Friday, October 24, 2014


Our friend Tim always says "Never challenge worse." He is a wise man. After a particularly stressful Monday a couple of weeks ago, I distinctly remember saying "It could be worse!" Silly, silly girl.

When I picked the girls up from school last week Wednesday, Eleanor complained of a headache. She looked flushed and felt very warm. Fever of 102˚.  I kept her home the rest of that week. She read, she watched Scooby Doo, she colored in my office while I worked. With no symptoms other than fever and headache, Tylenol had her feeling better Thursday and completely fever-free by Friday. Kyle's parents asked if the girls could stay with them for the weekend. Kyle and I were planning on cutting and stacking wood all weekend, so we made the decision to send them both to their grandparents. Ellie seemed to be feeling better, they missed Grandpa and Grandma, win-win, right?

I must confess that decision was a giant parenting fail. Yes, the girls enjoyed time with their grandparents, but poor Ellie's fever came back with a vengeance. She was in excellent hands, of course, but I still feel bad that she was sick while Kyle and I were stacking wood, enjoying quiet dinners together and sleeping in. Grandma called with news that Ellie had 102˚+ temp Sunday morning. Sunday night, after returning home, it spiked to 103.5˚.

Monday morning we headed to her pediatrician. High fever, belly ache, raspy breath, little energy. Our Peanut tested positive for strep and the Dr. was certain she was dealing with pneumonia as well. (He decided against a chest x-ray since the antibiotics would be enough to knock out both infections.) Monday afternoon she complained of feeling dizzy. After a hot bath we tucked her into bed. I sat with her, listening to her cough and wheeze.  By 8pm, she couldn't talk without gasping for breath. We headed to the ER. When we arrived her O2 levels were quite low. The Dr. gave her a liquid steroid, a breathing treatment and sent us home with instructions for daily treatments with a nebulizer. 

Yesterday she was still lethargic. Her coughing fits would leave her sweaty and out of breath. This morning she's coughing, but nothing like the past few days. She ate a little breakfast and is playing and talking like her (almost) old self.

Ten days later, and I'm confident she's on her way to feeling better. (Crossing my fingers!)

Stack of "Get Well" cards from Eleanor's classmates

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday miles

The view from a bridge on Sunday's trail run
 I only ran twice this week. 
However, I was not lacking in the physical 
activity since we spent all day Saturday stacking wood.
Last week: 11
This year: 739.25

Friday, October 17, 2014

24 hours – a three-week long battle with lice

You read it. Lice. Our darling youngest daughter came home with lice three weeks ago. The first question you may ask is "How did I know she had tiny bugs laying eggs in her hair?" Well, she was snuggling in a chair with me, repetetly itching her head. I peeked around in her hair, trying my hardest not to push her off my lap when I discovered that one of my top ten parenting nightmares had come true. Lice.

The first thing I did was call my mother in a panic. (Isn't that what moms are for?) The second was to drive to the drugstore for a $30 box of insecticide/poison that I spent 3-1/2 hours working into, then out of her hair. The third thing I did, after collapsing into bed that night, was be thankful. Thankful that our sweet Josie "only" had lice – nothing serious. Thankful that Kyle helped with the multiple loads of hot water laundry and vacuumed everything…in…the…house. (Which, by the way, obviously needed to be done after seeing the canister when he was finished.)

That Wednesday night was pretty awful. I cut 6" off of Josie's hair. It was down to her waist, and I knew it would take twice as long to comb through hair that long. She was such a trooper through this entire process. When I told her I needed to cut her hair, she sighed, and chin-up asked if it was going to look like Dad's hair. She was quite relieved that it ended at her shoulders.

The next morning we sat down for an hour combing through her hair again. In my opinion, the drugstore treatment got about 60% of the little bastards. I did some research that day and found the Nuvo Method. After reading many reviews and blog posts about this "new" way to treat head lice, I decided to give it a try. The idea is pretty basic: Cover the child's entire head with Cetaphil face cleanser (I use this anyway), comb it through, then blow dry to basically "shrink wrap" the bugs. Time consuming, but a lot less volatile that using the chemicals again. The kicker is that you have to do this for three weeks. Quite a commitment, but worth every last second if it got rid of the problem.

Looking back, I count 24 hours that Josie and I have spent one-on-one the past three weeks. 3.5 hours that first night with the drugstore stuff, 3.5 hours the next night with the Cetaphil treatment, 30 minutes each morning and each night for the past three weeks, plus another 2.5 hours each for the two follow-up treatments. The past week, each inspection has come up 100% nit and louse free. Thank all that is holy!

In retrospect, it's all good. Lice are gross. Making sure your house and child are louse-free takes a ton of work and dedication. Kids at school were not the nicest about the entire situation (according to Ellie), but by the time Josie was back in school that first Monday, all had blown over. I'm thankful that no one else in the house needed to be treated. Best of all, that was 24 hours that Josie and I got to spend together. She's been so good about all of it – making me laugh at a time when I really wanted to run screaming from the situation.

So there. Our "dirty" secret from the past few weeks.

For your lice enjoyment…a few photos of my totally awesome six-year-old who is brave and patient and took this entire situation with open arms. Litteraly.

Singing a fabulous made-up song about bugs in your hair?
No idea what's going on here
Getting her third Kate Middleton-worthy blow-out
As long as I'm making confessions, here's another: What do you do with a louse and a nit when your bug-fascinated, experiment-loving child wants to see them up close? Make slides of them, of course, and observe them through a microscope. Learning opportunities, people. Take them when you can!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Taking Stock: Fall 2014

A selfie on our trail walk last week while Josie was in gymnastics
Fall 2014

making: apple pie with my girls
cooking: crock pot dinners
drinking: chai tea
reading: work changes and emails
wanting: down time that's about a month away
looking: at our stack of wood – with satisfaction
playing: Shake it Off by Taylor Swift
wasting: the 1/2 bottle of red I forgot about on the counter
sewing: the lining back into Josie's winter hat
wishing: for a date night so Kyle and I can see Gone Girl
enjoying: the quiet while the girls are at school
waiting: for the girls to come home from school
liking: the Pitch Fork Ale at the new Fetch Brewery
wondering: when it will snow for the first time
loving: the nail color Chinchilly by Essie
hoping: we'll get all this wood put away before it snows

watching: Ellie and Josie rake then jump in leaves
needing: some time with my BRF – we've both been so busy!
smelling: fall
wearing: slippers

noticing: how tall my girls have gotten
knowing: I need to put plastic on the windows
thinking: work, work, work
feeling: sore shoulders and arms (in a good way)
opening: the mailbox to find lots of catalogs

Summer 2014 list is here.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday Miles

I'm in the thick of Christmas advertising with hardly a spare minute to do anything other than work, keep the house in-check and manage four busy lives. I was able to enjoy a trail walk with Ellie while Josie was in gymnastics Tuesday, then sneak out for a long trail run Wednesday afternoon while sending work files. Other than that, my workouts for the week have been PiYo to wind-down in the evening and hours of wood stacking. I might not be getting in the miles I'd like…but my arms are getting ripped! (Just in time for sweater season, right?)  :)                                    

Last week: 14.5
This year: 728.25

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Happy birthday to you, Ellie Pickle

Our 9-year-old and her Scooby Doo cake

Saturday evening we celebrated Eleanor's 9th birthday with spaghetti and meatballs, birthday cake and apple pie with her grandparents. It was the perfect way to end our week!

Trying to get a good picture – not easy with an excited
birthday girl and a nervous puppy!
Chillin' with Grandpa and Grandma Payne
A big-girl bike!
Love this… lighting the candles before singing "Happy Birthday" and
what is she doing? Reading on her new Kindle

Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday miles

A fun way to add a few miles as a family!
Last week: 14.25
This year: 713.75

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Happy Birthday, Eleanor

Happy 9th birthday to our sweet, caring, 
funny, smart little girl.

It's all going by too fast.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Things kids say – Josie edition

We practice spelling words daily. I post them at the girls' spots at the counter so they can see them while eating breakfast. I quiz them while in the tub. We go through these words daily.
The first full week of school I kept asking Josie how she was doing on her spelling test (they are tested twice during the week – a pre-test, then the actual test on Friday.) She kept telling she hadn't taken a spelling test.

Friday afternoon I was reading through their school folders and found this…

I commented on how well she did on her spelling test. She insisted she had not taken a spelling test. Ellie was standing next to me and glanced at the paper, then at me. "Ahh…Josie? Did the teacher ever say words out loud and ask you to write them on paper?" she asked.

Josie thought for a second, then answered "Yes."

"That…" Ellie said "…is a SPELLING TEST!"

Josie looked at us both and shrugged.


This week, I asked her how she'd done on her spelling test.

Her answer?

"My what?"

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Things kids say – Ellie edition

Kyle was in southern Georgia last week racing the '55 in, according to him, the "Super Bowl" of drag racing. It was a pretty big deal. Wednesday afternoon, on the drive home from school, I was telling the girls that Kyle called and had arrived safely. I mentioned that the racetrack gates hadn't opened yet, and he counted over 200 cars waiting in line.

While they were both happy he was safe, Ellie had look of concern on her face. "200 cars?" she asked with a sigh. "Oh Mom…I hope Daddy does okay with his homemade car."

It took a lot of self control to keep myself from laughing out loud at her innocent statement. Kyle built this entire car himself, so I guess it does qualify as "homemade" …

Read a little more...

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