22 February 2014

It All Started With the Kitchen Sink

2014 has been nuts for us so far.

You know that phrase, "everything but the kitchen sink?" Well, in our case, the chaos began with the kitchen sink.

A few weeks ago, our kitchen sink faucet snapped off, out of nowhere. It left us a constant stream of running water, which needed to be taken care of pronto. We instantly made a trip to the hardware store and discovered that it didn't cost much more to get a sink+faucet combo than a faucet by itself. Replacing the sink wasn't our highest priority, but it had definitely been on our home renovation list, so we decided to go for it.

Troy got to work that evening with the sink replacement. He had the whole plumbing process under control and got everything disconnected with ease. He slid underneath the sink to figure out how it was going to lift up, but in the process, the old 100+ pound porcelain sink came crashing down with no warning. It missed Troy's skull by less than an inch. What it did not miss was the drainage pipe. The impact cracked the pipe in half and yanked it out of the wall.

That left us no choice but to call a plumber. And once the plumber fit us into his schedule a few days later, he had to cut into the wall and rebuild the whole piping system. But, in the end, we had a new kitchen sink. Despite the added cost and the hassle of washing our dishes in the bathroom sink for a few days, we counted our blessings that Troy didn't end up in the hospital with a very serious injury.
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Last week kicked off with half of us being diagnosed with strep, which meant visits to doctors and antibiotics and missed school. Normal dead-of-winter challenges.

And then, in one instant, the challenges vastly intensified.

Troy played a late night church basketball game on Thursday night. In the last six seconds of the game, his team was down by 12 so nothing mattered at that point. But he had a breakaway and went up for a layup. He was hit from behind and landed flat footed, his knee bending inward. 

He was in an excruciating amount of pain but tried to brush it off as a sprain. He drove himself home (I still don't know how) and planned on going to work the next day. But the pain got increasingly worse throughout the night, and by morning, we knew it was time to head straight to the ER. 

Thankfully, there was no school on Friday, so we called the sitter we had lined up for our Valentine's Day date that evening and asked if she could come during the day. She rushed over to watch the boys (who were crushed that we could no longer make our traditional jello hearts) and we took off for the hospital.
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We spent six hours in the ER in what can only be described as a prison cell. We were placed in one of the rooms they save for "difficult patients;" no windows, locked cabinets, plastic chairs, used bedding, and strap tie downs bolted to the floor. I can't think of a more romantic way to spend Valentine's Day. We actually got quite a kick out of it.
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Troy was diagnosed with a fractured tibial plateau. When he landed flat-footed, his upper bone crushed his lower bone. The break was just below his knee with a lot of cartilage damage as well.
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After waiting all day to talk to the Orthopedic Surgeon, we finally learned that surgery would be necessary unless Troy wanted to have a permanent limp or arthritis. It was too late in the day for immediate surgery, and since it was a holiday weekend, the surgery was scheduled for first thing Tuesday morning.
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I was getting really anxious about the boys back home at that point. The sitter had been there all day and I didn't leave anything out for dinner and I needed to feed Crew. I left Troy at the hospital to get his CT scan while I rushed home to feed the boys dinner and get them ready for bed. I had about a 45 minute window to accomplish those things and load everyone in the car twice to bring the sitter home for a break and pick her back up again.

We had reservations with friends for dinner that night and despite everything, we didn't want to back out. It was Valentine's Day after all and Troy still had to eat, injury or not. We swung by the ER and picked him up on the way to dinner. He hobbled into the nice restaurant on crutches, drugged on pain meds and still in his sweatpants. It doesn't get much classier than that.

It wasn't until late that night, after finally bringing our kind sitter back home and driving to a faraway 24-hour pharmacy to pick up Troy's meds, that I came to a full realization about what the next 2.5 months would entail. I had a little pity party/meltdown when it occurred to me that not only was I losing any help I ever got around the house or with the boys, but I was also gaining an additional person to take care of. Four boys all of a sudden seemed like so many people to be responsible for, and the weight was completely on my shoulders.

I'm not going to lie - this last week has been a serious trial. Our six year old is now more capable than Troy. He can actually carry the baby, dress himself, make a simple meal, get his own drink and fetch items around the house.

Mealtime is a joke. I run around the table serving everyone, continuously cutting up tiny pieces of food for Crew and giving seconds and drink refills to everyone else. I usually don't eat until everyone else has left the table. And for some reason, the massive kitchen clean-ups three times a day are killing me. I can't even leave the floor unswept because Crew will crawl around and shove every last morsel of food into his mouth.

And then there's bedtime. Troy used to help with the older boys while I fed Crew. Now it's all on me, and once I get everyone down, I want to crash myself. It's a daunting feeling to wake up every morning knowing I have to do it all over again.

But this is all far from being about me, challenging or not. I'm sure that I'll adjust to the new set of responsibilities and thankfully it's only temporary.

Troy has been in so much pain and has to deal with the added pressure of feeling helpless and wondering how in the world he's going to get back to work. He broke his right leg, so even if he feels up to working in a few weeks, he won't be able to drive himself unless he learns to drive with his left foot.

His surgery went well. The surgeon made an eight inch incision into his leg and added a plate and 5 screws. The surgery took three hours and they kept him overnight in the hospital to recover.
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He doesn't have to wear a hard cast which is nice (although Blake is devastated that there is no cast to sign) and he'll get a bendable brace in about two weeks. And then he'll spend two months on crutches or in a wheelchair. After two months, he'll be able to put some weight on his leg again and begin physical therapy.
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Keeping the boys away from Troy's injury is proving to be difficult. And keeping them away from his wheelchair is even more challenging. Within the first few hours of being home from the hospital, they successfully put a hole through our living room wall with the new set of wheels. Hence the sign.
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We have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of love, support and concern that has been shown to us. Meals and treats have been brought, countless prayers have been offered, concerned calls and texts have been made and visitors have stopped by on a regular basis. 

Except for a few siblings that live an hour away, we don't have any nearby family to help us out. Our friends and neighbors have stepped right in and become that family for us. Several different friends watched the boys for long hours while I went back and forth to the hospital for two days. Troy's brother took the older boys out to dinner to give us a break and brought Troy to the hospital at 5:30am on surgery day. Parents from school helped with getting Blake transported after Kindergarten. Visitors came bearing gifts for Troy and gifts for the boys. Not a day has gone by that we haven't been asked from several people, both close friends and mere acquaintances, what they can do to help.

It is sometimes hard for us to accept help but we couldn't have survived this last week without so much support. My mom was already planning a trip here next week because Troy was supposed to be in New York for a business trip (which is obviously no longer happening), and I am so looking forward to the extra set of hands and, quite frankly, extra moral support. I don't think I'm going to let her leave!

2014, we wouldn't mind if you slowed down for us, just a tad.


15 February 2014

Crew | Ten Months

My littlest Valentine.

Ten months old and I couldn't be more smitten.
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We had a little scare this month when Crew's growth charts flatlined. He didn't grow in weight or height from six to nine months. We had a bunch of lab draws done to pinpoint if there were any bigger issues we needed to be worried about. Thankfully, everything came back normal.

So, we've been trying to pack on the calories. Crew still doesn't really like to be spoonfed but he is getting much better at shoveling food in his own mouth. He pretty much eats tiny bites of whatever we're eating now. And he seems like a bottomless pit, so he must have gained a least a little weight in the last month. I mean, he ate an entire kid's quesadilla the other night.

At ten months, Crew still doesn't have any teeth. Not that I'm complaining. But it must make it more difficult to gnaw on food. 

I started adding one bottle right before bed in addition to breastfeeding several times a day. It's actually my favorite part of each day because it takes him a long time to drink it all, and it is the only time he is still and feels like my baby. We snuggle up in the rocking chair and gaze at each other. I try to fend off the other boys just so we can enjoy the time together a little longer.

Crew has radar for open dishwashers and long staircases. He has this instinct that he must be climbing at all times. He loves to grab faces and hates to lay still long enough to be changed. No one can make him giggle more than Blake and he's still holding strong to the binky.

He is so go-with-the-flow (doesn't the third child have to be?) and I'm so grateful for his easy temperament. 

Blake recently stated, "I think Crew is 100% cute." I would have to agree.


13 February 2014

Love is in the Air

The designer in me can't pass up an opportunity to create homemade Valentine's Day cards.

I don't go overboard with them. Let's be real - the child receiving it quickly removes the candy or attached trinket and tosses the card. So, the simpler the better.
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I have great memories of making homemade Valentine's growing up. I don't remember what any of them looked like but I remember cranking them out with my mom each year. I hope our boys will have fond memories of the tradition as well. At least while they're young enough that I can still get away with cutesy cards.

They loved chiming in with the cutting, taping and signing. The best part is, by the time Crew is passing out cards he'll have a library of ideas to choose from.


04 February 2014

Super Bowl Birthday

When your birthday falls on the Super Bowl, a Super Bowl party it is.

The party almost didn't happen after a power outage fried our satellite box the night before the big day, despite being on a surge protector. It's pretty difficult to have a Super Bowl party without the Super Bowl. 

But after sensing my panic, Troy saved the day by running to the store at 11:30pm on Saturday night and picking up an antenna. It worked like a charm since all we needed was a main channel for the big game.

There's nothing like a glitch in the plans to get my heart racing. There was no way I was going to relocate 18 guests and scratch Nash's part of the celebration in the process.

Thankfully, everything else ran smoothly.

Nash beamed all weekend long from the extra attention. 
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Aside from the birthday treats, we feasted and feasted throughout the big game. We collaborated with our friends on the food. Meatballs, pizza, bean dip, jalapeƱo popper dip, chicken wings, and football shaped cheese dip. I think it's safe to say that no one starved.
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We took a half-time break to sing to the birthday boy.
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Nash said his favorite part of his birthday was getting to play with his friends for hours on end while the adults watched chatted through the game. He's so easy to please. Here's to four! 


02 February 2014

Nash is Four

Four years ago, Nash surprised us with his early arrival, right as the 2010 Winter Olympics commenced. Now, we're about to enter the 2014 Winter Olympics, and that newborn baby has turned into a smart, sweet, determined, feisty, all-boy four year old.

We celebrated his advancement in age all weekend long, but I can't let his birthday end without listing four of the many reasons I love Nash.

1. He sings sweetly and knows the words to almost every song on the radio, thanks to our daily school commutes.
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2. He brings me huge stacks of books everyday and snuggles up to me while we read.
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3. He made some big transitions in the past few months. He said goodbye to diapers, naps and his crib, which went seamlessly.
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4. Nash is so quick to show affection. So many hugs and "I Love You's" are showered upon us every day.
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Happy Birthday, Nashy. Our lives would sure be dull without you.