Sunday, July 31, 2011

I look at the world and I notice it's turning...

...While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps
-The Beatles, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"

Life is good. This was one of those weekends where everything that happened did so just the way I had imagined it would, and it was all good stuff. And while I generally get annoyed with bloggers who write about nothing but their perfect lives and show perfectly composed & edited pics of their adorable kids, I'm veering dangerously close to that myself in this post. Consider yourself warned. (Don't worry - my cruddy photography skills are unchanged, my new camera is kaput, and my video camera had a dead battery. So all images are from my poor quality cell phone camera. I'm not quite venturing into perfect mommy blogger world yet.)

So, what made the weekend so picturesque, in spite of the poor pictures?

Well, not the weather. It was HOT. Hotter than the 3rd circle of hell level hot. Triple digits by noon hot. So early Saturday morning (after making pancakes - fun activity #1), we called up our neighbors down the street and pulled out the new slip & slide. I got it on clearance for 5 bucks, so I figured that even if it was a complete bust, it wasn't much money wasted. Unfortunately, you get what you pay for and part of it busted - quite literally - within 10 seconds of attaching the hose to it. Did that stop us? No sirreeeee! Like any good southerner, we duct taped that thing up and it was as waterproof as it needed to be. I mean, the point *is* to get wet, right?

Of course, the kids thought that actually running & sliding down the thing was way too unexciting. I mean, that's what it was DESIGNED to do - how boring is that?! So they pretty much used it as a place to run up & down, a puddle to splash in, and some squirters to dance through. When that got too dull, we unattached the hose and sprayed each other. And we managed to stay cool until lunchtime.

Hard to top the slip & slide, but the afternoon got even more exciting! Our friends the TriMulli came over for dinner and hanging out. Their little man, Ethan, is as cute as they come and our three little stairstep boys are each a year apart. We had a great time hanging out, grilling some seriously good eats (you must try Derek's grilled peaches sometime!), and watching the boys play with tools. They got hot, they stripped off their shirts, and ran around like wild preschoolers on a perfect summer night.

Then it got really good.

Introducing him to a REAL guitar

Jeramie brought his guitar for a sing-a-long, and my little musician has a new hero. Between Jay's toy guitar and our box o' instruments, courtesy of LaLa & Popper, and there was something for everyone.

Percussionist-in-chief Ethan selects his instrument of choice.

We attempted all the classics including Jesus Loves Me, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, You Are My Sunshine, and Little Bunny Foo Foo. I'm not sure Jay had ever heard about dear Bunny Foo Foo and what great fun it is to bop field mice on the head. But he heard the song once and was hooked, particularly on the opportunity to turn others into a goon. He requested it over and over (and over again). And being the good sport that he is, Jeramie obliged. Over and over. Good man, that J.

Jay and his guitar guru. Hero-worship really doesn't quite describe it!

And just to firmly cement his place as coolest dude on the planet, Jeramie showed the boys that his guitar pick was not just any ol' guitar pick. It was a MAGIC pick.

(Yes it's sideways. Yes I'm aware. Yes I tried to fix it. Realizing that it's still sideways, you'll just have to turn your head crooked and roll your eyes at my lack of skill. But I promise, those giggles are worth it.)

PS - Luke's doing GREAT after surgery. Tonsils are out, and he enjoyed plenty of milkshakes and other soft yummy treats. He's back at school and all is well, in spite of the fact that he's given up his good, sleep-through-the-night habits. They'll come back, I'm sure. And Derek and I will be extra careful not to make any important decisions in our sleep-deprived state.

Life really is good.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Now it cuts like a knife...

...but it feels so right
Yeah it cuts like a knife
But oh it feels so right
-Bryan Adams, "Cuts Like a Knife"

Since we became parents, Derek and I have sent our kids back for surgery 6 times. SIX times in three short years, and you'd think I'd be better at this by now. In fact, I think I handle it less well than I used to. I'm sure that's because I now imagine that every worst case scenario will happen. Justified? Probably. But it sure doesn't make this waiting time any easier.

We are in the waiting area, and my little cheeze doodle is in surgery as I type. We just got a call from the OR, and it nearly sent me over the edge. Nothing serious - one of the tubes in his ear had come out, and they needed permission to put it back in. THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP. Can you hear my heart pounding? We sat back down and my trembly voice said to Derek "They shouldn't do that to people who have been through scary stuff like we've seen." Oh, and the article in the N&O today on medical mistakes wasn't exactly ideal timing. Relax, Jen. Breathe.

But anyway, all went well this morning. The nurses remember us, which is nice on the one hand but is a sign we've done this too often. Luke was quite a charmer and grinned & giggled his way into everyone's heart. Until he got too tired to put up with it, and the hunger pangs got to him, and he got crab-a-riffic. With some constant entertainment and lots of walking the halls, we finally got to surgery time. The sweet OR nurse took him off in her arms and he gave her a big hug and a kiss on the cheek.

(Walking the halls. Repeatedly.)

(spinning the stool - one of our favorite modes of medical entertainment!)

Sweet baby snuggles.

And so we wait.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

And I can take you for a ride...

...on my big green tractor
We can go slow or make it go faster
Down through the woods and out to the pasture
Long as I'm with you, it really don't matter...
-Jason Aldean, "Big Green Tractor"

When I was a kid, I hated running errands with my mom. Hated with a passion. "Running errands" could mean anything from going to the bank (where I'd inevitably get a lollipop) to going to KMart and Old America (anyone else remember that store? It was a kind of a precursor to Michael's). These weren't exactly horrible places to go, but just the phrase "running errands" was enough to send me running into the woods to hide.

However, one of the highlights of running errands with mom was the knowledge that if a trip to KMart was involved, I'd get to ride the merry-go-round. Rides at the fair had nothing on this little carousel - it was red and it had 4 little plastic horses. For a mere 25 cents, you could ride around in circles, very small circles, for approximately 12 seconds. But boy did I look forward to it.

A little while back, I was dragging Jay around for a variety of errands, and for some reason we ended up at KMart. I couldn't resist. He was underwhelmed.

How is his head touching the top? He's only three!

Want to know why he's underwhelmed by 12 seconds of riding the KMart merry-go-round? Why doesn't the excitement of this motivate him to behave during errands?

Because his daddy uses this as the good behavior bribe:

Oh yeah. Arrrrgggg. Growwwwl. (insert additional manly noises here) Who needs to waste a quarter on the tiny carousel when you've got the lawnmowers at Home Depot & Lowes?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

And everybody hurts...

Everybody cries
And everybody hurts, sometimes
-REM, Everybody Hurts

Friends, I'm here to answer the question that I just KNOW you've been dying to hear: So what ever happened with Luke's sleep study?

Want to predict the results? Anyone? Anyone? Yup, you guessed right - he DOES in fact have sleep apnea. Shocking! As his mother, I could *never* have told you that! (Okay, done with sarcasm.)

Actually, his sleep apnea is pretty bad. He stops breathing and snorts himself awake an average of 21 times per hour, and over 40 times an hour during REM sleep. (How fun that I found an REM song to go along with this post, eh?!) Yeah, that's a lot, even on sleep apnea scales. For reference, normal is like ~1 episode of apnea an hour.

But, to credit the ENT, he did share a little more about why he wanted a sleep study before removing his tonsils. Abbreviated, minimally-medical version: The thing that tells your body to wake up & breathe is not just a lack of oxygen but an overload of CO2. In some very young kids with sleep apnea, their little bodies learn to live with very high levels of CO2 before snorting awake. Then, when they are tonsil-free and should be breathing easily, they still wait for super high CO2 (which doesn't happen so much anymore). So he wanted to know how high his CO2 levels got before inhaling to know how much of a risk that would be for him. Luckily, his levels in sleep are fairly low, and the ENT is very confident that getting them out will help dramatically.

But never fear - he still earned an overnight hospital stay! Oh joy! (oops - slight sarcasm snuck in there. Sorry.) Not this week, but the following Tuesday he'll head to Durham for the fun. Here's hoping for great things from surgery #2.

But in other news, he's hurtin' for certain right now. On Thursday afternoon, he had a little bit of eye goo when I picked him up from school. Nothing major, but it was a bit of an odd time to get an eye booger, not being right after nap. (Oh admit it - we all get the occasional sleep-induced eye booger!) Friday his eye was a tiny bit red when he woke up, so I thought I'd swing by the pediatrician just to get the all clear before sending him to daycare.

Suffice it to say that we did NOT get the all clear, but instead got some Ofloxicin drops as a parting gift. He was getting a little cold, and the doc said that a cold bug/virus can settle either in the eye and become pinkeye or the ear and become an ear infection. He warned me that he wouldn't be surprised if his ear started draining, too. By Friday afternoon, he was much, MUCH, MUCH worse. Ear draining? Yep. Eye red & nasty? Oh yeah. Nose running? Bring out the snot rags. Luckily an early evening call to the pedi saved us another office visit (and saved us the $25 copay!). We were given some oral antibiotics and permission to use the ear drops that we still had from his last ear infection 2 weeks ago. Geez.

By this morning, he was absolutely pitiful. The pinkeye has now spread to eye #2, and he looks like he's been punched in the face and left to cry it out for hours on end. Top it off with the worst diaper rash he's ever seen, and the poor child is just absolutely miserable, top to bum. Like hurt-your-heart to look at him pitiful. Jay has been all kinds of sick, but this is right up there with the most pitiful I've seen. It's not just the red eyes - somehow, he's absolutely MASTERED the pitifully sad, hold-me-mommy look. I'm not posting pics because that would just add insult to injury. Someday when his pre-teen friends are threatening to send his mom's old blog posts to the girl he's crushing on, he'll thank me.

Here's hoping he gets this out of his system quickly because I surely do not want this to postpone surgery. I know how tired I was to get up with my babes 5 times a night. I can't imagine waking up 40 times an hour.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Down here, where we're at...

...Everyone is equally poor
Down here, we don't care
We don't care what happens outside the screen door
-Uncle Tupelo, "Screen Door"
(Derek is QUITE proud of me for pulling out the Uncle Tupelo!)

Long time no post, I know. At least 2 people at church on Sunday said something to the effect of, "Y'all must have a lot going on - you haven't updated in forever!" It's not for lack of interesting things to talk about, but there is definitely a lack of time to sit down at the computer and type it out.

So, we have been on 3 different mini-vacations - long weekends at the beach with family. They were exciting and exhausting at the same time. We enjoyed the fun, kid-friendly chaos of Myrtle Beach, complete with 3 pools & a lazy river, a ride down the strip, my inaugural visit to the Gay Dolphin, Jay's biggest temper tantrum EVER, a visit to the bowling alley, and plenty of sand in our britches. We even saw a place where you can rent rims so that your trip down the strip shows off your happenin' ride. We seriously contemplated putting them on my sister-in-law's minivan. Next time, Mandy. Next time.

Some cousin-ly love, just moments before Jay put Luke in a head lock.

See? I don't make this stuff up!

Then we had a quiet relaxing beach trip to Holden Beach with my extended fam as we celebrated my uncle's birthday and my folks 35th wedding anniversary. (Thanks for gettin' hitched, Mom & Dad - sure changed my life!) The most excitement we saw there was walking down the street to visit our dear friends and check out their pool.

Brotherly love for real, riding "double decker" in the stroller.

A few July 4 fireworks. More watermelon than two boys should consume. And a lot of sitting on the back porch and watching the world pass by. I think the 7:2 grownup-kid ratio was a big factor in the more quiet weekend.

We have a new watermelon king

But the most exciting thing going on in our world lately is that our new screened porch is almost finished! What? I haven't mentioned that we're building a screened porch?

Our chief inspector, who just happens to work best in his PJ's.
More working, different PJ's

Deciding to jump in & build it was a pretty quick decision. I got a serious case of porch envy from our neighbors, and it coincidentally came along right about the time that our mosquitoes began to outnumber the oak leaves we get in the fall. (If you've ever seen our oak trees in early November, you know that means a lot.) We've taken to calling Luke "Mosquito Bait." I kid you not, the child had TWELVE bites in less than 5 minutes one night. He's got so little surface area, it looked like he had chicken pox. So, we're pretty pumped about being able to spend sometime outside without worrying that our youngest child will be carried off by giant mutant 'skeeters.

The screen went up today, and there's just a couple more stages and it will be DONE. Y'all come on over, ya hear? We gonna sip sweet tea under the ceiling fan and celebrate summer.