Buddy Turns Three!

It was Buddy’s birthday on the 22nd and he turned three years old! For his birthday we kept it pretty low-key. We mostly just hung out during the day and talked about how gigantically big he was now. When Husband got home from work, we had Buddy’s favorite food. Breakfast food with syrup.

Buddy LOVED his waffles, french toast and pancakes for dinner!

Buddy LOVED his waffles, french toast and pancakes for dinner!

After that we opened his gifts from us and anyone who shipped gifts to him from far away. He loved them all, especially his new tag reader! (And holy amazing, I’m in love with that tag reader!!!! That thing is an amazing tool!)

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Oh, and my mom sent glow sticks. BIG. HIT.

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The next morning Husband and I set up for Buddy’s birthday party. Due to my exceptionally poor last-minute planning, I didn’t have any games or awesome themes, but 22 people still ended up coming to our humble home and it was a fantastic party!

I know. Coolest cake ever!

I know. Coolest cake ever! And I mixed some red velvet cake in with the vanilla cake and it tasted pretty amazing!

He's just so photogenic!!!

He’s just so photogenic!!!

You know he's excited when the tongue comes out!

You know he’s excited when the tongue comes out!

There were lots of kids here to help open presents and eat cake and snacks and it was a really fun time! At the end of the day, we were all exhausted and passed out early. Now Sunday is here and we’re staying in our jammies and watching a few of Buddy’s new movies for a full-out recovery day!! I think that’s my favorite part of hosting parties. That, or the leftover snacks. ūüėČ

Dreams of a Housewife

I’m a free spirit. I’m a dreamer. I’m a nature fanatic.

Adventuring. Exploring. Culture.

These are the things that, deep down, my free spirit desires most. These are the things that I find myself daydreaming about the most. I want to go to Ireland, Scotland, England/Wales, Switzerland, EVERYWHERE in the Mediterranean Рespecially Italy and Greece. I want to go to Africa. I want to go to China and Japan. I want to go to Australia and New Zealand. I want to go to Brazil. I want to see the Mayan and Incan ruins. I want to go to Alaska and Canada. I want to see a rain forest. I want to see the historic sites of the northeastern states of the United States. I want to go backpacking in the northwestern states of the United States. I want to go to Arizona and marvel at the landscape. I want to go to Louisiana and let myself go in the music and food. I want to learn how to surf. I want to eat new foods. I want to try local customs in different countries. I want to try spelunking. I want to go scuba diving in coral reefs. I want to climb a cliff.

I want to go everywhere and do everything!

I just love experiencing new things. Going new places. See new plants and animals in the wild. I want to interact with them. I want to learn about them. I could sit and watch a waterfall all day long. I could stay at the zoo all day long and read all of the informational signs and just watch the animals. (And I have… I took the kids to the Milwaukee Zoo at least once a month over this last year.)

And you know what I think is funny? Because I have young kids and I’m a housewife, this should technically all be out of reach for me. I should be “stuck” at home until the kids are older or until husband and I are old and retired. Or, in the least, wait until the kids are out of the house. I should feel “tied down”, “stuck” and “smothered” by my current lifestyle.

I think that’s stupid. I think it’s stupid because¬†I want to share all of this with my kids and husband. I want to experience these adventures with the people I love most in this world. I think it’s stupid because kids and marriage doesn’t always mean you’re “stuck”.

And I’m so incredibly lucky because I have a husband who, for the most part, agrees wholeheartedly with me and totally enables my love for adventure. He doesn’t cage my free spirit. He doesn’t hold me back. Granted, he doesn’t have quite as… broad… interests as I do, but he is¬†always willing to go along on whatever wild ride I have planned.

The only thing that he really gets to be a stickler about is money.¬†And that’s totally understandable.¬†We have kids to take care of. We have a house to pay for. We have expenses to cover. But as soon as we have some extra cash that we can stand to spend and I do all of the planning, he’s cool with whatever I plan.

He trusts me to throw some of his interests into whatever I plan so he doesn’t hate it. And luckily for me, he’s pretty easy to please.¬†He wants to explore the wilderness of the US and Canada. He wants to see Belgium and Germany and check out their parks and check out hundreds, if not thousands of breweries there. (He’s a home brewer… He’s not so much interested in drinking the beer as much as watching how it’s made in mass production setting.) He would love to go to Ireland and Scotland ¬†and check out the bars and breweries and explore their national parks. He would love to go to Australia and New Zealand and… well… ¬†are you seeing a trend in his interests? Beer and nature.

And I’m cool with that. We’ve come to an understanding. He doesn’t care too much for traveling the world for the culture, but he knows I’m down with beer and nature. He’s happy to be dragged through museums and cultural events so long as he’s had a good dose of nature and beer. It’s a win/win.

I know I can’t do every single one of these things on my bucket list, but I’m confident that we’ll get at least two or three things checked off. The fact that I have a family that encourages my free spirit and daydreams right along with me is all that I need while I wait for the next adventure. And, let’s be honest, daydreaming is half of the fun!

Oh. My. God. – [Act 6.5] – Slumber Party Gets Bigger

Aaaaaand we’re now three for three.

Oh. My. God.

Buddy is definitely on the mend. He’s still throwing up now and again but it’s more because he drank too much than actually being actively sick. It’s not great, but it’s an improvement!

As for the girls, they’re definitely on that first awful day of non-stop puking. Husband was woken up at 4 AM by the sound of Peanut gagging. He got into their room and found her bed full of puke. He changed her clothes, removed her sheets and started the first load of laundry for the day.

Then Buddy came down with his bucket and started throwing up.

This is where Husband woke me up for some help.

Together, we got the kids situated and got them their own buckets and tossed in a movie. Husband sent me off to bed so I could sleep since I took the previous night. I gladly took the offer. I woke up periodically to the sounds of sick kids in the living room and Husband’s comments, “Keep your chin over the bucket.” “Don’t swallow it.” “Don’t wipe your face with your sleeve!”

Around 7:30 AM Husband came in and woke me up. “Sorry, but Bear just puked in bed. I can’t do all three by myself.”

Awesome.

We’re now on our third load of laundry. BUT we’ve finally got a system going that seems to work. The girls would conveniently puke one at a time about every five to ten minutes. Buddy only pukes if he drinks too much. They all wipe their own chins post-puke with their rags and we’ve got an effective bucket rotation.

I’m sure we’ve got plenty of loads of laundry in our future, but I’m glad that we’re at least getting the worst days out of the way on the weekend while Husband is home. Hopefully by tomorrow when Husband goes back to work the girls will be on the mend and Buddy will be all better.

A mom can hope, right?

This is our Sunday. How's yours?

This is our Sunday. How’s yours?

Oh. My. God. – [Act 6] – Slumber Party

WARNING: This is easily the most disgusting post to date. If you have a weak stomach I wouldn’t recommend reading this post. Seriously. It’s pretty bad… Major TMI.

Also, please excuse any grammar mistakes or incoherent sentences. I tried to fix them all, but I have a feeling I only made it worse becuase I’m so, so very tired.

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Last night turned out to be one of the longer and more eventful nights in recent memory.

Husband and I were watching a movie when I heard Buddy whimpering at the top of the stairs. It sounded more upset than the usual whiney I-don’t-want-to-go-to-bed whimpering, so I called him down to ask him what was wrong.

He slid down the stairs slowly on his butt. That should have been my red flag. He never maneuvers the stairs slowly. He typically lunges up and leaps down at a terrifying speed.

He came down, nearly in tears and dove into my arms, burying his head in my shoulder. I maybe got out one request to tell me what was wrong when all hell broke loose.

Or rather, Buddy’s stomach contents.

All over me.

Oh. My. God.

This was the first time I’ve ever been vomited on like this. I mean, yes, I’ve been spit up on plenty of times by a newborn baby. But this… this was a whole different kind of monster. It was a surge of projectile vomit straight into my shoulder. So much vomit that it was dripping down my sweatshirt and¬†pooling in my lap.

Oh. My. GOD.

I get it now. I get why parents say it just doesn’t matter when it’s your kid’s puke. Not because it smells like rainbows and looks like a field of wildflowers. Oh, no. The stink was potent. Very potent. And let’s just say I wouldn’t compare the corn and fish we had for dinner last night to a field of wildflowers.

And I can see where the desire to care for your child overpowers your reaction to the puke. But for me, in that immediate moment of being puked on,¬†Buddy’s puke was manageable because there was only one thing on my mind.

TOILET.

I jumped up and totally disregarded Husband’s wide, watering eyes and I dismissed the slopping noise as Buddy’s vomit fell from my lap and onto the carpet.

All I heard were Buddy’s whimpers, and then a rumbling belch, as his second wave of vomit began to rise.

TOILET. NOW.

Buddy belched again and stopped in the middle of the living room, covering his hands over his mouth.

Cue spraying vomit due to his strategically placed hands.

OH. MY. GOD.

TOILETTOILETTOILET!

Husband sat and stared with an unsure look on his face at Buddy and me as we stood in the middle of the living room, dripping in Buddy’s dinner. I don’t blame him for freezing up, I wouldn’t have wanted to come near us either. Thankfully, I didn’t notice it yet. I was still having my single-minded get-my-kid-to-the-toilet moment of clarity. I picked Buddy up and carried him at arms-length in front of me as I trotted the rest of the way to the bathroom.

We made it right outside of the bathroom door before Buddy threw up once more – mere feet from the toilet.

TOILETTOILETTOILETTOILET!!!!!

I stepped in the puke trying to carry him the last few feet.

Oh, god. OH, GOD.

My chest and shoulder were starting to feel warm from the puke that covered me. My moment of clarity was beginning to wane and I was struggling to not think about the fact that I was covered in… *gaaaaag*

OH. MY. GOD.

*GAAAAAAAAG*

Buddy continued to puke in the toilet over and over as I kicked the door closed and climbed into the tub to start figuring out how to get my sweatshirt off without getting his puke in my hair…

Oh. My. God.

And the smell…

*GAAAAAG!*

After somehow managing to struggle out of my socks, sweatpants and sweatshirt without getting it in my hair, I climbed out of the tub and went to Buddy who was still puking.

At that point, I had gone from clarity, to disgust, to pity. Poor little Buddy had it way worse than I did. At least I wasn’t covered in vomit and doing the vomiting. I reached over and rubbed his back to comfort and encourage him.¬†“You’re doing so good, Buddy. Just let it all out, Bud. Mommy’s right here, you’re doing so good. You’re such a good boy for getting downstairs when your belly felt so icky!”

*puuuuke* “Otay, Mom.” *belch* … *PUUUUKE*

My heart broke for Buddy right then. The poor kid was feeling so awful. At about the same time, I heard the carpet cleaner turn on in the living room.

Oh… right. Poor Husband had that mess in the living room to clean up.

When Buddy’s puking finally subsided, he was so physically exhausted from the effort that he was trembling and sobbing. This is where my second moment of clarity took over. The doting mother side. I got him undressed, tossed his pukey clothes on mine on one side of the tub, put him in the other side of the tub, pulled off the shower head and gave him a gentle, warm shower to clean and relax him a bit.

After Husband finished cleaning the area of the carpet and the recliner chair that had gotten the brunt of Buddy’s puke, I got him dressed and collected his “bucket buddy”. We went into the living room where we would be spending the night together.

And – I’m either really lucky, or I have a sixth sense for oncoming illness, because earlier in the night I had pulled off our memory foam mattress cover and covered it with blankets in the living room to snuggle with the kids and dog. By some miracle, it escaped Buddy’s mess. So this was the perfect place to sleep with Buddy for the night if he kept puking.

And keep puking, he did.

It was about 11:00 at night at that point and I could tell this was going to be a LONG night. So I asked Husband to take the first hour so I could finally get dressed into fresh clothes, start laundry and make myself a snack for the night since I knew I’d be up REALLY late. They sat up and watched the beginning of Finding Nemo together.

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Oh – And by snack, I mean gigantic platter of sushi…

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I know. It was a¬†tad¬†excessive. But I’ve never made sushi before and I didn’t realize I was making enough rice to feed an army. Still… I ended up eating about a quarter of it before I was just SO full. (And yes, I was able to manage eating after getting puked on. I was surprised to find that I had worked up quite the appetite after all of that mayhem.)

Buddy and I were up until after 1 AM. He was dry heaving with his bucket buddy about every ten minutes. Finally, he was just so exhausted from the effort that he passed out. From there, He woke up about once every hour to puke. I hardly slept last night and neither did Buddy.

We’ve definitely been lazy sacks this morning.

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He’s still dry heaving once in a while this morning, but it’s definitely more spaced apart. Hopefully we can get something in his stomach tonight, but until then, we’re sticking with little bits of toast.

Also, I’m definitely feeling very twitchy this morning. Every time I hear Buddy cough I’m diving for his bucket and thrusting it in his lap. He responds to this with, “It otay Momma. I just a-choo’in.”

Awww. Even after his worst night ever he still manages to be the cutest kid ever.

Poor Bear’s Eyes

Peanut had a great day at Ortho yesterday, but Bear, unfortunately, did not.

The day started off great. Peanut’s appointment with Orthopedics at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin wasn’t until 3:15, so I decided to take the kids to the Milwaukee County Zoo for a few hours beforehand since we’d be right in the same neighborhood.¬†After the Zoo, we got to the hospital and checked in. I let the kids out and they played with some other kids in the waiting area before we were called back.¬†After the appointment, I loaded everyone up, the kids passed out for a nap and we headed for home.

That’s when things started to get crappy for poor little Bear.

When I got us home, approx an hour later, I noticed Bear had a ridiculous amount of nasty yellow discharge around her eyes. It was practically pouring from her eyes. It was clumped up in her eyelashes and streaking down her cheeks. It was so bad that she couldn’t open her eyes.

I quickly got everyone inside, and after finally getting her eyes cleaned, I noticed they were already slightly bloodshot and her eyelids were starting to get swollen. Not only that, but the skin around her eyes was really red as if they were really irritated.

I immediately assumed it was pink eye and cursed out the effing parents and the effing kids that came to Children’s or the zoo with pink eye. But the weird thing was that Bear wasn’t really uncomfortable unless I was cleaning her eyes off. No itchiness or irritability. Not to mention I’ve never heard of pink eye being contracted within hours of exposure.

I decided to give it the night to see how she looked in the morning.

When I woke her up the goop was gone but I saw her eyelids were even more swollen and the redness around her eyes was more severe. I decided that whether it was pink eye or something else, she needed to be seen. (You know things are serious in our house when I actually take the kids in for an “emergency” visit. We don’t take the kids in unless they lost a limb, turn blue or spontaneously combust.)

We got an appointment in under an hour and I drove Bear and the kids right over.

It turns out it’s most likely not pink eye. After getting the opinion of three pediatricians, they all said they’re pretty sure it’s either a bad allergic reaction or she got some kind of bad irritant in her eyes. I have no idea where she would have gotten something in her eyes because the only time I let her out of the stroller was in the clinic waiting room. The only thing I can think of is that she touched something in passing at the zoo or hospital. Either place is a nesting ground for… everything… awesome.

I feel so bad for her. I would almost rather she had pink eye¬†because¬†at least that’s treatable… Poor Bear.

Peanut’s Appointment With Orthopedics

Yesterday we had our appointment with Peanut’s orthopedic surgeon. I love Dr. T because he is not only recognized and respected in the field of pediatric orthopedic medicine (so I know he knows his shit – inside and out) but he’s been with Peanut since the beginning. He remembers her and always greets her with a hug, a big smile and lots of soft-spoken praise. While he doesn’t have the best bedside manners (he’s a mumbler and tends to drift off) he’s always had Peanut’s best interest at heart. That’s all I care about.

That said, even though he has her best¬†interest¬†at heart, he tends to follow the typical path to a child with spina bifida, a disability that is startlingly similar to Peanut’s diagnosis. He doesn’t really try to push the envelope. But I get it. When he only sees her once a year for follow-up appointments, who can blame him? A lot can happen in a year and he’s the big picture guy. He’s the one that catches anything leftover that her therapists, pediatrician and other specialist doctors miss.

He hasn’t seen Peanut for at least six months if my memory is correct. And in the last six months, Peanut has blown every typical expectation of a child her age with her limitations out of the water.

With a nuclear bomb.

She’s paralyzed from the waist down-
but she’s standing.

She’s paralyzed from the waist down-
but she’s walking with assistance.

She’s paralyzed from the waist down-
but she’s getting up the stairs.

She’s not even two years old-
but she’s saying and doing more fine motor projects than most kids her age.

She’s not even two years old-
but she’s demanding a wheelchair because she can control one.

As I updated Dr. T – who, might I remind you, has ‘seen it all’ – all he did was say a genuinely amazed “wow”. He was, for the most part, speechless.¬†I was so proud of my little Peanut in that moment. I’m always proud of her, but I was extra proud with-a-cherry-on-top kind of proud in that moment.

And he responded with a shocking performance of his own. He deviated from his typical directions. He made a referral to a new clinic at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin to help her keep pushing herself and he took a huge leap of faith on Peanut and told me NOT to get a stander like we had originally decided. Instead, he opted to have some long-leg braces made for her so she could continue to walk and stay mobile.

And that’s why I love Dr. T. Because he knows my little girl enough that, even when she shocks him by exceeding his expectations, he quickly adjusts to her needs and shows us the path to her next adventure. I’m so grateful to have such a fantastic team of doctors right in our own backyard that are so able and willing to give my little girl everything she needs and deserves.