July 5, 2015: Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July, everyone! Well, it has passed, of course, but barely…so happy 4th of July!

For the first time since we’ve been living here, we stayed home this year instead of going to Chris’s parents’ neighborhood for their community parade. Theo’s Cub Scout troop (pack? I don’t know the terminology…) had a truck in the community parade, so we wanted to do that—and also, Chris’s parents were going out of town anyway. It was a fun little community event, and it was quite nice to just walk five minutes into town for it, instead of driving 75 minutes to try to get there before the parade started!

It was hot on Saturday, but thankfully there is a fair bit of shade downtown, so we staked out a shady spot and didn’t move from it much. Theo had a good time decorating the truck with his packmates and then riding on it in the parade, and Sam had fun oohing and aahing over all of the people in the parade.

I’m not sure we ever go downtown without seeing someone we know, and this time was no exception. We saw a few people we know from Theo’s school, but then also a woman came up to me and said, “Is this Sam?” I said yes, and she said, “Okay, this is going to sound a little weird, but I toured a preschool a few months ago and met him, and I thought this was him!” Actually, it didn’t sound weird at all—Sam seems to have one of those faces people recognize. When he was about 21 months old, I remember some woman on a hayride out in the Central Valley saying, “I know this baby! I saw his picture on my friend’s cake business website!” Turns out her friend owned the bakery that made Sam’s first-birthday “smash cake” we used in his one-year pictures, and almost a whole year later, this woman recognized him from the website. Go figure.

Anyway, it turns out that the woman at the July 4th parade has a son who will be starting at Sam’s old Early Intervention program next month—and he’ll be in the same classroom Sam was. And the preschool she toured for him is the same one Sam now attends. And the two boys share a physical therapist. And if that’s not enough coincidences, her son’s name is Sam, too! Anyway, it was good to talk to her. She’s understandably a little nervous about her son starting EI (I remember being the exact same way!), and I told her how much we had loved it and how wonderful the staff and teachers are there. I think it set her mind at ease a bit—at least, I hope so!

After the festivities downtown, we walked home and did some yardwork in the ghastly heat. The boys hung out inside watching a couple of cartoons while we toiled in the heat…ugh. But it needed to be done, and it looks much better now. We took down the chicken wire around the lawn, mowed the grass, did a bunch of weeding, and spread mulch in the areas that had been previous inaccessible due to chicken wire. It looks quite lovely now, I think! And the dogs love the lawn—they pooped on it like six times in the first hour. Don’t even ask me how they have that much poop in there. They must’ve saved it up to christen the lawn. 😉

After dinner, we headed to a neighboring city for a fireworks display. I always love fireworks, and so does Theo. Sam was apprehensive at first but quickly grew to enjoy them, going “Ooooooooh!” at every one as they exploded. Before they started, he also had fun running around the big athletic field, dancing to the band that was playing. Such a little ham!

Theo was actually off day camp for two days at the end of the week—apparently they decided to make it a four-day weekend. Which was fine, except that schedule changes don’t always go too well with him. But he managed…and I’m pleased to say we all survived the four-day weekend. 😉

Sam had Friday off, so we did the exciting morning event of buying the mulch to spread on Saturday. It was thrilling, let me tell you…. I had quite a bit of work to do, so Chris had the boys for much of Friday, since it was a holiday for his company, too. And that ended up being a good thing, because I got a terrible optic migraine in the afternoon. Let me tell you, it’s difficult to proofread a hundred pages of text when your vision is full of giant flashing triangles! Thankfully, the headache part of the migraine never emerged—this is the worst optic migraine I’ve had, and every one in the past has been followed by the pounding headache. Chris urged me to take some Advil as soon as the flashing in my vision started, and I did. I’m not sure whether that’s what held off the headache or not, but I didn’t get one—just some tenderness.

I was kind of heartbroken, actually. I wrote last week about trying to take back control over my weight, which has ballooned since I started the migraine medicine a year ago. So there I am, four days off the medication, and I get the worst optic migraine I’ve ever had. I started to cry because I was so bitterly disappointed: I kind of feel like I have to make a choice between being overweight and having no migraines or being a healthy weight and having searing headaches all of the time. I realize that in the grand scheme of life, this is all minor…but it was disheartening to me, nonetheless. More than a decade ago, I worked really hard to lose 100 pounds, and I swore I’d never let my weight get out of control again. And for more than 10 years, I kept my weight at a healthy level. And then I started the migraine medicine…and BOOM. I just ballooned. No change in diet, no change in overall amount of exercise…and I just ballooned. It has been really distressing to me, even though I realize that I’m the only one who even really cares. (Chris certainly doesn’t. He knew how miserable I was with a constantly pounding head, and he’s just glad I don’t have that anymore.)

Anyway, when I started on this darn medication, the doctor assured me that it would not cause me to gain weight. But I find that very suspicious, given how my weight jumped dramatically from the time I started it. So anyway, when I was very depressed on Friday with the bad optic migraine, I confided in a friend who is a nurse. “Are you on a tricyclic antidepressant for your migraines?” she asked. “I don’t know,” I said, and gave her the name of it. “Yup, that’s a tricyclic,” she said. “They’re the devil for weight gain.”

So there you have it. I suppose at least I can say this wasn’t a matter of me just being lazy with my health and eating habits. I mean, I’m not the girl who goes out to eat and orders three lettuce leaves, but I’m also reasonably careful in my choices. I splurge every now and then on a tasty treat, but I mostly make pretty sensible choices. But now, what to do? I don’t want to get migraines anymore, but I also don’t want to keep gaining weight at this alarming rate. (I don’t do scales, but I’d estimate I’ve gained at least forty pounds in the past year, since starting the medicine. That’s quite a lot for a year.) A pharmacist friend told me another migraine treatment that doesn’t add weight—in fact, it has the opposite effect. But it’s an anticonvulsant, which makes me a bit nervous. That sounds pretty potent. I liked the mildness of my mild antidepressant.

Anyway, I guess we’ll see how it goes. Maybe I can just power through the migraines without medication. I don’t know…. Aside from the pain of the headaches, I was also having a lot of problems with dizziness, blurred vision, foggy thinking, and vertigo. Even if I can power through the headaches, I’m worried that the other nasty bits will come back. I guess all I can do is wait and see….

On a lighter topic, things are continuing to settle with Sam’s school. The owner of the school met with all of the parents Monday night and explained his reasoning for all of the changes that have been happening. It was good to hear the other side of the story—as I had figured, there was a whole lot more to the story than met the eye. But the important part is that things continue to settle down there, and Sam is continuing to do well. He likes the new director very much, and I’m relieved that his teachers have all decided to stay on despite the restructuring of management. Let’s hope this is the end of school drama for a while!

Sam is continuing to work more and more on talking every day, which makes us very happy! He’s at the age where he knows what he wants, but he struggles to communicate it to us. The more he develops his language, the better he’ll be able to communicate with us, and the happier I think he’ll be. So I’m all for this language development! So is Chris, except when Sam picks up nice words like “damn” from him! Yeah, I’m not taking credit for that one. I’m the one who slipped and said “shit” in front of Theo when he was two, which led to a long several months of trying to break his habit of saying it. Chris gets all the credit for introducing “damn” to Sam. 😉

And in other news, my legislative advocacy work is proving to be very interesting! There’s some interesting stuff going on, and I look forward to sharing about it when it’s a little more formed. For now, I’ll just say it’s a topic near and dear to my heart, and I’m very excited to get a chance to help spearhead it! Funny the directions life takes you that you never would’ve thought you’d go…

In case you missed it, I had a blog post about parenting here. Probably not terribly interesting to anyone who isn’t currently in the trenches of parenting, though….

Have a great week, all! I’m going to spend mine trying to write a book about Frankenstein’s monster. Wish me luck!

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