Monday, March 29, 2010

Brandi's Birthday

Every year for my sisters birthday she has a different theme. It had been 80's themed, big eyelashes themed, dress up themed, and uni-brow themed. The last couple of years I have missed it. I was pregnant one year and in Vegas last year.  This years theme was mustaches.  We went out to dinner and then went downtown for some drinks.  Here is the crew with all our mustaches.
 Brandi's Birthday 2009
 Brandi's Birthday 2008


We have had the worst week to date I will not soon forget March 11.  Two weeks ago after I had got back to work from lunch my mom called me at work and told me that she had just got back to my house with the twins from visiting my grandma and there was a fire truck and police at my house.  Someone had called the fire department and told them that my house was on fire.  My mom and the fire department checked out our house and there was no fire.  A fire in my house is my absolute worst fear, so thank goodness there was no fire.  She called me a short time later to say that our land lord had called her and asked if the house was on fire because a neighbor had called her and told her it was on fire.  Right then I knew that our neighbor had something to do with this all because this is not our first time with police at our house because of him.  He has been one of those mean, nosey neighbors.  I didn't know why he was telling people our house was on fire but I would soon find out.  I got home from work and as soon as I walked in the door our landlord was calling.  I picked up the phone and right away she said ugh - that neighbor of yours.  She wanted to know if Greg had been burning anything in our yard earlier, I peeked out back and saw that he had our fire pit out with some burnt wood in it, so I told her it looked like he had.  She said that was why the neighbor called the fire department and also told me of horrible instances where this neighbor had harassed other tenants.  When Greg got home I told him all about the fire department being her and the landlord calling.  He explained that he did have a little fire going but that he was outside with it the entire time and he made sure it was out before he went to work and the neighbor was even outside and saw him.  We came to find out that he told the fire department our house was on fire to get them to our house in hopes that they would see Greg burning something and write us a ticket!  Needless to say this was all just very annoying and it is tiring and stressful to have such a awful neighbor.

When we finally got all the neighbor issues over we sat down and ate dinner.  After dinner I wanted to watch one of my girlie shows and Greg didn't so he went into our bedroom and watched tv.  I was about 20 minutes into my show when I heard a crash and Jaelee started crying.  Greg and I both got to her at about the same time.  She was laying on the floor next to a toy trike with a mouth full of milk and crying.  I told Greg to sit her up before she choked on her milk and then I picked her up.  The twins fall over things and even fall on their own a million times a day so we didn't think much of this particular fall.  I just held her for about 10 minutes while she continued to cry.  Greg said she was just milking it and she needed to stop crying.  We put her in her room in hopes she would calm down.  After 5 minutes I went in there to check on her and she was still crying.  I noticed that she wasn't moving her leg and she was holding it saying ow owie.  I screamed to Greg that something was wrong and he came in and moved her leg around. He looked up at me and said we need to go to the hospital.  I scooped her up in my arms, Greg picked up Jayse and we got in the jeep and headed to the ER.

On the way there Greg told me that when he moved Jaelee's leg he cold feel grinding and he thought her femur was broken.  I started to shake.  I was so scared for my little girl and I just could not put together how she would of broken her femur falling over a toy.  When we got to the ER they took us back to a room right away and examined Jaelee's leg and asked us how this happened.  We told the Dr. we weren't really sure because we didn't see her.  They took her back for xrays and gave her some pain medicine.  The Dr. came back a while later and told us that she had a spiral break in her femur.  I started crying harder.  My poor little girl with a broken leg and she isn't even 2.  Then the Dr. told us that something like this just doesn't happen from falling over a toy and that it is common in child abuse.  She said that Jaelee was going to have to be transported to another hospital and admitted.  She told us it was her duty to call child protective services and that someone would be coming to talk to us.  I couldn't even think or grasp what she was saying.  I think I lost it at that point.  I told Greg to hold Jaelee and I called my mom sobbing.

After several hours another Dr. came in and put a splint on her leg to be transported.  He was a very nice guy and told us that he had a Dr. friend that had a little boy that got injured and child protective services had been contacted in that case too.  He told us that it was standard.  He mentioned something about the police and a home visit once Jaelee was back at home and  I started to cry harder.

We had been at the ER for about 5 hours when the ambulance finally arrived to transport Jaelee to the other hospital.  She had to be transported so she could be admitted into the hospital because she had to be put under anesthesia in the morning for them to put her cast on.  Jaelee and I rode in the ambulance and Greg went home to get me some pajamas and met us at the hospital.  Jaelee and I got the hospital and went to her room, Greg followed shortly after and I went into the bathroom to change.  When I came out there were 3 uniformed officers and a social worker there waiting for me.  They asked me to follow them into another room to ask me some questions.  I had been dreading this so I asked the nurse for some tissue.  I asked if I could sit down and they started asking me every detail about us and the accident.  At times I was crying so hard I couldn't even talk.  I am very grateful to these people and what they do because it would be a hard job and one that I would not want do.  There are many kids out there that need their protection but when faced with it, I just felt over whelmed.  I was hurting, sad for Jaelee and shocked.  I still could not believe she broke her femur and I thought we would go to the ER and she would get a cast and we would be back home in bed within a few hours.  I never dreamed we would be transported, talking to police, and be in the pre-surgery area in the morning.  After they spoke with me they talked with Greg briefly.  He went home to get some sleep and I stayed the night with Jaelee.

It was a long 4 hours - everytime she would fall asleep she would have a spasm and wake up.  They eventually gave her some valium which is supposed to help with that and it did for a few hours but there was a nurse coming in every  45 minutes to check her vitals - so neither of us got much sleep.  At 6:30 they came to transport her to the operating area - we have been there a few times with Jayse.  I had hoped we would never be back there.  I met the Dr. that would be putting her cast, on and he was really nice.  He explained that children her age do not take well to setting their leg and putting a cast on - hense the need to put her under anesthesia.  He told me that she would have a cast from her waist to her ankles and she would wear it for 6 weeks.  Also he said that the good thing was that she was so young and she would heal perfectly, in 6 months you wouldn't be able to tell she ever broke her leg and he said that since she was so young she would never remember this - unfortunately I will.  He also reassured me that the CPS was standard for her kind of break.  After they took her away I went to the waiting room and shortly after Greg met me there with Jayse.  We waited for her to be finished and then went back to the recovery area to see her.  She was really sleepy and after an hour they transported her to her room.  Even though they told me what her cast would look like it is still hard when you see it.  Your precious little girl in a half body cast is just sad.  I have to say I love the St. Lukes downtown, the staff is always so friendly and helpful.  Greg had to work so he took Jayse home a short while later.  Jaelee and I stayed at the hospital and got a few hours of sleep.  Then I talked to another social worker who again reassured me that calling CPS was standard procedure.  While Jaelee slept I snuck down to the cafeteria for some lunch.

I pulled Jaelee around the hospital in a wagon for hours - like I did with Jayse when he was in the hospital.  I think they just love being out of that stuffy hospital room.  Greg came to visit us after work and shortly after the doctor came by to check on her and checked us out.  We got to go home around 6 in the evening.  Jaelee was still pretty tired and had a lot of medicine in her systems so we went to bed pretty early and slept through the whole night.  The next day she did not want to take her pain medicine.  It smelt pretty bad so I could understand.  We tried mixing it with juice but that just made her vomit - twice.  We had to give her 2 sponge baths.  Greg finally got her to take some by giving her a popsicle. 

Things have been pretty rough at times, a few days after we came home CPS came by to do their home visit.  I was at work but Greg was home.  They just wanted to see Jaelee and her room.  Before they left they told Greg it was obvious we love our kids and would recommend the case be closed.  I was so re-leaved to have it over with.  Our nosey awful neighbor came by and apologized. Jaelee gets really frustrated at times - she wants to stand up and play with her brothers, she pulls at her cast and says off.  We have tried to keep her busy with books, movies, magnets, crafts, chalk, and lots of wagon rides.  Because all she can do is lay on her back or be propped up her hair in the back gets all ratted up into a big fuzzy mess - it is not fun to brush out.  We have 25 days and counting until her cast comes off.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Camping Adventures

We have had spring fever over here bad for a while now. I am so tired of the cold weather and short dark days. We love camping and have been dying take the kids out for their first camping trip and couldn't wait any longer.

We bought a tent trailer last year at the end of summer (off craigslist for $300 bucks and the previous owners threw in all their old camping gear, pots, lots of utensils, a small broom, mat, & other misc stuff, we got a steal!) and Greg used it twice and I never got to camp in it. We thought that if we found a generator we could run a heater during the cold months and still go camping. We had been looking for generators on craigslist for a while now with no luck, generators can be pretty expensive. A couple of weeks ago Greg found a generator for $35 but it wasn't running, Greg thought since we have extra lawn mowers that he could put a lawn mower motor on it and get it going. After he went and looked at it we decided to buy it and take a chance he could get it to work. He brought it home and took it apart, added some oil, and with out doing anything else he put it back together and it worked!

We ended up buying a jeep from a guy Greg works with, which turned out perfect because we needed another vehicle we all could fit in and we could also pull the tent trailer. So since we had all we needed we couldn't wait to go camping any longer. We got everything ready and headed out to CJ Strike.

We had a few hiccups along the way - only one side of the trailer lights would work and Greg didn't put a pin in the trailer and as we were going over railroad tracks the trailer came off the jeep and hit the back of the jeep as we came to a stop. It cracked the front of the trailers shell. After Greg made a make shift pin out of a beer can from the side of the road we were back on our way.

When we got to the spot we started to take the trailer off the jeep and we found out because the trailer had come apart from the jeep the chain had tightened around the jeep and Greg couldn't get it off with out tools. We decided to set up the trailer still attached to the jeep.

The twins quickly found some puddles to play in. They were having so much fun I couldn't stop them. They were soaked, covered in mud and having a blast. While I worked on setting things up Greg went to start a fire and he realized that we didn't pack any matches or a lighter. He tried for quite a while to start a fire with the cigarette lighter in the jeep, with no luck. Luckily, again thanks to the previous owners of our trailer, there was a wrench in the trailer and Greg was able to get the trailer off the jeep. Luckily there were other people out camping and he was able to borrow a few matches from someone. Once we got the fire going I took the kids inside the trailer after stripping them down and put them in their jammies. I convinced Greg it would be a good idea to bring our little tv and watch some movies. So while Greg and Bo hung out by the fire the kids and I watched movies, read books, played and finally they went to sleep. They went to sleep with no problems which really surprised me. It was pretty compfy in the trailer, the heater was working great, which by the way we got for free last summer from our neighbors yard sale (I just love a great deal!).

After the kids went to sleep Greg and I hung out by the fire, he was fishing and I was just enjoying the fire and the warmth.  All the sudden it looked like our dog was fighting a ghost.  Greg went over to see what was happening and he was caught up in Greg's fishing line.  After he got Bo untangled he reeled in his line and had a fish on it.  We laugh that Bo helped Greg catch a fish. 

At about 11:30 the generator quite and we had all ready used all the extra gas we brought. I was worried it was going to get cold real fast in the trailer with out the heater. Greg said that he had used a hot rock once in a pan as a heater and it worked great. So we had this huge rock next to the fire the whole time and he just put it a little closer. When we went to bed we put the rock in a pan and put it in the trailer.
 (if you look close you can see the huge rock in the pan)
As Greg and I climbed into our bed it shifted and tore a whole in the canvas.  I didn't bring any extra blankets because I assumed we would have the heater the whole night and not need them. I soon realized that was not the case and was cold almost as soon as we went to bed. After 2 hours of laying there shivering the twins woke up cold. By this time it is about 3:30 in the morning. I got the twins and put them in bed with us and put their blankets over us and finally I was warm and comfortable. Unfortunately, Greg was not comfortable with Jayse laying on him - we decided to pack up in the middle of the night with no flashlight (another oversight - didn't bring a flashlight). We managed to get everything packed up and headed back home. We got home at 5 am and quickly feel asleep. So there it is our first camping trip with the twins and the trailer it was not perfect but we had fun.

Since our first camping trip was not the best we decided we needed a second try.  We went camping again this weekend.  This time making sure the trailer was pinned, we had flashlights, matches & lighter, lots of extra blankets, Greg sewed up the tear in the canvas and plenty of gas for the generator.  We made it to the camp site with out incident.

As we were setting things up it started to get dark so Greg went to turn on the generator.  It started right up but then died.  He tried it again and again it started up and then died.  He looked at it and found out that the carburetor was lose and it was getting air in the fuel.  He had to take the generator apart with no tools, he got the generator fixed (have I mentioned how much I love that he can fix everything!) but broke 2 of our knives.

Once the generator was running we plugged in the trailer and the lights weren't working.  Greg looked at the wires, checked the fuses but still they didn't work.  Luckily we had flashlights for light.  We cooked a great dinner - pork & pasta.  Then we had hot chocolate and marshmallows.  We went out to sit by the fire.  The kids liked the fire and we had to keep pulling them away from it until it popped really loud.  It scared Jaelee and she didn't even want to look at the fire after that.  She cried every time she saw it and closed her eyes or hide in my chest.  So her and I went in the trailer and read books, played and watched Cinderalla, Jayse and Greg hung out by the fire.

As it was getting close to bed time we all went inside the trailer and started to watch Braveheart (I had never seen it).  We made it through a little bit of it before the kids were ready to sleep.  We put them to sleep and Greg and I went outside to enjoy the fire.  We made it through the whole night with the generator running only having to get up once to refill it with fuel.  Then we had breakfast and finished half of Braveheart before packing up. While we packed up the twins played in the sand and the water.  Having a lot of fun until it was time to clean them up and they were covered in sand and cold.

Once again this camping trip still had it's downfalls but we had a lot of fun and we look forward to trip #3 as we have now worked out all the kinks and we know it will be the lucky charm.