About Me

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Wife to Sean, police officer and carpenter. Mom to Maeve, 5 year old fashionista who happens to have an extra chromosome. And 1 year old Michael, future Steeler and ladies man. This is my attempt to share the behind the scenes of a real housewife who idolizes Martha Stewart, follows in the family footsteps in the art of sewing, navigates the world of special needs and tries to keep her head above water.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I'm making a comeback!

Yep! I'm back! Not that anyone missed me! Haha!

So, I started this blog in Jan 2010 and life had a different idea of how things would progress.

In March, after being sick all winter, Maeve had sinus surgery. Didn't really help much, as she has been sick all this winter also.

I did make it thru my C25K program. But I never got a chance to run an official race. Instead, we had a nice April's Fools Day surprise - we were pregnant!

And this pregnancy was accompanied by morning sickness, 24/7 for about 6 months. And then bedrest. And then we went a week past our due date! Oh, the joys of being pregnant!

But on Dec 8, we welcomed Baby Michael!

And both kids have been sick all winter. Sinus infections, ear infections, bronchiolitis, strept...

I have resigned one of my board positions. Family first.

I am officially a breastfeeding mama. I had to pump for Maeve, and although I did for a year, I never considered myself part of that special group of moms.

And my newest venture is cloth diapering. I am loving it!

So, I am back. Here's too some successful blogging on my part!


Thursday, February 4, 2010


So, I really need a new sewing machine like I need a hole in the head! Haha! But, I could sew on one and embroider on the other and get twice as much not done as before!

Seriously though, I love "You Can Make This"! I use their patterns almost exclusively and have created so many outfits for Maeve that I could never find in the stores.

So, if you are crafty, visit and see what all the DIY DISH is about!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Missing in Action

Yes, I have been missing in action...

Long story short, I haven't been to the doctors since my daughter, Maeve, was born. Three years ago...

Why? Because my insurance ended a few months after that.

And I am not one to take from the system - I don't believe in it. In my opinion, health care is a privilege, not a right. I know this would greatly distress my relatives who tried their hardest to raise me "left"...

News flash - I belong to the "evil, right" - the Dark Side!

I have health insurance again, since I had the privilege of marrying my hubby. So I finally went to the doctor.

Bad idea. Now I know how old I am. Those stray silver threads in my hair are nothing compared to the wake-up call of visiting your friendly PCP.

I have been having terrible pains in my hands, predominately my right. And it has been getting worse and worse. I mentioned that along with my laundry list of aches and pains and complaints. I mean, I am falling apart at the seams. Forget my exploding head (Glenn Beck-ism), wrap the rest of me in duct tape!

Turns out I have carpal tunnel. Ah-ha! I should have seen that one coming!

So, I have been trying to not do anything that aggravates my hand - typing being one them. My excuse for being MIA.

Or maybe I should say Away Without Leave... oh wait, that is a another post all together...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Frequent Flyers

One evening at our meeting for the Family Forum at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, one of 2 board positions I hold, the suggestion was jokingly made that we should distribute frequent flyer miles. Everyone laughed, but I know that all the parents on the board where secretly thinking, as was I, "Hmmmm, wonder what we could get with those miles?"

If you are a parent, you no doubt have made frequent visits to your childs pediatrician and have probably made one trip to the Emergeny Room. But if your child has special health concerns, the number of visits to doctors might be triple that of a "well" child. There are months on my calendar that hold one, sometimes two appointments a week - I have appointment cards paperclipped to future months as a reminders of all our upcoming appointments.

And because we live in Pittsburgh, we are lucky enough to be in the shadow of one of the top pediatric hospitals in the country, Children's Hopsital of Pittsburgh (CHP). And we really are in the shadow of the new hospital - we can see the buildings from our front porch. Almost all of Maeve's doctors are exclusive to CHP and we see them all on the main campus.

Hence, we are "Frequent Flyers" - hospital staff know Maeve by name and remember when she was a newborn. Boy, the milage we have after only 3 years.

So, yesterday, Maeve had her surgery day.

And her lungs were clear, so everything was a go. She was only in the OR for about an hour from start to finish. We were at the hospital at 8:00AM. They didn't take her back until almost 11:00AM. We saw the surgeon a little before noon and they got good samples for the biopsies and they repaired her incision. Sean left to go to work. They didn't take me back to recovery until almost 1:00PM. Maeve was not happy and was holding her tummy and whimpering - her incision repair was hurting. So they gave her some happy drugs and she fell back asleep. Around 2:00PM we moved to the step down and as soon as Maeve drank some juice we could go home.

Well, she drank some juice and then projected it across the room. Very unladylike if you ask me. So she fell back asleep and then we tried again with the juice. Same response. So around 5:30PM we finally got her something for the nausea and Maeve fell back asleep. When she woke up I convinced them to let her have some Pepsi, not technically a clear liquid, but she likes it. And see drank it. Yipee!

Finally, around 7:30PM we were allowed to go home. 12 hours in the hospital. Not my idea of fun. But we survived another trip. Only to prepare for another one... sigh...

This morning Maeve had a CT scan of her sinuses and then a consult with our ENT. She had her first sinus infection a little after her first birthday and they have been getting more and more numerous and harder to treat. It seemed that this year she had one a month, and as soon as she ended her antibiotics it would start all over again. This summer she was sick off and on from July to September and then she has been sick continualy since the first of November. She only had 5 days she wasn't on anitbiotics.

So, back to the CT scan. First of all, they are really cool. Tissues are grey, bone white and air is black. It was like putting your head through a bread slicer, Dr's words not mine, and seeing each "slice."

First we see the tip of Maeve's nose and then her mouth, the 2 missing teeth that are coming in way back behind the others (that's a whole other story), her eye sockets... and then her sinus cavitities.

As an adult you have four sets of sinus cavities. Young children only have 2 that are developed, the ethmoid and the maxillary sinuses. Your sinus cavities are filled with air and when you get a cold or infection, the tissues swell and you feel pressure in your face and nose, you become congested, your eyes water and boogers gather for a party (my words not the doctors).

So, in a disease free sinus CT scan, those cavities should have presented as black areas. Maeve's left sinuses were completely grey and she isn't even showing signs of infection currently. There was no air anywhere in either left cavity. The right side wasn't as bad. Her ethmoid sinus was only partially obstructed and her maxillary sinus had one little pocket of air in the middle. For someone so young, there was a lot of sinus disease.

Our options aren't great. We can keep doing antibiotics, but that isn't a long term solution and can lead to other problems. We've tried saline washes - if you ever want a fun night, borrow a toddler and squirt salt water up their nose. We have a script for steroids, Nasonex, but even that will only reduce the swelling so much. We might have to squirt an entire bottle up there to see any results. The Dr suggested a script for 4 months in Flordia every winter, but was pretty sure insurance wasn't going to cover that. Darn. And we have endoscopic surgery.

Part of the problem is blamed on Down syndrome. Our kids are known to have tiny insides - Maeve has the tiny ear cannals and tiny tear ducts. And we now know where her tear duct problems are coming from. We knew the structures that open and close between the sinus cavities, turbinates, were occluding her tear ducts because they are normal size and her tear ducts are tiny. And with all this swelling, it's any wonder she was constantly tearing up. Now we can blame her tears on the chronic sinus infections.

So, we are going with the surgery, even though I have a lot of reservations about it - mainly because of the anesthesia. The anesthesiologist made a comment about going under "too much", although we - the staff at CHP - want to give Maeve all the advantages possible so that she isn't having to deal with illness and delays. I don't want my child to have any surgeries, but what can I do? I want her healthy, I need to know some answers to some of her health mysteries. And until they invent a way to do tests non-invasively, she has to go under for some of them.

I'm thinking that this next trip might get me enough milage for a flight somewhere warm... a frequent flyer can always wish right?

PS: I completed W2D2 of C25K this morning - got to look good for that trip to the beach : )

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Paging Dr. Maeve

Aaawww, our little Dr. Maeve! Pretty cute huh? You would think a kid who sees as many doctors as she does, would not want to play "Dr", but she loves to! She puts on her white coat and stethoscope, grabs her light and shoves it in your face and says "aaaaaahhhhh."

Honey, the patient is suppose to say that.

So, I don't plan on always writing about Down syndrome, but I guess it kind of comes up today in a round about way. Why? Because we are scheduled for surgery number 10 tomorrow - 10 in 3 years. And although they have been for things any kid can have, kids with Down syndrome seem to hit the lottery and get them all!

10 surgeries - Seems like a lot, huh? I know there are families who have dealt with more than that, but it's a lot for us. Too many personally.

They are doing biopsies for hirschprungs and then they are repairing her abdominal scar from her very first surgery at birth. Seems those dissolvable stitches didn't dissolve and the incision has holes in it and they keep getting infected. Started happening before her 2nd birthday. Called the surgeon and you know what they told me, "put warm compresses on it."

I very politely asked them if they were coming over to sit on my child to do this and prescribe drugs and ear plugs for me and the neighborhood. Anyone who knows Maeve, knows she does not sit still - ever. Even with chips, Pepsi and Caillou on the TV, she is always wiggling about.

So she is now three and the problem persists. It's all minor , but Maeve has a floppy airway, tracheamalacia, and has to be fully sedated with a little breathing tube in her airway. So it becomes a little more complicated.

No wonder I am going gray, much more so than I ever use to be.

And the fun doesn't stop there. Thursday she has a Ct scan of her sinuses scheduled and then a visit with the ENT. She has been battling sinus infections since a little over the age of 1, and they keep getting worse. They wanted to wait until she got a little older and hope that she would "grow" into them, before doing anything drastic.

So they will take a look, and if they are still tiny, they are planning on going in and making them bigger. Not sure how you do that, not sure I won't to know either. Sounds really painful, I know that. Thats the "drastic" part.

So, I'll be taking bets on whether number 11 is in the cards... hopefully not, but we aren't that lucky. If we were, we would have won the Powerball months ago.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday, Monday

What does a Pittsburgh housewife do on a Monday you ask? Let's see...

Get up at 6:50AM and realize it is still dark outside,so you can't possibly get out from under the 2 blankets and 1 quilt to go out and run in the 10 degree weather.

7:20AM is now light out. Get up and get Princess Butterball who has been up since before 6:00AM. Go potty, plop her in bed with Daddy and then put on about 3 layers to go out and run in still 10 degree weather. At least it was not snowing.

7:40AM start uphill. Complete W2D1 of C25K, 2.32 miles with an incline increase of 118 feet. Got to love living on a hill. Always have and always will.

By 9:00AM, breakfast is eaten, showers taken, 2 cups of coffee drank, numerous emails sent out as I start planning for the 2010 Buddy Walk(r) in October.

Color with crayons, color with markers, dress dolls, have a tea party, play candy land, play soccer in the house, have a kazoo parade and then make lunch.

Maeve takes a nap, Sean leaves for work, and I now have about 7 loads of laundry to do, more emails to send, gotta hang on facebook, check out ebay and have another cup of coffee all in an hour and a half.

4:00PM start lasagna, read books, play doll house and watch the news. Eat dinner, do dishes, fold laundry, vacuum, have snacks and before you know it, it's 9:00PM and time for Maeve to go to bed. Get her school things ready, do more laundry, realize I didn't blog yesterday and here I am. Typing away and waiting for my Officer to come home.

Pretty boring huh? Nothing like the Real Housewives of Orange County or Atlanta or wherever. Nothing glamorous here. But I do have two people at home who love me to pieces! I think that is probably the best of all!