July 29, 2011

Mommy Sick Day(s)

I posted yesterday that I was sick. I worried that it might get worse before it got better. Oh how that proved to be true. My fever got up to 101 and then 102 and was inching ever so closely to 103. For the record, that's where I draw the line.

Staci's Fever Rule: No fever-reducing agents unless said person is absolutely miserable or has a fever greater than 103.

Otherwise, those meds do more harm than good. Remember, the body spikes a fever as a natural method to ward off infection. Let it do it's job.

I don't think I made it to 103 but at one point I stopped checking. If I heard that "BEEEEP" in my ear one more time I was gonna sling the thermometer. I never made it off the couch until around 7:30 last night. I even held off on going to the bathroom because it took sheer amounts of will power to even look in the direction of the half bath, much less drag myself the 5 steps to get there.

I literally thought I was dying yesterday. At one point, in my fever stupor, I thought to myself "so, this is what dying feels like." I'm not even kidding. I even went so far as to write out mental letters to all my family & friends with what I wanted them to know. It was pitiful. I tried to watch TV but that was irritating. Especially because it was left on TLC, which was showing A Baby Story and Make Room for Multiples and various other birth shows with C-section after C-section. Bah! I didn't have it in me to channel surf. Most of the day I just laid on the couch in silence left alone with my thoughts. Dangerous stuff right there. I prayed often when I could find the strength to collect my thoughts for a moment or two. I'm telling you, I was in BAD shape.

I eventually collected enough umph to meander to the pantry where I dug around and found a can of chicken noodle soup. I put it on to cook and then went straight back to the couch. Several minutes later I realize I'm going to have to go get my soup, but I just couldn't do it. It was in the danger zone of becoming scorched soup but I managed to climb off the couch for a second time. After lunch, I remained on the couch indefinitely. My back was killing me from all that laying. Ouch!

At some point, I made the call to my dear mother-in-law who said she could pick up Skylar from school and take her home until hubby got off work. Praise the Lord! So my afternoon continued in silence and the occasional attempt to watch TV without much success. When I wasn't freezing I was sweating and my throat started burning. This is definitely worse!

Around 7ish I decide that it might help my back to take a hot shower. It took me 30 minutes to finally drag my booty upstairs. Turns out I hated every bit of the shower. I was in one of my freezing moments and no matter how hot I turned the knob, it was never enough. I eventually tried soaking in the tub but it wasn't much better. Washing my face caused me to touch my neck and realize that my lymph nodes were VERY tender. Uh oh!

Hubby arrived with The Little Girl right when I got out so then I had her to wrangle her into the bathtub. It was rumored that she was also running a low-grade fever so I wanted her to get a bath that night to avoid making her take one when she was in the throws of a big fever that makes you freeze/sweat. Her listening ears must have gotten left at school that day. She knew I wasn't up to a battle and wasn't really interested in my agenda to get a bath nor was she in any sort of a hurry to do anything. I'm guessing that part of this was the fact that she hadn't seen me all day and was wanting to drag things out in order to sneak in some Mommy time. I wasn't having it. Sorry kiddo.

I attempted to eat some chicken noodle soup that hubby's mom made for me. It was so delicious and definitely homemade. However, my throat was so raw and tight that every single bite burned like the dickens. I tried to power through as many bites as possible before I had to give up. I was so sad because it was SO good. And because I was REALLY hungry. :(

Hubby suggested that since us girls both had a fever that we should both sleep together and he would sleep in the guest room. Probably best to quarantine ourselves and I had to agree. We need at least one functional person around here.

Skylar slept through the night just fine and woke up with no fever. Whoo hoo!! I woke up soaking wet again from sweating and noticed that now it hurt to even swallow my own saliva. Not good. You know your throat hurts when you resort to spitting EVERY TIME you need to swallow. Have you ever noticed how many times you swallow during the day? Trust me when I say, its a lot! When I did have to swallow it, honest to goodness, felt like my throat was a pin cushion. It was beyond painful.

Despite the fact that my fever was gone, the lymph nodes in my neck were now the size of ping pong balls. Eating was out of the question, so we got dressed and headed straight for The Little Clinic. Thankfully, I was seen right away. The PA said I had all the classic signs of Strep and since I didn't have insurance she wouldn't even bother to test me. She said that even if it came back negative, my fever and swollen glands were enough for her to treat me for a bacterial infection.

I took my prescription straight to Publix because it was for one of their FREE antibiotics. Had I been able to eat I may have chosen to hold off on the antibiotic one more day. I've read studies that Strep can clear up on its own. But, without nourishment there was no way that I would get better on my own. So, I came home, held the counter tightly, and swallowed a double-dose of antibiotics. At this point, I really wanted to die! Oooooowwwwww!

I tried to lay down to take a nap with Skylar but that meant I couldn't spit so it was a no go. For the record, I know how gross it is to spit. It's gross to write about it much less do it. Still, it's either spit OR swallow & scream. I think the later would probably do twice the damage.

I finally told Skylar that Mommy can't talk any more because even opening my mouth stretches the back of my throat and is ooouuucchhhyy!!

I'm really bummed about taking antibiotics. I haven't taken them in almost 5 years! I know there are folks who think I'm hard headed about this stuff but I much prefer to let my body work the way it is meant to. We are self-healing creatures. But, at this point, I just want to feel better. I'm hurting in a bad way. After that dose of antibiotics I can't even convince myself to go through the pain again to take ibuprofen.

So, that's my update for the past two days. Hopefully I will be in better spirits tomorrow.

Now, please excuse me, I have to go spit! ;)

July 28, 2011

Mama Down. I repeat, Mama Down!

I'm sick. Like in the bed kinda sick. Ok, technically I have moved to the couch but there will not be much moving around for me today. I've got a low-grade fever, headache, and really sore throat. My eyes have finally stopped burning, which I'm hoping means the fever is on its way out!

Naturally, no one likes being sick but, for me, I know exactly why I'm sick. I'm a 100% believer that we let ourselves get sick. It's the same reason we don't vaccinate. I whole-heartedly believe that God made our bodies amazingly well and that if we take care of them (by resting, eating healthy foods, and exercising) they will be strong enough to fight off germs both big and small.

Our family is in a little bit of an adjustment period right now. I've been reluctant to write about it but since I'm incapacitated today, there's no time like the present. Right?!

Ok, I guess it's best to start at the beginning. Here goes.

About six weeks ago Mike lost his job. It was sudden and unexpected but we both believed that it was for a reason and that better opportunities awaited us. He had been unhappy there for a while so we counted this as a blessing. I was calm. I was trusting. I was really impressed with myself because, as a Type A, my default response is to FREAK OUT when things are out of control or different from the norm. One, two, three, and four weeks went by. We had no leads and had been denied unemployment. Mike was home every day, and while he spent a lot of time tinkering in the garage, he was still in my "place of business." Our norm was way off kilter. During the summer, I feel like it's all I can do to stay afloat anyway with my work, my home responsibilities, and Skylar here. Besides, now I was drumming up appointments to deal with his 401K, Cobra insurance, IRAs, and various other items that go with loosing a long-time job. I didn't really mind hubby being around but my dreams of him being the extra help that I needed didn't exactly pan out. The panic about how we would pay for this or that started to creep in and I became cranky. This is the stressful part.

Because Mike had no work to report to the next day, he was content to stay up late. I tried to stay up too but we've known for a while that he simply requires less sleep than I do. This is the exhausting part.

Lo and behold, Mike did find a job and he loves where he is working now. Granted, the pay is about half (or less) that what he was making before but the atmosphere is GREAT! He is truly happy and this is reflected in his attitude. He doesn't mind going to work these days. In fact, he rather enjoys going in early. I love that he has found such a pleasant work environment! There are 2 downsides to this job. One, benefits are only provided to those in management positions. Two, it's retail, which means his hours are often late and his days off may change. Thankfully, they have been giving him the same schedule so that helps me to predict for the next week. Most days he doesn't get home until 7:45-8:00 p.m, which means he misses dinner. It's hard for me to get motivated to cook for just me and Skylar knowing that A) She probably won't eat what I make and B) Mike isn't the biggest fan of leftovers. So I've been eating terribly. In fact, we all have because it's whatever I can throw together. I've also been shopping less due to our finances. I can't get motivated to make a meal plan. I've still been going to hot yoga but I can only go two days a week in the summer because it's hard to arrange childcare for Skylar. So, this is the unhealthy part.

Basically, we are in an adjustment period trying to figure out what our "new" normal is. I prided myself on the fact that I hadn't really been stressing out but, when I look back, the stress was always there. I just chose to ignore it but it was there deep down. From past experience, I know full well that my body responds poorly to stress. I do feel like I've done a better job of handing it over to the Lord to deal with but I continued to let it eat at me instead of not worrying about it at all. I'm not perfect but I have felt myself growing through this situation.

I've always been pretty in-tune with my body. I can notice even the small things and I've been feeling "off" for about two weeks now. I thought I was getting sick last week but I bumped up my herbs and it went away. Saturday I felt dizzy and sore. I also felt like my vision was blurry. Sunday, we made an executive decision that the whole family needed rest so we left church after 1st service.

Then, yesterday I woke up with a sore throat. That progressed to chills and a stiff neck. I can tell if my temp is even slightly high at 99. Mine wavered back and forth between 100-101 all day. I felt horrible! I'm not a fan of fever-reducing agents because I know that the fever has to do it's job to heat up the body and rid itself of whatever is making it sick. But, by 9 p.m. I was done. I popped an Advil PM and headed for bed. I woke up around midnight soaking wet and changed clothes. I'm assuming this meant my fever had broken. It was a restless sleep for the remainder of the night. So far, today, my throat still hurts and my fever is wavering between 99-100. The body aches are better.

Still, I'm just so frustrated that I let myself get sick. I wasn't taking care of my body and now I'm paying for it. My greatest fear, of course, is that because we are all in this same mode of little sleep, lots of stress, and poor eating habits that we will all get sick. Have I mentioned that we don't have insurance right now? Good timing, huh? Not that I necessarily run to the doctor but this thing seems like its gonna get worse before it gets better. I pray it doesn't!

So, that's what's been going on with us. If you need me today, you can find me in this filthy house (because mama hasn't been able to tidy up for 2 days) on the couch. Or the bed. I might just spice it up a bit with a location change.

July 19, 2011

Things I Hope to Never Hear in a Real Restaurant

Tonight I was practicing reading with Skylar. I had the clipboard and was writing sentences for her. She took over the clipboard and proceeded to play "restaurant."

It was hilarious!!

She was scribbling on a piece of paper when I asked for 2 pieces of pizza. Then I prompted her to write the number two because I'm that mom who tries to sneak in education. Her response, "No, we write in English here." Huh?

Immediately following this she says, "This is an Indian restaurant." *scratching my head*

Then she says, "Excuse me ma'am. I have to go to the bathroom." Oh-kay. Well, at least she was polite about it.

Upon returning, we pick up right where we left off with ordering. Apparently, this restaurant only serves Dr. Pepper. She pauses and asks, "Ma'am, have you ever been to this restaurant before?" Um, I can definitely say that I have not.

Now gazing at her clipboard she mentions that her writing looks like Chinese. It looks like something alright!
In taking Mike's order, she asks if he would like to try the Shakalaka Pizza. The description included broccoli and cheese. Cool name. Not so sure the ingredients match the name.

Our restaurant game was interrupted by a little Skype session with my family back home where she proceeded to take their order as well.

Our little waitress went to get our food and returned with farm animals from her toy barn set. I was told I would have to eat a horse. Um, not so much.

And now, she's playing beauty salon with the dog.

Just another night at the Bishop hizzle with The Little Girl.

July 13, 2011

Tips for Taming A Busy Life

We are dead in the middle of summer break and things aren't slowing down around here. At. All. The go-go-go of summer can cause things to get rather hectic sometimes. I'm a big fan of being proactive. It saves time AND money. Trust me. Today, I want to share with you some of my favorite tips and tricks that make my life a little easier and more manageable when we are on the go.
  1. Smart Phone - I love my Sprint EVO Android phone. I can do anything from it that I can do from from my laptop. It's so nice to be able to have access to email and the Internet when we are out and about. I also enjoy having a built-in camera & camcorder with me at all times to capture our adventures.
  2. TweetDeck - Speaking of smartphones, this is probably my most used app. TweetDeck allows me to streamline my social media fix. I can view my Twitter and Facebook feeds, give my own updates, and get notifications all within the same program.
  3. Map Out Errands - I try not to be out and about every single day but it doesn't always happen. When we are headed out, I make a list of all the places I need to stop and put them in strategic order to avoid any backtracking. I also try to save up errands that are in close proximity to each other to be done on the same day thus avoiding driving all over creation.
  4. Pre-pack Snacks - I like to pack up little baggies of Chex Mix, Goldfish, cereal, or crackers so that they are ready and waiting anytime we need to dash out the door. Why? Because it is inevitable that my 4 year old will demand she is hungry within 5 minutes of being in the car. This saves me a stop plus gas station prices! Another favorite is to make up a bunch of PB&J sandwiches and freeze them in individual bags. In the summertime, they thaw out in no time flat.
  5. Google Calendar - Ok, this is my favorite time saver, ever! I love Google Calendar (and contacts) because I can access it from any computer or my phone. The best part is that I can sync with hubby's calendar so that we never double book. Okay, it's still been known to happen but not by me (love you honey!).
  6. Car Packed & Ready - I find it helpful to keep the car packed with an extra change of clothes plus other essentials like bottled water and nonperishable snacks for those just in case times. I always leave our folding lawn chairs and water toys packed in the summertime because you never know when we might just decide to stop off at the lake. Have I mentioned lately how much I love the lake. It's so relaxing. Sitting at the lake would be a nice time to sit back and have a Seattle's Best iced latte. Don't cha think?
  7. Purse Essentials - In my purse I always keep hand sanitizer, lip gloss, and Band-Aids. There's more in there than I care to admit but I find these items essential for a busy mom. I'd love to hear what your purse essentials are.
  8. Fill Up - I'm notorious for letting the gas get to E or below. During the busy summer months, I make it a point to always have gas in the car. There is nothing worse than bolting out the door in a rush, only to realize that you are going to have to stop by the gas station before you go anywhere. Boo!
  9. Front Door Station - We have a little area by the front door where we place items that we will need for the day or our next trip out. This can vary from a backpack, library books, sunglasses, bank deposit, ect. By keeping the items in the same place and RIGHT NEXT TO THE FRONT DOOR I'm less likely to forget them.
  10. Be Flexible - What's that saying, again? Best laid plans often go awry. Yeah, at our house we call it Murphy, as in Murphy's Law. Murphy happens a lot. Sometimes you just have to let it go. Mishaps happen, especially for families on the go. Just smile, take a yoga breath, regroup, and enjoy the adventure along the way.
I always hear about the lazy days of summer but I'm not so familiar with that part. Summertime usually means we are off track and off schedule. We are popping here and there to play and still trying to get all of the same errands done with my daughter in tow. The above tips certainly help to streamline the process.

How about you? Do you find life more or less hectic in the summertime? What do you to to keep things under control?

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Seattle’s Best Coffee blogging program for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

July 12, 2011

Summer Week at the Grandparents

As you all know, we recently let The Little Girl spend a week with my parents who live out of town. We tried out this little arrangement last year but it was only for about 3 days. This year we worked up to 5 days. Technically it was a full week but Mike & I were with her through the weekend and most of the July 4th holiday before heading home to Nashvegas. The grandparents practically let her get away with high-way robbery when we are there. I don't even want to know the extent to which they let her rule the roost when we are away. I don't mind. Really, I don't. I think it's perfectly fine for her to have one week of the year where she feels like she's the star of the show. Trust me when I say that, in Alabama, she is!

I think it's safe to say that she didn't really miss us. I mean, if you got to do all of these activities, would you be missing boring old mom & dad?
Wagon Parade on the 4th of July
Night Ride on the 4-Wheeler
Hands On Museum
Being Silly with Aunt Whitney

Other activities included swimming, crafting, reading, and a trip to the movie theater to see Cars 2, complete with popcorn.

Our little chickadee is now home, back in the nest, and re-adjusting to reality, but we've rather enjoyed hearing about all of the adventures she had last week. Plus, we can check off one more item on our Summer Fun list.

July 8, 2011

When the Cat's Away...

the mice will play!

And that's exactly what my wee one has done this week during her summer visit to the Grandparents. She's had a blast!

However, no one ever talks about the cat. What does the cat do when the mice are away?

The usual.

First, I gave myself an impossible to-do list of items I wanted to check off my list while The Little Girl was gone. I was hoping to be extra productive and power my way through it but, alas, it was indeed impossible. I did get quite a bit checked off but it's not 100%. Then again, it's pretty rare for me to have everything checked off. My t0-do list is never done. It's always growing. It's like a cruel magic trick. If I check one thing off, two more get added. It's the epitome of vicious cycle.

When I wasn't busy with my list, I was working. You know, the usual. When I wasn't busy with my list or working, I was wondering about my girl and curious about what she was up to at any given moment. This is not terribly unusual for me but it was a bit amplified knowing she was 225 miles away. If I went too long with out an update I would get anxious. I'm used to knowing where she is at all times and most of the time she is with me. The summer week at the Grandparents is a huge leap of faith for me. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy the peace and quiet immensely but you can't turn off Mommy brain.

I wasn't all work and worry this week. The hubs and I snuggled on the couch in the evenings and watched movies completely interrupted. We baked cookies and didn't have to share. We went to bed late and slept in as best we could. You know, 7:30 is sleeping in when you are a parent of an early riser. Oh, and I did manage to sneak in an extra day of yoga. Go me! Let me tell ya, that is the one thing I am most looking forward to when school starts back. It makes me feel so good and I can tell a difference now that I'm not able to go as much.

Nonetheless, the girl has had a great time. I know because there is a sweet little invention called Skype, which I was rather grateful for this week. It's one thing to talk to her on the phone but being able to put my eyes on her is much, MUCH better. It puts my anxious Mommy's heart at ease.

I'm headed to pick her up in the morning and I can't wait. Sounds crazy, but I always love her a little bit more when she's been gone a few days. Absence does make the heart grow fonder. Once I weasel some pictures out of the grandparents, I'll be able to better tell you about how they kept her busy for the past 5 days. Or is the other way around? Yeah, I'm pretty sure she kept THEM busy. :)

July 6, 2011

REVIEW: Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen)

I'll be honest. I had no idea this was even a book until the movie came out. I knew I wanted to see this movie. Come on. Reese Whitherspoon can do no wrong in my eyes and Robert Pattinson is rather easy on the eyes. It was a no brainer. Because I have a general rule about reading the book first, I submitted my request to the library... right behind about 100 other people. My turn finally came and I could not put this book down. I started it before we left for a weekend trip and stayed up until midnight on the 1st night of our trip to finish it.

This story is being retold through the memories of an old man now living in a nursing home. The sight of a circus setting up outside the windows triggers his thoughts and takes him back to a much earlier time in his life. Our main character, Jacob, meets unfortunate circumstances when his parents perish in a car accident right as he is about to take his final examinations to become a veterinarian. Emotionally distraught, he runs and ultimately, out of sheer desperation, jumps a train not realizing what he was about to get himself into. He quickly becomes acquainted with the ins and out of a traveling circus and proves to be much use to the team with his veterinary skills. There are parts of the circus that are as glamourous as you can imagine but most of it is downright shameful. The reader comes face-to-face with some brutal realities about life on the road for both the animals and their caretakers.

Jacob meets August (the boss) and Marlena (his wife). The Mrs. also happens to be a beautiful equine performer who is extremely loyal to her horses. A new elephant arrives on the scene and things start to get really interesting for this show but mostly behind the scenes. The new act puts Jacob working side-by-side Marlena and August on a daily basis. The physical attraction builds along with a heap of animosity on the side for the boss man. It's not without due cause as August has his fair share of unflattering flaws. Things get even more heated when the owner of the show solicits Jacob to try and patch things up between Marlena and her husband. If the duo doesn't work things out, Jacob is working against some pretty serious threats from the circus leader.

A chaotic turn of events puts everyone's life in danger but you'll have to read this one to find out who lives and which relationships survive.

One of the things I loved about this book is that most of the bones of the novel were all true events that the author collected from history and combined them all together for one story. Granted, the storyline between our characters was fabricated but it blended nicely with the surrounding events. The best part about the book, was imagining Reese & RPatz in the lead roles. A nice visual always helps when you are reading. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie as I hear they have done a nice job with keeping the storyline intact.