Saturday, March 30, 2019

Taking a bite of the Big Apple

The girls have been planning Spring Break with Erin since she moved last July. About a month before the big week, we discovered that Erin wasn't coming after all.

I looked at Daddy and said, "I'm taking them to New York City."

The girls have been talking about going to New York City for a while. They were enchanted by the TV shows set in New York City, especially Gossip Girl. A trip to New York City from Chicago is easy. There are dozens of flights every day. There are thousands of hotel rooms. 

I emailed friends and relatives in NYC. I told the girls to decide what they wanted to do. I booked our girls' Spring Break trip. 

Daddy wasn't a big NYC fan. The thought of spending a week's vacation wandering around to Gossip Girls' filming sites or shopping boutiques or visiting Times Square wasn't really how he wanted to spend a week's vacation. He stayed home with Holly.

We spent six days calling the smallest hotel room we've ever seen our NYC home base. The location was terrific, which made up for the hotel itself.

We did so much stuff. We took a carriage ride through Central Park. We walked the High Line. We went people watching in Times Square. We had fun dinners with friends and relatives. We shopped SoHo. We ate at Fraunces Tavern, where George Washington also ate. We visited Alexander Hamilton's grave at Trinity Episcopal Church. We paid our respects at the September 11 Memorial. We saw Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway. We ate rice pudding for dinner. We went to a taping of the Kelly and Ryan show. We took a bout tour around the Statue of Liberty. We walked through the New York City Public Library. We stared at the Vessel in Hudson Yards. We took public transportation everywhere. 

It was an exciting and exhausting Spring Break. The girls had photos and stories for days. Our last minute adventure created a lifetime of memories. 

Friday, March 29, 2019

Go for the Gold

At this point Girl Scouts is a fairly individual activity. We still have a troop, but the girls are working on their own projects. The brunette twin decided to earn her Gold Award. 

It's a big step. The Gold Award is the highest achievement in Girl Scouts. Girls need to research a problem, come up with a plan, present it to the appropriate authorities and then implement the plan. They have to work a minimum of eighty hours on their Gold Award project.

I'd like to say that the brunette twin has been planning to earn her Gold Award for a while, but that would not be true. The reality is she wants to complete the award cycle, having already earned her Bronze and Silver Awards. She knows having a Gold Award will bolster her college applications. And, it is something she can do on her own time and at her own pace.

She decided to create a pollinator garden. She had been talking about the bee colony collapse in school for a while now. We have a large pollinator garden in our backyard. We have seen how specific plants really do attract butterflies, bees and dragon flies.

Our church has a large, unkempt quarter acre everyone always calls "the forest." It's a neglected space with a lot of potential. We talked to the church vestry about the idea and they liked it. The brunette twin put together a formal proposal and it was approved. 

Now we just have to clean up the area, put down a mulch base, research pollinator plants, source the plants and design a garden. I guess I know what we're doing this spring, summer and fall. 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

250 BPM

For months now we've been visiting doctors and taking tests. The blond twin was diagnosed with SVT, a heart condition in which the heart rate elevates, but one chamber does not come back down. The blond twin's pediatric cardiologist said he most often sees it in infants and teenagers. She's the perfect age for it to start.

Medical professionals reviewed each of her tests with awe. They commented on how strong her heart was and how she was in such great shape. They wondered if she wasn't really just experiencing panic attacks.

I was not happy.

The blond twin was clearly having a medical emergency. It wasn't as easy as saying it was a panic attacks. We knew the trigger. We knew the outcome. We just couldn't replicate it during the tests so the medical professionals were unable to prove it was real.

The final test was the cardiac stress test. The blond twin ran on the treadmill, at the highest speed and the steepest incline, with ease. The cardiac therapist was checking her post-test vitals when she went into an SVT.

I was both terrified and elated. I realized as I was dealing with these conflicting that it was crazy. I was terrified because her BPM was 250. Her heart was pounding at 250 beats per minute. I was elated because she was still hooked up to the EKG machine. It was all recorded for every medical professional to analyze.

After a one block trip to the emergency department (via an ambulance despite being in an outpatient building connected to the hospital), we went home with a heart monitor, medication and recommendation for an ablation.

It was a long, exhausting day, but we finally had progress.