Our REAL life!

98% of the time I love to blog about our fun adventures, milestones the children are reaching, or even just a funny quote or video…but this time it’s about the realness of our last few days.

Last Thursday, Chris was off to Breckenridge, CO for a weekend of snowboarding with his college buddies. I couldn’t have been more supportive of this trip considering I planned it for him as a Christmas present. Well, I got the ball rolling for the guys and of course they set out all the details…a house with a hot tub, and lots of bacon and beer! The kids and I were doing great…had our friends here for a couple days, a trip downtown for lunch at Rainforest Cafe and then Saturday Garrett started running a fever and became fussy and that night, the awfulness began…Ryann woke me up at 130am with a bad tummy ache, and she started vomiting. Fortunately, I have the best 4-year old helper who was running to get me towels, wipes, etc. She could not manage to make it in the trashcan as she was miserable. I had to change her sheets 4 times that night (yes, that means I was doing laundry at 2am and also using her brother’s extra set). Between her getting sick the 3rd and 4th time, Garrett was up for his early morning bottle…I washed and changed my clothes for fear of spreading this to him. He finished just in time for me to put him back down and get back down to Ryann for more vomiting. She finally settles down and falls deep asleep that she’s snoring at 5am…phew a break! Nope, I get upstairs, wash, change again, crawl into my bed and Garrett wakes up at 5:15!

Sunday was full of anxiety for me…every cough, hiccup, or burp made me think someone was going to throw up. It’s not the easiest to keep a 2 year old contained when she’s sick. I am SO thankful Pottery Barn made a slipcover couch…the cushion covers and the entire back portion of the couch is a slipcover that can be thrown in the wash…yep, had to wash a couch cushion, blanket and scrub the carpet. I barely left her side unless I was taking care of Garrett who was still miserable himself…low fever, not eating, and fussiness. I am also SO thankful for TV and the iPad…Parker stayed out of the way of the other kids, helped when I needed it and just laid low! I owe him!

That evening Chris came home to a house of disarray…it sure wasn’t the welcome home I’m sure he was expecting. I’m glad Parker was feeling good because the two of them had some great bonding Sun night and Monday…All while I continued to care for Ryann and Garrett. Garrett cried and screamed all night Monday with little to no sleep for him or I…we got Parker off to school, Chris off to work and Ryann & I took Garrett to the Dr and found out he has an ear infection. We came home and as I was about to give him his first dose…he started vomiting. This time my little 2 year old knew what to do…towels and wipes for Mommy and she even started singing “twinkle, twinkle” to Garrett (even in all the madness, my little kids seem to light up the situation). Once I had him all cleaned up, I got a dose of meds in him and he napped the majority of the day. This day I was SO thankful for Parker’s best friend from school’s Mom…she picked up Parker from school and brought him home…thank goodness b/c Garrett had just vomited when he walked in the door…that would not have been fun to clean up in the van!

Wed evening came and it was bath time…whoa, what is all over Garrett? A newly popping out rash…of course, he was allergic to the medication after only 4 doses. Ryann is also allergic to these meds but it wasn’t until day 6-7 that we started to notice hers which is very common…Garrett’s being a rare case since he was already showing signs. So by 720am this morning I was off to the Dr again with Garrett. This time Daddy stayed home with Ryann until I could get back. Sure enough they confirmed his reaction and now we have to wait it out and hope the ear continues to improve as it did even after just 4 doses.

All in all I think we are doing better and hoping we are over the hump of this sickness phase…I know more will come! But I learned so much during this time…
#1) I am SHE-RA! I can get through anything on my own with these kids, however,
#2) I need my husband! We are a team and although he hasn’t been here for most of the drama, he has helped out with being present for the healthy ones, getting my groceries on his way home from work and going in late to lighten my load for the Dr. visit.
#3) Moms who do this with traveling husbands (Lana, Robyn, Kristen…to name a few)…YOU ROCK! I’ve always wondered how you manage to do it all on your own (sick kids or not), but God has powered each of you with your own ways of making it work and I’m proud of you…I may be able to manage, but I sure hope I’m not given the chance to test myself much more than needed.
#4) Find good in all situations, even the ones when I can barely open my eyes to see. Ex: I head downstairs to play with kids after getting my 4th cup of coffee for the morning and I had prepared a snack for the kids…Parker says “Yeah, this must mean you are in a good mood!” Thanks, buddy…I hadn’t realized it was that obvious! Time to buck up and play!
#5) Find a moment to be still and pray! I prayed that God would pull my children and I through this storm and to remind my heart that this is just a sickness that will be over far too soon compared to those families that deal with much greater discomfort in seeing their child battle a more serious illness.

So, here’s to tomorrow being a better, brighter day for the Stine Family! Until then…here is what we’ve been doing to keep ourselves sane…

Big sister helping! (Before they were sick.)

Big sister helping! (Before they were sick.)

puzzles!

puzzles!

Kids at Rainforest before all the sickness came alive.

Kids at Rainforest before all the sickness came alive.

a "true" moment...a not happy mommy at a 430am wake up call.

a “true” moment…a not happy mommy at a 430am wake up call.

I did not ask them to do this...they love each other so much!

I did not ask them to do this…they love each other so much!

My girl playing "Mommy" with one baby in the front pack!  Love her!!

My girl playing “Mommy” with one baby in the front pack! Love her!!

Drowsy, sick baby!

Drowsy, sick baby!

TV time in Mom and Dad's bed.

TV time in Mom and Dad’s bed.

Falling asleep face down after having just been sitting up playing.

Falling asleep face down after having just been sitting up playing.

Sick girl playing on her leaptop.

Sick girl playing on her leaptop.

Hot Wheels make a great chewy.

Hot Wheels make a great chewy.

Masterpiece in the making.

Masterpiece in the making.

A gorgeous glow over downtown Chicago this morning as I drove to the Dr. office.

A gorgeous glow over downtown Chicago this morning as I drove to the Dr. office.

Toga Baby...all wrapped up before having his rash looked at.  At least he was happy!

Toga Baby…all wrapped up before having his rash looked at. At least he was happy!

The "before"...

The “before”…

The "after"

The “after”

Could they be any cuter?

Could they be any cuter?

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A beautiful winter wonderland Christmas!

I know it’s the middle of January and I’m just posting about Christmas, but doesn’t it seem like it was just yesterday?  This month is already flying by which is why I needed to stop for a minute and document what a wonderful Christmas we experienced.  Chris and I have been married for 7 years and this was our first Christmas at our HOME. Yes, it took us until we had three kids to realize that traveling with small children for the holidays was getting to be a bit much.  We were excited, yet on the other hand just a tad nervous…what would it be like without all the old traditions and being surrounded by extended family?  Well, it was memorable!  Note to our families: Don’t worry, it won’t be like this every year, but making new memories year by year is all we can ask for!

We enjoyed a beautiful Christmas Eve service at our church, a fun dinner with our friends at Ann Sather and topped off the night with preparing cookies and milk for Santa along with Daddy reading “The Night Before Christmas.”  Christmas morning was priceless…waking up in our own home, kids running upstairs to see that Santa came to visit and the joy on their faces with all the gifts.  They were so grateful for everything they received so what more could we wish for?   After opening gifts, we looked outside to see it was a white Christmas afterall…our first snow of the year.  At one point I found myself in tears, overwhelmed with love and thanked God for the wonderful blessings he has given me in my husband and healthy, happy children. The genuine smiles in these pictures below tell the story of our Christmas.

The day following Christmas, Chris’ family arrived for a few days.  We went to Navy Pier for Chicago’s Winter-wonderland, and Children’s Museum, did some shopping and ate lots and lots of food!  Since this was my first year hosting a holiday, I finally felt my age, and my role in life…a wife and mother!  Thank goodness I had wonderful examples in my Mom and Grandmas who helped me get to this point…I was busy planning ahead, cleaning, organizing, baking, cooking and making sure everyone enjoyed themselves.  I think I succeeded.

Our Christmas was wonderful and our New Year has started off great.  We are blessed…not a day goes by that we don’t thank God for the life he has provided for us.

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Garrett’s 7 months!

Instead of me telling you what our 7 month old little boy IS doing, I think i should just tell you that he isn’t walking yet and just leave it at that! HA!  This kid is crazy…I think it’s all due to his birth order…3rd child just goes with the flow and tries to follow all that his brother and sister are doing.  I did capture some great pictures of this precious boy, but as you can see, the camera had to follow him!

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Check out a couple videos: