Saturday, December 15, 2012

Love Them Fiercely

I have to write this & then I'm going to move on from it. 
Yesterday, the shooting in Sandyhook, CT. 
I have no words.
I don't know how to express the depth of pain I feel about this incident. 

I originally saw a headline, but it was right after it happened & the only info was that there was a shooting.  About an hour later my mom texted me & told me at least 18 kids were gone. Gone.  I was sick.  I mean it.  Physically ill.  My "flight/fight" response kicked in, only I had nowhere to run and no one to fight.  I felt all the horrible things I felt when 9/11 happened.  Only, this was babies.  I immediately emailed Big's therapist & told her I was going to need help.  When 9/11 hit, the depression I went into... the memory of how dark that time was for me is hard to even think about.  I have kids now.  I don't have the luxury of sinking that low.  There are other people who are dependent on me.  I was getting ready for my first appointment w/an acupuncturist when I was given that information.  Lying on the table for 40 mins somewhat calmed me.  I practiced my breathing.  I repeated a mantra w/each breath; "My kids are safe. We are loved."  I felt like maybe they would get the love if I sent it out enough.  I don't know, I was basically barely holding off the panic.  I'm grateful for that appointment, it kept me from irrationally getting my kids early from school. The time on the table & the breathing calmed me down.  I left from there and picked up my girls from school. 
We're basically having a no TV weekend.  I can't watch the newscasts.  The details.  I want to believe those babies didn't have time to be scared.  To cry for their mommies.  But I know that's not true.  They were 1st graders.  They were 6 & 7 year olds.  They were supposed to be in a place where they were safe & loved.
Little is 6, and in 1st grade. 
I love my kids so fiercely.  I know their parents did too. 
I won't give acknowledgement to the shooter.  I won't feed the media circus.
I will pray for those families.
I will hug my girls tightly & pray they know how fiercely I love them.
I pray they will be safe.

Monday, December 10, 2012

It's Baaack.... Fibro Has Reared It's Ugly Head Again

My Pain Diary for November; all list up for Christmas
My Pain Diary for November

As much as I've been trying to convince myself differently, I'm having a horrible Fibro Flare.  It probably started in October, but I didn't want to believe it, and really didn't start tracking it well, until November.  If you're someone who deals w/a chronic illness, you know exactly what I mean by "tracking."  For the rest of you, when you have a chronic illness, it's quite easy for the medical profession to believe your complaints are exaggerated.  Especially in something like Fibro, where so many parts of your body can be affected.  To help your doctors and therapists help you, it's good to keep a diary.  No, not the kind where you profess your love or angst.  (Though for mental illness, which can be an aspect of Fibro, that's a good avenue of treatment too.)  In my case it's a pain diary.  I track what hurts; the where, how, intensity, how it started, what did to treat it & if/when it went away.  Since one of the major symptoms I've had in the past is Irritable Bowel Syndrome, (IBS,) I also keep a food diary.  Yes, it is one more thing to add to my day.  But, it can help show patterns, that can help your treatment.  For instance, hormonal changes tend to have a big impact.  If there's nothing your doctor can provide to help w/this, at least you know this, and can try to plan accordingly.  Try not to schedule anything really important during that week and such.  I track my pain on my smartphone.  (Of course there's an app for that.)  I can print reports from it, or be able to glance at calendar page & see where my spikes are.  The app that I use, My Pain Diary, allows me to enter all this information.  I don't really know if it's better or worse than other apps, because I haven't really tried many others.  It more or less works for me, so it's good.  (Though, upon getting that link, I see that there many more of these than there were when I first sought one.  I may have to try a few & provide a review on my other blog; that I also don't update near enough.)   Anyway, since I'm forced to pay more attention to all of this, I've really taken a good, hard look at my last year & it's really nothing short of amazing.  I haven't had an attack of significance since March.  Even then, April & May only included 2 bad days.  In the scope of things, 2 bad days a month, totally doable.  June - Sept had NO bad days.  That's pretty f'ing amazing.  NONE!  October had 5, which really isn't that bad.  I know a few of those were migraines, which I have good meds for, and can get under control pretty quickly.  November is when things went south in a big way.  On the calendar view of this app, it will color the date depending on your level of pain.  Moderate pain will show up yellow, severe will be read.  November & Dec look like a slasher movie it them.  I'm still committed to yoga, though I've had to back off on it, not wanting to make things worse.  And things seemed to really go south after my 3rd visit to my new chrio.  I was emailing him for suggestions/advice during the worst of it.  I think he was too aggressive in my last treatment.  In between that time, I saw my rheumatologist, who was amazed at how well I was doing.  Of course I was there because I wasn't doing all that well.  He told me to keep on doing what I was doing, and that w/every treatment there are good and bad days.  I was in the middle of a very long bad one.  I saw my chiro again a week after that & he thinks we were too aggressive, too fast.  Pulled back my treatment to what it was the month before (2nd visit,) and I was actually really good for 2 days.  I had expected to hurt more from my chiro visit, but nope, right off, everything was happy.  I'm back in the thick of everything being unhappy, but I have more hope these days.  I see my chiro again in 3 days, I'm hopeful that if we take things really slow, I'm going to continue to have more good days than bad.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I Choose Love (9/11 tribute)

Had a bit of a rough morning.  My back was bad from the night before, but got the girls to school on time. Even rode bikes, which seems to be helping to loosen up my hip/back, so I'm actually kind of proud of myself on that one.  A year ago, I would've called a neighbor to have the girls tag along and walk with them to school. My right leg & foot were falling asleep on the bike ride home.  This is my body's way of reminding me I'd already pushed it too far.  Knowing that, I came home, popped some ibuprofen & sat on the couch to take it easy.  Checked/cleaned out my email inbox & then popped over to FaceBook, (FB,) to see what my friends were up to today. 

Oh yeah, today is 9/11.  

For a few minutes this morning I had forgotten.  (Or, not realized yet.)  Reading all the 9/11 posts on FB brings back that horrible knot in my stomach. That sense of loss & helplessness so many of us felt on that day.  My Mother-In-Law woke us with a phone call that morning.  Told us we needed to get up and turn on the TV.  We became aware of what was happening about 5 minutes before the second plane hit.  I remember watching in disbelief as that plane flew into the building.  It was surreal.  The speed at which it was going and the directness of it's path, (into the building,) left no room for question.  This was not an accident, this was deliberate.  It's interesting, most of us find it necessary to relate what we were doing at that time.  How we found out.  Almost as if, to prove to everyone we really were part of what happened.  We may not have been in those buildings, or even known anyone who was, but we were part of it.  See, we didn't forget, is the implication of those stories.   I remember my first coherent thought, (as opposed to the raw emotion that was taking center stage in the middle of this,)  was "this is what 2001 will be remembered for, this will be remembered as the awful year, people flew planes into the World Trade Center, (WTC,).  I admit, it was a selfish thought.  We had been married in May, and for us, 2001 was our wedding year.  It was supposed to be the happiest year of my life.  Up until 9/11, it was.  I remember thinking, years from now, when we tell people we were married in 2001, they will say, "Oh the year of the WTC attacks."  Yes, it was a very selfish thought.  People had lost or were losing their lives in there, and I was worried about how people were going to look at it in a historical reference and as it related to me.  I know I wasn't alone in this.  I may be alone in admitting it, but I know most of us had initial thoughts like those.  Up until 9/11, we, (Americans,) were much like kids, who relate everything to 'how this affects me.'  We had this sense, that comes w/innocence, (or perhaps immaturity,) that viewed the world in that way.  'How does this affect my life.'  If the answer was, it really doesn't, then we would move on to the next thing.  This innocence, (which sounds way nicer than immaturity,) was really a good example of why those terrorists hated us so much.  We were so self-centered.  To a large degree, we were spoiled children who had been told the universe revolved around us and we believed it.  Our bigest worries were what I call, 'First World Problems.' We weren't worried about things like having enough to eat or a safe, comfortable place for our kids to sleep at night. We worried about things like how to get our kids to eat more vegetables, and if the DVR was going to have enough room to tape both of our TV shows tonight.  The kind of thing those terrorists might have wanted to be able to worry about.  I'm not defending them.  You have to be a special kind of crazy to do what they did. No one deserves what was done.  I'm just pointing out that, as a nation, we were spoiled brats who needed a good smack upside the head.  Instead of  a smack, they figuratively cut off an arm.  And we were innocent no more.

The second tangible thought I had that morning happened when the first building fell.  I immediately thought, "There are people running IN! What about them?!" I knew 'what about them,'  or I wouldn't have had that thought.  My heart just couldn't let my brain go there. From an analytical perspective, I wonder why I knew to think of them.  We have a lot of close friends who are police or fire department, and my brother is a cop now.  If this had happened in this day and age, I would know exactly why that thought occurred to me. People I'm close to, would've been part of that first wave of people in to help. In 2001, I was naive to that fact.  Maybe the news had covered the fact that as scary as it all was, the 'first responders' were bravely showing up to help.  I don't remember that though.  So much of that morning was just raw emotion.  I think that's why I remember what I thought & when I thought it. The rest of it is a big blur of disbelief, confusion, fear and helplessness.  Those feelings took root, and wouldn't go away, at all, for a LONG time.

 Like many people, I went into a very deep depression after 9/11/01.  No, I didn't know anyone personally who died.  I have family in NYC, some of whom were very close to it, but everyone was OK.  And we knew they were all OK pretty quickly.  We didn't have to go through the agonizing wait that so many did. We were spared the worry that not knowing would have added to the day.  I've commemorated this day on my blog in many ways.  I've written about individuals who lost their lives.  I've chronicled my depression, which took a few years and medications to get under control.  I've promised, like so many others, that I will "NEVER FORGET!"  We won't forget.  We can't.  But I'd be lying if I didn't admit I want to.  I don't want to forget how nice everyone got for a while there.  It seemed everyone, (in America,) posted an American flag in their car windows.  People let each other in, in traffic.  People smiled at each other & introduced themselves in random places.  It's hard to hate people you know.  If those terrorists had known us, known the names of the people on those planes, would that have made a difference?  Would it have mattered to them, the lady in row 10 was 3 month pregnant and they were going to share this joyous news with their parents this weekend?  Would it have mattered to them, that the 10yo girl visiting her mom's office in the WTC,  had raised money via a lemonade stand that summer.  That she had sent that money to charities helping children in their home countries? (I just made up those people, for perspective.)  My point is, I think  it might have made a difference.  It should have made a difference.  The reason we will never forget is because we can't.  Because, it could have easily been one of us on one of those planes or in those buildings.

Here's the big secret we all harbor.  We want to forget. Yup, I said it and it's true.  We say we'll, "Never Forget" as if it's something we have to work at, when really it's the opposite.  We want to forget.  We want to forget the pain, the confusion, the fear and the overwhelming sadness we feel about this day.  As time marches on, we do forget a little.  After it happened, there was not a moment that went by that we weren't thinking about it.  Those first couple years, everything anyone took part in,  was peppered with this tragedy.   Was it a large group gathering?  How were we making sure only people who belonged there were part of it?  We  suddenly realized how vulnerable we were, if someone wanted to hurt us.  All they had to do was show up at a mall near Christmas.  Or attend a NFL game.  The mayhem & publicity that would result from such an incident would severe their purposes well.  It's hard to maintain that type of vigilance though.  And now, 11 years later, I find that I didn't remember it was 9/11, till you all reminded me.  I'm lucky, I have that luxury.  If I had directly lost someone, I suspect, it would still be at the forefront of my mind most days.  I'm sure it is for those who are in that position.

While taking a moment of silence or prayer to commemorate this day is nice.  I think the memories of those lost would be best served, if we could try to remember our response to this tragedy.  If we see something out of place, point it out.  When you get on a plane, or bus, or train, introduce yourself to the people around you.  Let the guy merge into your lane in traffic. Smile at people you don't know.  We won't forget the awful thing that those people, who only had room for hate in their hearts, did.  We might want to forget, but we can't.  The real victory is when we work together to show, we are better than that. In the time everyone would expect us to choose to hate, we choose to love.  Allow your actions to show that's how we feel.  The terrorists don't win because we cancel a public event over safety concerns.  The terrorists win, if they get us to hate like that did.

I choose LOVE.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My Little Hexagon

You must laugh when you see that I've posted.  Knowing, there will be an onslaught of excuses related to my absence.  And, while they're good ones, they are still, just excuses.  We're on the very end of summer vacation.  I'll do my best to be short in bringing you up to date.

Big's issues have been in a holding pattern.  I'm not sure she was completely truthful about no longer pulling out her eyebrow/lashes, at the beginning.  But they do seem to be growing back nicely now.  She's had the opportunity to have several play dates with friends this summer.  I think that's helped a lot.  We had a few nights last week, in which it was just her and I.  The first night we went to dinner, sushi, her choice.  And dessert, gelato.  It was nice for both of us to just hang out and be mellow.  I know she loved that the whole night was about her.  I told her she could invite a friend to sleep over the next night.  They jumped on the trampoline w/the sprinklers on them, put together a craft, (related to horses, of course) and then made pizzas for dinner.  I told them as long as they kept it to a low hum they could stay up as late as they wanted, (11-ish).  It was way more relaxing than I can relate.  She is still seeing therapist.  Just this week, her therapist indicated that maybe she didn't need to come every week, "she's doing so well."  I asked to keep things, "as is," at least until October.  There is so much that can change once school starts.  I really, really hope at least one of the friends we've been seeing all summer is in her class.  (Say a little prayer for us both, ok?)

I guess Little is also in a holding pattern.  Summer has been hard.  Her friend base was messed up by the end of last year. (Long story.) She has been dying for her turn at play dates and sleep overs, but her friends just haven't been as available.  Daddy and I are doing our best to create lots of "special Little time."  My fingers are crossed for her this school year too.  I really, really hope there is a girl in her class this year that she can really bond with.  Someone, who is sweet, isn't a bully or a mean girl, and doesn't idolize her older sister when she comes over to play.  (I know, it's a tall order.)  As far as Little's "learning issues" go.  It's hard to say.  The distraction thing is huge for her.  We read and do homework every day.  If there's no real distractions, she's great.  I feel really confident about her doing well this year.  BUT, if there are distractions? Forget it.  Her ability to ignore, is so poor.  I just don't see how she can learn anything in a classroom with other kids in it.  I'm so worried about her

On top of everything else, Daddy went out of town last week.  Her ability to hold it together was awful.  It was all those stories about her "spirited personality" rolled up together and put on steroids.  I swear I have PTSD from it.  I think Daddy thought I was going to drop them off at home, (from the airport,) and keep driving.  I can't say it didn't cross my mind.  I'm sure it was because Daddy was away, and school is about to start.  She's overwhelmed and doesn't know how to burn it off constructively.  In the meantime, we all suffer with her.

I'm not really doing all that well.  I have a laundry list of things I'm unhappy about, but what it comes down to is, that  I'm really afraid I'm not doing right by either of my kids.  Most especially Little.  I feel like there's more than just the sensory thing going on there.  Last week, she would get so mad and frustrated.  At one point, she started to swing to him me.  She realized what she was doing & turned herself so she hit the couch instead of me.  But when she starts having impulse control issues, it makes me think there's more going on.  I'm at a loss of what to do to help her.  If I am doing the right things to help her, it sure doesn't feel like it.  I'm overwhelmed with worry and emotion and I feel like I have no where to vent.  She's not bad enough to qualify for state help, but not good enough so that she keeps up on her own.  She's not a square peg or a round hole.  She's a hexagon in a rectangle world.  :-( 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Update on the Update

 This was written in April.  I considered re-writing it to a more timely post (where we are now,) but I figured between this and the post before it, you get a pretty good idea of where we all are right now.  Summer vacation has changed things up a bit.  And while, life in general seems to be calmer, I suspect we won't know if any of the things we're doing to help our girls is working until a few weeks after school starts.  If there are helping, I suspect there will be a new set of issues to keep us on our toes.  The silver lining, I guess, is that you, lucky reader, have tons of blog fodder just waiting to be written, so you can read it.  So, um, yeah.   

Short story long, we had Little tested.  She has some speech issues, most of which are something that would normally be addressed until later.  (IOW, she has be older to be considered "delayed" in those areas.)  But the big thing they found was that Little is a single processor.  (Means she can't really multi-task.  Doesn't mean she won't be able to, but right now she really needs to be able to focus on one thing at a time.)  She was also diagnosed with sensory defensiveness disorder.  This isn't really news to us.  We've said all along she has some sensory thing.  It's why she wants a dozen blankets on her at night, even when it's 105 outside.  It's why she used to completely lose her shit over wearing a seat-belt.  It's why she isn't a fan of cold things; even ice cream.  And why she feels pants and shoes, and most especially socks should always be optional, if required at all ever.  The combination of her sensory defensiveness & being a single processor is a large part of why she seems to be struggling at school.  She is easily distracted.  If anything at all commands her attention, then everything else is ignored.  There are some other issues; things that she can do, but isn't doing correctly.  She has acquired incredible coping mechanisms; and manages to use other muscle groups when the ones normally used aren't up to the task.  So, she is having to learn how to hold her pencil in a different way.  A part of her sensory defensiveness is that her sense of touch is messed up.  Some of her speech issues are because she doesn't feel her tongue the way most of us do.  So she can't make the 'R' sound because she doesn't feel if her tongue is in the right place.  The sense of touch thing also works the opposite way; she may not think something hurts the way you and I might.  BUT, if something does get her attention; say a hangnail, she becomes almost obsessive over it.  That's the single processing thing at work.  If it's irritating her, she can't just ignore it like you or I.  Additionally, she has trouble "resetting" herself.  When you get ready to do something different, your brain switches over to a new mode to accommodate the new activity.  This is especially true is you are going from something physical to something more mundane, or visa versa.  Little seems to have issues with self-regulation.  She needs to be "reset."  How a child "resets" or "organizes" themselves for a new activity has a lot to do w/the way in which your child learns best.  Different types of learners would include; visual, audio, etc...  Little is dependent on her proprioceptive system for learning.  She needs her muscles to "grease the wheels," so to speak, in order for her to retain and repeat things she's learned.  A classroom setting, isn't the best place for kids like her.  She's the type of kid, who you could shout out a list of items to while she's running & she can repeat them back to you.  Give her the same list while she's sitting on the floor or at a desk & not so much.   How does one fix this?  I don't know if you really fix it, so much as you try to find acceptable ways to help her reset/organize in a classroom setting.  We have been working with a sensory diet; lots of gum chewing. And have been utilizing "brushing."  I do think they both are helping, but they aren't completely resolving her issues.  We're at a place now, where she is "holding it together at school," but when she gets home, she completely loses her shit.  This part has been hard.  For several months, Little has attended school w/the early &  late birds; thus having a 4 hour day, instead of a 3 hour one.  At home, we've been working our butts off to help her; repetition, games, songs, etc... And she seems to be caught up now.  Her teacher suggested that after Spring Break, she should go back to a 3 hour day.  The problem is, she's not having issues at school, but she is having them at home.  I suspect after a month or so, of these 3 hour days, she will start to show signs of her problems again.  The mental part of this, is exhausting for her.  She wants so badly to "be & do good," she focuses all of her energy on it while at school.  (This is no small deal considering the kids in her class. That's a blog post in itself.)  When she gets home, she's shot.  She still has homework to do, so at some point, she acts out because she's overwhelmed & exhausted.  Yeah, it's been a bit rough.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Back in the Saddle

So I've been MIA for about a month here.  I actually wrote most of post about the stuff going on w/Little that I'm going to post here after this, but I wanted to address why I haven't posted.  At the end of the school year, Little's teacher & I got into it.  She felt that a question I asked her (via email,) was implying that I didn't approve of her way of teaching & choices in the classroom.  While, I don't think it was a big secret that I was disappointed about several things that were not done in Little's classroom, I did not ever complain to anyone outside of the classroom itself.  I had heard through the school grapevine, that Little's teacher & another one, had several complaints to the principal this year.  I suspect, she thought I was leading the witch hunt.  But, whatever, she sent me a severely snotty email, when I was asking if she she needed additional support on a subject.  Since I had just talked Little off the meltdown ledge for the second time that afternoon, her timing sucked.  I was freaking out about my kid being ready for next year and getting what she needed from the school.  I had offered to help, but instead saying, "no thank you," I was greeted w/accusations.  Her teacher made it into something about herself, when it always has been about my kid.

There was a meeting w/the the principal that ensued, and I'm sure I've somehow been labeled as "one of those moms," but eff them, I'm trying to make sure my kid is getting what she needs to be successful, and as I was seeing it, they were not doing that.  I was asked to step down as a room parent, (yes seriously,) and while I did write apology to the teacher explaining my state of mine at the time of my response, she never actually spoke or acknowledged me again.  (High school, much?)  I suspect that she was told not to by the administration.  But I'd be lying if I didn't admit it pissed me off that I worked my ass off for her all year and didn't even get a mention in the EOY thank you for help email. (After that, I decided that she could kiss my arce.  In my book, that was a total bitch maneuver.)

So the last couple of weeks were a bit more stressful than usual. (Ya think?)  And one day, last week of school I noticed that Big has no eyelashes.  My mom pointed out later that day that she has bald spots in her eyebrows.  At first, I thought they'd fallen out on their own.  I made the mistake of asking Dr. Google about that one.  After I got down w/my panic attack, I asked her if she's pulled them out herself or if they'd fallen out.  Turns out she'd done it.  It's called Trichotillomania and while some people who do it, do it absentmindedly, she goes into the bathroom and has been quite purposeful about it.  It's a compulsion, like nail biting or cutting.  And I'm terrified for her.  There have been a few recent episode of related to self-esteem issues that popped up at this time as well.  My guess is that she's picked up on the vibe of all the crap that was going down w/me and Little at the EOY & her anxiety came out this way.  I've talked w/her about it a few times, I don't want her to  know how scared I am for her.  When we've talked about it, I usually ask her a question about  it.  We'll talk about that part of it; like if you continue to do it, as some point they won't grow back.  And leave it at that.  I've asked her to come tell me when she feels like she needs to do it, and that I'll help her to try and find another way to address it.  And she's seeing a therapist now too.  Things seem to be going well on that front.  I suspect, she likes the fact that she she has something special that needs attention as well. I also think we won't really know how well things are going with her until school starts again. On Mondays, mom's carpool consists of taking Big to her appointment, then taking Little to her Occupational (OT) & Speech Therapy, (ST).  Then going back to get Big and driving back to get Little.  Yeah, it's a little hectic.
In all cases, neither of my kids is "bad enough" to qualify for help from the state.  So we are doing this all though private therapy groups.  As time moves on more and more, these groups won't deal directly w/the insurance companies.  We do have good insurance, 80-90% of this should be covered, but we have to pay upfront & submit the bills to be reimbursed.  (Good luck w/that.)  First round was kicked back bc they thought we had additional coverage from another company.  That has never been the case, so I can't imagine why they would think that.  That being said, we are outputting an additional $4K a month in doctors bills.  Yeah.  I try to keep a cushion in our bank account, but we actually almost bounced a couple payments this month.  So money is suddenly tight.
I realize that in the scope of things that couple be wrong w/my kids and our ability to deal deal with them, we are very lucky.  However, it the midst of all of this, it can be hard to be grateful.  I'm trying.  Someone needs to let my kids know that there is only one crisis allow at a time. I've been feeling very overwhelmed with all of this.  In my head, it was somehow less real if I didn't put it into words.  Last week, I was updating Big's therapist about some things via email & realized how cathartic it is for me to write it down.  As overwhelming, as it is to talk about it, it's  worse if I don't.  So now you're back up to speed more of less.  And hopefully, I'll be writing much more again.  I've missed you interwebs.  ;-)

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Say What?...

 I wrote the following in the beginning of November.  I wanted to have a little more information about what was happening before I posted this.  Thing was, life happened; the holidays, etc... And this topic snowballed on us.  I'm finally coming up for air.  I debated about discussing this at all.  It's not my topic to discuss, really.  But, so much of my life has been consumed by this, if I intend to keep blogging I need to talk about it.  So, I'm going to post this now, so you can catch up to why my attendance on the interwebs has been so spotty.  I also think you should know, I'm sharing this from my perspective. My daughter's issues are not unique or earth shattering, but they have consumed us to a large degree these last several months.  I'm walking a fine line, trying to find our new "normal." Hang w/me & be patient, I can sure use the support...


You might remember that LittleSpeak, (Little,) started kindergarten this year.  Or you may have been living under a rock.  ;-)  She's very pleased that she's finally at the same school as her sister.  While she's still somewhat annoyed that she doesn't get to have lunch or recess with the big kids, it's a start.  I also think she likes having a couple hours of mommy to herself every day still too.   Now, back in my day, kindergarten was more about learning social skills, art, music and your letters.  (Yeah, I'm old, I get it.)  At some point in the last 35 years, or so, kindergarten has become really focused on reading.  Yeah, there are kids who haven't had a bit of pre-school and don't know their alphabet, but by March they are ALL reading.  BigSpeak's class included.
I've previously mentioned that several members of my family has had learning disabilities, myself included.  Some were/are quite obvious; I can't spell phonetically, because I can't hear the difference between certain sounds.  I do have an impressive memory, which is how I managed this little problem.  Every word I know how to spell is from memory.  Spell check would've made my life much easier, but I was born w/the dinosaurs, so yeah that.  I had a few other issues, but that's the one that still plagues me.  Some of the issues other family members have dealt with were not as obvious, but could quite easily delay your ability to move forward in school.  Those of us who have been affected, have developed coping mechanisms and/or have gotten help.  With that in mind, there have been a few clues that Little may have an "issue" or two in this area.  We were actually going to have her tested last year, but decided to wait till after the holidays and then the thing that was making me wonder, (blended sounds, or her lack of ability with them, at all,)  seemed like it might be resolving itself.  We decided to wait and see if just being in kindergarten would work things out.  If you know Little, she is not going to do anything unless she decides to do it.  She wasn't all that inclined to write her letters or really be read to before this school year, but I knew when her kindergarten teacher told her she needed to do it, she would.  (She has loved to "read" for a long time, but she wants to do it herself.  So will sit in her bed "reading" or looking at the pictures.  There's merit to this type of reading too.)

A few weeks ago, Little told me she went w/Mrs. S, (teacher's aide,) and the reading group that day.  She was very pleased that she had been picked to go.  I know from Big's last several years that Mrs. S is the aide who comes into the class and works with kids who are having trouble keeping up, specifically in reading.   I was a bit surprised when Little told me, and thought maybe Mrs. S works w/other groups of children as well.  I asked Little who else was in her group and the names she gave me were the kids who were behind in reading skills. And suddenly, red lights were flashing in my brain.  Uh, oh.  The next morning at drop-off, Little's teacher mentioned that she had not gotten to tell me that she'd sent Little w/the reading group, I told her Little had mentioned it and I would send her an email.  "We need to talk." I covered the family history and previous concerns we've had w/Little & mentioned that I realize she won't even qualify to be tested at the school.  (Your kid has to have some pretty major issues for the school to instigate the testing.)  But that we also know that if there are problems the sooner we address them the better.  Little's teacher immediately called me back & asked for a conference before school the next day.  (Now, I had red lights & sirens going off in my head.)...

The conference detailed that Little supposedly only knew 4 letters/sounds, (not true, she has 5 letters in her name, and I know she knows them.) She didn't know her sight words, (also news to me, she seems to know them at home).  She was having a really hard time staying focused, not just because she was busy paying attention to everyone else; but also when they were sitting on the floor discussing things on the board.  She would "tune-out." (That doesn't sound like Little AT ALL.)  I shared our family history and more details of issues for which we were concerned.  (Speech related stuff.) "She's too articulate and social to qualify to even be tested by the school."  Yeah, that's the crock of shite I was handed.  So we had her tested privately.  I'll detail that part of the adventure next.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

I'm A Slut, How About You?

I know I've been MIA for a month.  That's because I'm getting better, but as I add things I can do to my list I find exhaustion in the evenings.  Not even enough energy to eat dinner some nights.  It's a good problem, I agree.  I'll detail more in the near future, but for now, THIS, (see below,) is high enough on my list that I feel the need to write the following.

 If you don't agree, lucky us we live in a country that allows us to agree to disagree.  But I live in a world where I tell my kids that bullying is not to be tolerated.  So, I'm tired of telling my kid one thing and In Real Life (IRL,) it's totally not the way things are.  I read this article today and I totally agree w/the author; we need to the get out the slut vote.

I'm thinking it's time to embrace our "slutiness." I think we need to make shirts hats & pins that say, " I'm a Slut!" in small letters below, "I support womens' reproductive rights!" I want see these on EVERYONE! Men, women, girls , boys, babies, grandparents, etc... I think it's time to show the ultra-conservatives that we aren't about to be bullied, and our numbers are many. We are the silent majority. But we're sick of their crap.  We're silent because we're busy living our lives; carting around our kids to soccer practice and dance lessons.  We're helping our kids w/their science projects and trying to find out if these organic strawberries are locally farmed.  And we're not popping out babies every other year, or maybe we are, but it's a choice we have, because modern  medicine has evened the playing field for us.  We can plan or families or NOT.  We have CHOICES!  This is because we live in a great country, one that I was brought up to believe takes care of it's own and helps those that are less fortunate.  The nature of politics has become, "We disagree, so I'm right, you're wrong and now I'm going to make it personal, to draw attention away from your arguments,"  Tell you what, I'll stay out of your Viagra conversations Rush, if you stay out of my birth control rights.  It's none of your damn business if I decide to have 2 kids or 12.  And it's none of my business if you have issues that require you to go to the bathroom 12 times a night or need to take something to "finish the job."  Because we're adults and adults respect each others' space.  Being adults, also means we don't call names or try and shame each other into one another person's ideals.  As adults, we're supposed to be respectful and debate on subjects of which we might disagree.  Maybe you missed that day at school, Rush.  I hate the idea that you're getting press time over this, but if the end result is that your voice is pulled from the airwaves, then I'll shout it from the mountain tops!  So back off, Rush.  Us sluts? Quite a few of us are mom's, and there's a lot of us.  You do NOT want us to pull the Mama Bear on you.  There's a reason it's Mama Bear & not Daddy. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012


My current new addiction online is Pintrest.  If you haven't been there, and you have a life, you may not want to visit.  It's a huge time suck!  Because it's totally made of AWESOME!   A friend described it as a "glossy magazine, but on the internet."  I think that's fairly accurate.  I've acquired some great ideas that I've actually used.  It's mostly kids related stuff, that I've executed on;  holiday food treats.  These have been great because they're super easy & get a lot of bang for not much buck. There's quite a few jokes floating around about all the pinning that gets done, but no one actually executes on anything they see.  I'm telling you now, that's not true.
My point is I spend some time on Pintrest, file that little fact away for now.

Also, I'm still very active w/my digital scrap booking.  I even went to what I would call a "users group" in Las Vegas in October. (AKA - SpragueFest) Cranked out my yearly album before Christmas as usual. As you may have guessed, Pintest is a great resource for different ideas, layouts, inspiration.

Still following me?  Good.

Related: Did you know, I collect quotes?  You probably didn't because it's not something you go around telling people.  But I do.  I love fonts & quotes.  LOVE THEM!!   Pintrest has given me a huge medium to find and share new quotes. I have found my tribe of font & quote collectors.   We enable each other on Pintrest!  I recently combined my love of digital graphics with my love for fonts & quotes.  I found an example of  "XX Ways to Stay Creative" in my ongoing search for new quotes.  There are a few versions of this going around, thus the XX instead of a number.  I thought it would be a great thing to have to hang on the wall in the art studio.  So I made my own version in subway sign style.  I let the girls pick the color & printed it at Costco.  (Good prices for poster boards!  And BTW, great quality.  I print all my photos, scrapbook pages, etc... there.)  Then, I posted my finished digital file on Pintrest to share.  As of 1/9/12, it has been repinned almost 50x!  I've included the file below.  (Easier to read then taking a pix of the one hanging in the studio.  Art Studio sounds way cooler than art room, don't you think?)  I love that something I made and love spoke to so many other people.  The ways I put to be creative are, I think, very in-tune w/both my girls personalities.  I'm thrilled that other people were inspired by it enough, that they wanted to save & share it. It makes my heart happy.

Ok, carry on.  

Little side note; Whenever I read it, the part that says, "Collaborate" & "Listen to New Music."  In my brain, it is always sung as the Vanilla Ice song, "Stop! Collaborate & Listen!" (Now, you have the ear worm too.  My work here is done.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Inspiration (AKA: I Win At Coolest Mom EVER!)

I am not going to vent & bitch today.
Should've told you to sit down, sorry. My bad.  Pick yourself off the floor now.

My daughters are both very into art.  You know how kids have a default activity they tend toward when there's nothing else going on?  It's art for my girls.  They have 2 large drawers in my kitchen desk full of art supplies.  They also have 2 full cabinets in my laundry room of art & craft kits. (Also, paint, fabric markers, playdough & everything else they have to have permission to use.)  So Christmas was coming & I was trying to think what to get them from us.  Santa brings them each a "big" gift (scooter for Big, doll car for Little.)  But we usually give them one "big gift" from us.  Last year it was the trampoline.  So, I'm trying to think of what they love & then what we could get them related to that. I immediately went to ART! Of course!  So, what can I get them, besides more crayons & paper?  It dawned on me.  I'm constantly on them to put their stuff away.  The problem is that they out grew the drawers where they keep their supplies, before we even put the stuff away.  I thought how cool would it be, for all of us, if we could give them an art studio!  That would be very cool, but how do you give them a "studio"?  It's not something you go buy at Target, right?

Read on:

Here's the deal; we have a large "living room" in the front of our house.  In the back we've created a "great room" which includes, the kitchen, a dining area & a "family room."  Next to the kitchen & partly behind the living room is a "formal dining room."  We use the dining room as a dining room about 2x a year, maybe.  The rest of the year, the table becomes a place to put things we don't want to put away.  Last year we replaced the window in there & made it into a sliding door.  Now this room has direct access to the part of the yard, where the trampoline sits.  So the kids are constantly going through that room anyway.  When we moved in, we made our living room into a "play room."   The idea being that we won't have their toys where we're hanging out.  But after 5 years, I'm tired of the mess in there and want to turn in back into more of a "family room."  (It would still be their 'playroom,' but a little more adult friendly; Newer furniture. Toys are more hidden.  I'll tell you more about that in another post.) So, if we were to give them the dining room as an art room, they have room to play, store their art stuff & I can clean up a bit more.  Plus we would be actually using the room, instead of just dumping crap in it.  So we sold the dinning room set.  It was my grandmother's.  It made me a little sad to see it go.  I really liked it.  It just didn't go w/the rest of our house and it wasn't getting used.  So I'm glad it's going to get the attention it deserves.

Here's what it looked like as a dinning room. (These are the pix I used for selling it, so there's no stuff on the hutch.

First, we painted: (DaddySpeak painted.  Elfie & I observed.)
See dark green wall being painted blue.

Added new furniture. (Yeah! Ikea!)
Old light fixture in this one.  

And lots of art supplies from the grandparents under the Christmas tree!

Christmas Morning. They like it!

I'm still working on getting the walls set up.  I'm going to get some quotes in vinyl to put on  the walls.  I have square cork boards I'm going to cover w/fabric to hang "masterpieces." But really, I want them to have influence on what we put up.  It should be stuff that inspires them.
(I know, I totally wish I was my mom too.) ;-)

Friday, January 06, 2012

Day at the Park -- repost

 I was looking for some info about Little, bc my blog is her baby book.  I came across this lovely little post, from when Big was 3 & Little was 4 months old, August 27, 2006.  I don't even know the woman who wrote this, she has so much energy!  This whole deal was actually pretty funny.  Thought you all might enjoy it.

I mentioned that I’m checking into a new mom’s group for Little. This group has playdates several days a week and I decided to attend one with both girls last week. The location for these playdates can vary but the typical choice is a location somewhere in our neighborhood (the group is created by neighborhood/city). It is my experience with Big’s mom’s group that occasionally a park that is considered to be so cool that the group will agree to hold a playdate there even though it would be considered geographically undesirable. In this case, the location was at a park about 6 miles away, a distance I would consider to be geographically undesirable. I figured it must be one of those ultra cool parks. Yeah, umm, not so much. Especially after I got done with it. Only one other mom and I showed up. (Not the mom who organized and choose the park either.) AND I was an hour late, partly cause the park so freaking far away! The other mom also had an older child (her daughter “A” is 2). She brought her kids’ lunch, bathing suits for the play area and was on time. I showed up an hour late, w/ a couple snack paks of crackers, a bottle of water for Big and I to share and needed to nurse BS like crazy. My lovely 3 YO showed all of her maturity by promptly announcing she “didn’t want to play with A”. Nice, thanks for helping mommy meet some new people there Big. Big also wanted to play in the water area (damit I pulled her backpack with her change of clothes and bathing suit out of the car the day before to make room for the outlaws!) After a few minutes of negotiating (me trying to talk her out of it) I finally realized my boobs might explode if I didn’t nurse Little like now and told Big to go ahead and play in her underwear. Yeah, I am white trash that way. I am also a mom who can only take so much and I had breast milk on the brain at that point. She slipped about 5 minutes into it, scraped her hip and decided she was done with it, so she went commando the rest of the day. I’m training my kid in the finer points of white trashiness as well. Then she asked A’s mommy to push her on the swings (nice, insult her kid and ask her to play—very classy.) After that she came over to tell me about the swings and asked if she could do it alone. I said sure. Well this playground had two areas (both gated) and what she was asking was if she could go alone to the other playground, which wasn’t very close to us, so the answer was no if I’d realized that’s what I was being asked. When I realized she had walked past the swings and was opening the gate I yelled at her to stop but she couldn’t hear me. Just then “A” fell on the closer playground so her mom had to go deal with that (since I wasn’t imposing enough on her already). I didn’t know both playgrounds were completely gated so I was freaking out; my kid was going through the gate! Who knew what freaks might be hanging out in the toddler playground! Toddlers even!! I got up with Little still hanging on my boob and started walking/running toward her as "best I could," baby hanging on boob. I’m not so good at the whole mobile child feeding thing. Remember I'm still yelling at her to stop, so as to draw as much attention to myself as possible. Next thing I know, I stepped on a bee! Yes, a freaking bee!!! Of course it was the foot that was the same side I had BS hanging off of. So I’m standing in the middle of the park at lunchtime (very busy time of day), trying to juggle a baby on my boob and balance on one foot while pulling a stinger out of my other foot, all the time yelling at Big to come back. Little, of course, took this moment to pull herself off of me, so now my boob is hanging out for the entire world to see. Thankyouverymuch. I pulled the stinger out, pulled my shirt closed as best as I could and hobbled over to the toddler playground. Got Big to come back & sit with me until I was done nursing. “A’s” mom left not too much after that; “They still take naps.” Yeah, I bet they do and you need to get away from that crazy lady who is letting her kid run around in her underwear and flashing everyone her right boob.

Think they’ll let me in the playgroup?

Monday, January 02, 2012

Happy New...Meh

I know that being a new year & all, I'm supposed to be all reflective & stuff. Meh. I want to set resolutions this year, (which is really a first for me to be honest).  And there's a litany of obvious items I want to resolve to change, but really, I can't be bothered to think that hard about it.  Doesn't say much for how well I would keep said resolutions, does it? 
My real issue, is that I'm not sure exactly what my issue is.  (I'm a freaking one-man philosophy course.)  I want, no need to lose weight.  My current status is beyond embarrassing.  I've basically put on 10 lbs every year for the past four years.  No, that's not exactly how it happened.  Yeah, I (obviously) contributed to it.  (As I shove a doughnut in my pie hole.  No, not really, but hey, did someone say doughnuts???)  But it also happened/started in relation to something that happened TO me, (herniated disc/surgery).  For some reason, I can NOT get past that.  It seems that all my "issues" come down to that problem; "I didn't have fun getting this way.  It's not fair and therefore I shall ignore it and hope it goes away!"  When it doesn't go away, I shall have an adult-style temper-tantrum; and eat my feelings.  (They all taste like chocolate, how lucky for me.)  What might take most people years of therapy to get to, I've managed to boil down in a single paragraph.  Look, at the money I'm saving!  As usual, I can see, hear, touch, and taste the problem, but I don't know how to get to it emotionally.  Therefore, I'm not really sure how to fix it. 
Maybe it's that you don't really "fix" it.  Maybe, just maybe, the answer is that you "fake it till you make it."  You act like whatever it is you want (a size 6 waist,) and eventually you get there be default.  Obviously, if it's my weight, I need to start eating like a supermodel if size 6 really were the goal.  It's not. But you get the idea.
In that vein, (faking it,) here are the things I'd like to change in some manner this year:

Lose weight (diet & exercise)
Pursue something more serious w/my photography (actually get some info on how to do that.)
Be able to do more physically w/my kids (exercise)
Stop feeling like I'm stalled out (I feel like I'm waiting for something to happen, but I don't know what & it makes me feel stymied.)

One thing to note.  Usually, I'm more or less a mess at this point after the holidays.  I did pull back on a LOT this year.  And, as of right now, (even though I don't want to jinx it,) I think it's worth noting, that I'm more or less holding it together.  (knockingonwood)  One thing I do know is that I really, really need to listen to my body.  If it's telling me it's too tired, it's too tired.  I'm not going to get a 2nd wind.  That's just not how it works for someone like me. (Someone w/Fibromyalgia.)  I'm a slow learner, but I'm getting better at listening to my body and heeding the warnings it gives me.  Maybe, THAT is key to all of this & I just need to be patient and see how it all unfolds.