Friday, March 26, 2010

March Madness

I am going to admit, I am not the biggest fan of college basketball. However, when it comes to the Butler bulldogs, I have a whole different attitude. When I look back to my time at Butler, I have so many wonderful memories, and included in those are all the games I spent at the historic Hinkle Fieldhouse cheering on my beloved team. I was a proud member of the basketball band and could probably count the number of home games I missed on one hand (seriously, no exaggeration). I traveled to championship games and even the NCAA tournament twice. Unfortunately during my time there, they failed to advance in the tournament and lost badly to the Goliaths they played against. Those games hurt.

Even though I was a student there over 10 years ago, I still follow the team. Although I may not know all of the players' names as I did in the past, I check online to see their record and how the season is going. This year I did fall behind a bit and was pleasantly surprised to see that late into the season they were ranked 11th. That's 11th out of ALL the teams in the NCAA. This is Butler, the school with approximately 4000 students, rated against the big dogs such as Duke, Kentucky and Michigan. Pretty awesome!

On selection night a few Sundays ago I anxiously waited to see where Butler would stand amongst the other teams and was pleased with the 5th seed they were given. The first game they played was against UTEP, and even though they started out sloppy, they won by quite a bit. Next was Murray State, a nail biter that ended with Butler winning by 1 point. They advanced to the sweet sixteen, which they have only done a few times in the history of the school. That game took place last night against Syracuse, a number 1 seed that won the entire championship just a few years back. It was truly the David and Goliath of basketball, and David won! It was such a stressful game, but truly an amazing moment when that timer ticked down to 0. The next game is tomorrow afternoon versus Kansas St. I'm sure it will be another close game, but how amazing would it be for them to move on to the Final Four, which takes place in their own city of Indianapolis. Could they really win the whole thing? As a huge fan, you always hope it happens but think that it never actually will. Maybe this will be the year!

I do have to add a note of how Facebook has made watching this tournament such an amazing experience. I have a huge network of Butler friends on there and we are all many miles apart from each other. However, during each of the games there has been a continuous flow of postings from my fellow Butler fans. The celebration on there last night when they won was incredible, and I loved sharing the emotion of such a great win with all of them!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Battle of the Children's Museums

This week I have off for spring break, and I am taking full advantage of this extra time I have with Evan. Yesterday, my mom and I brought Evan to the children's museum in Oak Lawn. In the past he's had a tendency to be hesitant in new places. He would be scared to try new things and be somewhat clingy. Not this time. He immediately took off exploring every aspect of the museum. He was in kiddie heaven! This museum had 2 levels. The first floor had all these ramps with balls and cars along with sensory activities. The upstairs was more imaginative and creative play with a vet's office, instruments, camping area, doctor's items, etc. The most exciting thing for me to watch was Evan climbing up the different equipment and going down the slides. This is something he would not have done in the past. He thoroughly enjoyed every moment.

Playing a giant operation game

Racing the car down the track

Checking out the doggie's ears

Playing the giant drum

Today we went to the children's museum in Frankfort with some friends of mine from work and their boys. I was curious to see how the 2 museums would compare. The one in Frankfort was definitely smaller with fewer activities, but Evan had just as good a time as the other. His favorite part was the sensory table with rocks and dinosaurs in it. I think he could have played in there all day! So, in this battle, I'm going to have to call it a draw, and I'm sure we'll be back to visit both this summer.

Jumping off the mats

Playing with Benjamin with the giant pin cushion

Brushing the puppy

In the sensory table with Benjamin

Playing with a camera on-stage

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Daddy

Last week was Rick's birthday, and for the first time Evan understood what that meant and was very excited about it. After work we baked a cake and wrapped the presents, and Evan couldn't wait for Rick to get home. He kept telling me he was going to yell, "Surprise!" but I don't think he ever did say that. We sang "Happy Birthday" and Evan helped him blow out the candles. He was very proud to show Rick how he wrote his name in the birthday card.

That day was also one of the nicest we've had so far weather-wise, so we were able to play outside while the cake was baking.

And here's more conversations with Evan:

*On the way to the sitter's house, there is a Menards billboard that has a picture of a toilet on it. One morning, with a big smile on his face, Evan said he was going to climb way up there and go potty on the toilet. I told him he was being silly, and he said, "I'm not silly, I'm a monkey!" He then went through the list: "Mommy not a monkey. Daddy not a monkey. Cole not a monkey.... Evan is a monkey!"

*At bedtime I was reading a Sesame Street book to Evan and on the back cover there is a picture of all of the characters waving. I said that the characters were saying Hi to him. Evan responded very seriously with "No, they can't talk. They're just waving."

*A few weeks ago Evan had made a small mess on the bathroom rug. I had sprayed it to take the stain out and threw the rug in the laundry room. I finally got around to putting it in the washing machine, and when I put it back in the bathroom Evan was so excited you would have thought it was Christmas morning. In his most enthusiastic voice he said, "Thanks mom! You put my rug back in the bathroom!"

*Evan's new phrase when he doesn't want to do something: "Kids don't do that."

*Evan now has a song that he claims is "his song". It's not Veggie Tales, or Wiggles, or Sesame Street. It's the Black Eyed Peas song "I Got a Feeling." My sitter texted me the other day and said he was jamming in the car to that song. (Her son Chase was the first to claim it as being his song, and I'm sure Evan is just copying him). For the longest time, Evan was asking for the Good Night song in my car, and I just assumed it was a children's good night song, but I was wrong! If you have not heard the song, here it is:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Quick Conversations

*On the way to the sitter's house one morning this week, Evan spotted a dog in someone's front yard.
Evan: Mommy, I want a black dog.
Me: A big one or a little one?
Evan: A little one.
Me: But we already have a cat. We can't have a dog too.
Evan: I want to see the dog chase the cat!
Me: Oh, like Slinky (my sitter's dog) chases their cats.
Evan: I want to see it at Tina's house.
Me: Who's Tina?
Evan: You!

*In the bathroom one night Evan was yelling and acting silly. I told Evan he was giving me a headache. Very seriously he said, "No, I'm not giving you a headache, I'm making your ears hurt." All I could do was laugh in response.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Curse is Broken

WARNING: This is going to be long, but it has a happy ending. =)

Greeks have a tradition that is typically done on New Year's of baking bread called Vassilopita. A coin is baked inside the bread, and whoever takes the piece of bread with the coin is supposed to have good luck for that year. Since I do not spend New Year's with my parents, my dad usually makes the bread for Christmas. On Christmas 2008, I was the "lucky" one to find the coin in my piece of bread. I thought it was great since I had some high hopes for 2009. Unfortunately, I think my coin was cursed.

Superbowl Weekend (the first weekend in February) is when the curse and all of my health issues began. It started with numbness and tingling in my arms, hands, feet and legs, along with extreme fatigue. I had experienced the numbness and tingling before and started seeing a neurologist, but she attributed it to my wonderful migraines. This time was different; it just came on one day without any rhyme or reason. I called the neurologist and she saw me almost immediately. She began the first round of tests - MRI, EEG, and bloodwork - looking for a whole slew of possible causes, including some very scary possibilities. Everything came back fine. My symptoms continued, and continued. My fatigue was so bad I could barely walk up the stairs or hold a book up to read to Evan before bed. I went to several different doctors and had so many tests done I probably can't even name them all. The first glimmer of hope was when they found I was severely deficient in Vitamin D. They put me on megadoses of that, and still no change in how I was feeling. I was starting to think it was all in my head and basically, life just sucked. It's not that I wanted something to be wrong, but I wanted answers.

Then another possible answer came when I started seeing a rheumatologist. He did more general bloodwork and I came up as being positive for Lyme disease. I was shocked...Lyme disease? I said to the doctor, "But I'm an indoors type of girl." He referred me to an infectious disease doctor (yes, the same Dr. who sees patients with HIV and all sorts of other things). While I waited the few weeks for my appointment, I did a lot of research and discovered I had tons of the symptoms, and you could get it just from being in your backyard. So I was all prepared for that dr's appointment to hear my course of treatment, I go in, and he tells me I actually don't have Lyme disease. The more accurate blood test came back negative. I went back to the rheumatologist, and in June was finally diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Now the problem with CFS is that there is no test to diagnose it. All they do is eliminate every other possible thing it may be and stick you with this label because they don't know what else to do. Along with that, there is nothing they can do to help you other than tell you to exercise in low doses (keep in mind the word FATIGUE in CFS) and possibly prescribe medicines often used to treat depression.

The other issue that was going on is that Rick and I were hoping to add to our family during this time. But, with some of those tests I went through I could not be pregnant for, and then not knowing what was wrong, made this a near impossibility. So when I got the CFS diagnosis, the doctor said to go ahead and try since "You're not going to feel better any time soon." Months and months went on and no sibling yet for Evan. Everything was just so frustrating. (My fatigue did finally get better in September due to some miracle vitamins that I'll talk about in a later post.)

So, back to that curse I was talking about. Christmas dinner 2009 with my family.... time to share in the Vassilopita again. I told my family my last coin was cursed and I do not want it again this year. I pulled my piece of bread from the plate, and sure enough, there was the coin in my bread. I was NOT happy. I could not go through what I dealt with in 2009 again.

It turns out that this truly was my lucky coin this time. January 11th I woke up, took a pregnancy test, and it was positive! =) We had our first ultrasound Feb 23rd and everything looks great with an estimated due date of September 22nd. We are absolutely thrilled and think that Evan is going to be a great big brother!

I am hoping to blog more often, but by the time we eat dinner I am pretty much checked out for the day. Working full time, having a 3 year old and being pregnant is exhausting!