Amazing montage of photos depicting life with CF for a kiddo, and the unconditional love he shares with his sister.
Sometimes words aren’t necessary.
A couple of weeks ago, I purchased the armoire below for $20. I didn’t get a picture of the lower two drawers before I had already primed them out, but one drawer was that same blue, and the other was that shade of…pink? Obviously, the color choice wasn’t for me, but it’s a sturdy & solid piece of wood furniture (not veneer) so I knew a coat of paint would make the world of difference…
(please ignore the cords, they’ve since been fixed and put away!)
The color in the picture above is a bit off, the drawer pulls are a brown (not red as they appear) and the paint is a fairly dark navy blue. Little did I know that it would take four coats of blue paint to get it properly redone! But it looks fantastic in Gavin’s room and provides some extra, and much needed, storage for toys, books, clothes etc. With the additional cost of paint, this piece of furniture came in under $30.
Remember my earlier post about coupons? How companies will often mail you coupons if you just ask? I had recently written to Pampers (Kimberly Clark) and asked for some. They sent me $20 worth! Two $10 coupons, each for a box of diapers. Well wouldn’t you know, at Target today if you bought two boxes of Pampers you got a five dollar gift card. So with my coupons, we got two boxes of diapers for the price of one (each were $19.84 + tax) plus that extra gift card. I also had an additional thirty dollars worth of coupons, so today we save $50 at our favorite store! And wow, did we come home with a lot of stuff…
Luckily Gavin was in the mood to help, and carried several of the bags from the front entry into the kitchen...but obviously had to check out the contents of each as he made the trip
I love that he’s at an age where helping out mom & dad is fun! Yesterday, we cut out coupons together and you would have thought we were doing an exciting art project, he had a blast!
We also have a pile of coupons from Huggies, and from Carnation ready and waiting for our next trip…like I said, all you have to do is ask! They love to keep their customers happy!
I have officially registered for the Great Strides walk in Minneapolis on May 7th! As usual, we’ll be walking around Lake Calhoun. Hopefully the weather will be better than last year!
Click HERE to donate and/or join our team!
On a slightly different note, I am hoping to gather several products/services from around Rochester and the Twin Cities to help raise money this year. If you would like to donate an item/service that will be raffled off in April please let me know!
Stupid cold germs. For some reason they have decided to come to visit our house over and over again this winter.
So we’ve upped the breathing treatments to three, if not four a day (that’s 2 hours of treatments with a toddler a day people). I want this cold gone. quick. I am really crossing my fingers that if we’re super aggressive from the start that we might be able to avoid antibiotics…probably won’t happen, but it’s worth a shot.
And somehow, he always gets sick right when Casey has to leave town for work.
Last night was…well…rough. He fell asleep on the couch watching “tartoons” (cartoons) around 5:45 so I snuggled him up in his crib.
The air has been extremely dry lately, so I decided to clean out a humidifier and put it in his room. As I was mixing up some water & vinegar to clean it out…I managed to dump a bunch of the vinegar all over the bathroom floor. It did not smell great, to say the least. Overwhelming would better describe it. But, I guess that section of our bathroom floor is nice and clean now…
Around 9 or so, he started screaming bloody murder. He had sneezed and had snot all over his face. So we switched up pjs, washed his face, laid on the couch, did another vest treatment, and he fell back asleep.
Around 1 a.m., a whole two hours after I finally fell asleep, he woke up crying again. So, I pulled him into my bed hoping we’d both get some sleep. Here’s the problem
So now, it’s 2:30 a.m. Gavin is finally asleep. I on the other hand was wide awake. So I carried him back into his bed and finally started to fall back asleep when…yep, you guessed it, he was awake again.
It’s now 3:15 a.m. Gavin is back in my bed asleep. I am awake. This was a problem, see above list.
Around 4:15 a.m. I moved him back into his bed again and thankfully he stayed there, asleep, until nearly eight this morning. Unfortunately, he was just hacking away. We immediately went downstairs to do a vest treatment and when we finished he looked at me and said, “me feel so better now Mama.” And his cough had definitely decreased. As much as I hate him having to need those breathing treatments each and every day, it sure is a blessing to have such a machine & good ole medications to help him move around all the gunk that collected in his sleep. Honestly, I can think of many a mornings where I would like to shake my own chest full of mucus right on up and out…
It’s going to be 30 degrees out today, it feels like a heat wave. Yes, I am being serious Margaux! I hope he feels better after his morning nap so we can spend some time outside, I honestly can’t remember the last time it was warm enough to be out there to play…probably early December. And I think some fresh air would do us both good.
Nearly every afternoon I have the new talk show, “The Talk,” on tv. Typically, Gavin is sleeping at that time and I am moving around the house doing chores but I tend to get the gist of what’s going on, even if I don’t hear every word.
Last week, or maybe the week before, they were discussing marriage. On whether or not it’s ok to “just divorce,” or if you should stick it out. At what point do you say, enough is enough and walk away or whether or not you ever just walk away. I really like this show because instead of screaming matches/talking over one another (like a different daytime talk show) the women all have different opinions but actually listen to one another and respect the other person’s stance. The women varied on their beliefs in marriage, some agreed that there is a point where you walk away and some believed that no matter what (not including abuse or other such circumstances) you work, and you work, and you work, and you stick to your commitment that marriage is for life.
Then, Julie Chen made a point that stopped me in my tracks and I took a moment to sit on the couch and listen to the rest of the segment. She made a diamond with her hands…
The top of the diamond represents the beginning of relationship/marriage. The point where you cannot get enough of one another; the honeymoon stage. There is a level of excitement, the point where you “just click,” and that life with one another seems to be filled with flowers & butterflies.
Then as time goes on, you move along to the edges of the diamond, further apart from one another. You reach a point where you seem to have slipped away from those initial desires, to a point where you just trudge along day-by-day letting the hours blend together. Or, it could be a big event in your lives that pulls you apart. Or, it could be that you are so focused on your children, that you forget to focus on your relationship. It could be a multitude of things, but the similar aspect is that it happens to every relationship.
And as Julie stated, if you can make it through that point, where the two outer points of the diamond are formed, that eventually you begin to come together again. You continue to develop a love, and a bond that goes far beyond the initial intrigue. A relationship that truly makes you one, a relationship that has made you life partners.
While Casey and I are not yet married, we have been through a lot in our four plus years. Far more than what the “typical” dating couple comes to face, and I truly agree with Julie’s point. I think throughout a relationship there is that one big diamond, summing up the lifetime of a relationship/marriage as a whole. But I also believe that there are similar “mini” diamonds that work their way into your life as well; a rollercoaster of ups and downs.
Life is not always going to be perfect. Life is not always going to be normal. And when you take two lives and put them together, those rises and falls of life are bound to be more abundant.
Life takes work. Life with a partner takes even more work. While you may love your partner day in and day out, there will come days that you don’t really “like” that other person very much. But personally, this year on the ninth of July we’ll be committing our lives to one another, and we’ll be agreeing that life won’t always be perfect, it won’t always be filled with flowers and butterflies, but that we’ll be going through it all together. Forever.
On Sunday we trekked over to the local YMCA. Casey hit up the gym, while Gavin and I decided to head over to the pool.
I have to say, the pool is one of the nicest I’ve ever seen at a YMCA. It has the typical pool for laps and such, and then a completely separate salt water pool with walk in access, sprinklers, a small toddler slide, an area for volleyball, a huge waterslide and a mini lazy river.
The first few minutes, Gavin was slightly panicked…clutching onto me for dear life. But he quickly relaxed and started splashing around like a mad man, telling everyone within earshot, “me swimmin! see! me swimmin! me goooooood swimmer!”
For the first time he put his head under by choice, and would come up sputtering and laughing. It was so much fun to watch and I couldn’t help but think to myself…maybe now he’ll actually let me wash his hair in the bathtub without throwing a fit…
See, this is the face that he made yesterday when I told him that it was time to wash his hair…
no, his hair isn’t wet, just crusty dinner leftovers
Which was quickly followed by a discussion (aka begging mama no) about not having to wash his hair. He loves the playtime during bath time, but doesn’t particularly enjoy the actual bath part.
Oddly enough, promising him that he could help me empty the dishwasher got him so excited that I was able to wash his hair without a tear, but rather with a giggle this time. Apparently bath time requires bribe time these days…but it can’t be that bad when the bribe is teaching him a new household chore, right?!?
As Gavin’s second birthday draws near…I can’t help but look back at pictures from just a year ago.
Each stage of childhood brings about different parenting trials & tribulations. Lucky us, we’re currently enjoying the
terrible terrific twos. Gavin is constantly seeing how far a quirky smile or pouted lip will get him. Giggling and running away to his (not so very) secret hiding spot in his bedroom when we ask him to, “come here please.” Slapping the ground and firmly saying, “no!” when he doesn’t want to do something. Refusing to eat anything but fruit snacks. Turning himself into dead weight when we try to pick him up and he doesn’t want to move. Using the potty to pee, then immediately & intentionally doing a number two in his diaper. Convincing us into believing that he needs a new diaper while in the midst of a vest session, only to discover a dry diaper & that he was trying to get out of the treatment. Doing something naughty when I’m not looking, then running up to me with “hugs, kisses, and I love you so much Mommy” when he gets busted.
He’s stubborn, outspoken, pushes his boundaries, and knows just how to get himself out of trouble…gee, I wonder where he gets that from? I can guarantee you that my dad is looking down on all of this, falling over with laughter.
I have a feeling that this child is going to give us a run for our money. Constantly keeping us on our toes while we attempt to stay one step ahead.
Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures, and a couple by habit. Did you ever wonder how mothers of children with life threatening illnesses are chosen?
Somehow, I visualize God hovering over Earth selecting His instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger. "Armstrong, Beth, son, patron saint Matthew. Forrest, Marjorie, daughter, patron saint Cecilia. Rutledge, Carrie, twins, patron saint Gerard."
Finally, He passes a name to an angel and says, "Give her a child with cancer." The angel is curious. "Why this one God? She's so happy." "Exactly" smiles God, "Could I give a child with cancer a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel."
"But, does she have patience?" asks the angel. "I don't want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she will handle it." "I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give her has it's own world. She has to make it live in her world and that's not going to be easy."
"But, Lord, I don't think she believes in you." No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness." The angel gasps -"Selfishness? is that a virtue?"
God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she'll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take anything her child does for granted. She will never consider a single step ordinary. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see...ignorance, cruelty, prejudice...and allow her to rise above them." She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life, because she is doing My work as surely as if she is here by My side."
"And what about her patron Saint?" asks the angel. His pen poised in mid-air. God smiles, "A mirror will suffice."
We choose to live in Minnesota, therefore we have to make peace with the winter season. But with it being just the two of us in the house day after day for the time being…enough is enough!
If it has been sunny out, it has been too cold to be outside. If it has been warm enough to be outside, the winds are blowing and/or it’s snowing like crazy and it’s not worth stepping outside for any length of time. Needless to say, we haven’t been able to build a snow fort, dig a tunnel, or head to the park to go sledding and my (almost) two year old is going stir crazy. Dear Mother Nature…we love winter! Seriously we do, we would just like a day or two to be able to actually enjoy it please!!!
The trampoline he received from my mom as a Christmas gift has been a life saver. He is on and off of it all day long, fantastic exercise for those little lungs. But today we headed over to our local bounce house. For the first time, he scurried up some incredibly tall “ladders” all on his own to slide down huge slides. He went up and down for 1 1/2 hours straight (take that CF!). As we were leaving he asked to get some “hot cheese” (cheese quesadilla) and “ci’mon tists” (cinnamon twists) from Taco Bell…I’ve already got him hooked…but he fell asleep as we were waiting in the drive through. As we pulled into the garage he woke up and asked, “Me go nigh nigh Mama? Me sooooo tired.”
Now I am crossing my fingers that he’ll stay asleep for quite some time. Lately his naps have been all of an hour long, that doesn’t give me a whole lot of time to get anything done around the house. He’s going through an extremely clingy stage and doesn’t like me out of sight so while he’s awake my productivity is at a level zero.
Thankfully, when Casey gets home Gavin realizes he has another buddy to
bother play with and it gives me a few minutes to move around freely without a toddler holding onto my leg for dear life.
Recently I’ve gotten a couple of bargains off of Craigslist. My current “project” is this bench I am going to place in the entry way. Right now we only have a small table, and when it comes time to put on/take off winter boats and shoes we’ve been sitting on the floor. So for $20 we picked up this bench, it needs a new paint job, and you can see that I have filled some of the scratches/nicks with wood filler…and I’m not a big fan of that heart so I’ll probably place a cushion on the seat & a pillow to cover it up :) All of the supplies I need I already have on hand, so it’s definitely a deal for us!
I also like the fact that it has storage in the bench, that and a couple of small baskets underneath will solve a lot of our winter gear storage issues. The only place we can store them right now is on a high shelf in the closet, way out of Gavin’s reach. I am hoping that this will give him the opportunity to put away and grab his own items without our help.
Wow, what an overflow of response from my previous post. No, not everyone totally agreed with me, and I’m a-ok with that, when it comes to parenting we should never just all agree, that would never get us anywhere. But nearly each email, comment, message thanked me for the insight in our personal opinions, even those that did not align with their personal opinion.
Thank you to the majority of you who took the time to read the title of the post, and the first few sentences, that clearly stated that my opinions are just that, my opinions. To feel the need to tell me that one plan doesn’t work for everyone is (again, in my opinion) calling me an idiot as well as calling me ignorant. That point is obvious, I was only relaying our personal decisions on the topic. Once again, and I will say it again for those who didn’t get the gist, the previous post was my opinion and how we personally make decisions in our family. It did not say that other decisions are wrong. It did not say other decisions are right. It stated my personal opinion, in our personal situation, that daycare outside the home is not for us.
Have I made my point? That I am allowed to my own opinion? That dozens of my friends have children in daycare and it does not change my opinion on their parenting? I am not one to sit at home reading parenting books, I have read only one. I live through experience, and not just my own but through the experiences of my colleagues/friends as well. If we all experienced the same stuff, and followed the same rules, we’d never get better at the most important job in the world…parenting.
Ok, moving on. Several people also asked me to share some of our money saving tips. As I mentioned yesterday, we’re still pretty new to this whole…find a discount everywhere…thing. But in the short time we’ve been extremely budget conscious, we’ve learned some pretty important ideas
When it comes to couponing…
Another cost saving idea? Discover local restaurants that have “kids eat free” nights. Our local Perkins has kids free meals every Saturday night (and they have coupons in newspaper inserts all the time). No it’s not the fanciest meal, but it gives us a night away from cooking/dishes and allows us an hour to be served. And because the entire place is filled with families, we don’t get utterly embarrassed when Gavin isn’t exactly being quiet. Click HERE to find local deals in your neighborhood.
Don’t be afraid of Craigslist or other online “garage sales.” If you don’t feel comfortable selling something at your home, or meeting someone at their home, just ask them to meet you in a public place. I have been asked this before, and have asked this of others before and I have never gotten a complaint. I have found some amazing deals on there, and yes, sometimes some pieces need a little bit of love but that just makes it more personalized to your own taste! Yesterday, we sold our platform bed for a mere $40 less than what we originally paid 3 1/2 years ago!
Discover second hand stores in your area. And I am not just talking about the typical Goodwill or Savers. Oftentimes you will stumble upon a fantastic thrift store with fantastic items. We have two such stores downtown and when we are looking for a new piece they are some of the first places I stop at. Google search and ask your friends/neighbors…you’ll be surprised how many people have secret places!
Have you ever studied grocery stores? The shelving/end caps/floor plans are not a mistake, they are designed in a way to get you to spend more money. It is not an oversight that the milk is located all the way in the back of the store. It is not an oversight that stores have moved the bread back a few aisles. It is not an oversight that name brands are often at eye level, that generic items are located far below/above (did you know that companies pay more to have their items placed at eye level?). It is not an oversight that items appealing to children are placed at low levels. It is not an oversight that in order to get to the clearance/sale racks you must weave through several full priced racks. It is definitely not an oversight that stores such as Walmart/Target have added grocery departments to their stores. Remember this each and every time you enter a store…that a marketer has already planned your shopping trip…that they know the basics of your shopping list, what part of the store you frequent, and most of this information is stored in their systems every single time you swipe a debit/credit card. They study demographics, and use those studies to set up their stores…stay smarter than the “pros”
Those are just some of the basic “guidelines” we have been following lately. Sometimes the best part of shopping is seeing the bold print at the bottom of a receipt, informing you how much you saved!
** Before I even start, please remember that this is my blog, my opinions, my life choices…you may not agree with me all of the time (or ever!) but this is why we choose to keep Gavin home and not put him into a daycare. You may have a different opinion, and that’s all good, but like I said…this is my territory :)
So here we go, in no particular order…
First, we live in the frozen tundra.
If you were to look outside this morning, you too wouldn’t want to leave the house. We had gotten more snow overnight, and the wind was blowing like crazy…not exactly a comfortable atmosphere to hang out in. As much as we like to be outside year round, Mother Nature keeps us inside the majority of the winter season (winter here is often 5 months long) which means that our gross, sickly winter germs are contained in our homes/offices etc, making it much easier to get sick. And honestly, if you don’t live in a state where you have difficult winters? You just don’t get it…not trying to sound rude, but it’s the truth.
As much as I clean & sanitize, I can’t clean everything or everyone so obviously we’re going to get sick…but kids are walking Petri dishes, they pick their noses and immediately walk up to you and give you a high five. Yes, Gavin still gets tons of interaction with other kids. Our neighbors come over and play, we head to the mall play area, local indoor playgrounds, the grocery store play room, the jump house etc (and no I don’t walk around with hand sanitizer he plays just like any other kid)…but if I know that there is a major virus moving around town? We stick around the house.
Yes, I am opening a small daycare in our house. But that’s just it, it will be in my house. I know that when I say I clean I actually clean. I am constantly washing blankets/sheets/pillows and even his stuffed animals. I don’t have potted plants around the house (except for two very small ones in our kitchen window). I go through many of his toys once/twice a weak and wipe them down with disinfectant. I am in control of what illnesses/sicknesses I allow kids to have when they come into our house (minor colds/tummy aches etc are a-ok) and I have the control in sending kiddos home. I am able to be with Gavin through any extra treatment sessions he needs when he does get sick. To me there is a big difference in allowing your kids to be around some germs to build up an immune system, and sticking your child in a germ-filled daycare at 6 weeks of age.
I am at the age where nearly half (if not more) of my friends have toddlers/babies, and almost all of those kids are enrolled in daycare. I cannot even count how often those kids seem to be sick, and CF or no CF, that’s just not something I am willing to deal with. I also cannot count how many parents have talked with me, or visited our home, and discussed how disgusting some of the local daycares are, yech! In general, most home daycares are not clean enough to my standards. And many friends have told me that they wish they could afford to stay home (ahem, you probably can if you aren’t a single parent making the only income, you just have to make a 180 change to your current lifestyle, but more about that later) whether their child has CF, another disease, or is completely “healthy.”
And honestly, after 2 or 3 kids many people need to step back and see if they are even coming out “ahead.” If you realize that after the cost of daycare you are barely making more money than if you stayed at home, then stay home! (if this doesn’t affect your health care). Your children are young ONCE, and if its the difference of a couple thousand dollars a year…skip that vacation, go out to eat monthly instead of weekly, stay away from the shopping mall, etc and enjoy your kids! They will never look back on their childhood and wish that you had spent more time at work.
Our CF team also informed us that keeping a child out of daycare, and healthier for the first three years of life (if that is possible for a family) has proven that the kids often “do better" health wise for longer, obviously this is not true for every child but it really does make sense to me. This is not saying that children who are placed in daycare will not do well, it is just saying that statistically, those that aren’t tend to be sick less & hospitalized less.
Secondly, is the fact that children learn more in their first two years of life than they will in their entire lifetime.
Gavin is about three weeks away from turning two and he can:
I 100% believe that he has achieved all of this so early because of the one-on-one attention he has received from day one. And not just from me, but from the family members/friends he is surrounded by. We read books for hours (seriously) every day, he has discovered that all of those letters at the bottom of the page make up the words to the story I am reading. We rarely watch crazy tv shows for kids, if we have the tv on we stick to PBS. Shows like “Super Why” and “Sesame Street” have gotten Gavin extremely excited about learning and he thinks he’s pretty cool when he answers questions that are far beyond his (almost) two years. All of this has made me realize that once I get this small daycare of mine up and running, that we will spend a major chunk of our day “learning” and not plopping them in front of the tv/just letting them run crazy because I’m worn out. Embedding as much new knowledge as possible into their little minds while they still think “school is cool” and aren’t yet complaining about that daily routine :)
Thirdly, we are willing to make sacrifices.
Sometimes pretty big sacrifices.
One income family means: no vacations, extremely rare fancy dinners/dates out on the town, never buying items that aren’t on sale, making what you have work rather than running out and buying new, making that dollar stretch as far as possible…and being ok with living that way. To us, being able to personally witness each of Gavin’s early accomplishments was far more important than having the nicest house, the most toys…the fancier lifestyle. Sure, having a large house would be nice…but we’re ok with being cozy. Sure, a vacation away from the snow would be nice…but for now we better enjoy snowshoeing and skiing, because the beach isn’t happening anytime soon.
I have also been doing tons of research on couponing. I do not plan on become a crazy coupon lady, but I have spent several days on different websites reading about other SAHM (stay at home mom) techniques. The biggest mind changer for me? Hearing a lady simply say, “A coupon is free money.” And I am not just talking about grocery store coupons. But also coupons for restaurants, theme parks, weekend adventures etc. Saving money, buying second hand, and recreating new items from old ones, are just some of the reasons we can “afford” for me to stay home during the day. On a different day I’ll share some of my newly learned “tips.”
In all, our choice to keep Gavin out of daycare goes far beyond him having CF and goes beyond any other “health reasons.” No, we are not the crazy parents walking around with hand sanitizer and pulling him away from every child that has a runny nose…if anything we’re too relaxed about his “interactions” with germs. Yes, Gavin’s CF made our final decision that much clearer. Yes, I choose to say that Gavin “cannot” be in daycare, because in my opinion? In order for him to continue to succeed (and again, not just talking about his health) at the rate he has? Daycare at someone else’s house is.not.an.option.
Lastly, until you have children of your own you have absolutely no right in judging another parents decision to place their child in daycare or to keep them home. Sure, you can have an opinion, but trust me…it’s better to keep it to yourself until you also have your own :) It is very easy to have “all the answers” of parenthood, until you hold that baby of your own for the first time.
Good guess Danielle! He was indeed watching a snowplow out the door!
There were two of them actually, working as a team to remove some of the snow. I would just like to know, where were they a month ago? Between the last blizzard and now we’ve had rain. Yes, rain. And the rain melted at least two feet of the snow we once had. We’ve received a few inches here and there, but I guess I find it a bit ridiculous that our tax money is moving snow that doesn’t have to be moved.
Oh well, a certain (almost) two year old thoroughly enjoyed the show.
And when it became too cold to stand in the entryway with the door wide open, he moved over to the front window where he and his best pal watched the men at work.
little younger brother and two close friends have been in India since the day after Christmas, traipsing across the country in some cart like contraption.
Today he posted that they made the local paper (he’s on the far right in the picture)
Pretty cool! If you’d like to follow them around click HERE
Half a haircut.
Yep, that is all he’d let me cut yesterday.
So my son is running around with half a head of shaggy hair and half a head of shortly cropped hair. This picture doesn’t do it justice, he looks…well…ridiculous.
Hopefully he’ll let me cut the other side today.
It’s been done before by others, but I thought it would be fun to try myself…
I’ve started another blog, 365 Days of Groettum’s (as if you couldn’t get enough of us already) where this year I hope to post a new picture of someone/something each day for an entire year.
So here goes…hopefully I can remember to keep up!