Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Solo Snow Day

     New Jersey just recently enjoyed a pretty hefty snow, and I once again was thankful for my HOA. I generally feel HOA's are Un-American with there restrictive rules an regulations on what kind of plants I can put in my backyard, but ever so often...I realize that there is some SERIOUS benefit to swallowing the loss of certain freedoms. One of those benefits happens to be Snow Removal. Without my HOA I would have never made it out my front door or garage because the snowdrifts on that side of the house were deeper than three feet on my front porch (which is covered).

So how exactly does a quasi-single Mom of three small children manage to take the older two out in the snow. Easy. 
Lots of prep work during their naps. I had towels laid out for sitting on after the snow and bathrobes on backs of chairs, along with a laundry basket to dump shoes and wet items in.
 Then the real fun began!
I fed the little guy, then hook him safely into his highchair with a couple of toys. 
The girls eagerly waiting for me to say go! LOL, Nolen was moved closer to the window so that I could see him.

Our backyard had shallower snowdrifts thanks to all the houses and the way the wind was blowing so Anna wasn't as scared of the snow as last year. The snow was way over her head last year.

Kaelyn took off and man did she have fun!

And Nolen watched from inside. I could even hear him drop his toy!

She laid in it and made snow angels

She dunked her face in it.

Anna still had a difficult time moving in the snow, but she did have fun!

Kaelyn about to "slam" the snowball in my face. She remembered doing that with Daddy last year.

The snow was too flakey to make a real snowman, so the girls filled up our Snowman building Kit jar...and we called it good.  

We made it inside and had snow ice cream (I prepped the milk and sugar mix and let it cool while we were outside). And when we finished the snow ice cream we had hot chocolate (I had the mugs in the microwave waiting on us. All I had to do was press start. By the time we were undressed it had cooled enough for the girls to drink.

I was actually worried about being able to make this work. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to take Kaelyn to play (Anna is still unsure about the whole snow thing). But, I tried and it went pretty well. We might even try again.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Works for me Wednesday! Shower curtain hooks repurposed+Theme answer

*The theme for this week is what one thing would you tell people. I would tell people to appreciate EVERYTHING. Every easy and peaceful breath your child takes, appreciate having your loved ones with you, appreciate your home, your warmth, and food in your belly. This year has been a year of wanting. A year of wanting a Healthy baby, of having that Healthy baby born and become a very sick infant, of wanting improvements and a full recovery, of wanting of NEEDING my husband and my family to be together under one roof. I have learned to appreciate the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of life. Their is JOY in every moment to be had, it's just not always the easiest thing to find. Perhaps instead of appreciating everything, I should say find the Joy in the Despair.*

My tip!

I HATE towel racks. I think they are old fashioned, antiquated and really a waste of space. Your towels can't dry effectively on them. The only purpose they serve is for looks, and I am more of a function+looks, please kind of girl. So for the first year of living in this home I left our towel racks bare in protest of their sheer inefficiency.

My husband is fortunate that I'm not one of those women who has to have everything perfect right helps our budget  A LOT. But the one room I attacked immediately after moving here was the girls. The movers lost our old bachelor shower curtain (PRAISE GOD!) and I went out and replaced it. My first time buying a shower curtain and I went for the cheap "S" hooks at target. Big Mistake. My curtain NEVER STAYED on. So, after three months of silently cursing those hooks I went and bought more and was left with an entire pack of useless S hooks until inspiration hit.

S hooks+Towel Rack=FUNCTIONAL!


The offensive S hook. The balls didn't work to hold the curtain up.

The Functional, Child Friendly and Cute Towel Rack! My kids are able to put their towels up and get them down with ease. Yes, I do have to rehook the towel rack on occasion but it works well enough not to drive me nuts!

I will admit it. I don't wash my jeans after each wearing. Neither does my husband. Call it laziness, I call it being green, water conservation and time conservation. I also had a problem as a teenager of NEVER HANGING MY CLOTHES BACK UP. Sorry Mom. That problem continued into adult hood until this. I now hang my jeans by the belt loop on my towel rack. It's AWESOME!
Visit here for other Works for Me!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

2010 in Review

What a year, what a year! I can't say I will be sad to see 2010 end, but I'm very anxious about 2011!

In the past year:

Kaelyn turned 4, Anna turned 2, and  Nolen joined our sweet little family.
My Best Friend Emily came out to visit us in our new home!
We finish our basement, and by we, I mean mostly my darling husband!
I volunteered as a Key Spouse
I started working as a Real Estate Assistant.
Kaelyn's Second Dance Recital where she rocked it out (if that's what ballerinas do) to a Pirate song!
My "extended family" (read my military friends who ARE family) and I have an Epic Camping Trip
My parent's and Sam visited us in NJ!
While in Utero, Nolen had Choroid Plexus Cysts that resolved on their own, but 6 weeks after his birth and 3 weeks into Ryan's deployment...Nolen gets sick with Spinal Meningitis on Sept 2.
Three hospitals later, we are at CHOPS PICU and he has Encephalitis.
My brother gets married.
 Ryan deploys again and will return in 2011!!!!
Anna starts Dance!!
We celebrate 5 years of marriage despite the miles that seperate us.
Kaelyn plays and scores a goal in Soccer!
I attempt to write a novel and stop half way (about 25,000 words in) because I don't like where my character's are headed.

What 2011 has to hold!

Ryan will return! That's a big one!
Ryan goes to instructor upgrade school (yay for 6 weeks of my husband being home)
We *were* going to go on a cruise...but I don't think we can leave Nolen with anyone as of yet due to his health so that's a maybe.
Nolen undergoes some extensive testing in Jan. that should let us know what his future should hold.
Ryan graduates with his Masters.
I *hopefully* start Nursing School.
My baby goes to Kindergarten (You have no idea how old this makes me feel)

I survived.

 This was my first time experiencing Christmas without Ryan in my own home. Last year, I spent the holiday's with my mom, but with Nolen's physical therapy regimen and trying to add on Speech and Occupational Therapy, I couldn't get away. We literally had therapy on Christmas Eve Eve and would be having it tomorrow if there wasn't a MASSIVE blizzard and we weren't all suffering from the Christmas Crud. Poor Nolen has a hard enough time clearing his own spit, to hear him choke repeatedly just from the added mucous (and his congestion is NOTHING compared to Anna's) is heart wrenching.

I was shocked at how easy Christmas was, and how not sad I was. What I mean to say is that, yes I missed my husband. I missed having Ryan to help set up the toys and although he joined us via Skype, he was only able to see a few moments of their excitement. But Christmas was surprisingly fun, easy and joyful despite the gaping whole that my husband would normally fill. Like the fact that all of the toys decided to die AT THE SAME TIME and required screwdrivers and various dirty thoughts and impatient stares from the girls while I struggled to replace EVERY single battery. I was very aware at how much easier Christmas would be if I had an extra two pairs of hands to help.

The girls mostly got gifts from family and very few from us (we are waiting until Ryan is home to have a second Christmas with Dad). Kaelyn and Anna both recieved a ton of coloring activities and items.

These were Barbies from ReeRee (my mom), Anna's face was covered in Chocolate from her stocking and I just adored how she said "NickerDOOdles" whenever she grabbed cookies out of the tin. Kaelyn looks so much older than four here...makes me sad :(

Merry First Christmas! And keeping with the McAdams' tradition, all of Nolen's gifts from Santa were hand-me-downs!

The best gift of the day is that Nolen kinda rolled over.

I missed seeing my darling husband, sharing the holiday with him and listening to the girls play with their dad, but SOON, very SOON, my husband will be home and we will replay Christmas all over again!

*Sorry for the absence, I am just now getting the handle on doctor's appointments and therapy and hope to get back to my Real Estate/Key Spouse/HomeSchooling/Blogging self in no time!*

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Finding a few things difficult to swallow

- Nolen might be having seizures...considering the episodes I have seen AND the fact that 50% of all Encephalitis cases result in's probably more of an is and less of a might.

- That a full recovery is unlikely given his age and the fact that a full recovery hasn't already occurred. The younger you are the worse off you are, especially if you are under 1 according to Encephalitis sites and Acquired Brain Injury sites.

- That by listing him as disabled (we've had the papers written out and the note from the doctor, we just delayed doing so) DOES NOT mean I'm giving up on him. It is simply the best decision for everyone in our family.

In other news, he's just as happy as he was the day he came. Nolen seems to have gotten the best of both Ryan and I. You see, Kaelyn has my temperament, she's an old soul whose feathers are hard to ruffle. But, when she breaks...she breaks. Just like me. Anna, she has a curiosity streak a mile wide (which leads her to mischief) but she has a giant heart and the charm and wit of her Father to redeem her. Nolen seems to have both my temperament (a very laid back child) and Ryan's charm (boy can he light up a room with his smile!).

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

The girls and Nolen had  a wonderful time one Saturday posing for B. Malpedo Photography fo rher Mini Sessions. I am not one for the typical posed pictures, and I'm also not one for professional photography, but this experience has changed my outlook!

The classic Nose Pick on Santa's lap. She's lucky I love her (and that Nolen wasn't looking at the camera), because this was almost our Christmas card!

This is our card (if I can just find time to order them!)

Nice Certificates!

If Kaelyn hadn't had her goofy face..this would have been it

Can't tell you how much I love this one!

She loves the fur!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Nolen's Physical Therapy Eval

I had an obscene amount of anxiety regarding this appointment. The kind of anxiety where you can feel your heart beat faster and your chest tighten...the kind that you are sure would be bad for you if you felt it all the time. I couldn't and still can't pinpoint why I was so anxious. Maybe it was leftover worry from a very disappointing GI appointment, but whatever it was it wasn't fun.

The Physical Therapist, named Adrienne which only keeps with our running TV/Movie themed names/jokes  (remember Al who we already see once a week) and had me remembering a friend from an old base while also reciting a thousand and one Yo Adrienne jokes in my head, agrees that we definitely need more therapy for the little guy. I don't know why, but my heart deflated just a little bit when I was told this. I KNEW in my head that this was what I was going to hear, but I hoped with my heart that I was just too close to Nolen to see the progress that he has made. My heart was wrong, my head was right...he isn't progressing like "they" (and I) think he should. Right now he has a giant piece of tape on his back testing for allergies. If he isn't allergic, next week we will start taping his torso so that his muscles will "remember" how to function and grow stronger. In addition to having his torso taped, his hands will be taped open. Sounds Cruel? Barbaric? Mideval? Yea, I'm right there with you. But at this's tape or end up in braces that aren't nearly as flexible. Hopfully, we can avoid the braces (because if the tape doesn't make a difference, then we are goign to be adding Occupational Therapy and braces to our litany of things to do).

Things they mentioned to me:

~Nolen is still weak on the left side (his head tilts that way, as though he has torticallis (a tight muscle that      impairs rotation of the neck) but his is related to muscle weakness.
~His hands are too tightly closed
~His torso is weak
~His tone is still very poor

Things that we are doing:

~Adding more exercises (yes, more!!)
~Continuing therapy with them and with Early Intervention

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Go ahead and call me nutty.

I won't mind...because I am very aware that I am nutty. But sometimes its the ordinary things, the ordinary moments, that make me realize the relationship God has with us, and with his son.

I should probably give back story so that you can really grasp what I am trying to say. This past week has been full of bittersweet moments. Moments where I can see Kaelyn gaining so much independance, where I want to tell her "No, don't worry about doing those things, just be my little girl and let me do it" but find myself stepping back and letting her try her hand. Point and case, I was in the shower the other day when Kaelyn and Anna come in with bowls full of rice crispy cereal. They ask if they can have it for snack and I said of course (seeing as saying No could have led to me having to follow through if they didn't listen and I had just put shampoo in my hair.) Next thing I know, as conditioner is going into my hair, Kaelyn asks how you make cereal (she had tried making oatmeal during my shower the other day and forgotten to cook it leading to "oatmeal that didn't taste so good"). I tell her the steps not thinking that it could harm anything....right? Wrong, I come downstairs after my shower and Kaelyn tells me on my way down and her way up that "If I was hungry she left me a snack on the table" which is a phrase I say to her fairly often. So, I walk into my kitchen and find an ENTIRE bag of rice crispy cereal all over the floor (and a neat little pile with a spoon and a ton of sugar on top on the in ON THE TABLE) and sugar spilled everywhere. I want to tell her not to do it again, but I find myself instead thanking her for the thoughtful snack and ignoring the mess until Nap.
God must feel the same way about us at times. Not wanting to step back and let the big messes happen, wanting to take his hand and guide ours as we pour cereal...but instead he steps back, lets us try our best, praises us for the effort knowing that his Grace will cover us. And then, when the timing is right, he cleans it up.

I also wonder about Joseph and Mary more, now that I am a parent. They must have wanted to pull little Jesus back by the robes and tell him to not worry about the world, because Lord knows I often want to stop Kaelyn's mind from questioning the whys and what nots she becomes more and more aware of. I want to hold Kaelyn back and make childhood last as long as possible, to protect her knowing that I can't protect her from it all. Joseph and Mary had to want the same things, they had to want their child to rest easy and not carry the fate of the world, but it was a hopeless desire, just as my desire to freeze my kids at four is hopeless.