Monday, December 22, 2008

A Big First and a Santa Picture

Well, this weekend was a big first for Miss Gracie. At 2 years and 7 months of age she had her first haircut. I was terrified at cutting off any of those beautiful curls, but she screamed at me anytime I came near her with a hair brush. Logan needed a haircut also, so Saturday afternoon we all headed out to our local Great Clips. Logan went first so he could show Gracie how it's done. After he was finished, Gracie took his seat. The hairdresser went to check Logan out and check Gracie in, which gave Gracie time to freak out a bit. She fussed for a second, but calmed down when the lady came back. She put the cape over her, and then asked if Logan could go ahead and have his sucker. I said yes, so she left again to get the suckers. This, of course, gave Gracie another chance to freak out. However, she was calmed down quickly by the offer of a sucker. She popped it in her mouth, and we were off. She had a little trouble looking down as requested, but what can you expect - she's two. All in all, she did fabulously and is now short about 2 inches of hair. It doesn't change her look a lot, but when I combed her hair after her bath last night there were no tangles. Hallelujah!

Last weekend Santa was supposed to be visiting our neighborhood on Sunday afternoon. He would be in the common area for pictures, hot chocolate, and cookies. All day Sunday I talked up this visit to Santa for the kids. They were so excited! We pulled into a completely empty parking lot about five after 2, for the event that was supposed to begin at 2. I got a sinking feeling in my stomach. I looked around for a minute and noticed a sign on the gate to the pool. "Pictures with Santa cancelled." WHAT?! Logan immediately began crying. I had talked this up big time and now had to tell the kids it wasn't happening. Apparently, "Santa" was feeling a bit under the weather so instead of finding a new Santa or suffering through it, they cancelled the event. Luckily, I found out Santa would also be making an appearance at our local shopping center, Rivergate. So again, with a bit of hesitation, I talked it up all day Saturday and Sunday morning. It was from 1 to 3. We pulled into Rivergate about 2:00 and went to the main fountain area where I expected a mall type setup. No dice. Oh crap. Worried, I tell the kids we'll just drive around and see if he's in one of the parking lots. Logan says, "Maybe he's at Target." I'm doubting it, but drive over there to check. Low and behold, Santa and Mrs. Claus are wandering around Target parking lot like they're homeless. I pull into a parking space, grab the kids, and head to Santa. They're excited until we get up to him. Logan hinds behind me and Grace buries her face in my shoulder. They finally look at Santa when he offers them chocolate in the form of a Hershey's kiss. I put Grace down and tell them to stand next to Santa so I can take a picture. No way. Gracie starts crying and Logan won't go near him. Finally, I get Logan to take Grace's hand and stand in front of Santa for a picture. Gracie refused to look at me, but I got one with all four of them, even if Grace looks like she has a hat for a head.

It's a Target themed Christmas folks! Anyway, I hope everyone has a safe and very merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hope for the Holidays

Well, my season of giving and receiving began today. Me and my two best friends from work exchanged gifts and went to lunch together. We all just did little gifts, but the thought behind them was nice. And we eat lunch together just about every day, but today we went to a restaurant completely void of any coworkers. It was nice just to sit and chat together.

My holiday season has been a strange one, so far. Joey has been sick since the day after Thanksgiving, including spending a week in the hospital, so we haven't been able to spend much time together. I have spent a lot of time worrying about him and wondering what the future holds for him and our family, which isn't how you typically think of the holidays. A joyous time with family and friends doing lots of Christmas shopping and visiting Santa at the mall is how I picture the weeks leading up to Christmas. I've gotten the Christmas shopping done, and finished the wrapping, but all of it has been overshadowed by worry about Joey. He hates being sick and not being able to do all of the things he wants to - shop with me, play with the kids, do homework with Logan - and I hate that he can't do them. When Logan was first born, Joey did everything with him. He picked him up from the babysitters', he bathed him and fed him, he changed diapers and put him to sleep. He got off work before me, so by the time I made it home he'd have Logan in bed. And now he can't do any of that. He has to try so hard to take care of himself, that it keeps him from being the dad and husband he wants to be, and would be, if it weren't for this stupid disease.

My holiday season, and my life, has a theme. Hope. I hope that Joey can be given a reprieve. If not forever, then at least for the next week so he can enjoy the holidays with us. We both know this isn't something that will ever go away, but the past two and a half weeks have been so hard on him. I hope that he is able to wake up with the kids on Christmas morning and watch them open their presents. I hope that he can sit at the table and enjoy Christmas dinner with our family. I hope he is at least able to open the presents I got him. I feel like my heart is filled with so much hope, something has to change. Can't I just will the world to be like I want it? I hope so. Because I love my husband, and I love our family, and I hope we have many more Christmases together.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


The week of Thanksgiving was an absolutely crazy one for the Rowe family. It all began on Sunday night before Thanksgiving. I had noticed Molly (our dog) limping on her back right leg a little during the day, but she had done that a little before, so I didn't think much of it. However, Joey went to take her outside and she wouldn't stand up on her back legs. We were totally freaked out so Joey took her to the emergency vet. Of course, when they got there she ran around and acted like absolutely nothing was wrong. The vet said she probably had some arthritis in that leg and she was overweight. Since then, she's been taking an anti-inflammatory pill in the morning and evening, and we have begun measuring the food she gets in the morning and evening. She seems to be doing better, thank goodness. This messed with our holiday plans, though, because we were planning on leaving her in Charlotte under the supervision of my friend Jessica while we went to KY. We didn't feel like we could leave her when she wasn't feeling good, so she ended up making the trip to KY with us.

On Wednesday I left work at noon to pack up the car and hit the road for KY. Sadly, we didn't manage to leave Charlotte until around 3, which was about an hour later than I expected. We got stuck in traffic leaving Charlotte (which we expected) which added about an hour to our drive time. While driving, we realized neither of us had gotten Molly's collar and leash. We decided to try to find one when we stopped for gas after I-77 merged with I-81. However, we were delayed about another hour by traffice where the two interstates merged. By this time we were more than a little aggravated. We finally stopped at a truck stop thinking they might have dog supplies. No luck, but the cashier told us there was a grocery store "just at the top of the hill" that should have what we needed. The top of the hill wasn't quite accurate, but we made it to the most redneck grocery store I've ever been to. They had a collar, but no leash, so Joey bought a rope that we could tie to the collar so we could at least walk her so she could go to the bathroom. It worked, but I felt like some kind of animal abuser walking my dog on a rope. We went back to the Wendy's next to the truck stop for dinner. This was quite possibly the crappiest Wendy's I've ever been in. The bathrooms were nasty, the wait in line was forever, they were out of milk, didn't have any toys for the kids meals, and to top it off, in the 30 degree weather had the air conditioner running so you had to eat with your coat on. When we got out of there Joey checked with me to make sure we had cash for the three tolls coming up. I don't ever carry cash, and hadn't remembered that I needed some for the trip. We went back to the truck stop to use the ATM. On the second try, it finally gave me cash and we were able to get back on the road. After all the drama, we considered turning around and going home, but the kids were so excited to see everyone in KY, we just couldn't do that to them. We trucked on and were rewarded with smooth travels the rest of the way.

We had a nice Turkey day with Joey's family, followed by Black Friday. My sister-in-law's (Missy & Becky) and I decided we were going full out for the big day. Wal-Mart was having some really good sales on clothes and some toys for the kids, so we planned to get to Wal-Mart around 3 am, scout out what we wanted, and wait for the sale to begin at 5. Well, Missy & Becky never went to sleep that night so they were ready to go. Me, on the other hand, I went to bed around 11pm and strongly felt 2 am was too early to rise. I hit snooze until 2:20, finally dragged my butt out of bed, and as I'm brushing my teeth, they're knocking on the bathroom window because they're raring to go, but can't get in the locked house. When we got to Wal-Mart, we scouted out the location of the things we wanted and decided where to wait for the big 5am moment. Becky waited by the kids clothes (sweatshirts and track suits for $4), Missy waited by the PJs ($4 each), and I waited in toys next to the doll accessory set (stroller, bed, high chair, etc.) that I wanted to get for Gracie. The plan was for us all to work toward clothes. Well, I got stuck in a crowd of people waiting for Hannah Montana dolls ($5) and some baby doll that pees ($10) and wasn't able to get anything other than the doll accessory set and some baby dolls. The other two got everything else. But we had fun and were able to get all the deals we wanted. We then went to K-Mart which was poorly organized and a crazy crowded mess (total opposite of Wal-Mart...hard to believe, right?) so we left. We made a few other small stops and were home by 11am.

We all took small naps, then Joey's mom and I took Logan and my two nephews, Dalton and Kaleb, to see Bolt. It was a super cute movie. We then went to McDonald's for ice cream, dropped Joey's mom off at the ER where she met Becky (Barb had surgery on her knee in Oct. and it was giving her trouble), then I took the boys home. Now, I'm not terribly familiar with where we were but I had good directions, however I still fumbled twice on the drive home and had to turn around and go the right way. The boys and I got home about 11pm, I dropped all of them off at Missy's, took Miss Gracie home, and finally went to bed.

We were supposed to go to Lexington for family pictures at Portrait Innovations on Saturday, but Joey's mom and Becky didn't get home from the ER until around 3am, Joey had been feeling bad all week, and his sisters and I were still tired from our early morning shopping, so we decided to stay home and relax. The ladies of the family and all the kids went to dinner at the Mexican restaurant in Salyersville and called it a night.

Sunday morning Joey woke up running a fever and in a lot of pain (more than normal). We were worried that he had meningitis again (he had it in May and has never felt quite right since) so we called his neurologists in NY and they suggested he go to the ER and get tested. Well, we had planned on coming home on Sunday, plus Joey needed some prescriptions refilled (which had to be done in NC), so his mom packed her things and came back to Charlotte with us. She took his to the ER Monday morning, stayed with him until 3, I got there around 6, and went home around 9. He didn't have meningitis, but they didn't know what was causing him to be in such severe pain, so they admitted him for testing. They did some blood work, did an MRI, gave him some pain medicine, but never figured out what was wrong with him. On Saturday they told him they didn't know what else to do for him and took him off the pain medicine thinking that might be causing the head pain, and put him back on his regular meds. Well, he can take those at home where he'd at least be comfortable, so he came home on Saturday. He still isn't feeling better, but at least he's home.