Yes, it is!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Butterfly House field trip

Today I went with Jackie's class on a field trip to the Butterfly House in St. Charles, MO. What a beautiful place. I learned more about butterflies than I ever cared to know before but it was quite interesting. Before the class (4-5 year olds) went into the area where the butterflies are free-roaming, we went into a little theater to watch an educational film that told all about how butterflies come to be... from caterpillar to chrysalis to the end result which is a beautiful butterfly. The film itself was obviously geared toward the older kids as it talked about such topics as aphrodisiac and mating. After the film, we were led into the butterfly area. Oh, what a sight as there were hundreds, perhaps, thousands of butterflies of all kinds. One of the volunteers told me that there were at least 60 species just in that place alone. It was just absolutely beautiful. At one point, a butterfly landed on Jackie's pants. She was non-plussed about it, though. Thankfully, I explained just the night before to her that if a butterfly were to land on her, that there was nothing to be afraid of. She was worried about a butterfly biting her and I reassured her that butterflies don't bite people. Thankfully, Jackie didn't panic when one landed on her. But I could tell that she was not thrilled, though. Other than that, Jackie seemed to really enjoy the experience. The next stop was to the picnic and play area for lunch. Jackie and her friend, Abby, were so excited about playing in the awesome play area that they ended up neglecting their lunches and ran off to play. After lunch and playtime, we all walked over to another building that housed an indoor carousel. It was a very nice and big carousel but the ride was a little short. But the kids didn't seem to mind. After the carousel ride was over, we all ventured back to the parking lot to load back up on the bus for the bumpy ride back home. Ugghh, it had been a loooonng time since I've been on a school bus and I hope it will be a long time before I get on another one. I think I'll drive my car next time. What was forecasted to be a stormy day ended up being a very nice day with the exception of the occasional dark sky and the winds. Bus ride or not, I do look forward to doing more field trips in the future with my children. I had such a nice day with Jackie and her friend Abby and Abby's grandparents.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Weekend to Remember... er, Forget?

I went to Branson this past weekend to attend a women's conference. The motivating factor for me to go was just to get a break from everyone and everything here. But ever since I signed up to go, I was starting to feel anxious about leaving my kids. I knew I would miss them but I also needed a break. So on Friday after I dropped Jackie off at school and did a little bit of housecleaning, Tim dropped me off at the church where most of the other women were meeting to ride together. I was assigned to ride with 3 ladies with C being the driver. I have to admit that I was somewhat nervous to ride with C but all was well... at first. The trouble started about 45 minutes after we got onto the highway toward Branson. Just east of Six Flags in Eureka, traffic suddenly slowed down. I figured it was either construction or accident traffic ahead. Then just a few moments later, traffic picked up speed again. Then just as suddenly as we began picking up speed, C pulls over to the side of the interstate, unbuckles her seatbelt, and opened her door as she was saying "Sorry guys, but I have to do this." It happened so quickly that none of us had any time to say anything to or ask her anything. It left me bewildered for a moment until I looked toward the back and there C is, walking toward a car that was pulled over on the side of the highway. I didn't know what to think as I watched C walking toward the car. Then I watched as C started to talk to whoever was in the vehicle then I watched as C reached through this person's car window 3 times. Then finally C walked back to the van where the rest of us were waiting, gets back into the van, and then says "She's so beautiful and I just don't want anything to happen to her." Apparently the previous traffic hold-up was due to this person having a flat tire. C then went on to explain how she was telling this person that she needed to lock all her doors and roll up the windows. C kept reaching through this person's window to show that she can still reach in and that they needed to be rolled up further. I was incredulous. If I had seen somebody walking toward me the way C did and reach into my window, I think I would have called 911. Just a weird situation. Not only did C put our lives in danger, she put her life in danger. So we got back on the road where C kept driving out of the lane and onto the warning bumps that are on the side of the road. At one point, I thought for certain that I was never going to see my children again when C did not yield to a truck coming onto the highway and this truck was literally got up on C's van bumper. C also consistently drove 10 miles UNDER the speed limit in an effort to impress us with her safe driving. Ha! About 1 1/2 after leaving the church for our destination, C asks if anybody would like to stop for something to eat. So, C stops at a KFC where she and one of the other ladies proceed to order and sit down to eat. Meanwhile, I found B outside where she and I discuss whether she or I should take over the driving. B ultimately decided to take over and I suggested (or maybe I ordered her) to pick up the speed. C was fine with our plans but she did suggest letting her drive if it rains. What?! No way! It rained but B got us to Branson safely.
We got checked in and I was assigned to a room with 3 ladies, 2 of whom I rode with in the van, C & B. I got my stuff into my room and proceeded downstairs where I found R, who coordinated everything, and told her that I needed to find another way home because I was not putting my life at risk again. The ride down was a bit stressful.
The first night at the conference was nice. Candace Cameron Bure was the guest speaker and she has quite a story to tell. I enjoyed it. That night back at the hotel, I slept okay. Saturday morning, it was back to the conference where we listened to some more music, Anita Renfroe, and Kay Arthur. I really enjoyed Anita. She is a comedienne whose husband is a retired pastor. She is hilarious and her acts are based on real life.
After the morning portion was finished, our group of women met at a restaurant next to our hotel for lunch. From there, several of us went shopping at the local outlet mall. I ended up with a couple of awesome deals from Coach and a few deals from the Disney store.
That Saturday evening, we were all treated to a wonderful concert by Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W Smith. I really enjoyed listening to Steven. Not only did he sing beautiful but he poured out his heart as he shared the story of the loss of his precious daughter, Maria. Steven and his wife already had 3 biological children when they adopted 3 beautiful girls from China. Unfortunately 2 years ago, tragedy struck and Maria was accidentally killed by her brother when she ran out in front of his vehicle. Steven shared how their faith has helped his family to cope with their loss of Maria. I hope that I never have to experience an ordeal such as that. I just cannot fathom the pain.
My Saturday almost ended as a completely happy day for me until the lack of common sense from another group of women caused me to end my day on a bad note. At this particular hotel where we stayed, there were several other groups of women from other churches who attended the same conference. Anyway, after arriving back at the hotel after the concert, I proceeded to head toward the elevator. As I arrived at the elevator, another group of women had just finished taking group pictures and were all heading back to their rooms. The elevator door opened up and as I stepped onto the elevator, I heard one of the older ladies from this other group yell out, "you younger ones take the stares, us old ones will take the elevator." At first, I thought, "is she talking to me, too?" Certainly not, I thought, and plus, I've been having ankle problems and I just did not feel like taking the stairs. My feet were hurting enough after having been standing on concrete for the last 2+ hours. Then suddenly I heard it "Hey you, you're young, take the stairs." Surely, she's not talking to me, I thought. I looked up and surely she was talking to me. I just looked at her matter of factly and told her that I have foot problems and that I was taking the elevator. Well, the women from this group continued to pile into the elevator and this group of supposed Christian ladies showed their rudeness and I was pushed, literally, into the back corner of the elevator. The women kept piling on which made me start getting nervous. For a moment, I thought that maybe I should get off and let these PITAs have their way and I would wait for the next elevator. But before I could get out, the door closed. This was not looking good. The elevator did not budge. Nor did the doors open. And none of the buttons that open the door were working. Then those ladies started to laugh and say, "we're stuck". No S&%@, we really were stuck. Suddenly I started to sweat and I could feel a panic attack coming on. Oh no, this most certainly was not good. Somehow, I pushed 10,000 pounds of estrogen out of my way and got to phone to call for help. Gee, those ladies were just standing there and laughing about their predicament. Not funny in my book. I started to cry and I was in the midst of a severe panic attack. I'm sure those dumb ladies thought I was going off my rocker. Finally the door opened. I honestly do not remember how I stumbled out of there. I do remember being unable to catch my breath, crying, and feeling like I was going to collapse. I made my way to the stairs. Pain or no pain, no more elevators for me, especially with people who lack common sense. I made my way to the floor where my room was located. Just one of those other ladies followed me and showed real concern about me and she walked me to my room. This kind lady tried to reassure me that she understood me because she has panic disorder, too. I hate having panic disorder. It causes me shame and embarrassment. By the time I got to my room, I was having difficulty breathing, my face was tingling, and I was trembling uncontrollably. I'm certain my pulse was high enough to put me at risk for stroke. It probably took about a half hour before I could really breathe okay again. I got a shower hoping that it would help me relax after which I packed my suitcase and got ready for bed. I had hoped for a decent night sleep but alas, it was not to be. C wasted no time starting to snore. She was also making these weird noises periodically. Ugh. I tried to get to sleep despite it but I just could not. So, I went downstairs and sat for awhile until I could no longer keep my eyelids open. I asked the front desk for an extra blanket and sheet. I went back to the room where C was still snoring so I laid the blanket on the floor in the changing area of the room and tried to sleep there. I was not comfortable in the least. However, I did fall asleep until I started to feel the pain of the hard floor. I crawled back into the bed and just held my pillow tight against my ear to muffle the snoring. I probably got about 4 hours of sleep that night. Not good when you have to be up before 7 o'clock in order to finish packing your stuff, get ready and dressed for the remainder of the conference, get the suitcase down to the church van, eat breakfast, and get to the conference center by 8:30. I was really looking forward to 11:00 so we could finally head home. I will be going next year and I am hoping that it will be a better experience. Actually, it will be because Brooke and I will be going together and we'll have our own transportation.
Now I have to laugh about my experience riding with C to Branson. After rooming with her at the hotel, I can see that she has a big heart. She does have issues such as BiPolar disorder, OCD, and other disorders. I am certain that the combination of these disorders can cause such behavior as what I witnessed on Friday. I need to be more compassionate toward her but my fear is that she will try to become close to me. Persons like C do deserve respect and compassion just like any other person who is fighting an illness such as cancer, diabetes, etc. I really want to show C that I think she is a good person with a great heart. My first impressions of her were not the best and that affected how I felt about her even before the trip. But I'm going to try to show compassion to C from here on.
This certainly was a most unforgettable weekend.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Jackie, One of the Lights in My Life

Jackie has been such a ham lately. She has been making me smile more these last couple of weeks despite the stresses that I've been experiencing. In addition to preschool 3 days per week, on Tuesdays, Jackie attends a Mom's Day Out program at a local church. The kids are dismissed and picked up in the sanctuary. Last week, one of the teachers told me that Jackie looked back and saw me and then said to this teacher, "There's my mommy. She's so pretty." Aww, after my initial embarrassment, my heart melted and I immediately felt tears try to well up in my eyes. That really made my day.
Jackie loves to sing and lately, she has been belting out the songs that are currently in the CD changer in the car. I almost always have to have this one particular CD in because Jackie insists on hearing her favorite (one of her favorites) song on the way to preschool or church. She has such a sweet voice. She already has a talent for singing in key and I am going to continue to encourage her in that direction. I just LOVE to hear my baby girl sing. I'm looking forward to her first performance whenever that may be.
Last Saturday, I took the kids to a Family Day put on by the YMCA. Jackie and Ben got to ride ponies. Ben did not like it but Jackie seemed to enjoy it. There was also a chiropractor there doing scoliosis checks on the kids. So, I got Jackie in line and waited for her turn. Our turn came up and the chiropractor gave instructions to Jackie while he explained to his assistant what he was looking for. I heard him say something to this assistant about a slight curve of her torso to the left but no scoliosis. At this point, I still had not said anything about Jackie's CP. So, when he completed his assessment of Jackie, he smiled and announced that she appeared to be free of scoliosis. I already knew this as Jackie monitored on a regular basis for potential development of scoliosis and hip dysplasia. It was then that I took the opportunity to tell him of Jackie's CP diagnosis. He expressed surprise and then said to his assistant that that was why they could see a slight curve but that there was no scoliosis. He praised me for the hard work that I've put into Jackie's treatment which has resulted in the awesome progress that Jackie has experienced so far. That really made my day.This past Monday, one of the papers in Jackie's backpack included a chart she made in school. On one side she was supposed to list things that made her angry. On the other side, she was supposed to list things that made her happy. Well, on the angry side, she had drawn a red angry face and then stated "when my brother bites me." Yep, her brother is a biter and a big one at that. He has drawn blood on more than one occasion. Ben's biting is the one time that I have given permission for Jackie to get back at him by biting him back. But Jackie is just too sweet to hurt her brother. As strong-willed as Jackie is, she is also a sweet, loving, sensitive big sister and I just love that about her. I really hope that my children have a much better relationship than I had with my parents' son.
Today, Jackie had a follow-up appointment with her orthopedic surgeon. While we were waiting in the exam room, Jackie told me that she told the kids at school that she is going to be an ice-skating girl. (insert chuckle). Ice-skating girl. I just love her. Then she told me that she is going to be doctor. An ice-skater girl doctor. She has big dreams and you know what? I have no doubt that she can reach them. Even with her diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy, I am very confident that my precious daughter can be a figure skater. She can be a doctor. She can be anything that she sets her sights on. One thing I will NOT do is tell her that she cannot do a certain something. If she wants to join the military, I will NOT tell that she won't make it. She may be small but she's might inside. If she wants to bike across America, I will NOT tell that she can't do it because she's not strong enough. I may not like that idea but I am not about to hold Jackie back from anything that she sets out to accomplish. This girl has already overcome alot in her short life so far. And she is going to continue to accomplish great things.
I sure do love my baby girl.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The "D" Word

No, I'm not getting divorced. However, I have to be honest and say that if it wasn't for the kids, I really do not know what my marital status would be. I never thought I would say that but the truth of the matter is that our marriage needs some mending. Looking back, there have been warning signs all along. T was a member of a local motorcycle club. There was no way that I was going to ask him to step down from that as it was something that he enjoyed being a part of. I had no problem with his membership there. The problem I had was that he would never tell me of his plans with the club until the night before or the morning of. I was often left alone on Saturdays. After awhile, it started to bother me and no matter how often I asked T to give me advance notice of his plans with the club, it just did not work out that way. And this started at the very beginning of the marriage. There were other little things that when added up equaled to a bigger thing.
We rarely fight and maybe that's part of our problem. I grew up in a volatile environment and there was fighting between the parents almost daily. I lived in fear during my childhood. So, whenever I feel stress of any kind in my marriage, I tend to keep it to myself because I want
peace. But resentment and frustration builds over time until I eventually withdraw entirely. Communication is definitely a problem here. In the past, I feel that I have tried my part in communicating. But when I do try to talk to T or ask him to do something, he gets an attitude. Then I get mad. Then T gets mad because I get mad. Then I get mad because he's mad. It's just a vicious circle. I don't know, is fighting okay? Is it okay to have the occasional argument? Will it cause harm to my children? I don't want them to experience the fear that I experienced during childhood.
Lately, I've been feeling frustrated because I am getting so tired of constantly doing of others. I rarely get a moment during the day. That is why I have become such a night owl. That is my only break from everything here.
Okay, so tonight T and I had a big argument. It all started because I got angry that he left a cup of melting ice on my sofa table. My sofa table that is already ruined because somebody put a fragrance refill on it where it got tipped over and the oil ruined the finish on part of the table. I feel like I am constantly cleaning and picking up after him (and kids) and lately, I have just gotten to where I just leave his mess. Now I understand that he is quite busy during the week working full-time while working on his MBA at the same time. Then on the weekends, he is busy doing his dirt-bike thing. But, is it too much to ask for him to pick up after himself? Is it too much to ask for him to clean up whatever messes he makes? I can forgive the occasional oversight but geez, this is all. the. time. Of course, I brought that up during tonight's argument but then puts the guilt trip on me.
T does have an attention problem. It affects our relationship because he often loses things or forgets things and he is quite dependent on me to help out. He does not realize this and in fact, will deny it. There have been many early mornings when I have been jolted awake by him because he can't find whatever it is that he's looking for. That always puts me in a sour mood. I am not one who an be abruptly woken up and expected to have an immediate happy spirit. That is just one example of what I have lived with since being married to him. A few years ago, I gave him an ultimatum and he did go to the doctor and was prescribed a medication because he did exhibit symptoms of ADD. I saw a huge improvement. Tim said he did not and complained that the medication made him tired. Well, he refused to try taking the meds at night instead of in the morning and eventually quit taking the medication. I saw an increase in his frustration level after he quit the medication. Now we're right back to where we were then.
When T gets frustrated, he has been known to throw things such as books, pens, pencils, or whatever it is that he is working on. Usually, it's something that has little value. I never really felt fear although it did make me feel a little stress. We had an incident last weekend that made me question if this is a sign that things are going to escalate into worse things. I do not want to live in fear and I gave T an ultimatum again. He agreed on the ultimatum but I am still having difficulty letting go of the recent round of resentment and frustration. That is partially what led up to tonight's argument.
I have the most difficult time talking to T. I hate trying to communicate because I just know he's going to have an attitude and get mad. I want to be happily married. I want to be able to communicate. I want to feel like I have a partner in parenting. I don't have any of the above. I worry about my children. I worry that they will eventually catch on to what's going on. Right now, they are oblivious to it all. At least, I hope they are.
Thankfully, I have my children who inspire me to keep up the fight and to try to get things on the right track. They are what I am living for right now.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

He's Annoying

According to Jackie, Ben is annoying. We were heading back home from a couple of errands this evening when I heard Jackie tell Ben that he was being annoying and that he needed to stop. He was being quite noisy and fussy in the car. I wasn't sure if I heard correctly so I asked Jackie to repeat what she said. My ears heard right.
Jackie's grammar and vocabulary is really taking off. She has been cracking me up with some of her conversations. It seems like yesterday that she was just a toddler and babbling. Time certainly has flown right by me.
Yesterday at Jackie's physical therapy appointment, Ben's new speech therapist came into the room to observe Ben and interact with him a little bit to get to know him before she starts working with him. Toward the end of Jackie's appointment, her therapist was finishing up her work with Jackie while I was on the other side of the room with Ben and his new speech therapist. I looked over at Julie and Jackie and noticed Julie just chuckling and smiling. Apparently, Jackie told Julie that "Ben needs to start talking" and she said it in such a succinct manner.
My baby is growing up too quickly.

Grammar Nazi Here

I cannot believe the amount of improper grammar and misspellings that I have seen on such sites as Facebook, TopMommy blogs website, and even newsprint. It is a huge pet peeve of mine when I see improper use of "your". I just signed up on and the welcome page says "Account created. Your a member!" HELLO!!! It's "you're". You know, you're = you are. That website should hire me as a proofreader.
It's probably a good thing that I am not an English/Language teacher. I would have alot of enemies in my students.
But since I'm on my soapbox, here is a short list of some of my pet peeves when it comes to grammar/spelling:
your, you're
their, they're, there
to, too, two

Their & your are possesive pronouns. Example: You need to take "your" medicine now. It indicates ownership.
You're & they're are contractions. Example: "You're" heading in the right direction. Or, "You are" heading in the right direction. You're = you are. Get it?

Another pet peeve is the correct use of affect vs. effect. But I'm not even going to try to explain that as most people just get too befuddled with it.

Now with all that being said, I can forgive the occasional mistake. Okay, now I'm off my soap box.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Family Secrets

Just about every family has a secret or secrets. My family has its share of them. It is really a shame that certain subjects are so taboo and so many people go to their graves with such secrets.
Well, one family secret in my family is that I am the product of an illegitimate birth. Mother was unwed when she became pregnant and subsequently gave birth to me. I remember learning as a very young child that my dad was not my biological father. I was so young that I did not understand the divisive nature of the situation whenever I shared news to others that my daddy was not my real daddy. As time went by and I became more aware of what that meant, I began to long for information related to my biological father. Especially, as I began to experience my adoptive father's wrath.
Mother would always say that she didn't know my biological father because she was "wild" when she became pregnant with me. She was "looking for love in the wrong places". I asked my grandmother and she did not know. I asked a family friend and she did not know, either. Mother was apparently quite close to this friend, Anna. I later learned Anna encouraged Mother to have an abortion. Mother did consider it a couple of times throughout the pregnancy and had inquired about it. You see, unwed pregnancies during those years was extremely taboo and many girls were sent away until they gave birth and adopted out their babies. Times have changed for sure now. Mother did not have a baby shower because it was such a shame for her to be an unwed mother. Nowadays, pregnant high school girls are showered with congratulations and well-wishes as well as new gifts for the baby. Oops, I almost got on my soapbox there.
I do remember a time during my middle school years, I was sitting at the table doing a school assignment and Mother randomly came over and gently caressed the side of my face and remarked "It's too bad that your real dad doesn't know you" or something to that effect. I asked her what his name was and she replied "Roy". Or maybe it was Ray. Mother did not elaborate any further.
I really feel that some of the tension and strife in my parents marriage was a result of my being. At least, that was the message that I always got during the many, many arguments between my parents. As a child, I could not understand why my "dad" married Mother if he didn't want me. After all, I was there first. This probably increased my feeling of loss from not knowing my paternal heritage.
Over the years, I have asked Mother for any information about my biological father. The only other piece of information that she has shared, other than "I don't know because I was too wild" is that he is a friend of her good friend from school. The name of her supposed friend is Jackie. Hmm, interesting that my daughter's name is Jackie. But rest assured, there is no link there.
Now that I am older and Mother has been steadfast in withholding this information from me, I am resigning myself to the fact that I may never know anything about my paternal heritage. That is not to say that I no longer experience a feeling of loss. I do actually and those feelings are still as strong as they were years ago. I mean, I wonder if I have a sister that I've always wanted out there somewhere. What about my other grandmother? What about aunts? And uncles? And cousins? I have always imagined sharing secrets with my sister and going on trips and going shopping with her. But this is all in my dreams and unfortunately, it looks like it will continue to be a dream. I've watched these shows where a parent and child are reunited after a lifetime of separation and I've always imagined that would be me one day. But it's just a far off dream that I will have to just live with.
Perhaps this feeling of loss is a reason that I have difficulty cultivating close relationships with others. I have a handful of really good friends but I also keep a sort of distance lest they get to know the real me.
Now with all of that being said, my adoptive father is now more of a father to me than he ever was. I feel sad sometimes that I did not have a loving father-daughter relationship. But I am grateful that I do have a good relationship with him now. He respects me and I know he's proud of the fact that I am an independent, self-sufficient individual. The moment that I knew he was remorseful for the way he was toward me during my childhood was years ago when he handed me his Purple Heart with the letter/certificate. Instead of giving it to his biological son, he gave it to me. I know he gave it to me because he knew I would appreciate it but even more, I know he gave it me as his way of saying "Here, I'm sorry and I love you." I remember being speechless and just staring at it. I really did deserve that Purple Heart. I lived through a war of fear, abuse (mostly emotional/verbal and a little bit of physical), alcoholism, domestic abuse. I am proud of that medal and it is very much treasured by me.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What a Week It's Been

This past week has been a whirlwind of ailments around here. It all started with our dog, Lucy. Last week on Wednesday, Tim woke me before he went to work to tell me to keep an eye on Lucy because her eye was swollen. He thought perhaps Lucy was bitten by something. When I got out of bed, I took a look at Lucy's eye and agreed that it did indeed look a little swollen. She seemed to act fine, though.
Later that morning, Ben's speech therapist came and worked with Ben. After that was done, I got the kids in the car and we took off to run errands. Our first stop was to gas up the Toyota. Then we went into Sam's Club to get Jackie's eyeglasses repaired. I swear that kid is doing everything possible to those glasses in order to get away with not wearing them. This is only the hundredth time that we have had to repair or replace these glasses since receiving the new pair in January. After leaving Sam's Club, it was on to get Jackie's hair cut.
After we finished all those errands, we headed to the commissary for groceries. We arrived back home about 3 hours after we started the errands. After I got Ben into his bed for a short nap and I unloaded and put away the groceries, I reached down to pet Lucy and check her eye. I immediately noticed that Lucy flinched, sort of like an abused animal would. I knew she was in pain so I called the vet. They had an immediate appointment available so I asked the neighbor girl to watch the kids. I got Lucy to the vet and the vet thought at first that Lucy had a splinter in her eye. So she tried to remove but Lucy was having none of it and kept squirming to get away. Lucy is such a trooper, though, and was so sweet and loving to everybody around her. The vet decided that it would be best to inject Lucy with a sedative. Well, it took a long time so I asked the receptionist for an update. The technician came out to reassure me that Lucy was doing good and that she should be ready to go soon. The vet finally brought me into the exam room and explained that it was more serious than a splinter. Lucy actually and a punctured eyeball. The aqueous humor (fluid inside the eyeball) had leaked out some and it had pulled the iris toward the puncture site. Lucy was at risk of losing her eye. So she was sent home with an E-collar and 3 medications. I had to pick up a 4th medication at Walmart pharmacy. We also had to keep her calm and as inactive as possible. Yeah, right! That was a near impossible task. Thankfully, the follow-up visit this week showed fantastic improvement. The risk of losing her eye is not as great although there is still a small blood clot inside the eye. We have to continue the eye drops and keep the E-collar on for a couple of more weeks.
Monday, it was Ben's turn to get sick. After a nice weekend of Easter activities, Ben woke up with a high fever. As the morning progressed, Ben became more lethargic and was very clingy. I was getting very concerned that the tylenol (I was out of ibuprofen) was not helping at all and I was ready to take Ben to the ER. When Tim came home that night, I went and bought some ibuprofen and a little while later, Ben's fever finally broke. However, he kept me up for a good part of the night because he want to PLAY! He would not stay in his bed. I finally just turned the TV and lights off and laid on the couch with the hope that Ben would get a clue that it was time BED, not PLAY. He took off for my bedroom where Tim was sleeping. Fine, maybe he'll lay down and sleep next to his daddy. I must have dozed off fairly quickly. When I woke up a bit later, I looked around for Ben and found him in his own bed. He had put himself to bed.
Yesterday was my turn to see the doctor. A week ago, I went to Zumba which I've been doing at least a couple of times a week for the past couple of months. I absolutely enjoy it. Well, last Friday morning, I noticed that my foot was hurting. I don't remember hurting my foot during Zumba so I figured that the discomfort would go away quickly. It didn't but I decided to got to Zumba on Tuesday night anyway. I got about 1/2 through before I had to modify some of the steps. I almost made all the way through before I finally had to give it up. I couldn't get an appointment at Family Practice so they referred me to the Urgent Care clinic. I hate that place but my foot was hurting. I had also been having some shortness of breath so desperation took precedence over my strong dislike for the Urgent Care. Three hours later, I left there with a diagnosis of arthritis and tendonitis in my foot and I was also diagnosed with Reactive Airway disease. All I have to say about that is that I'm glad I have an appointment on Friday with Family Practice.
So that's a synopsis of our health woes for the last week.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter 2010 Pictures

Easter 2010

Today turned out to be such a beautiful day. We started the day by attending church. Jackie's friend, T, joined us. After church, we picked up a quick lunch to take home. Once I got the kids fed, I hid candy-filled plastic eggs in our front yard as well as in our neighbor's (T's house) front yard. The kids had fun gathering up all the eggs. Ben, being just 2 years old, really has the hang of it already. After we let the kids enjoy a little bit of the candy, Tim and I took the kids to a local park, which is always a hit. We spent probably over an hour there. While there, I was in awe of how far Jackie has come with her development and strength. She is climbing on the playsets with minimal assistance and is mostly able to keep up with her peers. I admire Jackie's tenacity as she does not let her 'dis'ability hold her back. She is doing things that I really was not sure she would ever be able to do. Jackie never ceases to amaze me with what she can accomplish. I am posting some photos to show off what Jackie is doing along with some other photos of from today.

Easter 2010

I took the kids to a local church for an Easter Egg hunt. It was very nice and the kids came away with prizes and eggs filled with candy. In fact, this one was one of the best Easter activities, yet, that I have done with the kids.In the past, I have taken Jackie to a church across the road from our subdivision. This church is known for their outreaches and draws hundreds, if not thousands, of people to the various activities throughout the year. Last year, Jackie was just recovering from a fractured clavicle. So that on top of her Cerebral Palsy made me a little cautious but I decided that I am not holding Jackie back and that she will be treated like her peers. However, I did ask one of the persons in charge if I could help my daughter being that she was healing from the fractured clavicle and I wasn't sure if she could even hold her basket while picking up the eggs. "Sure, no problem" I was told. So, we went to the section for Jackie's age group and waited for the whistle to sound indicating it was time to go grab the eggs. Well, Jackie came away with one egg. The other kids were just so excited and pushing and grabbing eggs out from under Jackie. One little girl did take pity on Jackie and offered Jackie one of her eggs from her overflowing basket. So Jackie came home with 2 eggs. It hurts me to see Jackie struggle. It's not about the candy in the eggs or if Jackie can get more eggs than the other kids. Which reminds me, I also hate pinatas at birthday parties. I'll save that story for another time, though. It just reminds me of the reality that Jackie does still struggle physically even though she looks and acts like a typical child her age. And I worry that eventually Jackie will soon start to become more cognizant of it and that it will affect her confidence. Jackie fared much better at the local community college a week later but this time I stayed closer to her and helped her to stay focused on putting the eggs in her basket as soon as she saw and picked one up. She was so cute, though, because she kept scoping out which eggs she liked best even if it was clear across the room.
Back to this year, this year I decided that I was going to do an egg hunt for my kids and the neighbor kids. I bought a bunch of candy and I brought the plastic eggs up from the basement. Then today, at the sort of the last moment, I took the kids to Towerview Baptist Church where they had an activity inside the church and then they had drawings to give away Easter baskets, stuffed animals, toys, and 2 bikes. Ben won an Easter basket. He was so funny because when I got out from our pew, Ben decided it was time to leave. Everyone started to laugh. I got Ben up to the front to receive his basket and he was a happy boy. While we were sitting and listening to other names being called out, Ben started having a fit because he wanted to open up his basket to get to all the colorful goodies inside. At the same time, Jackie is beginning to whine that she wants her name called because she wants a basket, too. Oh Lord, how was I going to console Jackie if she came away empty-handed. Then suddenly, I heard Jackie's name. "Jackie, they called your name. Hurry up and get up there" I exclaimed. So Jackie started to take off, then suddenly she put on the brakes and came back to our seat. I ended up walking her up to the front of the sanctuary to get her basket. She was a happy camper for sure and thankfully, I was spared the ordeal of having to explain "luck of the draw" concept.
The egg hunt was next and like most other egg hunts we've been to, they had areas sectioned off according to age group. Jackie did a great job picking up eggs, although she needed little reminders to just put the eggs in her basket and admire later. She kept pointing out how pretty this one was, oh this one is pink (she LOVES pink), maybe Ben will like this one, this one's already open, etc. Ben, on the other hand, ran to the playset that was right next to his section of the egg hunt and he proceeded to climb up on it. I retrieved him from there and showed Ben how to pick up an egg and put it in his basket. He got the hang of it right away and actually ended up retrieving a few more eggs than Jackie did. All in all, I was very pleased that it was not overly crowded and the kids really seemed to enjoy it this year. The people were nice and there was no pushing and shoving around. After the egg hunt was over, we were all led into the fellowship hall where there were cookies and drinks available. Thank you Towerview Baptist for such a nice time. And thank you for the prizes that my kids won. We look forward to participating again next year.