Sunday, March 23, 2014

Quality of Life: It's the Little Things.

I have chronic dry eyes.  I've needed prescription steroid drops twice because of dry, scratched corneas.  I have had dry eyes for as long as I remember, and I remember thinking there was nothing I could do about it other than avoid wearing my contacts whenever possible and using eye drops.  But when I was pregnant with Russell my eyes got so much worse.  They were always red and painful.  At times they were even inflamed (it looks weird when your eyeballs swell!).  It was literally impacting my quality of life.  When you're stressed taking care of a medically fragile 2-year-old who pukes daily and a newborn baby with colic and undiagnosed food intolerances who won't sleep unless he's at the breast, sometimes little things like painfully dry eyes is enough to push you over the edge.  Same with needing a root canal (I've had four root canals on two teeth...yeah, that was miserable).  It's hard to be a good mom when you're in pain, even if it's minor.  Just the fact that there's always something gnawing at you.  Ugh.  I had to have it taken care of!

So my optometrist said that I was a good candidate for tear duct plugs.  I think most people think that those tear ducts on the inside of your eye, closest to your nose, on the bottom, are where tears are produced.  But that's not so!  It's where tears are absorbed.  So if you insert a little plug in them, you'll have more tears on your eyes.  I was concerned that my eyes would always be watery if my ducts were plugged (Russ had a plugged duct when he was born, and his eye was super goopy for a few months), but since everyone has coordinating tear ducts on the tops of their eyelids, you can still absorb some tears.

So last summer my doctor inserted temporary collagen plugs (they last about a week) to see if the permanent ones would be worth it.  Oh my gosh, the difference was amazing!!  So he inserted permanent ones a week later.  The procedure can be done in the office and only takes about five minutes.  It's pretty painless, except that your ducts will itch for the first few days and you have to resist the urge to rub them so that the plugs don't get dislodged.  But the itching goes away, and even though I'm more aware of when I rub my eyes, I haven't had any problems with them becoming dislodged.  

It has made such a difference in my quality of life that when my glasses broke a few weeks ago, I was actually able to wear my contacts all day every day for about three weeks, until my new glasses came in!  And when evening comes, thinking about taking my contacts out is no longer the first thing on my mind.  It may seem so simple, but it has literally changed my life.  And since something so simple was able to make my life so much better, I thought it would be worthwhile to share it with you.  If you're suffering from dry eyes, know that there is a solution that is much more simple than using over-the-counter eye drops multiple times a day for the rest of your life.  

Here is some more information about it (it's technically called punctal occlusion), including pictures.

Do you have dry eyes?  Have you ever heard of tear duct plugs?  Do you think it's for you?  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The things they say (plus random photos)

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Caleb asked about something I was eating, and it had wheat in it so I told him it wasn't Caleb-safe or Russell-safe.  A few minutes later, Nate took a piece of it off of my plate.  Russell looks up and asks, "Daddy-safe?"

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The boys were reading an alphabet book with Auntie Jenna.  She asked, "What words start with f?"  Russell answered, "Futterfie!" (that means butterfly in Russell Language).

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Both boys like to open my scriptures and "read" things like, "Oh, no!  A dragon!  A monster!  Ahh!"

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We went to a BYU men's basketball game and the circus in the same week.  About a week later, Caleb told me that boys play basketball and girls dance.  He sounded kind of sad to have made that connection.  I told him that girls and boys can do all of the same things, except that only boys can be daddies and only girls can be mommies.  I gave him lots of examples of girls who play basketball and boys who dance and told him that if he wanted to dance then he could.

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Nate took Caleb to the church with him for a little one-on-one time while he did some paperwork.  Caleb kept pestering Nate to let him get some toys from the nursery.  Finally, Caleb said, "Dad, how many is one?  It's not very many, is it?  Can I just get one car from the nursery?"  He's a tricky one!

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Caleb asked Russell to share a toy with him, which Russell gladly did.  Caleb excitedly thanked him and said, "You put a smile on my face!"

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play date with our triplet friends--just pretend that that little sweetie doesn't have her finger up her nose ;)
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Caleb gets a lot of chances to say he's sorry.  We taught him what it means to repent, and one night after squirming around while I was tube feeding him, causing me to squirt oil all over my hands, he said, "I'm sorry, Mom.  I'm going to repent every day.  Every day except for Christmas.  Then I won't repent.  Hehehehe!"

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Russell tripped on the sidewalk and skinned his knee.  He came crying to me, I picked him up, and he said, "Kiss it!  QUICK!"

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Russell found a pine cone on our walk home from church one day.  He's very attached to his pine cone and must take it in the car with him every time we go anywhere.  He calls it a "pokey-pine."

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bffs
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Caleb heard Pink's song "Try" on the radio one day (the one that goes gotta get up and try, try, try).  He asked me, "What is she trying to do?"  So I taught him the phrase if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.  Now he recites it to himself when he's trying something that's difficult.

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Russell often says something silly and follows it up with "Just kidding!" (it sounds like "dus tiddin'!")

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Caleb just said to me, "I feel like I wanna hug you and not let you go!!"

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Change

Life is changing, right on schedule.

We put our house on the market and we're moving to Minnesota to be closer to my family and live the farm life!  This was the plan from the beginning, and it's actually happening!  I never expect life to work out the way I had planned!  Don't worry, there is still plenty of time for things to go awry.  ;)

Our house has been on the market for two weeks now and we've received one offer.  We countered, and they're still deciding what to do.  We're not holding our breath for them to accept our counter, but since we don't have a new house lined up to buy yet, we're not in much of a rush.

I was really worried about how I could possibly keep our house clean enough to show day after day, and I must say, it's actually pretty great!  Yes, I spend a large chunk of my time cleaning and organizing, but it's not so bad.  I have never been a bed-maker, but now that I am I hope to keep the habit up even after we move.  It's so freeing to be in a clean house!

We've made a whole lot of improvements lately to our house that I'm excited to show you.  The main one is our floors:
before:
after:
I was really concerned about what floors would go well with these light, oak-colored, hickory kitchen cabinets.  After spending way too much time on pinterest, bringing home lots of samples from Home Depot, and reading countless reviews online, I decided on TrafficMASTER Handscraped Saratoga Hickory.  It was the least expensive option out there, and even if it had cost twice as much I still would have picked it because it's beautiful and had great reviews!  It turns out that it scratches extremely easily, but the scratches are easily hidden with a floor marker.
These were the old, original, '70s parquet floors we had in the dining room.  They were so worn that they were impossible to clean.  The finish was mostly gone, so the water would soak right in.  I have hated them all this time, but it wasn't worth it to have them refinished since they're so out of date anyway.  So when our real estate agent suggested putting in new floors, I was more than willing!  We still have these floors in the upstairs bedrooms, but they're not half as bad there since it's not such a high-traffic area.
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 Playroom:
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We replaced the floors in the kitchen, dining room, play room, and upstairs bathroom and all together, including floor planks, underlayment, and trim, it cost less than $800!  We're hoping that it will add $20,000 to our home's value!  Even though they were a lot of work to install (I did them mostly by myself--Nate was super helpful by taking care of the kids, and I had help with the dining room from my sister and brother-in-law), it was so worth it!

I also gave the front of the house a little face-life by replacing old, faded, warped, green shutters with some classy black board and batten style shutters.
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I made the shutters myself.  :)  I must say, my favorite houses are all white with black shutters and trim.  It's just so classy!  Maybe some time I'll tell you how I made them.

For now, we just keep our house clean, wait, and try to find a new house to move into.  We already took our horses to Minnesota, where my mom will be taking care of them, and we did a little house hunting.  We didn't find anything that we're ready to make an offer on, so either we will have to rent for a while or we'll have to travel back to house hunt again.  We'll just have to see!  I'm nervous and excited and scared all at the same time!