Friday, October 13, 2006

A Little More Balance and Less Chaos

Can I just say that I LOVE MY NEW HOUSE! I'm so happy that we are finally here. There is so much to be thankful for. It's been a long road to get here, but now I can enjoy it.

Don't get me wrong. There's still a ton of work to do. Boxes are everywhere and there are still a few carloads of things at the other house. But every morning I have been waking up so excited to get downstairs and take a look around. It's all ours. I talked to my husband this morning and he feels the same way. It's like it hasn't sunk in yet.

I have been cooking dinner every single night. This was something I hated to do in the other house. I have been cleaning the kitchen each night. I love it. I don't know what's wrong with me. I actually enjoy cleaning this house. If I get too crazy with this housecleaning thing, I may have to change my profile.

With this house, my husband and I have come up with some new rules. These rules help to keep the house cleaner and I enjoy life more. Here are the rules.

1. Absolutely no eating anywhere except the dining room table. I could never enforce this rule in our other house with the 2 yr old because we had let her eat in front of the TV for so long that she didn't understand the concept of a "new rule." With the new house it was easy to tell her she couldn't eat anywhere but the table. Now if she even has fruit snacks she automatically sits at the table. This has made clean up time a thousand times easier.

2. Shoes off at the door. This is a rule that we have decided to enforce because the floors are unfinished. The hardwood has been sanded down but not polyurethaned yet. I have said this house is a work in progress and I mean right in the middle of the progress. We have to be extremely careful not to get anything wet on the floors. This is a rule that will stay in effect even after we finish the floors. It keeps the house cleaner and I hate cleaning dirty floors.

3. If you make a mess, you clean it up. Even Alexandra has had fun with this rule. I think she even takes pride in our new big house.

4. Dishes done and kitchen clean before bed. This is a non negotiable rule for me. I love my new kitchen. It is so functional that I enjoy spending most of my day there. I don't want to clean first thing in the morning, so I make sure it is clean before I lay my head down. I have cooked dinner every night and I have made bread from scratch everyday and enjoyed myself while doing it (everyone else in the family has enjoyed eating too.)

5. Bedtime is bedtime. Period. Mom and Dad need time to themselves. This is a rule that we have been working with. Alexandra sleepwalks and wakes up with night terrors each night so we have to make sure that we take care of her but I think she will grow out of that once she grows comfortable with the house.

6. Minimal TV. We hooked up the TV with very basic cable. We did have every channel known to man in the other house. We had become slaves to the television by revolving our activities around the shows on in the evening. Alex and Monica were watching way too much TV. Alex would be like a zombie in front of Noggin channel all day not wanting to do anything else and Monica was developing a bad attitude. We are already enjoying our family time together. Monica and Alex do so much more playing together. Chris reads to Alexandra each night for about an hour. I do more housework. It's amazing what that "boob tube" can do to destroy quality family time.

7. Healthy food only in this house and no more eating out for a while. After living in a hotel for 5 weeks, we have had our share of fast food. We have gained a substantial amount of weight (not the girls, they are still my little skinny minnies.) The thought of eating out repulses me. McDonald's is a dirty word in this household no matter how many Monopoly prizes they try and tempt me with. No fried food for a while. And we won't even go the homemade pizza route for a decent amount of time. Our digestive systems need time to heal.

This is just a start. I'm sure more will come. We can already see the changes in our quality of life. These rules have eliminated so much chaos in our lives. If we keep this up, I may have to change the name of my blog to something like "Gentle Waters," or "Peaceful Bliss." Just kidding. I know that I will always have to balance the chaos in our lives. Right now is just one of those times that I feel more balanced than others. I am thankful to God that He has put me where I am right now.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

One is the Loneliest Number

I have moved many times in my life. None of those times have been anywhere near as crazy as this one.

It's been a long road in the closing process. We have finally closed on the house and have moved most of our stuff. I say most of our stuff for a reason. We are at a standstill. Why? You ask. Let me tell you.

The man we bought this house from is a very nice man, but he has some issues. It seems that he cannot break free from this house. Half of his stuff is still here. One room is half full of his stuff and the porch is overflowing with his things. We are at a standstill because his things are in the way. Each day he has been puttering around in the backyard not really accomplishing anything. I think that he thinks he is accomplishing a lot. He is so meticulous that he is using an air compressor to blow the dust off of every single little gadget and thingamabobber that he owns. He then stacks it somewhere (other than the trailer he is using to move).

I don't want to be mean because the man is so nice. He has given us a lot of useful items (we take just about everything he gives us because we look at it as one less thing he has to take time getting out of here). He is also very lonely. He had a failed marriage and it's been six years since he has spoken to his 15 yr old son who lives in the same town. We won't ask why because that's personal but I think it's very sad regardless of the reasons. I cannot imagine going through life not speaking to one of my children for so long. The man is also eccentric. I cannot always figure out his reasoning for things he has done or does. He doesn't seem to do well in social situations with people he isn't familiar with. The closing of our house was an all out circus. Again, this is something that people who know him say was not always so.

It's amazing that I do things like get up at 3:00am just so that I can be alone. I yearn for alone time so much that I would rather go without sleep. Yet at other times, I see people like this man who I speak of above, and I see how loneliness can eat away at your very being. It can be so damaging to every part of your life.

Wordless Wednesday - Middle Child Syndrome

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Moving Wreck......I Mean Week!

Yes we finally closed on our house. It's been long time coming. I cannot believe that I'm finally going to be in my new house tomorrow night.

Moving is always so much fun. Yes, I am being facetious right now. I do however, look at it as the perfect time to CLUTTER DOWN!

Conversations in the past have gone something like this:

Do we need this thingamabobber?
Of course, it's in perfect condition.
But we haven't used it in 5 years.
What if we need it? I wouldn't want to have to go buy a new thingamabobber.
Okay, pack it up.

This time the conversation is different:

Do we need this thingamajig?
Have we used it in the past year?
Put it on the curb. Someone will pick it up because they think they need a thingamajig.
What if we end up needing it at some time or another?
I will go to Walmart and buy a new one.

Now of course, this conversation doesn't apply to expensive tools or other things that are considered more of an investment. It does apply to just about anything made of plastic or rubber. I'm so tired of carting junk from one house to another. How does one family collect so much stuff?

I am really going to work on scaling our lifestyle down. I want our house to be less cluttered. If we buy every new gadget on the market, use it once and never throw it out, then things will never change for us. Our problem is not that we don't throw enough away. Our problem is that we accumulate too much stuff.

I've been online too long now. It's back to work for me. I hope to post again soon. I will have to get everything situated in the new house. Hopefully the chaos level will be back to normally chaotic soon.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Thursday Thirteen 6

Thirteen Nicknames we call our children

1…. Monica has been called Monnie Moo Moo since birth.

2. Alexandra has been called Houdini ever since we first put her into a chair with straps. This child has refused to be confined since birth. She never slept in a crib, refused to play in a playpen and no stroller, carseat or highchair straps have ever held her down.

3. Lucianna has been called Hunny Bug since birth. I don't know why but that is just what comes out when I look at her.

4. Monica has been called Drama Queen for the last couple of years. And the emmy goes to......Monica for her role in the made for television movie, This is the Worst Day of my Life!

5. Alexandra is often called BooBerry. Don't know why but that was what I called her when she was just a little baby.

6. Lucianna is called Pudge by her daddy. It's amazing that this baby that was born with too much skin for her itty bitty baby body is now a little ball of pudge.

7. We often call Alexandra by the name of The Machine. She never stops running. It's exhausting watching her.

8. Alexandra is also called The Rockstar. She loves to sing, dance and entertain.

9. Lucianna is called the Princess (although all of our girls have been called princess at one time or another when they were the baby.)

10. Alexandra has been called Sweetie Pea by me for a long time. Now I find myself calling Lucianna by that one as well.

11. Lucianna laughs uncontrollable when I call her Fat Baby. It must be the way I say it that tickles her so.

12. All three of our girls have been PorkABaby, Little Pig, Pig and Porkababy Stew as little chubby babies. These were started by my husband.

13. When my husband and I are talking about the girls, we refer to them as the Three Little Indians. Individually, we refer to them as the Little Indian, the Middle Indian and the Big Indian.

It's a wonder that any of our children even know there names!

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Our Trip to the Shriner's Hospital

Well, we made the trip to the Shriner's Hospital in Springfield, Massachusetts yesterday. It was a 5 hour drive to get there. We arrived with time to spare for the registration process. Chris had to work so I had to take Alexandra with us as well. She did very well on the drive up.

Being a children's hospital, it was way over-stimulating for Alex. She loved it. She ran away from me to play with other children. She thought it was like a McDonald's playplace in that she could run around where ever she wanted.

We got registered and waited for approximately 5 minutes (which I thought was amazing) when the nurse called us in for Lucianna's appointment. Alexandra was having none of that. She wouldn't come out of the play area. She ran away from me and her pants fell down. She's running around the room with her pants around her ankles and I still cannot catch her. It wasn't until she tripped and fell that I was able to grab her and hoist her over my shoulders to get her to come with me.

We got through the exam and then they sent us down the hall to get x-rays of Lucianna's legs and feet. Alex ran away again and her pants fell down again (2T's are slightly big but 24 months aren't long enough and since she isn't wearing a pullup anymore.....) She continued to run away until she tripped again. She can really run. I really can't run. A nurse from the x-ray department took care of Alex while I helped with Lucianna's x-rays. It was crazy.

I've had not one, but two specialists say that they can see the difference in leg length and her feet. They took the films and measured Luci's leg and foot bones. They are both the same size. There has been a lot of prayer for this baby. I consider this a miracle. She does have a problem. She has the drop foot, which is neurological and will really affect how she walks. Her development at this time is completely perfect and symmetrical. I am so happy and relieved about that.

The good news is bittersweet in the fact that we still don't know why Luci has this birth defect. We don't know how it will affect her walking. All we can do is wait and see. The doctor at the Shriner's Hospital wants to see her again in January. She should be standing in her crib by then and we will see how she stands on her own. We will probably need a brace of some sort to aid her walking.

The people in that hospital were so nice. I cannot tell you how good they made me feel. I saw so many children that were being helped. It was mind boggling to me that access to some of this country's best orthopaedic doctors was free of charge. It's a truly wonderful thing.

I decided to cancel my hotel room for the night because we were in and out of there in less than 4 hours. I drove the 5 hours back and collapsed in bed. It was a very long day.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Nervous Mom Equals No Sleep

Hardly any sleep last night. I had to force myself to put the computer down and close my eyes. I finally fell asleep at about 2am and woke up at 5am. At least I got a full three hours.

I am taking Lucianna to the Shriner's Hospital today in Springfield, Mass. I am leaving at 7am. That should give me plenty of time for driving, eating stops and pee stops (Alex is completely potty trained except for an occasional accident at night. I wouldn't want this trip to make her regress.)

I don't know what to expect. I'm so nervous. I'm praying that her condition is one they can diagnose and one that is fixable. I just want her to walk and run.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Wordless Wednesday 5

In Other Words - What My Husband Did For Me

"A husband is a guy who tells you when you’ve got on too much lipstick and helps you with your girdle when your hips stick."~ Ogden Nash ~

I couldn't resist this quote. As I read this quote tonight and thought about my husband who I love with all my heart, one story, fits this quote to a tee.

When I was pregnant with Lucianna, I was very sick. I had high blood pressure with each pregnancy, but it was the worst with Lucianna. I was 32 weeks pregnant when I was put in the hospital and put on magnesium sulfate. Now it was just a matter of waiting as long as we could without any damage to my body. Lucianna was completely healthy.

My husband was a corporate restaurant manager at the time. He worked all hours and his restaurant was short staffed for management. It was nothing for him to work 12 10 hour days in a row. They don't call us restaurant widows for nothing.

So between his job, getting Monica to school and back and making sure Alexandra was well cared for, he was going crazy. He even brought the family to see me every other day or so. It was even more stress on him, but he knew I needed it.

The day I hit 34 weeks it was time to induce. My body couldn't take anymore. When the contractions started hurting I made the call that my husband was dreading. You see, he's one of those old fashioned wait in the waiting room and tell me when it's over types. He did not, under any circumstances, want to be in that delivery room.

My mother was in the room with me with my first daughter. My good friend was in with my second daughter. This time it was too early and I was scared. I wanted no one else but my husband with me. He reluctantly agreed.

He sat at the corner of the bed holding tight to my hands. I could see the fear in his face as each contraction came. My doctor had broke my water at 8:00 am. At 8:45 I knew the baby was coming soon. My husband went to get some juice in the little kitchenette because the nurse wanted to get me up. I didn't want too. I did not have the energy to fight even though I knew I shouldn't have gotten up at that time.

I sat up, walked around and then sat on the toilet. The nurse said that it would help the baby move down. I told her that when my husband came back I was going to tell him that he could wait outside. I didn't want him to have to be there if he really didn't want to be there. I had two nasty, long and painful contractions and wanted to go back to the bed.

What happened next was very surreal as if it were straight out of a movie. I can look back and laugh now. My husband walked in the delivery room, orange juice in hand. The nurse came to help me up so the bathroom door was open. I stood up. I screamed that the baby was coming RIGHT NOW AND RIGHT HERE! Lucianna fell out (came out bungee jumping as I like to say). The nurse was able to catch her so there was no injuries.

My husband just stood there, mouth agape, unable to move. The nurse had to tell him to help. I had so many things hooked up to me, wires from the baby monitor and iv's galore. I had to walk holding the cables, the nurse was holding the baby (it didn't help that the umbilical cord was extremely short) and Chris pushing the iv poles through the mess that he feared so much like some sort of zombie. He could not believe what he just witnessed.
Our baby was healthy. She was so healthy at 4 lbs 4 oz that she did not have to go to the NICU and she came home with me two days later. Many prayers were answered March 14th at 8:55am when Lucianna came bouncing into our world.

Later, I asked my husband why he didn't pass out. He said it was too much like watching a movie. Maybe he's not romantic but he loves me.

Monday, October 02, 2006

A New Journey -- Plan Unknown But the Purpose is There

I have posted about Lucianna having a medical problem with one of her feet. She cannot flex the foot or toes back. The problem is bigger than we first expected. Now her unaffected leg is growing with the rest of her body but the other leg is lagging behind. At 6 months old her one leg is already 3/4 of an inch longer than the other. The foot on that leg is also smaller.

I know the journey ahead of us is a long one. I also know that God has a plan for Lucianna. I don't know why Luci has this affliction. I do know that she will do something great. It is all a part of God's plan. I do not know what God's plan for Lucianna is today and I may never know. I'm sure if I did know what God's plan was I would mess it up somehow by thinking I have a better way.

I know God could and will heal Lucianna if it is His will. There have been many prayers for her. Would Luci serve her purpose for God if she were born completely healthy and whole? Probably not. As a mother, if I had the ability to heal her against God's will, would I? I would like to say that I am a woman that follows God's will all the time. You know and I know that would be a bold faced lie. I strive to follow God's will all the time but don't always succeed. Back to the question. If I had the opportunity to save my child all the future pain and heartache, even though it's not the will of God, would I? I don't know. Probably not, but maybe I would. Honestly, the inner turmoil and the fighting I'd do with myself to follow God's will would be life changing.

I am fortunate to be a chosen child of God. I don't think I could handle this without faith in God. I have a lot of faith that Lucianna will be okay. I really do think she will do something so great that I can't even imagine.

Even though I have faith, I still waiver. I cry when I think about other children making fun of her and the heartache that will cause for her. I also am heartbroken when I think of her not being able to run with the other children. I just keep in mind that there is a purpose for this. It is not an accident or luck of the draw.

Even for all the heartache to come I know there will be a matching happiness and joy. It will be something special that I will have never experienced with the other two girls.

God has a plan and a purpose. The purpose is there but the plan is unknown.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A Not So Funny Hotel Story

Got an email yesterday. Looks like the lawyers finally came to a decision that both are available to show up for the closing on our house on Tuesday. I will not hold my breath and I will not cross my fingers. If something could go wrong with this process, it has. Right now the way I look at it, I live in a hotel.

Speaking of which, I've got an icky "I-Will-Laugh-about-it-One-Day" hotel story. Believe me, I'm not laughing yet.

Last week, the hotel that we usually stay in was booked. All the hotels were booked except for Days Inn and Super 8. We have stayed in different Days Inn before and have had decent rooms. The Days Inn was in a better part of town and looked nicer so we made reservations there to stay the week. The only room we had available was a room with one queen bed. We brought the pack-n-play and were going to get a cot. Chris was working and I went to the hotel to check in.

We walked in the room and the smell of body odor and cheap disinfectant to cover up that smell of body odor hit me before I could turn on the light. I turned on the light (as my stomach turned) I saw several things immediately. The first thing I saw was all the peeling wallpaper. Ewww. I went in the bathroom and from one of the towels, someone else's hair was staring back at me. Ewww. Ewww.

Now I always pull back the sheets to check the linens before I settle in. I pulled the covers back and my stomach turned another flip. There was someone else's body hair in the bed. I'm not talking about just one. There was also short straight black hairs that looked like dog hair. This is what I saw just by pulling the covers down about two feet. It was obvious that these sheets were not changed.

I then got brave and decided to take a corner of the sheets off the bed. Before I requested clean sheets, I had to make sure the bed was in decent enough condition for us to sleep in. It wasn't. The mattress looked like a mattress that was picked up off a curb back in 1982. It was horrible. The mattress was dirty, old, smelly, ripped and worn. I immediately started crying.

I called my husband who was able to make reservations at the Super 8. I left that hotel and gave the front desk an earful. Blah Blah Blah, my children won't sleep in that filthy bed. Blah Blah Blah, why don't you make your children sleep in that bed. Blah blah blah, hair on towels and in the bed. Blah Blah Blah. He had obviously heard it all before and was not phased by it at all.

We checked in at the Super 8. It was fine. It was clean and it had two double beds. I check the beds and they were worthy of my family. Whew!