I cannot believe it, but Nick is now 8 years old!
This week was a whirlwind between his birthday weekend and my annual conference at work, so I'm just now getting a chance to sit and try to share this with you all.
We'd originally planned to have three of his four grandmothers here along with a family friend, but as it turned out, two were unable to make the long trips from FL and NC, and our friend was sick, so we had a simple, but excellent party with a smaller group.
Nick had the choice between taking one friend to the Aquarium for an outing or doing the whole themed birthday thing like I've done in prior years. He decided he'd rather just have his best friend over and go to the Aquarium, so that's what we did. And he chose a roast turkey for his birthday dinner along with a strawberry cake with chocolate icing. I still do the cake myself if at all possible, so I went out the night before to get the cake stuff.
His birthday is St. Patrick's Day, but that was on a Monday this year, so we celebrated the Saturday before. We woke up about 9am and I made the cake and got it into the fridge to cool so that I could ice it later.
I also had to run to the store for a few things while the cake was cooking. I took Gabi with me because she was ready and asking. Lily was off playing Minecraft with Nick, so it was just Gabi and I. We picked out broccoli and garlic bread for dinner, some drinks for the kids, and some ice cream to go with the cake. We even made it home in time to take the cake out of the oven.
While we were gone, Nick's friend arrived and they were all playing Minecraft.
Tom put the turkey in the oven at 11:45 or so, and we left the house. (Hoping that the turkey would just take care of itself and not turn into turkey jerky!)
By the way, boys giggle. They were both in the way-back (the third row of seats) and chatting back there while each playing on handheld devices (Tom's old phone and Nick's iPod touch) and we just kept hearing all this giggling back there. I knew girls giggled, but I didn't realize boys did too. Tom confirmed that yes, boys do giggle. Men just don't talk about it apparently.
We went to McD's first for lunch:
Then we headed to the Aquarium where we saw the harbor seal exhibit before we even went inside. They were enthralled already:
We went through the whole first building at the Aquarium, which apparently has a whole outside part and another building too, and here Nick and his friend are, overlooking the water right outside.
They got to all pet some rays, which felt weird and soft (and were pretty smelly):
And sit on a dolphin. The boys were chatting about something:
But the girls posed for me. Lily has long hair and Gabi has short hair. I'm so glad they're still happy doing this! It makes telling them apart in photos so much easier!
Gabi dressed up as the Garbage Monster, but Lily was too shy:
The boys were eaten by a shark. They're excellent actors:
And they picked up the girls for a group shot. The girls were quite taken with Nick's buddy, and as he's the baby in his family I think it was good for him to see what caring for younger kids was like.
While in the Aquarium, at one point Nick came out of a cave and said "This is the best birthday EVER!" Yay! We bought little things (shark teeth, little dolphin and a ring) in the gift shop, and then headed back to the house.
The turkey was doing fine, and I decorated the cake. I went ahead and did a Herobrine cake along with two grass blocks (this is all Minecraft stuff) and Nick seemed well pleased with my efforts.
The kids played outside till dinner, and then we had our turkey dinner and then did the whole cake and ice cream thing:
Nick's wish will come true, so I really hope he didn't wish for a brother:
And then we did presents:
Nick had a great birthday, and two days later he was officially EIGHT! That night as I was tucking him in, he said "I don't feel 8. I still feel 7."
That's ok Nick. To me you'll always be my baby.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Nicholas, who has been very reluctant to do anything that requires putting pencil to paper, did this on his own today. These are mobs (monsters) in his Minecraft game.
And this much detail, and WORDS on paper is awesome to me!
Granted, we'd given him his "focus-pill" (ADHD med) in case he got to go his friends house. (It is Saturday, and since this stuff costs so much and is so important for school we usually don't give it to him on the weekends.) I am so hopeful that this shows we are on the right track with his meds!
We are about to do another trial of a slightly different medication.
Our first trial of another med was horrible. It could have been worse, he didn't have a scary reaction or anything dramatic, but it was still immediately apparent that it wasn't going to work. Basically Tom gave him the new pill and then Nick talked for about 6-8 hours straight. He was focused, but it was like he couldn't stop his mouth from going!
But this next one is the same underlying medication that we know works, but has a different time-release, so hopefully he will still have some left in the afternoons. Maybe this will help with homework (or HELL as I think of it).
I did make some accommodations with his teacher on homework. We can do the writing for him if needed (like taking dictation), we can address the concepts in a different way, and he can turn it in on Monday instead of Friday. That way we can do it mostly on the weekend while he is on a pill instead of trying to wrangle with him in the evenings during the week with no meds.
I feel really good that we are addressing his ADHD so early in his school years. His teacher this year sees a whole different kind of Nick than his first grade teacher did. In fact she really just has no concept of what he is like on no meds. It has taken her a while to see that he even has a "disability" and to start implementing some of his accommodations. Because he just isn't a "behavior problem" this year! Which is wonderful, but I am glad she finally got that she has to stay on top of him as far as turning in his homework and communication folder! These pills are magic, but not THAT magic.
Nick is having a much more successful year though. He is at the top of his class in reading and science/social studies, but still needs work on anything that includes pencil/paper (so not just "writing/spelling, but math and anything else with written work).
But he doesn't get constant correction this year which is awesome for his self-esteem and love of school!
Friday, August 23, 2013
This is pretty much what Nick is allergic to: everything but the kichen sink. And then only if the sink is mold and mildew free!
I met Tom and the kids down at the allergist's office where Nick did his scratch test. Tom ended up taking the girls to brunch while I stayed with Nick for the test itself.
In order to help him stay calm and still I took photos so he could see what was going on back there. Here they are in order:
Maybe 2-3 minutes in:
5 minutes in:
10 minutes in:
Tonight, all they did was slather him up with some magic cream:
He's allergic to ALL grasses, ALL weeds, most molds/mildews, one of the two dust mites, all trees except one, and cats. His two biggest hives were actually not cats! They were both trees: pecan snd hickory.
Not allergic to:
Tomatoes (We were checking on a suspicion I'd had. That was the extra "T" in the lower left corner.)
The SLIT treatments aren't ready yet, but when they are we will sign him up. It's 100$/month but worth it to help him with all these allergies! This isn't allergy shots, instead they are sub-lingual (under the tongue) drops he does every day. We're very interested because Nick is a little dramatic about needles. (He was so good for the scratch test though!)
So back on the zyrtec and cyproheptad meds, in addition to singulair and qvar. And soon I'll pick up his ADHD med for fall too. Allergies, Asthma and ADHD. Nice alliteration, but a lot of meds.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
First came my surgical consult to start the ball rolling on getting a breast reduction someday. That actually went fine, although it lasted long enough to make me miss meeting Tom and the kids for...
Nick's pediatric urologist appointment. But honestly I figured it would be the same as before: take a peek, say he's fine, and done.
Not so much. He's 7, there is no retraction at all. Circumcision will be in October or so.
When I heard this I was on my way into the office after dropping off my car for inspection (it's a mandatory annual thing here). I ended up so busy at work I didn't have much time to fret about it.
Came home, the inspection was fine, very nice, and we did the dinner, bath, bedtime thing.
And then Lily told me, "I swallowed a clip."
Holy crap, what?
She was very downcast about it, but stuck to her story. I couldn't understand what she'd swallowed so I asked her to show me another one. Turns out that one of the books in her room had two staples in the spine to hold in the pages. For whatever reason, she pulled one out, put it in her mouth and swallowed it.
I called Tom upstairs and we questioned her calmly. I took out the other staple and bent it closed, opened, and halfway-opened to see if she could identify how it had looked. She said it looked like this:
Nick was freaking out by now, on the verge of crying, yelling and lecturing Lily, and Gabi for good measure, about swallowing foreign objects. He was pretty sure she was going to die any minute.
I called the pediatrician's office and they paged the doctor. This helped calm Nick a little bit and it seemed like a good idea even though I was sure they'd just tell me I was a worrywart.
The doc said he never had a case like this, where it was an open staple, and to take her to the ER at the children's hospital.
I took her and had Tom stay home with the other kids.
Showing off her bracelet:
After registration and xrays:
And the xray:
You can enlarge it to see the staple towards the right of the picture, in her stomach, in the shape Lily had reported!
The doc was glad it had reached the stomach and is pretty confident it will pass ok from here.
Home again now. We'll report this to the ped tomorrow.
Now tomorrow is Nick's allergy test. That should be fun!
Tuesday, August 06, 2013
For my birthday this year I decided to go ahead and turn 40. While I never lied about the year I was born, I have had a more flexible outlook on my "age". I learned this lesson from my grandmother, who I'm pretty sure had managed to muddy the water so much that no one knew exactly how old she was. She had the advantage of having her birth records literally go up in flames when the courthouse caught fire, so she could be as flexible as she wanted.
She told me many times that age was just a number. So you might as well just pick one you like!
When I turned 27 I decided to go ahead and just be 29. Then I hung out at 29 till I was 35. Then I stayed at my calendrical age (What? That could totally be a word!) for two years and when turning 37 I just went ahead and claimed 39.
See, that's the real secret, muddying the waters early. After a bit even I don't know my real age. Office forms at the doc? No problem! I just fill in my birthdate and tell them to do the math. (Just don't tell me!)
Anyway, I'd originally thought to stay 39 for a few more years, but that's so done, you know? Besides it's not every year you get to enter a whole new decade! So now I'm 40. And I'm owning it.
Now, for my birthday I thought a bit about what I wanted, and I told the kids that I wanted to "not yell" for my birthday. Now at first I thought this was a clever gift idea. You know, free, something they could deliver. But it got me thinking. Not yelling feels really good! I was in the mindset that it was my birthday and so I was getting my "not yelling" gift. But really it wasn't something the kids could necessarily give me. It was something I could give myself! And, if I so chose, I could give it to myself EVERY day!
So that became my new goal: not yelling.
New decade, new goals, amiright?
And while I've slipped a few times, yesterday was a rough day, I have to say I have been doing a pretty stellar job of it.
I was honest with the kids, telling them I was trying really hard to not lose my temper and yell. I figure showing them that Momma is human and has self-improvement goals she's working on is good for them, and it helps make me more accountable too.
At one point Saturday morning, while Daddy was having a little sleep-in and I was doing dishes, the kids were being wild and going fighty-screamy-bonker-cakes in the livingroom, which drives me straigh up the nearest wall. It was close, and I had to sing a song to myself about keeping my power and staying serene for about 15 minutes, but I did it!
Here's hoping I can keep it up! I think we'll all be happier for it. Especially me.
Now, I made another goal on Wednesday this week. I'd been working on wrapping my head around it for a while, but I finally actually started. I know it's small, but give me a little credit for making the first baby steps here.
I started exercising.
Don't get too excited now! It's only a 10 minute thing right now. My doc actually suggested only 5 minutes to start, but going around the block takes me about 10-12 minutes, so that's my baseline to start.
We started with a walk around the block when I got home. Daddy was finishing up cooking dinner, so we threw on shoes and I took the kids around the block. We learned about walking on the sidewalk, walking against traffic when there is no sidewalk, looking both ways, which trees were crepe myrtles, and probably a few more things along the way. We walked it the first day. The second day we let Nick take his bike.
We'll work up to the girls taking bikes maybe.
We had two days where we went to a nearby park and I walked in circles around the playground while they played.
We had a rainy day when a walk wasn't going to happen, so instead I danced with the kids for 10 minutes. Whew! You'd never know I used to be able to continuously dance from 11pm to 2am in college! But I'm sure if I keep this up it will make a difference.
The only other thing I added in are push-up against the wall. Only 10 to start. I'm terrified of injuring myself. And for good reason between my twiness elbow in both arms from 2011-2012 and a bout of trochanteric bursitis that put me in a wheelchair for a week in 2009. But I figure if I start slow, but steady, then I can build up to more.
The main thing, according to Dr K, is to make it a habit. Build in into my daily routine. So that's what I'm aiming for right now. Exercise has never EVER been a part of my routine. So this will take some doing. But I'm doing it!