Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!
These are the days. The days that I dreamt about before Logan was born. I would think about the holidays & about how much fun we would have as a little family, creating our own special traditions. And now that Logan is an independent Toddler, we're there. I love it!!

This morning we met our friends downtown for the Tiny Tot Parade. All of the kids were dressed up in their costumes & went trick or treating at all of the local businesses. It was a complete mad house as it seemed every family in the entire town was there & we were packed in like sardines. We were pretty much separated from our friends the entire time & would wave to each other in passing. However, it didn't spoil the fun.

Logan ran around, flopping his arms & legs about. He was grinning from ear to ear the whole time. He was so happy running free in a sea of kids in his puppy dog costume, looking absolutely stinkin' cute. He would hold out his trick or treating pumpkin bag & when it was filled with a sucker, he would pull it out to eat right there on the spot. He was also very generous, attempting to share his candy with the business owners. He would go up to get candy, only to pull out a tootsie roll to hand back out.

We made a stop to visit Bill & to meet his coworkers, since the office was right smack dab in the middle of the festivities. Everyone thought Logan was so cute (of course!) & had candy to give to him too. He tried to grab a handful of birthday cake that was on a table, played with the birthday balloons, sat in Bill's chair & played with the calculator & answering phones. He grabbed handfuls of candy & charmed the pants off everyone he met.

We said our good-bye's & headed on home. I ran a few errands with Logan still in his costume. Everyone we passed couldn't help but smile at him. I think I'm going to keep him in the costume all day & have him help us hand out candy tonight when trick or treaters come to the door. I'm sure he'll have a blast with that.
I love Halloween & it was evident this morning that Logan feels the same way. Just to see the pure joy in his eyes today was priceless. It's exciting to live in such a family friendly town where we'll be able to do this & the other holiday activities every year. This is the beginning of some fun traditions, where each year will be more fun than the last.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Allergy testing - Part 2
A couple of weeks ago, I took Logan to the allergist for skin testing for food allergies. This morning we saw him again to test for allergies to vaccinations. On our first visit, we already decided that Logan would never get the pertussis or flu vaccinations ever again based on his previous reaction & egg allergy. We also decided that Logan should receive single dose & not combination vaccinations so we can pin point which shots he reacts to the most. We went ahead & skin tested him for the 6 other vaccinations he's already had.

They all came back negative. He's not allergic to the vaccinations.

This brought up many questions for me. We had discussed that if he was allergic to them, we could introduce lower-grade doses to him to see how much his body could tolerate (this makes him sound like a guinea pig). If he were to have an allergic reaction, it could be resolve by giving him epinephrine & we would also know that from there on out, he should not receive another shot. But now what do we do? He's not having an allergic reaction to the vaccinations, but the adverse reactions the manufacture lists on the printed warning.

The allergist still suggested that Logan receive single dose shots, starting with the most important/urgent first & get caught up on his vaccination schedule. If he were to have another reaction, we would add that to the list of ones he can't have. My only question to that was, if he were to have a reaction, what could be done to help him? If it was an allergic reaction, there was a solution to the problem. But now that's not the case, what could be done if Logan were to have a reaction like he did at his 2nd month vaccination appointment? I was met with a blank stare.

We decided that we'll speak with Logan's pediatrician & go from there. Before I consent to anymore vaccinations, that's the question I want answered first - What can be done to help him if he has another reaction? I already know the answer. Nothing. I'm not willing to sit there & pray for a week hoping my baby returns to normal like I did when Logan had his first shots. The Doctors & Nurses are all pushing hard to get Logan caught up, shrugging their shoulders at the fact that's he's already been adversely effected by them. It amazes me that they are willing to take that risk.

I'm not a paranoid mother who's been reading too much information & getting caught up in the vaccination propaganda, like I'm sure the Doctors encounter on a regular basis. I'm not saying I don't want to vaccinate Logan because I'm fearful of the increased risk of Autism. I'm saying that I followed their advice & Logan received his scheduled vaccinations. He had a reaction to them. A serious one that had to be reported to the CDC through VAERS. We did smaller combo shots, he had smaller reactions. He's had reactions to every shot except for one. It's not logical to me to continue vaccinating him & pray for the best. There's already more than one vaccination he shouldn't have, it seems awfully risky to keep pumping him full of more chemicals.

It all boils down to this: The risk of him having another serious reaction is increased with each shot. There's nothing that can be done for him if he has another reaction. The risk of him contracting any of these diseases is minimal. If he should get sick, there are treatment plans available. Besides, vaccinations do not guarantee that he will not contract those diseases! I have a strong gut feeling that I know what is right here. My mommy instincts are practically screaming at me. It just sucks that I feel so alone in this decision.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

It's a wrap
At the end of July I wrote about my experience on being filmed for a reality TV show. The film crew came back today to shoot the follow up piece at my photographer friends' house & I was asked to come back for a few more follow up shots. It was a more laid back experience this time but still a little awkward nonetheless. Although, it was still fun.

We just hung out & drank coffee while they filmed us "mingling". There was a lot more filmed with her family & it was nice to hang out with them all. We asked about the airing date. It could take up to a whole year to finally get a chance to see it on TV. Sometimes they work faster & get it up in a few months. They weren't positive how fast they could get this through editing & writing (yes, they have writers for this stuff).

When I finally do find out when it will be aired, I'll send out a notice to friends & family to send me their email addresses so I can give out the info as I'm not about to post it on here. I hope it's sooner rather than later!!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Trick or Treat!
Tonight we went trick or treating at the farm. This is one of many Halloween celebrations we'll be having in the next few days here. Halloween is so different from when I was a kid, with only trick or treating on on night - Halloween. Now, thanks to all of the creepy, crazy people out there, kids get to have "safe street" experiences, making the rounds at different organized Halloween celebrations. While it may not feel the same, it's still fun & the kids make out like bandits.

We met up at Aunt Ju-Ju's & Uncle J's house to eat pizza & get the two boys dressed in their costumes. Cousin B went as a dragon & Logan went as a dog. After dinner, we got the kids in a wagon & walked to the farm , as it's only 4 or 5 blocks away from their house. We got there & walked through a not-so-scary-haunted-farm. Logan quickly picked up on the idea of knocking on doors to get candy. He really didn't about the candy at all, but he thought it was so much fun getting to knock & someone would answer. He was very polite, making sure to sign 'thank you' after he got his candy & told everyone "bye!" as we walked to the next door. He was so, so, so cute.
Not only did we go trick or treating, but we went on hay rides & met characters in full costume like at Disney Land. Logan was particularly fond of The Bee, walking up to him to give him a hug (because he's fascinated with bees & can't get enough of them). It was adorable.

We walked back to the house & ate some candy while we warmed back up. Logan & Cousin B had a fun time playing together & Logan was very nice, sharing his beloved car. I wish we were able to get more pictures of him while we were there, but as you can see here, he's not a fan of photography.

Friday, October 26, 2007

From binkies to Matchbox cars
When Logan was a little infant, he was very attached to his binkies. He couldn't sleep without them & in the early months, we couldn't leave the house without one, let alone the room. I would buy packages of them & keep "back-ups" in zip lock bags in the diaper bag & the kitchen cupboard. It was a traumatic event if we lost one & didn't have an extra immediately on hand.

Now that Logan is over his binkies, he's now moved on to Matchbox cars. He sleeps with one in each hand. They are one of the first words to come out of his mouth in the morning, "Milk? Cars?" He takes one everywhere we go & God forbid we lose one because he will start to whine & fuss, "Cars? Cars? Cars? Cars?...." There have been many car trips where he'll drop his Matchbox car where I can't reach it (because I'm driving) & he goes into a meltdown. He lost one at Wal-Mart because it slid under the shelving where I couldn't reach it. We were fortunate to be in a store with a fully stocked Matchbox car selection & I tell you, I couldn't get it out fast enough for him.

Not only is one constantly glued to his hand, but as of last night, he demands that I race with him. The day before, I was racing a goat with his car & he thought it was pretty funny. He remembered how much fun we had & put two cars in my hand. "Race? Race? Race!" So, I raced a car next to his car & Bill was the goat. We had races on the couch for what seemed like hours. I got bored with it after a while, but Logan still demanded that I play. "Race! Race! Race!" I showed him how the cars could stack on top of one another & he could race the two himself & then he started chanting, "Stat! Stat! Stat!" (stack).

He drives them over every surface in the house & has even discovered that the top of the baby gate is grooved making a perfect fit for the cars & an excellent racing track. He takes all of his cars, trucks, tractors & trains & piles them up on the couch. After making his selection from the vast transportation options available, he proceeds to drive it all over the living room making "vroom, vroom" noises.

How can a boy be so obsessed with cars at such an early age? I don't remember ever forcing cars on him because he's a boy. It just kind of happened that way. We had cars for him to play with & now it seems like they are as important as the air he breaths. Now instead of bagging back-up binkies, I'm rationing Matchbox cars. At least they make perfect stocking stuffers for Christmas.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Shark
Last night was a moms poker night at my photographer friends house. I had been excited about this night out for quite some time & even more so when we decided to play for cash. I lived in Vegas for almost 8 years. I turned 21 there, partied extensively & gambled regularly (sort of). I'm not a stranger to table games. Bill's parents still live there & every holiday get together we play poker for hours on end. So, I still get some practice in every now & then.

We all made snacks to share - I made the heavenly pumpkin bars again & there were lots of drinks (who can play poker without alcohol?) Everyone knows that I lived in Vegas, but they didn't know that I remembered how to play poker. I never jumped in the "this is how you play" conversation that many of the other "seasoned" players were having with the novice moms.

We played nice for the first part of the night only putting in one chip per hand so the games would last longer. It was also more fair for those who'd never played before. One by one, people lost & left. It was my photographer friend, another mom & me left at about 11:15 pm. That's when we decided to play "real" poker- as in actually betting. Quickly the tables turned & I started racking in the chips. The other two friends just kind of stopped in their tracks. "You're a shark!" someone laughed. "Maybe", I replied with a smirk.

We laughed & played for a while until it was just my photographer friend & me left in the game. It was almost midnight, so we decided to split the pot. While I didn't win big money, I did double my money & then some. I've been told that we're going to do this again sometime soon. If word gets out about how I play, I might not be invited.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

You would think
After having lived through the experience of being wrapped up in a mock straight jacket with his arms & legs immobile & me practically sitting on him, puffing air into his mouth with my hand on his face while plugging his nostril- you would think Logan would have learned his lesson about putting objects up his nose.

Yeah, I would have thought so too.

Last night I brushed his teeth & was getting him ready for bed. He had been sneezing all day with a runny, itchy nose. I thought he was getting a cold, especially since he was sounding a little stuffy. I made sure to get his humidifier going while I grabbed the aspirator to clear out his nose a bit. That's when I saw it. At first I thought it was a really big booger. But then I looked closer. It was a kernel of corn.

With a big heaving sigh, I yelled to Bill "He did it again! He has corn up his nose!" We both went into Logan's room to perform the "Nose Maneuver". It didn't work. Logan clearly remembered what this little trick was all about & thrashed around frantically. I thought I was going to poke his eye out with my finger from trying to hold his head still. It was awful. It felt like I was trying to suffocate him. After a while we gave up & decided to call his pediatrician in the morning.

For the rest of the night I tried to figure out when he did this. The only time he had corn that day was at dinner & I was sitting next to him the entire time watching him like a hawk so he didn't throw his roast beef to Buddha. I figured he did it at dinner on Sunday night with Bill while I was training my photographer friend at her house. I thought the corn had been up there for about 24 hours. No wonder why he was sneezing & itching his nose all day.

This morning I made an appointment to get Logan in to see his Doctor (he actually saw the Nurse, but whatever). It took me holding his legs down, another nurse holding his arms & torso still while another nurse held his head trying to get a knitting needle-like instrument up his nose. She scooped out the kernel, which looked pretty big & thus why it wouldn't blow out.

The nurse held it up asking "Is this a dried kernel? You keep dry kernels at home?" "That's gross", I cringed. "That's from Harvest Farm when he was playing in the corn-sand box. That's been in his nose since Saturday." (which again, I'm speechless. I had my eye on him the whole time he was in there & not once did he ever stick his finger up his nose. I have no idea when he found the opportunity to do this).

I was advised to keep looking up his nose to see if he stuck more than one kernel up there. The nurse told me of one toddler patient who stuck 15 peas up his nose & his mom had to keep looking up his nose for days to see if any others would "dislodge" enough to become visible. We came home with a much happier kiddo.

One thing Logan is learning is how to use his potty. I got him a potty last week because he's been showing some signs of interest. While not wanting to push it, but also jump on it while it was fun for him, we got him a potty to use before going into the bath at night. For three straight days he's peed in his potty. We're going to keep it at an easy slow pace, but I think we're on the right track!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Phone calls & farm fun
This weekend we went to a farm (the same farm we visited last year) for the annual fall festival. We had a good time hanging out in the petting zoo where Logan ran around saying "baaaa, baaa, baaa" the whole time. He would bleat at chickens, sheep, goats & pigs but mooed at the cows. It was particularly funny when he was bleating at the sheep & one decided to respond. It scared the crap out of him & made him cry. Being the mean mom that I am, I picked him up laughing. I tried to explain that that's how they sound, but he didn't care.

We skipped the corn maze this year because we got lost last year. It would have been hellish getting lost with a toddler who would be walking the maze rather than an infant riding comfortably in the stroller. One of my friends said that she got lost this year with two toddlers & wandered around in there forever. Yikes.

We played in the corn "sand box" where Logan had a blast. This boy is obsessed with rocks & feeling things like gravel & corn in his hands. I think he would have stayed there forever if we let him.
This was the only picture we got where you can even remotely see Logan

We skipped the pumpkin patch because the pumpkins were looking pretty pathetic & we decided to get some at a different farm. We did go on the hay ride & Logan was pretty good one it. He was getting tired & very grumpy, so we left after only a few hours. He passed out in the car on the way home.

Along with fun times at the farm, I've been spending most of my time on the phone trying to figure out the insurance problems. I made great headway this morning & have 99% of it resolved. There's only one visit they won't cover (which is so stupid, but whatever) & I have to write an appeals letter to try & get it covered. Hopefully, everything from here on out will be fine & I won't have t do any of this again after our second visit with the allergist next week.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

This is beyond ridiculous. We've had so many problems with insurance companies, I don't know what to do anymore. It's one thing after another, after another, after another. Yesterday afternoon after we came home from Logan's appointment I got a call from the allergist's billing office. They tried to bill the insurance company only to find out that the claim was denied because the policy had been canceled...AGAIN.

We signed up with the company in May. Logan has his 18th month check-up in mid August. We found out that the insurance company canceled our existing policy after 30 days & switched us to a different carrier because we didn't check a box on the application (that we were never informed of when sitting down with the representative). Logan's visit was denied & we were held responsible for the bill. The billing office of his pediatrician said that they had a form that I could sign that would get us back on the original plan. I went in, signed the form & they faxed it in to the insurance company.

We waited until it was confirmed that we had coverage before proceeding with the referral to the allergist's office. The pediatrician's office got the go-ahead & sent in the referral to the allergist. I received an insurance card in the mail with the new effective date as 10/1/2007. I also received a copy of the referral in the mail for 3 visits effective between 10/4/2007 - 1/4/2008. Everything I had in my hands said that we were able to go to this appointment.

This is why it came as a complete shock when I called the insurance company to find out why the claim was denied & I was told that the policy had been CANCELED 10/1/2007. I don't get it. I don't know what else I could have done to make sure we were doing everything we were supposed to do. If the policy was canceled, then why did I get a NEW card with a NEW effective date? If the policy was CANCELED then WHY did I receive a referral for three visits with the START date beginning AFTER THE POLICY WAS CANCELED? Why was the policy even canceled AGAIN anyway? If this is really canceled, it means we had coverage for one day. They reactivated then canceled the policy in less than 12 hours.

Other than crying on the phone & waiting for them to figure this out, I don't know what else to do. Every single time we go in for an appointment, claims are denied. We have paid more out of pocket & have been held responsible for thousands of dollars that the insurance company was supposed to pay. It's as if we don't have health insurance. This card in my wallet means absolutely nothing, the money we've paid the insurance company for coverage is only paying them to deny all coverage...the health care system in America is beyond corrupt & it is drastically effecting our family & our financial wellbeing.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Allergy testing - Part 1
When you hear hoof beats think horses, not zebras. Well, maybe we should have been thinking about donkeys. Now that we have the results from Logan's skin test this morning, looking back on his food journal is like a slap in the forehead. DUH! While it wasn't completely obvious, I should have really analyzed the food labels closer & I probably would have seen & made the connection.

We went in early this morning (running late, as usual) with Logan sliding off my hip on one side & a huge notebook full of medical histories, previous IgE tests, copies of the vaccination reactions that I blogged about on here & records of eczema flare ups. I felt prepared to give the Doctor all of the information I could so he could make a complete diagnosis & provide the best treatment plan.

While getting checked in, Logan was not very cooperative & commenced with temper tantrums. I did find one distraction that literally saved everyone's ears from bleeding in the doctor's office. Motor Trend. We sat there turning pages with Logan saying "Car. Car. Car. Car" to every single car picture he saw. We counted cars, we named the colors of the cars. We talked about cars & trucks. We were called back to the exam room & I made sure to bring the magazine with.

After going over Logan's medical history with the nurse, the Doctor came in & we went over it again. We really focused on his vaccination reactions & he took a look at Logan's last IgE blood test (when he was about 2 months old with bloody, mucous filled stools). He said that the previous test wasn't very reliable & notorious for giving false results.

We discussed the skin test & all of the foods we wanted to try. It was hard to not want to try all of them (69 foods available) but I decided to try all of the foods Logan eats on a regular basis: apple, avocado, banana, carrot, potato, tomato, orange, oats, rice, wheat, peanut (even though he's never had peanut butter before), soybean, garlic, casein/milk & egg. Another nurse came back & numbered Logan's back with a ball point pen while he watched SpongeBob SquarePants. He totally flipped out while he was getting pricked because it hurt, but he was also forced to being confined on my lap. Which was worse than the pricks to him.

While we waited the 15 minutes for the test to take, I saw all of the hives begin to grow all over his back. Some were very small, a couple looked mean & nasty. They were really bothering him because he kept trying to scratch them. A couple of nurses came back in & measured his welts & determined what he was allergic to.

Garlic & Eggs.

Garlic I knew, but eggs? Really!? He doesn't like eggs, so he hasn't been eating them for months. He never had obvious reactions to it when I was introducing new foods to him when he started solids, otherwise we wouldn't be in this situation. It wasn't like garlic & egg plant (we didn't test for egg plant, but that one is very obvious). He ate yolk just fine without breaking out into hives shortly there after & when he started eating whole eggs, no immediate breakouts there either.

Yet, this answers so many questions. Like when we went out for breakfast after his 12 month checkup & vaccinations & he broke out; he ate eggs & garlic. When Aunt J & C were visiting this summer & we made scrambled eggs with garlic; he broke out everywhere (this is why we only thought it was garlic too). When we went out for lunch with some of our friends a couple of weeks ago, he stuck his fingers in my wasabi mayo & broke out in hives. All week long as I've been doing his food journal, there's been egg in almost every meal; eggo pancakes, english muffins, chicken dumpling stew...the kid has been ingesting some type of egg product almost daily. This is also why I thought it was wheat or dairy, because he wasn't "eating" eggs, but he really was.

The Doctor came in & we talked about the results of the test. He was very surprised that Logan was allergic to garlic & commented that he's only seen a few adults with this allergy. He wasn't going to test for it until I said that it was a suspected food allergy. So, I'm going to start eliminating all egg from Logan's diet (you wouldn't believe all of the products you can find egg in) & never cook with garlic again (boo. But it's not like I cook with it all of the time because it bothers Bill too). He gave me cream for Logan's eczema & decided that steroid creams were not right for him (thank God). Then we talked about the vaccination reactions some more.

He whole heartedly agreed with Logan's pediatrician about his 2nd month vaccination reaction. The culprit was definitely the Pertussis part & it was recommended that Logan never receive that vaccination ever again. Because of his egg allergy, it's not recommended that he get the flu shot either. To figure out more about the other vaccinations, the Doctor has to get single dose samples so he can perform another skin test. The scary part is when we were talking about this, the Doctor outright said that he hasn't done this test in a while & hasn't done many of them. He's also one of the top allergists not only in our town, but our state.

We go back in two weeks for part 2 of the testing, which is strictly vaccinations. At that point, we'll find out what vaccinations he may be allergic or sensitive to & proceed with the best treatment plan.

Monday, October 15, 2007

No wonder why
Because of Logan's appointment with the allergist tomorrow morning, I've been keeping a detailed food journal for the last few days. They didn't ask that I do this (but they should have) & I figure the more information, the better.

Food journaling for Logan has only reaffirmed to me how important it is to do when analyzing anything about your nutrition, be it for food allergies or fitness. It's still important, even for the skilled professional, because food amnesia is very common. I've always commented about how Logan is a bottomless pit, always signing "eat" & stealing or begging others for their snacks at playgroup. It's gotten to the point of being embarrassing & I always say, "I swear he's not starving! I really do feed him! He eats all of the time!" Well, I've come to find out the kid is starving.

Logan is a picky eater. This is no surprise. What is a surprise is that he is so picky, he really doesn't eat! I've alway said that I constantly feed him (which I do), I just never realized how little of it goes in his mouth & how much of it ends up on the floor. The boy only eats raisins & Goldfish crackers. That's pretty much it. Here's a rundown of the last few days:

Saturday 10/13
Breakfast: Sugar-free Carnation Instant Breakfast with whole milk. Whole wheat Eggo pancake. 1 whole banana.
*Most of pancake was thrown on floor

Snack: Mini box of raisins. Whole wheat Goldfish crackers.

Lunch: Flour tortilla with cheese. Broccoli. Mandarin oranges.
*Most of tortilla & broccoli was thrown on floor

-Woke up from nap with hives on back, ribs, eczema flare up on back of arms, itchy nose.

Snack: Mini box of raisins. Whole wheat Goldfish crackers.

Dinner: Macaroni & Cheese

-Tugging at left ear at bed time.

Sunday 10/14
Breakfast: Sugar-free Carnation Instant Breakfast with whole milk. Whole wheat Eggo pancake. Mandarin oranges.
*Didn't eat pancake at all

Snack: Mini box of raisins. Whole wheat Goldfish crackers.

Lunch: Cheese sandwich on whole wheat english muffin. Mango. Green beans.
*Some of english muffin & green beans thrown on floor

Snack: Applesauce with cinnamon. Honey nut Cheerios.
*Didn't eat any Cheerios & most of applesauce

-Didn't nap well, very grumpy. Eczema on arms & back of legs. Front of legs have pimple-like hives.

Snack: Whole wheat Goldfish crackers.

Dinner: Chicken Dumpling Stew (chicken, bullion, bay leaves, celery, carrots, potatoes, onion. Dumplings- flour, egg, milk, parsley)
*Ate very little. Mostly carrots & a few bites of chicken.

Monday 10/15
Breakfast: Sugar-free Carnation Instant Breakfast with whole milk. Oatmeal with plain whole yogurt, green apples and cinnamon.
*Ate the pulp of apple slices, but not the peels. Ate a couple bites of oatmeal & threw the rest on the floor.

Snack: Mini box of raisins

Lunch: A slice of cheese pizza at Chuck E. Cheese
*Ate the cheese of another slice

-Had two hives on stomach at nap time.

So, that's what it's been like so far. And if anyone comments that I need to cut out dairy & wheat - problem solved - thanks. I'm already battling this out & apparently it takes a clinical diagnosis for anyone else in the house to listen to me (or for our pediatric nurse too because he's already had an IgE test that came back negative. I'm positive it was a false negative.). I haven't gone dairy Nazi on Logan just because, as you can all see, it's the only source of protein he will eat. Beans, soy, even vegetables to combine & make a complete protein? All on the floor. He begs for cheese on a daily if not hourly basis. "Cheese? Crackers? Sins?", all day long.

So now we'll see what happens to my starving picky eater son tomorrow. God forbid his tests show a dairy or wheat allergy because we will ALL be screwed.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A glimpse into a crystal ball
Last night I got a small taste of what life might be like with a teenager. I can see why parents instantly go gray when their kids start going out with friends & lets just say, I might have to keep boxes of hair color stock piled in the house.

Yesterday was one of Bill's Dudes Night Out. This night was a little different than the last few times because it was with his new co-workers. One of them just finalized his divorce & made a chunk of change on the settlement of the house. This was going to be one big divorce party & really, the party started at 3pm.

The people that Bill works with now are party people. On Fridays, they start drinking beer at the office at 3pm. Every week. The funny thing about this is the type of party people they are. They aren't crazy city slickers that go out to the clubs & get wasted. No, these people are what I call tech-hippies (for lack of a better term). They drink local brews & have their own jam sessions. Yes, you read that right. They have jam sessions. One person brings their mandolin to work & breaks it out when they break it down. After all, we do live in Colorado.

So, it's Friday & they are all drinking beer at 3. Then Bill makes a pretty big sale that everyone gets very excited about & this leads into an enthusiastic jam session (I saw the video that Bill recorded on his cell. It's pretty entertaining). This apparently was the perfect pre-party to this one co-workers divorce party.

I picked up Bill from work. Excited about his sale & the party after dinner, he was grinning from ear to ear. We ate dinner & decided that it would be a good idea if I kept the car & he biked home. Other co-workers were making responsible decisions & spending the night at this guys house rather than driving home. Logan & I dropped Bill off at the party with a bike & he said that he would be home between midnight & 1am. He also said that he would call me when he left the party so I knew he was on his way home.

Midnight rolls around & no word from Bill. The next thing I know, it's 1am & still-nothing. I sent Bill a text. Are you on your way home? No response. At this point I'm in bed, but I can't sleep. 15 minutes pass & I text him again. Hey, what's going on? Again, no response. Now I'm starting to worry. I continue to lay in bed & listen to the sounds of our town. It dawns on me that since we do live in a small town & the party is really just a few miles down the street, I could hear the sirens of an ambulance if anything went wrong. So, now I'm laying in bed listening for sirens. 20 minutes pass & I send him another text. I need you to answer. It's not fair to make me lay here & worry.

Now it's about 1:30 & I'm pissed. I'm filled with a mix of worry & anger. All I want is a phone call to know where he is. Is he biking home? Has he been hit by a car? Is he still at the party & too drunk to come home? Did he pass out at the party? I get out of bed clutching my cell & go to check my email (why would anyone email me at 1am is beyond me). I then call him & leave him a message that said something to the effect of, "Answer your damn phone & let me know where you are", among other choice words.

I hear something outside & open the door to find Bill in the garage putting the bike up. Filled with worry I start crying. "Would it have killed you to call me & let me know you were coming home!? Stop acting like a dick head teenager! You are a husband, a father & the sole provider for our family! Either come home on time or call!!" He apologized saying that he didn't have any reception to which I snapped back with, "Then use someone else's phone!" He continued to apologize & said that he wouldn't do something like that again.

It took me a few minutes to calm down, but once I did it hit me that this is what life is going to be like when Logan goes out. He is going to do the exact same things that Bill & I did as teens. I can't count how many times I came home late & never called, always getting into trouble for it when I was in high school. I never thought about how while I was out having a good time, someone was at home listening for sirens.

This is one thing I'm not looking forward to.

Friday, October 12, 2007

It's worth a shot
This morning while Logan was eating breakfast, I did my usual morning computer routine. I checked my email, looked at some stats & browsed some sites for writing & fitness gigs (kind of like looking for jobs through the classifieds every morning). I happened to come across an interesting opportunity. I didn't jump on it right away because I thought it might be a waste of time but after telling some of my friends about it at playgroup this morning, I might as well give it a shot.

There is a reality show being filmed in the next town over looking for a female trainer. This show is similar to the other weight loss shows like The Biggest Loser, but focuses more on the community pulling together to help motivate the contestants. It doesn't look like it would be a nationally syndicated show, but I'm not sure. Really, I'm not positive this is legit. And, while I'm in pretty good shape for being a mom, I'm not in TV shape with six pack abs (but if I did get the job I could be in TV shape in a month, no problem).

My friends all encouraged me to at least send in an application saying the worst thing that could happen was being turned down. If I didn't like the pay or if it wasn't going to be televised nationally, I could always turn it down. Basically, they all said that I should try, no matter what.

So, once I get Logan down for his nap I'll send in my application. Wish me luck!

Ok, upon further investigation, it is aired on local TV as well as the internet, local radio & newspaper. I'm trying to find some video clips without any luck. Now I'm having second thoughts about it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I've followed up with our insurance crap for the last few days & everything is finally sorted out (to clarify, we are suing insurance co #1, we dropped #2 due to them constantly raising monthly premiums & it was getting outrageous & we are now on insurance company #3 who just out of the blue, canceled the policy & sent the claims to a different carrier 30 days after we were approved for coverage. Confused? Yeah, so am I). I got written (typed?) confirmation that we have coverage again & that Logan's referral to the allergist is approved. So if he by chance sticks a pea up his nose again & I can't blow it out, at least we'll have insurance (whatever that's supposed to mean).

I got an appointment for him next week & apparently, it can take up to 2 hours if the Doctor does the whole shebang. My homework until then is to figure out what questions to ask, look into treatment plans he may suggest so I'm at least somewhat informed on the spot & we'll go from there. I'm just super relieved that this is just one step closer to figuring out why Logan is constantly breaking out into hives at the drop of a hat. And as funny as I make the "boy in a bubble" seem, it's not. I hope my little kiddo can be comfortable soon & we won't have to constantly guess if he's going to have a reaction to something.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A little slice of heaven
My, oh, my. The last couple of days have been chock full of pumpkin goodness. It's a good thing it's been low fat pumpkin goodness too.

Our friend stopped by for a visit for a couple of days. Months ago he did me a favor by adding the Virtual Fitness button to his blog for a period of time to help me advertise. In exchange, I told him that I would bake the best pumpkin bars that he's ever had. It was a true challenge as a family member of his apparently makes very delicious bars that are hard to beat.

I made low fat pumpkin bars with freshly baked pumpkin (not the canned stuff) & a cream cheese glaze. I was told that if there was a gun to his head making him choose between his families bars & mine, it would a very tough decision. Between the three of us, the entire pan of bars was inhaled in two days. Now, that is how you know something is really good. It doesn't last very long. My jeans are thankful for the low fat aspect, because I surly would have gained at least 10lbs by now.

I wish I had taken pictures, but we were too busy eating them. They were so moist with chunks of pumpkin (I didn't puree to make it a "rustic" dish, by mistake). These bars were so good that they would qualify as a desert for someone's last meal. Seriously. I really wish there was a pumpkin desert competition because I think I would win, hands down.

I had leftover baked pumpkin so I made muffins for playgroup this morning. They weren't as good as the bars. I added some cloves, which I should have left out. I also need to do a little research to figure out how to stop the tops from going flat (I think I need to adjust the baking soda). There is a muffin competition this month, so I have some time to perfect the recipe. Not that this is a bad thing (well, maybe for the waist line).

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Another day in the life of a toddler
All day today I've been cleaning the house from top to bottom because for one, it needed it and we're also having company for a couple of days. I've been doing loads of laundry while Logan was eating lunch. The way our house is designed, you can see Logan from every part of the house unless you go into a bedroom or bathroom. The rest is open space, so I feel alright about doing housework while he's eating. I'll be able to see him if he starts choking or if anything else today.

I had just checked on the load in the dryer & noticed that Logan had his finger up his nose. No big surprise, he does this all of the time. I told him to get his finger out of his nose, but then I realized how far he was up his nostril & I just knew what he did.

He stuck a pea up his nose.

I tried to get him to blow his nose & he kept sucking it up farther. I did a quick Google search on what to do (yea for the internet!) & all I read was to not stick my finger or anything else up there to try & dig it out. It would just push it up farther, much like how you're not supposed to do a finger sweep on a choking child.

I called his pediatricians office to see if this qualified as a weekend emergency thinking, NO! Our insurance is still screwed up & I'm not positive that we have coverage here! The on-call nurse said I would get a call from the Doctor to try some things I hadn't done yet & to stop feeding Logan lunch just in case he would have to go under anesthesia if the tips didn't work (holy crap).

While I waited for the Doctor to call, not only did I try to get Logan to blow his nose more, but I kept asking him to play me songs on his recorder, thinking that hey, you have to blow into that, it might help him blow his nose! He wasn't going for it.

The Doctor called & said that since I could see the pea, I could try to pull it out with a pair of tweezers. He also said that I could plug the clear nostril & puff into Logan's mouth (kind of like CPR) & that would help to pop the pea out, much like the Heimlich Maneuver does for choking. If these tricks didn't work, then I was told to call the office on Monday so they could extract the pea. I chose the second option.

I put Logan on the floor & wrapped him up in a towel because he was kicking & screaming & thrashing his arms around, knowing that I was going to do something to him. It took about 10 puffs because he was freaking out so much, but finally, the pea exploded out of his nose & shot across the room, rolling under his bed & I ended up with a big splat of snot on the lens of my glasses.

I gave him a big hug to help him calm down & within seconds he was up & running around. I'm glad we didn't have to go to the pediatrician tomorrow because I'm sure we would have been stuck with another bill.

So, a pea up the nose. Does it get anymore "typical toddler" than that?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

That was all I needed.
You know those times in your life where you know you're acting like a jerk & you need a total attitude adjustment? You know those days when you look at yourself in the mirror & think, what in the hell am I doing? Those moments in your life where you hate the person you've become? That's been me the last few weeks if not the last month.

It's been no secret that Logan's temper tantrums have been quickly pushing me to the edge of insanity. Day after day, hour after hour, the constant screaming & tantrums, the endless frustration. I've hated it. I've actually told myself in my head that at this point, I hate motherhood. I can't handle it. It's been emotionally draining, physically exhausting & demoralizing. I've noticed that my attitude has been increasingly volatile with a complete lack of patience. My worst character flaw-impatience. And when it rears it's ugly head, it's well, ugly.

It's been bad. I've felt like I've been constantly screaming. "Get back in you bed!", "Oh my God! Why did you dig the diapers out of the diaper pail!", "Stop screaming!", "Stop throwing your food!", "Stop, stop stop!". It gets to this point because I start with a request that lands on deaf ears. I repeat myself at least five times (or more) & then I'm so frustrated I just start screaming to get Logan's attention. It works, but it's a crappy way to go about it. It doesn't make him feel good & it certainly doesn't make me feel good. It actually makes me feel like my mother.

My God. I've turned into my mother. One of the people I despise the most in this world. This was one of my biggest parenting fears. This is what made me shake uncontrollably when I saw the positive pregnancy test. This is not what I wanted to do & it wasn't who I wanted to be.

I guess to my credit, I saw the type of mother I was turning in to & realized that I needed to get my act together & now. So, I tried. I tried really, really hard yesterday. While it wasn't a completely scream-free day because Logan did get into the diaper pail (again), throwing dirty diapers all over his room during nap time & I lost my temper-that was it. The rest of the day was relatively tantrum-free.

I tried my best to let Logan know that I understood what he wanted (drink, raisins, books, etc). When he tries to communicate his wants, he almost immediately goes into a tantrum. Rather than telling him that I will get what he wants, I really worked on helping him to understand that I knew what he was trying to say. So, I'm still repeating myself a million times but instead of saying, don't do this or don't do that, it's:

"You want (insert whatever he's signing for or trying to say)? OK. I know you want (___)." He might start to whine a bit here . "OK, listen. Mommy knows what you want. You want (___), right?" He nods his head yes & smiles. "OK, you want (___) & we'll go get it."

I've known I needed some help & was beginning to think about picking up some parenting books. A long while back, The Club watched Dr. Karp's Happiest Toddler on the Block video for one of our monthly meetings. I wasn't able to pay much attention to it since the kids were running around like wild hooligans, but I was able to remember that confirming your toddler's communication attempts was important. When Logan was a newborn (actually, before he was born) I read the Happiest Baby on the Block & had great success with following those suggestions.

I can't count how many tantrums I've been able to stop before it gets out of control. With yesterday being such a good day without many tantrums & a very successful grocery shopping trip that we did on our own since Bill is out of town (the first time we've ever done the weekly shopping alone), I feel so much better. That was all I needed. Just one day. One good day to help me get my head straight & turn my attitude around. That one day helped me change my perspective & rather than feeling like the crappiest mom in the world, it gave me hope that not only can I change, but I can handle toddlerhood.

With another great day under my belt where I don't think Logan's even had one tantrum- outside of the nap time battle, of course (which was much better than other days), I'm going to the library tomorrow to pick up the toddler book for some more in depth reading & a bit of a refresher course.

I can't even begin to explain the difference in these last two days. Amazing. Absolutely amazing.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Come out, come out, wherever you are!
Not a whole lot going on in these here parts today. Bill is getting ready to leave for his grandma's funeral & we stopped by Aunt Ju-Ju's house to pick up Uncle J's black jacket for Bill to wear to the services (because the suit he wore to our wedding doesn't fit. This makes me want to try on my wedding dress to see what happens). The cousins played a little bit, but it was mostly Logan stealing Cousin B's goldfish crackers. The little snack thief!

I realized the other day that I am not as smart of a bargain shopper that I think I am. I thought I found a great deal on toilet paper (I even had coupons!). Turns out that it wasn't such a great deal after all. I bought packs of single ply. Yep. It sucks. Now I dread going to the bathroom.

Also, I found out that the post I wrote on Virtual Fitness today got picked up by FOX News & Reuters (again). I wrote this in the middle of a two hour nap time battle with Logan. I was amazed that it got published. Typos & all. Once I get a few more publications under my belt, I think I'll start hitting up some more job postings for freelance work. I have been sending out cover letters and writing samples without any luck. I'm not discouraged by it only because I thought pursuing this would make for some great practice or "homework" to keep working on my writing skills. I plan on spending a lot of time working on my two books this winter when we're stuck inside all day long. If I'm lucky, we'll get snowed in again for a week or more.

And finally, a day late & a dollar short, it was delurking day yesterday. I missed it because I was too busy blinding everyone with the pink blog (hey! Did you donate or Click to Give?). So, I've watched the blog stats steadily increase & often wondered who on earth is wasting their life reading about my boring days as a Stay at Home Mom (or Work at Home Mom now, I guess). I think I can count how many people I know who read here on two hands & maybe a foot. The other 100 people or so, I'm stumped. So, leave a comment & say hi! Lord knows I need to come out & say hey on a few blogs that I lurk on.

The Great Mofo Delurk 2007

I just found out that Detroit news channel 4 & Connecticut news channel 3 picked up the "To ice or not to ice..." post too!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Pink Playgroup!
This morning The Club had Pink Playgroups to participate in the Passionately Pink for the Cure fundrasier for one of our volunteering projects. It was a lot of fun! We had pink foods to eat; cookies, pink lemonade, watermelon & pink yo-gos for the kids. I brought pink balloons for the kids to play with & pink leis for everyone to wear (most of the kids in our group are boys who don't own pink shirts). We took lots & lots of pictures. I'm really excited to see the pictures from the other playgroups (there are four, all divided up by age groups).

In celebration of our Pink Playgroup, I'm turning the blog pink today. I'm also adding links to donation sites if anyone feels inspired to be generous & make a donation:

You can Click to Give
This is really, really easy. All you have to do is click the button & the sponsors on the site will pay for mammograms for those who cannot afford them. I click every day because I had an ultrasound paid for. They would have picked up the tab for a mammogram if I needed that too.

You can donate directly on the Komen website
As part of our Pink Playgroup today, we asked for $5 or more donations from all of the moms. Komen suggests many different donation options.

You can also visit the online stores of these sites to purchase pink items where proceeds go towards ending breast cancer.

If you make a donation of any kind, please leave a comment!!!

Monday, October 01, 2007

20 months old
2o months, huh? Why does it feel like 20 years already? This has been one busy month for Logan with lots of transitions. There's never a dull moment around here, that's for sure!

This last month we transitioned to the toddler bed earlier than anticipated. This has been challenging. Very challenging. The first few bedtimes & nap times were the most difficult. I've had to "toddler proof" his bedroom-which is more extreme than baby proofing-by practically stripping his room of everything that wasn't bolted down. Bedtime is easier because he's just exhausted. Nap time however, is an hour to two hour battle. I've often stood at his bedroom door & every time I heard him get up, the door would swing open & I would ambush him with "get back in your bed now!" At least he's great in the mornings, occupying himself & letting me sleep in. He's so quiet when he wakes up & just does whatever he does in there. I think he hangs out for at least an hour if not two.
During one of the nap time battles, he fell asleep in the rocking chair

Meal time is the same old story. Picky, picky, picky. At the recommendation of the nurse in his last check-up, we've been giving him Carnation Instant Breakfast (the sugar free kind) as a pre-breakfast, because most of his food still ends up on the floor. He is addicted to is "special milk" & if I give him a cup of regular milk, he freaks out. The minute he wakes up & I'm changing his diaper, he's signing "Drink milk". He must have "special milk" dreams.

He's getting better about food on the floor (sometimes) & he's getting pretty good at using his utensils. Other than "special milk", his next food obsession is raisins. Good Lord. Raisins. We discovered how much he loves his raisins or "sins" as he calls them while at the photo shoot yesterday. I've begun buying bags & bags of the little snack boxes & if I don't have at least three on me at all times, we're in for a bumpy ride. He could have a worse food habit, though.

He still loves to watch his morning cartoons & his favorites are SpongeBob SquarePants, or "Bob Bob" as he says & Yo Gabba Gabba. He dances around to the songs, claps his hands & just laughs with excitement when he hears the theme song. It's pretty funny.
Watching cartoons with Kitty

He is still teething & is finally getting his cuspids (or eye/canine teeth). His top left broke through the other day & now were just waiting for the other three to pop up. It seems that it will be well after his 2nd birthday when his molars come up.

His speech development is coming along & he's trying to vocalize more than sign (sometimes). When I change his diaper, he likes to name the article of clothing he's wearing. Even though no one else has a clue as to what he's trying to say, I understand him. However, he's still super frustrated about the lack of communication & understanding, thus leading into massive tantrums.

And tantrums. Oh, the tantrums. They are never ending & anything can bring on the worst of the worst. This is my least favorite part of motherhood & I often find myself second guessing my consideration on having another baby. If I have two kids acting like this at the same time, I know without a doubt, I could not handle it at all. I'm almost over the edge now with the constant fussing & screaming. One mom in The Club has even attempted to step in & "resolve the situation" leaving me dumbfounded on the sidelines. Like she's really going to be able to do anything. Anyway, these tantrums just make me feel helpless & like a total failure. There is nothing I can do to prevent or stop them from happening. And really, Logan ignores everything I say or ask him (or tell him) to do. It's like I'm talking to a deaf child. Seriously, his "selective hearing" is that bad. It makes me not want to talk to him at all. It's pointless.

On the cute side of things, he's learned to play the recorder. He walks around the house toot-tooting away. He even plays songs for the animals. This makes us both laugh hysterically. He loves his matchbox cars & action figures, taking them with him where ever he goes. He's coordinated enough to climb up the playground equipment & go down the slides (even the big twisty ones!) by himself. He also learned how to do crunches ("tunch"), much to my disbelief. I was changing his diaper (why does everything happen during a diaper change?) & he put his hands behind his head & started doing crunches. I screamed, "AH! YOU'RE DOING CRUNCHES! LOOK AT YOU!!!" He loves to do them all the time now & is well on his way to six pack abs.

He is also very loving, giving us hugs & kisses (sort of) & this month he started giving his little friends hugs. When any of his friends would come to give him a hug, he would shirk back not wanting to have any part of it. Now he is always wrapping his arms around them giving them the cutest little toddler hugs. It's freakin' adorable.
Picking up rocks with one of his friends

It's been one crazy month & I'm sure there will be more craziness to look forward to. Like I said, there's never a dull moment over here!