The Mama Confessionals: That Time Our Family Had The Stomach Flu

The day started out like any normal day but by the time all the kids were down for their afternoon naps my stomach wasn’t feeling quite right. Thankfully my husband was home and not working at the fire station this particular afternoon.

The house was quiet and peaceful but my insides were anything but. And soon I found myself making a mad dash to the bathroom as my stomach heaved up everything I had eaten that day. As I lay curled around the toilet I was so thankful I had given the bathroom a good scrubbing earlier. It is truly the little things friends.

After I had expelled what I assumed was the entire contents of my stomach another round of cramps, spasms, and intestinal distress hit my body. After it was over I slowly lowered myself back down to the cool tile floor. This happened for another two hours. My husband entered the bathroom to check on me and discovered me in the fetal position hugging the toilet with my pants around my ankles. Basically the most flattering position ever.

He asked if I needed anything, let me know he was taking the kids out for dinner, and that he would be picking up a prescription of Zofran for me at the pharmacy. And with that he earned himself the best husband of the year award.

As my family left, I managed to crawl my way out of the bathroom onto the carpet and waited. A few more trips back and forth to the bathroom to continue to empty my already empty stomach was how I spent my time waiting for my family to return. Shortly before the kids bedtime my husband entered our master bedroom with a water bottle and the anti-nausea medication. Hallelujah!

An hour later the cramps and nausea had started to subside and I decided a shower would be a good idea. After getting cleaned up and smelling much better I was looking forward to crawling into bed for the rest of the night when I heard a commotion happening outside the bedroom door. The kids had been asleep for 45 minutes at this point as I heard my daughter retching in the hallway and I knew the night had only just begun.

On the other side of the door I had no way of knowing that my husband was frantically carrying our daughter into the hallway as she continued to be sick. In a panicked rush to get her off the now soaked carpet he placed her on the tile in the bathroom where she proceeded to get sick on the floor, cabinets, and into the baby bathtub. Picking her up again he finally decided to place her in the bathtub which is where I found her.

There was no way to prepare for what I saw when I opened the bedroom door and followed the trail of vomit from the hallway into the bathroom. It was everywhere. The horrible stench filled my nose and made my eyes water. I carefully got her out of the tub and set her on the floor and went to work quickly cleaning. With the bathtub clean I filled it with water confident that she wouldn’t get sick for the short amount of time I needed her in the tub to rinse her off. I was wrong.

While my husband stripped the sheets off her bed as quietly as possible in hopes of not waking her two brothers I tried to clean her up best as I could. The clean bathwater quickly became not so clean as she continued to get sick and all I could do was praise God for Zofran.

I cleaned her up to the best off my ability and set her in front of the television with a garbage can. I then went to work trying to clean the large chunks of partially digested food out of the carpet in the hallway. I came up with the brilliant idea that I would vacuum the vomit up out of the carpet. It worked amazingly well and I then sprayed carpet cleaner all over the offending odor and stain that remained. I scrubbed away until the hallway looked fairly decent. I went to lay on the floor next to my daughter exhausted. Thinking I had at least 15 minutes to rest before she became sick again I heard my husband trying to get our oldest out of the top bunkbed. Which could only mean one thing.  And yes friends, he was also sick.

After cleaning up the bottom bunk bed my husband decided to check on our oldest and the baby one last time before closing the door. I am not sure how both boys slept through everything up until this point. As my husband checked on our oldest sleeping he discovered a mountain of vomit piled perfectly on his comforter. This child does not liked to be disturbed from his sleep and was reluctant to move until my husband told him he could come watch a movie with his sister. How the baby slept through all this amazes me. I now had two kids with me, with garbage cans, watching a movie while my husband started to clean up our kids bedroom in the dark so he didn’t wake the baby.

It wouldn’t be until the next morning when we discovered the true aftermath of what had happened. The wall had taken on a new texture and color and was covered in vomit as was the kids bunkbed. Upon examining the crib we saw that there was a small pile of vomit that had landed within inches of the baby’s head while he slept.

With the washing machine working overtime late into the hours of the early morning the house became quiet once again. The television was turned off, the kids weren’t getting sick as frequently, my stomach was doing better, and the three of us camped out in the living room with hope that Josh would be spared from getting sick as well.

But alas, that was not to be. Our entire household became sick with this horribleness. And our poor daughter had it off and on for 4 days. As awful as this was at the time sometimes you just have to laugh. Which is what we did over the course of this weeklong battle with the stomach bug. Being upset wasn’t going to help and when we think back over how we must have looked and acted during this weeklong illness we can’t help but giggle. In the back of my mind this scenario had always been one that I had hoped to never experience. But we all survived, minus a few pounds.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, don’t vacuum vomit up off the floor with your vacuum. This incident happened several weeks ago and after disinfecting our entire Dyson it has just recently stopped smelling like vomit each time we use it.

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The Mama Confessionals: What No One Tells You About Motherhood

I can remember the summer before our oldest went to preschool. I continued to second guess myself in the weeks leading up to his first day of the twice weekly class he would be going to for a combined 5 hours a week. Were we making the right choice? Would he be ok? Would I be ok? And many more anxiety filled questions that were very similar. And here is a little spoiler alert for all you parents with little babies. These questions, at least in my experience, continue to happen for each new milestone. I don’t think you can really understand this emotional roller coaster if you aren’t a parent.

At the time I was just 6 months out of counseling for postpartum depression and anxiety after the birth to our daughter. During the second week of preschool, I entered a room of 30 women+ women who I had never met to attend a weekly bible study that was held at the church where my child attended school. Clutching my Bible, I felt scared, my anxiety was choking me, but I knew I needed to be surrounded by women who I could learn from, lean on, and laugh and cry with. But most importantly I knew I needed to be fed and nourished with God’s word as often as I could.

As the months went on I found myself actively engaged in reading my Bible and more importantly being convicted by the Holy Spirit. Upon looking back at my sons preschool years I am discovering that he is not the only one who grew up. God has wrecked me. And I mean that in the best way possible.

My mama heart is bursting with love, joy, and goodness when I look at all my kids and see how much they are learning and growing, and changing. And these feelings have me either smiling or crying. The tears are happy but there is also this weird grief element that goes along with it too. It is like I am trying to enjoy these moments because I know they are fleeting by being as present as possible, but by doing this it also causes me this weird heartache.

You always hear other parents tell you that “It goes by so fast.” And that is totally true, it really is, but nobody tells you about this wonderfully horrible wave of emotions that happen each time your child reaches a life milestone.  Based on what I have already experienced I am guessing that each milestone gets more wonderful but equally more gut wrenchingly intense.

Over the past year I have made it a daily priority in our home to be intentional about reading and helping our kids understand the significance and importance of Jesus and the work that was done on the cross. These feelings that I am having as I watch my babies grow up only intensifies my desire to consistently share the gospel message with them. This life is so short. Based on this I have begun to ask myself 3 questions.

  • Have I been consistent in spending time in God’s word on a daily basis? If I can’t commit to daily reading the Bible on my own I don’t know how I can expect to be able to do it for my kids consistently.
  • Am I looking for ways to continue to grow in my knowledge and understanding of the culture and context in which the scripture was written?
  • Can others around me say that they have seen Christ centered change in my life?

With these questions in mind I can then look at what I am feeding into my kids and nourishing their minds with. And let me tell you, I am not sure when it happened but the two oldest have stopped loving veggies and only want hamburgers and pizza the majority of the time. Truly, their souls might be getting better nourishment at this point.

All jokes aside, I am so grateful. The privilege to be a parent isn’t lost on me. Frequently when I lead my kids daily bible lessons and catechism I pray that the Holy Spirit convicts them to turn to Jesus and that they will be called to repentance as they acknowledge that their sin is separating them from the Lord. With very few things for certain in this life I can rest assured knowing who I have placed my hope and faith in and I will continue to pray my children come to know God as their personal Lord and Savior.

Looking back over the last three years, I am not surprised that my son grew and changed. What I had not anticipated was that God had such plans to grow and change me. As our oldest enjoys his final week of preschool I am appreciative for the love, support, teaching, and guidance he has received. I am thankful for the friendships he has made and in turn the friendships our family has made. And lastly as Josh and I continue to raise these little ones into adulthood, I am grateful for my relationship with Jesus who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

PS…To our preschool family, our family has been blessed by being in community with you all!

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2018 East Valley Family Fun Summer Guide (That Won’t Break The Bank)

Local blog readers, last year I did a post that contained free or inexpensive activities around the East Valley. It was one of the more popular posts on the blog last year and I thought I would bring it back for 2018.  I have lived in this area for 27 years and I feel I have a pretty good idea of the local spots that are fun, free/inexpensive, or air conditioned to hit up during the summer months.

This is obviously not an exhaustive list, but this is a list of things that our kids enjoy or we think they will enjoy this summer, we enjoy doing with them, and also do not cost much money. Without further delay here is the updated list for 2018!

EAST VALLEY SPLASH PARKS

Our community has so many splash parks! Many master planned neighborhoods are featuring these in the parks surrounding new homes. I know there are probably many more that I could have included in this list.

CHANDLER

Spray pads operated by the city run 9am-7pm May through August and 10am-6pm September through October. In case you haven’t been to Desert Breeze in awhile be sure to stop by this summer to visit the newly remodeled spray pad! It is so nice!

  • Chuparosa Park spray pad has a ground spray, spray rings and a candy cane-shaped shower. 2400 S. Dobson Road. (480) 782-2750.
  • Desert Breeze Park spray pad 1 Buttercup, 1 misty mountain, 1 ground spray, 3 ants, 1 corn poppy, 1 flutter, 1 morning cross and 3 surf stones.. 660 N. Desert Breeze Blvd. (480) 893-6652.
  • Espee Park spray pad has a water tower, candy-cane-shaped showers, spray rings and ground sprays. 450 E. Knox Road. (480) 782-272.

Chandler Mall also has a splash pad that is located in the outdoor Village. It is open daily April thru September from 9am-4pm. 3111 W Chandler Blvd, Chandler. (480) 812-8488

GILBERT

Water Tower Park’s splash pad is among other water features, including a floating granite kugel ball and a water wall. 6am-10pm daily, year round. 45 W. Page Ave. (480) 503-6200

Santan Village Mall has a splash pad that opened for the season on May 6th and it will close in October. It is located in the Children’s Play Area between Build-A-Bear and Gymboree. 2218 E. Williams Field Rd., Gilbert. (480) 282-9500

MESA

The newly updated Pioneer Park has a splash pad featuring a 15-foot water wall and is located next to the public restrooms. 10am – 10pm daily, year round. 526 E. Main St, Mesa, AZ 85203

The Eastmark Community’s Great Park has a public splash pad operated by the city of Mesa. 7am-10pm daily, year round. 5100 S. Eastmark Parkway. (480) 644-2352

The city’s Riverview Park also has a splash pad with multiple water features. 9am-10pm daily, year round. 2100 W. Rio Salado Parkway. (480) 644-2352

TEMPE

City of Tempe has four parks with splash pads. There used to be a splash park at Tempe Town Lake but it is permanently closed. The brand new splash playground at Kiwanis Park is scheduled to be open this summer! For more information call (480) 350-5200.

  • Kiwanis Park. Opening this summer! 5500 S Mill Ave, Tempe, AZ 85283
  • Jaycee Park. Open April 29-October 29. 10am-7pm daily. 817 W. Fifth St.
  • Hudson Park. Open April 29-October 29. 10am-7pm daily. 1430 S. Cedar St.
  • Esquer Park. Open April 29-October 29. 10am-7pm daily. 2407 E. McArthur Drive

KIDS CLUB @ SUPERSTITION SPRINGS MALL

Free, fun & educational games and activities for kids! The Superstition Springs Center Kids Club is a great opportunity for your child to learn in a fun, interactive setting. National Geographic Kids creates activities and games that focus on discovery through play.

Details: Kids Club is hosted by Persephone (she is a singing clown) and Dewper the Prairie Dog every Thursday from 10-11am through October 26, 2017 in JCPenney Court. 6555 E Southern Ave, Mesa. (480) 832-0212

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL

Many churches offer Vacation Bible School in the summer months! Our church included. Ages 4+ will become scientists researching THINGS THAT MATTER. They will complete experiments, examine God’s Word, explore creation, and observe God’s work in our world.! Compass Christian Church is offering VBS in the evenings from June 3-June 6.

Details: Cost is $5. VBS is 6:30pm-8:30pm on June 3-June 6. Register HERE. 1825 S Alma School Rd, Chandler. (480) 963-3997

FREE SWIM @ CITY OF CHANDLER POOLS

I love public pools. I know that sounds weird but I took swim lessons at Kiwanis Wave Pool during the summer months I was in elementary school and eventually became a lifeguard at this same pool. That is how Josh and I met.

My degree is Recreation Management with an emphasis on community and urban recreation. I previously worked as a Recreation Coordinator for the City of Chandler and I absolutely love all the amazing programs Chandler offers to the community!

Every summer Chandler Aquatics has free swim hours at each of it’s pools. Here is a list of this years schedule. To my knowledge they are the only city in the east valley that offers this. Be sure to check out free swim this summer during the months of June and July.

  • Arrowhead Pool: Saturdays 11am-1pm. 1475 W. Erie St. (480) 732-1064
  • Desert Oasis Aquatic Center: Wednesdays 3-5pm. 1400 W. Summit Place. (480) 732-1062
  • Folley Pool: Fridays 3-5pm. 600 E. Fairview. (480) 732-1063
  • Hamilton Aquatic Center: Tuesdays 6-8pm. 3838 S. Arizona Ave. (480) 782-2630
  • Nozomi Aquatic Center: Sundays 4-6pm. 250 S. Kyrene Rd. (480) 783-8261
  • Mesquite Groves Aquatic Center: Fridays 6-8pm. 5901 S. Hillcrest Dr. (480) 782-2635

ARIZONA MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 

Explore the history of the Southwest, from dinosaurs to explorers, at the Arizona Museum of Natural History. Pan for gold, search for dinosaur bones, and much more! If you go in the morning be sure to head down to the basement level to see if the activity center is open for your little ones to color, read books, work on puzzles and play games.

This is one of the most expensive places on this list but if you purchase a year membership it is so much cheaper! Last year we visited at least twice each month and it paid for itself in two visits.

It is the perfect size museum for little kids and the new dinosaur play area with slide and tunnel makes it even more perfect for the hot summer months! We enjoy this place over the IDEA Museum which is right down the street.

Details: Cost is $12 for adults, $7 for ages 3-12, and is free for children 2 and under. 53 N. MacDonald. (480) 644-2230

SUMMER READING PROGRAMS

We love going to the library! I have since I was little. Does anyone else remember  Book It? Loved earning pizza by reading books :).

Sign your kids up for the reading program at the library this summer. They may not earn pizza but establishing the love of literature in your child is a gift that will last forever. Here are several of our favorite libraries in the east valley:

SWEETIES

Located in Chandler Sweeties is what little kids dreams are made of! Aisles and aisles of candy. So much candy! You can buy it prepackaged or make your own little bag of all your favorites. Sozo Coffee and the .99 cent store is in the same shopping center if you want to make a full morning or afternoon adventure of it!

Details: 1986 North Alma School Road. (480) 899-4245

BRUNSWICK BOWLING (FOR FREE)

Kids 15 and under can score 3 FREE games of bowling this summer at Brunswick through September.  Shoe rental is not included. Simply register HERE and coupons will arrive via email.

BASS PRO

The Mesa Bass Pro Shops has fun things planned for kids on Tuesdays!  Every Tuesday participate in their Kids Night event where they will have crafts, games, archery, and food for everyone! Events run from 5-8 p.m. (602) 606-5600

WIGGLE WORM ADVENTURES, GILBERT

Located at the McQueen Park Activity Center, take your kids 5 and under (max of 4) for play. Come play indoors with mats, hoops, balls, tunnels, ride on toys, music, and more!

Details: Cost is $1.50 for Gilbert Residents and $2 for Non-Gilbert Residents. Adults are FREE! Drop in between 9-11am on M,W,F from May 1 – August 11, 2017. 510 N. Horne St., Gilbert. (480) 503-6294

STORY TIME ADVENTURE WITH BEAR, GILBERT

Located at the McQueen Park Activity Center,grab your best stuffed friend and come for a classic children’s story. Each month set out on a new adventure through the pages of our books and create a story inspired craft!

Details: FREE. Held 2nd Friday of every month at 10am or 10:30am. No registration needed. 510 N. Horne St., Gilbert. (480) 503-6294

TUMBLEWEED TOTS, CHANDLER

Much like Wiggle Worm Adventures this is also a community sponsored preschool playtime held at Tumbleweed Recreation Center. Drop in and play in the air-conditioned gymnasium. This is a fun, safe, and clean area with plenty of toys and equipment to keep the kids entertained.

Details: Cost is $2 for Chandler Residents and $3 for Non-Chandler Residents. Drop in between 12:30pm-2:30pm on M,W,F. 745 E. Germann Rd., Chandler. (480) 782-2900

TEMPE HISTORY MUSEUM

If you are heading to Tempe Public Library at all this summer you might want to make a stop here as well. The museum is within walking distance of the library and while it isn’t geared towards children specifically it does have an area called Kids’ Place where children can play in a miniature Sun Devil Stadium, climb on a police motorcycle and hear music from bygone eras. There is no cost to enter.

Details: Free. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays; 1-5 p.m. Sundays. 809 E. Southern Avenue. Free admission, donations accepted. (480) 350-5100, tempe.gov/museum.

READY, SET, PLAY – INDOOR PLAYGROUND, GILBERT

I recently took the kids here for a playdate. It was fun, safe, entertaining, and beyond clean for an indoor playground. Adults must stay while their children play. You can even bring snacks from home to eat. They offer complimentary coffee, magazines and free WiFi access.

Details: Kids 1- 6 years $10, Siblings $8, 6 months – 12 months $8, Adults FREE. 10am – 7:30pm Monday – Friday. Call on the weekends before coming to check on open play hours. 2270 E. Williams Field Rd., Gilbert. (480) 855-7998, readysetplayaz.com

POLLACK TEMPE CINEMAS SUMMER MOVIE CLUB, TEMPE

For $5, you can get a season ticket that is good for all ten movies. Limit to one show per person. Each movie shows Monday through Friday at 10am! Tickets on sale now at the box office!

Detailspollacktempecinemas.com

KIDS EAT FREE

Here is a small list of several restaurants that your kids can eat at FREE!

RUSTLERS ROOSTE STEAKHOUSE

From Memorial Day through Labor Day, kids eat free everyday. Kids menu includes burgers, ribs, top sirloin and chicken fingers. Restrictions: Ages 10 & younger. rustlersrooste.com

 JASONS DELI, CHANDLER

On Tuesday nights this location off of Ray and I-10 offer two free kids meals with every adult meal purchased. Restrictions: Tuesday nights only between 5pm-8pm. jasonsdeli.com

IKEA, TEMPE

Get up to two kids meals with purchase of one adult entree. Kids 12 and under. Restrictions: Tuesday’s only. ikea.com

GRUBSTAK, GILBERT

One free kids meal for every adult meal purchased. Good on Tuesday’s only. Restrictions: Tuesday’s only. grubstak.com 

DILLY’S DELI (MULTIPLE LOCATIONS)

One free kids meal for each adult meal purchased for $6 or more. Good on Saturday and Sunday only. Cannot be combined with any other offer. This sandwich shop offers one free kids meal for with each adult meal purchased on Saturdays and Sundays. Kids menu features half grill cheese or pbj sandwiches, chips, cookie and a small drink. Restrictions: Saturday and Sunday only. dillysdeli.com

CHOMPIES (MULTIPLE LOCATIONS)

Kids, 10 and under, choose from 18 items on their award-winning kids menu, FREE! Restrictions: Tuesday’s only. chompies.com

There you have it! I am sure I am forgetting something and I am sure there are many amazing things in our local community I don’t know about but should. Let me know what I can add to this list? Would love to hear from other locals!

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