Posts Tagged 'arkansas'

ode to arkansas 

I’m not even going to lie. When we first moved here from Denver (I KNOW), I hated it. I couldn’t wait to leave. I counted the days until Tim’s company would move us starting the day we got to this godforsaken place. It was ridiculously hot and there was nothing here and the grocery store sucked eggs and had moldy produce and I HATED IT ALL.

The days kept going by and the new position for Tim never came after the promised year….year and a half….here we are at two and a half years and still. nothing. Oh, there have been interviews. Even final ones. Yet not a single one has panned out. Not a one.

We were both over it. The emotional letdown from having one rejection after another after another was too much. Those opportunities weren’t meant to be but WHY???????

Sometime last summer, we were in the neighborhood walking and talking with Kellan and I brought up something a friend from Colorado said to me as I was lamenting over our situation. She said, “maybe you haven’t moved because you have to find what’s good about it all first.”She was right. We had been saying how much we loved our neighborhood. It’s the best neighborhood we have ever lived in. We don’t really have any friends in it, but everyone is nice, it’s an older neighborhood with big lots, every single house is different, and it has great running roads. They just added a park at one end and our house is amazing. Built like a tank. Huge backyard and has gorgeous windows that let in so much light. The sunsets from the backyard in the winter are incredible. I still despise summer…so we won’t go there…but we realized there are a lot of good things about where we physically live.

Then, Kellan and I spent two months in LA in August and September. It was a huge culture shock, especially for Kellan. Everyone is too busy, in too much of a hurry, and too important to give anyone else – especially a four year old – the time of day.

Kellan was almost in tears one morning when he kept trying to talk to our server at a restaurant and she never spoke a single word to us. Zero. Not one. When I finally was able to tell her that Kellan wanted to say something, she mumbled something as she walked away about being short staffed and busy and was gone. Kellan just looked at me like…why is she being like this??

I didn’t have a good answer other than that is the way people are there because that’s how the culture is…and that’s what people are used to and expect. It’s normal to them.

(Granted, we did run into people here and there who would stop and talk with Kellan, so it’s not everyone in LA…but the vast majority…they all need to just take a second and breathe)

Well, what’s normal to Kellan is the complete opposite. What’s normal is anyone and everyone stopping in the middle of what they’re doing to notice and talk with Kellan. A few days before Christmas, we were in a packed Bath & Body Works to pick up a gift. Kellan had just visited with santa and was SO EXCITED about it. He wanted to tell everyone. As we were waiting in line, a woman was rushing out and I had to tell Kellan to move so she could get by…I mean when there’s only one mall in the entire city, packed means basically walk to wall people and everyone has to squeeze around everyone else.

Anyway, so as this woman is inching her way around Kellan as fast as she can, he looks at her and says, “I just saw santa!”

Now, had we been in LA…his comment would have fallen on deaf ears. She could have pretended she didn’t hear him over the ambient noise and Christmas music.

But not here.

Not here.

That woman, who was obviously in a hurry and had no time for anyone…that woman stopped dead in her tracks, turned around, and responded. Not only did she respond, she inquired. She had a conversation. She took time out of her day to make a child feel special.

She didn’t stop because she felt obligated or because she thought she’d get the mean mom, “I can’t believe you’re so rude to a kid” eyes.

She did it because she genuinely wanted to.

And that’s how a majority of people are here. They stop. They are never too busy. They understand that a child’s question deserves just as much attention as an adult’s.

The checkout person – Jo Ann – at our grocery store? She knows Kellan by name. She calls him the “movie star” and asks where he is if he’s not with me. Same with a handful of Target employees. I have had them ask me if it’s okay to give Kellan a special treat. They ask himhow he is and give him high fives.

The entire staff at a restaurant know us and will come talk with Kellan at our table when we are there. It’s probably because Kellan walked around the whole restaurant one day, introducing himself to everyone from the hosts to the manager to the people working behind the bar. But…they remembered him. They didn’t just see him as “some kid.”

Kellan has an entire cheering squad at swimming lessons. Every single one is probably over 70, save one guy who does therapy in the same pool he has lessons in…but they all help him when he’s struggling or scared. They tell him he did a great job or how he’s improving so much (and wow has he…but that post is for another time). 

Just the other day, Kellan was having a reeeaaallllly tough day. Tears and the whole nine yards. He didn’t want to “dive” in (kneeling at the edge and kind of falling in like a dive) and swim to his instructor. He can and he usually has no issue, but he’s four and sometimes things are hard even when he’s done them before.

Well, the therapy guy starts talking with him – because he’s seen Kellan swim and knows he can do it – and then out of nowhere says he will race him to the middle of the pool. His therapy person swam out to where Kellan’s instructor was and the therapy guy and Kellan swam next to each other all the way to the middle of the pool while they were cheered on by the instructors.

And therapy guy turned Kellan’s entire lesson around with that small gesture. He even made sure he told him goodbye before we left.

I have example after example of people in this town going out of their way to make a kid feel special.

I have never lived anywhere like this. The way everyone stops and is never too busy…it is truly heartwarming. It isn’t easy to find a place like this. It’s a wonderful way for Kellan to learn how to interact with people. Without phones in faces and half distracted conversations. It’s fully engaging and 100% genuine.

Had we come here and left right away…or had we not decided to try and find the good in this place…I am not sure if we would have ever opened our eyes to the people here. They are wonderful. They have taught us all how we should pause. Life is lived in little moments every day. And we are blessed with those moments here every single day.

Never in a million years would I have given Arkansas credit for anything other than being a dumb old hick town.

But I was wrong.

Very wrong.

And not one person here has rubbed that in my face. 

Instead, they taught me with their kindness and genuiness and desire to treat people, young and old, with love and respect.

I’m humbled by the people here. And I’m so glad Kellan has learned such important life lessons…how to be human. To never be too busy to stop and talk with someone, even if we ARE busy. 

Because you should never be too busy to be kind. To have a conversation. To brighten someone’s day.

We stop.

We talk.

We smile and say goodbye while we are still facing each other and bid them a nice day.

We live the little moments that are the formative moments in the lives of little children.

Arkansas gets that.

And now…we do too.

I am thankful – September edition

And we are just plugging along, here…..the most adorable thing happened on the last day of the month, by the way. Also, I didn’t have time to grammar and spell/autocorrect check, so I apologize for the errors that probably exist.

September 1: Hanging a million pictures. I mean, I may have to have a whole week of being thankful once the very last picture is up. This is a process, let me tell you.

September 2: being Kellan’s mom. He’s such a joy and light in my life. Also….randomly coming across an explanation of the “peace that passes understanding” and finally actually comprehending what it means. We used to sing a song in church as a kid with that phrase in it and I never really thought about it, I guess….but tonight! It came to me at the perfect moment. And I get it. And it makes me feel so much calmer inside. Less bothered…not at all bothered, really…by external things and people who can easily get under my skin.

September 3: Finding another dentist for Kellan that we like much better/are more comfortable with.

September 4: We survived the allergist appointment. And by survived I mean did really, really well. AND had a negative skin test to peanut butter! Phase 1 of 3 for no peanut allergy passed!

September 5: Officially a freelance writer for our local newspaper!!

September 6: After having an over the top, ridiculous argument about nothing important, after maybe 39 minutes, I went up to Tim and said, “We have been married way too long for this to be an issue.” And laughed and gave him a hug. We both apologized and it was over and done. A few years ago, we would have sulked all weekend. That’s definitely growth of some kind, I think, and thankful to be able to just see it for what it was, apologize, and move on. Married 7 years on Monday!

September 7: Spending enough money by SEVENTEEN DOLLARS to get our credit card reward thing we signed up for six months ago. We had to spend X amount of money every month for six months, and August was the last month and we barely made it over the threshold. It would have really ruined our day had we missed the requirement spending amount on the last month! It seems really silly to be thankful for money…but I mean, half a year of watching the credit card to get a reward at the end and missing it by thismuch would have been really upsetting. Let’s be honest.

September 8: Surviving a really not pleasant dentist experience with Kellan. I’m scarred for life, I think, but we made it and I kept it together for him versus totally losing it in tears. Also, making it to seven years of marriage with my BFF!

September 9: I stepped on the couch while the “pokies” (aka car deterrents) were still on and Tim was like, “Ouch! Stepping on the pokies?” And I was all, “I’m fine.” Then? Kellan starts trying to take them all off, saying “No! Don’t step on the pokies, mommy!” It was really sweet. I think this was the first time he has been outwardly and obviously protective of me/my feelings/well being. Melted me.

September 10: me recognizing my attitude and apologizing for it….and then, again, hearing myself say something in a mean way and in the middle of my words saying sorry and trying again.

September 11: Kellan went into the yard and picked a tiny flower and ran over to me with a huge smile and said, “this is for you, mommy!” This was the first time that I can recall him doing this without prompting by anyone. It was heart melting. He also has been really willing to help clean up his messes or just help when I ask, which is really mind blowing to me, because for a long time, it’s like he was all about RESISTANCE! Oh, and his blood test for peanuts came back negative! Yay!

September 12: Total random act of kindness when the guy at the John Deere store checkout gave Kellan a hat. Completely unexpected and so sweet. If I take nothing else from our Arkansas experience, it will be how genuinely nice everyone has been.

September 13: COOL FALL-LIKE WEATHER AND A TRIP TO AN OUTDOOR ACTIVITY!!!!!! (Nature center). can you tell I’m over summer?

September 14: When clearing out a REALLY old woodpile in the yard from who knows how long ago, Kellan asked Tim why he was taking the dirt/leaves/etc left after all the wood pieces were gone and Tim goes, “Always do your best work whenever you do a job.” I mean, we all know that cutting corners is way easier in the moment, but it always comes back to bite you in the butt. Tim, however, does it right the first go, 99.9% of the time, even if it takes a million times longer. *However* it never comes up as an issue again. And even though the taking a million times longer sometimes makes me crazy, I’m very thankful he puts in the extra effort and is such a good example to Kellan – and me – as to why you don’t half ass your way through anything.

September 15: Tim coming downstairs after taking a shower in non-work clothes. It’s rare he’s even home at a reasonable hour these days during the week.

September 16: this video: http://www.iflscience.com/brain/5-ways-social-media-changing-your-brain#

It actually really bothers me that I am so…dependent?…on “the internet” when I know I can survive just fine without it. At least the social media aspect. I have been wanting to trim down my social media accounts and really change my habits when it comes to checking email/twitter/Instagram/Facebook/etc. It isn’t healthy and it is not a good example for Kellan. I think this video may have been the straw to break the proverbial camel’s back. Facebook will be the first to go. My plan is to just have this blog, and maybe Instagram, nothing more. Well, twitter, too, but mostly just for weather information, since I seem to be able to find out what is going on faster there than anywhere else….SIGH. It’s a slippery slope, isn’t it? Wish me luck.

September 17: the chance to write a story that will be on the front page of the newspaper AND getting set up to visit the fair before it is open to the public for a different story about an exotic animal petting zoo…and Kellan gets to come! Think camels and zebras and emus!

September 18: Nice post-dinner outside time. The weather was perfect and Kellan has a blast. This is night two in a row where we went outside after dinner and it was so relaxing and fun.

September 19: Kellan surviving his first carnival ride. Actually, all of us surviving, because it was not at all what any of us expected. Poor Kellan. He was being so brave…and then the Lightning McQueen car whipped around the curve and his head almost didn’t make it around with his body. Suffice it to say, we got the guy to stop the ride ASAP and got him off. First time we put Kellan in a situation and he thought it would be ok and it wasn’t. Learning and growing experience for all of us. Thankful Kellan survived without any real injuries and we all survived this parenting first.

September 20: Kellan going to bed/falling asleep without much of a fuss after I told him I needed sleep because I wasn’t feeling well. He is really starting to develop empathy, and it is really amazing to watch.

September 21: we went outside for a little but in the evening and I had on a pair of nap socks (super fuzzy socks) over a pair of regular below-ankle type socks (my feet are always cold inside. I blame the wood and tile floors). I took the fuzzy socks off while sitting on the driveway and Kellan picked them up and threw them into the bushes. I asked him to go pick them up and he instead ran the other direction down the driveway (hello, testing toddler). At that same point, Tim had to go inside for something and he took the socks with him. I told Kellan that that was really nice and he should say thank you when Tim/daddy came back out. I had kind of forgotten I had said that until a few minutes later. Tim walked back outside and the first thing out of Kellan’s mouth? “Thank you for bringing the socks inside for me, daddy.” WOW. He does listen. And wow. Just…every day he amazes me in ways I never expect.

September 22: I’ve probably said this already, at some point, but I REALLY LOVE our neighborhood. It’s so unique. It’s not color cutter. It has an amazing feel. I can’t even describe it. It feels like it has been loved for a very long time and gives that love back to you as you’re walking down the street, admiring everyone’s house and yard and unique touches they added to make their house a home. I love it so much. This is how I want to feel in our forever home, wherever that will be.

September 23: Another day. Life is so
precious. I am so grateful to live it.

September 24: recognizing that I really just do not handle stress well. At all. Isn’t this the first step?

September 25: Randomly happening upon this quote: “The things you take for granted someone else is praying for.” No idea who said this, but a really good reminder, because it’s the absolute truth.

September 26: Seeing the relationship blossoming and growing between Tim and Kellan. It is less “mommy all the time” and more “mommy, leave.” Harsh but also good.

September 27: Peace of mind. Also known as an underground tornado shelter.

September 28: While Tim and I were making dinner, Kellan was playing in his little play area off the kitchen. He had gotten out this farm set with a barn and animals, etc. A few minutes later, I looked over to check on him and he was finishing putting it all away in its bin, all on his own. I was so proud. I went over and told him how proud I was and how that was such a big boy thing to do and gave him a big hug. I don’t know what prompted him to do this, because he leaves messes a lot, but this moment did show me that he is learning and trying really hard. Makes my heart smile.

September 29: how well Kellan can – and will – entertain himself. Sometimes I feel like I should be right there, too, playing with him, but I try to keep my distance and only join when asked. It’s incredible how he has developed this wonderful imagination, seemingly all on his own.

September 30: experiencing the most adorable grocery shopping trip of my life. When Kellan and I got to the grocery store, he went over to the little carts for kids and started pulling them out. I asked if he wanted one and he said yes. He’s gone over before but has always said no. He pushed that little cart through the whole store, filling it up with everything he wanted….and he was so proud of himself. It was something I hope I never, ever forget. If you’re curious, his cart had pomegranates, lemons, pears, apples, carrots, broccoli, parsnips, asparagus, tomatoes, grapes, cheese, yogurt, and then some boxed stuff (brown sugar and powdered sugar, Graham bunnies, etc).

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I am thankful – August edition

Wow. It’s been a month, that’s for sure. Life is very….different? This was Kellan and my first full month in Arkansas. It’s ready hot, you guys. REALLY FREAKING HOT. I’m not a fan, though I am thankful for our wooded backyard+ mature trees because that equals lots of shade….on the house. Not like a person “throwing shade.” I don’t even know if I totally understand that because shade is actually really nice…and cool…I guess trees throwing shade is just a whole different thing….I digress. Here’s our month. In thankfulness form.

AUGUST THANKFULNESS

THANKFULNESS

August 2: an entire day of zero house/unpacking/fixing stuff. And we found a mellow mushroom…haven’t been there mmmsince we lived in Georgia. Fun re-memory. AND I found two wooden Thomas trains on super clearance. As in both were less than $4.00 IN TOTAL. If you know anything about Thomas trains, you know the wooden ones are anywhere from $15 to $25 or more…EACH. I never find deals like that! I found this one by complete accident. Happiest checkout experience ever.

August 3: THE HALF BATH IS DONE! I mean, I need to put some soap in there but that’s way easy. Yay for the first completed room!

August 4: unexpected Mickey pizza from manager at longhorn because she heard Kellan asking for a pizza for dinner (versus the grilled chicken he had). We were so surprised when our server brought it out. Such a nice thing to do…the manager heard the pizza request in passing and acted on it. Such a rare thing to find and have happen these days it seems. Grateful to have been the recipient.

August 5: [writing this on August 6] because I’m thankful for surviving the day. Holy horrible sickness that morphed into a migraine and resulted in my bowing to the porcelain bowl around 9pm…and *then* barely getting any sleep because my head hurt so badly. The kind of hurt where you try not to think at all because that just makes it hurt worse and you instead try to find something to repeat over and over in your head. Like “cool moss.” Thankful to have survived the day and night because it was brutal.

August 6: Not having the stress of being the sole breadwinner in the family. I use to be really bothered by that – not being *the one* making all the dollars – but now I’m glad I’m not the one with that stress…not to say I never want to make the big cheese, it’s just that today, I’m thankful I’m not the one carrying that burden. I can only imagine how stressful it can be.

August 7: A NEW KITCHEN FAUCET that isn’t broken/has zero water pressure/has never run long enough with its tiny stream to ever get the water hot. It made washing anything really, really gross…having to will the tiny food particles down the drain…tiny wet food particles….ew ew ew. Thank you new faucet and water pressure!

August 8: even though Kellan is at the age/stage where I basically want to pull my hair out sometimes, there are these little moments where it’s just like, wow. Maybe we are actually getting through to him. Tonight, after we came inside after playing in the rain on the back deck (looooove the back deck), I handed him his water while he was sitting at his table reading a book and as I walked away he goes, “thank you, mommy” with zero prompting from anyone. It was so sweet and polite and unexpected. It makes all those other AHHHHHH moments melt away.

August 9: Mimi is here safely!

August 10: Parenting lessons from Mimi. Also known as watch and learn. She makes it look so easy!

August 11: Seeing how much joy Kellan brings to Mimi. It is so sweet to watch them together, laughing and playing. He loves her so much. Whenever they see each other it is like no time has passed, and they just pick up where they left off.

August 12: the most perfect, low humidity, mid-80s with a breeze weather day. Lots of other things happened today that were less pleasant, but the weather was spot on.

August 13: A fun afternoon going to an antique store with my mom! I am new to the antique scene and I LOVE looking for fun finds! She’s way more experienced so she helps me learn how to look for the “real antiques.”

August 14: some days I am reminded just how blessed our family is….how blessed I am. Nothing in particular really happened, it’s just sometimes I get this feeling inside like, “Wow. We really have so much to be thankful for.” Today was that day.

August 15: Kellan asking to sleep with Tim at bedtime. He lasted all of five minutes before saying, “I want to sleep with mommy” but it is a huge sign that he’s getting ready to be comfortable sleeping on his own/without mom all night! Also slightly bittersweet but yay for imdependence.

August 16: We organized the garage… almost. As in a garage sale must happen before we can completely finish, but still. It looks way better than it did, and we all know how much we love (read: extremely dislike) an unorganized mess.

August 17: getting more of the house out together. I think today is the first day since we moved in that the hallway area between the kitchen/dining room/pantry is 100% clear. Oh, also thankful for my ability to see I was having a bad attitude morning and Tim gave me a huge bear hug and said he was sorry I didn’t get any sleep (which is true). Self awareness on both parts made me try to constantly check myself before I wrecked myself all morning until the little black rain cloud following me finally dissipated.

August 18: I have been having trouble finding the humor in minor “disaster” things that happened recently. Today, the watermelon I bought wasn’t secured properly in the back of my car and rolled all over the place on the way home. After we pulled into the garage, I opened the back door (Highlander) and got Kellan out of his car seat. I started walking inside and I hear a loud thump and I was like, “Kellan! Did you drop the watermelon on the floor?!” (Concrete garage floor) and in a very proud of himself voice he was like, “Yessss!” And the first words out of my mouth were, “It’s ruined!” (I dropped a watermelon out of the back of my car the other week and totally destroyed (bruised) the inside). Then, as I start walking back outside all I can hear is Kellan yelling in a panicked voice, “It’s rolling away! Oh no! It’s rolling away!!!!!” In a split second, I knew. I knew exactly what had happened. And I started laughing hysterically. Kellan’s watermelon had made it to our downward sloping driveway and rolled allllllllll the way down and across the street. When I asked, through my laughs, where it went, Kellan points and goes, “Over there! In the road!” And sure enough, there was our watermelon, resting in the gutter. I’m thankful today to be able to see the humor instead of getting upset about a probably ruined watermelon.

August 19: honestly. I forgot to write something before going to bed last night and now it is the next day and I can’t remember anything….because 1. mom brain and 2. we had to get up super early to go to the DMV. Or as Kellan said while crying this morning because wakeup time was WAY earlier than normal, “I don’t want to go to the DMV and U and W.” I hear ya, kid. Me either. Anyway……totally drawing a blank….I’m thankful for?…..Tim finally getting a diagnosis on his ankle (tendinitis….and now he’s having to wear a walking boot for a month and take massive steroids to help with swelling)? Maybe that, yes. So he can get it healed and then get on with our exercising together selves. Because that is way more fun, in my opinion.

August 20: Getting to the ER in time after Kellan had an allergic reaction to peanuts, we think. Glad I listened to my mommy radar after he started breaking out in giant hives all over his body.

August 21: thankful to have had the FOURTH doctor I called get Kellan in for an appointment and subsequent referral to an allergist today versus weeks from now or not accepting new patients now. Hopefully we will know something soon…even though soon is like two weeks from now….

August 22: Not that I was driving super fast, but thankful the cop I passed “checking” speeds seemed mine non-ticketable and stayed in his hiding spot (how is that even fair, anyway?)

August 23: Struggling with coming up with a thankful moment of the day these past few days….today we put up pictures and Kellan didn’t nap but oh! He asked to vacuum! He walked right over to it and said he wanted to vacuum! So, that was new….and this morning at breakfast, we were cracking up because Kellan kept asking Tim to do the “voice of Batman/Superman/Aquaman.” Batman was deep. Superman was a radio personality voice. Aquaman was Kermit the frog voice. It was hysterical. Thankful for those laughs.

August 24: Getting stuff done. As in hanging about a million pictures. Yay for less clutter and pretty walls!

August 25: random act of kindness from a lady in the floral department at our local grocery store. Kellan ran over to look at the balloons while I was finishing checking out (read: had to chase after him). He was behind the counter when I got there and I was like AHHHH! We don’t work here! Then I saw the lady and she was like, “I was going to blow these up for him if that’s ok?” I was so surprised. It was such a sweet thing to do! Usually we get the evil eye if Kellan runs off and does something like that, like why are you not controlling your child?! She, instead, says, “He’s just too cute!” Zero irritation or eye rolling at Kellan just being a kid. That is one amazing thing that we are learning about Arkansas. Everyone is so child friendly/patient/gracious. It’s really hard to find places like that these days, but we found it here.

August 26: Random venting session with the BFF. I think we both feel better, now.

August 27: THE ONLY NATURAL FOOD STORE IN THIS TOWN HAD BREAD. Kellan all time favorite, toast with jam, can be consumed again.

August 28: at the grocery store today, I saw a mom, dad, and little boy no older than two, in the produce section. The kid had one of those tiny shopping carts and the had knelt down with a bunch of bananas and was calmly and very nicely telling/explaining to him to put them into the tiny cart gently. The kid was trying but I mean, the bananas were almost as big as he was, so I’m guessing the task was a little difficult for his little hands. Anyway, the mom was standing above them both, arms crossed, looking pretty annoyed. Finally, she said, “gentle hands” and rolled her eyes because obviously dad was using the incorrect words to get his point across. The dad immediately started saying “gentle hands” and at that point, I walked by them so I don’t know how the story ended. I am guessing more passive aggressive lecturing from the mom. That whole five seconds scene really made an impression on me, though. The dad was really, really trying to do/say the right thing and the mom was just standing over them like, “You are such an idiot. You have no idea what you’re doing.” And maybe he didn’t, but from an outsiders perspective, he was doing everything right and was making a big effort and that effort was basically sh*t on when the mom stepped in all, “GENTLE HANDS.” I think maybe the randomness of me seeing this tonight was a moment for me to step back and be thankful that Tim has a dad like that, who really does try to do the right things, even if he doesn’t know the “usual” or the “term/phrase” that Kellan is used to hearing to complete a request. I need to be a silent observer instead of stepping in and sh*tting on their activity by basically saying Tim is doing it wrong, whatever it may be. It’s actually pretty heartbreaking to witness, as I did today. All that effort by dad is basically undermined when mom steps in in that manner. So, I’m thankful to have witnessed the hurt and harm in my own actions, though not done by me. I guess sometimes you have to see it that way to really understand how you look to a stranger.

August 29: Safe travel home day for Tim!

August 30: The most gorgeous sunset! I love nature.

August 31: Kellan’s sense of humor. He knows he’s making a joke and cracks himself up, which makes everyone laugh.

our first Arkansas ER visit

Okay, so, this is for everyone (anyone?) who reads my monthly thankfulness wrap up. Towards the end of the month, you will read these exact words:

August 20: Getting to the ER in time after Kellan had an allergic reaction to peanuts, we think. Glad I listened to my mommy radar after he started breaking out in giant hives all over his body.

….and I know if I don’t say something now, I will suffer the wrath of worry all OMG! IS HE OKAY?! WHAT HAPPENED?!

So. First, is Kellan okay? Yes.

What happened?

We aren’t exactly sure.

After dinner last Wednesday night, Tim and Kellan were on the couch playing and also eating a combo of peanut butter and chocolate chips. Mostly chocolate chips. Kellan then said he was hungry (again, I think the kid is growing because he legit went through an entire loaf of bread in the form of “toast with jam!” in two days). I took him to the kitchen to eat cereal, as requested, and I noticed three small red dots on his chin and I thought, “Hmm. That’s strange.”

We went outside after he was finished so Tim could look at how to attach our American flag to the entryway and that’s when I noticed that his shoulder had a red rash type thing on it.

Then Kellan said his back was itching, so I lifted up his shirt and I see more redness, which I now realize are hives, all over the small of his back.

I said something to Tim about it and he said he used to get hives all the time as a kid, no big deal. Something about this particular event didn’t seem right to me. Kellan does have really sensitive skin, so he will get mini-hives when he touches certain things that bother him and we have to be careful with what type of shampoo/lotion/laundry detergent we use. This time, though, it was like they were multiplying faster and spreading all over the place. Usually, they stay where the contact occured.

I took Kellan inside and tried to find someone to call to help me. The hives were getting bigger and more numerous by the minute, and it had only been maybe 15 minutes since I had noticed the first few hives on his chin. This is what led me to believe it had been the peanut butter, since the irritation started near his mouth. I couldn’t understand why, since no one on either side of our family has an allergy to any kind of nut or any food at all for that matter, and he had eaten peanut butter many times before. Either way, my mommy sense knew we couldn’t just wait and see what would happen.

Unfortunately, we had yet to find a pediatrician for Kellan in Arkansas and that was a BIG mistake. I wasn’t able to talk to any after hours nurses without first having a pediatrician and the ones from our Colorado pediatrician weren’t able to help because we didn’t live there anymore. I finally called the hospital and asked what to do and they said, “Go to the ER. Now.”

So, off we went to the ER. Poor Kellan was covered from head to toe in hives. He was so swollen. It was very scary.

Flash forward to filling out a check-in sheet and saying it may be a peanut allergy and we were in the triage room in less than five minutes. The guy checking out Kellan was like, “Yep. I can definitely see the hives….”

After waiting maybe another ten minutes, they called us back for the worst thing ever. I mean, Kellan was crying when they took his blood pressure during triage and now waiting for him were two shots with needles that had a circumference the size of the tip of a pen. That’s not even an exaggeration. These things made *me* cringe and I wasn’t even getting one. I had to hold Kellan while they gave him the shots (at the same time, thankfully) and the poor thing screamed a scream that will haunt me forever. It was pure, raw pain.

After we were sent back out to the waiting room again to wait for a doctor, Kellan fell asleep in my lap for maybe 45 minutes. I think his poor body and brain were on overload and he had had enough. The shots with steroids and an antihistamine worked, though. His hives were almost gone THREE HOURS LATER WHILE WE WERE STILL WAITING. Granted, the place was packed, but still. 7pm to 11pm is kind of exhausting for a two-year-old. When he woke up, he kept telling Tim that his legs felt funny. We are guessing it was from the medicine.

Long story short we didn’t get out of there until 11pm, along with a prescription for a 3-day dose of steroids and an epipen.

The next day, I found a doctor who would see him that day versus two weeks from now or not at all because they weren’t accepting new patients. After a quick check and some questions, she made an appointment with an allergist and told us to get rid of all the peanuts/peanut laced products/things that may have been manufactured near peanuts.

Our cupboard is now bare, thank you very much.

We see the allergist next week.

The more we think about it, Tim and I are really not sure if it is peanuts. We are thinking it may be fiberglass, as that was the only other thing that Kellan was exposed to at the exact same time as the peanut butter, as Tim had it on his clothes from work that day, which isn’t typical, and he has gotten a rash from it (fiberglass) once before.

It’s all to be determined at this point. I don’t want to get my hopes up that it isn’t peanut butter but I am really hoping it isn’t peanut butter.

For now, I am that parent who avoids all that say “made on a line that also processes tree nuts” snacks and carries a brightly colored bag that contains two junior epipens along with liquid and dissolvable benadryl.

Happy thoughts for no peanut allergies.

 

it’s rolling away!

So, let it be known that we bought a $20 watermelon the other weekend.

Yes, you read that correctly.

A twenty dollar watermelon.

Twenty. Dollars.

An entire Jackson dedicated to a single piece of fruit.

Since moving to Arkansas, we have had to drive basically an hour both ways to the grocery store. Where we live has exactly zero options for organic produce. I know. I’m so annoying. Just buy the other kind. Except, I can’t. Now that I know what I know about GMOs and what we are doing to our food these days…it actually hurts my soul to buy any produce without a 9 in the front of its little fruit code. My bananas? 94011. So, we drive every weekend to the only – and I mean only grocery store with a decent selection of produce that is within close proximity. Why not Whole Foods, you say?

I think the closest Whole Foods is two hours away.

We live in the sticks, you guys. At least when it comes to healthy eating options.

Anyway, on one such trip to said grocery store, I let Kellan pick out a watermelon on the way in. They were in one of those giant cardboard bin things and the kid loves watermelon. It’s only good in the summer. Who am I to deny him?

We go about our business buying the remainder of what is on our list and finally get to the checkout. The girl behind the counter was brand spanking new. She had the cheat sheet explaining how to scan everything literally two inches in front of her face and was struggling with how to do the watermelon, so she had to save it for last so she could ask someone to help her.

Finally, whoever was in the checkout counter next to us told her what to put in and she did while Tim, watching the screen to see how much everything is, sees the watermelon price pop up, looks at her and goes, “The watermelon is how much?”

“Twenty dollars.”

Tim: “Twenty dollars?” Obviously he’s sure she punched something…multiple somethings…in wrong.

“Yes sir! Twenty dollars!” She says with a smile. Because I guess this is a normal occurrence here. Twenty dollar watermelons.

Tim looks at me, his eyes about to bug out of his head like what in the world kind of watermelon is this?!

I just look back at him completely innocent all I have no idea. It’s organic? (But seriously that’s ridiculous for a watermelon).

Me: Do you want me to put it back? (This is always the response when the husband is about to have a coronary over the price of anything. You’ll see why…)

Tim: No.

Me: Are you sure?

Tim, through gritted teeth: NO.

Tim was not going to be shamed by a watermelon.

Right before Tim lifted our precious cargo into the cart, the guy waiting in line behind us looks at him dead in the eye and says, “better savor it, man.”

****

My story was actually going to end there, until our watermelon drama continued today. Except it wasn’t twenty dollars. Instead, it was poorly secured (read: not at all) in the back of my car. I have a Highlander and if your groceries aren’t properly stowed, they’re going to roll around everywhere.

Somehow, the watermelon Kellan and I bought today managed to escape its little nook and was rooooolllling all the way to the left and then rooooollllllling all the way to the right every time I turned a corner, all the way home.

When we made it to the garage, I took Kellan out the the car and then opened the back hatch to get the groceries. The watermelon was right at the edge, basically about to fall onto the bumper.

Before I could load my arms with all the bags of groceries my arms could possibly carry and do the grocery bag shuffle to the house – because that’s what you do when you have a toddler – I went to unlock the door and put my purse on the counter. Past experience has taught me not to have a locked door and a million grocery bags. New moms take heed.

Right before I went inside, I hear this dull thud. In that moment I knew. I knew what had just happened.

Kellan! Did you crash the watermelon to the ground?? The hard, cold, concrete ground….

The response was a very happy “Yes!”

“It’s ruined!” I yell back.  I know this because just a week or so ago, a watermelon fell out of the back of my car and when we got it home, it was completely ruined inside. You’d think I’d learn to strap that baby into the seat by now.

I put my purse down and turned back to go to the garage to survey the damage when I hear a panicked Kellan yelling, “Oh no! It’s rolling away! Oh no! It’s rolling away!!!!”

In the ten seconds it took me to put up my purse and make it back out to the garage, our watermelon had managed to find its way out of the garage to our downward sloping driveway and tried to make a run for it.

Where is it? I asked Kellan, between fits of laughter. I knew that in his mind, he had just made the biggest mistake of his life. He crashed his watermelon to the ground (haha! Look at what I did!) and now, now it was paying him back. Cause and effect in the greatest of lessons.

There! Down there! In the road!

We have taught Kellan that the road is for cars and if one is coming, we move to the grass because we have no sidewalk here. He knows the road is no place for a kid or a watermelon to just casually meander.

Kellan points frantically to the gutter all the way across the street, looking at me like, “Why are you just standing there and laughing, mom? This is an emergency! The watermelon! It’s rolling away! It’s in the road!”

 

 

I mean, is this even interesting?

Moment of truth: 99% of the reason I’m rarely blogging is because 100% of the posts come from my phone and it is a PITA to type a blog post ON YOUR PHONE.

Anyway. Glad I got that off my chest.

So, house renovation is still happening. We are currently going insane living amongst piles and piles of boxes and paper and lots and lots of things labeled I Have No Idea Where To Put This.

Don’t even get me started on how many pictures we have to hang…it really doesn’t seem like you own so many pictures until you take them all off the wall. Then it’s like DID WE REALLY NEED TO FRAME THIS?

The next *big reveal* will be the red monkey wallpaper half bathroom. Even our painter/handyman, Michael, who has a suuuuuper southern accent (that isn’t even totally real, he just picked it up and started using it, as he hails from ChiCAGo) was like, “I…I rally don’t know whut they were thanking.”

Me either, Michael. Me either.

This is what we walked into when we bought the house. No wonder they showed zero bathroom pictures in their real estate listing. That is definitely a red flag, anyone buying a house in the near future. If they don’t show you the bathrooms, there’s a really good reason. And by really good I mean horrendous. It’s a jungle out there (ba dum chaaa):

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Once we find a mirror and a toilet seat….Oh, yes. FYI – turns out you can buy a whole toilet and it doesn’t even come with a seat *or* a lid. Shouldn’t that be standard? I mean….come on, toilet people. That’s like selling a hotdog without a bun. I don’t even really eat hotdogs and I still think that’s crazy talk.

We also need a few other things like a circle towel bar and a toilet paper holder thing (technical terms, I’m sure) and some artwork on the walls…a towel in the circle bar… Then it’ll be a blog worthy “after” to share. I mean, it honestly looks a million times better already, goodbye monkeys! But I think you deserve the finished product with a lid.

In other news, I’m thinking about going for bangs again. Talk about a total change in topics. Welcome to my brain. Buckle up.

Join me? It’s house renovation time!

“So, are you guys even living here or are you flipping the house?” Actual question by the Lowe’s guy who installed our new awesome refrigerator (because the previous owners took theirs and we left ours in our old house. I mean, kid in a candy store activity for Tim. I won’t even get started on the other electronics he’s getting to buy. Christmas in July!).

Exhibit A:

20140720-135151-49911767.jpgAnyhow, first, I’m not entirely sure how you’re supposed to take that. Is it a compliment?

Second, it’s Arkansas. The housing market isn’t exactly booming. Sorry, Arkansas, but it’s true. I highly doubt we will make any money off this house. I think we’d be happy to break even, honestly. *However* I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to do this for a living. Remodeling houses and/or staging them to sell? It’s like Tim and my true calling. We can make any house look amazing. It’s like we actually have a knack for it….it just comes naturally.

Anyhow, back to the house. No, Lowe’s guy. We will be living here. No flipping. Only remodeling and renovating the things we thought needed help. Well, really only the things we absolutely could not live with…since this is not our forever house, we aren’t fixing alllllllll the things.

First was new paint and carpet and that’s almost finished! Benjamin Moore revere pewter and a linen colored carpet for the win!

Sidebar: do you have any idea how long it takes to vacuum a totally empty house? FOREVER. That’s how long.

So, our progress so far…and by “our” I mostly mean the painters and the carpet people…

We went from this super dark cave in the dining room:

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To this – let there be light! I don’t even think I have a picture of the chandelier before we took some weight off in the form of black shades over the lights (WHY) and these weird dangly decorative things that Kellan called silver chickens. And please excuse the giant pile in the center of things still to do:

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And this lovely mustard yellow (this isn’t our furniture – this is from the former owners):

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To this, Kellan for scale:

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Ahhhhh. Doesn’t it look and feel so much more peaceful and calming with the new paint color? As Tim says, “it feels so sophisticated.” Except not in a stuffy, snooty way. More like a quiet, cool, gently flowing riverbed stream kind of way.

Tomorrow we will finally get to move in after about two weeks of living in a tiny one bedroom apartment with all of our things in storage. I cannot wait to show you how the rooms will look post-furniture and decorations and hanging pictures! And our mini-loft we made for Kellan! And the kitchen area! That deserves its own post. So many things! Who’s excited?!!!?!! Other than me, obviously.

Here’s to the boxless calm before insanity and chaos tomorrow. We are trying a new plan of attack with the madness that is movers hauling in boxes left and right and asking where they go. Last time it was actual mass confusion as we were trying to read every box to see what was written on the side to see where it was supposed to go. This time, we pre-labeled all the boxes from every room with different colors of tape and are also taping a sign on each door/entryway with the corresponding tape color for each room and will be putting up a sign with which tape colors go upstairs and which go downstairs so they don’t have to ask every time they bring in a box. Hoping our extreme type A plan works.

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If it doesn’t, at least we tried.


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