Friday, September 20, 2013

St. Augustine 2013

We spent the first week of September in St. Augustine, Fl. Time at the beach, visiting Granny, time as a family: some of life's greatest gifts. I'd looked forward to that week for months. Even though it was stressful, it was wonderful to breathe that sweet sea air and see the littles squeal in the waves and enjoy the sand between their toes. If you were otherwise unaware, we have quite the family of beach bums:

Just watching them delight in the simple pleasures of sand and water...beautiful. (and yes, you probably did see a few spatulas and a turkey baster...dollar store kitchen section: the only place to find "sand" toys that might be able to hold up to a week of abuse courtesy LeBlanc kiddos.)

And watch this:
One happy to be at the sea wall; one sassy pants not wanting to take pictures:
happy one snuggles up to sassy one:
"You smile May-weeze!"
yep - better together:

That's my "big kids".


And of course, we got in some great hugs and chats with this gal:

I owe all of my "color red" obsession to you dear Granny.

The trips there and back came complete with nice stops at Mere and Pops' house...which means another picture post coming up!


Saturday, September 14, 2013

True Story Thursday

David and I went to the American Apparel outlet while on vacation. At the check out counter, there were about 15 bins of sweat bands (think 1980's Rocky sort of things - because, clearly, the 80's styles need to come back 1. more. time. *sigh*).

David picks up a red, white and blue band. He put it on his head.

D: Yook Mom!! I have a head band! Dis means I work out. You work out Mom??
Me: Uhh. yes. I do David.
D: Yeah. I work out Mom! See? (he gets on the floor. I am a little stunned and grinning at the same time) I'm pushin' me up! Yook Mom!! I can push me up!! (he tries to do a push up but ends up looking like he's sort of break dancing)
Me: That's great David!! Look how strong you are! ... please get off the floor now Bub? (he does) (I scold my self internally for chancing ruining a moment because I saw a dust bunny roll across the floor as he...uh...pushed himself up. Dear self: please relax...a a little more...your heart thanks you.)
D: I pushed me up because I have a head band. Could we take dis head band with us to our home Mom?
Me: David, I think it's 100% necessary to take that head band with us. Are you sure that's the color you want? (there were about 4 different green ones. Anyone who spends 5 minutes around David knows green is, hands down, that kid's "fa-bor-wit" color.)
D: I want DIS one Mom. DIS is da one I want!! (proudly wearing the red, white and blue)

We went to 2 other stores while at the outlets. David asked anyone who made eye contact with him if they worked out, and then demonstrated that he could "push me up" because of his head band. He walked with the swagger of John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.

When I tell you David rocks that sweat band I mean it with every fiber of my being. He is awesome. I wish I'd had even a third of that grounded confidence in myself and my decisions at his age - or anytime during my childhood. My sweet individual boy.

**I started this post on Wednesday - but ended up spending all of Thursday cooking! So, it's a late "True Story Thursday"...apologies!**

Everett's absolute favorite thing in the world right now (because you know, this can change next week - or in a few minutes really as all things toddlers go) is playing ball. He sees balls everywhere we go, points, grins and says, "ball". In our room on vacation, there were photos of a sunset over the bed. Every morning, Everett would wake up, look at the photos and say, "ball" with a HUGE grin.

While in St. Augustine, my cousin Ashley was married. It was the first wedding Mary Louise and David had ever attended. They were fascinated. On the way home (after the reception) Mary Louise asked the following questions:
ML: why did Ash-wee have that big beautiful white dress on Mommy?
Me: it's a wedding dress baby. She was getting married and it's tradition that the bride wear white as it's a sign of purity.
ML: ok...
D: yeah - but dat dress dus dragged da ground! It's gonna get all dirty! she should pick dat dress off da ground!

ML: But why did Ash-wee throw dose beautiful flowers all over? They broke and fell on da floor. I would never throw beautiful flowers like dat!
Me: ummm...the person who catches the flowers is supposed to be next to marry...but I'm not sure how that started...
ML: (frowning) broken flowers dus make me sad...I would never throw my beautiful flowers...

ML: So Mommy, I wuv David...can I marry him one day?
Me: Well, David is your brother Meesey.
ML: yeah - but I wuv him so I can marry him right?
Me: well, not really. You choose a person to marry that is not in your family. They choose to be with you and you with them. David will always be there for you - he's your brother. That never changes. When you fall in love, you choose each day to be with that person and you choose to make that person your partner and part of your family...does that make sense?
ML: sort of...maybe a yittle bit?


Ballet started the week we were gone, so for us, the first class was this week. Mary Louise is taking again - this time with David too! David asked almost every week if he could take classes with Mary Louise last year. After a little (too much) thought, and viewing amazing performances put on by the company, we decided to let him try things out.

My reservations were washed away by: 1. Mary Louise exclaiming over and over that she would show David the ropes such as how to stay on his dot. She promised she would help him to settle into the class. But most of all - 2. Mary Louise and David's faces as they came out of the class. They were the epitome of pride; the ultimate in satisfaction. In short, they became "big kids" the very moment they let go of my hand, embraced one another's and walked through that class door. They loved it and talked about it all the way home.

Let them do what they love. Let them do what they love. As long as there are more good days than bad, ballet classes will be in our routine. May they be limber and graceful, confident and balanced -with poise that makes others take pause and peace that passes understanding. May they experience all of that and more...while pretending to be any animal they wish as they dance across the floors of their ballet studio (which, from what I gather, is one of their class time practices). Most of all, may they transform and enjoy those moments of absolute freedom as they grow older, more aware and responsibilities increase. Go as far as you wish sweet babes. It's our privilege.

Mary Louise was my "big helper" at market this morning. We went to a new farmers' market that is just a few blocks from our home. Brent and the boys walked over mid-day. Mary Louise and I got 2 solid hours between sales to chat.

ML: Mommy? Is that OUR ell-da-bur-we syrup right there?
Me: well, it's like ours, but it's to help others. We have some at home for you.
ML: I yike dat syrup.
Me: I'm glad take it every morning. I'm glad it tastes good.
ML: Me too Mommy. Why you making it for other people doe?
Me: Well, I like taking care of others. I found something that works for us and thought other people might like to know about it too. We all take care of one another. It's what people do.
ML: I stink you a good Mommy, Mommy.
Me: Thank you my Meese. That means an awful lot...

*grin* these moments, in all their glorious cheesey-ness and adorable fluffiness really do happen you know...and I smile every time...

For those in our area (or not...I can ship a few things as needed or interest dictates), I now have a Downtown Naturals Facebook page. Keep up with all of our goings on - and our newest products - AND provide much wanted (and needed) feedback there! Business is going quite well - even in these very early learning stages and I'm excited to be adding a few things very soon!!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

On the Mend

Everett and I made the hour+ drive to see his hematologist yesterday afternoon. There is a strict "one kid / 2 adults" policy there so Brent stayed behind with the big kids. We pulled in to the parking lot and I saw Everett shrink notably in his seat. My sweet baby boy...

I lifted him out of the car to my chest. He melted into my shoulder and wrapped his arms tightly around my neck. We entered via the double automatic doors. He gave me the best hug...ever. If I didn't know he was so nervous, I wouldn't feel quite so guilty saying how much I loved that moment...

We checked in and walked across with our lab paperwork. This place is one of the most efficient offices we've ever visited. Honestly - the most efficient. Somehow, there are no lines, people are patient, soft spoken and courteous. We were taken back immediately for Everett's blood tests.

About 30 seconds later, his vials of life were off and spinning. I had almost 2 hours to use before our appointment time.

We played outside, ate snacks, played in the car and made our way up to the doctor's office with 30 minutes to spare.

We stared at the fish tanks for a few minutes before being called back.

Everett LOVES the toys in those rooms. There are little classic wooden cars and activity cubes - all very clean and in pristine condition. He makes "vroooom" noises as he scoots the cars across the tables and chairs and giggles when they fly onto the floor.

The doctor came in with a smile. The blood work had just been printed and he had a chart comparing his results over time (1st draw, second, and the newest results).

He's improving!!! In fact, he's improving so fast, the doctor decreased his iron dose just a bit.

What does this mean????? Iron deficiency anemia. That's it!! Thalassemia is off the table and we'll continue with 3 more months of iron therapy while the unhealthy old red cells die off and healthy ones take their places.

Aaannnnd in other news: the sweet potato gained 2 pounds in 3 weeks!!


Monday, September 9, 2013

Smelling the Roses

Mary Louise and I have been spending wonderful amounts of time various doctors' offices. She loves her "Mommy - Meesey time" and I make every effort to stay very present while waiting with her. We read, color, talk, snack and giggle. We snuggle, laugh, listen and learn. Love and laughter in (almost) every minute. It should be everyone's goal.

I've been stressed lately. Very stressed. I've felt overwhelmed and needed breaks. With the number of doctor appointment mounding, home tasks getting away from me, and the school year (David's therapy) and ballet lessons starting, cracks are showing and cackles are starting...and then there's my bright idea about a booth at the markets here...way to pile it on, self!

Mary Louise and I went to the pediatrician yesterday to chat about allergy test results. The doctor was running late, so I requested we be put in a room (there are some nasty bugs going around our area - and measles has made its way to Houston - a short 3 hours from us. I am not very keen on sitting for an hour in the waiting room.) We waited 45 minutes in the room. When the doctor made it in, the table was a Mary Louise graffiti original and we were reading books after doing a math lesson on the IPad.

The doctor listened while I explained that I was very wary of doing weekly (or twice weekly) injections as it would entail me waiting with 3 little ones in a pedi waiting room twice a week, however long it took to get us in and out. So, I asked, would the risk to our family (being exposed to every illness entering our area), outweigh the benefit of the shot? or vice verse? Would the injections work for her? why?

I had a list of changes we had already started implementing for Mary Louise at home: HEPA filters in the bedroom and downstairs playroom (her 2 areas of most indoor play) as well as upgrading the central air filters. Increasing her elderberry and honey dosing, and introducing a nettles based allergy vitamin, washing our pups twice weekly, protectors on the mattresses and new pillows with protectors on them while also being aware of seasonal patterns and pollen blooms. I've also contacted an herbalist / acupuncturist friend of Brent's who has agreed to help us streamline our efforts and diet to best suit Mary Louise's needs.

For those who have written, the pets have never been allowed upstairs anyhow - except for Lizzie who sleeps in our (master) bed room as of about a month ago when her aging nerves prevented her from settling down to rest...ever. She climbs the stairs with me at night, sleeps in the corner (down the hall from the kids) and goes right back down in the morning. The cat is outside all day everyday and many nights. When he does decide to sleep inside, he's in the laundry room (we don't leave clothing in there). Anyhow, we are not re-homing our ad would look a bit like this:

11 and 13 year old dogs and a 12 year old cat to be re-homed due to newly diagnosed allergies. All animals have sort of pleasant dispositions as long as they are allowed to sleep undisturbed for the greater portion of the day. The kids love them, and they tolerate the kids (or run from them). They are house broken - but, when angry, the little one (Chester) is sort of an asshole and tends to pee on your foot. All have lovely stink breaths and need water added to their foods so they can chew. Up to date on shots, and will forward their vet files...but it may cause a paper shortage. Oh. And if the grass is wet, don't expect either dog to set foot there for relief. They think the driveway, or sidewalk works just fine. Let me know if interested!! (*grin*)

The pedi's response was very positive and extremely supportive. She said that Mary Louise's allergies, while significant, are not absolutely horrible so unless I had come in pushing for injections, in our situation, the risk of bringing her into the office so often outweighed the benefit of the injections so she would not have gone ahead with them (at this time).

Outside the office, there were masses of blooming rose bushes. "Please can we stop and 'mell dem Momma?"

"Yes baby. Of course."

We went to the ENT the next day. He looked over the results and asked how her symptoms were at home. I told him about the herbal measures and holistic approach. He admitted to not knowing much about it and said it was, of course, my choice if I wanted to explore that route - it wouldn't hurt as far as what I had planned or was already implementing. After an exam, he stated Mary Louise's adenoids were remarkably smaller as compared to our first visit. At this time, he wouldn't make any changes - and supported our plan not to go ahead with the allergy shots.

We also discussed alternatives to the allergy shots should her symptoms worsen over the next year or so. We could do sublingual (under the tongue) drops at home instead of the injections. He has the facility and staff to mix her drops in office and said she would be a candidate for the home therapy should her condition worsen. If it came to that though, she would likely need an adenectomy (adenoid removal). We go back to him for a recheck in 6 months.

Long overdue updates to come - we've just returned from a trip to St. Augustine, Fl.!