Monday, December 26, 2011

THE Christmas and Birthday post.

So, yesterday, this little girl...

turned 40 years old!!!

It's hard to believe that I am no longer in my 30's.  They were good years.  And I hope my 40's will be even better.

So, to recap a bit..

Brandy came to visit last week.  Harlie loves Brodie!

On Wednesday night we went to Niki's Christmas party.  It was a lot of fun and we got to catch up with my running friends.  And we got to meet Kat's baby, Fielder.  He is SO cute!

Heather, Katherine, Kat (and her baby Fielder), me, Niki and Anna
Friday was the day that my lunch with Heather didn't work because I didn't have nursing.  Well, I forgot to mention in that post that about 30 minutes after that fiasco, I got a text from our night nurse saying that she couldn't come in that night so we could go to my sister's party at her house.  It was just a bad day all around.  Maybe more disappointing, than "bad."

Tom felt bad for me, so he decided to cheer me up by giving me one of my Christmas/Birthday presents a little early.  He gave me a photo album full of our photos from our session with Paige a few weeks ago.  I didn't know they were ready and hadn't seen them yet.  He already got them, had them printed, and put them in an album, so I was pretty impressed.

For my sister's party, I had asked if Brandy wanted to work a few hours.  Our night nurse couldn't come in until 7:30, so I asked Brandy if she wanted to work from 6-7:30.  She had plans for later, so she couldn't stay past 7:30.  So, when Dawn cancelled, we decided we would go to the party for an hour, just to get out for a little bit.

When it was time to leave, Tom let me stay at the party and he went home!  Woohoo!!  So, my brother and his wife drove me home later that night.  I didn't take my camera - so I don't have any pics.  But, we had fun and it was nice to hang out and laugh after that crummy day.

Christmas Eve was a low-key day.  Tom got up early and took Cooper to the grocery store with him.  I stayed home the entire day.

That night we watched The Polar Express.

Then we put the kids to bed.  I can't believe how easy they go to sleep on Christmas Eve!  For all the Christmas Eve's I remember, my little brother (Cabell) and I played in our rooms for hours.  And we would try to stay awake so we could see Santa.  What's up with my kids?  We tucked them in, and they just went to sleep.  Crazy.

Then Tom and I had a late "date night" dinner.  It's something we try to do about once a month or so.  We put the kids to bed and then eat a really good meal (that Tom cooks of course) with wine and music.  Tom made shrimp and grits with grouper on top.  It was fabulous.

Since Tom had a brilliant idea this year for wrapping gifts - we had the time to relax.  This year we ordered most of our gifts from Amazon using our Discover bucks.  They were shipped to Tom's work.  We had a date night a few weeks ago, and I met him at his office, we ordered a pizza and watched Christmas Vacation (my favorite Christmas movie of all time) and wrapped gifts.  It was awesome.  No stress - no worries.  And we were mostly done weeks before Christmas.

After dinner we pulled out the gifts we still needed to wrap.  And as I was going upstairs to check on the kids, I just happened to peek out my front window.  At first, I thought I was seeing things.  I thought, "What the hell?  Is that a.. Flamingo?!?"  So, I opened the door... and saw my yard was covered in flamingos!!!

I thought it was hysterical and I still laugh when I think about it.  My friends Heather and Niki ordered the flamingo flocking for me.  I had no idea there was such a service!  Normally they come at the end of the next day to pick them up, but since it was Christmas, they didn't come and pick them up until this morning.  So, I got an extra night of flamingos.  I'm going to miss them.  They were really cute.

On Christmas morning, we showed the kids the flamingos from an upstairs window.  They got such a kick out of it, too!

We are terrible parents, and didn't take any pictures of them opening gifts on Christmas morning.  In our defense, it's a little crazy and we seem to have to be helping and/or monitoring gift opening the whole time.  And there wasn't really one particular gift that any of the kids really wanted this year.

The big hits so far are Harlie's Rainbow in my Room (which she is obsessed with and will not stop carrying it around shining a rainbow wherever she can), her Baby Alive...

The chair and magnifying glass on the floor were gifts, too.
and sleeping bag...

She wanted to lay in it in the middle of all of this commotion:

So, Tom had to move her.

Murphy and Cooper got some Hero Factory stuff and have not stopped fighting over playing with them.

It's not a great pic, but it's the only one I have of them with the Hero Factory guys.
I do feel bad for Murphy.  Cooper seems to like Murphy's better than his own and will not share.  And it is Murphy's toy.  I tell myself that them working this out and learning how to deal with each other will make them better people in the long run.  Murphy's really been patient and great with Cooper.

Murphy also got some Lego sets (which he's already built) and lots of books.

The "big" gift this year was from Tom and I - a Wii.  After watching Harlie play the Wii Fit during physical therapy, I thought we could all have a lot of fun with one of our own.  Of course, we forgot to get them a game to play with it.  What are we, amateurs?  Tom's mom is coming to visit on Friday, and we knew that she got them a game, so I guess we kinda forgot about the week of not being able to play it. Oops.

At first I was a little disappointed in the kids' Christmas experience this year.  It just didn't seem like much at all.  And since there wasn't "the" toy that any of them wanted, I just felt like they were a little disappointed, too.

But, we did not want to overwhelm them, either.  Or overwhelm our house!  So, we kept it pretty simple this year.  But, later on in the day, Murphy was looking at one of his books and he said that even though he didn't ask for it - that he was really glad that Santa brought it to him.  So we had a little conversation about how Santa knows him and knows what he'll like, even though he didn't know he wanted it.  And Grandma hasn't even come yet!  So, between us, Santa, our family exchange (which was at 1pm on Christmas), Nana and Grandma - I think he's going to be more than happy.

And Harlie and Cooper are the perfect ages.  They loved everything.  And Harlie is both easy and difficult at the same time.  She's easy in the fact that she doesn't want/ask for anything.  But, then I'm afraid some of that Santa magic is lost for her.  And that makes me sad.  What if she wants something and doesn't know how to tell us?  But, I guess I have to remind myself that Santa knows what she'll like even though she didn't know she wanted it.

At 1pm, my family came over for our gift exchange.  We draw names between us since we just got too big for our wallets!

My Dad, Tom and Cabell (my younger brother).
 Is it a bad sign when you ask for beer for Christmas?  He asked for and received some other things, too.

My Dad has taken up leather crafting so I got him leather stuff.
My sister's husband, Rick, opening up his gift.

Bruce, my big brother, opening up his.

Cabell opening his.
The whole family went in together and got my Mom a Kindle Fire.  She's the biggest fan of the Kindle in all the world.  Yes.  ALL THE WORLD.  Trust me.  

Think she was surprised?
Think she liked it?

Do you notice that my nephew Charlie (Bruce and Nancy's son) is holding an abacus?  One of the gifts that my Mom gave Harlie is that abacus and we had to give her a hard time that now Harlie has an abacus and an iPad.  Funny stuff.

Rick and Sandy and their sons, Tanner and Cutter.
Maggie, calling her dad.  

Nancy, Sandy and her daughter, Jordan.
Nancy (whose birthday is today - the 26th), me, Sandy, my Mom
Maggie, Jordan and Kelly
Whew!  That was a lot of pictures!  It was a great Christmas and birthday!  I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas, too!  

Thanks for reading, my friends!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Thanks to Paige Stevens Photography, I finally changed out the pictures on my blog!  Whew, was that overdue!  I can't wait to show you the rest of the pictures.

But, unfortunately, that's all I have time for now.  It's late and it was a busy day, of course.  So, I'll have to save my actual writing for tomorrow.

Until then, I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Posts to come!

Yes, I am still here!  Things have been crazy since I've had so little nursing help this week.  But I have some things I want to tell you about before Christmas.  So, stay tuned.  I'll be trying to work in some blogging on Christmas Eve.  And I have NEW FAMILY PICTURES!!!!  And a few old ones, too.  I am SO excited to show you!  So, stay tuned...


Friday, December 16, 2011

Boston Children's Hospital

So, I’ve been working on getting an appointment with Boston Children’s Craniofacial Clinic since the middle of October.  I can’t believe what they make you do just to get an appointment.  They actually wanted to have her operative reports from her two jaw reconstructions before scheduling an appointment!  I had to talk my way out of that one.  If you’ve ever requested medical records – you understand!  I did request them and I am going to send them as soon as I get them.  Which will be who knows when.  Although I was told by their coordinator that they must have them prior to the appointment.  So, I have more phone calls to make. 

Anyway, I provided her Medical Summary that I made that summarizes her life in 4-5 pages.  Just a brief medical history…

I also sent photographs of Harlie that showed her mouth, jaw and ears.  And I sent her CT-Scan.  And I just heard from the coordinator.  They finally reviewed the information and determined that they think it would be worth our while to make the trek up there for a second opinion. 

So, our appointment is February 24th.  I haven’t flown on a plane since before Murphy was born.  I’m not excited about having to do it again.  But, we’re thinking that Harlie’s going to LOVE it.  So, I’m going to be strong for her.  I hope. 

The good thing about this clinic is that they have both a plastic surgeon and an oral surgeon.  So, they have both options – jaw distraction and jaw reconstruction.  And that’s the comparison I really want to see.  Well, I don’t really want to see it – but you know what I mean. 

I just got another call from the coordinator and she is adding another doctor to our appointment list.  She wants us to see their geneticist, too.  So, I think that’s a total of 4 or 5 docs.  She said most of them will see her at one time, so she said to be prepared to walk into a room with a dozen people.  No sweat.  Poor Harlie.  I can’t imagine being her sometimes. 

So, because she’s seeing a geneticist – they want her medical records for that specialty, too.  So, that’s another several phone calls and faxes.  Ugh.  I know it doesn’t sound like much, but when you add up all these little things, it becomes a lot.  If I could just request the records once, that would be one thing.  But, I’ll have to call.  Then I’ll have to fill out the form and fax it in.  Then I’ll have to call to make sure they received it.  Then I’ll have to keep track of how long it’s been and then call again to make sure they are working on it.  Then, I’ll have to pay for it.  And then, maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll get the records before February 24th

And I have to do that for two different hospitals. 

It’s now been a few days since I wrote that.  Here’s the update:

I called the medical records department last week to check on the status of our records (the jaw surgery ones).  Back in October I called and had them fax the request form to me.  I then faxed it back.  Two weeks later, I called to check on the status.  She said they never received it.  Yeah, right.  Whatever.  So, I faxed it again.  This time I called right afterwards and confirmed that she received it and that she could read the dates of service that I wanted. 

Another two weeks went by.  I called again to check on the status.  A different person helped me this time.  She asked me a bunch of questions and put me on hold – for forever.  Not a good sign!  She finally came back to the phone and told me she had no record of my request.  Are you kidding me?  Luckily I remembered who I spoke with all the previous times.  So, I told her and she said, “Oh, she no longer works here.”  Of course.  But she went and looked through her things and found the request and most of the paperwork.  Good.  So, she mailed them to me.  But they forgot one report, so now I have to call and get that sent.  It’s really never ending. 

And after thinking things over the past few days, I think I’m going to tell the craniofacial coordinator in Boston that we don’t need to see the Geneticist.  We’ve been there done that, and I don’t see that there’s anything else to discuss.  And I don’t see having to pay for that kind of service when I don’t see a need.  And if seeing someone requires me to request medical records, forget it. 

Now, I do want to see an oculoplastic surgeon (to fix her eye).  So far, I don’t have any prospects for that.  And I think that would make a big difference in her appearance.  Plus, she’s been complaining about that eye a lot lately.  So, I’ll have to call her and see if they have that kind of surgeon there. 

Just found out that the oculoplastic surgeon is on maternity leave.  Oh well, so much for that.  


Another update since I wrote the last update TWO weeks ago!  If I just had more time, I would have such a better blog!

Anyway, I got the medical records, but the one report that I really want (and feel they really need) is the anesthesiologist’s report of when she went into cardiac arrest during her wire removal in February of 2010.  So I immediately called and asked specifically about that report.   She said she’d get it and fax it.  I had her send it to Tom’s fax (since we don’t have one).  Which, now I’m wondering if we should just get one.  There have been so many times when it really would have come in handy. 

So, Tom gets home that night and I look at what she sent – and it was operative notes (like a flow chart) not his dictated report.  I really want to see what happened – what were the first signs of trouble, what they did, etc.  So, now I have to call AGAIN and see why they didn’t send me that report. 


See what I mean about how many phone calls it takes to get anything done???

So, back to the appointment, I hope the weather cooperates and it's not too bad in late February (no scary snowstorms, please).  The appointment is on a Friday afternoon and our plan is to fly up there in the morning.  I don't know if we would be able to make it back to the airport in time for a flight back home that night (since our appointment isn't until after 2pm, and will likely run past 5pm).  So, I think we might just plan on staying at a hotel to make it less stressful, and then fly back on Saturday.  

That is just two months away now.  I hope that the appointment will make me feel better about the decisions we have to make.  Although sometimes, more information can make decisions even more difficult.  

Okay, well that's it for this post.  I am at school with Harlie today.  It is the last day of school before the new year.  I will work on another blog post while I'm here, so hopefully I'll have more for you tonight/tomorrow.  

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Big Development!

On Friday night we had our Daisy Troop meeting.  I am happy to report that we have a Leader!  And I am VERY happy to report that it isn't ME!  Thank you very much Lynda R. for stepping up to the plate and leading this troop for us!  I am, however, her assistant.  Which will be fine.  I am actually looking forward to it!  We will meet twice a month beginning in January.  I really hope that Harlie likes it.  And I am still Cookie Mom.  Which, I hope will work out without too much stress.  So, mental note - if you want any Girl Scout cookies, you know who to call!  
On Monday, Murphy came home from school feeling crummy and complaining of a sore throat.  His voice was awful!  Well, to be totally honest, he sort of was like that Monday morning.  But we made him go to school anyway because he didn't have a fever.  We told him to try not to talk.  But, Monday afternoon he wanted to sleep and was clearly not feeling well.  He didn't even want to go to Cub Scouts - so that told me he really didn't feel good.  

Late Monday night I heard from our nurse, Terri, that she couldn't work on Tuesday because she was having car issues and needed to take care of that.  Total bummer.  Because that meant I would have two sick boys at home, which meant there was no way I could take Harlie to school.  So my only "healthy" child would have to stay home, too.  It really kills me when she misses school because of nursing.  

But there's no way around it.  It's not like I can call the agency at 8am and ask for a nurse for the day.  Even IF there was one available, I couldn't leave Harlie in his/her care with no training.  And let's face it - people have to miss work from time to time.  Even nurses.  It just sucks that it means that Harlie has to miss school - especially when she needs every second of education she can get.  

A friend of mine said "it sucks being a prisoner to nursing."  And that is so true.  The fact is that we simply could not live without it.  While it is "nice" to know that Harlie has an adult looking out for her all day since she's basically non-verbal - it would be much better for her to be a typical little girl who could go to school, ask the teacher for help when needed, and then come home and tell me about her day.  

Anyway, Terri worked really hard to rearrange some things so she could go to school with Harlie today.  And I was so appreciative!  At least our nurses know that even though we wish we didn't need them, we appreciate all their hard work and dedication to our family.  

And - both boys went back to school today, too!  Woohoo!  It was a fabulous moment when all my kids were somewhere else where they were supposed to be - at school!  Even though Murphy is still sporting a raspy voice, he was happy to go.  

So, the main reason why I wanted to blog tonight....  I think we have officially turned a HUGE corner in the Holton Household.  Drum roll please....

Harlie told me that she was HUNGRY today!!!  And then she sat and ate her entire meal (pureed Ham and Cheese sandwich, pears and cherries mixed with a little vanilla yogurt and 5 ounces of Pediasure) without even ONE refusal.  And she even self-fed some bites of the fruit!  

I just couldn't believe it.  She pointed to her belly and so I said, "Are you hungry?"  And she said (verbally) "yeah." (She can't say S's). So I signed "hungry" and then she signed it.  Then I got her Talker (which, by the way, she also asked for today when she got home from school - another big deal) and she used it to say "I feel hungry."  


For real.  

I felt that this was happening recently (her being hungry) but it has never been so clear as it was today.  When it happened last week, I doubted my understanding of her - or I doubted what she was trying to communicate to me.  But, there was no doubting today.  Nope.  She was HUNGRY!!!  And then she ATE!!!!  With NO fighting!!!  

I don't particularly enjoy feeding my 5-year old like a baby on soft foods only, but when she refuses and it's a battle - I HATE it.  So if she would just willingly eat her meals on a fairly regular basis, it would make a big difference in MY quality of life!  And, honestly, feeding has been going really well these last few weeks.  She still refuses some, of course, but for the most part, it's been going well.  So, I can't help but wonder how long she's been feeling hungry.  

Another bonus to her being hungry, is that maybe she'll tell us when we forget to feed her.  And I know that makes me/us sound horrible.  But, yes.  It's happened once or twice.  But, let's face it - life is busy and typical kids DON'T let you forget to feed them!  

So, hopefully this is a developmental milestone that is here to stay!  I wonder if it has anything to do with being in kindergarten?  

Honestly, I can't believe the progress she's making.  Some days are hard.  Like when I hear other moms talk about their 5-year old and the conversations they have and the things they tell them about their day at school.  But then, there are days like today, when I am SO grateful for something that most take for granted.  And I can see the progress - clear as day.  I have to try to not compare her to her peers.  But that's difficult to do when this world is so competitive.  

But, here's what I've seen progress since September:

She's more affectionate.
She's way more verbal.
She told me she's hungry.
She can write all her letters and numbers (but some of them might look funny).
She willingly (and happily) does her homework (writing assignments).
She draws pictures (rainbows especially).
She tries to walk up/down stairs using alternating steps on a regular basis.
She can blow a horn/whistle.

I think that's a lot of progress in just three months!!!  I am so proud of her!

And since I haven't posted pics in a while, here are a few random ones...

Harlie being silly a few weeks ago.

Cooper, just because.

Me and Harlie at the park weeks ago.
Harlie and I at the pumpkin patch (obviously) in October (obviously).
Okay, that's it for my rambling for tonight.  But don't worry - there will be more soon enough!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Week Update

I have so much to write about.  But, of course, I don't have a lot of time.  So, I'll try to be quick.

Wednesday night Cooper woke up with a raging fever.  We took his temperature and it was 103.7.  He felt hotter than that.  We gave him some Tylenol and sat up with him for a little while.  His breathing was fast and labored, his cough was barky and his voice was very hoarse.  I'm sure he has croup.  After he calmed down a bit, we put him back to bed and he slept the rest of the night.  He's had a fever off and on since then.

The next morning, even though he still had a high fever, he was bouncing all around.  Lucky me.  He has a fever, he's still all barky sounding, he's clearly sick, yet he's still just as active as usual.  Yay.

But, on the positive side - I wasn't able to go run errands or go to the gym, so I had to stay home.  Which was great because I was able to get a lot of stuff done around here that I've not been able to do.  Like dust my bedroom.

OMG.  The dust in our bedroom was horrible.  I am shocked that we did not suffocate in our sleep.  For real.

But it's all gone now.  Ahhh.  And I feel so much better.

Harlie's IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) meeting was Tuesday.  You might remember this post about her getting her hearing impaired instruction in the special education classroom.  Well, we had to make this change on her IEP and take out her sign language interpreter service.  Now that she's trying to talk, she doesn't want to sign anymore.  Which is fine by me.  I still find myself signing to her on occasion, but I don't make her sign back to me.  I'd rather her use her communication device anyway.  Which she usually does without a fuss.  Oh, and we added a communication device implementation plan to her IEP, too.  Just trying to get that more incorporated into her day.  I have to call our local representative with the communication device company to see if he will come to Harlie's school to train some of the staff on how to use it.  I think that will help everyone if they understand the device a little better.  Including me!

We've also been working on getting an FM system for Harlie's hearing aid.  On Monday I took Harlie to her audiologist and she put a receiver or something on the back of Harlie's hearing aid.  Then the school adds something else to her aid when she gets in class and the teacher wears a microphone around her neck so that when the teacher talks, her voice is predominant in Harlie's hearing aid over all the other sounds.

That started on Wednesday or Thursday and that has been going well.  And while I was at her audiologist's office I borrowed a BAHA (bone anchored hearing aid) to try out.  I guess it's not a bone anchored one yet - it's on a soft head band.  And if it works, we'll have to get it bone anchored.  Her hearing impaired teacher has been using it in her class (since it's only Harlie and one other little girl the teacher can focus more on it) and it's been going GREAT!  In fact, her teacher called me this afternoon to tell me that she asked for it first thing this morning.  And that was after only one day!  She puts that aid on her non-hearing ear and it gives her sound through bone conduction.  So, I bet she hears so much better with it on.  I love that she wants to hear and wants to talk!  Progress will come so much easier and faster when she has the desire and determination to do it.  What a difference!!!

So, now I need to work on getting her the surgery to bone anchor that hearing aid.  They won't do it before age five because their skulls have to be a certain thickness.  They install an anchor in the skull and then the hearing aid clicks onto it.

I've also been working on getting her an appointment with the craniofacial team at Boston Children's Hospital.  So, I'll post about that soon.

Oh, and a few weeks ago, I took Harlie to a speech evaluation with a different speech therapist through our outpatient Children's Hospital here in town.  This particular speech therapist is really proficient with her communication device.  I thought for sure that our insurance wouldn't approve it because we are already receiving speech therapy once a week.  Without rambling too much (is that even possible?!) I scheduled that eval a long time ago.  And at the time I was thinking about paying cash for the speech therapist we see on Thursdays, Becca.  Here's who we see now:

Monday - Amy for 50 minutes (paid for privately, not through insurance)
Thursday - Becca for 30 minutes (paid for through insurance)
Various - Sharon for 30 minutes 2x per week at school

I was thinking of adding Delisa and paying her through insurance because her appointment would be an hour.  And her office is just a few minutes away vs. Becca's office which is 30 minutes away.  I would still keep Becca because I'm at her office anyway for physical therapy.  Plus, Delisa would be the only one working on her device.

But, after gathering all my info, I determined that Becca was too expensive to privately pay (not through insurance).  And I was thinking that maybe three private speech therapists was a little much.  I mean, she's still receiving speech therapy at school, two times a week for 30 minutes each session.  So, all in all, if I added another speech therapist she would be receiving ST from four different SLPs (speech language pathologists) totaling 3.5 hours per week!

I know it's kinda confusing.  And I thought my decision would be made pretty easy because I thought for sure insurance would deny us adding Delisa since they already pay Becca for ST services.  But, I got a phone call this week that it was approved!  Who knew?  So, now I'm trying to decide if four SLPs is really too much.  I honestly don't know how we'd fit it in her schedule.

But, I'm torn because there's a part of me that thinks if we give her MORE therapy she'll talk SOONER!  And isn't that a BIG deal?  A big enough deal to do WHATEVER you have to do???  Or is it just too much?

So, this is what it would look like:

Monday - Amy for 50 minutes (paid for privately, not through insurance)
Thursday - Becca for 30 minutes (paid for through insurance)
TBD - Delisa for 50 minutes (paid for through insurance)
Various - Sharon (30 minutes 2x a week at school)

My gut tells me it's too much.  But my heart says I want her to be able to communicate easier, better, faster, etc.

I don't know.  I guess I'll continue to mull it over.

Oh, and I'm considering co-leading a Daisy Troop for Harlie.  It's part of the Girl Scouts - you're a Daisy for KG through 1st grades, then a Brownie for (?) years, and then a Girl Scout.  And starting out as a Daisy, you pretty much have to form your own troop.  A group of us moms got together, but none of us really want to take on the responsibility of the Leader.  So, we're going to try co-leading.  I have no idea how I'm going to find the time for this.  But, I was thinking that Harlie and I rarely get to do anything fun together, Mother and Daughter.  All of our time is spent going to therapy and doctor appointments, etc.  So, this might be a fun way for us to take the time out to have fun and it will give her even more exposure and practice to playing with other girls her age.

Of course, her repeating kindergarten will throw a little wrench in things - but I'll deal with that later - if she likes it.

So I told Tom all of this and he said, "Just talk to me before you volunteer for anything.  And whatever you do - don't volunteer to be Cookie Mom."  I said, "Oops. I already did.  Volunteer for Cookie Mom, I mean."  What?  That means I'm volunteering to eat them, right?

Oh no.

Seriously, I was thinking that I would rather do that than plan an event or outing or something like that.  Because I HATE planning stuff.  So maybe if I'm Cookie Mom the other moms will go easy on me when it comes to planning shit wonderful activities for our girls to do.

So, our planning meeting is tonight over drinks and dinner.  Eh, we're starting out pretty well so far!  I can be bribed with food and drinks!

Now if I could just get that puppy, that would really round things out well around here!

Okay, that's my week in a nutshell.  I hope yours was as fun-filled as mine was!  Have a great weekend!


Monday, December 5, 2011

My Surprise Birthday Party

Back on Saturday, October 22nd, Tom threw a surprise birthday party for my 40th birthday (which is in December).  I can't believe I am leaving my 30's.  I still feel so young!  It's so confusing!

He had been planning it for months - and I never had a clue.  I think it's pretty much out now that I'm pretty gullible and somewhat unobservant.  But I think it's more that I don't really think about stuff that doesn't directly affect me.  I kinda live life wearing blinders.

He told me months prior that there was a work function at his job - Classic Kitchens of Virginia.  Some wine thing.  I know he told me more - but once I heard "wine" and "we have to go", I stopped listening.  I mean, who needs to know more than that?  So, we secured nursing and I put it on my calendar and went on with life.

I was supposed to run 20 miles that particular day.  But, due to another IT band issue (same as last year in training for the marathon) I elected to skip the 20 (and run 12 instead) in order to preserve myself for the marathon.  Tom was uber happy about this because he said that I would be too tired to have fun after running 20 miles.  Which was probably true.  So, I ran 12 and at mile 11 my IT band struck and I walked the rest of the way home.  Total bummer.  But, I was glad that I didn't try to run the 20.  It was at this point that I started to accept that I probably wouldn't be able to run the marathon.

Grandma and Pap Pap visited that weekend.  They were on their way to the beach to meet some friends. So, they stopped on their way down to give the kids some Halloween baskets and stayed Friday night.  They left on Saturday.

We had a Groupon for The Phoenician - a Lebannese restaurant that we had not yet tried.  It was due to expire that day, so we went before the "work function" since he said they were not serving food there.  Let me just say that if you live in Richmond - and you like mediterranean food - you MUST go.  It was FANTASTIC!  We had baby eggplants, which were stuffed with something (I can't remember exactly) full of flavor and total goodness.  And we also had one of the specials - artichoke salad.  Unbelievably good!!!  Everything tasted so fresh.  It really was a fabulous dinner.

So, we left there and went to his work.  He said the party was at 7pm.  When we pulled in, the parking lot was full.  I didn't pay any attention to the cars.  Because, as I said earlier, I was not directly affected by those cars.  I will say that I did think to myself, "Boy, people sure are prompt.  I mean, who is already parked and inside before 7pm for a 7pm party?"  Not me, I can assure you of that.  If it weren't for Tom driving, I would have certainly arrived closer to 8pm.  And in fact, I even tried to make us late.  On the way there we were going to pass a friend of mine's house (Niki) and I asked Tom to drive by to see if she was home.  I knew her boyfriend was in town and I hadn't met him yet.  So, I thought if they didn't have plans we could have a quick drink.  I sent her a text and we drove by, but they weren't there.  Oh well.  So much for my being late.  And I was on a roll, too!

Anyway, so we walked in the entryway and Tom opened the door for me and I walked in and SURPRISE!!!! I was SHOCKED!   I couldn't believe it!  So many of my favorite people were there!

And Maryann and Cal - didn't go to the beach after all.  Nope, they were at the party.  The beach story?  A lie.  So many lies... And SO much fun!  Luckily, I just happened to have my camera on me.  And I didn't get near enough pictures!  There were so many people that I never got pictures of.  Darn it!  And I admit that it's ridiculous that I'm in every picture.  That was not how I wanted it.  In hindsight I should have asked someone to pass the camera around.  But, I wasn't thinking.  All I was doing was talking!!!  There were so many people to talk to!  There were just under 70 people there!  It was crazy!

Me and Donna

Heather and me

Shelby, me and Michelle

Me and Dad

My Family
My Mom, me, Sandy, Rick, Nancy, Bruce and Cabell

Me and Maggie (my niece)

Brandy and me

Me and Sarah

Maryann and me

The candy table

Melissa, me, Heather and Marcy

My Running Buddies
Me, Kat, Mary Curtis, Heather, Niki, Anna and Allison
(Niki wasn't at her house because she was at the party!)
Bill, me and Becky

Geoff, me and Bethany
Me and Cabell (my "little" bro)

Jackie, me and John
 And the best part...

Opening my gift from Tom...

A Pug book?
So odd considering he's anti-Pug puppy.

"Open it" Tom said.

Lots of excitement...
It's a certificate to get our very own Pug puppy!
I love all the fine print. Click photo for a closer look.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

And then the Pug Cake Balls.

Aren't they adorable?
And yummy to boot!
The credit for the Pug Cake Balls goes to Adrianna.  Tom met her through cycling.  She used heart candy for the tongues.  And somehow she cut brown M&Ms in half for the ears.

It was a fabulous night!  And now to find our Pug puppy...

At the time, we didn't have a nurse to fill in for Brandy.  But, now we do!  So... we'll see how the search goes...

Thank you to all our friends and family who came to the party.  And thank you to those who worked to help Tom get it all together and ready.  And thank you to the Gunn's (Tom's employers) who let him have it at their showroom.  It was the perfect place for a party.  It is beautiful and comfortable and everyone loved it!  And, of course, thank you to Tom.  He is a wonderful husband.  And I will never be able to re-pay him with a 40th birthday party like this!  I went on ahead and told him that immediately after I realized all he had done for my party.  It really was a wonderful night!  I felt so incredibly blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life.  And I felt so very loved.

Thank you!
~Christy xo