Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Message to Clothing Buyers

Halloween is stressful.  I'm no good at costumes.  Costumes, telling jokes, remembering card games--my weaknesses.  I mean, there are others, but those are my learning disabilities.  I sent a text to Chris yesterday that said, "Our not watching tv [with kids] is great until Halloween and all the costumes are weird costumes or scary."

Elliott initially said he wanted to be a grasshopper, totally blaming it on the plague of grasshoppers at Glammy & Poppy's this summer.  All I could think was, a grasshopper?--because that's easy.  Then he said, he though maybe a cow would be good.  I felt good about this.  A cow.  I can do a cow.  That's not too hard, right?

Party City?  No cows.

Target?  COWS.  I knew it!  Only no.  The top size was a size 4.

You know the whole thing about limiting screen time for young kids?  Yeah.  There is no place that it is more apparent that the advice is not working than the Halloween costume aisle at any store.  Elliott is nearing 5 years old, which I can assume from the options means he either loves superheroes or would love to be a slightly less-scary monster/vampire than his 10-year old friends.

So costume developers, please take note:  there are still some sheltered four-year olds in the world.  My child has no idea who Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Captain America or the Incredible Hulk are.  No idea.  Super Mario Brothers?  Nope.  A vampire?  Nope.  Combine this with my commitment to avoid all items bearing a skull and the choices are SLIM.

My message to stores that provide clothing to children little boys (I'm not even touching on the issues with clothing for girls):

  1.  A 5-year old is still a little boy.  Little.
  2. Nearing 5 has not turned my child into a skate-boarding champ.  Really.  No skateboards.
  3. Ninjas and vampires kill people.  Please refer back to #1--no killing machines here.
  4. Superheroes are great, but I have to let you in on a secret--not all kids are aware of who they are. Elliott knows them by sight, but has no idea what they stand for or do.
  5. I don't get the skull trend.  I don't.  I feel like I must not be alone in this, right?  I can't be the only one opposed to buying clothing items with skulls.  
  6. There is plenty of childhood ahead of us, where we'll purchase the scary costumes.  I promise.  Maybe.  





Thursday, October 17, 2013

Professionalism. It's for the birds. Except when it's not.

So you know what sucks about being a professional?

You can't fight back.

Not to prove that you were rarely late for sessions.

Not to prove that you weren't out to decrease services for a child, only trying to make the constant in and out of therapy manageable for the parents.

Not to show that using the term "attachment parenting" wasn't an insult; it seemed a reasonable conclusion with a four-year old and two-year old share your bedroom, decision to let children move at their own pace.  Even if I was wrong, isn't that a discussion, not a complaint?

Not to say that use of the iPhone timer is more used with the intent of not moving in, checking the time over and over instead of trying to escape your home, especially since I was never in your home less than 30 minutes.

I know I need to get over this.  And I'm well on my way. . . the relief of not being put in a home without back-up from parents & a non-compliant child  is winning over anger hands-down.  The challenge is substantial when lies are told, just a shade off the truth--enough to be plausible.

"You always need the last word," my mom says.  Dammit if she isn't right.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Lessons from being Fired

I was fired today.  Not from my job in total, thank goodness, but from one patient.  My friend's son asked if I got "moved down a level."  Luckily, the answer to that is no, too.  I'm pretty glad life isn't like a video game in this instance.

I have to say that in 13 years of doing what I do, this is the first time I've had a parent be so blatant about her dislike of me and my approach(es).  I have had 2 other families cancel services with me and each time it is a blow to the ego, leaving me searching for reasons WHY.

Funny enough, my management duties often involve coaching other therapists through exactly this kind of situation & I've oft repeated that we all get fired in the course of treating for any length of time.  That's true.  The other nuggets of truth I'll add to that discussion are:

  • Each time it stings, leads to questioning of skill, doubt in what you have to offer.  
  • Questioning and reflection on skill is important, no matter how long you've been practicing your trade.
  • Underlying that ego-blow is RELIEF.  
  • If you so happen to dread interaction with a caregiver so much that you are nervous to tell about jury duty service, then that relief will wash through you with your second mixed drink--that spreading warmth a combination of a little buzz and the realization that you never have to take abuse from that particular parent ever. again.  HALLELUJAH.  
So much more I could say.  So.  Much.  But in the hopes of salvaging my professionalism, I'll stop. . . in a minute.  Just for the record, if I ever am in complete denial that my child needs limits or has failings, someone take me out back and beat some sense into me.  

**The part I left out was that after I left the home I was not the picture of calm.  It involved quite a bit of righteous indignation, well-timed curses & shaking with anger (no exaggeration).  I'll save that post for another day.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Do Your Part. NO Really.

I am a speech pathologist in my professional life.  A darn good one, most of the time.  I love what I do, I don't think I will ever feel not-challenged.  That's a positive.  I want to be challenged.  I want to keep learning.  It is a metaphorical back-flip moment when I see a child do something they have never done before because of my therapy.  Seriously.  Such a high, a sense of accomplishment to see a wee face and the parental excitement in the background as the child eats a piece of bread for the first time, tells their parent they are hungry or uses a computerized device for their voice & corrects me on the form of "it's" that I used.

Sometimes, though, I run aground.  I flounder and struggle for direction, for inspiration.  And sometimes I beat my head against the wall in frustration.  The thing is, an hour of really good speech therapy per week only gets you so far when it comes the hard things.  And if a kid has qualified for therapy, they need help with the hard things.  One hour spread over a couple of intense therapy sessions per week will bring fair results, at best.  Mediocre.  Middlin.'  That's with intense therapy.

Now change circumstances to therapy with a 'meh' level of intensity and little-to-no practice, reinforcement of skills and you get a teeny-tiny baby step of progress, if you get progress at all.  If a child spends the majority of a session not wanting to (and really, I get it, therapy is doing the hard things) & then caregivers don't feel compelled to, well, compel the child to cooperate; followed by haphazard follow-through on practice, results are poor.

Common sense, right?

Sigh.  Alas, it is not.

Recently I have had several parents feel like this was due to shoddy, less-than-stellar therapy on my part.  I know.  I am much more likely to blame myself for disappointing results  so I sure didn't want to write this off an inconsequential.  But when I took a step back, looked at the facts logically and turned the situation in my mind to examine all facets, I see this isn't a lack of good therapy, although there is always room for improvement, room for a different way.  This isn't a refusal of mine to accept poor outcomes.  This isn't because of a child that is unable to learn.  In fact, this isn't about the therapist or the child, for the most part.

So that leaves the parent.  The parent wishing for the magic wand that would cure autism, any syndrome, any sound disorder & entrusting therapist to "fix" their child.  I just can't. We can't.  It's a flaw in our profession, a limit of our humanity.  Progress on a skill that doesn't come naturally is really freakin' hard work.  So if that hard work is too much, for right now, forever, just STOP.  Stop blaming me. It is not an error that I want my toys back at the end of a session, just like a dentist doesn't give you their tools--it's the same thing.  Toys are my tools.  Stop therapy.  Really.  Sometimes a break is the best thing for everyone.  Therapy of any kind is only as effective as the 'want to' of the family.  Turns out that is one of the only things I can't provide--the want to. Sabotage rarely has the desired positive outcome.

That's my "Come to Jesus" talk (best term ever, thank you Dean Cowser), only a lot harsher than I can provide in my real world job.  For some reason, the fact that the whole entitlement generation-thing would effect my ability to affect change never occurred to me.  That was stupid.

To the rest of you, working your asses off to be consistent on what you stress to your kids, thank you.  When I shrug off compliments on how much I did to help your child it's because it's true.  The hard work happened when I wasn't there.




Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Funky Town

I have zero idea why Fort Worth is called Funky Town by some, but I've never really enjoyed the nickname.  But this post isn't about the beauty of Fort Worth--less about town, more about funk.  I'm in a funk.  There I said it.  Not depressed, exactly, just blah.  Exhausted.  I need to work-out and knowing I'm not a morning person, not to mention being responsible for getting the tribe out the door each morning, I feel like the evenings are doable.  I've worked-out successfully at this time before and it worked. Problem is that currently by 7:30 or 8:00, I'm done.  D-O-N-E.  Exhausted.  Antisocial.  It's like my job and parenting responsibilities have sucked every last ounce of energy out of me by 8pm.

I realize I have 3 small children and a full-time job, but seriously, I am chronically feeling sleep-deprived, even when I'm getting plenty of sleep.  I also realize this could just be life, could be stress, could be medical. I even took a pregnancy test, just to make sure, despite my husband having the big V last year.  Yeah, desperate, panicky measures.  I think I've now decided it would be prudent to actually find a PCP since I'm done bearing children & have been relying on my (wonderful) OB-GYN  for this job.  The last true physical I had was in 2011. . . and that was a well-woman check, no bloodwork.  Yeah.

So, hypochondriac?  Lazy?  Real disorder? I don't know.  This post is a total going-out-on-a-limb moment because if my mom reads this, she will ask me daily: a) "How are you feeee-ling?" and b) if I've actually made the appointment.  Sometimes my own policy of "it's always good to be honest" policy gets me into trouble.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Perspective. The Heart-Warming Kind.

This.  On days like today when I am overwhelmed with my piddly problems, I need some perspective, especially perspective that doesn't come with sound because I often seek perspective when I'm rocking a baby to sleep.  Today, this was the solution.  Well, this and rum & Diet Coke.

Working Moms, Unite! (Or just try to survive. . . )

Just when I'm all "I've got this" and am crafting a post on how I've survived working full-time with three kids ages four and under (hello, pat on the back), I have a day.  So yeah.  Let's keep it real.  I live in a house of cards that when the stars are aligned, works well.  However on off weeks days, things are cling-on-by-your-fingernails to survive with any semblance of health.

So today before today went all shit-show in my head, I say head because in actuality it was a fine day, but my mood was all testy.  BUT lately things have been a bit better than not.  I almost feel like a grown-up.  Almost.  As I've mentioned before, laundry and housework are my nemesis (is this also the plural form. . . nemeses? I dunno).  I have managed to keep all three of my children alive and well, mostly eating well without much planning.

I have spent much of my parenting life plotting and planning & then hoping someone else will do the work--you know, like a domestic mastermind.  I know this isn't logical, but I have persevered mightily with this escapade.  I've been known to walk over shizz on the floor for weeks, getting illogically angry that someone else (read: my husband) hadn't picked up the toy/napkin/sock.

We took a somewhat radical step a few months ago and canceled our cleaning service.*  We had dropped down to them only coming every 4 weeks and the results weren't super satisfying.  We used those funds instead to pay for a laundry service.  Yup.  My wonderful mother and rediscovered friend, Jeremy, got us a gift certificate for the service when we added bonus baby.  Laundry Mountain? No. Freaking. More.  (Please know our office couch is always often covered with laundry still to put away.)

Enter my next step of being a grown-up--each night we try to do at least one chore.  Chris always does the dishes (I know, I'm lucky); I always sweep.  Then I add bathrooms, dusting. . .  something in short bouts of 15 minutes or so.  It's helping.

In June we added a meal-planning service for real food, which I expected Chris to put into play.  I. Know.  Seriously, I know.

But I've changed! (For the moment.)  For the last 2 weeks, I have prepped the veggies for dinners so that Chris can start dinner when he gets home.

Veggies for last week's meals.  Chopped and ready to use.


Sauce prepared for the slow-cooker recipe of Meatball Arribiata last night, eaten tonight.

Meatballs ready for the Arribiata sauce & the other half prepped for tomorrow's meal.  

It's freaking working.  Really.  The process of meal-planning is completely overwhelming to me, which leads to ordering out or eating lots of sandwiches.  The $10/month for our meal plans is worth it for the whole-food recipes that are planned for us.  I can chop veggies.  I can.  

So that's how we are keeping our heads above water for the moment.  The laundry service might be saving my life, simply because I'm not tripping and sliding on laundry in the dark hallway.  

*I completely recognize this is a First-World Problem and that we are incredibly lucky to have any extra income for someone to help us survive.  




Tuesday, September 17, 2013

And What a Year It Was. . .


It's hard to believe this little man has been occupying space on this earth for over a year now (I am aware this picture says 10 months.  I can't seem to locate the 11 month pics & haven't taken the 12 month pics yet. Yeah.)  The Bonus Baby.  I wasn't sure I could love him the same way as the other two.  I was right.  I can't. (Totally not because he's the one I didn't have an epidural for)  He is a treasure all his own, full of cuddles, bashful smiles and special love for mommy.  No walking yet, predictable since his siblings didn't walk until 16 and 17 months old, respectively.  Actually, he has a crazy crawl propelled by one foot.  I am certain he has the strongest big toe in Texas.  I've often lamented that I never had kids that would sleep in crazy places.  Well, out of necessity, KP wins this race.  My dad says he has smiley eyes--his whole face lights up with joy. .  . unless there are loud noises or his parents walk out of his sight, then his bottom lip quivers, jutting out to express just how heart-broken he feels.  No worries, a thumb in the mouth solves everything.  

Seriously.  Face half in the water, half-out.  Asleep.  Clearly the best sleeper on vacation.

I love this picture.  Love.  This is my boy, in a nutshell.

Fifteen months or so ago I had no idea how we would survive.  How we would ever ever go on a vacation again.  How I would ever get out of the house on time for my job with four people to get ready.  Then Chris decided he needed a career change, exactly at the time this little boy was due to make his appearance.  No one else really understood our reasoning, but we just took it day-by-day.  Chris and I call it our own brand of chaos--dirty floors, sticky counters, toys everywhere, more laundry than I ever imagined, loud voices, hugs, tears, toys everywhere (seriously, everywhere).  I can officially say I survived working full-time as a mom of three.  We are a rare breed,I only know a handful of moms who have their own tribe and still work full-time, but with help of a laundry service & my generous co-parent, I have done it for one year.  Eighteen more to go.. . .although with current job stats, that may be more like twenty-one more to go.  I figure as longs as smiles out-number tears, hugs out-number hits, there is food on the table and healthy kids and parents, I'm ready to tackle the challenge.  









Saturday, September 14, 2013

So Maybe They Favor?

Cleaning out pictures on my hard drive and came across these photos.  All on the left are Ell & KP on the right.  Sometimes their resemblance catches me off guard.

  

  

  

  

 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I'm Not Ready (The Hard Things)

Hard parental discussions are framed in my head by children than are ages 10 years old and older.  I figure my crowd, the under 5 crowd, should be filled with questions about where candy comes from, when can we ride a tractor and when can I get married.   Can I get an amen on this one?

Things I didn't bargain for?  A 4.5 year old that is far too perceptive and inquisitive for his own good.  So perceptive, in fact, that he asked me yesterday morning in the car why there were so many flags out.  Seriously?  This is where my commitment to be honest about all the things to the point it's appropriate seems questionable (I'm looking at you Mom, Ms. I-don't-know-what-bastard-means).  Turns out 9-11 is a tricky thing to explain to an anxious, perceptive, sensitive kid.

Time will tell on if I gave the right, or enough, or too much, information.  I told Ell that some bad guys killed a lot of people because they didn't like our country and that the flags are the way we can remember them. He accepted this, we moved on to discussion of Goofy throwing up in my car. . . until this morning.

"Mommy, why do some people have to die before us?"  Death is a common source of questions in the mind of a 4.5 year old, so I answered that we are all going to die someday and no one knows when that might be.  "Why did those bad guys have to kill all those people? What happened to the bad guys?"  Twenty-four hours later and his wheels still turning, trying to make sense of the unreasonable.  Raising children in a world of uncertainty is tough, but the world is no more uncertain than it has always been.  The question is how to balance protection and honesty, to raise bold & brave children not cowed by fear of coulds and might happens?  Right now my answer is simplified honesty.  I don't know that it's right, but it's right for right now.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

It was a "Big Day"

Days under 95 degrees in August in Texas are unheard of and are for the record books. With a million and one chores around the house, we decided that staying closed up inside the house was just not an option today. Elliott asked this morning if we could have a "Big Day." Repeated clarification attempts brought tears on his part, puzzled looks shared between Chris and me. . Finally, he explained he wanted to do something 'big' together as a family. So after nap, we headed out to the Fort Worth Zoo--one of the 10 best zoos in the nation. While we were hoping to see Baby Belle, the new baby Asian elephant, we saw enough in our two hours that made up for her absence. I was expected crowds, serious crowds, because any time in the past 10 years that I've been to the FW Zoo it's been crazy-crowded, but somehow fortune smiled upon us with little in the way of crowds and active animals. We followed up with an outing to Central Market for some live music, beer, foodie foods and friendship, as our friends Karen & Nathan & baby Ty-Mo joined us for some patio time.
Squint and you can see the rare white Bengal tiger in the background.  I saw the same tigers 10 years ago when they were cubs, held in the arms of zoo keepers.  The are stunning, but just easy prey in the wild.



Ostrich egg exploration.  The shell had been opened & inside cleaned out.  The thickness of the shell was several mm thick.  Totally fascinating.


Elliott's favorite part of the day was the bird atrium-thingy.  Full of parakeets & cockatiels, I spend the majority of my time waiting to get pooped on.  To each their own.

Brookie and the Sloth Bear.

That kangaroo was sacked. out.  Done.  



Python.  Yeah.  The kids loved the new Museum of Living Art, which replaced the old herpeterium.


Special K, just prior to losing his mind over being in the stroller for 2 hours.  Mainly I felt bad because all other zoo pics were of the big kids.  

Gelato.  

Hatch Chile Fest!

Big Days are good.  Glad that handsome boy convinced us to take the leap.











Monday, August 12, 2013

Poopy. Say It.


Elliott had a fab day yesterday and Saturday, but the attitude was back in full-force today. He was repeating "poopy" over and over on the way home. And over.  And over.  I counted him, he quickly earned a time-out and we had to get off the phone with Glammy (the tragedy!). He still didn't stop--kept egging on Brooklyn to say it. Say it.  


video


I got stern and showed him how irked I was--major mistake; he laughed (the little shit--pun intended). This makes my head spin around, so it was a good thing that I had the rest of the drive to calm down. Had we not been in the car I'm afraid I would've spanked him, which is not what we want to do as parents although I was second-guessing that decision. I  acknowledged I couldn't make him stop saying it and told him not to worry about his consequence in my best Love and Logic attempt at parenting. It gave me time to plot with Chris via text at red lights. Because he couldn't make good choices around his brother and sister, he had to eat by himself in his room and then go straight to bed. He was quite devastated for the moment, crying, screaming & bargaining.  In turns I felt sad for him and glee at finding a consequence that meant something (momentarily).  I'm often consulted at work for how to treat children with  more challenging behaviors, so I'm convinced that this child has been sent to me for lessons in becoming humble.  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

We Went OUT, Y'all

I want to write.  I do.  I wish I had a good excuse for not writing, but mainly it's because we fired our house-cleaning service in exchange for a laundry service which requires far more work for me.

I have this new friend that I met at work.  Her husband is a drummer in a band as his second job.  For weeks she's been encouraging me (and others) to go see the band play at a bar last weekend.  A real bar.  Honestly, I didn't even tell my husband about it until the last minute because really, what the hell are we going to do at a real bar?  It made my 36.5 year-old heart all anxious and hand-flappy.
Turns out that when I casually threw out, "Oh Jenny wants us to go see the band..  .it's a country band (he doesn't like country music) and it's in the Stockyards.  The bar is named Filthy McNasty's.  Doesn't seem like our kind of thing. . .," he responded, "that sounds like fun!"

So we went.  Jenny assured me that I really did know what to do. . . I wasn't sure.  I mean, I stood, puzzled, at my closet for at least 5 minutes.  We went.  It was fun.  I forget how LOUD and smoky bars are. The smell of my hair awoke me in the wee hours of the morning.  The people watching!  Oh, the people watching!  I not so subtly videoed the cowboy glory.  You're welcome.  (And yes, this is for real, and no, not the norm in the whole city, only in specific areas and specific establishments.)

video
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Sunday, May 26, 2013

We Had a Birth. And a Birthday.


Huge blogging hiatus. No special reason other than lack of motivation and overall busyness. It's an exciting life I lead. In the time I've been gone, I gained a nephew and my baby girl turned two. I did manage quite a few iPhone pics. Take that, motivation!

New nephew. 

Tamales for breakfast? Yes, please. 

Kellen says "yes, please."


Cousins. 


These Girls love a baby. 

Naked baby holding. We'll blackmail them with this later. 






The end. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Baby Torture

Pretty sure that is what Special K thinks I'm into when I break out the Nose Freda. I do admit a strange sense of satisfaction with the snotty results. Special K is not impressed.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Random Thoughts That Could be Blog Posts

Random thoughts that could be blog posts if I weren't so lazy:

1.  Laundry service is amazing, stupdenous, revolutionary.  Bundle clothes; they are picked up and delivered clean and folded in 2 days.  (it was a gift)

2.  We cleaned a lot of shizz out of our house because I was overwhelmed.  Extra towels?  Gone.  Unplayed-with toys? Gone.  Fancy glasses?  Gone.  All the clothes I might wear someday?  Gone.

3.  There's a grilled cheese restaurant in my neighborhood that is a revelation.  I ate there today.  Totally ruined any hopes of a gluten-free day.

4.  I haven't had a haircut in over 7 months.  I know this because my tiny baby isn't so tiny anymore and is 6.5 months old and I last got it cut well before I had the tiny baby.

5.  I really want a tiny little stud in my nose.  I know.  I'm 36 and it's a bit ridiculous, but I really want one.  I mean, why not?  Will it ruin my reputation at work?  Does it cost a million dollars?  Will my kids try to rip it out?

6.  We agreed to not use our phones at all in the evenings when the kids are awake for Lent and it's harder than one might think.  Mainly because I have a small addiction.

7.  My sweet 6 month old keeps teasing us by randomly sleeping all night and then returning to his one time per night waking.  It's a cruel trick that leaves hope in my heart.  I love sleep.


Friday, March 1, 2013

So. Proud.

She works hard for the money.

And yes, I did take time to video this even though my baby was crying in the car.  I'm pretty much an awesome mom.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

It's All About Timing

There are certain things you don't want to hear when faced with this kind of traffic situations.

1. "Mommy, I need to potty!" said with urgency from the 4 year old.
2. "Poop." This from the almost 2-year old.



Monday, February 25, 2013

American Excess (Or Why Laundry Ruins My Life)

is alive and well, as evidenced by the mass quantities of laundry in my hallway, laundry, room, kids' laundry hampers. . . my bathroom floor.  I'm basically saying that we each have about 4 million pieces of clothing.  Laundry haunts me.  Clutters my view as I type this.  Today I decided we should each be allowed 10 outfits.  So then that would be 50 outfits for our family.  That sounds like a lot, but we are lucky to have much, much more.  And by lucky I mean it's also a curse.  A curse that haunts me.  I think I need to downsize, which would make life much more simple or much more likely that you'd see us wearing dirty clothes. 

Oh, and did I mention my husband has pneumonia? Yes.  That's real.  No exaggeration for dramatic effect. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Where I've Been: A dramatic timeline

I've been on a blogging hiatus mostly.  I mean, a few cute pics thrown in here and there, but this is what we've been facing:

January 15--Special K hasn't gained any weight & is SERIOUSLY underweight, as per his 4 month
                    check-up.  We add a new reflux med & extra coconut oil to his formula.
January 16--Brooklyn shuts her hand in mini sliding door.  ER visit.
January 19--Brooklyn & Ell diagnosed with flu.  I leave with Special K to try & avoid the germiness.
January 22--I feel crappy, but convinced it's just a cold.
January 23--I have the effing flu.
January 25--Special K is snotty & feels warm but actually has a low body temp.  This is its own
                     problem. 
                   Talk to the nurse line.  ER visit recommended.
                   Poppy comes over.  ER visting we go.  I still feel like crap. 

January 25/26--Stay up all night in ER even with flu recovery. 
                   Special K diagnosed with flu (duh) & IV placed for fluids.

January 26--Admitted to room.  Yeah, it was kind of permanent.  I have dirty hair, shelf bra & sticky
                    armpits.
                    Hospital staff heavy-handed with advice.  Skeptical of fast metabolism.  Like to throw
                    around Failure to Thrive (FTT) like it's an award, when in fact it sounds like an
                    indictment of my pediatrician & parenting.
                    Introduce Alimentum formula, which is hypo-allergenic.  In other words, milk proteins
                    pre-broken down.
                 
January 27--Ass-doctor visits.  Acts offended that I am concerned about getting home to my other
                    two small children.  Refuses to discharge us.

January 28--Finally home.

January 29--Realize I'm out of PTO, so paycheck will be 2 days short of pay. 
                    Realize one small can of Alimentum costs $28 and we have to eat beans and rice ONLY.
                    Forever.

February 1--Elliott running a fever at dinner.  Chris takes him to urgent care with diagnosis of a virus.

February 2--Brooklyn wakes up covered in poo--the runny kind.
                     Elliott's birthday.  He seems fine.  Party continues.
                    Elliott wakes in the night puking his brains out.

February 3--Sicky kids

February 5--I start pooing my brains out.  Sorry for that.

February 7--I'm better.

February 9--I'm worse.

February 11--Chris runs fever.  Starts pooing his brains out.

February 12--Realize we have spent $500 in copays since the beginning of the year.

February 14--Chris is finally better.

February 15--Special K is gaining.  All kids snotty.  Coughing.  Drippy noses. 

February 19--Elliott has double-ear infections, likely sinus infection.  Diagnosed after he wakes
                      SCREAMING at 3am.
                      Chris realizes he feels like poo & has terrible cough.

February 20--Oh Dear God, please make this sickiness stop.  I apologize for whatever wrongs I have
                      committed. 

It's not all bad.  We figured out Special K has a milk intolerance/allergy.  Check it: