Life Is Just So Daily

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Camp Darnin 2014

{Poor PawPaw. He gets no love in the title of Gage's favorite week of Summer. Sorry, PawPaw! It's Camp Darnin. Poor, poor PawPaw!}

Camp Darnin 2014 started a little later than usual in the season because of illness at the Casa de Lainey Paney....but, Gage was SO GLAD to get down there and start his week.

 Before Camp:

Mom would text me pictures throughout the week... Loved it.

Now, this next one is my favorite: Gage at Wienerland.
To an 8 year old little boy, a place called "Wienerland" sounds like a fun and funny place. Turns out, it has crappy food, fly paper hanging by the drive through window, and it's clearly not much to look at. I'm just glad it's not the Tyler, TX version of Chippendales. Woohoo! 'Wienerland' wink*wink....

Gage declared it 'disgusting' and from what I understand, they didn't eat their food but Gage still wants a t-shirt sporting the restaurant's name. ....of course he does....

FINALLY, at the end of the week, it was time to go get our little buddy!

So, we families go to this large room and wait for the campers to come running in. It's pretty awesome when they do because for us, we haven't seen Gage in a week.

Then they congregate by cabin, and sing praise & worship songs.
It was absolutely too much to keep these two apart! Eliette couldn't stand it. She had to run to Brother.

So sweet. So unbelievably sweet.

Then, the cabins break into their small groups and each of the cabin counselors reads nice things he's written about each camper. Gage and his counselor:

We were sooooo happy to have our camper!
And as we seems they didn't want to let us go!

Oh, Gage is just so lucky to have grandparents to host him for a whole week of just HIM time. He's so lucky to get to go to Pine Cove and participate. He loves it, and we love that it all comes together to work out for him....
We {HEART} Pine Cove!
...and we HEART*HEART*HEART Darnin  PawPaw.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Shoes for Kids, 2014

Soooooo----we have a local program called Shoes for Kids. It's a charitable giving opportunity, where school age children identified by local school systems  and other processes are identified as being in need, and they get free shoes for back to school! What what!? The event is awesome. I volunteered at the event last year and loved it!

This year, sadly it would take place on my one Saturday to work. (booooo hooooo!) So---I signed up to help with the set up. Daddy kept Eliette at home, and I took Brother with me so that he could maybe give back to the community as well. Children/youth are not allowed to volunteer at the actual event because it just might make it weird when/if they see their friends there getting shoes, or rather, if a recipient child is being served by a peer and they feel uneasy or embarrassed by it. You get where I'm going here.

Anyway---I thought it would be a great way to serve.
Gage was pleasantly surprised when two of his buddies were there to serve too.

How much 'serving' did they do? That's certainly questionable....but even if it's just laying the foundation for them seeing us in an attitude of service, then that is one step in the right direction.

Now, just to brag about this program: the program has grown, and it's awesome! The kids can get caught up on immunizations then & there. Free haircuts? Yep! Socks to go with the new shoes? Yep! It's shoes and so much more. It's a great, great, great program and I'm so lucky to be a part of it, even in a small way.

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Just Your Average Morning.

My lap is full.

When I was pregnant with Eliette, Gage became very upset when my belly got big to the point that my lap was disappearing. There was literally too little room on my legs left to hold him because the belly was in the way. Common problem for pregnant women with existing children who want to sit there I imagine. I just remember the day when he wanted to sit in my lap in the bathroom while I was running his bath water and he just cried and wailed that my lap was going away because the baby was taking it. Bless his little sweet heart! But---looks like he doesn't mind sharing the lap these days. He loves his sister!

....but she's not ALWAYS so amusing....

Gage is thinking, " Really, Mom? Really? "

And this sweet thing post-breakfast is thinking, "How can you not just love this face!?"

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Back to School Shopping....

With Daddy home for a year, we get to head into Dallas all together for random fun. Well, that, and dr appointments, errands, just whatever.

On this one particular day, Daddy had a morning dr appt in Dallas, and Eliette had her post-op appointment in Dallas later in the day. Gage had a pair of shoes in mind for the school year that could ONLY be found at the Nike store (turns out that wasn't true, and they weren't even in-stock there, but call ahead and AVOID a trip to Northpark? Never!)

So, Damon dropped us off at the mall, and headed over to the doctor.

Gage took in the new art installation at the mall. He LOVES the art there. He has always paid attention to the various pieces since he was little. Even as a toddler, he would notice and tell me when something was changed. Smart boy!

We did a little clothes shopping for Brother too....
Eliette was free-to-roam with Brother by her side.

"What's this place called 'school?' You're going to leave me and go to schoooool???"


After the mall, we hit Jason's Deli for a quick lunch before the doctor's appointment.

Sometimes waiting can be fun. Sometimes it's boring and takes FOR.EVER.
Not with these two: never a dull moment. 

How was post-op?
Quick and easy!
Ears looked perfect.
AND---there was a noticeable difference in Sister's hearing within hours of the surgery.
True story: came home from surgery. She was tired at first, and snuggly. We (Eliette and I) were sitting on the couch in the living room just chilling while Brother was feverish and sick in his room (previous post....). The ice maker in the kitchen made the ice and released it into the ice bin. This is a noise that just becomes ambient house noise, you know? You don't think about it. If you hear it, you know what it is so you do nothing. It just is a faint household sound. WELL----she heard it, and reacted like the SWAT team came busting through our front door. She FREAKED OUT. That's when it occurred to me: she's never heard that before. Oh My Goodness. I wanted to cry and cheer at the same time (okay, so maybe I DID both of those things). So amazing. So great. So thankful.

Since her ear tube surgery (which we agonized about the decision to do it, but I'm sooooo glad we did) she's just in a whole new world. It's amazing to watch her and hear her respond to sounds.
Happy Girl!!!!!
{No, we don't routinely lock her in the laundry room, but she went in there, and closed the gate behind herself. Then we joke about 'baby jail' and she kisses me through the bars.}

Other pics from the day:
 "Where's your tongue?" There it is!

She tries to kiss the baby she sees in the reflection of the mirror, or when I turn the screen on the camera to take pictures of her. Sweet girl.... Pucker up, Buttercup!

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Friday, October 03, 2014

Rough Summer.

We had some rough times this Summer. No lie. With Eliette, we battled recurrent tonsillitis/strep, and recurrent ear infections. The antibiotics hardly seemed worth it. In the beginning, with her first meds, she reacted to a TRACE amount of soy used as a binding agent in one of the antibiotics. The reaction was pretty bad pretty quickly and I just KNEW that there was dairy in there. Wrong. The BEST pharmacist took the time to hear my concerns, listen to the dietary restrictions for Eliette because of her intolerances, and she called the manufacturing pharmacy for the drug and did all of the leg work for me. She was a rockstar. Found out that it was a soy binding agent, and found us a suitable non-dairy, non-soy alternative. At that time, Gage's Rx copay was for zero or ten dollars. The Rx copay for Eliette being treated for the same thing: $100 because she had to be on this drug that wasn't first (or even second) tier on the preferred formulary.

Such was life....
But, we quickly found that Gage and Eliette tolerate antibiotics in completely different ways too. Gage---throw him on an antibiotic, and no problems, provided you give the medication with food. Eliette? Ugh. Diarrhea, rash, then yeast rash. That cycle's never fun. Then with one of her rounds of antibiotics, she ended up with c-diff. After a different round of antibiotics, she ended up with thrush. I'm still nursing, so I ended up with thrush in my breasts. We've been through it all!

At a certain point, it was obvious to the dr that we needed Eliette to see an ENT because of the recurrent tonsillitis, recurrent ear infection(s), and delay in her speech development.

So....we did that. The verdict: tonsils need to come out, in time. Why? Dr says she's too young right now. They're not so large that they're obstructing her airway, so that's good. Like her brother, she seems to have freakishly large tonsils (my term, not his!), and they swell with every illness, without going aaaaallllllll the way back down to their pre-illness size. So, it's like every time she gets sick, they get a little bit bigger.

The tonsils swell and block off proper drainage in her ears, so they get fluid trapped and infection sets in. Fun cycle, right???

The good news: her food intolerances (which will probably be a whole post of its own at some point) are soooooo improved! Antibiotics---plenty she can take now. And, she doesn't have to go straight to the bad-mamma-jamma-heavy-hittin'-drugs that wipe her out in every way.
The bad news: ear tube surgery would be necessary until she can get her tonsils out when she's a little older. It was a looooong road to get her to her surgery date, and there were MANY many MANY long nights with earaches and sore throats along the way...

Long nights made for some long days too....

So, literally, the night before we were to take Eliette in for her ear tube surgery, Gage started complaining of belly pain. He was already at Memaw's to spend the night so that we could be at the surgery center super early for sister. Well, not only did Gage have belly pain, but he had lower right sided belly pain, and suddenly had fever.
So, I picked him up and we headed to the ER.
When we learned that they really thought he had appendicitis, he started to freak out a bit and he NEEDED Daddy. He apologized profusely to me for expressing this preference, and he was so afraid he'd hurt my feelings. "Oh, Buddy. Mommy's not mad. I understand." He explained that he needed him there because Daddy's bigger and Daddy can protect him better. sniff*sniff. I'm sure I'll do in a pinch, though....

That night, ER let us go. Said it was either reeeeeeeally early appendicitis, or just a tummy bug.

So, we went home. Memaw took care of Eliette the night before when we were in the ER with Gage, and she took care of Gage when we took Eliette for her surgery.

 Pre-surgery fun with Daddy...

The floor was so shiny and she was thrilled to see her shadow.

The surgery itself: so easy. Like 10 minutes. I had no time to really freak out or worry because before I knew it, it was over and they were bringing her back to us.

She was pretty p*ssed when she woke up....She came back to me, nursed, and listed to "Peaceful Easy Feeling" on Daddy's phone. It's her jam. For real. No matter what is going on, when that song is on, she stops crying or talking and just mellows. It's perfect. Thank you, Eagles. Owe you guys one....or a few.

She did well. We were on the road before we knew it.
Back at home:
He still wasn't feeling well....

In no time, Eliette was perking up...

She was up and running by afternoon, but Brother was fading....
He bounced from his bed to the couch to our bed to the bath, lather, rinse, repeat.

He wasn't better within a couple of days. In fact, he was worse. So, we were going down the road of thinking, maybe it WAS early appendicitis that they saw at the ER, and maybe now it's time to re-check this situation. We headed to the doctor's office. The doctor was all over this situation. We were treating his fever with Tylenol and Motrin, but only getting it down to about 103. He'd been hanging out in the 103s for 2 days. His tummy was hurting. He was tired. He was miserable.

The doctor sent us to Pediatric ER at Medical City Dallas. Yet again, Gage NEEEEEEDED Daddy. Memaw to the rescue to stay with Sister.

We three headed into Dallas and were there for several hours. He had some wonky labs. I forget now what was so abnormal. He got lots of fluids which really seemed to help perk him up, to the point that he even wanted to color.

Two CTs in one week? Not fun for this kiddo. But---they were certainly easier on him that the abdominal ultrasound. The abdominal ultrasound let us know that he had very swollen lymph nodes in his abdominal wall, but because of that, the view of his appendix was obscured. Kudos and praises to the ultrasound tech and her boss (Dr.....something, I forget her name but she was so nice!) who tried and tried to find the appendix.

In the end, we got to go home; appendix and all.
In the end, still not feeling great, but had to let the tummy bug run its course, and the lymph nodes should (and would) return to their normal size when they were done fighting the tummy bug...
Official diagnosis: Mesenteric Lymphadenitis.
So----when I say that we had our rough times over this past Summer---I'm tellin' it straight.

Brother even missed his baseball team tryout, but luckily, they hosted another one later in the Summer. He was also supposed to go to Camp Pine Cove for a week, right as he was recovering from all of this. They were so great to reschedule us for a different week. Poor Gage was miserable for a while. I've never met such a tummy bug! N/V/D?? Not so much. We had fever and nausea ("my tummy feels mixed up") and torso PAIN. At times it hurt him just to walk about. It was awful and freaky....but, he slept a LOT and for that, we were all thankful.

Within a week, Gage was in the ER twice and Eliette had surgery. We are SO GLAD to put those times behind us. So glad that Gage got through it with his appendix intact, and so glad that Sister's tubes are working AMAZINGLY well.  The first night Brother was feeling better he invited me for a sleepover. Done!

 We did it.
We made it though the worst of Summer 2014.

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