Monday, June 30, 2008

The bathroom gods are against me

Ok, this bathroom is becoming a major thorn in my side. I have (almost) all the supplies I need, I just need to get the floor into a state where I can start. That involves unhooking the toilet and getting it out of the way for the time being. I knew what to do but a toilet is a huge porcelain PITA (pain in the a$$) and I didn't want to risk breaking it and having "new toilet" be part of my bathroom remodeling expenses. So I waited to request Jeff's help in moving it this weekend.

Well, the toilet has decided it doesn't WANT to be moved and is staying put. There seems to be something wrong with one of the nut/bolt thingies that secure the toilet to the floor. The top nut can be moved, but the ENTIRE nut/bolt/nut system is moving together, meaning nothing is coming off. And since the other nut is on the UNDERSIDE of the toilet, which we can't get to, we're at a loss as to how we're going to keep that one secure in order to get the top nut off. This whole thing makes my brain hurt....

And once again I have a time limit. Not like I wanted to still be doing this 2 weeks after I started. I wanted it done within 4 days, which was feasible at the time. But houses are fickle things. And I have 3 little distractions who don't like me working on the bathroom while they're at home/awake. But now that Emma & Sarah are at speech camp (Emma all day, Sarah in the afternoon) and Katie is now taking naps in the afternoon, I have almost 2 1/2 hours in order to work on it!! But, this still requires that the stupid toilet be detached from it's current position. So, it's another trip to Home Depot for me. I think they're gonna know me by name soon.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Central Michigan Down syndrome Society

When Sarah was first born, and we found out about her little something extra, we looked around for some local support. We didn't find much. So, I went online and found a wonderful group of people that I have looked to in times of stress and celebrated with in times of great joy. We have been fortunate to meet up with some of them over the last 4 years, but there's still nothing that beats having a local group that you can talk to & meet up with on a regular basis.

Last year, on Mother's Day, we went out to Bob Evans (a Marie Calendar's type of restaurant). While we were having breakfast, a family walked by & stopped in front of our table. The mom started talking to Sarah, and commented on how cute she was. Generally when people do that, it's because they have some sort of Down syndrome connection. And as soon as I saw the little baby in the infant seat, I saw the connection. We didn't exchange information, it was a nice little meeting where we shared something in common.

Fast forward about 6 months. I get a letter in the mail from a woman who was starting up a local Ds group and wanted to know if we would join. I jumped at the chance and called her right away. What do you know, it was the same family from Bob Evans. Their little girl was named Elizabeth and they had just gotten through heart surgery. We set up a recurring meeting at McDonald's for once a month. She decided, since this town is pretty small, and there aren't many kids with Ds, to include kids with other special needs. Sarah's little friend from preschool, Morgan, who has agenesis of the corpus callosum started joining us as well.

Our little support group is growing in numbers and in activities. We have an official website and a date for a Buddy Walk. So if anyone is in the central Michigan area, you are welcome to join!!

Prayers for Kennedy

On the sidebar, you might notice a new button. It's for a sweet little girl named Kennedy. Kennedy is only about a month younger than Sarah, but has been through so much in her short 4 years. She has a little something extra, like Sarah, but her family has been tested with some medical challenges that we haven't. Last year, right before her 3rd birthday, Kennedy was diagnosed with AML (Acute Myelogenous Leukemia). Kids with Ds have a much higher rate than the average population to get diagnosed with leukemia. But, the up side is that kids with Ds also have a much higher remission/success rate. The chemo schedule for AML is rigorous (this is the same form of leukemia that Chelsea was diagnosed with). It is 6-9 months of chemo, between 4-6 rounds, with each round lasting about 1 month from admission to release. Then there's the side effects of chemo: hair loss, NO immune system, pain, nausea, general fatigue. So many of our online friends have had to deal with this.

After she got through that with flying colors (she's still in remission!!! Yay!!), she had another surprise for her family. See, another medical issue that many kids with Ds have to face is AAI (Atlantoaxial Instability). It is a problem in the upper part of the spine where the neck vertebras aren't formed correctly. Kids with Ds have to be screened starting at age 3 to make sure they don't have this otherwise they could be seriously injured or even paralyzed if they have a bad fall. Sarah was tested last year and so far everything looks good, but she will be getting more x-rays done soon. Kennedy was also diagnosed with an even more serious version of AAI called AOI (atlanto-occipital instability). To borrow the way Leah described it, Kennedy's head is merely resting on top of her spine. She is flying to Philly today to have a spine fusion surgery. This will be a long recovery time for her & her family. To make things a tad more complicated, Kennedy's dad is serving this country in the US Army, and left in December for his 2nd tour in Afghanistan. He will be flying to Philly to be with his family during this time, and will be able to stay with them during Kennedy's recovery.

Did I mention Kennedy has 2 brother's and 1 sister? This whole family could definitely use prayers for strength and courage through this tough time.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Bathroom update

For those of you that were interested, no I didn't get the bathroom finished by Saturday. And as luck would have it, the weather decided it wanted to rain on Saturday afternoon (according to the forecasts) so we moved the party to a local park that have covered areas, as our backyard has no shelter. As it would happen, it started pouring as soon as we were getting ready to leave.

Anyhoo, the carpet and old linoleum are out, but there was one more layer before getting to the subfloor and that has proven harder to rip up. But, I have a plan and all the supplies to get it finished, so hopefully I'll be able to post pics of my new bathroom floor sometime this week. And just the floor cause the rest of the bathroom is still ugly.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Channeling my mother

Ask anyone who knew my mother and one of the first things they would say about is she loved to home repair/home decorating/gardening. If you called her on any given day, she probably could be found painting/staining/installing/planting something. I have already determined that I did not inherit my mother's artistic gene, however, it seems I've been blessed (and depending on who you talk to, including my husband, that might be stretching it) with the "fixer-upper" gene. Over the last 2 weeks, I've embarked on more "fixer-upper" projects than I have in the past 2 years. It all started with me finding 4 rolls of contact paper in my mother's things. I immediately thought of my kitchen and the nasty old paper that was in there, along with the shelves that had nothing and were merely nasty themselves. Over the course of about 6 hours, I put contact paper on almost every shelf in my kitchen & pantry. And then proceeded to rearrange said shelves.
My new project is somewhat ambitious, and my husband has already expressed doubt that I will get it done. When we moved in, it seems that the previous owners had a cat, that was allowed to use the carpet in the main bathroom as a litter box. First of all, putting carpet in a bathroom seems like an extremely idiotic idea in the first place, but I digress. It smelled....BAAAAAAAAD. Poor Emma wouldn't even brush her teeth in there & the smell hit you as soon as you walked in the front door. It was awful. I got lots of advice on how to get rid of it, but they all required that the bathroom be well aerated. Which it isn't, as it doesn't have a window or good air flow. So spraying anything on there that required we allow it do dry was not going to happen.
We have a birthday party here this Saturday and I didn't want to have to make all the guest use the 1/2 bath by the back door. So, I decided to rip up all the carpet, padding & anything else that was under there, and put new flooring down. It already smells better and I haven't even put anything on the subfloor yet. The people who put this carpet in were morons. They put carpet over linoleum because they were too lazy to rip up the old flooring. So now I have a decision to make: be an equal moron and just put new vinyl flooring over the old stuff, or bust my hump & try to rip out the old stuff that's probably been there for 25 years. Did I mention we're having a party here Saturday? There is this product called Kilz that is a sealant of some sort that I was told would block out the smell of cat pee that soaked into the subfloor (which is most certainly likely). I think it's time to go visit our friendly neighborhood experts at Ye Olde Home Depot. It's times like these that I wish my mom were here so I could call her & ask her advice. But, all I have now is WWMD (What would Mom do).

Monday, June 16, 2008

Snot much fun

Being sick, that is. Poor Sarah & Katie. They each have a sinus infection and conjunctivitis. Which are fancy words for a lot of snot & goop all over the face. Katie woke up this morning, wandered into our room (how, I don't know, since I THOUGHT their door had been shut), I pulled her into bed with me and we fitfully slept for about another hour. I hadn't even looked at her when she came in, I did the "eyes still half closed" thing. When we all woke up a bit more, Jeff noticed that her poor eyes were crusted shut. She had wandered into our room pretty much blind. Poor kid. I immediately made a double appointment for them both as soon as I could. They each had a low degree temp of 99.6, and weighed in at 28 & 23 lbs. My little twins, lol. They even get sick together. So now we're on a regimen of oral antibiotics and eye drops for the next week. Fun fun.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Library Fun

When I was growing up, I went to the library alot....I mean a LOT. Especially in the summer when I was visiting my dad. My aunt would take me at least twice a week: for story time, to get new books, rent movies, the whole 9 yards. I grew up loving books. There are books that are engrained in my memory of childhood: The Boxcar Children, Nate the Great, Corduroy, anything by Beverly Cleary.
I have been remiss when it comes to helping my children have that love of the library. I'll admit before today, it had been at LEAST a year since I took them there. But, even though I haven't pushed it, my kids have still developed a love of books. Emma loves books, and so does Sarah. Katie's learning. :D
So we went this morning, and we had a good time. We got books, a couple DVD's, and audio books to tide us over for the next week or so. I've been a bit short on decent books for me to read lately, so I decided to take a crack at some books that I was supposed to read in high school, but, well, they bored me to tears at the time. I'm not proud of it, but hey, I was 17. And lover of books that I was, I didn't like being TOLD to read something for the sake of a teacher just so I could get a good grade. And now I'm in college doing the same thing, rofl.
Anyhow, so I got "Brave New World" and "1984". I'm about 1/3 of the way through "Brave New World". It's hard to believe it was written in the 1930's, seeing how forward it is regarding what amounts to extreme promiscuity and drug use. I need to think of more books I should have paid more attention to in high school and take a 2nd look at them.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Booty Camp

In case you hadn't gathered based on how old my 2 younger kids are, but I have 2 in diapers at the moment. Sarah is on her way, and I think just needs a little push to be completely free of diapers, but Katie is still aways from that. She's cognizant of the fact that she goes pee & poop and even tells me, but she doesn't like the potty chair. And I'm not gonna push her. She'll get it in her own time. After all, she DID only turn 2 yesterday (and no I didn't post anything, I'm a bad mom, but I'm a single mom for the week, so I didn't have a ton of time).

Sarah is very sporadic when it comes to the potty. She has on a few occasions told me in advance that she needs to go, and will actually go. But other times she acts completely oblivious to it. I don't like the fact that it seems like I don't have the time to focus on making sure she gets trained, but with DH being gone all day (and sometimes for a week for work), having just moved into a new house and still trying to unpack, plus having a younger child always underfoot, it's been beyond difficult trying to have a schedule to go have potty time. So, when I saw this on the Today Show this morning, I immediately told Jeff about it.

This woman says that, with parent involvement, she can potty train your child in 1 day. She does these camps 2 days a week, maybe 2-3 times a month, in groups of 4-5. The methods she uses are a little controversial (a LOT of salty snacks & sweet drinks, which help the body have to pee more frequently) but it helps the child get into a routine of knowing what it feels like. She also teaches the child that it is THEIR responsibility to take care of their potty needs. If they have an accident, she has them clean it up (with help and in a very positive attitude). There have been articles written for NADS (National Association for Down syndrome) and she's been doing this for over 4 years. She claims to have a 98% success rate.

The only catch is she's in Chicago. But, that's only about a 5 hour drive. It's totally worth it to me. If I could have Sarah potty trained by the start of school next fall, that would be a miracle, for us as a family & for our pocketbook.