Category Archives: Holidays

The Difference a Year Makes

Happy Labor Day weekend!  It’s a hot, miserable day to kick off the Illini football season here today, and I can’t be happier.  That’s because it’s the complete opposite of last year when Hurricane Isaac came through and busted our drought.  More importantly it’s a very different weekend in our lives.  It was possibly the worst in either Eric’s and my lives.  Tyler had intussusception and subsequent surgery to fix it.

It all started the Friday before Labor Day.  Tyler was very sick with what we thought was a nasty cold.  He was sleeping constantly and very miserable.  Sometime that evening we decided it was time to take him to the doctor.  He was lethargic, listless and not like himself at all.  When we got to convenient care, he threw up in the lobby.  If you want to get in quickly to see a doctor, that’s the way to do it.  We didn’t even have time to fill out the forms.  The doctor told us it was a virus and an ear infection and sent us home.  We thought that didn’t sound too bad, until we got him home and one of us was up with him all night.  He just kept throwing up.  It was a long exhausting night and the poor guy just kept getting worse and worse.

Once the morning came, we were back in contact with the hospital. This time talking to a nurse on the patient advisory line.  Even though he’d been throwing up all night they told us that we couldn’t bring him in until it had been 6 hours with nothing going in him.  So we sat around the house all day on Saturday watching the Ilini game as everything we put in him came immediately back out.  It was awful.  He wanted to be held constantly.  If he wasn’t throwing up, he was crying.  My poor baby was miserable.  As soon as the Illini game was over, I’d had enough.  It hadn’t been 6 hours yet but we were going to the ER.

Once there, it only got worse.  He had become pretty unresponsive.  Once we finally saw a doctor, they berated us for waiting so long to come in because he was so dehydrated (I’d like to give the nurse who told us to wait 6 hours a piece of my mind). They started an IV in him which as a parent was quite possibly the worst thing ever.  They couldn’t get the IV into his tiny little 6 month old baby veins.  They poked and prodded.  There were 3 of us holding him down.  To this day, I want to break down and cry thinking of it (in fact I’m tearing up right now).  He needed it though. He was so dehydrated and still couldn’t keep anything down.  After a good 30-40 minutes of them attempting they finally got it in, he started getting fluids, and he started getting better.  He actually ate without it coming back up and we thought we’d get to go home and enjoy the rest of our long weekend.  Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.  They got a room ready for him because they wanted to make sure he continued getting the fluids he needed and that he stayed ok through the night.  In retrospect I’m very thankful they did this even though at the time I just wanted to go home and take care of my son.

Finally around 8pm that night we made it to Tyler’s room.  I came home to get some clothes and food and to let Guster out, so that I could spend that night.  Eric came home shortly after I got back.  If I thought the previous night was bad, this one was a lot worse.  About an hour after Eric left, Tyler started crying and getting sick again.  The nurses came in to check on him, but it was pretty much just me and him trying to make it through the night.  Neither of us slept much.  I spent a lot of the night standing and rocking and shushing him.  The nurses eventually had me marking on the board how much he was eating and what time it came back up.  It ended up that nothing was staying in at all.  It continued into the next day, but luckily Eric came so I could at least take a little cat nap.  It felt like it took forever for the on call doctor to come in.  I would have said it was at least noon, but it was probably more like 10am.

The on call weekend doctor thought it was probably just that he was extremely constipated, and his stomach was upset.  They gave him a laxative and took some x-rays just in case.  The x-rays didn’t show anything, but since it was a Sunday, the doctor wanted to be on the safe side. He ordered a CAT scan.  He told us he really didn’t think it would find anything though. The CAT scan like the IV was another horrible experience of Eric and I holding him still to try to get a good image.  It took a lot of tries and a lot of screaming and crying.  Shortly after we got back to our room, the doctor came in looking very grim and told us it was intussusception, and that it required surgery.  (TMI warning here) An intussusception is basically when the bowel goes in on itself basically.  It telescopes.  Usually, there is bloody stool (sorry to gross everyone out!), which Tyler didn’t have.  His body just wouldn’t let anything go through.  There are no pediatric surgeons at our hospital or in Champaign at all, so Tyler would have to go to Peoria to the OSF Children’s Hospital.  They wanted to take him by helicopter, but since Hurricane Isaac was visiting that weekend, it was too bad to fly.  We were going by ambulance.  This was actually better because one of us could go with him this way.

It seemed to take FOREVER for the ambulance to come.  From what the doctor told us, it seemed like it was an emergency situation, and that it needed to come quickly.  As we sat there, Eric and I just got more and more anxious and Tyler got more and more listless. Finally, they got there and tied Tyler’s car seat onto the board.  The ambulance seemed a little on the incompetent as well.  If we hadn’t had the car seat, we have no idea how they would have transported him. Eric rode with Tyler to Peoria while I came home to get clothes and things Tyler might need while we were there and to get Guster’s stuff ready for my parents coming to pick him up.  I don’t remember the drive at all except crying a lot and trying to stay awake.  It’s a bit of a miracle in itself that I got there unscathed.

Tyler and Eric were already in a room when I got there.  Then there was more waiting.  At some point, they finally came to get him to take him to have an ultrasound to determine how bad the telescoping was.  They had one procedure to try before going to surgery, a “nonoperative reduction”.  Basically they gave him an air enema to try to cause the part of the intestine that is inside the other portion to stretch back out.  The nurses and ultrasounds techs told us it would be very hard to watch, and he’d be very uncomfortable.  After watching the IV and the CAT scan, I couldn’t bare to stay and watch the air enema.  Eric stayed with him though, and was the support I couldn’t give at that point.  It took a lot longer than I was expecting which I had a feeling would mean bad news.  It was.  He supposedly did  not respond to it, so it was time for surgery.  We met Tyler’s surgeon.  He wasn’t a very friendly sort, but he was very competent and seemed like this was no big deal.  That reduced our nerves tremendously, but with a 6 month old who knows what could go wrong.  Worrying about his reaction to the anesthesia was my biggest concern. It was a laproscopic surgery and Tyler would have 3 small incisions where they would straighten his intestines back out.  Easy Peasy.

Finally at 11pm Sunday night, they started the surgery.  Eric and I were curled up in the waiting room praying, hoping and worrying pretty much all by ourselves that night.  I think both of us were just hoping beyond hope that everything would be alright.  Finally around 11:45pm the doctor came in and told us the best news ever.  The air enema had evidently just taken awhile to take effect and his bowels had straightened out. Everything was fine.  Tyler did have a hydrocele probably from all the throwing up that they would go ahead and take care of since he was already under.  Then the waiting began for him to wake up.  He came out perfectly.  I wouldn’t expect any less from my brave little boy.  I let Eric go in first because he was way more shaken from all of this than I was at least visibly.  I think somewhere around 2am we finally got back to Tyler’s room for a little sleep

The only picture of Tyler during this time.  This was on Labor Day after everything was ok.

The only picture of Tyler during this time. This was on Labor Day after everything had happened an he was ok.

The next day, Monday (Labor Day), they said Tyler was doing fine, but they wanted to watch him for awhile longer to make sure his bowels weren’t affected by any gangrene and were working fine.  So we began a day of trying to convince Tyler he wasn’t hungry after not keeping any food down since basically Friday morning.  It was difficult, but it didn’t matter because he was going to be ok.  We had an absolutely wonderful nurse that day.  I can’t remember her name now but she went out of her way to find toys for Tyler to play with and tried to put off medicine if we were all napping. She was amazing.

After all of that, finally on Tuesday morning they gave us the ok to feed Tyler.  Eric’s mom showed up that day.  She’d been on vacation that weekend, and my parents couldn’t come up because they had Guster and the farm animals, not to mention the 5 hour drive , so it had just been the 3 of us doing all of this together, our little family.  Finally around 2pm they said we were free to go home.  It was one of the best days ever.  Tyler was happy and doing well.  Eric and I were exhausted but so incredibly happy.

Tuesday night after we got home.  He's so happy that no one could tell he'd just had a miserable life threatening 3 days

Tuesday night after we got home. He’s so happy that no one could tell he’d just had a miserable life threatening 3 days

So this story had a very happy ending, but there is one part that hangs over us everyday with every virus or cold Tyler gets.  There is a very real chance that this could occur again especially since he’s had it once already.  The intussusception was caused by the virus that had enlarged a gland which caused the bowel to rub against itself and telescope.  There is about a 10% chance of it happening again.  Luckily the bigger he gets the less likely it’ll happen, and it’s very rare for it to happen after the age of 2.  Since we’re nearing Tyler being 18 months in the next week or two, it’s become a much more distant memory and less of a worry.  On days like today when we’re having fun with our sweet boy and he’s laughing and playing it’s hard to remember that he was ever that sick.

Tyler and Eric tailgating before the Illini football game today.

Tyler and Eric tailgating before the Illini football game today.

All Hands for Moms!

Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all the mothers out there!  I was excited to celebrate my 2nd Mother’s Day this Sunday.  I spent a wonderful day at home with my 3 boys (yes Gus counts!).  We spent one day last weekend with my mother-in-law to celebrate and next weekend we’re going to go to the zoo with my parents to celebrate with them, so that left today just for us.

Since we didn’t spend the actual day with either of our mothers, I wanted to created something special for both grandmas.  What I came up with was a flower pot with the grandkids’ hand prints on it!  Eric’s mom’s flowerpot had all 3 boys’ hand prints (Tyler and my 2 nephews) while my mom’s only has Tyler’s.

The first step was to paint the terracotta pots with white house paint.

The first step was to paint the terracotta pots with white house paint.

I used two terracotta pots that I got from Hobby Lobby. I wanted to paint the pots white so it would be easy to see the hand prints against the pot. I tried some tempura paint to begin, but after 6 coats or so, it was still soaking into the pot and I was getting no where. Eric suggested that I try our Behr Premium Ultra paint that we use for trims and doors. I washed all the tempura paint off, and started in with the house paint.  It worked perfectly. I was able to cover the pots pretty well after 3 coats. It still wasn’t perfect, but it was white enough that we could easily see any paint color that was used on it.

I used a spray sealer from Krylon to coat the pots to keep the hand prints from running when the plants were watered.

I used a spray sealer from Krylon to coat the pots to keep the hand prints from running when the plants were watered.

The next step was to get the kids wrangled and paint their hands to put them on the pots. My nephews (and of course my brother and sister-in-law) were here visiting in the middle of April, so it was the perfect time to work on this. Some kids were more cooperative than others (Tyler was not a fan of anyone messing with his hands at all!) I used plain old washable paint for this step. My sister-in-law helped me decide what the design would look like. She also had the fantastic idea of having the kids put their hand prints on construction paper and creating a flower from that. Then we would glue it to a stick and put it in the flower pot. Unfortunately, I remembered to have one child do this extra step, and then I even forgot to take that to my mother-in-law. I’m getting forgetful in my old age!

Once the hand prints were dry on the pots, I was able to paint their names either above or below the hand prints, as well as “Happy Mother’s Day 2013” around the top lip of the pot. Eric even got in on the design by telling me I had spelled Mother wrong the first time around (I got “H” happy!). Thank goodness for washable paint. On my mom’s since I had more room I was able to write “Love, Tyler” on the back. The last step was to spray the pots with 3 coats of Krylon clear sealer. This was a mandatory step since the paint is washable and plants have to have water!

The finished product.  My mother-in-law's is on the left, and my mom's is on the right.

The finished product. My mother-in-law’s is on the left, and my mom’s is on the right.

I think they turned out pretty well! The grandmas like them! My mom doesn’t have hers yet, but she has seen pictures of it. I’m glad that we were able to give a heartfelt present that will remind the grandmas of this Mother’s Day.

The amazing chocolate stuffed french toast with raspberry syrup that Eric made for me!

The amazing chocolate stuffed french toast with raspberry syrup that Eric made for me!

As for my Mother’s Day, it was much better than the first when we were all sick! Tyler slept in until after 7am, which was amazing! Eric made me delicious chocolate stuffed french toast with an amazing raspberry sauce.  My wonderful husband and son gave me a gorgeous petunia hanging basket and some of my favorite M&Ms, coconut! We then went to the local nursery to get plants for our garden as well as flowers for the flower beds. We had Chinese food for lunch, which usually I never get since Eric is not a “fan”.  Most importantly, I spent the rest of the day with my boys. I was even able to get most of my plants in the ground. It’s too bad I didn’t realize that there was a possibility for frost tonight before I planted them though!

It was a fantastic day. I love my guys and how sweet they are to me. I’m certainly one lucky gal!

After the Bunny

One way I like to decorate is to put something on our front door to go with the seasons.  It’s really easy from October onward because there is always a holiday.  It gets trickier after Easter when I take my bunny down for the season.  The decorations add a little bit of color to our house.  Our front door is white, the trim is black and the house itself is grey (at least to my eyes, Eric will tell you it’s blue!), so it’s pretty monochromatic.  For the past several years, I haven’t put anything up between Easter and mid-October.  Even though we have flowers around the house in the spring and summer, this year I decided I wanted something on the door too.  I decided to make a wreath for our door!

The various steps in my wreath making.

The various steps in my wreath making.

I took a plain twig wreath to begin, and I spray painted it a cream color.  It ended up an ashy color which I really liked.  I then wrapped a teal ribbon around it.  I finished it with a wooden S that I wrapped in yarn.  I gave Eric the choice of 3 different colors, and he picked the maroon color (to be fair the other choices were purple and pink!).  I had some problems wrapping the S.  There is a good chance at some point it will be taken off the wreath for a painted S, but for now it looks pretty good.  It’s definitely better than no color at all since our flowers are later this year!

The finished wreath

The finished wreath!

SNOW!

Finally it snowed here in Champaign!  We really haven’t had a real snow here in Champaign since the winter of 2010-2011.  Not very meteorological/climatological of me but we’re blaming it on the fact that in October 2011, we bought a snow blower since I was pregnant and refused to help shovel the driveway that season!  So we waited all last year for a snow big enough to use the snow blower.  There was only one little one that Eric took it out for a spin, but it really wasn’t worth the trouble. Last season was a little disappointing even for the very pregnant lady who hates snow!

So far this year had been a bust too!  Finally we were in a winter weather advisory for Christmas night.  It would be the perfect snow day for us.  We were both off from work all week.  We also weren’t traveling again until Friday, so we could be like kids again and really enjoy a snow day.  Eric and I hoped and watched the weather all day Christmas Eve hoping that the low pressure system would shift northwards, and we’d get that big snow Christmas night.  As we watched the weather though, I kept telling Eric that it was seemed like it was becoming more unlikely that we were going to get anything.  And guess what?!  We got nothing but a few flurries while my parents who hate snow and it makes their lives much more difficult got somewhere around a foot!

We went on about our week until Friday when we were heading down to my grandma’s to see my parents and grandma for Christmas.  It turned out there was another chance that day.  As we looked at this chance, it was clear early on it would split us.(the Champaign Effect?)  One system was going to the Chicago area and then another across my parents again (but supposedly on a few inches this time.)  Nope this time, we were drove through some very heavy snow showers on our way back but they died out about 50 miles south of Champaign, and my parents got another 7 inches!

FINALLY we had our snow though!  During New Year’s Eve day it snowed.  Granted it wasn’t a lot.  I didn’t take an actual measurement here but it looks to be about an inch.  The official measurement at work is 1.2 inches.  So really not a lot but at least we got some snow, and Eric got to use our snow blower.  He not only took care of our drive and sidewalks but also the neighbors’ sidewalks.

Eric figuring out the snow blower

Eric figuring out the snow blower. Also it seems like our neighbor is watching to make sure Eric knows what he’s doing!

SNOW2

Almost done with our driveway!

It was a nice way to end our break and head back to work.  Now maybe we’ll get a real snow when it would be more inconvenient and we have to go to work the next day…but that’s the way it usually goes 🙂

-L

Happy New Year

Documentation!  That’s one of my New Year’s resolutions.  I want to keep a record of our 2013, and that’s why I’m starting this new blog.  My goal is to at least have 2 posts a week and continue this no matter how busy life gets.  (If I tell myself I have to do it, I have to right?). I’m also hoping this forces me to take more pictures of our family and show them off, as well as documenting the projects I attempt, especially new recipes!

This will hopefully be a big year for us.  Tyler will turn 1!  I’m already starting to plan the party.  Soooo many ideas, so few themes I can actually have!  That I will definitely be documenting here!  He’ll walk and hopefully talk a little more.  Maybe there will be a fun family vacation.  Maybe Guster will actually start to like Tyler.  (That would be a nice change of pace anyway).  Maybe there will be other big changes too.  That’s the fun part about the new year…the chance that things can change, and we can change.

I have a few other resolutions this year.  Of course the ever present lose weight (especially that baby weight that should be gone already), try to exercise more (where that time will come from who knows), start cleaning more now that Tyler gets into everything, and my last one that is new to this year, learn a new hobby.  I haven’t decided what I’ll be learning yet, but I have a few options.  Maybe how to crochet or sew or something else entirely like learning more programming (something that would be more useful to my job anyway!) That’s the exciting part, it can be anything!

So hopefully I’ll be here often and I can keep you updated on my progress with my resolutions and my family.  Hope you all have a Happy New Year and good luck if you’ve made any resolutions.

-L