Monday, October 14, 2013

Summertime Sadness

I know it's October, but I still have so many summertime favorites.
I have lots of good things to talk about, and adorable photos of Bella, and beautiful memories of her 8th birthday.  And I will, perhaps tomorrow!  I need to download the pictures and share soon.  :)

In the meantime, I have to get some things off of my congested chest.  ;)

While I am thankful to God that I don't have cancer, I am so tired of being so sick.  This Halloween will mark two years... TWO YEARS... since I got knocked out by pneumonia followed by appendicitis in pregnancy with Alice.  My body has never recovered.

I have been in and out of the hospital, ER's, doctor's offices... on so many steroids that have made me swell up like a balloon, and I don't even fit in my "fat day" clothes anymore... that have thrown me into full-blown mania at times!  I cough to the point of vomiting on a regular basis, and can't even commit to going anywhere because of the coughing spells. Despite the exhaustion, I can't sleep most of the time.  We found out that I have a chronic condition and I have an AWESOME doctor helping me to treat it, but the side effects are almost worse than the illness itself.  It's so embarrassing to be passed a cough drop at church by strangers, to have people ask me if I am "going to be alright."  I'm in constant pain.  I know it doesn't compare to the cross that some people bear, but I just wish I could breathe normally again!

All that being said, I'm just trying so hard.  I have five kiddos who desperately need a healthy mommy.  I have a small business that I need to help support the family, especially as we keep getting hit with medical bills.  I am also homeschooling and teaching 2nd grade at the hybrid academy.  My daughter is still being diagnosed, but may be on the spectrum.  The physical and emotional toll this takes on me and my family... it is a lot, a lot.  ;)  I feel so sad for Adam and the kids when they have to do "fun" things without Mommy because I can't come.  I feel so much guilt for not being able to handle the home on my own anymore.  I am trying, really trying!  They are all such blessings to me.  :)

I definitely feel I am on the right track, but I need prayers to get well.  I can't go on this way, always so tired and so sick.

I also would like to hear from any Katy-area photographers who are interested in sharing a lease through June 2014.  I just can't handle the extra expense right now, as I can't work enough to pay the rent with all the things I have going on.

I offer all of this up to God for the salvation of souls, particularly those with no one else to pray for them.  And I pray for God's will to be done in my life.  If I am to be healed, I pray that I will be able to dedicate my renewed energy toward His will for my life!  :)  If I am not going to be well, I pray that I will be able to endure the suffering with grace and accept it as part of God's plan to get me to Heaven with Him.  :)

I *am* happy, and fulfilled, and content.  The smile you see on my face every day is not faked.  I have peace in my heart and my life is very good.  But for whatever reason, I don't talk about the hard & painful parts of my life with anyone.  I want to change that.  Not to bring anyone down, but because I have so many people willing to love me and share the burden through prayer and listening ears.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Alice, Bella and I all had to have bloodwork this morning.  Poor Alice was very distressed, and I felt so sorry for her.  I was super impressed with Bella... she was visibly nervous but all she said was "Ow, ow, ow!" and didn't shed a single tear.  This is pretty amazing for her!

In the afternoon, I had to trek downtown for a parent interview appointment for my Lucy.  We are starting the process of psychological and medical testing to see if we can pinpoint what is going on, and how to best help her. The school did an evaluation about a year ago to qualify her for special education, but it wasn't nearly as involved.  The doctor thinks that the combination of fine motor skill delay and emotional issues points to a neurological problem.  Praying that they can correctly diagnose her, so we can know the BEST way to help her thrive.  I worry about her all the time... probably at least half of my day is consumed with thoughts about my Lucy.  I love her so much, and hate to see her struggle.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Knowledge Card

All 6 of my babies watching the plumber at work!

Babies ARE expensive.

And I obviously went into the wrong line of work.  The plumber made $150 in about 8 minutes.

Alice is accused of flushing a plastic card that says "The Knowledge Card" on it.  I have never heard of or seen this, so I still maintain it wasn't MY sweet baby.

But the good news is, when you come over to our home next time, you won't have to use the master bathroom and walk past my always-unmade bed.  There is now officially a half "guest" bathroom on the first floor once again, and all is well.  :)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Beautiful Day

I want to remember today.  Maybe I will forget all the little details, but  I want to remember the feeling of today.

We had a cold front, finally, and the weather felt like Houston fall.  :)  It was perfect!  Adam fired up the grill and the kids played outside.  Alice was right there with them... running back and forth, following the soccer ball.  :)  I loved to see her little legs running after her older brother & sisters.  She is really growing up fast.

After dinner, I gave Lucy & Alice their bath.  There is nothing sweeter than a lotioned, clean baby all snuggled up in a towel in my arms.  Alice does keep trying to drink the bathwater and turn the faucet back on... and Lucy does shout "NO!" when it is time to wash her hair... but all in all, it is my favorite time of the day.

I love my sweet family... my amazing husband & adorable kids.  :)

Saturday, October 5, 2013


Oh boy... did I pay for our nice night out!  I woke up around 1 AM and was violently ill all night.  At one point, I was laying on the floor just outside of the bathroom door, because I didn't have the strength to run back and forth anymore.  Yikes!  I was mostly okay again by this afternoon.  Tired and dehydrated, and very upset to have had to cancel all of my photography sessions today, but otherwise much better.

I spent the whole day in bed or on the couch with a bottle of water and Netflix.  Adam took three of the kids to a bazaar.  Sophie stayed at Victoria's all day, and Alice went to play at Meme & Poppy's house while I recovered at home.

Random cuteness:  Lucy told me she wants to be an 'ice cream girl' when she grows up.  She wants to drive an ice cream truck, and make ice cream and popsicles.  She said she would give them to everybody, because it will make them happy.  Awww!

When everyone was back again around 8-ish, we had Family Movie Night and watched "The Neverending Story."  SO many memories!  Wow.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Let's Go, Dynamo!

My hot date.

I'm terrible at selfies.

I am really sleepy, so I will make this quick!  :)

Our morning started with Lucy's silent "stiff as a board" tantrum.  She refuses to get dressed or to walk, or to do anything, really.  Just resists silently by locking her arms and refusing to cooperate.  I remained very patient, and told her that I was sorry she didn't feel like getting dressed this morning, but the bus would be picking her up shortly and she was getting on whether she was dressed or not. I then walked away.  About 10 minutes later, she showed up in the kitchen with her clothes on, asking for breakfast.  :D  She did the same "stiff as a board" thing to the bus assistant this morning, which was new for them.  That girl!

After that, we did some chores and I worked more on the I Bambini images.  It was only a half-day at school, so after a couple of hours, Lucy was home again.  The kids all played Mario Party on the Wii, and I finished up my work for the day.  Alice was asking for "Poppy, Meme, Punkins" all day.  ;)  She started saying something that sounded like "Column."  It took me a bit to figure it out, but once she put her hand up to her ear and said, "Phone.  Call 'em." I got it.  She was very pleased for having communicated so well with mommy.  :)  

Everyone got ready and Sophie packed a bag to stay overnight with her best friend, Victoria.  I dropped the four little ones at Meme & Poppy's house, where Alice was delighted AND a little scared by the "punkins."  Then I took Sophie to her friend's house and headed off to do some errands.

My last stop was a Walgreen's.  I was shocked by how expensive all of my medications are, even with great insurance.  No wonder we are broke all the time!  ;)  After picking up the things I needed, I went to the van and it wouldn't start.  Thanking God that my Daddy was able and willing to come jump it for me.  :)  I just played on Facebook until he arrived, and kicked myself for not being lazy and using the drive through today.

Finally home to a QUIET house, I returned several phone calls.  I only got to three out of seven, but it's progress!  I talked with a woman who I am going to be working with on an international project, that will help Catholic children with issues like Lucy's to prepare for their Sacraments.  I am SO excited to be their photographer, and still can't believe how "legit" this makes me feel.  Haha!

Finally, I got ready for my date night.  Adam and I had a nice time reconnecting before the Dynamo game.  We had SO MUCH FUN and laughed a lot, as always.  The game was very exciting, and we won!  There was lots of jumping and dancing and cheering... and on Adam's part, even some singing.

We picked up our four sleeping babies and tucked them all in tight at home.

We are so, so blessed.  Thankful for my parents being in town and so willing to help... thankful for my darling babies, especially my funny Lucy who keeps every morning interesting... thankful for my best friend Adam and his wonderful way of taking care of me.  I don't know why I have been given so much, but I try my best to deserve it.

Will check in tomorrow, sweet sisters!  :) 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Better Late than Never?

I woke up at approximately 7:43 AM this morning, which is about 15 minutes late for the bus.  Crazily enough, every single one of my five kiddos was sleeping in too!  Yikes.  Rushing around is not the ideal way to start your day.  ;)  We got Lucy to school a little late... after listening to a full blown tantrum about not liking school anymore because "Table Time" is boring... then I picked up a vanilla chai latte to jolt myself awake.

We had a playdate this morning with Miss Jackie.  Ben had so much fun playing with borrowed brothers, and you can see Alice snuggled up to Sedona on the swing there.  I had to snap a quick image on my phone... it was too cute to pass up.

After our playdate, we had a day of much-needed rest at home.  I worked on some images for a commercial project, and the kids played around the house.  Lucy came downstairs in full Cinderella attire, and she even painted her fingernails.  When I asked the big girls who left out the nail polish (it is usually on a shelf that is too high for anyone but the oldest to reach), they both assured me it wasn't them.  "Nobody" strikes again!  I need to get myself a "Nobody" trap, because "Nobody" is driving me nuts lately.  ;)

Adam was my personal hero for stopping at the grocery store on the way home, picking up my meds AND cooking dinner.  I don't know what we would do without him!

I was scheduled to photograph an event today, and I can't say I am sad that it was cancelled!  I really need to catch up on rest and post-processing.  I also realized about  weeks ago that signing a lease on my studio was probably one of the more impulsive things I have done recently.  I blame the steroids I was on all summer for the breathing issues.  I was on the brink of full-blown mania for awhile!  I like my partner, and I like the location... and having a studio really makes me feel 'fancy.'  ;)  But it isn't what I *really* want.  What I really want is to be a wife who takes care of my home, a mom who takes care of my children, and a child of God who really knows Him.  Photography often gets in the way of that.  I am trying.  I don't think it is a 'balance.'  I think you really just have to make a decision about what is most important, and stick with it.  I need the extra income, but I can't let it take over my family life again.  I'm taking the whole month of December off, and am really looking forward to the break.

Three days in a row, Brettin & Lindsay!  Thanks for checking in.  :)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The days are long, but the years are short.

Another summertime favorite.
"The days are long, but the years are short."

I don't remember where I first heard that phrase, but it has stayed with me ever since.  Today was definitely one of those days where it popped into my head several times.

I started the day by getting my sweet Lucy out of bed (or, as it is in our house these days "off of couch") and waiting for the bus with her.  There was a minor meltdown over the unfairness of the big kids not going to school ,and her having to go... the big kids are on Fall Break.  Lucy is enrolled in special education at the public school.

After that, I put Alice in the tub and she had the whole thing to herself.  ;)  She got to play with Lucy's mermaids... or as she calls them... "La-La"s.  It comes from Ariel's song in the movie... "Laaaa laa laa, Laaa la la..."  SO cute.  She has expanded La-La to every princess and Barbie now.

Alice had her well check this morning, and they want to do another blood test to check on her anemia levels.  Last time we checked, it was 8.2.  I hope it has gone up!  I actually really enjoyed it, because thanks to my mom, I had one-on-one time with her there.  I filled out her paperwork, and then she wanted to fill out some paperwork too.  ;)

After that, I picked up Lucy and we headed to therapies.  Lucy is in occupational therapy for fine motor delay and sensory issues.  Alice is still in feeding therapy with a speech language pathologist.  I really like both therapists, and everyone there is wonderful.  If you are looking for a pediatric therapy center in Houston, message me for more info!

Lucy was so proud of her prize from Treasure Box at school.  After 20 days of making good choices, she got to visit the Treasure Box and found the perfect, noisy bead/drum paddle thing.  I know they have a name, but I don't know what it is.  ;)  It is a "Sensational Kids" brand toy and she has named it and carried it around all day like a baby doll.

Next, I dropped off the little ones at Meme's house and dashed to an appointment at the allergist for Sophie and I.  Sophie may have developed a peanut allergy and needs testing.  :(  It turns out, I don't actually even have asthma but I have been SO sick for going on 7 months now with a chronic sinus infection and bronchitis.  I had to have a CT scan which showed my sinus cavities nearly completely full of fluid.  It is so bad, it is making my whole body sick.  We have a three week treatment plan and I am hoping that it clears up once and for all, and I can be healthy again!  I have way too many things to do to be sick and unable to breathe all the time.

I was gone literally ALL DAY LONG between all the hours of driving and waiting rooms.  All day.  But I can tell you... I am so, so thankful for our wonderful insurance and that we have so many great healthcare providers and therapists for our many needs.  We are very blessed.

I am so, so tired.  I am off to bed, if I can get Lucy settled down for the night.  My poor girl has had so much trouble with sleeping recently.  I need to make a mental note of that for her appointment next week!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

31 Day Challenge

Another favorite from this summer.

I am challenging myself to 31 days of blogging.  Why?  Well, I have to start somewhere.  ;)  I really want to get back in the habit.  :)  It won't be interesting to anyone who isn't family, and maybe not even them... but I will be so glad I did. 

We are on Fall Break from homeschooling and Regina Caeli Academy this week.  I have crammed the last two days full of every appointment we have been putting off.  ;)  Tomorrow is more of the same.  We get a break after that.

We started out the day with a trip to the pediatric dentist.  Alice had her first check-up, which was pretty adorable.  She climbed right up in the chair, and babbled away to the hygienist.  "Chawe!" she shouted proudly.  That is, until the hygienist put on her mask and gloves.  Alice immediately decided this was not her thing after all, and it was time that Mama intervened.  I had to hold her while her teeth were examined and cleaned.  She wasn't so happy about that.  ;)

Lucy, my special baby girl, had a very difficult time as usual.  She is terrified of the dentist.  :(  She truly thinks it hurts.  Her anxiety is over-the-top for things like this.  I am just glad it is over for another six months!  No cavities this time, and the work she had done on her two front teeth last year still looks great.  :)

Ben was as charming, funny, and chatty as ever.  He had FOUR cavities though!  FOUR!!  We have to have them taken care of next week.  Poor little guy has no idea what's coming.

Bella did a wonderful job... now that she is an almost-8-year-old, she is very cooperative.  :)  She also had no cavities.  

Sophie was my little right-hand woman today.  Her appointment is at the regular place next week.  She is so mature and takes initiative to help with the little ones.  I suppose that's what most oldest children of large families do... but, I am so very proud of her.  :)  

A little camera-phone goodness.
After the dentist, we went to pick up the girls' brand new glasses.  Sophie picked a red frame for her fourth prescription, and Bella picked a pink frame for her very first pair of glasses.  Bella is SO PROUD of them.  She has been so excited to get them in.  

We spent the afternoon at Meme and Poppy's house, and then I took Bella in for her well-check and Ben to his follow-up for the growth issues.  Bella looks great, and Ben actually gained weight for the first time since he was 4.  :)  Since May, he has put on 7 pounds.  Dr. J told me to keep doing what we are doing.  Ben promised her he would keep eating vegetables and saying 'More please!" at dinner do he can be as big as Captain America one day.  ;)

I took the kids to McDonald's (a bribe for Lucy to let the dentist look in her mouth) and that was rough.  The kids enjoyed playing on the playspace, but my Lucy struggled to play appropriately with the other kids.  Her feelings were very hurt by two girls around the age of 6, I would guess.  They were being just plain mean to her.  It is so hard to see your child be rejected because of their differences, but my Sophie came to the rescue and played with her.  I'm so thankful that she has such a considerate and kind big sister.

The end of the day didn't go so well.  Lucy had a difficult evening with some meltdowns, and I had a full-blown asthma attack.  I am going to the allergist tomorrow, hopefully going to figure out this awful thing I have been dealing with for four months now!  I can't wait to breathe like a normal person again.  :)

This evening, I am working hard on some photos for a new commercial client and having a lot of fun!  I try to work only at night when the kids are in bed.  It isn't easy, but I just don't want them to see me on the computer all the time.

So, I got the homeschooling thing down and chore chart system is going fairly well.  Now, I am going to focus on my health this month.  Taking care of myself with the right food, rest, and exercise... I can't be the woman I need to be for my family if I am not healthy.  God, please help me.