Sunday, December 26, 2010

Let the Purging Begin

My house looks like a tornado blew through every room, every closet, every corner, and you get the picture. I'm ready to put things away, of course. But first I have this sickness where I have to clean out the closet...before the new things can go in there. And in that process, I manage to create even more chaos! Is it just me? inbox is out of control. I just deleted everything that didn't have a photo attachment and it feels great. I'm ashamed, horribly ashamed to admit that I just deleted 6400 emails from my inbox...

And I'm free!!!

121 remain, but they all have photo attachments. I'll weed through those another time. I'm thrilled to have a 3 digit number in there...especially one that starts with a 1!

(Yeah Babe, I'm still jealous that you only have one email in your inbox. Someday...)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

One Year Ago

One year ago...

Here he is, the reason I was in the hospital for 75 days. I was lucky enough to hang onto this guy for some good, quality developing time in there. We hung out in bed, Kace and I, for 75 days. It was hard, but it was easy at the same time..."for a good cause!" Those days seemed to filled with worry on one hand, but also filled with amazing friends, old and new; answered prayers; quality time with people we love; and a newfound respect for the daily grind.

The worry wasn't over though, it just transferred to a whole new level. He's here, appears to be okay, now off to NICU where they test, monitor, and give him more time to grow and develop. The worry didn't lesson like I expected in the back of my mind, it magnified greatly. Waiting for them to tell me what was right/wrong about our precious little miracle baby. Breathing, heart-rate, brain scan, wires, feeding tubes, constant beeping, and Russ's famous quote, "Ummm....there's an X." It's funny now, but it wasn't at the time.

Today, we celebrate his first year of life. The worry has yet to subside, it has evolved. Now we worry if he's okay when he bumps his head (because he's pulling up on everything) and what's he's put into his mouth this time (because every little speck of anything on the floor goes into his mouth...quickly). We are so lucky to have traveled this journey and had the outcome we did. Our eyes are open to a whole new world (to us) of difficult pregnancies, NICU babies, preemies, loss, and most importantly, the power of God. Every day I thank Him that we have two healthy, happy boys.

I don't look at babies with the same eyes that I did prior to this experience. Or mothers, or pregnant women. It's all a miracle and every day is critical, precious, and a gift. When life overwhelms me (as it does on pretty much a daily basis), I remind myself that what I need is a perspective change.

Well, here he #1 perspective changer!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fall is Here....finally!

The calendar says it's Fall, long before it actually arrives in Texas. Very recently I've actually noticed some stunning orange, yellow, and red leaves....the week before Christmas!

I've wanted to pull over and snap some photos, but actually took these in my very own backyard!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I have so much to say, but words just don't seem to be the most important thing right now.

A Marine fighting for our freedom in Afghanistan was called to Heaven on Monday.
Saturday morning his mother woke to the sound of his voice. She hadn't heard it in 35 days. He told her he was okay and things were quiet, that he was good.
Sunday they decorated a Marine Christmas Tree in his hometown.

This young man is someone that I know. I don't know him well, mind you, but he's the kind of guy you like the moment you meet him. He is the best friend to my niece and nephew. He is the son of my sister-in-law's best friend. I've known him since I met my husband.

He's wanted to be a Marine for a long time. He knew what he was getting in to and wanted to defend his country and its people. He is a hero.

My heart aches for his family. For his friends. For his hometown who has been through so much of late, it seems.

Newsclip from Kiii in Corpus

Please pray for his family, pray for them to find comfort through their pain. God Bless Them.

He is a true hero.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thankful Thanksgiving

Last year on this day I was in the hospital, praying that Kace would wait until it was time for him to arrive. Looking back on this year, especially this time in particular, that I missed last year, I have so much to be thankful for. Every day that goes by, I think "I spent this day in the hospital last year." It was so stressful on our family...and even our friends. I continue to be overwhelmed with love for my family and friends, for the simple things in life, for the daily pleasures, and the daily nuisances that I longed for while in the hospital.

On this day, I had been in the hospital for about 50 days and still had almost a month to go. I was in the downhill stretch, but it still seemed so far away. The good news every day was that Kace was still developing in utero instead of in NICU.

(Here is last year's post. I didn't read it until after I wrote this. So many similarities!)
I could write a novel about the things I'm thankful for right now--from the grand to the miniscule. I'll begin this novel now....stay with me! :-)

1. God and the blessings he has bestowed upon our family. Even the things we think are not blessings are. Staying in the hospital was NOT a blessing to me, but we actually enjoyed our time there with our nurses, doctors, and made new lifelong friends who went through their version of the same ordeal as we did.

We are also thankful to have finally found a church that we love. We plan to join soon and look forward to going to church on Sunday mornings. I'm so glad to finally have this missing piece back into my life. I never thought I'd find a church that I connected to as much as the last church I attended, but I have. What a blessing!

2. My family. Wow, I could not be more blessed to have a wonderful family. My family has always supported me, taken care of me...and my very own little family. I married into a wonderful family too--fabulous in-laws, two sisters and friends, and wonderful nieces and nephews that I call my own. The family that Russ and I have created is my life. These boys mean the world to me and I'm thankful that we have two boys to make our lives filled with amazement (in good ways and not so good ways)! We are blessed beyond measure to have our boys and I am one lucky girl to have all 3 of them in my life.

3. Friends. Friends are amazing. New friends, old friends, all of them. I hope they know who they are because they make the world go 'round. Martin Jr. High friends, neighbor friends, work friends, Bunco friends, family friends, and friends I don't get to see every day--but wish I did. They're there when you need them and I couldn't have asked for a better bunch.

4-12: Some Little Things

4. Making my own plate on Thanksgiving. WITH cranberry sauce.

5. Coffee.

6. Reading books with my boys. And snuggling. Do they know that it's purely selfish for me to do this? To make them love books, learn to read, and spend quality snuggle time? Shhhh--don't tell.

7. Cooking. Oh, how I love to cook, read recipes, collect recipes, try out new recipes. And oh, how I hate to clean the dang kitchen.

8. My job. I do love going to work every day. I love my students and I love the amazing people that I work with. I'm so thankful to have a supportive team and administrators!

9. Big Bang Theory.

10. Time with family.

11. Alone time.

12. Time with The Girls

(Yes, that is a big ol' mosquito bite right between Kace's eyes. He got it while we were taking family photos the day before.)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Off the List

In September, what seems like another lifetime ago, some very special girls and I went on a cruise together. No husbands, no children, just the girls. The trip was never blogged about, but just in case you're wondering, we had an amazing time. Truth be told, I can have an amazing time with these girls ANYWHERE. But, we had a wonderful getaway together, thanks to our husbands, children, mothers, and mothers-in-law for making it happen for us.

While we were in Cozumel, we went on a little dolphin adventure. Something I've always wanted to do...and it was as fantastic as I expected it to be. Our trainer was great, the day was beautiful, and we even met two new friends that were on our ship. Bless their hearts for being in a group with us, but they held their own and I was so glad we got to know them.

Here we all are using our newfound trainer skills:

And holding my new friend:

Rubbing bellies...his, not mine:


And an awkward one:

And we danced:

The good times didn't end (or begin) there. Some other highlights include: swimming pools, karaoke, salty dogs, karaoke, hair products, karaoke, bartenders, karaoke, and some very special nametags.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hot Date

Lately, I've been feeling a little guilty about not spending enough relaxed, quality time with Riley. Not driving to school in a rush, not hanging out at home, talking while I make dinner, and not laying in bed reading books together. I felt like I needed to do something out of the ordinary, but simple. As I was heading to pick him up from school, I decided that it was a cool, sunny, beautiful day and we should go to Starbucks and have a hot chocolate date.

Today was the perfect day for it. Sunny and cool, but not too cool to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air AND some hot chocolate with whipped cream!

It was exactly what we needed, a little warm, chocolatey together time!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dr. Day

I took a day off this week and attempted to knock out some doctor appointments for Kace all in one day. We needed to see our pediatric orthopedist and our pediatrician for an overdue 9 month well check. The 9 month well check was delayed because right at Kace's 9 month well check time, he was circumcised.

Monday was our day. Sub plans written, appointments scheduled, and my stylist went above and beyond to come in on her Monday off to cut and color my was LONG overdue. I was so grateful to her for doing that--I even tried to talk her out of it!

The pediatric orthopedist we've only seen a few times, just to check in on Kace's turned-in ankles. I've always liked his laid back demeanor. The first time we saw him, he gave Kace a kiss on the top of his head! Last appointment he looked good, but asked to come in in 6 months for a follow up. Dr. said everything looked great and he didn't think we needed to see him anymore unless something came up and I felt like we needed to visit. What a relief!

Then we had lunch with Daddy at Phil's. A wonderful place, but Kace is too little to play and it was a pretty damp and chilly day. The burger was great...and the sweet potato fries were awesome as usual.

We headed to the pediatrician's office for our well check (after travelling to the central office last weekend to find out Kace had a double ear infection) and all was well there too. He's meeting all developmental milestones right now, but he isn't pulling up to a stand. He's crawling, making baby babble, eating his fruits and veggies, waving, etc.

I think the biggest shocker to us was that his little growth spurt. He went from being 25th percentile in height to 75th percentile!! The doctor even measured him again because she didn't think the nurse measured accurately! A tall baby?? Could it be?

I continue to be reminded of my blessings, today and everyday, through this season. I'm so thankful for my healthy, happy baby boy. The pediatrician even said, "You would never know this little guy was a preemie...usually baby's don't reach 20 pounds until their first birthday!"

Then I took Kace to Mimi's so she could babysit while I had my "alone" time and had my hair done. It was a treat. I was thrilled to get all of those things accomplished and not have to worry about leaving work early, who is picking up Riley, my mom or mother in law meeting me at the doctor's office and being on time. But in the back of mind I had a list of about 13 other things I was hoping to accomplish while I was out and about. Needless to say, none of them happened, but I am excited to have those things crossed of THE LIST!

Now off to have his 12 month well check in a little over a month!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dear Kace

Dear Kace,

Boy, do you love your Mommy and Daddy. You always reach for us, smile at us, and cry when we walk away. But I just want you to know that nobody, I mean nobody can make you smile as big and belly laugh like your brother can. I love to listen to that laugh and see that big smile every time you see his face.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

10. ten. diez. dix. tio. X. juu.

Today our baby is 10 months old. Here he is today:

and here is his brother at 10 months:

I think they look alike in their facial shape, chubby cheeks, rolls, and their big ol' head. I knew they looked alike like brothers might. I didn't think they looked this much alike until I saw the pictures for myself.

There are so many differences between the two boys, but so many similarities. I'm sure this is only the beginning!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Goodnight Sweetheart

Our usual bedtime routine consists of bath, Mommy or Daddy reading 3 books, Riley reading 1 book, scratch Riley's back, tell him goodnight, and walk out the door. One night earlier in the week though, he wasn't being very nice and after a few warnings, I ended up only reading 2 books and not scratching his back.

He was very upset when I left and didn't respond when I said, "I love you sooo much." Normally I get a gratuitous response at the very least.

While this is going on upstairs, Russ is giving Kace his last bottle of the evening After Kace finishes, Russ puts Kace into his crib and walks into Riley's room to say goodnight (he is now calm and settled). While Russ is in there, I hear Riley say(over the monitor), "Daddy, will you tell Mommy I love her sooo much?"

My eyes welled up with tears. It made my year! Sometimes, just when you think they aren't listening, they pleasantly surprise you in the most wonderful ways!

I snapped these pictures of both of our sweet boys that night as they were sleeping.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

So Much to Say

So much to say and no time to say it, or even add the pictures. I keep thinking about things I need to post, things my children say or do, events that have taken place in our lives, and no time to tell these stories.

There's the Bunco Cruise....that could take days.
Riley's entire 1st baseball season.
Kace's surgery.
My birthday.
The food I need to post on my food blog.
What Riley said last night before bedtime.
Friends I've actually been able to see. And those I hope to see very soon!
Back to the hospital for my "anniversary" to visit some friends.

And whatever happens between now and my next post. Things ARE happening around here, faster than I can keep up!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Hospital Rewind

Writing that post forced me to look back through the photos. It was a frightening, frustrating time, but it was a good time too. I didn't share many pictures of the hospital, but I did take them. I thought a "looking back" slideshow was in order.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

My anniversary. The one I share with North Austin Medical Center, not my wonderful husband. The anniversary of the day that I went to work, like any other day....and never came home again.

October 7, 2009 I went to work, taught my first graders, feeling fine...except for the leaking. It didn't hurt, it wasn't much, but I (unwillingly) made a dr. appointment anyway. I went in, talked to the dr. and I saw the panic in his face when he noticed that I had no amniotic fluid. My dr. is awesome--he's calm, cool, and tells it like it is. He's also a smart ass...and I love that. I'd never seen him worry, never seen him show fear/shock, until that moment. Then I was terrified. The terror didn't stop there. He told me he wanted me to check in upstairs. To the hospital. He was thinking that I would go through weekend and get some I.V. fluids and head home. "So I'll miss the game Saturday?" I asked. "Yes, " he smirked. I'll also never forget something else he said to me, "You have a better chance of losing this baby than keeping it." I was glad he told me that...someone needed to prepare me for the reality of the situation. No sugar coating, please.

The panic was worsening. I was bawling. I called Russ who left work and headed to the hospital. I called my Mom who was there in 10 minutes with me. I called my "save the day" mother in law who picked up Riley from school. I called my team who had to pull together sub plans for me.
I was in shock as my favorite nurse, Judy, stayed late to check me into the hospital and walk me to Labor and Delivery. I really didn't want to be there because I didn't want to deliver my baby at 22 weeks. My day there was a blur. Lots of questions, constant fetal monitoring, I.V. fluids and antibiotics (to prevent infection for baby and myself), and lots of prayer.

That night I met a new doctor. My neo-nataologist who didn't sugar coat a thing when she gave me the blow that I would be staying in the hospital until I delivered my baby. Until January 30th? That sent me reeling. The safest place for me was the hospital, they assured me. Constant monitoring, and if anything happened, I was right there. I was there to protect me and the baby from the pending infection.

Some medical background: My water broke at 21 weeks. Normally women go into labor within 48 hours of their water breaking. Having such little amniotic fluid, my baby was in great danger of not having fully developed lungs, amongst many other things if he was born 18 weeks early. There was a tear in my aminiotic sac that leaked amniotic fluid. Sometimes the tear can repair itself, but that is not common. I prayed mine would heal and the sack would fill back up. That never happened. I did get more fluid (it's baby urine, did you know that?), but it was always low. Being that their was a tear, they felt the safest route for me was to stay in the hospital where Baby and I were surrounded by medical staff who could give immediate care to both of us. The risk of infection was high.

I think I was basically in shock the first 48 hours. Everything that I needed to do raced through my mind. Everything that needed to be taken care husband, my son, dinner, laundry, my job, my lesson plans, my students, their parents. This list goes on forever. I had to look at my life...and remove myself from the picture. That was an adjustment.

As I adjusted, I got to know my nurses very well. They became my girlfriends. My doctor came to visit me every morning. My cleaning lady visited me every day too. The cafeteria friends who delivered food. Every day someone came to see me, thank goodness. My mother came almost every day. Some days I would just tell her not to come, though I knew she wanted to. She was also caring for Nana at the same time and between the two of us, she was exhausted. She was also taking Riley duty at my house some days.

Russ, Mom, and my mother in law shared Mommy duty. This was tough on all of us. We all know grandmothers don't follow Mommy rules and this was very tough for Riley to understand. It was hard on all of us, but I am so thankful that we had them to help. Russ spent many nights with me. I was so thankful to have him there. I wished he could be there every night, but Riley needed his Daddy more. I had to let him have his Daddy.

During the day I didn't read like I thought I would...I think I couldn't focus on a book long enough to get through it. I only read two the entire time I was in the hospital. Magazines, yes--I could be distracted and read them. I watched Ellen every morning and Jimmy Fallon at night. In between, HGTV and Food Network were background noise.

I obsessed about Baby's development by googling "23 weeks and 2 days", "24 weeks and 1 day" every day. Wondering where baby was in the scheme of developing. I read (what seemed like) millions of stories about pre-term deliveries. Some of them hopeless, some of them hopeful. I looked for photos...some I wanted to see, to prepare myself, but some I didn't. I never knew what I would get into and that frightened me.

I was overwhelmed with visitors. Every day either my mother or my husband were there. Almost every other day, an additional friend or family member came. That was overwhelming. My friends, family, and co-workers really showed up to support me through this. Visits, calls, emails, books, cookies, meals, flowers, my awesome stylist was sent (by my team) to give me a blowout in the hospital, pedicures a la Sonia, gifts for me (and my entire family), fall decorations, Christmas trees, movies, and even a surprise Bunco! I've never felt more loved. Never felt more completely overwhelmed with the generosity of family, friends...and even some strangers.

All in all, this experienced changed me. For the better, I hope. I'm no longer ignorant to pre-term complications, pregnancies, and births. We made new forever friends in that hospital, in our time of fear we had each other to talk to. The Bett's and the Desormeaux's are friends I will have forever. Our boys will tell stories and play together one day. They each have their similar but very different story to tell. We are all so lucky to have each other...and our boys. The hospital staff, I can't say enough about my nurse's (well, most of them), doctors, the security guard, the housekeeper. They kept me going. I looked forward to their visits every day, every week. In a way, I miss that.

This post could ramble for eternity...and it just might, but important thing is that we made it. Russ through his journey, me through mine, Riley through his, and Kace of course. The thing that I always knew while I was in the hospital was that God would protect me. He had a plan. Yes, it differed from mine at the time. Every night I went to bed, I felt safe. Safe and comforted. I knew we would be okay.

Today...October 7, 2010, we are better than okay.

Monday, September 27, 2010

It's Fall, Y'all!

Fall is my favorite season! I anxiously await its arrival....and everything that comes with it: football, cooler weather, hoodies, jeans, long sleeves, coffee to warm me up, Pumpkin Spice Latte's, soup, opening a window, orange, brown, Lucky Penny nail polish, comfort food/casseroles, and I could go on!

Riley has been anxiously awaiting the arrival of our Fall Directions he calls he has decorations down, but it sure was cute hearing him ask when we could put out our fall directions!

Well, yesterday the went out. We started with the scarecrow on the front porch Riley named Jolly. He couldn't wait to put that little guy out and was so proud to help. We put out pumpkins, candles, scarecrows, acorns, pears, leaves, and still have a little more to do.

As I was unpacking the decorations, an overwhelming feeling came over me. I didn't pack up these things last year, I only took them out. Some of the decorations were gifts during my hospital stay last year. The flood came back...I missed the entire fall season last year. Yes, special friends and family visited and brought me pumpkin lattes, pumpkin decorations, soup, Indian corn, etc., but it's not the same from a hospital bed.

My "anniversary" is coming up. I've come so far, we've come so far. I've learned so much, I've taken in so much, I think differently, and every day I'm thankful. Thankful for my wonderful family, amazing friends, and the simplicity of a season. A season of change, excitement, and entire season to be thankful.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Happy, but Drowning!

So it's been a while, hasn't it? Life is good...but there's no time for myself. I'm still adjusting to being the mother of a 4 1/2 year old and a (one day away from being) a 9 month old. I love my boys, they are a gift. But WOW....where did my life go?

My alarm goes off at 5. I'm up to shower, dress, makeup, and do hair. Cute hair, are you kidding? Ponytail is the cutest hair I can muster up unless it's a special occasion! Sad, but true. The ponytail might even be a wet one--classy.

I pack the diaper bag: 3 bottles, veggies, cereal. Pack Riley's lunch (he packs it every other day), pack my lunch (pray for leftovers), and then figure out what to eat for breakfast. In the car, of course. Coffee and nothing for me usually. Milk and something...for Riley (looking for some suggestions here if you have any)!

Hopefully I've accomplished all of that by 6:25 because that's when I wake the 4 year old.

Kace usually peeps somewhere/anywhere between 5 & 7. Usually he'll go back to sleep, but not always. I'll pick him up, hold him, and if we're lucky, he'll sleep a few more minutes. If we're not lucky, I have to pass him off to Daddy, who is NOT a morning person (but getting a liiiittttttle better now that he doesn't really have a choice). I might make Kace a bottle.

Riley's so much better early than I expected him to be. He doesn't want to wake up, but who does? We move on. Get dressed, brush teeth, brush hair, grab stuff, and go. Of course it never goes that quickly in real life, but we try. I need to be out of the door by 6:45.

At work, I work with some amazing people. I'm blessed to work with 3 very special ladies on my team. Ladies who took care of me and my kids while I disappeared to go to the hospital last year. I was SO looking forward to taking care of them for a change and with my new schedule (Riley's schedule), they're still taking care of me. Bless their hearts. I love them though. I just don't have time to be with them. Heaven forbid I eat with my friends and relax. Instead, I'm trying to catch up on being behind.

I was used to being at work around 7. I can't drop Riley off until 7:15.....and when I say drop off, I mean I have to park, get out, and walk him in. Go through 3 crossing guards, 2 school zones, and about 482 stop signs...all seem to be in a 20 mph school zone. Oh my patience is being tested!! Then in the afternoon, after my kids go and the building is quiet, I have about an hour to prepare/plan before I have to go and pick Riley up. Not enough time I tell ya!

I depend on those special girls to do my job....make copies, finish planning, and then they have to fill me in. It stresses me out tremendously. They have their own selves, students, families, and jobs to take care of. UGH!

Back home and it's time to get dinner ready.....with Riley and Kace needing love, diapers, milk, conversation, a snack, some attention, etc. What I wouldn't give to sit and be with them at this time. If I do, I'm worrying about dinner, the clothes in the dryer, or the dishes in the dishwasher.

While I eat I'm feeding an impatient 9 month old or bribing a 4 year old to finish his meal. Sometimes both. My poor husband has a 2 hour drive to work and back and I never know when he'll be home. That's tough too. Sometimes 5, sometimes 7 or later....

Don't feel sorry for me, please understand that I love my children, love my husband (who has his own lengthy version of this blog too), love my home, my family, and my job more than ever. I just don't feel that I'm succeeding at any of them right now!! I miss my friends, I miss watching a movie with my husband, jeez....even a sitcom, a conversation. I know this will eventually be a breeze ...and I'll get the hang of it, right? In the mean time, bear with me, please. I'm honestly doing the best I can...and it's not good enough for me!

There you have it. My 6 minutes of alone time. I should've been working. Or going to the restroom or something.

Friday, August 20, 2010

At the Movies

Riley very patiently waited to fill up that penny jar, but he finally filled it with pennies representing good choices! We anxiously awaited this day (all 3 of us) so that we could go see Toy Story 3 at the movie theater. This would be Riley's first trip...we thought his attention span might finally make it through a movie at the theater. We did it up right with popcorn, peanut M&M's, and Reese's Pieces!
We all loved the movie, of course, we knew we would. What a great "first!" Now to fill up that happy jar again!!