Tuesday, September 30, 2008


As you know, Scarlet is currently in the hospital. We are hoping to go home today. As you can see from the pictures, she is her usual, jovial self, and for that there is much thanks. Being in the hospital is bad enough, but being in the hospital with a cranky baby is NOT fun; I've been there, too.

This is a good reading!

Sweet Cheeks!

I started this blog so that my sister could keep up-to-date with my kids' happenings and feel like she knew our day-to-day. However, she didn't move to Tennessee as it turns out, but I am still blogging. I didn't think I would enjoy it, really, as well as the fact that it's a litte presumptuous to think that people might really want to read about you and your family all the time, as if there aren't more important things happening around us. But, according to the Feedjit tracker, people in a lot of places are reading this blog, and that is fine by me; it's actually kind of nice.

This month has been a very busy one, and sometimes I wonder how I managed to get it all done and still leave everyone feeling good about how our life works (except sometimes me). I am not complaining by any means, and I knew three kids would not be a breeze. But it's true: there is no time left for me, ever. I sneak time away by going to the grocery store alone(great fun!), taking 1 hour between dinner and the time Stefan needs to leave to take #1 to taekwon do in order to use my birthday gift certificate for a pedicure, or leaving the kids at daycare for one extra hour so I can get a massage when I go to the chiropractor. Then I feel tremendous guilt that I have taken time away from my kids. So much so that sometimes, I can't even enjoy doing above-mentioned things, some of which are necessary. Maybe I'm sick. I think it's more common than people realize, though, and I have yet to hear a good father say, "I feel so guilty about going to work." Work is a dad's expectation but a mom's poor choice, and I don't understand the disconnect. I do choose to work because I have bills to pay, because I went to school (twice) and earned a degree (two), and because I value the benefits of good health care for my family. On the flipside, I would also like to be the supermom who makes homemade delicacies with her young children, visits every attraction in Southeastern Michigan and takes appropriate pictures with said children looking happy and well-dressed, who welcomes her husband home with a nice dinner and boys quietly playing and the baby has become a genius child with amazing tricks, and everyone is ready to tell dad about their wonderful day. Are you laughing yet? Because the reality is that we bought a zoo pass in May and have used it only one time (the same day we bought it), that I have successfully convinced Spencer that fake seafood is real seafood and that he likes it, and if we have pizza night once a week, I feel smug. I have also realized that if I put a movie on in the van for #2 between the time I pick up the little kids and wait for Spencer in the carpool line, it counts as quality time with the baby or I can read a whole magazine article and fulfill my duty to be well-informed about the latest and greatest in child rearing and good citizenship or how to be "green". I'm exhausted just writing about it all, and in the back of my mind I question my choices. And then, when the dust settles and the sun is sinking and my babies find no better place than my lap and a story and a good talk, all those misgivings are gone. Is it like this for everyone? I wonder often.

I will update September later on. There are lots of good pictures, first days, birthdays, and fun stuff to share!

Monday, September 29, 2008


stands for Reactive Airway Disease, which is Scarlet's official diagnosis. I am writing this update from the parent's lounge at St. Joe's Oakland, and I am frustrated and disappointed and angry. Scarlet is her usual happy self, if you can believe it. We went to the doctor this afternoon because she was wheezing so badly, and I knew in the pit of my stomach that we would end up here tonight. I hope that we can go home tomorrow, and it looks likely. Her oxygen levels were 94, and then they went up when we got here, and now they are down again. It stinks, but I am glad we are able to provide care for her. She will see a specialist tomorrow, the same doctor my boys saw when they went through the very same thing and who they still see to this day. Slade had a check up just last Wednesday. I trust him and he has always been so good with my kids. It looks like the third time was not the charm we had hoped, but Scarlet herself is a treasure who is very much worth the time sitting here and worrying. We love her so much. We covet your prayers.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Tasty Treats

Oh. my. gosh. These are so good. I found the recipe in Wondertime (Sept. 2008), and my family has been eating them like they are going out of style; Spencer thinks that it is dessert! I will try to post a picture later, but it was a ton of fun to make these with my kids. They got to get their hands all gooey and wondered what in the world was wrong with their mama that I told them to play with food. I have not been blessed with a nice Kitchenaid stand mixer, but I thought using our (clean) hands was actually much more fun! My boys love to cook with me, Slade especially, and I know their inspiration comes from the movie Ratatouille. Slade is always making a "wecipe" (recipe) and sharing it with everyone, and Spencer always gets in on the action. Scarlet is with me most days I cook dinner, so I hope that my kids always stay in the kitchen and want to be with me. It's the best time to talk, I've found. You learn all kinds of cool stuff about their day. Personally, I have been eating a couple of these for breakfast every day (Stefan, too!).

Powerballs (I know, the name...)

1 c. honey
1 c. peanut butter
Blend together until smooth
Slowly add (in a stand mixer or by hand) 3 c. old-fashioned oats
1/2 c. ground flaxseed
1 c. chocolate chips
Mix together
1/2 c. coarsely chopped peanuts
1/4 c. raisins
1/4 c. dried cranberries(I think you could use any dried fruits in place of the raisins/cranberries)

Roll into ping-pong sized balls. You can eat them as soon as you are finished, but they are better after some time in the fridge. They can be frozen as well (layer between wax paper in airtight container). If you use your hands, I found that spraying my hands first with cooking spray helped not make it so sticky.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

One of the best...

blogs I have ever read is this one. On more than one occasion, I have laughed, been moved to tears, been inspired, and have been made to evaluate my relationship with Jesus. I would encourage you to read it, starting from the very beginning, if you can.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I had to fix....

all the typos in the Paint entry! Sorry....it was Friday of the first full week of work in 6 months.

Paint Primer

This is taken from the September 2008 issue of Wondertime Magazine, page 29. I just thought it was a great reminder for those of us with kids (or maybe it will help you remember how to be a kid).

Back when I was little, kids who wanted to paint had three options. There was the cheapo box of rockhard watercolor tablets with a six-hair paintbrush for scraping pigment onto the Horses of the World booklet. Or the upended gallon of house paint on the driveway, applied to the picnic table until someone came out and said something to you in "French." Or the sturdy easels at kindergarten, where not much painting took place because adults wouldn't acknowledge that men's old dress shirts were bigger than 5-year-olds. (We all stood with both arms in the air like we were habing conversion experiences when actually we were just keeping our smocks on.)

But painting can be truly memorable when it's done right: washable formulas, responsive paints with rich pigments, and tools that are kid-sized but still high quality. The enchantment of paint, at first, has nothing to do with making a picture. The appeal is just the stuff itself: the earthy smell of it, the gooshy smear of it. Then kids feel the transformative power of paint, turning a perfectly white expanse of paper wet and red. Pretty soon they get the idea to turn the paint into images of things they know about - first the sun, then Mom. After that, bottles of paint become little bottles of potential. - Lynne Bertrand

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

If you can't say something nice....

Okay, so I have only shared these feelings with Stefan before, but here I come, Internet! As you have read, I am back to work. While I like what I do, and I probably wouldn't choose to earn a living a different way, I DON'T like feeling torn all the time between being away all day and being at home. Well, we had to take Scarlet to the doctor yesterday because she has been experiencing a lot of congestion. For 10 days, she was kind of "snotty", and I figured if it was a cold, it was just going to have to run its course because there was nothing I could do. And before you get all, "Oh, she is in daycare, of course she is sick...", I'll have you know the congestion was there the day she started daycare, so it had nothing to do with it. Actually, I wasn't really sure it was a cold because she didn't have any other symptoms. Her nose wasn't running, her eyes looked good, no fever, no cough, etc. It was just upper sinus congestion when she was having a bottle, laying on her back, or sucking on her pacifier. When I picked her up from daycare on Monday, her nose was running, she had horrible naps, looked like she didn't feel well, and she was wheezing. If you don't know the past history of my boys' health, let's just say these symptoms were not welcome and I was immediately on the defensive. I took her in right away, and to make a long story go by quickly, the doctor said he was sure it wasn't a cold. She does have an ear infection because of all the congestion; however, he is sure that she is experiencing reactive airway issues because of the change in seasons. To say it plainly, the beginning signs of allergy-induced asthma. This is how we started our parenting life with Spencer, but much earlier than the age of 6 months. Slade was even worse, and when I got pregnant with Scarlet, both Stefan and I were very fearful that we and the baby would endure the same troubles. But when she was born, things were so smooth. I really thought we were in the clear. And then comes my first full week of work, and we are at, what feels like, back to square one. I am so disappointed and angry.

Today, Stefan took the morning off with her and I took the afternoon. Yesterday, her pediatrician told us she was not at all contagious and because she is on steroids and breathing treatments, we should see an improvement. We are so familiar with this route and we truly hate it. I didn't have the heart to send her to daycare today, even though she got the go ahead from Dr. Sundar yesterday. I wanted her to have good naps and feel comfortable, and really, I still feel like I am mourning my work situation. I know I don't have it bad, but it's my life and this is how I feel. You don't have to understand other than to know I struggle.

As I was leaving work this morning (my half day begins at 10:13!) I shared with someone why I was leaving, and I am not sure what goes on in peoples' heads. Her first comment and reaction was that she was thinking that it must be something in the daycare that was making my kids "sick" all the time. Then it was that it must be our house or the way I clean. After that, the idea was that I was feeding them food that wasn't good for them or that they were allergic to, and gee, maybe I should consider getting them allergy-tested because you know, of course, I must not have already done that. As IF! I am not a total idiot. But comments like these, or even the thought that someone is thinking things like this, drive me completely insane and really make me feel like I am doing something wrong or that I am a complete failure as a mom. Then I waste time going over in my head everything I should do, could do, should've, could've, second-guessing myself. I know this isn't true, but it's not the first time I have heard these "theories" and answers from friends and people who should know better! In fact, even people I would consider close to our family have hurt me more than they will ever know with "ideas" like this. And it's really infuriating. I mean, if someone else's child had an allergy, a genetic condition, a deformity, or was delayed mentally or developmentally, the LAST thing I would ever do was question what the parent was doing wrong that they made their kid suffer. I wouldn't ask what they did while they were pregnant, or what they ate while they were pregnant to make their child so "sickly". I wouldn't tell them that the medicines they were giving to their child might cause latent developmental delays after they had just shared that said medicine was finally something that was working for their baby. I wouldn't share my "worry" for someone else's child in such a way that the parent feels stupid and has to answer and actually justify what kind of treatment they have sought for their kid(s). What parent would want their child to suffer?

All of these examples have been thrown at me first hand about one or more of my kids more than once, and I am tired of it. If I hear it one more time from someone who is "well-meaning", they just might regret it. Even our doctor(s), since I have made the effort to delve into these conditions and symptoms (and when I say delve, I haven't yet come up for air), have stated time and again that what my kids experience is genetic, and it hits boys moreso than girls (another reason I was hoping that Scarlet escaped this reactive airway curse).

I know it could be worse. I know it could be life-threatening (and it has been), I know it could be incurable, I know there all sorts of terrible things it could be instead of what my kids go through. But my mother's heart doesn't consider those things when I hold my baby close and listen to the air whistling through her lungs, or see my baby hooked up to machines in the hospital, or when I have to give the medicine that has yucky side effects. My heart doesn't care, at the moment, about the plight of every child around the world. I can't. My heart is glued to my own three, and I hate when they suffer, and I am incapable of making it better, no matter how hard I try.