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Friday, April 1, 2016

St. Patty's, Silly Tumble Bear, Surgery, Special Visit, and Sweet Easter Moments

 This March was full of memorable moments! These two kiddos are so creative and I love watching their imaginative play. The picture above is from the hideout that they created with tons of pillows, blankets, comforters, and other "fort-like" materials.

 St. Patrick's Day brought a sneaky bathroom trick from a leprechaun and a scavenger hunt for gold coins. Supper was bangers and mash with some green veggies and pasta (since both kids refuse to eat mashed potatoes).

 I enjoyed putting together a little craft snack for our QCP/GOF friends. After listening to the M & M Easter above (above), the kids could use the materials on their plate to create a crown of thorns (to remind them of Jesus' sacrifice) and an empty tomb (to remind them of Jesus' power over sin and death). What touched my heart so much was that after this quick little activity, the kids (on their own accord) were out playing in the park and decided to put on a show for all the moms. I can't remember their exact words, but it was something to the effect of: "Jesus is Son of God. He died on the cross.  He is risen. He's up in heaven. We love Jesus." And it featured several of the kids singing and for the grand finale, Jackson and Blake blew about 20 dandelions into the air. It was a beautiful show for sure!

Since Riley got the opportunity to do basketball at the YMCA, we wanted to give Maggie a chance to do an activity that she enjoyed so we signed her up for a month of gymnastics at Champions. She was a bonafide Tumble Bear this month and took great pleasure in getting dressed each Tuesday and participating in the many activities that her coaches had planned for her. She has great strength and coordination and it was a joy to watch her flip, spin, tumble, point, flex, jump, and walk like a gymnast!
 Nan and Pap arrived for a special visit on March 22nd. We got to dye Easter eggs with them again this year and go out to eat at Hickory Tavern (Riley had been begging to try out their cheeseburger). Then they were able to help take Riley to school while Chris and I took Maggie to the Carolina Surgery Center at 7 am on March 24th. Maggie had to have tubes put in (again...she was 8 months old the first time she had this done), adenoids and tonsils taken out, her nasal passageways thinned (technically called turbinate reduction), deviated septum repaired, and blood drawn for a RAST allergy test to see what exactly in the environment is affecting her the most. Maggie did such a great job with the the entire procedure! She couldn't have anything to eat or drink from midnight of the 24th and her surgery wasn't scheduled until 8:30. We had done some work to prepare her for what was happening and she was in good spirits playing with the iPad and reading books. The nurse gave her some "Happy Juice" around 8 AM and it made Maggie a little extra silly. I was holding her in the chair, singing songs like "B-I-N-G-O" and she wanted me to start making up words about the door! The surgery itself took about an hour and Dr. Abrams said that she was so full of mucous everywhere that it was hard for him to find two good places to insert her tubes. He was able to manage and said he ran her head through a car wash of sorts to clean her out really well. He thinks that her allergies have been causing a lot of the infection and it's impacting her part of her little face: ears, nose, and throat. After surgery, Maggie was rolled back on the bed and she was still really groggy from all the anesthesia so she slept off and on for about an hour. When she woke up, she wanted to know what was on her hand (an IV) and she wanted it out. We told her it would come out in just a little bit, but that they were still giving her some medicines through a tube to help her feel better. She seemed okay with that answer and Chris was able to distract her by reading one of her favorite books right now-The Cat in the Hat. Maggie started to perk up shortly after that and felt good enough to try a popsicle. By the time, we left an hour later, she had managed to down 3 of them and about half of a Gatorade bottle. This was good news because we had to make sure she stayed hydrated. The hardest part about Maggie's surgery was keeping up with all the medicines that she needed to take and preventative care and treatment we had to do for her ears and nose. Chris and I had to keep track on a chart for the first five days or so because the process was so involved. Maggie has done really well overall recovering from this ordeal. She was more tired than usual the first few days and wanted to be held a good bit (which luckily, we had plenty of arms willing to oblige). Besides her eyes being very itchy and hurting and her nose running constantly (which started out a little bloody, than was mostly clear, and now has turned into a thick yellow ooze that we feel could be the signs of infection again, but we're not sure), she hasn't complained to much about her "nursery" (which is the word she uses because she forgets about to say surgery). She did say the first hour and day or two after surgery that her "breath" was hurting and that her throat was "sorted" (sore). So we loaded her up with more popsicles, applesauce, sherbert, icecream, and yogurt as well as alternating Tylenol and Motrin every three hours. And whenever we'd ask her if she felt okay, she'd respond with her phrase of the week, "Um...not much." She had a few rough nights of sleep and was coughing a good bit, but seems to be better with that here lately. We go for a follow-up appointment after Spring Break, so we'll see what the doctors have to say then. We're so hoping that this procedure will leave our girl feeling much healthier in the days, months, and hopefully years to come.

 The sweet nurse that we had indulged Maggie and made Puppy a hospital ID bracelet too. So Maggie, Mommy, and Puppy all got tagged!

 This is popsicle number 3. What was also unique about this experience is that Maggie had a classmate, Noah, who also had tubes put in and adenoids taken out. The poor little fella was having a tough time post-surgery, but still wanted to stop by Maggie's room and say hey. She told him, "It's okay, Noah. You'll be fine." And then she offered him her half-eaten popsicle which I thought was really sweet!
 Meanwhile, back at the ranch, some "bunny" named Riley had an Easter Egg hunt at his school on that Thursday and made some cute rabbit ears. Here he is giving us his best rabbit pose!

 I love that our neighborhood has started an annual Easter Egg hunt tradition in the park. The kids got to find 24 eggs each and had a blast! Of course, the best part was opening them up to see what candy was inside and deciding what to eat first. Didn't it used to be when we were growing up that there MIGHT have been a few eggs with a piece of candy or a coin in it? Nowadays, every egg has something in it. Hmm...times they are a changing. I wonder what it will be like when these kids have kids.

 Happy Easter 2016!! The kids followed the bunny footprint trail to their Easter baskets and really appreciated the treats that were left.

 Riley requested this pancake bunny breakfast that he happened to see that I had pinned on Pinterest. Maggie refused to eat and wanted her usual cereal bar instead!

 I LOVE that we were able to go to Easter Sunday service together! The flower cross with "He is Risen" sign was a beautiful reminder of the new life that springs forth after the dead of winter and of course, how our sweet Savior sacrificed so much to overcome both sin and death. The Easter story holds such promise. There will always be so many things about Jesus' life, His ministry, and His death and resurrection that I won't fully be able to comprehend this side of eternity, but I rejoice in the truth that I worship a God who is personal, passionate, and oh so powerful!!

 My thoughtful husband bought me some Easter lilies and a sweet card! It means so much that he wanted to give me have something a little special as well.

 I've been working on trying out some different tools to help the kids handle their strong emotions such as anger and disappointment in healthier ways. Here's picture of some of the things I've put in a little red bag and keep between Riley and Maggie's bedrooms. I have to confess that I need to use these tools and take a time out myself so that I can be calm in emotionally tense situations as well. This is still a huge work in progress. I'm learning a lot right now about how children need to be taught how to recognize their feelings, choose ways to get back in control, and then be willing to problem-solve. You can't automatically assume that they know what to do or how to do it. And you have to show them that you are ultimately on their side in wanting the best for them. Like I said, I have a long way to go in changing some of my language and thought patterns as well as my actions and expectations but I think the ideas from Conscious Discipline and other parenting books like How To Talk So Your Child Will Listen and Listen So Your Child Will Talk and Parenting Without Power Struggles are going to improve the way tantrums are handled and hopefully make us all more emotionally intelligent and in-tune with controlling our emotions and not letting them control us.

And now for the monthly anecdote wrap-up of "I've got to blog about that" moments:

  • On Wednesday, Riley was playing baseball outside with Chris when they all came in to show me a shattered wiffle ball. I made some remark about Riley not knowing his own strength and he promptly replied, "It's not me, Mom. It's this baby (pointing to his bat that he had just nicknamed Lisa)." 
  • Riley turned to Chris the other day before supper and said, "Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Instead of eating my meatballs blank, I'm going to make a meatball sub." Too funny!
  • Riley got to enjoy several popsicles as well courtesy of Maggie's soft food diet lately. He was especially grateful for them one day and made the comment, "Nothing like a nice cold treat on a hot, hot day!"
  • Maggie loves to see "the boys" off in the morning as they head to school. She often gives them several kisses on their leg (Chris) or chest (Riley) and says "Goodbye boys, have a great day!" about 5 to 10 times. One day, she felt especially creative and decided to change it up to "Bye mans!" They have officially graduated I guess from boys to men!
  • Riley likes to put his own spin on what he calls Chris too. Just recently, we caught him saying, "Come on, dude!" 
  • Maggie likes to shorten words too. So lately instead of saying the word you, she will occasionally be extra silly and change the word to ya  as in "I'll get a pillow for ya."  
  • Here's another precious prayer from Maggie: "Thank you God. You're such a good boy...but there's some bees outside and I saw one bee. And can you help everybody? And you can help kids. Help protect me from the bees."
  • Riley is starting to learn some strategies for how to handle his disappointment about losing at a game. The other night we were playing a new game that Grandmama had sent for the kids and Riley didn't really like the fact that he wasn't ahead in points. So he made the decision to stop playing for awhile and announced instead that he was "just going to supervise the game and be Maggie's coach." It seemed to work out pretty well because he celebrated exuberantly with her when she won the game minutes later!
  • Chris has been watching some of the March Madness NCAA basketball games on TV and the kids like to pick which team they are cheering for. Maggie was actually pay very close attention to one particular game and said, "My team got a score twice. They're winning."
  • We aren't quite sure yet if the surgery has made a difference in some of the hearing loss that Maggie has experienced. She made the statement "I can easily hear you" while Pap was here reading a book aloud to Riley last week. And then another day, Pap perhaps dozed off for a bit while holding Maggie in the leather recliner while she was watching a show. She was quick to wake him up and say, "Go some place else to snore, Pap. I can't hear TV." 
  • Riley was making the comment that he sure missed his "Nerth" (Nerf) gun that he used to play with. Little did he know that sometimes I put away certain toys for small periods of time and then let them make a comeback later so that they regain their novelty. Tonight was one of those nights. He was so excited to see his toy again and had a great time before bed practicing with it. 
  • Maggie also made an interesting comment at bedtime. Chris said something about her being so cut that he "was going to eat her up." And she adamantly stated, "You can't do that. I'm made of skin and if you eat me, you'll throw up." What a nice, pleasant, literal interpretation of that statement! 

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