Monday, February 28, 2011


often times, brad will come home from work, look around the house and gently say some comment very similar to, "what did you do all day?"

if i take a moment to breathe and reflect before ramming my defense down his throat, it is true. the house looks much the same as when he left this morning. perhaps there are different toys scattered on the floor and different articles of clothing mounded in the laundry room, but all in all, there is not a lot of change. however, my day was full. exhausting. completely without dull moments.

i am a lister. most days i will begin by making a list and adding to it as the days goes on. i do this in the same notebook that i write down a bible verse to reflect on for the day so as the list grows, i always have that little love letter from jesus at the top to center me and keep me from calling it quits. the last entire week, calling my grandma has been on the top of that list. it is now monday again, and i still have not spoken with grandma. so you can tell what happened to the rest of the items on my list. they did not happen at all.

how is this possible? my days are obviously not full of much productivity, or cleaning, or cooking, or crafting. yet, they are always maxed out with so very much good.

not always tangible good, but good nonetheless. most every day, with very few exceptions, my days are full of these three.

mornings are spent

warming juju's to the perfect temp, then putting them back in the fridge to cool.
attempting to fill the void where bear puts pancake after pancake.
gathering the crumbs from maxer's poptarts of which he only eats the middle, not the "crust"
changing baby aylas diaper, then her clothes and diaper after another explosive poop.
reminding boys that ayla is still a baby, so gentleness is a must when playing peek a boo
kissing countless owies on bear's head from falling, running into walls, and getting hit by golf clubs wielded by max
bargaining candy for a little assistance in picking up the thousands of balls scattered from the golfing
bringing snow inside to prevent from bundling and bringing one and all outside
laundry galore
hide and seek

afternoons are spent

teaching of numbers, letters, sitting, colors, songs, rolling, talking
lunching, praying, clearing the table
settling kids down for naps
tromping upstairs to remind boys of naps they are supposed to be taking rests
various cleaning attempts that are without fail target areas when rest time is over
reading books
hunting boys down to find the latest naughtyness
changing diapers, undies, and entire outfits as messes are made and soaked up with articles of clothing
building towers and knocking them down
quick pick up before brads arrival

evenings are spent
preparing, eating and cleaning up after supper
showing brad all the tricks learned through the day
falling into bed exhausted

the days sure are full.
full of fun, love, playing, learning, giggles, some tears, conversing, and kids.
my days are full of mothering.
never has life been this fun!
thank you jesus for these days. may i fill them with you.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

bear and the potty

weston decided it was time to get rid of the diapers and be a big boy. as we were home, day after day after day, trying to heal, i allowed bear to wear undies. he was completely motivated on his own. i certainly attempted to get him on the potty on time, but did not make him sit on it until he wanted to try. this technique resulted in several accidents for a few days, and then, he just started to go on the potty. we celebrated, we ate candy, we danced, we sang, we flushed the toilet. so exciting. bear was beyond proud.

such a different experience with bear than with maxer, again demonstrating the incredibley distinctive characteristics in my boys. maxer trained just before his third birthday, in three days. no turning back for that boy. he was even dry through the night right mere weeks after his training was complete. awesome. bear has also been dry through the last several nights, though i do put a diaper on him so as to give me a break from additional necessary laundry.

so proud of my big boy!

friday, we had the honor of a playdate at christ memorial with our dear friends the grassmids. the kids and i were beyond excited. playing with hunter, leaving the house! whoa. bring it on. i came to the indoor play area armed with three changes of pants and undies as this was really our first public appearance with the newest potty peer. not to mention the excitement of finally leaving our home almost made me pee in my pants, let alone bear!

while playing, bear did wonderfully. he has this precious potty dance that involves a lot of moving around and high stepping and extreme distraction. i noticed this happening and threw baby ayla at kirsten and ran bear to the potty. he was not so sure about using a large public restroom toilet. i mean, they are huge, have that gap in the front of the seat, and do not play songs. who can blame him?! so i had to hold him on the potty. while encouraging him and balancing him and coaching him in the peeing, i began to feel all warm and fuzzy. well, more warm and wet. i forgot to assist with the aiming. weston surely peed on the potty, just not so much in the potty. he got me instead. and his own pants a little.

still real delighted in the fact that it was not the usual type of accident, i celebrated wes and changed his pants. kirsten congratulated weston and then sweetly asked what happened to me. i explained i had an accident with bear's pee. i felt much better after kirsten assured me that pee is in fact sterile, and she could not smell me from across the table.

since that fateful day, bear has successfully filled his little potty with poop and pee galore. he has not begun standing to pee. unfortunately, bear is considerably shorter than little maxer was at this point in the training because he cannot quite reach into the big potty. so he uses the little potty as a stool. also unfortunate, his aiming remains terrible. after every pee, i have to clean that entire bathroom. eeew.

gross, but hey, no diapers for weston! hip hip hooray!

Friday, February 11, 2011

pink eye and the pukes

just when i thought we were on the road to recovery, bear's whinyness increased to almost intolerable levels. over the weekend, he would wake up with crusty eyes and panic. this may come as a surprise, but that is not a fun way for anyone to wake up. the whole household would then be up to early and with crabbiness galore. not willing to invest any more money in zeeland community hospital's urgent care or emergency room, i held out till monday morn and then called dr lund. the phone lines are open at 7:30, so i called right then and there. miraculously, they had an opening at 8:15. i grabbed it and proceeded to whip clothing on and off my kids, start the veen, brush teeth, and lock and load everyone for the 30 min trip. just as we were leaving, ayla had a poop explosion. back in the house. more changing clothes. in the veen again, and we were off, only 15 mins behind schedule. i chose to obey most traffic laws and we arrived mere minutes late.

that was actually nice because we did not even have a chance to sit down before marcia the nurse called us into the room. as bear's levels of grumpy were super high, he did not exactly comply to instructions or suggestions well. taking off his boots to be weighed created a tantrum resulting in bear laying on the floor, me holding ayla, diaper bag, coats, boots, and maxer's hands, and nurses attempting to drag/carry weston into our room.

he made it. i was wishing i had worn a bikini as i was extremely flushed and hot feeling in that warm room. during weston's initial exam by the nurse, max announced time and time again that he was "a little scared of having more pokes". dr lund came in and delivered her diagnosis of a double ear infection and pink eye. in reality, i was relieved there was a reason behind the obnoxious whining. prescriptions were faxed and kids were bundled. as we were scheduling additional appointments, paying for the visit, and collecting everyone together, i noticed the whiny one was not in tow. frantic, i began searching the room we left, behind various counters, but no sign of bear.

so i assumed he had followed dr lund into the next examination room. after an embarrassing knock, bear was gently pushed out the slightly ajar door. the scheduling nurses, already irritated by our antics, suggested he would rather stay here than go home. i told them they were welcome to him :) but i really did not mean it. well, i only sort of meant it. i would have retrieved him after a couple of doses from the meds.

that night, ayla woke up crying mere moments after i went to bed. frustrated, i went to her only to find her lying in a pool of puke. poor baby. praying that she just had a fluke spit up, i began changing her only to get vomited on twice. then i got panicky worrying about an entire night of this, and ayla being so little. oh my. i woke brad from a deep slumber and asked for his assistance. he tiredly obliged, telling me ayla was fine. she did look fine, until she threw up again. and again. and again. so then i called the er. they suggested nursing her every 1/2 hr for 5 minutes for the first four hours, then giving her pedialyte, 1-2 tsp at a time every 5-10 minutes. well that made me cry almost more than the fact that she had the flu. how is that even humanly possible er nurse glenda?

thankfully, i just let her sleep and nursed when i could and she made it through. and i made it through. and no one else got it. hallelujah

let me leave you with this hilarious image. the pink eye found me and brad. well, for sure me and mostly only in brad's imagination, but that is another blog post. we went to pick up my pink eye prescription only to find the pharmacy closed. brad's eyes were really bothering him. so i suggested he look online for alternative solutions. we found one: breastmilk.

as i am conveniently lactating, i took brad into the nursery and administered a shot of healing milk. i sprayed him. and it is hard to aim really, so his entire face was sprayed. and dripping. i almost wet my pants. however, today, his eyes are better. milk? prescription? perhaps a combo. funny nonetheless.

Monday, February 7, 2011


we left the house.

that is not really the milestone i am referring to in the title, but thursday evening did seem quite momentous after not leaving the house for days on end except for dr's visits and prescription pick-ups. the reason we left the house was to attend maxwell's preschool open house.


now that is a milestone.

though it was maxer's night to meet and greet the teachers and explore the rooms, the entire fam came along mostly out of necessity as brad was still unable to hold any children, making him rather not so helpful when home alone with sick babes that need to be held. bear may have been slightly more excited than max, but i think that was just because we were leaving the house. he repeatedly proclaimed, "i go in the veen" every four minutes as if to remind me that he was destined to leave this sick house. he was looking a little cabin crazy...

we clamored out of the veen, and invaded max's future school. oh how presh. as i was heavily laden with paperwork, baby ayla, diaper bags, and coats, my focus was mainly on just trying not to drop anything, especially adorable ayla. she is beautiful, that daughter mine.
i was handed the number ten and we all proceeded to the room full of toys and learning manipulatives to await our turn to sign up.

good news: max did not cry. or cling. he has been asking me for a long time if i was going to leave him. he refers to preschool as the leaving school. he tells me he will go when he grows up. he is clearly a little nervous. which makes me a lot nervous. nevertheless, i lead by example with enthusiasm, excitement, and overall hyperactivity geared toward the fun of education. (this behaviour was apparently evidenced by my loud announcements regarding my hope for 50 chicken nuggets to make their appearance at my superbowl sunday festivities. i have no recollection, brad just mentioned this on our way home.)

all in all, we left with maxer signed up for preschool in the fall. we are on the waiting list to get into a class with one of max's bff's, but have secured a position in an afternoon session just in case.

i truly am so excited for my son to begin his journey into the adventure of education. what a blessing for him to become empowered by knowledge. as a former educator myself, i anticipate the transformation and independence that come with becoming educated. i so look forward to facilitating his learning and celebrating his academic accomplishments.

clearly, he is ready. look at that face.

as we sat down to pray before our dinner on thurs evening, brad praised the lord for his faithfulness in maxer's development and asked the lord's blessing on max's marriage and future family as if that is the next big stepping stone in maxwell's life. here i interjected with a more day by day prayer of praise and blessing.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

emergency room, take 2

as the weekend progressed and brad's pain slowly began to subside, ayla's illness seemed to worsen. truthfully, i wondered if it was just my perception as i got more and more exhausted with little sleep and lots of caregiving. both ayla and bear were coughing so hard they would vomit. so that sucked. brad felt well enough to say, "hey, bear is puking" and "is ayla okay?", but not well enough to, like, move. or hold ayla jo at all. that was all me. after waking again at 5 am monday morning, baby ayla was wheezing and hardly able to nurse. i got dressed, started the veen, and roused brad out of another drug induced sleep. he apologized for his inability to really help and off baby girl and i went. the good news was that brad was home to at least turn on a movie for the boys :) except bear broke our dvd player, so he turned on toons. anywho, we raided the nyhof's camper that they are storing in our barn, found a dvd player in there, and went ahead and utilized that technology later that evening. thanks guys. :) sorry about the stealing.

we arrived at zeeland community hospital and were ushered right into a room where ayla was diagnosed with croup and rsv. the doc was super nice and told me his son just had croup so bad his trachea almost seized up. well, that sounds awful. he said rsv babies were "happy wheezers" because they usually still responded with smiles. i looked at ayla. she was not happy. but she was a wheezer! she responded to a breathing treatment in the hospital, so they sent us home after dosing her up with a steroid and giving us a prescription for an inhaler.

as the day was young, i went ahead to meijer to fill the script where i saw the adorable and familiar face of beth klingenberg. as i was on the very verge of tears, she asked what was wrong and i held the tears mostly at bay focusing on the fact that ayla is allright and not being admitted and whatnot. i shopped around for 20 until the albuterol was ready. but really, it was not ready because meijer did not have an infant mask and spacer. so the pharmicist called around to walgreens while brad called me in a panic as he had to leave for the chiro asap.

ayla and i departed for home, her pitiful, wheezy, hoarse cry breaking my heart in the backseat. brad departed as i walked in the house. i was feeling a little better about life just knowing ayla was okay and brad was retrieving the remaining meds. i say this as a disclaimer, i did not know how high he was on the pain meds when he left. but leave he did

once he finished his chiro therapy, brad calls with massive confusion at walgreens. little did i realize it was drug induced. finally, after 45 mins, we got things straightened out and he had the spacer and mask in hand. when bradley arrived home, he was giggly and slightly delirous. i made him stand still and asked what was going on. the truth came out, he had hit a van in the walgreens parking lot! no damage to their van, so he left. the scene of a crime. when asked why, he told me that last time, when our runaway cart hit a car in the menards parking lot and left a big dent, it cost us $500 and we already spent gobs of cash on dr's and prescriptions this weekend. oh. no. our van has minimal proof.

during lunch, he got the hiccups and would belch a loud hiccup, only to giggle and cry in pain afterwards. i just cried. sometimes with a smile, but really. what. the. heck.

so here is where we are. felons. sickies. back achers. basically, crazies. we keep reminding ourselves this will be super funny in like a year. it is already laughable. in a sad sort of way. thank you to my sweet sis in law for the latest meal installment and for all the prayers and love coming our way from friends and fam near and far.

truly, all is well. just needed to blog vent. i feel better already.


most everyone who knows brad considers him a tuff, rugged, man's man. he comes to the house at the end of the day with battle scars and wounds from working with the chickens and pigs that literally make my stomach turn. on more than one occasion, i have suggested stitches only to have brad guffaw and show the injury to his sons who stand in awe of the brave man that is their father. most recently, brad had a tooth pulled with only a little laughing gas, no other pain meds needed.

so, when he called on thurs to report a sore back and request vicadin, i knew it must really hurt him. he stopped home for meds and was on his way back to work. as i had been up with a sicky ayla jo since 5 am that morning, i snuck into bed for a nap once all the babes were resting. no sooner had i laid down that i heard brad at the door. i thought, wow, what a nap that was. but really, it was way early for him to be home. i pretended to still be asleep until he came into the room pleading for assistance in getting dressed. i grudgingly got out of bed and helped him out, ensuring he was as comfy as possible on the floor of the living room with ice. as time went on, the pain progressed. finally brad told me to start calling any and every chiropractor, this pain was unbearable. i did, a little anxiously as brad began groaning and sweating profusely. securing an appt with barry mcalpine in 1/2 an hour, i ascertained brad was in no condition to drive.

i started waking and carrying crying kids to the van, glancing worriedly at brad with each pass. while max shed tears in the van screaming that he was sleeping, and i was strapping a still sleeping bear into his seat, i heard a thud. there was brad, on the floor by the backdoor. i knelt beside him in an effort to help him into the veen, but he was not conscious. he came to quickly and i panically asked him if we should just go to the er. he said he was fine, just needed assistance. we tried to get him to stand, only to have him crash down with tears streaming down his face. this is not typical. i am terrified. i let brad rest while i loaded ayla into the veen and finally was able to maneuver brad into the passenger side.

we made it about a mile down the road before brad lost consciousness again. this time, i could not wake him and his eyes were all rolled back in his head and his mouth was slack. it was terrifying. i was screaming at him, gently slapping him, then downright smacking him to get a response. i pulled into the chicken coops and called the chiropractor as i knew a hospital really could not fix the prob, and he could. i was in complete panic mode. brad came to just as i heard the chiropractor reassure me brad's body was in shock with pain.

we made it the rest of the trip without further incident and the doc was waiting with crutches. we got brad in the office and they started to do their thing while i unloaded the still crying and sleepy children. maxer began immediately exploring the waiting room and tearing it apart. baby ayla cried in hunger. bear took off most every article of clothing he could. while i attempted to fill out paperwork, i finally noticed i was wearing a MATERNITY shirt, some men's workout pants, a hat, and no makeup. i tried to keep my coat on but was sweating with adrenaline and fear and embarrassment.

brad hobbled out of the examination/adjustment room and we made a plan of treatment. dr mcalpine assured us the night would be a difficult one for brad. we made it home, tried to get brad comfy, took more vicadin, and i unloaded the veen of kids. before long, brad had to pee. in an effort to get off the couch, his legs spasmed and he fell to the ground. the bathroom was only a dream at this point. everyone was hungry, so i reloaded the veen for taco bell and redbox and left brad a cup. upon returning, this were worse. brad could no longer roll and was stuck on his stomach. i fed the kids, set them up with a movie, and tried to help brad roll. not happening. he would cry out in pain and black out.

bedtime arrived and i tucked the kids in, seriously running on fumes. no help and lots of anxiety. a miracle all were resting. i went to check and brad and found him in dire circumstances. he was sweating, his tongue was swelling, the pain mounting, and panic setting in. i had no answers and lots of worry. so i called the zoets.

john and beth ann rescued us with their cool, calm, and collect thinking. they offered assistance in every way, and affirmed my decision to call an ambulance as moving brad on our own to get him to a hospital was impossible. as i called 911, john and beth ann drove on over to find brad in severe pain and me in intense worry.

brent deweerdt, neighbor and friend, was the first on the scene. he took control and brad tried not to be humiliated. brad kept cracking jokes to lighten the mood as more of the overisel fire dept arrived and finally the ambulance. the secured brad on a stretcher face down and away he went. john and beth ann generously offered to go along so i could stay home with my sick baby ayla and bear. i had no milk ready for my adorable ayla, and knew bear would panic upon awaking to anyone other than me. but my heart was broken to be abandoning my husband in his time of need. trusting in the zoet's, i stayed home and watched the ambulance carry my love to zeeland community hospital.

then i broke down. so overwhelmed, sleep deprived, and lonely feeling. kerri, brent's wife, called with comfort and consolation. i sat rigidly awaiting new on brad. john and beth ann kept me posted, and advocated for brad at the hospital. his blood pressure was worrisome, but the large doses of pain meds were alleviating the worst of the pain.

at about 3:30, brad returned, on his own volition with perscriptions in hand. his harrowing tale included an emotional discussion with the ambulance attendant about brad's dad, pictures of adam's (the ambulance dude) hunting success this year, two shots of some drug 10x stronger than morphine, seven pricks altogether with iv and all, passing out at the hospital when they tried to get him to leave, and a nurse that reminded him strinkingly of john and beth ann's daughter jana.

brad slept in drug induced coma until i woke him to prepare for the next visit to the chiro. this time, i showered and had on real clothes and makeup to show the peeps at barry mcalpine's office that brad's wife was more of a catch than they may have previously figured due to the hot mess that showed up there the afternoon before.

thanks to a delish meal from steph habers and beth klingenberg , as well as prayers sent from such far off places as kalamazoo and florida, brad is on the road to recovery and rehabilitation with his bulging disc.

that, however, was not the only visit to zeeland community hospital from the meiste's this week...