Currently in our Home // January 2018

Keeping in touch @ AuthenticVirtue.comSo, there have been lots and lots of good things happening in our little corner of the world.

Dalton got a new job and he is really, really liking it. He now works as a technician with Rottler Pest and Lawn Solutions and he is doing an awesome job scheduling and meeting with customers and driving miles and miles to help protect homes and businesses from … you name it! Bugs, snakes, bats, raccoons, feral cats … the list goes on an on! There are so many cool things he’s learning and then I get to learn from him! All sorts of fun facts about animals!

We’re so blessed by this new job. For several years Dalton worked in a maximum security prison and while he was an amazing security officer he is so relieved to be in a better environment. This new job was an answer to months of prayer and waiting. Not only is it a much better environment but his new job brought along a pay raise and a work vehicle. ๐Ÿ˜€ Lots of fun things to be glad about!

I have been busy keeping busy! I am SO loving our home. We’ve been home from the NICU for 6 months now and I am in heaven keeping home, spending every day with Uriah, and finding new ways to mom better.

We keep pretty busy starting our days around 6:30. Uriah moves to the living room at 7 and he gets dressed and washed up for the new day. Then we rotate between active and more relaxed activities — from reading books and snuggling to tummy time and standing in his new cool stander. We have lots of therapy related exercises to do and that keeps the day full.

We also have several visitors a week now that we have a private duty nurse who comes twice a week for 6 hours and OT and PT therapists who come 8 times a month. Between those awesome ladies and the nursing agency and insurance folk who make their rounds we tend to be ushering people in quite a bit. Not to mention our monthly visit to St. Louis Children’s.

So, between trying to keep up with Uriah’s exercise schedule and meeting with his awesome medical team (away and at home) and keeping our home running I find myself pretty occupied most days! Dalton has always done an awesome job in finding ways to keep me encouraged by filling his evenings after work with holding Uriah while I cook dinner, cleanup, and sometimes go out for a cup of coffee. He’s such an amazing guy!

Uriah is doing amazing things! First of all, my little baby turned one in November! How time has flown!

I can’t stop telling people about all of his accomplishments! He is now saying Momma, Dadda, and Nanna. He is rolling all over the place and is almost rolling onto his tummy — if only that vent tubing didn’t get in his way! ๐Ÿ˜‰ He LOVES to stand in his new stander, loves to sit assisted, and LOVES LOVES LOVES driving backwards in his cop car walker. Little Bear is still his favorite show and right now he thoroughly enjoys dropping things from his tray and listening to the loud sounds and learning how to put objects into a jar. 6 teeth make his smiles hilariously cute. Oh, he also loves pulling his trach and the vent tubing apart which makes life very interesting. He’s also done two ventilator weans!

Since our discharge in June Uriah hadn’t had one sickness until December when he caught a nasty cold. The Enterovirus led to him throwing up which led to aspiration pneumonia, a 911 call and ambulance ride to the local ER, and then an ambulance ride to SLCH where he got the help he needed. He went from room air (needing no oxygen at all) to needing 6 liters within 24 hours. We spent 4 days inpatient. I have to say that my mom really was a huge blessing during that time! Since Dalton didn’t have any vacation built up just yet, I asked my mom if she could please help me for a few days. With the encouragement of my dad she dropped everything and spent the next 3 days doing everything for me since leaving Uriah alone just wasn’t an option. He’s old enough now to know when he’s alone and we couldn’t do that to him!

It was SUCH a relief to have someone close by to help with Uriah. Mom watched him when I went to shower. She bought lunch, hauled coffee, and helped entertain. She was a blessing and we are so thankful for her being there for us!

We came home the 23rd of December and then Dalton and I got sick together — ah, me. I am glad that season is over. ๐Ÿ˜‰ We we’re both throwing up on Christmas Eve (poor Dalton got the worst of it) but by Christmas Day we were able to keep a little bit down. And thankfully, Dalton’s mom braved the sickness and brought cheer into our dreary home on Christmas. She also did 8 loads of laundry for me which was an incredible blessing!

Now, here we are in the middle of January! I think we’re still recouping from the upset that week of sickness caused but we’ll get back to our normal soon enough. I can tell Uriah is still weaker than normal but he’s such a trooper that I know he’ll be stronger in time.

Now, if I could just push through the dreary, tiredness I seem to be battling I think this winter could still turn out to be a cheerful one in our home. I hate feeling like doing nothing? Is it the dark weather? Tiredness? Too much holiday sugar? Haha! Whatever has me sleepy I’m hoping can be defeated through rest when I need it and a victorious win over my to-do list. Checking things off my list always puts a pep in my step! ๐Ÿ˜€

What are you all doing this winter? I would love to know!ย 

With love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

 

Welcoming 2018 with a List of Goals

Hello, hello, dear readers!

2018 is now eight days old and I’m thinking a new year and new set of goals is the perfect time to begin writing again. Life has slowed me down these days and the combination of busyness and the good yet challenging life changes we’ve gotten to experience have been an excuse for not writing. But I miss this old place, the creative joy and friendships and I’m aiming to come back.

Today, I am turning 28 years old. Woohoo! ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s alarming and amazing to think I’m getting closer and closer to 30 years old. I feel so young, like life is just beginning! How can I be getting into my 30’s? ๐Ÿ˜‰

My key words for 2018 are thrive and surrender. I want to thrive in my roles of Christian, wife, help meet, mother, and friend. And I want to surrender the things which held me back last year: fear, worry, and the desire to be in control. 2017 was good in so many ways, but there were many moments when I felt like I was barely keeping my head above the waters; instead of thriving I was sinking in a lot of self-pity, fear, and worry. Instead of surrendering my worry and fear and pride to my LORD, I held tight to these things thinking that being in control would help me survive the craziness of of a difficult pregnancy, PROM, NICU life, and the challenges that come from having a wonderfully made, medically-complex child.

This year, I want to let the Lord have more control and I want to enjoy the journey. Here are 8 goals I’ve set!

  • Make Bible reading a part of my daily life again (personally and with Uriah)
  • Create and keep to a daily schedule that will include me making healthy meals for Dalton (I’ve been struggling in the cooking department lately)
  • Get Uriah totally on real food blends
  • Get Uriah crawling
  • Lose 28 pounds (in honor of my 28th year!) I’m still packing my pregnancy weight + the weight 7 months of NICU/living away from home seemed to add to my waistline. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • Start weekly outings with Uriah to non-germy places until flu season is over (I’m thinking outside park walks, library, and Runge conservation building 1-2 times a week)
  • Begin Trim Healthy Mama plan
  • Begin going to church again once flu season is over

Some of my dreams for 2018 would include finding a country home to rent or buy, getting Uriah stable enough for a visit to our families (who live 3 hours away; we haven’t been for a home visit in over a year), wean Uriah off of the ventilator, and blogging consistently enough that Authentic Virtue grows and opens doors to future writing. <3 Oh, and a birdie. I would love to own a little bird who sings and brightens our home but it would have to be very clean since we don’t want to compromise Uriah’s health. Oh, one more thing. I would love to have a flower garden/porch garden/herb garden/shade garden somewhere this summer. ๐Ÿ™‚

What are you wanting to accomplish this year? I would love to hear your goals and aspirations!ย ย “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith theย Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

He Won’t Be Little Forever

Just a snapshot of my little hot mess. I promise, he didn’t fall off the ottoman during this process. ๐Ÿ˜€

Dear mom of young kids,

I know, I know. One more blog post addressed to you, the coffee-driven, alone-time-missing, mass. You who are in the middle of post-Christmas cleanup and credit card statements out the wazoo. Yes, hello, you.

I’m with you. I haven’t a dozen of young children but I do have one. A precious, darling one year old. Sometimes I think he counts for at least two since he currently requires specials cares which involve me dragging around his ventilator, priming his feeding pump, and eye-balling the tiny fists which LOVE to pull out his trach because it is oh, so, fun to make mom get her cardio in. ๐Ÿ˜‰

But really, I understand. Moms are tired. We’re worn down. Even on the amazing, good, organized, low-key days we’ve still got a million things weighing on our mommy brains. It’s exhausting, I get it.

I mean, I’m currently speed writing this. I’m still in my nightgown and it’s 2 p.m. I’m in the middle of trying to keep Uriah entertained while I get the house organized and sanitized since Christmas and a 4 day pneumonia-related hospital admission has me playing catch up.

But there is more to this momhood than busyness, and diapers, and weariness.

Just this afternoon I paused my bleaching and washing to prepare Uriah’s lunchtime meal. When I came close he lifted his darling, chubby arms. Hold me, Mommy. I picked him up and gently laid his tummy against my chest and swayed that little boy who loves to practice tummy time in my arms.

And in those 3 minutes I caught a vision of what might be in the next 30 years …

I imagined laying my head on my 31 year old son’s shoulder; we’re dancing at his wedding. It’s a special day. My son, my Uriah, is grown, tall, and beginning his own life. And there I am nearly 60 years old. I’m probably shorter and fatter than ever but my son doesn’t see that. All he sees is his momma. The woman who loved him.

In the 3 minutes it took to pick up my baby, dance with him on my chest, and let my shoulder get soaked through with snot, I saw what could be.ย 

One day, our children will be grown. One day, we won’t have littles little enough to embrace on our shoulders. They’ll be bigger, independent, and moving away from the homes we desperately keep for them.ย 

Dear, tired, worn, frazzled momma. Cherish these moments with me. Cherish the little person you’ve been given because, in the blink of an eye, they will be grown and gone. We’ll never be able to hold them to our shoulders like we can now. I know it’s hard to slow down. I know you have a million-and-one things on your to-do list.

But while you strive to do your best keeping up with life, rememeber to appreciate and enjoy the people in it. <3

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

DIY, $10, Chalkboard Pumpkin

 

One pass through our home and you’ll know I love chalkboard art. <3 What’s not to love about erasable, easy to make, adorable, shabby chic, farmhouse chalk art? Because I am DIY-challenged I like projects that require minimum amounts of money and even less amounts of technical skill because … I still don’t own a hammer (but I do have a very well-used rock that works just as well). Thankfully, chalkpaint is super DIY-friendly.

I started craving a fall-themed chalkboard Uriah and I could use weekly as Autumn progressed. This is Uriah’s first fall and I want to create memories and traditions for our family of three. What better way than us finding things we are thankful for, me giving a mini lesson, and him babbling away in agreement? ย Babies make everything more fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

This easy, DIY chalkboard pumpkin turned out even cuter than I imagined. I started with a $9.99 wooden cutout from Hobby Lobby (and then I used my RetailMeNot app to get a 40% off coupon). I used two coats of chalkboard paint and tadaa!

I love that it’s large and fills the space above my stove. Now, once a week, Uriah and I change the theme of what we are thankful for. It’s an excellent teaching tool that will be more useful the older he gets. Until then, I get to enjoy the daily reminder and the daily does of cuteness it brings.

How do you practice being thankful? Do you have a favorite fall time craft? I know I’m currently loving Leah’s Thanksgiving Tree @ Grace Lee Cottage. ย Share you ideas (or favorite Pinterest crafting board) in a comment below — I love hearing from you!ย 

With love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

My Favorite, Non-Fancy Coffee

It’s an understatement, I know, but I really enjoy coffee. I love everything about it … the warmth, smell, and the taste. For me, I especially drink coffee because it’s what my family has always done and I love partaking in the same special routine I grew up doing and know my parents and siblings are probably doing at the same moment I am. We start in the morning with a few good cups before the day starts, enjoy an afternoon tea cup of joe, and then end the evening with one more cup while we visit or watch our favorite shows. It has always been this way and I love knowing that it’s something that, no matter the timezone or differing locations, we keep doing.

As much as I love coffee I love that I’m not that big of a coffee snob. Unless I’m at a coffee shop (when I’ll get a vanilla latte) I like my coffee fresh, hot, and black. Pretty simple, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

My current favorites are 8 O’Clocks original mild flavor and Starbuck’s Cinnamon Dolce. YUM. There’s nothing better than starting out the day with my Keurig humming in the background as I quietly open the blinds (so not wake Uriah) or brew a second cup when he and I sit down for a diaper change and reading books. ๐Ÿ™‚

What is your favorite coffee or tea? Do you consider yourself a coffee snob or are you pretty easy going in the joe department? Comment below — I love to hear your thoughts!ย 

With love, blessings, and OF COURSE coffee,

Frannie