Monday, December 22, 2014

So close

Can you feel it in the air? Christmas is almost here!

Seriously though, it's going to look like Elsa threw up in my house after Thursday. sparkle stuff.

There will be squealing

To get into the spirit of things, we've been doing all of the stereotypical Christmas traditions, like posing with Elvis on a tractor.

Elvis looks like an old lady

There was also the time honored tradition of watching antique toy trains.

Heating is optional

We had a new attraction this year called "The Christmas Village" and it had some bumps in the road with traffic flow, but the kids still had a great time. They didn't even notice that they met the "No Fucks Left to Give" Santa.

Mutual distrust

Yes, Cordelia is wearing both pajamas and an Elsa costume. She's going through that phase of wanting to pick her own stuff to wear and as long as it's warm enough, I don't care enough to fight about it.

Santa just told Cordelia that she's on the naughty list

I'm helping bring the festive spirit to everyone I met by wearing my new Christmas sweater as often as possible. It's super classy.

I'm going to embarrass my kids so much when they are older

I hope everyone has been enjoying the holiday season!

What's the best ugly Christmas sweater you've ever seen? I saw one with a sloth wearing a Christmas hat, I can't really top that.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Even though we're only talking about two years, it sounds more significant when you say that my kid has suffered with GI issues her entire life. During this time, we've had the pleasure of witnessing why they call it "practicing medicine" and subjected her to various allergy testing and elimination diets and most recently, invasive testing. During the scoping, they took over 8 biopsies and the results came back as all normal.

Of course I didn't want them to find something horrible with the results, but the whole premise for subjecting her to the test was the promise of more information so we could treat her more effectively. The new game plan is to see if she magically stops having GI issues on her own in the next week, or else we go back to see the doctor and do...what? I'm not exactly sure. I'm positive that they have more painful or invasive things they could do to my kid under the guise of gathering helpful information. 

I asked the nurse if we still had to stay on the FODMAP diet (she didn't know) so now we're waiting to hear back from the doctor on his verdict. On one hand, I don't see any reason to keep restricting her diet if they can't even find something wrong with her and she's sick either way. Maybe she can't have gluten, but why should we keep restricting stupid shit like pumpkin and chocolate? Think of how happy she would be with a piece of chocolate. 

On the other hand, my husband and I agreed that we think the FODMAP diet made her happier and since we started that, her sleep improved so we will be extremely hesitant to take her off "just to see what happens." She's too little to understand what's going on and it feels cruel to give her things that might make her feel sick and then just watching her suffer through it. It would be much easier (I think?) with an older child because then we could explain why the doctors are ordering us to do this to her.

Obviously we don't really think the doctors are idiots. They just aren't the magicians we had hoped they would be. We've had a lot (and by a lot I mean the majority of nights for the past two years) of horrible nights where we couldn't console our kid and we've had a lot (and I do mean a lot) of diapers that make us wonder why they don't make "king sized" baby wipes. We've also been restricting the diet of our already (slightly, but still) underweight baby for months now. Do you know the rage of a hungry toddler who can't have any of her favorite foods?

Maybe we'll feel better after meeting with the doctor again, but maybe it will be another huge waste of a four hour trip and unnecessary stress for the baby. Only one way to find out!

If the subtly is too much, I'm clearly frustrated and most of all, tired. If a Johns Hopkins doctor (and professor if that matters) who specializes in pediatric inflammatory bowel diseases can't figure out how to make Cordelia feel normal, where do we go from here?

Bonus points if you're singing now

How many days are left of 2014? I'm ready to be done with this year already.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I lift things up and put them down

It's been a while since I had a post talking about my my non-running work outs and we're due for an update about the rebuilding of my broken ass body. It's a fascinating topic that I'm sure no one is sick of at all. For the first time since college, I've been weight training.

At first, it was frustrating and painful, but for some reason I stuck with it. Well, the secret is that there are these "boot camp" classes at really perfect times for my schedule and it's basically group personal training. This means that it's easy to attend and I have someone fixing my form and counting reps for me. That's seriously a stumbling block for me and weight training. I have deep hate for counting reps. I always lose count and then just guess based on how tired I feel as to how many more times I should go.

The classes make rep counting easier, but it took quite a few times before I could completely follow along. I spent most of the time (well, to be honest I still do) following the lead of the buff chicks who totally look like they know their shit.

I only do these type of weight training classes twice a week, but I've noticed a difference. I'm not sure I could do it more often because I need those days in between to Zumba my pain away. That's right, I said Zumba my pain away.

You know how slower runners always like to remind fast people that a mile is still a mile, no matter if it takes 6 minutes to cover or 12? Let's keep that in mind as I talk numbers for lifting.

Obviously my back surgery makes me very cautious about lifting, but as I go along I feel more confident about trying to push myself. Since I love to brag, I'd like everyone to know that I did 5 sets of 100lb deadlifts yesterday. What's a deadlift you say?

I'm not even blonde, so let's be more realistic with our GIFs here.

Now I'm starting to feel like I need to be doing these things in booty shorts to get the full experience. Another noob mistake!

If I was a better blogger, I'd have lots of pictures of me working out and videos of me regurgitating what the trainer told me and branding it as my own infinite workout wisdom. All I've got for you is this bathroom selfie that I took last month. Enjoy.

This isn't even my final form!

Do you weight train? I've always dabbled in it, but it's nice to have someone else crafting the workout for me instead of my aimless wandering of the weight room and shitty rep counting skills.

If you do weight train, is there an advantage to having the special shoes? I feel like running shoes work just fine, but peer pressure suggests that I'm wrong.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Making FODMAP kid food

You know how food blogs start of a recipe with a short, heart-felt introduction and use beautiful photography to entice you to recreate the dish at home? Please try to forget those blogs and indulge me as I share my first FODMAP approved homemade baking experiment to ever be successful. That's right, I modified a recipe all by myself and for once, it didn't suck.

One caveat first:  I'm not cooking diet food. I made this to try to encourage Cordelia to eat something and it's also one of Faith's favorite foods and my skinny kids need all the help they can get.

Kid Friendly FODMAP diet Banana Bread


3 very ripe bananas
1 stick of butter, melted
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp gluten free vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup gluten free flour (I used King Arthur Whole Grain Gluten Free blend)

In a mixer, toss the bananas in there and mix them until they are mashed. Add the melted butter, then the sugar and the eggs. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until just blended. Put in a greased baking tin and bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.

You guys, I don't even LIKE banana bread that much and I almost ate this all before the baby had a chance. It's like adding a bunch of butter and sugar to a recipe can make it taste awesome! I tapped into Paula Deen's secret!

Both kids were excited to devour the bread (or cake as Faith calls it) and it's the first time something gluten free hasn't tasted like sawdust to me.

Imagine a prettier picture


Best lunch ever!

Faith recommends serving the bread warm, slathered with butter. She actually gave me back the first slice because it "needs more butter." She had three slices for lunch yesterday and proceeded to run laps around the house afterwards before passing out for a nap. 10/10 would recommend serving to your kids.

Are you a banana bread fan? It's like coffee for me because I love the way it smells, but I hate the way it tastes unless you had a lot of sugar.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sign me up for the cult of awesome

As you might expect for this time of year, our weekend has been jam packed full of festive seasonal events and holiday shopping. Or...not so much.

Saddest toddler EVER

Cordelia is still dealing with her illness, so we laid low all weekend. We feel awful for her, but the doctors seem really unconcerned about her state. On the third day of fevers over 104 degrees, we went back to the doctor again and she just said "Well, her strep test was negative and her ears look good, so there is nothing we can do." Maybe, just maybe one day a doctor or nurse can explain that logic to me in a way that isn't ass-backwards. The last time I checked, you can have infections in places other than your ears or throat and maybe, just maybe, take some freaking blood and check it out. Clearly, I'm a little frustrated with what modern medicine has to offer my kid, especially since the children's Tylenol and Motrin has been tearing up her GI tract and making her even more miserable. She hasn't slept well since last week.

Have you ever been this tired? 

I'm doing research on getting a pharmacist to create a children's Tylenol suspension without HFCS or sorbitol so hopefully the next time she gets sick, the medicine to help her feel better won't make her have poops that cause 45 minutes of crying.

We were going to take the kids to go to a Christmas farm this weekend and have pony rides and met Santa. Finger crossed, they will both be healthy enough for it next weekend. We don't want them to miss out on these priceless childhood memories.

Brace yourselves, we have news that hasn't happened in a long time on this blog: GOOD NEWS!!

Faith had her six month reassessment at Kennedy Krieger Institute on Friday and she is no longer behind her age in any developmental areas!

This is a huge deal because just six months ago, she was still 10-12 months behind in several areas. In some areas, she made two years worth of progress since her last assessment, most of which has happened since she started the Montessori school at the beginning of October.

The doctor said she can no longer even be consider speech delayed and the only thing she could say is that Faith is inefficient in her use of speech (I've worked with adults with that same issue). We are going to continue with speech and OT and not change anything for now. It's been amazing to see her transformation since starting the new school and it makes me feel like we made the right choices when we withdrew her from the public school special education preschool and instead insisted on treating her with private resources and keeping her with typical peers.

I've had a few people say things like "Oh, don't stay at the Montessori school for too long. Those places can be like cults!" Whatever, I'm on board. Pass me some robes and let's get to chanting.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being "I've done jack shit" and 10 being "All the presents are purchased and wrapped and in my spare time, I made 8 kinds of Christmas cookies!" how ready are you? I'm probably at a 5. I really wish my husband liked to wrap presents. It's seriously the worst task.

What is your favorite dish to eat at a Christmas potluck? I'm blatantly crowdsourcing here because I need some inspiration. Please don't say "Look at Pinterest!" because I don't hate myself enough to do that. No one needs a person to bring a tray of fucking Santa hats carefully crafted from strawberries and marshmallows. That's adorable for a picture, but disgusting for eating.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bad Luck Baby

Yesterday afternoon, both of my kids were happy and healthy.

Faith had her speech and OT appointments later than usual, so Cordelia stayed home with my husband while I took Faith. When I got home, he said Cordelia was pretty fussy but he said it was because she is unhappy with his level of service. By 10pm, she was crying and moaning in her room. Because I am an idiot, I held off on giving her medicine. I could tell she was running a fever, but my brain processes things at a special rate after 9pm. My reasoning was that the medicine would make her sick to her stomach (it has the "wrong" kind of sugar) so I just kept going in her room and trying to help her get comfortable.

By 3am, my husband was up too and he was like "Dude, just give her the drugs already" but in a much more diplomatic way. Really, it's an art to be able to deal with my level of irritability in the middle of the night.

Obviously, no one slept well last night. Even with the 3am Motrin, her fever was 101 when she woke up. By the time we had to leave the house to take Faith to preschool, it was just under 104.

Luckily I was able to get Cordelia an appointment with a doctor at her practice, so we headed up north as soon as we dropped Faith off. She was not a happy camper about being there, especially with the waiting room mask wearing requirements.

She had a strep test because her throat looked red and inflamed and a flu test because apparently the flu shot was worthless this year. She tested negative for those and her ears look good, so that means it's just a virus and all we can do is wait. We didn't see our usual doctor and the doctor wanted to send Cordelia to the ER to get IV fluids because she wasn't making wet diapers (but it hadn't even been 12 hours yet) but we compromised on me taking her home and pushing fluids there instead. We agreed that I would take her to the ER if needed, but as long as she's awake and responsive, I didn't want her to get an IV. Even when she was heavily drugged last week, the first thing she did was try to rip her IV out.

She had the chills, so she was only happy if she was on me, under a big blanket, by the fire. I use the word "happy" here in a non-literal sense.

After "lunch" (quotes because only Faith and I ate, not Cordelia) I put them both down for a nap. Cordelia slept for maybe 40 minutes before waking up screaming. I took her temperature and it was 105.3.

In addition to the high fever, she was gasping for air enough to freak me out, so I called her doctor's office for advice. Her doctor told me to take her to the ER and she could call ahead and explain what testing had already been done today and tell them to run blood work and do a chest X-ray.

As soon as my husband got home from work to stay with Faith, I left with a moaning, miserable baby to head over to the ER. Where we sat. And sat. And sat some more. The only perk of the visit was the Tylenol booster they gave her in triage. Over three hours later, we finally had a doctor come in to look at her.

Apparently our small podunk hospital got itself a resident and lucky for me, that's who we got to see. I'm all about supporting people in their learning and education, but really only when it's with someone else. After going through the history of the issue at hand, the young resident told me with a little smile, "I have a minimalist approach to testing, especially on young kids."

I tried to explain that Cordelia had pneumonia last year and it presented in a similar fashion and only showed up on a chest X-ray and I didn't exactly get the response I expected. Frankly, I expected them to do the testing, especially since I saw the phone message from her doctor note on her file, and especially since Cordelia had general anesthesia last week. The resident's supervising doctor breezed into the room, didn't listen to me, agreed that Cordelia's blood oxygen levels looked good enough, and breezed back out and said "She'll explain it all to you, bye!"

Not only did they decline to do any testing on Cordelia at the ER, the resident also used her magical mental time machine to tell me that when I was told that Cordelia had pneumonia last year, it was likely just a shadow on the X-ray and the doctor just decided to put her on antibiotics just to be safe and make ME feel better. At that point, I realized that they weren't going to help my kid at all and I had wasted three hours and probably contracted Ebola. The resident asked if I'd feel better if she'd go review the films from last year (you know, back when she wasn't even a doctor yet). I said sure and as soon as she left the room, I packed up our shit and left to take my sick kid home.

Maybe the HFCS in the children's medicine has healing powers, or maybe seeing her mother's head almost explode from rage was therapeutic, but Cordelia turned a corner once we left and even ate some dinner. Her pediatrician called to check on her and the game plan is to bring her back into the office up north if she still has the high fever tomorrow, or just hang out at home if we can keep it below 102 degrees.

Before I get angry "Be nice to resident doctors, they are LEARNING!" comments, I'd like to point out that I am hopeful that this experience was educational for her. Maybe in the future she won't use phrases like "Well, I wouldn't expose my child to unnecessary radiation" (when she is unmarried and childless, thankyouverymuch) or "You can't just get a chest X-ray every time your kid has a fever." Bitch, please. My kids are sick all the fucking time. I'm not new to this game. They have each had one chest X-ray their entire lives and both times, they had fucking pneumonia. If it does turn out that my baby does have pneumonia and we could have caught it early but didn't and we end up with a hospitalization....

Have you ever just up and flounced from an ER? This was a new one for me. Normally, I'm a rule follower and wait for the discharge papers, even if I'm not getting any prescriptions, like the time the baby ate all those pebbles. (MORE UNNECESSARY RADIATION ALERT)

Don't you wish you could have me as a patient? My theory is that I'm basically like a restaurant reviewer. They go out to eat all the time, so naturally they are harsher critics than the normal person. I see doctors all the time. Some are awesome, some are just decent, but it's really only fun to blog about the hilariously awful experiences.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

It could be worse

Who is ready for a list of my petty complaints and potentially unpopular opinions?

My GI doctor switched me from a pill to a liquid for one of my stomach medications and at first, I was super excited. See, the pills were awful. They were huge and exploded when they got wet. Dealing with that four times a day was miserable. I assumed a liquid had to be easier to take....until I tasted it.

I don't even know how to describe the flavor. It's almost like drinking liquid toothpaste, but chalkier. For sympathy points, I'd like to reiterate that I take this shit four times a day. Bright side, my stomach feels better!

Waiting to get the biopsy results back from Cordelia's procedure is awful. I've convinced myself that they will find nothing and all of this will have been done needlessly. I don't know what they do in that case, other than take more of her food choices away and just keep guessing until they find something that works. All I know is that if they take her orange juice away, she will revolt.

Speaking of kid medical stuff, we have to go back to Baltimore again this week. This appointment should be really easy and we made it six months ago so we didn't know it would be so close. By "really easy" I mean non-invasive, but it's going to be a long one. Faith is getting reassessed by the developmental specialists at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and she normally enjoys the puzzles and questions. We are really interested to see how she has progressed, especially since we've seen such growth from the time she started the Montessori school. It will be a long day, but it should be much less stressful than last week!

I thought I had until January 2nd for this, but the gym is already overflowing with extra people. I hate having to work out with the short-timers. Yeah, I said it.

It's just so fucking stupid how every year, the same shit happens. A bunch of people sign up, crowd the classes and slow down the pace for everyone, and then they just never come back. I know we are "supposed" to be supportive of people trying to better themselves, but that's what people say who make money off these kinds of things. If I sold diet tips or ran a gym, I'd be all about perpetuating the whole "New year, new you" bullshit.

I'm sure gym culture will make you happy

My gym is even implementing a new system of signing up for classes online before you show up. This isn't some urban gym full of busy people, but I guess we're just pretending. I'm sure eventually I'll acquiesce and go online for the registration and class sign up, but not any time soon.

I'm only going to have a real problem if the classes I want to take are full and the one functional Stair Master is already taken. Don't worry, I have a back up plan to lure the newly motivated fatties away.

Do you hate the gym in January or are you one of those nice people who are happy to give up your spot in your favorite group fitness class to someone who will never enjoy it as much as you would? 

Which are worse, short time gym members or Elf on the Shelf people? I feel like there is a good amount of overlap here, but the Elf wins. That shit is manipulative and creepy.