Monday, February 17, 2014

Snow Days

We have had A. Lot. of snow days this year. And, with probably a month until the possibility of snow days subsides, dear lord, we are sick of snow days. Last year we had maybe 2 snow days. This year, we've had 10. Already. I may lose my mind of we have anymore. And *I* am not even the one who stays home with them on the snow days. But I have to deal with 3 stir crazy and/or cranky guys with every one.
Snow Day #1. I had 3 giddy boys. Everyone was excited to see the snow! Not how our patio wasn't even covered and you can still see grass. Yes, this constitutes a snow day here. At least at the beginning of the season.

Snow Day #2. Oh, it's fun to shovel!

Snow Day #3. Yum, snow cream!!

Snow Day #5 (apparently no picture of #4). This kid has way too much energy. Run, kid, run. Snow Day #6 was a repeat of this. Fwiw, he did about a 5k each day. Apparently, as long as he has a movie to watch on the portable DVD player, he'll just keep going and going. Also, this wasn't punishment. He likes to run. 

Snow Day #7. Must. Get. Out.Of. The. House. Go crazy, kid.

Snow Day #8. A proper snow day. Many of the others were for a pitiful amount of snow, or were actually because of the cold, which drives me crazy b/c it wasn't that cold. But that's a rant for another day. Anyway, we got like 4-5in of snow, which is a lot 'round these parts. Enough to make "Buster" here. Almost 2 weeks later, and the bottom tier of Buster is still hanging out in our front yard. Because it keeps snowing. And being really freaking cold.

Snow Day #9: No picture and by this point the children were just lucky to be survive the day.

Snow Day #10: Again, no pics, but somehow everyone was still smiling at the end of the day. And went to bed early. Probably because hubby was out driving all over town keeping them all busy. Which means one of two things. Either, (a) hubby was putting all of their lives in danger because the roads were soooooo dangerous that school was called off. Or (b) the roads were fine and school shouldn't have been called off. I'm honestly not sure which of those is the more irritating possibility. Hell, who am I kidding. B. B is clearly the more irritating option. And the more likely one.

I am so, completely over the snow. And the cold. And winter. Over. It.

Today's Lesson: There totally can be too much of a good thing.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Bad Doctor Day

Here was my yesterday. Try not to be jealous, y'all.

First, the kid had his 8 year check up. It shouldn't have been any big deal. In fact, it wasn't til the very end. When the MD told him he was getting a flu shot (we do the preservative-free kind, and only because he has asthma so is at increased risk of severe complications). And he promptly lost his everloving mind. No amount of reasoning, empathizing, breathing techniques, cajoling, bribery, or threatening worked. He was insane. Over the tiniest needle known to man. Sweetmother, I wanted to kill him. I finally wrestled him out of his shirt, on top my lap and tried to hold him still. Y'all, kid is strong. Once the nurse finally cleaned his arm off with the alcohol wipe, he calmed his ass down and we did the shot. I was still in the mindset, however, of wanting to kill him. It didn't go away for quite awhile.

It was so much fun.

So then I did some shopping, had solo lunch, and went for my annual GYN appointment. Now, every infertile girl knows how much fun the OBGYN office is on a good day. The "adorable" pregnant bellies. The 6week old infants with their new mamas. It's so. much. fun. Now, add to it that today's mothers appeared to all be about 20yo. And one, who looked to be about 13months pregnant (she said she's due in "9 and a half days" <-- I have no idea what that means either) took one last hit off her cigarette as she walked into the office right in front of me. She later proceeded to complain about "getting this irritating baby out of me, like yesterday". And then I quit listening.

Also, ^^ that was the decent part of the visit.

Because then the nurse made me take a pregnancy test. Even though my chart VERY CLEARLY states I am infertile and have been for like, you know, 10 years. And I told her I've been having a period every 22 days (yes, that's true. And, yes, it sucks. A lot). And then she proceeded to ask me about what kind of birth control I've been using. BCP's? No. Condoms? NO. Pull and pray? FUCK OFF NO. I didn't really say that, I just looked at her and said, "infertility makes birth control unnecessary". She had the audacity to smile at me, like I was lucky to not have to worry about birth control.

And then, it got worse. Oh yes. Yes, it did.

After I got naked and put on the lovely gown, the midwife came in. Now, I should say that I've actually been seeing her for like 10 years. So we're not strangers (though it has been 3yrs since I've been to see her). And, for the most part, my previous experiences have been fairly positive. And then this happened.

She came in and the first thing she said to me is, "so my sister just got a call to come get the kids they're going to adopt in [some country I can't remember]". And then she proceeded to tell me some s'rsly long story about that. She briefly noted that I'd told the nurse I'm tired all the time (s'rsly tired, y'all. All. The. Time) and super irritable (All. The. Time).

And then she quickly moved on to how her 5 (yes, 5. And she birthed them all by her super fertile self) children are doing. In case you're wondering, 3 are active military, one is in college, and the baby is just a lovely middle schooler. The oldest, however, has completely cut them off and they just don't know why. And that's what the conversation revolved around while she was doing the fun part of the physical exam.

And then, once she was done, I thought, "oh, good, now I'll get to talk to her about how crappy I've been feeling and how effing crazy my hormones have been since baby E weaned 3 months ago". But I was wrong. Because this is what happened instead.

She explained that February has the highest rates of postpartum depression (um, not postpartum, here). And that "we're all feeling a little blech" because it's February and the lack of sun and all. And she's sure my vitamin D is low. So I should take the highest dose of vit D I can find at the store. And she'd be happy to prescribe me some antidepressants, if I want. But she thinks if I'd just do 30 minutes of exercise (minimally) every. single. day, then I wouldn't needs those drugs. Because that's what helped her lose the 35lbs over the last couple of years. Which is about the same amount *I* need to lose, she said.

I tried to explain that I think it's my thyroid based on the other symptoms I'm having, but even if it's not, my hormones are whack and it started when E weaned. But she wasn't hearing it. She then told me how I need to take at least one night a week as a date night with hubby. We should pay a sitter. It will make every thing better. Insert me, again, trying to tell her my symptoms (dry skin, lots of hair loss, GI issues, to name a new), but she cut me off. This time telling me about the lovely weekend she has planned with her husband, during which they will not talk about their oldest son, because it makes her cry.

And then she started to tear up.

And then I just gave up. Took my lab slip to have my Vit D and (thankfully) thyroid checked and left.

And I will never go back. Because wtf. I mean, seriously, wtf?

Today's Lesson: One medical appointment a day is probably enough. Also, when you're providing a service to someone else, check your own shit at the door and do not lay it on them.

Monday, February 10, 2014


So, remember how we asked for experiences for the boys for Christmas, instead of more junk, er... toys. Well, many people came through splendidly. The boys were gifted time with some friends to paint their own ice cream bowls (the kid in particular is super excited about that!), a membership to a local children's garden from their Gram with plans to take them on lots of outings there, a family membership to a nationwide network of science centers, tickets to a Globetrotters game, tickets to a Children's Theater play, and I'm sure a couple of things I can't remember at the moment. 

Also, there were tickets to the local Philharmonic Orchestra's kids' series. It's a 30min concert with kids activities for another half hour. I was in orchestra and played the violin for something like 13 years. So I was particularly excited about this gift! We went this morning. This week's concert was presented by part of the University's drum line. It was so cool. And the boys very much enjoyed it. Perhaps the PB&J sandwiches and cookies as much as the music. But they were fascinated by the music as well.
The boys went and sat right in front, loving the music and the interaction with the musicians. At one point they had their arms wrapped around each other and it was one of the most adorable things I've ever seen. Of course it didn't last long enough for a picture. But, it happened. 

Then, afterwards, there was an instrument "petting zoo". E's favorite was the symbols. The kid was fascinated by the trombone. 

I must admit, my heart sung a little to see E also very interested in the violin. Which was the tiniest, most adorable little violin I've ever seen. With the most adorable violinist to accompany it.

All in all, a lovely morning. Even with the sugar high they left with.

Today's Lesson: Music may tame the wild beast. But I suspect it works better with less chocolate and sugar involved.

Friday, February 7, 2014


The kid's birthday is next Sunday. I can't believe he'll be 8. How did that happen?! (And, yes, I know this is a question all parents ask themselves.) He's going to have a superhero-themed party which is going to be pretty cute, if I do say so myself. I'll try to post pics of all that later. (Maybe. If I remember to take any. Yes, I suck.) But, for today, that's not my focus.

For all 3 of baby E's birthdays, at least some members of his birth family have been present. That, however, has not been the kid's experience. He's never had any of his biological family celebrate with us. Certainly we've invited them (every year we've known how to contact them) but I've never gotten so much as a response from the invitations.

In the last year or two, this difference has really started to dawn on him. And, I think, started to bother him. I told you how excited he was last year to get a Christmas card from his birth family. Well last year, he immediately, upon starting to plan for this birthday, asked whether they were going to come to his party. I promised him we'd invite them (and we did) but cautioned him that they have a lot going on (they do) and might not be able to make it (they didn't). He was disappointed, but in his overwhelming excitement about his birthday, he seemed to have forgotten about it.

Baby E has recently been asking about whose belly so-and-so came out of, starting to make sense of some relationships and the basics of babies. And this seems to have brought back up for the kid thoughts and mentions of his birth family. But they're not the same kind of things he was saying last year. Last year, there was excitement when he talked about them. Hopefulness. This year, it's more "I guess they're not going to come again this year" said in this cynical kind of voice. The desire for them to come is still there. But in a "I'm afraid to get my hopes up kind of way". This voice isn't my kid. I don't like it.

I can tell he still wants them to be around (although it's been over 2 years since we've seen them), but seems to have given up on believing they will be. It's so sad. We so wanted to have an open adoption. But, in essence, it's closed. I mean, I am fb friends with his birth mom, but there's no generally no response there when I've attempted. We've sent cards and invitations. I'm not sure what else to do. I'm afraid to push anymore because I don't want to make things harder for them, or, frankly, to piss them off.

I remember sitting on their living room floor, our first meeting. We talked about open adoption and it was obvious they were hesitant. I assumed their hesitation was because they didn't want the kid to be confused about who his parents are (I mean, that's the reason they gave). We assumed him that he would have 2 sets of parents, neither more "real" than the other, each who loved him, and that we would do our best to help him not be confused. But that, really, we needed their help to do that. It felt like we made headway and they were in agreement (over the several months after he was born). But, for a myriad of reasons we'll likely never know or understand, we're back at the beginning.

And I get that this whole adoption thing has got to be so hard for them. And I know that I've no idea how hard or in what ways. So it's not like I fault them, or am angry with them at all. I'm just sad. Sad for them to not get to see who the kid is turning out to be. Sad for the kid to not have that connection that we want him to have. So very sad for him not to have that connection that he clearly wants for himself.

As another birthday for our sweet boy rolls around, I hope his birth parents know that we love him. And that we love them. And that we're here, whenever they're ready for contact. And I really hope that the kid will be open to that, too, whenever they decide they're ready.

Off I go to invite them for the birthday. Again. Perhaps they'll know at least that we're thinking of them. That he's thinking of them. Because he is. Probably more than any of us realize.

Today's Lesson: All we can do is try. And then others decide what they can handle.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Lest you think I wrote about what sucky parents my kid has right now and then forgot about it completely, I give you this post. But, first, I want to thank you for the thoughtful comments and advice you left me.

I feel like we've made some (very limited) progress simply because I'm home every night. I don't know that I would have said this before this week, though. I didn't get home one night until right before the boys were getting into bed. And they. were. crazy. And hubby was short on patience. And I was quickly irritated. And a light bulb went off. Duh. This is what things were like all the time with the old job. All. The. Time. Because I was gone at least 2-3 nights every week. So, yeah, me just being here makes a huge difference.

So, that's about all we've done to make things better. I mean, we've made some half-assed efforts to yell less, be calm more in our reactions, and let the unimportant things slide. But, yeah, they've totally been half-assed and inconsistent. Totally.

Then I came across an idea (somewhere on the interwebs). I can't remember exactly how they did it, but the premise is to write down daily one of the reasons you love your kids and give it to them (put it in their lunch box, post it on the fridge, somewhere). So, I - realizing that we spend waaaaaay more time saying things to our kids that involved negatives (stop!, no!, don't!, wtf are you doing??! <-- kidding on that last one. Mostly.) rather than any kind of positives - decided that this was as good a place as any to start.

So, for the month of February we are going to try this one thing, and see what kind of difference it can make. Since it's love/Valentine's Day month, I used my cricut to cut 60-odd little hearts in different shades of pink (mostly because I rarely get to use pink when scrapbooking so it's a good use for lots of extra pink paper, and that many in case we mess up on a few). Every night, after they go to bed, we're going to put a new one on their doors.

Now, because I'm a realist, I went ahead and pre-wrote a bunch of them. Because I know us. And sometimes we get lazy. Which has to do with how we got into this sucky parenting rut in the first place. At any rate, this makes it a bit easier on us. Leaving many blank, though, gives us the opportunity to write down things as they happen as well. I suspect those may be more powerful for the boys, as we can use very specific examples. But, we all gotta start somewhere.

My hope is that with this, the boys will see we really do appreciate, are proud of, and love the beautiful things about them. And I suspect (hope) that the more effective and long-lasting part of this will affect hubby and me even moreso than the boys. I think the nightly ritual of writing down these positives and putting them on their doors will help us to pay attention all day to the things we love about the boys, instead of those things that drive us crazy. And, I fervently hope that by the end of the month, this will become a habit for us, the focusing on the positives, and especially, the telling the boys about the positives. Maybe we'll even start doing it with each other.

I'll try to keep you updated on how it goes!

Today's Lesson: It's easy to get lazy. Now, motivation and follow-through, those are difficult.

Saturday, February 1, 2014


So, remember how I told you about how creepy that Elf is what we were going to focus on instead? Well, I am super happy to report that it actually went really well! We did several things, most of which I'm having difficultly remembering at the moment (with everyone being sick, you know, for like a whole month, illness and lack of sleep has made me stupid and forgetful). However, the one I do remember, was making cookies from scratch and taking them to one of the local fire departments. And I probably only remember that because there is photographic evidence. Which I now present to you. Because it's cute.

The firemen were unbelievably kind to my children in return for the cookies we made them (which the kid helped me with, actually, now that I think about it, E helped some, too). They let the boys try on their coats. The coat, btw, was almost as heavy as E.

They let them climb all in and around the truck. Which the boys are still talking about more than a month later. (Lest you think me neglectful, it was about 60 degrees outside and we were headed to gymnastics after this visit, which is why E has on short and leg warmers.)

They also pulled the truck out of the garage, just for the boys, and let them take turns blowing the horn. E loved, I mean LOVED!!!!!!!! it. He insisted on the fireman getting out and letting him sit there himself. Then he closed the door, giving us a thumbs up that he was happy and we were welcome to just leave him there indefinitely. The firemen offered to allow him to stay as their mascot. Until I mentioned that he's still a crappy sleeper. Then they said he can visit.

I was so impressed with these men. I can't emphasize how kind they were to my children, and how much they seemed to enjoy our disruption of their day. 

After we left, we talked about the whole experience. We talked about what it feels like to do something kind for others. How the fireman had in turn done something kind for us. But we especially talked about how in doing kind things for others, we don't expect them to in turn do something kind for us, or even to thank us. We do kind things because it is the right thing to do, because it feels good to do so, and because it is what God expects of us. 

And I was overwhelmingly emotional to discover that my children get it.  They get in their almost 8yo and 3yo hearts that doing things for others blesses us, it blesses others, and it blesses our whole world. 

They also love the fire station and now both want to be firemen. And part of that is because they know firemen help other people. But a lot of it is because of the cool truck. And that's okay, too.

Today's Lesson: It's important to take a moment and be thankful for the little reminders about the things in parenting we do well. Particularly when those little things happen to be the ones are most important to us.