Saturday, July 26, 2008

To My Friendly Starbucks Barista

While I was in my hometown this week to be with my family while my mother was in the hospital, there was a bright spot. A bright, shiny spot which made each day of my visit a little more pleasant.

Starbucks. There is a relatively new Starbucks not far my parent's home, and I was a frequent visitor during the 3 days of my stay. On my way out to return home, I went through the drive-thru to get myself juiced up for the 4-hour drive. As I pulled up to order, a very friendly voice greeted me.

"Hi, and welcome to Starbucks on this beautiful evening! My name is Josh. How can I help you?"

Josh sounded like nothing would make him happier than to take my coffee order. I could tell by the sound of his voice that he was smiling.

"Hi Josh! I think I'll try one of those raspberry brownies that the lady ahead of me ordered, and I'll also have a Grande Raspberry Mocha Frappucino."

"That sounds DELICIOUS! A themed dinner?"

"That's right, Josh!"

"It'll be $6.23."

"Thanks!"

I pulled up to the window where I met Josh in person. He was delightful! I could really tell he was having a nice time at his job. Most drive-thru people barely look at me, they just want to grab my money, throw my food at me, and send me on my way. Not Josh! He took some time to make pleasant small-talk.

What Josh didn't know was that I really needed something like that. I was on my way to the hospital one last time to see Mom before I drove home. I was very worried about her, as I'm sure you remember from the updates I posted. I was afraid I was going to be too late and they wouldn't let me in, and I was afraid that if I didn't get my coffee, I would fall asleep on the drive with Lance since we only left at 9 pm, ensuring a peaceful, quiet drive.

But Josh's friendliness and his smile, his thoughtfulness, really helped to brighten that evening.

I told him that he was the friendliest drive-thru person I had ever met. He seemed surprised and pleased by this. Then I told him I would write about him on my blog. I told him the URL, and I hope he manages to look me up!

So if you're here Josh, please know that your kindness made a huge difference to this mommy during a difficult time in her life. You didn't just give me coffee and a brownie, you gave me a reason to smile when there was none.

Thank you.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I type this from a laptop while lounging in bed. My mouth is filled with gauze, I'm snuggled up to a bag of frozen peas, and the remains of a few jello cups are littering my bedside table.

I think I'm gonna enjoy a few days of being an invalid! My husband is taking such good care of me, too! He went out and bought yogurt, jello cups, and pudding to feed an army. He also bought me some Starbucks Frappucinos, since I'm not supposed to have anything hot for a few days.

He's taken Lance out for the evening, so I'm enjoying some nice quiet time. He won't be out for long, but it'll be good for Lance to run around and play at the park while Daddy has his softball game. (Our city has several softball 'leagues' of which our church members make up 3 of the 4 teams! lol! They play every Friday night.) Fortunately some of the other players on Hubby's team have teenage daughters who just adore Lance, so they're going to help out with him. The best part? I didn't even have to arrange it!! Hubby called the parents of the teenagers to ask if they would please bring them along tonight.

I was knocked out for the surgery. I remember a few times I would wake up a little bit and could hear what was going on, but not often enough to remember the details. Although at one point I heard the doctor say "oops." That wasn't good! I was under for an hour, but I only have a few minutes' worth of memories of the procedure! The IV stick was the worst part. I'm such a baby when it comes to needles!

Whoa...the phone just rang. Apparantly talking is something I'll have to refrain from as well! I seem to be fine when I keep my head as still as possible!

Cheers re-runs, here I come!

In Which I Say Goodbye to Wisdom

My wisdom teeth will be coming out in a little less than two hours.

Goodbye, Wisdom. How I shall miss you.

In the meantime, I'm finding it rather difficult to refrain from eating and drinking, especially when Lance doesn't finish his breakfast.

Plain toast never looked so good, until you're not allowed it.

I expect I'll be spending a lot of time this weekend on my computer! I'm gonna milk it, baby.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Today's Updates

Hello, Blogfriends.

Here are the updates on mom. I hope you don't mind that I just copied the e-mail I sent out to our friends and family.



Hi everyone.

I saw my mom yesterday evening. It was good to see her. They have figured out that her stomach is not emptying AT ALL-- it is full of fluid, although she hasn't eaten anything for several DAYS. I had previously misunderstood and thought they were witholding food from her, but the truth is she can't keep anything down. One of the days she *did* have to fast because of a procedure they needed to do. They had her on clear liquids the other night, and she only took a few sips of juice, and it made her throw up a lot.

They are going to do more tests today to figure out the cause of this. Something similar had happened before, and they discovered a bacterial overgrowth in her small intestine. Hopefully the tests today will reveal what it is THIS time. There is talk of transporting her up to Mayo clinic.

My dad will be going to the hospital this morning so he can talk with the doctors and find out more information. At this point, we're all wondering why they haven't given her any nutrition intravenously, since they know she hasn't eaten anything in the three days she's been there. They have her on a saline solution and electrolytes so she won't dehydrate, but she isn't getting anything else.

While I'm relieved that they have figured out SOMETHING, it's scary to think that my mom has not been getting any nutrition for several days and is basically slowly starving. I don't like that thought AT ALL. Hopefully Dad will be able to get them to give her something in the IV. They won't release her from the hospital if she can't eat. Mom would prefer to have Dad drive her up to Mayo rather than have the hospital transport her, because that would just be a ridiculously huge (and unncessary) expense.

Please continue praying- now, that the doctors will be able to fix the problem they have found, and that my mother will have some measure of comfort. I will be returning home to Coral Springs tonight. I wish I could stay longer, but I'm having my wisdom teeth removed Friday morning.

Thanks and God bless



Hi again,

Mom has now received an IV with nutrition. They are also draining the fluid from her stomach. Already she looks a little better- not so pale, and she looks like she got some rest. They have decided to transport her via ambulance to the Mayo clinic in Jacksonville, but we're not sure yet when they will do this.

Thank you all for your prayers- we are beginning to see them answered! In addition to praying for mom's healing and wisdom for the doctors, please pray also that this will not become a financial burden for my family. My parents have a fairly good insurance plan, but it doeesn't cover everything. An ambulance trip to Jacksonville is going to be a significant cost, as will several days of hospital stay.

I will be going to visit Mom once more, on my way home tonight. I hope to have more information then. I know the are going to do more x-rays later this afternoon to see if her small intestine is working properly.

I can't begin to tell you how much your support means. You are all family to us. Without your prayers and moral support, I'm sure things would be much different right now.

God bless

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

In Which I Depart From My Most Recent Subject

This post has nothing whatsoever to do with my mom in the hospital. It's time for something fun and lighthearted.

I give you...


Lance! In the kiddie pool! Completely dressed! With a popsicle stain on his face!

This afternoon I was filling the kiddie pool that my parents have at their house just for Lance's visit. He was standing there eating a popsicle while I filled it. My grand plan was to take him inside and change him into his swim trunks when he was done with the popsicle.

Toddlers don't worry too much about their parent's plans. He just clambered right over the side of the pool, went down on his hands and knees, dripping with popsicle juice.

And I stood there and laughed like I haven't laughed for several days.

It was good.

Update

Hey everyone. I'm up in my hometown to be with my family. I packed up Lance and we left our house at 9 pm. He slept ALL THE WAY HERE, a 4-hour drive. When we arrived around 1 am, he of course woke up when he saw and heard his Aunt and Grampa, so I let him stay up and play for awhile. Hopefully he'll sleep a little longer in the morning for me!

The gastroenterologist came to see my mom this evening, but we don't have any answers yet. Tomorrow, Mom is having a stress test and a bunch of other tests including an endoscopy.

I'll be sticking around the house, holding the fort down here and taking care of some stuff that my parents haven't been able to take care of, like following up with the TV repairman, doing some housework, preparing meals, etc. I'll go to the hospital when I can, but that might be tough with Lance. Not even sure yet if he will be allowed in the cardiac unit; will check on that tomorrow.

And again, thank you for all your prayers. Keep 'em coming.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Update

edited to add:

The cardiologist came, and there is no indication of any heart problems, praise God! They are waiting on results from a thyroid test, and are waiting for the gastroenterologist to come. Whatever happens, she will be in the hospital at least one more night.



Hey guys.

Thank you all for your prayers and kind thoughts as my family goes through this scary time.

Mom was kept in the hospital overnight and is waiting to be seen by a cardiologist and a gastroenterologist. The worst of her pain has subsided, but they still don't know what caused it. They ran tons of tests on her, but everything came back normal. I suppose that's a good thing, it rules out all the "biggies" but doesn't help us to figure out what to do to make her better.

I'll keep you all updated as I get more information.

Monday, July 21, 2008

*Edited to add: As of 10:45pm, my mom is still in the hospital. She is on morphine to relieve the agonizing pain, but all her tests came back normal, so they still don't know what has caused the pain. They are going to keep her overnight for observation. My parents don't have much of a support system, so please keep my dad and sister in your prayers, as well, as I cannot go to be with them and help them through this difficult time.*


I just received a phone call from my dad. My mom is in the ER for severe chest and abdominal pain.

Please pray NOW.

In Which I Reveal How Pitiful I Am

I told you yesterday about my crazy injury when I got involved in a fist fight with a tough latina chick.

This Friday, I am having my wisdom teeth out.

You know it's time to have your wisdom teeth out when chewing a soft chocolate chip cookie causes agony.

And since the wrist is still sore, typing is causing another kind of agony. Going to the doc tomorrow for the wrist.

Crazy week, huh?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

In Which I Explain My Injury



I could tell you that Lance hit me with a hammer.

I could tell you that I slipped and fell on a wet pool deck.

I could tell you that I dropped a bowling ball mid swing.

I could tell you that I was performing some complicated gymnastics excercise.

But all of those would be dirty, nasty lies.

I was practicing piano. I was trying to play octaves, and my hand just isn't quite large enough. So I strained my wrist. It's been hurting for a week. Some of you may remember when I tweeted about it last week.

That wrist brace makes lots of things difficult like typing, and even lifting Lance.

So like a fool, I took the brace off so I could write this post.

Already I am regretting that decision.

Bye!

In Which I Contemplate the Imagination of Children

Overheard on the playground:

"If you BOYS want to play with us, you have to be my minions 'cuz I'm Evil Girl."

"Last one there is a rotten picklehead!"

"What's a rotten picklehead??!!"

"He's gonna DIE!"


Playground antics sure have changed since I was a kid.

Or HAVE they?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fun With Language Acquisition

Lance is 19 months old. Every day, he learns or attempts to learn new words. Lately, he has been fascinated with the magnetic letters we have on the fridge for him. His favorite letter is "E." He calls all of them "E."

While I am lying on the couch watching TV, I can hear the sounds of the magnetic letters clicking agianst the side of the refrigerator. Then the sound changes to the padding of his bare feet across the tile floor, through the kitchen, to me in the living room.

He looks at me with a very serious face.

"Eee..babble babble...Mama...babble babble...Eee....elp...oom...mama...babble..Eeee!"

He looked so concerned, and he was plainly trying to tell me something which needed my immediate attention.

"Show me, sweetheart!"

He took my hand, and led me to my bedroom, where the letter "E" was hidden in the darkness. He was trying to tell me that the letter E was in Mama's room, and he needed help getting it because it was dark.

How about that!

In Which I Expand My Blogging Universe

Hi everyone!

I have begun blogging over at MomsMiami.com. (Oh, and I don't attempt to hide my true identity. My user name over there is "JenKSwan" if you want to find me!) It's a great new site for moms in the south Florida area to connect with each other. There are blogs, forums, galleries, and local resource information galore. If you're a south Florida mom, please come join us! Blogger Holly of Tropic of Mom also blogs over there, and last night she and I had the pleasure of attending a meet-up of some of the MomsMiami bloggers.

We met up at the Mr. Foods No-Fuss Meals. It was a TON of fun! If you're not familiar with it, it is a place where you go and assemble meals which you then bring home to cook the next day, or freeze and keep it for later. I had been wondering what all the fuss was with Mr. Food. I thought, surely it couldn't be much different from just going to the grocery store and making your stuff at home! Boy, was I wrong!!



Here I am with my completed Brocolli Ham and Cheese Quiche while I will be cooking tonight. My dear friend snapped this photo, and in her caption, she called me a "Rachael Ray Wanna Be." LOL! I just need some EVOO and to throw some salt over my shoulder!

You could select from an entire menu of what meal(s) you'd like to prepare. For this event, we were all allowed to make one meal for free, other bloggers chose to spend a little more money and do more. The ingredients are all laid out for you, and instructions are posted. I chose to make the "crustless brocolli ham and cheese quiche." It couldn't have been simpler! The instructions went something like this:

1. Put gallon-size ziploc bag inside tub
2. Add 1 level scoop of cheddar cheese
3. Add 1 level scoop of swiss cheese
4. Add 1 cup of pre-beaten eggs (which were stored in something like a salad dressing bottle, I simply poured into the measuring cup provided!)
5. Add 1 tsp onion powder (the onion powder already had the measuring spoon inside it)

and so on and so forth.

Once I assembled all my ingredients, I placed my sealed ziploc bag with my quiche innards into a refrigerator, and then I got to enjoy free wine and snacks.


Here I am with blogger Sherry North, who is the author of Because You Are My Baby.

I would highly recommend Mr. Food's No-Fuss Meals for people who like to cook but don't enjoy the planning and preparation. For me, the hardest part of preparing dinners for my family is NOT the actual cooking part, but trying to decide what meals to cook, and on which days to cook them so I don't waste ingredients. For example, there is a chicken dish I like to prepare that calls for chopped green onion. If I'm going to prepare that meal, I need to make sure that a couple other meals during the week also called for chopped green onion, because at my grocery store I can't buy them individually. Only in a large bag full, and most of the time I end up throwing them out because green onions aren't something I use a whole lot.

That problem is eliminated with Mr. Food.

It's also a fun thing for a girl's night out, or as an alternative for a baby shower. A couple weeks to a month before a woman's due date, get all her friends to chip in for a few week's worth of meals. All of you head on down to Mr. Food, enjoy each other's company while you prepare meals for the mom-to-be to take home and freeze. Then she'll have plenty of food available to her.

Anyhoo. It was a lot of fun, and I'm sure I'll be going back!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I'm Teething! And, Friendship is Awesome! And, Blogger Meetup Tonight!

Hello, Blogfriends! What a nutty week it's been. I trust things have been going well with all of you?

I'M TEETHING!!!

A week from Friday, I am having my wisdom teeth taken out. And none too soon, either! For the past twenty-something years, these teeth have just been hanging out inside my gums, minding their own business, not bothering anyone. Every dental check-up, the doc would take a look and would say, "It's not time yet! Let's just leave them alone and see what happens." Well, at my most recent visit, he said, "It's time. You better get this taken care of as soon as possible."

Boy, he wasn't kidding. My wisdom teeth are starting to poke through, and golly gee whiz does it hurt!! All four are coming in simultaneously. My jaws will just throb in a pain and pressure which radiates through my entire head, behind my eyes, down my neck and into my spine, leaving my whole body feeling like there's someone scratching a chalkboard all day long. Know what I mean?

Our poor kiddos, they go through this for the greater part of their first few years of existence. What a rotten welcome to the world.

FRIENDSHIP IS AWESOME!!

Last night we had some friends over to spend the evening with us. Two of the four friends moved away about two months ago, but came into town because Mr. Friend had a business trip in the area, so he brought Mrs. Friend along with him. The six of us Friends used to hang out together a lot, and we were beginning to miss it! So although it's only been 6 weeks or so since we all hung out last (we all went out for a good-bye dinner when Friends #5 and 6 moved,) it felt like we had been reunited after years and years of separation. What's funny though, is that we Mrs. Friends might often go a couple months without all getting together because we were all so busy. One of the Mrs. Friends said that it took one of us moving away in order for all three of us to drop everything to spend some time together! To my surprise, it was true! So we enjoyed each other's company and had a great time. The three of us Mrs. Friends had also gotten together a couple days before to have lunch at the other Mrs. Friend's house, which was also a very sweet time for us to celebrate our friendship.

BLOGGER MEETUP TONIGHT!!

I am very excited to be attending a blogger meetup this evening. Our local newspaper is sponsoring an event for mommy bloggers in our area, and I have been invited by another blogger to attend! We will be meeting up at Mr. Food's No-Fuss Meals. There will be free wine and snacks, plus we get to put together a meal for our family at no cost. It's gonna be fun!! I'll let you guys know how it goes.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

What a Day!

We're back from our trip to grandma's! We had a very nice time, we did a lot of fun things, but I have to say it's nice to be home again, too.

At least, it was. Until this morning, when I tried to leave the house to go to the home of my tutoring students. My car didn't want to start. After a few tries, it started up just fine. Then I started driving and realized that my brakes are in pretty bad condition. I hadn't realized it before, but after a week of driving around a rental car, a 2009 Hyundai Sonata, I can now tell that my brakes are pretty much non-responsive. Not wanting to drive across town in a car that might not start up again and in which the brakes might decide to fail, I called the mother of the child I tutor.

"Can you bring your kids over here today for their tutoring session?"

"OK, but I can't do it now. I'll call you later. Will you be free this afternoon?"

"Sure."

"Great. I'll call you when I get back from my errands and we'll schedule a time."

Shortly after this conversation, Lance decides to go down for a nap. I decide to take a snooze, too, since I'm exhausted after all the travel. My phone rings while I'm sleeping. I don't answer it because I know Lance won't sleep very much longer and I will call the person back then. I close my eyes and drift back to sleep.

15 minutes later, a knock at my door. Bleary-eyed and fuzzy-tongued, I answer the door. It's my students and their mother.

"I called you and left you a message to tell you we were coming!"

"I was sleeping. I haven't checked my messages yet."

"I'm so sorry! Should we skip it?"

"No, come on in."


Her 4-year old bounds into the house screaming and yelling, and wakes up Lance. Grr.

While I am busy with her 8-year old, I have Lance eating his lunch in his high chair. Because he's all confused and doesn't know what's going on and I am in the other room, he starts fussing and squirming in his seat. The mother of my students thinks he must not be hungry, so she takes Lance out of his high chair, and...

She lets her 4-year old eat Lance's lunch!!!!!!

Can you believe it?

She could have asked me if her son could have a snack; after all, she saw me get out the huge container of goldfish crackers. We would have been happy to share. But no, she just gives her child Lance's lunch. Additionally, when we go to their house for the tutoring session, she doesn't so much as offer me or Lance a drink of water, so why should it be acceptable for her child to eat my son's lunch when she's at my house??!!

I managed to get through the tutoring session without anyone getting hurt. The 8-year old wouldn't keep her focus and only got through two worksheets when I had planned for her to do 3 math pages and 2 handwriting pages, in addition to going through her multiplication tables, which we are usually able to do in our hour-long session. So she got homework. Chuckle Chuckle Snicker.

Lance is sleeping again. I still have to unpack, make a grocery shopping list for this evening, make arrangements to get my car fixed, apply for a student loan for next semester, and find an oral surgeon to remove my wisdom teeth.

That's a lot to do in a short naptime.

Have a great day!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Hey everyone.

Those of you who are of the praying sort- please send up a prayer for me! The last couple days I have been suffering from heat exhaustion, which is very unusual for me. It happened yesterday when my mom and I took Lance to see the aquarium and he was running around in the outdoor water playground. I became very faint and weak and we had to leave early. It happened again today when my sister and I were in the pool with Lance. Fortunately I recognized the symptoms, so I got myself inside into the air conditioning and drank some water immediately.

This is weird. No, I'm not pregnant-- just finished my cycle yesterday. Will schedule a checkup with my doctor when I get back home. In the meantime, I'm going to drink lots of water and try to stay out of the sun for prolonged periods.

Thanks!

Friday, July 04, 2008

When Hubby's Away, the Wife Will Play

Hubby has gone off with my dad and a bunch of other friends to the 145th anniversary of the Battle at Gettysburg. We're civil war reenactors, you see. I would have gone along, but it's a long trip for Lance, and Gettysburg is *such* a big event. 40,000 reenactors plus their families, in many cases, all in identical white canvas tents. If Lance were to get lost out there, we wouldn't find him for days.

So I elected to come spend the week with my mom and my sister. So far, we have:

1. Made homemade play-dough and spent hours squishing it and rolling it into balls and snakes
2. Played with bubbles
3. Ran through the sprinkler in the front yard
4. Visited the swans and geese at the lake in the center of town
5. Had a "Sister's Night Out" in which grandma stayed here and put Lance to bed for me

Later this afternoon, Lance and I will accompany my sister to a 4th of July party held at the home of the pastor of her church. This particular gathering is the "young adult" group, so there will be people of my age there and a few who have children of their own. There will be pool volleyball, possibly jet skiing, and fireworks!

To come later in the week- a trip to the box office of our performing arts center to buy tickets for Craig Ferguson and Pink Floyd, a shopping excursion to the Downtown Disney Marketplace, and hopefully a visit with an old friend I haven't seen for nearly a year.

Oh and of course, lots of trips to Starbucks. Normally, Starbucks is a once-in-awhile treat. I figure, though, if Hubby can spend hundreds of dollars on train tickets to go do something fun without me, I can blow some cash on expensive coffee every day for a week.

So there.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Visiting my parents for the week while Hubby goes to shoot Yankees.

Not the baseball players.

He's a civil war reenactor and it is the 145th anniversary of the battle at Gettysburg.

Lance and I are staying with my mom and sister, and we have big plans.

Aquarium, museum, parks, old friends...

It's going to be fun.

I may be absent from Blogland for awhile. Then again, maybe I won't.

See ya!