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wife. mom. adjunct professor. we homeschool. i'm a little bit OCD. i love math. bright colors and geometric designs make me drool. we live with a medical rarity, and Jesus saved his life. through that, Jesus is changing us. The american dream and status quo is overrated...and sometimes just plain wrong. our lives, our family, our careers, our faith are all now filtered through a new lens-- thank you Jesus. welcome to our crazy. feel free to take some of it with you, we have plenty to go around.
It's not the load that breaks you down; it's the way you carry it.
-- Lena Horne


The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.-- Jesus Christ

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

easter and ridge updates...and do coupons really work?

This is going to be a good hodge podge of stuff.  You're welcome.

First off: Ridge.  The line removal was a great success so far...He got to take a bath for the first time in two years! 

He is doing great, and tomorrow it will be 6 weeks since his last blood transfusion.  He has never gone this long without transfusions, without being on steroids.   His labs have been the same for about the last 4 weeks.  We are still super careful about illness and I am still paranoid about it all because I do fear that if he gets sick, we will be back in the hospital.  We haven't been in the hospital since January! Praise Jesus!

Easter this year-- surprisingly, even with us being in the hospital so much one and two years ago, Ridge has always been home to go to church on Easter, every Easter of his life (which is only 3 Easters :) ).  We are not "Christmas/Easter" only church goers by nature-- we love going to our church. We don't get to go as much as we'd love to go, bc I try to keep in the loop as to what kind of sickies are going around and we sometimes just have to avoid public stuff bc of that.  But we went to church- we were late, but we were there!- on Easter. My boys all looked spiffy.



Then, for the first time that I can remember, all four of us went to my mom and dad's for Easter lunch.  My Mamaw was there. We got us a 4 generation picture here, folks:
Ridge doesn't have chiclet teeth- that's a laffy taffy.  And that is, in fact, my dad, and his goatee.


The day before Easter, Ridge turned 2.  He had an Elmo cake. He liked it. 



Good thing he was able to take a bath that night.

He also got to color Easter Eggs with the older child.
All broken Easter eggs were courtesy of the Ridger himself.

So...what else?  Well we made some homemade laundry soap yesterday.  It is "he" friendly and economical to boot.  I buy laundry bar soap online from www.goatmilkstuff.com, but you can buy other brands cheaper at your local grocer (sometimes).  You can pretty much make a batch of this (5 gallons is 2x concentrated, so it actually makes 10 gallons) for around $4!  Recipe here: http://www.duggarfamily.com/recipes.html.  For top loaders, it makes around 200 loads worth, for front loaders, I think it's closer to 700 loads worth. Ridiculous!  I hadn't ever made the liquid, but before we got our "he" machine, I always made the powder and loved it.  Now we have the soap dispenser compartment, so the powder doesn't go through as well. 






And finally, I blogged about couponing a few weeks ago.  If you are friends with me on FB, you know I'm crazy about this hobby....but since some of you who read this probably don't have a FB, or don't know me in real life, or for whatever reason we aren't FB buds, here are some pics:

This was my grocery trip this morning, to Homeland.  Homeland is expensive.  They have great sales, especially if you coupon.  The above cost me about $22 today.  I saved $49.62.  I only bought things that were on sale AND i had coupons for.  (except the eggs and milk)

This is my trip to Walgreen's yesterday.  I spent $3.70.  We usually cloth diaper, but you can't beat $3.70 for all that.  I had coupons, there was a sale on some of it, and I had a Register Reward (it is a receipt that some items give at checkout-- it works like a credit or giftcard towards your next purchase).


This is a trip to United, in my parents' town.  Spent $9.04, Saved a little over $15.  These items were all on sale or clearance, except for the zest and the beans, and I had coupons for everything, except the beans.
This was at Walgreen's in my parents' town. I spent $24 (yuck) and saved $26.

This is at CVS.  I spent around $11. I saved about $21 (drugstores are other places that are ridiculous if you don't shop sales and with coupons.  but usually they have rewards bucks back which work like credits towards your next purchase.  nothing in this picture had any extra bucks back, though :) ).

So...yep, for us, couponing has become a way of life, and saves us a ton of money.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

two entire years

It's kind of impossible for me to fathom that two years ago, I tucked my at-that-time only child into bed for the last night he could be called an only child.  I guess he never really was an only child, we always knew we'd have more...so I suppose it was the last night I tucked my firstborn into bed as my only son.  Because two years ago, about 6 hours from this moment, BDawg and I trucked it to the hospital, where Ridge was born approximately 6 hours later.  So about 12 hours from now, two years ago, I became a momma for the second time.  To this beautiful creature (photos here courtesy of my talented friend, KZ):









We had no idea what this tiny thing (okay, not so tiny- almost 9 lbs) had in store for us.  Soon we went from all that baby bliss you see above to a whole new ballgame of hospitals, transfusions, unknowns, incredibly uncomfortable sleeping arrangements, disgusting showers, learning a new language, one income, lots of tears, lots more prayers than tears, fear, faith, anger, gratitude, education, advocation (that isn't a word i don't think...).  The "baby" times were sort of stolen away from us.  Oh don't get me wrong, I'm soaking them up now, little boy, even if you are two years old.  You still get to sleep in bed with me, and sometimes I hold you through your entire nap just so I can smell your hair. I know.  Because you scared us there for a while, baby boy.  We didn't know if we'd see you turn 6 months old...but you did.



And after that, you still had some scary days.  And we still lived in the hospital.  You got to come home for your first Christmas, if only for a couple days before having to head back to the hospital for awhile.








You were still on a lot of meds then.  A lot.  Continuous IV infusion of Octreotide, oral steroids, oral carafate, oral prevacid, oral liquid vitamins, oral liquid vit D, oral amicar.  A lot.
   
Time drew closer to your first birthday, which you spent in the hospital.
You didn't care. You didn't really know your house as "home" yet anyway.  So you were plenty happy there.  And sick as a dog.  I never want to go back to those days-- I appreciate them for what they were, and for the lessons God has taught me, but I don't want to ever have to go through them again.  That is a place that I will walk through again only if I must...and only by the grace of God.  After you turned one, just as we were told by the doctors you would, you did start to get some better.  By the time you were 18 mos old, we were starting to be home quite a bit more. You did spend Halloween in the hospital, but only for a few days before and a little of the day of. We got to be home to Trick or Treat.

You got to learn to brush your own teeth, at home...you got to spend your second Christmas, the entire Christmas break!, at home...

And even though you look ridiculous in that picture with the tree- you were so full of joy and delight, and while we missed some of the baby baby things with you, we cherish all the other moments so much more-  when you finally started crawling and had to pull that stupid flipping dumb pump around behind you....you are so strong.  When you started walking, which is something I was afraid you'd never do....When you learned to talk...a little...even now, when you learn a new word...every single word is precious to our ears and we smile and laugh every time you say a new word.  Right now, the night before you turn 2 years old...you can say, "mama, nana, ssss (yes), mo (more), doctor (not this clearly...but the way you say it does not translate appropriately into the written language), elmo" and you can sign "please, thank you, more, no, eat, drink"...we think you have uttered "daddy" and "thank you" but not repeatedly.  you shake your head a lot for "no"...you dance like a crazy person. you love to laugh and squeal.  you are mean.  you hit a lot because you can't fully communicate yet.  you get sent to time out and you cry and cry.  you have pretty much all of your teeth.  this past week was a great big week for you.

you looked like this five days ago:
Today, you look like this:
Splashing in the tub, pool, sprinkler with your brother is just around the corner.  That stupid line is out, and while it will kill me inside to hold you down if you need an IV for blood, I have a feeling your blood transfusions in the future are not many. I am not God, and I do not know all things, so if a huge bleed befalls us in the future, we will do what we need to do to save your life.  But for now, you are doing excellently.  You are the bravest soul I know.  You are full of life, life we didn't know if we'd get to see.  Life we will forever be grateful for.  You are a living, breathing example of the grace of God...the hand of God in our lives.  You are a reminder that He watches over us,  protects us, and gives us miracles, even today.  Yes, medicine (of which you are on very little now) has helped to save your life.  Blood transfusion after blood transfusion has, too.  But even with all of that going in your body, there were times we didn't know what to do.  I have seen you, literally, at the door of death more than once- and once is one more time than any parent should live through.  But today, you are here.  You are happy. You are growing. You are full of joy. 

 You are our Ridge.  And tomorrow, you turn two.  An Elmo cake is waiting for you, big boy, and so are a stack of presents.  Happy birthday, to my little chubby miracle.  There are no right words for the love I have for you.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

i'm such a joker

Well, it's been alllllmost a month since my last blog post.  Pathetic.  It has been a whirlwind of weeks for some reason-- I'm not really sure why, but it has been so busy around here. Tball started, I'm tutoring, I've got a lot of orders/business stuff, the boys are in a fighting/disobedience phase....it's kind of just exhausting.

So here's the scoop, the news, the 411.

A) Biggest first:  Monday-- as in, less than 48 hours from when I am writing this-- Ridge will get his central line out! This.Is.HUGE.  He will get to take a normal bath, for the first time in almost two years.  He will get to run through the sprinkler and play in a swimming pool this summer.  And when he rolls around in the dirt outside, or eats spaghetti like a dumpster diver, I can just plop him in the bathtub.  When he gets a fever, we won't have to take him to the ER JUST because he has a fever JUST in case it is a result of a central line infection.  He will, essentially, be normal.  He will, also, have to get more IVs, bc when he does need blood, we will have to get an IV.  He will probably have to take oral antibiotics when he gets sick, and those have caused him to bleed in the past.  This is why it will still be important that we are vigilant about keeping him as healthy as possible. But...for the normal days- the days he isn't sick and the days he doesn't need blood...he will be normal. No line, no port, no dressing, no "flushing" the line every day...none of that business. Monday is an exciting day for us- and it starts early. Our appointment is at 630 AM.

B) Ridge turns two ONE WEEK from TODAY!  I can't believe it.  I will post more on him and his birthday closer to the date.

C)I'm staying home again this next year since Ridge is still not vaccinated fully and thus is unable to attend public daycare.  I am not sure yet what we will do with Sawyer as far as school is concerned. We are still thinking on all of that. I have officially resigned from Yukon Public Schools, hoping to apply for a position back in the district as soon as I am able to go back to work full time.  In the meantime, I am considering some other options as far as furthering my education or teaching some night classes or maybe just doing whatever comes our way.  We shall see.

So this was an exciting post, written in the most  boring of ways, because there are two children yelling and hitting in the background, bc again, we are in a fighting phase here, and while I know they are only little once, this phase can walk out the door any time it would like...and I really don't think I'll miss it.    We appreciate your thoughts and prayers for my sanity as surgery is upon us in the next couple of days!
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