Sunday, January 8, 2017

Target diaper deal

So I got so many questions about the target diaper deal after I posted my pic that I thought I would jump on and write a quick blog post on how to get a killer deal on diapers!  So here ya go!

Right now the super packs of diapers are on sale for $24.99 and for every 2 boxes you buy you get a $10 gift card. Target is also running their promo where if you spend $125 on baby products (formula, baby food, diapers, baby toiletries and wipes) - you get a $20 gift card. Great deal right? Just wait - you can do better!

We are a huggies family (pampers always broke Ceej out!) and I never buy a pack of diapers without a coupon - ever. The best place to find diaper coupons is the web! There was also a $2 coupon in today's sale papers so if you picked up some papers from the dollar store it would still pay off. Here is where I found my coupons:

(Krazy coupon lady is my favorite!) 

Now you're saving anywhere from $1.50-$3.00 a box. But it gets better! Right now huggies diapers are 10% off on cartwheel - that's another $2.50 off per box! 

So my suggestion is to split your items into separate transactions and try your best to get right to that $125 without going over. I would also only buy diapers in multiples of 2 - so that you take advantage of the double gift card deal. For me the ideal combination was 4 boxes of diapers, a can of up and up formula and a pack of wipes. This got me less than a dollar over the $125.00. I wrote it all out in the picture below:

A few things to remember:

- Try to get as close as possible to the $125 
- Be sure that you have them scan the coupon for your $20 card before you use any manufacturer coupons - otherwise it'll drop your total below and the $125 will no longer work
- Be sure that the cartwheel takes off the $2.50 per box properly. For some reason the huggies deals never work in my cartwheel. I actually had to go to the service desk on my way out to get $30 adjusted for my cartwheel
- Split everything into multiple transactions and roll your gift cards to use in the next transaction. 
- Be nice to your cashier! It's a total pain in the ass and isn't quick to do but most are super accommodating!

And that's that! With 3 under 3 all still in diapers this is the only way I buy them. As you see above I saved about 50%!! 


Hope everyone's having a great New Year so far - I promise to get some blog posts going soon to update everyone on the latest with the Wiklund clan!



Wednesday, November 16, 2016

October Memories

October was quite possibly one of our craziest months ever. 12 out of the 31 days we spent in the hospital with our sweet Maxy moose - almost half the month. To be honest the last 2 plus weeks seems like a whirlwind and sometimes I feel like we've been here months, and the next minute I wonder where the last 16 days have went. But prior to our hospital stay we were able to sneak in some fun fall activities!

As I mentioned before I'm a sucker for fall and everything about it - basic I know. But on Labor day my fall decorations go up and it's on. This year was no different! Chris and I do compromise however and I usually do fall decorations (leaves and pumpkins - no jack-o-lanterns) for the month of September and then I pull out the spooky ghosts, jack-o-lanters, witches and full on Halloween decorations on October 1st. Then back to general fall and Thanksgiving for most of the month of November until I just can't stand the Christmas bug any longer. Then I stealthily decorate the house for Christmas furiously when Chris is at work and he has no choice but to embrace it haha.

I started the month off with an experience of a lifetime with my Dad. I'm a Daddy's girl and we bond over many things but sports - football in particular - and I was able to do something special for him on October 1st. We recently became Bears season ticket holders and as part of that we were given points for difference experiences and one of those experiences was to hold the American flag down on the field during the national anthem. How cool right?!?! So that's what we did and it was absolutely amazing! We were literally 5 feet away from the players as they ran out onto the field - so so very cool and something we won't soon forget.

So we made a few trips to some pumpkin patches which aside from Christmas festivities is probably my favorite activity all year. We did our annual trip to Bengston's which I just love with our friends. 4 mommas - 9 kiddos (we missed you Bella!!) and we had a blast! Then we took a trip to Sonny Acres as a family of 5. So much fun! Chris had went there as a child but this was my first time and it was absolutely adorable. And check out our family pic which I thought was amazing until I realize that Ceej had his hands down his pants - hahaha!

Then we found what might be my new favorite pumpkin patch - Abbey Farms. It's out in Aurora and is just so so cute. Far less commercialized than many of the others and you could literally spend all day there. Ceej was a beast whipping through the rope maze. One of the dads watching his kid was like he's going to be an army ranger one day haha!

Then we of course checked into the hospital for Maxy's surgery on the 19th. It was a day we had anticipated basically since he was born. As the day drew closer we got that pit in our stomach but knew we had to be strong for our little man. And you all know what's happened from there and here we are. It's November 3rd and we should be headed home today - hopefully!! - and I can't wait to have all of my babies under one roof. I also can't wait to have a Halloween do-over once we are all together!


Cuddling with his baby brother

Of course we started the day with a blue moon

On the field holding the flag!! 

That sweet little Mimi Grace grin 

Apple day at Preschool

Here for the boos :)

My whole world - my sweet little pumpkins

I love love love these kiddos and their mommas

"We're the 3 best friends that anyone could have..."

These two - this will be on the wedding slide show

The bigs minus Bella!

Ceej turns 2.5 and we were able to keep the tradition of the half birthday cake alive!

Seeing Spookley with Ethan and Julie!

Sonny Acres!

Holy smokes we make GORGEOUS kids

Meeting his icon "Achoo"

Babies' first hayrides

Maxy's pre-op blood draw and smiling still

The first time Meemer Gace stood up in her crib! 

Choo Choo hangs with my loves

Obsessed with the huge bunny at Abbey Farms

The epitome of motherhood - trying to pee in a public bathroom while holding the toddler's pumpkin donut while he touches everything he shouldn't

Pre op and smiling

Passed out on momma

After surgery - such a champ

Hoping this scar is a distant memory of how much of a fighter this little man is really soon

Mimi's first Halloween

Mimi's first time trick or treating

Wagon rides post op!

All Halloween season he kept telling me he wanted to be a bee

He's been dubbed "wagon baby"

My little monster

Such a happy baby

Park hangs with Auntie Kristin

A local celebrity around these parts

Halloween night trick or treating with Daddy!

You know you've been in the hospital too long when...

So with the exception of 36 hours where we were able to go home for a short period of time - we've been in the hospital 15 days. We should be on our way out the door tonight (crossing everything there are no more setbacks!) but there have been a few things that I can't help but giggle about and I thought I'd share them to give momma's who have never been in this situation a little glimpse into what it's like and for momma's who have been here a little laugh.

You know you've been in the hospital too long when you stop worrying about wearing your bra. Yep - I give literally zero shits about wearing a bra all the time. When we first checked in I don't think I took my bra off ever. There are doctors, nurses and CNAs in at all hours of the night and I was just nervous to unleash the beasts. That lasted through our first stay - when we checked back in forget it. After dinner it's off and doesn't go back on until the morning - sometimes after rounds haha!

You also know you've been here way too long when your sweet baby has a nickname throughout the hospital. Maxy moose has been dubbed "wagon baby" by some of the people in the halls since we stroll most of the day. He loves being out and about and everyone through the halls just loves him - especially the nurses. He has them all wrapped and we get stopped numerous times with the ladies telling him how cute he is.

You definitely know you've been here too long when you know the optimum time to take a shower. You would think of man I should get in there early before everyone else does. Nope - not so much. If you try to take a shower too early the water apparently hasn't had a chance to warm up. I've found the optimum time to take a shower is right when Maxy goes down for first nap - right around 8:30. Any earlier and it's way too cold.

I also know that I've been here way too long now that I've made friends with Maria - the phone operator on the other end of the dining on call phone number. I'm pretty predictable and order pretty much the same thing for every meal every day and Maria and I have become fast friends. She teases me everyday because I get cobb salad no tomatoes but then I get a side of tomato soup. They confirm it with her every. single. time.

It's evident that we've been here too long considering we've made actual friends on the floor - both patients and their families as well as our nurses. For as sick as Maxy has been he is probably the healthiest baby here and that's so so sad. There are all sorts of ages here from teeny tiny new babies coming straight from the NICU to 17 year old kids. Because we are on the neurosurgery floor most of the kiddos here have brain tumors or more serious spinal conditions such as full on spina bifida and it's so so very heartbreaking. It makes us so thankful that are problems are small in comparison. I have met some amazing parents and even more amazing and resilient kiddos during our stay here and they will forever hold a special place in our hearts.

As the days have worn on most of our friends have started to leave and there are just 2 of us from the original crew left and I hope that they get to leave soon too. And our nurses - I cannot say enough good things about all of them. As you know we've been at the hospital alone for this second much longer stay because it's just not possible for both of us to be here because our babies at home need us to. That being said - the nurses seem to know when I need to chat be it about Max or just life in general. They know when to come and just sit for a few minutes and hang out to give me some sense of normalcy and for that I will be forever thankful.

And one of the biggest things that signal to me that I've been here too long is the fact that I feel like a nurses assistant. Haha. I've learned to get him all hooked back up on monitor, cancel out alarms when I know they are ok, and of course deal with his picc line. I would have never ever guessed that the terms saline flush and hep lock would become second nature to me. I have also stopped being timid about what I feel is best for Max - even when it is something as simple as doing his vitals. There are constantly people in and out and it's hard for him to get good rest. When they come in to do vitals if I think that he could use the rest and hold off a little I will urge them to wait. I've always been his biggest advocate but that's only strengthened the longer we've been here.

I wouldn't wish this on anyone but I always try to see the positive in every situation and laugh through the tears.


Friday, November 4, 2016

Questions Answered

I realized that my last post included a lot of information and probably raised a lot of questions - as it did for us as well. So I wanted to share some of the responses we have got to help everyone better understand what's going on. So here goes...

1. Did they not do all of this testing for staph, MRSA and meningitis when we first came back in to the hospital with the high fever and infection?

The answer to this is yes - they swabbed his nose for MRSA, the infectious diseases team did both a physical assessment as well as drew many tubes of blood and his neurosurgeon did a spinal tap. Through all of those testings - we confirmed that he didn't have meningitis or an infection in his spinal column or fluid leading up to his brain - thank God. All of the bacterial cultures also came back negative at the time. why now - 9 days he's been on IV antibiotics - and strong ones - why is the culture now growing? This was of course my first question and the answer is because the actual infection was in the wound - the one place that his neurosurgeon wasn't comfortable tapping in to again since we had already caused enough trauma to his back through the surgery and the spinal tap. A week ago this was infectious diseases recommendation was to go back into the wound as they had exhausted all options but our surgeon wasn't comfortable with that and we stand behind her decision 100%. When his back opened up and drained on Wednesday, we were finally able to get that sample we desperately needed to confirm that indeed that's where it seems that the infection is originating.

2. Can anyone catch anything from him?

As worried as I am about him my mind immediately went to Ceej and Mia because Max was home for about 36 hours before we ended up back in the ER with the high fever. I was terrified thinking oh my God I'm going to have 3 babies in the hospital and then I started thinking - no way would they tell us that the cultures are growing and then allow me to take him out and about in the hospital if they were in the least bit worried that he could give anything to anyone. There are many babies on the floor who are on isolation where nurses have to go in gowned up with masks and gloves. They can be in isolation for something as "simple" as a cold because bottom line if you are in here your immune system is compromised so anything they can do to stop the spreading of anything like that. So I knew it wasn't something I needed to be worried about but I asked the experts - the infectious diseases team - and they said absolutely nothing to worry about. He's not going to cough it on anyone or anything like that. To consider it as a nasty skin infection.

3. What's causing all of this? I thought it was supposed to be a "simple" and straightforward surgery?

It was. As a matter of fact our doc told us if you have to have a tethered cord Max's is the easiest kind to repair and the best to have. The surgery went off without a hitch, she was very pleased and happy and said it couldn't have went better. Everything once she was in there was just as she expected it to be and she said the likelyhood of retethering was somewhere between 3-10% based upon which studies you believe in. Couldn't have went better. So why are we still in the hospital 16 days later? The answer is luck of the draw. Hospitals are not the cleanest place as we all know. And whenever you have surgery or an IV or anything like that your risk of infection is increased so it literally seems to be bad luck.
4. So if the Bactrim is a wide spectrum antibiotic that is supposed to treat all of these infections why after 8 solid days of IV antibiotics are the gram stain cultures showing staph bugs still? Doesn't make sense right?

This was my first question and the answer I got was that they of course can be pesky and aggressive and it takes a while for the antibiotics to work and kill the infection entirely so it's not necessarily surprising that there is still something there.

5. What is the prognosis and next steps?

So every single time something has come up I'm in tears and just want the doctor to tell me first off that he's going to be ok and then tell me the plan and the new information. It's like my mind has a brain block until I hear those words. So he is going to be ok it just means that he will likely be on the antibiotics for a longer period of time.

6. Why did he need a picc line? Would oral antibiotics work?

The answer is yes they would have - if he weren't such a stinker. He's like his big brother Ceej and he refuses to take any oral meds. He literally is incapable of keeping them down. If we are successful and get him to actually take the full dose (which of the Bactrim was huge) - within 5 minutes he vomits it all back up - thus the necessity of the picc line as it is crucial he get every single drop of antibiotics that he needs.

So I think this should answer many of the questions I've gotten and that we ourselves have has but as always we are open books so ask away if you are curious or concerned about anything at all.


The latest...

So as you all saw yesterday through my pictures we indeed didn't get to come home. No surprise there right? I packed up all of our stuff, got Matty's car seat all set up and in the stroller, and got everything ready to go. We went downstairs to do some crafts for Ceej and the nurse came to find us and tell us the case manager wanted to talk to us about the plan for in home health when we went home. Sweet, everything still on track. Morning rounds went well, his back was looking amazing, he was happy as a clam. Let's do this!

And then, he and I were laying on his play mat hanging out and instead of the case manager Dr. Bowman's APN comes in to tell us the gram stain cultures were growing. The look on her face said it all - yesterday was the Cubs someday but it certainly wasn't going to be ours. The cultures were growing staph aureus. Good thing - we now know what we are fighting. Bad thing - we aren't going home until we figure out at plan. So what does all this mean?

Matty's neurosurgeon has turned the case over to the infectious diseases team once again now that we have an identification for what we are fighting. They are the experts and Dr. Bowman and her team will work with the team and take their recommendation on the best antibiotic and length of treatment. Ok, so why couldn't they make that determination yesterday and send us on our way? With these gram stain infections - they need to let the cultures grow to determine all of the sensitivities as they call them. Initially remember the cultures showed clear. The test was to take a sterile sample of the pus that drained from his back and do a bacterial culture. They use the sample and smear it on agar - a special substance in petri dishes (crazy but I used to grow bacteria as my first job in college as I was a science major wanting to do biomedical engineering but that's a story for a different day.). Then if bacteria are present they will start to grow - which is what showed for us yesterday at the 24 hour mark. They then use chemical tests to see the sensitivities of the bacterial and determine is MRSA or MSSA is present. This process takes anywhere from 2-5 days. Then, the infectious diseases team can use that information to determine the best antibiotic to attack the infection as well as the strength, length, etc. No matter what the cultures show the antibiotic he's been on since he's been here - Bactrim - will treat MRSA if that's indeed what it ends up being.

No matter what the cultures show they are likely going to switch up the antibiotic because Bactrim is a 90 minute infusion twice a day. A little complicated for me with 3 at home. So we likely will have more frequent but shorter infusions and preliminary they are thinking a 10 day course from when it was drained - which was Wednesday. So the current plan is he will have the picc through at least 11/15. He will be on antibiotics through the picc line for likely 10-14 days, stop them for 24 hours, and see his neurosurgeon at that time so she can assess how he's doing and hopefully ok the picc line to come out.

So for now we wait for the cultures to finalize and for the ID team to make their recommendation - but with the Cubs parade and rally and the fact that we don't have in home health set up yet (we don't know the antibiotic, dose, etc.) - I would judge to say we are here for one more night but we will see - stranger things have happened right? Thank you so so much for all your love and prayers over the past 2.5 weeks, offers to bring food, help with the 2 at home...all of it. It's more appreciated that you will ever know.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

September Memories

September is always such a fun time. Fall is finally here and the leaves and the weather start to change and I can officially start decorating for fall! We had a couple of super warm days so we loaded up and hit the mall for a little choo choo riding and hot dog/fry action. We had playdates galore and also took a trip to Blackberry Farm with some of our favorite mommas and their sweet babes!

We took a trip into the city to help celebrate Lizzie's second birthday and had a fun morning at the park. Then it was a quick hot dog/fry lunch (notice a theme here? It's Ceej's favorite) and then it was off to the Brookfield Zoo to hang out with some of our friends. I think this is the day Ceej and Myla's budding romance really started and the day that will go down in history as their first date. Seriously - anytime I talk about the zoo Ceej starts talking about holding Myla's hand and playing on the choo choo on the playground with her. They are so cute together. Just a few short months ago they fought like cats and dogs - now they are besties.

Casey has also started to like his baby brother a little more. He used to be totally obsessed with Mia but now that she's become more mobile, and likes to steal toys and irritate her big brother - he's taking a liking to Max - or "Ma" as he calls him. It's adorable and I'm glad to see it. In my crazy mom head I wondered oh no someone is going to be left out. Either Max and Mia being twins will be super close. Or Casey will be best friends with one of them and the other will be left out. So I am glad to see them all sharing the love. I'm still amazed when I think about our family and things like holidays, etc. that we are a family of 5. Never in my wildest dreams - even pre-infertility - did I imagine I would have a "bigger" family.

Ceej continued his obsession with showers - he can spend upwards of an hour in there at a time. And he loves showering with Riri. We also had our first pee pee on the potty. We aren't attempting to potty train yet - Ceej is still working on his speech and other things through developmental therapy and occupational therapy - so I don't want to push too much and he's just 2.5 but he did ask to go so we tried it one night and he did it on his own! I had the potty in the kitchen while I was cleaning up and he took his dipey off and was running around and he hollered at me "Momma pee pee" and I rushed over thinking he had to go only to see he had sat down and went himself. We did a happy dance and were so excited. We put on big boy undies and a little while later he had an accident that really shook him up and even after momma said it's ok accidents are going to happen no big deal - he was pretty traumatized so we haven't tried again since.

Ceej also started preschool! Well with momma but still! He's following in his 2 cousins' footsteps and is doing the Mom and TOT preschool program at Immanuel Lutheran. He loves it so far and both he and momma have made some friends. He's obsessed with the songs we sing every week and his favorite things are the trampoline and the teeter totter. It's just one hour once a week but I think it's already helping him with a little bit of structure. He also started Soccer Shots! I think he may still be a bit young but it's a great and fun activity for him and Daddy to do on Tuesday nights. They go to Soccer and then for hot dog/fry. See I told you - total theme going on...

We also took family pics and the babies turned 7 months old! I seriously cannot believe it. I also discovered the genius idea of bathing them all together - it makes life so much easier! I throw them all in together and they have a blast!

I think that's about it for the September recap. We sure were ready for October and Halloween and Maxy's surgery!

Mall Date for a little choo choo and hot dog fry

The many sweet sweet faces of Mimi Grace

Cousins Cruisin'

Future Presidents 

The youngest round of the crew. 3 mommas - 9 babies - and love them all 

Only missing sweet girl Bella

Choo choo ride!

This might be one of my favorite pics ever - Ceej is like peace out as all of the kiddos watch him walk right outta class haha

My crazy life

Donut face at Lizzie's party

In Chicago and the only place we could find for hot dog fry was Burger King

Checking out the sea lions

Does it get any cuter than this?!?!

Come here goats!

Cuddling my babies

Loving on his baby brother

Showers with Riri are the best!

The fighting begins!


Such a good big brother

Football season is in full swing!

First day of school!

Snack time! Raisins and juice - yum!

Ceej and coach Cecily

Who is that kid sitting so nicely? Surely it's not Ceej!

Our Princess

Cubbies babies

My boys

He loves his little sister

Sweet and happy babes!

This kid is far cooler than I will ever be

Hanging with Great Grandma

Waiting for family pics

That sweet little face

What did you say mom? I am 7 months old? No way!

Could she be any cuter??

My upside down skeletons!

Ceej is a houdini when it comes to getting out of his clothes lately

Bath times 3!