Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It Makes You Dream of Jubilee (Eyes On the Prize)

One of my most favorite artists, Sara Groves, has a new album out - Invisible Empires!
This just might be near the top of my Christmas wishlist!
But first I entered the giveaway at Molly Piper's blog!
Here's a song from her new album...
Let's just say I've already played it a million times!

When you see a family free
It makes you dream of Jubilee
Keep your eyes on the prize
Hold on

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Planning For Christmas

Tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent.
As always, I'm procrastinator extraordinaire!
Tonight, I am finally taking the time to get my Christmas-y act together!
Not that I haven't been thinking about what I plan to do with the kids over the holiday season!
It's my favorite time of year!
And I love the challenge of implementing Christ centered activities into our learning.
In the culture we live in, it can sometimes be difficult to point our childrens' minds and hearts (and ours!) to the real reason for the season.
But I truly believe it is our responsibility as parents to direct their focus (and change ours)!
Anyhow, without rambling on too much more, I'll simply share with you some of the things we'll being doing this December.
I'm super excited about ALL of it!

We've made it a tradition in our family to celebrate Advent.
This is taking time in the weeks leading up to Christmas to anticipate the coming of Christ.
As per usual, we will be lighting our Advent candles at supper each night.
But instead of doing our usual Advent devotion, we are going to make our first attempt at constructing a Jesse Tree.

(What is a Jesse Tree? The Jesse tree is the family tree of Jesus. It goes back to the very beginning, to Creation, and traces His family through the Old Testament, and it ends when He is born on Christmas day.

A Jesse tree is a little like an advent calendar, except that it emphasizes the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ.
Like any advent countdown, the Jesse tree has one ornament per day. Unlike a calendar, though, the Jesse tree tradition focuses on a Biblestory, a character, a devotion each day. ~from How To Celebrate Advent With A Jesse Tree)

This is something I've wanted to do for a while but was unsure of how to go about it with young children.
Then I came across a free e-book: How To Celebrate Advent With A Jesse Tree at Feels Like Home.
The devotions for each day are geared to younger kids and it includes printables to use for the ornaments!
Once I have our tree constructed and started I'll share more with you!

(We'll be using this book, The Jesse Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean, as well!)

Secondly, I wanted something related to Advent to go along with our school time.
I was at a bit of a loss though because I wanted to do some different things from what we did last year but really did not have the time or energy to come up with all new crafts related to the different themes of Advent.
Thankfully, a new e-book by Amanda at Impress Your Kids was released: Truth in the Tinsel.

It is simply amazing!
I always worry when I order an e-book that its going to be full of ideas I've already done or come across online.
But  I was not disappointed with this purchase!
Each day focuses on a different aspect of the Christmas story and includes a Bible passage to read, a craft to make, discussion ideas and a related activity.
There are also printables for creating a paper chain or calendar with a clue for your child about each day's topic!
I can hardly wait to get started! 

Finally, we need some sweets!
And frankly, I'm fed up with the lack of quality in the store bought advent calendars - so we're making our own!
Using a mini muffin tin, some magnets, printable numbers and a variety of treats from the bulk barn, I'm putting together an advent calendar like this:

On the backside of each number magnet I'll be adding the clue for the day's topic from Truth in the Tinsel!

Well, that's that for our plans for the month ahead!
Now I better get moving as I still need to cut out ornaments and build a tree!
I'll keep you posted on how all these projects turn out but I hope these ideas get you creative juices flowing for teaching your children about the true meaning of the coming season, too!

Related links:

Additionally, if you have older children, I highly recommend The Jesse Tree Journey , a free e-book by Ann Voskamp! I love the printable ornaments provided!

I also highly recommend Hubbard's Cupboard's advent activities for those with young children! This is what we used last year and it was wonderful!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
-1 Thessalonians 5:18

I am thankful that I am the Mommy of this angel on Earth. 

I am thankful that God trusted me to care for Tripp the way he deserves to be cared for.

I am thankful that Tripp loves me back just as much as I love him. 

I am thankful for everything he has taught me in his 2 1/2 years, that I otherwise would have never learned. 

I am thankful for every. single. second. that I have had with him and WILL have with him. 

I am thankful for my family- the best family a girl could ask for.  Period.

I am thankful for my mother at my side 24/7, loving and helping me unconditionally.

I am thankful for the special people that God sent to me in the past year- the people who have made my life 100% better just by being in it.

I am thankful for my friends- new and old- who have been there for me no matter what. 

I am thankful for all of our supporters- near and far- who lift us up and keep us "keeping on." 

I am thankful that God sent his son to die on a cross- to save us from our sins, so that we can have eternal life with Him, making me CERTAIN of where Tripp is going when he leaves my arms.  There is nothing more comforting.  

I am thankful for the faith that I was raised in, for it helps me to better cope in my situation. 

I am thankful for a roof over my head, food to eat, clothes to wear, and all of the frivolous things that I don't need, but have been blessed with anyway.  

I have never felt more blessed. 
Thank you, God. 


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy 2 Months!

Height:  21.65" (10%)
Weight:  11lbs 14oz (50%)
Keeler @ 2mos Height: 22" (50%) & Weight: 11lbs 8oz (50%)

Dear Kallahan – You are two months old!
We can’t believe how fast two months has flown by.  You are such a little sweetheart and great addition to our family.  I am beginning to forget life without you.  You are smiling and love to be held and talked to.  Daddy has even made you giggle a couple times.  You are the perfect baby during the daytime but as soon as the sun goes down you get pretty whinny.  We did start giving you Gripe Water per suggestion of a good friend, thanks Mandy!  It has seemed to help soothe you some.  At night you are on a pretty routine schedule (waking up at 1am & 5am for feedings).  It is so cute how you start kicking your little legs when you know the bottle is coming.  We love you Kallahan and can’t wait to spend the holidays together.  Tomorrow we head out to spend Thanksgiving with both sets of grandparents.
Love Always,
Still trying to get a good brother picture, still no such luck!

“A grateful heart is a joyful heart.”
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

A LOT of catching up to do...

I really don't even know where to begin or where I really "left off."  But I'll start off by being honest and saying that I've been a little secretive lately- but it's for good reasons.  Trust me.

Let me start with the GCSF.  I think I left you all a few posts back (I think in October) where I was giving him the Rocephin injections to try and get rid of his current infection so we could get his white blood cell count in a semi-normal range so that he could try the GCSF.  I had told Dr. D that the only way I was going to try these injections was if everything was lined up with the GCSF so that if the blood work was good, that there would be absolutely no "window" of time for his count to go back up before we got to start this new drug. Well, about 4-5 Rocephin shots in (just FYI, those shots were horrible- something I will never do again), we drew his blood and his white count was in normal range (high-normal, but normal).  
So, with the help of Tripp's amazingly wonderful pediatrician and our amazingly wonderful pharmacist, "Uncle Trea," I had the GCSF in my refrigerator that same day.  

So I started the GCSF (Granulocyte - Colony Stimulating Factor), giving it subcutaneously (under the skin, into the "fat").  This drug is used mostly in chemotherapy patients to help stimulate the production of certain white blood cells.  I won't go into detail about what this drug is doing for EB.  Because honestly, I don't know enough about it- it didn't work in Tripp.   But that doesn't mean it hasn't had good results in other kids or adults with EB.  But Tripp has a lot going on... he's on constant steroids that we can't get him off of (we tried and were unsuccessful) and even though his counts were normal at that time, doesn't mean his infection was completely gone.  And those were the two things that we were told could affect the results of this drug... but I had to try it anyway, to at least say that I tried. 

So GCSF is a no for Tripp. 

The next secret is kind of a big one.  But in my defense, I didn't want to get anybody's hope's up.  

After realizing that we had exhausted pretty much every option of making Tripp comfortable, I revisited the idea of the Bone Marrow Transplant.  There has been a lot of people emailing me and posting asking me if I knew about the BMT.  I've known about the transplants since they first started them about 2 years ago.  I have followed many of the kid's journeys through these transplants.  And when they first started, this just was not an option for Tripp- he was not yet sick enough and they were extremely dangerous and brutal in children under a year old.  If you aren't familiar with the Bone Marrow transplants that they are doing in EB kids, I'll try and tell you briefly what they are about.  The transplant is NOT a cure (at least not yet)... It is a chance for a better quality of life.  It is brutal... the side effects of the chemotherapy are just horrendous.  Reading about what those children went through (some of these precious kids not making it through the transplant) was heart breaking.  I felt that bringing Tripp in for the transplant at that point was giving up and taking his life.  

Well, at the point that we are at now, I felt like NOT trying the transplant would be like "giving up" and just watching him die in my arms in the rocking chair.  And talking to the Ringgold's (who's daughter Bella went through the BMT last year and lost her precious life), I found out that the chemotherapy regimen was less "toxic" in the current BMTs that are going on.  So, I called Dr. Tolar, one of the transplant doctors in Minneapolis, MN who is currently responsible for about 18 Bone Marrow transplants in EB kids up to date.  We spoke briefly about what I needed to do to get an appointment with him ASAP.  The appointment would just be us deciding if he would even be a candidate for the transplant.  Dr. Tolar was absolutely amazing.  Usually, Tripp would have to travel to the "initial" appointment, but being as sick as he is, there was no way I could have brought him to Minnesota twice.  So he said that it was fine if I came without him. 

Like leave him?


So, I worked HARD contacting all of Tripp's doctors and getting all of his charts faxed to Minnesota.  I had to write a one page summary of Tripp's life (haha)... that turned into four pages.  I had gather pictures of his wounds from birth until now and we had to draw blood for his HLA testing (marrow donor).  All of that was sent to Dr. Tolar in Minnesota.  Now we had to see when the earliest time was that I could get an appointment, being as he is out of town a lot.  He fit us in within the week.  November 18th at 11:30am.  

another (GASP)

So I booked the tickets right away.  My boyfriend, Stephen, took the trip with me.  I know, I know... now the secrets are really flowing, right? :) He has been by my and Tripp's side every day for quite some time now.  Heaven-sent??  I think so.  So, he and I left Thursday evening after bath and got back late on Friday night.  My sister flew in town again to help my mom.  Mrs. Pam (MeMe) was out of town for the week or she would have been here like she normally is every week.   

The only tickets I could find with a week's notice worked out pretty well.  There was no way we could pull it off in one day because our meeting with Dr. Tolar was planned on being about 4 hours.  So we had to stay one night.  We left on bath day, so me and mom got my little man bathed early.  My sister flew in right before we took off so it worked out well.  And mom and Britt didn't even have to change his neck/trach bandages because I was back the next night to do it (that is done every day).  I still can't believe I left my bubba overnight.  But he was in the best hands possible- no doubt about that!!  Mom and Britt didn't sleep much- they just rotated and took turns watching him sleep because they were scared they wouldn't hear him and wake up to suction him when he woke.  It was a blessing the way things happened, though, because he was sort of "knocked out" after bath and for the rest of the evening I was gone, so he didn't really reach for me much (he's been a Mommy's boy lately, and I'm NOT complaining... I'm loving it).  So to leave for an entire night was really hard.  But I knew I had no choice.   

ANYWAY... on to the news...

Not necessarily good news, but it depends how you look at it.  

We met Dr. Tolar on Friday.  He was incredible.  He made me feel so comfortable.  He shares my passion for EB, for a cure, for these poor children.  He is a good man.  And I'm so glad I took this trip to meet him in person.  It helps you to trust someone by actually looking in their eyes.  
He walked in and I could immediately tell that this was not going to go as I had planned.  
But that was okay, too. 

The first thing Dr. Tolar said was along the lines of, "I looked through all of Tripp's pictures and charts and he's a very sweet and very brave little boy, BUT he is very very sick."  
I knew right then and there that my idea of what I thought was going to happen was not reality. 
I was let down and relieved at the same time.  I knew this was a "last resort" on saving Tripp's life.  But I also was absolutely sick to my stomach about putting him through such an awful procedure when he's already been through SO much. 
Now don't get me wrong, Dr. Tolar and I talked a long time about everything.  He made it very clear that if I wanted to bring Tripp to MN, that he would make it happen and that we could try to get him to a point where the transplant might be "semi-safe."  But he also said that he is 100% sure that Tripp would have every single complication from the transplant.  And he looked me in the eyes and said that he thought that Tripp was too sick to survive it.  He was not trying to "sell me" the BMT, he wasn't telling me that for my benefit, he was sincerely concerned about my son.  I felt that for sure.  And I respect him for that.

I think the biggest thing that stood out in our conversation with Dr. Tolar was when he told me that he "sat in" on an EB support group.  It was a group of older children who had Dystrophic EB.  He said that when the kids were asked if they would rather have never been born than have to live with EB, EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of them said that they would rather die than live with EB.  
That is incredibly heart-breaking.
He said that I am "Tripp's voice."  Tripp can't tell me what he wants, so it's my decision to do what I think he would want and what I think is best for him.  

He told me that even though Tripp's biopsies were inconclusive to Herlitz or non-Herlitz (the two subtypes of Junctional EB), that he was 110% certain that Tripp was Herlitz- no doubt.  And it was then that he looked at me so sincerely and said that it was absolutely unbelievable that Tripp was still alive.  He complemented me for my care and devotion to my son.  It wasn't until then that I started to cry.  I know part of the reason Tripp is still alive is his care, but to hear it from Dr. Tolar... was pretty humbling.
He said it was admirable that I would make the decision to keep him at home for the "end of his life" instead of opting to take him to the hospital.  
Admirable = the hardest thing I will EVER go through.

So now... what's next? 
Your guess is better than mine.  Dr. Tolar said that he would help me with whatever I needed and would support me in whatever decisions I made.  He also said he respects my decision not to go forward with the transplant.  He, along with our amazing team here, is going to help me with pain control and trying to keep Tripp as comfortable as possible.  

Back to square one.  

When we came back from Minnesota on Friday, Tripp was feeling horrible.  The next day, he was running 102.6 fever, shaking in pain, and just crying.  He hasn't wanted to get out of his bed, because he knows he has to get his diaper changed.  Then he doesn't want to go BACK in bed from the rocker because he knows he's got to be changed again.  I switched him back to the Dilauded for pain (along with the Methadone) and it seems to be helping a little, at least sedating him a little more than normal.
Not something I want, but again... it's not about me.  It's about his comfort.
He hasn't stood up in well over a month.  He lays on one side of his body, in the bed and in the rocking chair... hardly wanting to move at all.  But of course every now and then, fighting hard and dishing out smiles.  God, I love this child.  

How does a mom opt to keep her son at home and watch him die?  I'm so sad.
I don't know.  I have NO clue how hard it will be.  I have no clue what it will entail.  But all I know is that my little boy deserves nothing more than to be COMFORTABLE.  And if the transplant is not an option for him, then taking him to the local hospital and sticking him with needles and IVs is definitely not an option either.  He will see Jesus when it is time and when he is tired of fighting.  
 I don't know when that will be.  And I'm trying to become okay with that.  

I'd be flat-out lying if I said that I'm not angry.  Of course I'm angry that my baby is suffering so much. 
But I'm praying A LOT.  More than I've ever prayed in my entire life.  I'm trying to understand.  I'm praying and pleading and begging to understand.  But I know and trust that I WILL understand with time.  
I think I'm struggling the most with "keeping him comfortable."  If I have to keep him home and watch him die, then why can't God at least help to make him comfortable? 
ONE DAY... I will understand. 
And like I told Dr. Tolar, I will fight to my death to cure this disease so that no other child has to just "wait to die."  And so that no other parent will ever have to knowingly watch their child's life fade away.

A sweet lady wrote this on the "Prayers for Tripp" Facebook page.
It made my heart smile.

While I prayed for this child this morning, I asked God, "How can this be? Why? This poor child is innocent and hurting! Why does this child endure this? What could possibly come from this?" He answered me, "Child, this child is made PERFECT! He is my vessel! He is the exact tool being used everyday to draw others into my kingdom! Although through your natural eye you see pain, sores, disease, hopelessness, and weakness... I see comfort, beauty, health, joy, strength and compassion! This child has brought many to me! He has brought the hard hearted to be compassionate! He has brought the depressed to have joy! He has brought many that were weak and caused them to be strong! This child has brought LOVE to so many and THIS CHILD is MY CHILD! Perfectly made indeed!"   

Thank you perfect wonderful sweet strangers... for loving my child.  
When I feel like every day is groundhog day and I feel like I can't possibly get out out bed just to "watch my child suffer" knowing I can't help him... you all give me the strength to do so one more day.  

Now, I've held off on writing this paragraph for a while now, but I have to get this off my chest.  It's time for me to educate the (very few) people who have been leaving ignorant and ugly comments on my blog.  Such as this little "preview":

"A real mother would let their child go if they were suffering so much. I would rather my child pass peacefully from this world in my arms instead of endure a lifetime of blisters, wounds and blindness just so I could selfishly keep him in this world for my benefit."

Newsflash, lady.... I cannot just take my child's life.  What would you suggest I do?  Suffocate him?  Overdose him?  Euthanize him like a dying cat??
I'm trying to write this without being ugly, because I know that what was said was out of ignorance and people that write or think these types of things do not fully understand our situation. 
The main point is that people that write these ugly things do not have sick children.  So they don't have a clue what they would do in my situation.  The last thing I am doing is using Tripp's sickness for my "benefit"- I wish I didn't have this blog about my sick child.  I wish I didn't have to fight everyday for his life.  I wish it wasn't my life-goal to educate the world about this life-threating and cruel disease.  I wish I didn't have to be "mom-inated" in contests because my child is dying.  I wish he was healthy.  I wish he could run and play like your kids do.  But he can't. 
So before you go casting stones and thinking that I'm "selfishly keeping my son alive."  
Get your facts straight.  
If I could take my son's place, I would. 
If I could take his pain away in any way I knew how, I would.  
But he's not an animal.  I cannot euthanize my sick child.  
So you (very few) people out there who call me selfish for "letting my child suffer"... 
It's not my decision when he leaves this Earth... it is God's.  But it IS my job to make him as comfortable as possible until that time comes.  And I am trying my absolute hardest to do that.  
I pray that God never gives you a sick child that you YEARN with every inch of your being to save.   

And P.S.  I forgive you for saying the ugliest things I've ever read in my life.
And I will pray for you.

But on a much brighter note, we are receiving so many ornaments that we had to get another tree!! They are flooding in.  You guys are unbelievable.  I just can't thank you enough.  
I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving week.  
I know, along with all of you, I have MUCH to be thankful for.  
Make sure you thank God for your many blessings... 
I know I will. 


Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Human Body

For a few weeks now we have been focusing our learning on different aspects of the human body.
Originally, I had planned it as our unit study leading up to Halloween.
I figured it would be helpful to learn about what's inside their body since much of it is displayed at Halloween as being scary!
It certainly was helpful in that regard!
In fact, we've ended up spending about 3 weeks on this theme because of Piper's interest and enthusiasm!
I often forget that information like this is brand new to them!

To begin with, I filled their workboxes with activities such as -

a magnetic puzzle (from Learning About My Body) which required assembling the outer body

Then adding the inside parts to the correct locations,

a bone search (drawing a line from the bone to where it is located in the body)

and a q-tip skeleton craft!

Then there were some various activites we did together to better understand the functions of the different body systems we studied.

For the digestive system, I set up the blender and added to it the same things they were eating for snack that day. As they ate I turned it on and then gave them each a chance to see what happened to the food!

Piper thought it smelled good!
She enjoyed this little experiment so much she asked to do it again!

Taitum liked looking at it but wanted little else to do with it!
Can't say I blame her!

On another day, Daddy brought home a model of a heart from school!
The girls thought this was so cool!
(Yes, Taitum is kissing the heart! Silly girl!)

They spent lots of time exploring it, taking it apart and putting it back together.
It pays to have a science teacher for a Daddy!

Another fun activity we did was to make a cardboard finger in order to demonstrate how muscles work!
I assembled it since it was a tad too difficult of a project for a 4 or 2 year old!
But Piper especially had a blast playing with it and causing the finger to move by pulling the attached string!
She ended up coloring it and now has it on display in her room!

There were tons of coloring pages and cut and paste pages that the girls did, too!
They were all from this book: Learning About My Body.
This resource was really great in that it really simplified things - perfect for little ones!

And, of course, we read many related books!
Our favorites were:

(Simple yet informative and especially alluring because of it's interactive aspects.)

(As with all Cat in the Hat books, this one was super fun to read but gave loads of information. The girls LOVED this one!)

(Taitum's personal favorite. Again, very simple but easy to follow.)

Finally, we learned the Bone Bounce song!
I even learned some new vocabulary from this song!

"The Bone Bounce"
(Tune: "If You're Happy and You Know It")

Lucy Jensen

Put your fingers on your cranium, on your cranium.
Put your fingers on your clavicle, on your clavicle.
Put your right hand on your sternum,
Put your left hand on your sternum,
Find your bones; find your bones; find your bones.
Put your hand on a humerus, on a humerus.
Put your hand on a radius, on a radius.
Put your right hand on an ulna,
Put your left hand on an ulna,
Find your bones; find your bones; find your bones.
Put your hands on your ribs, on your ribs.
Put your hands on your hips, on your hips.
Put your right hand on a femur,
Put your left hand on a femur,
Find your bones; find your bones; find your bones.
Put your hand on a fibula, on a fibula,
Put your hand on a tibia, on a tibia,
Put your phalanges on your phalanges,*
Put your phalanges on your phalanges,
Find your bones; find your bones, find your bones.

Now that this unit study is done, I'm considering taking a break from unit studies for the next couple of weeks.
My energy levels are progressively decreasing the closer I get to my due date and I feel it would be wise to concentrate on our daily subjects.
(And focus on moving these girlies in together. AND preparing the nursery!)
As well, I feel I'd be better prepared for all our upcoming Christmas activities (which I am So very excited about!) if I make some spare time to concentrate on them!
So off we go towards Christmas!

Helpful human body related links:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Day In the Life

For us, everyday is different.
We have a routine but not a schedule.
I thought I'd share a typical day with you though.
Mostly because I need to see it for the beauty that it is.
Less and less seems to be getting accomplished as my body gradually slows down.
Some days I focus more fully on housework, other days on school and quality time with the girls.
I can get frustrated though.
I don't like to be stopped from my usual pace.
So it takes a lot of getting used to.
My goal for this final trimester is to keep my patience with the kids.
Savouring the moments of each day helps with that.
Here is our day:

Piper makes the pancakes.
Its kinda her thing now.

Tait indulges in some early morning colouring while breakfast cooks.

Shoulder to shoulder these two must sit.
Peace and harmony.
No fights...yet.

These girls devour their pancakes.
I'm talking 4 pancakes each!
So good that syrupy marker drools tell the tale.

Next, there's a party in the bathroom.
I don't intervene.
Finally some interest in the potty thanks to big sister.
They'll figure out the diaper removal eventually!

That over with, they leave the bathroom to find Mama's make shift bed to which she crawled at 4:30am, seeking relief for an ever sore back.
Tent construction follows and I slip off to get dressed and make beds while they are happily occupied!

It's a sunny day so out we go!
I find the gumption to take them to the park down the road.
Off they trot with baby's in tow!

We stop to investigate a new discovery: frost!
They touch it and smell it and lick it, of course!

So pretty and cool!
I appreciate it a lot more now that I don't have to get up and scrape it off the car in the mornings!

They love the park!
I smile.
This will be a nice, restful morning.
As they play, I'll sit back in my cozy new maternity winter coat and read.
But then I hear, "NO, TAIT!!!"
Suddenly, Piper is running towards me...
"Tait stepped in DOG POOP!"
And did she ever.
I clean it up on the wet grass, but, well, that smell lingers.
Home we go...

Once again inside, the girls get right to work on a tea party.
Amid discarded tents and unfolded laundry.
Regardless, the scene still warms my heart.

I sit down to assemble a cardboard finger for the school lesson.
All in an attempt to demonstrate how muscles work.
Something about the process is soothing.
Especially surrounded by the offerings brought by little girls sharing their tea party joy!

We settle into school.
Prayers and songs and calendars and books.
They sway to the rhythm of it all.
Class on a livingroom couch with beloved babies and a best friend.
Does it get much better?

We transition to the table to color and paint the letter of the day.
But not without a marker war first....
This picture just kills me.
The marker poised just so, the defaced arm, froggy watch and ribbons hanging from long blond hair.

I get the stink eye lots from this one.
Don't let anyone tell you otherwise - 2 is terrible.
But I love it.
I love her.

Lunch complete.
She officially has syrup, applesauce and yogurt in her hair.
And is moving on to clothes change #4...

Then they so graciously nap and have a quiet time.
No pictures.
I'm done!
Nap for me too!
They awake to bathtime.
Followed by hair de-knotting.
A process if there ever was one!
Favorite distraction?
YouTube Elmo clips.
I've found a way to eliminate the tears and conditioning had very little to do with it!

Then a whirlwind of activity.
They play Starfall while I'll throw supper together.
(Easy peasy spaghetti!)
Matt walks in and takes over food distribution so I can finally grab that shower I traded this morning for 15 more minutes of sleep!
And we're off and running to church for the Wednesday night kids program!

Upon returning and settling the kids into bed (which includes loads of hugs and kisses and at least one meltdown), I do the left behind dishes.
I read the 10+ Helps For Really Busy Moms like I usually do.

This one stands out tonight:

5. Motherhood is a hallowed place because children aren’t commonplace.
Co-laboring over the sculpting of souls is a sacred vocation, a humbling privilege.
Never forget.