Sunday, July 31, 2011

Two Weeks

Today has been an emotional day, more so tonight than the day itself. Two weeks ago today was the last time that I breastfed Vada. I'm ashamed to say that I cant recall the exact moment. I don't recall if it was a late night feeding or not. I cant remember where we were sitting or what she was wearing and I don't know if she had just had her bath and still smelled of Bert's Bee's or if that scent had worn away to her natural sweetness. I'm ashamed to say that I must have took that moment for granted, something that I would not have done if I would have known that it would be our last time.

That following day was a Monday and was the day of my surgery (a tonsillectomy for those of you who are wondering). That morning Justin and I dropped Vada off at his parents house. We had thirty minutes to get to the doctors office which gave me enough time to nurse Vada before I left. I knew that it would probably be at least a couple of days until I would feel up to nursing her again, which would mean leaving Vada at the mercy of a sippy cup and solid foods, two things that she still was not fond of-yet. So, I planned on nursing her that morning and then leaving. Vada however, seemed so content in visiting with her Grandma that Justin and I decided to just go on our way.

I cant tell you how those first few days passed. Everyone was here and just above me, our room is in the basement but I was asleep after the first two days and if I was awake it was only to take medication or to throw up (sorry, but that's the reality of it). As far as I knew, from what Justin was telling me, Vada was doing amazing things upstairs.

There were a few of times when the medication had really taken its full effect and I was feeling good enough to get out of bed that I would come upstairs. A couple of those times was when Justin was feeding Vada and he would tell me to go back down because if she saw me then they would both have a hard time. Once he brought her down to see me, only to turn around to take her right back upstairs because she was hungry and missing me. I knew seeing me made it hard for her and that hurt but during this time I couldn't do anything other than comply with what Justin was doing. He was working really hard for me and for Vada and I knew that then as well as now.

This last week has been pretty good. I have still been in a lot of discomfort and to this very day my throat still hurts but as far as Vada goes, it's true that she is doing amazing things. She is drinking from a sippy cup, mostly milk but as of the last two days she has swallowed some juice. She is eating solid foods and each day that passes that too improves. She is napping two times a day and falls asleep about the same times each day. Right now I am trying to wake her between six and seven in the morning and then ive been laying her back down for her nap at ten and then again at two.  Although, with the girls' school schedule that may change. Above and beyond the eating and drinking she is showing more of a personalty. Justin thinks it's because she is figuring out how to communicate her likes and dislikes as well as her wants and needs. Makes sense to me. As of today, has just begun walking around things but she thinks that she is going to skip all of the rest and go straight to standing-without something to support her. She goes from a sitting position, into an almost crawl and then to having her legs straight and her butt pointing up and into the air.It's pretty funny and she's pretty amazing.

 The only time that she really seems to struggle is at bed time. Tonight was, for whatever reason especially hard. Tonight she reached down my shirt. I could fill her little hand making fists over and over against my chest and then, as if I weren't paying any attention to what she way trying to tell me, she removed her hand, said "MaMa" in a frustrated tone of voice and signed for milk-on the cheek of my face, practically on my eye.

I cried silent tears tonight. They fell lifelessly as I rocked her to sleep. I thought about the last seventeen months and about how we were once told that she probably wouldn't be able to breastfeed. I thought about how so many people look at breastfeeding as a task but I have looked at it as a gift and a blessing. While I understand that this may sound weird to some people, I think to most who have breastfed for more reasons other than because they had to, will understand when I say that I am sadly going to miss this time that her and I shared together. It was so sweet and it is something that I will never experience again.

Teething Bling

This last week I had been anxiously awaiting an arrival in the mail. I had ordered teething necklaces for Vada and was excited to get them. Originally I had first seen a teething necklace on Enjoying the Small things, a blog wrote by Kelle Hampton. I think that she writes about and also captures (through photography) the most amazing things.

On a side note, when I was pregnant, someone sent me a link to a story that Kelle had wrote, it was about the birth of her youngest daughter-Nella Cordelia: A Birth Story. Unlike Justin and I, Kelle and her husband did not know that Nella would be born with Down syndrome. In Nella's story, Kelle writes about the shock that she went through and at one point she actually questions whether or not she told her daughter that she loved her right away or if she got lost in the discomfort of her new reality. Its one of the most powerful stories that I have ever had the pleasure to read, It made me tremble with emotions. At this point I had yet to meet my own baby girl and the fear of what Down syndrome could mean for our family still had its grasp on me-sometimes the unknown can be the scariest. After reading the birth story I made a promise to my unborn daughter, I promised that I would not forget to tell her, right away, that I loved her. I vowed that it would be one of the first words she would hear from me. However, the first thing that I actually ended up saying was an apology for taking so long to get to her (after the emergency Cesarean), then I kissed her and told her that I loved her and finally I wished her a happy birthday. Nella's birth story was one of the things that inspired me to find my way out of the dark mist that I allowed to surround me during my pregnancy. By the time Vada was born I was already so much in love with her and comfortable with her diagnosis of  that I didn't actually see the Down syndrome when I looked at her. All I saw was my beautiful baby girl.

Anyway, I am fond of Kelle's blog and while I'm not an active reader of it, I do enjoy what I have read. So, now to get back onto topic-The teething necklaces. The whole reason I brought up Kelle's blog was that I had first seen the teething necklace there. At that time I thought that it was just a necklace however, I didn't realize that it served a purpose and up until a couple of weeks ago I didn't think much of it other than it was a really cute accessory. That was until Shannon from Lifes Little Surprises replied to a comment that I left for her on one of her blog posts. Her daughter Fiona happen to be wearing the same necklace that I had once noticed Nella to be wearing. I had left Shannon a message saying that it was cute and later she took the time to tell me about it.

Long story short. I ordered Vada her very own Baltic Honey Amber teething necklace. While I am sure that you can get it at a number of places I ordered mine from The Art of Cure-through Amazon. There are different color options making these necklaces available for baby boys as well as girls.

While searching for the right color of a teething necklace for Vada I ran across another great idea that falls into the same category. Teething Bling from Smart Mom Jewery-also ordered through Amazon.

I choose the Mother of Pearl 2x2 round pendant (they come in dozens of fantastic colors). I also have my eye on the triangle Onyx pendant that is coming out this fall.

This necklace differs from the one that I purchased for Vada to wear. This necklace is for me (or whoever may be holding Vada) to wear. It was made for the exact reason that I no longer wear jewelry-because Vada grabs on to whatever it is that I am wearing and then tries to put it right into her mouth! Since this necklace was made just for that purpose, its perfect! One thing that I didn't anticipate when purchasing this necklace was that it would become a traveling necklace. Yesterday I wore it to a family function and every time Vada was passed to someone new the necklace went along. Kiliegh wore it, Vada's grandmother then Great Grandmother wore it and the most surprising person to wear it was Justin who wore it once and then asked for it back a second time. Vada seems to really enjoy both necklaces. The Teething Bling necklace seems to attract her attention where as the one she wears seems to attract others.

I'd love to hear what you think about the necklaces as well as other methods that you may use for soothing your babies teething discomforts.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Still In Pain

Yesterday the girls and I went to VBS. They had been going all week. This was my first time feeling well enough to go. I had previously asked our youth leader if there was something small that I could do. That way if I felt up to it, I could help. He graciously assigned me to the kitchen, which by the way I loved! On a side note, before Vada was born and early into the pregnancy I helped in the kitchen on Thursday mornings, which is when our church serves breakfast to those who less fortunate. Yesterday those same people were serving breakfast so it felt like old times for me. I adore that group! On the VBS side of things we made snacks for all of the children, which was served a little after the breakfast was finished. We served fig newtons, pita/flat bread with humus and also with honey and then some different kinds of dried fruit. The snack was suppose to symbolize what Jesus and his people would have had for their food. The funny thing about this snack was that most of the children ate it all and most of those children would turn their noses up to it if it were a snack given at home. Now, these snack have a story attached to them so they were already talking about eating it at home.

After VBS the girls and I met Justin's mom to do our school supply shopping. It's a yearly ritual that we have been doing together for the last three or four years. This year she had Jasmine and I had Kiliegh. Next year we will flip-flop and have the opposite girl. Usually, we have lunch or dinner together either before or after the shopping but since I couldn't eat anything and by this time I was truly exhausted we skipped it. Secretly, school supply shopping is still just as exciting of an event for me as it was when I was a kid. Although I have to keep my opinions on whats "cool" to my self, that way I don't make my girls feel like they have to get what I like, sometimes they do that.

Once we were done getting their supplies we cam home. I took a pain pill and laid down for a good five minutes before I had to get up and cook dinner. Things just keep on going, even if im not feeling up to it!

That night before bed, I skipped my pain pill. It had been hours since I took the last one and I figured that I no longer needed to take anything. Boy was I wrong. I slept almost all night long but woke early in the morning in extreme pain! Oh my gosh, did it hurt. I woke up sweaty and with tears already in my eyes. It sucked! Luckily, Justin had worked nights and was off that morning. As soon as he came home he relieved me from my motherly duties and sent me to bed. Thank you Justin! I thought that I would just lay there for a half hour or so, waiting for the medication to take effect, but shortly after laying down I fell asleep and slept for a few hours. I. Can. Not. Believe. That. It. Has. Taken. This. Long. To. Recover. When I went to bed I thought for sure that I could handle a the tiny amount of discomfort that would be left behind to bare, but even now, eleven days post tonsillectomy and I am still really hurting. Maybe it has to do with the fact that when I would rather have any other pain other than mouth pain-meaning I am very sensitive in the mouth area. Or maybe I am just a whimp, it's possible. Or maybe the doctor was right when he told me it would be at least a good fourteen days until I really felt better. Either way, I cant wait until Monday! (That's day fourteen.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rockin' and Rollin'

Sometimes words aren't enough.

Justin trying to get Kiliegh to make the "rocker" face. You know the one, it kind of a cross between looking constipated and not right in the head.

Just remember to pause the automatic music at the bottom of the page before you watch the video.

This is Vada's newest physical therapy toy. She loves playing in it. We only brought it home yesterday but Vada's standing skills have improved by 100% since then. No joke, it's like it gave her a little sense of security and now she is confident in what shes doing. This girl is going to be walking in no time!

Justin and Kiliegh found a new use for it and I don't think that Kim, Vada's therapist, had this in mind when she let us bring it home.


My husband has been a.m.a.z.i.n.g this week. Seriously. He has done so much to help out, so that I am able to relax and recover. Hopefully with in the next day or so I will be feeling  better because right now I am on day four with out eating anything, which has contributed to my eight pound weight loss. I tried to have some ice cream and even some soup on Sunday but couldn't do it  and since then all drinks have begun to sting my throat, even water. I am tired and shaky and I haven't been much use to my family but Justin  is rocking in that department! He's keeping the dishes done and the house clean and he even put the girls to work by having them do the laundry. Today Justin dropped the girls off at VBS and then registered Kiliegh for third grade all while I was sleeping in. I was seriously impressed that he even offered to register Kiliegh, it can be a stressful ordeal. When he got home from picking up the girls from VBS he made them lunch and then we left to take Vada to her first dentist appointment.

Vada is almost 17 months old now, which may seem a little early for a trip to the dentist but this girl already has ten teeth! Plus, I have been concerned about the condition of her teeth for awhile now and I thought it wouldn't hurt to see what the dentist thought. My concerns are associated with the fact that Vada has been on a lot of liquid medications since she was five months. That's a long time to be exposed to extreme sugar-like substances multiple times-every single day.

Vada loved the dentist's waiting room. She got down onto the floor and crawled to everyone who was there especially the children who were playing. Now that she is "mobile" she really wants to explore. It's such a fun stage!

The dentist said that her teeth are looking pretty good but that they hadn't fully formed their "protective" layer which is why there is a difference in coloring from the out side of the teeth verses the middle. He suggested to keep brushing her teeth like we do and to cut of any  fluids other than water after her last does of medication or after we brush her teeth for the last time in the evenings and then of course to do regular six month check up's.

Vada didn't appreciate the dentist poking around in her mouth but it lasted only seconds and then they handed her a brand new pink and purple toothbrush and she good to go.

Monday, July 25, 2011


I was hoping to have had this wrote and posted last night but I hit what better be the peak of my pain-if it's not, I don't know what I'll do. It's really that bad and I didn't help things out  by overexerting myself over the past couple of days. This is going to sound gross but the doctor told me around the seventh through the tenth day of recovery the scabs (Yes, ewhh, I know!) will fall off and when that happens I  will hit the worst portion of the pain (typical scenario). He said that it would feel like how the first day of surgery would have felt if there were no medications given. Well, the scabs (I know, I know-yuck) are gone and I seriously would like to just be knocked out! Today is just as bad and sometimes worse than last night, other times  it's managed to where the sharp edge has been slightly dulled but that's about the extent of relief that I am getting. Right now, I am kind of in the middle of wanting to scream and feeling the pain of my three day empty stomach but the sharp edge that I was referring to is at this very moment smoothed over ever so slightly and I am grateful for any relief, no matter how small.

Moments before going into surgery we spoke with the surgeon and the anesthesiologist about being able to breastfeed Vada after the procedure was done. The anesthesiologist said that I had to wait twenty-four hours and the surgeon said that the pain medications were okay to use while nursing. I was a little nervous about Vada going the full twenty-four hours without nursing but she had recently done it (when my tonsil became abscessed) and she was great throughout that time. Actually, this is when she really began having interests for eating and swallowing solid foods.

Justin had took the whole week off from work to help out around the house and to pretty much take care of me. That first night Vada ended up doing very well. She ate a good solid dinner, drank milk from a sippy cup and she even slept longer and was in what seemed to be a deeper sleep than she has been in a very, very long time. On day two I wasn't really feeling any pain but I was still pretty out of it from all of the medications so I didn't venture upstairs from our bedroom much. I had pumped a couple of times to keep a decent flow but I still hadn't nursed Vada. Justin said that she was doing really well with everything and that we should just see how things went.

To back track just a bit...

Vada has just recently picked up on eating solid foods, which she has only actually successfully been doing for about a month now. Before she would just put things into her mouth, chew on it a bit and then spit the food right back out. She would never stomach much of anything at least not intentionally. She enjoyed breastfeeding and never showed much interest in anything other than Momma's milk. I personally thought of weaning her off several times (only because of my depression and wanting to start my medication back up), but she was never interested in that either. Plus, she is most likely our last child, stopping means a lot more with that in mind. Once this is over, its over. Once around Christmas, I went a week with out nursing her. She was a wreck, I was a wreck and that was enough to continue nursing her. Truthfully, I enjoyed being able to do it. We were told to expect her to not be able to latch on and she once again proved the medical professionals wrong. I have grown attached to this bonding ritual that her and I have formed and I too am having a hard time letting it go.

Anyway, She had gone three consecutive days of eating solid foods, drinking from a sippy cup and not drinking from me when my nausea had set in and I began vomiting over and over again. When that happened I was put onto two new medications and those were not approved to be used while breast feeding. We figured that as good as she was doing and as much as she was eating, drinking and sleeping that this was our quit breastfeeding. Were on day number seven and she has yet to breastfeed. There are moments when she does the sign and sticks her hand at my shirt and pulls it but normally its when she is tired. Ive been giving her sippy's of milk and we've been doing a lot of rocky rocky (rocking in the rocking chair) but she isn't too fussy. Actually, she is actually quite amazing about it. I think I may be having the hardest time with it. I'm still pumping a couple of days because I am having that hard of a time with it. However, I am grateful that this has happened. I can start my medication again and my family can have a happier mom and wife!

This was two days after surgery. Me (attractive, I know) giving V some milk from a sippy.

The breastfeeding has been a pretty big ordeal but she has reached an amazing milestone throughout this week as well. She is now puling herself to a standing position. A couple of days ago Justin's mom walked into her room and she was standing in her crib. She pulls herself up to stand at the couch, at her physical therapy bench that we brought home and she now has an additional physical therapy toy, this huge "ring thing". It really provides the perfect height for her to be able to stand with ease.

Another accomplishment of Vada's is that she has begun doing the sign for "more". Well, she almost has it down but she does the gesture at the appropriate times, so we know that she knows whats she is doing. A little more practice and she'll have it down.

Finally, today at physical therapy Vada walked on the treadmill for a whole five minutes (this was her second time doing this type of therapy)! Kim, Vada's therapist, held Vada under her arms, turned on the treadmill and away Vada went. She just starting taking steps. She did have to break here and there for a quick "breather" but she was really working hard throughout her whole session and was naturally tired at this point.

Kiliegh surrounded Vada with some of her favorite things to play with-a little motivation.

I just love Vada's therapy times with Kim. I know that it may sound a bit odd-me actually liking that my daughter is in therapy but its more that I like who we have giving her the therapy, since Vada needs to have it. Did that make sense? Anyway, Kim is fantastic with her. She is gentle, yet she continues to push Vada to do a little bit more each time they do anything and this is a whopper of a great thing, to me, Kim has never said anything about what Vada probably can't or wont do because she happens to have Down syndrome. It's something that we have heard a lot of over the last two years but never once from Kim. Anyway, its neat to watch the two of them together. I not only walk out of the sessions with more idea's on how to physically help and motivate Vada, I also walk out feeling even more proud than had been just an hour before.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Things Are Getting Better

Well, I am going on day six of post tonsillectomy. Truthfully, it's HELL but then I already knew that it would be-I had heard the horror stories prior to having the procedure done...

Monday was the day of surgery and I came out of it feeling really drugged but over all I felt as if I were in pretty great shape. In fact I was feeling so well that evening that I even ate some crackers. I of course turned them into mouth mush before swallowing them but I was surprised at how little of pain I was experiencing. Day two, Tuesday was also quite easy. The pain was slowly creeping in but again I managed to eat some pickle dip and even some pizza (Yes! Pizza!) for dinner. I now, I know... what was I thinking...I wasn't, my stomach was. By Wednesday, I was in terrible shape. Terrible! I was puking every couple of hours and the pain was unbearable, or so it felt that way. I ended up having to stop taking the pain syrup that was prescribed because it was disgusting and part of the reason that I couldn't quit getting sick. Justin called the doctors office and they prescribed an anti-nausea medication, which really helped. On Thursday (day four) the pain was even worse and the regular over the counter Tylenol was not helping so once again, Justin called the doctors. They prescribed some little yellow pill that really takes the edge off. However, the pain that I am feeling while on it is still pretty severe so I am afraid to not take them. Friday I spent most of my day and then the night in bed. I wasn't throwing up but any small task really wore me out. I tried to come upstairs and out of my bedroom just to be with everyone  but some moments felt so bad. Sometimes, even the light that came from our little bedroom t.v. was too much. Saturday I felt a lot better as far as my energy went but the pain had not let loose at all. It seems that the pain settles in different areas from one day to the next, which can be quite deceiving!

Today, Sunday, I got up and decided to see if I could make it using only over the counter Tylenol to hopefully relieve the pain. The night prior had gone pretty smoothly so I figured that I should try. After taking two extra strengths I got out of bed and fixed the kiddo's breakfast, gave Vada all of her morning medications, did my hair and then we all went to church. I didn't sing and I didn't speak to anyone but I was there and grateful that I had come. After church we went to Target, bought Jasmine a new desk for her room and then bought some groceries. Once I got home the pain was pretty bad. During church I had taken one of the prescribed pain pills and by the time I had put the groceries away I wanted to take the whole damn bottle but obviously didn't. After taking two pain pills and waiting about another forty-five minutes for them to kick in we all went for a walk. We picked me up another large Slurpee and then stopped at our friends house who happens to live down the street from us. By this time I was feeling pretty good again and I was able to speak in a soft whisper but shouldn't have done even that. Dinner time came. Justin went back to work and I was in tears. I have two older children constantly talking to me, constantly asking me questions and not listening to the answers that I give so I have to repeat myself and who don't seem to understanding that I shouldn't and don't want to talk. In their defense I guess its understandable since I do talk when the medicine has kicked in. I haven't ate in three days, if you don't count the root-beer shake from Whitey's or the now three Slurpee's from the gas station as food. Needless to say, I am starving, which makes me kind of cranky!

With all of that out of the way, I think I am getting somewhat better because I do have more energy and hey, I am up right now playing the roll of mom again and I am doing it all by my self. :)

If all goes well then I plan on being back later tonight to share some of the really huge changes that have occurred over this last week with Vada but I may just go to bed, that would probably be the wise thing to do!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Botanical bliss

Summertime Grillin'

I can handle the heat of our Midwest summers but the humidity is something that tends to keep me indoors and hiding behind (or in) the air conditioning. On the days when the humidity is low I do venture outdoors and enjoy the warmth of the season. I truly do enjoy being outdoors-it's just a conditional relationship and I know that all too soon I will be complaining (even if only internally) that it is too cold! So, today Justin and I, at the very last moment decided to not only go to the park but to also grill and have our dinner there as well. Which, by the way, was a fabulous idea!

It took us all of ten minutes of frantic running throughout the house to grab the essentials and then we packed up the car and headed out.

With three children and a husband who are all on different schedules, planning our events, tends to be the only way that we can make "outings" run smoothly. However, a little spontaneity here and there does us all good! Its fun to throw caution to the wind and to "go with the flow" even if today that only meant that we were all taking an unplanned trip to the park.

The only thing that we did end up forgetting was some bug spray and a pan to cook the beans in. Luckily, there was a gas station near by that carried some bug repellant and we ended up sitting the can of beans directly onto the grill. The beans ended up being my favorite part out of our whole meal. I had never had them cooked like that and the smoke from the flames had changed the flavoring in the yummiest way!

I truly love these moments of "family together time". My heart always feels as its glowing from the inside out. Its possible that the summer heat may also have something to do with that feeling. Or indigestion fro the beans? Anyway, its kind of funny how something as simple as going to the park with my whole family can rejuvenate me (and sometimes wear me out all at the same time). Getting away from our everyday hustle and bustle can be so refreshing!


When I was little and in foster homes I prayed for days and moments like these.

I prayed for a husband who would love me for who I was and who would treat our children with tenderness.

I prayed for family to play with, explore with, discover life together with and to grow old with.

I find it odd that when I was young I would pray for these things but when I was a teenager (who of course knew everything), I didn't think that I needed anyone, including God to feel happy or complete. Around the single digit age I would pretend to be the "mommy" in all of my games and as a teenager I had always said that I wouldn't be one.Yet here I am, a wife and a mother of three beautiful and amazing girls. While there are days that I go to bed crying from pure exhaustion and (or) frustration there are many more uplifting and positive days, like this one, that reboot me and keep me going strong.

I love being a wife and I love being a mother.  I don't know how I could ever live my life any other way than this. There are many times that I have found myself wondering what did God put me on this earth for. What's my purpose or my calling? Truthfully, I think I am actually doing what He has called me to do. I may not be doing it the exact way that He had originally planned for me to do it and I have made my fair share of daily mistakes but sometimes I feel like God intended me to be a stay at home mother. He intended for me to be what I never had. On really hard days I like to tell myself that this is a possibility and it makes it a bit easier to endure.

I prayed for my days to be full of life, love and happiness and boy has my prayers been answered!