Archive for March, 2014

  • Saturday, Saturday

    Date: 2014.03.26 | Category: Baby, Birthday, Family, Friends, Home, Life, Love, Mark, Me, Norah, OMG YAY!, Sarah, Toddler Time | Response: 3

    I feel like my last few posts have been a bit of a downer, so let me tell you about some of the really great things going on, because there are so many!

    This past weekend was so wonderful.  On Saturday we went to a birthday party for two of Sarah’s best buddies. The twins live right down the street from us and had an awesome cowboy birthday party.

    Sheriff Sarah was thrilled with her cowgirl outfit. (Pardon our concrete floors – we’re having new ones installed Monday).

    There were pony rides that went really well… until the pony actually started moving.

    There was a petting zoo of goats…

    And bunnies and chickens.

    There was an awesome set up for photos, though Norah was unimpressed.

    Also, cupcakes!

    That night continued to improve.

    Mark and I finally had a night out with just the two of us – the first in months.

    We started out at The Blind Tiger, our old haunt back before kids that serves up great food and beer. We knew the bartender and the owner and had a great time kicking back and enjoying ourselves. They had Abita Strawberry on tap – a local and seasonal favorite, which made the evening that much better.

    From there we left to go see  the Elton John in concert. I won free tickets from our local newspaper to go to the show – something amazing in and of itself.

    The show was so good. He played for three hours straight, singing tons of hits. They had a camera on his hands so the audience could watch him play piano. He was full of energy and knew how to work the crowd.

    And check out that crazy chandelier that kept changing colors and moving all around. Truly an amazing and fun show.

    We got home late, but we had a great time. Thanks to my mom for watching the girls for us and allowing us some much needed down time.

  • A Reflection on Sacrifice

    Date: 2014.03.21 | Category: Baby, Family, Health, Home, Life, Love, Mark, Me, Norah, Sarah | Response: 3

    Yesterday I had lunch with Kim, a good friend of mine who regularly puts me through my thinking paces about everything from astrology to politics to faith and religion. I love talking with her, because she often forces me to think about important things that I often gloss over in lieu of the day-to-day necessities of life.  And even when we don’t agree, we can still talk civilly and learn from one another. It  was so great to take a time out to sit, and talk, and think.

    As conversations often go with Kim, I started telling her about a “theme” that seems to be continually hitting me over the head this past month or so. When I explained to her how it kept popping up, Kim looked at me in the eyes and said, “Jess, it sounds like you have an article writing you.” And, of course, she was right.

    When Norah got croup, and then RSV, I found myself simultaneously upset that she was so sick, feeling all of her pain and suffering ten times over, and battling this great, guilty ball of sleep deprived frustration. When, I wondered, will I ever sleep again?

    But on these many sleepless, frustrating nights, I would close my eyes, rock the baby and let my mind wander. And, so many times, it kept finding its way to a Mass I recently attended where one of our seminarians was ordained to a deacon. Weird, I know. But the moment that kept popping out in my head was when the bishop, during his homily, spoke about sacrifice. And while on that particular occasion the sacrifices he spoke of were the ones deacons and priests make when they choose a vocation in the church, he could have been speaking to any parent. When big moments happen in our lives, he said, they often require great sacrifice. And it is in making these sacrifices, often of things we desperately want, that we learn who we truly are and what we’re made of.

    Not to be outdone, I’ve been following along with Fr. Robert Barron’s Lenten reflections, reading in the middle of the night, when one about Mother Theresa surfaced:

    “By emptying out the self in love for the other, we become filled to the brim with the divine life… The secret to joy is self-giving love. Mother Teresa imparted that to her sisters, and she offers the same lesson to us.”

    I know that I am not perfect and I know that I need time to myself to stay sane, but I also need moments to knock me over the head and say, “You know what? Yes, this is hard, this is really really hard sometimes, but your girls need YOU. They want their mother. They need their mother. And this sacrifice of sleep, of time, of my body (and occasionally sanity), not only shows me how deep love can go, but it infinitely helps, nourishes and heals the two most precious little souls to me on this earth.

    And if that doesn’t show me what I’m made of, or teach me joy through self-giving, I don’t know what will. How blessed I am to be given this amazing family.

  • Six Months

    Date: 2014.03.21 | Category: Baby, Family, Life, Norah | Response: 2

    Oh Norah girl, how did we reach this point already?

    I love this age. Norah is constantly discovering more of the world around her these days, always craning her neck around to see what’s behind her, beside her, reaching out and trying to grasp it all, especially if it’s shiny.

    She is starting to sit independently now – at first leaning forward on her elbows, then her hands. And just yesterday she proudly lifted her hands up and waved them around showing us how strong her core and back have gotten. With this new found strength we’ve been able to move her to a bath tub chair so she can take baths with her sister. She loves it! She leans over the edge of the chair the whole time splashing and trying to grab one of the many toys that float by her hand. Sarah loves “cleaning” her too, rubbing her head down with a wash cloth, though Norah decidedly hates having her face washed.

    Norah is such a giggle bot. Mark and I try to outdo each other acting insane to get those sweet, squealy laughs.

    This past month we have battled more than our fair share of illnesses including both croup and RSV. As a result we also backtracked on night time sleeping and are just now trying to break some of those middle of the night wake up party habits she picked up while she was sick.

    Norah loves to reach out and pet the dogs, running her hands through their fur. She also has developed that annoying tendency to reach out, grab our hair and yank. I’ve taken to keeping mine pulled back at all times, but she manages to get Sarah’s all the time.

    She absolutely loves her bouncer, especially the little leaf attachment that she gnaws on.

    We introduced foods about two weeks ago after she kept making a grab for our plates. She has loved everything she’s tried so far except for carrots. Sweet potatoes and pears are her favorites, with peas, surprisingly, coming in a close second.

    She’s still an avid thumb sucker, finding it more and more while she’s awake to soothe herself.

    Our Norah bean is such a snuggle bug, happiest when mommy or daddy are holding her close and obsessively kissing her fuzzy head and cheeks. And yes, just like Sarah, Norah has a full head of buzz cut style fuzz that’s super soft and so much fun to rub. Sarah loves to sit with her and rub her head.

    Norah is also obsessed with her own feet. She holds them all the time and has now started putting them in her mouth, laughing when she pulls her socks off with her gums. Still no signs of teeth yet, but we’re not worried or in any hurry.

    She loves rolling tummy to back, and will make it about 3/4 of the way from back to tummy before giving up and rolling back to where she started. She can get her knees up under herself and even managed to move them a little the other night before falling. I’m not sure I’m ready for another mobile child yet!

    Our little girl is growing so fast and blossoming into the happiest, sweetest little girl. It’s hard to believe we’re already half way to her first birthday (though I won’t be sad to see those sleepless nights go away). She is our little bean and we can’t wait to delight in her next milestones with her.

  • The Plague is Upon Us

    Date: 2014.03.03 | Category: Baby, Family, Health, Home, Me, Norah | Response: 5

    It started with a cough, my cough. But I trudged through it thinking that it was from lack of sleep. Within a week Sarah started coughing so hard that she was throwing up in her bed at night. 24 hours after that Norah was coughing. By Wednesday, we were all feeling so rough that all three of us went to the doctor.

    I had a sinus infection. I started antibiotics and some awesome prescription cough medicine and was feeling better within 24 hours. It was deemed that Sarah and Norah both had viral infections and that with time and patience they would resolve themselves. Sarah took Benadryl at night and was just fine.

    Norah, however, started getting progressively worse. By Friday night she was running fever, unable to eat and crying this low, steady whine for all but 2 hours at night. Any time I would lay her down she would cough uncontrollably and wake up crying. So we stayed in the recliner and she slept on me. By Saturday morning I was in tears. Sleep deprivation had kicked in, yes, but Norah’s slow and steady whine of pain was breaking my heart and had me in tears. I waffled on whether or not to take her back to the doctor, but ultimately decided that things had gotten worse, not better and it was time to act.

    Fortunately our pediatrician’s office has a few Saturday morning hours and we were able to get there quick. The doctor checked her ears and immediately saw that they were full of pus. However, there had been a case of RSV in Norah’s daycare class, so they swabbed her for that just in case. And wouldn’t you know it, it came back positive.

    For those of you unfamiliar with childhood diseases, RSV is a virus that infects your lungs and airways. For adults and older children, it’s not so bad. It just manifests itself as a cold and moves on. For babies though, especially babies under six months old, it can be very dangerous. I know three babies personally who have been hospitalized with RSV.

    So when the doctor sympathetically told me she had RSV, I felt panic start to grip my chest a little bit. The doctor could see it written all over my face, I’m sure. But he was so great. He told me that he listened to her breathing and she didn’t sound bad. As long as she was having four wet diapers a day and breathing ok we could treat it at home.

    Fortunately my sister has a nebulizer, so we borrowed that from her and we’ve been able to do breathing treatments at home. Norah is such a champ about them, mesmerized by the buzzing noise it makes as it turns the albuterol into breathable steam. It hypes her up some, but it makes her feel so much better and her breathing and coughing ease for a few hours after doing a treatment.

    My mom picked Sarah up Saturday and kept her overnight so I could devote my attentions to the baby. And we spent most of the day and evening Saturday in the rocker so she could sleep upright. Fortunately though, the breathing treatments started easing things for her so she was finally able to get some good rest in her own bed that evening.

    Since then she’s been back and forth, sometimes having moments of feeling better and we get to see the occasional smile. Mostly though, she just wants to be rocked and doesn’t want to eat. She did wake up without fever for the first time this morning though, so that was a great sign.

    Our biggest concern is now is keeping her hydrated. She won’t eat much because her nose is clogged and her ears hurt. And when she does get some down, her stomach is so full of mucus that she often throws it back up. We have trouble keeping the medicine down her too for that reason. I have to keep reassuring myself, she’s making enough wet diapers that she should be ok. The middle of the night is when she does her best feedings (of course), so some milk is staying down.

    The doctor said this will likely be a 5-7 day run of illness before she gets truly better. I never knew how much becoming a mother would turn me into a big ball of empathy, feeling everything they feel 10 times worse. Please keep us in your prayers as our little girl continues to heal.