Sunday, February 23, 2014

a bit of reality

I have had he most stressful 5 days of my life ever!  And if you know ANYTHING about my life you know I have had some stress.

Stress 1: Daugther, who I adopted, who my deceased sister left me in charge with now has a autoimmunie lifetime disease that needs daily treatment and monitoring for survival

Stress 2: While in the hospital 5 month old baby at home does not want to drink from the bottle, and is therefore not eating.  5 month old baby is not aloud in the Picu, because no one under 13 is allowed in the Picu

Stress 3: 2 year old who has recently been potty trained is having diarrhea attacks while staying with Papa, who has never watched my children and is now he is cleaning up crap all day (seriously Papa you were the biggest hero of our hospital days!!)

Stress 4: First night of Norah's hospital stay I must leave, and allow my husband to stay with her, because baby who is not drinking from bottle needs to eat.

Stress 5: When leaving the hospital a blizzard simultanelosy starts, of course, why not? we all know that driving in the snow gives me MORE anxiety than anything else!

Yeah, sleep didn't happen
and you better believe that I have a cold sore

oh and by the way, don't forget when you leave the hospital you have to check Norah's Blood sugar not just before every meal time, or anytime she looks remotely sick or acts weird, you also must check it at 2am every night for the rest of her life for all eternity while she lives with you to make sure she doesn't die in the middle of the night.

And don't forget the mathematical insulin injections you must give 4 times a day.  You must count EVERY carbohydrate in Norahs food (and that's not just bread people, it's strawberries, carrots, milk, almost every food unless it's meat or butter) in order to give her the right amount of insulin, oh and wait the equation will change when she does physical activity or her blood sugar is high, and I'm pretty sure a train is coming at any point now too!  And if you calculate it wrong Norah will end up back here, in the hospital.

But don't worry, every time you give her a shot or a finger prick she will cry and say over and over " I don't want to do it mommy, I don't want to do it, no mommy no!  And it's not you the nurse or Dr. inflicting this pain, it is me, her mom!

Stress, survival, your prayers and the Lords grace are the only way I have made it through. And my mom, the saint, who has yet again made a huge sacrifice and come out to be with us to help me.

Oh, and just to throw in the mix.  Brett has his first major CPA exam on tuesday.  All of us are sick, like yucky fever, cough sick.  Levi is no exception and his sickness even includes throwing up and a rash.

Can someone just come to our house and pray?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

My Red Flag {the day I realized Norah had diabetes}

It's winter in Colorado, it's dry, like 0% humidity.  So a few weeks ago when Norah was saying, "I'm thristy I need water, I was like, "Of course you do, I'm thirsty too, it's Colorado!"  Of course the more she drank the more she needed to pee.  At times it would even drive me a bit crazy, she would potty before we left for the store and then as soon as we got there she would need to potty again.  I'm just thinking "sheesh Nory, hold back on the water a bit."

And then there was the "I'm hungry mommy"  I'm still hungry mommy," "Mommy is it time for dinner yet?"  Well, basically ever since we have known Norah this has been a Normal and reoccurring statement, she is just always hungry. It maybe got a little bit more frequent and noticeable the past few weeks, but nothing to alarm me, especially when I knew she was being fed adequately.

But then this past Tuesday, February 18th when I picked up Norah from school her teacher said to me, "Norah kept asking for something to drink today, she seems to be very thirsty."  
This triggered a bit more of a concern for me, I knew that it wasn't just for attention to have a teacher notice it and say something to me!

A few minutes later Norah showed me this

And it wasn't until I saw this that everything came together.  
This was my "Red Flag"

You may think, what in the world, why would this cute little drawing of Norah learning about her body be a red flag?

It was when I saw her weight.  It was at only 37 lbs little pounds, and the last time Norah was weighed I remember her being right at 40 lbs, just enough to be in a booster seat.  Now, I had noticed Norah seemed thinner, but being age 4 I just figured she was growing tall and out of her "toddler chub," but when I saw that she only weighed 37 lbs, I knew 3 lbs weight loss for a child was A LOT!! 

All of this is going through my head in Norah's preschool classroom as I am picking her, I have all of my kids with me (Maya didn't go to school since she was sick).  I rushed my kids to the car and googled Norah's symptoms on my phone
-excessive thirst
-excessive pee
-ecessive hunger
-weight loss

And everything, everything said "Diabetes"  I knew at the instant that is what she had.  Everything compiled in my brain and made sense.  It had been happening for several weeks, but Norah had even been more noticeably tired (another symptom) and on occasion after a meal said she didn't feel good.  People had lately been saying, "wow, Norah has really thinned out."  It explained the thirst, the hunger, the peeing, everything.    My heart sank to the ground, I felt so sad for Norah and I felt like a terrible mother.  I just felt so bad for ever being irritated with her for having to go potty, or asking me to eat or drink.  Her little body just felt so sick and she couldn't help it.............

We went home, and I knew Brett was on his way home so I just wanted to talk to him before I did anything.  I will never forget our conversation as I was scrubbing vomit off the carpet and walls in our bedroom (yes, Maya had thrown up everywhere).  I told him I was very concerned about Norah, what her teacher had said about the thirst, the weight loss and all the other symptoms.  Brett just look at me and said "diabetes"  (he's way smarter than me and didn't need google). 

We called her Dr right away and said, "we think our daughter has diabetes" We told them the symptoms and they scheduled us for an appointment for the morning, Wednesday February 19th.

After talking with my mom, Brett's step mom Yami (who is a nurse), and a friend of mine who is a pediatric nurse we all knew what the Dr's were going to tell us Wednesday morning.  We were hopeful for the best, but wouldn't couldn't deny the facts. 

I went to bed that night in tears knowing how much Norah's life was about to change but feeling embraced by the Lord who already knew what was going on.

You see just a few days before at church, we had a guest speaker, one who had cancer as a child.  He faced the facts of his diagnosis but embraced the truth of God's love and sacrifice.  I didn't know it at the time, but that message, that day, God had already began to prepare me for what was to come.

On Wednesday, February 19th we had a normalish morning.  I gave the girls a bath, and blow dried and curled all of their hair. Maya was home sick from school again (a strange sort of blessing for the particular day/week) and then we met Brett at the Dr.s office.

We told the Dr her symptoms again, they weighed her (and she was only 36 lbs......gasp!), then took a pee sample and blood sugar test. Within 5 minutes the Dr. came in an told me she did in fact have diabetes type 1, insulin dependent.

A loss of breath and big embrace of Norah..... then silence

The Dr. looked at me and said, "you already knew didn't you?"

The tears came, I could not hold them back, it wasn't just a suspicion it was a fact now.  And a hard one to swallow.  Norah has Diabetes type 1, an autoimmune disease with no cure. 

 In an instant, yet again,  our life changed, and everything in Norah's life changed, forever.  She had no idea how much this day would throw her world upside down and forever effect her.

They then told us we needed to head to the ER and get Norah admitted to the hospital because her blood sugar was so high

To Be Continued.....

Sunday, February 16, 2014

to tip or not to tip?

Dear Red Robin Server

I came to dine at your restuarant on Saturday night to have a special date with my middle daugther, Norah.  She was over due for a date and I knew Red Robin would be such a fun and different treat for her, especially since it was time with just mommy and a step up from Chick-fil-a.  Plus I had another surprise in store for her after dinner, an ice cream treat at baskin robbins, which I knew for my little Norah would delight her little heart.

We arrived around 7pm (which is normally way passed our meal time, but this is the only way it worked for us on this particular evening with 3 other small children at home, one of which I nurse)  So a late dinner for one night was worth the date with Norah! I knew it would be busy, it was Saturday night and Valentines weekend, so when we arrived and were told it was a 25 minute wait to be seated I was neither surprised nor irritated, just ready to wait for a bit.

We were seated at about 7:25 (just as what was predicted).  You came to us just in a matter of minutes of being seated.  Being that it was a busy night, I ordered both our drinks and food right away.  We ordered a grilled cheese sandwich with oranges and chocolate milk and a hamburger.  Easy, Peasy!

You seemed nice, placed our order right around 7:30 and brought Norah her chocolate milk just a few minutes later and that was the last I saw of you.......for almost a whole hour!!!

We sat right near the expo area and could see into the kitchen.  Norah was very intrigued, she loved watching the kitchen and how it worked.  And since I was a former employee of Red Robin there was a lot I could tell her.  Oh yeah, you should know that I used to work at Red Robin, as a server, book keeper, trainer, and even mid manager  (you never know who you are gonna get at your table, right?). I know how the store works.  I know the expectations, and some how I still always hold mine low, as in low expectations for good servers....

As time ticked by and Norah became hungrier and hungrier I thought man "this kitchen is slammed tonight."  We kept looking for our grilled cheese and hamburger, but everytime we were thought we saw ours it went to another table.  After about 25 minutes I knew that to much time was going buy, I mean Red Robin usually has about 8-10 minute ticket times for food and even on a bad night 25 minutes is long.  So I began to look for you, our server, since you hadn't even acknowledged us since the chocolate milk.

I couldn't find you for a long time and then you appeared serving the table across from us, and then the table next to us, never once glancing in our direction to see if we had our food, if we needed a refill, or if indeed we needed anything even though you were only 10 feet away.  I thought maybe you just forgot to ring in our order, but that didn't really make since because I knew you had to ring in a chocolate milk to get it from the bar...... (one of the things I know since I used to work there)

Then I saw a family, the family who walked into the Door as we were being seated, get their food before us!  That is, they got to the waiting room as we were being seated at our table and placing our order and they still go their food before us!

It had been 45 minutes now, 45 minutes since we placed an order for a grilled cheese and hamburger. So I had to do it, so sorry, you wouldn't even come near us, I had to get a manager.  I politely told him we had been waiting for 45 minutes for our food, and I wasn't sure why it was taking so long and I had a very hungry little 4 year old.  He was very kind and got Norah her meal instantly ! The manager also got Norah some water to drink since her chocolate milk had been devoured, but you didn't seem to notice that either. Norah dug into her food, and I proceeded to wait for my mine, the manager told me the kitchen lost our food ticket and that we would not be paying for the meal tonight because of their mistake.  It happens, its a busy night, people mess up, we are human, I am a mom and I mess up all the time.  There is grace and thank you for the free meal Red Robin.  I waited about another 5-10minutes for my food, and Norah ate without me, kind of a bummer since it is few and far between that I get to sit down and eat at the same time as my kids.

And yet you still had yet to even stop by our table, not even to notice or check that Norah had food and I didn't, nor to acknowledged anything!  Why? Why would you not even glance in our direction?  I have been a server, I know our bill is not high, but I have a big tip for you!

I finally got my food, brought by someone else and the manager checks on us again and gets us more fries and brings me more water. The manager, who is not you, you are our server. 

Finally, One hour after placing our order you come by with another chocolate milk, which Norah does not need, do you not notice the 2 drink cups in front of her already, oh wait probably not since you haven't taken notice of us all night.  You never ask me how our food tastes, you just say, " I heard there was a problem with this table, is every thing ok?"  In my head all I am thinking is..... ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  We waited 45-60 minutes for our food and you are wondering if there was a problem?.  I of course don't say that to you, I don't think yelling or meaness helps, all I say is, "well, we waited over 45 minutes for our food, but the manager has taken care of us, thank you"

And then you disappeared into oblivion again. Thoughts are running  rampant through my head, maybe you were having a bad night, maybe you don't feel good, maybe you just don't like us,  maybe you are in the weeds, or maybe you are just a bad server, I don't know, and I am sure there is much more to you that I would ever guess or know, but I try to give people the benefit of the doubt.  I'm just wondering why you chose to ignore us for so long?  Did you have no concept of time?  Did you not start to wonder, "where is table # 13's food, it seems like it has been a while?"    Maybe you didn't realize it had been so long, busy night and all, so then I wonder why you just can't simply say, "I'm so sorry I did not realize so much time had passed since you placed your order."  Or maybe even a "how does your food taste, I'm sorry you had to wait so long." Instead you chose to ignore,  ignore us, ignore there was any kind of problem, you probably figured your weren't getting a tip anyway so why bother right?

 Listen, I know that you do not cook the food, you don't have control of that, but you could have still served us, it is your job.   I came out to eat, to be served, to pay you so I could enjoy an evening off.  I wanted a break, I am a mom of 4 small children and all I wanted was an easy, yummy meal with my little 4 year old.  It was not fun waiting an hour for my food, but what was less fun was the fact that I had to even consider in my head whether I should give you a tip or not.  People make mistakes, I can get over that.  What I can't get over is pretending everything is ok, and ignoring us. I have never ever not given a tip, it is a horrible feeling to be "stiffed" to a have a table leave without paying you, because that is your only form of payment .  I know servers only make $2.13/hour and you rely on  tips for income.  This is the first time in my life I have had this battle, had a dilema of sorts on whether or not to tip.   But so much of our night had been wasted, my time is valuable, and although I got to spend some special time with my daughter, its not quite as fun when she was so hungry that 90 percent of the conversation was, "i'm so hungry momma, is our food coming yet?"

Oh and remember how I was going to take Norah to baskin robbins for dessert, well once the clocked ticked 9pm and we were still at Red Robin I knew that wasn't going to happen

Oh and as Norah finished her meal she asked if she can have more oranges, I know that at Red Robin they basically refill anything, they are Red Robin they do little stuff like that all the time.  And since I would rather her fill up on oranges than fries I tell her yes, but once again you are no where to be found, so Norah has to stand on her seat, lean over the expo glass and ask the manager if she can have more oranges.  He helps us yet again and graciously brings Norah more oranges!

You come by our table one last time, with a refill that I don't need and tell us that the manager covered our meal (which we already knew since he had been serving us the whole night), you don't drop a blank check or anything though, so we don't even know how much our orginial meal was, which can help me determine the tip percent.

So Red Robin server, what do you think, do you think I should tip you? Do you think you earned it?  Do you think I should leave a tip simply because I sat in your section?

Readers, what do you think?  Do you think I stiffed my first tabled or do you think my conscious wouldn't allow me to leave nothing?  I'm interested to hear your response and why or why not

OH and Norah fell asleep right after I put her in the car

Monday, February 10, 2014

Levi Paul {5 months}

Levi, time just slipped away from me, and even though I took your 5 month photos a while ago I have yet to write anything about you, sorry buddy!

You are 5 months old now!!! Which is to me is the last official month of little baby, like baby baby, you know the baby that can't sit up yet and is not quite eating solids and still all baby

The 4-5 month transition was a rough one!  It was a mixture of trying to figure out what foods were bothering you and what was causing you to toss your head back and forth all night!  During the day you were a very content and happy little fellow, but something about being in your bed caused you to toss and turn and even wake up crying really hard.  It broke our hearts, just not knowing what was hurting you, it was a rough month for this mama.  I took out dairy, and for a short time even soy and peanut butter.  We took you to the chiropractor a few times which really helped, but what really helped was clearing up your case of the itchies!!!

Yep, you had bad eczema, a symptom of living in Colorado and probably the dairy.  So we basically dipped you in a vat of lotion and didn't give you a bath for a week and your eczema went away along with the tossing all night.  You hit 5 months and wahhla you are back to your Levi self.  So maybe you just didn't like being 4 months, I dunno, I am just glad you are back to yourself!

You totally love your feet, my all time favorite baby development.  You will even put your whole foot in your mouth and suck on your toe!
yep, here is goes.....
levi5months9 levi5months12 levi5months10

You turned over for the first time, from belly to back and back to belly.  But no crawling allowed buddy, at least not for a while!

You are most often refered to as "pretty baby" by non family members

 but we call you Levi-athon, (short for dinosaur), buddy, and brother.

you screech like a dinosaur, hense the biblical nickname

Everything that goes near you goes into right your mouth; toys, blankets, hair, clothes, fingers and toes

You love it when Norah talks and interacts with you, she always brightens you up in a fussy moment

You give wide open mouth slobbery kisses, and I love them.  You also smile so big everytime I kiss your squishy cheeks.  You will even be crying in your bed and if I come give you a kiss on your cheeks you stop and give me a sneaky smile

You have pooped almost every single day for the past 4 weeks, which is a complete medical miracle!

you are starting to become interested in the food we eat, but I'm trying to hold off on solids for as long as possible!

Every day all I want to do is hug you and kiss you and love you to death .......
and I do

Happy 5 months my sweet Levi Paul

And on a non related Levi note
Remember my beards for babies post?  The one were Brett is raising money for babies in the Domincan.? If you happened to make a donation can you just send me an email with your name and let me know?  You don't have to tell me the amount, we just need to make sure your donation went to the correct project, as many of the donations just went to a general compassion fund with the original link I provide.  Don't worry, your money went to compassion, we just need to make sure it was directed into the right area. email please if you donated jennirdh@gmail.  And if you haven't donated yet, you can do so with the link on my side bar, it is pointed to the right compassion fund now!

Monday, February 3, 2014

one of the lies of parenting

I might get some flack for writing this, but I keep seeing articles and reading blogs about this topic and it's been bothering me. 

It is a lie that many parents are believing, the lie that, "once you have children you cannot have a clean house ever again"

I get it, life is harder, there isn't as much time, your children are very important, way more important than a clean home in fact, but that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice a clean home, does it?  Why can't it be both, why can't you take good care of your home and your children?

There is this comradery going around, the messy house comradery, it makes us all feel better when we see other people have a messy house and don't have it all together, because it is real life.  I totally understand that, it is real life, my house isn't always perfect, just ask my husband and don't look in my basement.  But I think there is a point where it becomes an excuse or just plain laziness.  "Welp, I've got kids, I don't need to clean the bathroom, ever."

I've heard things thrown around like, " Sorry, you can't be my friend if you aren't willing to come over to my messy house."  I would never stop being someone's friend if they have a messy house, that is totally silly and life is being lived, but at the same time when I invite people over I want them to feel welcome and important and if my house is trashed, it doesn't quite give off that same welcoming vibe.  And believe me, there is a difference between toys strewn about and just a plain disaster.

We are also called to be stewards, stewards of the things we have, like our home, it should be taken care of.  Of course it is much harder to take care of a home the more children you have, but you just have to figure out how to do things a little differently.  And cleaning under the couch just doesn't get done as frequently.

I don't spend hours cleaning, I don't have time for that, nor do I ever need to spend 3 hours cleaning my home before someone comes over, because I keep up on it.  I do bits at a time, that is how it works in this stage of life.  Seriously, why can't I set aside 15 minutes during nap time and clean the bathrooms, or 10 minutes in the evening picking up?  I easily can waste that much time on facebook.  I also give my kids responsibility, yes they make their own beds even though they look lumpy, it's the habit I want them to have. I know everyone's strengths are different, for some people cleanliness is more important or easier than it is for others, but don't believe that it is impossible to keep up with your home when you have kids.

Please don't think I am judging your or saying you are not a good parent/person if your home is not clean.  That is not my heart at all. And there are probably times that I should be playing with my kids rather than sweeping (still working on that) but there are also times when I am sick, or my family is, and there are seasons where my house isn't a well kept up, but I just don't ever want to believe the lie that the season of a clean home is when my kids move out.  I don't buy it, nor to I live like that.  It's balance.

It is possible, it is possible to have 4 kids and a clean house and be ok.