Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Beach Day

It happened. I took four children to the ocean beach. My sister-in-law is the best beach mom and aunt ever. Meghan helped me so much. It was to her advantage because I think she wants us to go again!

Isaiah immediately ate a fist full of sand and crawled all over effectively covering himself in sand before I could even get a good layer of sunscreen on. Only his nose was pink tonight. When we took him down to the water he LOVED it. Splashed and squealed and crawled straight for the waves. No fear!
 Josiah couldn't wait for Caleb to teach him how to ride waves on the boogie board. He learned in no time and was on his boogie board until his tummy was board burned to the point that he couldn't ride any more.
 It was at that point that I thought it was time for us to go home. Josiah was ready and hurting--I wanted to avoid a meltdown with him. Isaiah was very tired. I started to gather things up, Meghan turned around and snapped this picture:
 I was holding Isaiah and all of a sudden he just fell asleep. He slept for about 20 minutes and that was enough of a reset for us to stay another hour. Josiah recovered. He didn't boogie board anymore. They played in the sand and jumped waves.

Aliza really enjoyed being in the water with Meghan. She likes to stand and let the waves knock her over. She also started to get the hang of boogie boarding. Anna was happy playing in the sand or doing cartwheels. She warmed up to the water after lunch.

I really meant it: Meghan is an awesome beach Aunt. She made the girls mermaid tails while I held sleeping baby.
I only had one moment where I almost cried. I was feeding Isaiah and the wind picked up our beach umbrella. It was blowing and almost to our neighbors, but Josiah caught it. Meghan was far enough away that I couldn't yell and the kids were looking at me like they had no clue what "Go get Meghan" meant. I heard a woman say "she has a baby" and a man appeared to rescue Josiah from being blown away with the umbrella. The man reset our umbrella and another lady offered the use of her mallet to get the pole deep enough it wouldn't blow away again. In the meantime I sat Isaiah on the beach chair so I could help with the pole and he face planted into the sand and started screaming. It was the only time he cried the whole time we were there. Meghan appeared. I recovered.

I'll watch the video of Josiah boogie boarding and look at the pictures a few times and I'll probably be ready to go again soon enough...I think. Next time, though, I think I'll leave Isaiah with Mom.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Developing More Healthy Habits--The End!

Friday was the big day. *I'm sorry this is so long. I'm doing my own processing here!*

Anna and I arrived at the hospital at 6:30am. My Dad was already there waiting for us. Jeremy stayed home with the rest of the children. My Mom was working. I woke Anna up and carried her right out to the car. She did not express any feelings of being scared. As soon as the nurse called her name and we walked through the pre-op doors, she clammed up. Wouldn't even stand on the scales by herself. Our pre-op nurse was very kind. She let me hold Anna on the scales and then subtracted my weight.

I had told Anna that I would hold her on the bed. There was a coloring book and crayons, a page of Curious George stickers and a plastic Lalaloopsy necklace that had stickers inside the locket. The TV was on Disney Junior. Anything beyond that was a no-go for Anna. That pre-op nurse didn't even get a temperature.

When the nurse anesthetist came in she had a whole array of chapstick flavors to show Anna. My fashionista daughter thought that was pretty cool. She chose bubblegum and the nurse smeared it all over the inside of the anesthesia mask. Anna wouldn't get it close to her nose. They brought us a "pre" medicine. It's main purpose was to make sure the patient did not experience trauma. Of course, Anna decided it tasted icky and wouldn't take it. An older nurse came in after a while and it took her, myself and Dad to force most/some of it into Anna. It was enough because Anna did start talking more and she doesn't remember what happened next. (I remember though!)

The OR nurse and nurse anesthetist came in to take her. Separation did not go well at all. She started screaming and crying. I had to stand up and hand her to the nurse. They carried her to OR while her arms were reaching out and she was screaming for Mommy. It was exactly what I was hoping wouldn't happen. (I was hoping that "pre" medicine would make her groggy.) I did not cry until she was gone and I couldn't hold it in. It was water works. Our pre-op nurse saw Dad and me walking down the hall. She left her new patient and wrapped me in a hug. She didn't let go until I pulled away.

Dad and I sat until I was feeling brave again. We ate some breakfast together. I'm pretty sure I carried on a somewhat reasonable conversation with him while we ate. Mostly I was watching the clock. We waited some more and not much more than 2 hours after they took her the dentists called us. There were no surprises during the treatment. No additional cavities were uncovered with x-rays despite their medical instinct that they would find more. I was praying that there would be no more. They only had to remove the one tooth that was infected a few weeks ago. The three other cavities were filled and capped. They put sealant on the other molars, cleaned her teeth and applied a fluoride varnish.

We went back to the waiting room and waited some more until they called us to go to the Phase 2 post op area. They set me up with a big chair where I could hold Anna while she woke up. We waited a few minutes and they asked me to go to the recovery room. They told me Anna had to stay in the recovery room longer because they had given her another medicine and it was protocol that the patient had to stay a certain amount of time after a medicine was given.

She was straight in from the door. I saw her right away. A nurse was trying to hold her. She was screaming and crying, arms wild. Obviously I got to her very fast, started talking to her, and took her in my arms. It was obvious that she recognized me and wanted me. She was still screaming so I cradled her in my arms and started singing Jesus Loves Me very quietly in her ear. I was holding back my own tears, but she calmed down immediately. At first whenever I stopped talking she got upset, but slowly she relaxed.

What I learned was that they had to give Anna more medicine to calm her because she was so wild when she started waking up. The nurses definitely gave me the impression that it was wild beyond what they normally see. When I first got there, 4 nurses were standing around watching her. They told me Anna's arms and legs might be sore because they had to hold her down. Not what a Mom wants to hear! So this medicine they gave her caused her respiration to slow and basically made her pretty much unconscious. When she really relaxed in my arms her oxygen dropped several times where they had to wake her up and she would get very upset. I held her in an unpadded desk chair with no arm supports for a solid 30 minutes. (My arm was sore the next day!) It was not a problem, I didn't complain at all. The nurses felt bad for me. At 30 minutes I decided to try laying her in the bed since she had been calm for some time. As soon as she felt that bed she was sitting up and frantic for me to hold her. It was at this point that she woke up enough to realize and verbalize that something was on her foot (the pulse/o2 thing). That was our ticket out of the recovery room.

Anna's wake up was unusual enough that the nurse anesthetist came by and asked me what Anna is like at home. I assured her this reaction was out of character for Anna. Anna is not defiant or outrageously strong willed. Just don't get between her and her Mama!! 

While Dad and I were waiting for Anna during surgery Mom called and told me that she was going to be able to leave work for a few hours and she was coming to the hospital to sit with me in post-op. My Dad was wonderful. He was totally there for me and I probably cried less because he was there. But there is something about having a Mom there that brings a different kind of comfort.

So Mom was waiting for Anna and I. I decided that Anna should be transported on the bed because she was still dead weight and I had just held her for a long time. Anna was pretty upset. I walked along the bed, holding her as much as I could and talking to her. I got to sit in the comfy chair and hold Anna. By now she was sleeping peacefully. I didn't look at Mom or else I would have started sobbing. I'm still processing some of my own Mama trauma.

Anna slept for more than an hour longer. The nurse was starting to tell us that we really needed to get her awake. We moved her around a bit and kept talking to her and quite suddenly she woke up. It took some minutes for her to get her bearings, but she was calm and peaceful. She even handled the disappointment that her Lalaloopsy stickers got lost somewhere between the pre-op room and OR. Her face was SO sad though. One of the first things Anna said was that she was ready to go fishing. Grandad had told her that if she took the "pre" medicine he would take her fishing. She then gulped down a cup of juice and that was our ticket out of post-op. (The irony was not lost on me that I was told apple juice got me here in the first place and apple juice is what they offered her to drink in post-op!)

Anna didn't even flinch when the nurse took out her IV. That nurse thought she was such a trooper and commented on the necklace Anna was treasuring. I told her that the stickers had gotten lost and she offered to go back over to pre-op and look for them. She brought Anna a new necklace--the last one. Anna is still treasuring that necklace.

I carried Anna to the car and she chattered the whole way and the whole way home. Meghan generously offered to keep Aliza and Josiah for as much of the day as I wanted her to so Anna and I came home to a quiet house. Anna wanted to sit in the rocking chair and watch Nick Jr. I nestled her in with pillows and blanket because I was expecting her to fall asleep. She gobbled down three Italian Ice cups and was happy to sit and watch for a several hours.

Eventually Anna was done watching and she wanted to go to Meghan's and feed the chickens. I really thought Anna should take a nap! I decided to function under that premise that Anna would not be able to fake how she was feeling. We headed over to Meghan's. Anna fed the chickens and next thing I knew she was on the trampoline with the rest of the gang! The rest of the evening went by with Anna acting quite normal.

Saturday Anna seemed almost hyper as if she had slept REALLY well. She was constant talking and movement. I told Jeremy to do something quiet with her while I went grocery shopping. They played a board game and I asked if Anna could concentrate. She could. In my paranoid mind I was afraid Anna was having some kind of opposite side effect. lol. Grandad took her and Josiah fishing in the afternoon. I heard that she ate pretzels the whole time!

Finally this afternoon Anna slept for several hours. She has only asked for Tylenol a couple times and has not complained about pain. So, yeah! It's all over.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


I've been thinking a lot about pride. 

What does a humble life look like?

How does a person live humbly within themselves and among others?

What does it feel like to make decisions without comparing myself to others or the world and not feel either that bit of I-measure-up pride or the despair of the pride I have being punctured?

This is what got me thinking:
Health insurance. Jeremy has always been able to provide health insurance through Omni (since we decided I would stay home with our children). The cost of health insurance has steadily and rapidly increased to the point that it was a considerable financial burden for the premium and we still had large deductible and copays to keep the premium within reach.

This month Jeremy was advised by our long time health insurance broker to not provide insurance based on the significant increase in premium costs and seek government or government subsidized insurance for our family.

Enter Anna's dental crisis. We have been waiting for dental insurance knowing that our policy is up for renewal so we have been delaying scheduling Anna's treatment. Last week Anna's tooth started hurting to the point that I had to take her in. We forced an x-ray and she needed antibiotics. Since she is having pain her treatment will be expedited and is considered "emergency" now. So the kind resident asks me if their Medicaid Application Counselor can reach out to me. With tears building I say "yes" because that was the next phone call on my list to make anyway.

I'm a social worker by nature and education. I'm the one to help people navigate "the system." I wrote a grant for just that purpose. I'm not the one who is supposed to be using "the system." The kind lady called me immediately and when I spoke to her my pride made me tell her that I'm a social worker. My pride made me choke up as I made the list of documents that I needed to provide to prove that we qualify.

I met with her. She was thrilled that we had completed the application up to the last click on our own. She told me that all six of us qualify for zero premium. She explained to me how to navigate the application process. Maybe pridefully I told her we would scan and email the documents she needed. Of course, that did save me having to drive them to her office.

Tears rolled out of my eyes on my way home (and maybe I'm tearing up as I'm typing). I had to fight those evil voices telling me that we are poor. We aren't providing for our children. "They" must think we were irresponsible in our choice to have a large family.

None of it is true. The system has made it difficult for smaller entrepreneur business owners living the American Dream. We pay plenty of taxes. We are upstanding citizens contributing to society so if the government wants to give us a chance to stay in business I should thank them for letting me use tax dollars we paid for our family's health care. I shouldn't feel ashamed and humiliated for doing what is best for my family.

So our State of Maryland Medical Assistance Program cards arrived yesterday and I called today and chose our Managed Care Organization and Anna's treatment is scheduled and will happen soon. The treatment that we thought would cause us debt or at least a payment plan will not be a financial burden for us.

What has caused me tears and embarrassment is actually a gift and something that I am grateful for at this time in our lives.

Another level of pride will be dealt with when I hand our new cards to practices where we have been long time patients. I will also have to leave a practice that does not accept Medicaid in any form.

It's funny how when a personal growth issue is made obvious in an incident, I become aware of it in plenty of other areas of my life. That too, is a gift.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Boardwalk at Night

I was pretty tired after the tea party, but the rest of my extended in law family was ready to go to Ocean City for the evening. I considered telling my family we were staying home, but Josiah and Anna really wanted to go. I calculated the risk and we went. I knew that we would spend some time at the water and, I thought, maybe we would be able to avoid the Boardwalk altogether so I packed us a supper and we left. Traffic was bad and it took us 90 minutes to get to the inlet which made for some very hungry children and a Mom that was already regretting the trip.

It was just about sunset when we arrived. This was the first time in a very long time that we were at the ocean beach. Aliza and Josiah LOVED the waves. They were covered with sand in very short order.

Isaiah ate a good amount of sand.
Anna was completely enthralled with the lights and rides. So we walked the Boardwalk. It was busy and I was carrying Isaiah and I was tired. It was not fun. I prefer the mountains where there are no people and my children can run free. I was counting four heads constantly--even though one was attached to me and the others were holding our hands!
We met the rest of our group and Grandpa bought ice cream which made the children very happy.
We got home at 10pm. Baths were required and then we all fell asleep instantly. Now I can say we've been to Ocean City and we don't have to do that again for a very long time!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


I've been dreaming up a special tea party for my mother-in-law's 60th birthday for a long time.  My Mom has hosted quite a few tea parties over the years and I decided I had to figure out a way for Karen to be part of one! A 60th birthday seemed like a good excuse for a big birthday party. Karen's sister, sisters in law, and two nieces were able to attend. Mom and I dreamed up the menu and Janell pulled it all together with decoration.

Aliza was along to help the morning of the party. She was so excited to learn how to make the cloth napkin roses.
Since Karen has only boys I decided that they needed to leave their mark on the day. I talked with my sister in law in Texas and she suggested that each son choose a verse and she would write it on an antique cup and saucer. It was perfect. Karen loved it. I was so pleased to be able to include the Texas family in the day too.

Karen's sister, Donna, kept us laughing pretty much the whole meal.
We started with salad, and a choice of Potato Soup or Zucchini Carrot Soup.
We kept the salad, soup and sandwiches low carb for our Trim Healthy guest of honor. =)
Cucumber sandwich with ham and muenster cheese, Cherry tomato caprese, egg salad on a gluten free bagel chip, and carb balance tortillas with cream cheese, turkey and spinach.
Strawberry shortcake scones with clotted cream, greek yogurt and a fruit cup
Desserts were samoa cake, raspberry brie puff pastry and lemon pie (in a flower shape).
I was so thrilled to honor the mother of my husband. She raised the man that I respect and love and I'll be forever thankful for her parenting and love of family. Karen is a Mom to me and one of my closest friends. I've been part of the family for 16 years and our relationship has certainly deepened to reflect that length of time.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Water Found

It's a game changer for going to the beach! Isaiah crawled off the blanket for the first time today. He ate a whole bunch of sand and eventually found the water. No fear. He crawled right in the water and would have kept on going. I was watching his every move and then remembered to look for the other three. I definitely didn't feel much beach tranquility or relaxation after Isaiah took to the water.
Isaiah got a very warm welcome from cousins and siblings in the water.

Aliza was Isaiah's buddy. She is the one who doesn't have a natural cousin buddy and she couldn't wait for Isaiah to find the water.

I am also loving his one piece rash guard from Old Navy.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A Bit Nostalgic

I said good bye to one of my neighbors today. She is moving to be close to her daughters and I couldn't be happier for her--and her daughters! I got a bit nostalgic though. You see, Jeremy rented their house for a couple months before we got married. They weren't quite ready to move in and Jeremy needed a place to live.

I distinctly remember the scent of this house even though I did not spend much time there at all. We both knew better than to do that to ourselves! While Jeremy lived there we decided that we really loved this little village community and hoped that a house--any house--on this road would come up for sale. One day Jeremy called and told me that a For Sale By Owner sign had been posted. We bought the house that we are still living in very quickly.
The Lions Club sponsors a 4th of July parade every year and this year our neighbor was asked to be the Grand Marshall. For many years we have watched the parade from her yard.
I'll really miss knowing that she is right down the road. I'm pretty sure I'll still look for a light in the window for a long time as I drive past.

Sunday, July 5, 2015


It's amazing how blessed you can feel when you allow yourself to receive a gift. A lady from Bible Study allows us to use her pool whenever we want as long as it suits her, of course. On Friday Jeremy ended his work day a bit early and met us at the pool for a swim. It was so much fun for the children to show Daddy all they have learned in swimming lessons and swim with him. Our friend wasn't even home this time so it was like we had our own pool.

Josiah's face is always in the water now!

As if letting us use the pool isn't enough, Deb always has an ice cream snack and she sent me a text while we were there to make sure we got ice cream! Isaiah was a fan of his first ice cream.
After swimming we had a picnic at a nearby park. Aliza, Josiah and Anna ran and played and climbed. They had so much fun. Josiah spent a rather large amount of time chasing a duck. It was pretty comical.
There were two letterboxes at this park. Someone has been busy planting letterboxes in Salisbury in June! The first one was in the hollow of this tree.
(The stamp is sideways in the picture. It is a sleepy moon.)
Josiah is our "re-hider."
Here we are spread out for stamping our second find. We are not discreet at all. If anyone saw us and didn't know what we were doing, they would probably think we are nuts.
The children came home dirty, tired and happy and that's how I know it was a very good outing!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Isaiah--9 Months

Isaiah is pulling himself up to standing. Today he took a couple steps while he held on desperately to the walker while it rolled away from him. He stayed up!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Joy Dare::June

2483. New friends
2484. Ice cream cones on the neighbor's porch
2485. Summer TV--the recorded season of Amazing Race
2486. My workout carrying this sleeping boy across the beach
2487. Children busy with rainy day projects
2488. End of the day decompression
2489. All of Anna's dental work will be done at one time
2490. Aliza's first cooking supper
2491. Josiah vacuuming and washing dishes
2492. Big brother feeding little brother
2493. Sunshine in the weather forecast again
2494. Knowing that when my child says they are bored it's not my problem to fix
2495. Josiah staying up as late as he wanted to have boy time with Daddy and Uncle Joel and he came up to bed so happy and utterly exhausted
2496. Happy smiles
2497. Aliza had the opportunity to play with a group of girls
2498. The cozy feeling of a dimly lit house and pouring rain
2499. Unabashed excitement over a new game
2500. Cut grass
2501. All children happy and healthy after our outing
2502. So many friends at the beach
2503. Wandering around our property this evening--it was a beautiful evening
2504. Reading to Big Bear
2505. Janell had a better day and Mom got her vacation approved
2506 Meghan was here to feed Isaiah so I could hold Anna while she recovered from bee stings.
2507. Some of our used textbooks sold at a consignment shop
2508. A fun pool party
2509. Staying too late talking at my friend's house
2510. Enough for today--and that's enough
2511. Wanting to be just like Daddy
2512. Their Daddy is a Godly, hard-working, positive, encouraging example
2513. Joy of the small is what makes life large--so true
2514. Turning around and see this moment
2515. Isaiah's giggles
2516. An afternoon with Isaiah
2517. Jeremy conquered the lawnmower, it works again and we have cut grass
2518. A really restful weekend
2519. The children decided we needed our pool. They drug it out of the garage and attempted to get it ready. Daddy helped and they have had fun.
2520. Swimming lessons lined up
2521. Anna's made up stories that she "reads" to me
2522. Businesses paying invoices just in time
2523. Six playing together
2524. Now we can move on to other evening activities--we finished Amazing Race
2525. Watermelon and fireflies
2526. Josiah teaching Aliza his technique for catching fireflies
2527. Buying groceries
2528. A good outing to pick blueberries this morning
2529. TCBY and conversation
2530. The toy box lid closes
2531. Yummy summer soup
2532. Spontaneous fishing trip for Josiah and Anna
2533. His sweet smile
2534. The brilliant idea to add a second trash bag for the back seat of the van.
2535. Safe arrival after traveling in lots of traffic
2536. Going in to McDonalds for a bathroom and leaving without a single request for a snack
2537. New shoes
2538. Aliza processing so many feelings and ideas
2539. Trying on my mother-in-laws wedding dress
2540. Family reunion in the grocery store
2541. First night of Vacation Bible School excitement
2542. Seeing the Mom's I've spent VBS evenings with for many years
2543. Our awesome swimming teacher
2544. Aliza so excited that she can put her head under water
2545. Phone time
2546. Debt paid off
2547. Not even a bruise on Isaiah after he fell down the steps
2548. Being very intentional about prioritizing tasks
2549. Getting up early to read to Aliza
2550. A scrubbed clean bathroom
2551. Internet that was out of service this morning
2552. Aliza and Josiah singing in Bible School program
2553. Josiah running to find Grandad after the program
2554. Welcoming my cousin's family to our home
2555. Two generations of cousins spending the day together
2556. Some kind of dance game fun
2557. A super hamburger that I didn't cook
2558. Walking around Chincoteague stores with Mom
2559. Snickers cheesecake ice cream
2560. Clouds, light and color--the sky amazed me tonight
2561. Trying a recipe, making the menu and grocery list
2562. Finding a letterbox!
2563. Schoolbooks waiting for us on the porch when we got home