Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Old-school Blogging

Remember when blogs used to be nothing more than glorified family journals? I'm returning to some old-school blogging today with a look at our comings and goings of the past few weeks. (If you follow my blog page on Facebook, you've seen some of the highlights.)

Macie struggled with weight gain during her first six weeks.  She was tiny when she was born-- 6 pounds, 11.5 ounces-- much smaller than either of my other five kids at birth. She also lost some weight in the hospital which is normal.   Those things in themselves were not an issue, but by 16 days old, she was still under birth weight. Her pediatrician was concerned that either she was not getting enough calories per day (perhaps because she tended to sleep long, long stretches at night) or that there was an underlying condition preventing her from absorbing nutrients.  My mother's intuition told me that everything was fine and that she was simply a slow gainer, but for close to a month, we drove back and forth for weight checks.  By the end of February, her weight settled into a stable track, still only in the 3rd-5th percentile but consistent.

In early March, she caught a cold.  It moved into her chest and brought a nasty cough.  Aside from making her want to sleep and eat more often, it seemed like a normal cold, but on the fourth day, she had some trouble breathing.  She starting gagging on mucous and we noticed the skin around her ribs pulling in as she inhaled (intercostal retractions).  Late that night she developed a high-pitched wheeze so we took her to the ER.  She was diagnosed with RSV and given a breathing treatment in the hospital.  We brought home an baby inhaler and spacer with instructions to use it as needed and to take her to her pediatrician the next day.  (We found out later that her oxygen levels were too low and that she should have stayed in the hospital.) We got home at 3 in the morning and she was still very sick so I dozed upright while holding her because I was afraid to lay her down and miss hearing if she was in distress.  By the next afternoon, her oxygen levels returned to normal and she passed the peak of her illness.  (Textbook RSV is worst on the fourth day of illness.)

The problem was that Macie continued to fuss and cry for much of every day.  At first we thought it was irritation from the lingering congestion.  Then I thought maybe I had supply issues and she wasn't getting enough to eat.  Hiccups terribly upset her and she got them multiple times a day.  She stopped sleeping well at night and struggled to settle down for naps.  The kids couldn't hold her anymore without her crying.  I had a few sobbing breakdowns, wondering what had happened to my happy baby.  I'll devote another post to the details, but the short story is that she was diagnosed with silent reflux two weeks ago and after the very first dose of medication, her temperament changed back into our cheerful, smiley baby.  Since then, it's been a roller coaster of ups and downs, but we're working toward a solution.  I suspect I need to eliminate dairy from my diet. 

In the midst of all the tumult, Brian started back to work for his fourteenth year of landscaping and cutting grass.  It was a tremendous blessing to have him home for the first seven weeks of Macie's life as we adapted as a family of eight, but now it was time to begin a new normal and a new schedule. Spring is Brian's busiest time of year, even more so than summer which means he sometimes works past dinner.  I'm very blessed to have children old enough to help in the kitchen or hold a baby while I cook.

I taught the kids to clean their bathroom when Macie was born.  They had taken over the daily freshen-up cleaning routine months before, but I turned over the weekly deep-clean, too.  It's been a game changer, though I've had to lay aside my perfectionist standards and accept good enough.

We bought a new-to-us vehicle.  It seats eight so we can all ride together again.  No more taking two vehicles everywhere we go!  It's bigger and higher off the ground than our minivan, but I can drive it with ease now and I'm started to get more comfortable parking.

The kids beloved gym glass is mid-way through its spring semester.  Maddie continues to attend her book club.  The theme this year is world geography and the specific theme this month is South and Central America.  The other kids love when she attends because it means the rest of us go to McDonald's for ice cream sundaes or cookies. (I'm not a fan of McDonald's food so this is a big treat for them!) Maddie, Owen, Ben, and Alaine are part of a children's choir at church that practices weekly. I even got to participate in an one-time adult choir at church that  sang a song on Easter Sunday. Owen's piano lessons have been on hold since Macie was born, but he still plays semi-regularly and he has taught Ben and Alaine to play "Jesus Loves Me."

School continues on, but we are all looking forward to summer break which should begin in mid-May.  I'm not pinning down a date yet, but I have one in mind.  I've never been a history lover, but I'm enjoying our study this semester, using this book about Abraham Lincoln. Ben finished his math book last week and Owen will finish his on Thursday.  Gavin will complete science by the end of the month.  He loved his study of marine creatures this year, using this book.  He compiled a notebook of sketches and information throughout the year and entered them in a local science fair in March.

We had a friendly family March Madness competition.  We all filled out brackets and kept track of who had the most wins.  A milkshake was the promised treat for the winner.  On the first day, Gavin said, "I want to get a mint Oreo milkshake from Cook Out."  Owen said, " If you win," and Gavin replied, "Oh, I will win."  And he did! Even Alaine who knows nothing about basketball came in only one point behind Brian.

And life continues. 

Unless the Lord builds the house,
    the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the guards stand watch in vain. 
 In vain you rise early
    and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
    for he grants sleep to those he loves.
Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him. 
 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their opponents in court.

Psalm 127


  1. Old school blogging is kind of fun. I have just been thinking about how blogs have changed lately too and thought it would be fun to carry my camera around a bit more regularly and just get pictures of normal stuff- you know - Life.

    1. Me, too! I've been trying to be intentional at capturing the everyday moments!

  2. I have missed your posts! But, I totally understand that life happens. We added baby #2 last March (the oldest was 12 at the time), and it rocked our world {but in a good way!}. Keep up the good work mama, and as always, I look forward to your next post :)


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