Life and Halloween

Holy smokes, I don’t think my life has ever felt so fast paced as it has this year.

Last week was really crazy.  I was really busy at work, and then on Friday Oatmeal and I packed up and went to Louisiana for my best friend Anna’s 29th birthday.  (Her REAL 29th birthday… possibly the first of many.)  A few months ago I noticed that her boyfriend put a link up on his facebook page about a 5k mud run, and I noticed that the event was on her birthday.  I got a wild hair and suggested that we all 4 sign up and run in the race as a kick off to her birthday day.  I figured, “Eh, it’s a 5k… that’s nothing.  I can handle mud and obstacles for 3.2 miles, plus it will motivate me to work out more.”  You see, I honestly just have not had any motivation to work out lately.  I could be an excuse maker and whine that I don’t have time, but I do have enough time to work out in my garage a few times a week.  It doesn’t take long to toss a medicine ball around or go on a quick jog.  I just haven’t been doing it.  So I thought that by signing up for this race, I’d get my butt in gear.

Wrong.  I think I’ve worked out 1 or 2 times total in the past month.  (Unless a few brisk walks with Poppyseed in the stroller count… but I don’t count that because in my world you have to either sweat or get out of breath to qualify as exercise.)

Well even up until early last week I was still planning on the mud run.  It was her birthday, and it was something that we had already paid for.  It all went downhill when Oatmeal mentioned to me that the weather was supposed to be REALLY cold.  I’m talking in the 30’s.  Let’s just say that when Anna and I heard that, we decided to just sleep in and skip all that running around in the mud stuff.

My brother and his wife, however, did decide to run in it.  Those two are really two peas in a pod I tell you.  They love to work out and compete.  Almost every weekend they get in the car and go to various races in Louisiana.  One of them almost always wins, and they are even known to do two competitions in one day!  I’m telling you, they are hard core!  So Oatmeal, Poppyseed and I woke up on Saturday morning and went to the mud run to cheer them on.  We were standing at the finish line and not a single runner was in sight when suddenly we heard heavy footsteps running up the last obstacle.  There was Jimmy!  He won the whole thing, and the second place runner didn’t show for several minutes.  He won by so much distance that the staff at the finish line didn’t even realize they needed to be in position to hand out medals and water.  It just kills me that he makes this stuff look so easy!

After about 15 more of the men finished, we saw the first female headed our way. Sure enough, there was Sabrina, looking like Mud Run Barbie.  She ended up finishing first in the women’s division, and I swear I didn’t see another chick finish for at least 10 minutes!  I seriously wish they would just move next door to me and knock on my back door every time they were about to work out.  My flabby arse would be in shape in no time with those two coaching me!

That night the four of us (Anna, Josh, Oatmeal, me) went out in Shreveport for the big birthday celebration.  This was mine and Oatmeal’s second time to meet Josh.  Josh and Anna had even arranged a babysitter for Poppyseed (that we knew through a trusted source) so we felt comfortable going out for a few hours.  I honestly don’t remember the last time that Oatmeal and I went out on a date, and it felt so good to put on jeans and heels and do something fun and social like that!  We went to have drinks at a tapas bar, and then we went to a little hole in the wall steakhouse for dinner.

So I have to give Josh major props for his gift giving creativity.  He had given Anna a gift card for a 30 minute massage on the morning of her birthday, but told her to expect something else later.  She was a little puzzled and had ZERO idea what else he may have gotten her.  Well after dinner, the waiter asked us if we wanted dessert.  Oatmeal and I actually decided to splurge and order something, even though we knew it would be full of gluten, dairy and egg!  We ordered a slice of cheesecake, and Josh ordered something else for he and Anna to share.  The waiter returned shortly with our cheesecake…. and a tupperware container for Anna and Josh.  The container had a sign on it that said “Happy Birthday Anna.”  When she lifted the lid, there was a special birthday cake inside.  We found out later that Josh had gone to a bakery and had a special gluten-free cake made so that Oatmeal and I would eat it, ha!  He’d dropped it off at the restaurant before picking us all up.  Taped to the bottom of the tupperware lid was a piece of paper.  She looked at it closely, with quite a puzzled look on her face, and then she just started smiling.  As it turns out, it was tickets to Cirque de Soleil in Las Vegas!  Josh had booked a trip for them to go and see the show, which Anna has literally wanted to see for years.  It was really fun to watch her receive that gift.  She was completely surprised, and we all enjoyed the special birthday cake.

The rest of the night was a lot of fun, and we made it back to Texas in one piece.

Well, sort of.

You see, Poppyseed had been sort of under the weather.  One day she started coughing.  It started off as just a cough here or there, but after about a week it was keeping her awake at night.  I called her doctor (the naturopathic doctor aka Oatmeal’s witch doctor), who told me to start giving her a natural antibiotic called Pleo Not once daily.  After several days the cough worsened, and so I increased it to three times daily.  She still continued to get worse.  I read online that some parents have luck getting their babies to sleep by putting Vick’s Vapor Rub on their feet and putting socks on them.  I figured what the heck, I’ll give it a try!  I made my own Vicks out of coconut oil and peppermint essential oils, and it actually seemed to work.  I also elevated her crib on one side so that she wasn’t lying flat at night.  Both of these things helped her to sleep better, but there were still a few nights that I put her in bed with us because it seemed to help for her to nurse/swallow at night, too.  Eventually her dry cough turned to a productive cough, and she also had a really runny nose.  I spoke to the naturopath again and we both agreed that she must have caught a virus, which would explain why the pleo not had not helped at all.  She recommended I buy some elderberry syrup somewhere local and give that to her, as it can have natural anit-viral properties.  I did better than that and went down to the kitchen and made my own!  Nothing like having organic elderberries on standby, right?  Wow, sometimes I am really a hippie.

Well, on Tuesday morning we all woke up and something was clearly very wrong.  Poppyseed is usually the picture of happiness when she wakes up in the mornings, smiling and cooing and flapping her arms and legs around.  This particular morning she was very loud, very congested, and very fussy.  No matter what I did, she would cry.  She got more and more upset as the minutes passed.  I could see that she was SO congested and having a really hard time breathing through her little nose, so I turned on the shower and we stood in there for a really long time.  I figured that it always makes me feel better to take a hot shower when I’m sick and congested, and it really did seem to calm her.  We stood in there until the water turned cold.  I thought that maybe that had done the trick, but soon she started crying again.  It was the high pitched sad cry, and it broke my heart.  🙁  I wrapped her up in a towel and paced up and down the hall with her until she fell asleep on my chest.  That is really unlike her – she NEVER falls asleep so soon after waking up in the mornings.  She seemed so lethargic and miserable.

Up until this point I had not considered taking her to a pediatrician.   In fact, her pediatrician (the actual MD, not the naturopath) had actually told me that babies usually do not need a trip to the doctor unless they are (1) not eating, (2) have a temperature over 104, or (3) are acting really limp/lethargic.  Well until that morning, despite how congested she was, she wasn’t any of those things.  Even though some of our friends and family had repeatedly asked me if I was planning to take her to a doctor about her cough, I hadn’t even considered it.  I mean, I’m a doctor’s kid who really never went to the doctor and heard “Beat it naturally and you’ll be tougher for it” for my entire life.  I remember being sick as a wee one and my dad saying, “Sweetie it is probably a virus and if it is then antibiotics won’t do a thing for it anyway.”  So we’d stay home from school, pile up in the recliner and drink fluids and rest all day.  At most Mom would give us some Tylenol for a sore throat.  But seeing my little 6 month old turn all lethargic started to scare me.  I laid down in the recliner and let her sleep on top of me for an hour, thinking to myself that if she wasn’t feeling better by noon, perhaps I’d call the pediatrician and see if they’d take us as a walk-in after all.

WOW am I glad we didn’t do that!  By 10am she was feeling much better and I was starting to get smiles and more energy out of her.  I gave her some more of the elderberry syrup and pleo not.  She became a lot more playful and by lunch time I had a brand new baby! If I’d taken her to the doctor, I’m sure she’d have been smiling and making friends in the waiting room, and the doctor would have wondered why in the world I would bring a happy baby into a waiting room full of brand new germs.  I’d probably have come home with a prescription for some type of hardcore antibiotics that would have wiped out all the good bacteria in her little body.  I’m SO glad that we decided to stay home with our natural remedies and get better the old fashioned way – sunshine and some extra TLC!

I did manage to drop the jar of elderberry syrup on my foot.  Cleaning that up (and making a fresh batch) was really a blast I tell you.

This morning my happy baby awoke after sleeping through the night with minimal coughing.  She was back to her old self again, other than a little runny nose.  I think we are definitlely on the up and up!

We also had a really great Halloween.  Despite my lack of planning ahead and buying a costume for any member of my family, we did get together several goodies for the trick or treaters!  They had their choice of balloons, stickers, or raisins.  I think that they really loved having options that were fun and different.   They mostly opted for the balloons, and some kids asked for two things and almost always included a balloon.  Yes, all of this excitement over balloons!  And I only paid 99 cents for a pack of 50!  Even the raisins were a hit, in fact, two kids screamed,”MOMMY SHE HAS RAISINS!!!!”   Now I gotta admit,  I am quite smug that I avoided candy this year, and even more smug that the trick or treaters went for my sugarless treats.  It just goes to show you, kids like things that are FUN!  It was the parents giving me weird looks and rolling their eyes, not the kids!  One mom even winked at me and said, “Thank you for putting in the extra effort to do something different.”  I thought that was pretty cool.  I think that when Poppyseed is of trick-or-treating age, we will do the “Switch Witch.”  This is where you let your kid go trick or treating as usual, and at the end of the night you let them choose a few pieces of candy to keep and eat.  The rest of the candy gets put on the kitchen table just before bed, where the “Switch Witch” can find it.  By the time the morning comes, the witch has “stolen” the candy and switched it for a toy!  I know some other mom friends who do this with their kids, and I think it’s a great way of diverting the little ones’ attention from the candy and still doing the traditional fun things.

So our alarm has gone off every 15 minutes since writing this post.  I’m going to go try to figure it out (again) or else put on some headphones, pull Poppyseed out of her crib and put her in bed with us, and go to bed.  Happy Halloween!



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