Friday, September 27, 2013

8 weeks out

It has now been 2 months since Bailey's latest surgery - a lip and nasal revision.

I thought I would try my hand at a little Before & After photo.
Please bear with me as this is my first attempt at Photoshopping anything ever. I would have loved a nice little border action or some labeling of "before" and "after" but even doing this simple set-up pushed the boundaries of my Photoshop knowledge. (Thank you Google!)

The first shot isn't her best photo, but it is a good view of her nose and lip without her hiding her face from the camera or throwing her dress over her head.
Which by the way are all typical Bailey reactions to the camera.

The second photo was obtained by bribing her with fruit snacks if she would smile for the camera.
Worked like a dream.

The main point of the surgery was to correct the right side of her nose by making it less wide and less flat. It appears much more typical nose-like now, at least to my eyes. They also worked on the shape of her upper lip to make the right side more symmetrical to the left.

Right now her scar looks pretty red. In the above picture, directly under her nostril is red from where the stitches were from the nasal portion of the surgery. All of this will fade over time.

Per orders from her plastic surgeon, we are rubbing her scar multiple times a day. This {hopefully} will prevent it from scarring up even bigger over time. The idea is that the rubbing will break up some of the scar formation, although from everything I have read, the jury is still out on its true effectiveness. We also rub Mederma on the scar site. Who knows whether that actually makes any difference or not, but Bailey likes the smell of it so she actually allows us to rub the scar with minimal whining.

We are happy with the results. A lot of her "cosmetic" surgeries are going to be small tweaks here and there. And while most people might not even notice a change, hopefully when added together over time these surgeries will help Bailey achieve the best final result possible.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Seriously parents?!

Have you seen this story?

To sum it up, Brian Holloway (an ex-NFL player) had his 2nd home in New York broken into by over 300 teenagers. The kids threw a party, caused over $20,000 in damage, stole items, and posted pictures of it all on every available social media outlet.
He in turn created the website Help Me Save 300, posting pictures of the guilty parties in all their Twitter and Facebook glory.

Here is the kicker:
some of the kids' parents are suing HIM for defamation for "bullying" the very teens that broke the law by trashing his house!

Never mind the fact that these kids took pictures of themselves doing drugs and peeing on the carpet.
Forget the fact that they willingly tweeted their location along with photos of them stealing.
Those poor teens!
The big, bad man posted all the photos they took themselves!
Oh no, someone might hold them accountable for their actions!

Seriously, parents? What kind of crap "parenting" is this?
Your child literally documents all their illegal activity and you go after the man who pointed out what they did wrong?!
What is wrong with people?!

After posting this website and asking for those who did the damage to come forward and help him clean up the property, all of one person showed up. One person.
I personally can guarantee that if my parents had caught me doing some crap like this:
1) I wouldn't be able to sit for a week,
2) I would be out there scrubbing walls and carpets and apologizing till I was red in the face, and
3) It would be bye-bye social media until Twitter and Facebook lost all relevance.
And in my opinion, that is how it should be.

I realize parents can't totally control their kids' behavior. They are kids. They are going to make bad decisions and act like irresponsible jerks at one time or another, no matter how awesome of a parent you are. But you are the adult. You have the responsibility of being the PARENT when these things happen.
Parents are supposed to teach lessons, guide their kids, help them realize there are consequences to their actions. It isn't your job as a parent to be your child's best friend or defend their actions even when they're 100% in the wrong.
I know I am not perfect and I am going to make lots of parenting mistakes, but I guarantee I can do a hell of a lot better than this.

*And if you read Brian Holloway's website, it shows he is asking for donations to help with the clean-up. I also read that the house might have been in foreclosure and he is planning to use said donations to help pay off the house. Seems a little sketchy to me, but that is neither here nor there.

The point is that these kids screwed up, and instead of their parents teaching them a valuable life lesson, they filed a stupid lawsuit instead.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

It's Wednesday

The only WTF about this Wednesday's post is WTF Where has the past week gone?!
I wrote a week ago, and I feel like every day since then has flown by.

Last week was long. Jared was busy with funeral stuff as a member of the volunteer fire department, and because of that he missed sleep and was exhausted. So he slept his life away all the days following. I babysat some pretty long hours last week, and while that made the days pass in no time, it also made for one tired mama.

At least the weekend was fun.
We went out to supper with my parents, sister, and one set of grandparents on Friday night.
Saturday night Jared and I had a date night. It'd been since our anniversary I believe - so like over 3 months ago.  We were due.
Pathetic to say, but I think we were both so tired we might have almost preferred a night together (sans kids) on the couch. But I doubt my mom would volunteer to babysit just so Jared and I could be in the other room catching up on our DVR'ed TV shows, so out we went. We had a nice meal and went to a movie. In all honesty, I can't remember the last movie we saw in the theaters together.

The movie was pretty good, (we saw Prisoners) but the experience itself was sort of awkward. There were only *maybe* 20 people in a large theater - so basically empty. And a guy sat down in the seat right next to me. Like touching arms. Weird. Doesn't everyone know to follow the one seat distance rule? (FYI - we totally got up and moved. I can't have someone that close, especially to witness me consuming my convenience store purchased Diet Dew and Kit-Kat minis.)
And then I whispered a question to Jared during the previews and got a full-on "SHHHHH!" from the lady two rows back. Okay fine, I will shut up. But then this same woman talked through the entire movie. And it wasn't just making comments, she was asking questions my 3 year-old could have answered. There were all of like six main characters in the movie. She couldn't keep them straight. I wanted to get up and yell, "Yes, the white guy is the white girl's father and the black guy is the black girl's father!" like 14 different times.
So the moral of the story is: When visiting a movie theater, turn your cell phone off and leave your idiot girlfriend at home.

And adding to some excitement (eye roll) around here, our main bathroom (read: the only one with a bathtub) is no longer functional. Unbeknownst to me, while taking a shower on Thursday night I flooded the downstairs toy room/office area.

We have had issues with our upstairs bathroom before. The plumbing sucks. Which actually works out phenomenally because the rest of the bathroom sucks as well.

Case in point. Check out our bathroom and let me know if you want to take a quick trip back to the 80s.
Purple toilet.
Apparently when remodeling they didn't think about the fact that someday purple toilets might not be so cool anymore, and that a white lid might be the only option available. That white lid totally adds style points.
Also, check out the fake plastic tile. It covers every single surface of the entire bathroom, excluding the ceiling. Sexy, right?
Purple bathtub.
Go ahead and judge me all you like.
I know that caulk is gross, but I am not putting any extra work into a bathroom that is getting renovated soon.
And since the bathroom doesn't have nearly enough purple, that shower curtain is here to help!

So like I said, we already had contractors lined up to renovate this purple beast, but they aren't coming for a couple more weeks. I am already excited.
Bye-bye purple tub!
Sayonara purple toilet!
Hasta la vista purple sink!
Yes, there is a purple sink too. It really just completes the look.

In the meantime we are loathing enjoying giving our kids bath-showers (bowers? shaths?) in our small basement shower - 2 floors away from all their crap. We have a bit of a system worked out, but it usually includes one of the adults getting the world's least relaxing shower while the other has dry-off-and-dress duty three times over.

I am ready for this renovation to be over already. Too bad it hasn't even started yet.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

RIP Officer Buenting

Yesterday was a solemn day for our tiny town. A fallen police officer was laid to rest.

In the early morning hours of Friday, September 13th, Jamie Buenting was helping a team of officers arrest a man wanted for felony assault when he was shot. Only one shot, one round. But that's all it took. With just one horrible decision, a man was taken from this world. Taken from his community. Taken from his friends and family. Taken from his wife and two young children.

And while I didn't know Officer Buenting personally, I have heard a lot of good things. And these are good things from the mouths of people who tell it like it is, so I truly believe them. Everyone who knew him said that he loved what he did for a living. He had a passion for it. He loved being a police officer. He loved teaching classes about gun safety and tactics. He just loved his job. And he died doing what he loved.
One of my sisters knew Jamie pretty well since she spent a summer babysitting his kids. She told me a month ago about how she spoke with him for almost an hour at Sweet Corn Daze. He was talking about how independent his 6 year-old daughter (a type 1 diabetic for a few years) has become, wanting to do her own injections and handle everything by herself. He talked about taking his kids horseback riding and the things they had done this summer. She could tell how proud he was to be their dad. She has always thought highly of him. After the gut-wrenchingly sad funeral yesterday, she said that while she isn't a very religious person, she truly believes that God must have needed a great guy with Him in Heaven.

Death usually sucks, especially when it is a young person with so much life left to live. And every death seems to leave the living with a striking sense of how precious and unpredictable life can be. We just don't know how much time we have left on this earth. Death tends to make you evaluate your own life.
Am I making enough time for the people who really matter to me? 
Am I fulfilled? 
Is my life going the direction I want it to?
How will I be remembered when I leave this world?
Am I the person I truly desire to be?

And then there are always those vague sentiments that people pass on. Those sayings that tell you to "enjoy every moment" while you can and to "live each day like it's your last." A nice thought, but that just isn't how real life works. At least not for long. Jamie's shocking and unexpected death had me hugging my own children a little tighter and not sweating the small stuff. But have I been enjoying every moment? No. Those children that I hug tight? I love them, but they are the same ones I want to hide in the closet from so I can have five minutes to myself. That is motherhood. I kiss Jared and tell him how much I love him every day, but I still roll my eyes when I am picking up another pair of his dirty socks off the floor. That's marriage.
You can't live every day like it's your last, because some times dishes need washed and laundry must be folded. (And believe me when I say my last day on Earth would not be spent sorting tiny toddler underwear.) What death and tragedy do for me is that they remind me to be thankful for all of it - those enjoyable, livin' life moments along with the not-so-great ones. Just be thankful. You never know when your time in this earthly life will be complete.
I am sure that Jamie's wife would give just about anything to pick up her husband's dirty socks again.

It sounds like Jamie left this world with important things checked off of his life's to-do list. He had a job he found fulfillment in and a family he loved. He had the admiration and respect of his peers and those he served. He left this world very much loved, and I think his send-off yesterday proved that without a doubt.

Over 1200 law enforcement officers attended the funeral Tuesday,
some coming from as far as Chicago.

I will be forever impressed with the people of Rockwell City, Iowa, for their complete outpouring of love, generosity, and support for one of their own.

Thank you for your loyal service, Officer Buenting.
May you rest in peace.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Things I love

1) How much my girls love going to the library to check out new books. I sincerely hope all my children love to read as much as Jared and I do.

2) Graham pulling himself up on Avery's chair after mealtime because he knows she will have dropped some tasty morsels and that they fell under her booster seat. Clever boy.

3) Not having to mow. Because it is all dead. Like dead-dead.

4) That my grandma Joyce did well after her first round of chemo. She is a stubborn lady and that is going to serve her well during her treatment.
Love you, Grandma!

5) My newest grocery shopping trick: pick up some grapes first thing. One grape an aisle did the trick to help Avery behave. The entire time. 
Why didn't someone share this tip of parenting brilliance with me before?! How did I just now figure this out?!

6) Bailey practicing writing her name. She struggles with B and Y. She was able to do a B for the first time all by herself. She was so proud! And it feels good as her mama to know that she is learning from all the activities we do at home.

7) Way less used-diapers. Avery is now going #1 and #2 on the potty even when she has pants on. And because she leaves her pants on, there is much less of a chance of the mailman getting mooned. Progress!

8) Being able to supplement our income by watching two extra children. They are good kids. Plus, the girls love having another playmate the same age around (even if Graham does not) and Avery loves babies. 
Just today she sighed and said, "Mom, I just love babies."
She has the baby-love of her Aunt Fe, the blonde look of her Aunt Justy, and the temper of her Aunt Beaner. Quite the combo. 

9) That my parents celebrated 30 years of marriage yesterday. Wedded bliss, right Mom? :)

10) That it's bedtime and I am going to go lay down and pass out. The leap from 3 kids to 5 during the day tires a person out!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

random weekend photos

We've been chillin' this weekend. No plans, no obligations, no nothin'.

We haven't been totally lazy.
Laundry has gotten done, carpets have been vacuumed, and Jared went on a cleaning spree in the garage. I don't know if I have ever seen it so clean and organized.

Random photos from last night before baths.

Avery is mesmerized by books these days. Especially those that read themselves.

Little Man enthralled by the magic of pushing a door shut.

Peek-a-boo from under the covers.

Wrestling. Never mind that the baby is only 9 months old. We break them in young.

Graham's new talent: peeking up on to tables. It's a whole new frontier of things to chew on.

I love the gap-toothed smile on this happy, albeit dirty, little face.
Exhausted and disheveled from his sibling wrestling match.
{Check out those two little toofers!}

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


The past 10 days or so have flown by in a {sort of} organized chaos.

First things first.
Bailey.  Preschool.
She loves it. Or at least I think she does. It's hard to tell.
Jared picked her up that first day, and I was all about it as soon as she walked in the door.
How was school?
Did you have fun?
What did you learn?
Who did you play with?
What are your new friends' names?
She gave me a look that said "Really, Mom? Please." without saying a word. I pressed her a little and she acted all nonchalant, like she had done this first-day-of-school thing a million times, and said, "I drove a car and cooked."
She walked off. End of story.
*sigh*  The school-time apathy has started...
Next up: the bus.
She rides for the first time on Thursday. She is beyond pumped. Hopefully she is just as excited when the times comes to actually ride it. I will take some tears; I am just hoping she doesn't hold onto a fence post screaming bloody murder like my sister Justy did when she was forced to ride the bus at age five.

Other events for the week:
Cathy (Jared's madre) came to visit for a few days. She actually drove a U-Haul out with stuff from Jared's grandpa since his house just sold. We spent a hot afternoon moving some furniture into our breezeway - aka the room with (I kid you not) SEVEN entrances. It is a decorating/arranging nightmare. Jared's grandpa had a nice pull-out couch that looks really nice in the space. It helped define the room a bit to have some decent furniture in it. It had become a catch-all over the summer. And it is so hard to have any sort of flow to a room that has 6 doors and a basement staircase in it!

It was SO HOT this past week. We literally just hid indoors. I am all for playing outside. but I am not going to even pretend to care about sitting outside watching the kids when it is over 100ยบ before factoring in humidity. I know Cathy (and her hair) thank me for staying indoors.

This past Friday we all loaded up and went to Omaha for Bailey's follow-up appointment. She didn't want to go, especially since last time she had to be held down by three people to get her stitches out. Hello, traumatic.
Jared and I assured her this was only an appointment to look. The doctor was only going to shine his flashlight and take pictures.
We suck.
Dr. Miller (Bailey's plastic surgeon) did shine his flashlight.
And he found a remaining suture.
Game over.
The screaming began in earnest and I felt like the world's worst parent since I had told her we wouldn't be doing anything that hurt. I had to bodily lay on her to get her to stop trying to kick the doctor in the face with her shoe while he was wielding sharp little scissors near her face. In reality the suture was on the outside of her nose and it took him less than 1 second to get it out, but the experience of it all was traumatic. Again.
It took a full five minutes to calm her down. And believe me when I say that she was flat-out pissed at everyone for the rest of the day.
We went shopping for new clothes with Grandma Cathy and even looking at new dresses did nothing to lift her spirits. She was just plain insolent all day long.

After an afternoon of fun shopping (despite the temps in the 100s), we spent the night in a hotel (Holla! State rate!) and the kids got to swim. We actually got an amazing night of sleep. Little G man sacked out by 8:30 or so and slept for 12 hours. Beyond glorious. We spent the next day eating more food than we should, shopping more, taking my kids to the Children's Museum {where they swapped tons of germs with other little grubby kids}, and seeing my sister Fe's new house. By the time we dropped Cathy off at the airport that evening, we were all spent and ready to collapse in bed.

Last week I started watching two other children, Jace and Mia.
Jace is a 2 year-old little boy only 4 days older than Avery, and Mia is not even 2 months-old yet. Add them into the mix with my three and you have a full day, believe me!
Jace has been a total sweetie and plays so well with the girls, even though they try their best to boss him around. Mia is so tiny! We are still figuring each other out, especially since she is a breastfed baby and would definitely prefer just having her mommy around. It was extremely helpful to have Cathy here the first two days since this is new for all of us. She could hold Mia while I prepared lunch or break up a fight over blocks while I fed Graham.

Today was a longer day with the kids and all went well. Graham definitely doesn't appreciate having to share his mom. Today while I was feeding Mia, he had his first tantrum - throwing himself down on the floor and crying. Multiple times. He is all of 9 months-old. Seriously, kid?? It was so impressive I actually got it recorded on my phone. (Now if only my phone wasn't from 1952 so I could upload it onto this site...)

And with all this stuff going on, each of us has a cold now too.
And sore throats.
And horrible coughs.
I really should be in bed at this point. So on that note, goodnight!