Thursday, December 12, 2013

Vaccinations really aren't that bad

I have been in a pregnancy and parenting group on Facebook since I got pregnant with Mila.  In lots of ways, it has been super handy.  Any time something came up with baby Mila I could post the question in one place and get numerous comments of advice.  I also like being able to pass on my experience for other new moms.  

Lately, that page has been a source of angst.  For some reason, the hot topic of vaccinating your children has come up a lot recently.  The majority of those women are anti-vaccines and it stresses me out to no end.  I think it is sad that so many children have been infected with measles when it is a completely avoidable situation.

I have worked in vaccine research and development for years now, so I have seen many examples as to why this work is done. Thankfully, one mom recently posted this amazing blog post with link after link after link to various sites promoting vaccinations.  It is a GREAT read and I recommend it if you have children or know anyone with children.  Keeping up with your boosters as an adult are key in preventing unvaccinated infants from becoming infected.

There is no way for me to convince someone to take in the CDC with even a modicum of trust when they have already decided they are corrupt.  But I am heartbroken for their children.  The best I can say is luckily for them they live in a country with great medical abilities, so if their children get avoidable diseases their chance of survival is much higher than those who live in countries without these vaccines.  People in third world countries would give anything to receive the vaccines that are so readily available to us.  It's saddening to think so many people throw this concept in the trash.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Three Frogs

I heard a great metaphor this morning and wanted to share it.  I also wanted to save it for myself so I don't forget.

Three frogs were climbing a pole.  Every day, a man who passed by the pole would say, "You're never going to make it.  It's too high."  Finally, one day, the man was making his regular pass-by and noticed one frog had made it to the top, while the other two were sitting at the bottom.  Amazed, the man wanted to know how he did it, so he asked.  When the frog didn't respond one of the frogs at the bottom replied, "He can't hear you.  He's deaf."

The moral of this story?  Don't listen to the people who are trying to bring you down.  If you try hard enough, you'll make it in whatever you task to do.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Our first loss as a family

It's been FOREVER since I posted, but I wanted this to go up.  I kind of think of this blog as my life diary.  Helps me remember things.  

This weekend, Bella (pronounced "Baya") died.  It was unexpected.  She was our first pet together as a couple.  We got her only a few short months after moving into our first apartment together.  She was our baby kitty and our family. 

Saturday afternoon I noticed Bella was breathing with her mouth open. I had a bad feeling so I called the vet.  They were closing in 10 minutes, so I decided to wait until Sunday to see how she was.  If she was bad we'd go to the emergency vet, if she was okay I'd take her to our regular vet Monday.  Sunday morning she was bad.  She was in respiratory distress. Travis rushed her to the emergency vet and they confirmed she was in critical condition and put her on oxygen.  The doctor had a few hypotheses.  Tumor?  Pneumonia?  We found out it would cost us a small fortune to find out what was wrong with her and even then it might be untreatable.  We opted to euthanize, but she was gone before we could follow through.  She was 11 years old in September.

Poor Travis.  He had to do it all on his own and I feel horrible about that.  I wish I could have been there for him.  I wish I could have been there for Bella.  But I didn't want to bring the kids to that.  I thought it would only stress out Bella more.  Travis was pretty distraught Sunday afternoon.  He tries to act tough, but he has a soft side.  Seeing a guy in distress makes it so much worse, doesn't it?

Even though Bella had her bi-polar moments, she was a good cat to us.  I walked passed her usual roosts last night and felt a pang of sadness.  She will be missed.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Time Scales

My dad went in for his bloodwork last week.  The creatinine was still too high for the CT scan so he has an appointment to go back this week and check again.  This waiting is driving me crazy!  But the doctor seems comfortable with the time scale we're working on right now.  He said its not a particularly fast moving form, so we don't need to worry about anything drastic happening between now and when they can get a good picture of the whole thing.  Plus, if he gets it now, the iodine might kill him.  So, you know.  Worth the wait.

Came across this video about a girl who wanted to learn to dance in a year.  It's impressive. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Dad's Home!

They unplugged everything except for the kidney tubes, made him stay for 24 hours to make sure nothing failed then sent him home Thursday evening!  Ariel has been staying with him to make sure he's okay and to help him around the house.  His swelling was entirely gone, so he looks much better.  He was most excited about being able to roll over in bed because he's not plugged in everywhere.

He's expecting to go back to the hospital this week to get blood drawn.  If the renal values are low enough they'll schedule his CT scan.  I'm hoping everything goes smoothly!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Hospital Stay Overview

The first couple days in the hospital were the worst.  The doctors said because my dad's kidneys are not working properly, the waste that normally leaves in the urine was staying in his blood.  Those toxins in the blood were causing some confusion for him.  He was really out of it, so he didn't really understand what we told him.  When he thinks back on those first few days he's says it's really fuzzy.  Those toxins also cause muscle tremors and itchy skin (when the urea escapes the blood through the skin, it causes dry skin).  He also had trouble accepting the fact that he was seriously ill and needed to be in the hospital.  I think it was day 3 or 4 when he said, "I feel like I should be here."

The first week he had a catheter and was on IV fluids.  They gave him lots of pills to help with his high heart rate and malnutrition, occasionally for his high blood pressure.  They were hoping after his bladder was relieved, his kidneys would improve on their own.  Sadly, that was not the case and he started going in for dialysis every other day.  The doctors said there was still hope that his kidneys could recover, but the dialysis would speed up that process for him.  

On Tuesday, a week after he was admitted, he went in for the bladder scope.  The urologist was hoping to cauterize the bleeds and take a look around.  Unfortunately, when he was in there he found it wasn't a bunch of little bleeds in the bladder wall, so much as a large bleeding tumor.  He removed as much as he could, but after giving him 4 bags of blood decided to cauterize everything and back out. 

The plan is to do the CT scan and see how extensive the cancer is.  Hopefully it's only in his bladder and they can just take the dang thing out.  If they do that, they will most likely perform a bladder reconstruction out of his intestine.  

The doctor also found that the tumor was blocking his kidneys from emptying properly which explains why his kidney values weren't improving like they hoped.  A day or two after the cystoscopy he had a bilateral ureterostomy (tubes from his kidney through his skin).  So many tubes.  Getting out of the bed takes five minutes because of all the things that need to be unplugged or rearranged.

At the moment his is mostly unplugged.  The ureteral bypass tubes have to stay until the tumor is addressed.  Crossing my fingers that he can remain unplugged.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

My Dad has Cancer

Somewhere back in January of this year (when we were visiting for Christmas), my dad started having some urinary tract symptoms.  I don't want to go into too much detail for his privacy, but I want to point out that this didn't exactly happen over night.  My dad was planning to come visit in Texas immediately after we left and bring back Callaway.  His symptoms prevented him from coming.  He said he was going to get better, then come down later.  

Weeks go by and I start urging him to go to the doctor.  He's always been healthy (as far as we can tell), so he has managed to avoid seeing a doctor for decades.  I'd bet he hasn't seen one since he and my mom were married (prior to 1996).  My dad's a "don't worry about it" kind of guy so I don't know the details on his health.  He lives alone, so I've kind of always worried something would happen to him at home and no one would know about it.  I always figured it would be a heart problem since those seem to run in his family.

About a month ago, his texting dwindled down to nothing.  He used to message me at least five times a day so when he stopped, I got suspicious.  The week of my wedding anniversary I called him to see how he was doing and he sounded horrible.  His voice was weak and he complained about being so tired that he had to sleep every afternoon.  There were several new symptoms, all of them worth a visit to the doctor.  He'd told me he'd been to the doctor a month prior.  Obviously, the medication wasn't working so I urged him to go again.  He seemed really out of it.  The next day, my sister called after having a similar phone conversation with him.  

In fear, I decided to go behind his back and call his good friends to see if they would go check on him.  When I talked with the wife, she admitted that he hadn't been out for Whiskey Wednesday with her husband in over a month.  They used to meet every Wednesday to try out fancy whiskeys at one of the bars in town.  My dad is the poster child for 'social butterfly', so this news scared me even more.  That night (Friday), she called me back to give me the update.

I was on the road to Austin to visit friends for the weekend.  She recounted her husband's visit and it was horrible.  She said my dad was pale and had no energy to stand.  He had told me he hasn't been eating much lately so I asked if he looked like he'd lost weight.  She said he was so swollen, she couldn't tell if he'd lost weight.  I called Ariel and that's when we decided to drive to Illinois (I looked into plane tickets, but the last-minute cost was outrageous.)  Unfortunately, I was almost to Austin by this point.  We opted to use the weekend to make arrangements for our jobs and my family, then leave first thing Monday morning.

We got a late start on Monday, so we didn't get in until 4 am Tuesday.  We didn't tell our dad we were coming and went straight to our mom's.  In the morning, we went to the store and bought some easy to prepare foods and drinks, then headed over to his job site.  We didn't know where he was, so we were discussing which way to go in when we heard a weak, "You're not supposed to be here..."  It took me a moment to find where my dad was sitting.  He was slumped on a bench between two trees not moving at all.  He looked horrible.  Exactly as his friend has described.

He asked what we were doing there and we told him it was a Father's Day surprise.  We know how much he has fought going to the doctor so we didn't want to scare him away immediately.  But then he said he felt bad because he didn't have the energy to do the fun stuff we probably wanted to do.  I told him we just wanted to go to his house and make him lunch.  He immediately refused and said he'd rather go out for pizza.  At this point, I knew he was avoiding us going to his house.  Our college-aged brother had gone by to bring him food a couple weeks prior and said our dad had apologized constantly about the smell and mess.  He hadn't had the energy to clean the house and Callaway was having accidents inside.  

It took some coaxing, but we convinced him to let us come over.  Ariel drove his car and I played chauffeur.  The house was dusty, but I didn't notice any odor.  Alex had come over the weekend before to take Callaway for him.  He must have cleaned up that mess.  The one thing I did notice is how hot it was.  He complained about being so cold all the time.  

Dad obviously did not want us in the house, so he announced we were going to the pool.  He was in no state to walk anywhere.  To appease him I said, "Sure, go get changed."  It took him HALF AN HOUR to change clothes.  He was wiped out so I told him to go take a nap.  While he was sleeping we cleaned his house and did some laundry.  When he woke up I listed off all his symptoms together and explained he was going to the doctor and we weren't leaving until he did.  Hoping he would take the bait, I gave him three options: his previous doctor, urgent care or the ER.  He said he didn't like his doctor, "so I guess take me to urgent care."  It was weak annoyance on his part.  He honestly didn't have the energy to fight us.

The urgent care doctor took a blood and urine sample and said he had a mass in his abdomen.  Go to the ER immediately.

We hobbled back to the car and headed to the ER (where I wanted to go from the start).  They brought him in back immediately.  I am seriously impressed with the efficiency, cleanliness and friendliness of that hospital and all it's employees when compared to ours in Texas.  No wonder it's a Magnet hospital.

The doctors announced the mass was his entirely-too-full bladder.  Something was blocking the proper flow of things and it caused renal failure.  His kidney values were through the roof.  They worked their magic to relieve his immediate discomfort and admitted him that night.  We were back at my mom's by midnight.  

A week after he was admitted, the doctor was finally able to do a cystoscopy and found a large tumor in his bladder.  He removed two thirds of what he could see.  The pathology report stated it was malignant bladder cancer.  The next step is to do a CT scan to determine the extent of the tumor.  They use iodine (a dye) in that procedure, but it is renal toxic.  After his kidneys recover, they will do the scan.

Ariel and I spent as much of our time as possible in the hospital with him for two weeks.  I needed to come home to attend to my family and get back to work, but Ariel chose to put her job on hold and stay with our dad.  I'm going to try to get back on here and give some more details about what happened during those two weeks soon.

Monday, June 10, 2013

About My Mom

A few years ago, my mom moved into a not-so-awesome area, but the price was right for her retiree income so she took the opportunity.  She recently made friends with some of her neighbors.  On one hand, I'm ecstatic she has people nearby to visit with regularly.  The thought of her sitting at home all by herself, day after day, eats at me.  On the other hand, her options out there are limited.

She was telling me about how she gets her grandma fix by playing with one of her neighbor's babies.  I then asked if it's the baby with the schizo mom.  The funny part is I'm not exaggerating.  The woman has actually been diagnosed with schizophrenia and is supposed to be medicated.  She doesn't take her medication though, because she doesn't think she needs it.  Even though she thinks aliens are trying to get her...

Anyhoo, my mom's response to my question about the schizo mom was priceless:

That's legit, folks.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mila Carol: 1 Year Old

In the hospital.

One year ago today, our little girl was born.  It was a totally different birthing experience from when I had Aiden - in a good way.  

Time flies.  I can't believe it's been a year already.  She is such a sweet baby, despite the constant pressure in her ears at the moment.  As long as she gets her sleep, she's super happy.  

Aiden and her get along great.  Of course Aiden gets annoyed with her when she climbs on the toys he's playing with.  Mila gets annoyed when he won't give her what he's playing with.  Typical siblings. 

(He was singing Jingle Bells.)

I love our little family.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

First Family Camping Trip

This Mother's Day was a little different than the past few years.  We usually go to the beach with some of my other mother friends.  This time we decided to give camping a try.  We haven't gone since before Aiden was born.  This trip was a little different from past experiences since it focused more on the kids than ourselves.  We didn't want to go far in case there was an emergency with the kids, so we went to Huntsville State Park just north of Houston.  We reserved two campsites and shared with two of my co-workers' families.  One family has a boy the same age as Aiden, the other a 5-year-old girl.

Saturday morning we packed up the truck and headed to the park.  We set up camp and then all went canoeing on the lake.

Canoeing is difficult with a baby.


Mila fell down in the canoe, so I immediately scooped her to make sure all was well.  When I set her down and looked around I could no longer locate my paddle.  The good news?  I got to enjoy the rest of the trip and let Travis do all the work.  He didn't seem to mind though.

We stopped for slushies on our way back to the site.  By the time we made it back, Mila was ready for a bottle and a nap.  She proceeded to sleep for the reminder of the night (though I woke her up momentarily for dinner).

 I forgot how amazing camping is.  It's so nice to be out in nature, away from the sounds of cars and stereos. 

The eventful hill:

Aiden wanted to try out one of the kid's bikes, that's a bit bigger than his.  I showed him how he could use the pedals to brake just like on his bike and also the hand brake.  The two kids walked next to him while he rode.  He started to speed up and made it around the corner before I could get him to stop.  He made it around the bend and picked up even more speed going down a hill.  Instead of using any of the brakes, he tried to drag his feet on the ground.  Since it was a bigger bike, he was unable to reach the ground.  He turned around and looked at me with a face full of fear.  It was horrible.  I was looking at his t-shirt and shorts and imagining the road rash we'd be dealing with.  He dove off the bike (or fell?  not sure...) and the bike continued down the hill and t-boned the red car you can see in the photo above.

I ran up to Aiden and scooped him up.  He was crying so hard.  I checked him over and he didn't have a scratch on him.  He was wearing a helmet (THANK GOODNESS) so his head was fine.  It wouldn't have been fine with as hard as it hit the pavement.  Ugh.  Horrible.  The couple who owned the car ran up with the bike to make sure he was okay.  They said they weren't even worried about their car as long as Aiden was okay.  The guy told Aiden he couldn't believe there wasn't a dent in the road with as hard as he hit it.  Seriously.  Me too.  I thought for sure Aiden would be covered in bruises in a few hours, but he only had one fingertip-sized bruise on his shoulder blade where he probably landed on a rock.  MAKE YOUR KID WEAR A HELMET!!!

For dinner we cooked hot dogs over the fire.  After dinner we roasted marshmallows and made S'mores.  I bought bug houses for the kids, so we ran around catching bugs.  When it got dark, we broke out the glow stick necklaces and poured a special powder on the fire to make it change colors.  The kids stayed up until 10 pm.  I wish that meant they slept in, but no.

The next day we sat by the fire and drank camp coffee while one of the other dads cooked breakfast.  Afterward we all split up.  One family went home, one went paddle boating and we opted for a hike in the woods.  I wanted to see if we could find anymore wildlife.  We'd  already seen tons of blue jays, cardinals and woodpeckers.  A squirrel practically climbed up Travis' leg.  We found a ton of white, fuzzy caterpillars around the campsite - perfect for the bug houses.

On the hike, we saw a black widow spider.  No joke.  I'm so glad we saw this at the END of the camping trip.  I would have been an anxious mess otherwise.  Ignorance is bliss.  The spider was hiding in the middle of it's messy web just inside a hole in a log.  When I saw the shiny black with the red spot, I knew instantly.  EESH.  On a lighter note, we also saw dragon flies, butterflies and two rabbits. 

We already had the truck packed up, but decided to eat lunch at the camp site.  Eating at a picnic bench in the middle of a beautiful park is way more fun that strapped to a chair in a moving vehicle. 

Camping with a baby was a little hard.  Mila can't walk quite yet and I didn't want her crawling around in the dirt eating pine needles.  I brought enough bottles that I only had to wash them once so we had enough to get us home on Sunday.  This trip was probably easier than it would have been if it were just us because one of the other families bought and prepared all the food.  One less thing for me to worry about!  I would love to go camping again soon, but preferably after Mila can walk and is off formula.  Though that might not be very far away...

 Happy Mother's Day!

My Mother's Day gift.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Baby Graduation

Mila turns one on Saturday.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!  Where has the time gone??  I know all parents say that, but boy does it hit home.

Despite her inner ear issues, Mila is learning to toddle.  She cruises along furniture everywhere and has taken an unassisted step here or there, but yesterday she decided to take things a little farther.  When I picked her up from daycare, the teacher had her standing up.  She took a step back and coaxed Mila to her.  She took 6 steps all by herself!! 

Then, when we were in the bathroom at the ENT yesterday afternoon, she did it again with just me.  I tried to get a video of it, but only got a few steps on my phone.  Here she is, sporting her Hello Kitty sticker from the hearing specialist:

Aiden took his first steps a week before he turned one.  I spent a little time remembering that...  :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Another Trip to the Doctor

Mila's ear infection/fluid on the ears will not go away.  I made an appointment with her pediatrician last Monday so we could discuss everything: Three months, four antibiotics for her ears, two topical ointments and an oral anti-fungal for diaper rash (as a result of oral antibiotics and subsequent diarrhea) and she STILL has fluid on her ears.  Thankfully it wasn't a full on infection, so the doctor sent home a prescription for a fifth antibiotic in case she developed a fever before I could get her in with the pediatric Ears Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist.  

The appointment with the ENT was yesterday.  We never had to fill the fifth antibiotic.  SHOO.  Before we saw the doctor, Mila had a hearing test.  It was hilarious.  I was trying so hard not to laugh and distract Mila the whole time.  We sat in a chair in the middle of a tiny sound proof room.  There were three speakers: one in front of us and one on either side.  Next to each speaker was a TV screen and a box with a remote control toy inside.  The hearing specialist went back and forth between sound frequencies/voice recognition on the speakers, pictures on the TV's, and movement with the remote control toys.  Mila turned her head to look at things when they made noises.  I wonder what she was thinking.  It was so strange.

Afterwards, the hearing doctor explained that Mila was just a little outside the normal hearing chart.  They did something where they put headphones on that touched the bone behind her ear.  She said that way they could bypass her eardrums to test her hearing.  She passed that part fine, which means it's just the fluid impeding her hearing, not any permanent damage.  Yay!

A little while later we were sitting with the ENT. She said only 6% of children still have fluid on their ears, three months after their initial ear infection.  Mila is part of the 6%, so she recommends getting tubes put in her ears.  So, surgery it is!  Her surgery is scheduled for May 28th, the day after Memorial Day.  I know it's not a serious surgery, but it's still going to be so hard to hand her off to the nurse while she's wearing tiny baby scrubs.  =(

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Roadside Equipment

This morning Travis went to check on Mila while she was playing in the kids' room.  

"Oh.  You're playing with the cone and barrel.  Again."


"You've got allllll these toys and you always play with those."

The cone and barrel he's referring to go to Aiden's matchbox cars.  It's a miniature road cone and barrel.  Mila loves them.  She chews on them, then puts the cone in the barrel.  Rinse, repeat.  What a simple life babies have.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I don't know why, but Aiden has been wetting the bed every other night for the past week or two.  He has been potty-trained since September.  I am exhausted.  Whenever this happens, he freaks out, wakes me up, then we have to change his clothes and sheets.  To help cut back on my exhaustion, I broke down and bought disposable underwear for kids that wet the bed.  

I was nervous about trying this because I didn't want to hurt his morale by putting him in a "diaper" and I also didn't want him to get excited about wearing them and stop using the toilet in the middle of the night.  Last night was our first night to try this and he's leaning towards liking the disposable underwear.  I'm walking a fine line between telling him it's okay to wear these because he has accidents and calming his excitement by saying it's not okay because only babies wear diapers. 

The new rule is, no fluids after 7 pm.  Some nights that's difficult because we get home late and I would not expect him to eat dinner without a drink. We always make him go to the bathroom right before bed.  I know he wakes up sometimes to go in the middle of the night.  Maybe he's been sleeping heavier lately, so he doesn't wake up when he needs to go?

I was ecstatic he woke up with a dry underwear this morning.  If he can stay dry for several nights in a row, we will stop using them.  I'm hoping that happens quickly - no need for him to get used to this situation.  Crossing my fingers...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sad Week in the News

It's been a rough week to watch the news.  I'm sure most of you have heard of these items, but sometimes I like to use this blog as a journal so I can go back and see what was going on in my life.

  1. Boston Marathon Explosion - Two deadly explosions at the finish line killing three people and injuring 170 (including trauma severe enough that limbs have been amputated).
  2. Ricin letters - A conspiracy theorist sent two letters filled with the toxin ricin to President Obama and the U.S. Senator of Mississippi.
  3. Explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas - 15 people dead, almost 200 injured, town evacuated. And here is one reason why it scares me when people flock towards devastation (fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc).

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Keeping Up

About that lock box I mentioned yesterday...

Travis and I gave in and hired a housekeeper.  For the time being we have her set to come every other week.  If we need to push it out to every three or four weeks we might do that later.  She came yesterday for the first time.  I spent Monday evening in Urgent Care, then last night was T-ball.  I was driving home from practice trying to remember what state our house was in when I remembered she had come earlier.  I had to be very careful with my gas foot because it suddenly got really heavy at the prospect of what was waiting for us.

That woman cleaned things I haven't thought about cleaning since before I had kids.  She dusted the top of our door trim!  She took everything off my nightstand and dusted that! (I usually dust around those items.)  She moved a side table away from the wall in the kitchen to sweep and mop!  She cleaned our microwave.  

Seriously.  This is a big deal.  I don't have time to do many things.  Other items get done once a month or sometimes even longer apart.  The only items I take care of every day or week are my kids, dishes and laundry.  Everything else happens when I have time.  I barely even have time to sit down for dinner.  The longest stretch of time I get to sit with my plate is five minutes.  The rest of the meal is spent feeding Mila, getting Aiden seconds, cleaning up the food or drink someone spilled, etc.  But those five minutes are usually filled with guilt.  That's when I sit still long enough to notice the dust building up on my curtains, or the cobwebs that have formed in the corners.  I always wonder, when will I have time to clean that?  

I used to keep an immaculate home.  All my free time, when Travis was at work, was spent cleaning.  That free time is now filled with other more important items, so I feel comfortable saying I am happy to have a housekeeper.  She was super nice, though I will never see her.  She comes during the day while we are at work.  Hence the lock box.  We have a key lock box (like realtors use) to let her in while we're away.  This way she doesn't have our key all the time.

It's magical.  Absolutely magical.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mila's Ear Infection

Wow.  So I forgot about blogging for a little while.  Sorry 'bout that!

The past two months have been a little stressful with Mila.  She's had an ear infection that just will not go away.  She had two different oral antibiotics, then we tried the shot and now she is on Augmentin.  They gave her a crazy high dose, so she has an upset stomach and lots of diarrhea.  Like five times a day.  We started the newest med this past Thursday, so the diarrhea didn't get going until Friday night.  Since I was around to keep an eye on her, I was able to change her diaper the moment I heard her blowin' it up.  By Saturday morning she'd developed a rash I'd never seen before - some in her diaper, some down her leg.  I called our pediatrician's nurse help line.  The nurse was unsure what to do, so he called the doctor, who in turn said to bring her in if it got worse.  At that point, we didn't know if it was diaper rash (why would it be down her leg?) or an allergic reaction.  Sunday afternoon it seemed to be getting better so we didn't bring her in.

Monday (yesterday) evening, Mila's teacher told me she had horrible diaper rash.  I looked at it as soon as we got out to the car and sure enough, it had gotten worse.  Raw, broken skin.  It looked bloody, but there was no blood in her diaper.  I ran through the McDonald's drive-thru for Aiden, dropped off the casserole I had brought down at my friend's mom's house (her husband died a couple weeks ago) and then headed to Pediatric Urgent Care.  

We walked in the door at 5:45.  I guess I've never been on a Monday evening, because that place was FULL.  Every chair was filled.  I guess I have seen it that way, but Aiden was over a year old, so I took him to the regular urgent care clinic next door.  I checked in Mila, Aiden made friends with one of the kids waiting (who was thankfully in for a bug bite, not a sickness) and we started our wait.  

You know in the movies, when there's a couple at a restaurant and some family is letting there child run around screaming, dragging their spoon on the back of everyone's chairs?  Well that kid was in the waiting room last night.  See here for more info.  He was around 2 years old, shoeless and wild.  His mom kept trying to hold him on her lap to keep control, but he would just flail and scream.  Then she'd give up for a bit and he'd crawl under all the chairs in the room, putting anything he could find in his mouth.  He made it to the end of the chairs and another lady in the waiting room said, "Uh.  He just put an orange peel in his mouth."  The mom grabbed him when he crawled back and proceeded to pull out the orange peel, 5 fruit snacks and a rock.  Thankfully he's was the first to get called in back.

Mila peed through her diaper onto my lap twice.  I don't know why the diapers decided to stop working.  Maybe they weren't on tight enough?  Both times, I had to take her out to the car because I hadn't brought in any diapers.  I don't carry a diaper bag with me during the week because we just go to daycare and back.  I keep a couple extra in the trunk of my car for situations like this.  But each time I had to go out, I was trying to hurry so I didn't miss getting called in back.  I was out in the sun on Sunday without sunscreen so my shoulders are burnt.  I was carrying my purse on my shoulder, plus Mila will not sit on my hip because it hurts her too much.  Instead she clings to my shoulders like a baby monkey.  Normally it wouldn't be so bad.  With fried shoulders it's a little uncomfortable.

I was next in line to be called in back and a family comes running in carrying a limp child who's eyes are rolling back in his head.  I'm not a doctor, but that seemed more like a trip to the ER or maybe even taking a ride in the ambulance.  Anyway, obviously that kid got to go ahead of us.  

FINALLY at 7:30 we got called back.  The nurse took Mila's vitals and the doctor walked in right away.  She took one look at her and prescribed two ointments.  She took a sample to run a culture to check for staph.  We are medicating for staph anyway, since the culture won't be ready to read until Wednesday.  So!  Over to Walgreen's.  

I checked in at 8 o'clock (Aiden's bedtime and an hour after Mila's) with the pharmacist.  She said one of the meds needed to be compounded and it would take 30 minutes.  I pulled the car around to a spot, gave Mila a blanket and Aiden my phone (thank goodness for YouTube) and waited again.  I pulled into the drive-up at 8:30 and they said it would be another moment.  Fifteen minutes later another car pulled up behind me and I decided to drive around so that car could be helped.  At 9 pm, they gave me the medications.  The pharmacy tech said, "Sorry you had to wait so long.  We don't mix up that ointment until the customer arrives because of cost reasons."

If that glass was not there I think I would have slapped that woman.  If I would have known that, then I would have sat at that window from the start.  I only pulled around so other people could get through.  I was too irritated (sunburnt, tired, hungry, two tired/cranky kids) to go sit inside.  I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she was making up excuses for why it took so long.

Despite eating 5 of Aiden's leftover fries and 4 whole Jolly Ranchers, I was starving.  I just wanted to go home, gorge myself, and sleep.  What I really did was go home, get the kids ready for bed, medicate Mila (pure torture for her and me), eat a cup of couscous salad while watching some news coverage on the horrific Boston bombing, listen to Travis while he showed me how to use a lock box he bought that day (I'll try to remember to write about that later), clean up the house, THEN get ready for bed. 

My dad said parenting is perseverance.  True dat.

These doctor appointments for Mila are $30 a pop.  She has had 5 appointments for her ears and diaper rash.  Plus antibiotic costs.  It's been an expensive venture.  Thankfully Mila is our problem child since our income is a little healthier than it was when we had Aiden.  

Ugh, I'm cranky today.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Look Out!

We decided to put Aiden in T-ball this spring and I AM SO EXCITED!!!!  It is so stinkin' cute.  He had his first practice last week and he loved it.  He seems to be right in the middle of the group, age-wise.  It's a co-ed team, but there's only one girl.  Aiden was really shy for the first 5 to 10 minutes, but then he worked his way into the group.  For warm-ups the kids ran bases.  When Aiden made his first way around, he ran directly to me instead of home plate.  After the warm-up, they split the kids into two main groups, one with the head coach and the other with the assistant coach.  Aiden ran back over to me a couple times.  Once to ask if I saw what he did and once to ask for water.  Travis was 30 minutes late because of work, but when he arrived he went out to help corral the kids.  After that Aiden did better about staying with the team.

This past weekend we went to buy him gear.  I sure hope he sticks with this for a while because sports equipment is expensive!  There are only 4 bats amongst all the players, so we bought a bat.  We also got a couple balls for us to practice with at home, cleats, socks, practice shirt, baseball pants and a Texans cap.  The team colors are red and black, so we got him the red Texans hat for him to wear to games, practices or just whenever.  The team name is the Lookouts.  As in, 'Look out!  There's a ball headed your way!'  Ha.

Practices are on Tuesdays.  Last week we picked up fast food on the way up.  I don't want to do that every week, so I made PB&J sandwiches for dinner tonight.  We have to go straight from the daycare to the practice because it's so far away, so I packed it this morning.  I decided to put him on a team up near where we want to move so Aiden has a chance to meet kids he might go to school with soon.  Or at the very least, to make friends in the area.  It's also easier on Travis since he works in that area.  He can make it to the practices after work since we come up to him.  If we put him in the league in Galveston, Travis would never make it to practices in time.

I can't wait for practice tonight!  I just wish it was a little warmer...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Mila: 9 Months

It's been a LONG time - a long time since I've posted and a long time since I posted a Mila Milestone entry.  The last one was when she was 4 months old.  BAD MOM.  You can also add a note to my Bad Mom Resume because I forgot to feed my daughter yesterday.  She was being super cranky while we were out shopping when I realized I was TWO HOURS LATE feeding her a bottle.  Gah.  Poor thing. 

Her 9-month check up with the doctor was last week.  It was my favorite visit so far because there weren't any vaccinations!  Wahoo!  Here are her stats:
  • 15th percentile for weight, 85 percentile for height
  • 18.5 lbs
  • 7 teeth with 1 on it's way
  • Infection in both ears
I knew something was wrong with her ears so I made sure to point it out to the doctor.  It was bad enough that she would have noticed anyway.  It's so hard trying to decipher what might be wrong with a tiny human who can't speak yet.  I forgot how frustrating it can be.  She's been rubbing her ears a lot for the past couple weeks and periodically had a low grade fever, but I kept thinking it might be related to the teething.  The last appointment she had I was worried about an ear infection for these same reasons, but there was nothing wrong with her ears at that appointment.  I was so sad she was in pain that could have been fixed and I did nothing. 

Yesterday and today she is in much better spirits.  She has this gravely chuckle whenever she sees Travis, Aiden or I.  She thinks Aiden is hilarious.  I usually put Mila to bed whenever she gets tired in the evening.  During the week this can be as early at 6 pm (because she refuses to nap at daycare).  On the weekends it's usually between 7 and 8.  When I put her to bed early, I can focus on Aiden at his bedtime.  But when I put her to bed at the same time as Aiden, I can read them books together, which is super cute.  The downfall of simultaneous bedtimes (nap or at night) is they just sit in there and laugh at each other.  Saturday I walked in when I heard them giggling over the baby monitor.  Mila was standing and she fell onto her butt (on purpose) and they both started laughing.  It's pretty darn cute, but a little frustrating.

Mila is a blast.  I love her.  She is so sweet.  She loves hugs.  She loves to be held, unless she wants to explore, and then it's 'leave me be, woman'.  I was gone two weeks ago for a work trip.  Mila had learned to pull up on the bath tub a couple days before I left.  When I got back, she was pulling up on everything.  A few days later she was cruising around tables and furniture. Saturday she stood unassisted for the first time.  Now she does it all the time.  She pulls up on something, then lets go to put a toy in her mouth.  She is growing TOO FAST.  

Oh!  She is a GREAT eater.  She eats all the purées we offer her.  I refuse to feed her that nasty, watery meat mush you can get in a jar, but we have been offering her the meat we all eat since the doctor's approval last week.  She loves eating potatoes, puffs, frozen bananas, steak and all the fruit and veggie purées I offer.  I haven't really run across anything she doesn't like yet.

I just took all the pictures off my phone, so here are the only three photos I have of her with me:

She loves the musical magnet farm that Aiden used to play with.

In the nice weather, we've been going outside more recently.  She likes to pick up every speck of dirt, plants and sticks she can get her hands on.  The trick is to keep a close enough eye on her that she doesn't ingest them all.

My dad asked for a photo of us together.  Mila was a little grumpy because of her ear infection/teething when I took this shot.
 And a quick comparison:
Neither baby has had a hair cut by this point.

Friday, February 22, 2013

In the Mirror

Have you ever heard of Body Dysmorphic Disorder?  I think I have it.  Well, not really, since it's considered an "obsession" with one's imagined flaws.  I don't obsess over it, but I do think I view myself differently from how others do.  For example:

I feel like this huge, clumsy, blob-thing.  But then someone will say something about my appearance and to totally throws me off.  Like the other day, one of my friends told me she always loves my natural makeup.  I really try to go for the natural look, so that was a huge compliment for me.  I constantly worry that I've got globs of makeup all over my face, like I'm doing it wrong.  

Oh, the other day someone even said they like my ombre hair.  I died.  I don't purposely have ombre hair.  I'm just attempting to grow out my highlights since I don't have the time or money to keep up with it.  I guess I'll take what I can get.

Same thing goes for my size.  I feel huge.  Granted, not as huge as I used to be (see here).  But lately I've gotten some compliments from people at work.  It makes me feel GREAT, but every time someone says something nice I'm like, really?  You see THAT?  Huh.  

It's so strange, like my eyes don't work or something.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


The other day we were stopped at a stop sign when Aiden saw the car in front of us giving money to a man standing on the side of the road.  Aiden asked if we had to talk to the man too.  I explained he was asking people for money.  Aiden wanted to give him some, but I didn't have any cash.  He then offered to give the man money from his piggy bank.  I told him we didn't have time for that, so Aiden offered to bring it back at Christmas time.  

"Why at Christmas?" I asked.

"Because I want to."

It was so sweet I teared up.  I know money does not have the same value to him that it does to adults, but I was still impressed with his willingness to give away his belongings.  Maybe he's not turning out so bad after all.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Music Time

The other night at dinner, Aiden randomly announced, "Ms. K's* hair fell off today." 

Aiden's preschool teacher is African American so Travis and I quickly understood what had happened and couldn't help but laugh.  Once we calmed down, we asked how that happened.  He said, "She did this [he shakes his head and body really fast like a crazy dancer] and then it fell on the ground."

I JUST DIED.  Kids really do say the darndest things.

*Names have been changed to protect the individual.  ;)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Ups and Downs

Working out is tough.  I've never had an injury related to exercise, but I think I might have one.  I'm not exactly sure what's going on, but my ankles hurt.  I've had to stop doing some of the jumping moves.  Instead I do something similar without having to land hard on my ankles.  I need to go buy ankle wraps to see if that helps at all.  Travis doesn't do some of the jump moves either, but for a different reason.  It hurts his lower back.  He's thrown his back out twice, so he's trying to avoid that again.  

I have never been a scale watcher, but ever since I had Mila I've been unable to avoid it.  I lost a pound per week the first two weeks doing Insanity.  But this last week I gained 3 lbs!  I don't know if it's fat converting to muscle, or if I ate too much due to Valentine's Day.  I really hope its the muscle thing.  I feel like my pants are a little looser, but I can't help but feel some disappointment.

I have a work trip next week, which means I'll have to take a week off of exercising PLUS I'll be eating all the horrible food they'll be feeding us.  I'd like to say I will find time to get in some cardio, but I've never been good about that.  The only reason I'm sticking with it at home is because Travis does it with me.  The best I can do is avoid all the sweets (my weakness). 

On the upside, we had our second fit test last week and I saw HUGE improvement.  I kept meaning to post my numbers (because I know you all care so much), but it always slips my mind.  I know the workouts are easier because I can make it through an entire round without having to stop like I used to.  Now the thing that holds me back is muscle weakness by the end.  I can only do so many push-ups and planks before my arms turn to Jello mush.  Overall I feel good about it.  I just need to remember the positives!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sweet Peas

Last night I made peas with dinner.  Travis doesn't like many vegetables, so he didn't put any on his plate.  I know Aiden doesn't like peas, so I didn't give him very many.  I never make him finish every last bite of food on his plate, but I do have a rule that he try everything.  You never know when your tastes will change!  So when Aiden asked if he could get some yogurt (his dessert), I told him he had to eat a bite of peas.  He popped one in his mouth and swallowed it whole.  He's learning how to swallow without chewing already.  Cracks me up every time.  Travis asked Aiden if he could have some, so he took a bite and chewed it.  

Aiden said, "Ewwwww.  Don't chew it.  Just put it in your mouth and do this." He then mimed swallowing it whole.

Travis asked, "Why?"

"Because, if you bite it, this comes off," he pulls off the outer shell, "and then it goes pfth," and he makes a wet sound denoting the innards of a pea coming out.

We DIED.  I love it when we get a little insight into the inner workings of Aiden.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Time Passes

When I think back to my childhood, I felt like it took forever.  I felt like I was a child for so long I couldn't stand it.  I longed for the day when I could run my own life.  Now that I have it, I enjoy and would never want to go back to my childhood.  Not that my childhood was bad, by any means.  I have many fond memories of my family and friends.  I just hated the rules.  When I was younger:  Having to be in bed by 8.  Having to be home by a dark.  Not allowed to have a Nintendo.  Not being able to go from one friend's house to another without asking my parents first.  Not being allowed to wear makeup.  When I reached high school:  Not being allowed to go on dates.  Having to be home by 10, and later midnight.  All are typical childhood limitations.  

I see so much of myself in Aiden.  Stubbornly independent.  I know he cannot stand the limitations and rules we have about watching TV, playing LeapPad, getting dressed and going to bed.  I just hope he can see the fun in things and not focus on all the limitations.  Childhood takes a long time when you're in the midst of it.  

The older I get, the faster time seems to travel.  College was fun, but it was over before I realized what I was living.  Travis and I spent a couple more pre-parental years running amok, but that was soon over as well.  Next came the marriage, house and kids.  Aiden is already 3 years old and our second child is Army crawling all over the house with her mouthful of 5 teeth.  

TIME FLIES.  It really does.  This video puts it into artistic perspective:


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

It's getting easier

I can't believe I'm saying this, but Travis and I are still doing the Insanity workout.  The way it's laid out, you have hard cardio for 4 days, then a day called "cardio recovery" that's actually hardcore yoga.  Then there's two more days of hard cardio before you get a day break.  Three times during this schedule we have had to postpone by a day.  We aren't skipping it, just postponing.  That means tonight is our second fit test (we do this every two weeks).  The first was our first day.  I'm actually really looking forward to seeing how much of a difference there is.  

I've only lost 2 lbs since we started, but I will take it!  It's the lowest I've been since I had Mila, so it makes me feel good.  Despite constantly being sore I can really tell a difference in my fitness.  The other day I went out to our veggie garden to pull weeds and dead plants in prep for the new crop.  After I finished, I was stepping out and realized squatting had been terribly easy.  I didn't struggle with it at all.  That's a huge improvement for me considering I spend a lot of time on the floor with my kids. 

I'm also starting to enjoy the work outs.  They're still hard, but I find myself cursing at the TV less and having the energy and happiness to give Travis a high five or talk about the work out afterward.  It makes me want to stick with it.  I feel better about myself enough that I want to keep going.  I'm going to be forthcoming here and say that I know my body will never be exactly what I want without plastic surgery.  Having babies has ruined my mid-section.  But if I could get things leaned out a bit I'm sure it would make me feel more confident.

This is the first time in my life I have enjoyed exercise.  I take that back.  I used to go jogging with a friend my senior year of high school.  About a month into it I really enjoyed my runs.  But then it started snowing and we quit.  Story of my exercise-life!

Friday, February 1, 2013


A CGI Disney short that was made to look like the old school hand drawn movies I grew up with:

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Day 3 of Insanity

Day 3 (last night) was horrible.  I stuck with the cardio the entire time, but then there were a lot of moves that involved being in push-up position.  My shoes were dusty from the garage, so I kept slipping everywhere.  I found it horribly frustrating and was super pissy afterward.  Travis really wants me to stick with this (I'm trying not to take it personally) so he took the time to mop the garage.  Ha!  He would have just hosed it out, but it would have required moving all Aiden's toys out of the way.  Mopping was quicker.  

Giving Day 4 a try!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


So sad I can't stand it.

My Foray into Insanity

I wasn't going to admit to this, but Travis and I have started the Insanity workout.  Here's the thing - I've never been one for exercise.  Every once in a while, I feel guilty about my inactivity and start some sort of a workout (jogging, walking with friends at lunch, going to the gym, etc).  It's usually short lived because I despise it so much.  In the past, I have had people offer to loan me the Insanity or P90X disks.  I was always quick to say 'no thanks!'  This time, Travis got a hold of a set on his own, so there's no avoiding it.  

I don't usually talk about exercising because I hate telling people that I'm doing it, only to quit a month later and have to admit it.  This time I've decided to talk about it.  Though make no mistake, my goal at this point is to make it three days.  We have two days down, so if I can make it through tonight, I'll have made my goal.  If I'm still into it, I will lengthen my goal periodically.  

The workout involves a lot of movement.  Our living room is fairly small and has hardwood floors, so all our jumping would probably shake the house and disturb the kids.  So Travis set up a TV and DVD player out in the garage.  An additional bonus is the cold concrete so I can pass out on the chilled floor whenever I feel like I'm going to overheat.

The first night was just the fit test.  You have a minute of some exercise you do repeatedly, then a minute of rest to drink water and write down how many you were able to do.  We are supposed to do this every two weeks so we can see how much we are improving for motivation.  It was ridiculous.  I was like, "This is just a test??  It's not even the workout??  I'm DYING."  I made it through each workout and wrote down my numbers as we went.  Travis on the other hand, was going bat shit crazy and couldn't even keep his head straight enough to count.  Sooooo he has no baseline to go from.

We brought the baby monitor out to the garage with us, but we can't really hear if Aiden gets out of bed.  The next morning we found out he had wet the bed.  When we asked him why he didn't go to the bathroom like he always does and he said he tried to tell us, but we were hiding from him.  I guess he tried to come out while we were in the garage.  I felt horrible.  But then I remembered he had snuck out of his room to get a toy that was in our room and fell asleep with it (caught red-handed).  He has no problem sneaking out for toys, but not to use the toilet.  Not sure what that was about.

The second night (last night), we showed him how to call for us through the baby monitor.  We went through our normal routine and had him go pee before bed (like always) and then we headed out to the garage.  15 minutes into our workout (cardio and plyometrics) and was calling for me through the baby monitor.  I went inside and brought him to the bathroom so he could take care of the few drops he mustered up, then sent him back to bed.  The whole time I did high knees and butt kicks outside the bathroom door while I coached him to hurry.  

I think the second night was harder.  Travis thought it was easier.  I think he just learned to pace himself a bit.  I honestly couldn't keep up for the last 8 minutes.  I half did what was asked of me, but I knew if I got down in the high plank position one more time, my arms would give out and I'd have to explain a bruised chin at work today.

The beginning of the workout is okay.  I want to die by the end of it and afterward I feel faint and honestly a little pissed.  I don't know why all the people on the video are smiling, yelling and high-fiving.  I wanted to high five Travis in the face when he lifted his hand for our own celebration.  Outside of that, I don't mind it.  I'm sore today and honestly I like it.  The workouts are about 45 minutes long and it's in my garage which means my travel time (as opposed to driving to a gym) is amazing.  I hate that my only free time is now filled, but it seems to be a good exchange.  Now let's see how long I can do this...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Internal Battle

Last night I stopped at Walmart on my way home from work to pick up some items we desperately need for the week.  As I was walking through the store, I was sucked into the Mardi Gras display since we are going to the parades on Saturday.  Every year we go up to the Seawall in Galveston and hang out at our friend's RV.  There are other kids around so Aiden is entertained and of course there's lots of food and drinks.  Back to my trip to Walmart... I was checking out the random things you pretty much use once, then discard.  I  picked out a few items, mostly entertainment for the kids, and continued on my way.

At the checkout, I was standing in line and noticed the cashier.  He was over 6 feet, heavy set, balding, but with long, stringy hair.  My first instinct was, EEK!  Serial killer!  I quickly felt guilty because I do not know this man.  He might be a really great guy for all I know.  I loaded my groceries on the belt and stood in front of him while he rang everything up.  When I got closer, I realized his hair was stringy because he was sweating profusely.  Droplets were beading at his head, falling down the strands and landing on his shirt.  I had a little ick factor about the fact that some drops made their way to my reusable grocery bags.  He started to make some small talk about loading the bags and he seemed to be genuinely sweet.  I felt horrible about my initial reaction towards him.

Then he starts ringing up my Mardi Gras gear: shirts for the kids, stick on mustaches, a headband, light-up glasses.  

He said, "Oh ya.  Mardi Gras."  

I said, "Ya!  It really snuck up on me!  I totally forgot about it until my friends mentioned it a week ago."

"Ya, well, personally I think any city that celebrates Mardi Gras is similar to Sodom and Gomorrah."

Blink, blink.  "Really?  You think it's all bad, all the time?"

"Well, no.  God said if there is even one good soul left in the city, then it is worth saving.  But cities like New Orleans, it sounds like it's year round there, so..."

"Huh.  Well, that does sound sad..."  Give me my receipt, give me my receipt, give me my receipt...

He hands me my receipt, I give the woman behind me in line wide eyes and make a beeline for the door.

What the heck??  WHY?  Was he so socially awkward that he didn't see how rude he was being?  I was purchasing Mardi Gras items, which means I am probably going to celebrate accordingly.  Otherwise I'm convinced he hates everyone and takes any chance he can to judge and bring down those he thinks are doing wrong.  I'm not a religious person, but I know a few things, so please see here.  I felt a little bad for the guy though.  What was his upbringing that he became so inept at casual conversing? 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Never Again

Whoopsie!  I totally forgot to post about our road trip to Illinois.  It was pretty horrific, so honestly I think I was just trying to block it out for sanity reasons...

The drive TO Illinois wasn't anything extraordinary.  We left the area by 7, after a full day of work.  Ariel, Travis and I were supposed to share the driving responsibilities, but an hour into Ariel's first turn threw that out the window.  She got pulled over because the license plate lights were out on the truck (we had no idea).  She was mugged a while ago and has never gone back to get her license renewed.  I don't really understand why, but that's how it goes.  She's been using her Passport as a photo ID in the meantime.  When the cop pulled up her driver's license on his computer, it turned out her license was expired.  He was really nice and let her off with a warning, but that took her off the drivers list.  Less sleep for Nikki.  We stopped at the first truck stop we passed and bought replacement bulbs so we wouldn't get pulled over again.  The entire trip took us 17.5 hours.  Before kids, the trip took us 16 hours, so I didn't think that was so bad.

The drive back was a horrific nightmare that easily competes with the Hurricane Ike evacuation.  Here's a quick overview of the Ike drive: 4 humans, 3 dogs, 3 cats (One of which was mewling incessantly and peed all over herself.  After the Benedryl she drooled all over her cage as well.)  Two hours into our hungover ride back, all the luggage fell off the roof rack into traffic on the Interstate.  Imagine all the headache/nausea-ridden people chasing down suitcases before a semi ran over it.  Good times.

But this trip may have been worse.  I think it was because it lasted three times as long.  The drive back from Illinois took us 22 hours and here's why:  We left at 5 pm and I was the first to drive.  It was POURING rain, so we had covered the bed (with all our Christmas presents, luggage and Ariel's new moped) of the truck with a giant tarp.  The radar on showed a giant red rain cloud over our entire route.  We decided to change our path so our entire drive would not be in rain.  

Two hours into our trip (still in Illinois), all traffic was being directed off the Interstate.  All of it.  No cars going, no cars coming.  We stopped at a gas station for dinner and to see what was going on.  When we got out of the truck, we noticed the tarp had split in half and all our belongings were soaked.  No tarps for sale at the gas station.  Traffic was being redirected because there had been a hazmat semi accident/chemical spill TWO DAYS PRIOR and they were still cleaning it up.  I remember saying, "Starting this trip off with a bang."  There was no advance warning about what we were supposed to do.  How hard is it to get a road sign out there?  We were redirected onto some tiny two lane road without street lights.  Because it was so late, it was mostly 18-wheelers out on this winding, dark, wet road.  SO SCARY.  Three miles later, we were back on the Interstate headed to the nearest Walmart for a tarp (20 miles away).

It was 45 degrees out and we weren't up for spending the remainder of the trip soaking wet, so Travis picked up some rain ponchos when he got the new tarp.  My hands were numb by the time we got the tattered remains of the old tarp off and the new one on.  That stop took us an hour and a half.  Three hours later we stopped for gas and noticed the second tarp had tore in half as well.  We gave up on it at that point. 

Travis and I took turns driving 50-60 mph in the torrential down pour.  It finally let up when we got to Mississippi.  We made a stop for gas at some point.  Aiden had to use the restroom so I took the time to check Mila's diaper.  At some point unbeknownst to us, she had a complete poopy diaper blowout.  I couldn't believe none of us smelled it.  Maybe it was packed under her well enough we didn't notice?  Maybe we were all too stressed to notice anything aside from the task at hand?  Thankfully I had an extra set of clothes for both kids in the cab of the truck.  I threw Mila's clothes directly into the trash since I knew the stain would set before we made it home.  I didn't want to carry her through the gas station, so she got a bath by baby wipes in the parking lot.  Between cleaning her and her car seat I think I used half a pack of wipes.

Back on the road again... I think it was 7 am when we stopped for breakfast at a Waffle House.  The kids were both awake (Aiden didn't sleep much) and I wanted to give them a chance to stretch their legs.  We had a greasy breakfast, refueled the truck and got back on the road.  About an hour after breakfast, Aiden decided it wasn't sitting well with him and regurgitated the entire meal.  Thankfully he complained first so I had a bag handy, but some of it made it down his front despite our efforts.  Stop #352.  Wipe bath #2.  Hoping there were no more stops for clothing changes or our kids would drive the rest of the way naked.

That was it.  I think.  Travis, Mila and I were all on the tail-end of horrific colds during the drive.  Ariel was on the front-end of her's.  Aiden made it through it all without ever getting it.  We hadn't slept all week because Mila was teething, so she thought waking up between 4 and 5 every morning was necessary.   Needless to say, it was the worst drive of my life.  I was absolutely exhausted and thankful I had taken Monday off from work to unpack and do laundry.  I was hoping to take a nap that day, but of course I didn't.  I took a couple breaks to read though.  

I think, at this point in the kids' lives, the longest road trip we will tackle is 4 hours.  When they get older, perhaps we'll try it again.  I remember taking lots of road trips when I was a kid and I remember them fondly.  Though most of them were in an RV, so we had room to sprawl out.  No different than being stuck inside on a rainy day at home, really.

See why I was blocking it out?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Whirlwind Week in Illinois

This past week we drove to Illinois to celebrate Christmas with our family.  It was easier than previous years because we were able to split up the celebrations so there was one day per family (both our parents are divorced which equates to FOUR Christmases).  In the past, everyone wanted to celebrate ON Christmas Eve or ON Christmas Day.  That meant splitting up the visits into 4 hours in the morning and 4 hours in the evening on both days.  Crazy.  

It's been three years since we were in our hometown.  It was Alex' high school graduation.  Aiden wasn't even a year old yet.  It was strange to see the area.  It has changed so much since we were there last.  Tons of new construction.  It was sort of like playing an old video game.  I had some muscle memory about how to get around, but I couldn't lay out a map of the area in my head.

I spent a couple days with my friend Chrissie, who I miss dearly.  We have been best friends since I was in 3rd grade (she was in 1st).  We both live busy lives filled with work, family and a social life, so we don't spend a lot of time talking on the phone.  What I love about her is we can go months without talking, but when we do find a moment when we are both free to chat it's like no time has past.  Neither of us holds a grudge against the other for being out of touch because we are in the same chaotic boat of life.  It's the same way when we see each other.  We can immediately talk to each other about anything.  No limitations, no judgement.  It's liberating, really.  I hate that we don't get to do that every weekend. 

Thursday night Travis and I left the kids with my dad and went out for dinner and drinks with Alex, his girlfriend Laura, Chrissie and her husband Jordan.  We had SO much fun.  We went to a Mongolian barbeque place called 301 Mongolia in downtown Champaign.  Its a stir fry buffet where you physically pick out what you want (rice vs noodles, veggies, meat, sauce) then hand it to the cook.  The server brings it out to you when you're done.  After dinner we walked down the block to a bar where we drank more wine and played pool.  We skipped over to a pub at some point and tried a few fancy beers.  We finished the night at some greasy diner.  Despite both of us having a terrible cold, we were able to really enjoy ourselves.  It was fabulous.

I will have to post separately about our drive there and back.  For now, here's the rest of the week in photos:

Aiden, Travis, Alex and Callaway played in what little snow they could find.

Grandpa Ken and Mila really hit it off.

Aiden showed everyone his new LeapPad from Gpa.

Gaga and Mila meet.

"Christmas" dinner at Dad's

All bundled up with places to go.

Aiden and his Uncle Sean were best buds.

Damn smokers (Travis is just faking)

Christmas at Gpa's - his place is tiny, but it's homey.

Chistmas at Grandma Carol's - great food and tons of grandchild spoiling.