October in Pictures

We went camping up north the first weekend of October.  The weather was  pleasant enough on our first day, but it turned ugly that night.  Rain on and off, the temperature kept dropping, and the wind picked up as the weekend wore on.  We still had fun and (most) of us (the Roc and I) were prepared with cold weather gear….ahem GC is wearing shorts in this pic, though you obviously cannot tell…



I was glad I bought the dog a fleece sweatshirt, even though I felt ridiculous buying it.  He appreciated it.


The Roc was happy to get out of school for two days and go to some of his favorite places.  Waterfalls!



The windchill was definitely well below freezing on our second to last morning and the Roc looked like this


in his sleeping bag while GC and I were getting breakfast together so we decided to head home a day early.  It was COLD.  We stopped by some waterfalls on the way home, which made the Roc happy.


Coming home a day early meant we were back in time for the Roc to skate in the Special Hockey open skate down at the University of Minnesota.


He thought everything Goldy the Gopher did was funny, but he still didn’t want to talk to him.



The location of the Roc’s hippotherapy changed when the therapist got a new job at a gorgeous camp.  The indoor ring is awesome with lots of seating so I can watch him ride, there is a little black kitten who always comes and sleeps on my lap,

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and the trails are beautiful.  The Roc loves the trail ride portion of his lesson (which will be ending now that winter is almost here.)

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My mom had a birthday and the Roc LOVES to celebrate birthdays so he picked out a cake at the grocery store and insisted we bring it to Grandma.  I need more pictures of the Roc and my mom, they have a special connection.  Both my parents are wonderful to the Roc.

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My parents and I took the Roc hiking one day.  The fall colors were gorgeous.



The Roc likes to geocache with his Grandpa.  When I asked him if he wanted me to buy a gps so we could go geocaching he said, “But we do that with Grandpa.”  Yup, we do.


We went a little farther off the trail than we should have on this afternoon and didn’t end up finding the “treasure” as the Roc calls it because my dad and I were a little worried we might fall of the earth.


Even though we didn’t find what we were looking for, and the Roc complained bitterly, the scenery made up for it.


A whole forest of yellow maples in the late afternoon sun.  I couldn’t get over the golden color.



Towards the end of October I met up with my best friend Christa for our annual get-a-way!  We spent the first two days walking around colonial Williamsburg, taking house tours and learning a lot about the revolutionary period.





IMG_2390We also walked around Jamestown which was fascinating.




IMG_2479We had a really great time chatting, eating, laughing, catching up, and learning all about colonial times.

Before dropping me off at the airport we stopped by a plantation and took the tour.

IMG_2484After all our touring, listening, and reading museum placards on our trip I suggested that next year we spend a few days laying on a beach somewhere reading trashy novels.  No learning allowed.  We’ll see what happens next fall…


Something I didn’t take many pictures, and I really should have, was all the decorating the Roc did for Halloween.  As soon as it was October 1st he was allowed to talk about the October holiday (not that he refrained from talking about it since his birthday was over in early August, but I had good reason to tell him that I wouldn’t talk about it until October 1st-my sanity)  The Roc loves Halloween and proclaims it to be his favorite holiday.  He wanted to decorate with the few decorations we have, buy more decorations, and then when I wouldn’t buy as many as he wanted, we made one,


and then over the month he made many, many more.  He also really wanted a Halloween pinata, I think so he could get more candy.


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Like most parents we ended the month of October with pumpkins,




and lots of candy.




Skeleton x3

The Roc wanted to be a zombie this year for Halloween, complete with face painting and fake blood.  GC spent some time watching behind the scenes vidoes of The Walking Dead and thought he could make the Roc look pretty scary.  But there was rain in the forecast and we were pretty sure he wouldn’t like the feel of makeup on his face, especially if that makeup was melting off his face due to the rain.  So we easily convinced him to be a skeleton again this year.  The same costume he worn in 2011 and 2012.  We found a cheap skeleton mask for GC and a skeleton costume for Guinness, which the Roc was really excited about.  I am exempt from dressing up, my excuse being I don’t want to scar little children, which I think the Roc understands now as he told me that a little kid cried when he saw Daddy.

IMG_1852He was pretty creepy looking!



IMG_1862The dog and I sat with neighbors in the cul-de-sac, handing out candy while GC took the Roc around the neighborhood.  They came back with a full bucket of candy and then headed out for more.  We told the Roc he could keep some candy and trade the rest in for money, ten cents a piece.  He got lucky near the end when a guy said he was done for the night and he dumped the rest of his candy into the Roc’s pumpkin bucket!



He doesn’t know what he’s saving up for, but he made twenty five dollars!





It’s come and gone, and now there is a bucket full of temptation sitting on the top of my fridge.  The Roc was super excited about Halloween in Minnesota, his first time trick-or-treating in this neighborhood, and more importantly, with his cousin Matthew.

It’s funny how some things that are so different, a complete departure from what he has done for 3 years in a row, he anticipates with glee; and then the events I do no think will register on the anxiety scale completely throw him off.

When we lived in Delaware we carved our pumpkins the weekend before Halloween, let me restate that, GC carved our pumpkins while the Roc watched and I took pictures.  This year, my sister invited us over to carve pumpkins on Saturday.  I told the Roc, but didn’t think much of it, figuring he would be super excited to go down to my sister’s house.  When we pulled into my sisters driveway, (yes, one street away, I wasn’t carrying 6 pumpkins on foot (and YES, we had SIX pumpkins)) the Roc told me he was anxious.  He didn’t want to get out of the van, he looked worried and scared.

“Baby, you’ve been here before, we’re going to go and find your cousins,” I told him as I walked up to the front door looking for my sister’s family.

He stayed put on the driveway.  I found everyone on the patio, plunked my pumpkins down and went to grab a couple more.

“Come on Roc!  Everyone is on the patio.  Let’s go carve our pumpkins!”  I tried to move him along.

“I’m too anxious,” he told me.

I carried the remaining pumpkins to the backyard and got started.  Eventually the Roc came to the back with GC, but he still wasn’t happy.  I was cutting the top off my pumpkin and I exhaled, realizing that he needed some validation.  That even though I didn’t plan for him to react this way, he was, and I needed to say something to him, to help him.  I could feel his unease and sense his internal pressure was building.

“I understand, this is different from what we did in Delaware right?” I asked him.  “Usually it was just Mommy and Daddy and you, and we would carve the pumpkins at our table, right?”

“This is different!” he exclaimed.

“I understand, but we can do things differently.  It’s okay to do things differently.  And this will be fun!  We get to see what your cousins carve into their pumpkins.” I tried to encourage him.  Inside I was shocked at myself for being shocked that he was anxious at my sister’s house.  I know better.

After I scooped a pumpkin I handed it over to GC.  It’s his punishment for being so creative and handy with a knife.  I convinced the Roc watched GC carve.

My sister’s kids were busy with their pumpkins.

I kept GC busy carving for a long time.  We even got him to try to make an “angry bird” (but we forgot to poke some holes, or leave the lid off and the darn thing didn’t stay lit on Halloween, but it did look really cool!) and the NJ Devils pumpkin he does every year.  He may act like he doesn’t want to carve, but look, he’s smiling!

The Roc wanted to play more than carve, and he got my mom to chase him around the yard for awhile.

After dinner we lit up the pumpkins.

The Roc was super excited about Halloween when he got home from school.  The first trick-or-treaters came before it was even dark, and the Roc cut his dinner short to get into his costume.

GC took him around the neighborhood with my BIL, Matthew, and a few other dads and kids from my sister’s street.  I sat in the circle with some of the neighbors, by a fire, and handed out candy (totally the way to do it!)  When they came back 1.5 hours later the Roc was all smiles, he had only worn the mask for a few houses.  GC said it wasn’t long after they had started that the Roc fell flat on his face and he was sure that the evening was over, that he was going to meltdown.  But the Roc choked back his anger and embarrassment and kept going.  HUGE!  He ran with the other kids and this year he didn’t try to go into every house.

The whole evening was a success.

(A funny thing – he could really care less about the candy.  The bucket is on top of the fridge and he doesn’t ask for any of it.  He wants to keep eating the same desserts he always does.  Yay for that!)

Scenes From Halloween

We avoided the hospital this Halloween – whew!

Halloween started with the Halloween party Fall Festival at the Roc’s school on Friday.  He missed it last year, and so I was excited (and a little nervous) to see how it would go this year.  I sent in his costume, told him I would be coming to the parade, and as I hurried to the back of the school at the designated parade start time I hoped for the best.  He was all smiles when he saw me and I was able to walk the parade route while holding his hand.  No silly stuff, no hand stuff, no weird repetitive noises, no running away from me, just walking in a line with his class…and me.  Success!  His teacher told me he was full of smiles all day.  The happy pirate.

*** Halloween ***

Getting ready with GC.

Trick-or-treating with the neighbor kids.


I was just about as proud of my polka-dotted pumpkin as GC was of his barfing pumpkin, but I was the most proud of the Roc who thoroughly enjoyed dressing up, ringing our neighbors doorbells, yelling trick-or-treat, and then doing it all over again at the next house.  He was “so excited!” all day and the night didn’t disappoint, for any of us.

Hospital + Halloween

Last Thursday I felt quite recovered from my Mommy Meltdown that I wrote about it while the Roc was at school.  He had been home from school for a week and I was soooo very ready for him to go back and was relishing the quiet house, only the sloshing washer and cat growls could be heard as I sat at my desk writing about my Monday implosion.  It was to be my last bit of peace for at least 24 hours.

Earlier that morning the Roc’s breathing was a little tight, which didn’t surprise me because he had been fighting a cough and had needed help over the weekend to get his breathing under control, so I gave him a breathing treatment and sent him on his way eager to be alone.  I got a lot done that day, though I don’t remember what, (besides that blog post) and was slightly dismayed when the school nurse called me late in the afternoon.  She was only calling to inform me that the Roc had been coughing a lot in class so he was sent to her for another breathing treatment.  No big deal I thought.  He arrived home not long after and my heart dropped a bit to hear him wheezing.  I gave him another breathing treatment and when that did not alleviate his discomfort we headed over to Urgent Care.

Because we had been to Urgent Care the week before and the Roc had been put on steroids and breathing treatments the doctor took some x-rays of his chest (so not fun trying to get him to stand still for an x-ray!) which came back with clear lungs.  They did another breathing treatment but his oxygen level was still in the low 90s and she said she wasn’t comfortable with just giving him more steroids and sending us on our way.  She said we should head up to the Emergency Room at the Children’s Hospital.  A knot formed in my stomach as I loaded the Roc in the car.

We met GC at home and drove up to the hospital with the Roc talking and coughing the whole way.  He just LOVES to drive places in the dark and see all the lights and he wouldn’t stop talking!  The ER was crowded with people wearing masks and parents jiggling their crying children as I rushed up to the desk.  The one and only good thing about breathing issues is that no one messes around.  We were brought back to triage immediately and from there we had to wait less than 10 minutes (which felt like a lifetime) for them to find a bed for the Roc.  He was going downhill fast and was coughing and begging for help while we waited for them to find a place for him.  I stood at the desk holding the Roc and practically bored holes in the intake nurses head while he cried and pleaded “I need help” and then he threw up all over me and cried even harder.  Ack!

After we were ushered into a bay the Roc was put on oxygen and his eyes immediately rolled back in his head and he fell asleep.  His oxygen level was 88% when they first hooked him up but quickly went up to 95% on the O2.  We stayed there for a few hours while they gave him more oxygen and did back to back breathing treatments with another medicine.  He wasn’t able to maintain a good oxygen level and his breathing was so labored that he was admitted and moved to the second floor to start continuous albuterol treatment through the night.

By now it was around midnight and he was amped up on all those medications.  When the receiving team on the second floor got him into his bed he was just a wild thing.  He wouldn’t stop laughing and trying to get out of the bed to run around.  I had to climb in bed and hold him while they did their examination and hooked him up to the breathing apparatus.  I tried to settle him and eventually succeeded only for the doctor to wake him up!  GC left to get us some food and I got the Roc to fall back asleep.  We ate and then GC drove home and I spent the rest of the night at the foot of the Roc’s little hospital bed putting his mask back on and re-hooking the monitor to his thumb every 3-14 minutes (you bet I timed it, I couldn’t believe that I would literally close my eyes and then immediately have to open them to fight with him about the mask or monitor!)  Eventually around 5 am he slept for longer periods and I got about 45 minutes of sleep.

On Friday morning they were able to wean him off the continuous treatment and we worked toward getting him to go 4 hours without a treatment so we could take him home.  He was able to participate in the hospital trick-or-treating that morning and they even brought a little batman costume for him to wear, which he didn’t!  He was sleep deprived and easily overwhelmed so we only went to a few stations to gather Halloween trinkets before he said he was ready to go back to his room.  He took a little nap in the afternoon (so you know he was sleep deprived) and eventually he was released to go home around 5 pm.

It was a totally exhausting 24 hours.  For me and for the Roc (and GC too, but he wasn’t at the hospital overnight so our experiences there are a little different!)  One good thing that came out of it was that we didn’t have any trouble getting the Roc to take his medicine at home.  All we had to do was remind him that if he didn’t take it his breathing might get bad again and he would have to go back to the hospital.  Enough said.  He downed it like a champ each time.


Saturday was warm and rainy and we took it easy during the day, going out to buy some supplies for the puppy we will be bringing home in December.  We drove around a bit trying to kill time before the night’s festivities.  The Roc was bouncing off the walls excited to go trick-or-treating with his two friends down the street, it’s almost all he talked about that day.  He could hardly get through dinner fast enough.  When the first trick-or-treaters arrived while we were eating he was done and wanted to get out there.  Our neighbors appeared with their kids just as we got the Roc into costume.  Look at that grin!


We headed out the door and the Roc was jacked up like we’d already fed him a bunch of candy.  He kept running down the sidewalk and repeating phrases his friend said over and over again like “I’m going to ring THAT doorbell!!”  He wasn’t paying attention to where he was going and didn’t seem to grasp the whole point of trick-or-treating.  I was starting to regret asking our neighbor if we could all go together because I knew that this could happen.  The Roc and Luke tend to really get each other going and they get really silly.  Luke has the ability to switch gears pretty quickly and calm down where the Roc does not.  I had to slow him down and make him walk with me and eventually he got himself under control and did a very nice job trick-or-treating after that.  At the end of the evening as we were nearing our house I nudged GC, pointed to the Roc, and said “Two years ago babe.”  He just shook his head and said “I know.”

There are many times that I watch the Roc and marvel at how he is doing the very things I worried that he might not be able to do.  Walking up the sidewalk toward a stranger, saying “trick-or-treat,” only taking one piece of candy, and saying “thank-you” before spinning around and coming back to us seemed an impossible feat two years ago.  But here he is surprising us and doing it, and most importantly enjoying it.  As soon as his friends were done, he was done and wanted to go inside.  The sky was starting to spit rain and we wanted to get back in to hand out some candy of our own before all the trick-or-treaters went home.  The Roc got to have his Halloween cupcake in exchange for his candy (wonder how long until he figures out that he’s not really getting a fair trade there?!) and he was happy.


Then he had one last surprise for us before the night was over.  He wanted to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters!!  That was a totally new request but we were happy to oblige him.


It didn’t last long – he was done after Harry Potter pictured above.

I am just hoping this week is quiet….it has been so far! (knocks on wood)

I’m a bat

The Roc is eagerly anticipating Halloween.  I asked him what he wanted to be this year and he said Spiderman.  And while he is a very cute Spiderman,



I told him he should be something else because he was Spiderman 2 years in a row!  I asked if he would like to be a pirate and he paused before saying “No, some other man.  Like on my back pack.”  His back pack has super heroes on it so I listed them starting with Batman.

What do you think the Roc is going to be for Halloween?

You’re right!


I picked up the costume this week and the Roc was very excited last night when I suggested he try it on.  He even allowed me to put the head piece and cape on!


He couldn’t stop running into my bathroom to check himself out in the mirror.


He even posed for a picture and smiled when I asked him to!


Then he wanted to go upstairs and play while wearing it.



I don’t think the Roc understands the super hero concept because he kept muttering to himself “I’m a bat.  I’m a bat.  I’m a bat.”

I couldn’t stop giggling about this.