Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Comedy that is Grocery Shopping with Children

I remember when B and I were newly married, and I absolutely loved going to the grocery store.  I'd have my list printed out (in perfect, probably color-coded, penmanship), coupons neatly arranged inside my purse, and the challenge of spending $50 or less on a cartful of groceries.  

I, literally, just laughed out loud.  

Those. Were. The. Days.

Though these days are, albeit, far better days, there's something to be said for being able to grocery shop without an entourage of little people.  Which is why I'm on the Jesus Feeds 5000 Grocery Shopping Plan (i.e. I only shop once a month and PRAY it lasts and lasts and lasts until the next month).  I'd say I'm fairly successful, with the occasional run for must-haves, like Sunday morning donuts or a package of diapers.  I can never predict how many of those we will need a month.  The donuts and the diapers.  

List-making is a lost art.  I meal-plan on the fly and cross my fingers that I've picked up the correct ingredients or have something easily substitutable on hand.  When I don't, cereal is always a nutritious option.  

And the budget.  $50.  Is that even possible anymore?!  Granted I'm shopping for a family of five (baby counts...he makes me very, very hungry), I have one in (A LOT) of diapers, and inflation.  The economy is always good for driving up the grocery bill.  

But, back to the issue at hand: SHOPPING WITH CHILDREN.

I decided I would attempt to photo-document some of our shopping experiences for your viewing pleasure.

Here we go.  Everyone is together.  Faith has a bow in her hair and Becks is still within arms reach.  All is well.  

Walking next to the cart has already become taxing on his 6-year-old legs as we enter the produce section (immediately inside the doors), so now Becks is hitching a ride, and I'm trying to navigate the Titanic without hitting the iceberg [lettuce].  

What's that?  A sample?  You know how this goes: Moooooooom, can I please have one?!  (A note on samples:  I will only let him have one if I can see who is preparing it WEARING GLOVES, and it's not in a covered display where 1000x people have put their germy fingers.  GROSS.)  Also, Faith is now playing with my keys. This is an important part of our story, so remember those keys.  We've been in the store roughly 5-7 minutes at this point.  

The sample was for strawberry shortcake.  Even mama was in on this one.  Faith wasn't a fan.  

Best idea Kroger has had in awhile: grab & go deli meats and cheeses.  'Cause ain't nobody got time to wait in line at the counter these days.  

Not the best pic, but now you can see Becks is driving, Faith has since lost her bow, and the only reason we're standing at the seafood counter is so Becks can see the lobsters.  The Kroger employee thinks I'm nuts. Hiiiiii, just checking out your lobster selection.  Thanks!

Crucial part of the trip: I take a picture of my keys that Faith has thrown on the floor in the frozen food section.

Faith is over it.  Me, too, sister.  Me, too. 

Here I am losing my children.  Becks has decided that pulling the cart backwards outweighs his interest in my selection of Cool Whip.

I don't even know how or why we ended up in the clothing section of Kroger, but Becks is attempting to convince me he needs a green shirt for some reason.  Negative, buddy.

The checkout process was much too intense to take pictures, but it was right as I was about to walk out the door that I realized I'D LOST MY KEYS.  And, honestly, I'm fairly certain that after I took the above picture of the keys on the floor, that I actually just left them there.

Which is why I do not advocate taking pictures while you grocery shop with your children.  #fail

Thankfully, some sweet person chose not to steal the Odyssey and returned my keys to the service desk.   Which is a darn good thing because LOOK AT ALL THAT SPACE.  Groceries, stroller, and my spare carseat because...well...Faith's condition requires an entire carseat change on occasion.  #poop

So, there you have it.  The comedy of shopping with children.  

And I only managed to spend a quadzillion dollars.  

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 20, 2015

From the Maternifiles: Second Trimester Update

So, we're beyond the halfway mark!  Woo hoo!  22w3d today with approximately 123 days to go.  At my 20 week scan, baby boy was measuring about a week ahead (though my due date remained the same at August 21), so it wouldn't surprise me if he comes a wee bit early.  By August, I'm sure I'll welcome him at any time ;) 
This green shirt is my fav right now, which is why I've worn it no less than 27 times in the past 2 weeks.

I've settled in comfortably to Trimester Two, enjoying the surge in energy and freedom from nausea, insomnia, and most food aversions.  (Thyme still does it for me, though!  Bleh!) Also, I'm very particular about laundry detergent smells, which is why I sent a group text out to my family with the pic below to see who wanted to take almost full bottles of Tide off my hands.  Only Gain for this girl these days.    

Honestly, If it weren't for my insatiable appetite, growing waistline, and the nightly jumping jacks on my bladder, I wouldn't even know I was pregnant. I really do feel great. 

Easter dress at 20weeks vs the unitard.  Remember the unitard?  No?!  Read all about its original purchase >>> HERE.  

I've gained around 30lbs so far, which puts me on track to be as big as a house in August - just as I predicted.  I'm 5'9" and started out at 135lb after I finished the Whole 30 in November, so while you may not believe me, 'tis true! I never trust retailers when they recommend purchasing maternity clothes in my pre-pregnancy size.  Pregnancy doesn't happen for me like that.  I go from a small to a large, just like your favorite french fry order.  

With my doctor's permission, I've been trying to work out again since I was pretty averse to working out the whole first trimester.  Little walk/jogs around the neighborhood or a prenatal workout video on Youtube are getting me up and moving these days. It's a shame there's no one around to enjoy the hilarity of me holding my belly while I do squats. {PS. I like cardio, so if you have any favorite online videos to recommend, let me know!}
You all, that sweet little profile is Beckham ALL OVER!  Can't wait to meet him!

I also purchased a Garmin Vivofit 2 that has a built-in activity monitor, urging me to get up and move if I've been sitting idle too long.  It also counts steps, calories burned, notes sleep patterns, and daily mileage.  Unfortunately, it does NOT beep at me while I'm eating ice cream or Oreos. Garmin needs to get on that.

And, here's the latest pic of baby boy bumpin' out today. Told you. Just call me the Notorious BIG. Can you even imagine August?! 

Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Rain, go away. No. REALLY.

If today had a name, it would be Is it Bedtime, Yet?

It has rained and rained and rained and rained.  Then, guess what?  IT RAINED SOME MORE.

While I hear God on his needing to produce new life each season and brighten up the outdoors after winter, I'm also going a little stir crazy in the house with the six-year-old in my life who needs to be outside desperately.  Running.  And being loud.  And doing the crazy things six-year-old boys do like hit trees with sticks while running and being loud.  

After going through an exhaustive list of Things We Can Do Today, including: make pancakes, watch 65 episodes of Ninjago, tell stories, bake chocolate chip cookies, build a fort, test out the new Pop See Ko 2.0, make mini-pizzas, make a ridiculous Dubsmash,  play Legos, pull out all the baby toys, dance to Taylor Swift (I love her, don't hate) and Sugar (also love Adam and that song),  and then clean it all up, I AM SOOOOOOO READY FOR BEDTIME.  

Also, wine.  But, wait...#18weeksandcounting

 So, here's to all the mamas finding ways to enjoy the rain and boredom and their babies.  Because one day, rainy Sundays won't be as interesting and there won't bedtimes to anticipate with sweet little ones to tuck into bunkbeds and cribs.  

Happy Sunday :)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Of Monday Morning Mental Lists and DONUTS.

Faith's pump went off at 4:30am.  I went in to reset it for the second time overnight (per usual), and she required a second diaper and pajama change (per usual).  I perform both on autopilot, vowing to one day develop a diaper capable of bearing the load of the intestinally challenged.  Pun completely intended and very, very true.  You don't even know.
Don't be fooled.  She is back to her usual chipper self.  She missed a nap yesterday and wanted to be held ALL THE HOURS of the afternoon.  Also, note Baby Boy protruding from my belly.  He's starting to wiggle a bit in there.  

I ambled back to bed in the dark with full intentions to fall back asleep, as I usually do.  The second trimester has been a lot kinder to my sleeping habits, and the insomnia has all but disappeared.  This morning, however, though my eyes were tired with sleep, my brain was wide awake writing mental post-it notes about the many things I need to do today, catching up after a week spent away from home in the hospital.

Faith, and her entire face, love tilapia!  Fish for the win!

I fought it for a good hour, willing myself to fall back asleep, but my brain just wouldn't shut off.

Follow-up labs at Children's this morning.  Pick up formula from Pediatrician.  Call Walgreens about error in formula order.  Order baseball uniform.  Find out game schedule.  Locate Easter baskets.  Find a flattering maternity Easter dress (do those exist?).  Dye Easter eggs.  Baby brunch on Saturday.  Clean hardwood.  Buy dog food...  

Then, naturally, I had to check my weather app to see if today would be a suitable day for the park considering Becks is on Spring Break or would the museum be a better choice?  Weather looks promising, and everyone will probably be at the museum.  Park it is.

What's going on on Instagram at 4:55am?  Facebook?  

Also, I'm thinking about donuts.  The closest Dunkin's is a 15-minute drive away, or I could opt for the closer grocery store bakery variety.  But, a blueberry cake donut sounds soooooooo good.  Why am I always hungry? #pregnant

Call financial advisor.  Check on tax returns.  Respond to a week's worth of emails.  Finish TpT project.  Purchase baby shower gifts.  The dog hair is OUT OF CONTROL.  Run vacuum...

Finally, at 6am, I relent.  I start a pot of coffee that is probably (definitely) a little on the stale side because I haven't been helping Brandon drink it for the past four months, and pour myself a cup. Which is actually more like milk with a splash of coffee because, you know, caffeine.   I formalize my mental list on actual paper, read a passage from the She Reads Truth Lent study (I'm about 40 days behind), and then begin checking things off of my actual list.

Order baseball uniform.

Respond to emails.

It's now 7:15am and I hear Becks awake upstairs.  He's under strict orders to not leave his bedroom until 8:00am when school isn't in session.  Unless I'm making a 7:30am donut run.  In which case, he makes pretty good company and has decent taste in pastries.
"Legos are my life," he says.  

Happy Monday :)

PS.  Random pictures compliments of the weekend.

One thing not on my list - supplies for the Final Four!  Look at me, so ahead at life!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

This is life, lately.

What is normal?

I have started this post numerous times in my head, trying to find a way to explain what life has been like the past year and half without sounding like I'm feeling sorry for myself or like parenting is a burden.  Because, believe me, I couldn't feel more opposite of both of those statements.

However, when you parent a child with special needs, the new normal that you settle into after having a baby never really comes.  Spending the first five months of Faith's life tethered to IVs and wires and tubes, while being confined to the very limiting space of a sterile hospital bedroom, isn't really fitting of the soft, squishy newborn phase experienced after the birth of a healthy baby.  That's not to say that parenting a healthy baby doesn't come with it's own set of challenges, but more than likely you're not confronted with mortality or medical interventions that may affect your child's quality of life and, therefore, your life and the life of your family on a daily basis.

Nor do you find that normal once you're home and still tethered to IVs and tubes. Of course, it becomes very rote to flick the bubbles from an IV line or reset a feeding pump every four hours or set your sterile field before you access your child's central line or wait for a delivery of medical supplies to your front door, but never normal.  There is always the sense of, Am I really doing this right now?  

Those five months in the hospital were hard.  We were mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted.  I think I've said it before, but I have no idea how bills were paid or how our pantry stayed stocked or how our minds didn't implode from the stress.  I know that our great God sustained us when we truly thought we wouldn't make it another day.  We also had incredible support from family and friends who helped us out with Becks, brought meals, cleaned our home, did loads of laundry, and sent gas cards and gift cards.  They went above and beyond the call of duty, and we are eternally grateful for months of support and love from them.

A Lot of Medical Talk...

I don't think I've ever formally shared Faith's diagnosis, but outside of being born faaaaaar too early and the host of complications that come with prematurity, she also developed Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) when she was three weeks old, which is fancy talk for the death of her intestines.  In Faith's case, her bowel then perforated causing the bacteria in her gut to leak into her bloodstream making her severely ill VERY fast.  She transferred from the hospital where she was born to Cincinnati Children's Hospital so that she could have emergency surgery.  It was during that surgery where they resected a large portion of her small intestine that had died.  Two subsequent surgeries required more resection, and left her with less than half of her small intestine and 90% of her colon.  Thus, she has Short Bowel or "Short Gut" Syndrome.  Because of this, she is susceptible to malabsorption, malnutrition, and dehydration.  Her body's inability to absorb nutrients the way someone with normal bowel function  does is why she came home on TPN (total parenteral nutrition) and lipids (fats) and a feeding tube.  In the beginning, these three things worked together to provide her the appropriate composition of fluids and nutrition.  As she grew, she needed less and less support from her IV nutrition, which is why she is now central-line free and able to thrive on only her feeding tube and what she takes by mouth each day.

Faith is followed very closely by a team of physicians, nurses, and therapists who ensure that she's healthy and growing.  Outside of our visits to one of the best Gastro-Intestinal (GI) teams in the nation, she has received Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Speech Therapy.
In a sense, I have traded my teaching degree for that of a nurse.  And, it's all pretty overwhelming sometimes. Frustrating, too, because I don't always know all the answers and have to rely on my intuition and frequent phone calls to my GI nurse.  I'm a well-known control freak, and the fact that I have little control over Faith's circumstance makes me crazy sometimes!


If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we have been in the hospital with Faith since Sunday.  She's not been her usual self for sometime, and last week was apparently her tipping point.  Two trips to the ER, a visit to her pediatrician and Urgent Care finally landed her an admission.  Her sodium levels were scary high and she was extremely dehydrated.  She cried all day on Sunday, likely because she had a massive headache as a result of this.  You feel so helpless when you have a kiddo with medical needs who cannot communicate how terribly she feels.  They started her on IV fluids upon admission which helped to correct her sodium levels temporarily, but they've been on the rise on and off all week long.  Because of this, we cannot be safely discharged home.  Further, Faith doesn't have a line anymore so we're unable to run IV fluids at home anymore (nor do we want to!).  Thus, it's trial and error, trying to find the correct solution.

Very quickly we were reminded what a blessing it is to have your family home under one roof.  It's not easy on life in general to have your family separated between home and the hospital.  On one hand, I want to spend as much time as possible with Faith, who's completely out of her element in strange place getting pricked and poked every four hours and not feeling her normal self.  And, then, there's Becks, who's endured such dramatic life changes in the past year and half.  I'm so grateful that kids are so resilient because it's not been easy on him either.  B and I both agree that keeping things as normal as possible during Faith's admissions is important, so one of us has made sure to get him off to school and be here when he gets off the bus each day.  Still, it's not the same to wake up to only one parent and be short your favorite sister.

And, I miss my husband.  While we spend as much time together as possible at the hospital, we don't get to wake up next to each other or decompress about our days as we normally would. B and I would both agree that this past year and a half has tried our marriage in ways we never thought possible.  Marriage in general is far from easy, but the stress of the past year has really stretched us and worn us thin on many occasions.

The Good News...

Faith's hospital stay will be short-lived.  She is not critically or terminally ill, and we are so grateful for that.  We will get to go home and resume life as normal as normal can be, as soon as the team figures out how to regulate her sodium.  In the meantime, we'll rock-paper-scissors over who has to stay on the uncomfortable pull-out chair overnight, take Faith on long stroller rides back and forth across the concourse of the hospital when the confines of her hospital room become too much, and pray that we'll all be home together soon.

 Thank you for your kind words of support and love!  We appreciate all the prayers we can get!