Thursday, March 31, 2016

Stoli Girl Part Two

Late Monday evening, actually early Tuesday morning, around 1:30 Stoli woke up and got sick again. Sadly, the look and smell was all too familiar. We got it all cleaned up and I got her downstairs and comfortable until morning broke and Kaden came down. I had already made the decision to call our doctor at 7 when the clinic opened. He suggested that we bring Stoli in for observation.

I got ready for work, loaded her in the car and as soon as I put my seat belt on I turned around and saw her getting sick the car. I quickly ran over to her side, opened the door and just told her it was going to be okay. Through tears, in my suit, I cleaned up what I could.

I dropped her off with little answers to what was happening only knowing that they were determined to figure it out.

I was wiped. Emotionally and physically exhausted so I took a personal day and went home and straight to bed making sure that Brodi was right next to me.

The call came in at 1:30---12 hours after the first of the second round of puking began. The doctor mentioned that she has continued to get sick, she had a fever and her white blood counts were extremely elevated. He believed we were dealing with an infection in her abdomen and he felt the best way to treat that was to open her back up.

I immediately stated that I needed someone to speak for Stoli and if this was too much for her then I needed to know that. He felt that this wasn't the end of her life and that he thought it was better to open her up and recheck everything and wash her abdomen out rather than to treat something blindly. I agreed and we moved forward. He didn't want to wait another day to do the surgery so was going to stay past his time in the office and take care of the surgery.

We didn't get the call until about 6:30 on Tuesday night. There was no infection which was good but at the site of the previous surgery there were complications. When they had done the initial surgery they had to remove part of her intestines in order to reconnect her bowel to healthy tissue. That tissue was inflamed, which they knew but still felt that it was healthy tissue. After some of the inflammation came down tiny little holes became present making the connection weak. The doctor added a number of additional sutures and then retested the pressure of everything once again. It looked as though it would hold but what we really needed was good blood flow.

We followed up with the doctor on Wednesday around lunch and Stoli was still pretty weak but that was too be expected. She had not wanted to eat anything but that wasn't surprising after going through her second surgery. He wanted to go ahead and keep Stoli there overnight to treat her intravenously with antibiotics and fluids to help speed the recovery up. He also sent blood work out to check if she had pancreatitis. 

Logan and I decided to stop by on our way home to check on our little patient. She seemed so sad and depressed that it really just broke my heart but when she saw Logan and he was leaning down to give her kisses she was wagging her tail and looking up at him. For a brief moment, she was her same old self. 

The doctor had told me that if they weren't able to get her to eat on her own that they would try an appetite stimulate the following morning and possibly even force feed her as this would help get her intestines and bowel working again. We said our goodbyes and told her we would be back the following day.

That day is today. I got a call from the vet this morning at 8:00 as I was pulling into work. The lab work had been returned and Stoli was still weak. Most all of her levels were too high, white blood count, kidney function, liver function BUT she didn't have pancreatitis. He wasn't going to let her come home today because if he did, it would only be to pass away at home. She needed fluids, she needed antibiotics and he was going to increase her dosage and he had already given her the appetite stimulate.

He said that he wanted to wait another 24 hours and run the same test again to check her numbers. If her numbers improved, things were looking up. If her numbers were the same or had gotten worse, we were going to have to make the decision we had spent this past week trying to avoid. It was hard to hear those words but I also know that I don't want her to be in pain. She's my girl. She deserves to be at peace and so we wait, and we pray. We pray hard.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Stoli Girl & the Finger Puppet

Sounds like a great title to an even better book and if it was a book, it would be filled with suspense, worry, heartache but a very happy ending or at least what looks like to be a very happy ending.

It all started on Wednesday night. Justin had left for softball and it was just me and the boys. I fed the boys and then I fed the dogs. Typical nightly events. 

As Kaden was working on his homework, I glanced over to the backdoor and noticed that Stoli had gotten sick. I also noticed that there was something more than just food lying in the pile, so I put on gloves and examined it. My initial thought was a finger puppet but it was pretty tightly wound and covered so I tossed it and didn't think anything more about it. 

As Justin and I settled into bed I told him that Stoli had been sick earlier so that if we hear anything tonight to jump up quickly to get her to the tile of the bathroom or the hardwood floors of the hallway. Fifteen minutes later and we were both jumping up out of bed and not in enough time. I got her out to the backyard and as I was headed back upstairs to take some carpet cleaner to him I noticed another spot on her dog bead and living room carpet. It looked like it had been there a little while. 

Damn. Three times in about 3 hours. I thought, surely she is done, so we put her back on her dog bed and then about 2 hours later it happened again. We were too late again as well. 

I decided to sleep downstairs with her and after yet another episode at 2:30 in the morning, I called the ER Vet to get some help. They suggested that I take away all her water and food and to call our vet in the morning or we could bring her now if needed. I decided to give it till morning, that was until she got sick twice more. Four o'clock in the morning and we were loading up into the Camry, the fear in her eyes is still etched into my memory. 

We arrived and they took her back. They did an x-ray and checked her vitals and they were both good. They went ahead and gave her some anti-nausea medicine and sent us home with instructions not to give her food or water for 12 hours but that if after 12 hours she hadn't gotten sick, we could reintroduce a bland diet. 

Twelve hours came and went and no additional episodes so we let her have something to drink and gave her a small amount of food. I was thinking things were looking better. She was laying in one of her favorite places--the first landing on our stairs--and I no more stepped away for ten seconds when I heard the all to familiar sound. Damn it. My heart was officially breaking and I was starting to get more nervous. 

I removed the food and water again and we made it through the night but just as Kaden was getting up for school she had one final episode and I immediately was calling our vet. Since moving out west we have transitioned to a new vet--Falcon Valley Animal Hospital and they were great. There wasn't a doctor there yet and they already had a full day of surgeries planned but they immediately gave me the number to their sister clinic, Cherokee Animal Clinic in OP and stated that a doctor was at the office---it was 7 am---and that I should call immediately. That they too had a ultrasound machine and would be able to act quickly if needed. I called and within 10 minutes we were loading back up and headed their way. 

They got me right in. They got Stoli right up on the table and started checking her vitals---no comment was made to me about how they were but instead they started talking about options. 

He was concerned that he only heard a little amount of activity in her bowel which usually means there is an obstruction and it needed to be located. They were going to keep Stoli and not only do an ultrasound but also run a complete blood work up and then do a series of x-rays if they were needed. 

I couldn't stand telling her goodbye and just gave her the biggest hug and kissed the top of her head letting her know how much we all loved her. I was praying that they would find answers and just hoping that whatever it was, we were in time. 

I got a call around 11:30 letting me know they did in fact find an obstruction in her intestines and surgery was the only way in which she would be okay. We of course agreed to moving ahead with the surgery, after all, she's family and you do whatever it takes to make sure your family is okay and you get/give them whatever it is they need to help those chances. Now, it was a waiting game. 

We finally got the call at 3:30. There was another finger puppet in her track and that is what was causing the blockage. The issue, when they removed the finger puppet the tissue that it had been pressed up against had not been receiving blood, meaning oxygen and was pretty much dead. They were hoping that once the blood flow started again that it would bounce back on it's own but it didn't. He ended up having to cut out the toxic part of her intestines and reconnect the healthy tissue to her bowl. He was hopeful that she would recover nicely and told us that we could pick her up on Saturday. 

I was there promptly at 12:30 to speak with the doctor and get her discharge paperwork and around the corner she walked with her new accessory---the inflatable neck donut. I took her home and everyone was so happy to see her and she was happy to see every too. 

Saturday was a rough day. She drank some water but didn't want any food. She mainly laid around but hey, she just had major abdominal surgery. She slept fairly well on Sunday and managed to get up a few times to go outside to use the restroom but would come straight back in and either lay down or sit at your feet. She looked off but I was hoping it was just from having a major surgery, hoping. 

Family started to arrive for brunch and Justin was telling everyone to start eating, she threw up. I lost it. Everyone was telling me that it was going to be okay but I knew what it meant if she threw up again---something was still wrong. I cleaned it up really quickly and then went upstairs to call the doctor. On Easter. We talked for a few minutes and he came to the conclusion that since it was green it was just bile. And that she was probably just nauseous and he ordered me a prescription for her. He also suggested giving her Zantac and Pedialyte. She wasn't the biggest fan of the Pedialyte or drinking water at first but then she found the snow outside and loved it. I quickly grabbed a few bowls full of snow and doused it with Pedialyte and she went to town. Thankfully it seems that the new presciption and Zantac has eased her belly and we are starting to see her personality come through. 

I wasn't prepared for the emotions that would surface in a situation like this. Stoli is our first baby, she's my only girl & she has been family since day one. We love our Stoli girl & praying that she's ready to give us another few years because we just aren't ready to let her go. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

No. 3

Looks like the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy will be making an appearance on the same day. I mean, check out that GAP--Kaden lost another tooth, with 4, 5, 6 and 7 right behind, well maybe not right behind but all loose and getting closer.

This tooth has been a little bit of a pain and seriously, I think it has been loose for like 5 weeks. It seems like forever since Kaden came running up to show me his tooth was "wiggly". I couldn't tell what he was talking about but eventually, I too, could see it.

For the last couple of weeks his smile has looked a little jacked up and even created this space between his teeth that wasn't there before---it looked a little weird but he was still a cute kid.

Each day I have been telling him he needs to wiggly it more and that he needed to use a little more strength, to which he tries.

Yesterday he was running around the house with the Garrett kids and just needed to take a little break so I had him lie down with his father in our bed as I folded laundry up there. He was wanting to make a deal with me so I told him my deal, "I'll fold this laundry and when I am done you can get up BUT you have to work on wiggling your tooth."

"Awww, Mom." but he went to work.

One minute later and he was already complaining that he was and I quote, "tired of wiggling his tooth." So I did what most parents would do, I suggested that he twist his tooth, after all, that is how I pulled all my teeth.

Justin's face was priceless during this exchange and he was just shaking his head. Next thing I know, Kaden has a look of shock, actually, it was more of a holy-shit-did-that-just-happen-look. I excitedly asked him if he just pulled his tooth and he was like, "Mom, I was just twisting it and it popped out!" followed by his nervous laugh that he has.

I think we were all three pretty amazed that he actually did it on his own. The first one was lost in the lake, the second one was kind of pulled out by Logan so we didn't have any sort of expectations that he would be willing to do it on his own. He proved us wrong. Himself too.

Easter Guests

Easter this year was a little extra special than years prior and that is because some of our most very favorite people were here to celebrate with us--or visit.

The Garretts were on spring break and of course there isn't a better place to spend spring break than with us in Kansas City---so they came to town for a few days.

They arrived late on Thursday night/early Friday morning which was totally cool because Friday just happened to be Good Friday and I wasn't working. Woo-Hoo. And the great thing about having the Garretts in town is that the kids play so well with one another and usually are able to wear each other out too. I mean who wouldn't be tired after destroying an entire playroom & then having to help put it back in order.

Seriously, every single Lego had found its way out of the Lego bag and into every crevice in the room. I had no idea three kids could be so destructive or that they could be so proud.

But I needed a little project to keep me from thinking about Stoli and what has happening with her so I dug in and helped them out. & later that night I walked downstairs to our basement to find this...he said they were "just taking a rest after a long day".

Saturday was just one of those days. I dropped my child off for a birthday party at Mad Science which wasn't for another month and they called asking me to come back and get him. Embarrassing to say the least. I did some last minute Easter Bunny shopping & picked up Stoli from the vet after her first surgery. I was whipped but we had hired a sitter and we were headed out for some basketball fun---let's go Oklahoma, UNC and Villanova---I was the only one in the bar rooting for Nova and I didn't care one bit. While we were out our sitter sent us this adorable pic of the kiddos together...

& then the following morning everyone was bright and early to see what the Easter Bunny had left for them. & of course they had to instantly put on what they found.

We had a family brunch & then most everyone took naps except myself and the kids and we did Easter eggs.

The entire week was filled with family time with the Garretts and thankfully they were in town with us while everything was going down with Stoli. Having them there was so very helpful because I was forgetting things left and right---I mean who drops their kid off at a birthday party that isn't for another month!

Our time with them is just never enough and we promised that we would be up to Milwaukee before year end because November is too far away and I can't go without some Garrett Loving until then.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Basketball Life

Basketball was a big part of my childhood and looking back, I wish I would have played in college because you never really know how much you are going to miss something until it isn't part of your life any more. I know it may be crazy for me to say that about basketball, but it's true.

Basketball was something that my dad and I really bonded over. He coached a number of my teams growing up and after we moved into town from the country, he had a half court basketball court poured. Lines and all. We would spend countless nights and summer days out there, some out of enjoyment and some out of duty---part of our summer chore list was shooting baskets. There were days that I hated being out there, it was too hot or I was just too lazy but looking back, it was good for me, it made me a better player and being a better player, made me happier. And although I now know they would have been proud of whatever type of player I was, at the time, I thought it made him happier too.

In junior high my dad didn't always get to watch me play since he was working out of town on the railroad but my mom would video tape the games and send them to him to watch. I don't recall a game he missed in high school, there probably was one or two but I can't recall them. For every game, for every time my name was called in the starting line-up, he was there on his hands and feet clapping in the stands. & next to him my mom, a little less vocal but no less proud & ready to assume her usual position with her head in her hands as she carried all our nerves.

Win or lose, I always knew how "well" I played during away games because if I wasn't able to ride the bus home, it meant we had ball to talk about on the ride home in our car. & some of these games were played an hour or so away from our home. I know now it wasn't my dad harping on me, just showing me that I didn't play to my ability or that maybe I didn't give it my all. That he wanted me to be happy with my performance and not to settle for less than my personal best.

Little did I know that so many life lessons would be learned from my years of playing basketball---volleyball included.

I can still vividly recall my last game, the last time I took the floor as Jasper Lady Eagle. We lost that game in the district championship round, I believe we were the top ranked team too but we lost to a better team that night--and I say that night because all season long we split with them. I remember getting the ball from the tip and driving the lane to the left and dribbling the ball off of my foot. I remember having to give my last foul in the final seconds to try and stop the clock and give our team a chance to get the ball back with time to score and tie the game. I remember sitting on the bench---one of the only times---with a towel over my head has the seconds ticked away in my final game. Shaking hands with a team who was on cloud 9 as district champs and collecting our 2nd place trophy. I don't remember the locker room and what our coach said afterwards as I am sure I was in disbelief just like the rest of my team but I do remember the countless number of people from our home town and from the visiting town that hugged me afterwards. I remember the tears and sitting outside the Liberal gym that evening on the curb thinking what now. And even has I type this, I have tears in my eyes---basketball was a huge part of my childhood and I although it didn't end the way that I would have liked it to, I will treasure this special part of my life forever.

And here we are now on this crazy journey of parenthood and the time has come to introduce my love of the sport to my boys. To teach them, to coach them, to push them when they need to be pushed. So when March Madness and warmer weather started rolling our way, Justin and I picked back up on a conversation we started last fall---getting a basketball goal for our driveway. We have a perfect driveway for it--pretty much as flat as you want one & the boys were getting to the age where they could really understand the game and the basic principals and rules. As we started looking for one, a friend emailed me a coupon with 20% off at Dicks Sporting Goods for one weekend only and we headed straight there to see if the one we wanted was available. It was. & the rest they say is history.

Fast forward a few weeks later and the anchor system had been poured.

And the goal was in place.

And so were the shot spots. Yes, it has already begun. Coach Mom is in full force--there's no walking without dribbling the ball & there is no ending on a missed shot--always end on a good note. Simple, basic rules to start the boys out but it's a start and hopefully the start to their basketball life.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Spring Break Part One

We had high hopes for Kaden's first spring break but things just didn't work out they way we had expected them to so Plan B it was...

As soon as the St. Patrick's Day Warm-Up Parade had finished, we loaded back into the car and headed home to drop Justin off at the house. Both boys ran inside to quickly use the restroom and then loaded back up--we were off to Grandma Sara and Papa Tom's for a few days.

We arrived just in time for dinner---somehow I always manage to arrive right as food is being prepared or served. Uncle Zack, Aunt Lindsey and Miss Madison were already there and the boys wasted no time jumping in and playing with Madi because they knew their time was limited that evening. They'd get to see her again the following morning at C3 and again after too but they never seem to get enough time together.

Sunday not only brought Sunday class but it also brought rain & lots of rain. To which I told the boys they could strip down and run out and play in it. Their smiles and giggles were easy reminders of what is really important in life and that sometimes you just need to slow down and enjoy all of God's glory. To dance in the rain. 

Monday brought a little bit better weather so we headed over to Papa Richard's house to help him out with some yard work. His flower beds needed raked and he had a few Holly bushes that needed to be trimmed back--Kaden jumped at the change to help when he saw the "giant scissors".

After we finished helping Papa Richard with his to do list, we sat down and enjoyed a nice iced tea on his back porch and watched as the boys played with some of my favorite childhood toys once again.

These three boys just make my heart swell---and please note, Papa Richard is fine, he had minor eye surgery, looks a lot worse than what it is.

It's always fun going to Papa Richard's as the boys get their bags of candy and I get to sit with one of my favorite people in the world and just talk. Being so close to him makes me feel close to my Grandma too.

After returning to Grandma Sara's and Papa Tom's the boys and Miss Madison went on a few egg hunts. We wouldn't be back in town before Easter and Grandma Sara knew they would enjoy hunting for eggs. Boy was she right. I think they went on about 10 or so hunts where Grandma and I took turns hiding the eggs and then once we were done, they hid the eggs for each other.

Going home always makes my heart happy.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Brookside St. Patrick's Day Parade

What gorgeous weather we received for our annual St. Patrick's Day Warm-Up Parade in Brookside. Last year might have been a little chilly but the sun was at least out, this year we got rain, clouds and cold weather but were weren't going to let that stop us.

The parade was scheduled to begin at 2 and we had a general idea of where we were hoping to set up camp. We figured that since the weather wasn't all that great, we wouldn't have issues with parking so we arrived a little later than we normally would have. And we were right, either the crowd was coming late or not coming at all.

We still had a little time to kill before the parade started and since Justin was holding down the fort we decided to duck into the cutest little bookstore. Sadly, as we walked in we noticed that sometime was a little off. The entire store was in shambles, organized shambles but shambles none-the-less. This cute little bookstore was closing its doors and everything was being sold.

Needless to say, our time in the bookstore was short lived as there wasn't much to look at. So we ventured back over to Justin and I kindly gave up my jacket for the boys to sit on. That too, was short lived and now I had a wet jacket---oh well, it was raining, well misting, and we were all getting wet no matter what. 

These two are seriously the best of friends. The kind where one minute they are all over each other showing love and the next they are fighting with one another as lovingly as possible. Logan is so enamored with his brother and Kaden couldn't be more proud of Logan and loves showing off his brother to anyone he meets. Although at this point Kaden was a little annoyed by his brother and was ready for the show to start.

Finally. The parade rounded the corner and it was go time. 

It either misted or rained during the entire parade but fun was had by all. The boys were dancing around the street to the drum lines, holding their little hats out for candy & hamming it up for pictures. Even Grammy and Craig came out to stand in the rain with us.

Yes, it would have been nice to have had better weather but we made the most of it and the boys were beyond thrilled with all the candy they got to take home---me, not so much and you better believe that not all of it ended up in the candy bowl.

See you again next year.

Donuts with Sluggar

We love donuts, we love supporting a good cause, and we REALLY LOVE Sluggar so when we heard that a nearby high school was hosting a fund raiser where you could have donuts with Sluggar, it was a no-brainer.

The timing couldn't have worked out better either, it was nice and early in the morning which allowed us enough time to go back home, do some packing before heading down to the Brookside Parade, but more on that later. 

So we arrived at the high school, collected our donuts, supported a good cause & we waited for Sluggar to arrive. We weren't sure how many people to expect as it seemed like a large number were attending through the Facebook invite but we were there early and it wasn't too bad. 

While we waited the boys dug into the donuts and chocolate milk. They were gone in a matter of minutes and we still had a little time to kill so the boys started flipping quarters which immediately got out of hand and they had to be wrangled back in and maybe threatened a little. 

Finally, Sluggar arrived and his fans started gathering around him. The boys eventually made their way up and I snapped a few pictures as quickly as I could. 

I wasn't super happy with them plus, I kind of wanted to be in the pic with Sluggar so we got back in line...

Much better. 

And as we thanked and high-fived Sluggar he got a little ornery and stole Colton's hat. He danced a little jig while Colton and the boys were trying to figure out how to get his hat back and then I did what any aunt would do---I took Sluggar out. No, that would have been a little extreme and may have landed me some place I would want to be. No, I picked my nephew up and lifted him to his cap and on the third or fourth try he got his hat back. & thanks to Justin, we have play-by-play.

It was a great start to our spring break. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Six & a Half

The boys are all about half birthdays and to be honest, so am I. By celebrating half birthdays it allows each of the boys to have another special day dedicated to them. We don't go all out on half birthdays like we do on the actual birthday but we still try and do something fun and celebrate together as a family. 

Kaden was born on August 31st which puts his half birthday on the imaginary February 31st and since we all know February doesn't have thirty-one days, we always have a decision to make. Do we celebrate on the 29th? What about March 1st or the 2nd---I am sure there are a lot of parents that struggle with this sort of thing.

Each year seems to be lending a new  reason to celebrate his half birthday on this day or that day and usually depends on what is going on and which day we have open so we can make sure to celebrate him the right way. This year I was traveling for work on the 29th of February and the 1st of March, coming home on the 2nd, so the 2nd it was. 

I landed late in the afternoon, picked up Logan from Ms. Brenda's and then we headed to ______ to pick up some almost-too-pretty-to-eat cupcakes. 

& as soon as Kaden got home from the school we went straight to celebrating all that he is. Which is a whole lot of love wrapped up into one very intense but kindhearted boy. He makes our world so much brighter. Happy Half Birthday Monkey.