Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Fishes to All!

We've listened to Trout Fishing in America's Merry Fishes album infinity times the past few weeks!

Today was a blur but was so nice and relaxing! Our family does a traditional gathering on Christmas Eve (because it was always the time that we exchanged gifts with our siblings) and this year was very special. For the first time in a long time ALL seven siblings were together with ALL seven of our children (so far) with ALL of our spouses and our parents. This has not happened in a while. In fact, I cannot remember a Christmas in recent memory that we have all been together. Needless to say there were tons of flashes!

It started out like a nightmare. Last evening Bug Boy vomitted all over his bedroom floor and we could not quite figure out what caused it, other than his reflux issue and food allergies. It turns out that Bugaboo jumped on his stomach a moment before the puking event, causing Bug Boy to lose his lunch (and dinner). It did not help that he had McD's for lunch and drank chocolate milk, a big no-no.

This morning, just before we left to go to my sister's house for our gathering, Bugaboo fell trying to climb the tree (third time!) and hit his face on the piano AGAIN, biting through both sides of his bottom lip. I was running an errand and was gone for FIVE minutes. Darling was supposed to be getting them in the tub then (haven't gotten to the bottom of it yet) and when I walked in the kids were in the tub and it looked like a murder scene in my kitchen. After mopping that up, packing the car and loading in the kids ( I had two extra since my niece and nephew spent the night), Bugaboo cried the WHOLE WAY to my sister's, a good forty-five minutes. When we arrived he took five minutes to slam his hand in a door and cut his hang. Then he
clung to one or both of us for the first hour. He was fairly cranky.

Once everyone arrive and mass chaos ensued (it gets DARN LOUD with our group! The husbands/wives sit in the corners with a glazed-over look on their faces while the sibs chat it up.) things were fun. The gift exchange went smoothly and we all got to see what everyone else got, a first for us. It was so nice to have all of us together! We joked and reminisced and told stories to the kids and they all ran around together and played. They love to get together with their cousins, they are as close as siblings. I feel so proud to see them all together, I realize that despite some strange issues growing up my parents are leaving us with an amazing legacy. We have a large, happy family that loves each other very much. I feel so fortunate to have that, I know not everyone does.

We are now home and I've packed to go to SIL's tomorrow. We'll spend the night, return home and then pack for Tennessee. The next few days will be crazy!

Oh, and if you get the chance, stop by Rachel's and tell her what you think about blogging...

Friday, December 22, 2006

Bribery 101

I think I finally figured out how to get Darling to pull his own weight around here!

Bribery! No really! It works. This is what went down:

Me: This place is a mess. You don't pitch in and help around here, yadda, yadda, blah, blah, blah...

Him: Yeah, I just pay the bills! I work all day, yadda, yadda, blah, blah, blah!

Me: You think I don't work? Hello! I work ALL DAY! I watch other people's kids, I'm a martyr, pity me, blah, blah!

Ok, clearly this wasn't working.
Hours later:

Me: Here's my list of what got done today.

Him: It looks great in here.

Me: Say, there are clothes all over the bed that need to get put away. If you help me get that done (and a few other small things) we could go to bed early and, uh, snuggle...

Him: Okay! What do you want me to do first?

Me: How about putting away your clothes and shoes?

So you see, kids, by not playing the martyr and not dragging him down into my pity-party I killed two birds with one stone. The house work got done, he pitched in and I made my man happy. After ten years I finally feel like I am getting this down.

(The management would like to remind you that this post is meant to be tongue-in-cheek and in no way truly represents or condones bribery or marital relations as a means for getting husbands to pitch in with house work.)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Which post should I post?

When I was having trouble sleeping last evening I crafted a long, rambling post that I planned on putting up here first thing this morning. I had an interesting evening with Bugaboo that I was going to share, with some spirituality and Autism complaints in between. As I browse the blog world this morning, I am not seeing complaints. I see wonderful memories, happy holiday recollections and warm feelings. People sharing their best (and worst) memories and emotions. Writing about real life. No one is kvetching for the umpteenth time about how much it sucks that their kid doesn't talk to them.

I've been in a teeny little funk the past two weeks. Between Bugaboo's recent regression with seizure control and my recent UTI I've had enough to deal with emotionally. Let's not forget the fact that my fridge died last night for the THIRD TIME IN THREE MONTHS!!!! I've lost more food and had to clean it out and bring it all to my brother's house three blocks away. I am happy that we are going to see our relatives over the holiday and looking forward to our upcoming trip. I am better organized this year than I have ever been. So why do I feel so sad? Why is it that I cannot allow myself to enjoy this? Is it because every year that goes by is another slap in the face, a reminder that my child hates to open gifts, cannot call my name when he needs me and does not have a clue about what Christmas is, other than flashing lights that start his seizures?

So, which post do I choose?

The I'm-in-a-funk-so-why-not-bring-y'all-down-with-me-'cause-I'm-sad-
and-picking-on-everyone-including-the-kids-and-darling-post? OR the one where I tell you about all of my loving Christmas memories, even the ones that my brother and I were in comas on the couch from the flu and couldn't even open our gifts? Or do I just point you over to my sister's blog, who explained it all for me very nicely (except the convent part!)?

Y'all know how I feel about the whole autism/seizures/Bugaboo thing. And y'all also know that I suffer from SAD and it is especially bad at this time of year (because, after all, today is the SHORTEST DAY of the year!). From here on it the days get longer and brighter. It's just a coinkydink that winter solstice has to fall at the same time as Christmas, right?

Ok. I'm gonna try this happy stuff. Here goes:

My favorite Christmas memory is my parents making us get dressed up in make-shift robes and veils and turning the hassock over and putting a blanket in it and putting my baby brother (or a foster baby or doll, depending on what we had that year) in it, and my older sister's dressing as Mary and Joseph, and me dressed as a shepherd, and my brothers dressed as Kings and my little sister as an angel (we also switched roles from time to time) and my mom banging away carols on the piano that we all had to sing because my parents had invited my grandparents over to see a real live nativity in our 9X12 living room (with like, fifteen people crammed into it). They even made poor Cricket (our ancient Samoyed that lived to be eighteen) into a horse or donkey or something.

I also loved putting the manger scene on the top of the piano, which is the exact location for it in my house to this day. I also remember hanging the garland and lights and decorations WITH A STAPLE GUN, PEOPLE!!! Yes, if my mother wasn't using a staple gun to hang this stuff she was duct-taping it. And if that all wasn't enough, we moved our furniture around and brought my Dad's Lionel train platform down to put the tree on (in said 9X12 room) and my parent's stapled that corrugated fakebrick paper around it and the platform sat on saw horses. And they hid stuff under it. To this day I love the smell of those little smoke pellets from the engine and the sight of the milk truck guy throwing a little metal milk bottle out every time the train passed the switch.

How about the year that we knew we were getting Star Wars action figures and they put a different person in each stocking so we HAD TO SHARE because the millenium falcon was addressed to three of us? Or the year that my parents got smart, put the presents in a box and just covered the top with a sheet of wrapping paper (my parents rarely wasted money on paper, they'd rather save the money for gifts!). Or the years my parents wanted to go to early Christmas mass instead of the vigil, which meant we didn't EAT or open gifts until about 10 am? Excruciating!!!!

See? I can do it! I can be pleasant and happy! WOOHOO! This stuff works!!!
(The management apologizes for the lack of sleep of the writer. The writer has been forced to drink a cup of English Breakfast Tea with Demerara sugar in order to put the writer back on track. Any opinions expressed by the writer are not the responsibility of the management. A moose once bit my sister.)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas Vacation

I am warning y'all now. Brace yourself. Sit down. Ready?

I am going away for a whole week between Christmas and New Year's Day. I may or may not have access to a computer, so I may or may not blog while I am away. In other words, the fives of you that actually read this may have to find other entertainment during that week.

I know, I know. I hear your cries. It will be okay! There, there, I'll pat you on the back. All better?

Seriously though, we are taking a loooonnnggg trip. One we have taken many, many times before. We've driven to Chattanooga so many times we know how to get there without maps and we know that with three or four stops it takes eleven hours. Twelve if we stop for dinner (which we do not plan on doing, we'll have snacks in the car for the kids and just stop to let them run around). And just how are we going to keep a child with autism and a child with PDD busy in our van for TWELVE HOURS????? We have a secret weapon. I will enlighten you in just a minute.

When I was growing up, Dino Boy's mom and our other five siblings kept busy by reading, snoozing, fighting, playing Barbies, whatever we could bring in the car ( I didn't. I was busy upchucking and nibbling on crackers until our next stop. And what do you know, it is still like that!). Our mom used to make treasure hunt lists for us and that would work for the first hour or so of whatever trip we were on. It got to the point where the night before she'd stay up until all hours crafting a list that would take us, well, hours to complete (she was/is bipolar, after all!). We expected it. We enjoyed it. We all fought over who our partners were (mom always paired olders/more alert with youngers). We left little ones behind at attractions and bathrooms. Twice in Canada. The authorities weren't too happy about the second time. Remind me to tell you about it sometime.

I digress. Anywho, the secret weapon is not a treasure list. Bug Boy can do it, and I may make him a list Gammy style (mile marker 283, an Alaska license plate) but that will not work for Bugaboo. I even have a travel activity book that someone gave me for Bug Boy that I may bring along, he'll love looking for the different state plates and different vehicles and signs and checking them off. Our secret weapon is something that we purchased the other night, after deciding our old one wasn't going to cut it for this trip. The secret weapon can be found right here.

I know what you are thinking. Twelve hours of that? Allow me to elaborate. Here is a brief synopsis of our trip:
  • Start on trip.
  • Make it to PA/MD/WVA line and stop for the first time (this is about 3-4 hours into the trip). DH promises not to get another ticket in Virgina for going five miles over the speed limit. I make him set cruise control.
  • Boys run around, we grab something to snack or eat, load back into the car.
  • Feed boys while we drive(don't waste precious rest stop time with eating! They need to run!).
  • Start into Virginia (UGH! Same scrubby pines and cows over and over).
  • Still in Virgina. Give boys books and toys.
  • Keep driving in Virginia. Boys get restless seeing same scrubby pines and cows.
  • Pop in a video (30 mins in length). Still in, you guessed it, Virginia.
  • Video is over, it has been 3-4 more hours, time to stop (still in SURPRISE! Virgina. There's that cow again! Big Ben! Parliament!).
  • Boys run around. We scarf down food.
  • Back into car.
  • Feed boys while driving again.
  • Boys get restless (yup, still in VA. Total time in VA is 6 hours or so. Boooorrring!).
  • Pop in new video, almost to Tennessee line! WOOHOO! No more Virginia! But we still have three hours to go, four if Knoxville is crazy (and we may hit it at rush hour)
  • Hand boys more toys and books (new ones, specifically for this trip!)
  • Pop in another video (because we aren't stopping this close to our destination).
  • Pray for the last hour that they will hang on while crazy people in Rural Tennessee pass us like we are standing still at 70 mph.
  • Pull off the highway in Ooltewah. We have arrived! WOOHOOO!!!!
  • Kids run around like crazies, we eat with our relatives.

So you see, the videos are the last resort, the diversion that works when nothing else will. Since my kids really only watch TV on weekends, if at all ( I love them being in school, they don't even ask), this is a real treat for him. And it is worth EVERY penny. They love long trips and love being in the car. A long car trip is too much for typical kids, let alone ours. Since they love going to Tennessee to see Bug Boy's celebrity relative (he isn't really a celebrity. He works for a few country acts, but Bug Boy treats him like a super hero) this trip isn't too bad.

Our only concern is Bugaboo. The docs have called in extra prescriptions for us and have helped me find many hospitals. I Googled hospitals in Virgina so I knew how far we had to go to get to each one. Since his seizures clustered last week and they raised his meds he has been much better. But the Neuro cautioned us that although we should not put our lives on hold just because he has a wicked seizure disorder, we MUST keep the diastat with us at all times, we MUST know where all of the hospitals are and we MUST keep track of every seizure so that if he is having too many by next week then that means we cancel our trip. They also want us to make sure he is well fed, well rested and has his meds at the precise time that he needs them. I think we will be fine. Other than that whole seizure thing (downplaying it on purpose so we do not have to dwell on it!) it will be a great trip! Cannot wait!

Oh, and if you are ever in Chattanooga, there is PLENTY to do. There is the Tennessee Aquarium, the Children's Museum (kinda a Please Touch place), the Tennessee Railroad (kinda like Strasburg), pardon me boys the Chattanooga Choo Choo (I kid you not, you can go there), the waterfront area, great restaurants, great barbecue (REAL Tennessee bbq!), and Chattanooga is only a few hours from Atlanta, Nashville, Gatlinburg, Dollywood, you name it! A great place to visit for families. Don't even get me started on the million dollar home along the river or the homes along Point Lookout on the Tennessee/Georgia/Alabama border!!! And Missionary Ridge, WOW! Great views!

Hope your holidays are safe and Happy. Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Good Kwanzaa. However you celebrate, have a Blessed Season!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Baby Bugs do funny things

Today I went to Bug Boy's class to help with the Gingerbread House building. They made these cute little graham cracker houses and used canned icing and fruit loops and some candy to decorate them. They turned out sooooo cute and Bug Boy did a great, thorough job. Not his usual, "Two pieces and I am done" gingerbread house. He made a walkway, a chimney, windows, doors, trees, light posts (so the car can see!) you name it. And I meant to take a picture of it. If Bugaboo and Shad Roe didn't eat it (well, Bugaboo ate it while we decorated the tree, Shad Roe ate what he dropped) I would have posted it. No seriously! The Kid Who Won't Eat now has a chocolate fixation. He took one look at the M&Ms, chocolate chips and pretzels and went to town. It WAS awfully quiet in the family room while the rest of us were in the living room working on the tree!

I will, however, take a picture of our first fake Christmas Tree. Bug Boy insisted on hanging chili pepper lights on it so for the first year EVER I am not putting my usual 800 white lights on it. We also decided to skip the glass ornaments for a very good reason: Bugaboo. Our tree was knocked over three times last year, the last time it fell on him and resulted in the breaking of antique glass ornaments. Those are put away for a few years! We knew it was the right decision (not taking them out, I mean) because as soon as the tree was up, Bugaboo was stimming with the branches. Oh Lord, help me! Shadow took up her usual spot under the tree, so as we trimmed it (and mommy tripped over her about a thousand times, there are still choice words hanging in a dark rain cloud over my head.) we had to climb over her.

To create the mood a little we dimmed the lights in the house, put on Christmas music (digital cable has not one, but TWO Christmas music channels!) and giggled and talked about every ornament. We showed Bug Boy the ornaments Mommy and Daddy made as kids and told him where we obtained many of them. Well, the ones I can remember! When we were finished we admired it and returned to the Family Room, where I tried to get the boys ready for bed. Darling had to call the help desk at work (nothing like upgrading your work laptop over the phone while your kids climb over you and say,"Who farted?") and I changed Bugaboo and doled out meds. Thinking it would be easier for Darling, I turned off the music. Bugaboo came RUNNING from the other room and turned it on! So I flipped to another music channel! He begged for it to be turned back! He loves to have music on so I guess I should not be surprised. At one point we waited until he was playing with Darling on the couch, tickling and rough-housing, and then I quietly lowered the music. He stopped what he was doing and ran over to the tv and turned it back up! For a kid who doesn't seem to pay attention to much, it just goes to show you that he is ALWAYS paying attention.

Bug Boy spent the rest of his evening attempting to persuade us to let him eat the rest of the gingerbread house. His arguments are becoming more and more logical. He almost had me convinced that, "The candy has milk, right, Mom? And MILK CHOCOLATE has milk in it. And milk has coliseum in it. And coliseum is good for your bones. Since I broke my arm (seven months ago) the coliseum will be good for it. Therefore, (yes, he says therefore) candy is good for me. See, Mom? See? Can I, Mom?"

It is so difficult to discipline them when they do certain things, especially when they are so flippin' cute.

Updating my blog

Someone pointed out to me that I haven't updated in a few days, so here it goes:

I finished last-minute shopping. I had a few gift cards to get and knocked them out today while doing my food shopping. Now I don't have to set foot in a store for the next two weeks unless I really want to (and want to punish myself!).

I made, addressed, stamped and labeled nearly 100 cards. It was fun. No, really!

We decided to get a tree after all. And it ain't real. We got the clearance artificial tree, and it looks amazingly good. No smell, no water, no allergies. Bugaboo should be much better off. We are NOT putting up many decorations since Bugaboo broke plenty of them last year (knocked it over three times, once on top of himself.

Darling is not arguing with me about money this season. I mean, he mentions things, keeps us on a budget, winces when he opens the credit card statement, but is not going off the deep end like he usually does. He has been awfully relaxed since about August. Do you think the fact that he has FINALLY gotten on medication for his chronic depression has helped? Hmmmm...

Yes, Darling needs to be on it. His father and sister both have SEVERE depression, his father is bipolar. It ain't pretty.

I have a UTI. I am pretty sure I got it from my sister. Just kidding, Dinoboy's mom!

My entire family is going to be together for Christmas. Every sibling, every niece and nephew. This has not happened, well, ever. It will be chaotic, loud, crazy and WONDERFUL!!!

We are going to Tennessee for at least part of the holiday. I cannot wait! We love it down there and enjoy seeing our relatives. It is a nice trip with plenty of family things to do. The boys love going to the choo-choo and the children's museum. Chattanooga, HERE WE COME!!!

I feel like I am in control of things for the first time in my life. My house is clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy. I have a routine down for cleaning and errands. The boys' medical issues are finally being resolved. They are in appropriate school programs and are thriving. Darling even kinda likes his job now that he has been promoted and things have calmed down. And I am happy with watching the neighbor's kids before and after school.

I do not have as many hobbies as I'd like but that is ok. I know that I will have more time for them later.

I cannot stop thinking about having another baby. I am hoping it is just hormonal and the feeling subsides soon. I must be out of my FLIPPIN' MIND!!!! (You realize, of course, this is a direct result of several of my friends recently having babes and me holding them.)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Thursday Thirteen: Stuff hitting the fan

In the interest of s*&^ hitting the fan:
  1. Bugaboo has been having nasty seizures. I hate watching it. I cannot do anything about it. The Neuro is working on a course of action.
  2. Darling gets super depressed this time of year. He didn't just have a crappy childhood. He had the kind of childhood where his parents were divorced several times, he and his sister were sent to live with Grandma and he didn't see his father for months and years at a time. He tries to make it special for the kids but I can see he is hurting.
  3. I cut my fingers with knives this weekend. Not once, not twice, but THRICE. Twice just from reaching into a drawer.
  4. I listed stuff on eBay. Which is great except that 3/4 of the items (yes, I sold three out of four) sold three hours after I listed them. Which means I gotta send it out. Now.
  5. I can see dust and dog hair piling up in corners and on baseboards. It is making me crazy. If I had enough time to cook dinner and do laundry I'd do something about it. I may do something about it today and say the heck with the clothes, they can wear dirty ones.
  6. The dog got out this morning. Darling did not pack lunches last night when I was at choir practice so they did not get done. I had to do them this morning and was running late and rushing around so Bugaboo decided (while he was looking out the front door for his bus) that since the dog was so eager to get out he'd help her out. She did not come back for nearly a half and hour and she NEVER runs away, just visits the doggie across the street. It turns out that she ran to the next block because she was spooked by the bus and there was a dog barking at her in the second yard in (who was chained, but she didn't know it) and she was corned, cowering. Never mind she is twice the size of the offending dog. She is 80 lbs and afraid of her own shadow. And her name is Shadow. Go figure.
  7. Bug Boy got invited to the party of the kid he likes the most. He rarely gets invited to things since it is difficult to make friends. The party is taking place the day after Christmas (the kid's birthday) and we will be away visiting relatives. I am going to try to set up another playdate.
  8. I have barely made it to the gym. I am hoping to make it today. If I don't I may turn into a blob of potato.
  9. I had to nuke my tea THREE TIMES PEOPLE!!!! ACK!
  10. There was a mix up at Bug Boy's school. I am homeroom mom (remind me in September NOT to volunteer again) and I had to send out a letter for the gingerbread house building that invited all parents to the festivities. Then the Principal sent out a letter saying that they couldn't accommodate all parents and would only accept a few volunteers. Then I got calls from seven confused parents in one afternoon. Then I had to write a note and e-mail to the teacher asking what the heck is going on because I already invited all the parents. She finally got back to me and said that they could come, just no unruly toddlers, since it is a messy project and there weren't any extra supplies. So no Bugaboo. Thank goodness they moved it from the day he originally had off to a day when he has school.
  11. I forgot several things on my weekly shopping trip and now have to go out and get a few things today. It is a good thing I am going to the post office to stand in line for hours today or else I don't know what I am going to do with my time.
  12. The Credit Card Company was kind enough to send out bill this week. Darling opened it. He freaked out accordingly. He is starting all the talk about a stricter budget, I spend too much(on food! Never mind the fact that I have holes in my underwear and socks and I buy half my clothes at Goodwill!), yadda, yadda, yadda. That night he did the bills and then started asking me if he should buy a Camry or an Accord and should we test drive one this weekend.'Cause you know, we can afford $400 a month car payment. And we can't buy food.
  13. Bug Boy has a birthday party this weekend with a nice boy whose parents are in total denial about his issues. They think he has a minor delay and some social issues. The kid is the poster child for Asperger's syndrome. He spent three hours at Bug Boy's party telling me all about Prehistoric animals and dinosaurs and was delighted I had elephants in the house because he really like Woolly Mammoths, and did I know that Mammoths are the ancestors of the modern-day elephant? That that Woolly Mammoths lived in the ____ period (I forgot which one he said) and that the dinosaurs lived in the _____ period (forgot again)? Then he spent the whole party playing with one dinosaur toy, didn't join in at all and didn't play with any other kids. Oh, and someone at Bug Boy's party asked which kids had PDD/Asperger's and which didn't and I laughed and looked around and said, "They all have PDD." I realized that in my quest to get Bug Boy normal friends, I overlooked the fact that he is most comfy around kids like himself. What IS normal, anyway?

I'm just tired today. Please disregard everything you just read. Thanks, The Management.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wordless Wednesday: My Baby is growing up!

Bug Boy in six years (seven pics including newborn!)





Four Years Old!

Five Years Old!


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

His brain is doing jumping jacks!

Bug Boy explained that when he has seizures it is like his brain is "doing jumping jacks." We thought this was an interesting analogy and very effective at letting us how he feels. The medications have been working well for both boys and we have seen good progress. They seem more aware, more alert, happier and calmer.

Bugaboo has had twelve seizures between Friday morning and Monday morning. He does not have grand mal seizures (yet) but an interesting phenomen called Complex Partial Seizures. Basically his brain has a very short version of a grand mal, some electrical short circuiting. The doc called it a tonic-clonic seizure. Since he has a diagnosis of Landau-Kleffner syndrome it does not suprise me in the least. The difficulty with this situation is that he will continue to have seizures for some time. The meds will only do so much.

Monday (yesterday) Bugaboo's bus arrived and he was one sleepy little boy. The driver and aide do their best to keep him awake since they know that I have a better time in the evening when he does not nap (because he will not go to bed until midnight!). He was so sleepy he put his arms up for me to carry up the driveway and steps and did not even watch the bus pull away, nor did he watch the 4:00 bus bring the elementary kids home. His TSS arrived and Ian was just camped out on the couch kinda dazed. We tried getting him to do a few things but he seemed tired and distracted. Then he had four seizures in two hours and I put a call into the Neuro. The Nurse Practioner called me back and did not like what I was describing so she called the doc. He called back and said they were clustering, which means they are getting into a close pattern and will progress VERY quickly into a grand mal. In fact, we were probably leading up to one in the next few hours. In order to head it off before it started, the doc asked us to give him the Diastat usually reserved for grand mals and then double his Klonipin. At bedtime we were to give him his usual dose of lamictal. These are all very powerful seizure medications and muscle relaxants so we thought Bugaboo would pass right out. Riiiiight.

Bugaboo was loopy and could not get his sea legs but it took us over two hours to get him to sleep. He even ate a brownie, his third brand-new food in a week (the other two are m&ms and ice cream, guess who is developing a sweet tooth?). But sleep was very far away! We even resorted to a car ride and he was still awake upon returning. Mommy and Daddy went to bed and he was still in his room, in bed, undressing himself and redressing himself, singing to himself in that sing-songy voice. We awoke to him still singing at 6:30 am. I am not sure how much sleep he had.

I prepared his meds and breakfast and Bugaboo had one more seizure. He has had his medication and seems to be in a holding pattern. We will call the doctor soon and let him know how Bugaboo is and they will decide if we need to come in. Since I am not exactly anticipating our SEVENTH trip to the ER in 2006 with great joy, I'd prefer that we did not have to go at all.

Bugaboo has to stay home today so we can monitor him (Yippee! A whole day of him tearing around the house destroying everything!) and because the meds can make him "impaired." Yeah, because he isn't impaired already! HA! I know, I know. They mean that he will be a little hung-over. Plus they want to see how many more he might have today. I think I am going to plan some shopping in order to keep him strapped down for a while...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Female troubles

Sorry if it is TMI, but before you read any further I want to warn you of female issues ahead:

For the past two months I have been having some problems with my cycles. Or lack thereof. For the past two years I have been having symptoms of perimenopause, although my OB/GYN thinks I am much too young to be having symptoms. My periods are irregular and I spot in between. My chest is very tender, I can feel cramps in/around my ovaries (have always been able to tell when I am ovulating) and I've had this constant tired feeling going on.

My last two paps have been normal. My exams have been normal. The "girls" have been normal (well, except losing 50% of their content due to the end of breastfeeding!). So, today I must call the OB/GYN and go in. Again. This just doesn't feel right. I am praying that I am not having similar problems to Dino Boy's Mom, she only has one ovary due to a nasty cyst and then an ectopic. I will let you in on a little secret: I've been on the pill for two years and it looks like it ain't working the way it should. And I've tried three different versions, lowest estrogen possible.

I originally got on it because I've never had regular periods. When I was doing NFP it was nearly impossible to figure out when I was ovulating and I ended up preggers, twice. My body was doing all kinds of funky stuff. One week I'd have a three day period, another month it would come after forty days and then last for over a week. My fertile time eventually got up to nine days, as best I could tell. After mulling it over for a very long time I decided I wanted to try the pill. For the first year it worked fine. Well, at least my period was somewhat normal, came every twenty-eight days and left after four or so. I actually knew exactly when it would come for the first time in my life.

Side note: Yes, I know about the church's teachings on birth control. But since I do not want to be pregnant since it could possibly leave my children without a mother I decided God would forgive me about this one. I have not decided if it is something I will bring to confession.

It is no longer working. The doctor and I have tried two more recipes. I have been having constant spotting and cramping in between periods, when i get a period. Even though I was just there last month I have to make another appointment to get checked out and this time she may want to do an ultrasound. Oh, joy.

I must tell you that all of this ability to conceive make me crazy. I want so badly to have another child. I always pictured myself the mother of three or four. Darling even jokes about giving the boys a sister. I know that if we tried I'd no doubt be pregnant. But there lies the mixed blessing. I have had two complicated deliveries due to placenta abruptia, one that nearly resulted in the end of life for me and Bugaboo being born stillborn. I had an emergency C-section with him and I hemorrhaged with both boys. I was anemic after both of them were born, with Bugaboo it was so bad I couldn't get out of bed for over a week. They had to restart my heart and blood pressure on the table. Darling got so upset he left the delivery room and fainted.

I sometimes cry at night thinking about it. I will never again hold a baby in my arms and nurse it at my breast. But I do not feel complete, I cannot tell you how this feels. Then there is the fact that I am currently trying to prevent pregnancy and I do not want to prevent it. I must be crazy! Is there not enough on my plate already? Then there is the fact that so many of my friends and family struggle with infertility and miscarriage and here I am, able to conceive. Talk about guilt! I want this so much for them it makes me feel like I have nothing to complain about.

Can you tell I am hormonal? Gotta get off of these pills...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Religious Content Revisited

Remember the other day when I was venting about confession and how I felt about it? Remember I said I could not see the point if we were truly sorry, and that God knows we are sorry, so why tell it to another person? Remember when I said I felt it was no one's business but God and mine? Well, today I think God wanted to let me know that there was error in my thinking. Guess what the homily was about today!!!??!!!

Yup, confession. Father Z always starts out very light-hearted and cracks many jokes. He is a happy man, jolly, if you will. He looks like a Santa, complete with longish hair, a white beard and a belly of mirth. Quite a nice guy! So, he started out by talking about how important the sacrament of reconciliation is. He joked that the visiting priest this week is from Wisconsin so after the Penance Service Tuesday Night (when they do they continuing 3-parish series about Sacraments) we never have to see him again so we can tell him whatever we want. He also joked that last week a parishioner went to confession and then immediately after mass had his blood pressure checked in the fellowship room and it was twenty points lower.

Then things became serious. He explained that this sacrament, this Reconciliation, is between us and God. It is up to us to explain it to atone for our sins because God already knows what we did, HELLO! God watches all the time! But there are many reasons for sharing it with another person. As Christians we are called to be witnesses. We need to share the good and bad. We need to help others see the errors of their ways by our example. Plus, confession has the added benefit of being a counseling session of sorts. Why keep it all bottled up inside so it explodes one day when you least expect it? Get it out, deal with it, be sorry for it, make peace with it. But most of all OWN it, move past it and learn from it. That is why we go to confession. God does not expect us to be perfect, just forgiven. God does not expect us to forget about it but to use it as a lesson.

The act of confession is not enough. In order to truly be forgiven it is up to us to be sorry for our sins, to confess them and to atone for them. Only then can Grace be imparted on our souls from Christ and then our souls can move closer to God.

Even though I am sure I was taught this lesson many times before, it never dawned on me WHY we do this. I have never looked deeply into the meaning of what we do. I have just done it out of routine, out of habit. I have memorized it all and can recite just about anything. But the philosophy behind it all never became clear to me until recently (this is yet another reason why I think people with Autism Spectrum Disorders do well in the Catholic church, there is tons of rote memorization, everything is the SAME, SAME, SAME as far as ritual worship, but I will not go into that just now). Maybe I am just maturing or maybe I am just ready to accept God and Jesus for who they are. Not that I have not been willing before, it just feels right now.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Family Day!

I just had to share how wonderful this day was!

Yes, I know. Two posts in one day. I just saw a pig fly by the window.

After we pulled the covers over our heads and tried to drown out the sounds of the Baby Bugs waking up for the day, we decided to have breakfast and feed them. You know, 'cause we have to take care of them and all. Darling asked what the plans were for today and if we were going to do some family stuff today. I thought for a moment and realized that two weeks ago I had purchased a family membership to the Franklin Institute! Since Bug Boy turns SIX tomorrow (more on that later!) we thought it would be perfect to celebrate as a family today. Except in that Asperger's/PDD brain of his it is against the rules to celebrate today because it is not his true birthday. Even last week we had to call his birthday party a GAME party. We decided on celebrating our unbirthdays and left it at that. Then we jumped in the shower, threw on clothes and got into the car in less than a half an hour.

We arrived at the museum and there was literally NO ONE THERE!!! It was not crowded in the least, we had plenty of time to see every exhibit and the Bugs were relaxed because there was no one bumping into them, no one being too loud (except them) and no one to stare or ask silly questions.

Bugaboo was happiest in the stroller. Every time I let him out to see an exhibit or to run around he went right back to the stroller. We had several episodes of spontaneous crying and hand biting (these are getting less and less, but it still disturbs me!) and he seemed out of it and groggy. But he still behaved and did not try to run away once. Bug Boy was so happy and calm! He did not have one meltdown, he never complained about his legs (TONS of walking! WOOHOO!) and smiled and joked the whole time. We were there for FOUR HOURS!!! We even saw the IMAX flim about the coral reefs. We picked it by accident because the time was convenient, not even realizing we had picked exactly the right one for Bugaboo! I thought I'd spend the majority of it outside playing with him while Darling and Bug Boy watched the movie. Bugaboo was mesmerized by all of the swimming fish! HUHLOOO!!!! He loves fish! He lasted until five minutes from the end when some scary, loud music burst from the speakers and a shark swooped across the three-story screen. A little much! I do not think Bugaboo appreciated the shark scaring away the fish.

The second we returned to the car Bugaboo passed out. We decided to stretch out the ride home to give him a good nap and headed to Lowes. Darling and I have been mulling over purchasing a fireplace insert to make the fires more efficient for heating our first floor. They are tres expensive, to say the least ($5,000 for the insert, liner and installation, maybe next year!). We settled on a fireplace radiator. It is a little fan that hooks up from the inside of the fireplace and circulates it so the fire burns more efficiently and the heat blows out through the fan box. It took about an hour to install and looks ok. It is a good fix for now, that thing REALLY works!

I am currently on strike. There are dishes to do, laundry to put away and meals to plan. But I am not moving. I am being uber-lazy. Not gonna do it. Wouldn't be prudent. Just gonna sit here and do nothin' for a change. Darling gave the boys cereal and toast for dinner (we had fast food for lunch). M-j might get off her duff and eat something in a few. As soon as she finishes this cup of tea and warms up by the fire a bit.

Good medical news


We had a doctor's appointment for Bug Boy on Friday. We saw a cardiologist, who did a complete work-up on Bug Boy. He could find no abnormalities, everything in his little ticker is working fine! YIPPEEE! Since he has a seizure disorder and the metabolic condition (which manifests itself in lactic acid) they will see him routinely for the next few years, just to be on the safe side. But he has no murmur, no holes, no abnormalities. His heart is FINE!!!

That is good news, except that they really do not know the reason for his extreme exhaustion. They have tested for everything from leukemia to Muscular Dystrophy. They've done muscle tests, EEGs, MRIs, xrays and still cannot come up with a reason. Since he eats a very good diet (much better than a typical child!), takes a multivitamin and drinks plenty of water there is no good reason for the muscle cramps and exhaustion. They are currently blaming it on this metabolic thing and we still do not have a word for that, yet. We see genetics soon. And Bugaboo may get referred to cardiology just to be on the safe side. Somehow I think he will be less cooperative during the EKG and Eckocardiogram than Bug Boy was!

Want more good news? After being at duPont 6-8 times a month for the past year and a half, we have NO APPOINTMENTS SCHEDULED until late April! WAAHHHOOOOO!!!!! Except for their yearly checkups at the pediatrician (which is laughable, since we are there several times a month due to colds and infections) we are home free for a few weeks. Ahhhh, what a nice feeling!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Nothing to Worry About

This morning (after coffee with some friends) I drove to a medical office nearby to pick up records for Bug Boy. Tomorrow we have to see a Cardiologist, per the request of the Neurologist. It seems that Bug Boy's blood work came back with elevated levels of lactic acid. This does not surprise me, he has had muscle cramping problems for a long time. At night his legs are in so much pain he can barely stand. He is constantly thirsty and must drink quite a bit. Since starting a muscle relaxant and seizure meds he sleeps much better and the muscle cramps have all but ceased. There is a lingering problem, however.

Bug Boy is an active boy. He is your typical run-around-the-yard-until-my-cheeks-are-red-and-I-cannot-breathe-any-longer type of kid. But the problem is that he has less and less energy to do the typical things. He can only walk part of the way around the block or ride his bike for a very short distance without getting tired. When playing on the playground or out in the backyard he gets very tired and has to stop after about fifteen minutes. Because of the muscle spasms and because of the elevated blood levels we have been asked to see a cardiologist. Apparently this exhaustion (and the dark circles under his eyes) can be heart related. Because, after all, we need to see yet ANOTHER specialist.

I am sorta not worried. We had a heart work up when he was eighteen months old that showed he was healthy but his blood has a little trouble keeping him warm when it is supposed to and he is sensitive to extremes of heat and cold. We have to be careful in the summer not to let him get overheated, air conditioning is a must. He sweats more than your average kid, again a result of the lactic acid. It also causes problems with digesting the -oses, you know, glucose, fructose, lactose, etc. His heart works fine (at least it did four years ago). But they are concerned with the tiredness, which may or may not be a result of sleep cycle seizures. Now that he is on seizure meds they still feel it should have "gone away" by now. So, tomorrow we will spend three hours at duPont, getting an EKG, ultrasound, etc. They will tell me he is fine and yet the problem will persist. Then they want to do a gosh-awful procedure called a muscle biopsy to rule out a few other things.

Sounds so minor and yet it is all complicated. Something metabolic is going on with Bug Boy and they also feel Bugaboo may have it. Since Bug Boy is older they are choosing to go through all of this first with him and then will test Bugaboo for whatever they find. We have no way of knowing how bad Bugaboo's pain or intolerance is because he cannot say, "Hey, guys! My calves really hurt! Hey! My back is having spasms!" It is so difficult to figure it all out with him.

Wish us luck. Pray for us. I do not need another thing on my plate. And this is supposed to be our last appointment for four months!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Religious Content Ahead

I've been doing some spiritual research lately. Without going into heavy detail, I guess you could say that I have been searching for the meaning of life. The purpose of our existence. The question that goes to the answer, "42."

I was raised Catholic, left for a few years and came back to the Catholic Church. I attended services at several protestant churches and a synagogue. Yes, a synagogue. I read everything I could get my hands on so that I could figure out what the heck I was doing. Even though much of what I read confused me I kept turning to how I was raised for the answers. That is when I knew it was time to go back to my roots, to where I felt I belonged.

I think most people do this. They go soul searching looking for (in the words of Pippin) their corner of the sky. I was content until recently and I think I know why I am now growing restless. It has nothing to do with my church or the people that worship there. They are a wonderful, close bunch of caring people. Everyone knows everyone else and there is great fellowship. It is a busy and well-run parish, something (just about) for everyone. Almost everyone.

I am having great difficulty with Bugaboo and his place in a church in general. They have special Sunday School classes but religion in itself is so abstract. It takes a great deal of faith to Bug Boy can memorize things and knows the answers to all of the pertinent questions (heaven, Jesus, love one another, why Christmas is supposed to be celebrated) and I think some day he might even delve a little deeper. But Bugaboo? He is the age where Bug Boy first started going to Sunday School and preschool. The age where the questions started. You know, "Why does God make cars? Why did God make it rain? Does Jesus see us everyday like Santa (I do not teach Santa, but he picked it up somewhere)? If God made me this way does God make people sick?" And so on. But Bugaboo? Does he think about this stuff? Does he sin? I have no way of knowing. It is something I have been struggling with for about two years.

I have always had a difficult time dealing with sin in general. The whole concept of confession to a priest always seemed foreign to me and I have always had reservations. I know WHY I have to go. I know the purpose. But I always questioned why I had to confess it to another person if it was between me and my God. If I am truly sorry for it, why tell a priest? I know, don't lecture me. I didn't attend twelve years of parochial school for nothing. They did teach us a thing or two about it and I did PAY ATTENTION. I get it, really. So don't fill my comment section with your retort to that last part.

But what about sacraments? How am I supposed to teach Bugaboo to accept them? If he won't put a piece of cheese in his mouth how can I expect he will take communion? Is he really going to get the whole concept of confession? He doesn't talk, how is he going to be able to tell someone that he is sorry for what he did? Forget about being enlightened by the Holy Spirit! He doesn't like red and I can bet you twenty dollars that he will not like it by sixth grade, either. No red gowns for Bugaboo.

Seems like such a silly quandry, but these are the things I currently think about at night. I do not remember being taught about what happens to a person's soul when they have autism. Are they the innocents? Are they still "The little children?" Do they make mistakes and sin? According to my grandmother, she hasn't sinned in years since she is so old (she is also 91 and slightly senile, so don't take her word for it!). But what about Bugaboo? I know, I shouldn't beat myself up for it. I have talked to our priest and he assures me that Bugaboo will be taken care of. And deep down inside I know that to be true.

I can tell you that I did not completely know the meaning of unconditional love, patience and God's will until this child was born. I prayed my whole pregnancy for a healthy child. I kept telling God that if Bugaboo was born safely and had all the correct body parts then I would accept whatever I got. Somehow I knew that something would be different with this child. I had dreams about it. When he was born and seemed so perfect and yet so quiet I knew there was something going on. Most people shushed me and said he was perfect. Never look a gift horse in the mouth!

Bugaboo is a gift. What I've realized is that he is the gift of patience, the patience I have never had. He is the gift of Courage, courage from God to do what is right for my child and not just let others tell me what is best. He is peace and joy, always a smile on his face and always there to brighten my day, no matter how awful I feel. (ok, some of these are fruits, but we won't dive into semantics here.) He is also my gift of love. Until I had children I never knew what that truly meant. I mean, I got the concept of love and I wanted to love someone with all my heart without reservations. I knew I could love God that way. But did I truly know what it meant? Even after Bug Boy was born I kept thinking, "If he could only be ____." Did I love him without fail? After Bugaboo I found my answer. Yes. I can love these children with my whole heart and soul. I can love God as he loves me. I can love others that way, too. God has given me that gift, all I have to do is accept it, which I do.

I prayed for all of those things. Love, patience, understanding, courage. Be careful what you pray for. Sometimes God answers! But I am glad God answered me, I cannot imagine life any other way.

Monday, December 04, 2006


Thank Goodness It's Monday, for those keeping track.

Here is a brief run down of what happened this weekend:

Stayed up until midnight Friday (after spending 6 hours at duPont on three hours of sleep) shredding a turkey for hot turkey sandwiches that took over two hours. Also cut up cheese, veggies, fruit, etc. And made PJellies.

Cleaned like a maniac all day Thursday.

Got up Saturday morning, rearranged furniture, set up party stuff and got ready for a six-year-old's birthday party. Bug Boy's is officially next Sunday but this was the only day we could do it.

Actually was able to dress nicely and do my hair before guests arrived, thanks to making lists and being organized (thanks, FL!).

The party was fun, kids had fun, Bug Boy proclaimed it the best game party ever. Some kids stayed past two o'clock, which was fine. They played outside until nearly four. When they went home the cousins played inside for a little while longer. We had a successful cleanup, took Dino Boy home and then ordered Chinese with Darling's Sister and her husband. We had a nice time!

Sunday we got up and had a big breakfast. I took Bug Boy to church and when we returned everyone was dressed so we headed to Linvilla for a fun time.

After the farm we returned home to eat leftover turkey sandwiches (even yummier the next day!) and Darling's sister and her hubby and kid left. We took naps and hung around until we had to get dressed again for my Brother-in-Law's fortieth birthday celebration.

We went to BIL's party at a nice restaurant and the boys were fairly well behaved. Bugaboo even ate a grilled cheese there and ATE ICE CREAM!!!!

Did I mention Bugaboo ate ICE CREAM????!!!!

Went home, kiddies to bed, Darling and I watched weird documentaries on Discovery Health (the girl who needed a new face, we lost 800 pounds, yadda, yadda, yadda). We turned in early and passed out cold very quickly.

Woke up this morning bright eyed and bushy tailed, thanks to a good night's sleep. We even had clothes out and lunches packed so we did not have to rush around this morning! I love this FL stuff!

Ok, I think y'all get the point...

Friday, December 01, 2006

Pure Exhaustion

What I should be doing right now:
  • Stripping beds to wash linens
  • Feeding Bugaboo
  • Getting Bugaboo dressed
  • Packing bags for day-long adventure at duPont
  • Showering and dressing myself
  • Picking up around the house to get a head start on what I have to do later when I finish the appointments.

What I am doing right now:
  • Slowly nursing a cup of tea. It is supposed to be hot but I cannot bring myself to stand and nuke it.
  • Sitting and staring at the walls.
  • Reading blogs.
  • Dozing off in between.

Bugaboo was up last night. For a very long time. And when I say a long time, I mean a looooong time. Screaming, running back and forth, pushing on me, pulling me, begging me to pick him up, running to the fridge, making me get on the couch, crying because I had the audacity to lie down on the couch, pushing me to get on the dog bed with him (his favorite place to snooze). I tried getting him something to eat and drink and he stared at it. I rocked him, he pushed me away. I took him to bed, he shook like a leaf and begged to leave the room. I turned on his fake fish tank, he cried. This went on for several hours. Darling tried to take him so I could sleep and attempted to take turns but Bugaboo would push him away and take him back to our room. The dog tried to comfort him (and me) but he wanted no parts. He finally pushed me back onto the couch, pulled his favorite fuzzy blankets over us and drifted off to sleep. At 3:30 am. Since our alarm goes off at 6:30, that gave me a grand total of 3.5 hours of sleep, since he woke up JUST as I drifted off at 11.

I can barely see what I am doing, sounds like some caffeine may be in order. I have to take him for a feeding behavior evaluation and then to the Neuro. Little Bugger slept in until nearly 9! ACK! And he is in the best mood possible. That is a good thing, since I am not exactly in love with him (or his behavior) at the present time.

Wish me luck...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ode to the Queen Mother

Howdy, y'all in the blogosphere.

No, I do not mean the Queen Mother, as in the mother of Queen Elizabeth.

I mean the Queen Mother of Jades The plant of all plants. The ginormous Jade that I received as a confirmation gift when I was twelve. The plant the spawned hundreds of others, given away to friends and family over the years. The plant that keeps on giving.

When THE plant was brought in this October, ready to start the winter in our happy home, I must admit I had reservations. The other plants are all small enough to sit on the bay window sill, the enormous Jade is not. So it sat on the floor on a plastic mat next to the sliding door. It had plenty of sunlight there. The dog would only bump into it once in a while, it would be ok.

Then Darling and Bug Boy began leaning the baby gate up against the Jade whenever they let the dog in and out. We keep the gate there to put at the top of the slider so that Bugaboo cannot escape. They kept propping it up against the sturdy plant and I made a point to remind them that it is a plant, not a piece of furniture.

The plant fell over. Several times. But still the plant lived on.

The last straw came last evening. Darling was excited to be putting up his chili pepper lights. We purchased them on clearance after Christmas last year and he begged to put them up all year. So last evening they came out of the box and as he put them up he bumped into the plant and the top of it toppled over, dirt came flying up and the roots were right-side up. There was nasty, dirty, potted plant all over the family room rugs. We scrambled to clean it up as quickly as possible, since Shad Roe the Dog and Bugaboo were quite curious as to why there was dirt all over the family room.

Once it was cleaned and Darling and I carried the remains of the plant to the front porch I started to get teary-eyed. Why in the world do I love this plant so much? What does it represent? Is it because I received it almost as a coming-of-age gift and it has seen me through multiple moves, several boyfriends, a husband and now children? Is it because when I had Rosie the Cockatiel she used to love to sit in the plant and sing? Is it because the kids put plastic snakes and dinosaurs in it and use it for a playset? Is it because it has grown from one measly little leaf in the back of a plastic elephant planter to a four-foot-high-fifty-plus-pound permanent fixture in our home?

And so it sits, propped up by two chairs, barely clinging to life. I plan on getting a new pot and dirt today, along with whatever plant food I can find. It is going to need tons of love the next few months in order for it to make it. Jades are hearty plants, to the point that if leaves fall off I toss them in the pot and they REROOT themselves. I imagine it will survive.

As cliche as it sounds, I think this plant represents life to me. As it grows and I trim off pieces, I give the pieces to other people to start their own plant. And those plants grow and get bigger and then they pick off pieces to give to other people. This is one of the most amazing things about life. You give little pieces of yourself to others and they take those little pieces to the people in their lives. In a number of years you are leaving behind the most amazing legacy. I try to think about my grandparents (three have passed on) and what they have left behind. My Grandfather left behind a large family and a love for charity. My Pop-pop and Nana left behind a son who wanted to raise his own brood of children with the same unconditional love (and strict discipline) that he had as a child. They always had an open door, anyone could come to see them and talk to them anytime. Is that what I am leaving behind someday? What are people going to remember me for? Are they going to remember that I give to charity, go to church, love my children and family with all my heart, speak kind words to people as often as I can and give of myself when others need me? Are they going to remember the brave woman I am trying to be or a scared woman who cannot make decisions? What legacy am I going to leave?

I know it sounds bizarre, coming out of a woman my age. Who thinks of this stuff in their thirties? ME! I want to know the purpose of this life and so I try to live it to the fullest. My purpose is to touch as many people's lives as possible so that when I move on someday (sorry if it sounds sad or morbid!) each one of those people has a little piece of me. Just like the Queen Mother of Jades.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Guilty pleasures

My name is M-j, and I am a recovering teen movie addict...

Seriously. Wanna know what my guilty pleasure is? Teen movies. Teen romance, comedies, angst, you name it. Do not ask me why. I love sappy, innocent movies.

It probably started in the 80s when I was in grade school and high school. Those were the days of the "Brat Pack" and movies by John Hughes. You know, Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful. There are many more that he did not write that were just as worthy. I have no idea why I fell in love with those movies but I did. And then my love turned to classic films for a while. As long as it was filmed in black and white and in the theaters before 1960 I'd watch it.

A few years ago it happened again. Although watching television is a rare occurrence these days, I still find the occasional teen flick on the free cable channels. Recently I have fell in love with 10 Things I Hate About You (a spin on Taming of the Shrew), Clueless (a spin on Emma), She's All That, Can't Hardly Wait, need I say more?

Recently I have found The Princess Diaries, Ella Enchanted and What a Girl Wants. There is something sappy and charming about these dripping-with-cheese-factor movies that I cannot get enough of. Perhaps it is because lately I do not have the brain power to read and yet I am hungry for romance, drama and true love? Who knows. All I know is that when Darling walks into the room once the boys are in bed and I have one of these movies on he rolls his eyes.

And while we are on the subject of things I am embarrassed to admit I watch, let's discuss the Discovery Channels. I cannot get enough of plastic surgery/makeover shows. Now, I would never actually GET plastic surgery. I would never even consider it unless I had some horribly disfiguring condition and even then I would balk at it. But for some reason nothing intrigues me more than these super-vain people spending their life's savings on a face-left or eye-left and are left looking fake and honestly do not look that much better.

Oh, wait! Then there are the gastric bypass shows. You know, I lost 500 lbs? Then had to have a year's worth of plastic surgery to get rid of the hanging skin? Or the teenage boy who had the bypass surgery at 16 because he weighed 500 lbs?

What about the shows about Little People? The Woman With Half a Body? The Girl Born Without a Face? The Mermaid Baby? Conjoined Twins? The Real Rainman? I am getting the sense that the Science Channels are turning into the Science Fiction Channels, or may have been bought out by the National Enquirer. Talk about Tabloid Fodder.

The next time you see me please, do not chastise me for watching this fluff.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Griswolds

C'mon, every neighborhood has a family like the Griswolds!

If you don't know what I am talking about, click here.)

I am hoping we aren't that family. We spent the better part of yesterday taking down Fall decor and putting up wreaths, lights and bows. I think it is tasteful. In our old house we'd put boughs and bows on every window sill, with candles in each windows. It was simple but pretty. Perfect for an old Victorian. For some reason Darling has gotten the icicle light itch. He wants to put them on every square inch of the house.

At the moment we have wreaths on each windows with lights on the three cone-shaped trees. It looks pretty. But Darling had to do more. He went and bought icicle lights yesterday. He carefully measured the porch and roof to make sure we had enough lights. He went home to put them up and they were about four feet short! HAHAHAHA! I stood there talking to my neighbor's wife while he balanced himself on the roof and he and the neighbor took pot shots at each other, one threatening to call 911, the other joking he might fall out of the tree. The kids (all of them) ran around, up and down the side walk. It was a GORGEOUS day, unseasonably warm. Bugaboo sat in our Honda for two hours. Don't ask.

So, we have pretty wreaths and bows and icicle lights. I swore I would never give in to those lights. I did not take into account that darling and the boys would like them so much. Sigh.

Oh yeah, and I forgot to tell you that he put them on the GARAGE!!!!! Sheesh.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Angry with Darling

I know this is totally trivial, and there are more important things to worry about, but Darling and I have had this ongoing thing for a while and I really need to get it off of my chest.

Darling has a habit of disappearing into the garage. Now, if he is working on a car or the lawn mowers or cleaning up or...something that has to do with the garage, I am OK. But when he disappears for six hours and I go out to check on him and see if he wants to at least come in for lunch and find him cutting up an 8 foot steel beam with an acetylene torch, I get a little Irish. I mean, this has to be the WORST idea he has ever had. He is literally trying to cut it up into 3 foot sections so he can throw it out, one piece at a time.

Now, it was suggested to us to post it on Freecycle or Craig's list. So I encouraged him to do it. And guess what? Someone was looking for steel beams! All he had to do was post it. Did he? No. He started cutting it up instead. It is taking him forever. He has 2-4 inch gashes that took nearly three hours to do. So his grand plan isn't working. Not to mention the fact that he is cutting it up in the garage, over an old oil spot. With two cords of wood in the garage. And two lawnmowers full of fuel. And two cars.
I am not sure I am angry with him. More like frustrated that he is doing this. Sorry to vent about something so...well, stupid. But he is usually so intelligent and is so thoughtful. I just don't get the torch thing. He is either going to burn his hand off or set the garage on fire. Or asphyxiate from the fumes. Grrr...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Turkey wishes and Turkey Dreams

Bug Boy brought home a simple assignment the other day. The students had a teeny little Thanksgiving book and they were to ask a relative or friend (well, interview) what their favorite Thanksgiving food or memory is. Naturally he wanted to ask Darling, who has no recollection of yesterday, let alone a few years ago.

I offered to help Bug Boy (and gave Darling the hairy eyeball for not making something up) and told him my favorite food (GASP!!! NO WAAAAYYY!!!) was mashed potatoes. I told him I also like the stuffing that gets all crispy and kinda burnt when the turkey first comes out of the oven (yes, we stuff the turkey. We have not gotten salmonella in thirty-odd years.). And the creamed corn that my mom is famous for. And her apple pie. And gravy. Did I mention the gravy?

Moving right along...

So, Bug Boy moves onto the part where we share out favorite Thanksgiving memory. I thought about it for a moment and then told him all of them.

All of them, because I can remember being with my huge, loud, obnoxious family every year. Even though the past few years we have been alternating between in-laws and our family, I can remember having dinner at our house, my sister's house, my brother's house, my parent's house (where we are much too small to fit anymore, and my mother's cooking is totally slipping anyway). I remember sneaking into the kitchen to open the oven and peek at the bird and steal some of that crispy stuffing. I remember the year that my mother was hospitalized for Thanksgiving and my two older sisters were in college and no longer lived at home, so fourteen-year-old me made (and messed up) my first Thanksgiving dinner, complete with purple mashed potatoes. I remember squeezing around the not-quite-an-eat-in kitchen and telling everyone else, one at a time, what we were thankful for. I remember the creamed corn getting so burnt we could taste smoke. I remember my then-five-year-old sister, who sang twenty-four hours a day, making up a Thanksgiving Carol because she was annoyed that there weren't any:

Deck the Halls with Turkeys falling
Fa la la la la, la la la la
If you don't you won't get stuffing
Fa la la la la, la la la la

I kid you not. This is what she sang and I remember it like yesterday!

I think the point I am trying to make is that I want this feeling for my children. I want them to look back on all of the Thanksgivings and the funny things that happen and smile and sigh. I want them to cherish having those moments with our crazy family. I enjoy spending time with my family (yes, Crissie, ALL OF THEM) even when they drive me nuts, or I don't agree with them, or they tease my kids one-too-many-times or they look at me like I have three heads, which I do. I love being together with them because despite the fact that my parents are sometimes off in never-never land chasing pirates, they loved us very much and did their best to provide for us with the little they had. They always tried to make it fun. My mother was very creative and crafty and we had homemade EVERYTHING. Some people might have thought it was shabby, we always knew it was filled with love. To this day, when my sons have a birthday or we have a family holiday, I insist on making EVERYTHING fresh and from scratch, because I just feel that making it homemade means making it with love.

Except the cranberry sauce, I've burnt that too many times to try it again.

Forget who you are angry with this year. Forget that Aunt-so-and-so thinks your kid looks like a cabbage patch doll or that your brother said your potatoes (GASP!) tasted like sawdust one year. Forget that your parents are always late, and are always the first to leave. Forget that it is loud and when you leave your ears ring like you've been at a rock concert. Please, just concentrate on being together, reminiscing, loving. Enjoy your family and make memories. Concentrate on the fact that you have such a blessing! This life goes so fast! No one EVER says on their death bed that they wish they swept their floors one last time or changed the oil in the car more often. They always wish they had spent more time with their families building memories.

So, fall asleep after dinner from all the tryptophan (which they now say is a lie, you just ate too much) and have sweet dreams of Thanksgiving. And apple pie. And pumpkin pie. A la mode. And cheese cake, mmmm! Cheese cake! And creamed onions and...

Monday, November 20, 2006

Weekend? What weekend?

At the risk of sounding cliche, I must tell y'all that I cannot believe it is Monday already!

Where, oh where, does the time go? Could it be that the entire weekend was a blur because on the first weekend in three months that we had NOTHING planned and NOTHING we absolutely had to do, that we were so goshdarn busy that it passed too quickly?

As I sit her contemplating that epiphany Bugaboo is stalking Bug Boy for the remains of his asiago cheese bagel. At twelve to fifteen grams of protein per bagel it is no doubt Bugaboo obtains his main sources of protein from these bagels. This weekend he tried a piece of pizza crust. We thought we were being crafty when we left a teeny piece of cheese and sauce on the crust and handed it to Bugaboo. He turned it over, carefully inspecting it, then ripped off the offending piece and put it behind him (he is no longer allowed to throw things on the floor, he now tucks them under his behind or puts them behind his back). Nice try, Mom and Dad! As if...

I have been running a fever all weekend. It started with the hairball-stuck-in-throat-so-blame-it-on-the-shedding-dog theory and Saturday morning it became the I-picked-up-a-cat-so-my-allergies-are-bothering-me theory. By the time I woke up from a nap that afternoon it was OMIGOSH-I-am-really-sick-and-it-wasn't-the-Crest-Whitestrips theory. Although those work very well and they taste awful. So I was convinced I was being poisoned for about five minutes. Yesterday I spent the day lounging by the fireplace (yes, it was lit) either with a kid sitting on my head or feet or one sprawled across my body whining, "mmmaaaaaaammmmm!" And after ten years of marriage Darling finally figured out that when I am sick I need attention and pampering. He offered to get me soup, made me drinks, kept the kids at bay and made sure I had enough blankets to keep me warm. What a nice way to spend the day! Too bad it will not happen for another ten years. It was worth waiting for!

Sleeping well can do wonders for a person. I actually slept for over eight hours last evening and it was HEAVENLY. I woke up with tummy pains (never, ever eat chicken wings and green veggies when you are having digestion issues) but recharged from a restful night. I did not stare at the ceiling half the night worrying about my day, my kids, my life. Instead of drifted off into a peaceful sleep dreaming of my grandparents' homes when I was a kid and how big they seemed when I was so young(Or perhaps it was just that I grew up in a shoe closet so their homes felt like mansions to me. ).

Bugaboo is still stalking Bug Boy for that last bite of bagel. He follows him around with his face about two inches away, waiting for Bug Boy to look at something so he can lick it or take a bite. It is very funny to see. One of these days I will upload a video to my blog. You know, with all of my free time.

Oh, and the best part of this weekend? Darling went over our finances in preparation of Christmas shopping (which I have been doing for two months but he did not notice) and declared our budget and that he was fine with the purchases I made online. Normally if I spend two cents he gives me a lecture about spending our mortgage money, yadda, yadda, yadda. This year I am being super frugal and getting things finished in a timely manner. It feels great!

Ok, feverish rant over...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Oh yeah, I've been tagged

I normally don't like to do this stuff, but I wanted y'all to see how pathetic my purse is. I have never carried a purse (went right from backpacks to diaper bags) so this is new territory for me. So, without further ado, here is the list of things in my purse, thanks to Tracy for the tag:

  • Calender
  • credit cards
  • id cards for Y
  • License
  • pocket change
  • $7
  • pen
  • lip balm
  • Cell phone
  • sunglasses

Yup. That is it. Kinda sad, huh? I have never been a makeup kind of girl and I don't carry a hairbrush even. I think there is one in the glove compartment of my car. I used to just shove a wallet and whatever else I needed into a diaper bag. These days I don't even know where to put my keys (usually in my pocket).

Ok, I will tag...Crissie.

To clarify a few things...

I usually read people's comments and think about them, then forget them. I answer them in my head but do not always respond to the person who asked the question (does that mean I am losing it?). So, here is my best effort to clarify things:

Kathy: I know that reflux and gallbladder disease are two different things. You see, for me, if one is active then the other flares up. In other words, when my ulcer starts up, it is usually because I am stressed out, which means the acid is flaring up, which means my gallbladder is working twice as hard from my crappy diet, which means the next thing you know I have pains in my side and a sore throat. So, taking Tagamet (a reflux med) believe it or not DOES help with my gallbladder. It just doesn't help my liver too much, so I don't like to take it unless absotively necessary. The more meds you are on, the more your kidneys and liver have to work. And I am thinking of holding onto them for as long as possible. But the gallbladder can go.

Tracy: I didn't realize that once you got your gallbladder out you couldn't process fats. We have to tell everyone in Hollywood this. They'll stop getting plastic surgery and go for laproscopic gallbladder removal instead.

Rachel: I'm glad your happy pills work for you. I just haven't found one that works for me yet. I think it is because I was misdiagnosed with depression. I am positive that depression isn't my issue, mostly because I am nearly a carbon copy of my mother. She has bi-polar disorder (so do my FIL and Brother). And while I am not quite as up and down as she is, but I can come close a few times a month. So until I get on a mood stabilizer specifically for Bi-polar disorder, which I am currently unwilling to do, I will just go with what I am doing for now. It works for the most part. Except sometimes I end up with hair colors I don't like or clothes I don't need.

Anjali: Someone that has your awesome figure oughta wear a bikini, even with scars! The heck with 'em! I plan on wearing mine until the wrinkles get in the way of my bottom trunks.

Advice on Bollywood Films: The way I find most of them is by accident. But you could try the Wikipedia entry on Bollywood and go from there. The more popular films aren't necessarily the best ones, but it is a good place to start. Oh, and check out Mississippi Masala, if you haven't. It isn't necessarily a Bollywood film, but I love stories that portray characters trying to survive love between two conflicting cultures. Nothing could be more dramatic than an African American man in the south in love with a young woman from India. Talk about culture clash!

I think that is everything I had for now.

update: I looked at my blog traffic for the week and here are some of the google searches that landed people here:
  • George Prepard
  • Jena Malone dubbed Pride and Prejudice
  • No, not yours. Can't have it
  • Dale Earnhardt Junior
  • Baby EEGs
  • How to remove salon wax from tile
  • Bugaboo
  • Bollywood Mj
  • Gap Audrey Hepburn commercial where is it from
  • What does Ralph mean in baby book
Some weird wild stuff, indeed.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Last night at OCB...

My friends had a good time socializing and yucking it up (and scarfing it down) while I alternated between running for the john and moaning on the couch.

I am going to take a wild guess at what the problem is.

The past few weeks I have been experiencing heartburn, pains in my side, problems digesting certain foods and a bad taste in my mouth. My throat is even sore from it. Yup, the reflux is back.

Here's a little secret: The last time I had reflux like this I was pregnant with Bugaboo. And the time before that it was when I was pregnant with Bug Boy. And the time before that it was when I was bulimic for nearly eight years, between Senior Year in High School and the time that I married Darling.

I have gallbladder disease. I have had it since I was nineteen. If I am not careful with my food selections I pay for it. For example, it is a really bad idea to have pizza AND lemonade, since they will both do a number on me. I can have gravy on my potatoes but I really shouldn't eat anything fried or any cruciferous veggies for the rest of the day. I have to avoid taking certain pain relievers and other meds. Alcohol and excessive caffeine do not agree with me. And that's too bad, because I am properly developing an addiction to coffee. But only after 3pm.

The good news is that I have been able to control my diet for fifteen years and therefore have needed no surgery or meds. The bad news is that even with watching what I eat, lately I have been having flare-ups. The doc says take Tagamet and see how that goes. But I know what is going to happen! They told me about ten years ago that eventually I will have to get my gallbladder out.

I know, it is a relatively minor procedure. These days they do it with a laproscopic approach. There is very minor scarring. But I develop keloids, so I am none too pleased. I still wear a bikini (I AM SO VAIN!!!), don't want little scars!

Lately I have been unhappy with my body. I do not like my shape. I am not thrilled with my increasingly shrinking breasts, since they now show stretch marks. I do not feel that I am in the best shape of my life. I am keeping up with my house but it is not (even after living here a year) close to where I want it to be. And then there is the ever-increasing stress and worry about Bugaboo and his future. I cannot even think about it right now and I know I need to begin putting a few things in place, like a special needs trust.

So, if I could find a way to deal with my stress (exercise usually helps) and a few things in my life could let up a little I feel like I would be able to control this latest round of stomach problems. The thing is, Bugaboo ain't going away. It will be Christmas before I know it, and no matter how well I prepare it seems so stressful. I start becoming less and less sociable, more anxious, more introverted and slightly depressed. I am trying so hard to avoid the Zoloft again! It seems like every fall, between Halloween and Thanksgiving, this all starts. And it takes me six months to get out of it. The doc is convinced I have SAD (seasonal affective disorder) since it only happens when the days get shorted and I am better by the time spring rolls around. But this time I am going to kick it in the butt. I want to enjoy the holidays. I want to feel all of the joys and the sorrows. And believe it or not, the stress.

So, let go and Let God, right? I'm trying...