Friday, November 29, 2013

Why Being a Mama is so Hard Sometimes

Have you ever been so afraid you feel like you can't breath? I have.

 About a week ago Connor told me his tummy hurt. We did the normal tricks and soothed him for a few minutes, but the pain got worse. He started screaming. And screaming. And wouldn't be consoled. We put him in the bath tub and he'd stop for a few minutes and then he'd be hunched over on his hands and knees crying out, "Mama it huuuurrrrts." Finally after lots of soothing, rubbing of the belly, and massage for tummy ailments, he'd calm down enough to go back to bed. Mr. Howard and I would pray over him and he'd fall asleep. I'd frantically search the internet for possible ailments and assure myself he didn't have appendicitis. It was just a tummy ache. Then, 20 or 30 minutes later he'd be screaming again. Each time we did this dance, the screaming would get louder. I had had enough. And it became clear it was not going to be stopping anytime soon. Hubby put Connor in the car and off they went to the emergency room. But then, a funny thing happened in the car: he fell asleep.

Calling me, my husband was frantic. What do we do? What if it's just a belly ache? I know the obvious answer is that it probably just made sense to take him to the hospital no matter what, but our insurance deductibles are high and now that we're seasoned parents (ha! yeah right!) and have three kids who all have different ailments that ONLY seem to manifest themselves in the middle of the night when we'd need to go to emergency, we've made the mistake of taking our kids only to be told it's nothing - and then are left with $1000 bills. No joke. So, I told hubby to call the advice nurse. "We'd do what they suggested," we decided. (Normally they tell us to come in...so I figured it'd just give us peace of mind for coming in). But they didn't. They told us it was constipation and to try a suppository. At first it didn't make any sense, but then it did. Connor had had the stomach flu the week before and maybe he was scared to go the bathroom.

So we did a suppository. And Connor had immediate relief. "Whew," I thought. "Crisis averted. $1000 bill avoided." Connor slept with us that night. I fell asleep praying for Connor over and over. 

The next day I made sure to do juice, high fiber foods, and paid really close attention to when he was going to the bathroom. During the day he was great. But then that afternoon he wasn't doing well again. We did more prune juice. More high fiber foods. We even did a teaspoon of miralax. And he was better. By the time nighttime came, he was alright. He slept through the night.

The third day, Wednesday, I figured we were good. I sent him in for his Thanksgiving Feast at preschool, made sure to feed him prune juice at dinner, and figured we were in the clear. It wasn't until I put him to bed that night that the writhing started. And this is the part where I talk about how hard it is to be a mama. Because it's so hard to tell if this was now becoming a pattern. If I say my tummy hurts, Mama lets me stay up. Mama lays in my bed. This worked before. I'm going to say my tummy hurts. So, I brought him out on the couch, fully thinking that he was faking it. It wasn't until the writhing continued, the moaning got louder, that I turned to my brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law and said, "I don't think he's faking it." Despite his protests, I did another suppository. By myself. I basically had to hold him down and he screamed and screamed. Reason number 5 million that it's hard to be a parent. I wanted to cry and not do it. I wanted to wait for my husband to get home from work. But I knew that the longer I waited, the worse it'd get. 

Immediately he went to the bathroom, and again I was relieved. Okay. He IS constipated. He's not dying. ((I am sure you Mamas, husbands, wives, doggie mamas/daddies can relate to the What if he's dying? bad thoughts.)) Again, I put him to bed. And again he fell asleep.

Two hours later, he awoke with a screaming that was inconsolable. I picked him up. He screamed. I put him in the tub. He screamed. My brother and his fiance came in. They tried to calm him down. He screamed more. Tears started to run down my face. Now I was officially freaked out. "He's got appendicitis." I kept thinking. I dressed him in whatever I could find QUICKLY. I held him in my arms and put him in the car. The screaming continued. Occasionally he'd yell, "it hurts" or "Mama, my stomach," but mostly he just screamed. Like someone was killing him. I have never heard him scream like that in my entire life. I have never been that scared in my entire life. I have never driven with my hands shaking like that before. When he'd stop yelling (probably to catch his breath), I'd frantically turn on the lights in the car praying, "please let him be okay...please let him be okay..." I called my mom and between Connor's screaming, I tried to get the words in, "I'm on...my way...to emer...gency...Can you come...please?" 

I'll spare you the details of the rest of the middle of the night emergency room visit, but it entailed me crying and explaining that I swear. I'm the calm one. I NEVER freak out. Seriously. and then Connor telling the doctor that his tummy feels great. It doesn't hurt at all. I am pretty sure at that point they thought I was insane. But 5 minutes later, he was hunched over on his side writhing in pain again. They couldn't ignore it. So they ordered an x-ray. And we were told the x-ray showed he had constipation. I don't even care how much the hospital visit cost us or that we literally took our son to emergency for constipation, I was relieved. I had definitive answers and I knew what to do. 

Anytime something like this happens, I am made aware of how blessed we are. How lucky am I that I walked away from that doctor visit relieved. Some of you Mamas have experienced such heartache. Diagnoses of serious ailments or, maybe even worse, non answers about serious ailments. How my heart aches for you. Some of you Mamas have received news about yourself and are fearful about what could happen if something happened to you. My heart aches for you. How I wish no one had to have frantic car trips with shaking hands and tear streaked cheeks. How I wish none of you have had to receive news that can't be taken back. Being a Mama is so hard.

I once heard this saying and it is probably the most accurate description of what being a parent is like. "Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." That's what makes being a Mama SO hard. When your heart is outside your body, you cannot control what happens to it. And while it is the most difficult thing I've ever done, it is also the absolute best. You cannot imagine more joy and happiness.
When we left the hospital, it was Thanksgiving morning and it couldn't have been a more apropos time to be thankful. I am thankful for our health; I am thankful for my husband and kids; I am thankful for my family; I am thankful for my friends; and I am thankful for you, my readers.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Midweek Randoms

With three littles all in preschool, my husband working in retail, and me working in a school, we are exposed to lots of germs. My kids have always been very resilient (the one positive to being exposed to so many germs - is that you build up immunity). But alas, the germs caught up with us and we all went down one-by-one with the stomach flu (including Uncle Colin and Aunt Becca who we took down with us! Yikes!). It made for a crazy week of balancing working schedules, sick kids, and sick parents. But we are so lucky because it didn't last long! There's nothing like a little sickness to make you appreciate something we take for granted every day: our health!

I'm finally catching up on a few things we've been up to:
  • A few weeks ago my parents asked us to meet them for breakfast at 8 in the morning. I am pretty sure Colin and Becca were less than thrilled about the early morning timing, but I was thrilled. 8am is the perfect time for the babies!
  • ...You know you're addicted to coffee when...Your two-year-olds sit down at the restaurant table, breath a sigh of relief, grab coffee mugs, and say "ahhh coffee!" Haha!
  •  Isabella is obsessed with these little sandals and was SO thrilled to be wearing them out at the restaurant. Aunt Becca's glasses were the icing on the cake!
  • I absolutely adore our speech therapist! Adore! She and I exchange all sorts of fun stories about teaching and working with kids/parents. The other day when I was driving, Isabella used three whole sentences and I couldn't help it, I texted her speech therapist!
  • This CRACKED me up guys. Seriously. The kids did a project at preschool where they did firemen. Connor's and Izzy's looked pretty much the same:
And then Aiden's looked like this: 
Story of his life. No joke.
  • My soon-to-be sister-in-law and brother have been planning their wedding! They have set a date, picked a location, and are working on signing the contract for the venue soon. Rebecca snapped this photo of Isabella browsing her aunt's wedding magazine and I need to hang on to it for her wedding day slideshow!
  • My handsome littlest man has been so cuddly lately. I think I've mentioned this before, but Connor never cuddled me when he was a baby. He pretty much wouldn't cuddle us until he was three. So then we prayed for a cuddler. And God has such a great sense of humor that he gave us Miss Isabella Lynn - aka Miss Clingy McClingerson - who wants nothing BUT to cuddle. Ha! And so, I wasn't expecting Aiden to be a cuddler. But he is turning into one. Not all the time - but enough to make my Mama heart happy. 
  •  I got this new necklace, below, and it's my absolute favorite. I wasn't sure I'd like it or if it'd feel lopsided, so I waited and now I'm wondering why I waited this long. I haven't been this excited about a piece of jewelry in a long time.
  • Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I am thrilled to eat and spend some time with my family! We haven't been the best at going over to my parents' house lately because the kids go to bed so early and it's hard in the evenings.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Family Room Partial Reveal

For those of you who are new to the blog, we built our house about 6 months ago. Because of this, we have been going room by room decorating the house, little by little. Sometimes it seems overwhelming to get the house done and then other times, it feels completely organic.

The next room on our to-do list was our family room. I knew I wanted to do a gallery wall  on this big blank wall and I knew I wanted to do something more bold with bigger frames. I even posted about what I wanted in my Hallway Gallery Reveal HERE. And then, by some miracle, The Busy Budgeting Mama posted a reveal of her basement and my heart went pitter patter for her gallery wall. She wrote that she was going to put together a tutorial and I couldn't even wait (she actually did the tutorial yesterday! Check it out! It has links to the exact frames she bought...how to do the Staples website prints...and how she even cut out the pictures!). I literally went that EXACT day to Ikea and bought the frames she suggested for $5 each.


Have you ever done the engineer prints from Staples?!? The quality was AMAZING. I mean REALLY AMAZING! We ordered the 24 x 36's and they were actually bigger than life size. But the best part?!? They were only $3.59. Umm hello!
 Tell me that isn't ridiculously amazing for less than $4. The frames we used were actually much smaller than a 24 x 36, so I went across the street and took photos of the kids - so that I'd have a big background I could crop out.
You absolutely have to check out The Busy Budgeting Mama's tutorial and do this look! It makes such a great statement for about $40!

Stay tuned for the rest of the reveal. This room already looks different and I can't wait to show you my Hardwood Floor reveal! We have ripped out all the carpet in our downstairs (minus the guest bedroom) and replaced it with a beautiful laminate floor. We also got rid of the brown rug under our coffee table and are debating what to replace it with. Maybe a black/white stripe or pattern? Suggestions welcome!

Monday, November 25, 2013

An absolute dazzling magical night

I have literally never been this busy in my entire life. We haven't even been "doing" a whole lot outside the home, but just having three kids four and younger and a full time job is keeping us all busy. I do completely understand, as well, that busy is relative and that if I had five kids, I'd be even busier - but it's hard to imagine fitting it all in. The one thing I consistently do for ME is blog. It's my sanity and a lot of people see my life with three kids and a full-time job and say, "How on earth do you find the time to blog?!?" and for years, I've said that I just prioritize it. If you want to do something, somehow you find a way to do it. Right? That's why somehow, no matter how busy I get, I always find time to eat...laugh...check Facebook, have dance parties...etc. but somehow never ever find the time for laundry or vacuuming my car. Funny how that works.

I have always made time for this blog - usually after putting the kids to bed, I'd snuggle on the couch with my husband and blog away to my heart's content a couple nights a week. But with my brother and his fiancé living with us, we've been cramming in a whole lot more. We've been taking the kids out to eat more in the evenings after work, renting movies to watch all together after they go to bed, and having lots of date nights or late night after-the-kids-go-to-bed target runs! And I just haven't prioritized blogging. But with that, comes all this pent up energy and creativity that seems to burst at my seams. I just don't feel right without blogging. So, with that said, I have decided to take a few days and get back on track.

A month ago...Seriously, that's insane. A month ago we got the kids dressed up for Halloween and went trick-or-treating at my mom's house. I am sorta bummed that we didn't get to support our new neighborhood, but it's become such a fun tradition at my mom's that I didn't want to miss it. We were able to make it an entire Kirkpatrick family occasion. How fun it is that all my siblings and parents live in the same place.

This wasn't the first time the babies had gone trick-or-treating (last year they did the parade where they got to walk around and get candy), but this was their first time trick-or-treating on Halloween night.
I honestly wasn't sure how they would do. Isabella is VERY shy and doesn't like strangers at all - let alone having to be near strangers - and Aiden and Izzy normally go to bed right at the time that we'd be heading out to START trick-or-treating - so I was sorta hoping for the best, but preparing for a less than stellar experience.
But it was magical. Seriously magical. Absolutely all my hopes and dreams manifested themselves right on the golden sunset colored streets. This is what I dreamed being a parent would be like. The giggles. The skipping. The hand holding. The kisses. The big googly-eyed wonder.
My kids were thrilled. They happily ran up to every single house and sweetly called, "Trick or treat!" They held out their buckets and doubled the size of their eyes when sweet people giggled at their matching costumes and baby faces (almost everyone else we saw were teenagers!) and put full sized candy bars (yes, PLURAL: bars!) in their buckets. They were giddy with excitement.
They waited patiently for their turn, used their manners, and bounced up and down with uncontainable excitement as they skipped to the next house.
I was painfully aware, amongst hundreds of teenagers, that the number of years I have of doing this with my kids is numbered. I spend so much of my time praying for them to be out of diapers...and hoping they'll be able to walk soon...and then able to talk...and then able to ride a bike...and then able to dress themselves - that the years go by so quickly and I'm left thinking about how I wish I could slow down the time. I wanted to freeze the night and remember every single detail of it.
Oh how I wish I could have captured the magical sunset on this hill. This is what it looked like at the beginning of our journey!
My mom and Dad came with us to a few houses, but had to spend the evening passing out candy at their own house. My sister, brother, soon to be sister-in-law, husband, and kids and I all accompanied them from house to house.
I have about 300 photos from the night and I wish I could post every single one - because each one captures a unique and special moment from that evening, but the best memories are the ones I still have in my mind: Connor's RIDICULOUS smile, the laughter from the houses when they realized they were a matching Flintstone family, the woman who was passing out candy to the kids when her fog machine went off and Izzy started crying - who felt so bad that she ran into the house and came back with a "SPECIAL" surprise for the kids, Isabella Lynn trying to balance her "strawberry" stuffed lovey and candy bucket throughout the streets (each equally important to her), Aiden bouncing up and down like tigger with absolute unbridled excitement, Connor's, "But MAMA you missed a house!" panicked assessment when we'd pass a house without lights on, Aiden's belly giggles and "WHOA"s when he'd come back and show me what he got, tucking Connor into bed MUCH much later and having him pull me close and whisper, "Mama, thank you for taking me trick or treating!" and my siblings getting to experience Halloween through the eyes of a child. We are blessed.
I am blessed.
Beyond words.
Aunt Becca, Uncle Colin, and Aunt Katie:
Their loot:
And because the evening was SO unbelievably magical and full of a million and eight reasons that it was seriously one of the best nights of my entire life, God had to balance out the evening and make the experience a little more human and less divine by providing us this gem of a car ride (I didn't even tell them we ate all their Halloween candy. I swear! This is just what three VERY tired toddlers look like and the behind-the-scenes reality of what being a parent is like):
 

I know that some might see that video and think Yikes. I don't want to be a parent. But I'll tell you. It's worth it. I swear. I'll take car rides like that in order to experience the absolute unbridled joy that multiplies in my heart at seeing the world through the eyes of two and four-year-olds. It is indescribable.

Monday, November 18, 2013

One lucky reader will win a DSLR camera! WHAT?!?


For my 30th birthday, I got something I had been dreaming about for years...a DSLR camera. I literally jumped up and down when I opened the gift and spent the next few weeks googling YouTube "how to use a DSLR camera" videos. It's amazing how you can go years without having something and then suddenly, can't imagine your life without one. That camera changed my life. Okay, it didn't CHANGE my life, but it certainly made life a million times more fun to document! I ALMOST hate to offer you this awesome giveaway, because I know it means that you, like me, are going to spend hours googling away all the awesome things you can do with your new camera - but you are definitely going to wonder how on earth you've survived so long without one! Are you dying yet? Don't you want to own your very own DSLR camera?!? I am joined by a few other awesome bloggers, including Busy Mom's Helper who organized this, to give one lucky reader their very own, brand new Canon Rebel T3i DSLR with Lens, valued at over $550!

Here are the other amazingly talented bloggers bringing this perfect prize to you. Be sure to check them all out!!!
Binkies and Briefcases     food storage moms              
I can't wait for one of you to win this prize, so you can send me links to your favorite "How to take awesome photos" tutorials. Good luck!!
 
***This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.  All entries for the winner will be checked and verified, so please make sure you are doing what you are claiming in the Rafflecopter or all your entries will be voided.  No funny business, folks. . By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. Number of entries received determines the odds of winning. One winner will be selected. The winner will be notified via the email they provide, and will have 48 hours to reply to the email.  If the winner does not reply back within the 48 hours, they forfeit the prize and a new winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.  This is a giveaway sponsored as a group buy, which means the bloggers pooled their money together to purchase this product for you.  Amazon is not a sponsor of this giveaway.  The prize will be sent via Amazon Prime from Danielle @ Busy Mom's Helper.  Entries must come from your MAIN social media accounts, not accounts that have been set up separately just for entering giveaways.  Entries from these types of accounts will be disqualified.  Protected tweets do not count as an entry method for tweeting. Tweets must come from a public account. Bloggers in this group giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.
Please see the Rafflecopter widget below for additional Terms & Conditions.  Good luck, ya'all! 

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Mothers of Multiples Parade

Our mothers of multiples group always does a Halloween Party and Parade every year and it's seriously one of my absolute favorite things of the year! It's so fun seeing all the multiples in their coordinating costumes! 

 My kids went as the Flintstone family. My mom and I made these costumes (she did all the sewing...which basically means she did most of the work...and I glued the triangles on and cut out the fabric).

 I just adore my little Flintstone Family!
 I bought the bone for Izzy's hair from Petco (it's literally a dog bone that I just used clear baby rubber bands to attach to her hair) and the bone on Aiden's costume was a glow-in-the-dark dog squeaky toy I found at target!

 This may be the last year I can get my kids to dress up in theme, although I plan on attempting bribery for at least another year...or two...or eight...
 The kids had so much fun at the park!
 And I just died at their adorableness:
 They played and played and played!
 And hung around...
 And swung:
 And explored in the jungle:
 And colored trick-or-treat bags
 And got ready for the parade with Daddy:
 Umm...hello cuteness!
 And enjoyed their snacks with Uncle Colin, Aunt Becca, and Daddy:
 Oh...and explored the park a little more...
 And made a journey to the car with Aunt Becca:
 My heart is bursting! I know I'm partial, but my kids just make my heart explode!!

 We are BLESSED beyond words.

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