Friday, March 6, 2015

How To: Ice Sculptures






 After the warmest and direst winter we have ever experienced we had given up on snow. You wouldn't believe how delighted we were to wake up to snow and it kept coming! We are taking full advantage because next week is supposed to be back up to 60. First up, Vev took it upon herself to build 17 snowmen in the backyard. No joke. she even dressed them all up in every spare winter accessory we had in our house. One of D's ties even made it out there!


At the first sign of snow, we filled up various household items with water and a squirt of food coloring then put them in the freezer. After the first batch were mostly frozen I stacked them up on each other to make room for more. We used cups, bowls, tupperware, two sizes of cupcake pans, and cake pans. 






And they are on their 15th snow cone...

Monday, March 2, 2015

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DR. SEUSS!

Read Across America Day!
Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

We love Dr. Seuss at our house! My kids read and read and read again all of his beloved books! Dr. Seuss comes up in conversation almost daily and my kids love to make up silly words and call them "Dr. Seuss words." Can you imagine a world without his amazing way with words?! I cannot. He has helped ignite a love of reading within my kids and for that I am so grateful. He is a hero in my eyes! At the last minute the kids and I decided to throw a birthday party for Dr. Seuss and we invited some of our homeschool friends. We have the best network of homeschool friends...that deserves a blog post all of its own. SO, on to the party!! 

 I found the book cover images at Michael's Craft Store (along with the prizes pictured below) for cheap. I stapled them to a rope to make a banner.

 I got the idea for this next craft some where on Babble.com. However, I can't find the original source to link back! I downloaded a Dr. Seuss font on dafont.com, then chose ten different Dr. Seuss Quotes for the bottom of a 5x7 piece of cardstock. The kids decorated it by making trufula trees using black and white bakers twine and pom-poms.
I picked up some paint swatches from our local Lowes and cut them in half (they don't have the long skinny ones they used to have.) The kids used punches and ribbon to make a book mark. 


I made the trufula trees using pipe insulation, yellow Duck tape and Martha Stewart's tissue pom-pom tutorial. I left the wires long on the pom-poms to attach them to the pipe insulation. These were so simple to make but made a huge statement. They'll stick around even after the party.


Because we partied with other homeschoolers we have a range of ages. One comes, they all come! I made red and blue play dough for the little ones as well as a beanbag toss game. I make play dough all the time. We use it a lot and the colors get mixed often so we just whip up a new batch. It's simple.
This is the recipe I use.  I'm pretty sure it is the same one my mom used when I was little. It has proven itself over generations. I doubled the recipe for today's purposes. 
PERFECT PLAY DOUGH
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoon cream of tartar (find it in the spice section)
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup water
food coloring
Mix first 4 ingredients in a pan. Add water and mix well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 3 – 5 minutes. Dough will become difficult to stir and form a “clump”.  Remove from stove and knead–add food coloring during kneading process. Play dough will keep for a long time stored in a covered plastic container or plastic sandwich bag.
This was a game we played, each kid had to find the specific pictures around the room. Once they found them all they received a prize. Find the printable HERE. Prizes from Michael's Craft Store


A few pictures from my phone...


 Everyone brought a little snack to share and while the kids ate their snacks I read Dr. Seuss books to them. These are some wild and crazy kids and they sat captivated! 






I'm trying to instill and love of reading and learning within my kids, big parties like these aren't necessary for that but they sure are fun for both the kids and me! If this isn't your thing pull out a Dr. Seuss book and enjoy it on the couch with your kids. That'll do the job, too! 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

*tap* *tap* *tap* "Is this thing still on?"

Wow, I feel so rusty. I'm not really sure I know how to do this anymore. However, its 2015 and I thought I'd give my old friend, this blog, a tickle. So, here I am. As you - assuming there is someone out there reading this - can probably gather, four kids has almost done me in. Something had to go and that something was this. But in truth I really miss blogging. I miss writing and getting my jumbled thoughts into a more cohesive flow. But writing takes practice and I'm far out of practice so bare with me.

Lets start with the obvious. 2014. This was a really big and important year for me. Our family was presented an obvious range of emotions. We've had set backs and triumphs, doubt and faith, progress and the thrill of new experiences, instability and growth, self-doubt and self-discovery. But if I had to sum up my year in one word it would be self-discovery. Okay two words. Hyphenated. I don't even know if they should be hyphenated. Whatever. Moving on. 

Let me back track a bit. I've really never understood myself very well. I've never had a "personal style" or a preferred decor fashion. Do you catch my drift? Sometimes you walk into peoples homes and they are warm and cozy and sometimes they are cool and modern and sometimes they are still stuck in the 80s. Well, I didn't ever know what suited me. Although I knew it wasn't the 80s. I began life in the 80s and am happy to have grown out of them (The 90s on the other hand...those were cool.) When it came to clothes and fashion sense...I had none. I didn't know what looked best on me or matched my personality. I had a closet full of clothes that looked great on a mannequin or a friend and for some reason after the price tags came off and they were draped on me I went, "Meh." 

I wasn't bothered by this much. But it was always in the back of my mind. I'd hire friends (un-paid obviously) to take me shopping and pick out my clothes. I'd DIY and Pinterest the heck out of my house, but still was never in love with my closet or home. AND I COULDN'T FIGURE OUT WHY! 

I was never too concerned about my appearance/style. Mascara on a good day, blush on a REALLY good day. However, my home has always been an important topic for me. Way-back-when I heard Oprah talk about how important our home decor is. She advised we think about what we put inside and make it our haven. Important because it is our sanctuary and a place where we need to feel comfortable and safe. A place that reflects us. I knew I wanted my home to be a safe haven and a comfortable place because not only do I choose to be a stay-at-home-mom we also homeschool. This is not just a place we sleep. This is a place we play, learn, love, and grow. If we are going to be home a lot I want it to be a comfortable and inspiring place. 

Fast forward to 2014. I had recently discovered Carol Tuttle and her business "Live Your Truth."  (That is a link.) My fantastic and enthusiastic aunt Jody wanted us all to get in on the fun she'd discovered. We gave it a try. Carol categorizes people into 4 types. Type 1, Type 2, Type 3, and Type 4. Initially I was sure I was a type 1. In fact if you would have asked anyone around me they would have completely and utterly agreed that I was a Type 1. Before I threw a bunch of money down on a wardrobe I decided to go into their head quarters and have my type confirmed. The idea of "dressing your truth" comes down to the fact that we are all different at our cores (if you have children you KNOW this is true...they are all so different from day one) and it can be confusing to see a happy, peppy, outgoing, light person wearing really rigid clothes and stick straight hair. Or a really mellow, quiet, somber person wearing a tutu and bright colored printed leggings with pink polkadots on their shirt. But that outfit would totally fit someone with a higher energy personality. Obviously I'm lousy at explaining this so you should just check out her website. SO. I went in to see a specialist at their headquaters and they concluded after talking to me about mannerisms, personality traits, facial features, and a color draping that I was a type 4. WHAT THE WHAT?! Now, if you look into the actual program you'll discover that a Type 4 is the COMPLETE opposite of a Type 1. So why in the world am I telling you this. Because. This is a very important tid-bit. I clearly had no clue who I was.

Have you ever thought to yourself, "I wish I was more outgoing." or "I wish I was more sensitive." or "I wish I was more driven." ?? I used to think of lack as weakness in myself. Something that needed to be learned. But now I understand myself and other so much more and realize that was not right.

After a lot of reading through her books and soul searching I have found so much peace internally. I set out to live my truth more fully. In my home, in my appearance, and in my soul. It has been so fulfilling. I feel like I understand myself and others. Through this knowledge I have become less judgmental, more forgiving and  I am at peace with being me. I don't need to be like anyone else, because I am ME! It has given me direction and confidence. I understand myself and I am comfortable in my own skin.

So the first thing I did this year...I chopped off ALL MY HAIR! 


Even though everyone (including my dear friend who cut it) advised otherwise. I did it. And it has proved to be the best hair decision I've ever made. Who knew so much baggage was locked up in that mane I had?! No really, I feel like I let go of a lot of emotional garbage when I chopped it off. Next up, I started dressing like Carol advises a "Type 4" to dress. I realized why I never liked my decor. Because it didn't reflect my inner-self. So I started to incorporate type 4 style into my decor (along with other types because I live with every other type). And what do you know. I look in the mirror and I finally feel like my outsides match my insides. I feel good in my home and understand why warm colors made me cringe. I stopped trying to be someone I wasn't and started being MY BEST SELF. Do you know how liberating that is?! I hope you do. It is a really good feeling. I let go of unhealthy relationships and healed important ones that were broken. I knew I could only give others my best if I understood what my best was and took care of it. 

So, this was the year of ME. 

In a way it was a selfish year. However, the result was anything but. It was a time I looked inward and found stability and security. I feel confident and empowered. I feel like a better role-model for my kids. I'm now living what I always encourage them. Individuality. I've always told them all to be their best selves. That doesn't mean be more like the ideal society has built or the picture perfect mom on instagram. I don't want my kids to feel like they have to squeeze into a mold our culture has conjured up. I want them to understand who they are and build on that. I want them to be who God intended them to be. I believe God made us unique at our core, the very nature of who we are for a very important and personal reason. I get it. I finally get what I've always preached. Now I can live it. 

So, here is to 2015. A time where I can "give." Give my best self, because now I better understand what that means. 

And a look back at the year of my short hair....





I'll dig up some before/after pictures of my house to post next! 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas in the City

My dear friend Wendy has a tradition of coming to SLC in December and couldn't make it this year. So, she asked if I would take some pictures. OF COURSE. You know me. So, I took some pictures one night while downtown. However, this night we didn't venture into Temple Square. Then, the night we did go to temple square it was an after thought and I didn't have my big camera. THEN, we planned a big fun night tonight downtown to see the last night of lights at temple square with the kids including hot cocoa and dinner at the Lion House. We had everyone super pumped about it. Last night was the last night for the lights. BAH! I'm so sad. So I direct you to this VERY old post...apparently the last time I took pictures with my big camera of the lights at Temple Square. Next year...I'm vowing now. 










Thursday, November 21, 2013

Homeschool: My Preschool Philosophy

Our house is currently preschool central! We have a four year old, three year old, 21 month old, and a two month old. We have yet to begin Kindergarten and I haven't decided if I will start that next year or wait one more.
I am very passionate about this time of life. These years are foundational. I believe they can set the tone for the duration of a child's life. We can set an example and create habits now. These little ones are so eager to learn and take in the world around them. Tap into that and show them how exciting learning and growing is. Show them how wonderful our earth is. How amazing our brains are. How to treat others, how to play well, how to work out problems. Teach them good values. Teach them to discover with their eyes, ears, fingers, mouth, and nose. Teach them to notice details in nature. Pick up leaves and grains of grass. Go on walks and notice the tiniest ant. Observe. Ask questions. Answer their questions. Encourage them to ASK. Draw and color pictures of the things you see. Teach them to take it all in. Teach them to LOVE to learn. There is SO MUCH MORE to preschool than learning to write their name. There is so much beyond letters and numbers. Don't lose sight of the bigger picture. Those things will come with time and practice. Don't let the technical over rule the fun discovery of this age. 

I have two main goals for my children in this time of life. These two things are what I hope they will carry with them throughout their entire life. 1. Values 2. Love of learning

One negative effect of social media on parents is pressure. They see other peoples kids doing things their kids the same age aren't doing. They see Sally's kid reading at age three and think they are failing and should be teaching their three year old to read. They see Jane's daughter write her name perfectly at age four and get concerned because their daughter can't do the same. And more and more we are pressuring our kids earlier and earlier to do things that are not age appropriate.

The best advice I received from my dear friend and mentor, Tara, was to not push things too early. You could spend hours pushing your young child to learn something that might take them minutes to comprehend at an appropriate age.  I had no idea that bit of advice would help me so much in my frustrations. I think of it often. It reminds me of the big picture. It reminds me of the importance of these years. It reminds me of what is truly important, NOW. 

We currently follow a loose curriculum and schedule. Previous to our newest baby being born things were much more structured. Now that he is two months old we add in as much structure as we can without feeling overwhelmed. 

I love the values based idea of "Joy School" by Richard and Linda Eyre. Each section focuses on a value. This curriculum is written for a co-op type setting. Each mother taking turns teaching. We don't do a shared co-op but pull from the curriculum and adapt it to what works for us. (you could also use their book "Teaching Children Values" as a back bone rather than buying the full curriculum) I mostly like this for the skeleton of the values. They have songs the kids love, crafts, stories, and fun that goes along with each value. Another option is signing up for access to the Eyre's website, www.valuesparenting.com, They have some great resources and ways to incorporate values into all ages and your every day life. I have greatly benefitted from their site, they are wonderful people. 

Next, we go on nature walks at least once a week. Sometimes we go to exciting places, sometimes we go around our little neighborhood, and occasionally we find ourselves in our backyard. This is so important. I want to teach my children to love nature and to find joy in simplicity. I want to teach them to notice details within the big picture. I want them to discover what God gave us to enjoy and take care of.

We find discovery in whatever my kids are interested in. The oldest two have really taken to dinosaurs as of late. When they are passionate about something I latch onto and teach them the joy in learning. One day we went to the craft store picked up a few supplies and made dinosaur habitats. They have spent hours playing with their figurines and those habitats. This week I made dinosaur bones out of salt dough so they could assemble their own big dinosaur. I am putting together a science camp all about about dinosaurs and fossils. They will get to be palentologists for the day. I have several activities and lots of fun planned for these dinosaur lovers! 

You don't have to put on big productions if it isn't your thing. Find what you enjoy, find what your kids enjoy and go with it. Have fun. If its feeling too stressful then you are not being true to yourself and your kids. Don't do something because you see someone else doing it and you feel pressure to do it in order to "be a good mom." Nonsense. What is most important is that you decide on your goal and ideals for your children. This will be different for everyone. And then be part of their learning journey. 
Teach them that learning is part of life and not just an allotted time you sit at a desk. These are formative years and it doesn't take much to set a good foundation for our kids. As parents we know our children best. We know them individually. We know their needs and their challenges. We have their best interests at heart. We need to focus less on trying to make them fit a mold and more on helping them stay true to who they are while learning and growing. Its starts NOW. As their parents we know how to best cultivate their learning.

Monday, October 28, 2013

PCMC


Alfie spent the weekend at Primary Childrens Medical Center. It was heart-wrentching to have him in there, but such a neat experience to be at PCMC. Wow, that place is special. Walking the halls was a sacred experience. Several times Donny and I found ourselves with tears in our eyes. The feeling I felt in that building was spiritual. Being there put life into perspective. Its easy to let go of those things that are not important when you witness what others endure day in and day out. I'm so grateful Alfie is home, but I will never forget the experience of being there. I believe God holds a very special place in his heart for children and it was so evident there.












Alfie tested positive for RINO virus. After a couple of days in the hospital he was able to come home. Just before leaving I asked the nurse to suction him out one more time. He had so much mucus and requires a machine and tube down his nasal passage to clear it out enough that he could eat and breath properly. As she cleaned him out, we all stood shocked at the amount of congestion. The nurse said she'd never seen so much in a baby before. Since coming home he continues to improve each day. He should be back to normal in no time.





During the two days Alfie was in the hospital D and I tag-teamed it. He would stay with him and I would stay with the older three, then we would switch. Every time I was home with the oldies and we would facetime D and Alfie, when Alfie heard my voice he would cry! Every time. Donny said he would be just fine until he heard my voice. That makes my heart melt, he is a mommas boy already!

While I was in the hospital with him on Friday, Steve Young visited the hospital and organized for the band Imagine Dragons to do a concert for the patients at the hospital. Alfie and I watched from his room. It was neat to see the love and dedication people give to help these children in need. We are so grateful for the help we received there.




Thursday, October 24, 2013

Late night ramblings on motherhood.


Sometimes I wonder if this mothering thing is too much for my heart. I mean, can I possibly stand to be stretched any more in any direction? The intense love, the sorrow, the frustration, the pain, the feelings of helplessness, the joy, the feelings of inadequacy, the heartbreak, the feeling of accomplishment, fulfillment, drive, energy on little sleep, and yet exhaustion. How can one thing cause such a division of emotions and feelings? All in a days time. 

Earlier in the day I was feeling so much peace in my heart. All was right in our lives. Things felt so right. 24 hours prior to that I was crying on the floor holding three of my crying babies. And right now in the middle of the night I'm sitting in the dark watching my three oldest sleep, feeling helpless while D runs our littlest to the Primary Children's Hospital ER. 

As a mother, my heart is so invested in these four lives I'm raising. Parenthood is not for the faint of heart. It takes courage, devotion, humility and love to get through the roller coaster of raising children. I've only been at it a short four years and already I've been stretched in ways I never imagined. In all ways. 

Motherhood, it's a beautiful thing that sometimes looks messy. But those moments make it all so sweet. They remind me of God. I've written before of my love of emotion. The entire spectrum. And if anything covers that spectrum so diversely, it's parenthood. 

I hope my heart can continue to stretch for those little ones under my care. I hope I can handle everything that comes our way, be it devastation, happiness, joy, heartache, or peace. Sometimes it all seems like too much for my little self to bear on its own. And it is. Thankfully God and I make a great team.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Alfie and me.

Well, hello!
Its been a while.  I had a baby! In fact, its been one month since our Alfie boy was born. 

I’m not sure I can convey the feelings in my heart this last month. It has been a special time. A month ago just after giving birth to our fourth child I came closer to death than I care to at this time in my life.
 After the birth I received many texts and messages inquiring about the events that ensued. I left them mostly unanswered. I couldn’t even think about what had happened without feeling anxiety, let alone retell the story over and over. The more I learned about my situation, the more anxiety I felt. Even though I was okay in the end it was a little difficult to stomach. But I’m doing better now. So, I decided to write a little bit of Alfie’s birth story here on my blog for you to read. 
Our sweet Alfie was born. My doctor missed the rapid birth. Alfie had a rough start and needed some monitoring due to low oxygen levels, but before long he was doing well. We moved to a recovery room. Things seemed to being going well...
......

Donny and I sat talking and Alfie nursed when suddenly I felt a gush of blood. I mentioned to Donny that I felt like I was gushing blood and without even thinking about it I phoned the nurse. “How can I help you?” “Umm, I think I’m gushing blood.” Seconds later my nurse came in. She checked my pad and immediately showed signs of concern. “Yes, you are.” She called in the CNA looking after Alfie and asked that they take him to the nursery. Immediately she started pushing on my tummy in an attempt to shrink my uterus and hopefully stop the bleeding. “Your uterus is tight, yet you are still bleeding…” More nurses came in and soon our room had turned into a panicked rush. Nurses went back and forth from me to the bathroom with blood and clean pads and new sheets. I felt a strange sensation of life in slow motion and fast forward all at the same time.
I kept asking if everything was okay. I wanted to know that I was going to be fine. Everyone seemed to be masking panic. Like they had been trained to remain calm. But I could see past it. And no one would assure me that everything was okay. Minutes later my doctor and a PA rushed through the door. He immediately started asking for tools and asked how I was feeling? I responded, “I’m nervous.” “That’s understandable.” He replied. Then I asked again if everything was going to be okay. He dodged the question and let me know that he would be putting this giant metal tool up me and working aggressively to get the bleeding to stop. He was somewhat impatient with the nurses and had a look of concern.
I knew at this point that things weren’t okay.
My body went into shock and started shaking uncontrollably. D stood next to me and held my hand. The Dr. worked inside of me and the nurses continued to scurry around cleaning up messes and keeping a close eye on how much blood I’d loss. They measured everything that gushed out. At one point the Dr. pulled out something and mentioned to the PA that it looked to be a piece of membrane. I asked what that meant. He clarified that it was a piece of the sac. Then he continued to work vigorously.
I’d lost track of all time. It must have been 15-20 minutes that the Dr. had worked on stopping the bleeding in our room before he stepped back from the situation and looked at Donny and I. He said, “We are going to need to go to the operating room. The bleeding is not stopping and we need to be able to work more aggressively by putting you under anesthesia.” We nodded our heads. I asked if I was going to be okay. He said, “It should only take 20-30 minutes.”
At this point our food had arrived (which I would not be getting to eat at this point) and my mom had arrived to the hospital with the kids. They were anticipating seeing the baby with flowers and balloons they had no idea what was happening to me. The medical team working on me wheeled my bed down a hall and into the operating room. I checked with Donny to be sure he was taking pictures of all this action. He wasn’t and he didn’t. Apparently he didn’t think that was as good of an idea as I did.
I was scared. My whole body was shaking. I was still losing blood. At this point the doctor was racing against blood loss to save my life. He had to stop my body from bleeding before I bled to death.
The medical team prepped themselves and me for surgery. I lost count of how many were there to work on me. I watched my doctor put on his jacket and mask. Everything at this point seemed to run in slow motion. The anesthesiologist who had administered my epidural came in and I joked to him that I wasn’t hoping to see him again (getting an epidural is my LEAST favorite part of giving birth.)
While still alert and awake lying on the surgery table, I tuned out the hustle bustle for a moment and looked straight above me. I plead with God to save my life. Although at the time I didn’t understand the severity of the situation I knew it was bad. As attempt after attempt to stop my body from bleeding failed I became a little more concerned. I wasn’t ready to leave this earth life. I wanted so much to be with my husband and babies for longer. A room full of nurses and doctors were fighting for my life in that moment. Among them were angels. I could feel them, I could sense their presence. Many people were praying for my life and for the doctors. I felt the prayers. While my body shook rapidly in shock of blood loss my heart was calm. It felt like an out of body experience. Almost like I watched the events escalate from afar all while being in the very real situation.
The anesthesiologist told me he was going to give me something to calm my shaking body down. Seconds later the shaking stop. Next, he told me he would be there through the entire surgery monitoring my vitals to be sure everything was okay. I’d never been put under anesthesia but I knew what it meant. I stared up at the ceiling and soon I was out.
I slept, the doctor worked inside of me, and Donny waited, and waited. Twenty minutes passed, 30 minutes passed. He assumed it was almost over. He was greeted by a nurse who said that I should be out any minute. Those minutes eventually turned into an additional hour. He had no idea what was going on, whether or not I was still alive, or what state I was in. An hour and a half after starting the surgery the doctor and PA emerged from the surgery room and beckoned him to a room, “Lets talk in here.” At this point his thoughts went to places I never want to experience. He was expecting to hear I had died. He was prepared to be told he would be leaving the hospital with a new baby, without his wife.
Quickly the doctor assured him I was alive and that they thought they finally had the bleeding under control. He did however warn him that I looked very rough. “She has lost nearly 4 liters of blood (the average human only has 5.) She is white. She looks rough.” He prepared him well so that seeing me would be less of a shock.
I cannot imagine what it felt like inside for him to go through this from the sidelines or to see me for the first time. This is a man who nearly passed out seeing an ultrasound. He is queasy at even the mention of anything medical. He was surely strengthened from above to endure this situation.
I was incoherent for a while after surgery. I remember waking up with an oxygen mask on and nurses and doctors all over, many of whom spoke to me but I don’t remember what was said. My first memory was my sweet husband by my side. He held my hand and kissed my forehead. I felt immense love coming from him. I could sense it in his face and the way he held my hand.
After a few hours in the recovery room we were wheeled back to our room. I was too weak to even have my baby lay on me. I couldn’t lift my arms or legs on my own. I couldn’t sit, in fact I couldn’t even bring my bed to an inclined position without getting light headed. A day and half after Alfie was born I was able have him lay on me for the first time. I will forever remember that moment. It was physically difficult to have the weight of a newborn on my chest, yet healing to every fiber of my being. I spent the next few days in the hospital laying flat and mostly lifeless.
 
(the first time after surgery that I could hold him, a day and a half later.)
My medical team was prepared with a transfusion to be administered at any moment. However, the doctor had hopes that since I am a young and healthy individual I would be able to manage without it. Before we could leave the hospital without a transfusion I had to be able to walk three feet to the bathroom without my heart rate spiking and without passing out. That was a lot to ask. My first attempt was rough. I had nurses on both sides, a giant belt around my waist for them to catch me if I fainted, and Donny in front to assist. It was rough but I succeeded.
The day we went home the doctor came in to visit with us. He explained that it would take at least six weeks for my blood levels to come back to normal. They had even dipped lower than he had anticipated. He said I would be very weak, short of breath, and dizzy for several weeks. But we all agreed it would be best to avoid a transfusion if possible. A transfusion is a blessing if necessary but can also bring on other side effects.
We went home to a quiet house. My mom had taken our kids to Idaho for a few days. I cried every time I thought about them or talked to them. I needed them home. They came back the next day and my mom moved in for a couple of weeks. In the beginning I could literally do nothing. If I sat up too long I was short of breath. I had to lay in my bed. Walking down the hallway was too much. Even visitors for too long wore me out. Day to day I saw little progress and wondered if I would ever feel normal again. However, as the weeks passed I noticed myself making strides. When Alfie was two weeks old I managed to sweep my floor one day. I was so proud of that feat!  Occasionally I would have set back days, but I was consistently getting stronger.
Here I am today, one month out and my room still spins, I run short of breath, and I see plenty of “stars” when I stand up too quickly. But I am doing my thing on my own. Four kids, four and under. We are managing quite well. Alfie is a dream and the kids adore him. The older three are still making adjustments but we are discovering our new normal. As I feel more capable, I am adding more and more things into our daily schedule. We have gone from a simple goal of getting everyone fed, to making trips to the park and stores and getting on with our homeschooling. In a couple of weeks I should have all of my blood back and I’m sure with each week things will run more smoothly for us.
I’m happy to be alive. I’m happy to be well. I’m happy to be a wife and mother. I’m suddenly more aware of my blessings and so grateful.
Life is so, so good.

**Post Update -- Over all it took five months for my levels to normalize and my blood to restore and even longer for strange side effects to subside. But one year later I am doing great! 

And now for the good part. A few pictures taken with my iphone.