Sickness, Hormones, and Prayer – Oh My!

March 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

Sickness seems to still be lingering in our house. We’ve got juicy coughs, seal-y coughs, boogies-dripping-down-my-throat coughs… bloody noses from the dry winter air, headaches, restlessness at night… tissues everywhere……

So not only have I not slept (which isn’t super abnormal for me) I have been working double time.

And I’m tired.

And 26 weeks pregnant.

My hormones are out of whack.

And this morning when my husband had to run out unexpectedly after a weekend of not seeing him much I broke down in the middle of a diaper change. Dante heard me from the next room and came on out….

Are you okay mommy?

Yes I am honey

I’m going to pray for you mommy….. Lord help mommy and take away her tears

(Fresh sobs from the sweetness)

Did daddy make you sad?

No baby, I’m just so tired, and I miss him

I want to wipe your tears

Thank you, my little prayer warrior

God will give you a hug and help your heart

…………………..

When I shared this with his daddy, Dante beamed. What a sweet moment for my heart, which then turned into an opportunity to praise my baby boy for praying and lifting mommy up in the Lord. I love seeing his satisfaction when he knows how proud we are of the little man he’s turning into.

Give Me Grace!! ….. (getting chocolate wasted would also help)

March 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

The Play-by-Play:

Wednesday. Happy-seeming child ASKS to take a nap. Wakes up okay. Then cries until I agree to bring him home from his Gigi and Grampy’s house later that night. Odd.

Thursday. Child is whiney. Clingy. Low fever sets in. The whining gets worse.

Thursday night. We have a bed-wetting incident (which was, I believe, our fault since I think we overlooked having said child use the bathroom before bed). Sick child is woken during the sheet change since they have been bunking together lately. Never seems to go back to sleep. Cries to blow his nose all night long. I try to get out of my mom duties by telling him to just wipe his boogies on the blanket. Fail. Sickie ends up in our bed and after A LOT of tossing and turning, falls asleep and sleeps in.

Friday. Fever broke. Child still whiney. Otherwise good day. Got my hopes up for an easier night. Wrong-o.

Friday night. Formerly feverish child wakes after initially going to bed pretty easily crying for me asking to wipe very runny nose. I try the blanket thing again. It doesn’t work. I stand at his door for an hour because in the few seconds it takes to walk from the boys’ room to our room, he calls me back. I try propping up his pillows. Undressing him to only sleep in his diaper (hey you never know), dress him when that clearly has no effect on his comfort, open a window, turn the heat down, close the window and turn the heat back up when I decide it is far too cold, move him to the empty toddler bed, move him back to sleep with brother, and back again, and back again, tuck him in this way, tuck him in that way…… ultimately trying to avoid letting him come into our bed again because nobody gets any sleep in that situation.

Later Friday night. Sickie finally seems to be settled down. The baby wakes up. Angry. Sickie child asks innocently why his brother is crying. Ha! I pat baby’s back. He wants to fall asleep this way. I give him the half full sippy cup of water that sickie child hadn’t finished. He goes back to sleep.

In the wee hours of Saturday morning. Sickie child wakes crying again. I don’t even try. He comes to bed with us. The baby wakes up again. Even angrier. I take a little more time with him, rubbing his back. He’s not having it. He gets his little baby way. A nice warm bottle. Peace (Until tonight when he thinks he can get away with THAT again. Puh!) Sickie child flips and flops in our bed. Kicks daddy in the back during his acrobatics. Steals my pillow. Eventually falls asleep.

6:30am. All three kids are awake. Not quite rearing to go. They’re actually all bleary-eyed and grouchy. But I throw in the towel and tape the corners of my mouth into a smiling position and head downstairs.

God. There were a few times last night that I lost my grasp on grace and gentleness. Please pour a little bit into the coffee I’m about to drink and help me through the rest of this day….. and night. Amen.

Super Team Work, Team Work!!

March 5, 2014 § Leave a comment

I know I’m not the only mom out there who doesn’t enjoy playing dinosaurs for an hour with the 2 year old. Maybe with my first, when everything was so new and fresh and my child didn’t have anyone else to entertain him I would do that… but even then I didn’t LOVE it. I LOVE seeing my children grow and learn and play together, but most of the time I get zero pleasure out of roaring back and forth for very long.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy a few minutes of back and forth play conversation…

Mommy you be the sheep, I be the T-Rex

Okay. Don’t eat me Mr. T-Rex!

Rooooooaaaaarrrrrrr!!!

Oh no! Run away!

Don’t be scare of me sheep

Oh ok. You’re nice?

Yes. Let’s eat grass.

And so on. That’s cute and entertaining for a few minutes. But once the conversation begins to repeat itself I’m all, “wow that was fun, maybe go see if your brother wants to play!”.

Today someone was speaking some serious Whinese and the other was picking on the baby so since nobody seemed to be able to sit and find something quiet and happy to do – and I wasn’t feeling up to sitting and playing with toys – I invited everyone to clean the dining room floor with me!

And guess what?! They loved it! Dante (and I) used a dust pan and meticulously swept up crumbs. Stefano brushed the crumbs around while holding the pan above his head. Both took turns wiping down the floor with a wet cloth. And Leonardo was just happy to watch and cut teeth on the crayons which were scattered all over the floor from an earlier round of coloring (and I totally let him).

Two out of four of us were quite productive. Four for four were busy and engaged. And my two big boys got a great big shot o’ praise for helping out mom.

No lie I was singing the Team Work song from the Yo Gabba Episode with Mos Def as Super Mr. Superhero. I love that one.

Anyways….

When they felt they were done the crayons were picked up and some more coloring ensued which allowed me to get some work done in the kitchen – I made macaroni and cheese with whole wheat rigatoni noodles and plain Greek yogurt (and cheese, milk, and some seasoning of course) and it was delicious and healthy! Boom!)!!

Dante drew a fantastic dinosaur. Stefano drew some worms. Those are some real boys for ya.

Nothing like a little team work to get the chore ball rolling and creative juices… juiced?

Did I Mention I Like Bagels?

February 28, 2014 § 1 Comment

Group B Streptococcus. GBS. Many women develop a colonization of this often non-problematic-for-mom bacteria during pregnancy and can be dangerous to newborns if they come in contact with or swallow it once the mother’s water has broken while she is in labor and/or delivering her baby. 

I’m in the middle of my fourth pregnancy. I have tested positive with GBS four out of four pregnancies, now.

Maybe it’s just a quirk about my body. But MAYBE it’s because I eat bagels like I’m getting paid to do it. And all other breakfast pastries and other snack foods and desserts that are made with refined ingredients and contain tons of sugar. It strikes me as funny that altered foods are called “refined”. It doesn’t seem very pure or “refined” when you take out everything GOOD and HEALTHFUL about that food.

Anyways. I eat carbs, carbs and more carbs. The worst ones. Seriously, there have been days that I eat 3 bagels like it’s not even remotely disgusting… not to mention that I add over an inch of cream cheese to each half.

I am convinced that my diet is the cause of not only weight gain but also my low energy levels, trouble with sleep, and probably has a lot to do with the fact that I always test positive for GBS and have to be needled while I’m trying to bring babies into the world…. Not that the penicillin ever has very much time to counter the bacteria… but the Lord has protected my children and for that I am thankful.

Not to be gross – I don’t usually post this kind of TMI medical-ly, personal stuff on here – but at my midwife’s office, patients are required to give a urine sample at each visit, and the GBS showed up (this was the first time it’s come up before the regular screening much later in the pregnancy). I was offered antibiotics which I did not take. I decided I wanted to try and take care of myself naturally. But even then I didn’t think any further than eating Activia regularly (for the probiotics).

 But now I’ve done a little more research (I feel like all I’ve been doing the past couple of weeks is stare at the computer reading various articles about different aspects of health and well-being! I feel like my brain is going to explode!) and I’ve come to realize that – Hey! Crazy bagel lady! You need to get your act together!

So the point of my rambling isn’t to leave you dwelling on my recurrent GBS issue… nobody wants to dwell on that… 

I’m here because I’m feeling super excited to start eating better! It’s not about weight gain, it’s about realizing that I’m eating myself into a state of deteriorating health. My husband wakes up, exercises before the sun is up, and then makes himself eggs with kale and peppers and black beans…. then there’s me… polishing off 5 mini-muffins that I picked up the grocery store the night before. Not fair to him. Not fair to ME. Not fair to my kids, who look to me as an example. I’m definitely not taking care of the body the Lord gave to me.

This kind of decision can leave me feeling very overwhelmed and I am definitely one to jump the gun and find myself in over my head. So I want to start out by cutting out the refined and processed foods as best I can. Just generally start eating better. Cut out the fast food and the soda and pints of Ben & Jerry’s. That’s a start, right? We had a mini birthday celebration tonight for a friend and I was called on to bring a cake.. so I picked up one that looked pretty chocolate-y and delicious and didn’t even have a teensie taste. Yay me! I don’t want to start off my new-me-lifestyle by cheating on a cake less than two days after the decision was made.

So here I go. I’m craving a bagel and cream cheese like you wouldn’t believe but I’m hoping to make it through the first week and see this thing through. Maybe I’ll be back to share some recipes or just in general how things are going. I don’t expect I’ll see much in the way of weight loss since I’m preggers and all… but hopefully some improvement in how I feel overall. 

Dante and Stefano Say….

February 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

Dante Says:

“Is the sun going down behind the hill?” when he notices that it’s getting dark outside… I believe he picked this up from one our favorite books ‘Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel’

“I’ve got to do my work ups!” when he sees daddy working out. Gotta be just like dad!

“Mom where are all the dinosaurs?” “Most of them died a long time ago, honey” he considers this for a moment and then matter-o-factly tells me, “No, they’re just sleeping”.

“Mommy I love you because you’re so beautiful and pretty”…. thank you. Thank you very much.

Stefano says:

“Dante said stupid…” in a hushed tone… when in fact Dante did not… Stefano just wants to have a reason to say this bad word without getting disciplined for it, I suppose? Haha

“Mommy, can I have a cookie? – Oh yes! Certainly! Of course!” ….. All in one breath. He knows that I find this absolutely adorable and it’s hard for me to say no, I guess!

While practicing our numbers and counting, he points to the picture of 5 dolls next to the number “5”….. “5 dowwies”… oh my word. I ask him to repeat this 10 times before moving onto number 6.

Doctor Mom

February 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

We’ve been members of Christian Healthcare Ministries for threeish months, now. If you’re not familiar with bill sharing to meet medical needs as opposed to health insurance, this non-profit company – and many other similar companies alike – receives monthly “gifts” from individuals or families and send the entirety of that gift to meet various needs in the affiliated Christian community. It is a ministry based off of New Testament giving. We are called to meet one another needs. Go above and beyond tithing and give what we can… of course, in Massachusetts health insurance is mandatory and to be honest the cheaper price tag was what drew us to this option initially.

I do think it’s a great practice. I love how practical it is. When we heard about it, we thought – hey this seems right, let’s go for it. And I’m glad we did. But things are a little bit tricky. Healthcare costs are outrageous. Let’s be honest. My son went to the hospital with a cut on his forehead. Didn’t see a doctor, let alone a plastic-surgeon, and the bill was almost $1000 (this was just before we made the switch, and WITH insurance we were still responsible for more than half of that. A month later his brother got a similar cut near his eyebrow, I said “no way, not again” and taped it shut myself. Their scars look the same. So basically I did as good as a the medical professional and spent nothing. I used bandages that I already had.

There’s also the multiple doctor visits made in a newborns first year which adds up, along with the rest of our yearly physicals. And it leaves me questioning the costs, the benefits of so many visits to the doctor, and the motives. It’s a money money money making industry, is it not? I have a great family doctor. But I’ve recently started looking into ways to treat my family at home for illnesses. Prescription drugs are expensive and a lot of the time unnecessary. Diagnosed ear infections are rarely infections and can be treated with homeopathic remedies. I’ve treated a case of conjunctivitis without ever calling the doctor. Apple cider vinegar and onions are natural healers. A little research can go a long way, and I’ve only uncovered the tip of the ice burg. Medicine has its place, for sure, but not for every day illnesses that can be looked at as beneficial immune system building blocks rather than something to completely avoid and run, screaming, away from. And is it so necessary for healthy family members to see the doctor more than one a year? Once every couple of years? I’m not an expert but I’m starting to think maybe life doesn’t have to seem to regimented. So uniform.

I’ve also put it off and put it off but I think it’s finally time to start learning more about vaccines and whether or not they are necessary. I think the scarier part is how alienated one feels when they even think about not vaccinated their children. I mean, I had chicken pox and I survived. Why shouldn’t my kids have chicken pox? Why should I, instead, pay for expensive vaccines to “protect” them from a used-to-be common childhood right of passage? If we’re putting anything into out bodies to protect ourselves and children it should be clean food and water. Natural oils. Super foods………………… Now, we’re far from being the poster family for healthy eating. We like us some McDonald’s french fries. But we’re trying to wrap our heads around better health and safer “health care” for ourselves and children. Is that so wrong? Nope.

So I’m reading. I learning. I’m moving slowly. I don’t consider myself crunchy. But alternative and ready to embrace a more radical movement? Maybe.

What Does a Stay at Home Mom DO All Day?

January 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

With three little ones with no formal schooling yet and a pretty clear calendar – aside from doctor visits, dentist visits, and random appointments for the car and things that crop up – we have a fairly loose schedule around here. Some people ask what I do with my days, especially since we’re currently a one car family and I am literally a stay at home mom five to six days a week.

First I’d like to say, in all honesty, that I love being home with my kids! We decided last fall that we needed to give up a car payment and strive to get to a place where we have no car payments or lease payments or new washing machine bills etc. It was a cold turkey kind of thing and I was actually very excited to have one less check to write each month (it was a special situation with a family member, not your average car payment, thankfully), but in the back of my head I thought, “oh boy, I hope I’m not miserable in a couple of months after not having my own car to take out whenever I please”. But I’ve recently been coming to a place of peace and joy being at home. The Lord wants women to focus on their families and taking care of their homes and I’ve been so blessed to be growing in my role as a wife, mother, and homemaker. It’s freeing being “stuck” home. Titus 2:4-5 says:

Then {older women} can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Proverbs 31 also speaks about a virtuous or noble wife being someone who is up early and late to bed taking care to prepare food for her family, a strong person who works hard, a woman who can work and make money working from home and makes decisions in financial situations with her husband.

I could rabbit trail so I’ll stop there. I want to be the wife and mother the Lord wants me to be. ‘Nuff said.

So anyways. Back to being at home and what we do each day!

Our typical day starts with me waking about an hour or more before the boys to shower and have some quiet time. A goal I set sometime near the end of my last pregnancy is getting all of us dressed and ready for the day, even though most days we’re home. It’s been months and months and almost every single day – except for the occasional Saturday now that daddy has a two-day weekend – we get dressed first thing in the morning in everything but our shoes unless we’re going out to play, and almost every day Dante still asks where we’re going *Ha!* That being said, it is easiest if I get up and shower and dress and blow-dry my hair before the kids get up for obvious reasons that don’t need to be explained.

Chris leaves early. I go in and get the boys up from bed at 7 – they always wake before 7 but they are required to stay in bed and wait for me to come get them. Do they always follow my rule book perfectly? No. But they do so much better than I anticipated, especially with Stefano in a toddler bed!

We usually play for an hour or so… I like to let them work up an appetite since they’re more into their toys than eating first thing in the morning… or any time of the day, really.

After breakfast they will go back to playing. We often spend a little time reading together, and then I start in on dishes and cleaning up the kitchen from breakfast. The baby goes in the pack n’ play so that I don’t have to worry about him getting squashed while I’m out of ear shot.

Right now, with a baby napping twice a day, his morning nap time is when we go play outside (winter and infants do not mix in my book), or practice some letters or numbers, or read a portion of Scripture and practice our memory verse if we haven’t already done that, OR prepare dinner if it’s a crock pot meal or something that needs to be done early in the day. The possibilities are endless! If it’s something I want to do while the little man is sleeping, this is when I aim to do it.

And the day kind of continues with rounds of sitting and reading with them, or my own book while they play close by, then giving them their alone time to play, again, while I vacuum or dust, or quick-clean one of our small bathroom floors. Often one or both big boys will ask to help whatever it is I’m doing be it switching over the laundry or washing a floor and while sometimes the fact that it’s slowing me down drives me nuts I try to let them help me because it is so important for children to know what an important part of our team they are. As they get older I will establish some more set chores, but I’m happy to let them work alongside me while they’re at this young it’s-so-fun-to-scrub-the-floor age.

After the afternoon naps are done, it’s pretty much a waiting game while we anticipate daddy coming home; dinner prep if it’s not already done, puzzles, play-doh, more pack n’ play time for baby bop.

All in day’s work!

One of the most important things that I can really focus on while we’re home each day, sticking to our routine without multiple distractions or outside influences weighing us down, is discipline. If we’re going going going sometimes it can feel burdensome to stop and correct or even to be consistent – not intentionally of course. But at home doing our family time thing each day it is easier and more routine within the routine to stop and take care of an attitude problem or to work on that nagging biting issue that’s been a real bother… true story about the biting… you should see the bruise on poor Dante’s arm.. oops! Did that give away the culprit?

Do I get a little stir crazy sometimes? Do I crave adult company at times? Do I sometimes wish with all my heart that I could pack up the kids and take a quick stress relief trip to Starbucks? Of course! But I enjoy just being home with my kids more than I find myself wishing I had a way to get away. Embracing my role as a wife, mother, and homemaker really makes all the difference.

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