Tuesday, January 30, 2007

He's Home

Aaaahhhh, my husband has returned home. :) Yeah! Jason has been in Austin, TX for the past 5 days and I have never had 5 days feel so long! I am so excited to have him back home with us.

Ella was so excited to see him last night, it practically left her speechless. We were just ready to go to bed when he came through the door. We had been waiting up to see if we could welcome him home, but at 10:15pm we decided that nighty-night was calling our names. Luckily, just as we were finishing up brushing our teeth, we heard the garage door open.

It's so easy to take things in life for granted...like all the help my husband offers me on a daily basis. It's so easy for me to complain that he forgot to take out the garbage until I'm in charge of it when he's out of town...and I forget myself. It's so easy to forget about the evenings when he plays wildly with the kids and burns off some energy while I get to take a break to sit back and check email. Aaaahhhh, life it good when my husband returns home. I love you, honey.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Sunny Day...Chasing the Clouds Away...

...can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?

I managed to drag my sorry, sick body out of bed, get the kids ready, drive down to Minneapolis, and take them to see Sesame Street Live: Elmo Makes Music. It was worth all the strength I had to muster to get there. Ella absolutley LOVED it. I wish I had a pic to post of her while she was at the show...but with 2 kids, a daiper bag, a purse, and a tummy full of naseau, I just couldn't carry one more thing.

The show was fantastic, even I enjoyed it. It is just so fun to see those characters come to life right before your eyes and to see it through the eyes of a two year old. The lights when down and the stage lit up...all of a sudden Elmo, Bert, Ernie, Grover, Zoe, Cookie Moster, and all of the other characters came running out onto the stage, singing and dancing. Ella's first expression was one of confusion and of being a little concerned. I felt like she was thinking "hmmm, how did they get out of the the tv and onto that stage??" She was just mesmerized by it all.

Now, for those of you who don't know Ella, she's a quiet and reserved girl outside of this house. It takes her a little while to warm up and get comfortable with her new surroundings. Well, this girl was out of her seat, dancing to the songs, and even singing along! Big Bird would say "c'mon everyone tweet with me" and Ella would start tweeting. It was so cute to see those little eyes get big and light up with excitment.

Ben had a great time too. Although he wasn't as excited to see Big Bird and Cookie Monster, he did love seeing all those kids. The moving lights proved to be interesting as well, although towards the end I had to turn him around to look at me as he was starting to get a little over-stimulated I think.

It was a wonderful day spent with my kids. It's too bad Daddy was in Tx as he would have enjoyed it too. And thankfully it helped give me something else to focus on other than that fact that I just wanted to throw-up and go to sleep. Thanks Elmo!

Rescue Me

It's been a busy week here on Hubler Planet. It started off last Sunday with Ben getting the flu, Ella was next when she got it on Tuesday and spent the night in the ER (see last post), Jason followed with taking a sick day on Wednesday, and I was in last place getting sick on Thursday. Wow, this bug has certainly made it's way through our family. It's been a long week and there hasn't been a lot of sleep taking place in our house.

Jason had to leave on Thursday for a trip to TX for work. He's doing some tech-stuff...you know, server moves, etc, etc, etc. I'm not sure what any of that stuff means, but that's where he's at until late Monday night. Mom and Dad came down yesterday to help me out. Within about 2 seconds of being here, my sweet Dad took up the challenge of whipping my house back into shape. It's amazing how much can pile up when you have two children...it's a whole other tornado mess when you add on an entire week of sickies. Dad claims that he did 6 loads of laundry and that doesn't include all of the clean clothes that had to be folded and put away! (I know, it's time to think about making some donations.) Mom got right to work too, taking care of the kiddos. Since Jason left on Thursday, I was on duty all night long with both Ella and Ben...that means I was up 5 times with Ben and 2 times with Ella. I was so sick in between all of it that I only managed to get 30 minutes of sleep the entire night. So when I say that Mom took the kiddos you know I was in dire need of a break. In fact, Mom took Ben all night long. I was so incredibly tired and my body was still trying to heal from that flu bug, that I didn't even hear my son until the light of morning woke me up.

Today is starting off nicely, I've gotten a full night's sleep, I'm just a teeny bit sick, Ben is back to healthy, and Ella is busy playing with Papa. Aahhh, thank goodness for parents who care so much that they are willing to drive 5 hours just to rescue me. I guess a person never gets to old for needing their mom and dad. Thanks Mom and Dad...I love you.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

One ER Visit = One Tired Family

There are so many joys of parenting...holding a bowl so your child can vomit into it is not one of them. Neither is watching your child fight the misery of the flu. Ella caught one of those nasty little bugs and it really did a number on her. She got sick yesterday afternoon and by evening had thrown-up so many times that I had to take her into Urgent Care because I was starting to worry about dehydration. She was so listless and it was obvious that this "bug" was starting to take a toll on her. The urgent care doc talked with us just long enough to tell us that he was calling ahead to the ER to have us go in and get looked at. Dad stayed home with Ben while I took Ella-boo to Mercy ER. I was hoping the "calling ahead" would work some magic and that we wouldn't have to wait to terribly long. Unfortunately, more critical cases came in and we constantly got further down the "waiting for a room" list. After throwing up all over me and soaking all our clothes, we finally made it to a room after a 2.5 hour wait. It took another hour or so for a doctor to actually come in and talk to us. We tried oral fluids for a while and once she finally went potty, we got the okay to go home. Just as I put the last button in her jammies through the hole, it happened again. Yep, we were soaked again...this time they brought us hospital clothes to put on. Wow, those scrubs are not really all that flattering...especially when they are at least 10 sizes too big. Ella got a beautiful gown with 2 ties in the back for her dry ensemble. The doctor informed us that we had just bought a ticket to IV Therapy. It was 3am at this point, Ella was exhausted, I was tired, and now we had to get her hooked up to the IV pump. As a mother, it's hard to watch your child get poked with a sharp needle, watching your face wondering why you aren't stopping it. As a mother who went through numerous months of IV Theraphy during my pregnancy, all those yucky feelings came rushing back. I knew exactly what she was feeling and going through. My heart just ached for her. It was a sureal feeling listing to the pump and being awoken by the blasted thing beeping. She got her hydration and by 6am, we were finally set free. Free to go home, free to get some much needed rest, free to change into comfortable dry clothes, and free to put that yucky night behind us.

Ella is doing much better today, but the toll of staying up all night long is catching up with us. Jason stayed home from work today because I knew I couldn't possibly function on only 1 hour of sleep and manage to take care of two little ones and do it with any amount of patience or grace. Top everything off, now he is feeling the effects of that friendly "bug" that has taken up residence in our house.

Although it wasn't any fun to go through the ER experience, it was such was a reminder of how blessed we are. I thanked God many times last night for the blessing of health, of medical advances that make it possible to help my daughter feel better, of kind doctors that work at 3am in the morning while the rest of the world sleeps, of a quiet, soft, and warm bedroom to come home to and rest, and of the bond between a parent and child...that makes it impossible to do anything but fight fiercly for the ones you love.

Thank you to everyone who was busy praying for Ella last night. God was truly watching over us.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Sand in my eyes

We have made it. We did the long trip up to Thief River again this weekend. It's for one of the most important reasons there is. My Grandfather is turning 80 and we are going to have a celebration. It's just a quick trip...up on Friday and back again on Sunday. For those of you who don't know, TRF is a five hour drive if you can go non-stop...but with two little ones in the back (one of which says "stop...go potty, Mommy" frequently) it can take around 7 hours from start to finish. Whew! That's a challenge.

We decided to start leaving around supper time and stopping to eat on the way. This would give the kids a little break and then by the time we get back into the car, they are getting ready to fall asleep for the night. Two downsides to this: 1) the parent driving (that would be Jason) has to stay awake (preferrably) until we get to said destination which is usually somewhere between midnight and 1:00am...and 2) you have to keep your fingers crossed that once we get to Grandma's, the kids will easily go back to sleep for the remainder of the night.

Well, last night we were one for two. Jason did stay awake the whole trip, which if he didn't we would really have some issues, but for the going back to sleep easily...well, that just didn't happen.

We arrived last night at about 12:45am, Ella had her usual senses in-check because that girl knows immediately when we have turned down Grandma's driveway. I don't know how she does it, but she can come out of a deep sleep as soon as we are 10 feet away. As soon as I opened the van door, two sleepy little eyes looked up at me at cheerfully said "Grammie's house!!" I tried to keep her quiet and assure her that yes, she was right, we had arrived at the long-awaited destination. Upon entering the house, Grammie was there waiting to greet us and Ella immediately sprang into her arms. She walked Ella quietly in the dim lights so as not to wake her up more than she already was. Jason took Ben and put him down and fell asleep right next to him while I unpacked the van.

Aaahhh, ready for bed, or so I thought! I scooped Ella up in my arms, assuring her that Grammie would indeed still be here in the morning and headed for the bedroom. What I didn't realize was that Ella was going to be wide awake for the next four hours. That's right...four hours. Miss Bug was up until the wee hours of 5am and I, unfortunately, was there right along with her...begging her to just close her eyes and drift off to dreamland. It wasn't until I threatened her with putting her in the van and driving right back home that she decided she would give up the fight and succumb to sleeping.

Wouldn't you know it, she was poking me at 9am..."Mommy, time to get up, Mommy!" How does she do it? It's tough when your children require less sleep than you do...and when your eyes feel like there is a pound of sand rolling across them each time you blink. Ugh.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Letting Go

Help! We are being eaten by the laundry monster! I'm not sure where it all came from and why I can't seem to get a simple load of laundry done these days...but the fact of the matter is we are drowning in the stuff! I guess that's what being a mom is about, right? It's the letting go of always having the have the house clean, always wanting the clutter put away, and always feeling the need to have everything in it's place. I used to be like that...and I used to believe that. Thank goodness I had kids to put me in my place and show me what's really important in life. It's not the entry way that should be swept, it's not the sheets that need their weekly spin in the washer, and it's not the microwave that should be washed out each day...it's the time spent investing and interacting with my children. Don't get me wrong, I don't live in a pig-sty...but it's important for me to keep the truly important things important. However, if you happen to know of a maid service that will work for cheap...give me a call!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

"Do you remember when..."

I came across this article on a forum and thought it was such a good reminder to take the time to appreciate and soak up every moment with my children. It's too easy to get frustrated throughout the day (naps...or lack of them, tantrums over the wrong sippy-cup, changing clothes for the 7th time that day) or spend time keeping the house neat and clean, but that's not what it's all about. It's all about taking the time to enjoy the children that God has blessed my life with.

Being Mom
By Anna Quindlen, Newsweek Columnist and Author

If not for the photographs, I might have a hard time believing they ever existed. The pensive infant with the swipe of dark bangs and the black button eyes of a Raggedy Andy doll. The placid baby with the yellow ringlets and the high piping voice. The sturdy toddler with the lower lip that curled into an apostrophe above her chin.

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like.

Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.

Everything in all the books I once pored over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach, T. Berry Brazelton, Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages, dust would rise like memories.

What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations - what they taught me, was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all. Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knowsanything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2.

When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing.

Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow. I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physicallychallenged? Was I insane?

Last year he went to China. Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.

Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the, "Remember-When-Mom-Did Hall of Fame". The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, What did you get wrong? (She insisted I include that). The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window (they all insisted I include that).

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs.

There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.

Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done.

Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be.

The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top.

And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Update on Baby James

Baby James had a long day yesterday. Some good news came out of it as well as some bad news. Here's a quick summary: The CT scans show that the remaining tumors are responding to the chemo. That is wonderful news. The bad part is that they are still relatively big. It looks like at least 2 more surgeries are going to need to be done to try and remove more of the tumors. That's a lot for a little baby to have to go through as the surgeries are pretty invasive. James has also been having some issues with high blood pressure. They are trying to control it and have needed to keep a close eye on his heart because of it. There are other things going on as well so please check out her blog if you are interested, the link is at the end of this post.

Jennifer, his mom, sounds so tired. Her and her husband have a lot to deal with...add on no sleep, caring for a second child, the financial aspect of it all, and trying to stay employed while spending as much time at the hospital with your child as possible and you can see why they need so much prayer. Please remember them and pray specifically for strength, rest, and peace as they travel this road.

To read her post on the appt yesterday and find out the specifics, click on BABY JAMES.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Prayers for Baby James

Baby James

If you've been reading this blog for a while, then you will recall my post about Baby James. For those of you who don't know, he is a little boy adopted from Korea just a few days before Ben. I had met his mom, Jen, on an on-line forum and got to see her in Korea picking up her son while we were there. God was watching out for Baby James, He allowed him to be adopted into a family who lives in Rochester since as it would turn out, Baby James has cancer. If you would like to read my post on this, check it out in "November posts".

Ok, on to the prayer request. Baby James is having tons of meetings and labs done today. In fact, today is the day that they take the scans which will tell them a lot. It will let the docs know if the toxic chemo is working this time around and if the tumors have been shrinking or not. It will give them information with which to make an actual prognosis. This is a big day, his parents are nervous and are obviously hoping for good results. Please say a prayer today for them. Here is their blog if you want to check in on BABY JAMES.

It's been an amazing journey so far for this family. The blog has even reached Korea where loads of Koreans have been reading it and keeping up to date on this little guy. It truly is a "small world afterall".

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Happy 8 Month-Old Birthday, Ben!

My sweet little boy is 8 months old today. It's hard to believe that he has been with us for 4 months now. He's been a Hubler for almost exactly half of his life. What a blessing he is and I'm so thankful that Jason and I were chosen to parent him. I can't imagine my life without him.

Happy New Year!

Ok, I realize that I am a day late, but what can you do? We celebrated New Year's at my mom's house with lots of my relatives. Everyone showed up in the afternoon and stayed until the wee hours of the morning. Now I'm no night-owl, so this silliness of staying up until midnight just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. What exactly is the point? To watch the ball drop in Times Square on a pre-recorded show? I would rather watch it at 11:00 when it really is happening, call it a night, and go to bed. Jason and I got the kids to bed and stayed up with everyone else to ring in the new year. About 10 minutes after midnight I was putting on my jammies and brushing my teeth. I'm getting to old for this kind of stuff. The ironic thing about it all is that just because we stay up to "enjoy" (and I use this word loosly) the festivies doesn't mean our sweet little angel boy understands that he should sleep in extra in the morning. Ben went to bed at normal time, so Ben got up at normal time. Whew! 5:50am sure can come soon when that stupid ball doesn't drop until midnight. Poor hubby...thank goodness he got up with the wee-one instead of me! My sweet Mom took the kids around 10am so we could go back to sleep again. Hmmm, seemed like a good idea at the time. It sure felt good to wake up around noon...wow it's been a long time since I've done that. Did I mention that I couldn't fall asleep the next night for a hill of beans? (Hmmm, where did I get that expression?) I laid awake in bed for 5 stinky hours, wanting to sleep, wondering why I wasn't sleeping, and waiting to fall asleep. Oh, the irony of it all. Will I do this again next year? Probably. Why? I have no idea at all!

Christmas: Round 2

Ella in her new earrings from Auntie Zyra

Ben waiting to open presents in his dinosaur jammies

Wow, this particular holiday is never ending for us. With so much family close around, we take a good 3 weeks to get all of our celebrations done. The title of this post is a little untrue as this is actually our 4th Christmas in the past 3 weeks. It's lovely to stretch out this holiday, but to be truthful, I'm kind of glad it is over. Ella had more presents to open and Ben had more paper to shake around and make noise with. Talk about stimulation...or maybe over-stimulation. With all of the hoopla, I think the kids may even be glad to get back to some normalacy soon.

Back to Christmas in TRF. It was lovely as usual. We have spent oodles of time with family and I just love that. I enjoy my Christmas time with Jason's family...but it's just not the same as when I come home to all the usual smells and traditions that I have grown up with. There's just something so comforting about being back home. My family has two traditions that I just love. The first is our Christmas meal. It's all just appetizers, special things that we don't get throughout the year. It's not a big fancy ham with all the fixings or a turkey with the trimmings, it's a lovely huge spread of nothing but delicious appetizers complete with sparkling cider and egg nog. The second tradition is our gift giving. We draw names in our family. This is sooo nice as no one gets stressed out about buying for everyone and no one is eating mac-and-cheese for the whole month of January so they can pay off the bills. It's just so managable and it helps me keep the focus on Christ. Here's my favorite part of all of it. You buy for your designated person and then also donate to a charity in that person's honor. We all sit around the tree and go around one by one hearing about the charity that has been selected for each person and why it was picked. What a lovely thing.