Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Internal Fight: ME vs. ME?

Yesterday, we went to the beach with our friends and it was a blast. We played in the water, caught starfish, and laughed a lot. As I watched the kids, you could tell that they were in the moment. Not concerned with the time or chores. Their only focus was FUN!

Although I had an amazing time with all of the kids and Bec, I kept watching the clock. Mentally making a list of all the chores/errands that would have to be finished once our fun was over. Why is it that instead having fun and being in the moment, I am lost in the land of lists and what-ifs?
After putting the kids to bed, I was still beating myself up for "not getting everything done". Then, Judy gently reminded that the kids won't remember the clean house, but they will remember the day at the beach. And that was all I needed to break up the internal fight in my head.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dear House,

Dear House,
I hear your whining. Your complaint has been logged. But I just needed a break yesterday.
I know that you were left behind full of dirt, toys thrown every where, dirty clothes on the floor, and dishes in the sink, BUT friends came over from out of town and we HAD to visit their hotel pool.
I know I promised to have you clean and straightened by today, BUT they are going to the beach. SOOOO, I just have to join them.
I promise to not be gone all day or to let the kids track to much sand in.
Thank you for understanding.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Heartbreak & Food

Over my life, I have experienced many different types of heartbreak. You know the ones: loss of a friendship, loss of a pet, loss of grandparents, miscarriage, divorce, even losing the big game. The list goes on and on. With all heartbreaks, you feel helpless and sometimes hopeless.
One of my worst heartbreaks was in 2002. It was supposed to be one of my happiest times. I turned 30, married Tom, and was expecting my first daughter (child #3). But it wasn't all a bed of roses. My oldest son, Lord Humble, was struggling. At first we said it was because there was so much change going on in his young life: moved to a new state, new school, step-dad, and there was going to be a new sibling.
But, we started seeing odd behavior at school. He would get frustrated and shredd his work, flip his desk over, break his pencils, and remember none of it later. He was suspended several times. The school refused to take him back unless we had him put on ADHD medication. So, to the doctor we went and came home with one medicine. But quickly, one turned into 3 and we were continously increasing the dosage. Things escalated. He was expelled from school. I was crushed. My nerdy gifted child was struggling and I didn't know what to do.
We petitioned the court and had to have him committed to a hospital for evaluation for 48 hours. Again I was crushed. Tom had to carry me away from the door to the car! I still remember him screaming and crying. I could hear him call, "MOM! MOM!! I WILL BE A BETTER BOY! I'M A GOOD BOY!! PLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME!! MOM!"
I didn't know what else to do! Every bone in my body ached and I felt completely numb. I started having contractions and had to be monitored. Red was scared and worried. It was taxing.
After his release, he was on 3 different medications. Those didn't work and were changed quickly. They ran a battery of tests: bipolar--NO, temporal lobe seizures--NO, ADD/ADHD--NO. So, we were back to square one.
We brought in a behavorialist and 2 different counselors that visited us at home and at the new school. We tried different sports to give him a physical outlet.
Finally, we tried gymnastics. He fell in love with the sport and I met a mom who intoduced me to Sylvie (our DOM).
With the help of Sylvie and our new pediatrician, it took us several months to figure out what was causing such behavioral problems.
It was a severe food allergy!
We learned that Lord Humble is severely allergic to food coloring and sulfites. Both of which he was eating in his school lunch, packaged foods, and of course fast food. We also learned that he has liver damage. We will never know if it was caused by all of the different medications or if his ALT levels were high before the meds.
It has been a long hard road for our entire family. Lord Humble has been off all meds (both western and eastern herbs) for over 4 years. We maintain a very strict diet for him at home and he is thriving! Although I homeschool him, he is taking all honors classes and is already a full grade level ahead. He is also dreaming of being an Olympic gymnast and wants to help kids like him oneday.
I am proud of him and our family. We pushed through the storm and came out of it better informed.
There are times when I wish that it wouldn't have happened to my children, to my family. But, because of Lord Humble's allergies, we have been able to help other children who are having similar behavorial issues.
For more stories of heartbreak, please visit Absolutely Bananas.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bitter Sweet

A black sand beach in Hawaii

Whenever I see this picture it always brings back so many mixed emotions. How could such a beautiful place bring back both happy and sad memories?

The week prior to us leaving for the big island, we miscarried twins. We were devastated. My doctor preformed the D&C and ordered us to go on our trip.
So following Dr's orders, we went.

It ended up being exactly what we needed.

Hawaii allowed me to mourn & grieve and forced me to get out of bed every day. If I had been home, it would have to easy to never get out of bed and fall into a depression pity party. Experiencing the beauty and the people of Hawaii helped me to see it in myself again. It helped me to laugh and smile.

I am grateful to Hawaii. I am grateful to my doctor who recognized my needs before I did. I am grateful to God for putting the right people and places there when I needed them.

For more Friday Fotos, please visit Candid Carrie.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A little more logic

Okay, so I thought that it was just my younger kids who said or did crazy stuff. BUT, Nooooo!!

After picking the preteen/teen boys up from a friends house this afternoon they were both telling me about their day!

Me: How was you day?
Red: They broke K's bed wrestling.
Me: Were you wrestling with them?
Red: Nope, but I fixed it.
Me: How?
Red: The redneck way--with a sock and duct tape! (Proudly puffing out his chest and smiling)

Me: And your day Lord Humble?
LH: Their cousin was over.
Me: Yes, is he nice?
LH: I told him he looks like a gecko.
Me: Why?
LH: Because he has big eyes.

There must be some reason for all of the distorted logic? Maybe our new homeschool course should be TACT 101. Or maybe, I will just continue to say that they take after their dad!

Toddler Logic

My kids always amaze me with their logic.
For example on Monday, we were picking up my husbands dry cleaning. I hand the lady my visa card.

Lady: Is this debit or credit?
Me: Credit
Lady: Credit, okay.
Girly Wirly (in back seat of van) yells: Her name is not CREDIT! It is MOM. You spell it M-O-M! Smiling all proud of herself.

Neither the lady or myself could stop laughing. Yup, she is ready for kindegarten.

Or yesterday, Little Man has been very interested in making "soup". He had a plasic cup and a spoon outside. He runs into the house and gets a brand new bottle of garlic powder.

Me: What are you doing with that?
Little Man: Making soup!
Me: Go put that up!

He slumps his shoulders and returns it to kitchen. I go in to change the baby's diaper. As I am heading back outside, I see that he is in the pool with an empty bottle of garlic powder.

Me: Didn't I tell you to put that away?
Little Man: Yes, but I was making soup!
Me: Why is it in the pool then?
Little Man: Because I was hungry, and I wanted to swim. So I made a big soup.

Yes, he poured all of the powder into the pool stirred it with his spoon so that he could eat and swim at the same time. How can I compete with that logic?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Uber-nerd Summer Tip

I am a self professed nerd! The song White & Nerdy could be my theme song. Even my kids think that it should be the ringtone on my phone. Although, I would much rather have the chirping sound like the Star Trek communicators!

It is my mission to mold all of my kids into fine upstanding nerds! Yes, I know, most nerds are not athletic. But, we are boldly going where no Nerd has gone before!

So to encourage the growth of their nerdiness, our tip and trip for today will be to the library.

For more Summer Tips please visit Bottles Barbies & Boys

Monday, July 21, 2008

Travel Horror

It was December 2006, the boys would compete in their first gymnastics meet of the season AND we were going to take the entire family to Whistler BC for a mix of business and pleasure. We had traveled a lot with the kids and felt that we could handle anything. The gymnastics competition and business meeting immediately followed on another. No Problem, I am a list making problem solver. I'm up for the challenge. So I start my list:

PROBLEM #1: How to make the meet and have Tom to Canada by Sunday?
The boys are different levels and compete on different days. So Tom will fly out with one boy and Girly Wirly Saturday evening and I will fly out with the other boy and Little Man Sunday afternoon. I will be there in time for Tom to make his meeting. Problem solved!

PROBLEM #2: The meet is across the state. Which airport do we fly from?
The meet is in Tampa, so we will fly from there instead of driving back home and flying from our local airport. We will just have to drive home once we return to Florida. Problem solved!

PROBLEM #3: The weather is balmy warm in Florida and freezing in Canada. How do we pack?
Me being the genius that I am decided that the boys would fly in the team warm-ups (thin jogging suit). I would take pants in a back pack for the rest of us. We would pack our snow gear into two suitcases (one for Tom to take and one for me). Once in Canada (inside warm airport) we would pull coats from luggage and be warm. Problem solved!

PROBLEM #4: Tom will rent a van once in Vancouver, but how will I get to hotel?
The hotel has a shuttle. I scheduled it for myself and 2 kids (remember Tom will have the other 2). Once at hotel, I will have use of rental car. Problem solved!

PROBLEM #5: The gym meet changed its schedule. Instead of the boys competing on different days, the will compete same day different times.
I call the airline and change Tom's and kids to fly out on Sunday with the rest of us. The airline couldn't get all of us together. So Tom will fly out Sunday morning and the kids (all 4) and I will fly out an hour later. We will meet in Atlanta and continue to Vancouver together. Problem sort of solved, what can go wrong?

I have everything planned and packed! So off we go. The meet went extremely well and both boys won lots of medals. We relax Saturday night and make it to airport Sunday. Everything is going according to plan! Tom boards his flight and takes off. The kids and I are waiting for ours. Ours is delayed. Still not a problem, we had a long layover planned in Atlanta so that we could rendezvous, let the kids play, and eat lunch. Instead of playing and eating in Atlanta, I'll have Tom pick up lunch for us and we will eat on plane. Problem solved!

PROBLEM NOT SOLVED!!!! Our flight is now canceled and the next flight is not going to leave until 5am Monday morning. Great! Call Tom. He has to fly on without us because of his meeting. They do put us up in a hotel and give us vouchers for dinner and breakfast, but all of our luggage is checked already. All I have with me is a diaper bag, a carry on bag with some toys, diapers, and a change of clothes for Girly Wirly and Little Man. The boys have their back packs, but they are filled with books and games.

We finally make it to the airport. None of the restaurants are open for us to use our vouchers for breakfast. Not a problem, I used some of my travelers checks (at the time, I didn't carry a credit card with me) and get muffins. The airline says that I can use them for lunch in Salt Lake City. Finally, we are in the air. Could things finally be going in our favor?
NO! During our flight, we encounter a thunderstorm and are rerouted several times and delayed several hours. Because of the weather, we will miss our connecting flight.

Finally, we are land in Utah. We would have to run, but we can make the next flight. No time for lunch! The stewardess was amazing and had phoned ahead to the gate in Utah asking them to get the kids some lunch. We exit the plan they hand me McDonald's bags for the kids and run us to the next plane. Finally, we will be in Canada in a few hours and this will all be over. They tell me that our luggage (from yesterday will already be there and just to pick it up at the lost luggage counter) so don't worry!

Although it was very thoughtful for them to get us lunch, we are vegetarian and my kids would not eat the burgers just the fries! We hit more bad weather, are rerouted, and delayed by hours.

Finally, we are in Canada! We arrived so late that all of the restaurants our closed! At least I have the shuttle scheduled! Wrong! Because we were delayed and missed the one that I had scheduled, I had to reschedule. It would take him an hour to get there! Our luggage was lost, it never made it to Canada. Only one suitcase and the car seats had made it through with Tom. We had no coats or even extra clothes to layer on ourselves. WE ARE TIRED, HUNGRY, AND FREEZING!

The shuttle arrives. Originally, I had made reservations for myself and 2 kids (not all 4). There were only 3 seats for me, so we had to cram all 5 of us into the seats. At least we could keep each other warm! Some of the passengers felt sorry for us and gave us some of their donuts to eat. We finally arrived to the hotel at 11pm (PST). We had left FL at 5am (EST). YUP, it took us 20 hours to reach our destination! Tom had pizza at the hotel waiting for us. It took our clothes another 24 hours to arrive. In the end, it was worth it to see the kids experience snow for the first time.

So, because of this travel experience, I learned several ways to have a more enjoyable flight:
1. Everyone now has their own carry on luggage. If we have to check bags, everyone has an outfit in each bag.
2. Everyone carries their own food in their backpack along with their toys.
3. We fly very early in the morning so that if something does happen, we have all day to fix it!

For more travel horrors, please visit Absolutely Bananas

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Fotos & a letter for my dad

This is me with my dad. I was 2 years old.

You are very ill right now. You are battling skin cancer, prostate issues, asbestos in lungs, you smoke, you have lost a lot of weight (I weigh more than you and you are a foot taller), not to mention the agent orange damage to your leg. Whenever this picture was taken, things were different. You were different. We were different. We still played together. We still spoke. It was before the alcohol took over you.

I feel like I am lucky to have pictures and memories of better times. T & T were not as lucky. You left when they were both young. They try to reach out and have a relationship now and there is nothing there for them. We don't speak like we used to. It saddens me how our relationship has detoriated. It saddens me to think that you have never seen your youngest grandkids in person. The last time you saw the oldest two was 10 years ago. Why? Is the past that painful for you too? Is it better just to live with old memories instead of making new ones?

Now that your sick, I have struggled with taking the kids home to see you. Is it fair to let me meet you and only have a memory of a sick man? Or is it better to shield them? I am still undecided as to what to do. Hopefully, I have some time to decide. I love you dad!

For Friday Fotos please visit Candid Carrie.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Jacks anyone?

Today it is raining so no swimming! With Lord Humble and Red staying at a friends house, it is just the mini monkeys and myself. So to break up the boredom, I decided to teach them how to play the game of jacks. How dangerous can a game of jacks be?

Girly Wirly is getting the hang of it as long as she can bounce the ball WAAAAY above her head.

Mini Man has a totally different approach. He ignores the jacks and throws the ball at someones head laughing harder if he actually hits you.

So maybe jacks wasn't the best choice for a quiet indoor game. Maybe we will just stick to making fruit salad.

For more great summer ideas & tips that won't hurt or break anything, please Bottles Barbies & Boys.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Dad and Gang

Yesterday, Debi had a great idea for a post. I searched high and low for pictures. It was very easy to find pictures of Tom with the younger kids, but it was a lot tougher finding pictures of him with Red and Lord Humble.(note to self--take more pics of older kids) Anyway, it was a great walk down memory lane!

Mothers Day 2007 Tom & Gang

Sept. 2005, Tom & Girly Wirly in loft of hotel room (Port Townsend, WA)

Dec. 2005, Tom & Mini Man (10 months) sledding in Whistler, BC

Oct. 2006, Tom, Red, & Girly Wirly at Carnival

February 2008, Tom & Little Bit a few hours old

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Oohs & Aahs

Aaaaaaahhhhh, the 4th of July, fireworks, picnics, watermelon, and fun. A day of spending time with family and friends. So this is how our madhouse spent it.

The kids played in the pool most of the day. Tom finally was able to see how well Mini Man is swimming and Girly Wirly was able to show Dad how well she could do sommersaults under water. There were a lot of oohs & aahs and tadas!!! Dad couldn't have been prouder. He may finally have a swimmer instead of another gymnast. It is fun and crazy watching them grow and express their interest and new found control of their little bodies.

Lord Humble and Red could not be left out, so they had to show Tom their newly learned flipping skills. I watch their focus and dedication and couldn't be prouder of the men that they are becoming.

Little Bit had everybody oohing at her because she decided that she needed food instead of nursing and grabbed a piece of corn from my plate. I am not ready for her to start solids. She is only 4 months old. Why is it easier for me to ooh & aah over the growth of the other kids than with her? Why am I longing for her to stay my baby?

Finally, we met friends at the Village for the fireworks show. It is really precious listening to the kids ooh & aah at the fireworks. Even Little Bit was mesmerized and could not stop staring up at the sky. I was so engrossed in watching the kids and seeing it through their eyes that I didn't even notice I had lost my cell phone! (Thank-you to Jim for graciously finding and returning it to us this morning)