Saturday, December 29, 2012

The One With A Merry Christmas!

We're back!  Its been a crazy few weeks for our family since I last wrote.

We decided to go visit my grandparents who live in Wisconsin right before Christmas.  Of course we only had about a 4 day time-span to fit all the traveling and visiting in, and we decided it would be best for Little Man if we drove up (planes and a screaming scared toddler don't mix well)(Also I am still kind of nervous about air pressure changes and his shunt).  We were also all recovering from the plague that had been sweeping through my friends group around that time.

The drive was about 14 hours each way and we spent just two days with my grandparents, but it was well worth it to us.  My grandparents are both 89 years old, and my grandmother is in the mid-stages of Alzheimer's, so any chance to spend a little time with them is precious.  I hadn't seen them since Little Man was a year and a half old and I was still married to Ex, so it was definitely time to catch up.   Grandpa was tickled pink by everything Little Man did, and he seemed to really like Hubs too - if their night drinking beers at the local tavern is any indication...  My grandmother was pleasant and in a good mood the entire trip despite being a little confused most of the time.

Little Man and his great-grandpa

Of course there was a teensy downside to vacationing with Little Man.  His insomnia is much more obvious when you share a bedroom with him.  Over four days we got maybe 12 hours of sleep total, and it was awful.  Little Man was up all night singing, rocking, talking, and generally being a huge pain in the butt.   Part of it was probably the new place/bed situation, but still - we're not going to be sharing a room with him again anytime soon!

After we got home from Wisconsin we had just two days til Christmas with our families!   Our house was clean, thanks in large part to my amazing brother-in-law who steam cleaned the entire house while we were away, but our shopping and wrapping wasn't close to being done! So we scrambled a bit and were finally done about ten minutes before my mother and sister walked in the door on Christmas Eve!

Christmas Eve was a delicious night of Southern food, card games, and one of my family's favorite pastimes - a beer tasting.  We know how to party out here.

All questionable beers probably picked by Mom - who is not a professional beer drinker.

This of course caused a late start on Christmas morning.  But presents were opened, all of us felt loved and spoiled, and we managed to get over to the in-laws by 1:30.  My mother-in-law had an amazing spread of appetizers and we stuffed ourselves on deviled eggs and clam dip (ahhhh I want more now!) and opened even MORE presents before we left for my godparent's house and our last stop that night.

Somehow more food was eaten and more Christmas was had - and everyone was very happy.  Oh - and not a single picture was taken on Christmas.  Embarrassing.   I made Hubs take Little Man's picture in front of the tree the next day, but seriously I think they're going to revoke my Mom-Card for this one.

Merry December 26th.  Not even in cute clothes.
That pretty much catches you up on life for now.  Hubs is off work til January 7th, so we're spending time together watching movies and being lazy while Little Man spends a week with his dad for the holidays.  I'll probably be back later this week with another big post.  Happy New Year!!  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

RIP Sweet Keurig

Mini Keurig 
Christmas '10 - Christmas '12
May She Rest In Peace

At first I thought my Keurig was protesting my attempts at making my life less dependent on caffeine.  "Decaf coffee?!  Are you shitting me?  I will spray grounds all over this counter if you try that crap."

Yes, I assume my Keurig has a potty mouth.  She is a bitter bitter woman.

After four fruitless attempts at convincing Miss K to brew me some decaf, I stuck in a decidedly more delicious smelling pod of regular, and she spit back out a nice cup of coffee.  Whew.  Crisis averted.

I cleaned her up and she seemed to appreciate the effort.  It was just like old times.  She made me a few more pods of regular coffee.  She spit out another attempt at a decaf (hey, it was a different brand, I wanted to test the theory!!!), and I cleaned her again.

Apparently it was the straw that broke the camel's back.  She is now only brewing half-cups of regular, and no cups of decaf.  I haven't even TRIED to make cocoa.  I know that would set her off.


I can't blame her.  We have abused her for many years now.  On the weekends we sometimes brew 4 or 5 cups in a day.  (Yes, its ridiculous, yes, we should brew a whole pot, sometimes we can't think clearly at 8 am)

So today I am enjoying a very strong half-cup of regular coffee.  Probably a good thing, because Little Man is sick again and has serious coughing and sinus problems that have had me up since 6:45 AM.   I'm trying desperately to stay healthy, but it probably means I'll be sick again too.  All three of us have our flu shots now though so hopefully we're going to dodge that bullet.  -_-

I better go enjoy my coffee.  A half-cup stays warmer significantly less time than a full cup. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

The One With Anxiety

Not mine, Little Man's.  Although his anxiety is causing me a ton of anxiety, which in turn is making Hubs kind of bonkers.  But it begins with Little Man, unfortunately.

We had another visit with his behavioral psychologist last Friday, and mentioned some of Little Man's newest quirks;
* TV shows that he loves one minute are incredibly upsetting the next, to the point of him collapsing on the floor in hysterical tears.  This can come even after we've watched the same show on  loop for 3 hours - suddenly whatever is happening is no longer good.

* Hugging himself and pinching his arms when he is upset about something.  To the point where he can bruise himself.

* Crying so hard in the middle of the night that he can't calm down, for seemingly no reason.  He'll cry so long he loses his voice.

*Periods of time where he is laughing hysterically at something and then seconds later is melting down in a puddle of tears.

We'd been chalking up all the behaviors to Little Man being four years old.  Ya know, he's had too much sugar and is a wild child today, or he's been up for too long and he's so tired...  He hates that episode of his show.  He doesn't like that sound, or food, or ambient lighting.

But his psychologist is concerned that a lot of these behaviors are actually labile mood swings, which he assured us are very common in children with brain injuries.  And also that Little Man might have some anxiety issues that might be resolved with medication.


I know it isn't a bad thing to need medicine to manage psychological issues.  I know that if we put him on medicine and it doesn't work, we can take him off it again.  I know that if it is actually an anxiety problem holding him back from further development, then I will kiss this doctor and thank my lucky stars that we found a way to help Little Man.

But I hate the idea of medicating him.  It brings me back to Little Man as a newborn, completely sedated with phenobarbital every day.  It makes me think of how hard I had to work to find Keppra and beg doctors to release him to our care despite the fact that liquid Keppra is apparently equal in cost to liquid gold, and there was no way we could pay for it on our own.  When I hear the word "medicate" all these memories swirl around my mind and overwhelm me again.  I feel hopeless and like I'm not doing enough for Little Man.

I don't like that I feel this way, but I do.

And so Little Man is going to head back to Kennedy Krieger to get evaluated by some of their specialists, and they will determine what plan of action and what medication would be best for him.  More doctors, more driving, more therapies.  It is a never ending cycle.  I am feeling a little blue about it today, but hopefully my anxiety about Little Man's anxiety issues will be resolved soon.

*Bigger Sigh*

In better news, Hubs is doing well, I am doing well, and we're enjoying life as it is settling back into our "normal" routine.  I have one more weekend of playing clarinet in a pit orchestra with our local theatre group, and then we are heading to visit family in Wisconsin for a couple of days.  Christmas will be here before we know it, and Little Man's bedroom is slowly coming along!   Just keep swimming...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The One With Stinky Laundry

I love Pinterest.  It no longer enthralls me for hours like when I first got it, and spent too many hours pinning everything on the Internet to my boards.  But I use it for everything from finding dinner recipes to alleviating that o'clock midday slump with some humorous pictures.

That being said... A couple weeks ago Little Man's pajamas started smelling really bad.  Little Man is still in diapers (so.over.diapers.) and now we get the free diapers from MediRent.  Since they are 100% free, I can't bitch about them too much.  But they definitely don't contain the scent and/or mess as well as the pricier Pampers Cruisers.  Which I swear by, I don't care what is on sale.  Anyways the new off-brand diapers are cheaper and flimsier, and when you take them off it smells pretty horrible and not at all baby-powder fresh.

So it was no surprise that his daily pajama outfits started getting a funky odor.   We made a few extra sets of jammies and called it a success, except now the jammies were still smelling like funk even after a cycle through the wash machine.  Or two or three cycles.  And I was about to resign myself to going to Costco and spending $40 on a couple new pairs of jammies that I was going to have to tear the feet off of the minute we got home.

But then Pinterest saved my life, in that I saw this post about cleaning musty smelling towels with baking soda and vinegar, because vinegar is an anti-bacterial or something... Whatever, it was worth a shot.  When I tried it on the towels it was like I had just purchased a set of brand new fluffy bath towels that smelled normal again. (Don't judge me, your towels smell funky too right?)  

So then I tried it on the worst of the worst jammies, and voila!   The horrible ammonia smell and little boy funk was gone, and the outfits now have at least another month or two of wear in them!  It is a time consuming and wasteful process, yes.  Doing 3 rinse cycles probably doesn't help the environment.  But since we have a set water bill as long as I don't do anything crazy like fill up the neighbor's pool... hey, it works out for us.  I guess if I was feeling ecologically conscious I could rinse them the first two times in the sink.  But I usually do a massive load of the jammies with the worst of my towels too (you know, the ones you use to wipe the dog paws after a rainstorm or the ones that got left in the wash machine wet for too long)... and so I just use the machine.

 If you too are finding yourself with stinky clothes or musty towels - try this rinse.  I swear you'll be shocked.

-1st time through the wash = 1 cup of white vinegar
-2nd time through the wash = baking soda.  I think I use about 1/2 cup for a medium sized load, but I just pour a bunch in the "powdered detergent" space of my front loader
-3rd time through the wash = detergent/softener as usual

Happy Washing!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The One With Presents And Heartache

I'm taking a break from updating about the wedding to talk about something that always weighs heavily on my mind this time of year.  Jim from "Just A Lil Blog" touched on it today and now I can't stop thinking about it.

Christmas presents are hard.  Any present for Little Man is really hard.   Every year it gets harder and harder to buy him things that he will show any interest in...  Or that is appropriate for him to play with at his developmental age.

We have piles and piles of toys laying around the house for him to play with.  There is a toy organizer that has books, blocks, light up toys, pop up toys, ride on toys... every toy you can imagine, we probably have one.

Unfortunately, Little Man gives no &*@#! about toys.  We'll wake him up in the mornings and lead him over to the boxes of shiny new toys and he walks away to bounce repeatedly on the furniture and hum to himself.  If I (gently) force him to play with a toy, I can sometimes get 20-25 minutes of (constantly interrupted) guided play before he loses his schmidt.  But there is nothing that holds his interest, or that he seeks out on his own.

Every year just before his birthday or Christmas come the phone calls.  "What would Little Man just love for Christmas this year?!!"

In past years, I tried being creative.  "He loves Thomas!  Get him Thomas toys!"  But then we end up with train sets geared for 2 years+ that sit untouched in his closet with their teeny tiny plastic parts.  

Then I got a little smarter, or so I thought.  "Toys for 18 months or younger, he chews everything."   Most of those toys are sitting in our toy pile, occasionally chewed on or played with Mommy/Little Man/therapist style.

His birthday in July was the first time I finally accepted what I'd known all along.
"Little Man does not need toys or books or anything kid related.  Clothes or gift cards would be great."

Of course, he ended up getting some toys from well-meaning friends and family.  And I tucked them away in his closet, hoping that one day I will get the chance to pull them out and watch his face light up with joy.  I want so badly for him to be able to play with anything, enjoy something other than endless repeats of Thomas DVDs.  But Little Man is who he is, and he likes bouncing around watching trains on television, and toys would just be a distraction from his daily jumping routine.

So for Christmas this year, Hubs and I aren't buying Little Man any more toys that will remain untouched, or books that he will rip to shreds, or stuffed animals that will get their faces chewed off.  We are redoing his bedroom with bright blue paint.  We are putting up wall decals of his favorite trains.  We are getting him a brand new Thomas rug and Thomas sheets, and a "big boy" bed to put them on.  We are getting him a Dutch door for his bedroom to make him safer at night.  (And by "we" the grandparents and great-grandparents are helping too, that's a lot of big ticket gifts for a four year old!)

He won't open these gifts on Christmas morning, and he won't hug us and tell us what great parents we are for getting him exactly what he wanted while he plays with the toys for hours.  But I think that when he sees that giant Thomas the Train looking at him on his pillow, or his wall... he will walk over to it and just stare for a minute or two.  And he might even give him a kiss.  And then I will know that we got him something really wonderful for Christmas this year, even as it hurts my heart a little to watch him walk away as we unwrap our gifts without him.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Our Vegas Wedding - Part 3

Serious slacking being done over here.  But hey, my vacuum is cleaned out and washed thanks to Pinterest, so I've clearly been doing something...

Our wedding morning dawned bright and early.  Which was rough, because I am SO NOT a morning person.  I kissed Hubs goodbye and raced down to Christophe's Salon to get a full morning of hair and makeup done.

On the bright side, I was the only person there at 9 am besides my stylist Eric, so it was nice and relaxing.  After I settled in with my cup of tea, he asked me for a picture of how I wanted my hair done.

Um.  Oops?  Was I supposed to research that ahead of time?  

So I told him I wanted a fifties hairstyle, with the curls.  My exact words.  And he was magical and French, and it took him no time at all to make my hair look beautiful.  Whew.

Then came makeup, and a woman whose name I can't remember right now asked me what I wanted done.  So I told her to match the hair and whatever she did I'd be happy with.  And I was - so it worked out.

The minute my makeup was done I had to rush to the chapel for the 11 o'clock wedding.  I got into the bridal changing room and couldn't stop shaking.  I was ridiculously nervous.  My sister finally came in to get me into the dress, and I tried to hold it together.  At one point the minister tried to drop by and got a full view of my fancy bride underwear as we were tying my corset.   After that people started knocking.  Hahaha!

Fifteen minutes after I arrived, the ceremony was ready to begin.  As the wedding planner brought me into the hall, I ran into my mom and my mother-in-law, who were waiting to walk down the aisle to light the tapers for our unity candle.  This almost made me cry, but I held it together and a got a quick hug from each of them before they began the ceremony.

After the moms walked down the aisle it was my turn to make my big entrance   I had decided to walk down the aisle alone, because my brother would have been the one to give me away.  In honor of him, I walked down the aisle to "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" by Israel Iz Kamakawiwo╩╗Ole, which was one of his favorite songs.  It was really nerve-wracking to walk in all alone, and I have several pictures of me making awkward faces while I enter because I was terrified.  But then Hubs met me halfway down the aisle and helped calm me down a bit.  

I was still shaking so badly that Hubs held my hands the entire ceremony, and it didn't take too long before I was holding back tears as we said our vows.  I'm a huge sap that way though.  We lit our unity candles to the Beatles song "In My Life" - which was a nod to spending the night before seeing the Love show with our friends and family, as well as the lyrics which we felt had amazing meaning to us both.  Seeing Hubs smile at me when he heard the song start was a moment I won't ever forget.

The ceremony was brief but meaningful, and if I hadn't been so emotional I probably would have winked at my sorority sisters as the minister recited First Corinthians - a nice surprise!   After the rings and the kiss, Hubs and I walked down the aisle as Husband and Wife to the theme song from "Friends".  Totally "us", absolutely perfect.

Before we could say hi to anyone we were whisked away to our photography session, which was part of our Hollywood Glam package through the chapel.  30 minutes later, we were finished and ready to meet our family and friends who were waiting outside... 

It's official!  Hubs and Wife!

We took dozens of pictures with friends and family, and enjoyed post-ceremony cocktails.  All the nerves were absolutely gone as I got to talk to the girls about what they thought of the look and ceremony, and the boys bonded over 32 oz margaritas.  

Our reception was at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant in the MGM, and it was absolutely amazing.  They had a private area in the back of the restaurant set up for us, and we had picked a menu we thought everyone might like - Caesar salad, salmon or chicken, passion fruit cheesecake, and of course - the cake!  The servers were adorable, and when they heard that I only like sweet wine, kept on bringing me Riesling instead of the Chardonnay everyone else was drinking!  The two hours flew by, and we took full advantage of the open bar and delicious food.  I got to spend a little time with everyone who'd come to the wedding, and I felt like a princess the entire day.   I was so excited to give out our wedding favors too!!!  They were playing cards with our names and wedding date printed on each card - they turned out so cute and I was thrilled everyone seemed to like them.

After we cut the cake and got wine to-go, Hubs and I went back to our room to relax and take naps.   We got a great surprise before that though- one of my friends had come up and put a "Mr and Mrs" banner on our door, and there was champagne and strawberries waiting for us in the room.  

We ended our wedding day with karaoke night - apparently a local favorite, as we were some of the only tourists there.  Most of our friends met us out at the random out-of-the-way casino and we waited forever with ridiculous rules to get our chance to sing karaoke, but the company couldn't be beat!  By one am, we were all exhausted again and ready to call it a night.  We stumbled back to the hotel and collapsed - and we still had a full day in Vegas left!!!

One of my favorite pictures from our photo shoot.