Hand, Foot, and Mouth: A Conclusion

Readers, I promise I won’t be posting anymore pictures of my feet today.
You’re welcome.
Do you know why?

They are spotless.  As are my hands.

You can barely tell where the rash had been on my hands, and you can see a spot or two on my feet.  Henry’s one spot on his chin isn’t visible anymore, and the few on his hands are barely noticeable.

We have survived hand, foot, and mouth disease without any open rashes.

I count this as a huge win.

I will say upfront that I don’t believe we caught a severe case of the disease.  I believe the milder case of hand, foot, and mouth we had simply didn’t run as long as the disease often can (I read online the rash can be itchy for several days to a week).

However, I do believe that the essential oils blends I used help to heal the rash more quickly and prevented the rash from opening (in addition to not scratching, of course).

That being said, I want to share with you again the oil blends I used for the rash that came with hand, foot, and mouth disease:

On the rash itself:

5 drops lavender

5 drops tea tree

5 drops lemon

I put these together in a small roller and filled the rest of the roller with extra virgin olive oil.  I applied this about every hour when the rash was itchy/painful and less often as it bothered me less.

 

On the bottoms of the feet:

5 drops thieves

5 drops oregano

Same as above:  I put these in a roller and diluted with olive oil.  I applied this to the bottom of the feet about four times a day when the rash was itchy/painful and only twice a day the days it was visible by not bothersome.

I pray you never get this disease, but if you do, please try these blends out.  They just might help!

Hand, Foot, and Mouth: Part 2

Tuesday:

I slept very well Monday night.  After getting less than three hours of sleep the night before, I fell asleep on the couch (covered in a sheet for easy sanitization) around 8:30 PM.  My husband woke me around 11:00 PM to feed Little Guy, then I went back to sleep until about 6:00 AM.

Apparently Little Guy woke up two more times, but my husband consoled him and put him back to sleep.

Because he is a rockstar.

I think Little Guy’s poor night’s sleep was due to his sixth tooth making its way through his gums more than the hand foot and mouth (HFAM).  His tooth was visible this morning, but most of his upper thigh rash was gone.  He still has just one spot on his chin and about four on both hands.  He is a bit cranky today, but who knows if it’s still the tooth or the sickness.

He’s had a tough month, this poor little sir.

I, on the other hand, am feeling much better.  My hands no longer itch, nor are they very painful, even though they look about the same as they did yesterday.  None of the blisters have opened, and some even appear smaller!

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My feet are still a bit itchy and have a “pins and needles” sensation when I walk.  The rash has become more defined on my feet.

I am continuing to treat both Little Guy and I with the same essential oils blend as yesterday but less frequently.  I apply it about every 3-4 hours.

By Tuesday afternoon, Baby Brother is definitely more in teething mode than sick mode, and my hands and feet are hardly itchy or painful at all.

The Mayo Clinic website tells me I am contagious until my spots scab over.  Since they haven’t opened, I am not sure that will even happen.  Instead, I hope to be able to leave the house again once my spots and Little Guy’s spots fade significantly.

Wednesday:

I woke up without any itching sensation at all.  The rash on both my hands and feet is still visible, though the spots on my hands are turning more of a brownish color and fading.  The spots on my feet have become more defined and reddish, though they do not itch at all.  I treated the spots on my feet with the essential oils blend.

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Little Guy has the one spot on his chin, which is also turning more brownish than reddish.  The few spots on his hands look more defined.  I am not sure that any of the spots actually bothered him, since he never showed any signs of distress or discomfort on his mouth or hands.  I treated all of his visible spots again with the essential oils.

As it looks today, I believe we can leave the house by tomorrow or Friday.

Which is fabulous, because I am starting to get cabin fever already.

Stay tuned tomorrow to see how we continue to fare.

Baby Food – To Go

Around here we have been getting excited for our upcoming road trip back east.

Did you catch that?  I already sound Midwestern.

I said “back east”.

I digress.

Beard and I are packing up our three kids in our new-to-us mini-van and driving half way across the country to see a lot  of family.  We are excited.  The girls are excited.  Heck.  Baby Brother is excited, and he doesn’t even know it yet.

Our girls are definitely no stranger to long road trips.  They had made the 8 hour trip between Virginia and my home state of New Jersey at least three times every year, plus they each made a few journeys out here to Wisconsin from Virginia.

There was this one crazy year where my husband and I drove to Wisconsin, stayed a week, then drove to New Jersey for my cousin’s wedding, then we drove back down to Virginia.  With a 15 month old Bitsy girl.  And I was 30 weeks pregnant.

That trip was made pleasant by our friends at Pepperidge Farm and their genius invention called the “goldfish”.

This summer will be Baby Brother’s first big road trip, and it is the first time I have brought a baby that still requires purees on a long road trip.  I have taken babies that exclusively nurse, and I have taken babies that can eat a lot of table foods.  Little Guy, though, is just not ready for much table food at all.  It means I have to be creative (and probably a bit industrious) about having enough for him to eat without relying on pre-packaged baby food.**

There are some foods that are no-brainers when it comes to feeding babies quickly, easily, and conveniently:

  • avocados:  I love feeding my babies avocados.  They are easy to mash up, have tons of good fats, and they are green.  What mom doesn’t love to have a baby covered in green mush?  At this point, Little Guy eats between 1/8 and 1/4 of an avocado in one sitting.  By replacing the avocado pit into the remainder of the fruit and putting the fruit, in its peel, in a sealed bag or container, I could feasibly keep an avocado for a few meals.  I highly doubt Baby Brother would like to eat avocado for 4-8 meals straight, so I eat some of it myself or pawn some of it off on his older sisters.  They ate the green mush as babies, too!
  • bananas:  Bananas are another of those foods that are easy to mash and come in their very own container.  Heck, I can slice off tiny slivers of banana with a baby spoon.  Bananas require no prep at all.  Like an avocado, Little Guy could probably eat 1/4 – 1/8 of a banana in a sitting, but bananas don’t keep as well as avocados once they are peeled.  Fortunately, those are also easy to feed to other family members.
  • applesauce:  I almost never buy anything that is packaged into individual serving sizes.  I will forego this rule with applesauce on road trips.  I can buy individual cups of sugar free, organic applesauce that make a very easy meal for a baby on the road.
  • watermelon:  This may be the first in this list where you think HUH?  If I buy a watermelon, or even half a watermelon, I can slice it up and put it in a large bag or container.  Little Guy can hold a slice of watermelon and gnaw on it while we are stopped.
  • hard-boiled eggs:  I have gotten Baby Brother absolutely hooked on egg yolks.  For the most part, he likes the liquid yolk from my hard-boiled eggs, but unfortunately there is not way I could bring those with us.  Hard-boiled eggs, on the other hand, are super easy to keep on a long trip, as well as easy to mash and eat.  Fortunately for me, I have a daughter that will only eat hard-boiled egg whites, so those won’t go to waste.

These are great foods to keep in the car for feeding babies while on a road trip.  I am, however, going to put together some purees to bring along in my favorite “baby food cubes” in a cooler.  I am working on a post about which purees to make and take and which are best left at home, as well as how to keep them frozen, and how to thaw them and feed them to baby.

Stay tuned!

A Frugal Birthday

Disclaimer:  This post is being written later in the evening than most of my other posts.  This is because I was busy making cow costumes for my family to get a free meal tomorrow at one of our favorite fast food restaurants.  Sometimes it seems I’ll do anything for something free.

IMG_0297Last week we celebrated our oldest child’s fifth birthday.  Though we had celebrated her younger sister’s third birthday this past fall in Wisconsin, this particular birthday felt very different from the others we have celebrated with our kids.

In Virginia, our birthday celebrations looked pretty much the same:  I would spend most of the money on food, a bit on balloons, easy decor, and plasticware, then invite at least 30 friends and family members to eat with us and share cake with the birthday girl.

I had lots of help for these birthday celebrations, in addition to my husband, I’d usually have a friend or two, my sister-in-law, parents, and maybe my own sister helping me to cook and prepare.

With a fresh start in Wisconsin, I wanted to change up our birthday routine.  A change in our normal birthdays will take my girls’ minds off missing all of the friends and family we used to be near to.  I was hoping to celebrate the fact that we’ve made new friends.

I was also hoping to stick to a tight budget in light of our new financial goals.

Here is how we celebrated:

  • I asked my daughter what would mean the most to her for her birthday.  What she wanted most of all was a cake with Elsa and Anna (from Disney’s Frozen) on it.  Fortunately for me, my dad pays for our Sam’s Club membership, so we were able to get a half sheet cake with Elsa and Anna on it for under $20.  (Side note:  my daughter was so excited that the cake actually had her name on it.  I love the innocence of children.)
  • Instead of feeding everyone a meal, which is more necessary when you invite more adults and/or have older children, I made the party earlier in the afternoon.  We served easy, inexpensive snacks like string cheese, baby carrots, and “snowman building” snacks (marshmallows, pretzel sticks, and chocolate chips).  I grabbed some lemonade to wash it all down.  Snacks set me back about $15.
  • To continue with the Frozen theme, I grabbed a snowflake covered plastic table cloth, and pink plates and plasticware (birthday girl’s request).  Target delivered for $7.
  • Finally, we needed napkins and cups.  Both set me back $3.

We invited my daughter’s new friends to the park early in the afternoon, and fortunately for us, the local town pool is in the park my daughter chose.

The kids spent a couple hours having snacks, swimming in the kiddie pool, and playing on the playground.  I’m not sure about everyone else’s children, but my girls had a great time.  They slept well that night, too!

The local town pool charges a small fee for moms bringing their children to the kiddie pool, so all in all, we gave our little five year old a fun birthday party for about $50.

The best part:  When asked the next day how her birthday was, our little big girl said it was her best birthday party ever.

Of course, she probably doesn’t remember the last four…

But I’ll take it!

Milestone Birthday Over Here

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This little beauty turned 5 years old yesterday.

There is an immense amount of innocence, yet some seriously profound wisdom that comes with the 5-year-old heart and mind.  Her smile and laughter exudes joy.  She is insatiably curious about the world and the way it works.  She feels so deeply, not only for herself, but for others as well.

This little girl was celebrated yesterday with friends and family at her new favorite place:  the local pool.  In light of our new budgeting arrangements, we tried to keep the costs on our celebration as small as possible, while still making our big girl feel special.  I’ll detail more about how we did this in a post next week.

Enjoy your weekend, readers.

Domesticated Happenings

Friends, there are always as many as three blog posts being written on the computer, as well as 7,000 being written in my head.  That is how my brain just functions.

Sometimes I get around to writing these fantastic blog posts I have in mind, but most of the time, these posts end up in the graveyard of dead and lost ideas.

Yes.  I have one of those.  It looks very similar to the elephant graveyard a la The Lion King.

Since a few things have been happening around here that I haven’t mentioned, this will be a hodge podge blog post.  A few of these things I will elaborate on more in future blog posts, but others will just have this small cameo appearance.

First, we have finally settled into our new rental home.  It felt like it took forever for me to get all of the boxes unpacked and to get everything where I would like it.  Because we didn’t move with very much furniture, we had to collect some new-to-us furniture.  There was a one month season where we had a free but very smelly couch.  The day I decided the smelly couch needed to go into a burn pile, friends of ours gifted us their old couch because they were buying a new one.

(Side note here:  The entire time we had said smelly couch, I would walk past it singing “Smelly Couch” to the tune of “Smelly Cat”, the tune written by the beloved Phoebe of the television show Friends.  My girls wondered how I made up such a clever tune about our unfortunately odorous couch.)

Our neighbors’ boss (yes, that possession is correct; both of them work for the same person) gave us his old dining set.  This was an unexpected blessing since we had never met this man before, and we really needed a larger table to accommodate any potential dinner guests.

I finally straightened up the office today, as well.  Our office/playroom is characteristically a dumping ground.  Even in Virginia, if the office was cleaned, I must have had some serious free time that day, or I was having company.  It’s nice to not have visual clutter staring me down each and every time I sit down to check e-mail or blog.

Our trusty old SUV is no longer safe to drive due to some rust issues and a non-functioning master cylinder.  Rather than repairing the car (which would probably cost more than the vehicle itself is worth), we looked into selling it to someone who would be able to repair and enjoy it.  In the meantime we had three children, all with car seats, in the back of our commuter car, a 2-door coupe.

I will mention here that we learned a valuable lesson through this experience:  Most car seats are very safe, but it is the most expensive car seats that are narrow and allow you to put multiple children in one row of a vehicle.  We did not consider this when we originally purchased car seats for the kids.  Oh boy.

After a few weeks of hauling a family of five in a scionTC, we grew tired of the “clown car” feel.  We scoured the internet for minivans that fit a few very specific criteria that my husband was not willing to budge on.  Fortunately for me, the search led us to a van in Illinois, just a few hours south of us.  Off my husband went one day last week to rescue me from having to squeeze my adult-self in the back seat of a 2-door coupe to buckle in my three children.

Our new van is a Honda Odyssey (surprise), and although it isn’t new, it is new to us.  It has some things that our family could really benefit from, like leather seats (ever taken crayons on long car rides??) and a low, deep trunk (for those of us who might be vertically challenged).  I had dreaded this stage of motherhood:  the acquisition of a “mom van”, but now that I’ve sat in the driver seat, the idea of a mini-van is growing on me.  It certainly is much more convenient than I had previously anticipated.

In light of purchasing a new vehicle, the Beard and I took a long, hard look at our finances.  Although we had taken Financial Peace University (a Dave Ramsey financial planning course), we had fallen off the bandwagon somewhere along the way.  We had, at one point, been throwing lots of money towards our student loan debt, but as of late, our zeal had waned.  Adding a car payment to our budget gave us a reality check, and we have decided to put all of our financial efforts into paying off debt before anything else.  Before buying another house.  Before buying another anything that is not absolutely necessary, in fact.

And finally, friends, I am working on taking my job at home more seriously.  As it happens, every year or so I go through phases where I feel like my work at home, raising babies, cooking, cleaning, etc. is just not “real work”.  I can feel a bit unaccomplished.  Of course this cycles downward quickly, and I find myself in pajama pants at 2:00 PM.  In order to circumvent this cycle, I intend to value and put effort into my work at home, both in order to find satisfaction in it, and to do it to the best of my ability.

That is all for this holiday weekend.  I hope you all enjoy some hot dogs, fireworks, and a toasted marshmallow or two!