Posts Tagged ‘allergies’

What happened in June

photo (14)June turned into as crazy a month as May and October. Here’s a little recap of what’s been going on.

– Birthdays: mine came and went and so did Steven’s. Pretty uneventful celebrations, but since we both have birthdays around Mother’s Day (me) and Father’s Day (Steven), we found some clever ways to celebrate for several days, low-key style. Next up, Wes’ 3rd birthday later this month, which will also be low-key. In fact, we aren’t having a party for him, but he doesn’t know any different. I mean, we’ll still celebrate, but it will be conveniently conjoined with other existing family get-togethers. 🙂

– Potty training: Ugh. I took a long hiatus after feeling discouraged. We had great success back in the spring, and then it fizzled as we readjusted back into normal school day routine. We started it back up again over our long July 4th weekend, and even though we’ve been home here and there, we’ve had some positive success. I think I found the key to his determination: after 100 stickers (he gets one every time he uses the potty chair, 2 for #2 success), he gets his very own big boy bed. At each 10s level reached, he gets/helps pick out one item toward his bed – decorative pillows, sheets, etc. We’re at 6 stickers, so we’ve got a way to go, which I’m not too upset about…more on this later.

– Family time: We’ve been to Indianapolis Indians games, visited museums, grabbed ice cream on sporadic impulse, taken long walks (and worn out the dogs), played in the store-bought kiddie wading pool until we had to throw it away from its cheapness, visited my parents’ lakehouse, attended a niece’s play, walked along the downtown canal and enjoyed our little trio family very well during our summer beginnings. Wes is in swim lessons again this summer with a great group of friends and neighbors. We all look forward to Saturday mornings for donuts before the walk to the park, where we pick up friends along the way to the 45-minute class. Stroller brigade!

– Jobs: Because June is the end of the fiscal year, we have been busy with work-related events and meetings. I have a personal fundraising goal of $1,250 toward the Walk to End Alzheimer’s this October, and I’ve been trying to find creative ways to reach it. We had our first-ever garage sale a few weekends ago, which was surprisingly stressful, difficult and yet, highly rewarding and successful. Wes was a champ and very generous to “give away” his toys to other families. I’m still very proud. We also hosted YouTube Party 5 (the first since 2011!) last weekend, which was great fun, and it benefited the Alzheimer’s Association. Steven is scheduled to speak at several conventions in the coming months and will be traveling to fun destinations.

– VBS: Vacation Bible School came and went. I typically despise VBS for all the preparations and irritability it causes within our household leading up to the week. However, I’m always pleasantly surprised and blessed during its course, and I was given yet another eye-opener this year. This was Wes’ first year to attend VBS, and he really understood the lessons and learned songs. I still hear snippets of Bible verses and choruses sung around the house or whispered in bed during naptime. We had a record number of children attend, and many new adult volunteers. Of course it was worth it.

– Vacation: It’s fast approaching! We’re leaving for Holland, Michigan, following Wes’ birthday and large family reunion for a 5-day trip along Lake Michigan in Dutch country. In between all the above activities, I’ve been researching and planning out our possible activities; though, I really wouldn’t be surprised if we just lounged and rested most of the time. I’m terribly excited about where we will be staying – I scored a fab historic house on airbnb.com earlier this year, and it looks inviting and close to most things. I’ve also been gathering my book list, knowing that I will actually have TIME to read, given Wes’ summer nap habit. Yesss.

– Wes: Yikes, he’ll be 3! He’s busy, destructive, bossy and just wonderful. I love that guy. He talks a mile a minute, and it’s surprisingly clear, however, he does have some funky terms and phrases. We’ve had several allergy attacks, and I think it’s mostly from Lucy’s abundant shedding. I can’t keep the house free of her presence. Thankfully the asthma hasn’t been too much of a problem lately, but the hives, swelling and itchiness has been moderately bad. Benadryl is still our close friend, but we may need to address some more serious conversations and tests before something big happens.

We have a few things planned for August and September, but mostly, we’re just homebodies enjoying local “stuff” and being together and/or reading. Seems great to me!

Posted: July 6th, 2014
Categories: Leah
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Doggone It – Part 2 (Lucy)

Since my last post, Part 1, I have received a steady stream of encouragement and sympathy. I really do not want to hand my dogs over to another family, believe me. If we can figure out a way to alleviate some of the allergy symptoms, we/I will. The issue is that our pediatrician likes to have at least a 2.5 year history of issues in order to proceed with any testing or diagnosis. I’m hoping the symptoms die down a little this fall when Lucy isn’t shedding as much.

Speaking of Lucy, she deserves to have her story told as well.

In April 2010, my sister was getting ready to deliver my nephew, Jeremiah, born with spina bifida. It was considered a high-risk delivery, so our family rallied together during his arrival and first surgery procedures. I spent many hours at Riley Hospital for Children, worrying, praying and holding the newest member of my family. During the months leading up to his birth, Steven and I were looking for another dog. Nothing had panned out well for us.

38116_772374333688_5369743_nI was sitting in a waiting room at Riley when Steven texted me that a friend and neighbor found a stray puppy walking along Ellenberger Park. They didn’t have room to keep her overnight, and Steven offered to take her in while we tried to find her owners. I came home late that night, but as soon I walked through the door, she greeted me with a wagging tail and crooked ears. She was a little shy, but she craved our approval, and we invited her into our bed (with Jake, of course) that night.

Honestly, we didn’t look very hard for her owners. She was too nice to be just a stray, but later that week, we heard about a similar-looking dog also wandering in Ellenberger Park. How could anyone dump such a sweet little girl?

We started calling her Lucy. That name was reserved for our first baby girl, but we decided it fit her. And she was our first baby girl. She was probably 4 or 5 months old when she became a Shattuck.

Lucy is the kindest, dumbest dog I’ve ever known. Her reasons for living are only to please and to play. Unlike Jake, she was housebroken in less than a month. She could chew through indestructible bones and toys within minutes. And she followed her big brother Jake all around the house, learning to wait until he was finished eating to drinking to venture toward the bowls. (If she forgot, he quickly let her know her mistake.)

Because her heart is so big, her brain is quite small. Isn’t that what an American dog is supposed to be like? She continually bumps into tables, doors and walls, is afraid of the vacuum sweeper and doesn’t know a stranger. She also thinks she is a lap dog and whimpers if she doesn’t fit into small spaces like Jake does. I laugh at her antics but also appreciate her ability to sense when I need a hug. She is a wonderful comforter and snuggle companion.

Her 55-pound body is muscular and strong. Her tail alone can wipe out glasses sitting on the coffee table, or take out small children. I was hesitant to introduce her to newborn Wesley, but she has been gentle and caring toward him since Day 1. I like her call her Mama Hen. She protects her people and guards her little boy from the wild world.

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She and Jake couldn’t be more opposite. He prances; she stomps. He’s delicate; she’s clumsy. But they are great siblings to each other. She made him a better dog, really. They got onto the same feeding and potty schedule, and they learned to play together. The commonality is that they both want to be with their people at all times, and they are both lounging, lazy couch potatoes. They may fight one minute, but soon after you’ll find them cuddling together.

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And Wes? Oh goodness. There is a form of love between the three of them that I’m unable to describe. He is of their pack, and I dread the day it has to be broken – from sickness, death or whatever.

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I honestly don’t know that I could endure a night without listening to Lucy’s snores and grunts in the dark. A life without Lucy would be… I just don’t know. Foreign.

She is our Lucy Bird, our Lucyberger and Lucy-loo.

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Posted: August 30th, 2013
Categories: Leah
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Doggone It – Part 1 (Jake)

Wes rolls around on our bed, which is covered in dog hair. Then he gleefully grasps Lucy’s face in his hands and laughs as she gives him a big kiss. He pats Jake and tells him, “Hiiiiiii!!!” and then rubs his eyes. Within minutes, I have a kid with red hives popping up all over his face. <– This is a fairly common occurrence over the last few months.

I fear we may have a child on the brink of an official diagnosis of allergies. And I fear that our dogs are included in the unknown list of allergens. Of course, this is not confirmed, and we have been told that kids have to be at least 2.5 to get tested for anything, but I am starting to unravel slowly.

I try to sweep/vacuum/dust/whatever as much as possible. We have wood floors in every room. No carpet anywhere except for a couple area rugs. Our house is small, so it’s easy to clean. But days get away from me, and soon the laundry piles up, the sheets need changed and the floors need sweeping again. It’s not an ideal situation for a child with developing allergies and acute asthma (also not diagnosed, yet), which makes everything all the worse.

My dogs – Jake and Lucy – are my companions. I can’t imagine life without them.

Steven, on the other hand, could care less if we had to find new homes for our beloved animals. At least, for a little while. But even though they get on his nerves more often than not, I see glimpses of attachment and – dare I say it – love from time to time.

National Dog Day was a few days ago, and it was also the day I realized that I may eventually have to endure pain that I haven’t experienced before. You see, I ached for a dog of my own as I grew up. My sister had allergies similar to what I suspect of Wesley, and we even had to move our pet cat, Sarah, outdoors. So of course a dog was out of the question. (Plus my dad claims to “hate dogs,” but I don’t fully believe him.)

I had a stuffed animal dog that I cuddled with for ages, probably even up until high school. I clearly remember thinking that I wanted a dog similar to the size of my stuffed animal – one that would cuddle with me a night and fit within my arms as I laid on my side to sleep. I didn’t know what kind of dog would do that, but I would find out. My mom cheerfully replied every time I asked for a dog, “You are most welcome to have a dog of your own when you live on your own.”

As my college graduation date approached, I started my research. I wanted to adopt a dog from a rescue organization. Online compatibility tests always matched me with hounds, and I decided to adopt a retired racing greyhound. I connected with a few Indy rescue organizations. Once I learned that my new job and living environment might not be a good fit for a greyhound, I looked into Whippets and then Italian Greyhounds.

Funny thing is, every book I read and all the sites I visited cautioned new dog owners about Italian Greyhounds. There were many in foster and adoptive care because of high owner surrender. Difficult to train, very clever animals. But I wanted one badly. I passed the tests and home visits and thought I would be giving a home to a gray or blue 5 or 6-year-old girl Iggy. Most dogs in rescue programs are adult, but I didn’t care.

A few weeks later, I received a phone call that a 6-month-old puppy was surrendered as a “failed show pup.” His ears turned up in a funny way, so he couldn’t be bred or shown. The owners had let him roam free on a horse farm, so I was told that he was muscular, a unique color and “cute as a button.” His name was Jake, and could I meet him this week?

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I took Steven with me to meet Jake, the puppy. I fell in love, instantly. He wasn’t the blue colored older girl I hoped for, but he was mine. I knew it.

jake2He had a pink nose and a wild, energetic spirit. I left work during my lunch break to let him out of his crate and play with him every day. Since he was crated most of the day (if not he would have trashed the apartment), I felt bad for keeping him crated at night, too. One night I brought him into bed with me, and he climbed right into my arms and fell asleep. He was the dog I day dreamed about as a kid.

Sleeping with my dog has been a nightly occurrence for 7 years now. Sure, he’s too clever for his own good, and I admit he’s a bit of a jerk, but I love him. He was my original companion before Steven and I got married. We spent evenings together, played together and enjoyed the single life together. I love how he buries under blankets and grooms himself for 20 minutes every time he sits down. I love how he jumps into anyone’s lap and makes a new friend. He has tolerated Wesley’s toddlerhood well, and everyone loves him. Seriously, everyone. We can’t go anywhere in public without people pointing and asking questions and wanting to pet Jake. (Poor Lucy is too average.)

I really can’t picture a Shattuck house without Jake. If we have to find a new home for him, I will be heartbroken. He is my dog.

Jake, Jakey, Jake-a-roo

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Posted: August 28th, 2013
Categories: Leah
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Exhausted in August

This month. It’s nearly over, thank goodness. I just threw away a handful of CVS receipts and filed away numerous copay receipts. We’ve been surrounded in germs, medicines and green mucous slime since the last time I posted. No joke.

Remember Wes’ impetigo? (I can now say it correctly! Im-peh-tie-go) Yeah, that was bad. And then he picked up a cold from the daycare, which is to be expected. No big whoop. But THEN, one night, Wes started barking like a seal in his sleep. It reminded me too much of his croup episode from last winter and I began to bite my nails. I kept him home from daycare the next day and went in to doctor visit #3. The croup subsided; he wasn’t wheezing, so they weren’t too concerned. But he did have some fluid in his ears. Not infected… yet.

The week went on, he went back to daycare with a junky cough and snotty nose like many kids do. Then the nose drippings started to turn clear over the next several days, and I never knew how happy I would be to see CLEAR MUCOUS! Hoooray! It’s turned into allergies! (Is there a consecutive day limit for kids on Benadryl?)

That brings us to last weekend. I had a scratchy throat on Saturday evening, but nothing too serious. We went to Cincinnati to celebrate our niece’s second birthday after church. The pool party was super fun, but I was feeling really off and my throat started to hurt worse. I noticed in the car on the way home that my throat was turning pretty red, and I just couldn’t get warm. Lo and behold, I had a fever of 101. By the time I woke up on Monday, I had white spots and fever – enter strep throat diagnosis from doctor visit #4. Whatev. With antibiotics, life is good in a few days. So I pick up Wes from daycare and his teachers pointed out his GREEN EYE DISCHARGE that had been oozing out all day long. Uuuuggghhhh.

Doctor visit #5 on Tuesday = ear infection for Wes! And eye drops needed! Also to note that during this week we had been down to one car while the transmission was replaced in the other. Bother.

Steven started showing signs of strep yesterday, but he’s a champ and is fine now. And TODAY, yes, today. I LOST MY VOICE. Sigh.

But the silver lining is that we will all be healthy on our vacation next week. And we will be safe in a newly serviced car. And we couldn’t be more ready for sea spray in our faces! And really, it’s probably good that we’re getting Wes’ immunity built up so well while he’s still little. So, there’s always something to be thankful for.

Posted: August 23rd, 2012
Categories: Leah
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