Saturday, November 28, 2009

Confessions of a (not so!) Crunchy Mom

So according to this quiz, I am a "Super Nutty, Ultra-Crunchy, Granola Earth Mama!"  This makes me laugh.Yes, I have had an homebirth and an (accidental!) unassisted birth.  I have breastfed for almost 7 years combined now, have no qualms about nursing in public anywhere, have overcome all manner of obstacles, and have no plans to stop any time soon.  We cosleep, I occasionally use a baby sling, we didn't circumcize, I attend births as a doula, we don't belive in "crying it out," I have a bunch of liberal/democrat political leanings, and and I've been known to use breastmilk in the eye as a pink eye remedy. I like to hang out on a group of LDS Natural Mamas, and used to waste a lot of time on MDC before it got all weird and over-moderated.  I'm even featured in the "Crunchy Moms" section over at Mormon Mommy Blogs. (I also had a slice of my placenta in a smoothie after Max was born, then had the rest of the placenta encapsulated and took it in pill form for several weeks to ward off post-partum depression.  It worked amazingly well, but I don't usually tell people because it makes me look really crazy!)

But I have to fess up.  I'm really not all that crunchy of a mom.  For example:

I don't cloth diaper.  And although I feel the slightest little twinge of guilt about it, and occasionally think about it for a brief second every couple of months (usually when I put another Ultra-Mega-Jumbo or whatever they're called pack of Pampers in my grocery cart,) I know that I could never do it.  Just today, I finished folding last week's laundry, and I have 5-6 more loads waiting to be washed, dried, folded and put away.  I frequently have to pick through baskets of clean laundry to find underwear so I have something to put on.  People tell me that diaper laundry is different, that its more fun to wash diapers.  Yeah.  I still think I would end up sending one of my girls to fish through a basket of clothes to find a diaper while trying to keep the baby from smearing poop everywhere while I waited for the diaper.  And its not that I don't have all the respect in the world for cloth diaperers.  But I couldn't tell an AIO from a pocket from a Fuzzi-buns.  And my eyes have a tendency to glaze over when I read blog posts about cloth diapering. 

I just ate Jell-O for a snack.  I secretly eat Fruit by the Foot when my kids aren't looking.  I am a little addicted occasionally enjoy a Diet Coke with Lime. If any of my crunchy friends were ever at the grocery store with me, they would probably be horrified by the contents of my grocery cart.  (I can't be the only one who looks at what other people put in their carts, can I?)  We eat way too much over-processed white crappy food, and darken the door of way too many fast food restaurants.  I'm constantly working on it, but most days seem to make little progress.  Sigh.

I wear makeup.  Every Day.  And I shave my legs.  And my armpits.  And I don't use "natural" body products, and I don't really have a reason why. Never cleaned with vinegar either.  Can't stand the smell.

I don't wear Birkenstocks.  And although I've never owned a single piece of hemp jewelry, I do enjoy henna tattoos.  I don't own any long flow-y skirts either. 

I don't homeschool my kids.  I was a homeschooler once upon a time, but was a miserable failure at it.  I have the heart of a homeschooler, but I don't think I have the self discipline, motivation or patience.  Although I have recently been kicking the idea around more and more as I see my children not being challenged, and hear stories of them watching movies in PE. 

I've found myself lately putting more trust in the medical system.  Its an odd place to be in, because while I believe that there are natural treatments that work in most situations, they won't work to fix Max's head.   And while I've been caught up in the swirl of a million specialists, treatments and hospital visits, I've found myself not necessarily leaving the natural treatments behind, but setting them aside for a while.  And when we all got swine flu in October, I realized a week, two doctor visits, one x-ray, two breathing treatments, and three prescriptions later, that there were probably some other more natural things I could have tried.  I narrowly escaped being hospitalized, though, so maybe the elderberry syrup wouldn't have helped after all.  I think balance is a good thing.  And I still believe in breastmilk for pinkeye, and ear infections for that matter.

I've never made my own yogurt, sprouted my own sourdough, or made kefir.  I don't even know what kefir is, other than several of my friends have talked about making it.  I don't drink apple cider vinegar, and the one time I made bread from scratch was a huge celebrated event last Christmas Vacation that hasn't happened since.

Ok, fine.  Take away my crunchy membership card.  Fine.  This is me sticking my toungue out at you.   And I still think that drinking part of my placenta in a smoothie should ensure my membership in the Crunchy hall of fame.  Cheers!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


We would do well to get on our knees and thank the Almighty for His bounties. We would do well, also, to cultivate within ourselves a spirit of thanksgiving for the blessing of life itself and for the marvelous gifts and privileges we enjoy.
 - Gordon B. Hinckley

Today, I am grateful.  I started making a list earlier in the week of things I was grateful for, intending to list 365 things and post them here.  I stopped, not because I couldn't list that many things, but because I knew that first, people would probably be bored out of their minds and stop reading my blog just on principle; and second, because some of my blessings are so personal and so profound to me that I had a hard time describing them in words.

So today, I am grateful.  Foremost in my mind is gratitude for my great husband, and my beautiful, wonderful (most of the time) children.  I'm grateful for the knowledge and testimony I have of the Gospel, for all those around me who have influenced and changed my life, and for all the things that I have been blessed with that I don't even recognize.  We have been richly blessed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The CT Scan Miracle

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that my baby boy Max has been through a lot this past year.  He has developed an incredible fear of Doctors and Nurses, and the most minor procedure in a doctor's office makes my normally happy boy dissolve into a fit of tears.   I dread taking him to doctor's appointments, because he ineveitably ends up sobbing and looking at me like I've betrayed him in some fundamental way.

Well, in preparation for craniosynostosis surgery #2 (currently scheduled for March 4th, *sigh*), we needed to get another 3D Brain CT done on Max.  3D Brain CTs are expensive suckers, so we decided to get it done before the end of the year when our insurance rolls over and we're stuck paying for it out of pocket.  I had it scheduled yesterday morning.

CT scans for babies or small children are a big undertaking, mostly because it requires the child to be absolutely still in order to get the images they need.  And if you've spent any time with a one year old boy, you know what a difficult prospect that can be. At Primary Children's Hospital they recommend sedation for kids undergoing a CT.  The first time Max was scheduled for one, I was a nervous wreck.  They make you prepare for a CT with sedation like you would any surgical procedure: fasting for a certain amount of hours, filling out pages of questionaires and consents, etc.  I cried several times at the thought of Max getting an IV and going through the sedation process.  When they were able to do the first CT without sedation wuth some creative wrapping and an interesting toy, I was thrilled. 

Despite our previous experience, I still dreaded the CT yesterday.  I know my little boy, and between his utter terror of Doctors, nurses and all things medical, and the fact that he is a very busy one year old, I figured the chances of getting him to hold still long enough for the CT were negligable.  I went into yesterday expecting that he was going to need to be sedated.  (I'm not against sedation or anesthesia in practice, but there are always risks.  He's just a tiny boy, and has already gone under general anesthesia twice in his short life and has more to come.  I'd like to avoid it wherever possible.)  My heart always aches for Max leading up to major procedures, and Sunday night was no exception.  I knelt on Sunday night, and said a prayer, asking God to protect my little boy and help him through the next day.  He had to be fasting for the procedure, and when he doesn't eat first thing in the morning, he gets cranky.  Add that to the fact that the CT was scheduled right in the middle of his naptime, and that we had to drive an hour to the hospital, and I was anticipating a very cranky boy.

The next morning, Max slept in.  In order to appreciate the small miracle that him sleeping in is, you have to understand that he and my daughter Abby rarely (rarely!) sleep past 6:30.  They can be awake until 11 pm, and they'll still be up before the sun.  Every minute he spent sleeping was a minute I didn't have to worry about him being hungry and cranky.  When he did wake up just past 7:00, he didn't even seem to mind that he couldn't have breakfast.  I didn't hear an angry peep out of him throughout the whole morning chaos.   When I loaded him in the van for the long trip to Salt Lake, I was prepared for an eruption.  He was asleep in his carseat before we reached Park City, and you could have picked my jaw up off the ground.

When we got to the radiology department, the technician was with us within minutes.  (Again, more scraping my jaw up off the ground!)  The tech told me he wanted to try to do the scan without sedation, and I told him I was willing, but wasn't optimistic about our chances.  The technician was an angel.  He started talking to Max, got a big basket of toys out and had Max laughing.  When we strapped him down and entered the CT scanner, Max of course started screaming, but the technician did everything in his power short of standing on his head to keep Max still.  At one point, he got out a giant plastic hippo and had me blowing bubbles while he voiced the giant hippo pretending to eat the bubbles.  Two and a half minutes from start to finish, and we were done.  No sedation necessary, and we were in and out of the hospital in ten minutes flat.

I left radiology with tears in my eyes, knowing that the Lord had worked a miracle for my baby to make the whole process easier for him, and for me.  The two minutes in the scanner weren't wonderful, but an IV sedation would have been a whole lot worse.  I sat in my van and gave a prayer of thanks for helping Max to sleep in, then to fall asleep in the car, then sending a wonderful technician to help us get through the scan without incident.

I know, I know.  Its a small thing.  But to me, it wasn't.  To me, it was proof that the Lord watches out for us, and wants to bless us every way that he can.  And it was evidence to me that God loves all of us, even the tiny babies, and can and will work miracles.

Friday, November 20, 2009

You can't come back from this

My house is a disaster.  An epic disaster.  You know, I hear you in the background saying "Yeah, you should see my house."  But you don't understand.  I can't even post pictures because then CPS and the health department will have evidence against me when they show up at my door.  And I can't find my machete to hack a pathway through to where ever the camera may be hiding.

There is a baby's tennis shoe in my bathtub.  And a peri bottle, a package of cough drops, a few used kleenexes, several bath toys, and I don't know what else.  I'm too scared to look. 

There's an unidentifiable stink coming from the garbage can.   Make that several two garbage cans. 

I have two baskets crammed, stuffed full of clean laundry.  My dryer might also be loaded with clothes.  And I may or may not have had to rewash a load of laundry this morning because it had sat in the washer for two days because I couldn't empty the clothes out of the dryer because there was no more room due to the mountain I've recently named "I don't wanna fold clothes" taking up all the room. 

My girls may or may not have worn the same jeans three days in a row due to the aforementioned mountains of laundry. There's no visible dirt, so its okay, right?  They do have on clean underwear.  I hope.

There is a broken cabinet door in my kitchen where, in a fit of frustration, Max broke the door off because he couldn't open the cabinet because of the childproof latches and proceeded to hang off the door until the hinge broke.

The floor of my entry way downstairs crunches when you walk on it.   It has approximately 27 shoes (none of them matching of course,) a bag of dirty clothes waiting to got to the dry cleaners, and mail from the last three days scattered all over the place.

You don't really need to change the sheets on your kids' beds do you?

There are alphabet blocks in every room of my house.  Somehow 26 alphabet block multiplied when we were all asleep, and I can't walk two steps without stepping on one of them.  They are on every stair in the entire house since the baby boy finds great delight in standing at the top of the stairs and throwing the blocks down, one by one.

Despite the fact that I know we have mopped the kitchen floor this week, there are stains in every color and shade of the rainbow all over the floor.  That flourescent orange blotch?  Yeah, its from when Max decided to empty all the leftover mac and cheese out of the garbage, flinging it all over the room, all because I had the audacity to take 30 seconds to pee.

So really, I don't think there's any way to come back from this type of disaster.  I'm pretty much thinking that we should just demolish the house and start over.  In the meantime, I'm ignoring it.  I'm gonna just sit here, in my pajamas, eating my townhouse crackers with cheese, drink my Diet Coke and watch last night's Grey's Anatomy on my DVR.  And as long as I don't see any animals running around that don't belong to us, I'm gonna call it a happy day.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Murphy's Rules of Parenthood

If your baby has an appointment with his or her pediatrician, the day before said appointment, your child is  guaranteed to fall on something and give themselves a huge shiner, along with a great big scrape on the chin.  You know, so you can stand in front of your pediatrician stammering "He fell and banged his eye, I promise!" all the while feeling like a complete moron.

Friday, November 13, 2009

First Birthday

A year ago, I gave birth to my little boy in a big tub upstairs in my bedroom.   A year later, two surgeries, (with one more to go!) an ambulance ride, four ER visits, and countless doctors and specialist appointments later, he's turned into a little person who has taught me more about miracles, patience and strength than I ever thought possible. 

We joke about Max being trouble right from the start.  It took us two years, three cycles of fertility drugs and being told that I was certainly going to miscarry him, then two days of labor to get him here.  He was born with his cord wrapped around his neck three times and had to be fully resucitated.  When he was two months old, I was told to stop breastfeeding or we were risking pneumonia from aspiration and permanent lung damage.  Ten months later, we are still breastfeeding multiple times a day with no end in sight. He went through a major six hour surgery and then survived the resultant five days in the PICU, and the hospitalization with the flu a few days afterwards.  We made it through another minor lip surgery, the swine flu, and all the normal bumps, bruises, and parties in the toilet water common to toddlers.  He's a miracle baby, and we fully expect that there's at least one more miracle in his future when we go through one more surgery.

Happy Birthday little buddy, I love ya!  And if possible, could we make the second year a little less dramatic?  Thanks.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Its a Dirty Job

So why do I have to do it?

Ew.  I don't want to gross anyone out, so I'm not going to tell anyone about how in this week I've...

~ Unclogged the basement toilet twice.  ("Poop soup!" my six year old gleefully exclaims!)  This was made worse by the fact that it happened first thing in the morning, and as previously explained, I have a firm belief that not much good happens before 9am.

~ Cleaned up cat poop from the carpet after I almost stepped on it.  Once again, mornings+bleary eyes= grossed out, annoyed mommy.

~ Learned that soybeans and corn make for really, really stinky diapers.  Like clear out the house stinky, or wondering when we can start potty training stinky.

~ Been covered more than once in slimy, snotty baby kisses.  (OK, that's probably more cute than gross, or maybe its one of those "only a mother could love" kind of things.) 

Friday, November 6, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

Well, at least the decision is made. That's the best thing I can say about it...

We consulted via phone with Dr Fearon, the craniofacial specialist on Monday. He was very kind and very thorough. He said that in his opinion Max was definitely in the range of moderate trigonocephaly, (the triangular shape to his head when viewed from the top down) and in his opinion, there was no question whether or not another surgery was warranted. He said that although there's been no formal study that links abnormal skull shape to problems in the child's development, his opinion is that if there is pressure on one part of the brain, the brain will noe be able to develop properly. He also said that the "purely cosmetic" argument is completely false and made by surgeons who don't do enough craniofacial work, because an abnormal skull shape can affect a child's physical, intellectual and emotional growth.

So Wednesday, we went back to the hospital to meet with one of the surgeons here. When we met with him about four months ago, he told us that a second surgery was an option, but that it would be our choice whether or not to pursue it. When he saw Max Wednesday, he said almost the exact same thing that Dr. Fearon  had said- that he was now in the moderate category and could benefit from significant correction. So after talking with this Dr, and peppering him with a million questions, we've decided to stay here in Salt Lake City and schedule the surgery with him sometime after the first of the year. He's done hundreds of these surgeries, and lots and lots of them have been secondary reconstructions, and Tom and I both feel like we can get really good care here without having to travel. Plus, we won't end up having to fight insurance companies, and can use our support system here. We'll have a surgery date soon, and we're expecting it to be early 2010.

Tom is totally on board now too. I think there's something about hearing it from the doctors that made him believe that I wasn't being completely crazy. It feels a lot better to have us on the same page.

Unfortunately, after we left the doctor's office, all I wanted to do was cry. I can't believe we have to go down this road again with my sweet boy. In some ways, its going to be so much more difficult this time around, because we already know what to expect. And I can't imagine what it will be like having a walking, talking toddler who is swollen and feeling miserable! Seriously. I have to stop myself, because if I think about it too much, I want to firebomb my original surgeon's office, and that's probably not a good idea. I look at photos of Max and realize we're making the right choice, but that sure doesn't make the prospect of an entire extra surgery any easier!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Baptism Day (and a little holiday called Halloween)

I've been sitting contemplating this post, staring at the blank blogger screen for twenty minutes.  I'm not sure I have the words to describe the emotions of Abby's baptism day.  Words like amazing, fantastic, spiritual, momentous, all fall short and sound incredibly trite.  As much as it was a milestone for her, it felt like a milestone for us as parents as well.  As I was helping Abby get dressed for her baptism, I flashed back to night after night spent in the rocking chair, singing primary songs, and silently willing her to sleep.  I remembered the constant nursing, the tears (hers and mine!), the times I wondered what I was thinking becoming a mom because I obviously wasn't cut out for it.  The moments I spent with her yesterday, being her mom, helping her dress, brushing her hair, silently crying with joy as I watched her make a decision that will shape her life, felt like the reward for all the hard moments that came before. 

Abby was so happy- she spent the whole day literally glowing.  We were fortunate to have Tom's mom, sister and brother in law fly in for the baptism.  It was a great moment to look down the row in the chapel and see our family lined up, just because we don't get that very often.  We even hosted a luncheon at the chuch afterwards, because there were too many people to fit in our house.  (Now those of you who have been to my house know that it doesn't take much for it to be too many people, but it meant a lot to all of us to have a big crowd to celebrate with us!)

Abby, Ashlynn, and their friend Katelyn

Abby couldn't resist spinning (and spinning and spinning) in her new baptism dress.

                                  Uncle Mark, who also did Abby's confirmation

Oh yeah- It was also a little holiday last night!  Halloween!  Abby thought it was the coolest thing ever to be baptized on Halloween.  It was like we had engineered the whole thing just for her.  Ashlynn even asked if she could have her baptism on Halloween.  So after a big lunch and a much-needed nap, Tom and the girls headed out trick-or-treating while Max and I manned the doorbell.

He stood at the door and shrieked at everyone who walked by. 

Then, when I wasn't looking, he escaped out the door and started almost running down the street.

Abby and Ashlynn wanted to be angels for Halloween, and Kate was the bridesmaid.  They trick-or-treated together the whole night.

My little Angels and demon...

Related Posts with Thumbnails