Sunday, March 8, 2015


We have been trying & trying to find a day to get to the zoo.  Between my work schedule, my mom's work schedule, Aunt Molly's work & school schedule... its almost impossible.  It took some planning (and Molly skipping class), but we got there.  We are just on the brink of a spring weather warm-up, so the weather was pretty good.  Not warm, warm but much better than the 0-teens temperatures we've had.  

We got there a little bit early & hung out in the reptile area.
 Only Hayden was brave enough to pet the snake.  I was proud I was brave enough to even take my kids to go see the snake.
 We tried to take some cute cousin pictures,
 but seriously this is what we were dealing with.  Spring warm up sillies all day for sure!
We've had some growth spurts at our house... finally Logan is actually noticeably taller than Analeigh.
It was a nice day to go because it was still cool & we had the place pretty much to ourselves.  We did all the indoor stuff & that was enough for the day.
 The puffins were super active.  Logan named his friend Puffy... because what else would you name a Puffin?
 They swam right up to the glass & when the kids put their hands on the glass they pecked at their fingers.  And then they chased the kids up & down as they ran along the glass.  Again- so nice to have the place pretty much to ourselves.
 The big turtles & the jelly fish are some of my favorites to see!
The kids were getting a little hangry by this time... 
We got into the Jungle before the bats were going crazy this time.  We're usually there at "dusk" when they are all swooping & going "bat-$#!*-crazy!"
 Again- the place to ourselves.  Lots of time & space to just "hang out."
 This sloth was sooo close to the path.  If I'd of put a kid up on my shoulders- they could have touched him.
 Such a fun day! 

 So thankful to live so close to such an awesome zoo!!
{My fave photo of the day!!}

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Kindergarten Round-Up

Well, we did it!  We survived Kindergarten Round up!

Olivia wanted to wear a long sleeve dress so she looked beautiful.  Hayden I did convince to wear his tennis shoes instead of cowboy boots with his track pants as his normal go-to.  Logan however insisted on wearing his most "daycare-esque" attire.  Whatever I guess.

The good news, only 1/4 of us cried.

They had a great set up with the 5th graders there.  And as you checked in they paired each kid up with a 5th grader & sent them off to their table 1:1 to read books while everything got settled.  Logan & Olivia went off with their 5th grade buddy without even a hug or looking back.

Hayden... not so much.

It took me 10-15 minutes of trying to get him interested in reading, or talking to his 5th grader Axel.  Poor guy was probably thinking "Great I got the worst Kindergartner!"  He was such a nice kid.  We're talking leg clinging, alligator tears, snot smeared everywhere.  Finally we got to talking about my bribe of going out for Sonic slushies afterward & Hayden & Axel discussed their favorite flavors.  And off I went.....

In his defense, he was still not up to 100% from that endless respiratory sickness that plagued the entire month of February.

Once they got into it though, it sounds like it went ok.  Hayden gave his teacher a nasty glare once about not wanting to stand up & sing the morning song, but he did it anyways.  And Olivia talked.  {Which is the only question & asked outside of the generic "How did it go?"  And is a huge accomplishment in & of itself.}  And I didn't really get to talk to Logan's teacher of the day- but he's pretty easy breezy so I'm sure he was fine.  So all in all- success.

So bittersweet :(

Friday, February 27, 2015

On the mend....

I think we're all finally healthy?  A few lingering coughs, but they officially went back to the cestpool of daycare.  I was down with this viral crud Friday night until Monday/Tuesday.  I managed to keep it out of my lungs, but my sinuses & head paid the price.

We have decided to start booster training the kids.  Eeek.  We are officially on the last height click on all our carseats.  {Little Logan could probably be down a click- but we seat share so much they are all cliked up.}  Hayden has about 1 inch left of torso height until he outgrows all our harnesses.  And the carseat people say to expect 1-1.5" torso height growth a year & I figure with our big growing boy I'm looking at 9-12 months give or take until he's boostered full time.  Since I have 3 to "train" to sit properly 100% of the time & with Kindergarten drop offs right around the corner  & no idea what our morning arrangements are going to be, I figured we should bite the bullet & start so I feel plenty comfortable with all 3 of them in boosters by fall.  (Just incase)  I only bought one booster for now & we rotate through.  And no booster seat riding when the roads are snowy.  So far they do well & sit well, but again "the carseat people" say they do well at first since its new & novel, then they get squirmy.  And we haven't had any chance to see how they do sleeping boostered yet.
We made some snow cream with the latest snow.  It was pretty good.  
And as all the snow was melting & the kids were feeling slightly better, Jeff took them out & built a snow man.
Some sales person at Target was handing out Fun-Dips for Valentine's.  Blue Fun-Dip powder is some serious business.  Ha!!

Jeff & I were able to take the kids up to daycare extra for a few hours so they could attend their Valentine's parties.  We helped a little too.  And it was fun to see them, just being them in their school environment.

Friday, February 6, 2015

The ER

In December, seemingly everyone at work had sick kids.  Influenza A was everywhere.  My grandma had just been given weeks left to live & I "bargined" with God that if he would just please keep my kids healthy until my grandma had passed on & the dust had settled... that we could be sick the whole month of February & I promised I wouldn't even complain.

The lesson:  Be careful what you wish for.

I literally blogged {this little blog} the the beginning of my shift Tuesday night.  Hayden had started coughing non-stop about 2pm, meaning I didn't get any sort of nap & was in for a day of up for 24 straight hours at work.  I figured he was getting what Livi had & we were in for a few days of sickness.

Little did I know 1am would find us in the ER.

At least the ER has stickers?

He is our croup boy.  He just can't shake it.  Its decreased in frequency with age, but ugh.  I can think of now 3 episodes in the last 7 months where we've had a run in.

Livi when she gets sick with respiratory crud, she gets wheezy & asthmatic.  That I can almost always comfortably treat with Albuterol at home.  She has a great response to it.  It makes a phenominal, unbelievable difference sometimes!  Hayden however, he gets the croup-upper airway constriction instead.  We do hot showers, freeze our butts off outside, saline nebulizer treatments & sometimes Albuterol as a last ditch effort.  But sometimes it just isn't enough.  After a hot shower, breathing in cold air, back to back Albuterol treatments... he slept briefly, but still sounded as though he was breathing through a straw & was retracting pretty hard.  I was at work, Jeff was calling for ideas & texting me videos of him.  After 45 minutes of "sleep" he again woke up in a panic saying he couldn't breathe.  He couldn't stop coughing long enough to catch his breath & Jeff felt in his coughing spells his lips turned shades of blue.  He was puking, gagging... couldn't stop.  So super dad packed up all 3 bodies & I met them in the ER.  He got a racemic epi breathing treatment & a shot of steroids.  Jeff then took the other 2 home & I waited another hour or so with Hayden to make sure he didn't rebound.  For a brief while during our discharge vitals, his oxygen sats were only 90%.  The nurse seemed like she was fine with that, but I was nervous... in times past {because we've had plenty of respiratory illness ER visits in times past} Children's Hospital ER always requires their sats to be 92%.  Then he wiggled around a little bit & his sats jumped up to 95%.  Phew!  Home we went.

The next morning (if you can call it morning after our sleeping version of night really only lasted 5am-9am) he still sounded so constricted.  I called the pediatrician to check in;  it had snowed, school was canceled... so they didn't want us to come in, but they did call him in a 3 day course of oral steroids.  I was also thankful that it had not started snowing yet by the time we left the ER at 3ish.

With Hayden's last few croup-episodes, I had started to question if he had a type of cough variant asthma.  I had randomly discussed this with one of the respiratory therapists at work about a week before this episode.  And SHE happened to be the RT that came to see him & give him a treatment in the ER.  She said his actual LUNGS sounded great (though he had just had 2 Albuterol treatments, so that may have changed things?) but that all his constriction was upper airway.  Which on one hand is nice- meaning he probably doesn't have a cough variant asthma.  But on the other hand- croup sucks, I wish it was more at home treatable with meds.

Thursday Hayden was still pretty coughy & it seemed to start to settle into his chest like Livi's had.  He's had a Hayden version of a fever, like 99.2, but nothing much.  His activity & appitite are down slightly, but he's ok.  And Livi, despite going on day 5 of fever (never very high, just 99.3-100.5) said she felt "So much better."  So I figured she was on the upslide.  However, she woke up Friday morning still febrile & said her ear hurt!

So Friday, day 6 of all this we took her to the pediatrician.  Surprisingly her ears look ok (though she still claims they hurt, especially when she blows her nose).  Her lungs however, apparently still sound like crap!  I hadn't given her a breathing treatment in a good 24 hours because she was so improved.  But the ped (not our regular, he has Friday's off) said she sounded so tight she was tempted to give her a treatment right there!  OOOPS!  I said "Really?  She is SO much better!"  Wonder what they would have thought of her on Sunday/Monday??  And then I gave Livi a high-5 and said "Way to work through this out of the hospital this year girlfriend!"  Rock those strong 5 year old post-preemie lungs!  So we got a bronchiolitis diagnosis, and scripts for 5 days of oral steroids, a kiddie version of a z-pac & a recommendation to do Albuterol at least twice a day through the weekend.  Poor girl!

They were apparently having a special on appointments for newborns at the pediatrician's office that day, there were SOOO many of them there.  So I bribed my kids with Sonic slushies to wear masks our whole visit.  I felt maybe we shouldn't share this crud there.

A qick trip to Walmart to pick up a few necessities & the prescriptions... was apparently too much.  Hayden was so tired & said his breathing hurt, but after an Albuterol treatment as soon as we got home, he was up & running (while still coughing) again.  If his lips look slightly purple here- they are, compliments of a grape Sonic slush.  He's a little tachypnic here & there, but working through it all pretty well.

So tonight was Hayden's last steroid dose.  I'm giving him Albuterol, an expectorant to hopefuly keep him clearing out his phlem, and motrin as needed for cough induced headaches.

Liv is day 1/5 of steroids, day 1/4 of antibiotics, with Albuterol 2x a day, expectorant, & Motrin for fever &/or ear aches.

And Logan... he of course is fine.  It baffles me all the time how he was our sickest NICU baby, who couldn't shake his O2 need... and the respiratory stuff just doesn't seem to hit him like it does Hayden & Olivia.  My nurse brain always wonders if its just him, his genetic luck?  Or if the difference in their courses of NICU stays has impacted their lung outcomes?  Hayden was never intubated or never received surfactant.  Just 1 day of CPAP, a little High-flow, and was on room air by like day 3 of life.  Olivia was intubated at about 18 hours of age & got surfactant.  She was extubated, failed, re-intubated & re-surf'd over the span of her first 3-4 days of life.  Then progressed through CPAP, High-flow, and low flow oxygen.  Logan was also intubated at about18 hours of age for surfactant & weaned slower that Olivia from the vent.  Because Olivia failed extubation, the just let him "ride" on the vent an extra day or so, but he never got a second dose of surfactant.  He was extubated about the same time as Olivia was her second time.  Then progressed through CPAP, High-flow, & low flow... only finally coming off low flow 10 days before discharge.  Seriously, I thought he was taking that 12.5cc of O2 to Kindergarten!  Very different respiratory courses in the NICU, very different 5 year old issues.  One will never know, yet I will always wonder & analyze, what of it is genetics & what of it is their initial respiratory course causing their outcomes??  Except I would expect it backwards.  I would expect Hayden to have no issues & Logan to be our worst respiratory kid.  Yet it isn't at all that way.  Who knows....

Grandma's been gone a whole month & I think the universe is telling me its ok to still just sit on the couch & snuggle... even if its sickness induced.  {Though I do hope we're not really sick the WHOLE month of February!}

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


We finally got some real snow!!  We did have a dribble of snow here & there, but this was our first big dump of the year.  We got around 9 inches according to the National Weather Service & more is supposed to be on its way Tuesday night into Wednesday.  

Jeff had been out of town visiting some friends, so the kids & I did a little playing in the snow Sunday.  Liv's fighting a respiratory bug so she didn't play much.

 There were drifts big enough to build a fort in. 
 And of course snow angels.
 They shoveled off their slide.  And the next day shoveled off the trampoline with Jeff, who was home on a snow day from work.  The boys then had fun jumping off the tramp into a big huge pile of snow.  Liv got all dressed up Monday, went out & just sat in the garage.  She wanted to play so bad, but felt so icky.  I offered her a hot steamy shower instead... and she quickly decided to come in.  You know you feel bad when at 5 years old you choose a shower over playing in the snow :(
The drifts in the back yard & driveway were impressive.  No getting in the play house door!
 Since Jeff was gone over the weekend... the kids & I had to scoop enough of the drive way for him to actually even get home!  The roads were icky.. and I think at the end of the driveway by the road the snow was 2 feet deep!  My pathetically out of shape self thought I was going to have a heart attack... but about 2/3 of the driveway got done & Jeff made it home.

Miss sicky Liv has officially discovered the beauty of a hot steamy shower.  And I think we are on the verge of her being a shower-on-your-own, no more bath kid.  She's taken 30 min showers about every 8-12 hours the last few days!  She's got a fever, breaths fast, works a little hard, but she's ok.  She just had such a bad, non-stop cough her body got so achy.  She couldn't sit up from laying down!  She said "It hurts to talk, it hurts to cough, it hurts to sit, it hurts to lay..."  When I give her meds (Tylenol, Motrin, Cough meds, etc) she specifically asks what she's getting.  She's such a little nurse, she knows what is what & likes to stay up to date on her plan of care.  Her cough was better today, well its deep & rattly in her chest, but its less frequent anyways.  Just lingering fever & aches, so hopefully she's on the mend.

Hayden has had a mostly night time cough, which I contributed to the warm weather & playing outside & his allergy-post nasal drip issues.  It cleared up for like 3 days & now today he's got the constant cough... so I'm guessing he's getting what Liv has & Logan will probably be on track to have it this weekend.

All in all though we've had a pretty healthy winter.  Outside of the perpetual sickness that was August/September, we've been pretty well.

Onward February...