Pain in the Parasthesia and the Amorphous August (Change in the Air?)

And it's August! I feel so conflicted about August these days. On the one hand it's my BIRTHDAY MONTH! And (more notably) Chaya's.



(Almost) THREE!!

 And the whole East Coast family comes out to visit.

 And it's all a big party festival type thing.

 On the other, it's usually hot and smoky and basically the least Adella-friendly weather of the Pacific Northwest year and there is NO stopping for a break unless you manage to wind yourself up in the hospital like I did last year. Oh what a year it's been!

Gotta say I'm not magically healed, but I guess we've ruled out a ton since then; and I certainly am capable of some essential feminine "cycling" with a little extra weight and some birth control pills.

I think I threw out my list of excluded diagnoses not long ago, so I'll just add that the neurologist thinks my brain looks beautiful, my "neuropathy" at this point is a mere parasthesia, and my cervical MRI/EMG looked unconcerning to the orthopedist. He's pushing "nerve blocks" which sound 1980's sci fi to me, but don't actually involve becoming an android in any recognizable way.

. There are many more tests on the horizon as I pinball between my various specialists, but I'm also just kind of learning to honor the messages my body is sending (pain is a pretty specific message the nerves can telegraph out for myriad reasons) and realizing they may not be telling the whole story in an unbiased fashion. It seems to be a theme that once something triggers or damages nerves in any part of the body they can be eternally sensitized and misfire signals. So take seriously but not literally? Meditate a ton. Lean into the pain. Honor my body. Etc. etc.

My reflux issues have resurged with a vengeance, so we'll be going ahead on that endoscopy as soon as I finish this three month pre-req and locate a new doctor since the one I saw just left the area. Eating as I can. Realizing I've had symptoms of this for a lot longer than I realized and maybe my restricted eating prior to now based on "not feeling right" was kind of intuitive of that.

The heat ain't helping, but we're fanning ourselves through it anyways so long as the air doesn't get any thicker and today appears to be a delicious break for some pouring rain at the county fair!  

Andrew and I are mulling our overwhelmingly plentiful options for climate controlling the house. We've flirted with curtains, window treatments, awnings, new-windows, new roller shades, screen doors, and maybe with ductless air conditioning. A lot of feelers are out there, but there's still a ton of uncertainty. And let's not discuss my struggles to figure out a way to actually water our dying trees and arborvitae.

We might just convert the living room into a walk-in fridge and call it good. Oh August and your smoky heated ovenly ways...

But party!! County Fairs. More parties. Plane trips. More parties. Preschool parties.

It's all gonna be ok. Just hot and sweaty for another eon.

Meanwhile things are changing, as they always do.

As promised, the Alex and Olivia brigade have moved back East. Chaya's very first preschool teacher also announced she's moving at the end of the month. And most recently Chaya's good friend Sebstation may be coming back from his many months in Mexico and moving back to Bellingham. In bigger picture news, the Preschool may finally be poised to move ahead to full time school licensing, which would be huge for them and expand their options grandly.

And, the church houses Chaya's preschool - and which I had taken as a spiritual roost this spring - is having some major transition as well. They cannot - by their estimation - afford to continue paying Helen, the rector. After some stir, much confusion and a variety of surprise announcements, her last service will be at the end of the month.

Fortunately it seems like the preschool is mostly insulated from this (there were some concerns for a while about what it all might mean), but it has the most unfortunate effect of leaving the church without a minister. No, not without a minister, but without the minister who drew me to the church in the first place and whose presence mediated some of the challenges of attending a church that is ultimately not very family friendly at this juncture.

A church without young families in the community has a circular problem. With few children, there aren't the resources or involvement for Sunday School or youth ministry, but without youth ministry, young families cannot participate. The church ultimately can't grow and the few families who do attend will likely be limited in their ability to reach out and participate. As such, the church can't grow.

   It's a moot issue in one sense, as Andrew is secular and prefers to take Daddy-daughter running time with Chaya when I go. But it's still a big loss of potential community and can feel a little isolating. I still long for a spiritual community that I can obliquely share with my family. There are so many lovely people at St. Paul's, but they are at a different place in their lives for the most part.

I had previously leaned towards attending St. Paul's Bellingham (bigger community and my dad still attends) more often, but I didn't because Helen gave the most amazing transformative sermons and attended prayers in a way that outright spoke to my soul. .

Set adrift, but in an open way. I don't really know what will evolve. What will happen at the nearby church? Life is full of question marks and different tides to float down mindfully.

And honestly, there is now a chance that our own family might move. It's too ill-developed a chance to discuss, but in some grander ways I think we understood that living in Mt Vernon while Andrew works at EI in Mukilteo was perhaps not sustainable for the rest of our lives. I was hoping to live somewhere for longer than 2 years (I guess 3 is a record in my adult life) and we still might, but there are a series of opportunities that may be coming together. If they do align, I think it would quite appropriately be called Fate. Or something akin to that. Maybe just "an offer too good to refuse."

More on that later perhaps if anything develops. But it certainly lends to the ebb and flow and changeability of life.

I'm surprised at how much more easily I contemplate moving at this point than previously. Moving from Bellingham was painful and hard. It took a long grieving process and I don't think I would have handled it as well if I didn't have friends and family out here (it helped was still so close to Bellingham). Now, I still feel very attached, and would love to move back to Bellingham or stay here forever. But I'm also kind of at a *shrug* and adventure if it's the right place and the right time.

I wonder if some of it is Chaya growing older and removing myself further from that cocoon of the first few years. Somebody told me before she was born that I would nest deeply into HOME when she was born and it would be a small fiercely protected world of her and me for a while. In retrospect that seems apt. Now that she's a little more mobile, adaptable and independent, my own adjustments to a new place seem less devastating and more interesting.

Or maybe I just recognize that there's a wind of change in the air and am ready to cast myself aloft into it. To every thing there is a season turn turn turn turn turn turn and keep turning because Chaya is impervious to the nausea and dizziness of a grownup AAAAAAAAH KEEP TURNING!!!

Ok, and with that, we shall now enjoy our little cool spell and celebrate Chaya's impending birthday with a trip to the county fair!

Bring on the animals for petting!!

Sum-more Summer on the Eve of the Threenado.

Brace yourselves: it's summer! It's hot. It's sunny. It's a month away from official threenagerdom. It's about one week away from Chaya switching preschool days to thrice a week (3 for 3!). And that same week away from starting said three preschool days at 8 a.m. (in the morning! Ack!) That's gonna take some adjustment as her schedule has actually been shifting later over this summer. Whoops. 

For now, we're thigh-deep in a preschool break and all the shenanigans stuffed into that. 

Our preschool break began with a frenetic foray to Tahoe. Andrew's mom has had a ski cabin near Sugarbowl Ski Resort for years, but it's only recently been discovered as a summer cabin worthy of a strapping young child (and boisterous Betty-dog)

It's everything you could possibly imagine a summer cabin being. There's a lake beach (I know, right?? in Tahoe??)

 There's a bunch of trails.

There's a BBQ on the front porch.

 Aaaaand there's a swarm of bloodthirsty bastard mosquitoes!! Some may have left their hearts in San Francisco, but I'm pretty sure I left my blood in Tahoe. Not even some generic mosquito repellent, compression socks and pants kept them from pock-marking my legs into infected itch. 

The highlight of Chaya's trip was probably the plane. 

She was so infatuated with planes that our worst travel moments were waiting on the tarmac to get on the plane. Impatience doesn't cover it. CHAYA GET ON THE PLANE!!! With thrashing and bolting and the like. 

She also enjoyed (with some trepidation) the affections of Betty the dog. 

And perhaps the greatest culinary discovery of the weekend was those ooey gooey sugar kebabs known as toasted marshmellons! Or something like that.

 There were also many moments of Chaya demanding to go back to the house, refusing to go inside the cabin, telling the dog to come and then screaming BETTY NO!!! LEAVE, hurling herself headfirst into a body of bruises from a bed, and otherwise being her vividly youthful self. 

And there was a little bit of recovery required for the whole family on returning. We all might have been a little tired and snappy by Sunday evening, and Monday was "fun."

 Travelling is still pretty brutal on my body, considering I'm hanging by a thread of "not dead yet" in an amorphous fashion with all of my various at-home accommodations. The stint in Tahoe alone was enough to erase a handful of weeks of PT, foment some reflux redux and bend the rules of space and time to rack up a few months' sleep deficit in two days! The plane and car were physically exacting experiences all their own. But we trudge on with happy memories and cute photos (and the number of a very good massage therapist!)

That was a segue? Clever huh? Adella's health! To celebrate not  having that preschool time for myself, I added a whole battery of additional medical tests and appointments to this week! No really, timing just worked out that way. Lucky Chaya got a whole lot of gramma time as a result. 

So as of the moment I can say that mammograms ain't no thing (though I felt a minor twinge of guilt presenting my eensy decolletage to the technician who had to somehow get those babies into the machine). I don't seem to have breast cancer. In fact, joy of joys, breast pain is a negative risk factor for breast cancer usually. I mean I was more concerned that the sensitivity was related to the abscess I had during that nasty bout of mastitis a few years ago, but still nice to hear. I have no idea what the EMG (zapping your body with lots of little shocks to see how the nerves fire, then sticking some muscles with needles for good measure) of my right arm will reveal because I don't get to hear about that until after the MRI of my upper back/neck. That's a complement to the MRI I had some months back of my brain and the MRI I had a different time of my lower back (yay bulging thoracic disc and spinal degeneration in my lumbar region!)

Next week I finally make it to a neurologist to add to my specialist bingo (do two rheumatologists  and two orthopedists count on separate squares?). And probably will get a few more neurodiagnostic tests run on my other extremities. 

Things that have been diagnostically excluded at this time: MS, scleroderma, lupus, sjogren's, mixed connective tissue disease, brain tumors, heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases (beyond a benign and occasional arrhythmia), most imaginable nutritional deficiencies, most thyroid diseases, and (this week) breast cancer.

A nice list of things not to have! 
Of course many of those aren't dispositive, but sometimes ya gotta take comfort in the "well if you had that, by now you'd be dead or way worse off" stretch of time with this nonsense. All my fingers: still intact! Still walking! Life is sweet. 

I do seem to have GERD/LPR (reflux, which seems a pretty common affliction), raynaud's with a nice side of chillblains and related eczema, low blood pressure, and a host of musculoskeletal issues that may or may not also be neurological. Oh and probably a vasovagal response that's a bit more acute than most. I probably have TMJ and lord knows about arthritis in other joints. We'll see.

My mother-in-law was commenting how she knew it was time for PT for her shoulder when the pain began to interfere with opening a jar. That just wasn't right. That struck me, I guess because I was thinking "opening a stubborn jar tweaks my wrists through my elbow through my shoulders and neck, which then seems to travel into my jaw and cheek... and somehow I'm sure it' then exacerbates my lower back through my feet and then I have headaches, reduced sensation and pain and... f- all those jars, I'll take things in bags, thanks!" So I'm a little less on the scale of "wow" when I see the PT forms that ask about various ways physical pain interferes with day to day activities. Don't get me wrong, I still can do a ton and I'm grateful for that, but it is a bit of a trade off in that it doesn't come free on my body. I'm still amazed at how well and quickly a pulled ankle healed itself. That's what normal healing is supposed to feel like? Astounding! And glad I'm capable of it.

And well, I've reached enough of an equilibrium that I can do mild walking daily, and several complicated PT exercises with a predictable level of acceptable pain/tingling. It's not without some discomfort (and reflux occasionally), but a tolerable threshold mostly. Especially as long as I have massages regularly. I'm surprised that I actually remain fairly strong and flexible even if I'm wonky as all get out.

We'll see, anyways. In the meantime, I have to find a balance of protecting myself and living life. So we're at least limiting plane trips to once a month! Chaya's gotta be a flower girl. That's just non-negotiable!

And the monster carries on with several bruises and the broadest multichromatic dazzlement of human emotion imaginable!

She's insisted on wearing the same pineapple pajamas all day long for abut a week straight.Our only respite is that if she gets any water or dirt on her clothes she MUST shed them and wear something new, and occasionally she's in such a panic about this that she'll accept other clothes than her pineapple shorts! I also couldn't tell you the last time she took a bath, but she remains surprisingly fresh and clean with the help of baby wipes and a wet comb from time to time. 

This weekend she's getting still more grandparent time, as her Grampa Tom has come to visit! 

So far, we've attended an Arts Festival together and created many many works of fine art that were left fluttering in the wind to dry. Chaya is very zen about her creation. It's about the act in the moment. Once a work is completed, the fruits of her tussles with the Muses may be sent back to the Ether. It was the moment of creation, not the created itself. 

True art, of course, is bobbing in a bouncy castle. And Chaya got herself into a rather large one of those. She liked it ok when the other kids were in there, but far preferred it once the time had expired and all the other kids dutifully heeded the call of the operators and left. Her very own private bouncy house!! Nothing like a special ops extraction mission to give you a little bit of bounce for day. 

It may have been a full morning, judging by the maniacal howling the predated lunch and naptime, but summer's too full to throttle back. 

So we rounded out the evening at a big farm-style gala at a preschool friend's house. Let the 3 year old birthdays heat up!

It was a fantastic affair, and Chaya managed to avoid the highly prominent water theme and stay quite dry.  After a typical Chaya wander into the netherlands of the property, she even occasionally interacted with her preschool friends, largely when one of them gently told Chaya to actually go DOWN the slide after she stopped at the top in order to ponder the meaning of life!

Judging by the twenty minutes of "dinner" in which Chaya ran around howling and refusing to come to the table, the moment of sheer crystalized frustration that led to knocking over blocks into her water and all over herself, and the way she then managed to climb onto my head and make alien noises at bedtime... it might have been on the extreme side of stimulation for the kiddo. 

Today's been a little mellower, though we'll see how my body feels about an afternoon mini-hike on the aptly named Little Mountain. 

And we hike onwards through another week of break towards August and the big birthday wedding bonanzas with maybe a transition from crib to bed thrown in there. 

Eek. Wish us luck and we'll wish you a cool breezy July weekend back. 

Prayers of the People

I prayed and prayed and prayed again, until the tears ran dry. Quietly in the back pew of the church muttering through a feeble "hear our prayers" at the prompting of others, hardly able to hear the words I knew by rote.

Yearning for healing for loved ones in pain. Aching for scared children of sick parents. For the friend diving into the abyss of a medical treatment with slim odds of success. For the heaviness of a world I could not fix. For my weakness and fear as the future's maw yawned indignantly at the plight of the weakest and the strongest alike. I prayed without intention or direction underneath a familiar script. 

Hear my prayer!

The world didn't change. No miracles rent the fabric of my muslin reality. No fuzzy-bearded deity alit from cumuli to banish inequities of the world in acquiescence to my plaintive cadging. No devils offered bargains. 

Hear whose prayers? 

Instead, I prayed and I held my yearning. I clasped my pain, though it burnt. I held my fear and vulnerability and that crushing helplessness of a world that doesn't always play "fair." Submerging through it into the love and happiness that had made the pain and loss smart so deeply. The hugs. The laughter. The kisses never shared. The memories formed and unformed. They dragged me down, but I held tighter.
Hear our prayer? Where? What?
I began to hear the echoes of laughter. Of tears. First and last breaths mingling with that raw morning reek. Bodies simply being in the same space, atoms fizzing in and out of our corporeal limits.
As I plunged further at dizzying speed, some pit in my stomach brushed a spot beyond myself. My body cringed and crackled, stinging as a a force rushed into those broken spots. I ached. More tears squeezed through. 

And *nobody* was healed. No children stopped crying.


Behind me a woman softly sniffled in another's arms. They prayed too. Pewed people hovered with heads bowed or heads raised or heads slightly cocked. Thumbing their bulletins or closing their eyes. Practicing their next call and response, or stumbling over another. Hear our prayer? 

Muttering and chanting. As others uttered their personal supplications, some smiled. Some frowned. Some scratched their wrists and fingered their watches. But we all prayed in stichomythic strides, and the echoes resounded from our depths.

And the world outside remained the same. 

We prayed to ourselves in our plentiful solitudes. Orisons surging beyond the text overlying . Waves of supplication washing over each other, a briny tide tugging us along. 

No crises averted. No buildings reassembled from the ashes. No graves re-opened. 

We prayed for ourselves but then for each other and then for us, as our selves intermingled. The yearning and the fears and the love all vibrated through the silent breaths between prayers. That tiny divine seed surging through a nauseous nerve in our bellies. It seeped through the cracks. It pooled in the air between us. 

And no cancers were cured. No injustices righted . Not a single child reunited with an anxious parent.
We prayed for ourselves, ever more the deeper selves present in all things. We prayed for "us" the community. And for "us" the people. And for "us" the world. And we stopped ignoring the words even as the words melted away. And we prayed for all things. We saw that little something that tickled and ached inside of us spewing light from every existence. Ever deeper into the sufferings and joys until the two poles were an indistinguishable everything. Ever further into the realm of love. 

I prayed. We prayed. We heard our prayers with our fullselves until the deepest unspoken outshouted the scripted and mechanical. 

We heard our prayers. 

And the world didn't change. But we did. 

Our prayers didn't change the world. But we might.

Ja-la-la-ly: Summer Heats Up (but not literally yet)

Between some obscene little hot spells, we've weathered Juneuary's cooling bluster. I fully suspect the more persistent heat of July and August lurks around the bend.Yet for just one more morning, we wallow in our pre-4th rain and stay cool in the mornings and warmish in the afternoons. -ish.

Getting ready for some mad-wild-(not-so-United-States-of)American fun. Or moping. Or homages to this Greatly-Complicated Land of Ours.

Wonder Woman was an Immigrant

Of course to rev up for that, we took Chaya to her very first protest. Families Belong Together. In the rain. Trying to figure out who the white dude talking on the bullhorn is and what is he saying because it's kind of hard to hear (Representative Rick Larsen and I still don't quite know but generally that asylum seeking toddlers shouldn't be thrown in cages). And are people heading out to march or stand on street corners and should we stay and sing or go look at shoes at the Running Store. Because we care. But we're not very organized. We did see lots of other families, which was cool. Hopefully Chaya's next civic action will be a little more in the know, but we're all learning here.

Ok a little homage or something:

Our founding fathers had some good ideas (whooo tea party in the Bay!). But ideas alone are not what makes America great or special. We've got some some good talk about the tired, hungry, huddled masses. But how deeply do you have to look back into history to see that the USA is built on the backs of the oppressed. Mortared with fear and disgust for "the other" (in its successive waves). Premised on mental gymnastics that allowed otherwise-good-people to wash their pelf in the blood of the weaker and thank God in the next breath for their success.

What is amazing about America, though, is how much that suffering has been the sand presaging the pearl. How deepest suffering, cruelty and fear, gives way to love, persistence, art, and the damned dogged dignity of human lives.

Blues and gospel music. Swing dancing. Literature and poetry. Humor. Satire. Non-violent protest movements that changed the face of who we are and what we believe. We are beautiful because the people who were trampled down didn't stay crushed. They didn't run away. They kept fighting. Singing. Their spirits still soared. And wave after wave of vilified, exploited, and oppressed sub-groups kept fighting to redefine what it means to be American and what it is to be a part of this country. 

We have a lot to atone for and we are still a seething mess. But there is so much good and so much beauty rising out of that chaos. 

America, you are my mess and one that has offered me so many fortunes that I never earned or deserved. I love you not like some frigid ideal set off in the ether, but like the family you are: with all your faults. And I will hold you accountable and hold you to a standard you've never fully achieved but must keep striving for. I will call you on your crap and cheer you on in your moments of success. 

And maybe in the meantime I'll complain about firework noises, fret that my threenager-in-training is too close to the BBQ, and serve people some Americana foods while enjoying the Wednesday off.

I won't be devouring too much of it myself, the Americana. Maybe peanut butter. That's as American as apple pie, if not more so. Definitely no hot dogs, corn on the cob, or any tasty salsa dishes. 

I continue to have a selective palate, shall we say. While I rail against cultish diets and the fanatically disordered fervor of "clean eating" in all its myriad forms, well... my body seems hellbent on restricting my diet. I'm glad at least to be at enough of a point (thanks calcium-depleting, bone crunching PPI) that I can even start untangling some of my "trigger" foods. Kefir but not greek yogurt. Green peppers apparently. Garlic and onion still (darnit). Bosc pears and red delicious apples are ok, but tarter forms of either are problematic. It goes on.

And then of course recently I've also had some neck and jaw pain that is encouraging me to stay off any crisp or chewy foods as much as possible. It was pretty bad a week or two ago and is slowly mellowing to a " don't push it." I'm able to enjoy the occasional crunch now, but have to be careful.

So for now, my diet is pretty specific. Nut butters. Veggies (most veggies are ok if you avoid the tomatoes, onions/garlic, and pepper families) cooked and immersion blended. Oatmeal. Banana. Papaya. Persimmon. A small amount of blueberries blended into oatmeal. Walnut/almond milk I've been making myself. Soy milk ,but just the unsweetened kind from Westsoy. Lentils and beans are still both mushy and ok. I can stomach a little hing in lieu of onion/garlic. Sumac is delicious. Most herbs and several spices in moderation. Rice and quinoa are good. I can kind of get fish to be nice and tender if I try. Cheese is iffy but mozzarella in small quantities .Larabars - if they are pecan pie, peanutbutter cookie, coconut cream pie, banana, or cashew cookie - are soft enough and mellow enough for me.

And on it goes. The moral is, as always, don't try to feed me even if I do need to eat every couple of hours. Just leave me near a well stocked personal kitchen/store and stand back.But I kind of enjoy making food even if I can't eat it, so we've been continuing our tour through the various meal subscriptions services. So far Sun Basket has been the worst. Gobble is my favorite, but Freshly and Home Chef are both pretty strong contenders. And, no, I've not really had much chance to make myself a pure meal from any of these services, but I can steal a little of some of the ingredients to save for myself.

But enough about what's going into me. How about what's coming out of Chaya! Oh you knew we'll be reaching potty-training-potty-mouth eventually.

She's not remotely in training. There's no big longterm scheme here. No coaches. No rest days or long-run sits. No power bars. No excel spreadsheets. And so far no funny technical outfits with magical moisture wicking components. Just the occasional "would you like to sit on your toilet" and a handful of potty-themed youtube songs.

Chaya's had her little potty since she was about 17 months and first showed interest in the toilet. Her fascination involved deep excitement at the prospect and experience of seeing others use the toilet. We thought that might mean something, but mostly it meant that she enjoys scatological humor and that her animals were more precocious about using the toilet than her (they're all thoroughly trained at this point).

Her interest in emulating adults and her preschool peers has waxed and waned for months. Sometimes she'll sit. Sometimes she won't. She's always enjoyed her couple of songs about using the potty, but will go through solid periods of yelling NO!!!! when somebody asks if she'd like to sit on her toilet. For the last handful of months, the toilet has largely been an impromptu stool for peeking out the bathroom window.

Within the last week, her receptivity to sitting on the toilet has increased (along with her ability to hold off on peeing for a long long time in order to produce some real leaky soakers that nobody really wants to hear about). 

No potty pictures, but here's some indecent storytime

A handful of days ago, she caught a somewhat bored mommy checking her phone. Chaya knows mommy's phone is (1) forbidden (2) devoted largely to storing and capturing pictures of Chaya. In my panic to keep her from leaping off and melting down, I explained that the phone pictures were only for Chaya sitting on the toilet and let her start watching videos of herself.

Funnily enough that has marked a hallmark of interest in "using" the potty. I don't necessarily think Chaya is particularly interested in "using" it as a human-waste-repository, but she's been very down for sitting on it while watching herself. And she'll suggest it at random times as well as when we're already in the bathroom. A few days ago, she demanded "noise Chaya" (pictures that make noise = videos = potty time in our world). Coincidentally or not, the toilet was doubly christened in all ways imaginable. Chaya looked kind of confused. A flicker of terror passed her face when she saw what was in the little plastic toilet bowl, but once I emptied it into the big toilet and we got to flush, she was peacocking it up like mad. She did want to sit back down on her toilet and watch more, but I bribed her with a celebratory "let's sit in your blue chair and watch the Panda Potty song!" suggestion. Yes I will mush her brain with all kinds of screen time.

Proud poop face

She's pooped in her potty twice more since then. I have to admit I was secretly hoping she'd outgrow the mini-potty and need our well-plumbed toilet before she starting defecating in it, since now there's some more clean up to do (given that her stuffed animals all use her potty and sometimes it looks like she is torturing her animals to get information out of them via said toilet bowl, it seems important to keep sterile as possible). But it's nicer than diapers. Pee may just not be of particular interest to Chaya yet. I'll spare you further details. For now.

And she's already trained to be a modern human being - who doesn't take their phones to the toilet with them these days?

I definitely don't think she's truly ready for whole hearted training, so I will not be engaging in any "THREE DAY NAKED POTTY MARATHONING" (though I hear it's magical), but it's novel at any rate. And making me think I need to get a comfortable bean bag in my bathroom for some of our longer "Chaya noise!" sessions (pictures of Chaya that make noise, in case you missed that connection)

But its yet another way that the little beast continues to evolve at her own pace in her own way. And a comment on how even the most base and low of activities can be resplendent when seen through the eyes of a novice child. You can only imagine the joy she takes in "sweeping" and "loading the dishwasher." Sometimes I feel jealous that Daddy can impess her wild his amazing yoyo skills and acrobatics until I realize that cooking and cleaning with me (Cinderella mommy!) is equally exciting, wild, and madcap.

And with a flourish of Fireworks, we charge into our very busy summer of trips and family visits. A preschool break. A three day preschool habit. And a very big birthday for our pre-Threenager!

Best Independence Day wishes to families everywhere, and to little preschoolers becoming more independent everywhere. 

June Vroom!

Chaya's third summer! Er fourth! The first one was a dark hot drag (oh oh oh flaming pregnant lady ear: good times). Her first on the outside was kind of a blur. I am pretty sure there were lots of parks and stroller walks and I know there were birthday parties. The second was actually in Mt Vernon. Eek. And now this one. It's got a bit to live up to, but hopefully not in terms of hospital visits or nasty smoky air pollution. Maybe in terms of "exciting" excursions that daddy or mommy could actually manage without physical pain, but daddy's (hopefully) healing rapidly every day. And mommy is double-doing the PT with a vengeance so who knows!

I'm past any attempts to quantify where in the twoness Miss Beastie is. As far as I'm concerned we're now at the place where I can say "she's almost 3" or - if I'm feeling precise - "she's three in August." Simplifies life when you no longer feel like 2.5 is just developmentally different than where she is at two and nine months BUT it's a little awkward kind of breaking it down into fractions or months. Sure, anyone who doesn't have a child under five is happy enough grouping her as "toddler/preschooler" for purposes of  general categories.

 I think for people who don't have children around this age, really they just want enough to know "CHILD probably doesn't speak in eloquent iambic pentameter, doesn't have any sports scholarships, doesn't want to sell me girlscout cookies... and might be sporadically loud, a tiny tempest, and potentially very messy... p.s. might eat boogers or other bodily fluids. Best approach: smile, wear earplugs, and back away slowly."

But I tell ya every month makes a difference!! Except in shoe size. I swear she's had the same boots for over a year now. But in every other way we're growing up every day.

Ok... not like in terms of sleeping in a bed instead of a crib or - gasp - using the potty. Chaya's not in a hurry to grow up in those ways, despite the endless rounds of diaper rashes. She adores the compilation of potty training songs I put together on Youtube. She makes me draw picture of Chaya peeing, pooping, plunging the toilet (long story), and flushing the toilet.

But every time we ask if she just wants to sit on it, she's recently burbled out an enthusiastic NO! before running away. Too bad, since her diaper rash popped an ugly absceess that's required antibiotics, but then again the antibiotics are strawberry milkshake flavored, so that might be a win in Chaya's calculations.

Attendant to the potty-sitting aversion, she seems to have just developed an aversion to the bath. Oh how dolefully and baleful the sob "NO BUBBLES!!" can sound! We're wusses and/or compassionate parents, so we have not thrown her in the bath like a panicked house cat, instead opting for frequent wipe-baths, but it's becoming an issue in terms of her recently developed desire to have long hair. Something's gotta give here! I'm guessing it will just be mommy's cool as we spend hours brushing knots out of a sobbing and filthy little girl's tresses. Hopefully this is all because the diaper rash makes sitting in water painful. Hopefully. She actually did relent and demand a bath today, only breaking into howls of "NO BUBBLES" after a good twenty minutes of pro-bubbles.

And as for giving up the crib, that is probably nearer on the horizon. Chaya can climb out of it if she's not in a sleep sack. The sack does seem to slow her down for the interim. She really just hasn't tried though, so we don't fully know. Seems like she really likes the safety and barrier of a fully ensconced crib. Plus her room is SOOOO not toddler-proofed yet. There are chords. Expensive baby monitor cameras perched precariously atop a shelf that's built like a friggin' ladder! There's a closet that leads to our water heater. We will deal with it all. We will. Really. Soon. Maybe.

But in most other ways, we're back to various jags and jolts of that runaway train to threenagerdom.

We're riding a little wave of self sufficiency and helpfulness at the moment. Chaya is really into making food at the moment, which I love. Nothing as elaborate as actual cooking or baking. Most of my meals are 'take some premixed stuff and combine them, and then nuke or instant pot it all." But some serious mixing of food ingredients is going on at our little chef's station.

I actually tried a different meal service called Gobble that was far more our speed than Sun Basket. Everything was really simple and you just have to chop some veggies, then put things in a pan in a certain sequence. And Chaya could do a bunch of that. She's into tearing up herbs as well though she doesn't like eating them. And I let her "season" our veggies with a shaker full of sumac.

Most of the time she makes oatmeal and eggs. All day long. No matter if she wants to eat them. It's deadly serious artisanal level oatmeal and eggs (ok I pop them in the microwave to finish but the oatmeal involves bananas, chia, raisins, blueberries, squash, wheat bran, and some whole hearted mixing). I've starting just reducing the portions to minute amounts and then combining all of her days' efforts into a single bowl of tomorrow's breakfast. She does usually eat the eggs she makes.

I've also had some good luck inviting her to help us clean up after meals.

I've had a fair bit of luck in a variety of places, really. For an almost-three year old.With sweeping (waiving the broom around wildly, knocking some things off the table and then throwing the dust pan in the trash quite proudly). With putting away laundry (gleefully running to her room with a stack of clothes/my-bras/underwear/towels and stuffing them all in any available drawer).

 With wiping (markering the table...

...demanding I spray it with water, brushing the ink into a modern masterpiece, demanding a paper towel to wipe, markering her hand, demanding that be sprayed...

 ...dripping ink everywhere and then smooshing it all around...

 ...eventually demanding a wipe).

 With putting cutlery on the table (running around with a big handful of them and then eventually plonking them on the table). With putting cutlery in the dishwasher (actually not bad at that one).

I am skeptical that I've hacked anything or that this interest will last, but as long as it does, I'll be cultivating it. It's a big enough mess in here anyways that a little extra chaos from Chaya branded cleaning is a drop in the toddler-chaos bucket.

I like to think that Chaya is not alone in "growing up" though I suppose at a certain point it's far easier to just "get old" (me? I never get old!). I like to think all the vocabulary and verbal alacrity shed by Chay's truly made space for wisdom and insight, but I'll take "capable of forming basic sentences and able to continue dressing oneself."

I did have a brief flash of something akin to a positive insight while reading C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce. Which necessitates a little plot summary (SPOILER ALERT: it was all a dream... but true... but metaphor because nobody can really see eternal truth fully or know what lays before us). The narrator takes a bus from a gray town that is hell to the an exquisite eternal place where it is almost daytime. He and those who travel with him are but shades in the brilliance of this transitional place. Too insubstantial to even walk on the grass without pain or pick up the lightest leaf. They're each met by a guide from the eternal place - some earthly connection who is now radiant and joyful beings of light. They basically are there to help the shades walk and traverse towards the truth. The truth is painful, physically. All struggle and most of the shades refuse to take the journey because they are so bound by some aspect of their humanity. Whether it be a conceit of their artistry, a fear of being seen naked, a need to control, even the angry love of a mother  who cannot let go of the love that has consumed her Only one other character definitively transforms by finally allowing his guide to kill the animal on his shoulder. The death of the animal (which was the voice of his lust) was excruciating to the shade, but the dead lizard arises from death as a giant horse and the shade becomes substantial and rides furhter towards the truth. The conclusion being that all parts of ourselves will be redeemed but only after we allow them to die.

I've been ruminating on this. Even the highest most beautiful particular of a person is neutral intrinsically. If it leads us to the unity of all, then it is good. If it isolates us from that, then it becomes evil. My loves. My highest and noblest sentiments can lead me away from true happiness. And any part of self or ego can become habit and can consume the self.

I think of all the parts of myself that I've "lost" - the different versions of self I have become. And I remember my dad or others asking in a somewhat sad tone "don't you miss dancing/working/ writing?" I think of all the points of pride and joy that I no longer can lay claim to. And I've never been as sad about those not being a part of my life as I suspect makes sense. But there is always still a yearning. I think those things were ways to experience that divine something-beyond, but they themselves were not that thing. And it reminds me that all of what we are will come and go and we remain ourselves. Of course it makes me also ruminate on what does anchor and consume me from that more transcendent truth. Sure there could be doubt, pride... but I'm gonna go with Ice Breakers Bubblegum.

Wherever we can't self-improve, we can attempt some light home improvements. A month or two ago we went on a lark of a trip to a window treatment showroom to talk about better window treatments for our wonderfully expansive and assymetrical big windows. They have this feature in which they let all the light and heat in without letting much back out when it's warm. And sucking all the heat out when it's cold. I'm told black out curtains would help. And our shades are looking a shade seedy after all of Chaya's acrobatics. So we had plans. The estimate was a mite bit out of our price range (oh just double), so we asked some follow up questions and... never heard back.

In the meantime, we had our landscapers plant severa lovely new trees. They are growing beautifully, but nowhere near as voraciously as the weeds devouring our porch. So, perhaps more landscaping is in the future.

But Chaya's second-year apple tree is flowering and flourishing! I think this says all the most promising and lovely things about our future time here.

And in the meantime, we'll celebrate our PNW June by breaking out the sunscreen for midday and the gloves and heaters for the evening and take our sun breaks before the pending summer heatwaves!

Summer Ascending and the Medical Mayhem Quickie (yeah right) update

May we Wright ourselves right into June?

 We may at that. Summer is clamoring at the door, with the giant Ski to Sea kick off coming up this weekend.

Andrew will not be cycling this year, but he's still captaining a team and providing full mascotry for Team Dadbod yet again.

After that, well, it's June. Bring it on! Trips. Preschool reshuffling (up to 3 days a week and starting at 8 a.m. ack!) Family visits. Birthday parties.

In the meantime, Chaya's best friend (I think - honestly now that she's at preschool, her social life is far more her own business and less mine, but they are always so happy to see each other) Sebastian is off to Mexico for the summer.

 They plan to eventually move there, but this is "just" a four month visit this time. Claudia is probably doing it wrong by leaving during the warmest part of the year and returning once it gets nice and wet and cold. But she has citizenship hoops to jump through in fall.

This isn't the only original baby play date Exodus: her buddy Alex (and as importantly our family friends Jen and Joe... and their daughter Olivia too) will be moving to Virginia Beach in summer. It's a good thing for them: Joe is getting a job with tenure.** You can't really find fault with that. But it's definitely the end of an era.

** edit, everything I said about Joe and Jen's future contains middling accuracy, but rest assured they are moving somewhere better for a better job.

2nd year birthday bashes!

I guess you could say we had a final hoorah picnic in the Park with all the kids the other day, but we can at least hope it isn't the final-final. There will be trips and visits somehow. We'll coordinate. We shall.

. In other news, Chaya doesn't seem particularly aware of gender in many regards. She swaps gender pronouns regularly and occasionally announces Daddy or Mommy have anatomical features of the opposite biological sex. But she has reently discovered dresses. She's had dresses before, but never been particularly interested in them. Recently, she demands DRESS every other day or so. She now has plenty, and of course is persnickety and particular about which ones she wants in a given day. Today she demanded her tiger dress instead of pajamas. She's also discovered pigtails. My doing. My hair is an annoying in between length so I've been pulling it out of my face with pigtails. Chaya was fascinated and then wanted her own. She holds them like little horns and insists on wearing them to bed.

So, we might not get away with pixie-cuts for much longer. Which is unfortunate because it's still impossible to groom the little dervish and she still likes rubbing food and snot in her hair. We'll figure it out. Messy pretty monster chic?


It's been a while since we checked in on the Adella-"health" updates.I'm still not dead yet, but I'm awfully crumbly.

The reflux abides. It got a little better when I changed to a lower dose birth control from straight out HRT, but worse again after I got one of my daughter's baby plagues. Per my ENT's order, I also had a "barium swallow" test (very fun and the first fizzy drink that I've been able to have in a while... yeah it tasted like chalk, but the burping feeling was amazing). They're a full on medical kiddie-ride: you drink something thick and fizzy, and then get X-rayed as the liquid (and your tilt table) goes down. Amusing, but it didn't find any mechanical issues.

So, after a fairly meaningless follow up with the ENT, I then waited a month for a GI consult. The GI refreshingly supported my hesitancy to take PPIs (e.g. prilosec, nexium, etc). PPIs drastically reduce stomach acid, which is good in terms of lowering the acidity of stomach contents getting all over your upper airway. That's less good insofar as in doing so may interfere with mineral and vitamin absorption. They aren't super appealing for people who, like me, have low bone density to begin with. Anyways, my GI told me to continue my restricted low-aid diet (I miss you, Mexican food and Indian food), to take zantac, and that we'd do an endoscopy to see what's going on.

Unfortunately my insurance company is less supportive. In order for them to pay for an endoscopy, I need to have taken PPIs for at least 3 months. Meaning, I have to start taking something immediately and call again in three months, then wait another month or two (from what I understand of the scheduling calendar). And that's for a test that may or may not reveal much. I'm told the really definitive test is another one that you only qualify for after the endoscopy. But oh well. Break out the prilosec or whatever and more vitamin supplements for my pill container!

Meanwhile, my back two left molars have been turned into mush over the last 6 months. My dentist was quite concerned but felt reassured that I was getting medical help for the reflux. So more dental work of course and a prescription toothpaste! Disconcerting, but a time to be glad I have good dental and health insurance I suppose.

I did get orthotics finally, which will take 2-6 weeks to adjust to. Hoping those will help get me back to walking without pain and revolt.

I've also been seeing a massage therapist once a week and that is amazing. She is a very intense person with a dedication to figuring out WTF is going on with me. And she's one of very few health practitioners who an really look at my whole body. She's working on my arms, pectorals, back and... well I'm icing a lot. The sheer volume weird areas that are nothing but nasty knots is impressive.

Meanwhile, my orthopedist saw a bad looking disc and an atypical level of arthritis in my spine. He didn't explain much and instead wanted to send me for a steroid injection. I decided I wanted to slow it down and find out more first, since my whole body seems to be feeling effects (wrists, spasms in my legs, occasional lost sensation). I'm going to quiz him more thoroughly at an upcoming appointment.

Because why not, I also consulted with a chiropractor who turned out to be out of network on my insurance coverage. Whoops. She recommended three weekly adjustments for the conceivable future to address an ill-aligned lumbar vertebrae (pesky number 5 is VERY off). It was not highly inspiring that their lending library was almost entirely full of books about the evils of vaccines; nor was I thrilled to see they had some kind of note about how since they followed all these alternative wellness practices, they had great immune systems, so come on in to their clinic even if you're sick. More off-putting was the potential cost of an out of network series of adjustments. I"m not averse to finding a chiropractor in my network if that's safe, but I cannot pay out of pocket for that. We've already eaten up our HSA savings this year.

I am guessing my next steps are finding out more from the ortho about whom to consult for my legs and wrists/arms. If I can get a greater sense of all the moving (still moving if not so happily) parts, I think I could have a more fruitful PT relationship. Part of the problem with PT before was that I was inevitably stymied from doing at least several of the exercises by other injuries or the reflux.

Lord know. And maybe a different orthopedic specialist or sports medicine/rehab professional will add something to the mix. Or maybe the neurologist will have input. Who knows!

As doth the acid reflux, so doth I abide. With a little bit of highly capitalizable guilt-self-resentment or something about my current invisible illnessish existence. I feel so bad that I can't do all the crazy fun things Chaya keeps demanding I do that i even feel bad about not being able to do things I wouldn't have even done anyways.

I won't call my husband the kind of theory of mind psychological manipulation, but he's inadvertently (or not? Who can say with a savant?) nailed it a few times.

Like with his upcoming  fantasy trek to Japan to hike all around some amazing trails with his mom and her companions. He could have said "hey, darling, I'd like to leave you and our darling daughter for about 10 days while I use up the majority of my remaining vacation days, and 99% of my planning and attention bandwidth go off on a hiking trip in Japan." He could have.

But instead he said "There's this trip in Japan my mom's been planning. Would you be interested in going?" Knowing that  he's even said with no prompting from me that hiking with Chaya would be insane. Knowing that he's unpromptedly concluded that ten plus hour flights are really not doable with our three year old. Knowing at least theoretically that nobody is able to watch our toddler for 10+ days in a row even if we hadn't already agreed that the five night trip we took last year was "a little much for her." Knowing - I assume - that I have been having issues with my legs spasming and going numb after walking much. Knowing I have been dealing with reflux that makes it super hard to feed myself even at home. Knowing I have really bad back pain that gets worse with sitting (like on several hour flights).

And thus put me and or allowed me to put myself in a position where I bent all over myself explaining how this wasn't the right time, that I hoped we could xyz in a few years, and how I'd really like to do a smaller trip with just us...

Until I was just relieved that he said "I figured. Well, I'd like to go."

All leaving me still vaguely guilty that he will not see his daughter for two weeks AND is nearly out of vacation time to the point that he doesn't have any extra to spare on that other-summer trip to Tahoe with his mom or the Chicago trip to his cousin's wedding where we'll be travelling on my birthday. All because I'm lame. Somehow.


No I don't have time to see a shrink on top of all my other dental and medical appointments, why do you ask??

At any rate, we're all in as many pieces as is practical and buckling our seatbelts for our second Mount Vernon Summer. Start your engines (and plug in that darned air conditioner hose already!!!)

Sunbaskets and Sumac in the Surgery Ward

This is a story about Sunbaskets*. Sort of. It's minimally a story about surgery and broken collarbones and craziness in the kitchen. And ultimately it's a story about toddler and her keepers (keepees?? will she really keep us around much longer? Hard to say!)
* Sunbasket is one of those services for people who want the experience of cooking but who are short on time or inspiration. Once a week the sunbasketeer receives a huge box full of recyclable (sorta) packaging and cute packets or bunches of wholefood organickey ingredients that are perfectly portioned to the recipes allotted to each basket. Basketeers make the food, recycle all the packaging, feel good about themselves, and rinse and repeat.
This seems to be how a typical Sunbasket with a Toddler Evening looks:

Brief preface: this was after coming back from the hospital fairly late in the day following Daddy's big surgery. Daddy and Gramma Lisa were off to Haggen's to fill a prescription. I thought we'd better get some food on the table pronto and that they would enjoy having something waiting for them when they returned. Start the clock!! Vroom vroom. 

Chaya yells APPLE as I slice into a mango (diligently attempting to "halve" and then cut 1/2 inch strips before forgetting their specific instructions and going with my tried and true slash and dash cutting techniques). I tell Chaya I don't have an apple. This is a mango. She begins reaching into the cutting board and demanding some, but throws it on the floor when she discovers it is neither (1) actually an apple, nor (2) the delicious dried (and heavily sweetened) mango she used to love before mommy stopped buying them. 
A minute passes. Chaya yells "CHAYA" and gestures haughtily at the scallions I am now cutting. I used to let her chew on them while teething, so figure why not. She eats a little. I scoop up the remaining mango and scallion from the floor.
Looking at the clock, I realize that there's little chance of getting a pot of water boiling and then cooking rice before dinner, so I decide to ad lib a bit and use the rice cooker for the little bag of Sunbasket rice. 
Chaya discovers a pack of gum. She gleefully follows me around the kitchen sticking each stick individually into my pocket as I ping pong between the rice cooker and the ten places I swear I saw the measuring cup recently. No water is spilled on the head of toddlers, but I avoid tripping over said-toddler only by the grace of god. 
 Booms the tiny tyrant: "Momma hold my hand!!!" I ask her to wait, as I'm carrying a bowl of lime juice and honey, and desperately looking for the alleppo peppers that supposedly came with this mix.
Chaya drags a chair from the dining room table towards the kitchen. It snags on the linoleum and she begins to howl bitter recriminations while the chair threatens to tip on top of her. I gently guide the chair back into the war zone, and she continues pushing it towards the stove.  Interception while flailing around a cod (that is salted and oiled but not covered in miso maple syrup whatever, since that too has mysteriously disappeared)
Chaya demands "EGG! Open the fridge! Egg!" I give her a hardboiled egg. She runs through the living room brandishing said egg. She returns seconds later with the top broken off and presents it to me. While I'm attempting to flip a fish, she demands I open the rest of the egg. I peel the egg. She yells WHITE EGG victoriously, and then bites off the top. YOLK OUT! She lays both egg white and yolk on the range and turns around towards the fridge, gesturing passionately. She yells EGG! I explain that she does not get another egg until she's eaten the first one. She refuses to allow me to throw it out, but doesn't eat it either. Instead she repeats EGG in a variety of different whines and imperatives. 
I run to the living room and sweep up the egg mush created earlier. On my way back to the kitchen, I attempt to clear space at the table to fill with plates and silverware. 
Chaya pushes the chair to the fridge and starts mashing buttons until the water starts spraying out of the dispenser. Fortunately,  I have anticipated the moment, and always cups underneath the dispenser nozzle. As I move sizzling fish off the stove, Chaya extricates the cup of water and waves it over her head. I intervene with a gasp and place the cup on the counter. I do not actually knock it over the next minute, but it's close. 
The rice cooker goes off. I ignore it. Chaya yells BEEP. I guiltily ignore her too as I flounder about with cod, salad, and the "ok seriously what is Chaya gonna eat (she hates most fish and there really isn't enough rice for her and everyone else given the allotment), how about some yakitori rice from the freezer leftover section... sure, she'll throw it around and then demand CHEESE probably but hey something in the bowl" Chaya leaps up to the chair and insists on being the one - the ONLY one - to close the microwave. I finally manage to get her food in the microwave. As I'm leaning over to clean a fishy mess, Chaya bangs the microwave into my head. I mutter an impressive stream of euphemistic imprecations and say something like "Chaya, hon'... mommy hurt her head." Understatement!
Chaya grows bored and grabs my hand, attempting to take me to the living room. I apologize for the tenth time and explain I need to mix the salad.
Chaya yells CHAYA EAT!
I give her some salad. She spits it out. I give her some mango. She says "not a fan." EGG she howls. I offer her the prior egg. She howls some more. She says something about crackers. Or rice. Now it's rice. 
The rice! Oh crap. I release the steam and check on the rice, which has been on "keep warm" for the last 10 minutes. It's kind of a gooey gelatinous mess, but technically still rice. I stop the rice cooker and ladle the rice onto plates. It's past toddler dinner time and I haven't heard from Andrew or his mom recently. They're at Haggen's waiting for prescription drugs and/or buying cookie ingredients and/or planning to go out to dinner and catch us later. Whichever. Hangry toddler must eat. I am not quite sure what to do with the fish or rice. The rice is a lost enough cause, so I let it get cold. The fish I keep fairly insulated in a pyrex container under wrap. I throw several armfuls of dishes into the sink, since they are a little too gooey or burnt for the dishwasher straight out. 
I start to lay out my food  and toddler yells FISH. I assume she wants a fishstick since she usually hates fish other than fishtsticks. She howls as I go towards the bag of fishstick and yells FISH... so I give her my cod. She eats it - to my surprise - and demands more, yelling FISH SWISH SWISH SWISH!. 
I pick off all the cod from my salad and put it on a plate, which I put at the table. Chaya descends upon it like a vulture coming upon her first carrion of the month. 
Taking my opportunity, I throw together some more food on my plate, store the cod as best I can and sort of sit down to eat. And as we muddle through our plain cod and sticky rice mush, I think perhaps Sunbasket is not exactly for us at this time.*

*Of course to redeem your free gift, you have to sign up for a subscription. AND you have to cancel the next week's order before you've even received your first box. I naturally forgot to cancel before the next week's automatic renewal. Holy moley! Ok the food was good (I think - 2/3 of the ingredients were things that set off reflux for me... the cod was good and the garlic and onions on everything else smelled divine), but $80 for three meals (for nominally two people, except for said dietary limits and Andrew's appetite means mostly for one)? Dude I don't spend that much when I eat out!  
Benightedly, I may try a few of the other competing meal services, since they are all flocking into my Facebook feed with discounted offers now. I usually cook in advance during naptimes and just set the timer or reheat in a microwave before dinnertime, but perhaps we'll gradually improve on our adventures in cookery. Perhaps.
Stay updated on that one.
In other culinary toddler news, Chaya has taken to sprinkling sumac (a spice I use to substitute in for lemon and citrusey notes) on her eggs in the morning. I had left some in a salt shaker for my own use and she's become obsessed with it. I have to say (1) way healthier than that much salt, which would be the alternative considering her obsession with the shaker stemmed from watching Andrew salt his eggs (more tenderly than she might) in the mornings, (2) surprisingly delicious on eggs.
In exchange, she's basically given up on all other manifestations of fiber, vegetables etc. Her drothers would be to eat white flour crackers, cheese, egg whites, chocolate and cookies from now on... unfortunately she's inherited the digestive systems of my side of the family. Andrew's family seems to have pretty fast guts, if you will. They can definitely get away with (and probably do better with) more refined grains, higher animal proteins, sugars and butters and other things that would leave me clamoring for a bottle of Miralax. My family thrives on obscene amounts of plant based fiber, which Andrew may sometimes suffer the brunt of when I get a little too "this is how I like to eat." Anyways, it means we do our best to sneak fiber somehow into her preferences (at least she likes okra at the moment, to continue her strange toddlerness) and miralax into her "pink water" (toddler vitamin water because no she seriously will just intentionally dehydrate herself into a state of massive discomfort if you dare to offer her plain water).
And now for the medical update/how-did-we-get-here

Last Thursday, Andrew got himself some collarbone surgery! He's back in a sling for a while and has found a cycling replacement for the Ski to Sea, which is a truly bittersweet thing to say. It was a weird experience. His mom came up to hang out with him so I could watch Chaya. I didn't really think much of the out-patient surgery in theory. Very safe, ultimately. But I was anxious and distracted all day until he texted me that he was in recovery and "feeling drunk." He's recovering well, but glad for the painkillers they prescribed him.

So it's been a wild and whacky few days in our household. Chaya's parents maybe are not helping Chaya "touch the sky" as often as she'd like. Though mommy can kind of get her onto her shoulders without totally destroying her wrists and tendons (I'm sojourning my medical mysteries through the musculo-skeletal system these days with a menu of things that don't work gud at the moment!).

And Chaya's nursing daddy back to health, because she's considerate like that.

But we have food. We have family. And we have a ton of weird insulating packages that are technically recyclable if you can (1) process them in a few complicated ways, (2) fit them into your overstuffed recycling bin!
Bring on the Sun Baskets... because we've already paid for them anyways.
Note to parents; use tv. Maybe in a few years they can help int he cute ways Sunbasket suggests, but until then... tv...