Thursday, September 29, 2011

a day at the gardens

yesterday (wednesday) was 85* by 930 in the morning. unusually warm for a september day in colorado. but we didn't complain. so we headed to gardens. enjoy. we sure did.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

thank you isn't enough

I'm sure some of you are wondering how in the world we are handling all the expenses that Tulo's accident has incurred. It's not pretty people. But what IS pretty are the people who have helped us out along this rough road.

We have never been on the receiving end of a charity and I honestly thought we never would. Tulo's initial visit to the incredible e-vets in town is our financial responsibility. That includes his surgery, the e-collar he's never used, meds, sedation, wound care, etc...just take a guess as to how much that costs. It's not pretty, like I said.

I remember sitting in the courtyard of the hospital listening to the tech tell me all about Tulo's injuries and just sobbing. He would have to visit our regular vet every week for several weeks until the cast comes off and then he'll need physical therapy which is a pretty penny. I had no idea how our little family was going to handle such a huge financial burden. Tulo may "just be a dog" but in no way is he less of a family member. There was no question we would allow the vet and her team to treat Tulo however they saw fit.

Three days after the accident we had his dressings changed and assessed by our regular vet. Near the end of our appointment I mentioned that there was no way we would be able to pay for every service "at the time of service" as they requested and even went into further detail about our financial status. We both work hard, full-time hours, pay for daycare, rent, bills, I simply asked for us to set up a payment plan. Our vet is a saint. She listen deeply and began to tell me about The Gracie Fund. It's a charity-based fund through Friendship Vet Hospital for families like us who have a pet going through something traumatic, both financially and emotionally, and need some help. We were instantly given $250 by someone in town. Her only request was that we write her (the person who made the donation) a thank you note. DONE AND DONE! I was in tears! This amount covered 2-3 more visits which we continued to have every 4-5 days.

There was a visit in there somewhere when Tulo ate through the bottom of his cast. I was livid! I thought for sure they would have to recast him but no...our vet simply covered the area extra good so there was still some air getting into the wound (a good thing) but still protecting his toes. We sprayed it down with chew guard and before leaving she said that quick visit was on her. Wow. Are people really this nice? Am I really THAT blessed?? I called and told B. We were floored by her kindness, compassion, and generosity.

Once that fund was drained, the hospital applied for the Lady Bug grant. This one is a little different in that the hospital has to request a grant for us based on our situation. Once qualified, the Lady Bug grant is $150 with the promise from the hospital to match that amount for the family. You do the math. That's another $300 right there. This grant came to us when Tulo developed the infection prior to this past Thursday's visit regarding the drain in his leg.

THEN, on Thursday even more came to us. The hospital had applied for two more grants for us and that vist alone was over $800. With the grant ($300) and even more support and assistance from my father-in-law (B's dad) and his fiancee for the balance, we did not have to pay for anything.

We will be paying B's dad back. But how do we pay the hospital back? How do we pay the people back who contribute to The Gracie Fund? B and I talked about this on Thursday evening. So much has been given to us in a way we never thought possible. It's true, bad things do happen to good people and then what? Well, this is exactly why these charities exist. We are going to offer our time to help around the hospital, if they'll accept us. Volunteering our time only seems right considering the circumstances.

Every month for almost two years our family has made a $15 donation to the Children's Hospital in Denver. March of Dimes and the Alzheimer's Association are two other charities we have made contributions to. $10 comes out of my paycheck every month for the cancer foundation through the hospital. We believe in giving. When other smaller avenues come up, we do what we can (change for local fire fighters...). We are without a doubt humbled by the events and results of those events over the last month. It has been one of the most trying for our family but in no way to we doubt that we are being taken care of. I urge everyone to give to a charity that is close to your heart. I remember calling my mom to tell her about the $250 from The Gracie Fund and she was so happy for us, stating "Wow, I guess pets need a charity too". It's not something that everyone is fully aware of. Pet insurance is still a new thing that most pet owners do not participate in. Regardless, giving just feels good and I can honestly say that while it feels uncomfortable, at first anyway, to be on the receiving end that I'm not sure what we would have done without the amazing people (vets, techs, donations, and family) helping us keep our heads above water. You know who you are. You're amazing and we love you.

the (never-ending) tulo saga

...Or so it seems.

Sit with me a minute as I let out one giant, heavy sigh.

This has been quite the month with our window-jumper. Part of the reason I took a break from writing is because I was so exhausted I could barely lift my head at the end of the day. I'm still exhausted but we are managing.

Since Tulo's accident, he continues to earn his title of "Most High-Maintenance Dog EVER" award on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Four days after the accident Tulo decided that it was time for his drain to come out. It just up and disappeared. We were unsure if he ate it (EEEWWWW!) or if it retracted and was inside of his leg. We were hoping for the former (though major EEEWWW!) because we knew that if it was inside of his leg that soon enough, and infection would develop and the vet would need to do some exploring.

Two weeks ago his drain site was nearly healed over and our fingers were still crossed that there was no drain in his leg (which, by the way, is a very thin, elastic-type of material). We had seen the vet for a dressings change under his cast which was looking awesome. She kept the stitches in for another week or so to ensure maximum healing and bid us ado.

The next night we peeked over at Tulo in his little caged area and his drain site was leaking this watery-looking blood. That was at 8pm in the evening. For two hours B and I took turns keeping pressure on the site, doing warm compresses above the area and keeping his grubby little tongue away from it. Thank goodness Logan was sleeping or it would have been even more stressful.

I finally decided at 10:30 that it was time to call the e-vets and see what they say. The leaking would only let up for a few minutes and if Tulo moved his leg it started all over again. It was not a "gusher" or anything like that. It was just a slow leak that clearly was not all blood.

The e-vets advised us to bring him in, free of charge, just to check it out. One of my least favorite things to do is to change out of my pjs so late in the evening, but that I did. For a dog. B stayed home and thankfully the clinic was not too busy. His surgeon came out and could not believe how well his incision site was healing. She took pics on her phone. The tech had been sitting with his for a few minutes prior and was concerned that there was some kind of infection going on. She was urging me to let the vet "take him back" and do more damage to our bank account. When the vet came out, she simply said it could wait until the morning. No biggie. I love her!

The next morning I made an appointment for Tulo and since I had been taking him to all his appointments and B was home, he took him and I got a break to hang out with Logan. B returned with antibiotics and a clear "Yes, he has an infection and oh-by-the-way it could be the drain but let's wait and see". Awesome.

For five days Tulo was on some super strong antibiotics which were not doing much in the way of helping the site heal so we got another seven days. Cultures came back positive for infection so we all kept crossing those fingers (and toes!) that the drain was not the big, fat, ugly white elephant in the room causing this chaos.

A few days ago, the drain site healed over and the scab fell off. We rejoiced! But not so fast. There was a very odd spot not half an inch from the drain site that was all red and puffy. Tulo had been doing an awesome job of not messing with his leg (we know-we watched him like a hawk and if he was alone he wore a muzzle). So what gives?

On Thursday we had an appointment set to *hopefully* get the cast off that was protecting and healing his severed tendon. Not five minutes into the appointment our incredible vet voiced what we'd been cringing to hear: "I think the drain is up in there somewhere. He needs to stay for the day." Our hearts sank. But oddly enough, we knew it was coming. I insisted on an xray before doing "exploratory surgery" with the doubt that the material of the drain is so fine it may not show up on an xray. We left Tulo with the nurses and I waited for the phone call confirming what we all knew to be true.

Clear as day, that drain was in his leg not an inch above the drain sit. It had created a pocket, aka abscess, which caused the infection. It's amazing, really, how our bodies, human and animals alike, try to let us know something is not quite right. For three weeks Tulo's body was trying to expel the drain. We waited, though, because the trauma to his leg could have caused an infection regardless if the drain was in his leg or not. In fact, the vet would have been surprised had he walked (err, limped) away without one. He has been on antibiotics since the day of his accident to prevent this from even happening. I don't believe that we or his vet did anything wrong in waiting out what we inevitably knew could happen.

After the xray the vet gave Tulo a sedative, not general anesthesia, and some local to numb the area. She created a new incision, cleaned out the area, fished out the drain, and gave some pain meds. She sent the drain and a swab of the area off to pathology to ensure Tulo is on the right antibiotics.

Since then, Tulo has been resting. He wants so badly to play with Butte and lick Logan's face. He sneaks some in when he can, but for the most part we keep him confined.

Now....we need prayers that this is the LAST optical we will have to face with Tulo's injury. He did get his cast off and now  just has a sturdy bandage on his leg which will hopefully come off completely this coming Thursday. Other than that, we might do one session of physical therapy to learn what we need to do and hope that his  leg will heal normally.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

On Rearfacing

Logan is 19th months old now and if you asked me seven months ago if Logan would still be rear-facing in his car seat I don't think I'd be able to say yes. Logan was barely 20 pounds at 1 year so we knew that he would still be rear-facing for awhile and after hearing of the recommendation to keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible I just told myself and talked to B that we would do it as long as possible, whether he was 13 months or 2 years old.

The weight limit is 32 pounds for rear-facing in our My Ride 65 car seat. We LOVE this car seat. It fits perfectly in our car and Logan always seems comfortable. The kid is tall. He is 34 inches now and still under the 1 inch minimum for the height restrictions, which he will be for awhile.

Anyway, I'm writing about this because it just dawned on me today how normal this feels. How turning him around anytime soon sounds so odd to me. I'm not here to judge or critique anyone else. This is just how we feel. Logan is still at/or below 10% in his weight category barely topping 23 pounds. Little peanut! This fact alone, and nothing else, is why we still rear-face. He is just too little to take on an impact, God forbid.

I've been working up in the birthing center of our hospital a lot lately. I love it. Yesterday I was discharging a patient and had to wait for the car seat dude (yes, super official name) to finish his spiel on how to put the baby in the car seat, etc. The last thing he mentioned was that even if the baby is 1-year-old and 20 pounds that they should still rear-face, if nothing else than for safety, but also to get the most of the car seat.

Logan seems to have no beef with rear-facing. He loves going for car rides. He is getting to a point where he will need to start crossing his legs soon. Regardless, B nor I are comfortable with turning his seat around until he has reached the weight limit. And at the rate he's gaining, he could be 3!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

bye bye daycare

For the last five months Logan has been attending a daycare center not 2 minutes from the hospital. He has adjusted to having other adults care for him, feed him, play with him, and nurture him when he got a boo boo. The transition for both of us was not smooth. It took over a month for us to leave Logan without him crying desperately for us to come sweep him back into our arms. I was conflicted by the need to provide for our family while also wanting to wipe away his tears and do just what he wanted: quit my job and stay home with him. But I can't. Our family needs both incomes. So after accepting my amazing job offer at the hospital I quickly found a daycare for Logan. It was clean, the teachers smiled, and the kids seemed happy. Plus, as I said before, it was only 2 minutes from the hospital should an emergency occur.

Daycare has done amazing things for Logan both socially and developmentally. He continued to learn and use the signs we taught him at home while also at daycare. He learned to walk and talk and play nice (for the most part) with other kids his age. He learned that it's okay for mama and daddy to go away for a little while and that all his new friends and fun toys would keep him busy. He learned how to wash his hands after eating and diaper changes. He learned how to sit in a chair at a table and that getting up meant he was all done. He learned how to sleep on a cot, unhindered by crib railings and bumpers. All this, and more, he will continue to use and learn. His fine-motor skills have always been incredible and have only improved. I'm sure he has learned even more I am barely aware of, especially since daycare and home environments are different. For all this and more, I am so thankful for what daycare has provided during such a crucial developmental stage in Logan's life.

Unfortunately, we have had to make the hard decision to take Logan out of daycare. On a weekly basis, the cost became too much, especially since Tulo's accident one month ago today. Every month we've cringed as too much of our much-needed income was going towards daycare. So two weeks ago, after talking with a close friend, we decided to pull Logan out of daycare and today was his last day. This close friend will be taking care of Logan a few days a week and together, we're helping each other out. She gets to make some extra money for her family and we get to save quite a bit for ours. Win win.

I have nothing bad to say about Logan's daycare. We had a few issues but nothing serious. If our finances were not an issue then we certainly would keep Logan in daycare. So for now, he will instead be in the loving hands of our dear friend and her sweet 2 year old son will be is buddy. Logan will still have a schedule (she's strict with one-I like that!), he will eat well, take a nap, play hard and still get social interaction with a child his age.

I feel like most of this decision came to me in prayer. There did not seem to be any other way to save/make money at the time and for that I am even more grateful.

since I've been gone...

The month "break" is not up yet and honestly I miss writing so often! But taking a step back has been nice. I have a list waiting to dive into so many other things to talk about, which may be appearing over the next week or so. In bullit form, here is a quick update:

  • I will be seeing a gastroentinologist on October 4th. Hopefully I will get some much needed answers surrounding my stomach issues. Cutting the whey out has been very helpful, however it is clear that is not the only thing going on. I have gone days without eating anything with whey in it and still have terrible cramping. Eating sucks. I have a hard time enjoying anything right now for fear of it upsetting my stomach. But don't worry, I'm not NOT eating.

  • Logan has turned into our little parrot. He tries to repeat just about everything we say and does are darn good job. He does seem to have his own language which B and I are slowly learning to interpret.  He has such a deep voice. Cracks everyone up.

  • We're ready for this year to be over. It has been such a trying year for our family, mostly financially, but in other ways as well. We keep wondering when things will slow down but that seems to still be a mystery.

  • B and I had a date on Saturday night. We went to Boulder (home of the University of Colorado) the same day their football team beat out Colorado State University. The town was rather nuts, but we had a blast eating at a hole-in-the-wall bar/restaurant called The Sink which is a place my dad enjoyed when we was in school. Yes, it's been around THAT long. ;) We were in town to see Hanson play at The Fox. The show was great but almost better than Hanson (almost...) was Meiko, their opening act. She is like Michelle Branch in that she is a one woman show with her guitar and a beautiful voice with touching lyrics. I fell in love with her music halfway through her first song. Go check her out!

  • Work has been great for me. I'm keeping my eye out for opportunities in L&D to get some real hands on experience as a tech. The good thing: very low turn over. The bad thing: I may not get up there for a very long time...either way the wait is worth it.

  • Mulling over the flu vac for Logan. We have always been pro-vac and chose to do a delayed schedule for Logan which he is all caught up on by now. Flu season is heavily upon us and now one but two friends kids' have had bad reactions to the vac resulting in a fever so high it caused ferbrial seizures. Today is Logan's last day in daycare (more on this later) so his exposure will be decreased to any flu germs. Regardless, still not sure what we're going to do.

Bloggie Award!

HUGE thank you to Kasi at Thoughts From Me for the Versatile Blogger award! What an honor. :)

Here are the rules:

  1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award

  2. Share 7 things about yourself

  3. Pass the award onto 15 other bloggers

  4. Contact the bloggers you picked to notify them of the award

Seven things about me:

  1. I hate the smell of urine more than just about anything else.

  2. I was seven years old when I learned to ride a bike without trainers on.

  3. My favorite board game is Life.

  4. As much as I love reading, I love my sleep more and you will not find me up finishing ANY book at 3am in the morning.

  5. I have really bad self-discipline.

  6. I love to crochet.

  7. I've been to over 100 concerts since I was 13 (first was Hanson at Red Rocks, most recent was Hanson at The Fox).

Awesome bloggers:

  1. Harvesting Kale

  2. Wow, A Baby!

  3. The Makings of an Ostie Family

  4. Rachel & John

  5. Project Pretty

  6. More Than Enough

  7. Minnesota Baby

  8. We're Expecting!

  9. It Takes A Special Kind

  10. In Every Season

  11. B & R Plus One

  12. Adventures with the Porters

  13. All About Us

  14. Life with the Little Rs

  15. Bethany Joy Galeotti

There are many more blogs I happen upon, these are just my most fav. If you're near here because of a link back to my blog WELCOME! Please leave a comment with a link back to your blog so I can come visit.

Happy Hump Day!

Monday, September 12, 2011

we'll figure it out

I've been hearing and saying this a lot lately.

We'll figure it out.

This season in my life, in my marriage, in my motherhood has taken me up and down on a roller coaster.

My sense of fear is strong and it's all I can do to have greater faith in what's bigger than me. I'm not ready to write deeply, but...we're figuring it out and when we do maybe then I'll let go of that fear.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Finally! Becoming a Brio Childbirth Educator!

**This is a repost from my Midwife 101 Blog. ENJOY!**

Wayyyyyy back in December I felt the very first urge to really get by behind in gear to become a childbirth instructor. I emailed my Bradley teacher and she suggested this new and coming-of-age form of childbirth classes called Brio Birth. She was very proud of be a Bradley instructor but as far as I could see, not one workshop was coming to the Denver area any time soon AND if there was something even more modern than Bradley, bring it on! When I say modern, I mean a few things. Not modern in the way of technology or interventions, but modern in the ways of teaching childbirth to all the young, soon-to-be parents who don't want to have their baby in a barn, but might in their home, if that makes ay sense.

Anyway, I quickly started reading about Brio and came into contact with the Denver regional director. For weeks we emailed back and forth over when and where a Denver workshop for NEW educators might be. There were workshops for continuing ed teachers, but nothing for a newb like me. I waited. And waited and waited....nothing for months. My contact person was also so sweet and encouraging and I thought for sure she'd think I'd given up. Hardly. My passion to become an instructor and eventually a midwife has only grown stronger with each passing month. Workshop or not, I continued to read the suggested reading materials, many of which can be found on the tab above.

After April came and went, the month in which we were all hoping for date to be set and nearly 5 months after my initial interest in Brio began I stopped checking the site so often. I stopped emailing every other day and gave it up to God. I was sad, but hopeful that regardless, a date would be set.

Come the middle of July, B and I are driving home from a super fun wedding and I am messing around on my phone. It dawned on me that I had not checked the Brio site in some time. NEW EVERYTHING! I was shocked...I spent the next half hour navigating the new areas and info on my Droid and exclaiming to B (and keeping Logan fully awake past his bed time) about all the new info. We had until July 16th to reserve our spot at for a special SUPER discounted price, still without a Denver date added, or it doubled after August 1st. I could not risk it. B knew this was what my heart was aching to do so we took a leap of faith and drained our only credit card on the deposit. Yes, folks, this just DAYS after a huge move, one in which a credit card would have been very useful at times. Then, we waited some more. Over a month goes by as I am checking the site at least once a week to see if there have been any Denver dates added.

Last Friday while I was finishing a few things up at work I realized it had been over a week since I'd last checked, clicked on the link to dates fully expecting to see the same damn dates listed as before, none of which included Denver, and go one with it. But no....there was. The Denver workshop 3 day in person training right before my very eyes!! I was jumping out of my seat! Without a second thought I instantly requested those days off at work, knowing that our schedule gets made and set very far in advance and today those days were approved!

Come November I will officially become a Brio Childbirth Educator!!