Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My little sick girl

I've been completely blessed with such a healthy daughter. She's athletic, eats healthier more than most adults and hardly gets sick. This school year she's been a bit more sick than other years.

In the fall, she was hit with a cold that led to allergies that led to asthma related allergies. She also had double ear infections. Just a few weeks ago, she had a stomach virus and a cold that led to allergies again.

On Mondays, I often make simple meals because of time constraints with her swim class. I made her pasta I know she likes. She looked at it, busted out in tears saying that she did not like it. I told her she had to eat it to get dessert etc etc. She became increasingly emotional and then laid under the dining room table.

After dinner, I parked my chair in the living room and she crawled over to me. She said she was so tired, I gave her some ice water and told her to relax as my attendant helped me change for the night.

When I came back, she was sound asleep on the couch. It was only 5:50 and her bedtime is at 8. I knew something was up. When Jeff came home 40 min later, he helped her change and put her in bed. I read her a story. We both noticed how hot she felt so he gave her a Tylenol.

Laura came out about twenty minutes later asking for food. We gave her something and she watched tv with us then bed. She seemed ok.

Laura woke up about 7:30 and seemed fine. After I got out of the shower, she came into the hall and said she thought she was going to throw up. I had her go throw up in the toilet and she did. I felt so bad.

I made a doctor appointment for 10:30. I didn't want to mess around since we are going away Sunday. She laid around. I had her sip on water. I was able to clean the bedroom as she watched Power Rangers.

The doctor diagnosed her with severe allergies and a virus. She had a 100.6 fever. They said allergy meds and prescribed a nose spray. The nose spray needs approval from insurance so still waiting.

Laura ate some soup,rice and beans. She fell asleep at the dinner table around 5:30 and went to bed. I'm not sure what this means for later tonight or tomorrow but she's asleep with her allergy and Tylenol medicine. Here's hoping for a restful night and a happy morning!

Laura earned the orange band.

Yesterday was a fantastic day. Laura enjoyed school, I got some errands and cleaning done. I found out that she can add in her head. For homework, she had to cut out five eggs to help her to her worksheet. It was one for adding. Laura cut them out perfectly but added everything perfectly in her head.

Yesterday was also her last crazy swim Monday. The next session I have things more spread out. Her first class is almost too easy and that is why she was bumped up a level for next session. Her second class was much more of a challenge. I personally think challenges are great. I grew up on challenges and it just made me stronger.

She had her wristband test. At the YMCA, they make children between 5-12 get a wristband so lifeguards can easily see what level swim they are. Orange is the lowest and then green.

Laura earned an orange wristband because she needs improvement on bringing her arms up out of the water. It means she can go in the pool by herself to under her armpits. I'm very happy with that and she worked hard for it.

During class she was fidgety with her goggles. So I quickly ran up to the front desk at the Y and bought her a youth pair. They were $7 but well spent because she said, "Thanks Mom! These are perfect."

We will miss the first week of the next session because we will be in Florida. But when we get back, she will be in the wristband class on Monday and then Ray classes Tuesday and Wednesday. She is also going to take a science and art class. I love the Y and it's only 3min away from us.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mommy and Laura day

Laura has been asking for a "Mommy and Laura Day" for awhile. A mommy Laura day means that it's just me and her. Last year they happened more frequently because my attendant at the time called out or left early frequently. Now my attendants hardly call out which is wonderful.

When my attendant would call out, I would secretly panic inside but play it cool with Laura. I'd call it Mommy and Laura Day and figure out getting her fed etc. We would eat lots of cereal on those days and anything else we could both reach.

Laura is getting older now and is pretty much self sufficient. When we remodelled the kitchen, we made one cabinet just for Laura. She has snacks, food, and some dishes just for her. She can also reach most things in the fridge.

On Friday, Jeff worked and my attendant requested off. I knew weeks in advance. On Thursday, I had Grace prepare sandwiches and plenty of juice / water cups for me. Laura has juice and water bottles.

On Friday morning, things went relatively smoothly. When Jeff went to the gym, I took a shower. Now that the shower controls are lower, it's so much easier. I picked out easier clothes to put on. When he got back, all he had to do was put my socks and sneakers on, deodorant on, and brush / put my hair up. I laid all this out for him. He also put cereal out for me and my chocolate milk.

Then he came up with a brilliant idea because he is always thinking about me. As many of you know, I'm more independent on the floor but I can't get in my chair myself. Jeff put the chair flush to the bed. So I could get into bed and then bump into my chair. Laura can click the seatbelt.

After Jeff left, Laura and I played lots. I finally logged her on to ABC Mouse.com. She has been asking me for awhile to set her up but always forgot when I had time. She loved it (I'll write a separate review later.) Then I had her shower and dress. We decided to walk into town because we had to get a gift for her friends birthday.

Jeff's idea worked. I got in my chair no problem and we were off. It was very nice just spending time with my daughter. We talked, giggled and just had fun. People at the store were very nice and helpful. Laura got my credit card out of my wallet. It all worked well. They even gift wrapped the gift for free. I got Laura a set of plastic horses.

When we came home, we ate lunch, watched tv, played with the horses, cleaned the house and before long - Jeff was home! We had a terrific mommy, Laura day!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Five year cemetery visit

On April 5 and 6 we remembered Israel's life and legacy. We use both days because he passed away sometime between the 5th and 6th and his birthday is April 6. This year the days matched up with the dates as the year he died so the memories were extra powerful.

Ever since Israel died, I have taught Laura who he is and showed pictures. I have tried to fill in the blanks as much as possible. But I can only do so much. No, I haven't told her that he took his own life, but I did say that he made a mistake and took too much medicine. One day I'll tell her. I know she will be hurt, angry and confused. However, why explain that to a five year old?

I took her to the cemetery on April 5. During the week we discussed it, picked flowers and had many conversations. I took her there before and she seemed to handle it pretty well. This year was a completely different story.

After school, we went directly to the cemetery. It was a bit weird feeling because the weather was like it was at the funeral. Burying your husband at 31 isn't something I ever expected. Coming to terms that I was a widow and a single mother was even more overwhelming. His funeral service was painfully fast and slow. I remember talking to my priest asking him not to make it drawn out because I simply didn't think I could handle it.

When someone dies, the choices and decisions keep coming. It's good in a way because it keeps your mind busy but at the same time - you much rather be doing something else. I remember sitting at the funeral home being asked so many questions. A couple just made me burst out in tears like do you want him to keep his wedding band? I personally didn't want it due to anger of the suicide but then I had to think if Laura wanted it. I decided to let him keep it. When he bought the ring, I remember him saying that he wasn't big on jewellery but if it meant that he was married to me - he would cherish it forever,

So back to the present. When we got to the cemetery, we found the grave stone. It already had flowers on it which made me feel good. Then Laura took out a picture that she made in the morning. It was a cut out drawing she made of herself, me and Israel. She laid that down and the flowers. She decorated the grave stone and walked around asking me about the others buried there.

Before we left, Laura bursted out in tears! She was so sad because she did not remember him. She knew how nice he was when she was a baby from my stories. She cried and cried. I explained that it's okay to be sad and I miss him too. I let her decide when she wanted to leave. In the van, she said she was more sad than losing her favorite toy! As her mother, I always try to make everything better but this was out of my ability.

She asked that when we go back to give her more private time so she can have a private conversation with her father. She said she is lucky to have two fathers but misses the one that is in Heaven.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Perkiomen Trail

My weekend was pretty good! On Friday, Jeff, Laura and I all had off together. The only plans we had was that Laura wanted to go to my Dad's house to sleepover and Jeff and I had date night. Jeff and I were recovering from a cold/allergy situation but did not want to waste a beautiful day.

Jeff made breakfast and I helped Laura write a story. She is getting so so close to reading. It's like she's right on the cliff. I was spelling words for her as she told me what she wanted to write. She had this whole complicated story but I had to tone it down or we would have been there a week spelling out each word.

It reminded me of when I was 8 and I got my own Brother typewriter. I typed crazy stories. One was multiple pages about a little five year old from China going to America to be a foreign exchange student. So, I was definitely excited about Laura's enthusiasm about story writing.

About noon, we all got ready and Jeff had the idea that we should take Laura biking and take Lady walking at the Perkiomen Trail. I was reluctant because I was not feeling 100 percent but he said the sunshine would do me good. I agreed so we loaded her bike and Lady, picked up some lunch and away we went.

I've heard about the trail but never went before. I'm glad we went. I was so proud to watch Laura bike. Just last summer, she wanted nothing to do with it. We even had doubts that she would ever ride it. Here she is riding really well and almost time to remove the training wheels. Sometimes I had a hard time keeping up in my chair top speed!

Lady did great too. She spent sometime off the leash and does really well. She usually walked right next to Jeff. If she got a little far ahead, she stop and look back.

As we were leaving, Laura's little legs were quite tired. She fell and did hurt the back of her knee. Again another sign of maturity, a year ago she would've cried, sworn off biking and insist I carry her back. This year she got back on and said, "I'm alright, mommy."

After the park, we stopped at the Phoenxville dog park. We went a few times before. One time we went when it was the end of winter but the snow/ice were still in the melting process. Well, after we were done, both dogs and all 3 of us were covered in mud. It wasn't our best ideas but a funny memory.

This time we went and no problems. We were all a little worn out but stayed for about 30min. It was just a great day to be a family and enjoy each other.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Yes, we have 7 pets

Whenever people visit our house, they always ask us how many animals. We always reply, "2 dogs, 3 cats, one fish and a snail." Then the usual response is, "You have 3 cats!!!"

I have always been a dog person. My family had at least one when growing up. When I was about 10 or 11, my sister talked my parents into keeping a kitten that she found. I think cats are cute but dogs are much more fun. I used to think cats weren't loyal until I met Gus and Grant.

When Jeff and I met, we each had pets. In 2008, I had Lucky, Hip Hop and my fish. I had a hamster named Daisy. She was adorable but required too much cleaning. Laura was just 2 so everything was really busy. Then I met Jeff who had Gus and Grant - both cats.

I found it attractive that he had pets. It proved he was responsible and caring on some level. When Gus and Grant first moved in, they were shy. Especially Grant. I was a bit nervous how my cat would act but they all worked it out. Lucky, my dog, just looked at me as if saying, "Really Jessica?"

Both Gus and Grant are the most loyal cats I've ever met. As soon as they hear Jeff's car, they run to greet him. When he sits, they both cuddle up to him and lay on him. I swear they say "Dad" when they meow. During the day when he's at work, they sleep and want an occasional pet. They meow when hungry but for the most part tucked away sleeping in a corner.

Now Jeff might be the cat whisperer, but I'm the dog person. I've had Lucky for ten years. She's smart, affectionate, stubborn and protective. Lucky also has epilepsy. She is on medicine but still gets seizures sometimes.

Jeff got Lady for me in May 2008. At the SPCA, I wandered around teary eyed wishing that I could take them all. Then I stopped at one cage and saw this cuddly looking black dog in the corner. I stopped.

The dog came quietly over hanging her head low. She sat down without raising her head but looked up to me with warm, patient brown eyes. My heart melted and knew she was it. Her name is Lady and she was just 4. When they brought her out for us to meet her, she came over, put her front legs on my wheelchair footrest and her head gently on my lap.

Lady follows me wherever I go. She likes to go out with us and can easily walk next to you without a leash in the right setting. She also looks like a teddy bear when she needs a hair cut. I can't believe she just turned 8.

All of our animals are important to us. Laura loves them and helps feed them. It's hard watching Lucky age. She has accidents now and never did before. The night Israel died, I think Lucky held it in for almost 48 hours!!! All we can do is give her the best we can and love her.

We will probably always have one dog and one cat for the rest of our lives.

Swim class

On Monday, I took Laura to her swim classes. She takes two on Mondays and one with her pre school class. Laura has improved greatly and I'm so proud of her. Her second class is to earn a wrist band so she doesn't need to be at my side in the pool.

The wrist band class is difficult for her, but a great challenge. Many things come easy to Laura so I think having a challenge is a good thing. It is hard to watch her struggle though - I admit.

I think swimming is so important for her because you never know what might happen when your child is at someone's house. Not everyone watches your child exactly like you do. Drowning is a horrible tragedy so I hope these lessons help!

I swim using a Konfidence vest. It gives me just enough support so I can be independent in the pool and get great exercise. It's not the most attractive but we call it my wet suit.

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