Thursday, September 30, 2010

Baby Roid Rage

Wednesday I stayed home from work with a very sick child. Evie's cold developed into croup and Wednesday morning when she woke up she could hardly breath. Her heart was racing and she had no voice. It was so strange. The usual chatter or unintelligible babble were completely absent. She couldn't even cry because every time she did she strangled herself in the attempt.

We took her into the doctor to make sure it wasn't something really serious, like pneumonia. As I talked with the nurse and described her symptoms, she stopped me and said, "That's an excellent description. Do you have medical training?" Before I even had a chance to reply, Trey piped in and said, "No, she watches medical shows." Thanks, Trey.

Fortunately, her lungs and ears were clear, but her airway was swollen, which restricted her breathing. Croup is essentially children's laryngitis, but instead of just losing your voice, your entire ability to breath is reduced. The vocal chords are the narrowest part of the airway and in small children even a little bit of swelling will significantly impede respiration.

In the doctor's office we unsuccessfully attempted to give her a syrup dose of prednisone, a steroid which reduces the inflammation in her windpipe. And by unsuccessful I mean it and her entire breakfast ended up in my cupped hands. They sent us home with tablets to give her, which we cleverly disguised in a cup of yogurt like you would with a dog and a pill. It worked, and by the end of the day her breathing was drastically improved. I was so relieved as otherwise it was looking an awful lot like a trip to the ER was in our near future.

The doctor warned us that the subsequent doses of prednisone given on days 2 and 3 might make her a bit "high spirited". Well, that was an understatement. This morning, day 3, can only be described as full-on baby roid rage. Our usually even-keeled little lady proceeded to throw one tantrum after the other, croup replaced with craziness. It'll be nice to get the sweet girl in the photo above back. Yes, that's right. I'm indoctrinating her early in the joys of knitting. Here she's grabbed a couple of my pattern books and I found her sitting contentedly flipping through them on my bedroom floor. I can't wait to teach her.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Playing Teacher

(as retold to me in an email yesterday by Trey) "I just wanted you to know that I went upstairs a few minutes ago to check on the kids and Addison was in the middle of teaching a class to Davis and Genevie. He said his name was Mr. Slush and he was teaching them from Green Eggs and Ham. He had their chairs positioned toward him as he roamed the room lecturing. It was hilarious." Addison loves nothing better than having an audience.

Although these photos don't depict Teacher Addison, they were sent to me today by Davis's teacher Ms. N, and I thought them rather appropriate. I think he's quite smitten with her and her helper, Ms. J. Whenever he talks about them, his eyes twinkle a little more. Last Friday I made him guess who was coming over on Saturday morning to see him (it was my mom), and the first thing out of his mouth was, "Ms. N?" Davis is also very keen to do the same homework exercises with me in the evening that I do with Addison, which has necessitated self-made matching charts and off-the-cuff letter review with Davis as well. Am I inadvertently homeschooling my 3 year old? I'm glad he's so eager though. You can tell there's a lot going on upstairs in that sweet little head of his. He is still grappling with the changes in our house right now. Lots of acting out, necessitating discipline, but I am hopeful he will round the corner soon.

Evie has taken it all in stride and other than catching the cold that Davis seemed to bring into the house (you'll notice the snot slick in this photo - yuck), she's been up to her usual. She had her 18 month well visit last week and continues to chart way ahead in development, now at a 2 year old level in speech and gross and fine motor skills, if still petite in size. She's a crazy kid. One minute she'll be lovingly patting her dolly and the next she'll be climbing up onto our bed unassisted, which stands probably 2 1/2 to 3 feet off the ground, and then down again. She even walks up steps now (none of this crawling business) like a proper adult holding the spindles of the railing because she's too little to reach the rail itself.

Probably her all-time favorite thing to do is lie down on the floor with Daddy, huddle in under his arm, and read a book. She knows where her bread is buttered, that one.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Good Doctor

Trey updates have been few and far between on the blog lately, so it gives me great pleasure to fill you all in on what he's been doing these days. Trey is modest to a fault and doesn't much care for the accolades bestowed upon him on this blog, but it is my blog, after all, and I like to brag about him. Caring for three children 5 and under is a full-time job in itself. A darn demanding one too, but in his free time -- nights, weekends, nap times -- he has been feverishly working on getting published. He began by shopping around his Aberdeen thesis and while he waited to hear back about it, he began working on his American one. A couple of weeks ago a prestigious and one of the oldest academic publishers in Europe agreed to publish his thesis on Andrew Melville, and they are currently in negotiations.

When we made the decision to go to Aberdeen there were three goals: finish the degree, obtain university level teaching experience, and publish the thesis. This publishing opportunity marks the realization of the third and final goal. It also is a huge boost to Trey's CV in a time when academic positions are few and far between and fought for by a handful of able scholars. Our hope is that this will make a difference. While we do not know what the future holds, we continue to be amazed by God's goodness to our family, providing in unexpected and truly abundant ways. The story has never quite looked like what I expected it to, but it has always been rich and the journey has never been boring.

What I Learned This Week

1. Davis provides way more details about his day at preschool than Addison does about Kindergarten. I find out everything from the color of the other children's shirts to the fact that they held the railing as they went outside for play time. I know everything they ate during their stuffed animal picnic and that they played ring-around-the-rosie with a parachute and Ms. Nancy said, "One more time!" Addison? I know he's made 4 friends named A, B, M, and S and that's about it.

2. School is exhausting. Everyone is sleeping later and has to be wakened in the morning. Every morning except Saturday morning. Odd how that works.

3. The school transition has been most difficult for Davis. He misses his best friend terribly and by day three threw a little hissy fit as we went out to the car to drop me at the train and Addison at school. "Why does he have to go to school again and again and again?" he protested.

4. You have to advocate for your child when you're dealing with a big administration. There was confusion at school about how Addison was getting home. Somehow he ended up on the bus list and since his teacher missed days 2 and 3 of school, the subs didn't know that he would be picked up by his dad. There were tears every day as he tried to explain to them. Finally, on day 4 we wrote a note to the teacher, kind but firm. I was extremely pleased that I got a call both from the school office and Addison's teacher apologizing for the confusion and putting the situation right. Now it's been all smiles at the end of the day.

5. Let the germs begin. Davis picked up a cold this week and last night started running a low-grade fever. And so it begins.

Monday, September 20, 2010

First Day of Kindergarten

Today was Addison's first day of Kindergarten. It's one of those milestones that marks a whole new era. Formal education, which in the Holloway house you know we take seriously.

Addison was eager, excited about everything. His new pack-pack, as he calls it. His lunch box. The blanket he got to take for rest time.

He wore this adorable little name tag his teacher sent him, and wearing his backpack he suddenly aged in front of my eyes, the little boy melting into the school-aged lad.

His sending off party, including one forlorn little boy on the left not quite sure what to do with himself all day. I have a feeling though that this will be a special bonding time for Davis and Evie. She adores him, but he has yet to realize that he adores her.

I took the morning off to accompany Addison on his first day. There was a brief parent orientation, but mostly I think we were there for reassurance. Addison's wide grin of the earlier photos was a trifle more tentative here. So many children he didn't know. Suddenly he wasn't so sure of himself.

But once in the classroom he started to relax. And he reported to Trey this afternoon that he had already made a friend, definitely a good first day!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Long, Dry Summer

Photo courtesy of Sergiu Bacioiu at flickr.

Sitting here enjoying some post-bedtime quiet, I slowly became aware of a constant pitter pattering sound above my head. I paused. Raindrops, softly hitting the roof and windows, a sound I've hardly heard this long, dry summer. Funny how a sound that in another life I became numb to, is now soothing to my soul. No change in the substance, just a change in me.

Do You See What I See?

Do you see what I see way up in the sky?

Our very own red-tailed hawk! Remember him? Well, he either followed us, or we've spotted yet another one.

I can hardly describe the rejoicing that was heard in the Holloway house. Yes, we're a little nutty about our birds.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Preschool

Today was Davis's first day of preschool. He's going to the preschool held at the church directly behind our house. I met his teacher at the orientation last week, and she was just lovely. Trey took pictures since I couldn't be there to see him today. This was at the end of the class. He looks a little dazed.

Here are the boys reunited after being separated for a mere 2 1/2 hours. Apparently around 11:30 Addison declared, "Dad, this is taking forever." He was a little lost without his buddy. School doesn't start for him until Monday.

The whole brood on the steps of the church where the preschool is held.

This is the play area for the preschool. The fence is ours. Don't tell anyone, but we sometimes pull up the fence and let the boys through to play in their own private playground. Nice set up, huh?

Washington National Cathedral

Monday morning, Labor Day, we went to the Washington National Cathedral. This was a first for all of us and what a treat. For a moment I felt as though I were standing in one of the great cathedrals of Europe. It is simply breathtaking.





I have been in many cathedrals in England, Germany, Scotland, Austria, but I have never seen stained glass windows like this. They were so brilliant that they reflected a psychedelic rainbow on any surface be they floors or columns. In reading about the Cathedral I discovered that the artist who created the windows, Rowan LeCompte, is particularly known for the clarity and brilliance of his stained glass designs.


This window is stunning. It celebrates space exploration and in the center is embedded a piece of lunar rock.

This picture makes me a little wistful for it reminds so much of the Church of St. Mungo in Glasgow, one of my very favorite cathedrals. The Washington National Cathedral was built in the neo-gothic architectural style.

Nothing neo about this. Pure gothic but much the same as its successor sans shiny flooring.

Somewhere midway through our Cathedral meanderings the camera battery died. Oddly, while I enjoy the photo taking there was something liberating about not even having the choice to take photos the rest of the day. We headed over to the Natural History Museum for some butterflies and precious gems and then called it a day. A very lovely trip.

Mt. Vernon

With more than a week past since our DC trip, I'm feeling the pressure to get the rest of the pictures up. Here are a few of my favorites from Mt. Vernon and its extensive grounds. Enjoy!










Saturday, September 11, 2010

In Memoriam

A day we will never forget. A day we all know exactly where we were when we heard the news. A moment etched into our memories and carved into our collective consciousness, at least for those who were yet born. As a parent of small children, I face the daunting task as do many others of sharing the ethos of that day and its aftermath with those who were born in a post 9/11 era.

Little did I know that this past January during another visit to DC, while driving past the Pentagon, a conversation would be sparked with Addison about the attacks of that horrific day and suddenly Trey and I were grappling with words to explain to our tender son what had happened. "But, why, Mom? Why did they do that?" he asked. The question haunts us still, the answers we have conjured completely inadequate.

But this I do know and this is what I told him. One day these wrongs will be righted. One day there will be peace.

Arlington

Our first stop on last weekend's trip to DC was Arlington National Cemetery. If you've never been, it's really worth a visit. It is such a humbling and overwhelming place. Row upon row of white headstones marking the graves of the brave ones who have fought for freedom.

The crowning glory of Arlington is the Robert E. Lee home, which stands on a high bluff overlooking DC. I had never noticed before our visit this past Memorial Day, but there is a very important symbolic connection between the fact that Arlington National Cemetery, which occupies the land once owned by the Lee family, is connected directly to the Lincoln Memorial by the Arlington Bridge. It is a visual representation of national healing and reconciliation following the Civil War.


The Robert E. Lee home was undergoing extensive renovations when we visited. They are in the process of restoring and upgrading such items as the windows (to remove lead paint) and the interior heating and cooling system.








We started looking out for tombstones with our children's names on them. Yes, a curious past-time, I know. We knew it shouldn't be too difficult since both of our boys' first names are surnames.


We spotted a Fletcher, my maiden name. No Genevie though.

Goofy picture at dinner the first night. We ate at a great little Mexican joint near our hotel.


The kids loved the hotel, probably most of all for its TV.