On a Learning Curve

Life may not be easy, but it's always an adventure.

Christmas Is Coming!

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The sound of crickets has filled my blog lately, so it’s time for an update. I’m sprinkling pictures throughout this post, too, so that there’s proof that I’ve decorated for Christmas.

No room for your Nativity set? Hang it above your garage door! (Snapped this photo of my in-laws' neighbors.)

No room for your Nativity set? Hang it above your garage door! (Snapped this photo of my in-laws’ neighbors.)

After our whirlwind Thanksgiving celebration/Great Wolf Lodge visit, we spent the week visiting the Emergency Room, checking blood glucose (BG), cramming in some schoolwork, doing laundry, and packing for our annual trip to Washington state. I’m exhausted just by typing. Next was a full day of traveling–first to Reagan National, then an extended layover in Denver due to some nasty weather (-3º when we landed), and finally into Spokane at 12 AM (or 3 AM if you’re on EST)–so that we could spend 8 wonderful days with Ryan’s family.

How do you amuse yourself in an airport? Create a book all about trolls, of course.

How do you amuse yourself in an airport? Create a book or 2 all about trolls, of course.

The girls would like me to note that it did NOT snow while we were visiting Spokane. That’s actually a first. Not only was it insanely cold–less than 10° most mornings–but no snow during a full week in December is just unfair, un-American, and unusual, according to the girls. (Not to mention the extra suitcase we took that was full of snow pants, snow boots, hats, and gloves.)

Proof that yetis do exist! Here are the girls with Sasquatch outside Boo Radley's in Spokane.

Proof that yetis do exist! Here are the girls with Sasquatch outside Boo Radley’s in Spokane.

G with me at Spokane Falls. We were cold!

G with me at Spokane Falls. We were cold!

It’s always a good week when you spend it with people who “love you madly,” including a father-in-law who enjoys making me lattes that are on par with anything Starbucks brews.

The girls and their beloved Grandma.

The girls and their beloved Grandma.

The trip home went faster and easier. I addressed our Christmas cards, so that felt like a major accomplishment. Also, there were no storms to battle, but we have been battling the transition back to EST since Saturday. Poor G has been trying desperately to fall asleep before 10 PM each night, but it’s just not easy for an 11 year old! I’ve been letting her sleep until she wakes up, so most mornings school is starting at 10 AM or later.

I love a good skinny tree! You can see all of the ornaments on the front and the back!

I love a good skinny tree! You can see all of the ornaments on the front and the back!

That brings me to the next point: We completed our final day of school for 2013 today! For S, this means that she is now a 4th grader! For G and H, it means they are halfway through 6th and 1st grades, respectively. For me, it means I can breathe a little easier.

What's wrong with this picture? Can you find Rosie, my in-law's cat?

What’s wrong with this picture? Can you find Rosie, my in-law’s cat?

Now I can start baking the neighbors’ Christmas treats. This year I’m avoiding anything with the word “fruitcake” in the recipe. Last year’s attempt at fruitcake biscotti was disastrous. Baking scones is tomorrow’s project. I’ll post the recipe later.

How to hang stockings when you don't have a fireplace: on the railing! Nana crocheted my stocking many years ago.

How to hang stockings when you don’t have a fireplace: on the railing! Nana crocheted my stocking many years ago.

Since I need to put some dinner in the oven–and eventually on the table–I’ll leave you with some pictures. Here’s how we’ve decorated this year. Merry Christmas, everyone!

The girls' tree, aka a Norfolk pine, holds the ornaments they've made and received from ornament exchanges.

The girls’ tree, aka a Norfolk pine, holds the ornaments they’ve made and received from ornament exchanges.

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A Quick Visit to the E.R.

Today has not gone as planned.

Neither did yesterday. Yesterday started out with the usual morning drama in our household: G taped S’s toothbrush to the bathroom ceiling, and the girls decided that fighting would be a better use of their time than getting ready for school or their dental appointments. Yes, I wrote that she taped a toothbrush to the ceiling. Apparently that’s how 11-year-old sisters show that they love their younger sisters.

After a visit to our beloved dentist, S sort of melted down on the car ride home. She and I both agreed that she needed to go to bed. Then she decided that she needed to vomit. Twice. I left G and H with a checklist of assignments to finish downstairs, and I camped out in the bathroom with S until Ryan relieved me about 4 hours later. I then made two trips to Target: Ketostix and then the children’s ibuprofen that I had forgotten on the first trip.

S opted to sleep on the bathroom floor last night. She hates getting sick in her bed, so I made her a towel pillow on top of the bath mat and covered her with two towel blankets. She slept peacefully there most of the night; however, she was sick again twice during the early morning.

This morning S looked terrible. She hadn’t eaten anything since Monday’s breakfast, and she wasn’t keeping liquids down. I convinced her to check for ketones, and the stick turned dark purple immediately. That’s a bad thing for someone with Type 1 diabetes. S has been diabetic since she was 3 years old, and any illness she gets usually exacerbates her blood sugar control. A phone call to the endocrinologist confirmed my fears: We needed to head to the closest emergency room for fluids and bloodwork. We needed to make sure that she wasn’t heading towards diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

There are times that I find it inconvenient to live in a semi-rural county, but this wasn’t one of them. The ER admitted S right away and started her on a saline solution. S handled her first IV bravely and was relieved to see that one stick was all it took to draw blood and administer fluids. After her first half-bag of saline, she took Zofran. 15 minutes later she took Tylenol. Can I tell you how amazing it was to watch my little girl rehydrate and return to her usual self? Her ketones decreased from large to small, her 24-hour headache disappeared, and tests showed that she did not have DKA! Because she’s been running a low-grade fever, she also got a chest x-ray. That’s where we met our friend Melissa, a friend from church who is studying radiology. She wanted to print out a copy of Sarah’s lungs–how cool would that look in our homeschooling portfolio?!–but her supervisor nixed her idea.

Unknown to me at the time, our pastor had prayed for S’s healing with a few other area pastors. Our substitute grandmother–the famous Mrs. Debby–had called him with our news, and Pastor Rob followed up by heading to the hospital. Except that we left the hospital before he arrived. Oops. Sorry, Pastor Rob.

I decided that today would be a day off from schoolwork for everyone. That’s the beauty of homeschooling. We’ll make up the lost day another time. S is resting, H is asking me how to spell words like mustache, and G decided to try out the chalk pastels. Later, I think we’ll decorate the girls’ Christmas tree.

G's latest creation: Advent wreath and manger scene in chalk pastel.

G’s latest creation: Advent wreath and manger scene in chalk pastel.

Today hasn’t gone the way I had planned, but that’s okay. All is well with our girls, our community reached out in love, and I’m learning to be flexible.