Sunday, December 12, 2010

Boosting a 4 year old's immune system?

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to boost Anna's immune system? She's been sick with one thing or another almost constantly since Thanksgiving. First a UTI, then a stomach virus and now she has a cold.

She's always been a super healthy kid, she's never even really brought home a lot of the stuff I know she is exposed to in preschool. When I took her in for the UTI, her ped even commented on how few illnesses she has had.

But lately she just seems so run down and she's picking up everything. I don't want her to be sick for Christmas.

She takes a multivitamin and is good about eating her fruits and veggies. I'd rather not give her the typical things adults take when they want an immune system boost; I don't even know if you CAN give those to kids and I wouldn't anyway.

But are there particular fruits and or veggies, other than the obvious vitamin C loaded citrus, that we can try that might help? Isn't zinc the other vitamin that is supposed to help your immune system? What is a natural source of zinc?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Anna Events

It's been a super busy summer for Miss Anna. She received her yellow stripe on her white belt and danced beautifully in her first ballet recital!

We are so proud of her!




Monday, April 12, 2010

Mother of the Year!

I just sent all three of my children downstairs to play a computer game that I despise and which, along with all other video games, is typically banned from their life unless it is Sat or Sun, so that I can finish a huge project that has been plaguing me for a solid week.

This is how desperate I am to get to bed before 1 am.

Yup, mother of the year. When do I get my award?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

How Much Longer?

How much longer until the nightmares stop?
How much longer until I have to hide the grief because the people around me get sick of hearing about it?
How much longer until I am not afraid to touch or even look at a baby for fear of making a huge scene?
How much longer until I can honestly say that I am not bitter towards Catholicism?
How much longer until I pray for God's will to be done in e-mom's life and really mean it, not just because I know that is what I am supposed to do and would rather see her hurting as much as I am?
How much longer until my head can convince my heart that it is SO not worth all this pain, fear and anxiety?
How much longer until Anna forgets how excited she was about having a baby sister?
How much longer until my heart stops skipping a beat every single time I sit down at my computer, hoping for an e-mail that will change everything for the better and blot out the e-mail that caused so much grief in my life?
How much longer until my mind accepts that my family is complete and there will be no more little girls for me to parent?
How much longer until I can fall asleep without flipping my pillow over to find a dry spot I haven't cried on?
How much longer until the sight of baby girl clothes don't make my stomach churn?
How much longer until I stop envisioning how every single thing I do would be different if this hadn't happened?
How much longer until I don't feel judged and rejected?
How much longer until I am truly happy again? Because that is what I want.
How much longer?

WARNING: Incredibly Snarky Post (ISP) Alert

Link

So these are the oh so INCREDIBLY ethical people who decided that *I* am not worthy to parent a child because I am not one of them.

Ya know, today I think I am ok with that. With not being one of them, I mean.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I'm Not Sorry

A few people have asked me whether or not I am sorry we ever started down this adoption path.

I can honestly say no, I am not sorry.

Don't get me wrong. I am not happy that I feel the way I do. My arms ache for a baby I never had the chance to hold. It is a dreadful feeling and one that I would not wish on anyone.

We could have said no. We could have decided not to take the risk in order to spare ourselves any potential pain. But...the thing is, if we never took the risk, we would have spent a lifetime wondering what might have been.

Yes, we ended up in pain. No, we are not happy about being in pain. But this pain will fade with time, I assume. There is a degree of closure to this pain.

Had we never taken this risk, we would have spent our lives questioning that choice. There would have been no closure; only a lifetime of "what if?"

Do I wish she had never contacted us? Sometimes. But not really. We are starting, ever so slowly, to move forward and to identify positive pieces of this whole bizarre puzzle. I believe that any circumstance is what you make it. We can choose to wallow or we can choose to take the crappy things that happen and use them for some purpose; to turn them into something positive. Trust me, I have done my fair share of wallowing and will likely continue to do so off and on for quite a while, but I know that in the end I will be ok and I will have a greater appreciation of many things as a result of these events. I still have days when I feel angry, when I question everything I said and did, when I want to pick up the phone and beg her not to do this. I am human, after all. But I know that with time I will heal and move forward.

So no, I am not sorry. I took a big risk that could have ended in a miracle that I never dreamed possible. I had to. And if the situation came up again, I sincerely doubt that I would hold myself back from taking the risk again; despite the fear that will no doubt try to hold me back. I have taken many risks that have ended in incredible circumstances. If I had allowed fear to hold me back, I would have missed out on so much.

I'm not sorry.

"It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

-Lord Alferd Tennyson

Monday, March 1, 2010

March 1st

It has been March 1st for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Oh joy.

I am not usually one to assign deep meaning to relatively arbitrary dates that will eventually come and go regardless of anything I do, but I cannot help hoping that a new month will bring something better for the S family than the month that just ended.

See ya February. I am not sure what in God's name we did to tick you off, but you sure had your revenge, didn't you?

February 2010 Review

Feb 1st: Jesse's grandmother passes away
Feb 14th: Failed domestic adoption of the baby girl we have dreamed of and prayed for after we are deemed an unfit family due to the fact that we are not Catholic.(This event spawned the "Life is Wonderful?" post that tormented so many people with its vague nature. Sorry about that.)
Feb 18th: Jesse's employer announces that the company is closing.
Feb 27th: Jesse's grandfather is diagnosed with late stage bone cancer; there are no treatment options other than pain relief as he is not healthy enough to sustain cancer treatment

February 2010 has earned a permanent seat right next to February 2006. I used to think Feb 2006 would always be the worst month of my entire life; the month I was told my husband had less than 5 years to live without a heart-lung transplant. I didn't think it could get much more crappy than that. Clearly I was mistaken. Or maybe not. I think we have managed to tie that degree of crappy, but fortunately we have not yet surpassed it.

There's always a silver lining, eh?

It feels pretty stupid to hope that because letters and numbers on a piece of paper have changed, our life circumstances will improve, but I suppose the human mind is programmed to look for hope anywhere it can. The end of a month of pure hell is as good a time as any to hope for improvements, don't you think?

I really have no real purpose in writing this, other than the fact that I wasn't sleeping and thought that maybe writing it out would serve to purge some of the pain and allow my mind to stop spinning.

I am now investigating grief counselors because we simply don't know how to process this much pain. Our collective solution has been to shut down and retreat from the pain as much as possible. In doing so, we seem to be shutting out all emotions, both the good and the bad. On many levels I recognize the folly in doing so, but on other levels I simply don't care. I don't WANT to feel this much pain. Ignoring it is easier than facing it. I'm not convinced that I am doing myself any favors by refusing to allow the grief its due process, but denial is all I have right now so I am going to go with it. Frankly, I'm not even sure I'm interested in grief counseling as I am sure that person would have one goal in mind; making me acknowledge and deal with the pain. Denial is comfortable right now.

Despite the grief I won't allow myself to feel, the anxiety that I can't shut out and the depression that has replaced both good and bad emotions, I have reached a few conclusions that I think are important to put in writing.

1. God does exist and He does care. He does not purposely toy with me by putting pain in my life, that is not His nature. Rather, He gives me the strength to function and will work everything out for good in my life if I choose to let Him.

2. These events will not destroy my marriage. Many couples have divorced when faced with far less than we have already faced in 12 years of marriage. We will not be defeated by pain and fear.

3. I will cherish every second of the time I have with my children. I will love them and appreciate them for every characteristic they have, no matter how seemingly obnoxious it might be.

4. I will acknowledge that, despite February 2010 and all the hell it has unleashed on our family, we are still richly blessed and have much to be thankful for.

5. I will not allow myself or anyone else to disregard my pain by pointing out that the pain of someone else is worse. If I am standing next to a person in a full body cast with only my one broken arm, my arm still hurts.

So long February 2010. I'm sure we will revisit you many, many times as the years go by and I can't really tell you what those visits might look like. It's not really important right now anyway. At the moment all I need is some closure and this felt like the best way to find it. Peace.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Sunshine

Life is Wonderful?

Sure it is, I'm just having a little trouble focusing on that fact right now.

This is the title to one of my favorite songs; a song I used to hum throughout the day and believe every word of. If you are reading this on the blog, you might be listening to this song right now.

On many levels, I know that life is still wonderful, because nothing has really changed. Yet I am beyond frustrated by the fact that I have completely lost sight of the wonders of life due to events over which I have no control.

And that makes me ANGRY. Because you know what? Life was wonderful. The very acts of getting up and going to bed, taking care of the kids, working, making dinner, balancing the checkbook, going grocery shopping; they were enough for me. I didn't need anything else. I delighted in the day to day routine because my life was wonderful. Simple, but wonderful and everything I could have ever asked for.

And then events happened. An old scar was reopened. I didn't go looking for it; I didn't ask for it, it found me. I was at peace with that scar. It was nearly faded completely away. I actually had to search for it when I wanted to give it a once over.

And now here I am. Scars are no longer scars, but open, bleeding, incredibly painful wounds because I allowed myself to take a risk, to believe, to step out in pure faith. And now life is not wonderful. Getting up and going to bed and taking care of the kids and making dinner and grocery shopping are nothing but things that need to be done. Now I am profoundly UNHAPPY with my day to day life while not a damn thing about that life has changed.

The absurdity of that makes me want to laugh. I KNOW that nothing has changed. I know that I SHOULD still be as content and happy as I was 2 months ago. I KNOW that. But something has changed. Something I did not ask for and could not control, but, as it turns out, something I wrapped my heart around and believed was going to happen despite all my bravado that I could remain detached in case of what has actually happened.

And this sucks.

Because I WANT to be happy again. I WANT life to be wonderful. I WANT to delight in the day to day routine. I am angry that my equilibrium was rocked; that my sense of well being was demolished and for NOTHING. I don't WANT to grieve this situation because my life should still be enough for me.

But it's not and that makes me ANGRY.

For anyone with the usual clich├ęs going through your head, PLEASE refrain. Just so that everyone knows, saying things such as, "God never gives you more than you can handle" and "It just wasn't meant to be/God's will" will NOT help a person who is in pain. This merely trivializes the pain and implies that God is a terrible creature who lacks any compassion or understanding of our pain. That is not the nature of the God I believe in.

But just so we are clear, I don't believe that knowing God has a plan for my life means that He is my lucky rabbit foot and will ensure that I get my way each and every time I want it.

God's will is NOT done all over this earth on a fairly regular basis. You simply can't make the argument that anything that happens that we don't like just wasn't God's will. Just because I have turned my life over to His will does not mean that the billion or so other people out there have and last time I checked, they all have free wills too. They can do whatever they want, God's will or not, and unfortunately, those actions are bound to affect me from time to time.

Please also do not tell me that God has some grand lesson, a great epiphany, for me to learn. Again, the nature of the God *I* believe in does not indicate that He likes to bat us around like a cat playing with a mouse, just to see what we will do. He would not dangle my heart's desire in front of me, then use it to beat the crap out of me and take it away. It is not His will that I am in pain; pain is a result of the actions of humanity. All I can do is trust Him to help me get through it, believe that He can work every situation, however crappy, out for good in my life and decide whether I want to wallow in this agony forever or try to turn it into something positive in my life.

I know that as time goes by, I will make the choices I need to make to regain equilibrium and recapture joy. But right now I am in pain and I am angry that I am in pain because it is useless pain. It never needed to happen in the first place. I should not have to endure the process of waiting for wounds that were once completely healed to heal all over again.

What a waste.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Anna's Big Girl Bed

Picture, as requested.

(Yes, I know that 3 1/2 is absurdly late to move her into a real bed. It just sort of happened. I have no excuses or explanations.)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Happy new year!!!!

Several people requested this recipe quite a while ago and I did forget to post it, even though I promised I would not.

I'm sorry!

This recipe is an adaptation of Anna's bikini bread recipe. I changed a few things to account for the moisture content of the pumpkin and have arrived at a recipe that I LOVE. It has ruined me for any other pumpkin bread, to be perfectly honest.

I know everyone says baking is an absolutely precise art but I am not that precise with this recipe and it always comes out fine. I never fill the measuring cup quite to the top for the oil, applesauce or sugars. This dough is very moist so I cut down the liquids a bit and just reduce the sugar out of principle.

I prefer this made with fresh pumpkin but I am sure you can use the canned pumpkin as well.

3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp cinnamon (you can switch this up with nutmeg, cloves and or pumpkin pie spice if you like.)
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
3 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups pumpkin
1 package dried cranberries (the kind without added sugar, if possible)

Combine wet ingredients and sugars and mix thoroughly before adding the cinnamon, salt, baking soda and vanilla. Once this is combined, add the pumpkin. Mix thoroughly and then add the flour. After the dough has formed, add the cranberries.

Divide into 2 loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, depending on your oven.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Doh!

Sign you are a science teacher who is working too hard:

Setting: Your son is rocking dining room chairs in a precarious manner and you suspect they are about to topple over on top of him.

You say: Isaac! Stop rocking those fossils! Put them down!

Isaac looks at you like you have lost your mind and leaves the room.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bikini Bread

Anna's latest fav: Bikini Bread!

Ok, it's actually Zucchini Bread but bikini bread is FAR more adorable to hear her say and she so rarely comes up with "toddler speak" anymore that I plan to encourage the use of bikini bread as long as possible.

Here is the bikini bread recipe that Anna is so enamored with.

This makes 2 large loaves. Or, as my kids prefer, you can grease up your favorite baking mold and make fun shapes. I am currently using a ghost mold which makes the whole thing even more fun. Anna asks for bikini ghosts for breakfast.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon (or 4 if you like cinnamon. My next move is to add some ginger and/or nutmeg. YUM!)
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup apple sauce
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups grated zucchini

Bake at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

Love to all!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Um...Ok


Me: Nathan! Why is your underwear drawer empty and why is all of your clean underwear scattered all over this room? Didn't we just have a conversation about you guys NOT leaving clean clothes on the floor? Why is this underwear all over the place?

Isaac (matter of factly): Underwear fight.


Can anyone think of a clever response? It took so much energy to maintain my parental displeasure affect that I don't think I said anything.

BOYS!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Germs! Germs Everywhere!

I spent the better part of my childhood wallowing in muddy creeks. While watching my kids engage in the same activity today, I wondered how on earth I managed to survive without contracting some debilitating disease. I fought the urge to bathe them all in hand sanitizer after they dried off, but I did herd them into the shower the second we arrived home.

Muddy Creeks = Bad and Scary

Now you know.

Love to all!