Who IS that Target Lady?

I received a promotional piece of mail from Target the other day….which incidentally saved me some money since it had coupons on it, but that’s a blog for another day.

On the cover was an impeccably dressed woman with perfect hair, gorgeous makeup, and who was pushing a cart full of cleaning supplies. She was smiling from ear to ear and looked incredibly excited to be there…kicking up her heels (red high heels, nonetheless) as she shopped.

I’ve never seen anyone who looked like that while shopping at Target.

Allow me to paint a more accurate picture of what I think the average Target shopper is….

A 30-something lady with two small children, one in the front of the cart chewing on the germ-infested handle, the other in the basket where the groceries go.

Small child in basket is constantly throwing out either a bottle, sippy cup , or pacifier. Child in basket needs every piece of candy or every toy she sees. She is also singing loudly.

30-something mom has her hair in a ponytail and is sporting her tennis shoes…not those red high heels. She might have been lucky enough to brush her teeth that day, and if it’s a REALLY good day, she might be wearing some mascara or lipgloss.

She’s either digging through her coupon holder for a good deal or she’s in too big of a hurry to get out of there before naptime that she’s throwing whatever she sees that she needs in her cart without batting an eye.

The children probably have runny noses and she’s stuffing used tissues or baby wipes in her purse without a thought as to how unsanitary that is.

By the time she gets ready to pay, the children are both whining about something, and she is DESPERATE to get out of that store.

I don’t know. That’s just what I see when I go to Target.

Let me know if you ever see that lady with the high heels, laughing and dancing through the store when you’re there. I have a few words for her.

The Writers at Higglytown Heroes Have Been Misinformed

Higglytown Heroes is a cartoon on Playhouse Disney that features nesting dolls getting out predicaments by calling on the town’s heroes…you know, doctors, waiters, painters, etc….otherwise known as community helpers.

Today, as they were preparing for Baby Pookie’s first birthday, the gang was troubled by Pookie’s incessant crying after she awoke from her nap. They tried everything…bottles, clean diapers, entertaining her with party hats. All to no avail.

Finally they call on Dr. Ferguson, the hero of the day.

Alas, Baby Pookie is teething.

But, according to Dr. Ferguson, all mommy has to do is rub some salve on her gums and give her a cold teething ring.Baby Pookie instantly stops crying and is smiles and giggles once these remedies are presented.

Seriously? That’s all it takes?

Man. I wish I lived in Higglytown.

An Ounce of Prevention…

We’re having Easter at our house on Sunday, and for once, I’m not stressed about the clean-up.

Since we hosted the baby shower on Saturday and my brother-in-law’s not-so-surprise birthday party on Sunday, I’ve actually managed to keep the house in somewhat of a presentable appearance!

This is a big deal.

I mentioned in another post that I had devised my weekly schedule, and FINALLY, I have started sticking to it.

(Well, all except that “wake up at 7:00″ nonsense.)

I have discovered that if I stick one or two big chores on each day, along with all the daily clean-up that has to go on (i.e. dishes, laundry, picking up the toys, wiping down counters, blah, blah, blah), that things don’t pile up on me as much.

I’m actually kind of proud of myself.

I even spot mop under the baby’s high chair (and the 3 year old’s chair) after each meal. And now, instead of being stuck with having to scrape dried applesauce and ketchup off the floor every other week (yes, that’s how often I did it), I can do a quick all-over mop once every other week and be done with it.

I even wipe down my kitchen appliances now. This is truly a big deal.

So, as they say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Random note for the day: It truly does pay to call customer service when you have a comment about a store. :)

CVS…Changing My Way of Life

I’m a bit of a pack rat.

My husband is probably shaking his head as he reads this right now, thinking that is the biggest understatement he’s heard in awhile. But truth be told, he is too.

I’m not sure why we keep so much stuff. We even say, every so often, “We really should get rid of some of this junk.” And we get motivated to move it out of house. We bag and box things up and vow to get rid of it.

Then we sit in the garage.

But I have started shopping at CVS….and things are going to change around here.

Now, I’ve always been a bit of what I call a “couponer”. I’m always looking for ways to save a buck. But recently, I’ve taken it to a whole new level.

Apparently there’s a sub-culture of people out there who have taken on shopping at CVS and are walking out of there paying pennies for bags of stuff.

And I’m now one of them.

I’d love to share my secrets with you, but I’ll spare those that don’t care the details. But I will tell you that it is all perfectly legal…and the cashier I had today even helped me figure out how to get my total even lower. :)

I’ll give you an example of some of my hauls though. One time I walked out with a giant bag of baby wipes, Stephen’s allergy meds of the week (I think it was Alavert), 3 bottles of shampoo, 1 bottle of conditioner, and a roll of lifesavers that McKenna had opened (unbeknownst to me) for a total of $.18! Yes, that said 18 CENTS. AND, even better, they gave me Extra Bucks valuing $8.00 to spend next time.
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A Day in the Life…

7:30–Alarm goes off. Stephen promptly announces, “3 1/2 hours till the party.”

We hosted a baby shower today, and I spent much of the night tossing and turning worrying about what I might have forgotten.

8:00–Baby wakes. Talks to herself for awhile. I continue getting ready.

8:30–Baby insistent that she must be fed NOW.

8:35–Change incredibly stinky baby, feed baby breakfast. Three year old awakens in a good mood. Yay! For now….must feed her to keep her that way. (She has low blood sugar issues, and when she hasn’t eaten she goes into what we commonly refer to in this house as “melt-down mode” or “melt-age”.)

The hour between 8:35 and 9:35 is a complete blur. Kenni must be fed to avert disaster, but the English muffin I prepare gets ignored. I can’t give her any vitamins because the darn things have melted to the bottom of the container (their gummies, but I still have no idea how that happened). She also needs to change her pull-up and get dressed (I might as well be asking her to rewrite the Constitution at this point), and Caia needs another diaper…again!

9:35–People begin arriving at my house for prep. Courtney brings all her goods and drops them off because she and I passed the stomach virus around to all of our children and one of hers is still at home over a trashcan, and she’s not so sure that she isn’t a carrier of aforementioned nastiness…

Phone is ringing because no one can find my house that happens to be located in the boonies. I’m STILL trying to get Kenni dressed, and Caia’s crawling around grabbing everyone’s pants legs, which is her way of saying…Please, someone! Pick me up!!

11:00–Shower begins…it turned out well. And our guest of honor got lots of good baby loot! But more than that, I hoped she felt as loved and as special as she truly is!!! She and her husband have been such great friends to our family (and many others!) and now it’s our turn to return the favor!!!

2:00–after a hurried clean-up, which really wasn’t all that bad, Stephen calls. “Wanna meet us to go see the Horton movie?” Sure! Sounds fun! The only catch is I have to go get the tickets and then he will meet up with me with the girls.

2:55–Movie begins.

3:10–We actually get seats in the movie, but not before Dad gets a bucket of popcorn, and I change incredibly stinky baby…AGAIN!! :)

Movie goes well….no meltdowns from baby or toddler. We’re good.

Except for the fact that the tornado sirens are going off, and all the stores in the mall are shutting down….with the exception of the movie theater! I’m not sure what is up with that, but someone’s getting an email from me about the lack of concern for the safety of their patrons! If the other stores can evacuate, why can’t the movie theater do the same and refund us our bucks? Too afraid of how much money they’ll lose?

Okay…rant over….

5:00–Stephen has to go to JoAnn’s to pick up fabric for something for church tomorrow. (He told me what it was for, but I don’t remember.) I decide to go with him with the girls to see if they can hold out with out “melt-age” so that we can all go to dinner together.

All seems to be going well while we are in JoAnn’s. Baby is gnawing on the shopping cart…fine, albeit gross. Stephen is getting his fabric….fine. Kenni is walking along behind me, happily chatting…fine.

We pick out some fun crafts for her to make…will cost me all of $1.00 and she’ll have fun with it. Good times.

Until she decides to disobey me and pitch an incredibly huge fit in the middle of the very quiet store. I would like to say I’m over being embarrassed by these things by now. But the truth is, I’m not. (But hey…the first step is admitting you have a problem.)

Daddy removes Kenni from store, and Caia and I are left alone to look at…fabric. (I don’t sew, so at this point I’m not having any fun.)

Kenni and Daddy come back in, and I am given the obligatory apology. She is told that she can no longer have crafts because she disobeyed. Waterworks begin again.

We quickly proceed to checkout where Stephen has what I find to be a less than pleasant experience with the cashier (does anyone know the meaning of customer service anymore?!?!), but he seems undaunted, so I say nothing….for now. :)

6:00–We proceed to Taco Mac for dinner. At this point, Kenni’s blood sugar has dropped to ridiculous levels, and I’m about to go nuts. We are seated at a booth, and I tell her it’s time to go change her pull-up. (Have I mentioned she’s not potty-trained? Grrrr….story for another day.) She throws a fit (another one? seriously?) on the way to the bathroom, and goes “boneless” so that it appears that I am dragging her to restroom. (You parents know what I’m talking about.) We get some nice stares. I feel like saying things that I know I shouldn’t.

Restroom has no changing table. Double grrr! So I have to change her on the counter. Oh well…at this point, I don’t even care.

Dinner is a fun time with her hanging all over me, Caia getting mad because she wants to eat the table food but has no teeth to do so (I try giving her little mushy pieces anyway, only to have her gag them back up at me), and several near misses with drink spillage.

7:00 We’re on our way home. Well, the girls and I are on our way home. Stephen has to go back to the church to hang some fabric. (Again, I forget for what exactly…)

I proceed to immediately put the girls in the bath.

Ahhh, good. Now I can check my emails, I think…and I take my laptop to the bathroom. The bath is going well. No one’s crying or splashing me or pouring ridiculous amounts of water over the side onto the floor.

This lasts about…..oh, I’d say….five minutes.

“Uh oh.” My three year old is standing up and looking down.

Great. She pooped in the tub.

So, out everyone comes. And the crying begins, because she doesn’t want to get out. (Caia’s just happy to do whatever gets her in the bed at this point, so at least she’s pretty obliging.)

8:00 Caia now having meltdown. MUST-GO-TO-BED-NOW!!!! I’m pretty sure that’s what she was trying to communicate to me. Kenni (lucky girl!) gets to watch an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (thank you, DVR!) while I get Caia down for the night.

Caia goes down easily and is asleep within minutes of me walking into her room to start the “bedtime process”.

Kenni finishes watching the show, goes to brush teeth, and picks out her stories for me to read.

She hands me one. “Read Pam and Ham.” “Uhhh…it says Hap and Cap.”

I should know better than to question her memory skills. Sure enough, the book was about Pam giving ham to Hap and Cap. (Yes, it was a phonics reader and yes, I used to be a teacher, and yes, now Kenni has all my books that used to belong in my classroom.)

With everyone in bed, I proceed to mop the floor, bleach down the toys in the bathtub that have been swimming with poo, and start the bottles soaking in the sink.

Whew! I’m exhausted!

But, I love my life! And I wouldn’t trade it for the world!!!!

I Don’t Rise To the Challenge…I Jump To It!

That’s a direct quote from my 3 year old…and I love it!

I was explaining to her this morning that we had a busy day coming up, and I needed to know if she could rise to the challenge.

Her response encouraged me.

Now granted, she was speaking in reference to her new jump rope we got yesterday, but still, the words are poignant all the same.

She has inspired me to not just rise to meet the challenges of each day, but to be so eager that I jump toward them.

After all, “with God, all things are possible”, right?

Why not “jump” to the challenges?

Now, if only we could teach her how to use that jump rope….

Shoes in the Sock Drawer

As I was putting away the baby’s clothes today, I found a pair of my shoes in her sock drawer.

I am sure that my oldest daughter put them there, but I have no idea why. And I’m sure she has no idea either.

It is a big week here in the Parris house. We are planning two parties for the next few days, I have tons of errands to run, two cakes to bake and decorate, and on top of that, the baby is sick and needs to go to the doctor.

My plan was to come up with a very well thought out schedule for my week so that I wouldn’t get overwhelmed with all that I had to do. I have a weekly schedule that I devised a few days ago to help me get a grip on all that I have to do around here.

My schedule shows that I should be starting my day at 7:00 a.m.

Um, yeah. That hasn’t happened yet.

Because my almost 8 month old baby does not yet sleep through the night.

sigh……….

My first child slept through the night at 3 months old, so we expected the same from this one.

Not so, my friends. Not so.

Which brings me back to my self-imposed wake up time of 7 a.m. Now, I used to wake up each day at 5:30 when I taught in public school, so 7 shouldn’t seem that early to me. But it might as well be “rising with the chickens” when you haven’t slept longer than a 4 hour stretch in oh, let’s say, 8 months!

So, instead I spend my days trying to play catch up and wondering how late in the day I can drink one more cup of coffee and not have it keep me up until 3 a.m. tossing and turning.

We tried letting her cry it out a couple of nights, and like the doctor said, she slept through the next night.

Then, she got sick and it all fell apart again.
Then, she decided to sleep through for about a week, and we thought we were pass the sleeplessness. But, then…

…she started teething.

And then, she got sick AGAIN….

I have to tell you that I am tired….so tired.

All. The. Time.

So, what I am hoping and praying for is something unexpected. A little “ah-ha” kind of moment. Where we find something (i.e. sleep) where we least expect it…

Much like finding shoes in the sock drawer…

Refined By the Fire of Infant Reflux

My husband posted pictures of his layover last fall in France on his Facebook page, and I almost passed out.

My stomach dropped to my knees when I saw the one of the guys gathered around that quaint little table in Paris.

That was not the first time that I had seen that picture. It was actually the first one that he sent to me when he went on that trip last fall.

Stephen had the most amazing opportunity last September to travel with a group of guys from our church to a country in Africa called Burkina Faso. I was excited for him, but I was at home with a toddler approaching 3, and a 2 1/2 month old baby…who had not yet been diagnosed with gastroesophagael reflux disease. (That’s fancy medical jargon for…heartburn.)

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From the moment that I found out I was pregnant with Caia, I had a peace in my heart that she would be our “easy” baby.

Her older sister McKenna, practically came out swinging. She was, and is, our little fireball. It was easy to see early on what her little personality would be like.

And I knew that Caia would be the opposite.

She arrived two weeks early and weighed in at only 5lbs. 10 oz. She was calm, and seemed to nurse on a predictable schedule.

And then she hit 3 weeks old. She wanted to nurse constantly, but would cry after every feeding. Putting her to bed at night, was a nightmare. It would take HOURS of nurse, cry, nurse, cry, nurse, cry….

Stephen kept telling me, “She has reflux, Annette. I know it.” I wish I had listened sooner.

She would awaken from deep sleeps with ear-piercing screams. Naps were reduced to 10 minutes before she would scream out in pain.

We put her on Zantac in hopes that it would help her. I might as well have been giving her water.

Right when Stephen left for his trip, was when we were in the deepest part of her reflux. Only there was no relief for it on the horizon.

I cried more than I ever have while he was on that trip. I had dear friends stop by…one even brought us some food. My sweet mother-in-law came one night from 2 hours away because when she called to check on us, all I could do was cry. Caia had been screaming for hours.

Even on the day that we picked up Stephen from the airport, I prayed for relief from the constant screaming. She screamed the entire way to the airport, refused to nurse although I knew she was starving. And she screamed the entire way home.

It was one of the darkest times of my life, and no one knew it except for my husband.

Every night, I would end up in tears after she had finally drifted off to sleep. It would take almost two hours at night to get her comfortable. I would beg God to change the situation, to take away her discomfort, but it seemed like there was no end in sight.

Months earlier, while I was still pregnant, a sweet lady had given me a daily devotional that she had received through her email. When she handed it to me she said, “I thought of you when I got this.”

I remember reading it and getting so upset. I told my husband, “This sounds like there is something wrong with my unborn child.” (Looking back, I don’t remember exactly what it said, but the idea was to remember in the hard times, that God has created no mistakes. That He formed this child perfectly and holds all their days in His hands.

My husband looked at me as I shoved the paper in my purse, frustrated. “What if there is something wrong with her?”

Seriously, never tell a pregnant lady that something MIGHT be wrong with her unborn child.

“We’ve done all the tests! Everything’s fine!” I was indignant. And I quickly forgot about that paper.

Now, I know that there could be much, much more horrible things to have to endure than your newborn being plagued with reflux for months. I have dear friends who have lost unborn babies, who have said goodbye to loved ones long before they thought they would have to, who have battled cancer or marriages in crisis.

But this was MY fire. This was MY battle. And it took me down hard.

Most other parents that we would try to explain it to would say, “Oh, yeah. My baby spit up a lot too.”

That angered me to the core. I could care less about doing the laundry! I just wanted a baby who didn’t have to starve herself because she didn’t want to hurt!

There is nothing like holding your infant while they scream in pain, knowing there’s nothing you can do. She would throw her little body back so hard that she would almost come out of my arms.

Nursing became less and less. And finally one day, I made one more appointment with the pediatrician and vowed my husband would come to.

We took in a very detailed list of her symptoms and refused to leave without some answers. He suggested Prevacid. Had henot, I would have asked.

Now, let me stop here and say that our pediatrician is phenomenal. He has an excellent reputation in the community, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the care he provides. However, up until this point, he could only diagnose her based on what he saw in a 10 minute office visit. I do not blame him in the least for not putting her on the Prevacid sooner.

Within two weeks, our daughter was a completely different baby. She was peaceful, happy and no longer screamed herself to sleep.

It wasn’t an immediate long-term change. We had to tinker with the dosage and find the right place to have the medicine mixed, but now…we’ve been virtually pain free from reflux for about two months.

And they have been a beautiful two months.

But before then, my journey through Caia’s reflux took me someplace that allowed me to fully rely on God to see me through it. I am not saying, by any means, that I came out on the other side brave and valiant. (Ask Stephen how many bottles I broke because I threw them against the wall in frustration…)

Those nine days that Stephen spent in Africa were incredibly difficult for me. But I told him when he arrived home, that although it hadn’t been easy, somewhere deep inside of me, I had a quiet peace that God was going to get me through it.

And He did.