Friday, October 26, 2012

Santa from Sammy Christmas

If you have met me in the last two years, you know I have a son who almost died of pneumonia. The picture above is on the day we finally left the hospital, and I love it because Sammy looks so calm.  The previous days were not calm.  They were a fight, and no one knew how they were going to turn out.

It’s hard to even write about that time in our lives because I now have an almost two-year-old who spends his days in his big boy undies jumping off the coffee table, but the truth of it never leaves. The truth of it also makes it hard this time of year. Sammy was born on December 21st, he was admitted to Children’s in Plano December 30th, and we didn’t leave until January. It was eleven days total, it felt like a year, and New Year’s will forever be my least favorite holiday EVER.

Still, we were blessed for sure. There’s a plan for Sammy’s life that did not include him dying of pneumonia at ten-days-old, and I am grateful for it. I am also grateful for the people God led us to at Children’s who took care of my child like he was their own. For just under two years I’ve been thinking that we really need to find a way to thank those people and help other children and families going through the same thing. I’m just slightly behind.

So, this year we’re going to collect items from the Children’s wish list for the kids in the hospital at Children’s at Legacy in Plano over Christmas. Santa makes his rounds at Children’s on Christmas Eve, and we want to make sure his bag is full! We’re also going to collect packaged food for the staff who works the holidays. The sweet lady I spoke to in the Children’s Life Department said she has seen the staff, “Go crazy for food.” Another reason these are my kind of people.

Here are the top wish list items for Christmas:

 Coloring books and crayons

 Infant and toddler toys (they love the ones that light up and play music, but any are great)

 New stuffed animals with the tags on

 DVDs, new or used

 Books

 Stickers

The staff accepts any packaged food you feel like buying.

We have three drop off points: Our house for people in the Dallas/Fort Worth area (we’re in Frisco), my Dad and stepmom’s house in Athens and my sister’s house in Athens. We will be accepting donations in Athens until November 22nd and donations in Frisco until December 19th. Email me or use the comments on Facebook or the blog, and I’ll get you drop off addresses and times.

Donations will be delivered to Children’s December 20th by Dennis and me. If you feel led to help, please do. Whether you do or not, please pray for those who are not well, and please especially pray for the children, families, and medical staff who are affected by or taking care of a sick child.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Hard Stuff

My friends and I met a nanny at the park during our weekly playdate Monday. She had a set of twins and two two-year-olds. None of them cried, puked, ran around crazy, and she looked completely unstressed. Obviously, we had to pick this woman’s brain.

After pelting her with questions for around three hours, the playdate mommies and I discovered we may be the only people in our zip code raising our kids without assistance from a paid helper. She could work 24/7 if she chose since she is both a day and a night nanny(yeah, night nannies stay up with kids so parents can sleep. That’s why some moms come to the library with color coordinated outfits, lipstick, and highlighted hair and I show up with one of my kids’ underwear sticking to my shirt because of static cling. I also don’t wear makeup and went three days without brushing my hair once because I forgot. Yes, forgot. I don’t look in mirrors much). She has had clients who she night nannies for and then turns them over to a day nanny, never seeing the parents except when she is interviewed.

This affirms a story one of my friends told me about a mom in her son’s swim class who brings her nanny along to the lessons because a) she refuses to change her child’s diaper, b) she refuses to change his clothes, and c) she refuses to feed him herself. She basically jumps in the pool, splashes around and then hands him to someone else.

I’m still having a hard time believing this stuff really exists. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve known for a long time that our family set up camp in a community we don’t have a ton in common with. It doesn’t mean the people aren’t nice, and we love that there are tons of families around, but we know we’re strange in the don’t-like-to-buy-things, don’t-care-if my-kid-goes- to-Harvard-or- plays-sports (and the sports one can get you shot), still-breastfeeding-my-almost- two-year-old, wear-children’s-underwear-to-the-library-on-the-outside-of-my-clothes kind of way. However, the nanny thing confirmed it: we are in a foreign land. Or maybe this is a widespread thing. I’m really not sure.

The sadness I feel about this whole situation is not in being left out. I have met equally odd individuals, like the ladies I was at the park with, and we’re forming our own community within whatever this other mess is. I just feel bad for the parents who aren’t changing diapers, feeding babies, staying up all night because someone needs you to; all this stuff is good. It’s where the relationships are built. Some of it is frustrating and gross, but it’s wonderful and sweet, and there is so much blackmail that comes from it to be used when your children sass you as teenagers. I wouldn’t want to miss a second and just jump in on the “easy” parts of parenting, if there are any. The messy and the crazy are where I think we’ve all learned the most about each other. And let me tell you, if you want to know someone, spend a ton of time with them when they’re sleep deprived. The four of us have information on each other we will have to take to the grave (or I’ll blog about what I know if antagonized). The inside jokes, the meltdowns, the little things about people’s personalities, it’s all there in the everyday, but you have to be there for it. Those crazy parents with full-time nannies and their uninterrupted sleep; just give me the wrinkles that come with sleep deprivation and I’ll be good to go. I get the moments to go with the wrinkles, so it’s worth it.

Friday, October 12, 2012


We fish sat for a sweet friend. Fillmore the fish served as further evidence of why we do not need fish. For example:

They eat gluten which means after feeding Fillmore, I had to scrub down and place his food out of reach of everyone. The kids weren’t allowed to feed him because before I can utter, “don’t put your hands in your mouth” they are swallowing their arms.

Fish don’t freak out when you don’t feed them. Kids do. Or my kids say passive aggressive things like, “you can make me eggs now” or “what are you eating?” which is code for “because if it sounds good I’m going to eat it and you’re going to wonder why you never get lunch later in the day when you’re starving.” Anyway, during my morning conversations with Fillmore, he never mentioned that he had not been fed breakfast, so let’s just all thank the Lord he survived.

There’s a lot of guilt involved with fish. It’s a fish. You can’t walk it or hold it or “take it out of the bowl to pet” as Wren kept asking to do. Yet, I still felt guilty just sort of leaving him on the counter, periodically feeding him, chatting it up with him while I loaded the dishwater and then forgetting about him for pretty much the rest of the day. My friend said her son does tricks for him and shows him all his toys and just generally hangs out with him. I think I may not be that much of a giver. Fish don’t even smile, so I am not tap dancing for half an hour so Fillmore can continue to swim around looking bored.

Fish always look depressed, or at least they do when they’re with us. This is the second time Dennis and I have ventured into the arena of fish sitting, and the first fish literally almost died of depression. We did so much for that fish including purchasing things to clean its tank, and it just basically pretended to be dead every day, floating around the top of the bowl until one of us started having the is-it-appropriate-to-flush-someone-else’s-fish-or-do-you-keep-it-for-some-kind-of-memorial conversation within ear shot of the fish. Then it sort of rolled over in a very non-committed to life sort of way and stared at us. Ungrateful.

Luckily, the kids have not asked for a fish. Wren was more upset about the idea that Fillmore was not hers simply because that meant he belonged to someone else, and she has not been okay with anything not belonging solely to her this week. It’s a fun new phase we’re getting through. Anyway, if you ever need somebody to fish sit for you, we will. However, I beg you to consider the mental anguish your fish may suffer in our presence. Is it really fair to the fish?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday Update

I’m writing because I need to write, but focus has not been my thing lately. Here comes the randomness:

We’re going to the fair tomorrow, and I’m excited! The kids have never been and Dennis and I have never been together, so this should be a new experience for us all in a way. I used to make my way around the fair with a corny dog in one hand and a funnel cake in the other. That will not be an option this time, but I’m very okay with that.

Graduate school is going well, so of course I feel I should probably be more panicked. My laid back attitude is nice and has managed to keep me both not crazy and doing well in my class, but I’m so not accustomed to not having school consume my brain like a black hole that the peace is kind of weird. Which is weird in itself. Weird.

Wren and Sammy are sleeping in their own beds. I take zero credit for this awesomeness, but I am so very happy about it. I love co-sleeping and will do it again if we have more kids, but this new phase is equally great in a whole different way. I remembered this week that I love spreading out to sleep. And I like to cuddle with the hubs. And I like people not laying on my head when I sleep. Plus, there’s the bonus of believing if anyone starts puking, I may not be the second person hit by it (D is always the first one hit because he refuses to wake up quickly when I scream “that’s a puke cough”, or he wakes up and argues that it’s not a puke cough right until someone pukes on him. I take cover.)

I’m not thinking about food as much so I am actually having less issues with sugar cravings. Go figure! When I try to count how many grams of devil sugar have entered my body, I go nuts and find myself eating something atrocious and then beating myself up for two days. When I don’t think about it, I take one swig of Dennis’ gluten-free, caffeine-free, weirdly delicious root beer and stop at that. Then I burp and that’s good enough.

The Old Testament has been a bit rough to be immersed in, so I am thinking about combining some New Testament with it. There are so many good things in the Old Testament, and I do feel like I’m learning more about who God is and how He operates. But not fully understanding that particular time in the world makes some of the reading refuse to mesh with my current understanding of Christ and now and my own very narrow perception of how things work. So I’m pushing through the Old Testament(currently in Joshua), but I may start reading through the New Testament simultaneously. It’s a good idea to brush up on Jesus’ birth this time of year anyway before our soul-sucking materialistic world completely kills the true meaning of Christmas before it’s even the end of October!

Ta ta for now.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Part Three of Series

More tips in case you end up in possession of our children upon our demise:

There are gluten-free grains out there, but we don’t really eat them. They are okay to use to make goodies for a very occasional treat, but definitely do not let the kiddies get addicted. Their guts can’t take it. Also, if the flour comes from garbanzo beans, prepare to hear, “Stinky farts, stinky farts” for the rest of the day. You’ll probably smell them too.

Wren particularly has issues with sugar in any form. Honey, agave (though we don't love this one), maple syrup, and fruit in small controlled portions are okay. Any other kind of sugar causes a weakening of her immune system. No bueno.

The kids just drink water or So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk. It’s great for their guts, and they have never had anything else except coconut milk and breast milk, so they’re happy with it. There’s no hidden sugar.

Eating out: this should only take me two hours to explain. Many restaurants and fast food joints offer gluten-free menus. That does not mean someone with Celiac should eat there. In fact, you will generally see a disclaimer on the menu that says something to the effect of “We can’t guarantee not to kill you”. That’s not a good sign. While there may be gluten free items on a menu, cross-contamination is the devil, and most places are not knowledgeable enough about how to make 100% sure food does not get contaminated. Plus, with employee turnover, even if you assume everyone on staff is trained to handle contamination, unless every new employee is thoroughly trained, the risk is still there. There are a couple of places Dennis will eat out when work functions arise like PF Changs and its partner Pei Wei because they are known for their practices and can be researched on-line as to what they do for customers with food issues. That’s pretty much it, and the kids still don’t eat there. Sammy has never had fast food or restaurant food. Wren will always have a hard time eating out due to her inability to eat gluten, dairy, corn, soy, cane or granulated sugar, and a few more I don’t have on the tip of my tongue. I know of two bakeries in the Dallas area that are completely gluten-free establishments, but once again, reference foods Wren cannot ingest above. It’s not worth the hassle at this point in the game. FYI-My one adventure attempting gluten-free pizza at a restaurant where I asked every question, they took every precaution, and they were super smart about everything we discussed ended in me, the toilet, and about five hours of my life gone that I will never get back. I had my doubts when the waiter delivered my GF pizza and put it on the bottom of the pizza rack at the table with my friend’s gluten-filled pizza on top. What about crumbs? Why would they do that? Well, maybe none of the crumbs got on mine. Bad decision, and I paid the price.