Monday, January 30, 2012

The Ick That Never Ends.

Unfortunately, as is the case here lately, Brooklyn has been quite sick. It started about three weeks ago, when she got pink eye and a sinus infection. She was on antibiotics for a week, and didn't really get better. She went back to the doctor, and they said the infection had moved to an upper respiratory infection. She got a new prescription.

I thought that would be the end of it, but that night she spiked a high fever and had several seizures associated with that. Then the next day her fever went even higher, to 103.7. Since this was with tylenol and antibiotics, I felt it was best to have her rechecked, so we went back to the pediatrician, who admitted her to the hospital for IV antibiotics. However, through a course of unfortunate events, the physicians at the hospital felt like she probably had a virus, so they declined on giving her the antibiotics and sent her back home.

After she went home though, they called me and said that one of her tests came back positive for a bacterial infection in her intestines, and placed her on an antibiotic.

After another week of coughing, fever, snot... and the like, I took her back to the pediatrician yesterday because she still wasn't any better. (Three Sundays in a row!) Brooklyn demonstrated this for her doctor by coughing up slime multiple times. The pediatrician said that the infection was definitely bacterial... in her sinuses and lungs. So she put her on steroids and antibiotics and is referring her to yet another specialist to see if we can keep her from getting these nasty infections that won't go away.

So now the poor girl is on six different medicines and we have our fingers crossed that she will get better soon! Because come Sunday... I'd really like to skip the weekly visit to the peds office and go to church... with a well baby. Please and thank you.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pajama Day.

Big Sis had pajama day at preschool today.

And I must say that she looked pretty cute.

She kept saying, "We are wearing re-jamas to school! Isn't that silly?!"

We sure do love that silly kid.

Friday, January 20, 2012

An Officer and a Gentleman.

Big D graduated from the criminal justice academy today!
After 12 very long weeks, he is fully certified and has his diploma in hand.

We couldn't be more proud of our officer.

And he was also the elected chaplain of the class.


We are so proud of you!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Once Upon A Time.

Once upon a time, a morning started out just lovely. There was coffee, a day off work, and some leisurely reading while the kids played quietly in the background. It was truly ideal.

And then.

If you are familiar with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, you know at the end there is the "hot dog dance". And you also know if you aren't very coordinated, it might be a little tricky. And just like that the children were laughing and dancing to the tune of "hot dog, hot dog, hot diggety dog..." and then there was a bone chilling scream and hysteria and blood spurting everywhere.

And being the calm mother that I am, I took one look and yelled, "oh my gosh, we gotta go to the hospital!", producing further hysteria. Super mom right there.

And of course, even though normally I've gotten dressed and had two cups of coffee by 10 am, on this day I was still in my pajamas, makeup-free. And of course, even though we have a whole closet full of medical supplies, I was unable to find any gauze. Maybe because I was fervently praying that I wouldn't pass out every time I looked at my child.

So, I taped a folded-up paper towel to her head, and we rode down to the ER in pajamas, or what I like to refer to as ghetto-style, at approximately 80 miles an hour, with a 4 year old screaming at the top of her lungs, and her mom yelling equally loud "DO NOT MOVE THAT PAPER TOWEL!"

And we arrived at the hospital...and waited 4 hours... and then they asked me to remove the paper towel. At which time I noticed that the corner of the table had punctured through all of the layers of skin and there was something white and gooey under that. At which time I started to feel... sweaty... and the doctor kindly said... "You okay mom? You aren't looking so good." To which I responded something like "I'm good. Seeing spots. Whew, do you have a bed because I'm about... to... pass... ..... o...u....t...." and then I was in the bed next to Savannah. Super mom. But at least I made it all of the way to the hospital.

There were internal and external stitches... and an awesome doctor who sang princess songs... and then there was ice cream.

A week later, the stitches came out, but the wound was still rather open. So she had to have some steri-strips and band-aids for a week.

Which apparently is just fine if you have Angry Birds band-aids.

And now, two weeks later, it has healed up really well, with only a small scar. And we all survived our first major blood trauma. Hopefully there are no more. And hopefully if there are, someone more capable of handling bodily fluids is home. And has had a shower. Or can at least locate gauze. Or something.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday Musings.

As I enjoy this last day before spring semester begins with its grueling master thesis project looming in my vision, I've spent the morning reflecting on how much our lives have changed in the past few months.

We went (thankfully!) from a time period where I thought we would never get out of the hospital for more than week to a blissful three months free from inpatient admissions.

A surgery was scheduled, and then subsequently cancelled.

And life, at least as much as it can be, is pretty "normal" at the moment. (Although, I rather doubt normal people go to therapy four times per week, but eh... its all about your perspective).

What makes me completely crazy is knowing that it can change faster than I can blink. And I have absolutely no idea what the future holds.

The reality of a raising a child with epilepsy is that you can have a really good month. Or two months. Or a year. And then your child can start having seizures and after an extremely long time of being seizure-free, you can find yourself whipping out a stethoscope, administering injections, and calling an ambulance. Just like that. Or your kid might never seize again. Most of the time, I just have to block it out of my mind to prevent further insanity. But its always there, lurking in the background. Like every time we plan anything in advance... I tend to think... can this be cancelled if Brooklyn gets sick?

Another thing that can make you kind of crazy is having a "spectrum disorder" where you don't really know how much your child will develop. I probably drive our neurologist crazy when I ask questions about what Brooklyn will be able to accomplish and what we should expect. She always smiles at me and assures me that we have no idea, and it'll be totally up to Brooklyn. And that makes me plumb insane. Because sometimes I think knowing would be better than not knowing at all. Will she ever walk without braces? Will she ever be able to run? Will she say more words than the few that she says now? And what about the future? Will she be able to graduate high school? Will she find someone who will love her in spite of her tendency to land herself in the hospital? I'd just like to know.

But then I was thinking... is that really different from any of us? None of us are promised to live to date the cute boy in high school, to dance at our wedding, or to hold our own sweet babies in our arms. The assumption that I'll graduate from grad school in May is just that... a hopeful assumption. Because in reality, I'm not guaranteed another day, another memory, or another milestone.

So maybe, just maybe, this sweet child is a reminder to her momma that we just need to take each day as it comes... to celebrate each moment... to treasure every accomplishment... to cherish each hug... and to live a life with no guarantees, and no regrets.

I sure hope that one day she learns half as much from me as I've learned from her.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Craft Fairy Strikes Again.

I've been busy these past few weeks. For some reason, I felt the urge to clean, purge, and redecorate. I'm not really sure what got into me. But the house sure is looking better!

I have a bathroom off of our bedroom that I think used to be a closet. At any rate, it is tiny and completely tiled in a Pepto-Bismol pink color. That doesn't leave a lot of creative license. But I think I managed. Here are the before and after photos.

Shower curtain before:

Shower curtain after:

Because the bathroom is tiny, it has NO cabinets, so I've always stacked my stuff on the back of the toilet. Here is before shelves:

And after $5 shelves from Target:

Rug before:

Rug after:

Ta-da! I like my little owl bathroom much better now.

Next, I decided to tackle the laundry room. I really, really regret not taking a before picture because you wouldn't believe the transformation. But just imagine a concrete room with nothing on the walls, no curtains, no shelves, no trashcan, and no rug. Just a washer, dryer, freezer, and piles of clothes everywhere!

And here is after:

I made this cute little sign following super easy directions on Pinterest.

Then... because I was still in the crafty mood, I made a little canvas button "S" for Savannah's room using spray paint, hot glue, and buttons.

And I didn't want Brookie to feel left out, so I made this for her room out of a painted piece of scrap wood, vinyl lettering, and hot-glued flowers.

And now its time for me to start classes again... so I won't be able to do anything fun until graduation. Come on, May!

Friday, January 13, 2012


Click here to see the results of months of therapy!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Roll Tide.

Our team made it to the National Championship!

To celebrate, we made our own personal pan pizzas...


And then we cheered on our team!

Roll Tide!!!!

Bama fans sure have fun.

Roll Tide Roll! So proud of the new National Champions 2012!

Monday, January 9, 2012

I don't even have words.

The other night, I was cleaning up the kitchen and heard lots of giggles.

I happened upon this.

I have no words, people. None.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Getting Crafty.

I think the New Year has inspired me.

I'm not very crafty. But I've been introduced to Pinterest. And I'm addicted.

So last night, Savannah and I had a little crafty time. For Valentine's Day. A little early.

And if you want to do it too, here is what you'll need.

A Mason jar.

Valentines tissue paper ($0.97 at Walmart) cut into hearts.

Mod Podge.

And a cute supervisor. (Optional).

You paint the jar with mod podge. Don't worry, you can't mess up.

Then stick the tissue paper to it and smooth it out. Then top with another coat of mod podge to seal it.

Then let it dry, fill with valentines candy, add a votive, and voila! you have a Valentines Day candleholder.

Try to act impressed. This is about as crafty as I get.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

Every New Year, it is a good idea to sit back, preferably with coffee, and reflect. And not make New Years Resolutions, because... lets face it... nobody keeps those anyway.

Its nice to sit back and survey the past year and regard both the good and the bad... and sometimes even the ugly.

And I think its nice to savor certain favorite moments, and to choose to let other not-so-bright-and-shiny moments be forgotten.

As I sat down this year with my coffee (some people prefer other drinks on the New Year, but let me tell ya people, coffee brings much more clarity) and surveyed the past year, I felt overwhelmed.

I like to think that I'm not normally particularly emotional, but 2011 brought a flood of emotions.

My baby turned one year old. She had over a thousand seizures. We had 5 hospitalizations. I learned how to check urine concentration, get a prescription compounded, monitor heart rates, and use a feeding tube pump. I now own an IV pole and a stethoscope, and my toddler has a closet full of medical supplies that get delivered monthly. If you scroll through my cell phone address book, you'll see about as many doctors, pharmacies, therapists, and home health nurses as you do friends.

My big girl turned four, and will be starting Kindergarten in the fall. She's learned to deal with life changes and unexpected challenges. She's dealt with separation anxiety. My heart realized how much she's been through the other day when we drove past the hospital and she said, "Remember that time you and Brookie were there forever? Well, more than once." 2011 does feel like more than a forever at times.

How does a mother's heart handle all of this? I wish I knew the answer. In the past year, I've cried (in public, with strangers even!), screamed, yelled, slept, lost sleep, ate a lot (not recommended), engaged in retail therapy (also not recommended), talked, and prayed. I feel like I've aged 10 years in the past year.

I also feel like I've been entrusted with an incredible blessing (two of them!). Having a special needs child has transformed my life. In some ways, it has been painful. I think anytime your heart loves, it is filled with hope. And when those hopes aren't realized fully, there are hurts. My heart hurts for a little girl who has endured so much and has such a long way to go. But in other ways, she has saved me.

Having Brooklyn has taught me that every small moment should be cherished. When you have an accomplishment, celebrate it. She's taught me that with hard work, expectations can be exceeded. She's also shown me that even the smartest people in the world can be totally wrong, and you should never let them make you feel inferior. When you have a voice, it is never wrong to fight to be heard. I've also learned that grace and humility can get you much further than yelling. And that when you have a bad day, sometimes you just have to let it go and try again later. And that life is never so bad that you can't smile.

Watching Savannah has also shown me so much. She has shown me that encouragement can really lift a heart. She has shown me that no matter how different, everyone needs a best friend. She's shown loyalty and helped me laugh amid the tears. Like when we were at the mall and some stranger was staring at Brooklyn's feeding tube, and Savannah snorted, "Why is he looking at us like that?" I replied that it was probably because Brookie had a tube in her nose and she sighed and replied, "That is how she eats. Anyway, he has glasses!" She's shown me that sometimes you just have to laugh and ignore the ignorance of others. I don't know what I'd do without that sweet, funny girl.

As the year has drawn to a close, and a new one has begun, I am tired. And I am overwhelmed. And I feel like I don't have any of the answers. But this I do know... I have been blessed beyond measure. And at the end of the day, when I get to tuck in a preschooler with a storybook and find the tag on her blankie and listen to her pray for ridiculous things like that her hair will start to grow pink... and then I get to rock her sister to sleep as she clutches onto my shirt and then settle her in her crib and kiss her sweet cheeks... this is what I know...

I wouldn't change a thing.

Happy New Year. I hope 2012 finds you every bit as blessed.