Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Great Family Road Trip: Day 1

After spending the morning freezing veggies and raw scrambled eggs, taking Christopher to the orthodontist, and sending Conor to dance camp, we started the Great Family Road Trip.  ((Shorter than Great Blanchard-Dougherty Road Trip.  We have long names))

It was non-eventful.

YAY.

We prepared a bit more for this trip.  We have two high speed multi-port chargers with Lightening Fast charging lines.  Y'ALL--WE NEED TO KEEP THOSE KINDLES CHARGED.  Plus, we bought a permanent portable hot spot that we're using as needed in the car, too, so the kids can play a few wifi games.  PLUS we brought a ton of coloring, reading, and activity books, which HOORAY are what the kids did first.  Yes, there was some kindle use, but there was more coloring and activity and thumb war than we anticipated.


There was only one fight. And that was when I was yelling at them to stop goofing around so much in the back while I found a hotel.  Wait.  I lie.  I already forgot that one time when Christopher lost his shit because we drank water out of HIS Gatorade bottle and not one of the other 3 in the car.  Dave and I looked at each other and thought, Oh No.  This is the hell we were afraid of.  Fortunately, we're already forgetting about it!!

Dinner was great.  Hotel is skeevy.  Christopher was up at 2 about to puke.  

UGH.  So, a bit  about the sleeping arrangements.  You would think that with two beds, the adults would have 1 bed and the kids would have another.  You clearly have not been slept with us in the last 12 years. If they could design a bed with a space on each side of me, a space above me, and a space below me we would buy that bed.  Then if they could add on spots for each cat, the dog, 3 gerbils, and a chicken or two, we'd start our own reality show and make a lot of money.

The kids have already negotiated who gets what bed with me when.  And there have been more than a few family discussions about the merits of each parent's snuggling.  Last night I was with the younger boys and Dave was with the squirrel.  

Which is why at 2 am, I noted a very awake moose by my side.  When I asked him what I could do to help him get to sleep, he said "My Tummy hurts."  And I had three thoughts.  1) Oh, Shit.  And 2) This will make great fodder for the blog, and 3) OH NO.  This is going to be exactly like our family trip to Disney World where each child and I took turns puking at the various theme parks we visited in and around Orlando.

To be honest, my tummy feels a bit queasy, too.  And FORTUNATELY (may you all knock on wood), no one has puked yet or, um, had other "issues."  

So today is the Big Ass Drive Day.  Y'all:  Tennessee is freaking LONG.  It's the same distance to Nashville from Charlotte as it is to DC.  And then we have to get past Memphis! And then Arkansas, OK, and Texas.  Or Arkansas, Texas, and OK.  I get confused.

We are off (our rockers) as out the door as soon as I get dressed.  So, see you all in another state.  Hopefully no puking or other issues for the rest of the trip.

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Great Blanchard-Dougherty Road Trip to California: Prologue

Yes.  We are crazy.  You've known that forever.  But now, I'm going to live blog it.

We are driving to Anaheim, CA.  We're leaving today and stopping in Santa Fe, NM and Winslow, AZ for 4 days, before the final push.  Then we're visiting many of our friends (YOU ARE WELCOME TO CONNECT WITH US!) while Dave and I attend the Academy of Management Conference.  After the conference, we're heading up to the Grand Canyon for a day.  And then we are driving like the wind back to Charlotte.

Nothing like dividing up a 33 hour estimated drive over a few days to keep the family close together.
Why?  WHY, in the name of God(dess), are we doing this?!  Well, Dave and I lived in Los Angeles for a decade.  We want to show our children what SoCal looks like.  We want to show them New Mexico and Arizona, that not only sometimes don't look like they are part of the US, but that they are part of Earth. I *love* the Southwest.  We can't afford to fly all 5 of us out there.  Hell, we can't afford to fly one of us out there.

So driving it is!!

We've loaded up everyone with art supplies and books.  We're going to listen the Harry Potter on Audible.  We are going to attack the hotel pools with vengeance to get all the wiggles out when we are on the road.

I *know* this is crazy.  Fully aware of this!  But some of the best memories Dave and I have from our childhood are those crazy vacations and road trips with our families.  This is going to be one of those memory events for the kids, even if Mom and Dad may be suffering more than usual.

So, here we go! I'm going to live blog the whole trip.  Stick around and witness the madness!!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Things I Have Learned This Summer

This is one of those lazy blog entries in which I combine the dozen or so posts that have been wandering around my head but I haven't had the time nor energy to write them and make them clever.  So here goes.

Emeals.  
Yes, emeals, not emails.  It's shopping and recipe service that, once a week, sends to your phone meal ideas, the grocery list, and the recipes to make these meals.  It's $50/year and the best thing I've ever done in my life.  Now, every Wednesday, I open the app, decide what we're going to eat all week, buy the groceries, and then don't worry about it until 5 pm when I turn on my phone and figure out what I'm supposed to do for dinner.  Worry free, delicious, healthy, EASY to make dinner.  We're doing "clean eating" which is all from scratch meals.  In the last week, we've had Chicken Cordon Bleu, Shrimp Salad Rolls, Rosemary Chicken with Watermelon salad, Steak with tapenade topping, and a variety of other really good, really easy meals.  I no longer have to worry about dinners.  Somebody else has done the worrying for me, including making the shopping list.  There are a whole bunch of meal plans (family friendly, fast, paleo, vegetarian, economical).  GO!  TRY THIS NOW!!

Plums.
Our 4 year old plum tree finally made some plums.  And by made some plums, I mean produced a couple of thousand plums.  I've made about 50 pints of plum jelly (7 different batches with different recipes), frozen plums for Thanksgiving pies, learned how to make cobblers (huge hit in the family now), and basically become a plum expert.  I really hope this wasn't a once in a lifetime plum event.  Those plums were delicious and I would love for June to become DEAL WITH ALL THE PLUMS month in our family's life.

Water.
Apparently, for one's "garden to grow," one needs to "water it."  This sounds like some sort of euphemism or maybe a proverb, but no.  I mean this literally.  We have been very sparing with water usage for our last 12 years of gardening. This explains why most of our gardening fails.  This year, I've been much more regular at watering young seedlings, making sure the garden gets its 1" of rain a week, and actually watering our fruit trees.  Um, Wow.  Water helps!  Who knew?  Apparently, everyone else knows this but me.

Roku and Sling.
We have not had Cable TV for 6 years or so.  We have not really missed it.  Except for DIY and HGTV.  Seriously, we go to a hotel or a relative's house who has cable, and Dave and I immediately turn to these channels and stare slack-jawed for hours.  For Father's day this year, I bought Dave a Roku (a plug in for the TV) and we subscribed to Sling (essentially basic cable for $20/month).  We are so happy.  The whole family now sits together after dinner and criticize people's home purchases, cake decorating decisions, and flea market flips. It is wonderful.

Banana Ice Cream.
Blend or food process the hell out of frozen bananas and you end up with fluffy, delicious banana "ice cream."  Add nut butter if you'd like.  It's an amazing, healthy, sweet treat.

Peaches.
If you do not live in or near South Carolina, I am very sorry for you.  South Carolina peaches from the farmer's market are the best fruit you will ever eat.  The kids are eating three and four a day.  They are begging for more of them. Grocery store peaches are nothing compared to real South Carolina peaches.  Plus, peaches and plums are best buddies in jams and cobblers.

So, um, there!  I have more.  But the talk of peaches, plums, banana ice cream, cobblers, and watermelon salad has made me hungry.  I am not one to deny myself food lately, so I need to check out what snacks I can have for breakfast.

Nice to see you again on the blog and I hope to be back soon(er)!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

God stuff

So, when I obsess over a post over a period of time, writing and rewriting it in my head while I try to sleep, I figure it's actually a post I need to get out of my brain and onto the screen.  Kind of like a brain pimple.

And what a lovely way to start a post in which I talk about God(dess).  I'm so uncomfortable writing this that I wonder if I'll even publicize this post (I will.  But I might delete it).  So why write about it?  See the first paragraph.

So, I'm of the Baptist flavor in which we are encouraged to be our own priest as well as priests to others.  To me, this means I get to think about the things I hear and interpret them for myself and that's my spiritual truth.  This is in stark contrast to Baptist flavors in which the preacher tells you what to believe and if you don't you're going straight to hell (something, that may not be so). I apologize deeply and profusely if my stereotype of other Baptist flavors is wrong.  (I'm serious about that)  Please inform me if that is not true.  One of the benefits/challenges of being a psychology professor with a spiritual practice is  knowledge of the pervasive and strong natural human tendency to favor our group and disparage others. 

So ANYHOO, what has been keeping me up a night and causing me to obsess over this blog post?  This!  This following thing I've been thinking about and has sparked a truth for me that I really like.  And WRITING IT UP MAKES ME SOUND LIKE THE BIGGEST GOOBER IN THE WORLD!!! Yes, I'm shouting!  I don't how to write the next sentence without sound so pretentious and stupid!  ACK!

Here goes.

So The Lord's Prayer.  ((See?!  Right!??!  What the heck)) Anyway, I'm still typing cause I'm still digging this.  Here is *my* walking-along-my-spiritual-path interpretation of the Lord's Prayer as someone who has a spiritual practice, is a psychologist, and writes a lot herself.  As I understand it, this is the only prayer Jesus taught his disciples, so it seems important, eh?  Well, here we go.

1.  Our Father who art in heaven/ Hallowed be thy name.

My interpretation (MI):  "Dear God, You are holy."  Personally, I don't know what "holy" is (i.e., how to operationalize it) but God(dess) is It.

2.  Thy Kingdom come/Thy will be done/On earth as it is in heaven.

MI:  Jesus is going to die in a few days.  Note that he doesn't say "I'm going to heaven!!  Nah nah nah nah boo boo!"  Instead he says "Let Heaven come to earth."  I can imagine some disciple saying "Rabbi, what do you mean?" And as I imagine it Jesus slapping Peter (who I think would ask such a question) in the back of the head and going "DUDE!!  What the Hell (Ha!), do you think I've been doing for the last 3 years or so?  I've been showing you what God's Will--um, Kingdom: Heaven!--is supposed to be!  Love, forgiveness, health, compassion, food, equality, power for the oppressed, mercy. Doing these things. That's what God(dess) wants. REALLY!?"  Jesus (in my mind) is a bit frustrated by this point.

3.  Give us this day our daily bread.

MI:  May we all have enough to eat.  Not a big house with lots of money in the bank--WHICH I WOULD REALLY LIKE--but may we all have enough to eat.  That's it.  That's the bar we're supposed to be aiming for:  enough to eat.

4.  And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

MI:  We are all human and we say and do stupid things (sometimes on Facebook) or we don't say the right thing and don't do the right thing (pretty much anywhere).  We are human and that's what humans do.  Thank you for pointing that God(dess) knows that and we're forgiven.  And as a reminder, let's note that all the other humans here on earth do and say stupid things (often on Facebook) and they don't say or do the right things in real life and we should acknowledge they are humans, too, and let it go.

5. And lead is not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

MI:  Even though we are all human, don't make it any easier for us to be jerks.  And keep us away from Really Bad People and Events (and thank you for the unfriend button when it gets too bad).

6.  For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.

MI:

  • Sincerely, Jesus
  • TTFN, Jesus
  • You da man, brah!
  • See you in a few, Your son, Jesus.  
I'll be honest with you.  Should I have been editing this back in the day, I would have said "You're right.  You can't just from Deliver us from Evil to Ciao.  But this sentence doesn't really fit with the others.  It is not simple nor direct.  You need a sign off.  But you've already said You're holy.  This sentence doesn't add much.  Why don't you think about it a little more, work on this line a bit and see what you can come up with."  You know.  Because I'm a professor.  And I edit.  EVERYTHING.  Maybe in the future I'll see the brilliance of it (said every Grad student whose paper I've ever edited), but now?  Meh.  

So, um, yeah.  

Bizarre topic for this blog, eh?  But I do think about this a lot.  And I do try to gather lessons from it.  And if anything, I can now put some Clearasil on my brain and start obsessing on some other topic.  

Cause, you know, that's how I roll.  


Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Meanwhile back at the Cesspool of Cough

OH LOVELY!!!

I'm sick now.

And the twins' O2 is lower than we're comfortable with to send to school.

Also, apparently, it is possible for their to be outbreaks of atypical (e.g., walking) pneumonia.  Usually in the late summer or fall.  In crowded areas, like schools.  GO FREAKING FIGURE.    I'll be honest, this doesn't feel like Walking Pneumonia to me, which I've always thought was mild.  All 3 of my kids had a rough time of it (well, Bridget didn't, but she's a Squirrel, so there).  And I was under the impression that walking pneumonia doesn't have a fever whereas all of us are HOT BABY!!!

Also, can it freaking stop RAINING here??  I'm turning into a vampire and I'm afraid my skin will melt off when I see the sun again.  And can someone PLEASE invent a self-cleaning house? Is that too much to ask for?  And personal trainers?  Can't someone send one over to make me get my fat a$$ back into shape again?  I'm participating in a steps challenge at work and they are about to throw me off the team.  Usually I'm a leader.  Now I'm a ((sob, sob)) ..... I'm not going to say loser.  That's not good self-talk.  But I'm trailing everyone else.

I'm going stir crazy FOLKS!!!  Wine isn't appealing anymore.  Only whine!!! THIS IS NOT A GOOD THING!!!!

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Pneumonia Assvice

I am NOT the queen of pneumonia.  But with all three children diagnosed with pneumonia (X-Ray validation and all!!!), I do consider myself the Princess of Pneum.  The Duchess of D'Oh. The Queen Mother of All Dirty Words.

And as Her Royal Highness, I thought I'd share what my experiences with what pneumonia is like.

I got nothin'.  Every one of them has had a different experience.

Conor had spiking fever (103.7 one afternoon and 104.1 one morning), but I've seen viruses do that.  However, Conor was EXHAUSTED.  He couldn't even sit up to watch TV.  About all he could handle was lying down watching the new Curious George series.  Dr. Who and even cartoon Transformers involved too much cognitive processing.  His daily routine for 9 days consisted of: getting up out of bed; sitting at the computer doing school math for 10 minutes and watching Dude Perfect for the rest of the hour; stumbling to the sofa to watch Curious George and PBS Nature shows for 10 hours, and then be *thrilled* to go to bed because he was so tired.  We knew he was finally better when he could sit up and play Minecraft (this, after we started the Z-pack for atypical pneumonia).

Christopher's pneumonia was indicated only by a 105.7* fever on a Friday afternoon.  Let us pause for a second while that number sinks in.  Let me then describe walking in from a three day business trip.  Into a home of freshly baked cookies and art projects on the kitchen table.  Into a home, with children resting and watching some TV show.  "Oh, honey! It's so nice to be home, but let me check the children's temperatures!"  Bridget comes up with 102, which is high for most people, but moderate in our world.  Then I go to Christopher, slumping over in the corner of the sofa.  We're using my fancy under the tongue basal body thermometer leftover from TTC.  Our digital ear thermometer is unreliable.  When I shouted ONE-OH-FIVE-POINT-SEVEN, I might have become a bit agitated.

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that while I am high in Big 5 trait Neuroticism, Dave is very low in trait Neuroticism.  I had called the doctor's office, gone through the triage wait, pushed 0 because it was urgent, gotten the nurse, told her the numbers, was throwing cold rags on various parts of Christopher's body and prepping my travel bag to be a purse to take to the nurse who said "GET IN HERE RIGHT NOW." During this time, Dave gave Christopher his ibuprofen and was gently untying the knots in Christopher's shoes to put kindly on Christopher's feet.

Ahhhh, marriage.  I like to use examples of this in class to show how those of high in trait Neuroticism react quickly, we move like the wind, we are loud (or at least I am), we constantly scan the environment, we see the problem, and we Get. It. Done.  People who are low in trait Neuroticism are preferred by society.  They are methodical, slow to get worked up, calm in any storm, and highly likely to be yelled at by their high trait neuroticism wives to put the damn shoes in my bag, and carry the kid out to the car.

Honestly, there was no other sign in Christopher.  He was coughing more than Conor, but Christopher has asthma.  He coughs.  The doc heard a crackle, sent us off for X-ray, and by jove, it was pneumonia.  However, no energy?  DON'T YOU WISH!  He is running around the house like a crazy boy, except for the afternoons when the radio begins to close in on 105.7 WKIT, as we now refer to this incident.  (You might have to take a moment to get that pun)

I would also like to point out that after 105.7 WKIT, there has been some rearranging of roles in the family.  From now on, Dave is the child life specialist and as always, the cleaner of cat yak and dead bugs.  I am the nurse on call and the picker upper of the crap laying round around the house.  (Not literal crap.  Dave still has to do that)  But 105.7 WKIT has clarified our strengths in playing hospital.  We all have a role to play in the family, I am the no-nonsense check your stats nurse, and Dave is the fun one they all want to stay home with.  I do give more kisses and snuggles, though.

So Christopher's cough has gotten progressively worse as have his oxygen numbers.  Dave and I spent 15 minutes last night (at the beginning of Panther's game!) staring at the pulse ox moving from 85 to 89 while he slept.  Yes, them there's numbers to go the hospital, but as discussed with our doctor, we wake him up, he goes to the the hospital, his numbers are fine, and they send us home.   (90 is the cut off of good/bad oxygen) FORTUNATELY, Christopher had a major coughing fit, puked up a ton of phlegm, and went back to sleep with an absolutely fine (at this point) 90, 91 and 92 oxygen saturation.  This morning he's sleeping with a perfectly fine 95 to 96.  THRILLED.

Bridget is in between the boys.  Her temp has stayed 100.5 mostly, with a few 101 to 102 peaks.  She's puny sometimes and she is developing dark circles under her eyes.  She coughs some but her oxygen is fine. She's not been below 96 for any period of time.  BTW, Conor's was *100* during his pneumonia.  Bridget is a very steady 97-98.  However, the doc can hear crap all over her lungs and 4 days of fever are not good.  So her X-Ray showed pneumonia, too. We've started the shaky vest with her and called the pulmonologist.  She's doing the best of the 3, which is not what anyone would have expected.  That little trickster squirrel!  Keeping us on our toes!!

I think we've turned the corner getting the twins on the Z-pack.  I'm hoping two more days at home and then we're back to normal.

I, of course, have developed a productive cough.  But Moms and Dads don't get sick, right?  I don't.  But I am looking forward to some productive work once they all go back to school.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Pneumonia B-Shite

Ugh.

This should be a Facebook post, but I have too much to whine.

AAAAARRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!  Bridget is the one who is supposed to have oxygen problems, not Christopher.  But Christopher is the one whom I'm watching right now as his O2 numbers on the pulse ox range from 92 to 93 while he's sleeping.  It's such a weird mind fudge:  I start getting anxious when their O2 numbers hit 95 and then I beg for them to stay at 93 because 93 isn't so bad, really.

Other adrenaline bursts of late?  When one's son gets a 104.7* fever.  On Ibuprofen.  After 48 hours of antibiotics.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that HE HAS THE SAME FREAKING ATYPICAL PNEUMONIA THAT HIS BROTHER HAD TWO WEEKS AGO SINCE THOSE ARE THE ONES THAT ARE CONTAGIOUS!! Two X-ray confirmed, suspected bacterial pneumonias in one house that are not related is (are?) statistically unlikely.

O2 up to 94!!  Happy, happy gal-dang joy!!!

Hall-e-freaking-luia!  He just had a bad coughing fit, I used the chest PT they taught me with Bridget and he is UP TO 97!!!!!!!

Ok.  Battery died and has been replaced.  Hanging at 95.

I'll take it.

Hoping it stays that high and his temp stays low for the rest of the night.  ((It did come down to 101* eventually))

And did I mention that Bridget has started acting puny?  Her O2 is fine (95-97) but she's acting puny. I don't know what parents say outside of the south, but here, "puny" is a medical term.  And it's not good.

Great.  Christopher is now at 90.  Back to 93.

Can I live tweet/blog this all night long?  Don't you want to go through this with me?

94!

Ok.  Christopher's O2 is up and down (and by down I mean dipping into the upper to mid 80s down)  We have experience in this realm.  He wakes up, gets energized and his O2 at the hospital is 96.  We come home; he goes back to sleep and his O2 is borderline needing oxygen support.  He's 93 right now and we're 12 hours from seeing a doctor.

Let's just go ahead and agree that my putting out running clothes for a morning jog before Dave leaves for work and Conor leaves for school is overly optimistic.

Ugh.