Hello Korio
26. 12. 2015

Or do you just want to read 4000 words about stuff I like? That’s fine, too. I’ve never really done a favorites post of any sort before, because I don’t take good pictures and I can’t do accurate swatches, and if I committed myself to learning how, the post would never end up done, so I’ve just kind of shrugged off the whole genre. But I got to try a lot of things this year, and I know when I have gift cards, I do like to check out what other people have bought and enjoyed, and also, it’s my blog and I can post whatever I want, so here we go: my favorite products of 2015.

Actually, here we don’t go yet, because let me lay out some helpful information first. My skin tone is fair, but not, like, alabaster pale. Just regular fairly fair skin. It borders on dry, with those annoying as shit flaky patches that will fuck up your foundation and ruin your whole day. I may have the occasional oily patch, but I don’t generally have to consider oiliness as a factor with skin care and makeup, so do keep that in mind if that’s your issue. I don’t know how to handle that or how any of these products would work with that kind of skin. My hair is dark, but I don’t generally consider that because I don’t have any real skill or knowledge.

That’s another point to consider: I don’t actually have any credentials that make my opinion weigh more heavily than anyone else’s. I’m not particularly good at makeup, but I enjoy it with great enthusiasm, and a line I read late in the year that’s stuck with me for some reason lately is “it doesn’t take talent to practice.” All of this is just my own opinions, and none of the links are affiliate or sponsored in any way.  Most of the products are available at either Ulta or Sephora, and I’ll note the ones that are Sephora only or vice versa. I live to help you buy things I like.

Also, there are no pictures, because they would be crappy and worthless because there are many areas in which I am unskilled and I’m mostly fine with that.

Skincare

I tried a lot of skin care this year and I have to say, I feel like 2015, especially the later half, was when I finally got my skin to a place I really like it. Or mostly like it, anyway, because the quality seems to depend entirely on me engaging in the full routine every single day, and that’s kind of annoying as hell. It’s been worth it, though, because it makes makeup application go easier and does a little more to mask my lack of ability in that area. I feel like it just looks better, which is all I really want, right?

Anyway, reminder: my skin is a bit dry, especially in the winter. It’s not especially sensitive and I rarely have a bad reaction to a product. I have some redness that’s increased over the years, around my cheeks and forehead. Dryness, redness, and overall skin tone and texture have been my main concerns this year. I don’t think all these products would work for everyone, but I do think they’re all very good products.

belif Creamy Cleansing Foam Moist: This is a relatively new addition to my routine. I use it to wash my face in the morning, when it feels kind of tight after a hot shower. I’d kind of gotten used to my face feeling itchy and tight after washing, then counteracting that with other products. I don’t have a lot of oil on my skin, so it seemed like it was super easy for any face wash to totally strip it. Not this one, though. It feels like it gets my skin clean in the morning without drying it out further. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it adds a ton of moisture, but it’s a good first step. It doesn’t smell bad or perfumed, and it’s very gentle. Sephora only.

May Coop Raw Sauce: I put this on next, in the mornings, before I brush my teeth. I bought the smaller bottle and use maybe 4 drops a day. Shake it in my hand and then just pat it on my face like Kevin in Home Alone with the aftershave, but it doesn’t hurt. This is super liquidy, like water, and it sinks in fast while I brush my teeth. I think this would probably work differently for everyone, but I believe it’s a huge part of why my skin texture has improved so much with consistent use. It claims to make other products work better by preparing the skin, but I don’t know about any of that science shit. I know, though, that it just makes my skin look better in an annoyingly unquantifiable kind of way. Even if I’m not wearing makeup, this goes on under my moisturizer and sunscreen. Sephora only.

belif Hungarian Water Essence: I use this like the May Coop Raw Sauce, but at night. I feel like they’re possibly interchangeable, for me, or that I could do with one or the other and see largely the same results. Sephora only.

belif Aqua Bomb: I have been a Clinique Moisture Surge person for years. I really like the kind of gel-textured moisturizers over creams and lotions. I feel like they’re more immediately effective, especially when my skin is being a total shit with the flakes and tightness. This year, I switched over to this one, and I’m really very pleased. The results seem more long lasting, improving the dryness over time rather than just for the day. This is the last thing I do before sunscreen (sometimes I do them in reverse order if I’m feeling WILD AND CRAZY), and I do it right before I do my makeup so I’m still all slicked up when I sit down at my vanity. I would say that as far as skincare goes, this was probably my top product of 2015. Sephora only.

boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser: This has been my nighttime cleanser all year. I have a backup bottle ready to go at all times. It’s gentle, it’s effective, it doesn’t smell gross. My skin likes it and I don’t see any reason to change it.Late in the year, I started using it with a konjac sponge. I like the gentle exfoliation, but I think it works just as well with clean hands. It’s the one step of my routine I haven’t adjusted/fiddled with this year. It just works. Sephora only.

Other stuff: No standout exfoliators this year. I’m still using Mario Badescu toners and PTR Anti-Wrinkle Peel Pads occasionally. Also, I’ve been using a snail essence kind of peel, but, you know, not everyone is into snail mucus. Same sunscreen as always, too. I tried a lot of masks this year and still have a lot to try, but none really blew me away. I do like to use sheet masks a lot these days, and the GlamGlow Thirsty Mud as an overnight sleeping mask maybe once a month or so. I have a ton of PTR masks to try out. Also, no real favorite eye cream. I’ve been using Origins Ginzing and you know, it’s fine. It does what I need it to do. I put it on right before makeup so my undereye concealer doesn’t look cakey, and it does that. I’m not seeing anything else to write home about, though.

Complexion Makeup

Becca Backlight Priming Filter: I’ve never found a primer I liked that also seemed to make my makeup stay on any better. I tried a bunch this year – Too Faced, Make Up For Ever, etc – and they were all just… fine. This one, though, is different. It really does add a kind of lit from within glow to the skin. I don’t think it makes my makeup last any long and holy shit is it easy to over do it and look like the moon. But it looks good under makeup, over makeup, or even by itself, sometimes, and it at least does something for me, which is more than I can say for other primers I tried this year. Ulta and Sephora.

L’Oreal Pro Matte Foundation: I tried a bunch of foundations this year, but I mostly stuck to my usual Korean BB creams until maybe June or July? I don’t know when I picked this up, but holy shit am I glad I did. It is. So good. The coverage is at least medium with one layer. It is as matte as the name suggests, but not chalky-matte. It doesn’t cling to dry patches. It applies easily and evenly. I was able to find a great color match (though I know that won’t be the case for everyone). It sets quickly and isn’t tacky. I love it. I’ve recommended it to 8000 people. It’s less than $15 and available basically anywhere. Love it. LOVE. IT. And from what I understand, it should work fairly well for oily skin, too. Ulta and drugstores and wherever.

Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder: Another super cheap product I can no longer live without. I also tried several setting powders this year. I tried the Tarte powder and a couple of others and eh, fine. But I keep coming back to the Coty powder. It’s just effective. I use the translucent shade. I apply it over my concealer and foundation with a damp beauty blender, which I know might sound strange, but try it with your powder. It’s been holding my makeup in place all through the day, including my concealer. There are some tradeoffs with the price, though. It smells. Like, big time. Like someone’s stinky grandmother. The smell doesn’t last on the skin, but hoooomygod is it stinky when you open it. Also, it’s a loose powder, and I’m incapable of using loose powder without getting it every-fucking-where when I close the lid. Otherwise, though. Less than $10. Worth a try. Drugstores.

Eye Makeup

NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base: I’ve used the LORAC Behind the Scenes eyelid primer forever with no complaints. I always had a little sample tube because they come with the palettes and I liked it. I tried this one out this year, though, and it’s just better. I’ve never really been a big NARS person, so even though I’d heard good things, I’d kind of ignored it. I think because I’m the kind of prude that doesn’t find shade names like Orgasm and Deep Throat to be cheeky and edgy, and I basically held it against the whole brand. Whatever, though. This shit is good. It’s not sticky and it dries down quickly so it’s easy to apply eyeshadow over it without any kind of patchiness or skipping. And it just stays all day. My eyeshadow looks exactly the same at the end of the day as it did at the start, which is a good or bad thing, depending on how artless and sloppy I was that morning. Just a boring, solid product. Sephora.

Wet n Wild Eyeshadow single in Brulee: I don’t know why I’ve never talked about this before because I don’t know how many of these I’ve been through over the years. I’ve used this forever as a base shadow color, just all over the lid, over primer and before other shadows. Obviously, this depends on skin tone, but it’s a fair match for most of us at the lighter end of the spectrum. I just buy this over and over, though I don’t know if I’ve ever used UP more than one or two. I probably just lose them. But $.99! Who cares! This is the perfect base shadow. The texture is super smooth, so when you apply your other shadows, they blend much more easily. This can really be accomplished with any good shadow close to your skin tone, but like I said, this one is nice and $.99. Cannot live without it. Also, it’s great to use for blending along the edges of your shadow after you’re done, to kind of fuzz out and clean up your (my) many copious ham-handed mistakes. Drugstores, Walmart, wherever. $.99!

LORAC Pro Brow Pencil: I talked about eyebrow products at great length in another post, so I won’t rehash. Still really like the micro brow pencils best, and this LORAC one has turned out to be great. The slate color is perfect for dark-ish brows. It doesn’t look grey, it’s just a great match, so give it a shot if you’re struggling with finding the right shade of dark brown, especially in cool tones. Quick and easy, the spoolie is nice, and I’d say it’s a more than adequate way to save a couple of bucks if you’re loyal to the Anastasia Brow Wiz. Ulta.

Viseart Eyeshadow palettes: Okay. Okay. So I know the price is… whoa. But you know I wouldn’t recommend something audaciously expensive to you if I didn’t very grudgingly accept that it’s kind of worth it. I feel like the kind of people that are going to overlook the price and buy a Viseart palette are maybe the more serious makeup people, but I want to make a case for giving them a try if you feel like your skills aren’t good enough to justify an $80 palette. These shadows just work. Just like good brushes are going to make your eye makeup look a little better even if you don’t actually get any better at doing it, these shadows are the same. The colors look on the skin exactly like they look in the pan. When you apply them, they just DO WHAT THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO. You don’t have to fight with them. They don’t smudge all over and they don’t skip or apply in a patchy way. They blend together with much less effort than similar shadows. If you feel like you’re not very good at eyeshadow, these will give you a boost. I have the matte neutral palette and the bridal satin, and as soon as I used them, I started looking at my other palettes wondering which I can just get rid of. Yes, they’re very expensive, but you know how irritating I find it when expensive products are actually good, so it is with full irritation that I recommend these, BIG TIME. Sephora online. Other websites sometimes have deals on them, as well. This is a good use of gift card pretend money.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer: I’ve never found a concealer that didn’t look horrific under my eyes. Cakey, sunk into fine lines that I otherwise can’t even see, etc. I tried the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, figuring I’d throw money at the problem, and was just totally meh about it. Rather than just return to drugstore products that gave me the same shitty results for way less money, I stupidly bought this one. I didn’t care for it at first. However, lately, it’s really been doing it for me. I know it’s probably a factor of improved skin care – dry under eyes WILL fuck up your concealer. Like I mentioned above, I’ve been using that Origins eye cream, and I put it on with my moisturizer, right before I start my makeup. That, combined with this concealer, seems to be doing the trick for me. It suddenly goes on smoothly and doesn’t cake up. I apply it with the wand (which gets super goopy with way too much product), then tap it in with a damp beauty blender. I set it with that Coty powder, and what the hell. It looks good. This has a really nice texture for me. I’ve never done well with those thicker undereye concealers like Bye Bye Undereye, and the gel formulation of this one seems to be almost the exact opposite of that sort. So if you’ve had the same kind of trouble with popular thick concealers, maybe try this one out. Sephora and Ulta.

Other stuff: No favorite mascara or eyeliner this year. I’ve never found a mascara that totally blew me away. Well, sometimes, but I only seem to like them for the first few uses, and then I’m underwhelmed. Probably just my lame eyelashes.

Cheek Makeup

Blush tie: Becca Mineral Blushes and Hourglass Ambient Lighting blushes. I have five or six shades of each of these. I haven’t picked up my beloved Benefit Hervana in months. Both of these blush lines have a little something extra that make them look really glowy but not shiny or sparkly. They blend super easily and don’t look streaky. The shades are interesting and varied. These are easy to wear. Becca at Sephora and Ulta, Hourglass at Sephora.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfectors: Highlight of choice for the whole year. I’ve tried both the pressed and liquid formulations, not the poured. Opal is probably my go-to shade. I’m not going to call them subtle, because… they’re not… but they’re not disco-bally, either. They go on smoothly and are buildable, so you can be as shiny as you like. I think the poured and liquid can be more subtle, but I don’t know, I don’t wear highlight every single day and when I do, I don’t generally aim for subtle. Whatever, you do you. I know Anastasia has come out with some well-reviewed highlighters this year, but I feel like my highlighter needs are totally covered by Becca. They go on smoothly and blend well into whatever else you’re wearing, so it doesn’t look like a big streak of glow. I think all the colors are very nice, depending what you’re looking for, but claims that a certain color is “perfect for every skin tone” are greatly exaggerated. Ahem. Ulta and Sephora.

Hourglass Ambient Bronzer: If you’re not a bronzer person, I probably can’t make you into one, but if I could, I’d likely suggest one of these. Like the other Ambient Lighting products, they go on smoothly and blend really well, so you won’t look like you have dirt smudges on your face. This one has that powder mixed in with the bronzer, so you’ll also get a nice glow with using it. It’s not easy to over do, but of course, I find a way. This was really, really awesome in the summer, when I don’t wear much makeup at all and just want to add a little color back once I put on whatever foundation I’m wearing. I haven’t reached for it as much as it’s gotten more wintery, preferring a matte bronzer like Benefit Hoola, but I would still say this was probably one of my favorite products of 2015. I do like to wear a lot of makeup, but also really appreciate products that cut down on the routine for days I want to wear less (which does happen!), and this was one of them for me. A few swipes around the outside of my face and a bit on my cheeks plus sunglasses and done. Sephora.

Shiro’s Do Your Research Contour powder: Soft, easy to blend, a great choice for fair-skinned, cool toned people. It’s a loose powder, so it can be a little messy if you’re not careful, but I have faith in you. Also, look at the picture on the front and tell me you don’t want it in your makeup bag.

Lip Makeup

NARS Audacious Lipsticks: Great formula. Almost justifies the price. They’re long-lasting and have an outstanding color range, one that supports my need to own any lip product that could even be widely categorized as a “dusty rose” shade. (Anna) Good color range + good formula (doesn’t bleed, lasts, isn’t uncomfortable to wear). Probably have to put this one near the top. Sephora.

LORAC Alter Ego Lipsticks: I’m going to say that the formula on these is not my favorite. If you don’t like a dry formula in your lipsticks, you probably won’t like these. However, the colors Duchess and CEO both featured heavily in my rotation this year and I don’t think I could do 2015 favorites without them. I’m pretty sure it was Duchess that kicked off my dusty rose obsession, can’t stop won’t stop. Ulta.

LORAC Pro Matte Lip Color: Two more that I wore all the time – Pink Taupe and Mauve. I don’t think you need to ask what color family those fall into. These are the currently popular, easy to apply lip crayon format, but they have a smaller tip than some others. These STAY PUT and last really well through eating and drinking. They are MATTE-matte, though, so if you’re not on board with the matte lip trend, maybe skip. Ulta.

MAC Creamstick Liner in Buerre: Every time I wear this, I get asked what I’m wearing. Enough said.

YSL lip products in general: I admit I first bought some of these because I wanted to feel like a fancy lady. I now own a couple of the Rouge Volupte Shine, a couple of the Volupte Sheer Candy, I think two of the Volupte Tint-In-Oil, and one of the Vernis A Levres Glossy Stains. No regrets. The price is high, but sometimes you just want something fancy, you know? Of course you know. The packaging feels heavy and special. I like holding them. I like seeing them out on my vanity. To be perfectly, shallowly honest, that would have been enough for me. But they’re actually all quite good. First, every single one of them is among the most comfortable to wear lip products I own. They go on smoothly and easily, and don’t feel tacky or drying at all. Every one of them, across all lines. With that, you’d normally expect to sacrifice some wear time, but I don’t find that to be the case. The ones I own certainly don’t last as long as the matte products or liquid lipsticks I own, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised, over and over, to find lasting, even color four or more hours after application. They’re just good. All around. Also another great use of pretend gift card money. Sephora.

Random Thing You Should Buy

This paint brush.  I like to wear black eyeshadow as liner. I have never gotten the hang of liquid or gel liner and I just like the softer look of the powder better. I have used this brush to apply black powder as liner for years and years, and when I was looking through my stuff to decide on my favorites, I couldn’t believe I haven’t brought this one up before. It’s cheap, it’s easily available, it’s soft and perfectly angled. I use it every single day I wear eye makeup and I think you’d like it, too.

Okay! So! That’s it! Not all the products I’ve used and loved this year, but all the products I think stand out as favorites. Did I miss anything? I don’t think so, and how would you know, anyway? If you feel like it, let me know what your 2015 favorites were or what you’re going to get with any holiday gift cards. If you don’t feel like it, that’s fine, too. I already own all the best stuff ANYWAY.

Hope your holidays were fabulous.

 

08. 12. 2015

So on the morning of October 29, Penny’s school called me to let me know she was just inconsolable. It was just a “courtesy call,” they said, and they said that right up front, which I appreciated. We’d had some stuff going on at home over the previous few days, so I wasn’t totally surprised. I had to work later, though, and I had an appointment I didn’t want to miss, and kind of feeling like a dick, I asked them to give me an update in 15 minutes or so. That’s normal, right? Whatever, it’s what I did.

I hopped in the shower and before I even got out, my phone was ringing again. She just could not calm herself down. Ok, no big deal, she needs to be at home today. I got out and went and got her. Once I had her home on the couch, she settled a bit and fell asleep. I was chatting with my friends on base and with Jess while I sat on the couch with her, and fortunately managed to make arrangements for one of my friends to come over and sit with her for a couple of hours while I went to the appointment. In the midst of talking to Jess about suddenly inconsolable children, I reached out to re-cover Penny with her blanket and WHOA HOT. HOT HOT HOT. I felt like a giant idiot for not suspecting anything and got the thermometer. 105. Eep. Okay. Big dumb idiot me. I immediately called the doctors on base and they could not get her in. I debated waiting to get an appointment the next day, but by then Penny had woken up and was crying and crying that her neck hurt. Nope. Noooope. So we got loaded up in the car and headed to the ER on the ped’s recommendation.

We were at the ER all. day. Not because they were backed up or slow, that’s rarely a problem here. But just because they were so intent on getting her fever down and figuring out what was going on. I had medicated her before we left and they kept on rotating Tylenol and ibuprofen to bring her temperature down, but it never got under 101. They were fortunately able to determine it was not meningitis, though they had to call in another ped to do it. Despite the rapid strep test being negative and another test not back yet, that doctor determined she had strep and mono. We left with a prescription for antibiotics and instructions to work on keeping the fever down, etc.

Here is a picture of my sad baby that I took for Phil, because I should have mentioned that he was away at the time and was actually away for the entire duration of this story.

Sick sad Penny

The next couple days were rough, as you might expect, because she developed a gastro thing as well and was up over and over all night, every night. Not once or twice, but running to the bathroom once or twice an hour all night. She was not getting any rest and it was just dragging the whole thing out, and she was so miserable.

In the middle of the fifth night of fever, I called the nurse advice line about the fact that her fever just would not go away. Continually above 103 unmedicated and only down to about 101 medicated. Penny didn’t get sick a lot in previous years so I don’t have a ton of experience here, but I do try to keep a reasonable head about fevers. It’s just the body doing what it does, medicate for comfort, all of that. But day five seemed like a long, long time.

So the reason I called the nurse line is a weird thing with our insurance and the way the clinic works on base. We only have one urgent care in town and it’s kind of terrible and I don’t like it, but there are others in Las Cruces that are good. We need a referral to go there. Which is ridiculous. Especially because our insurance is INCREDIBLY STINGY with referrals to urgent care. To get a same day appointment at the clinic, you need to call at exactly 7:00am and hope. Well, if you call the nurse line while the clinic is closed, they go through a series of questions and use their information or program or whatever to make a recommendation. Usually, it’s something like, “we recommend she been seen within the next X days or hours.” If you time your call right and they recommend something like, say, 12 hours, they’ll transfer you over to the appointment line and make you an appointment at the clinic on base if they can find one, and that’s if the recommended window of hours line up. Well, I timed it stupidly or at least expected they’d give us a big window, but they didn’t and said she needed to be seen within 4 hours. Which, no. It was the middle of the night. The only urgent care in town only works limited business hours. They said to take her to the ER. I said I’d already taken my sleeping pills, so I wasn’t going to do that. But they refused to make a next day appointment for me because it would have been outside their recommended 4 hours. So basically, take her to the ER or we can’t help.

NOPE. Come on. I’m not going to get into a whole thing about abuse of the ER, because you know what, that is what it is. But it would probably be HELPFUL if insurance would WORK. WITH. ME. There was a nights, evenings, and weekends urgent care in Las Cruces I could have taken her to if they’d authorize it, but flat refusal to do that.

So, 7am on the dot, I called in for an appointment. This was Monday morning, I think, and all they could get me was an appointment for Wednesday. But could I hold on? They talked to the ped team for a minute and then asked me to take her to the ER. FINE.

So we went up there and got seen quickly. We went over what they’d done the last time. This time, they claimed they never did a mono test, which was INFURIATING, because they’d come back to take extra blood from her for it and she was bruised up and down each arm. But whatever, I don’t care what she HAS, just fix it. This time, they said she had an upper respiratory infection and a stomach thing. They gave her some steroids to help with this insane cough that seriously, just developed on the way there. We went back home and she continued to lay around like a sad, miserable sack.

I had taken the appointment on Wednesday at the clinic anyway, because I was supposed to follow up with her regular doctor. She looked decent at that appointment. Her stomach was still gross, but the doctor advised me that it would probably be like that for up to two weeks, based on what was going around at the time. She passed it to me in the next day or so, so I have great sympathy for how miserable she must have been. Surprisingly, the doctor also had information on the tests that had come back – the long strep test was negative, and so was the mono test, which had miraculously been found. We decided to finish out her antibiotics anyway, and fortunately, she was back to school later that day.

The night of November 16th, she had still been up all night every night coughing, and finally, at that point, had started coughing until she threw up. Okay, gross, but I can handle it. It’s just that she was getting NO SLEEP AT ALL during this whole thing, and I felt like it was making it difficult for her to get her feet under her in terms of finally recovering. The cough had been going on for two weeks at that point, so I was sitting in my bed debating waking up to call and fight for an appointment the next morning when she came in crying about her eye hurting and leaking. She kept getting out of bed all night to wash her leaky eye.

So, next morning, back to the clinic we go. I felt like her doctor must be sick of my stupid face by then, and got that weird paranoia about looking like a crazy paranoid parent, but ever since my paranoia about my infant CRYING TOO MUCH lead to us discovering her raging infection and kidney defect that ended up requiring surgery to repair, I kind of go with that feeling. I mean, I try not to let it get out of control, but that kind of paranoia only needs to pay off once for an already slightly crazy parent to decide she has supernatural sick-deciding powers.

Fortunately, her doctor said I did the right thing. A cough that goes on that long needs to be checked out. He looked at her and decided at this point, we were dealing with a new infection – probably a sinus infection – since she’d already done a full course of antibiotics. Oh, and also, pink eye. So we got another round of antibiotics for the new infection. If she was still coughing in ten more days, he wanted to see her again to see if maybe it’s allergies. She already takes Zyrtec, but I guess you never know.

And she went back to school again. (Her doctor did say it was viral pinkeye and she was free to go to school as long as it wasn’t weeping all over.)

All went fine. For a bit.

On the 23rd, at about FOUR OH FIVE PM. right after the clinic closed, she tells me she has a mosquito bite that is itchy.

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OH, DO YOU NOW?

She’s never had a rash, so I called the nurse line to ask what to give her. Take her to the ER, they said. There was no lead up to that because I’m sure you’re not surprised. I was furiously consulting over text with all the other parents I know and it just didn’t seem very ER-y. But they refuse to give any advice other than what their thing says. So I called the clinic, hoping MAYBE someone was there? And they connected me to the after hours doctor, who was actually my doctor. He agreed that it didn’t sound emergent, but if it suddenly got worse than what it was, I should take her, but bring her in to the clinic the next day. Good. That’s what I like to hear.

IMG_20151123_183732

OMG PENELOPE THURSA WORK WITH ME.

And it continued to worsen from there. When it started crawling up her throat and onto her face, I decided to take her in. Now having seen it, I probably wouldn’t make the same choice again, but at the time, I was freaked out that it was going to crawl down her throat in the night and choke her.

Fortunately, we were in and out very quickly again, and the doctor kept coming back in the room to tell me that if I couldn’t get her an appointment with her doctor the next day, he wanted to see her back there to take a look at her again. He gave me a card with when he’d be there and all of that. I appreciate the reassurance that I’m doing the right thing, but these doctors are totally encouraging my belief in my own spidey-penny sense and I don’t know if that’s a good thing.

She got a lot of Benadryl and some more steroids and once she was asleep, she looked like this.

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We saw a ped the next day and it was mostly down to just some red bumps, but we were only part way through the most recent course of antibiotics and she was still coughing, so we had to determine if she was going to keep taking them, assuming the rash was viral, since a newly developed allergy to penicillin was a possibly culprit here, or move on to trying to treat the allergies, since she’d finished half the course with little improvement in the cough.

During this appointment, Penelope was INSANE. IN. SANE. Even the doctor was like, can I please just talk to your mother for a second? She was flinging herself off the walls. I assured the doctor that she’s kind of crazy, but not like THIS. Steroids, the doctor reminded me. STEROIDS. She was HULKING OUT.

Anyway, we decided to go with a nose spray and ditch the rest of the antibiotics. When was this? I’ve lost track. Penny started finally sleeping through the night again right before Phil came back home December 1, which was so convenient for him. Then she threw up the other night so I just. You guys.

I was talking to Jess because apparently that’s what I do when everything is terrible, because she has more kids than me and knows more things and is very calm in a crisis, especially one that is not her own and not actually so much a crisis as a parental breakdown in sanity, really, and she told me that there’s some research that most kids get the same amount of illnesses between birth and five, and since Penny just started daycare/pre-k, she was finally getting her share.

It seems weird to say this, since she was in the NICU and hospitalized several other times and has had kidney surgery and has a digestive condition and allergies and reflux, but she’s really been a very healthy kid her whole life. So I am kind of bowled over by all of this, but I do understand that it’s totally normal childhood stuff. She’s just getting hers in a pile and I was not conditioned to know what to do with a sick kid through her earlier years. And I get that it’s not all been anything major. But we’re going into the winter now, her first winter in day care, and she just cannot seem to get her feet under her, health-wise, for a gottdanged second, and I’m concerned that it’s just going to be one thing after another while her immune system gets kicked around by all the other germ balls in the germ aquarium where she spends her days.

I’ve been trying to make sure she gets a lot of sleep, since it’s still broken up and restless most nights and has been since the end of October. Making sure she’s eating well, too. But what else can I do to kind of give her a boost through the rest of the winter. Vitamins? Do they work or just create expensive pee? What do probiotics do? Can they help here? Should I make her wear a blanket and eat soup? She already washes her hands until they chap. Should I just perform a full hose down when she comes in the door from school? I know she’s going to get sick more, but if I could just cut her a little break, that would be great, and any ideas you have or ways you help your own children through snot season would be helpful.

IN OTHER NEWS, I’ve recently taken to onesie pajamas and I encourage you to get on board, and look who is being delivered to Penny on Christmas Eve:

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