The Gasp That Never Came

some people say I focus on the negative. I say i am preparing for the worst case scenario. Either way it has made me a nervous wreck. well, probably not just that. usually i can worry about all the bad things that are going to happen because my anxiety level is "manageable" so the worry doesn't push me over whatever edge i am near. There are alot of new stresses in dear old Texas that keep my anxiety at an all new high. so along with the worry just call me CRAZY!

well, i was talking to em's PT today about this being a "test" winter for her to see if she will be able to go to the public school preschool to get therapy after she graduates from ECI. I told her that we are hoping that with her tonsils and adenoids out she wont get pneumonia so much (she had it 4 times last year). She has really come very far since her tonsils were taken out. it is really amazing. no one expected such a drastic turn around. she had her first night since two weeks old without supplemental O2 the night right after surgery.

before the surgery she was a VERY loud sleeper. she would snore a lot. in the month or two leading up to the surgery it got progressively worse. as she got cold after pneumonia after cold after flu etc.. in the week before the surgery i had to sleep on the couch. they were working her in as quickly as possible but it had gotten to where as soon as she fell asleep she would quit breathing. her O2 levels hovered around the 60-70 range as she would dose off and then wake gasping for air only to fall right back to sleep from sheer exhaustion. it was unbearable to listen to. josh kindly slept in the room with her taking care of her as best he could while i lay on the couch listening to the alarm go off again, and again. it was heart breaking.

when i brought her home i still lay there listening until late into the night. just listening. to the nothing. i got up several times to make sure she was still breathing. after all up until now the gasp let me know she was still alive. if only just, sometimes.

i have often toy with the idea of writing a book about all this. but lets be serious. who wants to read a book where the person is still bitter and jaded? no one, that's who. so i have decided it would probably be better to wait until i might actually have something to say that people might want to hear. i even came up with a title that will get peoples attention but not really mean what they think it means. it makes me smile, knowing how hard we worked to accomplish it. The Gasp That Never Came.


A little Rant...To Prove I've Still Got It

when i was little i played outside. my sisters and i spent hours playing 4 square, steal the flag, ghost in the graveyard, soccer, and the occasional game of "see what we could get the neighbor boy to eat" (we were well educated in what plants were safe to eat but he didn't know that ;)).

as i was driving home after picking isa up from school we passed the playground near our building. i glared at the hoodlums. they ruin our park. i don't even want to take isa out there. she often asks if she can go out by herself for " just a minute". yeah, no. not only are their mean kids but it is way to open for child snatching. some might say i am too paranoid but i would say the parents of the kid who got snatched weren't paranoid enough. occasionally there will be one maybe two parents out there but usually no adults.
i also overheard a maybe 10 year old teaching the younger boys that it is ok to hit girls if you are under 18 because they wont send kids to prison. nice.

what the crap!? people teach your kids. you have made my daughter a shut in. you suck for that.


two years ago today

two years ago today em as recovering from this surgery.

she would end up here.

and here.

and here.

and here. for her first Halloween.

And i would have the most traumatic event in my life so far.
i have learned to say "so far".

but today, today was a good day.

getting the stirrups short enough was tricky.

isa even got a turn. It was her very first time on a horse.


Em is 2!

Brand New

Before everything

With Isa before everything

After one of her surgeries. maybe g-tube installation?
notice the notch cut out of the passy. that was so she could suck on the passy while intubated. it became her favorite when she knew how to suck.

Now. after she put on my bathing suit. very proud of herself.


Things I Have Learned About the Medical Field

1) NEVER show up 15 minutes early for "paperwork".
I can't count the number of times i have been told to do this. At first i did it. i mean they wouldn't waste my time right? wrong. this is padding time to make up for the fact that they are behind schedule. they want you waiting for them. i have waited over an hour for doctors on a routine basis. i would rather not add another 15 minutes to my entertain the baby time. thanks anyway. if you show up on time, you will have plenty of time to fill out their papers since they will inevitably be behind schedule by at least 20 minutes.

2) the joke about "practicing" medicine is not funny.
i have heard this joke so many times it fills me with rage. no, it doesn't make me feel better to think you don't know what you are doing with my kid. i have obviously trusted you enough to invest my time into this visit so don't undermine yourself by making a joke about your skill level. I'll take that needle please, go do your stand up somewhere else.

3) be nice.
this can get you a long way. whether it's a faster appointment, a room with a TV, stickers, a medical form signed, or just someone to talk to while you wait, it can make the whole day go better.

4) if the above doesn't work, act like you think your kid is going to DIE.
not only are they concerned about your kid, they will want to shut you up. they don't want to appear to anyone else (especially other patients) like they don't care about a potentially dying kid. they also don't want to get sued (in case they really are dying). this one has really come in handy for me. granted on a few occasions she really seemed to be dying but still, this can work for everyone. i have found that doctors will try and brush you off initially, they are busy and i can only assume that they think if you really need their attention you will pitch a fit. so why not oblige. works wonders.

5) don't assume doctors are actually listening to what you are saying about your child.
this is really true if you are seeing a specialist that requires a referral. they already have a file on your kid. and the reason they have made you wait for an hour is because they have actually been reading it. good? no. when they do this they are making a treatment plan for you child. without actually talking to you or looking at them. if you are not careful they will come in and go on and on about how they want to treat you kid without finding out if anything in their little report has actually changed. surprise surprise, kids grow and change! shocker i know! i have had several doctors get up and walk out of the room while i was talking to them about changes that had occurred since the initial report. needless to say we haven't been back to them.

6) don't leave until you are ready.
it's like a table in a restaurant. they want to fill your room with another patron so they are going to try and get you out of there as quickly as they can. after above doctor left my room i waited. eventually a nurse comes and asks you if you need anything. you can get answers really fast this way. they want you gone so they will go directly to the doctor with your question. he will then immediately answer. baring any really involved questions. it's a great way to get in those last minutes questions with doctors who do the pop in pop out method of treatment.

7) make friends with your doctor's personal nurse.
all doctors have them and this is the person you need to know. they get the things done. they know where things are. don't make them mad.

8) be persistent.
when em was a newborn i was in the office every other day for two weeks. it was only after two weeks that the doctor figured out what was going on. don't get me wrong i LOVE that doctor but i knew something wasn't right even though everything seemed OK. eventually he saw it too.

9)find out how sick your kid needs to be to be seen that day.
sounds shady i know but if you have a sick kid but they aren't "this" sick then you wont get in. I'm sure those rules are there for a reason but sometimes kids are really sick without A B and C being wrong with them. i have never been told once i got there that we should not be there.

Edit: josh felt i needed to be more clear on this point. if you think your child is sick enough to need to be seen that day but the doctors office doesn't, LIE. usually a high fever and lethargy are enough.

10) Don't assume the doctor is using the best method of treatment for your little one.
doctors get into a routine with treatments. if a kid comes in with this then they do that. My child was not made in a factory. look at her and listen to me! question why what they think would work best for your child and not just that it works best for them.

11) leave the door open if you can.
they will close it for your privacy. that doesn't mean you can't open it. with it open they can't forget you are in there. well, I'm sure they haven't really forgotten. i just want to make sure they can hear me. this has really helped when em is getting to the end of her rope. if the nurses can't get the doctor to you they will usually offer some cool treat or toy not usually left in the room for your child to play with. it helps to have something to offer they have never seen before. plus it gets hot in there.

12) You can choose!
whether this is what medicine, doctors, nurses, therapists or hospitals your child goes to, you have the ultimate power. i know this probably sounds like common sense but it catches up with you. the reason you doctors recommends certain places to you is usually because they have an agreement NOT because it is best. " you send yours and I'll send mine." hand pick everything and everyone. if you don't like the nurse treating your child then ask for the nurse manager and request a change. if they tell you they are the only ones that can do it they are lying. most of the time people are very understanding about this but occasionally you will get someone who takes it personally. try them out and if you don't mesh then move on. it will be better for your child if they know you trust whoever is about to stick a needle in them.

13) don't be afraid to get a second opinion!
this is a big one. you run the risk of offending the first doctor, but if they are any good they will understand. it can never hurt to be told the same thing by another doctor but i can hurt to not ask. i figure i am speaking for my daughter so we both get a choice right?

14) If they do a good job tell them.
everyone likes praise. chances are they have been chewed out by someone that day so they would probably like to know if you are happy. send gifts or card on holidays. they are much more likely to help you out in the future if they know you appreciate it and aren't expecting it.

I would say that my medical experience has been about 60%-40% for good staff. the good ones are priceless though. they make all this seem less miserable. one day when i am rich i am going to just fly in which ever doctors, nurses, specialists and therapists i want. there really is so much more but i am quite frankly surprised i was able to sit down and type all this. it did take two sessions and em is "puke threatening" me in the background but still.


My Stomach

Is couponing worth it? well, my bank account says yes. my stomach on the other hand...
i find that couponing is well worth my time to cut and organize coupons. i save a lot of money. and i don't always have to use the cheapest thing i can find. i actually get to use the new name brand stuff. well, i have the name brand new stuff. i have a hard time actually using any of it. not to say i go out and buy the cheap stuff so i don't have to use my new stuff. i just haven't run out of my storage of cheap stuff.

i have terrible anxiety. really, really terrible. usually when i am anxious if i just dive right in and immerse myself in the anxiety producing activity eventually the anxiety wears off and i am not as uncomfortable. not with couponing. it is getting worse and worse every week/day. i think i might have gastritis. i know it sounds like i am being dramatic and i'm sure some of you might right me off completely to being a hypochondriac. i will say that josh was the one who came up with gastritis after i told him my symptoms.

the one thing that will 100% of the time make me anxious is appointments. any kind of appointment. even if it is something i want to do. like couponing. in couponing you have rotating sales. drug stores, walmart and target on sunday and grocery stores on wed. now, here in denton there are ALOT of couponers. ALOT. And most of those are not LDS. this means that if you want any of the good sales you have to go first thing monday morning because most people go on sunday. this means no sleep sunday night. so, if i am lucky enough to get what i want on monday morning then i have tuesday to "relax". that is, if there aren't any clearance sales that are found while people are out on monday. also, it takes me a few days to come down from a high stress situation. so pretty much no down time. then grocery on wed. i have a leg up here since i can go the same time as everyone else. if i can get the girls together that late in the week. thursday and friday are usually slower because most of the good stuff is gone. this changes once again if there are any good clearance sales going on or if you missed your stuff on monday and have to wait for restocking later in the week.

it sounds like i should have plenty of time to coupon calmly right? well, in between therapy, feeding, bathing and nap time i do. oh wait there is that other kid too. i think my blood pressure is going up just typing about it. yep.

so why have i continued? i get things for free. free. the thought of not getting something we need for free makes me even sicker. it's like i opened Pandora's Box.


A Huge Deal for Me

i probably should have waited until i had gone to all my store for the day before getting all excited about what i got. i updated below.

so i have tried to get into couponing several times but have always gotten frustrated and my anxiety goes through the roof. so i stop. i mean, i have enough things i don't like to do in my life already. well, several friends at church are very into couponing and it always stings to see how much stuff they got and for how little. so i gave it one more try. josh got me a Sunday paper and i looked at some local forums. so, with all my IPs, TQs, and paper Qs in hand, along with two girls a little sleepy and hungry we went to the store. here is what i got.

2 Glade Fabric and Air Odor Eliminator Tropical Mist
2 Glade Fabric and Air Odor Eliminator Pet Odor Eliminator (it smelled better then the clean linen)
2 Dove Ultimate Pomegranate and Lemon Verbena Scent Deodorant
2 Dove Body Mist Pomegranate and Lemon Verbena Scent
2 Dove Ultimate Cucumber and Green Tea Scent Deodorant
2 Dove Body Mist Cucumber and Green Tea Scent
4 Scrubbing Bubbles Daily Shower Power Sprayers
4 Bottles Garnier Fructis Daily Care Cream Conditioner
2 boxes Scrubbing Bubbles Vanish Drop-ins
2 Travel Size Aloe Fresh Lotion
2 Bottles Garnier Fructis Anti-humidity Hair Spray
4 boxes Eggo Waffles

I am very pleased with myself for my first haul. now for the good stuff. the cost.

Total price before coupons $99.66

Total after coupons............$9.12!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Update: i just found 2 $5 rebates for some of my items so my new total is...i made .88 cents!

when i told Isa she said "wow, target has never done anything like that before."
I said "well, you need the right pieces of paper for it to work."
her response was priceless "yeah, then her response was priceless "yeah, then target can be awesome."

here are my goodies after going to walgreens and CVS.

1 box of grape nuts.
1 bottle of Listerine whitening plus restoring mouthwash
1 32oz bottle of honey
1 schick hydro 3 razor
2 jumbo reese's candy bars
2 jumbo kit kat bars

2 bags of reeses minitures
2 bags of special dark miniatures
6 renuzit air fresheners
6 right guard deodorants

isa loved going shopping with me today. she wanted to be in the picture "for scale".

rather then breaking it down by store it sounds cooler if i tell you the total for the day.


here is what i paid minus all coupons and rebates.

$10.94!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i saved 94%. josh wants to know if i can do this every week. i'm not sure. i am pretty tired.


Isa's Birthday and another suprise

so my biggest baby is 7. 7. it makes me feel so old. and yes i know i will only feel older as she gets older so please don't point it out. her birthday fell while she was still in school so we sent cupcakes for her class. she loved it. we decided that instead of inviting a bunch of little girls to our tiny apartment we would only invite three. isa was fine with it and even chose f\some easy activites that actualy made my life esaier. she wanted to make their own pizzas and decorate cupcakes for the cake. nice for me because i didn't have to make dinner or a cake. the girls were crazy hyper though. they party flew by. they all had good time and the house was trashed. Isa loved her presents and didn't behave like as is as spoiled as she is. a success in my book.

on saturday she had her recital for dance. all the girls did a great job and isa had a blast.

then the suprise. EVERY morning is a crying fest at my house. beasue of hair. if you even come close to isa with a brush she cries. so we decided to cut her hair after her recital (she needed a bun). she chickened out a couple of times but in the end she did amazing. she held still and played with em. it also didn't take nearly as long this time. i guess i am getting better.



when em's therapists came this week they all loved her hair. her speech therapist amy was down right shocked when she asked how i knew how to cut layers and i told her i googled it. i think appalled is a better word. they turned out really well though so who cares.


My Good Things List

1) Isabella loves school
2) Em is taking some steps on her own
3) Em is eating by mouth... at least a little bit.
4) Isabella still likes Em even though she sucks sometimes.
5) Em is Satting in the 90s by herself when she sleeps.
6) I am not totally fat yet.
7) Josh is done with his first year of school. only 2 more to go!
8) Em has 5 words.
9) I get to go to NC this summer!
10) I like my long hair.

i think that is enough for now. i just figured i complain so much that when i thought of something good i should share.


sometimes i feel like i'm walking backward. like the wind is blowing in my face and no matter how determined i am to go forward when i start, eventually the wind pushes me back.

part of me wonders why i even go. if i just stood still, and went nowhere, no body would die. maybe. if i wasn't moving then maybe the hits wouldn't feel so hard. the only problem is, no body would get anywhere. and i have responsibilities.

i feel like most people would describe me as paranoid. but sometimes my nightmares are real. all too real.


In My Spare Time

i found this website on another blog. http://knockoffwood.blogspot.com/ is totally amazing! i love looking through all the plans and imagining what they would look like in my house. so with all this extra time on my hands i decided to build something. the only problem is i don't really have any tools. so i bought a circular saw. i know, what was i thinking? it's a pretty powerful tool and can do some serious damage to wood and me. it freaks me out. i always heard "measure twice, cut once". well, i measured like 4 times and cut once. i cut wrong. a lot. i figured a little bit here and there wouldn't make a huge difference right? wrong. i will be getting my wood cut for me in the future.

here is most of my lumber. still some trim to go.

so, i live in an apartment. not a tiny one but definitely not one with building room in it. so after josh left my kitchen turned into my "shop". it was very stressful. it turns out there are many other little tools i needed to make the job easier. like clamps to hold the wood while i glued and hammered. i was definitely working up a sweat. i started at 9:30am with a therapist coming at 11:30. plenty of time right? not with a baby crawling all over your construction area. there was a lot of yelling and one very black and blue finger. i have never blackened a finger before and am still not sure how i did it with only 6 inches of hammer space but what can i say, I'm gifted. it got a little tricky to hold the nails with my hurt finger but there was no way i was stopping. part of the way through josh called. em wasn't happy that i was talking to him and crawled over and puked right on my bookshelf! on purpose. she looked right at me after as if to say "that will teach you"! i finished the bare bones construction just as the therapist arrived.

here it is raw.

they i started to cry a little. it looked horrible and was even more rickety. i had just wasted some much time and money on a bookshelf that was supposed to be better then one i could get cheap at the store and i had failed. luckily ii was to weak to do what i wanted to with it (which was pound it into a million little pieces). after letting it sit for a while i had another look. i guess it was because of the glue setting and such but it is a lot more sturdy now. i also met my best friend. wood filler. i was able to fill in the 1/4 inches here and there where my cutting skills lacked. after a little sanding i felt a lot better.

i decided to let Isa pick the paint since it was her bookshelf. little did i know she had such...interesting taste in paint. after several break downs on both out parts we settled on these colors. I'm not sure if you can tell but the shelves and side are "Ariel's Song" and the trim is "Underwater Dance". cute if i do say so myself. i couldn't paint with em around so after the girls went to bed i painted up a storm. it needed two coats so it took a while. totally worth it when i saw Isa's excitement this morning. she told me i could put it in her room and put the books on it but that "she had some ideas of her own for decorating it".

i have enough lumber for one for em too but i have to let my finger heal first. i hate leaving projects half finished but one is about all i can handle right now.


My Weekend "Break"

so allergy season is in full swing here in denton. lucky for me i don't seem to have them. this year. sadly for isa, em and josh they all have a terrible case. even on her zyrtek em was super congested. isa was too but for her it isn't a huge deal. i can just give her nose spray and she can handle it. em is a different story. when she get super congested she can't clear it out. she doesn't cough well and if she does, she pukes about half the time. this problem leads to other more severe ones.

two not feeling so good girls cuddling.

on saturday she woke up burning up. when i took her temporal temp it said 100 so i gave her Motrin and went back to bed. i am kicking myself now and should have trusted my instincts. later that day i decided to check her temp rectally. poor thing. she didn't feel very hot to me but i took it anyway. 104.6. i can only imagine what her temp was during the night.

since this isn't my first rodeo i packed several days worth of feeding supplies, clothes and things to keep em busy. she isn't very easy to keep in the hospital. she wasn't to be up and playing but she can't get on the floor there. YUCKY. so within a few minutes i was off to the ER. we got checked in quickly. they saw us quickly and ordered and completed the test quickly. then everything stopped. several major cases came in and there were police involved. i tried to stay out of the way yet still make sure they knew we were still there.

em got REALLY bored.

5 hours later they came back to tell my she had pneumonia. really?!? i had no idea! they had already put an IV in since we were pretty sure she would have to be admitted and we needed blood anyway. i was fully prepared to beg for us to go home, have me flush the IV and come back the next day for her next dose of antibiotics. luckily i didn't have to grovel because the dr on call for my pediatrician thought her vitals were good enough to get a dose int eh ER and then a z-pack and home. the ER doc said if i was more comfortable with staying though... i didn't let him finish. i tel him know i would very much like to go home.

another hour later they finally came to discharge us. when the nurse started chatting with me about em's syndrome and such i wanted to scream "I HAVE BEEN HERE FOR 6 HOURS WITH A 18 MONTH OLD. I WANT TO GO HOME!!!!" she was really curious about em's hearing loss though because her son also has some hearing loss so i couldn't yell at her. so after a little bit longer i finally got out of there.

em seems to be doing well. the only thing that has me worried is the fact that the spot on her lung is the same spot that was there a month ago. she was on antibiotics then so i am wondering why it wont be gong away. maybe some scaring. we'll see what her pediatrician says next week. she is tolerating her breathing treatments well. we scored a pedantic breathing mask from the ER. pediatric anything is really hard to get your hands on.

i am sooooooo glad we didn't have to stay in the hospital over night. it just feels gross.

on a cute side note. em has decided her new all time favorite movie is Enchanted. i though it was a bit weird since it is mostly. real people through the movie and not much animation but either way, she loves it. she will only hold still for her breathing treatments if we watch it. she even fussed at me for talking to josh through her favorite musical number. silly girl. me i mean.


Spring Break

we didn't want to just sit around for spring break so we decided to go on several day trips. on Monday we went to the outlet mall in Allen. josh needed some new clothes. plus i love outlets. oddly though i ended up not getting anything. we didn't take any pictures there. then we went to Dallas to eat here.

my cousin Traci told us about it and we had to go. Isa was so excited when we pulled up. em couldn't look away.

on Tuesday we went to the Dallas Nature and Science Museum. It was fun but a bit stressful. there were a ton of people there and we had to wait in line for line 30 minutes before we could get tickets. in the end we got an annual pass because it was a great deal and it works for several museums back home that i loved as a kid. The Catawba Science Center and Discovery Place.
They are awesome and we will be able to go while we are home for our summer visit. Since it was spring break there were a TON of people there. it was a bit crazy and i wasn't able to really teach Isa anything because you practically had to shove kids out of the way so they wouldn't take things from your kid. i hate it when people just let their kids tun wild but that is a while other topic. Here are some cute pictures.

she really liked the bubbles. she was getting pretty good at bouncing them by the end.

the had huge sandboxes for fossil digging under and around the Dino bones. i think that was her favorite.

outside they had some sculptures that went out on the little pond by the museum. she had a lot of fun on those but she kept freaking out that josh was going to push her in. plus it was really windy so we didn't stay long.

she was pretty scared to go out there because she had to jump over a muddy spot half way. she made it though.

Emmeline tried to be a good sport.

in the end she couldn't do it. she fell asleep as soon as we came inside. you can kind of see in the corner, but there was a display of sculptures made of girl scout cookie boxes. they were pretty neat.

for dinner josh picked a restaurant from Diners Drive-ins and Dives. It was called Twisted Root. it was good. josh loved it but i ended up not feeling very well so i couldn't judge it fairly.

playing while waiting for our food.

Wednesday we took a much needed break. we were all tired and josh had some work to do.

on Thursday we wen to fort worth. traffic was horrible going and coming. we drove out at 11:30 and were in traffic for a LONG time. then we ended up going home during rush hour. bad choice i know but my decision making wasn't so good since i had low blood sugar and a very tired baby. anyway. we went to the Forth Worth Modern Art Museum first. em and i waited outside since she was eating (public feedings make josh nervous because of the possible puke) and i had forgotten my student id for my discount ticket. josh and Isa liked it though. next we went to the Forth Worth Botanic Garden. It was pretty but a lot of things were still dead. we enjoyed walking around though. i think it would be really fun to take a picnic and some sport stuff next time.

Isabella had a really fun time playing in the hollowed out log. as you can see so did a lot of other kids.

em was getting a bit antsy in the stroller so we walked a bit.

then some cute pictures. you can't really tell from this but she was crying for me to pick her up. apparently she isn't a fan of nature.

all in all it was a bit to bright for her so i used my jacket to make her this.

it looks like she was trying to crawl our but she actually liked it and would hold the flap up to peek out.

next came my big surprise for josh and Isa.

i don't know if you can see the sign but my mom called a while ago and told me that she found out that they have Mellow Mushroom in Forth Worth! they were really excited!

they had these panted bulls out front so we had to have a picture.

Friday we went to the park but i didn't take any pictures. needless to say that by Saturday we all needed another rest. it was a fun spring break but I'm glad they only happen once a year.