Welcome!

Welcome to a piece of our sweet journey of life. This blog is about our family life-- my husband, my type 1 diabetic kindergartner, my spunky pre-schooler, my newborn baby girl, and myself! Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Beach Weekend

Over Labor Day weekend, one of my best friends and I met up at my family's beach cottage on the Florida panhandle.  My friend had the whole week of Labor Day off, and I'm in a holding pattern while waiting on field experience placement for my Master's program, so I had a chunk of time off as well.

We had debated going to Savannah since neither of us had been, but we nixed that idea when we started researching places to stay and eat.  It's super pricey over there for just a 2-3 day trip.  We chose to save a lot of money by going to the beach cottage instead.

We had spent a week there in 2008 during a college Spring Break trip.  I had brought three friends with me and we spent 7 days relaxing at the beach.  It was so nice!  So my friend had been there before and knew that this was the perfect serene place to get a break from school and work.

There's no television, which is just fine with us.  We both made plans to read and just enjoy not having to think about where to be next.  I loaded up my canvas bag with books from the library, and we both polished off at least one book from my stash while we were there for just about 48 hours.

I left my house around 5:15 on Saturday morning and arrived at the cottage around 11:30 my time.  The beach cottage is actually on Eastern time, which I had to keep reminding myself all weekend.  I stopped at Aaron's favorite seafood market & bought some shrimp and grouper to take back to him.  At the cottage, I immediately froze these items to make for easier transport later on.  My friend arrived around 12:45.  After catching up briefly inside, we went to a local restaurant for lunch and then headed to Apalachicola for some shopping!





It was SO NICE just to wander around the little shops and take our time.  We each bought something at a super cute little store.  She got a canvas tote bag with hot pink flamingos printed on it and little hot pink pom-pom fringe.  I got a tea-towel in a cream color with gold sparkly leaves. The towel says "My Favorite Color is Fall."  My friend got her item at the beginning of our meanderings around town, but we circled back to the shop so I could buy the tea-towel before we headed back to the cottage.  We also got chocolate malts at the Old Fashioned Soda Fountain in Apalachicola.



That evening, we went to the grocery store and bought a frozen pizza, a small container of milk, half a dozen eggs, and a bag of chips.  I had brought muffin mix and a brownie mix from home-- hence why we had to buy milk and eggs.   That night, we made frozen pizza and read and chatted.  The next morning, we made muffins and coffee.




Around 10:00am, we took some beach chairs and our books to the water and read beachside. As we were reading, I noticed a fin in the water.  It was a dolphin! And it was only like a yard from shore!  I literally was about to get up and go into the water to cool off when I saw the fin and jumped back and took a closer look.  Soon, we saw upwards of ten fins.  Not all of them were as close to shore as the first.  Only a couple of them got within a yard or two of shore.  The rest would pop up about 100 yards out. Needless to say, we didn't get in the water just because we weren't sure where the pod was going to pop up next and didn't want to be bumped by a dolphin!  It was so fun to see them, especially that amount of them and that close to shore.




We went inside around 12:30 for leftover pizza lunch and more reading/naps.  That evening, we went to East Point to a restaurant called the Red Pirate.  It was SO GOOD!  I got the shrimp po-boy.  We drove out to St. George Island after dinner just to look around.  On our way back across the bridge, the sky was just amazing!  I was driving, so I couldn't get any pictures, but it was a light gray on one side, and then it slowly faded to light yellow where beams of light from the setting sun shone through the clouds.  Further to the right, the sky darkened to a magnificent blue where it was raining.  It was so cool!  People were actually stopping their cars on the shoulder of the bridge to get pictures.

That night, we chatted and did more reading and baked brownies.

We ate leftover muffins the next morning, divvied up our leftovers and cleaned up and closed up the cottage.

We both left town around noon, and I made it home by 4:30.  It was a great little getaway and refresh time!

Aaron cooked the shrimp on Tuesday & the grouper on Wednesday.  That's always a nice way to enjoy more of the beach trip!

Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba


Friday, August 31, 2018

Michael is 6!

Michael turned 6 years old on August 28th!  I really can't believe I have a six year old!

I decided to skip his well check-up this year.  He goes to the doctor so often for diabetes related appointments, and this whole past year was wrought with ear infection appointments.  I figured since yearly check-ups were recommended until age 5 at which point the pediatrician said to come back every year to two years, I'd take the two year route and give Michael a break.

He's just over 60 pounds and is four feet tall.  He's a big boy.

He wears size 8 clothing and a size 2 shoe in big kid sizing.

He designed his own birthday party.  His invitation has Ice Kirby on it, and his party decorations were Super Mario and Pokemon and Pac-man.  All combined, we dubbed it a Super Smash Brothers Party.  We sent invitations to family, and some of his friends from church and his entire class at school.



Our family friend C came, as well as K from church, and we had one classmate (also a K) come too.  We held his party on Sunday afternoon of this past week.  Aaron & I bought and borrowed some outdoor games (ladder golf, horseshoes, ring toss) for the kids to play with outside.  One grandma got Michael the board game "Guess Who?" so this was also played at the party.  His little friend from school got him a Dinosaur Fossil Kit, and the kids had a great time chipping away the clod of dirt to reveal a dino bone, dino poop, and a dino tooth.

Michael planned his menu, which included chili dogs (because Sonic the Hedgehog likes those), Pac-man cookies (made by Aaron's stepmom), cheese puff balls (to represent fireballs from Mario), and a confetti cake (made to look like Pokemon stadium from Super Smash Brothers).  Each kid took home a little bag filled with Mario trinkets and a small Kirby toy.







On his actual birthday, he was chomping at the bit to go to school because his teacher gives kids a Pixi-Stick on their birthday and he couldn't wait!

For dinner that night, he got to choose what we ate and he chose Marco's veggie pizza.

He told me over and over that it was the best birthday ever!



It's hard to get a picture of him these days because he's so busy, but I just love him to pieces.


Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba


Avery: 12 Months

Avery turned one year old on August 20th!

She had her 12 month check up on August 23rd and weighed 18.5 pounds and was 28 inches tall.  She's in the 25th percentile for height and weight.  My smallest baby.  (Michael was always in the 90th percentile, and Noah was in the 50th percentile).  

I'm so excited every time she hits a new phase or discovers something new about the world!  I have to remind myself that she's experiencing everything for the first time (sometimes it's hard to remember that since my oldest two are years ahead of her). 





Diapers: She is comfortably in Size 3 and we won't be moving up anytime soon.  

Clothing: There's still a few shirts in her drawer that I put on her without thinking that they're 9 month size.  Mostly, she's in 12 month clothing.  She received a super cute overall set for her birthday, and it's size 18 months but I put her in it the other day just because, and it wasn't too super huge. :)  She got a good amount of clothes for her birthday, and a couple things are long sleeve 12-month size that she'll be able to wear this fall, but most of the clothing was 24 month size and I think I might be more excited to dress her in toddler sizes than I was to dress her in baby sizes, and that's saying a lot because I have fully enjoyed dressing a little girl!

Sleeping:  She is still sleeping through the night, which makes me give all the praise hands!  She'll go to sleep around 6:30 (sometimes as early as 5:45), and she'll wake around 9 or 10, but only for a minute and she puts herself back to sleep.  She wakes in the morning anywhere from 6:30-7:15.  

Feeding: She detests baby food now, and prefers to feed herself whatever we're having.  I can't remember if I mentioned it on the blog, but she had an adverse reaction to rice right before she turned 9 months old and her pediatrician told us to refrain from giving anything with rice (rice flour, rice cereal, rice pasta) until she was a year old.  At her appointment, I asked about this and the doctor said to keep refraining until she's 18 months old.  So, we're doing that but it's hard to find things that don't have rice!  On the nights when I cook something for the rest of us that has rice in it, then Avery will get something separate.  She still loves shredded cheese and has recently discovered jello (red, of course) and go-gurt (which I squirt into a bowl).  I'm also working on getting her to use sippy cups for water in between bottle feeds.  She knows how to use the one with the straw, but doesn't like the sippy cups resembling bottle tops.  She takes about five 8-9 ounce bottles of whole milk during the day.  





Mobility:  She is working on running!  She still likes to be held at certain points of the day, but most of the time she's meandering around on her own.  

Habit:  She's taken her diaper off a couple of times in the house, but fortunately it's been right after a diaper change, so nothing is messy.  I quickly put a onesie on her though when this happens!  

We had a little party for her on the Saturday before her birthday.  It was peachy floral themed.  We made her cake from scratch (German Chocolate from the old Betty Crocker cookbook) and it was so good!  She thought so too!






Here's her 1 year old photo shoot. 






Oh, Avery, you bring such joy to everyone around you!  We love you so!


Until Next Time, 

Much love, Reba

Monday, August 13, 2018

Just the Way Our Journey Is

So, National Breastfeeding Awareness Week was within the last two weeks, I can't remember specifics right now.  Anyway, I missed being a part of it.  Again.

See, with Michael (who also has an August birthday), I breastfed him until he was 9 months old.  By that time, I was very early on in my pregnancy with Noah and I had no supply left.

Noah, born in January, was allergic to the milk proteins.  I tried changing my diet and eliminating/decreasing the amount of dairy I ate, but it made no difference.  He had to be on formula by 4 months old.

With Avery, my goal was to make it to one year, but I would be happy if I surpassed the nine month mark.

We made it to nearly 11 months.  My supply dropped so much that it was almost nonexistent and nothing I did could bring it up.  In addition to this, I was having medical issues.

The night before I turned 30, my monthly cycle returned.  I hadn't had one since giving birth to Avery.  This was very odd for me, since my cycle immediately returned to normal after the birth of my boys.  Well, I say "normal."  The cycles after Michael were 45-day cycles rather than 28-day cycles.  My OB said this sometimes happens.  The cycles after Noah were back to normal 28-day cycles.  Then, after giving birth to Avery, I had about 9.5 months of nothing.  It was kind of nice, to be honest, but also stressful because I didn't know when it would return.  I halfheartedly joke about not liking my 30s, and the main reason is that my cycle came back.

Well, between April 24th and July 13th (when I went to my OB), I had nine cycles.  We knew this wasn't normal.  I was hoping that a change in my thyroid medication dose would correct the issue, which is why I didn't alert my OB prior to the middle of July.  After realizing that a change in dosage wasn't helping, I knew something needed to be done.  I alerted my mom of the beginning of yet another cycle and this time, it came with clots.  She phoned a friend and got me in to see my OB that day.  He knew something needed to be done to regulate the hormones that were causing these increased cycles.  I was tested for anemia and didn't have it, but it was only a matter of time.  He gave me a prescription to stop the current cycle.  This is all God's timing, because I had actually weaned Avery that very week on Tuesday and my appointment was Friday.  He made sure that I had weaned her and told me that I could not breastfeed her while on this special medication.  I assured him that we were finished nursing. We went over my options and decided that endometrial ablation was the answer.  My OB will absolutely not conduct an endometrial ablation without first tying the tubes through bilateral tubal ligation.  So, I was scheduled for a bilateral tubal ligation, a D&C, and an endometrial ablation for July 31st.  He wrote me a prescription for the medication to stop the current cycle and it included one refill in case I happened to have another cycle before my surgery date (which I did, bringing my total to 10 cycles from April 24th and July 31st).

I'll have a post in the future about that experience, but I wanted to write this post today to express some of my feelings about still not achieving the year mark of breastfeeding.  Although Avery had expressed disinterest in nursing, and was super comfortable with a bottle & even with formula bottles, it still hurt knowing that the special medication completely eliminated any chance of breastfeeding her again.  Although my supply was really low, I still semi had plans to pump whatever I could and save it for her.  But this medication rendered that impossible.  It's a different feeling when a choice is taken away from you, even if it's the choice you would have made yourself.

I knew we were done breastfeeding.  I just wish it was ultimately my decision to stop, rather than having a medication make the final call.  I knew something had to be done about my recurring cycles and the impending threat of anemia and clotting.  And I knew that Aaron and I had three healthy children and had met our goal of having three kids.  But I still wish it was my decision to undergo permanent birth control (for either him or myself).  I didn't want the final call to rest in the hands of a medical condition that required permanent birth control in order to get the surgery to relieve the medical problem.

So, each decision that was made was one that I was going to make anyway (weaning, permanent birth control), but I wanted to be the one to make those decisions.  I didn't want them to be made for me.

As National Breastfeeding Awareness Week rolled around and social media was flooded with stories and inspiration from moms all over who were proudly feeding their babies via breastmilk, I hurt inside.  Figuratively and literally.  My heart ached because I wanted to be one of those moms who hits the year mark and keeps going.  My body physically ached because I woke up with three incisions (when I thought I was only having one since all we ever talked about was one).  My recovery was drastically more painful than I expected and had read about beforehand.  So all this intertwined itself into a sinking feeling that I missed the mark again.  I didn't make it to the one year mark with any of my three babies.  And of course, I absolutely do not judge any mom at all for any of the methods of feeding their babies.  I only judge myself.  This third time (that's the one that's supposed to be the charm, right?) was going to be different.  I had reasons for stopping my breastfeeding in the past (new pregnancy, and allergy).  But this third time was going to be the different one.  And yet another reason got in the way that made decisions for me that my heart wasn't ready to surrender.

But that's the way our journey is sometimes, right?  Sometimes we don't always get to have things the way we'd want.  And nothing ever quite goes according to our plans.

I've just started the Beth Moore Bible study called "The Quest" and it's about prayer and being on a quest with God, towards God.  At this point in my life, this is what I need.  I need to want to be okay with my situation and surroundings and to relinquish the control that I've tried so hard to white-knuckle into existence.  This will be good for me.  I'll keep you posted on how it goes, and I'll write a future post about my recovery experience.

Thanks for reading!


Until Next Time,
Much Love, Reba

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Avery: 11 Months

Avery turned 11 months old on July 20th!

She had her 9 month check up on May 21st and weighed 16 pounds 14 ounces and was 27 inches tall.  (A few days later, I had to take her back to the doctor for a separate issue and she weighed 17 lbs, 3 oz.)  She won't have another check-up until late August when she's a year old. My guess is that she's about 18 or 19 pounds. 

This year has gone by at lightning speed, but I'm not surprised by it.  That's the way it was for all of the "first" years for my kiddos.  This time around, though, I don't mourn the exiting of a baby stage as much as I did with my two boys.  I'm excited for each new thing Avery can do, and I remind myself that we've made it through the newborn days, which although super cute, are the hardest to get through in my opinion.


Diapers: We have transitioned her into size 3 just because we didn't feel like buying an entire box of size 2 right when she is on the cusp of outgrowing that weight limit.  The size 3 are a little loose, and we've had a couple issues with poop escaping. :(

Clothing: Avery can still wear 9 month clothes quite comfortably, but I think she only has a few 9-month things that I left in her drawer.  She's in 12-month clothes for the most part and has lots of growing room!  I bought her a couple extra 12-month footie pajamas, but her grandmas and great-grandmas supplied the rest of her 12-month wardrobe! 

Sleeping:  She is FINALLY sleeping through the night!  Aaron and I went away for a 4-day trip together to Washington state and I was so nervous that she'd keep up both sets of grandparents who'd be watching the kids during the 4-day trip.  Instead, she surprised us all by choosing to showcase her sleeping skills during her first spend-the-night adventure!  It was hit-or-miss when we got home, and she'd be up 2-3 times a night, but I attribute some of that to teething.  She has slept through the night for the past few nights for me and it's fabulous!  She also takes pretty good naps at home, so I'm happy about that. 





Feeding: She still eats baby food at lunch and dinner.  But we're including more "real person food" torn up into small pieces.  She likes everything we've put in front of her that she can pick up and feed herself.  She really enjoys shredded cheese and sharing frozen waffles with me (cooked crispy with butter and syrup!).  Also, Aaron shares ice cream with her and she's a super fan of that!  This afternoon, we went to a wedding and she enjoyed some bites of chocolate groom's cake and a strawberry with fruit whip.  





Mobility:  She began walking when she was about 10.5 months old!  She was my earliest walker for sure.  She has now started to "run" which really means she'll take about 8-10 quick steps and then have to get her balance again. :)  She'll be really running before I know it.  People are surprised to see her walk since she's so small.  At home, we block off the entrance to the hallway with a rubbermaid bin.  She has access to the living room, kitchen, and dining room (sometimes laundry room too if I forget to close the door).  She'll make her loops around the kitchen, living, and dining rooms and is super proud of herself for walking the whole way.  She only crawls now if she is tired or frustrated (which, pretty much means tired).  We also tried on a pair of shoes (hand-me-downs from my niece) the other day & she mostly loves wearing them. She laughs when we put them on het feet, and cankles have never been so cute!






Habit:  She seeks out her baby doll each morning and calls it "bah-bah."  She will hold her baby with one arm (a trick she's very proud of!) and pat her baby with her other arm while saying "pah-pah" since I say "pat pat your baby."  It's the sweetest thing.  She's such a sweet little girl and we're enamored! She's also out daredevil climber & mischief maker. She will try to grab my coffee cup on our end table, so I always have to be on guard. She's figured out how to open the DVD player and she'll grab Michael's portable game players if we're not careful. 




Michael was my assistant for the photo shoot, and I'm sure that's the only way I got any photos of her actually being still!





Most of the pictures look like this:



Oh, Avery, you bring such joy to everyone around you!  We love you so!


Until Next Time, 

Much love, Reba

Monday, July 30, 2018

Dentist

I decided back in March when Michael's dentist appointment was approaching, to cancel it and reschedule it for the summertime.  Michael missed a lot of school in January and February due to our preventative measures to keep him from getting the flu (because Type One Diabetes and the flu are a dangerous combination).  I didn't want him missing out of any more class time.  I also feel like one dentist trip a year is sufficient, so now I should be able to schedule dentist appointments for both boys  (and eventually Avery) during the summertime.

The boys had their appointments back to back on Monday.  I go back with them, and I knew I couldn't leave one kid unattended in the waiting room, so I had one boy sit in the side chair and one boy in the dentist chair.  I pre-arranged for their appointments to be with the same hygienist, and the dentist office staff thought this was a great plan.  They said I could keep doing it like this until both boys were old enough to have side by side appointments.

Since the appointments were back to back, we spent a large amount of time in the dentist office.  Usually, I'm in and out within 30 minutes, but this time we were in there close to two hours!  Part of this was because Noah wouldn't open his mouth, which is a key location for dental appointments. :)

Noah went first, and it is really a toss up as to who should have gone first.  Both of the boys wanted to go first, but technically, it was Noah's appointment first and I tacked Michael onto it in March.  So, the staff called Noah first.  I think whichever boy went second probably would have the advantage since he'd be able to see his brother undergo the steps and would know what to expect.

Noah usually does great at the dentist, but he was hesitant to open his mouth and I had to bribe him to do so.  He protested every new thing they had to do:  dental pictures, picking, flossing, polishing, brushing flouride, etc.  Eventually, his appointment ended and Michael's could begin.  Michael knew everything to do since he had just seen Noah go through it.  Michael did super great!  This is an oddity because he's normally the shy one/uncooperative one at appointments since he's had to endure so many doctor/endocrinology appointments in his little life so far.  But he did phenomenally well!

Both boys were given an inflated balloon and a non-inflated balloon for them to blow-up later (ie, death sentence, which is why I confiscated the non-blown-up balloons and swiftly tossed them in the garbage can at home).   They were also both given two stickers of Mr. Peabody and Sherman, which led to their interest in watching that TV show on Netflix in the coming days.

By the time we left the dentist office, it was nearly lunchtime and Michael's blood sugar had begun to drop right before the dentist checked his teeth.  I didn't want to feed him skittles while waiting on the dentist to come survey what the hygienist had just done, so we waited and Michael was okay.  I gave him some fruit snacks in the van when we were done with the appointment.

I promised the boys a treat when they were finished, and Lord knows they don't need any more toys, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to go inside our town's brand new Krispy Kreme location!  I was super surprised at how nice it was inside!  They had the perfect selection size, and an offer to get any three donuts for just over three dollars.  I tried limiting the boys to a few select donuts, but Noah was insistent on a cake-batter filled one because it had yellow frosting, so I thought "oh, why not?" and I told both boys to pick out whatever donut they wanted.  Michael changed his mind from a strawberry frosted one to an Oreo filled one, and Noah was ecstatic to get the yellow frosted one!  I got my tried-and-true favorite of chocolate iced custard filled and we all sat down to a very nice little outing!  The donut crew wasn't making a fresh batch, but I hope to take the boys again sometime soon so they can watch the donuts roll through the glaze machine. :)






We had a really sweet morning together and then I dropped them off with my mother in law so I could go home to work on my 13 page research paper for one of my classes!  I turned it in this morning-- yay!  Now I need to start working on a 2-3 page paper for another class before I work on a 5-page paper for a third class.

Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The getaway!

Aaron & I just got home on Sunday evening from a little 4-day parents only getaway to Washington state (where Aaron is from)!  I am still trying to believe that we actually were able to do this!!!  (Many many thanks to our parents for watching our kids (& dog!))

Aaron's cousin got married near the end of May, and although we were prepared for Aaron to go solo to the wedding, we received news that Michael's kindergarten graduation would be the day before the wedding.  Aaron chose not to go, and we saved the money that we would have spent on the airline ticket (which was astronomical). 

Then, Aaron's grandpa had surgery in the beginning of July and we knew we needed for Aaron to be able to get a visit in soon.  I looked up plane tickets on the sly and told him to book it and go.  He one-upped me by finding waaaaay cheaper tickets (like half-off what we saw in May), and I made the passing comment "wow! For that price, I could go with you!"   He said "Oh, please do!" and the rest is history. 

I scrambled to get my school work done for the time period that I'd be out of internet access, and I did it!

Our parents didn't bat an eye when we asked if all three of our kids could stay with them-- one who had a chronic medical condition, one with a severe cashew allergy, and one who wasn't sleeping through the night yet.   Our parents are rockstars and made it work! 

My mother-in-law kept the kids from Wednesday night through Friday afternoon, when my mom went over and picked them up and kept them til we returned on Sunday evening.  My parents kept my dog the whole time (he prefers going there and would probably live there if we'd let him!). 

I'll update soon with pictures of our trip and more travel details.  All in all, it was WONDERFUL and such a treat to be able to go on a getaway with my husband. 

Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba