Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Neewollah!

Yes, I spelled Halloween backwards on purpose. :) Neewollah is a Kelly family tradition and has been around for longer than I ever in since 1919! (Fun fact: Tim's grandpa Dan was born the night of the Neewollah torchlight parade. His mom went into labor while she was there and went home and had him.) There are so many things to do, from a play, to the kiddie parade, to the carnival. It's a blast!

We were able to have the kids in the kiddie parade and then stayed overnight so we could go to the grand parade the next morning. (Thanks again for the hotel room, Dan and Ginny!) The kids weren't feeling so great, but they had fun walking the route. Brenden was even stopped for a picture and made sure to put his pistols up. :) Lauren smiled and waved, happy to see so many people.

Pistol Pete

We had a rough night at the hotel, which set us up for a rather rough morning. Our chairs were moved for the parade and I thought the ladies that were sitting in our spot were going to fight us. Then, when we found another spot (not marked or roped off) we were told to move, along with about 100 other people, because it was "reserved". That was definitely an oversight on the parade planners part. We found spots for our chairs but we weren't near the street, which is where they throw the candy. (Must. Have. Candy. Oy...) Tim asked a lady if we could use the spot next to her and she said no because she'd "been there since 6 am." Tim was not a happy camper. Another lady grabbed him and said she'd be more than happy to share her spot with us...right next to the lady that had told us no. In the end, it all worked out well. We were super close to the parade, the kids got lots of candy, and the lady that originally told us no apologized profusely and was really nice. 

Lauren's favorite part: the marching bands. She stood up and marched with them, twirling her sucker wildly.

Brenden's favorite part: the candy, of course. :)

After a good rest at Gi Gi and Poppy's house, and watching our Oklahoma State Cowboys get a good lead on the Baylor Bears, we headed off to the carnival for some yummy fair food and rides.

Brenden, as usual, had a blast on the rides. Lauren, who we were not sure about, loved them! She was very unhappy to be taken out of her "Me-mo". (Aka: Nemo) Add in a few corndogs, a lemonade, and some extremely overpriced games and you have the recipe for an awesome night.

Sunday we were able to see Lou Lou's new apartment, move a piece of furniture for her and then head up to Dewey to visit Bell (my grandma Warehime). Then we headed back home to carve our pumpkins. Lauren picked a cat and Brenden picked a "mean" pumpkin face. (Yes, that's what he calls mean.) 
It was a long, wonderful weekend and we already have reservations for next year. :) 

 Happy Halloween!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Now and Then

Lauren and her baby, 4 months old:

Lauren and her baby, 18 months old:
Best $20 I've ever spent. :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

School Pictures - 2011

School pictures are here! Brenden did fabulous and Lauren, who was still in her "don't leave me at this crazy place!" phase did not. We only got two decent pictures of her. I guess I should feel lucky that she took any at all. Just two days before this she fell, face first, onto the pavement outside our house. Could have been much worse! Still, I'm thankful we have years and years of school pictures to look forward to. :)

Monday, October 24, 2011


Finally had Lauren's appointment to find out the results of her cat scan. It's definitely a Thyroglossal Duct Cyst, which is thankfully never cancerous. It's about 2 cm, almost an inch, so it's considered small but on such a tiny person it seems huge. He actually said that it can get bigger or smaller throughout the day, but not noticeably from what I've seen. 

When babies are growing in utero, their thyroid starts at the base of their tongue. As they get closer to their due date it moves down the neck, leaving a sort of tunnel that usually closes. On some people it doesn't close and can collect fluid, creating a knot, that can become infected if it's not treated. Once it's infected it is much more difficult to remove. They will end up removing her hyoid bone, which will not limit her in any way, and that should keep it from happening again. He said there is less than a 10% chance of re-occurrence by doing that. 

We scheduled her surgery for December 2nd (that's going to be a busy month!) but we don't have a time yet. I'm not sure if she'll stay overnight or not yet, but I do know she'll have a drain. Hopefully someone can take Brenden that weekend so we can make sure he doesn't accidentally do anything to hurt her. Plus she'll need a lot of attention and that's hard to do with both of them. 

We would do it sooner but her cat scan showed something that looked like pneumonia on her right lung. She's not showing any signs of being sick, but he wants to put her on antibiotics so they can be sure she's fine when they do surgery. Also, he'll be out of town right before Thanksgiving and he doesn't want to be gone while she's recovering. He doesn't believe waiting will hurt her at all. 

So that's the plan! Not the most horrible thing ever but not fun. 

Thank goodness for answers!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

House Update 10-22-11

First off, we got an email last week with a few solid dates in it, which we didn't expect. It looks like we'll have our first walk through November 21st, our second walk through on December 1st, and scheduled closing for December 6th. OH MY GOSH. It's really truly real! We had also decided to lock in our rate the day before, and we're very happy with that decision. Big thanks again to Steve at Swift Home Loans for that suggestion.

On to pictures!

Garage doors! Brick!

Tile!! We also have finished tile in the entryway, both bathrooms, and the laundry room.

A closer view at the brick, which I'm still super happy with.

We also peeked into the garage and found all of our cabinets, doors, and trim. We're really happy with those choices, too. Tim noticed that the design on the doors sort of match the design of the cabinet doors. Yay for unplanned coordination!

So, who's coming over to help us pack? :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dear Doctor...

Dear Dr. [name redacted because I'm not that mean]:

It's been more than a year that you and I have been trying to solve my issues. It's been a long, painful, arduous journey that has effected several aspects of my life. I've done everything you've asked me to. Been to many appointments, tried all the remedies you've required, and even endured surgery, only to be left in pain.

I've felt as though you have not really listened to me when I explained my situation. I know that you blatantly ignored something that I asked you to address, actually telling me that you believed it was "much better now" after you "fixed" it. (I don't believe that for a second.) Many times you acted as though you were grasping at straws, just trying to placate me and expecting me to deal with it since I was just the dumb patient and you were the all powerful doctor. You never really seemed to know what you were doing and more than once caused me pain that I know was unnecessary.

And so, when I decided to seek a second opinion, I didn't think you'd be surprised. After all I have done, with very little relief, why would I continue to see you? I'm pretty sure it was Einstein that said "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity." Guess what, I'm not insane. (Although I will admit that I do have my crazy moments.)

So I asked my primary care physician for a referral. That very first appointment, without any prompting from me, the new doctor told me what he believed was my problem, which is exactly what I had been saying all along. Do I expect him to be able to fix all that I believe you screwed up? No. But I do expect to be in a lot less pain.

I find it ridiculous that your nurse called me to make me feel bad for seeing another doctor. I have no contract with you, verbal or otherwise, that says I have to continue to go to your office. I had no idea that this other doctor was in your "call group" or that they needed to call you before I had my first appointment. I told them that I had been your patient and, the last time I checked, I'm not his secretary. Yes, it may be awkward to run into you after this, but I'd rather take that slight risk if it means I could no longer be in pain.

If I felt any hesitation before today about seeking a second opinion, it is most definitely gone now. I'm very happy that I trusted my instincts and made a choice that I believe will help me. Could I be wrong? Of course. But I will no longer have to continue seeing a doctor who I do not trust and have lost respect for.

I'm doing what is right for me, and that is all you should be concerned with now.


Amanda, a very unhappy patient

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cat Scan

Bright and early this morning, as in 5:30 am, Tim and I rolled out of bed, made sure our coffee mugs were full and woke up a very sleepy Lauren to head to Hillcrest for her cat scan.

The entire trip there she was super happy, singing and laughing, excited to be going on an "adventure" with mommy and daddy. Her good mood continued through registration, where she waved at everyone that walked by. She was even fine when she met the anesthesiologist and had her vitals checked by the nurse.

Patiently waiting...

After another short wait, it was time to walk her back to start the anesthesia. I tried to keep her calm while she sat on a nurse's lap and had the mask placed over her nose and mouth. She was not happy, and made it very clear that she did not appreciate this invasion of her personal space. It felt like forever, but it was only about 30 seconds before her body went limp, which was one of the freakiest things I've ever seen.

I went back to wait with Tim and only about 15 minutes later the anesthesiologist came to tell us she was fine and that the test would only take another 10-15 minutes. He chatted with us for a few minutes, even talked a little college football. (He was a Sooner fan, but a really nice one.) :) He must have picked up on how uneasy I was feeling because he mentioned that he even gets concerned watching his own kids get anesthesia. That made me feel a little better.

Right on time, we heard a very loud screech from down the hall. We didn't even need someone to tell us she had woken up. We gathered our things and met her in the hallway to go to recovery. She screamed off and on for the next 45 minutes and I tried to apologize to everyone I could. She is loud when she gets going. Taking out the iv helped a little, but not much. Even her milk didn't improve her mood.

I tried to soothe her but she was having none of it...she only wanted her daddy. :)

Awww...poor baby.

Eventually we were wheeled back to the pediatrics' floor - she sat on my lap while I was in the wheelchair - and they checked her stats one more time. Thirty minutes later she was wandering around the room saying "knock knock", which we took to mean she was ready to leave.

On the way home she sang us a chorus of "Eat-eat-eat-eat-eat-eat-eat-eat-eat-eat-eat-eat-eat" to the tune of Beyonce's Single Ladies. That's when I knew she was almost back to normal. After a 3 hour nap she was completely over the whole ordeal.

Our appointment with the ENT is on Monday so hopefully we'll know more then. I think we're all ready for this whole thing to be over.

Monday, October 17, 2011

One Step Forward, One Step Back

Soccer has been interesting thus far. We've had crying, whining, sitting and refusing to budge, and all out tantrums. Part of that was the lovely double ear infection that Brenden was sporting for awhile. (This was the first time he told us his ears hurt and was right. His doctor said he was crazy tough because "most kids would be laying on the floor crying with that type of infection.") The rest was Brenden just not understanding the game. Four years of telling him to share and then expecting him to be okay with someone take a ball away from him was difficult. My bad!

He's had some good days since then, but we've been trying to get him to actually play for the past few weeks. Until now we've been happy if he makes it through a game without crying. Now, we'd like him to actually try to go for the ball instead of just running around staring at his shadow. We promised that we would let him play the Wii if he tried to score a goal. We even promised to buy him a blue slush, his favorite, if he tried really hard the whole game.

I know this may sound like a lot to ask of a 4-year-old, and sometimes I think it is, too. It's just hard to watch the other teams score goal after goal and then our team doesn't manage to score one, even when the other team backs off and lets them score. All of the other teams are so tall compared to the kids on his team and I know that makes a difference. Brenden is the only one that is 4. The rest are 3 years old and we have two that are actually 2. Truthfully, I don't think that's fair, but that's something we can't change.

Onto this past Saturday. We had high hopes since he seemed so excited to play. We cheered and pointed and flung ourselves around like crazy people trying to motivate him to just try his hardest. Eventually, he made a break for the goal and we were jumping up and down like fools...and then a kid from the other team kicked the ball out of bounds. Brenden's entire face fell and he ran off of the field sobbing. We never quite convinced him that it was okay, but we did manage to get him back on the field.

He stole the ball a second time and headed towards the goal...the wrong goal. We tried to tell him to turn around but it was too late. He happily kicked the ball squarely into the net and turned around beaming. We all laughed and cheered as he ran off of the field, pumping his fist in the air. He decided that he deserved a victory lap down the sideline and managed to give every single spectator a high-five.

After that, he was done. He had scored his one goal and was more than happy to sit and watch the rest of the game. I'm still not sure what will convince him to actually play, but we're going to keep trying.

Happy kid, running through the tunnel after the game. :)

We're really ready for him to be able to play football. If there's one thing that Brenden has always been good at, it's knocking people down.

Friday, October 14, 2011


I've called Brenden our performer for a long time, but Lauren has started to surpass him. She's not quite the comedienne he is (yet) but she is most definitely a singer.

She sings in the car. She sings in the bathtub. She sings while she wanders around the house. I think I've even heard her singing in her sleep. Sometimes you can recognize the tune, like the ABCs, the Wheels On The Bus, or Row Row Row Your Boat. A lot of times it's a completely made up song with words like, "I love daddy. I love Brenden." She even does hand motions now.

This isn't the best video, but you can hear her mixing a few songs together and laughing at herself. She absolutely loves singing, and we love listening to her.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Yes...Another House Update

We swung by the house on Tuesday just to see if anything new had happened. A lot had happened, but it wasn't really "photo" worthy. (Tim was super excited about the insulation and probably would have taken a ton of pictures of it. Just not my thing.)

We decided to stop by again tonight because we had the time and I'm so glad that we did.

It went from this:

Ready and waiting.

To this:

And it's not just this's the entire house.

Whoa! WALLS!!

I cannot believe that someday I'll have a picture of them all grown up, sitting on these stairs.


From the moment Lauren was born, she made it clear that she was stubborn. Every day she finds a way to remind me that yes, she got that lovely trait from her dad and me. She throws things when she doesn't get her way. She screams her head off when I stand in the wrong place and has now started grabbing my hand and just moving me to where I "should" be. At least twice a day I leave her laying on the floor where she has flung herself in a fit of rage because I won't let her eat dirt or I grabbed the wrong cup. Drama queen? I'd say so.

The best way we've found to deal with this type of behavior is not to give in. It worked when we took away her pacifier and when we stopped giving her bottles. It helps when she starts to do things that could hurt her, like slamming doors or banging on the television. It's completely frustrating and absolutely tiring, but it's worth it. Allowing her to throw a fit to get what she wants, even once, makes it a hundred times more difficult to keep her from repeating that behavior again.

Just laying here, throwing a fit because mom wanted to take a picture.

Last night was one of the longest, loudest and most difficult standoffs to date. In one corner you have Lauren, sitting in her highchair, tired, with a bowl of her favorite food in front of her. (Rice, sweet corn, black beans, kale and squash...weird I know.) In the other corner you have Tim and me, scrambling to recook dinner because I managed to grill our brisket into something that resembled the charcoal on the bottom of the smoker.

To start it off, Lauren decided to dump her entire bowl of food on her head. When she's not interested in eating she either flings her food or plays with it, so this was not a surprise. It was, however, messy and not exactly appreciated in the middle of our rush to get something edible made for the rest of us to eat. I scooped everything back into the bowl, reminded her that we do not play with our food, and left her to continue feeding herself. She was not at all interested in doing that so she stood up in her highchair and proceeded to scream at me.

Tim wandered by about this time and asked what I was doing. "Teaching her that screaming and flinging her food is not the way to get what she wants." I replied. She continued to stand there and yell and I continued to calmly tell her to sit down. (Staying calm is the most important thing. If I start getting upset it just eggs her on.)

Cut to twenty minutes later...she is still screaming, begging to get up and refusing to eat the one bite that we were requesting. Just one bite of her favorite food and we would go take a bath, which she considers a reward. Back and forth we went, reminding her that one bite and she could get up. Did she want to take a bath? Yes. Then just take one bite. NO. (Go ahead and tell me not to reason with a toddler, especially an almost 18 month old. I know it sounds crazy. Even I think it's crazy.)

And then, something amazing happened. She calmed down, opened her mouth, and took that one little bite. We all clapped, jumped up and down, high-fived her, and made complete fools of ourselves. I let her play in the bathtub for an extra 5 minutes as a reward for following directions. Then we put on her pajamas, read a few books, and she happily went to bed. Success!

Do I think these tantrums are going to be better now? Heck no! We haven't hit the terrible twos and the horrendously awful threes yet. However, it did prove that she understood us and knows that when we make a rule that we expect it to be followed. It also showed that our persistence and staying calm actually works for her. (I know every kid is different. This just works the best for ours.)

Our next big hurdles: sleeping in a big kid bed and potty training. Could someone please pass the Tylenol and the ear plugs?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lauren's Knot - x's 2

This was Lauren's knot before:

It was roughly quarter sized.

This is Lauren's knot now:

The arrow is actually pointing to a second knot that now sticks out farther than the first knot, which is above it. 

Terrifying. :(

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


It's been quite an eventful few weeks for us. Brenden went from having one ear infected to two, I've been sick off and on, Tim's had doctor's appointments for his knee, and Lauren was acting sick so I took her in, too.

It turns out all of her issues are allergy related (Thanks ragweed!) but that nasty knot on her neck has almost doubled in size. Her doctor agreed that we needed more testing so she told me we would schedule an MRI and then meet with Dr. Guy, the ENT. On our way home they called me and asked if we could come back for another x-ray. We live really close so it was no big deal to turn around and I'm glad we were able to do it that day.

At first we were told we could head home when we were done and then changed their mind. We were put into an exam room and told to wait for Dr. Koul, her pediatrician, which really calms the nerves. *sarcasm* It's hard to be told that your child is fine and then a month later have everyone scrambling to get her into specialists because they aren't sure what is really going on.

I was assured that the knot was not impeding on her airway and that at the moment it seemed to be a cyst. Dr. Guy, who she had talked to on the phone, explained that a midline swelling like this is usually a  Thyroglossal Duct Cyst, which isn't uncommon and is very treatable. Instead of an MRI they are going to do a cat scan, which she will have to be sedated for, and if they confirm that it is that type of cyst she will have to have it removed.

The thought of surgery doesn't scare me, I just want that thing out of my daughter. I know the doctor said it isn't hurting her but I can't imagine that it feels good. Plus, I think if we have it done now while she is small then the scar is more likely to fade quickly and she won't remember it.

The cat scan is October 19th and the ENT appointment is October 24th. Hopefully the tests will show, clearly, what is going on. If I'm a bit testy for the next few weeks, please forgive me. It's just hard to look at my sweet, happy daughter and think that anything could be wrong with her.

Happiness Personified

Monday, October 3, 2011

Another House Update

Will I ever stop talking/updating/obsessively taking pictures of our house? Probably not. Sorry!

We took another tour of the house on Friday and we were really excited to see that the roof is completely shingled (SHINGLES!) and they've started the plumbing and gas lines. Tim said that next will be the electrical and after that is inspected they'll start sheet rocking, which is when we'll try to lock in our rate for our mortgage.

No, we have not locked in a rate yet. When we signed the official documents with Swift Home Loans, we were encouraged to just wait and see what the rates looked like 60 days from the house being completed. He didn't think it would be worth it in the long run to pay the points when the rates could actually go down, which they have. Hopefully they will stay low. *fingers crossed!*

Front porch.
We have a master shower!
Side view.
Back porch and master windows.

Just for comparison:

This was the house 9-4-11

I'm sad that most of the outside progress is almost done because now I won't be able to stalk take pictures during the day while the workers are still there. I feel silly enough just stepping out of my car while they stare at me like I'm a weirdo. 

We're already packing and starting to take bets on when it will be finished. Maybe the end of November or early December?

A new house for Christmas? I'll take it!

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