So that's what it feels like

I'm not really a guilty person. I don't know if it's because i spent my formative years at an Episcopal school populated by Buddhists or what, but guilt is one thing i don't spend a lot of energy wrestling with. Which isn't to say that i lead a perfect life, but i do generally feel good about the decisions i make.

I had hoped that Silas would be feeling good enough today to head back to school. This was key in my strategy to get fully better, and also because now i'm VERY behind at work. His night went great and things were looking good until he just got very cranky and cried a lot while we were getting ready to leave the house. In the car on the way to school i kept going back and forth over whether to drop him off or not. I asked him if he wanted to go to school and he repeatedly used his "yes" grunt. So i hesitantly dropped him off with repeated requests that Brenda call me if he didn't seem like he was feeling well.

I got home and started to work and just had this ill-at-ease feeling invading my stomach and the rest of my body. I was having a hard time concentrating and i just felt... guilty that Silas wasn't home with me. I lasted about an hour and then called Brenda. She laughed and said "Silas is Silas-- he's doing fine." I know that means he's getting into all kinds of trouble, being mischievous, laughing and having fun. End of guilt. But whew, i sure am glad i don't feel that often!


Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Bronchitis?

So one of the things i've find most frustrating about being sick* is that i'm held back from all the things that i've planned on doing and really want to do. Sometimes they're fun things like take the boys to our community Halloween party, host my quilting group, or train for my upcoming 8K run. Sometimes they're not fun but necessary like finish bringing in the outside stuff for the winter, rake, clean out the garden, etc. Either way there's something out of my control getting in the way of my plans. I'm not the best at letting go of control but at this point i'm somewhere being accepting and being forced to accept that i have to in order to get better and resume normal operations. So, we're down for the count for a bit. Hopefully the medications will take effect and we'll be back on track in time for Halloween.

*In case we haven't been able to personally tell you we're struggling with the following:
JT: recovering from a two-week cold now in CA for a few days
Silas: home sick with a double ear-infection
Tamra: trying to recuperate from bronchitis and sinusitis while taking care of Silas, parenting solo and trying to crank out some necessary work
Henry: holding up as the healthiest one in the family


Prepping for Cold Season

I started to write this post yesterday and then realized i felt like being more upbeat but it's time to deal with the onslaught of the winter sick season. I feel like i can totally and completely deal with the coming cold and dark, but i'm woefully unready for at least one person to have some sort of sickness for the next 6 months. Rather than despair for the next few paragraphs i'll tell you what i do to get ready.

Sometime in September, i try to take stock of the various sick-related items one needs to have on hand and replenish any we're low on. It's really terrible to get walloped with a head-cold and realize you have no medicine in the house. An added bonus is that several of these count against your Health FSA so if you're staring down some leftover money this helps you spend it.

I make sure we have:
*Humidifier Filters
*Decongestant for adults (day and nighttime formulas)
*Tylenol for the kids
*Saline spray for the kids
*Vicks vaporub for kids and adults
*Oil of Olbas (a new addition this year, potent but less messy then vicks)
*Aquaphor for chapped cheeks and hands
*Mucus Relief Medicine for the adults

I'm also going to stockpile some pedialtye for the kids, gatorade and saltine crackers, plus some cans of chicken soup-- oh and take-out menus. Now if they could just devote some of the world's resources to eradicating the common cold i'd be all set! Until then, at least now i've got my sick kit together.


Preparing for Winter

We're still lodged firmly in Fall and Henry for one is very much looking forward to Halloween. Silas is going to be a bat and Henry seems to have settled on being a monkey like he was last year. Unfortunately i got my dates wrong and was amping everyone up for trick-or-treating this Friday and woops, it's next Friday! We're headed over to Tiffany and Mike's house for our annual Halloween gathering and trick-or-treating (and hopefully some good pictures.)

We headed out to the SW suburbs this weekend to meet up with Genine and Ron and their daughters Maia and Eva that are just about Henry and Silas' age. By the end of the night Maia and Henry were having a great time together. Other highlights of the day included the "punkin chuckker" which shot pumpkins hundreds of feet up in the air to land in the lake. Henry and Silas both liked running around the pumpkin patch and "picking" out a different pumpkin every 2 seconds. Silas would try to lift every one up and they were all at least 10 lb pumpkins so i don't think he was successful. Henry had a blast on the tractor ride and almost wouldn't leave the corn maize.

He was not very excited by the dancing skeletons, the witch that had dry ice come out from under her broom or any of the other "scary" things. So i'll let you know how actual Halloween goes!


Does leaf blowing count as cardio?

So somewhere along the way after working so hard to lose the weight i gained with Silas, an additional 5 lbs. crept up on me. I get why they tell you to weigh yourself a couple times a week because suddenly my pants were feeling tight and the scale was hard to believe. So, i've gone back to not drinking any alcohol during the week and if things don't start to pick up i'll also scale down to the salad plate for dinner.

I also decided that with the luxury of being home at Thanksgiving i would start training for the 8K turkey trot. Of course my first week of training came last week when i was home for 48 hours and traveling to CA and OK for the rest of the week. Honestly i did miss a few workouts but i managed to pretty effectively multitask on Monday by running to the target, picking up my prescriptions and running home. I leveraged my west coast jet lag by getting a morning run in and chalked all the airport and luggage escapades as the remaining cardio and strength workouts.

This week has started off better but i think realistically i'm going to have to substitute the 30 minute cardio sessions for leaf blowing. So, i'm staying flexible and trying to make some progress.



It's not quite the musical you know and love, but Okahopa (H's pronunciation if you couldn't guess) proved to be a great trip for Henry-- and somewhat for Silas. After i returned from CA late Thursday night and had Friday off to unpack and then pack again, we headed out very, very early on Saturday morning.

The flight was thankfully on time and only an hour and a half. There were some seat assignment antics and a very, very unhelpful gate agent to contend with (name Versher-- still need to write a letter to United) but after the help of a fellow passenger and a supervisor we were on our way.

We met-up with my Dad at the Tulsa airport, picked up our rental (H: "are we getting our car fixed?") and then we were off for the approximately 2 hour drive to my grandparents' farm. Midway we stopped, and Henry had his first taste of McDonald's ("is this chuckecheeses?") and was really psyched at the matchbox car that came with his happy meal. Evenmore so that the display car matched the one that came in his bag ("they're similar mommy!")

The rest of the weekend involved me not getting all that much sleep (what with early mornings, some night wakings, and Silas' cold returning). Silas had a particularly rough day on Sunday-- so much so that i worried he was developing an ear infection. But in hindsight i think he was just seriously overtired.

Other than his Sunday hysterical mid-morning meltdown and subsequent fitful nap laying with me on the bed he actually enjoyed himself quite a bit. He really, really dug the cows and also had a lot of fun playing with the cousins. While he was wary with all the new people he eventually warmed up to my grandmother and grandfather in particular and even deigned to sit in my grandmother's lap whenever it was time to put his shoes on. He was exercising his funny bone a bit too by purposefully missing his seat and them cracking up when he fell down-- making sure everyone else was laughing too.

Henry unequivocally had an amazing time. He didn't nap for three days and when he didn't see the cows upon arriving on Saturday afternoon he was concerned, but Sunday's drive in the back of Grandpa's truck out to see all the cows, round two of playing on both the old and new tractors, getting to actually drive the old tractor with Grandpa around the field and then playing for hours on end outside in their yard with his 5 cousins (aged 3 to 9) was possibly one of the most fun weekends of his life.

We got back safe and sound and on time and all managed to catch up on some sleep. I'm looking forward to staying put now for awhile and actually tackling some of the fall chores and projects that i have in no way had time to address recently.


On the Road

I wrote this while traveling and didn't get a chance to post until now that i'm back home; for 12 hours at least:

I think I hinted earlier at how busy things were getting; we’re now in the thick of it. We had a wonderful visit with Oma and Opa this past weekend and enjoyed an outing to the zoo and another to the farmers’ market and many, many books read. The boys both enjoyed having them hear immensely and were happy to hear they’d be back at Christmas.

The day after they left I spent the morning at a meeting downtown and then headed straight to the airport for a flight to CA. I’m doing a site visit to an organization out here in San Jose and had the luck to be able to stay with my friend Kai and her husband Andrey from way back on Guam days. They have a beautiful house and I loved sleeping with the windows open and getting the cool night air, as well as run this morning (got to love jet lag when you travel to the west coast) checking out all the flora and fauna that either died awhile ago, or doesn’t grow in Chicago climate.

Tonight I’m hoping to meet up with my high school friend Tom that lives in this area, and tomorrow Kai and I are headed up to have breakfast with college friends and then explore San Francisco before I fly back home Thursday afternoon.

The fun doesn’t stop there though, as I’ll return to a houseguest who’s splitting his time over the next week between staying with us and our friends Marc and Jessica. I’m taking Friday off (phew) so I can unpack, deal with whatever wreckage has occurred in the house, and repack for Saturdays’ trip with the boys to meet my Dad in OK and drive out to stay with my country grandparents for the weekend.

There’s lots more I want to write about things like what I learned about vegetable gardening this year, how my cabinet refinishing went, what the boys are up to, and more but you’ll just have to wait until I can catch a few minutes with a power source and my computer.