Monday, January 31, 2011

lost in the shuffle

So just a few minutes ago, I was googling "how to clean your cat's ears" and I caught sight of myself.  At 31 years old, I know that number is not old, yet as a seasoned mini-van driver, sometimes I feel...older than I'd like.  Researching ways to effectively clean out Cocoa's ear nooks made me feel old.

Do you ever catch sight of yourself?  Most of the time I feel like I am on autopilot and I'll give you a taste of what my autopilot looks like -

wake up around 7-ish.  have coffee, snuggle children, yell at children, make breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner.  Dress children, do Bailey's breathing, pack bookbags.  Change out of nightie (don't get confused, think big t-shirt or if I'm feeling sexy, a chin-to-toe flannel number) into sweats - choices range in light gray, dark gray and black.  Send Bailey off to school at 8:45, do chores and spend time with Sissy until her bus comes at 12:30.  On Tuesdays and Wednesdays I may opt out of my sweats and wear normal attire for my MOPS and Bible study events at church, but I have been known to come as is.  After Tate gets on her bus I run errands or do more chores.  Chores include but are not limited to things like bill paying, vacuuming after my gremlins and cats, dusting (well, rarely, but I do dust once in awhile so that counts), putting things away, choosing which art items the girls made get saved or secretly thrown out, laundry, cutting and organizing coupons, shopping, MOPS planning and coordinating, and spending approximately a thousand hours a week trying to figure out exactly how much we owe to CHOP for Bailey's ongoing medical care.  The current estimate is...our life savings.  If we had any.  The girls get home at 3:30 and for 2 minutes it is sweet family bliss, and then they are arguing over who had the better snack and the next few hours until Kevin gets home either fly or drudge by, depending.  We usually have dinner together, some nights the kids have activities, and we have family time, homework time, getting-ready-for-bed time.  Someone usually cries between the hours of 3:30 and 7:30 and today it was me.

Now, before you think that I must hate my life from how I speak of the monotony of it all - au contraire. This life is exactly what I always wanted, give or take.  REALLY.  I always wanted to be a stay at home mom, and I know how blessed I am to be in the position to be at home.  I thank Kevin often for working hard to provide for us.  There is no where else I'd rather be, and just the thought of this season of my life being over renders me sad and lonely.  I sit in my living room sometimes and just beam with gratitude that I have a home filled with laughter, love, family.  I adore my babies, and my husband, and I really do enjoy serving them.  Well, when they're not demanding I serve them, because then I don't wanna.

BUT...somehow I lost myself in this shuffle.  It didn't happen overnight, but sure enough I am a different person today than I was 8 years ago, when I was pregnant with Bailey.  I've always loved a good pair of snuggle pants (sweats) -- but I didn't wear them to hide myself, trying to disappear.  I didn't wear them for fear that I wouldn't look good in anything so why bother.   I've always done "chores" but it wasn't my livelihood.  I've always loved reading to children but it didn't define in my mind whether or not I am a good mother.  Does this make any sense?  I will literally sometimes lie awake at night and berate myself that I didn't read to my children that day.  Kevin, who also did not read to them, sleeps soundly.  Is this because his worth hangs on more than that?

So...I think this is what I will do.  I am going to commit to doing something for myself every week, knowing that will actually be good for my husband and children also.  This week I commit to exercising 3 times, which always makes me feel great when I'm done.  And the bonus is - I can wear my sweats while I do it, because we know now how attached to them I am.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Flash Forward Friday

So I have been thinking some about where I'd like to travel in my lifetime.  I am not a traveler, and in fact for many years I was set on not going too far at all, as I felt most places I could just read about, no need to go there.  No need for the long flight, no need for the language barrier, no need for the hours of research to plan the trip.  How ridiculous was that?!  I have just one life, one chance to experience different cultures, landscapes, architecture, foods.  I want to see, hear, taste, smell, touch.  BUT this world-traveling that I am talking about here is so far away it's not even funny.  I have years of mortgage payments, (hopeful) college costs, 2 weddings, and life itself to pay for before I am on a plane bound for China.  (Do I want to go to China?  I'm not sure). is a list of Top 10 places in America, more do-able in the near future.  I have not been to many places, as growing up we usually spent vacation time with family, or camping (ugh).  Of course, my husband and children will probably not be on board, as Disney is usually the family destination when we can vac-ay.  We LOVE us some Disney.

 But I figure because Bailey is 7 and we have about 12 years until she goes to college ('cause that's what's gonna happen) we have some time to hit up these Top 10 places - and a few I think should be kid-less.

1.  Maine.  Let's not act surprised that one of the main (haha) reasons I want to go there is because I want to eat a lot of lobster.  Overlooking the water.  How good does that sound?  Kevin and I are planning on going there in August for our 10th anniversary, if life doesn't get in the way.

2.  Yosemite.  It looks tranquil and a piece of American-a.

3.  Vegas.  Cause it's Vegas, I love the slots, it looks amazing and it'd be funnnnnnnn.....without the kids.

4.  Savannah, Georgia.  Not sure if Kevin will be on board, I wonder if my mom would want to go?

5.  Chicago.

6.  San Fransisco and more in CA.  I have actually been to California once, with a friend in college.  But we visited less than 2 months after my dad died bc we had planned it - and it really wasn't a good decision.  I have some fond memories of the trip but it passed in a blur so I want a do-over.  Plus I didn't go to San Fran.

7.  a cross-country road trip.  maybe.  it feels a little crazy at this point, but it'd be a great way to see a lot of things in one shot.

8.  Places with waterfalls.  I don't know where, I'm pretty uneducated about geography.

9.  Places with mountains.  See above explanation about where.

10.  Colorado.  (Would coincide with 9. so I will add a bonus number -

11.  Gaitlinburg (sp?), TN.

What a wonderful, beautiful world God has made for us, I want to see it and enjoy it.  Of course one needs a bit of cash to see and enjoy this beautiful world, but one trip at a time we could make a dent in my list!

Where is a spot in America YOU want to visit?  Let me know, I may steal it.  Have a wonderful weekend friends!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Tonight I was giving Bailey a massage and I was thinking back to my mom giving me rubs when I was growing up.  That was our time together, when she would tuck me in at night.  She didn't every night, and sometimes the tuck-ins would be short, but sometimes she'd give a really long one, with lullabies and a great massage.  I remember how her hands would feel, smoothing my hair off my face, and rubbing my arms and back.  She had hard-working hands, and the ends of her fingers would scratch me.  I never told her for fear she'd end her rub early.  Sometimes I'd ask her questions about her day hoping that she'd get distracted with her answers and stay longer from talking.  This was the most precious time I spent with my mom, as we had a stressful home environment for most of my upbringing, not from fault of her own, but quite trying all the same.

My mom worked hard and long, and so that time where she'd sit, sing, and be affectionate with me meant everything.   My mom was raised in a home that wasn't that cuddly - and she is one of 9 children no less.  During the day my mom was not cuddly with me either - oh she loved me and that I never doubted.  Cuddly, no.  But there was something about a tuck-in, for whatever reason that was when my mom just relaxed with me.

Once in a while, my mom still gives me tuck-ins if I am sick - and when I was pregnant.  Although I am of course a full grown adult myself, I still want my mom when I want that taken-care-of feeling.  I am thankful she is not yet at an age where I need to take care of her - I'm not ready to switch roles yet.  It frightens me and I think back to when my mom would be sick when I was a child, and I'd cry for hours, scared.  One time when I was in 4th grade her back went out, and she was laid up for months.  It was terrible, I would sit at her bed and just sob.  My need for her was palpable, I thought I would surely die if something happened to my mom.  It truly wasn't until after I had my own children that I stopped feeling that way -- of course I would be beyond devastated if something happened to my mom, but I have to live for my own babies now, I can't fall apart.

Anyway, I have a real thing about tuck-ins, and have even received tuck-ins from good friends over the years.  Thankfully Kevin's on board with my tuck in affinity and almost every night he gives me one.  When I was pregnant he'd give me AWESOME tuck-ins...oh they were so great.  In fact, sometimes I'll say, "you never know I could be pregnant, so you should give me a great tuck in just in case." He doesn't fall for that.

Well, my girls are following in my footsteps and they love themselves a good night-night.  I sing them lullies, pray for them and rub them (sometimes my heart's truly in it and honestly, sometimes I go through the motions).   And when my fingers are scratchy from dry skin, I think of my mom and her hard-working hands.  I pray someday my girls will take the time to love on their own babies like that - how much busier will the world be by then?!   But the time my mom spent with me tucking me in, was the best gift she gave me, and I am desperate to give my girls that same gift.  It's basically a gift of softness, openness, and time.  All parents make many.  I can think of a handful of mistakes I made just today alone.    But if I give this to them, perhaps they'll extend grace to me, at the memory of our time together before they fell asleep.  Maybe it's how they'll know that I'm not perfect, that I fell short  over and over again, but that my heart was full of love for them, and I was here.

One night, a few years ago, I was sobbing on our bed at what a failure of a mother I was.  Taylor was undiagnosed at that point, and life was very difficult.  I mean, the girl has polyps on her vocal cords from the years she spent screaming as an infant and toddler.  Anyway, Kevin was listening to me yell and cry...and then Bailey came in.  She laid her hands on me (she was 4) and said a prayer.  I kissed her and probably told her she was sweet, thank you, and she left.  I went back to crying and Kevin said, "how can you talk like that about what a failure you are when your 4 year old just laid hands on you and prayed?"  It was probably one of the sweetest things he's ever said to me, and I have held it in my heart.  I cling to it at times - when I look at their behavior, or my own behavior, and feel like a failure.  I think of Kevin's words, and I think of Bailey praying for me, and I hope that no matter what happens, they learn good things from me...and so many of those good things I learned from my mom.  And guess what -- she has precious memories of her own mom, rocking whoever the newest baby was (remember - NINE!!) and singing lullies.  My maternal grandmother died when I was 8 I think...and we lived far away, I don't have many memories.  She also had dementia before she died, and didn't even know me when she did see me.  But I remember her singing us a lully about a fox...and tucking my brother and I in.

I bet you didn't think I could ever written this much about a tuck-in.  I could've written more, shared more memories.  I encourage you to give tuck-ins a try, if you don't yet...they are so worth the time.  And like I said, they might even be a bit of damage control, a grace-extender.   And maybe you'll even start GETTING some tuck-ins yourself!  Take my word for it, they are so, so good.

In fact, what time is it, I could go for one right now.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

ode to pets

Kevin and I were married 9 months when we got our first cat, Maela.  We hadn't planned on her arrival (hmm that seems to be a theme with us) but I was in a plant store with my mom, and there was a box of kittens.  She was this precious ball of gray with green eyes, a tiny meow and huge ears.  I've always had an affection for big ears.  I called Kevin, expecting him to ask if I was crazy, we had a tiny apartment, why would we get a cat.

But in Kevin-style, he said, "Whatever you want to do Bumpie.  Get her if you want."

She was snuggling on my shoulder, she was officially my baby.

A few months later we added another baby, an adult dog named Tanner.  He was the dog my husband always wanted, who didn't grow up with pets.  Tan and Maela would sleep the day away, then snuggle with us at night.  They brought us much joy.

Tannie died from bone cancer when Taylor was a baby, and we cried buckets.  The night before we brought him into the vet, we stayed up all night snuggling with him in front of the fireplace on the pull-out couch, crying and laughing over memories.

It's really an interesting thing, how one can grieve so deeply over the loss of a pet, but still desire to have them.  I grew up with 2 cats, a dog, a bunny, a guinea pig, hamsters, lobsters, fish.  With the exception of the fish, who I can never properly bond with, I cried when all of these pets died.  But I still want pets in my life.

I think it's a good life lesson for the girls also.  Although, Bailey has taken Tanner's death hard and she was only 2 when he died.  She can't possibly really remember him, but she cries for him still sometimes.    Sometimes it's genuine, she sees the pics or video, and wishes he was here.

Other times it's drama like this -- I was disciplining Bailey, and she was crying and waving her hands at the ceiling.  I said, Bailey, what on EARTH are you doing?!  She replied, "I'm waving to Tanner, Grandpa and Jesus - one day they're going to rescue me from this mess!"

You gotta love her.

In October for the girls birthdays, we adopted 2 more cats whom they named Oreo and Cocoa.  They have added a lot of life and a lot of stink to this house.  They are mostly sweet with the girls, especially Cocoa who just plays dead and goes along with the dress-up and shows he is made to put on with the girls.

They have ripped up the ends of my couches, they have shredded the carpet (who cares, good riddance, one carpet fiber at a time), they have increased our expenses,  they have upped our wake-up time (well, Kevin's thankfully) because they want fed.  I am actually allergic to cats and although they have short-hair, I've had to take meds more often.

But we love them so much.  They just add a softness to our family.  There's nothing like laying down to watch tv and have a warm, purring cat curled up on your lap to make you feel content.

So if you didn't realize it by now, I'm pro-cat.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

sex and the city

I am watching Sex and the City with Sarah Jessica Parker right now.  I love this movie.  I love it not for the sex or the city, or all the relationships in between, but for the friendship that exists between these 4 women.  They are there for each other no matter what, and they are present in each others lives.  The scene I most love in this movie is after Carrie has been left at the altar, and the foursome go one what should have been her honeymoon.  Carrie has been sleeping for a few days straight, heartbroken.  Samantha, the flamboyant one of the group, sits on her bed one morning and talks her into having a few bites of breakfast, and then spoon feeds her.  It's so tender and loving, like a mother to a young child or a child to an ailing parent.  There's no blood between them, but the love is just as strong.  To me, it's the most beautiful scene in the movie.

A girl needs good girlfriends.  I am blessed to be part of a MOPS group where I have made some fabulous friendships.  I am blessed to have a friend that I grew up with, to share memories.  She and I both have children now, and it seems not so long ago we were children ourselves.  I am blessed to have made a few strong friendships in my college years, and the love I feel for those girls and the years we shared together will never go away.  I have friends that have come and gone, and the loss of their friendship in my life is still heavy.  I have learned that there are friends for seasons of life, and there are friends for a lifetime.  I am still learning how to be a friend myself.  There's a lot I don't know about friendship - but I do know that it is an important part of my life.

Sometimes I do not try to be the friend I should be, because I have that need in my life filled by Kevin.  He was my friend for 2 years before we started dating, and he's still my friend today.  As I write this, he even just came over and rubbed my head for a minute.  Then he left me to snuggle the cat, but he's always been a friend to everyone, what can I say :)

My goal this week is to send a real card (you know, the kind that the mailman delivers?) to a few friends.   I want to start being more of a Samantha.

Bailey part 2

Just an update to let you know that Bailey is doing better, thank you for thinking of her.  Fever is down, no more vomiting even after a few bites of food and drink, sore throat not as bad, and her spirit is a bit improved.  She is sleeping right now, at not quite 4pm, which means I don't know how she'll sleep tonight but when you're sick, you sleep when you need.  

As I carried her into my bedroom which is where she wanted to nap, I looked into the mirror of this girl I was carrying, gangly legs dangling, and I had a flashback.  When she was a baby and we lived in a condo, her bedroom was right across the hall from our bathroom.  Every time I exited her room, I would see the mirror reflection of me carrying her, nestled into my arms.  It would fill me with pride (when I wasn't focused on how god-awful I looked) that I had this little baby, I was home and caring for her.  By the time we moved and she was 8 months old, I remember seeing the reflection of carrying her on my hip, not nestled in my arms.   Now, it's hard carrying her at all, though she loves it.   So when I can and it's not unseemly - like in public - I will carry her once in awhile back to her room.  How long until I can't do that, or of course she doesn't want me to?

Yesterday as I was leaving to meet my fave fake sister-in-law for some shopping, I said good-bye to the girls.  We have a tradition that when anyone leaves - even to run to the 7-11 - we all stand at the window and wave.  At times it's annoying frankly, having the window rolled down in 20 degree weather, waving and yelling, "Love you!  kisses!  bye!  be back soon!"  But most of the time it makes me feel very loved and I want my girls to feel so also.   Well, saying good-bye yesterday, Bailey says, "Mom, I don't know if I'm going to wave, I'm a bit busy here."  She was coloring and watching a movie.  I said "of course, I love you, bye!" and gave a kiss.  Backing out of the driveway I see Sissy (Taylor) waving and blowing kisses - and then I see Bailey, who did come to the window after all.

My girls are growing up too fast.  Did I bring it on myself - all those days when they were little and I felt at the end of my rope, longing for them to be a bit more independent?  Thinking I could not POSSIBLY go to the bathroom one more time with a child literally sitting on my lap and another on my feet?  I have the bathroom to myself most of the time now...well - ok I enjoy that part.  But I miss their chubby hands clinging to my neck, thinking I hung the moon.  I can feel we're in a sort of transition - they are not those little ones anymore, especially Bailey, yet they still depend on me and I feel wanted and needed.  But unlike those early years where I couldn't imagine ever having my sanity back, I can see now how soon it will be until I am the one asking them to please sit on the floor with me and stay a while.

Now I depressed myself and feel like crying.  Someone pass me a baby.  I meant tissue.

No, we are not going to have any more, unless God blesses us somehow.  I'm not too old yet, and one never knows until the gates are shut, you know what I mean?  But we know our limitations so 2 children is a good fit for us.  We want them to receive as much of us as they need, especially with their special needs, and there's only so much of us to go around.  Not to mention it's nice to still have time for each other, and the things we like to do.

I have said before, i write as I talk.  Here I just wanted to let you know how Bailey was feeling and now you know our reproductive plans.

I think I am going to go clean the girls' rooms, because even though they're old enough to do it themselves (although I say that very loosely, as their definition of clean is not nearly what mine is) isn't it nice when someone does it for you?

my Bailey Caelyn

Good morning...hoping this Sunday finds you resting and refilled.  Of course if you're a mom or dad of young children, having a Sabbath day is a difficult concept - if you truly rest on Sunday (and by that I mean no housework or errands - you can't skip a day of childrearing, unless you have someone that takes your kids out of the house that day) all of your chores for the week are multiplied.  Don't run the dishwasher or put away that laundry?  Don't wipe up the bathroom counters or vac up the dirt the dog brought in?  It will be worse tomorrow.

So how does one obey God and take a day of rest, without having to do double the work the next day?  If you figure it out let me know.

I wasn't going to write about that.

I want to write about Bailey.

(excuse me while I take a moment to pat myself on the back for figuring out how to load up a pic here)

 She is asleep in my bed right now, sick.  She appears to have a virus of some kind, achy, fever, vomiting, headache, etc.  I am thankful I went to bed last night at 10pm, as every hour on the hour after 1am was with Bailey and trying to help her.  When she is sick I worry about her so much, wondering what's going on in that little body of hers.  Because she has Cystic Fibrosis ( go to for more info) we have to be watchful that her symptoms don't get worse, as CFers have a much harder time fighting infection/bacteria, etc.  We are SO grateful that her 7 years have been filled with health and joy - at this point most CFers have experienced numerous hospital stays and their days are filled with breathing treatments to clear their lungs of mucus and taking enzymes before every meal so they can digest their food.

Bailey does have to do a little of that, and she's asthmatic so she uses inhalers, but she doesn't take any enzymes and has never been an in-patient.

When Bailey was first diagnosed, I grieved more than when my father died.  She was a precious baby, happy and content.  Her thighs had delicious nooks and crannies, and she was the picture of health.  I couldn't believe that she had something inside of her that the internet was telling me could kill her - as young as a child, on average as a 30-something adult.  CF has no cure (YET) and it is a progressive disease.  I went crazy researching the internet all hours of the night, reading medical journals and blogs, trying to find that magic article that was going to tell me she was going to live a long, happy, healthy life.  I did find CFers that had her particular genetic mutation (there are over 1000 and hers is mild) and one was still alive in his 60's - but in that I didn't even take much comfort because males with her mutation show less symptoms than females.

I was missing out on her babyhood, worrying so much about her adulthood.

That season of my life is over, and since I have come to terms with her diagnosis.  I struggled with God during that time in my life - not understanding how He could let my precious baby who did nothing wrong, have something so ugly lurking inside of her.  I have come to believe that He has big plans for Bailey, and her CF won't hold her back, it will strengthen her and be used for His glory.  The most I can understand God is from a parent's perspective.  He loves her so much, and wants nothing but the best for her.  But we are in a fallen world, and this side of Heaven there is no perfection, no life without challenges.  He wants to help us, just as we want to help our children - He wants to protect us and bless us - but He knows what the end of the road looks like and we don't.  He knows what's around every bend, what will happen.  I don't know how He works, but after all these years of learning and praying, my heart tells me His will for us is good, His love is like nothing I can comprehend.  And because I love my children so much, I can only marvel at how much He loves them, and I am thankful beyond words.  Trusting God has been a process for me, and I'm still learning.  But for today, I am trusting.

When I pray for my daughter, I pray for protection from sickness and ill-will, I pray for joy and contentment, and that her spirit of love be shared with others.  God is using Bailey and I am so blessed to be a front-row spectator.

Friday, January 21, 2011

update on the Taters

I have been thinking a lot about Taylor's recent diagnosis of PDD-NOS on the (deep breath here) autism spectrum.  I wrote her teacher a lengthy note about how it went at the Dr's and she replied that she was very surprised.  She thinks Taylor's needs are rooted in sensory issues, her language is still developing and she does still need help with socialization.  But she said she has made tremendous progress, her academics are above age level, and she doesn't want her held back from her potential.  I am inquiring today about an inclusion class - I know they have it for preschool but I am unsure if they do for kindergarten.  One of the main differences between "regular" and "special ed" kindergarten is that regular is 1/2 day, only 2 1/2 hrs.  The special ed is full day - 9 - 3:20.  What a difference and I can't decide which would help T. more.  I know that selfishly, I can't even think about her being gone all day yet.  Bailey just started full day this year for 1st grade and to say I went through a crying jag is an understatement.  I even had a nightmare that she was eating lunch all by herself.  Needless to say, she is thriving.  There are still days though that I do miss her, and I do like days off and snow days.  Winter break was a bit long though, by the end of it I was ready to throw her little heiney back on the bus and wave good-bye with a big grin on my face. 

This summer it will be 8 years that I have been a stay-at-home mom.  I've earned some spending money working for our church nursery, but really I have not had a job in that time.  God has truly blessed us, as on paper we could NOT afford me to stay home.  I always wanted to be home, and Kevin agreed.  At first, we took it month by month and every time our month's bills were paid, we thought - we did it, another month!  We bought a house on a wing and a prayer - and although the carpet STILL needs replacing, 1/2 our kitchen cabinets are literally falling apart and our front "yard" has no grass...I am grateful we are here.  I could not have imagined putting our babies in daycare and we had no one to watch them.  Even if we had, I'm too jealous of a person to have their grandma see their "firsts" instead of me.  Bailey having CF and then Taylor...being Taylor...I could not have imagined them in a daycare all day.  Bailey would have gotten very sick and Taylor probably would've been kicked out.  There are families that have no choice, and my heart BREAKS for them if they want to be home.  I am just grateful that God honored our desire for me to be home.  It wasn't easy let me tell you -- working moms and SAHMs have their different share of difficulties.

I am writing about this because if T is in full day school in the fall, that opens my schedule up to either get a job or go back to school.  It's exciting and yet nerve-racking to think about.

On a different note, I am really excited because my in-laws are taking the girls overnight next Sat night and Kevin and I decided to go away for a night.  Somewhere cheap, somewhere close but away.  We haven't been in several months and we try to go a few times a year - it's good for us.  There's a reason why parents of special needs kids have a high rate of divorce - it's very stressful and can be very financially straining.  I view our children as having mild special needs, depending on the day, but it has opened my eyes to the kind of strain it can put on a marriage.  Kevin and I have a few things going for us - most notably, our faith in God and church community.  Also, we try to laugh and stay positive - easier for Kev than me but we do enjoy the lighter side of things.  And we like to go away and pretend we're still young and unhindered.  I'm so excited for next Saturday!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I am up for Mother of the Year Award - again!!!

So as I wrote in my last post, i was off to ShopRite to get my deals.   I spent around $75 but hadn't gone yet this week and this covers next week except for milk, so that's not bad for 2 weeks.  I'm also going to hit up CVS for a deal, and spend about $10 OOP (out of pocket) for 25 boxes of tissues and 20 gatorades (Bailey drinks 1/2 one a day for her CF).

But here is why I am up for the award.  I was late getting back home and missed my kids buses.

I was late by literally one minute.  Bailey's bus was still there and she quickly forgave me.  "Mommy, everyone makes mistakes, it's ok!  Um...when I do something wrong later, you'll forgive me too, right?" "Bailey, what do you think you'll do later that needs forgiven?" "Well Mommy, I can't be in charge of that kind of stuff, I don't know what I'll do yet.  But I do stuff, like, everyday."

Bailey's driver called Taylor's driver and said she was dropping off another kid and would loop around back.  One more minute later, Taylor shows up.

And she is not happy.  VERY not happy.  Crying buckets of tears, clinging to my neck screaming kind of not happy.  I felt awful, begged forgiveness, and held her for several minutes.  And then I did what any Mother-of-the-Year would do.

I said, "Hey Tatie, I know what will help!!  Ice cream!!  You want some??"

It worked like a charm.  While we were all indulging (I needed a pick me up too, ya know) I realized that this didn't fit in with my goal to raise my children differently than I was raised - where food was used as a reward or pacification (is that even a word?  You probably know what I mean).  I don't make my kids clean their plates, if they're not hungry at "lunchtime" I don't care and I'll let them eat when they are, I don't tell them no snacks - if they're hungry in between meals, they can have something healthy.  They are at wonderful weights, the picture of health.  But my girls do love a good treat.  And today I basically bribed them with it to get me off the hook of bad mama.

But like I said, it worked like a charm.  You know, once upon a time, I was going to write a blog titled, "Sick of Weighting" and document my amazing weight loss, every day writing my weight and what I ate.  This blog does not exist because I'm NOT A COMPLETE IDIOT.  What fool wants to tell the world (or the few readers that may follow it) that she ate 3 pieces of pizza?  And salad?  And a breadstick?  Or two?  Not this girl.

So while I'm not gonna tell you what I eat everyday, I will tell you my successes and failures, because we can all use a little lift.  Think about it, it's a win-win...If you are also Mother-of-the-Year and do stuff like show up a minute late and then pass around the ice cream as a bribe, you can commiserate.  But if you are "that" kind of mom that can't believe I was late, much less have ice cream in the house - you can feel good about yourself.  So really, I'm performing a kind of public service here.

Much love to all, thanks for listening.

it's the little things

okay so over the last year I have tried to become a "couponer."  At the end of 2009 I reviewed our credit card bill, which we use for about everything and pay off every month (well in full disclosure, MOST of the time we pay in full, once in a while we don't), and I was appalled at the total on groceries, household items, eating out, gifts, clothes, etc.  Appalled.  No wonder we didn't have much in the bank!  So I jumped on the couponing bandwagon and I love it.  There is nothing like getting a full cart of groceries - INCLUDING milk, produce and some organic items - for $50.  The secret is buying items when they are on a great sale and combining it with coupons to get the item cheap or free.  And buying a lot of it, so you don't run out before the next great sale.

For instance, today I am going to run to ShopRite, my fave grocery, and buy Maxwell House coffee.  It is on sale for $1.99 and I have a $1 coupon (and I have 8 coupons) - so I will buy 8 at $1 each.  That's a great price for my preferred java.  They are normally at least $3.50.   When a store runs out of an item bc of a great sale, I get a raincheck and then buy it the next week w my coupons.  Because i highly doubt any men will read this blog other than my husband - if even he does - I'll also tell you that last week I paid .25 cents for each pack of Stayfree pads.  Somethings I won't pay for at all, because I have learned there will ALWAYS be a good sale to match a coupon - toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, deodorant, cosmetics, etc.   Even if they are not items I need or want for whatever reason, I donate them to our church's food bank.  And it feels great to fill a bag with high quality name brand items to give away!

I will let you know how I do at the store today.  If you want to get started couponing and don't know how to begin, check out Living Rich with Coupons - she has a GREAT site including a beginner section.

I hope anyone who reads this is blessed by someone or something today.  It sounds crazy that I view going to Shop Rite as a blessing - but I do.  It's the little things that add up to making life a little more enjoyable!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

my Tatie Tot

If I blog instead of snack, that's already a positive outcome, isn't it?

I went to Bible study today, after seriously debating instead throwing a pity party for myself.  But a month or so ago, I believe I heard God tell me to stop working in the childcare during the study, and attend it.  So because I want to obey - and I didn't want to address my dump of a house - I went.  Of course I am glad I did, because I was around friends, I heard the Word of God, and Taylor really enjoyed staying consistent with her routine of Wednesday mornings at church.   I am excited about learning more about the Old Testament, as I gear mostly towards the New.   When I gear that is.

So why the pity party - yesterday Taylor and I went to see a new Dr the school system provided for a psych eval.  This is one of the pieces used by the CST (Child Study Team) to determine her eligibility to continue with special education next year.  I was very torn about what I wanted to have happen - part of me wanted him to say, "She seems fine and dandy, why are you even here?  Ok maybe she can be a bit quirky, but that's charming and the world lacks charm!  I am recommending her to be in a regular class, where I assure you she will make friends, be able to focus and learn."  The other part of me is concerned about her transitioning to a "normal" class - going from 6 children in her class this year, with a teacher, 2 aides and 3 therapists - to a class with probably around 20 and one teacher, no aide.  Would she be overwhelmed?  Would the kids think she's weird?  What if she was in the bathroom taking her sweet time as she's apt to do, and another child needed to go?  Would she flip out and the whole class would come to a standstill?  This is how the mind works when you're a mommy, much less to a special kid - the what ifs are just endless.  So why do I think about them?  Because I want her to thrive, to be liked, to be understood and not judged, to be seen for the sweet girl she is.

Anyway, after 3 hours with him (and I LOVED him) he diagnosed her with being on the autism spectrum - PDD-NOS, which means Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.  I don't like labels and I don't really believe in them, so why did this undo me?  I asked if, like the last doctor (who I hated, saw her for 1/2 an hour and labeled her with Static Encephalopathy, Anxiety Disorder and OCD), was he labeling her with that just to receive services - because what we really thought she had - Sensory Disorder - is not covered to receive services through the school system.  He hesitated for a minute, probably because my eyes were pleading with him to say yes, and said that no, that is her diagnosis, that is what she has.  And he went on to explain why.  He even called the school while I was there because he believes strongly she needs at least another year in special ed.

The thing is, she has come SO far.  Amazingly.  And she continues to improve.  WHY does this bother me?  WHY did I toss and turn all night, worrying about her?  He was very encouraging and said that he believes she will develop friendships that are mutual, be able to attend appropriately (she was pretending she was a horse while he was telling me this), that she's very bright and will probably have a nice career and a family.  Words any mother wants to hear about their child!

My problem is this.  I get too far ahead of myself.  I've always been that way.  In college I worried I'd have trouble getting pregnant (why on earth did I worry about this then?!) - it was one of my worst fears.  Instead, both of our girls graced us with their presence quickly and unexpectedly - what a blessing to not even "try" for one month!  So I worry about my girls and their future...why do I do that when I KNOW who holds their future?  How can I claim to have a trust in God when I don't rely on Him to take care of our needs?  It's a battle in my mind and heart -- believing in God so fully and yet questioning His plans for our lives.

as I said, writing gives me perspective.  I feel better already.  Kevin thanks you, dear computer, for allowing me to vent to you, so that he gets the edited version later.

When my girls come home, I am going to hug them and listen to them tell me about their day.  I will enjoy Bailey telling me who she sat with at lunch, and what activity they did during recess.  This is what a child of 7 should be talking about, and I'm grateful she is healthy and happy today.  Taylor will tell me who smelled, who cried and how Miss Cheryl told her to stop doing something so she's mad at her - because that is her charm, and the world does need more of it.

I always wanted a daughter and I begged God for at least one - two would be better since I never had a sister and I wanted that for my children.  I am sure I would have loved them if I had boys, but girls were my lot.  Bailey is a girlie girl, and I have so enjoyed each stage so far.  She is just this beautiful, sweet child.   I have said that Taylor is everything I never knew I needed - and she really is.  So if she has a "label" of something the world thinks is negative, but it's part of this girl that I just adore with her throaty laugh, affectionate snuggles and strong loyalty, then it is.  She is amazing and if you don't know her, you're missing out.

So no more pity party, I feel downright blessed and I mean it.

take two

Well here I am, aren't you glad.  I hadn't even known where to find this blog, it's been so long since I've written.  But my life has been hectic and writing brings me perspective, so I am going to try this again.  I guess it will be a little of this and that - ramblings on my every day life.  So I'll just dive right in.

Bailey is 7 and Taylor is 5.  Bailey is in 1st grade and doing very well.  She has Cystic Fibrosis but doesn't let that slow her down from the things she loves - attending church activities, playing with friends, swimming, Wii-ing, and just acting like a kid.  She has the most tender heart of anyone I know and I adore my first born princess.  Taylor is in pre-k, her 2nd year in a special education classroom at our local elementary school.  Just yesterday she was diagnosed as on the Autism spectrum, with PDD-NOS.  More on that later - that is why I am awake at this awful hour!  But she is a joy, a light, a firecracker, a sweetheart.  She also loves to play and have fun.  Her laugh is literally my favorite sound in the whole world - it's throaty, genuine, and if you hear it, you've earned it.  She is no faker.

I am still learning what is needed to be a mommy to 2 special needs kids.  My life hasn't exactly turned out the way I thought it would - not to mention my waistline.  But how can I complain with a view like mine - beautiful brown eyes no matter where I look.  But complain I do - in my heart, I struggle sometimes with the hand I've been dealt, mostly because I want everything for my children. When they suffer, my heart breaks into a million pieces.  I want HEALTH for them, JOY, LOVE, PEACE.  Some things that come so easily for other families, are hard-won for mine.  I still get jealous sometimes, looking at seemingly healthy, happy families - with multiple, no-needs children - and I don't understand why both of my girls have a hardship to overcome.

I can't talk about all of this without telling you that these are my emotions - and I am a VERY emotional person.  My poor husband, thankfully he finds humor in my moods.  But my heart and my head KNOW that this life is a gift from God - and He never said it was going to be easy.  But He DOES tell me to come to Him when I am weary, and He will give me rest.   He tells me that He has a plan for me and for my family, to not harm us, but to give us a future.  He tells me he died for me, so that I could have eternal life.  So I will get bogged down from time to time with the daily monotony of challenges, laundry, bills and child-rearing, but my hope is in Jesus, my Savior, and he does bring me peace and strength.

Our 3 cats are now fighting, which is code for "We know you're up and haven't fed us yet, so we're going to annoy the you-know-what out of you until you get downstairs and plop down some goodness for us."  I can smell the coffee brewing, which Kevin makes me for each morning, although he doesn't drink any himself.  No matter what else may happen today, I am starting my day knowing Kevin thinks of me the minute he wakes up, by making me that coffee.  That feeling tastes even sweeter than the Bailey's creamer I put in it - which is pretty sweet being that I got it for free (and more on how I have cut our grocery bill in more than half later too).  Thank you for bearing with me as I get this blog up and running.