Monday, October 6, 2014

Brian's BACK.

What a long couple of weeks it's been!

Brian just got back from a seventeen-day hunting trip to Montana. Nope, nothing. I'm bummed for him, but I am VERY happy that he's home! My wonderful sister Erin stayed with me for almost the entire time. It was SO, SO, SO nice to have my best (girl)friend and another ADULT in the house.

I envisioned myself spending the two-plus weeks doing fun things with the kiddos, staying up late by myself, and getting lots of fun projects done. While we DID do lots of fun things, I realized that my productivity was decreased with Brian gone. When he's home, I'm on his schedule - early to bed and early to rise. If I'm being honest with myself, I get a lot more done that way, AND I'm more rested. And apparently, I blog a whole lot more.

And poor Barrett has been going through a rough time. Being sick with a persistent cold AND teething has made my happy, jolly, easy baby a little more needy. Knowing how he is NORMALLY makes me feel just terrible for him when he cries in pain.

The Lord is doing a work in me through this, though, and I am so excited and encouraged. It may seem like a small, insignificant thing, but the Lord gave me the grace to get through the last seventeen days with a good attitude and patience, even when Barrett was getting up multiple times a night, often unable to breathe through his nose or nurse without crying. I realized that, unfortunately, I let myself get more irritable and cranky when Brian is AROUND. Why? I don't know. Maybe because I feel super comfortable with him. Maybe because I want to feel like he appreciates me, so I complain in order for him to really "get the message". This has really been a source pf prayer. Lord, make me a joyful wife and person ALL the time. If I can do it while he's gone, because I want my kids and my sister to see a cheerful, thankful person, I can do it while he's here.

Here's a brief rundown of the way we spent Brian's trip!

Thursday: Brian leaves early in the morning. I miss him desperately already! How will I survive 17 days? The kids and I play with toys well into the evening, blowing off our normal 5 PM dinnertime and building garages with the big cardboard blocks instead. Also, my DietBet ends! I've won! I lost 18 pounds and won a net total of $202!

Friday: Fun day! My mom takes me out for my birthday. Erin comes along and the three of us get our hair done and grab coffee. Then my parents come over and hang out while I take the sitter home!

Saturday: My cousin gets married! (Two babysitting nights in a row! Gasp.) The wedding is a blast and it's so much fun to get dressed up with my new hair.

Sunday: My 27th birthday! Church in the morning, then my parents take me and the boys out for dinner, as well as Becca and Erin. Will goes nuts for his meal served in a cardboard 1950s car. My reuben sandwich is amazing. We spend the evening at my parents' and play Go Scrabble. Yes!

Monday: Big day. Rochester Cider Mill with Erin, followed by a visit with Melanie and her four boys for a few hours. On the way home, as I'm just starting to get stuck in rush hour, I decide to go grocery shopping instead. When we're done, I promise Will fries as a treat, but in effort to find a Wendy's AND avoid more rush hour, I find myself right in my grandparents' neighborhood. I call them to see if they're up for a visit, and they are! "We're just waiting for you!" my grandpa tells me.

Tuesday: Becca comes over late morning and she comes with me and the boys to Frankenmuth! We visit Grandpa Tiny's farm (well worth the $5 per person) and then head to Bronner's. Let me tell you what - a weekday in mid-September is EXACTLY the time to go to Frankenmuth. William was fantastic and didn't touch a thing. I bought our family ornaments for the year. Brian got an elk family (to represent his trip as well as 2014 being the year of the new baby), Will picked out a tractor (surprise!), Barrett got a round ornament with construction trucks and his birthdate, and I got a momma bear with a baby bear (to represent Barrett's year!). Also picked up an ornament for a friend. That night, Erin, Becca, Hannah and I played games and ate pizza.

Wednesday: I hang with Becca in the AM, taking a walk in the beautiful weather. Then the boys and I visit Katie and her kiddos to meet about the nursery program at church, which we're eventually going to be handling. On the way back, I stop at my parents again to hang out for a while.

Thursday: I don't remember what we did this day! I think we just took walks, played outside, took care of stuff at home, and hung out with Erin. One week down, ten days to go until Brian comes home.

Friday: Fun day with grandma! My mom visits the Rochester Library with us. We play for a while, then walk the Paint Creek Trail, visit the playground, and grab a frozen yogurt at Sweet Island. When we get back to the car, we realize the keys are on the front seat! Oh no. A long, drawn-out process of searching for the hide-a-key, calling the police department, realizing the car was never LOCKED in the first place, hurriedly canceling the police officer's help, and laughing and head-shaking ensues. Grandpa and Grandma come over again! -This is the night Will and Barrett got sick, so it kind of becomes a blur as I pretty much didn't get a good night's sleep after this!

Saturday: Becca and Hannah come to visit! We take walks, talk, play games. The weather is GORGEOUS.

Sunday: I wake up after a sleepness night and think, there's no way I'm going to church! The kids are sick and I'm exhausted. We say goodbye to Auntie Erin, Aunt Becca, and Miss Hannah and spend the morning relaxing. Grandpa and Grandma stop over AGAIN that evening to see the boys and hang out with me and Erin. (Super big shout out to the family and friends that hung out here so much. What in the world would I have done without them?!)

Monday: I hit a low point. There's a full week to go before I see Brian again. I'm totally exhausted and no amount of coffee is helping. I think to myself, "It's wonderful having Erin here, but with Brian, I can tell him that I need a nap and he'll take the kids, and I can't demand that of my friends." Not an hour later, Erin says, "Hey, don't say no right away. I don't have anything pressing today. Why don't you let me watch the kids for an hour and a half so you can get some sleep?" After my nap and workout, I am a new person. It resets me for the week ahead. THANK the Lord for Erin.

Tuesday: Just a relaxing day at home. I spend time on the phone with Kathleen while Barrett naps in my arms. We watch a Bob the Builder library movie twice. We take a walk in the misty rain to see the excavators and tractors that Consumer's Energy is using to put in a pipeline. We read books and play toys. Erin comes later and we watch a movie.

Wednesday: Becca's mom uses her annual membership to get all of us (me, the boys, Becca, and her 4-yo nephew) into Greenfield Village and Henry Ford museum, totally FREE. Not only that, the weather is to die for and the leaves on the trees are really starting to change and I believe we may have selected the best day EVER to go to Greenfield Village. We check out the museum, grab lunch, ride the train and the carousel, play on the new playground, and ride the train some more. Then we head to Becca's house and spend a couple hours to avoid rush hour. The boys got along fabulously, they loved the Village and Museum, and Becca and I had a blast. That night, I get a call from Brian. He and his hunting partner are leaving the mountains, elk-less. It's the first I've spoken to him in ten days. He plans to hunt mule deer locally for the rest of the week. It's so good to hear his voice! Amazing day.

Thursday: Bo shows up after running away and being gone all night (a result of more than one adult in the house, thinking something was taken care of). He has been sprayed by a skunk for the first time ever. I give him a couple different types of baths, then stick him out on the deck to simply air out. He stinks to high heaven and he's just going to have to wait in the (thankfully) warm weather before he can live inside again. That night, while taking the garbage out, Will and I do a little exploring and - long story short - he takes a tiny bite (which he may or may not have swallowed) of a mushroom growing in the lawn. I call poison control to be safe, and send them some pics of the mushrooms to identify. Three HOURS later they call me to tell me to rush Will to the ER as this mushroom is supposedly very toxic. Will and I spend the next three hours in the ER while I try to decide whether to follow poison control recommendations (immediate check-in to a peds hospital, antidote treatment and overnight observation) or to follow my gut (he seems completely and totally fine). The doctor can only advise me to follow PC rec's but I can tell she is not heartily leaning in that direction. I finally get a hold of Brian and we decide to let them give him activated charcoal, go home, and then come back in the morning for a blood draw.

Friday: I call Will's ped first thing in the morning, and back we go to the ER for a blood draw and liver function test. The tests come back normal but then PC advises that they're treating this as an acetaminophen overdose, and any biochemical reaction in the blood won't show up for 24 hours at a minimum. They advise to give him acetylcysteine (and put him on an IV, just to be safe, since the medication tastes so bad that he'll likely vomit). I say no IV and we give him the antidote, which is a Category B medication and won't likely have bad side effects. He keeps it down like a CHAMP and we decide to take the next dose home with us, administer it four hours later, and then come back at 6 PM for another blood draw. At 3 PM, he takes his next acetylcysteine dose perfectly and then happily goes back to "doctor", where he's (shocker) loving being the center of all the nurses' attention. That blood draw comes back normally, and the ordeal is over. Wow! I am so thankful to head home with healthy kids. It certainly gives me a tremendous, tremendous appreciation for our health, but more for those parents and families with children in the hospital. Lord, be with those poor souls. That night, Erin, Becca, and I enjoy time together, talking while I make applesauce.

Saturday: The girls leave early - they all have big days ahead. I stay home and relax with the kids while I get ready to have my grandparents over for dinner. We have a lovely time, and Will just goes nuts over Grandpa Howard and Grandma Jojo.

Sunday: The day I pick up Brian! We head to church, then leave after worship for the airport. He's HOME, safe and SOUND! Thank God! We relax at home, eating soup and bread, and my parents stop by later to pick up Max (who's been staying at our house) and to see US, of course!

This is the second year in a row that Brian's done this trip. This year was much more tolerable than last, and we had a lot of fun having out-of-the-ordinary adventures, but I am so happy to be back in our routine. He's not sure at this point if he plans to go again next year. Right now, I'm not going to think about it. I've got a whole year to put off worrying.

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