Yes, it is!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Day After the Torture Session

Well, just as I thought, I woke up this morning quite sore. I was already feeling very sore last night. I had to get up this morning to show the house we have on the market. As I went up the stairs to show the bedrooms, I could really feel the pain. I had to walk sort of sideways back down the stairs. But, I am not giving up on the personal training. After, no pain, no gain, right? But, I did wonder for a moment if I should even attempt to go to Zumba class.
After showing the house, I met Tim and the kids at church. Going from a sitting to standing position throughout service was paaaiiinfulllll. It was even more so when Jackie kept moving around in my lap. Ouch.
After church, I picked up Taco Bell food for us (that is better than other fast food, isn't it) and brought it home. I had a little bit of time to decide whether I should go to Zumba class. Since the Y is going to be closed tomorrow, I did finally decide that I was going to today's class. So, I got the kids in the car and we headed to the Y. It actually was not too bad. In fact, I think it was sort of helpful in keeping me stretched, especially the lower body. I did have to modify some moves but everything else was tolerable. I enjoy the Sunday class with Maggie but I am realizing that although it is a good workout, it is not as strenuous as Misty's zumba classes during the week. Today was a fun class, though, because Maggie taught us a couple of new routines.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Session 2 Personal Training

I went to my second session of personal training today. The trainer, Misty, had me work on leg strenthening today. After warming up, Misty had me start by doing squats, using a weighted ball. Okay, so that wasn't too bad. But then she had me use a 22 lb. kettlebell and swing it between my legs while doing squats. Then I had to run 3 laps around the track. I cheated a little on that one and walked a few steps to catch my breath. Back in the weight room, Misty had me doing squats again, this time using small hand weights. Then I had to do these lunges on each side. Those were actually not too bad and in fact, it felt kind of good on the back of my thigh. So, I thought, "a piece of cake, I can do this, no problem." Well, after that was done, Misty made me do continuous squats for a whole minute. That was the killer. Not even 30 seconds lapsed and I thought my legs were going to crumble beneath me. Whew!! After a few second break, the next thing Misty had me to do was the step. I think those continuous squats affected my performance. Then I had to do another 3 laps around the track. We went through the entire routine twice and it took nearly an hour to do it. That was probably slow timing but I am not giving up. I am committed to doing this because I am finally very determined to get myself back into shape and fitting back into my clothes from less than a year ago. I cannot believe I let myself get to this point but that's what depression and anxiety can lead to. But that's another story for another day. I should say, though, that I am feeling better than I have in a very long time, both physically and mentally/emotionally.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Good Soup

For those of you who know me well, you know that I am somewhat of a picky eater. I just like simple foods. In fact, Tim always reminds me that I have an unsophisticated palate. Every now and then, I impress him with a recipe that I enjoy. I made one of those dishes today. If you're picky like me, then this is a recipe for you. It will please picky and non-picky eaters alike. It is as follows:

Zuppa di Lentils & Pastina

Ingredients: 1/2 c pastina
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped (1 cup)
3 oz pancetta, chopped (optional, I don't use this)
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh Rosemary
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 quarts water
1 16-oz bag dried lentils, rinsed
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 Tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 Tablespoon chopped parsley

Heat oil in stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, pancetta (optional), rosemary, and garlic. Saute for 2 minutes.
Add water and lentils. Bring to a boil, cover. Cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. (This may take less time, just keep checking)
Place 1/4 cup of lentil mixture in a blender or food processor and puree. Add mixture back to pot and return to boil. Add carrots, celery, pastina, salt, and pepper. Cover, cook and additional 6 minutes. Stir occasionally. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

This makes the third time I have made this and each time it has turned out really good. One thing I noticed when I used organic lentils was that it took longer for the lentils to be ready. Just check the readiness of the lentil before you add the last ingredients. Oh, and my kids even enjoyed some of this.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

End of School Year Celebration, Finally

After a full morning of therapy, both speech and occupational, for Ben, I took the kids to Zion Lutheran School's picnic/carnival. Finally. I say finally because it was supposed to be held last week on Monday but it was canceled due to weather and rescheduled for that following Thursday. During the reception after Jackie's preschool graduation that Wednesday, we were informed that the carnival had been rescheduled. Again. For today. And today was the perfect day to have it. It was warm but not too hot and every now and then, there was a nice, little breeze.
The carnival wasn't a huge event but it was just the right amount for the school. There were a couple of rides and several inflatable, bounce things. There were also concessions and carnival type games. Jackie met up with her friend, Abby, and Abby's grandparents. The two girls thoroughly enjoyed the rides and the inflatables. They didn't even ask to play games. They rode the rides several times in a roll. I feel bad that I didn't get any pictures of Jackie enjoying the rides. Abby's grandma and I got caught up in conversation while Abby's grandpa took pictures of the girls. Jackie was so cute as she ran to me to tell me how much she liked the rides because they were "super fast". I had to chuckle because Jackie's vocabulary has been growing by leaps and bounds lately and she's using such grown-up phrases. She told me later in the day that Ben cracks her up.
Ben was able to climb up on and slide down one of the inflatables. The girl operating the tall inflatable got a kick out of Ben, especially when she had to go up and get him to slide down. The second time Ben went up that one, he decided he was going to have a little fun and bounce around on the platform in front of the slide. Then he would tease us and sit down as if he was going to slide, then just as suddenly, he got right back up and started bouncing again. There were just 2 kids allowed on this particular bounce thing and the line was building. The operator was so sweet about it, though, and just climbed right up there and got Ben to sit down and slid right down with him. Ben loved it and I think he loved it even more that the girl rode down with him.If you look close, you can see Ben teasing us at the top of the slide.I have to share another Ben funny. Before we left for the school carnival, a friend called and while we were having a short conversation, I noticed that Ben was quiet and realized that he was in my master bathroom. I checked in there and there was Ben, standing in my garden tub with my shaver that he had gotten off the window sill above the tub, trying the shave his legs. This is not the first time that he has attempted to shave his legs. I was able to intercept him the first time. Thankfully, the shaver had a dull blade and no harm was done. The boy definitely keeps me on my toes.As you recall, last night I had my first personal training session. It went well and I expected to experience some soreness today. I am sore but not nearly as much as I expected to be. I am so excited about getting back into shape and looking decent again. I went to Zumba this evening and even though I was sore and my legs started to feel more fatigued, I was able to make it through the class. But I was glad when the hour was over. Saturday is my next session and the trainer is going to work on lower body this time. I practiced my jump roping today and was able to make through 6 before I stepped on the rope. That's much better than last night when I couldn't even get past the first jump. So embarrassing.I've always heard how exercise can have an positive effect on those who struggle with depression. I am definitely finding that to be the case here and am quite amazed at how much better emotionally I have been feeling lately. I'll write about my experience soon. Even despite the depressing weekend I experienced after feeling attacked by strangers on Facebook via somebody else's status update. I think I made a wise decision, albeit temporarily (hopefully), to remove that person from my friend list in order to avoid subjecting myself to all those hurtful comments by strangers. Back to the exercise and depression connection, I am definitely feeling more positive, I am a little more patient with my kids, my temper is not as quick, my anger & frustration has decreased significantly. And most of all, I am much more motivated to get back into good shape. Who knows, maybe this will lead to a new interest in body building. As much as my first session wore me out, I left the Y feeling very encouraged and excited.
Before I finish this post, I have to mention a couple of things that occurred yesterday, both involving Jackie. Yesterday, Jackie was drawing on her magna-doodle and when she showed me what she did, I was very impressed. This is not the first time that Jackie has blown me away with her artistic ability. Even her teacher and some of the parent helpers have commented on some of Jackie's artwork. A picture of her sketch from yesterday is posted below. The other thing that occurred was when Jackie asked if her friend, Tucker, could spend the night. What?! Gee, Jackie's just 5 years old and so is T. Of course, the answer was a big, fat NO. I found it to be humorous, though. Ahh, the innocence of childhood.Now that school is out for the summer, Jackie has been asking me every night what we're doing the next day. She wants to go places. I am planning to take Jackie to a couple of church VBS's. I also should look into getting a zoo membership so the kids can enjoy the zoo train and the children's zoo inside the zoo. The base pool is opening this weekend so I'm sure that is one place where we will be spending time at.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Personal Training

I survived my first personal training session tonight. The trainer was tough but good. She had me do stretches, ball exercises, free weights, push-ups, planks, jumping rope, jogging laps around the track, and I'm sure there was more that I can't remember at this point. I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to get through the session without passing out. I was doubly surprised that I was able to jog around the track without having to stop to catch my breath. The planks were probably the more difficult part of the session. I had to hold that position for 30 seconds. I swear she was counting in half-time because those 30 seconds seemed awfully long, especially when my arms and legs started to shape.
Now, jumping rope was an embarrassing experiment. One time, I was able to get 2 jumps in before I tripped on the 3rd jump. That was my best. But, I'm determined to get back in shape and looking good again. So, I went to Target after my session was over and I bought a jump rope. I promptly came home and tried it out. I was able to get 5 jumps in before I hit my ear with the rope. It hit the earring on the top of my ear and boy, was that painful.
I remember a time when I was able to jump-rope for hours and run track with feeling breathless. No longer is that the case. Ugh, growing old stinks.
Now, I need to go shopping for some good running shoes. I usually wear cross-training shoes, but Misti recommended running shoes. The lack of actual running shoes is a good indicator of my affection for running.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I Have a New Addiction

McDonalds sweet tea. I've been kicking the soda habit to the curb. Well, most of the time. I've mostly been drinking water, Propel or Gatorade, or decaffeinated tea. But lately, I've been craving good, ole sweet iced tea. It's better than soda, right?
I had 2 McDonald's sweet teas today. I got the first one this afternoon while on the way to take Jackie to physical therapy. But, I was disappointed that the cup consisted of mostly ice. But the few ounces of tea that was in the cup sure did taste good. So, after Zumba tonight, I went through the McDonald's drive-through to get another sweet tea. This time I told the cashier that I wanted some tea and to please use maybe a third of the amount of ice. Well, I got my wish but I still got ripped off. The McDonald's person did not fill my cup all the way. Darn McDonald's, are you that stingy?!

My Motherly Jackie

Yesterday, I got a dose of reality. It seems that my daughter, Jackie, is turning into her own mother. Yesterday, before we left to go to St. Louis to pick something, Jackie insisted on taking 2 of her babies, dolly carseats and all. As I drove, I could hear Jackie occasionally saying something to or about her babies but I really couldn't understand what she was saying. Right before we arrived at our destination, I hear Jackie using a baby voice asking "Mommy, I'm tired" immediately followed by older sounding Jackie saying "What?". I immediately realized she was playing mommy at this point. The conversation ended with Jackie in baby voice "I'm tired" followed by older sounding Jackie saying "Then go to sound."
I was laughing hysterically inside because that is definitely me that she was imitating. Lately with Ben, Jackie is acting motherly much the same way I do with him. She is insisting on changing or putting on his clothes, securing his carseat, making sure he is not in harms way. This morning, Ben tumbled off the couch and bumped his head. He was quite upset and while I was trying to comfort him, Jackie kept trying to rub his back and pat him and talk to him soothingly but Ben was having no part of it. Then later this afternoon, after Ben woke from a nap, Jackie resumed her motherly ways and again, Ben was having no part of it. Jackie must think she is Ben's second mother.
It really pleases me how Jackie loves her brother so much and how she is so nurturing to him. I really hope they do grow up to be close.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Strawberry Festival

Ha, I have that cute little Beatles song "Strawberry Fields Forever" stuck in my head now.
A couple of months ago, I was invited to be a vendor at a Strawberry Festival in St. Jacob, a small community about a half hour northeast of our home. It was held today and I didn't quite know what to expect. Now when I think of Strawberry Festival, I think of something like the Strawberry Festival in Plant City, FL. That festival takes place soon after the Florida State Fair finishes up in Tampa, FL. It is like going to a mini-state fair with fattening, deep-fried foods, cotton candy, popcorn, roasted corn on the cob, corndogs, funnel cakes, all that good, bad stuff. There are rides, concerts, shows, more. It's a week long affair and it's big. So, imagine my surprise, albeit pleasant, when I drove into St. Jacob to discover that this Strawberry festival is held in the community park and there were no rides. There was, however, a barbeque stand that offered cold drinks, hot dogs, brats, chips, and strawberries with cake and/or ice cream. The strawberries came from Driscolls of California. Now something is wrong here. A strawberry festival in tiny St. Jacob, IL to celebrate the arrival of strawberries from California? Hmm, I know I drove past a couple of strawberry farms on my way to the festival. But it was a nice, little family event.
After I got everything set up on my table, I called Tim to tell him to bring the kids out if he felt like it. Now before I left the house, I told Tim that I had laid out an outfit of shorts and t-shirt for Ben. I failed to set up an outfit for Jackie before I left the house this morning. So, when I told Tim to make sure that Jackie clothes match before he brings the kids to the festival, I should have known better. First of all, I put so much effort into putting together matching outfits for whomever the caretaker is at the time, whether it be Daddy or grandparent. I don't know why I waste my time doing so because I have yet to be greeted by my kids wearing the clothes that I picked out. I won't even talk about the time when I was in the hospital after giving birth to Ben. I should have known then that it was a sign of things to come. Okay, so back to today, since Ben was already wearing shorts and a T-shirt different from what I had picked out before I left this morning, I was okay because at least, he matched and it was comfortable for this hot weather. So, all I needed to do was tell Tim to make sure Jackie matches. One would assume that with this hot weather, she would surely be in summer clothes and matching at that. Right??...Wrong! After awhile, Tim did show up with the kids and they immediate found my table where I was set up at. I was greeted by Jackie wearing her pink capris with pink socks and pink & white shoes and... a long sleeve shirt. LONG sleeve, folks! In 90 degree weather! And to top it off, although it was pink, the shade did not match the capris. So, not only did Jackie not match, she was wearing long sleeves. Uggghhh. Then I look over at Ben and he is wearing... corduroy long pants! That's right, CORDUROY Long pants!! I asked what happened with the shorts and all I got was a shrug from Daddy. Double uggghhh! Is it too much to ask that my kids are dressed comfortably for this weather, humid 90 degree weather? I'm a stickler for matching but if Daddy can't manage that, I would expect that he would put appropriate clothing on his kids, especially after seeing that he, himself is dressed in shorts and short-sleeves. I think next time, I will just have to plaster appropriate wear on Daddy's head so that he. will. get. the. message.
After a night such as last night, all of that should be the least of my worries. After experiencing stress from being attacked by strangers on Facebook, I put off getting my inventory prepared for the Strawberry festival until late last night because I went to the neighbor's house to play a couple of rounds of card games. It was a nice time and took my mind off of that day's stressful events. So after finishing up the card games, I came back home and started to get my stuff ready for today's event when I hear Ben start crying. After comforting Ben and laying him back down in his bed, I started to finish up my preparations when I looked up and saw Ben laying in the hallway and watching me. I put him back in bed and a few moments later, there he was again. So, I figured since it was nearly midnight and I knew he was tired, he would just fall back asleep there on the floor and then I would put him back in bed. Well, that's what usually happens but not on this particular night. Soon after, I finished up what I was doing and I heard Ben rummaging around in the kitchen then he appeared in front of me with his cup. He wanted me to refill it. Okay, so I figured he must have had a bad dream and now he was thirsty so give him some water to drink and put him back to bed and he will go back to sleep quickly now that his tongue is quenched. Umm, no again. The boy was not going back to sleep that easily this time. He was wide awake and ready to play and watch TV. At 1:00 in the morning! After one more attempt to put him back in his bed, unsuccessfully, I decided to just put him in bed with me and Tim. It worked. For Ben and Tim. I, on the other hand, could not get to sleep as tired as I was. So, I moved to the couch and put the TV on low volume (this works for those with tinnitus) and finally started to fall into a slumber when I was awakened by a hard thump and crying. Oh, for Pete's sake, did Ben fall out of my bed? So, I run to my bedroom only to find the door locked and Ben crying on the other side. I called for Tim and he was using the bathroom. Tim had locked the bedroom door to keep Ben from wandering out of the room so that I could get at least a little bit of sleep on the living room couch. I did not realize that Ben was not yet asleep when I left him in bed with Tim. So, I joined the boys back in my bed until I quit feeling Ben moving around. I went back out to the living room couch to again attempt to fall asleep. I think slumber finally claimed me around 3 AM, it may have even been later. I don't know; the entire night is a blur. I awoke around 6 AM and somehow managed to crawl from the couch into bed with Jackie until I was again woken by my cell phone alarm clock. Time to get up and get ready to face the day at the Strawberry Festival. Oh joy! Especially on maybe 3 hours of sleep. Insomnia is not fun, folks, especially when there is a little boy who insists that it is time to get up and play and even eat sometime after midnight.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Jackie's Preschool Graduation

This past Wednesday, Jackie graduated from preschool at Zion Lutheran School. The ceremony was held in the chapel. It was so sweet. At the beginning of the ceremony, the teacher introduced each student as they "fluttered" in one by one with their butterfly wings on. Jackie's wings were pink, of course. Once all of the students fluttered in and landed on stage, they sang this cute little song "If I Were..." It was precious. The students sang a few more songs, then it was time for the diploma presentation. After the diplomas were handed to each student, a DVD presentation began. I wish there was some way I could download my copy of the DVD onto this blog. It was so precious. Throughout the DVD, each child was posed with a series of questions and some of the answers made the audience break out in laughter. These kids are just so precious and so funny. When Jackie was asked what she learned in Preschool, her answer was music. Hmm, she has always loved music from the time she was born. And she has a beautiful singing voice. She is definitely musically inclined. Another question that was posed was "What do you want to be?" Jackie's answer: "An ice skater girl." Why?: "Because I like ice skating" Hmm, well, she's never been ice skating but she will soon get her chance because she was invited to an ice-skating birthday party in a couple of weeks. After the ceremony ended, we all headed back to the academic building where there was a cake and punch reception waiting for us. The cake was absolutely adorable with a headshot of each student outlined with flower petals. It was precious.I cannot believe that my baby will be going into Kindergarten this coming August. Time has flown by so quickly. In a way, I am looking forward to it so that I can return to the workforce part-time. But in another way, I don't look forward to it. Jackie will be in school 5 full days per week. I won't be able to protect her as well. And she will be going to public school. Now I realize that not all public schools are bad and not all bus rides are bad. But I can't help but remember the hell that I went through both at school and on the bus. I was bullied terribly. I remember it starting a little bit in 3rd grade and it picked up by 4th-5th grade. Not only was I bullied by fellow students, but I had my share of teachers who did their share of bullying toward me. The bus rides were not any better. But, I have to trust that times have changed and that the teachers truly are against bullying of any kind today. And, the bus drivers are adults, not high school students such as what I experienced during my school years. Time will tell if we will make any transitions from the public school system. Right now, it is my hope that Jackie will thrive and learn and most of all, be safe and be treated well by her teachers. Jackie is very excited about this new venture come August.

Ineptitude!

I must be the most socially inept person around. A situation that I learned of today temporarily had me feeling like having somebody take a gun and blow my head off. I just cannot seem to please anybody. Apparently, I have been insulting somebody who I considered a great friend. I had no clue about it. Even worse, I apparently have been saying, or alluding to, negative things about her kids. I truly have no clue what I have said or done to her kids. Gee, I cared about them and they played well with my kids. I found them to be charming and humorous. Humorous in a good way. And they are smart kids. In fact, I often told this person that I thought her son was extremely intelligent. That's a good thing, isn't it? Whatever the problem is, it doesn't negate the fact that she is a great mom to her kids.
You know, if I continue to be the reserved, cautious person that is my nature, then people think I'm stuck-up, not friendly, unapproachable. I try to become more outgoing, approachable, friendly but it just doesn't work out for me. I should just stick with being my loner self. But then, I don't want my kids to be that way. I am striving to set a better example for them so that they do not grow up to be socially inept such as I am.
Okay, now I need to update the blog with good news about Jackie's preschool graduation this past week. I can't believe I almost forgot that.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Update on Jackie's abdominal x-ray

Today I received confirmation of what the doctor suspected yesterday. Jackie's abdominal x-ray showed an area in her bowel that is backing up and rubbing against her bladder. This is possibly what is resulting in Jackie's urinary leakage. Hopefully, this really is the answer I've been looking for as to why Jackie continues to have bladder leakage. So, the doctor has ordered a 3-day treatment to clean out her system and then a maintenance treatment following. Jackie will see the doctor in 3 weeks for a follow-up.
If this has been the problem all along, I am going to feel some guilt for getting frustrated with Jackie over her urine problems. She has been toilet trained since age 2- 2 1/2 but she goes through periods when she has wetting issues. I really am hoping that this latest idea is the answer.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Jackie, the Lightweight

For the last several days, Jackie has been complaining of stomach pain. I called this morning and we were able to see the doctor today. The first thing that usually takes place is one of the techs takes the vitals. So Jackie got on the scale and she finally gained another whole pound. That makes 2 pounds in just 2 years. You read right; 2 pounds in 2 years. Boy, I wish I had her metabolism now. Those were the days!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mother-Daughter Time Today

This morning after I woke up, the idea came to me that I should spend some one-on-one time with Jackie. So after Tim came home from changing the oil in the Toyota, I left with Jackie and headed to the mall. But our first stop was my friend, Lisa's, house to drop off some boxes that she wanted me to save for her. Jackie and I visited with her for a little bit.
After leaving Lisa's house, Jackie and I arrived at the mall and headed to the food court. We had to walk through Dillards and as we were walking, this kind older gentleman noticed Jackie limping and he asked Jackie if she hurt her leg. Jackie was quiet so I told the man that Jackie has Cerebral Palsy. He looked amazed and told Jackie that she was doing great and to keep it up. When we got to the food court, I ordered from Chick-Fil-A and the cashier noticed Jackie's bright pink hand splint and asked if Jackie broke her wrist. Again, I explained that Jackie has CP. Jackie is often asked if she hurt her leg or her hand and she gets quiet about. I proudly explain to people that Jackie has CP and is doing very well. After we received our food order, we proceeded to find a table to sit at. Before we could sit, though, Jackie saw the little ride machines. Of course, she wanted to ride them. I told her she had a choice of one to ride. And of course, she chose the one that took the most change. Ha! So, I handed over 4 quarters so she could ride this fake roller coaster. She can ride the same exact thing at Chuck-E-Cheese's for just a quarter. Ah, well. I wanted Jackie to have a nice time. After the little fake coaster ride was over, we found a table to sit at. As soon as I took the food out of the bag and set it on napkins, Jackie asked for ketchup. Of course, there wasn't any in the bag. I had to gather everything together again and walk with Jackie back over to the Chick-Fil-A. As we waited in line to ask for ketchup, I noticed a lady with this awesome looking double stroller. I commented on the stroller and immediately recognized the mother of the 2 boys in the stroller. We had met last December at a playgroup which I occasionally take Ben to. Angie has a 3 year old boy who has a genetic condition. She also has a healthy 4 month old boy. We sat down together to talk and catch up. It was such a nice time and it was so nice to see Angie adjusting to life with 2 small children of which one has special needs. I can relate although Jackie is nowhere near as severe as M is.
After we finished our food, Jackie and I made our way to JCPenney. I found some capri pants and while we were in the fitting room, Jackie loudly asked why there was a hole in my underwear. Thanks, Jackie, for the announcement. Now everyone knows that I have underwear that are falling apart. And by the way, it wasn't a hole, it was just coming apart on the side. But it still does not negate the fact that I was serious need of new underwear. After I bought the capris, I took Jackie to the children's department where we bought her a pair of capris, a shirt, and a shirt for Ben. Then we went to Gymboree to check out their sale. Jackie got a pair of socks and 2 shirts and Ben got a shirt and a pair of shorts.
We left the mall and headed home where I expected Ben and Tim to be waiting for us so we could eat dinner together. But they weren't home. So after calling Tim on his cell phone to find out what his plans were, Jackie and I went back out to shop at Target. I did buy some new underwear there. I also bought some clearance clothes for the kids. I also let Jackie pick out a present for her friend at school who is having a birthday this week. But that particular Barbie was out of stock there and the store clerk directed me to another Target where they had 2 still on the shelves. So Jackie and I headed over there to get the Barbie before meeting Tim and Ben at O'Charley's for dinner.
With the exception of the daily drama from Jackie, and of course the rain, I really enjoyed having special time with Jackie today.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Reflections of Mother's Day

Mother's Day. I remember during childhood making little tokens at school for Mother's Day. As I grew older and ventured out on my own, I saw Mother's Day as an obligation to treat Mother to some sort of gift. Even at church, mothers were especially revered on Mother's Day. I was pretty much indifferent about it all. I never really understood all the hype about this particular day... until I became a mother myself. Before I met and married Tim, I was not sure if I would have children. During high school, I was not one of those girls who aspired to get married and have children. In fact, the very idea terrified me. Marriage was a very scary thing for me and the idea of squeezing a little human out of one of my orifices really frightened me. Additionally, I thought I would be bad mother. How could I nurture a baby when I never really had a good example of it myself? As I got older, I did become a little more open to the idea but I just was never really sure. I vacillated quite often. I would become close to some of my friends' little ones which at times gave me a desire to be a mom but then when it came down to it, I really enjoyed my freedom too much at the time to make a lifetime commitment to a man and to children. Simply put, I just was not ready.
By the time I met Tim, I had actually started looking into adopting a special needs child (bi/multi-racial, older child, or mild handicap) because I kept reading about how there were so many of these children who were in need of homes. I was adopted myself by my step-dad and have no knowledge of my biological father whatsoever so I really felt that I could relate in some way to these children. But soon after I started inquiring about the foster-to-adopt program, I met Tim. Eighteen months after we met, we were married in February 2002. We were not sure if our family would include children so I had been taking the birth control pill. On our wedding day, we were already put under pressure by well-meaning well-wishers to have a baby. I don't remember what my response was at the time to those who started asking when a baby would be due.
A couple of months after our wedding, Tim came to me one night and told me that I could stop taking the pills. Wow, the thought was really scary to me as it meant the possibility of pregnancy unless we took other precautions. I was happy to be off of the pill because I hardly felt good while taking them.
After a few months, my mother-in-law told me that her oldest grand-daughter (Tim's niece) was pregnant on her first attempt and promptly announced that Vickie won the race. Whoa! I didn't know I was in a race, especially with somebody much younger than me and who lived a much different lifestyle than I lived. Plus with my history of endometriosis and previous uterine surgeries, I already knew that pregnancy may not be possible. Then I was informed a short time later that Tim's cousin's wife was pregnant. Woop dee doo, I lost the race again. I really was a failure because I just could not produce to everyone's satisfaction. It was shortly after this and after several others kept pressuring us with personal questions about our plans for a baby that I announced that Tim and I were not going to add to our little family. We had each other and we had our Buffy (our dog at the time who has since gone to doggie heaven). The comments and personal questions stopped.
I became pregnant in 2003 but we lost that one the weekend of Mother's Day. I will never forget it. After so many years of saying that I was never going to have kids, I really thought God was punishing me and making me keep my own promise of never having kids. Tim and I went to church that Mother's Day while I was still in the process of miscarrying. I went because I didn't want God to punish me even further. Looking back, I now know that I should have stayed home. It was a very emotional time and I cried throughout the entire church service, especially when the pastor recognized the mothers. Tim kept trying to get us to leave but I just could not get myself to even get up from the pew. I held my head down the entire time because I didn't want anybody to see my tears.
In March of 2004, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that we were expecting twins. Unfortunately, one of the twins died around 7 weeks gestation. Then I suffered a chorionic bleed which put me at a significant risk of losing the remaining twin, Jackie. Thankfully, the bleed resolved after several weeks and from my second trimester on, the pregnancy went smoothly. I felt great with the exception of a handful of minor problems, the most troublesome being sciatic pain and spontaneous nosebleeds. As I got toward the end of my pregnancy, Jackie still had not turned head down. When I went for my 36 week check, Jackie was still in frank breech position and due to concern about my amniotic fluid level, the doctor decided against a version and scheduled a c-section for November 9th, early enough that I hopefully would not go into labor. Well, Jackie had a different idea. Very early on the morning of November 1st, I woke up to make one of my nightly visits to the bathroom and after I went back to bed, I suddenly experienced one of the worst cramps I have ever experienced. I don't know what was worse; a collapsed lung or this cramp. At least with the cramp, I was able to breathe. So, I got up thinking that maybe I needed to just sit in the bathroom for awhile. As soon as I stepped into the bathroom, my amniotic fluid burst out of me and onto the floor. I was shocked, in fact, I thought for a moment that I just lost control of my bladder. But the volume and appearance immediately made me think that I was indeed going to have a baby on this day. I frantically told Tim that I needed to get to the hospital because my water broke. Thankfully, he was the calm one as I frantically rushed around while he took his time getting dressed. We got to the hospital where I was wheeled up to the maternity area. The on-call doctor confirmed that my membranes had ruptured and while we waited for my OB doctor to arrive, an ultrasound confirmed that Jackie was still in the breech position and I was prepped for a C-section. Jackie was born after 8:00 that morning weighing 7 pounds 2 ounces and 19 1/2 inches long. I was finally able to see my baby a few hours after she was born. When Jackie was finally brought to me, I thought she was the most beautiful baby ever born. Unfortunately, bonding was difficult for us and Jackie developed jaundice. And her weight continued to drop significantly. I was able to bring her home after nearly a week. As much as I loved my baby, that first year with her was a very difficult year with her colic, failure to thrive issues, my post partum depression, bond issues. It was just a very difficult time made worse by the lack of a support system as we had just moved here to Illinois three months before Jackie's birth.
Tim and I thought Jackie would be our only child. I was not sure I wanted to go through another pregnancy because I didn't like the idea of having another c-section. We tossed around the idea of fostering-to-adopt but I never felt that Tim was 100% on board. I was really okay with it, though, because Jackie was such a handful as it was. But as much of a challenge Jackie was (and still is), I felt phenomenally blessed to have Jackie and was quite content with her being our only child.
Fast forward a few years to 2007 when at the end of April, I discovered I was pregnant with our son, Ben. Tim and I were extremely shocked. We were in such shock that we did not tell any of our family members until I was around 12 weeks along. I vacillated between shock, fear, excitement, you name. I ran the gamut of emotions. I was also fearful because I was experiencing bleeding again with this pregnancy but the military doctors here would not see me until I was close to the end of my first trimester. Thankfully, all turned out well and we have our beautiful son.
It took some time to get used to the plural for "kid". Everytime I referred to my "kids", my heart skipped a beat and I had to sort of shake my head to make sure that I was not dreaming. Wow, I was now a mom of 2. I never dreamed that I would have another baby at my advanced age but I would not trade it for anything. I quickly got used to caring for 2 kids at once. Our family was definitely complete with our little girl and our baby boy. At least, that's what I thought.
Very few people know until now that I became pregnant again last year in 2009. I had been taking precautions to avoid it. It didn't work. Obviously. I called my best friend a couple of times with concern about a possible pregnancy but she kept trying to reassure me that it could just be my hormones changing because of my age. She was with me when I took a pregnancy test that confirmed the dreaded diagnosis. I was distraught. At the time, Tim and I had hit a bump in the road in our marriage. 'How was I going to take care of three kids? I already often felt like a single parent. Now we were going to have to buy a minivan. How am I going to afford childcare for 3 kids when I wanted to go back into the workforce? I was going to have to stay home with the kids for another few years.' These were just a few of the thoughts running through my mind. And unfortunately, abortion crossed my mind for just a fleeting moment. I could get rid of the "problem" and nobody, including Tim, would ever have to know. But rest assured, if it came down to it, I would not have been able to bring myself to do that. But I was in such a state of mind that I was not thinking rationally. It took me two days before breaking the news to Tim. He was surprised but he seemed to be okay with it. That's probably because up until then, he knew something was going on and he thought that I was planning to leave him. Poor guy. After I got past the initial shock, I started to accept the fact that there was another baby on the way but I continued to go about my life with little regard to the life inside me. After a couple of weeks, I found myself becoming protective of that little life and I started to feel a little bit of excitement and even daydreamed about my three kids playing together one day. But those dreams were short-lived.
On Mother's day of 2009, we went to church where I met up with Lisa. I had noticed that morning that I was having a little bit of spotting. Since I had experienced bleeding with my previous pregnancies, I thought that it would be okay but I was still a little worried. The spotting continued for a couple of days but it continued to be light. And I took extra care to not lift anything heavy and to not over-extend myself. But all was not well. That Tuesday after Mother's Day, it was as if the dam burst and I knew I was miscarrying. As I look back, I still have mixed feelings about it all. When I look at a little baby now, I wonder what my little one would have looked like. But at the same time, I never felt deep grief about it. I was actually okay about it and I felt a little guilty for feeling that way. However, I did question God why he took my babies away from me on 2 different Mother's days. If god was going to take away my babies, why couldn't he choose another time to take them? Of the three miscarriages I've had, 2 of them were around this special day.
Despite all of that, though, I am so thankful for my 2 beautiful children who are alive and healthy. Jackie does have mild cerebral palsy but she is thriving and gaining strength. I love being their mom and it is my hope that even during the difficult times with them, I can convey to them that I love them unconditionally and that they are very special to me. I never thought I would enjoy motherhood as much I do enjoy it.

Mother's Day Update

Well, I got a pleasant surprise this morning. After I woke up and got the kids up and dressed, I noticed a bouquet of flowers on the table along with a card. Tim did a nice job picking the card out because it was beautiful. After reading the card, I got the kids into the car, including our neighbor, Taylor, and headed to church for Jackie's choir sound check. I thought for sure that I had missed it because we were so late but alas, we were fine. Jackie, my child who does not like to be center of attention, was worried because there were no people in the church, yet. I reassured her that it was just practice and that there will be lots of people to watch her. I was quite surprised that she was hoping to see lots of people as she usually becomes very quiet when she feels like people are watching her. So, when the time came for her choir to sing during the actual church service, Jackie did a wonderful job singing and doing the hand motions that go with it. And she did such a good job using her weak left hand for the hand movements. I was so proud of her. And the best part... her daddy came just to watch her. Then he left after Jackie was done singing.
After church, I let Jackie choose where to go for lunch and she picked McDonald's. Ugh. After lunch, I went to work out at the YMCA. Later in the afternoon, Tim called to ask if I wanted to go out to eat for dinner in a few hours. A few hours?! No, I was not going to be out late with the kids. I was determined to get Ben and Jackie into bed before 8:30 after way too many nights this week of too late bedtimes. So Tim was home within an hour and we left soon after to go to Olive Garden. We really had a pleasant time. And I should say that with the exception of Jackie waking up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, it was all in all a good day with my precious children. There was not as much fighting between the kids and hardly any crying over anything. Thank you to my precious children for allowing me to have such an enjoyable day with you. I LOVE my kids.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day is already a bust this year

I've just been informed by the father of my children that we will have to wait to celebrate Mother's Day. Apparently, dirt biking takes precedence. He has a very busy weekend which I can understand due to a final coming for his graduate class. So this morning, he is studying and then this afternoon, he has a medical appointment. Then immediately following that, he is taking off to go tend to the dirt bike races for the rest of the day. Then tomorrow morning, he will be going to the office where it is quiet so that he can study all day for his final on Monday. Okay, now I can understand missing Mother's Day for something important such as that but gee, dirt biking today takes priority over his studies. Since he will be so busy working the races today, that is going to take away from study time today and add it onto tomorrow. That's where I have a little bit of a problem. But who am I to deprive him of something that he really enjoys. That's okay, since I will be single parenting on this special day for mothers, I am going to make it a grand one for my kids. I have to get up early to take Jackie to the church for a sound check as her choir will be singing in the morning. Then we will stay for church. From there, the kids and I will pick out a nice place to enjoy a nice lunch (hopefully). Then home for a bit. I will have to take the kids with me to the YMCA so I can go to my Zumba class. Then maybe in the evening, I'll take the kids out again for dinner. Tomorrow is my day and I am NOT going to cook. I'm going to try to make it as stressfree as possible. Is that possible? We shall see tomorrow.
Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Another Day in the Life of Me

Oh, what a day today was. It actually started on Wednesday when Jackie came home from school without her hand splint. She kept saying that it was probably at school. I looked in her backpack but I didn't see it so the only thing I could do was hope that it was at school. Jackie has a history of losing very much needed items. Last year, she lost a thumb splint after having it for just a month. Earlier this year, she lost a pair of brand new glasses that were just 2 weeks old. Jackie also has a history of mangling her much needed items, too. I can't even begin to describe what her previous pairs of eyeglasses look like now. Anyway, this morning Tim offered to take Jackie to school since he was off from work. I told him about Jackie's missing splint and asked he if could please inquire about it at school. He came home empty-handed and said that he looked in all the toy areas, cubby areas, and even the school lost & found area. Feeling stressed about this latest missing item, I was on a mission to find it and being that a previously named person has ADD, I knew that I needed to re-check. So off to the school I went. I got to Jackie's classroom and re-checked her backpack. Whoa, there it was wrapped in her little blanket. I took it home for safe-keeping. It is just so stressful trying to keep up with all of Jackie's needs because it can be quite expensive. Tricare will cover only so much.
After I get back home, I decided that today would be a great day to take Ben for a big boy haircut. When I said to Ben, "let's go get your haircut" he ran into the bathroom and came running out with his sister's pink hair clip and insisted on wearing it. Oh boy! This would not go over well with his father. But I put it in Ben's hair to make him happy. Then he grabbed his black lunch cooler and cup and off we went, hair clip and all. I took him to the local cosmetology school and for $7, the stylist did an awesome job. And Ben was such good boy. He even caused a few chuckles in the studio with his cuteness. This was not Ben's first cut however, it was his first big boy cut done with actual clippers instead of just scissors. And it's much shorter. No more baby cuts.After we arrived back home, I gave Ben his lunch and I went down into the basement to quickly start a load of laundry and to get a bottle of water. Tim was in our bedroom working on a school project so I thought Ben would be okay for just a few short moments. When I came back upstairs, Ben came running to me crying and holding his mouth wide open. At first, I thought that perhaps he didn't like his lunch (pizza) but he kept crying and gesturing toward his mouth. When I looked in his mouth, it looked like little pieces of a wet paper napkin so I started to dig into his mouth to pull it out. It was wrapped around his tongue and it was on the inside of his cheek. It was not coming off. Then when I glanced up at the kitchen counter, I saw a tube of super glue that appeared to have been bitten into. I immediately realized that Ben got up onto the counter and bit into the tube of super glue. I immediately went into panic mode and yelled to Tim that Ben got super glue in his mouth and then I called the local emergency room. The person at the ER gave me the number for poison control. When I finally got through to a live person, I immediately explained what happened. The kind lady on the other end must have detected the panic in my voice and immediately reassured me that Ben was going to be fine and that the super glue is non-toxic. I was so afraid that the super glue had been swallowed and that Ben's airway would be glued shut. Thankfully, that would not be the case as the glue is soluble. However, the lady did explain that if it got onto the teeth, then it would flake off over time but that it should come off of the tongue and his cheek easily. Whew. I was shaking and still shook for a good half hour after that episode. This boy is causing me grief. He is such a climber and he has no fear of heights. Ben apparently inherited from his father his ability to climb and ingest foreign substances. From what I've been told by my mother-in-law, as a little tike, Tim had his stomach pumped no less than 4 times due to ingesting foreign substances and an aunt's prescriptions pills. Gah!
Tim then took off to ride his dirt bike and I waited for the neighbor to bring Jackie home from school. After Jackie came home from school, we head to the YMCA so I could do the Zumba class. As I was signing in the kids in the play area, I overheard somebody say that the Zumba class was canceled due to illness. What?!! Oh, No, that's not good because I'm addicted to Zumba. Then Brooke came in to inform me of the same. So we decided to utilize that time instead to work out in the cardio room. We did the treadmill and then we worked on some weight machines to work our abs, lower back, and triceps. It turned out to be an okay workout after all thanks to Brooke who showed me how to use some of the newer machines. Speaking of Brooke, it has been so nice to have a work-out partner. She is a wonderful friend and our kids are close in age so they play together nicely.