Tuesday, August 26, 2008

WFMW: Homemade Pedialyte

I've spent the last 10 days with sick kids. It started with Avery and spiraled and swirled and shuffled through the whole passel o'young'uns. Finally, in a crecendo of bodily fluids it hit Aidan and Evan right smack dab in the tummy in my van and in the parking lot of Shopko. Ahem. As I was saying. I bought pedialyte. I figured that there was a homemade version out there, but in the state I was in I was in no state to try to find it myself! So, to my loyal WFMW readers, here it is:

Homemade Pedialyte

1 quart sterile water
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
You can flavor with kool-aid powder, though I think I'd just add a splash of apple or white grape juice to the individual cup.

That is all. Water, sugar, salt and baking soda. You've probably got all those ingredients in your cupboard and can whip up a batch of this to keep your sick little ones hydrated for pennies instead of paying $4-$6 or more for the store bought stuff.

(This is not intended to be medical advice, if your mommy instinct tells you to take your baby in to the doctor, please listen!)

Shannon's been on break from blogging, but is back this week for Works For Me Wednesday! Click on over there for LOTS of more great practical ideas like this one!

(Oh, and if you're here for the first time, welcome! Sorry I don't have everything nicely organized on the sidebar, you know how it is with the kids and all. Feel free to snoop through the archives though! And if you know how to organize all that, let me know!)

Six Years Ago Today

Six years ago today I woke up. The day was bright, but my heart was not. I made a doctor's appointment for late morning to be examined because I was bleeding, not just spotting, but bleeding. Six years ago today I miscarried. I was thirteen weeks, one day pregnant.

Over a month earlier I started spotting. I went to the ER and it was there that the journey began. I had an ultrasound and it was then that I found out that I was carrying two little blessings! I saw two little jellybeans wiggling on the screen and two little hearts thump thumping away. Jim and I began to tell our friends and family of the twins. Evan's response was, "two babies? We'd better call the doctor!" He was not quite two years old at the time! Over the next few weeks we rejoiced in the fact that we were going to grow our family VERY quickly! I joined online groups for moms of twins. I went to a Mothers of Multiples group meeting (where all I learned was how to play Bunco). I researched what I would need double of and even went so far as to purchase a twin stroller and matching car seats for our little bitty bitties. I found a good deal and was confident in my body's ability to carry twins.

On the morning of my twelve week gestation mark I remember waking up and literally breathing a sigh of relief. Miscarriages only happen under twelve weeks, and so I woke up glad to be carrying the twins and naively looking forward to continuing to carry two babies. My goal was to carry them till February figuring I'd deliver sometime in the middle of February. My due date was March 3 of 2003. 3/3/03 :) I figured that since I'd hit the 12 week mark with two in utero that it would be smooth sailing from then on. Of course, I might deliver early, but surely it would only be a little early. I never imagined that I would be anything more than a mother of twins with an older singleton (and who knows who else after them!).

August 23 was a Friday. I was shopping with my girlfriend when I felt a little gush. I went to the bathroom with my heart in my throat. I think I knew then that it was the beginning of the end. I called the doctor's office as soon as they opened on Monday morning and requested (probably not so politely) to be seen at the first available appointment. I dropped Evan off with friend Kelly and went to the appointment. After a few questions by the nurse practitioner I hopped upon the table for her to try to find a heartbeat with the little doppler thing. She didn't find one. She also didn't offer any trite answers like, "its still early" or "sometimes the baby is hiding". She simply got on the phone with the ultrasound department and made me an appointment.

I went out to the ultrasound desk to register knowing in my heart that one of the babies was gone. Surely we would find one little jellybean wiggling around on the screen. The ultrasound tech (the same one who discovered the twins) squirted the goop on my belly and began the exam. She kept the screen turned away from me the entire time so I merely watched the ceiling waiting for her to tell me that one of the babies was dead, but that there was still one dancing around in there. After a while she turned off her machine and said that she had to go talk to the doctor. At that point I was fairly certain that they were both gone. It's always a bad sign when they have to go talk to the doctor and don't talk to the patient. They sent me back to the waiting room and after a while I was called back to talk to the nurse practitioner. She told me that both of the babies were gone. They measured seven and eight weeks gestation, so had evidently died several weeks earlier. My body just hadn't gotten the message. She told me to go home and just "let nature take it's course" but that if I started bleeding too heavily or wanted to have a d/c to get it over with to come back in and they'd take care of it.

Not sure what else to do, I went home and started making phone calls. Jim was at in service gearing up for a new school year. I called the secretary at the school and left a message to have him call me (this before our cell phone days). I called my mom at work. I called Kelly and asked if she could keep Evan a little longer (she graciously did). I called my best girlfriend Mel. That afternoon turned into a little bit of a blur of tears and wandering the house wondering what to do next.

Eventually Jim picked Evan up from the sitters, we had dinner and settled down to our evening. That evening turned into a blur of cramping, contracting, hemmoraging, a call to Kelly to come to the house to stay with Evan, an ER visit, a plummeting through the floor blood pressure, questions, pokes, IVs, prods, a stretcher ride to the OR with my hands holding my soon to be empty belly, a gentle nurse anesthetist stroking my cheek as I went under the anesthesia and finally, waking up in the recovery room not pregnant.

Because it was late (around midnight) when I went in I was given a room on the post op floor for observation. Because of the trillions of liters of fluids they'd pumped into me in the ER I slept very little and kept my night nurse hopping with my requests for a bedpan every hour on the hour. She was great. She brought in two little white keepsake pillows and some trite poetry someone had donated to the unit for women in my situation. She talked with me or let me talk or just went about her job quickly and quietly. It really is true what people say about the nurses, they run the hospital. A bad nurse would have made the situation all the more unbearable and I am forever grateful for the good care I had from the nursing staff.

The next morning I woke up (can it be waking up if you never really slept?) and the doctor came in to chat. He actually pulled up a chair and sat down at the bedside which I think was a really caring thing to do. I asked if they could tell if the twins were identical or fraternal, boys or girls. He merely shook his head; adding to the questions that would plague me for months to come.

My physical healing came pretty quickly. The doctor did such a good job with the d/c that I was physically back to normal within a week or two. Naturally, the emotional healing took a little longer. I cannot say that I can pinpoint when I felt better, but as time has a way of doing, it healed all things, including the loss of twins.

So, now six years have passed since that one event. I have learned some thing as a result of that experience. I believe I have learned not to take a healthy pregnancy for granted. I have gone on to have three other healthy, happy, full term babies. If the twins had lived I would not have the spunk of a 'Tater, the fun of a Toby or the blessing of an Avery. I belive I am able to comfort other grieving mommies with the comfort I have received. The outpouring of support after the loss was just tremendous. I have a box full of cards, notes and keepsakes. I am honored to be called upon for advice when friends have other friends experiencing loss. I am glad to be able to give them suggestions on things to do and say and not do and not say.

Should you find yourself on the grieving end of a miscarriage, please know that the hurt and pain does get better. I will not tell you that "at least you can get pregnant", "at least it was early", or "there must have been something wrong with it". I will tell you that while you may never get "over it" you will get through it. You have to take the time to grieve this loss in your life, however that looks for you. Cry, write a letter to the baby, talk to someone, read books about grieving mommies, plant a tree or make a donation to your hospital of some keepsakes for other mommies who are leaving the hospital with empty arms. Take some time to grieve. And eventually, you will be able to string one good day after another until the loss fades to a memory.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Tote-ally big problem

I have just a couple of areas of what we might call a "collection". I once won a contest for having the most pairs of shoes (20-something). I also recently lost a bet with Jim over how many pairs shoes I actually had (though if we hadn't counted slippers which I'd inherited from his mom and shoes I'd planned on getting rid of anyway I would have totally won.) It cost me two hours of working in the garage on things that were dirty. Being a not so much outside sort of girl, he REALLY won the bet!

I also have a bit of a bag collection. I have totes, purses, diaper bags, library bags, little bags for just a wallet, big bags for a weekend away and everything in between. One of my favorite things about going away for a weekend is picking the bag that will fit everything just right with no extra wasted space. I'll pack a diaper bag (with just diapering supplies), a food bag, a things-to-do-in-the-car-for-the-kids-that-will-hopefully-buy-me-a-moment's-peace bag and a purse for myself in addition to the suitcases for the clothes and stuff. I'll sometimes even bring along an empty collapsable bag to pack dirty laundry in! Most of my bags were free from events or really cheap from garage sales and thrift stores. I love nothing better than to find a cute bag that totally suits me for under a dollar or two.

Well, I've been storing my bag collection in a rubbermaid tub in the basement for the past year. I'm finding out, however, that this is a REALLY bad idea. Why? Well, while we don't have a wet basement, per se, we have a dampish basement. And when fabric items are constantly exposed to a dampish basement fabric items start to get black dusty like stuff on them. Yup. My collection is infested with mildew.

Now, maybe all is not lost. Once I'm caught up with laundry from four kids being sick for a week (and they were) I'm planning on spraying all my bags with some magic and washing them in the washing machine. Hopefully I'll be able to write another post soon and inform you all that all is well in bag land and we'll all live happily ever after!

If not, look for me at garage sales. I'll be hitting them hard and heavy in the coming weeks in an attempt at re-building my stash!

(And if any of my readers happen to work in a bag production sort of business, let me know. I'll gladly accept donations...)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Conversations that you'd never expect...unless you have boys

Mom, upon finding scissors with crusty boogers on them: Aidan, did you cut up boogers with the scissors?
Aidan: They're not boogers. They're bloody boogers.
Mom: Why were you cutting them up with the scissors?
Aidan: Because I didn't want to leave them on the towel that was hanging over there.
Mom: Aidan, go clean the scissors. (Mom exits and puts all towels in sight in the laundry.)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Finally, Tara's back!

I think the reason I've not been blogging lately is because I don't think much has happened. I wake up, feed a bunch of kids, drink coffee, wash dishes, dress kids, change diapers, do laundry, feed more kids, wash more dishes, drink more coffee, change more diapers, do more laundry etc etc etc ad naseum. Last week we shook things up a bit. I bit the bullet and booked us two hotel rooms!!! In a hotel with a pool! I also got us some tickets to the Science Museum of Minnesota! Woo hoo, we went on vacation! :)

Last Wednesday after lunch we loaded the van up and headed to the Cities (for my non-MN reader, yes, you, over there, that would be the Twin Cities aka: the Minneapolis and St. Paul area). We checked into our hotel and I took the boys to the pool while Jim stayed in the rooms with Avery so she could theoretically nap. I was brilliant enough to have the foresight to book adjoining rooms so Avery could go to bed in one while the rest of us could watch TV or just hang out in the other. After a dip in the pool and a quick shower, we met our friends Ben and Emily and their two kidlets for dinner. In Wisconsin. Now, having very little knowledge of Cities geography when Emily suggested that we have dinner at a diner in Wisconsin I thought she'd lost her marbles. Turns out that we were only about 15 minutes from Wisconsin. So, we had dinner in Wisconsin! The joint had decent food, but wasn't the most family friendly place in town. The kids did fine, but we were all anxious to get back to the hotel and more swimming!

Thursday morning we were treated to an extended continental breakfast in the restaurant adjoining the hotel and then we were off for the Science Museum. Jim and the kids had a lot of fun exploring the various science-y things while I pushed Avery around in the stroller. I am sure Avery was grateful for the few toddler friendly exhibit areas where she was able to get out and play a bit, too. We splurged on tickets for the Star Wars exhibit which my little Jedi nerds in training loved. The boys all got to try their hands at building a hover craft out of legos (and electromagnets) and all the males attempted to drive an actual hover craft which was a lot harder than it looked. :) Avery loved part of a movie presentation where a droid with huge expressive eyes jabbered at the audience. She jabbered right back at that robot! Turns out I believe the droid was speaking "Avery" and not just jibberish! Toby's highlight of the day was found in the dinosaur exhibit though not for the dinos themselves. He was over the moon with delight at seeing a display of the palentologist's tools. Toby the tool man, that's him! Evan and Aidan both loved the Star Wars exhibit for the props and costumes from the movies.

We headed back to town Thursday afternoon stopping to drop off our borrowed stroller and to pick up our computer (which had picked up a nasty virus that eventually started flashing inappropriate pictures across the screen). Jim and I put the kids to bed fairly early to try to get everyone caught up on their sleep. Didn't work, but at least we tried!

On to the current...Evan and I went back to school shopping today! Now armed with new folders, pencils and a ton of other junk, Evan is prepared to begin the third grade in just a few more days. Aidan asked me if he could go back to school shopping with Evan and me next year. I think I shocked him when I said, "yes because you'll be going shopping for kindergarten next year!" Man, how the time does fly by.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Loggin' boys

Yesterday Jim and Evan went to Auntie Alice and Uncle Roy's farm to chop down some of their dead trees. If we don't end up selling this house the plan is to put in a wood burning stove so they were out gathering up firewood to keep us warm during the long cold Minne-snow-ta winters.

Evan learned a lot. He learned how to wrap a chain around a dead branch to pull it down. Uncle Roy taught him this. Part of wrapping a chain around a dead branch involves being lifted up 10-12 feet in the air in the front end loader. Glad I wasn't there!

He learned how to load six foot lengths of log into the trailer in an organized fashion. He learned how to toss the kindling branches into a brush pile and to differentiate between brush and usable logs. He also learned how to cuss. :)

"Mom, did you know Uncle Roy says, 'what the he!!?'"
"Okay, but we don't say that word in our house."
"Why not?"
"Well, it's a swear word." (When used in that manner of course.)
"Man, there sure are a lot of swear words!"

I think the other swear words he knows are butt, stupid and heck. :)

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Not Bad!

create your own personalized map of the USA
or check out ourCalifornia travel guide

Not bad for a little ol' Iowa girl!

What you can't see here is the eastern states. I tallied up that I've been in 28. :) I've got some traveling to do! Anyone want to send me a trip to their state so I can cross more off the list??? :)

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Party Time!

Yeah, a new post from Tara!

I am in need of some creative inspiration. Summer has sapped every living brain cell I have left and I need your help! Aidan has been an avid finger sucker now for coming up on five years. He sucked the middle two fingers of the right hand. Since it was more than one finger he didn't get a tight seal and I've spent the last years of my life wishing there was a chalkboard I could go scrape my fingernails down instead of listening to that slurping sucking sound! This summer I think he was finally ready to give up on his habit so I helped him along. I bandaged up the offending fingers, wrote on the bandaid "no no" and drew a smily face and a donut. Why a donut? Well, I also promised him that if he could quit I would have a donut party for him!

So, this is where you come in. Beyond just having some friends over for a playdate and serving donuts, what else can we do? Maybe a game or a craft project to make it a little more memorable for him and to celebrate his giving up the fingers!

Okay, hit me with your best "donut party" ideas!