Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012



"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)

Without the great sacrifice made by every Fallen Soldier and the families they have left behind, I would not have this beautiful life with my own.  Thank you, sincerely, from the bottom of my heart. 

Freedom is not free.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Happy Pentecost!

Why, yes... that IS corn and rice all over the table.  Thanks, Ben.

We went to Mass today after what felt like a very, very long time.  It felt like coming home.  I'm so very glad that these recent difficulties have passed, and we are back where we belong.

During the homily, Ben leaned over and whispered: "I love God because He made you and Alice."

Life is good, and God is GREAT!

A Quick Catch-Up

My computer is still broken.  I'm starting to think I will never get a new one in working order.  I miss posting real photos... but for now, the camera phone pics will have to suffice.  I've been too busy to blog, and here is why:


 May 17: Took Alice back to the doctor to follow up on her kidney infection. Test results were good, and she has another appointment on June 1st.


May 18: Ben graduated from preschool. It was quite bittersweet.


May 19th: Bella was invited to a "Spa Day" for a friend's birthday.


May 20th: Bella had her first ballet recital, and it was absolutely everything I thought it would be and more. 


May 21st: Adam and I celebrated our 7th year anniversary of our Catholic Wedding Mass.


May 22nd: Lucy turned three years old, and there was a rather homely Peppa Pig cake that her Mama made with lots of love. 


May 23rd: Bella wrote her first knock-knock joke.
May 24th: My parents left for home (Tulsa) and I miss them already.


May 25th: We remembered the feast day of Sophie's patron saint and namesake, St. Madeleine Sophie of Barat. Lucy celebrated her birthday with her playgroup. Ben got a haircut.


May 26th:  I spent a lovely evening downtown with David Beckham.  Actually, that is my wordsmith-y way of saying that the whole family went to the Houston Dynamo vs LA Galaxy game.

And because this is my little family blog, I am sure I will eventually share the real photos of these events... and video too!  :) 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Alice Again


My sweet Alice spiked another temperature today.  Because she is so young and just got out of the hospital, 101 means a doctor's visit.  :(  She is still dealing with a UTI and has a moderate cold.  We are going to have to take her to Texas Children's for a test to check for kidney reflux and I am really nervous about it.   

I am trying to find out how to keep our family healthier.  It seems that we are sick so often and I am looking for ways to fix it! 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Weighty Wednesday


I've been working really hard at losing weight since March.  Since I am nursing, I am taking it super slow and doing it the natural way.  I am just counting calories and exercising.  I hit the 20lbs lost mark and was so excited!  20 lbs feels like I am 'really' on my way to getting fit again.

However, we spent the last two weeks dealing with a sick baby in the hospital followed by strep throat for me... so... I'm afraid it is back to just 17 lbs lost.  Tomorrow, I will be back at the gym with my amazing trainer Mariana and get this ball rolling in the right direction again. 

It really is the hardest thing I have ever done, but it is way past time for me to be healthy and happy again!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Painting

Our two big girls are down for the count with confirmed strep throat, just like Mommy!  The kids brought out their suncatcher crafts, and Lucy wanted to do some painting of her own.




I love the way she sticks her tongue out, reminiscent of Charlie Brown, when she is really concentrating.  ;)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy 10TH Birthday, Madeleine Sophie!


‎10 years ago, Madeleine Sophie was born! I was reborn that day too as a Mother, something I had never been before. My beautiful baby has grown up into an amazing young lady. Words cannot express how proud I am to be her mother, and how dear she is to me. ♥ Happy birthday, Sophie!

What a difference...


A decade makes!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Song




My heart is like a fountain true
That flows and flows with love to you.
As chirps the lark unto the tree
So chirps my pretty babe to me.
And it's O! sweet, sweet! and a lullaby.

There's not a rose where'er I seek,
As comely as my baby's cheek.
There's not a comb of honey-bee,
So full of sweets as babe to me.
And it's O! sweet, sweet! and a lullaby.


There's not a star that shines on high,
Is brighter than my baby's eye.
There's not a boat upon the sea,
Can dance as baby does to me.
And it's O! sweet, sweet! and a lullaby.


No silk was ever spun so fine
As is the hair of baby mine.
My baby smells more sweet to me
Than smells in spring the elder tree.
And it's O! sweet, sweet! and a lullaby.


A little fish swims in the well,
So in my heart does baby dwell.
A little flower blows on the tree,
My baby is the flower to me.
And it's O! sweet, sweet! and a lullaby.


The Queen has sceptre, crown, and ball,
You are my sceptre, crown, and all.
For all her robes of royal silk,
More fair your skin, as white as milk.
And it's O! sweet, sweet! and a lullaby.


Ten thousand parks where deer run,
Ten thousand roses in the sun,
Ten thousand pearls beneath the sea,
My baby more precious is to me.
And it's O! sweet, sweet! and a lullaby!



Mother's Song, by Sabine Baring-Gould (1890)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Isabella's Thoughts on Her Mommy

At the Mommy's Makeover Day in Isabella's kindergarten class, we were presented with these bookmarks.  I loved mine! 
In case you can't see, it says:

My mom's name is Lerin.
She likes to play outside.
She is afraid of bats.
She is funny when we make jokes.
My mom is the greatest because she takes us to the mall.
I love you!
Isabella



This sweet paper also melted my heart.  It says:

Mommy by Isabella

Mommy
Pretty, Nice
Loving, Kissing, Hugging
She helps me and loves me.
Mommy

Bella gave me a makeover, complete with nailpolish of the hottest, pinkest variety:


And the lipstick was just a little bit crooked:


But I truly felt beautiful, because I am Bella's Mommy and that is how she sees me!  :)

It was such a fun and special time together.  I am so glad I could go.  I never want to forget.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Quick Takes Friday #24

It has been one crazy week.  I'm going to give the short breakdown, day-by-day, for those of you who aren't Facebook friends! Join more 7 Quick Takes Friday Fun at www.conversiondiary.com!

--1--
Saturday, May 5th

I took Alice in to the Emergency Room, because the stomach bug had gotten out of control.  My poor 3-month-old baby was emplting her stomach both ways at least 12-14 times in a single day.  She was lethargic, spiking fevers, and only had two wet diapers all day.  We'd taken her to see the pediatrician on Friday and recieved a list of "warning signs" to watch for.  Once we saw them, it was to the ER we went. 

--2--
Sunday, May 6th

After spending the remainder of the day and all night in the ER, Alice was admitted to Texas Children's Hospital around 2AM on Sunday morning.  She was so sick, that it was extremely scary.  She was refusing to eat ANYTHING... no nursing, no bottle, not a drop.  I have never, ever had any of my other children become THIS ill, especially as such a young baby!  Lucy (2) was home with strep throat, so she couldn't be left with anyone but Daddy.  Although it was the hardest thing I've ever done, I was alone in the hospital with my baby for 2 days and long nights.

--3--
Monday, May 7th

My parents drove all night so that Adam could be with us in the hospital.  I had only slept about 30 minutes in two days, so was emotionally and physically wrecked!  I was so relieved to see him.  They did some more testing and ultrasounds, and it turned out that Alice had a kidney infection on top of the virus she was fighting.  It was a very difficult day.  She was in a lot of pain.  She didn't nurse all this day either.

--4--
Tuesday, May 8th

Alice slept all day.  She started nursing for about five minutes at a time, which was the beginning of her turnaround.  We just took turns cuddling her and got her to nurse as much as she possible could.

--5--
Wednesday, May 9th

Alice continued to improve by the hour, increasing her amounts of nursing with every feeding.  I took an hour away to attend Ben's preschool "Tea Party" for Mamas, and I was so glad I did!  I hadn't seen my little boy for four days and I know how hard he'd been working on the songs.  They waited on us hand and foot, and it was quite possibly the cutest thing I'd ever seen.  I spent the rest of the day at the hospital with Alice and was overjoyed when we were discharged around 8 PM.

--6--
Thursday, May 10th

Alice slept much better at home, and began nursing regularly again.  She still isn't herself and will be on antibiotics for the next 10 days, but she is doing so much better.  I am so thankful for the care we recieved.

On a happier note, Isabella also had a special program for Mother's Day at school.  The kindergarteners had a "Mommy's Makeover" day.  I was pampered with hand massages, a manicure, brushing my hair, and she even did my makeup. 

--7--
Friday, May 11th

All of the sleepless nights caught up to Mom!  I had to go in for a left ear infection, eye infection, and yes... strep throat.  Alice and I are taking a nusring vacation... spending the days in bed together, taking our medicines, and getting well as soon as we can.

We got wonderful news today that Ben's name was pulled in the lottery for the Two-Way Immersion program offered as a magnet school option in our public school system.  There was probably only a 10% chance with the number of applicants this year, and we feel EXTREMELY blessed that he got in!  Ben will be in a classroom with 10 English speakers and 10 Spanish speakers.  He will rotate instruction... one day in Spanish, one day in English.  It is a HUGE commitment on the part of the parents, and he must stay in the program though 5th grade for the best results.  By 2nd grade, we will have mastered social Spanish... meaning he can play on the playground and communicate effectively with a Spanish speaker.  By 5th grade, he will have a good grip on academic Spanish too.  Since siblings are in the first round draft, this paves the way for Lucy and Alice to enter the program too when their time comes.  I still am hoping we can get Bella in for first grade, too.  SHe is on the top of the waiting list.

Have a wonderful weekend and HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!  :)






What Extended Breastfeeding REALLY Looks Like

Photo Copyright 2012 by Kelly Garvey, www.KellyGarveyPhotography.com

Dear Time Magazine,
Mission Accomplished.  Your cover has gone viral and has stirred up all the controversy you were hoping for.  You incited both side of the Mommy Wars with your ridiculous "Are You Mom Enough?" challenge.  Shame on you.


 
My friend Cathy just posted the following answer on her Facebook page:



It bears repeating:  Yes, I am Mom Enough to Choose what is best for my family.  I am Mom Enough to raise healthy, happy children, 
 
 
Your cover photo is just plain gross.  Not because there is a three-year-old on his mother's breast... not because you "showed too much."  It's because you didn't show ENOUGH,  Your didn't show what attachment parenting and extended nursing REALLY looks like.  It is intimate.  Gentle touches, low lights, lots of cuddling... it is intimate and natural and beautiful.  How sad that your photographer didn't capture the real image of extended nursing, and instead, made it a staged, awkward parody.
 
 
I am so proud of my fellow moms, who have seen this cover for what it is and have absolutely refused to participate in another round of Mommy Wars. 
 
 
As we celebrate Mother's Day this weekend, I hope moms continue to support one another in making the choices that work best for their individual families.  We are ALL "extreme" mothers, because motherhood calls us to EXTREME LOVE!
 
 
Read a much more uplifting article for breastfeeding moms:  I Will Not Nurse You Forever

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Jiggety-Jig

Home again, home again... jiggety-jig!

Thank you all SO MUCH for your continued prayers and well-wishes for Alice Evangeline!  She is home now and much more comfortable.  She will be on antibiotics for the next 10 days, for that kidney infection that popped up on Monday, but other than that... all is back to normal.  :)  

My prayer community and family & friends really carried us through this week.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you... thank you so much.  

It is GOOD to be home!  :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Retail Therapy


Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday... now Wednesday.  Time moves painfully slow when you are stuck at the hospital!

I feel so bad for baby Alice.  All of the pokes and tests and caths and discomfort... it breaks my heart!  So, yesterday, I indulged in a little retail therapy for us both.  Toys R Us lets you order online and pick up in store, and that is just what we did.  I haven't left her side since Saturday but Grandma was our hero and picked up Alice's new mobile.  This thing is AWESOME and she has been talking and smiling at it ever since we set it up.  She is really enjoying herself and it does my heart good to see it!  :)

Alice's IV infiltrated in the middle of the night last night, and her arm swelled up three times her normal size and felt like a rock!  Thankfully, the nurses were able to stick her other arm.  They did discuss putting an IV in her HEAD but thank God we are not there.  I can't imagine how awful that would feel for her.

She is still having tummy issues and the antibiotics aren't helping that at all, but she is nursing again in five minute stretches every three hours or so.  We are hopeful that we will go home this evening, but it all depends on our sweet baby girl and how she holds down her milk.

Thank you again for all of the prayers and positive thoughts!  It definitely makes us feel your love and support, and it is a blessing to know that we aren't alone.  :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sleeping Beauty


Alice was admitted to Texas Children's Hospital on Saturday night for severe dehydration.  She started having a fever and an awful one-two punch of diarrhea and vomiting on Thursday.  By Friday she was already in bad shape, so we took her into the pediatrician.  We were advised of the signs to watch for, and when they presented themselves on Saturday evening, it was off to the ER we went.  Alice and I have been here ever since.  Though her first urine test was negative, with all the yucky stools literally 14-16 times per day, Alice got a UTI infection on Sunday which didn't help her any.  She refused to nurse for 48 painful hours but is slowly latching on again now.  In the meantime, she was getting everything she needed by IV so she could safely battle this horrible illness.

The worst part of being away from home is that Lucy also is very sick and wants her Mommy too.  Lucy also started running a temperature on Thursday, but didn't have the same stomach symptoms.  Adam took her in on Monday, as her fever was upwards of 104 all weekend, and she tested positive for strep throat.  What a mess! 

I have to say that I have an ENORMOUS amount of respect for parents with chronically ill babies, as I haven't handled this week very well at all.  I am emotionally exhausted from worrying and watching my baby go through all of the pokes and tests.  The second night here (Sunday night) was the worst.  I have never felt so lonely and overwhelmed in my life... truly!  She was just so uncomfortable and screamed for 4 hours straight.  My parents came back into town so Adam could come be with us.  I had only slept for 30 minutes in two days, so I think my emotional breakdown stemmed from exhaustion.  Alice AND Mommy made a big turnaround when Daddy got here Monday.

Thank you to Grandma for bringing me goodies and company over the weekend, and to my friend Dee Dee for the chai and company.  I have no words for how welcome it was to see a friendly face and talk to someone for awhile in person who knows and loves us.  :)  All the love in the world to my parents for interrupting their plans to help us at the drop of the hat!  I really couldn't handle another day here alone with my sweet little sick baby.

As far as hospitals go, Texas Children's is wonderful.  I am so impressed by how loving and gentle the whole staff is, and how much they offer comfort to parent AND child.  I am so thankful for the care we've received so far.  Diarrhea in such a young baby is no joke... it takes SO much out of their tiny bodies and they go from "a little sick" to critical condition in 48 hours.  It is crazy.  I am so thankful for modern medicine, because in another place or time, Alice would not have made it.  My heart is full of gratitude for the people we have caring for her, and the people who have made discoveries in the medical field that turn this into an unpleasant memory at worst.  :)

I will update you all on her condition.  In the meantime, please pray for her continued recovery and for Lucy too!  I really appreciate it.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Quick Takes Friday: #23

Since we are now the Lucky 7, I will give a quick run-down of what each of us have been up to lately!  Join more 7 Quick Takes Friday Fun at www.conversiondiary.com!

--1--
Alice: 3 months old

Alice is at a really fun stage.  She smiles constantly, is very chatty, and graces us with new baby giggles.  We love hearing her "voice" and watching her grow.  Her growth curves are following those of Sophie and Ben's babyhoods... she is a fat, happy girl and I just can't get enough of her!

--2--
Lucy: 2 years, 11 months old 

Lucy is just as hilarious as ever.  One of my favorite Lucy-quotes of the moment: "I'm not naughty... I'm AWESOME!"  She is the most fun I've ever had... and she also is very good at wearing me out!

--3--
Ben: 5 years old


Always running, climbing, shouting... and definitely, always talking.  This little guy is Mr. Popularity at preschool.  I just can't believe he will be in Kindergarten next year.

--4--
Bella: 6.5 years old



Bella is the sweetheart of the family and definitely a girly-girl. She loves ballet, modeling for mommy's business contacts and will do just about anything for chocolate.  After a bumpy start, she is totally rocking Kindergarten.

--5--
Sophie: 9 years old


Sophie is a little Mama, the typical oldest!  ;)  She is smart as a whip, friendly and strong.  She loves soccer, running, and writing her own songs.  I love watching her mature into a tween!

--6--
Mama: Old Enough to Know Better

 I've finally recognized the importance of making time for myself.  I am spending more time with my good friends, making eight hours of sleep each night a priority, and working out 4-6 times a week.  I feel better than ever, and have lost 20.2 lbs.  I have a lot more to go, but it is a decent start!

--7--
Adam: Not Too Old To Make a Change


 I am so proud of Adam.  He is working with a personal trainer and with the goal of running in the New York Marathon this year!  He is losing weight and getting stronger in every way.  He constantly suprises and amazes me, and I think he has started amazing himself a little bit too!  :)
Life is Good!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Evolution of a Blogger


Instagram photo of my little sick Lucy, lying in my lap.  Ben is well, but now Alice & Lucy are running fevers now.  It is SO sad when babies are sick!  I am pouring everything I've got into being their 24/7 comfort object.

What I want to say today... Blogging is so important to me.  When I published my first post in 2003, I was a lonely 21-year-old with a baby and an absent husband.  Blogging was a lot different then.  There was a smaller audience, but people made deep connections with their blogging communities.  I literally could not have gotten through my divorce and the subsequent grief without having a safe place to "vent", where anonymous friends could offer perspective and comfort.  It was amazing.

When we moved to Houston in 2005, I used my blog for a completely different purpose.  I wanted to stay connected to my family and friends, and made my blog public for that reason.  I loved sharing stories of my family and feeling like I could still share my life with people i loved, even though we were far away.

By 2010, almost everyone I knew (even my Grandpa!) got on Facebook.  My need to blog faded, as Facebook was a real-time way to stay in touch with my family and friends.  I didn't need to write here to share my photos, my thoughts, or children's milestones.  I also went through a period of regret of how much I shared online with the public, and wiped my archives from public view.

However, things are changing in my heart and life again.  I am about to be a mom to a 10-year-old.  I love looking back at my first posts, reading about my baby Maddy Sophie and remembering growing up with her.  I love reading about my first dates with Adam, and falling in the love-of-my-life.  I love having the birth story of each of my children and having cute photos to go along with my stories of our family life.  I hate that Facebook took over my "blogging time" and that I don't have the same records of Lucy and Alice.

So... to make a long story short (Ha, as if I could EVER do that!) I am taking back my blog.  I am determined to make time for daily posts, even if it is just a one-liner of cute things my babies said.  I want to print out my blogs each year and bind them, as a record of our family memories.  I don't want to look back on our early years by scrolling through old Facebook statuses.  It is definitely not the same.  ;)

I can't promise to be interesting or exciting.  You will notice I don't have and never will have ads on my blog.  My purpose is not to keep srangers "hooked" on my words, but to share bits of my happily ever after (and the bad days too) in a real and honest way, so I don't forget what it was like to be the mom of five children and a 30ish wife to my Adam.  This IS the best time of my life so far, and I want to always remember and cherish it.

I am considering making my old posts public again, but of course, a lot would need editing/redacting.  I am not sure about it, and will need to think about it for awhile longer.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Solved


We found the key-logging virus on my mom's computer.  The hacker got my passwords from gmail, my yahoo business account, and my Facebook account.  They set up a NEW email under lerin.wheeless@yahoo.com which IS NOT, WAS NOT, and NEVER WILL be mine.  They imported all of my contacts from the accounts they broke into, and emailed all of my contacts with a fraudulent claim that I was stuck in the Phillipines and needed money to get home.  Similar to some found here: http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/internetfraud/scamemailexamples.htm (HT: Leslie R.!)

I have regained control of my facebook, gmail, and yahoo business accounts.  If you get ANY email from lerin.wheeless@YAHOO.com it is NOT ME.  Please delete any correspondence.  Yahoo's fraud division will shut them down in a few days for impersonating me, but in the meantime, do not be fooled.

THANK YOU to everyone who texted and called and even stopped by yesterday to let me know what was happening!  I was very impressed.  :)  WE stopped the scam together thanks to you!  :) 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

HACKED! A Cautionary Tale


No, I am not in the Phillipines.  I have not been robbed and I do not need money to get home.

Someone at the IP address 64.31.33.105 (or by proxy) logged in to my gmail account at 2:33 PM CST today.  This same person signed up as lerin.wheeless@yahoo.com on yahoo today.  They stole all of my contacts from gmail, my yahoo business account, and my Facebook account.  They changed all of my security questions and alternate contact emails, shut down the "suispicious activity" warning emails, and I was only able to save my gmail and business account by using my mobile phone number.

I am currently locked out of Facebook, since my imposter deleted all my other email accounts from the system (even my NSU alumni address I signed up under in 2004!) and only has THEIR fake lerin.wheeless@yahoo.com email listed.  I don't know what to do to fix that but am currently frantically trying to find out.

I called yahoo support to tell them what had happened, but apparently they can't (or won't) help me, since I can't answer my imposter's security questions or the DOB they signed up with. I did report it as a fraudulent account, impersonating me.  That violates Yahoo's TOU, so eventually, they'll be shut down.  I have to fax them a copy of the emails and my Driver's License to prove it is not me.

Honestly, I always sorta thought that people who got hacked had a relatively easy password, or that they had the same passwords for everything.  Today proved me wrong!  I did everything right.  I have a different password for every account (which drives my husband crazy) and they are LONG and random.  It is not something anyone could ever guess.  So, this may be a product of that old virus on my hard drive, or a professional using a brute force program, or something else.  Who knows! 

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know what's going on.  Surely you knew I wasn't travelling to the Phillipines with my baby.  And no, my emails are NOT perfect but I can speak English.  That email was awkward and not my "voice" at all.  Please delete and ignore.