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. 😀

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. 😉

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. 

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. 

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

Lovely Motherhood Quote

Motherhood really is a privilege. Enjoy this wise, in-depth quote from one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Prentiss, and her book Stepping Heavenward. (I feel a special kinship, kindred spirit with the key character Katy).

And enjoy this free 8.5 x 11 inch printable at this Dropbox link. 

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Free Printables for Private Home Nursing Binders

Having medically complex kiddos is an amazing, unique responsibility that has ordinary parents thinking about and doing un-ordinary things. One of those unique aspects is private, home nursing.

Good, bad, or indifferent, home nursing is tricky business. I created these free Nursing Communication Book labels to help families communicate and interact better with the nurses working in their home. Each file has nine 8.5 x 11 inch pages that you can print, three-hole punch, and place in a binder. Then, get creative by making your binder unique to your family by writing or typing your family’s specific information.

 

Having home nursing can be a huge blessing but it can also be a huge burden. I believe having a Nursing Communication Book is a simple, easy way to keep everyone on the same page. Have a single spot for house rules, emergency plans, and contact information will eliminate confusion and excuses for irresponsible behavior.

Want your relationship with your nursing staff to be excellent? I highly recommend reading Charrisse Montgomery’s book Home Care CEO. I read this quick, easy-to-read book while we were still in the NICU and got so many excellent ideas for managing the medical side of my son’s home care.

For the blue file click on this Dropbox link and download it. For the purple file follow this Dropbox link. 🙂 Please comment below if you have any questions. I’m sorry I cannot currently write the specifics behind each label; it would be impossible to write a welcome page or a list of house rules that each family could use. But hopefully, these simple labels will inspire you and bring you one step closer to a respectful, productive relationship with the nursing staff working in your home.

This is an example of my notebook. 🙂 (Click on the pictures for a larger view).

With love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Our Family’s Fall Time Bucket List

Fall is finally approaching our corner of the Midwest and we are already enjoying every sunny yet perfectly chilled day, changing leaves, and blossoming golden rod. Now that I don’t break into a soggy, soaking sweat each time I step outside, Uriah and I have been enjoying one mile walks to our down town center. We’ve had the best of times.

As wonderful as fall is we’re enjoying an even greater blessing, Uriah’s good health. With no sickness hanging around I’m planning a few fun fall-themed activities. After all, this will be the first fall he is well enough to enjoy! 🙂

With a little bit of planning I think we can conquer the bucket list I made above. Since traveling with Uriah currently means traveling with several pieces of equipment and requires two drivers at all times I want to keep things simple to avoid burnout and frustration. I’ll also be following this cute tutorial for the hand print banner! 

Of course, Uriah won’t be able to do all these things; he’s not old enough or ready to drink hot chocolate. But he can watch Momma mix the drinks up, play with marshmallows, and smell the spices that are required for all the deliciousness. And playing in a creek merely means dipping his toes into the running water since full swimming is a little out of his league. But that’s the beauty of this list; it is adaptable and flexible to your own special family and needs.

Follow this Dropbox link and download your own adorable Fall Favorite (free!) printable. 🙂

With love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Parenting is Hard and Holy Work

We’ve officially been home from the NICU for 74 days. Having Uriah safe and in our own little nest has been more exciting and more fun than ever expected. I love having him to kiss and hold and read to at any moment of the day. I love watching his developing milestones take place on my own living room floor. And I adore the moments I catch him smiling because he’s happy in his home.

But motherhood is a lot more than I ever thought it would be. About once a week I find myself having a mini-anxiety session where I ponder the question all mothers do … am I doing enough? On top of that, I fancy having a child who requires special cares multiplies our fear that we are failing our little people.

Eventually, that worry snowballs into a once a month cry-fest where I turn to my husband’s strong chest and sob tears that have to come out. Stuttering cries fill our small bedroom because what if Uriah doesn’t develop properly because of me? Because, as all special need parents know, playtime isn’t just playtime any more; it’s physical and occupational therapy. Eating isn’t about getting your baby to latch or getting them to like all their food groups; it’s about watching for silent aspiration and pneumonia. And every time you run out of the house for thirty seconds to drop the garbage into the bin you run back in because what if your baby’s ventilator disconnected from the trach. It’s rereading the Resuscitation Instructions once a week so you’re as prepared as possible for something to go wrong with your medically complex child. It’s greedily counting the medical supplies shipped to your home once a month and then going to the store to buy all the regular things your ordinary yet not so ordinary baby needs.

It’s so much and sometimes I feel like I don’t measure up.

Mom, if you ever feel this way, I know. I feel all the feels with you. Parenting is responsibility. And special cares or not, it is hard.

The beautiful thing is that this hard thing we’re doing? It’s a God thing. Children are gifts from God; they’re not add-ons to your already full life. They’re not the next step in life. And they are never mistakes. God’s Word makes it clear that our babies are fearfully and wonderfully made and rewards. And if God is in it it is holy. And all that hardness? It’s meant to make you more holy.

So, that baby who is fussing, or that toddler who is out of control, or that teenager who lives a busy and sometimes wildly confusing life, they’re all God things. (He’s also there for all the one’s taking care of an ailing spouse or family member.) It’s holy, hard work but that means God will be in it.

I cannot tell you the times I have seen God come in an lift my weary heart. He did it from the very beginning, during my misdiagnosed miscarriage, through the very scary first trimester, when my water broke at 24 weeks, during my 63 days on hospitalized bed rest, and during the 7 months Uriah lived in the NICU. God showed up and personally walked us through the hardest season we have endured.

And He’s here. God is still walking me through the nights when I feel like I simply didn’t measure up. He’s here, ready to bear my burden and give me grace, on the days when I’m afraid I didn’t do enough.

He’s here and He is more than enough. 

Sweet friend, I know. I know that this blog post isn’t going to fix the anxiety-filled nights or worried-filled days. I know that you can enter the morning feeling like Wonder Woman and go to bed feeling like a stinking pile of failure.

Despite how you feel, I want to encourage you to embrace the truth — that this hard work you’re doing? God will walk you through it if you let Him. And He will let the hard work be holy work if we let Him work in us.

I’d love to hear about your experiences of parenthood? Tell me your stories! I love hearing from you? 

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie