Friday, June 29, 2007
Jess has mentioned she is looking for a nice raincoat and rain boots for Ella. I happened across these this evening and thought they were pretty fabulous. The coat is lined and the outside is durable. the boots are also substantial and fun :o).
Just let me know what you think, Jess and if it's not going to work I can return them. Not a big deal at all.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
The girls went to the doctor Monday, Hannah for a follow-up and Lil for an 18 month well-baby visit. Jen looked at Hannah's cheek and pronounced it looking good. From the picture above you can see it looks SO much better! We are keeping it all gooped up with Polysporin/Neosporin so that it won't dry out and scab over. This is to help minimize scarring. Then, according to Kristine, our neighbor the plastic surgery nurse, we need to use Mederma (which she has a tube of and will be passing along) and a combination of olive oil/peanut oil mixed 50/50 and vitamin E. I'm also planning on calling the plastic surgeon for a consult just to be on the safe side.
Miss Lily meanwhile continues to be a tiny little bit. She is 20 pounds 4 ounces and 31 inches long. This puts her in the 5th percentile for weight and 50th for height. All of which means Lily is still only wearing 6-12 month clothing. :oP Eighteen months is also the time for a massive vocabulary boom. Lily is now using two and three word sentences to ask for items she wants, and she frequently remembers to use her good manners by using "please", "thank you" and "no thank you".
Lily is also very determined and easily frustrated when we don't understand what she is asking or wants. She will stamp her little foot and thrust (okay, throw) the object away or scream and fuss. To compound all this, Lily has been cutting three more teeth which always makes her a little grumpy.
It has been unbearably hot and muggy here the past week so we've been lying low, hanging out inside with the a/c. We took a field trip to Old Navy yesterday to see about purchasing hats for Hannah. On the way, Han looked at the thermometer in the car and said, "Mommy does that say 101 degrees?? That's HOT!" And hot it is!
The only hat we managed to find for Hannah was a large cowboy hat--a one size fits all adult one at that--for $2. Hannah needed shade and we really couldn't beat the price. We did however find suits for both girls. Lil's is a 6-12 month and it's fairly loose. I went with a two-piece for her because it makes diaper changes SO much easier when the suits are wet.
Hannah chose hers because it has shiny silver stripes running through it. See?
Meanwhile, here's the hair. I'm very happy with how well these new products have held up, especially in the humidity here. This is after I've been outside today!
This evening, Nana and I were supposed to visit the meal prep kitchen we have been to twice already. I had tried calling at the beginning of the week to confirm our time for tonight and received a recorded message telling me the number had changed and gave me the new number. I found this odd for a business but went on and called and left a message at that number. In the meantime, I had gone on-line and placed my order for this evening. I was given the option of paying on-line or paying there. On-line payment seemed quick and easy until I realized it was an unsecure connection! I then opted to pay tonight.
I never received a return call, even after calling again. Undaunted, Nana and I headed out this evening, coolers in tow. We arrived and found the store was closed. Upon further inspection we discovered it was not only closed, but it was closed! As in "out of business" closed! The customer service had been lacking recently, but could they not have called and let us know they were no longer open?
Needless to say, Nana and I were not only disappointed, we were rather grumpy with the entire situation as well. We are now planning on exploring the three other prep kitchens in the area. I'm leaning towards the small, privately owned one as opposed to the two franchises. We'll see how it goes.
It just proves the US really has it's priorities incredibly skewed. How sad.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Tony would purchase seeds of every variety including corn, tomatoes (usually more than one type), broccoli, squash and zucchini, lettuce, potatoes, beans, cukes, peas, peppers, onions and asparagus. When he was finished tilling and row-making, he would get us all (Mom, Jessie, the dogs and me) down to the garden (which was some distance from the house) to begin planting. Because Jessie and I had no concept of four or six inches, Tony would break off two sticks of that length, give them to us and give us a bag of seeds. We were each given a number of rows we had to plant and we would begin. Place the seed, place the stick, place another seed at the opposite end of the stick. Repeat.
Summer saw weeding and watering and the beginning of crops "coming in". We would eat whatever was "in" until we felt we were going to turn into that particular fruit or veggie. The year of the zucchini was particularly rough. :o)
I was blessed in that there were also gardens at my father's house and my step-grandmother's house. If one house didn't have some fruit or veggie, another one would. In addition to her garden, Granny Tess also had chickens (for layers, eggs and fryers) and fruit trees. I spent many summers up those trees snarfing down as many cherries as I picked. My fingers would be stained purple/black by the end of the day, and often my tummy was distended and slightly sick from the number of cherries I had consumed, but boy were those cherries delicious.
We would pick buckets and buckets of the fruits and then sit on the front deck with Mom as she used the cherry pitter to seed them. We would then preserve them and can them and have them to use as autumn and winter set in. Oh boy could Mom make a cherry pie. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
We rarely, if ever had processed foods, and the majority of what we ate, especially in the summer, came from the garden. The thing I remember most though, was that gardening was not associated with flowers and such, but with produce and it was SO common. Practically everyone I knew had a garden in the summer. These gardens were not only a source of food, but of pride as well with people cultivating their best and submitting them for ribbons at the local fair.
As I grew older, moved away from home, got married, etc. I fell away from my local eating. There was no time to plant. There was no where to plant. The weather wasn't right. You name it, I had an excuse. Then, I found a local CSA and had fresh summer produce again. Not only was I eating locally and organically (both of which were very appealing), the price was very reasonable and I wasn't stuck eating zucchini, zucchini, zucchini as it came in. I only had zucchini. :o)
Then, Terry read "Animal, Vegetable, Mineral" by Barbara Kingslover. I still haven't read it, but did discover she has a website and have been perusing it. She writes about a year spent eating what she and her family grew or could get locally, and only eating what was in season. I'm intrigued by the idea but am loathe to give up my tropical fruits, citrus fruits and avocados. I can do it, and I will if I must, but it's hard to give up so much of what I've become accustomed to (see yesterday's post about conveniences).
It is so crucial we eat as locally as possible. As I wrote yesterday, I'm now frequenting the Farmers' Market weekly. I need to get there earlier (which can be difficult with Han and Lil in tow) to have a greater selection. This Farmers' Market is incredible with fresh breads, cheeses, soaps, honey, herbs, veggies, meats and fruits. I've been pleased with how well I've done so far but know I can do even better.
It's helpful that Mom is also into this "locavore" action because she sends me handy articles and links to help me become even more informed. I've been a recipient of the Organic Consumers Association's newsletter for over two years and it is chock full of useful advice and handy information about the world of organics.
My goal is to begin putting up canned goods. It's been YEARS since I've done this, and even then it was with Mom. I'm looking forward to making bread and butter pickles (Mom's recipe is the best ever) and hope to be able to get some fresh fruit frozen. Then, maybe next year I can move onto canning tomatoes and more!
Brien and I talked about it and decided we wanted to be somewhere it gets cooler in the evenings, not this crazy 90 degrees at 9:30 at night, and where the crowds aren't so HUGE. To watch fireworks anywhere locally, you need to be there by 6:00 to get a spot. By the time the fireworks begin, you are frazzled from chasing down the kids and are cram packed in with everyone else. It's not much fun.
Then you get to try to leave with the masses of humanity all thinking they have the right of way and no one yielding. It's really not much fun.
So, Blacksburg here we come!!
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
We are so blessed that throughout Hannah's injury, ER visit and hospital stay that we have medical insurance. Our financial responsibility is still going to be steep, but nothing compared to what we would face uninsured. It never occurred to me to tell Jen no when she mentioned sending Hannah to the hospital for IV drugs. I never worried about Hannah's stay in the hospital and how we were going to afford it. In fact, I was amazed Hannah's stay was as long as it was given the state of drive-through hospital stays these days. As Paul commented below, he was only afforded a 23 hour stay in the hospital after he was hit by a car.
All of this got me thinking about how crucial universal health care is. I know there are people out there who will argue the "welfare" recipients are "lazy" and should just "work like the rest of us" to get themselves out of their financial straits and to get medical coverage. Having worked in the inner-city for seven years I can attest to the fact it's not always that simple. However, many of these folks have children in their homes who are uninsured. Say what you may about the parents, judge them as much as you like, but it is in no way the children's fault they are in the situation they are in. They did NOT ask to be born into poverty nor did they ask to be without health insurance. It is unconscionable these children are in such a dire situation while so many have so much. I think that people are more concerned with "me" than they are with "us" and with how their actions affect not just them, but society around them.
Which leads me to my next little rant. I'm terribly sorry if you are someone who does not believe in global warming because this part is really going to make you hot (no pun intended). I have seen many posts and comments recently from people saying they don't care/aren't worried about global warming. !!! How can this not bother you?!?!? Our children's futures are at stake here. Our local actions have a global impact and things are looking pretty ugly.
There are those who will argue it's a natural warming cycle or that the earth is so large there is no way we (as in humans) could have any impact on the climate. These folks feel righteous indignation when people begin to point out flaws in their logic, as Brien will often do with people in his office. But, as he says, "If you're right, great. But, what if you're wrong and you do nothing to change what is happening?" To all you doubters out there, please, for your children's sake, for my children's sake, for the world's children's sake, PLEASE make little changes in your lives that could help make a difference even though you don't believe. I would like for this world to be here for my girls in 25 years' time and I'm not sure it will be the same if we don't start driving less, using less fossil fuels and the like.
Which leads me to a third topic--eating locally. For the past three years, Brien and I have belonged to an organic co-op. We did this for any number of reasons such as eating organic is SO much better for you and the distance the food has to travel to get to us is much shorter than much of that purchased in the local grocery store. I'm blessed in that our local Ukrop's purchases much Virginia/locally grown produce as well as quite a bit of organic so if I need to replenish produce before the weekend I can. I mention the weekend because I have become a frequent visitor at the Williamsburg Farmers' Market. Following my mom's and Terry's example, I'm attempting to eat that which is in season and local. I've purchased Swiss chard, yellow squash, garlic, basil, bok choy, eggs, bison, chicken and pork at this farmers' market. I'm looking forward to the tomatoes and corn in the coming weeks!
Another change I've made is eliminating bottled water from our house. I no longer purchase it, much to Hannah's disappointment. Even though I recycle all my bottles, the amount of petroleum that goes into not only producing the bottles, but also in transporting the bottles from one location to another is not worth the convenience of the chilled bottles. And really, isn't that what it all comes down to? We Americans LOVE our conveniences and are threatened when it looks as if we will be forced to give some of them up. Isn't it interesting how so many of these modern conveniences are destroying our world?
Please, if you have the opportunity, watch the Planet Earth series on Discovery channel. We are all a part of planet earth and it really brought home to me how much my actions and those of my family really do impact the world.
Monday, June 25, 2007
It has been one week since Hannah and the cat tangoed and Hannah lost. I want to compliment the hospital, the Short Stay Unit (SSU), and the staff that worked so hard.
From as far back as I can remember, my father was critically ill. He had to go to the University of Virginia Medical Center every six weeks, and was frequently hospitalized between those visits. What I'm trying to say is that I have had LOTS of experience with hospitals and this one was one of the best I've experienced.
The hospital itself is a new building, only a year old. The SSU had all private rooms and were decorated for pediatric patients with decals and stickers all over the walls. Some rooms were decorated unisex and some had definite girl/boy themes. Hannah was privileged to have a corner room so she had banks of windows that allowed her to look out at the parking lot to see who was coming to visit. ;o)
As nice as the rooms and the hospital are, the staff really made the difference. At no time did I feel we were putting the nurses out. If I asked for something or had a question or concern, they always had time to answer it. They were all so very friendly and people oriented they made the visit lovely. I'll be the first to acknowledge nursing is a very difficult job and at no time did I feel these lovely people were rushed, harried or frustrated.
In fact, Heather, Han's day nurse Wednesday and Thursday, was always doing everything she could to keep us all (Hannah, Brien, Lily and me!) comfortable. She let us take the wagon out and about in the hospital as well as outside. At one point Lil was becoming somewhat fractious and she scooped her up and took her off to the ER nurses' station for a little visit. I have to admit I was surprised Lily went as easily as she did as she is typically stuck to me like Super Glue. When Heather and Lily returned, Heather had found a sippy cup for Lil and brought along juice for her as well (the sippy cup is pictured with Lily). When I forgot to refill the diaper bag (being only a little preoccupied) I asked if there were any diapers. Heather didn't bat an eyelash, asked me what size I needed and then gave me a stack of five.
This group of lovely people really went above and beyond to keep us abreast of what was happening with our child and acted as a wonderful liaison between us and the doctors. I'm eternally grateful to all of them and although I hope to never have to be in the SSU again, knowing these folks (who I came to regard as friends) will be there if we ever are is a HUGE relief. I didn't get to know the night nurses as well as I was not the one to stay with Hannah. I do know that both Feli and Megan were lovely, and Becky, the day nurse on when Hannah was admitted was also delightful.
I'm trying to think of something we can do to let them know how much we appreciated all they did (aside from the lovely drawing Han made that they taped to the front of the nurses' sation). If you have any ideas, please let me know!
Friday, June 22, 2007
First off, I can't believe it's Friday. Where has the week gone?!?
I had taken a bunch of really cheesy photos of Lily who now "cheeses" every time she sees the camera. I had wanted to post them earlier but they were preempted.
Miss Hamball herself, right here folks. :o) Lily turned 18 months old Tuesday (the day all Hell broke loose, Mom's birthday and my anniversary). Eighteen months really is the turning point with language acquisition and development. I get "Up please, Mommy." "No day do, Mommy" (no "thank you", Mommy), "Yetz please, Mommy" and much much more! She can identify all the parts of her face and many of her body parts. She can also identify a variety of foods and determine which she wants when. We are currently working on animal sounds and can do dog, cat, duck, sheep and cow. Not too shabby.
Lest you think Lily is the world's most polite 18 month old, let me also attest to the fact she is indeed closing in on two. She has the quickest temper and is a HORRIBLE snatcher pest! If she determines Han has something she wants, Lily will pull hair, push, snatch and SCREAM to get what she wants. Unfortunately for her it doesn't work and she just winds up in trouble for hitting, pinching, biting, hair pulling, screaming, etc. She is definitely a handful!!
Lily is also the proud owner of a pair of Croclings which are about ten times too big for her little feet. Lily has definite ideas about what she does and does NOT like. Her current favorite shoes are the two pairs that are much too large for her and they are continually falling off her feet. Oh, well.
Here are Hannah and Lily coloring at Hannah's little table. Lily has also recently discovered she LOVES to color. If left unsupervised for one tenth of a second she will color the walls, the floor, the table, inside library books, etc. Will she color in the coloring book or on blank paper? Nah.
Just another silly Lily shot. She had another bottom tooth break through the night before last. She now has four upper teeth and two upper molars and three lower teeth and one lower molar. She has one more lower tooth and lower molar trying to erupt and is quite miserable at the moment.
Hannah laughed at quite a number of things while in the hospital. One was The Pink Panther with Steve Martin. Another was this site featuring silly photos of kitties and assorted animals with silly captions attached to the photo. Unfortunately, as with most fun things, a select few have taken icanhascheezeburger.com and submitted slightly off-color captions. Overall though, there are some strikingly funny submissions.
For those of you interested in my curly-hair journey, I've determined the Jessicurl products are amazing. My hair is curlier than it has ever been and it is soft and not crunchy. I use the Hair Cleansing Cream daily and the Gentle Lather Shampoo twice a week to remove build-up. I then use the Too Shea conditioner--it is so rich and creamy I LOVE it! I then use the Aloeba conditioner as a leave-in under the Rockin' Ringlets and Confident Coils all of which are used daily. I use the Deep Conditioning treatment every Sunday night.
I am in LOVE with my hair. Brien has even noticed a difference, and that's saying something ;oP. I would recommend this line of products to anyone with wavy to curly hair, or to people with fine, dry hair as the line is intensely moisturizing.
The Kellys had come to visit Han earlier in the day and Hannah and Kathryn had been wild little hooligans so I knew she was feeling much better. The bottom wound still hadn't opened and oozed by 8:00 when Dr. Mares walked in. He was a sight to behold. Take your stereotypical pediatrician and throw it out the window. The man walked in wearing a beaded necklace, a tight t-shirt and cowboy boots. He had a soul patch on his chin, a l-o-n-g ponytail and sunglasses on his head. He was NOT what I had been expecting and was overwhelmed by his "cool" factor ;o).
He immediately asked Hannah if she wanted to go home to which she eagerly announced, "YES!" To do so we would have to get the gunk out of her cheek and to do that he determined it would need to be lanced. Great. Dr. Mares put me in charge of the local anesthetic. I was to hold a cotton ball with the anesthetic on her cheek for ten minutes at which point he would come in, lance it, collect the goop for a culture test and finish draining it. Knowing how much Hannah was dreading the coming procedure (she was very mature about the entire situation, but she is only FIVE after all) I began to push on the wound. The number it became, the harder I pushed and by the time Dr. Mares came in to do his thing, it had already started to erupt so no lancing was needed.
The cheek was drained, the IV removed and we were ready to say our good-byes. Megan said they were really going to miss Hannah, that she had been an absolute delight. The previous night had been chaos with many adult patients being shunted into the short stay peds ward because there was no room upstairs. This created MUCH more work for the short stay staff and Megan said Hannah's laugh was such a delight they all paused to grin every time they heard it. :o) That's my girl, spreading sunshine and happiness wherever she goes. :o)
By 9:00 we were in the car and on our way home. I was overjoyed, as was Brien who I'm sure was overwhelmed at the thought of sleeping in his own bed, not the plastic hospital chair.
We all slept in this morning and have been trying to settle back into some sort of a routine.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
This is the face I was greeted with this morning. It looks SO much better than even yesterday. When Dr. Via came in and checked her this morning he had said she would probably be released after her morning dose of antibiotics.
Well, that was all well and good until the upper wound ruptured like Mount Vesuvius. It seems both wounds have abscessed inside and the top one opened up and all the gunk came flooding out. Hannah helped it along by whacking herself in the cheek with a book (completely unintentional I assure you).
As you can see from this picture the upper wound is now just a hole. The redness is gone as is the swelling around it. If you press around the wound she doesn't fuss or wince. The lower one however is another story. We are now doing everything in our power to get it to pop as well since we are all (Heather, the nurse; Dr. Via, Jen, Brien and I) convinced that is the last thing that needs to happen to hasten Hannah's healing.
So, for now we are doing warm compresses to encourage an "explosion" of gunk. This gunk will be cultured and Han needs two additional doses of antibiotics so she'll be here until after dinner this evening at the earliest. Pooh.
Lily and Hannah both continue to be real troopers, as does Brien. He currently has Lily out for lunch, only the second time he has had an opportunity to leave the room. I offered to stay with Han while he took Lily home so they could both have naps. He said as appealing as it sounded he felt like he would be failing. His words. He said he just feels like he has to be here the entire time. That's fine.
We went out exploring again this morning and Hannah found this butterfly bench. Her spirits continue to improve and she is currently telling really BAD Hannah jokes. She must be on the mend! :o)
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
This is the face that greeted me upon my arrival at the hospital this afternoon. Look how much better it looks! She will most likely have very minimal scarring (which is Jen's main concern) and the redness is really dissipating. The swelling is still terrible, but you can tell Han feels SO much better.
Here you can see the swelling in that cheek and around her eye. This blog came in handy this evening when Dr. Via came in to check on Hannah (he is another doctor in her practice and is very nice and competent). He had not seen her prior to this evening and he asked how we thought her face was looking. We said we thought it was looking pretty good and he mentioned how he wished he had seen her before just for a baseline to judge by. Thinking quickly I remembered I had posted a number of photos last night and had Brien pull up the blog. He found a good example and showed Dr. Via who was most appreciative.
But, I digress. Back to the Monkey. I knew she was feeling better the moment I walked in the room. She began bouncing all over the room and I could tell she was beginning to go stir-crazy. In fact, she and Brien had made paper airplanes earlier in the afternoon and had taken them and flown them in the hospital lobby. Even better, there is a lovely central staircase in said lobby and B and Hannah actually launched their airplanes off the stairs!! Wow!
So, feeling stir-crazy and having a little sister hanging around who was also more than a little tired of the hospital, Hannah decided we should go for a walk. The short stay unit has this lovely wagon for the patients to use so I quickly loaded up the girls and headed outside. Hannah was tickled pink. :o)
We walked all around the hospital and located a number of lovely gardens. Eventually we came upon one that had an interestingly bricked courtyard. There was a brick paved circle with swirls scattered throughout. I found a small sign that indicated this was a "Labyrinth of Healing".
I quickly set Hannah on the path to the center and she was thrilled to be able to get out of the wagon and bounce along.
Lily also took a moment or two out to enjoy a run.
Yay, Han made it to the center!
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And here's Hannah racing for the middle.
Lily has once again figured out how to ham it up for the camera. She saw me taking a movie of Hannah and said, "CHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZE!!!!"
Later, after we had returned to the room, Sarah, Erik and Erin came back to visit. Erin was being such a charming little elf. Pop had come and taken Lily and Brien out for dinner so Hannah and Erin spent some time pulling and pushing each other in the wagon.
I couldn't resist and had to post a picture of Erin's coils. Those curls on the back of her head spring back when pulled out. They are so soft and beautiful :o).
Before long, the Greathice (if the plural of "mouse" is "mice" the plural of "Greathouse" must be "Greathice" :oP) family had to be off and Nana appeared. Then Pop, Daddy and Lily returned. And then, it was 8:30 and time for Lil and I to come home to get ready for bed. I'm pretty excited because I'm fairly certain Han will be coming home tomorrow evening. I still felt like a dog leaving her this evening, but it wasn't as horrible as last night when she was so very ill.
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers, we really appreciate it!
Hannah slept through the night with no problem (B was only slightly distracted by the comings and goings of the night nurse taking vitals) and was in decent spirits this morning. After her breakfast and dose of antibiotics we took a field trip around the hospital. We visited the main lobby, checked out the elevators and stairs, visited the chapel and the gardens and then came back to Hannah's room.
The nurses have all, at different times, mentioned to me how wonderful Hannah is. They keep saying she's so very polite and calm and mature. Mature is a word that gets mentioned frequently as a matter of fact. When I arrived this morning, Feli, the night nurse was on her way out. I greeted her and she told me Hannah was so mature, not at all like a five year old. We noticed this as well when Heather, Han's new nurse, came in to start the next dose of antibiotics. Hannah looked at Heather and said, "Are you going to flush out my IV port and then start the medicine?" I kid you not. She then asked if Heather was going to take her temperature or her pulse-ox first. Hannah has quickly adapted to life in the hospital.
Jen came in just as Lil and I were about to leave for lunch and a nap. She took a look at Hannah's face and decided she had better stay another night, which was really no surprise for Brien or me. I had been getting more and more anxious as I was looking at Hannah's cheek. For those of you who remember, think back to Han's two year-old chubby cheeks and you will know how swollen she is. Han will most likely come home tomorrow evening after 7:00 so she can get yet another full day's course of antibiotics into her system.
The good news is there is no fever, no muscle or joint pain, and it doesn't look as if the wound is going to scar. That seemed to be Jen's biggest concern which tells me she has every confidence the antibiotic is doing what it is supposed to do. In fact, she even mentioned she was happy to see there was no pus pocket under the wound and that it had stayed closed even with the strips off.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
I think I may have done the hardest thing I have ever done as a mother--I left my baby in the hospital and came home. Granted, her daddy is with her, and I had to bring Lillers home because she was an absolute tired wreck, but it was still so difficult. Han got quieter and quieter as the evening progressed. I asked her if she was tired or if her face was hurting and she replied, "My stomach's just sad because I won't be home tonight." Waaaahhhhhhhh.
I was shocked at the extent of the redness and swelling in her face when I arrived this evening. It had spread down her jaw towards her mouth. Ack!
Hannah is in the new hospital here and it is FANCY! The screen above is her tv and is actually a computer monitor. If you can see it says, "Welcome Hannah". Wow.
It is also a TV and the remote is the keyboard the lovely Vanna is modeling. It has internet access and on-demand programming and video games galore. It is pretty fancy! And, she has her own room!
Hannah was in good spirits when Lil and I arrived, snarfing up the Maggie Moo's ice cream I brought her. Her dinner arrived soon after and she ate that as well.
That chocolate cake was a big hit and the nurse, Becky really got a kick out of Hannah.
Here Lil and Daddy are hamming it up for the camera. I couldn't resist taking their picture they were being so cute.
At one point, Hannah got out of bed to stretch her legs and Lil took over. Poor Little Bit she is desperate to be with her sister at all times and there was Hannah lying in the bed feeling pretty yucky. At one point I climbed on the bed to snuggle with Han and of course Lil wanted in on the action, wedging herself between her two favorite people and a bid for attention as well.
As she tried to pull at Hannah's IV and bang on her face, Brien removed her from the room for a few minutes so Hannah and I could have a little alone snuggle time. You know, As irritated as I get with her for the little things she does, Hannah is still my little spunky funky monkey junkie and it is so awful to see her like this.
Mom and Dad made it in with dinner (they stopped by the smoothie place) which was greatly appreciated. They also brought Han some flowers (which she desperately wanted). Around 7:00 or so Jen showed up to examine Hannah. She was still a little concerned about the swelling and decided she needed to call CHKD (local children's hospital) to confirm she was making the best decision regarding Hannah's treatment. They told her they would be using two different antibiotics so Jen switched Han over. She is relieved the wounds are not oozing any pus or draining in any way given the amount of swelling. Additionally, her temperature, although 100 has gone no higher which also pleases Jen. She said cat bites are notoriously bacteria ladened and was very angry with the attending physician in the ER last night--so much so she is going to talk to her about the situation. Doing some research Brien discovered one half of all cat bite victims wind up hospitalized with an infection.
Soon after, Sarah, Erik and Erin appeared bearing a gift of a beautiful giant sketch pad and some amazingly wonderful double ended Crayola markers. Lil and Erin played as only 18 month olds can. I was so grateful they made the trip from NN when I knew it was getting close to Erin's bedtime.
Speaking of bedtimes, I worry how well Han will sleep tonight not at home, in a strange bed, in a hospital where there is really no such thing as true rest with nurses coming in and out all night. Jen wouldn't promise Hannah would come home tomorrow because she wants to make sure Hannah is healing properly. This is fine by me. I want my Monkey safe and healthy. Which leads me to say I'm so SO happy we have the insurance we do. They will pay for as long as Hannah needs to stay. Let's hope that stay is only for tonight.
She will probably be stir-crazy by the end of the day and be more than ready to go home tomorrow. I'm glad to hear she's doing well though.
I didn't write about this last night because I figured it was something of a non-event, one of those childhood happenings that you just put behind you and move on. And, I'll be honest and say, I was very embarrassed by the entire situation. Othello (the cat) bit Hannah on the face last night. He was grumpy and out of sorts from having gone to the vet an hour earlier and Hannah was in his face with her face (as she often does with animals, and well, people too) and she wasn't reading the signs of his growing impatience. Having received a fairly significant cat bite for a similar reason I knew it hurt but I figured she would be fine. Brien was a little worried about scarring since it was on her cheek so we called our friend and neighbor, Kristine, to come and take a look at it. In a prior-to-children life Kristine was a nurse with a plastic surgeon so we figured she would be able to tell us the best course of action (remind me why children come without user's manuals...).
Kristine said we should probably have it looked at because it could possibly use a stitch. B and Hannah headed off to the Urgent Care center only to find it had closed 45 minutes earlier. Next stop, the ER.
Brien and Hannah left the ER around 9:30 last night. They had irrigated and flushed the wound and then steri-stripped it. They sent her home with a prescription for Augmentin which we would be unable to fill until this morning since all our local pharmacies close at 9:00.
Fast forward to this morning. Hannah came into our bedroom complaining her face hurt. I was thinking, "Of course your face hurts, you were bit by a cat!" Instead I asked her to come close so I could take a peek at it. It was red and slightly inflamed so we decided she should probably go to the doctor when I took Lily for her well-baby visit this morning. Brien called, it wasn't a problem and at 9:45 this morning Jen walked in took one look at Hannah's face and asked, "Did she have any antibiotics last night?" No. "Did they do an IV drip?" No. "Why did they steri-strip it? That's it, I'm calling plastics. I'll be back in a few minutes."
Yes, I was a bit concerned before, but to see the doctor so angry because of the treatment Hannah received in the ER made me very worried. Let me preface this by saying I'm a big fan of the ER folks. My father spent more time in the ER than just about anyone I know so by default, I too spent much of my adolescence and teen years in the ER with him. The ER people are quite often overworked and understaffed and I figure they gave Hannah the best treatment they thought was necessary at that time. Hindsight is always 20/20, isn't it?
Jen eventually came back in and said she wanted to admit Hannah to the hospital to get a course of IV antibiotics into her system. She and the plastic surgeon had discussed it and felt this was the best course of treatment for Hannah. Poor Hannah. I immediately began to talk up what a grand adventure Hannah was going to have in the hospital, especially as she would most likely be staying the night.
Lily's well-baby visit was rescheduled, I called Brien at work and told him to come home and now I'm anxiously awaiting word as to what is happening with Hannah. I'll update you all as soon as I know anything.
Monday, June 18, 2007
When I was little and we would be home for the summer, it was a time of deep cleaning. My mom would haul out all her cleaning supplies and we would scrub and clean everything we didn't have an opportunity or time to do during the school year. Our spring cleaning occurred during the summer. Okay, I said "we" when I should have said "she". Really, Mom did the majority of the cleaning, from washing and ironing all the curtains to cleaning all the windows and everything in between. Jessie and I were asked to help, and we would do so very reluctantly--ungrateful wretches that we were.
Typically we would spend the mornings cleaning and the afternoon would be devoted to something fun. Jessie and I still had all our daily chores (dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, bathrooms, bedrooms, etc.) and would help with whatever Mom needed done. Then, we were on our own until the afternoon. We would wander and play all along the mountainsides and the creek searching out fossils. Or, we would play in the hose our stepdad had running from the natural spring onto the property. Brrrrr was it cold! We rarely saw temperatures that peaked above 85 degrees and mountain water is very, uh, brisk to say the least *grin*.
We could also be found riding our bikes and in general running around outside. If we weren't doing any of that, we were inside--reading, drawing, playing a game or Barbies. What you wouldn't find us doing was watching TV. Thinking back on it, I can hardly remember a day where the TV was on! Wow!
This has not been the case in our house during summers past. It is hot and humid and muggy outside and I quite frankly don't wish to be out in the weather. I have shoved that lame excuse aside this summer and made plans for every day. I'm taking a page out of Mom's book and using the summer as a time to catch up on all the grime and gunk that has accumulated over the past year. I'm also hoping to follow in Mom's footsteps and do some canning this summer as well. She has said she will help me make bread and butter pickles. I remember putting up cherries, peaches, grape jelly and tomato/spaghetti sauce in addition to the world's best bread and butter pickles, and I want Hannah and Lily to have those same memories. Sure, it's hot, sticky work, but there is something very satisfying in opening a jar of goodies you have made yourself!
The schedule I have proposed (to myself) does not involve me sleeping-in and being a slug all summer (much to my eternal sorrow). Instead I'll be getting up with Brien and exercising and then getting myself ready for the day. This way I'll be ready when the girls get up.
We hit the local library this morning to sign up for their summer reading program (something else Jessie and I did every summer without fail!). Hannah was so excited! She and I had checked out some "Henry and Mudge" books Saturday afternoon and she found a stack of them this morning. I found some other Cynthia Rylant books and Hannah and I are going to conduct our own little author's study this week.
Mondays will therefore be devoted to going to the library to trade out for new books as well as checking out their craft activity. Tuesday is story time at the library. Wednesday we head out to play at Kidsburg. Thursday we are to hit the local historical areas and museums, such as Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown, and the Virginia Living Museum. Fridays are our days to find a pool or beach to visit or to hang out with friends. Of course, all days are flexible, but I thought I would be better directed and focused with something to do each day.
We should get home anywhere between 11:00 and 11:30 which gives me time to get the girls lunch and have Lil down for a nap by 12:30 or 12:45. While she's napping I have set aside three hours to work on cleaning, both daily chores and more in-depth cleaning. After than, Hannah and I will have time to play together until Lil gets up.
I'm pretty excited about these plans and really want to succeed. I've set myself some personal goals as well as I prepare to move to a new job this fall. I want to get into better shape (the elliptical machine and I are to become best friends/sworn enemies again) and lose at least 20 pounds this summer (with yet more to shed throughout the year). I have given it careful thought and figure six pounds a month is a reasonable goal. By increasing my movement and exercise and decreasing my portion sizes and the amount of pure JUNK I consume this seems doable.
Lily has a doctor's appointment tomorrow (18 months have just flown by!) so we'll have to skip story time but I'm ready to tackle all the other tasks I have set for myself. Six o'clock, here I come!!
Sunday, June 17, 2007
My sweet and funny Brien. We began dating my junior year of high school. I had flirted with him shamelessly the previous year all through printing class, and the boy was DENSE! He just didn't get it. The next year, right before Homecoming and the Homecoming dance I met his mom. I had recently joined the marching band as a member of the flag corps and she was a band chaperone. She asked Brien who he was going to take to Homecoming and when he came up somewhat blank she said something along the lines of, "That Rachael is a nice girl" suggesting he ask me out. I'm so glad he did.
Here are my two biggest joys (besides B of course), the babies I would not have were it not for Brien. He is the most wonderful and caring father and an amazing man.
So often I hear women say (or write on their blogs), "I could never leave him alone with the kids for more than five minutes!" or something along the same vein. I am never hesitant to leave B with the girls. He is such a wonderful daddy. And, that's what he is, a daddy. Any man can be a father but it takes a special man to be a "daddy".
Brien always has time for his girls and isn't afraid to drop whatever task it is he is doing to be with them and play with them. He takes just as active a role in their daily routines as I do. Both the girls have come to depend on him to be there for certain things.
For Hannah, Daddy is there first thing in the morning to get her dressed, fed, lunch packed and on the bus for school. He signs her homework, checks her backpack and sends her on her way. He helps cook and clean in the evenings and will carry Hannah "like a princess, Daddy!" up the stairs almost every evening.
Lily depends on Daddy to rough house with her. She needs someone to be rough with (Hannah just can't hack it) and Daddy's the man. He will take her upstairs most evenings and put her in her 'jams and get her ready for bed. I come up to rock her with her bunny and Lily Mae and Daddy gives her her cup of water. She then gives it back and asks for more--even if it's full. Being the patient daddy he is, B will refill the cup and give it back to Lil. He then kisses her good night and walks out the door and closes it. Lily will then call, "da-DEE, da-DEE, da-DEE!" and B will swing the door open and "admonish" Lil. She gets such a kick out of it and giggles and laughs at him. This routine is done three times and then it's off to bed for Miss Lily Belle.
When he finishes with Lil, Brien heads to Hannah's room to ascertain she is on the road to bed. He will hustle her if necessary and then settles in to read a night night story and have a quick snuggle.
I'm not sure what else to say except I can't even imagine heading down this parenthood path without Brien by my side. He is not only the love of my life, he's the love of his girls' lives as well. I'm sure his heart will break a little one day when he is no longer the number one man in their lives. But until then, I know he's going to cherish and enjoy every minute he is blessed with :o).
Happy Father's Day, Brien. I love you more than you will ever know.
My father passed away almost ten years ago and Father's Day is still a hard day for me. I was the stereotypical "daddy's little girl" while Jessie couldn't stand to be separated from Mom. My Papa was a big man, six feet tall and 220 pounds. He would laugh and say he had no neck--which was true :o). He had a rumbling belly laugh and I could determine his exact location at any given time based on that laugh. Papa never met a stranger and loved to be around people. He had more friends than just about anyone I can think of.
I don't cry on Father's Day any more, I just get a little wistful and wish my Papa were around to see how Jessie and I are doing. Oh how he would have loved our little girls! Papa loved little children better than just about anything. I think it was because he was really just a big kid himself.
Right after Papa died I dreamt he was with me and I remember asking, "How can you be here? You're dead!" He replied he just was and that everything was okay. He gave me a huge Papa bear hug and then left. I awoke and knew he had come to tell me good-bye. Good-byes are rarely easy and are quite often excruciatingly painful, as was this one. In spite of this, I was also comforted because I knew he was telling me he would always be with me.
I still find myself talking to Papa sometimes, but not nearly as often as the years have passed. For today I wish him (and Pawpaw too) a very Happy Father's Day. I miss you Papa.
Monday, June 11, 2007
To tide you over, I leave you with this food for thought (no pun intended) sent to me from Mom.
Think globally, eat locally
JENNIFER WILKINS AND ANNA LAPPÉ
During his testimony about the climate crisis before Congress last month, Al Gore noted that the Chinese expression for "crisis" consists of two characters side by side: the first means "danger;" the second, "opportunity."
The danger the planet faces -- as the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report makes clear -- is beyond dispute. So is a primary cause: human activity.
Gore's testimony and the IPCC report were meant primarily to encourage policymakers to take action. But given the seriousness of the planetary crisis, we, as individuals, can ill afford to sit back and wait for new laws, regulations and advances in technology. Herein lies opportunity. We can turn off the lights and turn down the hot water, recycle, drive less, adjust our thermostats. But perhaps most important as individuals, we can change the way we eat.
To take the bite out of climate change, consider some greenhouse gas-lowering dietary guidelines:
Of course, some long-distance transportation of food is essential -- just ask a java junkie. But much of what is traded across borders is environmentally illogical. Merely eliminating redundancies -- importing the same or similar commodities that we produce and export -- would produce significant savings. So would keeping processing near production. Shipping whole chickens, for example, to China only to import them back, defies all energy-conserving logic.
Consider the climate change costs of this annual $11 billion annual obsession, including the bottling and transportation and the disposal and recycling of the containers.
Instead of this costly commodification, drinking water should be protected and promoted as a safe, free public good. Plus, frequent trips to the drinking fountain at work or school will not only reduce the environmental costs, but increase physical activity, too.
In contrast, pasture-based production lets livestock do what they're biologically intended to do: forage for food. In these systems, animal droppings add fertility to pastures instead of becoming noxious pollutants. By lowering the fossil energy required to feed animals, we reduce the greenhouse gas emissions per ounce of meat or milk in our diets.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Soft, non-crunchy hair that feels good. Yay! Let's hope these results last as I'm tired of hunting down and trying new products. Then, even if I'm unhappy with how my hair looks or how my scalp feels (often dry and itchy and flaky), I still feel obligated to use them until I've finished because I have no desire to be wasteful.
I'm going to do a heated deep condition tomorrow and we'll see how it looks.