Monday, November 30, 2015

Well Dang!

Where did November go???  I knew I hadn't blogged in a bit but didn't realize it was for almost an entire month!  Some of it has been because of my mood.  At times blogging really helps and at other times its just more than I want to deal with.

So what's been going on?  Well- we all survived Thanksgiving.  There was only one threat made to call the police and for the most part things went well.  I was still pissed at me sister for deciding that she couldn't deal with Thanksgiving.  Personally I think it was pretty crappy of her.  Then in addition to not being able to host she decided that no one wanted turkey and a ham was necessary.  Of course my mom wasn't going to tell her to shut her pie hole and catered to her and my traditionalist dad by serving both turkey and ham.  I really do miss when we had an extra oven in the basement.  It made cooking for the holidays a lot easier! There was minimal personal drama at the dinner so that was a lovely change.

On Saturday we all gathered to celebrate my oldest nephews birthday.  Man where have the last 8 years gone????  He's such a caring, smart boy and I'm so proud of him.  It was the birthday of Pokemon.  I was the person writing the list of who gave what so proper thank you notes could be sent.  I should have just written Pokemon, Pokemon and more Pokemon!  Unfortunately on his actual birthday when he was going to lunch and the Children's Museum with a friend he started running a high temp.  Poor kiddo has a double ear infection.  That's usually his brothers territory!

Earlier in the month Princess Bear (PB) had a repeat sleep study.  She hadn't had one in a few years and they were trying to determine whether or not she needed to try a cPap machine again.  These tests never are easy for her since she is very allergic to adhesive and there is a lot used in this test.  They did let me give her some Benadryl before the test so at least she wasn't up itching and scratching all night.  That said the next few days were very rough in that every place they had attached the leads she had a rash and blistering.  It was a few days of Benadryl and a seriously unhappy kid.  Today we met with her pediatrician to discuss the test results and  a few other things.  The good news is that she no longer has apnea so a repeat test and cPap is not needed.  She was so excited to hear that news it was very cute to watch her.  The Dr. then measured her scoliosis.  More good news!!!  Yes it is an increase of 4* but since she is hopefully done growing and its relatively minor she won't need any treatment for it.  Yea!!!!  There was some discussion about another genetic connective tissue diagnosis but I'm still trying to wrap my head around that and get some answers before I share any more.

As for me I'm just trying to recover from the cleaning and cooking of Thanksgiving and get ready for Christmas.  I've got 48 of my Christmas cards done, about half done.  Part of today was spent up in the attic hauling down decorations.  While I hate climbing ladders (and I really, really do!) it sure is nice to see the house and outside decked out!

Oh and for fun stuff I got a new toy!  My old cell phone never, ever worked very well.  Yesterday I got a Galaxy s6.  So far I'm having a grand time playing on it.  So that's the short version of what has been happening around here lately.  I hope that you had a lovely Thanksgiving and are having a wonderful time getting ready for Christmas!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Has the holiday crazy already started?

Last weekend Princess Bear (PB) and I hosted a Halloween potluck.  Some of the preparations involved serious deep cleaning like this house hasn't seen in a loooooooooooong time.  While I do love the smell of Murphy's Oil Soap I'm willing to hold off on smelling it for awhile!  It also seemed like I was just feeling seriously blah.  I've been running low grade temps on and off for a couple of weeks.  So by the time the potluck arrived I'm sorry to say that I didn't enjoy it as much as I should have.  I'll just have to try harder for next year.  On Halloween itself PBs plans went sideways.  Every since my nephews were born we've spent Halloween with them.  My sisters family lives in a really nice subdivision where they know the vast majority of their neighbors.  The game plan is I usually show up with dinner and feed the kids while my sister is finishing up getting ready for the trick or treaters.  Then my sister and bil take the kids trick or treating while I stay at their house and dole out the goodies.  It's one of the few things we have down pat.   Well, on Friday I received a text from my sister saying that she and Luke wouldn't be attending the potluck.  By Saturday I got a call saying my sister was sick and it would probably be a good idea to keep PB away since she's so prone to getting sick.  Her poor little face looked so sad when I told her.  I told her that we could go to White Rose, the church that she attends youth group and bible study.  White Rose has such a neat set up for the kids!  It's all inside but spread out throughout the building so it's not too noisy.  They have tons of games and PB really enjoyed herself.  PB then asked if she could attend her best friends church festival.  You have no idea what it took for me to agree to that.  So we head over to visit with Shay.  Now PB has a Frozen bag with flashing lights in blue and dark pink as her treat bag.  The  main road to get back into town is a very, very (did I mention VERY) dark and sometimes desolate road.  We're in the car listening to music and I see lights in the car.  I look down and I'm not speeding.  I look for the police car and see nothing.  I'm beginning to think that I'm losing my mind until I realize it's PBs freaking bag flashing but the added darkness amped it up a bit. 

On Monday morning I received the first of 2 calls from my Drs office.  I'd had a follow up appointment for my sinus infection and UTI.  The PA decided it had been long enough since my steroid shot that they could run the blood work to look for some answers to why I'm having almost constant joint pain.  I also thought I needed another round of antibiotics because I had a kidney infection.  Well, the first phone call was saying that my sed rate, which is what measures inflammation in the body, was almost double what the high side of normal is considered.  The nurse said that at this point I need to see a rheumatologist.  Yippee!  Another specialist to add to the collection.  A few hours later another nurse calls and asked if I had my results.  I told her I had my sed rate.  She's like no the rest of your blood work and xray results are in.  To add to the fun my vitamin D level has gone down and my kidney stone has tripled in size and is now in a position that it can be moved through my system.  This is my first kidney stone and I did a bit of research online but I had to stop since everyone talked about it being the worse pain ever.  I'm drinking butt loads of water with lemon essential oil in it as well as fresh lemonade with lemon essential oil in it.  My brother in law almost completely dissolved his kidney stone by doing that some I'm keeping my fingers crossed. 

Now that Novembers here I'm feeling the "Oh my gosh the holidays are coming and there's so much to do!".  My mom swears that she's keeping Thanksgiving very low key and down to a bare minimum of people.  I'm not going to believe it until I see how many to set the table for.  PB had so much fun at the Halloween potluck she asked if we could do a Christmas one.  That was a bit of a pain with people not letting me know what they were bringing so I proposed a cookie exchange and appetizer party.  That way I'm not going to be cooking a ton of stuff hoping to have all the bases of a meal covered.  I've also got to get my rear in gear and start figuring out Christmas cards.  Maybe if I break things into small tasks the holidays will run a bit more smoothly!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Is fighting the school going to be my lot in life?

Things have been going fairly well at school with a couple of glitches.  Unfortunately the glitches are not of the tiny variety.  The biggest one being an issue with Princess Bears (PB) adaptive PE teacher.  I really do like the lady.  It just seems as though any time there is any sort of issue and PB cannot participate in PE, even with a Doctors note, the teacher gets pissy.  Sorry there is no other way to put it.  2 years ago PB severely sprained her ankle and was on crutches for a couple of weeks.  During that time and a week after her Dr. didn't want her participating in PE.  I think that's pretty reasonable.  Nope, this woman tried every day to get PB it participate in some manner.  I finally had to have her homeroom teacher just send her to the library while the rest of the class went to PE.  The issue we're having now is with dodgeball.  A few weeks ago PB was hit hard enough in the face during dodgeball that her glasses came off and she had bruising.  It is very clearly presented in PBs IEP that she must be very, very careful of her eyes at all times.  Her left eye doesn't focus until her right eye does.  So, if anything happens to and damages her right eye she will essentially be blind.  This is a very serious matter.  After the whole dodgeball incident a few weeks ago I talked with PB's opthamologist and he decided anytime there is any kind of balls in the air PB should not be playing.  It just isn't worth the risk.  He wrote a lovely letter explaining (again) the issue PB has with her eyes and why the parameters need  to be followed.  Last week PB's class was back to playing dodge ball.  I about completely lost my shit.  Her home room teacher acknowledged receiving the Drs note and giving it to the PE teacher.  I tried to call PBs coordinator on Monday and today.  This evening I received the following letter from PBs PE teacher:

Hi Sarah,  I understand you have concerns about PB playing dodgeball in PE class.  I also got a letter form the Doctor.  
I want you to be assured student safety is always my number 1 consideration when planning activities for Adapted Physical Activities.  I do not feel dodgeball is any more dangerous than the any other activities and I believe it is safe for PB.  She loves to play and is very good at it as well.  In fact she is one of the more physically capable students in the class. 
 We use soft foam balls and students throw from a good distance.  It incorporates many skills, one of which is how to avoid getting hit by the ball. This involves paying attention and moving out of the way., keeping yourself safe.   Catching, throwing, teamwork and fitness are also involved.
With that being said, I will not allow her to play as you request. We don't play very often so she will not miss much of PE time. 
If you ever have concerns about PE please contact me. The classroom teachers can relay messages but may not be able to respond on specific matters.

Thanks,  Sue

Ok- let's go over what's not ok about this.

1) if foam balls are being used how did my daughter get hit hard enough in the face to have her glasses knocked off and have bruising?  
2) you received a letter from a students Dr. explaining why they couldn't participate in something and then you still had them participate.  That is not indicative of someone who is worried about my daughters safety.

Her email was very nice and she did a good job CYA.  I get that she has to do that.  I also get that if she continues to disregard a Drs note or not insure my daughters safety that the shit is really going to hit the fan.  

So am I overreacting or not?  What do you think? 

Monday, October 26, 2015

You don't get to pick your siblings

Things have been crazy busy around here.  Princess Bear (PB) had Parent Teacher conferences last Thursday and had the day off on Friday.  Friday morning we dropped my mom off at a conference that she was attending and proceeded to spend the next 4.5 hours running errands.  We ordered a backup pair of glasses for PB.  She’s doing much better about putting them in the case and taking care of them but I figured it couldn’t hurt to have a back up.  She had a Dr appointment that day and then it was errands getting ready for all the Halloween stuff going on lately.  She’s part of a local group that provides social activities for people with developmental and physical disabilities.  This group does an awesome making sure that everyone has a great time.  This month it was a Halloween themed dinner and trick or treating in the building.  She walked out with a boatload of candy.  She did share it with her grandparents and her cousins.  I did have to make a couple of dozen cupcakes for that.  I decided to stay with the Halloween theme and bought some Wilson icing decorations.  Oh my goodness!  They were way, way, way hard.  Like break your teeth hard.  So not happy with Wilson decorating at the moment!   We’re having a Halloween potluck at our house on Friday.  I’m making more cupcakes for that as well as PB’s class party.  Sure not planning on using any Wilton decorations!  Actually the ones for her school party will be orange icing and Halloween sprinkles.  The ones for the potluck will be decorated as mummies. 

This whole potluck thing is driving me nuts.  I invited several families.  One person gave me a definite RSVP without my asking and another friend of mine isn’t sure since her kids have dentist appointments that day.  I get that you won’t know until you’re done at the appointment.  Everyone else I’ve had to track down and ask and no one can tell me what they’re bringing.  As of right now it’s looking like 14 people with another 11 as a possibility.  I have no idea how much of what to make!  On the upside of things they house is getting a deep cleaning that it normally never gets.  I’ve even gone over all of the cabinets in the kitchen with Murphy’s Oil Soap.  I so love the smell of that stuff! 

I did almost attempt to reach through the phone and strangle my sister today.  A few days ago my mom told me that we’re doing Thanksgiving here.  That means that I’m on for all the cleaning before and after.  Have I mentioned that we don’t have a dishwasher?  My parents just aren’t able to do as much cleaning as they used to.  Add to that the fact that I’m having some severe joint pain issues on a daily basis (this is why I’m being tested for Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis in a few weeks).  When my mom told me that Thanksgiving was ours she knew how I was going to react.   My sister has managed to get out of doing absolutely all family events this year.  She thinks if she offers to pay that it’s enough.   So to the part when I wanted to strangle her.  I was standing on a chair cleaning off some of the cabinets.  My Dad had been calling all morning because of an issue he was having with his cell phone.  Umm- can’t do much to help you Dad until I can actually SEE the phone.  So all morning I’d been hopping off the stool to answer the phone.  My sister calls with this attitude of “what do you want me to bring and how many people will be there”.  I explain to her that I’m standing on a chair cleaning the cabinets and promise to call her back with the exact head count (at least what I have as of now) in a few minutes.  She then tells me that instead of cleaning the cabinets I should be doing X,Y and Z.  I literally didn’t say a word and just waited for her to shut up.  Do I tell me sister how to take care of her house?  No.  Do I tell my sister how to take care of her kids even if she’s doing something I think is not in their best interest or fair?  No.  I love my nephews more than life itself but they aren’t my kids.  Do I tell her what a complete shit she is to dump on the holidays on my parents and myself?  No.  Only because I know my mom doesn’t want to deal with my sisters crap afterwards.
 Today though I was
a)      very tired
b)      in a ton of pain (a raging sinus infection and a double kidney infection will do that!)
c)       a complete PMS hormonal mess (I really need a shirt or warning system that says “I have PMDD- do not mess with!)
d)      completely at the end of my rope with my sister. 

I just again told her that I’d get her the info she wanted in a few minutes and hung up.  When I originally started planning this potluck it was great because we were already going to be watching my nephews while my sister and brother in law ran a night race in a local cemetery.  Best of both worlds.  Spending time with the boys and not having to deal with my sister.  When my mom came home today I gave her the rundown on the conversation with my sister.  She was slightly less than pleased with my sister.  She did give me credit for not completely going off on my sister. 

Tomorrow is more errands, cleaning and general fun.  I’m just hoping that PB has as much fun at the potluck as she’s envisioning. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

There's always next year and awesome potato recipe.

Well the fat lady did indeed sing tonight at Wrigley.  While it is disappointing as a Cubs fan I'm quite used to the mantra "There's always next year!".

Princess Bear (PB) and I had a very chill day today.  Her class went on a field trip that I refuse to send her on since it proved a little dangerous last year.  Her class went to one of the local apple orchards.  It's a fun place.  I've taken her there before.  The problem is that it's about 30 minutes outside of town and we're having some unseasonably warm temperatures this week.  Last year PB overheated to the point that she became completely lethargic.  That was with me putting her in the car, stripping her down to just her t-shirt, putting cooling clothes on her head and the back of her neck, giving her cold water to drink and pour on herself as well as blasting the air conditioning.  Part of the problem is that the idiot teacher didn't pay any attention to the fact that PB was overheating.  So I decided to try to line up some appointments for today.  Seemed like a good way to have it be an excused absence.  Unfortunately one appointment was cancelled at 5:30pm yesterday and my Dad asked me to postpone the other so the garage repair guy could come.  So PB and I spent a day majorly chilling.  I've got a sinus infection that antibiotics aren't working on as well as a bladder/kidney infection.  The antibiotics seem to be doing nothing other than making me feel worse.  PB was like "Mom you sleep.  I'll finish my homework and clean my room before I watch a movie" and that's exactly what she did!

Below is a couple of different ways to cook new potatoes.  My Mom is partial to the Salt Potatoes and my Dad loves the smashed potatoes.  PB likes any kind of carb so both work for her!

1)    Wash new potatoes.  If you are planning on making smashed potatoes you can usually fit between 12 and 16 potatoes on a cookie sheet.  If you just want to make Salt Potatoes use 4 lbs new potatoes.

2)    Fill a Dutch oven with water leaving about 1.5” at the top.  Add 1 ½ cups of salt. (yes you read that correctly.  1.5 cups salt)  Stir until dissolved.  (The high amount of salt raising the boiling point so you wind up with oh my goodness creamy potatoes!)

3)    Wash the potatoes and set aside. Fill a large pot with water; stir in salt until it no longer dissolves and settles on the bottom. Place potatoes in the pot and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer.

-         For Salt potatoes simmer until tender but firm, about 15 minutes.
-         For Smashed potatoes simmer until soft.  18-25 minutes.

4)    Drain potatoes (do not rinse for either version)
-         For Salt potatoes melt 8 tablespoons of butter and toss with potatoes. 

-         For Smashed potatoes preheat oven to 450*.  Let drained potatoes sit for 5 minutes.  Prep cookie sheet(s) by coating cookie sheet with 2T of olive oil.  Place potatoes on cookie sheet and gently smash until flat.  Brush tops of potatoes with olive oil and bake for 18 minutes.  After 18 minutes turn potatoes over and lightly brush tops with more olive oil.  Return to oven for 18 more minutes.  After baking you can eat them as is or sprinkle with fresh rosemary or parmesan cheese. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Chicago Cubs and Luke Bryan- IE things I love!

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Ok first thing first.  Can I just have a WTF moment?  Cubbies, really?  I get that losing when you're not at home is easy to do.  Home team advantage is real.  I get that.  I won't even discuss that you freaking beat the Mets the last 7 times IN NEW YORK before this playoff series.  You brought it home.  Game 3 could have changed the tides.  What the hell is going on?

Thanks for allowing that vent.  I really appreciate it!  Anybody that has been with my blog for awhile knows that I'm a Chicago sports fan.  It's in my blood.  I'll be the first to admit that I'm much more die hard about football.  I can sit down and watch an entire football game on TV no problem whatsoever.  I like baseball.  I really do.  I just have a really, really hard time watching a baseball game on TV.  Now take me to Wrigley and it's all good.  There is something about hearing the crack of the bat.  LOVE IT!  Perhaps that's why I'm more of a football fan.  I do love the Cubbies.  Really I do.  I just don't watch entire games on the TV.  Now that hasn't been the case since the Cubs won the wild card slot. All games have been on for the duration of the game. It's been a big topic of conversation in our house.  My Dad was talking to Princess Bear (PB) about how lucky she was that there was a chance that she could see the Cubs in the playoffs when she was only 12 years old.  My dad had to wait until 1984 so he would have been 38.

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 We also had to explain the whole flying the W concept to PB. Its things like that that are making this post season a lot of fun and great family time.

One of the few things that I've always told PB is that being a Chicago fan in most cases (be it Cubs or Bears) is a lesson in loyalty. It's not about winning. It's about being part of a tradition. That said I'm am completely bummed for my Dad. To say that he loves the Cubbies is an understatement. The first time we had to bring PB up to Children's Memorial to meet with the surgeons she was only 2 1/2 weeks old (yes weeks). After the appointment my Dad tells me and my mom he has a stop to make. We figure he's going to the cemetery to check on his Dad's site. We're sitting in the car and I realize we're not heading to the cemetery. He goes to Wrigley and gets out. He looks at me and says "Give me the baby." Um...ok Dad- wtf:???? I hand him PB and he holds her up and says this is where the Cubs, your team, plays. Really Dad? Now he's just waiting for my nephews to be old enough to take to a game.  Although my youngest nephew is pushing the bonds of acceptable behavior by flirting with being a Cardinals (and a Packers) fan.  I did tell him if he ever came here in Cards or Packers gear that I would take it off and turn it inside out!  

So while the fat lady has sung yet she's warming up.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed and I'll utter a few prayers for a Cubs miracle.  If only to see my Dad's face.  

Now on to Luke Bryan.  PB and I love us some Luke Bryan. 

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I mean could he be any more adorable??? 

 She had me at Target the day that Kill the Lights was released.  He's one of the few artists that I have to buy 2 copies of the CD.  Otherwise the kid is either in my room or in my car swiping my copy!  I thought that taking PB to Luke Bryan for her first concert would be a great idea.  Anybody remember when I talked about this awhile back? It was either here or on Facebook.  Remember that I set up PB's yearly Shriners visit to coincide with when Luke Bryan was playing in Chicago?  When I was able to make her appointment for that week I was so stoked!  The next thing was to buy some tickets.  It had to work.  I made the appointment.  Things were syncing up.  Now this is where things get a little weird.  PB suffers from focal seizures.  Thankfully they don't occur as much as they used to.  The thing is that flashing lights is one of the things that can set off seizures (not just focal but that's all I have to worry about with PB).  So in order to take her to see Luke Bryan I would have to buy 3 tickets so my mom could accompany us just in case PB had a focal seizure.  So there I was having saved a few hundred dollars and not having gone to a concert in a damn long time (the U2 Elevation tour in 2001 was the last concert I went to.  That's wrong on so many levels but that's another post).  So there I am at my computer ready to buy some tickets to Kick the Dust up tour.  Life is going to be great.  PB is going to see her beloved Luke Bryan.  Then I see ticket prices.  Nosebleed as in upper upper deck tickets are $150 each.  Now I love my child and would do all kinds of craziness to see her happy.  There was just no way that I could justify spending $450 on tickets to make it happen.  I was so bummed and apologized all over the place for getting her hopes up.  I felt like such a shithead for getting her hopes up.

Now let's fast forward to today.  Our local Civic Center announced that Luke Bryan is going to be playing here in February with Dustin Lynch and Little Big Town.  Color me excited! This might be a more doable situation for some many reasons.  It would still be hard for me to come up with the money for tickets but with it being here in town I'd only have to buy 2 tickets.  Still a pretty huge hunk of change for a single mom that doesn't work in order to take care of her medically fragile child.  The plus is that I wouldn't have to buy a ticket for my mom so that helps lower the cost.  G-d forbid if PB has a focal seizure while we're there my parents could get in the car and be at the Civic Center within 10 minutes.  That's probably less time than it would take for me to go get the car in the parking lot and get back to my mom & PB at the United Center if we went in Chicago.  Then we could just wait out the seizure or if it didn't go well we'd literally be 3 minutes from the Emergency room.   I honestly don't know how I can save the money but I have a couple of months to try my best to make this happen for my daughter and I'm going to give it my best.  

Monday, October 19, 2015

There are just some issues

Sometimes there are just issues that people will never ever agree on.  It's what makes the world interesting.  Over the weekend I linked to the following article about teachers in Oregon having the right to conceal carry on school premises.  You can find the article HERE.  I cannot begin to tell you how much I love the idea.  Actually Princess Bears (PB) and I had a similar conversation a few months ago.  Here's the deal.  Should there be stricter gun regulation rules?  Perhaps.  What I do know is that bad, evil people that are hell bent on doing bad, evil things will get a hold of any weapon they want regardless to the safety measures put in place.  The sad reality of the world we live in is that anything is available to anyone if you're willing to search it out and pay for it.  One of the comments that a friend left was "I wonder how long it will take for a teacher to get angry and shoot at a kid."  Really?  If that were the case and teachers were so unsuccessful with keeping their tempers in check then you'd hear of many cases of teachers just beating the holy crap out of students.  That's like saying no one should own a gun because no one can be sure to keep their emotions in check and not use the gun inappropriately.  The other argument I loved is that there is at least 1 police officer in (many) local schools so they should be able to handle the situation.  Really?  Yeah because the odds are frankly against that police officer.  Don't you think if you were an armed gunman that one of your first targets would be the only armed  person that might foil your plans?  I hate the idea of my child being a sitting duck.  I hate that she has to have regular drills on what should happen if the school does have an armed attacker on the premises.  I do love the idea that of adding the availability of a few more people to help safely secure the situation.  If more schools allowed the teachers to conceal carry it becomes a matter of how lucky does the gunman feel that day vs there might be 1 person that will attempt to stop me until the police arrive.  I'm all about increasing the odds.