9.21.2018

Around Here: Week 38 {2018}





















Shocked... to find out that Josh has shingles and Bell's Palsy.  It started with some pain in his scalp during a haircut, then a bit of inner ear pain.  Then last Thursday he woke up and the right side of his tongue was numb and couldn't taste food.  Then Saturday morning he woke up in Vancouver (where he had traveled to help his brother, who is moving to our town) and the entire right side of his face was drooping.  I encouraged him to call the advice nurse and she said he needed to get into the ER.  In the ER they put all his symptoms together and figured out that he had shingles (the scalp & ear pain) that lead to Bell's Palsy (the tongue numbness & face drooping).  Basically the entire right side of his face is paralyzed.
Since then, his eye is now unable to close and he has to put eyedrops in constantly to keep it lubricated.  We also have to tape it shut at night so it doesn't dry out.
He's in a ton of pain from the shingles, and the Bell's Palsy is insanely annoying.  He can't taste his food or blink his eyes or smile normally, and the doctor told him it would be at least three weeks (on the short end) but could take up to six months to completely heal.  Luckily the shingles should heal in about two weeks.
In any event, it's going to be a long road, and my heart just hurts for him.

Coping... with this news by crying hysterically in the shower; going on long walks; talking to friends; eating too much candy; drinking soda (which I haven't had in months); eating comfort food; buying books at Goodwill (my favorite splurge); binging on bad TV at naptime and checking things off my to do list.

Happy... that Josh's brother Samuel moved here permanently.  My kids adore their Uncle Samuel and Josh has been happy having him around as well.

Hanging... with my girl Shana and feeling so grateful for her friendship.

Getting... flowers from our neighbor Barb.  They have brightened my bedroom all week.

Enjoying... muffins from my friend Megan.  Carly is also enjoying them.  And by enjoying, I mean telling me, "I have my own mom. I don't want to share yours." Hah!

Encouraging... a friend (and myself) to find 3 blessings per day to slowly find joy again.  Sometimes (often times) life is hard. So hard.  And just remembering each night as you fall asleep, three little things that made you smile or feel grateful can shift your focus from all that is wrong to all that has gone right.

  • Stacks of books
  • Sister laughs
  • Spontaneous hugs

Walking... to school each day, and enjoying it so much.  The fall weather is simply gorgeous, and I love being out in it.

Going... to the doctor for my recent hair loss.  About two weeks ago, I started noticing I was losing more hair than normal.  It sort of came on my radar. Then this week I really noticed I was losing a LOT of hair.  So much that I would venture to say I've lost more than half of my hair since the beginning of September.  It's so upsetting.
I got myself an appointment earlier this week, assuming it was a delayed side effect from one of my medications (I take Topomax for migraines and Prozac for anxiety), but he said that it's not from either of those (which I've been taking since January & April).  He believes my hair loss is from chronic emotional stress, likely from the super stressful spring we had, when Logan was having an increase in seizures and Wyatt was sick back to back to back.

Not reading... enough this week.

Spending... too much time on social media.  Blah. (Accepting tips & tricks for how to spend less time online.  However, I'll be honest- I'm not willing to give it up entirely! #addicted)

Meditating... everyday this week, which is a step in the right direction for my brain, but hopefully next week I can add more reading and less scrolling to my meditating.  I use the Calm app, and I can't say enough good things about it.

Sleeping... through the night twice this week, and feeling amazing on those days.  I seriously love when I wake up and it's 4 or 5am and I'm like, "What?!? I slept all night?!?" It's the BEST!

Loving... the new couch Josh surprised me with.  It's a beautiful sectional from Costco and fits our whole family, and with room to spare.  The kids have all thanked Josh profusely for it, it's so cute!  The cats are big fans (obviously!) and it even makes me kind of excited for winter time and snuggling up for movie night with the fam.

Celebrating... Logan going two weeks seizure-free on his new meds.  We switched him after his last appointment from Lamictal to Tegretol (Carbamazepine).  He takes 200mg 2x a day.  So far, it seems to be working wonders.  I am ridiculously grateful and hopeful that it continues to work for him.

Taking... Wyatt to the doctor this morning when he woke up and blew a 225 after blowing 300's all week.  He became sick practically overnight.  What is just a runny nose, no big deal, for everyone else, settles into Wyatt's lungs and causes him severe distress, requiring an extended round of steroids, in addition to a week's worth of albuterol and budesonide treatments in his nebulizer.  It makes me grateful I enjoyed the break that the summer offered from his Reactive Airway Disease and asthma, and also grateful for all the steps we took to prepare for illness this fall (preventive inhalers, buying a new nebulizer, refilling prescriptions, and getting a new kind of nebulizer breathing apparatus called the Pari).
I am hopeful that with all these steps in place, and the fact that we got him on steroids so quickly this time, he will recover fast and be back to his regular, healthy self ASAP.

***

9.15.2018

Around Here: Week 37 {2018}






















Surviving... our first full five day week of school.  It's been busy- Monday I grocery shopped; Tuesday I saw my counselor; Wednesday I got together with my girlfriend; and Thursday I took Wyatt to the sleep doctor.  Finally today I got a break except when halfway to school (we walk) Carly asked, "Where's Wyatt's backpack?" sigh.  So we walked back home to get it & Wyatt was late for school.

Trying... to enjoy the cooler fall weather.  It's clear blue skies still, but there's a crispness to it that definitely wasn't there 2 weeks ago.  (Honestly, though, I just miss summer!!!)

Finishing... After Anna and P.S. I Still Love You.

Reading... Always & Forever Lara Jean (#3 in the To All The Boy I've Loved Before trilogy)  and Caroline on audio.  Caroline is written from the mom's perspective for Little House on the Prairie, and it is so beautiful to listen to.  It reminds me of listening to Anne of Green Gables.  The writing is like poetry.  I am in love with the author's prose.  It's breathtaking.  I highly recommend it.
I also re-read parts of Seizures & Epilepsy in Childhood now that we narrowed Logan's seizures down to Focal seizures (based on his eye movement during his seizures) and I understand more about what's happening in his body now.  I am keeping a calendar for him of when we start & stop meds, see the doctor, and when he has seizures, just so I can keep it all straight, and I tuck them in his Seizures book for safekeeping.  It helps me to control what little I can.
And lastly I am reading a new chapter of "It's a Boy! Understanding Your Son's Development from Birth to Age 18."  I have moved to chapter seven, "Startling Changes", which is for ages 11-13, and is walking me through what to expect with puberty around the bend. (Send help!)

Placing... my hopes on the sleep doctor and October sleep study we have set up for Wyatt.  His tonsils and adenoids are very big for his throat and his breathing is often obstructed, so we're hoping the sleep study will show this and then we can get approved for surgery that will improve his sleep, which will improve his health, which will improve his weight, which will improve his asthma.

Celebrating... as Jack got moved to a classroom that's a much better fit after 2 weeks in a room that's not the right fit for him.  I cannot even express the relief I feel and the weight that's been lifted from my shoulders with this move.  He is so much happier, and therefore, so am I.

Spending... Saturday at Silverwood Theme Park as a family.  The boys got free tickets for reading 600 minutes at school last year and we had a great time!  (I'll have a post coming soon!)  Carly's a little thrill seeker/daredevil and Wyatt and I enjoyed the ice cream. Hah!!!

Sharing... my thoughts & worries with my counselor about Logan, seizures, fifth grade, hormones (Lord help me!), puberty (Save me now!), and my recent stay-at-home mom guilt.  He suggested making a list of worries with my fifth graders each day; taking it a day at a time when it comes to the seizures; meditating daily to reduce tension; and remembering my worth regardless of what society tells me about my value as a stay-at-home mom.  All in all, a very valuable session.

Feeling... sad about my miscarriages as I head into the fall.  I lost that first baby at the tail end of the first trimester in 2014 at the end of October & it's like my body knows it's time to mourn when the weather cools & the nights darken.

Walking... everyday to & from school.  I can feel a total difference in my body & the way my clothes fit & in my energy level.

Going... all week without a seizure!  Logan is adjusting beautifully to Tegretol (his new med) as he started the full dose Friday.  (Heading into week two with fingers crossed!)

Grateful... for friendships here that maintain my sanity.  This week one friend watched Carly so I could go to counseling; another watched her so Josh and I could meet with the principal to get Jack squared away in his new class; and another hung out with me just because she's awesome.  I'm so glad. What blessings.

Ecstatic... that all the kids loved pulled pork this week.  I am so happy to be back to our regularly scheduled eating program now that we're back in school.  Summer eating was fun & easy, but there's something about meal planning and eating healthy that just feels good.

Receiving... flowers & homemade cinnamon swirl bread from the sweetest fellow mama of four who heard I'd been struggling those first weeks of school and wanted to brighten my day.  I honestly opened my door, and promptly burst into tears when I saw her standing there, flowers & bread in hand.
To be thought of that way was just so unexpected and sweet.

***

9.07.2018

Around Here: Week 36 {2018}




















{Medicine cabinet in the main bathroom}

{Under the kitchen sink}












Loving... the return to warm weather.  It's been a little warmer this week than last week and it's perfect walking weather.  Saturday morning the boys and I walked on the water front, and every other day this week we walked to school and it's been so lovely.  I am soaking up every minute of it because I know that before I know it, the weather will change and we'll be bundling up.

Enjoying... date night with Josh on Friday and drooling over how delicious the pizza was. I'm telling you, his pizzas are to die for. Sooo yummy!  We watched an episode of Blue Bloods, one of our favorites, and enjoyed the delicious dinner sans kids (who were already in bed) and it was a much-needed respite after a rough afternoon & evening parenting sassy children.

Reading... lots of books to Carly as she is suddenly loving books.  She's always loved books at bedtime, but now she is asking to be read to all.the.time.  Luckily there are many willing readers in our house.  The boys will all read to her, although Josh probably reads to her the most.
The boys are all reading a ton lately, too.  Jack just started the first Harry Potter book, which he's LOVING! And Logan is re-reading My Side of the Mountain, which I read to them a few years ago.  Wyatt can also be found with his nose in a book just about any time.
I am reading P.S. I Still Love You, the sequel of "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" and am listening to After Anna on audio.  Both are really good and I find I'm making lots of time for reading because of how engrossing the stories are!

Laughing... at some of the things Carly says.  For instance, the rose buds on our rose bushes she says need to "crack open", then they will be flowers.  And when we got a new wipes container that hadn't been opened yet, she told me it was "locked" because the plastic piece hadn't been taken out yet, so she couldn't pull a wipe out.

Spending... Sunday of Labor Day weekend with my sister and her three kids at the water park.  We had so much fun, even though we were desperately outnumbered by children! (7:2) Ha!
The kids were great about staying together as a group so we could keep our eyes on them, and even though we had quite a few mishaps (so many that it got quite comical, in fact) we managed to keep smiles on our faces.
Wyatt slipped as he was jumping in the pool and got the biggest goose egg on the back of his head that I have EVER seen.  It was the size of two of his fists above his neck.  But he didn't lose consciousness or have any symptoms other than a headache, so we didn't have to worry about concussion.  We iced and kept a good eye on him for 24 hours.  Then Carly fell off the picnic table bench onto the concrete, but recovered quickly.  Then Jack got stung by a yellow jacket on the belly, but also recovered quickly. It was crazy!
When we had had our fill of splashy fun at the water park, we headed home for store bought pizza and a movie.  The kids had so much fun together and it was a great last hurrah of summer.  I cannot say enough how grateful I am that my sister moved so close.  (She's a little over an hour away.)  It's been the best thing ever to get our kids together and spend so much time with her.

Grateful... the kids' behavior seems to have mellowed a bit as the week wore on.  I think that settling into school and a new routine and new teachers and classrooms and expectations took a little more out of them than I had expected, and we all paid the price the last few days.

Watching... our garden grow.  The pumpkins are starting to take off.  Our tomatoes are still producing like crazy (and are SO delicious!).  And we are all in AWE of Wyatt's sunflower, that he grew from a SEED back in May.  It's finally starting to open and the thing is taller than any of us, and bigger than Wyatt's head!  The stalk is so thick and strong, it's just amazing!

Organizing... like crazy on Labor Day with the help of the twins.  Their consequence for being disrespectful so much on Friday & Saturday was having extra chores on Monday, which was just fine by me! (hehe)
We did our regular chores (cleaning the bathrooms, vacuuming, and sweeping & mopping) and then we also organized the office, cleaned out under the kitchen sink, tidied the craft shelf in the dining room and (the BIG project) organized the medicine closet in the main bathroom (which was a DISASTER). I ran to Dollar Tree before I started on the medicine cabinet and spent less than $10 on bins and organizers that helped make the job so.much.easier!

Sending... Wyatt to the land (his parents' 40 acres) with Josh on Monday (while the twins helped with all the chores) so he could play with Grandma.  Josh and his dad and brother were working on Josh's parents' shop (they have built the entire thing!) putting in a garage door and Wyatt got to spend some special time with Grandma Carol.  He had so much fun, but came home SO filthy.  Haha!  I had to put him back in the shower twice because he had missed spots! Oh but the memories he made!!!

Making... smoothies all week and loving them.  This week I added some fresh berries instead of frozen ones (blueberries, raspberries and strawberries) and they've been super yummy alongside my bananas, apples and spinach.  Logan usually requests a smoothie as well, but this week even Wyatt has wanted one, so I'm sharing lots!

Cleaning... out my purse and finding not two or three, but nine pens total inside of it. ...I may have a slight pen obsession.
On another note, it felt really good to clean out my purse!

Forcing... myself to meal plan and get groceries during the week.  I used to go on the weekends so the big boys could come along and help me, but now that Carly is a little older, I am able to go on my own just fine during the week, and it's nice to have it done so our weekends are wide open without any agenda. The boys are tickled as well.

Meeting... up with a girlfriend for a workout followed by lunch this week, and it filled my heart up.  I was so happy to spend time with her, and to really embrace the excellent parts of stay-at-home motherhood like hanging out with a friend and going out to lunch.  I ended that day feeling so, so blessed.

Trying... yellow watermelon that Josh's parents gave us.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but it's very similar to regular pink watermelon.  It's just got a bit of a cantaloupe-y taste to it.  Carly and Wyatt LOVE it, Josh likes it.  I would say that I tolerate it, but that's only because I am not a huge cantaloupe fan.  It's really a beautiful fruit and was super fun to cut, though!

Playing... outside every afternoon.  Josh gets home from work early and we have been making sure we get some outside time in before dinner.  It's so nice.  He plays bean bag toss with Wyatt or catch with the twins.  Sometimes they play basketball.  I mostly sit in my chairs on the porch and read. It's so dreamy.  Especially now that we have our white picket fence to keep Carly corralled.  It's so awesome to know that she's safe and sound from the street.

Staying... up all night with Logan who was adjusting (poorly) to a dose increase on Lamictal and having really severe headaches from it.  Thankfully we had a neurology appointment yesterday (Thursday) and made some changes.

Driving... Logan (and Carly) to Spokane for Logan's neurology appointment.  His doctor wasn't happy with how many seizures he's having (about one a week) so she suggested a medication change.  We are going to switch him from Lamictal to Tegretol (which is what Josh takes to control his seizures) in hopes that what works for Josh will work for Logan as well.
Having watched two of his seizures on video, she has determined that his seizures are most likely focal seizures, not generalized and Tegretol will be a good medication for that.  His eyes and the fact that he's having lots of mouth movements during the seizures are what tell her they are focal (starting in one place in the brain) and not generalized (all over the brain at once).
In addition to getting new daily medication, we got rescue meds for when he has a seizure lasting longer than five minutes.  I got a dissolvable medication that I can place in his mouth in the event of a long seizure that should stop the seizure.
All in all, the appointment left me feeling very hopeful, and grateful for his doctor who told Logan her goal is no seizures and no side effects.  She believes we can get there, we just haven't found the right medication yet.

Visiting... with my grandparents and Uncle Steve who swung by on their way home from North Dakota last night.  It was a short visit, but it was so nice to see them, nonetheless.  Carly adores my grandparents, which warms my heart to no end, and I rarely get to see my uncle, so that was a treat.  I'm so grateful for every visit.

Rushing... to the office when I heard Logan had a seizure as I strolled up to the school with Wyatt Friday morning to drop him off at school.  The twins ride to school ahead of me (I walk, pushing the stroller and they ride scooters or bikes).  Apparently after they had parked their scooters this morning, Logan had felt a seizure coming on.  On the school's video camera I saw him grab Jack's shoulder, tell him he was going to have a seizure, then lean against the brick wall.  Jack got Logan settled against the wall, then ran to find an adult.  The seizure lasted about three minutes, then ended.  The staff handled it beautifully and Logan had been moved to the office just before I arrived.  He came right out of the seizure and his only side effect was a gnarly headache.  So he came home with me, took a nap and spent the afternoon resting.
We knew he was due for a seizure, as it had been eight days since his last one.  I am just so proud of how well and Jack handled it. It took all my self control not to cry when I told Jack how thankful I was for him and how proud of him I was.  He shrugged it off, like always, saying it was no big deal.  Logan, also humble, said the seizure was nothing, and he was fine.  They are two of the strongest boys I know, and I feel so lucky to have their example in my life.

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Making me laugh:

Making me think:

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