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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

What I Read - January!

The Selection Series - The Prince and the Guard


The Weekenders





Monday, January 30, 2017

Weekend Wrap-up!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday Favorites 2017 - Edition #4

Monday, January 23, 2017

Weekend Wrap-Up

Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday Favorites 2017 - Edition #3 "White"

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Day In The Life Link-Up - January 2017

1. Record any day from now until Sunday, January 22nd. Type it up and turn it into a blog post. You can do it!

2. Email me the following to mylifeintransitionblog at gmail dot com by January 22nd at midnight:

*your blog title,
*your location (state or country is fine),
*the link to your post,
*attach the file of the photo you want to be featured in the round up post.
*optional: give me your Instagram name, perhaps I will attempt to tag everyone over there if extra energetic.

3. I will post everyone's link and picture by January 26th here on my blog. Get the popcorn and clear your schedule for this one!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

How We Organize for the Week (As a Family of 6)

I stopped teaching a year and a half ago, which means I stopped having a nanny and a cleaning lady and having groceries delivered (well, I still sneak that one in!).  It has taken this long to really develop some organization routines that really work for us...as there was a bit of trial and error!  I'm sharing in hopes that it might help others in the process!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Pinterest Craft a Month!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Weekend Wrap-Up

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday Favorites 2017 - Edition #2

Happy Friday!  This week seemed extra long!  And then there is the holiday on Monday...the day the kids have off school but Daddy doesn't have off...just another day of Mommy entertaining them all day long.  But until then, here is our random list of favorites from the week :)


Sunday everyone was feeling healthier and the girls had been asking to do Jamberry, like their Mommy :).  So following my friend's suggestion to soak their nails in black tea to help the wraps adhere, we had a nail day.  The girls got junior wraps in cherry blossoms and panda bears.  The tea made a big difference and as of today, only one wrap has come off!  And, of course Bubba had to join in for one panda on his nail :)



And here you can see my Jams...almost 2 weeks old and still looking great!  


Then on Monday, this guy turned double digits!  And loved his special day all about him!



I broke out my Valentine's Day decorations and decided to transition the boys' red Christmas tree into a Valentine's Day tree (more so because I didn't feel like putting it away...lol!).  But it make for a festive corner of my living room!


And finally, I ran a quick errand to our local shopping area and saw the signs up for our new Chick-fil-a!  So exciting that it's almost open :)...because we all know the signs mean it's close!!!!


Have a great weekend and may you all survive the three day weekend!


Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Post In Which I Have a Little Pity Party...

...and feel a bit guilty about it.

My life isn't easy.  We live away from family.  We have kids with complex medical and emotional issues...and once one thing seems to be resolved, another thing surfaces.  We feel like we are barely holding our heads above water.  The husband has a great job with great pay and benefits (that we've worked hard for!) that allows me to be home with our kids...but it comes with stress and uncertainty and pressures and the unknown.  It's not his forever job and he knows moving on to grow in his career is inevitable but it so hard to trust the story God has written for us and know when to act.

I know people look at us and see a life that is "together" - organized, successful, smooth.  I appear to be a mom who can do it all and seem calm about it.  I have a loving husband, kids who are kind and respectful (in public, anyway!), a home with nice things...picture perfect.  But I feel like I present such a pretty picture that most people miss the things we struggle with.  Our kids are sick with unusual illnesses - none truly life-threatening overall but scary at times.  But we do what we do because we have to.

I wish someone would could see what we struggle with and offer to reach out and step in.  I'd love to hear "You have too much on your plate, let me {insert a helpful gift}.  This summer, after one of Bruiser's hospitalizations, a friend texted and said she was coming to take the girls for the afternoon.  She didn't ask...she told me.  It was amazing.  It was needed.  It was perfect.  And it was rare.

I belong to a supportive moms' group...supportive to most.  I often hear it said to other moms "You have ___ kids, let me take this over for you." or "You have too much going on right now, let me do that."  I can honestly say in a year and half - though deaths, grief, illnesses - I've had none of that.  I know I tend to downplay things, to sit in the shadows, to smile through the challenges...but it weighing heavily on me lately.

All this said and the guilt hits me.  I know I shouldn't feel sorry for myself and be critical of others for needing support.  I know God has created me to shoulder it all and be strong...and I truly am proud of it.

And there is my pity party...and now I'll move on...carry on as I usually do.  I'll complain to the Husband a bit, justify why I shouldn't complain, and then do what needs to be done.  Thanks for letting me air my heart of hearts :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Working' It Wednesdays - New Year's Resolutions


I've already posted about my New Year's goals - you can read about them here :)

I also posted about the word I chose for the year - you can read about it here :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Attack of the Evil Asthma

When Bruiser was in kindergarten - actually on the second day of kindergarten! - he was admitted to the PICU with severe asthma exasperation.  He was in the hospital for 3 days.  And his mother, the kindergarten teacher (not his but in his school) couldn't be with him because what kindergarten teacher misses the first week of school???

But, moving on, that hospital stay was the start of a long road with our boy.  There was another PICU stay that school year (February, I believe) and several ER visits for treatments.  After many trials and errors, we settled on inhaled steroids for daily management of his asthma.  It worked, well, ok.  He needed it daily...unable to even take a break during the summer, when symptoms tend to be less.  (Remember this...it's important later!).

We made it through first grade with no hospital stays, just an ER visit or two.  Then our insurance decided it was too pricy to cover the steroid Bruiser was using and we switched to a different one.  He slowly went down hill and we started spending a night at the hospital here and there.  Every cold or virus was scary...and we carried multiple inhalers with us everywhere.  The day he walked into the ER and collapsed on the lobby floor is deeply ingrained in my memories...he was so, so, so, so sick.  But thankfully multiple duel nebulizers and steroids worked and he bounced back fairly quickly with each episode.

By third grade we became so much at recognizing his symptoms and knowing when he needed to head to the ER.  The good news is we got him treated quicker.  The bad news is that we ended up making multiple trips within days of each other because we could stretch him a bit and then he'd regress and get worse.  Right after Halloween of that year, we made 3 separate trips to the ER until he was diagnosed with pneumonia (or "as-monia" as they called it) and he was finally treated with magnesium and admitted.  This led to switching his daily meds back to the expensive one that we now pay out of pocket to cover and adding in an allergy pill.  That year brought another hospitalization or two.

Then we reached this past summer and that's when it went way down hill.  In August he was admitted  for exasperation and treated with 2 different oral steroids for a long duration.  In September we caught it early at the pediatrician and again treated with a long high dose of steroids.  Repeat in November with an admission and then again December with another admission...both with high-dose, long courses of steroids.

At this point he was no longer clearing his lungs.  He just sounded junky all the time.  Our amazing pediatrician determined it was time to refer to Boston Children's Hospital, since it's close and we needed to take advantage of the expertise.  This is where thing went a bit crazy.

While there is normally a long wait for appointments at such a world-reknowned hospital, we immediately had an appointment within the week with an allergist.  And that allergist presented a detailed plan of attack - allergy blood testing, immunology testing, appointment with endocrinology to assess steroid effects, and appointment to assess the structure of his lungs and test for cystic fibrosis.  Scary stuff but little did we know it was about to get scarier!

When we went to set the appointments, we were told the wait for endocrinology was 8 months.  We got a call the next day saying they wanted in their Boston office the next day.  Way to stress 2 normally calm and relaxed parents out!  What did they know that we didn't and why did they want him seen so urgently?

After a very sleepless night we headed to Boston to see the endocrinologist.  After a very detailed history, it was determined they had no new answers but requested more testing.  He needed to have a blood test done at a very specific time the next day.  The big concern was that all the steroids (daily inhaled and high-dose treatment ones) may have tricked his brain to stop his body from making steroids on it's own.  This is a major issue when he's sick or injured and his body wouldn't have the stress steroids to help him heal.  So we made plans to have his blood drawn the following morning and didn't expect to hear results until later the next week.

Well, you know it's not good when the doctor calls with results the very same day :(.  So apparently Bruiser's body was making so few of the stress steroids, the lab techs couldn't even record the results. This meant a definite diagnosis of adrenal suppression and prolonged additional medication when he gets sick.  And if that sick includes vomiting?  Then the hospital for IV meds or we will need to learn how to administer injections.  Yup.

That was the week prior to Christmas and we've already had one episode where we've had to give the additional meds due to a fever virus.  And we all survived it :)

The good news?  His body can recover from this.  Generally it takes the body as long off steroids to recover as it's been on steroids.  The bad news?  Right now he's been on steroids for 4 1/2 years straight...and he's still on them.  So that means we have at least another 4 1/2 years of adrenal suppression and treatment.

By the time this posts, we will have had a follow-up appointment with the BCH allergist and will have gotten more results from his blood test - allergies and immunology.  I'll be sure to post more with what we learn and where we are headed.  We are aware of one option to get him off the daily inhaled steroids - but that involves a slow injection every 2 weeks (and any needle with Bruiser involves pinning him down and hearing him say "wait, wait, wait! I'm not ready yet!"...it's entertaining, embarrassing, and exhausting all at once!).  So...to be continued...

Monday, January 9, 2017

And Just Like That He Turns Double Digits...

...and without my permission, I may add!


He was our biggest baby and so snuggly from the start :)


A baby with pudge?  We loved his squishiness!  And that sweet little head wasn't so little...100%ile on the growth chart for years...lol!  


Bruiser has taught us how to love unconditionally, to latch on and desire to learn all about a favorite area of interest (I can attest that we know more than we ever thought about Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, and the list goes on...), how to think deeply and see things others miss, and how to love life fully!


He lives for quality time, puzzles and legos that challenge him, snuggles with Mommy, and new book series that he can devour.  He's a concerned and cautious big brother and thoughtful son even when he's not feeling his best.  He's had a rough year with lots of medical concerns that we are still trying to weed our way through but he questions very little and finds the adventure in each new challenge.  He may have his days and moments where he pushes every button and makes our world crazy...but he can turn it around with just a little smile or a sweet comment.

I'm really not sure where time has gone and what happened to my sweet snuggly Mama's boy...but I'm clinging to the moments he tells me he is never leaving me and will live with me forever :)...at least most days!  I take great peace in the fact we are raising him to be a loving and caring little boy who will go far in this world in spite of any challenges and hurdles he has to overcome!

Happy Double Digits, Bruiser Boy!

Weekend Wrap-Up - The Snow Edition!

There was a bit of a storm on Friday, leaving us with some fluffy white inches.  Bubba stomped through the fluff with his boots and then attempted a snow angel in his coat and jeans and no gloves...and you can imagine how that went!

I had a MOPS leadership meeting Friday morning and then we had our chimney cleaned and repaired in the afternoon - home ownership is not cheap or fun!  And then in the middle of that all, the tween child got sick at school...poor baby!  By Saturday we were on day 3 of a severe headache, high fever in the evening...but luckily only that one episode of tummy sick!  Some crazy virus and we put her on lock-down for the weekend!


Saturday we woke up to some white stuff and the promise of a bunch more before the day was over!  Bruiser was excited to check out the 'now!

I snuggled on the couch with these two for a bit and sent the Husband off to get a few groceries (and battle the crowds!) and Pull-ups.  He came home without the Pull-ups and had to head out again...lol! But it coincided with lunch time and earned us some burritos for the win!



Snowy days always lend themselves to binge watching and snacking...and I pulled out an old favorite!  LOVE this show!  (And I may have ordered the next 3 seasons so I own the whole set!)


We pulled out some forgotten toys, like this marble track maze.  And of course we play with it while sitting on the table, wearing plaid pants, and topless - or at least Bubba does :)


We made some chocolate fondue for a fun snow day treat!


And played out in the snow...at night!


I ordered this toothpaste dispenser and toothbrush holder on Amazon when it was a "deal of the day" offer.  Little did I know that my kids knew about it and had wanted it (thank you, tv commercials!)...I had 4 very excited children when it was discovered...lol!


Luckily by Sunday, Tater was feeling better.  She emerged from her room to play with her siblings.  I brought out play dough recently after hiding it for a few years...and the need to sweep my kitchen floor when they are done is totally worth the hours of peace it has given us this winter so far!  Now if we can only keep Bubba from tracking it all over the house!

We spent some time cleaning and prepping for the week.  I'll share in a post later but we have a clothing and lunch routine that seems to be working for us...and it only took me a year and a half to figure it out as a stay-at-home mom!  Lol!

After we got ready for the week, the girls asked to try Jamberry wraps on their nails (with a black tea soak to help them adhere better and longer!) and Bubba had to join in for one panda on his finger :)





I'm also wearing Jamberry's and I love them :).  I've mastered my application and they are lasting me about 2 weeks and my nails have never been healthier or stronger.  And not only that...they are so much fun!!!

We rounded out the week with some more snow play, early dinner for the kiddos, Awana, and date night dinner for the Husband and me with our friends.

As I sit here recapping the weekend, I find such peace as we start our week reflecting on this amazing Christmas gift from my Dad this year.  It's so meaningful I plan to keep it up all year :)







Friday, January 6, 2017

Friday Favorites 2017 - Edition #1

I'm excited to be joining in on Friday Favorites!  I love that I get to share things I love and have one less day to stress over blog content...lol!  

1.  Foam Roller
My back started hurting about 5 years ago...actually, more my neck and left shoulder.  And in typical mommy style, I let it go...and go...and go...and go.  Now that I have 2 mornings to myself (with everyone in some kind of school!), I started physical therapy and I have a looooooong way to go!  But this foam roller...total game changer!  Love it for my whole back...and my abs!  In fact, I came home and ordered one from my friend, Amazon Prime, immediately!


2.  Cedar Cove
A great wholesome Hallmark show on Netflix...3 seasons to binge :)


3.  Back to School
January 3rd was a happy day for me!  I was thrilled to send all 4 littles off to school after a long holiday break!  We are back to a normal and predictable routine!


4.  Swim Lessons

The littlest one (and he looks so little here!) started swim lessons Wednesday.  He spent many seasons of lessons sitting in his stroller, eating cheerios and watching his older siblings swim...and now it was finally his turn!  The little girl sitting next to him is his pediatrician's daughter...perks of living in a small state :).  His class has 3 kids and he's the youngest and the only one who didn't need the teacher's help to swim across the pool (with a bubble and a noodle!).

5.  Vacation Planning...
This is what gets me through the winter...planning for warmer days to escape to the sea!

We are planning a camping trip with friends to Maine in the summer.  4 nights in a tent????  I'm a bit concerned but you only live once, right?  And there's always wine...and coffee...and wine...

And then in the fall we are planning an escape to our favorite beach in the world (or in driving distance!).  We plan for the fall because rental prices drop and we can get a house right on the beach.  It's also the most amazing time to be down the shore.  I was always that teacher who found it irritating to have children miss class for vacations...now I never hesitate to pull my kids and give them real-life learning :)


Wow!  5 posts in a row!  It's so good for my soul to write and share :)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Favorite Binges!

***Please celebrate with me...this is my fourth day in a row posting!!!!  I'm on a roll!!!!***

In the past year, we made the decision to cut back on our cable (no DVR, no high definition box) and added in subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.  I think the plan to save money backfired but we spent very little on movies and never go to concerts...so I feel I can justify my spending here :)

So I thought today I'd share some of my favorites and some of the favorites I've watched with my husband...because we all know there are shows husbands just have no interest in!!!!

My favorite "background" shows (to fill my days :) )...


Friday Night Lights
(Tim Riggins?  Tammy Taylor??  Need I say more??)

Gilmore Girls 
(The original episodes are the best, of course!)

Hawaii Five-O


Blue Bloods
(I want to join the Regan family!)

House
Hart of Dixie
Gossip Girl
One Tree Hill
The OC
90210 (the original and the remake)
The Glades
The Good Wife
Royal Pains
Pretty Little Liars
When Calls the Heart (Hallmark)
Cedar Cove (Hallmark)
Army Wives
Nashville
Damages
Chicago Med
Ally McBeal
Dawson's Creek


And the shows I watch with the Mr. -
Hell on Wheels
Blacklist
This Is Us
Madam Secretary
Mad Men
The Following
Prison Break
House of Cards
Longmire
Chicago PD
Homeland


TWD
(Because we need to study how to survive the zombie apocalypse!  And the story line is so good...it's not just killing zombies, I promise!)


The Crown
(So good!)

Designated Survivor
(Love it!)


NCIS
(We started watching from the beginning...because we aren't sure we ever did! And Kate is my favorite...always!)

Any suggestions of must-see shows we are missing?  
We attempted Breaking Bad and Dexter but couldn't stick with them :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Enough

Every year I try to pick one word.  
One word that sums up my attitude for the year.  
My hope.  My vision.  

Enough

This year I picked the word "enough".  
I need this as a reminder as how approach this year going forward.  
We have enough.  We do enough.  We give enough.  We love enough.  

I have struggled with wondering if we are enough - in all we do and give.  I always go above and beyond the expected until I find myself worn down and burnt out.  This year I need to accept that what I do and what I give are enough.  I need to ignore my own guilt over what others think and want...because in most cases I create those demands myself...lol!  I can give what I am able and allow the people in my life to take it as they need it.

We always want more - more stuff, more toys, more money, more time.  We need to live in the now and with what we have.  One of my favorite country songs says "I've never seen a hearse with a trailer hitch" - and it's so true.  We can't take it with us and the memories we leave behind are so much more valuable.  Losing my mother a year ago made this so real to me - it's not the stuff she left behind that I turn to but the memories she created.  Memories are what I want to leave my children.  We have enough stuff - but there is never enough time together or enough memories shared.

I am amazed at how this word fits into my goals I posted yesterday - enough bad food, more time together, enough stuff that needs to be purged.

So enough reflecting - time to move forward with my day and making memories!


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

New Year's Goals


Every year I make a list of resolutions and it lasts about 2 days...lol!

So this year I'm going with 17 "goals" that I want to achieve...

1. Read the Bible daily
(I struggle to fit this in my day...and it's only my own fault!  
I need to make it a priority and not a chore!)

2.  Go to physical therapy to fix my neck pain once and for all
(Started today and I have a way to go but I'm happy I started!)

3.  Work out every day
(hahahaha...but I do need to!)

4.  Eat more fruit and veggies

5.  Meal plan every week to avoid eating out
(We can save so much money as a family of 6 by doing this...and it's so much better for us.  I need to work on making sure I buy enough food which is challenging because some meals my kids devour and others they refuse to touch...and it's never consistent!)

6.  Drink more water

7.  Go to church at least 2X a month

8.  Save, save, save
(We have big life plans and we are wasting my husband's hard-earned money :).  I just need to be better about those impulse buys...Amazon Prime and Target are evil!)

9.  Read 50 books
(This is about double from this year and I really think it's doable.  As a child and teenager I raced through books, reading one or more a day.  Now TV, blogs, children, and life seem to get in the way.  BUT that can change!)

10.  Lose 20 pounds
(I'd love to say more but I'm trying to make this attainable!  We have plans for a camping vacation and a beach vacation so I'd like to fit better in my clothes.  This is all me...I love my husband for not caring...because I just need to feel better about myself.)

11.  Make year books for the kids and continue making their art books.
(I started the art books last year and now I just need to design them.  I want to make photo memory books but I'm not sure how I want them to exactly look.  We are too far past making one for each kid for each year - so maybe family year books and working backwards?)

12.  Spend more time one-on-one with each child
(This is a challenge...there are 4 of them...and they can be tough at times...but the years are going by so quickly I want to treasure the time we have together.)

13.  Focus more on doing than being on devises...oh, that's tough!

14.  Blog 5 days a week!!!!
(2 days and running!)

15.  Use a cleaning schedule with the kids
(I made cleaning cards for each main area of the house and we used them over the holiday.  They were amazing!  The kids did their best, didn't complain because there were no hidden tasks, and my job was so much less!)

16.  50 Bags in 50 Days for Lent
(I've done this is the past but skipped last year.  It's a great way to purge and streamline.)

17.  Make ME a priority
(I put everyone else before myself and I need to stop that...my health is suffering and my mental well-being is being challenged.  So this year I plan to take more breaks for myself and see it benefit everyone around me!)

Monday, January 2, 2017

A New Year and Christmas Recap

I've really fallen behind on this little old blog.  I love reading other's blogs and it often hits home that if those people didn't write, I'd have nothing to read, so it has inspired me to get back to writing about our life and adventures!

And what better place to start than with a little (or long!) holiday recap!

Our elf, Pogo, returned the day after Thanksgiving, as per the usual :).  Somehow he always finds us no matter where we are visiting relatives.  This year we were at Papa's and he left a belated (as in middle of the day) breakfast treat.


Then he appeared back at our house with his magical door, which is his portal to the North Pole and the big guy.


He (and his side-kick, Rudolf) had some fun with toys (and really irritated Bubba!)





He brought us a tree to decorate...and redecorate as often as we wanted!


And left us a sweet treasure hunt!


Bruiser Boy and I spent yet another night at the local children's hospital for his severe asthma.  All his latest outbreaks have led us to search for more answers...and to discover more issues.  But I'll save that for a post all its own :).




Meanwhile, Pogo got himself trapped.



I drove the middle schooler to school in Santa PJ pants...and luckily for her, I didn't have to get out of the car!


Bubba had his Christmas program at school and was a shy little shepherd, who was positioned right next to the teacher...I wonder why????  Lol!


And love this sweet little gift from my sweet little guy!


More elf shenanigans!



Christmas nails!


Hot cocoa, pjs, and Christmas lights!


Excited to open presents!


Christmas Eve gifts from their Auntie and Uncle...


Sweet little brother hugs...






Christmas Eve!





Playing in the Cry Room at church...very happy he made it through 1/2 the service before we had to escape!


Santa came!



Christmas morning at the top of the stairs!


Lightening McQueen Geo-Trac (consignment score!)



Celebrating Jesus' birthday!


PieFace!


Coffee break to recover on the day after...the struggle was real, folks!


Shrek Super Party...introduced the kids to the best video game ever :)


Christmas #2 with Papa!


Clearly, my sister knows me well!


A gift from Papa...love it!


And we rounded it all out with a low-key New Year's celebration.  The kids were in bed by 10, the in-laws by 11:30 and Mommy and Daddy shortly later :)


Now we are happily in a new year.  We spent some time swimming at the Y on New Year's Day, lots of time snuggling on the couch, and headed to bed nice and early.  Today will involve taking the tree down, preparing for the school week, groceries being delivered (hallelujah!), and making myself work out...it's a big must!  

Stay tuned for daily life updates, New Year's resolutions, our life verses, and our word for the year :)