Fall Festival

Photo credit: Violet Loughman
 It is freezing outside right now. Old Man Winter came a little earlier than expected and none of us Georgians seem to know what to do about it. I'm still busy trying to admire the fall leaves! Yet here we are, one week to Thanksgiving with only three weeks until Christmas after that. I start sweating if I think too much about it. Matt flat-out refused to bring the Christmas decorations out of the attic yesterday, trying to hold onto our "no Christmas before Thanksgiving" rule. And generally I'm on board, but this year I'm feeling the time crunch. Anyone started shopping yet? No, don't tell me. It will just stress me out!

Getting nails did by Ms Courtney at the Fall Festival
The girls' school had their winter fall festival yesterday. Annie's nap stretched late, so we arrived in time for the last 45 minutes. But that meant the crowds were thin, so we still had a good time. Annie refused to look at any of her teachers - I think she was afraid I was going to leave her there! She perked up at the rubber ducky water table, and boo-hooed when it was time to leave the bouncy house. Violet did her thing where she suddenly and inexplicably turns shy, but she loved getting her nails and hair done.

Some good friends came over for dinner. It's been way too long. I swear last time we saw "Baby" Will he was just figuring out how to walk! Now I have a toddler of my own! It's so nice to catch up.

Will's first trip to the big kids' table!
Annie's favorite new activity is being naked. She doesn't necessarily start taking her clothes off everywhere like some stories I've heard, but the minute she is undressed the takes off running and chortling. She even does the pause, look over the shoulder, wait for you, take off again laughing. And the belly. Oh my. My child is built like a line backer!

We know so many boys...

Mutual Admiration Society
Next up: five more days of school, then we're dashing off to my dear friend's wedding to kick off Thanksgiving break. Oh and how this break is much needed. I'm trying not to put anything on the to-do list other than Christmas decorations, a little pampering (finally going to use the gift certificate I got from my class last year!) and hopefully some holiday shopping. Oh, and my neighbor and I are hosting an Origami Owl party. (I know - I hate shopping parties. I can't believe I'm having one myself. Here's hoping I have friends who will come!) And the hubs and I want to make a final decision about the new floors we're ordering. And then there's the general childcare, cooking, surviving routine. Of course, the actual Thanksgiving meal has to be on the list somewhere... See what happens? Busy already!


It Is Well

Violet's school picture. What a cutie.
Thank goodness, health has once more returned to the Loughman household. It was ugly this week. After last weekend's urgent care saga, Grandma came up and stayed home with Annie Monday and Tuesday, giving her extra time to rest. As it turned out, she was also giving me extra time to rest, as I came down with my annual first grade crud, which quickly spiraled into me losing my voice for a few long days. One night I snuck into the bedroom at 8 p.m. and just trusted Matt and Lee Anne to get the household to bed. I was exhausted.

Fortunately, I seem to have recovered for the most part, thanks to a trusty combo of hot tea/lemon/honey and mucinex. I should buy stock in that company. It is magical.

Even better, Annie has bounced back completely. The only lingering side effects (which in reality probably have nothing to do with her illness) is a new-found independent streak coupled with a total dread of bedtime. She used to be so easy to put down for the night. Now you so much as look towards the stairs and she starts shaking her head "no" in a panic. She stand in her crib and screams. She tries to lunge out of your arms. It's a bummer. And she knows that I'm a sucker. Matt never seems to have issues putting her to bed (so he might just be earning himself a new nightly job). Tonight actually went pretty smoothly, though, so one point for mommy.
Miss Independent
Today was beautiful, a perfect Sunday. The weather was perfectly warm, the trees are in their full blazing glory of fall. The girls were happy at church, Annie took a nap in nursery (the volunteers turned around to find her face-planted on the floor, fast asleep), we had a lovely lunch in which both girls behaved themselves and ate well. We shopped for and put together a box for Operation Christmas Child. The whining was kept to a minimum, three loads of laundry have been processed, baths have been had, the little Loughman's were both in bed before 8 p.m. We needed a good day like this after the week we've had. So I'm off to finish a cup of tea (I might be slightly addicted now) and relax in front of the tv with the mister before the week starts again.

Let's play!

Giving kisses.


Urgent Care

Remember little sad face from last night? Yeah, well, she woke up sadder still.

I had already made up my mind that if Annie still wasn't doing better this morning, I was taking advantage of our pediatrician's Saturday morning hours. And as it turns out, Annie woke up worse than I'd feared. Snot-crusted, red-cheeked, miserable, lethargic... it was pretty pathetic. I didn't even bother to shower, just booked it over and were at the doctor's office by 9:30.

Our usual doctor wasn't on call, but our second favorite doctor was. She is by far the most laid-back of the practice. In fact, I was expecting to hear "Oh, she has a virus, no biggie." So when Dr. F immediately expressed concern, even threw out "pneumonia"  within the first two minutes, I thought she was jumping the gun a bit.

The first blood test came back wonky, really low numbers. They came back for more blood. This time Annie's white blood cells were way up - infection. But flu was negative, RSV was negative. Her temperature spiked from 100.9 to 101.7 just in the short time we were there. But most concerning of all was her rapid, wheezy breathing.

Dr. F called our local Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Urgent Care center, just 10 minutes away. After speaking to the doctor there, she came back with a request that we head over for a chest x-ray. She printed our Annie's current vitals to show the next doctor, then gave her medicine to get the fever down. "You're going to get over there, the meds will kick in, and they're going to think we're crazy," she told me. "But otherwise I'm going to worry all weekend long about this one." She took down my cell phone number so she could check up on us, and we headed to urgent care.

By now it was 11 a.m. and true to prediction, Annie perked up in the waiting room, polishing off the cheerios I had stashed in the diaper bag. While the waiting room was packed already, calling ahead and clearly done the trick. I heard whispers of "the doctor is expecting her," and "bump her to the front" from the staff as they took my info. Although there was still plenty of waiting. Annie's energy ran out quickly and she spent most of the time snuggled on my shoulder. This kid is going to drive me to chiropractic care! I really can't say enough wonderful things about our CHOA urgent care center. It's the same place we went after Violet broke her collar bone, and both times we've had excellent care from a wonderful staff.

The doctor we saw was so sweet. She had already gotten the run-down from our pediatrician and after a brief chat, we were off to get a chest x-ray. Annie hated it. In fact, Annie started crying the minute anyone in scrubs came near her. Poor thing was on to us.

The x-ray showed... something. Something was brewing in the lungs. Something, plus the elevated white blood count, plus the rapid breathing... she wouldn't definitively call it pneumonia, but that was the suspect. She called our pediatrician (which I thought was so sweet - Dr. F asked to be kept in the loop) to discuss and they both agreed. A powerful antibiotic was ordered, but first a blood culture was needed.

There was no little finger prick this time. This was drawing blood with a needle, tubing, everything. Poor Annie was so dehydrated, the technician had trouble finding a vein. All while Annie screamed, of course. In the end, it took four of us. I laid on top of her, one nurse held her arm, another had to shine a high-powered flashlight from underneath her hand to illuminate the veins, and the last guy had to go in with the needle. And Annie, sweet Annie, just cried. I don't know how parents of chronically ill kids do it. Do the kids eventually get used to it? Or is it drama every time?

Blood work done, we still had to wait for the actual antibiotic, which was delivered via two shots, one in each plump thigh. There was more crying. And then there was more waiting to make sure there wasn't a negative reaction. At that point, close to 3 p.m., all I wanted was food (none all day save the English muffin I had for breakfast) and a chance to pee. Oh, and a neck massage.

The doctor predicted the fever would return, asked us to come back in 24 hours for a follow up with a potential second dose of antibiotics, and relayed a message from Dr. F that she wanted to see us Monday at the pediatrician's office. Once home, the fever did return, but slowly and surely, Annie has improved. She started playing with Violet around 6 p.m. tonight, snacked a bit on crackers and grapes, and we managed to force some liquid into her. I'm hoping we've turned a corner. What a day. Here's hoping my girls understand Daylight Savings and give us an hour to sleep in tomorrow!


Happy Halloween!

This was how our Halloween dawned. That is one sick kiddo right there. I should have realized things were amiss when she fell asleep in the highchair the night before. We gave her medicine for a fever and put her in bed, fingers crossed. Well, the fever was worse the next morning. Fortunately, Matt had already planned to work from home, so I got this pathetic update a few hours in. I even had my room mom pick up extra medicine for me at the store (we ran out that morning, and she was stopping at the store anyway to pick up our Fall Rotations aka Halloween Party cupcakes).

Matt was supposed to go to Violet's Halloween party at school, and when I explained that neither of us would be making it now, she was understandably bummed. Poor thing. She already knows she draws the short end of the stick by being a teacher's kid. "But Daddy has regular work, so he can come!" she said. So I juggled things at work and begged for a substitute for the last 20 minutes of the day so I could sneak out and surprise her at her party. I'm glad I did - her face lit up when she spotted me.

Pretty pretty princesses!

Snow White and Superman!

Ms Courtney and Ms Megan! Love them so!

Trunk or Treat!

Ready to get some loot in the neighborhood!
Once home, we got ready, had our annual chili dinner with our neighbors, then got ready to head out. I opted to stay home with Annie, poor girl. The meds would kick in, she'd perk up, then fade again. We spent a lot of time on the couch, in between passing out candy.

It ended up being a cold, rainy night, so perhaps I got lucky. Not the most memorable of holidays. Oh well, we'll try again next year. Here's hoping this little pumpkin gets better soon!


Last Soccer Game

Violet and JT, soccer buddies!

Of course, we waited for the last game to play the hardest team.

Coach Angie and a trophy!

She did it! A whole season of soccer! And we did it! 8 weeks of leaving work early, remembering to pack soccer gear and snacks, hauling everyone to the field on Saturday morning, enduring scorching sun and freezing winds... (hey, I didn't get a trophy so this is all the recognition I'm going to get!)

We are so grateful to have gotten such a fabulous coach. Angie is a first grade teacher and she has taught kids' sports before, and it was abundantly obvious at every practice and game. I'm crossing my fingers that she decides to coach another season soon!

Violet was so excited to get a trophy (although possibly even more excited to get a cupcake!) She brought it around to show all the neighbors once we got home. The church league we were in (shout out to Creekside Methodist) was the perfect starting point for us - relaxed play, no score-keeping, a little positive devotional for everyone at half-time... Every week there was a word of the day and at practice Coach Angie would tell a little story to illustrate it. I don't remember the story that went with "initiative," but one afternoon in the car Violet got herself all buckled in before I had to ask her and when I thanked her, she said she was showing initiative. Yeah baby!

Hopefully Violet will want to play soccer again! For now, I think we're taking a break from extracurricular activities.


Only One More Practice

We sure do have fun at soccer practice, especially now that the weather is so nice. I can't believe our season is almost done!


Cat in the Hat

Every weekend someone in Violet's class gets to take home the Cat in the Hat stuffed animal. They take pictures of their adventures together and share with the class when they go back to school. (Oh, and the Cool Cat person gets to be line leader for the week as well, Violet reminded me 87 times.)

So this weekend we had the Cat, and here are our adventures...

First the Cat came to soccer practice...

He even tried kicking the ball!

Then he got tired and decided to watch from the sidelines.

Next up, movie night!

Frozen was playing...

Slumber party time!

Then Cat came with us to the pumpkin patch and played in the bouncy house!

Then Mommy packed him up in Violet's backpack so we wouldn't forget to take him back to school, and that's where he stayed the rest of the weekend, oops! But hey, we have plenty of photographic evidence that he was out and about with us quite a bit. Hopefully he had as much fun as we did!
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