Please visit the new blog...

This blog is no longer being updated. Please visit me at

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Mother Is a Warrior

My little one spent four days at Texas Children's Hospital. It's a wonderful hospital with special people working to bring children back to health. But I hope to never return.

Our stay began two Fridays ago (Valentine's weekend) after a trip to the ER. Michael had been cranky that week, not wanting to be put down. That was highly unusual for my active baby boy, so I was not surprised when he developed a fever. We took him to see his pediatrician two days in a row, but Michael's illness was dismissed initially as teething, then, after some swelling in his eye, as a virus.

I wanted to believe the doctors and tried to dismiss my feelings of dread as the anxiety of a first-time mother. I also didn't want negative things written in my son's chart, because who knows what goes in there? What if he really got sick one day but I wasn't taken seriously because I was demeed as uncooperative in an earlier visit? I just wanted to be nice and have a good relationship with everyone at the pediatric clinic.

But on the third day, Michael's eye swelled completely shut. I could barely see the tips of his long lashes. I called the pediatric office to have someone tell me what to do, since they clearly hadn't thought it was a big deal. I tried not to panic and waited for a nurse to call me back. My heart fell just a little once I talked to her because her tone of voice suggested a distracted worker that felt bothered by a needlessly anxious mother. She said she'd have to talk to the doctor.

After waiting for about 45 minutes, I let go of any desire to be "nice." I was exhausted from lack of sleep due to my sick baby, and just plain irritated that my concerns had been belittled all week. I'd tried to keep my cool and be nice to everyone, but I felt that being "nice" to strangers was being unkind to my son. So I called the doctor's office again and demanded to speak to a nurse because my son was rapidly getting worse and I needed to know if it was serious. After waiting another half hour, we left for the ER.

The nurse finally called back as we were on our way. I told her thanks, but no thanks, we'd decided to go to the ER. The nurse was beyond irritated with me at this point and showed it when she said that the doctor had just told her that he would need to see "her" again. Because there are a lot of "hers" named Michael. (Yes, there are some, but it's not the norm.)

This was the last straw for me. After giving Michael's information three times, the nurse still hadn't taken a good look (if any) at Michael's chart. She probably hadn't seen that we'd been to their clinic the previous two days and was clearly bothered by this woman on the phone demanding her attention.

(Here's where I have to say that I understand irritated callers. I had a job many years ago where I had to take calls from customers having trouble with their computer systems. If they had to call about a problem, they were already in a bad mood. I expected it and just talked them through it.)

Back to our story...I received no sympathy or empathy from the nurse. I asked if the doctor would be able to see Michael right away. I will never forget her tone of voice as she said that "she" would have to wait for more than an hour. It took every ounce of civility in me to say that we would just go to the ER. But it wasn't enough because the nurse hung up on me.

So I pushed aside thoughts of our FORMER pediatrician and focused on the ER. After a CT scan, the doctor found what appeared to be an abscess in Michael's right eye socket, which told him that there was an infection around the eye. They take that sort of thing very seriously because there's a danger that the eye would become infected, too, requiring surgery and a possible loss of vision.
So they put an IV in (awful experience, just imagine your baby screaming in fear and pain and knowing that it had to be done) to give him antibiotics intravenously and sent us to TCH in an ambulance.
I cried as Michael got the IV. And I cried as his car seat was strapped to the gurney for the trip to TCH. I was scared for my little one and wondering if there was something that the doctor wasn't telling us. At TCH we were told that Michael would be in the hospital for at least five days, so I knew that it would be an exhausting week. I was already running on empty and didn't know where I would find the strength for the coming week. I was afraid that I would finally pass out from exhaustion and not be able to wake when my baby needed me.

My brother-in-law's wife is a nurse at TCH and lives close by, so she met us in the ER with my mother-in-law, bearing food and Tylenol (for me). She helped us know what to expect and smoothed the way for us, which we so appreciated. The next four days were rough for me and Garrett, but Michael's fever came under control and the swelling in his eye went down. We were so happy to see both of his big beautiful blue eyes (I love alliteration).

We were discharged from the hospital early and sent home to give Michael oral antibiotics. We also have to irrigate his nose twice a day (think of a neti pot from h-e-double hockey sticks). Not fun, but we've learned that Michael won't always be happy about decisions we make concerning him. He won't always understand that sometimes we have to allow something unpleasant in his life to protect him from something worse.

That was a lesson I needed, in more ways than one. Sometimes I've had my feelings hurt when it seemed like God wasn't paying attention to me during difficult times. I won't know on this side of eternity how many ways He protected me while I pouted over hurt feelings.

I also learned that I can't value "niceness" over "kindness." It's not necessarily nice to hold my son still so that my husband can irrigate his nose. And it sure didn't seem nice to allow nurses to work at getting another IV into his tiny veins. But it was the kind thing to do and protected him from further illness.

So let the world be warned: I will not allow the expectation of "niceness," of wanting people to like me, to control me and dictate my actions, especially concerning my son. God formed my little one in my womb, giving me a divine appointment as Michael's mother. Being a mother is not for the faint of heart and sometimes requires fierceness. As a mother, I'm a warrior, fighting for the best for my child. I desire wonderful relationships with everyone that I come in contact with, but I will not allow "niceness" to edge out kindness in regards to my family.

Look at this face. Home from the hospital and happy to see his toys. Who wouldn't be kind to him? But those who aren't better watch out...there's a warrior assigned to him.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

10 iPhone Apps That I Love

A while back I made the bold statement that an iPhone is the new must-have item for mommies. I also made a wishy-washy statement about maybe one day writing a post about my favorite apps. And now, six weeks later, here it is. My sense of urgency is clearly alive and well.

I'll come out of the closet and say that an iPhone is a dream come true for a Star Trek lover. It's like my own personal communicator device. Sometimes, when I'm standing in line at a store or wherever I experience five seconds of boredom, I whip out my iPhone and start poking at the screen with the same urgency as Captain Picard on an away mission. Except it's quite probable that I'm just doing a crossword puzzle and not trying to detect how many life forms there are in a twenty-mile radius.

(And by the way, raise your hand if you loved the latest Star Trek movie. And raise your other hand if you never before picked up on the chemistry between Uhura and Spock. Yeah, that's what I thought.)

But even if you’re not a nerd Star Trek lover, iPhones probably hold some appeal to you. So feel free to chime in if you’ve submitted to its siren song and have your own favorite apps that I haven’t mentioned.

Baby Brain


I’ll start off with a baby-related app since new-mommy stress was the inspiration for this post. Baby Brain (and similar apps) provides the ability to track nursings, bottles, and diapers. I remember my first couple of months as a mom as a sleep-deprived haze of diapers and feedings. I was focused on my baby and usually couldn’t remember the last time I took a shower, much less which side to start on during the next nursing. It was such a relief to me to be able to track feedings without writing it down or trying to remember anything. I tried out several of these types of apps and concluded that the “perfect” app is really a matter of personal taste. If you’re interested in this type of functionality, search for “baby” in the app store and find something that you like.

Awesome Note


I would like to crown the inventor of the sticky note as King (or Queen?) of Great Ideas. How did anyone ever survive without them? But you can’t take them everywhere. That’s where the Awesome Note app comes in. It provides the ability to organize notes into folders, with each folder containing multiple notes or a to-do sort of checklist. It also provides the ability to jot a quick note to yourself. I use it to keep a to-do list, grocery list, blog post ideas, recording Michael’s milestones…the list goes on and on. You can also customize the font and backgrounds for each note. It is truly a note-taker’s delight.

All Recipes


I have a friend that reads cookbooks like they’re novels. I’ve given her at least two cookbooks as gifts, and I’m sure there will be more in the future. I also have several cookbooks, but for some reason I totally forget about them when trying to come up with something to make for dinner. Maybe it’s because getting on my computer and searching is so much easier. So I was super excited when I came across their app. One morning I wanted to make sausage gravy, which I’d never made before, so I did a quick search using this app. And voila, there at my finger tips was the perfect recipe. I’m hungry just thinking about it.


Icon_CrosswordsRemember all those nights during the first couple of months of parenthood when you joyfully rose at all hours with your newborn baby and stared into that precious face while nursing or giving a bottle? Yeah, neither do I. I was just trying to stay awake. I read somewhere about a dad that fell asleep in a rocking chair while holding his baby, and the baby ended up with a broken arm. So I was terrified of falling asleep holding my little one. The Crosswords app was my saving grace during those late night and early morning hours. It’s hard to fall asleep while trying to think of a four-letter word for boot, with ‘s’ as the third letter. Garrett has laughed that he often woke up to see my face in the glow of my iPhone. And I laughed when we started giving Michael a bottle and my dear husband could participate in those nighttime feedings. Muahahahaha!

YouVersion Bible

Icon_Bible I love me some Scripture. This app is handy-dandy for those times that you’re trying to think of a verse but have only a couple of words to work with. And it could also be great in church if you forget your Bible. Just be prepared for some dirty looks since people will probably think that you’re checking your email and not reading a Bible in the coolest way possible.

Praying God’s Word Prayer Cards

Icon_PrayingGodsWord I just found this app today and already love it. It’s based on Beth Moore's prayer cards, which I have at home but hardly ever look at because the big box of cards intimidates me by their shear number. One of the great things about this app is that you pay for only as much as you want. So, instead of buying the big box of cards, it’s like buying only the subset of cards that you need. The app allows you to mark “cards” as favorites for easy access. Perfect.


Icon_Facebook Everybody’s favorite stalking website has one of the best apps out there. Since becoming a mom, I don’t get to play around on my computer as much as I used to. So I’m thrilled that I can stalk catch up on my family and friends’ lives whenever I have a few spare minutes. This app also has the ability to sync with the contacts on your iPhone and download profile pictures. And that just makes me happy.

Photoshop Mobile

Icon_PhotoshopMobileThis is the perfect app for impressing your friends with your mad camera-phone photo-taking skillz. I can take a picture of my little one being cute, crop it to perfection, and text it out to anyone that cares, and even some that don’t care much at all. They can all think that I have an extremely steady hand and never know that my hands shake like Jell-O in a bumper car. I’m shady that way.

My Love

Icon_MyLoveI was thinking about saying “I heart this app,” but that’s lame even for me. So I’ll just say that I like it, I like it a lot. Why? Because this little app is speed-dial to my husband. Sure, I can just go to the Favorites menu in my Phone app, but who has time for all those extra taps? I like it that I can put this app on my home screen without having to open the Phone app. They also have apps for My Mom and My Dad and My Sister and My Pet Rock…ok, I made up that last one, but you get the idea. Very handy. Very handy indeed.


Icon_MercyMe This app is just a whole lot of FUN and proves that even a group that comes out with awesome songs like “I Can Only Imagine” and “Word of God Speak” can have a sense of humor. The app provides access to useful stuff like concert dates and their blog, but it’s totally worth downloading just for their “Cover Tune Grab Bag” videos. Do yourself a favor and watch the “Stayin’ Alive” and “Eye of the Tiger” videos. And then wish that you could be their new best friend and participate in all the Silliness and Shenanigans.

Now it’s time to hear from you – what are your favorite apps? What app deliciousness am I missing?