Monday, October 24, 2011

Let's talk some poop

It's very possible that this topic has come up before on my blog.  I know that it is something that moms of little ones have no problem talking about because it is such a big part of dealing with little ones.  Changing diapers . . . I've changed SO many diaper this past week that I'm going to have to order my normal "big box" from Amazon at least a week early so we don't run out!!!

The reason?  Diarrhea.  The WORST I've ever seen in one of my babies . . . and it's coming out of 2 of them!!!

I know.  TMI.  If you can't handle that you should probably stop reading because it's only going to get worse. The truth is, it's all I've been able to think about because it's all I've been dealing with for the last week.

I hate when my kids are sick.  Sniffles and a cough I can handle, though.  Fevers, puking and diarrhea scares the crap outta me, though.  We had all 3 going on this past week with the twins.  It started with Dean on Tuesday.  Jerry had to deal with most of it because he is home with them on Tuesdays.  Dean had a fever, was puking and well . . . the poop was BAD!  I called the nurse on Friday and explained what was going on.  She told me what to do to make sure he wasn't dehydrated (I had to put a paper towel in his diaper near his pee pee) and what to try to get him to eat since he wasn't throwing up anymore.

David got it on Saturday - and he had all the same things going on.  Luckily, I knew what I was dealing with and what I needed to do.

The problem is that dehydration scares me to death.  I always hear the story about how I dehydrated when I was little and I had to stay in the hospital for at least 1 night.  I've already stayed at the hospital overnight . . . I don't like it.  I don't want to do it again any time soon.  So - I got myself all worked up about keeping them hydrated . . . but when you are dealing with it from both ends . . . it gets tricky.  You don't want to put too much in their stomach if they are just going to throw it back up but you need to make sure they are crying tears and peeing.  Which is really tough when the diaper smells so bad you don't want to look at it any longer than you have to.

I'm happy to report, though, that we are on the mend.  They still have their poop problem going on but the fevers are long gone and no one has puked since Saturday!

I know they look so upset here . . .

And these were taken Saturday . . . Maybe I just worry too much.

One thing is for sure . . . If I don't have to change another poopy diaper for a while I won't be heartbroken at all.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Funeral for a Hero

The mood around here has been very somber.  It is amazing to see how the communities of Lower Burrell, New Kensington and Arnold have all come together to support the family of fallen officer, Derek Kotecki.  

I have always had a tough time with death, but tragedies like this are even harder for me to understand.

My thoughts always turn to the family that is left behind to try to find answers and move on as well all of the friends and coworkers - some of them, in this case, were there when the whole thing happened.

I hate when people are hurting and I'm helpless to do anything.  It's part of the reason I couldn't get into any kind of medical profession.  It doesn't matter if I know them or not . . . seeing other people in pain has an effect on me that I can't really explain.  Being a mother has intensified that feeling.

I think about his parents and how they may have reacted when they were first told the news and how they are dealing with it all now . . . how I would deal with it if it were one of my sons.  I think about his wife and how she has to be strong for her boys. I don't really know how I would be able to do it because I turn to Jerry to be that strength for me . . . how do you do it if the person who was your strength isn't there?

Here is a link to the Final Roll Call for Derek Kotecki it's chilling and heartbreaking.

I woke up this morning still unsure if I was going to head up to Freeport Road to pay my respects and honor Officer Kotecki and his family as the funeral procession went by.  I really wanted to go.  I felt the need to go.  There isn't much that I can do and I really didn't know him or his family but my heart just aches for them.  I wanted to show a tiny bit of support.  I'm so glad that I decided to just do it and take the twins and Danika up to Juli's house and walk over with her, Kasie and the kids.

Dean holding his flag to honor Officer Kotecki

I can't really describe what it was like to stand there.  I felt like I had to make eye contact with as many of the officers driving by and somehow convey to them through that eye contact that I really appreciate what they do.  I felt like I wanted to show them my children and tell each and every one of them that I love them more than they can imagine for helping to keep us safe.  I also wanted them to know that, I know it isn't enough, but I always pray for their safety when I hear sirens.

Officer Kotecki's casket came past draped in an American flag, in a glass carriage pulled by two horses.  

Bob Donaldson/Post-Gazette

There were two limos following the casket that I am assuming had his parents, wife and children in them.  I know that the second one had his wife riding in it because, just as they passed us, the sun shone in on her face.  That was when I cried.  She looked . . . tired.  I'm sure she is exhausted.  I can't imagine how crazy things have been for her and her boys.  

I was looking for Nate's Lower Burrell Police shirt (that is who he played tee ball for over the summer) so that he could wear it to school today and the whole time I was digging through drawers and laundry baskets I  kept thinking about Officer Kotecki's wife and how she was also getting clothes together for the morning . . . but that she was getting out the clothes that her boys would wear to their father's funeral.  It made me aware that I had no right to complain that I couldn't find it...even though I did and he wore it proudly to school this morning. 

Rest in Peace, Officer Kotecki - may God bless your family and all of those who serve and protect!

Monday, October 10, 2011

It was a Cooking Day in the Kitchen

Not my kitchen . . . but Christine's!  Go ahead and click on her name to see what she had to say about our cooking adventure yesterday.  I feel kind of silly writing a post about it because you could just go and read her post to see how I feel about our day yesterday!  It was another exhausting but amazing day.  I learned how to make scones . . . I haven't tried one yet so it remains to be seen if I am any good at it!  I also made quesadillas and smoked up Christine's entire house with only a complaint or two from her girls before they went to a less smoky room.

I made such a mess!  

I also made (or helped to make) Homemade Applesauce!!!  The boys ate it for breakfast and LOVED it!!! I'm probably going to go out and get some more apples and make another big batch of it!  

At one point, we had 4 crock pots going - 

The far one has the Crock pot Chipotle Lime Black Bean Soup (which has quite a kick, Jerry even said it was HOT and the kids probably won't eat it . . . heck, I doubt I can eat it!)  The next one has Beef Stew and the closest one has Beef Stew - there were so many ingredients we needed 2 crock pots.  The one in between the Beef Stews is the applesauce.  Oh . . . and those yummy stacked muffins are the Pizza Muffins Christine made.  She's right . . . they did smell like pizza flavored Combos!

We use the Once a Month Mom Traditional Menu for our cooking day.  Yesterday, we did the September 2011 menu.

I know that a lot of people like the idea of not having to cook dinner but also think that the planning for an all day cooking day would be too much.  I also know that a lot of people have a hard time imagining spending the whole day cooking.  It isn't for everyone, that is for sure.  Here are a few suggestions if you are thinking about giving it a try.

  • Find a good partner.  I feel so incredibly lucky to have found a partner who will let us cook at her house (her kitchen is much more conducive to this kind of venture than mine would be) and is incredibly easy to get along with.  She also is willing to split the work - although, I do feel bad she did more prep than me this time!!!  We've had no trouble with how we split up the lists and who buys what each month.  We also are both easy going enough that when little things come up . . . like not enough chicken cooked or black beans or too much corn . . . we just make a decision and go with it. 

  • Start early, if you can.  For both times we cooked, we started planning at least 3 weeks ahead of time so that we could try to buy things when they are on sale.  I still ended up getting the majority of my list's items at Aldi but we were able to get the beef we needed BOGO and last month we got the chicken when it was only 1.99 lb!

  • Don't be afraid of the work...don't let it discourage you.  I thought about cooking like this probably 6 months ago but didn't take the first step (making the commitment that I was going to cook with Christine - so I couldn't back out) until about 3 months ago.  The thought of getting all the ingredients together, spending the entire day away from the kids (I didn't see them at all yesterday) and spending a whole day cooking stopped me from getting serious about it.  I was pretty sure that I would never be able to do it.  This is where having a good partner helps - you don't have to do it alone!  Plus, it helps to have someone going through the same thing as you.  Several times yesterday we both checked with each other to just make sure we were doing okay.  I think it was at those times when we, ourselves, were getting helped to get a smile from my partner that not only said, "I'm okay" but also "I feel ya!"  

  • Don't make any other plans that day.  We actually have fun for most of the day - it goes a lot faster than I thought it would.  But plan on cooking all day.  I was gone for about 13 hours . . . if you factor in that I had to go to Giant Eagle for some last minute stuff and we took little breaks to eat - Christine's husband did a great job of "babysitting" us and making sure we ate lunch and dinner!!  (McDonald's for lunch and some really awesome Pizza for dinner . . . I brought Donut Connection donuts for breakfast.  :)

  • Try it once . . . remember you don't HAVE to make a lifetime commitment just go one month at a time and if it isn't for you then be honest.  I know that Christine and I both feel like we will want to keep doing this every month but we did start out saying we were going to try it out one month and see if we thought it was worth it.  We think it is.  It was also easier the second month than it was the first.  I think you will get hooked if you get through your first month but take it slow...maybe you only want to cook once every other month.  You could do that, too!
I also don't know if we would have been able to do it without Once a Month Mom.  To be honest, we are too busy to do all of the planning involved.  The site has been such a blessing!  We are thinking about maybe coming up with our own menu down the road . . . but for now we have been enjoying trying new foods and having a lot of the work already done for us!

I'll keep you posted on how we like this month's recipes and let me know if you are giving once a month cooking a shot - I'd love to hear what you are doing and how it goes for you!

Monday, October 3, 2011

October Excitment

I'm actually kind of amazed at how quickly my October calendar filled up.  I guess I shouldn't be and I had better get use to it because it will be pretty full until after the New Year!!!

One thing that I'm really starting to get excited about, though, is my next Once a Month Cooking Day - that link gives you a little preview of what we are making this month!

It's quickly approaching and I'm looking forward to trying some new recipes and refilling my freezer!  I remember the feeling of accomplishment that I had when we finished last month.  I'm so excited about having that same adrenaline filled exhaustion when I try to fall asleep after a full day of making meals!

I'm also excited about a Halloween Train Ride that I scheduled for my kiddos and all of their little cousins.  It is for kids ages 4-11, so I am not taking the twins . . . but I'm super excited to be maybe starting a Halloween tradition!  My only concern now is if we will be riding in an enclosed car or in an open car . . . it might be a little cold if it is an open car!!!  Guess it will be best to prepare for it and then take layers off if we are enclosed.

Of course, we are also planning a trip to a pumpkin patch, carving pumpkins, Trick-or-Treating, making snacks for school parties (at least I'm hoping to get this done!) and maybe even watching a few "spooky" movies - We are actually looking forward to It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and Scared Shrekless!!!!

So . . . . bring on October!  Now that I spent a weekend putting away summer clothes and getting out the winter stuff, I'm ready!!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Something in the air

There is something in the air.  I'm not sure if it is the change of season . . . shorter days coming and colder weather.  I'm usually a big fan of being able to wear sweatshirts and long sleeves...sweatpants and fuzzy socks. This year, though, the gloomy skies seem to be getting me down a bit.

There is also something going on with the children in my life.  My children and the children that I teach at school seem to be a little extra wound up these days.  They are testing limits and learning what they can and can't get away with.  It's exhausting.

There is also something about the up coming holidays that adds major stress to my schedule.  The weekends in October are already starting to fill up and overflow into week nights.  I also have to find time to keep doing the everyday things.

I consider myself mildly organized.  I'm not overly organized but I have a few things in place that help me to know where I can find things when I need them and I have my calendar (dry erase) to show me what I have going on and coming up.  I wish I could be more organized . . . but really, that's it.

I guess that's enough whining from me for now. . . I want to share some pictures for LAST Saturday of our scarecrow party!  We had a blast!