Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Before and after

Here is the athlete on Saturday, looking bushier than ever.....

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And here he is on Sunday after a good haircut given by my multi-talented husband!

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Saves us a fortune the way his hair grows!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sucker punched by mom guilt

I consider myself  to be a very supportive and active parent in my children's extra curricular activities.  Both my kiddos play soccer, year round and I make it a point to go to ALL their games and almost always, their practices as well.

You gotta remember, I work from home and spend my days with the most amazing daycare children anyone could ever ask for, but I work alone.  I crave other adult interaction, badly!  And getting out of the house a couple nights a week and schmoozing with other parents during practice helps keep me sane.  I really enjoy it.

When it comes to juggling schedules, the coach and I are pretty good about coordinating days and times, and with only 2 children we don't have too many conflicts with their schedules.  However, every once in a while something will come up and we each have to take a child to his or her game separately.

This past weekend the princess had her last indoor game of the season at 4:15 in the the afternoon, but the coach had scheduled a private baseball lesson for the the athlete at the same time, not knowing about the soccer game.  Since he is the assistant coach for her team, he had to be there which left me either cancelling the athlete's baseball lesson or missing her game.  We decided to keep the lesson and I made the trek to Leominster while the coach and the princess took off in the opposite direction for her game.

An hour or so later, I'm driving home in the car when my cell phone rings.  It's the coach and he is on cloud nine.  He proceeds to tell me how I missed the most amazing game that our daughter has ever played.  Not only that are you ready for this?  SHE SCORED HER FIRST GOAL EVER!!!

"Are you kidding me?????  And where the hell was I?  Not where I should have been!"

I sat there in the car driving home, listening to the princess tell me all about it, and me screaming like a lunatic for her, telling her how proud of her I was, when she dropped the bomb.

"I really wish you could have been there mom."

Just like that, I was hit in the gut with that awful mom guilt.  All the shoulda, coulda, woulda's  flashed through my mind, and all I could tell her was I was so sorry I missed it.  That was a sucky feeling,  one that I pride myself on not letting happen around here.  Sure there will be more great games, more great plays by each of my children and I'm sure more goals, but I will never get "that" goal, "that" moment back, and I hate that!

In typical princess fashion, she didn't hold it against me.  In fact the only time she ever brought it up was from a prompt from her obnoxious father, who thought it was funny to keep taunting me!!  (The stinker that he is!)

So I guess I gotta just let it go.  There's no use crying over spilled milk.  I'm sure there will be plenty more moments in their lives that no matter how hard I try and plan, I'm not always going to be there to see it with my own eyes.  As they continue to grow, they're probably not gonna want me around to witness all their "firsts" anyway.  (God help me, I'm cringing just thinking about this!!!!)  But for the time being, while they still care, I'm going to be their number one cheerleader.  And in the future too, even when they DON"T want me to be.  That 's just part of being a mom.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Saint Patty's Day!

I'm French Canadian, and the coach is Italian, so what?

We can celebrate St. Patty's day too ya know!

Tonight on the menu?  A traditional New England Boiled dinner of corned beef and cabbage.  Yummy!

Corned beef...  Check, in the pot as we speak,  see:

Cabbage, potatoes, and carrots....   Check, all washed, and eagerly awaiting to be simmered

Homemade Irish Soda bread...  Check, all warm and freshly baked out of the oven

And this my friends is the only day once a year I make this!


Monday, March 14, 2011

We grew from 2 to 3

This little lady wandered into our yard and our lives back in November.  We found her in our back yard at dusk.  She came right up to us and was so friendly.  We gave her food and water, which she scoffed down so fast it was obvious to me she hadn't eaten in a while.  I kept her in the garage over night with a nice warm blanket and took her to the vets the next day to see if she had a microchip in her and belonged to someone.

She didn't and she needed a good home.  We had her completely checked out and she was healthy other than a good infestation of fleas.  We brought her home, introduced her to the other fur babies and we named Luna.

Obviously she has made herself very comfortable here.

Have you ever seen a cat so relaxed?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Living with a chronic disease

I was diagnosed with asthma at around six years old.  From everything I was told back then, I would most likely never outgrow it.  The doctor's told us that you have a much better chance of outgrowing asthma if you are born with it, then if you develop it later on in life.  This is true for me.

Growing up my asthma would flare up constantly, especially in the winter months.  As soon as that first blast of frozen winter air hit my lungs they shut tight.  I always had to cover my mouth and nose with a scarf or high collar on my jacket and breathe in the warmed air.  I remember one time my family was ice skating on a frozen pond across from my grand parents house.  My cousins and I were flying all over the place and I was breathing heavily from the exercise.  My jacket collar got wet from my breath constantly being blown against it and I didn't like the way it felt on my face so I did what any stupid kid would do.  I said "screw this!" and I unzipped my jacket letting the cold air blast me in the face and lungs.

Within minutes I couldn't breathe.  I was wheezing, coughing, and struggling to take in a breath, but I was stuck all the way on the other side of the pond.  I  remembered that my mom had made me put my rescue inhaler in my jacket pocket before I had taken off to skate, so I grabbed that, put it to my lips, pressed down on the button and sucked in, but nothing would come out.  I tried again and again getting more panicked with each try, feeling hot tears come from nowhere stream down my cheeks.  The winter air had frozen the inhaler and prevented it from working.  Crying and gasping for air, I slowly made my way back across the pond and saw my mom and uncle smiling and waving at me, thinking that I was having the time of my life.  As I got closer they realized something was wrong and hurried onto the frozen pond to help me.

I gasped out to them over and over, "I can't breathe, I can't breathe, my inhaler won't work!"  My mom made me sit down on a tree stump and my uncle took the inhaler and started shaking it and rubbing it briskly in his hands, blowing his own breath on it to warm it up.  All the while my mom is trying to calm me down telling me to relax and try to take slow breaths.  (On a side note here: for people that don't have breathing problems, telling someone who is in the middle of an asthma attack to calm down and breathe slowly is like telling someone who has just fallen from a building to just calm down, flap your arms, relax and you'll fly.  It doesn't work.  They will never understand just how scary that feeling is.

 For those of you who would like to do a simulation exercise, try this sometime:  put a plastic drinking straw in your mouth, close your lips around it making a tight seal so that the only air you breathe in and out comes from the hole in the straw.  Start walking around like that breathing in and out.  Now take it up a notch.  Go outside and start to run, keep breathing in and out through that tiny little opening in the straw and see how long you make it before you spit that stinking straw out and draw in a nice big gulp of refreshing air for your now burning lungs.  That my friends is as close as it gets to understanding what an asthmatic could feel like at any given time, and without being able to get immediate relief.

My uncle did eventually get my inhaler warmed up to the point where it would work again and I took several puffs over and over which helped relieve the feeling that I had a ton of bricks sitting on my chest.  My mom dried my tears and told me everything was going to be just fine, but damn it, I was pissed!  I couldn't even enjoy skating with my family without looking like the freak who had to come running back.  I don't even remember if I went back on the ice that day.  I just remember sitting on that stupid tree stump feeling embarrassed.

Over the years we were sent to various pulmonologists, allergists, pediatricians, you name it.  My poor parents spent a small fortune on my asthma medication.  I remember my mom devoted an entire kitchen cabinet to house my meds alone.  The worst part was that the treatment of asthma is not a sure thing.  What works for one person might not work so hot for another.  It is a constant, EXPENSIVE,  trial and error type of treatment plan.

We learned that I was allergic to pretty much everything,  all animals, trees, grasses, pollen, ragweed, dust mites, mold, you name it, I couldn't be around it without it triggering my asthma.  I can't tell you how many sleep overs my poor dad had to come and pick me up from in the middle of the night because I just couldn't breathe. (Thanks Dad!)  After a while I just gave up trying to see if I could make it through the night.  After  every sleepover invite, I  followed up with, "Do you have any pets?"  And depending on the answer, my decision had already been made for me.

Despite taking daily preventative medication, I did end up in the hospital on several occasions.  The first time was very scary, but the the trade off of being able to breathe was better, so I sucked it up and got through it.  After that I just got used to it.  I even knew when I would be hospitalized.  There they would load me up on IV steroids overnight and from there I would miss a few more days of school at home sucking on my peacepipe, (aka a Nebulizer), every couple of hours to try to keep my lungs from closing up on me again.  At one point I came home from the hospital on so much medicine that it was actually making my physically ill.  I was afraid to go to sleep that night because I thought I wouldn't wake up.  My dad sat on my bed and told me everything was going to be ok and that he never would never have let me come home if he thought my safety was in jeopardy.  He told me to close my eyes and trust him, that I would feel a lot better in the morning.  I remember closing my eyes, thinking, "God I hope he's right" and then I fell asleep.

To be continued...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A quick update

So after not being around for almost a year, I realized that the pictures of the kiddos in my header were outdated.  Children grow and change FAST and I needed some updated photos!  So wha-la!  My newly updated header.

This past weekend has been a blur.  I came down with a nasty chest cold, (so I thought).  I push threw it and go on about my day on Saturday, 3 hour retreat at the church with the princess for her 1st Communion, dentist appointment for me, and normal weekend cleaning.

Notice at about 12 noon the athlete not budging from the couch and not eating.  Warning bells go off in my mind.

By 5 the athlete is puking his brains out.  Proceed to stay up all night with him and his head in a bucket and start to feel my own stomach turn.  Ignore the feeling and keep on trucking.  By morning said feeling is no longer ignorable and I am down for the count in bed with the nasty bug.

Athlete seems to be doing better and has been downgraded from my bed to the couch.  Spend entire day on Sunday in misery, when I get a visit from the princess at 5 on Sunday night.  She too has been hit!  Spend the next 8 hours in bed with her and her head in a bucket, taking a few short breaks to visit the toilet myself for some much needed spewing.  (Visual image is gross I know!)

Cancel daycare for the following day assuming that none of us will be up and running and try to get some sleep.

Wake up Monday morning starving, with my head feeling like it's stuck in a vice.  Both kids are bouncing off the walls and exclaiming how wonderful they both feel.  (At least that's one less thing I have to deal with today.)

Sit my rear on the couch and try to take a few deep breaths and send myself into a coughing fit so hard I practically pee my pants.  Chest cold has turned into a nasty bout with my asthma.  Must call doctor.   Go to the kitchen to take all my inhalers and notice Charlotte my lovely little grey kitty is soaking wet.  This is not good!

Open basement door all the way and see what I was dreading.  The entire basement flooded due to the heavy rains throughout the night and all the snow melt we have had.  Our brand new sump pump decided not to turn on during the night and we now have 2-3 inches of water in our basement.  (Rock on!)

Let the coach go down and soak himself, unsticking the float which makes the pump work and say " I''ll deal with that mess later."  Spend the day cleaning, disinfecting, bathing children, doing umpteen million loads of laundry and trying to dry out the basement.  All this being done while I continue to suck on my inhalers, cough and wheeze all day.

Finally get to the doctors today where I'm told, "you sound like crap"

"Yes I know, thank you very much"  I reply.  "I need to be on Prednisone."   He gives me a nebulizer treatment in the office checks my pulse ox, listens to me again and then tells me what I already know.

"You need a course of steroids."  He gives me prescription and off I go.  Now here I am, finishing the day, getting the kids to finish their makeup work from yesterday plus today's work.  Cooking dinner and getting ready for the athlete's soccer game at 5:15pm.

Thank God daycare ended early today!  Bring on tomorrow baby!

Friday, March 4, 2011

It's not very cute after all

Damn genetics and damn you tongue thrust, you little devil.

Who would have thought that the adorable little tongue thrust that babies are born with could cause so much trouble, (painful and uber expensive trouble I might add! But I will get to that in a minute.)

All babies are born with a tongue thrust. You really notice it when they are introduced to baby food for the first time. You put the spoon in and blaap, out comes all the food again with the "thrust" of their tongue. As they develop the tongue thrust goes away and they learn to swallow foods correctly.

Sometimes however, children never outgrow it in infancy. This can lead to speech problems, like having a lisp, which my little princess currently has. It can also cause problems with adult teeth coming in, as is the case with the athlete. We started noticing a year ago that his adult upper teeth were having a hard time coming down and they were overlapping and protruding. I knew he would need braces eventually, and didn't think it was that big of a deal. (Almost every kid on the planet needs braces now a days, why should mine be any different.)

Little did I know that his messed up mouth was caused mainly by that little culprit tongue of his!

After going for a consultation with an orthodontist we were slammed with the fact that the athlete has one hell of a messed up mouth! Not only is he going to need the usual treatment with braces, he is considered a phase 1 candidate and needs to have major orthodontic work done now before the bones in his jaw permanently harden.

Let me preface this next part by filling you all in, this orthodontist we are seeing comes highly recommended. She has a son in the athlete's grade and the boys play on the same soccer team. I have met with her several times and she has fully explained the issues he has and how and why they need to be corrected. I completely trust her and her treatment plan.

Phase 1 plan includes, are ya ready for this????

Rapid palate expander, to be turned manually by me, once a day for 3 weeks. Serious ick factor here! I can feel his poor little mouth stretch and ache just thinking about it.

Headgear, to be worn 12 hours a day, mostly at night while sleeping. Wish me luck with this people! Some of you already know all about the athlete and his issues with sleeping!
Tongue crib, this will be in place to block his tongue from thrusting against his teeth every time he swallows. He will need to re-learn how to correctly place his tongue when he swallows. Supposedly achieved with special exercises. (Are we all having fun yet?)

Last but not least, 4 front upper braces to correctly place the teeth that have been pushed
out so far.

And before we could even begin this treatment my poor guy had to have 3 baby teeth pulled in his upper jaw that were not even loose yet. That made two more separate appointments to his dentist for the extractions. On his last trip he came home with the right side of his face sagging a good inch lower that the other because he had to have so much novocaine. He was a trooper through the whole thing!

So this is where we're at now. Yesterday was the athlete's first appointment of four which he will have every Thursday until the 24th when everything will be cemented in place. (I have secretly been referring to the day as D day. The D standing for doom!) He had 4 spacers put in to move his molars and make room for the metal bands to go around them. He did well until about 2 in the morning when he woke up with major tooth pain. Some motrin and a nice long hour and a half chat with mom in bed and he was back to sleep until the morning.

We'll see how he's feeling when he gets home from school today, and hopefully by Sunday the pain will be gone. Then I get to look forward to doing this all over again in two weeks!

Next post I will have pictures up and plan on documenting this torturous process from start to finish! You know being the good and caring mom that I am! (Just kidding! I really do sympathize with the poor kid!)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I didn't vanish into thin air!

Yes I am alive and yes my family and I are all doing well. So where have I been for almost a year?

The truthful answer is, I have been right here all along, doing what I do everyday. I am still taking care of my children, being a wife, taking care of my home, and running my daycare.
I am also still faithfully reading the blogs that I follow everyday.

So why haven't I written anything on my own blog?

Again truthful answer, I don't really have a good answer. I enjoy writing my blog and posting my photos of our life, but writing and editing, posting, and uploading photos is time consuming and time is what I lack. There always seems to be something else I could or should be doing with the short periods of free time that I have during the day.

I want to blog and tell the tales, good and bad, that go on in our home. It boils down to the same thing it always does. It's a commitment and one thing I have learned about myself over the years is that I have an all or nothing personality. If I can't do something 100 percent than I don't do it at all. I haven't yet learned how to cut myself some slack. That is one quality about myself that I am well aware of and trying to get better with.

Writing this post is the first step to correcting this awful trait of mine. It is unrealistic of me to plan on writing and posting every single day. It is also not always going to be possible to have pictures in every post, (even though I love posts with pictures sooo much more that words alone!)

I will write when I have the time, or when something happens that I just have to share!! I am going to stop putting so much pressure on myself to be a perfectionist with this blog and just enjoy it for what it is. A place to capture memories of my life, express myself, create new friendships and learn and grow as I go through this crazy journey of motherhood from start to finish.

Your welcome to join me for the ride!