Last week was a rough week. A really, really, rough week. Actually, the past two have been difficult. Work is insanely busy right now - last Tuesday I pulled an honest-to-goodness all nighter, working from 9 pm after the kids went to bed until 5 am when it was time to get ready for the next day. Busy work is a good thing, hopefully it means job security and a rebounding economy, both of which we desperately need, but when my work-life gets so out of hand I have a very hard time finding any sort of balance in any other aspect of life. The house is a mess (I actually turned the tax assessor away, asking him to come back a different day because I was so embarrassed at the state of our house), I haven't been working out, and our eating? I don't even know. I have no idea what we have been subsiding on these last few weeks. Nothing healthy, I can tell you that. All of this, this disarray, leads to stress. And it just seems to mount, and mount, and mount.
On top of that Nolan was sick at the beginning of last week with a cold. He seemed to be handling it well even though like normal, it appeared to be developing into croup. On Wednesday night when we went to bed I realized he had a 101 degree fever and his breathing was very labored. Very labored. I'd never seen him like this before. I gave him some medicine and he went back to sleep. At 4 am, when I got up to go log into work early, his fever was back and his breathing was no better, maybe worse. And then a light bulb went off: this is what they warn you about with croup! I spent the next hour talking to a nurse on the phone and we decided I didn't need to bring him to the ER, but I did need him to get in asap in the morning. Sure enough, he had a severe case of croup as well as an ear infection. Thankfully his oxygen levels were at 95%, so he didn't require hospitalization but although he was getting air, he was having to work very, very hard to get it. We gave him a dose of steroids and his first breathing treatment before leaving the office and the two of us were sent home with a Rx for amoxicillin, prednisone, and albuterol with instructions for further breathing treatments every four hours. This meant I had to keep him home with me even though I had deadlines still to meet.
I love being with that boy but working with a small child at home is....well, it's very difficult.
I don't want to say my stress levels were at an all-time high last week, they have definitely been higher, but they were pretty high.
When I get stressed out these days there seems to be one thing that always helps. A walk out back. Being in our back yard/back acreage does wonders for my soul. Everything stressful melts away when we are out there. There are no deadlines. There is no counter to clean or laundry to fold. No one is looking for me and there is no set time to be back. It's just the wind and the sun and the birds. There's dead leaves from last fall crunching underfoot and little blooms popping up in the clearings. The trees have budded and the boys are constantly in search of new mullein. Last night we found a magical mullein wand (from last year) and I've never seen Hutty so happy.
Looking at these pictures I'm reminded (once again!) that even a midst stress, life is pretty beautiful. Here's hoping for a better week this week and wishing you all the same.