Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Weekend of Renewal

This weekend was a blessing. A couple of us were still a little under the weather, and I woke up cranky and grouchy on Saturday. But by the end of yesterday, the weekend had turned itself around. Lowell and I had a couple of deep talks about where we are, where we're going and how we want the ride to be on the way to our future. We talked about our dreams for the future and our complaints about our todays, as well as about how we can work on making our ideals of 'family' come true. We talked about our schedules, our priorities, money, time and discipline. It was a nice reminder that we are still facing the same way, still headed in the same direction and still holding hands on the journey. He's still glad that he's doing life with me and I'm still happy to be in partner in this adventure.
It wasn't a momentous occasion or announcement; it was just a day to remind ourselves that we're blessed to have each other and that we're blessed as a family. It was a day to re-focus on the positives and to have a long-term focus instead of getting bogged down in the minute-by-minute details that can be dis-heartening and frustrating.
I'm very thankful for my husband. And I'm happy to report that he still likes me too. :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Latest Medical Emergency

My Boogie got sick last night. She didn't start coughing, didn't have a stuffy nose... She just didn't feel good and wanted to snug with Mama on the couch. I noticed that she seemed to be a little warm and so I gave her some Tylenol for the fever. Around 5pm, she fell asleep. She woke up around 9 and still didn't feel very good. At that point, I told her that she needed to get some rest and told her to go back to bed. She didn't want to be in her room by herself, stating that she was scared, and came out onto the couch with me shortly after....
Long story short, I was tired, in and out of sleep, and she kept waking up. I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to her at first, just encouraged her to rest and go back to sleep. Until I was awoken by a screamed "MAMA!!!" She was on the end of our sectional directly opposite me and was freaking out about how the floor was moving. I told her to come over to me and she said she couldn't because the house was moving. This was strange enough to wake me up completely, at which point I reach out to her so that I could pull her over to me and felt her hand. She was on fire!
I jumped up and turned on the light in a effort to find the thermometer. She was not making a whole lot of sense - talking directly to people who were not in the room and then asking me questions that were totally off the wall. I was carrying on a conversation with her, so I know she wasn't asleep - besides, she had her eyes open. And when I asked her direct questions, like what her name is, etc., she knew the correct answers.
The thermometer finally beeped - 103.7 degrees.
Freak out time. That is the highest fever one of my kids have had. (I learned this morning from the doctor that, for children, 104 really isn't that bad... Well, coulda fooled me!) Apparently Jillian is extra sensitive to fever because this 104 had her completely delusional and hallucinating. She went from seeing people and talking to them, to freaking out because she was covered in red spots, to asking me if Nathan had died. I asked why she thought Nathan died. "Because he fell off a cliff" she said. Holy cow Kid... I assured her that Nathan was fine, he was sleeping and she could go see him if she wanted to. No, she was good, and fell back into a restless sleep only to awaken a few minutes later talking to some girls in her class and arguing about recess...
That was freaky. I gave her Tylenol immediately and prayed. And waited. 30 minutes later, nothing had changed. Fever was 103.6. So, I stripped her down to her little underwears and put her in front of the fan. And waited... I must have dozed off a little because when I woke up, I found a little ball of Boogie at the end of the couch. She had goosebumps on her legs. And a fever of 101.8. Are you kidding me!??!?! Its been over 2 hours!??! She was still pretty out of it and wasn't making much sense so I gave her more medication and laid her on my lap and rubbed her little head.
All this time I was trying to call Lowell to see what he wanted me to do. I knew that she was sick, but I didn't want to overreact but at the same time, I kept wondering what kind of irreparable damage I was doing to her brain. (See, freaked out mom!) Lowell never answered his phone so, in the end, I stayed at home and fretted.
I dropped the other kids off at school and then went straight to Urgent Care with the Booga. Before we left, her fever was still 101.5 but she seemed to be more coherent. At the doctor's it was only 99.8. The doctor tested her for strep and was surprised that she didn't have any other symptoms like coughing, stuffy nose etc. He checked her for an ear infection and listened to her lungs. All clear. So, what caused the fever? No idea. He's "pretty sure" she has the flu and that her's has just manifested itself with fever instead of all the other symptoms. Weird.
I just talked to Lowell, and according to him, she is acting like nothing was ever wrong. She's still a little tired, but no worse for wear. The doctor cautioned that around day 5 or 6, she may take a turn for the worse, but that is normal in the life of the flu.
As long as its nothing like last night, I can handle it.
I think.


It seems that the hurdles never end... I learned yesterday that I missed the deadline for filing my application to the board to take the licensure exam in April. I now have to wait until October.... I have to say that throughout this process, I have really struggled with staying organized and on top of things. I have never felt like I've had all the information that I've needed, but I think that is more because I haven't ever taken the time to really read over the material that I do have. Also, whatever information I got in my classes about the exam and dates and times seemed to slip right through my memory... I hate not having my memory. I struggle with losing my car every time I park it in a parking lot bigger than a gas station. I lose my keys, my phone, my purse, my important papers, my laptop power cord, my medicines..... Everything. I lose things because I can't remember where I put them. So, I get motivated and create a "place" where they go. That's fantastic except then I can't remember where that place is... I forget what I went to the store for, what appointments I have coming up, the names of my doctors, what kind of medication I'm taking.... I forget. I just forget. And its infuriating. And stressful. And I believe that the more stressed I get about it, the worse it becomes. I'm stuck in this cycle and can't seem to find a way out.
Some may want to chalk this up to pregnancy brain, but honestly, I haven't had a memory since the time my seizures really picked up in both frequency and intensity in 2000-2001. The doctor's don't really have anything to say about the matter... Either they don't know what to do about it, or there isn't anything they can do, or they think its all in my head but regardless, something has to be done. I can't live like this any longer!!!! I need my brain back!
So, after this pregnancy, I'm going to actively attack the problem and see what can be done. I say after the baby because I can't take any kind of anxiety or depression meds while I'm pregnant. I get very depressed when I forget things because I feel so stupid and get very down on myself for forgetting. I feel like I should be better or more organized or something! And then I get upset because I'm letting it get to me - Yet another way I'm failing, by letting it bother me... You can see the pattern here. Its a spiral that has no end and no bottom.

This is an issue that doesn't just affect me and that upsets me even more. The issue of me getting my license and getting a better job also affects my husband. He's working crazy hours and not sleeping enough and getting to the point where he feels like his health is being affected by both his crazy hours and stress. So, he's waiting for me to find something so that he can move onto something that works better... And, now because I am where I am - both pregnant and unable to take my test when we had planned - I feel like a failure. I want to be able to help him; I don't want him to put his health on the line... I want him around for a long, long, long time!!! And I definitely want to be able to give back some of what he's given to our family.

As of right now, I'm staying where I am, but I'm still applying every day I can and praying that something comes up. Whatever God has planned... I just hope it comes soon!

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Well, I'm at BK using WiFi and this time, I brought my camera so, lets see what the Trent children have been up to!! :)

Also, we have a gopher. Or, according to Jillian, a gol-fur. Lowell was watering the lawn yesterday and scared out a little gopher and then trapped him with a plastic bin. The kids have been feeding him and Lowell says that he's going to take him to another field and let him go. I think that's code for killing him, but we'll see.

These are my girls being cute right around Christmas time. Yes, they're wearing dresses, Chloe's without sleeves, because it was about 75 degrees on Christmas. We were making Christmas cookies for the party at church for the Toddler room volunteers.

This is Jille's new dress that she got for Christmas. She's also wearing the necklace that Chloe gave her. I found this dress at the thrift store, but she seems to love it.

Nathan and Chloe hugging as thanks for the gifts they gave each other. Chloe is wearing her new dress - also from the thrift store. We went super cheap this year. :)

Daddy decided to burn off some of the weeds in our yard a couple weeks ago and so Nathan got suited up and ready to protect our house. He has a tank that he wears on his back with a hose that he can use to shoot out water so Lowell would start the little fires and Nathan would run around behind him putting them out. This was actually the second night of firefighting, all for my benefit so that I could immortalize the act in photos. :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mommy Guilt

A new approach...
Why we should embrace the mommy guilt

By Teresa Strasser

Gordon Gekko from the movie "Wall Street," parenting guru? Maybe.
After months of people telling me not to feel guilty, and my deeply rooted inability to take that advice, I have a new mantra, and it’s all thanks to Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko. Gordon had greed. I have guilt.
Guilt – for lack of a better word – is good.
Guilt is right.
Guilt works.
Conventional wisdom and pop psychology better duck, because Gordon and I are about to fly into your upbeat, sappy, stupid face. Guilt is seen as a waste of time, as the unresolved issue of a negative mother who does not “let things go.” By the way, when people tell me to “let things go,” I mainly just want to let my handbag go into their testicles or jugular. Maybe holding onto things isn’t so bad. That’s right, maybe guilt is good.
In my 15 months as a mother, I’ve done a lot of whining and crying, and a lot of apologizing for whining and crying about what I know are high-quality, first-world problems with my beautiful, healthy child. Still, to me, my anxieties are heavy. I drag them around in a diaper bag of doubt, and telling me to put them down doesn’t help.
I worry that I don’t know how to play with my child, that I work too many hours, that it’s my fault he caught hand, foot and mouth disease because I took him to the germ-infested play area at the mall. I feel guilty because sometimes I look at a guy reading the paper at a coffee shop and I want to yell, “Do you know what it’s like to have the clock ticking every second? You don’t have to be at daycare in 20 minutes, do you? DO YOU, DUMMY?”
I feel guilty because when my son picks up a cell phone, he calls it “mama.” My son thinks phones are called “mamas.” Do my guilt minutes roll over?
I feel guilty when I let him cry it out at night. I feel guilty when I run in to soothe him, because I should be letting him soothe himself.
There is guilt when I drive him around to do errands, because that must suck, being all trapped in a car seat listening to people yammer on NPR, or worse, mom singing some Dixie Chicks song. There is guilt when we stay home, just staring at the same old toys without the stimulation his little brain needs. There is guilt when he kicks his feet and cries when I leave him with the sitter, and there is guilt when he smiles and beams at the sitter when I go, because he must love her more.
There are degrees of guilt, and there are colors and textures of guilt, but there is guilt for almost every parenting occasion. It’s not like I spend every waking moment doused in it, but whenever I mention that I might feel … gulp, guilty … about being a working mom, or an imperfect mom, or an impatient mom, or a un-fun mom, I get the same story. “Never feel guilty. You’re doing your best.”
This sounds so wise.
I’ve finally concluded that, at least for me, it’s not possible.
If I didn’t second-guess and approach each challenge with a pinch of self-doubt, I wouldn’t be me. And since I can’t let go of my guilt, I’m embracing the hell out of it.
Guilt makes me stop by the bookstore for two books on toddler brain development. Guilt makes me turn off the phone during playtime, while I try to make peek-a-boo fun for him and be totally present. Guilt makes me scour the web for rainy-day activities, so we find places like the automotive museum with a special floor just for kids. Guilt makes me visit a day care nine times before choosing it.
If I didn’t love that guy so deeply and so fully, I wouldn’t feel guilt. My guilt is a teddy bear I cling to when I don’t know if I’m doing any of this the best I can. My guilt reminds me I’m doing the only thing my child absolutely needs me to do: love him with the fiery intensity of a million Gordon Gekkos.
Moms who don’t feel guilty, let me be the first to say, good for you. Keep doing what you’re doing. You can skip this.
Moms who strap the guilt into the car seat every day: Are you as sick as I am of well-meaning, dodo self-help readers telling you not to feel guilty when you can’t help yourself? I’m hoping you can hear Michael Douglas whispering to you. Stop beating yourself up over beating yourself up. Guilt is good.
Guilt is right. Guilt works.
You know who never felt guilty? That mom that left her kids starving and chained to the radiator. Okay, now I feel guilty for saying that.

Teresa Strasser is an Emmy Award-winning writer and author of “Exploiting My Baby,” which Life & Style magazine calls a "hilarious first time memoir about motherhood." You can read her blog at ExploitingMyBaby.com.

Monday, February 7, 2011

More General Updates

**We had our Superbowl party last night. Our old next door neighbors came as well as another neighbor. We had about 15 people in our house and had a lot of fun. Lowell bar-b-qued hot dogs and hamburgers and I made a Jell-o cake; our neighbors brought chicken wings and we were good to go! :) Our kids didn't get in bed until after 9pm so I'm sure they will be really tired when Daddy picks them up from school today, They all said they had a really good time. The kids played football, volleyball and monkey-in-the-middle until it got dark and then had a massive Wii fest. Lowell was smart enough to come up with the idea of hooking up our other TV in our family room just for the Wii so that the kids could be occupied while the adults watched the game. We had a split crowd - some for the Steelers and some Packers fans but we all enjoyed the commercials. (Hands down favorite was the Careerbuilder spot with the monkeys, but the VW bettle came in a close second.)
**I know I haven't posted any pictures lately - and I aching to - but with not having internet at home, I have to take both my camera and laptop to Burger King and attempt to upload pics. I'll see if I can get around to that this weekend. I haven't really taken any recent pictures that I can remember so maybe I'll have to take some first!! :)
**It really seems like the to-do list never ends... I was frustrated Saturday because it seems that, no matter how good of a job we do cleaning the house the previous Saturday, it is always destroyed again. I grew up as an only child with a retired "mom". The house was always spotless. I mean always. Spotless. No dust, no dishes, no laundry. Spotless. So that's the standard that I'm trying to live up to. And I work, and go to school and have three and a half kids. Its basically an impossible dream, but yet I still get so frustrated when I'm unable to meet it! Why can't I let it go and be happy about what I am getting done!!?!?! Aggravating!
**I've also hit a bit of a dead end with my practicum... I've gotten three interview offers, but all for positions that were on the far side of the valley. I have been looking for somewhere to work in the west valley, but with no luck. I'm seriously thinking about going door-to-door at private practices to see if I have better luck with them. Honestly, I think I would prefer to work in a private practice instead of in a big, mental health organization. All I know for sure is that the clock is ticking and I'm stressed about how this is all going to work out with my financial aid. I'm sure God has something planned, but at this point, I have no clue what it may be. I am continuing to apply online to various positions and, maybe I'll start going from place to place on Thursday.
**Chloe has her follow-up with the surgeon this week. Finally. I honestly should have done it last week, but I am just so swamped and feel like I'm doing my best just to keep my head above water. I'm just going to give myself kudos that I finally got it scheduled!! I'm sure that she'll be given a clean bill of health and she's very excited about being able to do PE again. It is so hard to believe that 3 weeks ago she was having surgery. You'd never know it to look at her now!
**Baby #4 is still unnamed. And beginning to act up a little. I started having some minor contractions on Friday and a little on Saturday. By Sunday, they had subsided and today I've only had a dull backache. The nurse that is going to teach Lowell how to give me the shot was supposed to come out this morning, but I received a call last night that they were going to have to re-schedule. I was a little frustrated because I made it very clear that it was Monday morning or nothing, but I suppose it couldn't be helped. So, next Monday it is. If things get too bad this week, I can always go into my doctor's office and have them give me a shot - or I could just trust Lowell's innate nursing ability and let him give it a try. My medicine is mailed to me monthly and in the first package, they included a vial of sodium and a tennis ball for Lowell to practice on. This oughta be interesting. :)

An Angry Little Woman

Before our Superbowl party, the kids and I went to church. As always, after I have a day where my behavior is less than I'd like it to be, I was struggling with how seriously imperfect and screwed up I am. I was beating myself up and agonizing over how horrible a parent I am. So, lo and behold, the sermon topic was on anger. Perfect. I have known for quite awhile that I have some bottled up anger that causes me to fly off the handle about things that really don't matter - things that really don't bother me, but are symptoms of my underlying frustration. It has also frustrated me for a long time that I really don't know what I'm mad about. I don't know where this anger comes from.... So, sitting in the chair before church started, I prayed for God to really show me what was going on so that I could be freed from it.
Long story short, the pastor talked about how anger is not bad in and of itself, it is our reaction that can be a problem. The Bible even says, "In your anger, do not sin" (Eph. 4:26). So it is understood that we will feel angry, the point is to not hurt people with our response to anger. Even Jesus got angry. But I digress.. Acknowledging that I am angry and that this isn't a bad thing was helpful, but it wasn't enough. I still wanted to understand why I was feeling angry and what I could do about it.
Another thing that I've long known is that anger is often a product of pain or fear. Pastor touched on this as well.... So I began to consider what I may be hurt about or afraid of. I'm afraid of a lot of things. And getting hurt is one of them, coincidentally. I began to pray for God to open my eyes to what was really going on and for Him to begin the healing process. I don't want to be an angry mom or an angry person. I could never have imagined myself with an anger issue when I thought about my future and yet, here I am.
In high school, I don't ever remember being angry or lashing out. And I also didn't ever really have an issue with self-esteem. Yet now, I struggle with both of these. Why? Obviously, a lot has changed about life in the past 15 years, but what could have caused these struggles? And why am I still having such a hard time with them, even though I've worked and worked to overcome them??? So, here I am, thinking about what could have possibly have triggered such a dramatic change in personality. I know that the change was not overnight, and so the healing will also not be an overnight process but I still long for that person I was. And for understanding about how I came to be here.
I'm discouraged about how down on myself I get simply because I do let my anger get the better of me and because at time, I'm totally overcome with fear. I feel guilty about how my personality and my choices are affecting those who are most precious in my life. I know that Lowell would love for me to be the girl he married... And I guarantee that my children would rather I not be so cranky at times. I highly doubt that getting angry at myself or spending time regretting the times that I screw up helps the situation at all, but I can't seem to help it. I just wish I were fixed!!!
I also get frustrated because I know that God has placed me in this position as mom, wife, church volunteer and working woman because He wants to use me. And then I think about all the times that I'm a less-than-ideal role model, or when I'm just a crappy person - not to mention a bad representative of His love... This morning on the way to work, I was trying to keep my mind focused and not allow it to run away with my fearful, anxious thoughts and I heard a song that reminded me that God doesn't need me. His plan will come to fruition whether I screw up or not. He doesn't rely on me and I certainly can't mess things up for Him. He chooses to use me and also to use my failures - He doesn't need a perfect servant, only a willing one. Makes me feel a little better.
But I'd still like to stop screwing up.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snippets of News

* Chloe's teacher says that Chloe is reading at over a year above grade level! :) Good job Baby Girl! She seems to be skating through school - she has tons of friends, she loves her teacher and she never struggles with her homework. Hopefully this trend will follow her throughout her school career! :) She likes having her own room and we've been working on decorating it lately. She's got flowers hanging on the wall and wall-decals of fairies. She wants a "Garden" theme.

*Nathan is doing a great job learning his multiplication tables and working on keeping his room clean. We're working on a better routine that will allow him to play but then have scheduled time to clean up. Its never a good idea to start cleaning at 5:15 when we need to leave at 5:20; that sets him up for failure. This new idea is going to force me to be more cognizant of time management and giving him an appropriate warning of when I need his room clean. He still has a goal of getting on Principal's List this quarter and so we're working toward it - but I'm also trying to get him to relax and not get so frustrated by his "failures" or the times when he doesn't live up to his own high standards. I don't want him to get too discouraged - I want to focus on the successes and show him how he's doing a great job. He too easily gets stuck on the bad things.

* Jillian is adorable and still loving school. She is doing a great job reading. Her current favorite is The Cat in the Hat. She's still learning how to tie her shoes but she just needs practice to iron out the kinks. She's also still my little pot-stirrer. She hasn't learned to respect boundaries yet - she still plays with toys that aren't hers without asking and wears Chloe's clothes without permission... But she also fiercely loves her siblings. She's the one of my three that is absolutely devoted to her siblings. She gets upset if they don't say goodbye to her when they get out of the car in the morning for school and she definitely has a hard time when Nathan and Chloe want to play together without her.

*Baby #4 - We still don't have a name picked out but Lowell is beginning to appear a little more involved and/or excited. I'm trying to take it slowly and not push him too much. Starting next week, I have to have weekly injections of Progesterone in order to keep me from going into pre-term labor. The good thing (or bad depending on your perspective) is that my insurance will cover for a nurse to come to our house and teach Lowell how to give me the shots so that I don't have to go to the doctor's office each week. They're going to mail me the medication and then next Monday, hopefully, the nurse will come out and we'll start the injections. I've heard that this med is thick and the shot feels like a tetanus shot. Not really looking forward to having one of those each week, but I gotta do what I gotta do.
Emotionally, I've been on a little of a roller-coaster ride lately. I am going to chalk it up to hormones but I'm getting sick of the ride. I'm praying that the end of my second trimester will also signal the end of my emotionality. (Power of positive thinking, right?) I'm currently 23 weeks or so.

*Superbowl - We've invited some friends over for the big day and we're looking forward to having some adult company. These friends have children who are the same ages as our kids and they all love each other. I'm not sure what to do food wise.... Right now I'm concentrating on making my house presentable for non-family visitors. :)

*Work/Practicum - I'm still looking for a place where I can work and do my practicum hours also. I had a couple of interviews scheduled for last week and earlier this week but they were all in the far east valley. (We live in the FAR west valley.) Lowell and I had considered moving to that side of town because that's where Lowell works, but at the last minute decided that we don't want to up-root the kids again. We just don't want to move so we're going to wait it out until I find something closer to home. (Note: I need to blog about my stresses from that day and how God was faithful... Hopefully soon! :)) So, I'm back to the drawing board as far as finding a place to get my hours. The major problem is that I'm under a time crunch. I have to find a place to get hours soon or my financial aid for this quarter will be sent back. And I'll have to re-apply for next quarter. Right now it looks like I have to find a placement and have my paperwork submitted by next Friday in order to guarantee that I don't lose my financial aid.

*Lowell's work is going well. They are still really pushing him to take a supervisory role. They also want him to move to first shift which would be fantastic for his sleeping schedule and great for our family time, but is impossible with our current schedule. I don't get home in time to pick up the kids from school, so he has to be there. I'm still praying about it... I know that there's a plan, I'm just waiting to see what it is. I would love to be able to work part time, volunteer at the kids' school and still be around for the new baby. And Lowell says that he could get a lot of overtime hours to make up the difference in pay. We'll have to see how that goes.