Monday, December 29, 2008

Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!

Christmas was all it was supposed to be fun, family and food! We enjoyed one gathering after another and saw all of our immediate family except Robert, who's out of the country (but we did talk on the phone). It was really fun but I have to admit I was ready to have a couple days with just my husband and kids and simple chicken soup seemed so wonderful after all the fancy party foods we'd been eating.

Every year we have the kids wait to come out to the family room to see the gifts with the whole family. It must be exciting for the kids to see all the gifts when there's been nothing under the tree all month. This year all of my family stayed at my parents house for Christmas. (That's not too difficult when half of us live there!) Chris and I are the only ones with kids so far but everyone wanted to watch them open gifts. Nana, Papas and aunts and uncles were already out on the sofas before the kids came in. When we let the kids loose, Oliver went right for the presents, Evelyn seemed a little confused, and Spencer squealed not at the gifts but at seeing everyone gathered there. Children just make Christmas!

I was quite surprised, as I am every year, by the number of toys that we end up with. This happens because of the garage sales. I love garage sales but its hard to remember what I've already purchased when I get gifts and stash them away. Next year rather than a price limit per child we might need to do a toy count limit. It was fun though! The kids are so easy to please it makes Christmas fun.

One of the favorite toys was the trampoline given by Nana and Papas. It has a net that keeps the children from flying off. This seems like it would be so fun outside on a sunny day. I have to admit I was really disappointed when I found out it had a 100 lb weight limit. I really wanted to join the fun! (Oh and they're sporting the pajamas from Grandpa and Grandma Black)

The trampoline zips up and we've discovered that if it is zipped to far the zipper gets stuck. I've had two children get trapped inside. Hmm...naughty mother.... That locking zipper might come in handy, kind of like a child's personal padded room unfortunately its not sound proof.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Backtracking a bit

Oliver had his 5th birthday! Poor kid had his party canceled twice due to sick people in our family. Instead of a party Oliver went out with his dad and Grandma and Grandpa Black. He got to visit them all without any other kids which made it really special. They went to the store and he got to pick out a toy.

I've been sick since Thanksgiving day and we kept thinking the kids and I would be better soon. Its two and a half weeks later and we finally are! We ran Spencer into the emergency room in the middle of the night last week but thankfully didn't need to be admitted to the hospital. It turns out he had croup. They gave him some steroids so he could breath better and told us how to handle things. They told us you take children with croup outside, even if its freezing, and the cold air helps reduce the swelling in their throats. Who would have guessed? Anyway, he's just fine. We all seem to be much better.

Like I've said before we're sure using our insurance! A few months ago we were on major medical for about three months and only had one doctor visit the entire time. Now we have exceptional coverage and have seen more doctors in the last six weeks than we've seen in a very long time. I'd say we've definitely been watched over!

One day last week I put a video on for the kids to watch so I could take a shower while they were entertained by the one eyed babysitter. I told them I'd make breakfast right after I got out. I have to admit I took way too long. Occasionally I just don't want to leave that nice, warm shower. When I was dressed and returned to the family room I found my children hadn't been able to wait to eat but took care of things themselves. They were working on a 5lb bag of carrots! Evelyn had at least four carrots in her arms. She didn't let them go for an hour even though we ate breakfast. Spencer was nibbling but found his carrot made a much nicer bat or club. Oliver being the big brother had helped peel some. I found a trail of peelings from the kitchen sink to the garbage can. Throughout the day I kept finding carrots! :) I guess I could have gotten mad, but rather, I was pleased that the kids let me be and managed to take care of things. I'll just have to remember to keep a good stock of carrots! I wonder what other vegetables they'll eat if I take more long showers?

More great news! Chris will be working as a supervisor at UPS starting tonight. He's been training for the position for a couple of weeks but was told he wouldn't be a supervisor until the Christmas rush was over. I guess they feel he's able to handle it. This position will make things better financially (even though its still part time) and still allow Chris to pursue graphic design. I guess there are a lot more part time graphic design positions out there than full time. It makes sense actually. So he'll pick up design work where he can but still have steady, stable income and health insurance from UPS. It seems we are being blessed over and over again!

Where are your cool toys?

My children receive toys on their birthdays and at Christmas. Occasionally there will be a surprise toy from a relative during some other point of the year too. Otherwise we intentionally keep the amount of toys to a minimum.

I'm not anti-toys by any means. In fact I feel we have plenty! When we have too many toys the kids get overwhelmed and don't help up around the house. (I'm kind of the same way myself. ) We've found the kids return to the same toys over and over. So those are the ones we keep. Beyond that they use their imaginations. It's made watching the kids playing and drawing really fun too.

We have neighbor children that seem to get toys much more regularly. They've even come to our house and asked where the cool toys are and then when they find we don't buy toys every week ask for the tv instead. I've had to bite my tongue and not say, "Cool toys? Your brain is the coolest toy you've got. Use it!"

Here's an example of what I love. What's this to you? A couple blocks and a ball point pen most likely. Oliver saw these items and saw a tank!

Spencer had a different idea. He found a mop, propped it up on a shelf and a chair and made his own bar to hang on. We might have a gymnast here. Or maybe just a dare devil!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Saline and Blue Suction Bulbs

Everyone in our family has gone through a cold in the last month. We still have one child young enough to be in the "No Cold Medicine" age group. I've heard soon to be moms (or moms again!) ask what are we to do to help our little ones since they can't have any cold medicine! I want to share what I learned when Spencer was in the hospital last year.

Spencer had RSV which is a respiratory virus that can be pretty hard on very young children. He was only six months old when he got it. Like I've said before he's a tough little boy! He only spent two days in the hospital instead of the typical 6-10 days. He was hospitalized because he had so much mucus he had difficulty breathing thus had problems keeping his oxygen levels up. If you hear wheezing see a doctor! Your little one might not be getting enough oxygen. Once at the hospital Spencer received oxygen for about 12 hours and heavy suctioning of his nose. The only medication he was given the entire time was Tylenol to ease the aches and pains of having a cold. To begin with the suctioning was done with tubes going through his nose as far down as his throat. After the RSV had progressed and the mucus wasn't as severe, they suctioned with the plain old blue hospital suction bulb. Before I could leave the hospital they wanted me to learn how to suction his nose well so he didn't have to come back.

For moms, such as myself, you may not have had much success with the old suction bulb and saline but it really does work, that is if you know how to do it correctly. Here's how the nurses in the hospital taught me to do it. You'll need a few things: suction bulb, saline, lots of tissues, and a blanket (to wrap your child in if there isn't a second person to help restrain your child)

1. Restrain the child laying down.
2. Drop a couple drops of saline in one of you child's nostrils.
3. Squeeze the suction bulb and then insert it in the opposite nostril far enough in to block the nostril opening. Its ok to put it way back in the nose. (I always hated doing this but after watching the nurses suction my son's nose, I learned putting a suction bulb way up his nose really was ok.)
4. Block off the other open nostril by pressing on it with one of your fingers.
5. Release pressure on the bulb and let the suction do its job.

6. Dispose of bulb contents into tissues and repeat on the other nostril.
7. Repeat in each nostril (taking turns one nostril to the other) until you feel your child is breathing clearly again.

Sometimes the nurse would put a single drop of saline in the nostrols after suctioning to sooth the nostril.

Children hate this! I mean hate and will scream at the top of their lungs when you do this. That doesn't mean you aren't doing it right. (After all, how would you feel with someone doing this to you? If you're like me, you'd be mad, angry, annoyed, scared and a probably a little panicked too.) Hard as it is to do, its worth it. After suctioning my child's nose, he would relax and sleep because he could breath through his nose.

It even helps adults with colds, though you can blow your nose one nostril at a time rather than suctioning.

This has helped us with many colds since last winter. I hope this helps another mom out there too! I wish I'd known how to do this correctly before child #3. Live and learn right!

Monday, December 1, 2008

The little tyke's fine

Spencer has a soft tissue sprain. It must have been a mild sprain too because he's back to being all over the place. He's had the brace off for a couple of days now. He'll limp a little towards the end of the day but is otherwise doing just fine.

He never even had any swelling or discoloration! In fact I think the wrap around the brace gave him more visible injury than the main injury. He would walk on the brace (which the doctor didn't think he'd be able to manage) causing the outer wrapping to bunch and then cause sores. It seemed like he was fighting the brace more than the brace was helping so we took it off him. I only know he's having a hard time when he starts limping because he doesn't fuss about it. I think he knows if he fusses I'll put the brace back on! He's a tough little one!

So thank goodness nothing long term. I'm sorry for any mom that has a child in a cast!