Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The cusp of 3.

I often wonder if I am always going to feel the way I do now about Lucy's birth. My therapist says it might change over time but it might not, because your body will always remember what happened to it, like a reflex. I might not remember, but my body does so there is a natural fear response happening. Which is such a weird thing to think about but I suppose it's true.

It's hard to tell you exactly how I feel on this day. The day before Lucy was born is my last real memory and that's not even really true because I don't have memories like you, I can't replay a scene like an old movie in my head. What I remember are the actual snapshots that we took of the day.
I remember Penelope standing next to roses at the Rose Garden in Duluth. I don't remember Olivia or Jackson. I don't remember Matt, but I remember taking this photo. It's so weird, but mostly scary, to look at this photo and know that that person died the very next day. It doesn't look like me. Well it does, but I don't recognize it as me. To me it's like looking at an ex-wife of Matt, which is weird because I know it's me..... but its not. 
It's strange to know this woman is dead. She died the very next day and somehow I'm here in that body and nothing about it feels familiar. I cannot tell you how many times I have stood in that exact same spot to see if a memory would come, would I remember standing there? Would I remember what it was like to be pregnant? Would I remember what it felt like to have a baby inside of me? 
To say this has been a hard three years is an understatement. I can't remember all of the doctor visits, the medical buildings, the procedures, the lab work, the waiting rooms, the hope, the disappointment, the frustration, the desperation, the resignation that I've had in these three years. I know its there and I guess its best if I don't remember it all. 
Not one person in the whole world can tell me that I haven't tried to get better. That I haven't marched forward, kept swimming, climbed the mountain, done the work. I have taken bad news like a champ and not told anyone. I have accepted the looks from people who think I'm crazy, I've been told to "just deal with it" and kept my mouth shut even though I want to scream, "I FUCKING AM" but I don't. I've become a better person because I really believe if I do good I will get good back and I just so desperately need that some days. 
I have confronted really awful truths from my past that I haven't told anyone, ever. Matt doesn't know. My mother doesn't know. My best friends don't know. I can see things around me a little more clearly now which is bittersweet because I realize how awful some people are and I never saw it before. I have lost friends. I at least know which ones are fair weather friends too but that comes with its own wave of disappointment. I have battled crippling depression, I have sat in darkened closets and in my car in the dead of winter wishing I could just die and thinking that being alive is really the cruelest punishment of all. 
I have confronted the things that hurt me the most. Did you know that I never look at my scar? I think sometimes maybe I don't lose weight because if I did the scar would be more prevalent on me. It's just a scar, millions of people have them and ones just like mine, it shouldn't bother me, but it does. It brings feelings of anxiety and panic. I get a tingling in my chest and I can't catch my breath. I feel fear, like something is trying to get me and I need to run.

So I don't look at it. I don't look at myself in the mirror anymore because I don't know this person or this body. I want to be old Sara so badly and I know I can't and so I feel shame. I feel shame because I'm not pretty and I'm not skinny, and no matter how many times Matt assures me I'm still attractive I don't believe him because he has to say that. 
I hate feeling broken. I hate feeling like everything in my body is malfunctioning and there isn't a fix. Sometimes I lash out. Sometimes I scream in a pillow until my voice is raw. Sometimes I go on walks and cry so hard neighbors look at me, probably wondering if I'm OK or crazy. Sometimes I sit and my car and cry. Sometimes I cry in the shower. Sometimes I cry when the girls nap.  I have to deal with everyone else and their problems and I'm dying a little more inside. I know it's daunting when I tell people it's going to be like this forever, like "Ugh, we have to help her FOREVER?!" and believe me, what you feel? I am more angry than you are. Trust me.
And then I have Lucy.  Lucy is really the best thing in the whole world. I wish I remembered what it was like to be pregnant with her. I wish I could have seen her born or remember what it was like the first moments with her. I wish I remembered what she was like as a baby. What she smelled like. I wish I could remember what her fuzzy hair felt like. How little she was. I wish I could remember her looking at me like I was the greatest thing in the world. Or what it felt like to rock her to sleep, or hold her on my chest. The irony is that I don't do well around pregnant women or little babies because they scare me and are a PTSD trigger... which I never knew was a thing until I'm in the thick of it.
It's weird to think I took this picture on Sunday, but I don't remember. I can piece things together. I know we were at Thomas the Train, I know we were on a train, I know it was summer. Anything else? I have to ask Matt because it's not there. I know I think I'll remember, I always do, and then I don't and I'm angry that I'm so stupid and thought that in the first place. But I forget how quickly I forget.

So tomorrow Lucy is 3. Tonight I'll go to bed absolutely petrified of what will happen. I'll be scared, panicky, and sad all day. I will try not to show it because I don't want to ruin her birthday. I will cry when I go to bed. I will pull it together because on Friday she has a doctor appointment and I need to pull it together. On Saturday we have her party and I will try to not cry and not ruin it. I will try to smile and be happy. Because ultimately, nobody cares. And it's OK. It's not your burden. It's not your PTSD or depression. It's not your trauma. It's not your stolen memories. You aren't broken. You don't understand where I'm at. You don't know that all the therapy in the world can't fix this and suddenly make me normal. And it's OK.

I'll keep trying anyway. I will fake it until I make it. I will get through today. And the next. And even the next after that. I can only do what I can do.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Book Review: Lone Wolf Cowboy (Gold Valley #7)

You have NO IDEA how happy I was to open my book mail and find this gem in it because I asked my local library if they were getting this and they looked at me like I had a third eye, so that meant I was on my own! Lucky for you, it comes out TODAY. So order it and tell me what you think.

Lone Wolf Cowboy (Gold Valley #7) - Maisey Yates

As a former EMT and a wildland firefighter, there's no one Jacob Dalton can't rescue--except himself. Since his best friend's tragic death, Jacob has isolated himself...until Vanessa Logan returns to Gold Valley. He saved her life during a medical call years ago, and he's never forgotten her. The instant jolt of heat between them takes him by surprise, but he knows that giving in to it would only end in disaster...

For Vanessa, returning home was about healing, not about exploring her attraction with Jacob. He is the guardian angel from her past--with strong, capable hands and an irresistible mouth. A temptation she knows she can't afford. Until the chemistry between them explodes, and unites them in a way they could never have imagined.

Full disclosure, I have not read every book in the Gold Valley series, I think I've read three others and this one makes four. I could be wrong because I get this confused with the Copper Ridge series and I also sometimes put my pants on backwards so honestly, I'm always really very confused. Anyways, what I'm telling you is that you do NOT need to read these in order, it's totally fine. You will be fine. (Can I just say though? If Caleb is not the next story I will be very unhappy.)


In this book we have Vanessa coming back to Gold Valley after leaving several years ago. She was a wild teenager, fell into drugs and alcohol and experienced some really awful things, but after court ordered rehab she realized she had different options. She sobered up, became an art teacher, and took a chance on a job back in Gold Valley teaching art to troubled youth, which seems like a natural calling for her. Then we have Jacob who has a past full of demons which make him feel like isolating himself is better for everyone else but also a kind of punishment for himself. They meet, they hit it off, she gets pregnant, crap hits the fan. That's the gist of it. Basically.

OK, I'm giving this one a 4 and I'm teetering on a 3.5/3 only because I really wanted more of a boom. Something that puts her sobriety at risk. I expected a lot of things to happen in here that didn't (which I'm not telling you some of my ideas because then you know what doesn't happen and that kind of ruins it) and I'm on the fence on whether that's a let down or a bravo- thank you for going around the usual trope and doing something different. Kind of like we all want change until it happens and then we want what we know and are comfortable with. Ultimately though, I did enjoy this one. I really liked Vanessa, she was mindful and conscious of her strengths and weaknesses, she isn't the damsel in distress (which Maisey Yates does a great job of- the women in her books typically aren't looking for a knight on a white horse), and she knows what she wants and what she deserves. Even Jacob, who got a little dicey at the end there, was pretty good because he wasn't the overbearing alpha male but he also doesn't let people walk over him, he has a cool and calm confidence.

I wanted to share a couple of parts of the book I enjoyed:

"She was probably making sure Vanessa knew she had something for her to drink. Which often as a nondrinker Vanessa found to be an issue. Some people didn't seem to understand the concept of drinking for hydration, and not for altered consciousness." 

"'None of us knows what we're doing,' Ellie said, taking a bite of her sandwich. "I don't. I look at Amelia sometimes and I... I still can't believe I'm her mother. Some days I'm so bone tired I swear I'm a ninety-year-old woman. Other days I look around and think... how am I mom? And a teacher? And a widow? How am I all these things when I still feel like a high school girl who hasn't figured any of life out at all."
Overall, this was a good book. Fast read, a couple of steamy scenes, a good set of main characters, and a story to root for. If you're looking for a new series to get into, consider this one because I don't think you're going to be disappointed.

Thank you Harper Collins and HQN books for the ARC in exchange for review, all thoughts are my own and I will ramble on and on about a book if you saw me in person but I keep it short(ish) and sweet here because you have the attention span of a squirrel. Also, this post contains affiliate links and that helps keep my snack drawer stocked but also keeps this blog going, but let's be honest- the snacks are more important. 

Happy reading!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Weight Loss Monday: Hard realizations and truths.

I won't even lie, last week sucked. Last week sucked in a lot of ways and had some bright spots too, but for the most part..... it sucked.

Good news is that we had Lucy's speech appointment and she's going to keep getting speech services during the upcoming school year. That appointment was definitely the only highlight of the week for me.

The next day I had my psychiatry appointment, which I had been looking forward to, because it had been 12 weeks since my previous appointment so I felt like this might just be a check in. Maybe just a "increase the dose of Ritalin" appointment because the dose I was on (which was variable, I had a range that I could stay within, depending on my level of exhaustion for the day- so take more if I'm WAY tired and take less if I'm only a little tired).
Instead he explained that you can't just "take more" and it'll work better. I was at the top of the allowed dosage so if it wasn't working, and I felt no change in my level of tired, and I didn't feel any more alert and I didn't have any more energy to do stuff then the next logical step would be to change my medication.

And I knew this. I knew this, and I knew that it might come to this. The next stop on this track is Adderall. Now, do NOT misunderstand me- I understand the need for medication in the treatment of mental illness. I get it, I know it, I'm OK with it. I'm no longer in the "I don't need or want medications" camp because I'm not an idiot, I know that I need these. I am far beyond what nature, exercise, essential oils, chiropractors, yoga, CBD oil, etc can do. I have actual brain damage and I understand that now. I'm OK with it.

But Adderall always scared me. It's always been on the list of medications on my ladder. I have exhausted all of the other options that are in my "OK" list on my GeneSight test. I have done everything right and gone through the side effects and withstood the really horrible days where I wondered why I'm even doing this. But Adderall feels like a failure. Like I'm admitting defeat and I don't know why. I don't know why this one bothers me so much.

Matt picked it up on Thursday and I haven't taken it yet. I will. Probably not this week, if we're being honest.

On Thursday I had to do labs for endocrinology to see what's what. Most of my levels were pretty OK and that's good and normal. A couple of them were a little high.... indicating that I am close to the diabetes fan club and that is NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. I will stave myself if I have to but being diabetic is not going to happen. Also, I have too much chloride and something else which indicates I'm not getting enough oxygen. Common causes are sleep apnea (have that, but I also have a CPAP machine) and obesity. Which.... guilty. He reiterated that I have to lose weight. It will help the diabetes thing and now the breathing thing.
So that's fun, being told that great, you're walking and that's awesome but also DO MORE RIGHT NOW AND TRY HARDER. So I continue walking. The heat is killing me and I am really struggling with fitness in the heat. I'm going to have to increase myself to two miles because obviously one mile isn't doing the job even though I feel like a sweaty mess after it. I'm going to have to try doing home work outs too. Maybe I can do something in the morning and walk after dinner. I don't know. I'm stressed out and over it all.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

IEP, speech continued! First hurdle done.

I mean that in the most non-sarcastic way, because I am thrilled that Lucy qualifies for continued speech services!

I know, it sounds weird to hope that your child tests low enough in various evaluations so that she qualifies for speech therapy in school, but the alternative wasn't doable for us. We really cannot afford to hire an outside speech therapist to help her.

I don't have all of the paperwork yet but the basics of it is while her receptive speech is good enough that it wouldn't qualify her, her expressive language is poor and she comes in at the 18-24 month range. Which... is what I was expecting but I was kind of hopeful it wasn't that bad. Additionally, she is only able to use 2 to 4 word sentences and anything beyond that sounds like gibberish. While she can imitate sounds fairly well, her errors are inconsistent but also, her spontaneous speech isn't very good.

It looks like she will get her speech services while at her 3 year old preschool class, so I won't have to worry about scheduling it around my appointments and making sure she's napped before. They told us that what they usually do is pull her out of class for some therapy but then other times do it in the classroom with her because it's a different environment and sometimes that helps.

I am REALLY glad that she can still have speech. I can understand her 75% of the time but other people understand her 30-40% of the time on a good day. My fear right now is that once she goes to school the teacher won't understand what she's asking for or trying to say. I think going to school is the best option for her because I think being around more kids her age will be helpful for her in a lot of ways, speech only being one of them.

It's so exhausting being a mom. Being a mom with cognitive delay and memory issues makes it so much worse and I'm always questioning whether I understand what they are trying to tell me. Am I making the right decision on anything? I never know. I think I'm doing it right with this. I hope.

We have her follow up from her tubes and adenoid surgery next week, I think. So far we haven't seen a huge change in speech, but she is keeping her tongue in her mouth AND she can curl her tongue up. She definitely could not do that before, so that alone is going to be helpful. We also have seen no change in hearing. The theory now is that perhaps she really can't hear us all of the time, like a radio that flickers in and out, kind of. When we go we need to ask for them to test her hearing just to see. We may end up seeing an audiologist because then it would be a matter of determining what kind of hearing loss we're dealing with because some of it is fixable and some of it is not. So.. cross your fingers.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Be a tourist where you live: Glensheen Mansion

The nice thing about where I live is that it's kind of touristy, kind of not, but it has a lot of really neat things to do around here even if this is where you live. We sometimes take for granted all of the things we have available in our area. I know I live in Superior, WI and there is a lot of "Superior is awesome, too" folks and I'm just not one of them. Superior isn't bad, it's a good place to live and raise a family.

It's not a place that you think, "Man, I want to visit that place!". Duluth, MN is and if I had to pick which city to live in? I'd pick Superior. Which city to visit and hang out in? Duluth. Sorry,  not sorry.

One of the gems of Duluth is Glensheen Mansion. It's a 39 room mansion along London Road that belonged to Chester and Clara Congdon. Though they were a big deal in their own right, they were made famous by the 1977 murder of Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse. Anyways, it's a fascinating story of the family and the house and it's a popular stop in Duluth, even for people who live here, so if you're ever in the area, plan to visit because truly- it's something to see. The day we went there was set up of a wedding going on and honestly- I wish I had thought to get married there!
Right now though there is an exhibit called GOWNS and throughout the mansion they have various gowns belonging to the Congdon women and all are just unique and gorgeous and unlike anything we would see today. My friend Amy and I decided to make a day out of it and be tourists.
What was interesting was first, how sheer most of the dresses were. I don't know what they would have worn underneath them but for a time in history where women were more modest, I was surprised at how sheer everything was. 
I really loved this one, kind of flapper-esque to me. The beading on this one was so beautiful and they were the tiniest beads, I don't know how someone would have done that by hand. 
They had furs with some of them and the luxury of it was pretty wonderful and strange... I can't imagine wearing a dead animal around my neck. 
The mansion has quite a bit of stained glass and it was impossible to take pictures of all of it but it was all pretty. 
We only did the general admission tour so we didn't get to go to third level or beyond and didn't see all 39 rooms, but the ones we did were really amazing. Some of the bedrooms were huge and honestly I would give anything to have a room like them! So much sunlight, so much detail, it was super pretty. This was one of the children's rooms. 
I really liked looking at all of the old books throughout the mansion. On a side table they have these three on display. It's crazy to think about someone sat and read these books to children years ago. These books were memorable for someone. 
This was maybe my favorite room and I hate that I didn't take pictures of the light fixtures in here because they were these cute mint green ones that look completely different depending if the light was on or not. I wanted them. Where I would put them? I have no idea but I loved them. 
I loved this dress because it looked so fragile, like it might fall apart if you touched it. 
I didn't get a good picture of it, but the blue chair in the background? Want it. Loved it. 
In one of the kitchens they had this cookie cutter on display and it was just the coolest thing I've seen. It literally is one piece connected and it would cut out 12 different cookies at a time. Why isn't this kind of thing made anymore? This would be SO EASY. 
My second favorite room was The Breakfast Room. I can't even understand the opulence of living a life that allows you to have a room with a sole purpose of breakfast. Other meals are in other rooms but for breakfast we come here and we look out onto gardens and greenery. Unbelievable. The tiles in here (floors and walls) cost about $5-7 per tile back then whereas in today's standards it's $125-150 per tile. It said that each tile had it's own serial number so in the event you had to replace one, you could replace it exactly. 
Of course there was a formal dining room and it had this fairly large chandelier. Before we left the room we saw the plaque that mentioned it. 
Hard pass on that. We heard someone say it was cleaned three times a year but still. No thanks. 
I thought this was the most interesting dress of all. First off, it was short. I'm 5'3 and I think it would be short on me by an inch or so. Second, look at how TINY it is. The waist, the arms, the NECK! I can't imagine how slight the Congdon women must have been. 
Thankfully it was a really nice day so we got to go out into the gardens and around some of the outdoor space. 
I can imagine back then this must have been amazing because some of the paths have been overgrown and not used but back then it must have felt adventurous to have all of this as your backyard basically. 
A little information about Lake Superior and how we're the best lake. Come visit. 
The views around the estate make you forget that you're basically in the middle of the city of Duluth. 
Oh so this was on the news not too long ago that they found this diving bell in the lake and they brought it up and it was a big deal. I had no idea why it was a big deal. Apparently they would get in so they could work under water. Why the Congdon's would have had this? Nobody knows. 
But I can tell you for damn sure you never would have gotten me to sit in that and then go under water. NOPE. 
I took pictures of some of the books. Lots of them were well loved and/or had deteriorated over time but almost all of them are behind glass now and you're not allowed to touch anything anywhere but man.... I would have loved to page through some of the ones I saw!

It was a really fun day, I'm so glad we went to see it. I know I toured Glensheen as a kid and I've been there for two events but it was just in like 3 rooms and that's it, but it's been a very long time since I've toured it. I told Matt when Penelope and Lucy are a little bigger we'll have to go tour it and I'd like to see the other floors because I've never been.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Book Review: Something Like Gravity

I can't remember who I was talking to when I mentioned I really haven't read many books in the LGBTQ+ arena because it isn't my jam. I am incredibly support and pro everyone, it's just not the thing that really interests me. I can't really explain it but I normally leave those books for others to enjoy. But then this pretty book showed up at my house and I'm really enjoying the recent YA releases so immediately I was interested. I actually didn't know this was about a transgender boy until I was into the book and I felt like that was how it was meant to be.

Something Like Gravity - Amber Smith

For fans of Love, Simon and Eleanor and Park, a romantic and sweet novel about a transgender boy who falls in love for the first time—and how first love changes us all—from New York Times bestselling author Amber Smith.

Chris and Maia aren’t off to a great start.

A near-fatal car accident first brings them together, and their next encounters don’t fare much better. Chris’s good intentions backfire. Maia’s temper gets the best of her.

But they’re neighbors, at least for the summer, and despite their best efforts, they just can’t seem to stay away from each other.

The path forward isn’t easy. Chris has come out as transgender, but he’s still processing a frightening assault he survived the year before. Maia is grieving the loss of her older sister and trying to find her place in the world without her. Falling in love was the last thing on either of their minds.

But would it be so bad if it happened anyway?

I went into this book not realizing it had a transgender boy. I only read the first three paragraphs and assumed this would be solid, I'd enjoy it, all would be swell.

And then I started reading. I'll tell you right now that I am so glad I didn't skip this one and I am so glad it came into my life. I know there are others who have read this and are critical with how the transgender character was fleshed out and I guess I don't share any of their critiques. I really liked Chris and I thought he was 10000 times better than Maia. I didn't like Maia's character from the start because she seemed greatly immature but also self absorbed. Chris was just genuine and kind, beautiful and strong, just really such a great character.

The book centers on Chris and Maia told in alternating voices. Chris has moved to Carson for the summer to live with his aunt after a pretty scary and horrific event back home which have sent his parents reeling and unsure how to deal so him being in a different location while everyone gets their bearings straight and some perspective is the best solution. Maia is fresh off the unexpected death of her sister and her parent's subsequent divorce. Very much left to her own devices, Maia has tried to... I'm not even sure? Like try to become one with her sister because... I'm not even sure? To feel special? I don't know and I don't think Maia knows.

They come together when Chris almost hits Maia with his car. Naturally.

Over the course of the summer Chris would learn how to open up to someone about being transgender, how to handle those beginning flickers of love and lust, and how to really embrace the realities and challenges of being transgender.

I won't give anything away but I want you to know that the first love and the first heartbreak and all of the feelings that come with it? This author nailed and when I finished the book I could feel in my gut what each of them was feeling. Secondly, I love how the author tackled the horrifying reality of being transgender and experiencing violence and what that does to their family as well. That is a hard topic to handle and she did it really well. Maia's storyline and character development felt a little murky for me. I felt like I expected, and wanted, there to be more to her dark secret and I was a little disappointed when it was what we knew all along. I felt like in real life, that secret wouldn't have warranted the result that it did but.... we're in a book so we get what we get.

In the end, Chris was all that mattered and Chris was so well written for me that it trumps everything else.

Towards the end was a conversation between Chris and his mom that hit me so hard because I am a mom and I understand what she was saying and experiencing. They were talking about Christina become Chris and how Chris didn't understand how his mom was so supportive of the changes of being less girl but wanting to become a boy somehow crossed the line. On page 372:
"You have to understand" - she gripped my hands tights- "you were taking her away from me. That's why I was angry. I had to get all mama tiger on someone, and that someone was you." She coughed, trying to hold back her tears. "And I think I was grieving too, mourning you. I was holding on so hard to the person you used to be, I didn't realize you were still here." 
I feel that to my core. I am going through something with one of my kids where, though I love them fiercely and 100% supportive of their new path, I have to mourn what I had accepted as our future. When you're kids are born there are a set of milestones set in place: walking, talking, school, driving, graduation, first love, prom, college, wedding, grandchildren, etc. When something happens and you realize the future is uncertain and you don't know what milestones are coming, if any, a parent is going to feel sad. Maybe for awhile, maybe for just a minute, and I sometimes wonder if kids forget about that. It's their life and their choices, but as parents we will always want to see you go through these milestones. Even when my kids are 50, I still can't wait to see what they do with their life. All that to say, I could understand Chris's mother.

I highly recommend this book. It's a really great book that tackles transgender, family acceptance, death, grief, teenage love and loss and just being a teenager and how hard it is learning to navigate life and relationships. I really thought this was done well and just enjoyed it start to finish.

This post contains affiliate links which helps keep this little blog going. A big thank you Simon & Schuster for a copy to review, all thoughts are my own and I want to hear what your thoughts are on this book! Sound off below!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Walking Queen... young and sweet... only 37....

So... that didn't flow as well as the original but close enough. I don't know where you live but where I live (the very tip of Lake Superior) it was hot as balls all week. But you know what I did? 

 I walked like 5 times. I didn't take pictures every time because I forgot but! I took a picture of me on Monday holding my umbrella because it was sprinkling and looked like it  might downpour but I brought an umbrella because I am only kind of a wussy. I didn't end up needing it because it was still like 82 and I was so warm so the rain actually felt pretty alright. Tuesday was an OK day to walk. Wednesday it was even warmer so as soon as I got home I had to shower because not only was I sweaty and gross, but I couldn't cool down fast enough. Which, I'm finding I'm having a harder and harder time doing so that's inconvenient. Thursday I walked in the morning and promptly came home and ate two Bomb Pops for breakfast because I am a champion. Friday I ended up skipping my neighborhood walk and instead walked around Walmart for an hour with Olivia trying to find a birthday gift for her friend. I put in easily more than a mile and left there irritated to boot because she is the worst shopper. Never has any ideas, never knows what people like, it's just the worst. Saturday I walked around Glensheen Mansion and I was actually pretty tired when I was done so I think in all I did maybe a mile and a half? 

Sunday was rest day because I'm not a masochist. 

This week is going to be kind of stressful and a lot busy. 

Monday I have therapy (THANK GOD) and Lucy has speech where we go over her latest assessment. Tuesday we meet with the school district for an IEP/see-if-you're-bad-enough-to-qualify-for-services meeting. It's pretty bad that I hope Lucy scores low enough to be able to receive services as school. So... cross your fingers. Wednesday I see my psychiatrist to talk about my medications and I like that doctor so that will be fun. Lucy has speech again on Friday and then on Sunday we go to the parenting hell hole also known as Day Out with Thomas the Train! 

Matt is super thrilled. He remembers when we took Olivia and Jackson way back in 2011. 
I actually had to find it in a scrapbook because I didn't remember it and apparently it was hot, it was loud, people were rude, and we got suckered into buying two hats that cost me almost $60. 

So. Should be a good weekend. Ha!

Also, if you're on Instagram, you should come and enter my giveaway. It ends August 1 and I'm probably going to mention it every day until then to be annoying. 

Enter the super cute giveaway HERE!! 
Are you walking? Running? Squats? Eating ice cream on the couch for two meals a day? 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Ears, Adenoids, and Popsicles

Yesterday was Lucy's big surgery day to have tubes put in and adenoids removed. Super easy surgery, super quick, but I'm a hot mess with surgery and anesthesia now so I was SO WORRIED.

We had to be there at the ungodly hour of 6:30 a.m. and I know when I used to work I was up well before then and that's super but now I just can't do it. I got up at 5, took my medications right away in the hopes they would perk me up, they did not and we woke Lucy up at 6 to get her dressed and go.
Lucy takes after me in the sense that she really, really enjoys sleep but she's also far more agreeable than I ever was so when we got her she at least came willingly. She definitely wasn't happy skipping breakfast because again, like me, she enjoys a meal. 
Normally I don't let her have a pacifier and she really doesn't use it and only does because Penelope does and she copies everything Pep does, but I brought it because I figured I'll try anything to help her when she isn't feeling well. She was allowed to bring one comfort item so we went with the blanket because that's her most prized possession. It was actually really cute because you could tell she was really getting nervous as people came in and out and she would rub the satin part between her fingers constantly. 
She had to put her gown on and she was thrilled when they gave her slippers that she could keep. Honestly, if you tell this girl she can keep something she's so happy, you'd think she had nothing of her own or something.

We hung out for awhile, signed all of the consent forms and pretty soon someone came to get her. Thankfully Lucy went willingly because the woman wanted to show Lucy where they kept the popsicles for after. 
And since she hadn't had breakfast, the idea of popsicles for breakfast was exciting. She got to pick whether to ride in a wagon or drive the car back to the room and Lucy picked the car.

Seeing your child being wheeled to surgery and knowing you can't go back there? Awful. Absolutely awful feeling.

About 15-20 minutes later her doctor came in to let us know she was done and in recovery but told us her adenoids were pretty large, so removing them should improve her breathing quite a bit, especially at night. When they got to her ears, we knew there was fluid way, way down in her ear canal but she has never had an ear infection. Being in there though, he realized it wasn't really fluid but more of  thick, mucus type fluid and he made a face that indicated it was really pretty gross. They cleared it out of both ears and put her tubes in. He seemed confident she would see a big improvement immediately.

I felt better about the surgery as a whole because that makes me believe all of her goopy eye and nose issues really was because of her ears. It's another issue for another day, but this is just another thing in the last year that makes me think I have to switch pediatricians because to me, this is kind of a big thing to miss. Even at her pre-op physical the doctor said, "yeah, no fluid" and that was just last Friday. That fluid/stuff has been there for AWHILE and every other doctor who has looked has commented on it.

So now I have to do the awkward doctor change and I feel so guilty. We've been with her since Olivia was a newborn and I feel bad.

Rational? Nope! But here we are.


So they roll Lucy back and seeing her riding on a stretcher, teary and scared looking, clutching her blanket for dear life was just the most awful thing to see.
She sat with Matt and didn't even want her popsicle. She was crying/whimpering and every once in awhile she would swallow and you could tell her throat was sore. They had given her some kind of pain medicine because once he got in there and saw how large her adenoids were he said she would be a hurting unit for awhile. Thankfully we weren't dealing with her tonsils taken out, because I've heard that's really awful. 
We had to hang out for awhile, like a half hour or so and they let us go. By then she had her IV taken out (which they put in AFTER she was asleep, thankfully) and she didn't put up a fight about that. Once we told her we were going to go home she seemed to stop crying for the most part. She was quiet the whole way home and was a little wobbly once we got home from all of the medications in her.

Matt went back to work after picking up her ear drops (the doctor gave her drops because he was worried about an infection because he isn't sure where that mucus stuff came from, it could be anything) and we hung out at home. By about 10:30 she was in a better mood and wanted to blow bubbles in the yard with the big kids. She had a REALLY runny nose all morning of blood and a little boogers so I was kind of worried about that but after her nap they seem to really slow down. 
She did ask for and eat lunch. I did a random assortment of things because you know how sometimes you just don't know what you want? Well she settled on a few tater tots and macaroni & cheese. She nibbled on some fruit too but after eating a little she informed me she peed. All over the chair, her outfit, through the diaper, the whole thing. Good because at least I know everything is working alright. So I got her all cleaned up and she said she wanted to go to bed, but she had a hard time walking up stairs so I carried her. As soon as I laid her down on her bed she was out. I didn't even put her blanket on and she was out. Ended up sleeping three hours and woke up asking for water.

All in all, she's a tough cookie. I think she'll be just fine. She has speech tomorrow and Monday, and she is having some kind of evaluation for apraxia one of those days so we have information as we go into a meeting with the school district next week. Next week we will see if she qualifies for district services but also what the plan is for the school year.

I can't believe July is almost over but I feel like we're coming in hot to the finish line.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

I Will Follow You Into The Dark.... or at least to a concert.

Lucy is  having surgery this morning so just know I am a hot mess and I know it's not rational because tubes are the easiest surgery ever but anesthesia freaks me out since my incident so yeah. *Think happy thoughts*


If you follow me on Instagram you already know of my fun activities so you already knew I took Jackson to a concert. But many of you don't follow me (losers) so you don't know. So here we go. 

For Jackson's birthday (waaaaaay back in April) his big gift was a pair of tickets to see Death Cab for Cutie in Mankato, MN. It was supposed to be his very first concert but Shawn Mendes was a surprise and that ended up being his first. It was OK though because this was going to be cool but also be just him and I, which we don't get to do very often. 

Bummer is that there was a massive thunderstorm warning so thank goodness I am hyper vigilant about checking, and re-checking, and then re-checking everything again because they ended up moving the show from the outdoor venue to the indoor venue. For a normal person that wouldn't be a big deal but for me it was a big deal because for the last several months I have been studying the route from the hotel to the venue in the freak chance my GPS and phone would simultaneously stop working and I'd have to wing it. 

Logical? NOPE. 

So a venue change ramped up my anxiety to 11. Never mind I had never been to Mankato in my life so this was basically all new. 
We left really early. My GPS told me it was 3 hours and 39 minutes away and I gave myself 5.5 hours to get there. Too much? Maybe, but I would rather be early than rushing in traffic I'm not familiar with.  
THANK GOD I left that early because I really thought I was going to miss rush hour traffic around Minneapolis/St. Paul but I didn't know there was a pre-rush hour traffic situation, plus construction, plus people who cannot drive around barrels, and cannot zipper merge. 

Needless to say by the time we got to our hotel I felt like we were going to really be cutting it close. The hotel turned out to be really nice, SUPER clean- maybe the cleanest hotel I have ever been in my entire life.  
We had a pet friendly, handicapped room which was fine. The odd thing? Mirrors. Everywhere. A whole wall of mirrors and a strategically placed mirror on the opposite wall. My first thought is maybe this is a weird, kinky sex hotel?  
It also had a padded window bench either for your pet or kinky activities. I'm not sure. BUT! Shout out to a hotel having a really top notch AC. The temperature actually adjusts and works. I've never  had that and it don't sound like it was going to fly out of the wall. So nice.  
And this was in the bathroom. Matt (and several friends) think this is a weird sex towel. Or even a "don't use the good towels" type thing. Others think this is a really good idea and should be done more often. I think it's weird, but I felt pressured to use it. So I used it to wash my face. I did leave it folded on the side of the sink because I am not some animal who throws towels on the floor.  
We really had to go because I had no idea where we were going or where we would park so we skipped dinner. It turns out it wasn't far and I found a parking ramp that was free (woo-hoo!) but it was kind of a weird walk to the venue, so I was trying really hard to remember our steps so I could find our way back after the show.  
Good news, we bought pizza by the slice and it was only marginally gross, and our seats ended up being better. It pretty much became a "sit wherever" type thing because this place didn't have the same seat numbering system but it worked out well and everyone seemed cool with it. I actually ended up being happier not being outside and we didn't have to deal with bugs and all that.  
The opening band was Lala Lala from Chicago and this was their last stop on the tour with Death Cab for Cutie apparently. They were maybe the strangest, least experienced opening act I've ever seen. Between having a weird start where it looked like they didn't know where to go, to starting songs oddly and then their songs all stop abruptly so there isn't that casual fade out/slow down of a song... they just stop. Then there is that awkward delay because we aren't sure if we should clap now or if it's not quite done. It became clear they had some kind of technical issue, which I'm not sure what it was because once it was solved there wasn't any difference. The singer wasn't very charismatic but rather awkward and had the "I don't want to be here" attitude but I'm pretty sure that's part of the shtick? I don't know but it was odd. I think there was one song in the whole set that I thought I'd like to listen to again but honestly, I forgot all about them until I looked at this photos. 
I have seen Death Cab one other time a few years ago and I really remember that as being the closest thing to a religious experience as I've ever had. It was at First Avenue, I was so close (like second row) to the stage in a standing room area and it was magical. This show wasn't like that but it was pretty good and I am reminded that this is a bad that doesn't take breaks. They are start to finish. The only break they had was an actual minute between "Soul Meets Body" and the encore which was actually four songs. 
They opened with "I Dreamt We Spoke Again" and they covered a lot of their new album, and all of the favorites from previous albums. I was thrilled to hear "What Sarah Said", Title and Registration", "Cath", "I Will Follow You Into the Dark", "Tiny Vessels", "When We Drive" and "Transatlanticism". Those are some of my favorites, and those are the ones that ended up being an all crowd sing along, so that was fun. 

Overall? Very good concert. We basically ran out of there to hopefully get out before everyone else and inadvertently found their tour bus! 
If I wasn't so tired and I didn't hate being in the dark, we would have hung around to see if we saw them but that could have been a few hours and I'm not the young buck I once was. So we went to the hotel and crashed. 

The next day we planned to have breakfast and get on the road right after to get home at a reasonable time. That was going well until we got to Jordan, Minnesota (I think) and were coming upon Minnesota's Largest Candy Store. We saw it on the way but didn't have time to stop before and we figured it would only be 10-15 minutes, it's fine.  
It was AMAZING. I have never seen a place like this before in my life. They have a massive area full of glass bottle sodas and then you walk into the candy area.  
The walls and ceiling? Hand painted. The characters are actual statues and some move a little but the rest is painted and it is stunning.  
Besides being overwhelmed by all of the artwork and scenery, the amount of candy and food in here is insane. They fit SO MUCH into the area and you really just walk up and down aisles.  
It got to the point I made Jackson go get me a basket or something because I had something for everyone in my hands. We got candy, I bought popcorn kernels (some that make purple popcorn and others that pop into round balls!), I bought sodas and caramel corn, cupcake mix, a lemon bread mix, all kinds of stuff.  
We basically spent almost two hours in this place.  
 Oh, and I watched the band of weird looking candies play music. 

Because I am a child and the ultimate tourist. I am really trying to live the YOLO life and when else will I see a candy band? 

We left there two hours later than we thought we would so that was fun. We hit ridiculous traffic on the way back thanks to construction and we ate at a Denny's in North Branch. Our waitress clearly hated her life and her job and literally threw my shake at me. I still tipped her well but jeez- calm down with the shake throwing lady. Dang. 

Overall? Really cool mini trip with this kid. You have to really get to know him to appreciate his humor and just how he is in general. Him and I have fun jokes and banter between us so I know he is always going to play along when I use humor to get through a really crappy, stressful situation. 

We don't have any other concerts on the calendar together but Olivia, her friend, and I are going to see The Chainsmokers and 5 Seconds of Summer in October. Yay me.