Monday, October 31, 2011

Word of the Week: Happy Halloween

Our first stop this Halloween was the assisted living facility where the boy's great grandfather lives. We somehow managed to time our arrival right at the beginning of dinner so Xander goes stomping into the dining room saying "I'm a Dragon! ROAR, ROAR, ROAR!" I thought he was going to give some of the little old ladies heart attacks but they survived! Everyone seemed to enjoy the boys in their cute costumes and Pop even gave them some candy for their baskets- albeit reluctantly (I think he wanted to keep the candy for himself...). Then they got to trick or treat at the front desk too so all in all it was a profitable trip for the boy's candy stash at least.

We spent Halloween night at Nan's house and went trick or treating with the boy's cousins, aunt and uncle in Dover. Nan stayed at the house to welcome trick or treaters and the 7 of us set out to terrorize the neighborhood with cuteness, It was a very nice time and the kids had fun. Xander had no trouble at all keeping up with the big kids but James trailed a little bit but he insisted on walking the while way himself. The hardest part was keeping them out of their candy buckets the second we got back inside. We had pizza and then headed home for some much needed sleep!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Holy Snowball Batman!

30-32 INCHES!!!!!! of snow to be more precise.

We have no heat or power so we are fleeing to Nan's where she has power and heat but no phone or internet so we'll be incognito for awhile! See you on the flip side!

This pic is a little blurry but you can see the nice pile up of snow on the roof of the chicken coop and the geese nestled in the snow in front of the coop- they are blending in nicely. There are also a couple of ducks visible in the driveway if you look carefully. Don't you love the 2 foot wall of snow left by the snowblower as is cut it's path down the driveway?!?!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Yarn Along

I'm yarning along again with Ginny this week. Come and join the fun...
I continue working on this shrug. I've now completed three rounds of lace with one more left to go. After the lace comes 4-5 inches of ribbing and then another 8 or so inches of jersey so I have a long way to go yet! One month left until my self-imposed deadline! I hope I make it. I just need to not get too distracted by other projects. I may need to take a break from the lace this week though to keep things fresh.

I had to take a break from HeLa this week because the book I requested from the library came in and it was only a one week loan. I figured they would just get it interlibrary loan but they actually bought it for the library. I finished it this afternoon. The book is Deadly Choices: How the Anti-vaccine Movement Threatens Us All by Dr Paul Offit. I am going to preface this by saying that I do believe in vaccination and I have vaccinated my children. I have seen too many kids get sick and die of preventable diseases (as a nurse and as a Peace Corps volunteer) that I just can't believe otherwise. That said I believe that it is my duty as a parent to know and learn as much as possible about the choices that I make for my children. So I like to research things like vaccination. I was expecting Dr Offit's book to be more of a scientific text but it is really a history book about the anti-vaccine movement- how it began and evolved over time. I found the tone pretty heavy handed at times- Dr Offit is quite obviously not anti-vaccine and doesn't have much use for those who are! There was a lot of very interesting information in this book and it is scientifically based with plenty of references to keep me reading for a long time! His facts about herd immunity and the rates of immunization are pretty chilling I must say. Unfortunetly I feel like this book is mostly preaching to the choir as opposed to helping encourage people who fear or are worried about vaccinating to do so. I wanted him to use fact and reason and scientific evidence to convince me that it is absolutely the right choice to vaccinate my children and while there is plenty of that in his book there is also plenty of bashing on anti-vaccine advocates. While some of his points are valid and it is frustrating to see misinformation being spread by people in power I found that the overall tone of the book was negative to the point of distraction. I was more focused on cringing at the next swing of the insult bat that I couldn't really pay attention to the science that was underlying his points. All in all, if you ignore the negative tone, this is a really fascinating history lesson.

In the mail today I received the newest Yarn Harlot book- All Wound Up. I am so looking forward to reading it. I have already read the introduction and was laughing out loud by page 5. She begins with discussing the common question of "how do have time to knit?" I have heard that question so many times recently and have thought a lot about it so it was pretty amusing to realize that I am not the only knitter who is bombarded by questioning when knitting in public. It's still amazing to me that people don't even know the difference between knitting and crochet- I mean one needle vs two.... how hard is that! When people ask me how I have time to knit, my standard reply is that I make time because knitting is my therapy. I have a really hard time sitting still so when I have a meeting or on my lunch break (when I get one) or am watching tv in the evening with the hubby or am sitting waiting I always have some knitting with me. Keeping my hands busy keeps me much more focused and patient- something I definitely struggle with. I love to sew but I also love the fact that knitting is so portable. I can knit anywhere! Besides there is something just soothing about knitting and purling- so simple and easy- and look at the beautiful things you can make. My creative side likes to shine sometimes. So while I should finish reading HeLa, I will probably read through the Yarn Harlot and torture my wonderful hubby with read alouds and generally have fun reading about knitting instead!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Yarn Along

Yarning along again with Ginny this week. Come and join us!

Well not too much has changed since last week's yarn along! I am still working on this shrug. I have finished two lace repeats and am about 4 rows into the 3rd so halfway done with the lace at least with a month left to go before my self-imposed deadline. I should be extremely proficient at p3tog tbl by the time I am done with this but it is definitely slowing me down. I was also slowed down by the fact that I started a whole other project! This will have to be my mystery project for now as it is for someone who visits here. I ordered the yarn before I started on my shrug and then when it came in the mail I just had to dive into it. Probably not the best call time management wise but when the yarn calls I must follow! I am using Knit Picks Chroma Worsted. It is so incredibly soft I just love it. I'd say it is comparable to Malabrigo Worsted but with very different colorways. I wish it had some solids to go along with it but I'll make do. The colorway is a little different than I anticipated- more gray- the downfall of buying yarn online- but the way the color shifts from one to the next is really beautiful. I also bought some yarn to make another little something for myself so I have to get the shrug done so I can move on!

So since I have been obsessively knitting the last week I haven't made much progress in my book. I've only read a few chapters more than last week so commentary will have to wait until I am finished. The one really nice thing about this book though is despite the weighty subject matter it really reads like a novel. I did make it to the library and ordered a book off my list inter library loan so hopefully that will be here by the time I finish HeLa and the Yarn Harlot's new books came out yesterday so I will be reading that as soon as it comes in the mail (the joys of pre-order). Hopefully I will actually have time to read everything I've got planned because in addition to obsessively knitting my house is in serious need of some spring cleaning- only a few months late!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Word of the Week: Hedgehog

We had our Audiology appointments yesterday and gasp, all is well! Xander did amazing. It is so cool to see how the ways they test their hearing changes as they get older and are more interactive- able to point at things etc. Xander had fun wearing the headphones and the expressions on his face when he could hear the whistling were totally priceless! They hold a block and they are supposed to drop the block in a bucket when they hear the whistling but Xander didn't even need to drop the block to let you know he was hearing the whistles- his face said it all. Tympanograms show that his tubes are open and his hearing is within normal ranges. His right ear finally stopped draining so we are going to assume that the ear infection is cleared up for now. We did culture it last week and it was also postitive for MRSA, but the culture showed that it was sensitive to sulfa so the Bactrim should have worked. We'll just have to keep a close eye on it per usual.

James' hearing also appears to still be within normal ranges. He was much less cooperative than Xander so honestly I am not really sure how they tell sometimes. He did respond to voices so he can hear those at least. He wasn't very responsive to the tones but it's hard to tell if he really understood what to do when he heard random noises. I took him to the Dr last week and he didn't have any drainage in his infected ear then so yeah! The NP also couldn't see a tube in his left ear but his tympanogram Monday was normal for having a tube so either the tube was hiding or he still has a hole from the tube. So in anticipation of him being discharged from RISE for speech therapy I am going to take some videos of him so I can track his progress. He's been doing so well speech wise that without a documented hearing loss he no longer qualifies for early intervention. So here we have the word of the week (Xander may also make guest appearances....). Enjoy!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bedroom Reno Update

I know I promised pictures when it was all done and really I will post some but the reality is that it hasn't been quite done yet. We got all the major work done and now have been tied up with little details.. Frank finally finished my closet this weekend so now I can post pictures. Once I get my closet back together I can get some pictures of the room itself. I couldn't take pictures before because all the stuff from my closet was inhabiting the bedroom floor! Of course Frank still needs to finish his closet so he can get his stuff out of the way too!

Isn't my new closet beautiful!?!?!?!?! There is so much more storage with the corner unit and while I did lose a little hanging space the extra shelves will be totally worth it. I also love the fact that everything is on the one wall so you can actually stand and look at things- with the shelves on the right wall before it was such a tight squeeze in there. I'm using the 2 small drawers for all my jewelry and small items so they can stop cluttering up my dresser and as I have been putting things back I have been doing some major purging. I realized that most of my pre-baby shoes actually no longer fit me so I had to get rid of about half my shoes. It's so sad.... but in a way it feels great to have a new clean space that I can fill with things that actually fit me and that I am really going to wear! Now to get organizing....

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Yarn Along

Here I am yarning along again with Ginny. Come and join the fun!
So I did put James' Milo aside again and began this shrug for myself. I had a bit of a rough start as I had to cast it on a second time after twisting the first try. Even after being extremely careful I still managed to get it twisted the second time but I got it untwisted before it became unsalvageable! It actually is a very pretty lace pattern (when you get it right!!!) and because the rounds are so long it actually seems easier to keep going than some of the other lace I have done but the p3tog tbl are going to be the death of me! I never want to have to do those again but I will have had a lot of practice by the time this is over. I have been working on it for a week and only have 1.5 rounds of lace done and I need to do 4 so my goal of Thanksgiving to be done may be out of reach but I am going to give it my best shot.

I am still reading The Immortal Life of HEnrietta LAcks which is really fascinating. It's amazing how far we have come in the practice of medical ethics in only the last 50 years. This certainly isn't a quick or easy read but it it very enlightening and thought provoking. I'm reserving final judgement until I finish it. I have been listening to a lot of NPR recently and they frequently do book reviews so I have a whole list of books that I am interested in reading. My plan is to take James to story hour at the Library tomorrow and do some interlibrary loan requests since my Amazon wishlist has now made it to 6 pages....

In less exciting news James' ear infection hasn't really gotten better in the last week so we go back to the Dr on Thursday. Since yesterday he has been rubbing fiercely at his right ear and saying that it hurts but he hasn't had any drainage so I question whether or not his tube is still functioning. We have an audiology visit on the 17th so I guess we will find out for sure then. Prayers for healthy ears would certainly be welcome...

Friday, October 7, 2011


Because some things are too cute not to share.... James is doing very well with his speech as you can see- so well in fact that he will most likely be discharged from early intervention in the next few weeks. He had his six month review last week and he would have been discharged then except that he has a hearing test scheduled next week. We thought we would wait and make sure his hearing continues to be in the normal range before dicharging him. Especially given the nasty ear infection he has going on it seemed prudent to make sure his hearing was still normal. His ear has finally started to clean up after 5 days of antibiotics and he is back to his impish self!

I have slightly mixed feelings about all this- I am extremely thankful that his hearing has been within normal range and that his speech is so dramatically improved but I still question whether the ear tubes were really the right decidion to have made- for both the boys. I can't help but wonder how having MRSA in their ears in going to affect them in the long term and the need for so many antibiotics worries me as well. What happens when or if the sulfa antibiotics no longer work? We have to move onto IV or IM antibiotics- one of which is gentamicin which can be ototoxic in children. The reality is they may have gotten MRSA anyway but at least if they hadn't had tubes then it wouldn't have penetrated their ear drums. But if they hadn't had the tubes and the hearing loss continued it could have become permanent or it would have significantly delayed their speech which could have in turn delayed other things. So which is the lesser of 2 evils? I think this is a dilemna that as a parent you face all the time. We have to make decisions for our children that are potentially going to affect them for the rest of their lives and sometimes those decisions are less clear than we would like. I have to believe that we made the right decision at the time with the information that we had- who knew both boys would develop a very rare complication that would lead to continued ear infections- but hindsight is always 20/20.

That being said I guess I better make sure that James is really on the waitlist for pre-school next year!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Yarn Along

Here I am yarning along with Ginny again this week. Come and join us! Mostly I have been working on James' Milo this week. I have the yolk finished and am moving onto the body. I somehow messed up the cable after the first repeat so I had to rip out an inch or so and redo the cable so I am not quite back to where I was before-the hazards of late night knitting! I'm about to take a break again from this and work on an origami shrug for myself. It will be the first big thing that I have knit for myself ever and I am very afraid. I have had the pattern and the yarn for almost a year but I'm so afraid I'll spend all that time knitting and then it won't fit or I will hate it, blah blah blah. I figured a shrug would be a good place to start because the fit should be forgiving. We are attending a wedding next month so it also gives me a deadline, which is why the milo will be put aside again for awhile seeing as the deadline for that isn't until Christmas. I have way too many things I want to do in the next 3 months!

I am reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks- truthfully I should say I have just started it since I have only read about 10 pages so far. The whole moral and ethical morass that this book represents makes my head ache a little. When does the good of the many outweigh the good of the few or in this case the one? From what I have read so far there is no way that it was moral or ethical for these scientists to have used Ms. Lacks cells in the way that they did but the good that has come from the research is undeniable. So we'll see what I think when I get to the end of the book...

The boys are feeling better. Xander's fever finally broke and he is definitely feeling better as he runs around the house like a madman! I think the 2 of them are making up for lost time seeing as they couldn't terrorize me or the house for almost 24 hours straight! James started feeling better before Xander which was really a problem because all he wanted to do was play with his brother and the last thing Xander wanted was James trying to wrestle with him. But they seem mostly back to their old selves this afternoon. Their ears are still pretty gooey and yucky but it has only been 48 hours of abx and they are both on a 10 day course. It took almost 5 days for Xander's ear to clear up with our first round of MRSA. I have a feeling that the runny noses are here to stay for the winter. It's truly amazing to me how much drainage one tiny little nose is capable of producing. I finally succumbed and purchased one of these from so we'll see how it works once it arrives. I made the somewhat dumb mistake of trying to get the free super saver shipping and combining the item that I wanted now with a pre-order for a book coming out 10/18. What I didn't realize is that because they ship everything at once it means that the 2 things I kinda wanted now won't ship until the book is released- whoops! I am really excited though about the book- it is Stephanie Pearl McPhee's newest All Wound Up. I so enjoyed her last 2 Yarn Harlot books I couldn't resist ordering the new one. Future yarn along post anyone...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Welcome to the land of MRSA, again...

I haven't had the chance to post the pictures from James' birthday party because we have been in the land of the sick. Last week James started with a ear infection. He had a really restless night on Monday and you could just smell it on him (when you have been through as many ear infections as we have you begin to recognize the early symptoms and one of them is a funky smell- the staph smell as we call it). By Tuesday morning his ear was draining so we started the Ofloxacin drops as usual. By Tuesday night I was already considering taking him in for a culture but Wednesday morning it looked so much better so we thought well maybe the ofloxacin is working... Wednesday night told a different story- by then there was thick neon yellow pus draining from his left ear. So Thursday I took a culture and brought it to the lab on my way to work. Friday's preliminary result looked promising as there were few bacteria so we decided with our pediatrician to continue with the ofoxacin rather than putting him on oral antibiotics until the final result came in. Over the weekend the infection got no better but also got no worse. When my phone rang at 8:30 on the dot this morning and the caller id identified the pediatrician, I knew what he was going to tell me already. James' culture showed MRSA.

Xander was diagnosed with a MRSA ear infection back in the spring but I was hoping we could avoid it in James. To top it all off Xander started getting sick on Saturday evening with that same staph smell and his right ear began draining Sunday morning. We didn't get a culture on Xander's ear bit it also looks suspiciously like MRSA. They say you can't tell a difference by looking at a regular staph infection vs a MRSA infection but I swear they look different to me. Maybe it is becasue we had been using the Ofloxacin, which the MRSA is resistant to, that gives it a particular look and smell but that neon yellow pus is a tell.

James doesn't really seem to be bothered by the ear infection except for the goo draining from his ear. Actually he whacked his finger the other day when he was pounding some rocks together outside and I swear his finger bothers him more than his ear. Granted he did quite a number on his finger; I'm not sure his nail is going to stay attached but he doesn't seem too bothered by pain in his ear. Xander, however, is another story. The poor little guy is miserable. He had a temp this afternoon of 103.4, has goo draining from his ear, his nose is running like a faucet, he is flushed, he's sneezing and coughing all over the place, and he is achy all over. I've allowed him to watch way more television than I would care to admit today but he has moved from being a lump in the bed to a lump on the couch and back. He didn't even finish his yogurt!

So they were both started on antibiotics this morning, which have already caused some nasty side effects, but we are hoping that the Bactrim will work becasue if not we have to move onto some really heavy guns. The next drug in line is probably gentamicin, which can be ototoxic in young children and has to be given by injection or by IV so we'd like to avoid that if possible! We had good sucess with the Bactrim in the past for Xander so prayers for 2 healthy little boys by the end of the week.