Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In the Swing of Things

These photos are from back in January. One of the wonderful things about mild winters is being able to enjoy the outdoors more frequently.  The kids love playing outside and I feel bad not taking them out more often. Swinging 01 I really need to get back into the swing of things, pun intended as this post is flooded with some swinging photos. Being a stay at home, or work at home mother is exhausting yet extremely rewarding.  I love that I am so involved with raising my children but I swear some mother's must be superwoman.  How is it possible to juggle everything?  I haven't discovered that answer yet. Swinging 02 My two children, very much alike yet very different, one loves to swing, one hates to swing.  This particular afternoon, Nathan was making Teagan laugh hysterically while swinging.  He would push her then let her come crashing back into him, knocking him over.  I am going to let the rest of the photos speak for themselves. I've written about this dilemma before but am writing about it again because I still haven't come up with a solution.  But as I was saying, about trying to get in the swing of things and figure out how to balance each component of being a woman, a wife, a mother, a business owner, etc.  For example, I find that I could spend all day trying to keep the kitchen clean but I would neglect everything else.  If I let the kitchen go just a little bit then I find myself giving up the cleanliness of the kitchen altogether. Swinging 02b I have so much on my mind and I know I am not the only person feeling weighed down by responsibilities but boy does it stink sometimes.  The majority of our mornings, I focus on medications, treatments, breakfast, minimizing crying, and cleaning the kitchen.  It is a blur.  I am lucky if I had the chance to change out of my pajamas before Jay goes to work.  Now I am forcing myself to change real quick before coming downstairs because by the time I finish everything listed above it could very well be 11 am. Swinging 03a That doesn't even incorporate giving the kids any quality attention.  I often don't remember to eat until I feel lightheaded.  There is just no room for "me" in my daily routine.  And that is a very bad thing. Swinging 03 I'm not looking for a spotless house.  I am looking to have a house that we can live in.  I don't mind having toys around, but I don't want toys everywhere.  I need to develop and maintain some system of organization because the disorder makes for a very chaotic daily life. Swinging 05 I don't want to spend the entire day cleaning, skipping out on bath time, letting my husband watch the kids, so I can fold and put away laundry.  Bath time won't be around forever but when else am I going to squeeze in laundry, especially with kids who don't nap? Swinging 07

I often suffer the consequences of repeatedly putting off tasks, accumulating late fees, etc.  I feel like I should be more like a preschool teacher to my kids, constantly interacting, scheduling activities and crafts, playing with them and not just being in their presence.  The only time I get any sort of business done is when the kids are in preschool or with their grandparents, like today.

I'm not sure when or even if I will ever get into the swing of things and I'm not sure an answer even exists.

Swinging 08

And this last photo is for laughs. Swinging 06

Monday, February 27, 2012

We have lift off

Potty post, you have been forewarned.

I would like to officially report that Nathan is almost completely toilet trained.

No embarrassing photos of my little guy sitting on the potty...Your welcome, Nathan.

Potty training is exhausting if you ask me.  I feel like my days are consumed with potty talk. "Do you have to go pee pee?  Let's go try.  Do you have to poop?  I hope you aren't going to poop in your underpants.  Don't you want to poop on the potty so you can get your Ninja Castle?"

Seriously I have to watch myself otherwise I might ask our UPS delivery man if he needs to use the potty.

But it does seem to be getting easier.  Nathan has begun doing the potty dance, which he has never done before.  Now I can tell when he needs to pee and can urge him to run to the bathroom.

This past friday was the first time poop and potty occurred in the same sentence and not in the sense that I wished Nathan would have pooped on the potty.  I brought up that ever so wished for samurai castle when I saw him getting quiet and going into hiding and he walked to the bathroom, locked the door and was quiet for a very long time, with the exception of an occasional flush and some tearing of toilet paper.  I kept occasionally asking if he wanted me to help him and there was no answer.  I even crept down on my hands and knees to peer under the door.  I could see nothing, not even his feet dangling.

Finally he opened the door and it became evident that he accomplished, or attempted, #2 on the toilet!!  It was a pretty scary scene but it was a happy occasion, I just put up the imaginary caution tape and locked the door behind us and reminded myself to thoroughly clean the area later.

He has gone a total of 3 times and each time is becoming a little less of a crime scene.  Today he closed the door but didn't lock it, allowing me to enter and help him during the wiping process.

Samurai castle has been ordered.  I can't believe I bribed him with a toy.  Worst idea, ever for the house of many toys.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Remembering our hospital admission, one year ago

I realized moments ago that it has been exactly one year since Nathan's first hospital admission.  The memories are still so vivid, almost like it was yesterday.

Nathan hospital admission 2011 - 1

The feelings of guilt I had after making the difficult decision to go ahead with iv antibiotics were immensely strong  especially after seeing Nathan go under and wake up from anesthesia for the picc line placement procedure.
Today was absolutely heartbreaking for me. You probably wouldn’t notice by looking at me but I am an absolute wreck holding it together for Nathan. Watching my son fight sedation with tears in his eyes, begging us to save him…horrible. Hearing him tell us that he is going home to see his friend, Ayden…so sad. Walking into recovery to him already awake and frantically attempting to rip the IV out of his hand…sucks.

I look back and feel so appreciative for the love and support extended to us during that difficult 2 week period.

orange and blue for Nathan

So much has changed since that hospital admission.  We have all matured, I myself have hardened a little bit.  Nathan has been doing terrific since the iv antibiotics, not sure if it is the hospital admission or the fact that we switched to a different pulmonoligist since the hospital admission.  I could care less either way.  Bottom line, regardless of whatever or whomever I have to thank, he is doing well, growing, and thriving.

I know the reality of the disease is that we will experience more hospital admissions and more iv antibiotics down the road, hopefully later and not sooner.  For now I am just acknowledging and remembering the experience and being ever so grateful for friends, family, and health.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

slight improvement

Not really much to report on Teagan - not sure if she had roseola or not. The rash that appeared during her doctor's appointment disappeared just as quickly as it appeared. She seems to be making up for lost sleep as each of the last two nights she slept over 10 hours in a row. This is not usual for her so I am fully expecting to welcome her into our bed in the wee hours of the night. I just wish she would whine a little less during the day. Her appetite has decreased a little bit, although not her appetite for breast milk which seems to have grown.

She will be 18 months old in about a week and she is pretty assertive when it comes to getting what she wants. The tantrums are in full force. I don't mind extended breastfeeding but I am not a huge fan of nursing her several times throughout the night or having her pull down my shirt collar saying "open that" throughout the day. Seems a little rude, in my opinion, not that an 18 month old would understand that. But how to teach her that this is not appropriate? I'm thinking only feed her on my terms. If she displays the behavior (pulling on shirt/ putting hand down shirt), then tell her no and refuse to feed her for x amount of minutes until she no longer displays behavior?

Anyway, the earlier bedtime of between 7-8 pm seems to be suiting her well especially since she does not take a daytime nap.

This weeks photo dump:

2 23 2012 photo dump

A little commentary on the above photo dump.  The weather is getting warmer which I am extremely excited about.  Time outside, fresh air, less of a mess in the house, tired kids at the end of the day - all good things!

I am approaching my 10 year high school reunion - seems a bit anticlimactic since I pretty much know everything from facebook.

Nathan is beginning to potty train - he elected the samurai ninja castle as his reward for when he poops on the potty several days in a row.  Since that may take a while, we rewarded him with a set of samurai & ninja figures for peeing on the potty all week.  He only has accidents when I forget to bring him to the potty.  Any after being worn down by Teagan's irritability the last couple days I admit to putting Nathan back in a diaper.  It is as  much potty training for me as it is for him.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

no answers

The visit to the pediatrician today yielded no answers. Her physical exam was very much normal - no temperature, no ear infection, nothing. Teagan now weighs 21 pounds, 11 ounces, at least I walked away with some useful information today.

A rash did appear, today. In fact I didn't even notice it until the doctor's appointment. So based on the fact that she had a fever for a few days this past weekend and a rash on her torso and arms and legs, I'm thinking possibly roseola virus (6th's disease).

Although I can't be certain, I'm actually not certain the rash is still present. A friend shared that her daughter similarly was a terrible sleeper and miserable during the day - must consider sleep apnea if problem persists.

Sigh. Back to my children - irritable, crying, and hyper.

without too much detail

Teagan has an appointment with the doctor later this morning. I felt awkward making the appointment because I am not really sure there is anything wrong with her. But the fact that she has been crying at least 50% of the day leads me to believe something just isn't right. I feel bad hoping that the doctor see something wrong, something stupid that can be fixed because otherwise I am just stuck with little miss cranky pants.

I don't mind when my kids cry but usually it is for a reason and can be fixed quite easily with a hug and a kiss or some quiet time. The nonstop crying however is making me a nervous wreck. I keep telling Nathan not to go near her because God forbid he looks at her wrong or gets too close she might start crying again.

At this moment, she is right at my feet crying. The short of it is, I hope there is a solution because she cries more than a newborn and it is driving me insane, literally going crazy here. She is almost 18 months old - I feel like she should be sleeping through the night and not crying nonstop throughout the day.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Surprises

Most of the time I am all for surprises but I have to tell ya, I am not enjoying the surprises I've been receiving from the State of New Jersey this week.

The first surprise isn't really a surprise at all. Fourth quarter sales taxes are supposed to be filed and paid by January 20th, not February. Totally my fault, lesson learned...again. Now I have all the quarterly deadlines written in my planner as well as a reminder at the end of each quarter. I'll accept the late filing penalty and interest fees.

The second surprise is a monthly deduction of approximately $500 from hubby's pay for NJ State Pension and Health Care Reform. That's ALOT of freakin' money and completely unexpected! A portion of that is to repay what is owed since the bill passed in June 2011 so we will be losing pay regardless. I'm hoping we can reduce this by declining his healthcare coverage. The only reason he elected for health insurance through his job was because it was free. I'm guessing there is no way to decline pension. This surprise is a huge problem!

The last surprise, please God let it be the final surprise NJ has for us this week, is from the DMV. The motor vehicle says I owe a ridiculous amount of tax on a vehicle that was valued much higher than what I really paid. Seriously, like $4,000+ more than we paid. Gut wrenching.

Here's to a happy Saturday with NO MORE SURPRISES.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

How could I have forgotten?

Valentine's Day sushi dinner date with my husband, and Teagan.

ValentinesDaySushiDinnerDate2

Oh and to our cat, Mishca, that is a poor hiding space.

Nathan was knocked out from all the Valentine's Day fun so we just let him snooze on the sofa.

Nathan Vday Sleeping

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Day of LOVE

Today we celebrated love. Valentine's Day to me is a lot more than Hallmark cards. Although I can totally see how this Hallmark holiday would be dreaded by many. As I sit here and remember back to my middle school years - I think of cheap carnations and how quantity of flowers signified the number of people who were friends with you, secretly admired you, or loved you -- all color coded, of course, so everyone can easily know how loved or unloved you are. What a great way to increase the insecurities of a preteen.

But fast forward past the years of dating my husband, where Valentine's Day became almost a test of love - necessitating roses, chocolates, stuffed animals, romantic movies that paint a picture of romance that is far from
realistic, and I have finally and truly developed a love for this day of love.

A day to enjoy sweets, hearts, and sweethearts. A day to enjoy friends, family, children, and love! Rainbows, and unicorns, and everything pink and red! (Note to self - Teagan desperately needs a pair of ruby red glitter slippers!!!) What could be better than an excuse to construct cute little valentines for your friends?

There were so many great valentine ideas floating around on pinterest this year. In fact one of my best friends made the heart shaped crayons - so cute! And I sewed these roll up crayon pouches, I have no clue what they are called or even if they have a name. I will update this post tomorrow with a link to my inspiration. Even the unborn valentines received a portable crayon case, a crayon rollup, a crayon cozy (oh I like that one) of their own.

Valentines Day 01

Valentine's Day - an excuse to turn any and all food red or pink and cut everything into the shape of a heart. I made some traditional peanut butter blossom cookies with a twist for a little Love Gathering. Also inspired by pinterest, also need to update with source - reddish cookies with Hershey Hugs instead of Hershey Kisses. I know I could have made these cookies perfectly red with gel food coloring but I wanted to challenge myself to be a little more natural. So in lieu of artificial coloring I added fresh beet juice and lemon. The lemon (acidic) is supposed to prevent the beet from reacting with the baking soda (alkaline) and turning the cookies brown. Apparently the more acidic the beets, the redder the result. Unfortunately, the prepackaged peanut butter cookie mix only called for a few tablespoons of liquid, not leaving much room for concentrated color without watering down the dough. I'm sure I can improve these cookies but it will require experimenting.

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But before our little party, the kids and I had a rendezvous at the mall with Grandma and Grandpa Bill. Destination - Build a Bear Factory, Operation - Build a Bear. Nathan was beyond excited as you can see in the photos below.

Valentines Day 02 BuildABear

He chose to stuff a penguin just like the penguins at Sea World. He really absorbed the entire process of bringing his "bear" to life. Meet Captain Hook, the penguin!

And Teagan stuffed Pinkie, the pink Hello Kitty, with grandpa's help. She was content just sitting on his lap. She got all shy when the employee was talking to her (arm hiding face). Nathan helped her bathe Pinkie while Teagan used the grooming brush to brush her own hair.

Valentines Day 03 BuildABear

What a fabulous, fun filled, footprint making, cookie baking, friend/family hugging, day of LOVE!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hallelujah

...she is finally feeling better...

Teagan

...and so am I.  I seemed to have bypassed this cold, with the exception of a wicked sinus headache, but emotionally I am beginning to feel much better.  Having sick kids to care for really drains one's energy.  I am still hoping and praying with all my might that Teagan's virus will also bypass Nathan.  I'd rather take on two weeks of my own misery with Teagan's nasty cold than to have him suffer one day.

Sidenote, I am extremely thankful for supportive friends, the ones who know to track me down when I drop of the face of the earth, or should I say internet.

*****

And why not a phone dump, because I'm clicking photos of my two loves all day long via instagram.   Notice the subtle change from Wednesday to weekly photo dump.  I experience enough pressure to post my phone pics once a week let alone on a specific day.

photo dump 2 09 12

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Skipping dinner

Tonight, I am skipping dinner.

I am feeling totally "off" today. It may have something to do with the fact that Teagan had been miserable for 7 full days straight come tomorrow morning.

Her cold seems much better but she isn't snapping out of it. Her canker sore doesn't seem to be the cause of this irritability either. I can tell you one thing though, I've been as nurturing as I can possibly be but I am SO done with all the screaming and crying, and boogers that I fight to wipe, and raw skin below the nose that I fight to put ointment on...just done.

So tonight I'm skipping dinner and instead I'm alone in my bedroom. It is such a wonderful feeling, even though I can still hear the muffled commotion down below. This is the most peaceful I've felt in a VERY long time.

I occasionally experience these off days, but not normally off weeks. Phew I need a break, desperately.

I have 2 client galleries to publish and with struggling to finish one photo a day, it is going to take an unacceptably long time. I promise 2-3 weeks and I stick to my word. I only wish I could afford day care, care longer than preschool hours even if only 2 days a week. I think we are just over the income eligibility guidelines to receive child care assistance...rambling...not what I want this post to be about.

My mind is thinking a little too much recently and I need to calm it down. I need to enjoy the moment a little more and stop worrying. Sometimes I lay in bed with Nathan at his request as he falls asleep at night and I can't help but be scared. To watch him so still and in the darkness listen to his breathing, how it is a little different from normal breathing, taking a snapshot of him so happy and healthy. I can't ever bury him, I just can't, I wouldn't survive. And how I will never take the chance of having another child live with CF even though I used to want a large family. Sorry, also not what I want this post to be about.

Can you do me a quick favor? Please say a prayer that I can find some quiet time, some peace and refuge from my hectic daily life as caregiver and work at home mother, and from my mind in general. Also that Teagan recovers from this virus, sooner rather than later.

Publishing without proofreading, it may not make sense but if I proofread I will probably delete entire post because it contains feelings that nobody wants to read.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A canker sore under her tongue

Now that we are about 3 days into Teagan's cold, I would expect a little improvement. She should be feeling better each day.

If you were to judge how sick she is based on irritability alone things are not looking good for her today.

I began her on Advil for her low grade fever which seemed to quiet her screaming (her cry was like a siren of misery). Unfortunately as we neared the 6th hour after dosage she became inconsolable. Luckily my friend informed me that I alternate between Advil and Tylenol. This made the afternoon almost bearable.

She hasn't been eating very well. In fact she threw a full on tantrum when I prepared her favorite foods smothered with her favorite condiment, ketchup. She has been fighting us with each dose of pain medication.

Tonight as we were trying to give her Advil I caught a glimpse of something in her mouth, something I get all the time - dreaded canker sores. I told Jay I thought I saw a sore under her tongue so he helped me get a better look. Sure enough her entire lingual frenulum was covered by a canker sore. The the little tissue, or membrane, or whatever you call it, that connects the underside of your tongue to the floor of the mouth.

This explains the misery, and the screaming bloody murder when I fed her lunch covered in ketchup. I know all too well that canker sores are even more painful when exposed to ketchup, citrus, and all things acidic.

Whenever I get a canker sore in my mouth I apply a topical anesthetic to numb the area for a little while. I love that my dad is a dentist because I snagged a trial size container of topical anesthetic many many years ago, the stuff the dentist applies before giving a shot of anesthesia. This tiny little amount has lasted me forever, a little dab on the tip of a Q-tip will do you.

So all I had to do was get the tip of the Q-tip to touch the canker sore in Teagan's mouth and I knew she would experience instant relief. The crying stopped immediately and she was trying to figure out what was up with her numb tongue as she drooled a little bit.

Amen! Praying for a slightly more pleasant Sunday.

Friday, February 3, 2012

cold season is upon us

It may not be cold outside but cold season is definitely in full swing around here.  The temperatures have been fairly mild but my sinuses have been very angry that we keep experiencing temperatures oscillating back and forth between warm and cold.  I actually had my sliding glass door open on February 1st.  And while most days I don't even wear a jacket let alone a sweatshirt, my children always wear coats.

The past two days have seemed like an eternity.  Teagan is sick with a cold and she is just plain miserable.  I even took her to the pediatrician today just to make sure her ears and throat looked alright but her doctor confirmed my instinct that she was only suffering from a cold - low grade temperature, coughing, running nose, decreased appetite, looser stools, IRRITABILITY!, LOTS OF CRYING.  When I asked him if there was an anti crying medication he laughed and suggested I try Advil in place of the Tylenol.  I feel terrible for her but to be quite honest I am feeling pretty sorry for myself too.

Thursday and Friday mornings I utilize the time when both kids are at preschool to work on client proofing galleries however I kept my sick little girl home.  I would have been ticked off if another parent brought a sick child in so that was not going to be me.

*****

The photos of Teagan below were taken about a week ago.  We had a mother daughter date at the mall with a friend.  She doesn't look enthused but I can tell already that she is going to love shopping with her mama, really she has no choice.  I decided, that since I've lost almost 8 pounds since December 26, I deserved a little something for myself - two new shirts that were on super clearance at Express.

TeaganAtMall

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I digress.  What I was trying to say is, since Teagan stayed home from preschool the past two days, I got absolutely nothing accomplished.  I've been telling myself that I would make up for it in the evening, you know burn some midnight oil, but after trying to comfort a crying child all day I've been too tired to trust my eyes editing any photos.  I have to make up for it this weekend.  Photos to edit, galleries to upload, clients to get back to, sessions to schedule.  Praise God my business is doing well but family comes first.  Luckily, weekends are a great time to play catch up since my husband is home and can spend some quality time with the kids, something he doesn't get to do a lot of during the weekdays.

*****

She really is such a good girl.  I know she much not be feeling well to be crying 90% of the day.  What bothers her most are the boogers dripping from her nose.  She can't stop rubbing, scratching, and wiping her face.  I lost my cool the other evening an feel terrible.  I actually shouted at her to stop crying and it only made her cry worse.  Instantly I felt remorse.  She is so helpless and dependent on me to comfort her.  I wish I could apologize to her and have her understand but I will just have to try harder to not make it happen again.  I apologized to Nathan for yelling at Teagan and he forgave me, but only after saying it scared him.

TeaganPigtails - 2

Baby girl does not like her hair up these days.  These photos were taking last week around the same time as the mother daughter mall trip.  Initially she was quite happy and cute with her pink boots (she always has boots or shoes on her feet - she demands it actually and chooses her own pair, often matching her outfits better than the ones I would choose) and pigtails.

Quickly that happinesses and cuteness faded into misery as she embarked on a mission - Operation Get-These-Rubber-Elastics-Out-Of-My-Hair. 

TeaganPigtails

It is going to be pretty difficult trying to grow this girls bangs out.  Her hair is back in her eyes again since I last caved in and decided to snip the hair out of her face.  I either need to let her eat hair or wrap those elastics even tighter!

Hope everyone has an enjoyable weekend - relaxing, lazy, productive, or whatever else you may have in store.  I'm praying that Teagan may experience some relief from her cold symptoms and that I may utilize my time in a productive and efficient manner.