12/31/14

16 Week Pregnancy Update & MORE

Don’t you just love this time of year?!? I know I do. I can feel it in my bones that a new year and new chapter is going to start soon. Not to mention that Valentine’s Day is less than two months away. ;-)

Pregnancy Update:

Woweee… to say that I’m tired would be an understatement. I am downright lethargic. Please, don’t ask me to move or get up to answer the phone. I don’t want to go to the copier. I don’t even want to get up to pee. I want to sleep!

I’m averaging about nine hours a night right now (interrupted, of course) and it’s nowhere near enough. I try to stay up later because I keep wondering if I’m getting too much sleep and it’s causing me to feel more tired, but I can hardly keep my eyes open past 8pm. I think I would be fine if I could have caffeine throughout the day, but sadly I am against it altogether while pregnant (to each their own, I’m just against doing it myself). I try to nourish my body with energy boosting foods, but it’s of no use; I’m still tired. I’ve brought it up to my OB a couple times, but she assures me that it’s normal for a Mom of a toddler, who works full-time, to just be tired all day long.

I’m tired of being tired. Hrmph!

If you missed it before, I have to have an ultrasound every four weeks until my 20 week appointment to check out the thickness and length of my cervix. I’m at high risk of cervical incompetence; that’s a fancy term for early dilation (which means I could deliver the baby at any time). I just had my 16 week appointment today. My cervix is “perfect” at the moment (it’s at a four if that means anything to you), so it looks like I should be good as long as my 20 week goes well. While they were checking out the cervix, I caught some glimpses of the baby kicking and squirming all around. The ultrasound tech was nice enough to even take an “outside” look to see the baby’s head as well, and she shot me a good picture.  


FYI – We got an early look at the gender. Nothing is set in stone though because the “parts” aren’t developed enough to be certain (that’s why women go in at 20 weeks for the gender look), but we have a pretty good idea. Nope, we aren’t telling until we are sure!

I also got a chance to hear the baby’s heartbeat. I’ve seen the heart flutters on the screen multiple times now (because of my many ultrasounds to watch to see if I was having twins), but nothing compares to hearing your baby. I could have listened to it for hours.

One last note… the stomach flu and whatever bug I have right now has set me back 6 pounds. I’m not complaining really because I feel a bit lighter on my feet and my belly is rounding out nicely, but I just hope I’m getting everything I need from what I eat and drink to keep the baby healthy. I mean, prenatal vitamins can only go so far, right?

Christmas:

Christmas was a great time for the Brink family. We had three Christmas parties to attend, and then Christmas day was circled around Emma (and Mom, Dad, Gene and I) getting gifts and playing the day away. She was exhausted at the end of all the festivities, and so was this Mommy. I took down the Christmas decorations three days after Christmas. We are moving on! Or trying to… I keep finding toys for Emma that I forgot to put out.





Side note – We taught Emma all about how Christmas is a celebration of Baby Jesus (He’s a baby because that’s the only way to keep her interested at this point). Well, low and behold, she got five new baby dolls on Christmas morning, and guess what all of their names are. That’s right. Baby Jesus.

I hope Jesus isn’t mad at us for flubbing that up. :-/

New Years:

Well, we’ve decided not to do anything this year for New Year’s Eve. Besides going grocery shopping. We were invited to a few events this year, but I just can’t get in the mood. Like I said before, I’m tired all the time. Plus, whatever we did would have to be kid friendly and eventful for Emma. It’s just all too much this year. We have a wedding to attend on Saturday, so that’ll be our chance to go out and have a fun time.

Other Notes:

I’m really looking forward to Valentine’s Day. I always do, but this year it’s on a Saturday, so it’ll be our date night out and I think we are going to try to make reservations for Maggiano’s! So dinner, maybe some shopping, maybe a movie, who knows!

I’m using the gift cards from Christmas to buy some new maternity clothes. Of course with Emma I didn’t get big enough to wear them until it was summer clothes time. This time, I’m busting at the seams at just 16 weeks!

Work is kicking my butt. It has gotten so busy and I’m always doing so many things. I think that’s a big part of my lethargy lately. I may sit at a desk, but my brain must be on overdrive because I am pooped.

I’m hoping the next five months just fly by. I’m ready to meet our bundle of joy! That’s our big to-do for 2015! 

12/9/14

Pregnancy, Santa Claus, and Baby Jesus

PREGNANCY UPDATE:

Well, I’m starting my second trimester. The first trimester was tough and I’m so glad it’s over! There was morning sickness, exhaustion, and waves of doubt. Again, SO glad it’s over.

It’s amazing how different two pregnancies can be. Multiple people tell me that this time around it’s a boy, and that’s why it’s so different. We won’t know for sure until the end of January, but my gut is telling me that they are right. I just knew Emma was a girl, and somehow, I just know this one is a boy.

The first time around, with Emma, pregnancy was a gift! I was glowing and I felt like a million bucks! It actually “healed” me in ways and it was one of the best times of my life. Right now though, there is more negative than positive (although a new baby is the greatest gift ever so I’m not REALLY complaining). I am extremely tired and lack energy all day long, I have heartburn and indigestion, I’m gaining weight rapidly, I have this “eh, I don’t care” feeling about everything… I can’t explain it all, but it’s almost like a depression of some sort. It’s odd. I couldn’t be happier about a baby, and I’m so anxious to meet them, so how can I feel like this?!?

I miss my Mommy friends this time around. If you missed it, my first pregnancy I felt alone and out of the loop, so my high school friend Megan, who was pregnant at the same time was a friend on Twitter, and she introduced me to my other (then pregnant) Mommy friends Liz, Alyssa and Angie. Since then we’ve had breakfasts, dinners, playdates, holiday events, etc. However, lately everyone is so busy with toddlerhood that it’s near impossible to see them. Liz moved away (miss you Liz!), Angie moved like to another country (Wildwood I think, lol), Megan’s husband is a farmer so her schedule is crazy, and Alyssa is a FT worker, PT professor, and an author (3 books out now) so she’s super busy these days. I did get to see Alyssa this past weekend, but Emma was a mess and it was for breakfast so it was quick. I need a playdate soon!

CHRISTMAS:

Christmas is just about two weeks away now and it’s so thrilling to watch Emma enjoy the season. She has gotten all hyped up about Santa (from school I’m guessing), so I’m spending a lot of time telling her about the real reason for the season. The only way I could capture her attention though is by referring to Him as “Baby Jesus.” So now each time we talk about Him, she says she wants to hold Him. How do you explain to a two year old that she can’t do that?

I’ve warmed up to Santa Claus surprisingly. I grew up in a house where Santa wasn’t allowed. No movies, no pictures, no toys or decorations; it was always all about Jesus. I didn’t mind it at all actually, but I want Emma to have the first few years with Santa. Only because she doesn’t really understand yet that he’s a big figure and she doesn’t look at him and presents as the big part of the holiday. In all reality, it’s the lights and decorations that she calls “Christmas.” She might finally be getting old enough to teach her about Jesus and God and read her stories from her children’s Bible, so maybe next year she will understand a bit better. FYI - she's seen two Santas already!

I splurged earlier in the year and bought us tickets to the Polar Express at Union Station, you know, since I’m okay with Santa for the moment. **Pictures to come later.** It’s so hyped up and it looked so magical! The event for us finally came on December 4th, and let me tell you… unless you purchase the most expensive option, save your money! I was pretty disappointed with it all, and I think some other parents were as well. It’s just like any other Amtrak ride, but hotter and with treats, and Santa gets on at the end. Ugh, lots of money for nothing that special. We are going to go to the Holiday Dinner (same location) on the 23rd, and I’m hoping that it’s not as disappointing.  

Because we started Emma in daycare this year, money has been tight for Christmas gifts. I know she’s two and she won’t remember down the road, but I want her to have everything she could want! Here is my dilemma: I don’t want my parents to upstage Mommy and Daddy. They want to spoil her as well, and I know they have already gotten her a ton of gifts including some big items, so I’m compelled to keep buying so Emma doesn’t look at our Christmas as “nothing” but Grandma and PawPaws as the “grand finale.” I know, you probably think I’m being silly. I should feel blessed that my parents want to give her a wonderful life, but it just gives me anxiety for some reason. I keep telling myself “let them do this now, because one day they might not be here to do it.”

Another thing I’m noticing with this holiday, is that Emma is all about Christmas crafts. She got a kit from Schnucks’ Santa to make her own Jingle Bell necklace and gingerbread sticker house, and she’s been asking for more crafts ever since.  So we made a Michaels run on Sunday night and got six or seven crafts for her to do. Needless to say it’s Monday night and we only have one left. Lol, she just won’t stop! Looks like I’ll be making another trip. Girlfriend loves to paint!

Surprisingly, I’m almost done with shopping. Have a wrapped a single gift? No. They are still in their shopping bags in the corner of our bedroom. Thank goodness Emma isn’t old enough to snoop yet. I just have a couple more things to buy, and I’ll be done. I’m kind of bummed about that though because I love the hustle and bustle of shopping last minute. Maybe I’ll wait for one thing until Christmas Eve just to be out in it. Haha.


How are you all holding up this holiday season?

11/12/14

Toddler Bed

I get a lot of questions from other Moms about whether or not my kiddo is in a toddler bed or still in a crib.

Emma started climbing out of her crib mid-summer; maybe a month after her second birthday. It was the cutest thing to watch. She’d prop one leg up on top of the bed rail, and then like a gymnast use her leg strength to pull the rest of her body up and over. She was a pro at it the majority of the time. However, the few times that she got “stuck” were enough to scare me into getting a rail for her toddler bed.

I went onto the crib manufacturer’s website a few times to look at my options, but wow, the prices for the little rails were expensive! So, I switched gears to look on Amazon and found that they sell universal crib conversion rails for $23! Even though it’s not very cute, I bought two of those right away! Momma’s on a budget!

Here is the finished product! *The picture was taken mid-sheet-changing.


I had Gene put it on to where the left side had a smaller gap than the right. This way, she can't fall out when she sleeps (she sleeps on the left), and she has plenty of room to get in and out on the right.

 

Another huge bonus for me right now, is that when you convert it, you raise it back up a notch or two. So now this lady doesn't have to strain her back getting Emma in and out of bed! Woohoo! My growing belly is loving that!

The next questions I tend to get are all about her cooperation with it. Knock on wood, so far so good. 

We've been using the toddler bed for well over a month now, and she loves it! She can climb in and out as she pleases, she gets up on her own in the morning and comes in to get me, and she can even play in it throughout the day if she wants to.


Now, Emma is a great sleeper (again, knock on wood), so if you have a problematic sleeper at home, I’m not sure I’d be switching so quickly. I’d wait until the very last second possible to switch your child. Don’t just do it because they are “old enough” or they “seem ready.” Any doctor will tell you to keep them in the crib as long as possible, and I would totally agree.

There is one downside. If Emma isn't really ready for bed, she will get out of her bed two or three times before finally giving in. So far this has only happened three times, and twice were in the first week. But again, if your child doesn't like to sleep, hold out for your sanity!


Who’s ready for a slumber party?!?!


11/6/14

The Brinks Are Due With Baby #2

Well, it’s official! Gene and I are expecting another baby!


We’ve actually known for at least five weeks now but we’ve kept quiet until the doctor was satisfied and we had the “green light” to spread the news. We tried for a few months to conceive and I actually know the week this baby was created which was very helpful to know for scheduling the ultrasound (instead of the traditional first-day-of-your-last-period).

I had one ultrasound done around 5 weeks to confirm the positive tests, and low and behold, there were two baby sacks in there! How exciting, right?!?! The tech couldn’t get a clear shot of the baby in one of the sacks though because they were staggered so I had to make an appointment for another ultrasound three weeks later. Talk about agony! For three weeks I went around thinking I had two babies in my belly. Well, if you’re a Facebook friend, you would have already seen by now that there is only one baby.

In the second ultrasound, the second sack was gone. The baby didn’t develop and my body absorbed the sack. Talk about a bummer. I had myself all worked up for twins. It was supposed to happen; my Mom is a twin and my Dad is a twin. I was supposed to have twins (if not five at once)!!! But, I am still 100% happy with one baby.

It was so precious to watch them in there dancing around and wiggling away. They’re probably going to be a rockstar. It made me remember when we saw Emma in there for the first time. She looked like a little gummy bear and she was just as spry as this baby is. However, this baby looks more like a sour patch kid than a gummy bear. So, I’m thinking maybe a boy??? Wouldn’t Gene be happy.

In case you’re wondering, this time around is way different than the first. Or at least I think it is. When I got pregnant with Emma I was still bartending at PYC on top of my full-time job so maybe I didn’t notice all the symptoms (if you didn’t know, I took six tests my last pregnancy and they were all negative so I didn’t find out until nine weeks in). This time around I’m so unbelievably tired all day long (I even asked my doc for a note that says I need to nap each day). My breasts hurt like you wouldn’t believe. I have gained twelve pounds already somehow. I had morning sickness each night (that just ended thank goodness). What’s funny though, is that now that I think of it, maybe it isn’t all that different. I remember wondering why I was gaining so much weight and chalked it up to eating bar food all the time. I didn’t care to drink alcohol at all and I was sick each night, which I thought was because I had drunk myself into a funk. And I vaguely remember my breasts hurting, but I thought it was because I was gaining so much weight. And of course, who wouldn’t be tired each day from working two jobs (one being until 2am some nights)? So, maybe it’s not so different after all.

So, now that we are past all of the “what ifs,” we can move on to fixing up the house to put on the market in the spring (or maybe just rent it out). I want to move on with the next chapter of our lives by finding our “forever” home in the school district that we like. So if you know of anyone interested in living in Hazelwood, or if you have some good vibes built up, please send them our way!

Thank you everyone for the well wishes on Facebook!  

10/2/14

Brink Recap

Whoa! Where has the time gone?!?

There are a few things to update everyone on when it comes to the Brink family.


First, and probably the most interesting, Emma can now climb out of her bed. She performs the stunt in a very acrobatic way too (no, she’s not shy, she will do it with you standing there). I thought for sure she’d forget about it after the first time, but nope, it’s a nightly game now to see how many times it takes before Mommy gets mad. Oy. So, I’m now looking for toddler conversion pieces for both cribs so that she doesn’t slip and fall on her head. Her crib came with the rail to turn it into the daybed, but conveniently, they don’t include the toddler rails (which would naturally be the next step), so you have to call and order them. The only good thing I can see coming from this is I won’t hear “Momma, put Emma in bed” anymore.

Next, Emma’s daycare is going really well! The first two weeks were rough, the third was a bit trying, but the fourth and on have been wonderful! She wants to go, and has a blast while there. However, the little booger is starting to test out her teachers by doing things like running after being told not to, climbing the chain link fence outside, and refusing to nap. She also picked up some bad habits there that she brought home to torment Mommy and Daddy with. Yes, terrible twos are very real and Emma is the perfect example of them. I lose my mind weekly. I’ve cried harder than her on multiple occasions. I’ve even done things like scream back at her or tell her that I’m leaving for good if she doesn’t stop. Yes, I know, those were both bad choices; although the screaming one does snap her out of it sometimes. I’m fully defeated with this one, and I’m at a loss for how to fix the problem. I’m now just trying to accept the fact that my child is a terror sometimes.


Emma is already "over" her breathing treatments (we call it her "Sammy" because it's Sammy the Seal). We stick to a strict routine each day so that she's aware that she's expected to do it, yet I still get a tantrum each morning and night because she doesn't want to. "No! Don't wanna' do Sammy!" And I have to do this for a YEAR?!?! Lord, help me. She throws herself down on the floor and we wrestle with time outs for at least 30 minutes. Then she finally gives in and does it. I don't get it... it takes like three minutes and she gets to watch whatever she wants during and have three M&Ms afterwards. I'd totally do it.


I think Gene’s work hours are changing, and hopefully for the better. He’s been playing around with his schedule to see if he could be off both Saturday and Sunday, which I’m kind of excited for. I mean, it’s been a while since he’s had a Saturday off (where we weren’t running like crazy) so I don’t know how we will handle two days off together, but I know he missed out on so much with Emma, so hopefully this will help to fill up his Daddy meter.

Gene and I went to an adult only reception last weekend. My parents were there too, so it was Emma's first night with someone other than one of us four. She stayed with Holli and Russ that night for a little under four hours. I think she they had a lot of fun. I'm almost positive too that she just took over the place and did what she wanted. Haha. By the time we went to get her, she was so tuckered out it was pathetic. I bet she slept like a rock that night.Did I mention that I just adore Holli and Russ?!?!?! <3




The same day as the reception, I took Emma to Oktoberfest. We met some friends there and we had a ball! Emma painted a pumpkin, had her face painted, bounced in a bounce house, climbed through a catepillar, and rode in the stroller with baby Sam. It's funny how all the kids, except for Sam, just did their own things and didn't really play with each other. Lol, kids are weird sometimes. I also picked Emma up an awesome new shirt!






*I somehow failed to get any decent pics of Sophie and Nick. They were bouncing away in the bounce houses.

I’m anxious for Christmas. Get here already, dang it! I realize that now, with Emma in daycare, we won’t have as much money for gifts and all, but I’m still excited. She’s old enough now to show her expressions more and I cannot wait to see her eyes light up. I’ve already booked us for the Polar Express, the Holiday Dinner in the Grand Hall downtown, and I plan on taking her to a breakfast with Santa event and the weekend parades on Main Street in St. Charles. I’m stoked.

I know, I know, I shouldn’t rush past the other holidays. I do enjoy Halloween and Thanksgiving too, it’s just that Christmas is so magical! Speaking of Halloween, I’m still trying to decide on what Emma will be this year. I’m one of those people who are afraid to make a decision just in case it winds up sucking. Yep. So I wait and wait and wait until it’s the last minute and I’m trying to desperately find something the night before. I’ve been searching and scouring to find something great for her, but right now I’m leaning towards a more girly option than what I initially had chosen. So, we’ll see.


Okay, that’s it for now. I’ll spare you the boring details from our day-to-day lives (wake, dress, breathing treatment, school, work, home, dinner, bath, bed). I’m sure I’ll have more exciting stuff to talk about once the holidays get closer!

8/27/14

Emma's Daycare Adventure Begins

My baby girl grew up overnight it seems, and has started daycare. Not preschool, but daycare (granted it’s in the same building and to my surprise isn’t all that different as far as lesson plans go).


Her first day was on August 20, 2014. She arrived at 7:45am and was very excited. From the day she could say the word “bus” she’s been told that one day she will go to school, and then once she’s a bit older she will get to ride the bus to school. So she was all pumped up to go. However, I don’t think she knew that we wouldn’t be with her while she was there.

I prepped for four days before her first day. We talked about what she would do while she was there, we bought her teachers some gifts (Kleenex and hand sanitizer), we wrote her name on all of her things, we picked out which blanket would be her school blanket, we found something for her naptime binky to be stored in, and we talked a lot about what she could and could not do in school.

Her first week went really well! Here’s a little about it.

Wednesday:

Breakfast was pancakes with syrup and a banana, her favorite. I called to check in at 10:30 and she had already played with Playdoh (her first time ever) and finger painted. I can’t remember what she had for lunch, but I later found out she ate it all, which is great. Nap time was a little tough. They have cots that they sleep on and it took her a little over 30 minutes to fall asleep; it’s a new place, and a new routine (not to mention an hour earlier than she’s used to). After nap was snack time and they had a brownie and milk – how cute!!! I went to pick her up and she was excited to see me and wanted to show me all of their toys. I did find out that she got in trouble for running (she loves running). I got her paper and talked to her teacher a bit. We determined she was constipated, poor baby. She talked all the way home about what they did for the day! She also said that she wanted to go back the next day.


Thursday:

On the way in she protested school saying that she wanted to go to Grandma and Pawpaw’s house instead (the school is maybe a half mile from their house and she knows it). Once we got there though she was fine. At first she didn’t want me to put her down, but she was hungry so that ended fast. Breakfast was cinnamon toast and applesauce.  I only called once this day and I waited until after nap. They had played outside, and she was complaining to her teachers that she was scared and couldn’t potty. She had gone a bit before/during nap that day too, and wound up with some diaper rash from it. Lunch was hot dog and french fries, but apparently the kids were all upset because they were out of ketchup. When I picked her up this day, she was crying. I found out that it was because I was one of the last parents there and she was sad because I hadn’t gotten her yet. That hurt. Her teacher and I talked a bit. Miss Rachel informed me that Emma had complained she was hungry all day long. When we left she told me all about her day again and said that she wanted to go back the next day. *That night she ate the most dinner I’ve ever seen her eat!


Friday:

Emma had a doctor appointment this morning, so she didn’t get to school until around 10. When we got there, she was whining that she didn’t want me to leave. That ended in a hurry when she saw that some kids were playing with shaving cream! She stood at the table watching and I noticed that only a few at a time get to do certain activities. I like that! It teaches them to share and wait their turn. While I was still there, she did a great job at just watching (I was waiting for her to stick her hand in). She had sloppy joes and corn for lunch (which she loves both), and wheat thins and carrots as a snack. On Fridays they get to bring home their artwork. This day Gene got to pick her up from school so he grabbed her blanket to wash over the weekend, and all of her goodies from the week. She had two pages from coloring, and two stamp art projects. Seriously, my heart melts when she gets to “tell” me about her artwork. I just love it; I eat it up. I asked her again this day if she wanted to go back to school and she said yes.


Here are my overall thoughts about daycare in general:

I have to wake Emma up sixty or ninety minutes before her normal wake-up time to be dressed and ready for school (and her breathing treatment done) – I send her to her Grandparents’ house in her pjs and hair not done. As a bonus, waking her early helps a ton with the naptime there. She is super hyper when she comes home for some reason and wants to run a lot since she can’t at school. She talks a lot more on those nights as well. She sleeps great! We do bedtime a bit earlier each night because she’s exhausted. Because she had skin issues, and her doctor says we shouldn’t give her a bath but every three nights (we do it every other anyway), we use a washrag or baby wipes to wipe her body down each night before bed. Dinner is an issue because she’s so hungry at 5:30 and we don’t usually eat until 6:30. If we give her a snack she won’t eat dinner, but I never have anything ready until 6:30. I’m going to have to try to remember to make crock-pot meals more often on these days.

Here are my thoughts on the school Emma is going to:

I know it’s only been a week, but I LOVE THEM!!! She is going to BrightStart Academy in St. Charles, and let me tell you, they are a blessing that I never even knew was there. We toured the school on Thursday, August 14th. When we got there, I immediately liked how the children who were outside looked so happy and the teachers were watching them closely. We rang the bell, and a woman answered asking us how she could help us. I said “I know you! Oh, we are here to tour the school.” She let us in, and she asked how I knew her. I asked her name and she asked mine. Then I said “Did you work at Patterson daycare?” Yes! Turns out she was MY preschool teacher! That was it, I was sold. I loved daycare. I loved preschool. I loved pre-k. All of it because the teachers were great, the school was warm and cozy, and it was an all-around good time every single day. We still looked at the “Two Room” and listened to sample lesson plans, and learned the do’s and don’ts, but I was already sold and knew Emma would go there. So the next Monday, we turned in our paperwork to start that week! Now, there are little things that I wish were different... like I wish they were offered water throughout the day, I wish the snack was either a bit later in the day or a bit bigger, and I do wish there was one more teacher in the classroom (there are 2 for up to 16 or 17 kids), but all of that I just let slide because everything seems to be going good “knock on wood.” And Emma’s teachers seem great – they actually make me want to work there!


So, there you have it. Emma started daycare. We are getting into week two, and hopefully it’s as good as the first if not better. Wish us luck!

8/22/14

My Two-Year-Old has Asthma

The last two weeks have been crazy, to say the least. I think my head is still spinning from trying to keep up!

On Thursday, August 14th, my Mom, Emma and I went to take a peek at a daycare early in the morning (another post to come later on that).  After the daycare visit, I dropped them back off at my parents’ house, and I headed off to work. I got about ten minutes down the road and my mom called, but when I picked up it was Emma on the phone. I couldn’t even make out a single word that she was saying. My Mom then got on the phone and said “did you hear it?” I said, “hear what?” Turns out, she couldn’t breathe. She was struggling and gasping for air. She couldn’t even get out a full sentence. That’s why I couldn’t understand her.

I hung up and called Emma’s doctor right away (as I’m still driving to work because I had something that day that I couldn’t really miss) and asked if we should bring her in or take her to the ER. They said to bring her there, so my Mom did right away (had they said the hospital I would have turned around to take her myself). After a long wait time to be seen, turns out she was having an asthma attack.

She had been having breathing problems with each and every cold for the last year. The doctor said that while she was having a hard time getting air into her lungs, he couldn’t confirm asthma or allergies, so he contributed each case to the colds. Well this one was again brought on by the cold she had, but it was enough to diagnose her.

My Mom did great remembering all of the info, and she magically always seems to ask the same questions that I would. However, Dr. Murphy wanted me to take her in for her follow-up, not my Mom. I should note that I did not have even the smallest knowledge about asthma. I was clueless. I spent a lot of time since then researching and asking questions.

That first night was bad. Emma’s breathing was shallow and quick. We never did shut her door because I couldn’t hear her breathing through the monitor. I checked on her about every 10 minutes until 11:30pm when we had to wake her for another breathing treatment. She was so tired that she screamed and cried to go back to bed. We got through the treatment though and she went right back to sleep. She’d periodically cough through the night and we’d get up often to check on her, but I didn’t have the heart to wake her at 3:30am for another treatment.

Treatments are done by putting an albuterol solution into a compressor nebulizer and breathing normally while the mask is over the mouth and nose. It’s like a little steam machine. The problem though is that they aren’t as effective since not all of the steam (vapor) can get inhaled, so you’re not getting the amount of medicine that your body needs. Unfortunately, this is the only option to treat a toddler. The other downside is that if the child breathes through their mouth they need to rinse their mouth afterward – whoever thinks that a fresh two-year-old will do that is off their rocker. We use a binky during the treatment most of the time because she won’t rinse her mouth, and that’s easier than using a towel to wipe out her mouth. Haha.

Since her diagnosis, she was given two more medicines. The albuterol is the “rescue” medicine that helps for emergencies, but the doctor said we needed something else that’s quick to clear out her passages, and another that’s long-term that would help to prevent attacks.

First, she needed a 6 day supply of a liquid steroid to treat the inflammation for this attack right away. That night I opened the medicine, took a tiny sip and thought to myself “this tastes good, so this should be easy.” I was wrong. First dose was great. She drank it all, cringed a bit, then said “that’s nummy” all while making a slurping noise that my Dad taught her for some reason. The next morning, before work, I gave her the second dose. She drank about ¾ of it but wouldn’t take the rest of it because “it’s icky.” After ten minutes of trying to force her to drink the rest, I gave up. That night, it was a full-blown battle. Kicking, screaming, hitting, running, etc. It ended with us laying holding her down, propping her head up, and dumping it in her mouth, all while praying that some would go down her throat. I’m pretty sure the majority of it ended up all over the blanket. The next couple tries were funny. I put a dose in some strawberry applesauce. One bite and she knew. There went that. Next was a dose in some kool-aid – I thought for sure this would work. Nope. She knew and wouldn’t drink it. Last was some apple juice. She drank that one, and one the next day, but that was it, she knew. I was done. I decided to just accept the fact that she wouldn’t take it.

Second, we had to start her long-term treatment of Pulmicort (by AstraZeneca, if you’ve seen the commercials). It’s a nebulizer treatment again, that we have to do twice a day, for SIX MONTHS! Then, after those six months are up, if she doesn’t have one bout of wheezing, we can go down to just once a day for another six months. If she has an attack at any point, then we have to start all over. This medicine is $75 per month! I said that, but it’s not the money part that is overwhelming, it’s the year-long nuisance. But of course we are going to do whatever it takes; I’m just still in the shock phase of the whole thing.


So now, we are just monitoring her every move. Each time she gets winded from playing we have to watch to make sure she can calm down. Each sneeze or cough could indicate another cold coming on that could start an attack. We have to make sure that the house stays clean and dust free, filters changed on time, purifier running in her room, cool mist humidifier cleaned well, etc.

While I’m so grateful that we finally got all of this figured out, I’m a bit overwhelmed at the necessities right now. I’m hoping that we can all get into a good routine that will get us over this speed bump quickly and without too much more stress.


I wish I had words of wisdom for other Mommas out there, but for right now, I’m probably the one who could use those words. 

8/1/14

Emma is Officially TWO!

 

Well, I’m a couple weeks late on this post; story of my life lately. I have no idea when life in general got so busy, but it has. I’m not complaining, it’s way fun, but more and more is being put “on the back burner” until I have more time. So, here it is, 10pm on a Thursday night. Emma is sound asleep in bed, the hubs is out to see a movie courtesy of a friend, and I’m attempting to blog about my baby girl turning two (two weeks ago… wait, make that three weeks ago).


MISS EMMA TURNS TWO!

Wow, where has the time gone? It feels like just a few months ago I returned to work from maternity leave with a puffy face and swollen eyes from the sorrows of facing leaving her for an entire day. Ah, memories. In reality that was 22+ months ago.

On July 12, 2014 (her actual birthday) we threw a Curious George themed bash for Emma at home. We sent custom invitations (thanks, Allie!) to more than 40 guests and we had a great turnout! Everything went pretty well, except for the heat factor. We had gone a good week with cool temperatures only to wake on that Saturday to 80 degrees at 7am. I’m pretty sure the heat index pushed us into triple digits, but who had the time to really keep track?

I did a pretty good job of planning the food situation ahead of time. We had chicken strips, deli sandwiches, pasta salad, little smokies, roasted red pepper hummus, overnight salad, chips, popcorn, etc. Then of course we had watermelon, strawberries, blueberries and cake and ice cream. Our good friend Connie even brought over some homemade zucchini bread (fyi, I’ve never had it before, and it was divine!). Then there were many drink options – soda, tea, lemonade, juice and water. Sounds good, right? Well, low and behold I forgot to tell everyone about the tea, lemonade, bottled water and juice. Go figure. I feel awful about it.



The kids had a lot to play with outside. My house is kind of small so there wasn’t too much room for play inside, but I did have Emma’s play room sanitized and ready to go if anyone needed a break from the heat. Outside we had a sandbox, trampoline, tiny pool, water table, play house, tot picnic table, and the biggest hit, an old-fashioned lawn sprinkler. The kiddos loved it.

  

Before people had to take off we squeezed in some gift opening. Emma did okay with this part, but each present opened resulted in “Open, Momma.” She got some great gifts, and I am so thankful. She loves them all! There are too many to list out here, but just to name a few, she got a “doctor dog” which is a Barbie veterinarian set, elefun, aquadoodle, bouncy balls, etc. Oh, there was/is so much. She’s been go, go, go every night since playing with everything.



It was all said and done at 3:00pm, and we were exhausted. Emma fell right to sleep, my parents packed up what they had brought, and I finished cleaning up. It felt awesome to have so many people come out for my baby girl. I love her so much, and to see other people love her, it just overflows my heart. To everyone who came, or wanted to come but extended their birthday wishes and regrets, thank you! Thank you for loving the person that is my whole world.

MISS EMMA IS OFFICIALLY TWO!

We took Emma for her two year check-up on Thursday, July 24th. It needed to be pushed back because it was also a follow-up after she had some breathing problems from a cold. No shots at this one (actually, no more for a couple years I think).

Here are her stats at 2 years, 12 days old:

-          -  Height: 37.5 inches tall (>99%)
-          - Weight: 34 pounds, 8 ounces (>99%)
-          - Head: 48.9 centimeters (90%)
-          - Teeth: 16 teeth, gums swollen for 2 year molars.
-          - Hair: About 2” below shoulders, had one trim.

She’s so independent it kills me. She hardly ever wants my help, and I don’t dare to offer it unless she asks because an all-out fit will ensue. She can count to thirteen, and she can sing the alphabet. She can “read” two whole books and sing countless songs. She speaks full sentences and we can have conversations. Those are my favorite. She will tell us what she did that day with Grandma and PawPaw, or what happened on one of her “shows.”



Here are some of her likes:  

-          Food: Pancakes, Chicken Nuggets, PB&J, Spaghetti O’s, Beanie Weenies, French Fries, Ice Cream, Black Olives, Blueberries.
-          - Drinks: Milk, Chocolate Milk (super rare), Juice (half water, half juice), Water.
-          - Movies: Curious George, Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo.
-          - TV: Curious George, Barney, Caillou, Bubble Guppies, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Sesame Street, Pocoyo, Peppa Pig.
-          - Songs: Old MacDonald, Happy Birthday [to Emma], Ring Around the Rosey, Wheels on the Bus.
-         -  Toys: Little People, Aquadoodle, Baby Doll, “Doctor Dog.”
-          - Pastimes: Putting DVDs in the DVD player, Taking DVDs out of the DVD player, Putting DVDs in the case, Taking DVDs out of the case.



Here are some of her dislikes:

-          - Food: Pizza, Pineapple, Tomato, Asparagus.
-          - Drinks: Pedialyte.
-          - Movies: Anything Adult, and she doesn’t really care about Frozen for some reason.
-          - TV: Anything Adult.
-          - Songs: None.
-          - Toys: Anything that’s not new. Oy.
-          - Pastimes: Diaper changes… STILL.

She’s getting to be so smart. I totally understand where the term “too smart for their own good” came from! We have our Parents as Teachers meeting on the 16th, and I am so excited to see where they think she is at. I feel like she’s so advanced! Well, except for potty training. She understands it, but she just doesn’t want to. It’s frustrating to me, but her doctor says not to force her to do it because they start to hold their potty… so we are waiting for her to be ready.


I am also going to look into daycares. I think I found one that looks appealing, but it’s almost school season so they may be booked. I’ve been on the fence, from the day she was born, about daycare and other people watching her, but I think it’s time for her to be around other kids more. She’s doesn’t know how to interact with kids very well, and she definitely isn’t big on sharing, so I think daycare/early education might be the way to go; even if it’s just one or two days a week. I can post on that once it happens… if it happens.


So there you go! My Our Emma is two! I can hardly believe it. As much as I enjoy watching her grow and develop, I miss my baby.



7/19/14

Love is a Fire - Book Tour

Remember how I told you guys that my “Mom friend” Alyssa wrote a book? Well guess what - I got the privilege of being a part of her book tour as well! I couldn’t be happier to have her as a friend and be a part of this!


Love is a Fire, by author Lyssa Layne



Book Description:

"Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your heart or burn your house down, you can never tell." - Joan Crawford

Dr. Katy Malone has sworn off love after losing those she loves most in her life including her father, a member of the FDNY. She has decided to spend her time focusing on her medical research. Her ex-fiancee (Jeremiah), and fellow doctor, isn't ready to give up on loving her though.

Firefighter Nick Garrity is on a search for the future Mrs. Garrity. As he pushes thirty, with no prospects in sight, he's afraid he'll never find her. A devoted member of FDNY, he loves the thrill of his job and the satisfaction it brings him. He strives to teach the proby firefighter, Patrick Doyle, the ropes and pass on his passion to him.

When Doyle tries to impress the guys on the crew, he ends up in the care of Dr. Katy Malone. One look at Dr. Malone and Nick knows he's found his future wife, but can he convince her to love again?

About the Author:

Lyssa Layne is first, and foremost, the proud momma to her precious daughter, AR. In addition to working full-time and being a mommy to AR, she is also an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan, a runner, blogger, and an infertility survivor.


Having watched one too many medical dramas and being inspired by author Rachelle Ayala, who introduced her to the world of indie writing, Lyssa decided to try her hand at writing a romance story. Her attempt turned into the Burning Lovesick series. You can find Lyssa’s own interests throughout her stories although all stories are fictional.



INTERVIEW:

Lyssa Layne:  Hi Jenni! Thanks for being a part of the Love is a Fire Blog Tour! I hear you have some questions for me so let’s get started, shall we?  

Jenni:  When did you realize you had a flare for writing?

Lyssa Layne:  Not sure if I ever realized, or even think, that I have a “flare for writing,” but I do enjoy it. Last fall, I started reading a lot of indie authors and thought to myself, hmm…I could that so I started writing!

Jenni:  Have you written any other books?

Lyssa Layne:   I’m currently working on the sequel, Burst Into Flame, and I have another romance story about hot baseball players that I’m also editing at the moment called The Right Pitch.

Jenni:  How many books will be in the Lovesick series?

Lyssa Layne:  For sure there will be at least 4…the first one which is Nick and Katy, the sequel, Patrick, and then one from Jeremiah. I’m debating whether or not to write a prequel with Abby and Ryan’s story but I think I’ll leave that up to the readers when I get to that point.

Jenni:  Are there any details from the book(s) that came from your real life experiences?

Lyssa Layne:  I know that you, Jenni, think there is and there are to a degree. Let’s see…the fishing Santa ornament is one that I’ve had since I was a kid. Before having my daughter, I used to run, not nearly as much as Katy though. And of course, I do love hot firemen!

Enough about me though, I want you to get a chance to chat with Dr. Jeremiah Thomas!

*Jeremiah walks into the room, looking handsome as ever, and politely shakes your hand, giving a light kiss on the back of it*

Jeremiah:  Hello, Jenni. It’s nice to meet you.

Jenni:   Hi there Jeremiah. I have a few questions about you and your relationship with Katy. First off, how did you come up with Katy’s nickname, Knockout?

Jeremiah:   From our first class together in med school, I thought she was beautiful. When I saw her name on the roster as K.O. Malone, I started calling her Knockout for more than one reason.

Jenni:   That’s so sweet!

 Jeremiah:   Thanks although Katy probably wouldn’t agree. *laughing* Ah, her nickname. She says she hates it but I know deep down she loves it.

Jenni:   I have to admit, when I read the book, I kind of pictured you as nerdy.

Jeremiah:   Me? Nerdy? Back in high school I would have to agree that I was but I finally outgrew my awkwardness in college. Lyssa Layne has a board on Pinterest with all of our pictures so you can go check it out to see how she envisions me.

Jenni:   Definitely! I’ll go check that out right after our interview. At the end of the book I was very surprised that you turned around and acted professional towards Katy during delivery. Do you think that was just the doctor in you or do you think you accepted he wouldn’t get her back?

Jeremiah:   I’ve always been by Katy’s side through the good and the bad, unfortunately, we’ve had more bad than good. She needed me and I knew what I had to do.

Jenni:   Where do you see your future headed?

Jeremiah:   Well, as you know from the book I have more than myself to think about these days. I’m not going to worry too much about women until after my residency is over and then we’ll see what happens in the love department.

Jenni:   So, Jer, do you have any deep dark secrets?

Jeremiah:  *giving you a sly wink*  I think we all have skeletons in the closet, don’t we?

Jenni:   True. Well thanks for stopping by today and chatting. I’m looking forward to hearing more about what’s going on with you in Burst Into Flame!




If this interview has captured your attention, check out my last blog post where I’m doing a book giveaway (or THREE)!!!

Also, Lyssa Layne herself is raffling off a ton of great giveaways! Check it out HERE!!!

Be sure to pick up a copy of Love is a Fire (Amazon, Barnes & Noble), by author Lyssa Layne. It’s a great read that I bet most of you would just love!

Jenni

Lyssa Layne's Social Links: Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.

You can also find her book on Goodreads!








7/15/14

Love is a Fire - Book Giveaway!


Did I tell you guys that I have a friend who is an author? Yep, I do. My “Mom Friend” Alyssa is a writer and an author. And her book is fantastic!

I always joke with Alyssa that she doesn’t sleep. She has a full-time job, she is a part-time professor at Lindenwood University, she’s a mommy to a toddler, and she’s an author. Not to mention that she blogs almost daily. Who can do all of that AND sleep?!? I can barely give Emma a bath and make it through her bedtime routine before I am zonked out.

Anyway, her book is called Love is a Fire. From the title I’m sure you’ve figured out that it’s a love story. It’s not super sappy, and while it has some “love” in it, it’s not raunchy. It’s clever and has a lot of meaningfulness in it. It’s a good read. It’s easy to follow, it keeps you sucked into the story, and it’s just short enough to finish in a few hours so you don’t have to lug it all over town for a week trying to fit it in.

It really is a great book, and I want to share one with one of my readers (or visitor), so I’m doing a raffle to win a signed Paperback copy!

Wait, make that THREE winners! Three different people can each win a signed paperback copy of Love is a Fire!

Enter Here:


If you’re not a winner, you can still download on Nook or Kindle for just $0.99! Book for a buck! Love it.

Good luck, and thanks for reading!

Jenni

7/9/14

TURTLEMETER - Mommy/Baby Must-Have!!!

Okay, in all honesty, I may have found the very best baby/toddler bath time must-have.


You’ve all seen the floating rubber ducky given at every single baby shower, that’s supposed to indicate if the water is too hot. You hear “awww, every baby needs that!”

Then, once the baby is here, Mommy runs the bath water, puts the ducky in and low-and-behold it’s too hot. Mom plays with the water countless times sure of herself that it’s too cold, but yet the little blue indicator still says “HOT.”

If you’re like me, you threw that ducky to the curb after just three baths. Emma’s lips even turned blue once!
After that I just went by what felt decent to me. I’d test both hands and wrists. Lol. Sounds crazy, but when your right hand keeps swishing the water, you have to try your left to make sure!

Anyway, about a month ago I had a company give me a list of products to choose from to review for them. I had done one product review for them already, and I enjoyed doing it, but with my busy schedule this summer I was hesitant. I scrolled through the list and came across this little gem and jumped on the chance, and I am so stinking glad I did!

Seriously. I couldn’t be happier with this product.



TURTLEMETER 
The Baby Bath Floating Turtle Toy and Bath Tub Thermometer

When the box came, I let Gene and Emma open it. The very first thing Emma said was “Turtle Cuuuuuute!” It was so sweet!

That night was not bath night, but the next night was (we do baths every other night per doctor’s recommendation). I filled up the tub like I usually do, and then I put the turtle in. It immediately kicked on and was lit up blue. The LCD display will also show you the actual temperature! So once it hit like 97 or 98 degrees (I can’t remember now) it turned from blue to green. And once the temp stopped moving and the light was still green, I knew it was good to put Emma in. We were all just standing over the tub watching it go; it’s like magic! *I failed to capture a picture of it glowing red - I meant to do this in the sink.



Did I mention that Emma loves it too? We’ve used it three times now and she just loves playing with it. She even washes her turtle with soap and a washcloth!


Right now it’s on sale for $12.95 on Amazon, and if you’re in need of a baby or shower gift then this is one thing you need to get!!! I know I’m doing this as a review so you’re probably thinking I’m just saying what they will want to hear, but in all honesty it’s the best decision I’ve made in a while because this thing is great.
 
It’s inexpensive, it’s great, kids will love it… just buy it and you’ll see!



Amazon Link (same as above): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003ZFPRHS

I received this product at no charge in exchange for my HONEST opinion.