Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pretending to be the wine-o that we're not

Feels like forever since I've been here.  I can't believe it's Thursday.  How did it get here so fast?  Our house has been turned upside down this week and our level of norm was nowhere in sight. 

So I mentioned before that there was some change coming to our family, and the change came.  Richie decided to leave the company that we moved up here for, and is going to another.  Not that big of a deal really, I just didn't want it blogged until it happened.  He gave them two weeks notice, he worked one week and then they laid him off (with pay, thank God) the second week.  I guess the work log was low and they didn't need another climber.  I dunno.  But either way, he got to be home with us this week, unexpectedly.  Turns out that it was a great thing....Kinley has been sick (yes, again) and sleeping hasn't been easy for her.  With Richie off work, he was able to tag team with me and hopefully we're now on the upswing of the illness.  I'm pretty sure it was/is a cold and possible teething thrown in too.  I have been saying that she's teething for the last 5 months....and still we have zero teeth.  Can you believe that?  She's almost 11 months old and no teeth!  They say the later they come in, the better they will be so I'm cool with it.

I'm hoping to not have to take her in to the Dr. today but we'll see.  She's taken on a new cough and it's bordering on the "barking" sound which I know isn't good.  She gave me a 3 a.m. wake up call today (she fell asleep at 8 last night, so I expected it, sort of) and hasn't been coughing as much this morning.

With Richie being off, we were going to head to my mom's house for Halloween.  She's about a three hour drive from us.  We were going to do a Thursday night through Saturday night visit.  If Kinley isn't feeling better, we probably won't go.  I hate making her do all of that car time if she's sick.

Since Kinley went to bed so early last night, we decided to uncork this bottle of wine we've had in the fridge for weeks.  We splurged from our no-spending-till-November rule and ordered the ginormous pizza and ton-o-wings deal from the local pizza place, again.  So we got to watch our beloved Survivor and eat pizza on the couch.  We haven't done that in ages.  AGES.  I miss the carefree nights like that.  Having Kinley means that every meal is at the table so that she's in her high chair.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.  Now is the time to start those family "traditions" of always having a family meal together at least once a day.  But pizza and TV is nice sometimes too. 

After pizza, we uncorked the wine and just chilled.  As I sat there on the couch, I had one of those moments where you just step back and look around and notice those little things.  Things that normally you don't give a second thought about....  and I grabbed my camera because I knew that it would capture exactly what I saw at that moment.
My table is dirty.  I haven't dusted in two weeks because I'm busy being a mom (&wife).  Our table used to always be "staged" with the basket and perfect coffee table books.  Today, it holds a baby shoe (she was able to reach it's twin and took off with it, I'm sure it's on the floor, or under the table), a thermometer because our baby has been sick (Richie calls this a temperature guage), the pink bow that was in her hair today, Richie's phone because it's the "supposed" indestructable phone and can withstand baby drool and being dropped on a wood floor.  And then there is the bottle of wine and two exhausted parents.  This is our life. 
I'm sporting the pony tail because even though my husband is home this week, my daughter still has a hard time allowing mommy time to do her hair or make-up.  I look tired, because I am.  And our wine, is from Aldi.  Who knew that Aldi would have good wine?  I mean, if you are a wine-o and experienced with finding a "good wine" you may gag but for us, we just enjoy a nice tasting Riesling.  Training-wheel wine is what I like to call it.  This was good.  Very good.  And I got a slight buzz from two glasses.  Totally unintended.

It felt good to just let go for the two hours that we did.  We watched our Survivor, Modern Family and The Middle and then decided that it was way too late to start another show.  It was 9:51.  Real rebels.  No, just a real mom and dad.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My impersonation of a TV Guide

My hope is beginning to be restored.  Kinley went to bed pretty easily last night by 8:30 and only woke up at about 11:00 for us to find her paci and pat her back for about 2 minute (as reported by daddy, he took that shift).  She then woke up about 5:30 this morning to start her day.  We were so proud of her for sleeping through the night that I let her nurse immediately and then she got to come downstairs to visit with daddy before he left for work.  She only nursed one side, so I'm pretty sure she was anxious to come down and see him.  We are thinking that she knows that he's downstairs getting ready to leave...cause she always gets up in time to see him off.  Maybe she doesn't know....but it sure seems like she does.

So I feel better today....

Last night was Survivor night in our house.  That is a very important night of the week.  We're pretty serious about that show..too serious.  But I thought I would do my blog today about TV.  We have become junkies this season and are DVR'ing way more than we have time to watch.  So things are pretty backed up on there.

So Survivor-- I was shocked that Kelly B was voted off last night.  And for the simple reason of her having a fake leg?  Are you kidding me?  Talk about shallow.  I feel bad for her, and not because she has a prosthetic leg, but because she was judged because of it.  I totally wish that Nay and Brenda could have gone home.  I do think that Nay has calmed down a bit...primarily because she was moved away from Kelly B (when she was complaining about throwing her fake leg in the fire, I wanted to punch her in the face) but I still don't like her.  And you know, it says that she is a PE teacher?!  Are you kidding me?  She should be terminated immediately.  I would not want a person like her teaching my child.  No way.  Brenda is just a slimy snake that I can see winning the game and I can't stand the girl.  Most don't like Marty either....and honestly, I could take him or leave him.  I just dislike the two girls more.  And Dan (is that his name?) with the bad knees, what does he do for a living that allows him all of the homes and fancy cars?  I think they were smart to keep him.  They really don't need him in the challenges right now and he's an easy disposal later in the game.  I really don't have a favorite on there this season (yet) but I'm sure I will in a few weeks.

Undercover Boss:  We love this show and thankfully it's on On Demand with our cable company because it's always starting late due to football.  We keep forgetting to tell the DVR to record past the scheduled time (I just got up and fixed that) so we would miss it otherwise.  I know that they show is so staged but I love the feel good moments at the end when they give four of the thousands that work for them a nice scholarship or vacation.  It's one of those shows that is a waste of time, but a feel good waste of time.

Biggest Loser:  We're still a week behind on this show.  Two hours is hard to fit into our week schedule so we usually get caught up on the weekend.  We really don't have a favorite on here yet either.  Not much to say about it since we're so behind.

Dancing With the Stars:  I watch this one solo.  I just finished watching the results show and let me just say that I love that Jason DaRulo (I know I butchered his last name but I'm way too lazy to look it up right now) song on the radio, but live?  ICK.  He's a terrible live singer, terrible!  Now Shakira was awesome.  I'm not a fan but she totally made me feel like a lard-butt.  I so wish I could look like that, or move like that.  I bet she doesn't have kids.  I was ready for Florence to go home, so I'm not too sad about that....but I think that Bristol should have gone even though I wasn't ready for her to go.  I think she could still have a turn around and end up a great dancer.  The Hills chic, not sure of her name, has the worst boob job.  Its so gross to see the dents and wrinkles.  Surely she makes enough money to get them fixed.  My favorite is still Jennifer Gray.

Teen Mom:  This is my guilty pleasure.  I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I watch it.  But it's so addicting!  I don't think I saw them on 16&Pregnant, and I didn't see the first season but somehow I got hooked during this season.  So I just got to watch the Finale Special interview with Dr. Drew.  Catelynn and Tyler are the most mature of all of them.  Catelynn's mom needs to go to rehab or something.  I'm not sure if she's an addict or what her deal is but she is terrible and Catelynn needs to just plan her life without her.  She does nothing good for Catelynn.  At. All.  She doesn't deserve such an amazing daughter.  I think that her and Tyler will make it, I really do.  And my goodness, I sobbed when her and Tyler got to meet their daughter.  When Catelynn gave her that recorded book,  OMG.  I lost it.  For some reason, Carly reminds me of Kinley (looks wise) and it just ripped my heart out.  And did you notice that Carly looked at Catelynn and Tyler like she just knew?  I don't know....maybe I'm reading too much into it.    Amber, she was faking it during the interview.  She knows that she's screwed with the law about her beating the crap out of Gary in front of Leah and she acted like the "poor poor me" that she doesn't deserve.  I don't buy it and I'm not wasting my time even talking about her.  Take that child away, give her to Gary and let Amber rot.  If you want to blame your upbringing on your reason for being jacked in the head, then how do you explain how well Catelynn turned out?  Hmmmm?  Farrah is getting better.  She has made some major growth this season and it warms my heart to see her and her mom fixing their relationship.  I'm proud of her.  Maci, I think she has a lot of resources that none of the others have.  Her family (and Ryan's) obviously have money, and plenty of it.  She doesn't face the same trouble that the others do.  But, I give her credit because she doesn't seem to take it for granted and she doesn't act like a spoiled brat (hello, Farrah!).  I love her and Kyle together but I think she'll eventually ruin what they have because I honestly think she still harbors feelings for Ryan.  Just my thoughts. 

We also DVR:  Modern Family, &!#$ My Dad Says, Oprah (makes me cry everytime), Ellen (I always delete them before watching because we're out of DVR memory), The Middle, Better With You, Ice Truckers, Pawn Stars (for Richie) and American Pickers (for Richie). 

So spill it....what do you DVR and what is your guilty pleasure on TV?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I just want to help her

I'm just not myself today.  My mind is filled with worry.  I'm worried about my baby girl.  Something is just not right with the whole sleeping situation.  As I sat on our top step from 1:00-1:30 this morning, listening to her screams, I just felt that she is crying in fear.  She seems frightened and crying for us.  What is she afraid of?  Is she afraid?  The answers aren't to be found, unfortunately. 

So yes, I was up last night with her for an hour.  She then got up at 6 as usual.  Richie and I came to an agreement that we'd take her down to only one nap a day.  Maybe that would help the situation.  Well, 8:30 this morning she couldn't hold her eyes open anymore and she fell asleep.  I put her in her crib at 8:50 (after rocking her to sleep) and she was up screaming again at 9:35.  I was just getting out of the shower, so I didn't run right in to her.  She screamed hard for about ten minutes while I got dressed.  Gone are the days where my baby wakes up cooing and laughing and talking to us over the monitor.  My baby wakes up in screaming fits.  There is no waking time, it's like her eyes open and instantly she is screaming. 

I'm sad.  Very, very sad.  I feel like I'm failing at this mommy thing.  What happened at 9.5 months that I'm not seeing?  Why did she all of a sudden take this turn?  Our routine hasn't changed.  Her room hasn't changed.  Nothing is different except for her behavior.  I just want my baby back.  I want to fix what she's asking me to fix.  Am I missing something here? 

During her waking times, she's happy and acts the same as always....I just don't get it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I'm pulling the mommy 911 card.  For my sanity, I need advice.  I'm about to lose my mind over here!  For the past 3 days or so...or since she's been over the virus, we're having major nap issues.  I nurse her to sleep (I know, I'm not supposed to) for her naps and everything is just as it always has been, until I go to lay her down.  She jumps right back up and screams.  She WON'T nap.  I know that she's tired because when she gets up, she's a crank.  Bad.  I tried to let her cry it out and she screams (at the top of her lungs, and how that is different than the bottom of her lungs is beyond me) and she won't stop.  I let it go for 45 minutes!  4-5!  I've tried going in every 3 minutes.  I've tried going in every 1 minute.  I've tried going in every 5 minutes.  NOTHING WORKS.  My child is wearing me out. 

What do I do?  She needs the nap.  If she doesn't nap, she cranks all day long and then tries to go to bed at 6.  That's not going to work in this house.  I'm going to video her tantrum for you....

My "instinct" is that she's not in pain.  My "instinct" is that she is trying to win this napping game.  For ten months she has won.  EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.  I give in.  Well, now it's not cool anymore.  Now it's getting to the point where Richie and I dread nap/bed time because we know that she will fight us (and win).

If I go and get her up, she will not let me put her down.  I'll be stuck with her on my hip for about an hour.  She'll freak if I try to make her play or if I try to put her back down for a nap. 

My baby didn't do about 9.5 months she turned into this napping monster.  What is going on?! 


Edited to add:  I couldn't even finish my post, her crying literally gives me cramps.  My uterus craves to help her when she's like that.  That's got to be the explanation.  Her crying got so hard that I thought she would hyperventilate.  So she won.  Again.  And as soon as I picked her up, she sighed like she was saying "good to see ya, ma!"  And now she's on my lap, singing, and trying to stop me from telling you the awful truth about this little beast that we call Kinley.  She keeps typing keys and making me have to fix it.  Grrr.  I'm going to go rock my baby.

Edited again to add:  Well, at 12:45 a.m. she was up screaming her head off again.  We did the in and out thing for 45 minutes and not once did she let up.  At 1:30 I gave in and get her out and rocked her in her room.  At 1:50, I gave in again and let her nurse.  At 2:00, I was back in bed.  I dread the day today.  I know she's going to do the screaming thing at every nap opportunity.

Jeans saga

It's Tuesday.  I have my head on straight today....for the most part.  Last night we had such a nice family night.  We ordered in pizza and wings and when I say pizza, I am talking the biggest pizza I have ever seen.  The thing needed it's own zip code.  Needless to say....we have enough left over to feed us through the week.  Not that I could stomach pizza that often.  Richie took the wings to work to feed the guys.  Maybe he took some pizza too....I'm not sure.  I haven't ventured into the fridge any further than where my pumpkin spice creamer sits.  You can ignore my mess of a table....or don't.  I really don't care. 

Last night Richie took Kinley down to the basement to give me some time alone (what is that, anyway, that alone thing?  I'm not sure we've met?) and it lasted all of ten minutes when he called me down to see this...

It is moments like this that make life precious.  Her laugh is contagious and we both laughed about it all night long. 

So I'm pretty sure that I've mentioned before about my search for the perfect mommy jean.  Or maybe I only mentioned it on facebook.  I dunno.  But I have begun my search and have started purchasing different brands/styles to find the one that fits my new "mom body" best.  Some of them feel like, what I call "nipple warmers" and some make me feel like my butt crack hangs out a good mile above the waistband.  For some reason, this is so much more uncomfortable since having a baby.  Pre-baby, the lower the jeans, the better.  Maybe I just move around more now that I have the baby to chase after and that makes a difference.  I'm not sure what the deal is.  All that I know is that from the four jeans that I now have, none seem to feel just right.
These feel like "nipple warmers" to me but I guess they don't necessarily look like them in the pictures.  They feel like "mom jeans" to me though.

I do like the color of these and I would say that they are my favorite of the four.  They just give me a "mom butt." (Hi Lucy!)

These jeans do look good on, but they get the worst rating because an hour after you put them on, they are so stretched out that they seriously grow two sizes and I can't keep them up.  They require a belt (which I don't own).  So they get two thumbs down.

I just bought these this past weekend.  They were on sale so I thought it was worth a try.  I do like them...but they bare the crack when I am on the floor with Kinley.  With a long enough shirt, they work nicely.  But I can't claim that they "win" my contest because the perfect jean will look good on, feel good on, and not bare the crack.

My search continues on.  I really want to try The Limited jeans but right now the budget doesn't allow.  I swear, if I could do that thing where you're asked "if you could max a credit card at any one store, which would it be" I would totally go for The Limited.  Well today I would.  Tomorrow could be a different story.  I do drool over their stuff when I walk past the store though.  Maybe come January when I have to work in the schools for class, I will get my Limited wardrobe.  Or maybe a few pieces anyway.  Oh, my friend also mentioned Express jeans.  I may try there as well.  I'm not sure what Express prices are like.   I used to shop there back in the day (and even worked there through the holidays one year) but I have always felt that I didn't fit in with their new style....I hate that.  I always feel like the sore thumb when I walk into new trendy stores like that.  It's obvious that I don't fit in....  Joy, shut up.

Kinley's had it with me blogging.  Gotta jet.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Here and There and Everywhere

Last night when Richie and I were enjoying our hour of TV time, after Kinley was in bed, I realized that I was thinking that tomorrow (today) was Friday.  Whoa!  That's not a normal thought on a Sunday night.  Our week was non-stop.  Between Kinley being sick and going to the doctor almost daily and Richie working all seven days last week....I feel like we need a Friday.  That's a bad way to start the week.

We have a big change coming in our household and I'm bracing myself for the change.  I don't do well with just makes me feel really uneasy.  I like to pretend that I'm good with the transition, but really I struggle.  We are smart about it though, we have thought about it, prayed about it, and really feel it is for the best in the long run.  I'll fill ya'll in later this week.

Yesterday, since Richie was working, Kinley and I headed south to visit a friend of mine, Betty.  Betty was my boss several years ago when I worked for a home builder as a sales person.  Her and I became instant friends and because she is my mom's age, she was the mother figure I needed when my mom was over 3 hours away.  Even though I haven't worked with her for several years, we've kept in touch and I still love her dearly.  She loves visiting with Kinley because all of her grandbabies are in different states.  So it's nice to see her and spend time with her.  She is an amazing sounding board....and I like to think that I am the same for her.  Yesterday, she introduced me as her best friend.  I think I'll float around on that for some time.  She is such an amazing woman.  To be considered a friend of someone like that just makes me feel so good. 

Becoming a mom has really made me reevaluate my friendships.... you'd be surprised how many don't have time anymore when you have a baby in tow.  It's really kind of sad.  But I guess on the flipside, it makes you appreciate those that do stick around that much more.  Richie and I were discussing this over the weekend.  Then he said something that just totally sums it up, "I love our married, boring life."  Haha  We're boring and we're happy.  We have our shows, our time as a family and if we get a wild hair, we play a game of Rummy.  Haha 

Richie and I have been starting to dabble a bit into the thought of buying a house up here.  We're no where close to actually buying, but we're starting to entertain the thought of thinking about it.  Clear as mud?  There are so many other milestones that we have to reach before the roots are planted up here.  First of all, I want to graduate.  I have my semester that starts in January and then the summer off, then student teaching in August.  So I won't be graduating until January of 2012 (if all goes as planned).  Then we have to see where I can (if I can) find a teaching job.  There is no doubt that the foreclosure market is where to look.  Man, there are some amazing deals to be made...but some scary situations too.  One house that we looked at in a subdivision that I just love, is STRIPPED.  No cabinets, counter tops, copper wires, A/C....they took it all.  I can't even imagine being that desperate.  Wow.  Having time before buying really allows us to do our research but at the same time, it allows us time to get our savings back in order and in high gear for a down payment.

Wow, this blog took on no direction, whatsoever.  I hate scatter-brained days like this.  I blame it on Shakespeare.  I've been completely up to my eyeballs in King Lear and finally finished it this morning.  Now I have to deal with the midterm.  Lord, help me now.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Don't mess with the mommy of a sick baby....

Ooooh, I'm so mad!  I'm so mad....and there is nothing that I can do about it.  I hate that. 

I took Kinley to see Dr. Natalie yesterday.  Aside from the diarrhea, there were no new symptoms.  She had sporadic pain crying episodes but they were followed by obviously we're still dealing with the side effects of our ONE DOSE of that stupid antibiotic.

Dr. Natalie apologized several times for the stupid radiologist and doctor on call.  They admitted that they didn't even look at her chart before calling me to put the fear of God in me by saying MY BABY has pneumonia.  THEY DIDN'T EVEN LOOK AT HER CHART.  They would have seen that Dr. Natalie already ruled out pneumonia based on her TWO blood cultures.  What they saw on the xray was an inflamed lymph node.  And Dr. Natalie said that the antibiotic was like pulling out an uzi when she needed a BB gun....and she only needed the BB gun IF SHE HAD PNEUMONIA!  But she DIDN'T.  Why would they prescribe one of the strongest antibiotics for an infant that has NEVER had a prescribed medication.  She's never had an antibiotic to even know how her tiny 18 pounds would react to it!

I'm hot about it, to say the least.

Dr. Natalie said that we could be fighting the aftermath of that antibiotic for up to a week.  I have to eat at least 4 Activia yogurts a day to get the probiotics in my breastmilk.  She can't have any fruits, except bananas and she is to eat only starchy foods for now.  She's also afraid that Kinley could get a yeast infection and pass it into my breast through breastfeeding.  Gee, all of these nice things to deal with.  Thank you very much Mr. Radiologist.

Isn't this malpractice?  I mean, to prescribe a medication to a baby that is that strong and that is giving her diarrhea 24 hours after the fact?  And she had only one dose?  Can you imagine if we didn't go to the ER that night?  We would have continued with the doses and who knows where we would be right now!?  She could be fighting dehydration on top of everything else.

I don't know what to do....I want to write someone and let them know that this is NOT acceptable.  But I don't want to jeopardize our great relationship with Dr. Natalie.  Do I let this go?  Do I push the issue? 

What would you do?

Aside from the antibiotic issue....we're considering her "recovered" from the virus.  She's been fever free for two days and she's back to her normal self, for the most part.  Had I not given her that dose of antibiotic, we'd be free and clear right now.  But we're not.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I fell

She thinks we're fools....and she's right.

I got seven calls from Kinley's pediatrician's office yesterday.  Not an exaggeration.  The last call that I received of the day was to inform me that the radiologist reviewed the chest films and found an area of pneumonia in her lungs.  They wanted her to start an antibiotic and be seen tomorrow (today).  Finally!  A real answer as to why she's been so sick!  It all made sense now.  She was very off yesterday...just not herself.  And now I know why.  So Richie picks up the antibiotic after work, we pull out our vaporizer and get the saline drops for her nose as recommended.  We were all set to kick this bug in the boo-tay.

Last night, however, she was acting like our "old Kinley."  She was all over and in to everything.  She even discovered the stairs and our hall bathroom for the first time.  No joke, she was *everywhere*!  We were so happy because we haven't seen our happy-go-lucky baby in so many days. She ate dinner with us (and lots of it!) and seemed to be back to her healthy self. 

She went down for bedtime about 9:20 and it seemed like the worst was behind us.  It seemed.

I am convinced that Kinley's favorite hobby is to make us look like fools.  She's become so good at it. 

An hour or so after she went down to bed...she woke us up screaming this horrific scream.  Richie ran in to give her the paci back but she just screamed louder and louder.  We couldn't comfort her.  I tried rocking her, Richie tried rocking her.  I tried nursing her.  We brought her to our bed to see Lucy.  Everything I could think of, we tried.  She just kept screaming.  It was a pain scream.... we were panicked.  Didn't I want to learn from my mistake of reacting to a panicked situation?

This time Richie demanded that I call Dr. Natalie.  So we gave her Tylenol and waiting 15 minutes or so and called her.  Kinley was still screaming.  She acted shocked that she was on an antibiotic.  You see, she was off yesterday and come to find out, she disagreed with the radiologist's findings of pneumonia.  She told us to take her in the ER and she would call and let them know we were on our way.

On the way to the ER, we hear her making her sounds in the back seat..."whoosh, whoosh, Eeeee!, Eeeee!  whoosh, whoosh, woof."  Richie and I just look at each other.  Here it is 1:00 in the morning, we're making the trip to the ER and she's in the backseat "woofing" at Lucy (who is at home).  The whole 20 minute drive we debated turning around.  She totally played us! 

We get to the ER...figured that we were on our way, we might as well just go.  Walk in and Kinley acts like she's meeting up with long lost friends.  I'm sure we looked like fools.  We register and then have a seat in the waiting room.   Luckily the place was pretty much empty.  A knife wound came in so that got there was a short wait.  During that wait, Kinley used us as human trampolines, told us a very long story using her hands to express how dramatic her story was, woofed for Lucy some more and thought that this whole game of "her drop, we pick up" was a great time.  We got up and walked back to registration and said that we are leaving.  She's obviously fine and there was no need to waste anyone's time.

The girl convinced us to stay due to her pneumonia diagnosis.  We should have just left.

We got called back to the room and you could tell that the triage, the RN and the doc all thought we were nuts.  She was laughing, waving, jumping, talking, telling stories....Grrrrr. 

The ER doc did tell us that both him and Dr. Natalie are in agreement that the radiologist was wrong and her lungs are clear.  They decided to discontinue the antibiotic because the one that was prescribed is way too strong for her.  It causes severe belly discomfort and diarrhea.  No joke?  She crapped all over the place after dinner.  Grrrr

So the doc did a quick check over her and said that he agrees that it's just a virus and that she basically just played us.  Nice.  I'm sure we're going to pay him a few grand to confirm the fact that our daughter rules the roost at our house. 

She did cry on the way home but only because it was now 3AM and she was done playing her game and wanted to go back to bed.  We did too. 

Poor Richie only got about 2 and a half hours of sleep last night and had to go to work today.  It'll be an early night in this house.   If Kinley allows it, I guess.

A few things have come from this:  1.  I will be writing a letter to Children's Hospital to inform them of my dissatisfaction in their services.  They should have done a more thorough check of her.  Even though the pneumonia diagnosis is in debate right now, they should have checked for it.  2.  The radiologist needs to leave the diagnosing to our pediatrician and NOT call me to tell me my daughter has pneumonia.  And NOT have an antibiotic strong enough for a small horse prescribed for her.  He owes us $30 for a medication we won't be using.  3.  I will be discussing the whole "cry it out" method for Kinley today with Dr. Natalie.  We decided that we need to take control back from this little Diva. 

We love her to the moon and back a few hundred times, but boy....this girl has us whipped!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Time is not on my side...

I'm really starting to question my decision about going back to school.  I know that I want to be a teacher.  I have no confusion about that, what so ever.  It's the actual "school" part of it that I'm not sure I'm ready for.  Taking this online Shakespeare class has kind of been my way of getting my feet wet with being in school as a mom....and it's tough.

Kinley is such a full time job, then being a housewife is another full time job.  Making time for the homework is just impossible.  I can't seem to find the balance and it's really stressing me out.  Kinley is getting up by 6 a.m. and staying up till 9ish at night.  Her naps are my shower time and cleaning time....I physically can't stay up later than I already do at night for homework.  There is no free time in my days. 

Where will I find the time?  My semester starts in January and I just don't know if starting it is the right move.  I will have to be in class two days a week and then have Kinley the other three days...  I know that moms do it all the time, but I tend to not handle stress very well and crumble pretty easy.  I just fear that this may be the straw to break the camel's back. 

If I can't find time to keep up with an online course, where I never have to actually "go" to class...will I have time to actually "go" to class two full days a week and keep up with Kinley's care, house work, wife work, etc?  I'm freaking out.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Life Lessons::Mommy Mistakes

Hindsight is always 20/20.  Always.  Well, for me anyway.

Since typing out the Kinley story, I wanted to use the rest of my "mommy break" to sort through so many things in my head.  I've learned so many mommy mistakes that I have made and want to really sort through things to hopefully learn from them and not let them happen again.  I know I will expect to make a million mistakes and wrong decisions during the years of raising Kinley.  But what good is a mistake or wrong decision if you don't learn and grow from it?

Mommy Mistake #1:  Being selfish.  When I made the decision to take Kinley to the marathon on Sunday...I was driven by my own selfishness to be at that finish line.  We have all been looking forward to seeing Paul run this race.  It is a HUGE thing to run a marathon and we wanted nothing more than to be there to support him.  I knew that Richie would be going.  It is his brother and he should be the one to go, I should be the one to stay home with the sick baby.  When we made the decision to take her to the city, she was down to 99 with her fever.  And she had been down to 99 for a couple of hours.  But...she was medicated.  Deep down, I KNEW it was the wrong decision.  But I wanted to go.  I was being selfish and it was at my daughter's expense.  I'm the worst mother ever.

Mommy Mistake #2:  Letting panic rule the situation.  When we took her temp and it was 104.5, I became blinded by panic.  I couldn't see the forest through the trees.  My mind was seriously spinning and I was holding my baby and feeling like a rabid dog ready to attack anyone that tried to take her or tell me how to "fix her."  I just wanted the clouds to part and the answer of what to do to be behind them.  Immediately, Richie and I started fighting.  He wanted me to dunk her in the fountain and I wanted to follow Dr. Natalie's advice to never bring a fever down too fast by using cold water.  Buckingham Fountain is cold water.  He ripped her out of my arms and said that if I wasn't going to do something about it, he would.  That is when I lost my mind.  How could someone (my husband!) say that I wasn't doing something about it.  I just needed time to process.  Now mind you, all of this happened in the span of about 5-10 minutes.  I was wracking my brain trying to think of Dr. Natalie's last name or the name of her practice.  I was blank.  I did what I knew I could, and called the fired doctor.  In his defense, he responded to the page within 2-3 minutes.  Richie and I both let panic rule the situation and we instantly turned on each other in a time of crisis. 

Mommy Mistake #3:  The ambulance ride.  Upon arriving at the medical tent...her fever came back down to the 102-103 range.  The cool cloths and the Motrin was beginning to work.  Mommy instinct said to save the time of the ambulance (and the bill) and find a cab.  She would be okay to last the run for a few blocks to get a cab.  I ignored that instinct and listened to the MD in the tent and let the ambulance paramedics strap my baby to the stretcher and off we went.

Mommy Mistake #4:  Psycho Mommy wins again.  If I could have had a non-panicked mind at that very moment, I would have been able to reason with the situation.  She was dressed in a long-sleeved onesie, shorts, socks & shoes.  It was warm.  I was hot.  How much of that 104.5 was due to the heat and her being dressed?  If I could have stripped her down, gave her the motrin, sat under a shady tree and calmed her down....I could have brought the fever down to a manageable range.  I could have gotten back to the train and back home.  Crisis averted.  I would have saved the panic, the fight with my husband, the money, the time.  Why couldn't I find that place within myself to look at the situation from a calmer place? 

Mommy Mistake #5:  Pity Party, table for one.  Since the whole fever in the park incident....I've placed myself in a position of me vs. him.  Him=Richie.  Am I keeping score or what?  I am sitting on the pity pot because I feel that I'm putting in all the time and effort and what is he doing?  I'm up with her from 5:30 in the morning till 9:30 at night.  Holding her through naps, ignoring my own needs to eat/drink/pee/shower, holding her down while they shove a catheter inside her, holding her down while they xray her and she screams because she's terrified of the machine, holding her down while they draw blood from her arm, holding her down while they give her a shot in the muscle in her thigh, holding her while she cries for 4 hours because she's been through so much and just wants a break herself.....  He is the worker of the family.  He "goes" to work to pay for our nice life.  My job is to be the mom...which is all encompassing.  So why am I so angry with him?  Last night I just wanted a break.  I was starting to feel sick.  I was achey and had a head ache and was falling asleep sitting up.  I needed a break.  Our tire is still losing air so we had a tire appointment (previously made, before the illness got bad).  I told him to cancel it and we'll deal with the tire another time.  He wanted to just get it done.  He left to fix the tire, I stayed with our sick baby.  There is no break when you're the mom.  I don't get to leave the house to go to work and leave it behind me.  I don't get to go to fix the tire and get some fresh air or listen to the radio.  It's amazing how lack of sleep and intense stress can make the smallest things seem like mountains.  I understand his side too though (I just can't grasp it in the heat of being pissed off as he walks out the door and leaves me with the sick baby on my chest) that he's having to leave to provide for his family and knowing that not going to work is costing us one day of pay.  He has to leave behind a baby girl, that his world revolves around, and worry all day about her being sick and not being there to make it okay.  I get it.  But like I already said, it's hard to reason like that when I'm sitting there feeling like crap and seeing him get to shower, get dressed and go out the door.  I'm talking in circles.
One thing I have learned from this whole me vs. him thing, is that we need to decide where we stand on how we're raising Kinley and the decisions we have made for her care and learn to STICK TO THEM.  When we are faced with an emergency, like we were at the park, we will hopefully avoid the whole "to dunk or not to dunk" fight.  Is it even possible to think that we could come to common grounds on the plan for her care like that?  I'm not so sure.

I wish that guys/dads felt the need to self-evaluate.  Wouldn't that make things so much nicer!?  Maybe that is why moms/women are what we are!  We constantly self-evaluate and seek to improve.

My sick baby girl...

O.M.G.  I rarely use that "phrase" but right now, it's the best way to sum it up.  I've had a baby attached to me for three days.  Where do I start? 

First of all, I want to thank everyone for their concern and prayers for our Kinley Bug.  I sure hope that we're on the up-swing...but I'm not confident in that quite yet.

So it started on Friday, she was fussy and refused napping and started running a low grade temp.  No big deal.  We have been blaming her lack of naps, poor night time sleeping, fussiness on teething.  She's now ten months old with no teeth. Surely they've got to be coming, right?

Saturday the low grade continued but she acted completely fine.  Her appetite was great, her mood was good....we spent the day in the city going to the Aquarium and eating at Ed Debevics with our out of town guests.  She got warmer as the day went on but she was in great spirits. 

Saturday night was pure hell.  She was up every hour and her fever kept climbing.  She ended up in bed with us and finally was able to sleep for about three hours. 

Sunday morning was the marathon and I had decided that I would stay home with her and let Richie go to the city to cheer for Paul.  Her fever was up to about 102.5 at around 6 a.m.  By 8:30 we had it down to 99 and she was back to normal and playing on the floor as normal.  We started to think that maybe she was over it...  we decided that if she was still acting well by the time the 10:45 train time, we'd go ahead and take her in to see Paul finish the race and then come straight home.

Train time came around and she was still doing fantastic, so we packed her up and to the city we went.  (Mommy mistake #1)  All the way there on the train she was doing great!  No fever, acting happy.... we thought the worst was behind us!  We both thought that it must be teething.  I still had that motherly instinct that had me on high alert, but I blamed that whole Psycho Mommy thing I have going on.  My most valuable lesson so far, is TRUST THAT INSTINCT.

We got off the train, still no fever.
We walked the few blocks from the train station to the marathon area....still no fever.
We found the finish line area, checked for fever....104.5.

WTF.  (I don't use that "phrase" too often either.)

PANIC.  The family (Richie's mom, dad, sister) found us and saw the fear that we had while I held our baby girl, down to a diaper and crying.  They told me to run her to Buckingham Fountain and dunk her to cool her down.  All that was going through my mind at that moment was when our new (trusted?) pediatrician said to me "febrile seizures are brought on by the temp going up or down too quickly...that is why we don't recommend cool baths for fevered babies."  I had her advice in my head and the family (Richie's mom is a nurse, so she knows) telling me to do the opposite.  I didn't know what to do!  We didn't have our car in the city to just go home.  All of the streets were closed down, so we couldn't get to a cab to get back to the train...I've never felt so stranded IN MY LIFE.  We put Kinley in her stroller and thought that walking her around in the shade would help her to stop crying and calm down.  It didn't work.  She cried harder when I put her down.
I couldn't remember our new doctor's last name.  We call her "Dr. Natalie" everyone calls her "Dr. Natalie" and I couldn't remember the name of the freakin' practice.  I didn't program her number into my phone yet.  (Mommy Mistake #2).  All that I could remember was that pediatrician that we chose but then decided against after her 9 month well visit.  So I called him.  Told him the situation (for all he knew, we were still his patient.  I didn't officially "fire" him yet--thank God) and he said to get her to the ER immediately. 

OMG.  (I guess I do use this "phrase" more than I thought.)

It was like a movie, I was standing in the middle of Grant Park in Chicago, holding my screaming baby, looking all around and seeing NO ONE that could help us get our baby to the ER.  Richie ran up to a race official in a golf cart and said we have to get to the hospital now.  He told us to jump in and off we went.  Kinley was a limp rag at this time....completely lethargic.  Oh, let me back up.  As soon as we got the 104.5 reading, we gave her Motrin.

The golf cart took us to the marathon medical tent.  They got us cold rags and called an ambulance.  The only way out of there was via walking or an ambulance.  They didn't feel safe letting us walk a few blocks to an open street to catch a cab.  (Mommy Mistake #3).

The ambulance ride was THE MOST traumatic for both Kinley and me.  I never, ever, ever, ever, want to see my tiny baby strapped to a stretcher AGAIN.  I have never felt so helpless in my life.  Richie wasn't allowed to go with us so he had to run with the stroller to an open street to catch a cab to the ER.

Traffic was horrible.  With the marathon going on, there were an estimated 1+ million spectators in town.  All of that plus the usual city traffic....the ambulance didn't get far very fast.  The sirens were blaring, Kinley was screaming and I was doing my very best to rub her little ear lobe and sing "You Are My Sunshine" while trying to fight back the tears.  It was hell.  I didn't want Kinley to see me upset because I was trying to keep her from being more scared than she already was.

Finally got to Children's Memorial and rushed into the ER.  Her fever was down to 102.7 and they couldn't have been more relaxed.  They gave her a dose of Tylenol and that was about it.  No joke.  They said they consider a high fever to be 108.  ARE YOU ______ KIDDING ME?  In our defense, the doctor told us to come.  But they acted like we were fools for arriving via ambulance.  When they realized that we were standing in the middle of the marathon finish area when this all happened, they quickly changed their tune and understood why we had to do what we did.  Richie arrived about twenty minutes after we did ($16 cab ride, damn!).  Kinley was up and playing pat-a-cake before we were discharged with orders to follow up with the "fired" doctor.

We cabbed it back to the train station.  Had a two hour wait for our train back home so we grabbed some food in the food court.   Kinley ate and drank and acted fine.  Little booger.
Her fever remained in the 101-102 range all night long.  She went back to being lethargic and miserable Sunday night.

Monday we woke up and her fever was still at 102.  I called Dr. Natalie and was completely disappointed.  I had to jump through so many hoops and talk to THREE different people to convince them to get me in that day.  What is it with doctor's offices up here?!  Seriously!  My baby has been sick since Friday, was seen in the ER on Sunday and is STILL fevered.  GET HER IN!  After the third person I talked to, they agreed to see her at 11:45.

Upon arrival at the doctor....her fever was 102.7 and Dr. Natalie pushed the call button to get the nurses in there.  She immediately ordered her to be catheterized, a chest xray and blood culture "stat".  PANIC!  Why?  What did she think was wrong?  She initially thought a UTI or Pneumonia. 

As a mom, having to hold your baby down for these procedures has got to be the worst.  I think she cried for the entire four hour appointment.  Yes, we were there for FOUR hours. 

The urine came back clear.  UTI ruled out.
The chest xray came back clear.  Pneumonia ruled out.
Blood culture came back questionable.  White blood cell count is 10,000 at a normal range.  She expects it to be 15,000 for a sick infant.  Kinley is at 18,000.  The level that shows she's fighting a bacterial infection is at 8.0 and the level that says she's fighting a viral infection is 8.1 (or vice versa, I can't remember for sure--and there are "technical terms" for these levels but remembering those are not high on my priority list).  So we are left with a big fat ?.  The other issue is that another level of cells (sorry, can't remember that technical name either) is elevated and shouldn't be.  She explained it to me as this.....think of these cells as your army.  The white blood cells are your front line.  You send more "guys" out when you're sick and need them to fight.  This group (the elevated ones that I can't remember the name of) is the army that is still in boot camp.  They aren't mature enough to be "sent out" to fight anything.  So why is her body over producing them right now? 

She decided to give her a shot of Roceffin (sp?) and see her again today.  She isn't sure that what she's fighting is bacterial but she said it was her only line of possible defense.  We go back this afternoon, 24 hours from the time of the shot.

I have noticed that her fever hasn't gone above 101 since the shot, but she's very limp and lethargic still. 

I don't know what to think.  We had about an hour of "Happy  Kinley" last night and daddy gave mommy a 10 minute breather break and read her a book.  She's been nursing like a champ (thank goodness, cause that is the best medicine) but her appetite has dwindled to not much of anything. 

All that  I can say is that this has been the worst time of my life.  I can't help her and she looks at me with these tear soaked eyelashed eyes and just wants me to fix it.  I can promise that I won't give up until we find answers as to why the fever won't go away.  I don't care how much the tests cost.  I don't care how many doctors we have to go to.  I don't care whose feelings I will hurt.  The reason for the fevers and sickness is there, we just have to find it. 

Today is day 5 of fever and sickness.  Hopefully it's the last.  So many things have come to light during this time of trial as  parents.  Lots of things to work through, that's for sure.  But that is for another time....and another blog.   So many of you have been asking what was going on with her that I felt I should take my first break (in several days) to fill you in. 

She woke up at 5:30 this morning crying, fevered, etc.  I nursed her and she sat up in my lap for a couple of hours.  She fell asleep on my shoulder and I carried her to bed.  This is her first nap in her crib in a long time. Normally if I put her down she this could be a good sign.  I needed this nap, and so did she.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Talking about butts....

We are having major diaper fitting issues.  Well, not "we" but Kinley.  She fits in the size 2 diapers, but they just aren't tall enough.  Her little butt crack hangs out.  And we're not ready for her to be in "low rise" just yet.  So we up'd her to size 3.  Those things are monstrous! Pampers makes a 2/3.  Perfect!  Right?  No.
See on the left:  The size 2/3 is on top of the size 3.  On the right, they are side by side. 

They just took the size 3 and put it in the Swaddlers material and called it good.  They are slightly more narrow but other than than, the same.  Grrr.  So I need to find a size 2 diaper that is taller. 
Why am I putting so much energy and thought into a diaper?  I really do have too much time on my hands.  Well, it's just that Kinley woke up at 5:30 with us this morning and then decided that nap would be at 7:30.  So now I've got unexpected free time.  I really should be cleaning, since we have out of town guests coming in for the Chicago Marathon weekend.  But I'd rather obsess about diapers than clean my house.

Yesterday I made a step towards my working out goal...I brought the P90X box up from the basement.  So now I've just got to open it and put it in the DVD player.  Baby steps.

And because I really have nothing else to say, some Kinley cuteness: (I love her ghetto booty in these pants)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Let it go

I'm so proud of me.  Day two of getting out of the house.  I know, I know....big accomplishment, eh?  But it's haaaarrrrd!  When you have a ten month old in's not an easy task.  I'm sure I make it ten times harder than it has to be, but I do that with everything in life. So yeah, Kinley and I went to go and get my stupid tire fixed (it has a slow leak) and go to Ulta (ahhhhhh, the angels sing).  The tire place was booked and could only air me up for today, so we have an appointment to get it fixed tomorrow night.  Kinley fell asleep between the tire place and Ulta.  Of course.

I always feel like such a bad mom when she falls asleep in the car.  Why?  Psycho mom.  That's why.  So while running over to Ulta (ahhhhhhhh, the angels sing) I saw that there was an Old Navy just a few doors down and luckily I had my return in the car with me.  I was able to return the two shirts that Kinley didn't wear for her 9 month pictures.  Go me!  I am so proud of myself when I actually make the returns that I intend to return.  Normally, they sit in the bag for a good year or so and then just go with the Goodwill stuff.  I still have one more return to do at H&M but those stores are always on the opposite ends of the Earth from where I'm at when Kinley is return tolerable. 

So yesterday, I was in my b!tch mood.  I had such a good start to my day and then it all just fell apart by the simple facts that Kinley refused naps and my housework didn't get done.  That's about all it takes for my day to crumble.  Pretty pathetic, huh.  Grow thicker skin, Joy.  Geez.

Richie came home yesterday, knowing of the mood that I was in, and being the completely amazing guy that he's become, tells me that I should just try to relax and he'll cook.  That always makes me feel like such an ass.  He means well and is serious when he says that he'll do it, but I just know and feel that it's my "job" to take care of it....know what I mean?  But he comes home and tells me that he got me a surprise.  I was a crab and didn't even get excited.  He told me that he got us front row tickets to see The Lion King on broadway in Chicago.  The one thing that I've been begging for since we started dating.  He got me FRONT ROW.  I'm such a b!tch.  I should have been doing cartwheels or flips or something.  But no.  I sat on the floor and just said "thanks."  Worst wife ever. 

So now I have tickets to go see The Lion King.  Which in turn makes me have to plan a babysitter.  Immediately I call my mom (three hours away) and ask if she can come up to watch Kinley.  She gladly agreed and the plan was set.  She'd take the train up on Friday and stay through Sunday.  Done. 

Why do I have the need to feel all panicked and freaked out?  The show is not for another month and I'm already a nervous wreck about leaving Kinley.  It's with MY MOM, for crying out loud.  Psycho mom strikes again!  (I think of myself as a Superman type character, with my pink cape blowing in the wind....)  I can't help it but to feel this panic mess when I think of not being with my baby.  She'll be 11 months old when the show comes around...she's going to be fine.  My mom and step-dad love her more than words can describe and would never put her in harms way.  I KNOW THIS.  What is the deal? 

Over the weekend at the family reunion, I guess I was too hawk like with Kinley.  On the way home, I got my lecture about letting go.  Richie has the ability to walk away and not hyper-ventilate when he's not in arm's length of Kinley.  I've not learned that trick yet.  Is it because I stay home with her?  Is it her NICU stay?  Am I just a tried and true psycho mom?  Why am I like this?  Regardless of where we are or who we're with....I am near Kinley.  It's not that I don't trust's just that I trust myself with her more.  Hmmm, that doesn't make sense.... 

I hope that it lessens up.  Especially with talk of another baby....I will be so completely exhausted, even more than I am now.  Vacations alone with my husband sound soooo enticing but I would pass because I would never leave Kinley.  And if I have another baby....would that set me back even further on my self-weaning?  I mean....Kinley is almost a year old.  (insert a tear here)  I would like to think that I'm slightly better about leaving her now than I was a year ago?  No?  So if I have another I going to be as psycho with that one?  If so...then Richie and I will not have a vacation alone for several more years.  hmmmmm, maybe life with one child is the ticket?!

My step-dad is burning our camcorder (is that what they're called these days?) tapes onto DVD for us and he just finished Kinley's first month.  Richie and I sat to watch it and I had forgotten that we video'd her in the NICU.  OMG.  Those days seemed to c.r.a.w.l. by...and the "attacks" that I was having and blaming on anxiety were so horrible.  I can see it on my face in the videos.  It looks like I'm a miserable existence...and it's because I was.  If only I had known about the gall bladder going whack after having a baby....maybe I would have gotten myself checked out instead of sitting in agony for over a month.  I feel like I was robbed for so many moments with my newly born baby. 

Coulda woulda shoulda, right?

Maybe I can blame my psycho-momminess (that's a word, right?) on that....the gall bladder going whack.  You think?  Are all first-time moms like me?  Richie claims that I am the exception.  :)  I kind of like being the exception.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My child refuses to let me blog....

I've been a bad blogger.  I guess I took a small hiatus.  But for good reason....  my child hasn't allowed me much free time lately.  My usual morning "me time" has been shared with the Kinley Grace.  She's been gracing me with her presence at about 6:30 every morning...and my lazy butt has been sleeping in till 6:15.  Which allowed me only enough time to pee, start coffee, pour a cup of coffee and then get Kinley up.  She nurses and then my coffee is cold.  I've been sort of grumpy the last couple of days.  Understandably so.

No really...I guess I haven't blogged because I've been such a Debbie Downer since returning home from our weekend trip south.  I hate being a crabby blogger....cause who really wants to read that?!  I'm down on myself about my weight, about being tired, about not cleaning my house as well as I should.  I feel like I'm just failing on all fronts and it just sucks. 

I'm not going to allow myself to self-hate right now.  That wasn't the point of sitting down mid-afternoon (actually, it's late afternoon) to blog.  I finally got around to running some of the errands that have been looming for two days....I got Kinley home and she supposed to be napping, but she's up there crying.  Grrrrr.  I'm learning to not run and get her when she fights her naps.  She's supposed to be "learning" to self soothe and put herself to sleep.  I did my mommy duty of nursing her and rocking her to sleep...but if she chooses to jump right back up after I lay her down, then it's her deal to do on her own.  I sound harsh.  I'm not a mean mommy, I swear.

Kinley and I went to Target today for a candle lighter, and return a pair of shoes that I had bought for her thinking she needed them for pictures.  What I didn't realize is that she already had shoes for her pictures.  Oops.  So I returned the the candle lighter and about $30 in other things.  Why can't I stick to my list when I go in that store?  Geez.  But while we were there, we cruised through the toy aisles because I'm trying to get ideas for her first birthday gifts.  I saw that they are bringing back the Fisher Price "old school" toys...I remember these things from when I was in Sunday school at church.  I was so excited to see them on the shelf in their old school packaging.  They had the telephone:   Fisher Price Classic Pull Toy: Chatter Telephone and they had the television:  Basic Fun Two Tone Television and the record player:  Basic Fun Fisher Price Record Player and the clock (which was Kinley's pick):  Fisher - Price® Music Box Teaching Clock.  These toys are so cool!  So much better than today's version that will cost you a small fortune in batteries. 

While at my mom's on Sunday, she gave me a new lotion.  I "hinted" that I needed more of the Love Spell products from Philosophy and she said that she found a new scent called "Pink Sugar." Pink Sugar By Aquolina For Women, Body Lotion, 8.4-Ounce Bottle  Man, it smells almost exactly the same...and it's much more affordable.  So she gave me her tube of lotion and now I'm good to go!  Spoiled by my momma, that's for sure!

I still have two returns to do and a tire to get patched...but that will have to wait for another day.  My errand time is limited to about two hours.  That's about all that Kinley will tolerate.  Maybe tomorrow we'll get to go out again.  We have family coming to town this weekend for the Chicago Marathon.  My brother-in-law is running in it and we're all going to be there cheering him on.  After this weekend, I think things calm down for a while.  Just enough time to prepare for the holiday traveling. 

Kinley is still crying.  TTFN

Friday, October 1, 2010

See ya on the flip side!

Not much time to blog today!  Kinley decided to join me for my "me time" this morning.  And that's okay.  I enjoyed her company.  We're going to my husband's family reunion this weekend so it's going to be a long one!  Lots of road time.  I've got so much prep to do before leaving tonight so instead of a babbling blog, I'll leave you with this instead:
It was taken with my phone, so forgive the fuzzy quality.  Have a great weekend!
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