3 Tips on Taking Back Your Morning

Hello friendlies,

Some of my favorite things include early, slow mornings, writing the day’s tasks and schedule in a good planner, fresh coffee, and inspiring music. If I’m not careful, mom life leads to rushed mornings, skipped quiet times with the Lord, days that run me instead of my running my day, and too much coffee.

Here’s a few useful tools which have been wonderful in bringing some organization and make the mornings work for me:

Little Tip #1:

Buy a good planner. Right now I am using a Lesson Planner and LOVE it! A sweet friend sent this to me during Uriah’s NICU stay; I love how large each day is — there are so many boxes to write the day’s plans and aspirations in!

Little Tip #2:

Having a hard time fitting prayer time into your day? Me too … one tip I’ve really enjoyed learning from my Bible study is to talk with my Lord while I drink my cup of coffee. So simple, right? But I crave simple these days!

I can really tell the difference in my days when I take the time to talk with my Lord. The beauty of it is that it reminds me of God’s amazing friendship like love; He wants us to talk to Him! And He understands mommyhood, He understands caregivers.

Little Tip #3:

This isn’t really a tip unless you are a musical loving soul like me and are looking for a good recommendation. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I am loving The Greatest Showman’s soundtrack. I feel like everyone is loving this story and I know why! (Warning, there are some curse words so, if that is something you are sensitive to, avoid the song The Other Side). My personal favorites are A Million Dreams and From Now On. Have you seen The Greatest Showman? What did you think?

I can almost always be found doing one of these tips throughout the day (or all at once); hence the coffee-breathed belting of A Million Dreams while I scribble over my planner. Simple joys that bring a little happiness into the day.

What are your tips for scheduling, connecting with the Lord, or a creative outlet? Share below in a comment … I love hearing from you!

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

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

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

Catching Up with You // Day 179 in the NICU

Keeping in touch @ AuthenticVirtue.com

Hello, sweet people. Ages have past since the last real update on Uriah; in fact, the last time I shared about our little guy’s progress he was only 3 1/2 months old. Now, he is two days away from 6 months. Let me share with you some of the amazing, hard, wonderful things we’ve been through over the last 5 months!

We have been in the NICU a total of 179 days. We’ve seen our little guy go through SO much and have been amazed by the goodness of God in his life.

Uriah has finally gotten used to his trach. The tracheotomy felt like a last resort but it has ended up being one of the best decisions we could have made. Now that he is no longer on the ventilator and breathing tube Uriah has so much freedom! I’m able to pick him up, play with him, do tummy time and roll around on the floor.

Speaking of tummy time, Uriah loves it! He loves to hold his head up on his own and is beginning to roll over! (Which is a lot for someone with a head in the 99th percentile!) ๐Ÿ˜€ He loves to stroke his hair, suck on his hands, and especially likes to bang his toys as hard as he can.

He’s begun teething and drools without end. The sad thing about having a trach is that it can keep you from using your voice; the doctors had told me not to expect to hear when Uriah cries, coos, or laughs. And while I cannot hear him in those traditional ways I was surprised and thrilled when he began making sounds around his trach. It’s a lot of gurgling breathing sounds but I’m positive he makes most of the noises on purpose — after all, he wants to talk and knows this is the only way he can! This morning I mimicked his gurgles and he got the funniest look on his face … I guess I was speaking his language!

Right now, we are hoping to go home in 6 to 8 weeks. Uriah has still not gotten to eat by mouth because it was discovered that his TE Fistula had reconnected and there was a small leak from his esophagus into his trachea and lungs. He has had two small procedures where they cauterize and place glue over the connection hoping that this will seal up the leak.

Hopefully, he will have a Swallow Study done next week and, if there is no leak, we can begin the process of eating! For a baby who is 6 months old and has never been able to eat by mouth this will be a ginormous task. But, we believe God is incredibly good and kind and that His ultimate will is best. Instead of being anxious over this step we’re finding ways to be thankful that we have even gotten this far!

This is a fun stage to be entering. As we think about going home in the next two months I’ve begun talking with private nursing agencies and had an inspector come to our home to ensure it would meet Uriah’s equipment needs. Sometimes, I am overwhelmed when I think about how different life will be — nighttime nurses in our home, carrying an “army’s worth” of supplies when we leave the home (or even move to a different room), and calling the electric company to put us on the “priority list” in case of a power outage are just a few things to consider.

But then I watch my baby boy play. This is a living, thriving, happy baby who was given so little hope in the beginning. This is the baby who watches me walk around his bed even though we were told he was blind. This is the baby who loves to listen to music even though we were told he was likely deaf. And this is the miracle who is thriving even though we were told there was too much damage to even try the necessary procedure.ย Being Uriah’s mom is a role I absolutely love and it is sweet.

Please keep lifting our family up in prayers as we near the finish of our NICU season. Some specific requests are:

  • For Uriah’s Swallow Study to be successful and the TE Fistula repaired so that we can begin eating by mouth
  • For Uriah to have the drive and want to to eat by mouth
  • For his current case of tracheitis (bacteria in his trach) to be controlled and subdued
  • For his little, upcoming teeth ๐Ÿ™‚
  • For Dalton and I to have renewed joy and strength … I’ll tell ya, being separated most of the week for several months is not fun, not easy, and not enjoyable! But, I have to brag on Dalton! Every week, he finds ways to bless and encourage me. He is always finding ways to bring me refreshment even though he is the one working and alone all week. Thank You, Lord God, for giving me such a man!
  • For God’s will concerning private nursing. We are required to have someone awake with Uriah at all times because of his trach so we are applying for night nursing to help as we can’t be awake all the time and live normal, healthy, thriving lives.

And most importantly, thank you for all the love and prayers you have given us. There are days when I still can’t believe I’m not at home … it feels almost surreal to be away from home this long. But you have made this time not only bearable but time to enjoy, grow, and be blessed in. We thank God for you!

With love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannieย