Monday, October 24, 2011

I am Batman

My husband is playing Batman again. Yes, Batman... the video game. He's actually been playing a lot of video games lately which would make you think that I would have more time to write blog posts. However, someone lent me the Hunger Games series and I've been consumed by reading during pretty much any spare moment I have. I still have half of the final book left and am using what little self control I have to do something else.

So back to the video game. Actually, back to dating. That's right, dating. Back when I was single and dating I never imagined I would end up with someone who played video games. I had my preconceived notions of gamers (nerds, lacking social skills, nerds, hygiene deficient, nerds, and so on).

Not my husband

Luckily, to my delight and surprise my husband to be was none of these things (he's cute, clean, and socially adept!). And don't get me wrong... I don't have anything against nerds (being a bit of a dork, myself), but it's the combination of neglecting to bathe enough and not knowing how to carry on a simple conversation that turns me off.

While I have not embraced playing video games (beyond solitaire, that is) I have accepted (and even enjoyed) that gaming is a big part of Jesse's life. I even get the 'hand-eye coordination' thing, the 'building of strategic thinking' thing, and the 'just having fun' thing. And I appreciate that he knows when to step away from the game. He always puts his family (and work and hygiene) before gaming.

So back to Batman. The previous Batman game, that is. Apparently it was a very good game. My husband was quite excited by it and I heard him say "I am Batman" no fewer than 1736 times (give or take a grand - not including what he emailed me as well). And while I have heard this statement less than a handful of times with this new Batman I know he is enjoying it as well (perhaps announcing this statement has lost its thrill).

Will the real Batman please stand up?

And I have to admit that one of the reasons I fell in love with my husband is because he definitely embraced the kid inside himself (while still being a responsible adult, of course). Even though I rolled my eyes at him 1735 out of 1736 times he said "I am Batman" I also couldn't help but chuckle. He sure keeps me laughing a lot.

See? Laughing.

Oh, looks like Jesse is done with Batman for the night. Perhaps I will snuggle in bed with him and read a few more pages of the Hunger Games. : )

Friday, October 21, 2011

Video dump

This is just going to be a bit of a dump of recent videos I've taken of Riley. Enjoy.

Recently Jesse and I went out to tackle the leaves in the yard and hoped that Riley would be content to play in the yard. Even better, she was willing to help.

Riley has also really, REALLY been into singing. We do this anywhere and anytime, but it has now become a tradition during bath time. Her favorites are 'You are my Sunshine', 'The Wheels on the Bus', Old MacDonald', and 'ABC's'. Here she knocks out a few verses of 'The Wheels on the Bus'.

We are also trying to get in as much outside time as possible since we will soon be locked indoors more due to cold weather. When we go on stroller rides down by the pond she demands a stop at this park:

I don't know what to say about this one, but it amuses me:

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Diablo is my fur baby. Despite his name he's actually a little angel.

He's 14 now, but I've had him since he was a little over a year old. He may be 'old', but he's full of life and often keeps up with our 7 year old cat, Lucy.

Lucy and D

When I adopted Diablo I wasn't sure he would ever measure up to the other cat I had at the time. Digger was an awesome cat (with perhaps an unfortunate name) who had been there through some tough times with me and always offered up his unconditional love.

Digger (who coincidentally was also black and white)

I hadn't had Diablo 3 months when Digger died of a heart attack in my arms at 7 years of age. It was pretty traumatic. As much as I hated seeing him convulse in my arms and then pass I was grateful that I got to be there for him. For him to have my comfort in his last moments.

Love that little moon face

I wasn't sure Diablo would ever be able to live up to Digger, but I grew to adore him immensely. It was hard not to. He loved to cuddle, didn't get into too much trouble, and was always at my side. I knew that his end would come well before mine, but hoped that he could stay around forever.

In September 2008, Diablo started vomiting. A lot. He's always been a bit of a puker, but this was more than usual and paired with not eating. At the end of the first day I thought he was getting better, but by late evening the second day it was apparent that it was getting worse. We took him into the emergency overnight vet and discovered that he had renal failure. We were told that he could have 2 months or 2 years to live. They said it was hard to predict. We took him home after getting him pumped with fluids and changed him to a low protein diet. And then hoped for the best.

Drugged up after all his tests

It's been over three years since that diagnosis and he has done quite well. We get him tested every 6 months or so and his levels have come back in the appropriate range. That is, until his last appointment in August. We discovered that his calcium levels were high and that this could be an indicator of a number of things including kidney issues, or cancer. The doctor suggested a urinalysis and an abdominal x-ray. We debated how many tests we wanted to do on him in case the test led to other treatments that we weren't sure we would proceed with. If he was diagnosed with cancer would we proceed with surgery or chemo? I hate to say it, but I'm not sure we would... with his age, and already outliving the renal failure expectations I'm not sure putting him through that would make make the rest of his life better or even longer. However, when it comes down to it I don't want to have to make a decision about 'putting him down' over offering possibilities of life.

At the time we were told about his calcium levels he wasn't showing any signs of distress, but about a week later he started using the living room for his bathroom. Then he would beg to eat, but then wouldn't eat. I decided to set up the urinalysis appointment. The results didn't give us enough information to tell us what the problem was so I agreed to the x-ray. The x-ray confirmed that our poor buddy was starving as his stomach was so small it didn't even show up. His liver also took up a smaller area than usual, but we're not sure why this is. His right kidney was much smaller than his left which indicated that his left kidney was doing all the work. The biggest concern was an area that appeared to be in his colon. The doctor was unable to determine exactly what this was on the x-ray and suggested an ultrasound. She sent us home with some medication that would help engage his appetite and suppress his potential nausea that could be used long term. We then had to decide if we would proceed with another test.

Since then his appetite has come back full force. He's stopped pooping in the living room and is acting like his old self. It's easy to fall back into denial, but I still have to make a decision about the ultrasound. I am almost 100% sure that I will proceed with it if only to get more information about his health. It's the decisions I might have to make after the ultrasound that I'm scared of.

I guess regardless of what happens I need to remember that he truly has been a blessing on my life... and I wouldn't trade that for anything.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Week in review

This past has been like any other week. Work, work, work... and then an all too short weekend. Weekends usually entail cleaning the house, getting outside, and possibly doing something fun or new. During the work, work, work week I was pretty busy, but I was able to get a few pictures taken of Riley. She had a new shirt on so that seemed like a good enough excuse to pull out the camera.

I should probably make a better effort of cleaning her face before taking pictures.

She looks so grown up here! Where did baby Riley go?

She ran back and forth, back and forth... with this phone tailing behind her.

Daddy's shoes are so much easier to slip on.

A couple nights before the above pictures were taken Riley had a rough night sleeping. She got up at 2:30 am and didn't fall back to sleep until just before 6 am. And when she fell asleep it was on her belly... on her floor. With me on the floor right in front of her. As a laid there, exhausted, I heard my alarm go off in the next room where Jesse had just returned himself. I decided to leave my kid on the floor and crawl back in my bed to sleep. There was no way I was going into work in my sleep deprived state. Plus, what was I supposed to do with Riley? "Sorry kid, I know you just fell asleep, but now you have to go to daycare." I don't think so.

Jesse and I both crashed only to hear Riley's sweet little voice asking for us about an hour and a half later. I guess it was enough sleep to make me functional, but the real surprise was how great a mood Riley was in. "Hey kid, do you remember being up half the night crying?"

The next couple nights went well, but then we had a couple more rough nights. Luckily they weren't as bad as that first night, but still trying. Oddly, it seemed that the worse sleep she got the better mood she was in this week. Good sleep = fussy kid. This made for a challenging weekend since she seemed a little borderline all weekend. And because Mommy needs to keep her sanity I allowed Elmo and the gang to entertain my kid more than I usual. I can't always be perfect, right?

Just being a ham bone.

Evil Mommy just turned Cookie Monster off. Here she repeatedly whines "Cookie, Cookie, Cookie...".

My dad gave me this wagon way before Jesse and I talked of having a kid (perhaps even before Jesse existed in my life). I finally pulled it out and dusted it off. She really, really liked it.

These blocks also came from my dad. Some of them might have been mine as a kid, but most look like they are in far too good of shape so they probably were toys for other grandkids. Riley just got into playing with them as she is really into numbers and letters. I tried recording her singing the Alphabet song, but true to form I didn't actually record her. I did record the lid of the toilet for 4 minutes while Riley was bathing. I even recorded the audio of when she ended up pooping in the tub. Good stuff. I am so saving this to share with her first boyfriend.

One of the projects I wanted to complete this weekend was to install book shelves for Riley's nook. In my last post I mention that I found this great idea to use Ikea spice racks as book shelves. I am happy to report that I actually accomplished this task. I was thinking about painting them white, but I think I might keep them in their natural form.

I love how they turned out.

And so does Riley.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

All by myself... or not

Jesse was gone for the weekend so it was just Riley and myself. Once upon a time Jesse and I used to go camping and hiking and before that he often went on his own. We'd pack 30+ lbs on our backs and hike a couple hours into the woods to camp. This all came to a screeching halt when I became pregnant and we haven't gone since. Jesse has been itching to become one with nature again, but the time never seemed right and the type of camping he likes is difficult with a small child. I suggested we go 'car' camping as a family, but he was a little hesitant as he wasn't sure how Riley would take to it at this age. So we decided that he should take a weekend to go camping on his own (in turn I will be going on a girls weekend to Bayfield, WI in November - yes!).

Unfortunately for Jesse, most of the trees were past their prime up north. He sent some phone pictures to prove it.

As for Riley and myself... She spent most of Saturday morning pushing things around while I was going through camera withdrawal because Jesse took the good camera with him. Who knew it would be so difficult!? I had so many moments to capture and I wanted to make sure that Jesse felt like he didn't miss anything important. I tried using the video camera's camera feature, but it has super flash and completely washed out my already fair child's face. Whatever, the phone camera would have to do.

Laundry basket. Play high chair. Garbage can. Repeat.

After  what seemed like hours of Riley pushing objects around we decided to go to the Good Will to find some used books. Riley loves books. LOVES. So this is the best way to keep her in supply of fresh material without breaking the bank. I got her a handful of books and myself a pretty snazzy sweater. Score.

In the afternoon grandma Suzie came and picked Riley up for an overnight sleep over.  I did a little shopping and then met a friend for a four hour dinner. We've been known to close down restaurants before, but I can proudly say we did not stay long enough for the staff to give us dirty looks... but who knows what they were saying about us in the back room.

Riley at grandma's on Friday already wearing her Saterday outfit. : )

Saturday morning Jesse called me to look up the scheduled for the Superior Hiking Trail Shuttle. Apparently, walking 11+ miles the day before did a number on him. We discovered that there was no way he could catch the shuttle in time so it was another 11+ miles for him to get back. His plan was then to drive to another camping location that requires a total of about 10 steps from the car and is right on Lake Superior. Jesse must have hiked into an area where he lost reception so I headed out the door to pick Riley up from grandma's. From there we headed to Ikea. I came across an idea for a book rack that utilizes Ikea Spice racks.

Clever huh? I picked up four to start and can't wait to create a reading nook for her in our... nook.

After our adventure at Ikea I prepared lunch while Riley stacked and counted our cat food.

Fie, si, eigh, NINE!

Like her interest in pushing things this stacking and counting probably could have kept her occupied for a long time, but had to come to an end when lunch was ready. I know this isn't a culinary revolution, but I tried something new and fun by wrapping a croissant role around a hotdog and then baking it. I had hoped that this would solve the mess that occurs when the dog falls off the bun.

Croissant hot dog and 'bean beans'

She did a pretty good job with it and even nicely dipped her hot dog in ketchup.

It was a fabulous day to get outside so we headed out for a stroller walk. While we were out Jesse called and informed me that he was coming home. Early.  He was beat and missed his girls too much. Unfortunately Riley  wouldn't be able to see him before she went to sleep so I thought I might as well take some more pictures of her.

Pointing to the park.

OMG the park is so much fun!
Daddy's coming home tonight! Yippee!

Jesse arrived home around 7:30 with a bit of a limp and definitely tired. His fatigued seemed to wear off on me as well and we both went to bed early.

Sunday's plan didn't really change with Jesse coming home early. We had an exciting day filled with a Target run, another disappointing Viking's game, and some outside time. And even though the camera was now home I don't think I took one single picture with it. Go figure.