Sunday, March 25, 2012

Florida Fun

A few weeks ago Mr Bird bought me a plane ticket and sent me packing to sunny Florida to visit my gorgeous niece Jenilyn and her adorable family.
I brought my Little M&M with me and left all the rest of the Heathens at home.
My sisters were so awesome and watched my kids during the day while Mr Bird was at work.
I can not thank my sisters enough for doing this.
My kids had a BLAST with them and their cousins.
I think my kids were so excited for me to leave because that meant no school at our house for an entire week!
(It actually ended up being 2 weeks by the time Doodle was well enough to get back into the books)
They played entirely too much wii and watched about a billion movies.
Considering how often I turn on movies or the wii (practically never), they thought they had died and gone to heaven.
I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I walked out of the airport in Florida into 75-80 degree weather in the beginning of March.
I wore short sleeved shirts and sandals every day for a week.
It was so nice to only have one baby to take care of.
I had forgotten what it was like to only have one baby.
I have never gotten the chance to spend so much one on one time with my sweet baby girl.
With four other children and home school and the million other things I do everyday, I literally have to steal moments to snuggle my baby girl and play with her.
Even then, we usually have other kids joining our fun (which I really love).
But it was so nice to just hold her all day long and dote on her.
I have to say, I think she was a little spoiled by the time I came home.
I loved every minute of it all the way down to the bottom of my heart.
She is such a sweet heart of a little girl.
She had an awesome time playing with Jenilyn's kids.
She and baby Carson (who's not really much of a baby anymore) loved each other.
Carson is only 3 weeks younger than Little M&M.
They would hold hands in their strollers as Jeni and I walked side by side.
It was the cutest thing I've ever seen.
Nathaniel (3 years old) thought M&M was a little princess and sleighed many a dragon for her during the week.
He shared his bedroom with us and was so sad when we left.
The best part of the entire trip, you ask?
Going to the beach every single day!
The sunshine was medicine to this tired, tired soul.
I felt like a little girl again playing in the surf and collecting sea shells.
Little M&M LOVED the beach, mostly eating the sand and shells.
She just sat and played right where the waves crashed ashore.
She splashed and laughed and played as long as I would let her, or until she got hungry.
I think she liked the beach almost as much as her mom...almost.
The beach is on the very, very short list of things I miss most about California.
Every time we went to the beach I did not want to leave.
I felt like I could get lost in those moments and stay there for the rest of space and time.
I am so, so sad that I am once again so incredibly far away form the amazing wonder that is the beach.
Jenilyn took us to the most amazing island called Sanibel Island.

From their website:
"What fun to go shelling along the surf and beaches of Sanibel Island, unique in that it lies east and west, different than most islands which lie north and south, this direction allows Sanibel Island to catch abundant sea shells that the Gulf of Mexico brings to its shores. Sanibel Island is world renowned for its shells. People from all over the world come to collect and admire the colorful "Treasures From the Sea."

I would scoop my hands down in the water just below the surf line and pull out handful after handful of beautiful shells.
I came home with 2 big sacks of shells that my children have been fighting over ever since.
Jenilyn literally lives in paradise.
Jenilyn's husband, Jason, is attending law school in Florida and they live in the family housing on campus.
We went for a walk around the campus and park every morning and it looks just like we stepped out into a tropical paradise resort.
The flowers are vibrant, the grass is green and lush and the wildlife is simply stunning.
Our morning walks were another amazing highlight of the trip.
The day before I came home Jenilyn took me to a real live orange grove.
I got to see one of the actual spots where they grow the oranges that feed the world.
You know when you go to the store and buy Florida oranges?
Yup, I was right on the soil from which they spring!
The fresh oranges were to die for.
You can literally taste the Florida sunshine in each and every drippy bite.
My mouth is watering thinking of all that juicy goodness.
Who needs processed and refined sugar when there a treasures like this on earth just waiting for us to enjoy?
It was one of my goals to eat as many oranges as I could get my hands on!
Along with some shopping and walking down the pier and meeting new friends and the beach at sunset, I don't think this trip could have been any better.
I was determined to thoroughly enjoy myself and not to miss my family the entire vacation.
I almost made it!
But alas, the last few days I really wanted to see my kids and be home and kiss their naughty little faces.
The flight home was sheer torture.
The space and time between me and my kids (especially Doodle) was just too much to bear.
The world seemed to be turning at a snails pace.
Thanks to Jenilyn and Jason and Mama Lisa and Jordana, M&M and I had a fabulous vacation, but it is oh, so good to be home... right where I belong!

P.S. Anyone want to see a gazillion vacation photos that you are not even in?

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Monday, March 19, 2012

The Living Dead

Last Tuesday I woke up to my last morning in Florida.
I had enough nervous anxiety flowing through my veins to power a rocket to the moon and back.
I quickly dressed, threw my bedding in the wash, packed my bags and got ready to start the long journey back to my family.
The only problem was my plane did not leave until 5:50 that evening, finally landing in Salt Lake at about 11pm.
I knew that after waiting for my bags from baggage claim and the 40 minute drive home, my kids would be in dream land and I'd have to wait until the next morning to see them.
I was content with the thought of kissing their sweaty, sleepy heads though.
Even a day of shopping and lunch on the town could not compare to the thoughts of seeing my kids again, I wanted nothing more than to be safe at home with them.
I talked to Mr Bird a few times that morning to coordinate where he would leave the car in the airport parking lot so I could find it when I landed.
I made sure he had remembered to put M&M's car seat in the back.
As we spoke he mentioned Doodle had woken up with a sore throat.
Great, I thought, here comes another round of runny noses and coughs.
I could not be more wrong.
He dropped the kids off at my sister's house and flew out of town to the warm sunny beaches of San Diego.
As the day progressed and I spoke to my sister a few times and I began to be more and more concerned.
Doodle was getting sicker and sicker.
She would not move off the couch, she would not eat or drink anything, all of her muscles were sore, she was even tender to the touch.
When it came time to bring the children home so they could go to sleep in their own beds, Doodle could hardly walk.
She winced in pain and cried with every step.
My sister had gotten her to take some pain medication, which in and of itself was a total shock, Doodle HATES taking medicine of any sort and will usually opt for bearing through aches and even fevers than having to swallow anything of that sort.
While waiting in the Denver airport for my connecting flight, my fears really began to run wild.
I called home one last time. A neighbor went to my house to stay with my kids until I got home.
She told me more of Doodle's condition.
She could not even touch her skin without Doodle crying in pain.
Noises hurt her ears to the point that she would cry in pain and beg the boys to be quiet.
Lights hurt her eyes.
My neighbor was so concerned that she quickly called some Elders from the church to come over and give Doodle a priesthood blessing.
When she told me that, I wanted to come out of my skin.
I was sick to my stomach that Doodle was so, so sick and I could not be there with her.
Time seemed to crawl by as I waited for my plane.
The hour and a half flight seemed to drag on for eternity.
At last I was in the car and on my way home.
I came in the house, laid a sleeping M&M in her crib and went right over to Doodle.
She was sleeping soundly, but was burning up with a fever.
I tried to wake her to get her to take some Motrin.
She was delirious and I could not understand anything she was trying to say.
She refused the Motrin and quickly fell back asleep.
I fell into my bed as well, happy to be on solid ground and in my own home again.
Sometime during the night Doodle came into my room and got into bed with me, I was glad to have her so close.
First thing in the morning I called the pediatricians office to bring Doodle in.
Getting her into the car and then into the office was quite the chore.
She was worse than ever.
She could not even sit in the chair in the Dr's office.
The muscles in her neck were too weak to hold her head up.
She laid on the plastic covered table and the nurse got her a blanket and pillow to lay on.
When the doctor examined her she found that her left adenoid (which you usually can't even see because they are up, behind the tonsils) was swollen to the size of a silver dollar.
She immediately went and got one of her colleagues to come take a second look.
Her mouth and face were in so much pain that she could barely open her mouth for the exam.
Her neck below her jaw and ear was also hugely swollen and extremely tender.
She was running a fever of nearly 103 and was extremely dehydrated.
The Dr swobbed her nose for the influenza screening, but it came back negative.
The Dr recommended we hospitalize her to get some fluids in through an IV and to run some blood work, since we were not quite sure exactly what her poor little body was fighting.
Where was Mr Bird when I needed him?
Oh ya, that's right, San Diego...
After some talking and crying (on my part) the doctor agreed to let me take Doodle home with strict instructions.
I had to take her to the hospital lab for some blood work.
We had to work all day on hydration, Doodle needed to drink at least 2 liters of fluid.
I had to bring her back in the next morning to check her progress.
If she was not doing better by the next morning, she would have to be admitted into the hospital, no questions asked.
That day was one of the most tiring days I have ever experienced.
I was an emotional wreck.
There is nothing worse than being a mother and seeing your child so incredibly sick and feeling so completely powerless to heal them.
We headed strait to the hospital for the blood work.
I had to wheel Doodle into the hospital in a wheel chair because she just could not walk.
As sick was she was, she had no problem fighting the Phlebotomist.
It took two of them and me holding her down to get the blood they needed.
Once we were home every half hour I would convince myself that I had made the wrong decision and that I should just take Doodle into the hospital.
There was one point in the afternoon that I went to give Doodle yet another drink and her whole body was just shaking, her fever was as high as ever and I could not understand her when she spoke.
I called Mr Bird to tell him I was taking her into the hospital.
I don't think I have ever prayed so hard for anything in my life as I did for my poor, sick girl that afternoon.
Mr Bird was ready to call the airline and book the next flight home.
I wanted nothing more than for him to be home with me and to hold me.
I think the only time I have ever missed him more was waiting for him to get home when my water broke with M&M.
I was convinced Doodle was going to die in her sleep.
I called my angel sisters and made arrangements for the other kids.
I thought I'd check on Doodle one more time before I made the plans final.
I was shocked to see her eyes wide open, she was standing next to her bed on her way to go potty.
Her skin felt mild, the fever and shaking were gone.
She told me she was feeling a little better.
I helped her go potty and get yet another drink and she wanted to go lay on the couch.
I was so relieved.
I think the shaking must have been her fever trying to break.
I called Mr Bird and told him it was a false alarm, he could stay and finish his conference.
I had Doodle sleep in my bed the next two nights.
It was so comforting to just be able to reach my arm over and feel her breathing.
I could gauge if she was getting feverish.
I was able to wake her several times during the night to make her drink more.
The next morning she was feeling so much better, you could just see it in her eyes.
We took her back into the doctors office first thing in the morning.
The doctor came to see her while we were still sitting in the waiting room.
She looked right in Doodle's eyes and said, "You look like you're feeling so much better!"
The blood work showed that Doodle's body was fighting a bacterial infection.
The Dr said the infection is in her lymph nodes.
I had no idea you could even get an infection in your lymph nodes, how does that even happen?
She has been on antibiotics since then and has greatly improved.
She is still not 100% though.
Her neck is still really painful, she does not have much of an appetite and is still quite lethargic.
Her fevers have not come back, that's really good news.
I was hoping that once we started the antibiotics she would get better really quickly.
I am thinking I'll take her in again in the morning because she is just not doing as well as I think she should be at this point.
Mr Bird got home Friday night.
I finally felt like I could breath again.
It has been such a nice, quiet weekend with everyone at home and safe.
Here's to praying Doodle makes a full recovery really, really soon!
All I can say is this, I'm so glad Mr Bird's San Diego trip is over, at least for this year...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Life Lessons Learned, Part 1

Life is a roller coaster, I'm sure we can all agree on this point.
The last few weeks has been like The Cyclone on steroids.
Full of the highest ups and the bottom-est downs.
Some moments I'm not sure if I'm caught in a tail spin or if it's just life giving me a reality check.
I'll say this though, I have plenty to blog about for the next little while.
There's no way I can fit all of these crazy adventures and life lessons learned in one measly blog post.
I'll start with this life lesson learned:
Seven days is much too long to be away from my kids.
And ten days is much, much too long to be away from my lover.
The next time I decide to spend a week in the wonderful Florida sunshine, they are ALL coming with me.
I saw a single man on the airplane ride home flying all by himself with 4 small children.
He is my hero.
Mr Bird has always been apprehensive about flying with small children.
He would rather drive 4-5 days straight than bring our family on an airplane, for fear of bothering other flyers.
After I saw this man and how well behaved his children were, I am not the least bit afraid.
Little M&M and I packed our bags and hopped a plane (two actually) and headed to someplace warm to visit my sweet niece and her darling family.
Little Miss Mae was an awesome little traveler.
She had everyone from stewardesses to old ladies to middle aged men wrapped around her darling little finger.
Not to mention other children and babies.
She met her long lost best friend (who was just her age) on the plane ride home.
It was hilarious!
Those two must have known each other in Heaven, and the earthly reunion was quite the sight to behold.
There was laughing and squealing and bouncing and waving and the biggest smiles you've ever seen.
For. Four. Hours. Straight.
Until they both fell asleep for the last 10 minutes of the flight.
Twelve hours before my plane landed home sweet home at Salt Lake City International Airport, Mr Bird hopped a plane bound for San Diego for an annual conference that he has been attending for as long as I can remember.
He's on the board of directors for some organization that has something to do with something, yada, yada, yada.
His work stuff goes over my head.
All I know is this; every time Mr Bird goes to this conference there is some disaster or another we deal with while he's gone.
Last year my water broke nearly 3 weeks early and he had to reschedule his flight to get home in time for M&M's birth.
Two years ago I ran over a tricycle and punctured our full 40 gallon gas tank and watched as it all spilled into the driveway. The fire truchk saved me that year.
Three years ago this was my day while he was away.
In fact we joked over the dinner table the night before I left about what the catastrophe would be this year.
Once he got to the conference his colleagues joked about what could possibly go wrong this time.
This year's drama did not disappoint.
But since this post is already quite long, I'll just say this:
To Be Continued...