Posted in Personal growth, Raising kids

Who loves plush animals?

Our family is outnumbered by stuffed animals!! What is it about those soft, plushy things that I (ahem, I mean the kids) can’t resist?!

It’s a good thing we share the same penchant. When I was growing up, I loved dolls more than plush: dolls with yarn or silk hair, eyes that closed, dolls that pee’d (weird I know), dolls wearing frilly dresses or corduroy overalls, etc.

If you are aware of the doll craze in the 80s, you may remember the popular and beloved Cabbage Patch Kid dolls. It was the toy to have. They cost a fortune back then. My mom couldn’t fathom spending $60 for my new obsession, so the next best thing was getting an imitation. Sure, it didn’t come with a birth certificate or the designer’s signature on its behind. The stitching was a bit off on the fingers and toes, but the face was still the same. I carried that doll with me everywhere and even strapped seat belts on it in the car.

I finally got an armful of authentic Cabbage Patch Kid dolls when I was recovering from injuries sustained in a car accident. I was stuck in bed all summer, and my family knew just how to cheer me up: Cabbage Patch Kid dolls!!

I wish my kids liked dolls, but they’re more drawn to stuffed animals. Every time we oohh and ahhh over a cute new plush at a store, Chris sarcastically asks if we have space for ANOTHER one. Thank you for asking, and of course we do!!

Image result for Cabbage patch kids picture
https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-cabbage-patch-kids-battle/
Image result for Cabbage patch kids picture
By Andrea Barcellos on Pinterest

He asks, “Is the plush for me or for the kids? Obvious answer. Kids, of course!!

Most have a special story, person, or memory tied to how they became part of our plush family: memory artifacts? Our collection began to grow with frequent stressful doctor’s appointments for Ellis and friends sending us plush during hard medical times. And brother gets one too for being a good sport and going with the flow. Through all these years, our plush stash is kind of getting out of hand now.

BUT, decluttering our stuffed animal collection is something we avoid. How do you decide which ones to keep, give away, or toss? We all have to vote on it, and no one gets the boot.

As the kids get older, their interests will change and the process will be natural then. For now we’re good.

Chris, if you’re reading this, can you finally order those shelves for us? I would do it myself, but I’m pretty sure it would result in a crooked shelf with extra holes in the wall.

I found this funny quote about bears on Pinterest by Zazzle.com.

(source unknown but found on Pinterest)

Posted in Raising kids

Why croup again? I’d like a winter without the barky-seal cough.

Elliot is sick with croup again. He used it get it much more frequently when he was younger, which was around the time when Ellis’ heart condition was precarious. Hectic times. I’d leave the house with my shirt on inside out and wonder why people at Starbucks gave a second glance; when the sunblock smear is plain smeared and forgotten to be blended in.

I’ve been told croup affects some kids more than others. But once antibodies are built up in the body, it gets easier to get over them in the future. Croup has similar symptoms like a cold: an ominous sore throat, mild fever, loss of appetite, and crankiness. One difference is that it worsens at night time and you hear an alarming cough; a barking seal with wheezing breathing sounds.

The first three to four nights are tough with constant coughing, crankiness, phlegm provoking a throw up. If elevating the pillow or massaging arms doesn’t work, I wrap him in a thick blanket and have him sit next to an opened window. The cold air opens up the inflamed upper airway. In the past I’ve tried running hot water to breathe in the steam. This upset him more than it helped.

Last night, Elliot woke up throughout the night crying and coughing. The fresh air seemed to help so we slept with the window cracked open. I put an unreasonable layers of blanket over him and I have a sore back from sleeping in a funny position on the floor.

We’re on day 3. Croup is a viral illness (which doesn’t require antibiotics), but our pediatrician decided otherwise after hearing his cough turn phlegmy. Fear is that it could turn into bronchitis.

Sleep deprived mom here; thank Jesus for naps, simple meals, and endless cups of coffee! Not being facetious. He coughs and I’m the lady following behind him with the antibacterial spray. Trying to help him recover and prevent Ellis from catching it. I don’t think I can take anymore Ellis hospital drama anymore. No more of that please!!!

Our fun activity today is canvas painting and playing with air-drying clay. I already guess it will be something Lego, mixing paint colors, and listening to the Ninjago soundtrack (again for the thousandth time).

Photo by Plush Design Studio on Pexels.com

Posted in Raising kids

How will people know it’s me?!

I was going to post about Ellis’ new look and it was perfect to connect it to Nancy Merrill’s Photo A Week Challenge about something new, in anticipation for the new year. Thanks Nancy for hosting this challenge! 

Glasses are a new thing for Ellis. It’s not a forever thing; only a couple of years to strengthen her right eye. 

But a serious question has been worrying her.

When she wears them, how will people know it’s her?

So I asked her to think about mommy wearing glasses. When I put on my glasses, do I change into someone else? I’m still the same me. We had an existential talk that wearing glasses doesn’t change who you are or make you unrecognizable to people who already know her. Still, she’s wrestling with this big question.

She’s not too sure about this new look
Posted in Hospital visits, Raising kids

In the e.r. again with stomach issues

Today was Ellis’ third trip to the e.r. in one month. Speechless. Familiar frantic drive, packing overnight hospital bag, phone call to Chris to hurry home to babysit Elliot.

I hope this time they find the root cause of the severe stomach cramps and dry heaving. She shakes while her body is hunched over her throw-up bag. No answers. The symptoms come fast and severe: they immobilize our family into basket cases.

Waiting for test and imaging results in the e.r. Looks like another hospital stay.

I pray that I don’t fall apart. I’m holding up, but this is a lot of mental, emotional, and physical strain to take: 3rd e.r. visit in one month. If we stay, 3rd hospitalization.

You know it’s weird when lab people and nurses recognize you. I just saw the front desk lady from Standord heart center in the e.r. this afternoon: her son was sick. Small world.

My heart goes out for Elliot. He’s just doing his thing and he gets thrown into these overwhelming days: mommy crying, running around packing overnight bag, Ellis throwing up, me calling people for help.

He’s familiar with the emergency drill but today we couldn’t follow through with our afternoon plans and picking up Chik fil A. With tears in his eyes he said, “Ellis is getting kind of annoying.” But just yesterday he held her blankie while she was throwing up. Complex relationship. We’re figuring it out.

Thanks Chris for holding down the fort at home! Doctor is calling the children’s floor to get us admitted.

Today is one wild december day.

Ninja pose this morning

In the er this afternoon

No definite reason for dry heaving

Posted in Container Gardening, Raising kids, Uncategorized

Taking gardening troubles into our own hands

We’re taking gardening to a new level this time around!

First of all, none of our plants have died since we planted them this summer. Second, we’ve pruned, remedied some overcrowding issues in our tomato pot, added crushed egg shells for extra nutrition, and added support sticks to help long stems. Third, we studied our plants by checking their leaves, researched online about how to make our plants thrive, and generally invested more time and interest in caring for our green friends.

And drum roll please…

We hand pollinated our pumpkin plant!! I didn’t even know this was possible. Our babysitter who has gardened extensively looked at our plants and told me our pumpkin plant only had males. She didn’t see any bulbs on the stems, which would be the female flower. Facts learned: first blooming flower is a male; a little bulb on a stem that will sprout a flower on top is a female; if no fruit has grown that means it hasn’t been pollinated by bees; and placing the plant in a shaded area could stymie bees (that mainly like sunny spots) from pollinating.

I found this amazing and helpful website that explained how to remedy the lack of fruit: Pumpkin Plant Not Producing: Why A Pumpkin Plant Flowers But No Fruit (https://www.gardeningknowhow.com)

Hand pollinate. Ellis rubbed her finger on the pollen of the male flower to get the pollen and rubbed it around the green emerging bulb on a stem (not sure if it was a bulb but it felt harder than a budding flower). As you can tell, we improvise a lot.

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Circled areas show where pollen was rubbed on green bulbs 

There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.

— Janet Kilburn Phillips

When Elliot learned the yellow stuff was pollen, he worried about his allergies flaring up again. Ellis came to the rescue and offered to do it instead.

Kids problem solving together with no tears = happy mommy.

Update:  No fruit has emerged so far. However, we feel very proud to have been proactive in doing something useful to help our plant grow fruits. Also, kids learned the important roles of bees in helping flowers to reproduce and continue the life cycle of nature. This is just a thought, but I think this hands-on lesson would be good for explaining to older kids in learning about the reproductive cycle.