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.

An Important Update

I was looking back over my past couple posts and boy have things changed for me over the past few weeks! This will be a small update simply because so much has happened I’ll need to think about it all before I post it and make it pretty.

Here are the primary things:

There’s no way I’d be able to keep all this straight if it weren’t for the Outlook Calendar. My life is ruled by recurring events and alarms.

We’re in a new apartment now, much bigger than the old place. Unpacking is going slowly because I have so much other stuff on my plate, but we’re getting there. My kids are coming to visit this weekend and we get an extra day due to Monday being a holiday. I just hope I can get their room cleared of boxes before they show up.

I was rescued from Kaplan at the last minute by a friend from LOTRO who told me about Western Governor’s University. I really can’t say enough good things about this school. They’re competency based so you won’t progress unless you can prove what you know. No slack off passing here.  One of the hardest things for me to adapt to is the fact that there is no homework. You’re evaluated strictly based on your competency on the final assessment for each class. It’s a wonderful change from feeling like you MUST do something, especially when some of the information is stuff I already know and don’t need to worry about it. I have a presentation to do for one class, and I’m already prepping to take my CIWv5 certification, the first of many that are included in the tuition cost of my degree program.

Griffon is officially a toddler now. He’s all over the place and trying to climb up to get things that are out of his reach. This is pretty damn amazing considering back in December we weren’t sure if he’d ever be able to stand on his own, let alone walk.

In the scraps of my deviantart page is my first of many practice sketches. I’ve given myself an hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays for art specifically, so I’ll be spending part of the time on the 6×6 30 second sketches, and the rest on inking and coloring. I have a lot of stuff in progress that I’ve been meaning to finish for a long time now, and by golly, I’m gonna do it.

Work is work. Since my financial aid hasn’t kicked in yet (dang slow governmental processes) I had a bit of a panic the other day when I realized that we didn’t have enough money to cover this month’s tuition. Fortunately, I was able to get a balance increase on a credit card I’d paid off several months ago (and cut up), as well as a new card FedEx, so now I’m good for another month. Here’s hoping my Pell Grant and GI Bill kick in before June 25th.

Hopefully I’ll remember to post interesting things HERE instead of over at deviantart.

It’s Hard To Think Of Titles Sometimes

I almost made a third post yesterday, but then I thought maybe I better wait because I didn’t want to get into the habit of making multiple posts in one day. I mean, my life isn’t -that- exciting, y’know.

Yeah. Mistake.

My brain is like a steel trap that’s rusted. I can’t even begin to pick up the thread of what I was planning to make my third post about today. That’ll learn me. I’ll just write it, and then wait to publish it until the next day. That makes more sense.

Today we went bike shopping (unsuccessfully). We really want to get a couple of cheap bikes and a trailer that we can just ride around on to get back in shape with. Unfortunately, the bike shop we went to wanted an arm and a leg for a bike. We’re not -serious- bikers. I’d be willing to part with a pinkie, but really, $500 for a bike? No thanks.

Back to craigslist we go.

On the upside, the pawn shop we stopped at to look at bikes after that had some super cheap DVD players, so we’re going to get one of those to go with the TV that’s been collecting dust since Mama Hottie gave it to us for Christmas. I need something to play Baby Einstein for Little Man, after all, and the portable DVD player that I bought back in 2005 is starting to show signs of wear. Hey, running Baby Bach on repeat for hours on end for a year will do that. Quite frankly, I’m surprised the thing still runs at all.

Also on the agenda for today was a visit to the eye doctor for new contacts and glasses prescriptions for us. Lately I’ve been having to take my glasses off to read, and it’s been pretty annoying. Of course, vision changes through pregnancy, so the glasses I got in 2007 are now too strong for me. Yippee!

The eye doctor was really funny. He’s a little guy, not much taller than me, and wears bow ties. In fact, his ads actually refer to him as “the bow-tie guy”. He just adored Little Man, who charms people where ever he goes. 

Anyway, I ended up with a trial pair of acuvue advance, because my eyes get real dry and itchy whenever I wear contacts. So far they’re pretty decent (and at a lower prescription than what I had before) but I’m going to be using the peroxide cleaning thing instead of the saline rubs. This should be interesting. Hottie got special contact lenses in a better prescription as well. We’re both relieved that our insurance covers the majority, and that we have tax money to cover the rest. It’s no fun being blind!

We also picked up a new convertible car seat for the Little Man. Honestly, the stroller/carseat combo is great, but the car seat we got with the set is so damn heavy I can barely carry it. Of course, that’s also because I’m a puny wimp, but hey.  I’ll set that up tomorrow and see how it works.

Little Man is doing fantastic at standing now, and he’s starting to feel around on top of the places he can reach. Time to start babyproofing!

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.

Every morning, every day.

Every morning I wake up (usually due to Little Man talking in my ear or snapping my bra strap) I wonder if today is the Day That Makes A Difference. You know, that magical day when suddenly enough’s enough and you have enough motivation to clean the house, write the great American novel, change the batteries in the bouncer AND shed 60 lbs all at once.

Every day the first thing I do when I wake up is groggily change my son’s diaper, stagger out into the living room and set him down on his blanket and somehow manage to get a bowl of cereal together without spilling either the cereal, the milk, or the completed pair on my way to the computer. Then I read Other People’s Blogs while I eat my cereal. And I think, “Okay, it’s been 2 months since I posted. I should post. Why haven’t I posted lately?” But I never actually post anything.

So I’m making today the Day That Makes A Difference, at least in my posting habits. Nothing fancy, really. Just try to get something out at least, oh, twice a week. That’s easy enough. I post more than that on my dA site. In fact, I should transfer posts from there to here and backdate them so I don’t have a huge gaping hole in my “previous” calendar, much like the huge gaping hole in my head.

And my torso, where they finally removed my offending gall bladder. The scars are pretty neat, though.

The snugglebug is just shy of 8 months old now. He doesn’t sit up yet, he doesn’t crawl, he doesn’t like being stood up on a lap and bounced, he’s not eating finger foods, and he can’t tell the difference between 7 am and 8 am, which is the hour that I need to go from muzzy-headed to take-on-the-world. I’m a little worried, but I know from experience that kids develop differently. I know that pretty soon he’s gonna figure out how to get around and I’ll realize that I don’t have enough room to put things to actually babyproof the bottom two feet of my apartment. Then I’ll get that playpen out and put him in that. Nothing like a little portable jail cell for your babies.

Later on I’ll try to fill in some of the 2-month gap. Maybe.

Things Are Looking Up!

Lately my husband and I have been horribly financially strapped. We knew things would be tight if I quit my job at Rollins, and if we stayed in a nice apartment rather than moving to a slum. I don’t regret either of these decisions. Being able to stay home with Snugglespawn was my priority, and I didn’t care if I had to eat ramen to do it. With rising gas prices, we felt the pinch even more. It’s almost $4 a gallon here now, and I know it’s over $4 in other places. It made me glad I wasn’t commuting to work.

My mental state suffered, though. I felt guilty for making Hottie do all the work (even though he says -I’m- the one doing all the work, heh) and really wanted to find something to help out. I guess I’m one of those people who need to work.

When I got the job at BKP, I was floored. Here was a legitimate, honest-to-goodness work-at-home job that didn’t require me to pay any money or write ads on Google AdSense. I made about $200 on my first paycheck. My next paycheck will be my first full blown working-my-ass-off paychecks. I work as much as they let me, and even then it’s hard for me to stop working sometimes. I enjoy the work, I need the work, and it’s actually a little fun.

My little man turned 5 months old yesterday. It’s hard to believe. Time flies swiftest when you have a baby. As Kenny sings, “Don’t blink.” This was driven home last night when we decided it was time to introduce him to the wonders of solid food, and he had his first spoonfuls of rice cereal. Once I got the spoon around his hands, that is. Isn’t it amazing that no matter how hard you try, some will always get up their nose? He seemed to enjoy it and wanted more than I had made, so that’s a good sign.

An update on my surgery situation. The surgery is going to cost ME about $70. Insurance covers the rest. Unfortunately that does not include the hospital stay, which will be the most expensive. I’m so thankful to those who have donated, because between that and the little bit I saved so far at least the -surgery- is covered. The good news is that I can put it off a few weeks if I’m careful, so I can save up the $400-$500 it will cost to stay at the hospital. But at least I know if it becomes an emergency, the funds are there and I don’t need to panic.

And the best news – I might have a “real” go-to job by the end of July. It would be online support via chat, something I’ve got plenty of experience in via EverQuest. Hottie works with a guy whose wife works for the company and she asked for my resume. This place is within walking distance of my apartment. Of course I don’t want to leave my spawn with someone else for care, but now that he’s getting bigger and eating food…well I can’t feed him by myself ALL the time. This job would lift such a strain on us, it would be a real blessing. And if I can be allowed daydream a little bit, the first thing we’re doing is getting Hottie out of that rattlecrap car of his and into something small and cheap with good gas milage and A/C. Then I’ll address the $1200 in work I need done on my truck, plus tires.

In Praise of the Sling

It’s 11:30pm, and my little man has FINALLY fallen asleep. This was a rough evening for us. I’m not sure why today was any different. His fever from the shots was gone, but his poor little legs still have huge bruised spots on them. I’ve been giving him infant pain killer, the non-asprin kind, but he’s learned how to spit it out so I’m never really sure exactly how much he gets.

Anyway, I start the bedtime ritual around 8 as usual, and he happily takes his bath, and happily reads a story with me, and happily nurses until he’s dozed off. Very carefully I edge out of bed, and go back to doing my chores. He wakes up a few minutes later, bright-eyed and bushy tailed as if he’d slept for hours.

I should note that he didn’t take more than a few minutes nap today, so I expected him to be very tired by the evening. Maybe -too- tired.

I play with him for a few minutes and then try the “let him cry it out” technique. Now, I don’t like this technique much because of course who wants to hear their baby screaming? I lasted about 5 minutes.

I laid down with him again. Wash, rinse, repeat. Finally it’s 11pm and he just. won’t. go. to. sleep. I’m starting to feel a little frazzled, his cries are starting to sound a little desperate, and I haven’t gotten anything done that I needed to do.

Finally I break out my sling. I picked up one of these back when he was still only a few days old.  I still think that this is one of the best baby purchases I’ve EVER made. I snuggle him into it. He starts whimper humming again. Finally, after a half hour of shifting my weight from foot to foot while in the kitchen shredding chicken, he falls asleep. Thank goodness.

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