Monday, May 19, 2014

(Best) Face Forward

We said goodbye to Everett's unwanted little friend (the granuloma on his right cheek) this morning very (way too) early.

The pic above was from a month ago. The bump had almost doubled in size and I couldn't keep him from scratching it and causing it to bleed.

Everett did really well with the surgery. They were able to "gas him down" quickly, make a very small incision, remove the lump and some surrounding tissue for send off and close with 3 little stitches. I'll bring him back to the plastic surgeon in the morning just for a look-see to make sure everything is ok 24 hours post op.

Beyond recovering for a little over an hour, a reeeally grumpy wake up at 4am when he usually nurses...but couldn't much to his GREAT dismay, and a 3 hour catch up nap this afternoon, sweet Ev has been go go go as usual this afternoon.

Gracious thanks for the thoughts and well wishes. Hoping for some super uneventful healing and pathology results!


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

"Hanging in there"

My typical answer for the general "how ya doing?". And it's true. I logged into this blog for the first time in months a few minutes ago, took a deep breath, and started this. I'm not sure what will come through, but it's time...

We've had a time of monumental change and I needed to retreat to a tiny corner and sit for awhile. Process, love on the littles, and just be. Thoughts have been a blur, and I literally am unable to think 5 minutes into the future anymore (which, I'm finding is quite nice actually).

Everett had his last visit with the hematologist in March. Fully recovered, he is within normal limits for both circulating and stored iron.

Tomorrow, he has his first visit with a plastic surgeon. He has a rapidly growing granuloma on his cheek. It is (upon a dermatologist visit) thought to be one that continues growing rapidly and never resolves, is very unstable (as evidenced by Ev running into David on Sunday or so and bleeding and oozing just about non-stop since), and it needs to be surgically removed (meaning stitches...meaning scarring...on his face...hence the plastic consult). It is thought to be benign and the greatest concerns would be 1. sedation, 2. infection, 3. amount of scarring and 4. reducing chance of regrowth as much as possible. I'll post more here as I know more.

Mary Louise and David had eye check ups in January. They went well - very little change in vision. However, David's left eye has been wandering outward during exhaustion since I can remember. It was corrected with glasses to some degree. But the vision in that eye has declined faster than the right. I am now putting dilating drops in the unaffected eye weekly and patching as much as he'll let me (we play pirates...often...and super heroes...who only need one eye...and when all else fails, I let him watch a show I wouldn't normally allow (Spiderman). My favorite David conversation so far was the first time I put the patch on:

Me: Hey David? Remember those super cool pirate patches we got at the store?
D: Yeah!!
Me: How about you come and choose a color and decorate one. Then we can try it out and be rockin' pirates Bub!
D: OK!! YAY!
ML: I want to wear an eye patch!!
Me: ...
(David put stickers on his patch...I put it on)
D: Hey Mom! I can't see if you cover my eyes!

Sweet baby really doesn't seem to be able to see much out of that left eye...but we're working on it. We go back mid summer for a recheck...hoping for some resolution or at least slowed progression.

Mary Louise has had a couple of visits with her pulmonologist. He will see her again mid summer to hopefully stop all meds completely for awhile. This. THIS. is huge. She is taking 1 puff of Advair daily right now. No nasonex, no adenoid removal, no sinus surgery on the horizon...She runs, she plays, we've used the nebulizers once this year during the winter. Vitamins, probiotics, kicking dairy, elderberry syrup, local honey, nettles based allergy vitamin, shark liver oil immune boosters and the correct (CORRECT) preventative prescriptions. It's what's working. Each little step pushed her to get a little bit better, recover from illness a little easier, faster, stronger. Each brick is so important. And with the doctors seeing that with diligence, this preventative approach is well worth the outcome, perhaps hope will resume (because, let's face it, it is so very needed). The next time they find an ubber obnoxious wild eyed bear momma sitting in their office insisting that "it's just not good enough" and "my baby CAN and WILL be better - I just need to find the way"...perhaps in this critical but relatively typical situation, they can offer something more than "well, this med will work, but it's expensive (without even looking at our ins. coverage)..." or "you know, when people come to me, they usually just want a quick fix script - not a long term diet change".

Mary Louise and David will have their end of the year recital this weekend. David is nervous, ML is hard to contain and has informed David that he must NOT mess up her "big stage". Ha. Stinkers. They will have swimming lessons and a fine motor / handwriting course this summer. and....they will attend a Montessori preschool program 3 days per week in the fall!!! It's very small (15 students total), in home, and they are beyond excited to attend "real" school. I'm nervous...mostly about exposure to illness. But, developmentally, it's time for them. They are begging to try. Having an opportunity to get them into a program like this is a great blessing. So, we'll dive in in a few more months!

We've had another round of birthdays here as well...5 and 2 ya'll...5 and 2. 5 and 2...5 and 2...FIVE AND TWO!!

Mouth in the middle:

Ma Monkeys...

My greatest lesson: if you see a field of flowers...stop and enjoy... know...if you're allergy prone, perhaps have the appropriate antihistamine cream on hand post crimson clover dance...always learning...



Monday, December 16, 2013

And to continue...

Everett and I went to the hematologist today for a follow up. Verdict: 3 more months of iron therapy. Boo on this. Good news: his numbers are improved. He is no longer anemic as far as his hemoglobin but is deficient in ferritin (iron stores). Simply put, he lacks stored iron. So, if he should need extra for any reason, it's not there. His dosing is the same. He's 24 pounds now (growing!!) and doing well otherwise - feisty as ever. The hematologist still believes this stems from his traumatic birth...I giggled as he and David marched to bed the other night: Everett in 2T footies and David in 3T. I predict they'll share shorts in the spring...

He has been talking more and more; demanding more and more; and doing everything he can to keep up with his big brother and sister. It's a little (very) overwhelming to watch the three of them play together. Mary Louise and David adore Everett and submit, albeit begrudgingly, to his every whim.

In the past few weeks, we have replaced our (commercial) downstairs heating and cooling unit, had issues with our kitchen faucet and the kids have braved a strep (ML) and cold (E and D) combo. One dog is on antibiotics for a skin issue and the other is on Prozac for, well, a noggin' issue.

Mary Louise and David started rehearsals yesterday for Rudolph - this year's civic ballet production. They are so cute. It's a bit of a mass chaos on stage but eventually kids part and leave sweet David searching for his sister...who typically tries to brush him off once before conceding to take his hand or at least let him follow her. They're both doing well with it all and (I think) loving the attention.

But busy is an understatement here. With all of the pressure, over booking, under sleeping, I still find little moments (when the kids are on stage or at the end of the night when Everett is nursing while falling asleep) to be grateful. The irony that this (happy) sort of busy even gets to me a little after all of the appointments, therapies and just plain organizational mess I've had over the past few years isn't lost on me. I finally have the luxury to think of things as optional - even though it's sometimes on a subconscious level.

Some long over due pics:
There are few things that light up Everett's face as much as a simple ball and game of catch:

We did have a jackolantern this year...but the only little that would touch the "guts" was Everett:

Mary Louise on Halloween:

She spent the evening concerned that someone might need help and mistake her for a "real" doctor. She was so anxious about it that I had a hard time getting her to trick or treat at all. She made sure to tell anyone who would listen that she had not, in fact, finished "docca school" just yet and was therefore not qualified to be of assistance. Sweet baby. What a gift.
David, on the other hand:

promised he could absolutely save anyone and everyone from a blaze - no problem - you know, because that "dus what fire fighters do Mom". (I pretty much believe him. My hero.)

Just because:

Betcha can't find David (group pic for Rudolph):

Back stage:

David's congratulatory reward:

Mary Louise's:

Truth be known, Mary Louise wanted flowers after each rehearsal as well.

They were so excited all of their grandparents and Uncle Kyle and Sean came to see "da big stage" performance. Mary Louise begged to see the final showing "from the chairs" and Uncle Kyle happily obliged. (David requested a "Supa Keer-oh show" that evening. Apparently, he'd had enough ballet for the day.)

This picture makes me laugh:

Doting uncles:

Good. Times.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Impossible

Since Friday:

6 batches homemade cookies
plumber fixed kitchen sink
family pictures organized and done
3 bulk batches of granola
some light garden tending
attended a baby shower for a wonderful friend
2 hours of shopping ALONE at a store without carts!!
a few other home recipes made and done
laundry...there's always laundry...
market on Saturday morning
special order of bulk cookies delivered
dinner with family (out!! at a restaurant!!)
movies with family
meals cooked / cleaned
Brent cleaned the house (ah! be still my heart. Love.)
nursing, nursing, nursing the E man
running with David while he rides his bike a few miles (amazing right?)

I get 2 comments most often:
I don't know how you do "it".
You have your hands full.

The latter happened 13 times in 2 hours during a trip to a scarecrow festival at a nearby garden recently. 13 times. really. So, I obviously don't make "it" look easy.

The physical is that I get "it" done by making lists. By prioritizing, plugging away - one thing at a time. Crossing things off of a physical list gives me peace. I nerd.

Perspective. Keeping things in perspective. Staying in the moment - focusing on the most mundane keeps life extraordinary. Though areas usually suffer (hello, blog - long time no see!), I am doing the best I can and enjoying those painfully sweet moments without worrying about obsessively recording. Looking back, I see happy. That is more than good enough.

Time is flying. It is racing by so fast that focusing on those tiny seconds is all I can do.

Business is going well for which I am so grateful. If anything, I am constantly trying to rein myself in - trimming grandiose ideas into neat and tidy "attainable today" goals.

Mary Louise and David are working on numbers and letters and doing well. We got some old school desks refinished with chalk board paint at a festival my elementary school has each year. We draw letters and numbers together on the desk tops, seats - all over. Something about drawing on furniture...never gets old! Everett keeps up with our lessons too - sounding out and imitating everything. He speaks in 2 to 3 word sentences often - extremely verbal and so sweet and polite saying "tank-oo" appropriately.

They are rarely in "street" clothes anymore - very deep into a massive dress up phase. We took them to raid the clearance costumes the day after Halloween. They literally spend hours (ummm...days. definitely days and if they had their way, nights too) as "Supa Keer-ohs" and "Docca- Bal-uh-weena-Pwinceses". Today I caught David, dressed as a police officer, doing a monologue in the mirror:

"Calm down boys and girls! Bo-weese opisuh Dabid is here!"
"You can buh-wax now. I won't gib you a ticket...(holds the brim of his hat and looks down his nose with a sly grin) un-wess you are doing sumping wong! he he heee"

The kids have all had growth spurts and are looking very long and lanky. Everett is breezing through clothing David wore last winter. We seem to suddenly have "young children" rather than babies. I'm sure, just like that, I'll be trying to catch my breath as I stare at adolescents and teens in a few years.

All amazing. All. Deciding to believe in "possible"...


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Blessings and Business

*This post was started an embarrassingly long time ago - but alas, life happens and blogging, well, sometimes doesn't...*

So, since Downtown Naturals made its debut at a local farmers' market about a month ago, business has been growing, busy and wonderful. I'm am so humbled to be able to provide a local treat, healthy indulgences, and immune boosting elderberry syrup to our just leaves me speechless and awestruck.

Brent and I have daydreamed often about running a cafe, opening a restaurant - just cooking and tasting the days away, together - working hard but feeling like we are hardly working. All we have is our passion for quality ingredients, local, healthy, organics - the opinion that things don't need to be cooked all stinkin' day for flavors to properly marry. People! Nutritious does not equal (taste of) sticks and stones!

This is our first taste of our dream...and I must say, it tastes UH-mazing.

We do our math lessons over a batch of granola. I ask the kids to tell me exactly what they taste as they test a new recipe. It is our family's effort and love that is in every bite of the products on our market table. The kids tag along on (most of the) Tuesdays for market. They watch as grown ups taste, critique and purchase their hard work. They watch money exchange hands. They are learning the value of a dollar so early, and so comfortably...

Tonight, for dinner, Mary Louise, David and Everett enjoyed pan seared tilapia and cod cooked in avocado oil, local herbs, Bragg's liquid aminos, organic lemon and fresh cracked black pepper. These are the tastes of their childhood. This is what they will want for comfort into adulthood. We are raising little "foodies". Unafraid of foods, flavors and new tastes...this is important.

I dropped a package by a neighbor's house today. She ordered some molasses cookies for her friend for a birthday. I made... MADE a birthday present!! I made a birthday present with spelt flour, blackstrap molasses, turbinado, local eggs and (partly) organic spices...I made a birthday present that keeps giving in enjoyment, taste, community support, sustainability and nutrition. The fact that someone thought of us when they were looking for a gift is humbling. What an honor to be a small part of their happy celebration!


This morning was one of those that I woke up and decided to make the day wonderful. It was a conscious decision because, in truth, I was tired, run down and a little grumpy...but, nonetheless, I got us dressed and went to our local Children's Museum. Mary Louise and David are very familiar with the set up - but get so excited to play with everything every time we go. Everett has just recently started to really get into the pretend playing and props there - his sweet mouth was open and in awe for almost all of the 2 hours we spent there.

We had a great time and I got us out of there just before the SUPER hungries hit and while we were all still having fun (one of my greatest Mom lessons was learning to stop things BEFORE they got boring and BEFORE anyone felt too hungry. I still slip from time to time, but make every effort to stop while we're still having fun - so they always want to go back for more later.) As we walked out of the door and I heard the, "Thank you Mom!!" and "But I wanted to play a little more!", I decided that today, we all needed to play a little longer. We went to lunch together. This never happens - especially not without Brent in tow. But there we were. We sat at a table, Everett in my lap and David across, Mary Louise next to me. We talked and ate, laughed and smiled. Then we played some more. It. was. fabulous. Everyone was happy, and we even made it through Sam's on the way home.

I had some errands to run - other than Sam's - but opted for some sofa snuggles this afternoon instead. Because days like this...well, they should be stolen, often. My happy spot is right under my nose (and usually under my feet) but it's just too easy to get wrapped up in business and forget to really savor that time your little girl couldn't understand how Mommom could be a mommy because she doesn't have her hair in a bun and play with babies all day.

Today, today has been savored.
As promised, a few pics of our stay with Mere and Pops on our way home from St. Augustine:


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!