Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mars and Venus?

First and foremost, I have to acknowledge the incredibly lame writing that's been going on here on the blog. Life has been hectic with schedules, preschool and really, my writing on the restaurant review blog. I've never been one to multi-task well, even though I try. The last month or so of posts here have sucked. It's not my usual style and I think I'm about to come out of my personal writing funk. No more boring and bland blah, blah, blah.

Anyway, there has been a lot on my mind that I've wanted to write about, and we all know that I'm not one to hold back when spilling the beans, but it's taking me some time to even sort it out in my own head. Sometimes I just write and it works itself out, other times I have to have an epiphany before I hit the "New Post" button. This may be a combination of the two.

When I pick up Logan from preschool, I ask him about his day on our drive home. "How was school today? What did you learn about? What did you do?" "I dunno," he replies with a shoulder shrug. "What do you mean you don't know? You were there for 2 hours! You know what you did today. What did you eat? What did you read?" I ask him again. "I dunno," he replies again. This goes on for about three or four cycles until I get a response of some sort that usually doesn't make any sense.

This began to concern me. Was it a communication problem that Logan is having? Is this normal? I asked my friends who are in the same preschool class what their kids are telling them about their days. Some (the girls) report back more detail, but for the most part, I think we're all getting limited details. It's got to be a combination of where they are developmentally and the gender. Specifically, boy speak.

These are the same conversations that I have with Bill as we're hanging out on the couch at the end of the night. One word answers, shoulder shrugs and "I don't know". It's been driving me insane for a very long time, and I think I really began to notice the significant issue around the elections. There are a lot of things I like to talk about, none of which interest Bill in the slightest, and Bill has very few things he likes to talk about - period. More often than not, we sit on the couch and watch TV with our superficial, minimal discussion. With this, a wall grows - a space, a chasm, a distance from being unable to relate. I tend to fill that space with other things and hobbies - blogging, writing about food, MOMS Club, talking to and connecting with people who have the same interests. This leaves Bill behind, almost replaced since I find the missing pieces from others. Marriage is hard and sometimes it sucks.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm asking too much. Is it too much to get simple answers about my son's day? Is it too much to have a conversation with my husband at night? Do I talk a lot, like the stereotypical woman? What about a stereotypical stay-at-home mom? Am I just alone in a house full of testosterone separated by a communication difference of dinosaur growls, single word grunts and shrugs? Because frankly, that's how I'm feeling. Alone in my own home.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

3 dozen cupcakes later

On Sunday we had close to 30 people (including kids) in our house for Carter's first birthday party. I baked three dozen cupcakes, Bill made his cheesy chili dip and there were other snacky-type foods for us to munch on. Logan was really excited to play with his friends, Carter had a blast eating and playing with his friends and it was nice to hang out on our new front room furniture (which Bill doesn't think we'll use, but I do). It was also really nice to look around and see how many people have been apart of Carter's life since he's been born. We're really lucky to have so many friends.

And, in the chaos of it all, I totally forgot to get the camera and take pictures. Bad mom moment!

The difference between Autumn birthday parties and winter birthday parties is dramatic. For Carter, we'll always be able to have a ton of people over and just hang out or enjoy the kids running around in the back yard. With Logan's parties, we'll always either have to limit the amount of people we can cram in our house or find a space big enough to invite everyone. The things you don't think about when family planning...

Carter also had his 1 year check-up last week. He measured 29 inches long (20%), weighed 18 pounds 11 ounces (3%) and his head was 17 3/4 inches (15%). He's a small little guy, but growing just fine and we're not concerned about his low weight percentage (the kids eats everything anyway). He aced the developmental milestone questionnaire, being able to do everything (which is unusual) and he's as healthy as can be. We're at the point now in check-up's where our Pediatrician will ask if we're doing vaccinations that visit, I say no and that's that. It's not even a conversation anymore, just a question. It's nice not having to worry about it any more or continue to think about it.

Carter is walking (and I'm going to get some video soon), taking about 5-8 steps at a time. Watching him toddle around the house is hysterical. He is so freakin cute!! He knows how to climb up and down the stairs so now he can go down into the playroom with Logan. They go down together and do puzzles, read books or go crazy. It's adorable to see how well they get along and now much they like to play together. Plus, it gives me some free time to breath.

I've had to take the kids to the drop-in childcare center about once or twice a week and Carter is doing much better in dealing with the separation. He cries at first, but get's over it quickly. They've been super awesome with him and helping him feel comfortable. Good thing too because I have sessions to train and the kids will need to go there and then the times where I have writing assignments getting backed up, they'll need to hang out there for a few hours. I don't know what I would do without that place.

So, our crazy busy life continues!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

So that's what you call it

I don't know if "old" is the appropriate adjective, but over the last few weeks, possibly months, I've felt it. Or perhaps it's better described as "responsible". I think it may have something to do with being married for so long, living in a house, having two kids - one of which is in school. The days are filled with errands and work (which is taking up a lot more time than I expected), making sure Logan has his homework ready for school, Carter has enough winter clothes and being excited about purchasing new furniture. Maybe that's it - the tell-tale sign that you are "responsible", being excited about an ottoman.

Or maybe it's the new gray hairs I've found in the last two days. That makes me feel "responsible".

Monday, September 21, 2009

A year of Carter

Carter's 1st birthday was on the 12th, a couple of weekends ago. It was a low key, fun day. Bill made a big breakfast, we sat in the living room helping Carter open his presents, had a nice family dinner and then cupcakes afterward. It was simple and sweet.

Now that our family's health is improving; Bill's foot is better, my asthma is getting under control and Logan's ear infection is clearing up - we're going to celebrate Carter's birthday with all of our friends this weekend with a big birthday bash. We have a list of close to 30 people an the RSVP's still aren't all in yet. It's going to be one big celebration!

This year with two boys has been both challenging and amazing. Juggling our schedule and multitasking has had me up in arms many times. However, the love that Logan and Carter have for each other is one of the sweetest bonds I've ever seen. It makes me smile many times throughout the day. I'm sad that Carter is growing so quickly, his first year has been full of cuddles, smiles and pure baby love. I love to kiss him all over, knowing that he won't let me do it for much longer. I will desperately miss this stage of babyhood - which was so much different the second time (probably because I knew what I was doing).

Baby Bean,

You have added such a sweetness to all of our lives and we love you so very much. Your charming personality, your coy smiles and the sparkle in your eyes enables you to make friends wherever you go. Your rowdiness and love for all things Boy makes you the perfect Best Friend with Logan. My heart is so full of love that it overflows into tears of joy.

With more love than I have words for,

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Breathing is important, you know.

About three weeks ago our town woke up to smoke filled skies. Visibility was very low, you couldn't see the mountains and really, it was just gross. Apparently, there was something going on with the weather (I don't remember exactly what), but it made the smoke from the California fires, fires in other states and fires in Colorado, all settle into our valley. Nasty.

I had a difficult time breathing, my throat burning and my nose running. I asked Bill if he felt that way, and when he didn't, I thought I was getting a cold. The air in our town cleared up over Labor Day weekend when the wind blew it away (for lack of a better explanation) and the skies were bright and pretty again. My lungs and body were still suffering though.

For weeks I coughed and coughed. It was annoying and it just wouldn't let up. Over the weekend I had to take Logan to the Doctor because he's been coughing too and Sunday morning he woke up crying hysterically because his ear hurt. Another ear infection for the poor kid. At his appointment, the Doctor listened to his lungs and said that we should keep an eye on his breathing because it sounded like he had asthma (something I've been talking to our regular Pediatrician about for a little while). The Doctor asked about our family history and asthma - which is all over the place (again, we passed on crappy genetics). Logan will probably have to have asthma treatments in the next year or so if it doesn't get worse now. And every time he gets sick, it will trigger his asthma. Grrrreeeeaaaat.

And then it hit me. All of this coughing I've been doing? It wasn't a cold. It was asthma. I was diagnosed way back in high school but never kept up with an inhaler. It wasn't bad enough. But with the smoke, the pollen and all of the crud in our air - I was struggling. That night I had a massive coughing fit for half an hour that made me get out of bed so I didn't wake up Bill. That's when I did a google search on asthma and decided that I needed to go to the Doctor for myself.

The next day I could hardly breath. Evey time I talked or even attempted a conversation, I began coughing and struggling to catch my breath. It was getting worse. I haven't been seen by a Doctor other than my OB in YEARS, so I had to find a General Practitioner and now. It wasn't an emergency, but it was bad enough to be very concerned. I got a recommendation from one of the moms in MOMS Club and made an appointment to be seen in a few short hours.

After being hooked up to a nebulizer, I was prescribed three different medications - One rescue inhaler to use every 4 hours or when I can't breath, another inhaler to use twice a day and Singulair to take at night. The good news is that I only have to take these medications for a month and not the rest of my life. Hopefully I'll be able to get back to where I was before the air quality changed and my lung health spiraled out of control. The bonus from the visit was that the Doctor asked for my business card so she could send one of her patients to me for a personal training evaluation (this made me laugh. And cough).

So, with inhalers in hand - I'm on my way to better breathing and not suffocating in front of my kids.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Totally saved the day

Over the last few days (almost week now), I've been taking care of everything in the house. Taking care of the boys, taking care of Bill, taking care of the chores and everything in between. However, I have not been taking care of the computer issues. Bill has done that and saved the day.

Carter has his first birthday on Saturday. As usual, I was preparing to post his first year/birthday montage, complete with cheesy music that makes me cry. The computer started to act funky and had re-started itself a few times. Not too much later, I was contacted about a writing assignment for our city and started working on that too. Then, just as I was getting elbow deep in work - the entire system crashed. And? We had not backed up our files in a long time.

The next day I bought a new hard drive and Bill was going to try and recover our lost files. With pain still throbbing in his foot, wrapped up and on crutches, he fixed our computer, made it even better and recovered all of our files. The pictures I was using for the montage, the writing assignment, my personal training files - all of it. SAVED. YEA!

Now that wonder boy, computer genius saved the computer, my writing assignment has been sent in for publication tomorrow - I'll be able to get back to work on Carter's montage and FINALLY celebrate his first birthday here on the blog.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The most entertaining injury of the ER

Last night Bill came home from work and we started our early evening routines. He mowed the lawn, Logan picked at his dinner and I wrangled Carter. After Bill had finished the lawn, we hung out on the back deck for a little while and let the kids run around to burn off some energy.

We were talking about the sliding screen door and how it needed to be replaced. Buddha had scratched some holes in it earlier this year (last year?) and now that he wasn't there to scratch anymore, replacing the screen made sense. Bill remembered that we had an extra screen in the garage and he went to grab it while I stayed in the back yard with the boys.

The kids were laughing and playing and all of a sudden, my ears perked up a bit. I heard a faint yell. It was Bill yelling my name. I just figured he needed my help with something, so I left the kids in the back yard and went into the garage.

Clearly distressed, Bill told me that he was stuck. It didn't quite click with me until he reiterated but with more detail that he was stuck, foot impaled on the corner of the dog kennel. He had used a two-step stool to grab the screen from the top shelf, lost his balance and stepped back with all of his weight on his right foot. He stepped right on top of a blunt hook on the kennel and it went all the way into his foot. He was stuck.

Taking a deep breath, I ran back inside to grab the kids and put them in the living room where they would be safe. I came back out into the garage and dialed 9-1-1 knowing somebody would have to come and cut him out of the wire. The whole time I tried to stay calm while I heard the kids crying in the house and Bill writhing in pain. He tried to first pull the hook out while I urged him not to. He then tried to take apart the side walls of the kennel to reduce the pressure on his foot, but it was caught on a corner. He breathed heavily in a cold sweat and was turning pale while a pool of blood collected underneath his foot.

After the call for an ambulance, I ran next door to one of our neighbors houses and asked if they could watch the boys while I went to the ER with Bill. They were really nice about it and were super helpful. Soon the fire department arrived in a big fire truck and three EMT's came to Bill's rescue. While they were cutting him out, a few more EMT's arrived with the ambulance. They were cutting Bill out, putting him on oxygen and giving him heavy doses of pain medication (where he almost passed out) and I got Carter to bed and coordinated with our neighbor about taking care of Logan. Neighbors I have never met offered to help, which was really nice. All of the neighbors in our cul-du-sac were in their front yards watching as Bill was wheeled on the gurney and loaded up in the ambulance with his foot wrapped up to support the TV antenna-like rods that were protruding from his bandage. I drove the car and followed close behind on our way to the ER.

We arrived in the ER on a very busy night. We were one of the lucky few to get a bed at the time we came in. With Bill's foot wrapped up securely, he was hooked up to an IV and was given doses of fentanyl. The drugs worked for a short time and wore off quickly, resulting in a roller coaster of pain for him. He was constantly asking for more medication between joking around with the nurses. He was the model patient with a rusty metal hook lodged up in his foot and we thought his smart ass demeanor probably made the staff think he wasn't in that much pain.

After being there for hours (three or four), getting x-rays and taking pictures of his injury, a Doctor finally came in to take a look at it. He wiggled the metal pieces around and Bill begged for more medication. He actually had asked for it before the Doctor took off the bandage but was ignored (and that really made him mad, understandably). He was given morphine and his foot was shot up with lidocaine. The Doctor came back and messed around with it some more to see if he could pull it out. Unfortunately, he thought it was stuck on tendons or ligaments and it needed to be surgically removed.

The first Doctor sent in another Doctor, the OR Doctor, who was a bit more aggressive and pretty much twisted and ripped the hook out of Bill's foot. On on hand, saving us hours and massive amounts of hospital Bills and on the other hand, risking more internal damage. I asked about about possible damage and the Doctor just kind of shrugged and asked Bill if he could move his toes. He could and we were told that because of the lidocaine, it was difficult to tell what kind of damage was done. Either way, Bill was relieved to finally have it out of his foot and on the road to getting out.

The next step was a tentaus shot, getting pumped full of antibiotics and a detailed irrigation of the puncture wound. The staff helping Bill out were really friendly and chatting us up. In some ways, it was kind of awkward that we were so jovial when there were people next to us in the same ER room waiting for results of their child's CAT scan, possibly getting the news that he had cancer. On the other side there was a student who had mono and down the hall, a crazy person who was off their meds and needed to be sedated before going to the psych ward.

Bill's injury was the highlight of the night in the ER mostly because it was an amazing story with a happy ending. Nurses and staff from all around came in to take a look at his foot before the hook was removed and after. Everyone was passing the x-rays around in amazement. It was a shocking injury because the hook was so blunt and rounded. A spoon was sharper than this! The first Doctor was equally entertained and told us stories of other random foreign objects he's had to remove (you don't want to know...)

They left the puncture wound open and wrapped his foot up in bandages, giving us discharge instructions to watch for infection and to follow up in about 10 days. We are SO LUCKY that it was just Bill's foot and not a different body part, like his leg, torso or head. Those could have been deadly. For now, Bill is loaded up on vicodin and hobbling around the house on crutches. Miserable, but alive and healing.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

First Day of Preschool

Today marked a big milestone for Logan - his first day of preschool! He woke up this morning very agreeable, ate all of his breakfast at the first request after I told him that he couldn't go to school with an empty stomach. He didn't bat an eye when I told him that he needed to get dresses and to brush his teeth, another anomaly in our home. It was a happy, calm start to the day - everything went perfectly and we even got there on time! (those who know me know how much of a shocker that is).

We got to school and hung up his backpack on the hook with his name, and then I made him a name tag. We walked in and he said "Hi" to a couple of his friends that he knows from playgroup. One of his teachers had him place a sticker by his name on a chart. After that, he was off! I was so happy that he was comfortable and excited to go. I thought I would cry, but didn't get choked up too much.

Today's class was only an hour and then the next class is the full two and a half hours. Since today was so short, Carter and I went to Starbucks and ate a little breakfast together - coffee, muffin and a banana for him. It seemed to fly by.

We came back to pick him up and chatted with come of our friends while we waited. The teachers let the kids out of class one by one. When it was Logan's turn, he came out running and gave me a big hug, excited to tell me all of the fun things he did in class. It was so cute!

We stayed and played on the church lawn while he ran around with a couple of his buddies. I'm so glad all of the preschool-prep classes were worth it and that school is something that he looks forward to!

Monday, September 07, 2009

The silent drive

"Let's get a dog", I told Bill 11 years ago. "We should get a Pug". He was reluctant at the idea of a Pug since he thought they were ugly. I had grown up with Pugs most of my life and loved them from their smooshed, snorty faces to their curly tails. Even though the answer was no, I kept pressing, being the person that I am that always tries to get my own way.

One afternoon on my lunch break at the law firm, we decided to kill some time at a nearby pet store. This store had some cool animals, like monkeys and sugar gliders. We had always laughed at the joke of getting a monkey, but this day we never imagined walking out with a Pug.

We saw him and knew from the moment we took him out of his kennel to play that he would be a part of our family. It was love at first sight for Bill as he played with the little roly poly Pug with a bulging Buddha belly that looked like he swallowed a tennis ball.

That name suck with him. Buddha.

Saturday morning Buddha wasn't doing so well. I was getting ready for a writing group meeting and while curling my eyelashes, Bill came into the bathroom to break the news. "I don't think Buddha has much longer. He's really struggling". Tearing up, because we've both known for some time that this day was coming, I came downstairs to asses the situation. Buddha was laying on the laundry room floor with extremely labor breathing and couldn't move. Bill propped him up on his legs, they quickly gave out and he left a puddle on the floor. It was not good.

In the last week or so, we've noticed that Buddha's arthritis was getting worse. It was difficult for him to walk from the laundry room to the back yard and he mostly just sat all day. Each day he moved slower and slower. In the last two days, Bill noticed that Buddha wasn't eating much. His food bowl was still full after a few days which is the typical food-strike he pulls when Bill is out of town, but that wasn't the case now.

We knew we had to make one of the most difficult decisions of our lives.

I asked Bill if he wanted me to stay at home rather than go to my meeting. He urged me to go but to take Logan with. Carter was sleeping and Bill was going to take some time to figure out what we should do and where to take Buddha. He spent some one-on-one time with our crippled, aged old man of a dog while Carter slept and Logan was clueless about the situation that lie ahead.

The meeting was a nice distraction, as I'm pretty good at shoving my feelings deep down to focus on the tasks at hand. Only when asked about my day did I cry about knowing of the upcoming death of our family dog. I'm not good at keeping secrets and have never really been one to say that everything is fine when it's not. So with tears streaming down my face, I told them of the situation at hand, moved on and got to work.

I came back with text messages from one of my sisters asking what was going on with Buddha. I knew that Bill must have made a facebook update about the situation and hoped that Buddha had passed naturally in the few short hours we were gone. He was still there in the laundry room, in the exact same place as he was before I left, only this time in a pool of urine and still panting heavily. He was dying. Slowly.

I arranged for someone to watch the boys while Bill and I took Buddha to the University Vet hospital to be euthanized. Before we left, I sat with Logan at the kids table, in a kid-sized chair and talked to him about what was going on. I told him that Buddha was really sick and that we were going to take him to the doctor. But Buddha was so sick that the doctors wouldn't be able to fix him so they were keeping him and taking him to a special place.

"You know when you squish a bug and it dies?" I asked Logan. "Does Buddha have bugs in him? Does he have butterflies in his stomach?" he asked. "No, Buddha doesn't have bugs in him. But he's sick." I tried to explain, realizing that Logan was too young to understand what was going on. "Buddha is so sick that he's not going to come home from the doctor. He's going to die." I tried to explain matter of factly so I wouldn't scare him. "Oh, we're going to get another dog!" he responded. "No, not right now, Sweetie Pea" I assured him. "Not for a while..."

On the drive there, the moment was filled with silence. I sat there cinching my seat belt tighter and tighter to somehow secure myself into my seat more than I already was. Thinking about our life with Buddha, Bill and I didn't say anything to each other and Buddha didn't bark his usual excited and worked-up barking that he does when riding in the car. He knew this time he wasn't going to the park. And we knew that this was the best decision for our silver-faced Pug.

Bill went into the hospital to check Buddha in while I sat with him in the trunk of our Outback, lined in a tarp and with him wrapped up in a flannel sheet because if his loss of bodily functions. He continued his labored breathing while I sat stroking his ears and wiping his face with the blanket. While sitting with him, a couple walked out of the hospital in tears, sobbing, because they had just faced the same situation. I could only turn my head and cry as I heard the woman weeping as her husband held her tight.

Bill soon came out with one of the hospital workers and picked up Buddha from the back seat of the car. Both mourning, we walked the walk of sorrow to the exam room with our dying dog. After paperwork was complete and they had checked him out and prepped for the procedure, they brought Buddha back in the exam room and we sat with him on a gray padded mat on the floor and him wrapped in one of the hospitals' forest green heavy blankets that he was still leaking through. They had an oxygen tube for him to help his labored breathing. I twirled his ears and Bill pet his head as we sat together sobbing and comforted our first dog onto whatever place we go to next...

We picked him up from the pet store the day we moved into our first apartment together. Buddha was with us on Day One. He grew up with us. He was there waiting for us when we got home from our wedding. He was there for every wild party we had, Buddakan, aptly named in honor of him and the fortunes that came from the Chinese fortune cookies plastered all over our front door.

He was there in the best of times and in the worst of the worst. He rode trucker-style when we moved across the country from Vegas to Portland where he had a back yard to run around in (and get fleas for the first time). He was a good traveler when we moved from Portland to Denver for a better life and once more when we moved from Denver to Fort Collins for the sake of our family, always barking excitedly for the joy ride he was experiencing.

He was there when we brought Logan home from the hospital, wagging his tail and sniffing the newborn baby swaddled in the pink and blue stripped blanket. He was the best babysitter, racing me to the crying baby Logan in his crib, being the shadow dog that he was. He mourned the loss of his play pal Beck, our Beagle who passed shortly before moving to Fort Collins and was there to welcome another newborn baby, Carter.

He was there as "Buddha pillow", always ready to cuddle on the futon and wedged perfectly by the arm making a soft chubby pillow during TV times. He was there for entertainment, getting dressed up in ridiculous Halloween costumes, doing tricks and his peek-a-boo howl. He was also smart and did things as he wanted, but was surprisingly obedient. We talked to him like a person and he understood every word we said to him.

Buddha was our first family dog and his loss hurt us so much. Although we know we made the right decision, it doesn't make it any easier. We came home from the hospital and took care of the kids as usual, taking them to Chuck E. Cheese since that was the plan for "family fun day" and Logan didn't comprehend what was going on. As mourning parents, we have to still take care of our kids just as every other day, regardless of explanations of crying and feeling sad that Buddha was sick and gone.

Going out in the back yard that night brought tears to my eyes again, feeling his loss as he used to sit with us on the deck. Writing his eulogy sent me in tears for most of the night. The morning after was especially hard for Bill now that there wasn't our dog to let out in the morning.

There is an emptiness in our hearts and in our home.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Carter is well past 11 months old

There are few words for what life has been like with Carter at 11 months old. It's shocking that in only a few weeks, we'll be celebrating his first birthday. His coy smile and charming personality make him Mr. Popularity around these parts. He's hard to resist with that 4-toothed grin.

He is funny, and smart and cuddly and cute. He is a trouble maker, climbing up the stairs (our many, steep stairs) all the way up to the top. He plays with Logan and falls over laughing.

He claps his hands in delight when I walk into the room, reaching out for me with his sort-of chubby baby arms. When Bill walks in the door from coming home from work, Carter crawls to him as fast as he can exclaiming "Dada! Dada!" Oh. So. Cute.

He loves to play with his little friends (or his "baby friends", as I call them). I seem to forget how quickly he's growing and how much he loves to play with little kids his own age. I don't think he'll be such a tag-along little brother - I think he'll be able to hold his own and do his own thing.

Soon he'll be walking, since he's walking around with only holding one of my hands now. He's eating everything we do when we go out to eat. He'll be giving up the bottle and switching to sippy cup only. These are my last days of babyhood...