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Monday, August 31, 2009

Hello. My name is.....

Hi, my name is William Raul. I'm not due for a few more months still but my Mommy and Daddy (and big sister and Grandma and Great Grandma) decided to take a look on Saturday to check me out. With the magic of technology they got to see what I look like.



Yes, I am making a frowny face. Attila the Hun was beating me up with her wand. I was very, very sleepy.


That is my foot in my eye. I am essentially folded in half and I like my toes in my face apparently.


This is pretty much a portrait of me. I look like my Daddy when he was a baby.


10 weeks 3 days until my due date, according to my Mommy. Which she also says means probably 12 weeks until I make an appearance. Can't wait to meet you all.






Guacamole

Growing up I was a very picky child. Truthfully, I'm a still a picky eater when it comes to eating.


Last year when Micah and I had started dating he took me to the most glorious Mexican restaurant ever called Carlo Miguel's. He also ordered the table side guacamole service. I didn't have the guts to tell him that I didn't like guacamole because we were new to this dating thing and he had raved about it the whole time.


*To side note here, I had TRIED guacamole once when I was 7. My dad had told me if I tried 5 things (new food items) I could have a kitten. Guacamole was my 5th item. I was already predisposed not to like it it because it was green and I was 7. Then my dad reneged on the kitten promise. Guacamole has been my mental blame for that ever since.*


So the guacamole arrives and Micah is digging in and I thought "What the hell?" Also, Micah is an incredibly picky eater, more so than I am, which is scary. So if HE could eat the guacamole then why couldn't I?


I hesitantly took a chip and scooped a small amount on the the end. It was probably minuscule. I bit down. It was good. It was more than good. I wanted more.


I possibly ate the whole bowl that night and snarled at Micah if he got too close to it. I'm not saying I licked the bowl. But it could have happened.


Now that I am 7 months into this pregnancy, that same restaurant and same guacamole elicit an even strong siren call. I may be known to occasionally drive 45 minutes just to eat the chimichanga and guacamole there.


The thing is, my kids have also take a fancy to guacamole. Which is good and bad because I have to share now.


Kylie wanted to hate it, she really did. But when she saw the way her picky Mama gobbled it down she had to try it. And likes it, against her will almost. Lulu will occasionally take a bite but she is head over heels with the bean dip they have there and would prefer that only. In fact yesterday she just ate bean dip and chips for dinner. With a little of my rice for my sake.


It's possible though that we go there a little too often. When we went a couple of weeks ago (second day of school celebration?) they let Lulu assist in the guacamole assembly process. I think we must tip well too.



Lizzie scoops the tomatoes and onions into the guacamole.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Advice to myself

The odd part of having a child when you're a child yourself is that you find yourself giving advice that you wish you had received when you were about the half you age you are now. So for example I find 30 year old me giving advice to 14 year old, well not me, but someone very much like me.

So advice for me but not totally me:

I know you think that guy with the greasy hair and leather jacket is hot. Avoid him. Avoid him at all costs. That will only lead to heartbreak and a trip to the OB office.

You don't know it all. No really. You are about to learn so much in school it's ridiculous. Pay attention.

Have fun. Don't pay so much attention at school that you don't have fun. Try things. Do things. You're going to move away from here anyways when your 18 and none of that will matter but you may always wonder what life would have been like if you had done this or tried that.

Hug your mom more. There will come a day where you weren't such a crappy kid and you'll really miss her. Hug her again just in case.

Don't skip school so much. It doesn't matter if you're smarter than they think you are. Trouble happens when you aren't in school. Attend more often.

Before you say anything when you're angry take a deep breath. Then walk away. You can never take those words back once they are out and you'll often find that time and distance make those words less important to say.

Don't worry so much about being right when with other people. Worry about making it right when you're wrong.

Dream. And dream big. Don't fall into the trap of thinking there is nothing out there for you. There are a ton of things out there, you just have to dream it to make it happen.

Don't skip college. Not even for a year. It'll be too hard to go back and take a lot of work.


I wonder if my Mini-Me will hear me. I don't think I would have heard myself....

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Serendipity


When I was much, much younger, about 7 or 8, my mother and I used to have what we called Special Night. It was a way for her and I to try and connect. She would take me to a local mall that wasn't ever very busy and she would buy me an Arby's sandwich and we would talk and then go to the arcade and play a few games and sometimes to the book store.


It was here that we first stumbled across Serendipity books. I don't recall the first one she bought but when she had the money she would pick another one up and we would read them at home.


If you are unfamiliar with them, well, then you need to go buy them. They are fantastic stories that are short enough for me to read to my 4 year old and have wonderful illustrations. They are what I would call "soft" and have a great self esteem lesson generally attached.


As Lulu has transitioned to Kindergarten her teacher has recommended we read to her more often at night. I'll admit, I haven't been as good about reading to her as I was with Kylie. So we've been working on it.


Monday night I stumbled across THE Serendipity book. It's the first one, the one that the whole series is named after. I offered to read the book to her and as a temptation, informed her it was MY book and that my Mom used to read it to me. She declined. Repeatedly.


But Tuesday, she asked for it. She asked for "That book we looked at last night. The one your Mommy read you."


I couldn't find it. Still can't. I put it back on the shelf but that child has 3 shelves of books and those books are tiny. Well thin anyways.


I found another book called Flutterby. It's the same series and it's also one of MY books that my Mom read so we read that instead Tuesday night. She enjoyed it.


I tend to forget, especially for Lulu, that she never really knew my Mom. I need to share things like that with both the kids, things and stories about their Grandma that they don't know or remember.


And I need to find that stinkin' book.


*You can find out about Serendipity books at http://www.stephencosgrove.com/ and they are sold at most places books are sold. And no, I'm not getting a darn thing for mentioning these books or linking to the website. Stephen Cosgrove doesn't even know I'm alive.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Follow Up Ultrasound

So today was my follow up ultrasound to the one I had in July that showed baby Nacho to be decidedly small. Too small. Which caused a flurry of activity and 2 more ultrasounds, one of his heart and one to measure him.

The fetal echo cardiogram went well. His heart is structurally sound.

Today was my measurement ultrasound. He is about 6 days behind my due date but overall they are happy with it and so no change in due date at this time and overall he looks healthy.

He weighs, according to the ultrasound 2lbs 8 oz.

He also was head down with his arms and hands above his head. I pray he doesn't try to come out that way. Ouch.

My father ignores me on Facebook

*for those that don't know what Facebook is, it's a social networking site that is essentially a big time suck when I have the time to give. I have friends on there. I also have my father listed as a friend.*

My mother, unknowingly, gave me two additional "parental" figures, besides herself, when I was growing up. My father, which okay was maybe a little knowing although I don't think she really KNEW him at that time, and Nana. Nana she knew. And chose anyway.

I think Nana and I are more alike than we are different. That is to say, the "natural" side of me that I have learned to try and tame over the years because sometimes Nana annoys me and makes me try extra hard to not be like her. When she and I would argue when I was growing up it was mostly because we are the same person in different bodies. Both always right, strong willed and demanding of my mothers attention. We can be loud, unknowingly rude and occasionally lack understanding of what other people are going through. When I was younger I would complain to my mother about this and she would say "well you both do that. She's an adult and you're a child. Do you want to be different or the same?"

So I work like HELL to be different. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail but I am who I am in part because of Nana.

This is not to say that I don't love Nana. I do. In a twisted way because, hello, that's what family does. As I have aged I try to accept those qualities anyway and accept her for who she is. My mother obvious loved those qualities about her to they can't all suck, right? Sometimes I'm accepting and sometimes, I need to take a break.

My father is a different story. I'm sure I love him. I'm sure of it. Because he's my father and I have a deep understanding of him. But between him and Nana I would choose to be like Nana every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

My father is an adulterer. He's been married 5 times and STILL believes that marriage is the key to solving all that ails you. Even if he isn't particularly happy with his choice of wife. (He's too old and their credit sucks too much to leave each other at this point.) He is also a con-artist and despite what he says about family being important, it's only important on his terms. He's also an only child but he's selfish still to this day. Sharing with his children is out of the question.

He hasn't spoken to me in 4 months. He's mad at me. He has ignored my phone calls and attempts to contact him either by email or Facebook.

Why is he mad? It's a couple of things. I got pregnant out of wedlock. Again. I got divorced before that. I got married to a man whose last name is Gonzales and am having his baby. Which means mixed races. To him anyways. We aren't naming the baby Javier which is the equivalent of Harvey in Spanish. The sky is blue. The grass is green. There are a myriad of reason why he's upset.

I don't know if Nana likes me. Or loves me. It doesn't matter in the end. I know she loved my mother. Unconditionally. And she loves her family unconditionally. And she loves MY family unconditionally.

My father only loves you on his conditions. If you don't meet those then you don't count.

Nothing else seals it more for me, which one I want to be like. I want to love everyone. Unconditionally.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Things I never thought I would say....

On the heels of my HILARIOUS blog from this weekend I thought I would bring you, THINGS I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD SAY. All of the following phrases were uttered by me after birthing Kylie but include Lulu induced items as well.

*As a side note to my Cousin (in law?), Elisa, yes, the bathtub incident, in retrospect was hysterical.

So without further ado:

1. She's so cute, I could just eat her butt
2. Stop licking the cat
3. Stop biting the dog
4. Do not paint the dog
5. Please don't eat the bird poop
6. The spiders in your hair made such a mess
7. No you may not wear panties on your head to school. I don't care if it IS crazy hat day.
8. Cursing is still cursing, even in Spanish
9. Rub my belly and then you can have a Popsicle (That might have been said to Micah. But I would totally tell my kids that too.)
10. Can you at least pretend you like your dinner?
11. Molly is not your horse, I don't CARE if you lets you sit on her
12. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH (Hysterical screaming and jumping on the counter when my precious 2 year old brought an earth worm into the house in her hand and showed me her "prize". Brian laughed so hard he fell against the door and wet himself.)
13. Please don't put the cat on the ceiling fan
14. Who pooped?
15. Farts are not appropriate conversation at the dinner table
16. Don't EAT your boogers
17. No you may not color your hair purple (said to a 3 year old)
18. No you may NOT get your eyebrow OR chin pierced (said to a 13 year old)
19. Just because the dog poops outside does not mean it's okay for YOU
20. Worms are just extra protein. Right?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Depression

Or alternatively titled: How my 6 year old saved my life

I'm not entirely sure when I began to get depressed. It could have been during my freshman year of high school when I realized I was a little fish in a big pond that I didn't even want to be a part of. It might have been before that, when I realized my father really was never going to come through for me. It might have been later, when marriage didn't actually make any of the issues in my life better. It's hard to say.

But it is safe to say that by the time the summer of 2002 came around, I was sufficiently depressed. I hardly laughed. I felt no joy in anything. I was constantly irritable and critical and just wanted to be left alone.

The problem though, was that pretty much no one noticed I was depressed. My personality is such that I tend to be a little dry and cynical with my humor and simple jokes only make me smile, I rarely laugh out loud. Well, at least I used to rarely laugh out loud. But that had been my personality for so long I don't think anyone knew that something was wrong.

I was also not your typical depressed person. I made plans for the future. I bought things. I had a rich fantasy life when I would go walking or had time to myself to think. I just also wanted to die. All the time.

I constantly had this voice in my head telling me die. Not like schizophrenics have voices, I knew mine was my own internal voice. It was me inside me. Telling me to die.

I had a constant fight ongoing with the voice. The voice would pop up out of nowhere and I would have to have an internal fight with it. Driving was awful. I almost always heard it. Telling me to drive off the road. Telling me to gun the gas at a stoplight so I would plow into traffic. Telling me to drive into the bad part of Tucson late at night. I would fight with it and white knuckle it to my destination when I could pull my car keys out of the ignition and I was safe. From myself.

It will probably surprise you to learn I didn't realize I was depressed. That I was sick. Really, really sick. But then, no one else really knew either. Of course, I never told them about the voice. Telling me to shoot myself with Brian's gun. Or to slit my wrists. Or to drive into a light pole.

I used to crawl into bed every night and the last thing I would pray for was that God would kill me in my sleep. The idea of having to face the world again the next morning was so overwhelming that I would pray that I would die in bed. At 23.

The summer of 2002 Brian was deployed. You may remember that this was post-9/11 and of course when he deployed everyone was afraid. Luckily he was deployed to Kyrgyzstan and not somewhere much, much scarier.

Other wives told me to keep myself busy. That it would make the time fly by. So I did. I over did. I worked full time. I took 2 accelerated online courses at the college I was attending. I led the Brownie Troop Kylie was in at the time. I was the Treasurer for the Enlisted Spouses Association on the base. I hated my life.

One night I was working on an online course and I had put 6 year old Kylie in the bathtub but left the water running. She was old enough at that point to tell me when the water was high enough.

I wasn't paying attention to her. I never really did. I closed the door to the office and became engrossed in my class. It wasn't until almost an hour later that I realized the water was still running. I stood up, walked 2 feet and my socks were instantly wet. I flung open the door and saw to my horror Kylie naked next to the bathtub, covered in bubbles, dipping a plastic cup into the bathtub and dumping it out on the floor. Over and over again. The entire hallway was flooded. The bathroom and most of the office were too.

I ran into the bathroom, shut the water off and screamed at her. I yanked her out of the bathroom and physically shoved her into her bedroom. I slammed the door. I knew I would hurt her if I saw her. I was afraid of myself that moment and I think she knew it because while I heard her sobbing in her bedroom she did not make any attempt to come out.

Brian happen to call as I was using the last towel in the house to attempt to sop up the water, which was futile. I cried. I told him I was afraid of myself. He told me I was doing the right thing and to wait until I was calm to attempt to speak with her. He sent flowers the next day and the card said, "Please don't kill the kid." I'm sure the florist thought that was hysterical.

I didn't kill her. I didn't even spank her. I was upset with myself. I was frustrated with my life. I was a failure as a mother. I was a horrible wife.

Several nights later I sat on my bed and dumped out every pill I could find. There admittedly wasn't much. Lots of Motrin and Aspirin. Perhaps a few left over Vicodin Brian had for his back pain. Cold pills. Over the counter sleep aids. It would have sucked but I knew I could end my life with what was in front of me. Or I could get more. There was a 24 hour pharmacy just off base that I knew I could get more from.

I know now that I was very, very sick. I wanted a do over. I wanted to end my life and start over. I wanted God to do me the favor of returning me back to the point of about 4 years old and I truly believed he would do it for me. As I said, I was very sick and obviously not in a healthy frame of mind.

The voice in my head was screaming at me. TAKE THEM. DRINK YOUR SODA AND TAKE THEM. PUT THEM IN YOUR MOUTH.

One thing saved my life that night. Kylie. And she doesn't even know it.

I imagined what it would be like the next morning. I don't know if all people contemplating suicide do it but I certainly considered what the world would be life if I were gone the next day.

Kylie would have to find me. Cold and dead in my bedroom. With no note. She would have to, at 6 years old, remember to call 911 for help. Except there would be no help that would save me as I would be dead. There would also be no one there for her. We lived in Tucson and at the time no family lived nearby. (My cousin Heidi lived there as a traveling nurse but at the time I don't recall her living there)

I had a few friends but no one that I was close with. No one that Kylie knew who would take care of her until family could arrive. That would of course be my mom. Who would have to fly from Alaska. Which could take at least a day, maybe 2. Kylie would be all alone in a strange place with a dead mother and no one she knew.

It's not that I loved her. Although I did and do. But being as sick as I was I didn't really feel any emotional connection with anyone. I just didn't want to mess her up anymore than I already had.

I couldn't do it. I threw all the pills away. All of them. It sucked later when I came down with a cold and had nothing to ease the snotty nose. But I did. I decided I couldn't do that to Kylie.

The next day I had an appointment with my talk therapist. Who had no idea I was depressed. Yeah, I was so helpful for myself. I had a therapist that I saw weekly and I faked my way through every appointment. I told her about the previous night. I told her I had wanted to die. I was still not aware that I was sick. I laughed about it, with no realization of the danger I was still in.

She insisted I see a Psychiatrist. That day. She told me she couldn't see me anymore if I didn't. I fired her. After she made a couple of phone calls and got me to see someone the next day. I was so angry with her. I didn't need medication. I didn't believe in it. I wasn't crazy. I just had a bad night. Couldn't she see that I just had a bad night?

I went to the Psychiatrist the next day. Angry. But she had told me that my insurance would do something, I can't remember what now, if I didn't go. I think I believed they would somehow drop my medical coverage although I'm pretty sure that's not what she told me.

I took some test in front of him. I thought this was a waste of time. I told him so. I told him I was fine. He "graded" my test. Told me I had social anxiety and depression. Serious depression. We talked about why I was there. I mentioned the voice. His demeanor never changed but he wrote a prescription for Prozac. He told me I needed to go to mental hospital for a few days of rest. I told him I couldn't. I had a 6 year old and no one to help me take care of her. He told me to quit my job or at least take a leave of absence. I told him I couldn't do that either. My husband wouldn't let me.

That's actually true. I ran it by Brian a few days later. I told him everything. While he was deployed. I told him I had wanted to die. I told him about the Prozac. I told him about the pills. He told me I was right, I couldn't quit my job. Or even take unpaid leave. I had to stick it out.

He was a prick about that part of it. But in his defense, I just don't think he realized either how bad it was. I don't think he could comprehend what I was telling him.

I told my mom. She wanted to come out. I told her not to. That I was fine. But I didn't tell her everything. I didn't tell her about the Night. I never told her. I just told her that I had been seeing someone and they had referred me to someone else who said I was depressed. I know she never told Nana about my anti-depressants.

About 2 weeks after I started the Prozac things seemed different. I couldn't place my finger on it but I was slightly different. But sleepy all the time. I went back to my Drug Pusher as I called him and advised I could not continue the Prozac. It made me too sleepy to function.

So he gave me Zoloft. The sleepy went away and I could tell I was getting better. I was coping better. Life didn't seem as bleak. The desire to crawl into my bed and pray for death every night lifted. I slowly got better.

Time went by and I switched to Wellbutrin which I loved. I laughed. I enjoyed things. I didn't burst into tears for no reason any longer. I didn't fake my way through interactions with people and for the first time in a really long time I felt emotional attachment to my child. And my husband. And everyone else around me.

I don't take anything anymore. I weaned myself off them after Lulu was born. And I feel fine. My brain chemistry was luckily corrected, possibly by her pregnancy although I'm forever doing a self check internally, listening for the voice or taking stock of what is and is not going on inside of me. So far I'm fine.

And it's all because of Kylie. Who never knew she saved her mothers life. Just by being.


You might wonder why I'm telling you all of this, in the middle of a blog about pregnancy and first days of school. I'm telling you because sometimes no matter how big a pain in the ass my now teenager is I think back to those really dark days and thank God that she was there that night. Across the hall. Saving her mom.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Anniversary

It occurred to me last night that yesterday was the anniversary of our first date. We were actually matched on eHarmony on 7/24 but didn't bother to go out together until almost a month later. Because he was taking it slow. And I sorta had other people I may or may not have been seeing at the time and that really did suck a lot of my time as well. Oh and I had my kids every other week and I refused to go out on dates on weeks that I had my kids. So that is a huge timesuck as well.

ANYWAYS, Micah did finally ask me out. For a Monday night date. Because he had the day off. Oh and is awesome.

Now when he told me where we were going, The Cool River Cafe, I could have been nosy or at least curious and checked out the menu or at least looked for one online. I didn't. I asked a co-worker if she knew it, she didn't and I let it drop. Yeah I know. I figured it would be, like, a cafe.

It's actually a really nice steak house in Colorado. REALLY nice.

We met there and I was impressed immediately when it turned out that Micah had made reservations. It showed some thinking and forethought that I had not experienced before. As I said, I was impressed.

The date itself started at 7pm. We left the place at close to 11pm. We had a great time, or I did anyways. I assume he did too.

We had shared a piece of cheesecake, talked the entire time and really enjoyed each others company (and steak, OMG was that good). I gave him a hug goodnight.

The weird part though was that I had planned a safety call from a girl friend that night. She never called me even though she had been adamant that I get everything on this guy including SSN and Drivers License info (I didn't get either). BUT, another gentleman that I had been seeing called me something like 7 times that night and texted me I don't know how many more. Yes, I was honest and had told this young man I was going on a date. I didn't tell Micah it wasn't my safety call. Because that would have been awkward to explain.

Smartest thing he did though? He called me after the date to tell me he had had a good time. He didn't wait 3 days or whatever the rule was, if I remember correctly he called me that night.

According to Micah last night it was the best $100 bucks he ever spent.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

7 months down, 3 months to go

I had my 28 week appointment yesterday (even though I was only 27 weeks, 5 days). And I brought Lulu. Cute and bad idea all at the same thing.

Lulu was WOUND up and could not comprehend that I wasn't sick, she wasn't sick, her stuffed monkey that she brought (aptly named Monkey) wasn't sick, it was just a check up. She was certain we were bringing home a baby, especially when we got to the hospital. She was, of course, disappointed.

I gained no weight. Which actually means I lost weight. Because I wore my shoes for this weigh in but I didn't for the other apparently. Shoes are like 8 lbs right? Or not, but they do at least weigh half a pound. Both the nurse and the midwife actually expressed surprise which irritates me for reasons I'll talk about in a minute.

My blood glucose test came back fine, I don't need to repeat. Basically this means I don't have gestational diabetes. Also, my thyroid rocks. I'm positive for Group B Strep but I already knew that and so will need antibiotics in the hospital while I'm in labor. Meh, whatever.

My blood pressure was 112/70. That's really great.

She asked if I had already made my High Risk consultation appointment at which time I just looked blankly at her and said, "My what?"

As a few people already know but I haven't yet shared on the blog, my baby is measuring behind his expected due date according to my mid-pregnancy ultrasound. At the time they told us that he was 8 days behind but since then my midwife has told me that the ultrasound actually said 11 days behind. Which is significant. Which is why as I had a fetal echo cardiogram last week (Heart is fine) and why I have another ultrasound for next week.

After some discussion she agreed that we would play the whole high risk thing by ear until after my next ultrasound. Great. As if I needed to worry more about anything.

Then she measured me and had Lulu assist which I wish Micah had been around for because that was the cutest thing ever. I'm measuring at 30 weeks. Well my uterus is. That's 2 weeks ahead. Then the midwife (Jessica) let Lulu put the Doppler on me to listen for her Baby Brudder's heartbeat. That kid is a natural. She put it on one spot on my stomach and lo and behold, there was his heart. Beating in the 130's. Excellent.

We left feeling good and positive and while I'm happy I'll get to see the little guy again next week I'm pretty sure we aren't at a scary high risk type of place.

BUT, something that does irritate me, as I mentioned earlier, is the assumption that I should be high risk or should be gaining weight at a disgusting speed or should be diabetic etc.

The fact is, I'm chubby. Hell, I'm obese. I eat less than any person in my household and in the past I used to walk up to 2 miles a night. As mentioned, my thyroid is good, my heart is healthy, my blood pressure is perfect. So why do medical professionals always assume I'm going to be high risk or unhealthy or gain a disgusting amount of weight?

I gained 25 lbs in my last pregnancy. With 3 months to go I'm up to 7.5lbs gained. I'm on track to gain less than the 20 lbs my first OB recommended. With my last pregnancy I had to do the glucose test (3 hour test by the way, not the fun 1 hour) twice. This time apparently no one caught it until after I was too close to 7 months to just ignore it and do the standard 1 hour test anyways. Which, have I mentioned, was perfect. My blood pressure has not been anything but perfect, my pap smear was happy and healthy and I have 2 healthy vaginal deliveries with no real complications in my past.

And yet I constantly get surprise when I gain little weight, when I pass my glucose test, when my blood pressure is that of a much skinner person. That irritates me. Could these people at least PRETEND to not be surprised?

I know that overweight people on average have a higher risk of being higher risk. I get it people. But before you judge me and decide how my entire pregnancy is going to go could you at least look at my records people? Please?

Okay off my soapbox for a minute.

As a side note it turns out that my midwifes daughter names her monkey the same thing that Lulu named her monkey. Monkey. Weird coincidence, right?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The morning rush

I like to daydream about the days when I could sleep in and think of them fondly. But if I do that too much it makes me bitter and that is good for no one.

My morning begins at 6am. I wake up, drag my butt to the shower, wash myself and all my parts, drag myself out of the shower, get dressed, hair brushed and cat fed, all the while still rubbing sleep from my eyes.

I make my way to the kitchen where I make Lulu's lunch (which really is just gathering items and making half of a peanut butter sandwich).

By now it's about 6:30ish and I go to wake the sleeping teenager. I knock on her door, open it a crack and say in my best motherly quiet voice, "Kylie, time to get up sweetie."

To which I get some grunting and generally morning noises. Followed by a "no, I wanna sleep."

I say, "Sorry honey, we have to leave in 20 minutes so you need to get up now."

More grumbling while I walk away.

I get Lulu dressed to which I get more "I'm so TIRED mommy. Please can I have 5 more minutes?"

A negotiation ensues during which time I get her dressed, all the while debating with her if she can have another 5 minutes when I'm done. She always does.

Now it's 6:45ish and we need to leave in 5 minutes. I go back to get Lulu up, Kylie is stomping around trying to avoid me because she's wearing make-up and she's not allowed to and then getting even more upset when I tell her to wash it off anyways. Shoes on for Lulu who now MUST see what surprises await her in her lunch bag.

The surprise this morning of the GREEN juice instead of the PURPLE juice was almost more than she could bear. What a sweetie.

We hustle to the car after Kylie has run back to her room twice because she refuses to bring her back pack home and must carry everything home with her which inevitably gets lost in the pit known as her room.

As we back out of the drive way 5 minutes to get to school she looks at me and says, "WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS MAKING ME LATE!"

As a side note about how devious my almost 5 year old is - after Kylie gets out of my car and slams the door doing it (and not so much as a thank you mom for the ride) from the back seat I suddenly hear, "All 5 year olds listen to whatever their Mommy's tell them. 5 year olds are good girls who do everything their Mommy's say."

She's sneaky that little one. Grateful at least when I drop her off, but sneaky.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Interspecies Love

I'm sure Micah and if I had any other geeks reading this would think I was talking about Aliens. I'm not.

In our house there are 2 packs. One is the larger pack that includes all humans and animals. Micah is the leader of that pack. I'm his second in command. Number 1 to his Captain Picard.
The other pack is just all furry creatures. Tasha is his back up for that and she takes her job very seriously.

I watch her and she constantly appears to be the beleaguered big sister telling Molly to stop jumping up on humans or stop barking at the squirrels or telling Lulu to stop throwing things at her. She is all things patient with all things. She lets Lulu pretend paint her face and lets Molly "sneak" attack her over and over and over again.

When we got Jason the cat a few months ago I thought for sure she would eat him. And at first it appeared that the harmony in our house for our furry creatures would be irrevocably broken. But as time has passed both she and Molly have adapted to the small, furry, hissing kitten that has invaded their home. While Molly likes to follow him around and sniff the heck out of him, Tasha once again has taken the big sister roll on for him too and has been seen blocking Molly from him when he gets grumpy and she gets too inquisitive for her own good.

In the last two weeks or so things have taken a disturbing turn though in the relationship between Jason and Tasha.

At first I just thought it was odd when I saw him biting her foot while she was resting on the carpet. She let him play attack her foot and attempt to play with it like a mouse, chewing on it and grabbing at it with his claws. She didn't move her foot, didn't growl, just patiently let him wear himself out.

But Friday night things took a, shall we say, interesting turn.

She looks guilty there, doesn't she. Like she knows what he's doing is wrong but she just can't stop him.


When I first saw this and pointed it out to Micah he thought the Jason was chewing on her ear. Which, if true, would have officially made her the most patient dog ever. But he's not.




video



The cat is LICKING her ear. Over and over and over again. He's essentially grooming her ear. Frankly she still looks a little guilty to me. She likes it, I think, but hates that the humans are watching her.



Last night though, was the peak of weird to us. There is a dog bed by my side of the bed in our room. The cat weighs about 4 lbs and the bed is made for dogs up to 75lbs I believe. It's Tasha's bed first. It's been her bed since before Micah and I had even met. But occasionally the cat claims the bed for himself and when he does the dogs just lay AROUND the dog bed, letting the small cat take up the whole freaking bed. I know.



Tasha and the cat are co-sleeping.

I don't know that our house can handle the chaos that now MUST ensue that dogs and cats are lying together. If cats and dogs can get along, who knows what else must be in store for us. World peace? The truth that there really is a Santa Claus? Winning the lotto? I don't know either but you can bet, it must be good.

Friday, August 14, 2009

My kid is a freak


This is Lulu. Sitting in a dentist's chair. Smiling. And yes, she had already seen the dentist.
I'm not 100% certain what it is but Lulu absolutely LOVES going to the dentist. Last time we went she asked for a week afterwards when we were going again.
When I told her Wednesday night that we were going Thursday morning she had a hard time going to sleep. I believe it was more exciting than Christmas for her. Thursday morning I only had to whisper "Dentist" for her to jump out of bed and get dressed.
She's not normal that kid.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It's all in the timing

This thought has been running around in my brain awhile and I feel the need to spit it out.

Perfect timing.

I'm a believer in perfect timing. That is to say that everything that happens happens at the perfect time. While it's happening I may not THINK or KNOW that it's the perfect time but Gods timing is always the perfect time, despite what I think about it.

The thing though, is that this is a strongly held conviction for me. It is something I occasionally struggle with (see: OMG I'm freshly divorced and pregnant by my boyfriend of 7 months!) but overall it's something I accept whole heartedly.

Perfect timing SEEMS like an easy thing to have belief in though, doesn't it? And it is when we are talking about babies or falling in love or moving states etc.

But it's times like job loss with no real prospects of new jobs, health concerns that aren't easily resolved, divorce and death that it's easy to NOT believe in perfect timing. Because who wants to believe that there is such a thing as perfect timing of death? That's crap. Right?

It's not. As I said above, perfect timing has nothing to do with OUR timing and everything to do with God's* timing.

While it is does not seem to be perfect timing for a teenager to get pregnant it was certainly God's perfect timing for reasons we didn't understand at the time. (My mother got to be a grandmother for 9 years which she never would have had if I hadn't gotten pregnant then since I have, believe it or not, fertility issues.)

My point is, that we as humans often profess a faith in something haphazardly. We say things like "everything happens for a reason" but I don't know that we always believe it. We should always say what we mean and truly think about it before we say it.

I believe in perfect timing, even if it doesn't seem like the perfect time for me. My mother's death was perfect timing in a way I can't fully grasp because I'm human and not omnipotent. My pregnancy is perfect timing although we get stressed about money and kids and the future. My teenagers "issues" came up through perfect timing even though it caused a lot of stress and worry on our family.

Like I said, I don't always understand the WHY of perfect timing. But I truly believe in, all the way through. And since I do I have to believe in perfect timing of both good and bad things.

Do you believe in perfect timing regardless of the issue?

*Your Deity may vary

Kindergarten


Today is Lulu's first day of school. She is officially a Kindergartner now and was beyond excited for today. I didn't cry. Except on the way to work. And only for a second.
Maybe.

Last night we took a bath, brushed our hair and she picked out her first day outfit by herself. The jean have some sparkly's on the pocket that you can't see. The sweater does indeed have a dog on it. Those are her brand new school shoes that she has been longing to wear for at least 2 weeks.

If you're wondering, that's her lunch bag. Yeah I know, it's the size of her head but I didn't exactly ace the planning department this year and she had to use one of the adult lunch bags today. I'll get it right eventually.

She and I sat down this morning and went over the items in her lunch box (Apple, raisins, peanut butter sandwich, milk money and a chocolate pudding. Chocolate pudding should be eaten last.

We also went over the items in her backpack. I sent chocolate animal crackers for snack time.

She MUST give these to the teacher. Everything else will go to the teacher too and it's all going in a group and everyone is going to share their stuff. I can't guarantee that any of that sunk in. I bet she comes home with the animal crackers.

I also have a confession. I thought her first day was tomorrow and so I took tomorrow off weeks and weeks ago and scheduled all sorts of appointments for it. Turns out, not so much. So I still have tomorrow off but missed actually taking her for her first day of school. I'll have to settle for second day.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Getting the hang of this...

18 months ago Micah used to go out at night whenever he wanted. He used to go to cool bars and drink with beautiful people and laugh and talk about current events and world news. He used to go to a movie at 10pm on Tuesday just because he could and wanted to.

He used to go on dates with lovely women, go to lunch with friends and visit his grandmother all the time.

He used to spoil his dog with daily walks and trips to the dog park and spend his money as frivolously as he wanted.

Last night, 18 months later, found him standing by the penny ponies being used as the penny dispenser for his preschooler while his tired wife paid for groceries and his cranky teenager gave him attitude for no reason. He was in charge of making sure toys didn't get lost or left at the store and at one point when it was time to go could be heard saying,

"Just get in the cart and cry then." (No he didn't yell this, it was more of a sigh. I wont confess if he was talking to me or the preschooler.)

I wonder what he thinks of eHarmony now......

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Big C

This is kinda a crummy topic for my moms birthday. At yet, it's fitting too in a way.

You see, today is my mother's 57th birthday. I miss her. Aside from May 26th, August 10th is a really tough one for me too. I wish she were celebrating another year, getting closer to the milestone of 60, telling me more of her vacation adventures, making plans to come meet the baby etc. The lack of celebrating bothers me and I generally avoid the card section of the grocery store for at least 2 weeks prior to today. Hallmark doesn't see a hair of mine in July or August because I just can't handle those stupid cards yet. It's a process.

Cancer is such an insidious thing. It's a stealer of so many things, wonderful things. It's like a thief in the night, taking away security, hope and plans for the future. It takes away loved ones, friends and even random people I didn't have the pleasure of knowing personally. But who were loved and cared for by other people.

My mother had cancer. Her father did too. My father has had it, my half brother has had it and if I recall correctly 2 of my maternal aunts have had it. Not all the same kinds of cancer, but cancer none the less.

We recently found out that Micah's sweet grandmother has cancer. Luckily it's been caught in the early stages and her prognoses so far is good. She is his last remaining grandparent and I would ask those that pray to send out a prayer of healing for her as she is frail and is getting up there in age. She should have surgery hopefully in the next couple of months and we're hoping for a speedy recovery for her.

Back to me. It's my blog after all.

I get angry when I see those yellow Livestrong bracelets. I physically have to look away from them. I know that's wrong. I know it's not what my mom would want. It's certainly not how I want to behave.

When my mother was diagnosed with Cancer she and Nana ordered a ton of those things. They gave them to everyone at no cost. I had one, Kylie had one, Brian had one. Brian actually got into an argument with his Commander over it because those aren't approved Air Force regulation jewelry. Brian got to wear it anyways. I wasn't as diligent about wearing mine as others were like Nana, my Aunts and Uncles and even my then husband.

It was because I felt like they were lies. Live Strong. Livestrong. Sounds simple. Incredibly inspiring words on a yellow plastic bracelet. But I saw my mother. She was not physically strong. Cancer stole that from her. She needed assistance to get from point A to point B. She couldn't shower herself or use the toilet unaided. She didn't want to eat most of the time.

Her spirit was strong at times. When she called me back after I found out she had cancer and talked to me about it. That was strong. When she was calm in the face of all the chaos that surrounded her life those last few months, that was strong.

But her spirit wasn't always strong. She was afraid sometimes too. And she was sad. Sad she would never see her grandchildren grow up, never shop for them again. She would miss her friends, her sisters, her nieces and nephews. For awhile she talked about a miracle that would save her, so that she wouldn't die. Then she stopped. She must have known. Her miracle was going to Heaven, not staying here. But I still know she was sometimes sad about the things she would miss. And sad for the people who would miss her.

So Live Strong seems like such a lie to me. It was like a false promise, an order, a command to be strong in the face of Cancer. And she tried. And in spirit she was most of the time. And that still didn't save her. It was a lie.

At least to me. I'm obviously still a little raw, 4 years later.

But I still can't look at those stupid yellow bracelets.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A big 8th grader


Today was the first day of school for my oldest child. Where we live, in middle school, the 6th graders start on Wednesday and then have Thursday off. The 7th & 8th graders go Thursday but had Wednesday off. So today was Kylie's first day.
She woke up before I did and was eating breakfast by the time I stumbled from my bedroom to shower and wake her up. She ate a massive bowl of oatmeal then went and changed into her clothes for school, did her hair and since she had prepped her backpack the day before was essentially ready before I had even gotten dressed.
I know off hand that looking at that picture you might be thinking a variety of things including "Look at that hair" and "Is she really wearing all black?". To the casual observer I understand and can totally see where you're coming from.
But.
I would describe life with Kylie since January of this year as nightmarish. The period between April and July being the roughest. The work that has gone into what you see today is nothing short of miraculous honestly. Micah and I, along with our families and friends for support have worked tirelessly with her in therapy, home life, school life and social life. We have taken off work more hours than I care to think about and our loved ones (friends AND family) have been too generous helping us with therapy appointments, hospital pick ups etc.
So, as a mother, I look at Kylie in that picture and see all the hard work and progress we've made.
She's clean. She showered and washed her hair the night before. She also brushed it and applied "shine gel" to it. There is a bow in her hair, in case you're wondering.
Her clothing is all washed and clean, she's wearing all necessary undergarments. She's not wearing makeup.
She's smiling. Her braces are almost done and she should be able to take them off by Christmas if she continues with her rubber bands as she should be.
Her ipod that she's listening to contains music from multiple genre's. I happen to know she's listening to 80's rock right at that moment. You'll have to take my word for it that she was jamming out to "Every Rose has it's thorn".
She chose to leave her cell phone at home today. She knows it would be a distraction at school and doesn't want to lose it. So she voluntarily thought about it and left it at home. This is huge. She loves that phone. For the last month or so it's been her salvation from living in the fantasy world that she has a tendency to go to. She hasn't abused the privilege *much* and has been responsible with her phone calls. For her to know the temptation to use it would be too much is a level of awareness I had once only dreamed of.
I know not everything is fixed. She still talks back sometimes. We occasionally have to remind her about her chores. I still fear her bedroom and what might lurk in it. But overall the leaps and bounds we have made so far make me eternally hopefully for this upcoming year.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

It's the MOST wonderful time...of the year

Do you remember that commercial a few years ago with the father gliding down the aisle at the OfficeMax or Depot or something on a cart shopping for back to school supplies while the 2 kids looked at him with big frowny faces?

That's me. I'm the father. Dancing in the aisles.

Kylie is the embodiment of the 2 kids. VERY frowny face.

For the last week I've been trying to get her into a better sleeping cycle but so far to no avail. The problem is, of course, that I'm not home during the day to make her stay awake. So even if I wake her up at 7am when I leave for work, she goes RIGHT back to sleep. Then stays up until 2 or 3 am even though her bedtime is 9:30pm.

Kylie says she's excited for 8th grade. Finally she'll be a top dog at the school. Her hair is green, her clothes are black, her make up, well, that's still gone. But she's ready to start. Ready to BE. Except for that whole sleeping thing and friend thing and locker thing, she's ready. But grumpy.

Lulu on the other hand... Lulu is BEYOND excited to start real school. She's believed she's been in school for at least a year now and she was because she was in preschool. But now, now she's a Kindergartner. She'll FINALLY gets to go to the place I've been dragging her for the last 5 years. She knows the layout, she knows the people, she knows how to line up and sit on the carpet etc.

Everyday now I get reminded that pretty soon she'll be a DARTH MOUTH kid and she'll be a helper and eat lunch at the table and wave at everyone.

Kylie doesn't want to talk about it.

Kylie goes this Thursday. Technically our kids start school tomorrow but in middle school they let the 6th graders try it out for a day and give the 7th and 8th graders an extra day to sleep in.

Lulu doesn't start until next Thursday. Kindergarten starts a week later.

We have new clothes, new shoes, new socks and tonight we will be getting new school supplies. Life at my house? It's the MOST wonderful time.... of the year.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ren Faire Weekend

I just kinda need to get this out. Teenagers Suck.

Phew, I feel better.

Okay sometimes they are really wonderful and great and blah blah blah. And sometimes they make a situation miserable and you wonder why on earth you didn't just swear off children altogether. Or at least I do.

I totally respect my mothers decision to stop at 1 kid. Smart woman. I'm also amazed at the ability of Nana to let me live. Because I'm sure she had days where she tried to talk my mom into putting a pillow over my face. I know it. I sucked too.

This weekend was the last weekend for the Renaissance Festival in Colorado. It runs weekends for like 8 weeks and it's wonderful and fun and one of the biggest I've ever been to. Last year I took Kylie and we had fun and I had money. I might have spent a little more last year than I meant to but it was worth it. This year though, well. There is a budget. We have a new bedroom to build. And someones hair to dye green. (well just the front) And a cat to fix. Oh and hospital co-pays that I'm STILL paying off that are not for a baby delivery. So yeah, not a lot of money to spend. I told each child that they had $20.

Micah was absent. He had to go into work but I'm sure he was just joyful devastated not to be walking around in a million degree heat with a grumpy teenager, waddling wife and overly enthusiastic 4 year old.

But the Ren Faire is full of free shows and vendor booths and characters etc. that honestly, you shouldn't have to pay a whole lot of have hours of entertainment.

Unless you're 13 going on Angry. *eyeroll*

Everything that was interesting to her was over $20. Shop after shop pissed her off. Well, I pissed her off telling her no. She was angry the whole time, stomping off, crossing her arms etc. She talked back to me in a tone that made 2 strangers turn around and say "Oh she's at THAT stage." Strangers. Who were men. Like my age men. CRAZY. But that's what happens when teenagers suck I guess. It must be universal.

Lulu on the other hand spent her $20 joyfully. She paid for an elephant ride for her and me. ($8.00 total) She painted a crown at the pottery store ($3.00), she rode a Llama ($4.00) and bought an ice cream for herself which she shared with me ($3.00). Oh and she bought herself a drink ($3.00). Overall she spent just a dollar extra and considering she shared both her drink and her ice cream with me I'm willing to cut her some slack. She would have been happy looking at every.single.thing at the faire and running through the grass with the other little kids. She met not one but 2 fairies which was possibly the most awesome thing she had ever experienced in her life.

And she rode a llama. And an elephant. So that's saying something. One Fairy gave her a glass stone (like you would put at the bottom of your fish tank) and it had glitter on it and OH MY GOSH MOMMY SHE GAVE ME A MAGIC STONE! was all I heard the whole way home.

Kylie eventually spent her $20 and was mad that I wouldn't buy her incense as well. But I held firm. I did buy her a drink that she shared with me and Lulu also so I don't count that. But the whole way home she was a grump and not much fun.

I know it's wrong but I just don't want to take her next year. I want to pawn her off on Brian and his Girlfriend (who collects Fairies) and make them take her and either spoil her or confirm the cheapness that prevails in her life and just take Lulu for whom Fairies are still real and magical and $20 buys more fun than you can possibly imagine.

A LLAMA MOMMY! It's a LLAMA! MOMMY CAN I TOUCH THE LLAMA! A LLAMA MOMMY!

Different children, different ages, different mommy.

Crazy PTO Lady

In case you don't know it, I'm a very active part of the local elementary PTO (Parent Teacher Organization). I have made many friends there and believe that as Lulu goes back to school this year she has already benefited from my involvement. (she's familiar with the school and I got some heads up on her teacher this year. I also got a prime evaluation spot thanks to PTO. Woot!)

In 2005, when we moved here, Kylie was in 3rd grade. I was a little preoccupied at the time with my mothers illness and the new move and my 6 month old and didn't get involved at the time.

In 2006 I started attending the monthly meetings and learning the dynamics. I also saw things that I thought sucked and so I started researching and getting ideas. It was obvious that the President of the group that year had no idea what she was doing and wasn't interested in doing it the following year.

In 2007 I became President of the PTO. That isn't saying a lot however since our Treasurer never showed up, I had no Vice President but the Secretary was awesome. No other parents ever came to the meeting and often meetings would consist of myself, my Vice P/Secretary Cammie and the principal of the school. We couldn't even get teachers to come.

But that year we decided on some goals for the PTO. We would fund raise of course but we also wanted to encourage parental involvement. Our school is about 50% reduced lunch eligible and as I said, we had no involvement.

That year we had the first Donuts with Dad event. It was free. It invited any male figure in a child's life to come in the morning of our event and get a donut, meet their child's teacher, drink some coffee or juice and just be familiar with the school. We had almost 400 people (including kids) show up. Our school only has about 400 kids total so we felt like we had a huge turnout. The coffee machine broke before I got one cup done. We ran out of donuts. And juice. And milk. But the kids. The kids were magic that day. The smiles were huge, they showed off parts of the school to their dads and they were overall just happy little campers.

We had a Christmas potluck event that year. Not the first event of it's kind at our school. But in previous years it was just food and nothing else. This year we did crafts and games and music. We had almost 100 people show up. And 2 teachers. Oh, and we had a silent auction that was moderately successful.

We had Muffins with Mom which was like Donuts with Dad. Free. And well attended (although not as well attended as the dad event). And magic.

We had movie nights for families. We had game night during parent teacher conferences. We did roller skating nights and book fairs and Santa Shops. We worked HARD for 2 people and the occasional volunteer.

In 2008 I stepped down. I was going through a rough patch which would lead to divorce and I knew I wasn't up for it. I became the box tops coordinator for our school. (Still am) But that year we had more volunteers. We now have a full board and events were so much smoother and easier and more families were involved in aspects of the school and their child's attendance. I was a part of that.

This year. This year, I'm the VP although that wont mean much work for me. I might occasionally help the treasurer out but given my pregnant state they know I wont be able to do much. I'll still count box tops.

This year, I have a child in the school again. For the last 2 years I haven't. I've volunteered even though I didn't have a child there. Because I'm nuts.

I had my first volunteer opportunity on Saturday. It was a nightmare, as most events with the district are (not our school only which is where everything went wrong) but overall well worth the effort. I'm excited to get back into the swing of school. I'm excited to see where the PTO is going to go this year.

But never again am I going to a Back To School event where the district promises free school supplies. They can bite my pregnant butt.