The Scary Face of Asthma

Most people out there are like me when it comes to their thoughts and opinions on asthma and it’s effects on someones life – I always had this vision of asthma in my head as a medical condition that causes someone to get out of breathe when they over exert themselves.  One of the first things that comes to mind are those pesky inhalers that asthma “people” carry around to pull out at the first sign of attack as though their life depended on it…I wish I had known just how true that last statement was.

Jacob has asthma and many people have asked us many questions in the past like “what kind of asthma does he have?”, “will he outgrow the asthma?”, and “how did he get asthma?”  The easy answers to those questions are that he doesn’t have any specific “kind” of asthma, he simply has asthma and there is a possibility that he can out grown the disease as he ages but that usually doesn’t happen until around or after puberty.  The answer to the last question is a bit harder to unravel because we don’t know for sure how Jacob got asthma except that maybe it has to do with  Mike and I both having seasonal allergies as children and still as adults, or maybe it’s connected to his premature arrival into the world, or it could also be the respiratory problems he suffered at birth…it doesn’t really concern us about how he got asthma, it only concerns us that he has it and we have to help him learn to live with it.

If we know anything about Jacobs struggle with asthma it is that the “kind” of asthma he has is very severe and horribly life threatening – it is so much more than taking an inhaler when you feel out of breathe after over exerting yourself.  The kind of asthma that Jacob is dealing with has the capacity to take  his life away if treatment is not administered effectively and fast and unfortunately this was a frightening lesson we had to learn this past week.  I will spare you all the scary details about how it all went down and do my best to give you a quick run down of the events that transpired in our family that all began when we were watching the Olympic hockey game on Monday of this past week.  Jacob had not been feeling well throughout the day but it was not really any illness that was particularily concerning to us as parents – he had the sniffles or “the snuffles” as he like to call them but was acting like his usually happy self for the most part.  Around dinner time we started to notice some signs that perhaps his cold symptoms were starting to affect his lungs (taking breathes between words when talking, and his skin retracting around his neck/collar bone)….so we started to try and administer his inhalers as a precaution.  It was all for naught because an hour later we were faced with firemen and ambulance emts in our living room and a son who was barely able to breathe and turning gray before our very eyes.

What ensued after the emergency crew intervention was the most terrifying 12 hours we’ve yet had to face since the day we brought Jacob home from the hospital because the emergency room physician and the pediatrician at the hospital try as they might could not find a way to bring the asthma under control and we watched anxiously and hopefully as treatment after treatment was applied….every one of them intended to help take away the strain and hard work that Jacob was using to try and simply breathe – we knew pretty much from the time Jacob was seen in the ER that the plan was for him to be admitted to the hospital because the asthma was just having too severe of an effect – we were worried but we felt we were placed into the right hands.  After a couple days and so much medication later Jacob was although not perfect, well enough to come home and be treated in his familiar home environment and we were really happy about that….

We’ve got a referral to the asthma clinic because Jacob’s asthma is so dangerous for him that he needs to be followed by a team of people that will help us identify triggers and learn to manage when the asthma starts to flare suddenly like it did this past Monday…..

Sure, the face of asthma sometimes looks like an out of breathe person bringing an inhaler to their mouth hoping to get some relief but it’s also a disease that has a more dangerous effect that a lot of times looks like this…..(photos courtesy of That Daddy Guys project 365)

or this….

Exciting News: Meet Amanda Carlson!

I’ve been given another fabulous digi-scrap opportunity so I thought I’d share the news with you all!  I decided to apply to be on Amanda Carlson’s creative team after purchasing her Hope kit from Elemental Scraps one day and was very pleased to hear I had been chosen as a part of her team!  She has a super cute kit coming out (that she collaborated with spinky dink scraps to design)on Monday for Elemental Scraps March Colour Play but let me show you what I was able to throw together using her fabulous Cupcake Darling kit!!  I am really happy with how this page turned out!

Here’s the fabulous kit….

For this one I used a fabulous template by Bella Gypsy (more to come on this fabulous design team in my next post)

So hurry on over to Elemental Scraps and pick up this darling kit by Amanda Carlson and Spinky Dink Scraps!  You won’t regret it!  It has so many possible page layouts!

A Balancing Act

There’s an old Dr. Suess book that we really enjoy using as a learning/counselling tool with our youth at work called Oh The Places You’ll Go and I lately I’ve been reminded of one quote in particular:  “So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.” I am not entering my fourth week back in the game as a working mommy and it has definitely not been an easy adjustment for the family but we are trudging through this transition and keeping in mind that yes, yes indeed, life is a great balancing act.

I am having a difficult time recalling how this transition went the last time around…you know in the long long ago…the distant time when it was just Mike, Jacob and I??  I seem to recall it being much simplier and that it went off without a hitch and try as I might, I just can’t put my finger on what is making it feel so different this time. If I had to take one guess I’d say that it has a lot to do with how different Violet’s personality is from Jacob’s because he has always managed well with change due to his laid back, easily adaptable, outgoing personality.  I can honestly say that Jacob is and always has been a total Daddy’s boy, while Violet seems to be a Mommy’s girl and perhaps this might be another thing affecting the transition…it is obvious that Violet is discontent when we leave and her jubiliant squeels of delight when we return (although heart warming) really show me that she is truly missing us when we are not around – the end result is that we end up spending a lot of time cuddling her and holding her because this is what she needs.

Going back to work for me is not so straight forward as it is for most 9-5 working mom’s because I sometimes work weekends and most often evenings….I really feel that if I had a 9-5 job, I’d probably feel that the balancing act was not so difficult but because I am often home on weekdays, sometimes only work 3 days a week, and very often don’t go into work until 230pm, I find that I am balancing a lot of the responsibilities of a stay at home mom and a working mom combined.  I really want to get better at doing things like home organization and keeping on top of the laundry and I’ve made it my goal that March is going to be the month to get all these things sorted out – an organized clean home makes mommy feel happy, and a happy mommy is just happiness for everybody.  I feel really blessed and fortunate to have Mike around, he’s super duper fantastic when it comes to helping out – sometimes I ‘m not sure I’d ever survive if he were not around….but we keep on balancing and we keep on trudging through this parenting roller coaster; I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The hardest part for me is that I need to start forcing myself to get to bed at an earlier hour than I normally do but it’s hard because the night time, after my children are long tucked into bed…is the time that I can indulge in things that I enjoy like time with Mike, television programs, or digital scrapbooking.  Time and time again I convince myself that I am going to seek solace in a 10pm bed time but time and time again I am up until 1, 2, 3 am partaking of a little ME time, time that is just necessary for my own mental health, and I’m sure paying or it with exhaustion the next day but I find it worth it because I need that down time….I have an incredibly HIGH stress job, a go go go preschooler, and a brand new full of spirit toddler to keep me busy when I’m not at work!  Indeed, life is a great balancing act……but as Dr. Suess so eloquently puts it in his book…..

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

The Great Ear Infection Battle of Twenty-Ten

Jacob is one month into preschool and three weeks into ear infection heck!  We’ve been pretty fortunate over the years that our kids have not been incredibly prone to ear infections.  I think Jacob had two ear infections in his first year of life and since then we haven’t seen one in either of our kids until 3 weeks ago.  It started with a horrific night where we spent about 1.5 hours of our evening trying to exorcise the demon that had suddenly inhabited our 3 year old and caused him to do crazy things like verbal regurgitation and head spinning….you an interpret this as screaming, crying, carrying on, tantruming, hitting parents….basically all the things our little fella never does.  When it was all over and Jacob had finally fallen asleep in our room Mike and I sighed and looked at each other exasperated with that helpless look that says “I’ve got no freaking idea who that kid was but I sure hope this is not going to become routine in this house”.  Somehow we managed to wipe the feeling of defeat off our faces, tucked ourselves in bed and fell fast asleep hoping to all heck that the evening’s spectacle was only a one time show….we may have even prayed for it to be so.  In the middle of the night I was awoke sharply from my sleep to the sound of Jacob screaming, crying and when I went to check on him, covering his ears while proclaiming his ears hurt.  Mike and I were able to somehow stumble around in our sleep, fetch some tylenol and get Jacob back to sleep and the next day at the doctor’s we heard the news we suspected, that Jacob had a double ear infection…..ahhhh thank you preschool! This is what we pay you for!

Since that day when Jacob was first diagnosed we have done not one, not two, but now three rounds of antibiotics and in addition antibiotic ear drops all to no avail!  Some time between that first night and today Jacob has had not one but TWO perforated ear drums and we are still chugging away at the antibiotics!  It is very obvious that Jacob is having some side effects of these holes in his ear drums because he’s talking in an incredibly amplified voice and there are a lot of times where he is responding to us with “what?” “what did you say?”, which is not typical for Jacob at all.  Here is what I do know….I’m tired of antibiotics and I’m tired of trying to convince him that today’s antibiotic might taste better because we added some super magical new fruit to it to try and make it better!  I just want the darn ears to repair themselves!  Is that too much to ask?

Turtle Love!

I’ve always loved turtles so I’m not susprised how easily I fell in love with this new digital scrapbooking collab kit by Jessica Edwards and simply.scraps!  It’s totally 100% super cute right?

The colors are bang on cute and the little turtles are simply adorable!  I think my most absolute favourite thing from this kit has been the tiny felt flowers!  So sweet and not like a typical “digi scrap flower” at all!  Love it!  You can find it by heading over the Jessica Edward’s Store at Elemental Scraps, adding it to your cart and before you know it you’ll have this super fab kit to call your own!  Here is what I came up with when I finally got my hands on it!

Hi Ho, Hi Ho……

It’s off to work I go!

It has been nearly 15 months since I said goodbye to my job and I thought it would be rather traumatic for me to go back to work – expected there to be tears in my eyes as I rode the subway into downtown Toronto…..but there were none.  This week was my first week back at work and even though it was hard to say good-bye to my rowdy beautiful children, I was able to do so without shedding any tears and I actually enjoyed myself back at the ole job once again.  It was really helpful that my first shift back was an “orientation” shift and I was working with my closest co-worker and truthfully it looks like we’ve got a fantastic group of kids in the treatment center.

I know the next couple of weeks are going to be an adjustment as I try to find balance between my job and the family because my job requires varying shifts which can often leave me feeling like part stay at home mom, part work out of the home mom and I won’t lie …..this can really create a feeling of chaos in my life if I let it get out of control.  I know that if I had a regular 9-5, Monday to Friday job I would barely see my children because by the time I got back home Violet would be getting ready for bed and then not long after Jacob would follow so in that way I feel really blessed that I often have weekdays off, and most times dont’ start work until 230 in the afternoon.  It’s kind of a lucky situation that has befallen Mike and I because we have never had to resort to any sort of institutional daycare (I’m not against this, so no flames please) but our kids have been fortunate to always be cared for one of us or their grandmothers; that feels really special and important to me and I’m really lucky to have Mike’s mom so willing to help us out…..I’m not sure how we’d get along without her.  I’ve had a few people say “at least you get a break from your kids when you go to work” and truthfully it’s not really a break for me….I would absolutely chose to deal with  my kids anyday over some of the difficult mental health struggles and challenges the teens at work are facing, but I do this job for various reasons – if I did not have them I would find some office job and go along with the mundane drill of it all.

I have no bad things to say about the organization that I work for at all because they’ve really helped me become the counsellor that I am today and this year marks my tenth year with the organization which has to mean something about my committment and dedication right?  I have no idea what the future holds for me and my career but for now I’m happy to be there again, doing what I do well, and feeling accomplished in doing so….even if I do find myself missing my children several times throughout a shift.

Cupcake Cutie!!

I am in love with the cupcake cutie kit I posted a few days ago by Jessica Edwards!  I just can’t get enough of it!  I think it works perfectly for pictures of our little diva and it’s kind of cute that her Daddy sometime’s calls her his little cupcake!  I’m just stopping in for a brief moment to share another layout I did using this fabulous kit and maybe you’ll get the hint that you really need this kit for your stash too!

Exciting News for Mama Melissa

I am just so excited about this news that I can’t wait another moment to share it with my bloggy friends! I recently applied and was accepted to be on a super cool digi-scrap creative team! I’m so thrilled to be joining the creative team for Jessica Edwards who is designing exclusively for Elemental Scraps right now!!! I have to say she has some really fantastic digi-scrap kits that are loaded with fabulous goodies!!

Today I worked on a layout using her totally awesome new Cupcake Cutie kit!!

And here’s the layout I made tonight using this kit!  There were just so many awesome elements that I’ll be doing  a second page tomorrow with pictures from Violet’s birthday party!

Here’s the best part!  Jessica is a fellow mommy just like us and we all know how much I love to support other Mommies!  If you get a chance head on over to her blog  at Designs by Jessica Edwards and take a look at what she’s got going on over there!  You’ll find yourself going back time and time again!

If you’re itching to pick up this super cool kit and some of her other adorable goodies just head on over to her store at Elemental Scraps

I can’t wait to see what’s coming out next!!