Monday, January 30, 2012

And Now- A Word From Our Sponsor

How excited were you when you learned that your thyroid was shitting the bed?
I'm not afraid to tell you, I was thrilled.
No, really, literally thrilled.
I have been dealing with some personal health issues for awhile now and just today some things are starting to come to light.
It has taken me almost an entire year and multiple blood draws but I finally got the medical confirmation that what I thought was going on with my body, was indeed, just exactly what I thought was going on with my body. So you see, the being thrilled wasn't exactly about the dumb ass thyroid (that's two of my glands that are happily, merrily, not doing what the ever loving #$%& they were created to do), it was about the knowing. I was thrilled because I am no longer going to have to spend the wee hours in the morning looking up diseases on Web M.D.

A year ago almost I realized that my hair was thinning. Not falling out in clumps. Just...thinning. Badly. I also realized that my eyebrows were thinning. I also noticed that I was having less and less energy as the days went by. Just the thought of getting from morning to bedtime was enough to make me weep sometimes. This was when we were still in Ohio so I went to my Doc there and asked for some bloodwork. All normal- except for a very low Vit D. So Vit D supplements and a remark or two about my weight and the levels of stressors in my life.

It just kept getting worse. I was getting more and more tired. I felt (still feel)like a woman much older than my age. Less and less hair. I kept thinking that it had to be my thyroid as I had no  other issues. Just the fatigue and hair thinning.

Recently it got to the point where I was feeling genuine concern for my health and another two blood draws saying nothing was wrong. So away I went to a Reproductive Endocrinologist. The Reproductive part for the PCOS, the Endocrinologist part for thyroid. Man that was a depressing visit. I learned things about the future of my body that I will try not to dwell on. Let us just agree that PCOS is a hell of a thing. And kind of separate from that but not really is Diabetes. Yeah, that's coming too.

So I left with an order for more thyroid blood work, a prescription to TRIPLE the dose of Glucophage I was on. Oh and a whole bunch of Vit D for a level that was even lower than it was months ago. And I was to await word from the Doc.
So I start taking the Glucophage. I only doubled it at first because the Doc told me to go up slowly. That was great advice. For the first two days I was kind of spacey and sick. But then I forgot I was spacey and sick and I just kept taking the pills like I was told because of the diabetes, and the pcos and the insulin resistance and the weight. Except that I didn't notice that I had no appetite. And I kind of got "goofy". I really lost my mind. I was so forgetful that it was a bit scary. I would forget that I was cooking, or that I as talking to another human, I would forget that I was the one driving the car (that happened only once and then I did NOT drive again until I got better). My sister said, out of love, "you look like a cancer patient" and on another night, "talking to was like you are drunk". After a Skype session with my mom, she was really worried about the state that I was in after watching me struggle to maintain a conversation with her. So I talked to Les and he confessed how weird I was and how worried he was. And I sat on my couch and cried my eyes out and I told Les just how bad it really was, you see I am the consummate cover up person. I never want anyone to worry or to know that I am sick or struggling- so I just manage. But this was getting bad. I gave up any pretense of being able to school Ev, or shower every day, or remember that I was doing laundry. I was unable to interact with my children or husband. I was gone.

So last week I get a call form the doctor's office. My thyroid was "ok". And I just cried because I just felt like that was where the issue was and now I knew nothing and I felt crazy.

I stopped taking the glucophage after talking with les as he realized it was the only new thing and that the fatigue had been with me for awhile but the forgetfulness had not. So you know, they might be separate. GENIUS!!! I stopped taking it and within 12 hours I was back to myself again. Almost. I mean I am still exhausted (eff you thyroid) and I am still a bit spacey at times (eff you insulin resistance and thyroid) but I am not a danger to myself or my kids anymore. I am not a shell of a person anymore.
Then today the doctor's office called again. I am not sure what that call last week was but the Doctor looked at my blood work and saw that my thyroid was indeed crapping out. The numbers are not "bad" yet and they said that I JUST hit the threshold for treatment but that's what the issue is. I will begin taking Synthroid as soon as my pharmacy get it to me.
I will see the Doc soon to talk about the glucophage and come up with an alternative. I will fight as long as I have to, to feel like a 38 year old woman instead of a 70 year old woman.
You may bethinking that she was just tired, just goofy but I will tell you that it was bad. It feels bad. It feels horrible to be an overweight, middle aged woman insisting time and time again that her "hyboid" be checked. I felt like my kids didn't have a mother. I was afraid and I was alone.

I bathed my children today. Due to my recent bout with drug induced dimentia and Leslie's regular state of absent minded was their first bath in two weeks. True story.

Now I hate my pituitary and my thyroid. My pancreas is on deck.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

That Damn Cat

When you do a lot of reading and some of that reading includes authors that can really creep you out. Like Neil Gaiman for instance.
And when your favorite story by one of your favorite authors is about a cat that does nightly battles with a demon to keep his family safe....
Then when your cat starts up howling his fool head off and hissing in the middle of the night...
 You come out of your sleep with your heart in your throat and wondering how in the hell you, your husband and a cat are going to keep The Devil away from the kids!!!!
With no Holy Water OMG!!!! And no silver ammo jeeze o peet!!!
After you jump out of bed and run into the hall prepared to fight to the death...
What you see when you get there might not be what your mind had you thinking you would see.

If you don't see a Hell Demon standing in your hall afterall...
You are kind of left with that, "What the fuuu...???" feeling.
Then you look down because the cat is STILL carrying on.

That is when you see that the stupid animal was trying to get in your daughter's room to sleep with her, found himself stymied by the closed and latched door and thought that the jingle bell leftover from Christmas that is hanging on her door might be just the ticket to a polar fleece nest of absolute comfort with a bed buddy that doesn't kick you in the face every time they roll over. But he has about twenty blue million toes and one of those claws get stuck in the ribbon holding the bell. And as far as I can tell from the way cats act when this happens- that shit hurts.

You reach down to help the stupid son of a bitch get loose before he wakes the kids up and he looks at you with terror and that terror finally helps him free his claw from the red silk ribbon holding that damn jingle bell in place.

And then you realize a few things simultaneously:

  1. Your love of that cat might not prevent his death this night.
  2. Teaching your cat to ring  bells hung at the back door was maybe not a good idea afterall.
  3. You would fight even The Devil himself while wearing nothing more than an old tank top and granny panties if that is what needs to be done to protect your young.
  4. You have somehow become the slathering Rage Demon stalking the halls of your house at night.

In case you are wondering, only one half of this marital union actually made it out of the bed. It was not the half that has had combat training from the US Government.

                                                                    Damn cat.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Adopting China- Thoughts on Chinese New Year

Life is funny. You end up devastated, lost and alone and then this other country half way around the world says, "Yes. You can have this child to raise and call your own". So you go get the child and you think that it was all about you and that your life will continue on and you will just have this child now. But you are changed in so many profound ways, ways that take you by surprise.
First you have all of the ways that your heart transforms from who you were, to being a mother.
But when you adopt, and that child comes from another country, something else happens along with all of those changes. You find that all of the sudden (or not so sudden depending on The Wait), you have this other culture in your home. You have travelled and spent the most emotional time in your life as a stranger in a strange land. You find that you can't quite get that place out of your heart and mind. You find that in order to honor your children for who they are, you must also take into account where they came from. You begin to realize that even though you may not be able to replace their lost culture, you can honor it, give that culture a small corner is your home, in your heart and in your timeline.
I have done the reading. I know that my kids need to feel a connection to China so they may be able to come to terms with who they are as individuals but I will confess, we didn't start celebrating CNY because of that. I thought it would be fun. That's it. We lived in North Carolina, it was a gray, drizzly week and I thought, "let's spice this up". So we decorated, I made some Chinese food and that was it. Evelyn enjoyed it so much that we did it the next year and the next and I am.
I also have to say that there is no real great way for me to give them a genuinely Chinese- Chinese New Year. So I do the best I can. I have researched and we have chosen things that we can do that emulate CNY. So we decorate- using mostly construction paper and we eat Chinese food. And we talk about China, CNY and the customs around it, Les and I research Chinese calligraphy and try our best to get some of it correct on our home made banners. We research the Chinese Zodiac and base that year's decor around what animal year it is. (This is the Year of the Dragon. The Water Dragon to be exact).
There is something new to this year though. I have come to realize that just as my family and friends have made room in their hearts for my children, they too have made room for China. I have had calls, e-mails, presents sent- all because it's Chinese New Year and they all know that we celebrate it, that it's important to us. It's so funny because the involvement of our friends and family in this time of the year is the single most authentic aspect to The Dillon Family Chinese New Year Mashup.

And that is what I will tell the kids this year. Chinese New Year in China is centered around family. I will tell them that your family here gets that. They know how you came from China and they know we celebrate this holiday that does not touch their lives, but they make time for us anyway. Your family sees how you love to do this, they get that it's a part of you. I am choked up with tears as I write this because the simple acceptance of family and friends is the most valuable commodity of all - and we have that in spades.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Monday, January 16, 2012


Tonight while we were driving home after a very long day, my husband put a cd in the player and the car filled with music. It happened to be the music he so arrogantly popped into my cd player about 20 years ago when I had offered to take this nice guy I knew (him) about an hour and a half away to go job hunting near his college campus.

All of the sudden, years melted away and the sound of my Chinese son singing in the back seat got far away...and I went back to that day in my mind. That was the first day that we had ever spent any significant amount of time together and it was the first day that I knew that I wanted to be with him. I knew that I loved him. It was just like that.

 I was 19 people. Nineteen. Les and I had met a few times before this, maybe 5 times over 2 years and each time stands out in my mind after all of these years and each time has the same feel in my mind and heart as my days with him now feel.

So for a brief time tonight I was 20 again, wearing short blue jean cutoffs, a white t-shirt and my hair a glorious mane of spiral perm curls. I was 19 and there was this very cool, cute and great guy next to me in the car. Someone that I could just BE with. Someone who was funny, who got my stupid geeky jokes, someone who was interested and PRESENT. Then I came back to the present and there was still this cute, funny guy next to me- except that we had those two kids back there and we were coming home from speech therapy and gymnastics for them. These two amazing kids that we had to fight to find in this world- the ultimate bonus.

I knew then, on that bright sunny day that I wanted to be with him for  a long time. I didn't say "marry" or "married" in my head- I was 19. But I knew something was up. I had no idea what a future with that guy would be like, I just knew I wanted to be there for it.

And here I am, in that future and it is nothing that I could have ever imagined -but it's everything that I dreamed of.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Our Beautiful Girl

*A beautiful girl can make you dizzy, like you been drinkin' jack and coke all morning. She can make you feel high, for the single greatest commodity known to man-promise. Promise of a better day, promise of a greater hope, promise of a new tomorrow. This particular aura can be found in the gait of a beautiful girl, in her smile, in her soul and the way she makes  every rotten little thing about life seem like its gonna be ok.


*from the movie Beautiful Girls

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sir Moosh

I had to run outside and snap a few pictures of the littlest knight today. That was a really  evil tree dragon and it needed to be taught a lesson. Sir Moosh of Tater was just the noble knight to do so....

But, it's not so easy to be a Knight. It's the pesky helm you see.

But a good Knight will out. And he will hold his steel aloft in triumph.


   We are only almost half way through January so I thought I could sneak in a bit more about last year. I was just thinking that I should narrow my favorite pictures of the kids down to just one a piece.

So I did. It wasn't easy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Moments That Make Me Smile

View from the chalkboard:
As you can see Princess Leia is working hard at her math while Sir Stripey Bum is maxin' and relaxin' in his slippers reading a dinosaur book. The dress-up trunk is flung wide just calling out for a couple of intrepid adventurers but...not quite yet, there is still work to be done. Little brother will wait, just not too long. On this day (today) we were working on some math that Ev wan't too pleased about and the look on her face also makes me smile because she can be such a stinker.- see her smile of tolerance?

                                                             View from the house:
Les took this picture on chilly afternoon when the kids were out, playing and adventuring- doing whatever they leased. This is what pleased them. She is reading and studying a fairy book and he is digging about in grass and dirt. I am not sure why the safety cones are there but knowing Ev it's because she deemed the tree too close to the road- or maybe it was a magical barrier or maybe the original intent was to keep the digger out of her realm.

They love to drag blankets and pillows about, find a Castaneda Spot and waller around a bit. On this day, Sissy decided it was time to read to Lee-UHM.

WWF Time:
This was the first time Uncle Les saw Brev after the hospital stay. He (Les) was in the house for approximately 5 minutes before the kids staged an attack and it was on like  Donkey Kong! This is a regular occurrence when Les is paired with these kids. Full on wrestling, sword fighting, chasing. They love it. He loves it. And yes this was a part of Brev's official rehab/pt routine. wink.

Catching Up

I can't seem to catch up.
I think it might have something to do with the fact that every time I am almost there...I get a migraine, or a tooth abscess, or a migraine, or a cold, or a migraine, and I loose 3 or 4 days and all the ground I gained in my last  "no migraine or any other crap" phase.

I have gone through so many bouts of relaxing my standards so that I can feel like things are getting done that it's a bit ridiculous. I am not even talking about my old, crazy, clean house obsessed, pre-kids level of chores and cleaning and errands. I am talking about the fact that I am barely able to maintain a cleanliness standard that would get me a Health Dept. rating of 8.5 if I was a restaurant.

I am currently re-washing a load of clothes for the third time because I can't seem to get to them to get them in the dryer before they stink. My floors have not been mopped in oh...well, longer than I want to admit publicly. Every mirror and window in the house that Liam has fingerprint access to needs cleaned. I need to shave my legs. I need a nap.

The thing is I am a stay at home Mom so I feel like there should be somewhere in the day that I could get things done. Yeah. No. It's not happening.

Here is my day:
--Sleep until the kids wake up because I am an insomniac and a good night of sleep is a rare animal for me and waking ahead of them is just plain out of the question.
--Breakfast for The Horde. This means a hurried occasion of some carb laden whatever that I can throw in front of them so I can hurriedly clean up the kitchen or squeeze in some other task. I always tell myself I will eat in a just a bit...
--Cleaning up from breakfast real quick like which seems silly because didn't I JUST clean it from the evening before?!
--The start of school: Math 40 minutes, Spelling 20 minutes, Writing 15 minutes, Grammar 20 minutes, Reading 30 minutes. Which is like 2 hours and 5 minutes. So it doesn't seem like that long on paper. You must factor in diaper changes, and getting Liam out of whatever predicament he is in (like stuck in a chair) every 15 minutes. There is also the comforting Liam time because he fell and hit his head again- every 20 minutes. Liam's speech practice for 30 minutes. The time that Ev argues and balks and lollygags.
--So somewhere in there we stop for lunch and the "cleanup" (Notice the quotes there. That is because at this point I have given up any pretense of actually cleaning, this is more like shoving and dumping).
--Return to school to finish up.
--Liam down for a nap some days. Some days we head out to do the grocery shopping or errand running.
--While Liam is napping sometimes I nap too (no shame) or Ev and I do some fun project or I sit and stare for a total of 10 minutes but mostly it's finishing school because of some drama her Highness has added to the day and thus delayed finishing time.
--Papa home from work. So the kids play and scramble on him for about 5 minutes while I sit stunned, realizing that I haven't eaten or showered.
--I shower then Les and I have a snack while the kids play about.
--And this is where it gets hazy. Les is here. I am here. Yet...somehow our time just gets eaten up and we end up on the far shores of our evening exhausted and stunned that it is actually 10 pm and we didn't get a thing done. Again. Because you know there was dinner and clean up and just triyng to be with the kids. On Tuesdays and Thursdays Les comes in to take over school for History and Science.

This is Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Monday and Wednesday get extra points for being all time eat-y and crazy making because of the 5 hours minimum we spend getting the kids up to Speech and Gymnastics.

Saturday we spend recovering from the week prior and Sunday we spend psyching up for the coming week. (That was fancy talk for laying about playing video games and taking walks with the kids or playing board games, reading books, wrestling with the kids- you know family stuff).

See? It seems like there should be something MORE that I get done.
But I just really get only taking care of the kids done.
Ultimately it's all ok. The house work will always be there, the kids will not.
I know that it's ok to have a messy home because you are too busy caring for the kids to really commit to cleaning the toilets.
It's just that, as a stay at home mom, there is alot of pressure to feel like you are on top of it all. That you are getting ALL the things done.
We are getting the most important stuff done I think. We are spending these years caring for our kids and trying to enjoy them.
It's good.
I just need a nap.
And a wife.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

How I See It Now

"I am not embarrassed to tell you that I believe in miracles."
-Corazon Aquino

After you experience a miracle in your life, you will find that it is very difficult to attempt to "get back to normal". If your life happens to be blessed with something that you view as a miracle, you find that suddenly what you once saw as normal isn't quite the same thing anymore. 

How do you go about your life living and breathing in profoundly unexceptional ways and yet pay tribute to the absolute gift that was given to you?

How do you ever look at the people in your life the same again?

"I think miracles exist in part as gifts and in part as clues that there is something beyond the flat world we see."
-Peggy Noonan

I am not complaining. It is a wonderful thing to be facing, this shift in reality, this realization of fragility and love.
It's just that you want to deserve it.
It's that you need to be able to see it for what it is, or was, or continues to be so that you don't loose it.

“The universe is big, its vast and complicated, and ridiculous. And sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles. And that's the theory. Nine hundred years, never seen one yet, but this would do me." (The Doctor) 
 Steven Moffat

I fully believe that my nephew is alive because of a miracle. I am a very careful person when it comes to spiritual things. I play my cards close to my chest and it is very rare to find me talking about religion or my own personal beliefs in God. I do know when I have seen a miracle though, especially when it is one of a medical nature because those are accompanied by Doctors doing dances of joy at a loved ones bedside without having the "doc shop talk" to explain it. Besides, I know what my heart tells me.

I think we are given miracles so we can stop for a moment and see beyond the everyday. I think we are given miracles so we try,  just a bit harder each day to remember the way we were blessed and thus become more than we were. In the moment of the miracle, we are known, as individuals, by something far greater than our minds can comprehend. We become aware of the intimacy that a mortal man can have with the Divine. We, for a split second, are given an answer to the eternal question- "Are you there?"

I think this is why we are given miracles,not so we feel guilt or a heavy burden or a drive to deserve them.

"And now we step to the rhythm of miracles." 

The answer comes at you a million fold. "Yes. I am here. And I see you."
 In our hearts then, as we struggle to understand the mind of Divinity, as we focus on this thing that was given to us, we allow that door between us and  God/Infinity/ The Universe  to be left open a crack. We become the possibility of other miracles. We are given the device which may allow us to forever see the miracles that happen in our everyday lives.

The way your child smiles, the way your husband loves you, the beating, ineffable heart of your family...The sun, the moon, the Higgs Boson particle, chocolate, a cold Coke on a hot afternoon, the smell of the ocean...we are given so many miracles and we look past them so often that it takes something huge to shake us out of our blindness.

Every once in awhile, if you are lucky, you have the chance to see beyond the veil.

And then you can't stop seeing them. The Miracles. The miracles that swirl about and touch your life and make you better and brighter if you let them.

And that's all that is required I think. To see and to know and to allow...for the possibility of more.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” 
 Albert Einstein

Friday, January 6, 2012


Liam is being.....ummm...I am not quite sure how to put it other than to say that he is being a stinker.
Usually this would have me fretting and pacing and having long conversations with Les about our plan of attack. I am not doing any of those things however, I kind of want to strangle Liam sometimes right now, but mostly I am a bit amused at his behavior.

He's three. He is being typically three. He is testing boundaries. He is exerting his individuality. He is snubbing his nose at family convention.

For about 50% of the time he is refusing to take us seriously, 30% of the time we see open rebellion, and the remaining 20% is chock full of sweet buhbbuh kisses, crooning love songs, hugs and back pats.

He is also really getting into the swing of things and he has hit that stage where he LIVES to "help Mama". He will spontaneously clean his room one time and then, the next time he will sit in a huddled and weeping heap attempting to refuse the clean up that is necessary after a room exploding play session. 

His speech is going great and he has been able to make the "s" sound and the beginning of the "th" sound- for the first time ever.

I am not freaked out by his behavior at all. It's typical for a boy his age. Typical is good.
For the first time ever, we are dealing with typical instead of "adoption issues", instead of "post-institutionalized behavior", instead of grief. 
We have reached to point where he is relaxed enough, secure enough, bonded enough to just be...typical. 

Typical is good. Great even.
We'll take a bit of typical.

Even if typical means a bit of, well... a bit of this...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Two Years? Really?

On January 5, 2010 we got a phone call on a snowy afternoon.
Not just any call. It was THE CALL.
The call form our adoption agency to see what we thought about this little boy they had a file for. This little boy that needed a family.
And in my heart I knew, this was it.
I said yes.
While Leslie was shoveling the driveway and was clueless about the whole thing, I said yes.
The smart lady at the agency gently suggested that I actually, you know, talk to my husband about him and, say, actually review the file before she put us down for a solid yes and locked his file in with us.
But I knew.
This was it.
We now had a son.
A little boy was waiting in China and now, for the first time he was waiting for something definite to happen.
This was the face we saw, the face of our new son:

We would not actually lay hands on him for another 6-7 months. Believe me- those were very long months. 
 Today, he ran about the house eating chocolate chip cookies and playing with one of the fifty kajillion toys he got for Christmas. Today, he found me while I was folding laundry and insisted that I stop and sit down so he could get on my lap and stroke my hair as he sang me a song. Today, he made the "s" sound correctly for the first time in his life.

This is my son today:

My Moosh. Mooshy Pie. Monkey Boy. Lee-UMM.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Looking Back at 2011

We had Liam's Referral Anniversary.

We got news that a PCS (permanent change of station) was in our near future and a year early.

Liam saw the ocean for the first time.

The flu laid us all low.

We celebrated The Year of the Rabbit.

We celebrated Valentine's Day.

We celebrated Brevin's birthday. At a Great Wolf Lodge.

Brought us St. Patrick's Day. And Ev's first long trip away from home.

And Ev's 6 year referral anniversary, but no picture as she was still traveling.


May brought us Dandelions and Popsicles and Ev's Gymnastic Show

And Wizards..

We said Good-bye to Ohio

Evelyn turned 7. And lost her first tooth!

We made it to New Jersey.

July brought us "all the things that summer brings"...

And a first visit from the Smokewood Gang.

We played in the rain, played with snakes and evacuated for Irene.

Liam fought  the law and The Law won...

We met Uncle Mike's Gang at Busch Gardens

And there was...what is that holiday? Oh! Yes. Halloween.

November! What did you do November?!?
Thanksgiving was ok.

Then it all went to hell...

Well December had alot to make up for and December pulled through!
Brevin got better and came all of the way back to us from very far away.

And then a big finish with Christmas!

AAAAND an 18th wedding anniversary for a certain couple...