Wednesday, May 2, 2012

An Unexpected Passing

Providing end of life care is an honor and a heart-wrenching experience all at the same time. We experienced a death in our Adult Family Home recently that was both.  I had the honor of providing end of life care to a God-fearing woman ready for the arms of Jesus.  It was also the most heart-wrenching experience I've had thus far in this business (I, however, won't go into details as to why).  It's going to take me awhile to move on.

We met her just once and I absolutely adored her.  She had a sweet, tender heart and had lost three babies, one a few days after birth, one a still born, and the other a miscarriage.  She seemed at peace.  We talked and had a lot in common.  I was excited to have her around.  Her husband was on hospice and we were going to provide end of life care for him and emotional support for her as she was losing her spouse.

I would like to say they moved in like normal, but they didn't.  It was stressful right from the beginning.  Drama doesn't even begin to describe their situation.  Boy would I love to type it all out on this page and get it out of my system, but unfortunately I can't.  As we attempted to get them settled and care for the hubby, the wife became weak.  We started brainstorming what it could be but she was worsening faster than we could come up with ideas.  We tried a few things to no avail.  Maybe it was just depression?  I ran out and bought her a parakeet since she had requested one before moving in.  It cheered her up and I was so happy to see that smile on her face, but as we were tucking her into bed and attempting to get some food down her, she threw up what little applesauce Josh had fed her. We both knew at that moment, she was dying.  I was so unsettled by the feeling that this wasn't her time.  I was still hoping we were wrong and that she just had the flu, but a few days later she was embraced by the arms of Jesus.

It threw us for a loop.  I'm still confused. All the while, we had been providing round the clock care and have been exhausted, which I know adds to the stress, sadness, and confusion.  She had been dying for awhile, but by the time it was figured out, she didn't have much time left.  It's left everyone shocked.  It's going to take me a long time to get over her suffering.  I find comfort in the fact that she is no longer in pain and gets to be united with her loved ones and the babies she lost.  That's something I look forward to as well.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hi There

It's been awhile so here's a little update. Emily is already 8-1/2 months old!!!! Carson is no longer a toddler but a little kid.  I feel like that happened over night.  He is probably the cutest little kid I know.  I may be a little biased ;)

Emily is still in the middle of our bed and this time around we actually like it!  I may fib once in a while and tell people she's a perfect angle and sleeps all night long, but really she's this super happy because she gets a significant amount of extra snuggle time.  I really can't blame her for being a snuggle bug because so are her parents.

Carson still jumps in bed with us from time to time as well.  Sometimes it amazes me that we all fit!  Poor Daddy gets squished against the wall that our bed is up against.  Thankfully I married a patient man that handles it very well :)

God has been pouring out direction on our lives.  We felt a very strong call to continue on with the Adult Family Home.  We have been luke warm about our business, well, since we started it.  A passion for it has overtaken us and we are very grateful.  We have six residents now and no employee, which is probably a little crazy but it will allow us to get ahead financially.  Getting ahead financially means more employee help!  It's hard to believe that if our plan actually pays off that in a couple months, we will be down to a 40-hour work week!!!!!! So exciting.  Looking forward to a normal family life again :)

Well that's what has been happening in our household.  We did get a couple of chickens so I will have to post about the amazing chicken coop my Handyman (aka the hubby) built me.  We are also hand taming our chickens and they come to us and let us pet cool!!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Oh Bummer!

This is a phrase that we have taught our son to say after he picked up the word damn't from...I don't know where ;).  It has also become my go to phrase for anything frustrating or disappointing.

Josh and I (well, really I) have been on a quest for healthy living and because my husband loves me, he goes willingly along with pretty much anything I do (isn't he great!).  I truly believe that a lot of food intolerance issues can be healed by proper diet and nutrition.  This evening, I was successfully talking Josh into doing a 21-day detox program with me.  He asked me for more details so I went to the blog I have been following for awhile,, (you should check it out, Michelle is amazing!) and I was reading the details of her program to Josh when I get to the very end of the page where it says, "not recommended during pregnancy or while nursing."  This is where the "oh bummer" comes in.  We were finally ready! Such a bummer.

My mom, bless her heart, tried her best to feed us a healthy diet.  We were never fed prepackaged foods and in my lunch everyday without fail was a baggie of carrot sticks, which I hated.  Sometimes, if I was lucky, I got celery with peanut butter which I preferred but still didn't like.  My mom, despite her best efforts could not curb my sweet tooth, especially for pastries.  I come by this honestly.  My mother would tell me stories about how my Dad could eat a whole plate of cookies by himself....well sorry mom, so could I.  I have tried alternative sweeteners (the healthy kind) and going cold turkey but nothing has fixed the issue.  Then I get in this awful cycle of being too exhausted to eat healthy and yet exhausted from eating crap...even "healthy" crap.  Just because it's organic and gluten free does not make it healthy.   I have also had a hard time breaking this habit because I have had no outwardly consequences.  I have remained relatively the same size, even after two kids, all while eating crap.  Even though it seems silly to complain about such a thing, I can tell my body inwardly is suffering.

This year, we are trying to change this.  It's going to be a challenge of epic proportions.  We will be attempting to change habits that have been commonplace for almost our entire lives! Like the fact that just because I ate my vegetable sides at dinner, I thought I was eating healthy, never mind that the entree was sauteed and then smothered in butter and cheese.  However, I believe we can do it.  I am having to change things more slowly because I am nursing but hopefully I will be posting our success.  My goal is that by this time next year, dairy and the occasional digestion of gluten won't have me doubled over or prickly from eczema. Go kale chips and roasted chickpeas! We can do this!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Food Allergies

I'm pretty sure that at some point I mentioned Carson's food allergies, which we believe to be dairy and gluten.  Now that he's a toddler it's really hard to control what he eats, especially with a doting Grandma right next door.  However, I try to limit those two foods as much as possible and I'm thankful that Carson loves coconut milk, fruit, and veggies!

It turns out little Emily has the same two allergies which probably means I do to and have just been ignoring the symptoms.  Thankfully Emme is only nursing at this point so cutting certain foods out of her diet are fairly easy.

This last week I cut out both dairy and gluten.  Her pin prickly rashes instantly went away and a few days later so did her gigantic welts that were crusted over and now slowly her eczema is healing and nearly gone! So that is good news.

However, I miss bread desperately!   I'm thankful for all the gluten free foods on the market.  Plus, this doesn't mean I'm done with bread, I just get to now experiment with other grains besides wheat.  After I'm done nursing Emme, and my own gut has had a chance to heal from gluten, I will probably try Sue Gregg's soaking grain methods and see if we have any reactions to it.

Living without dairy has been the hardest.  I never realized how many of my recipes called for cheese or milk!  It's been fun finding new and tasty recipes though and I hope through this culinary change, 2012 will be the healthiest year my family has ever had!

I did want to post the symptoms of gluten and dairy sensitivity.  I was surprised to find that I had a lot of the symptoms on each list. Most of the symptoms are not major medical issues and may not even cause you to give it a second thought.   You just get used to certain health issues or don't even realize they're an issue at all, you just learn to live with dry skin.  Even if you do cut these two culprits out of your diet, it can take 2-3 weeks to see results from cutting out dairy and sometimes up to a year for adults to see results from cutting out gluten!  Here's a list just in case, you too have some hidden health issues!

Dairy Sensitivity:

    Abdominal Pain                      
    Canker sores
    Ear Infections
    Iron deficient anemia
    Irritable Bowel Syndrome
    Joint Pain
    Lactose Intolerance
    Poor Growth
    Poor immune function (frequent illness)

Gluten Sensitivity:

    Mouth Sores (canker sores)
    Cracks in Corners of Lips
    Tooth Enamel Defects or Discoloration
    Frequent Indigestion
    Malodorous frequent gas
    Malodorous light or clay colored stools
    Steatorrhea (floating stools)
    Abdominal Distension (look like gained 2 sizes, belly is hard)
    Chronic diarrhea or constipation
    Irritability or Moodiness
    Muscle Weakness
    Chronic fatigue, (Exhaustion)
    Bone or Joint Pain, (Aching Joints)
    Infertility (miscarriage, delayed puberty in girls, irregular menstruation.)
    Skin Rashes (eczema, psoriasis, boils)
    Dermatitis Herpetiformis (skin rash related to celiac disease)
    Failure to Thrive in Babies, Short Stature in Adults
    Peripheral Neuropathy (tingling or numbness in arms and legs)
    Ataxia (gait difficulty, balance problems, uncoordinated walking)
    Weight Changes (Sudden gain or loss of weight)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Becoming an Individual

It started this summer when Carson was determined to wear his camo coat everywhere in 90 degree weather.  For the first time he was asserting his individuality. The "me do it myself" persona.  He refused to take this beloved coat off until he was beet red in the face and sweating.  He even wore it while we ran errands.  It looked pretty funny but it was okay with me because I wanted to support this new development.  Then it turned into wearing his bike helmet everywhere and picking out his own outfits.  Now I try and beat him to his dresser to pick something "cool" or at least presentable out.  If I don't, it's pretty much a guarantee that a massive fight about the Lightening McQueen shirt he has now worn three days in a row will ensue. He has no concept of "it needs to be washed honey." I usually talk him down with a hideous bright red robot shirt that he loves. The other day Josh looked at me and mouthed..."we need more Lightening McQueen shirts."  Then there was the day that I had to whisper a very quiet "Oh, Lord."  Meaning I silently prayed...dear God save me from this awful embarrassment of having to take him out in public looking like this! He had found his old snow boots from two years ago and had somehow shoved his growing size 10 feet into tiny size 5 boots.  I honestly couldn't even figure out how it was physically possible.  He would not take them off.  I had to remind myself...he's becoming an individual.  I ended up having to take them off after he had fallen asleep.  The "Oh, Lord" part came when he grabbed his Daddy's safety goggles and yes, put them on.  Also bear in mind, it was not cold out yet.  So he looked a little funny with teeny tiny snow boots and a pair of gigantic safety goggles on.  He is an individual, I say to myself and we packed it out of the house.  Thankfully, I've gotten used to the looks.  If only they knew that I had tried to convince him otherwise before leaving the house, however, he is an individual.

We were running errands the other day and as we were driving through the parking lot, a mother and her three-year old son walked out of the store and crossed in front of our car.  I had to do a double take because of what this little boy was wearing on his head.  It was none other than a cheap plastic bucket with the handle under his chin as if it were a strap.  I started laughing and was so thankful that I am not the only mother going through this.  I was also thankful that as of yet, Carson has not gone out wearing a bucket on his head.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Finding Contentment

Over the last few weeks, I have been learning how to be content from my almost three-year old son.    Over the last couple years I have been trying to drill into my brain the biblical concept that my joy and peace does not come from circumstances but from the Lord.  I know this and I  believe it. Yet, I was still struggling and after Emily was born, I had a very pitiful pity party.  I pretty much felt constantly sorry for myself. The world would say I was justified.  People are constantly telling me, "I could never do what you do."  Or asking me, "how are you holding up?" Which was only adding fuel to my self-pity fire.   You know what brought my pity party train to an abrupt halt?  Carson coming up and telling me "I love my house mommy."  My response was a questioning "you do...did you forget we share it with five old people?"  He then went into three-year old blabber  about exactly how much he loves our home and why.  I was flabbergasted and for the first time, I saw our living situation from the eyes of a toddler.   It made me think, why can't I love our house?

This new revelation wasn't an instant cure, but it did get me thinking.  Why does this not feel like home? What can I do to make our living situation not so chaotic?

I thought about what really needed to change and I changed it. I stopped crying and decided to take some action. I found someone to watch Carson one day a week so I could get the administration part of our business done from start to finish.  Now when I'm home with the kids, I don't have unfinished work tasks hanging over my head.  I even had time to charge my Kindle! Second, I decided to focus on being grateful.  When I started only thinking about the positive, I actually became overwhelmed by how blessed we are.  I even brought our decorations out of storage and started nesting.  Maybe the time of year is helping, but our home is starting to feel cozy and warm to me.  I feel bad for wasting so much time feeling sorry for myself but I am thankful that for now I am moving forward.

It's amazing that all it took was a simple sentence from a 21/2 year old. Thank you my dear son for getting me out of my funk.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Overcoming Breastfeeding Struggles

Breastfeeding my second baby did not go as planned.    Carson and I struggled a lot.  He was severely tongue-tied and could not even latch.  After extensive help from lactation consultants and a simple tongue-clip procedure we were able to successfully breastfeed.  He ended up breastfeeding until 19 months and I was extremely happy and fulfilled with our success.

It surprised me to be experiencing those same issues plus some with Emily.  I have to admit I was pretty emotional about it. She had to go through a tongue-clipping and upper lip clip.  It was extremely emotional and I was not sure I was making the right decision.  However, as we started to breastfeed successfully, I knew I had made the right choice.  Prior to the help we received, I was having extreme pain from her biting and her bubble palette that had formed due to her tongue-tie.  Once the pain was gone, the bonding started happening in greater amounts.  Not only is breast milk the best nutrition infants can receive, the added bonding was well worth the struggle.  It probably took me longer to get over the procedures than it did for her.

I am thankful that I now get to experience successful breastfeeding with Emme.  I am also thankful for the resources we have.  We have a plethora of lactation consultants.  It took me a few to finally see the right one for us. You have to be your own advocate in every area of health.  I also want to spread the message that it is possible to overcome breastfeeding challenges and it's worth the struggles involved.