Monday, November 26, 2007

Enchanting Chicken Pox

Katie surprised us all over our long Thanksgiving holiday with chicken pox. Luckily, she'd had her first vaccination (you need two, we found out) and it was mild. But still, it was no fun for her. Will Sadie be next? I'm taking her in tomorrow for her vaccination (they were out last week and the week she went in for her annual shots), so hopefully we can get it taken care of before it gets too bad. So far, no spots.

To celebrate the drying up of the pox, Katie and I had a girls night out. We went to the craft store to shop for ornaments to adorn presents with (which Katie will be making), then went to see the latest Disney flick, "Enchanted." The critics gave it a B, so I wasn't expecting much. Turns out, I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, I knew most of the plot and could guess what would happen next, but hey, it's a kids movie. However, I didn't guess the ending, which was a fresh and crisp contrast to the fairy tales of yester years - some girl power to the max. I was thrilled. Only Pocahontas (which I hated) and Mulan (which I loved) have given girls the creds they deserve. This is one movie I'd be thrilled for Katie to watch over and over (which she likely will). More strong women need to be present in kids movies. Good for Disney. Thank you for making movie-going with kids a smidgen less painful.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Carly Sparkles

This is what happens when you let a five year old name the new puppy: Carly Sparkles... the pitbull.

I knew that this puppy would likely be a challenge. I imagined that she would teeth more than the average pooch out there, and destroy more based on her jaw muscles alone. What I didn't realize is that pitbull puppies are much like sharks... with thousands of teeth that are constantly falling out and growing in. Daily she chews at least one toy, a sock, a hairband, sunglasses, moulding off the doorways, etc. One may say to me "well, you adopted a pitbull puppy, what did you expect?" And alas, I have no cute response to this. Darla did her fair share as a pup - ruining the carpet in our brand-new condo, eating pens and spewing ink daily - but Carly Sparkles takes it to a whole new level. Honestly, I often wonder if she's pissed off about her name.

The best part about Carly's name is that Carly means little and strong. Which Carly was (now forgoing little for more of the strong side of things). What I didn't know is where Katie came up with the name from. I found out at a preschool function recently, when I introduced myself as "Katie's Mom" to a woman standing beside me. "Oh. I'm Carly's mom," she said, and my heart skipped a beat. She quickly followed up with, "I heard you named your new puppy Carly, too." Lovely conversation starter. I wanted to wring Katie's neck. I blundered on about what a beautiful name it was, and that I had no idea where Katie had come up with the name. She looked less than impressed. I left with an awkward "nice to meet you" and haven't spoken with her since.

Back to Carly Sparkles. If anyone knows of a good trainer in Richmond, send me their way. I had thought I was the mac-momma with animals, but Carly's teaching me a few lessons.

Speaking of Macs (total stretch there, I know), my three month old MacBook Pro 15" notebook is TOAST. Done. Mac said I could replace the screen for $1200 through them. As if. They also said that the only way it could have cracked is through blunt trauma to the screen. Not true. Close it when its hot. That will do it. Others have reported this problem, though not often. I suspect that, as this new MacBook was just released this summer, that we will see lots of these stories in coming months.

The interesting thing is that I got back home, and using the half of my screen on the laptop which still works, did a quick google. Turns out there are lots of people who can fix it for less. was the one I chose - $495.

I have this to say about Mac. I've been a total, devoted disciple of your products for over a decade. This is the way you treat your customers? Blindly rob them for a repair that costs, AT MOST, 1/4 of your quote, after they sink thousands into one of your new products? That is not the way to gain new customer loyalty, or to retain long-time customers. I will not be buying a new Mac for many years to come. I may even stop sniggering at the Mac vs. PC commercials I've so loved. It's that upsetting.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The fun just won't stop

So... Sadie's sick this time around. Total sick time between Katie, Sadie and myself (without break) = 3 weeks and counting.

Also, my brand-new MacBook Pro that I got to replace the stolen iBook has a cracked screen. Cost of repair, $1200. Thing is, I did nothing to break it. It was running very hot, so I decided to close it, give it a break and take it upstairs. These MacBooks run hot, and it's a common thing. It's supposed to shut off if it gets too hot. Fifteen minutes later I opened it and voila' - large black spots connected by a spider web. Better yet, half the screen promptly turned white, then got lines going up and down it. Good news is half the screen works.

Also, it's running about 75% of the time since the bizarro screen "accident." This is a 3 month old computer that cost more that $2500. I am not a happy camper.

This is the 4th Mac I've owned, and I've never been disappointed until I got this one. This is by far the most top-of-the-line one I got, but from day one there have been little "glitches" I don't like - its Airport isn't as powerful as my iBook G4s was. It's frozen several times when I have multiple graphics programs running. Granted, they're super powerful programs, but this is a MacBook Pro... it's DESIGNED for this stuff and should do it in its sleep mode. I've looked around on line, and it seems like everyone's pretty happy with them, minus battery issues and power plug fraying. Except if the screen cracks. And it seems like a lot of the screens crack. It's not covered by warranty, they say, because it's blunt trauma from an accident... usually. 

So, I'm sitting at the only Mac store in town, which is full to the gills. Waiting for a "genius" to tell me my screen is cracked, which I already know. And ready to fight the "accidental" clause (which I'm sure is what they'll say caused this). Wish me a bit o luck, please. 

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Bragging Rights

I'm long overdue on bragging on my kids... so here's the latest and greatest on the girls.

Sadie was a flower sprite for Halloween. She started walking at 12 mos 2 weeks, and has been on the run ever since. She's now 14 months, and has at least a dozen words in her vocabulary, including her newest: Buuhrrrrd (bird), Fower (flower), Dawa (Darla - our senior citizen canine), Tayteh (Katie), Ni-Nah (Kerinda)... and those are in the last week. Her vocabulary is almost doubling daily now.

She also has lots of great animal sounds and can pick out the animals (e.g. Where's the penguin?) for more than 75% of Katie's Schleich animals (if you don't know what they are, you don't have a kid under 10) and knows who moos and who baas and does a great tiger (RRRaawwwwhrrr!) that scares the puppy.

Katie was Barbie Island Princess for Halloween. Somehow, in the last year, she morphed from my fun-loving tomboy into a princess dressing, nail painting, love sick five year old. It's crazy how fast it goes. She thoroughly enjoyed Halloween this year, and is still working on the giant pumpkin full o candy.

We put her in a "normal" daycare this year instead of a Montessori, and I think it's had negative effects. Her bi-annual "evaluation" came back last week with things like "she knows all her colors" (what 5 year old doesn't?! She knew them at 18 mos!), she does well cutting shapes (again, she was doing that at 3, so what's new?!) and she's a "joy to have in the classroom." I shouldn't complain - the school is full of nice people. I just miss education. Guess I better get used to it since we have to do the public school routine.

We're working at home on reading and math, and she's great with addition and initiates math "games" on her own all the time now. She is reading 3-5 letter words, and loves to practice writing. I wish I'd put her in Kindergarten this year, but was worried about the potty issues, which still persist.

Playing on the beach. Don't be fooled. It is rare for the girls to be in the same 10' radius and not be fighting. This is a rare photo - kind of like a sighting of a UFO or BigFoot. And no, I didn't use photoshop to get this.

While I can't stand the bickering, it is good that Katie is finally free to be a sister, and not a caregiver. She no longer worries (too much) about Sadie's fragility and now fights back like any big sister would do when pestered to death by a strong-willed toddler.

Peek-a-boo! Sadie's running around the house now. For a few weeks she walked with her arms thrown up over her head. Just this week it stopped, and I already miss it. She's bending and picking up without falling, and loves to feed the new puppy everything... food, hair clips, playdoh, paper, Katie's favorite Schleich animals... the list goes on.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Back from Haites

So, we're back. Katie ended up being sick the entire week, except the last two days at the beach. It was in the 80s the day we got to the beach (when Katie was still very sick), but dropped to the 60s that night and stayed there (when Katie got better). We defied nature and went out on the beach anyway... freezing our butts off and playing in the sand.

Those moments out there on the beach made the entire trip worth it. It was only a couple of hours total, but I thought to myself that these are the moments you want to record in your mind for replay again and again. Just me and my girls, hanging out. Sadie chasing the seagulls and trying to walk through the deep sand. Katie singing to herself as she made a castle. An egret landing beside us to watch, as the waves lapped quietly beside us. Despite the cool weather it was beautiful, and the beach was empty. I wish we could have stayed longer.

On the final day of the trip, I woke up in the middle of the night with my heart racing and a 102 temp. The virus struck again. Friday I took them out on the beach again for a few minutes anyway, then we drove to Tampa to stop at the aquarium. The Florida Aquarium is great - the girls had a blast checking out the octopus, watching jelly fish, petting sting rays and climbing through 'hermit crab shells' in the play area. I couldn't eat, could barely walk and was exhausted, but enjoyed it all the same. We left from there for a one hour trip to Orlando, where we went through security crap once again (why do they pick on moms traveling alone with small children?!) and finally boarded our flight with only moments to spare. This flight was empty, so we had an entire row to ourselves. It was nice, though Sadie refused once again to sleep until we were coming in for a landing.

I've been sick all week with the lovely virus, and just last night Sadie came down with a fever and cough, so I guess it's her turn. This thing lasts 5-7 days minimum, so I'm not looking forward to it.

Tomorrow's Jason's birthday! I think I'll send him to the VT game to get him away from the sick and cranky girls in his household.

Monday, November 05, 2007

More Tales of Woe during the TripFromHell

Katie develops croup. She coughs all night.

Katie seems better. Sadie's measles are residing. All seems to be getting better.

Katie spikes a fever of 103. I start the Tylenol regimine, after being scolded by her pediatrician long-distance for (gasp) using cough medicine the previous night. Heaven forbid you use cough medicine when your kid coughs. Why is it the FDA is so quick to OK get-slim-quick drugs and life-risking birth control, yet all of a sudden all children's cough medicine, some of which has been used in some form for over 100 years, is now deemed terrible?! Someone please explain.

The night progresses, with Katie and Sadie alternating coughing/screaming fits all night. A few hours later it's morning.

Katie is sick. Katie is very sick. She doesn't eat. She quits drinking around 7 pm. Her temp won't go below 101.

Sadie discovers that her molars are coming in. The measles are almost gone. Now it's just pain and crankiness.

Again, with the nightime routine. I don't even bother trying to sleep. I just sit in bed waiting for the next kid to cry. I do doze on a twin bed with Katie, awakening with a start to realize I've probably caught her bug since she's breathing in my face.

We head to the emergency room at the Pediatrician's recommendation. Katie gets IVs for a few hours, and is sent home. She can't keep down water/anything still. She pukes all day, and all evening. Finally, at night she sleeps. The fever drops to 101 again.

Now I'm really behind in work. I worked until 2 am since both girls slept, then got up at 4:45 (after Sadie's wake up call at 3 for a bottle) thanks to good ol' daylight savings time. Katie slept through the night, and her fever got down to 99 by the morning... finally light on the horizon. She still won't drink, still has not eaten, and was still throwing up this morning. She hasn't thrown up since 3 though, and has taken about an ounce of water, so there's hope. Poor thing.


Off to the beach for my meeting. The kids are going still, with the in-laws, as I have no choice. I don't want to be hours away from Katie when she's so sick, but hate to move her to a hotel. Wish us luck...

PS - Tally on Panera coffee thus far... 8 large cups.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Best idea EVER

I decided that since I needed to travel to Florida this week for business, I'd add on a few days and take the kids with me to see their grandparents (my in-laws). This has been the "best" idea ever.

Let me paint a mental image of my last two days for you...

WEDNESDAY - The day before departure.

Sadie breaks out in Measles pocks everywhere. Turns out she's one in 5000 kids that has a "moderately severe" reaction to the MMR vaccine. Sweet. That explains the 103 fever she's had off and on the past week. She doesn't go to sleep until 11 pm, and then sleeps fitfully, in 20-40 minute intervals.

Add to this that it is Halloween. Both children are hopped up on sugar and insanely wild.

Add to this, too, that I screwed up our flight reservations and realized on Monday that instead of leaving on Sat., we're leaving on Thurs. So work is a mess, and I have to do 3 days of work in 24 hours, before hopping on a plane to retirement hell where there is only one WiFi hotspot for miles (where I currently sit blogging... thanks Panera).

THURSDAY - Travel day.

I get up at 5:30, after about 2.5 to 3 hours of intermittent sleep to drag everyone out the door. Jason helps with the bags and kids, and we miraculously make it on time for our 8:00 flight.

Getting into the airport is fine. We have a skycap help. Getting through security was another ordeal entirely. Katie goes through fine, but then they decide I more or less need to strip the baby down, put the stroller through the conveyor belt (it doesn't fit and I've never had to do this before), take my LCD projector out and plug it in (seriously?! I've traveled all over with it and NEVER had to do that. They didn't even check the laptop!),... all AFTER Katie is on the other side. They won't let Katie come back to me. She's terrified and crying. I'm uttering words that should not be said in front of my 1-year old, hoping she won't pick up on them. (She tried to say one, but seems to have forgotten them today.) The security guard warns me about my "lack of cooperation."

We finally get on the plane, which is, of course, full. I hold the screaming Sadie for 2 hours. She falls asleep 10 minutes before landing. Then awakes screaming as we're to disembark. I got lots of nice looks from fellow travelers.

Orlando's airport is HUGE. I drag Katie and Sadie to the bathroom, we all get taken care of, but only with lots of juggling, hand holding and door propping so we can keep eye contact, as Katie is now terrified of airport security, who may "take" her from mommy again.

Katie decides she doesn't want to roll her little suitcase anymore. Nor does she want to walk. I'm half-dragging her, pushing a stroller and pulling the computer bag/Dora bag/diaper bag down the halls. I hear women clucking and saying how tough it must be to be traveling alone with small children. No, you don't say?! Would you like to grab a freakin' bag instead of walking behind me and making loud comments? And NO, I'm NOT a single mom. Just stupid. Out of my way, biddies.

We get the luggage and I make a half-mile long train of the five items of luggage, which I pull behind me to the car rental lot, as I drag Katie, push Sadie and pick up objects randomly thrown by Sadie along the way (shoes, jacket, socks, etc.). It's pouring. Of course.

Two hours later we're in retirement hell (Sebring Florida). All the way Katie asked if "we were there yet" every 5 minutes. Sadie finally slept.

Exhausted, I got the kids to bed at 8 and 9. Katie awoke at midnight (25 minutes after I hit the bed) with a fever of at least 102, croupy cough and sore throat. The girls then took turns waking up every 30 minutes until 6:15 this morning, when I gave up and let them out of bed.

Yes, this was DEFINITELY my best idea EVER!!