Saturday, August 31, 2013

Today I gave Alyssa a breathing treatment to keep the bronchial cough under control. Where inhalant steroids don't affect Samantha's behavior, Alyssa turns into an angry toddler. I expect it, but it's still a bit unnerving and sometimes amusing. 

My mom and I took Alyssa to lunch. She was a bit argumentative at first, but soon after she had a hard time concentrating. She was hopping around in her seat, playing with her food in weird ways, and using odd objects as a bell. This is not my kid--she's pretty well behaved but has her moments as any five year old does; this was all steroids. 

My mom and I could not stop laughing. I sat her in my lap and bounced her like a baby to keep her occupied. I couldn't talk to her and expect her to follow along with any instructions. It got to the point where I just cleared everything off the table within her reach rather than tell her "no."

It's sad when the laughing stops and you think about the stuff that you have to give to your child. Both of my kids have had their share. I keep cases of three different breathing meds of inhalers and medicine for one of two nebulizers on hand at all times. We even use a makeup case to carry all the different meds with us. We also have two different forms of prednisone on hand at all times. At some points in their life theses meds have made all the difference.

I am hoping that we can remedy this situation in the future whether it be with surgery or a different approach. Not that I wish my kids would have surgery, but if taking out their adenoids or stomach surgery to tighten an esophagus removes all the steroids and antibiotics from the equation, then it'll be worth it. Their quality of life will improve. And I'll no longer be the mom that restricts my kids activities because of germs and fears of another infection/illness.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The first week of school came and went and by that Friday Samantha had brought home the first virus. By Monday Alyssa had it and it hit her like a truck: sinus and ear infection and bronchitis by Wednesday morning. And mommy then started sneezing . . .

I've trained my kids that the Netti pot can be their friend. They've got over the initial shock of putting water in their nose and both have learned how much they can cut down a cold. And I make them do it twice a day. Samantha even begs for a drop of iodine, which acts as an antibacterial. Anything to keep them off antibiotics and get all that goop out of their heads.

Last night, however, after the Netti pot, Samantha's ear clogged up. After a few hours of sleep she woke up crying because the pressure increased in her ear. (The kid has no pain tolerance and errs on the dramatic side.) It was two hours of crying and trying to reason with her. She wanted us to take her to the ER. I gave her ibuprofen and then Tylenol half an hour later for the pain. We tried to get her to stop crying because she was creating so much more mucus. Ugh! It was two hours of torture.

I played the "tough love" part--I told her to go to sleep and stop crying because she was making it worse. I was totally unapologetic about her crying. I have a high pain tolerance and the drama was too much.

After two hours she finally crashed. And this morning when her alarm went off she was fine, tired, but no ear pain.

Playing the "tough love" part can be difficult. I didn't want to discredit her pain, but I also wanted her understand that she was making it worse. If she would try to calm herself she'd find that it would resolve, and it did. Whether or not she realized that maybe "mom, was right" I'll never know.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Can you tell school started? The lack of posts says it all.

The girls started school last week. They had three minimum days and then Samantha went to full time. Alyssa won't go the full day until September. She's ready.
Samantha's teacher was in school for two days to meet the kids, but is on maternity leave now. The kids are happy with their substitute teacher.

Alyssa loves her teacher and her classmates. She's reconnected with a friend from preschool 3s who is now in her kindergarten class. They love to hold hands. (I love the innocence at this age.)

We're trying to get our lives straightened out. And schedules are going to change again in September when Al starts coaching football and the girls resume ballet again.

On the bright side we've been successful at getting out of the house at 7:30 every morning. With new security procedures surrounding drop off and pick up, we have ample time to walk to class before the first bell rings. And Samantha gets 5-10 minutes on the playground.

Friday, August 23, 2013

We saw Samantha's ENT this week to see how a month on Nasonex helped her adenoids. It stopped the occasional snoring, but she still sleeps with her mouth wide open. Actually, it's a battle to get her to close her mouth when she eats and its probably because she can't breathe.

So the doctor suggested we consider removing the adenoids. Perfect timing. Next week she's scheduled for an endoscopy so we schedule the adenoidectomy at the same time--once under anesthesia.

I'm not looking forward to it, but I'm hoping it helps and she can get off some of her medications. A child should not have so much crap pumped into her body.

She's scared, of course, but should do fine. We have a great group of doctors who will take good care of her.

I think after this is done I'll take Alyssa into the ENT. I bet she's actually worse off than Samantha is with the lingering sinus infections. This year alone, Alyssa has been on antibiotics for about 4 months total and one of those was a 3-month stint. And she's in the middle of another infection. The poor kid is miserable.

I'm nervous, but prepared. When the endocrinologist suggested that we do this in August I nearly had a panic attack. I wasn't mentally prepared. Maybe that sounds silly, but I needed to wrap my mind around the whole thing. I needed to process the pros and cons. I need to be the one who can hold it together when she gets out of surgery and cries. I need to handle this on my own and not run for my own mom. In fact, I need my mom to hold the rest of my family up while I handle with this.

And when the day is done and Samantha is tucked into her bed, I'll break down. And that will be okay so long as I can hold it together and be her rock.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

As we get ready to go back to school for another year one of those inevitable parenting realities has begun to hit me--my oldest will be 18 in ten years and possibly off to college, away from home.

The last 8 years have gone by so fast that I'm sure I'll look back on 18 and wonder how it happened. But in the meantime, I've begun to feel sad about it.

I want my children to grow up, don't get me wrong, but there is part of me that wonders if I'm still missing out on what is in front of me. Am I too busy? Do I pay attention? Should I care less about the other things in life like laundry, home repairs, etc., and more on coloring and barbies?

I suppose some of this is natural, but much of it is coming by the way of self-inflicted guilt. As my kids grow and change, I feel like spending time with them is more important than ever before. When they're toddlers they're happy generally anywhere, doing anything--at least my kids were. And they loved their daycare provider and felt just as happy there as they were at home. But the reality is I am missing them and missing out.

It's not a matter of job before family because I have a normal work schedule, but it's a matter of focusing on them when I'm off the clock. It's about making time for them whether it be dancing in the living room or playing dress-up for hours. It's about making dinners a little less complicated to spend that extra hour playing tag. It's about sitting down and listening to them; really listening and not letting my mind slip into thinking about the dirt on my kitchen floor.

This year, I'm going to try and refocus on my children so that I don't feel I'm missing out. I'll stay and watch them at ballet practice. I'll read to them every night or have them read to me. I'll play tag and we'll eat macaroni and cheese and hot dogs for dinner. But it will be okay, because they'll be happy and so will I.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Yesterday my brother and my sister-in-law took Samantha to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Kevin has been waiting for a day like this since they day she was born.

Samantha was just tall enough to ride most of the rides and was up for everything: upside-down rides included. (Yuck!) It was a perfectly sunny day--not too hot and not cold.

Kevin and Tara sent me pictures throughout the afternoon showing how much fun they were having.

The Log Ride
I told them both that they were in the midst of "the best day ever." And sure enough Samantha leaned over to Kevin at one point and told him "Best Day Ever, Uncle Nono."

They spent several hours on nearly every ride and then some. A couple of Boardwalk meals later they decide to go eat dinner at the wharf before the ride home.

Tired girl
Samantha wasn't up for much conversation at that point and soon after they were finished and in the car they found her sound asleep.

When they finally got home Kevin confessed, "I don't know how you do it. One kid is exhausting enough, but two?!"

I'm glad he appreciates me as a mom and not just as a sister. And it was nice to see him get a full dose of "kid" for the day. He and Tara were worn out, but had a lot of fun.

Best Day Ever!  Thanks for Kevin and Tara giving Samantha memories to cherish for a lifetime!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

My girls will tell you that despite just one week of family vacation and mostly home time they've had a lot of fun this summer. Their cousin, who is 21, babysat for me all summer. She carted the kids to ballet, swim lessons, and the park. It's been special for them. And I've enjoyed watching how much fun they have together.

Sammi may not see it, but she's had a huge influence on my girls--in a good way. This morning Samantha begged me to buy her a shirt she saw while on vacation. She even went so far as to sketch it. And while we were out shopping today, she begged for a fedora like the one Sammi wears.
This is the first time Samantha has actually pined for clothing or thought about it for more than a week.

And when Whitney Houston came on the radio, she knew every word. That was not my doing, it was Sammi's.

This is their last week together--my girls go off to school and Sammi starts her third year of college.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Las Vegas -- Part 3

Last year I found a Natural History museum off the beaten path. The kids liked the hands-on exhibits and we enjoyed learning about Egyptian mummification. We thought we'd head back there this trip and start from the opposite end, but we never made it. Instead we found the Springs Preserve thanks to some clever billboard advertising along the interstate.

This place was incredible. There were at least three museums on-site that we were able to see: the Origen Museum, the Nevada State Museum, and the NV Energy Sustainability Gallery. The Origen was about the origin of Las Vegas. There were some hands-on exhibits for the kids like a Pueblonian stone grind to make flour and a mock-flash flood where they stood on a platform and got their feet wet.

The Nevada State Museum was definitely hands-off, but very interesting nonetheless. The kids got to stand next to a mammoth skeleton, stand under stalactites, watch holographic miners talk about life in the mines, and listen to atomic bomb testing. This wasn't necessarily their favorite museum, but they appreciated it and they were very well behaved.

The Energy Sustainability Gallery was incredible. There was so much to see and do and so much to learn about green living. The gallery specifically related to Nevada, but it was enlightening nonetheless. I really enjoyed learning about how much gas and energy is used to produce glass versus plastic and how much energy is used to recycle them. The girls enjoyed playing in the life-size kitchen replica and with all the energy arcade games. I'm hoping they learned by osmosis, although much of it was over their heads. It was really a hands-on museum for adults.

We spent 6 hours exploring the Preserve in total. We did eat at their Springs Cafe, which is run by the Nevada Culinary Institute. The food was delicious.

Next time we head back to Las Vegas I would love to see the remainder of the Preserve: the Desert Gallery and the Gardens. It's well worth the visit and so beautiful.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Las Vegas -- Part 2

I wanted to make sure the kids got to see some amazing sights on the strip, nudity and drunks not included, so I researched the different casinos to see what they might like. It was too hot for anything outdoors during the day so I decided on the Bellagio Gardens and Fountains. The kids enjoyed the giant snails and birds, while we adults enjoyed the displays and the variation of flora.

There were two giant snails which were each covered in 1500 cut flowers. There was a lot to look at and enjoy despite the small area. The gardens change every season and I'm sure it's beautiful.

Afterward we endured the 104 degrees to watch the fountain dance in the moonlight for just a few songs. Then Alyssa started to melt so it was back to the resort for some ice cream.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Las Vegas -- Part 1

We took our second Girls Only vacation to Las Vegas--four generations: my girls, me, my mom, and my grandma. It was a great, low-key week. 

This time my mom and I decided to break up our driving by stopping overnight in Bakersfield. We figured the kids could play in the pool and then crash. It was a 3.5 hour drive to Bakersfield and then another 4-4.5 hours to Las Vegas. It was such a terrific idea and really did take away a lot of the stress of driving 10 hours with two little kids. We made it Las Vegas around check-in at 4:45.

We borrowed a family friend's time share at the WorldMark Tropicana. It slept 6 and had a really nice open floor plan. The kids really liked the breakfast bar. 
Me and my girls dressed up for our night out.
When we stay at a resort/time share we come prepared. We had each meal, including breakfast, planned and prepared. We brought two ice chests (big and small) and came home with them nearly empty. It saves on expenses and ensures that the kids eat well. We did eat out for lunch in Las Vegas once, but we saved our big bucks for Michael Jackson ONE.

This is the second Cirque show my girls have seen (they're 5 and 8) and absolutely loved it! There is so much to see during a show and it keeps them interested the entire show. This time we got there extra early and they got special treatment--6-inch booster seat and ear plugs. There are no bad seats in the house. 

The girls loved the music and the dancing so much they've been playing "Michael Jackson" since we got home. They dressed up like the Cirque dancers and then danced to MJ Wii. And my grandma loved the show too. There was definitely something for everyone and every age.

There is so much to do in Las Vega that doesn't involve gambling and partying. It can be a very fun place with kids.