Friday, February 12, 2010

A splash of color

So I love painting, but I've always been really cautious of colors because, well.... who wants their house looking like this.

Or this

Or this

Ok you get the picture.  I was scared man.  You don't mess around with walls.  Paint isn't as cheap as they say.

So anyway, when we moved into this house we had this great glass topped table with an aluminum frame (which I sadly can't find a picture of).  It was gray and black and gold.  So when it came time to do away with the wretched eggshell white walls of new sheetrock we decide to go with a contemporary look.  A medium gray color with black accents.  You can see a bit of it in this pic, right behind the kids drooling over cake. 

So our dining room and living room are connected by a large entry.  Over the years the living room evolved into a very cozy place to hang out.  As it should be.

Please disregard the mess.  And ya know, the slew of bodies lounging around.  But hey, it's a comfy room, we like it there.  The walls are covered with pictures of moose and deer and bears and lots and lots of oak things.  
So you can see my problem.  Comfy woodsey living room segues into...... black and gray kitchen?  What?

I never could figure out what color to paint the dining room to help it blend more until one day while driving I happened to see into someone's window (really, I was in my car and not peering in people's windows nose to the glass stalking paint choices).  And saw a house with this marvelousely dangerous deep red color.  It got my little gears turning.  Could I pull it off?

So yesterday I drug Craig to Menards for paint.  Craig hates to paint.  And by hates it I mean he'd rather see the house fall down in shambles than paint it. He hates painting and because he's a guy he couldn't care less if there's color on the walls and couldn't tell you the difference between eggplant and...... well, I don't know what color eggplant is either, but that's beside the point.

So Today I got up early and decided it was painting day.  Of course that meant that Craig would help me, because he feels guilty if he doesn't.  I was all set to do it myself though.

Halfway through I realized the black chair rail was scuffed up and sent Craig out for some black paint.  while he was gone I had to run to the bathroom and just knew Nate was going to destroy the place.  I came up to find him, hands dripping in paint, fingerpainting the walls.  I really should have taken pictures but I was so mad I could spit.  At least he painted the RIGHT walls. So after cleaning my child, the floor, and the legs of the table off we finished without a hitch and ended up with this.

I'm happy with it.  It still kind of has a little bit of a contemporary feel but definitely warms up the granite in the table.  I decided to keep the black accents and am absolutely thrilled with the outcome.  Go color!

ugly paintjobs courtesy of

Thursday, February 11, 2010

February is CHD awareness month

Did you know that a simple Pulse Oximeter could save your babies life?  You know, the little thing with the red light they put on your finger at the clinic.  It only takes seconds and if done with routine vital signs in the first days of life at the hospital can detect the most serious heart defects.  

This test likely would have alerted us to Alex's problems hours before he became a critical mess. Without the stress of that first struggle for life he may have been strong enough to withstand the weeks to come.  We will never know, but what we do know is that if we can help ONE parent ask for this test and possibly save her child, we should.  Because Alex would want us to.

Share this on your blog, website, whatever.  I appreciate the link back to us if you do.

Some people are born with special hearts, the rest of us have to work at it. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My very own pirate

So.  You may remember that my little dude Nathan was diagnosed with a Congenital Cataract at 4 months old which you can see in some pictures where the camera flash bounces off of it. 

And that we had been seeing a Pediatric Ophthamologist, Dr A.  Who prescribed glasses for our little dude at 13 months old because of some nearsightedness in that eye.

Ok not THOSE glasses.  These

Well, every few months we went back to Dr A who always said we would see what happened at the next visit, and the next, and the next.  And this kept on until while we watched this:

Nate's eye turned more and more inward.  At his visit with his Pediatrician this fall she took one look at his eye and said "Oh my, what is Dr A saying about that".  So we filled her in that he was, essentially saying and doing nothing.  We all agreed that it was time for a second opinion.  So, after fighting with our insurance for a while we finally got to see this guy. 

Dr B works at the University of Minnesota Fairview.  We are quite familiar with that place.  

So Dr B had his students examine the little dude(after all, this is a University) for pretty much an eternity.  Our little dude was amazingly Patient as they repetitively asked him what was on this picture or that, shined bright lights in his eyes, and even when they dilated his pupils. As they were doing their tests Craig and I realized it didn't look good.  We were no doctors, but it was obvious little dude couldn't see out of his right eye. As one student would leave and go get another to confirm her findings Craig and I exchanged worried glances.  Finally, just as it seemed little dude was no longer going to be distracted by Curious George or be the cooperative 2 year old we had been so impressed with, they told us they were finished, and now we could see the doctor.  Who would essentially do it all over again.

Dr B was thorough but quick and little dude fell asleep on daddy dude's lap as we discussed the situation.  And what a situation it was.  

Little dude, Dr B explained, is "legally blind and then some" in his right eye.  The bomb dropped on the table and you could have heard a pin drop behind it.  What? When did this happen?  How did we miss this?  How the heck does a child go blind while under the care of a "skilled" Ophthamologist?  What now?

Well, now comes the hard part.  Dr B explained.  What happened was this.  Little dude was born nearsighted.  In the beginning of our lives the eyes don't see together.  They battle for attention from the brain to develop.  Since little dude was born so nearsighted in the one eye, it couldn't compete for attention and was left in the dust when the brain decided to kick it to the curb and favor the left eye.  So little dude became essentially blind in his right eye while his brain chose to only recognize things seen with the left. This is called Amblyopia or "lazy eye" (which contrary to popular belief is not an eye that wanders).  Once the brain turned the right eye off, it began to slowly turn in, having no purpose.  This is called Estropia.   So Little dude started off with nearsightedness and a Cataract (which we are told is never going to be an issue for him) which turned into more problems.

The hard part is that in the first 4 years of life there is this window to turn that eye back on.  After age 4 there is some hope, but not much.  Since little Dude was about to turn 3 we decided that we must be very aggressive to try to get whatever vision he was going to have back.  An insurance policy Dr B said.  In case something were to ever happen to the eye with good vision. How would we do that?  Eye patching.  Agressive eye patching.  Every waking hour ideally.  Many kids are patched for a couple or a few hours a day, we need little Dude patched "maximally".   "It's going to be hell" Dr B told us.  And that was the understatement of our year.

Equipped with our box of patches we go home and make a plan to start patching after Christmas, which was in 2 days.  I ordered some neat patches online and we made the committment to do this, completely underestimating how hard it would be on us all.

For the first 2-3 weeks patching went like this:

Put the patch on and the screaming ensues:

After about 10 minutes the pleading begins, while he peeks the eye open, does the Stevie wonder and the alternates between screaming and pleading.  

Then, due to the lack of visual stimulation he sleeps:

When he wakes he sneaks off and throws that patch on the floor

Lather. Rinse.  Repeat.  All day long.  Every day. 

But slowly but surely, if we could catch him before he peeled it off we got more time.  5 minutes here. 30 minutes there. With the increase in time we also noticed something even more miraculous.  He was getting off the couch, walking around.  Eventually navigating the stairs and playing with his siblings. And then trying to play with some toys... and then even trying to look at a book!  Mind you most of these attempts ended with "I can't seeeeeee" and my heart smashing into tiny peices, but he was trying.  And my god, could it be?  The vision was improving to slowly allow him to do more and more.

We saw Dr B again a few days ago and he was very excited by the progress.  He said if all we ever get is the "walking vision" we have achieved that is a valuable gift we've given him. He also said that the patching was trying to turn the brain back on, we discussed Lasik surgery for the nearsightedness (although will probably just continue with glasses, for the added benefit of protecting that good eye) and surgery in the next year or so to fix the Estropia, we can help little dude to live a great productive life.  He will drive, he will do all the things little dude's do.  

And I leave you with a picture of my favorite pirate:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I'm baaack

So I needed a bloggy break I think.  I moved servers first and then wasn't happy and kind of just quit for a while.  Which is ok because maybe I can find my inspiration again in my writing, it was lacking for a while.

So many things have changed in the past couple of months.  I'm still plugging away at school, now in clinicals which I will finish in April and then start my externship with graduation in August.  I can't wait to be done!  I'm getting a little burned out!

I also made a change at work.  I am still teaching prenatal/breastfeeding classes and have now changed my registration schedule to overnights.  It has been way more of an adjustment than I was anticipating and has been quite a difficult transition for all of us.  Always the insomniac I thought it would be easy.  There I go thinking again.

Another big thing, well decision anyway.  We are moving to Texas after I graduate this summer! I know, crazy right?  TEXAS?  What are we thinking? If you never questioned my sanity before you might now.  Why Texas? No clue.  We need to get away from the town we live in and all of the small town drama that goes with it.  The school is ok at the elementary level and the High school level is alright but at the Middle school level it completely drops the ball, I'm not willing to put the rest of the kids through what Austin and Hailey have had to deal with there.  The issues with drugs and small town kids with nothing better to do than cause trouble for others has gotten to a breaking point for us and it's time to go.  

But why Texas?

Well, we hate the cold so why not?  If we are going to move and find new jobs, a new home, new schools why not just go? Start new somewhere?  

Can we say scared shitless?  

But crazy excited too.  It will be worth it.  

So, welcoming myself back to the blogosphere.  I've missed you my faithful followers (all 13 of you).  Over the next few days I'll update you on the craziness of the last few months in the life of this mom of many.  And I promise I'll never leave you again.