one down

last semester1

Rory finished his first semester of dental school last week. Pheeeeeew!

I know from my last dental school update I made being a dental student’s wife sound scary. It got better. Truly it did. Maybe it’s the pregnancy coming to a close, but I’ve been keeping busy. I’ve been doing a bunch of projects around the house. Unfortunately, my projects are in the “little bit here and a little bit there” stages.

Does anyone else do that? You finally start something and come to a hold-up and instead of pushing through, you go, “This project can wait! I’ll start this other project now!”

Ugh. So me right now. DIY ADD. It’s real. I just about finished upgrading my entertainment center and came to a hold-up (6 inch handles are rare these days apparently). So I decided to start some wall art, including my picture collage and vertical garden. Then the budgeting wife in me says, “It’s too expensive though! I better put it off.” Dilemma: Need décor in my home, need more money.

I decided to put the vertical garden off completely. Too much money, and too likely to neglect it while I adjust to two babies in the house. It’s such a big wall in the kitchen though, so I’d like to fill it up with something before the baby comes.

I finally ordered frames for my family picture collage, and my goal is to have it finished before October. Maybe not completely finished, but enough to look nice.

Another project I’ve taken on is redoing the nursery. Now that MUST be done here in the next month, so you will see a post about it.

I’m also hoping to get Melissa’s Halloween costume finished before the baby comes. She’s going to be the tooth fairy! We already got her a cute little dress from a yard sale, so she needs some wings and a wand.

There you go. If you need a distraction while your husband is in dental or medical school do what I do: come up with twenty distractions (also known as projects) and set a goal to complete them before you have your baby. You will slowly feel like your butt is catching on fire once you make a list the size of mine.

You’re welcome.

Speaking of baby, I’m 33 weeks this week which means four more weeks until I’m full term and seven until the due date. I want to believe she’ll come early because of all the Braxton Hicks, pressure and soreness, but it’s probably not in the cards for me. I’m bracing myself for a late baby.

last semester 6I know I look scary. Humidity is like 80% around here, okay? I needed a bump picture. By the way, that is my big blank wall where my garden was going to go. What to do with it now?!

I’ve been lying about my due date. I’m so sick of the horrified reactions when I utter the word “October” so I just tell people I’m due September 20th. Only one person has still given me the horrified look. Otherwise, people seem to accept it. Strangers love to point out how I look like I’m due tomorrow. It’s an off day if no one tells me how huge my belly is. Truth.

Okay, enough about me.

Rory finished his first semester very strongly. I’m so proud of him. He worked his butt off, and I never heard any complaints about it. Gross anatomy is finished, which means no more dead guy duties for him.

He had a week long “summer break” last week, and today is the last day before semester #2 begins. It’s been wonderful having Rory home. We got to spend some time at the pool beach, Magnolia Gardens/Plantation, celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary, and just enjoy some much needed family down-time together. I got hardly anything done around the house though. Turns out I’m a lot more productive when he’s away at school. Haha.

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He’s taking around 21 credits this upcoming semester, so if I thought I hardly saw him last semester, I have a feeling his time away from home is going to be a lot longer.

The good news is: scrubs. He gets to wear scrubs now. Why is this good news? Less laundry for me! And I’m so excited to see Rory in scrubs. People who wear scrubs just look so knowledgeable and studious. Plus, Rory’s class gets navy blue which is totally his color.

He’ll also start learning in the SIM lab and working on robot mouths. That sounds way cool.

So even though I’m a little worried about the business of his schedule in addition to bringing a new baby home, I am excited that he’s moving on up in the dental school world.

when being a mom is hard

Eventually there comes a time when a child has injured herself beyond the repair of a mother’s kiss. Eventually your child needs urgent care. Eventually she needs something you can’t provide. And do I wish that it didn’t have to happen to my baby. Ever.

Because there is nothing harder about being a mother than being helpless for your hurting baby.

Last Friday, I had Melissa cooped up in her stroller all afternoon while I ran various errands across town. And that does not go over well with my child who likes to run and be free. She was not happy with me for making her do that.

The next day, I had a couple more stores I needed to visit, and since I only needed one thing at Marshall’s, I decided to let her walk around the store with me. I was already regretting my decision when she tugged herself out of my hand’s grip and ran off to pick things up off the shelves.

Ugh, bad idea, I told myself. I just wanted to get out fast.

When I got ahold of her again, she only held my hand for a few seconds before she wrestled away and ran off. Me being heavily pregnant found it difficult to keep up with her as she ran up to a display of dumbbells and picked one up.

And dropped it.

Right on her toe.

I caught up to her and immediately picked her up. The poor thing was crying miserably and I instantly recognized as her “I’m in pain” cry. It’s got that shocked tone in it. I ran outside to take a look at her foot and was immediately caught off guard with the large amount of blood coming from her big toe. It was already soaking her shoe and my hand. Her toe nail was just barely hanging on.

In that moment, you’re faced with so many thoughts and questions:

“What do I do?”

“How do I get the bleeding under control?”

“I have nothing with me to stop this bleeding.”

“Where do I go?”

“Why didn’t I stop this from happening?”

“My baby is hurt, and it’s my fault.”

And then you start to cry right there with her at the entrance of Marshall’s.

I ran Melissa back into the car and did my best to wrap her foot in a diaper. Her pediatrician was across the street so I drove there first.

I ran into the office with my bleeding, screaming baby and tried to explain what had happened even though I was in tears and a little incoherent. All I really wanted was for someone to wrap her toe so she would stop bleeding and not be able to pull her toenail off.

Instead I got all of these confused looks from the ladies behind the front desk as if this was the first time they’d seen someone bleed and a mother too distressed to go into details on why there was blood. I needed someone to talk me through this and help us, and instead they just kept asking me, “Wait. What happened?”

NEVER MIND HOW IT HAPPENED SHE’S BLEEDING CAN YOU HELP ME STOP THE BLEEDING?!

They told me to go to the emergency room because she needed x-rays. They sent me out with nothing for the bleeding. Okay, glad I wasted my time with you people. Note to self: find new pediatrician.

Poor Melissa was still screaming and crying from her injury. I kept talking to her while we drove to the hospital even though I was crying right along with her and probably not sounding very comforting. I parked at the hospital, and carried her into the ER as fast as my 30 week-pregnant body could get me there.

Again I was faced with having to explain the situation to the front desk lady who was anything but sympathetic. I kept holding up Melissa’s bloody foot and saying that she was bleeding and needed an x-ray. She told me someone would be out to see us soon.

I can’t think of the last time I was in an ER. Not since I was really little. So I didn’t know what to expect. Did bleeding babies get priority over other people here? Because just going off how everyone else looked, Melissa was in the worst condition. I was hoping they could take her back right away because of this.

Or at least give me something to stop the bleeding. Why was I the only one concerned about the bleeding?!

But no. We had to wait our turn while grown humans with sore throats and tummy aches were taken back first.

Now obviously I don’t know why other people were in the ER that day, but when you’re a mom and it’s your child who needs immediate attention, I’m sorry, but no one else is more important.

I rocked Melissa in our seat and talked her through the pain while trying to keep her foot elevated. She fell asleep in my arms and she was shivering and pale. Was she going into shock? I got up to ask the front desk if someone could see her right now.

“Ma’am, they’re almost ready for you.”

All I could manage to say was, “But she’s bleeding and she’s cold.”

Unbelievable. I took her back to our seat and kept rocking her, trying to keep her warm, but it was Charleston in late July. I had no sweaters or blankets in my bag and Melissa was just wearing a little summer dress.

A nurse came back to see us, but all she wanted me to do was sign some forms. I asked her for a blanket and she brought us a nice heated one. Finally someone was helpful.

I think we waited almost an hour in total until they called us back to the x-ray room. The bleeding wasn’t as bad anymore, but we did leave a few drops behind on the chair we sat on. I still had blood on my hands. If I wasn’t wearing a black dress that day, I would have looked pretty gory.

I laid Melissa down on the x-ray table hoping she could just sleep through it since I knew I wouldn’t be allowed in the room once they started taking the pictures, and she would be upset.

She woke up seconds after being laid down, looked around for a bit and immediately started to cry. I did my best to comfort her, but I eventually had to leave the room.

And that was the worst part. Hearing the technicians try to hold her still while she cried for me, and I couldn’t do anything about it. I stood at the door listening and trying not sob, feeling so helpless and defeated.

A sweet looking lady noticed me and walked up to me. She introduced herself as a social worker, but I forgot her name as soon as she said it. She was the first person to offer any words of comfort since Melissa hurt herself.

I was grateful to have her there talking to me so I could think about something other than Melissa in the next room.

Finally the door opened and my baby girl reached out to me and clinged onto me like a little monkey. They told me we’d have to wait twenty more minutes until a doctor could review her x-rays. That sounded like an eternity that moment.

“What about the bleeding, can someone see her and clean her up while we wait?”

“Uhhh…”

The social worker said to come with her. She walked us back to the main ER entrance and signed us in again so a doctor could take care of her toe.

So we had to wait all over again.

Melissa was a lot calmer now. Between little gasps, she’d point to her foot and say, “Uh oh. Dirty.” It was a mix of insanely cute and insanely heartbreaking to hear her say that. I gave her the few snacks I’d packed her for our, what was meant to be, short outing and downloaded some toddler games for her to play with on my phone.

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This was how her toe looked the whole time we were in the ER.

Over two hours later, I was finally talking to a doctor. She said Melissa had fractured the tip of her toe. We finally got to let her toe soak in a little tub filled with water and bubbles, and she enjoyed splashing around in that. The doctor came back and applied Dermaglue to her toenail. She said that would keep it in place for a couple of days, but the nail will eventually fall completely off.

She left and said a nurse would be back to bandage Melissa’s toe.

By then we’d been at the ER for four hours. My back and belly were so sore from holding Melissa that entire time, and we were both emotionally exhausted. She wasn’t even trying to get off of the bed and run around. It took all my strength to not fall asleep on the exam bed with her while we waited to get her toe bandaged.

Thankfully Rory was home when we got home, and Melissa was so happy to see him. By then she was back to her normal self and able to walk. In fact, she didn’t want to sleep that night because she was too perky and happy.

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On normal days, I think, “She’s going through the two-year sleep regression already. Being a mom is hard.” Or, “She won’t let me get any housework done, and the place is a mess. Being a mom is hard.” Or, “I’m achy from being pregnant and she keeps climbing all over my belly. Being a mom is hard.”

But then, on these days, reality hits.

It’s not the sleepless nights, the endless chasing, the picky eating, or the meltdowns in public that makes being a mom hard. That’s what makes being a mom being a mom.

On days when my child is hurt, I think, “It shouldn’t have happened to her.” Or, “Why couldn’t it have happened to me?” Or, “I could have prevented this from happening.” It makes the little problems that happen on a daily basis seem so petty. You completely rip yourself up for it.

That is when being a mom is hard.

When you’re helpless for your child. They don’t prepare you for that in parenting classes or childbirth classes. When your child is hurt, being a mom is hard. When there’s nothing you can do, being a mom is hard. When no one around you treats it with the same urgency, being a mom is hard.

Things were put into perspective for me that day. I don’t know how moms of terminally sick or injured kids put on a brave face. Melissa’s injury was medically considered minor, and I lost it. All I can do it thank God she is okay, she’s healthy and she will heal.

I have a 20-month-old daughter and more kids to bring into this world which means there will be more days like that one. I don’t know how to prepare myself, but I do know to cherish every day when being a mom is not hard.

easy weeknight (picky toddler approved!) dinners

Rory and I are easy to please people when it comes to food. Neither of us consider ourselves picky eaters. Those of you who know Rory know this is especially true about him. However, we have a toddler. And she dictates the meals that get served every night. Because if Melissa doesn’t like it, it’s a bad night!

Dinner time usually comprises of me trying to juggle cooking and keeping Melissa entertained so I like for it to go by as quickly as possible! She hates being ignored while I cook, so I try to let her help me cook as much as possible, but moms of toddlers — you know. You know. No need to go into details.

So I compiled a list of quick meals I like to make that keep everyone in the house satisfied!

Meal One: Cheesy Tortellini Bake
Why we love it: Could not be easier to make! Boil tortellini for two minutes. Drain. Add to baking baking pan, mix with marinara and cheese. Bake. Voila: You have dinner set for two nights because that’s how much it makes. (Actually, there was enough for two nights, Rory took some for lunch, and there was just enough for Melissa’s dinner for a third night. And she ate it “gall-gone” every time.)

Cheesy Tortellini Bake 1

Meal two: Sticky sesame chicken
Why we love it: It’s like eating at Panda Express, but a lot less greasy. And I always have all of these ingredients in my kitchen. I can throw this together pretty much any time. I love how the sauce mixes in with the rice and makes it all sticky. Yum!

Sticky-Sesame-Chicken-Recipe

Meal three: Slow cooker tamale pie
Why we love it: Who doesn’t love a slow cooker meal? Adding the cornbread muffin mix to the top at the end gives it a fun spin, and it’s everyone’s favorite part! This also feeds this family of three for two nights, plus a lunch for Rory.

Meal four: Chicken and dumplings
Why we love it: Comforting, healthy and hearty, saves well. What more can you ask? This is one of Rory’s most requested dinners. The dumplings are melt-in-your-mouth good!
PS Just when you were recognizing a pattern of Six Sisters Stuff recipes, right? This is from my step-brother’s wife’s blog, Two-Leaf Clover which you should totally follow if you’re into DIY, fashion and  creative, quick recipes! This recipe was posted back in 2012, and I’m so glad I wrote it down.

Meal five: One pot creamy spaghetti and sausage
We love it: You can throw all the ingredients in one pot? Yes, please. And this yields a ton of spaghetti. A ton. I had spaghetti up to my neck for days. And red pasta sauce always goes over well with a toddler, am I right?
One Pot Creamy Spaghetti Skillet on SixSistersStuffMeal six: Slow cooker balsamic pot roast
Why we love it: When you’re in the mood for a pot roast, the balsamic vinegar in this one gives it a unique zing. This one is a little more of a hit-and-miss with Melissa, but I make it anyway because the grown-ups can’t get enough.
Slow Cooker Balsamic Pot RoastMeal seven: Confetti Curry Chicken Bowl
Why we love it: This one’s fun to change things up with. Plus it gives me the excuse to break out my Dutch Oven. It’s got a little Indian flair, and it has so many (healthy) components that there’s something in it for everyone.
Confetti Chicken Big BowlThese are just some of the meals that frequently make it to my kitchen table. I just wanted to share these with anyone who’s looking for new recipes that are easy and family friendly! I promise these will not disappoint!

-Kelly