Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I spoke too soon

Sunday afternoon and Monday morning I did really feel like I was on the mend, prompting my last post.

But then Monday night I relapsed. My fever came back, along with cold sweats and teeth-chattering chills.

My mother, source of all scary medical stories, told me that she heard that if you were still sick after 7 days you HAD to go to the doctor. She also told me that the people who died from H1N1 bled into their lungs. Thanks mom.

Monday night, my best friend since childhood called, and when I told her about being sick, she asked if I'd been to the doctor yet. I told her that I was going to go on Tuesday because if I didn't, my mom was going to fly down here and drag me to the doctor's. BF told me she was siding with my mom and that I needed to go.

So yesterday, feeling miserable, I went to the doctor. The diagnosis? Secondary sinus infection and bronchitis. The doctor said they were seeing a lot of patients who had started out with the flu but then ended up with something else because their immune systems were down.

I'm on a z-pack of antibiotics, and the doctor promised me that I'd notice a difference within 48 hours.

Lord, I hope he's right. I'm tired of being sick.

And of course, Lily woke up this morning saying that she didn't feel well. When I told her that if she stayed home, she'd have to spend lots of time resting in bed, she pitifully said ok. She's back asleep already. I guess I'll be putting in a call to her doctor today.

The party never ends.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mostly dead all day*

Hi there. I'm back, but just barely. This H1N1 has knocked me for a loop. I don't remember the last time I was this sick for this long. I've been in bed asleep or curled up on the sofa ignoring the kids since last Wednesday. I've left the house twice in the past week. I'm a recluse by nature, but this is a little much, even for me.

My head is still stuffed up, and I'm still running a bit of a fever, which is rare for me. But I don't feel quite as much like death warmed over as I did on Saturday, which was the worst day. I haven't eaten much in the past week and have probably lost the last five pounds of pregnancy weight that was hanging on, but I wouldn't recommend this as a diet plan.

B has kept the house and kids going, mostly. He's done lots of cooking and bathing of kids and bed-time stories, but no cleaning. Which is fair I guess - there's only so much you can ask of a man.

But now it's time for me to stop lolling around and get out of bed. I've decided I'm going to kick this bug once and for all through sheer willpower and determination. Because that always works.

Get your H1N1 vaccine when they come available. You do NOT want this bug.

*10 points to anyone who knows the reference, except for you knittergran, keeffer and runnerdude. I know y'all know it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Day three

I'm on day three of the flu, and I don't remember the last time I felt this miserable.

The doctors here are saying that if you have the flu it's most likely H1N1. They're not even bothering to test people right now because the labs would get so backed up that it wouldn't do any good. So my doc said not to come in to the office unless I get desperately ill, which I'm not, even though I feel rotten. The doctors want people to stay home and not spread the bug.

I called the pediatrician to see about getting Tamiflu as a preventative for at least Elizabeth, but he said no. If and when any of the kids show signs of being sick, they'll prescribe it. Apparently there are concerns that the virus has already started to mutate as a result of Tamiflu being given as a preventative. Damn.

Ella was sick two weeks ago. She ran a high fever and had a headache and a horrible cough for 24 hours and then rebounded with a vengeance. I figured it was her annual bout of croup, but maybe it was H1N1 after all. The little girl who lives next door had H1N1 a week ago, and I've been waiting for my kids to get it since they were playing with her right before she got sick. So far, everyone is healthy.

I've been housebound since Tuesday night, too fuzzy headed to get any work done, which is bad because I have deadlines looming. I haven't done any laundry or housework, which means things are getting a mite grubby around here. B's been a big help with the kids, but he does still need to work. I've been napping when Elizabeth and Campbell nap and tipping into bed as soon as Elizabeth gets tucked for the night.

Here's hoping I feel better by Monday so I can get caught up and that no one else in the house gets it. Stay healthy everyone, this bug is wicked.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

No Fair!

I'm taking a page from my daughters' book and crying that life isn't fair. I seem to have the flu, and it just isn't fair. I have too much to do to be sick.

I started feeling low yesterday afternoon, and by the time the kids were in bed, I knew for sure that I was getting sick. I drank a glass of vitamin C supplement and turned in early, hoping against hope to stave off illness, but no such luck.

B got up with the kids this morning and got the girls off to school, letting me sleep in until Elizabeth woke up at 7:30. As soon as I get Campbell off to preschool (thank goodness for carpools) and Elizabeth down for her morning nap, I'm crawling back into bed.

****
On another note, today is my mom's birthday. Stop by her blog and wish her many happy returns on the day. Oh how I wish was here to take care of poor sick me.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Three O'Clock!

How is it possible that three years have gone by since Campbell arrived? He had flipped himself breech some time in the three days before he was born, requiring an emergency c-section to get him out, and he hasn't stopped moving since.

Newborn little man.



First birthday, and just barely walking.

Second birthday, and not wanting to get his hands dirty with frosting.

Third birthday, with his new airplane toy.


Campbell's birthday was actually last Thursday, but we lied to him and told him it was on Friday, which was when we celebrated it. Friday morning at the breakfast table, Ella and Lily sang Happy Birthday to Campbell and then asked him how old he was. He yelled, "Three o'clock!" B and I cracked up and spent the rest of the day shouting, "Three o'clock" at random moments.


In addition to the nifty airplane set above, Campbell got railroad tracks and remote-controlled trains that go along with the airport and a new bike. His tricycle was stolen a few months ago, and Campbell's been desperate for a new bike ever since. When I carried the bike into the house, the look on Campbell's face was just priceless.



He's been on the bike pretty much ever since. We had to pull him off of it to have him blow out his birthday candles during the party with our neighbors. At 4:30 Saturday morning, he tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Peese, momom, peese. I go ride my new bitecitle? Peese?" When I told him no because it was still dark out, he said, "But I sayed peese!" I think if we'd let him, he'd sleep with his bike in bed.
Happy birthday little man. May the coming year be as good as the last one was.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

And the winners are

Drumroll please . . .

With the help of my lovely husband, I have two winners, and they are

Ann in NJ

and

Cathy from The Clothesline

Congratulations. Send me an e-mail at hokgardner@gmail.com with your snail mail address, and I'll get to work.

Thank you to everyone who played along. It was nice to meet some new readers. And I'll do this again sometime soon.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Scooter-Pie

Elizabeth has resolutely refused to crawl. Actually, she has resolutely refused to spend any more time on her tummy than is necessary. I despaired of her ever being able to move around on her own.

But it turns out she just has her own way of doing things. Instead of crawling, she scoots, and she is amazingly fast at it. Forgive the darkness of the video, I was using the video feature of my little point-and-shoot camera rather than my actual video camera.

video

And don't forget to register for my first-ever giveaway. I'll be drawing names Thursday morning!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My first giveaway

Believe it or not, this is post number 698. I've been blogging for almost three years, and yet I still only get about 30 readers a day. I'm not sure what that says about my writing skills and my blog content. Not that I'm bitter or insecure.

To celebrate my upcoming post number 700, I've decided to hold a giveaway - I'll custom knit a little bit of fluff for two readers. Leave a comment on this post telling me what color fluff you'd like by Wednesday night. Male readers (Hi O'Pine and T!) can opt for a masculine little scarf or mittens. Actually, women can opt for mittens, too.

OK, so leave a comment telling me whether you want a bit of fluff or hand-made mittens and what color. (This contest thing is HARD!)

I'll select two random commenters Thursday morning and announce the winners in post number 700.

So all you lurkers, it's time to de-lurk yourselves.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Witness to the tragedy

I hadn't intended to write about 9/11. So many bloggers are writing about it more eloquently than I could ever hope to.

As I do every year on this day, I think back to where I was when I heard the news - at work - and how I heard about it - my mom called me at the office. Everyone in the office clustered into the A/V room, which had the only TV with cable. After the room was crammed to capacity, one of the technical guys managed to rig an extension that allowed us to bring the TV out into the main area of our division. We all stood and sat around the TV in silence, hands over our mouths or in someone else's hand.

I left the office at 1:00, like I did every day, went home, and sat in front of the TV, watching and crying. I spent much of that night awake, either watching Ella, who was 11 months old, sleep in her bed or watching TV. What I saw that day, what everyone saw, was beyond belief.

Today I hadn't planned to watch any of the documentaries or specials about that terrible, terrible day. But as I was folding laundry in my room and flipping through the channels, I stumbled upon a documentary on the History Channel that was riveting.

It's called "102 Minutes" and it is made up entirely of archived footage shot by dozens of average people and professional cameramen on the streets and in their apartments showing what was happening as it happened. Some of the footage was shot by students living blocks from the WTC, some by people living a mile north. One cameraman was at Times Square, and he did nothing but film the people watching the events unfold on the big TV there. The shock and disbelief on their faces mirrored what I remember feeling that day.

The worst part was watching the footage of the firemen walking towards the buildings, carrying their gear and hoses and wanting to scream at them to stop and turn around. Knowing what was in store for them was unbearable.

A lot of the footage is of the aftermath, of people walking out of the smoke and debris, covered in ashes and soot, grey and gasping for air. The silence in all of the scenes is stunning. No one was screaming or yelling, just watching and moving in silence.

One man, who was in an apartment four blocks from the Trade Center, filmed the firemen who escaped as they staggered into his building, covered in debris and totally in shock. He helped them make phone calls to their families before the lines went dead.

The documentary has no narration, other than the voices of the people in the films, which is what makes it so powerful. The commentary of the people on the streets, the people watching it happen, truly conveys the shock and horror.

I hadn't intended to watch the whole film, and I set the DVR to record it, but I couldn't bring myself to turn it off. Now that I've seen the entire documentary, I'm not sure I can ever watch it again, or if I even want to.

I do know that I probably won't sleep much tonight, but that's ok. We should remember what happened on September 11, and we should take time out of our lives to think about those who lost loved ones, about those who walked into the building when others were walking out, about those who worked for months and months afterwards searching the wreckage to provide answers. We should also think about those who have been injured and killed in the two wars that were started as a result of September 11.

The effects of that day are still being felt now, eight years later.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bits of Fluff and a Cozy

Now that the big girls are in school all day and Campbell is in school three mornings a week, I've been knitting a lot. Unfortunately, work has picked back up, so my knitting productivity may take a dive. There are always sacrifices to be made - I have to make money in order to buy more yarn. Sigh.

Here are three lacey bits of fluff from a pattern in a book called Last Minute Knitted Gifts. They look like lace, but really they are simple garter stitch on size 10 needles with some yarn overs every 10 rows. The one on the left is Rowan Kidsilk Haze, the one in the middle is a mystery because I can't find the ball band, and the one on the right is Rowan Kidsilk Night. You can't tell from the picture, but the Kidsilk Night actually has a little bit of silver threaded through, which gives it just the right amount of sparkle. I plan to always have one of these on the needle because they make the perfect little gift and don't take long to knit.


My boss when I worked at the Attorney General's office retired a year ago. She is a confirmed tea drinker with a collection of beautiful tea pots. I promised to knit her a tea cozy as a retirement present, and I finally made good on my promise. Elizabeth and I went to her house for swimming, lunch, and tea last week, and I was able to deliver the tea cozy. This was the first time I'd attempted intarsia, and I was mostly successful, as long as no one looks closely at the inside of the cozy. The little tea pot pad was so much fun to knit. It's knit on straight needles, with four sets of double k2togs every other row. It turns into a square in front of your eyes as you knit. At the end, you just have to sew up one teeny seem, et voila.

Right now I have a baby hat, a knitted gift bag and a pair of socks on the needle, and I'm knitting away on the hat and the bag to avoid working on the socks. I don't like the yarn, and I don't like the pattern, but I'm on the toe of the first sock, so it's too late to frog it all back. One of these days, I will have to suck it up and finish the damn things, mostly because I need the needles.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Pre, First, and Third

Unlike the rest of the country, it seems, we went back to school on August 24, so we've had a chance to get adjusted to the regular routine of school days, and I am loving life. As my husband will tell you, I am a creature of habit and routine.

Campbell didn't technically go "back" to school since his pre-school ran throughout the summer. He did move up to the three-day program, but he has the same divine teacher as last year. Still, he was very excited about school, and I couldn't get him to stop jumping long enough to get a picture. He is a cute little blur, though.

Lily, my social butterfly, was thrilled to be going to first grade. She picked out a very twirly outfit for the first day, and she twirled through all of the picture.

Ella was a bit more reserved about it all. She had some first-day jitters about starting third grade, but she's settled in now. I had laugh when we got to school - I asked if I could take a picture of her in front of the school, and Ella responded with a horrified "NO!" I guess she's too old for goofy photo ops like that now.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Furious

I had hoped that once W. left office I could stop being embarrassed on a regular basis by my country. My hopes have been dashed, yet again, by the radical extreme who seem to be hijacking any and all rational discourse on issues from health care reform to speeches on education to the first lady's attire. And I'm tired of it.

The furor over the president's speech to students about the value of education may just be the straw that breaks this camel's back. When I first heard that President Obama was going to talk to students directly about staying in school, I just shrugged, grateful that I didn't have to listen to it. I hate listening to speeches by anyone. I tend to tune out and daydream, no matter who is speaking.

But then the radical fringe got up in arms about the speech, wringing their hands and gnashing their teeth over the president's plan to "indoctrinate" the children into his socialist agenda.

What.the.f*ck?

The President of the United States is allowed to give a speech to kids extolling the virtue of education and staying in school. If W. had planned a speech, as much as I didn't like him, I wouldn't have protested or sent letters or threatened to boycott or pulled my kids out of school for the day. And yet, that's what the radical right is doing, and they're winning.

Thanks to their temper tantrums, school districts around the country, including several here in Austin, are not allowing students to watch the speech. Almost all other school districts are having to send letters or e-mails home informing parents that the speech will be shown and asking them to send in notes if they don't want their kids to watch. Parents with students in schools where the speech will be shown are saying that they will keep their kids home for the day rather than risk having them indoctrinated.

Again, what.the.f*ck?

The Austin school district sent letters home to parents saying that teachers would be showing the speech if it worked with their day's schedule and giving parents the opportunity to have their children do something else if they didn't want them to listen to the president.

Fine. I think it's stupid that the district has to do this, but fine. At least the kids are getting the chance to watch.

Except not at our school.

Word filtered through Saturday morning that the principal had sent an e-mail to all teachers after 8:00pm Friday that a group was threatening to picket in front of the school on Tuesday if the students were allowed to watch the speech. So the principal decided that the proper course of action was to not allow the speech to be shown. If teachers want to show it to their students, they will have to check a copy of the speech out from the library starting on Thursday.

Obviously the principal was trying to fly this decision under the radar, and one of the teachers at the school risked a lot by forwarding the e-mail on to parents and alerting them to the situation.

As you can imagine, the e-mails among outraged parents have been flying fast and furious all weekend. And the principal has an in-box filled with e-mails from parents protesting her decision. I sent a politely worded e-mail to the principal, copying the girls' teachers, asking for confirmation that the school will be following the district's recommendation and allowing the students to watch the speech.

I haven't heard back, which isn't surprising. The principal has a track record of trying to sneak things by the parents and of not responding when they voice their complaints.

But I'm torn about what to do with the girls tomorrow. Many of the parents will be taking their kids out of school and gathering together for watching parties at various houses. I thought the parents who were threatening to pull their kids out for the day so they wouldn't be able to watch the speech were stupid and overreacting, so am I really any different if I pull the girls out? On the other hand, I do want to make a statement, both to the principal and to the girls, that the issue is important to me - not so much the speech itself, but the censorship being imposed by the principal.

I'm furious, and I don't know what to do other than shake my fists and rail about the rampant racism and stupidity in this country, but that doesn't do anyone any good at all.

*** Update - word has come through that our principal has reconsidered her decision and will allow teachers to show the speech, but only during social studies. It turns out the letters and phone calls did make a difference.

But that still doesn't change how frustrated I am by this whole issue - both the uproar over a speech and the underhanded dealings by our principal.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Bicker Twins

I often get asked if Ella and Lily get along well. Most of the time, my answer is that they play beautifully together 95 percent of the time and fight five percent. This summer, however, the percentages are more like 50-50.

Even though I had them scheduled in separate camps and activities, they still managed to bicker a lot. When we were at the beach with a total of 13 kids, my girls were the only ones fighting. At one point they were standing in the middle of an empty beach screaming at each other about who had run into whom in the waves. I was mortified.

We've been playing musical beds around here during the past few weeks. Ella and Lily have shared a room since Lily was a baby, and they've always done well together in there. But partly because of the bickering and partly because of the need to get Elizabeth out of the porta-crib in our closet, we've shifted bedrooms. Campbell now sleeps in the bottom bunk in the girls room, and Lily has moved to the top bunk. Ella has moved to the big bed in what was Campbell's room, and Elizabeth will be joining her in there as soon as she sleeps through the night more consistently.

I had hoped that splitting the girls up at home and having them at school all day would reduce the amount of bickering, but they're still getting on each other's nerves a lot. Ella wants to be the know-it-all, bossy big sister, and Lily absolutely doesn't want to be bossed around. I think this is just an inevitable phase.

Despite their bickering, the girls have been desperate to have a slumber party in Ella's big bed. Last night I told them they could both sleep in Ella's room, and there was much rejoicing. I warned them that if I heard ANY fighting at all, I'd separate them immediately, and I honestly expected that they'd last 10 minutes, max, before I had to go in there. Instead, I heard lots of whispers and giggles, which did my heart good.

After they fell asleep, I went in to check on the girls and found them snuggled up together, sharing one pillow. I got teary eyed seeing them like that. It was a good reminder that despite the bickering that goes on, they really do love each other.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

How do you think it's going?

We're in our second week back to school, and the excitement has worn off a bit. The girls arrive home every afternoon tired and cranky and hostile towards each other. Yesterday afternoon was particularly rough, so I decided to order pizza as a treat, which no one ended up eating, but that's a gripe for a different time.

At 5:30, the girls were arguing with each other over the rules of a board game and Campbell was tearing around the house, singing at the top of his lungs. I had just stripped Elizabeth of her sweet potato-covered clothes and diaper and was about to pop her in the kitchen sink for a bath when the pizza guy knocked on the door.

I opened the door with a naked, food-covered baby on my hip, two fighting girls in the background, and an almost-three year-old who was trying to make a break for freedom. The pizza guy sized up the scene and asked, "So, how's it going?"

I didn't know whether to laugh or sock him a good one. I settled on giving a fake smile and saying, "Just spectacularly." He laughed and handed over the pizzas before running for cover.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

That last step is a doozy

Last night was Back to School Night for Lily's class, and while we were there I was chatting with another mom. I noticed that she had a badly skinned knee and asked what happened. When she told me that she had fallen while running, I sighed in sympathy and told her that I felt her pain. I fall while running at least once a year.

Some falls have been spectacular - like the time I tripped while running down a hill on the Trail and went airborne. Others have been full-length splats in the dirt. Once I got tripped up by a dog on one of those (*#*#@ extendy leashes and let loose with a string of curses at the dog's owner that shocked my friends. I've fallen in the dark and in the daylight. I've fallen while running with friends and while running solo. I even fell during a race - I tripped over one of the big orange cones that scream "Warning! Don't step here!"

My knees, hands, shoulders, and even my chin bear the scars of my falls. My knees are often more scraped up than my kids'.

I've been doing very well with my latest return to running, and this morning I got up at 6:00 and headed out the door. Even though we've lived in this house for seven years, I managed to miss the last step off the porch. I went down HARD, with my left wrist and shoulder taking the brunt of the impact.

I sat there for a few minutes and collected my wits before starting my run, which ended up being a good one. But my wrist and shoulder are still sore.

While I was making the girls' breakfasts, I told them about the fall, and they laughed at me. I told them it was like when a cartoon character walks off a cliff and hangs there a few seconds before falling.

That last step was indeed a doozy.