Saturday, December 15, 2012

Still hanging around

There have been many attempts to write something down the past six months, but honestly my fear of other people reading my thoughts stopped me.  This year has been quite the whirlwind, and full of so many ups and downs.  I'm still not doing very well in the sanity department.  I could really use a visit with my therapist and some medication, but both of those things require me going somewhere during the day without children.  And that just isn't doable so far. 

Anyways, I really wanted to jot down some Molly updates and thoughts.  She has had an incredible year, full of so much progress.  She started walking the beginning of September.  After that, her vocabulary exploded.  It really felt like she was 'normal', right up until I filled out the stupid questionnaire at the pediatrician's office for her 2 year checkup.  For some reason, it really made me feel like crap.  Even though I am very aware of her delays, I somehow forget until I see in black and white what she should be doing.

But I digress. 

The past month brought some bigger changes for Molly.  One is that she was evaluated for speech therapy and qualified for it.  Part of me is glad she is getting the help she needs to make sure any delays are minimized.  But part of me is heartbroken all over again.  When the therapist was doing the evaluation, she told me that she hears a slight lisp most likely caused by the brain damage (I'm finally to the point that I can call it a stroke, but I still can't make myself contact the head specialist who will give her a cerebral palsy diagnosis).  For some reason, this hit me super hard.  I don't know why, but in all my thoughts about her nerve damage, it never occurred to me that it would extent to her head as well.  Guess I'm naive or compartmentalizing or something.

This brings me to the second big change-the opthalmologist has decided she needs glasses.  Her eyesight isn't all that bad, but her left eye is crossing.  She is thinking it is a muscle issue, so we are trying glasses out before going to surgery to correct it.  Tonight while talking to my sis-in-law about it, it clicked that the eye with the problems is on the side of the face that has the nerve damage.  Up until that moment, I just told myself it's been genetics at play, but now I question that assumption.

Going shopping for the glasses was pretty hilarious though.  Little Miss wouldn't try on anything but red frames with no nose pads.  If we tried to get her to put something else on, she would grab the frames, scream at us, and throw them on the floor.  So now she has the brightest red glasses I've ever seen.  And they look so cute on her and she is soooooo proud to wear them (for 60 seconds at least).  I love the strength of her personality, and it cracks me up to see wear she asserts herself.

Stomach wise, she had a scare in July that almost landed her in the hospital, but other than that, she's been great.  She still has her days and her moments, but the delays from the brain damage are definitely more pressing anymore.

So many ideas are going through my head right now, but none of them are making any sense and it's getting pretty late.  If anyone still visits this little blog, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Highs and Lows

I have really struggled this past month.  Exercise hasn't happened at all, and I guess I didn't realize how much it would affect me.  I think I've spent the majority of the time wishing I could take a break from myself.  This past week I hit a bad low.  Bad enough that I realized I probably needed to go back on medication for depression again if things didn't change immediately.  My kids have not had an easy time of dealing with mom, and we have not been having any fun. 

On Friday I decided to do the opposite of pretty much every impulse I had for the day, especially in regards to getting outside.  It ended up being a fairly crazy day.  Molly had some huge breakthroughs in therapy (she is starting to answer yes or no questions appropriately on occasion!!!!), I fit in an errand that resulted in witnesses a psycho crash into a car and take off in the parking lot, and I bit the bullet.  I finally attempted the pool with all five children by myself.  This is really huge for me on several levels.  We had a good time and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  Since we were living it up, I even let the kids choose pizza from little caeser's for dinner.  It was a MUCH needed day for my psyche.

After the kids settled in for a slumber party in the basement, I started watching random stuff while waiting for the hubby to get home from a guy's night to see Prometheus.  Then he called and said he was trying to get his friend to the hospital in time for his wife's emergency c-section.  I didn't handle the news very well, as I had spoken to the wife a few hours earlier about the pregnancy and convinced her to call her doctor with her concerns since it was the start of the weekend(she was 31 weeks).  At that point I completely lost it.  As in I think I've experienced my first panic attack. 

Needless to say it was a very long night.  Adam finally got home around 1 am, after getting the husband there literally in the nick of time (they were making the incision as he walked into the OR).  Things are not ok with the baby, but they are getting hopefully more stable.  Yesterday was spent battling a massive migraine and exhaustion while trying to through a baby shower for another friend. In many ways, I'm so grateful for the distraction of running the shower, because I'm having so many flashbacks and fears for our friends, but I know there's nothing I can do, but pray for everyone involved.

While it seems like this would make things worse for me, it's actually getting me back to where I want to be.  I have someone else's needs that are making me get out of my head and making it impossible to dwell on all the make believe issues I've been so upset over the past month.  It's also reminding me all over again how precious every day is with my family, and more days need to be fun.

I also had a good high yesterday (perfect timing) at the baby shower.  There was a guy named Dale there that truly left an impression on me.  I must admit that I've never felt so at ease talking with a new person before.  Everything about him was so incredibly genuine.  I felt like even though we couldn't be more different from each other (me the psycho mom of 5 with no sense of style or design and him the gay fabulously dressed personal organizer and interior designer), it was the most interesting and comfortable conversation I've had in a long time.  I talked to Adam about having him come out and help me with our house as we are in the furniture and decorating phase of the basement, and he loves the idea.  He is so completely at peace with himself and his abilities and wants to give that to the people he's around.  This probably sounds crazy, but he just really impressed me and wish I could be like him with other people around me. 

Anywho, that's the culmination of the past month.  Summer is here, there's way too much going on, and I need to find a way to stay sane.  And please, please, please, say a prayer for our friend's baby...

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Today is an interesting day, the culmination of an 'interesting' week.  Molly continues to do fabulous for the most part without the prevacid, so the the national shortage has been a huge blessing for us.  Since we got her off successfully, I was able to cancel a follow up appointment with her GI (being on prevacid was the only reason he wanted to see her).  It feels extremely liberating to only need to give her vitamins and lots of fluids now.  Her poop has been beyond beautiful.  Except she seems to have a once a week MASSIVE explosion.  And she's always wearing the same jammies when it happens-I think they might be cursed.  It makes me appreciate a normal kid's 'blowout'.

Last Sunday was our family's official debut at church as an entire unit.  It felt great to finally be able to take everyone at the same time.  I met with the helpers for Molly and Big Baby's class to explain her delays and issues, and I think Molly will do great once she can actually go.  I'm guessing it's going to be some great therapy for her.  Although I have also gained a new appreciation for my friends with twins.  Wow. 

Our neighborhood had a gardening class last night to talk about the 'specialness' of our soil and tips and tricks for growing stuff successfully out here.  It was really informative.  It also gave me a chance to talk to a neighbor who is dealing with much more complicated issues than Molly's with her 3 year old.  We ended up talking until 10:30.  It was nice because it helped solidify that we really do need to add behavior therapy to Molly's little regime.  Her responses to things are so out of control extreme, and she can't understand when we are trying to soothe her.  This makes for some really long days.  There has been a lot of discussion on the support group lately that made me realize this too is probably a result of all her issues and prematurity-not just an early start to the terrible two's.  My friend last night described it as the terrible two's on crack.  I'm really hoping we can get some tips and suggestions on how to deal with it, or we might have a lot more excursions at home this summer instead of out and about.

This also got me thinking again of how blessed we have been.  As frustrating as some things seem right now, I still know that we have it great compared to most families dealing with short gut.  One of Molly's short gut buddies lost her battle last month and earned her angel wings.  Remembering this definitely adds a lot of patience for dealing with poop on walls, cribs, floors, and everywhere else you can think of. 

Outside of the recent events with Molly, things are looking up.  We are so close to getting our basement finished and have even started moving the toy room downstairs.  The kids are just as excited as we are to be done I think.  We've had time to sit down and evaluate our goals for the next few years.  It's so nice to have some degree of certainty back in our lives again, and things are progressing super fast with several of our goals.  I'm so thankful we switched jobs when we did, and to the company we did.  They have been so amazing to work with on every level.

So today I'm trying to move past the sad and negative thoughts from the past week.  I'm trying to find new motivation to make exercise fit into my schedule.  I'm trying not to burst into tears over every little thing because my body has decided that anything and everything requires a physical response of tears.  I'm trying to focus on today and be a better mom and wife.  Hopefully, I'll also figure out a way to meet with Paul, because I could really use a therapist lately.

What kinds of things are you doing today???

Monday, April 30, 2012

One Proud Momma

Saturday was little man's second soccer game.  We discovered last week that his team can sort of actually play when they slaughtered the other team 35 to 2 or something like that.  Watching him get so excited to go to practice or a game has been great considering the only thing he ever requests is video games.  His focus and intensity has been awesome.  I didn't get to see this game, but I got several play by plays from all the kids and Adam.

Apparently Adam made a bribery deal with little man in an effort to get him to really try.  I guess it had several tiers with smaller prizes for smaller accomplishments, leading up to a video game after he scored 5 goals.  He thought it would take the whole season.  Not so with our little man.  Once he knew what was at stake, he made sure it happened.  He scored three goals in the first 5 minutes of the game.

After the fourth goal, Adam told him that he needed to start passing to his teammates and help them to score.  So he did.  Every time he got the ball, he would take it right to the goal, then wait for a teammate to show up and pass the ball to them so they could score.  By halftime, the coaches told the team they needed to not score so much and let the other team score too.  Tyson rejected this at first, but quickly changed his mind when he thought about how the other team must be feeling.  So he spent the rest of the game trying not to score and helping the other side.

By the end of the game, he had scored another goal accidentally.  He went running to the sidelines to Adam, and reminded him that he earned the whole video game now.  That made all the parents start laughing out loud.  When they got home he had also earned three big boxes of candy that he very willingly shared with all of us.  I was proud on several levels. One, that he maintained his focus on the end goal.  Two, that he was willing to be a team player, knowing it might keep him from getting his goal in one game.  Three, even once he got his reward, he was so willing to share it with everyone rather than hoard it for himself.

Makes me feel that maybe something we're trying to teach is actually sinking in.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Just Off

Somehow I've managed to lose the month of April somewhere. I don't know what I did with it, I just know there's no way it's already over. I'm still struggling to find my groove since getting back from Texas, both physically and mentally. Physically, Adam and I have both had just plain weird things going on. Back spasms, stomach issues, tension migraines, allergies, etc. I have this feeling that I'm heading towards a train wreck with my stomach issues, but I don't have the energy to figure out what's setting it off. To top things off, my neck, shoulders, and back have been so tight I'm scared of a serious injury if I work out yet, so I've just been avoiding exercise all together. It's probably a quick fix at the chiropractor-just need to get it into the schedule.

Other than that, I'm just off. I've been so tired that I can't focus on anything, and I've been falling asleep at 8 and 9 pm. Being so tired gets me back into my depressed state of mind, so it's been hard to shake off. Then I start taking it out on the kiddos, and guilt sets in. A totally vicious cycle, and one I'm really working on breaking. I'm trying to go back and read through the tips and advice from Paul last summer, but it feels like it's not what I need to hear right now. Super frustrating.

One thing keeping me somewhat in check is appointments. Between dentist, therapy, and rehab specialist, we've been pretty busy. Little man had his first bad news check-up at the dentist. I'm still figuring out how to tell him he's getting knocked out so they can get fixed. Molly is the super star of the month. First, she's pretty much stair safe!!!! After spending hours every day practicing going up and down, she's got it down! When we told Dr. Gooch at her follow up appointment, her jaw dropped. Yeah, that's how Molly rolls. Standing and walking are still a long ways off, but at least stairs don't give me a heart attack anymore and the baby gate is safely put away again. She also had a breakthrough with receptive language. Through much bribery of treats and ice cream, she figured out the sign and word for 'more'!!!!!!!! Even though she had two days of consequences from the ice cream, it was worth it!! Dr. Gooch suggested starting speech therapy, but we decided to hold off one more month and see what she does first.

Another area of excitement (hopefully), is that Molly appears to be ok without the prevacid anymore! In trying to get more for her the past few weeks, I discovered just how bad the shortage is nationally. Pretty much our only option was to get the solu-tabs, which work great, but it's a $185 co-pay for a 4 week supply. Since she's been doing better with reflux lately, we decided to try and take her off before investing in a solu-tab refill. Today is day three and so far, so good!!!!! (knock on wood)

On a different Molly note, the big girls are starting to see just how behind Molly is in the physical department. Today when I picked them up from school, they were going on and on about how a parent volunteer came in for a party and brought a baby the same age as Molly. They were shocked at how well she was walking and getting into things and talking. Part of me was glad they see Molly as the norm, but a little piece of my heart was aching that the differences are becoming more and more noticeable for them. They are still her biggest cheerleaders.

Overall, I feel like I'm getting closer to back on track at this point. I just wish my body would quit hating me so much sometimes.

Monday, April 16, 2012


We are back! I survived the Texas trip!!! The past ten days have been a super fun, but definitely not restful, vacation to visit my parents. The kids did amazing with the 20+ hours of driving each way. Bringing my amazing, about to be 18 year old niece was the best decision I could've made. She was so helpful with the kids.

We basically consumed candy and ice cream the entire week we were there. Some of it was in the name of science. My niece had never tried blue bell ice cream and we needed to figure out what flavor is the best (we decided on two-depending on your mood). It was the most action packed vacation I can remember. We were going 100 miles per hour from the moment we parked the car in the driveway.

Big baby and Molly did great too. Molly had some gas issues, and I kept up with the grapefruit seed extract, which seemed to help. They both remembered my parents, which was fun. I have a feeling their house seems awfully quiet this week after all their squeals, screams, and crying. Big baby even said her first impromptu prayer. It consisted of thanking Heavenly Father for her favorite things of the day, or "tings a day". It was super cute.

On the down side, I got my first speeding ticket in 15 years. Stupid speed limit signs are posted on the median of the road on the reservation near Shiprock, NM. The cop never even gave me a chance to explain anything. The most frustrating part is that the stupid ticket keeps repeating that you have to pay with a check or money order, but it never tells you who to make the check out to! STUPID!!!

I loved almost every minute of the trip, and even got some workouts in. It felt really good. although I came home completely exhausted, and I'm really excited for no trips until June-ish, it was a fabulous break. I think this will be one for the memory books for the kids. For my niece and I, we'll be remembering all the poop art and blow outs we got to deal with on the drive home...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

How Big is Your Mouth?

I think it's safe to say I've bitten off more than I could possibly chew this year. Especially considering all my plans involve money. As I pack up for the drive to Texas tomorrow morning, I'm totally stressing. Which also means cinnamon bears are close by and disappearing fast. A longer break from my vacation plans will be so nice once we get back. How ironic is that-I want a vacation from the vacation planning??

I'm feeling so much better about life and our family this year, but I keep getting ahead of myself. With the basement, with the kids' rooms, with all these trips, with yard projects, etc. It feels like I'm desperately trying to make up for the 'lost' 2 years of my life.

At the same time, I feel like this year is the golden year for our family. The big kids aren't too big yet and still love spending time with us, and the bitties are getting bigger and stronger every day. Even though our house is constantly looking like a bomb went off, and silly arguments are a constant, we are having fun and starting to explore the world again. One of my favorite sounds lately is the sound of Molly playing with the neighbor kids. She's been so off limits since she came home, that's she still a complete novelty for all the kids' friends. And they are having a seriously good time getting to know each other.

Speaking of Molly, she's doing pretty well. There have been some issues with her intestines the past week or so. Last Thursday her gas changed to the most horrible smelling gas I've ever been around. By Sunday her tummy was rock hard and she was having blow out after blow out. It seemed like we were experiencing her first bout with bacterial overgrowth and I was ready to take her in Monday morning, then it just stopped. A wonderful neighbor spent Monday afternoon tracking down grapefruit seed extract for us to try a more natural remedy before dosing up the antibiotics and it seems to be helping some. My gut is telling me the issue isn't bacteria, it's yeast. That's been Molly's nemesis from day one. I'm going to try some experiments to see if my gut is right. It's made me do a lot of research into odor elimination the past week. I got several comments when I asked the support group, so I'm excited to try some of them out.

Physically, she is progressing again. I think I spend at least two hours a day practicing stairs with her lately. She's getting pretty proficient. Walking and standing are still months away, but given the choice I would gladly take stair safe over walking independently right now. Her neck is giving us more concern lately. She still seems like her head is too heavy to hold in a normal position. I have a feeling it will become more of the focal point of her therapy in the coming months.

She is so close to figuring out phrases though. Last week I was trying to distract her from the stairs and told her to go get Daddy. She paused, turned and faced our bedroom door for a second, called out, then kept crawling. I swear she understood me.

Adam and I are plugging away at P90X. I definitely don't have the intensity I did before. Life just keeps creeping in. I think Adam is getting more on board with it though. It's fun to do it together. If I could only get more discipline in the sugar department I would be seeing a lot more results I think.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Awesome sauce

Friday evening I was upstairs in a room when I heard the sounds of Molly close by. Since she was watching tv when I went upstairs, I became concerned she was stuck on the stairs and asked the eldest to locate her. When she couldn't find her I came into the hallway at the top of the stairs, where we found Molly sitting by the girls' door!!!

After recovering from the heart attack, I picked her up, and she just started clapping. Of course it turned into a celebration for the whole family. I was so proud of her!!! And doing it only a few days after her therapist and I were trying to figure out what bump in the road Molly was hitting with her gross motor skills.

I told Adam I think Molly just missed her therapist. Once she got her fix, she was ready to go again. Another big step forward for our little Chubbylumkins! Now to put up the baby gate and work on standing....

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

This and That

Another big week at our house. Last Friday was my 11th anniversary. Since we just got back from San Francisco we didn't do anything big, but we did end up with a baby-sitter and got to go out for a little while. It's crazy to see how far we've come together now. Especially the past couple of years. Trials and challenges have kept us on our toes, but really brought us closer together at the same time. Yay for us!

Last week also marked the beginning of us doing P90X together. Even though I'm super sore, I've been pleasantly surprised at how well I'm keeping up with everything. Adam is still working on it. It is much more intense than what he used to, and he has to take it easy with a bum knee still. The hardest part of doing it with him is that we have to do it at night after the kids are in bed. I've never been a night exerciser, so it's really messed with my sleeping patterns. It's fun to do it together though, and I think Adam has gained a new appreciation for the effort I put into it last summer. Hopefully we'll both be feeling great and looking ready for the summer when we're done.

Yesterday was physical therapy for Molly. We talked a lot about her lack of progression in her gross motor skills. She's getting so much better at putting weight on her left leg, and her crawling is much smoother now, but she's basically refused to try walking or going up the stairs for the past month or so. There's a part of me that's freaking out a little bit, but my 'mommy radar' tells me there's nothing to worry about.

After observing her for a while, her therapist noticed that when she does attempt to walk her left foot is turning completely out and then she rolls from the outside to the inside of her foot. We are hoping this can get corrected by wearing shoes, so now Molly is a shoe wearing little bitty. They really throw her off. For the first hour she just stared at them. It was pretty funny.

Another thing mentioned was that sometimes people with brain damage can't progress in verbal and gross motor skills at the same time. It's like it's too hard to focus on both simultaneously or something. Tiffany said she's seen it in toddlers sometimes-they start talking, but go totally silent before and during any attempt at walking. So it could be that Molly's brain is focusing on language right now because let me tell you, that girl is babbling ALL DAY LONG lately. She's even started waking up in the middle of the night just to babble for an hour or so. It's so stinkin' cute, but I was really hoping for a quiet baby for once.

The third scenario that was brought up was that there might be fluid building up on her brain. I mentioned that her head jumped another line in head size at her last check up after going down for a little while. At this point she wears about the same hat size as me. Tiffany said if that's the case, it would be changing her sleeping habits, making her fussy all the time, and basically stop her gross motor progression. I countered all the symptoms with 'she's also trying to teeth several incisors right now'. Which also makes perfect sense. So it was left that we'll watch it closely and I am having a little sit down with her pediatrician at her next check up(he already warned me that if it goes up again, we'll probably need to do an MRI just to make sure nothing's going on).

Moments like this make me thankful for my 'mommy radar'. Doctors and therapists are great. And they've helped our family a ton, but it's not the same thing as truly KNOWING a person like I know Molly. My heart tells me she's ok, so I've decided that's what I'm moving forward with. Her behavior is more in line with a true toddler lately, and to me that shows that her brain is cruising along. It just might be at a different pace than 'normal'.

So far I haven't completely given in to the stress and caved to the comfort food. I do feel like last week I was on top of the world and this week I'm struggling to keep my head above water. The groove I found last week apparently didn't last very long. I'm thinking a vacation or trip every month is probably overdoing it. I'm kind of excited to get back from Texas and have a couple of months to figure everything out and find my rhythm again. At the same time, the trips and getaways have done wonders for me mentally and emotionally.

At the end of the day, life is good.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Today was a big day. But first, a touch of backstory. At Molly's therapy session last Tuesday we did another evaluation. When it was done, her therapist said she's catching up on everything but gross motor (walking) and receptive learning, meaning she understands sounds have meaning and can put them together. Her suggestions to help her with this included giving her simple commands, then demonstrating them over and over; talking her through anything considered a routine; and repeating everything she says over and over again. The desired outcome is to understand if we ask to her get a toy or something, and to start stringing words together to form a thought.

Which brings us to this morning.

Adam put his shoes on, and we said family prayer. As soon as we were finished Molly started saying 'bye' and waving her hand. Adam, being the amazing father he is, starting getting super excited that she was trying to talk to him. After about ten seconds she did it again, only this time it was "bye!...BYE DAD!!"

I couldn't be prouder! It truly is the simple things that have the most meaning.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


This past week has given me so many things I needed at this point in my life. Adam went to San Francisco for the Game Developer's Conference (or GDC), and I was able to tag along Wednesday thru Saturday. My in-laws were awesome enough to come stay with our kids to give us a true break. The trip showed me a lot of things, starting with:

1. My life doesn't have to be totally consumed with Molly. And that's what the past 18 months have been. I didn't realize just how much of my existence revolved around her and her health until I was completely surrounded by people who truly could not care less or only wanted to hear she is doing okay. By Saturday I was even coming up with other things to talk about with Adam's co-workers when we went out. It was actually refreshing.

2. There is a side of me that's a city girl. In all honesty, I had a total anxiety attack when I was packing Tuesday night. I feel like I've almost become borderline agoraphobic after the past couple of years. And I've never done well in big cities. When Adam and I went to Seattle on our honeymoon, we ended up hiding in a movie theater for an entire day. No joke. But this time I feel like I thrived on all the energy from the city and jumped right in. I barely hesitated when I was on my own for a half day, and ended up having a great time exploring. Which leads me to...

3. I still have the worst sense of direction on the planet. Adam and I jokingly referred to my lost exploits as 'just wanting to meander a little more'. Without a map, the GPS on my phone, and several nice strangers I would've ended up lost in Canada I think.

4. Adam and I actually got to enjoy being just a couple again. And it was awesome. One other wife came too, so I had girl time for shopping, we had some couple dates, and we hung out with Adam's co-workers a few times. It was so nice to stroll past an art gallery and decide to go in and not worry about kids ruining things or smudging the glass or whining to go back. We even made our very first art investment purchase!!!! We can't wait for it to arrive. The artist is even Korean, so he is putting the dedication on the back in Korean for Adam. There was another piece we both LOVED, but with a price tag of $21,000 I think we'll just admire it from a far.

5. I really like going to restaurants. With our family vacations, I usually plan our meals so we only eat out for lunch, and even then not every day. It was fun to not worry about price or time, just quality of the food. And we definitely found some amazing food.

6. Riding a bike is freakin' hard in San Francisco. I thought I was in pretty good shape still until this. We rented bikes on Thursday morning and ended up going around the wharfs and piers, across the Golden Gate bridge, then down into Sausalito. It was about 10 miles, and it wore us out big time. Probably the highlight of the trip though. It was beautiful to explore the city and the bridge like that.

To add a little bit of journaling to this post, I have to jot down a little timeline for my sake. Wednesday I flew out there and I took Bart to the hotel. I was so proud of myself that I didn't end up on the wrong train. When I met Adam, we had dim sum for lunch, then I spent the afternoon arranging for a repair guy to come fix our dishwasher. That night we explored Fisherman's Wharf, had dinner at McCormick & Kaluto's, then dessert at Ghiradelli Square. We took my first taxi ride back to the hotel and he was the driver from hell. I seriously almost lost my dinner to his crazy driving. Adam just laughed and told me he was Korean, and that's how all Korean drivers are.

Thursday morning we got an early start on the bike ride. It was beyond amazing. There was no wind at all, so we could just enjoy everything and take it in. Going across Golden Gate bridge on bike gave me a much better appreciation for its architecture and design. When we arrived in Sausalito we decided we didn't have time to ride back (the hill back to the bridge would've been impossible), so we explored the bedroom community and took a ferry back across the bay. Adam found the world's best ice cream, and I found a ton of fun souvenirs for the kiddos. When we got back Adam went to his conference and I met up with an old friend I haven't seen in YEARS. It was so fun catching up with him, and he got me a pass for the conference and tickets for the session I wanted to go to with Adam. That night we went out with all the ChAIR guys to Lark Creek Steak. It was delicious and we ended up staying till they closed just talking and laughing. Awesomeness.

Friday I 'meandered' around and got the rest of the souvenirs for the kiddos, then met up with Adam and my old friend for lunch. We had the best pizza I've ever had. Seriously. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. Anyways, that afternoon I experienced Chinatown with the other wife from ChAIR. It was not what I was expecting, but really interesting. That night we went to dinner with all the Epic people at Joe's Crab Shack. It was really nice getting to know their employees a little better. After dinner, we went back to Ghiradelli Square one last time and wandered through an art gallery where we made our first big art purchase. It'll be an awesome souvenir for us for a long time to come. We even made a late night of it and saw John Carter at the theater next to our hotel.

Saturday we actually felt like eating breakfast, so we went to a place several people recommended and had the best french toast ever. We had some time before we had to leave, so we went to Alcatraz Island. I was really surprised at how much history that little island actually has, above and beyond the federal prison. We had a blast just exploring everything. On our way back to the hotel I finally saw a glimpse of the San Francisco I was holding my breath for...a nudist group doing a bike ride through the city with a police escort. It took a minute to figure out what was going on. Honestly, all I could think of for the women was, that has GOT to hurt(referring to the whole no bra thing, and it was close to freezing). We laughed the whole way back, had lunch, then made our way to the airport.

Overall, it was a great wake-up call for me. I came home much better focused on what I need to do for me, for us, and for our family. It was great to have a family day today to get settled back in again. Molly's health issues of the past few weeks now seem like little hiccups instead of massive stress inducers. I have a renewed sense of needing to get my family out of the house and active. I finally convinced Adam to do P90X with me, so we're starting tomorrow. I feel like it's 'game on' all over again and I can't wait!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Little Perspective

This past week has been one of those weeks. You know, the kind that leave you beating yourself up for not being more proactive, a better cook, a better house cleaner, a more patient mother, etc. Things are great, except for my attitude kind of weeks? Yeah, that kind. I find myself having little to no self control over food and then beat myself up over it mentally. Molly is doing SOOOOO much better, as are all of the kids, but Adam just keeps getting more and more sick.

Then good ol' Sunday creeps up on you. A day to breathe, take a step back, and realize I just need to calm down. At church I watched two little girls just Molly's age play with each other and felt my heart breaking just a little bit when I realize that Molly is no where NEAR where they are physically or developmentally. Much closer than she was a few months ago, but still has so far to go. So many struggles we need to figure out.

As I looked through our camera I realized that our other kids have picked up on the obsession with documenting Molly and her progression. Almost every picture and video is of her. So much of our lives really do revolve around her. I'm trying to be better about focusing on each child individually every day, but apparently the documentation of that is seriously lacking. Thankfully, the big kids still love and adore Molly and are still her biggest cheerleaders. Which reminds me of how blessed I am to have children so willing to grow in ways they shouldn't have to yet, and so willing to find the joy in simple things.

Then I log onto facebook to see if anyone in the support group has responded to a small question I posted and real perspective settles in. A brand new dad of a 6 week old is facing a decision I pray every night(literally) I never have to make...let his new baby pass away peacefully or fight for a 6 organ transplant with a long waiting list and low chance of survival. Just thinking of the agony of this new dad and mom completely breaks my heart and has tears streaming down my face.

Sometimes it just takes a little bit of perspective to remind you what truly matters and life is beyond amazing, even with all the frustrations.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What's Next???

We've now been sick since Christmas. Thanks Grandpa! After the round of illness in January, February is now the month of croup and nasty head colds. Sad part is the only difference is the coughing sounds different. I took the family to our surprise mini-vacation over President's Day weekend and we had fun. We also became acquainted with several pharmacies around us. Of course the first time I decide not to bring a full arsenal of first aid stuff we get two kids with over 101 degree fevers, total congestion for three people, and a very constipated Molly that ends up with a massive reaction to some sugar that results in a VERY RAW little bum. Fortunately, I booked a two bedroom suite, so we had 3 tvs and lots of space for sick kids to sleep isolated. There was a water park at the hotel as well, so the healthy kids and Daddy did get to play quite a bit. Ever since we got home, the three big kids keep asking why we can't move there forever. I'm guessing the water park and theater room I rented out for movie night are the clinchers.

Adam has been completely wiped out by the head cold. He just can't seem to get fully healthy again this winter. Luckily, most of the kids are on the mend again. Molly had me pretty scared about dehydration for a while, but we're working on that. She has lost a lot of weight, but so far her doctor isn't overly worried. If it doesn't come back once she's better, then we'll worry. She is also having weird reactions to milk. We are on our third kind of milk to see if we can find something she's willing to drink and doesn't have bad side effects. Dairy moves through her too quickly and gives her horrible breath, and almond milk makes her so impacted that we almost ended up in the hospital. Her coughing/choking episodes are showing the slightest hint of getting better. And we found she is a massive snuggler with a high fever. Lately I've just been wishing she came with some kind of instruction manual so I would know what to give her to help.

All of the above had led me to put the house on total lockdown since the 20th. I kept kids home from school and even had Adam work from home. I know it's so annoying to be house bound, but it's better than thinking our need to get out is the cause for someone's trip to the hospital. If only more people would realize this instead of just keeping all their social plans even with sick kids! It's so frustrating!!! I'll tell you though, come May I just might have to buy passes to every single outside attraction in Utah so we're never home.

It's funny to call someone to come give us a quote on something for our basement, and they start asking what my availability is for them to come over. I've started just laughing and let them know I basically haven't left in two years, so unless they're booked until May I'm available any time they are. It's going to be so weird getting my mindset to change once we're free to come and go as we please.

For now, I'm happy we're finally getting some snow so I don't feel like it's just Molly keeping us home. And I'm excited to go to San Francisco with Adam next week. It should be an interesting adventure. Hopefully I can remember how to actually communicate with groups of adults...

Monday, February 13, 2012


Once again, I've discovered how much I like my therapist. As I've been in this funk the past couple of weeks I've been trying to figure out if I am getting depressed or sick or what. After an hour of talking with Paul, things seem to be put back into perspective again. And low and behold, my super intensified food cravings don't feel so strong tonight.

Today did have several other good things going for it too. I finally made it in to my chiropractor and finally got things straightened out again. I also met up with my first friend from college for lunch. It was great seeing her again and catching up. It reminded me that the outside world does exist and I actually like interacting with it on occasion.

But I digress. I haven't met with Paul in almost two months, so the first little bit was catching him up on all the discoveries and setbacks we've had since Christmas. At the end of it I mentioned the funk I've been in and how it's driving me crazy, but I can't seem to make myself care at the same time. He basically said that due to the chronic nature of Molly, on top of the four other kids under the age of 10, my body has redefined what the norm is for levels of adrenaline and cortisol. That, combined with the housebound thing is making my body feel trapped. Soooooo, my body is trying to combat that by completely isolating myself from everything to make it seem like I'm not trapped-I just don't want to be around other people. I don't know if that makes any sense or not, but it does to me. Once I looked at the funk at a stress defense mechanism I felt a lot less crazy. All the trips I'm trying to force into this year make a lot more sense now too. I'm literally trying to escape. (Paul thinks they're all awesome ideas by the way)

In talking about how to cope day to day so I don't turn into what I've been this past week, he said to remember GPS. Every day should have one GOAL directed objective. Could be big or small, as long as it's quantifiable. Second, find and create PLEASANT experiences, such as the lunch out today. Third, be sure to SOCIALIZE in a capacity where I can relax and talk about whatever comes to mind with someone I'm comfortable with. Preferably creating positive memories I can recall to help deal with stress later on.

Maybe that's why today seemed so much better than the past seven to ten days. I did all three of those things and it was so nice. I may have some work cut out for me to get rid of the recent gut expansion, but I feel more in control of things again. I feel like it's worth it again.

Sometimes I think you just need someone to point out the obvious so you can remember it.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Time Keeps on Slipping...

I don't know why, but I've had Steve Miller Band songs in my head the past couple of days. I feel like things are just slipping through the cracks all over the place. I start to get something done, then POOF! all my energy is gone and the kids have taken over the house. Last week I did great with exercising. On the flip side, I've thrown my neck and back out and can't get to my chiropractor until next week. To top things off, our basement was painted and wood was stained last week so I've had migraines for almost a week straight(I'm really effected by fumes). The only thing that helps is drinking Coke. It also means I've been eating like crap because I felt like crap and didn't care.

Overall I think it's that things feel like they're spinning out of control and I'm a control freak, so I don't like it. I can't wait to meet with Paul next Monday. Hopefully he'll help me figure out what's really going on. There is so much I want to be doing, it just feels like I have ADD every time I try to do anything.

At the same time, I'm getting really excited for this year. I bought a ticket to join Adam in San Francisco next month for four days...WITHOUT CHILDREN!!!! This will be my first time going, and I can't wait. Also, I've got three or four other trips in the works that should be a ton of fun. And, our housebound status is over in three short months!!!!!!!!!! Molly is doing well overall, and has shown us she is stronger than we thought. As of today she's taking zantac and benedryl again, courtesy of a cold. And we've discovered she can't really handle dairy milk either, so almond milk it is for our family from now on. Other than that, she's handled everything else she's tried.

Maybe that's my problem...I just keep dreaming of what will be instead of what is at the moment. Guess I should work on that.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Why Scales Don't Matter

Lately I've totally fallen of the wagon with sugar. It's been bad. I know at the root of it there's something that's bothering me, but I can't figure out what that is and it's driving me crazy! If I were to go off the scale, I still weigh less than I did at the end of the competition. If the numbers really mattered to me, I would feel content knowing I've loss additional weight since then. BUT.....based on how my clothes are fitting I'm heading in the wrong direction. My belly just doesn't want to stay in place anymore I guess.

I despise feeling tired all the time. It's no fun to only want crap food all the time while trying to teach my kids to make better choices. It's got to end. This week I've brought back the gum to see if I can't curb the sugar eating. And I've managed to work out two days in a row already, a big improvement over the last month or so.

Motivation is still not where I want it to be either, but it's getting better. I'm trying to focus on cleaning all my 'hot spots' this week because they're getting out of control messy. Hopefully I'm slowly but surely getting my groove back. Everyone is healthy, and it looks like all my surprise vacations are falling into place (at least for now). Here's to a better today!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

No motivation

It's just not there. Every night I go to bed thinking about how amazingly productive I'm going to be the next day, and it always starts with a great workout. Unfortunately, dreams do not equal reality. I've been eating way too much crap, which just makes me tired all the time. I think I need to start my gum addiction again. Because at the root of the crap eating is just a desire for my jaw to feel like it's working. Can you get cabin fever with no snow on the ground? I think Big Baby and I are way past the stir crazy phase. She now cries every time we turn onto the big road leading back to our house.

One thing that's helping and making things worse at the same time is Molly's health the past few weeks. We had several doctor visits and some x-rays, and A LOT of vomiting, BUT she didn't have to go to the hospital and she didn't end up with rsv!!!! She is definitely still our miracle baby because everything pointed to rsv. Now that we've made it through the super scary first respiratory infection I feel much better about her immune system. Unfortunately, it also makes me want to just end the lockdown and start leaving the house. In talking to the pediatrician, he's really opposed to that idea still. Boo.

In spite of my crappy eating habits and not enough exercise, I am finding motivation to plan lots of trips for the year. I'm currently working on one family surprise, one couple surprise, one grandparent surprise, and two family trips for the year. Oh, and I just found out I get to go to San Francisco with Adam for a week in March!!! As long as I can get the five kiddos taken care of that is. I can't wait to explore while Adam goes to his conference. It will be our second trip alone since kids came into the picture.

Ok, I think I'm going to go running before Molly wakes up from her nap. Hopefully that will kick start my motivation for the get the idea.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy New Year...or not

Wow. How has it only been a week and a half since Christmas? My euphoric high left as my oldest got sick Christmas night. Based on how she described things to me, I thought it was a sinus infection. So the next morning I took her to the doctor only to find out she had strep. When I asked about bringing Molly in to get tested (this wasn't our regular pediatrician's office), I was told not to bother because she can't get it until she's closer to 3.

The next morning I took Molly in to get her lungs looked at and to talk to the doctor about the aspirating episodes that had been going on most of the month. When I mentioned Paige, he changed the plan of chest x-rays (to check for pneumonia) and adding a new medication, to testing for strep. When it came back positive, he told me strep was most likely causing all the aspirating episodes and the antibiotics for strep would also treat pneumonia if she developed it from too much aspirating. That meant Molly had been sick for three weeks with no other symptom.

That lead us to take in the rest of the kids just to see who all was sick. Little Man, yup. Fluff n stuffer, yup. Big Baby, no??? We took her in twice because we were convinced she had to be sick, but she is immune to it or something apparently. So four of the five kids had strep, but only one had any kind of symptom. This tells us that we are a family of carriers. Lovely.

I was really nervous about Molly going on antibiotics. There was a big possibility it would wipe out all the progress we've made with her intestines. Fortunately, she didn't react too badly. Yeast started taking over, but hopefully we got it under control without having to go on an antifungal again. Then the real fun started.

Big Baby apparently picked up a little germy friend at the doctor's office, a stomach bug. It went through her, then me, then it hit Molly and Adam. Let's just say a sensitive gag reflex is NOT a benefit when you have the stomach flu. Luckily it was only a 24 hour bug and everyone seems to be over it now.

Which brings us to round 3. After a few days on the antibiotic, Molly's aspirating episodes changed into more of severe choking episodes. Which lead to vomiting mucus. I called the doctor's office again where I was told it's fairly common with kids who have compromised lungs (or gag reflex issues or reflux problems) to not handle mucus. For some reason, she can't really swallow it, so instead she just chokes on it and sends everything back up.

So now we've added zantac and benedryl to her daily routine to try and stop the mucus production. Combined with her other medication and the antibiotic, that puts her at medicine 7 times every day. So naturally she chooses this week to start fighting us on taking it (naughty baby). It does seem to be working though, as she's only had a handful of episodes today and actually slept this morning.

Needless to say, Adam and I are stressed out. He feels like total crap and is starting to sound just like Molly when he coughs. I am afraid to sleep because I'm scared I won't hear her choking to lift her head up in time. And once she does vomit, she's awake for at least a couple of hours. Very not fun at all. I guess we used up our quota of good health over the past year.

One thing I have realized is that my patience for sick kids has really grown. As I rocked with Molly in the middle of the night this past week I haven't felt the normal resentment of losing out on my sleep. All I've felt is gratitude that I have her here to have these moments. I think I'm finally starting to grasp the whole 'parent's love' thing. It truly is a privilege to be the source of comfort when there's nothing else you can do to help. I love the snuggles she's willing to give.

And it's not only Molly. Big Baby is coming down with the same cold and has been pretty stinkin' onery this past week. But when I see her sweet face with the snot pouring down, I'm filled with the overwhelming urge to wrap her in a blanket and snuggle. Lucky for me, she likes that plan most of the time. The rest of the time, the screaming comes out. Instead of it bothering me and making me want to rip my hair out, I just start giggling at her indignation-usually directed at the dog for some reason.

While I'm thankful for the enlightening moments this past week, I'm REALLY hoping this is NOT an indication of what the year will be like.