Sunburn, Garlic, and Pesto

Right now in central Florida there is a huge strawberry festival going on. If you love strawberries, this is the place to go, in Plant City, where you can eat all kinds of horrible food. I love strawberries, but sadly (or perhaps happily, for my stomach) Mr. Hottie and I decided to skip the strawberry festival in favor of the Renaissance Festival.

Actually, we were going to go to MegaCon but the prospect of seeing boobs my kids boobs outdoors in a boobs fun boobs atmosphere outweighed boobs seeing Ray boobs Park again, who is really the only boobs one we wanted boobs to see anyway boobs. Oh, and the Ren Faire has corsets which equal boobs on a shelf. Need I say more.

We forgot sunscreen.

Thankfully, the anklebiter was wearing a hat and was in shade most of the time and thus only got a light pink across his nose and cheeks, and the spot on his forehead where his hair wasn’t. Mr. Hottie got a good dose on the back of his neck but not too bad for the most part. I got the reverse-raccoon/lobster effect. I think I’ll be staying inside the next few days. I’d post a picture but I’m feeling extra lazy right now.

While we were there, aside from paying an arm for a green beer for Mr. Hottie, and a leg for a small cup of mead for me, I spent a bunch of money on a sticker and plastic bead necklace. I threw a knife at a fence and hit the target. Go me! I also rode my first horse in about 14 years, under the premise of letting Little Man have his first warhorse ride. It made me really, really miss horseback riding, and of course the boy loved it.

We also bought overpriced pulled pork sandwiches and baby back ribs which were really too fatty, but the sauce was delicious. I also got to traumatize my daughter some more by putting her on the spot with the Fiddle Fairy. I swear I’m going to have to put that girl through therapy. She really, really needs some confidence boosters. We were only there about 4 hours but it was a good trip. Unfortunately, thanks to the wonderful world of I-4, it took us about an hour to get there, and FIVE HOURS to get home. Seriously? What the hell, Orlando? WHY DO YOUR ROADS SUCK SO BAD. We left the Ren Faire at 2:30 and pulled in just after 7:30. It took me five hours to drive about 80 miles.

I made several heads of roasted garlic the other day, and somehow managed to eat three of them before I realized what I was doing. Hey, the bread was -right there-. Anyway, roasted garlic is delicious, especially when smooshed with some butter and spread onto a warm piece of French bread.

I’ve successfully not killed my basil. In fact, my basil got so happy I was forced to trim a bunch off so it wouldn’t outgrow the pot. Of course, not wanting to waste the basil, I decided to make some pesto. I just happened to have some pine nuts from a sale a couple months ago, so I had everything I needed for the recipe I was using. It ended up being really, really tasty. Even I liked it, and I’m not much of a pesto person… well, not much of a dry-packet-of-powdered-crap-that-makes-pesto-flavored-stuff person. Even my kids ate this, though. I’m keeping an eye on my basil for the next batch, and I may have to re-pot soon.

My kidlet is in the early stages of potty training. I wish I could say that he’s taken to it like a duck to water, but that’s so rarely the case. Mainly I’m not exactly sure what to do. My mom has a suggestion, the diaper websites have suggestions, the baby websites have suggestions… It’s nuts.

I’m slacking school pretty badly. It’s hard to focus again. I wish the damn tax return would get here already.

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New year, new beginnings, new procrastination

Well, only halfway through the month this time. I was actually thinking about waiting until the 31st so I’d have an entire month to put off from posting.

Yes, we’ve made some resolutions. Not many, and not ones like “I won’t procrastinate anymore” because everyone knows that resolutions like that are bullshit.

We’ve resolved to get out of debt (mostly, there’s pretty much no way to speed up the truck payment) by October. Definitely doable.
We’ve resolved to eat healthier, eat at home more, and work out more. So far we’ve successfully done this for 8 days. It’s a record, really, and I’m so proud of both of us that we haven’t broken, haven’t said “Oh fuck it, let’s just get Wendy’s”. I’ve made breakfast, lunch and dinner every day (except for today, when I didn’t want to get out of my warm bed and Mr. Hottie had to make his own damn frozen waffles), and it’s been really enjoyable. We’re getting a lot of use out of an electric grill we purchased earlier in the year. I’m so glad to be finally using this stuff instead of it sitting in the pantry collecting dust.

There are cravings, but they are manageable.

Little Man turned two a couple weeks ago. It’s hard to believe. Two already! He knows more signs than I can count off the top of my head, and is slowly learning more words. The other day I taught him how to say “Bilbo”, “Gandalf”, and “Mordor”. Every child should know these!

I got my 11-year-old daughter’s ears pierced as a Christmas present. I didn’t take her to a booth in the mall, oh no, I took her to a REAL piercing parlor, complete with giant needles and corks. She did fantastic, considering. My 8-year-old son declared he is NEVER getting his ears pierced. Never say never, kid. Anyway, my daughter picked out a really pretty blue optical cat’s eye type of bead to go on her hoops, and it really looked great. She’s growing up so damn fast!

My 8-year-old is starting to behave better now. This is a good thing, and I’m really proud of him. I just hope he continues on this good streak. Maybe we’re finally having an impact on his behavior. I hope so!

Math is starting to get interesting. While I’m not enjoying all aspects of it, I have noticed I’ve been having fun doing a couple things, and feel really good when I get a right answer without too much help. As time goes on, I expect to need less and less help. I’ll beat this thing down yet!

Then I’ll get to tackle javascript and a science project. Woo hoo!

Oh yeah, and I’ve lost 10 pounds already. 🙂

I am still here, and I have no excuses.

I just haven’t had anything to say lately. School is kicking my butt, mostly because of the horrible thing called algebra that I’m very slowly getting the hang of. We’re talking 20 years of rust on the math gears, plus some stuff that I never learned, and this is just the first module! Logarithms? What the hell are those?

But I’m getting through it. Another thing I’m getting through are bills, which is fantastic. Because my university is so cheap, and my GI Bill is so much, it’s allowing us to get out of debt. It’s a wonderful feeling, truly.

We’re also slowly getting to the point of being able to actually have some furniture. We went to IKEA the other day and picked out a couch, which we should be able to get at the beginning of the year. We also have an idea of how to arrange the living room so we can have a kind of computer area, yet still have a TV area that is separate. That way, my middle child will be able to have his own room to sleep in, currently the computer room.

Little Man is a climbing fool and loves water. You’d never know that a year ago it was uncertain if he was even going to be able to walk, ever. Children are amazing, wonderful creatures, and sadly? enough, I can’t wait to have another one. We’re going to try to finish paying off the hospital bill for this one first (don’t worry mom!) before we go for another. We also have a pretty good idea of WHEN we want to have another one and it’s not for a loong (okay, maybe not THAT long) time.

Wait, what?

So, I’ve somehow managed to get myself enrolled in Kaplan University’s online IT program. I’m not really sure how this happened. All I really wanted was some information, but then the info guy said those little magic words “no out of pocket cost” and I started to think that maybe it would be possible for me to go back to school after all.

A couple of years ago I attended University of Phoenix online. It was good for a while, I lasted a little over a year, but a couple things ganged up on me to prevent my continuing education with them. 1) They raised their prices to something that was more than my GI Bill could cover, and 2) they stuck me in some horrible math class involving graphing and all sorts of stupid equations, and let me tell you what… I SUCK at math. College mathematics 1, grade C. College mathematics 2, F! F F F! So I don’t want a repeat of that, obviously.

I start the 25th, if all goes well. I’m a bit worried, hell, who am I kidding? I’m scared shitless! I just hope enough of my credits carry over from the Air Force and Phoenix that I don’t have to go through things over again. Mainly because I only get funding for another 3 years, so I’m either going to have to work really fast, or I’m going to have to take on another student loan down the line – not something I’m looking forward to.

I missed the February start date so apparently I’m going to start March 25th. Peak season for my job will also be coming up soon and I AM looking forward to that. I consider myself blessed to have a legitimate work at home job that is not only fun for me, it pays based on the work I do, which is fantastic for my guilt complex. There are days when I work 10 hours, believe me. My boss rocks though. She’s let me stay on through the year when it’s normally a seasonal job because I’m constantly saying “yes” when she asks me if I can type. Now it’s pretty much “If there are cards, you can type.” I love setting my own schedule.

But it’ll be interesting if I’ll be able to wrestle my time-management skills into submission once everything starts to move. School + Japanese classes, work, baby, kids visiting, household stuff, and packing. It’s going to be FUN! Oh, and blogging, which I’m still trying to at least make a couple posts a week. The problem is my posts have been sitting in drafts instead of being published, like this one which I’m topping off today was started on February 13. Yay procrastination!

And Finally… An Answer.

The results of the MRI are in.

The shadow they thought was an angioma wasn’t.

It’s scar tissue.

Turns out Little Man had a stroke before he was born, which is causing all of his problems. Guess that explains why it’s his right side that’s predominantly affected.

In one of those bad-but-good situations (bittersweet?) we were told “Well, if you have to have a stroke, it’s best to have one before age 2.” Since he’s still so young, his body is malleable and adaptable. There’s a good chance that he’ll be able to regain full use of his legs and arm and all that good stuff.

He had a pediatric appointment yesterday, and he’s quite a bit underweight (off the bottom of the chart for his age), but he’s growing taller so the pediatrician isn’t worried yet. He got 4 vaccinations, which he cried during but then immediately forgot about as soon as I sat him up.

While I’m relieved to finally have a definite answer instead of wondering “Is it this? Is it that?” I admit I do feel a bit “Say wha?!” but I’m not freaking out or anything. I don’t know what this diagnosis means yet for the future. For now I’m just going to take it one day at a time, and one test at a time.

A Change In The Weather

A tiny Little Man update – the bloodwork and x-ray both came back clear. However, his finger is still swollen, and the neurologist wants some different tests done so… that’s all I got for now.

A cold front has come to Florida. Yesterday and the day before I’ve been able to turn off the A/C and open windows and the patio door. It’s been absolutely wonderful. I really hate humidity and having to keep everything all closed up. It makes me stir crazy and gives me cabin fever. The 10-day-forecast is for all high 70s and low 80s so I’m hopeful autumn may finally be here. The downside is that the cooler weather has given Little Man a cold, and although he’s his usual chipper self, the quantities of gunk I have to suck out of his nose are astounding. He hates it of course. I’ve never heard a baby swear until I started doing it to him… he swears like Donald Duck does.

In other news, I’m really, really, really, really jonesing for CoH. My last account expired last week (the day before they turned the halloween event on) and I’ve been wanting to play since then. I really wish they still had the 15-day timecards because I only want to play for the Halloween event and get badges. I just can’t afford it right now, especially because I want to do all of our (mine and Night’s) accounts. But, responsibility and all that. Money was tight before but it seems like every month I get a new medical bill to add to the growing pile (right now we owe about $2500 to various places).

But at least now the weather is good, we’re eating better – almost managed to completely cut out junk food, but yesterday was our D&D game and the guys all brought chips and soda and grrr… there’s a 2-liter of Pepsi in my fridge and all I want to do is dump it down the sink. It’s just too easy to give in when it’s there and I’m pretty much conditioned to not waste food or drink because we’re broke, so I end up eating more junk than I should. At least there’s tons of salad in there too.

A Glimmer of Sense?

Well, we just got back from the neurologist.

The doctor was really nice, very professional, and took a lot of time to ask us questions and examined Little Man very thoroughly. The drive is a bit much but I think it’ll be worth it.

It’s not my imagination, at least. He said there is definitely something up with Little Man’s fine/gross motor movements. He said that the muscles in his legs are underdeveloped in his hips, over developed in his upper legs, and underdeveloped on the lower legs, which leads to that froggy pose. He’s got some issues with his hands as well. Too hard to describe exactly but he’s not picking things up quite the way he should.

He’s recommending we start physical therapy now, and in about a week (after they get authorization) we need to make an appointment for an MRI/spinal MRI. This time we’ll be able to get it, it says on there anesthesia as needed. There are also a whole other slew of blood tests that need to be done.

Speaking of which, we STILL haven’t heard back from the pediatrician about the x-ray and the bloodwork that we had done before. Hottie called them but they haven’t returned our call yet. I’m looking for a new pediatrician.

Bottom line, yes there is something, and now we can start taking the steps needed to figure out what it is, and from there, how to treat it.

I Just Love the Medical System

I want to write this while it’s still fresh in my mind. I think my give-a-damn is busted.

Last week, Little Man had an X-ray of his hand, and blood drawn for some organ disease panels. We still haven’t heard anything back from them.

We also tried to get an MRI set up for Little Man. No go, he’s too small. “We can’t do an MRI on a child that size, you need to try Winnie Palmer.”

Okay, call Winnie Palmer. No openings until DECEMBER.

Call another hospital, manage to get an appointment for today. On Friday I preregister and somehow pull 80 bucks out of my ass to cover our portion of payment. Give the nurse all the info, yes we have a prescription, it says “Brain MRI, spasticity in the lower extremities.” Yes, his birthday is 1/2/08.

Get there today, check in. Oops, forgot the scrip. No worries, the nurse calls my doctor’s office to get a copy.

Twice.

No scrip. “Well they can’t do it without the scrip.”

Okay, I can understand that. But then this happens, “Did it say quick flash or brain MRI?”

*blink blink* Quickawha?

The nurse says “He’s too little for the brain MRI. The doctor should have written for a quick flash because it takes less time, or else he’s going to have to be under anesthesia.”

So, not only could they not do it because I didn’t have the scrip, they couldn’t do it even if I DID have it, and even if Little Man’s doctor’s office got off their butts and faxed over a copy. Why didn’t they tell me this on Friday, instead of making me drive down there on $3.75 a gallon gasoline for a wasted trip?

Now I have to call Little Man’s doctor tomorrow, set up another appointment when I can go down and get ANOTHER prescription AND hopefully find out what the heck is going on with his hand, not to mention the results of the blood test. If someone is going to stick needles in my son, I want it to be worthwhile!

Yet despite all this I really can’t muster up the energy to be angry or anything else. Should I be raising a fuss? I know some women who raise hell when their children are involved. I guess my give-a-damn is just taking this as another stupid part of the stupid way America’s stupid medical system works.

PS – I started to wonder if maybe I -should- have done the cord blood thing.

There Is Something Wrong With My Son

I’ve been writing this blog entry in my head since yesterday. It should have had some catchy title like “9-Month-Old Turns Into Beaver, Gnaws Off Boobah” or “Hey, What’s THIS Cord Do?” or even “Baby Defies Physics – Teleports Across Room”.

In it I would tell about how my son gave his daddy a birthday present by finally cutting a tooth on that day – and biting my finger (and later my boobah) to prove it. I would tell about his fauxhawk hair that is constantly sticking up, and how much he looks like his daddy. I’d say that he’s finally saying “ma-ma-ma” and “da-da-da” but doesn’t mean it yet, but he does turn his head when his name is spoken. I wouldn’t forget to mention that he’s able to pick up a piece of finger food and propel it more or less to his mouth.

Instead, “There Is Something Wrong With My Son”. I’ve just become one of ‘those’ parents whose blog is no longer about the simple joys of rearing a child – the sleepless nights, the frazzled mornings, the zombie diaper changes – but instead about the simple joys of rearing a child With Something Wrong With Him.

Now, granted, it’s too soon to say EXACTLY what is going on with Little Man, but there is no doubt there is something amiss. To my chagrin, by going back and looking at videos and pictures I shot months ago, I realize that this is something that has been going on since June at least. I just didn’t notice because it never occurred to me to think my child was less than perfect. Also, Little Man wasn’t crawling at the time.

Little Man can’t straighten his legs. When he’s picked up, he keeps his legs tucked up. He won’t bounce or try to stand. The little things he did that I found so endearing were actually a Sign of Something Wrong – the way he would put his forward knee into my hand like a stirrup when I held him on my side, and the way he puts the bottoms of his feet together, and the way he crawls with his feet up in the air, instead of along the ground. Now I question every cute thing he does. Is that a Sign of Something Wrong?

The pediatrician is calling this “spasticity”. Now, I’ve looked that up, but after the first couple of hits I stopped looking, because if I read too much more, I’m going to be blaming myself for every time that Little Man fell off the bed.

Who am I kidding? I already do. I feel like this is completely my fault. Preventable, if I’d been a better mother, if I’d kept him in a crib instead of co-sleeping, if I’d checked on him more and made sure he wasn’t slowly creeping towards the edge of the bed, if I’d taken more vitamins, if, if, if.

There are too many if’s for this post, so I am going to end it here. Thanks for listening.

PS – If the struggle we’ve had today with simply trying to get all these tests and appointments scheduled is any sign of things to come, I may very well go completely grey in the next few months.

8 months

The Boy is 8 months old today (actually, he was 8 months old two days ago but due to the magic of ‘date published’ I’m going to fix that). This means that he’s closer to being a year old than being born, over the hump, as it were. His favorite thing to do is teleport. He teleports from one end of the room to the other. At least, that’s how it seems. I’ve watched him “crawl” and he doesn’t do it particularily fast, but he can cross a room longways in nanoseconds.

He’s eating Stage 2 food. He ‘chews’ it but I’m so paranoid that I can’t give him anything chunky yet. I am more fearful about him choking than I think I’ve ever been with my other two kids, and I’m not sure why. He’s not in a greater danger of it or anything. Even a little spaghetti-O noodle will freak me out.

He sweats like Niagara Falls. Seriously. When I put him down for a nap, I can guarantee there will be a Boy-head-sized wet spot on the bed where he was sleeping and sweating. I don’t even put him in clothes anymore because I know he’ll be so uncomfortable. I barely dress him when we go out. Of course, this leads to ‘knowing stranger syndrome’ where people come up and tell you what’s best for your baby, or perhaps enlighten you to how he’s feeling. Case in point, “That’s a cold baby!” by some random man as we were passing the meat department. The Boy was happily grabbing at his feet and busy sweating into the car seat. I refrained from inviting the stranger to burn his hand off with the Boy’s back.

The Boy is a happy baby. He only cries when he needs a diaper change, a nap, or is hungry. I know we’re damn lucky to have him. Now if only I could remember to take more pictures of him.

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