It has been a crazy, horrible, cough and germ ridden past week. At the end of two weeks ago, Gabe brought home some kind of upper respiratory infection that morphed into a virus and infected our family.
School - Breeding ground of all germs and bacteria known and unknown to man. Best friends include runny noses, lung hacking coughs, mucus congestion and children. Blech.
We saw the pediatrician four times over a period of six days. Thank you Tricare! Between doctor visits and prescriptions (not to mention Calla's nebulizer), we would have spent a fortune trying to get healthy. That it one thing I will never complain about with the Army. Health insurance with three children is worth it's weight in gold. Everyone seems to be on the mend now. Zander and Calla are barely coughing and only taking med's and a breathing treatment before bedtime. Gabe is still coughing his guts out day and night, the prescription isn't helping. I'm planning on taking him back on Wednesday if it doesn't miraculously cure itself before then. Another aspect of Army life I'll never take advantage of - living on base. I'm SO thankful that living on base means we don't have to pay our utility bills. I'm sure that this past week having two humidifiers constantly running, night lights, loads and loads of laundry and dishes cleaned and multiple hot steam showers would really rack up the cost of our energy and water bills. Covered. No worries about the costs rising. Having to make hard choices about if we can afford to run the shower twice a day to steam out my children's lungs or wash all the sheets, pillowcases, blankets and clothes multiple times this week. What a relief.
With all the sickness going around last week, I had a real struggle setting and accepting the limits I set for myself. You can't go bouncing around town when you have children that can barely breathe and just want to sleep. Put down the coffee and walk away from the Keurig. Pick up the water and juice. Eat the mandarin orange instead of the snack size pack of Oreos you have hidden on the top shelf of the cupboard for emergencies. I found myself going to bed at 8pm with the two littles, knowing that I'd be up every couple hours with Calla's breathing treatments, Zander's coughing and hysterical crying and refilling the humidifiers. Laundry was washed but unfolded. Dishes were washed but not put away. Shows were recorded but not watched (big problems, right?) It became a struggle to get the littles awake, coat-ed, car-ed and unloaded to pick up Gabe every day after school. I figured out how to carry both on the days Zander was too exhausted to walk.
Our participation in society was rather limited this week do to sickness. The walking club I signed up for started on Saturday. Unfortunately we did not attend. The wind was blowing between 25-30 mph and even though the temperature was in the 60's, I didn't want to push the limits of my children's immune systems. We ordered a double jogging stroller from eBay and got it in time for the walk, but didn't get the chance to try it out. I'm very excited about the stroller and the mobility it will give us. I envision walks to the park and around the neighborhood in our near future, weather permitting. Friday I was able to sign up Gabe for 5 and 6 year old soccer that starts in February. He is a little apprehensive (wasn't a big fan of it last year), but I'm glad he's willing to give it another shot.
There were so many recipes and ideas I had to try out, but everything takes a back seat with sick kids. How can it not? I racked my brain, trying to figure out what sore throats and stuffy noses would eat. What ever they wanted, within reason, they could have. Gabe doesn't want a sandwich or Lunchable, but instead will eat almonds, granola bars, carrots and applesauce for lunch? Sounds good to me. Zander wants to live off animal crackers, juice, yogurt and apples? Perfectly fine. Carnation instant breakfast became a staple with milk. Ocean spray has pouches of juice mix for water bottles, 100% juice, we stocked up for Gabe's lunchbox. Anything with any vitamin and protein count was open for suggestion.
I have made a couple new things since last week - energy bars, risotto and gummies. I've decided to create a post with just the recipes and info since this one is already so long. I bought tiny mason jars today to make the coffee creamer recipes I keep finding online. We tried spaghetti squash cooked in the slow cooker - the boys were not a fan, but I liked it and will make it for myself again. This week, I am planning on trying sweet potatoes with them. It should be interesting and will probably end up with maple syrup or brown sugar. Also, I was able to pre-make food items to save time this week. Pizza crust was made and is rising in our fridge. Pumpkin spice muffins were baked and saved to eat throughout the week. Hamburger was cooked and put in a Tupperware to include in meals. I cooked a big batch of oatmeal and saved it in mason jars for breakfasts. I really like doing this, taking Sunday to figure out meals for the week and get whatever cooking or preparing out of the way. No, I don't have a hugely busy schedule, but it does save my brain from overheating. If I have something prepared or at least started, then when I have screaming hungry children at 4:30pm, I can usually have dinner done by 5pm. It helps me remember what we have available as a meal, rather than stare blankly at the contents of our fridge and cupboard, trying to figure out a meal as one child screams from her bouncy seat, one climbs on my leg and the other dramatically "dies" on the kitchen floor (from starvation, I'm assuming).
Limiting our outside exposure forced a new level of household creativity. Once the boys were healthy enough to stand, they were healthy enough to run. And cause chaos. And cause me a cleaning breakdown. During one of the nap times, I was able to clean out the "bonus" room. I call it the "bonus" room because I think it's supposed to be storage. However, since I first laid eyes on it I have envisioned a (tiny) play room for the boys. One with unlimited lego playing capacity, where the legos can roll freely without fear of being stepped on, being lost under furniture or swept up by the Dyson only to be tossed into the garbage and never again seeing the fingers, ears and mouths of my children. I also envisioned taking the door off the hinges and hanging a curtain on a pressure rod in the door frame, but Matt says that's not happening. One step at a time. Our "bonus" room now houses the two lego tables and lego organizer that Santa brought, along with all the art supplies you could ever imagine and the massive collection of Hot Wheels. All of those items are forbidden to leave that room for fear of me having a cleaning breakdown and donating them to the closest Goodwill or Salvation Army. That is an honest-to-God fear in this house.
"Please Mom, don't donate my toys!"
"Gabe, you have fifty thousand hundred toys and they are all over my floor. I can't think when I see all these toys everywhere. Clean them up or they're gone."
"But, you've already donated so many of my toys!"
"And I'll donate the rest if I can't have walking space on my floor."
Honest-to-God conversation. No idea where Gabe gets his drama from.
I also moved the bookcases into the living room, making a reading corner complete with carpet. This has been a great source of entertainment for the boys. We have A LOT of books (hazard of working in the B&N children's department) and now they can take them off the shelves and spread them out. I don't mind that mess as much. The kitchen and craft table in the dining room were cleaned off and made into a tent this weekend as well. Playing peekaboo and hiding underneath the table created a great source of entertainment. There was talk of eating and sleeping in the "tent", but it was short lived once Gabe remembered he couldn't move his lego's out of their playroom. Absolutely not. And you wonder why Zander is obsessed with cleaning.
With the kids on the mend, I look forward to getting creative this week. I've been using Swagbucks as a search engine and almost have enough points for a $5 gift card to Amazon, which I'll use on a "want" instead of a "need". I want to figure out how to make chalkboard paint washable. How fun would it be to have mugs that the kids can draw on? Also, I want to make some more bows for Calla with ric-rac I bought at Target for $1. Valentine's pictures need to be taken this week, so I have time to edit and order them for family. I need to organize and hang up the boys "dress up" costumes in their closet, hang up their basketball hoop and find ribbon for a children's art work clothesline. Lots and lots to catch up on.
Enjoy the pictures. I'll try and post the recipes in the next couple days.