Thursday, December 20, 2012

Silent Night or Papa Sleeps 15 Minutes And Goes To Work Refreshed and Happy

Ever have one of those nights?
Oh man was last night a barrel of laughs around here.

First we remembered, just as we were trying to drag our tired selves to bed, that we left the gift for Ev's gift exchange tonight up in the attic. So, up to the attic Les went.

Then, just as we were drifting off, there was this strange popping sound that needed investigating. So Les had to get up and see what that was. Hey! Billy was already settled in on my face so I couldn't do it. We never did figure that out.

Later, we heard a strange little huffing noise that Les again had to go out and check. Look, the cat sleeps on my face all night OK? This time it was Evelyn up shuffling about and sneezing. ???

The next thing was a child crying and the cat does get dumped off for that. But both kids were ok. So I get all huffy at having to get out of bed. Use the restroom, and turn my fan on so block out any further unpleasantness. I climb back into bed and just for kicks, decide to lay on my left side facing Les. See? Romance is alive after 19 years people!
But wait! The cat! He was DISTURBED in his slumber!
oh noes!!

And here is where the fit hits the shan.

The cat jumps on the bed in his usual fashion. With a light burble, expecting my head and face to be somewhere they are not. He is already annoyed at the gall of us disturbing his slumber so many times and this just sends him over the edge. His light burble turns into something angry and jungle like. His little bed hop is turned into an Olympic Triple Papa Face Hop that turns Les into a Whirling Dervish of Nightmares!

Les!He springs straight up in bed at the waist like some sort of Halloween wind up toy; his head, recently shaved with the texture of velcro, brings along the flannel covered pillow so the pillow is stuck to the back of his head; and due to the angle and speed of both his uprising and the arc and speed of the cat's Olympic attempt, the cat is actually kind of stuck to the front of his face for a bit. Now let me tell you, the cats, legs were scrambling. Leslie's arms were windmilling frantically and he was yelling at the TOP of his lungs. "UH! What the f@#%?!? What the... F@$%?! What the F@$%?!?! OH my God!!! What?!?!?"

And then finally the cat cleared and Les exhaled this huge exhale and laid back with his pillow and head landing exactly where they had started. He sighed and looked at me and said, " What just happened? I was dreaming and then something was all over my face and then a bag was on my head..." and I was like, "I can't even begin...." just go back to sleep..."

The cat spent the rest of the night on the couch. In a huff.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

They Put The "Monkey" In Monkey Swing

In his ongoing attempt to drive me to the edge of my sanity, Leslie installed a monkey swing for the kids. Then immediately got them hooked on swinging as heart stoppingly high as they could. I'm not kidding, they are like little junkies. Liam especially likes to lay back real far and close his eyes like he's at a Spa or something. I just stay inside and drink while they are on it. They won't even listen when I dare to choke out a suggestion that they wear helmets, NO!, they laugh at me and just keep swinging.
Now I look back and remember the many times my mom would gasp, "JACK!" and we would all say, "OH! Mo-ooom!" Poor. Poor worried Moms. They just stand there chewing their nails and planning trips to the E.R. while everyone else is having a grand time.

I may start with holding Molasses Cookies.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Finding That Silver Lining

They say that there is always a silver lining if you look for one.
I will be completely honest, as I struggled for close to five months with the same, grinding migraine that seemed to be eating my life away, I simply could not see a single positive thing.
Now, as I am getting closer to my "new normal" and not experiencing blinding pain for most of the time. Now that the hospitalizations are behind me (I hope I hope I hope I hope). Now that my Doctor seems to have me on a med regime that works...I can see that there were positive things that happened.

The idea that my parents would do anything for my children, Les and I became a tangible reality as my Mom came and took care of us for 6 weeks and my Dad drove back and forth between Ohio and New Jersey 4 times I think. My mom cooked and cleaned and played with Liam and Evelyn and drove me around and dealt with my many breakdowns and weird moods brought on by medicines. She watched me fall apart and she helped me get back together again.

My sister has given up her place as the younger sister and taken over the role of older sister and completely held me up emotionally for weeks and weeks as I have wept and sobbed into the phone over and over never thinking to ask how she was doing, how her life was progressing. I just needed her and she was there.

My Dad just drove all over the United States and made do at his house, all alone. When he was here he helped keep the kids busy and he knew when I needed a hug or when I needed a laugh. And he never, ever asked for anything in return- he never does.

My husband. He stepped right up and became me, took on most of my roles in the family and maintained his all while going through the single most stressful few weeks of his entire Coast Guard career. He never once lost patience with me. He never once failed to go to the pharmacy or get me to a doctor's appointment.

The silver lining was my family.
The silver ling will always be my family. They took care of me, each of them in their own way. I love them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sisterly Love and Brotherly Payback

As each of our kids get a bit older and reach farther into the imagination and farther into realms of play, we are hearing more and more interesting snippets of things floating about the house sometimes. Since Evelyn is the oldest she is the ring leader and she also has the clearest speech so often her voice is the one we can make out the easiest- but not all of the time, I assure you. Here are a few examples:

  • Evelyn was telling Liam's fortune with an Uno deck and Les heard that Liam would be really good at carrying luggage at an airport when he grew up.
  • Liam wanted to give Ev a goodnight kiss the other night and she looked at him, shivered and said, "Let's not, let's hug, you're kind of...gross and boogery". "Oh-hay Sissy" he said and hugged her tightly and ran off to bed. 
  • Everything here is Hogwarts and Harry Potter and they are frequently mixing potions in Ev's room, one day in passing I heard her say, "No! You can't touch that. You have too much monkey in you to actually MIX potions!! You just WATCH me do it and be my test subject!"
  • Today while I was making lunch she had this bowl out and she was playing The Bowl Of Fire (after swallowing bitter disappointment that I was lacking a real goblet) and after boring the poor child with a long list of rules she finally got to the part and she said " And then there will be four very har...." at this point she eyes him up and down, changes her mind "Ummmm not so hard at all tasks to complete...."
We don't laugh this off and let her get away with it, we do try to keep her under control. But you have to admit she does have a Believe me he gets back his own, his Grandparents can attest to the fact that he is not an innocent victim here. She is 8 and he is 4 and he is on the cusp of figuring out that he outweighs her (very nearly if you can believe it) and can lick her face or some other gross thing that brothers do. The very next day that she didn't want to kiss him? I had to drag him off of her because he was indeed VERY boogery and had her trapped in a corner and going in for a big back and forth smoochy woochy and enjoying it immensely, and well, she was about to have a mental break. He has also started mimicking her. Also he can just sit outside of her room and call her name over and over while she's trying to read. 

Actually if you think about it from a different angle, it's me they are after.

Also how DO little boys make so much snot?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Rites Of Passage

Les has been going through this thing call Initiation with the Coast Guard. It's kind of hard to explain but I'm gonna give it a go. In June of 2011 Leslie made the rate of E7 which is basically "Chief" and he got the pay of a Chief's rate, his guys called him Chief but in the eyes of other, Initiated Chiefs, he was just an E7.

Initiation is this process of nine weeks where a bunch of non-Initiated E7s are grouped together and put though a bunch of tasks. Some of the tasks have been community service, some of them have been about military history, some of it has been silly institutionalized hazing. Les has had to make two projects out of wood-from scratch. One to hold some of his paperwork from this process and one to hold his dress uniform hat.

It has been taxing and stressful. It has been especially hard because I have been all migrainy (yes that is my term and I'm sticking to it), he has had to do this Initiation and take care of the family and a me. He has had to take over driving Ev to all of her gymnastic nights. He has done all of the grocery shopping. Most of the cooking. The cleaning. Getting me to the Neurologist once a week. Getting by while I was in the hospital not only once, but twice. Surviving a hurricane evacuation. I just can not tell you how much pressure he has been under and he has been wonderful through it all.

As of last night Les is no longer an E7. He is really and truly a Chief. All Initiated and Official! We all get to go to a fancy dinner tonight to celebrate. Like I get to wear nylons! Ev is wearing some too- the very first time she is doing so!We are all so happy and proud of our Papa.

Chief Papa.
Chief Dillon.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Halloween That Almost Wasn't

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Thanks to Sandy, our Halloween was delayed, but you won't catch me complaining because there are so many out there whose lives were impacted in far worse ways. We still have each other, we still have our lives and we still have power and the comfort of knowing that everyone of our friends are present and accounted for.

You must understand though that Halloween is indeed, my favorite holiday. And this year brought a delay, no carved pumpkins, no roasted pumpkin seeds, trick or treating in November, no Halloween  photo cards of the kids wearing their costumes. But all in all it kind of worked out because I was kind of too migrainy (yes that is now a new official term in my life) to really be up for any of that anyway.

Oh but wait! Evelyn did make a batch of Pumpkin Bread all on her own! And it was delicious! Also Liam turned four! ( I'll have to post those pictures too! OMG terrible mom alert)

Well, today it was 60 degrees or so and the sun was shining and so I took alot of meds and off we went for pictures. You can see Evelyn cracking up in some of them, that's because I was in a stopped position and lost my balance and Batman rushed in to save me by trying to push up on my booty and nearly got smashed by said booty. I went all National Geographic Photographer and just kept shooting because that is the true Ev! 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

And Me! And Sissy Too!

My children are drawn to books, any book will catch their eye. On our recent evacuation to Philly due to Sandy we took along books because with us, books ARE a necessity. But Ev likes to look at what she calls "The Holey Bibble" (that is a whole other post in and of itself), she likes that the pages are thin, she likes that some things are written in red, she likes that some of it is about Jesus (see we are not TOTAL heathens). Liam wanted his turn with the Bibble because Ev had her turn.

So he was looking at the Bible and at the beginning where it has paragraphs written in different languages from around the world. Like an introduction part? He looks at the part written in Chinese and he points to it and exclaims "Mama! Like ME! Like SISSY!!" And he makes the sign for China. And then he proceeds to talk about what he sees for a good minute or two before he calms down. I have no idea what he was saying. I have no idea how he knew how to distinguish the Chinese writing on that page from the eight or twelve other languages on that page but he definitely put his little finger on the Chinese and he definitely knew what he was talking about.

Today I was watching a video on Facebook that a friend posted of her daughter being silly. It just so happens that they too, are an adoptive family and her daughter is from China. Liam came in about halfway through the video and he looks at the video, gets this strange look on his face and asks, "Mama? That Sissy?". I answer "No. That is so and so. Not your Sissy". I wanted to see how he would process the situation.
After a second or two, he grinned big and he said, "Oh! And Me! And Sissy too!"

Again he makes the sign for China on his chest, and he says" She have her Mama?" and I say, "Yes" he says, "Not you?", and I say, "No her own Mama" then he ran off to play.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Ohana is the Hawaiian word for family. I first became aware of it when I watched the Disney movie Lilo and Stitch. In the movie, Lilo tells Stitch, that, " Ohana means family and that family means that nobody gets left behind or forgotten". It's a great scene and reading that makes me teary eyed every time because it is a great sentiment for any family but if you are an adoptive family? Wow. It just gets heavier and more important.
And what if you are an adoptive family with a little Stitch of your own who has been working very hard for a little over two years to fit into the family?
What if he tries every night at the dinner table to figure out the meaning of family?
Of Ohana?
And you have watched him struggle? And you have struggled too?
And you have watched a slow transition from and angry little toddler into a little man who is getting it and the pieces are falling into place but because of a severe speech delay you KNOW there are things you are missing?
I think about it alot.
In exactly that way.
I have taked about it before, how at dinner, Liam will sit and look about us all and smile and make the sign for family and say that we are family and name us all and say we will be family for ever.
But there have been some new additions.
Lately he has added in the cat.
And far off relatives. Like MoMo and the Grands and The Brev.
And now he says we will be family for five minutes and he holds up his little chubby fingers and smiles big because in his little mind, five minutes is waaay longer than forever! And we laugh and we say, "Oh yes! Five minutes is for ever longer too!"
Last night,
Ev got snarky, and got up from the table and was flouncing around and grabbed one of Liam's toys and then got, you know, busted, was told to put the toy down, decided to throw it with, a first class attitude... so she was asked to leave the table and "go stand on the wall".
So Liam Looks at us and does his family thing with a funny little smile on his face. But he says, "Not sissy. Sissy Bad. Sissy Not Famm-ee"
And through the Status Migrainosis. Through the pain pills. Through the over eating. Through the over stressed out status that Les and I are both in... I looked at Les and Les looked at me and we were completely like "Holy crap is that what he thinks!"
And I kind of looked at Liam and I said, as calmly as I could manage with my heart jumping in my chest and my stomach flipping, "No, honey. Sissy is still in the family, Even though she made a bad choice and is in trouble. That does NOT MEAN THAT SHE IS NOT FAMILY. We love sissy. She is our sissy. She is always our sissy. For ever. Even if she is bad." "Even if Liam gets in trouble he is still our Liam and in the family - ok?"
And he started to cry.
He crumbled.
And before I could think, I jumped up from the table And I yanked him up and I grabbed him to my chest, I nearly overturned the entire table getting him to me. And  I blubbered things about family and forever and ever. And he kept saying "yes mama"  "yes mama".  And Les was there saying things.
And it was Ohana.
And today Liam has been VERY happy and giddy. Maybe there is a connection.
Maybe another piece of that understanding of longterm family relationships clicked for him. I know that I have been granted a deeper insight into my son's precious little heart and I will not waste it.
If you ever want to know the biggest toll a speech delay can take on an adoptive family it is this. That he can not tell us these things as Evelyn could. How long has this been weighing on his little mind? I can not say. I had to wait and watch. What a terrible burden and fear for a little guy.
You see, when you live two years with no family of your own, that concept of Ohana does not spontaneously grow in your heart and mind, you must find a Mama and a Papa that can help you learn it and it takes much longer for a broken heart to learn it than you would think.
But we don't mind helping him.
He's our Mooosh.
Our Bubber Doo.
Our Lee-UUHM.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Those Bittersweet Moments

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See? We did make it to the beach the other night. If you are friends with me on FB, then you already know this and you have already seen some of these pictures. If you watch the slideshow, you get to see some again and some new ones, and you know why- I am a picture junkie.

I chose Debussy for the music because sometimes when I am playing with my children or I am watching them play, that is the exact music or mood that is echoing in my head and through my heart. Sometimes when the light hits them just so, you can see them as they are, as they were and as they will be all at once and it takes your breath away and wrenches your mother's heart in such a compelling way... You are left bereft and in love and longing for days gone by, wanting this moment to never end and yet? Wanting tomorrow to come rushing in so you can meet the wonderful people you know they will become, and it's all there! Right there! In that one moment. And you are lost like so much foam on the waves. Like fluff on the wind. And for me, the only thing that can help me capture that is that particular song up there and it was playing in my head the whole time they were frolicking on the shore the other evening. Some day, oh some day they will be all grown and gone and that will come before I am ready because it was just yesterday that they were tiny, chubby round things all fumbly and completely dependent on me and look at them now- rock jumping, shore exploring, strong children and it happened in the blink of an eye. Such is the nature of children. To grow at light speed and leave us before we are ready...
I love them in ways that I can not explain. The way they laugh. The way their faces crinkle when they smile. The way they are different and the same. How one will never ever give an inch and one will clumsily stroke your face when you cry. I am amazed at how ferocious and gentle my love for them can be and often times in the very same moment. My love for them is a vast, swirling galaxy of white hot stars and unknown dark matter. It is sweet and light and sometimes scary in it's very bigness. And I know that sometimes when they look at me, they see it and they just walk a bit taller and it does not scare them. My love for them is exactly what they want and need and they will take every ounce and keep on truckin'.

Who's The Boss?

Let us review. I write this blog for myself, as kind of a journal AND I happen to be a full disclosure kind of gal. Meaning that I don't want this blog to make my life look like a shiny happy perfect kind of place, I want to be as real as possible here. I also am not a pity seeker, I write about what is in my life because that is what is in my life at the time.
And what is in my life right now? Status Migrainosis. Today is 52 days of the same headache. 52 days of constant, intense, nauseating, unrelieved pain. Fun times.
I could go into lots of details about one crap Neurologist and the way he made me feel like a toilet bowl and how he didn't treat me and admit me to the hospital because he couldn't because he had lost his privileges to practice there and never told me so because he didn't want to loose the money my visits were bringing him...and how that made me suffer about three more weeks than I had to...I could go on about how I ended up with high blood pressure and a high heart rate and he looked at me and said I needed to see my family doctor for an EKG in one breath and that I should also go home and exercise in the next and that he would see me in two weeks and here is more Dilaudid....
SO- I did see my family doctor and I did get and EKG and I almost got admitted to the hospital that day but I didn't because he decided it was my thyroid that was messing up my heart and put me on a beta blocker and told me if my chest hurt to go to the ER  and he sort of was concerned that my head was still hurting me and he wondered why the Neuro hadn't done anything and he gave me a referral for a place in Philly...
So- I got chest pain and I didn't tell anyone for three days 'cause that's how I roll.
And finally I did and I got admitted and my family doc put in a Neuro consult and I got a new guy and he is awesome and compassionate and can actually practice at the hospital and he has ethics which is cool and all. So he kept me there past the cardiac stuff for some migraine treatment though, sadly because I had been mismanaged and had not been on high enough doses of prophylactics to help the iv vasoconstrictors that he needed to use, he could not bust this out and the headache returned slowly during the week after my discharge (it wasn't entirely gone in my day of discharge). SO -I am at home now taking high doses of steroids and high doses of prophylactics to prepare for another hospitalization to get another round of those vasoconstrictors that will bust this thing out. Hopefully.
I no longer remember what it is like to be me without pain.
I no longer remember what is like to interact with my kids and not fake being copacetic.
I grit my teeth constantly.
I frown alot and squint and Liam always asks me if I am mad. And I try not to do those things.
I try to be as normal as I can be. And you will see some of that here too. It's not always going to be this... And my mom was here for three weeks helping me/us and I should say that and how much we lover her and appreciate that.
If I am half was decent and my meds are kicking we will go to a close by beach with easy access and I will plop down and the kids will romp and I will be in LOTS of pain when we get home and very tired but they will have had a normal evening.
I will sit when I can and do a puzzle with them. Or read to them. Or sit on the yard with them.
But it's not really me. It's just partially me.
And I can not even begin to tell you about the state of my house.
Though I did clean yesterday, with the help of Les. But I overdid it. And he tried to tell me. And so did Ev. But I'm stubborn. And I felt like I was in charge.
And then. Oh then. I was standing and talking to Les in the evening. And I looked up to say something about hanging a map above out chalkboard in the schoolroom... and it was like some bad man walked up and swung a cold ax and hit me in the head. My left eye went totally black for a second. My stomach lurched. I felt the pain down to my toes. I staggered back two or three steps. Fell into the couch curled into a ball and started... I don't know... crying, sobbing. Holding my head and wondering what the fuck just happened. Les brought me some frozen peas for my head and whatever pill I managed to gasp out that I needed and there I was.
And I learned who was boss.
The headache is boss.
Of my whole life right now.
The headache is BOSS.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Evelyn Figures Out Grown-ups

So this morning I was sitting on my bed, simultaneously applying make-up and making appointments for MRI's and MRA's, while the kids were in Liam's room playing Lego's. Now, there was some pretty in depth political maneuvering going on concerning the building of robots...
Things on my end progressed, and I was deep in thought. I was thinking about how I could tell Les that it was really good news I had a shower before 2 pm today but the down side was that in my drug addled state, I forgot to close the shower curtain all of the way and kind of flooded the entire bathroom and that is kind of an issue right now... and maybe could he miss more work on Wednesday for my MRI/MRA so Ev didn't have to sit in the waiting room all by herself and hey when should I take my morning meds and thus schedule my afternoon shutdown and wow my eyes look really bloodshot and geez I need to pluck and is it really bad to have a Reese PB Pumpkin and a Sprite for breakfast because that is all I seem to really want and on and on for a bit when through the haze I get the heated robot debate sort of phase in and I realize I better do something so ......

Mama: Oh. You know Ev? Building a robot might be a bit too much for him right now 'cause he is kind of little still so maybe you could build him one like yours but with different colors.
Ev: Well. That is Kind of what I had just decided and stated exactly two seconds before you said what you said about building him one. I said, "Okay Liam. You are little so I'll build you one today, I guess. But next month you are on your on as far as robots go" and then you said, "Oh. You know Ev? Building a robot might be a bit too much for him right now 'cause he is kind of little still so maybe you could build him one like yours but with different colors."
Mama: Well, honey, I was sitting in here and I was thinking my own thoughts. Sometimes grownups are thinking about a whole bunch of different things that take up a lot of emotions and brain time and they can hear you but they can't quite listen very closely to every little thing that is happening.
Ev: Oh? Is that was the issue is? That explains a lot. Okay then.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Standards of Care

It is amazing to me how quickly the landscape of your life can change. One day, you can be chugging along and you can be you, secure in yourself and all of the things that make you who you are and then something comes along. A sneaky headache say, a that headache begins to rob you of your life, a little bit each day and before you know it, something like 42 days have gone by and you look up and the entire landscape of your life has changed and you are helpless and gasping and fearful and even though you have your family around you, you are alone and you wonder if you will ever be free of this dreaded thing again.

All of the sudden, because, really, in the scheme of things, when you remove that hot poker of pain from you head, 42 days is not long, so, then... All of the sudden, the entire landscape of your life is different. Strange. Where there was light, there is now dark. Mountains are now dark valleys. Your bed is now a prison of boredom and torture. Your feelings become a weird, strange mix of white hot, sharp pain that you feel so acutely while all of the things you long to feel, the good things, seem so far off and fuzzy. Colors fade. The voices of your children fade in and out of your consciousness, you can't quite focus on the stories they tell you but somehow their laughter and silly games cause you physical pain.

And so you make trips to doctors. Doctors that can't quite seem to ever look at you. They can't quite stop writing and checking boxes long enough to see you. I want to scream at them. I want to say. "treat me because this headache is taking me away from my children! They are missing me! I am missing them!! Time is passing as you sit there and leave me here alone with this dragon in my head!!!!"

I am disgusted at the state of modern medicine.  A pill for this. A pill for that. They turn you into the very thing that they despise and they just keep checking the boxes and filing the forms. A good doctor is worth his or her weight in gold. So if you have a doctor that treats you like a person, that looks at you, that listens and responds... a doctor that realizes you are someones mother, someones wife, someones daughter, hold on to that doctor because they are few and far between.

And so now I fight. Not just the thing in my head and in my body that makes me hurt and makes me sick. Not just the Insurance company that loves forms and protocols and ever changing regulations they oh so conveniently forget to tell anyone about. But I also fight the very people that are sworn to help the sick. I go into offices and I tell them about the beast in my head and I wait to see if they even flinch, and if they don't, I am going to move on until I find a doctor that cares. Because my children have lost one mother and as God is my witness, they will not loose this one because some asshole can't do anything but pull out a prescription pad.

So I'm sick. Ongoing headache. 42 days of that shit. Weird heart and blood pressure stuff. I am having to take at least some of the pills the pushers send my way or the pain would debilitate me. At this time, between the pain and the pills, I am such that my Mom has to be here to help us (thanks Mom- a milion thanks and love to you). I am heading off to Philly and off to my Endo ( a good guy) so hopefully he will have an insight.

And what can I say to my husband? About my husband? He is here. He is frightened and tired and just trying not to freak out and he's trying not to punch a doctor and he's trying to be normal for the kids and he's being Les. He amazes me. I love him.

I open up my mouth sometimes to talk and instead self pity falls out. Sorry about that.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I am not really one to complain.
At least I don't think I am one to comlplain. Maybe those around me have another take on the subject, I'll have to ask around.
But I am going to take a bit of space up here and now and talk a bit about the past few days.
I have been struggling.
Struggling more than I ever have.
I am on day 12 of a constant migraine.
Twelve days.
One trip to the ER.
One trip to the family DR.
Three days lost to just laying in my bed with my head stuffed under blankets, hoping and praying for some sort of relief, any relief.
The pain is in the left side of my head. It is a constant beating reminder that a pain free existence of any amount of time is a God given Blessing.
The pain takes everything away.
It's just you and it.
Your family is far away.
You are far away from your family.
I can not read, it hurts too bad.
I can not watch tv, it hurts too bad.
There is nothing that can distract.
One minute drags on agonizing into the next.
Your hands shake with the effort of keeping your face impassive.
You drag yourself up to the toilet to pee or dry heave and drag yourself back to the bed or the couch (if you are trying to pretend to spend time with your family).
You haul your sorry ass to the car and fulfill you parental duties as best you can, getting your child to gymnastics, hoping that nothing too taxing arises, that just the bare minimum will be required of you.
I can deal with the pain really.
It is this forced absence from my husband and children that I hate and loathe so much. I only have so much time with them before they grow up, every hour I am forced to sit here with my head throbbing in white hot constant pain and making me more and more diminished just kills me. It just eats me up. I hate it.
I avoid the triggers.
I take the meds.
I do all of the things I am supposed to do.
 Yet, here I am. Stuck in this throbbing, aching hell.
Just the pain and me.
Me and the pain.
"Status migrainus", they say and send you home with no idea of how that impacts your little children, how it tears at the fabric of who you are and what makes you tick.
You make the appointments.
You go for the MRI's.
You will try the new meds.
And maybe a few days of no pain come.
But even those days are marred by the worrying if tomorrow you will hurt again. If the pain will carry you off to your soft prison again where you can hear them two rooms away, playing but stopping every once in awhile to ask if Mama is still sick.

Monday, August 6, 2012

These Three

These three kids are three of a kind. Unless you have ever been in the same house or yard with them for an hour or two or an afternoon, you just probably can't get a grasp on the bond that is between them.
 It started with the two oldest ones, The Brevelyn, if you will. They are so close, yes, cousins, not siblings, but... so much more. They need each other in ways that my sister and I, their mothers, can't even quite grasp. There isn't a day that goes by that the two of them aren't talking about the other one. They may not be on the phone with each other every day, but you better believe that they are on each other's minds every day. Every day.
And when Liam came along, yes there were some bumps. Especially the first time Brevin figured out that Ev would not permit even him to treat Liam badly, but overall things smoothed over quickly and the littlest monkey was assimilated rather seamlessly and they are all really terrific playmates.
Mostly, it works out because the two oldest ones do what they want and Liam trails behind them, happily, merrily assuming that he too is playing but really he is just tagging along. For now, it works.
I love to see them playing on hot summer days. Splashing in pools, spraying each other with squirt guns, chasing and tagging, spying and playing involved games of tag and war... all of the games kids invent. Asking for popsicles. Slathered in sunblock all day, bug spray at night. Bumps and bruises. Put to bed with sweaty heads, sticky faces, bruised legs, dirty feet and utterly exhausted.
I am never so happy after tending to their needs after a long summer day of playing and needing things. Even if I do get a bit worn down and grumpy, I am not stupid enough to be blind to the special moments that have been going on right in front of me all day.
Brev was supposed to stay with us for some time this summer, he decided not to. Evelyn and I were CRUSHED. CRUSHED we were, but we understood that it was a long stay and a long way from home for a boy his age so we chose not to let him know just how very sad we were by his decision. But we really would have loved to have had him for awhile. All to ourselves.
Why just think of all the popsicles.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Most Irritating Little Thank You Note

Just recently we decided to add another day to Evelyn's gymnastic routine. The main reason for doing so is simply that she wanted to, and since she loves it so and we had no real reason to say no, we did. The funny thing about her is, and this is one of the things that I love best about her, is that she got in a flash, that it would be more money and more time and effort on our parts to get her there. She realized it meant her little brother would have to do more waiting and killing time, she realized that it meant a bit more work for her Mama and all without us saying a single word about this to her, that's just how she is, how she has always been. I actually wish she were a bit more blissfully unaware, she would be able to be more care free.
Well, so... I take her up for her first three day week and we get home and she is so happy and full of gymnastic fervor that she creates a little thank you note for me, this is also something she has done from the youngest age. Oh, how she loves to give a good thank you note!
In the note, she drew a daisy and a rose for me. They were beautiful flowers and put in the card because she knows I love those two flowers particularly. Though on her second or third inspection of the note, she noticed that she had forgotten to include briars on the rose. Now this irritated the little perfectionist and we had to have a conversation about it, of course.
So she says to me, "But it's ok Mama because heh heh not EVERY rose has a thorn."
And then my brain split into two warring factions. One side remained the almost 40 year old Mama with great taste in music and a desire to look after her child's feelings and the other side? Wehehehellll.....the other side turned back the clock and became the Eighties Baby with big hair, acid wash and a penchant for listening to Poison.
And an epic battle ensued in my brain.
I heard a dull roar.
My vision darkened.
The Eighties Baby actually won! (must've been all that Aqua Net)
and my head, still kind of out of my control, jerkingly looked toward her...
And my mouth opened...
And I sang...
"Every rose has its thorn..."
She turned and looked at me and said "whaaa...?"
And I went on!
"Just like every night has its dawn.."
Now I was in the moment, shameless and uncaring of the damage I may have been doing!
"Just like every cowboy sings his sad, sad song.
 Every rose has its thorn. Yeah it does."
(insert big finish)(there may or may not have been some air guitar with a broom)
She just wandered away vaguely.

That damn song has now been stuck in my head for a day and a half.
I should have been worried about myself.
I don't know if I can survive it again.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Two Years

Liam has been with us for two years now. Sometimes I just can't believe it. And then I look at a picture of when we first got home and I can't quite match up that chubby legged little squawker to the brown legged little gun totin' fire cracker we have now and I realize that nothing but time and family could have made that transformation.
It has been an interesting two years. Just having a child in your life that is growing from the age of 21 months to the age of 3 and a half is momentous enough and full of firsts and wondrous events; but when that child is also entering family life for the first time, when he has moved from one country to another, had major surgeries, gained a sister, moved houses..well you can see it all just gets even more amazing and time seems to go all the faster if you are the poor Mama trying to keep track of it all and hold on a bit longer.

I do know that I have been lucky enough to travel to China to meet not one, but two very particular children. Children who have come into my life and given me the only thing I ever really wanted, the chance to be a Mom. I love my little boy. He is exactly the boy we all needed.

So here's to Liam. The boy that makes me smile, the boy that makes me crazy. My sleep walking, gun toting, swashbuckling, sand digging, bike riding, sister aggravating, morning cuddling charmer.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Chock Full O' Nuts

The Smokewood Gang has come and gone again and we had an excellent time despite the heat. They pull up in the drive and we go instantly from a quiet little Cape life to an ongoing party life of gaming, eating and beach going and it's good. And when they leave within 3 minutes we are left standing in the quiet, looking at each other like we aren't quite enough anymore, like, "Well, what do we do now?!?!" 
But while they are here? 
We live it up. 
It's nice to have your house chock full of nuts!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Whizz! Bang! + Higgs!

Happy Fourth!
We have had so much fun that, apparently, we have broken our children in some way. It is 7 pm and they have both been asleep for at least an hour and a half now! Liam fell asleep in the hallway even! The fact that Ev is asleep at all is astounding- a revelation- that girl hasn't willingly slept while it was light outside since she was 19 months old. Part of the issue is that her birthday celebrations kept us quite busy for awhile and then before we could recover, it was time to celebrate The Fourth.

One of the perks we have as a Coast Guard family is getting to watch fireworks from the beach. If you haven't ever gotten to do this, I highly recommend it!We try to get there with enough time for the kids to play and have a shore side picnic. I bring glow sticks and then we settle in for the show. We were on the beach late into the night, we only came home when the three year old looked at us and made the sign for bed and asked to go home....

Today we stayed at home lounging about, cooking out and reading Harry Potter #3. We had those impromptu naps, some good food and some much needed relaxation.

Les and I also had a few moments of complete geeked out joy when we were reading up on the recent news in Science. It seems that hard working, steely eyed scientists have come across the Higgs boson particle!!! This is amazing news and I knew they would do it, I just thought it would take many more years. This is what you may have been hearing called the "God Particle".  I can not stress what big news this is the in world of Science. Good on you CERN!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Celebrations Are At An End

Well, we have come to the end of the celebrations for Ev's eighth birthday. It was complete with a tea party, a beach day, a going to see Brave in the theater day, a birthday day (with presents and cake), presents from near and far, cards and missives from family, phone calls, balloons, and last but not least -a day in a skiff out in the harbor fishing with her Papa.
Our aim is not to spoil with  material things but to spoil our children with our time and collective family memories so, well played there!
Ev has stated this this is her "best birthday ever" and it has also been written in at least five of her little journals so I'm taking that as the official word on this one.

And I'm spent....

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mooshy Pot Pie

I was taking part in an online discussion recently about they whys and wherefores of gender decisions in the minds and hearts of adoptive parents and that set off almost two weeks of heavy thinking and soul searching on my part.
Really, no thought went into checking the girl box on the paperwork the first time. We were adopting from China, we were going the NSN route (non-special needs) and we had been told that meant girl. We were just naive enough not to question it and really it didn't matter to us either way so we didn't. We didn't question.
The second time around though we were a whole lot smarter about many , many things where adoption was concerned and most particularly where the perspective adopted child was concerned. So when it came time to check that gender box we were very determined to make sure that everyone between us and the CCAA knew that a boy was totally copacetic. Now Les was all gung-ho for a boy, all of the way- and I was a bit reserved on that matter in my heart of hearts, but I had learned too much about the plight of little boys with special needs in the heart of China to NOT check that boy box too.  (BUUUUUT)I wanted Ev to have a sister.
I wanted her to have a sister the way I have a sister. There is nothing like it. If you are lucky enough to have a sister that is close then you know, there is nothing that can ever quite take the place of that relationship. You will never be alone as long as you can piss your sister off.
The Universe saw fit to bring us Liam. We forged ahead and all of those fears about sisterhood, a daughter being a daughter for life... brothers and sisters, sister-in-law's... it all was out of my head until this recent online conversation. Then I started worrying again. What if... what if... wouldn't a sister....
But you see there was The Moosh. He's here! And. He. Is. Ours. And. Was. Meant. To. Be. And I never ever ever ever ever could think that having him was some sort of mix up so what that what did that leave me?
I had to look at what was happening here in my own home. I had to look at what my oh so complicated, oh so sophisticated, oh so independent daughter was learning from a veritable little monkey man. Because as a mother, the one thing that I have learned for sure, write that shit in stone, is this: it is so not about me, ever, not for one single solitary moment, it is about them, always. The two of them. My children and what they need and if I forget that? They will remind me. And if they are too busy to get to it, The Universe will remind me. SO the bonus is that he happens to be exactly the little guy that I needed but the REAL issue here is this:
Liam is the exact brother that Evelyn needed in her life and she is the sister that he needed in his.
All of the trust issues that I have fretted over with her for years and years? Well, as she watches Liam trusting us and showing emotions publicly and you know, not bursting into flames or being unable to sustain his own life- she is slowly but surely starting to mimic him and it is good for her. I could have spent years talking myself blue in the face about it being ok to cry and let me know when she was sad but seeing her brother get some serious face time over that stuff has made her see that it's ok and she has let her guard come down. I have talked about this before, yes. It's just that, it keeps happening in these small increments and it's so good for her - I'm just amazed. The girl demanded a kiss from me in the middle of the grocery store today! She cried at the movie theater!She is talking to us when she is sad or mad or upset! These are all very great things for our little stoic wonder.

And all of those little lazy lima bean issues I fret over for him? Well? Having a sister that is a human combustible engine really fires up the old competitive bones and keeps him moving. He is also so very sick and tired of hearing her fuss over his messes that he is oh so slowly getting the idea of cleaning up after himself.

And as my husband, who has two sisters that he is very close with says, "The relationship between brothers and sisters can be great your whole life too. Just because it's not something you had, doesn't mean there's no value to it". He is so right. I have also had to look at the many women I know who have sisters they don't get along with and don't value the way I value mine.
So here's to my Mooshy Pot Pie! He may not be able to fight gravity off for very long, he may not be able to remember why he walked into a room, he might not get that he CAN move his plate closer to his body, he might slam his head into mailboxes, get stuck in step-stools, get stuck under side tables, he might trip over oxygen...but he is exactly the boy we were waiting for.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Many Happy Returns

What can be said when your daughter turns from her seventh year, shaking it off like an old dusty coat and turns bright faced into her eighth? What do you do when you wake up one morning and look at her and realize that she has lost every single ounce of baby chub you worked so hard to pack onto her frame and now she is a sleek gazelle of a girl? How do you adjust your eyes to the new light patterns that refract off of her as she morphs from a baby into a little girl on the verge of something bigger... ineffable?
You don't speak, you stand mute before her.
There is nothing you can do, you are helpless in her wake.
You can not adjust, you are a hapless victim of her metamorphosis.
So she turns eight and the honor of witnessing her growth and maturation belongs to Les and I. To see her begin to get brighter and brighter and spread out into the world like a winter sunrise is the most miraculous, spiritual, private and mesmerizing event that I have ever been privy to. Words in my native tongue fail me utterly at this point, and I suspect that from here on out I will be left faltering and floundering in an attempt to put to words what it is to be this near to such a person as she, as she grows.

Sometimes in stories there are these magic items, items of great power, items that have deep and ancient magic hidden within but somehow these objects become hidden and covered over to resemble every day objects. Mostly they perform just like their everyday counterparts but, when the right person is looking, or the light is just right, or the moon is full, or a wizard says the right words... the magic flares up and burns off the every day. Well, that's about what it's like being Evelyn's parents.
Most of the time, she is just a regular kid, laughing and joking and making toot jokes or driving me nuts with the fussing. But then...oh then... the light will hit her hair just right, or she will turn her head just so, or her brother will fall and need her succor, or she will say some freakishly deep statement about a movie or a book or a family situation and all of that everyday burns right off and we get a glimpse of what truly makes up her spirit.
And it is blinding.
And makes me realize that she is amazing.

So Happy Birthday to my magic bringer, may her eighth year be all that she can imagine and a bit more for good measure. May she find all of the lost things, may she hold on just a bit longer to the pure innocence and free spiritedness of childhood.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fathers, Daddies and Papas

Sometimes in life you get lucky and that's good. Great even. The nature of luck makes it so that if you have good luck, it will most likely snowball and then, you will continue to have good luck.
In my case, I was lucky enough to be born to great parents and end up with Jack as my Dad. ( My Mom is pretty excellent too but this is Father's Day so I'm working on a theme here).
Having Jack as a Father was a pretty singular experience. It was akin to being raised by a fellow child that could drive...but... that's not quite it either because that implies that what he did was silly and goofy and undirected and that wasn't it at all, how he and my mom raised us was so much more, so much better than that. His fatherhood was much more tailored than that. There was silliness when we needed it, discipline when the situation called for it, there was always love and respect, and the occasional Ninja outfit....My sister and I were seen for who we were at every stage of our lives, we were given love and respect (yes, I already said that but it is very important to give that to your children and those are the two things that I am most thankful for), we were given the best of what they had, every day- I am talking about the best of themselves here. They were the best that they could be for us, day after day, year after year and it continues into today for our children, their grandchildren.

 I had this great Daddy when I was a little thing. A Daddy that could drive the fastest, pick me up the highest, he could be the funniest, he was the best. As I grew older he became my Dad. I realized he was pretty smart- book smart and smart about life. I started to see that he made sacrifices for his family and as a pre-teen and a teenager I had no words within me to thank him, to tell him that I saw who he was.

Then as I got older even and started to date, this is where the luck of having him as a father paid off. I got to look around and compare. I got to see that I had a pretty great Dad and I realized very quickly that I really didn't want to settle for anything less in life. I grew up in a house with a man that was an excellent husband and a terrific father, that was luck. I could either place value on that luck and pursue a man that was like my own Dad or I could go the other way.... I chose to try my best and get a guy that was like my Dad.

Some guy that really and truly liked his family. Some guy that would consider me a friend. Some guy that would spend his life being a steward for the children we had in our lives. Some guy that would make me laugh and protect me. Some guy that would help me.

I have two very excellent men in my life.
My Mom found one, I found the other.
One is my Daddy.
The other, a Papa to my children, my husband.
Jack and Leslie- I love you both.
Happy Father's Day.
Thank you both for loving me.
Even if you get together and "girl watch" occasionally.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Stories of China

Every once in awhile we find ourselves navigating a deep emotional family discussion. As an adoptive family the topic selection can be, and often times is, an emotional minefield. Sometimes though you get lucky and you find that the Big Talk you are currently in with your very-soon-to-8 year-old is how she has been sneaking books late and night and reading until midnight or so.
Then you find that you are in this conversation about reading and books and before you know it, there is this real ~ REAL~ dinner conversation happening. About books. With your 7 year old. How cool is that?
You realize too that it's also about choices and her growing up and you begin to work that into the conversation and before you know it, you are outright begging her making very thinly veiled pleas for her to home home for Christmas when she is 25- but I digress.
Through her comments you begin to see that she really has been a bit upset thinking that she might be in trouble, even though for three days now this has been an open and ongoing discussion and you have repeatedly told her that it's ok. I thought it might be time to just put it all out there for her, so I did. I told her that she was almost 8 now and what was I going to say? She knew when we had things to do the next day, she knew that once I put her to bed she shouldn't be making noise and having a hooplah and making a bunch of requests, I let her know that her Papa and I knew she had been up reading and we didn't mind ("You knew?!?!"). I basically informed her that this was our way of letting her know that we trust her, that she's cool, that we are trying to let go a bit and see what she can do. I think she got it. I think she was pleased. She might have mentioned something about coming home for Christmas when she was 25 if she wasn't too busy....
My point is this, when we talk emotional stuff and she ends up feeling happy and secure, she always wants to finish with us telling her stories of when we met her in China.
And so we do.
The story of "The Big Room and How We Met"
The first time she smiled at me.
The story of how she pooped all over a red couch in a hotel.
How Mama was so hungry she stole bread from Papa.
How she was so tiny.
Why we started calling her Butter Bean.
How Papa nearly burned down the hotel and she slept through it.
Her first bottle with us.

The funny thing is that I find this with Liam too. When he is very happy and secure in a family moment , he looks around and tells what he can of his China story. "Mama, You, Sissy, come China, get baby Liam. Home. We. All. Family." "AAA UUU OOO" ( I love you).
And so his China stories begin.

And I will proudly tell them their stories of China, whenever and wherever they want to hear them because those are the stories of my family.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Boys Versus Girls

We were on a family walk tonight over at the beach. Les and I were kicking a soccer ball about and Ev was running along the surf line and Liam was bobbing along between us, occasionally landing face first in the sand, like he does... he came across a patch of sea foam and it surprised him because he's never paid attention to it and well, he did what a boy does. He stomped it to smithereens.
As we walked along I got to thinking about that and why it struck me as being so funny and odd and kind of different. It's because my first child is a girl. Now, the things I am about to say will not be considered profound by anyone who has both girl children and boy children but it all sort of washed over me today and left me amused.
You can sort them into two camps by how they are going to react to two major stimulus groups: something unknown and something dead.
Lets look at the something unknown:
A girl: will be the more varied of the study group. She can have several variants of basically two major reactions based upon her overriding emotional state that day.  She can either go all fraidy cat or she can go mystical. I prefer the mystical route. For instance, a girl comes across some sea foam, it's unknown...must be...mermaids! Yes! That's it! Something, something, mermaids, something! Chitter chatter wonder amazement! Mark the occasion! MER-FREAKING-MAIDS-WERE-HERE-ZOMFG!!!!! OR She will weep uncontrollably until she is taken home and given ice cream.
A boy: Will stomp that shit into the earth and run until he finds more to stomp. He will gleefully eradicate. every. last. bit. And only think of ice cream because his sister mentioned it.
Lets see what happens when they come across something dead:
A girl: EEEEEEWWWWWWW!!!!!!OR she go all sciency for a bit and poke at it unti she sees something gross then, EEEEEWWWWW!!!! OR, if her emotions are running high a very romantic and involved burial might need to take place, you know, something that involves lace and tears and poetry. After the funeral, she'll be so upset that she will need ice cream to calm he beleaguered soul.
A boy: Well that depends on the size of the dead thing doesn't it? Dead bug? Call for Mama. Small dead mammal?Pick it up and play with it until your mother catches you and decides that she must quarantine you and call the CDC- no wait she better save that call to the CDC for the time you inevitably come across a dead LARGE mammal and immediately become Han Solo on the surface of Hoth and the animal is now a dead Tauntaun and you are not going to survive the oncoming night so you have to slice open the belly and climb inside and pull in the unconscious form of your closest friend so you guys can live to fight off The Imperial Forces and somebody still has to seriously snog Leia...and instead you get a bath in Lysol and a lesson about poking dead moles with sticks. He won't think of ice cream until his sister suggests that he might feel better after that stinky Lysol bath if he had some.

Then theres also this----
Raising boys: Ur Doing it Wrong Acshully

And Raising Girls----
Ummm yes acshully that's it.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

My Boy

                              Sons are the anchors to a mother's life   ~Sophocles

They come into your life different than girls, right from the start. They come in crashing and banging, stomping and growling. They are dinosaurs and knights. They are monsters and puppies. They scoot and huff. Holler and bungle.
OH! But if you wait for it- there is a softness there that is something entirely of its own origin. A sweetness, a roundness, a slobbery kiss given at the most wonderfully unexpected moments.
A son can wrap you up and drag you down as his prisoner and you are willing to go. You are his, body and soul. And you longed for him every moment of your life. And you never knew.
You simply never knew the joy that would come from having such a wild, soft, noisy, wonderful thing at your side.

At three, my little guy is such a fun mix of things so strange and wild that it can all come only from the mind and will of a child. We just stand back and watch him and shake our heads in wonder at what he will think to do next. He loves his purple wizard hat and sees absolutely no contradiction in wearing it while playing football or while wizarding or while capturing a warrior maiden for that matter. His favorite book is a calm sleepy book about barn owls but his favorite toys are swords and battle axes. He loves to ride his bike up and down the quiet streets of our neighborhood while belting out odes to his Mama or singing about the deep blue summer sky. He is clumsy and falls over air, exactly like his cousin, but he is strong and gets up and runs off, sometimes laughing, sometimes crying.
"I help you Mama?" is the thing I hear him say most throughout the day. He just wants to be here with me, doing whatever it is I happen to be doing. Sometimes we will be doing something, it can be anything really, but he will get so overcome with happiness that he will stop whatever it is and run at me with his lips already puckered making the "mmmm" sound and lay a big kiss on me- just because he is happy. 
The other day he did this at the beach, he had run all of the way to the water line, decided that he was overcome with joy, turned and ran all of the way back to me, kissed me and then ran back and jumped in the ocean, his expression of thanks and joy complete. How can I not be completely in love with a boy such as this? 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Head Scramble

  • Some folks may wonder why I would post and talk about having such a bad parenting day with my kids, well... That's because I try to have this blog be as close to a real journal as possible for myself and I need to get that stuff out there too. And let's face it, we all need to read that other people have shitty days too because zomfg!
  • I have been utterly and completely freaked out about Lyme's Diseases for awhile now and my damnable cat keeps coming home with ticks. Gahhh.
  • I have decided that Topamax may be my own personal miracle drug.
  • Did you know that if you send a three year old out of the room you are in because you NEED some quiet, he will go three rooms away and find a mother trucking recorder to play?! I bet you didn't know that.
  • I have discovered that a book written in the 1970's about the British Navy in the 1800's can be a laugh out loud romp. I am talking about Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian. Thank you Les for encouraging me to read the series. It really is one of the best books I have ever read.
  • I used to have two vices. Drinking Caffeine Free Diet Coke like it was going out of Style - no really 6-8 cans a day- and cussing. Now thanks to the Topamax, I have had to quit the Coke cold turkey (and yes I am grieving all official like with the real Kubler Ross Stages and all)(and the bonus of near Trainspotting-esque withdrawal)  but unless they invent a pill that makes the cuss words taste like hot vomit water in my mouth....well...I will continue to have a vocabulary that makes my mother sigh with dismay. Sorry Mom. I'm down to one vice and this one won't give me some weird cancer or that's good. Right?
  • I felt like the cussing needed to be addressed because, elephant in the room? Man. There's like three and a stand in up there. I am such a lady. Well, we all have our talents. I can crochet and I can cuss. Not as divergent as you would think.
  • We have had The Hangover in from Netflix for three days now and we just can't seem to put it in and watch it. Methinks we may not be that interested. We'd rather read books about the British Navy in the 1800's. Nerds.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sometimes The Loving Can't Be The Thing

And it's not the loving that's at fault. It's not that your love isn't there or big enough or selfless enough. It's that it's sometimes impossible to keep it all right there at the forefront and then you get all human and things deteriorate and by the time the kids are down for an early bedtime, you look at yourself in the mirror and turn away in disgust.
I can't figure out how to be one of those Mom's that never looses her cool. I try and try. I could sit here and type paragraph after paragraph about how the kids drove me to loosing my cool tonight but in reality I AM THE ONE THAT LOST MY COOL.
I am the grown up. The responsibility is mine.
I know that ultimately it's ok if a mom yells at her kids once in awhile and everyone is sent to bed early and crying. No lasting damage was done. There will be apologies and explanations and trying harder and doing over. It's ok that the kids see us dealing with anger and frustration. It's ok that they see we can, and do apologize.

It just doesn't stop us from feeling like terrible people once we have calmed down and the house is too quiet, too early.

Let us be clear for the sake of the Internet and the Grandma. Some yelling occured. Mama stomped about a bit, talking loudly and making large gestures with her arms. Mama made it clear how very fed up she is with certain repetitive bad behaviors. The children noticed.

I love them dearly and I would dearly love a do over for most of today- not just this dinner time fiasco.


Monday, June 4, 2012

My Girl

                                      "And though she be but little, she is fierce."
                                                                                                   -Ole Willy

She weighs 37 pounds soaking wet at age 8 (well almost 8). She is the human embodiment of the phrase "spring steel and rawhide". She has six pack abs and her leg muscles ripple when she walks, runs, hops, skips or jumps. She can shimmy to the top of our street sign. She can back down kids years older than her and twice or three times her size if she thinks they are being mean to someone else, "someone smaller".  She cooks. She can help her Papa change the oil in the cars. She climbs trees. She is forever and always doing something gymnastic-y. She is a Math Whiz. She is kind. She is funny. She can smack talk with the best of them during video games. She will set up a blockade in Parcheesi and NOT move it, not matter how many dark looks her Mama gives her. She never thinks for a moment that she can't do something she sets her mind to. She sincerely believes that the only reason she can't drive is because she can't reach the pedals yet. She can run for 2 miles and not stop, she can bike forever. She can tend her brother's wound with the skill of a field nurse or the tenderness of a Big Sissy- whatever the situation calls for. She loves Harry Potter and fully believes that by the end of the summer she too will be a wizard. She believes in fairies and mermaids and Santa still. She loves the beautiful facts of science and math. She loves her microscope. She wants a telescope. She loves her cat. She wants a pet bunny. She is loyal. She is strong and fierce and wild. She is kind and gentle and sweet. She is Evelyn.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

He's Home and We Are All Better Than Okay

Papa came home yesterday. Yes, he did. And suddenly the world, the Universe, our home and our hearts are all in order.
We actually didn't meet him at the airport until 7:20 pm, so we had all day to wait and Ev had all day to fret. Would we get the decorations all up? Would we get the cake done? Would we be on time? Would we find the right gate at the airport? And she strapped on her wristwatch and was not shy about keeping me up to date on the exact time and also how much time we had left (that wasn't too nerve wracking at all driving through Philadelphia).
One of the things we love about Ev is that she is genuinely invested in making sure that others feel special on special occasions and she wanted Papa's homecoming to be special. She worked for three days on a welcome home sign that we took to the airport, along with two ballons. Les said that he couldn't see us around the people in front of him but when he saw those balloons floating above everyone, he knew that they were for him.
I can say now that my kids were both in partial shut down mode while he was gone and they have come back alive with his arrival. They are bright and shining and full to the brim with "papa papa papa!".
Aggghhh.(sigh of relief)
He was terribly missed.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fun at States

This Gymnastic season has come to a close. Ev finished out the year by going to the NJ State Gymnastics Competition. It was a long, 9 hour day, mostly because we also stayed to offer support to her friends who were competing after her group. I really am still trying to fully process what I think about and feel about today but, it will probably boil down to me feeling absolutely amazed that this tiny girl walked right into that big convention center, dropped her stuff off and started warming up. No hesitation, no balking. She just walked in and started doing the thing that she loves. I watched her all day and all day she smiled and laughed and talked with her team mates, she was happy to be there and I was so glad that she was there. 
She came home with a medal for Best All Around. She came home tired and happy and full of a quiet self confidence and champing at the bit to start her summer training.

She is a determined little thing but the thing that I love most is that gymnastics just makes her happy.