A Good Mom

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My little munchkin needed a G-tube. It’s something that wasn’t very easy to accept. I went back and forth on the decision so many times and it wasn’t just me that had to come ar…

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A Good Mom

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IMG_6378  My little munchkin needed a G-tube. It’s something that wasn’t very easy to accept. I went back and forth on the decision so many times and it wasn’t just me that had to come around to the idea. “All your kids are small!” My mother in-law had insisted hoisting sammy up in the air and kissing her little nose. “They have to understand that.” Sam stuck her thumb in her mouth and her other hand on her ear, assuming sleepy position on Teetee’s broad shoulder. “I wish that were the end of it.” I shrugged sadly. “But the doctors are worried because she hasn’t gained weight since February.” Sam closed her eyes and I gazed at the small curve of her arm. Scrawny was what I saw. A scrawny baby. 


“Did you try giving her cream in her milk?” My mom asked on the phone. “We could make her a heavy duty milk shake.” 

“She’s on fortified formula, I put peanut butter on everything.” I laughed. Shoving a half yogurt half frosting filled spoon into Sam’s mouth. “She’s just not gaining.” 

Zach and I prayed about it. A lot. In the end we have to make her medical decisions for her because she can’t yet. We do it for the other children already but its not quite as complicated with them. So I moved Sam’s crib into the girls room, and organized their clothes, I cleaned the upstairs and vacuumed away every wisp of doubt I had about the procedure.

On April 28th, we woke up at 4am packed up and headed to Boston Children’s Hospital.  Sammy was SO pleasant. No tears from that girl, even after a strict no food or drink protocol. Our friend graciously agreed to come and sit with the other ones while they slept. I prayed on the way there, in-between Zach and I chatted nervously. We waited for a while in the pre-op room. Sammy was brought a little cart to play with. It sang Under the Sea and had little people Disney like Ariel and Prince Charming. She chewed on each one and promptly threw them on the floor. We signed a lot of paperwork but the surgeons were good at explaining everything and gave us clear answers. Sam squirmed in my arms happily, pulling at my earrings and blowing raspberries at the parade of yellow masked surgeons coming to hold her. I lifted her hospital gown, took one last look at her perfect little tummy and kissed it.

She was groggy after and certainly upset. Zach and I passed her back and forth. All she wanted to do was drink and drink. “Alright, I’ll let her have another one.” The nurse said, “but I might get in trouble for it.” He passed us the small vile of Pedialyte sugar water with a nipple on top. Sam sucked it down and grabbed for another. “Slow down, girlie!” I bounced her and stroked her back. We waited for a couple hours. Zach felt the stress pooling in the back of his neck and his vision getting cloudy. “I’m getting a migraine.” He said. I put my hand on his shoulder. “Let’s eat, maybe it will help.”

We got to Sammy’s room and scarfed down subway sandwiches. Zach had planned to return to the girls as soon as we were settled so I said goodbye to him and slumped into a chair. The next day or so, they taught me all I needed to know. Tubing, and cleaning. The right way to flush the line, the feeding pump etc. Whenever it seemed overwhelming I took a breath, prayed and focused on the ONE THING that had to be done. The only time I cried was when the child life specialist brought in a whole BAG of stuff for my other kiddos to learn about CF. A doctor kit, a book and even a doll with a G-tube. “THANK YOU!” I teared up and hugged her tightly. “This means so much to me, I know its just your job but thank you so much!”

The girls loved the gift of course and Sam is recovering well. My friend Mindy brought me something on the day we got back from the hospital. It was a little silver necklace. “You’re such a good mommy.” She said as she hugged me. “I’m proud of you.”

This past week I’ve been encouraged by those words. I don’t think moms say it enough to themselves or each other. From now on I’m committed to believing that I’m a good mother. God has given me the ability to be a mother, he has blessed me tremendously with friends and family that cherish motherhood. I’m a good mommy because I try my absolute best, I’m a good mommy because I make hard decisions for my kiddos and advocate for them, I’m a good mommy because I love them and I’m blessed to know so many other good mommies.

Happy Mother’s Day

Our Shepherd

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After the diagnosis, we took a little leave of absence from the norm. I ended up buying way too much clothes, we ate whatever we felt like and the girls were witnessed to me breaking down in tears more often than I’d like to admit. It was tough going, but if the Lord ever wanted to teach me to stay near to him it certainly worked. I found myself, running while praying, eating, cooking and even sleeping in a constant state of prayer. One particular song captured Zach and I and we listened to it over and over for the reassurance of God’s role in our lives as our shepherd.

I was reminded during this time of a certain dream shattering I had experienced a few months after moving to Massachusetts. I am a music teacher. Currently I teach private lessons and I truly enjoy it, however I’ve always been in love with the classroom setting. Kids learning next to one another, the flash of recognition in communicating with another human with music. It’s the best! I interviewed for what would’ve been a dream job. I had great references and they liked me very much.  It was not only a job I was excited about it was one that I was fully qualified for.

I didn’t get it…and I was devastated. I blamed God and told him where to get off. I cried for weeks over it but after Sam’s diagnosis I realized it was providence. I needed to be home to care for her, to take the extra needs in stride and learn how to manage her disease. What seemed like an unfair rejection turned out to work in our favor.

Now, I certainly won’t say that God isn’t capable of doing things a different way or somehow working to allow both things together. BUT I know that my God is a good God who works to achieve his ultimate glory and our good. It is with that promise that we continued on and welcomed Samantha Hummer on June 28, 2015.

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God did answer our prayer regarding her bowel and she did NOT need surgery! And I cannot understate the role of our church family in supporting us with prayer and meals the entire time! We are truly blessed.

A New Adventure

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Last year, we had two children…now we have three. So no, apparently we haven’t figured out what causes it. Baby number three was born with Cystic Fibrosis.

For those of you that don’t know what that is…here’s the rundown. Its basically a disease that affects certain organs in the body (lungs, pancreas) and causes them to get all “gummed up” with extra sticky mucous, which the body has trouble removing. It gets complicated sometimes, resulting in life-long infections or bacteria that can end in needing a lung transplant or other surgeries.

It was October and we had just moved to Massachusetts in June. Zach had gotten an amazing job that allowed us to live in paid housing. It was a dream house for us. A four bedroom with a second story after years of cramped apartment living seemed like a palace. The girls loved it too. They had their own room with special checkered purple curtains from nana and an expanse of grass to run around on outside. I was nursing Emily occasionally and one day I found it strange to see she was no longer interested, in fact she BIT me to make her point known. I mean, she drew blood! A few weeks later I felt a familiar sickness creeping up into my stomach with growing regularity. A pregnancy test confirmed what I already knew. They would be close in age, only a year or so apart but we were glad for another blessing in our new home.

At the second or third ultrasound there was a bright spot on the babies bowel. I scoured the internet for information on what could be causing it, and how many of those findings actually led to a problem. Old threds on baby blogs did nothing to calm my fears of the unknown and we were getting worried. The bowel was echogenic, which led the doctors to believe she may have the disease. After a long needle into my bare abdomen and several days of anxiety, we got the call.

“The test results came back from the lab, and the results were positive for the Delta F508 mutation in both genes…Which means she will have Cystic Fibrosis”

God, please, no. Are you sure? Its not someone else’s test? Are you sure it’s our baby?”

“It says Hummer, Anna.”

My eyes welled up. “Okay”

“I’m obligated to tell you that the law in Massachusetts allows abortion up until 24 weeks of preg…”

“NO…no, that’s not an option, that was never an option.”

“Okay, well I’ve scheduled a consolation for you at Boston Children’s Hospital…they will be in touch.”

I held the phone loosely in my hand and stared at nothing on the grayish carpet.

“She has it…she has cystic fibrosis.” I said out-loud trying to hold it together as everything was falling apart around me. My friend Mindy came up and hugged me firmly.

“It’s going to be okay.” She said, shakily. “I promise.”

Sometimes, there isn’t much else to hold on to but that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Cooked a Thing

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So, I’m traveling this weekend. Tomorrow morning I have the dreaded MTEL testing and then I leave Sunday at 3am for a wonderful “Frozen on Ice” vacation trip with The Grammy…all expenses paid.

Needless to say, we have little to no food in the house. I bought things for a board game party last night. If there were only four people, including us, does it still count as a party? I got some Brie, cheddar cheese, crackers and boring vegetables. I will have to share the baked Brie recipe sometime.
It is to die for!

My friend Dave also brought some KILLER cookies! (Why so violent, tonight, Anna?) I ate waaaaay too many for dessert. Gaming always brings out the glutton in me. But look at these!!!! I’m actually shocked there are some in the jar still.

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Anyways, I digress. I pulled open the fridge praying to find something to serve the hungry family. Josie had worked up quite an appetite swinging a sword at a tree wearing her “pirate boots” and hubby needed something quick to get in a gym trip tonight. So voila!!!

I’m calling this (drum roooooll)

Greek Feta Bake Casserole

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Ingredients

2 cups cooked rice
14 oz chicken breast cut to bite size
14 oz ground Italian sausage
Half a red onion, diced
1 Red pepper, diced
3 tbsp. Greek dressing (maybe more…I don’t actually measure these things. Don’t tell me what to do, Maaahhm!)
1/2 can spaghetti sauce (I had some leftover homemade)
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup feta cheese (or however much you want)
Bread crumbs or almond meal

Step one:
Preheat oven to 350
Heat skillet with olive oil

Step two:
Add onion and red pepper. Salt and pepper to taste.

Step three:
Add sausage and chicken strips and cook on medium high until no longer pink, stirring occasionally.

Step four:
Add dressing, sauce,rice and cottage cheese. Mix well.

Step five:
Transfer everything to a casserole dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs (or almond meal) and feta. Put it in the oven for about 10 min or until bubbling.

There ya’ have it. We loved it as you can see…

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Happy cooking!!

P.S. I served it with a side of broccoli but you can leave that out. Sorry broccoli…don’t make it weird.

Also, I’m totally over analyzing this post now due to the impending reading and writing sub-test tomorrow.

Get it together, woman! Learn how to spell recepie
R-E-C-I-P-E, for goodness sakes!

Should a comma be there?! Ahhhh!!!

Let’s Take it in

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Most of the time

Most of the time

A HAPPY PICTURE! MIRACLE!

A HAPPY PICTURE! MIRACLE!

Today I saw my babies in a different light, maybe it was because I got up two hours before them, maybe it was because it was raining and I just sat with them, maybe I’m finally getting the hang of this…. doubtful.

You know what its like sometimes and I want you to know that I know too.

I know the chaos that is breakfast, the rush to quiet the baby while consoling a screaming 2-year-old with a wet pull up. I know how ugly and impatient and exhausted you feel usually before 8am. I know what it feels like to see the neighbor next door pull out in her nice car with fair trade coffee in hand, styled hair and her killer outfit. In your mind she has the fanciest job and the perfect little paycheck to go with it. Then some baby grabs your boob with oatmeal hands and the other one threw a cup of juice at the wall. “How artistic.” You watch cranberry juice trickle down an already dirty wall. Does cranberry juice qualify as a natural cleaner?

I know getting out with the kids is a priority. I see you at Target, Barnes and Noble and on a good day the park. You try your hardest to be a good mommy, a patient mommy, a mommy that doesn’t freak out when the baby eats sand or the toddler wants to go on the “big swing”. I know what it feels like to have an important phone call while dragging a muddy tantrum out of a puddle, or change a major blowout diaper in a parking lot…sometimes all at the same time. I know the frustration, the pure anger you feel sometimes because you can’t use the toilet, or take a shower in silence. When was the last time you had a date? A lunch break? 8 hours of sleep? I’ll bet it’s been a while.

I hope you get a shower and nap time, I hope you get early bedtime. I bless you with date night and lunch break and 8 hours of sleep but I hope that some days more than anything you stumble on moments of clarity.

Maybe she makes you a picture. Maybe she says, “I love you.” for the first time. Maybe the baby laughs at the other one and you all end up on the floor giggling. Maybe you just notice how beautiful they are. You see him in their eyes and yourself in their ways. Maybe it’s not even a “good” day but all of a sudden a spotlight turns on the scene and you remember once you didn’t have this and someday soon it will be gone.

I hope you find yourself able to laugh at the glue mess on the floor and the markers on the wall. I hope you see your children sometimes and not just look at them. I pray for moments that make you laugh and days that are not in your own strength. Let’s take it in, the laughter, the tantrums, the chaos, the Cheerios on the floor and the three-day-old dishes in the sink. Apparently this ends, like an engagement before marriage or college before graduation. A time we will look back on and laugh or cry. Probably both.