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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thankful Thursday

This week I am Thankful for...


Cute Baby Girl Feet



Surprise self portrait of Big Kid Smiles I find on my camera.



 Memories of Summer Vacations to the Beach



Kids who love to cook.



Fake pouty faces.



3 Generations of Boys
(with She Nut too)


I just realized this was my 100th post! Yippie!

As always, I am Thankful for my happy, healthy, wild little beasties that run around my house all day long driving me crazy, I am Thankful that my husband has a job, we have a roof over our heads and for our wonderfully supportive group of friends and family and all the ways they help us.

So what are you Thankful for today? It is so easy to join in and tell everyone.

Here is how Thankful Thursdays works:

1. Post your Thankful Thoughts on your blog. Somewhere in your post please mention Welcome to the Nut House and http://ourhappynuthouse.blogspot.com/ so that your friends, family and visitors know where to find other Thankful Thoughts. You can also grab my Thankful Thursdays banner at the top of this post and link to that. Once you have done that you can come back here and add your post to MckLinky.

Not every one has a blog, so:

2. If you don't have a blog, you can leave a Thankful Thoughts comment in the comment section.

3. You can show your Thankful Thoughts any way you like, as a list, as a story, as one word, one sentence or just a picture.

Have fun!




Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Let's Say Thanks" to our Soldiers

Let's Say Thanks is a website started by Xerox and is partnered with many others including Give2TheTroops, the Rochester Institute of Technology, and the Boys & Girls Club to name just a few. These companies make it easy for you to say "Thank You" to US Troops stationed overseas. Children from all over the country created postcards and the designs are available to you through the Let’s Say Thanks website. In the past several years, millions of postcards have been sent to deployed US service men and women who love getting the thanks they deserve.

Let's Say Thanks makes sending a postcard simple, just follow these steps and in a few short minutes your Thank You is on its way to a soldier.

1. Go to the Let's Say Thanks website at http://www.letssaythanks.com.

2. Follow the link that says "view all designs".

3. Scroll through the page until you find a postcard that you like.

4. Click on the link that says "send this card".

5. The next page has several fields to fill out. They will ask for your name, city and state. There are several messages already created for you to choose from. You can select one of those messages or click on other.

6. If you choose a message from the list, click on the "submit" button and you will get a confirmation that your card will be sent.

7. If you choose the "Other" option and then click "submit" another field pops up and you can create your own message. Don't forget it is a small postcard, so you will need to keep your message short.

8. Click on the "submit" button and you will get a confirmation that your card will be sent.

9. You are welcome to send as many cards as you wish everyday. The site recommends choosing a different card every time to get a good variety of designs that are sent out.

10. Bookmark this site and send another card tomorrow, it only takes a few minutes, and means the world to a soldier.

11. Look around the site to see messages from soldiers, photos, news about Let's Say Thanks and their other partners.

12. Tell your friends.

Sending a Soldier a post card is not only a wonderful surprise for them, but it lets them know that they are not forgotten, that America is thinking about them. The Let’s Say Thanks website is easy enough to use that young children can help pick out which cards to send and which message to choose. And it is a great way to spend time with the kids while teaching them about volunteer work. Let's Say Thanks sends post cards out all year long, but as the Holidays get closer, we spend more and more time doing this every week. I sit down with one of the little Nuts at a time and they each pick out 5-10 cards and the message they want to send. They love knowing that they just sent mail and that it is going to be sent out across the world.

Take a quick moment to say Thank You to Our Troops.



Monday, October 26, 2009

Christmas is just around the corner (ask any retailer)

I know it is not even Halloween yet, but I have already seen Christmas items showing up at many different stores.I figure if they are trying to get you to spend money already, I can help you save money before you go out and spend it. If you are the type of person who likes to think ahead, I have some great money saving tips that will help you save money when it comes time to...well, just hop on over to I'm Not Cheap, I'm Frugal and check out the biggest way that I save money when it comes to the Holidays, and beyond.



Friday, October 23, 2009

Yay, I got a few Awards! Y'all ARE reading about my Nutty Life

I have a few bloggy awards that I have received recently...well, one of them was almost 2 months ago. I just got another one yesterday and I figured I better get to showing off my awards as well as giving them away. I am working on getting caught up with some of the things on my list of things to do, and now I can scratch this off my list.

This first one is from Brandi over at My Three Bubs. She awarded me with the Splash Award, given to alluring, amusing, inspiring, bewitching, and/or impressive blogs. Awww, how sweet, thanks so much for the love!



The award does come with rules though, and here they are:

1) Post the award on your blog/post.
2) Nominate 9 other deserving blogs. (I actually couldn't keep it to 9)
3) Let your friends know they have been chosen by leaving them a comment.
4) Link back to the person who gave it to you.

My Nominees are:

1) Rose
2) Emily
5) Sophie
7) Krysti


My second award is from Mindy over at Because I SAID SO.... She awarded me with the Honest Scrap award given to others whose blogs you find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have encouraged you. Thank you so much for the love!




This award comes with some rules as well:

1) Must thank the person who gave the award and list their blog and link it.
2) Share "10 Honest Things" about yourself.
3) Present this award to 7 others whose blogs you find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have encouraged you.
4) Tell those 7 people they've been awarded HONEST SCRAP and inform them of these guidelines in receiving the award.





10 Honest things about myself:

1) I don't like hot coffee, only iced coffee, so when it gets too cold I start drinking hot tea.
2) I refuse to by coke...because it is so bad for us, but if it is in my house I will drink it like it is going out of style.
3) If I was 10 years younger and independently wealthy, I would have 5 more kids.
4) I am terrified of spiders and screamed like a girl today when I found a monster spider in my laundry room today.
5) I love my family with all my heart, more than anything in the world.
6) I love to cook and bake, but if I am overwhelmed I feed my kids cereal for dinner.
7) I wear my heart on my sleeve.
8) My favorite video game is Zelda and has been for the past 20 years when I played The Legend of Zelda for hours on end.
9) I cut my own hair, and dye it with henna.
10) My husband is 6 1/2 years younger than me.

So that is my Honest Scrap.

And now to nominate 7 other bloggers:

2) Ann
4) Beth
5) Maura


Whew, that was hard to choose from my huge list of so many great bloggers!



Thursday, October 22, 2009

Little Nut Nut's 3rd Birthday and a Birthday Blog Hop

Today is Jamie's birthday over at From Memories to Books, Happy Birthday Jamie! Jamie works as an Independent Consultant for Heritage Makers, they turn digital work, such as blogs and photos into scrapbooks. I am loving it and can't wait to get one for Wee Nut's story! Jamie's Blog Hop is that we are supposed to find our oldest birthday photo on our computer, post it and tell a story about it.

Well, turns out that I have already used my oldest birthday photos here, but confessing my status as a bad mother, it turns out that I never posted Little Nut Nut's birthday pictures. She Nut was due on his 3rd birthday, and came 4 days early. So when we had his party a few days after I got home from the hospital, I never managed to get his birthday pictures edited and up here. I am not sure what is worse, forgetting to post his birthday or forgetting him here in this post.



Little Nut Nut has been waiting for a Wall-e Birthday cake since last winter!
He is just in awe of it :)



This is the Leapster that I got at a yard sale for One Dollar!
You heard me right $1.00!
I got a few games for him too, they were .05 cents each!
Again, your heard me right :)



This is his sand and water table that I talked about getting him
in this post after he flooded the bathroom.
What is there not to love about sand and water?



And lastly, a some what good picture of me that doesn't look terrible or completely nuts.
I just had to squeeze that in heehee.
(Baby belly fat censored)

Even though it is 3 months late, Happy Birthday Little Nut Nut, I sure hope that I can manage not to give you a Middle Child Complex.

OK, so now I am supposed to tag 3 people to join Jamie for her Birthday Blog hop, but I forgot to pick out my three blogs and now dinner is ready, sorry Jamie.

So hop on over to Jamie's blog and wish her a Happy Birthday and share your Birthday pictures.



Thankful Thursday

This week has been a rough one at the Nut House. Four out of 5 of my little Nuts were sick on Tuesday, 2 of them that normally go to school, stayed home. Wee Nut had a runny nose all morning and seemed fine until he woke up from from his afternoon nap wheezing, with a croupy cough and turning blue...so off to the dr we went. We managed to get in at the very last moment and did not have to go to the ER...so Thankful for that!! On top of the cough, runny nose and wheezing, he has an ear infection, poor little guy. We were at the drs until after 6, everyone was tired, hungry and cranky, but they were little troopers waiting patiently to go home. No luck going home though, the prescriptions wouldn't be ready until 7 at CVS and within a few minutes of leaving the dr office, I had 3 sleeping kids, so I drove around town while waiting, listening to the other 2 kids complain about EVERTHING under the sun. I thought I was going to loose my mind. After waiting in line outside the drive up window for 15 minutes, all the kids were awake, babies were screaming, brothers were fighting, Little Nut Nut was talking about everything random he could think of and my head was ready to explode. Finally, we get up to the window and they tell me that Wee Nut's insurance card was declined. Really? Declined? Try again please, he has insurance. They tried everything, no go. Try again please, he has insurance. After another 25 minutes, the insurance goes through. Told you so.

We head home, it is after dinnertime, after bedtime, and we are all miserable. Very much so. We all stand in the kitchen, while I try to feed the baby, grab random foods out of the fridge, freezer and cupboards giving what ever I pull out to the first little hand that grabs it first, trying to fill up Owee so he can get his meds, he is on prednisolone, amoxicillin and albuterol, and needs to take his meds with food. Everyone eats, Owee gets his prednisolone and amoxicillin and goes into the playpen, and I get the other brothers in bed while still trying to feed the baby...she was not interested in being put down, she was hungry after all. In the few minutes it took me to get brothers in bed, Wee Nut was fast asleep in his playpen, so that gave me time to finish feeding the baby, get food for myself, finish getting the BBQ Turkey Meatballs I was making when Owee woke from his nap earlier, into the slow cooker and catch the end of the Yankee game. The drs always say, don't wake them to give an albuterol treatment, wait for them to wake up.

Shortly after the game was over, I managed to fall asleep for a few minutes, only to be woken up by a very angry Wee Nut, who was once again wheezing very badly, turning blue and basically not being able to breath. So I go to pull my nebulizer out...and it is nowhere to be found. I am trying to hold Owee because if I put him down he starts screaming, getting bluer, while tearing the house apart looking for this thing that never gets put away. I always keep the nebulizer out where I can get to it quickly, on a bookshelf, on the back of the couch, on an end table...but it is never put away. I guess before She Nut was born, my pregnant mind, while nesting told me that I had to put it away. I called my husband, who is working out of town this week, in the middle of the night while I am pulling everything out of every closet, cupboard and drawer looking for this stupid thing. By this point, Wee Nut has settled down and is happily crawling behind me playing with everything I pull out of the closets, intrigued by all these new things that he is not supposed to be playing with, while I am kicking myself in the butt for not finding the nebulizer before falling asleep.

Searching for the nebulizer was nothing compared to the wrestling match that followed as I tried to give him his albuterol. Considering he is only 17 months old and has a complex heart defect with only one ventricle, he is without a doubt the biggest and strongest baby of all of them.Without getting into the play by play of the ordeal, lets just say that he was very very mad at me and clawed at me so hard he left marks on my neck and arms. Poor guy. His dr has always said when they cry and scream, they are taking deep breaths and it helps the albuterol get deep into his lungs. I would have to say he got it as far into his lungs as possible.

When all was said and done and his tears were wiped clean, he threw himself at me and gave me the biggest whimpering hug and passed out. I just laid down on the couch with him and cuddled with him, listening to him breath for a few hours before putting him into his crib.

I am very very Thankful that ordeal is over and Owee is starting to get better.

Last night was a completely different kind of crazy, involving even less sleep than the night before. And I am Thankful that ordeal is over as well.

As always, I am Thankful for my happy, healthy, wild little beasties that run around my house all day long driving me crazy, I am Thankful that my husband has a job, we have a roof over our heads and for our wonderfully supportive group of friends and family and all the ways they help us.



So what are you Thankful for today? It is so easy to join in and tell everyone.

Here is how Thankful Thursdays works:

1. Post your Thankful Thoughts on your blog. Somewhere in your post please mention Welcome to the Nut House and http://ourhappynuthouse.blogspot.com/ so that your friends, family and visitors know where to find other Thankful Thoughts. You can also grab my Thankful Thursdays banner at the top of this post and link to that. Once you have done that you can come back here and add your post to MckLinky.

Not every one has a blog, so:

2. If you don't have a blog, you can leave a Thankful Thoughts comment in the comment section.

3. You can show your Thankful Thoughts any way you like, as a list, as a story, as one word, one sentence or just a picture.

Have fun!



Monday, October 19, 2009

What's Cook'n at the Nut House tonight?

I am serving up some Easy Peasy 15 Minute Chicken Pot Pie. Hop on over to my Frugal Cooking blog and check out my quick, easy and super Cheap dinner.



Friday, October 16, 2009

Fun Friday Photos

Isn't my baby girl She Nut such a fashionista?




Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Whew! It has already been a long day at the Nut House, I am ready for a nap. The day started out very early with several unhappy babies and one reluctant 6 year old who was not happy about going to school today. He was only 45 minutes late, that doesn't make me too bad a of a mom. I am already awaiting the slap on the wrist from the school, who will send a letter reprimanding me for sending my kid to school late too many times and reminding me of the state laws enforcing the amount of time my child must spend in school. It will probably be sent out by the same lady from the office who sneezed all over her HAND just before answering the phone. Way to stop the spread of germs at the school.

Moving on.

At the moment, I am Thankful that I actually remembered that it is Thursday.

I am Thankful for the pleasurable parent teacher conference that I had this morning with Little Nut Nut's teacher and the wonderful review I got from her. This child actually loves to go to school and is eager to learn, sits down and gets his work done. Granted, he is only 3 and in preschool...but it is still good to hear that everything is going well.

I also had a parent teacher conference with E Nut's teacher the other day, and I am equally Thankful for a good review from her as well. He is the youngest kid in the class, getting in just 2 days before the cut off, so he is a bit behind with his reading. I was glad to hear that she is putting him into an intense reading group to help him learn to read.

Wee Nut woke up with a runny nose and wheezing this morning, so off to the doctor we went. Checked throat, nose, ears and chest...all clear, no fever. I am so Thankful for that! He does have a runny nose, just no infection, the wheezing is coming from his airway, and not his chest, simply post nasal drip.

I am concerned about H1N1 with our family and especially Wee Nut and his Heart, so at the first sign of anything, we are off to the doctor.

Our family had come into contact with several people who have gotten H1N1 both last week and this week, and I am very Thankful that as of Today, we have managed to avoid it. Lots of hand washing and lots of sanitizing.

I am Thankful that I just heard my coffee pot beep to tell me my coffee is done, I had to run out of the house today without my coffee and I am ready to fall flat on my face.

Still Thankful for Zoloft and all the support and stories that have been shared with me in the past two weeks.

As always, I am Thankful for my happy, healthy, wild little beasties that run around my house all day long driving me crazy, I am Thankful that my husband has a job, we have a roof over our heads and for our wonderfully supportive group of friends and family and all the ways they help us.




So what are you Thankful for today? It is so easy to join in and tell everyone.

Here is how Thankful Thursdays works:

1. Post your Thankful Thoughts on your blog. Somewhere in your post please mention Welcome to the Nut House and http://ourhappynuthouse.blogspot.com/ so that your friends, family and visitors know where to find other Thankful Thoughts. You can also grab my Thankful Thursdays banner at the top of this post and link to that. Once you have done that you can come back here and add your post to MckLinky.

Not every one has a blog, so:

2. If you don't have a blog, you can leave a Thankful Thoughts comment in the comment section.

3. You can show your Thankful Thoughts any way you like, as a list, as a story, as one word, one sentence or just a picture.

Have fun!



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Laundry Laundry Laundry Laundry LAUNDRY!

I swear, our family of 7 produces enough laundry for 20 people. I can't believe how much laundry we have. I do 2-4 loads of laundry a day. Every. Day. Not including cloth diapers, and washing a load of diapers is so much easier than running to the store to get a case of disposables. Whites. Lights. Darks. Light Pants. Dark Pants. Light Towels. Dark Towels. Bedding. Lovey friends covered in a shared breakfast. Over and over until my head spins like my front loader at 1500rpms.

And can I just say how much hate love changing out the kids clothes for the change of seasons. I just love the fact that it is in the 70/80's one day and in the 50/60's the next. There is nothing more I love to do than keep bins and bins of clothes out because I never know if I am going to need shorts or pants. For the past three weeks I have had the bins out, and I can't put them away until I get all the summer clothes washed and put away. This time of year though, I never know if my kids will be wearing shorts and T-Shirts or pants and long sleeves. I think this week we have finally moved into Fall and I can put away the shorts and T-Shirts and I can get my living room back. Wee Nut is going to miss those bins of clothes, which he believes is full of clothes just so that he can spin them around his head a few times, throw them on the floor and crawl all over them. Little Nut Nut doesn't like to be left out of the fun, so he happily joins the fun. The older Nuts will lay down on the clothes, because "what, I didn't do it, they were here when I laid down". Really, why do I bother buying toys for these kids when they are perfectly happy playing with clean once folded clothes.

As I wandered around the house this morning collecting socks from behind the couch cushions, the toy bins, the beds, under the tables, couches and beds, and behind the doors in every room in the house it dawned on me how many pairs of sock and underwear I wash every week. Thankfully during the summer these numbers are significantly less.

7 pairs of socks times 7 people equals 49 pairs of socks! That is 98 individual socks. That is just if the kids wear only one pair of socks a day, which for some reason is just not enough to get through the day. Wee Nut, takes his socks off and has to taste them before tossing them aside. I have never been able to figure out why kids insist on putting socks in their mouths, but so far all 4 of my boys have at one point ripped their socks off and put them directly into their mouths. So, lets add about 9 more socks (that is individual socks) to the equation for Wee Nut. She Nut wiggles and kicks her socks off, but I can usually find them and put them back on, not always though, so I will add 5 more socks for her. The older three boys tend to take off one sock, toss it somewhere unfindable when needed and have to get another sock. This happens about 3-4 times a week per child and we usually need to find them to leave the house again 2-3 times a week. So I will add 9 more socks for that. A few times a week, they loose both socks and insist on a new pair for bed. 4 more socks for that. So that ends up being 125 individual socks and 62.5 pairs. A. Week. That is a lot of socks.

Then we have 2 older boys, myself and my husband, 28 pairs of underwear with an average of 2 accidents a week...you know, because playing is more important than going to the bathroom. Sigh. One potty trainer who is trying his best, but not quite there, 14 pairs for him. With 2 still in diapers, that is at least 44 pairs underwear a week.

Socks and underwear are pretty much their own load. So tiny and so annoying.

Without even counting the several changes of clothes and random laundry from She Nut, we have about 33 pairs of pants and about 47 shirts and about 15 sets of PJ's.

And yes, I took the time to figure it out and count it all...because I just can't believe the mounds and mounds of laundry that keep appearing.

And this doesn't even include the bedding, towels, sweatshirts, jackets, or the play clothes that get FILTHY in our grassless back yard. Add 6 sets of dusty dirty play clothes for that.

With all this laundry, its no wonder I prefer to make my own laundry soap.

Today I am suddenly buried in laundry as I try to get all of the warm weather clothes separated and put in the bins. I have been chasing the kids around for weeks, holding up clothes to see if they fit one kid or the other. Figuring out if one will be sharing clothes with another. At this point, I don't care if they fit, they are getting what they get, and they are gonna be happy about it.



Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Winner of My Chinese Carnelian Necklace...

I am so glad that I decided to do a necklace giveaway. I have jewelry here that is made and unloved as I am not vending this year, it makes me happy to know that this necklace will have a home.



Thank you so much for every one to entered my first giveaway, it was so much fun I am going to start doing monthly giveaways. I still haven't decided just what I will be giving away next, but I think it will most likely be Christmas themed. I will have a new giveaway up by the end of the week.

I went to random.org to choose the winner. Congratulations to Aimee! I will be sending Aimee an email to let her know she has won. If I don't hear back from her by Tuesday night, I will be heading back to random.org to pick another winner. Don't forget to check your spam folder in case the email went there.



Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pictures of She Nut You All Have Been Waiting For




Thankful Thursdays

Well this one is pretty simple for me this week.

I am Thankful for my husband who listened when I said I was feeling down and pushed me to call and talk to my midwife. I am Thankful for my midwife to is so easy to talk to. Yippie for Zoloft and my ability to function. My family and friends have been very supportive and have made me feel like I am not completely nuts.

I am Thankful for all of the wonderful and supportive comments that I have received from others who suffer from Postpartum Depression. Thanks so much for sharing your stories.

Remembering my son's surgery last year, I am Thankful for the amazing team of pediatric cardiologists that my Wee Nut has.

As always, I am Thankful for my happy, healthy, wild little beasties that run around my house all day long driving me crazy, I am Thankful that my husband has a job, we have a roof over our heads and for our wonderfully supportive group of friends and family and all the ways they help us.

So what are you Thankful for today? It is so easy to join in and tell everyone.

Here is how Thankful Thursdays works:

1. Post your Thankful Thoughts on your blog. Somewhere in your post please mention Welcome to the Nut House and http://ourhappynuthouse.blogspot.com/ so that your friends, family and visitors know where to find other Thankful Thoughts. You can also grab my Thankful Thursdays banner at the top of this post and link to that. Once you have done that you can come back here and add your post to MckLinky.

Not every one has a blog, so:

2. If you don't have a blog, you can leave a Thankful Thoughts comment in the comment section.

3. You can show your Thankful Thoughts any way you like, as a list, as a story, as one word, one sentence or just a picture.

Have fun!






Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Year Ago Today My Wee Nut Had His Second Heart Surgery

I didn't realize until last night when I was think about his surgery last year, that the anniversary of his second surgery was another contributing factor in my feeling down. I think it affected me differently because it was something we had spend months planning. It was so much different than when Owee was born and we had no idea that he had a Heart Defect. The anniversary of his birth hit me like a ton of bricks and I was shocked at how emotional everything made me, I talked about it here in this post.

After he came home, we went to appointment after appointment, from his pediatrician to his cardiologist and back and forth for months. It was a very long and exhausting couple of months. At one point they thought his oxygen was dropping too fast and scheduled his surgery for the beginning of September, but then after a cath procedure to look at his Heart, they decided that it would be OK to wait until October. It was good to know that he was doing well enough to wait another month, but at the same time it was emotionally draining. We spent weeks shuffling around our schedule to clear the time for his surgery and recover, made arrangement with my family to come help out with the kids, talked to the school about the older kids and mentally prepared ourselves for his Open Heart Surgery. A few days before his scheduled surgery in September they called and told us that they were pushing his surgery back another month. Logically, this was a good thing, emotionally, I was drained. I has spent so much time preparing our family for this and then nothing happened, and I had to start all over again. At this point I didn't know whether the roller coaster was going up or down, I just knew I had the knot in my stomach and it wasn't going away anytime soon. But I started over, got everything in order and spent the next month thinking about his next surgery, all over again.

We spent the night before his surgery in a hotel close to the Hospital. Just William, Wee Nut and me, while the rest of the little Nuts were at home with my parents. We went out to dinner, enjoyed our time together with our little Owee and tried not to think about how serious the next day would be. Logically you think, surgeries like this are performed every day and he is going to be just fine, emotionally, in the back of my head I was thinking that this could be my last night with my little Heart Baby. I remember holding him tightly that night wishing that time would stop and that we didn't have to do this again.

I took this picture the night before. I remember feeling like we were tricking him, he trusted us and by this time tomorrow he will be in so much pain. I knew it was something we had to do, but I felt like we were betraying his trust.

The next day we went in early for his surgery. I felt like we were in the pre-op room forever. I felt like time actually did stop, but I was in a place that I couldn't escape from and I didn't want to be there. He was miserable because he hadn't eaten since the night before. I just held him trying to make him feel better. Eventually, they gave him a sedative that relaxed him and took him away. I don't even remember who it was that took him away, I just watched as he put my little Owee's head up on his shoulder and as they walked away and Owee looked at me, I felt again like I was betraying him.

I felt like it took forever, but of course he came out of surgery just fine. It was a longer surgery than his first one, which made me worry even more, but he is strong and he is a survivor. After his surgery I wrote a quick post here to update everyone.

A few days later I got this picture of him, after everything, sleeping peacefully.

He was in the hospital for just over a week and recovered quickly and has continued to grow and get stronger every day.

In the back of my head is the lingering thought that he will need another surgery again in the next year or so. It is a hard burden to bare, knowing that I will be once again sending him off to surgery. Knowing in reality that he will be just fine, but worrying that he my not. I tried to get a picture of him this morning but he is not being very photogenic today, so I found this one that is from about a month ago. He is strong, happy and always on the go. Looking at him today and on days like when this photo was taken, I try to push it all out of my head, and think I will worry about his next surgery when the time comes. On days like these though, I just wish it wasn't so hard.

 I love you Owee, Happy Anniversary.



Monday, October 5, 2009

Postpartum Depression: Mama's Losin' It

When I think of Postpartum Depression, I always think of moms who can't bring themselves to care for their children, who are just not happy after the birth of their baby. I never thought of it as general confusion or crankiness. And I never thought after 4 kids that I would have it with my 5th.

A couple of weeks ago, I started feeling like everything was piling up and I got to the point where I didn't know how to start my day. I was just writing it off as a result of not being able to get enough sleep because of having a newborn and spending my days alone with 5 young kids while William works very long hours. It got to the point where I couldn't keep up with daily life and so I gave up trying to get things done. I kept thinking, if I could just get enough rest, then I could get the energy to wash the dishes or finish the laundry. My office is a disaster. I am still finding things that I was working on or that came in the mail when Owain was born 17 months ago. The more I let things go, waiting for this down feeling to pass, the more things piled up. The more things piled up, the more I felt down. And there is where the cycle started.

I would stand in my kitchen and try force myself to finish all the dishes that had been piling up and just get it done, because the mess was driving me crazy. By the end of the day, the mess still there and I still felt bad. I have always been one to go and play with my kids instead of cleaning up everything. I always tell myself that my kids will only be young once and that it is more important to spend time with them than to have a perfect house. I make a point to clean up every day, but I never felt the need to clean and finish every last thing every single day. At this point though, my kitchen was a disaster and things only got washed when I needed to use them. It is so hard for me to function in a disaster of a kitchen. A few dishes in the sink never bothered me, but when I walk into cook, I need everything to be in place. So when it is not in place, I don't cook. For the past couple of weeks, I reverted to cereal for dinner many times, along with pulling out every bit of quick fix microwaveable food I could find. Dinner got to be later and later and one time I looked at the clock and it was bed time and my kids were still running around the house playing. I am pretty strict about getting an early dinner for the kids. I aim for 5 and hopefully we eat between 5 and 6pm. I love having dinner over, mostly cleaned up and having time to spend as a family afterward. I love that time after dinner, when we all get to hang out. My kitchen was a mess and I was missing out on hanging out with the kids after dinner, and that made me feel down too.

There were lots of little things that I was feeling, every last thing made me cry. Stupid commercials, books, my kids being cute, my kids being rotten, good times, bad times, all of it made me cry. I didn't really think anything of it, because I kept thinking about everything that has been going on in our lives for the past 17 months. We started the addition, Wee Nut was born the next week and we spent 4 weeks in the hospital with him, both of his surgeries, getting pregnant again when Wee Nut was still so young and still in need of so much extra care, still working on the addition, William working so far from home so much of the time, Wing Nut's ADHD, and then caring for a newborn all got to be too much to handle. Even that was too much crazy for even me to handle.

So everything got out of control and at that point I just let it go. But I was mad at myself for letting it go, so I was cranky, so I wasn't having as much fun with my kids. There were so many times when I would get started on something and suddenly She Nut would wake up and want to be fed, instead of nursing her myself, I just made a bottle and gave her to one of my other kids to feed. And that made me feel bad too, because I wanted to nurse her. If I wasn't crying, I was cranky. My kids would do something that would tick me off, but when I would normally get mad at them and move on, I would just end up in a bad mood, too cranky to get anything done. And that made me feel bad.

I knew I wasn't feeling well, but I kept thinking I could pull myself out of it. I did everything I normally do after having a baby. I tried to make sure that I ate the right foods, but could never get my kitchen cleaned up. I tried to go for walks and get some exercise, but I could never manage to get out the door before I had to go get one of the kids or head out to an appointment. I tried to get good sleep, but the stress of everything kept me up, and when I did sleep She Nut woke me up. I felt confused, forgetful, stressed, overwhelmed and overly sensitive. At the same time though, when I was able to get out, I felt great, I had a wonderful time with my kids. When my little Nuts talked me into playing cards or a video game with them we had a great time. And I would think, See, I'm happy, so that must mean I am not depressed, I am just tired.

I started thinking about The Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression and didn't feel like I fit into that category. I kind of thought about it on and off for about a week or so, honestly, it could have been 2 weeks for all I can remember. At some point I mentioned it to William and at first he did the same thing that I did, contributed it to stress, not enough sleep and trying too hard to keep up with everything. I guess when I think of postpartum depression, I think of mothers who are not able to take care of their children, or that they have thoughts of harming themselves or their kids. I never felt that way, I just felt down. So for some time, the whole postpartum depression thing eluded me. The more I talked about it though, the more he agreed that I should talk to my Midwife. So I said I would call, but my day would get away from me before I got a chance to call. I would think about it in the morning, but by the end of the day I had forgotten. William kept calling to remind me and I always said that I would do it right now, but then before I knew it, the day was over again. It was added to the list of things that I couldn't seem to accomplish. I felt ridiculous that I couldn't manage to make a phone call.

I finally did it though. I managed to make the call on Friday morning, at the end of the week. Later that afternoon, after talking to my Midwife for a while she agreed that it sounded like postpartum depression and gave me a prescription for Zoloft.

I started taking it on Saturday and already I can notice a difference. Saturday was kind of a hard day, Zoloft can upset your stomach, and I was so sick all day that I thought I would never be able to take it again. As sick as my stomach was though, I didn't feel as down. I wasn't able to eat too much on Saturday, but I took it again on Sunday and it didn't upset my stomach nearly as much. Saturday  I was both a bit hyper and a bit sleepy and since my stomach didn't feel well, I actually laid down in the middle of the day and took a nap, something I haven't done in months.

I still feel a bit confused, but I am not so scatterbrained as I was feeling before. I am much more focused and way less irritable. I have been sleeping much better as well. I know it has only been two days, but I feel so much better than I did last week. The biggest difference I see is that the little things don't bother me like they have been for the past few weeks, or even a month. I think one of the strangest things it actually being able to see the fog lift. Really. Lately I would look across the room and think Gosh, my glasses are filthy. I would try to clean my glasses, but everything still looked cloudy. So I would open some windows thinking that I just needed to let in some fresh air. I am not sure why I would think that the air in my house would be so stale and dusty that I need to open the windows to let in the fresh air and clean things out. I guess it was because I had such a hard time keeping up with everything that I just assumed that my house was stale and dusty...even though I open my windows almost everyday, even for a few minutes in the winter. I noticed yesterday that the fog had lifted, that my filthy house...which wasn't that filthy, just extra messy. I noticed that colors were brighter and that fog that I kept trying to clean out of my house was just in my head.

Freaking weird! Like "Are you freaking kidding me?!?" kind of freaking weird. All. In. My. Head. I still can't believe it. I just spent the past few weeks, or month or what ever, I have no idea, trying to shake this fog while I was spinning my wheels trying to regain focus and finish a coherent though. At this point my head is so clear, I can't believe I just made it through the last month without falling apart completely. I am glad that I looked at the signs and read them properly. I feel lighter.

And to add to my weirdness. My E Nut was just sitting here next to me doing his homework, and I looked over at him because I could tell he was not doing his homework...and he was just sitting there smiling up at me. I said to him "What's up sweetie" and he just sat there smiling at me. I said "Are you looking at me, smiling like that?" he just smiled and nodded. I said "Well what are you thinking?" he smiled at me and said "You look good inside your hair?" OK I have no idea what that means, but he sure was happy about it. He also said I look like Wonder Woman. Cool. When I was a kid I wanted to be Wonder Woman when I grew up.



Friday, October 2, 2009

Organizing My Week: 5 Kids, Homeschooling, Public Schooling & Preschool

At this time, I have one public school Nut, one Homeschooled Nut and one Little Nut Nut in Preschool. They all have different schedules, which can get hectic and overwhelming. They all start their day the same way though, bright and early, first thing in the morning. When I first came up with this plan, I wasn’t Homeschooling any of the Nuts, but I am finding that this way of organizing my week is just as helpful for homeschool as it is for public or preschool.

School starts early and sometimes getting up and out the door can be a difficult, even crazy way to start your day. I have a few tips that will make waking up on the wrong side of the bed a thing of the past and even give you a few extra minutes to sleep in for a little bit of extra rest.

Believe it or not, getting your kids ready for school starts on a Sunday afternoon. You need to have your laundry at least clean for the week, (it does not even have to be folded and put away) and your grocery shopping for the week done by Sunday afternoon. In addition, you can let your children help you get their things ready. This will help you get done faster as well as give them responsibility and self-confidence.

A list of things you will need, to help you save time and money:
  • Lunch Box
  • Thermos
  • Sandwich Box
  • Carrots
  • Grapes
  • Pretzels, Etc.
  • Snack Bags or snack containers
  • Days of the week pill box
  • Clean Clothes
  • Day of the Week Clothing Organizer
  • About an Hour on a Sunday Afternoon
  • An extra shelf in a kitchen cupboard
  • Or a large basket or bowl on the kitchen counter
  • Space in your fridge
For lunches and snacks, you will need a shelf in one of your cupboards to store everything for the week. This includes parts of lunches, snacks, napkins, juice boxes, vitamins, medications or anything else your child may need. I like to tape exact instructions of everything needed for lunches and snacks in case something comes up and I have family members helping. It is also good to have a list to double-check yourself so you do not forget anything if things get hectic. If you do not have a cupboard you can spare, a nice decorative basket or large bowl on the counter works too. Your list can be attached to the fridge or inside of a close cupboard.

You can save a lot of money by packing your child's lunch, but it can be a time consuming part of the morning. You can save time by packing 75% of your child's lunch ahead of time. I like to pack pretzels and carrots, grapes or apples, and cheese for my children's lunches. Portion out 5 snack bags of pretzels for each of your children. Portion out 5 snack bags of carrots or grapes for each of your children. If it is on sale, I will buy string cheese to save time, but usually I will cut chunks of cheese instead. Block cheese is usually cheaper than string cheese. If you want to send apples, it is best to wait and cut them up the night before and then put them in the fridge. The pretzels will go in the cupboard with the napkins and juice boxes. The cheese and fruits or veggies can go in the fridge, I like to put them in the deli drawer, but you can put them in a bowl or on the door too.

You can pack any snacks the same way. This works if you have young children, or older kids who need a quick snack between classes. Pack 5 bags of pretzels, goldfish, animal crackers, or whatever works for your family for each child. These snacks will go in the cupboard or basket for the week. I also find this is great for my homeschooler, who can now go to the cupboard or fridge and grab a ready made snack in between lessons while I take care of the babies.

I used to send juice boxes with my children for lunch, but now I use a thermos. I found that is saves money and space. I fill up their thermoses with milk the night before and put them in the fridge.

I bought one of those Days of the Week organizer drawers from Lowes. It was a bit pricey, but that is what works for us. It only has drawers for Monday-Friday, though and I wish I could have found a dresser with all 7 days of the week. You can find Days of the Week organizers that hang on the inside of a closet door too, and those usually have all 7 days. We choose the larger drawers so that my three older children can share the space. They each have their own third of each drawer. These drawers are great for younger kids too, to help them learn to read and know the days of the week. I do not always have time to get all of the laundry folded and put away in their bedroom, but as long as it is clean, I can get my kids clothes picked out for the week.

If your children take vitamins or are on any medications, it helps to have the Days of the Week pillboxes for each child. Sort out each child's vitamins and meds, keep them in the kitchen out of reach of children, and make sure to label each child's box so they do not end up with the wrong medications or vitamin dosage.

I Use a dry erase board to write out the schedule of everything that will happen during the next week. This would include the school day, homeschool lessons, after school activities or any appointments any one in the family might have.

That is it, you are done for the day and can go hang out with your kids. When it is time to get the kids ready for school, everything is already half done.

During the week, if your child needs a bath, it is best to do it at night before bedtime. To help kids make it through the morning, make sure your child gets plenty of rest and is in bed at the same time every night.

In the morning before school, try to get up 1/2 hour before the kids do, to start packing lunches and get something for yourself to eat and a cup of coffee or tea...it helps, believe me. This is also the best time to pack lunches for your children.

Packing lunches is now so much easier, quickly grab the pre-packed bags of grapes and pretzels, a napkin, the thermos of milk or juice, a bag of cheese, or a piece of string cheese and toss them all in the lunch box. All you have to make is a sandwich and put it in the sandwich box, toss it in the lunch box and you are done. The lunch box goes into the kids backpacks and packing lunches just became a quick and easy way to save money. If you are using snack bags, you can ask your children to bring home the snack bags to reuse.

While you are making breakfast for your children, they can go and get themselves dressed. I like to make a quick breakfast shake. The breakfast shake is quick and easy to make and just as quick to drink. This is my recipe.

While your children are eating, you can give them their vitamins and/or meds. You can also put toothpaste on their toothbrushes, and this really cuts down on time especially if you have young children.

Your kids can go straight from eating breakfast to brushing their teeth.

If there is time, your children can go and quickly make their beds. One of my children insists on making his bed as he is getting up and the other one likes to make it after he is ready for school.

Get their, shoes, coats and hats lined up for them and when they are done with everything else they can go straight to putting these things on.

We keep a few books on the couch by the front door and if they have extra time, they will sit down and read or look at books.

On an average day, it takes me about 1/2 hour to get my kids ready for school, but I have been able to get them ready and out the door in 10 minutes before when we have all overslept. Children thrive on structure and schedules, some more than others, so if you keep to the same routine everyday it really helps move things along in the morning.



Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thankful Thursdays


This week I am Thankful for Homeschool Field Trips to the Apple Orchard




 We stopped at the top of the mountain to check out the
Blue Ridge Mountains in the Morning Sun


 
We Picked Apples



We Shared Apples


 



 
We Played with Apples


 



Beautiful Blue Sky on a Crisp Autumn Morning



We Picked More Apples



Look at this one




It's Perfect!


I am Thankful that I got to spend the morning at the Apple Orchard, and I will be Thankful for the help I get making Apple Pies this weekend!

As always, I am Thankful for my happy, healthy, wild little beasties that run around my house all day long driving me crazy, I am Thankful that my husband has a job, we have a roof over our heads and for our wonderfully supportive group of friends and family and all the ways they help us.

So what are you Thankful for today? It is so easy to join in and tell everyone.

Here is how Thankful Thursdays works:

1. Post your Thankful Thoughts on your blog. Somewhere in your post please mention Welcome to the Nut House and http://ourhappynuthouse.blogspot.com/ so that your friends, family and visitors know where to find other Thankful Thoughts. You can also grab my Thankful Thursdays banner at the top of this post and link to that. Once you have done that you can come back here and add your post to MckLinky.

Not every one has a blog, so:

2. If you don't have a blog, you can leave a Thankful Thoughts comment in the comment section.

3. You can show your Thankful Thoughts any way you like, as a list, as a story, as one word, one sentence or just a picture.

Have fun!








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