Archive | January, 2013

Survival Mode

31 Jan

The first month of 2012 brought a vaccine reaction, a cancer diagnosis (the cat), and death (Steven’s brother).  The first month of 2013 brought a steady stream of sickness.  I think we’ve had a total of 4 days this month that no one was sick.

I’m really starting to hate the month of January.

Surprise, surprise, we’re all sick again.  Alex was doing some strange stuff at meal times following his gastrointestinal virus.  We had to resort back to baby food, which was odd for my voracious, adventurous eater.  But I figured it was just a little regression following a really nasty illness. But then came the rash…

I suspected strep.  I called the pediatrician’s office, and the nurses there conferred and agreed that it sounded like strep.  I took him in for a test, and yep, it’s strep.  Again.

I saw my doctor that same afternoon, as my throat had been hurting, and I’d been unusually tired.  My strep test was negative, but the doctor said something was going on, and she prescribed me an antibiotic anyway.

The next day, cold symptoms started in Alex.  Then came the 104-degree fever.  Then the cough.  My boy was sick.  And then… I got it.  Three solid days of 100-degree fever, cough, cold symptoms.  Thankfully, as I’d just seen the doctor, I was able to call and ask them to phone in a prescription for my cough, which had my chest feeling like I was being stabbed in the lungs.  That really was fortunate (the call, not the stabbing cough), as I didn’t have the energy to drag my sick self and an active, but sick toddler to the clinic.  Cough syrup with codeine?  Yes, please!  Sick husband now down for the count, too?  NOOOOOO!!!

Have I mentioned that I miss my mama?  She could/would help me if we were still in Texas.  But way up here in northern Oklahoma, I’m on my own.  I can’t even call anyone to ask for the kind of help I need (watching the munchkin) because the people I know have kids of their own, and they don’t need to be exposed to Alex’s germs.


So, we’ve been in survival mode for much of the month, seeing as every time Alex gets sick, I get sick, too.  Meals?  They’re whatever I can scrounge up.  I keep the freezers pretty well stocked with meals, but we’ve gone through all of them.  I considered myself lucky when I found this in the cabinet and freezer the other day:

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On one of the few days we were well enough to go out in public, I found that soup at Big Lots.  It’s good in a pinch.  Add a bag of frozen broccoli and cauliflower, and it becomes a little more filling.  I was feeling very glad that I’d bought that stuff!

At this rate, the only creatures in this house with a good stock of food are the cats.  Their order of prescription cat food arrived earlier this week, and they’re set for the next few months.  And really, I should clarify.  We have food.  The problem is that it’s in ingredient form and not put together.  Normally, that’s the point, not the problem.  But when I’m too sick to cook, that can of beans and that bag of flour aren’t looking so good.

My kid has watched more TV in the past month than in the entirety of his life prior.  That makes me feel like a bad mother, but when I’m so sick that I can barely stay awake, Baby Einstein’s animal video feels like a godsend.  He stands there entranced by all the animals he sees, turning around every few minutes to look at me like, “Did you see that?!  Coolest thing ever!”  And I can laze on the couch, not having to run after him to pull him off of the fireplace or the dining chairs or keep him from smacking the cat with a cat toy.  (Poor baby is so desperate to play with his kitties, but he’s just not coordinated enough to control the cat toy without hitting the cats with it.  It makes him very unpopular with the household felines.)

I’m feeling happy that January is at an end.  Here’s to hoping that February brings better health to our household!

Obsessed

24 Jan

Alex has a new obsession: stuffed animals.  I think it’s super cute.  He wants to take them with him wherever he goes lately.  I’m realizing that we need to minimize the number of animals in his crib with him because when I get him up and take him to the changing table for a diaper change, he wants every single one of his animals to come with us.  This afternoon, we had two bears and a puppy crammed up on the table with him.  If I tried to leave one behind in the crib, he freaked out.  After his diaper change, all the animals had to come downstairs with us.  He wouldn’t even let go of them while drinking his milk.

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It’s not uncommon to have to take an animal away now before a meal.  I don’t mind his hanging onto somebody while drinking milk, but the animals have to wait for him elsewhere when he eats actual food.

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My kid still can’t say much, but he can bark, meow, howl like a wolf, make an elephant sound (with use of his arm as a trunk), and be a monkey like a champ.  I’m just thrilled to be raising a little animal lover.  He’s even learned how to pet Ninja gently without any over-excited smacking.  Now if we could just work on staying quiet while petting the cat, instead of excitedly screeching like a howler monkey and sending the cat flying out of the room in terror…

More Sickness

19 Jan

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That picture up above would be my home-rigged drying rack for Alex’s leather shoes.  They needed to be scrubbed after he got sick on them in two different ways.  Our house was hit with a stomach virus.

For those keeping count, in the first three weeks of 2013, we’ve now had three different illnesses hit our kid: RSV, strep, and now some nasty virus that causes all sorts of digestive upset.  The entire family was knocked down with that last one.

We have an amazing neighborhood, though, filled with nice neighbors.  When I hadn’t been able to keep down even a single sip of water for several hours, my husband went next door to ask our neighbor, who is a nurse, if I needed to go to the ER.  She came over to assess and told Steven what to do for me so we didn’t have to go.  But she said that if things didn’t improve in a few hours, call her, and she’d come over and stay with the baby while we went to the hospital.  Thankfully, we didn’t have to take her up on that offer.

Another neighbor offered to pick up food for us while she was at the store.  I took advantage, as I realized that we were out of fruit for Alex.  I so appreciated that, especially as Steven was down with the virus by that time.

I was hit hardest, and my husband wound up doing everything, despite being sick himself.  At one point, the baby was screaming upstairs in his crib, and I was sitting on the kitchen floor crying because I couldn’t make it up the stairs to get him.  Steven swooped in, took care of everything, and let me sleep all day.

Times like this, I really hate being away from home.  Or, what used to be home, I should say.  My mama would have been over in a heartbeat to take care of Alex.  I can’t complain, though, as God provided us with friends and neighbors who helped us.

The New Sunday

13 Jan

I used to have a strong stance against cooking on Sundays.  We’d put in a full morning at church with music rehearsal and singing on the praise team for me, while Steven would have an elders meeting, followed by youth, then the service.   After church, we’d head out to eat at whatever restaurant was chosen that week by friends or our youth group.  Then back at church in the evening for youth.  Of course, once Alex came along, I stayed home from church on Sunday nights, but it was still a crazy sort of day for all of us.

I miss it.  Or at least, parts of it.  Truly, I don’t miss having quite so much responsibility.  My husband was the youth minister, in addition to having a full-time job.  It was a too-busy life.  But I desperately miss Sunday mornings back in Texas.

Things are so different for us here, although I freely admit that different isn’t bad.  It’s just different.  We go to church, and we know only a handful of people, none of them terribly well.  We have no responsibilities.  At all.  At first that was nice; we needed the break.  But 9 months later, we’re both ready to get back into ministry.

I hate being a nobody.

The biggest change, though, is going to an early service, then just coming home.  We opted for the early service at this point in our lives because it allows us to get home in time for Alex to nap.  I’m a big believer in keeping to the nap schedule, and my well-behaved baby is a testament to the wisdom of that.  But this means that we never, and I mean never, go out to lunch after church anymore.  In fact, all the boys in my household, and by that I mean my husband, son, and our 2 cats, typically fall asleep as soon as we return from church.  (The cats, naturally, do not attend church, although I think watching the birds at my feeder is a near-religious experience for our Ninja Cat.)

While everyone sleeps, I often find myself cooking.  I never thought I’d find myself in that place, but everyone expects to eat, and I’m the bringer of food.  Granted, I could totally serve up peanut butter and jelly, and no one would care.  But I’m finding something peaceful, a little contemplative, and joyful about cooking for my family on Sundays.  I cook all week long, and yet, preparing a Sunday lunch has a different feel to it.  Because even though cooking is sometimes a chore, there truly is a certain beauty in quietly puttering about the kitchen while everyone sleeps.  I think the difference is in knowing that I want to be there doing that in that moment.

This is the new Sunday.

Blueberry muffins

Blueberry muffins

Sunday lunch of scrambled eggs with ham, spinach, red onion, and mushrooms

Sunday lunch of scrambled eggs with ham, spinach, red onion, and mushrooms

Making the Old New

11 Jan

Months ago, I bought a small rocking chair for $20 at a little secondhand shop here in town.  It didn’t look so good.  In fact, when people would come over, no one ever sat in it.  The cats liked it just fine, but I wanted people to want to sit in it, too.

The ugly before

The ugly before

I didn’t have to put any money into this project, other than purchasing a staple gun.  I bought it at Hobby Lobby with a 40%-off coupon, which made it a mere $6.  I already had some upholstery fabric that I’d purchased a few years ago for a project that never came to fruition.  (That’s not unusual for me, unfortunately.)  I removed the seat, pulled off the 2 layers of fabric already stapled on, then put my own fabric on it.  Next, I used Murphy’s Oil Soap to give the wood a good scrub.  Boy, was it filthy!  Then I went over it all with Howard’s Restore-a-Finish.  Truthfully, it really needs to be sanded down, then refinished, but this is good enough for now.  I screwed the seat back on, and voila!  New chair that looks a billion times better!

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Please pardon the cat hair. My Ninja Cat loves the new fabric, and my sticky roller fell behind my dresser. I can’t reach it to use it.

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People sit in it now.

Pulled Apart

8 Jan

I mentioned the other day that I finally got our coat closet unpacked and organized.  The bifold doors had a track that needed to be replaced for the doors to close properly.  Steven took them down to get at it and realized that like much of this house, the closet had been done in a very sloppy manner by the previous owner.  The framework had a line of unpainted wood where the doors sat.  They painted the woodwork without bothering to remove the doors!  Who does that?!  Then Steven noticed that the baseboards inside the closet had never been painted…

He pulled out everything that I’d just gotten organized and put into place!  That’s okay, though, because he did it to fix everything that was wrong.  Sometimes his perfectionism drives me nuts, but other times, it’s pretty awesome.  Our coat closet is now covered in a fresh coat of paint.

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On the Mend

7 Jan

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Alex has still been battling RSV.  (I suspect the strep he also had was resolved pretty quickly once he started his antibiotic.)  But RSV… that stuff lingers!  Alex saw the doctor again on Friday, and she noted that he was still wheezing quite a bit.  She decided to take him off his liquid albuterol and have him start using a nebulizer.  Thankfully, he tolerates it well.  I found a Baby Einstein DVD that someone had given us at one of our baby showers.  It’s about animals, which he loves, so it has kept him quiet, still, and riveted to the screen, which makes giving him breathing treatments a breeze.  Thank God for that!

We gave him breathing treatments all weekend, and now I think we may be able to stop them, or at least reduce them.  For the first time in nearly 2 weeks, I haven’t had to clear Alex’s nose first thing in the morning, and he’s not wheezing.  He’s been running all over the living room this morning, cat toy in one hand, wooden spoon in the other, and he’s still breathing well.  We’re finally on the mend!

But, of course, I’m now sick.