Monday, February 23, 2015

Holy Smokes... 2015, Are We Glad to See You or What!? (2014, Don't Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out.)

You guys.

For serious.

By the end of last year I kinda wanted to poke my eyeballs out. Cry uncle. Something. 2014 at the CHS house started with spinal surgery and hearing loss and ended with a few rounds of meningitis, brain surgery, vision loss, and hospitalizations spanning 3 states' worth of Neuro Trauma Units and Intensive Care.  If I am counting right there were 8 hospitalizations. Eight. Throw the new baby into the mix... and oy!

So...
If you've wondered where CHS disappeared to, the answer is, "to the hospital!" It's been a bumpy ride. Also, if anyone is wondering, yes... I would like a nap. :D.

I want to say we are back and ready to pick up where we left off (and holy cow, do we ever have a back log of designs and some tutorials to push through) but I won't.  I am not superstitious, (ha!) but since both times we said that publicly on the blog last year we promptly found ourselves inpatient once again-- I'm going to knock on wood, throw some salt over my shoulder, and cross all my fingers and toes instead. If you would like to send some good luck vibes our way, we'll take them!

HOWEVER.

I will say that as of today, we are almost ready to get some new stuff rolling toward our distributors, and are maybe 2-3 weeks out from some official releases.

Assuming nobody starts flirting with death again ;).

We have had to do some restructuring and re-evaluating how things work behind the scenes here to accommodate my favorite little troublemaker's frequent flier status at children's hospitals, and so this year we are hopeful that the changes we made will help things run smoother. The goal is for you to see more designs and less pauses in new releases. We'll see how things go. We've got some help stitching models, we've found a fantastic finisher, and as of this second our little patient appears to be doing all right. I still don't dare plan past tomorrow, but wanted to let you know we are still here!

Onward and upward, right?

So, in the spirit of a very belated holiday letter, sort of like the one we posted last year, I
thought it would be fun to recap how our CHS family spent the holidays again.

I use the word "fun" loosely, in a "you can laugh or you can cry, but laughing hurts less" kind of way. ;)
Ready for a photo explosion?

Awesome. Here we go.

First of all, I have to share my latest holiday culinary discovery. Last year it was bacon frosting, and I still kinda retch thinking about it. This year, it was cranberry salsa. No retching on this one, people. It is life changing, and I am not kidding when I say I could eat this stuff by the gallon.
 You're welcome.

Ok, for real. The holiday recap.

We had a pretty big surgery for this little dude scheduled around Thanksgiving, and we knew he'd be inpatient the day after Thanksgiving which is when we usually set up our Christmas tree. We wanted him to be able to participate in the festivities, so we put the Christmas tree up before we left for the hospital. It was a poignant day for us, because this was not a low-risk operation.

Sure enough, he spent Thanksgiving day in the ICU, and so our Thanksgiving dinner came hospital cafeteria style.

It felt like home...in that old familiar school lunch sort of way.

We weren't really in the mood for eating anyway, so it was ok. There was dry turkey and flaky pie. No complaining here.

As an aside, the downside of having a child who hangs out in intensive care is that you get intensive care germs on your clothes and can pass them on to other folks. Like, your nursing infant, for example. Baby gets a double dose of ICU germs switching back and forth taking turns with whichever parent isn't at the bedside, and then can get sick off those ICU germs and may wind up in the emergency room while big brother is still critical upstairs.

Even if you've been insanely good about hand washing.

Ask me how I know.

2 kids inpatient at the same time. Differerent hospital wings. Par-tay.

This is me with no sleep. I think I was on day 3 here, but I really don't remember.  Baby was feeling better, though! We were waiting for discharge papers.

Also, don't tell, but I think I go cross-eyed after too much mountain dew. Don't judge. You do what you need to do to survive, amiright?

Believe it or not, I didn't realize leaves changed colors in California. I thought they just had perpetual summertime there! This was the view of the courtyard in the hospital as I was walking back and forth between my boys' rooms. Pictures don't do it justice. It was beautiful!

When it was time to leave the hospital with child #2 post-op, our surgeon asked us to hang out in town over the weekend just to be cautious, in case something happened. So we did. Home was a 2 day drive away, and he felt better about us being close.

This was right next to our hotel room. If I hadn't been so tired I might have wandered over to see if they offered tours!

 Anyway, nothing happened over the weekend. It was gloriously boring.

We drove the 2 days home. Again, gloriously boring.

I don't know if it was just the recent hospital experience that made us appreciate the beauty of the drive, or if things were just especially exquisite those 2 days, but wow. We sure savored the sights.

The San Mateo Bridge


Somewhere near the Great Salt Lake.

We got home and were so exhausted we didn't even bring the suitcases in from the car. Our thinking was we'd get some sleep and unload them the next morning.

Murphy's law is a beast.

A few hours after pulling in the driveway, our little surgical patient went downhill at lightning speed.
Back to the ER, this time at the hospital close to our home.

Boo.

Admitted again.
 
 
 And my hospital "Go" bag was full of dirty clothes. Awesome.
 
A few days and a whole lotta drugs later, our little man got to go home again. We made it back just in time for a ride on the North Pole Express Train with a local organization that provides activities for sick kids and their families. I can't overemphasize how much we needed the mental breather!

The place holder over our seats on the train:


We didn't know it at the time, but that night was basically our entire Christmas holiday.

Peanut spiked a scary fever not long after.

104.9

A fever that high makes people pretty nervous when you've just had brain surgery.

We made a mad dash across a few states to get to the neurosurgeon, who took charge and was everything a parent hopes their child's surgeon will be when things don't go as planned.

Inpatient. Again.


Really, after you've been inpatient for as long as we had been at that point, you start appreciating the little things.

Like, say...urinal wreaths.

Nothing like some well placed potty humor to help you get into the holiday spirit.

Just sayin'.

The hospital got our little dude all fixed up, again, and we were homeward bound. Again.

It wasn't quite sunshine and lollipops, though. We realized during the Christmas admission that it just wasn't going to work to keep trying to find folks to tend our duckies every time we had to run to the hospital. You can leave a dog or a cat with a pet day care center, but kennels don't take barnyard critters. So... we made the hard choice to rehome our birds. We found a nice squash farm for them, and were promised they would spend their lives wandering among the horses, eating garden bugs, and swimming in the pond.

Loaded into the crate, saying goodbye on the way to their new home. *sniffle*

Hospitals do funny things to kids. In all seriousness, scared hearts take longer to heal than sick bodies, and can be a lot harder to fix. With our duckies gone, we adopted this poochie to help with some of the fallout from the hospital as well as some of the health challenges our little boy now struggles with. This doggie is just what the doctor ordered!

(How can you not fall in love with a face like that? And those ears?!? stoppit. *swoon*)
 
 
Our kids are calling him Muffy.

Don't tell, but that's short for Muffin top.

We've got him on a diet, but I'm pretty sure that even when he is svelte and trim, the name is going to stick!
 
And that, my friends, was how we spent our holidays: Heavy on the hospital, light on the festivities. We are quite hopeful that next year I can report 2 solid weeks of flavored popcorn, White Christmas marathons, some stitching, and gluttonous amounts of egg nogg consumed. Keep your fingers crossed!  If, however, we don't break with tradition and we end up inpatient again, we may ask you to share photos of your holidays....Just so we don't forget how normal people live! Deal? Deal.  ;).
 

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