Two Weeks…

Grandparents Day Cropped

Two weeks ago my Mom went to Robert’s school for Grandparent’s Day.  He was so proud and happy to have his Grandma there.  It was a noon release day so afterward she took him to lunch and then brought him home.

Two days later our lives changed dramatically. 

Late Saturday night/early Sunday morning my Mom fell while holding a crystal decanter.  We still don’t know if she tripped and passed out when she hit her head or if she passed out and that’s what caused the fall.  She cut her thumb severely and laid on the floor bleeding for ten hours.  We still don’t know what made her wake up.  But she did come to and drag herself across the kitchen floor to the phone to call my nephew to come home.  He had spent the night at his mother’s house across town. 

She told him to get her to the couch, get her a towel for his hand and not to call me or 9-1-1.  Luckily he didn’t listen.  He called me.  We were in church and I was digging for treats for Robert when I saw the message on my phone.  “I need you. “ 

I called the house and tried to convince her to go to the hospital.  I still wasn’t fathoming how bad it was.  She wouldn’t go… told me she was covered in blood and looked awful just to get to the house as quick as I could (it’s a 45 minute drive).  When I go to the house I still didn’t think we were dealing with anything critical.  Until I tried to stand her up and she almost fainted.  That’s when we called the ambulance.  Then I looked in the kitchen where she had been.  Her blood pressure was 60/40 and she was still complaining that we were having her taken to the hospital.

At hospital number one we found out the cuts on her hand were the least of our worries.  She also had three fractured ribs, a punctured lung and a compression fracture in her T-9 vertebrae.  That led to transfer to hospital number two after a quick stitch job on her hand and getting her BP stable enough to transport.

The next nine days were a blur of doctors, specialists, oxygen and discharge planning.  She would not be able to come home when she was released.  I had to tell her she would be going to a skilled nursing facility for a bit.  We had to have her somewhere that she could build up her strength and that could accommodate her high flow oxygen system.  She was pretty resistant at first.  There were tears from both of us.  Finally, she conceded.  The day before she was released she was on 13 liters of high flow oxygen.  By her release she was down to 2 liters of regular oxygen. 

Her first day in rehab she wound up back at the hospital because they thought her EKG looked funny.  Cardiologist thought it was fine and sent her back.  She had a few very valid complaints about the care she was getting (it is a very good facility) and some that were pretty minor.  I met with the admissions director to address them.

Today was her first real full day there.  In her PT evaluation she scored 49/56.  She also rocked it out at OT.  She was off oxygen for 45 minutes because that’s how long it took me to notice we hadn’t put it back on after a restroom break.  She was tired tonight but I think mentally she was feeling better.  She is realizing this isn’t permanent. 

I met with her care team today to go over a few issues I had and to discuss “the care and feeding of Maribeth” (we’ve been having trouble getting her meals).  It was a good meeting and I was able to fill in some blanks that they didn’t know about.  The PT in the meeting said she really thought if Mom continued to progress as she was we will be discharging to home next week with the help of a visiting nurse.  My nephew was with her all day today and learned what they do in therapy so he can help at home.

Tonight it looks like the nightmare will be over soon.  It has been a hell of a ride.  My Mom isn’t an easy person to deal with sometimes.  She has high expectations and standards.  I also know that she was scared to death, on high doses of steroids to keep her lungs strong and Vicodin for the pain so she isn’t always tracking.  Her manner can be gruff but she’s generally right.

I’ve been splitting my time between my house, mom’s house, the hospital/care facility and work.  Luckily I had today and Monday off… bummer that I was supposed to be in Vegas but good that I’ve been able to be there with Mom as we make this transition.  I miss Jim and especially Robert but he’s doing OK.  He was thrilled the other day because there was a cupcake in his lunch that Grandma sent to him.

Tomorrow the boys are coming to meet me in Independence so we can spend a few hours together.  I’ll go home later and then come back to Mom’s house Sunday night after I finish with her at the care facility.  Most days I feel like I’m spending all the time on the road.

She’s the toughest person I know.  Even though she doesn’t believe me when I say that.  I hope I’m half as tough as her if I ever have to be.

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Kindergarten May Kill Me

Where did the time go???  How is my baby a kindergartener?  He was so ready.  The week before school started he told Ms. Judy (his most favorite teacher ever, and the feeling is WAY mutual).  He was being Lenox (the lion from Chima… long story, he’ll become a character and just go with it… today it was Lenox).  Lenox told Ms. Judy, “Susanne (his characters call me by my first name) told him that Robert will be OK going to a new school and he’ll meet and make new friends so don’t worry about Robert, he’ll be fine.”  Then he gave her a hug.  And she is fabulous enough she texted me the story because she knew I’d melt.

I thought I was ready too.  I’ve loved every moment of his life and couldn’t stop thinking about how awesome this next phase was going to be.  A part of me was still a bit sad that he isn’t a baby anymore… it went too fast.  But I just knew he was going to be awesome and totally rock Kindergarten.

He was super excited on back to school night.  I love Robert’s teacher.  She is totally there for the kids.  She is going to inspire him to learn.  I seriously could not be happier that this is how is is starting his formal educational.  On top of our parent package’s were a custom business card she had made that had her cell number and phone number on it.  I was so excited when we got home.  I entered the entire calendar into my outlook and signed up for PTA.

First day of school he was up and ready on time.  We now have to do breakfast at home so that means getting up earlier but he was ready 30 minutes before it was time to leave.  Which of course, means there are time for pictures!

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The first week went well.  It was only three days and it was sort of getting into a routine.

The second week the fun began.  On Tuesday I picked up Robert from afterschool and he was telling me that he spent some time with the principal instead of going out to recess.  I couldn’t get the whole story straight so we went back in to talk to the teacher a bit.  First off, they are animate that he was not “sent to the principal’s office”.  He just went there to finish a worksheet that he didn’t do during class time.  I also found out Robert does not do thing the first time he is told (or the second, or third, or fourth sometimes).  He apparently also told the teacher that she is not the Spinjitzu Master Commander so he does not have to listen to her.  Aye yay yay.  So, we’ve had long talks about how he has to do things the first time he is told and also he has to listen to the teacher.

Wednesday went better.

Thursday he woke up complaining about pain in his leg and he was limping pretty severely.  He is not one to complain about physical pain so  I was concerned.  I took him to school but decided to call the doctor when I got to work.  This led to a fun filled day of tests and having the daylights scared out of me.  We got in with one of the docs in our group, not our primary but still one we really like.  After an x-ray he diagnosed Robert with toxic synovitis.  Apparently he had a virus previously and it settled in his hip.  We would need an ultrasound to confirm and to make sure he wasn’t septic.  We got into the children’s clinic for the ultrasound and I could tell the tech was concerned but wouldn’t tell us what was going on.  Just said to wait for the doctor to call.  Luckily the doctor’s office called quickly.  They couldn’t rule out sepsis with the ultrasound.  Definitely fluid on the hip.  We needed blood work.  Luckily since we were still at the clinic they were able to fax over the lab request.  I had to run back to the office for a bit.  Jim was there so there was really nothing to do but wait for the results.  Basically the result of the call from the doctor would be A) give him motrin and wait out the pain (a week or two) or B) take him to the children’s hospital immediately and start IV meds.  There was no in between.  Three hours later we got the call… Motrin.  But it was a worrisome three hours.  He still isn’t 100% and has a bit of a limp some days but for the most part he feels fine.

Last week was a fun one.  On Wednesday he came home with three papers in his folder of work he had not completed and was graded down on.  And it was simple stuff that I knew he could do.  So, when we got home instead of playing he had to finish his work and we had to talk about consequences.  He breezed through it at home.  I told him the instructions then left the room and told him it had to be complete when  I got back.  I was so frustrated. 

When I get frustrated with something Robert related  I think of my aunt.  What would she tell me?  I actually said out loud, “You know Ann, you were supposed to be here to help me with this.”  Thirty seconds later my phone buzzed with an email from Robert’s teacher telling me how much she appreciates that I come into class every morning and tell her if anything is going on with him and how we support her at home.  I emailed a few questions I had for her… what is he doing when he’s not doing the work?  Does he behave?  Is he making friends?

Turns out he just tunes out during work time.  He isn’t disruptive.  Doesn’t leave his seat, doesn’t talk to the other kids.  Just sits (checks out as she put it).  He is very well behaved and does have friends.

So, more talks with Robert on doing his work when he is told and not thinking about anything else.  Thursday and Friday were a lot better.  Only happy faces and stars in the folder.  I had decided Friday afternoon that if he had a good day we would go play laser tag as a surprise.  Luckily he had a good day.  I told him that he would never know when there was a surprise day so he always needed to do his best.  Ever the pragmatic he asked, “Couldn’t you just tell me in the morning if it is a surprise day?”  LOL.. nice try kiddo.

Through everything I am thrilled that he still loves school and his teacher.  He is getting it, slowly but surely.  He just takes his own time.

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More Summer Fun

By the time Friday rolled around last week we were all exhausted.  Jim fell asleep on the couch about 8pm on Friday night.  I went into the bedroom for a minute about 8:30pm and sat down to pet the cat for a minute… and didn’t stir until the next morning.

Saturday morning we were pretty slow to get going.  After getting a few chores done Jim suggested if we went to the grocery store we could stop at the Rusty Horse Tavern to grab some lunch.  That was enough to get me moving!

When we got home Robert and I made some cupcakes.  He was in charge of sprinkles.  “Sprinkles make the cupcakes beautiful,” according to Robert.

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This weekend there was a kid-friendly double feature at the drive in so we loaded into the Jeep with a cooler, lawn chairs, pillows and blankets to go see Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University.  The back of the Jeep makes a pretty comfy bed (although I think a few more pillows and a little more padding next time for my old bones).  Robert did a pretty good job paying attention during Despicable.  I was having so much fun watching him I only half watched it.  We made it through part of Monsters U before the rain started and Robert was more than ready to come home.  For $10 each adult and kids under 11 free, we will definitely go again, even if we only stay for the first movie.

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Sunday I had to run to the office.  I got an email from my boss on Saturday that there was a grant that wasn’t on our list that was due Monday.  I could probably have gotten it written Monday but didn’t want to risk it.  My boss was in too and had picked up a book for Robert on Saturday.  “How to Speak Wookie”.  We read it at bedtime, he loved it.

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My best friend texted me Saturday that she is moving back to KC in October.  She’s been gone for 10 years.  The last 7 in Vegas.  I have been meaning to go visit her there but it never quite came together.  She texted that I should come help her pack.  I checked with Jim real quick to see if he had any free tickets right now and he did (one of the perks to him travelling so much this year).  So, I quickly pulled out the calendar and in late September will be headed to Vegas for a long weekend with her packing and sight seeing.  I’m so excited!

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It’s Been Three Months

… seriously, I need to get back to blogging but it seems like I’m always too busy.  This year has been stressful to say the least. Jim’s travel has seemed to fallen off a bit… I think.  As soon as I type that he’ll leave town, I’m sure.

I’ve made a few changes since I last blogged but they just haven’t completely happened yet.  I’m transitioning into a new position at work which is pretty much tailor made for me.  Unfortunately, they haven’t hired my replacement yet so for now I’m kind of in that middle ground between the two positions trying to make sure I don’t miss any deadlines and learning a lot of new stuff.  It’s exciting but also exhausting.

Robert has hit a point where he can be incredibly hard headed and a bit hurtful at times.  He’s always remorseful but he’s had a few hard lessons lately in the fact there are consequences for actions.  Unfortunately he seems to try to “flex his muscle” a bit more when Daddy is out of town.  Jim was gone last week to Vegas.  Monday night I told Robert he needed to pick up all the Legos in the living room before bedtime (he was told this when we got home).  A half hour before bedtime I reminded him that it needed to be done.

Me:  Don’t forget you need to pick up the Legos before you go to bed.
Robert: (laying the back of his hand against his forehead) Picking up Legos makes me tired and weak.
Me: Fine, but any that are not picked up by the time you go to bed are going in the trash.
Robert: (completely disgusted) You are mean and rude and I’m running away!
Me:  I will miss you.  Any Legos still out when you leave will be put in the trash.

About 10 minutes later he came and found me and was totally remorseful.  Then he wanted me to help him pick them up.  I explained I was busy getting the trash out and would help when I was done.  He thought he should wait for me to help before starting.  When I told him he needed to start without me there was another minor meltdown.  Finally he started picking them up.  I started to help and was informed I was doing it all wrong.  Eventually they all got picked up and I told him how proud I was of him.  He was beaming. 

The next night the meltdown was over turning the iPad off when it was time to go to bed.  He chose to call me “stupid”.  That led to a time out, a melt down, an eventual reconciliation followed by the reading of “Llama, Llama Mad at Mama” to get some ideas on how we should react when we are mad at Mama.  Then something strange happened.  Robert announced to me that he was Guy the Blue Ninja and that he had been in Robert’s room watching when Robert threw his tantrum and heard what Robert said.  OK… I decided to just go with it.  “Guy” and I discussed why Robert had gotten so mad, why what he said and did was wrong and how I could help “Robert” not get so mad in the future.  Then “Guy” asked me if I was mad at Robert.  I told him I wasn’t, that my feelings were hurt and I would always love him.  “Guy” then went to Robert’s room (where Robert was) and told him Mommy wasn’t mad so Robert appeared in my room and apologized and we talked some more and read “Where the Wild Things Are”.  Then came the moment of parenting truths… Robert looked at me and asked, “Mama, when you were little did you ever throw fits?”  Aye!  Had to answer honestly, no enough money in the world to bribe my mother.

I had a four day weekend for the Fourth of July and took all four days!  Of course, today I felt extremely guilty about it and it will probably mean a few late nights this week playing catch up on things.  But it was worth it.  Four whole days with Jim and Robert with a bonus overnight with my Mom for me on Sunday since I had a conference to go to today and her house is an hour closer.

Wednesday night we went to Barnes and Noble to get some new books for Robert.  We read all of them several times this weekend.  I love reading to him.  Sunday afternoon I had to read to his Power Ranger action figures.

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The Fourth of July I was hungry for a really good hamburger.  I searched Yelp and found a restaurant near our house that is supposed to have the best burger in the northland so we loaded up and headed there.  They were closed for the Fourth Sad smile  but it was right down the street from another favorite restaurant so we went there and I settled for chicken fried steak.

On the way home we stopped at a fireworks tent and bought a few small things for Robert to shoot off.

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He doesn’t really like loud noises but got into the smaller fireworks.  He even got brave enough to light them on his own (we were very close by).  I handed Jim my big camera and he got a ton of cute pictures of Robert and I lighting fireworks together… unfortunately I hadn’t put the card back in the camera so I don’t have any of the really cute pictures.  Just a few I snapped on my iPhone.  Ugh.

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We went to Parkville to see the big display by the river.  It was really good.  Next year we will take ear protection for Robert.  He had a blast right up until the show started.  He thought it was pretty but he really didn’t like the noise so one of us had to keep our hands over his ears at all times.

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Friday we managed to go back to the Rusty Horse Tavern so I could get a burger.  Totally worth the wait!  We will definitely go back again.

The rest of the weekend was spent doing small chores around the house (we have a ton more that need to be done!) and hanging out.  We needed that time to recharge.

Saturday I made cookies that I had seen on Nora’s website.  They were delicious.  Unfortunately, Harley ate 3/4 of them!  Aye!  Dark chocolate is so bad for dogs.  I was so scared she was going to get sick.  We watched for any signs of illness.  Not our little cast iron tummy pup.  Not even so much as a belch!   Seriously, she is the worst dog ever… but I wouldn’t trade her for anything.

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School starts in 37 days.  Robert is super excited.  I have downloaded his school supply list and am making myself not go buy everything right now because I don’t want to get him ready too soon.  We are so excited about his teacher.  We met her at the open house and she seems so great.  Last year she was an aide but this year she is the full time teacher.  Back to school night is August 8th.  I even had Mom mark her calendar for Grandparent’s Day on September 6th. 

Speaking of Mom… she’s doing awesome!  Last set of scans was clean.  Recheck in 6 months.  She amazes me.

Other things from the summer so far I don’t want to forget:

We went to Nebraska for cousin Sarah’s graduation in May:

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We went to a Royals Game:
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We went to the kite festival:

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Robert got his first bike:
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Robert played t-ball.  He didn’t really get into it but it was a good experience for him.

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Robert got a library card.

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We went miniature golfing.

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We went to Shakespeare In the Park and tried to help set the world record for number of people wearing a disguise (fake mustaches) at a performance about someone in disguise (As You Like It)

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Rocky became even more protective of Robert

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Rocky and Mel started liking each other and may have progressed to cat “bro-mance”

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We got a new roof because ours was old…

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Robert developed a new CEO personality that was hilarious… but I don’t want to ever work for him!

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We saw “Go Dog Go” at Theater for Young America and “Lyle, Lyle Crocodile” at the Coterie.

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Head Spinning

So.. another month between posts… and things are about the same… but in some ways better.  I’ve made some decisions to start making some changes and that has brought a bit of peace… and a bit of anxiety… but more peace.

For the most part things around here have been business as usual.. except this year business as usual means Jim is on the road.  Seems like he’s gone about 5 out of every 6 weeks.  I’m getting more used to it.  Most weeks.  But then there are weeks where I’m busy at work, and Robert is over the top pushing boundaries and the dog wants my attention and I really think given half a chance I could run away.  But then Robert wanders by and stops to hug me and say I love you, or he falls asleep and I see my perfect little guy lying there looking like an angel, or I actually manage to get all the trash out on time, or we FaceTime with Jim and all wind up laughing together… and I realize, this too shall pass.  We will be fine.  Deep breath, move on.

I have been trying to make sure that when Jim is home we have some great family time together.  I know that all the travel is hard on him and he misses us when he’s gone and it’s a different hard from how it is hard on me.  And I know sometimes I take out my days frustration on him via the phone when he calls to say “hi” but it’s the exact wrong time, and I have to apologize later.  And I try to remember to apologize later. 

We had Good Friday off at my job and Jim just happened to be coming back into town Thursday that week so I booked us a room at Tan-Tar-A at Osage Beach.  It’s a short three hour drive, they have an indoor water park and there is a large outlet mall in Osage Beach (because Mama has now lost 40+ pounds and needed some new clothes – 4 sizes smaller thank you very much).

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We left mid-morning on Friday and had a few hours to shop before checking into the resort.  Our room was perfect.  Two full size beds and a pull out sleeper sofa overlooking the lake.  And the pillows were to die for!  We got changed and headed over to the water park for a few hours before coming back and ordering pizza for dinner to watch the basketball games.

Someone was really excited about his new swimming gear…

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After dinner he made himself right at home.

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Saturday it cooler and rainy but we still managed to get in a few hours of shopping.  I found a lot of stuff.  Including a huge sale at the Coach Outlet.  I got a new bag with a matching wallet for less than half the price of the bag.. whoo hoo!

Afterwards the boys went back to the water park and I did some work I brought along that needed to get done (some deadlines just won’t wait).

Saturday night the Easter Bunny dropped off a present for Robert a bit early.  It was a new Goesei Dragon Megazord… he loved it and we didn’t hear a peep out of him for the longest time.

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The next morning he woke up to a filled Easter Basket and got to hunt eggs.

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On the way home we stopped off to see my Mom for a bit and take her some popcorn we had picked up for her.  Jim left for the week about 4 hours after we got home. 

Robert and I had a pretty good week.  Friday when I picked him up at preschool spring pictures were in.

Such a handsome young man…

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And then… his first graduation portrait…

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We’re not buying into the preschool graduation hoopla but I did buy the picture because it was cute and the first in a line of what I hope is many.  It will be fun someday to look back.

Saturday the weather in KC was gorgeous.  Jim spent the morning deep cleaning the carpets – thank you!  The winter and the dog have been hard on the carpet.  So nice to have them refreshed.  After that we needed to run to Brookside to pick up a ring I was having repaired.

Afterwards we headed to the Plaza to have dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and then took a horse drawn carriage ride.  The weather was perfect and we got to see a lot of prom goers all dressed up and Robert had a blast waving at everyone.

Carriage Ride

So new we’re getting ready for another week.  Jim is in town (yeah!!!).  I’m actually working from home two days this week to try to get some writing done in peace.  Next weekend World’s of Fun opens so Saturday will be spent riding the rides…. hooray!

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The Real Stuff

It’s been a tough couple of weeks.  I’m feeling totally overwhelmed.  I feel like my best is not good enough in anything.  I feel that it wouldn’t take a whole lot to make me cry right now.  I have a pit in my stomach that won’t go away.  I can’t eat.  I can’t sleep when it’s time to.  Work is super busy.  Jim is out of town for the third week in a row.  He was gone to Texas last week and was supposed to be home Friday night but things didn’t go well so he re-booked on the 8am Saturday flight only to get a plane with mechanical difficulties so he didn’t get back until 5pm… and left again Sunday at 6pm.  Robert had pink eye last week so I had to get my nephew up here to stay with him and help me out and it was a huge help.  And it was nice to have someone else to help cover bedtime.  And I’m rambling but I just wanted to get all of this out there.  I’m hoping in 6 days, 6 weeks, 6 months I’ll look at it and go, “Hey, you made it through that.”  Something needs to change but I don’t know what yet, or how to change it.  Maybe tomorrow will be better.

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Project Life Week 3 & 4

I’m having a lot of fun changing up how I document each week.  Our weekdays are usually pretty hum ho but we do our best to make up for it on the weekends.

Week Three LeftWeek Three Right

Week 4 LeftWeek 4 Right

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