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Friday, October 30, 2009

It didn't look this way the last time you were here, did it? Please excuse me, friends (and random person that found me by doing a google search), my blog is in mid makeover (hooray!), and will be up and back on track by Monday.

Oh, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!! ...too many exclamation points?

Week 14

Since Halloween is just a few days away, I figured I'd go with a Halloween flashback this week (hopefully some of you did as well?). Unfortunately, I don't have a single Halloween photo from my younger years, so it was a toss up between a picture of baby Eleanore, or this one-

Our first year here at Dyess, we were invited to a Halloween party put on by some of Christopher's coworkers (who have since been stationed in California). It was my first time meeting anybody from his shop, my first time being social since having given birth to Eleanore, and my first time leaving her alone with anybody for more than 5 minutes.

Notice, the PBR in my hand. Believe it or not, I used to be a wheat eater (I know, I say it like it comes as a shock). And I used to be a drinker? Wierd. Alcohol and I have a hard time getting along these days. Anyways, Christopher and I went to the party dressed as a modern day devil couple. It was our sad attempt at last minute costumes. Nobody got it, even though we both had rubber horns, I was dressed in all red, and Christopher had drawn on a beard and mustache. This was our first party outside of Portland, and our first clue as to how out of our element we'd truly be here in Abilene. I was hesitant to get into the picture with all of the girlfriends and wives, since I wasn't really clicking with any of them, and putting my arms around them was horribly uncomfortable. Can you feel the awkwardness radiating out of your screen? It was horrible.

Later that night, after 4 beers (and you know those first post pregnancy drinks hit you hard), I sang Journey as loud as I could out the window while Christophe was driving down Rebecca Lane. I sang beautifully, to the cows.

PS. I was totally jealous of that girls Rainbow Brite costume.

You guys- Flashback with me! You don't have to do a Halloween flashback (although it would be way more fun if you did!), you can post any picture from your past. Post it on your blog, your flickr, your facebook- whatever works for you. We'd love to have you play along. Just type your info into the setup below, and please link back to this post in return...

Our First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I haven't been to a pumpkin patch since kindergarten, if I remember it correctly. I can picture seeing a hay ride, not going on the actual ride, but seeing it. I remember something about the Wizard of Oz, or maybe that's a completely different field trip altogether (dangit, I'm not doing so well here am I?). And I remember dressing up as a devil, which wasn't actually at the pumpkin patch, and probably not even that same year (memory FAIL). So anyways, I was really excited to take the kids to the pumpkin patch for the first time.

On Sunday afternoon, we loaded up the kids into Jetfire (we have both autobot and decepticon stickers on it, so...), handed little hands sippy cups full of Simply Apple, and hit the road. We had tried to find this same pumpkin patch 3 years ago (really, its been that long? Time flies...) when my sister in law was in town visiting around Eleanore's first Halloween. We never found it that day, instead we drove around for nearly 2 hours, eventually settling for boring Walmart bought pumpkins, or maybe we didn't get any at all (since I'm rockin' the memories). Now that we know the area better (when I say we, I mean Christopher, I had no idea where we were going), it was easy to find. We could see it from the freeway, which triggered a fire alarm type reaction from our 3 year old daughter when we didn't drive directly off the side of the overpass right away, and instead took the exit like good parents who lack magical powers. When we actually got there, parked the deceptiboticon, and put our 6 feet on the ground (Charlie's don't quite reach when hes riding on Mommy's hip)- Eleanore freaked. "We are here! We are here! PUMPKINS EVERYWHERE!", she shouted.

Just as we were in the middle of a battle with a swarm of bees, that I'm pretty sure were attracted to my scent (Laila, I smell like Norway), an older gentlemen came up to us and asked us if we'd like to go on a hay ride. What?! The answer to that is obviously yes. I think that maybe I ran to the tractor (and away from the bees, who we didn't end up escaping), dragging my family behind me. Eleanore didn't know what a hay ride was, so she wasn't excited until we stepped up onto the trailer and she got to roll around a stiff bed of straw, but I was ecstatic. Once we started moving, I started clapping Charlie's hands together (he'll get the hang of this clapping thing soon enough) and nudging Elie with my elbow over and over again. "Here we go Elie! We're moving! We're moving!", I yelled. It was a full ride, there were 4 or 5 other groups of people sharing the hay with us, but the tractor was so loud that nobody would have noticed my childlike excitement. And who cares if they did.

After the hay ride was over (it lasted a lot longer than I thought it would), we went to find our pumpkins. I'm not going to lie, I spent a ridiculous amount of time with the camera (but didn't the pictures turn out so good? Totally worth it), and didn't really participate with the actual pumpkin hunt (it was fun for Elie and Christopher to have that all to themselves though) until the very end when I was tired of swatting away the stingers (I've never been stung in my life, ever) and went ahead and picked out the pumpkins for everyone. We ended up leaving with three (tiny, small, and medium sized), and some really great memories. All for less than $6.

And somehow, nobody got stung by a bee.

Perfect Little Feet

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A week ago, I wrote about Staring into the Face of the Swine Flu, did you read that? If you didn't, then you can click on the link there (if you want, ya know, no pressure. I'm going to do a quick review half a sentence from now anyways), or if you did, then you know that my entire family came down with the H1N1 virus about 2 weeks ago, my 10 month old suffering with it the very worst (ok it wasn't even half of a sentence, was it?). Well it turns out that I jumped the gun just a little, when hitting "publish" and posting that article. The ending line for that article had said "7 days after our symptoms started, we survived the Swine Flu", and while that still stands to be true, we all survived the Swine Flu, poor baby Charlie's strain turned on him, not that they were ever on the same side, and developed into pneumonia.

I spent day after day with him in the doctors office. Night after night, sitting on his bedroom floor staring up into his crib, crying while he slept. I held him close to me and whispered "Mommy loves you" into his ears while he got multiple injections of antibiotics in his legs. His drool was dried up, his eyes were dull instead of brilliant, and his chest rattled with every breath. It got to a point where I was sure that he would be hospitalized.

And then one morning he woke up and he smiled? Not a pretend "I'm ok Mom, really" smile, but, a smile. That day at the doctors office, I couldn't get him to keep still, where usually he'd want nothing other than to cling to my chest while sitting in my lap. He was climbing all over the hundreds of things that he had been observing for the past week, but didn't have the energy to reach out for. He was better! He got his final injection of antibiotics that afternoon, and the doctor's cheerful melody of "You can go home Charlie, and lets not see you again tomorrow".

The real proof was when he sat stroller to stroller with his friend Alex in our driveway. He slowly raised his foot (which as you can see, is deliciously chubby and much too fat to fit into any shoe that I've ever found), and started what would end up being one heck of a squishy little baby footed foot war (Alex gave up, Charlie won). The sigh of relief that slipped out with my exhale was loud enough to be hard halfway across the world, and maybe even in all the way up Heaven.

I'd like to say that my worries have completely settled and disappeared, but you know they haven't. Charlie's eating habits and digestion track still haven't returned to normal, which could either be a new food allergy (we're thinking sweet potato, maybe?) that developed while his body was in turmoil, a bacteria overgrowth, or- God knows what. But now he smiles again. And laughs. And he can breathe. No more coughing, no more throwing up, no more high fevers or helpless tears. We still fire up the humidifier in his bedroom, and we still do percussion pats on his back when we start to hear a little bit of a flemmy choke, but for the most part, things have gone back to normal.

This is the hardest part about being a Mother. Feeling the misery of the misery that your child feels.

Not only did Charlie survive the swine flu, but he survived the pneumonia that it left in its wake.

Giveaway Time; Stevia In The Raw

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Alright, by now most of you have heard me mention stevia more than once. I've gotten several "what the heck is it?" comments, most of which I've stopped responding to (I'm sorry, I'm awful, I know- still love me?). Well I got in touch with the folks over at Stevia In The Raw (its a root, by the way, so not to leave you hangin'. A miracle plant that grows in the ground. I bet google could load you up on all the info you're needing to know?), and they've so generously sent me a box of their delicious all natural no calorie sweetener, to send to you.

I use stevia in everything. In tofu cheesecakes (hey, don't knock it til you try it), in my morning coffee, in my homemade pumpkin spice lattes, in my oatmeal... everything. So if you've been wanting to taste the stuff (you don't have to be new to stevia to enter to win, btw, this giveaway is for everybody), but haven't braved yourself up to buying some of your own, now is your chance-

To Enter:

-Leave a comment on this entry. Tell me why you want to win, or, something along those lines (what you'll do with it, how long you've been wanting to try it, if you already use it, whatever, you get the idea). Don't be a boring Betsy (no offense Betsy, love ya girl) hehe.

-Make sure that you leave your name and email if you don't have a blogger user id. Otherwise, you're outta there sucka! (its way past my bedtime, I've been pretty good about censoring my lame one liners up until this point)

-This contest is open to both US and Canadian residents only. Sorry Australia, better luck next time.

-Contest ends at midnight on Saturday November 7th.

Additional Entries:

-Follow my blog! If you already do, then you rock and you know it, but if you don't, scroll down over there on the left and click the little button. You'll know it when you see it. Leave me a comment letting me know you've done so.

-Follow me on Twitter *tweet tweet*. Just click here, and it should take you to my Twitter page. Don't be shy, come and talk to me. Just comment here and let me know you chirped.

-Blog about this giveaway (with both pictures and links). That's actually good for 5 extra entries, because nobody ever blogs about someone elses giveaway unless they really want to win it, haha.

Did I leave anything out? No I don't think I did. So alright, thats it, good luck!

Edit: Thank you everybody for your fantastic comments!! The winner has been chosen, and notified. My Life In Curls- your box of Stevia in the Raw is packaged up, and well on its way to you :)

A Halloween Cookie Decorating Party

Monday, October 26, 2009

I know, I'm kind of ridiculous. But, sometimes, don't you just want to fill up holiday themed cupcake papers with glittery sprinkles and set them on the table next to freshly frosted cookies that are just begging to be decorated?

I didn't tell Eleanore about her cookie decorating party until the day before it happened. I wasn't sure that I'd actually get all of my ducks in a row in time, and I didn't want to be the one to break her heart when the party planning committee failed. Somehow though, I found the time, and everything fell into place. On Friday, since Christopher had taken leave due to Charlie's pneumonia (we'll get to that later) , Eleanore helped me bake sugar cookies. This was her first time rolling out dough and using cookies cutters. It, was, awesome. She was a great big huge help. No temper tantrums, no attitude, just sugar and spice and everything nice. I think the fact that her brother was upstairs sleeping, had a lot to do with it. She was in desperate need of some special one on one time.

Later that afternoon while Eleanore napped (thank goodness), I whipped up some black and orange frosting, organized the dining room table with edible glitter and colored sugar beads, and when she woke up at 4:00, it was party time.

Each of the girls had their own little work stations, with 2 cat cookies, 2 ghost cookies, and 2 pumpkin cookies. I had pre frosted them with my homemade black and orange frostings (vita mix made), getting that out of the way (mostly I just couldn't figure out how to distribute the raw materials between the 3 of them safely), leaving just the best part for the girls- making a mess and then eating it.

They didn't hesitate to get their hands dirty.

They pushed at it and smushed at it. They dumped out all of their sprinkles at once. They licked frosting off of their parchment paper place mats. Their faces and fingers were stained with food coloring, as were their clothes. It was perfect.

After an hour or so of a near constant sugar consumption, we took all of the girls outside to run it off. The energy in the house was getting to be too much. And of course everyone got to take their plate of (gluten free of course)cookies home with them.

I don't think I've ever seen Eleanore enjoy herself, or her company, this much. I hope that this memory sticks with her forever. I know it will surely stick with me.

Bake Some Bread

Sunday, October 25, 2009

This morning after devouring my delicious veggie scramble (red potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, eggs... jealous?), but before getting to my coffee, I cut out pretty orange squares of construction paper (thanks Elie!) and jotted down all of the names from the Pamela's GF bread mix giveaway. As Christopher was crossing from the living room to the kitchen, I think maybe with a baby in his arms, I asked him to stick his hand into the big plastic bowl, whirl his Sasquatch fingers around, and pull out a winner. Lighthouse27, I hope you're ready to make some cranberry bread (she said she'd make a loaf for her son)! Which reminds me, does anybody have a good recipe for homemade cranberry jelly??

Sundays seem to be good days for baking bread though, don't they? Maybe today I'll bake a loaf myself. The smell of steaming hot dough is better than any candle I've ever smelt.


A Trip to the Mailbox

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I made it a priority to package up my postcards from my last giveaway up all nice and pretty, and get them into the mail right away. Since I don't do anything etsy related anymore, I don't have as many excuses to get my hands covered in ink and paper cuts. Marisa from ElegantSnobbery already got her package in the mail (she happens to live only 15 minutes away, so, it didn't take long to travel from my mailbox to hers), but the rest of you gals should be getting your envelopes soon. Keep an eye out!

Oh, and today is the last day to enter my current giveaway, to win a bag full of my very favorite bread mix (by Pamela's Products)! You don't have to be gluten free, to eat gluten free (don't be afraid to try it, it tastes just as good as wheat). Plus, its free food. Who doesn't like free food? CLICK HERE to go enter to win yourself some yummy bread.

And hey, send something off in the mail to someone. A postcard. A letter. An envelope with nothing more than a smiley face on a post it inside. It'll make their day.

Flashback Friday Week 13

Friday, October 23, 2009

(You'll have to excuse my temporary wacky picture sizes- html isn't cooperating with me today)

So, I'm pretty sure that I'm riding on a Dino the dinosaur. As in Pebbles and Bam Bam? I remember having seen this picture about 10 years ago or so, and thinking "what a cute little girl", hoping that someday when I had a daughter (because I knew I was going to have a daughter), she would be just as adorable. My eyes must have taken a blinking still shot of this photo, because as soon as my Aunt mentioned having baby pictures of me (that's where I got this picture from), this is the picture that came directly to mind. I don't have any memories to go along with it, which doesn't surprise me since it looks like I'm somewhere in between 12-18 months old when this was taken, but just having it, and seeing it- makes me so happy.

I'd love it (love love love) if you'd play along and post a flashback of your own?? Its ok if you don't have a blog to write in, you can post your photo and description on your Facebook page, or on your Flickr, your Twitter... wherever. Come back and add your link to this list (and I've made it so that you can generage this list on your blog page as well). Happy Flashback Friday!!

Boo at the Zoo!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Last Saturday, at the very last minute (isn't that always how it works?), we decided to go to Boo at the Zoo, an annual Halloween event here in town. We hadn't told Eleanore anything about it, for fear that something might come up (like the H1N1 virus), so when we woke her up from her nap and told that we needed to get ready to go, she freaked out. Have you ever seen a 3 year old flip out with joy? Its the best.

While she was sleeping, I had run to town to pick up some last minute costume accessories, my first time leaving the house in days (thanks, flu). I ended up paying for and walking out with some cat ears, and a mullet wig? We can make it work, right? I didn't want to spend more than a couple of dollars, but I remember when I was little, I always thought parents that dressed up on Halloween were the coolest. And if you haven't noticed by now, Christopher and I are really trying to be the coolest.

As we were unloading the kids out of the car, we noticed that Charlie's Peter Pan hat wasn't in the back seat. And neither were Eleanore's fairy wings. We had left the costume part of our kids costumes at home, really? Yeah that sounds about right. We felt weird being more dressed up than our own children, but the awkwardness soon passed. And wait a minute, had we seriously not been to the zoo since last years Boo at the Zoo?? Parenting fail.

So much had changed.

A white tiger, red wolves, a beautiful new duck pond with walking bridge trails. And dinosaurs? Wait no, Elie, that's a rhino. Or, a rhino-saur (and a good view of him too, hah).

Eleanore was in candy gettin' heaven. Running this way and that way, forgetting how to say "trick or treat" (there were so many kids that the people handing out the candy didn't care if they said it or not), falling and scraping her knees and then getting up and throwing dirt into the air because it was so much cooler than the dirt that we have at home. It was insane.

Last year she was shorter... slower... innocent. Now shes- well, shes three. Climbing on things, ignoring our instructions, eating candy off of the ground that's been stepped on by at least 10 pairs of feet in the last minute. Simply, exhausting. Exhausting, but oh so lovable.

Sometimes I feel like I'm yelling at her for everything. When I look back at my childhood, I don't remember any of the yelling that must have happened at events and outings like this one, or the demands made by my parents, who I'm sure would have been trying to keep me safe in the same way that we're trying to keep our kids safe, I only remember the event itself, and all of the amazingness that went along with it. So hopefully, she won't look back and think "what a mean old mommy I had", and I'll be off the hook. I hope that she'll look back and see the smiles and painted whiskers on our faces instead.

And little Charlie! This was Charlie's first trip (ever!) to the zoo! Poor guy, he still wasn't feeling 100% recovered from the swine flu, so he kept quiet, and spent most of his time resting on my hip. I knew he was having a good time though, because whenever I tried to put him back down in the stroller, not only did he voice his opinion in the form of crying, but he kicked his feet and reached out to grab branches and rock walls that we passed. Or maybe he was just mad that we left his Peter Pan hat at home.

By the time the sun was setting and zoo was closing, we were on our way back home. The baby fell asleep as soon as his head hit the padding on his car seat pillow. The night definitely had its flaws (Christopher driving off of a curb, Starbucks being out of pumpkin spice latte mix the one time we go to buy store bought instead of just making our own, us forgetting the costumes), but all in all, I'm so glad we went. Last minute decisions always seem to make the very best memories.

Me Man, You Spider

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How can I describe to y'all, my phobia for large spiders?

I'm afraid of large spiders.
(And any other large insect for that matter)

Was it really that easy? Because its more than that, more than just a phobia. Not only am I afraid of them, but they cause me to have a very physical kind of ridiculous reaction. I twitch and shudder, I can't get a grip on my breathing, I choke on my own saliva, I'd even go as far as saying that I have an all out panic attack. No matter how many times I see them, screams escape from my mouth and my body starts jerking around as if something out of this world is inside of my brain pulling on my nerves like puppet strings. Its all very embarrassing, and I'm sorry to anyone who has ever had to witness it. Now with that being said...

Yesterday Christopher comes into the house, throws the door open with excitement really, and asks me if its a bad idea for him to burn a spider. "Burn a spider? Um... if you-" "Hes the size of a mouse!" (which, funny thing- every wolf spider hes ever seen outside has been the "size of a mouse", so for it to actually be the size of a mouse, he'd have to describe it as being the size of a jack rabbit), he yells, before I could even finish my sentence. At that point, I look over and notice the white bottle of charcoal starter lighter fluid in his hand. It doesn't matter what I was planning on saying back to him (even though it was probably what he wanted to hear, something like "kill it! keep it the heck away from me! Protect me, you big strong man!"), I knew he was going to burn the spider. That spider was as good as dead from the second he crawled out from underneath Christopher's storm flipped barbecue.

So that's what he did. He set set it on fire. I went outside a little bit later, forgetting that the spider had ever existed, only to be practically pounced on by an eager Christopher, who shouts "Hes on the garbage can!". Before I could even ask myself what was on the garbage can, my eyes darted to the right, and settled on a large fuzzy mass. *enter twitching and uncontrollable arm movements here*

Dangit. WHY Christopher, why would you do that?!

He proudly ran over to his kill, as if he had just caught us a months worth of dinner, and ever so gently picked him up with a wrench, putting his burnt and defeated prey on display. While I was in the middle of flinching and trying to catch my breath, I couldn't help but notice that when he turned the blackened and shriveled up spider on his side, it looked amazing. Since when do I think that things like that are amazing? I don't. It must have been my flu getting the better of me. No matter the reason, I picked up my camera, and took a picture.

The sight of me taking a picture of the very dead spider, must have been hilarious to an outsider. Every single time I looked at the screen, I freaked. Time, after time, after time, after time. Every click of the zoom, every adjustment of the lighting, whenever my focus got anywhere near one of its eight legs or popped body (apparently venum explodes?), I freaked. After at least 30 attempts at getting a picture, my finger hit the capture button as just the right time. "Ok, that's enough, throw it away, get rid of it get rid of it!".

So, I guess what I'm sayin' here is... don't try to move into our barbecue. You'll get burned (..no no, I know).

Coolest Candy on the Block

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Alright, so we all know that Tootsie Rolls are kind of the boring candy to get while trick or treating. Its not that we don't like them, but- we'd much rather get a Reece's or a Butterfinger, right?

A couple of weeks ago while I was shopping at Sams Club, I came across this bag of 760 Tootsie Rolls. Wow. Seven hundred, and sixty. That's a lot of little chocolate candies. The best part though, was that this huge-normous bag, was only $7. I thought somebody had to be playing a joke on me. Could I really get away with spending less than $10 on my entire stock of Halloween Candy, for all of the kids that would be trick or treating on base this year? ...absolutely.

Sure, nobody would want to come to our house. Yes, we'd see a few Tootsie Rolls on the surrounding street that "accidentally" got dropped. The more I thought about it, the worse it sounded. Nobody wanting to come to our house for candy? We're the lame folks that cheaped out on one of the funnest dress up and get spoiled for no reason holidays? No! No I say! So, knowing that I'd have to come up with something to do about the situation that I had just gotten myself into, I continued on with my shopping, and bought all 760 of my Tootsie Rolls. I could totally come up with something (totally). Well, I just bought the bag, so, more like, I'd have to come up with something.

And then I had an idea-

Yes! I knew I had some card stock upstairs, TONS of card stock, leftover from all my fun adventures on Etsy (yeesh, fail that, captain). Oh! And I had tiny zip lock bags stuffed in a drawer somewhere, empty and just waiting to be filled (again, thanks to my failed attempt at a I-know! I-can-sell-this-on-etsy! money making idea gone wrong). A Halloween stamp? I'm sure I could find one. And if not, then they'd all say Merry Christmas on them, who cares what holiday it is, there is free candy. I measured the size of the bags, ran the sharp blade of my paper cutter over the top of a pile of orange paper, did some quick passes with my bone folder, nearly wore my arm off pressing and printing out by hand perfectly positioned skull and crossbones, and- look! Lookit how cute they turned out!

I did struggle with how I was going to secure the card stock onto the bags though. I didn't want to use staples and hear about a 2 year old being sent to the ER because of some idiot careless mom who was passing out tiny sharp pieces of metal instead of candy (me. I'm talking about me), and glue would take forever to dry (I just don't have the patience). I ended up using those little pre cut scrap booking adhesive squares (do you know the ones I'm talking about?). I had some of them in a box sitting on my craft table upstairs, and I doubt I'll be scrap booking again anytime in the near future, probably not until I'm like 40 (its not an age thing, its a busy schedule and I've got babies to raise, thing), actually, so that worked out perfectly.

See, neighborhood kids, Tootsie Rolls don't have to be boring, hehe. YOU DON'T HAVE TO HATE ME NOW! And this way, we can just set the bowl outside the door with a cute little sign, and take off to go trick or treating with our own kids, instead of one of us having to pull the short straw, and stick around to pass out handfuls of individual unwanted chocolate chews, kid by kid.

Eleanore really liked this project as well, because she got to stuff the Tootsie Rolls into the little bags all by herself. Any project that a 3 year old can do all by herself, is the very best project of all time of ever. I made her tiny little piles of 8 candies each, all on the couch cushion next to my lap craft station, and she happily picked them up one at a time, and pushed them into the zip locks, singing made up songs about Tootsie Rolls the entire time.

We may have just started a new Halloween family tradition. Cheap and boring Tootsie Rolls + fancy packaging = win win win.

Think the kids will like them?
The kids will like them.

Staring into the Face of the Swine Flu

Monday, October 19, 2009

I remember back when we first heard about the Swine Flu. It was months ago, wasn't it? I remember being awake at 3am, watching World News Now while I breastfed my itty bitty baby in my lap, and looking over at Christopher, who was only barely awake for my support, and whispering in his direction "I don't want my babies to get Swine Flu". Even though I had said that, I knew they wouldn't. Of course they wouldn't. Because my family is untouchable. My family, is safe.

It started out with a little bit of pink in the cheeks, a slight hint of warmth on the forehead, a barely there cough that we thought would be gone by morning. And then it got worse. It just kept getting worse.

Sometime in the afternoon on the 3rd day of the illness, when the air conditioning was broken and our bodies were as hot as blue fire, when the dizziness was hanging over my head the way rain sinks into a plastic camping tarp, I realized that this wasn't just a virus. My 9 month old baby hadn't laughed in days. He hadn't smiled. He hadn't done anything other than grab a hold of my clothing, my hair, my skin- clinging to me in any way possible, silently begging me to make him feel better. All of the neutral temperature baths in the world weren't bringing down his fever. Motrin didn't touch it. Hugs and kisses only made it a little less painful.

The next day, the 4th day, we had to get Charlie to a doctor. His fever had held strong at 102 for far too long, against all of my desperate attempts to knock it out. I hadn't even lowered it? I had been trying so hard, doing everything that I could think of, to make him more comfortable. After 100 rounds of peek a boo, I could see that it just wasn't going to work.

Christopher took time off of work, came home and got the baby, and together they went to see a doctor. At the time, I felt like I should have been the one taking him. I should have been the one comforting his sobs in the waiting room. I told Christopher to send me a text every 5 minutes, giving me a play by play of everything that would, could, or should, occur. As badly as I wanted to be there with my baby, I was sick too. While I stayed at home, watching Disney Channel cartoons and movies with Eleanore, who had somehow recovered from this very same illness in only a day or two, Christopher was proving his strength as a loving father down at the south side walk in clinic.

(I had to edit all of the color out of these photographs, because the deep purple hue that masked my sons eyelids was absolutely unbearable to look at).

"Hes too young for the treatment", they told us. Too young? So now what?! "If he has trouble breathing, take him to the ER". So just as you would, I spent the next several hours, watching my sick baby breathe. I didn't put him down. I couldn't. Every time a cough would wake him up from his nap, I held my breath and muted the tv so that I could hear him settle back into a regular breathing pattern. At this point, I literally thought my baby was going to die. Maybe it was my fever on the raise (101-ish), or maybe it was somehow hormonal (I don't know, I blame everything on hormones if I can), but all I could think about were the news headlines that I had seen, where the child dies. I had seen one just a few days ago. When I had first heard about the swine flu, I was sure that my family was safe, remember? Well, it was clear now that we weren't safe, and since that had turned against me, anything could happen.

The next morning when Charlie woke up for his morning milk, he started choking. He had been whining in his bed until I went and picked him up, and as soon as I layed him down to eat, he started choking. I panicked. I sat him up, quickly tried to focus my eyes on anything that might clue me in on what the hell was happening, and started pounding on his back. Not a cute little "aw there there" pat, but pounding. "GET IT OUT, GET IT OUT!!", I frantically thought. My eyes, which hadn't yet woken up and couldn't quite dilate in the dark room, filled with tears. Charlie was choking. His face was blue. Choking on what?! Get what out?! *POUND POUND POUND*- And then came the heaves. The awful body tormenting heaves. He threw up on me over and over again. It was nothing more than mucus and stomach acid, nothing solid at all, and it just kept coming. When it was over, I had to catch my breath in the exact same way that he had to catch his. I wiped the tears from his face with my hand, I pulled his tiny body up against my vomit soaked shirt, and I thanked god that that was over (even though it wasn't). Did this mean that things were getting better, or getting worse?

As the day went on, he showed signs of improvement. Even though he couldn't hold a single bit of food down, he started smiling. He started playing with his toys again. And by the end of the night, his fever had broken. Its tricky, this virus. One second he'd appear to be on the mend, doing things that a sick baby wouldn't do, and then within seconds, he'd be pushed two steps back, having over exerted himself and fallen back into a fit of tears and agony.

Poor Eleanore had been locked up for days, unable to go outside and play with her friends, banned from breathing fresh air, but more importantly, because we didn't want to spread it. I couldn't imagine passing this along to somebody else. Her best friend next door had made her a very sweet "Get Well Soon!" poster and put it in our mailbox. The only time Eleanore had been allowed to step foot outside was to go with me to the mailbox to get it, and then straight back inside (resulting in tears and the mother of all tantrums). Finally, after Charlie's fever had broken, we promised Elie a half an hour of playtime outside. We put on our jackets, bundled up in blankets, and out we went. Even Charlie came out with us. Even though he didn't smile hardly any of the time, I know the cool air must have felt so good on his warm skin.

Even though we're all left with a lingering cough, and this morning Charlie couldn't seem to hold down his ear infection fighting antibiotics (hes taking a trip back to the doctor today, for his heavy cough), 7 days after our symptoms started, we survived the Swine Flu.

Postcard winners!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ok, so I know I said there would only be two winners, but I was so flattered by the ridiculously nice comments that y'all left, I wanted everybody to win. Too bad I only had 3 sets made (otherwise I'd be collecting everyones address right now). Rather than keeping a set for myself, like I was planning to do, I decided to give my keeper set away as well (yay!).

This giveaway was so much fun. I mean, all giveaways are fun, but this one was especially fun, because as I was writing down all of your names and nicknames (some of my online friends and readers I have cute little nicknames for, hehe) for the pull the name out of a hat style drawing, I felt like I knew every single one of you. I had 52 entries in all, which was way more than I thought I'd have for something as simple as a postcard set.

A huge thank you to everyone that took the time to leave me a comment, and to everyone that stops in from time to time to read my articles. Lots of love love love!

If you're sad that you didn't win this giveaway (I'd be sad too, I'm not gonna lie), turn that frown upside down. I have another giveaway going on right now. Its not for cool photographs or anything artsy like that, but its for a really rad bag of my favorite bread mix. Click here, to enter to win that. And of course I'm back in the swing of giveaways, so there will be more giveaways to come soon.

(Oh, and obviously the winning ladies need to send me a quick note with their addresses. I know they're all going to read this. Thanks girls!)

Sick Day Part 3

Friday, October 16, 2009

I'll be skipping my Flashback Friday post this week (and any other posting until further notice). The mystery illness from my past two posts has turned out to be the H1N1 virus. So for now we're all doing our best just to keep our heads above water. I've turned myself into a permanent pair of water wings for my 9 month old baby, who doesn't yet know how to swim on his own.

We'll be back soon-

Sick Day Part 2

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Yesterday proved, to suck. It was much more difficult than I had prepared myself for. Not only were both of the babies sick, but I was sick too. We're not talking "oh my tummy hurts, maybe I should sip some 7up" kind of sick, but more like "the world is coming to an end somebody please put me out of my misery", sick. And if that weren't bad enough, that we were all on our death beds (with the exception of Christopher, who by now had completely gotten over the illness and returned to work), the air conditioning broke. On a 90 degree day. Of course it did.

Charlie had it the worst. His fever spiked to 103, his cheeks were bright red, nothing satisfied him. Instead of cute baby babbles, the only sounds he made were whines and whimpers. He clung to me with every bit of strength he had, while I made my best efforts to meet him halfway. As the temperature in the house soared (it ended up being a big giant chunk of brick solid ice clogging the air vent), my patience thinned out and I broke down. Seconds after Christopher walked in the door that evening, I threw a cry baby fit fueled by the virus, and then collapsed onto my bed, landing in a puddle of my own raw steaming tears. Not taking care of myself (there were cool baths to give, berry flavored medicines to distribute, and burning hot little bellys to tickle) all day had caught up to me.

After a few minutes of recovery, I blew my nose, straightened out my dirty pajama shirt, pulled myself together in general, and headed back down the stairs to put my parenting face back on.

Apparently, while I was being defeated by the mystery illness, Eleanore had been traumatized by my extreme show of emotions, bringing her to tears, and just had to make me a card right then and there. It would "make me happy and make me feel better", she told Christopher.

What, an, angel.

The kitchen table was covered in construction paper, squishy foam alphabet letters, and dora markers. As soon as she was given the opportunity, she held up the "card", and shouted with an electrifying jolt of energy "I LOVE MOMMY!" (that's what the card says, in case you can't read the written language of Eleanore). She was so very proud of her get well soon gift, and for good reason. It was perfect.

If that isn't the absolute best kind of medicine, I don't know what is.

(Oh, and thank you everyone for your get well wishes left on yesterdays blog post. We really appreciate the lovin'. Germ-less elbow bumps all around)

Wednesday To Do:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I'm turning the computer off today, to do the following:

-Clean up living room
-Defrost chicken for dinner
-Run 2 miles

But most importantly...

-Take care of my sick babies

Humidifiers are running at full blast, cartoons will probably be playing on the TV all day long, and we're all dressed in our finest pairs of pajamas. Virus, meet your doom.