It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood

We are totally pulling up the neighborhood’s value with our landscaping!  It’s all us!

I’ll have to get some more shots.  The front and back and fairly smoothed over now, pipes and sprinklers are all laid out.  It sounds like they are trying to level out the backyard as the middle part is more sloped inward like a fish bowl.  Then they will grade the areas and truck in topsoil and water it over the course of a few days to let it settle, then they will bring in the sod.  They still need to work on landscaping the flower beds and gravelling the front strip area but they have gotten a lot done.  I feel bad for Benny, who has been at MIL’s for a week now, but he’ll probably be excited to come to a yard with grass.

Our deck guy said he should be starting around Wednesday so hooray for that!

Ezra had his Gifted and Talented test the other day.  I wasn’t too sure how he had done because when I asked the woman she said he did “about average.”  I was thinking, average compared to what?  Other first graders?  Other gifted students?  People in general?  But he must have done well enough because we got a call later than day saying his scores were high enough to place him in a Gifted program.  Only problem is all the slots are filled so we’re on a wait list.  It’s not first come, it’s based on how high his scores are compared to other kids on the list, but she didn’t know where he fell on the list.  It seems to me if you have gifted kids they should find a place for them in the program.  So fingers crossed we get into this program, but at least he will be in first grade regarding of which school we place him in.  There are also a few charter schools that have good reviews, need to look into those.


Landscape, ho!

Our yard is finally getting worked on!  I am REALLY excited about it, can you tell?  I took a couple “before” shots and am trying to get in some photos while they are actually working on it.  Right now the front yard is pretty much completely scraped to nothing with the exception of a few plants/trees that we were keeping.  The backyard has been scraped a little bit but still has quite a bit more to go before it’s ready for plumbing and sod.

It’s such a beautiful day this morning, I totally didn’t want to go to work.  It’s about 6:30am and right around 70 degrees!  Perfect weather for a hike!  Of course, if I hadn’t had to come into work I’d still be sleeping right now and missing out on the wonderful morning.  On the other hand, I’m stuck inside a building so it’s not like I’m able to enjoy it anyway…hmm.

Benny is staying over at my in-laws house for the duration of the yard demolition.  Our fencing had to come down so all the equipment can come and go.  It sounds like he is enjoying himself tolerably well.  The kittens are loving a dog-free space and have taken over his huge dog bed.  They are in for a surprise when he comes back.  Jojo kitty still hisses and swipes at the kittens but I have noticed she doesn’t immediately run when they are around and she lets them get closer to her than before.  Baby steps I guess.

We went to see Cinderella at the Broadway at the Eccles Theatre the other night.  It was a fun night out.  Velvet, Laura, Jesse, and I ate dinner at Settebello, a fairly authentic pizzeria.  They fire-brick-oven bake their dishes and their dough is awesome!  We got a Nutella pizza for dessert and holy crap, I could eat those every day.  Friggin’ fantastic.

A proper gent, he is.

The theatre was pretty close by the restaurant and we decided to park in the lot that is right across from the theatre (usually we park in the one about a block away).  It was nice parking there and just a jaunt to the building but leaving was a whole other story and I’m not sure if we’ll end up parking there again.  Maybe just in the winter months.

The Cinderella show itself was ok.

The set design was great and one of the stepsisters was very funny but the lead was just so-so.  I guess I was expecting more twists or something.  During one of the scenes the fire alarm went off and we were told to exit the building.

Sad we are being evacuated

It was crazy, one moment the cast is all dancing at a ball and then sirens and lights are flashing and suddenly WOOSH, no more dancers on stage.  We were waiting to go down the stairs when we heard it was ok to go back to our seats.

They let us back in!

Apparently some of the special effects triggered the smoke alarms.  We all came back to our seats and 10 minutes later the play started up again.  Credit to the actors, they started back up almost right where they had left off.  We have another show at the end of the month, Dirty Dancing.

All the kids are out of school now.  Ezra is pretty happy, he thinks he is going to get to play Minecraft all day, every day.

I keep telling him that is not going to be the case but I don’t think it’s sinking in.  Our yard will be ready soon and I fully expect the kids to spend much of their days outside, playing on the lovely new grass, having squirt gun water fights.

Leo says he is ok with that.

Kidney stone update

Well, I survived.

Honestly, that was my main fear going into this procedure, that I wasn’t going to come out of anesthesia.  My main intake nurse was awesome!  She had this nifty light box that shows all your veins!  I don’t know why they don’t just use that every time they have to do IVs.  Another nurse held the light box to show the veins and then my main nurse just slid the IV right in, easy peasy.  I didn’t even bruise.  I mean AT ALL.  She was crazy good.  Jesse sat with me for a couple hours until he had to go pick up Ezra from school and wouldn’t you know it, a couple minutes later is when we got started.

I met Dr. Gannon for the first time when he came in to introduce himself and to go over the procedure.  I had met with the nurse practitioner the first time through but he had a good bedside manner and I felt comfortable with him.  The anesthetist gave me a dose of something that I felt almost immediately and then we were rolling down the hall to the operating room. A day or two earlier I had watched a couple YouTube videos on laser lithotripsy and that was a mistake.  It’s interesting to watch it happen to someone else but when you know it’s going to happen to you it’s a whole different matter.  Basically they have you spread eagle and go in with a catheter, guide wires, and a camera and once they find the kidney stone they bring in a small laser and blast the hell out of it.  I sat on the OR bed and got situated and the last thing I remember was placing my left arm into position.  Then I was waking up.

As much as I’m grateful for coming out of anesthesia, I freaking hate the process.  I feel like it lasts a long time in my system and I’m always nauseous and end up vomiting and just feeling all around icky.  I was in the recovery room for a couple hours and then Jesse took me home.  They left a stent in my ureter that needed to come out a week later and sent me home with a bunch of pills.

I took it easy the rest of the day and all the next day and aside from cramping throughout the week that followed, it wasn’t too bad.  I had the stent removed one week later and that was a strange process.  They took me back into this little procedure room and had me strip from the waist down and then they had to clean me.  It’s a weird process in which everyone tacitly agrees to not mind that your downstairs parts are on display and being methodically handled.  Dr. Gannon came in right after my bits had been smeared with lidocaine.  I think I was more nervous for the stent retrieval than the more invasive procedure I’d had done earlier because I was completely awake and aware.  But, he had me watch the camera scope on the screen and it was pretty interesting and not painful, just weird feeling, and then it was done.  That stent was MUCH larger than I thought it would be!

I wasn’t surprised that I had been cramping after that.  A day or two later and I’m feeling pretty much back to normal.

They said it was about 20% calcium and about 80% uric acid which comes from eating a lot of protein.  Dr. Gannon said to just make sure I drink more water and to try to eat less red meat.  I told him I could comply with the more water but eating less meat probably wasn’t going to happen.  The thing is, without regular CT scans there is no way to know how long that stone had been building.  It could have been a couple months, it could have been 10 years, there is just no way to know.  So, I’ll just keep an eye out for any similar symptoms and go from there.

Leo had his 2nd birthday a few days ago.  I always think about the day I gave birth to him (read parts 1, 2, and 3) and the trauma that followed after and I always get little panicky feelings, especially when I remember coming out of the ketamine and the crazy psychedelic hallucinations and the terrifying, smothering memory of being intubated and feeling like I was suffocating because I couldn’t take a full, deep breath.  I try not to think about it too often but it’s there in the background.

On a lighter note, we got new kittens!  Two female kitties, Keiko and Lana.  Keeks likes to be cuddled and pet more than Lana, Lana is a bit more flighty.  They have already grown so much in the couple weeks we’ve had them.  Here is a shot from when we first brought them home.

Benny is quite infatuated with them.  They haven’t helped calm him down, really, but at least they will grow up getting mauled regularly by a dog so it won’t seem traumatic to them.

I watched Gone with the Wind the other day for the first time.  It was more interesting than I thought it’d be but it’s not one I need to watch over and over again.  That Scarlett was a real wench!  Always thinking about her needs.  I would have thought her character would have grown from the beginning of the film to the end but she pretty much stayed self-centered throughout the whole thing.

We are in the process of getting Ezra tested so he can skip kindergarten and go straight to first grade.  He’s a little smartypants, is already reading pretty well, doing multiplication, all the things and more that he’d learn in K.  It’s crazy how resistant his school has been in helping us get him tested.  They wanted to just wait until K starts and then test him the first week and then maybe have him in half-day K and then half-day first grade.  How the heck does that make any sense?!  He’d be missing out on a whole half day of advanced information.  At this point we’ve filled out the paperwork and are just waiting on hearing back for when they can schedule him to be tested.  We want him to be tested for the Gifted program as well but because that starts in first grade we have to get the other testing done first.  Endless looping.

We have our new windows scheduled to be installed this week and our deck should get replaced in maybe one or two weeks.  It’s been somewhat rainy here so our deck guy’s other projects have been delayed so now our deck is delayed.  We have settled on a new landscaping company and now we have to finalize the process with them and hopefully than can start in the next week or two, FINALLY.

March 2017 keto log

3.7.17 – I had been eating cream cheese frosting on a whole slew on things lately.  I made cinnamon rolls that turned out just ok and followed a different recipe for the frosting.  That recipe made A TON of frosting.  All that I needed for the rolls and more.  It was the best frosting I have ever made.  I want to eat it every day.  So to finish it off I started eating it on animal crackers, bacon, etc.  As a result, I was back up to 240 lbs but it has now been keto eating for two and a half days and I’m back to 236.  Water weight makes a difference!  My fitbit is looser again and stomach a wee bit smaller.  Bloat is a real thing.

The trouble now is that I am jonesing for sugar.  Even thinking about the luscious frosting makes me crave it.  There are reports that say sugar is more addicting than heroin.  I’m not sure if I believe that, but I definitely believe it’s addicting.

I’ve been slowly adding walking back into my routine, about every third day or so.  Ezra has been doing YouTube walking videos with me, it’s pretty cute.

3.31.17 – Whelp, keto was a bust for March.  Let’s see what happens in April.

New yard, coming up!

We have settled on a landscaper!  We are all set to begin, roughly halfway into the month.  It might get pushed farther to the end of the month, it kind of just depends upon the weather.  I’m really excited about the layout and garden boxes and everything.  The weather has bee pretty nice lately and the boys have been wanting to go outside and play.  I’m looking forward for when we actually have a yard to play in and not just a mud pit.

I think we may even make a sandbox for the boys.  We think they’d like that a lot.  All of these homesteading blogs I am reading are all talking about their seed orders and what they’re putting in their gardens this year.  I was talking with Velvet about it and we are thinking to maybe do a community thing where one of us grows a couple things, the other grows some complementary plants.  Then some friends heard about it and they want in on the action as well, so we may have a diverse amount of food this season!

I still want to get into canning more.  There are some people who practice “no-buy February” and “Food Storage March” where you don’t buy anything in February and only eat food you’ve already put by in March.  Even though we’ve gotten away from a lot of our original ideas like rabbits and chickens, I still like the idea of growing our own food.

We did get rid of the last couple chickens and the same guy took the chicken coop.  So now we just have Benny and Jojo for animals.  I’m still thinking about kittens, especially because we have some voles popping up in our yard again.  But I’m also considering how much work kittens are so I don’t know what I’ll decide on that front.

Jesse and I are enjoying our Broadway at the Eccles season theatre tickets.

We renewed for next year already and are very excited about the coming lineup.  We have two, maybe three, shows left for the rest of this season.  I think it’s only two shows left, Cinderella and Dirty Dancing.  I have been impressed with many of the shows so far and the building is well put together.  The downside is that certain productions have not tuned the sound appropriately, making it difficult to understand what’s going on.  You’d think traveling Broadway shows would have figured all that out.

I have a new shift at work, one which lets me out several hours earlier.  There is actually still daylight when I leave the building!  It’s pretty nice.  Of course, that means I have to get up about three hours earlier which I’m not so keen on.  I take Leo to the sitter’s way early in the morning and that means we’ve had to switch up our nighttime routine as well.  We put Leo down at 7pm and try to have Ez all ready before 8pm, and we are usually in bed by 9pm.  Leo is so cute and cuddly in the morning when I get him up I just want to snuggle him hard!  Recently he has figured out how to bypass the baby door lock so now we have to literally bungee his doorknob to our bedroom doorknob so he won’t come out.  He is not a happy camper about this turn of events.

Ezra has really upped his reading game lately.  When dad and Dani were visiting, Dani made mention that another of her grandsons is an avid reader and that he reads more than one hour a day.  In the van on the way home a couple days ago, Ezra told me, “I really like reading now.  I’m just like Wyatt, I like to read for more than an hour a day!”

I’ve very gingerly dipped a toe back on the walking circuit and Ezra has been doing walking videos with me.  He keeps up with the one-mile walk and has been insisting we do the two- or three-mile video so yesterday I put on the two-mile video and he dropped out before hitting one mile exclaiming that he was just so tired and that he was burning up all of his good calories.

Leo is talking more, saying ready, blanket, Caroline, Brenda, etc.  Of course, you already have to have some idea of what it is he’s trying to say, but I’m still happy he’s branching out vocabularily.

We have been using Plex media center lately.  The main reason I wanted it was because you can watch your own videos from your own servers no matter where you are.  That is a huge win when you are away from the house and the kids just *HAVE* to watch a show right then and there.  The downside is the server is only as good as the equipment you have.  So while it works a treat in the house on our own network, I frequently get the error message that our server isn’t fast enough to support the media stream when I try to watch shows away from the house.  I’m not sure if this is an issue with our internet upload speed or the speed of the computer itself.

I am wanting to get back into sourdough bread and kombucha again.  Jesse was like, “So, are you just completely giving up on low carb?”  And I was all, “No no, I just want to add more fermented food into our diet.”  And then I made a batch of brownies.  Low carb keto appears to have gone by the wayside for the time being.  I looked up a cinnamon roll recipe on Pinterest and this was top of the search results.

Pinterest, keeping it real.