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Monday, November 30, 2015

...A Thanksgiving Recap...

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Thanksgiving.
So much to be thankful for this year.

Them.

We had a rough week with the kids. Both kids were in the doctors a few times. Finally, after both kids were on antibiotics, we started to see an improvement. Fortunately, we were able to head north for Thanksgiving day.

We left about 7 AM and drive to Grandma and Grandpa's house. The kids took a brief nap, that helped power them through the festivities...sort of. My mother-in-law makes these fantastic rolls for every holiday. They are an all day event, so I was able to help in forming rolls. I always bring my mom's cranberry sauce. We played a few hands of Pinochle. We watched the stereotypical football. We ventured over to Busia's house for the feast. Most of the Aunts/Uncles/cousins were able to come home for Thanksgiving. As the evening winded down, the second wind hit...hard. Gabe was delightfully goofy. 

At one point, Busia brought out a small little hula dancer toy. Unbeknownst to Gabe, we watched as he tried to copy her movements. It was quite frankly one of the funniest things I have ever seen. The room erupted into laughter, but he was quite the performer and continued.

We ventured back home that evening, as I wasn't quite ready to stay someplace other than our own beds. The time home that weekend was wonderful. We are usually traveling for time off, so it was nice to just be home and enjoy our time together.
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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

...from this point forward...

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" nothing can come but what God wills. And I am very sure that whatever that be, 
however bad it may seem, it shall be the best." St. Thomas Moore


I don't even know where to start. The past few days have been the hardest days for my little family. They have been a blur and also the moments have just dripped by.

Gabe had a febrile seizure on Friday.

Those words sting.
This is about my journey.

He is not mine...He is God's.

I heard that phrase months ago. I had never really thought about children in this manner.
Then Friday came.
We had all been battling a bug all week. I spent Wednesday night cuddling with Gianna. An early AM doctors apt showed an ear infection. That evening, Gabe went to bed 100% healthy and was up two hours later with a stomach bug, which continued into the night. He had a fever, but was unable to keep down medication. Fortunately, my family has been very healthy over the years. This was my first bout with the stomach bug. The next morning, his fever required medication. Unfortunately, he was still unable to keep it down. 

11 AM. Life slowed down for the next hour. We were all hanging out on the couch. Gabe was laying next to me on the couch,watching Daniel Tiger and sipping electrolytes every fifteen minutes. I called Steve and told him I needed him to come home. I had walls and carpets to clean upstairs. My stomach wasn't well. The kids were both not well. He said he would be home at 12.

I reached over and he was suddenly HOT. HOT.HOT.
I looked at the clock 1130. It had been an hour and a half since his medication. Some of it must have been absorbed. 
Gianna brought him a book and accidentally dropped it on the corner of his head.

"Ow!"
..........
He seized.

My world started spinning.
I have never felt so out of control and helpless in my ENTIRE life.
It was not one of my finer verbal moments.
It still makes me cry to think about. I thought he was dying. He turned blue. My sweet baby boy turned blue while convulsing in my own arms.

My phone wouldn't work. I couldn't dial out. I had been having texting problems for the last week. I sent a desperate text to Steve to call 911. 
...sending...
It never sent.
My family has a FB family chat. My numb fingers were unable to type...
"Gabe is seazing" I typed. I needed someone to call 911. Someone to call Steve.

I started pleading with God.

please don't take him from me. please don't. please don't let him die. GABRIEL!!!!

I needed someone to call 911. My neighbor. Please, God, let her be home. I grabbed my half dressed son and ran to my neighbors house. Gianna was screaming. Liesel was trying to force her back into the garage with all of her 20 miniature schnauzer pounds. I laid his blue body onto her 30 degree concrete step. The phone finally dialed. 
My name. My address. Need ambulance. Son having seizure.
lay him on his side...right..i knew that..i taught that...i forgot that. 
Is he breathing? my thoughts whirled on the inside. what kind of stupid question is that...he is blue..get here now.

I screamed at my elderly neighbor to wake up and call my husband.
Once the ambulance was on its way, I made it back to my house, my daughter and dog followed.
I laid his limp little body on the floor. His eyes were rolling back into his head. He was breathing, but non responsive. 
The ambulance went to the wrong house. My eighty year old pajama-ed neighbor chased them down.
Six men arrived. While they stabilized him in the ambulance, I dressed Gianna and off we went.
The next hour dripped by. 
Post seizure recovery.
I just wanted him to look at me. To say anything.
We listened to the Litany of Saints (Maher) in the ambulance.
Gabe and I have this thing. Every time we see an ambulance/fire truck/police car, he says, "Mom, we need to pray." We say an Hail Mary.
I never thought those words would be coming out of my mouth, while inside with my baby boy.
I won't go into the horrid care we received at the hospital. It was four hours before we had any comments. Febrile seizure. A seizure due to a sudden spike in temperature. He has a virus. He will be fine. A non damaging "normal" seizure. 

The next few nights met us with a few scares. Tepid baths. Iced rags. Prayers.

I am still working through this.
I know that there are much more horrible things to be faced with.
But, this was a crossroads for me.
I felt like a failure. It was the first time in my life that my ability to protect my children from harm was ripped away. I must have managed his fever poorly. I should have done X. I didn't do enough X. I spilled all of this during a followup appointment with his Pediatrician. She was so supportive and I was thankful how she tried to put at ease my feelings of inadequacies. I did nothing wrong. Being scared is hard. I know that these are "harmless" seizures. I know the stats. I know the words that say my boy will grow out of them in 2-3 years. I know. I know. But. I am not in control. He is. I need to continually let go and trust. I know he loves my babies more than I ever possible can. But, I am human.
I need to trust.

I couldn't sleep for the next two nights. Reoccurring images plagued my mind. (I have spoken with a few trained therapists and assured that this is normal.) This should subside in a few days, once my sleep is in a healthy range.

He is not mine. I feel that right now. I don't want to forget that, ever.

I wear a crucifix around my neck. Sadly, I misplaced it at my in-laws, over a month ago. I kept praying it would be recovered. I can't imagine how many times I grasp it and whisper a quick prayer for strength or patience.

Sunday night was probably the bottom for me. The lack of sleep, the lack of trust, and the stress was eating at me. After the kids were in bed, I went into our room and started looking in my small makeup bag for some nail trimmers.
I saw a glisten.
My crucifix.
I burst into tears and could hardly contain my trembles as I clasped it back around my neck.

Through it all, he continually reminds me:
I am with you...Isaiah 41:10.
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Friday, November 20, 2015

...46|52...

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Gabe...3...You started asking "why" this week. Adorable. We raked and hauled leaves for our neighbor this week. You raked, helped fill the wagon, hauled her big wagon, and dumped it yourself for two hours. You were so proud. I was so very proud. You were one tired young man when we were finished!

Gianna...1...Your first bout of sickness was this week. An ear infection. Sweet baby girl. I am soaking up the cuddles, however. I love how I can still fix everything. You have been trying to copy my words all week. I can't wait until you are feeling better. You thought about dropping your morning nap, but it might be here for a bit longer.

This might be our last week of warm weather for a while. We have been enjoying it!
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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

..2015 Christmas book basket...

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Our Advent season will begin on November 29th. As a child, I have fond memories of our (nightly) candle lighting, readings/reflections, and getting to choose one Christmas song to sing. One thing we did last year, and I will continue to do this year, is a Christmas book basket.This year, I intend to have our book basket through Epiphany, meaning, I need 39 books. (I am a few short, currently, and will just grab a few the next time we are there.) Each evening, beginning with the first Sunday of Advent, and ending with Epiphany (January 6th), we read a book from the basket.

  Advent is 26 days long this year. The Christmas Season extends (traditionally) until the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6th.  
I have collected books off various websites and have the following (thankful for our library) for this year:

Advent story book (Antonie Schneider)
Christmas in the barn (Margaret Wise Brown)
Cranberry Christmas (Wende and Harry Devlin)
One winter's Night (John Herman)
S is for star: a Christmas alphabet (Reynolds)
Saints and Angels (Llewellyn)
Snowmen at night (Buehner)
The Baker's dozen (Andreasen)
The birds of Bethlehem (dePaola)
The cobweb curtain: a Chrsitmas story (Koralek)
The last straw. (Thury)
Legend of Saint Nicholas (Demi)
The stable where Jesus was born (Green)
The story of Christmas (Boon)
The Grinch
The cobweb Christmas (Climo)
The joys of Christmas (Jackson)
The legend of the Candy Cane (Walburg)
The biggest snowman ever (Kroll)
Bear stays up for Christmas (Wilson)
Mortimer's Christmas Manger (Chapman)
Listen to the Silent Night (Mackall)
Stable in Bethlehem (Hulme)
The Last Straw (Thury)
The Polar Express (Van Allsburg)
The Nutcracker (Jeffers)
Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree (Barry)
The Night before Christmas (Moore)



Tuesday, November 17, 2015

...Pigtails...

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It was a big day in our house on Monday.

Pigtails.
That...and she learned how to drive.
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Monday, November 16, 2015

...Three years Old...

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 Gabriel John,
You are an absolute delight. I mean that. I can't even begin to describe how blessed we are to have you in our lives. You are so thoughtful, kind, careful, sensible.....This year, we watched your vocabulary explode. Your ability to use tools is impressive. Everyday, you surprise us with new words like: fantastic, precariously, temporary....
I really wanted to ask you some questions to see what you would say:
What are your nicknames? Gabe and Pal
How old are you? Three
What is your favorite color? Red
What is your favorite animal? Lion (this surprised me)
Favorite book? The Grinch
Favorite thing to watch? Daniel Tiger
Favorite song? Daniel Tiger (Wheels on the bus, I would say, or London Bridge)
Best friend? Thomas and Percy
Favorite thing to do outside? Ride the 4-wheeler with daddy
Favorite thing about daddy? Play with daddy
Favorite thing about mom? Play and reading books
Favorite thing about Gianna? Touching her face and belly. Her does not like it. I help Gianna be safe.
Favorite food? Mac N Cheese. Cashews.
What do you want to be when you grow up? Farmer and drive a green tractor.
Favorite season? Snow.
If you could go anywhere, where would it be? To the farm and ride a tractor.

"I like Nanny. I like to play with her. I like to play with Popa. Popa is my friend. I like to go with mom to the apple farm. 

Some of your favorites:
Working with tools, playing with trains, working with dad, painting, baking, reading, your dog, your nap, our whole family being together, driving the car carts at the store, apples, tractors, construction.

Favorite expressions:
My day is fantastic.
So....(when you tell us a story)
It's Ok...it will feel better tomorrow.
Dad will fix it.
You're kidding me, mom.
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Friday, November 13, 2015

...45|52...

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The "45" just hit me. There are SEVEN weeks left in the year. My goodness. 
 
gianna...1...I can't believe how much she is trying to talk. She will point to an object, look at me and say a sound (copying me), repeatedly. Today, I swear she said tissue after about five tries. I love how she scampers for the stairs when I tell her, "it is time to go upstairs." The gate has worked wonders, but I let her climb up for naps and bedtime. She is so proud of herself once she makes it to the top.

gabe...3...He loved raking leaves at a friends house last weekend. We made a few piles and jumped in them. I am hoping we can do that in our yard this weekend, if the wind dies down. He loves to emulate Steve. His latest is putting his arms behind his head and stretching at dinner (just like dad). He will casually glance over to see if he is doing it juuuust like dad. Cutey.
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Thursday, November 12, 2015

...story time...

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We have a fantastic local library. Once a week, we attend the library preschool story time. Over the course of an hour, the kids sing, dance, read a book or two, and do a craft/make food. We have done everything from making fresh apple sauce, making individual pumpkin bread loaves, to decorating trick or treat bags.

The lady who runs it is absolutely fantastic. She loves kids and it is very apparent. Gabe really enjoys going. Today, they made a cute Olaf craft, and I can't wait until we have it back as he did such a great job.

We go to the library about once a week and check out around 20 books. They are usually construction, tractor, and animal books. However, today we ventured into the Thomas section. Gabe has been obsessed with Thomas the train for a few weeks. Interestingly enough, he has never seen anything (shows) other than two board books related to Thomas. 

A few weeks ago, during a run, he sang:

"Thomas is my friend...Thomas is my friend..." for about 45 minutes.

He has been talking about his friends Thomas and Percy since we visited friends this past weekend. They had the toy train set, and he carried them around all weekend. 

He was ecstatic as we started to load the Thomas books into our blue library bag. We made it home and he dumped the books onto the floor, and poured over them for about 1.5 hours. He wasn't even remotely interested in lunch. Gianna is equally fond of books, and sat down right next to him and began reading, too, 


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Friday, November 6, 2015

...44|52...

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gianna...1...we were all sitting down to dinner and you were babbling with what sounded like, "hi mamma, hi dadda." We told gabe to say hi to you. He said, "Hi, gianna." You smiled, waved and said, "Hi ,Gabe." You have started to wave hi and goodbye. You have been playing with puzzles and coloring with crayons all week.

gabe...3...You have asked countless time to play with these magnetic numbers. We do counting, matching, and comparing colors. You love it. We found a lady who will come let us pet, brush, and ride her horses! We went to her barn today for a horse fix. You told her all about Nanny's horse, Kimber. "She is my favorite. She has more white on her head. She has the same color tail. She is nice." 
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Thursday, November 5, 2015

...last days at the park...

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Gabe loves trains. We can hear a train a few times a day. Almost every time, he stops me to tell me, "Ya hear that mom? Its a train!" We took the kids to ride a train around Christmas last year, and he still talks about it.

We noticed a train car in a local park the other week. I loaded up the kids last week to go see it. Rookie mistake. As luck would have it, the train had been removed. Gabe was very sad as he really wanted to ride the train. I told him we would try in a few days.

The other day, we were enjoying the 70 degree days and decided to go to a park. The train happened to be back so we stopped for a few minutes to stare in wonder. After we got our train fix, we spent some wonderful time exploring the park.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

...the first fire...

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We had the first fire in the fireplace last night.

It had less to do with dropping temperatures and more to do with me thinking we had a wasp nest in the chimney. However, the kids were enamored with the gentle flicker of the flames. We have all been a bit sick for the past few days, so the extra coziness made it all a bit better.

The last two days have been simply gorgeous. The temperatures rose back up into the low seventies and we have been soaking up every last fall sun ray. I love falls in the mitten. 

Maybe someday I will learn to love all of winter. But for now, we are enjoying the cooler air and the slower time.
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