About Common To Moms

There are many common life experiences we share as women, and sometimes life is less than glorious. That’s when we need a little inspiration to get us through the day. Welcome to Common to Moms, where we find motivation for meaningful living on our every-day journey as women, wives and mothers.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Oh the Irony...

So I guess you should never write a post about how your goal for the year is to get past survival mode, or life, in it's irony will try to defeat you at every turn.

Shortly after I wrote this post about my grand goals for 2014 our foster son was hospitalized for 5 days due to complications with an illness.  He came home on an n-g feeding tube and refused to take a bottle for a total of nearly two weeks.

Since then we found an opportunity to move to a much larger house for a very affordable house that suits our needs, so we moved two weeks after our foster son's hospital incident. 

After the hospital, Peanut also lost his ability to sleep on his own.  We spent weeks rocking him to sleep for every nap and nighttime snooze as well as night time wakings (which suddenly there were a lot of).  While rocking babies/toddlers is a sweet time, it also presents logistical issues when there are two out of three other children who also need your presence to fall asleep.

We did our best and pushed through though and I'm happy to report that about a month later, Peanut dropped the rocking to sleep thing all on his own and went back to going to sleep with no problems.

Now we are in the midst of birthday season (which also happens to be Blog Anniversary season for Common to Moms also) and I am recovering from a fairly severe corneal abrasion as well as participating in competition season with the dance studio where I teach.

Every second seems full at the moment, which explains why things have been quiet here on the blog.  I will probably continue to be quiet until things settle a bit for us in our new house and through birthday season.  I am still here though and will return to writing as soon as I can.

Until then...


Monday, January 6, 2014

A Plan for Taking Back the House!

In the past, I have tracked habits here at Common to Moms.  I've done this partially because the public forum is great accountability for me and partially because watching someone accomplish something is great motivation for others. 

This year- 2014- I am planning to make A LOT of changes in my life.  Mainly, my goal is to move past survival mode and choose to live in a more peaceful and complete way.

I'm happy to report that the process has already begun.  In the last week or so, I have already begun to do things like use my calendar to plan my life at least a week in advance (this helps to quell the chaos in a life full of doctors' appointments and therapies), taken back grocery shopping and meal planning, cooked a little, saved receipts (to soon use to do some budget tracking) and made a plan for how to take back my house from the chaos of twin pregnancy and almost a year of  3 children 3 and under.

Today I want to break down my plan for taking back my house and share it with you. 

First, I feel the need to clarify that although I have needed to improve my habits on cleaning before, this is not the only thing crying out for change in our current life circumstances.  It's more that while I was busy nursing, changing diapers and changing toddlers, stuff began accumulating in the corners of  our home.  And while some things grew, other things began to get lost in the shuffle.  Showers, make-up, clothes that fit, quality restful time all began to dwindle while chaos increased.  Life was hardly ever completely crazy, but neither was it truly complete.  Satisfying? Yes.  Fulfilling? Almost.  Complete? Not really.  The start of the new year has me realizing that what will get lost in the chaos of babies and small children (if I'm not careful) is peace at home and a respectable me

"Taking Back the House" to me means getting rid of clutter, working on cleaning habits AND adjusting our home to function for six people instead of four.  Let's face it- almost DAILY I run into problems trying to squeeze a six-person-life out of a four-person-home. I have been reading a lot about organization, cleaning and home management (as well as a little personal soul searching) so I have come up with a pretty comprehensive plan (at least I think it is!) for how I'm going to tackle taking back the house.  And as I mentioned before, I think its both helpful for me and inspiring to others to share it here on the ole' blog.  Consider this a life over-share and if you want to join me as I attempt to conquer some major disorganization and lifestyle adjustment, then I can only say thank you!  Any and all support and encouragement are welcome.

Without further adieu- here is the plan to Take Back the House.

1. Divide my home into three zones.   

Zone 1- Living Room, Dining Room, Kitchen & Laundry
Zone 2- Master Bedroom
Zone 3- Kids Rooms and Bathroom

Admittedly, I have chosen the hardest zone to tackle first- mostly because if I can conquer these areas of my home then I can DEFINITELY continue on and conquer the rest!

2. Chose a starting point within Zone 1 - The Dining Room!

3. Make a list of every stitch of clutter or randomness in that space and what I need to do about it.  The goal here is to check things off the list until the area is completely clutter free.

4. Keep this area CLEAN.

5. Celebrate my clean and de-cluttered space by changing things in the space to better fit our family including but not limited to changing or updating decor.  This is definitely the FUN step!

6.  Rinse and Repeat to the end of a zone, then take time to reflect and re-evaluate the process.  Share on the blog and keep moving forward.  Taking the entire year to complete all three zones is definitely allowed- it will be no small task!

So that's the plan in as much detail as I can predict!  Stay tuned for my Dining Room Over-share Post!

Till Next Time,

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A New Year's Post: Looking Forward to 2014!

This post is difficult for me to write since the last year of life (or more) has been truly about surviving.  When I take time to assess my life over the last year, there are a lot of wonderful memories as far as life events goes... the twins being born, my grandparents' 80th birthday bash, Peanut's amazing progress in the last month, Melody growing and beginning preschool and dance, seeing my family SO much in comparison to other years, seeing how much people care about our family by how they have helped us this year and so much more!

However, there is a part of me that has definitely grown tired of the surviving aspect of the last year. 

At the end of the twins pregnancy it was difficult just to walk!  Then I recovered from a c-section, Peanut started having surgeries, Melody started school and dance and I jumped back into a part time job.  Fast forward to today and I have grown weary of nights without sleep, days without showers, months without wearing make up and a full year of feeling like making it through the day is an admirable goal.

It is time.

2014 is when I get my life back.  When I start living my priorities again.  I know there will still be days where the goal is just to survive, but I simply cannot live that way as the rule anymore.

I don't plan to change this by sheer determination (though that will be a part of it).  I sincerely am prayerful that God will carry me through this year and mold me into a better ME than I currently am.  I know I don't have any reason to feel guilty about where I am- in fact, there is probably good reason for me to think it could take MANY years to return to feeling some kind of normal under the circumstances.  But something in me is yearning to regain my lost dignity a bit, and I long not to feel defined by the needs of the current moment constantly.  Changing this will take time and effort, but as I said before- this is the time.

So without further adieu- in no particular order:

My list of changes to make in 2014.

1. Return to pumping and quit using formula (as much as possible) for the twins for the times I am not around or they need a supplement.
2. Get serious about saving money for a down payment on a new house. 
3. Take time to unplug from the TV and the computer more often.
4. Make our home organized and presentable.  (Clear out the clutter that has accumulated from being pregnant and adjusting in life and finally get good- or at least better- at cleaning and tidying.)
5. Make myself organized and presentable. (Return to making lists, wearing make-up at least occasionally, wearing real clothes rather than house clothes, etc)
6. SLEEP MORE and choose health over convenience.
7. Take time for God, service to others and fellowship with my church community.
8. Spend more time with Christian.
9. Get out of the house!! Both alone and with the whole family. 
10. Find more ways to stay positive and relaxed.
11. Let go of mommy guilt!
12. Prioritize items of importance on my to-do list, not just the urgent ones.

Unlike typical New Year Resolutions, I know that this is a list that will take time to tackle.  It would be ridiculous to attempt to change all of these things about my life at once!  Yet, at the end of next year, I hope to have made significant progress in many or all of these areas.  After all, when I look back at my life this time last year, we have come a long way! 

So tell me, what changes do you plan to make this year?

Wishing you the happiest of years in 2014!

Love, Rachel

Monday, December 30, 2013

Lullabye's for Jesus

Every night I sing to my kids.  Since the twins, Peanut and Melody all have different bedtimes, that means I sing three different times.  Peanut and the twins get rocked and sung to for several minutes before laying down to go to sleep (then they get more singing and rocking if they have trouble going to sleep for any reason).  Melody gets stories, a prayer, songs and a few minutes of snuggles before saying good night. 

Bedtime is one of the hardest most labor intensive times of the day at our house since everyone is still in the phase of needing so much love and care to help them drift off to sleep.  Even as I write this Melody is laying quietly in her bed with the door cracked (so she has some light) while she waits to fall asleep.  She will probably wind up with a few more hugs/kisses and snuggles before the night is over if she can't fall asleep on her own.

Tonight as I sang to each of my kids, I couldn't help but be thankful that every day, three or four or more times a day, I have a reason to sing and praise God for His goodness.  The songs of my childhood- camp songs, hymns and the like- flow out of me and I remember the connection I felt to God when I sang them growing up.   I am glad that my children will hear hymns and traditional songs and associate it with sweet memories of being tucked in bed by their parents, and I'm glad that I have a reason to sing. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Eczema and Mommy Angst Part 2

Here is Part 1 of this post- be sure to read there first.  Full Disclosure: There is more talk of baby poop here.  If you'd rather not read about that, feel free to skip this post also!

Round of Antibiotics for Craig #2

Craig seemed better.  He slept better. His poop was thicker a few times. Things were looking up.

Then yesterday the diarrhea came back.  I checked his temperature and it was back to 100.

Did he catch strep throat again?

Is his eczema infected again?

How do I figure this out?

Obviously, we will be making another trip to the doctor this week.  But I just can't help but wonder what is going on?

Why does he even have eczema?  What will make it better?  Will I be able to help him figure this out?  I want SO BADLY to figure out the why's and the hows of this eczema thing, so that by the time he is old enough to talk about it, I have answers for him and a list of things that help or heal him.  With my asthma, my mom and modern medicine were always able to put me back to normal, even after a really difficult time.  I am so worried that the solution won't be so easy for Craig.  (The same feeling tortured me when Peanut wheezed for two months last year in spite of intervention.) I feel constantly plagued that maybe he is not healthy.  Maybe he is sick.  He is my "fussy" baby.  He comfort nurses until he can't comfort nurse anymore.  A lot of times he needs me with him to fall asleep.  Is he just sensitive and attached or is he trying to tell me that something is not right with him?  In the meantime, we are also missing vaccinations since you can't get them when you are sick and running a fever.

Mostly we are good... I usually can't even tell anything is wrong with Craig at all unless I take his temperature or change a (liquid) poopy diaper.  He plays and laughs and snuggles and is pulling up to stand and trying to cruise around the furniture.  This is a strong but sensitive kid (every woman's dream... I will have to watch out one day!) and a toy stealer.  He is over 20 lbs and in the 90th percentile for height and weight!  I absolutely love this sweet boy.  I am just a little crazy over this eczema thing.  Like I said before... I want to be able to fix it for him.  I want to make it go away.  Just like my mom did for me.

My little Craig-y.

Does this mommy angst ever subside?  I know I get it honestly.  My mom could teach a class about how to worry about your kids.  I used to laugh at my mom and her worrying ways. But now I understand them.   I am becoming my mother in a lot of ways.  Yet even as I write this, I am remembering my mom's words of comfort- to lean on God and trust him to provide and care for us.  My mom was successful because her source of healing came from the Ultimate Healer. It didn't come from her (as much as I would like to think it did).  It came from God.  He was in my mother's touch and my mother's decision making ability.  And He can provide that for me too.

So, Lord, hear my plea. Give me wisdom. Give me your healing touch for my children. Give me a heart that leans on you in hard times, so one day when Craig is lamenting that he can't fix something for his own children, he will remember that You were there for him when he was a child, so you will be there for his own child.  Help me trust you more- even in adversity- in infections that don't seem to want to go away and eczema that is painful and not healing (yet).

And mom... if you are reading this, thank you for always taking care of me when I was sick.  Thank you for leaning on God to provide for us and teaching me that He is faithful.

And to you dear friend or reader, if you have made it through all of this personalsw4 processing, thank you for sticking with me.  Your support is welcomed and appreciated. But please... no horror stories of eczema or illnesses in the comments... and prayers welcome. :)

In His Grace,

UPDATE: After writing this post, Craig's fever went down to 99.2 and then the next night was down to 98.8.   He also had some thicker poo's! So whatever was ailing him, I am pretty sure it is on it's way out.  I am one relieved and thankful momma!

Eczema and Mommy Angst Part 1

WARNING: There is talk of baby poop in this post.  If you don't want to hear about it, 
then you can skip this one.

So here it is in written form.

Craig has eczema.

I have chatted with a few friends about it.  I have researched way too much about his eczema online.  It bothers me mentally and emotionally constantly.  I love all of my children so much and if something is wrong with them, I (of course) want to fix it.

Growing up my mother did an EXCELLENT job at learning how to manage my allergies and asthma.   So much so that I have grown into a person that doesn't feel defined or limited by these problems even though they are somewhat limiting.  As a mother myself now, I desperately desire to learn to manage my children's ailments so that I can teach them how to manage them when they are old enough.

But some things just seem complicated.  Like eczema.  I am having trouble working this out.

When Craig was about two months old, I noticed he had dry skin on his legs.  I didn't think a thing about it.   "Oh, dry skin... no big deal... babies get it... it goes away."

Then after a few weeks (months?) it dawned on me... this is not going away

Then I googled "infant eczema" having no idea what would pop up.  That was probably the biggest mistake of my life.  HORROR stories about people with eczema and how it controlled (and ruined) their lives were everywhere on the internet.  Anyone that knows me will tell you that I cannot stand listening to deep dark tales of what terrible thing happened to so-and-so (especially when it doesn't effect me or someone I have a connection to) because it effects me SO MUCH emotionally.  I found myself treasuring the sweet skin that Craig did have that was not effected, since I was afraid that it would later be covered by dry scaly weeping places.  And to a large degree, I was right.  Eventually, most of his arms and legs began to change and become covered in red and dry, weeping spots.

So my stress level about eczema went like this...

I learned that steroids would not be safe for babies since things put on a baby's skin can enter the their bloodstream prior to six months old.  Apparently it is why babies should not wear sunscreen or go swimming in chlorine, etc.  However, at Craig's four month check up, the doctor recommended Hydro-cortisone cream as the only solution while I began experimenting with cutting out certain foods.  I wasn't ready to use hydro-cortisone cream yet.

So we found some helpful solutions at around four months:
1.  Prayer
Honestly, we began to pray for Craig directly- laying on hands and with authority for weeks (and making a call to Bethel church and having him prayed for)- and parts of his eczema (noticeably his forehead and patches on his legs) began to clear up A LOT.  It was amazing.   Besides some of his eczema clearing up, it was a good time of being ministered to by God personally also.

2. Water + Cerave Lotion
Several times, I wet Craig's skin and put lotion on it while it was still wet.  This seemed pretty effective.

3. Bathing Once/Week
This seemed to be the perfect balance for bathing between not too much and not enough.

4. Only wearing cotton clothing

5. Putting all of our clothing on an extra rinse cycle to get out any extra detergent (and using all free and clear type detergents and dryer sheets.)

6. Vitamin D supplements (not sure if he really needs this, but many people have found it has helped their eczema!)

However, by his six month appointment there were two pretty significant spots (in the creases of one elbow and one ankle) that became open wounds and had a yellow film indicating infection (in spite of the fact that many other spots seemed better).  Just after this appointment, he began to have diarrhea.  One round of antibiotics later, he still had yellow film on the areas and still had diarrhea. 

I thought maybe the antibiotics had caused the diarrhea- or maybe he was teething?- or maybe he was having very loose stool due to not eating solids (I delayed that past 7 months).  Sometimes when he ate bananas or sweet potatoes his bm's would thicken up (sorry if this is TMI... you were warned!)

Finally, Melody got sick with something too (another story for another post?) and Craig had an outburst of what looked like hives (that I could not pinpoint a cause for), so I took both kids to the doctor the same day where Craig tested postive for strep throat.

Continue reading Part 2 of this post.