Wednesday, October 31, 2012

That's What Chloe Said - October

We put a gate at Chloe's bedroom door so that she can't get out of her room at night. It especially comes in handy when she doesn't want to go to sleep. Lately, this is often. She'll stand at the gate yelling at us.  Here are some of my recent favorites:

"Daddy! Daddy! Will you turn my light on?" "No Chloe. It's sleepy time." "Daddy! I need my light on. Daddy, will you bring me my step stool so I can turn my light on?" "No." "Daddy! Can Uncle Jer....umm...ummm...Maybe Uncle Jer can turn my light on!"

"Mommy!  Mommy! I need a time-out. I need a time-out Mommy! I need my time out chair."

10/21/12 Dave texted me from home:
Minnie and mickey are playing and we were talking about minnie's glasses. Somehow it turned to a doctor check-up, Chloe says "I have a diagnosis! You have Eye-ee-osis."

10/22/12 Dave brought sandwiches home for dinner and cut Chloe's up into little pieces. When I walked to the table I saw all of her tiny little sandwiches on her plate and thought they were just adorable.
Me: Awwwww. Look at all those tiny little sandwiches...
Chloe cut in: Yeah, they're soo cute! Just like I'M (patting her chest) so cute!

-Come on Chloe! Let's go find Daddy.
-Yeah! Where is that boy?

Chloe loves wearing skirts and dresses (and even shirts with flared bottoms). Every time she wears one she declares, "I'm a princess!" or "I'm a true princess!" It's darling. The cuteness fades, though, when it's time to take the princess clothing off and get dressed for bed. At that point she tugs at it crying, "No Mommy! Don't take my princess dress! I need to be a princess!!" You have to have balance in everything, right?

That's What Solana Said - October

About her new earrings:
"It's really good to twist them when I get bored, too. See, I was bored a second ago but now I'm not bored anymore. Now I'll never be bored ever again!!!!"

Dave was helping Solana look for her purple blankie under her gigantic pile of blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals in her bed. During the search I walked in just as she uncovered a pile of books - maybe 4 or 5. "Well, I definitely did NOT sneak those books in bed when I was supposed to be sleeping!"

Happy Halloween

The girls, along with all of Centerville, participated in Beggar's Night last night. I'm not sure why but Centerville often schedules Beggar's Night, the night when all the kids go trick or treating, on a night other than Halloween. Weird. I'll have to ask about that some day. The girls were really excited and Chloe has been talking about "Halloween Day" for days. It was freezing cold and raining so Chloe had to stay home and help me pass out candy. Solana, Dave, and Monty bundled up and headed out. 

Before they headed out, though, we had a dinner which included some creepy bread sticks. I made these out of my healthy bread dough and they were so easy. I might make them again today for actual Halloween. 

Getting ready to head out. This year was by far the easiest costume preparation we've EVER had! I picked up Chloe's costume last year after Halloween at Kroger. I happened to notice all their Halloween stuff on a table at 75% off. I picked up two 'up to 24 month' costumes and hoped they'd still fit. At $4 a piece it wouldn't be horrible if they didn't. Fortunatley, Chloe's just now getting into 24 month clothing! I pulled it out of the closet, grabbed a red shirt, black pants, socks, and shoes. And voila! No shopping online, pouring over costume catalogs, trips to Michaels, JoAnn's, or Target. Best costume ever. Solana promised to create a challenge, though, when she announced that she wanted to be a horse for Halloween. She's still obsessed with horses. Remember her horse books? Her interest has not waned. I'm thinking of getting her horseback riding lessons for her birthday...  Anyway, Dave and I reacted hesitantly when she said she wanted to dress as a horse. "Hmmm. Well, maybe we can do it. We'll have to brainstorm how we can make a horse costume and get back to you on that one."  A day later Solana played at her friend's house next door and came back wearing a freakin' horse costume! What the...?  She announced that her friend, Maria, was going to let her borrow it for Halloween. How lucky are we! A couple of undershirts, jeans, socks, snow boots, gloves, and she was good to go. Easiest Halloween ever. I'll have to cherish this one because I don't think I'll luck out like this ever again.

Poor Chloe. She just can't seem to look at the camera, open her eyes, and smile simultaneously. They still look adorable. 

Bluebell and Chloe helped me greet Trick or Treaters. Here's Chloe waiting patiently and admiring her necklace. Dave gave her a little light-up pumpkin necklace and she talked about it non-stop (literally) for 15 minutes straight. And when I say "literally" I actually use it correctly. She didn't stop talking except to take a breath. I was asked if I liked it about 40 times. Seriously. Poor Solana. She took too long eating dinner and was trying to dress in a hurry to get going and there was Chloe talking her ear off about that necklace. I couldn't help but giggle and Solana trying to be patient as she tried to hurry with her ear being talked off. What's the saying? Taste of your own medicine...? hehehe


 Dave and Solana worked hard on the pumpkins this year. They spent two nights in the garage. Solana loved every minute of it. She adores special time with her Daddy.

This was Dave's - the free-style pumpkin. Solana said she suggested the teeth. 
 These two were from a book. Mine is the cat bat. Chloe's is the monster.
 Solana's is the vampire bunny. She drew it on paper and then Dave put it on the pumpkin. I thought she did a great job!

The beggars after a long hour+ in the freezing cold rain. Monty and Solana are both horses! Monty's jockey is hanging on for dear life!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Eye Pressure Down After a Month

It seems Satan's Tears are working. After one month of Cosopt drops the pressure in Chloe's left eye is down. During her in-office check-up today her doctor didn't think she'd be cooperative enough to get an accurate reading with the little pen thingy and felt comfortable by pressing on her eyes with his thumbs. He said her eyes "felt" good. Not that I have any reason to doubt the man. He IS a pediatric opthamologist at Children's and has experience with these cases but I went ahead and insisted on getting a pressure check with the little pen thingy that they would use to touch the front of her eye.

I knew it wouldn't be pleasant and he warned that the reading might not be very accurate if she's fighting and trying to squeeze her eyes shut but I really wanted to give it a shot. I'd been waiting a month for this reading and really wanted the reassurance. First they gave her drops to numb her eyes and then touched the front of her eyeballs. It didn't go great. She cried and fought. I assured her it wouldn't hurt and tried bribing her with the promise of granola bars at home if she didn't cry. Bribery didn't work. She cried and fought and then requested her granola bar after. Fortunately, they were able to get a decent reading. The pressure in her left eye was down from 30 to 19! Whew! This is an acceptable pressure and I'm very relieved! (Pressure at 30 leads to blindness. Pressure below 23 is acceptable.) The pressure in her right eye read 26 but that may have been because we did the right eye second and she was fighting even harder. Her right eye has not had a cataract and has no risk factor for glaucoma so we agreed that it was a false reading caused by her struggling. I was satisfied.

I also chatted with the doctor about getting a second opinion or "second set of eyes on her case," as I put it. He was very agreeable but warned that the doctors I suggested, one being his mentor who he thinks the world of (as he should because this guy is a world-renowned retinologist) and another being a younger doctor who's "growing on" him, are retinologists and not glaucoma specialists. He said there aren't any pediatric glaucoma specialists in the area but he does know a glaucoma specialist in Columbus who doesn't usually see kids but will in Chloe's case because they're friend/colleagues. I agreed to do one more in-office exam and then another EUA in 3-4 months. After that, and with more information gathered, we'll talk to the doctor in Columbus. I'm ok with that. But I'll probably call Chloe's retinologists in Cincinnatti and Detroit just to see if they have any other suggestions.

It's difficult to know what to do in a case like this. I wish he'd said, "Sure! There's a great pediatric glaucoma specialist an hour away in Cincinnatti. I'll refer you there so you can get in soon." But that wasn't meant to be. I don't have any reason to think he wasn't offering the best possible option. He seemed completely cooperative but hesitant to send us to someone who doesn't know as much as he. That's reasonable, right? Then why do I still feel like I need to do more?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fall Picnic

I'm so glad I felt sick today. Normally when Chloe comes home from school I make lunch and we eat. Then I start cleaning or doing other chores around the house while Chloe plays. Sometimes I join her but not always. My stomach is pretty weird today so I decided not to do any chores. I agreed to have a picnic with Chloe and we're just sitting on the blanket enjoying ourselves. These moments make me especially thankful for being able to be a stay-at-home mom and for feeling sick.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Visit from the Goldsworthy's

In a strange turn of events both my sisters and their families visited in the same week! It was a very exciting week at the Hendrickson house, indeed. Just as we left Dayton International from dropping off the Holbergs we received a text that the Goldsworthy's arrived at the Xenia airport so we drove straight there to pick them up. 


Joe is a pilot for the Air Force and has his own plane so they get to fly themselves here. The good thing about owning a plane is that they can decide to fly any time. The bad thing is that the weather dictates if they can actually fly when they decide to do it. They were supposed to arrive on Monday and spend one day here with the Holbergs but they couldn't because of the weather. Fortunately, it cleared up enough the next day. Solana was really excited to see Uncle Joe's plane!

This day was horrible. The girls had to go to school and we planned on a visit to the pumpkin patch immediately after Solana got home. But this was the day Sera got really sick. We called the Vet and didn't hear back for a few hours. We finally decided to ditch the pumpkin patch until the next day because we needed to stay home for Sera. Valerie and Joe were very understanding and kept reassuring me that they were happy to relax but I felt bad that we all just stayed home all day. I was glad to have Valerie here when we put Sera to sleep, though. She's a crazy cat lover who once held our beloved Blue during his final moments and was a great support.

We had a very very late dinner of cheese fondue/comfort food.

Dave went back to work and the girls went to school. Valerie and Joe headed off to the AF Museum and I to the hospital for Chloe's new glasses and contacts. After school we drove to Young's Dairy and Dave met us there from work. This is one of my favorite places to visit with guests. The kids played and we pigged out on ice cream.

Solana helped Grant feed the goats. She's a pro and a good cousin.

Valerie is 35 weeks pregnant and looks great! Look at Solana in the background :)

Then we headed to the pumkin patch. Valerie had never seen a pumpkin patch. We had a pretty good selection because the official pumpkin patch grand opening wasn't until the following weekend. Dave found some good ones and Grant even found one to take back to Georgia.

Grant was determined to find a pumpkin. He ran all over the place and fell about 100 times.
I don't think Chloe fell enough. She decided to sit down in the mud just to make sure her bottom was as dirty as Grant's. Never one to be shown up.

Solana found her pumpkin and it was incredibly heavy. Much heavier than it looks. I know this because she told me all about it several times. :-)

Joe drove the van home so that I could ride with Dave. It's only my 3rd time on his bike so I was still pretty excited!

There was some nasty weather heading our way Friday so they decided to leave ahead of it.

Valerie and I squeezed in a trip to Target and JoAnn's Fabrics. The kids LOVED it ;-)


Chloe and I dropped them off at the airport at 1pm and they took off just before 2. I'd never seen their plane close-up so I was excited to be near it as they loaded. Grant LOVES planes and pointed to every one he saw. He and Chloe are so cute together. Who'd guess she's a year older than him?

Off they go!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I lived with my Aunt Laura and her family my first semester at UT Austin. I was so weird. What freshman would leave town to go to college and happily agree to stay with family? But I liked my Aunt a lot and looked up to her and partying wasn't really my thing, anyway. Plus, I guess I've always been cheap and I knew it would save money. I moved into the dorms the following semester and then an apartment my junior year. Being a cat person I just HAD to have a cat in my first apartment. First, there was Midnight. He was saved by my sister from her boyfriend's parents. They were tired of having a cat so they put Midnight into a pillow case and were planning to dump him on the highway. It turns out Midnight was really old and had feline diabetes. He was in a lot of pain and I had to have him euthanized after just a few short months. I mourned Midnight but comforted in the fact that I lavished him with love and affection before he died. 

Shortly after Midnight I visited the Humane Society that I had volunteered at the previous year. It wasn't kitten season so there were only two. They were the last of a litter that was rescued from a dumpster. I immediately wanted the black male but the female with white was more playful and full of personality. How could I possibly choose one and leave the other one behind? They were already named: Hardy and Serafina. I chose both. Amazingly adorable I fell in love with both of them immediately. They were detrimental to my schoolwork. Somewhere I have pictures of them laying across my textbooks when I was supposed to be studying.

Here they are teeny tiny in September 1995 and then again in December. They really chunked out! Hardy was 11 pounds and Sera 10 pounds at their heaviest.

Serafina was sweet sweet sweet. She and Hardy both loved attention. They were the kind of cats that stood on the armrest of the couch to get closer to someone standing up. She loved being brushed the most and was thrilled when I added cat brushing to Solana's responsibility chart. Sera sometimes got acne on her chin. It was like she had bits of dirt on her chin. It really was cute.

These cats were world travelers. They lived with me in Austin, Houston, Germany, (and then us in) Colorado Springs, Houston again, Denver, and finally Ohio. They provided us with entertainment, company, comfort, and companionship for many years.

They were 10 years old when Solana was born and a little apprehensive of her when she first started walking. It took a little effort to teach her soft touches but they always came back and gave her another chance. By the time we moved to Ohio she was turning four and they were the best of friends. Solana adored her cats and Sera especially adored her back. Here they are in our Xenia house. It would have been Spring 2009.

Sera was also really good at finding comfy places to sleep. Here she is with Chloe. January 2010.

Shortly after Hardy died we noticed Sera was getting very skinny. Our new Vet, my friend Linda, is a house call vet. I can't even begin to say how awesome it is to have a house call vet. She came over and ran a bunch of tests on Sera. She noted kidney problems, anemia, and dehydration. Sera weighed 6lbs 10oz. We wanted to get that up so we started feeding her canned KD food, added cooked chicken liver to her diet, and started subQ fluids. SubQ fluids are basically an IV but under the skin instead of in a vein. It's a quick way to add lots of hydration. She seemed ok for a while but then we noticed her peeing in the fireplace room and getting skinnier. She was quickly losing weight during Leticia's visit. Leticia's family was in town 3 days and Valerie's family arrived immediately after. Although she wasn't quite due we decided to give her more fluids the morning after Valerie arrived but she suddenly fell ill. We woke up in the morning and she was so weak she could hardly walk. Even though she had been booked with appointments all day Linda came over around dinnertime and said Sera's kidneys had completely failed; all the fluids in the world wouldn't hydrate her. She could potentially hang on a couple more days but she would be miserable so we decided to let her go. 

Linda was a gem. Solana asked her if Sera would be ok and Linda was perfect. She has a teenage daughter (our baby sitter) and knew just how to talk to Solana. She explained physiologically how the body stops working and that Sera's heart would soon stop and that her body was just too tired to keep living. She mentioned a book called, "Cat Heaven" and Solana remembered it from last Summer when we checked out every single Cynthia Rylant book from the library. Together they remembered parts of the book. Solana, "I remember there's a bridge and they get young again and can play and be happy like when they were kittens!" Linda: "Yes! That's it! And I think it would be wonderful for you to draw Sera a picture that she can take with her to remind her how much you love her and will miss her." I was a mess. There's no way I could have been so helpful to Solana. Linda will never know how special and important a role she played on that day. We discussed timing and, based on Linda's recommendation, decided that she would come back after Solana had gone to bed.

I let Solana have a full hour of TV before bed and Sera was happy to sit with her.

I got to hold her for a little while after Solana went to bed.

Putting Sera to sleep was not a difficult decision when I saw her stumble and unable to even hold own weight. But it was harder when I knew she was comforted by being held. It would have been cruel to keep her around any longer. I think that having Linda come to our house made the experience as peaceful and stress-free for Sera as possible and I'm so grateful for that. Linda explained every step of what she was doing and I got to hold and pet her until the end. She didn't feel pain. Linda first anesthetized her so that she just fell asleep at home with Dave and me by her side.

Dave and my brother-in-law, Joe, dug a hole earlier but Dave and I went out by ourselves to bury her. I'll never forget how hard it was to put her down or how peaceful she looked curled up in her final resting spot. Dave took her from my arms and set her down. I reached in to touch her fur a few last times. It was still perfect and soft. It was about 9pm. We crumbled hand-fulls of dirt over her for a long time and Dave finally filled the hole and set another tree stump on top just like Hardy's. It's difficult to say "good-bye" to a pet after 17 years. Or after 7 years, in Solana's case but we know she had a good life. She is missed and will always be loved.

 Angels Hardy and Sera. Signed by all the family members.

Angel Serafina