About Me

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I like to think of myself as the 'crazy mom of four'. I'm 31 years old and I love my life, my kids, my husband and my God. "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Eliot

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Smoking: Should I Start?

So lately I have been wondering about the question that prompted today's subject line.


I am not seriously considering smoking.

I'm just thinking...if it would help with my anxiety, and if it would help me maintain my weight...well...what's the harm??

Oh yeah...cancer. Yellow teeth. For me, blood clots. So perhaps it isn't the best idea...


I like the song "Johnny and June". It makes me smile.

The other day we were getting Livvy ready for school and I had her in a jumper and white shirt. And she kept calling it a 'jump rope'. It was really cute.

I am perplexed. We took Livvy to the doctor today to talk about her blood test results from her hospital stay. The fact that the had us come into the office instead of discussing it over the phone led me to believe there was a lot to talk about.

Boy was I wrong. Her blood test came back negative. They tested her for trees, grass, mold, and nuts. Not allergic to any of them. Now the doctor did say that she was really too young to do that blood test but from what they could tell she wasn't allergic to anything. He didn't realize he hadn't tested her for cats and dogs, so that one is still up in the air. So her 'allergies' are not contributing to her asthma. So what does this mean?

We still can't give her peanut butter or nuts. The doctor wanted us to go see an allergist before giving clearance to give her those things. Specifically with peanut butter, Livvy breaks out in hives wherever it touches her. There are other food items that have the same result. Ranch dressing, sometimes. Dog saliva too I believe. I am not upset that she tested negative-just confused. She was very clearly choking the last time we consciously gave her peanut butter. I took it away and started giving her benadryl right away and she ended up being just fine. But in addition to choking that time, she had hives almost all over her body. So if she isn't allergic, why is she breaking into hives??? I don't get it. So strange...

Monday, August 25, 2008

A little bit of random thinking

The song "Fat Bottom Girls" by Queen makes me laugh. Especially the line about his naughty nanny.

Certain 'Monster Ballads' from the 80's make me smile no matter how many times I have heard them.

Remember when we were kids (those of you close in age to me) and we had those toy phones? The rotary type ones? Sometimes you could pull it on a string. Remember how much fun as kids we used to have playing with phones or pretending to talk on them? Boy have times changed. Technology is an interesting thing. The other day in the van my children were playing with pretend phones, only their phones were, of course, cell phones. But beyond that, their phones had a variety of ringers and could vibrate. And...my favorite of all...Kaleb was pretending he was sending an email on his phone! Isn't that funny?? Makes me wonder what my grandchildren will be pretending to make calls on!

Abbey hasn't had any accidents at school since we discovered that the toilets at school flush automatically. She will only use ONE certain toilet and though I can't be sure, I think she is actually going potty at school now instead of holding it or having accidents.

Kaleb's meltdowns seem to be increasing. Today, because I voiced some concerns to his teacher, the school counselor sent home a brochure on a program Hazelwood has with Florissant PSYCH, so we can actually call and get 4 free visits with a psychologist. I will definitely be calling to make an appointment. Kaleb told me the other night that when he is mad or upset he has bad thoughts. I asked him what kind of bad thoughts and he said thoughts about getting hurt or killed. This concerned me, as I cannot place where he would have HEARD anything like that.

It's 5:22pm and I should go make dinner for the kids. Yet as usual, I am really tired and don't feel like it. Fortunately we are just having sandwiches so at least it is easy and won't take long.

Olivia likes her Alphabet Soup school. She is basically completely potty-trained now which is just GREAT! I can't beleive for the first time EVER I don't have any kids in diapers! My first three were so close together...for the last 7 years I've always had at least one (usually 2) in diapers!

Katherine...nothing new really. She's enjoying 2nd grade, though she told me today that she didn't miss anything on her spelling test because her words were SO easy. It amazes me how easy the spelling words are for both Kaleb and Katherine. Transferring to public school from private school there is a significant difference. I don't know that they are specifically testing Katherine's reading yet, but Kaleb is in first grade and has already passed the end of first grade and the end of second grade reading. They are now testing him at the third grade level. It's amazing...

Kris and I are hoping to play bridge again at the club tomorrow night. We were able to go last week thanks to our friend Faith. Anyone want to quite literally sit at my house for about 3 hours while my kids sleep??? Please? Pretty please...!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The ups and downs of parenting

Today is more about the 'downs' of parenting. My son...well...it's hard right now to really put it all into words. I've expressed my concerns before with his attitude and erratic behavior. This school year hasn't started off too well. Ok, well there were 2 days last week that Kaleb didn't really get into too much trouble, and one day this week. HOWEVER, the other days, today included, did not go as well. He earned himself an hour of detention today. In addition to being silly and not listening at school, his attitude at home (and HIS MOUTH) have just been horrible. He's disagreeable the majority of the time. And he is hateful and mean. He screams at the top of his lungs when he doesn't get his way. It just seems that he should have outgrown some of this. Last night he got spanked (by dad) for being rude and disrespectful over and over again. So rather than take his punishment and cry, he threw himself around and got himself into more trouble. So Kris spanked him and then Kaleb proceeded to throw himself onto the floor and thrash around. All the while screaming "I'm gonna die! I'm gonna die!" We just walked out and shut the door. When I went back in there, he had put his jammies on and was laying in his bed. What is so infuriating is that when he is in the midst of that, there is NOTHING we can do to diffuse the situation. You can't leave the room because he can't be trusted. He has this thing for destroying objects so I don't really like to just walk away and leave him to tear things apart. If you stay in there and try to talk rationally to him he just screams over you. Spanking obviously isn't effective. I just really don't know how to help him express his emotions in a way that is healthy for everyone involved. I love my son. SO MUCH. And I hate to see him lose control of himself so quickly and so often, and sometimes with absolutely no provocation at all.

And then there's Abbey. She never has accidents, or I suppose I should say she very rarely has accidents. But yesterday she had an accident at school and they wrote a little note to tell me about it. She took 'extra' bathroom breaks in the afternoon, and THEN had an accident when she came back to the room. Well this afternoon the nurse called me because she had another accident and they were wanting to know if maybe she had a UTI or something. I was perplexed. I told them she was just fine and I just did not understand why she would be doing that. So her teacher calls me after school today to talk to me about it and I am just so confused as to why all of a sudden this is happening. All of a sudden, I got this thought as the teacher and I were talking through it all. So I asked the teacher "I don't really understand because the toilets don't flush on their own do they?" And the teacher told me that yes they do. Imagine my surprise. Well, it is more difficult for you to imagine if you don't understand that my Abbey has a fear of public toilets, ESPECIALLY those that flush on their own. In public she can now go potty by herself as long as they don't flush on their own. If they flush on their own, she will FINALLLY go, as long as someone else goes in with her and covers ('tricks' as she calls it) the sensor. She still jumps right up and backs away as soon it starts to flush. I believe what was happening is this: Abbey needed to go potty. She would ask to go to the bathroom, and then she would go to the bathroom, probably intent on going, then get in there and be terrified of the stupid automatic toilet. And then she would go back to class, not having gone potty and when she couldn't wait any longer, she would have an accident. So...the REASON she is having accidents is finally clear to me, and once I realized the toilets were automatic it made much more sense. However, now the question is how do we help her overcome her fear? I actually took her over to the school this afternoon and made her get up on the potty three times assuring her that when it flushed nothing bad happened. I think (I HOPE) I have her almost convinced that she can get up on the potty and go before it will flush. We will see what happens tomorrow. Poor girl.

It's been a long day.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

She's home

I just realized I forgot to update on here that Olivia came home from the hospital yesterday around 11am. She is doing well. She started preschool today (was supposed to start yesterday). She had a good first day.

There's nothing more to say right now.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Update on Livvy

Well, it looks like my update will be FROM the hospital, instead of when we get home from the hospital, since we are not going home tonight.

While her asthma and oxygen levels are under control, Livvy has been throwing up all day. Her heart rate had been ranging between 170-190, and we were told that it is a sign of dehydration, which is no surprise since she has been throwing up everything she drinks. So they took her about 20 minutes ago and put an iv in her little hand. I think the 'weight' of this weekend is catching up with me and I couldn't bring myself to go in the room while they put the iv in. Of course if she had cried for me to be with her, I would have gone, but I couldn't take it. I was in tears here in the room hearing her scream from across the hall. But she did good and doesn't seem to be too bothered by the iv. They are filling her with fluids and her heart rate is already down around the 150's. She is doing well without oxygen and able to keep that above 95 on her own. She has become congested and if I didn't know better I would think she had or came down with a touch of the flu while we were here. They will continue the fluids through the iv tonight and in the morning we will try giving her liquids by mouth again and if she can keep that down, we will move on to solid foods. So, hopefully we will go home tomorrow but we have to take one thing at a time and go from there.

All of your prayers are appreciated. Thanks to those of you who have stopped by or called to ask about her. We appreciate all of our friends and family.

Rough morning

It's been a rough morning for Olivia today. Her breathing is under control and they took her off of oxygen around midnight last night, but she can't keep any food or drink down...so that has been...interesting. It could be a direct result of coughing and the phlegm that is broken up from all her breathing treatments. What do I know though? I'm not a doctor. The good news is that they said we can probably go home today. The doctor wants to see if she can keep her lunch down in a bit-we'll see how that goes. She is in better spirits today though, and finally used to being here. Isn't that the way it goes? Resistant to something new until it's almost over?

It's been a crazy weekend. It's going to be an awful week at work. I was already behind Friday and had planned to work over the weekend, but being here, even though there is wi-fi, I have been able to focus long enough on anything BUT Olivia. There's laundry to be done at home, and cleaning and all kinds of things that I need to catch up on but it doesn't look promising that I will get to any of it. Even if they say we can go this afternoon, it will most likely be this evening by the time all the paperwork and waiting around gets done.

At least now we have a plan to deal with her asthma and kind of keep it under control. I will have two epi-pens-one to leave at home (or take wherever we go) and one to leave at her preschool. She's get pulmicort morning and night everyday and then albuterol as needed to treat an attack. That's all for now. I will update when we are released from the hospital.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hospitals with Wi-Fi...

...get two thumbs up.

Last night WAS NOT a good night. AFTER I got home with my brand new .68 master point! We went to bed around 1:30am. I woke up around 4am to hear Kris giving Livvy a breathing treatment and Livvy's shallow, fast breathing could be heard back in my room. Apparently her screaming woke Kris up-so odd that I didn't hear it.

He brought her into the bedroom around 4:15am and her breathing was still pretty bad after the treatment so we decided we should take her to the ER. So up I got, got dressed, brushed my teeth, grabbed my purse and out the door we were by 4:30am. We went to Depaul Hospital, which is only about 12-15 minutes from our house. They didn't even bother registering us. They almost immediately took us right back to a room and started an hour long breathing treatment. They want the oxygen level to be OVER 95 and Livvy's was staying down around 91. They did a second treatment a while later and around 8:30am told me they wanted to admit her to the hospital for 'in-house' treatment. For whatever reason, they said we had to go to a different hospital, so I chose St. Lukes Hospital, where all of the kids were born, despite it's distance from our house, which is still only about 20-25 minutes away.

And I guess hospital policy dictates that they have to transfer by ambulance, instead of me driving her. So I left my car at Depaul and we rode in the ambulance over to St. Lukes. It was interesting. They strapped a car seat onto the stretcher then put her into the car seat. They already had a room ready for us so we came straight up. Talk about GOOD treatment! Both hospitals impressed me.

While Livvy's breathing is better and more under control, her oxygen level is not stabilizing just yet. They said if they have to give her oxygen she may have to stay longer than one night. She was getting used to everything until they put the oxygen thing in her nose and she has been restless and cranky and trying to rip it off her face ever since. Poor thing...we are hoping to let her walk around for a bit-they said we could have her off the oxygen for maybe 10-15 minutes. Should be an interesting time...

**UPDATE-I wanted to add something. At one point, Livvy said extremely cute and pathetically "It's not mine!". I said 'What's not yours?' And she pointed to the oxygen tubes in her nose. It was really funny. She said it as if she expected me to remove them simply because they were not hers; therefore they did not belong in her nose! It was really funny.

I'm on the way up

I am KEYED up tonight. I don't know when I will be able to fall asleep. I've been home for about 15-20 minutes and I am EXCITED.

I learned to play bridge about 5-6 years ago. We played with our friends (who taught us to play) at their house or ours over the course of about a year or so. And then life changed, got busy and we kind of stopped playing. I would play from time to time online and sometimes Kris would play with me but we really kind of just stopped playing on a regular basis.

Then, last Wednesday, Mary asked if we wanted to help them practice for this tournament that was coming up. We said 'sure'. So we practiced with them last Thursday through this past Monday night, every day. Refreshing our memories and game play. We decided early on in our 'practice' last week that we would get a sitter if possible and play as often as we could in the tournament. May as well try it out-thought it would be fun.

Tuesday night was our first night at the tournament. Even then we did not come in last place, which felt pretty good considering we have never played bridge in public before. We had fun, we learned some things, we made some mistakes.

Wednesday night, a bit of the same. This time we didn't make as many mistakes and we still had fun. Thursday was much of the same, only I found myself more disappointed that we didn't do 'better' because I felt like we were 'on' our game last night.

Anyway, I was really drained today. We had been working all day, then playing bridge and not getting home until midnight every night. But I thought "I'm just going to have fun and not think about the competition aspect of it." We had a good night tonight. We played well together. We made a couple mistakes, we missed a couple bids. But overall, I had so much fun and we played well. Kris did great. He got a little more bold tonight and it paid off.

Now if you don't know much about bridge, you may not know that you can earn Master Points. I don't know that these points mean anything beyond giving you a 'status' within the bridge realm. But if you enjoy playing bridge and you are going to play in a club or in a tournament, you want Master Points. They have different levels: black, red, silver and gold. Each color is worth more than the one before it. When you play at a local club you can earn black points. In this tournament at the level we were at, you can earn red points.

Kris and I, being BRAND NEW to playing bridge in public, have held our own all week. We haven't looked like fools or been super easy opponents, at least I don't think so. We haven't been in last place either any night at all, so that to me was almost enough! It means that though we do not have nearly as much experience as pretty much everyone else there, we have played well.

And tonight I am happy, excited, proud, THRILLED to announce that Kris and I earned Master Points tonight! We each earned .68 RED points. I know it's not a whole point. HOWEVER, it can take years to earn points. So we have a great start to what I know will be a continued pursuit of Master Points! It was a very fun, exciting and thoroughly fulfilling night for us both.

We will play in the tournament tomorrow night as well. At this point though, I am beyond content! It has been an awesome experience and I have met a lot of great people. I am excited to play with my new friends again tomorrow night but will be sad to say goodbye to them. But perhaps I will see them again next year!

Monday, August 11, 2008

The transition is complete...

Today Katherine, Kaleb and Abbey started public school. All three of them rode the bus for the first time. I was more nervous than they were. Abbey was cute-she just kept hugging me and telling me she loves me (as only Abbey can!) and telling me that she was going to try really hard to be good. So I saw them off to school, then made it home in time for them to get off of the school bus (only had minutes to spare).

When they got home they were all so eager to tell me about their days. Kaleb told me about one of his friends and that he had a good day and liked his teacher. He had a 'good' day too as far as his behavior. In addition, he made it a point to tell me about this cute girl in his class. I didn't prompt it, though I THOUGHT about asking him if there were any cute girls. I gave him this look and he told me he didn't have a girlfriend. He didn't say 'yet' but I am sure he was thinking it like I was!! Then he went on to tell me that she was just really really cute! It was funny. Kaleb then proceeded to draw a picture of a lady. Around it he wrote "Your the best Your the best" and then underneath it said "Miss Chitwood". So, obviously he likes his teacher about as much as I do. I think it will be (I HOPE) a good year for Kaleb.

Katherine made a new friend who also happens to ride the school bus and apparently lives around the block, so she was pretty excited about that. Her name is Rebecca and Katherine already asked me if she can go to Rebecca's house on Saturday. I told Katherine I couldn't even think about that right now.

Abbey had a good day too. She likes her teacher quite a bit. There isn't much more to say about Abbey's day but she enjoyed herself.

I am looking forward to my new schedule of getting off work at 3. Because I don't want to get up earlier, I am working 8-3 in Fenton then I will come home and work for another hour while the kids read and do their homework til 5. Then I will get dinner ready and so on...maybe I will feel less 'busy' and stressed with that extra couple of hours at home. We'll see...

Livvy starts school at Alphabet Soup next week. She is VERY excited and doing very well with the potty training! I'm very proud of her of course. And now we will save $40/month with her potty trained, not to mention the money we will save in diapers/pullups. This is the first time we have not had anyone in diapers....SO BIZARRE!!! GOOD though!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


I have a lot of fears and anxieties. This is not news to most people. I call myself paranoid. Kris always makes fun of me whenever I have a new 'worry'. For instance, if I have an unusual headache, I worry that there might be something else going on besides the fact that I didn't have my morning Diet Dr. Pepper. This is a bit of an exaggeration-I am just using that scenario to illustrate what I am trying to say. I've self-diagnosed myself with restless leg syndrome among other things.

What I realized tonight though is that I only do this when I don't truly beleive there is something wrong with me. For instance, I have this annoying pain in the back of my leg, behind my knee. It's been there all day-it feels almost like a pulled muscle or something similar. So what do I 'worry' that it might be? A blood clot. Now, mind you, fearing a blood clot is a very valid concern and one that I will not take lightly. I had my first blood clot 10 years ago, and based on this Factor V Leiden that I have, there is no way of predicting whether I will get another one. And I have done research on Factor V Leiden and blood clots, as it is a real concern for me. And I also know that pain in the back of your leg (behind your knee), especially when accompanied by swelling (which I DO NOT have) CAN be a sign of a clot. So, that is how I ended up writing about this, because the pain in my leg raised certain questions.

The reality is that I do not truly believe that I have a blood clot, though I am not stupid enough that I will not call my doctor if the pain does not subside. I was contemplating this, knowing that Kris thinks I am a bit of a hypochondriac, and I have to disagree with him. What I realized tonight is that I am more talk than anything. I speculate quite a bit-especially when I don't feel right-but it is only when I don't really believe anything to be wrong that I do this. When there is actually something wrong with me, I am very simply in denial that anything is wrong with me. I will insist that I am fine. Had Kris and his dad not pushed me 10 years ago to go to the doctor when my arm turned purpled and swelled up like a balloon for no apparent reason, I probably would not have gone-at least not right away.

So, what Kris and I decided tonight is that because I 'worry' that something is wrong with my leg, based on my history and paranoia when there is truly nothing serious wrong, that I must be just fine. Sounds logical, right?

Friday, August 1, 2008

New month, new blog

August 1. Just a little longer and then we will enjoy the sweet, cool, crispness of fall! I LOVE fall! I think I blog about this every year. I can't wait for fall!

I'm extremely tired tonight, so I will try to keep this short. It's been a crazy, busy week. Today we did some job switching at work, so it took some adjusting at work today, which wasn't easy with a two hour vendor lunch that kept me out of the office. I realized today how nice it is to work at the office in Fenton where I work. Kris works down in the city and I work off-site in Fenton, in one of our client's buildings. I have my own cubicle with a very large desk, two computer screens, lots of space and a nice cushy computer chair. Today I was in for a RUDE awakening working in the city. Because I am never there, I get all the mix and match furniture and things that no one wants or needs. I suppose it makes sense though since, as I said, I am never there. I think in the last 5 months I have worked 'on-site' two times! All that to say it was a difficult day as far as being productive. I mean, I was productive. I set up 22 claims today, and dispatched 13 of them. I kept up with my email and the adjuster alerts. I realize most people don't know what any of that means, but it doesn't really matter...I'm just talking... Right at the end of the day we ended up getting another 10-12 claims that will need to be set up and dispatched. I plan to put in a couple hours tomorrow trying to get everything caught up so that when I get to the office Monday I can feel that things are more manageable.

So I ended a crazy day with a much crazier night. It's all my mother-in-law's fault. Yeah...I know you're reading this-you know it's your fault! :-) It's tax-free weekend of course for school supplies and clothes, so she thought it would be a great idea to go shopping for school supplies. I did not want to. I'm tired...all the time...and tonight was no exception. And we went to Walmart of all places and if you have ever been in a St. Louis Walmart, well, it's just not pretty. It was over-crowded and over-crazy! I totally overuse the word crazy but it seems to fit in so many different aspects of my life. Anyway...$140 and 1 1/2 hours later we left Walmart, still needing ALL of Livvy's school supplies (because we didn't have her list) and a number of items for the olders kids as well. Cindy has offered to go back at 7am to get the remainder of the items on the older kids' lists, so I have decided to just accept her proposal and let her. It's the least she can do for dragging me out with the three girls into chaos, AFTER the kids' bedtime to do shopping I didn't want to do! Don't worry those of you who might think me a bit harsh...she's sitting right here with me and knows I am smiling as I write about this. I'm not really mad...in case anyone is wondering!

Speaking of crazy, I have a little story to share that pretty much proves I use that word too much. Katherine is a lot like me emotionally. Already at 7 years old she will randomly cry for reasons she cannot understand or explain. She's such a girl! The other day I knew she was tired and something set her off and she was just crying away. I was holding her and asked her what was wrong, or if she knew why she was crying. She told me no and then said "I just feel crazy." Hmm...I can't seem to figure out WHERE she would have ever heard something even close to that!