Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Recent Quotes

Grayson to Griffin: "You are my best friend."

Griffin to me: "Christmas is not about presents because they can't be born and they are NOT our king."

Grayson to anyone and everyone: "What's your favorite color?" or "Do you have dogs?"

Griffin to me: "Can you teach me more words with the silent E?"

Grayson to anyone and everyone: "We don't eat dog food. We don't eat bird poop. We don't eat dog poop. And we don't eat our poop."

Griffin after seeing his cousin Samuel wear pajamas: "Can I get a pair of pajamas?" This from the kid who has always worn just a t-shirt to bed and despised pajamas.

Grayson to me: "Where's daddy?" I replied "At work." To which he responded, "Not again!"

Just Run

Run Happy
Run Grumpy
Run Speedy
Run Slow
Run A Lot
Run A Little

I saw this on someone else's blog, and it made my day. I have been dying to get on the treadmill post surgery, and today was the day. I only ran a mile before my leg throbbed, but MAN it felt good to run. Seriously. My lungs and my heart are so happy right now. Well, that is until I remember that I can't run the Frosty Frolic. Heart. is. broken.

Hoping to get in a few more miles before Friday. Then it should only be another 14 days until I can run until my heart is content :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Early Presents

My boys got to open up their Christmas presents from Grandma Laurie yesterday. To say they were in heaven would be an understatement. They played with their new gifts ALL NIGHT LONG. They barely stopped to eat dinner, and then they resumed playing until we forced them to go to bed. My friend, Rebecca, hit it on the nose when she said, "The bat cave is like a doll house for boys." SO TRUE!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Vein Update

Tuesday was quite possibly the worst day of my life. I do not remember a time when I was in so much pain. Even the pain before receiving an epidural for Griffin's birth wasn't as bad as this. No joke.

As usual, the surgery was more complicated than the doctor thought it would be. When I was being wheeled away, the doctor told Brandon the procedure would take an hour. It ended up taking three. Par for the course. I swear I should just live in a lab and be researched. I could at least make some money off of all my weird medical issues.

The doctor described removing the clot using these words..."It was like scraping cement off of your leg with a crochet needle." Fun images, huh? After that was all said and done, they were surprised to discover that I have a duplicate greater saphenous vein. Basically that meant that after they took out the clot, they had to ablate two veins and not just one. Hence the three hour procedure. The worst part about all of this is that you are not put all the way under. I distinctly remember looking at the clock at two different times and thinking, "I should not still be in surgery," but I didn't have the mental capacity to say anything. (Thankfully they did inform Brandon halfway through that it would be a longer time frame than expected).

I don't remember much from Tuesday except for pain. In addition to the leg pain, I got sick from anaesthesia and ended up with a migraine as well. I was admitted overnight even though I was originally supposed to be able to walk out of the hospital a few hours after surgery. In hindsight, the doctor thinks that a nerve was nicked when he was scraping away the clot. Most of my upper leg is numb to the touch and bruised, and I have a tearing sensation every time my muscle is fully tightened. The doctor is unsure how long that will last.

We are still going ahead with the second surgery the week after Christmas. I just want everything to be over and done with. I also want to have a break from school because keeping my classroom up and running last week put me over the edge in terms of stress. I ended up going back to school before I should have, but to me that was easier than letting my classroom fall apart. If you aren't a teacher, it might be hard to understand that. But those of you who teach totally understand that it is sometimes easier to work when you are sick then prepare for a substitute. Thankfully, if something goes wrong during the second surgery, I will have some time to regroup before school starts again.

I am frustrated (I am sure that's obvious), but I am also thankful that the clot is gone, and I am not in any danger of other issues. I was also reminded that we truly have amazing friends. Holly O cancelled her own plans to watch my kids on Tuesday night; Auntie Kelsey took over so the kids could be put to bed at their own house. And Holly J was my personal driver this week, so that I could stay on pain meds.

I am in pain, but I can still honestly say that Life is Good.

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas 2011

St. Nick Visits---December 6th

Not quite sure he wants to be close to Santa...

Okay....I guess I'll smile

I can't believe how old Griffin looks...

Waiting for the sleigh ride in my new winter coat :)


Mr. Grayson

Right now, Grayson is at SUCH a fun age. He makes us laugh each and every day with his funny faces, hilarious remarks, and constant barrage of questions. As I reflect on the day, I am constantly reminded of something he did that made me stop in my tracks and think, "Man, this is such a fun stage!"

His enthusiasm is enviable. His energy is never ending. His curiosity is entertaining. His comments are witty. I could literally nibble his ears off. And man, I melt every time I hear, "I love you mommy," or "cuddle with me." I am ENAMORED with this little man.

Sometimes I feel guilty, though. Did I miss this fun age with Griffin? When Griffin was this age, Grayson was a baby, and we were just beginning to see his acid reflux issues creep through. I worry that I didn't get to experience this age with Griffin. But then I am reminded that life isn't perfect. I'm not perfect. I can't be a perfect mom. I try to soak up every moment, but sometimes frustration gets in the way. And that's okay. Because even though I can't be a perfect mom, I can find a million ways to be a good one.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Photo Card

Believe In Christmas Religious
Creating Christmas cards have never been this easy.
View the entire collection of cards.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Blood Clot

On Sunday, my friend Holly (or as Brandon calls her, Jolly) had to take me to the ER while Brandon stayed back with the kids. I woke up that morning with intermittent stabbing pains in my upper inner thigh, and by the time I was done teaching at church I could barely stand to walk. The vein in my upper leg was slightly swollen and solid at this point, so I knew I had to be seen.

Well, despite the fact that I am still in my twenties (at least for a few months), I was diagnosed with superficial thrombophlebitis, otherwise known as a blood clot in a vein that isn't a major one. At the time, my only instructions were to take ibuprofen regularly and move as often as possible. I was also prescribed a narcotic for pain.

Unfortunately, by Tuesday afternoon, almost the entire length of my vein was rock solid and VERY painful. I was seen immediately by my regular doctor, along with a few other doctors in her practice. They also conference-called a vascular surgeon. It was determined that another ultrasound was in order to make sure the clot wasn't moving to a deep vein.

The good news is that while the clot is building up and moving down my leg, it doesn't seem to be moving towards my major vein in the groin area. While they are still concerned with the fact that the clot is building, the level of concern isn't as high when it isn't moving towards a major vein. The bad news is that the clot doesn't seem to want to go away. The pain is MUCH better, but my vein is still rock solid. Until it goes away, there will always be concern that it could travel. Currently, I am taking ibuprofen around the clock because it is considered a low-grade blood thinner. I am also trying to move as much as I can. I ran today for the first time since this started, but I only made it a mile before I had to call it quits because of the pain. On Wednesday, I will be seen again by a vascular surgeon. If the clot is still there, I will most likely be started on regular blood thinners. I really hope to avoid this, but if the clot isn't dissolving by then, I don't think I have much choice.

Leave it to my family to have more health complications. Did I mention that one of my tonsils is growing back? Yep, it's true. Despite the fact that I had them removed when I was ten, one of them is growing back. I bet you didn't know I had secret powers like those of the X-men group...

I digress.

In the meantime, I am trying to think happy thoughts and follow the doctor's orders to the best of my ability. I am strangely calm about the whole ordeal, which is nice for a change :) I also felt very validated when I was told by the vascular surgeon that the amount of running I normally do has helped me avoid further complications. (Too bad that was after he told me I had veins of a 60 year old. Thank you, Rash Genes.)

Learning to Read

Griffin is definitely learning to read. He understands how words are put together, and everywhere we go I can hear him trying to sound out new words. While he only knows a few basic phonics rules, I am already amazed at how many three and four letter words he can sound out and ultimate read. Just today, after asking what sound the "sh" makes, he was able to figure out and read the word finish.

I have tried to record words he has sounded out for me. They are:
  • top
  • cat
  • pat
  • up
  • help
  • mop
  • rock
  • bell
  • kick
  • bad
  • hand
  • bat
  • egg
  • belt
  • fell
  • hop
  • finish
I continue to be so proud of the progress he is making in Kindergarten. I am beyond amazed that his Kindergarten teacher can run a class full of 23 five and six year old children for an entire school day. It is obvious, though, that she is doing something right!

Griffin, your world just got exponentially bigger. The power to read changes everything, little man. It changes everything.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


There are little rituals in our house right now that I want to remember forever. Scenes that are played constantly, yet I know they will only last a short while. Scenes that can't be captured by photographs for fear I might ruin the moment.


I want to remember that when my boys get out of the bathtub, they put on their towels (one duck, one frog) and pretend to disappear underneath them. If I don't yell out, "Where oh where are my babies?" or "Where's Griffin and Grayson? I can't find my babies!" they get mad at me. They do this each and every time, and the giggles that ensue when I "find" them are priceless.


I want to remember that Grayson plays every trick in the book to try and not go to bed. He leans on his hands at the gate and just chatters away to anyone (or nobody) until he thinks it is necessary to actually crawl into bed. Meanwhile, Griffin falls asleep INSTANTLY and doesn't wake up despite his brother's loud chatter and shouts.


I want to remember nose kisses that are always followed by giggles and smiles.


I want to remember all the times Griffin asks me to "stay for awhile" after we pray before bed. All he wants is for me rub his forehead for about thirty seconds.


I want to remember their bursting imaginations. Both boys can talk to their action figures and animals for hours creating scene after scene of fun.


I want to remember the tickle fights. The times I "eat" their toes or ears.


I want to remember all the times Grayson crawls into my arms and says, "Sing rock baby." This is his way of asking me to rock him back and forth and sing the song "Rockabye Baby on the Treetop." When we get to the part "Down will come cradle, baby and all" I must pretend to drop him to the floor. Nine times out of ten, the minute he hits the floor, he begs, "Again."


I want to remember all the times I see Grayson put his arms out and say, "I sit with you?" I want to remember all the times I say yes.


I want to remember all the times Griffin goes to our printer, takes out paper, and makes me a card. Just today I received a card on my pillow that was an outline of his hand with a heart in the middle. (Copied from the book The Kissing Hand). He wrote all by himself, "Love You Mommy." While I can keep the card for as long as I want as a visual reminder, I don't ever want to forget that proud and loving look on his face when I open each of his creations.


Too many snapshots. Too many fleeting moments. They grow up so fast, and I want to remember it all.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I Hate Allergies/Asthma

Griffin's allergies and asthma have been hard to control as of late. Twice a day we do something called a peak flow test, and Griffin's numbers haven't been stellar. As a result, the nebulizer has been frequently used along with a few other "rescue" meds. I hate making him sit for 15 minutes in order to use the neb, but it does its job fairly well. And hey, he looks pretty cute doing it, no?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Grayson Quotes

Whenever I ask him if HE wants to do something, he responds "Sure you can."

On the way to day care this morning he told me, "I no go Gail's house. I go to church."

He has also said, "I no go ______(insert any place we might be going). I go to beach." I will blame Mexico for that one.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Allergy Update

We finally had Griffin's re-check appointment at the allergy/asthma specialist today. I knew going into the appointment that something was going to get changed. While his breathing treatments seem to be working for the most part, he still has had a pretty consistent cough and/or cold. His eyes continue to be a little bloodshot, and the bags under his eyes weren't really improving. (His dark circles are from sinus issues not lack of sleep).

After some discussion and such, it was determined that Griffin is going to start Immunotherapy, which is more commonly known as allergy shots. While I am not thrilled that my five year old is going to endure four shots every week for a while, I am confident that the doctor is doing what he thinks is best. (Okay, I checked with the internet and Dr. Papa Tom before being 100% confident.) I can only hope that it makes more of a difference than the numerous medications he started back in September. Unfortunately, we won't see an improvement right away, so the doctor did change a few medications for some immediate relief. The interesting part will be how he reacts to one of the medications, as it is likely to make him quite drowsy for 1-2 weeks before his body gets used to it. If only I could send a video camera to school...

Through all of this, I continue to be thankful for good health insurance. Each time I pick up his medications at the pharmacy, I am reminded of how truly blessed I am to have a job I love that provides fantastic benefits. Griffin's one medication alone (he is on a total of 5 regularly and one extra for flare-ups) would be over $300 a month if I didn't have insurance. And when I checked with the insurance company today, his allergy shots are completely covered under our plan. I know how rare good health coverage is, and I couldn't be more grateful.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thank You EBC

Last weekend at church, Kid-O-Deo started a Clean Water initiative with the kiddos. Griffin came home with a water bottle that he was supposed to fill with coins and such to bring back to church to donate. The money collected will be given to Healing Haiti and World Vision to support efforts to bring clean water to Haiti and the Horn of Africa. The kids were encouraged to consider donating some money from their piggy banks or to do extra chores to earn extra money to donate.

The next day, Griffin opened a card from Grandma Laurie for Halloween. Inside the card was a two dollar bill. I asked Griffin what he wanted to get with his money, and he responded, "I want to put it in my water bottle." I immediately told him how proud I was that he made that decision. He quite simply replied, "Mom, there are kids who need clean water, and I want to help them."

While I was so very proud of his decision, I was more overwhelmed with gratitude for our church. Brandon and I love being involved with EBC from an adult stand-point, but we are consistently blown away with the ministry for kids. We are blessed that our kids see caring adults each and every weekend who truly aim to help us raise our kids to be followers of Christ. For that, I am forever grateful.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011

Griffin's Allergies (Overdue)

Griffin went to the allergist in the middle of September. (That seems like forever ago. Really. You have no idea how long ago that seems to me. Okay. Back on topic.) After a few things that happened this summer and speaking to the doctor at his five year check-up, I had a sneaking suspicion he was allergic to dogs. Let's be honest. I knew he was allergic to them. Should have been a doctor.

Or not.

When the doctor walked in, he asked me to tell him "Griffin's story." I was about to get all long-winded on him before I realized that by story he meant, "why are you in my office with your five year old son?" I explained that twice over the summer I had to use Griffin's nebulizer on him after he was around dogs. End of story. To be clear, I seriously thought this was going to be an easy appointment. I figured we would find out he was allergic to dogs and maybe cats, get some medicine for when he is around those animals, and we would be set to go.
Um. Or not. Good thing I'm not a doctor.

After sharing Griffin's "story," the doctor responded, "Well, I can tell you right now he is allergic to more than just dogs." Oh really? How so? (I should have never asked). Basically the doctor rattled off numerous things about Griffin's appearance that I had been oblivious to. All signs that point to suffering from allergies. And not just animals you see every now and then. Gee. Thanks, doc, for making me feel like the worst mother ever. I'll put my award next to the one I got when I slammed Grayson's finger in the door, and he had to get stitches.

After talking to the doctor, Griffin had to go through pin-prick testing. That didn't work so well because Griffin wouldn't relax enough for the teeny tiny needles to poke through his skin. So guess what the next course of action is? Individual shots in both legs of what the doctor thinks he might be allergic to. You can imagine how fun that was. Not sure the nurses (or the people in the surrounding rooms) can hear perfectly anymore.

The results? My son is allergic to a lot of outdoor and indoor things. He is on multiple inhalers, Zyrtec, eye drops, and a nasal spray. We have steroids on hand if he ever falls into the "red zone" on a breathing test we have to administer every day. He has medicine at school and an emergency plan on hand if his allergies get out of control and affect his asthma. My house is the cleanest it has ever been (minus the week we left for Cancun), and our towels and sheets get washed multiple times a week.

Griffin is taking it in strides. The one medicine tastes absolutely horrible, but he takes it like a champ. There were many tears the day we had to throw away all of his stuffed animals, but he hasn't complained since. It's only me who complains...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Autumn Classic Fun Run

Griffin used his fast super hero button :)

Kindergarten Conference

Today was Griffin's first conference at school. Yep. My boy is growing up. And so am I. It has been so hard to be a mother on the other side of things. I know so much as a teacher, and I catch myself wearing that hat too often. Today, I had to be the mom first. In an academic setting. This is harder than it sounds. Trust me.

But, as far as conferences are concerned, I am not sure it could have gone any better. Griffin's teacher clearly knows my son well, and it is obvious she knows his strengths and areas of growth. She repeatedly told us what a pleasure it is to have him in class. As a teacher, I loved learning exactly where he is academically. As a mom, I loved hearing that my child is kind, helpful, and a great participator.

As a mom, I knew my child was ready for Kindergarten this year. As a teacher, I struggled with not holding him back because you hear the horror stories from teachers who deal with "young" five year olds. Today, we were reaffirmed. We made the right decision because Griffin is flourishing in Kindergarten.

When I asked Griffin what he thought Mrs. Egan would say about him, he responded, "Um...that I am awesome." (And apparently humble too.) Well it's true Mr. Griffin. She used those words. She agrees with us. You are one awesome kid.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

He Gets Me

Me: I am now positive that I want to run a marathon.

Brandon: I knew it was only a matter of time.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Quotes from the Dunigan Boys

Griffin: Pheasants are show offs.
Me: Why?
Griffin: They have fancy feathers.

Grayson: Mom, that bug so cute. I step on it. (Crunch)

Griffin: Sometimes Mrs. E calls me, Payton, and Paige silly monkeys.

Grayson: Stop. Hammer Time. (Okay, I admit. I taught him to say this.)

My life is insane. Running is not.

I was told the other day that it is impressive that I find the time to run despite my chaotic schedule right now. Here's the thing. Is my schedule nuts? Absolutely! Am I amazed that I haven't gotten sick yet? YES! Is cutting out the running an option? NOPE. But it's not because I am super woman. And it isn't impressive either. It's because running is my lifeline right now. I can say with 100% certainty that I would shut down, mentally and physically, if I stopped running.

This fall has been exhausting. School only started a month ago, but I have done more in the last month than I ever thought possible. My responsibilities at school became more demanding as the number of different classes I teach increased. Furthermore, I DO NOT recommend teaching full-time, taking a doctoral class, teaching/interning in a grad school class, and then finding out your oldest son has allergies all at the same time. Especially if you have two small children. But alas, my schedule lined up this way, and unless I took a semester off, there was nothing I could do about it. Let's just say I am thankful that my children are in bed by 7:30, and I have an incredibly supportive husband!!!

(The good news is that I have most of November and all of December and January off from Bethel. The doubling up on stuff this fall provides me with a MUCH needed break! Plus, our Mexico trip will be here in a blink of an eye!)

There have been many times during the last few weeks where I have been close to tears. My mental capacity is at its limit each and every day. I do not get overwhelmed easily, but when I do, I crash. Running has prevented this crash. Not only has it given me time to pray, reflect, and/or watch television(when I run on the treadmill), it also afforded me almost 80 minutes of conversation with my dear friend Holly. It's pretty rare that I get to spend alone time with my close friends, but it is hard to pass up a situation where I can accomplish a run and a conversation at the same time. Enter an 8 mile run last weekend with Miss Holly.

Last week, running also gave me some short stints of alone time with Griffin. When I run outside, Griffin often runs the first mile with me. My attention is 100% on him during this time. I am not running my to do list in my head. I am not making dinner or cleaning the house. I am devoted to just having a conversation with my five year old. I also love that we are exercising together. He loves to run because it is fun for him. And I love that he wants to have that fun with me. Although he is still too small, Grayson has asked to join me for runs too. I pray his desire stays when he is old enough.

Some knit. Some scrapbook. Some watch television. Some meet friends for a drink. I run. It's not impressive. It just keeps me sane.

Conversations with Griffin

Both of my boys are talkers. Right now, I love hearing Griffin tell me stories about his life--especially ones about Kindergarten.

Minutes ago I asked him a lot of questions, and he was happy to fill me in on his life :)

When I ask Mrs. E to tell me about you, what do you think she will say?

"I like centers. There's this table. It's called a sensory table. It has corn in it. I love it. And I like the mystery box. It's kinda tricky."

Do you raise your hand in school? "Yes (insert eye roll). Mrs. Egan says, 'No blurting out.'"

"I love recess." What's your favorite thing about recess? "Me, Noelle (boy), and Mitchell chase Tessa around. She's so fast; we can never catch her. Then when we all run back inside, we look like a bunch of canon balls."

When we went running earlier today, Griffin told me how excited he was to run in next week's race in Maple Grove. He proceeded to tell me, "At the end of the race, I will push my fast animal button. Then I can fly through the end of the race." Hmm...I think I need one of those!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Happy Half-Birthday, Grayson!!!

Today is September 18th, which means my youngest son is two and a half years old. I've said it once, and I will say it again forever I'm sure, but how is this possible? I am a mom to a 5 year old and a 2.5 year old. My baby is 2.5 years old. AAHH!!!

I digress.

Grayson, oh Grayson. He keeps us on our toes. Between never knowing whether or not he will eat a single bite at a meal and his lack of fear for most things, my hair is turning gray. Not kidding. (Perhaps my 7th grade students are contributing to this, but we will never know for sure!) He is a jumper and mover. He is HILARIOUS to watch at gymnastics because before he even finishes one station, he is already moving on to the next. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I have told him to walk down the stairs from the trampoline instead of JUMPING OFF the trampoline. And my goodness, this boy LOVES to talk. (Not sure where he gets that from.) He has to give you a play by play of EVERYTHING that is going on at all times. Pretty sure my little dude would walk around with a microphone all day if we let him! He has also entered a stage where he blames other people for something HE did. Just tonight he told us Claire did something. Um, reality check little man. Claire doesn't live here. She's at day care. But thanks for the laugh.

On a more serious note, tomorrow I take Grayson in for a weight check. His eating has been HORRIBLE lately, and he hasn't grown much this summer. As we took out clothes from last winter, they all still fit. If his weight is unacceptable, back to the GI doctor we go :(

Thankfully, despite his health battles, Grayson is one happy little dude. He lights up a room with his smile and his nose scrunch, and I thank God daily for bringing him into our family. I'll take the gray hairs. He's definitely worth it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dunigan Family or the Taco Family???

"Mom, since we like tacos so much, we should be called the Taco Family."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Recent Griffin Quote

"Mom, is it okay if I, like, love Mrs. Eagan?"

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sometimes You Just Have to Jump

Sometimes, when life hands you a puddle, you just have to jump!