Monday, February 25, 2013


As I watched Gavin use a ride-on toy to roll/walk across the room yesterday afternoon, I reflected back on my weekend. And then as he slammed his fingers in the bib drawer for the thousandth time, I sighed and realized I will spend many more weekends in the ER with my little boy.

Friday evening, just before I got home from work, Nate and Laura were eating peanuts. Gavin started choking on something - always breathing the whole time, but definitely choking. The coughing fit passed, but he never quite got over it. When I arrived home a few minutes later, I looked at Gavin and told Nate, "Why does he look like he just got beat up?" He never quite started breathing normally, but we decided that with his ear infections and all the upside-down back whacking, maybe the kid just needed to sleep it off.

But when Gavin still wasn't breathing quite right Saturday morning, we decided it was time to visit the emergency room for the first time since we became parents (except that time I slipped in a hot tub and needed stitches on my chin). I took a shower, backed a day bag, and drove off to the nearest ER.

Note: when dealing with a potential choking, google your area hospitals - some are better equipped than, say, the nearest one.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="225"]20130225-105139.jpg Sleeping through the nebulizer treatment[/caption]

Gavin flashed his happiest, wheeziest smile at the receptionist, and we were quickly admitted to the ER. Apparently though, his wheezing didn't sound like choking. Apparently his wheezing sounded more like a virus. And so started a whirlwind round of the Guessing Game. Both lungs sounded the same - BAD. Initial x-rays should both lungs to be the same size (not choking), but the left a little inflamed (virus). A second round of x-rays showed the right lung didn't compress (sign of choking), but the left lung compressed too much (sign of virus). Which is it?! A nebulizer treatment helped initially, but not enough or for long enough.

The ER doctor was stymied. As were the pediatric residents from "upstairs." The ER doctor was wary of anything more invasive than an x-ray, and didn't even have the equipment to perform a bronchoscopy on an infant anyway. He called Johns Hopkins Pediatric Hospital for a consult. We could keep Gavin where we were overnight to see if he got better (virus), and transfer him to Hopkins if he didn't (choking). OR we could just transfer him to Hopkins so their doctors could get a better opinion of the wheezing.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="225"]20130225-105232.jpg Ambulance ride![/caption]

We transferred hospitals. A quick ambulance ride across town, and the Hopkins doctors were just as stymied. The doctors initially said they wouldn't do the bronchoscopy, preferring to just observe Gavin to see if he improved. But after a consult with the ENT specialists, paired with the sudden onset of the wheezing with the choking incident, they went ahead and performed the bronchoscopy - a camera to see (and grab!) any obstructions in his lungs.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="225"]20130225-105206.jpg Pre-op, chewing on the IV[/caption]

Gavin was put under with general anesthesia at 5:30 pm. They quickly found a peanut blocking one lung, and fluid from a mean virus (bronchiolitis) filling the other. So his poor lungs really were taking a beating. They removed the peanut, and sucked out the fluid. Gavin was released home at 8:30 Sunday morning, with the keepsake peanut in a little tube.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="300"]20130225-105213.jpg Before: see the peanut?[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="300"]20130225-105218.jpg After: free and clear![/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="225"]20130225-105225.jpg The Peanut[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="225"]20130225-105201.jpg Post-op recovery[/caption]

So the other day when I asked if Gavin would throw me for any loops in this whole motherhood jungle thing? I was basically tempting fate.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="225"]20130225-105238.jpg Happy to be home![/caption]

Thursday, February 21, 2013


There's a house where I lived from 5th grade through high school.  Not the home I was married at - no, that home is in a category all by itself.  But this house saw all four of us kids graduate from high school and move onto college.  This house saw three grandchildren visit grandparents, aunts and uncles.  This house saw more parties than I can begin to count.  A house where I lived, and visited and returned to every year, almost every Christmas. 

My parents are moving from this house at the end of March, after 22 years.  And not just down-sizing or moving to someplace more manageable.  My parents are moving to California.  From Massachusetts.  To a place so far and so foreign.  The move has been a long time coming, as odd as that seems.  My father has been commuting to California for almost two years.  It's about time they just moved out there.  But moving?  From a house where they lived for over twenty years? 

This move, though I've known about it for a long time now, is becoming so real and so weird.  Yesterday, I booked a one-way ticket North.  Today, I booked a one-way U-Haul South.  I'm flying "home" for my mother's birthday (and one last party in her house), and driving home with a truck full of furniture that can't make the move to California.  I'll probably never see that house again.

And as much as I never really thought of that house as being special to me, I guess maybe it was my home, after all.

Pouring my heart out.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Good thing it's Wednesday, and I can be "wordless."  Because if you can't blog anything nice, don't blog anything at all.

Three is choosing your own outfit, even if it includes summer pants (that are deemed "too weird" through sobbing tears a few hours later).


President's Day (off) is new sneakers.

Nine months is proudly walking with a push toy (and almost four teeth).

Wearing listening ears all day is getting cocoa after dinner.

Wordless Wednesday

Friday, February 15, 2013


I started a post last week that I was winning. Winning all the things. Winning home.  Winning family.  Winning work.  Winning health.  I didn't quite get it typed up and posted, and for that I am glad.  Because I've just won a second week in a row.

On Monday, I went to the grocery store with both kids.  Gavin sat in the cart like a big kid for the second time in his life.  Laura walked beside us for the second time in hers.  With her new freedom, Laura took it upon herself to do a little meal planning.  She ran over to the leafy greens in the produce section and selected a bunch of kale for our cart.  We have never bought kale before.

Mom, we haven't tried this before but if we try it we might like it.  o_O

Stunned, I placed the kale in the cart and frantically texted my sister to find out how to cook it.  Laura ate a full leaf raw before I got it steamed.  She's eaten the rest of the bunch at dinners and lunches all week.  Did I mention she's picky?  I'm stunned.
Seeing her eat all that kale made me feel like this (I think she felt pretty awesome, too):kale2
(Don't you eat your dinner standing on your chair?  Maybe you should.)

On Tuesday night, I sat down with Laura to make her Valentine's from a foam kit I bought at Michael's.  Laura and I did one together, carefully peeling the paper off the tiny foam bits and placing them on the heart to make an animal (Laura preferred the lions).  And then Laura took over, peeling and sticking until she had 14 Valentine's finished - all looking exactly how the kit meant them to look.  Hello age three!

Meanwhile, I've been doing really well with creating meal plans and sticking to them.  I've been eating less at all meals, in a good way.  I can button my pants again (without using an elastic band as if I were pregnant.  I'm not pregnant).  I've been running consistent 10 minute miles a few times a week.  Which is good, because I have seven (7!) weeks until I run the Cherry Blossom 10-miler.  I'm getting major milestones checked off at work.  I'm feeling confident. Healthy. Good. Able. Positive. Winning.  Winning feels great.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Be Mine?

Laura, will you be my Valentine?


Um, okay. But can I be a princess first?

I hope you have a wonderful, love-filled day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Why I'll Never Be a Great Mom

Bento Box Lunches.


Call me crazy, but I just don't see how any moms anywhere have enough time to make  such intricate lunches.  Lunches that are either going to be devoured without a second thought, or picked at because "Aw! I can't eat the bunny!" or "Ew! I don't like that food!"

Source: via Chloe on Pinterest


When did packing a simple, healthy lunch stop being enough?


As it is, it takes me a good half an hour just packing a simple sandwich, cheese stick, juice box, yogurt and raisins.  Nate yells out almost every night, "What are you still doing in the kitchen?!"


"Oh nothing honey, just turning Laura's lunch into a man wearing a sombrero!"  Um... what?  No way.  I just don't get it.

Source: via Sharon on Pinterest


There are many things about Pinterest that I love.  I love finding new recipes (that I may or may not try)!  I love pinning little ideas for birthday parties (that never wind up as fancy as I plan, and that's okay)!  I love adding pins for fabrics (for a home that I haven't yet decorated in nearly 10 years)!  Pinterest can be fun and silly and fabulous.  But I refuse to let it be intimidating.

So if Pinterest tells me I need to make deli meat sculptures every night to be a great mom, I think I'll just settle for being a good mom.  Thankyouverymuch.

If you're into turning colored rice into pandas for your kids, go crazy.  I'll be on the floor playing with puzzles and dollhouses while you're covered in broccoli dust in your kitchen.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Motherhood Jungle

Is it like bushwhacking through the forest? This motherhood thing? Moving wildly, ever foward into the unknown. Slicing through one obstacle, only to be smacked in the face by another. Leaving a clear path behind for others to follow.

Am I the machete, frantically clawing forward? Trying so desperatetly to succeed on this motherhood path? Is my first born child every stinging tree branch, each one whipping after another?

Everytime I move forward with Laura, I'm met with some new obstacle.  Bed wetting, picky eating, tantrums, tears.  Is mothering Laura harder because I've just never done it before?  Will the same wet beds and uneaten dinners be easier for me to face with Gavin, simply because I've already faced it with Laura?

I keep thinking how much easier it is for me to mother Gavin.  Everything with him is so simple.  He has his hard days, but they never phase me.  Is he just as hard as Laura was, but with an easier path?  Have I already cut down the barriers that keep me from being a good mother to him?  Is it because I've done this whole "baby" thing before, so I know how to handle the creeping vines that tickle my ankles?

What's it like to be an oldest child, always keeping one step ahead of your inexperienced parents?

Is the second child always so nicely set up to just follow along the already beaten trail?  Or am I just waiting for some nasty, snarling second-child vine to twist around my ankle and pull me back from behind? 

I'm a second child and a middle.  I know how much heartache I felt in my role.  Never feeling as empowered as my trailblazing older brother, taking my parents ever onward to the next hurdle.  Always feeling a little bit slighted by my younger brother and sister, who seemed to get all the attention.

"You caused me the least heartache," my mother told me recently.  I know I wasn't always easy.  I know I caused my parents worry and concern.  But was it just being the second child?  Was it just that I was positioned to follow in the clearest part of the path my parents cut with my brother?

Will I always struggle to parent Laura?  Will we ever come to a clearing in this jungle of motherhood?  Will Gavin become mired in some quicksand of parenting?  Will he make it to the clearing that Laura and I discover?  It's a jungle out there.  I hope my blade is sharp enough to cut through the brush, because all around me there is beauty.  I hope I am always able to look up and see it.

Pouring my heart out.  About something.  I'm not sure what.  But my heart? It's pouring.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Book Worm

It's a great problem to have, but not one I was expecting at quite such a young age.  Laura is a bookworm.  A stay up late, reading under the covers bookworm.


Every night, I read 2-3 stories to Laura before tucking her in at 8:30. Every night, she begs to keep one of those stories with her in bed. Every night, I sigh and allow her to take it.

She reads in bed by the soft glow of her mini, hot pink Christmas tree that has been her nightlight since December. I hear her little voice tell the stories she interprets from the pictures till late into the night. I peek into her room, to remind her that it's late and she must be up early in the morning. I give her five more minutes to read, before I go in again to take the book and tuck her back in.

The mornings are hard, waking my tired little bookworm. It's not a problem I was expecting at age 3. But I wouldn't trade her love of books for anything.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Best Ways to Help New Moms

A dear non-mom friend emailed me the other day asking for advice.  Her friend has just given birth to a beautiful baby girl, and she wanted my opinion on the best ways she can help the new mom.  How timely, I thought, as I had just read the Rules for Visiting a New Mom at Scary Mommy.  I was about to send the link to my thoughtful non-mom friend when I took a minute to reread the rules.

I didn't send that blog post to my friend. 

Robyn has some really great suggestions for helping out new moms.  But they are buried in several layers of snark that I could not bear to share with my non-mom friend who was trying so hard to be thoughful.  Instead, I sent her an email in bullet points with some of the best help I received as a new mom, and some excerpts from Robyn's "Rules."  My friend's response: You should totally write a blog post about this – you have good suggestions that aren’t “bring lasagna.”

So here are the bullet points I sent my non-mom friend:

  • I know she barely knows me, but I’m here if she needs another mom to talk to.  Seriously.  Give her my number – I text till 10pm, but check it till 11 and would answer her if she had a question.  (I doubt this new mom will ever text me, but isn't it reassuring for a new mom to just know support is out there?)

  • I don’t know how laundry happens in NYC, but that will be really hard for a new to accomplish with her C-section stitches.  I have no idea if doing a few loads of laundry is feasible, but it would probably go a long way!

  • Offer to clean the kitchen, or whatever while she takes a baby-cry-free shower.  Ah showers!  My favorite thing.  I love not hearing the kids cry when I’m in the shower.

  • Bring some favorite moisturizer, or her favorite shampoo?  Things that feel clean and baby-puke-free are awesome.

  • Check the baby’s room to see if there’s anything to put away so “cutely” that now she can’t reach because of her stitches.  (As a side note, how many seasoned moms out there can laugh at their attempts to decorate that first nursery?  Nothing from my original attempts worked the way I "planned!") 

  • Drop off a pack of size 1 diapers.  You get a pack or two of newborn size from the hospital, and babies grow fast.

  • Give her some soft (but cute!) jammies for lounging – pants sit funny on those c-section stitches, I hear.

  • On a nice afternoon (when she’s healed and walking again), help her take the baby for a walk.  Fresh air is really helpful for new moms – but strollers are scary.   

  • Chauffeur your new mom friend to the grocery store.  Help with that enormous baby carrier, and carry her bags of groceries for her.  But do wait a few weeks to take her grocery shopping - a one-week-old mom doesn't want to think about groceries!

  • Most importantly, don’t… crowd.  Don’t show up unexpected.  Don’t come by if she has people over, or has had a full day of visitors.  Some sorts of company can be really draining for a new mom.  So sometimes that new mom just needs a break from people. 

  • Don’t stop being sweet just because the baby is three weeks old and old news – that’s when you ask about the trip to buy groceries. 

I wanted to see if any other moms had tips for visiting new moms.  So I took it to Facebook & Twitter:

Kate Sluiter from Sluiter Nation said friends dropped off diapers and Starbucks cards.  What new mom doesn't love a free fancy drink from Starbucks!  Dunkin' Donuts would work for me, too!

KLZ from Taming Insanity said the chance to sleep or take a shower was the best gift she received as a new mom.

Kit said to bring cookies.  Obviously.

Teresa said washing the dishes.  Any of my friends can come over to wash the dishes any time they want.  Seriously.

Adrian was welcomed at home by flowers and framed photographs of her with her new baby, gifts from sweet friend Elizabeth.  I swooned a little when I heard that suggestion - how thoughtful to help remember your baby's first moments!

Amanda received breath mints and lip gloss, in case she didn't feel pretty.  Because sometimes (gasp!) new moms forget to brush their teeth.  It's not pretty, but it happens!

These are such wonderful suggestions from some of my favorite bloggers!  Thanks to everyone who contributed!  The first week of being a mom is so overwhelming.  It's great to know you have wonderful friends willing to support you with such sweet gestures!  What is your favorite way to help a new mom?