The bugs have invaded our house, and it sure seems early to me this year. Last week my youngest was really sick. Tuesday she was coughing and then was having so much trouble breathing that we were giving her breathing treatments every 2 or 3 hours all night long. By morning the treatments were barely lasting an hour so we headed to the doctor. Her blood oxygen was 94% (which is REALLY low), so they gave her a couple more breathing treatments, nose-swabbed her for RSV (Dr. was nearly sure it was RSV based on how her lungs sounded), and sent us home with steroids to add to the breathing treatments.
We returned the next day for a follow-up, and she was doing better, but her double ear infection from 2 weeks ago had not cleared, so they gave her an antibiotic shot. We returned yet again the next day and her ears were a little better, but she recommended a 20-day antibiotic treatment because her swab came back positive for Strep and the Flu. The RSV test had not yet come back. All the while we were doing breathing treatments every four hours with the steroid in the treatment 3 times a day. She was miserable!! Thankfully she is on the up, but now I think I'm getting some combination of those germs. My throat hurts, so it's probably strep. Yay for me.
It's amazing how when one of your kids is sick the whole world seems to stand still for a time. Everything went by the wayside last week as I was trying to get the baby feeling better. My days were planned according to when I would do breathing treatments and what absolutely had to get accomplished in between those times. And, since she was waking up at least once a night after that initial night of waking up every couple hours, I was exhausted. My daughter still had dance, my son still had karate, and we still needed to eat, which continues to be a challenge since we still don't have a kitchen (this is week 5 of no kitchen).
My house is still a mess as I try to catch up from last week - dirty toilets, dust piling up, laundry to be put away, and a good vacuuming would be nice. The only thing I finished over the weekend was laundry, which is actually quite an accomplishment considering it was FIVE people's worth of more than a week of dirty clothe plus towels. But, every day I am a Mom I realize that certain things are less and less important. It's important to have a clean house, but less so when there's a sick baby and hungry toddlers running around. What's a couple extra days of dirtiness or no laundry?
Hopefully, everyone will stay well for a little while. Last week really wore me out! Then again, I'm sitting here writing when I should be doing something else, but I must admit it's weird to clean when I have a kitchen full of men j We all have our priorities. :-)
Last week a very good friend of mine (who wishes to remain anonymous) shared that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She is 35 years old and not much different from me, so needless to say I was totally shocked. I have another friend in her 40's who is currently going through treatment for BC, and my Grandmother, Aunt and Great-Aunt are all survivors. But, my friend has hit closest to home to me since we are nearly the same age (I'm a year younger). It has made me realize many things, but most importantly how critical it is for everyone to get their mammograms, do self-exams and stay healthy!
I recently pushed for a baseline mammogram because I was adopted and therefore do not know my biological history. My doctor said young (in mid-30's) women have dense breast tissue making things hard to see, but agreed to let me do it anyway. My mammogram came back negative. That was last week, and a day later my friend told me about her diagnosis. She said the following, which I want to make sure everyone reads very carefully:
This was interesting - the reason why women under 40 do not get regular mammograms is because our breast tissue is too dense to get a decent picture. Had I not felt my lump, I would have never been diagnosed, my tumor can barely be seen on my mammogram. They knew where to look on the picture because prior to the mammogram they stuck a tiny piece of metal on my skin directly over where I felt the lump. If I was there for a routine mammogram it would have been read as normal. I cannot stress to you the importance of self exams, which I never did. I found my lump when I was washing my face and when I went to splash my face with water I felt a sensation like a bruise at the site of the lump. I wonder how much earlier I would have found it if I did regular self exams.
And, with breast cancer awareness month coming up, I hope everyone pays close attention and remembers to do their breast exams. My friend is currently meeting with surgeons to discuss her options, and so beyond that I don't know much. Needless to say I'm praying like crazy and wishing I was there to help her. I also realized that I haven't been as good at keeping in touch with everyone as I would like, and will try better to communicate with all my loved ones. Life with kids can be so hectic, but there should always be time for those we love. Does it really matter if our floor gets cleaned tonight? Or if the laundry is put off for another day? Not really.
Anyway, sorry if this is rambling or preachy. It certainly brings a lot of emotion to the surface when a friend shares news like this, but I know it's nothing compared to what she's going through. As helpless as I am so far away from her, if I can spread some positive messages as a result of all this, I'll feel a little happier.
Every now and again I have a moment that is certainly worthy of some kind of Mother of the Year award, and last Sunday was no exception. The husband and I went out on Saturday night, and it certainly wasn't anything out of the ordinary. We went to a movie and stopped for gelato afterwards. We didn't even do dinner since we snacked so much during football Saturday afternoon - talk about an old-people date (well, except for the bottle of wine we enjoyed during the movie)! I ordered pizza for the kids thinking the babysitter would eat some, too.
Well, she didn't, and so we came home to half a leftover pizza. The next morning the kids seemed to be hounding us earlier than normal claiming they were starving. They dragged me to our make-shift kitchen (remodel is still happening), and I decided to tell my children that I was about to give them a special treat. I pulled out the pizza and explained that leftover pizza for breakfast is a rare, awesome treat. They were skeptical, but I maintained my position, gave them each a piece, and quickly went back to bed. Later when the baby woke up, I cut up a slice for her and she devoured it. Yep, I fed my kids pizza for breakfast and convinced them that it was really special. Oh, the powers that Moms have! Then we all went to church. I don't recall asking for forgiveness for feeding my children leftover pizza for breakfast, but it doesn't seem all that unhealthy, right? Vegetables, carbs, protein, calcium, and not alot of sugar, so I'm pretty sure it's better than things like pop-tarts.
So, I'm pretty sure I'm Mom of the Year (I wish they would invent a sarcasm font). But, in my defense, I don't have a kitchen at the moment, the kids ate it, and so everyone was happy. I'll just add it to what I'm sure is a long list of MOY-worthy moments (I'll share some of those another time) :-)
I'm already thinking about Christmas! I have actually purchased a few gifts already, and I hope to be done early this year so I can get everything sent out and delivered in an un-rushed fashion. And, it seems every year I'm scrambling at the last minute and the stores have always been picked over. So, I'm trying to be really on top of it this year.
One of my favorite parts about getting ready for Christmas is doing our family Christmas card. I take the pictures of my kids, and I love planning their outfits, taking their photos and making the card. I love receiving everyone else's cards in the mail, so I pay great deal of attention to mine. In some ways, I view it as an opportunity to share some decent pictures of the kids with friends and family. They can keep it if they want or throw it out when the New Year rings in. This year, I lucked out and found some REALLY cute dresses at Strasburg that were 50% off the sale prcie - a sale that I have never seen there and as such I've never bought anything there. They did not have a matching shirt for my son, but we'll make it work. So, I'm just waiting for it to cool down to less than 100 degrees and for the mosquitoes to halt their nasty swarming and I'll be out taking their pictures. I thought I'd share a few links to great Christmas card sites that I've discovered, and hope that you will have fun designing your cards (or invitations, announcements, etc.).
Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order:
Purple Stork - We used this company for our adoption announcement and both birth announcements. They were a pleasure to work with and the announcements were beautiful. We even got 8x10 copies and photo keychains of the announcements. I highly recommend them!
Mixbook - my sis-in-law designed 2 beautiful invitations from here and all products look amazing!
Vistaprint - Inexpensive and good quality. I've ordered may products from here and they have always been great!
Photo Affections - Cute stuff!
**I just noticed Purple Stork says they are on hiatus. I haven contacted them to see when they will return, so I will keep you posted as I learn more.**
I really, really hate socks. Prior to having children, I had no ill feelings towards socks. But, having children really changed that. Socks are everywhere in my house, and I mean everywhere. If I look somewhere and I don't see a sock, it's just because I haven't looked hard enough.
My kids don't seem to like socks because they are always taking them off. It doesn't matter where they are either. It could be in the bathroom, the playroom, in the middle of building a fort with couch cushions. Everywhere and anywhere I find socks as a result, and right now the baby can't really take off her own socks but she is acquiring new skills quickly. As a result, I find socks in the couch, under the TV, bed or fridge, in the toybox, outside in the yard, and just about anywhere else a small piece of fabric can comfortably nestle. The worst is when they've been there for what is obviously many, many months and they are covered in a large colony of dust bunnies and a dead spider or two. Gross. Just plain gross. Obviously I need to vaccum more, but that's another story.
I try and try to get the kids to at least put their socks in the laundry room when they take them off, but like most children they just ignore their Mother's boring request. They were doing the same thing with shoes, so I bought a boot tray and they are slowly being trained to deposit all shoes there. It's kind of working. Sometimes socks end up there if I'm lucky. I'm usually not lucky, which is why I don't buy lottery tickets.
I find myself picking up socks, washing socks, folding socks and trying to match up mate-less socks way too often. I remember one day I was trying to get all of my son's old socks together to donate and my daughter's socks together to store for the baby, and I nearly had a nervous breakdown. It seemed there were millions of socks - all different sizes and slightly different styles and different colors and single socks kept lining up waiting for their mates. But it seemed the mates were no where to be found, and there's no way it was the washing machine because I never lose my socks. So, despite my best efforts and intentions of passing them on to someone who could use them, I grabbed them all and threw them in the garbage. A huge sigh of relief came over me and I was gloriously happy. I didn't care if I had to go out and buy all new socks. At least those socks would come in pairs.
I'm doing my best to not throw any socks away right now because they all fit someone and I decided to stay home this year so there's not alot of extra money for frivolous sock buying. But, it's driving me positively crazy. Maybe the next time everyone puts their shoes and socks in the boot tray I'll press my luck and buy a lottery ticket. Maybe, just maybe I'll win some sock money.
We are in the midst of remodeling our kitchen, and so our house is an entire mess. Our make-shift kitchen consists of our fridge, microwave, coffee machine and toaster, and it's all situated in the kids' playroom. We are pretty lucky to have a nice utility sink in our laundry room, but of course it does not have a disposal and it's on the complete opposite side of the kitchen, which is a total construction mess. But, I'm not complaining because it's far better than having to wash sippy cups and wine glasses in the bathroom. Naturally we filling up the landfills with our paper plates, cups and plastic spoons, but we do our best to recycle and wash/reuse the forks and spoons as much as possible.
Unbeknownst to me, the freezer section of the grocery store is stocked full of a huge variety of casseroles, pasta dishes and vegetables that are easily cooked in the microwave. I'm pretty sure a human being can feed themselves forever on just the microwaveable food choices. And, they don't taste too bad either. And, I do my best to buy them often as well as the deli-made meals at Sam's (they are very good if you haven't tried them, and much cheaper than the grocery store). Most days, though, the husband and I are in no mood to clean up the subsequent mess created by the three energetic, messy little people in our house who always seem to want to eat. It's not easy to wipe down all the surfaces without a sink and sponge nearby. Oh, how I never truly appreciated sponges, sinks and garbage disposals.
This whole experience is a little like camping, except we have decent running water, although not close to our 'camp' site. And, no one has to vacuum, mop or wipe down a camp site, so I would almost rather have set our little kitchen up outside if it weren't for all the terrible mosquitoes. Because we get so lazy on the clean-up front we have been eating out alot, which is tasty, fattening and pleasant only because they do the clean-up. It all comes at a price since it's expensive and I don't have to tip myself extra when the kids leave an especially great mess at home. But, we do it anyway, and have become savvy to where kids eat free on what days, which really makes a difference. Usually it's only one free kid meal per paying adult, so we often have to pay for one kid meal, but it's better than nothing. Eating out gets old, and I'm ready to have my kitchen back. Toddler meal time and wood floors were not meant to We've got another 3 weeks or so. Ugh.
I found this great website that lists where kids eat free or have good deals, and it's all listed by area and it seems pretty extensive. Next time you want to go out, check it out. It's called Kids Meal Deals. It would be really great if they listed places with play areas, but maybe I can suggest that to them!
I usually don't feel old, and I truly believe 'old' is a state of mind regardless of wrinkles, sagging, etc. I'm certainly not in my 20's anymore, I've got three kids, and according to commercials, I'm too old to donate my eggs. Whatever. It still doesn't make me feel old.
The other day, however, I had my annual lady doctor appointment, and everything is fine, but she handed me a pamphlet for a procedure to nearly eliminate my monthly cycle, but you have to be done having kids, which I totally am. I shoved the pamphlet in my purse and didn't look at it until later.
When I pulled the pamphlet out later to read it, I was stuck on the picture on the front. I have obviously gotten older, and this was the first time I actually felt like I have gotten older. Apparently I will no longer be receiving pamphlets with young, bikini-clad women frolicking happily hand in hand with a handsome young beau who is obviously her fiance or new husband. They appear young, thin, well-rested, wrinkle free and excited about starting their life together. Nope. Those days are apparently gone for me. I will now get the pamphlet with an older looking, mellow woman sitting solo on a beach with a one-piece suit and long sleeve cover-up, smiling happily as she looks out to the ocean. Her sandals and book are neatly resting next to her, and while her hair isn't gray yet, her skin has obviously seen many summers of beach-going and yard work. Where her husband is remains a mystery but maybe he doesn't like the beach any more since their knees are obviously too old to be frolicking around like young children. Sigh. Again, I don't feel old, but obviously if you are done having children, you must have crossed over to looking contemplative and serene with a few fine lines gracing your face. At least that's what the medical community must think.
I stared at this for awhile and joked with my husband at my new stage in life, and made a mental note to go out and buy some anti-wrinkle face cream or something of the sort. But, for now I'm thankful that I'm not receiving the pamphlets with the woman sporting a short, gray, grandma-style do sitting in a recliner against the backdrop of a setting sun. Hopefully I will get there someday, celebrating my wrinkles that show I've been lucky enough to live that long and loving the fact that I look younger than the woman gracing the pamphlet since I still go to the salon regularly to color my grays.
Last year I decided to quit my job as a teacher in order to be more available for my kids. I am definitely not the SAHM type, but it was getting a little too much for me with 3 kids, a husband who travels occasionally, and no family any closer than an hour away. So, I decided to sub and tutor which gives me the option to work if I can or not work if I need to stay home with a sick baby or go to a doctor appointment.
With this arrangment, the kids are still in daycare (we call it school), my son is in kindergarden, and it is really working well because the girls can attend swimming and music during the day and get to play in open gym (they are at a school in a gymnastics gym) every single day. It's going so well that one day I wanted to pick my oldest daughter up early and she cried because she was going to miss gym time. So, I left and returned later to get her, and I felt a sense of relief that she really enjoys her time at school.
I am fortunate to be able to do all of this and still get to work when I want to, although I miss many things about having my own classroom. The great thing about teaching is I can return when I want and the students will still be there! I have really enjoyed this so far this year, especially since the baby has been sick twice already, and my husband is working on some projects where he cannot take time off. Had I been teaching, I would have probably already used up all my sick days, so I am so glad I made the decision.
Being a Mom is hard in millions of ways, but especially when we have to choose between our families and our work. Just because we are Moms doesn't mean we don't crave the opportunity to be ourselves and grow in a professional, grown-up way, and it is challenging to make it all work. Most of all it does not mean that we love our families any less. I'm lucky to have a husband who supports me and is willing to share in the sacrifice to make sure Mom and Dad are both happy. So, I guess you could say I'm a part-time SAHM, but I'm re Because, you know what they say: If Momma ain't happy, nobody's happy!
If you have children there is a good chance that you hate balloons. It may not have always been that way. You may have thought balloons are pretty, festive, and add a touch of happiness to any party or celebration at a pretty low cost. You may have thought that until you had kids. I know I certainly did.
Balloons posses some kind of toddler-attraction. I can't imagine a child who doesn't love balloons and who wouldn't love to have one tied around their tiny little wrist at any opportunity.
Balloons also cause some of the greatest toddler angst I have ever been witness to. The problem with balloons is that they fly away, pop, deflate, and aren't very shareable. Children can't really fight over a balloon without a 90% chance of it popping, an event which both startles the kids (due to the noise) and causes much sadness because the balloon no longer exists.
So, as a rule I stay away from balloons in all capacities such buying balloons, accepting balloons, having balloons, whatever. The kids were given balloons at a Cici's grand opening once, and I held the balloon for my son as he got in the car so it wouldn't pop on the burning hot car. And, of course, I accidentally (it really was an accident, this time . . .) let it go. There we stood in the parking lot, balloon rising towards the sky and my son crying like his dog had just died. Thankfully my daughter, in an effort to make him feel better, released her balloon. We watched them go towards heaven with heavy sadness.
Yesterday we went to a back to school bash at the YMCA where there was a clown making wonderful balloons. My daughter chose a flower and my son chose a sword. My daughter walked along at a snail's pace, carefully holding the balloon at an arm's distance so it wouldn't pop. It was quite hot and many balloons had been popping. We quickly left because we didn't want the balloons to pop, and made it home safely with balloons in tack despite the baby trying her best to confiscate both balloons in the car. All was fine until Daddy got home and started playing with the kids and their balloons. Suddenly, the flower stem unraveled, and the wails from my daughter could have woken up the neighbors. Daddy did his best to fix it, but was unsuccessful until after the kids went to bed. And just when I thought everything would be fine my daughter found her balloon this morning, but the stem was crooked and that created more tears and upset. They may mysteriously disappear this afternoon. Oops.
I stand by my conviction that balloons are far too torturous for small children. There is too much angst, tears, sadness, that cannot be balanced by the initial 2 minutes of joy and happiness. If you have kids you know what I'm talking about. If you don't, take a mental note about what to expect when you may some day be faced with a toddler wanting a balloon.