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Glorious new normal

I thrive in a crisis.  I step up and do what needs to be done.  I pray in between IMG_2105 breaths and am granted the grace to say and do what needs to be done.

I struggle with monotony.  I procrastinate. I never feel like I’m doing enough. To serve others, to find opportunities. To thrive.

Although, I am learning as these 5 babies of mine keep growing, I love the normal days. The monotony of laundry, the messy kitchen and the never ending cooking cycles.  I am learning to appreciate driving to and from school and even making lunches day after day.

As these years go by, the more we know.   The more we learn about how scary this world can be and the weight of our decisions.  My oldest child, 13, is saving for a motorcycle.  A motorcycle. Because he researched and found out you can have a license at 15 years old.  Although, I love seeing him research and save his hard earned money, he is going to be very upset when I tell him he is NOT getting a motorcycle. All the what if’s and the memories flood my brain of stories of fatal accidents. But when he’s a grown man, I can’t stop him.

As these years go by, the more wonderfully terrifying stories we hear of another child battling cancer, or another car accident across town, or a mom having heart attack way too soon or God forbid another shooting. Every ache and pain becomes a worry and even a sleepless night. Every news alert, closing our eyes and praying it doesn’t affect our loved ones.

Yes, a normal day is grace from God.  A free gift for us to cherish.

Yesterday, could have been something other than normal. But it wasn’t. Everything was “normal.”

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Gabi’s cardiology check up.  Her ECHO, EKG, and bloodwork all came back normal for her.  She is doing so great!

EKG is her least favorite test. She will never be OK with those stickers.

EKG is her least favorite test. She will never be OK with those stickers.

 

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God is so good, he moved us near an amazing new hospital that is 35 minutes away and he blessed us with an unbelievable cardiologist that in a very short time hugs me upon arrival.  Gab’s heart is still large and works very hard.  But her muscle is the same as it was 6 months ago!! :) Her blood pressure is low, but he is OK with that. It’s probably result of her medications. Dr. R sits with me and explains any research developments and what the future might look like.  He tells me about the single ventricle patients that he sees that are now 19 and 20 years old. He gives me so much hope for my sweet girl!

Dr. Ramaciotti

Dr. Ramaciotti

She never let go of my hand during the ECHO

She never let go of my hand during the ECHO

Spring break 2016 Glen Rose

Spring break 2016 Glen Rose

This boy is the light of my life.

This boy is the light of my life.

Hope and normalcy.  Sunshine and laughter.  Tough love and lots of driving. Tears and sweat.  Lots of prayer and forgiveness. Friendship and family. Oh this life is so good. And I would say this life is so good even if Gabi’s appointment didn’t go well. Because I know there will be a day when a future appointment will bring lots of tears and a plan of action for Gabi’s heart. But until then, I will celebrate the normalcy!

GI and neurology check ups next month. Feeding is still the same. She weighed in at 37 lbs.  not great.  We were on the edge of another “failure to thrive” diagnosis. I have a month to avoid that with GI. Still using the G-tube a lot more than I want to, but that is OK. It’s what she needs right now. And that G-tube, that little plastic tube, is so much more than a simple medical device, it is life saving and for that, I am grateful.

So much love all-around. God is good… all the time!

Teri

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Highs and lows

I miss my SJMP. I miss hearing the highs and lows of my friends. I miss hearing laughter from new moms and I miss sharing in their tears… Here’s to you ladies.

My high today is – We’re in Texas.   IMG_6815

My low today is- We’re in Texas.

IMG_7368We moved to McKinney, TX on April 3rd. We transferred the kids to their new school at the end of the school year. Even just 6 months ago, I can’t believe my anxiety levels didn’t cause me long term damage.  Well, the jury is still out, I guess :) The transition has certainly had plenty of highs and lows but for the most part, it has been OK.  We’ve already made some really great friends here and we have put on a light sweatshirt maybe once since April. It’s outstanding!

However, I miss my AH Patton peeps, my Ridge Ave family, my SJ community, my parents and my sisters…the raw pain is subsiding, but the lingering ache is still there everyday.

One of the reasons, we chose Dallas was because of the outstanding medical facilities here. We have already found a wonderfully compassionate cardiologist, a tolerable neurologist, we will be seeing the Gi team soon and a team of therapists for Gabi.  The school has embraced her needs and is working with us to get all the services she needs.

And coming to Dallas includes an all inclusive resort and spa for 30 days and 30 nights! Pretty sweet, right?  Oh wait, no I meant an all inclusive feeding clinic for 30 days and 30 nights.  They’re easily confused.

October 20th is the day. Gabi will be admitted into Our Children’s House at Baylor’s inpatient feeding program for 30 days.  It will be intense. It will be exhausting. There will be lots of tears (from me and from Gabi). I am afraid to pray for any specific results because I am trusting that God will be there for Gabi.  She is going to have to work really hard.  And I am trusting that God knows that this is our 4th feeding clinic and I feel like it’s our last hope.  It’s not, of course, but we have exhausted all outpatient program’s efforts.

I am heartbroken that I have to leave my 4 other babies for 30 days. My heart is breaking.  They are still adjusting here. We are all still finding our way. 6th grade homework is getting intense. T’s anxiety is creeping up, M is finding out which friends she can trust, and Max just needs me to help him go potty.  I will miss them so much.

IMG_654130 days.

I can do this.  

Gabi can do this.

My kids can do this.

Ethan can do this.

 

Always with God’s continued love and guidance. And maybe, just maybe… we won’t be using the G-tube when is done

Love you all, Teri IMG_5588

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Our first day in McKinney

Our first day in McKinney

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It’s all Praise!

DSC_0028We have a plan!  And God is chuckling.

We got approval for “the church house!!” I want to write a deep, thought provoking post here but I am up to my neck in boxes, so I will write all the details after we move this Friday, August 2nd.

These are the wonderful things that have happened to us in the past few days.

1. We planned a trip to Great America because the kids get their free tickets from the reading program.  We planned the day only to have Ethan sr. call me 2 days before from work and tell me that he had to go into work that day.  They scheduled a meeting for that day and he had to be there. I was mad. angry. pissed. I felt like he was choosing work over his family which I know he sometimes has too. I shook it off and made a back up plan. The day we were supposed to go, Marissa woke up in pain and sick. Our backup plan was to head to the zoo with my sister and niece so before we were to leave, I raced over a urine sample to the pediatrician and we tried to go to the zoo… Marissa’s FAVORITE place!  She was too uncomfortable and we had to head home after only an hour.  (We did get to see the Dolphin Show- although she cried through half of it). We got results of a bladder infection and started an antibiotic. Our trip to Six Flags would have been ruined.  God works in very funny ways.

2. We also started my second oldest son (almost 8) on a new medication this week and it is a miracle for him. I cried tears of joy for him as he is so happy and calm and not down on himself anymore.  Ethan Sr and I had talked about starting treatment for a while now and I have been praying and felt the Holy Spirit telling me to help my son.  We did and it is truly miraculous…. I know it’s going to be a constant rollercoaster but I am just so happy for him right now.

3. We got approval on a house!!!  WE HAVE A PLACE TO LIVE!  We will be renting a home from our parish, St James.  They own a few houses and we were able to push them along to be approved.  I will post the entire story of how God worked in this story later.DSC_0062

4. I called the new feeding clinic to check on Gabi’s status.  They had “never received” her records so I made a few phone calls, got a few apologies and we have an appt set for August 8th!  I am thrilled to get her started…

5. Gabi went pee pee on the potty!!

6. I got a phone call from one of my favorite organizations called Dynamic Catholic started by Matthew Kelly. We have made donations in the past and I frequently order books from their organization. She was calling to see if we could possibly make another donation at this time.  I told her that we were really in a tough spot right now and just couldn’t. I felt terrible.  We chatted a few minutes and not surprisingly I started crying when she asked about Gabi. She personally added Gabi and our entire family to their prayer list.  I was so touched by that phone call.

7. Did I mention we are approved for a house?!

Thank you thank you for all of the prayers and support. A special thank you to my  awesome sisters, Heather and Steve, Steve and Steph, Mark and Karie, Sue, and my mom.  

I almost forgot to say thank you to the St. Brendan’s Men’s Group in FL for all their prayers for Gabi.
The kindness and support means more than you’ll ever know.

My sweet friend, Nicole, that I finally got to see after many years

My sweet friend, Nicole, that I finally got to see after many years

My handsome 2 oldest boys

My handsome 2 oldest boys

So much love and praise,
Teri

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21 days

Words are not coming to me very easily right now.  I wanted to post about this so I don’t ever forget where we have come from and how strong our family is.  I want to remember these days vividly so I can count my blessings over and over when we are out of this situation.

DSC_0071We have 3 weeks (21 days) to move and have no where to go.  We have a few places but all of them have a few obstacles we need to overcome first… one isn’t available until Aug 15th, one doesn’t allow pets, and one is owned by a shady, incompetent company that won’t return our phone calls.  There isn’t much else on the rental market that can home 7 people that is within our price range.  We get so close and then the rug gets yanked out from underneath us.  My kids are stressed, my husband is exhausted and I am trying not to cry in front of them all.   I am angry.  I am really angry.

Do we create this drama?  Do we not work hard enough?  Why is this happening?Where are you my loving God?

I know.. for a fact… that this will work out.  Something will work out because it has to.   I still have faith that God has a plan but I am upset and angry right now that I don’t know that plan. I am angry that others are able to enjoy their summer and we are hanging on by a thread.

And the new feeding clinic will not call me. I have called and called to get Gabi scheduled for an evaluation but they haven’t reviewed her files yet. They are supposed to call me… I need something to move forward…

It’s a tough day.

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

Much love,
Teri

 

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Impossible is not a word

I got to attend Saturday’s 5:00 mass with only child next to me.  I love being surrounded by my children (even when they hang on me ) at church. Church is an intimate hour with God and who better to spend that intimate moment than my family.  However, when I’m actually able to sit quietly and LISTEN, it is awesome.

I wish I was better at listening to God but I think he brought me some peace.

IMG_6214After apologizing…pleading… making offers to the owner of the house, Saturday morning we received official word via certified letter that we, indeed, have to vacate this house by August 1st.  Our home for 4 years.

32 days we have to find a home and move our 5 children.  I don’t understand how a person, a man and his wife, could do this?  We made a mistake, yes. We shouldn’t have removed the bushes without his consent.  But is this reason to evict a family within a month?

We were/are angry. Sad. Confused.  My kids saw me upset and asked questions.  The neighbor kids saw me cry.

Here we are. scrambling.  We had plans this summer. Gabi had no scheduled procedures. We were focused on her feeding clinic getting started, actually considering taking a short vacation. And laughing, a lot. I was grieving my summer.

BUT

Then I went to mass.   Fr. Bill said we have to remember to always.. WALK IN FAITH, LIVE IN HOPE, and ACT IN LOVE.

WALK IN FAITH: Live our catholic faith boldly. Find a friend that will encourage you to live against the grain, against the media, and be proud to  accept the eucharist every week.

LIVE IN HOPE:  Trust in God… always.

ACT IN LOVE: forgive, and always be a joyous Christian.  I have heard criticisms that the Catholic mass is so boring.  There is NOTHING boring about the mass.  The mass is joyous and our lives our joyous and we need to find that smile… always.

So, I came home, gushing with love watching my son serve mass and sitting my with daughter and listening to our pastor with renewed spirit.IMG_6253

Impossible is not a word. We can do this. This is happening for a reason and we might never understand.

Buy or rent?  So many benefits and drawbacks of each.  I was hoping we could scrape together finances and be able to put a home purchase together. However, I think renting is again in our close future.

Side note: I was SO excited to be able to officially put down roots and live under our own rules. This is so hard for me. It is difficult for me to admit that we rent; I feel like I always have something to justify. I was really excited to fit in and control our home decisions.

Our children know something is going on. We plan to have a family meeting today. They keep asking if we are moving and plead with us not to.  It’s tearing my heart apart.

We aren’t moving far, so it’s going to be fine. But, it’s a forced change and it’s uneasy for everyone.

I am keeping Fr. Bill’s words close to my heart and remember to live them.  SO, a smile will be on my face and we will focus on the excitement of moving. Hey- maybe we’ll have a basement or more space! We have to focus on the silver lining…Good thing God always provides perspective.

We so appreciate all the thoughts and prayers. I’ll keep you all posted. Thanks for reading.

BTW- Gabi is doing really great. Still little progress with eating or potty training but all in good God’s time. Her records finally got transferred to the new feeding clinic, so we are awaiting for review of those and then an evaluation appt.

Much love,

Teri

BLACKHAWKS WIN!!

BLACKHAWKS WIN!!

 

 

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Gabi’s birthday and prayers needed

I am behind. Way behind.  But I’m ok with it.

Happy 4th Birthday sweet Gabi!

Happy 4th Birthday sweet Gabi!

Gabi celebrated her 4th birthday on June 9th and on June 15th, we celebrated with her  friends and a few of our neighbors.  It was a great celebration that also kicked off our block party.  4 years ago, on June 15th, was the day of her first surgery. She was 6 days old.

She is doing well.  We are at a maintenance stand still.  I am waiting for her records to be transferred from the GI dept in Milwaukee to a feeding clinic out of Central Dupage hospital. Nothing has changed. She still throws up at least 3 times a week but is maintaining hydration and her weight. So all is good.

Many of you know how much we love our neighborhood. They have been a lifeline for us.  We need payers that we can stay here.  We rent this house.  Yes, it’s a small small house for all 7 of us, but it works, for now.  A few weeks ago, we made some improvements on the house (taking out some incredibly horrendous bushes that lined the front sidewalk).  The new front yard is beautiful!  Shaggy and needs some weeding, but it’s clear and the new grass is growing!

The owner of the house stopped by last week and isn’t too thrilled with our improvement.  He kicked us out of the house giving us until August 1st.  He was furious. Livid. We felt terrible.

Our previous financial report is very depressing.  But Ethan has a GREAT job and we were finally able to catch up on medical bills and actually start saving money. We were on our way to our second homeownership with a savings cushion. Our goal was to call a realtor next Spring. We even had a financial counseling appt on Thursday to go over our 401k’s and start a  forced down payment savings account!!

After our landlord left us in shock. I immediately thought of the quote “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”

S0, with nothing in the bank, bills piled up, we are once again walking off a cliff trusting that God will provide us a parachute or at least have a trampoline when we land. We won’t move far but I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next 3 weeks of our life and I will terribly miss seeing our friends everyday.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope ~Jeremiah 29:11

Pictures from Gabi’s birthday. Little did we know, it may have been our going away party too.

Gabi and her heart friend, Caden. LOVE!

Gabi and her heart friend, Caden. LOVE!

Our amazing neighbor, Stephanie... Gabi's favorite person in the whole world!

Our amazing neighbor, Stephanie… Gabi’s favorite person in the whole world!

My beloved friends across the street, Karie and her beautiful daughter, Emily.

My beloved friends across the street, Karie and her beautiful daughter, Emily.

My Ethan and Mark, who belongs to Karie :)

My Ethan and Mark, who belongs to Karie :)

 

My oldest handsome boy

My oldest handsome boy

 

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With her new favorite teddy bear

With her new favorite teddy bear

Not a block party until someone pees on the tree!

Not a block party until someone pees on the tree!

Balloon launcher!!

Balloon launcher!!

 

Loving her Dora cake

Loving her Dora cake

Thanks for reading. Prayers for all of you out there with life going on….

Love,
Teri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tried and Tested

Hello faith.  Are you there today?

I’m running on empty.  Cub Scouts, baseball, end of school picnics, graduation parties, teacher presents, keeping up with friends that need just that… a friend, rushing home for the toddler’s nap, signing up for summer actives, facing summer activities, planning a reading/chore schedule for the summer, girl scouts meetings, block party planning, ortho appts, alter server schedules,trying to find carpools… phew.

These are all things I tremendously enjoy. It’s when there’s a feeding pump thrown into the mix and remembering to carry the vomit bucket with us in the car, or it’s comforting my child’s social phobias and trying to quiet his anxiety, it’s trying not to snap at my son’s lack of remembering his brain.  It’s the last day of school today and I am running on fumes.

I had the absolute pleasure of seeing my friends from our old house in Oswego this past weekend. Three families with 21 kids between them (5 adopted from Ethiopia). When I say amazing people… I truly mean it. They are my inspiration.

After talking with them for only a few minutes, their words wrapped me up in a warm hug filled with God’s grace. They have many issues with their kids, like we all do.  Each one takes a turn of the one that you worry about.  Whether it’s the teenage girl that was left out of her group of friends and has withdrawn from the family, or the autistic Kindergartner that needed to go away for a few days of intense behavior treatment, or the grade schooler that has symptoms of ADD and you don’t know whether to act on them, or the child that scores so low on testing that the school district is failing you and your options look bleak, or maybe it’s the siblings that lost their baby sister and will never feel complete, or the teenage daughter that has cardio myopathy and insists on running track.

We are all happy, filled with so many blessings, yet we are all so lonely. It’s not that any of us would change our children, of course not, but why God would entrust me with them completely bewilders me.  I feel inadequate most of the time. We are all on our own on this crazy journey called parenting. The moment to moment decisions will make or break your child.  There is no manual, there are no guidelines.  And to make parenting more stressful, the married couple disagrees on how to discipline or what to take seriously.

Gabi was so tired yesterday morning and was coughing a lot- like a nasty croupy cough.  Sure enough, I had to pull over and let her puke in the acclaimed tupperware bowl that was ready at the waiting.  The tears burned as I drove her to school and thought how exhausted I was taking care of her.   I thought of my friend caring for her autistic daughter along with her other 6 children and felt her strength wrap me up again.  I texted my husband (when I stopped the car :) ) that it was a difficult morning.  I’m so tired.  I put my sunglasses on so that no one could see my tears.

Gabi cried as I took her out of the car and I instantly knew, she couldn’t go to school. I told the teacher that I would just take her home.  So lonely.  As I caught the puke moments before, I thought, is she just tired? is she getting sick? Are we headed to the hospital?

I grieve who she is not- but try to not let that overwhelm me. But sometimes I think I am more resentful than I want to admit.  A healthy four year old would be running and riding a bike and be potty trained and EATING.  Gabi does none of those things.  We are stuck in toddlerhood. Resentful towards whom… I resent the people that should be supportive but aren’t. I resent people that pretend to not be lonely. I resent those that have an easy life. I resent those that can afford to hire help. I resent those that are able to volunteer at  their kids’ school. I pray for God to take the resentment and anger from me because it’s not fair to those individuals then I drink a cold beer.

But what am I going to do?  Sit here and be miserable? Of course not.  Like I have told myself  a million times, happiness is a choice. I pray continuously for God to help me because I can’t do it on my own and I can’t rely on others to rescue me just as I can’t rescue my friends.

Just to cheer myself up a bit, I made a list of things I am grateful for:

1. My husband- although I feel like sometimes we live separate lives, he works so hard for us.

2. A smile from my son after he pitched a good inning. He needed that.  Even though I couldn’t be there, my husband assured me, he got a smile.

3. My book club- I have read some amazing books and I am getting to know a new group of friends

4. My sisters

5. Sunshine

6. My shop vac- it cleans everything!

7. My  jogging stroller

8. K-Love

9. Pandora

10. This note from my daughter, Marissa. (She still thinks I’m nice :) )

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BTW- Gabi is fine.  She was just really tired. She is still coughing a lot.  Stayed tuned for my daring plan for Gabi that is against doctors orders…. Happy Happy Summer!!

Love,

Teri

Last Day of school!!

Last Day of school!!

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WOA exposed

The beautiful room before the event started.

The beautiful room before the event started.

We were so blessed in that we got to attend our friends’ 4th annual Wings of Angels Auction this past Saturday evening.  We haven’t been able to attend the past 2 years because Gabi has been sick or we’ve had tremendous financial stress that we literally didn’t have enough gas money to get to Milwuakee. But not this year!!  We had the honor of attending this wonderful event and all the proceeds go directly to the CICU at CHW where Gabi has spent over 350 days/nights of her life.

 

Over 270 doctors, nurses, friends, colleagues and heart parents attended.  Some of us heart parents are still blessed to be able to see our children’s faces and hear their laughter and be able to wipe away their tears.  Other parents that I know and attended could only dream of what their child would look like today and what their laughter would sound like.  My friend’s hold this benefit in honor of their sweet Carsyn that died in Sept of 2009.  She was only 4 months old.  They raised over $21,000 in her name!  Absolutely amazing!!

Ethan was asked to say grace before dinner. Luckily he had time to have a few cocktails beforehand but he did a great job.  He did such a great job. This is what he whipped together within a few minutes:

Ethan saying the prayer. Kind of hard to see.

Ethan saying the prayer. Kind of hard to see.

Thank you God for our hearts.
Thank you for the beats in this room and
thank you for the rhythm reigning down from above.
Thank you for the Buchmanns and their family of hearts that bring us all together tonight

Bless us, Oh Lord,
and these thy gifts which
we are about to receive from thy bounty,
through Christ, Our Lord.

Amen.

Sitting at our table was one of beloved nurse’s, (Katie) parents, the Buchmann’s pediatrician and his wife, Michelle’s college basketball coach and his dear wife and our dear friends, the Hartman’s. They have a 5 year old son named Jack with HLHS. He is doing OK, similar to Gabi.  He has issues but he is certainly holding his own. We got a lot of sympathetic questions from our table mates.

There is a lot of emotion in this evening.  I got to speak one on one with the head of the CICU for quite some time.  She always asks about all the kids and always remembers all of their names. She told me that it was a tough winter int he CICU. They lost about 8 babies.  MUCH much more than years past.  She was really distraught.  And all I kept thinking was a few things:

  1. It’s amazing to me how much the doctors care.
  2. How much pain those parents are in now
  3. How easily that one of those babies could have been Gabi.

So much raw emotion is surfaced on this evening. Those parents that have lost their children are facing the worst pain that one can ever imagine. Their child’s day to leave this place has already come and gone. I look at Gabi and wonder how many days she has left. Do you ever look at your children and wonder if they are going to be in pain when they die or will they die peacefully? When I kiss Gabi goodnight, I often look at her and pray that she go peacefully…. even if it’s tonight.

You see, their pain is constant, ours is a rollercoaster.  Our pain is coming. Our pain is on hold.  I know she will need a transplant in her future.  Can I trust myself to see the signs of when she needs one?  What if I miss a fatal sign?  Will today be the day that I find her not breathing?

Before I was Gabi’s mother, I couldn’t even bear the thought of death. Myself dying or one of my children dying. I couldn’t go there.  I couldn’t even think about it. Once I found out about Gabi’s heart condition, I was forced to confront the possiblity of death. My daughter’s death. Was I to plan a baptism or a funeral?  These things didn’t happen to us.  We’re all healthy.My grandparents died and my best friend’s mom died, but there were adults. They lead a good life.

But there we were begging for an explanation, begging for help.  I thought I was a faithful person. but my faith was challenged. And today I’m better for it.

I started reading and praying and reading and praying.  The past few months, I’ve been going through a lof of the motions caring for Gabi.  I feed her via G tube and check her shunt. I check  her sats and catch her vomit.  But it’s good to feel those raw emotions again.  It’s OK to hurt for her but it’s a slippery slope and I have to pray to climb myself out of that rawness because it could easily slip into a self-pity mentality. And I WILL NOT go there. Because Gabi is my blessing.  I need no pity; I am honored to care for her and be able to pray for her everyday.

And my 4 other children need no pity either.  When they run a get a puke bucket and have to forgo fun plans because Gabi is sick or can’t participate.  They are better off for it.

We did get a night out so thank you THANK YOU to my awesome sister and my mother for babysitting!

Michelle and I- at the end of the evening. So tired

Michelle and I- at the end of the evening. So tired

With the Hartmans :)

With the Hartmans :)

Me and my man, Ethan

Me and my man, Ethan

The West 3 boyz

The West 3 boyz

 

 

 


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Spring Break (!) and approaching appt

Gabi has a big appointment coming up on Monday April 8th (Big Ethan’s birthday).  She will have an ECHO, an EKG, see Dr. Cava for cardiology. She will also see Dr. Martinez in GI and Dr. Lee in neurology. phew.  It’s going to be a long day. Gabi’s PT at school did a small study trying to determine quantitative data in order to specify goals for her IEP. She measured Gabi’s walking speed from her classroom to the school office compared to a “normal” peer her age.

Gabi’s average speed is 2.15 feet/second, or 130.4 feet/minute. The “normal” peer average speed was 3.5 feet/second, or 211.6 feet/minute. I am so glad to have this data to actual see where Gabi falls.

My Sweet Gabi

My Sweet Gabi

We just back from Nashville visiting our most favorite people-The coyle cousins. Jenn, Tessa and Coco.  It was a wonderful vacation!  We only had one scare with Gabi and we did avoid the ER.  Jenn and I were getting her in the car to go go the hospital but the crisis was averted!  She had been throwing up, she was lethargic and looking very cyanotic (blue). We didn’t bring our pulse ox with us so didn’t know how low her O2 was.  We got into the car and she perked up a little watching Dora, so we decided to drive around and call the cardiologist on call at CHW. We stopped at CVS and got an over the counter pulse ox and it read 85-88 so she was OK.  We gave her a feed of pedialyte and she tolerated that ok so we drove around a bit and decided to go back to Jenn’s. The next day she was a lot better!  No clue what it was.  Exhaustion perhaps from the excitement of traveling?

Speaking of traveling, yes we jammed our family of 7 into our minivan and drive to TN. It was only 8 hours and the kids did great!

 

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

About an hour into the drive.
About an hour into the drive.

 

When Ethan Jr was 3 1/2 months old and Tessa (Ethan jr.’s third cousin once removed… yes I did figure out) was about 9 months old, we moved in with cousin Jenn (Big Ethan’s second cousin once removed). Needless to say, when you live with someone there is a bond shared that never goes away.  Jenn and her daughters, Courtney (Coco) and Tessa will forever be some of my favorite people! They are generous, funny, hardworking and oh so smart… the list of good qualities could go on for a long time.

Coco, Tessa, Jenn and Max

Coco, Tessa, Jenn and Max

 

Ten year olds.  They were probably IMing or texting each other while sitting next to one another.

Ten year olds. They were probably IMing or texting each other while sitting next to one another.

Here are a few more pics from the trip.  We were hoping… really praying for warmer weather but no such luck.  It actually snowed in Nashville.  Boo!

One our way home getting ice cream. In Lousville.

One our way home getting ice cream. In Lousville.

Gabi at the Country Music Hall of Fame

Gabi at the Country Music Hall of Fame

Thomas determined to have fun outside. Fire and smores.. his absolute favorites

Thomas determined to have fun outside. Fire and smores.. his absolute favorites

Dragon park in Nashville.  We survived about 10 minutes out in the cold.

Dragon park in Nashville. We survived about 10 minutes out in the cold.

 

Much love to you all,

Teri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Easter eggs in the nic of time

I love reading blogs written by other moms.  I get lots of great ideas about parenting, crafts, organization etc.  I read and plan and really believe that I can pull that shit off sometimes.  Then reality hits and we eventually get things done but sometimes I feel disappointed in the way we were rushed or didn’t follow through on all of our plans.  It’s hard not to get upset when you read a blog about how some families colored their Easter eggs skillfully and prayed over each egg and then planned ahead of time in order to bring them to church to get blessed by the priest. It made me feel like a failure. And to top it off they have a beautiful photo display of all their special moments. But I am learning to keep the perspective.

So, let’s see… Easter falls on Sunday, right? Starting to color Easter Eggs on Saturday night at 7 pm works, right?  It does here.

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IMG_5864The Easter Bunny remembered to shop at her local Walgreens Saturday evening and managed to scrape together fun baskets…

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Of course we didn’t get a single picture of Easter morning with just our family but here’s one at Grandma and Grandpa’s.. Gabi looked so cute in her green dress. She was so excited to wear it.  And all the kids were bathed and had collar shirts on. Impressed?  you should be.

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We tried to get a picture of all 5 kids.  Here are the results. Max had already destroyed his collar shirt. He did have one on. I swear.  God love my son Ethan for trying so hard with Max.

 

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It was a wonderful Easter!  We did make it to church but we had to stand in the back.  We weren’t even late but both the church and the parish center were packed. Nice to see lots of people celebrating Our Lord’s resurrection!

Happy late Easter and Happy Spring!

Much love,

Teri

 

 

 

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Book Review

This doesn’t have much to do with Gabi but I have read this book cover to cover a few times and I just have to share it. My neighbor told me about when she was trying to figure out some stuff with her son.

The book is called  I May Frustrate You but I’m a Keeper by Ray Lincoln

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My oldest son is 10 and he has sensory issues. He has been really difficult so I really thought he also had a broken brain and mental problems. Until I read this book!  This book explained my difficult son to an exact analysis.  It is amazing!

 

This is how it works. You take a short quiz and then add up your answers with the directions described.  You then get a 4 letter result which he refines to a 2 letter result. Then the author breaks down each letter: what it means, how common that letter is and how to relate and parent to that letter combo.

So, you take a quiz for each of your children but also for yourself.  This is the magical part.  In all my 29 years, I have never made sense of my craziness.  This helped to explain SOME of it.  The book will explain your letters as regular people but also how you parent as a result of your 4 combination of letters.

The theory is based on the Meijer Briggs personality test but it goes into depth and renames some of the criteria so its really easy to understand and apply.

 

 

You can see, I have my cheat sheet of my 3 oldest kids on the cover of the book.

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and I have marked it up, highlighted, crossed out.. etc

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My second son has always been pretty easy going so his results were not surprising.  But both of my older sons are very different than me so I had no idea how to parent them.  I was convinced that Thomas ( 7 year old) had ADD. He’s a mess. He can’t focus and has a really difficult time concentrating. He is still on the teacher’s radar but the letter results that correspond with his personality are the most common set of results that is misdiagnosed with ADD!  It is in his personality to not be aware of time and to constantly be late. His whole focus in life is fun and he lives in the present moment.  My older son is the opposite.  He will probably never be late and he only understands logical explanations.  It is really fun to have these 2 share a small bedroom…

I have also learned SO much about myself.  That is an entirely different post that I will get to.  I find this stuff fascinating.  On the author’s website, he has a certification process that I really want to take.

Definitely worth checking out for your parenting and for yourself!!

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Valentine’s Day Idea

I wanted to do something fun for Valentines Day even though it is a Hallmark Holiday but at least it’s about love. Each one of us made an envelope out of construction paper (next year I think I will actually sew something out of fabric) and decorated it with their name.  We hung the envelopes on the back of your chairs at the kitchen table.  We all made Valentines for each other weeks before the big day and put them in the envelopes.  We weren’t allowed to open the envelopes until Valentine’s Day. It was so much fun.  We wrote love messages to each other and drew each other pictures.

My love note from my favorite guy :)

My love note from my favorite guy :)

The younger ones took the easy way with stickers.

The younger ones took the easy way with stickers.

Gabi does love Dora

Gabi does love Dora

 

Then on Valenties Day we opened up the envelopes:

 

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