Thursday, July 24, 2014

How To Parent?

Go here. Do this. Don't sleep because the heartburn is so bad. Clean up. Repeat.

My life has been a series of this lately. Over the past six months, Abel has had appointment after appointment. At first they were trying to figure out why he wasn't talking. At first, there were primary care doctors and developmental specialists. Then there were audiologist and ENTs. Now that we know he's deaf, there are all of thee above and then some. After we found out the news, he was added to an early intervention program and I mindlessly signed paper after paper thinking I was doing something that he needed. They pay when our insurance won't so it certainly is beneficial, but there are some aspects of the program that I didn't understand what I was getting us into.



Once a week (which is a lot when he also has speech once a week and I have a doctor appointment weekly, too), someone comes into our home and...tells me how to parent? I don't know. I still haven't figured out her role. In the beginning stages, I thought she would be there to encourage speech development, educational play, or help him with his sign language. We sat down and developed overall family goals that left me feeling like this was some sort of program to help parents who have no idea what they're doing. While it may very well be the case that I'm super overwhelmed by having (soon to be) three kids in diapers, I am also not readily accepting of having someone come in and offering additional advice. The truth is, unless you've been in these shoes, I don't think you quite understand how my day is. Many days, I'm barely making it. If your kids were spaced years apart, if you had a full time job, if your family lived right down the road as you parented--these make one's journey very different. Couple that with not knowing the stress that comes along with having a child who has special needs, it makes it difficult for me to relate. I know people have helpful advice, but I often have a hard time taking it to heart. I know how that makes me sound.
I feel as if the last thing I have time for is to sit down for an hour with someone and take suggestions on how to run my household and family. This woman is sweet...and honestly, I love having another adult to talk to throughout the day. At the same time, these home visits add more stress to me. The house will be perfectly clean and she walks in and suddenly the kids are throwing stuff everywhere. Last time she was here, Abel climbed up on the porch table and threw off all the place mats while Kinley stuffed his head in a plastic bag. It's really no wonder they think I need assistance with motherhood.
And really, the program is voluntary. I just didn't understand that when I first started the program. Now, I feel like I have to do it because I took up the case worker's time and the woman's time by developing these goals and meeting up to sign papers, etc. Last time she was here she asked me to think of some things I wanted to work on next time. I thought all week and couldn't come up with anything that I think she can help me with. I mean, what would make my life easier? Well, for starters, it'd be easier if Abel could hear. This would make trips to the park a lot better because I wouldn't have to be directly in front of him to talk to him while I attempt to wrangle the other toddler out of harm's way in the parking lot. It would be helpful if I could breathe normally whilst doing this. It would be great if I wasn't waddling and feeling as if I'm about to pass out in the heat while we're there. These are things no one can fix right now. I'm okay with that. These are things throughout the day that you just figure out. Unless you're going to grab a kid when he's about to topple off the highest level of the playground out of sheer joy to be outside, I don't think advice will help the situation. Unless you want to push one in the swing while I take off toward the other to encourage him to share the sand toys instead of hoarding them all then I don't quite have time to think about how YOU would have handled the situation. Remember, I'm barely making it.
I can't even focus on what is being said in these sessions because I'm busy parenting. These kids require constant attention. Don't climb that. Don't eat that. Take your fingers out of the toilet. Please find an inside voice BEFORE MAMA GOES ABSOLUTELY NUTS.
I racked my brain, but I just couldn't come up with something for her to help me with. I probably offended her, but I told her I didn't have any goals for her and I wasn't sure where to go from here. She sent me a text and then called suggesting we put off our meetings until after I have the baby and Abel gets his cochlear implants because life will "slow down". I don't think that's entirely true. There will be more audiology and speech appointments. There will be postpartum appointments. There will be new baby appointments. I will have a baby attached to my breast for about a year. Life is not going to slow down. I fear I made her mad when I suggested any of these feelings. It was not my intention. My intention is to make my house as pleasant at possible. I want to parent in a way that I'm proud of, a way that would make my Father in Heaven proud. I want to give my kids a happy childhood. I want to challenge Abel and the rest of my children to be the best people they can be despite any hurdles that might be in their way. I want the walls of this house to be accustomed to laughter and not yelling. Magic not stress. Happiness not worry. And I'm still trying to figure out how to accomplish this. Aren't we all?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

36 Week BumpDate

I'm 36 weeks pregnant- officially on my ninth month- and maybe that makes me a little emotional. There are no less than fifty billion things to do and I fear the stress gets to me from time to time. Aside from other unrelated-to-baby-stressors, my mind keeps floating back to labor and delivery. You would think I would be an old pro at this by now! But no two births are the same and if I'm being honest, I'm nervous again. With K, I was induced due to preeclampsia. The labor felt dreadfully long and painful until I got an epidural and was able to relax a bit. With Abel, I labored at home unsure if I was actually in labor until it was almost too late. He came so quickly there was no time for drugs or much worry even. I preferred the latter experience. It was amazing to experience what my body is capable of and to do it without the help of drugs or a doctor (no time to get there). I was blessed to have a studying midwife as my nurse when I got to the hospital and she was incredibly encouraging and knowledgeable about different positions to ease the pain. She truly made me feel like I could do anything! I was up and walking around shortly after birth, feeling amazing (considering).
I just don't want to have high expectations of that happening again. I know I should mentally prepare myself for a csection or an induction or a car delivery...basically just different avenues of lotsa pain. But I have this hope sparking inside that is telling me- it's going to be okay.
I went to the doctor today. I have gained, ahem five pounds since I last was there. I feel it, too. It was a slight cause for concern because you can see the gain in my hands and feet. Additionally, my blood pressure was slightly higher than it has been. We're going to keep an eye on this and my other pre-eclamptic symptoms, but at this point, I am told not to worry.


Baby is the size of: a large cantaloupe *I was told he weighs 6lb 4oz already!
Weight: 148 (+28 lbs total) I'm hoping this is water or some salt issue in my diet. Maybe I'll balance out in a day or two. The five pounds I mentioned earlier came on quickly! I regret tossing most of my maternity clothes after my last pregnancy and I regret not buying more this time around. Nothing fits. I look a hot mess most days.
Cravings: Ice chips. I could not stop crunching ice. It was awful. I googled it and it said that it was likely due to a lack of iron so I popped some prenatals and I do feel better. The craving has subsided for the most part.
Boy/Girl: Still a bouncing baby boy. Can't wait to meet him!
Stretch Marks: a few, yes. I think they'll go away, though. Here's to hoping!
Exercise: Nonexistent. I've gone for walks but not much more than that. My heart rate shoots up too high for any of my regular exercise routines or running. I miss feeling healthy and strong.
New Things: Abel is now recognizing that there's a baby in mama's belly. He'll lift up my shirt and (try to) sign "brother". Or if I sign brother to him, he will point at my belly. The kid is brilliant. I might be biased a bit. Kinley talks about Merit in a way that makes me excited for them to meet. He knows mama is having another baby and he actually seems happy about it. He often says, "Let's get him out!"
What I Miss: breathing normally, sushi, wine, my toned body
What I'm Looking Forward To: That moment when he is placed on my chest and nothing else in the whole entire world matters!

Were you nervous about your second, third, etc labor and deliveries, too? Is it just me being weird?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Let's talk budgeting-

I've spent the majority of this pregnancy depressed if I'm being totally honest. So when my oldest son picked up a piece of mail, "read" my name on the envelope, and opened it and exclaimed, "Oh no. Another one" that was my breaking point for this week. As much as I try not to let my sadness and stress influence him, I know that it does. He's watching everything I do and listening to everything I say. I know it's not just him, too. Abel knows I'm sad...even Merit probably feels it. That just adds to my guilt.
I don't know if it's the influx of hormones or what, but I have felt mostly unhappy during the past year. We've had a lot thrown our way- many of these happenings are blessings, I know they are, but still it feels incredibly overwhelming at times. Right now, I'm wishing we never bought this house even though I love it. It just feels like a large money pit. There were so many projects we wanted to do to it and I wanted to decorate it, finally, because it was a place we were staying at longer than a year. It was going to be home. But with Abel's recent medical bills and mine with this pregnancy, it doesn't feel like we should be here. The house feels too big. It's a pendulum above my head.
I know that money doesn't matter. It's not ours anyway...it's God's. I get nervous, though and when that bill came today and Kinley pretended to be worried, too that just made me feel about two feet tall. When you're wearing your rose colored glasses and purchasing your first home, you don't think that something might come up that costs a lot of money. You don't think your child might need cochlear implants. You definitely don't consider that your insurance won't pay for it. I've been on the phone off and on all week with doctors and our insurance company, trying to figure out what's going on. It has been a mess. The insurance company is telling me one thing and Vanderbilt another. I'm trusting in God that this is going to work out in some way in His time.

Until then, this family needs a plan. 

What are some ways you save money? Cut out cable, cell, etc bills? Clip coupons? Budgeting tricks? What's the single most helpful way you've found to watch your spending?



Monday, July 14, 2014

Marvelous {in my} Monday

There's not a lot that's good about a Monday, most people would agree. Mine started off rather rocky as I battled with the eldest to just brush his teeth (FOR THE LOVE) and with the other small child's pesky hearing aids that I'm pretty sure he's already outgrowing (UGH..MORE $). BUT! I happily dropped those two cuties off at "school" for the morning and nearly skipped back out to my car so I could go to Hobby Lobby, my happy place.
Because this post is supposed to be about the marvelous things about this sunshiny Monday, I won't discuss why I felt the need to go to Hobby Lobby in the first place. We'll only focus on the positive, okay?
While there I bought stuff to create fun things for Kinley's birthday. He's turning 3 and his recent addiction to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse has spurred me on to have a fun little Mickey party. Never mind that I have no idea when I will have said party because-oh yeah- I have to labor and deliver another small child and plan around a hypothetical surgery for Abel that month, too.

This is marvelous, though...
I have recently joined the crazy oil train and decided to sign up to receive Young Living Essential Oils. I have heard such good things about using them to feel better, clean better, et cetera. I was a skeptic. I guess I still am, but the process is trial and error. Finding what works for you can be very different from something that works for someone else. I had my very first 'oh my gosh that essential oil is a miracle worker' moment recently and I wanted to share it with all of you. Got a sore throat? This one is easy. 2-3 drops of lemon essential oil into a glass of water worked wonders for me. I was so surprised how quickly my aching throat felt better. Try it next time!

Another marvelous happening this past weekend was reconnecting with many of my former high school classmates. It's hard to believe it has already been ten years since we graduated. It feels more like five. It was great to catch up with them, though. I moved around a lot after college and so I hadn't seen so many of them in years.

One other marvelous thing? Three years ago today, my husband and I dressed up as Tonks and Lupin for the final Harry Potter movie release. He used to love me. ;)
I was 35-36 weeks pregnant here, too! What a coincidence.

I hope you can find some marvelous thoughts to reflect on today. Happy Monday to ya.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Life With Toddlers


As a parent to a deaf child, you might think my house is quiet. Au contraire. It is anything but. I've seen videos of toddlers who communicate excitedly but quietly using sign and I think about how pleasant car trips must be for that family. Here? Not so much. My deaf toddler is NOT quiet. He is constantly chattering, which I'm told is a great sign for his future with cochlear implants. I spent most of this past year convinced he had croup because that's what he sounds like. My little seal is squealing and squawking over and over throughout the day. While I'm glad he's attempting to make sounds, it's also very trying on this mama who craves silence and peace. The seal-sounding-toddler teaches the hearing toddler that this sort of communication is not only accepted, but encouraged and thus they've created a little language between the two of them that is complete nonsense. LOUD NONSENSE. And it makes me absolutely crazy.


But I will continue to pour my heart and soul into raising these boys because they are my most important job and I love them so. Even when I'm pulling out my hair, I can't imagine a day without the crazy.


I mean, K is currently cah-rack-ing up at absolutely nothing as he jumps around like a little monkey on the couch. And Abel is stuffing his face full of crackers and signing "more food" and "more milk" even though he has plenty right in front of him. They are characters, these two. They're molding me. I hope they're pushing me to be a better mother and better person. Next month, I'll add another little boy to the mix. I wonder if he'll have his brother's curly hair or his other brother's ability to hear. Will he be able to hear mama whisper to him while I'm tending to him at night? Will he look like Abe and me or will he take after his father and Kinley? I can't wait to know. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Selection Series Review

Listen, you can judge me if you want but I hopped right into this series happily. I'd seen a few people discussing it on social media and as an avid young adult novel admirer, I had to check them out. Ya know, I have to stay relevant. ;) Anyway, it took me about a week to read the series which means that it was good enough to keep me at the book store every other day. Despite my frustrations with the story and the characters, I wanted to know what happened. I needed to know.

The main character, America, finds herself in a competition for the princess crown of Illea and the hand of the prince. Prince Maxon was nothing like she imagined him to be when she begrudgingly signed up for the Selection and she finds herself wanting to know more about him and wanting to stay in the competition she is in with thirty five other girls. A love triangle, a war, and the drama of several teenage girls in competition for the heart of one prince makes the quote regarding this series so perfect:

"A cross between The Hunger Games (minus the bloodsport) and The Bachelor (minus the bloodsport)..." {Publishers Weekly}

That honestly sums it up so well. I enjoyed reading these even if I was trying not to roll my eyes at the elementary way the characters and plot developed. I reminded myself that I'm the one who chose to shop in the Young Adult Section and soldiered through to the end. I'm glad I did. I love a good series after finishing up another semester of school.

Up next on the list?
John Grisham- Sycamore Row

Have you read anything good lately?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Bloating, Blating, and Triple Dating

(* If you can come up with a more appropriate, catchy title then I commend you. )

I went shopping today to hopefully find something that I wouldn't feel like an absolute cow in for my upcoming ten year high school reunion. I left with three items -all black- none of which I will likely wear for the event. That is what the third trimester looks like for me. I'm searching for any trick of the eye that will aid me in making me feel like I didn't just swallow two basketballs.


Aside from being largely pregnant, other things are going on, too. For starters, I had a blate (blog date)! I was blessed to be able to meet up with Sarah from Dandelions and Daffodils. She's just as fabulous in real life as she is on her blog. I got to meet her newest addition, too. Dang, they're cute.

Hopefully, there will be more blating in our future. Our meeting was cut short by traffic and doctor appointments- boo. Still, it was a big deal that I got to meet them- even the Nashville news showed up to document the date. ;)

I also finished up all classes until January! I checked my grades this morning and oh my gosh, I did awesome. Not to toot my own horn or anything. One semester left and I'll finally have my Master's. I've been craving this break and I plan to do lots of fiction reading between now and when the baby is born. I see bubble baths, chocolate, and good books in my future.

My boys are doing well. They're wild and sweet and mine. We've been having fun playing outside. Just the other day, another Sarah friend brought them a water toy for outside and they've been living it up. We added an attachment to it, too and now they have a huge worm and caterpillar that shoots out water and extends down much of the yard. What more could little boys want?

Cap'n is doing well, too. He just had a birthday and celebrated thirty one years by buying deck furniture. It's stuff like that that reminds me we're getting old. We did, however, venture out a few weekends ago to Brewfest in Knoxville. 

I was one of three pregnant gals there. I'm guessing it's safe to say we were all there for the pretzel necklaces. Afterward, we went to dinner with the folks we went with and my lips started swelling up like I ate an almond or ten. I ordered a salad, but it didn't have almonds in it- just pecans- so thus began my worry that I'm adding other nuts to my list of allergies. 


How's that for an update?

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