The Obligatory Halloween Photos

Fall Party at the girls school on Friday night. Sleepover at our house Saturday night after our first snow day of the year. Block party on Sunday afternoon. And a potluck dinner finale pre trick-or-treating tonight.

This holiday is officially over... but not before I show off my little Elmo, Fallen Angel, and Disco Diva.

Hope everyone made out with as much 'loot' as we did! Happy Halloween.

The neighborhood kids from JUST our section of the street.


Occasionally Things DO Go Right Around Here ...

What should have been just a week-long project turned into a month-long affair when torrential rains and Trex issues ever so unkindly mixed.

But five pallets of gray Trex later ... our deck is finally complete!

Who's coming over for a barbecue? Just be prepared to sit on the floor... there's no telling when we'll get furniture!

L: The before picture. M: The deck is framed. R: Do you see the different colors?

L: Waiting for the new Trex. M: Entire deck ripped out again. R: Almost complete.

It's filthy and needs to be power washed ... but totally worth the wait!!


So Where Were We?

It's been so long since I've blogged that I've pretty much forgotten where we left off...

Did I tell you about the guy from the Environmentalist Company who came in with his fancy schmancy infrared camera to inspect the basement and see if there was any other mold growth? Only to discover that we had yet another leak in the basement and the entire wall under the guest bedroom had to be ripped out and air dried ... followed on with new insulation, sheet rock, and repainted.

Did I tell you that the Environmentalist Company washed down our entire basement with a mold, mildew, smell remover that they use in hospitals and cafeterias and then used a HEPA filter vacuum in the basement AND ran an industrial HEPA filter with a coal filter on top for four days. Only to have the smell in the storage room come back mere hours after they removed it?

Did I tell you two basement windows had to have all the brick surrounding the window removed, and then re-flashed, re-caulked, and the brick re-installed?

Did I tell you about the illnesses and missing school pictures? Or about Grady eating mud? Or about the 75 tulip bulbs I planted and 15 bags of mulch I just spread around the front yard?

Did I tell you about the girls latest orthodontic visits. Where they had their palate expanders put in? Or how I listened to the girls whine and moan for two weeks about how everything was getting stuck on the roof of their mouth?

Did I tell you about visiting our dear friends in Maryland last weekend? Where we watched these (now) six kids running around and playing like no time has passed between them ... even though it's been over two years since we last saw each other!

Did I tell you that my Endocrinologist got my blood results back and I'm on a new medication. At a lower dose. And I have low Vitamin D. Which I'm now taking meds for as well.

Oh yeah ... and did I tell you that we finally figured out that the smell in the basement has NOTHING to do with the builder or the house ... but is actually the treadmill that Matt bought on Craigslist...

... Yeah.

That's where we are.

Left: Riley, Kit, Gabby - 2004. Middle: with Sheridan - 2006. Right: with Jack - 2008

with Grady - 2011

The girls' palate expanders


On The Mend ...

I. Feel. Better.

Not great, but better than I have in about two months. Maybe more. Which is saying a lot, considering I didn't realize I was as sick as I was until I started to feel better.

It wasn't a sudden illness. It was a gradual feeling of malaise. Knowing something was just 'off'. I wasn't myself.

I began feeling tired. Not exhausted, just slightly worn out. Like I needed to sit down for a few minutes here and there. When I was a little shaky I chalked it up to too much caffeine. When I couldn't think straight because my head was all foggy, I assumed it was because I just didn't get a good night's sleep. Sometimes it would take me all morning to recover and get going with my day. Some days I never felt better at all.

These symptoms alone would never concern me. But all of the sudden I became aware that I had them all at the same time. That it was taking longer and longer to accomplish normal, everyday tasks. I became grumpy and hot and anxiety ridden. I stopped answering emails, blogging, communicating with family and friends. Something ... was ... wrong.

And then I noticed it. I was craving salt. My hair started falling out again. My face began looking like a pre-teen's with all the acne.

And I realized ... It's my Thyroid.

Of course being new to Virginia I don't have an endocrinologist. So I did what every other busy mother who's stressed over the B.S. in her brand new house would do. I googled my symptoms and self-diagnosed based on WebMd. For the next few days I analyzed how I felt shortly after taking my Thyroid medication. In a nutshell ... lousy. Three days later I went cold turkey off my meds.

Later that afternoon through our insurance company's website, I found an endocrinologist. However, when I called, they had WAY too many openings for me to feel comfortable. I don't know why it bothered me, but I always felt that any specialist worth their weight in gold would be difficult to get in to see. One who had THAT many open appointments couldn't be very good. Right?

Despite my hesitation, I did make the appointment for the following week. Because even a crappy Endo was better than no Endo. And at least he could check my levels and diagnose what was wrong.

A few days after I realized what the underlying problem probably was, I was at a lunch meeting with some mother's from Riley's class. I began over-sharing my ailments, as I often do, when one of the other mom's told me that several years ago she too had Thyroid issues ... which ultimately turned out to be cancer.

I don't know what came over me, but instead of asking her how they diagnosed it, if she was okay, or how she was feeling now, the only thing that came out of my mouth was, "YAY, you have an endocrinologist!"

She gave me his name and less than an hour later I called and made my appointment. Seven weeks out, he MUST be good! Before I hung up, I stressed how sick I was and begged and pleaded with them to put me on the cancellation list. Just in case ...

Sure enough, I got the call last Thursday afternoon. A coveted cancellation. On a Saturday no less. One week after calling to make my initial appointment. I took it and immediately canceled my appointment with the 'stand-in' endocrinologist, who didn't even ask if I wanted to reschedule...

The appointment went well. The doctor ordered a bevy of blood tests. A Thyroid sonogram. And even complimented me for listening to my body and going off my meds. I'm fluctuating between hypothyroid and hyperthyroid and my hormones are totally out of whack. He told me that once we have the blood results later this week we'll be able to begin the game of ping pong. He'll begin by serving me the first dose of new medication and my return will either be staying on that dosage or asking to re-adjust accordingly.

I am giddy with the prospect of feeling GOOD again. Maybe even great. It's been far too long.

At least I know ... the game is on!

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