Thoughts on removing my 5 year olds tonsils and adenoids

Right now I’m sitting shotgun in the T&C, listening to public radio discuss the Iowa Caucus and the candidates. We’ve been listening to a lot of political public radio lately. But it’s hard not to when you live in Iowa! It’s been a crazy place to be! 

Maximus is in the back with headphones, comfy clothes, his special blanket, his favorite puppy, and he’s watching the LEGO movie. There’s snowing blowing across the roads that are already partially covered in snow and ice. Basically, it’s not the best driving conditions but we’ve got a 45 minute drive so Maximus can get his tonsils and adenoids removed. 

We didn’t come to this decisions lightly. We don’t run to the doctor on the first cough or fevers. We let little bodies work through it and give OTC meds when they need some help. Our sick kid parenting probably comes from my approach to deal with my own migraines instead of going to see someone. It might not make me the most compassionate caretaker. 🙂 

We’ve had a long fall. Not necessarily being in and out of the doctor, because I’m convinced that Maximus has an insane pain tolerance. Again, maybe something I’ve passed along. {As I write this through the beginning stages of a migraine.} This kid once had a ruptured ear drum and double ear infection and didn’t say anything until right before it ruptured and then said he was fine. The looks we got in the Doctor office were kind of amusing. {That got him a one-way ticket to tubes, which gave the Doctor a way to see that he had enlarged adenoids.} 

A few months ago I noticed that his tonsils were big. Like really big. We took him in that next week and he had a positive strep test IN the office. Again, looks of shock that HE didn’t tell us something was wrong. We were only in because his sleep apnea had gotten bad and we needed to know how this played with his adenoids. And I was scared at how big his tonsils were. This kid. 

So here we are, one cancelled surgery due to him being sick, in the middle of what was supposed to be Snowcopolypse, driving to take my 5 year old to a surgery appointment. I’m ready to put the sleep apnea and general yuck that he feels behind us. But I’m a giant ball of nerves! 

I’m finding peace in the things that God has provided us with this week. Two days in a row, our neighbor cleared our driveway and sidewalks. Unknowing of what our days were looking like this week. It has been a huge blessing to us as Bryan didn’t have the time to do it. The weather was forecasted to give us 10-12″ of snow and 30-40 mph winds. Thankfully, we didn’t get that. We have mostly 100% visibility and mostly clear tracks to drive on. 

Send your happy thoughts and prayers for a textbook surgery, manageable recovery, and no bleeding after the surgery. ❤️

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My battle with migraines

“The cabin doors are closing, lets update our Facebook status one last time and send that text and tweet so we can get going.” – I do love a social savvy flight attendant! Something about humor that connects with my soul before signing off for the flight.  

As I left my house in the bitter cold early one Saturday morning, I couldn’t help but reflect on the past week. Heck, the past month. It’s been hard. Like, physically hard. I’ve had only a few instances like this in my life. Breaking my foot, getting E.Coli after a work trip, and the worst ever recovery from the stomach flu that left me not eating for a month. I’ve battled migraines since my teens. I began to worry that I was changing my status from random migraines to chronic suffering.

After my second 2-day migraine in under a week and 8th total in a month, I got myself in to see a doctor. She deemed me the proud owner of a sinus infection and put me on antibiotics for 14 days. I really liked her. She wanted to attack whatever was wrecking havoc in my face first and at the same time work on my sinuses and get the migraines taken care of. After learning that I should be able to pop my own ears, she decided I had some things not working to relieve the pressures of my sinuses. At that point, a guess of why I get migraines is like winning the lottery, even if it ends up being wrong. With some exercises to do and specific nasal spray to use, she sent me on my way with instructions that I should taste the spray when I use it. It’s not the most ideal and honestly, I try not to taste it when I take it. I’ve been taking it for a year straight because I thought it was helping my migraines but in no way have I been taking it so well that I’ve been tasting it. So 1/2 a point for me for taking the right thing, just really poor execution. That’s what I get for trying to self-fix. But if any of you suffer from migraines, you know how difficult it is to control or diagnosis. So you do what you can to continue on with a semi-normal life.

I was in an absolutely awful form of hell. No joke. Worse than when I was on bed rest for 6 weeks with a broken foot. But maybe not worse than The Stomach Pains of 2015. Those where pretty excruciating and left me not able to find the right fetal position to make them stop. I was like a caged animal. But the past month has left me unable to function 8 to 9 times. Some days I had to push through some activity or work to get to a place where I could crawl into bed with a heating pad and cold meds. I learned with the first one in December that cold & flu meds plus a heating pad had me almost good in just a couple of hours. That trick soon stopped working {much like any other self-medication I’ve found for migraines over the years, it always stops working eventually} and I was trying a combination of sinus related cocktails. Decongestants, cold & flu, nasal spray, allergy meds, and ibuprofen, water, and lattes for the caffeine. Sometimes {ok, every migraine day} going through all of them. On the other days I was popping cold & flu and decongestants to dull the headache. The strange thing is that I never had cold symptoms. I guess my sinuses are just cool like that.

As I was sitting on the plane last weekend, my ears basically popped for the first 40 minutes. I was incredibly grateful they were popping. I was kind of concerned, but never have a problem with my ears popping on a plane so I figured I’d be fine. I had a number of people concerned the plane would make it worse. I figured I had already experienced some really shitty days, so I’d just be dealing with it in a public place. Nothing I hadn’t done before. Hopefully the forced pressure changes helped me in the long run.

The physical hardships I’ve gone through have been enough to shake me up. I pick myself back up pretty quickly, I always do, but it’s been pretty hard mentally as well. When I get random migraines I experience a lot of mommy and wife guilt. Nine times out of ten, I get myself through the work day and pick up a kid. I get home and because it’s a little bit quieter {for short bursts of time}, my brain has space to realize how much my head hurts. And I give in. Rarely do I retreat to my dark bedroom, even though almost always do I want to. I usually set up on the couch, sometimes even closing my eyes for a bit and falling asleep for a few minutes at a time. Migraines don’t work around my schedule, they show up unannounced and always unwanted. I feel less guilt when my husband has plans for the evening. I crash on the couch until he leaves and then make it through to bedtime. Sometimes the boys watch way too many cartoons and other times I haul myself into the bathroom so they can take a bath before extended cartoons. It’s a crappy feeling to sit on the couch while chaos ensues around you and you do nothing.

Only a mommy guilt brain can make you feel worse when your spouse is home with you. I should feel better that he’s home and can pick up the slack while I try to take care of me. Instead, I feel worse that he HAS to pick up the slack and feel like everything he does is full of disdain and annoyance towards me. Every timeout he has to initiate, every meal he has to put together, every dish he puts away and counter he cleans, and the bedtime routine that all of a sudden becomes a solo act. Nevermind that most nights he handles the kitchen cleanup. Something about having a migraine makes me feel guilty for him doing something he does most nights.

I hate that my kids have spent countless breathes asking me if my head hurts. Or that after returning from a week-long trip, Quinten tells me after my head stops hurting we’ll do something. I’m at the end of my 14-day meds and it’s been a number of days since my last headache, but the last thing he remembers is me spending an entire evening and not going to work because I was in so much pain. I wish my kids didn’t know a life of chronic pain.

For all of you who suffer from some form of chronic pain, mental or physical, try to give yourself a break. Don’t put added pressure on yourself. It really is ok to just take care of you and make you better. Do what I say, not what I do! But I can tell you that sometimes when you have a migraine on a work trip and you’re stuck on Bourbon Street, you can take enough ibuprofen that it will eventually go away while you go from bar to bar with live music. You’ll eventually walk out onto the street and realize it’s gone! Making you feel like you’ve unlocked a special level in the world of migraines.

Getting back into the swing of life

The night before the first work day in the new year is typically full of anxiety and angst. I stayed up well past my bedtime as did the kids. Quinten’s naptime was pushed backed 30-60 minutes daily. Lunches pushed back an hour. Consequently, our wake ups were L-A-ZY. I only got up before 8 am twice in 17 days. Whoa. I was on vacation for 17 days. That includes weekends {I don’t work weekends}, but that’s a lot of days. Whoa. No wonder the days just kind of blended together. 

We didn’t have a lot of commitments outside of the holidays. It was a glorious way to spend a break. It was just enough productivity and lazy for me. Plus, I drank a lot of lattes. 🙂 {I know the rest of the adult world has been drinking coffee forever, hang with me on this new obsession.} I kind of wish I had worked out more and had less migraines, but no regrets. 

If I had to pinpoint what made this year easier to go back I’d say it was how our Sunday looked. I spent the morning organizing all.the.toys in the house. I did this before Christmas and purged a bunch, but the organization was in need of more help. I’m always fighting a battle of keeping some toys out of the living room. After I did some closet magic, I was able to better utilize spaces in each of their rooms. 

  
We’ve had a constant back-and-forth about using closets for clothes. Each boy has just enough dresser space to have everything in a dresser but that is basically only if I’m the only one to ever use the drawers. {STOP UNFOLDING ALL THE CLOTHES!} That’s not realistic so it was time to rearrange. Long-sleeves and sweatshirts now reside in closets. And board games are off of Maximus’ bookshelf. Meaning, Quinten can’t pull them out and lose all the pieces or break the boards. 

  Quinten’s closet isn’t as useful. Boxes of clothes that are too small and a box of next-in-line clothes are always in there. Baby swing and bouncer that was recently returned to us is taking up valuable space because our basement is in a remodel state. I still made some changes that helped though and it’s better than it was. 

A hot and sweaty hour on the volleyball court reenergized me and I was ready to tackle the night. Bryan took the boys out in the snow while I made dinner. {After a week of snow, it was time they finally made it out there! Whoops.} One-pot chicken showed up on our Facebook timelines after we ate and I’ll tell you it’s pretty delicious! And super easy. 

  
After supper we rocked out to some Polar Express music while we surprised the boys with hot chocolates. I grocery shopped alone {AMEN!} this weekend so no one knew we had any. And of course Bryan blew their minds by playing music from the movie. It was AWESOME! But most of all, it was great to have some happy family moments. After two weeks of constant togetherness, we all needed some fun. 

Meal prepping for the week helped me feel even better about my healthy choices and general feeling of life. It feels good to start the new work week and month on the right foot. My house won’t always be picked up and organized and my fridge won’t always be full of prepared heathy foods, but I’m going to try to hold on to this feeling as a motivator. 

Saying goodbye to naptimes

Life is always changing, especially with small children in the house. I still remember the realization {and sadness} that one of my children was dropping his nap. It was a rough transition for me. That was MY time and then he was invading it, loudly. In an effort to make sure the little one slept, we let Maximus stay in the living room. {One too many ruined naps because he couldn’t be quiet.} 

MY time used to be anything I wanted it to be…naps, catching up on shows, eating junk food…ok those were about the only things I used to do. But it was glorious! Now that time looks a lot different. We recently implemented iPad WITH HEADPHONES. It’s a lifesaver for me. Maximus can watch Axel and Family Fun as much as he wants and I can have quiet time. It’s a big improvement over annoying cartoons. 

By the time naptime comes around I am ready for a break. My heels usually hurt from spending the morning going and standing in my kitchen. {I know, poor weak office worker. It’s really a thing.}  

BRB. Quinten just woke up. A two-hour nap is pretty amazing lately. He is a SIGHT. Blonde hair going EVERY direction. And now the iPad volume is back. But I didn’t even have to remind him to let his brother watch, which is a miracle in itself. We’re struggling with sharing and including our brother in things. Huh. Peppa Pig Santa. Ok then. 

While we seem to have figured out Maximus’ naptime, I haven’t quite figured it out for me. I could clean, workout, do laundry, read, write, or go grocery shopping. I’m not good at getting up early on weekends so I almost always need to get my workout in. Almost everything feels like a job or responsibility and when naptime comes around I just don’t wanna. Grocery shopping is the least ideal one because then I get zero rest all day. {Whoops, sounding like I can’t function without resting.} And cleaning sounds like the most adulting thing to do. Honestly, I usually am already doing laundry. I sit down on the couch to let it finish, the couch swallows me up, and I listen in annoyance as the dryer continuously fluffs as if it’s taunting me to get the clothes before they wrinkle. 

I make a lot of poor choices during naptime, but sometimes I have enough energy left to do a Body Pump workout. Mostly, I social media for an hour or so. {It’s 2016, it’s a verb now.} When I decide to close my eyes, an alarm must sound in Quinten’s room because he comes stumbling out shortly after. And then I’m annoyed again and feeling all sorts of helpless and poor me-like. 

What are you doing during quiet or nap time? 

While on Christmas break, naptimes have been between 1-3 hours. Once we get back into a routine, I expect him to drop down to an hour. It’s like these kids like to constantly make me adjust and change with them! Why can’t they realize that naps are awesome and that we should all do them for 2-4 hours every day?! So now I really need to use my time wisely. I think I’ll focus on writing and reading. Things I can do while being lazy and drinking lattes on the couch. I think that will be my creative focus for 2016. More reading and writing. Less adulting? Just kidding, more efficient adulting so I can enjoy my quiet time without being a lazy couch monster. 

  

22 steps to a successful grocery store trip with a three-year-old

It’s really simple to spend an hour and half at the grocery store and only leave with 28 items. It can be accomplished in 22 easy steps.

Step 1: Document the experience for Snappers around the world with a caption, “Lord help me at the grocery store with this guy.”

  
Step 2: Opt for the obnoxious cart to buy yourself a little more time. Convincing the toddler that the red fire truck is WAY better than pushing his own cart. {Lifesaving tip right here, folks.}

Step 3: Get yourself a soy latte, you’ll need something to comfort you. This is a bit of a risk because you’ll spend the precious calm minutes ordering and waiting on your drink. But the crazy is inevitable and I always feel better when I can grab a drink, think, and then respond to the madness.

  
Step 4: Let the toddler help fill the produce bags and count when you put them in. This is a risky move because of the potential for said toddler to ruin your food. In this outing, he may have “softly” banged the apples on the bottom of the cart. I think I got him stopped before he did any damage. We’ll know later when we want to eat them…

Step 5: Stand around and watch the water spray the produce. Three or four times. This was a major time suck, but I was nervous about pulling him away too soon for fear of loud screaming. This is where Step 3 comes in handy. Text your husband, take pictures, and enjoy your latte.

  
Step 6: Bribe him with a free cookie to get moving.

Step 7: Stop to see “The Robs” on the way to the free cookie. Also known as the lobster display. Here’s another opportunity to text your husband and enjoy your latte. Almost making it an enjoyable experience.

Step 8: Bribe him with a free cookie to get moving and stop to look at all the birthday cakes along the way. Then ask him five times if he’s sure he doesn’t want a cookie. I’m still in disbelief that he passed up a cookie, but I was well prepared to have to go back across the entire store when he wanted one later. {It didn’t happen.}

Step 9: Let him move from sitting behind the wheel to sitting in the top tray of the cart. Whatever. After making sure that the weight could hold him, I gave him strict instructions to sit down and not stand up. And then I had to stop the cart every aisle while he pulled groceries from the bottom cart to play with. At this point I should tell you that I had been strategically putting all the groceries in the bottom cart, as far away from him as possible. That could have enticed him to move out of the seat in the first place.

Step 10: Threaten to put him in time-out when we get home if he doesn’t stop ruining the groceries. Tell him he cannot stand up and if he does either of those again he will sit where he’s supposed to. {Also where I’ve been putting the meat and boxes because he’s sitting in my second storage location.}

Step 11: Tell him we need to hurry and finish shopping so we can see daddy and Maximus. {Also how I got him out of the house. “Let’s go so we can be home when they get home!”}

Step 12: Threaten to tell daddy he wasn’t being nice when we were shopping. Of course do the threatening after picking up his coat off the floor, grabbing the aluminum foil from a different aisle, and pulling the ziplock bags out from under his smashing body.

Step 13: Try to distract him with a flying bird in the store. Not the best move because he missed it.

Step 14: Help him get back into the sitting part of the cart. HALLELUAH!

  
Step 15: Try to distract him with a beeping sound. Worked for a while as he tried to guess what it was.

Step 16: Agree to go into the cold room {wine & spirits} to see if that’s where the beeping sound is coming from. But only after we get all of our stuff. Use this as a threat in case he doesn’t behave while we grab the last of our 28 items.

Step 17: Go into the wine & spirits section and drive around the aisles. Then text your husband to tell him you aren’t buying beer because there’s no safe place to put it in the cart.

Step 18: Pick the checkout aisle he wants to go in to prevent a meltdown. Hand him some non-breakable items so he can help put them on the belt. Pull items off the belt when he starts to scream so he can “help.”

  
Step 19: Ask him once if he wants a coat on and let him keep it off while telling him he’s going to be super cold and say brrr when we get outside. Walk outside the door and stop so he can experience the cold. Then ask him again if he’d like a coat. Take a couple of pictures to document his craziness.

  
Step 20: Put him in the back of the car so he can put the bags in the car.

Step 21: Tell him he needs to get into his seat before I count to three otherwise he can’t watch his Polar Express movie.

Step 22: Sit in your seat, turn up the movie, and drink the rest of your latte.

  
There you have it, 22 easy steps to buying 28 items in an hour and half with a three-year-old helper at the grocery store! One other word of advice, always park the cart in the middle of the aisle when you stop. This prevents your toddler from grabbing things off the shelf. It may be annoying to others, but it’s for the good of the store and patrons. Trust me. No one wants to listen to a three-year-old scream when you take things out of his hand and no one wants to see flying food.

Holiday break seems to be working so far

While on Christmas break, it’s been apparent that I miss the therapeutic taping of the keys on my laptop. I walked away from work on Thursday, December 18 and only looked back a couple of times. I may be awful at really being disconnected when I take vacation days, but I’m really good at doing it over the holiday break. Probably because the end of the year is chaos. At home and at work. I get burnt out and am ready for that two-week break. I don’t turn on any laptops and I stay away from my email as long as I can. I even set myself up by telling my boss I wouldn’t be connected unless he needed me. 🙂

IMG_9976Over the past year I’ve fallen in love with Starbucks lattes. I know its cliché, but I’ve always been a name brand gal. I love me some Starbucks, Apple, Nike, and North Face. We decided to buy a Starbucks espresso machine for our Christmas present. Ironically, right after we hit Gold Level. Lucky for us, we found it half off! That’s the thing about liking name brand, if it’s not in the budget then you don’t get it. It makes me appreciate the things I do have. We’ve spent the past week trying to perfect a latte. Because here’s the thing about me…I don’t like coffee. I had to ease my way into Starbucks. Starting with a vanilla mocha. Sugar and sweets in a cup. It took many tries to force myself into liking a latte and I eventually got myself down into a healthy choice. So, Bryan is becoming quite the barista with notes written all over to see if I like the way he made it. With a little help from my sister-in-law, a former real life barista, he’s gotten it pretty good! {All the irony in the world is that I didn’t like the drinks when she was one. Major fail on my part!}

All I’m missing from this break is a few good books to read. Ok, and some quiet to read them. Let’s be honest, I’m not sure my little guys would even let me read if I had any books right now. Loud and a whir of constant disagreements is what my house is about these days. I’m hoping to find myself at a Target one of these days, maybe using the excuse that my sister-in-law gave the boys each gift cards for clothes so we should spend them! 😉 On my wish list are Jen Hatmaker and Jessica Turner books.

IMG_9967I’m currently loving my Erin Condren planner! I got it in December and immediately fell in love! I also got a wellness planner and love being able to keep track of my water, foods, and exercise. That’s where I’ve been doing my meal planning as well. We’re pretty carefree this break and not using the schedule much. I gotta say it’s pretty awesome! With two small children, they don’t have too many activities yet but we definitely feel the crazy that is life. We all needed some time to just be. Bryan is using the time to be in the basement as much as possible {building things and making lots of noise}. I got the boys to help me sort toys before Christmas – pack away, future basement toys, throw away, and give away piles. I sorted through clothes in all of our closets and came up with toss and giveaway piles. {Anyone else feel like they always need to pull out kids clothes? I feel like I should be sorting their clothes weekly. And let’s not get started on my lack of a consistent organizing system of too-small-clothes and ready-to-be-next clothes.} This is the second year I’ve purged in December, but last year I waited until after Christmas. I’ll definitely be doing it again next year and will stick to pre-holiday sorting. It helps me feel better about getting stuff out of the house and also helps me adjust to bringing in more things. I don’t wish away these years {too much}, but the constant toys scattered all over my house does wear on me. Only so many things fit nicely into a basket and I basically hate organized piles.

IMG_9973Let’s talk about children playing together, nicely. It doesn’t happen a lot at my house. I desperately wish for it everyday. Instead, they mostly fight over a toy the other one has. And then it ends in physically hurting each other. We get small glimpses of them playing with each other in make-believe. The thing that is so interesting to me is that most of the time they play a game of brothers. Like brothers who play together and are nice to each other. Brothers who are driving trucks around and doing things. Do they realize that this make-believe game is how they should actually be in real life? Someone tell me that eventually this game they play will be who they are. PLEASE!

Bedtimes gone wrong

Survival posts seem to be a theme around here lately. But, if you had been part of the bedtime in my house that just happened…well, you’d understand. It’s been quite a while since I told someone that I didn’t like my kids much at that moment. I definitely said that twice on Sunday. To which my husband replied along the lines of he hadn’t really liked them much at all lately. I get it.

Some bedtimes go very well and everyone listens. No one loses their mind when you say it’s time for bed. Other nights, one falls and the other quickly falls in support of brotherhood. Tears. Legs that can’t hold up small bodies. Arms that have a life of their own. So much flailing. All the chapters from the Small Child Handbook. You know it’ll be a fun night when you’re doing a solo bedtime and your littlest human does everything he can to run away from you and not get his pjs on. Physically putting clothes on a small human who is twisting and turning is a delightful experience that leaves a person left feeling like you’ve had an excellent workout.

Tonight was one of those semi-ok nights. That means that at most times, at least one kid was listening. {We have a low bar in our house…} Going to bed even looked like it was going to go well because Maximus listened as soon as I said it was time for bed. Two minutes and that kid was in bed and I was on to the next one. Who was in my bedroom taking candles and glass out of a vase. Eventually I got Quinten into his bedroom. He wasn’t the happiest because I refused to sing him a song because he hadn’t been listening. Here’s the thing about Quinten, he doesn’t like it when you don’t do what he wants. So he threw an epic fit. And I said goodnight and left his room. Kicking, screaming into the air, screaming into the bed, and swinging his arms. I was planning on ignoring it, but Maximus shares a wall with him. {And it’s hard to tell a kid to try to sleep over that.} So I had to deal with it. And really, this kid is so stubborn that he’ll scream until you can finally convince him to stop. Tough love happened next. Hugging him as tight as I could until he stopped crying. It’s physically hard to give that kid love! It took a hug from his brother, putting a sock back on {don’t be so surprised that you kicked it off Q!}, remaking his bed, and lots of soft voices. I thought I was starting all over again when he requested a song, but somehow I was able to get out of that room without him {or I} screaming. After starting bedtime 30 minutes before.

::Now I watch mindless tv::