Monday, June 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, Son #1!

He's a teenager today! Thirteen years old. Here's a photo of him earning his Horsemanship Merit Badge at Boy Scout camp last week.
If you'd like to read his birth story, click here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Happy Birthday, Son #2!

He's 11 today. He'll be celebrating with Dad, Son #1 and a couple of hundred other Boy Scouts in the mountains of Georgia. (missing my baby) That's him with a butterfly perched on his thumb.

Here's a link to his Birth Story, for those interested.
He's a really cool kid, if I do say so myself.

Friday, June 13, 2008

3 Pitches = 3 Outs

Son #2 plays baseball in the 10-year old league at our local recreation district park. His team this year, the Astros, have had a tough time. They're ranked last in a league of approx. 12 teams: 2 wins, 1 tie and 13 losses going into last night's game against the No. 2 ranked team, the Giants (14 wins, 2 losses). It was the last game of the regular season. The single elimination tournament starts tomorrow but Son #2 will have to miss the tournament because he's heading to Boy Scout camp in Georgia.

Son #2 enjoys playing baseball and he's pretty good. He might not be great, but he's a quite good fielder, a decent pitcher (although at times a little inconsistent), and not a power hitter at bat but usually makes it on base. He's a smart player though. He knows where the plays are and knows what to do when. That's a big challenge for 10 year olds.

Anyway, last night's game looked like this: The Astros are the 'away' team, the Giants are the 'home' team so they bat last. Games rarely go past three innings because there's a lot of strikes, walking and stealing of bases at this age group.

Top of the 1st inning: Son #2 unfortunately struck out at bat.
Bottom of the 1st inning: Son #2 pitches for this inning. He caught a pop fly and got someone out. He struck out another player. Score at the end of the first inning: Giants 6, Astros 0.

Top of the 2nd inning: Here's where it gets fun. Son #2 is pitching again. His first pitch is hit by the batter. Son #2 jumps high and nabs it (Out #1). Son #2's second pitch is hit way over his head. The batter makes it to first base. Son #3's third pitch is hit low. He dives for it, catches it (Out #2: the batter). The guy on first had started advancing to second. When the runner realized the batter was out, he had to go back to first base. Too late! Son #1 had already thrown the ball and the first baseman caught it (Out #3). That's a very fast 1/2 inning. The umpire said he rarely sees plays like that at this age level. WOO HOO!

Bottom of the 2nd inning: Son #2 hits, gets a runner in, and makes it to first base himself. He eventually steals his way home. Score at the end of the second inning: Giants 6, Astros 5.

Top of the 3rd inning: League rules state that a single player can only pitch two innings and they must be consecutive so Son #2 actually sits this inning out. A well earned rest.

Bottom of the 3rd inning: Son #2 hits, makes it to first base and eventually steals home. Score at the end of the game: Giants 8, Astros 11

Even though his team didn't do well this season, it's been a lot of fun. We love the coaches. Son #2 played for the same coaches last spring - they got off to a rocky start but eventually made it to the final game of the tournament (which they ultimately lost, but still.....).

I hope they have similar success this tournament.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Prayers for Our Scouts in Iowa

As you've probably surmised, our family is big into scouting. Sons #1 & 2 are heading to Boy Scout camp in Georgia on Saturday, along with Daddy Scout (that would be Dear Hubby). Son #3 will be start Cub Scouts in the fall. Heck, even our beagle is named Scout, although I think that's a coincidence.

Below is a newspaper article about a twister that hit a Boy Scout Camp in Iowa in which four young scouts were killed. Please keep the scouts, their families, scout leaders, and Iowans are your thoughts and prayers.

Here's the article:

Boys Scouts praised as heroes after twister kills 4
Published: 6/12/08, 5:28 PM EDT By JOSH FUNK

BLENCOE, Iowa (AP) - When the howling winds finally died down, the Boy Scouts - true to their motto, "Be Prepared" - sprang into action.

Putting their first-aid training to use, they applied tourniquets and gauze to the injured. Some began digging victims from the rubble of a collapsed chimney. And others broke into an equipment shed, seized chainsaws and other tools, and started clearing fallen trees from a road.
Dozens of the Scouts, ages 13 to 18, were hailed for their bravery and resourcefulness Thursday, the morning after a twister flattened their camp in Iowa and killed four boys.

"There were some real heroes at this Scout camp," Gov. Chet Culver said, adding that he believes the Scouts saved lives while they waited for paramedics to cut through the trees and reach the camp a mile into the woods.

The 93 boys, all elite Scouts attending a weeklong leadership training session, had taken part in a mock emergency drill with 25 staff members just a day before the twister hit.

"They knew what to do, they knew where to go, and they prepared well," said Lloyd Roitstein, an executive with the Mid-America Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Killed were Aaron Eilerts, 14, of Eagle Grove, Iowa, and Josh Fennen, 13, Sam Thomsen, 13, and Ben Petrzilka, 14, all of Omaha, Neb. Roitstein said all four had taken shelter in a building that was leveled, and all of them were found near its collapsed stone chimney. The governor said the cause of death had not been determined.

At least a dozen people remained hospitalized Thursday with everything from bruises to spine and head injuries.

At the campsite, a pickup truck had been tossed on its side. Tree limbs rested on top of the Scouts' tents. Trees were flattened. And the one-room multipurpose building where the scouts died was a pile of cinderblocks and chimney stones.

Boy Scout officials said the campers had heard the severe weather alerts but decided not to leave because a storm was on the way.

"They were watching the weather and monitoring with a weather radio, listening for updates," said Deron Smith, a national spokesman for the organization. "The spot they were at was the lowest spot of camp. It was deemed to be the safest place."

A group of Scouts who had set out on a hike had returned to the camp before the storm hit, Smith said.

On the other side of the state, 3,900 homes were evacuated from flood-stricken Cedar Rapids, where rescuers removed people with boats, officials estimated 100 blocks were under water, and a railroad bridge over the flooded Cedar River collapsed.

In Albert Lea, Minn., 90 miles south of Minneapolis, a man died Thursday after his vehicle plunged from a washed-out road and was submerged in floodwaters.

Also Thursday, several Kansas communities began cleaning up from tornadoes a day earlier that killed at least two people, destroyed much of the small town of Chapman, and caused extensive damage on the Kansas State University campus.

Meanwhile, tales of heroism emerged from the Iowa camp.

Roitstein said a group of scouts pulled the camp ranger and his family from their destroyed home. Doug Rothgeb of Omaha said his 15-year-old son emerged from a ditch where he had taken cover, then joined other scouts to break into the equipment shed.

Fourteen-year-old Zach Jessen of Fremont, Neb., said that before the storm struck, someone spotted the rotation in the clouds and a siren sounded in the multipurpose building, which had tables and a TV in addition to a fireplace. Jessen said he and others managed to get Scouts out of their tents and indoors just before the tornado hit. According to Roitstein, the Scouts took shelter in three buildings.

Jessen said shortly afterward, the door on the multipurpose building flew open and he heard someone yelling to get under the tables.

"All of a sudden, the tornado came and took the building," Jessen said. "It sounded like a giant freight train going right over the top of you."

Ethan Hession, 13, said he crawled under a table with his friend.
"I just remember looking over at my friend, and all of a sudden he just says to me, `Dear God, save us,'" he said on NBC's "Today" show. Ethan said the scouts' first-aid training immediately compelled them to act.

"We were prepared," he said. "We knew that we need to place tourniquets on wounds that were bleeding too much. We knew we need to apply pressure and gauze. We had first-aid kits, we had everything. We knew about this, we knew how to do it."

He added: "All of a sudden people started taking action. Like it just clicked. One of the staff members took off his shirt and put it right on the guy who was bleeding and told me to get on top of him so he would stop moving so he could apply pressure and gauze. We started digging people out of the rubble."

The 1,800-acre Little Sioux Scout Ranch is in the Loess Hills in westernmost Iowa, close to the Nebraska line, about 40 miles north of Omaha. The hills rise 200 feet above the plains in what is otherwise an exceedingly flat state. While tornadoes are often associated with flat, open land, Iowa is in Tornado Alley, and forecasters said twisters are not unusual in the Loess Hills.
The camp includes hiking trails through narrow valleys and over steep hills, a 15-acre lake and a rifle range.

Lisa Petry, the mother of 13-year-old Boy Scout Jose Olivo, said she had a bad feeling Wednesday morning when she heard reports of possible severe weather. "I thought, `Should I call the scout camp and ask if there's severe weather, where will they go?'" she said.

The governor would not address questions about whether the Scouts should have remained at the campground after severe weather alerts were issued.

"There's always lessons learned from any natural disaster, from any tragedy," Culver said. "We need to focus on the victims, the families affected."

The National Weather Service said it was an EF3 on the 1-to-5 Enhanced Fujita scale of tornado intensity, with an estimated wind speed of 145 mph. The twister cut a path estimated at 14 miles long.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff toured the camp and said it appeared that the Boy Scouts "didn't have a chance" and that the tornado came through the camp "like a bowling ball."
Associated Press writers Henry C. Jackson in Des Moines, Iowa; Nate Jenkins and Anna Jo Bratton in Onawa, Iowa; Sophia Tareen and Timberly Ross in Omaha, Neb., and John Hanna in Chapman, Kan., contributed to this report.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rollercoaster - Part 2

Originally this was part of yesterday's post, but it was just too darn long so I separated it out.

I've posted about Son #1's growth issues in the past. Here are some posts you can visit if you want to get up to speed:
Son #1 gained almost 5 pounds since starting the "battery acid" medicine, as he called it, back in November. It is designed to stimulate appetite, but it tastes awful. I thought Son #1 was exaggerating until one day, on a lark, I dipped the tip of my finger in the medicine and took a taste....just to see what the fuss was about. OH. MY. GOSH. It was terrible. Granted, I've never attempted to siphon gasoline and failed, but I can only imagine that this is what it would taste like. ICK!. The foul taste stayed with me for hours! Son #1 is a bigger man than I give him credit for. (and this stuff is supposed to *stimulate* appetite???)

He had a follow up appt. with the endocrinologist at the end of May. Although Son #1 gained weight (yay!), when you factor in the height increase (1/2 in. in 6 mos), it ends up equating to a net loss. Sigh.

Doc recommended a Growth Hormone Stimulation Test, which we took on June 3rd. Son #1 had to start fasting at 9pm the night prior. We drove to the hospital about 35 miles away, checked in and Son #1 was led to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Sounds much scarier that it is. It turns out that - fortunately - the PICU is not a busy department and therefore can conduct the 3+ hour hormone stimulation test properly, usually without interruption. (Doc said the hospital closest to our house is "too busy" and if the bloodwork isn't drawn exactly in the right increments, it negates the entire test).

They insert a Hep-Lock in Son #1's arm (an IV port). They draw baseline bloodwork. They give Son #1 Clonadine (tablets) and Glucagon (shot in the tookus) to 'stimulate' an insulin/growth hormone response.

Thirty minutes after the meds, they draw blood. Sixty minutes after meds, they draw blood, Ninety minutes after meds, they draw blood. One hundred twenty minutes after meds, Son #1 had to pee, gets nauseous and weak, they draw more blood. He finally dozes. One hundred eighty minutes after meds, they draw the last round of bloodwork.

Now I understand what I mean when they say that blood must be drawn at exactly the precise intervals or else the entire test is a bust!

They feed us - an unexpected treat (I fully expected to have to stop for food on the way home). Son #1 ate cheese pizza and drank Gatorade ... a must before Nurse Nancy would remove the IV port from Son #1's arm.

The test results will be forwarded to Son #1's endocrinologist in 3 to 4 weeks. I'm not sure what to make of all this. I've been doing research, off and on, for a while now. Information overload. On one hand, I'm 5' 1" and I don't feel 'shortness' is a condition that necessarily needs to be cured. Hello, Michael J. Fox (5'4") and Al Pacino (barely 5'6" if I had to guess).

I remember watching a special on 20/20 on TV a few years ago about teens/young adults who had growth hormone injections. How much it hurt, how much it cost. I remember Son #1 who must've been about 8 at the time saying he didn't want any of that. He's happy the way he is. The way God made him. That's a pretty compelling argument.

But there's a flip side. Many studies have shown that children (and adults) who do not produce enough growth hormone (you don't stop needing the growth hormone once you've reached adulthood), are at increased risk for: 1) obesity - altho' this is unlikely to be an issue for Son #1, 2) osteoporosis - which runs in my family, and 3) early onset coronary artery disease - Dear Hubby had stents at 34 and triple bypass at 36.

So it's not really a matter of curing 'shortness'. Unfortunately, many insurance companies consider growth hormone therapy a 'vanity' treatment. Test results should be in by the end of the month. Stay tuned....

Monday, June 09, 2008

Quite the Rollercoaster..(Part 1)

I'm just going to toss this out deep introspection. I've been mulling this over for a bit and haven't quite figured out what to say/think about it, so I'm going to put toss it out there. Maybe I'll analyze it later. Maybe not.

Sons #1, #2 and Dear Hubby are heading off to Boy Scout camp three states away. They leave the Sat. before Father's Day (June 14), will be gone for Son #2's birthday (June 17) and will return on Sat. June 21 (two days before Son #1's birthday). They'll have a blast, but cell phone coverage in the mountains of Georgia is spotty at best, so it will be very strange going days without knowing what they're up to, how they're doing...

Dear Hubby's upcoming job interview. The good: slightly more money (he's close to maxing out in his current position), better opportunity to broaden his skills. The bad: giving up the company car (gas, maintenance, insurance paid by the company), more overnight travel, although they say he'll be able to set his own travel schedule. He really wants this so if it fits in with God's plan, I hope he'll get it. If not, then it wasn't meant to be.

My eyesight has been another source of anxiety. You might remember that last year at annual eye exam I had problems with dry eyes, which was news to me. (Click here and here for background.) At that time, my optometrist said recommended several weeks of wearing glasses (UGH!) and using eye drops. My vision improved enough for the doctor to prescribe a type of contact lenses made specifically for dry eyes - Accuvue Oasys. All's been well until a couple of weeks ago.

I've experienced a rather dramatic decrease in my vision. With contacts lenses, it's not as noticeable although I do seem to benefit from reading glasses. However, with my new (less than 1 year old) prescription eyeglasses, my vision STINKS! I can no longer see the alarm clock from across the room when I'm wearing glasses. I cannot read email without removing my glasses and having my face THISCLOSE to the monitor (blogger font fortunately is larger than my default email font).

I'm inclined to think it might be the dry eyes again. Truthfully, I wear contacts 90% of my waking moments and they feel fine so I tend not to remember to use the drops. In addition, since my mini-vacation in May, I've had trouble with first allergies and then a cold so it's possible that the decongestants and anti-histamines are having an impact.

I'm trying to give my eyes a rest (no contacts, using eye drops regularly) for another couple of weeks. If things don't improve, I'll forgo my usual optometrist and visit an opthamologist instead. Keeping my fingers crossed that there isn't anything seriously wrong.

So there it is....tossed out there. Just the facts. For now.

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Thrill of the Chase

Dear Hubby works for a Fortune 500 Company headquartered in Cleveland, OH, but one that does business all over the country (including our home state of Louisiana). He's been with them for 8 years in about 6 different job capacities. Some were moves he initiated, others were the result of someone asking him to take on a new startup initiative.

He enjoys his current position, but there's not much room for advancement. His department is highly specialized, although thanks to the 6 jobs within the company, Dear Hubby's breadth of skill is impressive.

A corporate level job was posted a few weeks ago, so he took the leap and applied. He's had two phone interviews with the hiring manager, one phone interview with corporate human resources, and had to submit a writing sample.

The top two candidates - yes, Dear Hubby is one of them - are being flown to Cleveland for in-person interviews. Fortunately the perimeters of the job are such that he can work out of any company office, so relocation isn't necessary. (On the other hand, if we ever decide to move almost anywhere, he can just transfer his home office location.)

Here's where Dear Hubby and I differ. I would be on 'pins and needles' as the expression goes. This has been going on for weeks. Any idea how much sleep I'd lose? And interview? Yikes. Can I choose a root canal instead?

But no. Dear Hubby recognizes it for the game that it is. He's good at analyzing what info the interviewer is really trying to get at. He thinks very quickly on his feet and is never caught off guard (well, except for the one time on January 10, 1987 when he met me - ha ha).

I'm sure he'll be disappointed if he isn't offered the job, but he's pretty philosophical about whether or not "it's meant to be." He's so laid back and, well, cool about the whole thing.

I hope my kids inherit this trait from him.