Friday, January 29, 2010

It's been a long week with Alyssa and Samantha home. We sat down to figure our single income finances and found that we can still send Alyssa full time and Samantha two days a week to day care. I naively thought it would be okay to have them home. "I'll just shut the door while I work," I said. Sure, right.

There is nothing more irritating then being in the middle of a phone call with a customer and two kids outside rattling the door handle and throwing tantrums until you come out. Well, only one is throwing the tantrum and she's beginning the terrible twos.

Needless to say, Tanya was very happy. Her husband has been unemployed for over a year. So when we heard about Al's job I was as devastated for her as I was for us. We were a very stable income--the most stable income. Since we've tapered in the last month Tanya has been able to secure another full time duo--twin boys. They're Alyssa's age and she likes playing with them.

Samantha got to go back to school on Tuesday and is super happy. Yesterday the county library did a presentation about the library and the bookmobile. They were supposed to pass our cards to each child, and, we'll they forgot them. There were some very disappointed preschoolers. We were able to go check books out at the library yesterday after we had a mommy-daughter lunch date at McDonalds. I was a nice treat and a nice break from my chaotic work day. I have a feeling we'll be taking a trip to the library once a week from here on out.

Al is still looking for jobs, still searching, but no bites. It's tough out there.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Took both girls to the doctor today. Samantha has been given the green light to go back to school. We'll work on cough maintanence, but she's ready--more importantly, we're ready.

Alyssa finally cut her molar Saturday. She's still miserable, but we've figured it out. She's got an ear infection with a pus filled ear. The doctor prescribed Tylenol with Coedine to help with the pain. I figured it out yesterday when she wouldn't sleep and then she yelled when she talked. I'm grateful for this prescription because the Motrin seems ineffective at the moment. Hopefully she'll begin to feel better tomorrow. Unhappy babies are clingly babies.

It's gray again here . . . another day of showers. The kids love those sun breaks and take off outside to play. It's too muddy to walk on the grass so we don't get to swing or slide right now. I've been blowing lots of bubbles and making chalk stars.

I've been on a soup kick. We have at least one pot a week and it lasts us three or more days. It's easy, cheap, and comforting on these tough, cold, gray days. I think I need to look for a new recipe--I'm exhausting my standards.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A better day

The cough medicine seems to help. Samantha's coughing a lot less except when laughing, but that is a good thing. Al rented Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs for her. She was laughing hysterically throughout the whole movie. I haven't seen it, but if it makes her laugh that much it must be cute and pretty silly.

Alyssa is still having a rough time, but we're hoping it gets better. I can feel the ridges of the bottom molar so hopefully we're nearly there. She's getting very frustrated with everyone and everything, and waking three to five times a night screaming out in pain. Numbing the area gets her back to sleep.

Funny thing happened yesterday . . . Al went to Apria Healthcare to get us a Traveling Nebulizer and a Blood Pressure Monitor (for him). He was asking about the medical supplies and the guy offered him a job. The Manager was quite serious. It was a funny thing. Al will apply for the job and see if he likes it.

We've accepted that in this economy we're not going to be finding pay comparable to what we were making before. But we've decided the more valuable interests are 401k, Healthcare Benefits, vacation, and a reputable company. Someday we may be back where we started this year, but the economy will have to rebound first.

Update on Al's Sleep Study: He does have a bit of sleep apnea but only when lying on his back. It's not enough to be concerned about and I'm his sleep apnea monitor--I'm cheap. The doctor suggested sewing a pocket in the back of a shirt to place a tennis ball. We'll try that.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Still in the Dark

Once again we're at a loss. Samantha's home indefinitely, coughing constantly, and her play is really restricted. If she gets overly excited or starts jumping around she coughs hard--think of a smoker's cough. The breathing treatments help minimally, so the brain isn't registering that part. We're going to have to start her on some heavy-duty cough medicine with codeine. Personally, I have a bad relationship with codeine. I'm not sure how she'll handle it, but hopefully better than I do. The doctor just needs to get her to stop coughing or the situation will get worse.

He suspects that the cough is worsening from the reflux. But we still haven't been able to find the reflux culprit. We are waiting for her to get better so that she can have blood tests completed which tests for food allergies. The doctor stopped short of asking for an elimination diet, but we need to start somewhere. I've been suspect of the breakfast cereal she likes, which contains a lot of corn. She's had an intolerance to corn since she was little, but never diagnosed with an allergy. Corn, however, is in everything. It may come down to me making our cereal if that is the case. But we also have to restrict milk and soy, which doesn't leave much else. She likes Chocolate Almond milk, but not the regular kind.

If the cough doesn't cease she'll have either an overnight stay at the hospital with a scope down her throat or another barium swallow with a video to watch her cough/reflux so we can see how much is ending up in the lungs. The doctor also said that we have to eliminate oils from her diet while she's coughing--a small amount aspirated could cause inflammation in the lungs for a month or longer.

To say this is depressing is redundant. We're confined to home, that means mommy too, and Alyssa is very upset, feeling very left out.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

So you'd think I'd figure this asthma thing out, but I haven't. Al worked in Samantha's class this morning, but he called after two hours because she couldn't breathe. I had to go get her--Al couldn't leave or they'd have to call all the parents to pick up the kids first. She was coughing every time she inhaled, which means the oxygen level diminishes over time. So I drove home and hooked her up the nebulizer. But then I get confused. We have five different breathing treatments at home and we typically give three when this happens, but I can't remember what we give when. To top it off, she has a terrible burn in her chest (acid reflux) when she coughs. Sometimes it burns so much she cries, which makes everything worse.

So I'm on the phone with the doctor again, trying to get this all sorted out. What to give when and how much, etc.

We were just a the doctor's office yesterday for a well check regarding her November breathing problems. Oh they joy of winter.

Actually, we're kind of enjoying this winter storm. We've probably had two to three inches of rain since Sunday. It poured for several straight hours this morning. I was pretty wet trying to get Alyssa to daycare. Wednesday's storm looks to be the worst thus far. The NWS has increased their wind estimate to 50-70 MPH. Fun, fun as long as no one is killed or hurt.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Waiting for the Rain

It's been a good Saturday. Samantha and I took a little trip to Gilroy to look for a special toilet seat that has a kid seat and you can flip it up for an adult seat. We couldn't find one that fit, of course. But then I remember that there is this nifty potty training concepts web site that sells these kinds of things. Our trip wasn't for naught--Samantha did get her two swords. Yes, swords. They are foam and were at the dollar spot at Target. She and Daddy love to play Peter Pan and Captain Hook, so I thought she could learn the right way to use a sword.

We're waiting for four massive storms to head our way. The National Weather Service expects the low-lying inland areas to get between 4-8 inches. It should be fun. We're stocked up on food, water, and batteries. So we'll be okay should we lose power. The kids have never seen rain like this. We'll see whether or not they go stir crazy. Hopefully we can keep it interesting. If all else fails, we have FOUR rented kids movies for this weekend.

Al has been busy meeting with a job consulting service in San Jose and trying to get a hold of unemployment. They finally sent a notice today, but his income wasn't right by nearly $10k. Don't know what we're going to do there. . . . I bet it will take another two weeks to get that straightened out.

Other than that all is well. Kids are busy and happy. Alyssa is adding new sentences or words each day. Her new favorite is "cookie."

I've also started another blog. You'll see it to the right in my blog list. It is called "One Mouth at a Time." I'm blogging about food, which I love to eat and create. I've been creating my own recipes for a while now, so I decided to write about it. Hopefully there is some interest. I'll include my home-tested recipes from time to time. Please let me know if you've tried them and if they were successful.

Monday, January 11, 2010

It's Monday. The beginning of week 2 of Al's unemployment. He applied for at least one job last week, but there hasn't been much else. It's a little disheartening when you learn that two friends who work in the same industry are having to look out of state for employment. A very good friend of mine is moving his family to Chicago to go work for a competitor. Unfortunately, a move across country isn't feasible or realistic for us. I guess if we were desperate enough we'd have to do it, but we'd be pretty miserable considering most of our family is within a two hour radius.

Al is working at preschool this morning. A task that typically belongs to me, but one in which I am glad to offer. I think it's a good dose of the sacrifices I make each day. While spending 3.5 hours helping at preschool seems like a simple enough task, I think that it's easily forgotten that I must work an extra 3.5 hour a week to compensate. I'm anxious to see how it went. I know Samantha was very excited and probably didn't stop introducing her daddy to everyone.

Our heater seems to have died yesterday. It is colder inside the house than outside. I made a desperate plea to the HVAC folks asking that they come today. I'm hoping it's a fix that can get us through for now. We're trying to save our pennies and we don't really want to throw $3k at a new heater. Once Al has a job it will be priority #1. It's 18 years old and every time it goes on it sounds like a truck hits the house. The sad part is I knew it was coming. I've been secretly whispering to it every morning, "Please, just make it through winter. Pretty please." I didn't tell Al about it because I was afraid to vocalize it fearing that I would kill it. Turns out I didn't have to say it. It was ready to go.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Please help support Al, who is running with Team in Training, and my mother, Katie, who has Multiple Myeloma, by donating to the Lukemia & Lymphoma Society. Please click on the link below to read more . . .

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year

I finally figured it out--Alyssa is getting in her final set of molars. Hence the atrocious behavior, the constant and unending need for Mommy, lack of appetite, and the odd fever. Of course it's a totally different set of rules than it was with Samantha.

I think someone should interview hundreds or thousands of mothers and then sit down to write a rule book. Example: if your child has a fever and isn't eating then you check page 59 and if your child only has a fever you check page 79. This rule book should be given to every mother who gives birth on the day of delivery. We may need a forklift to take it home, but at least we'd have it as a resource.

Today is Al's first day home as stay-at-home daddy. He seems to be doing pretty well thus far. We'll see how he makes it through the week. I've asked him to go get his TB test tomorrow so he can work in Samantha's classroom next week. I'm going to be rather insistent--I can't do it all, contrary to popular belief.

He's even made umm, a mermaid bra out of cardboard. I wasn't sure what to say when Samantha asked to wear my bra around the house. I told her that she could wear my bikini, but she insisted that mermaids don't wear bathing suits, rather bras. What can I say? At least she's creative.