Thursday, August 18, 2011

MD or not to MD

You'd think since I'm a nurse, a pediatric nurse, that I'd have all the answers when my own kiddos are sick. Oh, not so! I'm sitting here this morning debating with myself about whether I should call my pediatrician or not. I'm usually a "wait and see" kind of mom. Let's face it, 95% of kids' illnesses are viruses and just need to run their course. Not much good ol' Dr. Jason can do for those. But I always worry that I'm overlooking something that should be obvious--especially since I'm a nurse. I have a tendency to say to myself, "I've seen way worse than that," and therefore not call the doc. But what if.....

So, here's the situation. We've all been a little icky feeling this week. Trey had a stomachache and threw up on Saturday morning. Emerson had a fever that same day and a runny nose. No big deal--Trey was fine after that and Em only had a fever for about 24 hrs. My stomach has been "iffy" all week and I had a terrible headache on Tuesday. Emmy threw up Tuesday night (but only once) and had a little diarrhea Wednesday. This morning she woke up crying, thought she had to puke, and was all sweaty and clammy. But as soon as it started, it stopped and she told me she was hungry. She ate toast, asked for yogurt, then asked for a snack afterward. She's still puny and lying on the couch but says her tummy feels better. No idea. I wouldn't be concerned at all except I just experienced a crazy case at work with similar circumstances. A few days of so-so symptoms that ended up blowing up later. And now, I'm a little paranoid.

Will I call the doctor? I don't know yet. Probably not. Or maybe I should....

Friday, April 8, 2011

I might move to Thailand

Ok, my wishes were answered in a big way! Remember in the last post when I (jokingly) hoped that our Thai teacher would want to whip up fabulous dishes each night. Well, he did. Like, at least 3 times a week for the two weeks he was here. He even taught Bobby how to make several of the dishes and left recipes for the ones he didn't instruct on. We also discovered an International Market on Lafayette Rd that I know we will be frequenting from now on. Bobby described it as a Walmart for foreign food. Noi was amazed because this place had all the brands of things he buys in Thailand. I'd call that pretty authentic! So I have now had Tom Kun Kha and some other soup, two different types of Laab, some kind of canned fish concoction, a delicious fried egg dish, Pad Thai (of course) and all the rice I could ask for. So, not only do we have some new food to add to our cooking repertoire, I have some different things that I can order at Thai restaurants. Those menus always intimidate me and I inevitably end up ordering Pad Thai out of fear. Don't get me wrong, I love Pad Thai. But it's nice to have some new options and actually know what I'm getting! Noi has gone back to Thailand now--the group left on Saturday--but he left a huge mark on our family (and not just because of his culinary skills).

I have to say, when Bobby first proposed the idea of hosting a total stranger in our house, for 24 hours a day, for two weeks, I was hesitant. Maybe a little more than hesitant. I'm not exactly the most outgoing person in the world and new things sometimes make me nervous. New people make me nervous. That's probably why, for all my big talk of moving somewhere warmer, I'm still in good ol' Indiana. Anyway, after some serious discussions and promises that all home repairs would be completed, I conceded. I agreed that it would be a good experience for both us and our children to be exposed to a different culture. This is especially important to Bobby given his Asian ancestry and dedication to teaching for the IB program (International Baccalaureate). The whole experience was SO much more than I could have asked for! Noi has a 4-year-old son of his own so living with our two kids was perfectly normal for him. They adored him and had fun wrestling and entertaining someone who hadn't already seen all their tricks. :) And while they're kinda young to understand the whole "from a different country" thing, some things definitely sunk in. Last night Trey and Emerson were playing in our coat closet (their cave) and invited Bobby to join them. Bobby said he was too big to get in there and Trey said, "No, it's an international closet. Everyone can come in, no matter what." Hmmmm, maybe he did soak up a few lessons along the way. We also opened our house to some other hosts and the other Thai teachers as well. Those nights were a blast--learning about a new culture while entertaining friends. It was perfect (and a nice preview of the summer days soon to be here).

We've also been looking at vacation places in Thailand. It's super cheap to stay in most places over there because of the exchange rate. We'd love to go visit and experience Noi's every day life too. Now, if only the flights were cheaper and it didn't take 2 days to get there! Just another far-off place that we need to save our money for. :)

Trey shows his ninja moves while Emerson rides her trusty steed (aka: Noi)
Bobby's cooking lesson
Our "family" dinner--l to r: Yai, Di, Steve, Trey, Angie, me, Emerson, Noi
The kids and Noi on his first night here

Friday, March 18, 2011

I can see the light....

Renovations are finally coming to a close and this girl could not be happier! As fantastic as the house looks, this project was quite something to live through. A word of advice: if you're doing renovations that extend through your whole house, move out while it's happening. I feel like I've probably inhaled my weight in dust and grout powder. I'm just guessing that the kids have done the same. Nice one, mom! Hopefully they won't have any long-lasting pulmonary effects!

Here's a run-down of what's done......and what's yet to come:

--Tile floors are laid in all 3 bathrooms and the two entryways
--The old fiberglass shower has been ripped out and a brand new, sparkling tile shower has replaced it (swoon!)
--The garage door opener has been replaced with a new, belt-driven one. I don't know what this means except that it's quieter and the opener I keep in my car is smaller. Also, there's a keypad in case I loose said opener.
--The kitchen sink is now 9.5 inches deep and stainless steel instead of old stained 5 inch white nastiness. The sink may be the highlight of the renovations for me. I'm pretty sure I could climb in and take a bath in it. It is a beautiful thing!
--My personal favorite: tile around the master jacuzzi tub. I'm in love with this and it was a decision made on a whim after working a night shift and being awake for 24+ hours. I was talking to the contractor about the shower and moved to what I didn't like about the tub (a wooden baseboard around the top that gets wet and looks yucky). He said, "If this was my bathroom, here's what I'd do..." and the idea took off from there. He only charged for materials (not labor) and it only added a couple hundred bucks to the final price. Sooooooo worth it!!

--There are insulation guys here today putting in our much-needed new insulation. Finally Trey's room won't feel like a freezer when he gets up in the morning. They claim big energy savings. We'll see. But, it absolutely has to be better than the no-insulation-at-all thing we've had going on since the ice damage!
--A new water softener system? This is in the works and will hopefully be done before the summer. You see, we have well water. I know, who has well water in 2011?? But we do, and I'm pretty sure it's toxic and slowly poisoning all of us. Even though the tests claim it's safe, I'm not buying it. Really, can orange water be safe?? We have major iron issues and I think our current system is as old as the house (20 years). So, for the health and well-being of my family, it's time to replace it.

Lots and lots of changes going on here! But, it's all starting to come together and look great. I can't wait until I no longer have to sit and wait for repairmen, make idle chit chat with them, and can fold my undies without an audience of strange men in my living room. I'll post pics when it's all cleaned up. That's what I'm doing now. I started with the 1/2 bath just so I feel like I've accomplished something! Spring cleaning at its finest.

In other news, we're heading to Florida to visit Bobby's dad on the 28th. Can't wait for some fun in the sun and sand!! We're also having a teacher from Thailand coming to live with us for 2 weeks in April. It's part of an exchange program through Ben Davis and we're really excited to experience someone from a different culture. Both Bobby and I think it will be awesome for the kids to gain some global perspective in their tiny little minds. I'm secretly hoping he'll be a culinary master and want to whip us up an authentic Thai dinner. A girl can dream!

Until next time.....

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tile and painting and drywall, oh my!

So, the ice storm of 2011 left la casa de Chin in a state of disrepair. We had the infamous "ice damming" that the news has been doing stories about. Basically, this means that the ice landed on the roof and froze and then had no place to go when the melting started because of the enormous amount of it. When water can't run off the roof and down through the gutters (because they're frozen solid) it pools on the roof and comes straight through.....into the house. And it leaves devastation in its path--soaked insulation, faucet-like pouring through light fixtures and window frames, saturated ceilings and drywall, you get the picture. Imagine the panic when you see water dripping through your light fixtures and knowing you are powerless to stop it. Yep, thanks Indiana weather--we love you.

We've had Service Master here to cut out drywall, remove insulation and ceiling parts, and run fans and de-humidifiers for a few days. The insurance adjuster was here to survey the damage and cut us a check (minus the $1000 deductible--ouch!). Now, it is time for repairs. In true Chin family fashion, we can't do anything halfway soooooooooo......we're re-doing the whole house. Ok, maybe not the WHOLE house, but a large portion of it. The ice damage occurred in Trey's bedroom, our master bathroom, and the eat-in kitchen area. Since our master bathroom has always been on our short list of remodels, we decided to go for it while it's torn up anyway. That led to ripping out the old fiberglass shower and tiling a new one, laying tile on the floor in there, and while we're laying tile there, we may as well do the entry-ways and downstairs bathroom too right? And since we have to re-paint where they put up new drywall, let's just repaint the entire kitchen, playroom, master bed and bath, Trey's room, and Emmy's new room while we're at it. Wow. This did seem like a good idea at first. What was I thinking??

Right now, I'm fighting panic attacks at the sight of all the clutter. The playroom is first because we don't have to wait on construction guys to do anything. So, the kids' toys are piled in the middle of the room and we put a primer coat up last 8pm after putting the kids to bed. Tonight will be the first coat of paint and then we'll see if it needs a second. Probably. Did I mention that we're covering up red walls?

Drywall guy is coming tomorrow and tile guy may start this week too. The hardest part of all this is that it's not just one area of the house. It's the whole. entire. thing. First floor, second floor, bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchen, playroom. Deep breaths. The anxiety is coming back. I hope the kids enjoy the Wii a lot for the next few weeks! That's the only room where they can play freely at this point. I just have to keep my eye on the prize. Our house is going to be like a brand new place when this is all finished--just have to get there! So, if I call you up begging to come over and play, please let me so I don't have a nervous break-down.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The 4-minute Body

I think the book is actually called "The 4-hour Body" but whatever. The point is that this book has taken over our lives. Originally discovered by both my husband and our friend, Steve, this book was the topic of discussion over Christmas break. I should have known it was only a matter of time before it integrated itself into our lives. And so it begins.....

The premise of the book is simple: a guy uses himself as a human guinea pig to conduct nutrition and health experiments and find the fastest, most effective ways to burn fat. Apparently, this involves eating nothing but protein, legumes, and vegetables and taking weird vitamin supplements that make you smell like garlic. Oh yeah, and ice cold showers. Some things make sense to me--the diet, obviously. Others though.....well, let's just say I'm not that die-hard. I refuse to give up my hot steamy showers in the winter. And I'm not taking strange vitamins that I've never heard of that keep me awake all night.
So, Bobby hasn't eaten bread since Saturday. Like, not one single morsel of anything that might be considered a grain. No dairy either. I might be on board eating the protein/bean/veggie combo but this girl is NOT giving up cheese. And I like bread, a lot. I'm more than happy to give up the white stuff--I know refined sugars aren't good for you. But yummy whole wheat bread and brown rice....yeah, not happening. So, I guess I'm about half-way committed. For breakfast I had a spinach and scrambled egg mixture. I didn't have the legumes so I don't know if I'm burning fat right now or not. I guess I'll let you know at a later time.
There is one part that I'm super excited about and that is.....the binge day. You're supposed to take one day a week and eat whatever you want. Massive quantities, trans-fats, gooey cheese, and deep-fried goodness. Bobby has spent all week talking about his 'binge day'. It will be a sight to behold, I'm sure of it. If you don't know my husband, you may not be aware of his consuming prowess. For a small guy, he can pack away some calories. Now, give him a green light to do just I said, a sight to behold. I hope he keeps track of it. I'll give an update after Saturday.

Aside from 4-minute bodying, we have become regulars at the Children's Museum. We got a membership for Christmas (thanks mom and dad!) and we have put it to good use. I think Bobby has taken them 3 times by himself. That's all in the past 2.5 weeks. And we went once all together. Trey and Emerson are in love with the dinosaur exhibit. That's all they talk about when they get home. The digging for bones, hiding in caves, sculpting with silly putty....they love it all. Emmy and I got to design clothes for the Barbie dress forms when we all went together. She had fun, but it was nothing compared to the dinosaurs. I'm glad she's a very well-rounded girl!

Digging for bones
Sculpting dino heads with bronze silly putty
"We love the nuseum!" (No, that's not a's how they both say it)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! (catch up)

Well, 2010 has come to a close and I have not been on this blog once. But, it's been less than a month this time instead of over a year so, obviously, I'm improving. I'll start by summing up our holidays:

Christmas was absolutely magical this year. I know that sounds so melodramatic but it was absolutely the truth. Since the kids are 2 and 4, they understand the magic of Christmas without yet being caught up in the "I want, I want" of it. They don't know what the "it" toy of the year is and I'm grateful for that. This year, we were able to focus on the wonderment of Santa Claus, the power of the elf on the shelf, and the goodness of giving. Trey made gifts for Bobby and I at preschool and we had to wait until Christmas to open them. I truly believe he was more excited to give us our gifts than to open his own. Although, I think that feeling has passed now that he has the Wii. :)
Bobby and the kids spent the first Sunday of break with the Chin side of the family. They made some traditional Chinese dishes from scratch at Mike and Christy's. I know the kids had a blast playing with (tormenting) the cat and got to experience some of their Chinese heritage. I love that they do that!
Bobby's mom came up from South Carolina and spent some time with us at our house. She took the kids shopping for their gifts and they had a blast. Really, is there anything cooler for a kid than being turned loose in the toy section to "get whatever you want"? The kids had tons of fun playing with all their new stuff with Grandma Kathy and showing her all their new tricks. They definitely love a captive audience!!
The night before Christmas eve, we went to Christmas at the Zoo with some friends. The lights were really cool but it was bitter cold outside so we didn't get to enjoy it as much as we could have. But, the desert was nice and toasty, the dolphin show was cool as always, and my kids love the aquarium. All in all, it was a great prep for the next day.
We celebrated on Christmas eve since I had to work Christmas day. It was just the 4 of us, waking up to presents under the tree, finding Santa's cookies gone, and wearing our jammies all day. I couldn't have asked for a better day. The kids played with all their toys, both Bobby and I got to play with them, and we ordered Chinese take-out so no one had to cook or do dishes. I can't believe how unbelievably lucky I am to have these amazing people in my life. Both the little ones and the big one. I realized over break once again how incredible my husband is, both as a partner and a father. He gets overlooked a lot when I become totally focused on the kids and all the stuff I have to do. I'm thankful that he's a teacher so we get these breaks together to remind me of why I fell in love with him all those years ago.
I had to work Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. One of the disadvantages of working in a hospital--it doesn't close on holidays. My Christmas day shift was great--our pediatrician's parent's brought in a home-cooked meal for us and the SCN staff. We had a nice "family" lunch and a very relaxing day since we sent our 1 patient home early in the morning. Bobby took the kids to Anderson that day to spend it with Kathy and Ralph's family. The rest of my work weekend was nuts--let's just say I felt like a phlebotomist with all the labs I drew, had to have a parent escorted out by security, and worked with 3 different RNs and a PCA (which is crazy since I always work with the same person).
Monday we had some friends over for wine and pizza, both of which ended up on our guest room floor. Don't worry, I won't say how or who. ;)
We headed to Jasper for a Christmas/New Years celebration with my family. Once again, I have to brag about my fam. They open their house to us for as long as we want, whenever we want, and actually enjoy it (or they're very good at pretending they do!). They take care of my kids, cook for us, let Bobby and I sleep in, and countless other wonderful things! I even got to have dinner at the Calumet (yum!) with some old friends while I was in town. We were able to spend time with my brother and sister-in-law, my grandparents, and T and Cassie. Thanks to everyone who took the time to come over and hang out with us. I love that my children get to hang out with their extended family so often!
Our new year's celebration was much different than they used to be. The 4 of us and Gigi and Grandpa Russ put on our PJs and spent the evening playing different Wii games. We put on our hats, tiaras, and leis at 11 (the kids couldn't quite make it to midnight) and blew our horns and noisemakers. Emerson loved yelling "Happy New Year" and Trey thought the horns were awesome. It was a different kind of fun and I loved every second of it! I think we'll definitely do more low-key NYEs like that while the kids are little and still want to hang out with us.
So, now 2011 has begun. Resolutions this year? Nah--we've all seen how well that works for me. But, I am in Operation Bridesmaid for Tara's wedding at the end of this month. That means I have to shove my winter body into a gorgeous, but super form-fitting, satin dress. So, vegetables and Jillian, here I come!
Enjoy some photos from the holiday season!!

Christmas at the zoo--inside the snake

Christmas Eve night in their new jammies
With Daddy

Our lessons (Karate for Trey and Gymnastics for Emmy)
My boys
Blankets and new inflatable beds from Gigi and Grandpa
Yep, we're awesome
Happy New Year!
Happy 2011 from the Chins!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Horse farm in December?

Trey's preschool class had a field trip yesterday to Strides to Success which is a horse farm that specializes in therapy for special needs kids and behavioral issues. It was a really cool idea and a really neat little place. But not when it's 20 degrees with a windchill of -5. In retrospect, I bet the school is wondering why they planned this field trip for the coldest time of year. It would have been really cool if they could have gone out to the pastures and watched the horses. As it was, all the kids were kept in the (un-heated) barn where there were 3 horses in stalls (that they weren't tall enough to see into) and in a classroom. I also had Emerson with me thinking she would like to see the horses too. Well she did.....for approximately 30 seconds. Too bad the field trip was an hour and a half long. Next time, we'll get a sitter for her.

Trey really liked it though he was disappointed that he didn't get to sit on the horses like he thought he would. He asked me this morning if we could go somewhere where you're allowed to sit on the horses. I told him, yes definitely, we should absolutely find somewhere we can go horse-back riding. Now he's concerned that "we don't have the right gear" (his words). When I asked him what we needed, he told me, "a saddle, a string to hold the saddle on, and a rope to steer and stop the horse." Wow, I guess HE was paying attention to the presentation at the farm while I chased Emerson around. Anyone know of a stable that lets you ride horses on the west side of Indy? When I was growing up, a lot of people I hung out with had horses. We went riding a lot when I was in high school. I don't have those connections up here though so I think we have to go the stable route. That's probably safer than the way we used to do it anyway. There was usually a lot of beer involved and really steep hills. Not sure how no one ever got hurt!

I don't really have any pictures to share from the field trip. Two-year-old runaway + taking off and putting on coats, hats, and gloves for three people = not many photo ops. But we did get to make a horse sock puppet that Trey named 'Fred'. Fred is awesome and has been part of many adventures already. In fact, Woody is riding around on him right now. So, the day wasn't a total loss!