Ew, Ew, EW!

“What is that on the back of your head, Liam?  Is that some kind of skin tag or something?”

We were sitting at dinner and Scot noticed this on the back of Liam’s head.  Scot looked at me.

“Honey, did you know about this skin tag?”

I got up to go take a look, “What skin tag?”

He pulled up the hair on the back of Liam’s head, I got a quick glimpse, and nearly jumped out of my skin.

“That’s not a skin tag, that’s A TICK!” I shrieked.  Then I started doing the I’m-so-skeeved-out-I-can’t-sit-still dance.

We didn’t have a clue how to get the damn thing off his head without leaving behind bug parts, we didn’t know how long it had been there (best guess: 4 days), and we didn’t know if there was any sort of medication protocol in these instances.

So, off we whisked him to Urgent Care to let the experts deal with it.  Which they did in very short order, told us he didn’t need meds but to watch him for the next several weeks, and then sent us on our way.

No fuss, no muss.  For them, at least.

My skin is still crawling.

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Stress!

I mentioned that last week was the week from hell and I wasn’t lying.  I don’t think I’ve looked forward to a Monday morning more than I looked forward to this one.

It started last Sunday night when Scot was hit very fast and very hard with the worst migraine of his life.  He has had problems with migraines for several years now and the short explanation is that he’s been to many doctors, tried many treatments (most of which are a serious problem for him), and come out the other side no better than when he started.  His headache Sunday night was a bad one and despite all medications we had to treat it at home, it was not going away.  He ended up going to the ER to have it treated.

As ER trips go, it was fairly low stress.  They gave him with the medications we know will work, broke the headache and sent him on his way.  Not such a bit deal, really.  (I’m sure you’re wondering how a ‘low-stress’ ER visit figures into this story of ongoing stress.  Stay with me.)

Monday he worked from home because the medications he’d been given combined with the severity of the headache left him feeling pretty hung-over.  This is how it came to be that he was home in the afternoon.

Now, Scot had a procedure of a personal nature about 3 weeks ago.  It went fine.  On Monday afternoon, I was herding Liam through the process of getting ready to go to TKD when I heard a high-pitched yelp.  I actually thought it was Liam from another room but when I looked up Liam was right there.  However, Jamie had been upstairs with Scot.

Oh no.

Scot took an injury of a personal nature courtesy of Jamie’s knee.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay around to chat because I had to take Liam to TKD.  While I was at the dojang, Scot and I were exchanging text messages and then phone calls about the situation.  The upshot was that he was in enough pain that he had to be seen by a doctor, it was after hours, and the doctor that did the procedure told him to go to the ER.

The same ER he’d been at just 24 hours before.

This time I went with him.  We made emergency arrangements for childcare (Thank you, Ann!) and when I got home with Liam from TKD, I shoved down some dinner and then took Scot to the ER.  It was not as painless a visit as the night before but he did get the same attending.  Also, the nurse thought I was Scot’s daughter, not his wife.  Considering this injury, this was both funny and weird.

Luckily, there didn’t appear to be any damage done so he was sent home with painkillers and told to take it easy. And to stay away from the toddler’s knee.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were fairly normal if hectic.  As usual, I had a crap ton to do and not enough time to do it in.  This is nothing new.

Friday night was the kicker.  That night just about did me in.

We got to the end of the day and it was time to start bath/bedtime routine.  I took the kids upstairs to and convinced them to get in the tub together to save me extra work.  Meanwhile, Scot and I kept saying “who farted?” and “what’s that smell?” and “is Jamie’s diaper dirty?” I got the kids in the tub and ran down to the basement to check things out.  Hit the furnace/laundry room.
GAS!
I went running for the stairs, yell at Scot to call his parents so we can get the kids out, shut off the furnace, and go running for the bathroom to bathe the kids, get them out, and get them dressed.  Scot calls his parents then calls the fire department.  Smart man, because I was all “BUG OUT!  BUG OUT!  MASH 4077, BUG OUT!”
So, he goes to wait outside for the nice burly firemen to show up while I run around like a crazy person getting Jamie dressed (Liam can dress himself), gathering toiletries, clothes, pillows, blankies, and stuffed animals and throwing it all together in an overnight bag.  All the while I’m wondering “What the hell are we going to do with the dog?!”
By this time the firemen have arrived (who, by the way showed up with the lights and trucks and whatnot – Jamie was FASCINATED as, I’m sure, were the neighbors) so I can’t get out of my driveway.  I went down to check on things and find out if I needed to whisk the kids away.  Guess what?  IT’S POO GAS.  Yep, a back burp of sewer gas from the main house drain.
Yes, go ahead.  I’m laughing at myself, too.  
But, you know, just to be safe, the burly firemen are running around with their little gas reading equipment.  There were no leaks on the furnace – good, it’s practically brand new – but he stuck the meter in the dryer, turned the dryer on and that meter lit up like a damn Christmas tree.  Gas leak in or around the dryer.
They shut off the gas supply to the dryer and I had to call a repairman today (they are coming out tomorrow).  Meanwhile, the 6 year old was freaking out that it’s not safe in the house and the 2 yr old was shrieking about all the “SHRUCKS!” in front of the house.
It was A Night and almost immediately upon getting the kids calmed down and in bed the phone rang.  It was the neighbors wanting to know what the hell was going on.  Oh joy.
The weekend was crisis-free but not aggravation free.  Everyone was on everyone else’s nerves and we were all cranky.  Not even a couple of family outings seemed to soothe our savageness.
So here it is, the start of a brand-new week, and I am praying that it will be calmer and that I will be able to get all of my domestic chores done without a bunch of crazy crises throwing monkey wrenches into things.  Considering I’ve got two TKD classes, a class field trip I’m chaperoning, a plumber coming in to repair the dryer, taking the car for inspection, Liam’s Lego class, and speech therapy all on the docket this week I need things to run smoothly.
My thoughts exactly, Jamie.

A Trip To Phipps

This week has been incredibly stressful and difficult.  I feel like I’ve lived through 3 months worth of crises in the space of seven days and, frankly, I don’t like it very much.  Neither does anyone else in the house and we’re all pretty cranky.

So, this morning we took the kids and went to Phipps.  We haven’t been in several months and this is usually a very relaxing family outing for us.  It wasn’t so awesome this morning (if you saw a woman carrying a yelling, screaming red-headed demon toward the exit, that would have been me) but we did our best to enjoy it regardless.

The fall flower shower is in full swing and the place is stuffed to the gills with mums – all colors, shapes, sizes, and statures.  The main room off the rotunda has been turned into a massive train display.

This was Jamie’s favorite room.  Hence the screaming when informed it was time to leave.
“Choo-choo!”
As usual, the display designers at Phipps have left their unique twist on things. Left amidst the idyllic scenes of farms, the country store, and outdoor activities we find a barn…
…with dinosaurs.  RAWR!
And oh, the colors!  Reds! Oranges! Yellows!

If this isn’t the definition of fall, I don’t know what is.

As we left, a quintessential Pittsburgh scene greeted us.

The Cathedral of Learning against a perfect sky
The most exciting part of our visit (for me) was that I took my very first fully manual picture on my DSLR.  I wanted to get a picture of one of the waterfalls in the Tropical Room and I wanted to slow the shutter speed down enough to get some nice blur on the water.  
I did it!
It might not be the most interesting or most perfectly composed shot ever but I used the full manual function and I got the camera to do what I was hoping to make the camera do.  Holy cats, I’m not a complete camera imbecile!

The Hard Evidence

I’ve been posting on this blog for months now about Jamie’s improving ability to speak.  I’ve been meaning to get some of it on video for everyone to hear for themselves and I finally got some today.  He’s Chatty Charlie at all other times unless he his asleep but the second I picked up the video camera he didn’t want to cooperate.

So, this is the best I could do.

Bear with me when you hear me say “dump truck” and “back hoe” about 40 kajillion times.  They’re two of his best and most favorite words so I was trying to get him interested in talking by getting him to say those two words.

Without further ado, I give you Jamie the (Finally!) Talking Toddler.

As always, he still has a long way to go but he’s come so very, very far already.

A Burgeoning Romance

Today I had to pick Liam up at school.  He’s been taking a Lego class after school on Thursdays so instead of taking the bus home, I pick him up at 4:30.

Jamie and I got there a bit early and hung out waiting for class to be done.  When it was over, Liam approached us with his backpack on and no coat.  I asked him if he had everything (he said yes), I said “where’s your coat?” and he answered with a giant sigh and “I forgot it.”

Since we hadn’t left yet we strolled down to his classroom to pick up his coat before we headed home.  As we approached the door to the classroom I stopped dead in the hall when I spotted this:

“My name is Leah and I like Liam.”
Of course I whipped out my phone and took a quick picture.  Liam had completely ignored my little detour and gone into his classroom to find his coat.
Now, there was one of these little declarations for each of the students.  Some of them said that the kid like video games or Barbie.  So, the next thing I did was start looking for Liam’s.
Guess what I found when I did?
“My name is Liam and I like Leah.”
Not Star Wars.  Not Legos.  Not Tae Kwon-Do.  Leah.
Well, well, well.
Liam informs me that they had to choose something to like that began with the first letter of their first name.  Still, you’d think that Liam would automatically think of Legos.
It begins so much earlier than I thought.

Fall Color

I took a drive the other day hoping to get some fall color shots.  While there were a lot of leaves already on the ground, I did manage to get a few I wanted to share.  I hate cleaning up those leaves once they fall but I sure do love the colors they bring before they do.

A Budding Artiste

From the time he could pick up a crayon and set it to paper Liam has loved art.  The art corner in his room is filled to the brim with coloring books, markers, colored pencils, paper of all varieties and colors, glitter glue, and other supplies.  When it comes time to clean his room, that corner is always the most onerous task for him because he has so much of it.

Lately he’s really been on a drawing kick.  He got some Ed Emberley books out of the library and he’s been churning out sketches like a chipmunk of meth.  The books seemed to really spark a fire in him.

While the following examples didn’t come from the Ed Emberely books (I’ll save those for another post), they do contain his other favorite thing in life: Star Wars.  He drew all of the beloved characters from memory and I have to admit that they look like they should.  I mean, Han and Leia really look like Han and Leia.

Luke and the Droids

Han and Leia

Yoda
I’m almost positive I couldn’t draw like that when I was 6.  Impressive.  Most impressive.