Sunday, January 29, 2012

The E.R {croup & other concerning ailments}

 Four days ago I put Maisie down for a nap and upon tucking her in, blowing her a kiss and shutting the door I realized that I too, needed a nap. Normally I spend Maisie's naps cleaning up or having "me time" blogging, pinning, facebooking, or watching a documentary or two, but I was beat. I slept fine the night before, but for some odd reason I needed to "recharge my batteries" so to speak.

Next thing I know I am being woken up by groggy little Maisie complaints. I had the blinds open and as I stretched myself up, I noticed the sunlight had dramatically decreased since pre-nap. "What time is it!?" Maisie went down at 12:30pm and slept until 5:30 pm! And I by default, since she was my alarm, slept that long too. Um wow. I thought this was odd until now, but I will get back to that. 

That night around 8:30 I was going through Maisie's bed time routine. Every thing was normal except Maisie was fighting me about going to bed probably because of her long nap. Maisie was so happy all day. No signs of being sick at all. Fast forward 2 hours... I was out in the living room watching a movie when all of the sudden I hear two very deep, alarming coughs. Immediately I run into her room expecting to find her choking {that's what it kind of sounded like} but instead find her sitting up with her hands raised with a frightened expression on her face. I think the cough scared her just as much as it did me. I took her into my bed and comforted her until she fell asleep in my arms (which I loved because she never does that anymore) Austin came home about an hour later to me and Maisie tucked in bed. I sent him a text to be quiet, but as soon as he tried to get into bed with us, Maisie sprung up. The rest of the night was downhill from there. Austin put her back down, but about an hour later she was up, very uncomfortable with labored breathing and of course the signature "barking" Croup cough. Austin gave her a blessing before we spent hours in the bathroom breathing the steam, on the phone with an advice nurse {at 2 am} and consoling our very unhappy Maisie.

The next morning came way too soon. Maisie was still very uncomfortable, but during the day her coughing definitely decreased. She was exhausted, breathing fast and heavy and you could see her diaphragm under her chest being pulled in.  I called her Doctor and she said to try a humidifier, but seeing how Croup is viral, there isn't any medication that can help. If her breathing became so labored that she develops Stridor ( a high pitched sound when breathing in because the airways are so narrow) I could take her in for a steroid treatment. Maisie seemed to be ok. Definitely not her normally healthy chipper self, but I wasn't worried for her life. This went on for two days.

Late afternoon yesterday Maisie started to get a faint sound of Stridor, so we called the Doctor and they wanted to evaluate her and get her some steroids to decrease the swelling. The appointment went fine. They could hear her labored breathing and Croupy coughs, so they prescribed us the steroid and we went home. The Pharmacist told me to make sure Maisie had a full belly before giving her the pill because it could cause an upset stomach. Maisie's appetite went way down while being sick and I don't blame her. It was hard for her to breathe and chew at the same time and if she started to cough, she would end up spitting all of her food out. As I was cooking a dinner full of some of Maisie's favorites {to ensure she would eat a good amount} Maisie started to fuss so I went to check on her to quickly smell she needed a diaper change. I won't go into all the details here, but as I was disposing of her bowel movement I noticed maroon globs of jelly in her diaper and surrounding her excrement. I was so confused at first "girl, what did you eat?" but as I began to examine I was quickly shocked to realize that they were blood clots. Tons of them.

I called Austin, but he didn't answer because he was at work, so I called her Doctor {again for the 3rd time} completely freaked out. I just couldn't fathom why there would be old blood, "That means she is bleeding internally somewhere? Right?". My brain was going a million miles an hour. I felt nauseous and started to wonder if I missed something. Has she been in pain all this time and I just dismissed it as being uncomfortable because of the Croup? After being on the phone for over an hour she said that we should go to the Emergency Room, to get Maisie checked out, for peace of mind and to get the ok, if Maisie should take her steroids. I finally got a hold of Austin and I started telling him what was happening and he immediately says "I'm coming home".

So off to the ER we went. The second we got there our stress level went through the roof. Sick people everywhere, stressed out ER attendants running back and forth, but luckily we didn't have to wait too long before they called us back. We started going through all the details, I was scared and exhausted and all I wanted were some answers, comfort in just knowing what is happening to my sweet girl. Maisie had already been the Dr's earlier that day and she had had it with being poked and prodded. She was yelling "no" at any one who came two feet from her while tears streamed down her face. I was bombarded with questions like "Has she been eating normally?" "Have you noticed her in pain?" In my mind I was thinking "She has had Croup for a couple days, people! She is really sick, she barely has an appetite and she has been miserable all day and night long for the past few days. I don't think those things are abnormal for kids with Croup, and I am sorry I haven't realized if she is crying out of sheer frustration of feeling overall terrible and achy or if her stomach is actually hurting her." I ended up saying that it's quite possible she has been in pain because she has been inconsolable all night, but we may have dismissed it as just being uncomfortable from Croup. I felt like a bad parent. Like I wasn't observant enough, that my answers weren't detailed enough.

 They ended up doing a full body check, pressed on her belly to watch for signs of pain, checked her little bum to check for cracks that could have caused the bleeding, but nothing. They ended up doing a rectal exam and a "chemical test" aka a probe and smear and sure enough there was more blood. The ER doctor told us that since she wasn't currently writhing in pain or we hadn't noticed her in extreme amounts of pain before, that the further testing would be abrasive and could be for nothing. They wanted us to take her home and keep an eye on her and if the bleeding continues or we notice her having abdominal pain to bring her back in for further testing. I came home unsatisfied. I wanted answers. I mean they did the rectal examine and there was in fact blood, so I wasn't crazy. I was just confused why they didn't seem to be too worried with it, when I was sick with worry. 

They assumed that since she has Croup, that her fluid intake hasn't been the greatest, which I will give them that because I would assume that to be the case most of the time, but Maisie has actually been doing quite well with her fluids. The Doctors were and still are convinced she was just constipated and that her bowels were irritated and bleeding because of passing firm stool. Let me tell you, Maisie has been constipated before and the bowel movement that had the blood in/on it wasn't extremely hard. It wasn't the softest either, but in my mind I don't know how it could have been the culprit behind all of those blood clots. 

Today Maisie seems better. Her cough has settled into a loose mucousy cough, not the deep barking coughs she once had. Her breathing is much better as well. Her appetite still isn't much, but we have doubled her fluid intake and she's been pretty cooperative. No signs of blood or extreme amounts of pain. She was even able to take a nap today and a good one too. So I feel much better about things, but I can't help but worry about the whole blood ordeal. I am telling you, if you would have seen it, you would have been shocked. It was a imagine the worse case scenario, my baby is dying, panic. I am praying that if something is wrong that it presents itself sooner than later, but most of all I am praying that nothing is wrong, that it was some fluke blood-clots-in-stool-and-diaper situation, but the more I think about it, the more I become worried. It just doesn't make sense to me.

So that ridiculously long nap mentioned at the beginning of the post? {Admit it, you forgot all about that part.} I now know that my body was getting prepared for a you're-not-going-to-get-any-sleep-in-a-long-time-so-stock-up-now mode. Makes sense right? I'd hate to imagine how bad off I would have been without that glorious amount of shut eye. Oh, what I would do to be that rested right now sigh.

This post has turned into a novel and I would apologize, but the way I feel is, that the people who care about our family and little Maisie would like to know what's going on no matter how many words it takes me to spill it out and I love knowing that people read this because of that very reason. I know who most of you are but, you secret readers out there, I am glad you find us interesting enough to take time to read about our family {lets face it mainly Maisie though, she is by far the most interesting}. But this is a seriously long post and I feel a twinge of guilt because how could you not read a post with a title "The ER". I know, that for the blogs I follow if that were the title, I would most definitely want the run down. I may need to work on my editing and only keeping the need to know details or even just to work on sticking to the main story, but I am a detail oriented, sleep deprived mama. And my mind is racing with the events that have transpired the past few days. I am still processing everything and this blog helps to settle me down and take things in.

So, that's it for now. I hope I have nothing else to report other than Maisie being 100% better in a few days, but know we appreciate all the prayers and well wishes that have been said for us. It's great knowing we have support in times of need. It is truly a comfort and a blessing. 

 Sorry to those of you who don't have kids, but when you do, you will realize that "poop" becomes a daily topic of discussion and something that parents willingly talk about with just about any one. It's the norm, I promise. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Great Debate

Austin and I need your help...

This morning the three of us were cuddled in bed reading "Brown bear, brown bear what do you see?" When Maisie started naming the body parts on the teacher. Eyes, nose, hair and so on, when she pointed to the teacher's glasses.

That's when one of us {Austin or myself} asked "Is he wearing glasses Maisie?"

The other quickly replied "That's not a man! That is definitely a woman!"

So began the war. We civilly tried to debate and convince each other to one's side, but we are still pained with discrepancy. The bottom line is plain and simple...
Who is right.

I searched the Internet, but it looks like it is either blatantly obvious to the mass population or every one is just busy actually having a life. I am leaning to the latter.

So, great people who read this blog... is this teacher male or female?

Dream Bikes

Riding bikes has always been a big deal in my family.
Since me and my sister have been old enough to actually support the weight of a helmet {and back in the late 80's those suckers were heavy} we have been on the back of our parent's bikes.

When in Huntington Beach my Grandpa Lloyd had an array of vintage beach cruisers for the picking. We all had our favorites and every summer we rode those babies to the beach and back all day long. I remember being so proud when my legs were finally long enough so I could ride the "cool bikes" and believe me they were indeed cool. I would love to have one of those today.

Austin on the other hand is not one for bikes. He doesn't hate them, but he doesn't associate it with family activities like I do. He recently dwells on the fact that he had to ride them in Austria, in the snow, in a suit, peddling uphill his darn hardest to make it to a meeting on time. I personally think that would have been awesome. Ok, maybe not the suit part and definitely not the being late part {nothing makes me more crabby than being late} but what a great way to see a city. He lived in Innsbruck, Austria for a little bit and his only form of transportation was a bike and that city is breathtakingly beautiful. Google it right now, I dare you. All I'm saying is I wouldn't have cared one bit in that city. Austin said the hills were a killer, but what are calf muscles for anyway?

With much persuasion on my part I have convinced Austin to buy us some bikes {in the near future, hopefully in spring}. I have creativly painted the ideal family of three bike ride. You know, a well loved quilt, picnic basket and giggling toddler clad in a ridiculous sized helmet in tow cruising the boardwalks, beaches and parks in sunny California. If that didn't have him sold then it was definitely this...

Republicbike is a company that lets you design your dream bike. They have tons of different model types, but our personal favorite is the Plato Dutch step-through bike model {click the link to design your own!}. They are amazing, incredible, pretty, fun, different and expensive. Just because I have convinced Austin to buy us bikes, doesn't mean they are these bikes. Sad right?

A couple of my favorites...
I call this "the flamingo"

bulit by us & you

"the grandma" acutal name

And for Austin...
"the grandpa" actual name


Can't forget about Maisie

iBert safe-T seat

Hopefully in no time at all we will be cruising along in our new bikes.
I sure hope it's these fun ones from republicbike, but I will be happy with any bike that will provide a new form of outdoor adventure to the Lee family.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Child friendly cleaning & a homemade disinfectant recipe

Hi, I'm Samantha and I am a recovering bleach addict.
I used to have a serious problem. An addiction really. I for some reason believed that only when something was thoroughly doused in bleach that it was truly clean. I went though crazy amounts in short periods of time, so much so that I had to buy my bleach at Costco and that's saying something. My hands would crack and my house would temporarily smell like an indoor pool. Austin would come home from work late and be bombarded with the fumes and wonder why I hadn't passed out yet {and no I didn't do this when I was pregnant}. Maisie would be sleeping {most of my down and dirty cleaning happens at night} in her room with the door shut while I did my work in the kitchen and bathroom. I opened all the windows and turned the fans on full blast to air out the fumigation. Also, I would disinfect all of her toys in diluted bleach water once a week just for good precaution. FYI Maisie's room was never near the "fume zone".

Then it hit me. All of knowledge from the medical classes I had taken in the past {I am obsessed with biology, pathology and anatomy/physiology} suddenly came back and I realized I could really be doing Maisie a disservice by my attempts to "protect" her from germs. It's healthy to be exposed to the nasty little things. It's even healthy to get sick. Ok, maybe not the actual being 'sick' part but the way our body learns to fight off various infections, by creating antibodies and in turn strengthening our immune systems. I think everyone understands that having a strong immune system is a very good thing.

Read more about that here at the Newsweek magazine's "Rasing Healthy Kids"

I was a sick child growing up and even now, if someone even mentions that they have had a cold or some other contagious bug in the past few weeks  70% of the time I will catch it. I am one of 5 kids and my mom still mentions how I was always sick growing up. I remember having a couple flus so bad that I was convinced I would never eat solid food again, fevers that would cause hallucinations, colds that would never end, I was allergic to pretty much everything under the sun, bouts of bronchitis and had almost monthly sinus infections due to my wretched sinuses {my sinuses don't drain properly. I almost had surgery when I was  8 to see if they could surgically improve the shape of my sinus cavity} and when things started to get better that's when I developed Urticaia. Lets just say that I am thankful for modern medicine and that's probably part of the reason why I am so fascinated in the human body in the first place. I remember being so sick all the time and I think that's where my "bleach addiction" stemmed from.

I didn't want Maisie to be the "sick child". So I did what I thought was best, to kill every single germ in my house with lethal amounts of the dangerous liquid. Which was not the best way to go about it. I had to come to terms that just because I was sick all the time growing up doesn't mean my kids will be the same. Maisie already has an iron immune system. She gets fevers and colds very occasionally, but never has had the flu or anything substantial (knock on wood). So enough was enough and I started making my own homemade natural cleaners using vinegar where I normally used bleach {sometimes I pretend it's bleach. I even buy jugs that resemble the bleach containers I used to buy}. Then I played around with an everyday homemade disinfectant recipe that not only disinfects but smells incredible.

Equal parts:
 Lemon juice- I juice my own, but I am sure buying bottled lemon juice would work too.
  White wine vinegar-  apple cider vinegar works as well.

10-12 drops {adjust accordingly} of your favorite essential oil
 My favorites are tea tree oil, eucalyptus, jasmine and lavender. 

Pour into a spray bottle, shake and voilĂ , a natural homemade disinfectant that works on pretty much any surface {I wouln't use it on granite or any other natural stone}. It does a great job all while smelling delightful.

Hide & Seek

Maisie's new favorite hiding spot that she discovered two nights ago.

Do you hear her laughing inside the cabinet? 

You may have to turn your speakers up a bit. It was taken with my phone so the quality is not the greatest.

p.s again
This is under our kitchen sink, but we don't store any cleaners there (we use natural homemade ones anyway). Just an almost empty jug of white vinegar, a box of Costco garbage bags and now all of the stuff Maisie has hoarded under there. As of today, a small doll house, a stuffed animal, some eating utensils, a few blocks and a pillow. Silly girl.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Arizona trip part V (instagram edition)

instagram collage

Maisie and I came home to a spotless house and Austin bought us a three foot tall money tree as a welcome home surprise. Complete with a hand drawn welcome home sign. Best husband ever.

This post originally had captions, but blogger decided to be not so nice tonight and messed up the whole order and deleted everything. So I apologize for the vagueness, but I think most speak for themselves.

p.s {again}
This is the last of the Arizona posts.
I promise.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Arizona trip part IV (Dillon's in the aquarium)


Dillon's (one of my family's favorite restaurants) opened a restaurant in the new aquarium. After the Phoenix zoo we were starving and so we made our way back towards the west side of town where we decided we could all go for some good BBQ. We thought it would be fun to end the exciting day at the zoo with a great dinner at the aquarium? Not bad thinking right? Maisie devoured her homemade mac & cheese as she watched the sharks swim around the huge tank. 

These pictures were taken at our table. We had the best spot in the place.



cheesin' with papa

playing with papa's beard

nana & papa


Arizona trip part III (Phoenix Zoo)

All of my family members in Arizona have annual memberships to the Phoenix zoo, so we knew that we had to get ta zoo trip in before our vacation came to an end. You would think since I lived in Arizona for 3 years I would have gone before, but this was my first time. I have been to the family owned zoo {and now aquarium} on Northern and Litchfield {not sure what the name is} and that one is super fun, but it was nice to go to the bigger and more stroller friendly zoo. Maisie loved seeing all the animals, but I think she was more interested in her energetic cousins that she hasn't seen since she was 4 months old. She could not take her eyes off the two of them. They were so sweet with her and I can tell as Maisie gets a little older they will have a blast together. 

Pictures of our afternoon at the zoo






Maisie with her cousins Walker & Jackson

Maisie & Jackson


photo courtesy of papa bear 
(he has a crazy good camera)

another photo by papa



Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Arizona trip part II (bath crayons)

Maisie currently loves to color and I have been dying to let her try the bath crayons they sell now, but we have a granite shower and I don't want to risk staining it. Plus I doubt the crayons would work as well or be as visable on a natural stone surface. So we have been hesitant to try them out, but when we were in Arizona it was the perfect opportunity to up the bath time fun. Maisie had a blast. She took a bath almost every night we were there and all of us would crowd into the bathroom to talk while Maisie splashed, colored and giggled.

Here are a couple pictures from Maisie's art gallery baths in Arizona.




Arizona trip part I (parks near & far)

Maisie and I are now home from our little vacation. We survived both flights without security complications or melt downs on the plane. We flew home Monday afternoon and we were both very excited to see Daddy and his beard {wife leaves =  man grows beard}.  The past couple days Maisie and I both have been trying to catch up on missed sleep, but it's nice to be home and getting back to our  every day routine. 

Every day we were there we had a substantial daily activity, so we were very busy and out and about a lot. I took tons of photos both on our camera or on my {or Katie's} iphone, so I have been slowly, but surely sorting though pictures and grouping them so they can easily be put on the blog. I think I have completed the grouping process, so let's get to it. We visited a couple parks during our trip so lets start there.

The park by Nana & Papa's home







Anthem community park
{on a blustery day}



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Sunset State

Lives up to her nickname.

Photos of a progressing Arizona sunset taken from the backseat of a moving vehicle.







A couple nights into our stay, Arizona decided to show us exactly why she's called the sunset state. Boy, did she deliver.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Leaving on a jet plane {with a toddler}

Maisie and I are packing our bags and heading to Arizona next week to see my family. I am so excited for a little mini-vacation, but I am sad to be leaving Austin behind {he's really bummed too} but that's the way it goes sometimes. Plus, Austin is going to be a complete workaholic next week because of Netflix's launch in the UK, so I think he will appreciate the quiet time at home {and a chance to play video games, poor guy doesn't get to do that nearly as much as he'd like to.} 

My dad hasn't seen Maisie since she was 4 months old, so that will be exciting to get them together because boy, has she changed. Other things I am looking forward to:

Having extra help throughout the day. My mom and sister are very much looking forward to gobbling Maisie up and that means I can take a much needed mommy break.

Of course, seeing the family. With home cooked meals not made by me.

Sister time- working out, hot yoga and possibly a pedicure? Katie and I both {mainly myself} need a huge jump start on getting into shape and we both get motivated when we are around each other, so we are taking advantage of that this week. I mean, who doesn't like a work out buddy? Especially if it's your sister.

Babo's. Laying out by the pool. Friends. Jason's deli. Phoenix Zoo. Sweet tea. Wildflower bakery.

I am excited and ready for it to be Tuesday. Not looking forward to traveling solo with Maisie. Plus, I hate airports {and flying for that matter} last time I flew down to Arizona alone with Maisie I almost had a panic attack at the security point here's that horror story:

 "Mam, you're going to need to take out the car seat, fold up that stroller, take off your shoes, hold your baby and walk through the metal detector." Maisie was 4 months old and not sitting up yet and they {the security people} wanted me to put her on the ground {a 4 month old on THE GROUND where every one walks barefoot after taking off their nasty shoes {I hate feet}. Let alone that I feel weird just walking on that disgusting floor, so putting my tiny baby on that ground was not an option. Heck to the no.} to take apart the stroller {which was a travel system} so I had to take out the car seat send that through and then fold up the stroller. Which happened to decide that it didn't want to fold up, of course. The line behind me was getting longer and longer and I could feel every one staring. I was so close to a full blown panic attack. Anyway, Maisie was jello in my arms and so I am holding her in the crook of my arm and trying my best not to break down into tears to take everything apart without giving Maisie shaken baby, or worse dropping her. Here's the kicker... not one person offers to help. The security people just watch me like a hawk and I wanted to say to them EVEN IF THERE WAS A BOMB SOMEWHERE IN THIS MESS, I WOULDN'T HAVE THE HANDS TO SET IT OFF!! But then I thought of this part in Meet the Parents and decided against it. Moral of the story is; if I already had anxiety in an airport before, it has now become much, much worse. I am determined to go to any lengths to make it much easier this time around.

I am not bringing a car seat with me because my brother and sister in law have two sons and they recently upgraded my nephews car seats and so they will have an extra one at Maisie's disposal. Hallelujah!! Also I don't need to worry about pumping milk this time around, or worrying about a stroller because I am bringing a tiny umbrella stroller instead. My carry on will only consist of small toddler boredom busters and light snacks. I think I will be able to manage with out too much stress this time.

Maisie almost 16 months ago on her first plane ride.
AH look at that chub!! :)

While I was looking for travel tips with a toddler I came across this. The GO-GO Babyz GO-GO Kidz Travelmate. Um, how genius is this? I will be for sure getting this for any future traveling. Knocks out having a stroller while at the airport, plus a car seat on the plane and when you land. Amazing.

What about you? Do you have any travel secrets that I could benefit from? Shower me with suggestions! I am all ears!

Look out desert, here we come!

p.s Sorry for the rant. I could feel all the anxiety starting to surface and I had to just get it all out. Mamas- I hope this doesn't deter you from traveling with your little one, just a heads up it will definitely most likely be stressful, but one way or another you will get to your destination- panic attacks, melt downs, tears and all. 

Bon voyage!