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I’ve only had this feeling a few times in my life.  The one in most recent memory is when the ultrasound tech congratulated me on the fact we were having twins.  Twins?! Weak legs, shaky hands, head racing from ‘what if’ possibility to possibility.  Good or bad, its paralyzing – halted by the unexpected and trapped by the inability to have planned for this moment. Basically sheer panic.  A few days ago it happened again, in a different way, as the doctor stood over our twins watching their tiny chests heave for air and said I needed to go to emergency right away.  The next exchanges were a blur to me, something about the girls breathing, the support they needed and questions if I was okay to take them on my own.  I am their mom, of course I’m okay to do this I thought, a small glare forming in my terrified mind. Only now can I look back and be thankful to our amazing doctor for knowing that I needed to take them in, and for asking if I was going to be okay to do it alone.

Two hospital visits, hours of waiting, more hours of staring at them sleeping or wheezing, making sure they were breathing or praying for them to eat, and a few hours of sleep later and we’re hopeful that the worst of this virus is over.  Now I’m left with a feeling of gratitude.  And exhaustion.  But mostly gratitude.  For each moment. I know it will pass and I will forget to be thankful for each little smile and eye contact and wet tear, but for now I’m just thankful for every second of it.

I’ve never been good at asking for help.  Like most people I prefer to be the ‘helper’ – swooping in to save the day or at least provide a shoulder or a dinner.  Today I’m grateful for the help that came without even thinking or needing to ask or say the words thank you.  The amazing man I married who always puts his family first, the medical staff that know more than I ever want to about illness,  the sister that dropped everything to come so I could sleep for an hour and the friends that checked in constantly and texted at all hours and even came with me to the hospital in the middle of the night so my husband could stay home with our son.

This is an off-topic blog, not having much to do with “what’s entertaining” or etiquette or the finer things in life, but I chose to write it because the experience reminded me about whats really important in life, and even though my house is a mess and we’re eating take out tonight, I have all the important things. And I’m grateful.


Tomorrow I’ll think about how to properly thank all those awesome people in my life …

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Holiday tradition would dictate that this seems to be the time of year for sharing more than just presents and wonderful New Year cheer filled visits.  This is also the time for giving and receiving a host of fabulously named viruses, and try as I might with Lysol, soap and water and “wet ones” at the ready, our family, like so many others, caught the sickness wave.  My four babes (husband included) are sick with a nasty cold.

As I stood in line at the drug store last night at 11pm with 5 variations of medication suitable for children 2 and under I thought about colds, the flu, sickness in general – and I’ll be honest – I cursed whoever gave this little gift to my family.  It starts with one sneeze or a cough  – and the war on fever, runny nose and spreading to the family ensue – just when you think you’ve gotten that little one better you hear the cough from his little sister and the clearing of your husband’s throat and as quickly as the light at the end of the tunnel appeared, it goes dark.   Sickness: the gift that just keeps on giving.

While it would be easy to look to the sick kids that are sent to daycare or school too early, or the colleagues that come in to work with a terrible cough as the sole culprits for keeping the spread alive, we realistically know that germs are everywhere.  From the crosswalk light switch and the grocery cart to the keypad on the interac machine and a thousand places in between, it seems almost impossible to escape cold and flu season.   It has made me more appreciative of those around us who have excellent “illness etiquette” – those people that go the extra mile to think of those around them when sick.  We are lucky to have many people with great etiquette to this end in our lives, and their thoughtfulness for our babies goes a long way in our eyes so I thought I would share some great acts of illness etiquette that I’ve witnessed this season and would love to hear if you have any tips or thoughts of your own…

  • Call or write a quick note if you or a family member is under the weather slightly before visiting – this gift of honesty leaves your friends informed and leaves the choice in their hands as to whether they would like to have you over or chose to reschedule
  • If you have a sick baby who isn’t yet moving, warn the parents you are visiting in advance and be sure that only washable toys are played with
  • With toddlers or older sick kids, make the tough choice to have one parent stay at home with the sick ones while the other  parent attends the function solo or with the other children
  • Write a follow up note or call if you or your family got sick a day later with a quick thank you for having us and little warning in case toys/handles can still be sanitized to avoid the spread
  • Choose to meet up for a walk instead of a visit in someone’s home

If you share your gift of illness unknowingly don’t feel too badly – most people understand.  But a delivery of soup or tea and a package of Kleenex with a little get well note can never hurt if you want to extend a small “I’m sorry – get well!”.

In the mean time, I’ll continue bringing out my travel pack of wet ones with my kiddos (once they are well enough to get out) at playgrounds and in the grocery store and continue the fight against what most think is the inevitable winter cold… and I wish you all a very happy and very healthy 2012.

PS – a good chef friend of ours makes an incredible chicken noodle soup that I’ve got on the stove for dinner tonight – the recipe is below if you are interested in a great recipe that takes you very little active time but is delicious at this time of year

prep time: 15 minutes  total time: approx 4 hours

ingredients: whole chicken, 4-6 stalks of celery, 4-6 carrots, whole white onion, noodles, nutmeg, Parmesan cheese and s&p

  • fill your largest pot with water to cover the whole chicken (washed and sans any extra ‘parts’)
  • add the white onion halved, 3 stalks of celery, 3 carrots, cover and boil for 2-3 hours
  • once the chicken is fall of the bone cooked – pull it from the water (now your chicken stock) and cut it up – reserving all the chicken (white and/or dark meat) you’d like to use in your soup – chop up that chicken
  • ensure any stray pieces of undesirable chicken, bones etc are removed from the chicken stock, remove the carrots and celery – leave the onion it will disintegrate with further cooking and adds great flavour
  • chop the remaining carrots and celery and add them along with the chopped chicken back into the stock.
  • add a bit of salt and pepper (leaving more flavour to be individually added by the consumer) a dash of nutmeg this was our chef friend’s special ingredient and key to the amazing taste of this soup
  • simmer for 1 hour +- more
  • add the noodles of your choice in smaller batches.  This allows you to refrigerate any left over soup for up to a week to be re-heated with fresh noodles
  • serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese