Family · July 2017

August… The swear word!

If you are a teacher, you’ll understand my title! You’ll understand how I do not want to turn the page on my calendar! Yesterday, someone said “school is starting soon!” I yelled at them to stop saying swear words! Bahaha!!  Even though I’m getting refreshed, taking time to drink my coffee, going to the bathroom whenever I please, it is hard to think it’s time to go back to work. But in the same thought, I can’t wait to get back! I do love seeing all the kids. I love creating a room inviting and ready for kids to learn.

AUGUST!!

August, a swear word. The word some parents are excited to hear, knowing their children will be going back to class. The word some parents cry hearing, knowing their first or their last baby will be going off to school. The word when stores go crazy filling every aisle with stuff they think all kids need (hint… They don’t need fidget spinners!).

AUGUST!!

August, a swear word. The word that gets all teachers’ fingers cramping from Pinterest searching or TPT searching. The word that spouses cringe at, knowing their bank accounts will be dwindling with every pack of crayons brought into the house (or sometimes hidden in the backs of cars!) The word that gets all kids jumping and excited to play more games and sports, then thinking about all the NEW Stuff they get, and their friends they will soon see!

AUGUST!!

August, a swear word. When trying to school supply shop, and the realization sets in that it is too late. All the folders in the required colors are gone. The suggested pencils are gone.  Your child’s tears start, because their beloved character is no longer available on a lunch box. It’s also not available on the backpack either. Worst parent award is coming in the mail soon, nominated by your child!

AUGUST!!!

August, a swear word. Are there enough lunches and dinners planned? Have the dinners been prepped and frozen? Are the bus schedules correct? Are the supplies correctly labeled? Are the uniforms or school clothes ready? Or if not, have you at least done the style show to see if last year’s clothes still fit?

AUGUST!!

 

Try not to swear too much this year, especially in front of teachers!

PS… Never tell a teacher they didn’t work all summer. The teacher brain never turns off. They never stop thinking of ideas for next year.  Many get second, or third jobs, since many teaching jobs don’t pay the big bucks.  If you’re able, find a classroom and make a donation. Speaking for all teachers, they will be so appreciative!!

Happy August!! Ahhh, I just swore!!!!

-Becky

Gift cards for the teacher are also a great idea to start the year right! LOL!  Here is an affiliate link that will give me a little extra, but not be any extra on your end!

July 2017 · Just MOM!

Life with Anxiety and Depression

This is a hard post to write, but I have learned that there is a world out there that shares my same struggles.

One thing that I have figured out, is that I have anxiety and depression.  It was exaggerated and noticed more after I had my first child.  Going to work as a teacher was a struggle.  I was happy with the kids, but my director noticed that the moment I thought no one was looking, I went numb.  I didn’t notice this.  They did.  My director called me into her office and told me all the things she was noticing and told me she was concerned.  I’ll never forget that day.  I’ll never forget the tears that streamed down my face.  I’ll never forget that door that was shut behind me.  I looked at that door, wishing it was open so I could run out.  I knew that if I did, I would not get the help I needed.

Several years later, I thought I was better.  I felt better.  Then I had a miscarriage.  This put me over the edge.  I couldn’t get out of bed.  I didn’t want to get out of bed.  I cried.  A lot.  My mom came over, because my hubby didn’t know what to do.  He had to go to work, but we had a 2 year old.  He didn’t want to leave her “alone”.   My mom got me out of the house a few days later.  I didn’t want to be seen out and about in my town.  I didn’t want people I knew to ask why I wasn’t in school.  I didn’t want to talk about it.  I did agree to drive an hour away to go shopping.  It got my mind off of things and I enjoyed my time with my kiddo and mom.  I went through some therapy, and was put on meds.  I was feeling better.

I continue to take my meds.  I have up’ed them and have a backup med that is for “emergencies only”.  When I feel my chest can’t be “sat on” any more.  When the “burning” on my face, neck, back, and arms gets to much, I take this extra med.  I want to be off of them.  I want to be able to “control it” on my own.   But as my sister has said, if I had diabetes, I wouldn’t turn down my insulin.  Why would I turn down my meds now?  I need these to feel better, and to do better.

There are days, even recently, that I don’t leave the couch.  I feel I’m the worst mom out there.  Days that I hate being a mom.  Where I want to run away.  But I have learned how the meds I’m on can be used to bring me back.  I have learned that some deep breathing, sleep, a goal of what to make for dessert (dinner is too much for me at this point!), can sometimes help with these things.  The sad part of these days, is that I don’t want to be the worst mom ever.  I want to play.  I want to make fun foods for my kiddos.  I want to hang out with my sisters and parents.  I want to clean my house.  But all of those things make me more anxious.  A clean house makes me anxious, because I worry it will be a mess soon again.  A messy house makes me anxious, because I worry about what everyone else will think about me and the mess I live in.  Anxiety gives me the chest pain and pressure, burning sensation down my arms, on my face and back.  Depression keeps me doing nothing, laying on the couch, not wanting to do anything or go anywhere.

“I want to go shopping!”  “no, I don’t, that means I have to get dressed and drive there.”

“I want to do an art project with my kids.”  “No, I don’t, that means I have to get up.”

“I want to clean my house.”  “No, I don’t, that means I have to get up.  And it will be messy again.”

“I want to lose weight, I should start walking.”  “No, I don’t, that means I have to get up and go.”

We need to share our stories.  We need to stick together and support others.

My family is great at wanting to help.  I love them so much.  When I’m not doing good tho, I worry a lot about even what they will think of me.  Why do they want to help me?  The struggle is real.

Walking and talking helps.  But, to get out and walk and talk is hard to do.  Anxious that I’m gaining weight.  Too depressed to get out and work it off.  Ugh.  Who feels my pain?

Is this your life?   Do you know someone like me?

Thanks for reading.  Share this post. Like it.

— Becky

 

PS…if you are in need of a little retail therapy, this is my affiliate link where I get a little payment, but there is nothing added to your total!! 🙂

 

Family · July 2017

Our Strabismus Surgery Story

Last week, my daughter had Strabismus Surgery.  Her eyes were not tracking together.

Since she was 2 months old, I noticed her tracking was not where it should be.  We began going to eye doctors to get suggestions of what to do to help her.  We tried exercises, looking at black and white images, like all parents do in the early months.  We tried patches, which we found would not work with her type.  We tried glasses, which were not for her site, but only for her muscles around the eyes.  Over the last year or so, we were told surgery was inevitable, we just had to make sure everyone was ready, everyone meaning the doctors who needed to make sure the measurements were staying consistent.

In February, our doctor suggested we come back in June, which is only 4 months apart instead of the normal 6 month apart appointments.  She wanted us to see the surgeon as a second opinion early in the summer, to allow for time to have the surgery and not be in the school year.

End of June came and the appointment happened.  The surgeon did suggest surgery.  Sharing the comment that this was inevitable.   Surgery was set for July.  We began talking about what was going to be happening.  As it got closer, we began watching videos about kids going into surgery.  We were even given a video of the hospital we were going to, so that she would be familiar with the look of the rooms, procedures, and materials.

The day before, we were called to be given our presurgery info.  This info included that we would be starting our surgery about 4 hours earlier than originally scheduled.  A little bit of a shock to me.  We were not able to go down (3 hours south) until that morning, so we got up at 3:30 AM to dress, do hair, and pack up the truck.

 

Getting into our prep room, we had the family specialist come in to help Miss A know what was going to be happening. Unfortunately, the nurse had just come into the room to give her meds that would help with anxiety and remembering all that was happening. So, that meant that Miss A was a bit goofy already.

She was giggling, saying funny nonsense words, telling us her finger was stuck to her lip, and her leg kept falling off the bed! We ended up putting up the second railing on her bed to help with safety!! Here is a picture of us together being silly! She said she was pinching her cheek! At this point, all of us in the room were crying from laughter!!

The doctor came in to check in with us, and to see how we were doing. He also had heard she had a loose tooth, and he had to check it out. He told us that since it was so loose, it probably would have to come out prior to the surgery, to make sure it didn’t get knocked out and swallowed. Fast forwarding a bit, as soon as the surgery started, we were given the treasure box with her tooth.

I’m going back to the point after the doc came in. When it was time for us to go to surgery, I was nervous. I wanted to go back to make sure she was ok going under anesthesia, but the doctor said we should see how she was doing first. Her dad and I walked her down the hall, as she was riding on the “bed with wheels”. When we got to a corner, the nurses said “we’re at the kissing corner, time to give kisses and to say see you later!” We did as we were told, and they went through the door, leaving us behind. My tears started then.

I luckily had a village behind me, so when I went to the waiting room, my parents, grandparents and my mother in law were waiting for us. They kept me talking, laughing and eating. I am so grateful for all of them! I also had my village back at home and on Facebook praying for us and giving me words of encouragement. LOVE my family and friends sooooo much!

When the tv said she had been in surgery for over 1 hour and 20 minutes, the doctor came out to say everything went great. They only had to fix one muscle on one eye. Originally, they wanted to do both eyes. They also talked about doing the surgery to fix the DVD, which is the up and down deviation. Through more examination, they did not feel that one was not necessary at this time. They think that this one muscle surgery will fix the other issues. I learned that eyes are not like arms and legs. Arms and legs can be told by your brain to do different things at the same time. Eyes, on the other hand, work and do the same thing at the same time. So by fixing the one muscle, the other muscles will correct themselves.

I did not take any pictures of her in the recovery room. One reason is that this mommy was crying silently too hard to control the phone. Another reason was that I was holding Miss A. She was not a happy camper when I first got there. I even asked my hubby if we had done the right thing. He said of course, she needed this to be successful. Some morphine was added to her IV, and her pain subsided. She relaxed in my arms. We covered her eyes with a cold wash cloth to help with the pain and itch. They told us her eye would feel like there was a bunch of sand in it, resulting in her wanting to itch it. We had to keep her hands out of her eyes. At this point, I’m wondering how in the world can I do that!? The nurse sitting with us, looked at Miss A and said “do you want some apple juice?” I was thinking, are you crazy? She is sleeping! But sure enough, she answered “YES”. The nurse laughed and said, see she is awake! Her vitals were looking great. The anesthesiologist thought everything looked great, and signed off on his part. Before we knew it, they were saying we could get her dressed and get ready to go home.

When we got in the truck, she started to cry, she said she hurt, and she felt sick. I was almost going to jump out and ask my mom to go in and get a nurse!! I was a little over reacting. I see this in hindsight! But look at this face. This face is one I don’t like to see in my baby. I do love the people in the background! I love this family of mine! They were so happy to be done with the surgery!

Within a few minutes, she was sleeping! She continued to sleep till we got to grandma’s house, and we put her in bed, covered her up, and she slept for another hour until we needed to give her more Tylenol. Then she slept for another 3 hours! I was so happy she slept so well! She woke up, we called her sister on Facetime, so she could see her and talk to her. That was so great for both of them! After her phone call, she said she was hungry. Doctor’s orders were to eat bland stuff, so her belly could handle it better. We offered her toast, apple sauce, and apple juice! She ate it all!

After dinner, we alternated watching movies, covering her eyes with a cold cloth, and playing with babies. It was great to see her doing so well right away!

That night, I woke her up every 3 hours to piggy back the Tylenol and IB profin, just so she wasn’t in much pain. The only time she was up longer than it took me to rinse out the cup, was at 2:30AM when she just wanted to chat, fix blankets, give me kisses and be silly! That luckily only lasted 45 minutes.

At 2:50PM the next day, we had our Post Op appointment to check everything over. They said she looked great! Just as she should look! Her eye will be red. It is the bruising that occurs. In the eye it looks red, when under your skin it would look blue/purple. But that is all perfectly normal.

Now, almost a week later, we are days into saying “how do I keep her calm? How do I keep her laying low?” Because she is doing so well, she thinks she can play like normal. Unfortunately for her, the doctor said “normal activities” may resume in a week. As of right now, she has 2 days left of laying low! And 2 more days of eye drops!! She is very excited about that! One drop 4 times a day is not a fun thing to do.

Miss A is doing well. Her eyes are tracking so well together! Glasses are not needed anymore! She feels great!

I’m so happy everything is going as planned!! I have to call the doctor on Tuesday to tell him the drops have been completed, everything is good, and then I’ll see him again in October!! I pray that no more surgeries will need to be done, but it is always a 1:3 chance one will be needed.

Thankful for family. Thankful for amazing doctors.

— Becky

Family Fun · July 2017

Strawberry Pickin’ Time

Beautiful day to pick strawberries!

It’s strawberry pickin’ time here in Minnesota!  How about where you are?  Has your season come and gone?  I know my sister, who lives in Nebraska, said her season was done weeks ago!  It’s amazing how different the weather and planting seasons are from state to state.

Our goal today was to fill 6 ice cream buckets full of delicious strawberries, and we succeeded!  It took us 2 hours to do this with 4 people picking.  Ok, really I’ll say 2.5 people, since 2 of us were children, and they were more interested in eating them!  The sun was so hot at 8am, the girls were wanting to be done after one bucket, but we convinced them we’d have more jam if we filled the rest of the buckets.

We made a friend!

Not only did we get  buckets of  berries, we got to see some other “wildlife” hopping around!  That was sure exciting!

Once we took the berries home, we took some time to enjoy a bowl full.  Then, we hulled and cleaned all of them.  That’s the boring part if I do say so myself! Make sure to stand on a comfy rug or have good shoes on, because you’ll be standing there for a while!

Now it’s time to separate your berries.  One bowl for your keepers, the ones you’ll freeze for eating later, putting on top of shortcake or ice cream, or making a strawberry crisp.  One bowl for the jam berries.

The berries you picked for making jam now get to be squished.  Put a layer of strawberries in a shallow dish, and start mashing with a potato masher.  Mash it up good, so that most, but not all, chunks are all gone.  Pour this mash into a measuring cup, until it equals 5 cups.

Now, pour the 5 cups into your pot, add in one box of “Sure-jell”, and 1 teaspoon of butter, then stir.  Bring this mixture to a rolling boil and add in 7 cups of sugar.  My mom said not to change this amount, because it won’t work.  There’s a science behind it, and we don’t want to screw this up!  Feel free to search for a less sugar or sugar substitute recipe and share with me in the comments!  But be sure to make this recipe first!  It is amazing!

Once this sweetness comes to a boil, stir continuously for 1 minute.  Get your jars ready.  I forgot to get a picture of the jars boiling, but here is a picture of the rings getting sterilized!  Once you are at the 1 minute stage, turn off this pot, and add in your lids to the rings.  Let sit in the hot water until you are ready!

Are you ready for the messy part?  With your jars sitting on your newspaper covered counter, add in a funnel to a jar and ladle your strawberry jam mixture to each jar.  Leave about 1/2 centimeter of space to the top of each jar.  Now, this is important, wipe each top of the jar with a hot water rag.  Make sure there is no residue on the top or side where the ring and lid will go.  This will ensure a good seal!  Immediately cover with lid and ring, tighten, and flip upside down for 5 minutes.  Once your five minutes is up, turn right side up, and listen for the “pops”!  that will mean they are ready for your pantry!

With hot soapy water, wash the outside of each of these jars, and place in your pantry, ready to eat!

Enjoy your jam!  Comment below with any of your on favorite flavors!!

— Becky

Here are some affiliate links to Amazon that will help you get the important things you need to make your own jam at home!

 

 

Family Fun · July 2017

Lake Time

 

 

Being by a lake is an experience that is one of a kind. A feeling of calm. The smell of fresh water. The sound of kids splashing and giggling. The realization that we will never, ever, ever get to leave the water, as long as it’s not storming! How can I as a mom take away this fun when nothing else is going on? This is the time to enjoy!

Lakes are a place my kids love to go! My oldest is a fish. I hear stories of years ago, when I was just like her. Always wanting to have a part of me in the water. Feeling the water rush over me as a wave from a fishing boat comes crashing by. The sights of bonfires still smoking to remind us of the fun that was had the night before.

This lake, this weekend, has a slide and a dock. Both allowing creativity, daring behaviors, and fun! The kids, and the kids at heart, challenge themselves to jumping and diving contests, who can slide with most finesse, and who can rock the raft the best. The laughter, the screams of joy and the fun is something we crave every year and are blessed with the ability to come year after year.

When we were packing to come, we reminisce of all the years before. Thinking of what we needed, what we didn’t. How many towels are necessary this year? What kind of clothes should we have on hand? Food… Food always goes with camping! My family is kind of a “foodie” family, in a casual, creative and delicious way! Example A: my family is in charge of day one’s meals. What should we have? Breakfast: 2 different egg bakes, fruit, caramel rolls, muffins, juice and coffee. Dinner: lasagna in a Crock-Pot, sides of bread, Cole slaw, fruit and cake.  Oh did I forget snacks in between? Chips, crackers, cheese, meat, nuts, candy, beer, pop, juice boxes, and more! What else could we need?!

Company. Great company. That is what it comes down to. Who is around? Who do we chat with, eat with, play with? Who do we remember a week later when talking about the weekend?  Yes, location is wonderful, but company is most important. Who will love you for you? Find it. Embrace it. Enjoy it!

— Becky