Sunday, June 18, 2017

Tick Tock

Time is a crazy thing.  It's the essence of life, yet it effects you differently in each stage of life.  As a young child, a day seems like an eternity and it's sometimes measured by the slow moving moments like waiting to be picked up at carpool or the time between "snack and pack" and the dismissal bell.  My 4 year old would refer to something that happened last week as yesterday and any day in the future as tomorrow.

For me, as a 38 year old mom, wife and business owner, time is something I think about maybe a little too much, and in ways I wish I didn't.  Other than when I sleep, there is a rare hour in the day when I do not look at the clock.  I am constantly making decisions and fretting over those decisions based on time.  I actually lost my watch a few weeks ago and although I have several clocks in my house and a phone almost always within an arm's reach, I still felt uneasy not being able to check the time with a quick glance at my wrist.  I realized just how often I am thinking about the minutes in a day. And how often that type of thinking causes me stress!

As a business owner:
can I take another cake order that week?  will I have enough time?
will it take me away from my family?  or is this important to my financial stability, therefore adding to the quality of my time?  thinking about this is taking up way too much time.
how much time will it take to bake this cake?  darn, I forgot the timer!  
overcooked.  rebaking.  there goes the day!
how will I finish decorating this cake in time?  how much time should I allow to set up and deliver?  can't be too early and definitely not too late!

As a mother:
time to eat!  time to go to bed!  time to get dressed! time to go!  time to leave!  time to stop crying! 
we need to hurry; you're taking too much time! slow down, you're growing up too fast!  would you please grow up and be a big boy? please stop growing right now because you fit in my arms so nicely.  
must be dropped off on time, picked up on time, don't be late or else there will be tears and guilt
maybe the bus will be a few minutes late today and I'll make it back in time...shoot, a red light!
do we even  have time in the week for one more activity?  but if we don't do it, you'll be behind your peers...
I wish I had more time to spend with my kids.  help, I need time away from these rascals!
where did the time go?  you are no longer my babies...I miss that time.

As a wife:
when can we take time for us?  when you work I tend to the kids, when I work you tend to the kids.
we both work too much.  I can't wait for the weekend to get here so we can spend time together!  wait, the weekend is over, I worked, you cleaned and mowed and planted, and pretty sure we only hung out for 1 hour.  we need to start saving for the future: retirement and college....there's not enough time to save!  We need a date night.  Wait, what's that?  I should probably take that extra cake order so we can go out more.  but then I'm working late, too long, and then we're both too tired to go out.  Retirement sounds nice.  But time is slipping away much too fast!

Christmas 2016: Wishing this moment would stand still!

Isabelle and I recently created a crafty clock using a cake board (of course) and numbers cut out of glitter paper to help her to understand how to tell time since they're working on it at school.  That's when it dawned on me that before now, she never really truly understood or cared about time.  Life probably feels painfully slow for her at times, when it's ridiculously fast for me most of the time.  What an innocent, wonderful stage in life when you do not fully grasp time. Isabelle's favorite saying is "best day ever" (and she says it about as much as she says "worst day ever").  She has a life mission to have the "best day ever" each day, but sometimes my highly emotional child is brought to frustration and tears over the littlest things, which can turn the day into the "worst day ever."  (But thankfully it can switch back to the "best" very quickly.)  And like I tell her, if she's forced to go to bed on a night that did not end as the "best day ever," well, there's always tomorrow.  But, it's pretty obvious that she cares more about today than any other day.  

That's a pretty cool way to live and I aspire to do the same.

It was my new year's resolution to get back on the blog.  I think about it often.  Every week, I say, this is the week I'm going to post. And there goes another week.  I actually wrote most of this in March, several months before I pulled the trigger to post it.  I've missed this time to reflect and sit and think.  But it always seems too overwhelming.  How could I possibly sum up the last 2 years?  It's been a crazy few years for sure.

I stopped blogging because it was keeping me up late at night.  I'd get really into it, and instead of going to bed, I'd stay up and blog.  Funny thing though, I'm still staying up too late at night.  I also stopped because our family was faced with some unexpected challenges.  It didn't seem appropriate to write about my innermost feelings and just felt wrong to fake it.  It would have been impossible to write about our "happy" lives when we were actually struggling with many other emotions.  And while I could have posted pictures of our very happy kids (who were thankfully not seemingly affected by our adult issues), I couldn't muster up the energy.  Such is life.

So here we are, me and the ole' blog, trying to get back together.

I'll do a little catching up, but my goal from now on is to live a little more like my kids.  To care about the here and now; less about the past, less about the future.  The past is no longer, and the future is unknown.  This moment is perfect.  Today is the day.

But ironically, today I choose to reflect on 2016, with some of it's challenges and mostly it's shining moments, so here we go!  (So much for not thinking about the past!)


One of our challenges began in March of 2016 when Collier got very sick, with what we think started as a bad tummy bug.  When he started throwing up on the first day I was already very concerned because it was just like an episode he'd had just 4 weeks before.  Once again, he was puking up yellow bile every 15 minutes and couldn't seem to catch a break.  It also reminded me of several other incidents he'd had since birth.  This kid throws up ALL the time.  I mean more than me in my entire life (and that includes a ridiculous week in Cancun the summer after my freshman year in college).  I was worried but I had no idea how worried I would be 5 days later.  That was when it was suggested that he might have a very rare and mild genetic disorder that could be the cause of this bizarre episodes.

Here we were in the emergency room, Collier getting IV fluids and waiting for blood test results.  After 3 days of trying to keep him comfortable and watching him vomit continuously, I was finally at peace and so relieve to have doctors and nurses surrounding us.
Day 2 in the hospital, Collier still sleepy but getting the care he needed...we were exhausted too!
Poor kid had to get blood drawn so many times which was excruciating (especially when he was so severely dehydrated and nearly impossible for the nurses find a good vein...it took them several tries and man was it hard to be a mama in those moments!).  Collier came in suffering from dehydration, low blood sugar and metabolic acidosis (high level of acid in his blood).  The low blood sugar not so surprising since he refused to take any fluids and we were doing our best to force pedialite down with a syringe (now we know we should have been forcing icing down his throat!). But the level of acid was alarming (bicarbonate level of 10 which is dangerously low) and the reason for further testing and visits with lots of doctors to rule out a possible metabolic disorder.

Such a joy to see him perk up and want to play!  We had to bring the IV bag along with him.
Hemby Children's Hospital was so generous to bring him new toys and books throughout his stay. This smile was a sight for sore eyes.  Being in the pediatric hospital for a few days gave me such great sympathy for families who are in and out of there with terminally ill children.  Although we had unanswered questions and lots of worry, in the grand scheme of things, this was just a very tiny bump in the road.
Happy to have this healthy family together for a picnic at Freedom Park! 

In the months after Collier's episode, we visited two geneticists, a cardiologist, endocrinologist, and neurologist and I might as well have gotten a degree in the study of metabolic disorders because I spent countless hours researching and learning and hypothesizing.  And worrying, of course.

Collier is terrified of doctors so I tried to get creative before and during our visits.  Asking him to stand on a scale at the doctor's office (which is a simple task for most!) was literally like pulling teeth.  The blood pressure arm band squeeze sent him to hysteria.  Before his appointment to get an EKG, I thought we'd pretend to give his daddy one.  Not sure it helped, but we had fun.

This was "dress as your future self" day at Cotswold and here is my little artist!
Collier and cousin Jamison have a mutual love for trucks.  And rocks.
Pretty awesome to finally visit Brun's plant and his enormous forklift! 
Celebrating the Panther' making it to the Super Bowl!!!  Isabelle and Emmie BFFs!
So proud of Isabelle, receiving an IB award at school for her "commitment."
Father-Daughter Dance pics with neighborhood buddies.  Beautiful girls!
Kindergarten!
We went on a short excursion to the mountains with Granddaddy and Cici which included a trip to Tweetsie!  Collier prefers to steal breakfast from those sitting next to him.
Happy, happy kids at Tweetsie!!  Haven for a train-loving little boy!

Sweet girls at their ballet recital!
My little ballerina!
Wearing our best hats to the neighborhood Derby Party!
Collier and his best pal, Henry, pretending to be pilots at the Aviation Museum!
Collier finds a way to play drums anywhere and everywhere.
We had a family day trip to Chapel Hill to visit a geneticist...not really the reason we'd like to be visiting our alma mater, but we were very grateful for he opportunity to have so many questions answered in a way that made sense to us.  Isabelle went on a campus tour with Granddaddy (including a visit to the Old Well, also known as "that thing Mommy always makes out of cake") while Collier, Cici, Brian and I visited with doctors (and med students).  We left feeling very assured that Collier's diagnosis is most likely idiopathic ketotic hypoglycemia, and one that he will soon outgrow.  Best part is that the medicine of choice is good old fashioned SUGAR.  How convenient for a child who lives in a bakery with an accessible supply of at least 100 lb of sugar any day of the week!
  
Speaking of Old Well cakes, here is one I made shortly before our visit!
Isabelle turned 6 on the day we arrived at Litchfield for our annual Barksdale Family beach week!
Attempt at a decent family picture was somewhat successful.  Not seen here is the epic meltdown that Collier displayed for everyone when he realized we had tricked him into looking at the camera!
The beach is this girl's happy place!
Would rather be watching a firetruck.

A great summer comes to an end with a 2 week stay at "The Lake."  Ahhhh.

Picking blueberries is the most fun!




My lake boy.  

Happy Cousins!!



It was a hot summer, but never too hot for S'mores.


The water was so warm!  Definitely the most swimming we have all done together in Seneca Lake.  And always with our favorite furry family member, Crockett.




Cici learned out to open a wine bottle with a traditional cork screw!  Hurray for independence!
Another amazing treasure hunt for the kids.
Outdoor dinners are the best!
Nature made raft constructed with grass, twigs and flowers.  Oh and an American flag too.  
Collier finally moved into a big boy bed and we switched the kids rooms!  
Isabelle got bunk beds!  I painted my brother's old bunk beds white for a feminine touch.  So in love with their new rooms!
Annual trip to Seabrook with family besties, The Rayburns!  We are always so grateful for this wonderful invitation!
Best buds since birth!  Nothing will break this sweet bond.
Isabelle loved attending camp at Imaginon and performing at the end!  So cute!
Ellie taking the grandkids to see Isabelle's performance.  
Birthday Party time!!!
Mermaid theme and lots of water games to keep things cool.


Distant cousins together at the Pruden house!
Oh my gosh.  First grade.  How can it be!?  We all started with confidence and it was such a great year!
3s class and he was really excited to go back...phew!
In September, Isabelle and I joined best friends, Lori and Frances Richardson on an amazing trip to Disney World.  Unforgettable and absolutely the best!





Annual excursion to Riverbend Farm for slides and pumpkin picking.  


Halloween is always a thrill because it's Isabelle's favorite holiday!  She was a bat and Collier a train engineer.  What a fun night.  Collier's first time getting into the trick-or-treating and it was so sweet to watch them together.  
Thanksgiving

Lost that first front tooth!  Love this smile.


Happy Birthday to Brian!  Cupcake Wars in the bakement with dear friends!
Uptown excursion with Brooksie.
Cousins in love!
Decking the Halls.
New cousin, Leeora, arrives!
And Collier turns 4.  We celebrate him and the NuNu, of course.
With a trip on The Polar Express!


Fun making gingerbread houses in the Bakement.



Twas the Night Before Christmas...


Santa came!



An actual NuNu!!!




The Nutcracker with neighbors.  
Kids in the bakement making meringue mushrooms!
A bit of snow!
Daddy-Daughter Dance
Lining up his trucks.
Cousins!
Stitches!!!
Future veterinarian (and singer and artist and writer)
With our future fireman.
Book Character Day - Betty Bunny (Loves Chocolate Cake)!  Oh, and she even put some in her pocket, just like Betty Bunny does!

More to come, very soon!!!