Friday, May 29, 2009

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Lil's Hospital Stay

OK so I've had a smidge more sleep and can actually string more than two words together now so I'll try to give a general overview of Lilly's hospitalization and all of the excitement it entailed.

Let me preface this by saying that she was perfectly fine on Monday. We spend the day outside playing, swinging, etc and she had a great day. She slept well Monday night and when she got up Tuesday she seemed fine also. She was a little fussier than normal but nothing that caused me to think anything out of the ordinary. I had a meeting at South Edmonson about Noah's food allergies and when I got back we got the kids ready to go to Vandy for the eye appointment.
The appointment went fine and the specialist also did a quick exam of Lilly's eyes and we started home. Of course it's a fairly lengthy drive and we got caught in a lot of traffic and so Lilly started to get really really upset. Crying, wailing, fussing, etc. We did what we could to calm her down and by the time we got closer to home she had fallen asleep.

When we made it home it was time for prayer meeting, but Lilly had a little bit of a runny nose and she was slightly wheezy sounding (which we thought was due to allergies since she'd been outside so much on Monday) so we decided that Travis would stay home with her and Noah and I went on to church.

I got home around 9 and walked in the room and Travis was holding Lilly (asleep) and I could hear her wheezing before I even got two steps in the door. We decided to get her up and give her a breathing treatment with the nebulizer to see if that gave her any relief, but it didn't at all. Withing 15 minutes she was wheezing severely and crying and sweating so we decided to take her straight to the ER. Thankfully, Travis' parents were able to take care of Noah.

We got to the ER around 10:30 and it was FULL... by the time we were finished waiting in the waiting area Lilly's breathing continued to get more labored and she had vomited all over the lobby. I walked back to the triage nurses and asked them to reassess her because she had started retracting (breathing with your abdomen where your chest sucks in and your ribs are visible) and was not even moving enough air to really wheeze any more. After they checked her and saw that her oxygen level was dropping they took her straight back.

So, from that point on they started doing stronger dosages of breathing treatments and oxygen. Basically they did two back to back and added a steroid shot and it didn't do anything. She just continued to get worse. The doctors and nurses kept coming back in and basically told us they weren't sure what was causing it and that they were not sure why the treatments were not working. Needless to say, Travis and I were scared to death. Lilly was fighting to even get a breath and all of the meds they were giving her were not having any affect.

At that point they decided to put in an IV (not a fun process for a 20 month old) and push some fluids, more steroids and a broad spectrum antibiotic. They also kept questioning me whether or not she was current on her vaccinations (she was) and if she'd ever had an episode like this before (she hadn't). They also ordered several blood tests to be done as well as a chest X Ray. At this point, it is about 3 am and none of us have been to sleep and Lilly is DONE being fooled with. She is fighting everything they are trying to do for her, so in turn we are having to hold her confined while they poke and prod and stick. It was literally one of the very hardest nights of my life. After the finally get the IV in place they put her on an oxygen mask and she is able to rest a little with me holding her which I continued to do until 7:30 am all while watching a machine that is telling us that the oxygen in her blood is continuing to fall. Up until then, she hadn't let anyone but me hold her for the past 6 or 7 hours, but my Mom arrived and Lilly would let her hold her so I was able to get up and walk around and get some coffee etc. By this time it had been over 24 hours since Travis or I had slept.

At that point, the pediatrician on call came to the ER to admit her and order some more tests. They moved us to a room and continued to do breathing treatments and to keep her on constant oxygen. Later that morning Lilly's pediatrician came in to tell us that she was positive for microplasm (more commonly known as "walking Pneumonia" and that we would be starting more antibiotics/steroids to treat that. She continued that all day with the oxygen but still wasn't able to keep her oxygen level stable. Also, she absolutely refused to wear the little oxygen thing so one of us had to manually hold it up to her fact around the clock. That night she was finally able to sleep a little so I slept in the hospital bed with her to make sure she didn't pull the IV out of her arm or get herself tangled in the tubing. They woke her up about every 3 hours to do more treatments and to take her temp, blood pressure, etc.

Finally about midnight on Wednesday night she was able to come off of the oxygen periodically and maintain her levels on her own so by Thursday morning she was well enough to be discharged home with round the clock breathing treatments and oral meds.

Anyway, I was very very tired but very very relieved and thankful that Lilly was OK. We were so glad to get home to our own beds and showers! She has been OK today, just more tired and grumpier that usual, but she's definitely on the mend!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What a Week...

When I posted Monday night, I thought the most stressful event of our day would be the trip to Vanderbilt.

Little did I know that we would be admitting Lilly Grace to the hospital that night with pneumonia. We just got discharged today (thursday.

We have had a long long couple of days and very very little sleep. So I will give more details later.

The important things are that right now my baby is asleep in her own bed (finally) and is breathing without the help of an oxygen mask which has been our constant companion (along with steroids, IVs, and antibiotics) for the last two days.

Thanks guys for all the calls and concern! I love all of you guys!

Also, Noah's glasses are "partially" doing their job and we are going to continue to monitor for 6 more months the eye situation (they're not ruling surgery out but it's not needed right now) Also, Lilly's eyes seem perfectly fine after being examined! Yay Lilly!!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Think of us tomorrow!

Hey guys, just a quick request to say a little prayer for us tomorrow! We head back to Vanderbilt's Children's hospital eye specialists to see if the glasses are doing the trick or if we are going to be facing eye surgery. Obviously we don't want that, but we'll see what the doctors have to say!

Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day Weekend!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Deceptively Delicious

Ok guys, in my last post I said I'll tell you about some of my cookbooks and how I "sneak" in some extra veggies in my kids diets.

For the most part, my kids are good eaters. True there is a lot of food they can't eat because of their allergies, but they actually eat a good variety of fruits and vegetables. They love to snack on yogurt, bananas, strawberries, raisins, cantaloupe, watermelon, tomatoes, and raw carrots and broccoli. I have found if I just buy these foods and keep them where they are accessible to the kids, that they will choose these alot faster that some of the junk food that is also in our pantry! (Don't get me wrong, my kids eat their share of gummies and potato chips but I definitely try to balance it out with things that actually have nutritional value.

As far as fruit goes, I offer it with usually every meal and I don't make a big deal about it. I put it on their plate and if they eat it fine, if they don't fine. I've found the more times I offer it, the more and more likely they are to choose it. They also love to dip stuff, and I mean dip anything. I can give them a bowl of fruit and give them a little yogurt as their "dip" and they will go to town.

I've also found, that the more I stress to them "eat your ___fill in the blank" the less they are to eat it. So I put their food on their plates and if they eat one thing fine, or if they eat everything, that's great. But just because they say they don't like something I still put in on their plate, and if they don't touch it, I still put in on there next time and the next time and the next time. And after a few times, you can almost gaurantee they'll try it, and usually end up liking it. (This is how Noah finally got to eat green beans)

I also don't force my kids to try something they are adamant they don't want to try. There are a lot of articles out about kids with food allergies and that there bodies have a natural "aversion" to certain foods. If a child tells you repeatedly they don't like or want to try a certain food it could be more than just preschool stubborness. It could be a natural reaction of their body trying to protect them.

However, there are some things that it doesn't matter what I do they wouldn't try it. Such as spinach. So when I make homemade vegetable soup or spaghetti sauce or another tomato based sauce, or chili, etc, I will take a huge package or organic baby spinach (found in Kroger's produce section with the salads) and I layer it in my rice cooker and let it "wilt". Then I dump it in the blender and puree it up until it's the consistency of baby food. Then I stir it in the soup, sauce, etc and let it simmer. You can not even detect that it's in there with most tomato based foods. Trust me, I'm a picky vegetable eater and I'm actually having to train myself to eat some of these vegetables that are good for me as well!! I've done the same thing with carrots, squash, and sweet potato. You just pop it in a rice cooker until the veggies are tender and puree them up in a blender or food processor.

Homemade pizza is another favorite at our house. You can purree veggies up and add to the pizza sauce, top with part skim cheese and veggies as well. I also make my dough homemade and you can throw in some flaxseed meal and whole wheat flour and use olive oil to coat the pan. The kids LOVE it!!!

My kids LOVE manwich, I mean seriously they love it. So I will cook it with lean ground beef or turkey, add the manwich from the can and then add in the carrot or squash puree and put it on a wheat bun and they are never the wiser!!!

I also make them homemade pancakes usually a few days a week. Granted, pancakes in themselves are not so healthy (sugar, flour, etc) but I have pureed bananas and flax seed and added to their pancakes and they never knew the difference (nor did Travis I might add)
Noah also loves blueberry muffins, which I will add extra blueberries (antioxidants) and flax seed to as well.

You can also add pureed cooked cauliflower to mashed potatoes and sweet potato or squash puree to macaroni and cheese.

One of my kids favorites is chicken nuggets. However, frozen chicken nuggets to me don't appear to be very nutritious. So my version is to buy fresh chicken breast strips from the grocery. Cut them into small "chunks". At this point you would normally roll in egg but I substitute fat free buttermilk and then dip in a mixture of flour and ground flax seed (high in fiber and omega 3) and then I fry in canola or olive oil. They love them and they are healthier than the microwave version.) I sometimes dip them in panko (plain Japanese bread crumbs) and bake them instead of frying them.

However, these methods do not work quite as well if you rely on a lot of convenience foods to feed your family. I have learned that for my kids, they almost always will eat the "from scratch" versions of food better than the frozen/canned/boxed variety. Also, it is safer for us in the food allergy department. (Less risk of cross contamination in manufacturing plants) So I've just got in the habit of doing most of the baking (biscuits, cornbread, muffins, cookies, cakes) from scratch as well as almost all of their meats (chicken strips, etc) It's also cheaper, but it is more time consuming.

I also hide pro biotic supplements in their milk and I add a pediatric dose of fish oil (Omega 3 and 6) to their orange juice. (For more information about this I suggest researching online or your doctor or pharmacist) DO NOT USE A FISH OIL SUPPLEMENT IF YOUR CHILD HAS A FISH/SHELLFISH ALLERGY. In fact, don't try these supplements at all without speaking to your pediatrician,etc. We discuss everything with our allergy specialist and also we have a wonderful pharmacist who helps us with some natural dietary supplements for the kids.

Anyway, just a few tricks that I've learned over the past few years and how it works for my kids.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Strictly for your entertainment...

Just because I love you...yes you...all my blogging friends who repeatedly tell me how funny all of the things that I blog about are...I'm going to give you a rundown of my day.

Backtrack a all know this is going to start with some weird symptom or sickness because all of my really good stories do you know...

Sunday Noah is playing in the yard and I, being the ever attentive mom that I am, notice a huge well a knot on the back of his neck. I thoroughly examine the knot and am trying not to jump to conclusions (which I have a tendency to do). I call the pediatrician who says it would be a good idea to take a look at it so off we go today to the doctor's office.

So I have both kids in tow, and of course I slyly hide Lilly's pacifier in my pocket before we go in, because of course my nineteen month old doesn't suck on a paci, I mean really...

The visit goes well...the knot is a cyst that is common in kids after a mosquito or tick bite. Yes, my child is the only kid I've ever heard of sprouting a marble sized knot in his neck because of a bug bite but you know...

So now to the humorous part of my day. I am totally sick and I mean SICK and tired of buying toys that my kids play with for 2 seconds and then they are done with. So I decide to venture to the parent-teacher store to find some activities that will keep them occupied during these long summer days that will last longer than 5 minutes. Hellooo...all of my teacher friends...why did you not warn me it's not a good idea to take 2 small kids in this store??? Basically it's full of fun games, books, puzzles, art supplies, etc...and the kids want it all and I mean all...including a $11 dollar container of plastic toys that I'm pretty darn sure I saw at the dollar tree the other day...

OK back to my point. I have managed to steer them past the rack of plastic critters and the stuffed animals and have located a very helpful lady to assist me. I basically tell her that I'm looking for some activities that will be good for Noah to expand on his preschool skills and to get ready for kindergarten as well as some games that are fun and educational for both of the kids. She was great. She pointed out some great games, puzzles, etc. Noah is also asking the poor lady 20 questions about bugs, about human hearts, about art, etc. etc. Let me interject something here, Noah is somewhat like his mother...we are a little nerdy when it comes to books, art supplies, and educational games and sets. I mean seriously the two of us together could have spent hours and hundreds of dollars in the store.

BUT...I forgot to mention little princess, who before now had been riding in her stroller. Well all at once she decides she had enough and she commences to fuss. We give her a delightful puzzle with about 20 pieces which she plays with for a good while. Then I almost make it to the checkout counter and she throws it down. Puzzle pieces go flying and we manage to gather them back up. Nice helpful sales lady hands it back to Lilly and she does it again. Now she's crying and snotting and drooling and I'm trying to pay and Noah is informing the lady his middle name and his address and maybe his blood type (OK I'm kidding about the blood type)

So we finally make it out the door when Lil spots a $40 stuffed frog. Did I mention the child is obsessed with frogs. I mean she loves them. Well she points and wails and moans and I keep right on trucking to the car. I"m sure the salespeople were glad to see me and my circus go right out the door...

We finally get to the car and where Lilly falls asleep in about 5 minutes. After that, we make it home with our purchases and the kids actually played with their activities for about an hour while I made lunch. After lunch we played with them some more and then spent the rest of the afternoon outside in the yard. It was fun once we made it home.

Oh and if you're wondering what we found, Noah picked out two really cool puzzles. They are about 50 pieces and they are wooden and he is AWESOME at puzzles. Seriously, the kid has been doing puzzles since he was 2 and he's much better at them than I am.

We got Lilly a set of brightly colored pegs that you put in a foam board. You can then stack them on each other or sort them or count or do colors or whatever. They have them in the preschool and kindergarten rooms both and she really loved them. Everything I read says this is a good age to work on motor skills so I guess that' s why she likes them . I set her up in her high chair and she goes to town....

After Daddy got home I had a photo session to shoot while Lil napped and Noah helped Travis plant our garden.

Yes, we grow a garden, as funny as this sounds. We have had a garden pretty much every year since we got married. We grow tomatoes, squash, corn, peppers, cantelope, and this year we're taking a stab at pumpkins and green beans. Noah loves it and his favorite thing is to go pick cherry tomatoes and eat them right off the vine. Also it gives Travis and excuse to haul out the tractor and wear his beloved overalls and to play in the dirt with his little boy...and Lilly's favorite thing..well she just loves to eat!

So I suppose this is a long post about nothing in particular...

Oh yeah, one other kids are pretty good eaters. They eat vegetables, fruits, etc. They love broccoli, green beans, squash. But...I still use any exscuse in the world to sneak more veggies in their diet. I'm going to do a post soon about some of the recipes i use that makes it easy to get kids to eat carrots, spinach, squash, etc. and some of the cookbooks where I found this stuff at.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Little Graduate

So Thursday marked the end of our preschool career. We are on to bigger things...much bigger kindergarten!!! I am so proud of Noah and how far he has come in the past two years of preschool. He has made lots of friends, he has learned so much and he has become very independent.

I am also thankful and happy to report that we made it two years in school with severe food allergies, with no reactions or problems of any kind while at school. Noah's principal, teachers, aids, lunchroom staff, and of course Nana, went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that he was safe at school. I will never EVER forget how concerned they've been for his safety. I love them all and am so thankful that Noah has such wonderful "angels" watching over him!

He told me on the way home from the graduation, "Mom, I'm going to miss these preschool days."
So will I will I...

Below is the first day of preschool at 3

and below here is graduation!!! I can't believe how much he's grown!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

See photo below...

If you scroll down and look at the photo below of me with Lilly Grace and my Mom I will point out something rather ironic....I have always HATED that my squinty eyes look like they close when I smile for a picture...hate hate hate it....however, ironically, Lil's eyes do the exact same thing and I think it so cute I could die...why is this? Also she has my crazy round nose and short forehead...features that I dislike about myself and on her tiny face they are so scrumptious...hmmm interesting...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

This is the little angel who came into my life and made me a Mom five years ago...

And this is the second little angel who taught me about the special love a Mom has for her only daughter....

And this is the angel (My Mom) that is my best friend, my biggest supporter, my role model and the woman who I only hope one day I can live up to

So yesterday's post was about my thoughts on being a Mom. Today is actually mother's day and I woke up to my two little pumpkins attacking me on the bed and announcing that breakfast was ready. (Well Noah announced...Lilly just attacked). The crew (I"m guessing mainly Daddy...made me cinnamon rolls and favorite! They also had me a sweet card and had bought me some flowers for our front and back porches and some pots to put them in. Noah had also built me a birdhouse and painted it's adorable!

We then went to church and after church hosted a cookout at our house for my family. Mind you...this is no small feat...when I say my family it's about 30 plus people...but it's so much fun!!!

The kids played in the pool and ate hot dogs and hamburgers and then got muddy...oh well...a little bit of Popsicle made it all better!

We then visited with Travis's parents for awhile and took turns chasing the kids around the yard.

We had such a great day and it just reminds me how much I love to have my family and loved ones in our house. Yes it's a lot of cleaning, yes it's a lot of cooking, but the Lord has blessed us with a huge loving family and a home that we want to share with them and kids to want to pass down the tradition to so we try hard to make it a part of our lives.

The house was very quiet after the kids went to bed so I thought about the kind of Mom I really want to be to my kids and the kind of wife I want to be to my husband. As in all things, I think if you really want to know the answer to something you can find it in prayer and written in the Bible. So I flipped through to the 31st chapter of Proverbs. That pretty much sums it up...I'm sure that I can't live up to it but that is what I'd love to be for my family. If you're not sure what this chapter is about, I suggest looking it up and reading it. It always makes me think a little more seriously about my job as a wife and a Mom.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Being a Mom

I've been thinking lately about Mother's Day and this crazy journey of being a Mom and what it means. People told me before I had children that it would completely change your life and I don't think that I ever truly understood that.

Don't get me wrong, I knew that my own Mom loved me more than anyone else in the world but I didn't fully comprehend what kind of love a mother has for her children until my own sweet babies were born.

I didn't understand that from the time they placed my newborn son in my arms that from that moment on every decision I made for myself or my family, that I would always consider what was best for him. I didnt' understand that from that moment on every pain or tear or disapointment he felt in his life I felt also magnified by 100. I spent hours, no days, holding him and rocking him and singing to him, and I still daydream about what he smelled like and felt like when he was a tiny newborn. From the second I met my newborn baby son, I was overwhelmed by my capacity to love another human being that much.

I spent the next 3 years falling more and more in love with my little man. Sure there were days when I was exhausted and he was cranky, but I didn't even remember or care to remember what my life was like before him. When I found out that I was expecting another little miracle, one of my first thoughts was how Noah would feel when he had to share his Mommy.

Then Lilly Grace came bounding into our world a month early and I fell in love all over again. I've heard people say that they wondered if they would love a second baby as much as the first and I found not only did I love her just as much, it made my love for Noah grow even more if that's possible. Because having her brought back all the memories of him as an infant. Then to see them together just amazes me of how blessed I am to have these two beautiful healthy babies.

Then I think about my friends who didn't know if they would be able to add to their families again and how this year has brought a lot of blessings into our lives and I'm thankful all over again that in his own time, God sends us what we need, even if we don't understand the road that took us there.

Then I think about all of the couples out there that aren't able to have kids and it breaks my heart for them to want something so much that comes so easily to some people and for others it's a road of hearbreak after heartbreak. I also wonder why on Earth some people throw away the gift of life when other people are so desperate to adopt a baby. It infuriates me to know that abortion takes place at all when I personally know many wonderful couples who would give any child a happy and healthy home.

So I suppose I could go on and on about my thoughts on motherhood but I guess I'll close by saying I wish all of you a Happy Mother's Day! Enjoy your day and spend plenty of time loving on your babies...I know that's my plan for the day

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Welcome to our "Garden"

OK guys, we have had FUN the last couple of days. Noah and Lilly's playroom was the next project on my house to-do list. So we had our friend Elizabeth (Thanks Elizabeth) come paint some murals on the walls. OK, I can't even express how much I love it! It' s just a fun place to hang out...which is great because me and the kids spend a lot of time up there. Noah loved getting to watch Elizabeth paint, and he parked himself in the middle of the room with his paints and brushes and worked on some of his own masterpeices. Enjoy the photos!