Monday, December 20, 2010

Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite

To be honest, one of the first things I did after checking into each Hotel room while on vacation, was to pull back the sheets and check the mattresses for bed bugs. Didn't seen any sign of 'em...hope I actually know what I'm looking for!

It has been unseasonably cold in Florida. The first 2 nights we were there, the temperatures dropped to the 20's. Ghosts appeared to rise from the flower beds as all the tender plants remained covered. Day temps rose up into the 50's, and we took solace in the fact that it was still 30 degrees warmer there than at home! The lines at Busch Gardens were non-existent, allowing us to leave a ride, run around to the beginning, and ride again. L rode a roller coaster for the first time.

On Friday, we drove further south to the lovely island of Sanibel off the Gulf coast. That night we walked along the shore, allowing L to see the ocean and feel the sand between her toes for the first time. The following morning, J and I walked the beach in the rain, to collect a bag full of lovely shells.

I didn't really feel like Christmas in Florida, although lots of people had decorations out. I guess there's nothing like a white Christmas for me!

Now, after a long day en route, we are home again. It is hard to believe that this morning I was strolling barefoot in the sand, watching dolphins and pelicans. Now I am facing a mile high pile of laundry, snow outside, and family arriving in 4 days for Christmas. I had better get my act together!

Right now though, I am going to sleep in my OWN bed...can't wait! Good night, sleep tight. Don't let the bed bugs bite!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It Must Have Happened in Mexico

We just received the word today from a Pediatric Rheumatologist that J most likely has Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (formerly known as Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis). She has been complaining on and off of her knees bothering her since soccer in September and October, more regularly for the past couple of weeks.

J is the kind of child that does NOT want her boo-boos examined...never has. It took a long time for me to be able to actually touch her knees (I actually had to threaten) in order to discover that they were both quite swollen.

She is not disabled by any means. She continues to run and jump and play like always, just has trouble getting up and down the ladder to her bed on the top bunk, and is stiff and sore after sitting for a while.

I am feeling overwhelming guilt at this point. Primarily because I didn't push her to let me check her out months ago. I also have this nagging feeling that I might have done something wrong to make her more susceptible to this. Was it our vacation in Mexico 8 years ago? After trying to conceive for 3 years, we went scuba diving and couldn't drink the water, so drank other beverages, then returned home to find that I was several weeks pregnant at the time. Was it because of my irresponsibility in her early weeks?

Where to go from here? The Doctor tells us that it is good that only 2 of J's joints are involved. She will start with daily anti-inflammatory medication, then return for a follow-up in a couple of weeks. I am researching JIA...something I wasn't completely familiar with, although I had a sinking feeling since examining her knees that this might be the diagnosis. I am trying to find kid-friendly information to present to J as well. In the meantime, we are readying ourselves for some time in the sun down South.

Gotta escape this never ending blowing snow somehow!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bert is my Hero!

Bert the Barn Cat caught his first vole this afternoon. While it is not exactly a mouse, the voles have terrorized my baby trees, so it is a legitimate and worthy kill. Any fewer rodents around Poplar Ridge is an improvement, in my opinion, so Bert Buddy, hunt on!

Monday, December 6, 2010

From Giving Thanks to...February???

How did it get to be December?

I don't know if this happens to you, but most Decembers, I find my schedule totally packed...something going on each and every day. It's not quite that bad around here yet, but we did manage to book most of our time from this coming weekend until early January. It's all fun, of course: a visit to Family, a vacation in a sunny location with no huge agenda, and lots of Family here for Christmas festivities.

So, some how we went from feasting on amazing Turkey and fixins with lovely family and friends to now. JP tried a new method of Turkey roasting this year. He's the Turkey man; if it is left up to me, I get crabby and the Turkey is bland. He butterflied the bird on Thanksgiving Eve, while L looked on, smacking her lips and chortling "Ummmm! Yummy!" After this, he rubbed a salt mixture under the skin. The following day, he draped it with salt pork and roasted it until it was golden brown and the skin was deliciously crispy.

The Monday after Thanksgiving is the first day of rifle season for deer hunting in PA. It is HUGE around big in fact, that the schools are closed for the occasion! This was my first year to sit out with a rifle, which I did 3 different days, but didn't see any animals except for Bert and Ernie, the barn cats. I was trying to decide, while I sat patiently in the cold, whether I could actually pull the trigger if I happened to see a deer meander into my sights. I'm still undecided.

The last day I was out, I was run off by helicopters. Because of the huge discovery of natural gas in the Marcellus shale in this region, the property around here has been crawling with earth movers for the past several months. Presently, a company is doing seismic studies in preparation for a Marcellus well to go in very near Poplar Ridge. I think the helicopters were here on seismic study business, as they were dropping mysterious packages in our yard and my parents' as well.

This is a helicopter getting ready to drop a package in my parents' yard.

This is the one that landed just down the hill from my clothes line.

This is how loud it was, causing me to give up my secluded post and come in by the fire.

L has begun Christmas activities at Preschool. J was delighted to get out the Christmas ornaments and decorate the tree. I am glad to report that my level of Christmas Spirit is MUCH higher than last year, despite the weather that makes me think of February: gray and blowing snow every day for days and days.