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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The School Year Comes to a Close or Does It?

Another school year is in the books. Gabrielle finished out 1st grade at Meadow Lane and is moving on to bigger better things. 
(Gabi with her 1st young crush, Bam Braden, on the last day of 1st grade)
S.A.I.L. Summer Adventures In Learning!
The child loves school and when the opportunity presented for her to attend the summer session (she was granted a scholarship) we jumped on it. Gabrielle has thrived in her learning and showed a strong interest in attending summer classes so we proceeded with enrollment and class choices. She is taking Pool Party Reading Fun, Leap Ahead Mathematics,Creative Computers & Broadway Lights Acting.
(Gabrielle is in a stage where she manages somehow or another to wear holes in the knees of every single pair of pants she owns - leggings, jeans, everything. I've always joked she is a boy living within a girl's body.)
Summer school began yesterday after a short six day break from the regular school year. Gabi was up early and ready to go! She was equally excited and apprehensive about riding the bus. You can't tell by the look on her face in this picture. Her only experience on the bus is during times of field trips. She was relieved to learn that our next door neighbor Shalika (two years older & a great friend) is also attending so they are sitting together on the bus which has removed any anxiety she previously had.
Summer school is in session for five weeks Monday - Thursday. The bus picks her up at Meadow Lane shortly after 8AM and she returns shortly after 1PM. Classes are held at Oregon Trail Elementary School. Breakfast and lunch are provided.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

PreSchool Park Celebration

I feel as if this statement is on repeat here on the blog, but life happens and I am once again playing a little catch up on posts. My two oldest monkey's closed out their school year this past week. Dawson entered Heartland Early Childhood Center mid year as a peer model in the morning program (ages 3 & 4). He loved it from day 1 and was disappointed when he realized the summer break was here and that meant no more school until the Fall. He still wakes us each morning with the same question, "Is today a home day or a school day?" I guess he is having a difficult time understanding the summer is longer than just a handful of days.
Last Monday I had the opportunity to join Dawson and his class at Oregon Trails Park near his school for an end of year field trip. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time mingling with the parents, closing out conversations with his teacher, interacting with D & his classmates and doing plenty of playing on the equipment myself all while keeping up with little miss who was in tow.
Ayana (or Sassy as Dawson often times referred to her) fell in love with McKenna. 
I had to throw this picture in because I am that mom that allows her baby child the freedom to roam the playground and play at her own choosing.  One of the school employees was frequently seen monitoring her climbing the structure, going down the slide or doing this (see picture above) anytime she got "too close" to the children spinning and such.
Dawson will return to Heartland this Fall in the afternoon program with his assistant teacher, Ms. Andrea, as his new lead teacher.
A note to Boo,
Your Daddy and Mommy love you and your feisty temperament at this age despite the fact that that same feisty temperament gets under our skin on occasion. We are proud of the progress you have made this school semester with your color, shape & letter recognition. Ms. Christie shared how proud she was of your social advancement and willingness to act with kindness to everyone & your acceptance of each classmate as a friend. I want to remember your shear stance on picking out and dressing yourself daily much to my dismay at times; how you would place your backpack on your back and sit in the front room watching for your bus only to squeal when it pulled up, throw your arms around my neck in an embrace, you'd share a quick kiss and run like mad to get on the bus with a smile plastered on your face day after day (I never tired of watching you load onto the bus); how each day when I picked you up, you immediately asked if you could have a play date before I ever had a chance to ask about your day at school; how willing you were to take a nap on days that I ask you to; and most importantly how excited you were every day when Gabrielle would return home from school so you had your very favorite frenemy {friend and enemy for the grandparents) to play with!

Summer is in Full SWING

School is out for summer and that means having more time with the kids at home without the obligatory running to and from school, school activities and homework. We have been taking full advantage of the beautiful weather that we have been having by spending unlimited amounts of time outdoors. The kids spend countless hours in the backyard playing Clover Land {a club that they created and have expanded over the Spring) and running wildly being creative in their play. Our family was just recently introduced to a wonderful new park nearby called Black Hoof park and! It is spacious with 3 separate playground areas, lots of benches and picnic areas, walking trails, a shelter house, bathrooms and best of all surrounds beautiful Lake Lenexa. We look forward to a new found fishing area this summer.
(Check out the intensity of the look on Dawson's face in the background. That's my boy! Always in his big sister's shadow)
I took these pictures on our 2nd visit there the weekend prior to Memorial Day. Travis was working and the weather was too perfect not to be outdoors so we picked up Papa and Mema and headed out for some park enjoyment.
This little miss amazes us with how independent and carefree she is. She is proving to be more determined than ever to not allow her size to slow her down from being where the big kids are and doing everything they do. The pool this summer is sure to be a challenge :)
Here she is smiling from ear to ear at her silly Papa whom she loves immensely.
And here the whole posse is together getting in some laughs on the slide. 
Summer is my favorite time of year, despite the unbearable heat at times, because it is when lots of fun memories are made! This is just the beginning!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Being Dealt a Bad Hand

Call it bad luck, misfortune, trials, etc. I will simply call it our life right now. The past couple of weeks have been rough ones. Nothing life shattering or truly difficult, but bumpy to say the least.
Travis worked the late shift on Tuesday the 1st so he scheduled a car repair in the morning (bill #1 totaling $81.44). He left for work as usual but phoned home during his supper break saying he felt like he had been hit with the flu bug and BAD. He was at WalMart picking up some medicine to "get by" and would return to work. It wasn't much longer before I received another phone call saying he was on the way home feeling even worse. He got home, quickly changed out of his work clothes and crawled into bed. Fast forward to Wednesday morning when I was greeted by this.
I absolutely can NOT look at this picture without grinning from ear to ear at the look on McKenna Jane's face. If that isn't a scowl coming from my baby girl, I don't know what is!
He calmly said "Let's get the kids off to school, find a sitter for the baby and get me to urgent care." He didn't have to tell me that twice. The doctor at urgent care immediately ordered blood work after taking vitals (his blood pressure was very low and his pulse very high). Trav's WBC was very elevated but not at an alarming level so the doctor prescribed a double strength dose of antibiotic used to treat skin infections. We picked it up at the pharmacy, grabbed a small bite to eat and settled back in at home. Travis crawled right back into bed. After lunch I put McKenna down for nap and Dawson and I attended parents day in P.E. at Gabrielle's school. We were gone less than an hour and when we got home it was apparent that Travis's condition had deteriorated. I called the doctor that had seen him just a few hours earlier and explained the changes and he encouraged us to go directly to the ER. We had a terrific doctor at the ER who ordered more testing including additional blood work, blood cultures, urine cultures, a chest x-ray and CT scan of the facial region and head to rule out an abscess or blockage. He was quick to start an IV antibiotic and to order a narcotic pain medication as Travis was writhing in pain. The blood work returned with an even more elevated WBC so the doctor knew we were dealing with a rapid onset aggressive infection of sorts. Within several shorts hours Travis was wheeled from the ER onto the 2nd floor of OMC to be admitted. We anticipated his stay to be overnight and we would find ourselves on the way home the next morning. Not so. The infection continued to progress as did the swelling/redness/rash and associated pain. This is what Travis looked like at his worst.
Sexy, no? 
And this is AFTER the blistering had subsided and his nose was somewhat within the normal spectrum for size. He ended up spending six days and five nights in the hospital. We were blessed to have so many people move to action to ensure the kids, lawn, meals, etc were taken care of! Trav was discharged on Monday the 7th on some heavy duty oral antibiotics and was finally given the OK to return to work on Monday the 14th. Definitely not how we would have liked him to use up all his sick pay and a good portion of his vacation pay, but again feel blessed we didn't go without a paycheck. 
That same week we incurred a streak of bad luck including the following:
Quila, our beloved four legged friend, was scheduled for her annual exam and vaccinations on Tuesday the 8th. She was diagnosed with mild heart murmur the prior year. In short, she has been dealing with some respiratory issues so the doctor felt it was indicated to order a chest x-ray and dental cleaning (periodontal disease can directly affect respiratory and other related illnesses). She was put on a heart medication, an antibiotic, prednisone & OTC Benadryl. All this came to the tune of just short of $450.
I woke up that same morning (Tuesday) and my laptop monitor was all wonky. I panicked for a moment but thought a quick shut down and reboot would somehow be the magical solution to the problem. Eek! We piled up in the van and rushed over to MicroCenter only to be told that my 11 month old young laptop monitor was cracked and that no warranty or service plan would cover the repair cost. When I inquired about an estimate to replace it, I was told anywhere between $200 - $350. Thank you very much, but NO thank you! So I now have this ghetto set up right smack dab in the center of my kitchen, Try to picture it, a laptop connected by some very ugly wiring to a separate monitor screen. I'm beginning to sound like a complete Debbie Downer so let me interject that I am SO grateful for a solution for the time being!
Wednesday morning Travis was feeling well enough that he drove his mother and sister to Clinton, Missouri which is the half way point between KC and Springfield to meet his niece who was picking them up. The knucklehead (and for the record I called him this to his face) got a ticket on the way home costing him $150 big ones!!! I wasn't very graceful in expressing my displeasure regarding the obvious fact that this was one expense that was 100% unavoidable & 100% unneeded at this time.
I went to bed Wednesday night with a horrendous headache. Thursday morning I woke with searing pain in my left ear and a sore throat that screamed infection to me. Travis was scheduled for a hospital follow up visit with the internal medicine doctor that was involved in his case at OMC. I pleaded with Dr. J to examine me after Travis's appointment and he obliged. Strep throat confirmed and prescription #1 filled. Out of pocket cost $45 copay x 2, prescription cost $8  = $98.
Friday I was in bed ALL.DAY.LONG and Travis played Mr. Mom.
Saturday rolls around and I am literally still in bed with NO relief from the antibiotic. A quick call to the doctor on call and a different antibiotic was phoned in to the pharmacy. Rx #2 cost $8. On Saturday we also received a call that Travis's mom was at the urgent care center in Springfield with the exact same signs and symptoms of Travis's infection that landed him in the hospital. What are the chances of this just five days after Trav being discharged?!?!
A few other little happenstances occurred throughout the week that aren't quite as notable, however since I'm on a roll I might as well document them. The older kids decided it was a good idea to fill Gabrielle's nearly empty body mist bottle with Airwick room spray to keep in her bedroom. What would possess them to do this I will never know. When G grabbed the room spray, her shadow brother took it upon himself to grab the Lysol toilet bowl cleaner that was stored directly next to the room spray and somehow managed to get two large bleach lines on her Bombay Kids bedspread that I have a bit of attachment to (we have all the matching throw pillows, shams, coordinating bed skirt, blanket, bolsters, etc.). This is another time I reacted instead of responded to the situation. Forgive me Lord. Our Radio Flyer Pathfinder wagon got broken by the older neighborhood boys pulling each other around the backyard in it. My faith was restored in people when my neighbor who lives several doors up rang our doorbell within an hour with a brand new wagon in hand. Cost to her $99.99 tagged on the box. And lastly, we found a tick on Dawson head during the time that Travis was in the hospital. We get lots of ticks here living on a wooded lot, so we didn't blink an eye. The area on D's head began to fester and look angry (have you heard that term before or is it just something we say?). We succumbed and took him to the pediatrician yesterday to have the area evaluated. She put him on both an oral antibiotic as well as a topical antibiotic ointment. Cost involved - $45 copay & $8 prescription.
If you've done your math (HA!!!) that equals a lot of green somewhere in the ballpark of $840.44 + 1 undetermined hospital bill that will include a $750.00 deductible and 20% coinsurance +1 unrepaired computer monitor + 1 bleached bedspread + the generous act of 1 kind soul.
If you've made it through this entire post you're a saint!