Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Advice- He Asked for It

A friend asked me this 2.5yrs ago:
            On a side note I thought you could give me some advice…  If I'm not mistaken you have experience with newborn/infant acid reflux.  If you have any tips I would appreciate it.  Hope you have a good day.

And so I answered with this:
            I am so sorry. I know how bad this can be. Poor Baby. Poor Mommy & Daddy. I don't want to assume, but acid reflux a lot of times can turn into the dreaded C word. I won't say it because its an awful word and an awful thing to go through. I'm not sure at what stage you are, so I'll give you advice that I wish I would have had that may have prevented some of our harder times.
            *First and fore most- its not Baby's fault. I had a hard time with JP and got upset many times. He has no idea why he spits up a lot and he wants it to stop, too.

            *Buy extra bibs and reside yourself on the fact that you will be doing more laundry. Don't fret when you put a brand new bib on him and he gets it dirty right away. All the more for him to wear the next cute little bib. Don't buy the bibs with the plastic backing. They actually get moldy with the spit up. Ewww.

            *Try Similac Sensitive R.S. It’s a liquid and seemed to help JP a lot. The nursing is still great but you may find that by supplementing here and there with the R.S. he's able to keep the breast milk down better, too. Its perfectly ok to do both.

            *Daddy- If Mommy is still nursing, be very helpful and patient as it is very frustrating to have your beautiful baby spit up all over your chest. Trust me- I know. Offer to help, offer hot showers & baths, etc. It is not at all bad to decide that this feeding would be better off through a pumped bottle or even with formula. Mom can take a break. Baby will be better for it as Mom will be rested and ready for the next feeding.

            *Burp, Burp, Burp- try, very patiently, to get the burp. Don't give up. If you're holding one way to burp and he hasn't, move him to a different position. Even if its laying across your lap with a burp cloth under his mouth. Also, stand up. Sometimes the different position of the burper helps. :)

            *Walk. It gives you some release and gives him the soothing. Try holding him belly to belly, almost a nursing position but a little lower and holding him snug. JP used to use the arm under mine to actually hold onto my waist. He also loved to be covered, too. Even his little head.

            *Rub his belly in circles. JP loves this when his tummy hurts. He also loves to lay on his belly.

            *JP sleeps on his belly. We stayed right with him in the beginning until we were comfortable with belly sleeping. This is TOTALLY up to you as parents. The doctors say Back to Sleep but JP could not sleep that way. I was terrified when it was suggested to me but, you know what, I was raised that way and so were you probably. We found though that being on his belly didn't cause as much heartburn. You could actually see the relief on his face when we laid he down on his belly. If you're not comfortable with it maybe he could nap that way in the same room with you but at night stick to Back to Sleep. Again, TOTALLY a parent's decision!!  Not mine to make for you!

            *Be prepared for the doctor to suggest rice cereal earlier than you thought. We started at 4 months, per our Doctor. That helped. It made everything in his belly more substantial and filled him up. It helped to keep it in there.

            *Know that he will probably be hungry, A LOT. I think its because he spits up a lot of what he was fed. He'll let you know when he's full. If you're bottle feeding use smaller bottles and be ok with making another one if he's still hungry. That way formula or breast milk won't go to waste. Don't save unused milk. Some formulas say you can, don't. Its more of a chance with a spitter that it will come up if it’s the slightest bit old. That's why we did smaller amounts at a time. Use the in-between time to burp.

            *Nice warm baths. JP loves them if he's cranky with a belly ache. He especially (as I toot my own horn) loves Mommy's lotion massages when he gets out. I take my time and talk to him and its our very own little bonding time. Its one of the times I'm able to forget how loud he can scream and I hope its one of the times he can forget his belly ache and heartburn. I like to think so.

            *Talk to each other!! See what works for Mommy and what works for Daddy. Maybe you each have a hint for each other. Listen to each other!! Even the best marriages are put to the test in some situations! I didn't realize for awhile that what was hard for me to handle was easy for Hubs and vice versa. I showed him how to give a nice warm soothing bath and he showed me a better way to hold JP. Teamwork at its best!

            *Listen to your Mother! She raised you, didn't she?! Don't be afraid to holler for help! Even if it’s to come feed YOU a bottle (just kidding!). Let family and friends visit and help. See if they have a better way to feed, burp, or hold Baby for him to keep the bottle down. You never know.

            *Try fresh air. JP loves the outdoors. If your Doctor says it’s ok, bundle him up in the stroller and take a walk. Take a walk all three of you together or give Mommy the time to take a quiet bath.

            *Last but not least- call me if you need too. We are still going through issues of acid reflux and Colic (I hate that word!) but we are muddling through. To tell you the truth, I actually feel pretty proud that I can offer advice to someone else! Makes me feel as though I learned something out of this whole ordeal.

            Again, I don't want to assume anything, but please know that I went through (and am much better but not perfect) Post Partum Depression. I had to take some medicine, I had to do some therapy, and at times I wanted to run away. If you, at all sense that or know that in Mommy, please, please seek some help right away. Don't wait! It doesn't have to be me you call, but call someone. Ask for help. There was an eye opening moment for Hubs one day at work. I called him hysterical. I was locked in my closet with both children crying in their rooms. I wanted to jump out my bedroom window. I begged for Hubs to come home and he hesitated leaving his job (two minutes away) and asked me if I could call my Mom or my Dad, or even my BFF. I'll never forget he asked "can't you call Someone?" I answered through tears "I called you." At that moment it clicked- he told me he loved me and he would be home right away and he was.

            Raising your beautiful children is hard. It is the best time of your life and can also be the worst. No one understands that until they've had children. I know you only asked for acid reflux advice and I gave you more than that but I want you to know that you guys are great parents and will raise a beautiful, respectful, gentleman just like his Daddy. If any of this helps you guys, I feel better. Plus, it helped me.

            God Bless your Family. You are a wonderful family and everything will get better.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Under Construction

We've just celebrated Bubba's 3rd Birthday Party (in fact, I'm supposed to be cleaning up, shhh). I asked Bubba a couple months ago what he wanted to do for his birthday. Being a 2yr old into everything John Deere related he said "Twactohs!" Well, we did that last year, so I had to use my influence to persuade (yes, persuade) him to go with Construction which still encompasses "Twactohs" in the form of backhoes and bulldozers. Add in a dump truck or two and voila: the 3yo Construction Party was born.
I sent out the invitation via FB this time and did get a couple little pieces of flack (oh well, it saved on stamps). It looked like this: 

I did some research on Google (what isn't that the Encyclopedia Britannica these days?) and came up with games, food, favors and cake ideas. Games ended up not being necessary really. We did have a Pinata but mostly the kiddos played with all of the tools, dump trucks, bulldozers, tractors, and building blocks I had rounded up. If they weather had been warmer we had even planned on "painting" the garage. I had fingerpaint, rollers, paintbrushes and a bare garage wall for them. With the temps in the low 40s it was just too chilly for that. 

Birthday Boy Bubba!
The Pinata was a lot of fun for all of the kids, no matter the age. They all used their Hard Hats in case of falling debris. In fact, we had a couple of adults that missed the pinata fun and were disappointed that they did. Once the Pinata was busted I gave each kiddo their favor box. They were construction "lunch boxes" I found online. They were able to add their candy to the items I already had in there for them: Construction Stickers, Tractor Fruit Snacks, Construction Men (think Army Men), and a mini Chuck Truck. Chucks are some of Bubba's favorite toys.
One of the surprises of the day was the real life Dump Truck the kiddos got to take a ride in. Thanks to the MIL of a great friend of mine we found one to borrow for the day and the kiddos loved it. We used painters to tape to label it JP Trucking, just for Jonathan. (Yes, my neighbors think I'm crazy). 
Food was served at the beginning of the party because it was lunch time and everyone was hungry. We had boulder sandwiches (meatballs) along with cheese balls, wood chips with spackle & putty (chips & dip) and chesse & crackers. Oh, and mac'n cheese at Bubba's request. Hubs made most of the food at it was yummy!

The cake was the source of some of my stress this morning. It doesn't always transfer well from my head to the cake plate. You know when you have something in mind and it just doesn't turn out that way? Well, yeah. But it did turn out cute, with a little (ok, a lot) of help from my Hubs. Bubba & Madi both loved it and that's what matters, right? 

The best part of the party was Bubba opening all of his presents. He was so entertaining to watch as he ooohed and awwwwed over every dump truck, tractor, Chuck and toy he received. All the party goers got into the spirit opening every package and getting everything rolling across the Family Room floor. It was great to see so many kids playing nicely together. They all did a very good job. 

Overall, a HUGE Dump Truck full of success. Can't wait until the next party.

Friday, March 25, 2011

That Hurt

The tears started on April 30th/May 1st, the year before Bubba was born. Hubs and I had gotten pregnant (exactly when, I'm not sure) but that night I had severe cramps. I remember telling Hubs I had a belly ache but didn't tell him much more. We went to bed and I tossed and turned all night. Somewhere around 1am I started bleeding. I knew.
When I got up in the morning I broke the news to Hubs. He held me while I cried. He never asked "how do you know?" I just did.
That Sunday was to be the Mother's Day I told my Mom & Dan and my Dad & Mary that our little Madylin would be a big sister. I had even ordered pink shirts for her to wear saying "I have a secret, I'm going to be a Big Sister." They were adorable. When they arrived in the mail a few days later they cost me more tears. That hurt.
Instead I called my Mom and broke the news to her over the telephone. That hurt. She dropped what she was doing at work and came right over. She didn't talk much. Just held me while I cried some more. 
My Dad & Mary came by after work later that day. We broke the news to them, too. Dad asked if I had been too careless in packing and carrying boxes for our move. That hurt.
I had called my Doctor's office and the distant woman on the phone had obviously dealt with way too many of these situations. She was numb to the fact that I was heartbroken and upset. She asked questions as if reading off a script. Asking me "How do you know? Why didn't you go to the ER? Are you sure?" That hurt. I cried through every moment of the several phone calls I had to make to the office. I had to go for blood test after blood test to make sure the "count" was back down. Otherwise, I'd have to be seen.
When we moved into our new home less than a week later, I sat in the "Baby's Room" and cried and cried. And cried some more. That hurt.
When I went back to work, some people knew and some people didn't. I remember feeling broken and that people were looking at me differently. Like I wasn't a good Mom. That hurt.
I still cry at different times for my Baby, Our Lost Baby. I cry at the Doctor's Office when they hand me my detailed clipboard. I cry when I hear other Mom's stories. I cry on May 1st. I cry on my children's birthdays. I cry on my March of Dimes Walk. I think Friends and Family think I'm over it. That hurts.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

True Love

I've been watching my son with Haley. 

I watch his face light up when he says her name: "my Haley."
I watch her back end wag like crazy for the same thing. 
I listen as he calls her name while tapping on his leg. 
I watch how he follows Sissy to get her food only because he isn't quite tall enough to retrieve it himself. 
I slow him down when he wants to give her another cookie or another ice cube. 
I watch as he jumps when he hears her "knocking" on the door to go out or come back in. 
I listen as he asks if she can come out front with him because she wants fresh air too. 
I watch him toss her the ball first thing in the morning instead of eating breakfast. 
I watch him jump up in the middle of Mickey to run and give "my Haley" a kiss. 
I comfort him when he thinks she is sad. 
I hear him tell her it's "otay" when thunder rumbles. 
I see him pet her when he thinks no one else is paying attention to her.

And I am proud.

Friday, March 18, 2011


My Bubba was sick on Wednesday. He was warm when we got up and decided to lie in Mommy’s bed watching cartoons. That almost never happens. When I left for work at 9:30, he was there. When I called home at lunch time to check in, he was there. In fact, I guess it wasn’t until close to 2pm that he finally was ok with Daddy bringing him downstairs. At least, though, Hubs said he did nap off and on.
I decided to head home early to meet Sissy at the bus stop. I picked her up and we headed out to my Bubba could rest even more at home. Hubs said he was doing better with the Motrin he gave him.
We arrived home around 7:30 and I took Bubba’s temperature: 101.9. Hubs gave him his nighttime dose of Motrin and then Bubba asked for Mommy to hold him. I picked him up and tried to sit down in the chair. As soon as I did, he unloaded over my shoulder and down my back. Then he said he felt better. Gee, thanks little dude.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is to say, as a Mommy, I dread my kids’ sicknesses. I feel so helpless when they are sick and lost as to what they actually need. Is it as simple as a cold or as serious as the flu or worse? I also feel the guiltiest for going to work. But, they’re home with Daddy with our opposite schedules and all. So that’s great. He’s the other Parent. It’s so much better than a sitter or daycare. But I feel so guilty. I feel as though Mommy should be there to suffer through the sick day with them. If I could send Hubs to my work in my place on those days, I would.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Today's Nature Adventure

Wondering if this will turn into a routine. The kiddos and I headed out again today towards "the beach." Trying to teach them that it doesn't always mean the Beach with the shopping, and the candy, and Grotto. 

(On the way we detoured to find the Zebras a friend had told me about. Yes, I said Zebras. They also have Bison and Llamas. The kiddos were flabbergasted.)

We found ourselves at one of the state properties on Route 9 just north of where we were yesterday. We loved the walk along the nature trail/bridge/dock thingy but Mommy was more preoccupied with holding onto Bubba's hood than she was comfortable with. He's a feisty little one and it was way too cold to have to go swimming with him.

We Mean Bidness

We've weighed in. Our team of four, "We Mean Bidness," has weighed in today and we have a team goal to lose at least 100lbs.The Biggest Losers at work has officially begun.
This is the same team that won 1st place in 2009 with 93lbs lost and 2nd place in 2010. This year, we're taking back 1st place. And this year, we hope for it to be our final year. We hope.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

FOUND! Lost Hour

Daylight Savings Time got the best of me today. I work Saturday evenings so I usually try to lounge on Sunday mornings to catch up a little. That's if the kiddos let me.
Unfortunately, kind of a fluke thing got me. Hubs left for work sometime before 5am (I heard him, as usual). At 5:28am I awoke to my cell vibrating for a phone call. I missed the call. Hubs' work number? Hmm? Why would he be calling me? And then, PANIC. I'm a worry wart, you know. I text him back: "what's wrong? can you call me back? you ok?" (See? Worry wart!)
I wait. And I wait. Now wide awake I'm starring at my cell as if the watched pot will boil. Twenty minutes later I give in and call his work number. Of course, it's a warehouse, so, I wait, and I wait again. All the while worrying: they can't find him, he never made it there, he got hurt on equipment, he had an accident on the way... and on and on. I wait on hold until finally he picks up the line. Now, I've worried him.
He's fine. He didn't make the call. We're not sure who did or why. I just know it took me more than an hour to fall back asleep even after knowing he was fine.I end up even more exhausted than when I went to bed originally. Great. Cue the kiddos jumping on my bed.
After our afternoon nap to help the groggy morning go away, we all jumped in the car for a little ride. We stopped along the way to have some dinner at a local diner type place and then off we went in search of... well, not really in search of anything. The kiddos wanted to see water, I wanted to see the sunset. We found ourselves at the outskirts of Woodland Beach at the boat dock.
It ended up being the spot to take back my hour (and what felt like three) lost to Daylight Savings Time.

Mommy Disclaimer- immediately following this shot I bolted to catch up with them and wouldn't let Bubba out of my grasp. He's a nosey little bugger.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Miracle on Cape Cod

I was thinking of my Gram this evening and decided to dust this off...
Sunday, October 25, 2009 at 12:34am
Gram fell on Sunday morning around 1am and had to be helped back to bed. She complained of a headache so her boyfriend Paul wouldn't let her go back to sleep. He went downstairs to get some Tylenol and call his granddaughter, a nurse. At that point Gram went out cold. He found her and called 911. When they took her out she was completely limp.
They found a blood clot and huge bruise and swelling on her brain, said they needed to operate asap but couldn't b/c she's on cummidin (blood thinner). They had to pump her full of plasma to thicken her blood. They finally operated and put her in a drug induced coma for Sunday & Monday. I arrived Monday night and missed visiting hours.
Tuesday morning we got an emergency call saying she was still bleeding on her brain and needed a 2nd surgery of which they had told us would probably kill her. We all rushed down to see her before surgery and waited to hear from the doctor. He told us Tuesday afternoon that he had removed a half dollar size of her brain to help reduce swelling. He said that unfortunately it was part of the lobe that controls speech, hearing, and memory. He told us she would most likely end up in a nursing home with round the clock care (he didn't use the word vegetable but we knew that's what he meant). We all sobbed in the waiting room together. We discussed how Gram would never have wanted to live that way.
She rested until we all went back in around 6pm and said our goodbyes. My Uncles and Dad (her three sons) gave her permission to go and to be with the Lord and leave the pain behind. We all sobbed over her bedside. She opened one eye. We were told later that was probably some kind of reflex. We then stared and waited, as if we were waiting for that "go towards the light moment." It didn't happen (I'm not sure what we thought would happen). We slowly began dispersing one by one and went back to the waiting room. We had a wonderful family dinner that night, albeit sad, it was peaceful and we all expected to get the call in the morning. We didn't get THAT call.
Instead, we got a call from my Aunt and her two girls who were at the hospital visiting her again. They said we all needed to come quick! She was alert, with her eyes open, and would not take her eyes of her eldest great grandchild, Juliano. It was as if she was mesmerized by him. We all went rushing down again. And by all, well, there were 20 of us (my Nick and JP were the only ones missing). When I got there 1/2 the family was once again in the waiting room, this time with happy tears. My Step Mom Mary, Madi, and I went in. When I rounded her bedside I called her name, "Gram?" She opened her eyes and stared straight at me. She then looked over at Mary and then down to Madi's eye level and into her eyes. THAT was no reflex. We talked to her for a moment until she closed her eyes again. We went back to the waiting room. My Dad, his brothers, and others all had the same experience.
When we started to leave the hospital to come home to DE Madi started bugging me about this picture she had drawn for Gram and that SHE HAD to give it to her. Even though I told her that she was resting, Madi insisted.
Here is where my goosebumps start up every time I tell this- Madi and I went to her bedside with the picture. I touched Gram's leg as I rounded the bed and she opened her eyes, yet again. I told her Madi wanted to give her a picture and I held it out for her to look at. Honestly, I thought I was more doing it for Madi's sake than for Gram's. Before I even realized, Gram reached up her arm about 4-5 inches and took the picture in her fingers. She TOOK the picture FROM ME! Her hand then dropped as she held the picture. I turned to Madi and she looked so surprised. I turned to Gram and said "Gram, you took the picture, you took the picture!" I wiped away a tear from her face and it startled her, she felt that. I couldn't believe it! I don't know if Madi even realizes the extent of that moment but I sure will explain it every chance I get!
In the couple of days since, those little moments have become more and more significant, and more and more extraordinary. When I left her bedside that last time and returned to the waiting room I started to ask for an explanation. I was interrupted and told, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter.
Each day we have all thanked the Lord for giving us one more day for her. So for now, one day at a time, one day at a time. In Jesus' name we Pray.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Yesterday was a better day

It was my friend Clint’s 40th Birthday and I thought of him all day. He was due to start another round of chemo, on of all days, his Birthday. I can’t imagine the thoughts going through his mind about that. I’ve been watching his Cancer battle unfold via the Facebook Prayer Page created for him. His wife, Angela, abruptly announced on February 16th that they needed Prayers immediately for Clint as he fought for his life in ICU. We all had no idea until then.
It’s a reminder that no one really knows what’s going on behind your Twitter or Facebook feed but you and your family. Sometimes, maybe not even your family.
But, I’ve been in awe watching Clint’s Prayer Page light up with his friends, followers, colleagues, and even his girls write encouraging, hopeful, heartwarming posts in the hopes that he reads it and it gives him strength. I know it gives me strength. And hope. And faith.
Strength in numbers in that there is not a few minutes that go by where someone isn’t posting a wave, a chuckle, a hello, or a Prayer for Clint.
Hope that he will kick Cancer’s bare ass and return to his Family for even more appreciation of what Friends and Family are all about.
Faith that through Prayer, from even as far away from Missoula as little ole Delaware, all things are possible.

Monday, March 7, 2011

What does a snake say?

JP & I just returned from JCP Portraits. We finally had the most successful photo shoot with him (since before he was mobile) thanks to, I think, taking him by himself, at a slow time, and with less distractions.
We were a Walk In today because with JP you just can't plan ahead with pictures. Luckily, Miss Caroline was happy to see us (she's a sweetheart) and was able to squeeze us in. Even Miss Caroline was proud of the great job JP did.
We took as many Construction Vehicles and paraphernalia we could fit into the three bags we carried. We had dump trucks, bull dozers, and tools that we were able to stick in his jean pockets. Most of the time he spent showing Miss Caroline how to take apart his CAT tractor with its very own drill. But she was able to get quite a few smiles by asking a series of questions: what does a dog say, cat say and finally, what does a snake say? He would give the biggest cheesiest SSSSSSSSS sound he could and SNAP! Great smile! Good thinking Miss Caroline!
The pictures came out adorable and, as per tradition, I spent more on them than I had planned. But, it was worth it. He did a great job!

Monday, Monday

Mondays are a mix of emotions. It's the last day of the weekend for me, last day of work for Hubs. 
I get the kiddos up, ME for school, JP for tag along with me. And then I have to tackle the day. Do I catch up on some me time, or do I get the house spotless for life to demolish it through the week? Decisions, decisions. 
I feel such pressure to do the latter. I have such the reputation as an ocd neatfreak that I feel I can't let anyone down, or myself because it will drive me nuts throughout the week. 
Hubs asked me last week if I notice the house Tuesday through Friday. Of course I do, I notice eVeryhing (habit and downfall). I mostly feel that I've been away from my kids & Hubs so long at work during the day that to come home and clean and pickup takes away from them. By the time they go to bed, I'm ready for the pillow, too.
Life is a balance, as they say. Also, about choices they tell me, too.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Much Work

I've already learned quite a bit here on Blogger tonight.

Wonder what I'll learn tomorrow.

Tap, Tap, Is This Thing On?

How cliche to say "I'm new at this, so bear with me?" 

Well, I am. And I may not yet be worthy. 

We'll see.