Laughing, Weeping, Living

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

Nose Dispenser

brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr [that’s a drumroll, btw]

Agnes is coming home tomorrow!

Unless, of course, something goes horribly wrong. But that is not likely. Jeremy and I have fulfilled our caregiver trials, and my parents, too. The home care nursing has been totally lined up for all seven days of the week, and all Agnes’ equipment and supplies are in the house. Supplies that include…nose dispensers. The thing about tracheostomies is, they are essentially an open tube that leads directly into a person’s airway. People with normally functioning airways breathe through the nose and mouth, which serves to humidify and warm the air before it gets to the lungs. People with trachs bypass the nose and mouth, so the air that goes through the trach tube is chilly, dry room air. That is, unless there is an HME on the end of the trach tube. That is a Humidity and Moisture Exchanger, also known as an artificial nose. The HME traps moisture from a person’s own exhalations, then the new air passes through the humidified filter, thus supplying moisture to the new inhalation. It’s a pretty neat invention, and the noses come packaged in a box with a tear-away flap like you see on a box of tissues or on a box of pop cans. The HME’s come packaged in a nose dispenser. Hee. Hee hee.

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100_1766It will be a relief to have Agnes at home, though I confess I feel kind of numb about the news. It’s hard for me to feel strongly about Agnes news anymore, whether the appropriate reaction is excited, angry, sad, or whatever. There is just so much thrown at us, and so quickly, that I’ve become exhausted by extreme emotions. Plus, Agnes’ condition changes literally from hour to hour some days, so there is no point in investing in an emotion. Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is I am cautious and reservedly excited about Agnes’ homecoming tomorrow. And, I’ll believe it when I see her in bed at home. And, I’m well aware that it’s not impossible that something will come up to delay her homecoming. And, I’m afraid to feel excited because that will open up a place for me to also feel extremely nervousscaredterrified-paralyzedsaaaaaaaaaagh.

So tonight I will be organizing Agnes’ equipment and gear, and making sure I know where all her stuff is stored, and putting sheets on her bed, and cleaning house a little. Part of my task will be to weed through Agnes’ clothes and pull out the suits that are now too small, and the suits with zippers. Since I need access to Agnes’ g-tube every three hours, zippers are not practical unless I feel like leaving Agnes half-undressed for each feeding. I do want to give a shout out to Cheering on Charlie. I just got your package today. Thank you again for sending Agnes some snappy baby clothes!

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Seven Quick Takes: July 26

Once again I am joining Jennifer and all the fine bloggers at Conversion Diary for a Quick Takes Friday. I do it when I feel like it, okay. Don’t judge me for my sporadic linking-up.

1. I’m down to two pumping sessions! Tomorrow maybe I’ll do two again, then one on Sunday. If I’m motivated I might do one final time on Monday morning, but Agnes is coming home Monday so I probably can’t be bothered to pump after Monday morning!

2. We’re trying to get the house ready for a fragile newborn. I resurrected my trusty old housecleaning schedule and adapted it for our current house. The important thing will be to keep the carpets vacuumed and the surfaces as dust-free as possible. Agnes has some respiratory trouble. I hope we can make it clean enough for her to do okay at home! Hello, daily vacuuming! Also I need to get my life back in control. The cleaning schedule will help me stay on track and actually maybe accomplish some things around the house in the midst of caring for a toddler and a needy newborn with lots of doctors’ appointments.

3. The cats really like the changing station I set up in the guest room. I’ll probably have to kick them off the mat when it’s time to change Agnes’ diaper.

Cats (l to r): Iggi, Sashimi.

Cats (l to r): Iggi, Sashimi.

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4. My husband delivers pizzas. He gets an employee discount. Apparently as his family, I get the employee discount as well. This could be trouble. In related news, dinner tonight was delicious.

5. Yesterday I wore a pretty new skirt, put on makeup, and even styled my hair before we went to visit Agnes at the NICU. I guess my effort really paid off because one of the nurses made a special trip to Agnes’ cubby just to tell me that I looked “lovely.” That’s why we ladies do it, folks. So the NICU nurses can enjoy our put-together style. No seriously, I feel a lot better these days now that I am taking some time with my personal appearance. And since Agnes is doing so well, I’m not afraid to wear mascara, and I feel much perkier when I don’t look like I just rolled out of bed and threw on a t-shirt.

6. I had my six week postpartum appointment with my OB on Wednesday, even though I was only five and a half weeks postpartum. He’s on vacation next week. I really like several of the OBs at that practice, but it seems like every OB has one question on the brain when meeting with postpartum women: What are you doing for birth control? I always tell them we do fertility awareness, natural family planning. So far I haven’t had any trouble from docs when I give this response, though I suppose I will probably get resistance as I get older. I wish they would give me a little trouble because I would love to explain the process to them and show them that it really works!

7. I really love coffee. I also have nothing else to say for my seventh quick take. So…coffee. It’s the best. I’m a cream and sugar kind of gal. I don’t like flavored creamer because it gets too sweet by the time you add enough to make the coffee creamy. And coffee has got to be strong!

 

Head over to conversion diary for some more fun quick takes! Thanks for reading!

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My Baby Boy

Today my baby boy turned two years old! Now we can officially stop counting his age in months. “Oh, how old is your little boy?” people would say. “Um, well…he’s…[counts in head] 22 months,” we would awkwardly respond. Or we would just say, “He’s almost two.” And now we can simply say he’s two. What a relief!

To celebrate his birthday, I baked a cake. We have been running non-stop getting ourselves settled, so in my exhaustion I only managed to put together a sheet cake from a box mix. I figure it’s good enough for a toddler. I did make the frosting from scratch though, because I wanted to do at least a little something special for my big boy’s second birthday. He really loves the Nickelodeon show Yo Gabba Gabba, and the character Brobee in particular. He even says “Brobee” [“boy-ee”] as one of his choice dozen words that he regularly uses. So I managed to decorate his birthday cake with Brobee:

brobee cake 2

I used Stephen’s Brobee toy as a model. I whipped up the frosting and tinted some of it green with food coloring, then I bought a can of red frosting and some black writing gel. The last time I tried to tint frosting red at home, it just got pinker and pinker and never went toward red. So I cheated this time. I used dark green sugar sprinkles to make the stripes. Stephen liked the cake. He definitely recognized the picture and of course he tore into his piece with gusto. I did get pictures of Stephen with his cake, but the cable I need to upload pics from the camera is upstairs and I’m feeling way to lazy to go get it. I will post them soon, I promise. For presents, Stephen got a card full of money from Uncle David, which we took to the toy store and used to buy a fancy toy. I’ll post a picture of that soon, too. We haven’t unwrapped the new toy yet since Stephen needed to be thrown in the bath right away and giving him a new toy right before bath time ranks right up there with Really Bad Ideas.

Stephen is really enjoying hanging out in our new home. He gets to play with two kitties [“Ki-ki”] and Quinn the Dog [“Wouf-wouf”]. He gets to run around in the large yard and feel the grass tickle his ankles. He gets to sprint up and down the driveway and get boo-boos on his chin from tripping and falling. He gets to see Grandma and Grandpa every day and then be very heartbroken when they leave for work in the morning without him.

We are trying to establish a new routine. I do apologize for not keeping up my posting schedule, but it’s being hard enough for me to remember to take my medicine every day and make time in the morning for our family rosary, much less remember to write a blog post in the evening. We have been super productive around the house since the last time I posted, though:

We’ve nearly finished painting our room. All that’s left is the final coat on one of the window frames and the other half of the closet door.

We rehung the closet bar and brought our clothes dressers up to the room. We filled the closet with our clothes, so now we don’t have to live out of suitcases and wear the same outfit three times in one week! Woo-hoo!

We cleaned out Stephen’s room and assembled his crib. We assembled our bed. We laid out area rugs in both our bedrooms.

We unloaded two of our four U-boxes and started replacing the contents with items my parents have consented to sell at a yard sale. Jeremy and I hope to hold the sale Saturday May 18. Sorry, no antiques, just old stuff.

We are well on our way, working furiously. Hopefully after the next couple days we can slow down a little, because, man am I tired!

 

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Progress is Progressing

We’ve been spending most of our time plugging away at our moving to-do list. The most recent accomplishments are:

1. We cleared out our kitchen of all kinds of glassware, plastic storage tubs, extraneous spoons and gadgets and cutting boards, dry goods we won’t use and half-empty bottles of vinegar, etc. We also identified a few items we want to unload right before we pack up and leave. We’ll need them between now and then, but we won’t need them once we get to Ohio and move in with my gracious parents.

2. Jeremy cleaned the car. Picked out all the trash, dusted and polished the insides, washed the windows inside and out. It looks great and ready to go on a long, muddy, dusty road trip.

3. We decided where we are going to procure moving boxes and packing supplies. We looked at a bunch of different options, but the cheapest one ended up being good ol’ Lowe’s down the street. Their boxes are the least expensive and come in three very useful sizes. We had good forethought and saved all the specialty packing supplies from our last move. That means we won’t have to repurchase bubble sleeves for glassware, lamp boxes, picture boxes, or anything like that. We even saved a big roll of bubble wrap. Go us.

4. I got my medical files faxed over to the practice that will begin seeing me as soon as I get to Ohio, like literally almost the next day. Thanks to my mom for hooking me up with the doc, who just happens to have expertise in high-risk pregnancy. Plus they even accept Medicaid, and will even see me if I’m uninsured (all they want is a deposit that they will refund when I can finally produce proof of coverage).

5. One thing I haven’t done yet that is actually the most important is file an application for Ohio Medicaid. As far as I can see, it’s impossible to do before I actually get to Ohio. The online application they want you to fill out doesn’t leave space for soft answers. “Income: I don’t know? Medical expenses: I don’t know? County of residence: will be Summit county in 3 weeks?” I think I actually have to call and talk to someone and that is frankly a very terrifying prospect. As if it might even be possible to talk to a person at the Medicaid office. So I keep putting it off.

6. We are poised to cross off a few more list items by the end of the week, but we can’t do it quite yet. We are very close to being able to file our tax return. And we’re honing in on travel arrangements for the cat. We also need to hear back from two of our prospective overnight hosts on the road to confirm that we can stay with them. When those things happen, our list will be almost entirely completed!

Not much news from the docs this week. The only new information is that apparently our road trip perfectly coincides with the point in my pregnancy when the doctors will want to start seeing me really often to monitor the baby. So, my primary OB wasn’t too keen to hear that we plan to be on the road for two weeks. It’s also getting close to the crucial time when my docs may induce labor and delivery for the health of the baby. My doc here told me it isn’t likely I’ll carry my little girl past 38 weeks, and it could end much sooner than that if things start to look awful. It all depends on what my next ultrasound reveals. If the baby looks good and is still showing signs of development, we can road trip. If the baby doesn’t look good, they will want to start monitoring about twice a week. Which means I will be making last minute travel arrangements to get my butt to Ohio as soon as possible. That will be very expensive and inconvenient and a big fat bummer, so I hope the baby looks good and my road trip gets the green light. As it is, we’ve already planned to contract the second half of our trip so we get to Ohio sooner. We’ve already booked our trip through Billings, so I really hope we don’t have to alter that part of the trip. Or God forbid, skip the trip altogether.

Hoping, hoping, hoping….

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Spring Cleaning?

We are really trying to do away with many things in our home. We made a “dejunking checklist” and put each room down, plus the various closets and sub-areas like the files. Today we were really busy with “dejunking” and we have made some good progress. We have finished with the storage unit, the bookshelves, our walk-in closet, the bedroom except for the file cabinet and office supplies, the closet in Stephen’s room, and…um…that’s it. It seemed like we did a lot but the place still looks super full! That’s the problem we’ve been having, though. We have been super busy getting ready to move this whole week and we can only cross off like two things on our to-do list! We’ve taken two loads of stuff to the Goodwill, as well as thrown away a bunch of stuff that is only good for trash. But we still need to finish the kitchen (a biggie), the bathroom cupboards, the laundry closet, the file cabinet and office supplies, and the hall closet.

We also found a buyer for our piano! That is huge, too, because we really didn’t want to move it across the country again. I’m sad to see it go because I enjoyed having a real piano, but the reality is it will take a ton of real estate in a U-box, plus we have to hire pro piano movers on each end to get it out of our second floor apartment, then into my parent’s split-level. We have decided to wait until we get our own place again before buying another cheap used piano. There are dozens listed on Craigslist all the time, so I don’t think it will be hard to replace when the time comes.

In other news, despite our efforts to get stuff out of our home, we did bring something home today. Stephen has been pining for one of those ride-on plastic car things. Ever since we visited a friends house and Stephen spent practically the entire time there perched on the plastic car, we have known we had to get him one of his own. We went to a second-hand mother-to-be/kids store and I looked for maternity dresses and Jeremy test-drove plastic ride-on cars with Stephen. They picked out a good one; it looks like a bi-plane and has a Mickey Mouse on the front. There are shape sorter holes in the body, but no shapes; that’s fine because we have a shape sorter toy already and I think the shapes will transfer. The lights and sound don’t work because the battery compartment is grody, but Jeremy will clean it at some point and have it working like new. Stephen doesn’t mind; he is happy as a clam with his slightly broken second-hand plastic ride-on Mickey Bi-plane.

We also have the first leg of our road trip confirmed and well on the way with the second leg. It’s going to be awesome!

That’s all the news from the home front for today. Hopefully it wasn’t too boring!

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Stephen Continues to do Cute Stuff

It’s very late already and I’m just now getting to write a post for today.

Here is a picture of Stephen playing piano:

stephen playing piano

 

Also today had a moment that I think will turn out to be one of the defining moments of Stephen’s life. We were in the parking lot when Jeremy pulled up on his motorcycle. Stephen got to see Jeremy pull into the parking space and turn off the bike, and take off his helmet. Whoa. It was awesome. Stephen “talked” about it the whole way up to our apartment. He kept babbling and stopping every few steps to point back to the bike and go “brr, brrr.” Then when we got upstairs I showed Stephen one of Jeremy’s motorcycle magazines and he flipped through the pages goings “brr, brr” at every picture of a bike.

Here’s a video of Stephen helping me clean the bathroom, one of his favorite activities:

 

I hope you enjoy my cutie patootie.

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Lost and Found

My ostensible reason for visiting my parents this week is to help them start cleaning up their house and get rid of a bunch of stuff. No, they aren’t downsizing or looking to move, but they are beginning to think about selling the home down the road. They’ve been doing some much-needed improvements and upgrades and they know it’s time to make a dent in the accumulation of items. My parents have lived in this house since 1997 and both my sister and I are long since moved out. Well, I’ve moved out and my sister is not currently living there since she is living abroad for a few years. Over the years I’ve more or less purged my old room of childhood items, but almost all of my sister’s stuff is still living with my folks, filling her old room and overflowing into my old room! Combine that with my parents’ tendency to hang on to things for sentimental reasons or because it might be useful at some point in the hazy future, and you have a houseful of stuff just taking up space. Don’t get me wrong–this is not a criticism! There is nothing wrong with keeping sentimental items! But there is a point where you just have to discard something.

Enter, moi. When it comes to dejunking, I am ruthless. Oh, is it slightly broken or discolored? Trash! Is it a size too small? Give it to Goodwill! Haven’t read that book in over a year? List it on Amazon! When my family moved away from Billings, we gutted our home so we could move everything in one moving truck. So I have lots of practice.

See, the weird thing is, I actually get a kick out of loading up a garbage bag full of randomĀ  house junk and dumping it in the curbside trash can. It’s very satisfying to have a chest of drawers full of God only knows what, then deal with it, and presto! An empty chest of drawers! Then you get to dust the chest and fill it with things you actually want to have around. Or if one of the drawer pulls is missing and there’s a glittery pony sticker from 15 years ago on the side, you get to throw the chest out too and go buy a new one! Double yay!

It’s been a bit of an adventure, going through my old things and random stuff my parents have stored away in unused rooms. I found lots of little trinkets I used to love as a girl. I found a pink plastic jewelry box full of sea shells and cheap costume jewelry and interesting-looking rocks and tiny carved animals. A little girl’s secret stash. I found old textbooks from college: ear training and music theory, psychology (barf!), statistics (barf x infinity!), a book about drive in movies. I found clothes I haven’t worn since I was 8 or 9. Apparently my mom was saving those in case I had a little girl. I looked her in the eye and said, “I would never dress my little girl in those.” Can you imagine? I was 8 in 1992. Ick. Just ick. “Here honey. Do you want a neon blue scrunchy to go with your stirrup pants and side-knotted t-shirt?” Never in this life.

But by far the most exciting find was my journal I started keeping when I was a freshman in college. I know they say those are the best years of your life, but O Holy Mary, I am so glad those years are behind me! I read a few of the entries and it was just horrible. So horrible. I got a crawly feeling on my skin and I couldn’t keep my face free of scowl. When it got to the point that one more page would cause actual physical pain to read, I chucked the journal in my big garbage bag along with the stupid posters, dried up markers, and partially completed crossword puzzle books.

So, yeah. When I told my aunt I was helping my parents start to clean out their house, she laughed and said, “You’re going to need more than a week!” Yes. That is so true.

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