Saturday, September 17, 2011


YIKES! I haven't blogged in awhile and things have changed on blogger. It's going to take me a bit to get used to it. I have a bunch more pictures and topics to blog about, but my time is really limited having 3 little ones at home (one of them being an infant who is still nursing). One of the topics I'd love to blog more about is the "schooling" we're doing at home. It's not officially homeschooling at this point, but it's been fun to do some structured things with the boys. This week the book we were reading was "Madeline" by Ludwig Bemelmans. It just so happened that on Thursday we were scheduled to talk about health (in the story Madeline gets her appendix taken out) and Micah also came down with a bad cold. It was a great opportunity to talk about hygiene as cold and flu season is just around the corner. Here is the visual lesson we did on spreading germs. The original lesson plan used cooking spray and glitter, but I didn't have glitter and I wasn't able to get out to buy it seeing as I had a crabby and sick child at home. So, I borrowed some green washable finger paint from my neighbor and I think it worked just the same. I put some clean objects on a tray.
Then I put GERMS (green finger paint) all over Jackson's hands. I figured Micah already had germs on his that he could keep for himself.
I had Micah leave the room and had Jackson touch several of the items. Micah then came back in and had to tell me which items had germs on them. I then asked Micah to pick up one of the objects with "germs" on it. He refused. (Perhaps that means he grasped the lesson a little). I picked up one of the objects to show how the germs then got on my hands.
We read a couple of books: "Germs Are Not For Sharing" by Elizabeth Verdick. There were a couple of other books on health that I found at our local library as well. We've also checked out this great book in the past: "Felicity Floo Visits the Zoo" by E.S. Redmond We colored signs to hang in the bathroom. The first one tells when to wash your hands and the other one tells you how to wash them.
Then later this week I found a project on Pinterst that we like to call "Boogy Monster Boxes" basically it's a discard box for used tissues with "boogies" in them. The boys had a blast, but ended up just wanting to play with the box instead of using it for it's intended purpose. Oh well.
Micah demonstrated how to use it once and then just played with it. :)
If only you could hear him saying "I LOVE BOOGIES!!!" in his monster voice.
Well ... gotta go feed the kiddos lunch and attend to my sick little baby. I'm hoping when they're all healthy again I'll have a few minutes to post some of the other fun things we've been up to lately.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Anora's 2 Month Check Up

She'll be 12 weeks old next week, so I thought I'd better get around to posting her 2 month check up... you can tell she's child #3!

Her 2 month stats:

Weight: 10lb 9oz (50%)
Height: 22 1/4 inches (50%)
HC: 38cm (40%)

She's got blue eyes so far and they seem to be getting lighter, so maybe they'll stay, but we won't know for several months yet. She's eating every 3 - 3 1/2 hours during the day and going 8 - 9 hours at night time.

It's a good thing she's been sleeping so well at night because her day time naps (up until about a week ago) were not going well at all. She'd sleep for 30 minutes to an hour and then wake up screaming. I'd usually get a few burps out, but then she'd have a hard time putting herself back to sleep.

We tried everything from propping her up for 30 minutes to an hour before we laid her down. Laying her on her side for naps. Letting her nap in the swing. Letting her nap in the wrap. What finally seems to be doing the trick is a combination of me cutting back on my dairy intake (I've been drinking almond milk instead of cow's milk) and consistently giving her Gripe Water and gas drops before her feedings. I also give another dose of gas drops right before I put her down for her naps. She can usually make it the full 1 1/2 to 2 hours for her naps, but sometimes wakes up early and I have to burp her, but then she'll go right back to sleep.

This past week we have been trying to give her a bottle more consistently as well. She seemed to take to the bottle really well around 6 weeks old, but then we didn't offer it enough for her to continue to take it, so it's been a challenge. In fact, Colin and I had a date night this past week to celebrate our anniversary and decided we needed to come back in the middle of it to nurse Anora, so that the babysitter didn't have to battle it out. I've given her a bottle once a day for the past three days and so far it gets better each time. I'm hoping that if we continue she'll be able to take the bottle easily for a babysitter in the future.

We had the chance to travel with Anora when we went to Colorado for a house hunting trip. She did great except for the fact that she does not like to nap in her car seat. Honestly she hadn't spent very much time in her car seat until then because we only have one car and I hardly get to use it because goes to work so early. I'm hoping she'll out grow that with age, but we'll see I guess.

Her personality is so sweet. She smiles with her whole body and loves to "talk" to anyone who will listen when she's awake. She has yet to giggle, but smiles all the time. She's such a doll. I love her curly little eyelashes ... we're all smitten with her and lover her more and more each day.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The 5 Year Report

Jackson turns 5 on June 15th, but we'll be moving to Colorado only a couple days after his birthday, so we got him into the doctor for his 5 year check up early. He was VERY nervous about his shots. He came to Anora's 1 month check up and even asked Dr. Macias if they were going to hurt. The doctor was so great at explaining what the shots would be like, but Jackson still worried.

Jackson had his check up first while I nursed Anora. He's 60% for weight and 25% for height which the Dr. said was perfectly fine. His eye sight is 20/25 in both eyes, which means that the ptosis in his left eye is not affecting his vision at all. My favorite part of the older check ups are when the Dr. asks questions to determine cognitive development. Jackson's answers got a few smirks from the Dr. because he's a pretty sharp kid. Overall, Jackson is right on track and is a healthy growing boy!!

When I write these posts I ask myself, "What do I want to remember about Jackson as a 5 year old?" Hmmmm...

Jackson is such a sensitive and compassionate boy. He has a gift for making others feel loved. Whether he's doting on his sister or verbally praising his brother or shouting "I love you!" to the friendly cashier at the grocery store as we leave. He's quite the gift giver too (even if it is a rock wrapped in tape) because he loves to make people smile.

Sometimes his sensitivity can cause him to over react at times and worry on occasion, but for the most part he's still pretty logical and we can reason our way through those tough moments with him. However, those same reasoning skills can get him into trouble when he becomes argumentative with Colin, me or even Micah.

Jackson is a learner by nature (he takes after his dad and mom). I'm sure most kids his age are, but he has a hunger for knowledge beyond the typical "whys" at this age and retains what he learns as well. He has a gift for memorizing and has memorized quite a bit of the Westminster Shorter Catechism and several Bible verses. Not only does he have them memorized, but he continually surprises me with the theological questions and discussions he has with Colin over them.

Jackson has also picked up on reading and writing quite a bit this year and loves to read simple stories to Micah and Anora at bedtime (the Bob Books are great for this.) Although (like me) he tends to be a perfectionist and doesn't want to try something new unless he knows he can do it well the first time. (Both of my boys seem to have this trait.) Our household mantra is "always, always, do your best." It doesn't matter if you get it right. It matters if you try and do your best. With this constant reminder, Jackson has been more and more willing to push himself out of his comfort zones.

Finally, Jackson is imaginative and creative. He loves to pretend. He loves to create. His favorite toys are his project box (which consists of empty toilet paper rolls and the like and his own roll of masking tape) and the dress up box. When he can't find a costume he needs in the dress up box, he makes his own out of the project box. He's constantly making projects (i.e. puppets, swords, rockets, new inventions, etc.) I have to admit that sometimes it drives me NUTS to have all of the project "mess" around the house, but I'm trying to be better at not viewing it that way and Jackson is trying to be better at not leaving his projects all over the floor.

It's exciting to chronicle who Jackson is growing up to become. I often day dream about what kind of man he will be. What he will choose for a career. How he will treat his wife. How he will interact with his children. How he will serve our God.

What a gift the Lord has given me to watch my children grow in every aspect of life.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Anora: One Month

Anora's one month check up went well. Despite the fact that plans changed at the last minute and I ended up taking all of the kids with me to the appointment. Normally that wouldn't be a big deal if it was a 10 minute drive to the office, but it's a 45 minute drive so we ended up making an afternoon of it. Anyway, that's a later post perhaps.

9lb 5oz (50% - I'm not used to an average sized kid at this age)
21 1/2 inches (70%)
37cm HC (50%)

Dr. Macias said that everything looks great. I asked about vitamin D and iron supplements for her and he said I didn't need to start those right now. I let him know that she slept 6 hours a couple of times at night and he said that she's gaining weight just fine and to let her sleep as long as she'd like at night, but continue 3 hour feedings during the day.

Anora has been fairly easy so far. She fell into a sleep, eat, awake routine pretty naturally which is great! She prefers to sleep on her side and she likes to fall asleep with her pacifier, but spits it out when she's almost asleep most of the time.

From day one she was a great eater and I hardly had any latching issues with her. As a result, she went longer between feedings right away (2 1/2 - 3hrs during the day and 3 1/2 - 4 1/2hours at night). That was great EXCEPT it made my engorgement period more difficult and I ended up with Mastitis. NOT FUN! If you don't know what that is, it's a breast infection caused by clogged milk ducts and the symptoms are high fevers, some breast pain (some women have pain while nursing, but I didn't) and flu-like symptoms (body aches, headache, etc.) Once I was on the antibiotic for 24 hours I was 100% better.

Last night (at 5 weeks old) she slept 6 hours (this is her 3rd time doing that) between feedings. Luckily her last feeding was at 9:30pm and I pretty much went to sleep right after I fed her. Yay for a good night's sleep!

Her naps during the day were not the greatest at first, but then we figured out that dairy was making her gassy so I cut down on cheeses and switched to almond milk for awhile. In a couple of weeks I'll slowly bring it back into my diet and see what happens. We also started giving her Gripe Water at night and Mylicon gas drops during the day which seemed to help a lot.

We also figured out that she does not like to be cold. I put her in a onesie, pants, socks, night gown (with little mittens over the hands) a sleepsack AND swaddle her in a blanket at night. Part of that is because I like the room a little cold while I sleep and she still sleeps in the room with us (well, sort of ... she's in our emptied out walk-in closet).

Anora is such a sweet baby. I wouldn't say that she's laid back because she definitely has to speak up if she wants something with two other little boys in house vying for my attention. Half of the time I have to wake her up for her day time feedings and half of the time she wakes up on her own. Usually she fusses herself to sleep and/or I have to put her pacifier back in a zillion times.

She's pretty easy to console when she's upset with the exception of a few times she's woken up almost in a panic in her car seat (I hope she out grows that). Jackson has mastered the "shh-shh-shh" technique, although he thinks if he does it louder it will work better. HA. He's also a HUGE help with her in the car. Micah just thinks the car seat is a toy he can play with.

Anora is smiling more, but it's not predictable or easily coaxed yet. She's also started to make some vocal coos just this week. I LOVE that stage and can't wait for her to verbalize more. I'm sure we will since her awake time during the day is getting longer each day. She's usually awake for about an hour and a half to two hours in her 3 hour feeding schedule.

She handles the attention the boys give her very well. She lets Jackson touch her hands and head without a fuss and he does it a lot. Both boys are pretty good at helping me burp her and they can usually get one out better than I can. Overall nursing her has been easier than Micah because at the time Jackson had no one else to play with and now Micah and Jackson can go off and play with each other while I feed Anora. I LOVE the fact that they play so well together.

Emotionally going from 2 to 3 has been easier than from 1 to 2 so far. Logistically I'm able to handle the scheduling of 2 to 3 better than 1 to 2 AT HOME, but when we go places it's much more difficult going from 2 to 3 than it was 1 to 2. I TRIED to take all three kids to church by myself yesterday ... WHAT WAS I THINKING?!! Next time I need to make sure I ask church family to help me with the boys (especially if I have to feed Anora in the middle of the service).

Overall, Anora has been such a delight! I'm so excited to see what kind of little girl and woman she will become.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Anora Jean's Birth-Day

Moms-to-be usually hear the scary/traumatic birth stories thanks to shows like TLC's "The Baby Story." I know when I was awaiting the birth of Jackson, my first born, I heard several birth stories that made me want to "cross my legs."

Well, I think the normal and uneventful birth stories are just as worthy of being heard. So to you first time mommies waiting for your child's birth-day, you can read Micah's story here and keep reading on for Anora's. (I wasn't blogging at the time of Jackson's birth, but one of these days I should share that one too.) May these birth-day stories inspire you and give you hope for a beautiful birthday for your child. You can do it!

Early Saturday, March 26th -
I had several strong contractions while still in bed that I thought might turn into full blown labor, but then Jackson woke up with a terrible cough and sore throat and the contractions petered out on their own. I spent the whole rest of the day taking care of all three of my boys (including Colin) who were very uncomfortable with head colds. However, I never managed to catch it my self.

You may think that that's not technically a part of Anora's birth story, but I find it interesting how God's grace is so sufficient even in the little things. He knew we needed one more day for me to look after the boys and to have Anora quarantined in my belly while they were pretty sick.

Sunday, March 27th -

The boys did not make a peep and I slept all the way until 3:15am when I started having regular contractions about 10 minutes a part. After an hour they got stronger and I woke Colin to inform him that we may need to get ready to have our little girl.

4:30 am I could no longer lay in bed and just breath through the contractions, although they were still about 10 minutes apart. I got up and took a shower and once I knew the contractions weren't going to subside, Colin jumped in the shower and I began to gather our things for the hospital and get the house ready for the couple we arranged to watch Jackson and Micah who live about 30 minutes from our house.

5:00 am Colin calls the couple to have them start heading over to the house. My contractions are 8 - 10 minutes apart, but I can no longer talk or walk through them. The most comfortable position during those contractions was leaning on a table or counter and standing on my tip toes. Colin and I both eat breakfast.

5:30 am - Jackson wakes up coughing and Colin goes in to his room to give him some honey and comfort him. Several days prior, Jackson told me that he had a bad dream that I left and didn't tell him. So Colin and I both decided it would be best if we told Jackson when we were leaving. Jackson was a little weepy about us leaving, plus he was still sleepy and not feeling well. However, I was able to talk to him between contractions and remind him that there was a present waiting for him that he and Micah could open when we were at the hospital. That seemed to do the trick ... but I ended up having to go up there a second time before we left to talk with him again. That time I didn't make it out of the room without having a contraction and here's how the conversation went:

(Me taking deep breaths and holding on to his bed posts.)

Jackson: Mommy? Why are you doing that?
Me: Because baby Anora REALLY wants to come out.
Jackson: Mommy? You can go now.
Me: (still taking deep breaths) Give me just a minute.
Jackson: Why?
Me: Mommy can't move right now.
Jackson: Oh.
(My contraction stops.)
Me: Okay. We're leaving for the hospital now. I love you.
Jackson: You're going to the hospital right now?
Me: Yes.
Jackson: Okay. I love you.
Me: I love you too.

(I leave the room just before another contraction comes.)

5:30am - My contractions are about 3 - 5 minutes apart lasting about a minute each and we're not sure if we can wait until our friends arrive in order to leave for the hospital so we call our neighbor to come over. Colin says, "I'm going to call the midwives and have them get a hotel room ready for us." (I love that slip up, so I had to put it in the story.) When he calls them we find out that Helen (who also delivered Micah) is on call and will be delivering for us.

5:35am - Our neighbor arrives.

5:45am - We finally have everything we need for the hospital and have the house ready for the caretakers. The couple from our church arrives and we head off to the hospital.

The contractions continued to be 3-5 minutes apart and it helped tremendously to just moan through them. Every other contraction was very hard and longer (closer to 2 minutes long) but I had almost no pain in between contractions. I also had a couple of double peak contractions (contractions that would peak and then never fully subside before the next contraction peaked) and those were challenging especially given the fact that I was sitting in a car.

6:30am - We arrive at the hospital (pausing a few times in the parking lot and foyer for contractions) and go back to the delivery room. The nurse has us fill out some quick paper work, they draw blood, checked my cervix (which was 4-5 cm dilated and fully effaced and Anora was low enough that the nurse could feel that she had a lot of hair)and monitor Anora's heart rate and my contractions for about 15 minutes while they filled the tub.

THE TUB! I love the tub! The hospital we delivered Micah and Anora in has a portable tub that they can fill up for laboring moms while they have contractions, but not for delivering. The warm water and the buoyancy took the edge off of the contractions for me. As soon as I could I got in there.

It's at this point that I lose track of exact time. The contractions continued to be 3 - 5 minutes apart and getting more intense and a little more pushy. I also had some back pain with a few of the contractions as well. Nothing sharp, just radiating pain in my back during the contraction. It helped to be on all fours in the water while I was having the contractions. It also helped to have Colin rubbing my back between and during those contractions. But I still had little to no pain in between contractions. Helen came in during that time to check up on us and see how we were doing. Then left us alone for a bit once she got the low down of how things were going.

After about the third or fourth pushy contraction and feeling a little doubt and nausea, we called Helen in to have her check my cervix again. I was 7-8 cm dilated, but she could easily stretch me to 10 which meant I was ready to push.

9am - Helen broke my water to help speed up the dilation. It took her a few times because the sac was so strong, but that wasn't painful at all. The fluid was clear, but just trickled since Anora's head was very low.

I pushed a couple times through the contractions, but I still had a little lip of my cervix that wouldn't move out of the way. It felt like a had longer breaks between each pushing contraction with no pain at all. I even said between contractions once, "I feel bad that you guys are just sitting around waiting for me to have another contraction." Helen laughed and later Colin told me that he thought that was adorable.

Eventually Helen held my cervix back between and during contractions. THAT was painful, but only when she was holding it. After a few pushes she suggested I move to the toilet to see if I could get the cervix to move with the help of gravity. After a few really hard pushy contractions on the toilet I moved back to the bed. My cervix still had a lip.

Helen held my cervix back through 3 or 4 more very strong and long pushes until Anora began to crown. I had the mirror there to watch her come into the world for the very first time. Helen coached me through those pushes to insure their was a little tearing as possible (I ended up with only one stitch).

9:33am - Anora arrived and was placed on my belly immediately. She yelled right away and pinked up within seconds. She was GORGEOUS! That moment is the most wondrous, most beautiful and rewarding moment God could give to a woman after all of the hard work and pain of childbirth. I'm continually amazed at how God is a just AND gracious God all at the same time in so many areas of life.

After the cord stopped pulsing, Colin cut it and soon after I delivered the placenta. I got my stitch and Anora and I jumped back into the tub (which I guess was bending hospital rules, but ... eh). She nursed beautifully in there for quite awhile. In the mean time Colin called everyone he could think of.

It wasn't until about 2 hours after she was born that we got out of the tub and got all of her stats and by then she'd already had two meconium movements:

7lb 14oz
20 1/2 inches

We are all just smitten with this little girl. We praise God for his grace and provision and protection during her beautiful birth-day and stand, once again, in awe of his sovereignty and providence over HIS creation.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Big Brother Present

As I've been getting ready for our baby girl I've been preparing the house and the boys for being taken care of by church family while Colin and I are at the hospital.

One of the ideas I had was to wrap a present for the boys and put it out ahead of time and tell them they can open it when Mommy and Daddy go to the hospital.

I didn't want to spend a ton of money, but I wanted it to be a cool enough present that they would be distracted by it while we were away from them for a very short while.

As you know from my previous post, my boys love GeoTrax. I was able to to find THREE tunnels/bridges for the price of one on ebay the other day. I plan on giving one of them as a future present to their cousin in Iowa who shares the same passion for trains, but these two are wrapped and waiting for the day I go to the hospital to give birth to our little girl.

I really want to celebrate the life of our new little girl, but I also want to celebrate this new phase in the boys' life. Micah becoming a big brother for the very first time and Jackson taking another sibling under his wing.

Colin and I have been stressing the importance of their roles as big brothers to take care of their little sister. They are the princes and she is the princess. I believe they are up for the challenge and I can't wait to see what that looks like in reality.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Keeping Ourselves Busy

Here are a few things the boys and I have been keeping busy with lately:

Making Cards:
Ever since Valentine's Day and my birthday, Jackson has especially enjoyed making cards. Here's one he made with his babysitter for my birthday. I LOVE the picture of the two boys in it!!!

Here's the inside of a get well card Jackson made for his friend Patrick.

Jackson wants to be an inventor when he grows up. Here's one he made out of the "project bag" present I gave him for Christmas. It's Rodney Copper Bottom and Wonderbot from the movie "Robots." He assembled it all by himself.

Of course there are LOTS of Lego creations around here too and Jackson is getting REALLY good at coming up with some very creative designs ... he takes after his daddy!

Anything Musical:
Micah especially loves music. He walks around with his guitar and loves to sing songs. It isn't unusual to have playing on my laptop throughout the day around the house.

"Animal Shelter"
It's a game both boys came up with that consists of getting out all of their stuffed animals and putting them in bed or on the couch with them. They pretend to take care of the animals ... Grandma Deb's got her genes in them for sure!

GeoTrax and Cars:
We got a few extra pieces of track for Christmas that allows for a bit more creativity and now the boys play trains almost every day. Jackson loves to build the track and Micah can watch the trains going around for hours ... well for a while anyay.

Getting Ready for a Sister:
Oh yeah ... and the boys have been getting ready for the arrival of their little sister. They are pretty excited to get to see her face to face and teach her all of the things they know and do everyday.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Husband is Amazing!

I kind of feel bad for my husband ... only kind of ... because my birthday is the day after Valentine's Day and he has NEVER short changed me and planned a birthday/Valentine's celebration. My husband loves to spoil and surprise me!

The weekend before Valentine's Day he got a sitter and we drove up to Santa Barbara with a printed off google map (because we are a little behind the times when it comes to GPS and smart phones) and had an adventure finding the Riviera Theatre to watch "Troubadours" (a film documentary about musicians in the 1960s and 70s like James Taylor and Carole King) as a part of the Santa Barbara film festival. It was a free night to see it and we almost didn't get in, but luckily my pregnant bladder kept us there for an extra 5 minutes and we were able to sneak in at the last minute due to a few extra seats becoming available. It was so fun to watch a movie with 400 other people in the audience.

Then we went to Pacucci's in downtown Santa Barbara for a nice Italian dinner.

One of the things I love to do is go to new restaurants that have a very different and unique cuisine and Colin knows this about me. For me it's all about quality vs. quantity and I'd rather have a little bit of something tasty and unique than a lot of something that I could just make myself at home.

Colin usually gets great recommendations from his co-workers, but he also has found a website that he's found very handy called Open Table. You can look for restaurants all over the country and they break it down into different cuisines and price ranges and give links the restaurant website where you can look at the menu ahead of time.

For my birthday we went to Luna Red in San Luis Obispo and because we wanted to see a 7 o'clock showing of "The King's Speech" we looked at the menu on the way and already picked out what we wanted to order before we even got there. We had the strawberry basil spritzer, lamb koft kebabs and crab lasagna by the way ... very tasty.

Almost every date we go on we usually end by going to a coffee shop or some place to just sit and "be." I love it!

Did I mention that I think my husband is amazing!!!? (BIG SMILE)

P.S. Of course I love to brag about my husband, but my main goal in posting this was to share the resources he uses to plan date nights so that you and your loved ones can utilize and enjoy them too!

Happy date nights to you and yours!!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lifeguarding Skills Applied to Parenting

No we did not have an incident at the pool that needed lifeguarding skills.

When I was in high school I worked as a lifeguard at the YMCA. One of their policies was to enforce rules with positive redirection. Instead of saying, "No running!" they encourage you to say, "Walk please!" Instead of "No diving!" say, "Feet first only!"

It took a little bit of getting used to, but it made complete sense, after all, "No running!" left open a variety of other options (skipping, sliding, dancing, jumping) and "Walk please!" was clear and to the point.

Positive redirection stayed with me and frankly kept me quite sane when I worked 40+ hours at my daycare job and now as a parent. I think it may have saved me from having 15 2 -3 year olds screaming "NO!" at me all day long because they were mimicking me. Here are a few phrases I've learned to switch in my daily interaction with my kids:

"No whining!" - "Happy heart please!"
"No hitting!" - "Be loving please!"
"No yelling!" - "Inside voice please!"

Even saying "No thank you" instead of "No!" I think has helped my kids minimize their "NO!" stage in life (notice I said "minimize").

I've been surprised by this lifeguarding skill's most recent application. As my boys get to the age where they are playing together instead of just next to each other I often hear:


There have been many opportunities to teach both my four year old and two year old the old lesson "you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar." They're still learning, but everyday it seems to get better as they realize that yelling at each other is extremely unproductive.

Jackson is learning to tell Micah what he wants instead of yelling about what he doesn't want him to do. Instead of, "Micah, don't do that!" I'm hearing "Micah how about you play with this toy instead of taking mine away?"

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Love/Hate Relationship With Travel: Part 2

Day 12 - Sunday

Micah has a great night sleep with only one suppository before bed. Colin and I take turns at church with Jackson, but leave Micah at home. He's more himself eating a really good breakfast, but still just snacking throughout the day. He's also much more lethargic as the day progresses.

However, he takes a great uninterrupted nap in the afternoon allowing me to rest as well. He's somewhat interested in snack, but just lays on the floor most of the late afternoon. By supper time I go to pick him up off the floor and he empties his stomach all over me. It came on so quickly and without warning that I am actually a little flustered by it, which seems odd since I should be use to it by now. Perhaps because I feel like he was getting better it is the shock and disappointment that crushes my spirit.

I call Marie again this time on the verge of tears and she is very sweet in reassuring me that I'm not over reacting and that at this point Micah needs to go back to the doctor's to be looked over again and be sure there isn't anything else going on other than a virus.

I'm so flustered and exhausted and worried ... I cry a lot. I think of those parents who know that their children have terminal or chronic illnesses and I cry for them too. My imagination goes wild and I have to pray that God doesn't let Satan use that as a foothold to feed me lies. I pray, "Lord, I know you are the Great Physician. I believe you can heal Micah if it is your will. Help my unbelief."

Day 13 - Monday

I call the doctor's office and explain that I would like Micah to have an appointment that day due to the fact that he has been throwing up for a total of 9 days now and that he has an ear infection that I am not sure is clearing up with the antibiotics he was prescribed.

Here's a rough recollection of the phone conversation with the nurse:

Nurse: "Does he have a fever?"
Me: "No."
Nurse: "How often is he throwing up?"
Me: "About once or twice a day."
Nurse: "There's not much we can do for him."
Me: "Really?! Even though he's been throwing up for 9 days now?"
Nurse: "It's most likely a virus and he'll be fine in a few days."
Me: "Ya, but for NINE days? Doesn't that seem like a long time for a virus?"
Nurse: "Viruses can last from 10 -14 days."
Me: "Well I'm also concerned that the antibiotic he's been on for 4 days is not working on his ear infection."
Nurse: "Well you need to finish the doses before you can say that."
Me: "It's a 5 day dose. Shouldn't it be working by now?"
Nurse: "You can make an appointment if you want to, but I don't think they're going to be able to do anything."


Blah, blah, blah, blah

I tell her I'll talk with my husband and call her back.

I call Marie first ... bawling my eyes out.

I didn't much care for the way the pediatrician dealt with me when Micah was diagnosed with the ear infection on Friday and now I feel even more like an incompetent mother talking to this nurse who was not sensitive of my concerns AT ALL. Again, Marie was so sweet. She reassured me that I was being quite conservative about bringing him in even this late in the game and that I should feel no shame in insisting a doctor see Micah that day.

I call Colin ... bawling my eyes out.

I tell him the whole story and ask him if he'll call the doctor's office to make the appointment because I can't hold it together at this point. I also tell him to ask for the nurse I normally talk to on the phone. She is much more understanding and we get an appointment for that afternoon. Colin takes Jackson to a friend's house and comes with me to the appointment to be a second set of ears and mouth.

So far Micah has kept all of his food down, but I haven't been letting him eat much. His normal weight is around 29 lbs. and on Friday at the doctor's he was 28 lbs. This afternoon he is 26 lbs. Poor guy.

However, he was in a playful mood despite all of the circumstances. Meeting with the Nurse Practitioner (I was really glad to not have the Ped. I saw last Friday) who listens closely to the whole 10 day ordeal of sickness and witnesses first hand Micah's behavior and physical appearance she agrees that it is a long time to have a virus, but that there is a small strand of viruses that can last up to 14 days and wants to wait a few days. If in a few days his symptoms haven't changed then she would like to look into other options.

She looks in his ears and sure enough they are worse than they were on Friday and both are infected, but she doesn't want to prescribe any new antibiotic if his stomach is still upset. She suggests we make another appointment for 2 days later and then a follow up for 3 weeks (we can always cancel the one in 2 days if he's completely back to normal).

You know, looking back at the conversation with the nurse on the phone, she was right ... in just about everything. BUT what if she wasn't? Could she really comfortably tell me that my child was just fine over the phone??? Without looking at him?? Although they couldn't really "do anything for him" I wanted them to make that decision in person after they looked at him with their own two eyes. And PLEASE ... a little more sympathy and the conversation would have gone over MUCH better.

Day 14 - Tuesday

Micah keeps everything in his stomach and had MUCH more energy, but is clearly still in pain from his ears and is a CRAB! We alternate between Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen to help with the pain (his first time on oral medicine in several days).

He snacks ALL DAY!

I debate about whether or not I want to cancel the appointment and end up calling the NP to ask her thoughts about Micah's ears.

She is delighted to hear that his tummy is feeling much better, but agrees with me and wants to take another look at his ears to make sure they are getting better.

Day 15 - Wednesday

Micah sleeps well with one middle of the night dose of pain meds. He wakes up hungry and has his first full meal since he came down with the flu about 12 days ago. I am a little nervous and keep the bucket close by just in case, but he's insistent on eating and stops himself when he's full in a much happier mood.

He's 27 lbs this time and the NP said his ears were much better.

He's back to himself aside from the fact that he's catching up on his calorie intake now and his sleep. I can't complain about that though.

The buckets are still lingering in the car and around the house. I wonder how long it will take before they are put away? (smile)

I really do think he's finally better and the virus is gone.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Love/Hate Relationship with Travel

I love spending time with family. It's probably one of the most important and valuable things in my life aside from spending time with God. If it's possible, Colin loves it even more and of course our kids love it too. We have so many fond memories with family playing, laughing, celebrating, talking, reminiscing even mourning and weeping. Those moments are priceless and lately have been few and far between because we live so far away.

However, the distance we have to travel makes it a challenge for our family especially during the cold and flu season. In the three years that we've lived in California we've traveled home about 5 times. Of those 5 times we got pretty sick 3 of those trips. Christmas 2008 - we all got the stomach flu (except 9 week old Micah). I will forever have memories of nursing in a hotel room at 3am while puking into a garbage can (yes, I said "while"). That flu spread like wild fire throughout the ENTIRE extended family... it was terrible. At the end of that trip Micah came down with croup. I remember the panic I felt as he coughed and tried to breath worried that I had no idea where the closest urgent care was as we were driving the 4 hours from L.A. to our house. Easter 2009 - Micah (6 months old) came down with croup and a pretty bad case of hand, foot and mouth disease that took several weeks after our trip to recover from.

The third trip was only a couple of days ago and we are still trying to recuperate from it all. I'm distanced enough now from the most traumatic parts that I feel objective enough to write about it, but it hasn't been too long that I can't remember the details. So, I've decided to give you a glimpse into why travel and I have such a love/hate relationship by recalling each day of our travel adventures.

The Planning Phase

I love my husband's anticipation for the future. For example, it's not unusual that we get done with a really good lunch and he says, "what's for supper." I take it as a compliment that he looks forward to my cooking. It's the same with travel for him. We get done with one trip and he's already planning the next. I, however, need time to recuperate from the most recent trip (regardless if we all got sick or not) before I can even think about doing it again. I've equated traveling (especially over the holiday season and with young children) as "tax season" for Moms.

The conversation usually starts with a very ambitious Colin who wants to see every possible family member we can at or around Christmas whatever that means as far as expense, flying and driving and I think we should just stay home and play it "safe." Weeks and months pass with discussions and research into airline prices, work vacation available, etc.

This year I really was dead set on not traveling during the cold and flu season, but then the "that means we won't see family for almost a year" card was played due to the fact that our little girl is due to be born around the Easter holiday knocking that off of the possibility of traveling to family then. So, we made the compromise to travel shortly AFTER the crazy holiday season which would hopefully reduce our risk for illness and most certainly cut our costs in airfare.

The Anticipation

As the travel time draws closer and the last trip gets farther away we all, including myself, are excited about our trip. Jackson and I did school lessons about snow in anticipation for playing in the snow. Every time we skyped with Grandma and Papa the excitement in them and us grew stronger. The cousins can't wait to play with each other and both Jackson and Micah ask on a regular basis when they get to go to Iowa.

Day 1 - Wednesday
I do my usual house cleaning before we leave for a trip. It creates a little chaos, but I'm always so glad when I get home to a clean house after a busy trip. I also have a prenatal checkup just before we leave. We've made lists and packed reasonably since although we are allowed 8 pieces of check luggage and 4 carry-ons we only have 4 hands to hold it all (we've resigned to the cart rentals at the airport). I must say that we've perfected the packing.

We've planned when is the perfect time to leave for my grandparent's so that we don't hit too much traffic. The planned 3 hour drive is usually 4 hours due to traffic, but the boys are in good spirits with lots of anticipation, snacks and a portable DVD player in the back seat with all three of us (both Jackson and I get car sickness, so it's only out of necessity that I have to sit in the back of a Sudan wedged between two car seats ... 7 months pregnant mind you... a mini-van will be a must with #3) arriving at my grandparent's house just in time for bed.

Day 2 - Thursday
Colin and I wake up around 5:30am (an hour later than we had planned) and scramble to shower and get everything packed up and the boys ready to fly out of L.A. Luckily we've found that the car rental place will drive us straight to the terminal dropping our luggage off at curb-side check in making checking in a whole lot easier for a family with little ones.

The first leg of the trip is so short that we don't even take toys out of the toy bag. After a very short lay over we start our longer flight to Omaha. Colin and I divide and conquer now that both boys are required to have a ticket. Our ritual is to wipe down everything the boys will touch with a anti-bacterial wipe and make sure the vents our closed to help cut down on exposure to germs. For the most part the boys handle the trip very well. After we land we get our luggage and Colin gets the rental car.

Jackson is chomping at the bit to play in the snow and I let him for a little bit until we have to get into the car and drive another 4 hours to Grandma and Papa's in winter weather (luckily for us the weather was perfect).

We arrive at their house by bedtime, but to the kids it still feels two hours earlier so we let them stay up about an hour later so that they can enjoy a little bit of family time before we rush them off to their beds giving us time to get beds made and suitcases in their places for the week.

Day 3 - Friday
The day is spent rediscovering toys in Grandma and Papa's basement, playing with cousins and catching up with the whole family. We just hang around the house and visit and eat good food, decorate cookies, laugh and just enjoy being with each other.

We also got the cousin Christmas picture taken ... I'll have to get a digital copy from my sister-in-law to post because it turned out SO ADORABLE.

Jackson finally gets to experience what it's like to get bundled up to go out and play in the snow. He so desperately wanted to make a snowman and couldn't understand why it being too cold made it an impossible feat. (I wish I had pictures to post, but those are all on my sister-in-law's camera, so I'll have to get them from her and post them on a later date.)

That night at around 11pm Micah wakes up sick and I move to the basement couch and leave Colin in the bedroom the three of us were sharing to take care of him so I can get some sleep. Colin was up with him about every 2 hours.

Day 4 - Saturday
We have our family "Christmas Morning" but let Micah and Colin sleep in as long as they can warning everyone in the house (which was a total of 8 adults and 6 kids) that the stomach flu has hit the household and beware.

Despite the sickness we still enjoy opening presents and celebrating the gift of Jesus.

Micah only eats cheerios, but is still able to play and seems as though it may have been only a short bout of the flu. However, I am overly conscious of the toys that are shared and hands and toys put in mouths and become a bit of a germ Nazi to most of the kids while playing.

That night Micah wakes up in full force sickness and Colin is up again about every 2 to 3 hours and I'm on the couch.

Day 5 - Sunday
Colin and Micah stay home from church, but the rest of us enjoy worship and fellowship together. There is nothing like worshiping with family. It feels like a little taste of heaven to me. We had a relaxing Sunday and Colin was able to take a good nap to help catch up from his lack of sleep.

Micah seems to be doing better during the day, but doesn't eat much and is not his usual self.

Jackson wakes up at 11pm in full force sickness.

I move back in the room with Micah and Colin sets up camp out in the basement family room next to Jackson to be with him. He's again up every 2 - 3 hours.

Micah starts a fever and a cough and I'm up with him about every 3 hours.

Day 6 - Monday
The other brothers hope to get a head start so they can avoid the winter storm on it's way. The cousins have to say their tearful goodbyes and the troupes load up in their vehicles filled to the brim.

Orin gets sick on the way home.

Thatcher gets sick that night at home (he's scheduled for a major surgery the next day so I'm sure my sister-in-law was a tad bit anxious to say the least).

Jackson and Micah are so sick that we have to follow them around the house with buckets ... no joke. We gave up on doing laundry right away knowing that we'd have a pile to do at the end of the day.

We watch quite a few movies!! Almost all day in fact ... with a short break to explore Grandma's attic though.

The fever comes and goes for the both of them during the day and at night, but Jackson makes it through most of the night resting soundly. Micah was up about every 4 hours. Colin still slept with Jackson and I with Micah.

Day 7 - Tuesday
We call friends in Omaha to cancel our get together due to the boys being sick. We also call the airline to see if we can get a flight for 48 hours later, but they informed us that that would cost us at total of $1600!! YIKES!! If we rescheduled for a week later it'd cost us $800 ... so we opted to fly with two very sick boys.

We pack up our stuff at a leisurely pace. Jackson takes voluntary naps on the couch throughout the morning, but is able to keep down some bananas and toast. Micah finally goes down with a fight for about an hour allowing us to pack the car.

We drive 4 hours to Omaha in a little more questionable weather this time only stopping once for McDonald's for Colin and I. However, we attempt to give the boys a little bit of chicken nuggets. Jackson does okay, but Micah ... not so much. I'll spare you the gruesomeness and just say I'm glad it hadn't been in his stomach for too long because it didn't have an awful smell yet.

We were going to stay with friends in Omaha, but we decide to spare them and their family this illness by getting a hotel room close by.

Colin was gracious enough to still let me go visit with my girlfriends and put the boys to bed by himself. It was such a gift to be able to catch up with women that I love so dearly.

However, by the time I get back to the hotel at 11pm Colin is sick too... and I was so looking forward to being able to finally sleep in the same bed with him. Luckily all three of my boys sleep through the night although I'm pretty sure they ALL have fevers.

I spend most of the night praying that I won't get sick and keenly aware of the boys ability to wake at any moment sick as dogs.

Day 8 - Wednesday

Thatcher and Lilly have their scheduled surgery ... I pray for them lots! And their little brother Tucker comes down with the flu. Both of their grandma's were able to come to the rescue and help with the three kids all in need of special attention in one way or another. Papa was left behind at his house having finally caught the flu himself.

We booked a later flight out, so we were able to sleep in a little. Jackson and Micah are actually playful, but by the time we check out all 3 boys were pretty exhausted.

We make it through check-in and security discovering that our flight is delayed by about a half hour. The attendant at the check-in counter warns us that we most likely won't make our connecting flight to L.A. out of Denver, but that they've reserved us seats on the next flight out 3 HOURS LATER!!!

Man was I praying!!!! PLEASE LORD LET US MAKE THAT FLIGHT!! I did not want to be stuck in an airport for 3 HOURS with 3 sick boys.

Colin found a bench to sleep under and I occupied the boys. So far no throwing up, but we'd been alternating Ibuprofen and Tylenol with Micah every 3 hours because he was visibly uncomfortable and still had a fever.

I talk to the lady at the ticket counter to see if we can arrange to have the first or second row of seats (it's first come first serve on Southwest) due to the fact that we have so many sick people traveling in our group and that we'd need to rush in order to make our connecting flight ... uh ... no ... they were NOT helpful AT ALL! GRRRRR!

Fortunately the flight arrivs a little earlier than they thought and they hold the L.A. plane for us in Denver. Good thing too because I am surprised that the flight even took off looking out the window. I bet our 3 hours would have been much longer. Once our plane is de-iced and in the air I am much calmer.

Micah sleeps on me most of the way. Jackson plays so nicely by himself close by Colin who was able to sleep some more. The flight was pretty empty and I am glad for that because on the descent Micah finally loses it and we are changing his clothes and wiping down his seat as we land.

Unfortunately the car rental place doesn't pick up at the terminal so we have to haul all of our luggage to a bus stop and wait for the rental bus to pick us up. It takes a little longer than usual. We get our car and get situated. Only to get on the interstate and "crawl" the 4 hours towards home.

Jackson gets sick, but I'm pretty sure it is just motion sickness.

Eventually we drive through a fast food place trying to find the most mild food on the menu for the boys (Jack In the Box has a rice bowl and were able to put the rice and toppings in two separate containers).

By this time Colin feels more rested and can stomach more subtantial food, but decides not to have his normal coffee or Dr. Pepper and that says a lot for him.

We arrive home at around 10pm, but it feels like midnight to us. Jackson is delighted to be in his own bed and Micah goes down for the night with a pretty empty tummy, but we were still giving him medicine which he threw up later that night.

Day 9 - Thursday
Colin goes in late to work.

The boys wake up in good spirits and play while I unpack until about 10:30am when Micah is feverish and only wants to be held. Colin comes home around 11:30 and picks up Jackson so they can go see the rocket launch and really to give Micah and I some down time. Then Colin works the rest of the day from home.

From about 11:30 until 4pm Micah sleeps on and off on my chest and does not want to be put down. He has a mild fever, but I don't want to upset his tummy by giving him more medicine. He threw up his lunch by this point and is not even really interested in water.

I call my girlfriend, Marie, who is a pediatrician in Omaha to ask her advice. Seeing as Micah's fever was going on day 5 she advices me to make an appointment with our pediatrician suspecting that he may have a bacterial ear infection. When they call back to set up the appointment I expressed my concern about giving him pain medicine and they suggested a suppository of acetametaphin. NOT my first choice of a solution, but Colin got some and luckily we have a good friend who has to do suppositories for one of her children on a regular basis, so she was able to give us good advice.

Poor Jackson is feeling the fact that I can't spend time with just him and although he got special time with Colin he has an emotional meltdown at bedtime wanting me to put him to bed. Fortunately Micah is exhausted and goes down quickly so I can spend time reading with Jackson.

Micah sleeps SO much better and we end up giving him one more suppository in the night.

Day 10 - Friday

Micah wakes up fever free and in much better spirits and even keeps breakfast down. We are off to the doctor's and Colin works from home with Jackson. The doctor confirms that Micah has an ear infection and perscribes an antibiotic.

We get it filled as soon as we're back in town and I give it to Micah at lunch only to have him throw it up 5 minutes later. I call Marie once again and she says it's fine to give him another dose. He keeps that one down.

The boys take great naps, but they are not all that interested in supper and Micah tosses most of it anyway. Poor Colin cleans that one up because it didn't make it into the bucket we've been following Micah around with and I put the boys in a bath for almost an hour.

We... I decide to spare Micah another suppository and see how he makes it through the night, but he doesn't make it past 11pm without tossing his cookies in bed and we have to change him and his sheets. We give him a suppository and he sleeps much better. Finally we're connecting that dots that his ears hurt and cause him to have coughing fits which trigger is gauge reflex and ... well you know the rest.

Day 11 - Saturday (Today)

I give Micah his antibiotics on an empty stomach and rock with him in his room for 20 minutes to be sure that they actually absorb before we attempt breakfast.

Jackson and Colin are back to normal.

We decide to feed Micah smaller amounts of food every hour rather than smaller meals every 4 hours and we continue to give him suppositories during the day and into the evening.

So far Micah's kept everything in his stomach. He has moments of being weepy especially when I wouldn't allow him to be over indulgent on certain foods, but I can tell he's feeling better.

We've got 3 more days of the antibiotic, so now I'm just praying that it works. If we don't see any imporvement tomorrow or if he regresses I think we'll be back at the doctor's on Monday.

So our one week trip turned into just about a two week ordeal. It's no fun to be sick in your own home, it's even worse in someone elses' home, but it is by far the PITS to be sick in a hotel room and/or airplane and/or traveling long distance in a car. I wouldn't recommend it to ANYONE!

BUT, we survived! Colin and I are slowly catching up on sleep and our boys are starting to act like the boys we knew before they got sick. Laundry is folded but not put away, I was able to buy a few groceries, but not with much planning for meals (Colin has been amazing and dealing with most of that) and the clean house we came home to is in disarray. BUT my boys are feeling better ... FINALLY!

Can you see the dicotomy? The joy in the pictures and stories I've posted, but the exhaustion and anxiety present too? Can you understand why it's so hard for me to want to travel, but miss my family so much that I do it anyway? Perhaps not, but at least I was able to get this all off of my chest.

So, don't ask me about when I'll be traveling next ... at least not for a few months.