Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Park Panic

Spring Break...are you so sick of hearing about it? Ok, one more story. Angi and I wanted to get our kids together over Spring Break. We threw out several ideas...museum, feeding the ducks, or riding the train and playing in the park. Since we're both pregnant right now and like to be pregnant partners in crime every time we have a kid apparently, we decided we liked the thought of sitting on a train.


And it was a good idea. The weather was again a day the birds were singing and bragging about.

 
Photobucket Poor sweet little Reese...the only girl, but she didn't act like it ruined any of her fun.


And even though Angi and I might be accused of planning our due dates to be synchronized (her twins are 11 days older than Campbell and our babies now are due 10 weeks apart), I swear that we absolutely did not plan for Tucker and Campbell to play the role of twins with their matching outfits. By the way, we may be best friends but we also didn't plan our due dates to be near the same time.

After our train ride we set up a picnic and it was super adorable and cute but Angi and I were both so busy with peeling fruit, keeping grass off sandwiches and taking turns taking our kids to the nearest tree to use the bathroom. Shhh, don't tell. But I don't do port-a-potties and especially when it's across the park. One of the many reasons that having boys has its perks. So I don't have any pictures of all that (thank goodness, right?).

We were definitely not the only ones hearing the birds bragging about the weather. It was a madhouse at the playground. Angi looked at the playground and said, "Playgrounds like this make me so nervous. There's just so many people here," and proceeds to tell me a story of one of her friends that lost her autistic son at this same park for over an hour. So I gave the boys the speech, "We stick together and no running off." At first there were a couple of runaway attempts but the boys were great about sticking with me. It definitely wasn't one of those leisurely moments of sitting on the park bench watching your kids play...not even close. We were all hands on deck at the park.

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Aaaaannd right about then my camera ran out of juice. But with as busy as I was trying to keep up with the boys, it was for the best. Campbell and Tucker wanted to hang with the big boys and had no realization that they're two years old trying to climb the biggest slide on the playground. As I'm trying to make sure Tucker makes it up the ladder safely, that took a whopping 10-15 seconds, I look around to find Campbell and can't find him. I start calling for him sweetly but can't find him. Then I start looking in every tunnel, ladder and slide I can put my eyes on and still can't find him and it doesn't help that every time I think I see him, it's actually Tucker wearing Campbell's same shirt.

I call to Angi and tell her that I can't find Campbell. I bet I looked like a frantic turkey running around. Now my heart is completely pounding out of my chest. Mama bear instinct is in full effect. I ran to Angi, throw her my camera with my voice shaking with complete fear. I just start screaming his name not even caring how crazy I look or sound. I must have been as white as a ghost because a complete stranger asks what kind of shirt he's wearing and luckily I could just point to Tucker and say he's wearing THAT shirt. Angi is still level-headed enough to actually focus instead of just running around like a chicken with their head cut off.

She points to him on a completely different playground and spotting a 2 year old on a monstrous piece of playground equipment with 100 kids around is like looking at a "Where's Waldo?" book. I ran and had one of those feelings of wanting to hug him and yell at him. But the hug came first followed by a very stern, "Don't ever do that again to me" serious discussion. The whole episode of not finding him lasted literally about 60 seconds but I swear a mama can think some very disturbing and scary thoughts in 60 seconds.

I kept my eyes on my boys and if for one second they were out of my sight, I called their name. Nolan never seeing his mommy so scared in his life, knew to stay close by and every time I called his name, he would reassuringly say, "I'm right here, Mommy."

I'm so thankful that everything turned out ok but I never want to experience that kind of panic again in my life. There were extra doses of snuggling and prayers given after such an event.

Minus that 60 seconds of paralyzing fear, the day was a hit believe it or not. We all had a great nap that day for sure!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Three's Company

"Come and knock on our door...we'll be waiting for you"....loved that tv show and pretty soon we'll be singing the same theme song in the Mack house. Because as crazy as you may think we are, #3 is on the way and will be here, God-willing, sometime around September 20th!


It's been a long road to get here and definitely not according to our plan, but you'd think by now that I'd learn that nothing goes according to my plan when it comes to planning for our children. God thinks he has this better plan. And you know what? He's right, His plan is way better than mine.

Back in November, we experienced another miscarriage.

Our third one.

You'd think we'd be pros by now with handling it, but it's heartbreaking even the third time around. The only thing that made it easier to take was tucking our boys in at night and knowing that even if it didn't happen that we are definitely blessed with what we have. To make things more emotional, my HCG levels wouldn't come down after the miscarriage and they were concerned that I was having a ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy in my fallopian tubes) which can be fatal if it ruptures. This is all  while Tonya (my sister) is in the hospital to have her mastectomy. It was a rough month for sure. Thankfully, after month my HCG levels came down to zero.

Having three miscarriages put me into a new level of "recurrent miscarriages". We met with a fertility specialist in January to help figure out what might be the cause of this miscarriages.We had a lot of questions and wanted answers before trying again.

Well, it was one of those moments where we had an appointment to see the fertility specialist on Tuesday but found out the weekend before we were already pregnant.  Getting pregnant was never the issue, it has always been keeping the pregnancy. So I was so glad to see the specialist when I was newly pregnant because with all of my miscarriages, they have happened early in the pregnancy.

Once the specialist found out that we were pregnant, he put me on blood thinner injections and baby aspirin. He reassured me that if I have a certain condition that called antiphospholipid antibodies that the blood thinners could actually save the baby but if I didn't have the condition it wouldn't harm the baby.

Turns out that I do have that condition as well as another...lucky me! The first is that my antiphospholipid antibodies levels are borderline, meaning that my blood tends to clot easily which is why I'm on blood thinner injections in my stomach. I'm thankful to have something to help with this condition but with a black and blue bruised stomach, I'm hoping and praying that my levels somehow get better so that I don't have to continue these. The other condition I have is the MTHFR gene mutation. My body has a very hard time absorbing vitamin B and folic acid...two things vital to prevent birth defects. So now I'm on a mega dose of these two vitamins.

Of course, my first question to the doctor was, "Then how do we explain the boys?" And he couldn't. And when a doctor can't explain something, I like to call it a miracle. Of course we have always thought that about our boys but after finding this out, it's truly amazing that I was able to carry them both full term and have 8 lb. chubby babies. God is just winking at me every time I look into their blue eyes.

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Although, it's not exactly exciting to hear that you have these health issues, it was relieving to finally have somewhat of an answer to why we kept miscarrying. We just kept hearing, "It happens to a lot of people and sometimes we can't explain why."

It's been frightening to share the news with people that we're pregnant. It's my neurotic, irrational side like if I somehow share it with someone that I'm jinxing it. It took 2 months to even share it with our own parents. Being out of the first trimester now makes me breathe just a little easier.

Being due in September was definitely not according to my plan especially since Nolan's birthday is six days later than my due date and making it through the triple digit heat being pregnant was absolutely NO fun with Nolan. I had ZERO ankles and when I took off my flip flops the indentation was still left. Oh and did I mention it's a terrible time of year to be out as a teacher? But I definitely feel that this baby was meant to be and it is what it is so we should just embrace it.

Justin's mom was in town back in February and it was my mom's birthday so we thought it was a great time to share the news.


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Friday, March 18, 2011

Outdoor Love

The good ol' outdoors. Right now the weather is something out of a fairy tale. I know, I know the 100 degree heat and the "why do I live in Texas during the summer" rants will come but for now, I'm loving me some Texas.

Speaking of lovin' Texas...it's like Texas knew it was cute today and just showing off. And I wasn't the only one feeling the love. 

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 The boys and I went to go discover a new park I had heard about from some teachers at my school. I guess I tricked the boys when I used the word "park" because they were expecting a playground with all the bells and whistles so when we pulled up, Nolan said, "Mommy, I want to close my eyes so I can be surprised." Well, that he was. When I told him, "Open your eyes, we're here!" I heard crickets chirping for a few seconds and then a very let down, "Hey, wait a minute, where's the playground?"

Turns out this park was right up next to the lake and had amazing trails that were really trails....no cement! They had some rusty old farm equipment that was perfect for some cute shots of the boys and they thought the old rusty truck was too cool.

 And here's Campbell's famous frump face that tells me, "I'm not digging this place so much, Mom." 

 Campbell was a little freaked at first to get into this rusty truck. 

Photobucket But once they saw some rowdy older boys have a blast, he climbed in too. 

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We found an old cabin and they didn't waste time to act like it was a dark cave and a bear was coming... love their imaginations.

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And the only way I could get their attention for a picture during the cave scene they were acting out was to act like I was a bear sneaking up on their cabin. Made for some cute pics though.

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That little bit of imagination loosened everyone up and before I knew it, they were actually digging this new park. Campbell's surprise face has now turned into his happy face, I think. He does it every time I ask him, "Are you happy?"

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Nolan took this next picture. What a natural! I'm loving how he framed us in the photo.


As I told the boys that this park was the kind where you go for walks, they just kept walking and loved discovering new things. It made me realize we need to do this more often.

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And we probably hiked a mile or so but not bad for having two year old little legs with me. They were such troopers....no playground and all!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Zoo Crew

Spring Break is here and it's never tasted so good. I needed this break like I've never needed a break before. This time of year is so stressful especially for a 5th grade math teacher. And with state testing two weeks away, I'm in a complete state of denial this week. Because this week is all about my family....and school is absolutely the last thing on my mind.

We jump started Spring Break off with a bang at the drive-in movie. Yes, they still actually have those around! Justin and I used to go all the time BC (before children) and have never been brave enough to go after having Nolan, but it may be our new favorite outing. The boys were absolutely wonderful and loved every second of watching Gnomeo and Juliet. Making a pallet in the back of the van with pillow pets surrounding us and snuggles was just too perfect.

On Saturday we were brave enough to go to the zoo on Spring Break...yes, we're crazy. But the weather was a perfect 70 and when weather is that good around here, you're just as crazy not to go outside.

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We started out with the flamingos and the boys were really intrigued by them. We haven't taken Campbell since he was six months old. Can't believe we've waited this long with him being the animal lover that he is. Nolan was working that finger pointing to everything that moved...yes, he even got excited about a squirrel roaming the zoo.

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 Next we visited the MOLA (Museum of Living Art).


Cam was a great sport and even touched a snake. Notice how I'm holding Campbell's hand making him touch the snake...no thanks.


At the end of the MOLA was a Komodo Dragon statue. Why do all the kids get to have all the fun? What you didn't see was how long it took me to get up from this massive lizard.

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After that anything that resembles play ground equipment was quickly climbed and rode like a horse.


It was so cute seeing them peeking at all the animals and their fits of excitement with each new animal they discovered.

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Some are nice to view from a distance though.


Campbell's favorite animal of the entire zoo? A horse, because you know those are so rare and you NEVER see them in Texas (enter sarcastic tone here). I told Justin that we might as well have taken them to a farm or a park with Cam's favorite being a horse and Nolan's being a squirrel.

The closest he got to riding a horse was carousel style.

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And once feet were getting sore and yawns began to creep in, we took a train ride. Well, first we said good-bye to the train leaving and waited for ours.


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Finally we could see it coming. It was almost too much for Campbell to see horses AND ride a train all in the same day...talk about perfect day for him. 


I knew that we had a very limited amount of time before meltdowns were about to happen so we did a turbo tour of the elephants, giraffes, and hippos.We got there just in time to see a good ol' dirt bath.


We have an incredible zoo, ranked top 5 in the nation. Every time we go, I say we've got to come back more often. Hopefuly, we'll really make that happen this year.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Soccer mom

Here we go again. Here I find myself watching a sport that I absolutely despise watching but it's my kid who's begging to play it again and again. So that makes me the biggest soccer fan sitting in the freezing cold shivering and shuttling him to practice and squeezing in games in between grocery stores, laundry and the million other things I need to accomplish on my weekend.


To my surprise Nolan scored his first goal of the season at the first game of the season! Usually we have to wait until the last game of the season before we see that kind of action. 


To see how happy it makes him and the confidence that beams from him makes every shivering-I-have-so-many-other-things-I-need-to-be-doing moment worth it.


And the sideline entertainment ain't too shabby either.

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Score has never been kept in any of his games, but Nolan's definitely learned math, that's for sure. He was confident to report that his team won. And in case I was wondering he's scored six goals in his lifetime. Good to know my 5 year old is already keeping his own stats.

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So until I convince this guy that basketball is really where it's at, I'll be a soccer mom for yet another season.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pretty in Pink

We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails.  ~Author Unknown

And let me say we were a pirate crew last Sunday changing those sails. Tonya's fundraiser was this past weekend and there are no words - absolutely.no.words to explain the magnitude of it all. Tonya, my sister, was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in the summer of last year. When helping plan this event with Tonya's closest friends, I was hoping that we just wouldn't be embarrassed with the turnout.

Quite to the contrary, my friends. I really have no idea how many people were there because for four solid hours there were people coming and going, and at majority of the time it was standing room only. My random guess is 300-400 people. 

How do you decorate for a breast cancer fundraiser? You use pink - lots and lots of pink.

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I cannot say enough about my sister's friends and especially her friend Erin who headed up this thing. She and her husband Fritz own a local brewery here in town caled Rahr & Sons and it was a great location for the event. We all gathered raffle items and I did the invitations, slide show and other miscellaneous things. But who are we kidding, Erin had her name all over this thing. One thing is for sure, girlfriend has friends in high places.


Like the Dallas Cowboys...


And Jason Whitten from the Dallas Cowboys, which sold for $1,200 during the auction by the way.


Oh and a signed guitar from some guy named Pat Green. That sucker sold for over $3,000. I can't even tell you how many items were donated for the raffle to help my sister. There were raffles, silent auctions and a live auction. I'm talking the real deal with real auctioneers. I'd never been part of something like that and it was so exciting to watch knowing that it was all going to help Tonya. 

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And that's not even including the food that was all donated by local restarants. 


And this is just about how much guacamole I could polish off on my own.  

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And the bands were amazing. Yes, I said bands as in the plural form. There were two bands that donated their time and had everyone rocking.


$15.00 got you in the door with complimentary beer, good food and good music...can't beat that!


I've never seen so much pink in my life. 


And who says real mean don't wear pink. I beg your pardon...


I might just have to go buy more pink because they look so good in it...especially with a pair of cowboy boots and riding a mechanical bull...compliments of his Uncle David.


But the best part of the whole afternoon was seeing the happiness that it brought Tonya knowing that for one day she could feel the love in that room and even from complete strangers that came out to support her and her family.


I can't believe that my kids made it during nap time and that there weren't any meltdowns.  My kids are NOT the type to crash anywhere. They need their beds but when you've partied like a rock star and Mr. Sandman calls your name, there's no way you can say no to that man.


Tonya's long term leave as a social worker runs out during the middle of this month and she will no longer be paid.  After 12 months of FMLA, she will have to buy into Cobra insurance which is insanely expensive. Overwhelming is an understatement of the pressure that this putting on her family and especially her self-employed husband, David. 

But I'm amazed to say that this fundraiser raised over $27,000. People amaze me, even more God amazes me. Thank you doesn't even seem to remotely express how we all feel about this. But I'll say it anyway. 

Thank you from both of us.


And we may not be able to change the wind, but we'll keep moving those sails.

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