Thursday, December 01, 2011

It's Too Close For Comfort

Yes, it is completely possible to live without a gallbladder.

But I wouldn't recommend it.

Other things I would not recommend:

nerve damage

getting gluten'd

deciding to tear down and rebuild a walkout in less than 48 hours

going outside in the ice. or snow. or rain. or blistering heat.

All in all we're fine. Getting back to normal - at least, finding a new normal. A new normal with lots of pills to counter-balance the loss of a gallbladder.

Today is the day we begin our advent calendars, also known as let's see how crazy the Lego people got this year. We haven't opened them yet, but I'm on pins and needles to do so.

And yes, Emerson has gotten quite artistic around here. His favorite medium is purposely spilled godawfullyexpensive formula.

I'm quite convinced the is the precursor to watercolors.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Lost in a Maze of a Thousand Rainy Days

I'm pretty certain I've finally washed the remaining hospital adhesive off my arms, legs, abdomen. If not yet, then soon and damn that's taking a long time.

Last Monday, Emery had his stomach scoping. It was scary but he came out of it all well and good and Tuesday morning Aaron hopped on a plane to Chicago 'cause it's Business Trip Season as in, hopefully we'll see him a few days a month between now and the New Year.

Businesses take heed: we'd appreciate if you would budget better and not decide to do all your work during the holiday season

Wednesday early morning I woke with Emery and felt awful but convinced myself it was in my head... a couple of hours later the allergist told me to call 911 (eh, breathing problems were involved) and instead I took a pain pill to deal with it all later in the day.

A few hours later I was in ambulance apologizing for being dramatic while the EMTs freaked out over my low pulse ox readings and ma'am, would you like some morphine? No thanks, I don't want to be dramatic.


After a few tests, with my dad fretting in the ER with me (he simply does not do well in hospitals) (and my stepmom was home with all the boys), I was admitted. More tests over. Really, I swear - the pain was going to stop soon.

photo courtesy of miss chris

A visit from a good friend (who pulled my hair back while I was sick, oh how hospitals can be so humbling), and a nuclear test later they were certain - my gallbladder had "died" and needed to come out.

Hand to heaven, that's what the surgeons and nurses said, died.
Aaron's swift return home. Surgery. Recovery. It's all blur.

Truth is, I've felt off for quite awhile - but chalked it all up to having a sleepless toddler (2am is prime Party Time, doncha know), with a variety medical problems we're trying to figure out.

Speaking of which, the pathology reports from Emery's scope came back and he has Eosinophilic Esophagitis, which explains his constant puking-of-real-food-but-only-rarely-his-special-formula.

So. sigh. New medicine starting this weekend. More scoping in a few months. Hoping to work with therapies that he can grow and begin eating like a normal child and not (nearly-worst-case scenario) needing a feeding tube in his belly.

I mean, really. Really. This isn't suppose to be a medical blog.

Friday, September 30, 2011

And You Think You'll Burst Apart

A few weeks ago I decided I was tired of this shit, "shit" in this case being all of Emery's constant puking and called the GI office at the local children's hospital.

Two days later we were in the office, talking to the doctor - who I will never, ever visit again. Anyone who thinks I'll pay him to treat me like I'm stupid obviously isn't nearly as intelligent as he'd like to believe.

The next day we were at the Occupational Therapist getting Emerson tested for a behavioral problem with vomiting; he was cleared of that diagnosis.

The following day we were in Radiology having the worst x-ray experience of my life, where they fed him barium and ran the machine like a video feed, rotating him in this 18th century torture contraption. They thought he had a mal-rotated intestinal tract, but after another hour (!!!) of testing they deemed him anatomically perfect.

The next week the GI's office called to say they have a diagnosis! He has acid reflux!

My reply? "Um, yeah. I know. That's why I brought him to the office to begin with."

So, here we are - now waiting for a stomach scope. Which they have to do in in-patient surgery due to his food allergies. Where he will be put under with anesthesia. I am not looking forward to that.

A day later, I came down with Strep and here we are, more than a week later and I'm still not made of awesome - I blame the crazy antibiotics. I'm sure you'll agree.

I've had the honor recently to participate in two quilting bees. One, a quilt for Jacquie (oh, how we will miss her from KCMQG!) and a very special quilt of love. Both ladies put into words what I simply cannot.

Today is my and Aaron's 11th wedding anniversary. Three kids and one crazy puppy later, here we are: old, going gray and we still like each other. WIN!

Tonight we celebrate as a family, ordering pizza, family movie night and bakery cupcakes. Monday we'll celebrate as a couple, dinner out and tickets to see Death Cab.

I think this may beat last year's hardy high-five in the kitchen.

In other news, have you seen Emerson?

Emery? Where are you?

Peek-a-boo! There you are!

Friday, September 16, 2011

I'm Just a Million Miles Away

The week began with cake and ended in multiple new doctors and tests.

Acid Reflux is no damn joke, internets.

So, let's focus on the good: cake

My dad's 60th birthday was last week, we had my parents over for a big birthday celebration which included a gluten-free version of my dad's verymostfavorite, German Chocolate Cake.

Gluten-Free German Chocolate Cake

for the cake:
16 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
4 oz 70% dark chocolate, melted and cooled
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk*
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking salt
2 teaspoons xantham gum
2 cups gluten-free flour**

for the filling:
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 3/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks

for the buttercream:
1/2 pound semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 to 2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 9" round cake pans, cover bottoms in parchment paper and grease again.

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, add in eggs one at a time; drizzle in melted and cooled (for the love of P, it must be cooled) chocolate, scraping every last drip in. Add vanilla and buttermilk and mix well (it's gonna look gross; welcome to gluten-free baking).

Scrape the sides, mix a bit more and sprinkle in salt, baking soda, baking soda and xantham gum. Scrape sides again, mix well some more and then sprinkle flour in 1/2 cup intervals, until all the flour is incorporated. Scrape down the sides again and mix well by hand. Globby gluten-free batter doesn't bake well, ya'll.

Divide batter between the two pans (I took out enough batter to make 4 cupcakes before dividing) and bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when testing the center (the four cupcakes baked for 20 minutes).

Remove from the oven, let cool completely before moving on (preferably overnight).

for the filling:
Place chopped pecans and coconut in a large heat-proof bowl. Dice the cold butter and put that on top of the pecans and coconut.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, heat cream, sugar and egg yolks stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Pour hot mixture through a five sieve into pecan mixture, stirring until butter melts. Set aside until it cools to room temperature (about an hour).

for the buttercream:
In a mixing bowl, beat butter and one cup powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, salt and cocoa-water mixture. Slowly add melted chocolate chips.

Slowly add more powdered sugar until it's at a consistency and sweetness you like. You can also put the mixture in the fridge and beat occasionally.

(It's not plagiarism is it's copying myself. Ahem.)

Put the dang cake together already, Laura:

Remove cake from pans, slice in half width-wise. Oooh and aaah over how well it slices and stays together. Place one half of the cake on your cake plate, cut side up. Top with about 3/4 cup filling. Add next cake half, more filling; repeat two more times. Frost outside with buttercream.

Don't share.

*make sure your buttermilk is gluten-free. It does no one any good to get the wrong buttermilk. You can always make your own by adding one tablespoon white wine vinegar to one cup milk, let sit for 10 minutes.

**I use King Arthur's gluten-free all purpose flour. Paid outta my own pocket.

A couple of notes:
This cake is no.damn.joke. So good. Awesomely good. I'm sorry for not sharing the actual, physical cake but certainly the recipe is enough, right?

The cake is mild and holds up to the super-sweet filling really well. In future endeavors, I'll likely make more filling to have thicker layers. I got lots of whines for wanting to eat extra filling by the spoonful. And over ice cream. And on pancakes.

Most German Chocolate Cakes have beaten egg whites. When egg whites are beaten it changes how the proteins stick to each other - whatever that is called, it makes me sick: hence, no beating of the egg whites in this recipe. If you want to do that, you are certainly welcomed too. Add the egg yolks where I say to add the eggs, beat the egg whites and fold in at the very end after the flour is added. But seriously, the recipe already filled my pans, adding that much air in would overflow so have a third circle pan on hand. Or make cupcakes.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Shake, Shake, Shake it Off

Random Lady I've Never Met Before: Oh! Your baby is cute!

Me: Thanks!

Random Lady: Does he have... The Cancer?

Me: ... Um... His face? He has some dermatology issues but we're working on it...

Crazy Lady: Oh, that's good. I'd imagine it would be hard to bond to an adopted baby with cancer.

Me: ....

Crazy-Ass Lady: He is adopted, right?

Me: Does it matter?

Fucking Crazy-Ass Lady: Oh! Haha, no? I mean? It's just... he's so white and you're so dark!

Me: ...

Dumb Bitch who Needs to Pull Her Foot Out of Her Mouth: ... Um... I take it he takes after your husband? Your husband must be really white. Why...

Me, walking away.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

You Shouldn't Have to Jump for Joy

My running joke in San Diego was my the tagline of my blog should be, it's not suppose to be a medical blog.

'Cause, woe, that's where we are. A fucking medical blog 'cause all I can talk about is HEALTH.

I wish this wasn't the dead-center of my life. I wish we weren't going through this. I wish I could easily talking about the holiday quilt I'm making for the family, because it's soft and pretty and lovely and almost ready to head to the quilter but that's not the focus of my life right now.

The focus is getting all of Emerson's health-shit figured out. I do not enjoy lotioning him hourly. Or how we can't go anywhere because his ability to catch a secondary infection is so high, we haven't even been to "church" in months 'cause we have to keep his exposure down. Or how about his weight and height are so low, doctors think he's starving and "failing to thrive" (oh, he's thriving just fine, that's what they call it when weight consistently goes down on the curve). Or his itchiness. His goddamn itchiness that interrupts everything, screaming in the night 'cause he's itching in his sleep and causing himself to bleed everywhere and all his cries ask are why? what's happening? why am I hurting? and there's not a damn thing his parents can do other that swipe him with more lotions and shove more medicines down his throat.

This is the center of my world right now. And yeah, I'm barely blogging because I can take making fun of this crap only so far. 'Cause it's most certainly not funny.

We've started another whole new routine; the new theory is his acid reflux is eating away his skin. Yes, you heard that - eating away his skin.

So more acid reflux medicine, putting (of all things) butt paste containing Zinc Oxide on his face. Fuck me backwards, Batman, it's working. Not fully-completely-healed, but helping.

I really looking forward to him starting to outgrow all this hullabaloo. Griffin and Darwin had similar (but not exact) circumstances, but we have a couple of more years until the relief comes.

Years. Oh, how I do hope it's not years.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Walking on a Dream

My baby is a baby no longer... well, he's still my baby but now he's a big, strapping one-year old boy.

I know, right, Emery? What the fuck, mama? I know, how can it be one year already?

(It feels more like five.) (Sorry, that's the sleepless nights talkin'.)

No longer the little poopin', peein', screamin', eatin' machine we brought from home. No, now you crawl! And do a zombie walk! And maneuver around like a monkey! And talk about your Dadddddeeeeeee!!! And doggies! And refuse to say Momma 'cause your have your father's rotten sense of humor!

You love Bubble Guppies, Oscar the Grouch and Hall & Oates. You get PISSED when a parent travels and gives said parent the cold shoulder a good 24 hours after his or her return. You love your big brothers and stand outside their playroom, shaking the baby gate that divides you and scream AAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH. Thank you for that, it lets me know where you are.

You drink from a sippy (one design, no others mister particular), have your special vanilla-flavored hypoallergenic formula and are kinda-sorta interested in foods and rice milk, but only foods everyone else is eating - none of that jarred baby crap for you. You eat till you puke, thanks to the acid reflux. We're working on it and hope to fatten you out the 6th percentile of body weight for kids your age.

You chase the dog around not because you want to pet her, but because you want to jingle her collar. You like to sit on my hip as I make dinner and whisper "hot" as I cook. You scream at the one measly step from the kitchen to the entry room and throw everything down "to the great abyss" but you know how to climb off the couch (including throwing pillows down to cushion your landing). You love bath time and scream when we take you out of the tub and often lift bath toys along for the ride.

Happy birthday sweet, sweet Emerson. I wouldn't change a thing about you.

(But I'm totally open to more uninterrupted sleep, if you're taking requests.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Oh the Days Go By So Fast

Yesterday these two boys started a new school year...

Second Grade and Fourth Grade. Which means I'm officially fucking old.

Speaking of fucking old...

... this little monkey turns one year old this week.

You may knock me over with a feather now.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

I'm Goin' Back Home to the West Coast

The big news around here is I went to BlogHer'11 and neither was hospitalized nor died of while traveling. Big upgrade from BlogHer'09.

Pathetic what passes as big news around here.

I have decided that the West Coast is the place for me. If I could make out with the ocean or carry it home to Kansas I most certainly would have - both if at all possible.

(Smooth Cab my ass.)


Drinks and dinner at Nobu. They (appropriately so) requested that I now say restaurants Nobu'd me when they did not gluten me. As apposed to don't you fucking PF Changs me when I inquire about the gluten-free area in the kitchen's set up.

I'm suffering from a horrible conference hangover and I just cannot get back on Kansas time. It was so, so wonderful and awesome (except that part when this lady when five ways to crazy at the gluten-free table when I wouldn't eat non-labeled chips; obviously, she really thought highly of those chips).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I Could Stick Around and Get Along with You

Summer has managed to pop up and bite me in the ass so viciously that I cannot think straight.

Life is busy. Good busy. And hectic.

Two werken-over-full-time parents can be hard, but we're hitting summer with the best we got, we've visited the Maker Faire, the Great MidWest Balloon Fest, been doin' lots of gardening, sewing and sucking on sweet, sweet air conditioning.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Poetry in Motion

We have a freshly-minted seven year old in our home.

Bet you can't guess who.

Darwin is now seven. Seven!

I really have no idea how this happened.

Ever my old-soul child, Dar loves being a kid. "And a middle brother!" as he likes to say (despite me doing my best to never, ever call him that). Always up for a change of plans, always up for a new adventure, nothing ever phases him - unless he's happy doing what he's doing and we have other plans.

Loving: Legos, parks, Hex Bugs, board games, picking flowers, making art projects on the fly, comic books

Notsomuch: picking up sticks, early bed times, long car rides, daily journaling

On his birthday he chose "boss of the day," which meant vacation days from work for Momma and Daddy, lots of video games + presents + gluten-free chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast + shopping for DSi games + lunch at Cheeseburger's in Paradise + more shopping at the dinosaur store + family movie night with popcorn + cupcakes and sorbet. Whew.

Happy birthday, Darwin! As you like to say: Awesome! TOTALLY AWESOME, I TELL YA!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

And He's Bringing Me a Surprise

It started with a rash. Then a fever. And listlessness.

Called the doctor. Told to wait. Half-an-hour later, headed to Urgent Care.

Within an hour, the rash nearly doubled.

"Due to his food allergies, we can't give him a shot." Went downtown to the big children's hospital.


"Heh," the doctor said. "No shot would've helped this anyway."

For once, food allergies helped us.

Official (-ish, because he never had an abscess to drain & run tests on) diagnosis: fast growing MRSA cellulitis

Required lots of IV antibiotics

Four days in the hospital is not awesome.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Don't You Know Now Is The Perfect Time

We're having a bit of growing pains as school is now out of session and we're home with mama and all our brothers all day.

After a few very rotten, horrible days we've moved to a new reward system. I think it's working, but today the naughtiness keeps coming even with redirection.

So we're focusing on other things, trips to the neighborhood pool...

... fresh flowers from the farmers market (I really do get the best of the bunch, I think)...

... and workin' on the postage stamp quilt. When I get an opportunity, of course.

Aaron just got home at 2am this morning (duuuuuuuuude) after his four-day-trip turned into an eight-day-trip and he still turned around and got to work on time. That boy deserves a trophy.

And lots of rain this weekend. So he won't have to do yard work (and so Mama can sew).

Friday, May 27, 2011

You Know it Feels Good to be Alive

photo credit: Scott Cook

The Midwest has been having a week with all this crazy-ass weather. Joplin, Missouri is three hours south of us and our heart breaks for that city, while we're incredibly grateful all our friends there were physically unharmed.

Tornado sirens went off in the Kansas City area on Wednesday. Aaron and his coworkers stood in the bathrooms, in the middle of the building, for an hour. Darwin, who was at school, went to the basement music room and watched two episodes of Reading Rainbow.

Griffin, who was home sick, Emerson, the dog and I went to our basement for over an hour.

At the beginning I ran up and down the stairs preparing while the boys sat. First run, bottled water, two cans of Emery's special formula, two clean sippy cups. Second run, shoes for me and Griffin, laptop (haven't updated the hard-drive in a long time, too many precious photo files to lose), cameras, battery packs, flashlights, dog leash. Third run, canned & boxed goods, can opener, prescription medicines.

Yes, I was a Girl Scout. Why do you ask?

After I was done with the running I closed the door. I keep a radio in my sewing area, blared it loud. Shifted furniture around in the basement so I could close a door in case there was flying glass. Pulled out a rag rug to sit on and watched Griffin freak the fuck out and puke for over half an hour, poor kid. He got that nervous tummy from his mama.

There were reports of a tornado touch-down less than two miles from our home but it turned out to be a false report. Local areas were hit, but nothing super-close to us.

And Buddha bless texting and the internet. Seriously, we were able to tell family and friends over a thousand miles away that yes, we are in the basement, yes we are all safe. So very grateful for that technology.

More storms are headed to the Kansas City area this weekend, high hopes of just rain and no funnel action. But water, formula and sippys are still in the basement - just in case.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Kill the Lights and Shut the DJ Down

Here you go, a little happy for your weekend: some of our favorite songs.

Which you have activate yourself, YOU'RE WELCOME. Blogs that auto-play music. That shit needs to stop. Please. Think before you auto-play stuff... you don't wanna lose readers 'cause someone's reading blogs at work and YOUR MUSIC BLOWS THEIR COVER, amirite? I am right.

Hap-hap-happy weekend to you!

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