Around Here: Week 20 {2018}

{from Jack}

Enjoying... a much needed break for Mother's Day weekend.  Josh took the three boys to Vancouver and I had the weekend to myself (with Carly) and it was absolutely divine.  We watched movies and painted our toenails.  I took a luxurious bath one evening, worked out and meditated, and spent Sunday morning deep cleaning the entire house and changing everyone's sheets.  By they time they got home Sunday evening, I felt completely rejuvenated and like my old self. Plus the house looked like its old self!
Wyatt did really well while they were gone, and Josh took amazing care of him.  He didn't need any night treatments, and his peak flow numbers continued improving, which was fantastic!  Logan, unfortunately, had a series of small seizures while at the park Saturday, but Jack knew what to do and sent his cousin to get Grandma, who was just a few steps away with Wyatt.  Logan was fine, not even tired afterward, and fully recovered with no effects.  As I said with his seizures last weekend, we are in the middle of titration schedule with a new medication (slowly weaning him on) so it's just a waiting game to get him to a full dose.  Once he is fully on that medication (which will control the big and small seizures) we will slowly take him off the other medication that only controls the big seizures (and can actually trigger more of the small seizures).
My time with Carly was much-needed as I was able to really just enjoy her and remind myself what a gift she is, both because of her age (two is so much fun!) and because she is my daughter (having a girl is so much fun!).
I am proud of myself for taking time out for me, and thankful for Josh for recognizing what I needed and giving it to me. Thanks, babe!

Feeling... much more like my old self.  I'm not sure if it's because of the weekend to myself or if it's because I adjusted my meds (I'm on Prozac) down from 40mg (which made me feel shaky all the time) to 30 mg, but it's awesome to feel like ME again.  I am optimistic about the future, feel like I can face anything, and am looking forward to things again. (Like reading and blogging.) Also not ev-er-y-thing stresses me out.  (For a while, running errands felt like going into outer space and it took days to recover.)
I still have hard days, and many mornings start out challenging (anxiety tends to peak for me in the mornings) and my health concerns still crop up occasionally, especially fears about cancer, but I'm in a better place to mentally combat those thoughts, which is nice.

Reading... again! finally! and it feels so good! I am reading Brain on Fire, which I cannot put down.  I have a huge stack of books on my nightstand that I also can't wait to dig into. Also, Modern Mrs. Darcy put out her Summer Reading list, and it's got me all kinds of excited for summer reading.

Hosting... my parents for a visit at the end of Mother's Day weekend and into the next week so they could see the twins play baseball and we could spend time together.  It was such a lovely, relaxed visit.  The best part was that they were able to sneak Jack & Logan away Tuesday morning for some much needed special time.  They took out their kayaks on the lake, then rented paddle boards (which the twins were naturals on!) and even went to the sand dunes and swam around for a while.  The twins really needed that bit of special attention after the past month of Wyatt getting all the extra attention around here. I'm so grateful that they could fill their buckets like that.  Best grandparents ever!

Loving... our new front gate so much! It keeps Carly safe, and she loves being the one to open it on the way to the car.  I also love how cute it is!

Giving... Wyatt breathing treatments with the nebulizer at school once a day this week as needed.  Thankfully he only needed them twice.  Wednesday when I went, his peak flow was high enough to not need any albuterol, and Thursday his peak flow was 250 in the morning (that's his normal number!) so I didn't have to go check on him at all! Hallelujah!  Thank you so much for all your thoughts and prayers throughout this scary & stressful time. I am so grateful he's improving and am enjoying everyday, but I'll be honest, I am still kind of holding my breath because he hasn't tapered off the steroids just yet, and last time it wasn't until he'd been off the steroids four days that we saw him decline again. So only time will tell!
Tuesday when we stopped by, he had been testing, so we were there later than usual and bumped into his lunch time, so we stayed and had lunch with him. He was tickled!  Since I have two fourth graders, I know to cherish this precious time where he still loves having me around. ;)  He's such a sweet boy.

Testing... Wyatt's hearing at the Ear, Nose and Throat doctor Thursday morning.  Luckily his hearing has not been impacted by his three months of back to back ear infections.  The ENT doctor said he wants to see us back in a month and if the fluid has resolved itself, we will leave Wyatt's ears alone.  If, however, the fluid is still in there, then we will know that Wyatt's ears are not doing their job, and we need to help them by putting tubes in. So we'll go back again near the end of June.  I am glad not to rush into anything.

Solving... the mystery of the Amazon gift from last week. It was none other than Josh's amazing sister, and one of my besties, Julie. She said she can't do much from far away, but she figured she could put a smile on my face by sending me that t-shirt and those cool pens. And boy was she right!  What a total sweetheart!



Wyatt at six and a half

Wyatt at six and a half is fun and funny.  
He is insightful and sweet.  
He is thoughtful and empathetic.  
Yesterday I got a belated Mother's Day gift from Jack and when I said I thought it was going to make me cry he said, "Please don't cry. It will make me cry."  And when Jack was getting yelled at the other day Jack was heartbroken for him and just wanted it to end.  He can't stand when other people in our family are upset.

I am so grateful for Wyatt.  When he wakes me up, he apologizes for waking me up.  
He tells me I am the best mom in the whole world. 
I don't know how I lived 29 years without his sweetness.  He is the best thing that ever happened to me.  He is so kind & vocal about his feelings for me.

He also says a lot of funny & sometimes wise things.  Two weeks ago he said boys get engaged to girls by singing to them.  That's how they do it.

He loves to make things with cardboard.  He loves glitter and paint and projects.
A while ago when I was writing letters to all my friends, he sat down and did the same right beside me.  He just joins in.  He's my sidekick.  He is so thoughtful, always wanting to think of what the other person would like.  Like when he was choosing stickers to put on his Grandma's letter, he chose ones he thought SHE would like, not ones HE would like.

He loves to cheer people up.  Especially Carly.  And he's his most generous self when his brothers are upset.  He will share his toys, his bike, his ideas.  

He loves making up jokes.  Especially ones that use plays on words.  I need to record them.

My two favorites are:
"What did Yeti say to Big Foot when they were playing hide & seek?"
"Yeti or Not, here I come!"


"What do you call a cold penguin?"
"A birrrrrrd"


He wants to know how old dinosaurs live to be.  And how old the oldest rock is.  He is fascinated by earth and volcanos and rocks. And he asks Siri everything.  (Even what my pass code is for my phone. Nice try! Ha!)
He loves tape and school supplies. 

He is brilliant at school, only struggling with perfection, working slow and reading comprehension at times.  He doesn't just have school smarts though, he also has really big emotional intelligence.  The steroids he's been on tend to make him extra emotional, and when we were talking about his asthma and his frustration with it, he said, "You just have a good cry, then you feel better." He's such a smart little guy.

When I was tucking him in a few weeks ago he told me, 
"You're a great mom.
I always wanted a mom like you."

How in the world did I get so lucky?!?
I'm so glad you're mine,
Wyatt Nathanial.
So, so glad.



Thoughts on Motherhood

My Mother's Day gift was a break from mothering.
Well, mostly. ;)

Josh took the three boys to Vancouver to see his mom over the weekend, which left me with only Carly for three glorious days.  At first we weren't sure Wyatt was going to be able to join him, but after his appointment Friday morning confirmed that his lungs were clear and his oxygen levels were good, we both felt comfortable with him going.  (Plus, Josh's truck has a plug in, so Wyatt could nebulize on the go if need be.)
And let's be honest, I needed the break. Desperately.

Friday afternoon I gathered up the kids, met Josh at work, and sent them off on a road trip to Grandma's.  Then the fun began for Carly and I.  I rented a movie from Redbox, made myself some egg rolls, put pajamas on before 7 and was in bed by 8:30pm. 
Sleep was the priority this weekend, followed closely by having fun and cleaning house.  Both nights I went to bed early, slept as much as possible, more than eight hours both nights, and felt great because of it.  Saturday was my day for fun.  I woke up and worked out, then watched another movie, blogged, gave Carly a bath and told her I wanted to paint her toenails. She was so excited, it was adorable. I told her she could choose a color and she immediately said pink.  When she was out of the tub, true to her word, she chose the pinkest pink I have, and I painted it on her toes.  All day when she would notice the, she would tell me how cute they are.
While I was painting her toes, I thought to myself, "This is my Mother's Day gift. Her. Being with her. Being her mother. She is my gift."  I am so grateful God knew to save her for last.  I know I wouldn't cherish her the way I do if I hadn't had three boys first. But since I did, I do. And I know what a gift she is.
Saturday night I made us pizza and after Carly went to bed I took a bath and did a face mask.  Then I meditated and went to bed.
I woke up today, on Mother's Day, rejuvenated and ready to give back to my family.  I woke up naturally at 6:00am, so I got right to work organizing and cleaning our house that has been sorely neglected since Wyatt first got sick over a month ago.  It felt so good to be back in my element, taking care of our home. 
Carly slept until 8:00am, so I got a lot done. It was awesome.  Once she was up, she played and I just kept on working. I vacuumed, swept, mopped, cleaned, organized and did laundry.  I changed sheets, put in new smell goods, bleached around the toilets, clorox wiped the light switches and dusted every surface in the house. The house looks great and I feel amazing.

I feel blessed to be (finally) feeling better both physically (the cold I had the last two weeks is finally gone!) and emotionally (my anxiety seems to have lessened), and I really had some time over the last three days, especially because it's Mother's Day weekend, to consider how motherhood is my calling.  While it is exhausting taking care of Wyatt and Logan with their medical issues, there is literally nowhere else I would rather be.  Having that thought this weekend changed my mental attitude about it. I know this is where God wants me.  He gave me these children because he trusts me to care for them.  I was made to be these four children's mother.  And He will continue to see me through the hard days. 

Another thought I had this weekend that made me really excited was about the two babies I lost.  Someday I am going to get to meet them. Two more children that I haven't met yet. A little boy or girl, like Logan or Carly, or Jack or Wyatt, that was made of love, exists in heaven, just waiting for me to meet them.  And that's a pretty sweet thought on this Mother's Day. 

What I love the most about this weekend is that all my friends who heard about my weekend off gave me no shame.  They were all so happy for me, proud of me for taking time off, for asking for what I needed, for taking a break before I reached the end of my rope.  They recognized that I was struggling, drowning, and applauded me for my self care.  They didn't make me feel like a bad mom for having needs.  They assured me I was normal, and that my husband was capable.  My sister texted me that she'd trust my husband with every single one of her kids. Another girlfriend said she'd love a weekend off and that I was smart to take this time to regroup after all we've been through the last two months.  What a blessing to have those kind of friends around me.

As I close out this last day of just me & Carly, I feel so blessed to have a husband who supports me, who is capable of caring for our children just as well as I can; to have four beautiful children who call me mom; to have twin sons, a single son, and a beautiful daughter to call my own; and for the village that surrounds us and makes this parenting journey easier when the road gets rough.

Happy Mother's Day


Around Here: Week 19 {2018}

 Loving... my husband.  We had date night last Friday night, which he made pizza for (it was delicious) and we watch Dodgeball, cause I could use a laugh, and when I was done eating and curled up on the couch, about ready to fall asleep, he turned off the TV and walked me to bed, even though it was barely 9:00.  He's a good husband like that.  He knew it had been a long week and I needed rest.

Teaching... Wyatt & Jack what Logan's new seizures look like after they unknowingly witnessed one last weekend on the trampoline.  His old seizures (grand mals) were big, fall-down-on-the-ground, easy to recognize, whereas his new ones are different.  He stands still, eyes open, and often the only clue that he's having one is that he makes repetitive noises with his mouth (clicking, smacking, breathing heavy or panting).  Afterward he complains of a headache.  I hate that this is his new normal, but for the time being, it is.  We are half way through a twelve week titration schedule getting him onto a new medication that should stop both the big and small seizures, but in the meantime, he's at risk.  It's a waiting game.

Making... the most of our weekend.  We played outside a lot!  I also meal planned and grocery shopped, gave the boys summer haircuts, plus got the house cleaned.  Then on Sunday my sister and her crew came over so I could take six month pictures of her daughter.  (Isn't she adorable?!?)

Keeping... Logan home Monday for what I thought was sickness, but later I figured out was probably another seizure.  He complained about how tired he was and he fell asleep in my bed for two hours Monday morning, but the rest of the day he was completely fine.  I think he must have had one while getting ready for the day.

Worrying... as Wyatt became sick again Monday night, coughing and needing treatments.  We got him a same-day appointment Tuesday and the doctor put him on steroids again, this time with a 3 day taper (3 days at 10ml's, 3 days at 8ml's, 3 days at 6ml's, 3 days at 4ml's, 3 days at 2ml's and 2ml's every other day for three days) instead of a two day taper. I am hopeful it will work.  He'd only been off the previous steroids for four days.  He ended up missing school the rest of the week, and missing his only baseball game this week.

Letting... Josh take over some of Wyatt's care Wednesday night when the advice nurse said he needed to go to the ER because of his coughing and how often he was requiring albuterol treatments in the nebulizer.  Josh let me stay home and sleep, knowing how exhausted I am from Wyatt's constant care, and I'll be honest, those few hours of sleep while Wyatt was at the hospital are the best I've had in a long time. Because I knew Wyatt was in really good hands.
The ER doctor said maybe we are dealing with some seasonal allergies.  Wyatt's lungs sounded clear and his oxygen is good, but there is so much congestion, it's leading to a LOT of coughing and some bad peak flow numbers.  So he suggested we get Wyatt on some Claritin and follow up with allergy testing with the pulmonologist.
We got a last-minute canceled appointment assigned to Wyatt, but then found out that during an asthma flare up, he's not a candidate for allergy testing, so we had to cancel the appointment and the next appointment isn't until August 23rd. I am frustrated to say the least.

Missing... MOPS again because Wyatt was sick this week.  It's so hard to miss out on that time with my mom friends when I need it most because of sick kids.

Thankful, grateful, humble and blessed... by those around us who have offered love & support in a myriad of ways this week as I have struggled in taking care of Wyatt & our whole family.  Steve for helping with the twins at their game when Josh and I couldn't attend.  Megan for making us dinner Thursday night.  Amanda and all my MOPS Table #4 mama's who put together the most thoughtful care package- it made me feel so loved & buoyed up.  Shana for bringing flowers & prayers Friday night.  Kara for watching Carly & Wyatt so I could see my counselor.

And lastly, whoever it is that sent me two mystery Amazon packages- one with pens (you know my very heart, and I love them!) and one with the cutest black shirt {ALL DAY. EVERYDAY. #momlife} I love it so much. You made my day today!!!

And I can't say thank you without mentioning the people who are my lifelines daily-- my mom, my sister, and Josh's mom and sister.  Those four ladies are the ones I reach out to when life is really hard, and they've been there for me so consistently.  It means so much to have them in my life, there for me, rooting for me, loving my kids as much as me, and praying when things get hard. I love you all.

Giving... Jack a spelling pretest every day this week because his spelling test was so stinking hard!  There were two words I had to look up because I didn't know the meaning (and I have a bachelor's degree!!!) For the record, the words were "elodea" and "hydroponics".  I can't wait to see how he did on the test!

Enjoying... watching Josh and the boys put in our garden.  Josh takes full responsibility for our garden (I have no green thumbs) and I know he gets that from his parents, particularly his mama.  She is an amazing gardener.  So he comes by it naturally.  Plus he knows how much joy Wyatt gets from growing a garden.  So he came home Thursday night this week with a bunch of plants to put in- corn, peppers, watermelon, tomatoes, cucumbers... and he had Wyatt help him dig holes.  Wyatt was so happy to help.

Taking... Wyatt back to the doctor again Friday when things still weren't getting better.  I was relieved to hear from her that his lungs and oxygen are good and that she agrees with the ER doctor that allergies are the likely culprit for his coughing.  (It's frustrating for me because Wyatt doesn't wheeze when he's having asthma. He coughs.  So when he coughs I don't know if that means he's having asthma or if he's just coughing. Super scary for this mama.)  She suggested we add Flonase (a nasal spray) to our allergy arsenal and see if that helps.  It instantly did, and I am so relieved to report that he is already doing a lot better!

Meeting... with my counselor again this week.  We've been meeting every other week, and that seems to be working well.  I was tempted to cancel this week because Wyatt was sick, but my sweet friend Kara said to just leave him with her (her son has Reactive Airway too, and she knows all about asthma) since she was watching Carly anyway, and I was so grateful.  So I went to my appointment, knowing that self care was really important.
We talked about making the best of this life I'm living.  I can't control Logan's seizures, or Wyatt's asthma.  But I can choose to live in joy regardless of how they're doing.  So trying to find moments of joy.  We also talked about letting go, bit by bit, and accepting help.  I am working really hard on that.  I took a couple big steps this week- letting Josh take Wyatt to the ER, having my friend watch Wyatt for me, and letting my friend bring us dinner.  It is hard and humbling to need help. To say, "I can't do this alone", to be so vulnerable... but the truth is, I can't.  So it's important to be honest about that and accept help.  I'd much rather be the one helping than be the one needing help.  But I'm not currently in that position.

Sending... the three boys to Vancouver with Josh as a Mother's Day gift to myself (and my sanity, literally) to enjoy a quiet weekend rejuvenating with only Carly to care for.  Last night we watched a movie and ate egg rolls and I was in bed by 8:30pm.  For the rest of the weekend I plan to mix self care and relaxation with getting things done so that I can start next week feeling a little more like my old self.  Sleep is the top priority, followed closely by having some fun and cleaning the house. ;)



Around Here: Week 18 {2018}

Do you spy those big boys riding off to school?
Photo of my favorite ring by Carly ;)

New roof, new fence, now she just needs a paint job! 

Sending... Wyatt back to school (finally!) after missing nearly two weeks for this last bout of asthma following a terrible cold.  He was so happy to be back in class.  I am so glad he loves school.  But boy did Carly and I miss him when he went back!

Gushing... with pride for Wyatt as he rode to school (and home again too) with his big brothers three times this week when I was sick.  Suddenly he is such a big boy with a strong desire for independence and I couldn't be happier about it. 

Watching... Jack and Logan and Wyatt play baseball.  I love watching them so much.  I especially love watching the twins since Josh is their assistant coach.  Seeing them work together with their dad makes my heart happy.  And Jack's been doing an amazing job pitching.  He's got such a strong arm!

Counting... down the days to summer with Wyatt's classroom.  They're using the alphabet, and the first day was stuffed Animals, so Wyatt got to bring his bear to school with him.  He was so excited!

Enjoying... the new (to us) beanbag that Josh's sister Laura gave us.  The kids adore that thing. They are reading in it, cuddling with the cats in it, watching TV in it, and the other day I came out to find Josh and Carly snuggled up on it.  So fun!

Loving... the white picket fence Josh completed last weekend for the front and side yard.  It was a childhood dream of mine to have a white picket fence.  It is so adorable and has increased our curb appeal tenfold.  With the new roof and the new fence, all that's left to do is paint.  I can't wait!

Suffering... with my anxiety (still...) in addition to the worst cold I've had in years.  So it's been a week of self care (read: naps and rest) and doing the bare minimum in hopes of getting better.  If I hadn't been sick (runny nose, sore throat, cough) I think my anxiety would be on an upswing, so I am hopeful next week I will see a big improvement.  I upped my prozac from 20mg to 40mg, so that should help as well.  And I did notice a big difference in how much I was thinking about health anxiety- it was a lot less this week!  So things are moving in the right direction.

Reading... nothing.  I know that my anxiety is high when I can't get into a book.  I haven't read (or listened to) anything lately.  Hoping to change that soon.

Watching... Teen Mom 2 instead of reading.  It's my guilty pleasure. ;)

Rejoicing... that my Grandpa Jerry's bladder cancer wasn't as bad as the doctor originally thought and he won't have to seek any kind of intensive treatment.  It's a huge answer to prayer and a big weight lifted off my mind.  We've been praying for months for it.  What a miracle. 

"Happiness is the joy we feel 
as we strive toward our potential."
-Shawn Achor

Recognizing... three huge things I am doing that I wasn't giving myself appropriate credit for. 

One is clean eating- I am avoiding sugar and highly processed foods for both myself and our family, which is so awesome, and such a change from last year.  As a family, we have lost 76 pounds since January.  We are reducing our kids' risks for diabetes and increasing their health simply by reducing the amount of sugar they are intaking at home.  I am hoping to write a post about some of the simple changes we have made that have made a huge a difference very soon.

The other is that I have not been yelling at the kids or swearing, for basically all of April and May so far.  I've spent years (literally since 2013, I think) trying to give up yelling and swearing.  And now that I've done it, I haven't given myself any credit for the effort that went into quitting, I just jumped right into the next thing I want to work on. Why do we do that to ourselves?

And lastly, I am meditating and it's having a big impact on how I feel inside my own skin.  I meditated everyday this week using the Calm app (I highly recommend it!) and twice when I started to panic, I reminded myself to breathe and was able to talk myself down. Huge progress!

So I want to remind you, fellow mama's to take a minute and look at what you've done! Tell yourself you're awesome!  Celebrate what you've accomplished.  You deserve the recognition.