Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Climbing gear -

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Tomorrow is day 1 of having no child care. It's going to last the whole month of March. I'm thankful that we have flexible enough work schedules that we should be able to muddle through this.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pug-a-palooza

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Meet Josie. Resident pug.  Well she was the resident pug until yesterday when her parents picked her up.

I have been in a bit of a funk this past week.  I can't really pin it on anything in particular, which frustrates me to no end.  Then I just want to try and fix it.  Do I need more exercise?  Do I need to eat less sugar?  Do I need to be doing more?  Do I need to be doing less?  I think about these things.  And then I go eat a box of Girl Scout cookies.




Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Biology lab.

It has been a long time since I've done any sort of science experiment with animals. I did once at MIT where all I had to do was draw blood from a rabbit's ear. I couldn't do it that well and the rabbits were pissed and I was not a happy researcher. I pretty much closed the books on doing any sort of animal research.

It usually takes a lot of money and trouble to keep animals for research which is why I was completely caught off guard when we did metabolic / oxygen consumption rates of gerbils at my local community college.

Here's our gerbil. We named him Pip.

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We put him in three different environments - room temperature, warm and cold environments to see how much oxygen Pip uses in these three situations. Poor Pip! So cold. Brrrr.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Discovering Engineering Family Day.

This weekend we went to the Building Museum downtown to learn all about engineering. It was a great opportunity to get everyone out of the house.

Vince is making a catapult with duct tape. The first step to learning to be an engineer is to know how to use duct tape.

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Edda enjoyed walking around the rather large room:

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We posed with an honest-to-goodness astronaut - but now I've forgotten his name!

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Struggling.

Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer in the last post. It has been somewhat of an emotional struggle since the beginning of the year. Our newest au pair, who started in January, decided that our house is not the place for her, so our child care situation has been thrown into a tizzy once she leaves the house this week. We try to provide a nice working environment, but somehow it did not work out this time.

We have also not really resolved Edda's low platelet issues - the hematologist suspected that Trileptal was the culprit, but the neurologist indicated that Trileptal was specifically designed to reduce, if not, eliminate the blood count side effects of the older types of these drugs. So the neuro does not think the platelets is due to the meds and actually, the blood work supports the neuro because it seems to show Edda is metabolizing the drug just fine. Anyways, we still are going to do a fast ramp down on the Trileptal, see if we lose seizure control (which I am always curious about) and redo the blood work to see if the platelet level goes back to normal. In the background of all this, one wonders if a low platelet level is something to worry about or if it is something that we shouldn't really even worry about.

Of course, as soon as our childcare becomes non-existent, Jeremy starts his traveling for work again. He worked from home last week to make Edda's IEP and neurologist appointment and I listened to him make 4 hour long conference calls in a row. This upcoming trip for Jeremy is so tightly packed (scheduled down to the hour) that he is really spending a lot of time on logistics to make it all work out smoothly. One of his innovations is the bluetooth earpiece. He even made a little house for it out of an old Altoids box and a kitchen sponge.

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Week of Edda.

I went to Edda's Valentine's day party at her school. She is mainstreamed into her 2nd grade class for these little activities and so they needed a few more people to help out to get the ratio up to 1:1. Sometimes, I think this low level mainstreaming is a little silly, Edda's not in the room enough to know the kids in the class and they don't really know her. I find it all a little bit depressing? pointless? sad? I think maybe all three. Anyways, whatever, I do it.

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We also had Edda's IEP meeting which went well. We decided long ago not be confrontational with the school system and as a result, we have teachers and therapists who are willing to do practically anything we suggest for Edda. We just don't have very many good ideas of what can be done - especially with speech therapy. We have not found eye gaze to be very consistent, nor have we seen in Edda a tremendous desire to communicate. Of course, I want her to tell me what she wants, but maybe she doesn't even know what she wants herself.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Good night.

What a long week. I seem to say this at the end of every week. However, we are all well and happy, which I suppose is what matters.

I got to spend some time this week with horses.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day.

To all of you! Because in the end, it's all about love.

Nothing is better than a house full of love. And glitter (even the dogs have glitter in their fur).

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Rearranging the garage.

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Life is full of rearranging and reorganizing.  Jeremy has decided that the whole garage needs reorganizing.  Of course it gets messier before it gets neater!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chili mac and the Super Bowl!

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There is no Super Bowl without some chili dogs / mac&cheese / chili mac / Frito Pie and an ice cream cake shaped like a football!  Go football, rah rah rah!  So here's Edda, being a good sport and watching the coin toss with the grown ups.

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What are all the other kids doing? Are they participating in the awesome-ness called Super Bowl Sunday? No. Are they laughing at the funny commercials? No. They are all staring into their own computer screens editing their own dance videos or playing Minecraft.  Oh, they are also eating some leftover Halloween candy.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Biology 107.

I am working (one class at a time) on a nursing degree at the local community college. It's a chance for me to get out of the house and interact with people and (hopefully) learn new things. My work-at-home job is very solitary, I do a lot of reading about science, but I push a lot of paper (electronically) around and I don't need to talk to very many people - so it can get lonely.

Last semester, I took a wonderful intro to Sociology class which I loved, loved, loved, even though the professor was 7 years younger than me. This semester I'm taking microbiology which I realized after the first class that I could probably teach it. So it's a little boring, but I'm trying not to complain too much. There is a lab component which is fun. These are my lab partners who coincidentally also know all the material. One is a fireman/EMT and the other is a pharmacist. I will let you guess which one is which. We make an awesome lab-partner team.

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Edda and outings.

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As Edda gets older, getting her out of the house and doing something "fun" gets more and more difficult. Gone are the days we can just tuck her under our arms and go into the moon bounce with her or sledding with her - two of us on a small one-person sled. Edda is a big girl and it's just hard to maneuver her around this world. There are some weekends where come Sunday night, we realize that she hasn't been out of the house in 48 hours. I don't think she minds being inside all the time, I just wish I could get her outside and doing more stuff. Exactly what stuff is always hard to figure out. Edda is not very helpful in finding "fun" things to do outside the house. Edda often looks unhappy being outside, her chapped face buffeted by the (relatively) cold winter air.

This weekend we went to Barnes and Noble for the first time in a while. I told Edda it was this old-fashioned place where stories were actually printed on paper instead of lit on a screen.

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Children's hospital.

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We are so lucky we don't go to Children's Hospital very often.  Here are some more photos from our visit.

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

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So the appointment with the hematologist seemed to go well. The main culprit to Edda's depressed platelet levels seem most likely to be caused by the Trileptal she is on for seizures. They actually ran a CBC in the office and her platelets are even lower than they were in the beginning of the year. So we are running a bunch of blood tests including something to find out how well she is metabolizing the medication as well as coagulation/immune stuff and finally the malignancy testing which is (thankfully) very unlikely because all the other values in the CBC are perfect.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Parting Time Again

After spending almost two weeks with my family, it is departing time again for me to go back to China, working. This time, I deeply realize what a wonderful family Rena & I have together. In addition, with Jeremy, Doris and Donald, together with our grand kids, what else in the world would we ask for. Not much, I have to say. Right? Right!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

French braid.

Edda's hair is now officially long enough to make a ponytail to donate to Locks of Love.  Ten inches of beautiful, thick brown-black hair - but every time I bring this up, I get resistance from all sides.  Especially our caregivers who braid masterpieces such as this:

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Did I mention that Edda has low platelet counts? We were trying to figure out why she was losing teeth so early - she's already lost a bunch of molars which were not slated to come in until she was 12 years old - so we did some blood work at the suggestion of the dentist. We were trying to figure out if her thyroid was out of whack. But, of course, the thyoid is fine, but her platelets are low. So tomorrow we are headed to the hematologist to figure out why she has low platelet counts. We are trying not to freak out too much - so I just sit here trying not to freak out.  Sometimes I think I'm just to tired to freak out anymore and we have also totally abandoned the search for the reason why her teeth fall out early.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Skylander.

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Vince is obsessed with Skylander - a Wii video game - which involves collecting a million figurines one-at-a-time from Target.