The first three months of the year is very peaceful and gives our family some rare down time. The holidays are in the rear-view mirror, quickly fading, the new year has settled in, and camping season has not yet started. It is normally the only quarter we can sign the girls up for any activities. This time it was gymnastics, since swim seems to be pretty impossible to get into at UCSD. The girls absolutely love it, and now that my marathon and the related training is over, I can take them and finally give Ryan back some time to himself for mountain biking. We have been making sure that he gets out once a weekend (besides weekends of illness or bad weather). He has also been riding from work a lot more too. He recently made the switch down to 8 hour days, meaning he gets off at 3:30. Since 45 min is a long time for him to wait around for me to pick him up, he has been riding home on his bike, which gives him a head start on home chores before we get home. But since mornings are cold and timing is tight, we do carpool into work together. Since putting the bike on the roof rack that often presented numerous issues and inconveniences, we made our newest Ruby improvement/upgrade; a bike rack. It took several weeks, many trips to ACE and lots of sawing, grinding, welding and traded meals for borrowed tools and donated work, but it is done and its a functional and handy addition that Ryan is very proud of.
We also finally made headway with the nightmare that had become the game room. For my birthday, my mom gave me the choice of picking out some stones to have set for a replacement wedding ring, or a new toy storage system, and it took me about two seconds to decide. In fact, I didn't even have to think about the "decision". My sanity and piece of mind needed to do something with that room and all those toys or I would have gone crazy. We got a new set at IKEA and rearranged everything. Now, there is a bin for every type of toy or activity, and if there is not room for something new, room must be made. I love that there is a designated area, with a finite amount of room that limits the total toys that the girls are allowed. Around the same time, our TV started going out - screaming at us or displaying green lines across the screen. We ended up putting it in the game room temporarily after buying a new TV, and discovered that it was only a power source issue causing the issues to begin with, so we mounted it in above the toy storage, allowing the game room to now be converted to a movie room for the girl's movie nights.
Speaking of nights, we recently had a potty relapse of Abby being potty trained, especially overnight. It started with her waiting too long to go during the day and having little accidents. She would wait so long, and by that point had to go so badly that she was paralyzed and couldn't move a single step, leaving us to swipe her up and rush her to the bathroom. This eventually crept into the night, and several times had a small accident before waking up crying. I drew the line when she completely wet the bed, and did not wake up. Back to pull-ups we go. I was pretty devastated, and complained to Diane. Well wouldn't you guess, it took Diane two days of talking to Abby and suddenly pull-ups were like diapers; for babies, and Abby was back on track sleeping through the night in her panties, no accidents. I curse that amazing woman; she is a better mother than I am at least half the time. Thank God she is a part of our lives, I don't know what we would do without her!
Guinness re-injured her back recently. We just came home one day and she was exactly like she was the previous time; hunched back, trouble controlling bowels, dragging hind legs, in obvious and clear pain, very little mobility. This time I went right to the internet, and found absolute confirmation of what I had suspected from last time; it was her back. This brought a sinking sadness, as I realized that this was the beginning of serious back problems for our sweet little Guinness, and it would just get worse from here on out. I looked back at the calendar and it had been only 6 months since the first occurrence. We brought her into the vet, who agreed it was her back. They gave us some anti-inflammatory pain meds for her and sent us home. We tried our best to keep her grounded but the more she heals and starts to feel better the more mobile she wants to be, which is very bad for her back! Clearly we need to make some changes to decrease the risk and frequency of these events. First, we bought an new accordion gate for the game room. Guinness had chewed through the other one, and since she was behaving downstairs and we just put up a gate to keep her from going up the stairs. I believe that jumping is probably the worst for her back, followed by going up and down stairs. Jumping up and down off the couch all day long is an easy fix; keep her in the game room and she cant jump at all while we are at work. Keeping her from taking stairs has proved to be a bigger issue the more she has healed and feels mobile again (it has been now 6 weeks and she is almost entirely healed). We did put her stairs down by the couch, and have been trying to make sure she uses them while we are home instead of jumping up and down. Taking them from the bed also means she cant get on the bed herself, so we pick her up to put her on the bed, and thus far she has been okish at not jumping down. Although she still does this several times a week and I cringe every time it happens. In any case, all we can do is minimize her physical risk of a re-occurrence, knowing that one cannot be avoided. She will throw out her back regularly from here on out, and at some point these instances will become so frequent that we will have to make a heart-wrenching call and decide at which point the pain she is in and for how long outweighs the quality and quantify of uninjured life she experiences.
Our summer plans have been finalized, and as with each year, I am very excited about our trips. We are camping a lot, as the girls are older and easier to handle. We have it down now so the packing and prepping is minimal and doable. We are mostly staying local, trying to save both time and money to travel to Alaska and Hawaii next year to visit family. So we decided on only one week long trip this year. We will be going back to Zion, which is really exciting. It is such a beautiful place with so much to do and see outdoors. We will also be taking extended weekends up in Big Bear, and a couples trip to end the season out in Catalina.
Rory is also now officially a girl scout, part of troop 4436 in Tierrasanta. It was a whirlwind experience, but everything is worked out now. It started with a flyer sent home through school; interested in being a girl scout? Come to this informational session. When I got to the meeting, we were told that there were no troops accepting new girls, and that the hope was to start a new troop with those there that night. Without much of a choice, we all agreed to attend another meeting to see how we could make this work. By default, I sort of became the "daisy" lead, and another mother, Amy the "brownie" lead. Since we didn't have enough girls to form a troop of each, we would start off together, and separate at some point down the road. After the second meeting and we began to try to organize and plan the troop out, it became clear to me that although I was willing to commit what I could for my daughter to be in girl scouts, there was no way that I could take lead. I decided to pull out at that point as any kind of leader. Luckily, Amy is an absolute rockstar, and another mom stepped up to take the role as Daisy lead. Together, they put the troop together and welcomed Aurora into their troop as I could try to fit her in. They decided on meetings every other Friday from 3-4:30, and Cheryl will be able to get off early and bring her to these meetings. On the occasion that she can't, there are other moms who have offered to get her from school and bring her to the meetings. She has her little outfit, we have the first patches all ironed on, and she has her first trip planned for next week to attend a performance of sleeping beauty by the San Diego youth academy ballet! I'm really pleased with how it all ended up. So here we go, fitting in even more to our already crazy schedule. As we speak now, we don't have a day free until May 30th; two full months out. Funny how fast that previously mentioned lull at the beginning of the year disappears. Cheers to never being bored!