Friday, June 3, 2011

Waiting for Water

Communication is vital to my life. My marriage depends on being able to communicate despite long physical distances, iffy Internet service, varying time zones, and hastily written emails. My husband and I are constantly trying to improve and become more effective at communicating so that when we can only hear that the other one is talking on Skype, we can glean enough information from playing "fill in the blanks".
When I was pregnant with Anna they cautioned that because of my illness at a certain point we ran the risk of Deafness...I actually sighed a huge sigh of relief that that was "all" because I know ASL...I could communicate, we could bond and get to know each other.
When we were in the hospital they cautioned the same with Nolen because of the antibiotics he was on...and I sighed feeling relief...once again this was the "devil that I know". What they didn't say was that his hands wouldn't work...or that a lot of Encephalitis survivors can't connect spoken words with meanings or figure out how to produce a word with their desired intent. They didn't warn me that he could be trapped and I could spend my days searching his sweet face trying to "see a connection". That I would sign "eat", "more", and "all done" for months and not see any desire to reciprocate (even though the girls were signing already at this age). So I sign, repeat verbally, babble incessantly back at my little man hoping that something starts chipping away at that wall barring our ability to communicate. Oh how I live for our "water" day...

*reference to Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan in the Miracle Worker*

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How many military spouses does it take to change a flat tire?

Remember how I mentioned Murphy's Law of Deployments, If it can break, it will break.... Here is a shining example... My new (as in that is a BRAND new tire) flat tire. Thankfully I had my fellow military spouses there to help out (Thanks Julee, Laura and Tiffany) and Dunkin Donuts to occupy my children.

And it takes 0 Military Spouses, we just call a man in green to come do it for us ;P
In all seriousness....I did learn a lot!
Tips to Change a Tire:
1. Unload all the tools. We glanced over the tire iron (or lugnut turny thing as it was called until we remembered the proper name) and attempted to use a Jeep Tire Iron. No they are not universal....which proves that a man makes them.
2. The lugnuts are screwed on tight (and this is the step where a man in green came in very handy) super put your parking break on and JUMP onto the Tire Iron. Viola!
3. Put the jack on the shock thingy (go ahead and laugh, but I know EXACTLY what I'm talking about)....and lift it up, take the old one off and put on the new one.
4. You can only go about 50 miles on a spare, and about 50 mph at that...which is why I am driving the beat up chevy that is my husband's until I can garuntee Toyota can work on my car.
A very special thanks to all the guys who helped and the ladies as well!

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

10 "Good" things about Deployment

So Ryan's been gone for a bit, no need to get specific...OPSEC and all, but while I was cleaning up after dinner tonight and thinking to myself that these leftover Chicken Kebobs were going to be AH-MAZING tomorrow for lunch, I realized that they were the perfect "husband" sized portion...and instead of getting sad, I actually thought...there might be a plus side to this quasi-single parenthood. So here comes my somewhat ridiculous, sometimes trivial attempt at "10 Good things about Deployment".

1. Leftovers/Deployment Dinners
           After being used to cooking for a family of 5, and now having the main eater removed from the equation, I find myself bombarded with leftovers. I myself, am not a big fan, but I usually end up "recycling" or recreating the previous meal into something new (taco night is always followed closely by beef stroganoff night). The girls however require "real" lunches and leftovers are just the thing! In addition to leftovers, you have what my friends and I have dubbed "deployment dinners"...things that you would NEVER serve your husband and probably should never admit to eating. For instance, some nights it's just easier to pretend you are back in college and feed everyone cereal, or toss some hot dogs in a pot of boiling water followed closely by mac n cheese and maybe a few carrots and ranch dip just to ease the guilt of feeding your kids crap a little. We also take FULL advantage of deals like "Kids Eat Free at IHOP every Tuesday" or "Free kids meals at Wendy's when you buy an adult meal" nights.  The kids eat, someone else cooks and cleans, everyone is happy.

2. A Get Out of Bed Free card:
        You can literally get out of bed, not put on any make up, or shave your legs, and walk around with out your significant other EVER knowing. Go ahead, throw your hair up in a pony tail...wet, and throw on some "work out" clothes (aka buying really cute gym outfits so that you can run around and have people thinking how "good" you look going to the gym and wondering how great you must look when you actually try when in reality you are totally faking it). It's actually very liberating...and makes dressing up so much more fun when your loved one returns. Not to mention all the money you save by not having to replace razors or makeup.

3. Cover Hog's paradise:
        See all those covers, see all that is all yours for however long he's gone. You can sleep sideways if you want, take his favorite pillow, not make up the bed, whatever you want because

4.  Complete Controller Control:
        You have complete control over the Television, radio, a/c, heat...whatever you want you can do it. Want to watch a Vampire diaries marathon all day Saturday? Have a sick affection for Zombie films or Ghost Whisperer??? Go ahead and indulge, no one is around to complain (accept for your children...)

5. Books, Books, and more Books
       I LOVE to read, and find that I spend a large portion of my "free time" that is usually our "quality couple time" reading....and it tends to be trashy romance novels. Things that my husband teases me for.

6. Ms. Fix-It
      We all know Murphy's Law of Deployments If it can go wrong, it will go wrong....something WILL break, someone WILL get sick (probably requiring a trip to the ER) and some major purchase or decision WILL have to happen. So get ready to learn a new skill, how to navigate tricare and other such demands having three small children with the stomach flu will do to ya. To date, I have learned how to repair and replace the waterhose connector thing on the fridge, replace the innards of a toilet, eliminate clogs and snake drains, bug bombed a nest of yellow jackets while pregnant, installed shelves, and put air in my tires. These are things I would have NEVER even thought about doing but because of my Darling Husband who would do them for me, but I have become quite adept at googling how-to videos and trying my hand.

7. "Endearing" traits are gone
    Ryan is a pretty amazing and is a nearly perfect husband. And by nearly perfect, I mean he likes to clean his razor and leave the clippings IN THE SINK. It drives me nuts, and has since we were first married. I drive him bonkers because I am handicapped in the area of putting lids properly back on things like the toothpaste, milk jug and various other cartons. These minor annoyances or "endearing traits" of a relationship are absent as soon as the other leaves the house. I don't have to clean the sink and he doesn't complain about my inability to close things. It's a win-win.

8. To Laugh at oneself, Cope with Stress, and Roll with the punches
     I have never in my life been so humbled (other than perhaps by childbirth) as I am when my husband is gone. I learn what sets me off, I learn what stresses me out, and I learn how to handle those stresses (bubble bath, candles, chocolate, and good book, please. Wine is optional.). I have had to learn to laugh at myself when I am so stressed and can't find my phone only to open up the fridge to grab a juice box and see it sitting on the shelf next to the butter. I learn to roll with the punches and be grateful for what I have. Three days in a row last week the kids and I had 5 am wake ups for doctors appointments, therapy appointments, meetings and what not. We got up, we got dressed, and we went with it because it was the only option. Learning to roll with the punches and find laughter in a situation can be the key to surviving.

9. Relationship/Communication
         I learn to appreciate my spouse, to appreciate the little things he does (like take out the trash) that I now have to do. I remember to say thank you to him when he gets home and takes the trash out. As rough as deployments are on a relationship, I have found that ours continues to improve because of them. We learn to "read" the signs of stress through a broken up skype image, we support each other across the miles with an emailed joke/comic, videos of the kids, or flowers because he knows I had a rough day which lead to me crying behind the kitchen counter while the kids played in the other room. Our communication skills are honed and sharpened by the distance and demands of deployment.

10. Homecoming
       I get to look forward to a day, a time, when I get greeted by my husband because he has missed me for an extended period of time. We get to think about that day, dream about that day, and plan that day. And then we get to live it out. We get that first kiss fireworks explosion over and over again. I get to go shopping, primp, shave my legs, and dress up so that I look my best for the man of my dreams. We have memories to share, stories to tell, and we get to stay up looking at each other making sure that the dream is now real. I get to cook "real food" and have it appreciated. I get to share the covers, TV, and movie picking decisions. I get to cuddle with my husband, reach my foot out at night and touch his leg just to make sure he is still there. And those endearing traits, they reappear and for awhile you are so glad to see those razor clippings in the sink...they actually make you smile.

Don't get me wrong---Deployments/Trips/TDYs/Seperation from the man you love sucks, but there is always a silver lining.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

No such thing

I'm starting to think that their is no such thing as a good doctors appointment. Kaelyn and Nolen both had "well baby" check ups a few weeks back and I go thinking..."Finally, a normal, routine doctors appointment." Boy was that thought shattered fast. Kaelyn has had what we thought was a benign Stills Heart murmur that was "fading", meaning that up until the other day we were confident that she would grow out of it. Apparently it's back, it's loud and it warrants a very thorough eval with a pediatric cardiologist.
Nolen's was equally bad and very much like watching a precious diamond ring (in this case my dream of a normal drs Appt) spiral in slow motion down the sink want to scream, you frantically try and stop the spiral only to watch your wasted efforts go tumbling down the drain. Nolen's head has been growing at an alarming rate, and before the Neuro team would let us leave the office they stressed that he MUST be seen and frequently by our pediatrician to keep an eye on the potentially threatening situation. I didn't mention this to the Ped and the first words out of her mouth were, "Nolens head growth is alarming..." Basically, we are waiting to see how his head growth will be in the next month or so before we do further testing. Meaning pray and hope it slows down so that we can avoid an MRI and/or CT scan. A lot of different things can cause this, one of which being poor cerebal spinal fluid circulation which would then lead to surgery where he would have a shunt installed that ran from his brain to abdomen to help the flow of fluids. Other causes are tumor/poor bone structure/and other ugliness.

In addition to this new concern, Nolens weight is yet again "not so good" I've been stuffing his face...and need suggestions for high calorie/high protein baby friendly foods (already doing sweet potatoes and avocados). Suggestions?

So there it is in a lovely brood of children can not have a normal, routine doctors appointment. It's just not possible!

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

2 Birds, 1 Stone

When you are routinely outnumbered by many small children you find joy in things that kill "2 birds with 1 stone". Point in case, my shark broom/light vacuum can hit my wood floors, kitchen tiles AND the throw rugs! Newest thing my Shark can do...

PT for Nolen!!! He LOVES chasing me when I sweep (with a real broom he goes after the crumbs) and the Shark.

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Why my blog posts are lacking

Monday- Developmental Instruction-Early Intervention 12-1pm
                Physical Therapy, Private with about 25 min drive  2-3pm
                *absurd amount of traffic means we typically eat crockpot meals for dinner!*
Tuesday- Occupational Therapy-Early Intervention 1130-1230
Thursday-Physical Therapy-Early Intervention 1230-130
Friday- Kaelyn's Dance class 5-6
Saturday-Anna's Dance class 9am-930

Sprinkle with doctors Appointments, trips to the Hospital, and one pending weekly therapy. As needed add visits to the grocery store and other such errands. Apply coffee generously and let Rest for at least 5 hours. After it has risen, knead back down and start the cycle again.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

How far we have come!

*sorry for my man voice in the video, had a hideous cold! Also, the picture of Nolen with the girls is the most recent of my big man!*
I have been promising this post for quite some it goes! Check out how much progress we have made! (More like He has made)

From IVs, EEGs, Oxygen, Warmer beds, and NG tube

From postioning rolls, head turns, and mobiles

From meal time weight checks, calculations and conversions

From not being able to lift our head, open our hands, clear our nose from the floor, laugh or smile

Sitting and playing with our sisters

Laughing, smiling, eating and babbling babas and mamas

To scooting, rolling and moving.

We are far from perfect, months from normal, and absolutely blessed to be where we are! The progress he has made in the past 7 months leaves me breathless, he has done more than I dared hope for!