Monday, November 25, 2013

Finishing up Fall- 2013

Whew! We've had a busy Fall. So busy in fact that I haven't had time to catch up on the blog. But I did want to get some pictures up on the blog. You know, just in case the kids look at this in 20 years and wonder what we did in the Fall of 2013. I realize that the probability of that happened is hovering around 2.345% right now, so maybe the real reason is so I can feel like I am somewhat keeping up with our lives. Let's go with that reason, shall we?

 One of the best things we did all October was one of the simplest. We picked Bennett up from school one Friday and headed straight to our area Botanical Gardens. We packed a picnic dinner and just let the kids run around and play. It was a gorgeous evening and they ran, and ran, and ran. We ate sandwiches and just hung out. So simple and so easy. We stopped at Panera Bread on the way home for our first hot chocolate of the season. It was perfect.
 We spent our Sunday afternoons on the soccer field watching Will bend it like Beckham. He even got a trophy for it. That was a source of much pride for our son and was a source of much consternation for our daughter. The oldest one. Not the youngest.
 We went to local Fall Festivals where the kids went on wagon rides, swam in giant pits of corn, planed garlic, and more. I just watched and took pictures. My days of swimming in corn are over.
 Speaking of peanuts, you can't live in Dothan without going to the National Peanut Festival. I invited my parents to come and join us and who can resist driving 2 hours to ride on a ferris wheel and eat boiled peanuts? Not my parents! Oh, and my husband won fist place in a photography contest. Because he is just that awesome!
I may miss the cold Fall weather living in south Alabama, but there are some days where I do not miss it at all. Namely when I can take my kids to the park and play in November and they can run around without coats. That eases the pain a bit.
 Maybe my favorite picture of Lainey ever?
 I chaperoned two separate trips to two different pumpkin patches with my two oldest kids.
Rob and I went to Birmingham for a weekend and stayed with my sister and we got to go to our first Alabama game of the year. Roll Tide!
 Cuteness on the porch.
 Like most families out there we did our annual pumpkin carving and seed roasting.
 And of course, we went to the requisite pumpkin patch.
 Here is our nice family photo from Fall 2013
And here is what most of the outtakes look like. This sums up my kids.
 Now we are off to celebrate Thanksgiving, get ready for Christmas, and cheer on the Crimson Tide to a victory in the Iron Bowl (hopefully.) Hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful season as much as we are.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Lainey and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

We've had a rough week around this house. It reminded me of one of my favorite books from childhood.
No, Lainey did not get gum stuck in her hair and she did not have to eat lima beans for dinner, but she did have trouble beating a really nasty virus.

It started on Monday. She had been at a play date that morning and all of a sudden she spiked a fever. I've had three kids so I don't necessarily worry about a high fever. I started the usual routine of alternating Tylenol and Motrin and put her down for a nap. Her fever didn't break and she was acting incredibly whiny and lethargic. I snapped this picture to show Rob. She was just sitting on the floor. The TV wasn't on. She was just sitting and not moving. Poor little Lainey bug.
The next day her fever was still 103.5. I called her pediatrician worried that it might be an ear infection, but since she wasn't pulling on her ears at all the doctor said to give it 24 more hours.

Our week was getting complicated. I started working a few hours a week (more on that later) and now we were juggling Rob staying home while I worked, getting B to piano and dance, picking Will up from pre-school when Lainey was napping, someone covering my duties for my Mom's group.... all that normal stuff you have to do when you have a sick kid. Very typical but hard nonetheless.

By Wednesday her fever had been at 103.5 for 48 hours. We took her to the doctor but everything was fine. Her ears, lungs, chest all sounded good. They sent us home and said to call back if her fever hadn't broken in another 48 hours. But now my Mom radar was going up. None of my kids acting like this even with high fevers. She was inconsolable and would not walk or let me put her down. I took these pictures in case I needed to show her doctor how miserable she was at home.
Thursday morning her fever was still very high. I will say that the Motrin and Tylenol would bring it down, but it never broke. It would get down to mid 100's but she never seemed to feel better. My other kids would perk up and run around as soon as their temps lowered, but Lainey was miserable all week. She wouldn't eat any food and was refusing her sippy cup.I put her down for her morning nap and when I woke her up she was very cold. I got her thermometer and her temp was 93.7. What? I took it again and it was 94.1. Regardless, that was scary. It had dropped 9 degrees in a 2 hour span. I called Rob and he met me at her pediatrician's office.

When we got there Lainey's temperature had risen to 96 but she was stumbling everywhere. She ran into doors and was just hysterical. The doctor became very concerned and told us she wanted to admit her to the hospital. She did a spinal tap on her first which was very hard for me. But I am thankful she wanted to check for meningitis and I am even more thankful that the results for that test were negative.

So, off we went to the hospital where Lainey stayed for 48 hours. I called my parents and they came down to help with Bennett and Will.

Settling into our room, I have never ever seen any of my kids so miserable. Looking back, Thursday was a very hard day. There was so much uncertainty. I never cried. I held it together, but I barely ate any food all day and I could not sit still. I just felt empty all day.

First she had a spinal tap and then they had to strap her down to insert an IV. It was awful. Not going to try to sugar coat it.

My sick little Lainey. She could not even hold her head up.

Bennett came to the hospital straight from school. She was so worried about her and she did the only think she knew to do - sing Lainey's favorite song.

That day we watched her like a hawk. Thankfully, the IV's helped and she started to perk up a tiny bit. She started having wet diapers again, but she couldn't walk well and was falling constantly. I know she is only 13 months old, but she is a great walker. She can walk everywhere and at the hospital she could only take a few steps. She was so disoriented and only wanted me to hold her. She would not let me put her down.

The next day (Friday) she was sitting up more but was very puffy from all of the fluids.

She still wouldn't walk or eat and I will say that I was beginning to get very worried about her. None of her tests were showing anything to be concerned about and her blood work was normal. But then, sometime mid afternoon, she just perked up. My Dad came in the room with Will and she reached for my Dad. She hadn't let anyone hold her but me. Then she ate a few pretzels and took a few sips of water. And then she actually got down and toddled around. She was very wobbly and unsteady, but she wasn't falling. She wanted to read a book with Will.

She seemed to get even stronger by the evening and ate a few graham crackers and walked down the hospital hall. Of course, she was still a sick little girl and even a little bit of activity could wear her out.

 And honestly, that's where we are now.  We aren't sure what caused the huge drop in her temperature and we don't know what caused her to be so unbalanced. She is grabbing her head a lot and she seems to be in pain, but she is getting molars. Is it related or is it teething? Very hard to tell when trying to diagnose a baby who can't talk. They took her off the IV since she was eating and drinking a bit more and so there was no reason to really stay at the hospital. They were just monitoring her walking and giving her Motrin and I felt we could do that at home. We all thought that she needed to be in her crib if at all possible. She couldn't sleep at the hospital with nurses walking in every hour and checking her vitals.

The next step will be to do a CT scan if we think it is needed. We are trying to see now if Lainey just had a crazy virus that she had a hard time recovering from or if it is more. I personally do think it was just a virus, but we are watching her very closely to see if she still has trouble walking and if she continues to grab her head in pain.

A lot of you who read this blog are close friends of mine and I cannot tell you enough how much I appreciate all of the calls, texts, emails, and Facebook messages. And I am especially grateful for the prayers. Every one of them was felt and needed. I have been a Mom for nearly 6 years and I have never had one of my kids admitted to the hospital, so even though I really had a peace about it and I wasn't ever truly worried, it sure wasn't pleasant to see my baby in so much pain. It hurt my heart thinking of the countless number of parents whose children are sick. I cannot even begin to imagine having to walk that long road with your child and all I can do is pray for those families with all of my might.

Rob and I have been praying a lot these past 48 hours. Actually, this whole crazy week. We know that Lainey is not ours. She is the daughter of our Heavenly Father and He has entrusted us to care for her on this earth. What a gift. What an incredible and humbling responsibility. Our prayer is that God would grant us discernment. That He would point out things to us that we need to see while closing our eyes to things that are no cause for alarm. We are praying He will give us the right questions to ask and that we will be His mouthpiece in every encounter.

But for now, we are home. She has slept all day long but seems to be happy to be in her crib surrounded by her family. I am mainly writing all of this down while it is fresh in my mind in case I need documentation later. But hopefully it will just be an entry in this blog that chronicles our lives and Lainey will look back on this one day and think, "Whoa! I really liked my paci, didn't I?"

Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope" 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Trick or Treat or just form an assembly line and hand me some candy

My neighborhood is nuts. Nuts, I say. We had TWENTY TWO bags of candy ready to go for Halloween. Most of them had an average of 140 pieces in the bag. And we were out by 7:20. We did hand out 2 pieces for about an hour but other than that we only gave out one piece. Y'all, that's crazy talk. A woman in our subdivision estimated she had 2300 kids at her door. I think that sounds about right for us as well. And again, we stopped at 7:20.

I don't know why every person in our town comes to our subdivision to trick or treat. Maybe it's because the houses are close together and few neighborhoods in this town have sidewalks and we do. I don't know, but we were warned before we moved in and the warnings were justified.

Here is a shot Rob took of the masses entering at 4:30. 4:30!!!!! That's the entrance to our subdivision on the right side of this shot. People park in the business center right outside of our entrance and just walk in. All. night. long.
I do love that nearly every house goes all out in their decorating. I also love that the streets feel like a block party. But I don't like the assembly line feel to it. Homeowners pretty much just sit in their driveways and hand out a piece of candy and yell "Next!"

But why wouldn't you want to come here when you really get a full on Halloween experience. Homeowners dress up in costume and even put on a show. Here is Maleficent handing out candy. There was a huge line to see her. It was almost like being in Disney World.
And here are some pirates from that movie. You know the one. They had this whole little routine down complete with music. Rob wants us to do this next year. Seriously.
You can't even just pull your kid in a normal wagon. Even the wagons are tricked out. No pun intended.
But it really is fun. Here are a few shots of some houses. This really doesn't give you the full effect because Rob took them earlier in the day before smoke machines and lights came on.
We did our family costume that you can see in the post below, but on the big night the kids wanted to pick their own costumes. We gave up on Lainey's shoes after 30 seconds. It wasn't worth the effort. Good thing we live in Alabama and you don't need them yet. It was still in the high 70's that night so her little lion paws could remain blissfully sock free.
Rob wore his trusty Captain Hook costume that he wears every year. I didn't want to be left out so I pulled my Lucy costume out of the garage 15 minutes before our friends showed up. Don't I look so Lucy putting some touches on the food for the evening?
And don't think I use pumpkins only for fruit kabobs. The hold candy corn rice krispies quite nicely as well. I made a bunch for Will's school party and we used the left overs for that night.
My friend Keely and her family came over so they could trick or treat with us. I didn't get a group shot but I snapped this as we were heading off for the night.
And my friend Wendy came over with her daughter, Molly Grace, and another sweet little girl as well. Again, I didn't get a group shot because it got crazy busy, but Rob managed to get one of these cute girls as they handed out candy in our driveway.
 All in all it was an awesome night. I love Halloween. I think it is such a fun holiday and even though it is kind of insane in my neighborhood, I think it is a ton of fun. We're already looking forward to next year.
Happy Halloween, 2013!!