Monday, December 31, 2012

The Cliffs of Insanity, or Not For the Weak of Stomach...Really...This is Pretty Gross

Things have not been going well.  It has been a rough month and since it is surprisingly painful to type this because of some of the events, I will try to tell about the bad parts of my month mostly in pictures.  The next installment will be my "on the bright-side" post.

Things started out with me finally giving in and seeing an Orthopedic Surgeon about my knees.

The Oh-So Stylish shorts I got to wear at the Orthopod's office.  You know you want some!
The good news is I don't have arthritis, I don't need surgery, and I have plenty of cartilage in my knees!  The bad side is my ligaments that go over my knees are basically malformed and since I am "so out of shape" my knees are sliding all over the place causing extreme inflammation in my knees.  The good news is that with physical therapy and anti-inflammatory shots in my knees I should be able to get to the point where they don't hurt anymore.  The bad news is I will have to be constantly in shape, and working out or they will go back to being painful again.  I almost wish I could just have surgery (yep, that's how low I've gotten after a month of VERY painful physical therapy!)

The next day I went to a regular doctor to find out why my antidepressants don't seem so anti anymore.  We switched meds and now I'm in the wonderful transitional phase where I am having withdrawal symptoms similar to Heroin addicts (but never got to have the high to go with it.  I feel somehow gypped), and severe ups and downs until the new stuff kicks in.  Basically everyone in my house has literally mentioned in prayer that they hope "the new medicines will help Mommy/Nicole feel better."

Later that week in the middle of my "poor me" slump Ethan brought home some homework that he struggled and struggled with until he finally asked for help.  This is that problem:
What the heck?  Are you kidding me?  Are there 26 fish in EACH tank, or 26 total fish? Why does it matter what type of pellet I am using?  Is one cheaper or easier to administer?  What type of math are they even trying to get him to use?  Are we suppose to be able to find a pellet ratio that comes out evenly with the fish and/or tanks?  I was a little flummoxed and asked my brain trust (family) what they thought and every single person had a different take on it.

This wouldn't be a big deal but Ethan's teacher is not exactly...nurturing.  I wrote a note explaining we were a little confused but he tried his best.  We then got the next homework...not good.  Basically it was a triangle made of 9 littler triangles that each had different types of sides (squiggles/dashes etc).  The first problem on the page had a triangle that DIDN'T EVEN EXIST on the big triangle so I wrote another letter to the teacher saying that I thought maybe they should screen their homework better (remember I am having withdrawals at this point) or at least explain what they are looking for.  We then proceeded to exchange a series of emails that were less than friendly and me pointing out that "YES, actually I DO have a teaching degree and YES I think her homework is stupid."  I have basically turned into the parent that turned me off from teaching in the first place.  Fabulous.

I know my pain will never rival that of people who have serious problems or horrible accidents occur in their life, and the shooting in Connecticut truly was a reminder of that.  So much so, that I spent most of the weekend crying.  Crying about painful knees, crying about stupid medicines, crying about how Ethan's teacher retaliated against him because of me (put him the lowest math group even though he is well above that), and crying about scared kids and families missing their little ones on Christmas morning.  Crap, crying again.  These meds had better kick in soon!

On the 17th I was running around like a chicken with it's head cut off going to therapy and trying to get us packed for our upcoming trip to California, get Livi ready for her school program that night AND finish the teacher gifts I was making.  So of course this happened:
(Note: avoid further pictures if squeamish)

I was making hot chocolate on a stick for the teachers, and thought it would be fun to make homemade marshmallows to go on top. (I know, I know, Who makes homemade marshmallows? I've heard that about 50 times in the last 2 weeks).  I was pouring the 240 degree corn-syrup/sugar mixture into the main bowl when said bowl slipped and I poured it on my hand instead.

On the bright-side most of the hand only got small 1st degree burns.  Also on the bright-side I didn't even feel any of them, because my ring finger was not so lucky. Running a hand covered in molten stickiness does nothing but solidify the stickiness and fuse it to your skin. When I ripped off the goo of doom I ripped off some of the skin too. 
The day after it happened.

Today.  I call it "Kentucky Fried Finger."
I went into the doctor today to see if they needed to debride (?) the wound (which means clean out all the gunk and dead skin).  The doctor said she wants me to go to ANOTHER physical therapist who specializes in wounds and have their surgeon do the cleaning because of the scar tissue forming.  Basically it is healing well, but forming a lot of scar tissue underneath and if I don't go to physical therapy I wont be able to move the whole top of the finger.  This wouldn't be a big deal except for the whole piano/knitting/embroidery/typing/applying makeup/ "not looking like I'm flipping people off when I close my hand" thing.

So basically January is going to be filled with a double delight of painful physical therapy.  Awesome sauce.  I do have a lot of bright-sides, though, and hope to highlight a lot of them when my finger stops aching from writing this novel-of-a-post that was suppose to be short and I feel up to typing some more.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

I'm Dreaming of Rockin' Around a White (Trash) Christmas Tree

I know most people like their Christmas trees to be a well decorated masterpiece with lights evenly spaced, delicate ornaments, and strategically placed bows.  I think those are wonderful, but when looking at my house with homemade kids projects, hand drawn artwork, and teal walls, those would look pretty silly sitting in my living room.  It would be like putting a crystal chandelier in a mobile home.
Yep, we are basically Hill Billies.
  When ever we go on a trip we pick up an ornament to remind us of the good time we had. I get a new castle ornament every Christmas time at Disneyland.  We get ornaments when we move to a new area that reflects that town.  The kids bring home new treasures every year from school that we add on. It is a hodge-podge of colors, shapes, and memories, but it is 100% me.  I love it, and it makes me so happy.
The kids get to help out putting on lights, and placing their special ornaments.
 We talk about where we got them, and what they mean as we put them up. We share stories and jokes. Everyone laughs and has a good time, everyone except...

 Poor Tonks.  She didn't quite understand what was going on.  She kept trying to crawl in our laps and moped about like a...well..a little lost dog. 

 Our finished product:
  What, you may say, is going on with our angel on top?  Well a few years ago my Dad showed Ethan that if you cut straws and put them on the candles the angel is holding you have an instant Jedi Angel.  Thanks Dad for our new tradition, and Andrew for the following quote:

"And the angel said to the shepherds, fear not, fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering."

Monday, December 3, 2012

My Kingdom for a Fork, and Lesson Learned at Walmart

We were lucky to not only have friends over for Thanksgiving, but some of the Stotts even made the long (boring) trip across Wyoming to visit us!
Our fabulous group!  Tonks loved having 2 tables dedicated to kids.  She had her own version of Christmas as yummy food fell like snow flakes!

 It was my first time having Thanksgiving with other people at my house and I learned two valuable lessons: I am not good at hosting Thanksgiving, and I need more silverware!  Running out of forks at Thanksgiving causes embarrassment, problems, and mini temper tantrums from a 4 year old that didn't want to use her dessert forks to eat her "chicken."

After the meal, and some very delicious apple pie (that I still dream about, thanks Melissa!) Eric and I headed over to the Black Friday (if it is on Thursday can you really call it Black Friday?  Thanks a lot Walmart for confusing me.) I was going to boycott it on principal, but since one of the big ticket items my child wanted was going for more than 50% off I thought we should check it out.  Unfortunately so did everyone else in town.  The entire parking lot was filled, including all imaginable illegal parking spots, so Eric dropped me off and headed over to a neighboring store's parking lot.
What the front of Walmart usually looks like (taken Friday afternoon).

What the same area looked like on Black Thursday.

I was stuck here for 5 minutes.  I couldn't move at all.  Eric thought it was funny and took a picture.  It's like "Where's Waldo" but you need to look for "Surly Looking Nicole" instead
 Of course when we finally made it back to the area the toy should be we were informed that they hadn't received any of the toy in their shipment, so we made the trip to Walmart for nothing.  On the bright side we didn't have to wait in the 2 hour long check out lines!

Here are some other highlights of having Grandma, Grandpa, and Aunt Cheryl with us:
Shopping with Grandma and Cheryl...

I think she like these better.

Ethan learned about ADDING salt to tortilla chips from Grandpa Alan and thought it was the best thing he'd heard of since Pokemon.  Silly Stott men!

We walked along the North Platte river on one of the most beautiful November days I have ever seen.  Too bad the sugar beet factory was in full swing and we all had problems with allergies for the next several days!