Laughing, Weeping, Living

Life happens. You laugh about it or cry about it, sometimes both.

7 Quick Takes: December 6

What? She’s posting during the week? Luckily it’s Friday which means I can sit back and enjoy a quick takes post, about 7 random things, none of which have to make any sense or complete an entire post on their own.

Linking up with Conversion Diary for this one. Head over there to read more link ups.

1.  Jeremy and I took some more recent pictures of Agnes this week. It was difficult because she’s sickly and she often looks kind of crummy. But we managed to snag a pretty good one:

100_1906

2. Jeremy and I are scheduled to complete our 24-hour care tomorrow from 8am Saturday to 8am Sunday. We still aren’t quite sure who will be sleeping when during the time since one of us has to be “on” at all times–no help from nurses or doctors. This is the last thing we have to do to get ready for Agnes to come home. My dad is finishing some rewiring in the house to accommodate life support machines, and the home care nurses are completing their training. Agnes is tentatively scheduled to come home Wednesday.

3. I say tentative because she must be in medically stable condition. She has been set on the ventilator for the required two-week time frame, so there’s no problem with that. However, she has lately presented with some distention in her belly that is not resolving despite the numerous strategies employed by the intensive care doctors. They tried draining her stomach contents with and without suction to remove excess gas. They took a bunch of tests (x-ray, ultrasound, echocardiogram) to rule out all the possible causes. There is only one obvious cause left: her shunt. Accursed shunt. So the plan is to give Agnes a dose of diuretic to see if that helps, and watch her closely over the weekend. The neurosurgeon is okay with her carrying on if her belly doesn’t get any bigger, but if it does, he will want to externalize her shunt. Again. And send away for cultures of Cerebral-Spinal Fluid. Again. And wait a few days then reinternalize the shunt. Again. Only this time, he would thread the catheter into Agnes’ heart rather than into her abdomen, which is absolutely the very final option because they hate to do VA shunts, especially on trach kids. It will have to be revised in six months because they can’t put extra tubing like they can for VP shunts. Plus trach kids have a 10% risk of infection with VA shunts. 10 percent. Holy freaking cow. So that’s not awesome and it all depends on whether or not Agnes’ girth continues to measure 47 cm or less.

4. With the help of all our friends and family and our church, and everyone who made a gift through our website, wee are going to buy  this van for Agnes:

It’s a 2004 Nissan Quest with 76 thousand miles. We tested it and it drives very well, and the dealership recently had a ton of work done on its brakes. It doesn’t make any weird sounds when running, which is already better than the cars we drive now. There is a ton of room inside for all of Agnes’ medical equipment! We can’t thank you all enough for your gifts and support to help make this happen!

5. I’m having a hard time thinking of anything to write for takes 5 and 6. Well, I cooked macaroni and cheese for dinner tonight from The New Best Recipe cookbook. I love America’s Test Kitchen with all my heart, except when they tell me that the way I’ve always made a certain recipe is total crap. Or when they tell me that an ingredient I always use is not even fit for dogs to eat. But other than that, I love America’s Test Kitchen.

6. Can someone please consider getting this for Agnes’ Christmas present? kthxby

7. Okay, finally, I wanted to put the pictures from our trip on the Polar Express last because there are quite a few. The Palliative Care Team at Akron Children’s Hospital gifted our family with tickets for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Polar Express. We took Stephen and he had a grand time. If you ask him if he had fun riding the train, he replies “Yeah! Goldfish crackers. Gummy Bears.” We bought those snacks from the cafe car before the train left the station. I guess that is more interesting than the elves, or Christmas carols, or the “North Pole,” or meeting Santa. Whatever. Goldfish crackers. Gummy bears.

walking to our car to board.

walking to our car to board.

Jeremy was probably more excited than Stephen to ride the train. Name me a boy who doesn't adore trains!

Jeremy was probably more excited than Stephen to ride the train. Name me a boy who doesn’t adore trains!

We're happy!

We’re happy!

At the "North Pole," aka Peninsula, Ohio. A bunch of volunteers stood along the track, dressed as elves.

At the “North Pole,” aka Peninsula, Ohio. A bunch of volunteers stood along the track, dressed as elves.

Stephen met Santa and made strange faces at him. Weird kid.

Stephen met Santa and made strange faces at him. Weird kid.

Every kid got a "bell from Santa's sleigh," like in the Polar Express book.

Every kid got a “bell from Santa’s sleigh,” like in the Polar Express book.

3 Comments »

7 Quick Takes: November 8

Linking up with Jen and the gang at Conversion Diary. I missed last week, but I’m happy to be back!

1. So, it’s really nice having Agnes at home and all, but I did have a lot more time to do stuff when she was in the hospital. Please don’t judge me, but I did really enjoy having time to blog in the evening after Stephen went to bed, or to sleep in past 7 a.m. Plus it’s super stressful having both kids at home. I know it’s super stressful having more than one kid as it is, but with Agnes, I’m pretty much chained to her bedside since she’s connected to two to four machines at any given time and her cords only reach so far. I spent most of my day today sitting in the chair near her bed, holding Agnes in one hand, entertaining Stephen with books and coloring in my lap, and wiping his runny nose with my free hand. It wasn’t the worst day I’ve had, but it kind of sucked.

2. At least there were some funny moments. For example, Agnes’ pulse-ox monitor stopped reading for some unknown reason and it was making that horrible “beep beep-beep” sound. I couldn’t silence the alarm because I had just gotten Agnes settled with me in the chair and her feeding pump running, so I asked Stephen to push the “yellow button on the monitor.” He did it, and the cursed beeping was silenced. That’s my boy! He likes Agnes’ stuff: her pusle-ox monitor, oxygen tank, suction, cords, her trach, all of it. He knows what all the stuff is and what it’s all called. Smarty pants.

100_18743. Also I took this picture last week. Apparently this is the correct way to eat pizza.  Stephen eats much of his food in a similar manner. He takes a few bites out of eat sandwich half before going back to finish. He eats half of each cracker first. I don’t think he’s protecting his plate from mommy and daddy thieves since we take his pieces often even if he has partially eaten them. I think he just likes to do it this way.

4. While Agnes was in the hospital she outgrew some of her cute newborn size clothes. I was sad, until I realized that they are the perfect size to cover those “fluidized positioners” we got when Agnes was discharged. I guess they can only be used for one patient, so we got to bring them all home. I think the clothes are way cuter than the thin hospital covers the positioners came with.

100_1889

5. We have had a good response to our fundraising website. We are still in need of a van to transport Agnes around. Our little car is tight in the backseat with a toddler car seat, Agnes’ car seat, and the adult who rides with Agnes. It’s ideal to have an adult caregiver riding to watch Agnes, just in case she gets into trouble. The monitor is often unreliable in the car; I need to be able to see her color because she gets so worked up. The hard part about riding in the backseat is, I can’t even buckle my seatbelt in the back because there is no way I can reach the buckle. And my hips are wedged between Agnes’ seat and the door. God forbid I actually need to do something in an emergency like suction her trach or get in her travel bag for the ambu bag because she is in distress. I can’t really even reach her bag even though we drive with it in the car, in the front seat. There isn’t enough room to drag the bag into the backseat without clobbering Stephen in the face. And even if we got the bag into the backseat, there’s nowhere to put it. If Agnes had an emergency while we were driving, we would have to find somewhere to pull over, stop the car, leap out and go to the front passenger door to get the bag, take the bag to the backseat, get out the supplies that we need, then get to work on Agnes.

So, if you want to make a small gift to help us purchase an adequate used minivan that will afford us the interior space we require, we would be eternally grateful!

100_18876. I have to put this photo on even though it is so dark. Earlier this week, Stephen requested to take a nap. I was so surprised, but I put him in bed thinking he would change his mind and not fall asleep. But he did fall asleep! It was nice; I held Agnes in her chair and lolled around for an hour, recharging. When I went to get Stephen up, he was still fast asleep. I had to sneak a picture, he looked so peaceful and adorable with all his stuffed animals and the blanket up to his chin. He has his platypus which has been his special lovey for just over a year, now. I’m not sure why he picked that of all the stuffed critters, but he did and pretty decisively. Too bad it’s a “retired” Beanie Buddy first generation Patty the Platypus that we have to scour Ebay for to replace. He has two that we rotate–one to wash, one to wear. He also has a monkey that has a removable scented pouch in his tummy that you can microwave for warm, soothing scent. Stephen doesn’t like it warm, though. He just likes to change the monkey’s diaper using his own diapers, which I think is weird and Jeremy thinks is hilarious. Hmph.

7. I heard this song on the radio the other day and I really like it!

Enjoy your weekend!

Leave a comment »

7 Quick Takes: October 25

Hi everyone. This week the 7 Quick Takes linkup is being hosted at Clan Donaldson. So I’m joining in at that fun blog.

1. The great city of Cuyahoga Falls, OH–as well as many other cities in the area here–have a scheduled date and time for Trick Or Treat. Cuyahoga Falls is trick or treat-ing tomorrow from 6 to 8pm. I think it’s great there is a specific time and date. That means we don’t have to guess who is going to be ready when and hang out with our bowl of candy from 4pm to who-even-knows pm on Thursday night October 31. When we lived in Billings, there were trick or treaters really early in the afternoon. I remember specifically asking Jeremy, “when does trick or treat start?” and he looked at me like I was from a different planet. I guess I am from a different planet: the planet Northeast Ohio where the cities are kind and smart enough to schedule trick or treat. I know I would rather not take my kid out on a weeknight. Or conversely, show up at someone’s house at 5pm and they don’t even have their candy ready yet. That would be embarrassing!

2. On a similar note, Stephen’s adorable penguin costume is ready! I bought a black hoodie sweater, black sweat pants, some white flannel fabric, and a few sheets of orange craft foam. I sewed a white “tummy” to the front of the sweater, made feet from the foam that will tie around Stephen’s ankles with elastic, and I sewed eyes and a foam beak to the hood of the sweater. The “tummy” is pretty secure; I made sure it was quality stitched so he can wear a cute animal sweater after Halloween. I’m not sure about the eyes staying or not; I might add little ears so his sweater is too cute to even bear. Haha. “Bear.” Get it? Don’t worry, I’ll take pictures!

3. Speaking of Stephen, he has a fun new game to play in the bath. It’s called “monkey pack” and this is how you do it: 1. slap a washcloth on the inside wall of the tub. 2. layer on some foam bath toy monkeys. [optional 2b. count the monkeys]. 3. slap a second washcloth on top of the monkeys. 4. fold up the monkey pack and stuff it in a little bath toy bucket. 5. announce “monkey pack!” 6. Repeat.

4. Agnes is officially coming home on Monday! We are pretty excited. The home nursing agency was not able to coordinate our private duty nurses over the weekend, which is fine and pretty much what I was expecting. Agnes moved up from the PICU and now she is on the floor where all the trach kids go who don’t require intensive care. I will miss the PICU staff! I really like the nurse practitioners down there especially. The staff on the floor is great too, but it is a lot busier and the nurses all have more patients to care for. In the PICU, nurses only ever have two patients, so it’s a difference. Plus, our PICU room was nice and big with large windows. Sigh. At least it’s only for a couple days.

5. I just want to say a bit about the power of prayer. One week ago, Jeremy and I had a big meeting with the PICU doctor, the pulmonologist, some Palliative Care people, and a PICU social worker about Agnes’ long term care, and what the plan was for her treatment. No one could say whether she would depend on a ventilator or not. They had not yet started weaning the vent settings. Two weeks ago, Agnes was completely dependent on a ventilator, she was barely breathing on her own, she required regular doses of sedative because when she was awake, she fought the ventilator and became distressed. We were seriously talking about how we would deal with a baby on a ventilator, and planning our lives around a couple months of hospital time. Three weeks ago, Agnes was close to death. I mean it. They couldn’t give her enough oxygen; they couldn’t sedate her enough; they couldn’t feed her stomach food.

And today she was breathing totally on her own, with exactly the same equipment and oxygen and medicine (except for one med) she had when she was at home last month. She was alert, looking around her room, reacting to me and to Stephen, responding well to occupational therapy, tolerating her bolus feeds, maintaining a decent oxygen saturation.

Of course the doctors and nurses were working hard, but everyone praying for Agnes was working harder! Someone told me today that she honestly didn’t believe Agnes could kick the vent this time. Agnes did kick the vent, with the help of your intercession! Yesterday Jeremy and I prayed our rosary for the intention that Agnes would come home soon. That same afternoon the NP told us she wanted to discharge Agnes today. Prayer works. Miracles are real. Agnes is a miracle and a living example of the power of prayer.

6. Now to totally change the subject, my dad brought home the most enormous head of cabbage I have ever seen. ever. I have been intending to make Ukrainian style cabbage rolls with some of the cabbage, but I keep missing my opportunity. Jeremy offered to make some coleslaw, but there are still 4 more pounds of cabbage to deal with. Does anyone have any good ideas?

7. Stephen has thrown fewer tantrums this week, or at least, I have paid attention to fewer tantrums. I’m also trying something new: I ask him what he wants to eat for dinner/breakfast. So far he hasn’t requested anything objectionable. Yesterday he wanted “cereal” so I asked, “oatmeal or cheerios?” and you can guess what he wanted. This morning he wanted “jelly. peanut butter and jelly.” but he asked for it in a cute toddler voice that I can not transliterate. I am still so thankful he likes eggs again, and we have started giving him a gummy vitamin each day. He always requests “more” vitamin. I’m totally jealous of his vitamins.

Okay, so not very quick takes, but still, I hope interesting takes. Head over to Clan Donaldson for more!

1 Comment »

7 Quick Takes: October 18

Linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary. Like every Friday.

1. Stephen is on a dinner-time hunger strike where he won’t eat the meal I serve. Then he won’t eat the other meal I serve him, trying to get him to eat. Then he won’t eat the meal I serve him again because I wrapped up the plate and put it in the fridge. All he wants is “cheeros” and nothing else will do. It’s frustrating, especially when others in the house opt for “cheeros” for their own dinner on leftover night. How will I ever get Stephen to eat the dinner I prepare for him if other people get to eat breakfast cereal for dinner? It’s a struggle. I’m hoping it’s a phase for Stephen. He used to be such a good eater…he ate anything I put down for him. Except kale. He’s never been a fan of kale. I try to model good eating habits and a variety of foods for him, but he does not look only to me to learn behaviors. There are three other adults in the house he observes as well.

2. We’ve had some response to our support page for Agnes. There have been a lot of people looking at the page, and so far 6 donations. We are almost 4 percent to our goal! We are so thankful and appreciative for those who have offered a gift to help us take care of Agnes and all her needs.

3. I want to start a small cookie baking project to help support my family. I will probably start an Etsy page since this looks like the easiest and most legitimate way to sell homemade goods on a small scale. I have one major question about this venture, though: how do I ship the goods? Should I freeze the cookies and ship them frozen so they arrive frozen? Should I ship them fresh with ample padding? Should I freeze them and ship them frozen so they arrive thawed? I do not know. I fear I may have to purchase some cookies from a number of Etsy vendors in the name of Research. Yes.

4. Agnes continues to be stable. They turned down the rate of the ventilator from 20 to 15 and she apparently did not notice, which is good. The plan is to reduce the rate by five each day, until all Agnes has is CPAP with pressure support, then take away the pressure support and leave Agnes with CPAP, then take away the CPAP. We’ll see how it goes.

5. I’ve been hearing a number of negative comments about people who rely on government assistance programs like EBT and Medicaid. I would just like to remind everyone that while there are of course many who abuse these programs, there are also many who genuinely need the support to make ends meet. I myself use EBT and I am so grateful. If I did not have EBT, we would spend half our monthly income on food, easily, which does not leave much left over for gasoline, bills, incidental expenses, clothing, church donations, and “emergency.” Because, you know if you only have $600 to divvy up after food, there are going to be emergencies. That’s the rules. Anyway, things like this are mildly offensive to me, and also pathetically funny that there are people who believe this kind of stuff, which it is becoming more and more clear to me: there are. lots. If such a thing can be judged by quantifying the related Facebook memes.

And my family is on Medicaid. Oh my gosh, if we did not have this, we would probably spend 1000% (one thousand percent) or more of our monthly income on medical bills.

6. It’s starting to look and feel like Fall around here! The leaves are turning colors, it’s been chilly and crisp. I love it. The heat has been on in the house, and I’ve had to wipe off the windshield in the morning.

7. I’ve got a cough that just won’t quit, and I wasn’t too worried because I have no other symptoms besides a cough that is sometimes dry, sometimes productive. Except now I’ve had it for more than a week, and the coughs really take a lot out of me. I hope I’m not infectious because my daughter has Chronic Respiratory Failure…And I don’t want to go to the doctor because I’m not sure my Medicaid is working right now since Agnes just got transferred off the MCO and back to straight Medicaid, and apparently county employees are so overworked that they accidentally transfer around whole families when one member moves, even though it seems like it would be more work to transfer multiple people…whatever. I have a dreaded phone call to make, I can see. And I’m not encouraged because apparently this happens all the time, and some ladies I’ve talked to have trouble convincing the office that the problem even exists. Sigh. Wish me luck.

Read more takes at Jen’s blog.

4 Comments »

7 Quick Takes: October 11 “Look at this cool stuff” edition

Linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary. In the interest of sparing you my complaining, here are seven cool things that are totally non-important.

1. DIY tumblr, which I have never seen before today when a page I “like” on Facebook made a link. The lady made a giant squid pillow! I could totally do that.

2. This Russian guy does amazing makeup/beauty work. Most of the models don’t even look like themselves anymore.

3. I’m really excited about this.

4. One of the days I was sitting with Agnes at the hospital during her last stay, I watched PBS on a Sunday afternoon. I watched Joanne Weir Cooking Confidence and she made this soup, Butternut Squash with Carrot Soup. I have made it two times at home in the intervening weeks, and I give it high marks. It is very delicious and not complicated, though it does take a long time start-to-finish. The time is mostly waiting for things to cook, but you do have to plan ahead. It is worth the time, and Stephen likes the soup too!

5. Speaking of soup, I am discovering that I love this option for dinner. I have made several kinds of soup in the past few weeks, and I like that it is fairly difficult to do something catastrophic. I made the squash soup, and a soup with chicken and barley, and a cheesy potato soup with broccoli. I followed recipes for all, but I made some adaptations and they still tasted great. How easy is soup, with crackers and cheese, or bread, or a toasted sandwich?

6. Apparently I’m obsessed with the Dragonriders of Pern books by Anne McCaffery. I read them when I was in high school and I come back to them time and again. I have recently read all of them again except the few that I reread not too long ago already. It is a fascinating world with many compelling characters. There are a couple things I find especially interesting, but I guess not interesting enough to talk about them in detail: 1) there is no religion on Pern and no apparent belief in a Higher Power. 2) there are very few cases of cancers, mental or physical disability, or other genetically inherited conditions. 3) the society is culturally liberal from a sociologic standpoint (no stigma for homosexuality or infidelity), yet “drudges” abound in every dwelling. They do menial, dirty work and are often people with more limited intelligence and aptitude. There is also a very strong caste system, though it is possible to move among the classes.

7. I like this song on the radio right now.

1 Comment »

7 Quick Takes: October 4

Hi y’all. Linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary, as per usual on a Friday.

1. Yesterday in my haste to write a quick blog post before bedtime, I forgot to mention a Cool Thing. Fr. Michael Gaitley asked all of us at the talk to pray for him as he is traveling to Mexico to meet with super-wealthy benefactors with the hopes that someone will finance the translation of 33 Days to Morning Glory into Spanish and then support giving away millions of copies for free. He said this project has recently launched in the U.S. and it has been extremely successful. Like, they printed a couple million Spanish 33 Days, and the books have been available for a week, and they only have a few thousand left. Successful. And Fr. Michael wants to do the same thing in Mexico. So maybe all y’all can pray for him too!

2. And the other cool thing is that Fr. Michael will have the opportunity to see the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe up close and pray with her. And, he promised us that he would pray for Agnes when he sees Our Lady! He really did offer a beautiful blessing for Agnes when we met him last night. I feel more at peace about Agnes’ surgery.

3. I really hope Agnes’ hospital stay next week is brief. I don’t know how I will handle another month-long stay. Last time I started to pull away and feel disconnected and detached from Agnes and I don’t want that to happen again. Although, I will say the one bright side to her going to the hospital is that I can focus on Stephen when I’m at home, and go to bed before 11pm. But those are not sufficiently brights sides to make me long for an extended inpatient visit. A few nights would be more than enough.

4. My big plan for tomorrow is to bake some cookies. I haven’t decided which kind yet. I really like cookies, but those pre-packaged cookies you find in the cookie/cracker aisle of the grocery are just a waste of time. They don’t really taste like anything, they last forever after you open them and that’s no good, they’re expensive, and they don’t even look real. I just can’t bring myself to eat them. The only thing going for them is they are sweet. So, tomorrow I will make lovely homemade cookies! I want to really enjoy my fats and sweets if I’m going to spend calories on that portion of the food pyramid.

5. I grew up with the food pyramid and I will always think of the food pyramid no matter who comes along and shows me a color-coded plate. That is all.

6. Minor miracle today: I got Stephen to take a nap! He was up very late last night with grandma and grandpa while Jeremy and I went to the talk, but he still woke up around the normal time. I’m glad he took a nap like he never does; he really needed it! Plus, I got to doze a little with Agnes as well. Win win win. Wins all around.

7. So I guess some symptoms of hydrocephalus are sleepiness and irritability, which could explain why Agnes is either asleep, or cranky-pants. Nothing I did today calmed her down, except holding her in my arms. Then she would fall asleep, but she woke up again as soon as I laid her back in bed. Stinker. Hopefully the shunt will help her be more even-tempered. Although, I’m not sure how I will be able to handle a more wakeful baby and Stephen both! I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Read more quick takes at Conversion Diary!

1 Comment »

7 Quick Takes: September 27

As usual, linking up with Jen Fulwiler at Conversion Diary.

1. I apologize for having an exceptionally quiet week around here at the blog, but seriously, if I had tried to write posts they would have looked like this:

or this:

2. Boo hoo. Did someone say Terrible Twos, because that’s exactly what I’ve got. “Time to eat lunch.” Tantrum. “Time to go upstairs.” Tantrum. “Time to go to bed.” Hoo boy. Biggest tantrum ever. Last night was definitely not my finest hour when it was time for Stephen to go to bed. I lost my temper and I’m ashamed. And scared of what will happen tonight. Can he just magically already be in bed without me having to put him there?

3. Speaking of Stephen, he’s currently obsessed with this movie.

It’s pretty cute, beautifully animated, and about penguins which seems to be the main draw for my kid. He loves penguins, for some reason. I haven’t pushed that animal on him, but he does have one story book about penguins and as far as know that is the root of his penguin exposure. Now he loves them, and he requests this film by asking, “watch penguins? dee bee dee bee dee penguins?”

4. A physical therapist came to see Agnes today to get her signed up for in-home physical therapy. She seemed pleased about Agnes’ development so far, telling us that Agnes is pretty much in line with where she should be for a 3 month old baby. That was thrilling for us given all the talk about developmental delays and physical limitations. We aren’t expecting that Agnes will grow up to be normal, but we are happy to hear that she is not currently far behind. Hopefully she will be able to continue exceeding expectations! The therapist also said that Agnes demonstrates great alertness and eye contact. We told her how Agnes seems to anticipate negative experiences like car rides, diaper changes, and suctioning, and the therapist said that is really wonderful evidence of advanced cognitive skill. She said young babies can’t usually anticipate. So, we’ll take that news at face value and not put any additional weight behind it, but we are very happy to have heard this news.

5. I’m planning to dress Stephen as a penguin for Halloween. I think it will be cute! I think he will love it! I haven’t decided for Agnes yet, because she is most likely not going trick-or-treat. I was thinking an alien, but no would see the costume except us. And everyone on the internet who looks at the inevitable picture.

6. Tonight for dinner I followed a recipe and made Tilapia Curry with Basil. I realized as I was putting the dish in the oven that I forgot to add the curry paste. Fail. I guess I actually made Garlicky Tilapia with Basil. Because that’s about all you can taste. It actually tasted okay, but it would have been better with curry paste.

7. I did manage to get Stephen to eat his dinner. He did not want to when I set the food on the table (“no. no. no.”) but I ignored his objections and ignored him. I ate my dinner and eventually he came over and sat down. I had to leave to attend to Agnes’ demands, and while I was gone, Stephen ate up his plate. Win one for mommy. Hopefully I can manage bath time with as much grace.

For some quick takes that are not about whiny toddlers or whiny mommies, go see Jen.

2 Comments »

7 Quick Takes: September 20

Hi y’all. Linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary.

1. I read Jen’s quick takes before coming here to write my own, and her take about Delena’s take about Myers-Briggs Theme songs is really interesting. Right now I’m listening to Jen’s chosen theme song for her personality type, INTP

It’s pretty interesting. My personality type is ISFJ, according to the super quick test I found online. I wonder what my theme song would be? I will strenuously consider this and report back when I figure it out.

2. So a couple days ago I wrote about Stephen refusing to eat, and taking pictures helped him forget his tantrum and eat his meal. It has worked a couple times since then, but I think the novelty is wearing thin.

stephen soup stephen sandwich

3. Last night Jeremy and I changed the sheets on our bed. Sashimi the Cat helped.

cat under blanketcat under blanket 2

4. I made a dish from the Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine again tonight, but this time it was one of her “30 Minute Meals” and I followed the recipe exactly. Maybe I’m not the first one to discover this, but for real, her idea of “30 minute” meals is totally wonky. I knew this as soon as I looked at the recipe, and I know I’ve thought this before on the other occasions I’ve contemplated making a dish from that section of the magazine. This one was Spaghetti with Cauliflower and Tuna. Early this afternoon I took almost an hour prepping some of the veggies: cutting up the cauliflower, separating the parsley leaves and stems, and dicing the pepper. Then when I got started this evening, it took about 45 minutes active cooking time. Granted the recipe says things like, “two shallots, finely chopped. Four garlic cloves, finely minced.” But still, the only way you could do this recipe in 30 minutes was if you cook it on a 30 minute Food Network program and have a sous chef prep all the veg before the show starts.

5. Also, that recipe above requires a “6 to 8 oz can of sustainable tuna.” What, will the recipe fail if you use unethically-farmed tuna cans in your dish?

6. Has anyone ever done a HomePath mortgage or HomePath Renovation Mortgage to get a house? Jeremy and I are looking into it because you can get a house for as little as 3% down, and the renovation mortgage allows you to borrow what you need to update a house as part of the whole mortgage package. There are a ton of houses “with potential” around the area, and we agree except we lack the capital to invest in a property that needs attention. And we like the low down payment!

7. We took the kids out on a short trip again today. Agnes really extremely hates riding in the car. She starts crying as soon as we put her in the car seat, and keeps going and going the whole time we’re driving. She does get tired and she has to take breaks, but when she feels rested she starts “screaming” again. She flails her arms, her hair gets really sweating, she kicks her feet, bubbles form at her mouth, she squeezes her eyes shut and turns pink. The pulse-oximeter beeps and beeps. It’s actually quite comical. It’s fortunate she makes very little sound when she cries because that would take the situation from comical to tragic and someone-please-for-the-love-of-god-make-the-baby-stop-crying! territory.

Go to Jen’s page for more quick takes. Thanks for reading!

4 Comments »

7 Quick Takes September 13: Dream Home Edition

Linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary like you do on a Friday.

Jeremy and I have been getting in to long-term-planning mode for our family, which includes some concrete goals about our future home. We are planning our savings each month to bring us closer to the time when we can afford a home of our own and move out of my parents’ house. We are doing some hypothetical math to see how long this might take us, so we can set a deadline for ourselves. We are looking at real estate listings and dreaming about the day when we can go house-hunting with pre-approval from the bank, ready to make a serious offer if we see something we like.

Along those lines, here are some quick takes of qualities we are looking for in our dream home in Akron, Ohio.

1. Decent neighborhood. There are a lot of great little neighborhoods in Akron. We plan to ultimately home-school Stephen, so school systems are not much of a factor, but we are going to start being mindful of the schools since Agnes will transition into special education services through the public schools when she is three or four. All we’re really looking for is a street where we don’t feel like we need to install security bars on the windows, or lock the car doors when we drive up to our house at night. A street with a high ratio of occupied homes and reasonably kept up properties is all we want.

2. House with character. We lived in a house built in 1911 when we lived in Billings. It had lots of great little details and a historical feel, even though it had been updated recently. We want that again. Built-ins, a butler’s pantry, sloping ceilings on the top floor, deep front porch, that kind of thing.

Woodwork, hardwood floor, character, built ins! Asking price on listing is $79,000.

3. Mostly hard floors. I’ve lived in places with wall-to-wall carpet, and I have come to realize that I don’t prefer it. I would much prefer hardwood floors or even decent looking laminate or tile. It’s so much easier to keep clean, and I also love area rugs!

4. Cool woodwork. A lot of the houses in this area have thick wood frames on windows, doors, around entryways between rooms, and baseboards/crown molding. Some houses have this woodwork painted (how could you?!) and some have natural wood. Oh, it’s gorgeous.

5. At least 3 bed, 1.5 bath. We really need three bedrooms now that Agnes has to sleep in her own room. And I would prefer 1.5 baths to 2, because I don’t really like cleaning a tub and shower!

6. Close or at least convenient to Akron Children’s Hospital and our church, Holy Ghost. Honestly, these are the two places we go to the most often. You know, besides the grocery store.

7. Less than $80,000. It’s possible! Housing in Akron is exceedingly affordable, especially right now. And if you refer to my first take, the price all depends on the neighborhood. We’re looking at the Firestone Park neighborhood or the Highland Square neighborhood, both of which have many homes with our desired characteristics, and more! We are excited about house shopping in Akron!

Head over to Conversion Diary for more quick takes!

3 Comments »

7 Quick Takes: September 6

Linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary.

Sleeping like a baby.

1. First thing’s first: I have some news about Agnes. Yesterday morning we met a representative from Aeratech, the medical supply company that will be providing all our equipment in the home. While she was showing us the gear, Stephen became antsy, so Jeremy picked him up and helped him turn on the mobile that hangs on Agnes’ crib. When the Aeratech rep left about 5 minutes later, I went to Agnes to stroke her hair and talk baby to her, and I noticed that the hose that supplies warm mist and oxygen to her trach was disconnected. That means she was not getting any oxygen apart from what is in plain room air. I was shocked. I looked at Agnes; she looked great. I looked at the monitor; it showed she was at 98% oxygen saturation. I decided not to reconnect the tube and I went to get her nurse. I showed her nurse what had happened and she was shocked. Only the day before, Agnes had clearly needed the extra oxygen. Her sats would drop mere moments after being disconnected. The doctor agreed to wean down the oxygen she is receiving, and this time it looks like it is going to stick. We were able to wean her down further this afternoon. She is getting 1/4 liter, which doesn’t mean too much to me aside from I know it is less than what she was getting yesterday: 2 liters. Maybe she won’t need oxygen at home after all. Praying. Praying.

2. Stephen is starting to tell us what he wants using actual words. It’s cute. He picked up his flashcards and said, “Cards. Cards.” Then he gave the cards to me, pointed at the sofa and said, “Couch.” Then he climbed up on the couch, clearly waiting for me to sit down with him and play flashcards. Also, I do believe he was asking for a diaper change this evening. And earlier this week when we sat down to have a morning cup of milk, he asked for a blanket. When I got one out of the storage ottoman and threw it over our laps, he pulled it up and said, “feel better.” Aww, doesn’t that make you go “awww?”

3. Another cute Stephen story, because who doesn’t like cute stories about toddlers? Today I was on the computer and Stephen was doing who knows what, but he wandered into the office with a cat puppet on each hand, holding his sippy cup. “Empty,” he said, and tried to suck out some juice. The cats. They were holding his sippy cup. One on each hand. Oh my word.

4. I have been going to the gym several times a week, first thing in the morning before anyone else is awake. But I tell you what, the past two days when my alarm rings at 5:50am, I turned it off and rolled over. I’m way too exhausted to support an early morning gym habit. Too bad that’s the only time I can realistically go. We go to the hospital in the morning, then Jeremy works in the evening, then I don’t want to exercise right before bed, plus my parent’s have been going to the hospital in the evening to train which means I have to stay home with Stephen. Will it be easier to go to the gym when Agnes comes home? Probably not, but we’ll see. Jeremy will start school in a couple weeks plus work on the side to bring in the moolah, so I’ll be at home with the kiddos most of the time.

5. Speaking of the gym, I haven’t seen many tangible results of my new exercise regime. Hahaha! “Regime.” whew, that’s a good one. Anyway, pretty much the main result I’ve noticed is a workout of a similar intensity is easier for me to do than it was when I first started. That’s good. I haven’t really lost any weight, and my mood improvement is hard to notice most days, but I can tell my cardiovascular system and main muscle groups are the tiniest bit fitter. So that’s a start.

6. Have you ever tried oat groats? Also known as oat berries? They are the whole grain of oat with only the outermost husk removed. This is what oats look like before you chop them up (steel cut oats), or run them through roller presses (rolled oats). Whole grains = better for you! I bought some at the farmers’ market a while ago and made crock pot oatmeal a couple times. It’s good. I don’t remember how I did it the first time. Last night’s recipe is superior anyway. I mixed 1 1/2 cup oat groats with 6 1/2 cup liquids (water and/or milk), plus 1/2 cup brown sugar, a dribble of vanilla extract, and a few hefty dashes of cinnamon. Cook overnight on low. Makes at least 6 servings. This morning the oats were a lot softer than when I made it the first time. I liked it better today, and Stephen liked it today as well. He didn’t like it when I made the oatmeal a couple months ago with a different recipe. I recommend. I bet this oatmeal would also be delicious with some raisins or other chopped fruit stirred in at the end.

7. Have you ever seen the movie Hot Fuzz? Oh my gosh, it is the best. It’s basically a parody of an action buddy cop flick, but with really good acting, dialogue, compelling characters and plot, and a surprise twist or two that are actually surprising. I can’t even tell you how much I laughed the other night when we watched it. There is some bloody violence (hey, it’s a murder mystery) and coarse language, but I wouldn’t say the language is gratuitous. Plus, Bill Nighy has a minor supporting role!

Leave a comment »

%d bloggers like this: