Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pregnant Brain:Wrong feet, wrong sheet

We call it pregnant brain. Some call it pregnant stupid (yeah, you know who you are). It just means that for many, and I'm one of them, when carrying a parasite of sorts, known as a tummy baby around here, the host loses a great deal of it's thinking capacity, memory, and common sense. I'm sure I'll have plenty of examples for you as the months go on. If any of you other prego buddies wanna share your stories so that I don't feel so silly, please feel free.

I have incidents everyday of this fun side effect, but today was a sad first for me. M called before lunch and asked if Braska and I wanted to meet him up by his work in Historic Downtown St. Charles at a new Mexican place he heard about. I'm always up for such an outing, so the girls got dressed and headed out. (Yes, we got dressed just before lunch... it's what we do.) We parked right by the still-slightly-high Missouri River and walked up to cobblestoned Main Street. There was M waiting on a bench for us. He took Braska and we went to lunch.

We liked the place. Although we can't get used to this smoking-allowed-in-restaurants thing. We were so spoiled in C-U where it's no smoking indoors. SO nice! Anyway, after trying many places, it was probably our fave so far. And it's like 2 blocks from M's office, so handy, and it was practically empty since he takes a late lunch. Good all around. We had a relaxing lunch, and he headed back up to work while we went to the car.

Did I forget about the pregnant brain part in this story-telling of mine? Nope, hang in there.

So we've been to lunch. We head to meet up with Rachel so she can drop Patrick's car off at the shop and we take her back home. I get a call from my prego buddy Sara while we're there and chat with her all the way to Rach's and then to Wal-Mart. Braska and I go in, I'm shopping and talking to Sara. (No, I haven't learned my lesson about that yet. ) I pick up the things I need. Finish my conversation, pick out some greeting cards, head to checkout.

We get home, unload up the stairs, and settle in for the afternoon. I go to get back in comfy clothes, and I take Braska's sandals off. All this time they've been on the wrong feet!! I took that poor kid out for like 2 1/2 hours with her sandals on the wrong feet! Pregnant Brain strikes again. I've never done that before... it's so silly! Poor thing. But she didn't complain once.

Oh, and I bought fitted sheets for a project I needed flat sheets for. I looked right at the word "fitted" and somehow saw "flat." I'm not going back tonight. The project will wait.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Time for the good stuff

There's been alot of really frustrating and less-than-happy-face-making things that have popped up over the last week or so. I've talked to some of you about some of them, I've kept most to myself, and a few I'm probably in denial about. I'm tired of the frustration and feeling annoyed. So let's turn the corner...

Many of you post about things that you are grateful about, and I think that's a great use of a blog, for sure. I find that I haven't been as clear about the many blessings that have come our way in this past few months, especially, so it's time to focus a bit on the good stuff! Can't go wrong there, no way.

~Tomorrow we close on our house in C-U. We loved that house. It held good memories and some painful ones. It was a great place to spend the last 4 years, and it provided well for us and many friends. We're sad to see it go, but we sold a house in this current market in less than 2 months, listing to close. Wonderful!

~M has a job that provides for our family, and he's learning the ropes. He's been putting in alot of time, so we miss him some, but we're glad for the job and the opportunities it provides.

~We found a house in less than one week of house hunting. We close on Abbey on 8/12. We're working like crazy through the maze of details to get things in order in time. There have been some snags, but we're making it work. We're really looking forward to what's next for us in this new place.

~It's been great to be close to family and get to see at least some of them weekly instead of a few times a year. It does take some adjustment to learn how to be in a different kind of relationship with them, but it's a pretty enjoyable adjustment. They have been so great at helping us deal with all kind of things during this transition.

~Pepino 2 is on the way. (We called Braska "The Pepino" before she was born.) Who knows what will come, but we know it will be exactly what we need and cuteness will abound.

~Our friends in C-U were super about helping us move and took great care of us and our place after we were gone. Randy was a kickin' lawn boy, and Jen was the coolest of pool chicks! We miss all of you "back home" and maybe when things calm down in fall for all of us, we can start having some visitors!

For a bigger picture.... Braska's 20 months old. In those 20 months...
~We've survived some of the toughest times our marriage has seen. I will survive!

~Braska has had some of the best doctors, nurses, and caregivers possible. She came through her open heart surgery with little complication. She has yet to have an ear infection or a true cold or flu. She is by far the healthiest kid overall that we know.

~We've been SO blessed to have the most caring and selfless therapists from day one in IL. Louise, Robin, and Judy.... there are no better! We love and we miss you still! Now we have super-cool Carey to organize things for us, and Jocelyn is SO good with Braska and as nice as they come!

~And we've become a part of this crazy, witty, fun, confusing, trying, and so-rewarding world of the Down syndrome community. Bloggers, forums, friends online and IRL. I've learned more than I could ever give proper credit for from all of you. Yeah, that's right, you and you and you. Oh and of course, you too.

We are blessed. Things being frustrating does not negate the blessings and provisions we've been granted. It's my job to focus on the good stuff! Let's have it... what's one thing you're thankful for??

End of the therapy saga

Braska's OT and PT have resigned from her team. I think this is really unfortunate, but after hearing from some insiders that I didn't even know I had in my resource pocket (you guys are so sneaky!), it's really for the best all around. They are good therapists and they'll continue to be, but I'm sure we'll find some wonderful new team members.

We've decided to take a break for the month of August since we'll be so busy. We'd actually already debated this, prior to this situation, just due to the chaos of moving and such, so it's fine with me. We'll contine with ST in the meantime. Jocelyn is just a peach of a girl, and Braska actually talked for her a little today!

Thank you to those who had helpful tips and especially to you therapists from near and far who offered a great, supportive perspective. What a great email response!!! I'm glad to know this is an isolated situation. Don't worry... we'll keep showing off our girl's progress and how she gets there!

Monday, July 28, 2008

At first I was afraid....

Thanks to all you little hidden encouragers! You make all the difference!

"Go on, now go! Walk out the door....
I've got all my life to live, I've got all my love to give...
I will survive!"

It's always a good time for Ms. Gaynor. That's what I say.

Here's to a GREAT Tuesday... who's with me???

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Sweetest Treat

I'm kind of grouchy. I've had a short fuse and been very blah. Maybe it's a phase of the pregnancy hormone train. If so, I hope this trip is very short! I haven't been posting because I don't like to be negative in a format that remains "for all of time....(echo, echo, echo)." And I am so blessed, that what little comes to frustrate me is really piddly in comparison. So I will simply be quiet...

In the meantime, here's something that I found this morning that made me smile. If you are anywhere near Falmouth, MA, please go buy a treat for me!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hey DS Parents, Therapy session question

Do you guys take pictures of your therapy sessions? Videos? And if so, do any of you post them on your blogs or websites? Do any of your therapy providers have policies regarding that specifically?

I had a situation about this today, which I can't really post about here. I'd like some input. If you're game to help me out, leave me a comment and I'll send you the whole story. For those of you on DownSyn, it's on there too.

Thanks, Team!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Breathing (and blogging) break

Today's got-it-done list ...
(Psst...Do you cringe when you see a blog post start like this... like who cares what you're doing today on a boring Monday, RK?!? Feel free to move on... but you kinda wonder now, don't ya?)

~Fed a kiddo. (the quick way)
~Called apartment office to request service since our A/C started leaking water everywhere again.
~Scrambled to get dressed when the doorbell rang much sooner than I'd expected.
~Straightened up the place while they worked on the A/C.
~Fed a kiddo (the long and messy way) resulting in both of us being covered in milk and yogurt.
~Gave messy kiddo a bath. Didn't take time for one myself.
~Put clean kiddo to nap.
~Printed, signed, scanned, and emailed back documents to one IL realtor, one lender, and then a second batch to the lender.
~Vacuumed the mess left by the A/C maintenance guys. Did the rest of the apartment since it was out.
~Called new insurance agent to start that tedious process of insuring 2 cars and 1 house, per request of the lender.
~Called cable company to report our box slowly dying.
~Talked to automated cable lady voice for 18 minutes with no other choice for a live agent.
~Finally talked to a live agent with the demeanor of... well, nothing I can put there will avoid offending all possible parties. Just not a good demeanor.
~Convinced live agent after 38 minutes that I just wanted to go to a location and switch boxes. Got the location address, 3 minutes from here. *sigh*
~Emailed more info to the lender.
~Confirmed the contract glitches are settled for the Champaign house. Yay!!!
~Fed a kiddo lunch. (the quick way)
~Fed a husband (mine) lunch the microwave-leftovers-from-Olive-Garden way.
~Paid online bills with accounts in both IL and MO.
~Transferred money from IL to MO account.
~Called for status on kiddo's Sure Steps.
~Followed up with construction estimator for quote needed this morning (it's late).
~Talked to MO realtor about next step with contract/inspection/repairs, etc.
~Called husband to verify agreement about the next step.
~Completed weekend's work-work and returned to clients.
~Sent final invoices for clients.
~Made a bank run for deposit (MO bank).
~Made a Dr Pepper run for husband.
~Put kiddo to bed.

Now it's time to get the last few undone items done before bed. Or not.

What did you do today??

Friday, July 18, 2008

No offense to the realtors

BUT--I'm ready to not have to be dealing with you guys! Now, let me clarify, my realtors, both the ones selling our house in C-U and the one helping us buy here, are GREAT! They've been marvelous and so so so so so helpful. And I'm so very thankful that we have sold our home so quickly and found another super fast. And I'm glad that we are blessed to just be able to own another home. So I don't mean to be sounding ungrateful at all. It's just that I'm growing weary of dealing with buyers in one state, sellers in another, inspections in both, attorneys, closings, credits for this and that, lenders in both states, fees, and lots of dates and appointments to remember.

My hope is that soon it will be over. Our closing date for the sale in C-U is set for 7/30 (but we may make it earlier if the buyers want to). We're not going back for it, so the attorney is signing everything for us to save the trip. My mother and sister are headed back to C-U right now, doing the 6-hour round trip today, to pick up what's left of our stuff in the garage, so we'll be officially out of the house by this afternoon. Big thanks to them for doing this without me and Braska needing to come along!!! Our closing date on our new place is 8/12, then we start a couple weeks of some small construction/remodeling, appliance buying/installation, cleaning, maybe painting, and finally moving. I only hope at this point that if you see me the first week of September that I still have some sanity and know my own name.

We had our inspection yesterday at Abbey, and it was nice to have access to the house for a couple hours to do lots of measuring, figuring, and visualizing. Charlie, the inspector, was super nice and thorough. Jason, the construction estimator, was also very cool and efficient. We've got alot to consider and discuss about the inspection, so we're talking to Sandra, the realtor, today about what the next step is. Hopefully it can all be ironed out very soon. I took alot of pics, but I'll hold on to them for a bit longer before posting, just in case...

We're gonna make it!! It's just gonna be another crazy few weeks... so hold on, kids... it may be a wild ride!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It's a...

Baby, just one, and it wiggles. That's what we learned today from the MFM specialist, Dr. H. The due date is still iffy, in my opinion, but it'll be the first half of Feb sometime.

I was given all the ins and outs of the screenings and tests available. I explained that I'm not worried about things unless it's something that requires a change in care or delivery plan. We'll do the basic stuff and have plenty of ultrasounds.

The doctor asked what resources I found to be helpful when we got Braska's diagnosis. So I had an opportunity to talk about everything from our local group in Champaign to the blogs and forums that really made the difference for me. I let him know that I always want to be available to any practices that I'm involved in with work or as a patient if they have a situation where I can be of help. This is the office that delivers prenatal diagnoses to women, so I love that he is open to learning how to do it in a more helpful way. I told him of Braska's blog and he asked if he could write it down to share. I had blog cards with me, so I gave him a couple and said I'd be happy to talk to anyone if they ever thought it would be helpful. But often, it's much less intimidating for someone with new fears and questions to be able to simply look through a blog or forum than it is to talk to someone. So I'm so glad that we might be able to help someone get a more realistic view of Down syndrome and put a cute little smiling face with the big bad diagnosis.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Constant battle

Medical insurance issues and authorizations are my thing. It's what I do. It's been at least part of my job for more than 10 years now. I get journals and magazines and do seminars and continuing education in the field.

Even with, and maybe due to, this expertise, I get SO frustrated at how wrong some of the practices we deal with in Braska's care can get what should be a simple process. How in the world do parents do it that don't know how the system works?!? When they get an EOB (the explanation of benefits from the insurance that tells you what they pay and what they won't for a particular visit or service), and it says something is denied, do they just pay it and suffer the economic setback or do they know that there are any of 15 things that could be wrong causing that denial to be incorrect?

I've spent the morning calling our case manager at the insurance--who is little help, unlike the previous ones we've had--getting no pertinent info other than what I was telling HER. I had to tell HER how it should work and what her next step should be. Then I called the therapy location to inform THEM how to bill properly so that they will get paid. Now, mind you, I've done this at LEAST 2 times before for both these entities. I always try to be very nice when I deal with people on the phone that I know I'll be encountering again, so as not to start a bad rapport with them. But this time it was business to the point. Here's why it's denied. Here's what you did wrong. Here's how to fix it. Here's who to contact. Here's what to do next. And then I require them to call me when it's done correctly so I can follow up and make sure.

Sure, I've been a boss in this position for years, and it's not hard for me to take the demanding position, but when it's been in and out their ears with no good result, it's time to make things clear. I can recite diagnosis codes by the hundreds and I can pretty much tell you what things will be covered and what won't for several major insurances. I'm thankful I have this background in our situation, but so many of you don't! How in the world do you do it?!? I'd lose my mind... I'm close already!

Ok, I don't really vent often, but I'm just so tired of doing the work of all these other people who I'm paying to do their job! I'm very thankful for insurance, and I know the system CAN work when people will just pay attention and learn what they need to know. I can't train everyone myself! :o)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Abbey: We got a deal!

Thanks to the sellers' realtor, they didn't even counter back, just took our offer, so we got a very nice deal! Big yay!! We couldn't believe it!

There it is. 3 Br 1 Ba (Yeah, 1 bath will take adjustment.) Eat in kitchen, not alot of cabinets but nice ones. Covered deck and right-sized yard. Not too big, but enough. (We're not grass people.) 2-car garage, which was the big plus, finished basement with plenty of storage down there as well. I'm ready to get it more move, more settling, and getting used to a new place. Currently we're looking at closing middle August and moving toward the end.

The fun never ends! But can it be denied that this move was a God thing?!? Everything has just happened so fast and relatively smoothly... amazing. Sell a house, buy a house, find a quiet apartment in the meantime, jobs along the way. Really amazing. Don't get me wrong, God is good even when things are not pleasant for a time, but blessings like this are just so welcome!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Abbey: The offer is in

We signed and initialled a zillion papers tonight and officially submitted an offer for Abbey. We're to hear back by 6pm tomorrow evening. We're assuming counter offers and so on. We'll see. I'm not too excited yet, just in case it doesn't pan out. But I think it would be nice if it did, that's for sure. I'll put up some pics if we get a contract. I'll tell you this much... it's just over 1/2 the square footage of our last place, so my mind is already planning for every efficient plan for storage and vertical space usage. But the bright spot is the Jacuzzi tub (very odd for this house) so at least we can relax if we get a minute. There's some work to be done, but we hope to get it at a price that will allow us to do that stuff, thanks to big help from family.

We found out today (on the way to submit the offer) that there has been a slight snafu in the sale of our Champaign house. It's still on, but there's some kinks to iron out regarding a repair we're trying to get done prior to closing. We've got a plan, so we're gonna see if the buyers like it or have another idea. Pray that we can get this all tied up soon!

Can I just say how happy I'll be when the selling and buying of houses is over for a while!?! Just think, in the midst of all this fun, it'll be time to pack up and move again in just a few weeks. *sigh* I just keep chanting, "We are so blessed. It's all been good. We're gonna make it." Then I go collapse and rest.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Speed shopping

Tuesday evening Rachel, Braska, and I went to look at 6 houses. M went with me on Wednesday evening to see the top 3. We ruled 1 out and debated 2 of them. Today we've ruled out another and decided to make an offer on the remaining contender.

When did we start doing everything at lightning speed?!?'s already changed. I wrote the above at 10:30am this morning. Now it's 4:15pm. Just after that, I talked to our realtor to tell her about our decision to offer, but after talking to her about some options she suggested, I agreed to go look again at a few more that were just a tad outside our target area (like 0.5 mi). Don't laugh. With lights and traffic, that can be the difference between coming home for lunch and not. One of our issues with the top contender, we'll call it Pam, from yesterday was that there was no garage or carport. (But it had a KILLER kitchen...HGTV style!) Only parking areas on the driveway. That's no good for St. Louis ice storms in the winter, especially. So we looked at the possibility of what it would cost to add a 1-car garage to the house, then pondered if we could get what we wanted if we added that to our purchase budget. Blah blah blah. In the end, I ran out to meet Sandra to see three more options in the same neighborhood, just over the next big street/exit from us. Braska and I checked out three places, two were contenders, but the nicest one was in an iffy neighborhood, so I had to let it go. Just couldn't get over some of the neighboring houses. So now we're down to one from today, that is, versus our one from yesterday. Ah the choices...

In the end, after comparing them, we've decided on the one from today, we'll call it Abbey. It has a 2-car garage versus none, and the rest of the house and amenities are comparable, AND it's listed just a tad less on a quieter street. All in all, I think it would be a better match for us. It's still quite small inside, but it has a nice finished basement for extra space for M's "man lair."

We'll be making an offer tomorrow evening officially, so we'll see. If it's magically sold today, so be it. That means it wasn't "our house" to have, but otherwise, I think we'll be in good shape. And it's vacant, so we can close in plenty of time to get moved before our end of lease here on 8/31.

Less than a week of house shopping, really only 3 days! That's nuts. But when we have such a small target area, it helps narrow things down. I feel good about things. I feel comfortable with our decision, and that's a good thing. But stay tuned.... ya just never know around here!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Doctor Therapists Realtor

I knew this was gonna be a busy week, but today was a little ridiculous.

9 am: Braska pediatrician appt. Just to get established and make sure she had all the right info. It was pouring rain when we left, and I'm no good at kid and rain combinations. We made it barely on time. My first concession of the day was to go out in schlumpadinka fashion. Yep, I've gone there. Capris, neat shoes, and cute top--didn't happen. Yoga pants and T was it. What has happened?!?

10:15 am: Back to the apartment. It's so darn trashed there's not anywhere on the sectional to sit down. But I feel rough, so it's plop in the recliner for me while Braska plays. Dealt with some work and emails but mostly I just sat still and tried not to be dizzy.

11:00 am: Knock at the door. The PT is here. Forgot about that one. I sent an email to find out when my appt was, but didn't get a response. Darn email keeps going to spam. Ok, welcome to disaster central. Braska did great, made some big strides with pulling up to her knees at the couch. But I could hardly keep my eyes open.

12:10 pm: Feed the kid in 3 minutes. (Thank God for tube feedings at times like this.) Rock her for a minute, put her to bed, and collapse into bed myself for a quick nap. But it doesn't happen. I can't nap. I always just race through the things I need to do and what I'm NOT getting done by resting. I get so mad that I can't go to sleep that I end up more agitated every minute. I laid there for about an hour and closed my eyes even though I couldn't sleep. We've got so much to do still today! I need to get some energy!!

1:10 pm: M comes in from work for lunch. I get out of bed. I've made no lunch obviously, so he has a pudding cup and some pretzels. Thank goodness he's not a foodie. We chat a minute. He gets Braska up because speech will be here in a few.

1:30 pm: Jocelyn comes for ST. Braska plays and cooperates some. She's not much for mimicking on command yet. But she had a good time. She likes Miss Jocelyn. M heads back to work at 1:45.

2:30 pm: We leave as Jocelyn does, heading out to the realtor's office. I had texted my sister Rachel to pick me up some food on the way to meet us there since I hadn't had a chance to eat yet. She came along to corral the kiddo while we visited several places.

2:45 pm: We met up with Sandra the realtor. Headed out on our tour of 6 places. We ruled out 3, I'm on the fence about 1, and we like 2. That's not bad overall. Houses in this price range are going quickly here, so a few that we had wanted to see had already sold over the weekend. I was pleased we found a couple standouts at this price point. It was really hard to actually walk through places that we were considering. I love looking at houses. Love it! But we are downsizing, and that's proving to be more of an adjustment than I expected. We loved our 2-car garage, but no more. We loved having 2 baths, but no more. We loved our spread out room for us and guests, but no more. It will be fine. We'll have room to be, but it will be an adjustment for sure. Not to mention the pool....... but it's ok. It really is. It'll be less for me to keep up with, and I like that. I actually was pleasantly surprised, as were Rach and Sandra, at the good places we saw. I was afraid everything would require a great deal of work, but two of the options are just about turn-key. That's important since we're trying to get all this done and moved in by 8/31...the end of our short-term lease in the apartment.

5:15 pm: Back to the realtor's office. We head home. I collapse and hand Braska to M. The local DSA meeting is in 45 minutes, but nope...just can't do it.

And from that point on, my mind races. I'm replaying every bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, finishes, carpet, neighborhood, etc. I'm betting there won't be much sleep tonight. My brain doesn't have a turn-off switch when I need it. So I pray God will show us "our house" just like he did 4 years ago, clear as day. I gleaned a few little hints today, so maybe more will come. We go back tomorrow night, me and M, so he can take a look at the top 3. My hope is for a clear choice or more rule-outs.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The new same ol'

I've had alot I thought about blogging about, but I can't seem to find 5 minutes of lucidity to compose any thoughts. How you 3-a-day-post-people do it....I'm so clueless.

Braska's got 5 therapy appointments per week now, so that in itself makes for busy. And this week we added an appointment for me today, and an appointment for her with the pediatrician tomorrow. That's alot of places to be in 5 days. Oh, and we're also going to look at houses tomorrow night, but it's very preliminary.

This weekend we spent 3 days in South County with the fam, I'm thinking we need a vacation home there already. Am I glad the drive is only 40 mins? Yes!! Do I kind of wish for weekends like this it was 10? Yuppers. I'm so darn exhausted. We had a great 4th hanging out at Cindy's place by the pool. Then Saturday Cheryl had a graduation party and we hung out some with Jerry and Nadine, relatives from Iowa, who were in town. Sunday it was back down for church and lunch before Jerry and Nadine took off, then hangtime at the parents for the afternoon. This coming weekend my brother-in-law is getting married, so we're headed south again, but they're worth it.

We had to find another place for Belle to go. She offended her host, so we found another willing party to take her. Thank you Nancy!!!!!!! I think she'll be very happy. I just want her to be happy, but I'm sure she is confused, and that's sad to me.

For those of you who like preg updates... I'm feeling icky and un-good, but nothing like the bad most of you probably deal with. Just a constant not-good that lets up for a few hours in the middle of the day. It sure makes normal things more difficult. I'm having some sleep issues, but I think they're related to exterior influences, not the tummy baby. I went to the OB today, very nice doc. She is sending me to an MFM (maternal fetal medicine specialist) next week for an ultrasound to determine when this baby's gonna get here. And of course, I'm high risk, ya know. Will be 35 when I deliver, history of baby with chromosomal issues and heart defect.... and some other stuff. High risk. Watch out! I agreed to go because I don't mind ultrasounds, but I made clear that I'm not interested in the invasive testing... what? we may have a kid with a chromosomal abnormality? No! Say it ain't so! Yeah, that would be the easy option, we've decided. We KNOW how to do THAT! It's them regular kids we don't know what to do with.

Alright, enough of this stream of consciousness blogging. Dangerous, it is. And I don't cotton to such things. Time to try to sleep again.