Buyer Beware of GE Appliances and Home Depot

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I have a houseful! Pets and kids create laundry- it is fact of life-as dependable as death and taxes.  As such I do a lot of laundry- somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 loads a week.

In January 2013 we purchased a new GE Adora washer- of course we purchased the extended warranty, that one is a gimme. It was first.

Now that we have had it for nearly 2 years it has been broken 4 times... not just little things... but the drum, the motor (2x), the belt, the control panel.

Getting it fixed has always been a hassle.  Navigating through the automated phone thing at Home Depot is one mess- usually taking at least 10 minutes to reach a person- who is apathetic.

This particular repair takes the cake in terms of awfulness.

On December 12, 2014 I called to schedule a repair as the washer was not working. The scheduled me for a few days later. No problem.

When the day for the repair came- the tech did not come during the allotted window.  I called the company and they said they had cancelled the appointment as we were out of the service area (Note: there was no contact to say it was being cancelled).

After calling Home Depot again, and routing through their automated service again, I got rescheduled for another day.

Approximately 30 minutes before the tech was going to arrive I received a call saying they were on the way, and to please make sure any dogs were out of the way.  As requested, I put our dogs outside and came back in.  Looking out the window I saw the truck pulling out of our drive and driving away.  I ran outside to try and flag him down, either the tech did not care or did not notice me.  I did find a tag on the door, not filled out saying "Sorry we missed you".  My 5 year old said that no one rang the doorbell. (WTF?!) Note: I was outside a total of 2 minutes or less.

I called the 800 number on the tag- it took a good 5 minutes to reach a human- the person who answered was going to call dispatch and transfer me- after 10 minutes on hold the call was dropped. Immediately, I called back. After getting through to a person, the person essentially told me "Suck it up buttercup".

We were again rescheduled for the following day  (12/19/2014)- with a window between 3 and 4 pm when they would not come, because I had to pick up children.  Guess what time the tech showed up? 3:02. I was here and the tech diagnosed the problem as basically everything. He would need to order parts and we were scheduled for the repair to be completed on 12/30/2014.

On 12/29/2014 we received a call again pushing the repair date back until 1/5/2015. The parts had not been delivered yet and they needed two technicians for the repair.  Calling again to try and straighten this out because we were now looking at nearly a month with no washer we were again met with stark helpfulness and apathetic customer service-- the message was "too bad so sad".

We have continued to try and work with the GE Response team, and they have been terribly unhelpful.

Meanwhile- I received a notice from a collection agency regarding the repair from October- it was supposed to be covered by the warranty, so now I have to jump through hoops to try and figure that out.

They make errors and the onus is on me to fix it. I already have 5 children, I don't need to babysit a company as well.

I am completely appalled by the quality of the machine and the quality of the service.

Dealing with a month of laundry with 5 kids and no washer is both expensive, time consuming, and awful.  I have spent over $100 on laundry in the nearly month without a washer.

I am at a loss as to how to proceed, how to get someone to care, how to get someone to make it right!

So far I will be filing a complaint with the better business bureau but beyond that I don't know what to do. Of course, I will never buy a GE appliance again.  Nor will I be using Home Depot.

The child has way to many animals.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

LittleDude, from birth has been part of a big family. He is the youngest of 5 siblings and is loved by so many people.  He has about 70 aunts and uncles and 10 sets of grandparents (family, to us is not limited to blood relatives).

He also has several four legged guardians.

From the moment he came into the house, Aurora (White Fang) claimed him as her baby.  She would not let Charlie, the other dog near him.  She also did not like 'unapproved' people picking him up. If someone made him cry-- look out buttercup.  If he got upset- she would get someone to make him stop crying. She slept under his swing.

Even now, she is his mama dog.  She lets him climb on her, lay on her, play with her, and she is unfailingly affectionate.

Because a dog is not enough protection, there is also a horse, a 1200lb animal that adores him.  Jessie took to him right away. She is patient and kind with him she plays with, she is patient when he brushes her. When he fell in the stable she would not move on until he had come up to her and allowed her to sniff him over. Another horse accidentally scared him, and LittleDude cried. Jessie was not impressed. She promptly told the other horse to back off, he is her baby.

When I am riding her, she can be a handful.  When LittleDude is on her- she is steady as can be.

I have never seen a horse and kid bond like this.  LittleDude, being 2, has his own language- but one of his favorite words is "Yeeha" which means horse. He loves to go see them. He loves to take care of them- to feed them to help clean their stalls.  It is something we all share.

So heaven help you if you hurt Henry and his horse or dog are around-- because watch out.

Positive change

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Typically, I am awful about dealing with change. When we remodeled the kitchen when I was a child, I cried for weeks.  When my mom got braces, I cried.  When my mom cut her hair I cried. Schedule changes are rough for me too.

For the past few years pole had been my refuge. My escape hatch from a busy life.  When things were rough I could count on pole to spin me back into a good mood.  Then I got sick. Really sick. I had surgeries. And more surgeries. I didn't get all the way better, I would get marginally better, then get sick again.  I had another baby. I got sicker. More surgeries.

Finally, I am getting better.  I am healthier.  But when I started back on the pole- so much that I took for granted was so hard, and it was defeating. I know that I could do something-- at one point- but now I am not strong enough anymore.  For a few weeks this was killing me.  It was depressing. It was dragging me down.

But I noticed tonight- my body is changing again, it is getting stronger. My muscles are coming back.  My flexibility is coming back.  I am not where I was, but soon I will be, I have to keep working at it.

So I owe heaps of thanks to Kymba of Kymberly's Aerial Pole Art and Fitness for sticking with me and showing me the joy in pole again.  While helping me get my butt back in shape.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven

Friday, November 21, 2014

Last week was a really sad week.

A teacher at Pixie's pre-school died suddenly, which is devastating for little ones.

We also lost a dear family member- Scotty- a super sweet horse who was loved by all who knew him.

Scotty was not our horse- but we loved him like he was. When ever we would visit the barn his head would pop over the stall and he would great everyone with a kind nicker.  He was very sick, but he was always a little carrot hog.  The Wednesday before he died we were in the arena and he followed me around insisting on carrots.

Scotty was especially loved by LittleDude. Since Scotty was sick- he couldn't be ridden, LittleDude was light enough that he could sit on Scotty's back.  He would lean over and pat Scotty saying, "My Scotty."  The horse had more people who loved him than a lot of people. He was always kind and always gentle- he let the little ones lead him and he was patient when they brushed him.

His mom and owner sure had a special boy and watching them interact was a gift.  It was clear their bond was deep.  He  would have followed her to the ends of the Earth and she would have given him the moon.

When it was clear that there was nothing that could be done to 'fix' him- she dedicated herself to giving him the best life she could-- and that horse had it good!

Last week, when he was in too much pain, his time had come- and she gave him the last thing she could: and end to pain.  As we waited in the stall for the vet- we covered Scotty with blankets- so he would be warm, and while we sat with him- he smelled the carrots in my pocket and insisted on having them. His last hour was spent surrounded by his family, warm, safe, loved and snacking on his favorite treats.

The barn seemed empty after that.  I miss his gentle eyes and welcoming nicker.  Jessie, his wife- took it well.  Animals are smarter than we give them credit for.

I keep meaning to get caught up

Monday, November 17, 2014

Why do things keep happening? It is the nature of life I suppose but it needs to slow down for a moment so I can take a breath!

Princess is now playing violin.  This was a huge debate- which instrument she would choose.  I banned a few of them because I know how awful they sound when they are being learned (a certain amount of awful is to be expected though).  In the end she played violin.  I played violin for years. My sister played violin as well- which is why I wanted to play violin- I thought my sister was perfect.  I slept with a photo of her playing her violin under my pillow for years.
So now she practices daily (or almost daily) we are coming up on her first recital and it should be super fun to take the 5 of them to a violin recital.

Enjoying the hand prints

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Last night I was wiping off the cabinets from the day's messy fingers.

And I realized- that I will not have little hand prints to clean up for that much longer. LittleDude is getting bigger and once in a while decides to use the potty.  My days with diapers, nursing, cuddling, cutting up food, and wiping off hand prints are numbered.

My grandmother loved when my kids would visit her.  I was always very conscious of them not making a mess at her home.  Once, Pixie went up to her window and put her hands firmly on the glass leaving two perfect hand prints.  I went to get the cleaner to wipe them off and she told me to leave them.

Later, I was told that she probably loved looking at them. My grandmother could clean house and insisted that things be orderly (I did not inherit this gene)- so it really showed me how important enjoying the kids when they are little is.  I am not always good at this, but I should be more focused, I am so very grateful. 

Burn centers are not fun

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

I love camping. I grew up camping with my family and some of my favorite memories were camping in the Rockies.

Taking 5 kids camping is a lot different than one or two kids camping.

Being that, under the best of circumstances we have zone defense as opposed to a man on man plan. Sometimes, zone defense leaves someone unprotected.

Henry grabbed a hot lantern and was burned.

For as bad of a burn as it was, he wasn't hysterical for the majority of the time.  He cried and said "Ow. Ow" but he was very calm for the vast majority of the time.

For the first time I was thankful that my kids had been squabbling before we left as we had a bag of half melted ice in cool water and clean paper towels. I put paper towels over his burn and put the cool pack on it and set off for the hospital.

Henry was so brave.  He did have to be sedated to have the burn cleaned, and he hated it.  He couldn't figure out how to work his legs.

After the fuss of getting his burn cleaned and dressed he earned a prize.  A dinosaur, he immediately turned it over and showed me where it pooped from. 

Finally, we were allowed to go home, with a recheck at the burn clinic two days later.  In the interim I had to apply cream, clean, and bandage the burn.  He was given prescription oral pain medicine, but he only needed it for 3 days- after that he went to regular over the counter stuff.

The re-check was great.  His burn looked great. We didn't have to go back for a whole week.

A story from my childhood

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I tell stories about my kids all the time, and I thought it would be a nice thing to share a short story about me growing up.

I am the youngest child in my family by many many years-- I do not recall living with my siblings.

When I was little (and even now) I did not sleep a lot.  It made my parents batty.  I would refuse to go to bed, just stay in bed singing, talking, driving my parents nuts....and then before the sun was up I would get up. Ready to great the day. One story is my mom and dad told me to go back to bed because it was not light out yet.  I turned on the light and said "it's light now!!!".  They groaned. Yes. I was always that obnoxious.  My poor parents have had a lot too put up with.  I am so thankful that they did- and managed to not kill me despite the temptation. 

Pole Perfection

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Imperfection, really. 

I love my time on the pole.  I have such a great time dancing how I am feeling. 

After having my kidney removed and a few complications, I have had to ease back into pole.  And I lost a lot of things. So many tricks that I have forgotten how to do, no longer have the flexibility to do, or no longer have the strength to do.  It has been a journey to get things back.

Recently, I have been working on getting my splits back.  Holy not flexible anymore!!

I will continue to work on it, maybe it will take baby steps but I will come back to fly.

Oh Dear. Utah. Scary. brain dump

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

This past September was the 15th anniversary of coming back from Utah.  This has been the first year that I have not spent the day curled up in a fetal position waiting for the day to pass.  I actually only realized the date when I had yet another one of my nightmares about Utah.  Yes, I still have them with some regularity.

This morning, I looked at Princess and almost died. She is growing- up, she is not my little girl who chases geese and loves to swing at the park. It dawned on me, when I was her age I was already in the midst of an eating disorder.  A diagnosable eating disorder.

She is such an amazing person, smart, caring, strong, thoughtful, and kind.  I never want her to hurt like that.  I never want her to feel like she is not not enough just as she is.  She is special and unique and fantastic.  How can I protect her from this?  How can I keep her safe from that trip in a fun-house mirror. 

Thankful for eczema

Saturday, October 11, 2014

That is bizarre, right?  How could anyone be thankful of an itchy annoying rash?

I am.

The past 4 years have been full of crazy medical things happening.  So many surgeries. So many hospital stays. A lot of feeling unsure.

Eczema is something that I have dealt with my whole life, there is comfort in the familiar.  I get rashes from almost everything. 

Eczema may be annoying and itchy- but I am thankful for it.

Death with dignity

Thursday, October 9, 2014

There is a video has gone viral in which a woman has relocated to Oregon to avail herself of the Death With Dignity statute on the books in that state.

This is a pretty hot button topic.  Should an individual who is terminally ill have the right for request a doctor to request a prescription for a medication that will end their life?

I support this right.  I have not been diagnosed with a terminal illness. I have watched people I love suffer horribly, and yes, I have prayed for their suffering to end.

No one deserves to suffer and spend their last time in pain or dealing with unbelievable anxiety. Illnesses like this can rob a person of everything.  In the small amount of experience I have had dealing health issues- the lack of control is paralyzing. Giving  a little control of their destiny is just and compassionate.  Individuals can choose when they die, surrounded by people who love them. Not alone, in fear, in the hospital.

Life is precious and sacred.  Prolonging life by prolonging suffering is not respecting life it is not protecting the value in a person.

"First do no harm" is a crucial doctrine of medicine.  Is it harmful to make a person suffer? Is alleviating that suffering more important?  The Oregon law does not permit a doctor to administer the drugs to the individual.  They must ingest them themselves. This protects doctors from violating their oath.  Doctors are also not required to write these prescriptions.

There are safe guards to help ensure that people are not coerced, that individuals are competent, that individuals understand what they are doing. It doesn't make it perfect, but it helps.

There was a case of a person who wanted to to continue his fight and pursue more treatment, but his insurance declined to pay for it and instead offered only palliative/hospice care up to and including death with dignity.  This is horrible.  This is a decision that an individual needs to make on there own, not because of an insurance companies assessment of value.  This is one of my primary concerns with this law. No one but the individual affected should have a say in when enough is enough.  Different people will have different lines in the sand as where that is.

In a perfect world cancer wouldn't happen or be able to be cured with relative ease.  As that is not the case a person needs to have the right to protect their dignity.

I am not in this situation, but people who are need to have this choice. It is not the right choice for everyone and that is fine. We are all individuals and one size does not fit all.

There are lot of people who say this is against their beliefs and that is okay, one persons beliefs should not dictate another's rights.

Many more prescriptions have been written under the Death With Dignity law than have been used.  Suggesting, that having that piece of mind and sense of control is extremely important as well.

Mom Superpowers

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Growing a person is a miracle and superpower in an of itself.   Delivering that person (or persons) is also HUGE (I mean really- have you ever been through it? Or have you watched it? Its amazing)

Moms also make milk that is the perfect food.  It is specially formulated for the age the baby (or toddler) is.  It changes according to the time of day, what illnesses you (and child) have been exposed to, it takes on the flavors of the food mama ate so baby can be exposed to different flavors. 

The whole lactation thing is amazing. 

Moms often have a "mama gut" I can tell when my kids are sick and when it is more than just a cold.  Something just seems off.  My kids get a 'sick smell' I swear, there is a definite smell when my kids are sick.  I can also tell if my kids are really injured or if everything will be fine.

I do lack x-ray vision.  The other day, Pixie was feeding the horses apples.  One of the horses accidentally bit her. She screamed and cried so much! The poor horse felt so sorry! He was really upset. 

After cleaning out the owie out- she still wasn't calming down the way I would normally expect her too.  This is the child who didn't cry when she got stitches in her head after running into the table.  I tried to convince myself it was just the first time she had ever been hurt by an animal and she was really upset. A little voice in my head was needling me that something was just off. We went to the ER to be safe.  I called B and told him what was happening.  He asked "Is it broken?".  WHY WOULD HE ASK THAT? I mean really.  Her bone was still inside her skin... there was no obvious deformity--- it just was not quite right.

I took 5 kids to the ER alone and after an incredibly brief visit-  we were on the way home.  Pixie had a small chip in her bone. 

Another super power I have is knowing the location of almost everything.  No one looks for things- they just ask me... "Mama have you seen xyz?" most of the time I can give a very detailed description of its location.  Sometimes I can't there are 5 kids and one of me.  The odds are never in my favor.

What super powers does the mama have in your house?

Bleeding Heart Liberals

Thursday, September 11, 2014

We live in a very conservative Christian town.  Ostensibly this would mean that there is a huge charity focus, residents would be non-judgmental, kind, and accepting.

And I was called a bleeding heart liberal- because of my political leanings.

I prefer compassionate.

I do not like seeing people have to choose between medical care and food- I strongly oppose that.

The environment needs to be protected- we only have one planet- we need to treasure it and care for it.

I do not like seeing oppressed people further oppressed. I will stand with anyone who tries to stop it.

I do not like seeing people victimized.  I will stand with any one to try and stop it.

My beliefs and morals are mine... and they guide my behavior and choices- but I may not impose them on anyone else. Our government was founded on the principle of religious freedom (freedom of religion and from religion).

Maybe I am a bleeding heart liberal.  I hope I can raise my kids to be compassionate bleeding heart liberals too.

Long time no write

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Quite often as I am going through the day, I think of things I want to write about and even go about composing a post in my head.... then something else happens.  It is an occupational hazard of having a big family.

Have you ever noticed the "Mama feeling"?

The other day Princess came downstairs and said her throat was sore- not terribly sore just a bit scratchy.  My mama radar started dinging.  Something was off. She wasn't running a temperature and she was not acutely ill- something just seemed off.  I swear I felt like Ms. Clavel from the Madeline books.

I already had appointments for 2 kids at our doctor for that afternoon (we see a family practice doctor so we all see the same person) so I called and added her on.

She had strep. I talked with B and he said that he thought she seemed fine and would have sent her on her way. There was nothing concrete that I could say: this is why I took her to the doctor.  Just a feeling.  Its not the first time its happened either.

Does anyone else have mama gut? Or just a feeling something isn't right?

On Suicide and Mental Illness

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

If I remember correctly I have addressed mental illness briefly in this blog after a tragedy.  I had hoped, in vain, that maybe, possible there would be a real discussion about the mental health issues in society.  Obviously, this is not the case.

People are still stigmatized by their mental illness.  People are still isolated.  Even the people who have access to the best medicine has to offer, are over powered by these diseases.  These diseases (and that is what they are: diseases- just the same as diabetes, asthma, cancer- and just as deadly) are powerful.

It is not cowardly to commit suicide (it is an act of desperation) it cowardly to call a sick person names and judge them.  The illnesses are powerful and scary, they can take over and rip lives apart.  The illness is in control not the individual.

A person with depression or mental illness has as much choice in the matter as someone with any chronic illness. Would you tell someone with kidney failure to just think positively, or to make their kidneys work?  No (and I certainly hope not). Then don't do it to someone with a mental illness.

Robin Williams was a genius, a gifted man.  Sadly, he was also a tortured soul as so many geniuses are.  His dramatic roles in (Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting are two of my favorites) changed lives.  His comedy was brilliant. He brought joy to so many people. He was able to reach into peoples hearts and touch them. The world has lost a great man.

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
                         But O heart! heart! heart!
                            O the bleeding drops of red,
                               Where on the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
                         Here Captain! dear father!
                            This arm beneath your head!
                               It is some dream that on the deck,
                                 You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
                         Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
                            But I with mournful tread,
                               Walk the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.
 Walt Whitman

Patch Adams and his character's suicidal feelings seem all that much more poignant now

She really is just a kid

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The kids have had to learn a lot of hard lessons about life since I was sick.

They have had to learn that sometimes even mothers get sick.  That sometimes as much as we want them too things just don't go as planned.   This summer has been great as I have not been sick much at all and have had lots of time to spend playing with kids and enjoying the summer.

A lot of times they are incredibly mature.  They are compassionate and empathetic to everyone.  Which, sometimes leads me to forget that they really are just little kids.

Then they do something that just reminds me that they really are just kids.  Most recently, this was the ice cream truck.

All of their maturity in the world goes right out the window the second they hear the ice cream truck.

The fun of childhood is pretty great.

Feed the birds (ducks- in this case)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Today we had a lot of fun-- and spent a whole $1.31.

We fed the ducks.

It was awesome. Every once in a while I bring the kids to a local park to feed the birds and ducks.  Last time we did it,  LittleDude was terrified of the geese and ducks- they were giants to him.

This time he loved it he laughed and squealed- and he wasn't the only one! We all did! Even a woman walking in the park stopped to video tape the fun.

We got out of the car waled towards the pond as we did, the ducks figured out what was happened and came over.  Even a mama duck brought her babies to see us.  The kids gleefully threw food to them and laughed and giggled at their antics. 

Soon the geese figured out what was happening- and came over to have a snack.  The geese were not nice to the ducks and the kids defended the ducks!

Here are Pixie, Peas, and LittleDude feeding the ducks- the mama duck was right there with her babies. 

Now LittleDude quacks like a duck in addition to his other animal sounds. 

So much fun! I am so thankful to spend this time with them.

Canon in D

Sunday, July 6, 2014

I had all of my music on "shuffle" today; which if anyone listened to it they would think I have several personalities- everything from classical, to opera, to hip hop (and more- I think I have things from every genre on my ipod. 

Canon in D came on and I immediately got goosebumps.  I turned it up and let myself sit and go remember.  This was the song my sister walked down the aisle to be married with. 

I really did not want her to get married.  Change is not easy for me, and her getting married would be a huge change.  My sister is several years older than me, and while I never had a traditional sister relationship with her, I love her fiercely.  I felt somewhat safe with her, not like I had to play a mental chess game. I idolized her and saw how much my parents loved her and respected her and was (am) jealous. I could never be her.  I could never be as good at (insert something here) as she is. My father told me I would never hold a candle to her - maybe when I was 7 or 8... and I carried that around with me forever as a reminder that she would always outrank me. There was a photo of her with her violin and I slept with it because I wanted to be just like her. Desperately, I wanted to make my parents proud of me, like they were of her and I always fell short. Always.. As an adult that is hard, but as a child it was crushing.

So here getting married felt again like I wasn't good enough to have her as a sister- that she wanted to be with someone else, and I was so hurt.

On her wedding day she was beautiful.  She was radiant, glowing and so in love.. just what a bride should be. 

Its been over 20 years since then and she is still amazing.  I have not lost my sister- we have grown closer now that we have somethings in common. She has three great kids and is an inspiration to me as a mother and a wife-  more than a few times I have thought to myself "what would my sister do?" before saying something or doing something that would be rash. 

The song still makes me cry and gives me goosebumps though.

And she really was the most beautiful bride.

Animal Love

Saturday, July 5, 2014

I love animals  Always have. Now my kids are learning to love and care for them as well.

One of the best things about being a mom is teaching my kids how to love and care for them.

LittleDude runs up to our dogs and kisses them pets them and just is super adorable.  He loves helping to feeding them, and walk them.  The other kids are the same- they help to care for the animals in our family.

Pixie loves the black kitty, "Misty", but she Pixie never calls her Misty. Its always "black kitty".  She will sit and pet her and cuddle her.  Misty actually loves it.

Princess really enjoys helping take care of Jessie- the horse. She loves to take care of her, groom her, and ride her.

Stinky is always willing to help wherever asked.  Which is great. I am so thrilled to have such a willing helper.

Peas is also amazing.  She loves to help clean up.  The other day she cleaned up the entire back yard- with two large dogs that is a lot of.... um... stuff.

They are so compassionate to the animals needs, I am continuously astounded.  It goes both ways though- if the kids are under the weather or sad/scared/otherwise upset the animals are quick to comfort them.  

Everyone in our family is loved- humans and animals. 

BiPolar Horses

Saturday, June 28, 2014

I think Jessie is bipolar.

The other night she had a hell of a time trying to kill me and gave me a run for my money.  She even gave the trainer quite a ride.

Today, aside from taking off from the mounting block. She was amazing.  Responsive. Quick. Energetic. Supergirl.

The only thing that makes sense is that she is bipolar. I wonder if she can undergo cognitive behavioral therapy.

Yeehaa. Bike Rides. Summer.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer has started!

For the past 4 years summer has not been the high point that they should be, they have been in and out of the hospital and generally pretty sucky.

This summer its all different.  I bought a bike trailer and put it together myself then took all of the kids on a bike ride.  Only LittleDude rode in the trailer because Pixie can ride two wheeler now!

We have spent countless hours at the barn playing with the horses.  Princess has had lots of time in the saddle and all of the kids have made friends with the horses.  LittleDude loves Jessie with the innocent that is totally captivating.  We have had great times with our family (blood and friends who are may as well be family).

So far we have had a great summer- I am so excited to start the summer.

I am running out of spare parts

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I do not have: wisdom teeth, appendix, and one kidney.

Soon I will also lack a gall bladder. Apparently it has been acting up for a while and I just started to tune into the issues since I was no longer in pain from an obnoxious kidney.

I have to schedule its execution date at some point and I really really am not looking forward to it.  I hoped to be done with surgeries. 

In talking with my surgeon I joked that I am running out of removable parts- soon I'll be down to the bare minimum for functioning.  He laughed and said he and his colleagues had a bet going to see who could remove the most parts from a person and still have a functional life. I rolled my eyes so hard. 

Kid's Speak

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

One thing I have noticed in having a bunch of kids is that I (and a lot of parents) take on the vernacular of their children.

 Cats become meows, dogs become woofs. Juice boxes become juicy.  Recently, I have taken notice of LittleDude's words: vrooms= his car sandals, Yeehaas = horses, choos= trains, rucks= any large
vehicles that he finds cool.

I know that all kids go through this stage.  Peas said "nuggle" for snuggle for years.  Pixie said "muggle" for nuggle for a similar time period.

It is part of what makes them who they are and while I am thrilled to see them grow I am sorry to see some of these words go!

Labor and Delivery.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Let me say this: I am not pregnant.

I was talking to a friend today discussing pregnancy- and how it can be challenging. That it can be uncomfortable and painful- but I'd do it again for each of my kids- even the labor and delivery part.

Suddenly, I remembered being pregnant with Princess and sitting on the back porch and realizing that this baby was going to come out one way or another and it probably would not be my favorite time of the whole experience.  I was terrified. The scene from "Alien" played in my mind.

I was foolishly under the impression that if I prepared enough I would be in control and calm.  As with everything else parent and child related: control is an illusion. 

Astonishingly, that was 11 years ago now (Princess, just turned 10). 

So Skylar is 10 and sentimentality

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Yesterday Princess turned 10.  How on earth did that happen? I swear last week We were taking her home from the hospital.  Se has grown from a 3 pound wonder to an amazing beautiful young lady on the cusp of becoming woman.

I am so proud to be her mother- and I sincerely hope I have not screwed up too much.

Every year since I was a little girl my mom made me a cake, yellow with chocolate frosting- per my request. My children also get to make their cake requests- and Princess requested the same.

During the day I made her cake and as I was doing it- I remembered my grandmother.  It is a family tradition to put tooth picks in the cake- whoever found one got a wish.  As I pressed the toothpicks into the cake, I remembered my excitement with my cousins and siblings over finding a toothpick.

Mostly I remembered the story-- the same story I have told to my kids about the cake.  I hope that they will carry on the tradition with their children- carrying on part of her legacy.

I miss my grandmother, I miss her everyday. But this makes me feel connected to her- a way part of her can live on.

A time to be sad--- and happy.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

It was the end of year picnic for Pixie's preschool. It is also the last year this particular preschool will be open.

This preschool is heavenly.  It is a caring environment, the children were the focus, their blossoming into caring compassionate people with a love of investigation and learning.  The children were not forced or coerced into learning they were inspired to- by exploring.  Their hearts and souls were treasured.

This is the place were I met treasured friends who got me through some truly amazing people who I am honored to call my friends.  They have prayed for me, cared for me, and just been amazing.

The school had been open for more than 40 years serving many generations of children in the area with the same child centered loving environment- and this year they closed their doors.

At the end of year the picnic is a great time to say goodbye to friends and look forward to the next year.  There is no next year.  This is the last time my kids will run in the field.  Play on the climber. Go into the school.  Hug their teacher.

There will be no more children nurtured by the loving teachers. For a while it was just as fun as any end of year picnic, until it dawned on me.... this is it.  Its over.

I cried- took lots of photos. I will miss this place so very much.  It is irreplaceable.

Colored rice art

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Last week the little kids and I made colored rice. We watched it drying for days. Being reminded daily that we have rice to use. 

After several days of drying out the rice was ready to use. 

So today we used it.  It started out well enough but escalated quickly to glue hand- prints.  It was fun while it lasted.

Regardless, it was worth it- and we'll do it agin

You don't have to like everyone, but you have to be nice.

Or do you?

There seem to be a few different schools of thought on this.  On person in particular comes to mind.  Given the fact that s/he is in his/her mid to late twenties and will be stuck interacting for the foreseeable future- I would expect politeness.  To be honest, I am not this persons biggest fan either but I refuse to be anything less than nice.

To be honest, this person has hurt me a lot.  I am not saying I am blameless.  It has been more than 10 years since I acted like an idiot though- and I have apologized and totally changed my behavior. I don't even feel like I can tell anyone who this person is without causing more drama than may be worth it. I just wish someone would see how this person acts and address it- without me having to be involved (yes-  I know this is totally ridiculous.)

So what do you do when some people just refuse to be have like adults? Short of sinking to their level What is the best option? I could 'get even' but I don't want to.  Whats the point? Then we have 2 people acting like idiots.

As it stands I am very hesitant to allow my children or myself around this individual, but short of directly saying "your acting like a nutcase I don't want to be around you, and I don't want you around my kids?" what is there too do?

There needs to be a flow chart for this.

Bringing Summer Back

Saturday, May 10, 2014

It was nearly 90 degrees here last week for a day and I decided to live it up with the kids.

We went to two playgrounds and then to the Arboretum- which is one of our favorite places one that we have not been to in a while but once there it was like revisiting happier times with my like minded mama friends from whom we have drifted away or who have moved away.

We must give off a pheromone of crunchy family as we immediately started chatting with a mom dabbling in crunchy life.

It was almost like before I got sick.  Before I started living live around doctor visits and pain, and I loved it.  So did the kids.

Honestly, I hurt. My lack of kidney hurt. My incisions hurt. But it was worth it.

It was a great way to start the summer.  I even got my first sunburn of the season. 

Don't tell me to calm down

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I have anxiety.  At times it can feel crippling.  Having someone tell me to calm down is like pouring gasoline on a fire: it does no good- and actually makes it worse. If  'calming down' was that easy don't you think I'd do it?? Would you tell someone having a heart attack to just stop? No?  (I certainly hope not, at least.) Then don't tell me to calm down.

Its insulting to be told that- as if I had some choice in the matter.  Anxiety is not something that I can schedule.  It just is.

Another thing not to do-- for the love of all that is holy- do not try and surprise or scar me.  I may surprise you by hitting you.

How old do you think I am, exactly??

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I was on the younger side when I started having kids.  Princess, my first, will be 10 in a few weeks- and I am 32.  22 years old, these days is really young to start a family- yet my mother at that age already had two kids, and that was normal.

Most of the time the kids do not ask silly questions like "did you have electricity when you were a kid?" generally, they assume that things were the same then as they are now.

The other day though, I was asked if we had one of those cars from the 1960s when I was little- after just discussing that I was born in the 1980s and that that car was from the 1960s.

So I asked the kids what they thought it was like when I was little.  There were some interesting answers.  They thought we had a milk man.  They thought girls always had to wear skirts.  Yet 10 minutes later they were asking something relating to calling my mom on her cell phone, email, and internet.

Silly kids.  Cell phones are their norm.  The internet is the norm.  Email is norm.  So I told them a story about going to the library and using books-- not Google and about the card catalog.  And about the printers with the tooth fed paper.  

DIY haircuts

Monday, April 28, 2014

This is the difference between the first child and the second child.  With 5 its a miracle that I have kept them all alive.

When Princess cut her hair I cried. Called Brian and begged him to come home because I could not possible cope with her cutting her hair.

Now Pixie cuts her hair (again) I sigh and debate between wine and a margarita and consider evening it out. No tears. Just deep breaths.

Crisis. We are screwed

How many loads of laundry do you do in day?  A week? There are 5 kids here who live like they are in a fashion show- and our washer is broken- it will not be fixed for a week.

I told the kids they could not change their clothes more than once a day and for the love of all that is holy to stop leaving clothes on the floor if they decided that they do not want to wear something. They looked at me like I had three heads.

"what if we get dirty?" they asked.

"then be dirty." I answered

"what if we get wet?" they asked

"then be wet" answered

It is like stuck them in a whole new culture. Or stuck them in the past.  I reminded them that long ago kids did not have drawers and closets full of clothes they had maybe three outfits-- and that was it.  They are acting like I am taking away indoor plumbing--- which I think may be easier for them. 

Odyssey to CVS

Friday, April 25, 2014

This morning I realized to my dismay I was out of my caffeinated beverage of choice - don't judge I have 5 kids- caffeine is oxygen.

Technically I am not supposed to drive yet. Not that I follow the rules all the time but I was trying to be good. So I decided to walk. With three kids. I may as well have walked with three 50 lb dumbbells.

I have a double stroller front to back- LittleDude as the littlest and least likely to follow directions sits in the front belted in.  Leaving Peas and Pixie off. Which is kind of like musical chairs while the chairs are moving with lots of legs-- and feet to trip on-- and a bumpy sidewalk.

When Pixie is 'sitting' term used very loosely she is usually practicing her gymnastics Kips on the push bar of the stroller.  Until she sees a dandelion then she does an epic dismount and scrambles for the flower. In which time Peas takes her seat.  Commence battle.

Now both of them are 'helping' me push (helping used loosely). Side note- at this point we have managed to get down the driveway. That is 6 feet and 6 hands pushing a stroller- it doesn't work.

Cue the robin.  Now we must look at the robin an attempt to catch it.  The robin being native to the suburbs and quiet enjoying the game of child torment allows the kids to get with in feet of it before alighting to the nearest tree singing its song teasing the girls.

LittleDude has decided to try and climb out of the stroller- because he can't be left out- and squirrels.

Peas found a broken fence board and decided it was her broad sword (what the heck is she watching or reading) and encountered a cyclops (where the hell did she find out about those?) which had to be battled... dear lord a cyclops and we hadn't even made it off the block yet... what other monsters would we encounter (please no cannibals)? Side note-- get rid of Greek tragedies and epics.

We did reach CVS and got my dear dear caffeine and chocolate milk.

Walking along the road with musical seats and gymnastics, the arbor where we turn down the road- seemed to get further and further away... like the carrot that is dangled in front of an unsuspecting rabbit.

On the way home we faced the scary spider (antlers that have been next to a house for 5 years and have been a 'spider' for 5 years).

We also were challenged by a Hydra (no I did not inform her that she was mixing monsters)--- the hydra was felled and we made it home in one piece with dandelion crowns and broad swords. 

Kidney update

Monday, April 7, 2014

It came to a nephrectomy.  A radical step. Even the procedure name has 'radical' in it- Radical Nephrectomy.

It was not a decision that I made easily.  It took 4 years an a lot of attempts to fix it to get here, and now it is done.

I was left with 2 options: an ileal ureter and nephrectomy. The ileal ureter had the potential to save my kidney but was not a guarantee. The nephrectomy would cost me a kidney but would be the end of that kidney's drama.

The ileal ureter is a really involved operation and I was not a candidate for laparoscopy meaning a long incision lots of pain and a long recovery. With my clotting disorder- this would be really risky.  A nephrectomy being much a much simpler procedure and much less pain and time on recovery.

The surgery was a week ago tomorrow- and there is significant pain- but I feel better than I did before.  I don't feel sick.  I already feel better now than I did for the past few months before surgery.  

Losing my kidney has not negatively impacted my total renal function at this point, and after getting in there, my doctor completely agreed that the kidney had to go. 

So now to recover and make up for lost time... what am I going to do with all the time NOT spent in doctors offices? 

Cleaning and uncleaning

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

With 5 kids and a bunch of animals the house gets dirty -- very dirty, fast.

Today I spent hours cleaning, dusting, mopping, straightening, and lots and lots of laundry.

In the end I was really happy. My house was clean!

Then the kids came in. In minutes... no seconds.... they managed to unclean a lot of what I did today. There were crumbs everywhere! More LAUNDRY! A full sink of dishes! How did this happen?

My mother can keep the house clean effortlessly (at least it seems effortless). I am very jealous of her skills in this area- maybe I'll get better with time. 

I firmly believe that if something takes an hour to clean it should take more than 2 seconds to unclean- that needs to be a rule somewhere. 

All I can do is laugh.  If I wanted a clean house having 5 kids and a lot of animals is not a good idea- its a good thing my mess tolerance is pretty high.

Kids Toys I Loathe

Monday, March 24, 2014

Every parent has some kids toys that make them irrationally annoyed. There are the obvious culprits- toys that make noise or giant messes.  Play doh is one of the toys that makes me nuts- it gets every where and dries- colors get all muddy etc. That is a pretty reasonable toy to dislike.

One that does not make sense is balloons. Balloons drive me nuts. Nothing good comes out of balloons. ever.

Helium filled balloons or regularly inflated balloons, doesn't matter. They make me nuts.
If they are the ones with a string tied on them, someone will let it go and then there is an epic meltdown. They may get tangled and then: epic meltdown.

If they are just regularly inflated they get 'kept off the ground' and someone gets stepped on or knocked over then: epic meltdown. Sometimes things get knocked over and then there is an epic meltdown.

There are fights and all sorts drama from balloons.  I truly dislike them, more than I dislike the kids drum set. Just seeing them makes me feel irrationally angry and annoyed.

This summer is going to be great-- it has to be

I am looking forward to the summer.

First, this winter has been long- seemingly interminable. I am ready for a change- of course when at the end of summer I'll be ready for a change too.

This summer will be the first summer in 4 years I have not had to worry about my kidney being a brat- because in a week, it will cease to exist.

I am going to water ski, swim, go tubing, run, pole dance, go to the park, go to the beach, maybe even go camping.  This year will be great.  Finally. After 4 years of stents, surgeries, recoveries, lots of meds, ER visits, this year will be great. I can't wait.

Why the lack of pole dancing??

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Where have my pole dancing posts gone? Well, my kidney has been giving me such trouble, I have had to take a step back. 

It is so frustrating to work so hard and then have to take months off to heal from another surgery or infection.  My kidney is being removed soon and after that happens and I heal- look out pole world here I come.

This is not they way that I wanted things to turn out, but I have exhausted every option with my kidney it is about time to call it a day.

One of the hardest things of this is missing my pole time and my pole friends.  I loved my pole time away.  I miss laughing and seeing them. I can't wait to get back.

Soon. But not too soon.

Family can come from the heart

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I have a great family.

One of the biggest lessons that I have learned in the past 4 years is that family rarely is limited to genetics.

Family means people who love and support each other- that can mean watching kids, helping around the house, laughing, hand holding whatever.

My family (biological and not) is amazing.  They have carried me, watched my kids, made dinner, cleaned my house, cheered me up, urged me on, and kept me going for the last 4 years I can never repay them.

The thing is I don't have to repay them.  I will be there for them when the need it and I will teach my kids that it is a privilege to be in a position to help someone else.  It is an honor and a privilege to help someone when they need it.  Our job is to serve and help others.

My family includes friends, neighbors, biological family, and even pets (really animals are some of the best therapists in the world)- the more the merrier.

I am truly thankful for each of them being in my life.

Henry Is 2

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Henry just turned 2. 

He is my little man.  He still breastfeeds and sleeps in bed with me. 

I can't put into words his personality. He is unique and hysterical.  He has a great sense of humor and is caring and loving.

If I was thinking this afternoon I would have gotten a video of him singing "Let it Go" from Frozen.  He can't pronounce all the words but he has the melody and it is so cute- not that I am biased or anything.

He loves to build with blocks and legos and gets really upset if he feels left out in any way and has a sense of justice and fairness.


I hope we can plan a great party to celebrate how awesome he is.  Our family would not have been complete without him.

White Fang

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Aurora-- White Fang-- the Siberian Husky can sense when it is going to snow.  She gets excited and bounces around like she is half Tigger-- and that is before it snows.  When it snowing she is outside and is just thrilled- its like it is snowing just for her.

Yesterday, the pressure was changing, she knew snow was coming and about every 15 minutes, she wanted to go out and see if it had started snowing yet. Each time, she got outside and it was like the wind came out of her sails each time it had not started yet, she was so disappointed.

She does like to leave if she is left outside for more than a few minutes, even if she is tethered, in a yard with a new fence.  So she can't stay out for a long time. 

This morning she went out and it had snowed but only a little-- and she was bummed.  You could see her thinking "Really?? This is it? There is supposed to be more!"

There will be more later today- but not yet and she is annoyed.

Bad mood

Friday, February 28, 2014

Its gloomy outside. Its gloomy inside.

My kids seem to feed off of the energy that I put out-- and today- I am in a bitchtastic mood. It would be safer for everyone if I could just lock myself in a room away from people and not have to interact with anyone because EVERYTHING annoys me. Things that normally make me laugh make me want to loose my mind today.

I want to smack myself upside the head and tell me snap the hell out of it. 

Stinky wants to get outside and run around, he has had ENOUGH of his crutches.... it has been hard for him. He is usually outside playing and for the past month he has had to be on his crutches letting his knee heal-- he is going to climb the wall with his teeth!

My unbroken heart

Thursday, February 20, 2014

My right kidney is a pain. This is established. It has finally reached the point that it is safer to have it removed than to keep it.  Between infections, obstructions, pain it is better to get it out.

I went for my pre surgical clearance and my doctor did an EKG, I expected it to be fine; thought it was overkill and said that. 

It did not come back ok.  I had inverted T waves.  These have many different causes some really bad, some not so bad, and some benign entirely.  I was sent to a cardiologist and had a stress echo.  Again, expected this to show all was well. It didn't.  By this time I was terrified.

One of the things I have said many times, that if I had to have a an organ system with problems I am thankful that its my kidneys.  There are a lot of options for kidney issues- and if it progresses terribly, dialysis is an option (I am no where near that) but its nice to know it's there. Hearts are more scary. 

Of course having anxiety did not make this any easier. Panic was my constant companion.  Of course I went to the worst case scenario.. over and over.  I couldn't have a heart problem.  I am too healthy. Not possible. OMG, my kids, I was terrified of well, potentially dying. Obviously this was ridiculous, but it is how my brain works.

Tuesday I had a nuclear cardiac scan.  I was told if there was something wrong I would not be going home, but heading to the Cath Lab.  The doctors said it was more concerning because I have the clotting issues.

The doctor was very considerate, knowing that I was scared, was compassionate and read the test right away. There was no evidence of disease. I am fine. Cleared for surgery.  No cardiac issues.

My surgery was delayed, and I have to get a new date, and that is annoying.

Peas turns 6

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I am late on this..

But Peas is 6 now.  I am not sure when the last 6 years passed because I think of her as a baby or a toddler still.

She has been a challenge- but all of the things that are challenging about her will serve her well. 

Peas knows what she wants and will not settle for less. She knows she deserves kindness and good treatment and will call anyone out.  If anyone is mean to her siblings- watch out-- only she can harass them.

She is passionate.  No one can match her passion.

Peas can be the sweetest and most adorable kid in the world.... but cross her... and good luck.

Right now her favorite things include horses, Doc McStuffins, princesses, and playing with her friends.

I admire her spirit, her independence, and her confidence.  Watching her grow and being her mother has been a privilege.


Friday, February 7, 2014

I love my children more than I ever thought possible.

Right now I am at my wits end with Peas. 

She is so intense and that is a struggle for us.  As passionate as she is when she is happy, she is just as intense when she is angry or frustrated. I am having a hard time dealing with her frustration and anger.

Sometimes it seems like she cannot contain herself and lashes out at her siblings.  As much as sibling squabbles are a part of life, I don't know how to work with her when she gets stuck in that loop.  I have to just wait for the loop to wear itself out and try and contain her.  I need a way help her refocus and calm down, but I don't know what that is. 

I see just how intense her feelings are and she is really just along for the ride and it can be scary for her too. Does anyone have any advice for me?

Why saying you don't see color is BS.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Unless you are a dog or color blind... in which case- you're excused.

I have a lot of friends who are legitimately socially liberal people.  Good on them right?

One thing that they say with relative frequency is, "I don't see color-- I see the person."  I call bull crap.

It is insulting to everyone involved.  First- I felt guilty because- I'll admit- I do see color- and I don't judge them for it (duh) but I have to acknowledge that a person of color is going to have different day to day experiences than I do. To insinuate otherwise is insulting.

A person of color should be proud of their melanin. It does not define them, nor make them who they are-- but it is a part of their lives and influences them. It connects them to a deep rich history.

By saying "I don't see color" a person is insinuating that  they do not see the differences in life experiences that white people don't deal with- a friend of mine recently related a story of a traffic stop that was so insulting and so unbelievable (yet clearly true) I have no idea what to say!

To point.  I was pulled over recently.  I did not have a non expired insurance card on me- we have insurance, but the card was missing  The police office said not to worry about it- that he was sure I had insurance and let me know kindly my tail light was out. I bet this would not have happened this way for my friend.

So say that 'I don't see color' is saying that I don't see something that impacts so many aspects of a persons life, and that is insulting.

A couple of funny things about being a mom with the stomach flu

Friday, January 31, 2014

Stress incontinence is a real bummer. Puking and peeing at the same time suck.  There is no way to stop it either.  After so many vaginal deliveries, I suppose its bound to happen.

I was doing laundry, because when kids are sick we make exponentially more.  Especially towels. Heaven forbid we run out of towels.  I had to puke.  A few options ran through my head- I could sprint upstairs and puke/pee and hope I made it to the bathroom or just puke in the washer- I mean, I haven't had solid food for 2 days, realistically, I'd be simplifying the cleanup. The washer won. I changed clothes in the laundry room and went on with the day.

After having 5 kids who have had the stomach flu I have learned a few things.  Puke bowls and buckets are life savers. In the interest of making clean up easier here are a few tips:
1)   line the bowl/bucket with a trash bag or plastic bag of some sort
2)   put paper (or cloth) towels in the bottom and up the sides a little to minimize splashing.  I prefer paper towels as I can then just grab the whole bag and toss it, and start again.

You may be a mom if.....

We have been struck with a stomach virus. 

It starts innocently enough.  One kid gets it.  But if you have parenting experience you know that more than likely, the plague will spread through the house, despite best efforts.

Pixie fell to the virus first. She was so sad.  Just laying on the couch drifting between sleep and wakefulness. A day later Peas fell. After 2 days Pixie had beaten the bug, while Peas was still snuggled on the couch. A benefit to older kids getting a stomach bug, is they can aim. You never realize how much of a benefit this is until you have a child that is like an out of control fountain.  While Peas and Pixie can't consistently make it to the bathroom, they can aim well if given a bucket.

Next, LittleDude got it.  He can't aim.  Nor can he provide any real warning as to when he is going to erupt so paying attention to body language-- and keeping up on the towels is key.
He also doesn't understand when I tell him to rest, and try and limit his intake so its not all over the floor.  In the end the only thing he wanted was milky so we went with that. And cuddles.

Now I have it as do Princess and Stinky.  Hopefully, it will be short lived.

Well this is awkward still.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

There have been some big changes around our household since the summer.  That are leading me to the conclusion it is time to move. 

I have talked about some of the awkwardness in our neighborhood after the DCFS spat of the summer.  I am worried about the summer.  Really worried.

We have started considering moving.  The DCFS thing is part of the reason we are seriously considering moving.  We do need more space and another bathroom.

Our neighborhood is great, and I adore (most) of our neighbors.  We have great friends, a great community, and wonderful resources and leaving that will be heartbreaking.  However, I no longer feel secure around one person.  I find myself dealing with far too much anxiety and unhappiness over it, wondering if she is again judging myself, my parenting, or my children etc.  Added to the fact, she has not made one friendly or neighborly gesture in the six months since this has happened.

As much as I hate to admit it, I am holding a grudge against her-- a strong angry-- hurt grudge.  I never thought I'd say it, but I am totally on B's side on this one.

Would offering to have a cup of tea/coffee and chat help resolve this?? The awful feeling is just, well, awful.  Neighborhoods shouldn't be like this. This is not community.  This is not the feeling I want to live with nor is it the atmosphere that I want to raise my children in.

Conversely, in a self righteous tone- we shouldn't be the ones to run away.  We didn't do anything wrong.  The children are loved and adored.

So, in the coming season we will be house hunting and preparing to move.  It is a scary prospect. But also really exciting to thing of having more room and more possibilities.  I hope and pray we find the right house with great neighbors where we can feel safe and secure again.

Just Joy

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Little Dude is an extremely happy boy (except of course when he is unhappy, the look out world).

Today I was just thinking about how genuinely joyful he is and how much I have learned from his contagious joy.

A few weeks ago we went to an indoor water park and I have never seen anyone so excited.  His whole body literally trembled with glee.  When I would get ready to put him down his little legs were already running.  When he smiles his whole body smiles.  Like pure happiness just exudes from him.  He claps, jumps, and squeals as happiness just cannot be contained in his body anymore.

Even everyday things he finds so much to be happy about, playing with his cars, building a tower and knocking it over.. nothing is to mundane.  Whenever music is on he is dancing.  He has quite a set of moves!  His imagination is limitless he puts on capes and flies around the house with lightening speed.  LittleDude does not really walk places.  He runs. And jumps.  If there is a puddle he must jump in it.  If there is a something that looks intriguing it must be explored. Balls are thrown, furniture (and everything climbed) the world is an adventure.  I wonder what goes through his head. 

LittleDude will grab my hand and pull me to something he wants to show me.  He will run and jump into my arms with total faith that I will catch him.  Then throw his body onto me in a hug that can melt anyone, squeezing with his arms around me.  These greetings do not happen after I have been away for days, hours, or even minutes.  It could be he was just happy to see me in the living room.
When I sit down on the floor he often runs and grabs a story and then backs into my lap (really the backing into my lap to sit is the most adorable thing ever) and we read. 

When he wants to breastfeed (yes, at nearly 2 years old he nurses), he'll grab my hand and lead me to our spot for some cuddles and milk.  He'll hug me and play with my hair, gazing into my eyes while we just can soak up the moment. Until he decides to be silly and playfully bite or pull my hair (all in good fun).

Outside is always fun.  When the big kids start suiting up to go play in the snow he follows suit.  He knows his snow pants and how to put them on, he waits patiently for his boots (which he finds and brings over), coat, and mittens.  But he puts his hat on himself.  That is one way he tells you he is ready to go outside: he goes to the door and puts on his hat.

LittleDude loves animals.  You may think with so many of them being so much larger than he is he may be scared, but he isn't he loves the dogs and gives them treats and pets.  They return his adoration.  The cats tolerate him. Going to see the horses is super fun.  He loves to brush them, give them treats, and ride.  The horses also are so gentle with  him  it is shocking. When they gently take a carrot from him and he squeals with excitement, often he is met with a nicker of affection.

At night he sleeps with me.  We go to bed and he snuggles in for some milky, and adjusts a bit to get comfortable.  Usually he'll end up half on top of my chest with his ear on my heart and his fingers in my hair. I can smell his unique scent and drink the time in.  I complain a lot about this sometimes, but truth of it is, I love the closeness with him.  I love watching him smile in his sleep, his eyes dance with dreams.  I love being there if he wakes up scared so I can comfort him. 

All of this joy and happiness have taught me to see the miracles in the small things.  Feel the joy in the smallest things.  Allowing myself to get super excited and not feel embarrassed about it.  To take more time to experience life instead of racing through it.

15 years.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Today is 15 years since I went to Utah.  It is always a rough day for me.  Lots of anxiety.  Lots of racing thoughts, yet feeling paralyzed to do anything other than exist. 

Yes. 15 years is a long time.  I have learned with the help of my doctors, that what happened, while ultimately leading me to get better, was very traumatic.

The night going into the 13th, I have nightmares and can't sleep well.  The day of, doing anything of importance is not possible. 

Sending me to Utah had to be one of the hardest decisions of my parents lives, and I am grateful that they did. Without it I don't know where I'd be.  I don't know that I would be strong enough to do that.  But I can't imagine watching my child destroy themselves and being totally helpless to stop it. 

I'll never forget that night. Remembering it is like looking back in slow motion. I can remember the snow on the ground. My brother had taken the dog for a walk- he didn't want to be there for that. My school work on the floor. My book.  A note my mom wrote me.  I refused to say goodbye to my parents- I was angry. So angry. So hurt. So scared. I had no idea what to expect how to navigate this.

15 years may have passed but thinking about that time I am right back there. Scared, overwhelmed, (a little angry), hurt, terrified, other feelings that I can't even name now.

15 years.  It seems like it was yesterday.

Utah was hard for a lot of reasons.  But I learned so much there, more than about how to function as a person, I learned how much I love the mountains.  How beautiful they are.  You know how some people feel totally relaxed at the beach, I feel that way about the mountains. I love rock climbing and being out in them feeling the air and wind.  I don't think I would have had the chance to learn that without Utah.

This is awkward..

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ever since the DCFS kerfuffle this summer, its been really weird in our neighborhood.

Our neighbors who we used to be friends with have not spoken to us since the drama- well the woman at least.  The man and I have spoken cordially a few times but nothing more.  I have tried to speak to the woman and be nice to her but she brushes me off- politely.

Here's the problem.  The other day- my kids were out in the snow playing and we had a gaggle of kids over playing with my kids.  Neighbor kid came out and my kids started to play with her.  My husband- still salty over the incident told our kids that they could not go in neighbor kids yard-- but she was welcome to come over to our yard. The kid just sat in her yard and played alone. It was beyond awkward.

I am dreading summer.  We used to play outside and there was no weirdness- now I am really concerned about the potential weirdness.

How to throw a real temper tantrum

Friday, January 10, 2014

Little Dude is now approaching his 2nd birthday.  Its going to fast for my liking.  Anyhow. He has learned about the all important temper tantrum- he has had the best teacher to learn from and has developed a pretty good skill set for throwing them.

Here are some essentials that he has learned:

- its not a real tantrum if you are not on the floor kicking.
- go to an area of the floor free from debris before throwing yourself to the ground- look where you are going to land.
- follow Mama from room to room if necessary- it doesn't count as a tantrum if no one is there to see it.
- 'NO' is the best word ever.  It can yelled, shrieked, or wailed.
- Practice makes perfect- aim for at least three tantrums a day.