7 Days of Health

Recently, it has been pointed out to me by several different people that I have completely neglected my own blog.  Thank you, readers, you are absolutely right.  It is time to get back on the horse, as they say.

This winter has been absolutely awful, health-wise.  Besides mastitis (which I have gone through twice since January), the boy and I have had several rounds of the norovirus, head colds, flues, a sinus infection, and bronchitis.  There’s been high fevers, ER visits, blood draws, and enough Resolve used on the carpet to sail a small ship.  Oh, and have you ever tried to collect a urine sample from an unpotty-trained 15 month old in one of those magic hat things? Impossible. (And here’s where I send a quick thank you to my sister for being amazing and getting me one of the pediatric urine bags, which saved the day. The last thing the boy wanted to do while running a 104 degree temperature and throwing up every few minutes was approach the scary pee hat in the toilet.  On that note, I may have completely ruined any future chances at potty training.) I finished my last round of antibiotics last week, which makes this the longest amount of time that both of us have been  healthy for the last four months. (You think I’m exaggerating, but I’m really not.)  Oh, and did I mention that we moved, too?

I am watching summer creep closer, and am hoping that with it will come an end to the sick season. Perhaps I’ll be able to catch up on a little sleep, regain some energy, get back to doing the things I love.  (This is where you other moms snicker a little.  Sleep? Dream on, girlie. Maybe in another 18 years I’ll be able to sleep in…) In the meantime… here’s a little bit of cuteness to thank you for your patience!

Disappearances

I know I’ve dropped off the radar the last couple weeks, but rest assured: I’m still here, and will be back to blogging regularly very soon.

Turns out the weeks of exhaustion and flu-like symptoms were signs of something else going on: the dreaded mastitis.  Took me a while to figure out (mainly because I never had the redness that I always heard was the key sign), but now I am on antibiotics and will hopefully be on the mend soon.

Through this experience, I have talked to at least four other women who have gone through this, and stopped nursing because they thought it would help.  Let me just say, for those of you who don’t know: one of the best things you can do to help get over the infection is to nurse as frequently as possible on that side.  If it is too painful to nurse, try pumping on a low setting.  I have found that if I use a warm compress for about ten minutes before nursing, it goes a lot better.

If anyone else has had experience with mastitis and has survival tips they’d like to share, I’d love to hear it.  It is taking me a lot longer to get over it than I thought it would.

Help Thy Neighbor

Occasionally, there is such a thing as being too helpful.

A while back, I had a wonderful friend and neighbor.  Mrs. Neighbor lived with Mr. Husband in a house that was always full of teenagers (some of them were even  hers).  Well, one weekend, Mr. Husband took the teenagers on a camping trip and left Mrs. Neighbor with the house completely to herself.  This had never happened before.  There was much rejoicing on the part of Mrs. Neighbor, but secretly I was was worried about her being in that big house all alone.  I immediately decided to be a nosey neighbor put myself on guard duty for the weekend.

The very first night, I noticed that her car  wasn’t in the driveway when I went to bed.  This was a bit strange, considering she was always home and in bed before me. 

When I woke up the next morning, her car still wasn’t in the driveway.  I started to become concerned.  I called Mrs. Neighbor’s cell right away… no answer.  I sent her a text.  WHERE ARE YOU? ARE YOU OKAY?  A couple minutes later, there was still no response.  Mrs. Neighbor always responds quickly to my text messages, so I knew right away something was very wrong.  What if she was in the hospital?  What if she had gotten in a car wreck?  Who should I call?  Mr. Husband was completely unreachable, out exploring the wilderness.  I called and texted Mrs. Neighbor repeatedly while trying to think of what to do next.

And then the thought hit me–oh, my god.  Her dogs!  They were always in their kennels when no one was home.  Had they been let out?  Had they been fed? Were they alive?   

By now I had worked myself into quite the panic over the whereabouts of Mrs. Neighbor.  Always cool under pressure, I sprang into action.  I would do the one thing I could–I would make sure the animals were taken care of.  I marched myself into her house, let the dogs out of their kennels, and began hunting for the dog food.  I searched closets, cupboards, nooks, and crannies.  Finally I found a can of wet food and divided it between the two dogs, who were very grateful.  Satisfied I had done my very best to keep her animals alive, I returned them to their kennels.

Actually, I only managed to get one of them back in.  The other, a grumpy wiener dog named Max, was not so eager to return to confinement. Good will forgotten, he barked and snipped at me while I tried everything I could think of to convince him to cooperate.  I used treats.  I used my  nice happy voice.  I used my firm no-nonsense voice (which was really my irritated voice).  I tried chasing him around the house with a laundry basket, hoping to trap him underneath. 

And this was the point when Mrs. Neighbor returned home to find me in my pajamas, wielding a laundry basket over my  head while I chased her dog around the house calling him unpleasant names.

There was some awkwardness while I tried to explain my concern for her safety, and that of her animals.  Where were you?, I asked, fully expecting some sort of mishap that had kept her away all night.

Turns out she was at the grocery store.  The dogs had only been alone for an hour when I barged in to rescue them.

Oh. 

Always the good sport, Mrs. Neighbor simply thanked me for feeding her dogs cat food, took the laundry basket from me, and sent me home.  

I learned a valuable lesson that day, one I thought I’d share during this season of giving and helping our neighbors.  It is always good to lend a helping hand… just make sure your help is actually wanted.

And as a bonus, here’s another tip:  if you’re going to break into your neighbors’ house to rescue their dogs, be sure to put some pants on first.

Have you ever been overly helpful? I’d love to hear about it!

Attitude Adjustment

I have been thinking a lot lately about the impact attitude can have on a person’s life.

There was a time for me when everything was pretty… chaotic, to say the least.  It seemed like every time I turned around, something bad was happening.  I had health issues that put me in the hospital.  Someone broke into my car.  My cat ran away.  I was in a car wreck.  Someone pulled a gun on me while I was at work (ever have to go around booting people’s cars to pay the bills? Not. Fun.)  The house I was subletting caught on fire.  I lost my hearing aid somewhere in Canada.  (No, I’m not making any of that up.)

On and on the list went.  It seemed like every time things started looking up, something else would happen and my life would spin out of control again.  I tried making a fresh start.  I tried looking on the bright side of things.  I kept picking myself up and moving on, but things just kept getting worse. 

Finally, I realized that the problem wasn’t what was happening to me, the problem was me.  The more chaotic and negative I was, the more out of control my life was.  Oh, sure, some of the things were beyond my control, but almost everything could be linked back to me and the choices I was making.  The problem was my attitude.  You see, I expected bad things to happen.  Every time disaster struck, I mentally nodded my head and thought, “See?  Life is hard.”   

The day I changed my attitude was the day I changed my life.  I was sitting in the dark eating ice cream and crying and I thought, enough.  I made a list of my goals, and then began taking steps to achieve them.  I started taking better care of myself.  I went back to school.  Got a decent job.  One by one, things started to fall into place.  Everything stopped being about damage control and started being about living.  It’s amazing how much things changed once I started expecting good things to happen.  There were no more fires, for one thing.  I became truly happy, for another.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because this month marks an important anniversary for me.  One year ago I left an abusive relationship.  I took only the clothes that would fit in my sister’s car and my newborn son and moved back home.  This last year has been about starting over and dealing with the fact that I am now raising J on my own.  It’s been a reminder of how important it is to stay positive. 

It certainly hasn’t been an easy year, but it hasn’t been bad either.  I have an amazing support system. I was able to find a job that allows me to bring J along.  I recently received an internship doing what I love. I have a happy, healthy boy who lights up my days.   And slowly but surely, I am rebuilding my life. 

I firmly believe that the good things that have happened and the opportunities that have come my way are due, at least in part, to having a positive attitude.  I could have stayed angry.  I could have focused on the negative things.  I could have bought into the belief that from now on, life was going to be a struggle.  If I had let myself think that way, I probably would have been right.

You get back from life what you put in.  If you are someone who is very negative, you’re going to be surrounded by similar people.  You will miss out on opportunities because you are focused on the things that are going wrong.  And you can’t be happy while you’re holding on to your bad attitude. 

Do you know people who are miserable with their lives?  I know I do.  Maybe they hate their job, or where they live, or they are stuck in a dead-end relationship.  Something always seems to be going wrong.  They complain.  They may wish for things to be different, but nothing ever changes. 

That’s because they haven’t changed.   

In order for things to get better, first you have to want things to change.  You have to believe that life can be good.  And you have to be willing to work to make changes happen in your life.

What are you going to do to make your life better today?

Only two days left-don’t forget to vote!  Thank you!!

Baby Steps and Battle Scars

All of a sudden, the boy is taking off!

Finally, the answer to that annoying question is yes.  Why, yes, he is walking.  A lot.  All over.  Thanks for asking.

He took his first steps about a month ago.  There was a big celebration, announcements were made, celebrities may have been called.  This is it, I thought, now he’s off!

Only… he wasn’t.  After that first night, he became completely disinterested in the whole thing.  He refused to even try.  People were starting to think I had made it up, and secretly thought I had finally flipped it.  I was pretty sure I would have to send him to kindergarten on his hands and knees.  And then…

He started taking steps again. 

Backwards. 

Yep, that’s right.  My baby walked backwards before he really tried that whole forward motion thing.  Did anybody else’s baby do that?  He thought it was hilarious.  He would laugh while I held my arms out to him, and back away.  Don’t worry about mommy’s ego, honey, just leave me hanging.

Learning to walk is painful.

Now, all of a sudden,  here we are… He’s a walker.  He hardly crawls at all any more.  He’s doing his little drunken sailor dance all over the house, getting into more mischief and mayhem than ever before.  It’s amazing how fast it went.  Sure, there were some falls.  He has some battle scars.  It wasn’t like he just stood up one day and took off across the living room.  But somehow, I’m still surprised.  I wasn’t quite ready.  I liked the way he crawled.  I’d meant to get it on video.  Like most parents, I’m celebrating his accomplishment while lamenting about how fast he is changing.

I keep thinking, where did my baby go?

This afternoon, he staggered after me and put his hand in mine.  Together, we walked slowly out of the room, and the sadness faded.  I love that feeling of his tiny little hand in mine, the way he grins up at me.  This walking thing… maybe it’s alright.

But you can bet I’m taking lots of video.

Only three more days left–don’t forget to vote!  Thank you!

Drumroll, Please…

And the winner of the Dysfunctional Giveaway is Bridget Combs!!  (Crowd goes wild, confetti flies, it’s a party.) 

You should receive an confirmation email at the address you supplied.  If  for some reason you DON’T, contact me so I can get your information and get the journal shipped to you.

Thank you, everyone, for playing along!

Giving Thanks

Gluten-Free Rolls: One of the many things I am thankful for.

Thanksgiving is over, and in the aftermath of turkey and family my head is full of jumbled thoughts and half-formed posts.  I’m running on little sleep and too much coffee, but I wanted to get something written while I have access to a computer and my sister has the boy occupied.

It has been a wonderful holiday, one of the best I can remember.  My brother and his fiance drove down from Seattle, and having our family together in one place was something we were all grateful for.  The smell of good food and the (sometimes noisy) sounds of a house full of teasing and laughter brought back memories of childhood and loved ones now gone, making it feel as though they were sharing the day with us.  It was truly a day to be thankful for.

As the day went on, I kept thinking about how important family is.  This is what life is about, I thought.  It is the people you love, and who love you back.  It’s enjoying the moments you have together.  It’s the nights of board games and talking and laughter.  It’s handing down traditions to the new generation, and sharing memories together.  It’s all the little things that make up our relationships.  Everything else is just background noise.

Thanksgiving is over, but the time to be thankful is not.  Take a moment today to listen to the important sounds in your life.  Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.  Laugh.  Don’t let the important moments of your life pass you by.



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