“I Can’t Walk”

Continued from last post…

So, maybe B’s just a little sensitive and grumpy this morning, no big deal. I carry him to the family room, put on cartoons and give him his medicine and some juice.  Ten minutes later, my wife calls him into the kitchen to eat breakfast.  He says, “Mom, don’t you remember?  I can’t walk”.

Huh?? He’s still on this, “I can’t walk”, business??  I say, “You were running around, chasing your brother last night before bed, what do you mean you can’t walk”?  He replies, “I don’t know.  My legs hurt and I can’t walk.”  So, my wife goes to him and looks at his legs.  They look normal, but he’s sitting with them bent up and refuses to straighten them out because they hurt.  Hmmm.  So, she lays him down and gently tries to straighten them.  He cries and protests a bit, but they straighten.  She rubs them a bit and asks if they’re “asleep with the pins”?  Is that why they hurt?  Nope, he says it’s not that.  Maybe it’s growing pains?  He is due for a growth spurt.  So, she asks him to stand up and he refuses.  A little panic rises up in us.  I lift him up, coaxing him to stand and he’s dead weight and refuses to bear any weight at all on his feet.  A little more panic rises up in us.  “Ok, lets take this one step at a time”, she says.  Let’s massage your legs a bit and we’ll try to stand again.  After a few minutes of rubbing them, we are able to get him to bear a little weight on his feet, but far from where we need to be.  “I’ll help you walk to the kitchen”, I say.  He is crying a bit and says that it still hurts, but he tries.  It was like watching Bambi learn how to walk.  His legs kept giving out under him and it was like he was just learning how to take his first steps.

I am in shock.  What the heck happened to my 6 year old???  My mind is flooded with questions and I can’t help thinking the worst.  Is this serious?  Does he have bone cancer?  What is going on?  Jen assisted walking him around the house a few rounds, loosening up his legs and trying to get strength back in them.  He takes a break and eats some breakfast.  Then she helps him get dressed and by now, he’s able to stand on his own while brushing his teeth.  He walks on his own back into the kitchen, but it is definitely not his normal way of walking.  However, he is improving quickly.  We call the doctor’s office as soon as they open and even the receptionist sounds concerned.  I was hoping for her to say, “Oh, don’t worry too much, it’s common”.  Nope!  In fact, she said, “Well, I spoke to the nurse and he needs to be seen as soon as possible”.

By the time we take him in, he’s almost back to normal.  We explain the story to the doctor and he seems a bit perplexed at first.  He examines him and says, “Well, I’m not going to do a bunch of blood tests or x-rays”.  (Our doctor is awesome like that…super intelligent, logical and good at using his clinical skills instead of relying on a bunch of unneeded testing).  He continues, “I’m pretty sure he has Synovitis.  Synovitis??  What the heck is that?  He explains how he believes that his strep throat virus traveled to his leg joints and caused inflammation and pain.  Symptoms are worsened and more noticeable after a long period of rest, which explains how he felt so much pain and stiffness after he woke up from a long night’s sleep.  And also explains how he improved after we massaged them and loosened them up.  He also mentioned how Ibuprofen helps because it reduces the swelling.  Well, it just so happened that we gave him a dose that morning, so that made sense to why he was feeling better so fast.  He said he’s already on the antibiotic, so it’ll just heal in time and if it happens again or persists, to bring him back in.

What a relief!  I’m not kidding you, I was terrified there for a while.  I couldn’t figure out what the heck happened to my healthy little boy.  When we got home, we Googled Synovitis just to check it out.  The article we found had a description that fit B perfectly.  It confirmed everything that the doctor told us and even said that it’s most common in boys ages 3-8!  B is 6… unbelievable!  Here is the link that we found from KidsHealth.com in case something like this has or ever will happen to one of your kids… https://kidshealth.org

Interesting stuff!!  Just feeling thankful and blessed that it’s a very temporary and curable sickness and that nothing serious was taking place.  B’s back to his old self again and everything’s good!

Case of the Sickies

Do you ever have one of those awful weeks that drags on forever and nothing seems to go right?  Well, I did last week and man, was I ready to kiss that awful week, goodbye!  It started Sunday morning when my oldest son, “B”, woke up with a fever.  No big deal, gave him some Tylenol and pretty soon he was back to normal, chasing and antagonizing his little brother, like usual.  Well, by the afternoon, he was really complaining about his throat and head hurting him, plus he had a little cough.  Since the Tylenol had worn off, we checked his temp again and it had spiked back up to 101.3.  Gave him more meds, more water, snuggled him up on the couch with his favorite blankies, turned on his favorite T.V. show, “Alvin!! and the Chipmunks”.  Pretty soon he was fast asleep.

Taking a nap on the couch is always our tell tale sign that B’s really not feeling good.  This kid, much to our dismay, stopped taking naps cold turkey, when he had just turned 3.  The only time he takes a nap now, is when he’s sick.  My wife, Jen and I remember fondly the time when everyday, we could look forward to a peaceful, quiet house for a couple hours in the midday.  We loved nap time and we counted on those naps for our own sanity!  We even managed (although, for a short lived time) to have both boys take their naps at the same exact time!!  Pure Heaven on Earth!

Anyway, B’s fever went back down after his nap, due to the meds and he played and even ate a little supper.  Then we had our normal bedtime routine of jammies, brush teeth, potty, books, then lights out.  We assumed he’d probably feel better in the morning.

Well, B slept the whole night, but woke up early Monday morning, crying..his fever was back up to 101.9.  No school for B.  Same complaints, throat hurts and still has a cough.  The rest of the day was pretty much a repeat of the day before.  By the way, we’re not the type of people who rush our kids to the doctor every time they get a fever, sore throat or a little tummy ache.  We were, however, those people when the boys were littler.   Every time we took them in, the doctor would always respond with, “Well, it’s just a virus that has to run it’s course and antibiotics aren’t necessary”.  It basically ended up being a wasted trip and co-pay, when we could of just treated them at home.  So, now that we’re more experienced parents (Ha!  We still are just winging this parent thing), when we do decide to take our kids to the doctor, they’re in pretty rough shape!

We thought surely B has just a little virus that’ll run it’s course and he’ll be better by the next morning.  Tuesday morning comes and B’s fever is back AGAIN.  Day 3 of the fever.  And now he’s complaining of his tummy hurting.  So, we think he has strep throat and call the doctor.  Meanwhile, I’m starting to feel like crap and so is our youngest; it’s spreading like wildfire!  Jen takes the boys to the doctor and they have to do that horrible strep test where they have to shove that long q-tip down your already sore throat, until your gagging.  Sounds like fun, huh?  The initial strep test came back negative, but they have to send it to the lab for cultures.  So, no antibiotics yet.

Wednesday morning rolls around and now B and T (our youngest) both have fevers, coughs and tummy aches.  We get a call from the doctor and the cultures came back positive…Strep throat.  Ugh.  We have to go and pick up the antibiotics and deal with ANOTHER day of them being home sick.  Luckily, Jen only works part-time and has had several days off this week to care for them, so I could get some work done getting the equipment ready for upcoming planting.  However, the downside of them being home sick is that we’re entirely sick of them being home sick!  You see, when the boys get the Tylenol/ Ibuprofen in them, they start acting pretty much back to normal and on top of it, now they’re bored and have cabin fever after being home for 5 days in a row!  So, we (mostly Jen) have to deal with them fighting, wrecking the house and fighting some more.  At this point, we’re begging for them to get better and go back to school!

Thursday morning comes.  Now this is where it turns weird.  B wakes up for the first time in 4 days without a fever.  Yes!  Back to school for you buddy!!  BUT, while he’s still in bed, he winces a little bit and says, “My legs hurt.  I can’t walk”.

Huh?  He can’t walk??

To be continued…


No More Table Scraps!

My boys learned a very valuable lesson yesterday…DO NOT FEED THE NEW PUPPY TABLE SCRAPS!!!  They thought it was funny to sneak food under the table to Pilot without us knowing.  Well, poor little Pilot ended up getting sick in the middle of the night.  She pooped and threw up all over our family room carpeting!  We took her to the vet just to make sure she was fine since she’s only 14 weeks old.  Happily, she got a healthy check up and is back to normal!  Just no more table scraps for her sensitive little tummy.

Now onto our poor carpeting… Oh, my gosh, the mess was so bad that we thought we were going to have to replace it to get the stains and smell out.  Luckily, a friend of mine recommended a carpet cleaning company near us called, “Rockford Carpet Cleaning”.  These guys are fantastic!  If you are in the Rockford, IL area, definitely check them out at www.rockfordcleancarpets.com.  They were super friendly, came out the same day, worked their magic and our carpet looks good as new!  That just saved us tons of cash having to replace it.  And the last thing I want to do is get new carpeting with a new puppy in the house!

We started working on trying to potty train Pilot, too.  When she’s not sick from people food, she does pretty good!  She has had a few accidents, besides the bad carpeting one, but they’ve all been on the laminate flooring, so there’s a plus!  She piddles a little bit when she gets excited.  It’s actually really cute, unless it’s on your feet!  Hopefully, it won’t take too long for her to get the hang of it.  I forgot, though how much puppies chew on things!  She chews on shoes, furniture, the boys’ toys, blankets…you name it!  Pretty much everything she can find, but her chew toys and bones.  That figures!  We definitely have to puppy proof our house better.  Kind of sucks too, since the boys are older, we really got used to not having to have our house baby proofed anymore.  We can leave stuff out on the floor, don’t have to have baby gates and cabinet door locks, etc.  Well, not anymore I guess!  Pilot’s worth it, though.  The boys just love her.  She’s gotten them to cut back on playing with their tablets and TV time.  That probably won’t last when the newness of having Pilot wears off, but I’ll take it for now!

A Dog Named Pilot

Pilot.jpgOur family loves Golden Retrievers and we have a long history with them.  I grew up on a farm in the Midwest and I come from a long generation of farmers.  When I grew up, we always had a dog.  My first dog was a Black Lab named Pilot.  Pilot was a great dog, but she died when I was young, so I don’t remember her, except in pictures.  After her, we had several more dogs; all Golden Retrievers and all of them named Pilot!  When our current dog would eventually pass away, we would always end up getting another dog (because what’s a farm without a farm dog?) My Dad loved the name Pilot; it just kind of stuck and one by one, we kept the name going!  Pilot #1 (the black lab) passed away at an old age.  Pilot #2 was our first Golden Retriever.  However, she loved to get loose and chase cars.  Unfortunately, she got hit by a car and passed away when she was about 4 (I was 7 years old).  Pilot #3 (our second Golden) was my favorite dog.  We got her when I was about 8 and had her until I was 19.  She loved to eat rocks for some reason, but she was so sweet and loyal; we were buddies.  We went everywhere together on the farm.

Fast forward 8 years… I’m 27 years old and now a farmer myself, living on the very same farm I grew up on and starting my own family.  It’s 2007 and my new wife and I decide that we need a dog!  So, we found a sweet Golden Retriever puppy and we named her… Pilot, of course!  It’s kind of like a tradition, now; why break it?  We got our Pilot #4 from a local breeder.  My wife picked her out and little did we know that this would turn out to be the absolute sweetest Pilot of them all.  She had a heart of gold.  She was our baby.  She was a beautiful dog and had a very graceful prance with her head held high.  And she absolutely LOVED the farm!  She loved the freedom to run around and explore.  She loved to play with and chase the farm cats.  She loved the all the excitement during Spring planting and Fall harvesting.  She loved to run out into the field and grab an ear of corn to chew on.  She loved going down the road to check out the creek or visit our neighbor’s dog.  Pilot was also a thief!  She loved to steal hats, work gloves, food, tools, anything at all!  If you left it within her grasp, you might as well consider it gone!  Most of all, she loved us.  She loved my wife and I and she really loved our two boys.  Pilot was so gentle with them when they were babies and loved racing them when they got bigger.  Wherever the boys were, Pilot was not far behind.  She and my boys were buddies just like I was with Pilot #3 when I was little.  Sadly, Pilot passed away two years ago, right before Christmas, when she was only 7 years old.  We lost her suddenly to cancer.  We were devastated.  She was a member of our family; even more so than any of the previous Pilot’s had been.  We were hit hard by her loss.

Well, fast forward again to today.  Our oldest son is 6 1/2 and our youngest just turned 5.  Recently, they really started working on us about getting another dog.  Pilot left behind an empty hole in our hearts that has been very difficult for us to replace.  We just haven’t been ready to think about another dog, yet.  No other dog can even come close to taking her place.  But, we were contacted by a family friend who’s neighbor’s dog had puppies and needed to find a home for 3 of them.  We asked what breed of dog the puppies were.  Our family friend replied, “They’re Golden Retrievers”.  Well, we decided that it was fate and decided to visit the puppies.  Our boys fell in love with one of the puppies in particular.  It was a girl pup who kept wagging her tail and licking the boys’ hands.  The other puppies would eventually find interest in something else and get distracted, but this puppy kept her attention on the boys the whole time.  We decided that our new puppy has chosen us this time.  We asked the boys what they wanted to name her and they both replied in unison, “Pilot”!!  So, we are now on a new adventure with Pilot #5.

The Tooth Fairy

My oldest son, “B” just lost his fourth tooth last night.  This makes four teeth lost in a time span of three weeks!  His teeth are falling like dominos!  At this rate, we’re going to have to get this kid some dentures!  I know one thing, he’s going to have a hell of a time eating sweet corn!  They’re all right in front; two top front and two bottom front.  Looking at him now, with his big gaping black hole in his mouth, reminds me of an old Tom and Jerry cartoon when Tom gets hit in the face with something and all his teeth shatter and fall out.  He looks so damn cute, though.  And his new lisp when he speaks is even cuter.

So, the Tooth Fairy came to visit us for the fourth time this month and left my son another $1 bill.  What is the going rate for the Tooth Fairy these days, anyway??  My wife and I just decided on a $1 bill for his 1st lost tooth and we just just kind of kept it the same as the rest of them fell out.  One of my co-workers said that there’s some “Teen Mom” celebrity who gave her daughter like $500 or something ridiculous like that when her daughter lost a tooth!  $500?!?!!  I don’t care how famous you are or how much money you have, that is just stupidity.  No wonder kids are so spoiled and self-centered these days.

B also had Spring Pictures this week at school.  Spring Pictures?  When did they start doing this?  When I went to school, they just had Fall Picture Day and that was it.  I personally think it’s just another way for them to get more money from you.  But it is kind of nice, if the Fall picture was horrible, to be able to get another shot at it.  So, if you had your eyes half way shut or some goofy smile, you don’t have to live with it forever.  Kind of takes the fun away though, doesn’t it?  I had like three terrible grade-photos in a row!  Those are the best to look back on when you’re older!  Anyway, this was going to be pretty cool for us to have because B had all of his teeth in his Fall picture and no teeth in his Spring picture.  It can really show how much a kid can change in a matter of a few months.  So, the day he came home on picture day, I asked him, “Did you smile nice”?  He replied, “Yep!  I smiled just like this”!  And he shows me a closed mouth smile.  What?!?!  The whole point was to show that you lost all those teeth since Fall and you do a closed mouth smile?  Ughh.

My Thoughts on Social Media and Emoticons

I think I was born in the wrong time period.  I prefer the good old days when life was more simple.  I’m a straight forward guy.  I not very good with computers.  If I want to talk to somebody, I’ll either call them up on the phone or preferably, talk to them in person.  We’ve gotten so busy. Busy with work, kids, activities, meetings, fundraisers, committees, commuting, etc., etc.  There are always things to do and places to go. Never enough time.  And the older we get, the faster time goes by and the busier we get.  Until, our lives have literally fast-forwarded by years rather than days and you’re left wondering, “where did it all go”?

I hate how social media has completely changed friendships and relationships today.  It has eliminated any kind of personal aspect to how we communicate.  We’ve lost that personal touch, body language, inflection of speech and actual human contact.  This is soon going to be a lost art and my kids and the future generations are going to be the ones who suffer.  I mean what the hell are we teaching our kids and how are they ever going to succeed in the real world if they don’t know how to communicate with each other and have real life relations with people?

I completely understand the appeal of social media, texting and emoticons.  It’s convenient and quick, when time is of the essence today. You think, “Oh, I don’t have time to call Jimmy, so I’m just going to send him a text”.  But what’s so mind boggling is that often, that same person, who is in such a rush, is now deep in a text conversation back and forth that is taking up way more time than it would have taken to just have a normal phone conversation!  I know these kids are super fast at texting nowadays, but it does take up more time to type and fix any typos that aut0-correct screws up, than is does to just talk and say what you want to say.  Then you have the added hassle of that lost inflection of speech.  So, the person you’re texting with, is taking something you texted the wrong way.  Now, you have to take time to clear up the misunderstanding or possibly hurt/angry feelings.  It’s craziness!

Sadly, I’m not the exception.  I fall victim to this all the time.  I have friends that I haven’t actually spoken to in years.  But I wish them a Happy Birthday and chat with them on Facebook on a regular basis.  I post pictures of my kids and they post pictures of theirs.  I “like” their pictures and they “like” mine.  So, it’s all good, right?  Is this what friendship is today?  That’s horribly sad.  Now, we have reaction buttons to choose from, instead of just “like”.  So, we can “love” a post or show a sad emoji face.  Am I the only one who sees the downside to all of this and thinks this is just stupid??

Bottom line is I just think social media his has gotten way out of hand.  I realize the irony and hypocrisy of this statement since I do have an iPhone, iPad, a Facebook account and the fact that I’m on the internet right now writing this blog.  I do enjoy the convenience that technology has to offer, but I hate the ugliness of social media.  I love how I can reconnect with a friend who I haven’t heard from in years.  I love how I can easily find out what’s going on with a local event and who’s going.  I love how I can keep in the loop with my town and my kids’ school.  I love how I can find a photographer, a plumber, a landscaper or whatever by just searching and finding their page or asking my “friends” if they know of anyone.  I love how it’s so easy to get the word out for prayers, support or funding for special causes.  I think social media is great for a lot of reasons.  But, I hate how easy it is to consume your life.  Time wasted searching your news feed, distracting you with stupid shit you just don’t need to care about.  I hate how it’s so easy to cyber bully or target kids in a negative way.  I hate how it has completely taken the place of true friendships and destroyed how relationships and communication is meant to be.  I hate that instead of sharing a good belly laugh with a friend, I’m posting a laughing emoticon and typing LOL.  This is not what I want for my kids.

I want my kids to reflect back on their youth with visuals and memories of hanging out with their friends.  With going to each other’s houses for parties and sleep overs.  Playing outside, riding their bikes, playing sports and going for walks.  Giving hugs, hand shakes, high fives or fist bumps. Making eye contact with a crush, flirting and having butterflies in their stomach.  I want them to have real life memories, not memories of being by themselves watching life on a screen.

So, you may be asking yourself right now, “If this guy hates social media and emoticons so much, then why the heck is his website called, “emoticon-maker.net”??  Well, simply because I’m weird like that!  Hey, I said I like things simple, but I never said I was boring!  I actually do consider myself an “emoticon maker”, in the sense that I can actually make emoticons with my …FACE!!  Haha!  It’s called real life facial expressions people and I can make them all by myself!  I can have a sad face, happy face, kissing face, surprised face, annoyed face, angry face and so on!  It’s a novel idea, I know!


Welcome to my new blog!

Hey guys, I want to give you a warm welcome to my new blog.

I say all this in my “About” page, but just to save you another click and give you a background here, My name’s Brandon Anderson.  I’m 35 years old.  I’ve been married to my super hot wife for almost 9 years and we have of 2 boys that I love like crazy but that also drive me crazy as well. I’m sure if you’re a parent, you understand.

I always wished I would have kept a journal when I was younger; just one of my regrets.  So, I decided to start this blog as an online journal…better late than never.  I thought it might be a little therapeutic to process my thoughts in writing and kind of cool for me and my kids to be able to look back on this when I’m older.

These past few years have really gone by so fast.  My kids are out of the baby phase and are in the “I’m smarter than you and going to challenge you on everything phase”.  I look back and wonder, where did that time go and what the heck happened??  I think if I had kept a journal, it would have helped to bring back those forgotten memories and thoughts that are otherwise long gone.  So, I decided to start this blog as an online journal.  I can’t do anything about the past, but I can do something about today.  So, here I am.

Something you need to know…I am, in no way shape or form, a writer.  I always sucked at writing papers in school and hated any type of English class.  This blog is really just for my personal growth, benefit and entertainment and for my kids to look at one day.  So, keep your punctuation, grammar and other critiquing of my writing to yourself!  I could care less if I put a comma in a wrong place or use a run on sentence or whatever.  If you care about that shit, this place is not for you!

I seriously doubt that anyone besides me and my family will see this blog, but in case someone out there does… if you can relate to anything I say here, you’re cool with improper writing styles and if you find any of what I put on this blog at all entertaining, then I’m glad you’re here!