Looooong weekend

"Cover Coughs, Cover Sneezes" - NARA...

As I posted in the wee early hours on Friday morning, my poor babies have been miserably ill the last several days.  I believe it all started with Matt about a week and a half ago.  He has an amazing immune system and very rarely gets very sick at all.  I am pretty sure he had a cold, but his only symptoms were a few sniffles here and there.  No coughing, no congestion, no biggie.

The problem is, he and Noah are buddies.  Noah loves Matt to pieces and is constantly attached to his hip.  That means any germs that Matt may have are very easily shared with Noah.  Now, if Noah would get a cold like a normal kid and not instantly just come down with moderate to severe cases of croup, well then, that would be fabulous!  But, that’s not how he rolls.

Noah came down with a nasty case of croup and a pretty nasty cold.  Coughing so much he was gagging and just miserable.  He couldn’t eat or drink or even smile.  If you know Noey, you know he is a goofy little boy who is always smiling and happy.  (Well, unless he is crying and miserable, but generally, he is a very happy little boy.  🙂  It was so bad we were considering an Urgent Care visit.  It was a Saturday, of course, and he was just so ill, I felt utterly helpless.

The miracle in a bottle that helped him was Delsym.  Oh my goodness!!!  Within 10 short minutes, the coughing had subsided and he was smiling.  SMILING!!!  Now, this is not an official review of Delsym, and I have not been compensated in any way, whatsoever, but I am telling you, our medicine cabinet will NEVER be without it again!

I should mention that we only decided to use it because of the severity of the cough and because it was not a productive cough.  If the kiddos are coughing up goobers, it is best to let them cough because they are clearing their lungs of mucus, etc.  I usually only treat coughs in my house with honey and Vicks Vaporub, but this cough was just too tough for my home remedies.

Somewhere in the middle of the croup and cold, Bella added to the party with a stomach bug.  Not sure where it came from, but it was a nasty little speed bump in our week.  Now, I know I frequently mention grape juice to prevent stomach bugs,  but I need to tell you all about another amazing preventative measure.  Apple Cider Vinegar.  We were out of grape juice when she fell ill, but I had remembered the ACV tip I read online that is said to work as well if not better than the grape juice.  You simply add about a teaspoon to 8 oz of water and drink it three times a day.  You can add some honey if you like, or even add the ACV to juice to mask the taste.  I honestly don’t mind it, but then, I would drink just about anything if you told me it was a proven way to prevent worshipping the porcelain god.  🙂

Now, Abe and I both came down with a little intestinal discomfort, but never more than that.  He drank grape juice, I took ACV.  He was still pretty miserable yesterday, whereas I felt 100% awesome again.  I am an ACV convert!  There are loads of other benefits to taking ACV, which I am eager to see if they will apply, but for now, I think I will be keeping this as part of my daily routine.

So we escaped a mass infection of the stomach bug, but Noah and now Sara still have nasty colds.  Stuffy/runny noses and coughs, low fevers, just generally miserable.  Does anyone know a magical cure/prevention for the cold?  I’m on board if you do, hit me up!  🙂

I am grateful the long weekend is over and I am eager for all my babies to be 100% healthy again.  Especially Noah and Sara, there is just something so sad and heartbreaking when the littlest ones get sick and can’t really tell you what’s wrong.

Stay healthy!

Cooties

Cootie

Ugh.

It’s that time of year.  The cold weather means staying indoors, easily transmitting all the nasty little cootie bugs that the kids like to bring home from school with them.  And believe me, my kids are germ magnets, so there is lots of happy germ breeding in the winter months.

Colds are common, but not a huge deal to me.  A sniffle or two here and there, usually nothing too serious.  Except that Noah, my little Stridor Prince, likes to turn cold viruses into scary, bouts of croup.  Every.  Single.  Time.

Do you see where this post is going?

Poor Noah has croup.  Again.  Only this time, he decided to show symptoms in the day time, during regular business hours for the pediatrician and the pharmacy.  The kids is losing his touch, what can I say?

We called the doctor’s office and they were even able to prescribe him oral steroids without an office visit.  Awesome.

I should mention that our regular doctor is on maternity leave, so covering her is a doctor I not so lovingly dubbed Dr Dumbass, several years ago when we had the first displeasure of meeting him.

To make a long story short, we took Bella in for a wellness check when she was about four months old and was being exclusively breastfed.  He decided that she wasn’t growing fast and chubby enough, so instead of suggesting ways to try and increase my milk supply or just be generally helpful, he informed me that breast milk isn’t always enough and some babies just need to be on formula.

Really?  Breast milk isn’t enough?  Instead, I need artificial milk…….?  I won’t turn this post into a crazy breastfeeding rant, but when a pediatrician is too lazy and/or ignorant to encourage and support breastfeeding, they are doing a great disservice to both the parents and the children that they have taken an oath to protect.

Okay.  Rant over.

Anyway, Dr Dumbass prescribed Noah’s oral steroids so we could nip the croup before it got serious.  His directions were one lump dose of the medication, whereas when we go to urgent care or the ER for croup, they always have us split the dose, half in the morning and half at night.  After Noah’s lump dose yesterday morning, he ended up getting sick.  Now, it could have had nothing to do with the lump dose of the steroids, but since we’re talking about Dr Dumbass and since he was seemingly completely fine beforehand, I blame the doctor.  The side effects did mention upset stomach, and Noah’s stomach was certainly not happy.

Happily, Noah seemed to recover pretty quickly, acting like his normal self within an hour or two.  He has a slight cough and a little bit of a runny nose, but the bark is gone, so I am hoping that the croup has left the building.

Not long after going to bed last night, Bella was at our door.

I hate it when the kids come to the door in the middle of the night, it’s never good.

Sure enough, she had thrown up.

Now, I know I have mentioned before how freaked out and anxious I get when anyone even says they have a tummy ache.  We have had great success with using 100% grape juice as a stomach bug preventative, especially for Bella who seems prone to the nasty virus.  I hate to admit it, but we have been lax with it for the last week or so, and lo and behold, now she is sick.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  I like to believe it works though.  Now that we are out of it and I am scared to death of it spreading to other members of the family.  o.O

I have read that apple cider vinegar can be used in place of grape juice, about a tsp-tbsp with 8oz of water.  In my panic mode, you can bet I was choking down some good old ACV within an hour of her leaving our room.  After liberally spraying everything I could imagine she may have touched or breathed on with her cooties.

Winter is kind of a sucky time for a germaphobe mama.

Can we be friends?

It is with great trepidation that I even attempt to revive our friendship.  When I first met you, I didn’t know what to expect.  I mean, we are so different, you with your hard, poisonous shell, keeping the world away from your inner good.  I thought we were cool, we had fun, I looked forward to seeing you.  Then, out of nowhere, you viciously turned on me.

I didn’t even recognize you, how could you be so cruel, so unforgiving?  You spread your poison and you know what?  You made me afraid of you.  Our distance the last several months has  given me a lot of time to think about what happened.  I now know that it was all my fault.

Are you happy?

I admit, it was me that poisoned myself.  You didn’t mean for it to happen, you were a helpless victim, a byproduct of my mistake.

I want to try again.  I want to be friends, I want you in my life, in my family’s life.  I think you could be good for all of us, and if you are ready, I want to start fresh.

This time, I come into the relationship better prepared.  I know what to expect, and in turn, hope to avoid that nasty break up we had so many months ago.

So what do you say?  Is a friendship even possible?  Can we call a truce?  I can’t let you around my children if you turn toxic again.  I would never forgive myself.

I’ll let you simmer, think about it all, soak it in, and I’ll get back to you in about an hour or so.  I have great expectations this time.  Please don’t hurt me again.

 

I will be sure and let you all know how this relationship reboot goes.  See, I had a sort of falling out with lentils last year when I repeatedly gave myself food poisoning by eating them when they must have been under cooked.  That was a huge duh moment.  I haven’t touched them since, I have been too afraid!  But after a good long soaking, over a day to be exact, and much research on the internets, I have decided to try again.  I have a big pot of them simmering away on the stove right now, hopefully poison free!  Fingers crossed for no food poisoning this time!

 

The Birth of Super Powers?

 

So today is the day my mama is getting her radioactive pill, her RAI treatment to finish off her thyroid cancer treatment.  She has understandably been nervous and kinda bummed thinking about this day, but now the day is here, the treatment has begun, and it can be a rear view mirror memory.

Her doctor has advised her to stay away from the grandkids for 2 weeks.  This is to give ample time for her body to flush out all the toxins, and in that period she will undergo several body scans and loads of blood work, before she is given a clean bill of health.

Wanting to help those two weeks without grandkids go by more quickly, we decided to make her care packages, one for every single day that she won’t get to see them.  Nothing too fancy, lip balms, lotions, sugar free candies and perhaps most importantly, hand made cards from the kiddos.  By the end of her treatment, she will have a house full of cards and love notes from the kids, something to look forward each day.

Yeah, I’m pretty happy with that idea.  🙂

I told mom to let us know what super powers she develops.  Ha, ha!  She doesn’t appreciate my hilarious humor as much as I do.  Come to think of it, not many do….

Regardless, today marks an important milestone in *hopefully* saying goodbye to the big “c” word once and for all!

Happy New Year!

Long time no see, friends!

I hope the holidays were spent blissfully with your loved ones!  Abe had vacation time to spend at the end of the year, so this mama was on cloud nine with her hubby and her children all at home with her for a wonderful, extended holiday season!

Yesterday was my birthday, the big 33!  I can honestly say that I felt very loved and appreciated, spending time with my family and ringing in the new year.

My greatest gift received, by far, the last few weeks has been the gift of presence.  The family and the friends that care enough to come out and spend their time with you, the best gift of all!  It means so much, more than anything store bought could, and it has brought me great joy.  I am truly blessed!

This past year was very eventful in our home!

We have lost and gained some pretty important people in our family.  There are family members I don’t and probably will never see again.  I am at peace with that.  There are also family members that we haven’t seen in nearly a decade that are suddenly very much a part of our lives.  It’s a good thing!  It was a scary change, isn’t all change?  Both the losing and the gaining, but I trust the path we have been given, and that trust has been proven ten fold.

As we move into 2013, I feel calm.  Big things are coming this year!  I’ve learned that I will never make everyone happy, no matter how pure my intentions, no matter how hard I try.  With this revelation, I think I have added strength.  I will continue to do and be my best, for me and my family, that’s all I can do.  But isn’t that a lot?  It is!

Here is to an amazing year!  I hope 2013 is the best year for us all!

Radioactive Mama

The danger classification sign of radioactive ...

Several months ago, in the early spring, my mom was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.  The diagnosis caught everyone completely off guard.  Her doctor decided to remove the cancer through surgery, removing the growth, her thyroid and two of her parathyroid glands in the hopes of nipping everything in the bud and getting her to feeling good again.

My mom had felt pretty unwell for years.  She suffered general fatigue, aches, pains, depression, the list goes on.  Her doctor explained that most of her symptoms could actually be erased or greatly improved after surgery.

The surgery went well, she was given pills and told to expect to feel leaps and bounds better in just a few short weeks.

That didn’t happen.

Routine blood work looked fine, but she wasn’t feeling any better at all.  An ultrasound was done on her surgery site that revealed what looked like thyroid tissue.

Strange, since the doctor supposedly removed it all.  The technician specifically said that it looked like thyroid tissue, not a tumor.  That made me wonder if it was possible that some tissue had been left behind and was regrowing.

The doctor said that was impossible, he didn’t miss anything.  How great it must be to be so certain of yourself!  Sorry, don’t trip over that chunk of sarcasm.

What he decided to do next was to have her take a simple radioactive pill that would kill any remnants of the cancer that may be lingering.  He explained it as so simple, no big deal, which put my mom at ease, but when I hear “radioactive pill”, well, my mind was not at ease.

I ended up doing something I knew I shouldn’t.  I Googled it.  Yeah, I went there.

What I found was that this was no simple little pill that you take and then blissfully continue with your regular activities.  This pill, being radioactive, is very dangerous.  In fact, one of the side affects from taking it is cancer.  She will need to basically be quarantined, kept away from other people for a period of time.  Simply being near small children can actually give them leukemia.  This is no simple pill, this is a scary treatment that my mother was led to believe would be as easy as swallowing two aspirins.

I cautiously asked her more, to get a feeling for what she knew about the treatment.  Her doctor literally told her nothing.  I told her the bits and pieces that didn’t sound overwhelmingly scary, just to give her an idea of what she could expect, something her doctor should have done.

She talked to one of her friends that has family members that went through this treatment.  Her friend was not as good at filtering the scary bits I chose not to tell my mom.  This, rightly so, had her scared.

She called me crying, scared of the treatment, scared of the side affects, scared of being toxic to her loved ones.  She was worried about her dog, her little Bichon mix that is attached to her hip.  She worried that if she had to board him in a kennel that it would kill him.  I did my best to calm her down and explain to her that at worst, my dad and brother would have to step up and help take care of the dog and to keep the house running.  She would only need to be shut off in her room alone for several days before she could start slowly getting things back to normal.

It would be a few weeks before she could see the kids, but I assured her that she could still talk on the phone and that she should look at her treatment as a mini vacation.  It seems only fair that she get waited on and taken care of when she is the one always doing that for others.

I encouraged her to call the doctor’s office, to explain that she would like to talk about her treatment as it had her worried.  Obviously, she was hoping they would be able to hold off treatment until after the holidays, since she would have to be isolated for a while.

Last week, she met with the doctor that will be treating her.  They gave her outdated papers and brochures to read in the waiting room that made her worry more.  When she finally sat down with the doctor, he was very kind and very good at explaining the treatment.  He told her that her dog would not be affected by the radiation.  I don’t believe this.  In fact, I have read many things to the contrary.  But her dog is old and not well, and when he told her that he could still be around her during the isolation, that gave her happiness and hope, so my mouth stayed shut.

She needs to have two shots prior to the pill that will reverse the affects of the medications she has been taking since her surgery.  The doctor said that they will make her more fatigued, sore, and depressed.  Just what you want right before you have a big treatment like this.

The shots are crazy expensive, something like $2400 per shot.  They have to be pre approved through the insurance and everything, just like the pill, before they can even be ordered.  Luckily, my parents have decent insurance coverage, so hopefully the out of pocket cost won’t be too astronomical.

So the radioactive pill will be taken in January.  I joked with my mom that maybe she would get super powers.  I thought that was hilarious, so did Abe, but my mom was less amused.

What I hope is that this pill will do it’s job, that my mom will have minimal if any side affects, and that she will then be on the path to good health.  It’s scary to think of her ever not being here.  She has too many grand babies that need spoiling!

Cancer sucks.

Why do kids never get sick on weekdays during business hours?

Seriously.  After enjoying the mid season finale of The Walking Dead last night, (omg it was AWESOME!)  we were soon made aware by Dr Isabella that she had diagnosed Noah with croup.

I’ll admit, at first we kind of blew her off and figured she was just throwing the word around trying to be all smart and stuff.  Well, minutes later, we realized she was very much right and Noah was very sick, with croup, at 10 pm on a Sunday night.

Now, Isabella and Noah are the only two kids who have ever had croup so far, but they don’t just get that yucky sounding seal bark cough.  Oh no, these kids know how to get severely ill at the most inconvenient, and therefore stressful of times.  We’re talking full on stridor, that horrific squeaky noise they make just by breathing in because their airway is so swollen and retractions, the skin between their ribs and on their chest that pulls in with each breath as they are working hard to breathe.

Yeah, pretty much hell on Earth for a worry wart mama.

Urgent Care closed at 8 pm, so the only option was the dreaded ER.

After four and a half hours and an oral steroid dose along with a prescription, Noah was sounding better and could finally get tucked into bed.  Now I am just hoping that we can manage to keep Sara from catching it.  This mama has had enough worrying for the rest of the year, thank you very much!

noaher

 

Look at him, acting all chill while his mama has a nervous break down.

I am happy to say that he seems to be doing much better today.  Croup is scary.  For us, it always shows up completely unannounced and always late at night.  He has not been sick, no fevers or runny nose, nothing at all until he woke up “barking” last night.  Thank goodness for Urgent Care and ERs!

Now, I wonder how much we owe Dr Isabella for her house call?

Baby Spa

 

After a hot, dry summer, it is suddenly fall and fast approaching winter!  All the crazy weather and now the dry heat can really wreak havoc on our skin, especially on delicate baby skin.  If you aren’t already experiencing dry, irritated skin, then it’s time to be proactive and prevent it from happening all together!

I was recently introduced to the Baby Spa line of products, a brand that is 98-100% natural and absolutely 100% free of parabens, pthalates, SLS, PEGS and mineral oil.  Basically, none of the yucky stuff that could further irritate baby’s skin.

A unique feature of Baby Spa, is that they cater specifically to your baby’s stage, be it a newborn baby or crawler, to a walking baby, and preschool ages and beyond.

They also use something called ethnobotanicals, which are indigenous plants that have been traditionally used for medicinal and other beneficial reasons.

Baby Spa has a wide range of products, from shampoos and baby washes to diaper creams and even massage oils.  The lotions are creamy, not greasy at all, and have a very faint, pleasant scent.

Now is the time to stock up!  Prevent those precious baby cheeks from the dry winter months ahead!

 

Check out Baby Spa products on their website by clicking HERE.

“Like” Baby Spa on Facebook by clicking HERE.

Follow Baby Spa on Twitter by clicking HERE.

 

I received the samples pictured for review purposes, but was not compensated in any other way.

Happy Birthday Noah!

My little Noah Bean is officially 3 years old today!  He was our Clomid baby, after our miscarriage.  It took nearly two years to get pregnant with him, and once we were officially pregnant, it was the scariest nine months of my life.

We suffered through secondary infertility after losing our third pregnancy.  It came out of nowhere and left me feeling broken.  Yes, I had two perfectly healthy, gorgeous, wonderful children.  I was lucky, and I knew that.  But after losing the pregnancy, well, it just leaves a hole that doesn’t ever seem to get filled.

I made myself and Abe crazy with charting and herbs and anything I could find to try and help us to conceive.  After countless hours spent researching through books and Google, I self diagnosed myself with PCOS and made a doctor appointment that confirmed my suspicions.

My doctor offered me hope.  She prescribed the Clomid after extensive testing and ultrasounds, and told me that if at any time I wanted to see a specialist, she would be happy to refer me.  She felt confident that she could help me, and her hope was enough to keep me going.

It was the fifth round of Clomid that was magic.  That, and I changed the days I took it.  My doctor prescribed days 5-9.  Through research, I read several studies that suggested days 3-7 might work better for women with PCOS.  Who knows, maybe it was just a coincidence.  That was the month I got that BFP.  That is also when the fear set it.

Every tiny little cramp or twinge had me rushing to the bathroom, expecting to see blood, expecting to lose my baby.  I prayed and begged God all day, every day to just please, please let me keep our little bean safe.  I bargained, I pleaded, I was a hot mess.

I started spotting.

Words can not describe the fear I felt.

My doctor ordered an ultrasound to ease my mind, and while the tiny baby, flipping around on the screen made me breathe a little easier in the moment, I did not enjoy my pregnancy in the least.  I was just too scared.  I’d like to say the fear went away when I was pregnant with Sara, but it didn’t.  Pregnancy is a terrifying time for a woman who has miscarried.

Noah was due on Halloween.  My doctor originally planned on inducing a week early, but she was on vacation that week.  Go figure.  We ended up going in a week later, where my giant, healthy baby was born.  (He was over 9lbs, ouch!)

The labor was long, and I had a nurse who told me my uterus was too weak to push out a baby, that I needed to prepare myself for a c section.  Well, my uterus happens to have that Latina attitude, thank goodness, and we proved her wrong shortly after she said that.  Neener, neener.

And now, the pictures.

How itty bitty do Matt and Bella look here!?  This is when Grandma brought them to the hospital to meet their baby brother for the first time.

On his way to his very first doctor appointment!  We brought him a cute 0-3 month outfit to wear home from the hospital, assuming it would be large on him.  Well, at nearly 24 inches long, he barely fit into it!  He was a big, healthy boy!

He was the happiest little baby, always smiling and giggling.  That was before he turned two.  He redefined the terrible two’s.

He looks so innocent here.  Looks can be deceiving.

My Noey.  He was supposed to be a Halloween baby, and I think he knows it!  He is obsessed with all things spooky, it is definitely his favorite holiday!

Happy Birthday, Noah!  We survived the terrible two’s, you are getting less and less evil with your baby sister, and you are awesome!  We love you to pieces, you brought happiness where so much sadness once was.

xoxoxoxoxoxo

October Citrus Lane Box!

It’s the middle of the month, and that means there was a bright, happy package on our door step earlier this week!  Yes, it’s Citrus Lane time again, and this month’s theme is Fall Fun.  Let’s dive right in, shall we?

 

How can you look at that bright, sunny tissue paper and not be happy?

 

As you can see, this month’s box was once again filled with all sorts of goodies!

 

Included in every box is an insert that gives you detailed information about all of the items, along with special coupon codes and the websites where you can find more great deals from the same companies featured in each package.

 

Oball by Rhino $4.99

This was the very first thing Sara grabbed out of the box, even before the food, now that’s saying something!  This ball is extremely lightweight, collapses down for storage and springs right back to life when you are ready to play again.  It’s hard keeping the kiddos from throwing balls in the house, but with this one, there is far less chance of them breaking anything or hurting themselves (or each other!) and that is a huge plus in my book.

 

As usual, Sara is referring to the packing list as she discovers all the contents of her box.

 

Munchkin 7oz Click Lock Trainer Cups $8.99 for 2 pack

Can you ever have too many sippy cups?  I mean, especially at this time of year, with all of the family fun trips on the weekend and visiting with relatives for the holidays.  It’s never a bad idea to keep an extra sippy cup in the car and even one at Grandma’s house, just in case.  I don’t know about you, but with four kids, well, it is a miracle every time we make it to point b.  Period.  If after said trip we realized we forgot a sippy cup?  Well, let’s just say the baby wouldn’t be the only one crying.  An extra bonus to these cups?  Guaranteed 100% leak proof.  Go ahead and give the kid some grape juice, it’s all good.  Now, if they play sprinkler once their mouth is full, well, it wasn’t the cup’s fault.

 

“What else do we have in here?”

 

Big Smiles Cheesy Potatoes by Ella’s Kitchen $2.49

Food is always a big hit in our house, and these pouches are super convenient, travel well, and reseal if you have leftovers.  Cheesy potatoes sounds like a yummy addition to any warm, fall meal, and definitely wins in the yum factor with Sara.

 

“Okay Mama, let’s bust these taters open!”

 

BabyGanics Smooth Moves Lotion $5.49

Cooler weather means dry, itchy skin.  This BabyGanic lotion is silky smooth, with all kinds of great, nourishing ingredients that won’t only soothe, but will really benefit baby’s (or your!) skin.  There are no nasty chemicals in this lotion, so no worries using on even the littlest ones.  Yay for healthy skin!

 

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil Mini $4.99

This month’s box included a mama treat!  This is a cleansing oil.  Sounds counter intuitive?  I concur.  This 100% water soluble formula promises to dissolves away the dirt, makeup, sunscreen, etc that everyday brings and rinse off leaving skin soft, smooth and healthy.  I haven’t tried it yet, but I am definitely looking forward to pampering myself, thank you Citrus Lane!

 

In My Den from Chronicle Books $8.99

This adorable book has a finger puppet, right in the middle, making story time interactive and even more fun!  This book is perfect for snuggling up to after a day at the pumpkin patch, and it has a super sweet message.  So cute, and as I have said before, we are book hoarders in our home, so a book is always a very welcome addition!

 

Try out your very own subscription to Citrus Lane by clicking HERE.  Once you follow that link, enter coupon code 10TODAY to save 10%.  Or, enter code 10MONTH for $10 off one month.    When you subscribe for a full year, they also give you two months free.  Who doesn’t love free?!

We love Citrus Lane in our home.  As I have said before, the value of the products each month for the small price paid is just fabulous.  And much cheaper than a “quick” trip to Target for me.  I love being introduced to new brands and companies, and we have loved everything we have gotten so far.

 

 

Sometimes, no matter how cool the stuff in the box is, the box ends up being the best toy!