Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Beach!

Obviously one of the places we were going to make sure we hit in Florida was the beach. Lido Beach, to be exact. The sand is white, and the water is fairly clear. We had been talking it up with the kiddies for months, getting them excited to dig in the sand and to see waves. Framma and Frampa had even UPS'd sand toys down so that the kids would have stuff to play with.

Getting 5 kids & 6 adults ready for the beach is a science. Parents were in charge of getting their child in their swimwear. Then, we formed an assembly line of children with sunscreen. Someone would do their arms and legs, then the next person would do their faces with "baby" sunscreen- so it didn't sting their eyes. More than one adult was required for Juliana and Brendan- they weren't really fond of the sunscreen process. Once the kids were done, then it was the adults' turn to be sunscreened. Overall we were fairly successful- we missed Framma's back one of the days, and I think we missed a spot on Jaime, but no one was really sunburned. All of this took about 30 minutes to do- yikes, I know. Then, we loaded everyone into their car seats and headed to the beach.

The ocean was remarkably calm, and the sandbars allowed them to go "far" out into the ocean and still be able to stand. The water was nice and clear and we could see fish swimming by our feet. Juliana loved being in the water- she was not so keen on the sand. The first day at the beach she overheated (her face was so red, I thought she was sunburned), so I spent most of my beach time up at the snack bar in the shade with her. The rest of the time, I got to be with her in the water- we went earlier the next time. The kids LOVED digging in the sand and searching for seashells. The pictures pretty much speak for themselves.

Friday, June 25, 2010

We Must Be Doing Something Right...

Yesterday was another rough day. Basically it's been a rough week. Both kids have been running fevers and having diarrhea. Ryan's been out of town, and I was lucky enough to have my mom with me for Monday and Tuesday, which was a huge help.

Monday and Tuesday I was exhausted at the end of both days. It's hard continuously cleaning up diarrhea. Poor Noah was so embarrassed to be back in diapers, but he couldn't make it to the potty in time, so I had to do it. Wednesday was the hardest on me. It seemed like every time I got one of them cleaned up, the other one needed a diaper change.

Thursday, Noah finished his diarrhea in the morning, but Juliana's still continues. She refused to nap this morning, and screamed for the entire hour I had her in her crib. Noah was very naughty in the morning, and I thought I was going to lose it. I made Noah a deal. If he didn't whine, cry, or disobey me while we were at the pediatrician's I would get him McDonald's for lunch. Noah was fairly well behaved at the doctor's office. Dr. Russell couldn't get over how good Noah was (he didn't see the naughty behavior), and let him pick out a couple suckers and a bunch of stickers.

He was happy to see that Juliana had gained 7 ounces in the 2 months between visits. He was extremely upset about our insurance not covering her therapies, but I calmed him down. Then we got down to the reason we were there. For a little over a month, Juliana has been coughing and having a runny nose. I felt badly that it had taken me so long to bring her to the doctor, but honestly, I haven't had much free time which still isn't a good excuse. From my explanations, Dr. Russell was thinking that Juliana may have allergies, which made sense because Ryan is "Mr. Allergy/Asthma". In my head I was thinking, "Oh great, just what she needs, more issues". However, when he listened to her lungs, he said, "Oh, this isn't allergies. One of her lungs is crackly, it has fluid in it".

How crappy of a mom am I?!? My daughter has had bronchitis for a month and I haven't taken her to the freaking doctor?!? Granted we've seen a bunch of other doctor's during that time, but still! He gave us a prescription for some antibiotics and we left the office.

Noah got his "Donald's" as he calls it, but when we got home, he asked me to put it in the fridge for later, because he wanted to take his nap. Both kids went down for their naps. Once they got up, the "fun" started again. The crying, the whining, etc. We went and picked up Juliana's medicine and then I brought them home and fed both of them... well, fed Noah anyway, we all have seen what "feeding" means for Juliana. After dinner, I gave Juliana her medicine, and 5 minutes later, she threw up all over herself. Noah said to me, "Momma, I done and ready to be cleaned. I sit here till you done cleaning sister". That was new- normally it's a demand coming from his mouth only to be corrected by me.

Once I got everyone cleaned up, we went outside to play. Noah and Juliana played around the kiddie pool which was filled with rain water. Noah kept her entertained and safe while I scooped dog poop so I could mow the lawn after bed time. After an hour it was time to get Juliana bathed and ready for bed. Both kids were soaked and happy, so I stripped them down and brought them inside. Noah continued to entertain Juliana until I had the bath ready. After I was done bathing Juliana, Noah emptied the baby bathtub (yes, she still fits in one) and cleaned up the bathroom to the best of his ability (like Ryan does after bath time) without me saying a word. Then, he helped me get Juliana dressed and brought her clothes and bath towel to the laundry room- again without being asked. Finally, while I was "feeding" Juliana, he went and sat downstairs and waited for me to come down- without being asked.

Even though this week has been nightmarish, Ryan and I must be doing something right, because Noah helped out when I needed it the most. Thank you God.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Roach Motel...

My grandmother turned 90 this year. Our entire family decided to take a trip to Florida to visit her. When I say our entire family, I mean the four of us, Jaime and Bill and their 3 kids, and my mom and dad. Jaime had found this house (7715 Westmoreland in Sarasota, FL) to rent on the internet and split between 3 families, it was fairly reasonable. It was owned by Alfred Ringling- of the Ringling Brothers circus. The pictures made it look great, and it had good reviews on various sites.

When we pulled up, I was a little disappointed that the outside looked a bit run down, but when we got inside, the place was huge! Ryan immediately began locating all the thermostats to turn them down, as it was warm inside. The kids were running all over the house and yelling, it was fun to see them so excited.

Unfortunately, one of the air conditioners was out, so the kitchen and dining room were in the upper 80's, and the room directly above them was also hot- it also had a dead roach, a nasty t-shirt and a pair of underwear in it, so that room was not usable. Jaime and Bill found a room where they could put the 5 of them, and it cooled down. We put Noah and Juliana in a room together, and had to have fans in with them as it didn't cool down (but cooled down more than the hot room, which never got below 85 in it). We called the owner and left messages about the air conditioner, which ended up being fixed by day 4, and we really didn't dwell too much on the heat, as the rest of the house was cool.

That first day, Mom and I found 2 more dead roaches and a bunch of ants. Knowing Florida is buggy, we weren't really phased by them. I did have to stifle a bit of a scream when I went to the bathroom in the middle of the night and was visited by a live roach (I still shudder to think about it).

We took the heat and the bugs with a grain of salt. But, on day number 2, Jaime started showing us these bites on her ankles. At first we suspected they were these bugs called no see'ums. Mom talked to a pharmacist and got her some bug spray and caladryl lotion to help with the itching. The next day, I had bites all over my foot and ankle. That's when Jaime got suspicious that these weren't no see'ums, but instead were fleas. Sure enough, they had fleas in their bedding, as did Ryan and I. Now for adults we were annoyed, but sucked it up. However, after Jaime found 2 on Juliana's face, and Bill found some on Brendan, we got angry and began calling the owner. He never returned any of our calls. By the end of the vacation, Jaime had over 70 bites on her legs alone. I stopped counting mine after I hit 35 on my right leg.

At the end of the trip, we had to figure out how we were going to get back without bringing the fleas with us. I did a little research on the internet, and we ended up pre-sorting our clothes into garbage bags and putting them in the suitcases. Once we were home, our suitcases stayed outside, and we carried one bag of clothes in, started the washer and threw the bag out. Once the clothes were ready to be dried, we then brought in another bag of clothes. Then, I inspected all of the items that weren't washable. We still have some "suspects" sitting in bags in our garage, as I was unsure if they were flea infested or not. Fortunately, I haven't found any fleas since we've been back.

Fortunately, we still were able to have fun on the trip- and I will post about that next, but I would NEVER ever stay at that house again, UNLESS they can produce paperwork stating that the place has been treated regularly for fleas, roaches, and ants.

Monday, June 21, 2010

What A Bad Day...

Today was a bad day, insert swear word here. If I enjoyed alcohol, I'd probably be tossing a few back right about now instead of blogging.

Juliana went to visit Theresa for a couple hours this morning, so Noah, my mom, and I went out to breakfast. Noah was very excited. He asked for Mickey Mouse pancakes, and enjoyed them quite a bit. When it was time to leave, Noah had a meltdown over some pictures that grandma put into her purse. We handled the meltdown and then went shopping for Liam's birthday present. After I picked up Juliana, I put her down for a nap.

During that time, I called to set up Juliana's MRI. We had seen a specialist at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago on June 4. She noticed that Juliana had weaknesses on her left side and wanted to get an MRI of her brain. I had called last Friday to set up the MRI, but was told the paperwork had not been received. Then I had called the doctor's office and left a message about the paperwork. Later on Friday, the nurse called me and told me she had sent the paperwork over. Imagine my surprise when I called today, only to find out that they didn't have Juliana's paperwork. My temper started to rise, but it was time for therapy, so I wrote it back down on my to do list.

Our first therapist, Laura, showed up at 10:45, and I had to wake Juliana up. Today she was a bit stubborn. She threw little mini-tantrums during the feeding half of therapy. After Laura had gotten some food into Juliana, we moved onto the speech therapy part. Juliana refused to make any sounds. During this session, my phone rang and it was the nurse for our pediatrician saying that she had received a phone call from our insurance company that they would no longer be covering Juliana's therapy. She wanted to give me the heads up and to let me know that if I needed them to write letters or produce documentation, they would do whatever we needed.

After that, I made lunch for everyone, and Noah went down for his nap. I tried to put Juliana down for a nap, to which she chose to scream. I decided to let her cry for a little while, while I went and got the mail. I had 2 letters from our insurance company.

Both letters stated that our insurance would no longer be covering Juliana's speech or physical therapy. This confirmed the phone call I received from the pediatrician. I got on the phone to our insurance company where I explained politely to the lady on the other end of the phone, that Juliana's therapies had been covered up until this point and asked why they were all of a sudden not being covered, as she qualified for Early Intervention. The nice lady on the other end of the phone pulled up our account and could not find any record of these letters and showed insurance covering Juliana's therapies. She asked me to fax her the letters and she would research and get back to me by the next day.

We, of course, do not have a fax machine. Originally, I was going to scan the letters and email them to my dad and have him fax them from his work, but of course, the scanner wouldn't work. So, I had to drive to the library where they charge you up the wazoo to send a fax. During this time, my mom was trying to get Juliana to nap. By the time I got home from the library, Juliana was in bad need of a nap, but was screaming bloody murder- there was no need to put on her baby monitor, as we could hear her loud and clear. I went up and soothed her back to somewhat calmness, but as soon as I put her down, she began to scream.

By 3, she stopped screaming, and Meghan was due to arrive at 3:45. I got Noah up, and he was not happy to be woken up from his nap. Fortunately, grandma is a rock star and soothed Noah. Once Meghan arrived, I woke up Juliana, and immediately regretted my decision to do so. Juliana proceeded to scream for the entire hour of therapy- the blood curdling scream that makes you think someone is killing her. Grandma and Noah couldn't take it, so they went to play in Noah's room. The funny thing was, that Meghan was working on getting her to pull up from sitting, helping her to figure out walking, and climbing up and down stairs. Juliana was screaming so hard that she proceeded to throw up two different times- it was magical.

Noah is usually a well-behaved boy, but today, he decided to let his naughty side out. He refused to go on the potty, and when I asked him to do something, he would refuse to do it. Grandma was able to reign him in a little bit, but overall he was not a good boy today. I am so thankful that Grandma is here this week while Ryan is out of town.

By the time I got both kids into bed, I was on the verge of tears. That's where the Chili Dawg came into play. I've said it before that if I had a soul mate, Chili would be it. He sensed my degree of upsetedness (is that a word) and crawled up on the bed next to me. He just laid right next to me and let me pet him and cry.

Tomorrow we have 2 more therapies, and I am dreading the day. Our first therapy is at 1, and our second therapy is at 2:30, which again conflicts with Juliana's nap time. I don't know what to do about that, as I have to take the openings the therapists have for me, and I know the 1 PM slot is only temporary right now until a different time opens up, but I feel like I'm drowning. I feel like all I do is whine on here, and I don't want to be that kind of person. I wish I knew someone who was going through this now too, just so we could complain to each other and I'd know I wasn't alone.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day, Ryan!

Noah and Juliana (and Jenna too)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

For The Love Of Dinosaurs...

Noah has recently become interested in dinosaurs. His favorite is the stegosaurus. He has 3 stegosaurses, and sometimes they replace his trains in bed with him. Last year just after Juliana was born, Theresa, our wonderful sitter, brought over a tub of toys that her son had outgrown.

Today, Noah opened it up to discover that it was T-Rex's Dinosaur Kingdom. I went online and was able to find assembly instructions. Noah already had 2 imaginex dinsoaurs, but this tub had even more in there! Check it out!

Monday, June 7, 2010


Today was a tough day. Juliana woke up at 6 am- nothing new. She was covered in snot and not happy- this was new. I got her cleaned up and then began the morning. She just wanted to snuggle, and I enjoyed that. Then, at 7 she rubbed her eyes, so I put her down for a nap, and got Noah up. He was also covered in snot, coughing, and kept saying that his tummy hurt (he was constipated).

I got Noah cleaned up, gave him some "poopy juice", and he just wanted to snuggle me on the couch as well. So, we snuggled, looked at his "libary" books, and did a little water color painting. Juliana got up around 8, and I got "some" food into her ("some" doesn't quite mean what it does to us normal eaters). Juliana was especially clingy, crying when I went out of her sight or was holding Noah on my lap.

At 9:30 she was rubbing her eyes again, and I knew she was tired. I thought it would be a good idea to get a nap in before feeding therapy at 10:45. Well, Juliana chose not to nap. She screamed and screamed and screamed. After 30 minutes I went up and got her.

Needless to say, feeding therapy was a nightmare for Laura. She was able to get about 2 ounces of yogurt in her before she began to cry and refused to open her mouth. Then, Laura moved onto the speech part of the therapy, and Juliana refused to make any sounds. Laura tried lots of tricks, and I tried to get her to make sounds too, but Juliana is one stubborn girl (who does she get that from?). We could have used Frampa Jim at the house, because he can always get her to babble away.

After Laura left, I tried to put Juliana down again, while I made Noah and myself some lunch. She was quiet for the first 15 minutes and then the crying began. I put Noah down for his nap and set the timer for 30 minutes and turned her baby monitor off.

After 30 minutes she was still crying. So, I got her up, and we snuggled for a while and I got "some" food in her again. Then, I tried to put her down about an hour later, since we had Physical Therapy at 3:45. She screamed the whole time until I got her out of her crib again.

She did pretty good during PT. Miss Meghan put these 1 pound ankle weights on her ankles to work on leg strengthening. Juliana was okay with them, until Miss Meghan started working with her on climbing up the stairs. Then the crying began.

After PT, I got some actual food into Juliana. 1/3 of a mango, half a banana, and 4 ounces of PediaSure. Then she needed snuggle time until Ryan came home. I have never been so glad to have Ryan walk into the house. While most of this blog was about Juliana and her lack of desire to nap (1 nap today), I need to tell you that the rest of the time I spent with Noah involved his constipation, lots of tears, and many, many, MANY changes of pull-ups/diapers, as I tried to help get unconstipated (and I think we are finally done with that).

I'm exhausted, and I probably shouldn't have stayed up Sunday night watching the Blackhawks win, but it was hockey- nuff said.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

First Trip to the Libary (Library)

This afternoon, Noah said to me, "Momma, can we go to libary"? I've never mentioned the library to Noah, I had planned on taking him there this summer, because he loves to look at books. I told him we could go after dinner, and he got so excited- "Do they have books about dinosaurs"? Right now he's really into Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, so I wasn't surprised that he wanted books about that. For the past 2 days he has been carrying around the container of dinosaurs that he got for Christmas, and is especially attached to the stegosaurus.

He chattered on and on about the "libary" the entire drive there. When the lady asked him if he wanted his own library card, she got a very enthusiastic, "yes!" Then we went down to the children's level and he ran right up to the desk and asked the very nice ladies behind it a question, "you have dinosaur books?" The women looked at each other smiled, and one of them said, "follow me," to which Noah responded, "OKAY!"

He wanted to take every book about dinosaurs but I told him we had the whole summer to check out books. He chose 4 books: stegosaurus, triceratops, allosaurus, and a trip to the fire station (random, I know). He also insisted we read them all tonight before bed, but just as the library lady said, they were easy readers.

I hope Noah carries his love of books with him, like his daddy and his momma (before my head injury). I think we will be going to the "libary" 1 or 2 times a week for the remainder of the summer.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

School Is Out For The Summer...

Yes! It has been a long and tough year this year. I am physically and emotionally drained. Part of my exhaustion is due to the stress of the ups and downs with Juliana. Part of it is from the school year. It seems like each year the level of respect for the teacher in the classroom goes down. I usually have a good rapport with my students, and I had that this year as well, but sometimes the way I was spoken to if a kid was having a bad day made me want to walk away from what I do. I love being a teacher, and this year it helped distract me from dwelling on Juliana's issues, but this year I had 2 almost fights in my room, I was called the "b" word, and I had a kid go into another kid's backpack and steal his iPod and another kid go into another backpack and steal an iPhone (of course the kids weren't supposed to have electronics on them at school, but that's a different story). I never write referrals, and this year I wrote 3. There's a reason teacher's have summer's off, and now I fully understand why.

So, hello, summer! While I know we will be kept busy with 4 different therapies a week, I am welcoming you with open arms.