Saturday, December 31, 2011

We Couldn’t End 2011 Without Another Trip to the Children’s ER. . . .

This past Friday morning, Miss Sally was out sick, but Auntie Ann was able keep the kids for us.  I got to work and at about 10:30, I got a text from Auntie Ann letting me know that Henry was sitting at the table in the breakfast nook and stood up suddenly then took a fall, landing on his head.  She said that he felt nauseated afterwards and laid down for a bit, but then was acting normally.  I asked her to let me know if he threw up or acted funny, but said that he probably would be fine.

Around noon, Auntie Ann texted to let me know that Henry threw up.  Gary went home to get him, and I left work and met Gary and Henry at the Children’s ER.  I was pretty worried before I saw Henry, but I was even more worried after I saw him.  He was very wobbly standing up, and wasn’t walking well.   Henry wasn’t talking much at all, and not answering my questions or responding much to me or Gary. When we got back to the room to wait on the doctor, he started falling asleep (this child always fights falling asleep) and at one point we could not wake him up.  {At this point I may or may not have gone out to the nurses station and told them that I needed someone to look at him immediately.  I may or may not have been mostly ignored and/or talked down to, at which point I may or may not have made a scene.}

The nurse practitioner came in and looked at Henry and asked us some questions, then Henry had a CT scan.  As soon as they laid him down, I had flashbacks to when Henry was a baby and got a CT scan because his head circumference was increasing so rapidly.  I’ll never forget putting my 8-month-old son swaddled up on that machine and watching slide back and forth under that CT scan machine, as still as can be, just sucking like crazy on his paci and keeping his eyes on me.  It was almost the same this time, minus the paci and with a much bigger little boy.

They told us that we’d have the results in about 45 minutes.  It took about 2 hours.  I kept thinking that they’d have come in earlier if the results were bad, but at some point I started doubting that and wondering how bad it could be.  Finally the nurse practitioner came in and said that they thought that they saw something, so they wanted to wait for the radiologist to read it.  The radiologist said that he didn’t see anything other than the small burr hole from where Henry had some sort of brain surgery when he was younger.

Uhm, but Henry never had any sort of brain surgery.

We tried to explain this to the nurse practitioner, who kept telling us that we probably had just forgotten that Henry had a procedure done on his brain while he was in the NICU.  Uhm, NO.  We very adamantly insisted that we would have known if our son had a hole drilled in his head.  Then the nurse practitioner said something about how it wasn’t an uncommon NICU thing and that if we hadn’t seen him for a few days while he was in the hospital that we may not have known about it.  Again, NO, and we explained that I only missed one day while they were in the NICU when I had mastitis (and that Gary was there every day).  We also explained that UAB was pretty serious about obtaining consents, and that we remembered all the consents that we signed.  Finally I said that he had a CT scan when he was a baby and asked them to compare those results to see if he still had the “burr hole” then. 

The radiologist looked into that and said that he saw the “burr hole” in the earlier CT scan (even though it was very hard to see in the earlier scan).  The radiologist said that it could be a granuloma or something congenital, but that it still really looks like a burr hole.  Regardless, the radiologist does not think that it is anything to be concerned about at all.  We asked for a CD of the CT scan picked it up on the way home.  We are going to call our pediatrician on Tuesday and ask him to refer us to a neurosurgeon or neurologist so that we can get a second opinion as to whether we should be worried about the hole in Henry’s skull.

Regardless, the good news is that Henry only has a concussion from his fall.  We have a follow-up appointment for that at the Children’s Concussion Clinic and hope to get released after that appointment.  In the meantime, it’s taking everything we have to keep Henry from running around too much and possibly injuring himself even more.  The child is making me a nervous wreck.

It seems that 2011 was the year of the ER visits.  Here’s to hoping that 2012 will have far fewer ER visits. . . .

Happy New Year, everyone!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our Christmas Eve and Christmas

Our Christmas was so wonderful this weekend.  Honestly, I did a lot of planning for it.  I knew that this was the first year that the kids would “remember” Christmas, and I wanted it to be special.  I went so far as to plan our menu in advance with a spreadsheet telling me when to start what for each meal, and what things I wanted to be sure that we did over the Christmas weekend.  I doubt that the kids will really remember very much about the details in the end, but I think that they will remember that Christmas is a special time. 

We did a lot of traveling and going and doing leading up to Christmas, but we spent the entire, long four day weekend at home, together.  It was truly a fun, enjoyable weekend.  Friday morning started with breakfast and gifts with Auntie Ann.  Gary’s parents arrived Friday afternoon, followed by gifts and dinner (of taco soup, our traditional Christmas dinner with Gary’s parents).  Then Saturday morning, Green made his last appearance for this season.  As soon as I saw the living room, I knew what he’d done. . . .

DSC_9785 DSC_9787 That elf sure does love some popcorn and movies! 

DSC_9791 And the kids sure did love helping Green finish off his left over popcorn. . . .

DSC_9800Then later on Saturday morning (Christmas Eve), we decided to put together the gingerbread house that a friend so generously gave the kids for Christmas.


The end result was probably not the most aesthetically pleasing gingerbread house ever decorated, but the kids were ECSTATIC to build a house for the “gingerman” to live in.

DSC_9806Check out baby girl.  She would keep an eye out and as soon as she thought no one was looking, she’d snag something to eat.  Like ALL of the gumdrops, the chimney to the house, etc.  And this sneaky behavior is how she stayed on a sugar high the entire holiday.

DSC_9820On Saturday afternoon, after naptime, the big kids (mostly Henry and Rosemary) helped make some cookies for Santa.  The cookies of choice were oatmeal raisin (Gary’s preference) and chocolate chip (my preference).  The kids were great stirrers!


Ever since the kids’ first Christmas, every Christmas Eve night we have read The Night Before Christmas.  This year was no different.  It is one tradition upon which Gary insists.  This year, because Penelope was so ready to go to bed, we read the book while Rosemary was taking a breathing treatment. 

DSC_9833 DSC_9842{Piper was also without pajamas.  I made a big deal about how Santa visits when you wear your “Santa Pajamas,” which means we had to do a quick, emergency wash/dry with Piper’s pajamas after she spilled her dinner all over them. . . .}

DSC_9857After Penelope went to bed (the poor thing barely made it through the book), we left some of our freshly baked cookies out for Santa to eat when he stopped by our house.

DSC_9864DSC_9871The stockings were all hung and ready (except for that darned stocking of Piper’s that will NOT hang straight for anything) . . .

DSC_9875 . . . and the tree was lit and ready for some presents.

DSC_9892 And did we get some presents!!!  On Christmas Eve, Rosemary had (tearfully) announced that she wanted a “baby backpack” just like Auntie Ann gave Penelope.  She had never mentioned it before and never mentioned it again that day, but when we woke her up Christmas morning the first thing she said was that she wanted to see her baby backpack from Santa.  Whew, I am so glad that Santa heard that Christmas Eve request and came through with a baby backpack. . . .

DSC_9895 Everyone got some really great gifts from Santa!

DSC_9896 DSC_9897 DSC_9898 DSC_9900 DSC_9903 {Notice the television in the background, playing one of the best scenes from the best Christmas movie ever – according to me.}

DSC_9909Notably, Santa left the kids some very special cookies straight from the North Pole!!!  Until Christmas Eve when Rosemary announced that she wanted a “baby backpack,” the only thing that the kids had requested from Santa were cookies.  And if you pressed them for more details, they requested TWO cookies.  Santa left plenty of very special cookies:


I think I sort of expected the kids to go nuts when they saw what all Santa brought them.  Their reaction, however, was more of shock and awe and amazement.  I love how I can see the gears working in their little heads, and see how their little minds are wrapping around the idea that there really is a Santa, because how else did all those gifts get there?!!  I tear up just thinking about it.  The wonderment of children is truly one of the best parts of this holiday!

DSC_9915 DSC_9918{I never saw Penelope without a cookie and/or some candy.  She double-fisted sweets all day.  The kids would take a bite out of a cookie and drop it forgotten, and girlfriend was right there to pick it up and finish it off.}

DSC_9929 DSC_9933

Nana, Papa, and Aunt Jack visited us on Christmas for lunch to see what all Santa brought.  I really should have more photos, but I stopped taking them at some point.  I enjoyed myself so much that I wanted to be in the moment more than I wanted to be documenting it in photos.  Whatever I had hoped that Christmas would be this year, it was that much and more.  Magical and fun and amazing. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

More from Green

Green is still with us.  Sometimes his nightly escapades impress the kids, sometimes they do not.  In addition to Green, the kids each received an elf from their playschool teachers.  If those elves are downstairs, they come alive to play with Green.  The night that Green and one of the elves drew on magna doodles was a good one.

DSC_9686 The new elf did not show quite the artistic talents that Green possesses.

DSC_9690 DSC_9692 Regardless, the kids were pretty impressed. 


One night Green made a HUGE mess with the kleenex.

DSC_9738 The kids weren’t very impressed.

DSC_9744 Then one night we found Green like this:

DSC_9753 DSC_9756 What a predicament he got himself into!!  He had a very unfortunate fall and was actually on the floor when the kids got downstairs to see him, but luckily he was just fine and ready to play the next night.  And boy did he make a mess the next night when he got into our laundry room. . . .

DSC_9762 DSC_9758 DSC_9757 And then he played with the kids’ legos one night. . . .

DSC_9767 And last night he found himself stuck on the light in the breakfast nook! 

DSC_9772 Penelope thought it was hilarious and kept pointing and laughing at him during breakfast.

DSC_9782 Green only has one more night with us, then Santa takes him back when he comes on Christmas Eve.  I can’t believe it will be almost a whole year before we see him again.  We’ll have to treat him extra special tonight!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Breakfast with Santa

Every year the kids’ playschool hosts a breakfast with Santa fundraiser.  Yesterday marked our second year to attend the breakfast.  The kids were SO excited about seeing Santa.  They could hardly wait.  Piper was literally jumping up and down in the parking lot in anticipation of seeing the jolly one.  The kids maintained their excitement right up until the point where Santa appeared ringing his bell.

DSC_9709 I took a photo of Santa, then immediately took a few shots of the kids to get their impressions. . . .

DSC_9715 DSC_9714 DSC_9710 It didn’t really get much better.  Each of the kids got close enough to Santa to grab a candy cane, but that’s it.  I sat Penelope in Santa’s lap, but wasn’t able to step far enough away to even snap a photo of her screaming. 

Luckily, we used this as an opportunity for a photo with Aunt Jack (my great aunt), who came along to see Santa.  We managed to get one photo where all four kids were in it . . .

DSC_9725 . . . and one somewhat decent photo with three kids.

DSC_9733 I don’t think Penelope had quite recovered from seeing Santa, so she still needed a little time clinging to me.

There’s always next year!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Introducing Green {the elf}

So this year we jumped on the whole elf bandwagon.  We had been reading the kids a book about the Magic Elves since early December.  Finally, this past Saturday night, we decided that we would write a letter to Santa and ask him to send us an elf.  We discussed what we would name our elf, and Piper suggested Green.  It’s not great, but for a family who names things “blue doggie,” “doggie,” “duckie,” and “dolly” – it’s creative progress.

Imagine our surprise when we woke up the next morning to this. . . .

DSC_9592 Henry woke up early Sunday morning and was the first person to see Green.  He couldn’t believe it.  We stood there for a while with him staring open-mouthed at the elf.  The poor kid literally couldn’t talk.  I asked him if he knew what that was, and he just nodded.  Finally, I said, why don’t you go tell Daddy about it?  (Okay, I have to admit here that part of what I was doing was trying to get Gary out of bed.  Sorry, dear.) 

So, Henry RAN into the bedroom, screaming the whole time, “We’ve got an EFF in our house!!”  (They call him an “eff” instead of an “elf,” which I love.)  He got to our bedroom and still running, opened the gate and ran in and immediately fell.  Gary said that he heard Henry screaming, heard the gate open, then saw Henry’s head.  Then his head dropped out of sight as he fell, and Henry’s head immediately popped back up.  He never stopped screaming, over and over, “There’s an EFF in our house!!”

Gary had to get out of bed to check out the “eff” and boy was he surprised (and none too happy about the mess that Green made).  Then Henry insisted on waking up his sisters to tell them about the “eff” and what the elf had done.  They were shocked like the rest of us!

DSC_9599Green does something crazy every night, like Monday night when he popped some popcorn and stayed up watching the Charlie Brown Christmas DVD.

DSC_9641 The kids could NOT believe it.  Henry was the most amazed.  You could literally see what he was thinking in that little brain of his when he saw it.  You could tell that he was thinking that there had to be some explanation for this.  There just had to be some reason that Green was doing all this.  And then you could see a grin come across his face as he figured it out . . .

DSC_9649 . . . that Green the eff MUST come alive every night!!!

Penelope really loved finding Green eating some popcorn, and immediately started chowing down on what was left of his popcorn.  We hadn’t let her have popcorn before due to the whole choking hazard thing, but she’d had a few pieces by the time we realized what was going on and just let her eat what she could get before the big kids ate it all.

DSC_9656 DSC_9660 DSC_9662 DSC_9668Then, on Tuesday night, Green really made a mess.  I excitedly took some photos on Wednesday morning because I knew the kids were going to just be amazed at this one!

DSC_9674 DSC_9677 But, eh, the kids weren’t so impressed.

DSC_9679 They checked it out, then got in their chairs to eat breakfast.  Miss Sally told me later that they wanted to take the toilet paper down immediately when they finished eating breakfast.  I guess Green took it a little far on that one. . . .