My New Hair

3:05 PM Posted by Natalie

Well, I have to say I LOVE my new hair. All I could tell her was that I wanted probably 2 or 3 inches off the length, but wasn't sure where to go from there. She showed me the hair of a client she'd just finished and it was super cute, so I said go for it. Oh, and I got my eyebrows done, too! I knew they needed to be done, but I kept telling myself I'd pluck them....some day. (I think I've been telling myself that for probably 2 years, LOL!) As I was getting ready to pay, she asked if I wanted her to do them. (Hint, hint!) I said, "Yeah, I know they need to be done." Then she told me it was FREE! Uh...YEAH! This is only the second time I've been to this hairdresser and was unaware that you can get an eyebrow wax free with a cut. Bonus!

Against my better judgment, I am posting a picture. I hate having my picture taken and hate taking one of myself even more, but I did it just for you. It took me about 13 shots, which included the "Whoops, I'm not in position" shot and the essential "I look drunk" shot, but I managed to get a couple that wouldn't embarrass me too much ;) Anyway, here you go. Keep any rude comments to yourself, please ;)


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Sorry, no "before" shot. Hey, you're lucky you got the "after" shot, LOL! Just trust me, it's WAY better.

Getting new hair!

9:54 AM Posted by Natalie

WOOHOO! I've got a hair appointment this morning! I haven't had my hair cut since sometime in March, I think. Before that, you don't even wanna know how long it was. Somewhere between the 2nd and 4th child, my feminine upkeep took the back seat. While we were in Florida, I realized I HAD to get to the salon one way or another. When I would swim (which was every day) my hair got SO heavy. Then it would wrap around my neck and try to strangle me. It's the longest it's been in quite some time and it's driving me bonkers. The style I had gotten from the last cut has pretty much grown out and the only thing I can really do with it is put it in a ponytail. Easy, but doesn't exactly make me feel like a super model ;)

Wish me luck! I don't even know what to tell her to do with it this time except to get some of this length off. I'm not sure if I will post a picture, because I hate to be in pictures, but we'll see ;)

Google Diagnosis

3:48 PM Posted by Natalie

Okay, so I know it's not always wise to Google as a means of medical self-diagnosis. Indeed, only medical professionals should do the diagnosing, although even they can get it wrong. And our untrained minds can concoct all sorts of scary things based on some common symptoms. But when you have a nagging question, it can be hard to wait for a doctor to figure out what's going on, especially when it concerns one of your children. And so began my Google search a few years ago for the key to Alec's bizarre problem....

Looking back, it all began somewhere around 18 months - 2 years. It's hard to pinpoint exactly because I didn't know at the time that it meant anything, but I know the first time it happened was before he was 2. What happened? Well, I thought it was a stomach bug. But it was a wierd one, for sure. He woke up feeling sick and miserable and threw up. I don't recall if it was once or more than once that first time, but it was over by lunchtime and he was fine the rest of the day. I'd never known a stomach bug like that, but whatever. But, then it happened again. And then again. It was always the same, not a typical stomach virus, and no one else had been sick. Eventually I got the hint that something was going on here, but I had no idea what.

It was so wierd. I had never known of any such thing. There were times when it was happening almost on a monthly basis. Shaun and I kept wracking our brains trying to figure out what might connect each of the episodes. What preceded them? What might have been the same? But we weren't connecting the dots. So yeah, I started Googling. I wanted anything, any idea that I might be able to bring to our pediatrician to try to figure this out. The only thing I could find that fit was a condition called Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome, or CVS. I printed out the information and took it to our pediatrician at Alec's check up. He agreed that it was a possibility, but CVS is a diagnosis of exclusion and requires many tests. He didn't seem very concerned and everything else was going fine, so we left without any real answers or plan. This was a few years ago.

Alec's episodes became less frequent and as I continued to research, I became skeptical that what he had was actually CVS. Some things just didn't apply to him and what he went through when he had an episode. But one thing that helped me investigate this was that episodes of CVS often had some kind of trigger, something that always preceded them. As we tried to identify what Alec's trigger might be, at some point, Shaun and I finally realized that there was something that seemed to connect after all. Episodes of recent memory all came after Alec refusing to eat his dinner, usually because it was something he didn't want to eat. Well, you know that a discipline tactic (one that I normally agree with, by the way) is that if kids don't eat what you fix, then they don't eat. They won't starve, they will eventually eat, as Dr. Phil teaches us. Unfortunately for us, hunger seemed to be the most likely connection between these episodes and so we determined that we would not let him go to bed without eating a good dinner, and probably a snack, too, and frankly I didn't care what it was. Alec has rarely had episodes since then.

But I wasn't satisfied yet. So, I kept searching. And a little while back, I do believe I found what Alec most likely has, something called Ketotic Hypoglycemia. It is a form of childhood hypoglycemia that becomes evident at 18 months - 5 years. Check. Episodes nearly always occur in the morning after an overnight fast, usually longer than normal, such as when they skip dinner. Check. Symptoms include lethargy, malaise, abdominal discomfort, nausea, and sometimes progresses to vomiting. Check, check check, check, and check! The first episode is usually attributed to illness, with further episodes occuring over the next few years and becoming immediately recognizable by the parents. Check. In mild episodes, carbohydrates and a few hours of sleep will be enough to end the symptoms. Check. It often occurs in children of a slender build. Check.

Once Alec has landed in the ER and had to stay overnight, but that was right after he had a bout of the stomach flu. Stomach flu will usually trigger an episode and make it difficult to get under control because so little stays in their system. This past December, we went to Urgent Care when once again he had a stomach bug and we couldn't get things under control, which was very illuminating because they tested his blood sugar while we were there. It was only 41, and 40 is considered hypoglycemic. We narrowly escaped another trip to the ER. Luckily Gatorade brought his blood sugar up enough that the doctor was satisfied and let us go home. He was fine after that.

What brought all this to mind? Well, while we were in Florida, Alec had an episode. It was that Friday morning after we got there and when I got up, he was curled up on the chair complaining that his stomach hurt. I knew. I tried getting some breakfast in him thinking maybe we'd beat it before he got sick. I left with my mother-in-law, Joey, and Lauren to go to a garage sale and when we got back, Alec was in the pool. He said he'd thrown up and now he was fine. He had eaten fine the night before, but he had been in the pool ALL day, so I figured that he had probably just spent more energy than he had taken in with food. After that, he was fine, and we were more careful about making sure he snacked throughout the day when he was swimming.

I might mention it again at his check-up next month, but really, I'm not sure if it makes a difference if we have him tested for hypoglycemia or not. With the particular kind I think he has, the treatment is basically just to make sure they have regular meals and snacks high in carbohydrates, particularly in the evening, which is what we do. It is usually outgrown by the time the child is 8 - 10 years old. But it would be kinda cool to know if my Google Diagnosis is correct ;)

WHEW!!!

5:18 PM Posted by Natalie

Before we left on vacation, I FINALLY made those dental appointments I'd been meaning to make. I was thinking yesterday that I needed to check the dates because I knew Kyle and I would be going before Joey and Alec get back from Florida. Well, before I could even get out of bed this morning, I got a call from the dentist's office reminding me it was TODAY! Yikes! Now, as someone who has had more than their fair share of dental work done, I do NOT like going to the dentist. Nope, not at all. And since there was a discrepancy between the last two dentists I had about the number of cavities they found with both me and Joey, I was pretty nervous about what yet another dentist might say. But, off we went.

This was Kyle's first dental visit and he did super good. No fear, no issues at all. Best of all, no cavities! YAY! The dentist was super nice and personable. I had to bring Lauren along because Shaun got tied up at work and while I was in the chair he asked me if they were always this good. I giggled and said, "No, but if they're like this in public, that's good enough for me!" LOL!

Kyle's check-up didn't take long and I was next. The doc asked me if I was ready and I said, "NO." Ha. I really wasn't. But, it had to be done. As it turns out, I got some great news. NO CAVITIES!!! WOOHOOO!!!! Just one older composite filling I will need to have replaced, probably by my next check-up, and that's it. He said everything else looks good, all my other fillings, my crown, all in good shape. All I can say is HALLELUJAH! Between Joey's braces, school tuition, etc., I was nervous about either of us needing dental work. Of course, Joey and Alec go next month, but I don't anticipate anything major for either of them. They are a little overdue for check-ups, but I hope not much could have happened in that amount of time.

What I found interesting about this particular office was that he did everything himself. There was no hygienist doing the cleaning or X-rays, he did it all. That's fine with me, of course, just not something I have experienced before. At first impression, I really like the dentist and hopefully we can stay put at one office for awhile.

Potty Training Breakthrough?

9:37 AM Posted by Natalie

I think I have posted here several times about the battles we've had getting Lauren to poop on the potty. For 3 out of our 4 kids, this has been a challenge, to say the least. Lauren has been peeing on the potty since last August or September. Since girls are supposed to be "easier," I had hoped that the poop would soon follow. It didn't. I have always said she is most like her oldest brother, Joey, and even on this point I am right. He outdid everybody and it took a trip to Florida where he spent a lot of time naked to get him to finally quit dropping deuces in his pants.

After almost 4 years without a visit to Florida, it was rather uncanny that we were going when we were, and I hoped that maybe this was the key to finally being diaper-free for the first time in over 6 years. The day before we left, Lauren did a poop on the potty, at her own initiation and of her free will. Hmmm. But, she has done this a handful of times before and it didn't go anywhere, so we were reserved about it, but made a big fuss for her. It was so funny because she was so proud of herself that she had to go tell our next-door neighbor, MaryAnn, that she had pooped on the potty. LOL! MaryAnn told Lauren that if she got a good report when we came back from our trip, she would get her a princess dishes set. Our neighbors are great ;)

A couple of days went by and Lauren didn't poop in her pants, although she didn't go on the potty, either. She tends to do this, often holding it for a couple of days at a time. I'm not sure why. Finally, knowing she needed to poop, one morning we told her she couldn't go in the pool until she pooped on the potty. She was not happy about this, of course, but we left her alone and finally one of the times I checked on her, she was going! WOOHOO!!! Then a setback and she pooped in her diaper a couple of mornings. I am not putting her in a diaper for naptime anymore, regardless of whether she's pooped that day or not. We believe part of the key here is that she almost never poops in her underwear. She almost always goes when she has a diaper on, either first thing in the morning or after a nap. One of these days, we're just going to have to bite the bullet and try no diaper at night. Since she sometimes still wakes up quite wet, I'm not looking forward to that part.

Since we've been home, she hasn't pooped her pants, but she's only gone on the potty once, I think. It's been a couple of days and I actually have her on the pot as I type this, LOL! She told me she had to go, but then after I put her on the pot, she said she couldn't do it. Needless to say, I'm making her sit there. I know she needs to go. I hope she'll get over this holding it business. But at this point, I'll take what I can get. I REALLY hope this is it!

UPDATE: Houston, we have a poop!

Hello from Sunny Florida!

8:14 AM Posted by Natalie

Well, as I post this, our vacation is already on the downslope. We arrived here in Florida last Wednesday afternoon and we will be heading home this Thursday. Joey and Alec will stay behind to spend another week with Grandma and Grandpa. It has been almost four years since we've gotten down here to visit Shaun's mom and stepdad and it's been a lovely stay so far. The weather has been perfect for swimming in their awesome pool and even Kyle and Lauren are loving it. I remember coming down when Joey was about Lauren's age and we had to bribe him with bowls of M&M's just to get him to sit on the steps! Lauren is already jumping off the side while holding my hands. Kyle is swimming all over the pool with the aid of water wings and loves to go down the slide. It's about 9:30 a.m. here and Kyle just asked when we are going in the pool ;)

We celebrated Lauren's 3rd birthday here on Friday the 17th. We started the day by hitting a garage sale where Lauren got a Barbie princess book and a tricycle to ride here at Grandma's, then spent the day swimming and went to an area festival that evening. We didn't get a cake, but we did treat Lauren and the boys to some yummy ice cream. I'd still like to do a party for her after we get home, but I think she had a really fun day. We spent Saturday at the beach and the kids had a blast. Kyle and Alec absolutely loved playing in the sand.

I'm not sure what we will do the last couple of days here, but for us, playing in the pool and relaxing are as much of a vacation as anything else. I rather like not having to run here and there with 4 children everyday, but we may work something else in before we leave. It's crazy how fast vacations go. I'll have some great pictures to share when I get home!

From Bedroom Closets to Kitchen Floors

10:14 AM Posted by Natalie

You may recall my post a little while ago about finding Kyle in the bottom of their closet asleep. Lately we've been having some issues with Lauren sleeping. Actually, it's been off and on since we moved. Since she roomed with Kyle until then, I think maybe she just wants someone in there with her. When we had Rex, sometimes we had to make him go in her room and "babysit". I'd put Lauren in bed, she'd say,"I want Rex!" and I'd send him in. (He was very good about this at first but eventually got tired of it and started breaking himself out of her room, LOL!) There have been a few times when I couldn't get her to go to sleep and she would just cry and scream. If I laid down with her, she'd be out in 5 minutes.

More recently I have to admit some of it has gotten comical. Well, except for the night she got up at 12:48 a.m. and I couldn't get her to stay in her bed and go back to sleep for almost 2 hours. It was ridiculous. But other times, I have to admit it's been kind of funny. I have woken up several mornings to snoring. When I was coherent enough, I realized it was Lauren's snoring. But why had it woken me up? Why was it so close? I looked over the side of the bed to find her laying on our hardwood floor, half on one of our giant throw pillows, sound asleep. That is, until I scoop her up and put her back in her bed. Every time has been around 5:00 a.m. Then I have to send Shaun in to get her to be quiet and stay in her bed. He has no memory of these episodes, LOL!

But last night took the cake. She had gone to bed easily and stayed asleep (YAY!). Shaun is on the afternoon shift, so he gets home around 10:30. He got home last night, went back to our room to change, came back to the kitchen and made himself a drink. Then he sat down with me to watch some tube. It was a typical night. Then we heard this noise. I thought it sounded like one of the kids was up. He thought it was the noise his cell phone makes when he gets a message or something. So he went and checked his phone (which was right by the kitchen) and sat back down. We heard it a few more times, but I dismissed it because, after all, he'd gotten up and didn't see anyone out of bed. A little bit later, Shaun started to walk through the kitchen to go to the bathroom when he said to me, "Uh, your daughter is asleep on the kitchen floor." Huh? I thought he was putting me on. So I went to look for myself and sure enough, curled up on the kitchen floor sound asleep was Lauren! Why didn't I grab my camera this time?