Friday, December 20, 2013

Last but not Least

I realize I post ALOT about Merritt.  Despite being the third child, she is definitely the first in ALOT of ways!  Not talking about the omphalocele, but you could include that too.  Most of the time I only see what she's not doing well in development (not walking, not talking, not weighing enough to turn her car seat around, not taking a sippy cup, etc) I am delighted over the little things that I get to experience every day and see the positives she brings to our house!  I tend to forget these subtle smiles she gives me and here are a few of my favorite things about her.  In a way, she makes my life EASIER because she is:  

1.  My first child to ever eat macaroni-and-cheese.  Ever.
2.  My first child to ever eat potatoes.  Of any kind besides french fries.  Yep...  true story.
3.  My first child to eat my cooking without complaining.  And then claps because she always likes it!  And I seriously mean w.h.a.t.e.v.e.r. I cook!  Anything and everything (except fruit)!  She knows how to make a mommy feel good!
4.  My first child to be put in the crib wide awake and put herself to sleep.  Not every night, but its becoming more frequent.  Lately she'll ask to go "night night"
5.  She was the quickest to learn what the word "No" means.  And actually mind on most occasions.
6.  My first child to get all 4 of her 1-year molars and I never knew it.  Not a single dose of Tylenol.  Now the others were not so nice, but I'll take it.
7.  My first child to actually hang on to me when I hold them on my hip.  Its the little things people.
8.  My first child that likes my singing.  And got mad when I stopped.
9.  The first child to not outgrow her clothes faster than I can buy them.  
10.  The first to HATE a dirty diaper.  and i love this. 
11.  I thought my others were talkers.... I was wrong.  She babbles constantly.  Strange that we are starting speech therapy in January.  (Her only words at the moment are "bye bye" "mama" "da da" "nigh nigh" and "Nana")
12.  The first child to LOVE taking a bath AND getting their hair washed.  Yes, that makes being a mommy ALOT easier!  
13.  My first child to NOT watch TV for more than 30 seconds.  
14.  My first child to NOT gag on food.  I also love this about her.  When I fully expect her to have reasons to gag... she doesn't.  So what's wrong with my other 2 kids?  hahaha!

She may not do the BIG milestones and things when and how we would prefer, but she seems to always come through on the small things.  And that makes a BIG difference in our everyday lives.  We are seeing more of her personality lately and she is just blowing us away!  Little girl.  BIG personality.  It scares me sometimes.  I dread her teenage years.  But oh is she fun to have around!    

At Mattox's preschool Christmas party and very excited to be eating off his plate of goodies!
Sorry its blurry - but thats what happens when they won't stand still.  Girls in their Christmas dresses!

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Getting Old-er and Wise-er

I'm turning 35 next month.  I thought 33 was hard.  Physically, I definitely feel old.  I have never had it diagnosed - but I know I have psoriatic arthritis.  I don't take medication for it, but my joints hurt pretty much constantly.  I can't sneak up on my kids (...i.e. Tooth Fairy) because my knees crack and get loud when I walk.  My elbows start to throb when I wash/scrub my hair in the shower.  I use to be able to run 6 miles a day, and now I can barely do 0.5 mi before my knee feels like a knife is stabbing it.  

I'm not complaining (ok maybe a little), but instead of working out as much as I would like to, I started Advocare.  I use a gym that has a childcare facility - but when you have a Merritt, you can't really use that as much as you would like (I'm not risking exposing her to viruses and germs before her surgery this month).  At least it will help me on the days that I can't work out.  or to the extent I would like to.  I'm down 10 pounds in a month!  My goal was to lose 20, so I have 10 more to go!  and I actually didn't like the Spark drink at first, but my word.... I can't live without it now!  I have dropped the cokes and carbonated beverages thanks to that!  

As I'm getting older, I feel like my eating has taken control.  I think subconsciously its because I can control what goes in my mouth (or I'd like to think I can) on the days that I feel like i have no control over anything.  Most days my kids are driving me insane, so it makes me feel better to eat.  I finally understand what "comfort food" is all about.  I've always been the type to eat whatever whenever I wanted... but around age 30, the metabolism and age caught up with me finally. 

We've been cleaning out the attic and upstairs, and switching some bedrooms around... I came across my wedding dress.  We're close to 10 years now.  I opened the bag to see how bad it had yellowed or aged in the attic (no I never had it professionally boxed up and treated).  To my surprise it only had 1 spot on the inside slip at the bottom.  Still perfectly white and fluffy and beautiful.  Still a size 6.   My new goal is to at least be able to put it back on (maybe not comfortably).    Not sure if that will ever happen, but I can try.  

Yep... getting old.  I've never dyed my hair - but I started getting it "glossed".  It's a washable gloss that covers gray (for just a few), but I have to get it redone every 6 weeks.  Most everyone says, "your hair looks darker."  well, yeah, when you're going gray - I have to go darker!  ;)  and I totally blame Merritt for every single one of those grays.  ;)  

On the other hand, I have to focus on what IS right in my world.  Most of the time all I see is the negative.  The weight struggle.  The kids doing everything wrong instead of right.  We're planning our 10 year anniversary trip soon.  How did I get so lucky?  10 years!  I'm not trying to step on toes here, but my friends are getting divorced left and right.  I don't understand that at all.  More and more people are dying or losing loved ones.   Getting old is down right depressing.  I was saying prayers with Mati Claire a few nights ago.  She was making a mental list (yes, she is my girl because she's a list maker); but she was listing her favorite people and being thankful for them.  I had to correct the "order" of her list and tell her to move Jesus and God to the first place.  I explained that if we didn't love Jesus first, then nothing else would matter.   My world is right when I have Jesus first... its still hard, but I get through it a whole lot easier.

What else is right?  This stinker right here:

Got her purse on her shoulder...watching sibs play outside ... waiting on them to pick her up
Gobbling up Thanksgiving dinner! 
Having just discovered the Christmas tree - caught her pulling the cord and ornaments!
When God was passing out personalities, he pulled the biggest one out for her! I had to laugh today because I was remembering ALL the ultrasounds we had with Mitt... the MRI technician said she had NEVER seen a baby that active in utero during an MRI... and she said the baby should receive an award... hence "the Merritt Award" was conceived.  And the girl just doesn't stop.  She is into EVERYTHING and EVERYWHERE!  Not being able to walk does NOT stop her!

For all the O moms out there that are questioning whether its "right" to bring a child into this world with "issues" ... please don't terminate your pregnancy.  Just look at those above pictures and see that you would never even know something was "wrong" with her.  I know of several O mommies that are not a part of the Facebook group.  There is 1 mother pregnant with an O baby right now and is contemplating abortion.  Most people commented and messaged her not to.  Some went with the pro-choice answer.  Some admitted they had actually had an abortion already and gave their stories.  The original post really bothered "the older and wiser ones".  Its a topic we all have thought of at one point, but it rarely gets discussed on that site.  Now that I am OLDER, I look back and wish I had known then what I know now! 
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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Merritt Update #1,000

We set Merritt's second surgery for December 30th.  I think I am in some sort of denial to a degree - in my mind, I keep waiting for the hospital to call and reschedule for some reason, or more likely - I am just completely blocking the thought of another surgery out.  

To catch you up (and I have had tons of people asking my why and what).  She had surgery at 4 days old to put her liver and other organs back in.  It went well and they managed to get full muscle closure along with skin closure.  About a month after she came home from the hospital (about 2 months old), we noticed a slight bulge in her belly when she cried.  Over the last year it has definitely become larger - and its basically a large hernia.  Her ab muscles could not hold everything in when they weren't used to having anything behind it.  The surgeon said now vs. next summer would not make a difference.  Dr. B will open her abdomen back up and put her liver in again (appears that is what is bulging out).  He will most likely use a piece of "pig dermis" which is actually a piece of pig intestine lining to help reinforce the abs.  Since this is a biologic mesh, he said there is no need for us to get it removed later (where if we used a piece of synthetic mesh, it would need to be taken back out later).  I basically understood it to mean that it will sort of 'dissolve' or 'become part of her'.   He may not even necessarily need to use it, but said he probably would just so we wouldn't be back in surgery again in a few years.  If for some crazy reason, he can't get her abs to pull together again (the hernia has become larger), he might have to remove part of her liver.  But he didn't think that would happen, and the liver does regenerate itself for those of you not of scientific mind! lol!  :)

The surgeon said he expects her to be in the hospital about 2 days, and said she should be back to normal after a week or two.  

Could yall say a prayer for her?  And for me.  I cry already at the thought of putting her through another surgery.  I know she needs this.  I knew it was coming regardless of when.  
She is beginning to take a few steps and making major progress in physical strength.  When she was in the NICU, the nurses compared her surgery to a C-section but probably worse.  So I'm expecting the walking to take a back seat after this.  

Our pediatrician has also recommended speech therapy now.  I can't remember if I posted about this... you just hate to see your baby delayed -- no matter what the case.  

She's still not 20 pounds yet.  I'm afraid surgery will delay that as well.  I might get to turn her car seat around when she's 10.  ;)  

This post sounds very depressing, right?  But today, I'm actually happy!  I was thinking about the blog in church this morning - and how you probably haven't heard me mention my faith in Jesus lately.  This had nothing to do with our sermon or lesson today, but I was reminded that you only hear people mention God when something is wrong.  I am so not like that - but my blog might appear that way.  So I'm changing that in this post!  Everything is great in the big picture - and I have God to thank for it!  Not just because Thanksgiving is upon us... but I just wanted to publicly thank God and my Savior, Jesus for all the blessings and all the things He has given us.  I was reminded today that despite Merritt's issues, she is STILL a miracle.  She may be behind in a few things - but that won't keep her down.  I thank God for giving her the spunk in her personality, and the spark in my faith (that I wasn't aware it needed at the time).  

Our Sunday School teacher said something today that sort of hit home.  I can't remember exactly word for word - but it was about how God will show you exactly what you struggle with.  Doubt was our topic of discussion.  Our teacher struggled with doubt in public speaking... and 10 years+ later, here he is speaking in front of 30+ people every Sunday morning.   For me, I have ALWAYS struggled with doubt in proof.  Proof of God...Proof of Jesus' life.  Don't get me wrong, I knew I was saved... but I'm saying I struggled with doubt.   I have a scientific mind (I love math and science) and I like definite answers and definite proof.  I enjoyed English - but I always hated how one story could mean one thing to one person and the total opposite to the next person.  But I always DOUBTED the lack of proof (and I'm talking about the scientific proof) over Jesus.  Trust me, I've watched every History Channel documentary... Discovery Channel... read the books.  So 20 years later... what did God give me?  He showed me a baby that in all scientific theory and knowledge should NOT be here today.  He put my "facts" to the test.  You can not PROVE anything other than God's amazing work.  I've always heard the saying "Science only takes you so far, and then comes God."  But I had to see it with my own eyes.     And God knew I wanted to SEE proof of His existence.  

All that to say---- I am thankful today.  Nervous about the upcoming surgery, but I know God has us in His hands.  

 I am also very thankful for Mati Claire.  She is hitting a new phase lately where she is beginning to question alot of adult behavior (if it was even possible for her to question more) and is beginning to hit the "pre-teen" stage.  I have found myself having many "adult" conversations than I ever expected to have with a 6 year old.  The "friend" drama and the "boy" drama has started.  I guess you could say I've seen her take a jump in the "growing up" in the past few weeks.  I see her TRYING SO HARD to be perfect for everyone.  Bless her.  It will catch up with her later, but I love how she tries to please everyone.  She is such a joy to have as a daughter despite her drama, and I feel like I'm too hard on her most of the time.  She got to see her best friend, Claire, that moved away last year.  And oh my - these are the 2 sweetest little girls you have ever seen.  I loved getting to catch up with Amy and I miss that family so much!  Kellan made a surprise appearance too - which made MC's day even better! Those 3 kids are adorable and such sweet friends!  

(Yes, I am thankful for Mattox too - but today I'm just thankful he's alive.  He hasn't killed himself or anyone else in his endeavors today.)  ;)
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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Recipes

Here ya go Erin!  Although I wouldn't really call them "recipes" -- more like "detailed instructions"

Carly's Pretzels
Place square waffle pretzels on a cookie sheet (however many you want or that will fit).  Place a Hug Hershey Kiss on top.  Place in oven on lowest setting (my oven takes about 3-4 minutes to melt the chocolate).  You don't want it totally melted - but still holding its form.  Push candy corn or M&M's into the center making the Hershey Kiss "spread" out.    This recipe can also be used with Rolos, pecans, M&M's, etc...  Allow to cool completely before stacking.  For me the white part of the Hugs turns a grayish color if you put them in the fridge?? Maybe that's just me though.  :)

Candy Corn Marshmallow Pops
Place lollipop stick on large/jumbo marshmallow.  Dip marshmallow 2/3 of the way into orange melted candy chips.  Cool and/or dry.  Then dip the orange end into yellow melted candy chips.

Pumpkin Rice Krispie Treats
Lindy said these were not as easy as they looked.  Simply made regular Rice Krispie Treats and used a pumpkin shape cookie cutter to cut them out.  Then dipped the stem part in green melted candy chips.

My Sister's Hot Chocolate Recipe
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/3 cup water
Bring those 3 ingredients to a boil, stirring constantly.
Then add 4 cups Half-n-Half and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Heat through again until desired hot temp.
Makes ~4 cups (but I'd say more than that because I don't drink a full cup).

Amy's Halloween Trail Mix
Here is the LINK to that recipe!  Thanks Amy!

Everything was delicious!!! 

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Monster Mash 2013

I should really know better than to plan something or commit to doing something in October.   I am not lying when I can predict we will be sick e-v-e-r-y October.  Mattox --> Merritt --> Me --> Merritt...

Stomach bug and flu like symptoms... so NOT fun.

At the time only Merritt was sick, and we kept her inside away from everyone = no pics of Mitt.   So I'll let the pics do the talking since I'm barely functioning.  But a huge THANK YOU to my mom for helping with the party and inspiring adults to get dressed up in costume next year (where is my pic of you?) and to MIL "Nana" for keeping my kids while I was incapacitated yesterday.

I also left my camera inside while we took the hayride, so I have no pics of that. :(  But another HUGE thank you to Mr. Will aka Mr. SchoggenScapes for doing the hayride again!  That is always the highlight of the party! everyone loved it!  Thank you!

My handsome Batman who was only cool enough to let me take a few pics of him "no pitchers mom...i'm Batman"
Miss Audrey Hepburn (and my party favor boxes)
My niece Kennedy spent the week with us while she was on Fall Break!  such a sweetie!
Officer Harrison and Inmate Harrison 

My witch cupcakes

Pumpkin rice krispies!  And I did not take a pic of the marshmallow Candy Corn = adorable!

Halloween Trail Mix = yummy!

Soo cute!  Thank you Carly!  Always one of my favorite treats!
Dry Ice = a magnet for little kids.  this needed a "guard" the entire time.
Hot chocolate, apple cider 
I loved these.  These belong to Gigi.  
We had a problem last year with kids coming in to use the bathroom, and playing on the front door so I thought this might deter the darlings from using the front door.... and it worked!  X means NOooo :)
Yes, the best one out of TONS I took for the group pic.  Missing Allie though.

The "real" Peter Pan!  loved the hair

best buds
I ATTEMPTED to show an outdoor movie, but the sound system was a bust and we could not hear it.  :(  We tried Charlie Brown!
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Monday, October 21, 2013

over october

busy is an understatement.  more like overwhelmed.  october is ALWAYS my busiest month of the year.  and usually our sickest month.  to sum up the last 3 weeks as quickly as possible:

soccer, ballet, MS State Fair for Nana's birthday, Yankee Candle Fundraising at MC's school (for 850 students), Halloween/Fall Festival school related activities, field trips to the Pumpkin Patch, field trips to the local fire stations (both stations to be exact),  I started Advocare's 24 day Challenge.... jury is still out on my overall opinion on that,  Merritt got her 1 year shots that were delayed to her 15 month checkup = f.u.s.s.y for 2 weeks, stomach bug for Mattox = cleaning up vomit and doing laundry all night long, 50's Day coke floats delivered to school, Fundraiser parties, unloading 6 pallets of Fundraiser boxes and dividing them by teacher, dealing with the non-stop questions and complaints of people associated with Fundraiser (some people don't know the definition of the word deadline), planning/painting the plan for Mattox's preschool Trunk-or-Treat, working on Halloween costumes, birthday parties, working on/planning/carrying out my own Halloween Party, doing a little early Christmas shopping in the few and far between moments that I find myself without the older 2 kids, taking Christmas Card pictures, dermatologist appointments because my scar is not healing and/or healing properly, trip to the dentist and MC walking out missing 2 first teeth, Tooth Fairy going into shock and overload at a moment's notice had to pull out the magic and bring on the Glitter and Gold, carpooling to extracurricular activities, trying to squeeze in a little fall TV shows and football, and Matt working out of town for a few days leaves me as a single mom, not to mention the regular household chores that are not getting done except washing dishes perhaps...........   

In the middle of all that I find myself trying to hold on and treasure the sweet and precious moments.  I hope these images are burned in my brain.  well my brain is on overload, so I put them here for now.
First trophy -- and well earned!
Having fun with Daddy at the Fair

Because our school is awesome!  
Permanent teeth not pushing the baby teeth out = we love our pediatric dentist, Dr. Susan!
Someone make this girl stop growing please.  I cried shortly after this pic was taken.
Because Tallulah the Tooth Fairy rocks!  MC dug the glitter I sprinkled on the wet stamp ink... and gold dollar coins.  Truvy the Tooth Fairy is on stand-by for Mattox.   
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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mighty Mattox Miley

I forgot to update you on the progress of our soccer status.  

Week 2 - went pretty much the same as week 1 minus the tantrum. Still whiny and refused to do anything.  But no screaming or yelling - maybe I should have considered that progress?

Week 3 - I, therefore, refused to take him back.  Lucky for him, Poppy was in town that week.  Poppy and Daddy took him and apparently it went better from what I heard.  

Week 4 - Matt took him again and he did GREAT!  Each week he seems to get a little closer to the group and the coach.  And I mean that physically closer not mentally!  

Week 5 - I took him since Daddy was asleep (which he was not happy about).  But after convincing him that I would help him if Mati Claire helped me with Merritt.  aka MC will get Smarties for watching Merritt in the stroller and keeping her occupied and he will get Smarties if he participates and behaves.   

But he did GREAT!  He prefers Daddy to take him over me - which is totally fine - except Daddy works nights and is usually not awake by the time soccer starts or if he is, he is getting ready to go to work.  Guess we'll have to work on that.  But he did it all for the Smarties.   But why am I giving him candy for something that he really wants to do???  Beyond me.  

Note to self:  It takes him approximately 1 month to get acquainted with any social / team event.  

He also participates in the SoccerShots program at his school - which I have been told he loves.  Its similar to the TOTS program (more basketball related) that MC did when she was 4, but its soccer instruction without being on a field.  It promotes coordination and just learning the basics.  I probably wouldn't normally let him do that on top of Mighty Mites but its during school-time-recess (once a week), so I'm not forced to find more time for extracurricular activities.  yay!!

So cute in his first uniform!  Go #16!  Week 2.  He was so unpleasant during the first week I never pulled the camera out to get a pic.  
Week 2:  This was as close as he would get to the group/team. ha! (before his uniform socks came in)
Doing the warm up, but was done after that!

Week 3 or 4 - actually in the circle next to his coach!  wow!  Go Mattox!
Sitting on the ball towards the right with his hands on his knees.  Obviously Daddy needs to take him more often!
Just for fun!  To show you what a closet redneck he is!  He had a Fire Station field trip that day, and came home to act out the part!  Check out the cowboy boots.  I'm cooking dinner and then I see the water spraying the kitchen window bc the "house was on fire"
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