Simple Saturdays


As I sit her I know it’s time to grab a cup of coffee on this quiet Saturday morning. After a busy week of school and for us a lot of doctor appointments and purchase of a wheelchair I’m done. I’m tired and I want to go back to bed. But I am also happy. Happy that today is Saturday and I’m going to implement Simple Saturdays going forward or I might lose my damn mind if I don’t.

Today we have plans of some sort like we always do but this Saturday I am going into them with ease. Boy Scout popcorn sale- 2 hours- I got this. The van is full of pop-corn so the wheelchair won’t fit. But my husband will follow me- leave his car for me- and go grab the wheelchair kid (not disrespecting the child but this is new for us and hopefully not for long so he’s the wheelchair kid- so there!). So today is simple – it is because I need it to be, I crave it to be and so it will be- SIMPLE.

After the sale I have carved out some friend time, a rare occurrence for me. My friend’s cousin, Carol, suffers from Appendix Cancer and to throw a spotlight on the disease and to spread awareness and raise funds Carol has made amazing “Forever Flowers.” These flowers are made from glass bowls, plates and other items and are placed on a rod that goes into the ground. They can also be displayed indoors using a plate rack. (One of the flowers I bought is the middle top standing between my two Hydrangea and it’s beautiful- the photo does not do it justice.) Here’s the link to Forever Flowers by Carol.

So that is what I am doing today- going to drive about an hour to spend time with a friend and be supportive of someone I do not know but someone who is brave and strong and gives me the courage to make today simple. Sometimes you just need to breathe and be one with the universe to realize that the world is simply going too fast. You must take time for YOU in ¬†order to reboot and cope with life’s many challenges. Today I will be simple so that I can be the best ME I can be the rest of the week. Tomorrow is a new day and a new start to a brand new week and it’s going to be a busy one.

Be Resourceful


So today ended up being what I was afraid of a fiasco. But being resourceful as we tend to be at Chez Gillies we made it work. Order for a wheelchair- perfect. No need to panic. We go to where we were told to get one- they don’t sell or rent wheelchairs any longer. BUT they were really nice and gave me the numbers of two places that did. So I called them. One hung up on me after I told them what our insurance was and the second let us know they don’t take insurance but she kindly shared she had a 16″ narrow wheel chair that was gently used for the taking.

Since we were near Culvers we opted to have lunch- it was about that time anyway and who can say NO to their custard! (I have to as I’m lactose intolerant but this was for the boy and he said “YES!”) So after lunch we headed to Buffalo Grove and purchased a used wheelchair. Quite the steal actually. Just under $130 and far easier to swallow than renting one for about $50/week. We ran around a lot and several hours had passed and I didn’t realize the car gas light went on. We depart from the wheelchair store and I see “12 miles til empty” – well surely we can get to a gas station easily. I put my GPS on to get home and don’t you know it took us over hill and dale (fastest way home but NO GAS STATIONS in sight!) and we rolled into the gas station about 2 blocks from our house with “1 mile til empty” sign. Holy Moly- really? By the skin of our teeth we made it. My gas tank is supposed to be 19 gallons. Well I filled it with 19.69 gallons so yeah- we were on fumes!

So that was our Thursday- running around -getting home in the nick of time to get my daughter from middle school and then back home in time for the youngest- injured one- to have his trumpet lesson. Later on Cole and I went to the store to figure out a solution for a wheel chair tray. We searched high and low for a lap desk. We had to get one that could prop on top of the wheelchair arms vs on his lap as pressure on his thighs is unbearable. So after finding a pink one and a purple one which he was more than happy to accept we found in the clearance section a $8.99 one! Well dang nab it if we didn’t snatch that right up. I am not fond of shopping at Hobby Lobby but this was a necessity to get a lap desk asap so I left my principles at the door and purchased it. Hopefully my $10 purchase won’t make or break me.

So yeah – Thursday was about being resourceful and making lemonade out of lemons.


(Note the pink accents on the lap desk. It has a groovy cup holder and pencil holder though so that’s the cat’s meow!)

Remember to be Thoughtful

thoughtful thursday

It’s the times when life gets the most hectic, the most chaotic that I have to remember “BE THOUGHTFUL.” It’s like being mindful but even more. You have to really take a moment and breathe. Take it all in- even the craziness of it all and remember- it’s going to be ok! Yes it truly is.

For us- our lives- my husband and myself- our lives have been chaotic since we got married. I suffered from PTSD and this guy- this nut of a guy- well he must have been a nut to have married me- but this guy- he took me into his life warts and all. I will always remember how he never rejected me (well there is that yogurt aisle incident when he dumped me 3 months into our relationship but I’ll tell you that story later).

Our married life began without much fan fare and we started to think about having a family. I went to therapy to ensure my PTSD was under control before considering having children and I worked. My husband pursued his software engineering career and life was good. It’s really always been good albeit it interesting. We got pregnant although not easily needing some testing and a very painful procedure for me but we managed and poof our 1st child arrived 3 weeks early in August of 2003. It was a typical birth- well not that any birth is typical. But it was wonderful to become parents. We sat in awe of this little human being we created. I was so worried to leave him. I knew that John’s family had a familial seizure history and that he had them as an infant. I knew the history, I had done copious amounts of research but I’d never seen a seizure and I wasn’t prepared to be a mother of a newborn who had seizures.

Day 2 of his life- and even though they’d encouraged me to shower before this- I was afraid and didn’t want to leave Quinn. I finally realized I was clearly over-thinking things so I hopped (well hobbled) into the shower and within a minute I knew something was terribly wrong. There was a lot of activity in the room. John had been holding Quinn so something bad must have happened. I finished up as quickly as I could and my baby was gone. GONE- Quinn had an seizure while I was in the shower- he had turned blue and they had rushed him off to do whatever one does when this sorta thing happens. Moments blurred into other moments- minutes seemed like hours and soon they came in to tell us they were doing a spinal tap on my baby. They wanted to make sure it wasn’t meningitis- a cause of seizures in infants. I told them that there was a genetic history before we even went into labor but nobody listened and honestly there is protocol to follow so I get it. They informed us that they’d be transferring him to Boston Children’s hospital and that was that. Here I was in a gown, in a hospital, without my baby. They agreed to discharge me although I had some pretty significant stitches from the huge headed, large chested baby (his abdomen got stuck on the way out- can you imagine? NO DON’T- it was painful!!!)

So without going thru the next 14 years I can tell you that that moment is when our medical dramatic life began. We have 3 children, all of whom have the same genetic seizure disorder and all of whom arrived early – although Meghan attempted to make her debut at week 28- and all of whom had seizures til age 6 or 7. My life was always on edge. In addition our youngest had terrible asthma and was hospitalized twice as a child and also had 4 surgeries before age 4 (tubes in his ears 3 times and tear duct surgery at 11 months). Add to that a hospitalization for me- one for John and the “normal” pediatrician visits- it was insane at best. But that is OK- but for me it really wasn’t.

happy coffee

All those years of stress took their toll on my body. I never drank coffee til Meghan arrived and since at the time we were in living in Seattle in 2004 I began to drink it there and strong coffee too. I lived on too much caffeine and too many scraps off the kids plates but I survived, they survived and we survived 2 cross country moves (Boston to Seattle, and back to Boston) and another half-cross-country move in 2013 which landed us in Illinois. We have survived a lot and it’s been great and wonderful and amazing and chaotic.

John had double jaw surgery in July to treat a longstanding sleep apnea issue. He’s fine- 9 weeks post op and although it was a surgery I’m sure he wouldn’t wish on his worst enemy he did it to ensure he’ll be with us for a long time. Did you know that people with severe sleep apnea die early? Sleep apnea taxes the body and all the organ systems and it shortens your lifetime. Nope- not my husband- if he’s going to die he’s going to do it with every ounce of prevention he can. And so he did the surgery and he’s good.

A few weeks ago- someone asked me how the family was doing? We are good- finally in a good stretch of health. I had experienced some chronic fatigue and pain and itchy skin that wouldn’t quit since we moved here in 2013 and finally in May/June we got that diagnosed and resolved. Life has been fantastic.

We went from homeschooling our 3 kids to enrolling them back in school and we have a major life shift- but it’s good. All was going well til ¬†last Monday night. Innocently petting our dog (no this is not a dog bite story) and my youngest, Cole, went to get off the floor. Of course our couches are just large, soft, expensive dog beds – so Snickers was on the couch- Cole was on the floor and he complained that he couldn’t get up. “Really” I yelled- “Seriously Cole- It’s past your bed time. Love Snickers later and GET TO BED!” He mumbled a complaint and hobbled up the stairs. I didn’t think another thing about it. Nothing. Dropped him off at band early on Tuesday morning. You know the drill. Car line- drop and run. I didn’t even see him walk in although I do make eye contact with the teacher holding the door every band day so he was good. On my way to drop Meghan off to middle school and then back home. My “new normal” routine.

I am still a stay at home mom- figuring out what is next for me. It’s ok and I’m ok with it. So Tuesday and Thursday afternoons I am sure to walk and help Cole carry home his trumpet and chrome book while he manages his heavy backpack. I do it not because I have to but because I can. So this Tuesday I make it to our normal meet up spot and no Cole. Keep walking- NO COLE- keep walking and there is my baby barely able to walk crossing the cross walk near the school. I run to him and (that is a feat for me) with the dog and say “Did you hurt yourself at recess??” and he yells at me “MOM- I’ve been this way all day. I told YOU that I HURT myself LAST NIGHT!” I felt like the biggest jerk ever. I immediately called the doctor and that is where our story just gets more bizarre.

medical mystery
I guess it’s not bizarre at that doc appointment because the pediatrician assumes it’s a strain- FROM PETTING THE DOG??- and we are sent home with a note for school and heat and advil. Easy right? Well he makes it about 2 hrs the next day complaining of burning pain in his hip. So we call the doc and long story short- we wait and stay home til Friday. So he is now 4 days and is having difficulty walking. Limping and honestly preferring to be in the recliner on the couch or in his bed. This is NOT my child. He does NOT stop at any point – EVER- well unless you plunk down his computer or a video game but generally speaking this child is on the move.

So we are sent to Orthopedics- we get seen- hip muscle tear perhaps? (That was Friday night.) We get an MRI Monday and it was clear- we get sent to Infectious disease Tuesday to rule out Lyme. She doesn’t want to even test him. I’m annoyed and follow up with Orthopedics who is equally frustrated and he orders the tests himself. I feel like a rag-doll at this point having spent half the day at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital with no answers.

We get the bloodwork back last night and nothing- he’s fine. Lyme tests still pending. And now this morning- this THURSDAY- I am trying to be thoughtful. What I forgot to mention is that Cole has been complaining about his legs/ankles for months maybe even over a year. We always tell him it’s growing pains and we lovingly refer to him as “the 90-year-old-man” because he’s always complaining about aches and pains. It’s eerily familiar to my childhood though and so I acknowledge that something might be up. I also remember how a friend’s child- a few of them actually- have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS). In the summer I called and put both Meghan and Cole on Dr. Brad Tinkle’s waiting list- he’s the genetic doc whose specialty is EDS. I called yesterday by chance to see if the 2 yr wait list had shortened. I told our tale of woe and the secretary (always be nice to those people) put us in for an October 23rd appointment. Yippee!!

So- for those of you that think I can’t stop talking. I can- and only because I have to take Cole to the Orthopedic doc. My baby can’t walk- he can’t bear weight on his right leg. His MRI is clear, his blood work is clear- the Lyme test just came back negative- holy smokes (literally just got the call just now)- and so we go forth. We are thoughtful and breathing and trying not to panic because how will that benefit us? It won’t.

So I will leave you with this- be thoughtful- remember- EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OK!


Wacky Wednesdays


Today is like any other day in our life- Wacky. This year has been a huge change for us. We went from all 3 kids homeschooling (past 5 years) back to public school this past August. School in Illinois starts earlier than we are accustomed to- August 14th for High School and August 16th for K-8. It was a hard first week but they adjusted well and are all doing fine. Well I’ll use the word “all” loosely.

So last week- Monday night- after a regular school day and a normal Monday night for the boys (Boy Scouts) our youngest son (age 11) was petting our dog and eeking out every last minute of “downstairs time” before he was supposed to get to reading in bed. He was dragging it out and when he went to get up he couldn’t. I was like “Seriously! YOU NEED TO GET TO BED!” and he laid there for a minute and then stretched out his legs and got up although dramatically limping. “YOU’RE FINE!” I told him. His Dad put him to bed. See I’m the Advancement Chair for Scouts and I had some data entry to do and that is how my Monday’s go. Two and 1/2 hour meeting and then about 30 minutes online afterwards. I am tired and cranky and so isn’t my “mini me” – the 11 yr old. He’s been the “90 year-old-man” for years now. Aches and pains, “oh my foot hurts” or “my side” for years now. I thought his leg pain was just that- growing pains or just over emphasizing it for my benefit. Apparently I was wrong.

Tuesday was band drop off day- so it was not unusual in the car line to drop him off and go without looking back. I’d made eye contact with the band teacher who held the door for him. I had NO idea he was limping when he went in. Surely I would have called the doctor then. Two thirty Tuesday afternoon- geesh- I am running late- I have to go walk to get the child. Mind you- age 11- 6th grader doesn’t need me to get him but the dog needs a walk at that time of day and he enjoys it. We do not meet him at school we meet him on the corner near the school. I get there- LATE- and no kid. Keep walking- NO KID- keep walking more- NO KID. I get to the crosswalk in front of the school and this child- this healthy 11 year old boy can barely walk. He’s lugging his trumpet, his chrome book, and his heavy back-pack and limping severely. OMG- did he hurt himself at recess? Gym? WHAT- my mini me says ” MOM- I went to school like this! WHAT DO YOU EXPECT! I CAN’T WALK- MY LEG HURTS!”

So off to the doctor we went which led to a long week of waiting- pain- no answers and landing at Orthopedics on Friday afternoon- last appointment of the day with the best local guy around. X-rays show nothing- pain shows – something- so what do we do next? Pediatrician thinks and gets in touch with our local large hospital (teaching hospital with lots of amazing docs and a pediatric center). They confer and decide we should go to infectious disease to check for Lyme or ??? And so we do. Off to the hospital 10am yesterday. Prepared the kid for blood work. This doc was so insistent that with a clean MRI (did I mention the MRI came back clear- it was done of the hip and hip only) there was no need for us to be seen by her nor for any tests to be done. She happily explained Lyme disease and how it would show swelling in the hip area if that was the issue. “What if it’s in his knee that was nor MRI’d?” I asked. I see no reason to do further testing and so we were sent home with no answers and no care plan. Hmmm.

I made a call to his pediatrician. Rest and heat and advil- keep it up he said. Um – ok? Do I call Orthopedic? “Yes- tell him what the other doc said.” Ok- so I put in a call to Orthopedic and go home. My kid is exhausted- I’m exhausted and I need to run to my part time job (simple- one hour or less) and popped back home. Orthopedic calls back and is anxious to know what testing was done so he can know if it’s Orthopedic or Infectious diseases issue. I inform him no testing was done and this man- this very dry Orthopedic doc with a soft spoken manner says “WAIT? WHAT did you just say?” and a very silly conversation ensues with us both basically saying “Seriously! NO- I will write the lab work myself!” And so thanks to the Orthopedic we hope to have answers today. Test results! They tested for Lyme and other inflammatory diseases. This may just be the beginning or I honestly hope the end for my boy. He is in pain albeit it not a lot if he’s in the recliner or in bed. But this kid- this 11 year old kid- is not one to lie in bed. He’s not one to be tired all the time. He’s not one to lay in the recliner for hours on end. This kid gets up and runs, this kid wrestles with his brother, this kid giggles and plays with his sister on her bed for hours tossing their stuffed animals in the air (shhhh- I didn’t just tell you that). This kid does NOT rest like this. He just doesn’t so that alone tells me there is something wrong and I just hope it’s nothing major.

So that is our Wacky Wednesday. I am hoping to get to the grocery store, I am hoping the Orthodontist appointment later for my 12 yr old daughter goes well (they are installing a spring and I was told it’s very painful during/after- YIPPEE) and my husband who is 9 weeks post-op for major double jaw surgery gets on a plane for the first time since surgery for work. Yeah- just another Wacky Wednesday here. Tomorrow is Thursday and I hope it’s a “Thoughtful Thursday” or a “Trouble FREE Thursday” as we go back to the Orthopedic at 10am and find out what the heck the plan is.

This kid who homeschooled for 5 years is loving school- or rather liking it enough to miss being there- but I can tell you homeschooling myself is a lot easier than doing all the classwork/teaching from school at home. Home is not the same as a classroom and vice versa and I’m tired. After he finishes his breakfast I will sit with him and go over his work and he will then complete it. We’ll drop it off this afternoon and pick up todays. Hoping this ends by Friday. I’m done with Wednesday already and it’s only 9am.

Tackle IT!

tackle tuesday

Tuesdays have a new name – “Tackle Tuesdays”- it’s where I meet a house crisis head on. Last week I tackled the kitchen. I cleaned very nook and cranny and it was wonderful. I organized while I blasted ’80’s music and cleaned til the place shined and also more importantly I could find STUFF.

Today- was also Tuesday and I was aiming to do my dining room today but instead a health situation- darn child- ruined that idea but not the idea of Tackle Tuesdays.

It’s important to tackle the chaos in your life. Be it Tuesday or any other day. Carve out time- it does not need to be a whole day. Heck Saturday- I went in for battle to buy a new bra. Yup- battle bra Saturday. I successfully after giving myself a rather long pep-talk bought 2 bras. TWO- PEOPLE- TWO! I knew my size after being sized at Nordstrom and purchasing 2 there at a ridiculous cost. I needed more. Back up bras, nice for under tee shirt bras- comfy bras that worked with my narrow rib cage 34 band size and my less than small DD chest.

I did it- and I feel great!

So do it- tackle something- be it big or small. And you will feel pretty darn amazing when you are done doing whatever IT is!