Friday, November 30, 2012

Time - I Need More.

By 11:00 this morning I had already taken two naps.
Two.
And they were each 30 minutes long.
It's nearly 3:30pm and I am in serious need of yet another nap.
Sometimes it's a really long life.

In the next three days I have to find the time and the energy to:

-make 12 dozen cookies
-help with a bridal shower
-plan Sunday dinner for my family
-clean my house (Jason's parents are staying with us this weekend)
((my house isn't actually that messy, amazingly - I just have to clean it with a fine tooth comb.))

-find something purple to wear to my little sister's wedding that is next week

(Oh hey, Baby Sister is getting married next week!)

-and maybe put up my Christmas tree.

Happy weekend to me!

Happy Weekend to you too!






Wednesday, November 28, 2012

In Which I Make An Announcement and Have A Giveaway


For months and months - years even - I've been trying to wrap my head around the idea of writing a book.
People tell me all the time, "Noelle, you need to write a book."

And if you were to look at my list of things to do before I die, 'write a book' is at the top of that list.
 I have only wanted to write a book if it could mean something to someone - if it could have a lasting effect on just one person's life I would write it.

My biggest problem is that I simply don't know if I have the imagination or the vocabulary to come up with an entire plot - to come up with a story line that holds someone's attention for 200 plus pages.

There have been times I've prayed and said basically, "God, you know I want to write a book - please help me to know what to do and how to do it."

In the last few weeks I've had an idea, and today that idea was solidified - with an early Christmas present from Jason and with the encouragement of a few friends.

Pause this train of thought and let me show you the completion of Project #1:




What used to be storage under the stairs is now Emily's play room.
I'm not sure if you've heard, but there is a rumor floating around that says Emily is spoiled.

Our girl LOVES her space, and I love that this space allows my living room to finally look like something other than just cluttered.
(And it doesn't hurt that I can just shut the door and the toys are 'cleaned up.')

Unpause the train of thought.

While playing around with my new camera tonight I created this and my dream of writing a book finally made sense in my mind:



If I can #1 - find the courage, and #2 - figure out how to make it all come together, The Girl will be writing a children's book - and if I'm dreaming big, which why not, The Girl will write books, plural. And she will tell real life stories of her little girl, and of her own life - and when her drawings won't suffice, her camera creations will.

And if The Girl is really thoughtful, and puts her whole heart and soul into it, perhaps her children's books will also touch the hearts of a few Mommies and Daddies along the way.

So there's that - if I say it out loud to you World, perhaps you can give me the encouragement to do it (or tell me it's a horrible idea if that's how you feel) - and also hold me accountable to my dream.

And now, to a new train of thought.  

There is enough space above the animals that I want to put a thought, a saying, a slogan, something...
and I want it to have something to do with Emily.

So why don't we make a contest out of it?
You leave me a comment, or email me with your ideas, of what I should write above the picture, and Jason and I will pick the one we like most.

And if it's your thought we choose, you will win something like this:


(one out of four that I'm doing as Project #2)

 I have a whole bunch of other girls with other sayings and designs, and you can pick the one you want.
I'll stitch it, frame it, and send it to you - with my love - AFTER Christmas, thank you very much because I have way too much to do before then but that is for another post as this one is already way too long.

So there you have it - all of a sudden you have a lot of responsibility placed upon your capable shoulders.
Hold me accountable - unless you think my book idea is horrible and then you have to tell me - and come up with the perfect saying for Emily's little space.

And because I've asked you to do that for me, I'll share this with you:




Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I've Been A Little Busy


In the last four days I have started more projects than I know how to finish.
I'm insane.

Tonight at 10:00pm I sent Jason off to find me storage bins.
Lots of large storage bins.

He must love me because he took my list and went willingly and had to go to two different stores to find what I needed.

The project I'm most excited about is not quite finished, and it required that I clean and organize the garage and clean out my storage room - the storage room that has never had enough space.

I have to do one more thing tomorrow and then I'll take pictures and show you.

The other projects are last minute Christmas gifts I decided to make, and oh my honk - what was I thinking?
I'll take pictures of those too, as I finish them.

Tonight I ran to the store with one thing in mind: a chair for Emily.
She's always looking for something to sit on that is just her size:

-the stairs
-any box she sees
-some of her toys
-me, whenever I'm sitting on the floor

-the dishwasher door


I wish you could have seen her face - not just in the pictures we managed to get.
She has never looked more smug.
She knew immediately that she was sitting in her chair - and she was a very happy little girl.



When did our girl get so big???

It's now almost 2am - again.
I haven't been to bed before 2am in many nights, and I am starting to feel it!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I'm Beyond Thankful


Emily came home from the hospital two days before Thanksgiving last year.
We were lucky enough to have her home for three weeks before we took her back for her third open heart surgery.
On Thanksgiving day last year we spent 4 hours in the ER, because of feeding tube drama.

I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving at home, with my family.
And I'm loving that our little lady has come so far.

For a girl who was only given a chance at survival, I'd say she's a superstar.

I hope all of you have a day filled with peace and love.

From our home to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Stitched With Love

It's been a long time since I've been as sick as I was last night.
I went to bed with a splitting headache, and it only got worse as the night progressed.
By 3:00 am I was quite certain I didn't want to be alive.
I can't remember ever having a worse migraine and on top of it all, I was so nauseated I couldn't move without throwing up.

As I laid on the bathroom floor (and by the way I've never been more grateful for freshly laundered rugs in the bathroom) waiting for my stomach to stop heaving, I cried and thought about how much I missed my mom.

I knew that Jason would have done anything that he could have for me, but I just missed having my mom rubbing my back and smoothing back my hair.

I slept until this afternoon, and was so grateful that Jason was home from his week of traveling because I knew that Emily was in the best hands.

Later in the day Emily and I were snuggled on the couch taking another nap and I looked at the blankets we were cuddling with.


They are at least 30 years old, and were made with love by my grandma.
The yellow one is mine, and the blue one was my grandpa's.
They are mostly worn and have very little batting between the layers of fabric, but they comfort me when I'm sad - or when I'm sick.

While Emily slept cuddled in my arms and her great-grandma's blanket, I watched the rain falling outside my window, and although my head still hurt I was filled with peace.

I've had a good life - I've been surrounded by people who love me, and as silly as it might seem, I'm grateful for threadbare blankets that still serve as a reminder of that love.

And for the record, my throat is still sore from the ordeal it went through last night.
I'm off to wrap up in my yellow blanket and snuggle with Jason.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Way Things Really Are


If there is any doubt as to who is the boss, let this picture clear it up:


My child will NOT let me work.
She wants to be in my lap, playing with my hair, or snuggling on my shoulder.

I've got a good ten minutes at most, before she's standing at my chair tugging on my arm.

Tonight I had to finish some things up, and Emily just wanted to play with me.
I pushed the chair away from the desk, plopped her in it, and then spent 15 minutes kneeling at my desk.

She was happy, and I got my work done.

And now tonight my knees are killing me.
I'm really really really too old to kneel.

Guess what?!!
I have one gift left to get and I am done Christmas shopping for Jason and Emily.

Yes, I'm kind of a super star.

Oh, and my house is clean.
I know!


Attitude of Gratitude


One of my favorite girls I've never met is Kristin.
She blogs at simplyklassichome.com.
One day we are going to meet for lunch - in Disneyland.
But until then, she loves me even when I'm too lazy to actually comment on her blog, and instead comment via text.
(She must love me if she gave me her cell phone number!)

Kristin is my personal blog designer, my personal Christmas card designer, sometimes my personal cheerleader,  and I love her.

She's hosting a blog series this month called Attitude of Gratitude, and she asked me to be one of her guest bloggers.

Please stop by and read my post there today.



Monday, November 12, 2012

Melancholy

I'm sitting in the rocking chair in Em's dark bedroom, waiting for the little lady to settle into a peaceful sleep.
I think she had a bad dream tonight, because she woke up crying a bit ago and couldn't settle back down.
I wonder if she senses that her daddy is gone - he will be gone all week, and Emily is never quite as content when he's gone.

It seems that my life is one never-ending routine:  morning spent at home with Emily, afternoon spent at work with Emily, evening spent at home with Emily, and then start over again the next day, with very little variance.

I'm extremely conflicted between feeling peace and feeling loneliness like I've never felt in my life.

I truly don't think that I take my life with Emily for granted.
I know that every day I have her is a gift, and I do everything in my power to make sure that I make the most of every minute.
Emily and I spend a lot of time playing, and singing, and cuddling, and taking naps together.
We laugh together and she knows that when she's hurt her mommy's arms will sooth her.
And I know that no role in my life will be greater than that of being Emily's mommy.

Even with knowing that, I'm still lonely - lonely to the point where I spend nights crying myself to sleep.
And so far I can't quite figure out how to combat that loneliness.

Poor Jason.
I probably tell him at least once a week that I'm dying of loneliness, and he simply doesn't know what to do or say.
One night when we were talking about it he said that he didn't think he could ever be the one to fix that part of my heart.
And he's probably right, but that doesn't stop me from getting frustrated at him, and I know that's not fair.

I've spent hours and hours analyzing my feelings - trying to get to the core of where they are coming from.
And the only thing I can come up with is that change, no matter the form, is hard for me, and in the last three years my life has changed more than it has in perhaps my entire life.

I went from being a very happy and content single woman to being a wife and a mother of a child with special needs in a matter of what seems like seconds, and although I love both Jason and Emily, and I wouldn't trade where I am for anything in the world, I still feel like I'm reeling.

In three short years I somehow lost a major portion of who I was before, and although most people would probably agree that I'm a better person now than I was then, I still miss that part of me - that part of my life, and I simply don't know what to do to balance that life with the life I have now.

I've wondered if I should write this - if I should admit any of this out loud - I would never want you to think that I'm not grateful for the life I have.
I am beyond grateful.
And I think that's why I feel so conflicted by the loneliness I feel so acutely.
How can someone who has been blessed with as much as I have still have these feelings?

* * * * *

Here, look at these cute pictures of our girl.
I'm going to wipe my eyes and blow my nose and go and do the dishes.

Thanks for letting me have this moment.
If you know me in real life, I'll be back to my slightly sarcastic self tomorrow.

She falls asleep in the strangest places.  Never fear, I moved her out from underneath the futon before she sat up and smacked her head.



Friday, November 9, 2012

And There Is Snow


I've never seen snowflakes as big as what are falling outside of my window.

Merry Christmas - or something.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

An Example To Follow

When I saw my sister this afternoon she was wearing a brace on her wrist.
I asked her what happened and she laughed and said, "I sprained my wrist.  I went roller skating, and I'm not as young as I used to be."

My sister had taken a group of about 35 kids from church roller skating and they challenged her to skate with them.
Heather has never been one to turn down a challenge and so although her skating skills were rusty, she skated around that rink.

Heather noticed a girl sitting in a dark corner of the roller skating rink, and she was with a boy that looked older.  As my sister put it, "the boy was all over that girl and she looked uncomfortable."
Heather skated up to the other adults in her group and asked them, "How old do you think that girl is?"
The consensus was that she couldn't be more than 12 years old.

Heather stood up and one of the other adults said, "Heather what are you doing?"

"I'm going to talk to her," Heather said.
The others in her group tried to talk her out of it but she wouldn't listen.
Heather skated over to the girl and said, "Hi!  What are you guys doing?"
She talked to the kids for a few minutes and invited the girl to skate with the group of kids from church.
The girl said no, and Heather turned to get back on the skating rink.
It was then that she fell and sprained her wrist.

There went whatever perceived authority she had. 

The girls from Heather's group had seen Heather talking to the young girl and asked Heather what she had said.
They had seen the girl and the boy and knew enough to know that the girl wasn't in a good situation.

For the rest of the night, whenever that boy got too close, or too hands on, one of the girls from Heather's group skated up to them and started talking to them.
They found out the girl was only 11 and the boy was 14.
That kid didn't stand a chance at getting any action as long as my sister and her girls were at the skating rink.
At one point one of Heather's girls said to the girl, "Does your mom know you're here making out with this kid?"  The girl blushed a deep red and didn't say anything.

They stayed until the rink closed and then watched as the girl waited on the curb for her mom to pick her up.

My sister told me today, "There was no way I was going to let that kid get away with anything, even if the girl was willing - at least not while I was there."

I love my sister.
I love the example that she is to everyone who knows her.
I love that her girls know exactly what Heather stands for, and I love that they are all striving to follow Heather's example.

There aren't enough people who defend purity, and I'm grateful to be related to someone who does.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The End Of The Tunnel - Maybe - Probably - Oh How I Hope

Do you remember when Em was a tiny baby and she got a life threatening infection in her incision after her first open heart surgery?
She had been home about a month before she was taken by ambulance back to the hospital where the attending doctor told me her life could easily go either way.
I think in all that we have been through with Emily, that was the most scared I have ever been.

In the weeks leading up to that day I asked every medical professional we saw to look at Emily's incision.
You might remember that I stopped Emily's pediatrician in the hallway at church and made him look at Em's incision, because I was worried something was wrong.
Everyone told me that she was fine, that her incision looked a little bit red, but it was fine.
And as I sat in the ambulance and prayed for my baby's life, I knew that I should have fought harder to be heard.

I've wondered since then if I would ever come in contact with a doctor who would listen to me - who would sincerely take the time to listen and actually hear my concerns, and base their care off of my concerns.
Up until last week I didn't think it would ever happen that way.

The longer Emily has been off of the formula that I'm now convinced she had an allergy to, the more frustrated I've been at the GI doctor and dietitian who told me over and over again that there was no way Emily had an allergy, and that they would not even consider changing her formula until she was two years old.

I'm frustrated that they blamed all of her throwing up and misery on reflux.
I'm frustrated that they continued to up the dosage of her incredibly expensive reflux medicine, knowing that it didn't do her any good.
I'm frustrated by a lot of things ...

...and after meeting with a new GI doctor last week for a second opinion, those initial frustrations have only increased - to the point where I'm considering writing a letter to both the original GI doctor and the hospital.

Did you know that the heart and the esophagus develop at the same time during gestation?
And did you know that if you have a baby with a heart defect there is a good chance you will also have a baby with esophageal problems?

I didn't know, and I'm surprised that out of all of the doctors we've seen, it took until Em was 15 months old for someone to tell me this.
Within just minutes of me telling the new GI doctor Emily's history she had given us a diagnosis - different than anything we have ever heard.
What everyone else said was reflux that Emily would eventually grow out of is actually esophageal spams.

And although her esophagus looks normal, it is far from normal.
My poor baby girl has been having these spasms multiple times a day, and every time it happened, she felt like she was choking and probably couldn't breath, and because she would panic everything seemed worse for her.

If you add in the probable allergy to her formula that made Emily throw up every single day of her life,  our girl really didn't stand a chance.

For some reason the spasms are much worse in the morning, and while switching formulas made a world of difference, it wasn't enough to take away Emily's misery.

I could give you a list a page long of the differences we see in Emily now that she is on her new formula.
The GI doctor confirmed that changing formulas was the best thing we could ever have done for Em.
But the second best thing that's ever been done for Emily?
A new medication that the GI doctor gave us - one that relaxes Emily's esophagus.

I gave Emily her first dose of the medication last Wednesday evening, and have given it to her every evening since then.
My girl wakes up happy - happier than she's ever been.
She doesn't retch.
She doesn't arch her back.
She doesn't scream in pain.
She doesn't throw up.
And it doesn't take 20 minutes to calm her down once her body relaxes.

Emily hasn't thrown up a feed once in over two weeks, and in the last six weeks she's only thrown up a handful of times.

I threw the plastic table cloth away on Saturday.


And instead of sitting in our laps, miserable during every feed, our girl just wants to play.
The change has been dramatic - and I'll be forever grateful to a GI doctor who really heard what I was saying.

You can all sigh a big sigh of relief - on the count of three we can all sigh together.

It's only been four days, but I have hope that four days will turn into 40 days and then 400 days, and by then the last 11 months of Emily's life will be something I can laugh about, and I'll be able to say to Jason, "Remember when our daughter threw up every dang day of our lives?"

The best part of all will be that the question is in the past tense.









Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Peek Inside

This morning while I did laundry Jason gave Emily a bath.

As he was putting lotion on Em I heard him ask, "Okay Little Girl, would you like the full treatment or the deluxe treatment?"
I laughed and asked him what the difference was.

"The deluxe treatment includes Desitin."
 (for those of you who might not know, Desitin is diaper rash cream)

A few minutes later I heard him say, "Oh, wait!  We need to do a pedicure too."
And then he rubbed lotion into her feet.

Oh how that man loves his little girl - and oh how that makes me love that man!

* * *


Friday, November 2, 2012

Family - I Love Mine

You know what's fun?
Working with my brother.

Someone called him a few days ago and gave him a credit card number and said, "I want to pay off the balance that I owe you."
My brother wrote down the credit card information, but nothing else.
And now he can't remember who it was that called.

"It was a woman," he said.

I've been calling my brother randomly all day and giving him a name - trying to jog his memory.
So far I'm striking out.

I can't be too mean to him though, because the other day when I was nigh unto starving to death, my brother let me use his bread and peanut butter to make a sandwich.

And plus we have matching jackets so that has to count for something.

PS.  It's two hours later.  I guessed the right name.  My brother remembered.  It was a man.  HA!