Saturday, February 1, 2014

Blog address moved

I've moved my blog from Blogger to Wordpress. It's still in progress so please bear with the mess. Please continue following me at 

I will be transferring a lot of content from this site to the new site as well.

Also, please follow my facebook page. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Transparent Moment--I am not perfect

Parenting is something I thought that with my decade plus of nannying would come naturally to me. Yet I'm continually learning that, like marriage, it takes work. Some Most days are exhausting. But there are days in particular that wear me to the ground. I am not proud of those days; the days that I tend to lose sight of the mom I want to be, the one I always pictured myself as...always smiling, saintly patience, relishing the little things knowing they won't be little forever... Instead, I find myself succumbing to yelling, sighing, and speaking in negative tones all of which unintentionally suggest belittlement. I find myself frustrated with things like spilled milk and potty accidents, my patience having flown out the door by 8am...only hours, sometimes minutes, after having gotten up. On those days I am the mom I never dreamed I would be. And I feel like right now those days are happening too often.

You see I have weaknesses. I have buttons and as my boys are getting older I feel like not only have my buttons gotten larger therefore making them an easier target, but my son's jobs have also become that of Button Pusher. Lately, I have found myself continuously in a battle with one of my sons. I say jump, he walks. I say walk, he jumps. I say jump hoping he'll actually walk and it's like he reads my mind and gosh darn it he jumps and he'll comment quite literally "what? you said to jump." He knows how to push any and all of my buttons and push them he does. And his screams? This child knows how to have a meltdown. He's been adept at screaming since 14 months old. Oh my goodness does he have it down. It's days spent dealing with this that I'm ready to throw in the towel before the day even begins. And by 7 pm when my husband gets home I have regretted so many words/actions/sighs/etc that have come out of my mouth that I swear I don't deserve to parent these little people. And heaven help me if I have to take all 3 to the grocery store at the end of said day. It's easy for me to feel like I'm a bad parent.

There is a difference though between a bad parent and a good, though imperfect one. A bad parent does all those things and does nothing to change. A bad parent shouts and belittles without apology. An imperfect parent however recognizes the problem and seeks change. An imperfect parent apologizes for wrongdoings and asks for forgiveness. I am a good though imperfect parent.

I am not perfect nor should I expect my children to be. After all, for the most part my kids are just being kids. It's my own stuff that I need to address first. I need to ask myself...Why are my reactions so quick? What is distracting me from my kids? Oftentimes I've found that it's in my perceived need to look like I have it all together that I flounder the most...clean house, nutritious meals, compliant children, fun parties, clean/ironed clothes, I could go on and on. I try to have control of everything and of course my kids are going to push against that control. Feeling that need to have it all together is not only going to make my kids feel like they're failing me, but I will also always feel like I'm failing myself. And that's not fair to anyone. So I've been challenging myself to let go and let them live. Mud fights in the backyard are a must (though I may need gentle reminders from my husband). Fort building, Legos, and/or puzzles need to be daily occurrences. Basically, I've been carving out time to just be with them, all distractions aside, each day. Additionally, as much as I can I try to get my own agenda stuff done when they are preoccupied with other things.

And my son's screams/screeching? Sure, there are some discipline issues that can be worked on but for the most part he is saying Love Me. Love me for who I am, not who you want me to be. Love me for all that I am, not frustrated for all that I'm lacking. Notice that I have feelings and they are different from my brother. Hear me. Put down your phone, turn off the computer, stop doing chores And you know what? When I take the time to do just that, I do hear him. I may get very little else done during the day, but I am with him. And you know what else? The meltdowns stop.

**Parents--What do you find distracts you the most from your kids? Am I the only one that feels that as my boys are getting older my buttons seem to be an easier target for them?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

What should have been

My dear sweet angel babies,

As I stood in the bathroom, hovering near the pregnancy test, I could feel my heart beating in my chest. I knew I didn't need to take any tests to confirm what my body had already been telling me. With 3 healthy pregnancies behind me, I knew. I was pregnant.

Though you weren't a 'timed' pregnancy, you was most definitely a planned one. By that, we knew we wanted 4 kids, just didn't know that it would be this soon. 

From day one, everything about this pregnancy seemed right. It was God's timing, not ours. It was in the middle of a move we weren't even sure we would make until the month before. And we had an offer on a house initially that would have been too small for a growing family...and we beat the odds with our new house which would fit us all perfectly. The cards had all fallen in to place for this pregnancy to happen.

Though it took a couple of weeks for the shock to wear off and the idea of 4 kids to settle in, both your Daddy and I were elated, especially knowing you were so meant to be. I had a certainty about it that I didn't have with any of the other kids. Within a week we had told your big brothers and they were so excited to tell all our family and close friends. We had already begun to imagine what our family would look like. We began making plans, arranging vacations, and 'sick leave' based on your impending arrival. July couldn't get here soon enough.

Selfishly I would have never chosen to have my first trimester wrapped in the the holidays. But obviously I did what I had to do. I spent the first several weeks dry heaving every evening and had absolutely no (I mean z.e.r.o) energy to unpack or organize our new house. It was all I could do to just get through each day. And then one day I realized that I didn't feel quite so sick anymore. I actually made it through the entire day without throwing up. This was around 9 weeks. I commented about how nervous that made me feel but as long as everything was okay with you then I would take good days. At my nurse appointment I had told her it was my easiest pregnancy thus far. I heard the warning bells in the back of my head because I don't have easy pregnancies but I knew that this was 'meant to be' so I ignored the ringing.

And then it happened.

It started as just a light pink tinge every few trips to the bathroom. Nothing overly alarming. And then a few days later I started cramping. Again, nothing serious. But then the combo. Spotting and cramping. ugh. That combo is never good. But again, I thought everything had to be okay because you were meant to be. Maybe I had just overdone it. I mean I had just hosted a North Pole Party at our house with 25+ adults and children, baked cookies for an entire day and a half and attended Daddy's work Christmas party...all within 2 days. Yea, that was it. I had just overdone it.

The next morning I could hardly stand because the cramping was so bad but no bleeding. I called my Dr anyway and scheduled an ultrasound. And that's when my elation came crashing down. There wasn't a heart beat. Not only that, but you, the dear sweet baby inside me wasn't just one. There were two of you.


Identical twins.


I should have taken it as a sign that you were actually 2. Your Papa knew it. Our Christmas tree even knew it...we've called it a 'two-fur tree' ...a tree perfectly formed coming from one stump and breaking in two identical branches leaving a beautiful, full tree. So now I wasn't mourning the loss of one, but two. I know it isn't my fault sweet angels, but you lacked a membrane separating you..monoamniotic and monochorionic. What was meant to keep you alive wasn't. I am so sorry. Finding out that you were twins only added to my devastation. My heart stopped beating. I could hardly swallow. And then the tears came. I'm not sure they've stopped since then. 

I was prescribed some pills by the Dr to help along the miscarriage and pain but despite taking them I doubt I would have needed them. My body took over and ironically, at the same exact time I gave birth to your oldest brother, my first born, 7 years before, I said goodbye to you, to my twins that I didn't get a chance to hold. It's amazing how you can love someone(s!) so much in such a short amount of time without really even "knowing" them. 

You were gone. Nothing could have prepared me for that moment.

I have wanted to ignore the world the past few days despite sending a text out to everyone I could possibly think of having told about my pregnancy. I didn't want to forget anyone for fear they may ask me how you were doing and me bursting in to tears. There is a part of me that feels so guilty that I'm upset because I have 3 beautiful, healthy boys already. But the pain is still there and it is oh so real. The pain of losing you is so raw. The family of six seven we had imagined was no longer. My certainty gone. 

One thing I'm certain of is how grateful I am for our friends and family. You would have loved it here. We have had a blanket of love wrapped around us. Flowers, dinners, kind words, cards, special gifts, and prayers. We have felt every single prayer. You have the best daddy and big brothers in the whole world. I hate our Christmas tree now. It's a reminder of what could have and should have been. But your daddy? He loves it. He says it's a reminder that you aren't have each other. And you know what? He's right. We are so glad you have each other.

And just so you know little ones, we are now a family of 7. Though we only hold 3 kiddos here, we hold all 5 in our hearts. We also know there are 2 identical pairs of tiny footsteps going before us, leading the way 'home'. One day we will get to meet you, find out if you are 2 handsome boys or two beautiful girls. 

Until then...

I will love you forever and for always.

Your mommy

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Transparent Moment; Watching your child die

In the middle of my Preschool Series: Choosing a Preschool, Nut Allergy in Tow, I was presented with this article (thank you Christina!). Please read it and some of the comments that spawned from it (at the bottom of the article) and then continue on...

Have you ever witnessed your child dying?

He clung to my husband's neck, desperately, pleading with his eyes...Daddy, please help me breathe.

The very first time it happened we got the call the day we brought our younger son home from the hospital, 3 weeks shy of our oldest turning 2.  "Kadyn is struggling to breathe. We think he might have put something up his nose that is now obstructing his airway. We're going to take him to Urgent Care (closer than the ER)."

My husband raced to the Urgent Care to meet them while I stayed home with our newborn son. After a series of tests determining there wasn't an object obstructing his breathing, yet having an O2 level of 61% and the inability to get a reading on my son's lungs, the Dr determined it must be pneumonia.

My husband called me with the news.

I was screaming in to the phone. NO! He isn't sick. He wasn't sick. It is NOT pneumonia. Despite my plea, they were prepping him for x-rays to determine the type and severety of pneumonia all the while wasting precious seconds of my son's life.

My little boy clung to my husband's neck, desperately, pleading with his eyes as if to say Daddy, please help me breathe. His breathing quick, shallow, and gasping all at the same time. His nose had ceased to function...there was no air coming or going. When he tried to talk, his voice was inrecognizable as his own. He limply lay in my husband's lap, his face ghost-like in whiteness, the normal exuberance g.o.n.e.

Fortunately (praise God!) he had a button up shirt on...the only reason x-ray tech asked my husband to take my son's shirt off. And what possibly could be what saved his life.

As soon as my son's shirt came off, my husband was clearly able to diagnose him himself. IT'S AN ALLERGIC REACTION! He screamed. The blistering hives covered his little body. In some parts it was so severe the lumps were purple, the size of raised quarters. How the Doctor missed this during intake is beyond me.

What happened next is all a blur of quick reaction and life-saving efforts.

Until that point we had no idea our son had a life threatening allergy to most tree nuts. We are so grateful it happened when it did and not out in the middle of nowhere camping; no medical support in sight. So grateful for the quick response of those caring for him to take him right to Urgent Care. So grateful that he had a button up shirt on. So grateful he's beginning to recognize his allergy for what it is, knows the seriousness of it, and understands that it's okay to be different. So grateful that foods are labeled as safe or unsafe so we can begin to teach him (someone had commented on Facebook the other day "I think it's ridiculous that things like rice need to be labeled with food's rice." If you don't have to look for those labels in protection of life, you don't understand their importance.) So grateful that he's alive. And...

We are so grateful that we found a preschool that is willing to work with us on this.

I was saddened at reading this article, not only because it angered me at the parent's response to publically protest by picketing but also because I can understand how it seems extreme to parents that don't have to deal with life-threatening food allergies. To an extent I get both sides; really, I do.

What really gets me though, the entire purpose of the whole post I've written, is in regards to the comments after the article...all 31 pages of them. I was appalled at some of these comments that followed the article. APPALLED. To say that the child in this article must be homeschooled is absurd; just like all the references to "some parents can only afford to feed their kid peanut butter" not everyone can afford to live off of one income and homeschool their children. To say that this child should be kept in a bubble? How dare you. To say that I'm a bad parent for sending my child to such an unsafe environment and out of my protection? Who are you to judge. To say that it's ridiculous to rely on prayer? God is bigger than that. We are fully aware that the next time it happens he may have even less time, will require an epipen, and e.v.e.r.y second will count. But we're striving to do our best, give him the best, and teach love and acceptance of everyone. And we will continue to be prayerful the entire way.

Despite all of this, I will have grace and recognize that until someone has watched the early stages of death, they wouldn't, and couldn't understand.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Preschool Series: Choosing a Preschool, nut allergy in tow; Action Plan & Emergency Bag

If your child has a life threatening allergy, it is best to prepare an allergy bag to remain at the preschool. I would suggest getting a little bag and including the following:

  • 2 Epi-pens
  • Inhaler (if your child uses one)
  • Benadryl
  • Action plan
  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Picture of your child
Make sure you label the outside of the bag with your child's name and picture on the front, and all emergency numbers on the back.

The inside of the bag can include the epi-pens, inhaler, benadryl and action plan. If you don't have a single dose of Benadryl, make sure you label the outside of the bottle with the dosage in large print so it's easy to see. Also make sure you include the dosing cup or syringe if you don't have one of the single doses.

The Action Plan is just as important as the emergency items. This is where you again include your emergency contact numbers, but also the numbers for your child's pediatrician, emergency contact if you're unavailable, and how/when to give the dosing of each item, what to look for as an allergic reaction and the severity of what type of allergy that is presenting itself. A great example to use is found here.

You should make sure your child's teacher reviews your action plan frequently. You can speak with the Director of the preschool to make sure all teachers are trained with an epipen and know what to look for/when to give dosing, etc. If the preschool hasn't had any firsthand, hands-on experience with life threatening food allergies, I would highly encourage you to take the practice epipen and do a mini-training for the teachers prior to your child's first day. Additionally, you can hire the Red Cross to come and train the staff. You may feel silly, but it is your child's life they are taking in to their own hands, in a more extreme way than they are with other children. Same goes for all the parents if your child is attending a co-op or a parent participation preschool. Everyone that will have contact with your child should be trained.

Your emergency bag should be clearly labeled with your child's picture and put in a visible, easily accessible spot that any adult can get to.

Rememer, every second counts.

Thanks for being a part of this series. Hopefully someone is still reading it and has found something to take from it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Choosing a Preschool, Nut Allergy in Tow; Questions to Ask

Again, welcome to the series: Choosing a Preschool, Nut Allergy in Tow.

Once you've determined which preschool philosophy you would like your child's preschool to have, it's time to pick a preschool.

I would suggest visiting a local preschool fair, if your town offers one. It's a great chance to see many, or all, of the local preschools and get your basic questions out of the way...location, cost, age, potty training, parental involvement, hours of operatino, location, etc.

However, once you've narrowed it down to a select few I would encourage you to actually go visit them (see if you can bring your preschooler!) and get a hands-on idea of what the preschool is like. At that time I would suggest you determine which of the following questions are important to you and ask a handful (if not all) of the following:

1. During your tour ask to see the curriculum.
          -What are the children in each age group working on?
          -Will they get a chance to create artwork?
          -Will the children be working on any reading, writing, etc.?
          -Will the children be experimenting with any music?
          -What is the structure (if any) to the day?
          -What is the student/teacher ratio?
          -How much tv do the children watch? (For us, I didn't want any since I could do that myself)
          -What type of experience/education does each teacher have?

2. During the tour make a mental note of:
          -How many classes there are.
          -Do all the teachers appear friendly?
          -Is there any outside play area? If so, how is it supervised and is it enclosed?
          -Are the room(s) safe and easily accessible by the children?
          -How do they keep kids safe inside and strangers outside?

3. Other things to consider:
         -How are the children disciplined?
         -How often are the facilities/toys cleaned?
         -Do YOU feel comfortable there? Ask your child too! If you don't, trust your gut.
         -How do they handle bathroom breaks for themselves and the children?
         -What type of parent involvement do they require?

4. And great questions to ask if you have a child with a life-threatening food allergy:
          -Are you familiar, and have you had direct experience with, children with life-threatening food allergies? Has anyone had a reaction here? If yes, how was it handled?
          -Do you provide meals? If so, how many, and how do you take precautions for those with allergies?
          -What type of training or experience have you (and all staff) had related to how to handle a food allergy crisis?
          -Do you (and all staff) know how to use an Epi Pen?
          -Could I (the parent) bring in the Red Cross for a training for the staff on how to handle a situation involving a life-threatening food allergy?
          -How do you handle celebrations? E.g. birthdays, holidays, etc. regarding treats?
          -What is your medical emergency routine/policy?

Always feel comfortable asking for references! After all, you would do if it you were a business owner hiring them to work for you. In fact, they ARE working for you! They are helping raise and educate your CHILD.

Of course there are probably 100s more questions you could ask. Before you go, make sure to think of everything that's important to you and write them down! You'll be shocked at how easily you forget once you're there. And never feel bad for asking questions; remember, this is YOUR CHILD we're talking about.

Anyone have any good questions to add to the list?

Tomorrow: So now you've made your choice. What do you send your allergic child to preschool with?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Choosing a Preschool, Nut Allergy in Tow; Philosophies

Welcome to the series Choosing a Preschool; Nut Allergy in Tow. If you're just joining in, I encourage you start from the beginning to see what got me started in my preschool research. Then check out the introduction regarding what this series will cover. And finally, visit breaking down the things to think about section. Today I'm focusing on explaining different preschool approaches and philosophies. This was something that completely threw me. I had no idea there were so many different options out there. No, it really doesn't have anything to do with food allergies, just demystifying all the differences.

First you'll need to decide which approach you're looking for: a developmental preschool, an academic preschool, or a combination of the 2. Typically a philosophy will encompass one of these approaches.
Academic---Are you hoping your child will learn letters, numbers, begin to write, and read? If so, this is the type of preschool you'll want to focus on. An academic based preschool is very similar to a kindergarten class. Academic settings are much more structured.

Developmental---Are you hoping your child will get a chance to try a hand at art, creativity, dress up, play, outside time? Then this is the type of preschool for you.

Of course you can find a combination of the two.

There are many different preschool philosophies. Some of the most common:

Montessori---In a Montessori, the teachers serve more as guides. Typically, a lesson is introduced to the entire class, but then they break in to smaller groups to explore the lesson at the children's own pace. This philosophy is that children are individual learners and learn at their own pace. The children are encouraged to learn through all 5 senses. And the classes typically have 3-6 year olds all together so the older children help the younger children learn.This approach is great for children with special needs since they receive such individualized attention. Montessoris are very hands on and also teach children how to take care of their own needs and belongings. For more info go here

Reggio Emilia---Very similar to a Montessori in the fact that the children are the leaders and the teachers are the guides. Only, with this philosophy the teachers observe what the kids are interested in first and then guide them to take on projects that pursue their interests further. So instead of the "guides" coming up with the lesson plans, essentially the kids are. A lot of their philosophy also surrounds the environment. For more info go here

Waldorf---A Waldorf school's teaching philosophy is one that follows anthroposophy; the belief that in order to understand the world, the children must first understand humanity (body, soul and spirit). This philosophy also focuses on creative play (creating their own toys), routine (student often continue through grade school with the same teacher) and teamwork. The original founder believed children learn best through imitation. For more info go here
High/Scope---This is more of an academic approach. The focus on this preschool is academic skill development. For more info go here

Play-Based---Play-based preschools are just that; they focus on age-appropriate activities and teach kids through play. Typically different stations are set up encouraging different types of play (dress up, make believe, art, etc).

Religious---Preschools with a religious emphasis typically combine one of the above philosophies with age-appropriate religious teachings. If a religious component is important to you, make sure you familiarize yourself with the other philosophies and determine which you'd like to look for.

A combination---there are some preschools that combine some or all of the above.

Tomorrow we'll talk about touring preschools and the different types of questions to ask.