Thursday, March 28, 2013

Throwback Thursday 3.28.13

Gotta make this super fast. Sofia's teacher called me yesterday to tell me that she was going to be the recipient of the Student Of The Month award today. Sofia has no idea!! I told her that I was coming to pick her up early today, so I wanted her to look nice. I cannot wait until she finds out she was SotM! She definitely deserves it. Such a remarkable child. I am so super proud of her. So, in honor of her, I am going share a picture of her from her 5th birthday- 2008. I know this isn't THAT long ago, but it's still a throwback. Enjoy!

I blurred out G's face because I have not asked his parents for permission to post his picture.

A letter to Formula companies.

Dear Formula Companies

While my first two were babies, I didn't know much about breastfeeding. I tried my hardest, but ultimately failed because I wasn't informed enough. Thank you for providing acceptable nutrition to get them through their first year.

While I mostly breastfed my third, thank you for sustaining her when I couldn't pump enough at work. Thank you for providing her with additional nutrition while I searched for donor milk.

Oh, and Enfamil, if you read this- My daughter is 19 months old and drinks the Ready-To-Drink Enfagrow Older Toddler drinks (vanilla flavored). It gets awfully expensive, and I'd love to receive some high value checks/coupons to help offset the cost a bit! Thanks!

A mom who knows breast is best, but accepts that formula has its place.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I Support Marriage Equality.

I didn't intend to write this blog, so bear with me as I ramble a bit.

Let me put this out in the open. I am pro marriage equality. I do not care who marries who. I support everyone's right to be treated as an equal. That includes allowing the LGBT community to marry who ever they want to.

Somehow, I'm lacking the thoughts that quite a few people seem to have. I am under the impression that their marriage in no way, shape, or form, invalidates mine. I am under the impression that it doesn't affect my marriage. That it doesn't harm me or my family. Others seem to think that it will some how ruin their straight marriages. Some think that it's going to harm the whole world. I just don't understand that.

Today, my 6 year old was playing with his toys, and then said "Dude, that's so gay!" I asked him if he knew what that meant. He said "Well, it means ... ummmm ... no, I don't know." Instead of letting him talk like that, or ignoring it, I took it as the perfect opportunity to let him know what it meant. I said "AJ, being gay means that boys like boys, and girls like girls." Do you know what his response was? A simple "Oh, okay." Nothing more, nothing less. There was no "Ewwww!", no "Now my life is ruined!", nothing like that. If a 6 year old can be okay with it, why can't an adult??

Oh, that's right. Because some adults are under the impression that it's "wrong". It's a sin. It's an abomination. I don't buy that one bit. My God loves us all. My God wants us to love one another. My God accepts everyone for who they are. My God would be ashamed if he knew how we treat our fellow people. The only one who has the right to judge us and how we live is God. My God, your God(s), his God, her God, no God, who ever you answer to. THEY are the ultimate judge when it matters. Not you. Not me.

I will always stand up for what I believe in, even if this means standing alone. However, I know I am not alone. There are thousands of people who are standing up right along with me. There are hundreds of thousands of us who are supportive of the LGBT community. That doesn't mean that we are gay. It means that we believe that they deserve the same basic human rights that straight people do. We believe in equality.

Like I said, I didn't intend to write this. I let my fingers do the talking. Regardless, I am happy to let the world know that I support marriage equality. I have family and friends who are gay, and I love them with all of my heart. My kids are 10, 6, and 1. If any of them are gay, I would love for them to be able to have the same rights that their father and I have. It would break my heart if they didn't. 

Show your support. Change your profile picture to the red equal sign. Support marriage equality. And join No H8 on Facebook.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

4 years later ...

There are a lot of things we take for granted. Hot water, clean drinking water, indoor plumbing. You don't know what you have until it's gone.

But what about people? 4 years ago, I lost my mother. I don't exactly understand why, other than a sepsis infection. The details are very foggy. I was in a haze when I found out. I was sick. Literally. My ears were so plugged up that I had an extremely hard time hearing what was being told to me. All I knew was, my mother had gotten ill quickly, and had never gotten better. The fact that she did not have a spleen made her condition deteriorate quicker than it should have.

My mother and I (1987?)

I still remember how I received the news. Anthony and I had just put the kids to sleep a few hours prior (Sofia and AJ at the time). We were watching TV and decided to order a pizza because we were hungry. Just as I picked up my phone from the bed, it rang. I saw it was my cousin, S. Her and I are super close, so I wasn't surprised that she would call. She lived in Tennessee, I live in NY. Likely, she was on her way home and wanted to chat a bit to pass the time on the ride home. I answered and asked her if I could call her back in just a few moments. I was starving, and desperately wanted to eat. The words she said next, there was no way to prepare for.

First thing she said was, I need to tell you something before you order. Thank God she told me before, because there would be no way in hell I'd be able to eat in a few minutes. She asked if I was sitting. At that point, I knew something was wrong. I just didn't know HOW wrong. I immediately sat down and answered that yes, I was sitting. She then said "have you gotten any phone calls lately?". Well, a few friends, doctor appt reminder calls, etc. Other than that, no. She then said something that ripped my heart out.

"Kristen, Aunt Debi passed away today."

Excuse me? Say that again?? It hit me like a ton of bricks. I couldn't talk. Instantly, the tears came. There was no sound. Just uncontrollable sobbing. How could this be?? My daughters birthday was just a few days before, and she sounded just fine. She didn't sound sick when she called to wish her a happy birthday. She didn't complain of a headache. No belly ache. Nothing. She called, spoke with Sofia. Told her happy birthday. We spoke briefly because I was mad at her, and we had gotten into an argument a while back. Seems silly now.

But here it was, about midnight. I'm getting the call from my cousin. Who heard from someone else. Who heard from someone else. Who heard from someone else. I swear, I was THE LAST person to know. I was her first born, yet I was the last to know. And she had died HOURS earlier. I didn't even get a phone call to say that she was in the hospital, seriously ill. I would have dropped everything to get up there. 7 hour drive? I could have made it in 5, I'm sure. That is what made me so angry. I wasn't given the courtesy to receive a phone call. I am glad I heard from S, but still. Not hours later. Perhaps if I was called first, she would still be alive. I could have informed the doctors that she had no spleen. It would have saved her.

I try not to dwell on the past. Only because I can't be sure it would have done any good. If I keep thinking about it, I get more and more upset that I was one of the LAST people to find out. I get more and more upset that I wasn't even called when she was admitted. That she didn't call me to tell me she wasn't feeling good. That she moved out of state. That she left us, her kids, and moved hundreds of miles away. And because of her moving, she wasn't there when I gave birth to my kids. She wasn't there when I graduated High School. The more I think about the past, the more upset I get.

4 years later, and Sofia is still crying at night because she misses Grammy. Those two had an AMAZING bond. Sofia loved her Grammy to pieces, and Grammy loved her Sofia to pieces. Sofia went with her every summer for a few weeks, and we looked forward to it. Before she had passed, we had made plans that she would take Sofia for the next school year. Mom had said that a few weeks in the summer wasn't enough. Also, at the time, AJ was just about 2, and she was still having a hard time adjusting. We were all looking forward to it.

Mothers Day at the Zoo (2005)
Another from Mothers Day at the Zoo (2005)

Summer visit (2006)

It's been 4 years, and I still miss my mother terribly. I am often haunted by the last real conversation we had. Though I don't recall exactly what it was, I do remember being very upset at something she did. I remember the summer prior, she had cut Sofia's hair quite a bit. I remember being angry because she didn't tell me she needed to. I wasn't angry that she had cut it, just that she didn't TELL me. I *think* this is why I was so upset with her and we didn't talk for a while before she passed away. The problem was, I had told her that it was rude that she didn't tell me. She got mad that I told her that, and demanded an apology. I had told her that it would be a cold day in hell when I apologize to her for saying I was upset. We didn't talk for a long time after that. 

The only reason we spoke before she passed away was so that she could call and tell Sofia happy birthday. We spoke briefly. I am thankful that that conversation was pleasant. Since she called while Sofia was still in school, she wasn't able to talk to her right then. We spoke very briefly about what Sofia was up to. We discussed the plans for Summer for that year. The plan was that she would not have Sofia during the Summer. Instead, we would meet up late August, and she would then have Sofia all the way until the end of the school year, in June. We would then discuss what we would do for future years. It was a very tough decision. One that we did not take lightly. It took a VERY long time to decide that was the best for Sofia. Since AJ was having health problems, and we were having financial difficulties, it just made sense.

Unfortunately, that plan was cut short. And everything went down hill from that point on. I became an emotional wreck. Staying strong for my kids was not an option. I tried, but it just made it worse. I had to break the news to Sofia in school because I didn't think I'd be strong enough to do it at home. It was the hardest thing I have EVER had to do. Telling my parents that I was pregnant at 17 years old? Piece of cake compared to this. I knew it would break Sofia's little heart just as much, if not more, than mine was breaking.  And broken it sure was. She collapsed. Just completely collapsed in my arms.

You never expect your parents to go so suddenly. I was under the impression that my mother was invincible. My life changed the day that I learned she passed. It changed even more when Sofia found out. I spiraled out of control. Not really, but I did feel myself lose myself. I did things I swore I never would, and I hurt others so that they would feel the same level of hurt I did. (No, I did not abuse drugs, or my kids.) I just had to figure out who I was now. 

4 years later, I guess you can say I have come to terms with it. I am still upset, and sad, and hurting, but I now know it's not just a bad dream. Sometimes, I really wish it were, though. I still wish she were here. I wish she had a chance to meet Gianna. I wish she were here to watch Sofia grow up. I wish she were here to help me with AJ. I just wish she were here so I could talk to her. I still have the Happy Birthday Sofia message she left on my voicemail. I am just not ready to delete it yet. It brings me comfort when I need it most.

Please remember, your parents will not be here forever. Remember that when your mother is upsetting you and trying to tell you how to do something. Remember that when your dad is on your behind about who you're dating. Watch your words carefully. You never know if that's the last time you'll talk to someone. I am thankful that we were able to have a good last conversation. One where I was able to tell her that I love her and miss her, and she told me the same. Tell your parents, every day, that you love them. Forgive them if they've upset you. I wish I wouldn't have been so stubborn. What I wouldn't give for one more chance to talk to her. 

Mom, I love you so much. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of you. I have pictures of you in the playroom, so you're always watching over the kids. Sofia has grown into such an amazing child. You'd be proud of her. AJ, well, we're working on that. As for Gianna, I really wish you would have been able to meet her. You would adore her. She's such a happy baby. Plus, I could really use your support and guidance with her HS. I miss you, and I can't wait to see you again.

August 15, 1958 - March 24, 2009

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy Birthday, Sofia! (Throwback Thursday)

Dear Sofia,

10 years ago, when I gave birth to you, I never expected you to turn out as well as you have so far. You are beautiful, intelligent, kind, loving, just a wonderful child overall. You are stubborn in your ways, and emotional. Sometimes you let your emotions get the best of you, but that's just one of the things I love about you.

I still remember the day that you were born. I had gone to my prenatal appointment on March 20, eight days overdue. I remember having to use the bathroom, and getting up from the table. When I got up, I saw a little wet spot on the table. Figuring that I was just losing control of my bladder like an overdue pregnant woman, I didn't think much of it. Another 10 minutes passed, and I had to go again. Once again, another small spot on the paper. At that point, I told daddy to let the midwives know that I think my water was leaking.

Shortly after, Melodye came in and did a quick exam. My water was leaking, though it wasn't fully broken. We decided to send me up to L&D and get started with pitocin. Unfortunately, daddy had to go to work, so he headed up there. He wanted to stay with me, but I was sure it wouldn't be a quick birth, so I told him to go. He called often, along with the manager that was on duty that night, Sandy. They both wanted to make sure nothing major was happening to make him have to leave. He completed his shift, went home, showered, and then came up.

The contractions weren't too terrible while he was gone. But when he finally came, they were starting to intensify. I remember crying a lot, and begging for the epidural, though I said I didn't want it originally. I am just not that strong! Once the epidural was placed, I felt much better. I was able to get some rest to ready myself for the pushing. We did order a pizza around 10ish, but they wouldn't allow me to eat it because of the pitocin and epidural. As a matter of fact, I wasn't able to eat it until 5am. It was NOT good at that point!!

At about Midnight, one March 21st, it was time to push. I was 9 days overdue, and VERY ready to get this show on the road! My water was broken earlier, and was found to be darker than it should have been. Which meant that you had meconium in the waters. I pushed for 2 and a half hours, before finally proclaiming that I just couldn't push any longer. At that point, I had begged for the vacuum to be used. I flat out refused the forceps, knowing the risks of having forcep marks on your head. Dr K came in and the vacuum was used.

At 3:07am, you were born. Daddy cut your cord, and the nurse held you up briefly so that I could see you. After getting a very short glance at you, they whisked you out of the room because you had meconium in your lungs. It wasn't too bad, but it was bad enough that the little blue aspirator wasn't helping. They used a tube and high power suctioning to clear your lungs. You had a semi weak scream when you were born, but after the suctioning, it was loud.

You were so tiny. Only 5 pounds and 13 oz. 19 ¾ had inches long. You were healthy, and absolutely beautiful. I nursed you right away, and you took to nursing like a champ. You scored 8/9 on the APGAR tests, only losing points because of the meconium in your lungs. Other than that, your color was fantastic, your reflexes were great, you were alert. You were perfect. 10 fingers, 10 toes. No lasting problems from the meconium. A little bit of a pointy head from the vacuum, but that didn't last long.

We left the hospital the next day, and walked up to the mall shortly after. We just had to show you off to everyone that daddy worked with. They all loved you. Everyone who saw you fell in love with you. You were the cutest little baby ever! Though, I may be biased.

Sofia, I just want you to know that we are so very proud of you. You are growing up so quickly, and you are very wise beyond your years. Every teacher you have had in school always says that you are a pleasure to have in class. You are a social butterfly, and like to talk a lot, but will stop when asked. You don't let anyone boss you around, or your friends. You stand up for what you believe in, even if that means standing alone. You are a leader, not a follower. You are an instigator, as well. Not always a great thing, but if you apply the same tactics to causes, you will succeed.

Not only have you grown to be an amazing child, you truly have made me a better person. I went back to high school to earn my diploma when you were a baby. Let that be an inspiration, that if I could do it, with a child, you can as well. Do not ever let anything hold you back from what you want to do. I never was the partying type, but becoming a mother, your mother, proved that there was not a single party that could hold a flame to having you.

These last 10 years with you have been nothing short of amazing. Every day I am amazed with how you interact with your sister and brother. How helpful you are, and how eager you are to please others. Just please, stop being so eager to grow up! These last 10 years have flown by. Before I know it, you'll be a teenager, and wont want anything to do with me. Then you'll be 18, and in a rush to move out. I love you with all of my heart.

Happy Birthday to my first born.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Just another Manic Monday

We had an appointment today with the Nurse Practitioner at the Mental Health Clinic. It was to discuss his symptoms and medication. We went down a long list of all the medications he was on (Adderall XR, regular Adderall, Ritalin, Focalin, Intuniv, Clonidine). We also discussed his behaviors, his anger, aggression, temper, meltdowns, tantrums, self-injuries, etc. She saw first hand how quickly he rages, when Gianna walked past him and accidentally knocked down one of the plastic army guys he was playing with. We discussed how the medication works, and that she didn't think we gave him enough time with the other medications. She also felt that it wasn't a high enough dose. So, for now, we're trying Risperidone. We go back in 2 weeks to see how he's doing on it.
After that, I took him to Walmart so that we could fill the prescription, pick up some groceries, and go to Subway to eat lunch. While there, he kept whining and trying to run away. This is exactly why I don't take him anywhere by myself. I just cannot keep tabs on him while we're out.
In other news, it's cold out. Very cold. And my van doesn't have heat in it anymore. Something about the thermostat, we think. So, no heat in freezing cold temperatures. Good times. Not to mention, we're supposed to et a storm tonight. I've heard any where from 1-3 inches, all the way up to a foot or more. Totally not looking forward to this. Anthony's car is messed up, so he'll have the van. Not that it would matter. The van is overheating for some reason. The temperature gauge light thingy comes on exactly 10 minutes after the van is started. Then, within another 3 minutes, it's flashing and making the dinging noise like when the door is open and the key is in the ignition still. It's really rather scary to have the kids with me and have that happen. I need to have it checked out sooner, rather than later. Have to wait until we have some money, first ::sigh::
It's a little after 10pm now. The older 2 are sound asleep. Gianna just woke up. Time for me to put her back to sleep. Hope your day went much better than mine!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Throwback Thursday!

I figured it'd be fun to share an old picture every Thursday. Nostalgia, ya know?

This is my husband and I in 2001 at my Junior Prom. That's right, two thousand one. Almost 12 years ago. Before kids, and right before I moved in with him. I was 16, he was 19.


Monday, March 11, 2013

***REVIEW*** PottyCover!!

"PottyCover is a disposable toilet seat cover for children that covers the sides and the front of the toilet, to keep away germs at public rest-rooms.  It is made of non-woven fabric coated with a layer of plastic, creating a waterproof barrier between the toilet and the child. This product has the largest coverage of all seat covers on the market and for added convenience, each seat cover is individually packaged i"n a small, easy to open bag that makes it super easy to always keep one or two in a purse or a back pocket. 

Using a public rest-room with a young child could be very stressful, but with PottyCovers the whole family can feel safe knowing that even at the filthiest bathrooms they will be protected from germs. We designed this product for kids, but it has become a must-have travel item for many of our adult customers.

A pack of PottyCover sells for $5.99 and it is available on AmazonEbay, all Buy Buy Babystores around the country and at select Bed Bath & Beyond stores."

I was recently given a pack of PottyCovers for free, to review for my blog. The following is my opinion, and mine alone. The fact that I received these for free did not influence my review.

The potty covers come in a handy zippered package, with 6 individual covers in each package. When they came in, I immediately put 2 packs in my diaper bag. Since we were leaving to go to New York City for a day trip, I figured I should bring some in case we need to use a bathroom on the way down or back. 

We did use one, and I was not able to get a picture of it on the toilet, unfortunately. But, it did stay on the toilet, and it kept Sofia from touching the nasty public toilet with her bare skin or with her clothing. The front flap went almost to the floor, while the sides covered about halfway down the bowl so that she could have held on to the sides if she needed to.

The top is made of a soft, non-woven material while the back is a layer of plastic to keep it waterproof. This means, no more wiping someone elses pee off of the toilet seat. No more going from stall to stall to find one that looks the cleanest. Just put this down, and go!

Because it does have plastic, and because it's rather large, you cannot flush this. It's a bit tricky trying to figure out how to take it off the toilet without touching the underside. I pulled it from the long flap hanging in the front, and tried to roll/fold it as I pulled it off, so that the top was on the outside. Wasn't too hard, but did take a bit of time to figure out the best way. Small price to pay instead of worrying about sitting on a public toilet, or hovering.

I definitely will be making sure that I always have at least one with me at all times. 
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Kind of in a rut

I've been in a funk, lately. Not feeling much like myself. I've been tired, run down, just generally feeling like crap.

I went to the doctors the other day and found out that my thyroid isn't improving. I am continuing to gain weight despite eating less. We upped my thyroid medication, and I requested the name brand instead of generic. We also upped my Zoloft to 200 mg because of the awful panic attacks I was having while we were going down to NYC. Normally, I drive most of the way down there, and my husband drives in the city. I can't do it. This time, I could barely breathe. It was terrible. And I know what was the cause for it. The driving in the city terrifies me. But this time, we were in a rental car (2012 Ford Fusion- LOVE IT!!) and we had all 3 kids with us. I wasn't in control, and it set me into a panic. Hopefully, upping the medication will help with that feeling.

AJ had another session with the therapist. I still haven't seen any progress being made. We spend a lot of time talking and filling out papers. I really do need to find someone to watch Gianna while we are there because she's awfully distracting. Though I do see a benefit to her being there. AJ is more comfortable around her, and plus the therapist can see just how easily he can flip out. They could be playing together nicely, and then Gianna will take one of the toys, or move it, and he'll go off. She saw a few tantrums, and decided that it was time to have him see the physicians there. We'll be trying medications again when he is seen. Hopefully this time, we find something that works. I just can't take it anymore.

We bought a new van with our income tax money. Well, not NEW, but new to us. It's a 2001 Dodge Grand Caravan. Nothing fancy. It isn't the best, though. I have a habit of jumping the gun when I see something I like. Or when I'm bored. When we went to look at the van, it was terribly windy. The windchill brought the temp down to -20 degrees. The heat was not working in Anthony's car, so we were already freezing by the time we got up to the guys house to look. The heat was on in the van, and it seemed to work great. Come to find out, it only works when it's up all the way. The heat in the back of the van blows out cold. I think it might be the thermostat. And I also discovered that the drivers window didn't go down at all. Of course, I found that out AFTER I bought it and brought it home. I did get that fixed, though. A friend's husband repaired it for me. Bought new tires for it also. It does need some minor repairs still, but nothing that's too important, and nothing that affects the safety.

And just when I get used to FINALLY having a vehicle to get things done with, Anthony's car takes another crap on us. So, now he's driving my van to work, and I'm stuck in the house again. Even if I don't go anywhere, I HATE knowing that I'm cooped up in the house. It's only 27 degrees out today, so it's not like I can take a walk anywhere without freezing. I just hate not having a vehicle!

So, that's a quick run down of what's been happening lately. I'm hoping I'm able to get out of this rut, and get back to writing. I have a few things that I need to review, so that will be coming up soon. Hope you're all having a fantastic day!