Monday, March 30, 2009

My Littlest Man: The Sequel

Thursday morning we awoke at 3:45 a.m.-ish to get ready for Sawyer's surgery. When I went to get him from his crib (4:45-ish), he became wide awake. He stayed awake for the entire hour's drive to the hospital in Baltimore. He didn't know where we were going. Or where we were. Or what we were doing there. But he knew he was ready to go home as soon as we got there.

About ten minutes before the surgery, he put his coat on over his hospital gown and announced he wanted to go home. We calmed him down, and he fell asleep in my arms. Literally just minutes before I walked him into the operating room. It was so much easier to have him already asleep when they placed the gas mask on his face. And then I left the room.

That's the story of Sawyer's surgery. Everything went that well. Down to the very last detail.

The surgery that was expected to last an hour and 15 minutes, lasted less than 45 minutes. (Within 45 minutes of leaving him in the operating room, both the surgeon and the anesthesiologist were talking to us in the waiting room.)

Waking up in recovery was the longest part. We couldn't see him until he opened his eyes on his own. But, this little guy was sleepy. He was taking his morning nap and couldn't be bothered with waking up to see his new surroundings.

Once we got our hands on our little man, they gave him some apple juice. He drank two glasses, to their surprise.

And then we were wheeled up to his room. Just four hours after surgery, he ate his first meal. Much to the surprise of all the nurses.

He has continued to heal with leaps and bounds. The doctors and nurses could not believe that he just had surgery. They said most patients are sitting in bed, mouths open, and drooling. Not Sawyer. He demanded to go home (in the middle of the night). He demanded to watch Dora and Diego at all hours of the day. And drank apple juice all day and night long.


In the morning, he ate the nasty scrambled "eggs" that they serve. (He won't eat my real ones at home ...)

He's not supposed to run or jump for two weeks. He's doing both. He has jumped on beds, the sofa and the ottoman. He runs through the house as if someone is chasing him. He's unstoppable, that little man. I have tried to stop him, to no avail.

And do you know why he's doing so well? Because of prayer. It has to be. I am convinced. And for that, I thank you.

* * * * While we do not yet know the results of the pathology, the doctor said the lymph node seems "reactive," as in reacting to an infection. I assume we have to wait two weeks until Sawyer's followup appointment. * * * *

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My Littlest Man

Tomorrow my littlest man has to have surgery.

It all started about last summer when I noticed some enlarged lymph nodes on his neck. (My father has non-Hodgkin lymphoma, so I am extremely paranoid cautious about this stuff.) I brought it to the attention of our doctor, but she said he had fluid in his ears and maybe it was just because he was getting sick and put him on antibiotics. But they were still there. Then I took him back in for something and mentioned it again. She looked in his ears and saw fluid in his ears again, so she put him back on antibiotics. But they were still there.

Joe and I watched them for a few months, and when it was time for his well checkup, I informed her that they were still there and hadn't changed. I think it was at that time she noticed some in his groin, too.

Anyway, she sent us to an Ear, Nose & Throat specialist. For some strange reason, the morning of Sawyer's first appointment, he awoke with these two large, walnut-sized glands under his jaw. The specialist was concerned and he, too, saw fluid in his ears. He ordered another round of antibiotics, x-rays of his adenoids, and more blood work.

His extra-large lymph nodes have returned to normal-Sawyer size (still enlarged compared to most people). His adenoids are abnormal. His tonsils are "normally" the size of walnuts (he snores while sitting up, poor guy). And the fluid has consistently been in his ears for months now.


Which brings us to tomorrow. Bright and early tomorrow morning, Sawyer is having one of his lymph nodes biopsied, tubes put in his ears, and his adenoids and tonsils removed. The tubes are supposed to help keep his ears drained, which will improve his hearing, which will improve his speech. It's a lot of stuff for one small, little, energetic two-and-a-half-year-old.

I'll try to update, if time permits, before the weekend. He has a "23-hour-stay" at the hospital. For insurance purposes, it is not called an "overnight" stay. I might be here, on Facebook, or Twitter. Or maybe not.

* * *

Monday, March 23, 2009

We Did It!


On Saturday morning, we ran the 5K. There were six of us in our group. While I had fun with the girls, I did not enjoy the run.

Call me a wimp, or whatever you'd like, but I don't like extremes. Extreme cold? Blech. Extreme heat and humidity? I'll stay as close to the air conditioning as possible. I prefer the 60-80 degree days with no humidity. (Which are few are far between in Maryland.)

Saturday morning is was cold. I mean cold. I can now say, from experience, that 28 degrees is too cold to run. It's best to just stay at home in your warm toasty bed.

Okay, I thought. It's cold, but it's not that cold. (I was in complete and utter denial.) And then the race began. While there was a paved path along the route, most of the run was "cross country." Or, in other words: grass. Like in high school. Except, this wasn't the maintained, groomed fields of the school system. It was the uneven, "potholes," stuff-in-the-way kind of run. Like, ducking under a tree branch, jumping over branches and rocks, and swerving around dips in the ground. I did not particularly enjoy this. Every step of the way I wanted to quit. But I'm not a quitter, so I carried on.

I was never so happy to see the finish line. Especially with Joe and all of my children waiting there for me.

It was an experience I'll never forget. I ran it in 33:08. I'm hoping my next 5K (May 2nd) will be better. I have been contemplating a lot since Saturday morning. Maybe I'm not cut out to be a runner. Or maybe not a "racer." Or maybe I should just stick to running on the pavement or treadmill. I don't know the answer to that just yet. My friend wants to run it again next year. I think it will take a year for me to think long and hard about that one.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Butterick 5119 - Finished

So I made a Miss Chris shirt for Spenser on Saturday. It was pretty simple, but the elastic casing for the sleeves made me want to say something bad. But I didn't.

In my usual Lera way, I made it a teensy bit too big. I need to make the elastic in the neck shorter so it stays on her shoulders better. And it seems very wide. And short. At the same time. I think I might lengthen the next one I make (and do the sleeves differently, too).

I used some multi-colored polka dot fabric. (I think it's Alexander Henry Pop Dots.) I've had it in my stash for a couple of years. I thought the fabric would be very versatile with all the different color dots. Now I'm thinking it looks like a clown's shirt.

What do you think ... cute? or clownish?

* * *
Have a great weekend. I have my first 5K tomorrow morning! Yikes!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Not Because I Wanted To ...


Yesterday I broke in our clothesline for the upcoming season. But not because I wanted to.

On Monday night I discovered a load of wet laundry in our dryer. I thought, "I can't believe I forgot to turn the dryer on." The laundry was a little stinky by then, so I took out that wet laundry, stuck the laundry from the washing machine into the dryer and re-washed the first load. I made sure I turned on the dryer before I left and went to bed ...

And it was still wet the next morning.

There I was with two loads of wet laundry, and no dryer. Thankfully yesterday was a nice day and I was able to use our clothesline, but quickly ran out of room. Luckily my MIL lives a few miles away, so I took the rest to her house.

We were going to try to repair it, but we bought it right after we were married when we bought our first home. It's almost 14 years old. And it has other problems that I've just lived with for several years.

Appliance shopping is not one of my favorites, but it's a necessity. I hope we can find one and get it here soon. Before dirty laundry takes over my house.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Last-Minute Gifting

On Friday night, Taylor was invited to a birthday party. Well, he received a verbal invite earlier in the week with the promise of a written invite later in the week. When I asked Taylor for the details, he didn't know.

So, not knowing the day or time, I kind of pushed it to the back of my mind and waited for the invitation. Then a phone call came with another verbal invite and an apology for not giving Taylor the written invite. The call came on Thursday evening. The party was for Friday evening.

I had just been in town on Thursday for preschool and errands and did not plan to return again until Tuesday (before the broken-finger incident, which made me return to town both Friday and Monday). I tried to think of some clever way of giving this boy money. A boy who was turning thirteen on Friday the 13th.

Then it hit me:


I took a piece of cardstock and folded it in half. I made a pocket out of some scrapbook paper and used double-sided tape along both sides and the bottom.


I taped (with regular clear tape) thirteen one-dollar bills in a vertical line and accordion-folded them. I attached a little "pull tab" at the top of the first dollar bill (using scrapbook paper and tape) and carefully slid the bills in the pocket. After playing around with it, to make sure that it worked, I stuck a looped piece of tape on the back of the last dollar bill, securing it to the cardstock. The tabbed dollar bill had to stick out of the top of the pocket/envelope and I pushed the other twelve back in.

According to Taylor, it was a real hit at the birthday party.

Boys that age can be so hard to shop for, so I usually give them money or a gift card so they can buy their own gift. I have found that most boys (and maybe girls, as well, I don't have the experience with that just yet), like to buy a larger gift, like a video game, so money/gift cards are always a good choice. Now I have a great way to gift it.

[Note: I used a 6x9" mailing envelope for the card.]

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Shamrock Legs


She's all ready for St. Patrick's Day. She's got her new green dress, her green vintage coat, and her new Shamrock Legs. No snakes are going to get her today!

Thank you for the well-wishes yesterday. She's a trooper. She went to see the specialist yesterday and they removed the splint and just taped the two fingers together. He said that fingers tend to stiffen up when splinted, but when taped between the joint, they have better mobility. She's giddy to the point of giggling over this. So much better than having to wrap and re-wrap her hand in gauze several times a day. She'll go back in two weeks for another x-ray.

She picked out green Jell-O yesterday, so we'll make that today. (I also picked up pistachio pudding, but I'm not quite sure the children will be brave enough to try it.) And, I guess tonight is our annual "green eggs and ham" dinner.

What green do you have going on today?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Not the Friday Night I Was Expecting

Friday nights are another family night for us. (In addition to Monday nights.) We almost always have pizza for dinner and we always watch a movie and gorge ourselves on popcorn and other yummy snacks.

This past Friday (the 13th, no less) was a little different. Taylor had a birthday party to attend and Carter's best buddy was spending the night. It was just after dinner. We were literally minutes away from watching our movie and the boys were tidying up the family room.

I heard Spenser cry, but all of the four younger ones had cried at some point that evening (two of them over the computer and Play Station). I blew it off, thinking it was "just another one crying again." Man, the guilt. The guilt!!

When we finally found out what was wrong with Spenser (honestly only a few seconds after her cry), I freaked out. Sawyer (our little door police, who loves to close doors), shut the bathroom door on her fingers. Her fingers were stuck in the hinge-part of the door.

After one look at the large crease in her finger, we immediately knew she had to go to the emergency room. She and I headed in. They x-rayed it and determined she had broken her middle finger just above the first joint. (She smashed her pointer, too, but they didn't x-ray that one.)


Unfortunately she's right-handed, and it's her right hand. She's having to learn to do everything with her left hand, which is difficult for her. However, she put together her puzzle with her left hand, so she is improving.

When the Physician's Assistant at the hospital told me that she needed to see an orthopedic specialist and that they could recommend one if we needed one, I replied, "Oh, we have one." He looked at my quizzically and asked, "You have one??" I answered, "yes." Then he asked, "Who do you have??" When I told him the name of the doctor, he commented he was a very good one. I agree, it must be weird to "have an orthopedic specialist," but considering Spenser's broken leg and Sawyer's fractured collar bone, we have one.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I Might Sew


For a few months now, Amandajean and I have talked about making the Habitual kimono and the "Miss Chris" shirt. Although I've cut out both patterns, I haven't selected fabric. (Why is that the hardest part lately?) And so they sit.

But today I declare "I might sew!"

I might sew as in, maybe tomorrow I might sew. Not today. Today Spenser has an appointment with the pediatric cardiologist, just like all my boys have in the past. There was a heart murmur detected at her last well checkup and we need to have her checked out. We are blessed that we have an excellent pediatric cardiologist. He is a Hopkins doctor who travels around Maryland. In essence, he comes to us instead of us going to him in Baltimore. One Friday a month he visits my little part of Maryland. After today, he will have checked all six of them. I'm hoping it's nothing, but a few of the boys have a history with problems.

Do you have any Works-in-Progress for this weekend? (I'd like to make this, too, soon.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Newest Obsession

I have a new obsession. Running. If I'm not reading about running. I'm thinking about running. If I'm not thinking about running, I'm dreaming about running. If I'm not dreaming about running, I'm usually running. Or looking for some new running gear. Or anything running related.

I think it started about last week. When I had the best run ever. (Prior to that, I had taken a few days off because I was too sick to run.) Anyway, my best run ever was just the best run. Ever.

I had runner's high after that. I never had that before. And, boy, did I feel great all day long. Seriously. A three-mile run in the morning left me feeling great. My body, mind, and spirit were on such a high all day. (I won't even ruin the mood by telling you about the ultra-crappy six-mile run I had on Saturday night because that's a downer. And I'm trying my hardest to tell myself it was a fluke.)


Anyway, from reading about running I learned of a new-to-me thing: running skirts. Seriously? I can run in a skirt? Sign me up! I'm not much of a shorts-person, but I am a skirt-person. Even in 95+ degree weather with Maryland humidity, I'm sporting capris (or a skirt). I own one pair of bermudas, and only wear them about once a summer. They just aren't me.

I had been running in some "knee pants," but I started sweating in some very weird places, and decided to look for other options. After all, I do have my first 5K coming up in less than two weeks. And I can't be all nasty and gross in public.

The top skirt is a running skirt similar to one I picked up at Target yesterday. I can't say I'm loving it. It might be a teensy bit too big and those little panty-legs are riding up and thus, giving me a wedgie. Luckily I'm just running on the treadmill in my house, so no one has to watch me do the wedgie shuffle.

The bottom skirt is one that I ordered online, but have not yet received. It, too, has built-in panties, but not boy-cut style panties. Regular-panty panties.

I can't believe I've used the word "panties" so many times today. I hope I don't attract any creeps.

(Oh, and in other running news, I have runner's toe. Blech. I thought it was from stubbing my toe while wearing my cute pink ballet slippers ...)

Monday, March 09, 2009

Scenes From a Family Walk

We had the most beautiful, gorgeous, spring-like weather this weekend. Temperatures were in the upper 60's and low 70's. Saturday was bright and sunny. Sunday was a little overcast, but nice nonetheless.

We have a geocache hiding in our small town and we got word that it needed maintenance. We decided to take a family walk and make the necessary repairs.

There was lots of tree climbing before we left. (And lots of fighting over who was going to climb which tree ...)

And there was lots of love, too. Spenser is holding Carter's hand. Sawyer is holding Taylor's.


One of my most favorite sounds of all: honking geese. (It plays a close second to the sound of my newborn's first cry.)


A creek by the walking path. I better never catch my kids playing in this creek. There are cows upstream and, well ... yuck.

And sometime this weekend Mason's face collided with Jackson's head during a game of dodge ball. Ouch! (Come to think of it, there was a lot of crying this weekend, too. Ah, well. Let's just forget that part.)

Friday, March 06, 2009

Thrifty Goodness


The day that my grandmother died, Jack was home sick from school. Spenser had preschool, so after dropping her off, I had my usual errands to run. I had planned on visiting Mom-Mom, but Jack had a fever so that was out. I thought about going to my mother's (who was at the hospital with Mom-Mom), but I didn't want Jack to spread his germs all over her empty house.

With all errands completed, and with time on my hands, we headed to the thrift store.

Someone bought the little Pyrex mugs I had been eying up a few days earlier. But that is okay. I have enough of those, for now. (It makes me wonder who has my Pyrex taste around here. The matching Corelle mugs were still there. Very interesting...)

Anyway, I found the above in the linen department. Three are sheets (check out the Smurfs!) and the brown on the left is one of two custom-made drapes. It has a fun print on it that would make a cute skirt or dress. The white sheet on the right might be a repeat. I think I have one just like that. Or very close to it. (At least my taste is consistent.)

On a different day, at a different thrift store, I found two vintage crib sheets. In pristine condition. One is the beloved Snoopy and Woodstock (affectionately known as "Little Birdie" in our house from one of their movies).

The other had animals all over it. (The mushrooms are what got me on this one.) Since both are yellow gingham, I'm assuming they came from the same owner. They don't look like they've ever been used. No stains. Crispy cotton. Great elastic. And they fit Sawyer's crib mattress perfectly.

And, yet, on a different thrift trip, I found this vintage music book. This is the same book we used when I was in elementary school. I actually bought one at a thrift store many years ago, but I believe it's at my parents' house now. I had just been thinking about this book not even a month ago. For real. When I was thrifting, I walked past the books. I wasn't looking at the books, but noticed the spine of this book and recognized it immediately. I did a double-take and came back for it.

It has all the songs I remember singing, including Don Gato. I've been singing this song to my kids a lot this past week. They love it as much as I did way back when.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

More Grocery Totes


After making my last set of grocery totes, I soon realized that I might not have enough for larger trips to the store. I really tried to keep my spending and buying limited to four bags, but with a large family, it meant I had to make more return trips to the store. Which meant I usually picked up something (or many somethings) extra, that I really didn't need.

"If I had more bags," I thought, "I wouldn't have to come to the store as often." Even though I'm in town twice a week to take Spenser to preschool and almost never go into town just for the sake of going to the store (unless it's payday and a weekend is ahead, then I make the exception).

Anyway, I needed more bags and they are easy enough and cheap enough. I bought the canvas bags right at Walmart (I think three for $6 or so) and even the Heat 'N Bond came from Walmart. And we don't have a fancy Walmart. And we don't have a craft department anymore.

And I seemed to have misplaced the tote with the lemon and cherries. I do not lose things. Well, sometimes I do, but I hate to lose things. It drives me nuts. I come from a long line of people who hate to lose things. In fact, my aunt (my father's sister) coined a very appropriate phrase. It says, "Once a (insert maiden name)'s, always a (insert maiden name)'s." With that in mind, if I find an unauthorized person using my lemon bag, things might get ugly. Forget about "finder's keeper's." blah, blah, blah. It's still my bag. And I will reclaim it at any cost. Well ... almost.

Edited to add: False alarm. I just found the lemon bag in the back of my car. I guess everyone is safe from Lera, once again. I will not have to glare accusingly at every passerby anymore. You are free to go about your business.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Everyday Totes

When my laptop died, back in October, my friend Kat volunteered her husband to look at the laptop. Even though it was deemed broken and not worth the money for a new motherboard, Bob was still able to extract all the data (that I, ahem, did not backup) from the hard drive. And when I asked how much I owed them, they replied, "nothing."

See. That's the kind of people I know. Lucky me, I know.

So, me being me, I persisted that we would pay them something. And they, being them, still refused. So Kat and I struck up a deal that I would sew her something. Many months later I sewed up a tote using red and blue. Her favorite colors. She picked the one with the red gingham lining. And I kept the one with the blue.

I still think I got the better end of the deal.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Back to a Routine

I am trying to establish a routine again, since everything has been crazy and amuck lately. I'll give you a few highlights and lowlights since my last post.


  • Lots of spider killing.
  • Dinner dropped off by a friend.
  • Snow day. Yesterday.
  • Two-hour delayed opening. Today.
  • Fevers. (One boy had a fever for six days.)
  • Breathing treatments.
  • Coughing.
  • As I was coughing up a lung one morning in the dining room, I heard, "Mom!!! Spenser is pooping on the kitchen floor!!" Seems she had a bit of loose bowels at breakfast. Or lunch. Or snack time. Whatever meal it was. Every day has blended together.

  • Body aches.
  • Two cakes decorated for the Blue and the Gold.
  • Eagle scout ceremony for a friend.
  • Losing five pounds being sick last week.
  • Becoming "Medicine Dispenser Extraordinaire."
  • Running my first eight-miler, before getting sick.

  • Two Flat Stanleys that flew to California, and then took a road trip back to the east coast.
  • Having an appetite again.
  • Getting my strength back after being sick for over a week.
  • Trying to clean my house after being "off" for a week. (Not really off, but you know what I mean.)
  • Happy to be back in a routine again.