Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Blackberry Picture Archives

I was looking through some of the pictures on my phone, and I realized that there were a few that I never posted on facebook or shared on my blog.  They were significant...and yet, I haven't shared them.

So today I'm sharing them.

This was the day Leah came home.  I just saw them together on the couch and took a quick picture.  Just a daddy and his girls.  Thought it was cute.

My mom sent this one to me via text.  It was the day Sarah had preschool graduation when I was in the hospital and couldn't attend.  It makes me teary-eyed when I see it because I still can't believe I wasn't there.  It also makes me emotional because I'm so thankful  my dad was willing to take her.  They both look so happy.

This was the day after Gabriel had his ER visit.  It was his first breathing treatment at home.  He didn't really like doing them all that much, but somehow we were able to get each treatment done.  And by "we" I mean Josh. :)

I love when a simple picture tells a story.  That's what these pictures do when I see them...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Practical? Or Loss of Contentment?

I sure wish I felt more wordy or more bloggy or had some thought-provoking topic to write about.

Right now I'm just struggling with something.

I can't decide if it's practical for me to want a bigger house since we're a family of six.

It's only about 1300 square foot (I think...can't remember from last appraisal).  It's 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms.

Or have I lost my sense of contentment with our current house?

Do we need a basement or an upstairs?  Is it ok that I feel crammed in our current space?

Or am I just comparing myself to others?  Am I just thinking too much about some of the homes my friends have?

Ugh.  I just go back and forth.

I do love my house.  I love the layout and the colors and the back yard.  Oh, I love the back yard.

Our yard in the summer with our fun slide that Josh puts up for the kids.

 So many memories here.  So many birthdays, Christmases, fun times, hard times.

But it's small.  For us, it's small.

I just want to feel at peace about the decision to sell or not, to move or not, to find a bigger house or not.

Tough stuff.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Few Things on Friday

I have obviously failed to stick with my Monday, Wednesday, Friday postings.

In short...

I followed up with my surgeon this week.  All is well.  Blood work says everything in the area where my gall bladder was is fine - liver function, pancreas, etc.

I had my six-week postpartum check-up with my OBGYN this week.  Everything is good with that, too.

I am giving up dairy for the time being in hopes that it helps Leah.  All of a sudden she has been fussing and crying and often not consolable.  It's a cry that I can tell she hurts.  She is also insanely gassy.  Another sign that I didn't know about but was told today is if the baby is fussing at the breast - she just has her mouth open, head goes back and forth, but won't latch on for a while.  I didn't know why she was doing this, but maybe it's the dairy thing.

So between no McDonald's, fear of eating foods with fat, and no dairy...I should be a size 4 by fall...ha!

And since I like to post a picture with every entry, I'll use the one I took this past Sunday.  We had small group, and several of the kids just sat around Leah's car seat while Sarah introduced her.  It was pretty cute.

Hope to get back to my bloggy self soon.  I think surgery and a newborn have sort of thrown me off a bit.

Friday, May 18, 2012

School's Out For Summer

On Wednesday Josh and I attended Caleb's 1st grade awards assembly. 

Before it started, I asked his teacher if I could get a quick picture of the two of them!

Then they started giving out awards to each child, and Caleb received Perfect Attendance, Reading Circle Award, and Reflex Math Award.

There were only 3 who received Perfect Attendance in 1st grade, and only about 1 or 2 in each class who received the Reflex Math Award (I thought it was cute that he and Hunter received it in his class...that's Ashley's son...they've basically known each other since birth and share a birthday).

It's hard not to beam with pride when my child shows me his awards.  He was the only one who received all three.

Then I ran up after it was done and got a pic of Caleb with the assistant principal.

He had a really good school year.  We are very proud of his school work and attendance.

And I decided it's ok to post about being proud of Caleb.  I sometimes struggle with knowing what to post about that sort of thing.  But today...I'm letting go of that and just posting away! :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Another ER Trip (but not me this time)

Until I was 28-years-old, I had never been to the ER.  I was a very healthy kid, the kind who always had perfect attendance, the kind who pretty much never went to the doc for anything but check ups or physicals when sports came along.  I'm pretty sure Josh was the same, just a healthy kid and one who didn't have to see a doc hardly ever.

Fortunately our kids are pretty much like us.  I don't think any of them have puked in about a year and a half, and none of them have been to a doctor for so long that I don't even remember (I think Caleb had an ear infection when he was 5 or something).

But poor Gabriel...he had his second ER trip last night.  My only child who has had to visit the ER.

His first trip you may recall...I wrote about it back in March 2010.  He fell HARD into the corner of a wall and split his forehead open badly.  That was traumatic for me and my 16-month-old!

Gabriel in March of 2010

Last night at about 10:30, he woke up coughing so hard and wheezing and gasping for air.  It sounded so horrible.  It scared me, but I wasn't sure what to do.  Give him Tylenol?  Find some cough medicine?  Prop him upright on the couch and hope it helped?  Josh and I did our best to calm him down (he was very upset, understandably so), and we did give him Tylenol (no cough medicine in our house for some reason).  We put him on the couch, and Josh stayed out with him and I went to our room to be with Leah (who is still in a pack-n-play in our room for now).

By about 2:00 am, Josh came into our room and told me that it wasn't getting better, he was still gasping for air at times and wheezing.  Maybe it's bad we waited, I just was hoping it would get better by propping him up on the couch.  At that time, Josh loaded him up in the car and left for the ER.  I really hate that I couldn't take him, but with me nursing Leah in the middle of the night (and that time was coming up soon) we just thought it would be best for me to stay and Josh to go.

He kept me updated via texts.

The second he arrived, Gabriel went straight back.

According to my texts, it took less than about 20 minutes for the doc to get breathing treatments set up and going for Gabriel from the time they walked into the door.

Josh said he did amazing, didn't fight it or anything.  He said he didn't cry or become upset when they had to draw blood.  They are seriously the best lab techs ever.

Start to finish was three hours.  It seems like everything from breathing treatments to labs to chest xray didn't take long at all, but they kept hearing the wheezing and wanted to keep him until the steroid kicked in to help.

The diagnosis was croup.  My best friend's boys have had this, but I didn't realize how bad it could get.  They sent him home with a nebulizer, and we'll be doing breathing treatments for a while.

I still find it difficult to go to the ER or take my kids, and I don't know why.  I must admit that working in the ER for a short time when I was employed last year did open my eyes to the petty stuff people come in for (I'm not being a jerk, seriously one time I put an arm band on a guy who said his thumb hurt).  I don't want to exhaust the resource, but I know it's there for things like 2:00 am wheezing children.

And when it comes to kids, it's always better to be safe than sorry.

Here's hoping we won't be going to the ER again for a very, very long time.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Encourage One Another

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up..." 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV

This verse has never been more important it seems when it comes to being a mom.  I just can't comprehend these so called mommy wars, and I don't know why it has become so prevalent to tear down different kinds of parenting.  I read an article yesterday, and this woman said it best:

I don’t much care if you breastfed your kid until they started kindergarten, or if you fed them formula from day one. I don’t really care if you turned your infant car-seat forward-facing prior to age 2, or if you homeschool, or if you send your kids to daycare while you go to work. Do you cosleep? Did you circumcise your son? I DON’T CARE.  Do you babywear? Push your kid around in a stroller? Use a leash for your kid at Disneyland?  Whatever.  Good for you.  

All of these petty wars about the choices of capable, loving mothers is just a lot of white noise to me, Quite honestly, I’m often astonished at the non-essential parenting issues I see moms getting their panties in a wad about. 

With that being said, there is just something about a nice, encouraging word from another mom that can make all this junk disappear in my mind.  On Mother's Day, I received a facebook inbox message from a sweet girl I go to church with:

Hi Chrissy! I was in the 4/5s today and after the lesson, we split up the boys and girls into two classrooms. I take the girls and my husband takes the boys. Well I LOVE getting to spend that 10-15 minutes with the girls before parents come. Well I try to remind myself constantly that I am raising a future mother and to make sure I am doing what I need to do. So it was fun on this Mother's Day, to look at this room of "future mothers" . (Crazy to think about!) Well I just wanted to tell you how sweet your Sarah is. She is like a little mother helping the other kids and is so so sweet and helpful. From one mom to another, just wanted to tell you you are doing a great job, she is a sweetheart! . Happy Mother's Day!

Do you know what this did for my spirit as a mom?  Do you know how much it made me cry? :) Of course you do if you're a mom.  We want nothing more than to hear our children are being good kids.  We want someone to tell us that we're doing something right.  It's just so darn hard in this world of constant bickering about what makes me MOM ENOUGH. 

Do you know what makes me mom enough?

- I've changed diapers for 7 1/2 years now.

- I've bawled and endured pain as I pumped for 5 days in a hospital room so that I could still nurse my baby girl.  Not because I think it's somehow superior to breastfeed, but because that's what I wanted for my girl, especially when we could tell how formula was messing with her tummy.

- I've stayed up nights catching puke as one child is sick the first night...then another child is sick the next night...then another child is sick the next night...

- I've taught ABC's, 123's, colors, shapes, words, animal sounds.  I've played with Legos when I didn't really want to or gone on a princess adventure when I didn't feel good.

- I've potty times for way too long.

- I've disciplined and heard tears and done my best to explain why the discipline was happening...even when it's really hard to watch them cry.

- I've seen disappointment that I can't take away.  I've held a sad child in tears.

- I've comforted a very hurt child while they had to be in the ER.

- I've felt pride as my child has accomplished much, received such things as student of the month or straight A's...because I know we work hard to teach our kids and encourage academics.

- I've felt excited as my child scored a basket or learned how to write their name.

- I've done an extra load of laundry when I wasn't planning on it because my 1st grader wanted to wear a certain shirt the next day.

The list could go on and on as I'm sure your list would, too.  I say all of that because I know I am doing the best I can, and I know you're doing the best you can.  And I am going to be more mindful of other mothers and I want to encourage them.  If someone's child was polite to me, I should tell their mom!  It is so wonderful to hear (or read) an encouraging word like the one I received on Mother's Day.  We all need that so badly.

Be happy for moms when their baby claps their hands for the first time or their child scores a goal or gets 1st place in the spelling bee.  Tell them how wonderful it is.

We're all in this together.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Misc. Monday - Mother's Day, Detox, Lemonade Stand, Four Kids

Last week of school!  So excited!

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

1.  Slowly but surely I am feeling TONS better.  I knew I wanted more than anything to be able to go to church on Sunday for Mother's Day, and I did!  And to my surprise, my parents, my in-laws, my sister and her boyfriend all attended church with us, too.  As I walked into the auditorium, I just had tears.  I looked around and was so thankful they were with me, and I was thankful to be in that place.

Me and Sarah at church on Mother's Day!

2.  I experienced an involuntary detox while in the hospital (not sure what else to call it)! :) I have not had McDonald's or a Coke since May 2nd, and you know you're an addict when you remember the day!  I hope to continue this trend, I might as well stick with it.  It is so very hard for me, though.  They say it takes 21 days to change a habit.  I do hope it gets easier.  For now, I have my scale and my budget that's showing me the positive aspect of this change!  (I have lost 20 pounds since having Leah.)

3.  On Saturday, Caleb had a lemonade stand in our front yard to go along with the city-wide yard sales.  It's always quite busy on our street when there are yard sales, so we knew it would be a good time for him to do it.  Plus, he's been wanting to for so long!  I admit, I was nervous for him.  I'm glad Josh helped him and got it all together, I sort of learned something about myself as a mom through this.  I was actually so worried that no one would come that I didn't want him to do it.  But actually, he sold about 40 cups, and that's pretty good! :)

Sarah was his first customer :)

4.  Sometimes...half joking and half not...I will randomly say to Josh, "Umm...we have four kids!"  I think I'm still working to comprehend this fact!  I know a lot of my time and attention is focused on Leah right now, and it makes me miss the others.   When she naps, I want to just cuddle with Gabriel or play Barbie's with Sarah or listen to Caleb read a book to me.  But those naps are often short-lived, and how do I do all three of those things in one nap time?  Obviously I can't, I have to just do the best I can.  I know the first year is the most demanding, and all of this will fall into place.  And I do love seeing her grow, too (she turned one-month on Saturday).  I guess I may have rambled a bit...I guess I'm just still trying to figure out how this will balance out.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

About Surgery

Ten days ago, you may recall that I said I had hit my wall.

That night, I went to the ER.

They pumped me full of drugs via an IV but sent me home.

By Wednesday, it was more than I could take, and in tears I told my husband we had to go again.  We asked our neighbor to watch the kids until my mom could arrive to watch them.

That was 9:30 pm.

At 3:30 am, I was admitted to the hospital, this time the ER doc said, "Don't you let them send you home until that gall bladder is out."

No doubt.

And instead of a basic, regular gall bladder surgery experience, I stayed in the hospital for FIVE LONG DAYS.  I would include the internal picture the surgeon gave me, but it's disgusting.  My gall bladder was so infected, I had to have a j-tube after surgery (oh, my word...I can't even think about it without crying).  I was in pain for days after the surgery, and when they finally got to the bottom of the pain, I went home.

I wish I could have had it taken out back in September, but I couldn't risk it being only 10 weeks pregnant.

I am still very slow-going, still have pain, but I am feeling more normal every day.

There is no way our family could have functioned without the help of so many.  Gosh, I feel so overwhelmed when I think about it.  My parents watched kids.  My mom stayed with  me in the hospital.  Our church sent meals to our house.  A friend mowed our grass.  Friends came to visit in the hospital including one from my small group, my pastor, my OBGYN, and my daughter's preschool teacher (which made me bawl).  Another friend took pictures for me at Sarah's preschool graduation that I had to miss - which was so very difficult for me, I still get teary thinking about it...

But I know that I will feel like a new woman once I'm all recovered.

I feel like it's corny to say that something as simple as gall bladder surgery was life changing, but I think it was for me.  When I was lying there in that hospital bed, and my little mom (who is just 5'4 and maybe 130 pounds) was helping to pull me out of that bed because I couldn't get out on my own, it really REALLY made me think.  I've been blunt about my weight before, and I just had a baby, so I'll just go ahead and say I'm about 220 now.  I keep thinking how hard it must have been for her to help me, but she did!  Her little frame just stood strong, but it shouldn't be that way.  I should work to not be so big, for MANY reasons.  I don't ever want to be in a hospital for anything ever again, but if someone has to take care of me, from a family member to an EMT loading me into an ambulance, I don't want to be so big that it's so hard for them.

Is that crazy?

Plus, I want to be healthy for my family.  I want to be here for my kids.  I missed Sarah's preschool graduation, and I feel horrible about that.  But I also want to be here for everything she does, and everything Caleb, Gabriel, and Leah does.

All of that...just from gall bladder surgery?

Sometimes God uses things like this in our lives.  It's what He used in mine.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Her First Church Service

On Sunday, we took Leah to church for the first time.  I totally broke the six-week rule.  That is...keeping a newborn home for six weeks and not taking her out in public.  I just couldn't stand not going to church that long, and I think most people know not to go up and breathe on a newborn or ask to hold them or touch them.  Such was the case on Sunday, no one got too close or anything.  I felt good about the outing!

Here is what she looked like:

Leah's first trip to church!

Here is what all six of us looked like:

Our family on April 29, 2012.

And it's still very weird when I refer to my family as "six of us" different.

It was a great morning.  I did learn that I will need to get up a bit earlier to get us all out the door on time for church.  We were rarely on time before we had Leah, Lord help us now that we have an extra child! :)