of them are having birthday's in the next few weeks. Logan got his first birthday party invitations! One of the girls is having a 3rd birthday this weekend, one of our best playgroup buddies is having a 2nd birthday party the next weekend & two weekend from that, another one of our best playgroup friends is having a 2nd birthday party as well. We're going to be busy with birthday parties for a while, which brings up a dilemma. What do you get a 2-3 year old who has everything?

I asked my massage friend if Little N needed anything for his birthday. The kid is set for life with toys & clothes, so she said he was fine. However, I don't want to show up to a birthday party empty handed. That's just not my style. I thought about coloring books & other crafty stuff that runs out (or breaks) often, but I might have to brainstorm a little more.

Anyone have some great birthday gift ideas for the 2 year old that has everything?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I am crazy
Once I think I've made up my mind about not having another baby, the clock starts ticking again. Last Friday when I saw the Doctor for the breast exam, she was asking about contraceptives & thoughts about getting pregnant again. I told her about my experience with HG & that I couldn't go through it again. "Oh, every pregnancy is different. The next time around could be much easier for you. I wouldn't recommend limiting your family size because of HG", she explained. Yeah, well, what if it's worse the second time around?

Then on Sunday I was at a board meeting for The Club. One of the co-presidents "unofficially" announced her second pregnancy. We were all very excited for her & started talking about the moms who will be trying for 2nds in the next few months. My photographer friend & her husband are going to start trying in the next month or so & everyone turns to me saying, "Now we're just waiting for you!" This is after I've explained that there's a possibility that The Club would be raising Logan if I get as sick (or worse) as I was when I was pregnant with him.

This morning we went to a baby welcome party for one of the moms in The Club (who's a good friend & her older daughter is one of Logan's best play friends). We had a great time, eating good food & chatting while the kids played. I was sitting next to a friend who was holding my massage therapist friends baby (who is 8 weeks old?). Logan was sitting on my lap & wanted to take a peek at the baby. "Logan would make a great big brother", she says. "Yeah!", Logan exclaims. "Yes, I suppose he would be a good helper once he got over the jealousy part of it", I replied.

And what happens when I get home? I start talking baby stuff to Bill. "You know, the Doctor told me this. So & so is pregnant, this person is trying", etc, etc. The only thing that didn't come out of my mouth was "are you sure you don't want another?"

What happened to my memory? It was only a couple of months ago when I was sick with the flu & crying because I was getting flash-backs of 9 months of HG. This back & forth thinking & feeling is driving me nuts!!!!!!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Awesome friends & lots of fun
As each day passes by, I am that much more thankful for the awesome friends that I've made here. A couple of weeks ago, I thought that (once again) I would need to go back to work full time. With the estimation of attorney's fees in the lawsuit & everything else that was going on, our finances were looking grim. I asked some friends for daycare recommendations, so I could take my time & find the right one instead of putting it off until the very last minute when it became an emergency situation.

Right away, three friends stepped up & said that they would watch Logan in their homes at a fair price. One of them even suggested trading sitting services for personal training. I was very touched. This was the best option that I could have hoped for. Fortunately, Bill was offered a promotion last week where his pay raise would be equivalent to what I would bring home if I went back to work. Even though we didn't have to make this decision, it was so nice to have so many friends offer support.

Then at the beginning of this last week, I got an email from a friend who is a massage therapist. She said that someone in The Club bought me an hour massage with her. This was so nice, I cried. I asked her who this awesome friend was & she said that my photographer/workout partner friend did. With all of the stress I've been going through lately, she thought it would be a nice way to relax. I was so thankful, because I really did need to de-stress.

This morning I went in for my massage & had a great time. My massage friend is going to start working out with me now too. We worked a deal where I will get a massage once a week & we'll workout twice a week so she would only pay half price for the training. It's a great situation.

To make the day even better, after my massage Bill, Logan & I went to a local festival for some afternoon fun. We met up with some of Bill's friends from the gym & ate festival food. It rained (down poured) so we couldn't ride any rides (& Logan didn't meet the height requirement either). It was kind of boring. We headed to Ben & Jerry's (my favorite of all ice cream) & let Logan run around for a while.
He got to sit in the little car & we took pictures again (we have 6, 12 & now 18 month pictures in the car). Then he ran around like a crazy kid (from a sugar high, I'm sure), making so many people laugh. Then he found some puddles. He ran & ran & ran through these puddles. It was the best day a little boy could have dreamed of. As he ran back & forth, some college kids that were waiting to get into a bar asked Logan for some high fives. Without hesitation, he ran through the puddle & gave them all a wet high five. It was so funny!
I sure do love this town. With all of our friends & the fun stuff to do, I never want to leave.

Friday, August 17, 2007

It ended with pizza & beer.
Today was a bit of a roller coaster kind of day. The beginning wasn't that much fun because of a doctors appointment, but the end of the night was a blast with dinner with friends.

I've been waiting for this doctors appointment for weeks & I had been thinking about scheduling the appointment for months. A few months ago I found a lump. It's on the right side & it's pretty tender. When I found it, I didn't think much of it because I couldn't think of it. There was (is) so much going on, the last thing I wanted to deal with was a lump & additional worry about what if I had cancer. So, my brain didn't even process it. My train of thought was, Oh. It's a lump. And that was it.

Months went by (maybe two) & the lump was still there. It wasn't getting bigger, but it was becoming increasingly tender. This made me worry. I got on the phone because logic finally kicked in. DUH. Things don't just go away if you ignore them. The first doctor I called had a waiting list & wouldn't even schedule appointment for me, regardless if I had a lump. The next doctor I called could get me in three weeks later. I figured I've waited this long, I guess I could wait three more weeks.

I went in this morning & waited 45 minutes in the exam room, dressed in the paper "vest", listening to the clock tick, tock, tick, tock, trying to not fall asleep on the exam table. The doctor finally came in & we talked about The Lump. After completing the documentation about my history (why do they need to know that my parents are drug addicted alcoholics? What does this have to do with me & The Lump?), she began the breast exam.

There is something there. She documented it as "10 o'clock, 1 cm mass or thickening of tissue, irregularly shaped". She's quite confident that it's not cancer & that it's fibrocystic breast disease, but I'm supposed to get a mammogram & ultrasound to follow up & make sure that's the correct diagnosis.

Relieved that cancer is not on my list of worries, but curious because now I have to go in for my first mammogram, the rest of the appointment went well. We left & went shopping, so I could get ready for the tasting party later in the day.

I came home to cook & clean like a crazy person. I was hosting a tasting party with about 7 or 8 friends coming over to sample the recipes before I submitted them for the contests. I made a double layer pizza; raspberry glazed burgers with an asparagus spread; white cake with peach-pear glaze, sprinkled with almonds & pears, topped with cream cheese frosting & more almonds.

The party was a blast. The food turned out great (I have to add more raspberry flavor to the glaze) & a couple of the moms brought wine & beer. It was fun to eat, drink, chat & laugh as the kids ran around having fun too. Logan was having so much fun with his friends, it was unreal. He was laughing hysterically as he played with Little M (one of his favorite friends). At one point, they were hooked arm in arm, running from the living room to the back deck. It was so, so, cute.

Then to top it off, Logan decided that he was going to throw dirt on himself like a little baby elephant. The boy has blond hair, but it soon turned a dark brown as his scalp was covered in dirt. It was one of those times where he was taking advantage of "party time" & all I could do was just laugh. And so did everyone else.
Not so great pictures, but you get the idea. First is Logan eating a sick to make Little M laugh. Second is a close-up of the dirt covered kiddo.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

First base
This morning we had another consultation with an attorney. I was very hopeful about this meeting because I actually spoke with the attorney himself, rather than having the case description passed along by the receptionist or legal assistant. He seemed interested in the case & wanted to take a look at all of our evidence.

We arrived at his office & reviewed every last detail of events & documents. He was astonished at the unethical practices of the attorney working for The Insurance Company, who filed the judgment to garnish our wages. Apparently, with one more piece of evidence, our case is a slam dunk winner.

But there's a catch.

While we spent a good hour with him in this (free) consultation & he reduced his retainer fee quite a bit, it will cost more in legal fees than what we would sue for. There are different courses of action we could take, with the attorney writing The Gym a threating letter & (the most expensive option) filing a lawsuit in The Big City. This is going to break the bank because there are major travel expenses involved. Our least expensive option is to contact The Gym (again) warning them that we've sought legal counsel & begin a file in small claims. If there isn't any progress with this direction, my next step is contacting the media.

I've waited to get the media involved because I didn't want to compromise the case, just in case things were to work out with an attorney. We have one more option to resolve this, but if The Gym continues to pull this corporate bull crap, I'm dedicating my days to calling every single news station in the state, every single national station, every paper publication & even emailing Oprah. I will spread the word across the entire world if I have to.

It's not fair or just that a billion dollar corporate company (or companies) can take advantage of working class families just because they don't have the money to defend themselves. As I've said before, we're not going down. We are not going to be bullied & we will not be beat. I'm not only fighting this because of the sum amount being a big chunk of change for us, but my fire is fueled on fighting for the principle. What's happening to us is just wrong & now we have expert opinion on this as well. I'm not going to take it lying down.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

And for your entertainment....
Video of Logan showing off his signing & body part identification skills! The quality is crap & I'm now just realizing that it's not because of cables or settings, it's because our camera is older than dirt. If anyone wants to buy us a new camcorder for Christmas, you would reap the benefits from seeing amazing videos of Logan (hint, hint).

I have more montages in the works (an INCREDIBLY funny tantrum video is on the way) & things are going to be pretty busy on the blog for the next couple of days. There have been some interesting turn of events, wonderful acts of kindness & happenings of all sorts.

So without further ado, Logan in all of his cuteness....

Monday, August 13, 2007

So, this is what happened.
This weekend was kind of interesting. First, on Saturday I cooked dinner for one of my friends who recently had her second baby. I was perfecting a pizza recipe that I'm going to submit for one of the contests. It did not turn out like I had expected, but I have some ideas on how to make it better. The inspiration was lasagna & making that into a pizza. Well, it pretty much turned into a double decker pizza; marinara, different cheeses, fresh basil & mushrooms on the bottom, alfredo, parmesan, basil & grilled chicken on the top. The idea was layers of flavors, just like lasagna, but it pretty much was just two pizzas smooshed together. The top pizza's dough rose too much. It was a lot of dough to be just a "layer". I think I've figured out a solution, so we'll see how that goes.

Yesterday we decided that Logan needed a haircut. His hair was getting so long that it was making him hot & he was getting sweaty hair. I was hoping to just trim it down a bit & get him cleaned up a little. Bill took the trimmer & set to a setting that was too short. Instead of testing it out on the bottom by Logan's neck, Bill sheered his hair straight down the middle of his head. The setting was way too short. So short, that we should have just taken a razor to him & renamed him Mr. Clean.

This is the "male pattern baldness" picture I took mid-shave.

This is "bald boy" checking out the bees in the bush this afternoon.

There are a few more pictures on PhotoBucket of the kiddo post shave. I also have video (finally!) that I'm working on tonight & tomorrow. I hope to have a montage made up in the next few days. Yeah!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

18 month check-up
Yesterday afternoon was Logan's 18th month check-up. I've been looking forward to this appointment for a while because I had a list of questions & concerns to go over. This list was much longer than all of the other appointment questions.

We got there & I filled out paperwork while Bill & Logan ran around the waiting area. Yes, both Logan & Bill were running in a public place, pointing at things making funny noises; you would have thought they were the same age.

A nurse escorted us back into an exam room & I undressed Logan down to his diaper. He weighed a little under 25 lbs (25th percentile) & measured 33 inches long (75th percentile). I explained that we never had the chance to see the pediatric allergist that we were referred to on our last appointment because of a change in insurance companies. I also mentioned that because Logan has not gone thought proper testing, we were not going to go ahead with any vaccinations on this visit (last visit, he broke out into hives after his shots).

A nurse practitioner came in next to examine Logan & answer our questions. She was really nice & has seen Logan before. My main concern was the diarrhea Logan's been having for a full week now. And it's not normal diarrhea, it's the mucous filled diaper experiences that are reminiscent of his 3rd month. I did a little research on it prior to the appointment & it sounded like Toddler's Diarrhea. The nurse was a little concerned because sensitivities to dairy usually don't go away & then come back. I also mentioned that this is all happening at the same time as a pretty big eczema flare up (on the back of his arms & a little on his chest & back).

After some conversation about his nutrition (& how dairy is the only protein he will eat right now) we decided to try soy again & replace that with dairy (even though last time, this caused bloody stools). We are getting another referral to the allergist for testing & we were also sent home with stool sampling kits. How fun. Oddly enough, since the appointment he hasn't pooped.

My other topic of concern was his speech development. I've been a little worried that he hasn't been saying much & frustrated because I know this is the main cause for his temper tantrums. Among the many papers in the forms I filled out, there was a speech development check list. Every single box in the "expressive speech" column was checked, while only one box in the "receptive speech" column was marked & only so because he could communicate with sign language (now that I type this out, it may be the other way around). Either way, the nurse wasn't too concerned about it & said that if he didn't hit certain milestones by 2 years old, then we might begin considering an early intervention program. But as of now, things are just fine, which was a relief of sorts (still doesn't stop the screaming fits, but whatever).

After discussing the stools & speech, the nurse was quick to constantly comment about how it was important that Logan get vaccinated. I reminded her of his last reaction & was firm in my standing that there are to be no more vaccinations until Logan is properly tested. With as sensitive as he is & with the many (not one, not two...many!) reactions he's had after his shots, it would be irresponsible parenting to vaccinate him right now. Just because there is hoopla & propaganda going around about it, it doesn't mean it's right for everyone. I would sorely regret getting him vaccinated, knowing that he's had reactions before & another reaction wouldn't be surprising, only to witness an extreme, if not fatal reaction. The nurse even mentioned that we could get Logan's shots done at the allergist's office & if he had a reaction, they had EpiPens on hand. I will not inject my son with any substance that may result in the potential use of an EpiPen. My hell. I couldn't believe what I just heard.

After explaining my point, the nurse "got it" & retracted with "yes, let's get him tested first & we'll go from there". We all walked out happy & with handfuls of lotion samples for Logan's eczema.

So, now we're taking stool samples & waiting for a call from the clinic letting us know that we got the referral to the allergist. It will be interesting to see all what Logan is sensitive to (everything under the sun?) & finally get some answers & hopefully, some solutions.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Ring around the rosie
So what have I been doing the last few days? Making phone calls & doing research. First, I must say...THANK GOD FOR THE INTERNET. If I didn't have Google, I wouldn't even begin to know where to go or what to do about this lawsuit. I've found many options, which is great. It's better than the lost puppy feeling I had last week. While I've made calls to ten (yes, 10!) law firms & each one sounds hopeful but results in a referral to another office, I'm still staying positive. I'm feeling a lot better; determined & persistent rather than defeated. I called an office earlier this afternoon & will personally speak to the attorney later this evening. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!!!!

With the perception of "live the life you love, love the life you live", I announced the date of the next tasting party. In two weeks, everyone is coming over to sample burgers, pizza, a fruity dessert & Betty Crocker dessert. This is the big month, with a ton of contests! I'm actually really nervous about it because I haven't practiced nearly as much as I need to. Really, we should be having burgers & pizza every night for the next while (& who's going to complain about that?!) I have some great ideas & it' going to be a lot of fun putting them together.

All afternoon I've been trying to get Logan doing his sign language & ring around the rosie on film. All attempts have been squashed with an inquisitive toddler trying to look through the view finder of the camcorder, then freaking out in a fit of rage because I ask him to sign something. I'll keep trying & if there's success, I'll upload it on here tonight. Or, maybe I'll just show the world the temper tantrums that I'm dealing with over here & everyone can send their sympathies...

Friday, August 03, 2007

Strike two
This morning we had another consultation with a different attorney. It did not go well. Well, it didn't go anywhere. I was referred to this attorney by another attorney. Apparently, this guy didn't practice the particular type of law we need (business & employment) & on top of that, he didn't work on a contingency basis or have sliding scale fees & wanted a good chunk of money for the consultation. When money is being wrongfully taken from us & we're barely scrapping by, how are we supposed to just come up with retainer fees & throw cash around for consultations?

This meeting was a big waste of time & even more so because he couldn't refer us to anyone else. We thanked him for his time, gathered our notebook & manila folder of evidence & walked out the door. Again, choked up & teary, I tried to keep it together as we walked down the sidewalk to the car. "It's OK. I'll take care of it", Bill reassured me.

While we were driving home, Bill was talking about not hiring an attorney & taking care of this in small claims court. "Are you serious?", I gasped. "I'm not going to pretend I know what I'm doing here. We can't do that. We have no expertise in this. We're not taking any short cuts". I breathed some more & tried not to cry more than I already was. We drove without further conversation, listening to a CD Bill burned a few days ago.

I sat there listening to Pato Banton & staring out the passenger window. I started to silently cry as the lyrics spoke directly to me:

Situation in the world is crazy.
We got to stay positive.

Stay positive, stay positive, stay positive.
Stay positive, stay positive, stay positive.
Live the life you love, love the life you live
and no matter what the crisis is.
Stay positive, stay positive, stay positive.

Every time me take a little look on the T. V.
seems like the whole world gone crazy.
War, famine and poverty
people are dying continually.
So many people are getting confused
so many reasons to get in the blues.
But with a little faith in the most high's plan
it gives me strength to sing this song.

Positive! Ooh yes we have to stay positive.
Positive! No matter what the crisis is.
Positive! Even when things gone wrong.
Positive! This is the time when you got to be strong.
Positive! Black, white, pink or brown.
Positive! Live in the city or you live in the town.
Positive! Ooh yes we have to stay positive.
Positive! No matter what the crisis is.

Live the life you love, love the life you live
and no matter what the crisis is.
When there's life to live, and there's love to give
why should you be negative?
You got to stay positive!

I kid you not. While my views on organized religion are jaded from my experiences, I never denied my spirituality & that there is a higher power. This was one of those times where I was being spoken to & it rang clear as a bell. Everything is going to be alright & I just have to hang in there.

Later in the afternoon, Bill called me from work. He called around & found another firm that sounds like it will work out. They specialize in the type of representation we need & they'll work with us on a contingency basis. We should hear back from them on Monday to schedule a consultation. In the meantime, I'm going to try my best to stay positive.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

18 months old
Whew. This toddler business is wearing me out & I can't believe another month has gone by! It's been a full month with all sorts of new developments.

Logan's sleeping patterns are starting to shift a bit. He's had some early mornings & early bedtimes. I think being sick threw him off a little. There was that growth spurt that he slept through too. I'm sure that didn't help the consistency. He's been trying to take his binky & blanket out with him when he wakes up too. We try to keep these in the crib, telling him that "binkies & blankies are for bedtime only", then I ask him to drop them back in his crib. He was putting up a fight for a while there, but now he's back on the same page.

His first molar came through this last month & his second is on it's way. It will probably make an appearance in the next couple of weeks. Brushing his teeth can be a pain in the butt, even if I try to make it fun & sing the "ah" song so he opens his mouth.

Meals are still very frustrating with his finickiness. The floor is always covered with food & it drives me absolutely nuts. He is still pretty much vegetarian & only eating meat every blue moon. However, he has a major love for milk & asks for it all day long. I would give him more than I do, but he has had an eczema outbreak on his arms for a few weeks & dairy tends to exacerbate the flare up. Poor kid.

His temper tantrums are escalating, with this morning being the worst one yet. We had a park day with some other moms & kids. Logan seems to think that it's snack time at every function we go to, regardless of the time, when he had his last meal or if we're outside in the dirt. He pitched a huge fit because I didn't bring his snacks (even though he just had breakfast). He screamed like I've never seen him scream before, trying to throw the diaper bag around & flailing himself to the ground. I just rolled my eyes, exasperated & tried to not laugh, because the rolling around on the ground was pretty comical as all of his friends stood around & watched. All of the other moms are sympathetic, always commenting that things get better. So far? It's getting worse & I'm ready for the better part.

Again, I know these tantrums will calm down when he learns how to talk. This is happening very. Slowly. He says "yeah" to every question & nods his head in agreement, which is pretty cute. This morning he said "meow" for the first time when Kitty walked into his room during a diaper change. In a baby gibberish kind of way, I think he tries to repeat "good job" as this is a standard comment to things he does. I repeat the alphabet to him & count his toes, but it all comes out "ah" or "eh" when he mimics. Basically, it's all grunts. Mama & dada (or yaya) are rarities, but "Da!" (Buddha) & a form of "cat" or "Kitty" are common. He also says "uck" & "ack" (duck & quack), "MMMMmm" (moo), "iss" (penis) & "shh" (fish). I think that's about it.

The sign language is helping a bit, but as of now he constantly signs "help" & "more" when he asks for something. It's hard to determine what he wants & I'm always asking him, "More of what? Help with what? Point to what you want. Mommy's trying to understand you. Logan, use your words".

He's still as active as ever, climbing on everything like a little monkey. He jumps down from the couch (or rolls off & lands on whatever & laughing). He can go up & down the stairs by himself & he's less clumsy when he runs. He can also go down the slide by himself, no problem. He tries to get in the bath by himself (head first) keeping me on my toes as I grab him by the waist, making sure he doesn't drown himself. He loves to pull out the scale & stand on it before bath time, making me wonder if I get on there too often. Monkey see, monkey do.
He super social with his friends, chasing them around & playing with toys. He's great at sharing, even his snacks. He does get pretty mad when others don't share with him or take a toy away, but I think it's good that he doesn't get bullied. He's been uber cuddly recently, always on my lap or Bill's & giving us hugs & kisses. He gives Kitty & Buddha hugs, blows kisses to Bill as he leaves for work & is learning how to hug his friends (he's not too keen on this idea yet).

He just keeps learning & doing more everyday. His 18th month check-up is next week, so it will be interesting to see how much he's grown & what the Doctor has to say about his language development.
I just can't believe how big he's getting. It amazes me everyday.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Strike one
What a draining day it's been today, both physically & emotionally. Logan & I went to playgroup this morning before our appointment with the attorney. He was a bit clingy in the beginning & had been signing "more" & "help" constantly. I need to teach him some new signs because I have no idea what he wants help with, or more of.

It was great to talk with the other moms for a bit & then my cell rang. It was Bill. Apparently, the attorney wasn't the right fit & we had to find someone else. I tried to put on a happy face & went back to chatting & playing with the kids. After a while, someone asked about the situation & I vented, wondering how could I talk about this without tearing up. Others commented on that too. "Wow, how can you be so happy & smile all of the time with this going on? I'm impressed", was the general conversation.

I came home & Bill went to work. While Logan napped, I researched more attorney's in our area, calling for referrals & finally made an appointment with a firm at the end of the week. You know? If you ever need a criminal defense or personal injury attorney, you won't have any problems getting a consultation. But, if you need a civil litigation attorney (especially in a small town), good luck.

After phone call after phone call, repeating the situation to the respective attorney's assistant, it became increasingly difficult to not cry in the conversation. Finally, after I hung up on the last call while Logan was eating lunch, I stepped out on the back deck & cried. I breathed & cried. It was just too much to keep in anymore & everything just kept spilling out.

I pulled myself together & reminded myself that I'm not going to give up. I'm not going to let these companies run us over & into the ground. We are not going down. Depending on what happens in the consultation at the end of the week, my next step is going to the media.