Yes, it is!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Harvest Time

It literally is. Harvest time, that is.  My kids literally brought in the harvest of candy.  Between the school trunk or treat last night and the Fall Festival this evening, my kids have been loaded with candy and other treats.  After the Fall Festival today, we had to go to some of the neighbors to show off the costumes.  And of course, Ben and Jackie collected even more candy.  Ben really got into it this year.  He was so cute the way he would go up to the doors and immediately start checking out their loot.  Between Ben and Jackie, we now have more candy than I ever imagined would enter this house.  Of course, some of the harvest will get recycled.  I already have a container of it for Tim to take to work. 

Ben was dressed as a zoo keeper this year.  It was very appropriate for my animal loving boy.  He looked especially cute with the zoo hat on.  I was so proud of Ben for keeping it on, too, as he usually does not like to keep things on his head.
Jackie was dressed as a black poodle.  I was proud of myself as my creative side came out of dormancy to create her outfit.  Now it was not all hand-made by me but the idea was mine.  Last Spring, I bought an outfit at the BX on clearance for 75% off.  It is a 2-piece with the pants attached to a tutu and the top is made of chenille with a pink sequin poodle on the front.  I thought right away that it would make a cute Halloween costume if I can find some poodle ears and perhaps some pink sequin shoes.  I had it in the back of Jackie's closet and forgot about it until recently.  After I remembered that I had this outfit, I set about looking for some black poodle ears and some shoes.  I found a pair of pink sequined shoes at Target this past week.  They were the last pair and they were on clearance.  Score!  I looked at several costume stores for black poodle ears to no avail.  I found plenty of black cat ears, though.  So, I decided that I was just going to have to make the ears myself.  I had no clue how I was going to do it but I went to Michael's craft store to look for whatever might help me make these ears.  I got a blank headband, black felt, and chenille pipe cleaner.  I covered the headband with the felt then I cut out ears with the remaining felt.  Then I took the chenille pipe cleaner and wound it around the front of both of the felt ears and hot glued it on.  Then I took the remaining pipe cleaner and lined the headband with it.  I got pink ribbon and made bows for the ears.  I must say that they turned out pretty good.  Jackie was so excited about them.  Last night during the school event, several people commented on Jackie's poodle costume.  I was so glad that my ears turned out to really look like the poodle ears.
This evening, I took the kids to the church Fall Festival.  It was nice because it was not crowded.  The kids got the faces painted, Jackie got a balloon sculpture, and they played games.  They also enjoyed the trunk or treat and the games during that.  There was also food which the kids enjoyed, too.   There was an inflatable, too, but it was starting to get too chilly for me so after playing a few more games, we left.
Of course, after we got home, we just had to go visit a few neighbors to show off the costumes while Tim stayed home to pass out candy.  Plus, our neighbors in the cul-de-sac were having a block party while handing out candy.  So after visiting a few houses, the kids and I went over to the cul-de-sac where the kids joined the other kids to play.  That cul-de-sac is so cool because they are always having block parties.  Finally, it was time to go home and get baths and get to bed.
It was nearly 9:00 pm before I finally got the kids into the bathtub.  While I was bathing them, I heard a loud knock, actually it was more like banging, at the door.  Tim and I both jumped up because it startled us.  It was LOUD.  Now I know that it wasn't trick or treaters.  Or was it?  Our outside lights were off, the door was closed, and it was nearly 9:00 pm.  We opened the door and sure enough, it was a small group of trick or treaters.  I was a little irritated because they startled us, it was late, and our lights were off.  Plus, I was trying to get the kids bathed and ready for bed.  Ugh.  Where were the parents?  I don't know but irritated, I ran to get the candy but I had no problem telling those kids that it was a little late and they should not be banging on doors for trick or treating when the outside lights are off.  
Tomorrow is Jackie's birthday and I am taking cupcakes to her class tomorrow. Boy, those kids are really going to be hopped up on sugar tomorrow.  Candy today and cake tomorrow.   I tried to get Jackie to choose something else but she wanted Dora cupcakes.  So Dora cupcakes it shall be.  Happy Birthday to my little girl!

Selective Hearing or ADD? Or is it Just an Inherent Problem Among the Male Species?

Last evening, Jackie's school held a trunk or treat event.  I had volunteered to help with the parking and was asked to be at the school an hour before the event started.  I asked Tim to bring the kids to the school in time for the trunk or treat.  But before I left, I laid out the kids' outfits and shoes.  I told Tim that I would take Ben's hat and Jackie's poodle ears as well as both of their pumpkin buckets.  That way, all he would need to do is make sure the kids had their outfits on.  Sounds easy, right?  Taking the accessories with me, I figured that it would decrease the stress Tim may feel when it came to bring the kids to the school.  I know I told Tim at least 3 times what the plan was.  I know the first time was when I laid out the outfits.  The second time was while I got dinner prepared for Tim and the kids.  And I made certain to remind him of the plan right before I left for the school.  I told Tim that I had Ben's hat, Jackie's poodle ears, and their buckets with me in MY car.  I also had the candy for the event.  Three times this was conveyed to Tim.  Three times! 
So, when Tim brought the kids to me right before the event started, he asked me if I had the Ben's hat and Jackie's poodle ears.  Yes, I replied.  Then he asked me if I had their buckets.  Yes, I replied. 
Ugh, why do I even bother wasting my breath?
Perhaps next time, I should have him actually put the stuff into my car himself as a sort of physical reminder?  Somebody help me!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Doggie Masquerade

I LOVE to dress up my dogs.  All of my dogs have enjoyed it when I would dress them up.  Well, maybe not all.  Lucy and Dugan don't appreciate it much and in fact, they go running when I even pull out a winter sweater for them.  Tonight was no exception.  Lucy was first.  As soon as I pulled out her costume, she immediately rolled onto her back and slid under the recliner in an attempt to hide from me.  Didn't work.  Needless to say, Lucy was not very cooperative when I dressed her up and tried to take pictures.  In fact,  I had to entice Lucy with a bit of peanut butter to get a halfway decent still photo of her in costume. 

When it came time for Dugan's turn, as soon as he saw me pull out his costume, his eyes bulged out and he took off running and even attempted to jump onto Tim's lap in his attempt to get away from me.  Aha, I won. I got the costume on Dugan and he immediately collapsed onto the floor and would. not. move.  I nearly wet my pants from laughter.  Dugan is such a neurotic case.  He just laid there with eyes bugged out. 

Sleep, Elusive Sleep

The hamster woke me up too early yesterday morning.  This time?  After finally getting into bed and on the edge of good sleep, I was jarred awake by a very strange noise.  Turns out it was hubby.  He was snoring!  And it was LOUD!  Oh boy, this was going to be a long night.  And no amount of punching, pinching, pushing, yelling, or cursing was going to make him quit.  I finally just sat up, shook the bed, and pushed and yelled at him again to change positions.  I thought I was finally successful but only for a few moments until I heard a low rumble.  Oh no! Not again!  I swear this man waits until I get into the bed to build up his noise, much like a lion builds up to a roar.  So, I shoved and yelled at him again.  Finally success! 
So, I'm on the edge of sleep when the hamster starts going crazy in his wheel again.  I don't know why I moved his cage into my room.  Oh wait, I remember.  It's because my kids wouldn't leave the poor thing alone.  Grrr.  I got up and took the wheel out of his cage.  Ah, relief! Now to just get back to sleep.
Back into the bed and under the covers and searching for slumber again, I suddenly hear a loud cry.  Oh no! What now?  So, I get up and tend to Ben.  It appears he woke up because he was cold.  I tucked Ben back into bed and covered him up good.  Finally, some relief.  I just hoped the noise back in my room has died down again.
Thankfully, Tim had not resumed his noise-making when I made my way back into bed and I was finally able to sink into a deep slumber.  Until that dang alarm woke me up.  So, I'm operating on probably 4 hours of sleep today and there's no time for a nap.  Ben has 2 appointments this morning, then I have to take Scout to the vet.  Then off to the gym.  Then I have to pick up Jackie from school and take her to physical therapy.  Then back to the gym again tonight for Zumba. 
And then hopefully, slumber won't be so elusive tonight.  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Hamster Woke Me Up

Yes, you read that right.  The hamster woke me up this morning. That's a first.  Usually, it's either one or both kids or the dogs who wake me up in the middle of the night.  I was a little annoyed that little Hammy decided to make a joyful noise this morning while he went crazy running in his wheel.  But a joyful noise it was indeed because without it, I more than likely would have overslept this morning and Jackie could have missed the bus.  Why?  Because I didn't realize that I had the alarm on my phone set on mute.  Thanks to my Hammie, I got up in time to wake up Jackie and get her dressed and fed and out the door to meet the school bus in ample time. 

I will also include an update about Scout.  I took him for his first treatment this morning.  By the time I got him back to my house, he was starting to feel a bit uncomfortable.  He was quite restless until I gave him a dose of enteric aspirin.  He will go home with his new mom tonight and she will return him to me in the morning so I can take him back for his second treatment.  I hate that Scout has been feeling uncomfortable after this treatment but once he gets over this hurdle, he should be back to his old self.  I am so happy that Scout is enjoying his new family.  He and his new girl, a fellow blond lab, have bonded very well. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Shaking the Dew his lily.  Yep, I've noticed a couple of times already that Ben was trying to shake the dew off his lily.  I find it funny because Ben is not quite 3 years old.  What's even funnier is that he does it while he's sitting on the potty.  Hmm, I wonder where he learned that from.  The shaking the dew part, that is.  Certainly not me.  I taught Ben the proper toileting technique.  Sitting on the potty and using toilet paper to avoid wet spots on the front of this pants, that is.  Of course, Tim is nonplussed about it all.  And I have a sneaky suspicion that he is the one teaching Ben the improper technique of toileting.
I am not looking forward to the day when Ben decides that he would rather stand.  But that's okay.  I'm already teaching him proper toilet etiquette.  And if he fails to follow through?  Well, let's just say that Ben better starting saving up to invest in plenty of Lysol wipes and flowers.  Lysol wipes for cleaning and flowers for me.  Yes, I used to make Tim buy me flowers whenever he left my toilet seat up.  I'm just mean like that.  Hahaha.  And in case you didn't know, simple proper toilet etiquette includes cleaning up the dribbles and putting the seat back down.  That's all I ask for. I find it repulsive to be greeted to a toilet with the seat still up.
So now can you see why I don't share a bathroom with the man of the house here?  Yuck!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tears of Joy

I've had a lot on my mind during these past few days so maybe that's why I'm feeling more emotional.  Anyway, I am literally crying tears of joy tonight.  Scout has a home where he is going to be well-loved for the remainder of his life.  His new furry sibling loves him, too.  I'm just so happy I can't contain myself.
I don't know why I get myself involved in such cases.  Wait! I know why.  Because these loving dogs that I have saved from an untimely death have done nothing wrong and have only provided unconditional love.  Unconditional love to families who have decided that they no longer have room in their hearts for their "disposable" family member.  I'm being sarcastic when I say "disposable" but that's how so many people treat their pets.  Now, I should make it clear that I am not bashing those who have a legitimate reason for giving up their pets.  I realize so many people have had to give up pets due to financial distress, loss of home, illness, owner death, etc.  I'm referring to those who decide they just don't feel like moving their pet with them. Or the puppy became a grown adult dog or it sheds too much.  Stupid reasons like those really upset me.  The only thing our pets ask from us is unconditional love, food, shelter, and a place to sleep.  That's all.  Well, that's what most dogs as for.  Those little prissy, diva dogs?  Now those are high maintenance dogs.  But I'm sure they make great pets, too!
I'm going to get off my soapbox now but speaking of unconditional love, that is a huge reason why I have such passion for saving these precious souls who are abandoned by their beloved families.  I grew up with dogs and the one thing I remember the most about my dogs is the unconditional love they provided to me.  I rarely felt that kind of love from humans, including my own parents or people at church.  My dogs loved me unconditionally even when I didn't treat them nicely at times.  They didn't care how ugly I was or how I dressed.  It didn't matter to them that I wore Coke bottle-thick glasses.  My dogs loved me.  They loved me for ME!
My family includes 2 dogs, one of whom I have referred to in previous posts as Dumb Dog.  Now I use that title jokingly for Lucy.  You have to know Lucy to understand.  I may complain about the additional mess the dogs make or the hair that Lucy sheds (incessant shedder) but there is no way that I could abandon my pets.  They are part of my family.  They are wonderful with my children and Dugan is especially protective.  Yep, all 12 pounds of him.  They provide entertainment for all and they provide companionship for my kids, especially for Ben.  Ben is my budding veterinarian.  He LOVES animals.  And my dogs make me feel safer when Tim is out of town. 
Back to Scout, I am SO happy for him.  And for his new forever family.  He is going to be well-loved and well cared for.  He is going to have it made, I know.  I am so happy that I was able to help save his life.  However, I am NOT happy that he caused me to be a wee bit jealous.  On Monday evening when Scout arrived at my house, he greeted me and then immediately too off to the back yard to check it out and get to know my 2 dogs.  He came over to me occasionally for attention but he pretty much just laid around or played with Lucy.  But when his new mom came to meet Scout on Tuesday afternoon, Scout bounded right over to C and excitedly greeted her.  Then C got down on the floor with Scout who immediately started nuzzling into C. It was almost as if Scout was saying to C "where have you been? I've been waiting a long time for you."  I was a little bit jealous when Scout nuzzled C like that but I was beaming that Scout developed an immediate bond with C.  And now I'm beaming even more after receiving a message this evening that Scout has already bonded so well with his new family, furry sibling and all.  And vice versa.  Happy Tails to you, Scout!
Lately, I've been thinking that perhaps there really is a god.  Especially so, after the events of the last couple of weeks including that involving my little girl.  That has been on my mind a lot lately and I feel a bit of tug-of-war about it all.  Does anyone care? Perhaps not.  But it doesn't matter, as long as I can continue to try to make a difference in the lives of the underdogs, animal and human alike.  Because I'm an underdog myself. 

Lunch With Jackie

I had a lunch date with Jackie today.  She was so excited.  I brought lunch from St. Louis Bread Co./Panera.  I got Jackie the black bean soup which, believe it or not, she likes.  I had the salad.  I also brought a couple of snacks and bottles of water for us.  When I arrived at the cafeteria, Jackie was waiting patiently (maybe not?) at the tables with her classmates.  As soon as she saw me, Jackie just lit up.  She was excited that I really did make it to lunch with her.  Jackie's classmates immediately started asking me questions, asking if I was Jackie's mom, asking for help opening their milk cartons, telling me about their families.  They were cute and quite friendly. A couple of the little girls even told me that Jackie looks like me.  (I really don't like it that Jackie looks like me). 
Now a few observations: I was really surprised at how little time the kids actually have to eat.  They get 25 minutes from the time they leave the classroom, go through the lunch line, sit down, and start eating.  And the food?  Oh my, it looked TERRIBLE!  Today's menu was fried mozzarella sticks or ham & cheese sandwich.  The sides included sliced carrots (the call them carrot coins, haha) and diced pears.  The carrots looked like they came out of a 20-year old can and the diced pears didn't look any more appealing than the carrots.  The mozzarella sticks?  I'm not sure how to describe them, honestly.  I noticed at least half the kids who bought the school lunch hardly touched the food before tossing it.  I was so glad I brought Jackie's lunch today.  Another thing I observed is that the cafeteria provides those spork things.  You know, those things that are a spoon and fork in one.  Knowing the difficulty my daughter has with manipulating certain items, being forced to use this spork thing makes me wonder if that is one reason Jackie comes home complaining that she's starving.  She doesn't get quite enough time to eat and she is forced to use this strange contraption that is not user friendly to kids like Jackie who struggle with weakness in an extremity.  Well, after seeing the appeal, er, non-appeal of the school lunch, I think I may start packing Jackie's own lunch more often now.  That way, I can make certain that she gets the utensils that are easiest for her to use.  I don't think the school lunches are very nutritious anyway. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Random Updates and Great News

These past several days have been crazy, busy! And my house is showing it. 
First, an update on Jackie.  She is doing great and is back to herself.  The bruise is starting to fade and I'm fairly certain that the sutures are starting to dissolve by now.  I just feel so fortunate that it was not worse than it already was.  All the prayers from friends probably helped greatly. Unfortunately, Jackie did have to sit out during her last soccer game of this season this past Saturday.  Thankfully, though, she was able to enjoy the awards ceremony later that afternoon.  I'm so glad soccer is over for now.  Although I enjoyed coaching the little kids, I did not enjoy working with the assistant coach. But, I won't let that keep me from helping out in the future.  As an assistant, that is.  No more head coach for me.  Nada.
After the award ceremony, I headed out to my friend, Katrina's house, to bake pies.  I enjoy baking but this was going to be my first attempt at making a banana pie, all from scratch. Pie crust and all.  There was no banana pudding mix involved.  I mean, it was ALL made from scratch. Tim loves his mother's banana pudding pie so I was fairly certain that he would enjoy the pie.  And I was right.  He dug into it as soon as I arrived home with the pie.  Hopefully, he won't expect it too often.  It took over 2 hours to make the dang thing.  But it was worth it and it looked so pretty.  Well, before Tim dug into it.  But I'm glad he enjoyed it. 
Speaking of Katrina, I neglected to thank her for being there for me when Jackie had her accident.  As soon as she got the message about Jackie, Katrina drove all the way out to Cardinal Glennon in St. Louis to be by my side.  She knew I couldn't get a hold of Tim and she insisted on being there for me even though she had to work the next day.  Even after Tim got to the hospital, Katrina stayed a while longer.  I'm so thankful for our friendship.  Thank you, Katrina!
After I came home from baking pies with Katrina Saturday night, I started work on dividing the uncooked spaghetti for Jackie's school spaghetti dinner fund-raiser.  That was forty pounds of uncooked spaghetti!  And the strands were probably at least 2 feet long.  I've never seen such long strands of spaghetti.
On Sunday after church, I finished working on the spaghetti project and got it all ready to deliver to the school on Monday (yesterday).  The rest of the day was as busy as usual with my afternoon Zumba class, then taking Jackie to choir practice and Awana. 
That evening, I worked on completing the Girl Scout cookie sale stuff.  Jackie's troop is brand new this year and since nobody else stepped up to be the Cookie Manager, guess who offered?  Well, the girls did very well considering this is a new troop.  I was proud of them.  I have to go pick up the cookies on November 8th.  Thankfully, one of the other troop mothers is going to help me pick up our order. 
Now for the GREAT news.  In the midst of all the busy-ness of the past weekend, I was becoming very worried about a dog whom I was trying to find a home for.  He belonged to one of my soccer kids and the family is moving to Alaska.  In fact, they left this morning by vehicle.  I think that would be an awesome road trip.  Anyway, the family was considering putting this dog to sleep or taking him to the pound because there just was no room for them to take the dog to Alaska.  This always grieves me when I hear about this stuff.  My opinion is such that if you feel the need to give away your pet each time you move, then don't even bother getting a pet.  It's hard on the pet and it's hard on the kids.  Now I understand there are circumstances that warrant giving up a pet but when it becomes a chronic thing, that's when it really gets to me. So, I got the word out about this dog and pleaded with my friends to help me find a home where Scout could live out his remaining years.  It got down to the wire so I had the family bring Scout to my house yesterday.  Scout is a big, handsome boy but he was so well-behaved during his visit here.  And Lucy enjoyed playing with Scout.  And Dugan?  Well, Dugan was just being his obnoxious self.  I guess his 12-pound self needed to feign bravery in front of the 75+ pound giant.   One of the teachers at Jackie's school came by after school to take a look at Scout.  Scout immediately ran to Mrs. G and pressed himself into her body.  It was almost as if he knew right away that he belonged to Mrs. G.  He was really sweet with me last night but he did not act that way with me like he did with Mrs. G.  Mrs. G decided to go ahead and take him to her home to see how her dog, Macy, and Scout reacted to each other.  I was so excited for Scout.  He got right into Mrs. G's car and he didn't even look back.  It was kind of funny.  I got the message later in the evening that Macy and Scout took to each other right away.  I wanted to cry tears of joy.  I really, REALLY hope this works out.  The next step is to get the treatment for Scout for which I am going to take Scout to his appointments.  I'm just so happy to give Scout another chance at a loving home. He really deserves it. 
It's been awhile since I've given an update on my fitness routine and my progress.  Lately, I've been getting a lot of comments on my weight loss and my fitness.  That keeps me more motivated to keep up the routine.  As most of you know, I started getting into the fitness mode when I started going to Zumba back in February.  I really enjoyed Zumba and quickly picked up another couple of classes during the week.  I gradually added treadmill and weight machines to my routine.  I made more changes to my diet and pretty much cut out soda.  I saw small changes in the beginning and that was encouraging.  Now I should say that I did not start all this with the intent of losing weight.  I just did not have the confidence that I could do so.  I had let myself go during that last year and weighed more than I had ever weighed.  I didn't feel good about myself in any area.  I kept hearing about Zumba and I was looking for something to do for myself.  Tim has his dirt bike stuff hobby and fishing hobby.  So why not me?  So, I tried Zumba and was immediately hooked.  In May, I started working with a personal trainer, mostly for strength training.  She also got me started on running.  I remember when I first started training, I could hardly run 2 laps around the O'Fallon YMCA track without feeling winded. But within a month, I was running three miles.  That didn't last long because unfortunately, I suffered a knee injury right before our family vacation in June. Then I re-injured it during vacation.  So since then, I have been able to run just 2 miles a couple of times.  I now am mostly able to run about a mile before the shin splints start to bother me.  But that's okay.  In addition to the personal training, running, and Zumba, I have added a couple of other classes which I am really enjoying.  The ABC Fitness class really kicks butt but it's awesome.  And I really enjoy the Kickfit class, too.  I should try a KettleBell class sometime.  Since I've started working out, the depression has greatly decreased and I feel more confident.  I've lost 4 clothing sizes, too. I really didn't have the confidence that I could lose the weight and I didn't realize how much I had lost until I went shopping with my friend, Katrina, a couple of weeks ago.  I really hope I can keep this up.  Funny, I never enjoyed fitness.  Now, I really enjoy the classes and I especially like the results that I'm seeing.  I hope to eventually become certified to teach Zumba and maybe even Kickfit.  Those are really fun classes.  I even briefly considered working toward doing a body/fitness competition. But, it requires one to wear really, REALLY skimpy outfits on stage.  That is not my cup of tea.  I will not bear all or nearly bear all in front of a bunch of strangers or even my friends.  So, that goal is out.  So for now, I will just concentrate on continuing my fitness adventure and maybe eventually work with others on fitness.  I never thought I could be inspiring but apparently, I've been inspiring others lately.  That's good, I guess.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Update on Jackie

Jackie is doing great and getting back to her usual, sassy self.  In fact, I took her to school today because she really wanted to go.  But she is not happy about the idea of not being able to play on the playground at recess.
Jackie was able to get a good amount of rest yesterday morning and early afternoon.  When she woke up again, she was ready to get the day going.  She was in a very sweet mood.  Well, as long as I kept the pain medication going, she was sweet.
The bleeding has pretty much subsided.  I put a loose, disposable pull-up on Jackie last night before bed and when she woke up, there were just trace amounts of blood in the pull-up.  It appears things are healing nicely.
By evening time, Jackie was doing well enough that I took her to her Daisy meeting after which we went to the Y so I could go to Zumba class. 
As well as Jackie is doing, I was beginning to wonder what all those drugs did to my little girl.  She has been full of insults.  Last night after we left the Y, she told my breath stinks.  Now, rest assured, my breath does NOT stink.  I've even asked the hubby about it and no, my breath does not stink.  I have good oral hygiene and I don't a lot of strong, smelly foods.  So, my breath does not stink. And I don't see people turning the other way when I talk to them.  But that child of mine made me paranoid about it now. Then this morning, after I brushed her hair and put a clip in it, Jackie started to whine that she wanted her hair nice and straight and that I don't do a good job at it.  What?!  How bad can I make her hair look?  I mean, her hair is poker straight, short, and all it takes is a few strokes of the brush and maybe a little detangling spray.  It doesn't take much right now to brush her hair out.  And I don't do a good enough job?! Oh my! What am I in for with this little girl?  Perhaps I should just go buy Jackie a wig. 
But even with all her sassy-ness, I sure do love my little girl.  Yesterday, there were times when I had a moment to close my eyes but all I could vision was my little girl hurt and bleeding.  It made me shudder every time.  And then to think the my baby girl had to endure such invasive examinations and procedures that I never imagined she would experience at this age, it was just so overwhelming.  But Jackie was such a trooper and she is now fine, as evidenced by her sassy attitude and a little bit of whining this morning.  Of course, Jackie's daddy did not help matters any when he(jokingly)  told Jackie that she missed the bus.  He knew that I had planned to drive Jackie to school this morning but no, he had to start trouble this morning already.  That is actually what started Jackie on her whining routine.  And my lack of hair brushing skills just added fuel to the fire.  But I was finally able to get Jackie to school intact with the promise  of shopping for new hair accessories. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Jackie's Accident

First, I should let everyone know that Jackie is doing good.  She is such a trooper.
So, last night started out like any other typical evening.  Jackie's friend, T, was over playing with Jackie and after I finished preparing dinner, I invited her to stay for dinner.  After everyone finished eating, I started on kitchen clean-up.  During this time, Tim had left to go to a class and the kids went to the backyard to jump on the trampoline.  The kids, including T, know about the rule of one person at a time and I thought I could trust them for a few minutes while I finished cleaning the kitchen. Jackie and Ben came back inside for a sweater because it was getting chilly outside.  While they did that, I took the opportunity to sit on the couch for a few moments because my back was hurting a little bit.  I thought I would sit for a few minutes before joining the kids outside.  Well, soon after the kids went back outside with their jackets on, I heard Jackie screaming.  My initial thought was "what happened now?"  As most of my friends know, Jackie tends to be a whiner.  And also, Jackie tends to cry more whenever she plays with this friend.  T tends to be aggressive at times with Jackie so I immediately thought I was going to intervene in a little spat between the 2 girls.  Before I made my way out to the backyard to see what the was going on, Jackie made her way in and kept saying that she hit her bum.  She was shaking a little bit and she kept pointing to her genital area.  So, I laid her down on the couch to inspect and noticed at first what appeared to be mild irritation.  Then I noticed that she appeared to be losing her urine. Then suddenly, I noticed blood.  And more blood.  I ordered T to run next door to get her mom who is a nurse.  While I waited for C to come over, Jackie continued to bleed more heavily. I panicked and called 911.  I could not tell where the bleeding was coming from, just that it appeared to be coming from deep within the genital area.  C finally came over and while we waited for emergency to arrive, C cleaned up Jackie and tried to stop the flow of blood so she could get a better look at what was going on.  It was impossible to get a good look.  The Shiloh police department arrived way before the EMTs. Jackie's friend, T, freaked out and ran off when she saw the policeman because she thought she was going to be taken away.  She knew she made a mistake by getting on the trampoline while Jackie was on it and then jumping hard enough to catapult Jackie off. 
It seemed like forever before the EMTs arrived.  They checked Jackie's vitals and they were good.  But Jackie was in a lot of pain.  So, they prepared her for transport and we headed to Memorial hospital where there is  a pediatric ER.  They are wonderful there.  The staff was very attentive to Jackie.  And to me.  I was a mess and the staff did a good job trying to reassure me and help me relax. I finally called the neighbor, C, to give her an update and to see if she was able to locate Tim at the school.  I could hear T in the background and she was still hysterical about the accident.  So, I took a minute to reassure T that I was not mad at her and that Jackie was going to be okay.  Then I told her that I hope everyone learned a lesson about listening to rules about the trampoline. 
Jackie was stabilized and given pain medication so the doctor could get a better look without Jackie wincing from so much pain.  But the blood and Jackie's continued pain was making it difficult. The bleeding just would not stop.  Finally, after 2 hours there, that ER doctor decided the best thing was to transport Jackie across the river to St. Louis' Cardinal Glennon Children's hospital.  Upon arriving there, we were immediately put into a room and attended to very quickly.  The ER doctor there tried to get a good look and decided that they needed to bring in a gynecologist experienced in treating children.  That specialist arrived within 20 minutes and did everything she could to get a good look at everything.  But again, the pain and the blood made that attempt futile.  During all of this, the doctors were preparing me for the real possibility of taking Jackie into the OR.  It really did look that bad.  This gynecologist finally decided to call in another attending surgeon.  That doctor arrived and after assessing Jackie, the determination was made to move Jackie to a procedure room within the ER and use conscious sedation.  Tim and I were asked to wait in the waiting area while the surgeons worked on Jackie.  I'm not sure how long that took.  Probably less than an hour.
Finally, Tim and I were called back to the procedure room where Jackie was resting peacefully.  Between the exhaustion and all the drugs she was given, Jackie was very much out of it.  The doctors explained where the internal injury was and that they had to use four sutures.  Thankfully, they are the dissolving type. They also pointed at the superficial laceration on the external genital area.  She also has a big bruise extending from the perineum to mid-genital.
An hour after the procedure, we had to wake Jackie up to get her to drink and urinate.  By that time, it was 3 AM.  Jackie was nearly impossible to wake up but we did manage to get her to take a few sips of water.  Then Tim carried Jackie into the bathroom to see if she would urinate.  She did and it was enough for the nurse to allow Jackie to go home with us.  We arrived back home around 4 AM.  I got Jackie tucked into bed and I got a quick shower to get all the hospital smells off of me.  Then I laid in bed with Jackie since the doctors said to keep checking on Jackie's breathing pattern. 
The doctor has ordered decreased activity for a few days (obviously!) and to keep the area as clean as possible.  Other than feeling sore and possibly walking a little funny, Jackie should be back to herself within the day.  I had a couple of things scheduled for today but I'm going to let Jackie make that call whether we should go.  Knowing Jackie's fighting spirit, she will want to get out of the house for a bit.
As I write this right now, Jackie and I have been awake for over an hour.  Jackie is doing good, still a little tired, but she is such a trooper.  She's already eaten breakfast and is now just relaxing on the couch.  She told me that she wants to get out.  We probably will and then she will be treated to a double dose of ice-cream, her favorite treat.  I am just so proud of Jackie's spirit last night.  All the staff at both hospitals were so impressed at how well Jackie did throughout the entire ordeal. That's my girl.
Looking at the mess I left behind last night, bloody clothes, gauze & pad wrappers, shoes strewn about, it sounds weird but I feel so fortunate that it was not worse than it was.  The mess left behind looks bad but Jackie is doing great now and she is going to be just fine.  I'll deal with the mess later.
Again, I am just so proud of my little girl.  She has endured so much in her short life so far and she touched so many people last night with her spirit.  I often talk about how difficult it often is to deal with Jackie's strong will but her fighting spirit is what is going to help her go far in life.  I love her so much.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

"Daddy, Do you like boys?"

I can't help but laugh about this. Jackie is cuddling on the couch with her daddy.  She was talking to her daddy when she she suddenly asked him if he liked boys.  It was silent for a fleeting moment until daddy said, "well, I like Ben." 
I burst out laughing.  Then Jackie asked him "you don't like boys?"  Well, not unless he has a secret life, kiddo.  Where does this kid come up with her questions?  She is a hoot sometimes.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cupcake liners and lubrication

Haha, now get your mind out of the gutter. 
While I was preparing dinner this evening, dear hubby came in with cornbread ingredients and proceeded to get things ready to make cornbread.  Now first of all, I should warn you all that I do NOT like it when somebody else invades my kitchen, especially when I am in there.  But I was a good sport and didn't complain.  At least, not too much.
So, dear hubby found the remaining cupcake liners thinking that he would make cornbread muffins.  While he was placing the liners in the cupcake pan, dear hubby asked if they needed lubrication. What?!  I didn't understand at first, what he was referring to until I turned around and saw that he was referring to the cupcake liners.  The cupcake liners made out of paper.  I couldn't help but chuckle at his choice of words.  But I told him the answer was no but that he could lightly coat the cupcake pan with oil.  Since he didn't have enough cupcake liners to begin with, he just opted out of that and went with the round pan for the cornbread. 
An hour later, I'm still laughing.  Lubrication for cupcake liners?  Hahahahahahahaha.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Jackie's Parent-Teacher Conference

Jackie's parent-teacher conference was this evening.  It appears that we have a social butterfly on our hands who also happens to have a sense of humor not only at home but at school.  Oh boy! I certainly hope that this doesn't cause Jackie to get into trouble in the future.  The progress report showed nothing but all S or S+.  I'm so proud of Jackie.
Jackie is actually ahead of what the class has been learning since school started, but thankfully she has not shown signs of boredom.  In fact, she kind of rolled her eyes when Mrs. G tested Jackie on her colors for part of the progress report.  Mrs. G said it was almost as if Jackie was non-verbally saying "are you kidding me? Get with the program, do you not know your colors?"  I'm not surprised by this.  Jackie has known her colors, alphabet, numbers, and shapes since before she turned 2 years. She knew how to spell her name, too.
I was surprised when Mrs. G told me that there are Kindergartners who do not know their shapes, colors, alphabet, or numbers.  So, Jackie is in very good shape academically.
Mrs. G said that Jackie is a joy to teach and that she is very well-liked by her fellow students.  You may recall the incidents Jackie experienced when she was picked on and hit for walking too slow at the beginning of the school year.  After two incidents in 2 days, I did decide to send a note to Mrs. G explaining what Jackie told me.  I have to give kudos to my daughter's school because Mrs. G wasted no time in getting the school social worker involved.  The social worker, Mrs. L, went to Jackie's class that very same day I sent Mrs. G an email.  Mrs. L told a story using a prop in the shape of a child.  For each negative comment that Mrs. L shared, she tore a piece of the child off.  At first, the children were bewildered but after a few moments they understood what Mrs. L was trying to explain.  These are Kindergartners! I was impressed with their response.  As Mrs. G relayed the story further to me, I couldn't help but have tears in my eyes.  Apparently, that story from Mrs. L had a huge impact on the class, and the child who initially bullied Jackie came up to Jackie and hugged her and expressed how sorry he was.  I had to keep blinking the tears back when Mrs. G shared this.  I was so touched.  Since then, Jackie has become a popular little girl and it seems that everyone wants to be with Jackie and be her friend.  And the boy who hugged and apologized?  Well, it seems that he has appointed himself to be Jackie's little bodyguard.  How cute.  That reminds me of when Jackie was in the Early Childhood program from age 3 to 4 1/2 years.  There was a little boy, A,  in there who had a thing for Jackie.  He always wanted to be seated next to Jackie, play with her during playtime, get her stuff for her.  But poor A, Jackie wanted nothing to do with him. Jackie's teacher and teacher's aid at that time would share with me and just chuckle at Jackie's response to A.  But now?  Jackie likes the boys and thinks it's cool to have "boyfriends."  Phew, I certainly hope that is not a sign of things to come.  I guess I better have her daddy get his gun ready.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Good News About Ben

I have great news to share.  I just checked the mailbox and I noticed an envelope from Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital.  I immediately opened right there because I just knew that it had to contain the results of Ben's chromosome testing that was performed a few weeks ago.  I am pleased to announce that the test results are normal.  Normal!  I knew it.  Now we just need to continue to work on finding an answer to Ben's severe expressive speech delay and come up with better ways to help him.
Speaking of which, I had a transition meeting with Ben's EI service coordinator and with the local school psychologist.  The psychologist commented on Ben's receptive language skills and said that she was very impressed with his scores as they were well above average.  This is great news but it adds to Ben's frustration level.  He knows what he is trying to communicate but most of us just don't get what he is saying. Except for Jackie.  Jackie seems to understand her brother the best.  In fact, she often comes to me and says "Ben said ___."  Jackie and Ben must have their own secret language.
Ben actually does talk but he is very unintelligible.  I often observe him groping as he tries to say a word.  I know without a doubt that he is an intelligent little boy.  I remember Jackie reciting her alphabet and numbers and spell her name before she was even two years old and I often wonder if Ben would be able to do the same if he didn't have such difficulty with his speech production.  I recently discovered that Ben can indeed recite alphabet and numbers.  He was watching a Sesame Street show (or something along that line) and characters were reciting the letters and numbers.  I noticed Ben was following along and even used his fingers for the numbers.  Now, he may not have been telligble to the typical listener but Ben was obviously following along with the show.  It's just a matter of time before we have a breakthrough.  I just know it. 
The transition meeting covered the process of starting Ben in the Early Childhood program when he turns 3 years old in December.  It is a 2 1/2 hour per day program where he will receive inclusive and individual speech therapy.  Jackie is a graduate of this program so I am very familiar with the teacher and the assistant.  They are awesome with the kids and I am looking forward to Ben being a part of Mrs. W's class.  Jackie loved Mrs. W and I know Ben will love her, too. 
I am just ecstatic over the great news of Ben's chromosome tests and I am nearly in tears with joyful feelings.  I knew there was nothing to worry about but still, to get the official word has me nearly crying tears of joy. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Drunk Talk? With a Five-Year Old?

Yes, you heard me.  Drunk talk with a five-year old.  I have previously mentioned that I am the coach of Jackie's soccer team.  The assistant coach, let's just call him J, has not been the best team player.  He doesn't follow the practice schedule or guidelines of the Upward manual.
So why should it surprise me about the conversation that he had with a couple of the boys on the team yesterday (Saturday) morning? Well, because these are 5-year old kids. And how many 5-year old kids actually know what being drunk means?
Okay, so we all arrived a few minutes before our own game started.  Assistant coach, J, made a comment to one of the boys about being drunk.  I wasn't sure I even heard correctly so I just shrugged it off.  Then another one of the boys, let's call him  JS, had his jersey on inside out so he promptly took the shirt off which revealed a tattoo (fake) on his belly.  Boys will be boys and that includes fake tattoos.  Well, J noticed and immediately made a comment and then asked JS if he was drunk when he put the tattoo on.  What?! I couldn't believe that this grown man, who is supposed to be a good, supposedly Godly example was asking a 5-year old kid about being drunk.  Then J goes into his spiel about himself getting drunk and doing stupid things at one time.  Who cares what J did during his drunken days?  Certainly no 5-year old does. 
Now I'm not against drinking, in fact, I enjoy the occasional drink except for beer.  Still to this day, the smell of beer bothers me probably due to the fact that I grew up exposed to an alcoholic stepfather.  A serious one at that.  And I know how to limit myself when it comes to alcohol. 
I've never been all out drunk myself, although I have felt a little tipsy. But I would never brag to my own children about this.  No way.  It is none of their business. And what purpose would it serve anyway?
I really cannot wait for this soccer season to be over in a couple of weeks.  After initially balking at being chosen as head coach, I have come to enjoy the kids and teaching them the basics about soccer.  But it goes so much more smoothly when I don't have to co-coach with J who does not care to follow the Upward guidelines.  And that makes me look forward to the end of this season.  Well, and also Jackie's constant whining is another reason.  I know that if I was not Jackie's coach, she would not whine and would listen much better to another coach.