Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Grandpa Updates and First Days

First of all, thank you for the comments on my last post about my Grandpa. My mom read several of them to my grandma and while she's still wrapping her head around the concept of a blog, she can completely understand that there are people spread out all over thinking of them and holding them up in thoughts and prayers. It meant so much to me as well.

And today I'm happy to report some good news! To be sure, he is still very sick and remains in critical condition, but he had a really good day yesterday with all the little benchmarks they look for pointing in the right direction instead of up, down, and down again like the day before. His chief doctor, the one who has kept us properly grounded in our expectations with each update, told my family that grandpa is an "amazing patient" and they are now expecting a full recovery of everything except his kidneys (and, though not ideal, he can be on dialysis for that). His pancreas decided to step up and do its part (a huge relief), his brain function continues to be miraculously good, his white cell count is going down in response to the antibiotics, and the dialysis is helping with the swelling and to filter his blood. He's still pretty heavily sedated to help control the pain of the broken ribs and recovery, but I believe they are going to reduce that some to ensure his body functions keep working up to the level they'll need to be when he's conscious again. My mom wrote this morning that his nurse said he rested comfortably all night, his lung sounds are clear, and his temp remained steady, so that's all good news. His most recent update from the doctor included the news that they're concerned about his high blood pressure and are working to find the right medication to control it and of course, still concerned about the kidneys, but from what we can tell we're very slowly making our way towards the place where we can start his recovery path and it is such a relief to be talking about that again.

I fly up to Minneapolis tonight. I just need to touch him and hug my grandma and see my mom. My dad and other aunts and uncles fly home today while my mom stays (she starts teaching next week so they're taking a break before flying back up after she goes home for her first day of school), so it's a nice window for me to pop up there. With our crazy weekend completed and the first day of school started, the kids can coast until I get back on Thursday (just in time to start my new barre job at TCU!). It's a short visit, but it's perfect for right now. Once we can talk about his long-term plan I'm sure we'll be dividing up weeks and weekends to keep my grandma company over the next couple months. So northward I go!

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So along with tentatively positive and hopeful hospital text messages yesterday, we had the first day of school! My favorite day!

they all look so old in this picture; it pulled my heartstrings

It's not that I'm dying for the kids to get back in school- I'm at work all day, so other than creating and executing my summer camp spreadsheet (and sitting by the pool drinking margaritas when I should be doing other things), I'm not super affected by summer. But my kids - oh my sweet darling children - they THRIVE in school. Absolutely flourish and blossom and are emotionally steady and rational and happy and then sleep 11.5 hours at night to go do it again.

traditional first day handshake!

They need school. Landon went all summer without a big fit. Summer has always been his trigger, school is like some sort of essential emotional vitamin for him. Usually the fits start in July and we're all back in therapy in August. This year he threw one and it was on the last Friday before school started and I was like yeah, sure, that's fine, we can handle that, you'll be in school in 72 hours.

And now he's in 4th grade! So big, so tweenish, so excited to be back with his friends. He may be styling his hair and rocking new shoes, but he still let me hug him in the hall before the bell.

Claire is in 2nd. She ADORES school with her whole heart and was thrilled to be back. Her teacher is young and full of educational zeal and I feel like Claire is going to just love her.

(James hugs are the smotheriest hugs.)

We tried to get a picture with Winston for the first day, but Cora refused to walk on the grass and Winston refused to follow directions.

We're still working diligently on Winston's training. He's willing, just not exactly eager. Last night I put a treat in his mouth for sitting and the treat fell out and he just walked away, like this is too much. I cannot also be expected to chew. I'm taking a nap.

(Winston would not like school.)

Cora was SUPER excited to be back as well. She'd only had two days off as her school was closed last Thursday and Friday to prep for the new year, but like her siblings, she needs her work and she kept Eeyore-level sighing on Sunday and telling me "Mommy I just never go to my school anymore."

But now she does! I didn't mean to post so many pics, but these are all just *very* Cora right now.

She's sort of a sparkling unicorn- unbelievably delightful and sweet and funny, until she's not and decides to ram you with her horn.

Much to our surprise, she did select a kitty lunch box this year, a shocking upset over the front-runner unicorn which had been the favorite until moments before stepping in the store.

Claire was a little nervous about her first day. She's in the portable buildings this year, so she wanted to be sure she understood the proper procedure for getting there in the morning.

Cora was totally ready for 2nd grade

Cora, on the other hand, basically demanded entry into her building, marched down the hallway, and exclaimed over all the new work in her new big kid class.

It's our last year moving up to a new classroom in Montessori. She'll either be there until Kindergarten in 2019 or, if she gets into pre-K in our school, until fall 2018 (pleasepleaseplease; all 3 kids in one school for one glorious year!).

I know they're all going to have such great years. We've been blessed with such great teachers who foster their love of learning in new ways every year and I can't wait to see what this one brings.

Filled with elementary school sentimentality, I went to work and between hospital text updates read a few filings, filed some emails, updated some coworkers, and did a little eclipsing after lunch.

It was an unexpected little bonus to my day. DFW is in the path of totality for the next eclipse on April 8, 2024! I'm super excited and totally saving those eclipse glasses a stranger handed me when he was done outside my building. Eclipse part at my house in 6.75 years!

I need to go pack, but here is the weekly menu I planned before I realized I'd be leaving mid-week.

Monday: Sunshine Lentil Bowl; still my new favorite summer meal (my post on it here), the dressing just makes it.

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday! Seasoned ground beef, whole wheat tortillas (no one in my house will eat crunchy tacos and I don't understand it, but I also won't be here to complain), tons of toppings, refried black beans.
Wednesday: Leftover Spaghetti, salad, garlic bread.
Thursday: Chicken Rollatini with Prosciutto and Cheese, Parmesan Orzo Pasta (loosely based on this recipe), peas.
Friday: Pizza? Somewhere out? Unknown; it'll have been a long week.

Happy first week of school!


  1. The top you are wearing in the picture with Landon, where did you get it? I think I own it.

    1. Ann Taylor! On the sale rack, many moons ago.

  2. I love all the photos. And your superb writing. You capture the bulldog thing flawlessly - loved the part about the cookie falling out of his mouth.

    Glad to hear about your Grandpa turning the corner.

    1. Thanks anon! It brought me genuine joy to hear I'd captured Sir Winston in words :).

  3. Safe travels up to MSP! I hope your grandpa continues to recover.

  4. Your grandparents sound like awesome persons! Sending best recovery wishes, all the way from Paris. I hope your time there isn't too emotional.

    1. Thank you, love the wishes from Paris! It was really wonderful to see him and my grandma and my mom; tough, but so good in my heart.

  5. Sadly those glasses will have expired by 2024! We are also in the path for the next one and our newspaper has run no the less than 3 articles about NOT saving your glasses. Too bad.

    1. Oh thank you! I really probably would have hung on to them...

  6. Keeping your grandpa and your whole family in my thoughts.

  7. I am so happy to hear your grandpa is getting better; I will continue to pray for a good recovery and for peace for your family. Just an fyi about the eclipse glasses, they expire after like 3 years (I think) so be sure to get some new ones before you do the totality thing in your area.

  8. Keeping fingers crossed for your Grandpa.
    Refuah Shlema ( that's Hebrew for "full recovery" :) )

    A utilitarian question if I may : what backpack is Landon using this year? It looks just the thing for my 3rd grader ,size wise at least.

    1. Thank you Katy! It's a High Sierra brand kids backpack we got at Costco. They're where we get our backpacks each year- they are a great size and hold up so well! (And are only $16.99... I'm not sure how long they stock them, but there will still there last time we were in the store!)

  9. So happy to hear that your Grandpa is improving. Keeping you all in our prayers!