Sunday, April 20, 2014

Follow Me On Instagram

Hello, my two readers that might still have this blog on some sort of feed! I recently opened an Instagram account and if you miss seeing these two faces from time to time, I hope you follow me @twopitties_littlelady. I am hoping to reconnect with some of my old blogger friends, so if you have an IG account, please leave it in the comments.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Little Monty

Hey, everyone.  I'm not sure how many of you are still reading due to my absence and the demise of Google Reader.  But, I know there are a few Monty fans out there and in the spirit of documenting my important life events, here I am.  And unfortunately, I am not recording a happy event, but a heartbreaking one.  My Monty is on borrowed time.  He has an enormous mass that I only discovered on Sunday night.  My heart is breaking.  Out of my four pets, this is the one that was going to be around the longest.  Monty was going to see Elsa off to college.  But before then, they were going to watch movies on Saturday nights together, sharing popcorn and snuggling.  Elsa was going to show her friends who came visit her cool little conure who sits on your shoulder and gives you kisses.  And after Lola crossed the Rainbow Bridge, Monty would be an only bird and would be given that much more attention that he absolutely deserved.

But, none of those things are going to happen.  Last week, I noticed that Monty had a bald patch on his lower belly.  I started mentally preparing for another round of feather picking and what we can do to change the behavior.  I kept an eye out the next few days for feathers in the cage and on the ground, but didn't see any.  On Sunday night, I flipped him over onto his back and held him in the palm of my hand, something he used to do voluntarily, but now I have to be sneaky to grab him.  But, once he gets on his back, he relaxes and enjoys beak rubs and feather grooming.  I noticed that his lower abdomen, just below the keel, was extremely distended.  And my heart just sank.  I had bought a scale a few months back to weigh them periodically and put him on there.  105 grams.  He's normally around 80.  And that's when the panic really set in.

I only slept about 3 hours Sunday night because I was so worried about Monty and the fear of the unknown.  I raced him to the vet at 7:00 to take an emergency appointment.  The best case scenario was that Monty was egg bound, or had an egg stuck internally.  Monty is actually a female, but has never laid an egg and so I knew this was an unlikely outcome.  The vet palpated his abdomen and no egg was to be found.  The next step was to try an ultrasound to figure out what was going on and maybe an x-ray if it wasn't too stressful.  They took him off to the back and I waited to find out what came next.

The vet came back and told me there was no need for an x-ray-the ultrasound revealed a huge mass that was growing up the abdomen and behind the keel bone.  I couldn't help but start crying right there.  It was just such a shock, especially when we've only been together 12 years and I expected another 12 or more.  The vet told me the choices were to just let things happen in due time, to do an aspiration to collect cells for cytology, or to do exploratory surgery.

I told him I needed some time to decide, so I left the clinic and sobbed all the way home.  I talked to Jason and then I had to go to work, but luckily I am surrounded by people who are animal lovers.  I talked to a few colleagues, a vet and a vet tech, who have a lot of experience with exotics.  They assured me the aspiration is really not a big deal and it would be very fast.  My vet colleague contacted one of her vet friends who had great things to say about U of I's vet school and the avian surgeon there.  In my mind, it was worth doing the aspiration because if the mass was operable, we had options for surgery.  So, we elected to do the aspiration.

Last night, Jason took Monty in for the aspiration.  I tried to keep myself busy at home as I waited to hear.  What if he died during the procedure?  Would I ever forgive myself for putting him through an elective procedure?  Jason called me upset and I knew things weren't good.  The vet wasn't even able to aspirate the mass because there was so much fluid in the way.  He did drain fluid and took blood and we should have the results tomorrow.  But, the vet thinks that since the fluid built up so quickly, the tumor is likely on the liver or heart, meaning it can't be surgically removed.  And so now we just wait.

My brain is telling me it can happen any time, but it is so difficult to process.  Monty is acting completely normal.  He's eating, playing, vocalizing, trying to snatch food out of my hand, and begging for baths.  How could a bird that is so sick be acting so normal?  I am just preparing myself that I could come home one day and find him dead or that he could go downhill very quickly.  His body condition is good, other than the mass and so I'm hoping that we have some quality time left together.  We're just going to spoil him and take lots of pictures and video especially with Elsa so that we can show her later what a cool little bird she had that she shared her cookie with once upon a time.


Friday, May 10, 2013

FYI: Toddler Feet Grow

I know!  This is a revelation I have decided to share with you all because I believe in imparting the important lessons I've learned being a mother with my fellow mothers.  When we took Elsa to get new shoes on Saturday, I knew she was overdue.  But I had no idea just HOW overdue she was.  We bought Elsa her first pair of shoes when she starting walking at 12 months.  Then her cousin handed down two pairs of shoes, a pair of pink Stride Rite shoes and a pair of sparkly silver TOMS that quickly became Elsa's favorite.  Until her da-da bought her a pair of shiny black patent leather shoes to wear at Christmas.  After that, I would pull out her brown and pink pairs of Stride Rite shoes only to meet cries of "NOOOO!" and frantic moves toward the closet to find her other shoes.  It was only the silver sparkly TOMS and the black shiny dress shoes after that, no matter what she was wearing.

Since she has been wearing the same pairs of shoes for an embarrassingly long time, we took her to St. Louis landmark Laurie's to get this little lady a new pair of kicks for the summer.  And let me tell you, I wanted to melt into the floor and spill out the front door when the lady measured her feet.  I wondered if the people who work at Laurie's ever report parents for neglect when they bring their kid in wearing shoes two sizes too small.  In my defense, the pair we bought her were slightly large and so technically, she was only wearing shoes 1.5 sizes too small.  I have probably permanently damaged her feet and now she will forever have bunions and ingrown toenails, all because of me.  Sigh.  Well, here's the photographic proof.  The shoe in the middle is her new pair.  Mother of the year, right here.  Please tell me I'm not the only one who has crammed her kid's feet into the wrong sized pair of shoes?


On the bright side, she loves her new shoes so much, she hasn't asked for the old pairs at all.  She just might appreciate the new feeling of actually being able to stretch her entire foot and all of her toes out rather than curling her feet to fit into the shoes her monster mother pulls out every morning.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Where Has the Time Gone?

Hi out there!  Is anyone still reading?  Other than the spammers who apparently like to target inactive blogs? Things have been quietly moving along in my world.  The little lady is now 18 months.  Eighteen months!!!  She is saying new words every day, climbing like crazy, and is overall a very happy girl.  You know what makes her mom happy?  After six months or so of pre-6:00 wake-ups, she has been consistently sleeping until at least 6:00 pretty much every day since Easter weekend.  It's been GLORIOUS!  I feel more rested than I have since being pregnant.  On the weekend, I'm actually productive instead of feeling like I need to nap every chance I get.  I know there are some (crazy) people who get up at like 4:30 every day to work out or whatever and I just cannot seem to function when I get up before 6:00.  I can't tell you how my mood has improved since getting quality sleep.  Sleep is everything, people!  Right?

The one-year anniversary of defending my dissertation was this past week and I took some time to reflect.   As agonizing as it was to finish grad school, especially since I wrote my dissertation while Elsa was a newborn, I am so happy I stuck it out.  Now that I'm nine months into my job, I am just so grateful that the position opened up when it did.  I really do love my job.  It's challenging and rewarding and I not only really enjoy my coworkers and my boss, but I actually look forward to corresponding with all the people I deal with on a daily basis.  This is quite the 180 from grad school when I avoided contact with other human beings as much as possible.  Despite my fear of public speaking, I'm actually looking forward to going to the six (!) conferences that are on the books this year and meeting people and talking to them about what we do.  So, Portland, Jacksonville, Seward, KC, and Salt Lake City, here I come in 2013!

Because Jason and I work our asses off all week and because Elsa is in bed by 7:00 every night, we try our best to maximize the time we have on weekends.  That time is reserved for family, as best we can, and exploring all that St. Louis has to offer.  And now, a photo dump of some of the activities we've enjoyed in the last few months.

We have visited the park in the snow.


So that these two guys could have some fun!  You didn't think I forgot about them, did you?





We played in the snow at home too.


And sometimes after a good romp in the snow, you just need to hop in the shower to warm up.


One of our favorite places to visit is the zoo.  The new sea lion exhibit is spectacular.



And then THIS happened!  Orangutans are one of my favorite animals and the docents there said that this male, Robie, loves kids.  So, we allowed Elsa to go say hi to him.  My heart melted.


We also took lots more trips to the park.



And just sitting with friends.


Little miss fearless going down head-first.




And then more snow!  We got around 10 inches in late March.  Elsa helped her dad shovel a little bit.



But it was more pleasant for everyone to bring the snow inside and play in our jammies.



Levi wanted to make sure we weren't playing with real food.


And since Elsa showed Levi, she had to show Neptune too.



Neptune tries to figure out how to eat a snowball.


But mostly he wants to know when we are all going to go cuddle on the couch together.


And two weeks later, all the snow was gone and it was warm and sunny.  Just like that!


It's just as much fun to stay in your jammies and play in the backyard as it is to play with snow in the shower.



Thank goodness the grass is finally growing because Neptune's fondness for rolling means our house is constantly littered with dead grass.


Kisses for the Tuna.


Oh yeah, we celebrated Easter too.



So, you can see that we've been keeping busy.  I hope that I am going to blog more often because I just like to have that little record of my thoughts and activities as time goes by.  Is anyone else out there losing that bloggin' feeling?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Where Did January Go?

Holy cow, it's almost February.  Did anyone else just lose the entire first month of 2013?  I worked a lot this month.  I mean, a lot, a lot.  Like, until 2:30 AM one night a lot.  This is a really busy time of year for my department because some of the research projects we work on can only be done in January and February, so it's basically two months of insanity while we try to cram it all in.  Luckily, my involvement is over after tomorrow.  And then I spend the next 11 months recovering before I do it all over again.  I must add that I chose to be involved in this project and so I am not complaining.  I get to do lab work instead of computer work, learn a technique that is completely new to me, and be a part of something that is truly hands-on conservation.  It's awesome.  Thanks to Jason for holding down the fort while I've worked late so many nights.  I owe him big time.

When I haven't been working at night, I've been binging on "Downton Abbey" episodes. I no longer think that people who pronounce it Downton are just trying to be pretentious because now I know that is how it is spelled.  I'm a dumbass.  What we realized in all of those hours of viewing is that Downton Abbey, or Highclere Castle, is indeed, Levi's million dollar house.  
Highclere Castle-front facade
Levi's Million Dollar House

Now we realize even more why he acts like such a diva all the time and keeps roaming around looking for the bell to ring to call us to attention.  Where is his tea?  His valet to set out his white tie dressing attire?  His footman to serve his multi-course dinners?  No wonder he hates us.

We gave him yet another reason last week.  He has had this blood blister on his chest for quite some time.  The vet has told us it's nothing to worry about, but that she can remove it if we want.  We got him a harness so our poor dog walker doesn't have to fear for her life if he sees a cat on their walks and the harness rubs him right on that spot.  Even though we sleep with a protective sheet over our fancy duvet cover, Levi bled all over the sheet and basically ruined the duvet cover.  So, time to get it removed.  That happened last Friday.  It doesn't seem to bother him too much.

Levi stitches

Besides, he has Neptune and Neptune's perpetually sad face to remind him that his life isn't so bad after all.


"Fuck My Life"

Right before all the craziness with work started, Elsa brought home the third stomach bug since August.  In case you're keeping track, Mary is 3/3 for stomach bugs, Elsa is 2/3, and Jason is also 2/3.  Lucky me.  Poor Elsa was really sick this time.  Thank goodness for my mom who helped out (and got sick as a result) so that Jason and I didn't miss as much work.  Then I got sick and missed my first full day of work since I started in July.  It was brutal.  I really understand the meaning of violently ill now.  

Because I've been gone so much, I've been soaking up my time with Elsa.  She is crazy!  She turned 15 months in January and what an age.  She understands so much of what we tell her and she has so many words: da-da, ma-ma, uh-oh, more (word and sign), woo woo (for dog), this, nigh-nigh (for bedtime) bath (sign), bye-byes (yes, with the "s" on the end), hi, ba-ba (bottle), rawr (lion and tiger sound), vroom (car), boom.  I'm sure I'm forgetting some.  But, we've also entered the full toddler phase which unfortunately comes along with temper tantrums.  Fun times!  

We have had some really nice weather recently, so we took her to the Loop Ice Carnival one Saturday.




And to the playground, which she just loves.  She's pretty fast, so we have to really move to keep up with her.  She's a little daredevil!






Elsa also recently started imaginary play, pretending to feed her dolls.  Here she is cleaning her doll's "piggies."


The dogs also get in on this action because sometimes someone is calling Neptune on the play phone and Elsa has to put it up to him to answer.  Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of that.  Yet.  This picture is pretty sweet, though.

Levi and Elsa

Sorry for the randomness of this post, but I just wanted to do a quick catch-up.  I hope everyone had a good start to 2013!