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Friday, July 31, 2015

Someone who does not live in my country (Week 6)

Way back in 2004, Allison and I spent the summer studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain (or as I affectionately came to call it, “the Manc”). This was a requirement for our dual majors in Spanish and International Studies, and right here I’m going to stop and say that I know you’re all shocked to learn that (a) we had the same majors in college and (b) we decided to fulfill our study abroad requirement together. And as long as we were going together, we figured it only made sense to be roommates, so when we enrolled, we requested a host family that would be willing to accommodate two students at one time.

In my head, I envisioned a true host “family,” complete with mom, dad, and two impressionable young children that would love and adore their foreign exchange big “sisters” from the States. So you can imagine my surprise when we received the details about our host and learned that we would be rooming with a single mother and her daughter that was just a few years younger than us.

Meet Elisea (“Eli”) and Veronica (“Vero”), our temporary mom and sister for the Summer of 2004.

A few fun facts about our host family:

1. Those are birthmarks on Eli’s face. When we got off the bus in Salamanca and she was there to greet us, I sincerely thought she had painted her face for the World Cup that was going on at the time. Thankfully I did not mention as much when I met her.

2. Eli was pretty much always wearing pajamas, or clothing resembling pajamas- in and out of the house.

3. As you can tell, Vero loved her some crop tops and took her cues on modesty from her mom.

4. Even though we requested a non-smoking home, Eli most definitely smoked in the kitchen while cooking our food and doing our laundry. She did it with the window open, so I think in her mind, it didn’t count.

5. Speaking of laundry, as is customary there, Eli hung our clothes out on a line to dry. It was a neat surprise when we woke up one morning to see our colorful array of underwear displayed outside our bedroom window for all the world apartment complex to see.

6. They kept “The Simpsons” on TV basically 24/7.

7. The first meal Eli prepared for us consisted of scrambled eggs, pasta, and chopped up hot dogs. No lie. She also made us chocolate sandwiches as a snack and served us whipped cream on a plate for dessert.

8. She posted rules on our door in broken English, including, “It's included one washing machine per week.”

Unusual habits aside, they really did take good care of us and became our home away from home before we knew it. We haven't kept up over the years, but maybe one day my travels will lead me back there and we can be reunited... and hopefully they'll have a chocolate sandwich waiting for me upon my arrival.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Little trooper

I wasn't initially planning to do a recap post of Colby's ear tube/adenoidectomy (thrilling though the topic may be!), but then I realized it might be helpful for someone else to read as a reference in the future, and I already blog about most every other detail of our life, so why not?

Once Allison arrived on Monday morning to be on Clara-sitting duty, we woke Colby up at 5:30 in order to make it to the surgery center by 6. He was pretty tired and confused (spoiler alert: theme of the day!), so he was pretty quiet and mellow for the car ride.

From 6-7:45 am, we met with a few different nurses, the anesthesiologist, and finally, the doctor. Even though it was not pleasant to start the day that early, I'm glad we were scheduled to go first thing in the morning, because even that early, the doctor was already running late! Colby busied himself playing with toys, exploring the pre-op room, and enjoying not having to share our attention for a change. I was so relieved that he didn't request anything to eat or drink- potentially having to deal with a hangry/thirsty toddler was my biggest concern about the whole ordeal.

They took him back at 7:50 and although he cried and reached out his arms with a look of betrayal, it wasn't as traumatic as I had anticipated. We headed to the waiting room and by 8:20, they were calling us back to come get him. He woke up a minute or two after we got back there and was, once again, tired and confused. A few sips of apple juice and a lollipop later, we were discharged and heading home.

They warned us that he would be moody for the rest of the day, and indeed he was. He was intermittently playing happily and then just as quickly in a pit of despair about some very significant event like accidentally dropping his toy car or Clara taking one of his dinosaurs. I was also not prepared for how much he would be drooling?! Google tells me this is normal, but I honestly felt like he needed to be wearing a bib all day.

The only other unpleasant part of the day for him was having to take his medicine before bed (nose spray, ear drops, and an antibiotic would annoy me, too). He napped well and slept well, and by Tuesday morning, he was back to normal- dare I say, even perkier than normal?

How did Clara handle the whole thing, you ask? She made up for any lack of energy Colby had by being extra rambunctious and inconveniently needy (ie: insisting on being held the moment I asked Colby if he wanted to be held). The doctor mentioned that we should avoid loud noises since Colby's newly cleared out ears would be somewhat sensitive to sound, but apparently Clara didn't get that memo and shrieked directly into his ears more times than I could count (thankfully he didn't seem phased).

She did, however, appreciate the extra one-on-one time with Allison, and also benefitted from the sweet "get well" gifts that were sent Colby's way. And the fact that she got a bonus day off from daycare probably didn't upset her too much, either!

Edible Arrangement from Aunt Shannon, art from Avery & Davis, and dinosaurs from Mimi and Granddaddy

So with that, our little man is on the mend and we're hopeful that healthier days are ahead for him. And on that note, my heart goes out to those of you that have to deal with ongoing health issues for your children because even from this very, very minor procedure, I gained a new sense of empathy for parents that have to constantly deal with insurance, appointments, meds, etc. I hope you all feel like super heroes, because you are!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

FitBit confessions

Thanks for the well wishes yesterday! Colby's procedure went well and recovery has been pretty smooth. I'll put together a recap of the experience, but in the meantime, enjoy this completely unrelated post:

I know I'm not alone in this, but I'm fairly certain that I'm addicted to my FitBit. And I'm pretty sure that one of the steps toward recovery is to confess my wrongdoings, so allow me to share with you my confessions:

1. I walk in place or do laps around the house while watching TV at night if I haven't yet reached my 10,000 steps. I've even jogged in place at the side of the bed before actually getting into bed just to achieve the goal.

2. When I get out of the shower, I won't even walk to my dresser before putting my FitBit back on, lest I don't get credit for those 6 steps.

3. When I'm pushing the cart at the grocery store, I do it one-handed so that my FitBit arm is free to swing back and forth.

4. I do the same thing when pushing the stroller, but that's only if Brian isn't with me, in which case I make politely ask to him push it so I can still get credit for my steps (and yes, I realize this is absurd because pushing the 60+ pounds of baby/stroller while walking is probably a better workout than just swinging my arms while walking).

5. If one of the twins is holding my hand while we walk, I will switch sides to make sure they're holding my non-FitBit hand (... so I can still swing my arm, in case you're missing the trend here). The same goes for Brian if we're holding hands!

6. Not that I get to go very often, but the pool is my nemesis because of all of those wasted, un-waterproof steps.

7. This is very sad, but I was so proud of the the ONE TIME I was beating Allison on the 7-day step total that I took a screenshot of our rankings and saved it for future reference:

It was actually on our birthday, and her battery died just after I snapped this screenshot, which sent her into a mild panic attack ;)

Any of you other step-trackers have similar confessions that you're anxious to get off your chest?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Farewell, adenoids and hello, ear tubes

Thanks to some persistent fluid in his ears, our little guy is having ear tubes put in today and having his adenoids removed while they're at it. I know it is a very routine procedure and am not worried in the least, but nonetheless, we would appreciate your prayers for Colby to not be too scared, to go through the procedure smoothly, and to recover quickly.

I was really pumped when the surgery scheduler called on Friday to tell me we need to arrive at the surgery center at 6 am- yikes. A big shout-out to my sis for agreeing to come to our house at 5:30 am so that we don't have to wake Clara up and drag her along with us!

Anyway, by the time most of you read this, we'll probably be finished with the procedure and already at home recovering, since I hear the whole process is pretty quick. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Proof that I don't (completely) live under a rock

(Alternate title: Five on Friday, but since I already used that gimmick on Monday, I felt too guilty repeating it...)

I wanted to share a few of my recent discoveries as proof that I do things besides raise my children, talk about my children, and go to work.

- I foolishly agreed to follow Kendra Scott on Instagram recently and thanks to that decision, I am now obsessing over these earrings that I really do not need:

(For an extra $20, these are also pretty cute!)

- After several wise friends suggested doing so, Brian and I finally started (and finished) watching the first season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix, and it is so stupid, but also so hysterical. I would best describe it as (follow me, here) Elf + 13 Going on 30 30 Rock + Arrested Development. If you are not a fan of any of those, then I'm not certain that our friendship needs to continue and you should probably just stop reading here. ;)

(Also, I CANNOT get the theme song out of my head...)
- We tried a new crock pot recipe this week and even though it's far from fancy (and one of my children refused to eat it), I would call it a win:

- Allison recently introduced me to this daily devotional e-mail subscription from Proverbs 31 and I am really enjoying it so far. My compulsive need to "action" all items in my e-mail inbox as quickly as possible prevents me from waiting until late in the day to read it, so it's been a helpful way to start my day off with the right perspective.

- Semi-relatedly, my co-worker introduced me to theSkimm, and I am also loving it. I find the news to be both depressing and overwhelming, but since I can't avoid it entirely while still remaining generally informed, this is a happy medium. It's basically a daily e-mail that provides a condensed- and just as importantly, entertaining- version of what's going on in the world.

And that is all I have for you today, my friends. If this post doesn't convince you of how awesome and exciting my life is, then I don't know what will.