Sunday, March 18, 2012

New Kitchen

I think maybe the last thing I mentioned in the blog about Josh's employment status was that he was back to work. That didn't last long. He was back for like 3 days and then has been off again since then. The good news is, with this crazy spring (summer?) weather we've been having, he's going back tomorrow. During his time of unemployment, he had Linda watch Willow for a day or two a week and finally finished the kitchen on Friday. He didn't do any big changes, and it wasn't that expensive. But I think it looks 100% better. So here are the "before" pictures (they were taken after he had already removed the cupboard doors):

And, here are the "after" ones:

This is our extreme faucet. Josh picked it out. I hated it at first, but it is growing on me.

In the first "before" photo, you can just see the super-tacky shelf thingies that used to be above the stove - they came with the house. I hated those most of all, and I love our new shelf! The rest is pretty sweet too.

Last Saturday, we took Willow to Marquette to see a performance of "Annie" put on by the local youth theater. It was really very good. There were something like 85 local kids in the play. Willow loved it and sat through the whole thing. Here she is waiting for the show to begin, with her Annie doll. It was mine when I was a kid. :)

After the play, we stopped in at the NICU to visit. There were a few nurses there who took care of Willow, and they were very happy to see her. She was very shy, and wouldn't speak until it was time to leave when she finally said "good bye". It's still really emotional to go back there. Everything about it - all the sights that we saw every day for 3 1/2 months, the smells especially. I managed to hold it together, but just barely.

Then last Sunday, it was so beautiful out. We went for hike up at Cliff Mine with Seth, Beth and Lucas. What a fun excursion. We've still been keeping my New Year's resolution of getting out in nature together every Sunday.

Here's the three of us at the top. Not a great photo of Willow, but it's the best one we got of the three of us. It was such a clear day, the view was amazing. We could see the Huron Mountains one direction,and Isle Royale in the other (though that was through the trees).

While the grown-ups hung at the cliff's edge drinking beers and admiring the view, Willow spent most of her time back a ways, playing in the trees. That was fine with me - it kept her away from the huge precipice!

A cute photo of Seth and Beth:

Willow did really well on the hike. Josh carried her up the cliff, then on the way back down, she did a lot of her own walking. She actually kept up pretty well. While the rest of us had snowshoes, Willow was mostly able to walk along on top of the snow. Here she is with Josh helping her down a steep part.

Sometimes it's easier to just slide on your butt:

Towards the end I carried her again. She was a pooped kid.

After the hike we all drove to the end of the dead-end cliff road and hung out in the sun for awhile (and drank more beers). We let Willow drive a little. We got a really funny video too, but I better not post it. I might get arrested, ha.

Yesterday, we went over to Mont Ripley for the slush pit. We ran into my dad when we first got there, which was handy - he watched Willow while we took two runs. We had a couple free lift tickets, so we didn't worry about the fact that those were the only runs we took. Here's a photo we took of ourselves at the top of the Bowl. It was the first time I've skied with no hat and no mittens. It was in the mid-70s. That's not an exaggeration. Crazy.

Here are a couple pictures by the slush pit. We were just spectating this year - Josh did not participate. We ran into Ruth and Margot there.

Here's Willow last week sampling some parmesan.

That was her last hurrah with cheese for awhile. We're doing another dairy-free trial. The update on Willow's tummy issues is complicated but I'll quickly try to do it here.

So, basically...the GI doctor (whose name is Dr. Brown, ha) did look at the movie of Willow's colon. He thought maybe there was compacted poo in there that was causing her to be constipated which was actually causing the mushy poo. Apparently constipation can cause that because the colon's all blocked by the hard poo chunk and so the other poo coming down the line has to squeeze by and turns to mush to do so. (That's disgusting, sorry.) So, they had us put her on laxatives for a week. That didn't change the poop so far as we can tell, although, she hasn't had tummy aches for several weeks now, which is great. Meanwhile, the holistic guy did some pretty weird stuff to her (google NAET) and decided she has a dairy allergy and some bacteria in her gut and convinced Josh to buy $200 worth of this ensure-like powder for kids, plus two different probiotics, which we're supposed to give her while not giving any dairy. I called the GI doctor to tell him that the laxatives didn't really do anything. He now wants to do an endoscopy, colonoscopy and a biopsy to rule out Hirschsprung's disease.. But there are many factors that argue against Willow having that (not the least being that she used to have normal poo). We don't want to put her through that until it's a last resort, so yesterday we started another dairy-free trial on the holistic guy's advice along with the powder and probiotics. So, that's the update in a nutshell. It's been hard to keep it all straight. I finally had to put all the info in a folder and separate the papers by doctor.

I hope everyone is enjoying the awesome weather!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Fun Times

Last weekend we did so many fun things, it was exhausting!

Friday night we went and watched the CopperDog 150. Super fun, just like last year.

Here's Josh and Willow watching the dogs, by the bonfire, and watching the fireworks.

Saturday, Josh went skiing, and Willow and I went to the MTU preschool carnival. That was pretty fun. The most memorable part of the event was when a friendly clown walked up to Willow with a huge bunch of balloons in every color and design imaginable and asked Willow what color balloon she wanted. Willow goes, "black". So she got the black balloon. Maybe she'll grow up to be one of those goth kids who wears black trench coats? I hope not.

We got so much snow last weekend and the ski conditions were so good. Josh decided to be a nice husband and let me go to Mt. Bohemia with Seth and Beth on Sunday, since he had skied (downhill) 3 times in the past week. So I headed up there with them. Oh, it was amazing. I haven't had that much fun snowboarding in a long time. I almost could imagine that we were out west on a powder day. It was that good. So we were skiing down to the yurt for lunch, and who's waiting for us at the bottom but Josh and Willow. Josh couldn't take it, he had to come up. It was perfectly fine though; by that time Beth and I were ready for a break. So we ate lunch, then took turns hanging out at the base with Willow and taking runs. It was sunny and sort of warm (not too warm), and it was really fun. We hung out in the sun at the outdoor bar, did a little sledding and just playing in the snowbanks. I wish we had some photos.

I can't remember which day this was, but we also made a recent trip back to the Nara sledding hill with Willow. She has gotten very brave and is now going down by herself, head-first. This is a kid who last summer was afraid to go down the playground slides by herself. After sledding we hit the bar - the KBC (Keweenaw Brewing Company), or as Willow calls it, the "ABC". Ha. Here's a pic of Willow and dad toasting to a good day on the slopes with a beer and a root beer.

Here's some shots of Willow playing in the snow in our yard.

And here's a video of her drawing. I just can't get enough of those smiley faces. In this video she uses both her left and right hand. We're still not sure which hand she favors.

I don't have the time or mental energy right now to do a health update. I think we've updated most people who care by phone anyway. So maybe another time. Right now I have to go get ready - Willow and Josh will be awake soon, and we're heading to Marquette soon to go see "Annie" at the children's theater. Willow's going to love it - I can't wait!