Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Must. Stop. Eating. Candy.

Remember all that good stuff I talked about last week regarding my nutrition changes and choices??  Well, leave it to Halloween to make it all go out the window.  I'm in serious need of some sugar detox!  There might have to be a candy purge... but I'll give the girls (i.e. me) a day or two before that happens!

So, this may qualify us for "best parents" award, but this is the first year we took the kids out trick or treating.  In fact, it is only the second of Karen's five Halloweens that we've managed to get her in a costume on Halloween.  It happened last year, but I have no pictures to prove it. 

This year, though, they were pretty excited about dressing up and trick or treating - even though they kept asking me what it was.  They looked so cute - who could deny them the joy of walking up sidewalks and knocking on doors to get candy put into their bag!  We only hit about five houses, but they had fun.  And to my surprise, I had fun too.  It's amazing how something that doesn't sound too appealing is so totally worth it when when you watch your kids' little faces light up! (yes, I'm a Halloween Grinch... not the biggest fan of the day).

Love these little gals though - don't they make the cutest princesses!! (Just call Lauren a sweety... she wore her candy corn shirt all day until we left tonight for trick or treating... she went as a pumpkin).

Tried to get a picture of Carl with his girls, but getting them all to look at the camera at the same time... not happening!

Somehow, we managed it with the whole family portrait.  It probably had something to do with me leaving the camera sitting on the couch and sprinting over to join them... they were trying to figure out what the heck was going on!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

New playlist

Working out to music is a relatively new thing for me.  In the past, I've always enjoyed the silence of running.  It was my time outside to just think.  I would get lost in thoughts while I ran and worked through many a problem that way.  When I wasn't "lost in thought", I would try to be "lost" in prayer.

These days, with three little ones underfoot, I find myself more and more working out on my treadmill.  We do not have a TV or window in front of where the treadmill is, so I'm usually looking at a wall.  When I started my half marathon training last spring, I quickly realized that I wasn't going to make it without some musical motivation to go with my treadmill workouts.

I've always been a country music girl, so had a fair amount of that music to choose from to make my workout playlist.  Besides country, there were just a couple other random genres thrown in there.  An interesting thing happened though... whenever these other songs came on my playlist, my step would get a bit lighter, my heart would feel a little more focused, and I would often actually find myself smiling... cheesy, I know, but true!

These other songs were the three or four christian songs that I had thrown into my playlist.  There is alot to be said for the saying that those who sing, pray twice... it felt that way when I listened to those songs while I worked out.  What I had been missing from my workouts - that quiet time with my thoughts and prayers - felt like it had been returned to me!!

So - I've been on a mission to make a Christian music playlist for my workouts.  The dilemma??  I don't know Christian music.  I just don't listen to it.  I have my country (that I actually barely listen to anymore because I don't think it's appropriate for my kids) and instrumental music (George Winston, Jim Brickman, Ed BolDuc, Jim Schafer...). 

Here's what I've come up with just by browsing around iTunes... If you have any suggestions of Christian music you like and/or workout to... I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pediatric Surgery Center... again

We had a busy Monday. Karen had her normal Monday speech session in Spokane with T and Dr. Amy. She was a little squirrely, but didn't do too bad. She knew her Daddy was there watching and I think that both contributed to the squirrely-ness and helped curb it.  Funny how that can happen.

Carl joined us today because he took Karen and Megan after the speech appointment and I had to go straight to the Pediatric Surgery Center at the children's hospital for Lauren's VCUG test. Since she has a second bladder infection and is under a year old, they need to determine if she has VUR (urine reflux into her kidneys) that make her prone to infection and would require her to be on a preventative dose of antibiotic.

We checked in at 12:30. Here's Lauren checking out the nurses in the surgery center... She's not too sure about things.

They were planning to use a mild sedation, so Lauren was not allowed to eat solids six hours before we checked in or to nursing four hours before check-in. So, I had a grumpy and hungry girl on my hands.

She was a little cranky, but we still had some good snuggle time while we waited.

I had a happier girl about a half hour after they administered the oral sedative.  It didn't put her to sleep, just made her really relaxed (and giggly).

The test was relatively quick. They put a catheter in her bladder and then filled her bladder with dye. They then took several x-rays to see if the dye moved from her bladder to her kidneys.  This was the least fun part of the test because Lauren had to be immobilized. They have a padded board on the x-ray table and she was strapped with her hands above her head and her feet down straight.

I'm sooooo glad for the sedative. I've been through this test twice before with Megan and neither time was with sedation.  It was HORRIBLE hearing her cry while they were getting the x-rays. The team that worked on Lauren yesterday was AWESOME and moved really quickly. She still got a little upset (who wouldn't?) but it was over much more quickly than my other two experiences.

Luckily, since it was only a mild, oral sedative we didn't have to hang around for long after the procedure was over. We headed home to pick up the other two girls from my in-laws where Carl had left them when he headed to basketball practice this afternoon.  Bless her heart, my mother-in-law had dinner ready for the girls so I didn't have to worry about feeding them when I got home. Lauren had a bit of a grumpy evening, but is back to herself after a good nights sleep.

We heard from her pediatrician this morning and the results came back NORMAL... YIPPEEEEE!!  That means that she does not have VUR and these bladder infections should not continue to reoccur.  Praise God!  We were really hoping for some good news!
Lauren's happy face after the call from the doctor...

Monday, October 29, 2012


Since everyone is FINALLY healthy in the house, my little sister came to visit for a night this weekend.  YEAH!!  She "only" lives 45 minutes away, but I seldom get time with her just to myself.  We usually see each other when my folks are visiting and the whole family is together, but seldom get time alone to visit.  So, I cherish the time we get to spend together when we can manage it. 

It worked out for the both of us this weekend and I'm so glad it did!  I think I may have mentioned (just once or twice...) that Suz is my best friend... as kids, we got into all kinds of shenanigans.  As adults, we've been a little better behaved... :)  but she still is my confidante, sounding board, anchor, shoulder to cry on, reality check, living example of how I should live my faith... There aren't many hats that she hasn't worn for me...

I also love watching her with my kids... She has such a special way with them.

Here she is loving on Lauren...

and helping Karen play games on the iPad...

Megan missed out on the photos... she was napping when I remembered that I wanted to snap some! But I have a photo from earlier this summer when Suzie visited... before she chopped her hair for "Locks-for-love".

It never takes much to circle back to my niece, Jessica.  I don't know how many nights since she passed that I've pondered her loss and tried to imagine how my other niece Michaela is feeling.  She and Jessica were only 16 months apart - and so like Suzie and I (we are 13 months apart).  I try and imagine the last 20 years without Suzie and to be honest, I simply cannot. My heart breaks for Michaela, knowing the gap that will be in her life in the coming years without Jessica there.  I pray that over time she finds either a friend or her younger sister Abigail to help fill that gap.

Sisters... there isn't anything like them!

Love you Suz!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Fun ... Cartwheels!

We were watching the kids play with a hula hoop the other day and started wondering if we still had hula hooping skills in our "old mom"bodies... I gave it a shot and sadly, I had forgotten how to do it.  I just couldn't get my hips moving just right.  But that also got us wondering if we could still do some of the other "tricks" that used to be so natural to us. 

Suzie and I grew up doing cartwheels... all. the. time.  We only took a little gymnatics, but this was one of the skills we were taught and fell in love with it.  I started thinking how sad it would be if I'd forgotten how to do it, so I gave it a shot this morning.

It isn't as "pretty" as it used to be, but it still felt really natural.  So in the interest of keeping it real... here's me in my 36 year "old mom" body doing cartwheels for Megan and Lauren.  I'm going to have to teach them how to do it!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Working on my nutrition

On Tuesday I alluded to the fact that I've made some changes to my eating that have been really positive.  The first... I gave up soda.  I wasn't a "big-gulp-a-day" drinker, but I had at least a (12oz.) can most days.  For lots of reasons, I kept wanting to drink less or give it up completely, but there was always an excuse:  I still had some left in the house, we were at a party where it would taste good, we were eating tacos... pizza... nachos, etc. there was always a reason.  The reality was that drinking soda was a habit (as well as a caffeine addiction).

Truth be told... while I "enjoyed" a little soda with certain foods, I didn't really like it that much.  I had no desire to just drink a Pepsi... I always wanted it in combination with something (usually just as unhealthy).  I also realized that I did enjoy a cup of coffee or tea to just sip on and that provided the necessary boost of caffeine when I needed it.  So, about six weeks ago, I made the decision and just simply stopped drinking soda... ok, so it was not just "simply" ... since this is something I've obviously wanted to do for a while... but this time I decided there were no exceptions.  It was sort of hard for the first couple of weeks - there were times where my brain was trying to tell me that I really "needed" a Pepsi... but I found that answering that thought with "no, you want a pepsi" helped.

Anyway, I'm making this way too long.  Are you still with me?  The long and short of it is, that once the cycle of drinking Pepsi was broken, making other, better food choice was easier.  I quit looking for those foods that I liked paired with soda and started making healthier choices.

Some of the other changes I've made:
  • I try and eat my breads earlier in the day and none at dinner.  In fact, I've started to really cut back on the amount of grains I eat.  I will NEVER be gluten free ... I love bread to much and I'm married to a wheat farmer!!  But I am seeing the benefits of less is more!
  • Besides my morning coffee and my breakfast smoothie, I've been trying to only drink water for the rest of my day.  No juice, milk, soda, etc.  Most days I've been getting at least 64 oz. of water, if not more.
  • Veggies, veggies, and more veggies!!  I love fruit, but eating veggies takes a little more work for me... so I've been throwing handfuls of spinach and kale into my morning protein smoothie.  Roasted green bean fries anyone?!  They are so yummy!  Baked sweet potato with goat cheese and crushed pistachios has replaced my normal dousing in butter and cinnamon-sugar!
  • Portion control... I'm still nursing, so I realize that my portions should be a little larger than normal... but mine had gotten way out of control.  I've never had the problem when I'm pregnant of not being able to eat, even when the stomach is squished... it just seems my appetite grows.  I realized I had gotten to the point where I was never really feeling full.  I would just usually stop eating (after way too much) because I knew that I needed to stop.  Since really working on my portion sizes, this is starting to come back under control and my full-trigger is coming back online.
  • Reducing sugars.  This has been the hardest.  I didn't realize how bad I had gotten at snacking... with the pantry being something I walk by a bajillion times a day, getting little snacks for the girls, and having it stocked with "treats" since my husband has a lunch packed nearly every day... Again, this took changing my mindset from seeing it as depriving myself of something to "I don't do that" ... and going to the fridge to grab a couple of carrot sticks instead.  I still have bad moments, but by and large am doing so much better and am finding that I actually feel pretty crummy when I indulge in too much sugar.
  • Reducing dessert... okay, this kind of goes with the point above but for me is a separate issue - you see, my family LOVES dessert!  A post dinner bowl of ice cream was pretty much a staple in our house growing up.  So it's never seemed indulgent to me to have a little after dinner sweet.  The truth is as I've gotten older, this again is habit and a cycle that leads to bad choices and bad eating... most of the time my bowl of ice cream is not a small, single scoop but a cereal bowl with three or four scoops (hey, my Dad likes ice cream, that's the portion that "looks right" to me!).  I've decided that I am going to limit my desserts to Sundays, Feast days, and special outings (gatherings with friends or family).   I don't feel I'm at a point with my weight or health that this needs to be eliminated all together, just indulged in a little more sparingly!

So.. there you have it.  My approach to working on my nutrition.  I'm amazed at how much better I feel and how much happier I am with my body.  I've lost 8 pounds of baby weight and only have a couple to go to get to my pre-baby weight... but more importantly than the weight, the healthy eating choices are just helping me be happier with me which is my ultimate goal... to be happy and comfortable in my own skin again, whatever the scale says!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Throwback Karen Edition {Wordless Wednesday}

I just found these pictures from last summer when Karen was flower girl.  The photos were taken by Riant Photography... they do a fantastic job!

Photo credit: Riant Photography

Photo credit: Riant Photography

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Counting my blessings - Top 10 Tuesday!

After yesterdays post about my sickie house... I thought it fitting to share that there are some very good things going on in my life right now that I recognize and show that I do count my blessings!!

  1. Karen is doing AMAZING in speech therapy.  She is adding sounds and words to her vocabulary like crazy.
  2. We are still not there with potty-training Karen, but she's making progress.  We've had a few successes in the last week where she (without prompting) let myself or Carl know that she needed to go potty.  Yippee for small progress!  Her preschool teacher also told me that she goes in to the potty when the rest of the class has their potty break.  Whether she actually goes, remains to be seen, but she's learning that it is an expected behavior!
  3. Fall field work is over for Carl!! Yippee!!
  4. Megan is finally feeling better and back to her spunky little self!
  5. Lauren is crawling on all fours now - she army crawled for longest time! and is also cruising really well.  She's taken a couple of unassisted steps but mostly by accident!
  6. My house is a disaster after almost two weeks of sick kids, but I have a roof over my head, food in my cupboards, clothes in my drawers, and in laundry baskets, and in washer/dryer, and all over my couch... :)  You get the point!
  7. I finally committed to some changes in my eating and am seeing the fruits of those changes.
  8. I also made some adjustments to my workout approach and am loving the changes and seeing the changes in my body.
  9. I've been carpooling to Spokane with the daughter of a friend who is taking classes at the University (she's a junior in high school) - the conversations I get into with this girl BLOW ME AWAY!!  I can tell you that my focus on faith has grown simply from pondering the discussions we've had!
  10. Finally, I'm just thankful for my family.  This is a hard month and we "survived" the anniversary of Jess's death.  We supported each other and prayed for each other and, I think, are coming out stronger than ever.  The pain doesn't go away, but each day is a little easier to remember the good and look forward to the future.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday "randoms"

It seems about every time I feel like I'm getting in a groove with life and blogging... crazy happens!  Our house was hit with the sickies again this past week and a half. 
  • Karen came down with a stomach bug early on the morning of the 12th... we had a quiet weekend quarantining ourselves so we didn't spread our germs.  By monday she was getting back to her normal self.  
  • Early Thursday morning, miss Megan fell victim for a second time this fall!  Poor girl got hit really hard this time - she was throwing up every hour to hour and a half for almost 18 hours... that's tough on a little body.  She's still not back to herself yet.  It worries me, but I've talked to her doctor a couple of different times and he says not to worry, just give her time... thankfully that's one thing this Mommy does have... time!
  • Lauren also had an episode of throwing up on Thursday morning and then spiked a temperature.  By Friday it was running 102 but she had no other symptoms of a stomach bug so I took her in to her doctor so I didn't have to stress about her over the weekend.  They took a urine sample to rule out another bladder infection.  Unfortunately, what they could see under the microscope was inconclusive, so we had to wait for the culture results to come back to know for sure.  The result came back today... the verdict??  another bladder infection. :(  Insert a huge frowny face here!!  
  • Because this is her second infection and she's under a year old, they have to rule out VUR - which is the same condition that Megan had.  We are scheduled for a VCUG on the 29th.  That is a test where they put dye into her bladder and then take x-rays to see if the dye refluxes to her kidneys... It doesn't hurt them but really isn't fun - they have to be immobilized for the x-rays, and as any parent knows, that doesn't elicit fun reactions from kids.
  • I felt crummy all weekend, whether my body was fighting the stomach bug or it was just the power of suggestion from taking care of three sick kids... who knows.  I'm thankful to be feeling more like myself today!!
So, I'm not intending this post as a complaint, just a catch-up as to where I've been and why I'm finding it hard to write.  I was updating a friend last night as to my family's status, and her response was: "This too shall pass.  I know a family that needs prayers, will you suffer for them?" ... it was an important reminder to me of one of the things I find so beautiful about my Catholic faith... that there is an intrinsic value in suffering and that God provides an avenue for grace in each suffering, no matter how small, if we but offer it up.  Thanks for the reminder - J.J.!!

There are also some really positive things happening in life right now too, which I hope to share - maybe tomorrow in a Tuesday Top 10!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Starting early... {Wordless Wednesday}

So I realize that I'm barely squeaking this post in on Wednesday... but it's been a busy day!

Speaking of busy - my littlest one is already turning to coffee to help her through the day.  Who knew they started this young?!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


I'm a couple of days late with this post, but still wanted to share my thoughts.  Monday was October 15th and for me has three separate things for remembering:

First - it was National Day of Remembrance for Pregnancy and Infant loss.  I have spent a lot of time these past few days thinking of our little ones in heaven.  
  • My first pregnancy - I would have been due on October 20th.  We found out on March 8th that the baby had died.  I was barely 7 weeks but didn't actually miscarry until 11 weeks. Baby Crider1 - I think of you throughout the month of October - you would be turning six.
  • My second pregnancy that only lasted long enough for me to know I was pregnant and then miscarried the next day... baby Crider2 - you would have been due September 7th.
  • When I got pregnant the fourth time, imagine our shock and delight when the ultrasound showed twins... twins!!  My Mom is a fraternal twin, so we knew it was a possibility... I was so excited.  When the "magic" 12-13 weeks had passed, we began sharing our exciting news.  Nothing prepared me for the shock of going in at 16 weeks to find that Megan's twin had died around 14 or 15 weeks.  Emily Rose, if your sister Megan is any indication of the little person you were... our house misses your joy each and every day!
  • Much like my second "pregnancy", my fifth one lasted only long enough for me to know that I was pregnant and then miscarry the following day.  baby Crider - you would also have been due in September.
  • My sixth pregnancy lasted six weeks.  We knew something was likely wrong from the get-go because all of my numbers in my blood work were much lower than previous pregnancies.  We lost this little one while visiting family in Cleveland... baby Crider - you would have been due in November... I was pretty excited with the idea that I had a chance for an 11-11-11 baby!
Second - it was the first anniversary of burying Jessica.  I didn't realize that her burial coincided with the National Day of Remembrance, but find it fitting even though she wasn't an infant.

Thirdly - and on a happier note... October 15th marked 10 months for little Lauren.  It's hard to believe how fast the time is going by!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Jessica Marie - April 26, 1999 - October 11, 2011

A year ago our angel was called from this world to her heavenly home.  While she now rests in our Father's arms, and is infinitely happier... Not a day goes by that I don't miss her terribly and wish to see her beautiful smile again, to hear her laugh, or to see her face light up as she plays with my kids. 

But I am reminded:
Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance

I do not know your ways Lord, and I don't presume to know the fruits that will come from this sorrow.  But in remembering Jessica every day, I am reminded to trust in Him... For without trusting in His grace and comfort, this loss would still be unbearable.

Revelation 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

... I have so much to say but it is one of those nights where every attempt I make to type it comes out in a jumble.  So, I will leave it with the thoughts above and some more pictures.  Please keep my sister's family in your prayers - Jessica's absence is still so hard...

Eternal rest grant unto her, oh Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon her.
May Jessica's soul and all the souls of the faithful departed
Through the mercy of God, rest in peace

Tuesday, October 9, 2012