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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wondering about a few things??

Just how hard does a 5 year old have to flush the toilet to actually break off the handle?

Why do neighborhood cats like to use my veggie garden as a litter box?

How many times can a 2 year old brush his teeth in one day?

How come my answering machine can answer my home phone, but I can not?

What does it mean to "catch up on all the laundry"? And how long of a window do I have before it is behind again?

Why does my cell phone never ring except when I don't have it near me, or only if I am in the middle of a doctor, dentist, midwife appointment...and then it is that important call I have been waiting for? Tag, your it!

I know I have more questions, but I am out of time for now...



Thursday, June 25, 2009

Only one more month...

I can't believe that we only have 1 more month until the 5th Little Nut joins the Nuthouse!

I guess it is getting to the point where I should already be packed and have a freezer full of ready made dinners...but I don't. It would also be nice if we had somewhere to put the new little Wee-nut...but we don't. Owain is still in our bedroom and the other 3 boys are all in one very tiny room, and they just keep getting bigger everyday. They are all packed in there pretty tight. It looks like we are getting a little bassinet that will be easy to move around the house. I should probably go out and get that before the baby comes.

Suddenly it is really hot too! Too hot to go outside and get any yard work done or get anything done in the garden. My poor little garden that I have been struggling with for so long is having such a hard time hanging on. We went on vacation for a few days and the heat without water fried a huge part of my garden. Some of it is doing really well...compared to the wilting little plants hanging on for deal life.

The only thing I have been able to harvest so far this year are the black raspberries, and I made an awesome Black Raspberry-Apple Spread!(you really have to follow that link and check out my recipe and see my delicious pictures...it is to die for!) It is so yummy! I reworked an Apple Jelly recipe to include the black raspberries and it turned out delicious! Way better than the apple jelly that I make, I never have been able to perfect it. The birds noticed that we were gone for a few days and have moved in on the berry bush...we got home yesterday afternoon and I have been throwing rocks at the birds all day long to get them to stay away. Now that they have found the bush they don't want to give up their bounty of berries. All last week I was going out and harvesting berries 3 times a day to make sure the birds never found anything, hopefully within a few days they will move on. I ran out of canning jars that fit in the pasta pot I use for a water bath, so I think that I will just try to freeze the rest of this years harvest, unless I can find some more jars at the Goodwill or a yard sale. They are really tart, so I think if I add some sugar and toss them in a freezer bag that they will be good to go.

Wall Nut is so close to getting the wiring done on the addition, so hopefully things will start moving along again. The past few months have been so hectic and we never seem to be home long enough to get anything done on the addition. I am at the point in my pregnancy where I wish the baby would just come early so I don't have do drag my huge belly out into the heat any more...but at the same time, the wee one is so easy to take care of in the belly...and every day that the baby is in the belly is one more day we have to get ready for the arrival. And of course, Pea Nut needs to stay in the belly for as long as possible, a healthy baby is all I really want. There is no way that we are going to get the addition even close to being done by the time the baby is born, but at least I can get something done. Once the electrical gets inspected and we get everything insulated and get the drywall up, I can get to work finishing the drywall and even painting while Wall Nut is at work. Things will not just be sitting undone while he is away. It is nice too that he is only working 2 hours away and not 5 hours away anymore. So now that he is home a lot more, work on the house is starting to pick up some momentum again. Yippie!

I can't believe that before Owain was born and before we knew about his Heart Defect that we thought that the addition was going to be mostly, if not completely done by last Christmas...

OK, for the short list of things that need to be done in the next 4 weeks...going with the tradition that my babies never show up earlier than a day or two before their due date, some of these things might actually get done:
  • Pack my bags (this is an important one!)
  • Fill the freezer with dinners (about 3 days in the kitchen and I should be able to cook for about a month)
  • Get a bassinet (so the baby has somewhere to sleep when they come home...again, this is important)
  • Get my garden back in order and bring it back to life (so I can put food on the table!!)
  • Freeze some berries (yum yum yum)
  • Put a big push on getting somewhere with the addition (so we have somewhere for all the nuts)
  • Possibly finish potty training Little Nut Nut (although I am really putting him in charge of this one)
I think that might just cover the list for the next month. While I figure out how to line all of that up I am going to go take a nap and avoid all of the vacation laundry full of sand and sunscreen.



Thursday, June 11, 2009

UVA Heart Center Reunion Picnic & Mended Little Hearts

We went to the UVA Heart Center Picnic a few weekends ago. We thought about going last year, but it was the weekend after Owain was released from the hospital and we were so happy to have him home we had no desire to go back after everything we had be through.

It was exciting to go and meet other families with Cardiac babies and children. It was interesting and comforting to see all these little kids with the big scar on their chest. It was one of those things where I am sure a year and a half ago, I would have thought "Aw, poor little guy" or "Oh how sad, they must be suffering so much". Odd and strange thoughts. Owain is not a "poor little guy" and he is not in any way sad or suffering. In fact, he bangs his chest on his high chair when he gets excited, and while learning to stand has fallen right on his chest. Two things that even 8-9 months ago I thought would still bother him. He seems to not have any soreness or lingering pain, even though twice in his 13 months he has had his chest cut open...we have a really cool x-ray image of his chest after his surgery when he was 9 days old. It is neat to see the wire they used to hold his chest together, we call it his Iron Man picture.


I wonder what the new metal ties from his October surgery look like now? Looking at Owain now, and all of the others kids I saw at the reunion picnic, now I think of things like, Brave, Strong, and Made of Awesome!

In the month before Owain's first birthday I had huge amounts of anxiety. On many days it was overwhelming. It was something I was not expecting and threw me off my game. I think one of the weirdest things for me was that I am pregnant again, and in April, just before his birthday my belly was big enough for me to have this odd feeling like I was being transported back in time. I kept thinking about how I was pregnant waiting for Owain, how he was overdue and still not knowing about his Heart Defect. It got to the point where I had a hard time concentrating and couldn't even make it through the day without crying...it also didn't help that my current pregnancy hormones magnify all my emotions. And it is not like being pregnant watching one of those birth and baby shows on TV...and every woman who has ever watched those shows while pregnant knows what I mean...you just sit there and cry, baby after baby, episode after episode...its the hormones and you just can't help it. I would start thinking about his birth and how quickly everything happened...about sitting in the waiting room outside the NICU for hours after he got transported to UVa and being in complete shock...how I just wanted to be back in the recovery room where I delivered him, hanging out with family and holding him and just the thought of all of that was too overwhelming. After almost a year, everything was coming back, all the emotions and fear and anxiety and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

His birthday was wonderfully relaxing and calm. We did very little and had a simple and humble birthday lunch for him with no party. It was enough for me to have him here with us. The weeks following his birthday were just as hard as the weeks before. I would walk out of the house first thing in the morning with the kids to take them to school and just the smell of the air in May was enough to bring back memories of leaving the house early to go to the hospital to sit by his bed. I still felt like I was in some strange floating time, where I couldn't quite figure out what was going on. I would see flowers blooming and think, hmm, I don't remember those coming up before...then realizing I missed it last year because I spent all day in the hospital.

It was all very strange, and very difficult to deal with.

He was released from the hospital last year on the 29th of May, and the Heart Center Reunion was on the 30th this year. If they always have it on that same weekend, it will be a nice way to celebrate his home coming every year.

When we got to the picnic, the first thing I saw was the NETS Van, (Newborn Emergency Transport System). It was right there in front of me, before we even parked and got out of the van. I had seen it from far away in the parking lot at UVA and passed by it driving around the hospital and it never affected me emotionally. I would point out to the kids, there is Owain's ambulance and never think twice about it. This time when I saw it, all the emotions came back all over again. I couldn't even get out of the van, I just cried. Before we got there, I wanted so bad to see it, and once there, I couldn't even look at it. It was a huge shock! I was so surprised that I got that upset, I had no idea that it would affect me that way at all. After I settled down, I still had a hard time dealing with it. As we were walking by it, I felt like everything was moving in slow motion. I ran into a few things with Owain and Little Nut Nut's stroller, but I still couldn't bring myself to stop and look inside. Looking back at it now, I wish I could have held it together to look inside and talk to the EMTs for a few minutes, but it is something to look forward to for next year.

Being a family with 4 young kids, we ended up getting there later than we had planed and missed most of the activities, but we all had a great time anyways. The kids really didn't know what they missed out on. There was a huge inflatable bouncy room that the kids went on over and over and that was enough to make them happy. We got to see a few of Owain's Cardiologists, a few of them we had not seen since he was released a year ago. There was tons of food and we got to sit and have a nice picnic, talking to other Heart Center families and Cardiologists.

While we were eating, I noticed that we were right across from the Mended Little Hearts of Central Virginia table. They are a support group for families with Cardiac Babies and have monthly meetings in the Children's Hospital at UVa. I have never been able to go...mostly because I didn't realize that they offered child care during the meetings...which makes total sense that they would, now that I think about it. Mended Little Hearts has awesome care bags that they give out to parents of Heart Babies when they are admitted. It had lots of toiletries for overnight stays, as well as simple and thoughtful things that probably change out, like a little notebook, batteries, crayons and little coloring & activity books for siblings, magazines, and an awesome book called It's My Heart. That book was so wonderful to have and was such a huge help in learning about Congenital Heart Defects and what we could expect. There were lots of other little things in the bag like snacks, pens, a Mended Little Heart cup and many other things that I can't now recall. The bag was packed full! They also had a Build a Bear for Owain. The care bags had a little bit of something for everyone in the family and it was the perfect thing to receive, especially going in completely blind and not knowing a thing about Heart Defects.

The most exciting thing about the day was that I found out that there is a new chapter for Mended Little Hearts of Charlottesville! Their table was part of the Central Virginia table. They are a brand new chapter as of this spring and their website just went live very recently. I am excited to learn that I can take all of my kids with me to the meetings and be a part of a support group that will both help our family as well as give us the opportunity to help other families when they find themselves in a situation similar to ours. I think it is wonderful that my children will be able to connect with other siblings of Heart Babies.

I get to go to my first Mended Little Hearts meeting next Monday and I can't wait! It hasn't even been a full two weeks since we went to the Heart Center picnic, but it seems like I have been waiting for this meeting forever. I have been trying to write down Owain's story to submit to the C'Ville chapter for their website, but every time I sit down to do it, I start getting overwhelmed again just thinking about it. I think it will probably take me a few weeks to get the courage to sit down and do it. Who knows, I may just have to wait until after the baby is born so I can sit down without a surge of emotions interfering with my thoughts.



Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Speak. Confirm. Repeat. and do it again.

There is one ongoing conversation that has been repeated so many times since summer vacation started that it qualifies for a little bit of crazy.

E Nut, my 5 year old came home from the last day of school with a squirt gun...just one. We have one squirt gun and at least 2 other boys who are dieing to get their hands on it, especially the 2 year old Little Nut Nut. And it is not just getting his hands on the squirt gun, it is getting his hands on it and sneaking into the bathroom, closing the door and then proceeding from there...just as his very clever brother E Nut taught him. So very, very sneaky he is.

He sneaks into the bathroom, turns on the water and proceeds to have a great time, drinking from the squirt gun. Then he moves on to drinking out of every cup and toy he can find, washes his hands several times (and then some). He will wash his hands, his arms, chest and legs, the vanity, the stool, the floor and the counter. All this time the water is running full force and he is alternating between the soap and the water and everything else in the bathroom.

All of this can happen in the time that I change the babies diaper or in that time when it is quiet...you know that time...it is quiet and you think things are good...and then you realize that it is too quiet and things could be very bad.

So very, very sneaky he is.

Within a matter of a few minutes the bathroom is flooded, the boy is soaked and I am mopping up water. Again.

Speak. Confirm. Repeat.

Me: Little Nut Nut, NO!
Me: Wing Nut and E Nut, please come here...who was in the bathroom last?
Wing Nut: Not me.
E Nut: Not me.
Me: Of course. Little Nut Nut flooded the bathroom again...when you are done in here, please lock the door behind you.
Wing Nut: OK.
E Nut: OK.
Me: Good.

...I clean up the bathroom, because I did find a towel that was mostly dry.

...sometime later...

Wing Nut (or E Nut, it really doesn't matter): I gotta go to the bathroom.
Me: OK, I'll unlock the door, but close it and lock it behind you when you are done, I don't have time to stand here and watch you pee and wash your hands. Please lock the door when you are done so Little Nut Nut doesn't flood the bathroom again. OK?
Wing Nut or E Nut: OK.
Me: PLEASE???
Wing Nut or E Nut: OHKAY!!

...I walk away and get back to whatever I was doing...

...sometime later...

Me, thinking to myself: Boy, it sure is quiet in here...ah how nice. Wait, its Too Quiet...as I walk through the house...Wait, what is that sound? Oh no, not again!
Me (rushing to the bathroom): Who is in the bathroom... Little Nut Nut, NO!
Me: Wing Nut and E Nut, please come here...who was in the bathroom last?
Wing Nut: Not me.
E Nut: Not me.
Me: Of course. Little Nut Nut flooded the bathroom again...when you are done in here, please lock the door behind you.
Wing Nut: OK.
E Nut: OK.
Me: Good.

...I clean up the bathroom, because I did find a few t-shirts in the laundry to clean up the water...

Little Nut Nut is getting one of those plastic sand and water tables for his birthday next month!



Thursday, June 4, 2009

Song for a Fifth Child

Some one sent this poem to me a few months back and I just remembered it. I think it is very fitting for my family. It was first published (I think) in the Ladies Home Journal in 1958. Enjoy!


Song for a Fifth Child

Mother, oh mother, come shake out your cloth!
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking!

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat- a- cake, darling and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard and there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

Oh, cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby. Babies don’t keep.

By Ruth Hulburt Hamilton, 1958



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