Friday, October 29, 2010

Spoons


This week I have been playing a serious game of Spoons! If you aren't familiar with this fantastically fun game let me enlighten you.  You basically sit in a circle with spoons in the middle of all of the players.  There is always one less spoon then players. Everyone passes cards until they collect four of the same card. The first one to collect four of the same card grabs a spoon.  All the other players subsequently grabs for the remaining spoons. This usually results in mayhem and hilarity for all playing or watching. In my family this can be a physically dangerous game to play.  But that's a blog for another day! Ultimately, the person left without a spoon is the looser of that round.

I know by this point some of you are left wondering why I am babbling on about the game Spoons. Be patient, I'll get there... I have also mentioned The Spoon Theory on my blog before.  If you have not read it or don't remember you can check it out here on Butyoudontlooksick.com/. The short version of this theory is to imagine that you need to have a spoonful of energy for everything that you do during your day. People who have auto immune diseases need to count every spoon they have for their day. Or they just may run out of spoons (energy) before they've even begun.

This theory and the game Spoons has really come into play this past week with me. I was sitting at the table feeling as if I am the looser at the game. I was watching everyone else around me holding their spoons and smiling! I have had a zillion and one things to do this past week.  Most of them revolved around something that I felt I needed to do for my daughter.  Jumping in leaves, making party treats, volunteering at L's preschool party, hayrides, walking in a Halloween parade with L's float, along with photo editing (for family and "business") were just some of the things I ended up doing. It was all supposed to be fun and I was going to have fun doing it, darnet! Crazy busy! And, yes, I was told by quite a few that I was crazy and pushing myself waaay too far! I was too busy trading in spoons and borrowing from future stores of energy to stop and think about it.

Few things bring out my competitive streak. The game of Spoons just happens to be one of those things. Ordinarily, when I am left sitting without a spoon, I glare furiously at everyone who has one in their hands. I want to stomp my feet and wonder why I couldn't have ended up with one of the spoons.  It leaves me ready for another round sure that I'll gain a spoon the very next time. At times in real life when I end up with out any spoons I feel like sitting and sulking.  I sometimes get down about it and think of myself as a horrible Mommy. But this week I had my competitive Spoons pants on.  I lost quite a few rounds of Spoons. I was sitting with out a spoon.  But, man did I ever rally! I waited for the next round and went back in playing to win!! I feel like a champion Spoons player. If I can survive a week like I've had and rally so many times there's no reason that I should ever let myself be convinced that I will be "down for the count"!

It's funny how such a positive thought can come out of such chaos. Even if it was fun chaos!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Treats

I finished L's treats for her Halloween party at preschool yesterday.  I was waaaay tired after standing for the time it took to make them all.  Unfortuantely, I was too tired to go to bible club with L last night.  Then I had a horrible bout of brain fog which ended in me finally remembering my daughter's birth date about five minutes into my conversation with her doctor's office. So, my exhaustion combined with the fact that I could not go to bible club with L, combined with my brain fog incident ended with me sitting in a blubbering mess of tears at dinner time.  L looked on in confusion then came over to hug me.  She said, "It's ok Mommy, I know you've had a long day!".  She made it better, yet again.

Here are two pictures that I took of the treats I made!


Monday, October 25, 2010

Pictures

I've taken some great pictures over the last couple of days and wanted to add some since I haven't been able to write a post!













Thursday, October 21, 2010

Coming Soon!



Please forgive my absence!  L has been sick with whatever viral thing is going around.  And now we are busy busy busy with fall activities. 

In the next week we have a lot planned for us! I am going to volunteer to walk L's class to the library during preschool tomorrow.  Then a church hay ride tomorrow night.  Followed by some MUCH needed girl time with my best friends.

Saturday we have a family Halloween Party for my Mommy group. For which I got talked into making something uber yummy.  Fried mini chimichangas!  My mouth is watering thinking about them!

Sunday is church in the morning.  And then we are going out to a local state park so I can take some fun family portraits of my cousins.  Should be a blast!

Monday I have a leaf finding excursion planned with our Mommy group.  L has preschool and I have an eye doctor appointment.  Then that night we are walking in a Halloween parade with L's preschool.

Tuesday we are going to Nana's work for L to go trick-or-treating.  We do this every year and it always seems like L makes out better there then when we actually do go trick-or-treating. Last year people felt so bad for not having candy that they were dumping dollar bills in her bucket!

Wednesday is preschool while I will be making some super cute take home snack bags for L's class for her party. Then it's off to bible club that night.

Thursday night is trick-or-treating.

Friday I am volunteering at L's preschool for their Halloween party.  I am supposed to run a game and read a book. That night I am going to be taking some couples pictures of my parents. (They haven't had pictures of themselves taken in forever!)

And finally Saturday night T and I have an adult Halloween party to attend.

I am in no way saying that I will have a bad time at these things.  I am sure I will have a lot of fun!  But it is rather a lot for my body to handle in a weeks time. I am already starting to get worn down. I am a tad worried about how long I will be allowed to push myself. So, for now,  please pardon my temporary lapse in blogs.  

Pretty please?


Clip art found here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

L'isms

I just had to share this because it's too funny not to!

L was in the kitchen rustling around while I sat in the living room.  She said this...

"Mommy!  Can I ask you something...and have you answer me? And I promise....promise....promise that I will listen to whatever you tell me. If you tell me no I will be alright with it. So?....."

She wanted gum right after she had finished her breakfast this morning.  How could the kid go wrong starting out a conversation like that? The phrase, With friends like these who needs enemies, comes to mind!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sick, Sick, Sick



My poor baby girl is sick, sick, sick.  And I am laying in bed worrying about it rather then being able to sleep.  So why not write a blog about it right???

L was at a birthday party last weekend.  It seems unfair to blame it on that, but it seems that every child there caught some sort of cold while there. :o( They had TONS of fun at that pool party but, unfortunately, have all been sniffling and coughing this week.  It happens.  It's a part of life.  I am not one of those crazy germa-phobe moms. So my daughter has had a cough all week. I thought she would squeak by with just the cough. Well. This morning she was somewhat hoarse and her cough was a little worse. Not by much though. She seemed fine enough to go to another birthday party today.  Which, by the way, happened to be filled with all the same germy kids from last week. Ha ha!

After the party we put L down for nap and she went to sleep waaaay too late.  She ended up falling asleep a half hour before we needed to leave for a family picnic this afternoon. Needless to say, the creature that had to be woken up was not a joy to around.  Not to mention that her cough had turned into a bark. Somehow in the matter of thirty minutes she had convinced us that she was well enough to go to the family picnic. She was NOT planning on missing out on "cousin" time for anything, short of bodily dismemberment!

Surprisingly enough she acted fine all night. The kids ran through corn fields and made their own "mazes". They fed and petted some adorable baby cows. There was an insane amount of goodies to be munched on. Lots of marshmallows and hot dogs over the campfire. A great wooden swing was prime for pushing and there were plenty of other things for the cousins to do. The highlight of the night... L's statement, "Ow! I hurt my leg! It's broken! I need a marshmallow!". To which someone replied, "Yes, a marshmallow will glue your leg back together!".  What logic!!

On the way home L finally slowed down and it seemed like she hit a wall.  She barely made it home awake.  She all but pried her eyes open to watch Dora on our portable DVD player. And the barking began again, harder. We got home and shuffled her into bed right away.

I had been laying in bed reading for the two hours she had been asleep, listening to her coughing getting progressively worse and more persistent. It all came to a head when she woke up gasping for air and couldn't get any because her body was too busy coughing. The barking cough wouldn't let up long enough for her to draw a breath.  That made her panic, which made her breathing even worse. I knew I had to do something and do it immediately or things were going to become dangerously worse.

Having experience with croup and asthmatic breathing problems, thanks to my brother, I knew what to do to hopefully help with her problems. This is the time that I could put my knowledge to good use. You see when a person is having breathing problems such as croup or asthma it is because the bronchi in your lungs are closing up.  The bronchi are similar to upside down trees in your lungs, with the bronchiole spreading out from them like tree limbs.  The alveoli are much like tree buds on the end of the limbs.  They help pump oxygen into our blood streams. When people experience respiratory problems it's because the bronchiole (the tree limbs) tighten up.  This restricts the air from getting the the alveoli (the buds of the tree), which can cause all kinds of problems. The best way to help a person when they are experiencing this is to try to help them open their airways (bronchiole) back up. On a side note, if you ever wish to know what this feels like you can perform this simple experiment. Run in place til you feel slightly winded then simply try to breath through a regular drinking straw. Not fun! This ends the educational part of this blog.  See Mom!  Sending me to asthma camp with my brother really did pay off!

So.... I ran for the bathroom, with L, and made sure to shut the door behind me. The shower was turned on to the hottest it would go and we sat snuggled as close to it, without getting wet, as we could. I laid her on top of my chest and told her to try and breathe with me.  I breathed in deeply and she did it along with me. I slowly pushed out my breath and she did too.  This seemed to help her calm down some as well as helping her to get some of the steam into her lungs. (Steam helps loosen up your lungs when they are tight.) I was praying that this would work because the next step was heading to the ER. Scary!! Fortunately, after about fifteen minutes in the steam L was mostly done coughing and nearly asleep on my chest. While I had been doing that T got the humidifier set up in L's rooms, shooting right up at her face, where she lays in bed.  I also made sure to grab some extra pillows to prop her up more in bed.

After L fell back to sleep I came back into my room and collapsed. (And gave myself a little pat on the back!) For now, all the measures seem to be helping. For a little bit there I was one scared Mama! But I can say that this is actually one occasion where I was happy that my brother went through all of his problems as a child.  Or I may have not known how to help L get back to breathing normally.  Here's hoping and praying that she doesn't wake up anymore tonight!



Picture found here.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How could you deny this face anything?


Look at the ears pointed in adoration.  The eyes pleading with me to let her out.  She's promising to be good.  No barking, no howling, no chasing the squirrels.  OK, maybe just chasing one squirrel, but it had it coming!  She'll be a perfect doggy all she wants is a little fresh air. No problems honest.  To be outside for just five minutes.  OK, OK she'd settle for two minutes....a minute....thirty seconds?  Just five seconds of freedom outside!  Just a chance to poke her nose out the corner of the screen door and sniff....PLEASE!!

Her sweet little face promises the behavior of an angel. So, of course I let her out after giving her a little pep talk.  

"Barre, no chasing the squirrels this time.  You ran snout first into the fence last time.  Leave the neighbor's cat, Mr. Wiskers, alone.  You know he secretly runs an underground cat mafia.  He is sooo gonna make you sleep with the fishes some day! OK, yes, I know the neighbor is outside smoking....... again ......but you really REALLY don't need to bark at him.  Honest. You'll be OK if you don't bark.  (She tilts her head) No barking. (She tilts her head the other way. So I obviously need to speak to her like she's my ninety year old hearing impaired Aunt.) NO BARK!  OK, we're good.  You can DO this!!!"

 I thought, "She'll be great"!  I've just barely turned my back to make dinner and ......WOOF!  I guess I need a better pep talk next time!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Stink Bugs


When L was eleven months old she learned to climb.  I left her by herself, in the perfectly baby-proofed living room, to take a cup to the kitchen.  When I came back she was sitting on top of our tall entertainment center.  She was kicking her legs, clapping for herself, and wearing the biggest I'm-so-proud-of-myself smile. I was scared but pushed the fear aside assuming that it was just a one time thing.  In the next week L had learned to climb out of her crib, necessitating a move into a toddler bed. And in the same week she taught herself how to climb onto the top of our computer desk as well.

Making her way to the top of the highest jungle gym equipment is nothing to L now. Sliding down the biggest slide available is like second nature.  Climbing back up the tallest slide and nearly giving Mommy a heart attack is even better!

She races to the mini roller coaster lines.  She can NOT wait til she can ride a "real roller coaster"! Lists have been made as to which roller coasters she will ride with who.  So why, when my little girlie is such a little dare devil and limits-pusher, does she become panic stricken at the sight of a little stink bug? 

For those who have not encountered stink bugs before...They are most common in the southern areas of the country.  In recent years that have been found much more frequently in the northern states of the US as well.  Pa's orchards are encountering problems because of these invasive little bugs.  They are brown and look rather prehistoric.  They get the name "stink bug" because of the smell they expel if they feel threatened.  It is rather noxious and takes quite a few hand washings before a person can get rid of it. In a house, however, the worst part about them is how annoying they are.  They find places to hide in little nooks and crannies.  Once you find a spot that they favor you can easily find fifty of them hiding in the same place. You can read more on them here.

Unfortunately for us, the favorite place in the house for these bugs to hide happens to be my daughters room. These bugs have the ability to take my brave little girl and turn her into a melting puddle of quivering tears. If she even sees one climbing the ceiling of her room in the corner that's most opposite to her she screams. She has been waking up frequently with these "terrifying" bugs climbing near her.  Recently she woke with one climbing on her pillow right in from of her nose.  We also woke because of the scream of terror she let out....In the middle of the night!  We were also woken once in the last week because she found several above her head in the middle of the night. I swear I've heard little buggy chuckles of glee coming from her room when they see her getting ready for bed.  I'm onto their games now!!

Fortunately, I think that we have found a new type of weaponry for our country.  If a person simply sticks a stink bug in front of my daughter she will let out a scream guaranteed to shut down a person's ability to think.  It may even have the possibility to break glass.  And, I still have some experimenting to go to have a definitive answer on this, but I am pretty sure that the screams would send someone running the other direction. This is similar but much more effective then her "Apache Ice Cream Scream".

Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to attempt to de-bug her room for the third time this week already! Or maybe I will just chase L around with one to complete my experimenting.  *cough cough* Not because I'm bored or anything....



Image found here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Skeleton's Bones




This morning we were supposed to head to the park with friends to play.  But as plans often do, it went by the wayside, since L woke up not feeling well as did many of her friends.  She was a little sniffler, sneezer, and cougher.  Throw in a little bit of whining and I had the recipe for a perfectly rough morning! Fortunately, I had just the thing to keep L from going over to the dark side. We baked all morning long. I am sure that my body will not be thanking me tonight for standing all morning.  But I consider it sooo worth it with all the fun we had!

A while back I had bought an Aunt Annie's Pretzel pre-made box.  Our church's youth group was selling them to raise money for their missions trip they had planned. For those who don't have an Aunt Annie's Pretzel in their little corner of the world, their pretzels are amazing.  If I worked at one of their little kiosks I would gain a million pounds eating their delicious soft pretzels! Ok, so that's obviously an exaggeration but I would seriously gain a lot!

So while L was watching the last bit of Sesame Street, I got the dough ready to rise.  Once I had corralled her into the kitchen we started making sugar cookies. Nana had bought L a package of sugar cookie dough that looked and felt like playdough.  We had fun sculpting the dough into shapes before cooking them.  L called them Halloween decorations.  So we decided that we would really need to decorate our tummies with them later!

Next we worked on the pretzels.  I am sure that it probably took twice as long to make them considering that I had a four year old "helping" me.  We both had quite a bit of fun despite the mess.  I think my daughter's favorite part was helping to cut off pieces of the dough with our pizza cutter. She also really liked rolling the dough out to make pretzel sticks. I mentioned that they looked like bones while sitting on their trays waiting to go into the oven.  So naturally they became skeleton's bones to eat!

After that it turned into a game of trying to call everything by Halloween names.  I think I had as much fun coming up with creative names as L did. For lunch she had worms (mac & cheese), a poisoned apple, and little kids fingers (veggie straws).  She couldn't wait to eat lunch!  And I can't wait to eat the pretzels, oh I mean skeletons bones!!!






Friday, October 8, 2010

The Alwa



The Alwa: The Alwa is a much revered treasure that hails from a baby shower long ago. (Four and a half years ago to be exact.) It's powers are great.  It's ability to soothe an upset child cannot be countered by any other physical thing known to man. Apparently it is also on the brink of becoming extinct.  (It took us three long years of searching high and low for a companion Alwa before we actually found one. To amuse myself I've added pictures of Alwa and my daughter through out this post.)

My daughter has never been a thumb sucker. I can not say that I am upset about that fact.  You can't take away a thumb once you think a child's too big for one.  She was never able to use a pacifier either.  She would suck so vigorously that she would spit it out shortly after it was put in.  And that is how the Alwa came about.  I had received this lime green and pink alligator blanket as a baby shower gift from my aunt. Little did I know that it would start a crazy love spiral in my coming baby! So, since L never took to her thumb or pacifier we felt we should give her something else to help soothe her when she was about one.  ( I think she was having a restless sleeping phase.) Enter, Alwa, scene one.  We started this obsession of our daughter's by just placing the little fuzzy blanket in her crib.  She loved it surprisingly fast with a possessive streak a mile wide. She loves to put her up to her nose, similar to wearing an air mask, and hold her. She still does!

About the time L started to talk she came up with a name for her blanket.  Alwa.  She couldn't say alligator and so that was how she said it.  It is still known as Alwa to this day despite the fact that my daughter, thankfully, can now say the word alligator.

After quite a few return trips to places we had already been, we decided enough was enough.  We were tired of relatives asking, "Why are you back here?" .  And we were tired of store clerks looking at us like we had two heads while we furiously went down every isle to make sure we found the blanket. So we started to search for another Alwa.  Much to our dismay it took us at least a year to find the next one.

That worked great for awhile. Eventually L got old enough to tell the difference between the two Alwas, despite the fact that they were obviously twin blankets, made by the same alligator-blanket mommy!! So we had to start referring to her one blanket as "Stand-in Alwa" to tell them apart.  This was for our sanity since L could obviously tell the difference just fine. The last time that we needed to switch to Stand-In Alwa, L noticed at first sniff.  Apparently she could smell the difference since her usual Alwa smells like fabric softener and Stand-In Alwa did not. After that I got smart.  Whenever I put Stand-In Alwa back into storage I wrapped a fabric softener sheet around it's head.  That wouldn't be a problem for us again!!!

And that takes us to this mornings debacle! L was at her Grandparent's house yesterday and never realized that she left Alwa there when she came home.  We didn't realize this til bedtime.  If we had confessed this she would have been up til ten o'clock crying and waiting for her Grandma to return with Alwa.  The proverbial light bulb went off and I went running.  I came stumbling back down the stairs with Stand-In Alwa and said, "I found Alwa!!".  I handed her over and waited for L to put Alwa up to her nose. I held my breath with all of my senses focused on whether or not the sniff test would pass. I saw the smile break out onto L's face and knew it had worked.  I went into the bathroom and did a little "yay me" dance.

She snuggled Stand-In Alwa all night being none the wiser.  It wasn't until this morning that she was disabused of this notion.  Daddy called and mentioned that he had Alwa at work with him. Silly me, because I clearly hadn't realized that L and Alwa were in a committed monogamous relationship!!!  A crazy frantic look came into L's eyes as her understanding of the situation became apparent. As if she suddenly realized that she was going to have to explain to Alwa that she had accidentally cheated on her.  She violently threw away Stand-In Alwa like she had suddenly found out that it was infected with Ebola. L burst into tears and immediately asked when she was getting Alwa back. I guess I underestimated just how much Stand-In Alwa does not get the job done!

Tonight, upon getting Alwa back, she was in raptures!! It was if they had been reunited after long a twenty year seperation. She softly whispered..."I love you so, Alwa!"

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mr. Sun


This morning I groggily woke up to another morning of chilly rainy weather. It was incredibly hard to get out of my bed. The combination of the weather and body pain was just NOT good. Not to mention that I am seriously missing my friend Mr. Sun.  Don't get me wrong, I am not missing those 90 degree days we had for so long this summer.  I am just missing seeing him smiling up at me from the sky.  I'd take a nice mild 70 degrees smile, thanks!  This peek-a-boo games he's been playing with us is just not fair.  I don't appreciate how coy he has been the last few days. He thinks he's so cool! And I don't mind stomping my feet, in a fair imitation of my daughter during one of her semi-rare fits of rage, while I complain about it either! I need the sun back!

Eventually, I managed to drag my body out of bed.  It complained with the usual cracking noises as I slowly fought gravity. My body was not happy that I was making it go through our usual morning routine. But it was all made worth it, since I was surprised with a mini snuggling session with L, when she lured me into her bedroom.  Instantly I was filled with the wonderful feelings of love.  You know, the kind of warm fuzzy feel-good experience that reminds you of a nice pair of cuddly socks.  Or your favorite well worn sweatshirt that's just fits you in all the right places.

I drug my body through the rest of the days usual activities. Random morning things to keep L busy, lunch, and preschool.  And about the time I was getting stuff done, it was time to go back to preschool.  When we got back home we decided to decorate for Halloween.  Halloween is easily one of L's and my favorite holidays so we had a blast decorating. We spent an hour making "Halloween wreathes" out of orange buttons and black pipe cleaner.  It was something that required very little energy and allowed us to spend quite a bit of time being creative.  (To the left are pictures of them.  I think it's pretty obvious who's is who's.) Needless to say we had a great time!

But, I wouldn't be totally honest with you, however, unless I admitted.... I CANNOT wait til bedtime!!!


Image found here.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Signs



Colors slowly break into bloom.  A midnight blue mixes with a black to make a patch of mottled canvas. They slowly move into a brackish green and a sickly yellow before they fade away. Bruising. I wish I had more of it. I know that sounds crazy! Let me explain.  

Having an invisible illness can be so frustrating! Strangers never know that there is something wrong.  Friends can very easily, not meaning to, forget completely that I am dealing with any health problems. And most of the time it is incredibly hard to explain what I am actually going through on a day to day basis.  It would be sooo much easier if I had bruises everywhere that I hurt. Which is why I wish I bruised more.  It's totally unrealistic for me to wish that I wasn't sick.  But is it too much to ask that my pain show a little more? I don't actually want more pain.  Just that it be more visible to make it easier to understand.

This morning I woke up hurting.  I will also admit to feeling sleepy and cranky due to a neighbor's loud party last night.  L came into the room and slowly incited a match of rough-housing. At first I was opposed to it because of how I felt.  Fortunately for her she is nearly irresistible when giggling while she rough-houses. I truly can't get enough of it. Somehow her giggle gets in my head and oozes through my body spreading good feelings through out.  It can't help but make a person smile and giggle right along with her. 

So the rough-housing commenced.  She jumped around our bed like a monkey. The next time we looked at the clock it was an hour and a half later!  Through out the time we played I sporadically got a knee here and an elbow there.  Once I got my glasses smashed against my face.  And twice I got my hair pulled somehow.  Every time I said ouch L looked at me like I had two heads.  She couldn't seem to understand why a simple elbow to the wrong spot would hurt me so much when it wouldn't hurt her. 

My daughter most often takes my illness in stride. She understand when I am having my bad days and even seems to enjoy helping me now.  She also is very good at finding ways for me to interact with her even when I am stranded on the couch for an hour or two.  But trying to understand me hurting when it doesn't show is still hard for her.  And why wouldn't it be when it can be impossible for some adults to understand? It would be so much easier if I bloomed into a bruise where ever it hurt.  Like a little road sign saying, "It hurts right here! Only 1 mile til the next hurt ahead!"

At this point I am not really sure how to help her understand this.  For today I am trying to not get down and keep my mind and heart on this song....


Why should I feel discouraged
Why should the shadows come
Why should my heart fell lonely
And long for heaven and home

When Jesus is my portion
A constant friend is he
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know he watches over me
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know he watches me


I sing because I'm happy
I sing because I'm free
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know he watches me