Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hypochondria and H1N1

As mothers go, I am of the species hypochondrae. In other words, when it comes to illness, I often find myself thinking that whatever current illness is ailing my children is worse than it actually is. Red, itchy eyes? Must be pink eye. Vomiting and diarrhea? They'll probably get dehydrated and have to go to the hospital for IV fluids. Twisted ankle with a limp? It might be a hairline fracture! I can't tell you how many times my mind just goes into overdrive when the kids are sick.

All this being said, I must admit, then, that I have wondered, more than once, if my children, myself or my husband have had H1N1. We are active and healthy people. But we are exposed to LOTS of people on a regular basis, so it's not unlikely that we have been exposed to the virus more than once since it's arrival in town.

As hypochrondrae mothers go, I have repeatedly searched the internet for information on this "horrible" virus. Funny thing, the symptoms turn up the same on every search. The one I've found interesting is this: it is estimated that at least one-third to one-half of H1N1 cases do not include a fever. This is why I have thought that someone in my family (or more than one someone) could have already had it. You see, so far this fall, all of us have had the following: sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, body aches, and fatigue. The missing symptom has been the fever (and associated chills). This is otherwise known as a cold.

So, imagine my surprise (and comfort) to know without a doubt in my mind that one of my children is currently suffering from the H1N1 virus. Does the word comfort sound strange? Well, as a hypochondriac, one of the things I find comfort in is just knowing for sure what the ailment is. So, you probably think when I say "for sure" that we've been to the doctor's office and been tested and its been confirmed, right? Wrong.

When they get H1N1, you just know. I don't know how to explain it except that you just know. I don't need a doctor to tell me that a fever of 102 with a headache, chills, aches, and a horrible runny, stuffy nose is the H1N1 flu. I just know. And, according to the news and websites, many doctors aren't even doing the tests anymore anyway. They are just diagnosing based on symptoms.

So far, my little one is handling it well. No problems with her breathing, her fever is being controlled with ibuprofen, and though she's been very inactive, just laying on the couch, she's still coherent, laughing at jokes and enjoying the company of her family.

So, for now I'll just be Dr. Mom, and enjoy the duty of caring for my little one while I wait to see if it spreads through the entire family.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Yes, Boys and Girls are different

In so many, many ways, as I have been humbled to learn over the years - my son and my daughter are very, VERY different. I see it in a variety of ways. Talking, cleaning up, eating, writing, playing games, relationship with the Waffle, relationship with me. I could go on and on, but, no need. I'll just show you pictures that prove my point.

I asked the children to write their Thank You cards for the birthday gifts they received. Mallory's were a little late, but who's counting???

Here is what the boy wrote:

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Here is what the girl wrote:

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I was cracking up laughing when I saw the difference in the two cards. I don't know why I though it was so funny, it was just a perfectly good example of the difference between boys and girls.

Carving Pumpkins - Contractor Style

It's October. Halloween is in 4 days. It's cool and crisp outside. Yep. Time to carve pumpkins. Many of you may have already done yours for this year. We've had the pumpkins for several days now, but just haven't made the time to do this wonderful, long anticipated, much loved event. Do you detect sarcasm? Maybe just a hint? Carving pumpkins rates up there as one of my top "eewwwwwwww - I don't want to do that" jobs as a parent. There's something about cutting open this VERY large gourd, just so you can dig in with your hands and pull out all the ewww and goo simply to make a glowing face for your front porch. (You know, you can buy a rubber one that plugs in . . . ) It really doesn't help that Halloween just isn't my favorite holiday. I'm not really sure why - it just isn't. But pumpkin carving is definitely not my thing. Maybe it has something to do with this:

And this:

Anyway, as much as I look forward to this event, I do everything in my power to make sure that I am not the one digging out the eww and goo. This year was no different. When the Waffle and the kids got started last evening, I determined that I needed to run to the grocery store to pick up some pork roasts that were on sale. This little plan worked out very well until I came home to see this:

And this:

Yes, my contractor husband decided to bring a little excitement to the carving table this year in the form of power tools used to carve the pumpkin faces out. Hmmmmm . . .? Dangerous, you say? Well, no, not any more so than a sharp knife. And, come to think of it, maybe even less so! Interesting? Yes. Fun? Yes. Messy? YOU HAVE NO IDEA!

Turns out that power tools sling eww and goo everywhere when you use them to carve out pumpkin faces, much like they do with sawdust when you use them to cut wood!

But, since I wasn't the one in charge of pumpkin carving, what could I say? Ummmm, "Nothing" is the answer to that question. So, nothing is exactly what I said. I just grabbed my camera to capture a few of these fun-filled, memory making moments that the Waffle is so good at providing for our children.

Thank you Honey, for making life fun!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

An "Extreme" Not Me Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Yesterday, instead of making a big Sunday lunch after church like I normally do, I did not feed my family a smorgasboard of leftovers from the fridge.

I did not do this simply so I could have a quick lunch before begging the Waffle to drag me and my family to a big muddy field in the middle of nowhere over an hour away from our house to watch (from a distance) many, many people, all wearing the same blue t-shirt, volunteer to do lots of work building someone else a new home.

We did not have to wait in line for over an hour and a half inside an airplane hangar just to get on a bus to take us to this muddy field in the middle of nowhere. And if we did wait for an hour and a half in line, I would not have enjoyed every minute of it.

My children also would not have enjoyed this very long wait to get on a bus. They would not have passed the time by playing silly games like thumb wrestling, "Rock, Paper, Scissors," "Mercy," and the hand slapping game called "Hot Hands."

If I had not done all of these things yesterday, we would not have arrived at the Extreme Makeover Home Edition Build Site in Bunker Hill, IN, about 3 hours after we originally left our home. I also would not have been completely amazed to see all of this:

Ty: You are totally AWE-SOME!

Here are the children in the "spectator tent" making a sign for the family.

"Move That Bus!"

Mallory wanted her picture taken by this pink tractor - pink is for Breast Cancer Awareness month

The episode of the home built for the Cowen-Brown family is set to air sometime in January - watch for it! It's sure to be awesome.

Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

An Olympian in Training?

Tonight was Mallory's first night back in gymnastics. We've been on a break since she started softball last spring. I enrolled her in the Intermediate level, rather than Beginner, after all, she had taken 3 or 4 sessions at the Beginner level last year. Time to move up! She has Miss Megan for an instructor again. Megan is very good with the girls - firm, but good. She had lots of fun tonight, doing all her stunts on the mats. She was also quite graceful on the balance beam (which is nearly impossible to practice anywhere but at the gym). There are no competitions in gymnastics, so I know it will be hard for me to get really excited about it. In this sport, it's all about personal improvement. Mallory is lucky to have the kind of personality that thrives in that sort of environment, though. She will work and work at something, trying to get better. Hmmmmm . . . . wonder if that has anything to do with having an older brother that beats her at almost everything she does??? Possible. Yes, very possible!

They practiced cartwheels and round-offs for what seemed like an eternity.

Then they moved on to the balance beam.

It was lots of fun watching her tonight. What I like best about watching her is that I can tell she's happy when she's on the gym floor.

***Warning*** Proud Parent Alert

I titled my post in such a way in case the pride I have about my children bothers you. If it does, please stop reading right now. If you read any further, you might get the feeling that I am bragging. Probably because I am. :)

We received report cards for the 1st nine weeks of school today. And let me just say - we've got some pretty high achieving and well behaved children 'round here! Since Hayden is the firstborn and seems to get to do everything FIRST, I'll tell you about the little one first!

In the 2nd grade, our children don't receive letter grade scores, just "ratings" as follows: E = Excellent, S = Satisfactory, N = Needs Improvement and U = Unsatisfactory. Mallory received an E in both reading and math. She received an S in Writing (this is writing ability, not penmanship). Her behavior ratings were all E's and S's except for good listening habits and focuses on task - those need improvement. We've been hearing that since Kindergarten - most teachers have attributed it to her young age. But, we've made a note to work on it.

The kids also took a test called NWEA. This is where I am absolutely amazed, surprised and pleased. From the end of last year to the beginning of this year, Mallory improved her Math score from 180 to 199, her Reading score went from 173 to 195, and her Language Usage score went from 184 to 198! Those numbers are a HUGE improvement! We are so pleased with her progress. Her percentile rankings are all Hi-Average to High, compared with all students in the school district in her grade. Good job Mallory!

Now, on to our eldest. This is his first year getting letter grades (except for science and social studies, which go on the scale mentioned above). At the beginning of the school year, when he would bring home his papers, I was a little concerned that he didn't understand the numbers and how they related to his report card later, so we sat down and talked about it. Turns out, either he listened, or he knew all along! He received E's in both science and social studies. He got an A+ in spelling, and A's in math and writing (again, this is not penmanship). He received a B+ in reading, due to some quizzes that he didn't fare so well on (3 out of 4 is a 75%, you know?). Two very important things to note: his teacher commented that "Hayden is an excellent, excellent writer." That's right folks, not one, but two excellent's. He commented on how creative Hayden is and how he does a very good job telling a story - drawing the reader in and developing the plot to a climax. All mom can think is "Wow." The second thing to note is that his behavior is "Excellent in all areas." Yes, this is the same child who received so many discipline notes last year that it made my head spin (and caused me to question my abilities as a parent). Hayden's NWEA scores improved, as well, but it wasn't as dramatic an improvement as Mallory's, so I won't list the numbers here this time. Way to go, son!!

I think a little celebration is in order, don't you? Of course you do! And celebrate we will. Maybe later this weekend I will post something about our celebration. You'll just have to come back and check!

Monday, October 19, 2009

"Not Me" Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

It’s been a few weeks since my last “Not Me Monday” post. Trust me, it’s not because I don’t have dirt to tell, I think it’s because it takes a lot of effort to make that “dirt” sound clever, funny and interesting. So much pressure! Self inflicted, of course, because remember, I’m not living up to your expectations! I’ve come to realize that the expectations I have the hardest time with are my own – that's Spaghetti for ya!

Oh, alright already – here we go:

While emptying out the dishwasher this weekend, it wasn’t me who used her fingernail to scrape the dried up, baked on food from the edge of the soup ladle, and then proceeded to put it away without even rinsing it. Nope, Not me!

It also wasn’t me who saw a spider on the window blind in my daughter’s room, and just looked the other way because nobody else saw it and I didn’t feel like getting a tissue and killing the little eight-legged creep. Nope, Not me!

It isn’t me who is hoping that the new had-to-get-it-for-a-school-project “pet” Anole in our home doesn’t last long and is secretly considering Anole murder in order to make this wish come true. Nope, Not me!

And it wasn’t me who took a guilt-free 3 hour long afternoon nap yesterday and had absolutely no problem at all going to bed like normal at 11 pm last night. Nope, Not me!

Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Living on the Couch

2:40 a.m.

That is what time it was when Mallory last threw up during the night. Then, finally, she drifted off to sleep. Though it was a restless sleep. For both of us.

Sometime after lunch Saturday, she started complaining that her tummy hurt. I told her to try using the bathroom, which she did. The report: runs. Well, I didn't think much of it until she got her pj's on, grabbed her pillow and headed for the couch. Then she turned down dinner. And halfway through mine I found out why. She threw up consistently throughout the evening and into the wee morning hours.

Talk about exhausting. This, after 6 hours of splitting and stacking wood. I was mistaken to think that I would sleep like a baby last night.

And today? Yep, still throwing up. Lovely.

So, she's living on the couch.

Poor baby.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Next year - double digits

A few weeks ago we celebrated Hayden's 9th birthday. You may recall that on Mallory's birthday, I wrote this very special post about the day she was born. Well, you also may have read the Not Me Monday post where I said I am no longer pressuring myself to live up to the expectations of others. So, I didn't do a "day he was born" post on Hayden's birthday. Come on folks! I've just been TOO busy! And I know that I am also a few weeks late writing the post about his birthday, but at least I'm doing it, right???

We chose to keep it simple, as we did with Mallory's party (which I didn't write about, by the way), and go to the movie theater. He was allowed to invite a limited number of friends - the movies aren't cheap, you know! We went to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which was VERY cute! Highlights from the day included Hangman, air hockey and a very interesting round of "Would you rather?" Hayden received many cash gifts, which he promptly exchanged for his much anticipated Nintendo DSi. It's all the rage these days.

His guests included Julia and her sister Anna (who was really Mallory's guest), Christian, Brendan, Jack and Jacob from his baseball team, his cousin Haleigh and his sister Mallory. One little girl from his class couldn't make it, but it turns out that nine was plenty of children to keep me busy!

Here are a few photos from the day.

Waiting outside for all the guests to arrive.

Gift table and the baseball cupcake cake that Hayden requested.

Playing air hockey is always tons of fun.

Show time!

We really did NOT need another version of Monopoly in our game closet,
but it did make the birthday boy smile!

Fall Baseball = Totally Awesome!

In an earlier post, I wrote about Hayden's fall baseball team, the Mets (who, by the way, are partially responsible for my gross negligence in keeping up the blog lately). Well, needless to say, we had SO MUCH FUN playing baseball in the fall. The league was much smaller than this summer - only five teams in all. The boys were much more evenly spread, as far as talent and skill goes. And Hayden's team actually won some of their games - for him this is a first in two years! They ended up with a 6 - 4 record for the season and placed 3rd in the end of season tournament. They had so many close games, which I found to be quite an effective stress reliever. There's nothing quite like cheering and screaming your head off for an hour and a half to clear your mind! Here are some fun photos from the season - I especially like the night pictures, even though they aren't close-ups.

A River, a fort, and a weekend of fun

In our county, there is an annual festival called Feast of the Hunter's Moon. It's a re-creation of the events that took place in the 1700's at the trading-post-turned-fort called "Ouiatenon" on the Wabash River. The Waffle and I have been to the Feast a few times before, but we have never taken the children. We decided last year (when we couldn't go due to a schedule conflict) that we would definitely go this year, so we bought our tickets ahead of time to save money. Then the rain started. It rained for several days before the weekend of the Feast. I was not looking forward to tromping through the mud and muck, but I knew we already had the tickets, so we had to go. So, we dressed in layers, put on our hiking boots and rode the shuttle bus from the Purdue stadium (we were kind of afraid our car might get stuck in the mud!).

We heard the 42nd Royal Highlanders (yes, they are in kilts)

The kids got to make candles the old fashioned way, which took for - ev - er.
Good thing my feet needed a rest anyway.

The Waffle and Hayden tried their hands (arms?) at throwing hatchets.

And we visited this tent with some very cool (and authentic) looking old games. Hayden REALLY wanted to buy the chess looking game at the bottom of the picture, but it was quite cost prohibitive, to say the least.

It was muddy, as expected, but it was still a wonderful day. The kids ate food cooked over the fire, browsed through an unending supply of vendor tents selling everything from authentic drinking vessels (mugs) to some not-so-authentic Chinese paper umbrellas, and enjoyed the sights, sounds and smells of a time long past.

Storing nuts for Winter . . .

Today was a very busy and productive day at the Kincaid home. We spent several hours splitting and stacking firewood in preparation for the cold winter months ahead. With all the rain and cool temperatures the past couple of weeks, I was getting concerned that we hadn't split the wood yet. The forecast looked a bit cold - and, while I knew this work needed to be done, I wasn't really looking forward to it. As it turned out, it was an absolutely perfect day for working out in the yard - not too cold, not too hot, not too windy, not raining. So, work we did, while listening to Purdue STOMP Ohio State on the radio. (Boiler Up!)

The kids know the routine - everyone helps.

Here are the Waffle and the kids getting started.

Mallory showing her big muscles!

This summer, the Waffle's mom and step-dad had a walnut tree taken down at their house. And, luckily, they called us to do clean up. That left us with LOTS and LOTS of large logs that needed to be split for burning. In the past we have rented a log splitter for the weekend, but not this year. We are the proud new part-owners of our very own log splitter! No more rental fees for us. Yippee!

Fancy, eh?

So, after seven hours of work, lots of hauling back and forth, two meals and a big win, our family is set for the winter (it will probably last into next winter!). There's just something about standing back and looking at those stacks that makes me feel satisfied, prepared, rich - kind of like a squirrel storing nuts for the winter!

Three and a half ricks - we're rich!

A little hard work is good for the soul.