The musings of ME:
SAH mother of 3 kids, spouse of a doctor-in-residency, caretaker and teacher of random children.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Not feeling much better yet, but I'm happier anyway!

I really wanted to bear my testimony on Sunday, and then I didn't make it to Sacrament meeting because I wasn't feeling well.

This may seem strange in light of my last blog, but I have just been feeling very grateful for all my blessings lately. I know Heavenly Father hears my prayers and I am grateful that he answers even the most trivial ones. It seems like everything I pray for lately has been answered very quickly and with the result I had hoped for. I know that isn't always the way it works, but isn't it nice when it does?

Anyway, we are very blessed and I hope I don't take that for granted. I hope that even with everything I have that is wonderful in my life, I don't become complacent and lazy. I hope that I can still seek out opportunities to help others. Sometimes I can be reclusive and shy to offer assistance. I am working on getting past that.

I am so grateful for my husband. If you don't know him very well, you just don't understand how great he really is. He is always supportive of me, and he looks for ways he can help me. I have a tendency to take on responsibilities to the maximum of my abilities and then stubbornly insist that I don't need help, but he always bails me out when I do. About a week ago, I mentioned to him in passing that the child-proof lock on the cleaning supplies cabinet under the kitchen sink was broken. Today I noticed he had fixed it sometime last night. Plus, last night when I was out in search of medical care, he was at home with Jackson. He fed him dinner, bathed him, and put him to bed. It was such a relief not to have to worry about that when I got home! I hope I do enough for him that he feels grateful for me, too.

I am grateful for my son, who is so happy most of the time. He has so much energy, like his daddy, and I see the light of a great sense of humor in him. We love to laugh in our family, so he fits right in. I could have a fussy, demanding child that I would have to balance with all the other kids I look after, but Jackson makes it easy. He plays independently with the toys the big kids get out, and is happy to share, even when they aren't! ;) He is also fairly obedient, although he does test us sometimes. He is now learning to follow short orders, like "Come here," "Bring it to me" or "Go get your milk." I guess we point a lot at our house because that is his new thing.

I am so grateful for my home and place of refuge from the world. This is the first place I have ever lived in where I consciously strive to not only protect, but actively build the spirit present. When I look around and see all the things I want to do to make my home a place of beauty, knowing it will take years to afford to be able to do all those things, I look forward to the years we will have here. Hopefully, we'll have enough to be able to accomplish our goals and a few years to enjoy the final result.

Anyway, sorry for the downer blog yesterday. It was a sharp contrast to how I have been feeling these past few weeks. I guess I should have kept it to myself, but it was nice to get some "I've been there comments." Thanks!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Grrr..Beware, I'm Cranky!

If you'd like to see my dark side, read on. If you are not in the mood for blatant negativity and irritability, then skip this blog and check back with me tomorrow.

This morning I woke up with a very sore throat, some sinus pressure and a headache, plus I have been suspicious of a UTI lately. I tried to make a doctor's appt during our morning snack, but nope, the receptionist informed me that they were only seeing REALLY sick (what qualifies as really sick?) patients and were scheduling all others 4 weeks out! 4 weeks! Who schedules a doctor's appointment 4 WEEKS in advance, I ask you?

My next option was the CVS minute clinic, so when my last child was picked up, I thought I'd swing up there real quick and get this pesky illness taken care of. Nope again, they couldn't treat my UTI, so they referred me to a minor emergency center in Lake Worth. Okey dokey. I headed in that direction, went in, surveyed the waiting room, didn't look too bad, signed in, sat down and waited...for about 30 minutes, and then my name was called. The nurse took me back, weighed me (Incorrectly, I assure you! I weigh about 7 lbs less than what that dang thing told her I did.), checked my blood pressure, and all that fun stuff. Then she informed me that there weren't any waiting rooms currently available, and asked me if I wanted to go back to the waiting room or have them call me?

Huh? Excuse me? Call me?

You mean the weight is so long you are suggesting I leave the facility? (sigh) At this point it was 6:30, about 1 hr, 10 min on the timer, and I was eat-my-own-arm-off hungry. So I left the facility and went to get some dinner. (I would have had dinner before I left, but I thought I'd be gone for a max of 30 minutes!)

Trying to see some positive in the situation, I cheered myself by thinking I'd get to eat some yummy comfort food: Taco Bueno! One of my favorites! Needing to use the bathroom, I decided to go into the restaurant and take my order to go. For any of you who live or dine near the Lake Worth area, I do NOT, in fact, I highly recommend AGAINST, the Taco Bueno there! The restroom was health hazard filthy, the restaurant smelled moldy and damp, and to top it all off, as I waited for my food, the workers were swearing and having an inappropriate sexual conversation right in front of me as if I weren't even there. It took almost 10 minutes for me to get my food, when I went out to my car I realized I didn't have my cinnamon chips, and had to go back in for them, THEN my tacos were almost meatless and STALE! Truly, I am usually easy to please when it comes to eating out; I never send food back. My philosophy is that I'm just grateful I didn't have to cook it! But I madly punched the number for that little receipt survey and let that automatic system have it! Anybody want my free taco or bean burrito?

I finished my meal at about 7:00, and still hadn't gotten a call back from the clinic, so I decided to swing into Albertson's to pick up a few things I needed for arts and crafts this week at BILC. I got in line to pay (of course, when I can't leave immediately, my phone rings and bingo, NOW a room is ready for me) and a very sweet woman offered to let me go ahead of her since I only had 4 items. Then the whole line got backed up because of this silly woman who couldn't find her check card, all the while insisting she has it somewhere. Instead of paying another way or allowing the cashier to close her order and check out the next person (me), she makes us all wait about 5 minutes. Then she had the nerve to gripe out the poor cashier for not remembering to give her her stinkin' stickers for free dishes. GO FIND YOUR CHECK CARD AND BUY YOUR OWN DISHES LADY! (Sorry Kathy!)

I got back to the clinic and hallelujah! I get to go back to a room! That must mean I'll see the doctor shortly. Nope. I got back to the room at about 7:30, the doctor didn't make it to my room until about 8:15. ("He has 4 people ahead of you, so it'll be a while," the nurse sweetly informed me. Ya think?) Anyway, I just got home at about 9:00, and I left the house for one simple thing at 5:20 or so, so yep, I'm pretty cranky about this wasted evening, but at least I got to take the new Jeep!

Oh yeah, P.S. it turns out, I didn't have a UTI, only a sinus infection and the doctor prescribed Ammoxicillin which we already have at home! GRRRR!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Elmo Elation & Kisses for Jesus

This weekend we had planned to go to Tulsa and bless my sister Megan's new baby. (Ben is the only priesthood holder in my family.) Unfortunately, with Jackson's recent contagious chicken pox rash, we decided we should probably postpone for next month. This actually works out great because it means we will get to be with our families on Halloween.

Anyway, because we didn't go to Tulsa and since it is opening weekend for bow hunting, Ben decided to go to the cabin with his new SUV, so Jack and I are alone. I actually enjoy it a little when Ben is gone. Don't get me wrong, I miss him like crazy, but it nice to have some room in the full-size bed we share and get caught up on housework I don't do when he is here.

Jack and I have a great time together when it is just the 2 of us. We rocked out and clapped to YMCA in the car while we were running errands. We sang and danced to Disney songs in the playroom. We also had a lot of learning time. We practiced some new words (Jack is quite the sound mimic these days.), we read stories, I tried to teach him some new tricks. Good times.

Some of the highlights are as follows:

Last night when I was putting Jackson to bed, we stopped in front of our family picture and said goodnight to Daddy. Then we stopped in front of a picture of Jesus. I was trying to get him to say Jesus, but all I got was Jah-Jee. However, when I picked the picture up from the table and Jackson could see it more closely, he got this big smile on his face, similar to the face he makes when he sees Daddy or Mommy in a pic, and he pointed to Jesus. Then he leaned in and kissed the picture of Jesus! We have been trying to get him to kiss us, but he will only do it for Ben, not me, and only after a few practice tries. He blows kisses all the time, but actually laying one on you is a different story. I was so touched and happy in that moment, I just wondered all night if he can really still remember who Jesus is and at what point do we lose our memories of Heavenly Father and Jesus? When we are given a body? Or does it slowly fade away before we can speak, and we have be be taught of them? I'd like to think he really does know who Jesus is, that it may just be a little foggy at this point.

Today when we were picking up a few things at Wal-mart, we passed the checkout lines and high above one of the lines was an Elmo balloon. It happened to be the exact balloon Jackson got for his birthday. He was so excited. This kid LOVES Elmo! I didn't even notice Elmo until he started squealing and squirming and clapping and pointing to it. We continued on in our shopping and I had forgotten all about Elmo until it was time to check out. I happened to pick that line as the shortest and again, Jackson started clapping and squealing and pointing up above us. At first I thought he liked one of the commercials on the Wal-mart TVs, but I looked up, and there was Elmo again! He was elated until we completed our transaction and left the store. It was a really cute moment. Everyone around us was watching him and giggling.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Blog Crazy & Stinky Breath

Sorry I have been a little blog crazy (4 new posts in 2 days), but I have so much to say because I haven't blogged in a while.

This week at Bright Idea Learning Center we are learning about Fall. Today we were reading a story about Fall in group time and one of the pictures showed a little girl with vapor coming out of her mouth from the heat of her breath meeting the cold air outside. I asked the kids if they knew why the picture showed this, thinking they might have little experience with such cold since it doesn't get that cold very often here in Texas. One little girl answered, "I think she needs to brush her teeth!" I laughed so hard, and then explained the real reason why the lines were drawn coming out of her mouth, and why I thought that answer was so funny. The kids still didn't understand why I was laughing, and I had the hardest time finishing the book because I kept getting giggling fits every time I thought about it.

Now THAT is the perfect illustration of why I love working with kids! ;)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Good Kids

*Pictures posted with permission from BILC students' parents.
**I have no pics of the 2 new kids/haven't gotten permission to post pics of them yet as they just started this week. ;)

Small Victory

If you aren't up to date with my blog, (Then shame on you - you aren't allowed to have a life outside my blog! ;) then let me recap. I have been caring for a little girl with neuroblastoma for the past 2 weeks or so. One of the many problems that have plagued her as a result of this illness is that she has developed a food aversion because of so many rounds of chemo. She has a central line in her belly that runs to a backpack with a bag of formula inside for her nutrition needs. Her mom has been going to Food Therapy, trying to learn how to get L. to eat, but before she started coming to me, L. was completely disinterested in food of any type.

Since coming to my school and being around the kids, L. is beginning to try things here and there. With her mom's permission, I give her anything she wants if she requests food. One day, she asked for some of my Dr. Pepper, so I cracked open a can for her.

Anyway, I am happy to report that this problem is getting so much better, and today she ate 1/3 of a package of chicken Ramen, 2 bites of a cheese stick from my pizza leftovers, 1 bite of a stick of string cheese, and about a 1/2 cup of milk. I know it doesn't sound like it, but the even greater victory is that SHE asked ME for the food. I didn't suggest it. She came to me and said, "Ms. Colleen, I'm hungry, can I have some noodles?" Normally, if a child gets up during naptime, it means big trouble, but I could have jumped for joy when I heard those words!

The kids continue to pray for her at school, and, according to their parents, at home, too! I am so proud of them all. They are so sweet and encouraging towards her. It can be so easy for kids to shun someone who is different, but they have all helped foster an accepting and supportive environment for her. They are such good examples for me every day. I am grateful to have them around me every day.

He's a med student, a daddy and a teacher, who knew?

This week has been filled with sickness in the Blake household. We're still fighting off reactions from that dang chicken pox vaccine. I wish I had just told that mean nurse "No, thank you, ma'am, we'd rather have chicken pox!" Jackson has had an off and on fever of up to 101, and on Wednesday he woke up looking like a leper with a rash all over the trunk of his body. Ben had already left for school when I got Jack up, so I called him and he promptly turned right around and took him to the doctor. What a guy! That made him so behind with studying this week, but that was only the beginning for my super-awesome husband.

On Thursday, I woke up feeling a little iffy. By 9 am, I was sure I was going to physically ill, and boy, was I right! My first thought was that I was pregnant, but the fever and other sypmtoms disproved that theory. I'll spare you the details, but by the end of the day I was dehydrated and exhausted to the point that I couldn't stand. How did I take care of 8 kids while incapacited thus? I just did. I don't know, but what option did I have? When we went outside, I had to quickly corral everyone back in when I knew I was about to be sick. Twice Jackson was throwing a fit for me to hold him right when I had to make a run to the bathroom. I had to squat over the potty, using my knees to balance him, my left arm to hold him and pin his arms back from the target, and take care of business. All the while, I had all the kids sitting in group time with a book, thinking Mrs. Colleen just had to run upstairs for a few minutes, and she'd be right back. Good thing they are well trained and did what I asked them to do. Good kids!

Anyway, I only had to make it until 4ish because Ben came home as soon as he could and saved me! By the time he got there, I was literally crawling across the floor to change diapers, answer the phone, etc. He took over for me with the 4 kids (including my special needs student), plus Jackson and did an awesome job. I stayed in the living room on the couch (off and on) until all the kids left, then I went to bed and slept till 6:45 this morning.

I awoke today feeling weak, but much better and went back to work as usual. But I just want to say I am so grateful for my husband! He never fails to step up and do whatever job is needed of him, even when it something he is uncomfortable with. AND I have learned my lesson...I am not going to procrastinate this anymore: Anybody wanna be on my sub list??? ;)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

New Cars, New Kids and Not Much Done Today

Today we finally became the proud owners of a brand new car: an 09 deep blue Jeep Patriot. We have had our Dodge Neon for 4 years and Ben's 99 Grand Am since we first started dating, maybe 6 years... Traveling to Tulsa or just going grocery shopping has not been an easy task in our small cars since Jackson joined our family. Even though it will be Ben's car (since I got the last new one and since from 7:15-5:30, I pretty much can't leave the house), I am so excited because when I go grocery shopping or need to run errands, I will have space I need! YES!

Also, I have another little 3 year-old-girl starting on Monday. Then today I got a call from a woman I spoke with back in July who eventually decided NOT to enroll her 3 year-old boy, but was then referred to me by Lorraine Lee, and now has changed her mind. (Thank you so much Lorraine!!) So if both of these work out I will have a total of 9 kids including Jackson, but before you all go and start thinking I'm nuts...Two of them are half-day - one am, one pm - so I really will only have 8 kids incl. Jackson at a time.

Due to the new car adventure today and Jackson's 1 year pics this morning, I got nothing done around the house. Sigh, I hate not feeling ready for the week! It makes me feel like I have to do it all on Monday, and that just adds stress to my life that I don't need!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Immunizations and I agree with "I Have a Good Life"...

Sigh...Jackson has had a high fever for days now. He isn't sleeping very well at night. Normally, I would be concerned, and I still am a little, but I know why he has the fever. He had SEVEN shots last Tuesday for his one-year immunizations(sidenote: What kind of cruel person gives a baby seven shots? What kind of cruel mother allows this and even holds her baby down so someone can inflict such pain on their child??), one of which was the nasty chicken pox immunization. The nurse told me that he could have a fever of up to 101 for up to 42 days! Is that healthy for a baby to have a fever for that long? Can I give him Tylenol for that long? Does anyone think I should take him to the doctor anyway? HOw do you mothers do this? I can't sleep at night because I know he doesn't feel well and it's all my fault.

I absolutely have to have his shots up-to-date though, even if I wanted to make the personal choice not to. The state requires all kids to have current shot records for a Licensed Child Care home. Plus, I started caring for a little girl with neuroblastoma and her immune system is very weak, so I wanted to make sure Jack was current before she started coming every day. This poor girl is so fragile as it is, I just want to do everything in my power to help her heal. She doesn't eat, she is hooked up to a central line and eats formula poured into a bag with tube running directly to her stomach. She wears a backpack and carries it around all day. The 7 rounds of chemo she had endured has created a food aversion, and when she eats, she feels nauseous. She has also sustained severe hearing loss and has to wear hearing aidS, and takes several medications several times a day that give her severe diarrhea all day long. Yet, you look at this girl and she is so sweet and happy and excited to play with the other kids. She is happy to come to school every day and learn. She takes it all in stride and goes about her day. She is so inspiring to me. To be 4 and to have gone through so much...ok, I have to end now or I will be crying. When I really think about her I always start to tear up. The sweetest thing is when the other kids pray for her before meals. I almost cry every time we pray. If he hears anyone's prayers, I know Heavenly Father has got to hear those! LIFE IS SO NOT FAIR!

Monday, September 15, 2008

I wish I had a pic to go with this story...

This afternoon I was working with 3 kids at the table and Jackson was on the floor playing with some toys, and I got up from my round table to get a glue stick and turned my back for MAYBE 5 seconds. When I sat down, one of the girls said, "Ms. Colleen, look at Jackson!"

I looked over and the little stinker had stolen my Dr. Pepper! He was over in the corner hiding from me, trying to down it as fast as he could! He maybe got 2 sips in his mouth, the rest was all down his shirt and in a puddle at his feet on the carpet! When I starting walking toward him, he tried to run from me!!

It was so funny, I couldn't be mad! I guess that will teach me to have a Dr. Pepper right at the table within his reach, huh?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

What are your daily roles?

Today I was a...
Husband's lunch-maker
Dish doer
Bathroom cleaner
Keeper of quiet kids (preventer of a grumpy husband)
Letter T & living and non-living things teacher
Fight intervener
Potty assistant
Diaper changer

Playground Supervisor
Boo-boo and "broken heart" comforter
Listener of silly stories
Children's book reader

Lunch and Snack Maker
Maker-Upper of Silly Lunch Games to Help Kids Eat a Full Lunch
Kitchen Cleaner
Laundry Doer
Lesson Planner
Dresser of a Toddler (which is a feat in and of itself, am I wrong?)
Post-Meal Cleaner of a Toddler (again, a feat in and of itself...)
Provider of Children's Entertainment

Communicator with Parents
Maker of Homemade Pizza for Dinner
Errand Runner
Reassurer of Love
Bather of a Toddler
Bedtime-Story Reader
Song Singer
Prayer Leader
Bedtime Putter-Downer
Supporter & Packing Assistant of husband's weekend hunting trip

Lazy TV watcher

Skittles Eater and Pepsi Drinker
Guilty 2 mile-runner

And after blogging, I will be a...

Ensign-Article Reader
Scripture reader
and finally, a freshly-showered Sleeper

Hmm...whose head do I see hiding behind the train table?

Just like his mama, who used to get in trouble for reading books with a flashlight under the covers way pst her bedtime...