Thursday, December 07, 2023

Joy! And also GRAY?!

 JOY though, you guys! Like the picture on the wall says! We are really joyful, despite the constant illness (At least one kid— usually Minnie— has been sick since Ben started his new job!!).

My mom’s boyfriend’s son came for Thanksgiving and put an electrical outlet in the front hallway for us, so we could put lights on a front door Christmas tree! We love being able to plug this sucker in— next year, taller but still skinny, yes?

Dorothy found THE BEST living room tree EVER at our favorite Christmas tree farm

And! We had a delightful time tree hunting and decorating, as these randomly ordered pictures will show LOL

Ben and I left the girls with Harry and went out for drinks and apps before Coop’s hockey game on Saturday, dropped him off at home, and went back out for a night cap after. 

Our elves on the shelf came back!

And look how cute Cooper’s hockey pictures turned out to be:

And! I really do love my new stove

Also, in true us fashion, we didn’t measure it because the 30-inch width is so standard— it never even occurred to us to check the depth. Aaaaaaand, it sticks out super far. Which! Makes me think I actually just SAVED over 1K on my next fridge because a counter-depth fridge is pointless with an oven this ginormous. #halffull

Soooooo, now I have a question for you. My hair!! Looks pretty brown with a side part, but the other day, I did a middle part and zOMG. Time to cover the gray again. OR IS IT? What do you think? Cover it up or go gray and see how I like it? (Also, I gotta stop furrowing my brow, Before it freezes like that. J/K— TOO LATE LOL LOL LOL)

Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Top contender for the worst urgent care visit ever!!

 Yesterday was probably not our worst urgent care visit, all told. That honor might go to the time Coop puked blood and granola bar during a strep test while Harry was sick with another effusion and Dorothy broke her wrist in a sledding accident. I wouldn’t want to leave out my dystopian novel early 2020 pregnant COVID test visit. In terms of trauma, the visit that ended with Harry being immediately admitted to the PICU after being so sick the pediatrician wouldn’t leave our side until we were actually in the car and on the way was probably the VERY worst. (I feel bad skipping over our island urgent care trip when Coop was baby and had a terrible vacation virus and Ben heard a guy fresh from a motorcycle accident getting part of his ear sewn back on in the next room— a definite honorable mention.)

Still, even by Big Family standards and Kid with Heart Problem standards, yesterday was a doozy.

I told you all that Minnie has been sick for WEEKS and that I had a plan to bring her TODAY to see her doctor if she didn’t feel better, right? Well. I wrote that post— and sent the message to the doc— on Monday, and she really seemed completely better by lunch time. No fever since Sunday! An excellent appetite! Playing so hard! 3 nights of excellent sleep (thank God, literally)! 

I was so relieved yesterday when I sent her merrily off to preschool. 

Dorothy, though, was home sick. 

She sent me this text Monday night from dance:

And I just KNEW— that kid is NEVER exhausted and never ever tired at dance. We picked her up, and she had a fever **whomp whomp**

Since she was also complaining of a sore throat, I snagged an appointment for her at urgent care (side note: our doctor and all other pediatricians in all of our HMO clinics were totally booked for sick kid appointments by 8:24 am yesterday morning, which tells you a little bit about how things are going post-holiday gatherings in my town) because Minnie tested positive for strep, and we all watched in horror Saturday afternoon when Dorothy TOOK A BITE of Minnie’s Culver’s grilled cheese sandwich mid-tree trimming. I made the appointment for after preschool pick up, thinking we could also swing by Trader Joe’s if we wore masks and Dorothy wad strep negative because Minnie will only take cefdinir with mini peanut butter cups, and we only had 4 left— barely enough to bribe her into a single dose.

(Can we just go back to the above pic for a second? She was trying on her first costume of the season— for her mini tap small group,  and it is the very cutest— also has red gloves and fishnets over regular tights. SHE HATES IT because it is a sensory prison— tight! Itchy! Tight AND itchy booty shorts and big old rhinestones on the see-through chest part. LOOK AT HER FACE— her eyes say HELP ME)

Dorothy stayed in bed all morning, and I worked quietly until it was time to get Minnie, who had been so chipper and delightful in the morning. She picked out her outfit including a cardigan and said she was COOL MINNIE; she requested French braids, and she was thrilled to take her favorite stufffie for a snack time teddy bear picnic.

The kid I picked up? Was a sad, shivering, wilted flower of a person. She was clearly feverish just to the touch, and, alarmingly, she told me her neck hurt. I, of course, assumed she had meningitis because that is just how my brain works, and by the time we got to Dorothy’s urgent care appointment, I was internally FREAKING OUT because Minnie was a pathetic, glassy-eyed, slumped little lump in her car seat.

Urgent care was slammed, and the intake CNA told me from the exam room that I would have to CALL THE SWITCHBOARD if I wanted to talk to anyone about Minnie. I had been in conversation on her chart with our pediatrician’s nurse, whose office was STEPS AWAY from our exam room, but the intake nurse told me as she was taking Dorothy’s vitals that she didn’t know if that person was available because she worked in another clinic. Erm. But. Urgent care is one hallway away from pediatrics. 

I was on hold with the front desk (because I couldn’t leave Dorothy alone in the exam room per the nurse) when the PA-C we were set to see came in, took one look at Minnie, and said “Oh my— let’s look at her next.” THANK GOD FOR HUMANITY IN MANAGED CARE. When Minnie coughed (this has just been her cough for weeks you guys— I actually think it sounded better than it has), the provider said mildly as she felt Dorothy’s glands, “I think we’ll do a quick chest X-ray.”

She got Minnie on the table STAT and said she had swollen lymph nodes in her neck and that was probably why she said her neck hurt, but if she refused to turn her head for any reason or could not sit up on her own we needed to do straight to the ED (so I am not the only person who thinks meningitis when a kid has a stiff neck! Ha!). Minnie’s lungs did not sound crackly, but her thick, chesty cough prompted the X-ray. She was also swabbed for RSV, COVID, and flu (all negative, thank goodness).

 The icing on the cake, though, was a blood draw to check her counts and see if she had mono because that would explain the on-again, off-again fevers. (Negative! Phew!) (Also Dorothy asked “Minnie! Have you bee sharing cups at preschool?” When she heard what the test was for). Minnie’s veins are tiny and covered by so much delightful shiny chub that the draw itself was… um … how do I say it? A GODDAMN NIGHTMARE? Yes, I think that’s right. Fortunately, the lab people came to us, and the care team brought juice boxes for the girls (which Minnie refused because she doesn’t trust anything the doctor’s office offers now).

Minnie’s new and super inconvenient fear of oral meds showed up again when a nurse offered her a dose of bubble gum flavored Tylenol for her super high fever, and she lost her shit and spit it all over herself and me. Awesome.

Our provider checked her X-ray and said it looked clear and that she seemed to have another virus on top of the bacterial infections.

And sent us on our merry way.

BUT THEN! The clinic’s radiologist read Minnie’s X-Ray and said SHE HAS PNEUMONIA.

OH MY GOD. Not a MyChart message/call I was expecting to get.

Minnie is taking another broad spectrum antibiotic (azithromycin) along with her cefdinir and we have to follow up on Friday if she is not better. WHAT EVEN IS BETTER? It has been a long time since she’s been that.

WAY BACK on the Friday after Thanksgiving, we saw a pediatrician in our practice who said that if she got totally better and then got sick again, that was a sign of pneumonia. And wow! That guy knows his stuff because that’s exactly what happened!! 24-36 hours of completely better (LOL psych) and then HORRIBLY SICK AGAIN.

So. Anyway. I have a work thing tonight that I gotta do (thank you Harry for stepping in to babysit your sick sisters), but other than that we are going to be on the couch watching Christmas shows and eating every snack Trader Joe’s has to offer (Ben swung by on his way to pick Cooper up at diving practice and take him to hockey) until at least Friday.

Monday, December 04, 2023

Poor little germy Minnie

 Ugh, my darling Minnie. She has been sick since THE TUESDAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING.

We spent Friday at urgent care AGAIN because she had another fever and complained of ear and throat pain ON THE LAST DAY OF HER ANTIBIOTIC. And you know what? SHE HAD STREP AND HER EAR WAS STILL INFECTED.

We got another antibiotic, which is the pits because she is scared to throw up, and she almost threw up her first does of augmentin, and now she's sort of scared of all antibiotics. The PA-C we saw (not a great bedside manner, but it was a terrible night to be working downtown urgent care with a snow storm, a volleyball playoff game AND a Badger men's basketball game plus a million COVID coughs) said the next step is injections, and I was like LET'S JUST DO THAT and save me the 10 days of misery, but she was not really offering, just threatening. Cool, cool.

I followed up via MyChart with her pediatrician today and have plans to bring her in Wednesday afternoon if she is not much better by then (still getting random fevers and feeling yucky, complaining of a tummy ache, etc (also! she ate well today for the first time in 2 weeks and has lost 2 pounds and her ankle rolls)).

It is amazing how terrible sick 3 year-olds are, though, you guys, Like, all of the adorable little eye-rolly toddler quirks are magnified and HORRIBLE. So much whining. So unable to take a joke. So clingy. So not able to play independently.

She is a MAJOR tattle tale, too, which is usually a slightly older kid milestone. SHE IS GIFTED AT BEING AT TOTAL PILL, you guys. We are so proud.

Sill! Her cough is finally almost gone. She only coughs to the point of nearly puking once or twice a day, so that's progress.

We had FUN today, and she didn't cry at all, which was really lovely and made me realize how bad she has been feeling lately. She even played by herself happily while I wrapped some presents and came to find me to ask WHERE IS MY AIR FRYER? I was like your air fryer? What? And she goes MY AIR FRYER THAT HELPS ME NOT COUGH AT NIGHT.

Humidifier! LOL. (I was washing it with vinegar because that's a thing I do every day now because it smelled like mildew the other day and OOOOPS.)

Friday, December 01, 2023

November: What I Read

 Listen, after a successful NaBloPoMo, the LAST thing I want to do is  POST ON THIS BLOG. But! I am a creature of habit, and it is the FIRST DAY OF THE MONTH. Sooooooo…

I am not going to bury the lede here, YOU NEED TO READ FOURTH WING and IRON FLAME  by Rebecca Yarros. I listened to both of them, and OH MY GOSH. SO GOOD. Before the dragon sex (implied) and the human sex (LOTS), I gifted Iron Flame to Jack on Audible, and then it got raunchy (which I should have known because I read In the Likely Event), and I felt kind of weird about being the one to give it to him (but my mom lent me her Clan of the Cave Bear series when I was a 5th grader, and there was definitely horse/human sex, so **shrug**)

ANYWAY, here’s what I read in November in order of least to most favorite

The Woman in Me by Britney Spears: Oh wow. And a ghost writer helped with this, you guys. **2023 **Kindle

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah: Really terrible. **Audio

Ohio by Stephen Markley: Save yourself the time and just re-read Demon Copperhead if you want to hear about meth heads in rural America. **kindle

Family Lore by Elizabeth Acevedo: This did not live up to the hype for me. **2023

While You Were Out by Meg Kissinger: This memoir was SO SAD but also a really good read. **2023

Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey: REALLY SCARY. Liked it. **2023

The Rachel Incident by Caroline O’Donoghue: Solid. I love a good English department drama. **2023

The Trap by Catherine Ryan Howard: Very creepy. *2023

Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll: LOVED this and not just because I was a Chi Omega in college and Ted Bundy (THE DEFENDANT in this book) killed Chi Omegas. **2023 **Audio

Cutting Teeth by Chandler Baker: LOVED THIS. But I made an ass out of myself falling all over the place to recommend it to Minnie’s teacher (follow up email, even) because it’s a hilarious send up of parents at a private preschool, and then I read a little further and the teacher DIES a horrible bloody death. **2023

Evil Eye by Etaf Rum: This is actually better than everyone says it is. Worth the hype. **2023

Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward: This book is beautiful and devastating. **2023

Fourth Wing and Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros: OH THESE BOOKS!!! So great, you guys. Can’t wait to watch the show. **Audio ** 2023

This Month:

14 books

12 books published in 2023

8 print, 2 Kindle, 4 audio

This Year:

194 books

109 books published in 2023

106 print, 14 Kindle, and 75 audio

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Thankful Thursday: SANTA

 Ben's mom does an excellent job of decorating for the holidays. When we were first really serious about each other in college and started visiting each other's homes over break, I was blown away. All the bedrooms! ALL THE OTHER ROOMS! DISHES-- everything. That's definitely the model we have gone with-- although her house is also really pretty/expensively done/tasteful, and ours is more like red and green joy vomited all over a carpet of toys. But anyway-- hers is a living Pottery Barn catalog that we are always trying to recreate (but make it sticky!).

One of the very best features is a collection of Ben and his sister posing with various mall and hardware store (LOL the 80's were a trip) Santas (Minnie calls them HELPER SANTAS), and I went to work curating my own Santa collection starting with Harry's very first Christmas.

Last weekend, we went to Zoo Lights and saw Santa-- his 18th visit. I told him he's off the hook now, and my first collection is complete!! I am so thankful for this fun tradition and kids who will humor me til the end.

Behold the adorableness:


2007 (Impending big brother-dom and he had NO IDEA)
2008 (Look how squishy they were!!)
2009 (in their jammies, fresh off a Picture People photo shoot— anyone else remember that mall gem?)
2010 (I was SO ANNOYED that Jack got scared and made us join in) (I am HOLDING MY CAR KEYS)
2011 (Another baby!!)
2012 (Harry’s smile! LOL)
2013 (Cooper! They’re losing him!)

2014 (Santa loves scared kids, apparently)

2015 (This is not just a mall; it’s a PEORIA mall)
2016 (Oooooh I hope Dorothy’s outfit will fit Minnie this year)
2017 (Not even SANTA is looking at the camera!!)
2018 (my dad, a reliably soft touch, bought everyone those necklaces at Zoo Lights, and how could that have been his last Christmas, you guys/??)
2019 (can you even believe the whole world shut down just MONTHS later?? Also I was  barely pregnant with Minnie and keeping it a secret)
2020 (yard Santa!)
2021 (yard Santa redux!!)
2022 (triumphant return to the mall Petri dish!!)
2023 (18 years of Harry and the big guy)

Zoo Lights was a BLAST, even if the kids DID punch the heck out of each other in the Santa line, and we had to ride the merry go round so many times I got dizzy and wondered if I have a brain tumor.