Friday, July 30, 2010

How do I know?

With a job loss, even when you find a new position quickly, there are doubts that creep in.  Even if the reasons for your "resignation" are vague, likely personal, and full of well, you know, there is a natural deflation of your confidence that occurs.

On Monday I start my new position.  I am thrilled and excited and...scared.  It is hard enough to start over in a new job without the memories of all that went wrong before.  But while I may be nervous about my new position and sad that my previous one didn't work out, I know that I am a professional and dedicated and faithful to a life in ministry and service.  I am good at what I do and I feel that God has called me to Children's Ministry. 

Still all that being said I am anxious for Monday and want to shore up my confidence before I begin.  I've been rereading some of the nice notes I received from church members and friends and it helps, but I imagine I won't regain my footing until I'm in the midst of it all.  I may have to just channel the Little Engine that Could until a top the hill.

Baby Goat takes his music quite seriously.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

17 months

Dear Baby Goat,

It has been a few months since I wrote you a letter.  It hasn't been for lack of desire but as you know the last few months have been filled with drama and more drama - much of it surrounding your health.  It seems clear that the asthma that your pediatrician suspected at your very first cold is a reality.  Every cold seems to have slammed your poor little lungs hard.  It is hard to count the steroid doses, the neb treatments, the ER trips and the hospitalizations of the last few months.  I am still impressed with your ability to go with the flow and be a trooper during Dr's appointments and illness.

The last few weeks however have seemed like night and day.  After your hospitalization at Children's it seems like we have the answers and controller meds to keep you more healthy and regularly well.  Of course, this has led you to a renewed sense of energy and purpose and I still foresee many injury related Dr. trips.  Already you've lost a big toenail thanks to a well dropped diet coke you were coveting.  You are fearless and in the last few weeks have decided that climbing is your new favorite activity.  You love the pool and have no problem sticking your face in the water and going underneath too.  It can be hard to keep a hold of you because you are so determined.

You continue to be a good eater and are loving having utensils to "help" your eating.  Except you haven't quite mastered the skill and still dump most of your food over before it reaches your mouth.  Still you seem to like almost all foods.  You seem to be less concerned with eating as much as possible lately and I'm hoping that, coupled with the abandonment of your bedtime bottle, will help even out your weight gain.  You have had a growth spurt too and I look forward to seeing a bit more balance at your 18 month apt next month.  As it is we are on the cusp of making you forward-facing just because of weight restrictions on your car seat.

You are talking more each day, unfortunately most of it still sounds like gibberish to us.  Still you say mama, dada, cat, all done, your name, your daycare provider's name, and some others.  But your favorite word is Shoe.  You love shoes because shoes mean that you get to go outside.  When we get up in the morning and get dressed you go get your shoes whether it is time to leave or not.  You can be very upset if it is not time to leave.  If your own shoes are on you routinely go get OUR shoes to help encourage us to get moving faster.

And when you don't get your way you like to make your desires known....loudly.  And your desires change on a dime.  Lift me up on the couch, put me down, lift me up, give me water, get that toy, play with that toy for me, find the cat, lift me up again!  As a result we often find you looking like this:

It is hard to say no to you, even if it is just because we are worn down by the sheer force of your will.  It comforts me to know that you continue this behavior at daycare as well and it isn't a special tantrum type reserved for parents only.  In fact daycare's notes often contain hidden messages in their exclamation points:

Baby goat continues to hate coming in from outside! He climbs the chairs so easily now!!  Short nap today!!!!!!

Still you remain a delight despite your quick ability to dissolve into tantrum-ness.

Monday was your 17 month birthday and it was also your baptismal anniversary.  We lit your candle and shared a slice of cake in your honor.  It is amazing to see how far you've come in a year.  I look forward to many many more.  It has been a hard couple months but our love for you has been a constant for us all.

Last year at baby goat's baptism:

This year with your baptismal candle:

I wish I could fully express in words how much joy you bring us. I strive to be and do everything better because of you. We love you baby goat!

Mama Goat

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Como Zoo

This weekend brought the Goat family to the Como Zoo in St. Paul.  I always love it because it is free and has lots of great animals.  I love seeing the big cats up close, the polar bears and the monkeys.  It was the monkeys that most caught baby goat's eye on this trip.  They would come right up to the glass and look right at baby goat.   Including this little guy below.  I think he was a Tamarin.  I named him Dumbledore and I want to take him and his tiny paw prints home.

No visit to the Como Zoo is complete without a picture on the giant Tortoise.  Baby goat was more interested in the statue and walking around than poising for the camera however.  This is becoming an increasing problem*...we are always moving these days!  *Its not really a problem of course for anything except taking pictures in focus with him facing the camera.

We also took baby goat on his first Carousel Ride.  Dad was nice enough to stand with us and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly...until the ride actually started and then we FREAKED!  Still Dad held us for the ride and we calmed down enough to almost enjoy it in the end.  Its a good thing that I took pictures before we got going!

Couch to 5k - Week 2 Revisited

Well, last week I did sort of get back on the Couch to 5k wagon.  I worked out twice and had full plans to over the weekend as well but found myself spending a lot of time walking outside so I feel I got a workout in.  I walked around Lake Calhoun with Missy on Sat and the Goat family went to the Como Zoo on Sat (pictures as soon as I can find my camera cord).  So I definitely still got some exercise in.

So Tuesday morning I found myself faced with a Couch to 5k workout and I decided to push back to a week 2 workout.  I did finish it so I'm going to stay on week 2 for the rest of the week and start on new ground - week 3 - next week.  I feel like it all might be a little too late but I am still going to push through and try my hardest.  That's all I can ever do really.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Noodles Giveaway Winners

I'm sorry for being late announcing the winners of my Noodles giveaway.  Our home computer is down so I had to make Mr. Goat bring his work computer home so I could do the important stuff like blogging!  Anyway, as you can see I picked 3 numbers randomly and the results were comment 8, 7 and 2!  So... Beautyredefined, MonkeyMama, and Kristine expect emails from me soon.  Thanks for all who entered.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I want a sandwich - Let's go to Noodles?

So yesterday I was given an opportunity for free lunch by Noodles and Company.  You like Noodles right.  Yum.  So I jumped at the free lunch chance and free lunch was...sandwiches?  It turns out that Noodles have launched a line of sandwiches at their stores.  I loved the story about how they came about.  It turns out that the employees got sick of eating Mac and Cheese and Pad Thai every day so they started making their own sandwiches for their meals.

Well it only took several years for the management to notice but when they did they jumped at the idea and they have launched the sandwiches in Minnesota, Ohio, Kentucky and Colorado.  As of September 1, 2010, the sandwiches will be at all Noodles and Company locations nationwide. 

So at our lunch they brought all 5 of their sandwiches for us to sample. They are:

The Med
Chicken, mushrooms, spinach, red bell pepper, cucumber, red onion, cilantro and feta served with their Med dressing served on a flatbread.

The Veggie Med
All of the above with no chicken.

Spicy Chicken Caesar
Chicken, romaine, field greens spicy Caesar dressing, wonton strips and parmesan on flatbread.

Wisconsin Cheesesteak
Sauteed beef, their classic Mac and Cheese sauce, cheddar-jack cheese, red onion, red bell pepper and mushrooms on flatbread.

Meatballs, spicy marinara sauce and parmesan on a ciabatta roll.

I was happy to sample 4 of them, all but the Med.  My favorite, which should be no surprise to anyone, was the Wisconsin Cheesesteak.  It was very tasty and had great veggies in it too.  I was also a big fan of the meatball sandwich, which also seemed to be the hit with the kids at the lunch.  The Spicy Chicken Caeser seemed to be a nice balance and it wasn't a salad in a sandwich, which I appreciated.  As good as those were though, I thought that the Veggie Med is about the best example of a veggie sandwich that I've had.  It is hard to do veggie's well and it was extremely tasty.  And when I discovered that the veggie is 300 calories I realized I may have discovered my go-to quick, healthy lunch.

It was a treat to head up to Minnehaha and have a free lunch with some of my blogger friends, but it is even more fun to share it with you and give stuff away.  Thanks to Noodles I have 3 pairs of FREE sandwich coupons to give away.  So leave a comment sharing which one you'd like to try to enter to win two free sandwiches (leave an email too please).  I'll draw for the winners on Tuesday morning July 27th.

* Noodles supplied the coupons to give away to you and they gave a few for my family too.  They also gave us the great lunch and the information I shared with you.  However they did not pay us or demand our opinions.  My opinions are my own to share with you.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Baby Goat's first train ride

Trains are an important part of the Goat family.  When I began dating Mr. Goat I realized that trains would be discussed, visited, and chased (yes chased) quite often.  I figure I had two choices.  I could 1. Learn about them and find my own interest in the hobby or 2. Space out and ignore the family when they talked rails.

I chose to learn about them.  Of course that was before I knew there would be random pop quizzes from FIL (so not kidding).

However, with 7 years of marriage and 10 years together, I am quite indoctrinated in the love of trains.  I have even talked about it a time or two here before.

It is no surprise then that baby goat's first train ride needed to be well documented.  The opportunity arrived on our drive back from my friend Kate's wedding in Chicago.  We hit Wisconsin Dells and it was time for a break, and as it turns out we were just in time to catch the last train of the day at the Riverside and Great Northern Railway.  It features a 15 gauge railroad with a real steam engine.  As it turns out it was the perfect introduction to trains for baby goat.

I didn't get a chance to post these photos due to baby goat's hospitalization and then my job drama, but it is time to put them here for posterity, or at least a few of the many (many!) photos that such an occasion required.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Couch to 5k challenge - the restart

I bet you thought that given the ups and downs and ups of baby goat's health and my job situations that I've forgotten all about the Couch to 5k challenge that I am embarking on.  Hardly, although I have very little to show for it.  I did make it out to run once last week and was back at week 1.  This week I am really truly on vacation.  There is no work and my "job" right now is to prepare for my new job. 

To me this means getting into a workout habit in the next two weeks and finally giving the goat-cave a deep scrub and organization.  It also means seeing some friends and finding time for my shoulders to remember what being south of my ears feels like.  So the Couch to 5k is back on task and so is an effort to curb my crazy stress eating which has been full of sugar, fat and more sugar.

Tomorrow I'm going to try to run in the am after baby goat heads to daycare and before I get going on my cleaning items and errands for the day.  I know that I am behind and it may be impossible for me to complete the program before my 5k but I am going to push forward.  I will run (and walk if necessary) this 5k in September (Sept 18th - don't forget to sign up yourselves) one way or another.

Thanks for sticking with me.  I feel like everything has been Drama, Drama, Drama lately and I am looking forward to getting a groove back.

If you feel like sharing - what is one thing that helps you start again and recommit when you've gotten off track.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

God is good

You may have seen the news on twitter or facebook but it deems announcing to the heavens (and the blogosphere) that I was offered a job last week!

In fact, I was offered a job exactly one week after I "resigned" from my previous position.  The job is one of the balls I had in the air prior to last week.  In fact I had to miss my second interview because baby goat was in the hospital. 

But it turns out that God had very specific ideas about my call and my continuing in ministry and despite all the set-backs my NEW church and I both feel called to ministry together.

There is so much that is night and day between this new church and the last church, but I'm not going to go into specifics because I have no need to bash any church on the internet.

Churches are full of humans.  Sinful humans. 

And that means that there are challenges.  My NEW church will have challenges too, I am just grateful to have the opportunity to immerse myself into a church again.

And so I find myself in the weird situation of having about the shortest unemployment experience ever.  From a financial and insurance standpoint we are saved, but there are still consequences from the last few weeks for me - particularly emotionally.

I can't shake this "the-sky-is-falling" feeling that we are temporarily safe and we are waiting for the next shoe to drop.  On the other hand it feels like things are coming together so well that I want to remain upbeat about it.

I am off for the next two weeks.  My new church wanted me to have time to transition and recouperate and I am grateful for the time.  I hope that I can process the panicky feeling that the last month has left me with and come into my newest ministry ready to go and in tune with God's call in my life.

We went to church (a completely different church) today as a family.  It was nice to sit and be present in worship without the stress that my old church gave me.  Of course there was the stress of wrangling a very particular and particularly cranky baby goat.  Thankfully there is something about his grinning face that melts the hardest of congregations hearts.  There are memories of their own children in crinkled-eyed grins and the indulgent smiles to frazzled parents.  And of course, like every time we've ever visited a church, Mr Goat was asked to join the choir by a cute little old lady.  I can only hope that we'll have a similar welcome at our new church, but I have high hopes.

Monday, July 12, 2010

All dressed up with nowhere to go

It is Monday and life is hitting me hard today.  Up until today the events of last week found me thinking of an unexpected week of vacation.  But today I got up and got my son dressed and watched my two boys leave the apartment to their "jobs" and I was left home in my pajamas.  And it was heart-wrenching.

I have a list a mile long of what needs accomplishing and as soon as I'm done here I'm hopping in the shower and heading out myself.  There are lots of little things that need to be done to minimize our expenses and maximize my opportunities in the next weeks and much of this week will be spent scrambling.

And if I manage to finish it all there is an apartment that is worse for the wear from almost a month of extreme stresses that needs to be cleaned and decluttered.

There is no shortage of things to do of course.

And yet there is no work.

The programs I gave my time, energy and passion to for almost 6 years are gone and there is a sense that a limb has been cut off.  The limb may be gone but I sense its shadow as if it were very real.  I find myself thinking about what needs doing next or wondering if they are getting ready for x, y and z.  Have they called so-and-so or found an answer for regular-church-issue-43?

And then I remember that it isn't my concern any longer.  Except that it is in my mind.  My church families, they are still MY families and I know that my families will struggle with this.  Where there is anger towards those who led to this result there is also real sadness and concern for how it affects my families who had no say in the matter.

It is an worry that I can't quite turn off.  I should be focused on me right now, and my family.  What can we do to talk care of us?  And I am primarily focused on the Goat family, but I can't help but think that maybe both the church and I have had an amputation of sorts.  Are the past 6 years merely a shadow now?  Am I just being erased?

Gah, enough of that for now.  There are lists that need doing.  There is only so much time for wallowing and philosophizing when I am in crisis mode.  And believe me, we are in crisis mode.


As a matter of family records - guess who was in the ER again yesterday?  Baby goat, of course.  Of Course!  Thankfully his lungs are looking great but we have a nice double ear infection now to boot!  Still it didn't stop him from being up and raring to go to his "job" today*:

* Yes baby goat is still in daycare at least temporarily - we have to give notice if we are leaving anyway and we are trying to get that straightened out.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Breaking up is hard to do.

Last week was bad enough - with the hospital and baby goat's illness.  What I didn't realize that it might have been a gift at that time.  Because of that we got the tests done to find out that really does seem to be "just" asthma.  We got our allgery results back today and everything was normal.  No signs of allergies for cats, mold, dust, and several of the main food concerns as well.  This is wonderful news.

And since it happened last week that means we still had insurance because unfortunately this week has found me without a job.

I have no wish to rant and rave at my church on my blog - particularly when the actions that happened are driven by a few key people and several poor financial statments, but I find myself struggling with what to say about it.  There is hurt and pain, not only in the leaving but the manner and method with which it was done.

I have found myself in the last 3 days since it happened going through a wide range of emotions.  I've been so angry I couldn't see straight.  I've been sad.  I've been ashamed.  I've been embarrassed.  I've been numb.  I've felt guilty at leaving my volunteers in a messy situation (even if it isn't of my choosing).  I've been scared.  I've sick to my stomach.  And that can all be in a 5 minute time frame.

I no longer doubt the connection to health and stress.  I feel like I've put on 20 lbs and my head is clogged and my throat is sore.  I am going to need to figure out next steps but this week it is as much as I can manage most days to get out of bed and face the day.

I hope that this will pass and that there will be some peace and calm that comes for being in this place.

Because of the church's financial troubles I can't say that this was wholly unexpected and so I have a few head starts out there but am praying one of them pulls through quickly.  The luxury of having time to blog, run, and play with the baby will eat into our living ability far sooner than I'd wish.

I was supposed to be at church camp this weekend with my kids, singing songs, eating s'mores and swimming in the lake.

Instead I'm home wondering where it went wrong and worrying about what is in store next.

Monday, July 05, 2010

What a week.

Please stop the ride - I want off.

I'm breaking my unintentional blog silence finally.  Did you miss me?  Or maybe you didn't even notice.  Either way, life has been a roller coaster lately, with lots of extreme dips and sharp turns.

VBS was followed by a quick trip to Chicago for a friend's wedding, an 80th birthday party with my Gramma, and a long drive broken up by baby goat's first train ride in the Dells.  The trip was a whirlwind and fun.  We all had a slight cold but didn't think too much of it, after all baby goat was still on steroids and antibiotics from his hospitalization the week earlier.

Monday we went about our business.  I had most of the day off so I meet a friend for lunch and did a few errands before heading over to daycare for their summer ice cream social.  It was fun and baby goat was running around like mad.  When we got home that night for dinner though I noticed he had a slight cough, but it was productive so I neb'ed him and put him to bed.  (I put Mr. Goat to bed too since he had the same cold and was feeling lousy).

But baby goat didn't get much sleep that night, and I got even less, as he began coughing and coughing more and more.  By 2am it was clear that his cough was no longer productive and we wouldn't be going to daycare the next day.  Still I got him nebulized and down for a bit more sleep.  By 6am he was up sobbing and coughing again, by 7am he was retracting seriously and it was clear that it was now a question of clinic or ER as soon as I could in the morning.  I neb'ed him again and he improved somewhat so we made a morning clinic appt.  We needed a neb again at 9am before we left.  By our 10:15am appt he needed one again. 

We know now that if he needs one any sooner than 4 hrs that it is time for us to be at the doctor, but during the morning it still seemed reasonable to wait for the clinic and not head to the ER.  The clinic ped took one listen to him and his history and told me "He sounds like a squeaky toy, you are headed to Children's by ambulance" and left to start the proceedings.

Luckily his O2 was good and another neb and a dose of steroids made him plenty stable for the ambulance.  Still I felt like a lousy mom to be following my son wheeling out on a gurney bed to the ambulance.  The rest of the day was spent in the ER and then getting admitted.  He got a lot of steroids and neb's to get his wheezing under control but for the most part he was doing fine.  He did have a minor fit when 1:30 rolled around and we were still in the ER and he hadn't had any lunch.  The kid knows when he has missed a meal!

The nice thing about being at Children's is that we were finally with the specialists who could do tests to help determine causes of these continual breathing issues and also who could help us with a long term care plan.  The next two days were full of nebulizers, blood draws, barium-feeding swallow studies, pulmonologists and a plethora of lovely nurses.

For the first two days he was on "droplet care" in case he had pneumonia (even though his x-ray didn't really show signs of it) so everyone had to robe/mask up to come into the room.  Baby goat began feeling better quickly, although it did take a while to increase the time between neb doses.  He was charming to almost all the staff and I was led to believe that he was exceedingly well behaved for a 16 month old trapped in a crib in a hospital room tied to an O2 meter.

I didn't end up going into work last week.  I slept in his room two nights and missed at least two very important meetings but we were in the right place for baby goat.

We were finally discharged Thursday evening with no conclusive results - or rather a lot of maybes.

For example:
We are still waiting on allergy results but we know that he was NOT having an allergic reaction at the time.
Reflux can aggravate asthma but he shows no signs of food/liquid aspiration regularly.
Prematurity, a mom with preeclampsia and being a boy can all lead to slightly smaller airways which can help trigger asthma but can be grown out of.
There seem to be no anatomy or diseases that contribute to his breathing issues.

So basically - baby goat gets colds that trigger asthma that can get very bad very fast.

And even now they can only really "guess" that it is asthma he has.

Still we are operating as if he does.  We went to asthma class and he's begun a controller med.  It can be a fight but hopefully it will keep us out of the hospital and off of some steroids for a while.  I think poor baby goat has been on 10+ doses of steroids since Jan, and it was only getting worse.  Hopefully we now have some knowledge to get ahead of it because if we don't we could end up right back in the hospital at any time.

It was hard to see him back in the hospital.  On the one hand I realize that the hospital doesn't mean I need to freak out - his 46 days in the NICU taught me that, on the other hand I had so hoped we'd be beyond that for him.  The hospital is never fun and while he's well cared for I just want him to be healthy and runnign around like every other kid.  I don't like the fact that it still could be MY preeclampsia that is causing his health issues.  It gets me every time I think of it.

We spent this holiday weekend cooped up mostly, recovering, administering meds and catching up on work.  He did get to see Grandma Goat during the week when she came up to help with errand and such, and he and Mr. Goat went to the zoo with my parents on Sun.  He's doing so much better it is easy to forget that he can get so sick so quickly.

This tale isn't over, and there is a whole mess of unbloggableness that continue to make my life stressful right now but we are over the corner.  Baby goat is doing well and that, above anything, is the most important thing.  He is my baby and I will do anything to keep him safe, well and happy.

(I missed a lot of planned stuff from last week - baby goat's first train ride, his 16 month birthday, my 5 yr bloggiversary, and more so hopefully I can get back to some of those things.  I hope you are still out there and thank you to all who followed us on facebook or twitter last week and had so many prayers and good wishes for baby goat.)