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{from Jack}







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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Solving... the mystery of the Amazon gift from last week. It was none other than Josh's amazing sister, and one of my besties, Julie. She said she can't do much from far away, but she figured she could put a smile on my face by sending me that t-shirt and those cool pens. And boy was she right!  What a total sweetheart!
***
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Wyatt at six and a half is fun and funny.  
He is insightful and sweet.  
He is thoughtful and empathetic.  
Yesterday I got a belated Mother's Day gift from Jack and when I said I thought it was going to make me cry he said, "Please don't cry. It will make me cry."  And when Jack was getting yelled at the other day Jack was heartbroken for him and just wanted it to end.  He can't stand when other people in our family are upset.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And

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

;)

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

As I close out this last day of just me & Carly, I feel so blessed to have a husband who supports me, who is capable of caring for our children just as well as I can; to have four beautiful children who call me mom; to have twin sons, a single son, and a beautiful daughter to call my own; and for the village that surrounds us and makes this parenting journey easier when the road gets rough.
Happy Mother's Day
***
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 Loving... my husband.  We had date night last Friday night, which he made pizza for (it was delicious) and we watch Dodgeball, cause I could use a laugh, and when I was done eating and curled up on the couch, about ready to fall asleep, he turned off the TV and walked me to bed, even though it was barely 9:00.  He's a good husband like that.  He knew it had been a long week and I needed rest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


***

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







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






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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Worrying... over Wyatt as he continued with an asthma flare up following a cold.  His peak flow numbers dipped and rose, dipped and rose, my worry rising and falling with each set of numbers. 

Missing... the baseball parade Saturday and a coffee date and countless baseball games and MOPS and more school days for Wyatt than I can count because of his sickness.  We spent lots of time snuggled up together on the couch, reading and watching TV, him doing breathing treatments with the nebulizer and trying so hard to get better.

Taking... him to the emergency room Tuesday night when his numbers dropped 40 points in a little over an hour at bedtime.  He told me it felt like his throat was closing and we did his peak flow, only to discover what had been a 215 was now a 175.  I called the advice nurse and she had me count his breaths (something I often do to see how he is doing while he sleeps) and while he usually falls within normal ranges (12-20 breaths per minute) he was breathing 36 breaths per minute.  So off we went to the ER.  We had finished the steroids from his doctor the day before, and it turns out some kids need a slow taper from steroids and Wyatt is one of those.

In the ER they gave him a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia cause he was wheezing and sounded a bit crackly on the left.  Luckily his x-ray was clear.  They also gave him a nebulizer treatment and a prescription for more steroids with an incredibly slow taper: 10ml's 2x a day for 2 days, 8ml's 2x a day for 2 days, 6 ml's 2x a day for 2 days, 4 ml's 2x a day for 2 days and finally 2 ml's 2x a day for 2 days.  We then followed up with Wyatt's doctor the next morning to make sure his vitals (mainly his oxygen and his lungs) were better (they were), and we scheduled another follow up for closer to the end of his taper next week.

Thankfully by the end of this week he is better, with less coughing and good peak flow numbers, but it's hard for me to rest, knowing how quickly things can turn bad again, and also knowing that things can get worse when he ends the steroids again.  Hopefully the taper will make the difference!

Emotionally... feeling like total garbage.  Anxiety is such a roller coaster.  I woke up most days this week feeling like I'd been in a car accident. Shaking, with adrenaline pumping through my veins, like my arms wanted to levitate into the air.  My reaction to everything feels like it's under a magnifying glass and I am constantly having to talk myself down.  It's exhausting.  I did a much better job eating well this week, and I think that helped as much as it could (and I lost three pounds this week!), plus I squeezed in a couple work outs, which is also supposed to help with anxiety.  Not to mention the Prozac, which hit two weeks on Thursday.  I know it just takes time, but it's hard not to feel impatient when you feel this awful.  I just feel scared and on edge all the time!

Seeing... my counselor for the second time.  I brought Wyatt with me, along with a tablet and some headphones because I knew I couldn't afford to miss it.  Thank goodness for my friend Kara who is willing to have Carly every time even though she cries every time I drop her off.  She's always fine once I leave, but she's never very happy at the idea of being left.  My counselor and I talked about a lot of things I am hoping to write a post about here soon.

Feeling... Wyatt's feelings right alongside him as he dealt with being told no about doing certain things (jumping on the trampoline, going to his baseball games, attending the baseball parade, riding his bike, playing outside... the list goes on) as he recovered from his asthma.  The steroids make all his emotions a little bigger than they'd usually be, so almost everyday we'd spend a little time on the couch crying together. Luckily Wyatt's really emotionally mature, so he understands that crying gets the bad feelings out and after a good cry we feel better. 

Having... guilty feelings as Jack bombed a spelling test we forgot to give him pretests for.  Normally he only misses one or two words.  This week he only got half the words right. And it's totally not his fault. Sigh.  There's only so much of me to go around, and this week, I was 100% devoted to Wyatt.

Making... it to book club this week, which was such a happy thing.  I needed that time out, with other adults, away from my responsibilities, talking and laughing.  Those ladies are a lifeline, and I am so, so grateful for them.

Helping... Logan find better ways of dealing with his anger (which currently include clenching his fists, swearing, flipping off his brother, back talking, tantruming and hitting).  We made a list of more appropriate ways to manage his angry feelings and so far it seems to be working.  The main one that seems to have struck a chord (surprisingly to me) is keeping a journal.  I let him choose a special pen and notebook and when he's angry and writes down his feelings in there.  I think he's been surprised to find that often there are other feelings under the anger.  It has led to some really good conversations between us, and some self awareness for Logan that will go a long way.

Loving... how snuggly and attached me to me Carly has been lately.  She's always saying, "Mama, I want a snuggle." I love it so much. 

Thankful... for Josh.  For how he can calm me down when I am worrying and how he loves me so hard.  He's an amazing husband and father, a crazy-hard worker and awesome provider.  For eighteen years I've had him by my side, and I'm just so blessed by him. He knows me so well, he even ordered me poetry books from his school book order!  I was so surprised when he brought them home for me! 

There's no one else I'd rather take this crazy journey with, that's for sure.  I love you, babe.

***

***
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Little Soldiers
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The Case Against Sugar
by Gary Taubes

This book was a hard read (sometimes boring) and I'm super glad I was listening to it (not reading it myself), but in the end, I am so glad I read it.  It made things very clear to me about diabetes and it's link with cancer, Alzheimers, and metabolic syndrome.  It re-inspired my dedication to reducing the amount of sugar in my children's lives (our goal is 24 grams or less each day), and made me disgusted with our food culture.  I highly recommend listening to it.

The Nightingale
by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale might be one of my top five reads ever.  It's one of the biggest books I've ever read, and I read it in record time. I found myself carrying it with me everywhere I went.  It's about two sisters torn apart during World War II.  It is, like The Great Alone, un-put-down-able.

Option B
by Sheryl Sandberg

Option B is about Sheryl losing her husband unexpectedly and how she moves forward.  The book also offers a lot of practical advice about how to walk your friends or loved ones through a loss such as hers.  I listened to the book on audio, and it was really lovely.

Station Eleven
by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven was amazing. I listened to it, and I found myself looking for chores around the house that I could do while listening. Laundry? Yes please. Dishes? Sure! Anything so I could listen for ten more minutes.  It's a story that takes place in a post-influenza world where the entire infrastructure sort of crumbles.  The whole story is so well written, I found myself completely riveted, and I couldn't wait to find out what happened next.

The Immortalists
by Chloe Benjamin

The Immortalists was a book that stuck with me long after I had finished it.  It's about a set of siblings who has the date of their death revealed to them by a fortune teller in their childhood.  The book then goes on to tell how this impacts them as adults.  It had me questioning whether I would want to know; how it would impact me; and whether or not I play my life too safe.  I highly recommend it.

Every Note Played
by Lisa Genova

Every Note Played is a book I had highly anticipated after loving every single other book by Genova (Love Anthony, Left Neglected, Still Alice, and Inside The OBriens), but it fell way, way short.  I hated all the characters in this book and felt the whole book was short on feeling.  The entire read left me feeling disappointed and let down.  My suggestion? Don't waste your time.

Uncommon Type
by Tom Hanks

This was an unexpected delight that I listened to on audio, and fell in love with.  It's a collection of short stories that had me smiling and feeling light hearted and happy.  It made me want to write more and read more and live more.  The best part was that it was read by Tom Hanks himself, so I could really hear him as he told the stories.  Hear his heart. It was a fantastic book.  Nothing deep, but exactly what I needed.

Today Will Be Different
by Maria Semple

I finished this book in about a day.  I listened to it on audio and just never stopped listening. It was engaging and fascinating and Semple's characters are just so real and relatable.  It helps, too, that her books often take place in Seattle/the Northwest (where I'm from) so I love that!  Another book that was entertaining from start to finish and left me feeling really good about myself as a human.  Ha!

Cold Tangerines
by Shauna Niequist

This was a book club pick that I liked in the beginning, but by the middle felt like an uninspired collection of blog posts someone threw together and called a book.  There was nothing cohesive about them, and the author seemed kind of self important or whiny... It just wasn't the book for me right now.


*

I was shocked (!!!) that I was able to read eleven books in one month. It made me really proud of myself to make a goal (8 books) and stick to it. It makes me want to make more outrageous goals and stick to them.


***

March Tally: 11
2018 Tally: 21
Yearly Goal: 21/60
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Peak Flow: Wyatt's "normal" is 250
His yellow zone: below 200
Hospitalization: 125


Going... to see my new counselor for the first time.  He provided a lot of insight considering we only talked for an hour (and most of that was me pouring my heart out, while crying).  He validated that what I've been through with Logan and Wyatt has been traumatic (both getting the phone call from the school that Logan had been seizing and witnessing the seizure at our house in third grade; as well as going through Wyatt's hospitalization for his lungs not working back in December) and he said I may be working through a bit of PTSD and that those experiences may be leading to my own physical health anxiety. Like my mind may be trying to predict the next big thing, and that's why when something hurts, I freak out like I do.
He also said that life has always been vulnerable- I've never had the ability to save my kids or loved ones- but we build up walls and safeties to protect ourselves from that truths, and I had mine ripped away in a pretty traumatic way in December when Wyatt was in a  hospital bed unable to breath, with a doctor in our hometown telling me there was nothing else he could do. (Thankfully, another medical team was on the way to transport us to Spokane where the children's hospital could do more, but it was a scary time nonetheless).
So my work with him will be on accepting the truth that life is unexpected and fragile.  Along with some other things.  I'm looking forward to getting to the bottom of some of my issues.

Feeling... better, bit by bit.  I am working on sleeping enough and exercising (walking the kids to school as much as possible, which is my favorite exercise) and taking my Prozac.  I haven't been feeding my body well this week, and I'm hoping to improve that next week, cause I can tell it's impacting how I feel. I crave comfort food, but it doesn't actually make me feel better, if that makes any sense.

Appreciating... all the love & support I've received after sharing about my (sort of) breakdown in my last "Around Here" post.  You all are amazing, and I'm so glad to have such an awesome village of mama's who have been where I'm at and rally around (and don't judge) when I am going through a rough spot. I have seriously felt nothing but love all week, and it means so much to me. Thank you.

Remembering... that recovery from anxiety is an up and down process.  I'll have two days where I feel pretty darn good, and then the third day I wake up feeling like I have been chased by a bear and downed two dozen cups of coffee.  It's frustrating, especially when I'm doing the same thing everyday for my recovery... but I just breathe, and know the scared feelings will pass, and especially remember that (for me) the mornings are the worst.  I move about my routine at a normal pace and trust that with time I will return to my old self.  I am also trying to watch my thoughts- staying in the moment helps me be assured that my thoughts aren't contributing the anxiety.  If I "hang out" in the future ("Is Logan going to have a bad reaction to his medication?" "Will I have more migraines next month?" "Will Josh get in a car accident on the way to work?") I tend to have more physical symptoms. It's a vicious cycle.  Staying I the moment, where I am, really helps.

Watching... Jack receive the Roaring Reader award at his school (Go Jack!) and getting all the boys' report cards.  They were all pretty darn good, and I'm proud of them for their hard work.  Wyatt especially is an amazing student, and I can't wait to see where the future takes that kid.  He's in first grade and already completed all the first grade reading curriculum, and first & second grade spelling words.  Little smarty!

Enjoying... date night with Josh (last week and this week) with some homemade pizza (Hawaiian, our current fav) after the kids went to bed Friday night and dreaming of getting away together.  Life has been heavy lately, and the thought of going away somewhere just the two of us is a dream I often indulge!

Reading... Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork (who also wrote The Memory of Light, which I loved) which was such a good story about a boy with Aspergers trying to make it in "the real world".  I listened to it, and really enjoyed it. I want to read all his books now.
I am also still working on Seizures and Epilepsy in Childhood: A Guide for Parents.  I am learning a lot about how Logan's seizures changed and what that means for him.  I am hopeful that at his follow up appointment in three months, I'll be able to ask more intelligent questions and understand more fully what is happening in his brain.
And lastly, I am listening to the second half of The Untethered Soul, which I started in March, but my library checkout ended before I finished it.  It is full of life changing advice.  I'm hoping to do a post devoted to its advice soon!

Taking... the twins to the dentist, and hearing "No cavities!" which makes me so happy!

Meeting... Josh for lunch one day last week with Carly in tow.  It was so nice to squeeze in some extra time with him, and to show Carly where daddy goes when he's "at work".  His students (he teaches fourth grade) thought Carly was the cutest, and it was so sweet.

Attending... baseball games Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights this week.  It was a crazy-busy week at the start, and so freaking windy and cold! I can't even describe the cold. It was miserable!  But it was also awesome because Josh got a chance to come to one of Wyatt's games finally, and I was able to go to one of the twins' games. (So far, we have missed each others' games because of overlapping game schedules!)  Josh was so proud of little Wyatt hitting the ball and running his heart out to first base, and I was SO proud of Jack pitching and SO proud of Logan (our leftie!) playing first base.  They both got multiple players out, hit like champs, slid into some bases and just played super awesome.  Seeing them out there in their uniforms also confirmed for me that the changes we've made have definitely made a difference in their bodies.  I know they have lost weight (at least ten pounds each) since the new year, but seeing their bodies from the bleachers, I can really see it.  It makes me so proud of us.

Grateful... Logan is adjusting well to the secondary anti-seizure medication so far.  We are on week three, and he's taking a small dose, twice a day.  By week five, we will be upping the evening dose (-it's a very specific titration schedule that we have posted in the bathroom, so that we increase his doses very slowly so he is less likely to develop the very rare, but super-scary, possibly life threatening rash that can occur with this and other epilepsy medications.  Deep breath, Shelly.  Deeeep breath!)

Caring... for Wyatt as he went from playing in a baseball game with a slight runny nose Wednesday night (and blowing a 250 on his peak flow meter) to coughing all night long and not being able to get off the couch Thursday morning (and barely blowing a 200 on his peak flow).  A drop of 50 peak flow points is unheard of for Wyatt thus far, and it had me thoroughly freaked out.  I managed to get him a same day appointment with our doctor, who put him on oral steroids (a 5 day course) as well as albuterol and inhaled steroids for his nebulizer (a 3 week course) and also found a double ear infection (Wyatt's third in three months!) and prescribed a course of 10-day antibiotics, as well as gave us a referral to see the Ear, Nose & Throat specialist to talk about getting tubes put in once he's healed up.
Thursday his peak flow number dipped down to 195, and he spent much of the day coughing on the couch moaning with flushed cheeks.  After just one dose of oral steroids, we could see a difference, and by yesterday (Friday) night his numbers had jumped back up 225 after albuterol treatments every four hours and while he's still coughing and we are not at all in the clear, I am far less scared.  This sickness took him down so fast, just like the one back in December did, and it's been an exercise in faith to walk it with him.
The truly crazy thing is that Carly has the same cold, and other than some snot, she's perfectly fine. Wyatt's asthma just kicks in as soon as he gets a cold.  So while he has an "asthma" diagnosis, "Reactive Airway Disease" is a far more fitting explanation of what happens to him when he gets sick.

***

A note of encouragement for everyone fighting their battles:
Keep going!

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100% accurate


Wyatt spelling his name in Pretzel






{Logan pitching}


Wrapping... up spring break with a mellow weekend, which was just what we needed.  Lots of sleep and cleaning and preparation for the week ahead.  Josh also made more progress on our white picket fence for the front & side yard, which is making all my house dreams come true.  It's going to be SO cute!!!

Reading... To Kill A Mockingbird and my Seizures and Epilepsy in Childhood book to better understand what the neurologist was talking about at Logan's appointment last Thursday. 

Stopping... in to let the office know of the changes to Logan's seizures and the new protocol for his seizures, including not calling 911 unless his seizures are more than five minutes long.  It feels so scary to be the one "in charge" of his seizures.  I'm hoping as I continue learning more, I'll feel more confident in this role.

Baseballin'... with all three of our boys this week.  Jack was starting pitcher at their first game (so so proud of him!) and Logan played first base (he's our leftie!).  At their second game, Logan played pitcher and Jack got his first pop fly.  Wyatt is doing an amazing job, hitting almost every time he's up to bat, and playing with an amazing attitude, which is a huge change from last year.  It's so fun to see them growing up in the game, and seeing their skills improve so much over time.  Josh loves the game, and I love watching the boys and their dad bond over it.

Getting... used to the twins' new transition lenses.  They have begged for years for transition lenses, and this year we finally got them.  They LOVE having the shades during baseball and when playing outside, and they are keeping their glasses on so much more.  It was definitely worth it (less than $70 each) and will be so good for their eye health.  We didn't get them for Wyatt because his glasses prescription is so small, he can just take off his glasses and wear shades if he wants to, without losing much sight.

Attending... MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) this week, which was great. We had a guest speaker who spoke about creating (and maintaining) strong marriages.  He gave some great nuggets of wisdom- including the idea that every husband desires being "wanted" more; that every husband needs your desires laid out clearly; and that husbands will likely respond well to an apology if you do it right. (And if you do it right, your relationship is more likely to move on past a hiccup instead of staying stuck.)  It made me want to put a little more effort into "us" and make sure that Josh is getting the BEST of me, not the REST of me, after the kids and life!

Grateful... for spring(ish) weather and walking to school everyday this week.  There's been some clouds and wind which haven't been strictly spring (and sunny) weather but it's been close enough that I walked everyday and I'm so grateful for that daily exercise for me and the boys, even if we did get sprinkled on a little bit a few times.  Clocking those three miles (it's 3/4 of a mile, there and back, there and back) everyday day feels so good!!!

Experiencing... a lot of anxiety and panic the last few days, and with it, all different sorts of health anxiety & worries.  Between Logan & Wyatt's health issues (the asthma and epilepsy which require constant monitoring); my hormones; the normal exhaustion that comes from caring for four kids and my early morning work schedule (which requires waking at 3:30am 3x a week); I am just suddenly worn out.  Fried.  I woke up five days in a row, in a complete PANIC this last week.  Heart pounding, arms shaking, dizzy, terrified, shaking, like the feeling when you almost get into an accident...

Deciding... that enough is enough and going to the doctor for my worries & accompanying panic.  He put me on Prozac, starting me on a low dose to see how I do, and he also suggested I increase my migraine medication in hopes of bringing my number of migraines down.  (I'm currently having about six per month, which has me feeling trapped and kind of depressed because they make me such a miserable person to live with.  I hate suffering so, and making those who live with me suffer.)  The Prozac should help with any depression from the migraines, the anxiety & panic, any OCD tendencies I have (which manifest themselves when I'm having health concerns) as well as reducing headaches.

Calling... a therapist as well, and hoping that the mix of medication and therapy will help me get back on my feet.  I just want to stop feeling scared all the time.  I want to stop thinking I have cancer or some other deadly disease everyday.  I want to stop living in fear.

Telling... myself that it's okay that I don't have the strength to fight this on my own.  It's okay to need help.  It's okay that carrying the weight of Logan & Wyatt's diagnoses became too much.  It's okay that some days it feels unfair. And some days I cry. A lot.  It's okay that other people can carry on just fine without help, and I can't.  It's okay.  It's okay.  It's okay.  {deep breath}

***

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Wyatt's peas

Always stacking things

Flashback to Alaska
Flashback to our old life

Left Centralized Slowing on EEG
Generalized Slowing on EEG










Hosting... Easter at our house and having family in town for the first half of spring break. It was so fun to spend time with Josh's parents, brother & sister and nephews.  His aunt, uncle & cousins also joined us on Easter day, and it was great to see them as well.  Carly enjoyed spending time with our nephew Alvin who adores her, and the adults enjoyed playing Cards against humanity after the kids were in bed, which is so naughty, but so hilarious (seriously, so.much.laughter!)  There was lots of grandma time for the kids.

Celebrating... Easter in all the ways- dyeing eggs with the boys, hosting an egg hunt and filling Easter baskets with treasures for our kids.  This year we filled them with tic tacs, one small chocolate bunny, a color book, water bottles, swim goggles, a stuffed animal and some stickers.  The kids were tickled, and so was I, as most of it was purchased at Dollar Tree!  I also really enjoyed dressing Carly for the day, and getting my house ready for company.  I love an excuse to deep clean and tidy up

Taking... out the giant hedge of bushes that lined the entire front & side of our property.  Josh, his brother and nephews worked tirelessly for two entire days over Easter weekend, cutting, digging and pulling the bushes out, bit by bit, until they were completely gone.  Then they took them, load by load, out to our cousin Januari's place, where she said Josh could burn them.  Josh enjoyed taking the boys out to her land where he grew up playing with his cousins on school breaks and during the summer.
Josh's dad also helped (a ton!) and moved a giant rock Josh wanted by the front door, and also moved mounds of dirt with his tractor to help level the yard for when Josh is ready to plant grass and put in a fence.  Josh's Uncle Paul allowed Josh to dump that excess dirt & rock on his property, which was another huge blessing for us. 
So many neighbors have stopped by, saying what a good job Josh has done and how good it already looks.  It's nice for him to get accolades on all his hard work.  And boy are we grateful for all the help he had over the weekend from family.  Thank you all!!!

Grocery shopping... on my own, which was lovely (thank you, Carol!) while recovering from hosting Easter and having company.  The house was a mess, the fridge was empty and there was so much laundry to be done! Ain't that the way?!?  I also got nice break when Julie & Januari took Carly for a walk while the twins & Wyatt dyed Easter eggs.  So grateful for family who is gracious when this mama is running low on patience!

Replanting... Wyatt's peas as they continue growing.  We are still having occasional freezing temps, so we can't put them outside just yet, but they outgrew their egg carton, so we put them into red solo cups, where they are growing like weeds in the laundry room window!  I can't wait to get them into the raised beds outside.  They are going to do so well. 

Heading... to Spokane for Logan's yearly neurology appointment.  He also had an EEG, which is a test that detects electrical activity in your brain.  It's his third EEG.  His first was after his original grand mal seizure (October 2016) and showed no abnormalities.  His second was in the spring of 2017, and showed centralized slowing on the left side, indicative of a seizure disorder.  And the one yesterday showed both centralized and generalized slowing, meaning his seizures, and where they originate, have changed.  This is why we've seen new petite mal (absent or "staring" seizures) lately (one in October 2017, one in December 2017 and two in February 2018) and this is also why his medication is not controlling them.  His current medication worked fine for centralized seizures, but is not effective for generalized seizures.
So we left the doctor's office yesterday with a new prescription for a drug that works on both centralized and generalized epilepsy.  We will very slowly work him up to an appropriate dose before slowly weaning him off his current medicine.  Possible side effects include dizziness, drowsiness and double vision in addition to a super scary rash.  So please, if you think of him, pray for him.  Being on two medications at the same time could be really exhausting for his little body, but we don't want to take him off his current med until he is fully on the new one for fear that he could have more seizures in the interim. 
I was telling my mom yesterday after the appointment that I vacillate wildly between feeling so grateful that he only has epilepsy and that it's treatable with medication and feeling so frustrated that it's something he has to deal with at all and wondering why he has it and what caused it and wishing it would just go away. Kind of the same way I feel about Wyatt and his asthma.  I'm so glad we can manage it, but so frustrated that we have to.  I know there are other mama's out there who have it so much worse, and they give me strength on days when I struggle.

Loving... the twins matching last night after their showers.  They decided to wear identical clothes to bed and Logan even wore Jack's old glasses so their glasses would look the same.  They knew I would get a kick out of it, so they surprised me.  I could hear them in the hallway saying, "We look just the same!" Hahaha! 
Since it's spring break, we also let them sleep together in Logan's bed, and it was sweet to see them sleeping together before we went to bed last night.  Their bond is just something else.

Playing... with friends during different playdates the week.  Knowing we had family coming the first half of the week, and Logan's neurology appointment the second half of the week, we planned the week to be a bit of a "stay-cation"- playdates, shooting with Josh, family movie night and (if the rain will stop) the skate park.

Remembering... our life in Alaska as Facebook shows me "On This Day" from 2012, 2013 & 2014.  So many memories of life in the village.  And of our sweet boys when they were so little!

Reading... To Kill A Mockingbird in preparation for reading Go Set A Watchman and enjoying it so much.

Feeling... exhausted after a week spent on the go, nonstop and up before 4am every morning except Tuesday.  Josh and I have joked that we're going to need a vacation from our vacation. Ha!

Looking forward... to date night tonight and to sleep this weekend.  I am really desiring some down time.
***
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