Yes, it is!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Some Things Will Never Change

Okay, I will first make it very clear that I love my husband and I care very much about him.  But, he definitely peeves me at times.  Many times.  Maybe all the time.  I try to not be so hard on him but gee, will it ever be possible for him to have the kids bathed, in their pajamas, toys picked up, teeth brushed, and in bed before I come home AFTER 8:30 on Tuesday and Thursday nights?
Today was another busy day.  I had a doctor appointment this morning after which I ran a couple of errands with Ben.  Then came home and fed Ben lunch and hung out for another hour and half until it was time to pick up Jackie from school early. I then had to take Jackie to St. Louis for her neurology appointment.  We did not get out of there until nearly 5:00 PM.  Traffic was heavy and we didn't arrive back home until 5:45.  I had just a few minutes to get Jackie ready for soccer practice which started at 6:00.  I left instructions for Tim on what to cook for dinner.  When I brought Jackie back home at 7:00, Tim was successful with dinner preparations.  Score! 
On the drive back home from Jackie's neurology appointment, Ben fell asleep.  That was around 5:30.  Tim had brought Ben in from the car and laid him on the couch where Ben continued to snooze.  I figured he would probably wake up before I brought Jackie home from soccer practice.  So, I was surprised that Ben was still asleep when we got back home at 7:00.  I quickly got Jackie a plate of spaghetti and some broccoli then I quickly changed into my workout clothes for Zumba which starts at 7:30.  Which Tim knows about because I go every Tuesday and Thursday at the same time.  Every week.  Every Tuesday and Thursday.  At 7:30.  You get the hint.  It doesn't change unless I have something that comes up.  But that hardly happens because I have to have my Zumba fix. 
So before I head out the door, I exchanged a few words with Jackie and told her goodnight.  I told Tim that I'll see him later.  As I headed out (by this time it is 7:10), I thought, "hmm, maybe I should have woken Ben up."  But then I thought common sense would tell Tim to wake Ben up before too long.
I got to Zumba and it was a great and fun class tonight.  It's always fun but tonight was especially fun because people just got the giggles over some of the moves. 
I got home about 8:50 and the first thing I notice as I drive up to the house is the light streaming through Jackie's bedroom window.  Now why should that be a big surprise?  I walked in but all was quiet so I thought perhaps the kids were indeed in their rooms just being quiet until they fall asleep.  But bliss ended immediately when Tim announced that the kids were still awake.  O-kay.  Where?  In our room.  Were they ready for bed, with teeth brushed?  Nope.  So, I immediately go in my room and since the kids ignored my request to get off of my bed and go get ready for bed, I turned the TV off.  To my surprise, there were not protests.  Very unusual.  I got Ben changed into his night clothes, brushed his teeth, and put him to bed.  Then my attention was turned to Jackie.  Surprisingly, she didn't stall too much tonight.  During all of this, the mister continued to veg in his chair in front of the TV and with his laptop in front of him.  I could feel my anger rising but I managed to stay calm while I got the kids ready for bed.  Just as I go the last kid into her bed, the mister came in and asked what he should do.  What?!  Why ask now?  He had nearly 2 hours to make sure the kids would at least be ready for bed by the time I arrived back home from the Y.  Why bother now?
I told him everything was taken care and then proceeded to ask him why he didn't have the kids already prepared for bed?  His response?  He didn't know I was gone.  Now, that is unbelievable.  He didn't know I was gone?  It is Tuesday night.  I left immediately after bringing Jackie home from soccer practice. This is a routine thing.  Tuesday and Thursday nights at 7:30.  Every week.And? I even said "see you later."  So what was different about tonight?  Not sure.  Maybe mister was out of his routine when he was assigned to prepare dinner tonight.  Ha.
Well, after I finished with the kids, I proceeded to the kitchen to clean up the big mess in there.  Then I noticed it.  A plate with untouched food on it that belonged to Ben.  So I asked Tim if Ben ate anything at all for dinner.  His response?  No, because Ben didn't wake up until close to 8:00.  Eight o'clock?!  I knew I should have gone ahead and woken him up before I left, instead of counting on common sense.  Because now?  Now I am sitting here, at 10:30 PM, with a little boy who won't go to sleep and who is still going strong.  And everyone else?  Well, everyone except me and little boy?  They're all asleep.  Something Little Boy would already be doing had he not been allowed to sleep until 8:00.  Grrrr.
Somebody tell me, is it really impossible to train an old dog new tricks?

Just Kidding

I wanted to write about a Jackie funny last Friday but got caught up in other things.  Then I just plain forgot that I didn't post it until today.  Actually, this story started last Wednesday.
Last Thursday morning while we were waiting for the school bus, Jackie confided in me that she and her friend, B, got into trouble the previous day (Wednesday).  I couldn't believe my ears.  Did she not learn her lesson from the red note that she received the previous Monday?  So I asked what happened.  I couldn't quite understand everything because the bus showed up just as Jackie was telling me the story.  But what I did understand was that she and B had gone on bathroom break and were doing something with the paper towels and water.  Knowing that I had a meeting later that day at the school, I figured I would ask Jackie's teacher about it. So later that afternoon, I went to the school for Jackie's IEP meeting.  I asked Mrs. G about the incident from the previous day and she immediately started to laugh.  Apparently, Jackie and B went on bathroom break as scheduled but when they were taking a longer time than usual to come out of the bathroom, the attending teacher went in and discovered both of the girls making "sand" castles out of the wet paper towels.  Mrs. G told me that Jackie's expression, upon seeing the other teacher, was priceless and without words said "I've been busted again."  So the girls were sent to their classroom.  No red note was sent home, though, so I guess all was forgiven.  Or perhaps it was because the troublemaker kids were not involved therefore allowing the teacher to just give a yellow warning.  I mentioned this to Tim that evening but apparently it was old news to him because Jackie had confided in him that night after the incident.
The rest of the IEP meeting went well.  Jackie is on target and actually advanced in certain areas academically.  Jackie primarily has an IEP in place to ensure that she receives additional physical therapy at school.  Plus, the speech therapist is going to do some remediation with Jackie for some minor speech issues.  Other than that, Jackie has become quite the social butterfly and is very well-liked by not only fellow students, but by staff.
So Friday, Jackie came home and as soon as she came in the door and I asked for her backpack, Jackie said that she got another red note.  Now she did not appear distraught, in fact, she was quite the opposite. So one part of me thought, "yeah, right, she's kidding me." But the other part of me was "What!? Did she not learn her lesson after being so heartbroken over that first red letter?  So of course, I reacted with surprise and dismay.  And as soon as I asked Jackie what happened and why, she responded with "I was just playing, Mommy." No wonder she was in such a good mood.  She had a plan.  And it worked.  That little twerp nearly got me. And she isn't even 6 years old, yet. 
I don't know where she got that humor but I certainly hope that it doesn't get her into trouble at school. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Clothes, Clothes, and More Clothes. And Jackie Still Is Not Happy

We missed church this morning.  All because of clothes.  Or the dislike of clothes.  Jackie is a very difficult child to please, especially when it comes to outfit choices.  Even now that she's older, she has a hand in picking out some of her clothes but still, she often decides that she doesn't want to wear that when it comes time to wear it. I love my daughter so much and because I love her so much, I want her to look her best, to wear cute & pretty clothes, to have enough clothing that she will never have to wear something multiple days in a row. Unfortunately, (or maybe, fortunately?), Jackie's closet is bursting at the seams with cute, pretty, adorable clothes.  All kinds of clothing.  Very nice clothing.  I buy most of the kids' clothing on sale or clearance and then others have been given to my kids. Jackie's friend, A, recently gave Jackie a huge bag full of Gymboree clothes.  All Gymboree!  Now that's nice.
I want Jackie to look nice when she goes to school, church, friends' homes, wherever.  I still help Jackie pick out matching outfits because she still has not gotten the hang of matching appropriately.  If left to her own devices, Jackie will pick out an outfit and proclaim she matches because she picked out everything purple.  Yep, purple shirt with flowers, purple pants with plaid pattern, purple striped socks.  Now that's a sight for poor eyes, for sure.  And yes, Jackie has dressed herself in this fashion which I immediately corrected.  Mean mommy, I know.
Now the night before school, Jackie and I usually pick out an outfit for her to wear the next day.  And usually, the next morning when she wakes up, Jackie will balk at the previously chosen outfit.  And usually, Jackie dawdles around until it's nearly time to go to the bus stop, hence leaving very little time to pick out another outfit.  So, Jackie is often sent onto the school bus in tears because she doesn't want to wear those clothes.  GAH!
This morning is no exception.  Well, actually, it did escalate to a whole new level.  And especially so, because the rest of us were already dressed and just about ready to go out the door for church.  Jackie had another major meltdown, all because she didn't want to wear the dress and leggings I had laid out.  It's cold this morning, so I picked out a cute long-sleeved dress with leggings since Jackie said that she wanted something to keep her legs warm.  No problem, right? Wrong! Jackie kept whining about the chosen outfit while the rest of us were getting dressed and ready to go.  Jackie kept up until I finally told her to pick out something else.  I didn't care at this point what she picked out.  Just go pick out something and get dressed so we could go.  Oh no, she proceeded to meltdown saying that she wanted to wear the dress.  Then why the hell was she crying the entire time she should have been putting the dress on?  That's just Jackie.  She has to find SOMETHING to cry about, every day, every morning, especially when time is of the essence.  So, it escalated to the point that Tim finally just picked Jackie up, carried her to her bedroom, and closed the door.  Of course, Jackie's meltdown just escalated.
I finally made the decision that since Jackie never seems happy with our clothing choices, I will just make life much more simpler by taking all of those beautiful, cute, adorable clothes out of her closet and give them away.  So many of them still have tags on them.  So, that's exactly what I did.  I pulled all of the clothes out of Jackie's closet and placed them in piles.  I'm going to try to take the newer stuff back to the stores and get refunds. I'm going to give all of A's Gymboree clothes back to A's mother so that she can give them to another little girl who will truly appreciate them.  Then the rest, I will either give them to somebody who truly needs them and will appreciate such nice clothes or I will save them for the next consignment sale.  Hopefully, I'll be able to recoup some of my money so I can go buy myself some new clothes.  Now that I've lost weight and gotten back into shape, I do need some new clothes that actually fit me.
Jackie's life will now be simplified with a choice of just 7 outfits throughout the week.  And it will be her choice of what to wear each day.  And I don't give a damn if they match or not.  As long as I can somehow make the child happy so that we can all be at peace and not war at every morning.  I'm just over it now.  And I need to just continue to let it go.  And if Jackie mismatches herself, then I'll just try my best to look away. Now THAT, will be hard.
I know I shouldn't get so uptight when it comes to clothing Jackie.  I understand, though, why it's so important for me.  I know I shouldn't let things carry over to my children but I just want my children to have what I didn't have as a child.  It's apparent by looking in my daughter's closet that I do have a problem with clothes. It all stems from not having adequate clothing during my own childhood.  Mother never liked to buy me clothes.  In fact, she counted on others to give me hand-me-downs.  I pretty much grew up on hand-me-downs.  And for those who provided that, I really appreciate that.  But unfortunately, it got to a point where I was rarely given any hand-me-downs.  Now Mother had no problem buying clothes for her son since he didn't have anybody to give him hand-me-downs.  I should make it clear that looking back, many people thought we were poor when in actuality we were not poor.  We were by no means rich but we were NOT poor, either.  Mother was just cheap and her husband was an alcoholic who probably drank away a lot of his income.  Starting around 3rd-4th grade I started to become an object of ridicule at school and my clothing only made things worse.  I was teased horribly for my name, for my coke-bottle thick glasses, for being so skinny, and for my clothes.  I was just downright ugly.  Not only was I ridiculed by other students, but also by a handful of teachers.  Anyway, back to the clothing issue.  I remember at the beginning of 8th grade, I had NO clothes, except for a pair of shorts and a couple of shirts, that were appropriate for wearing to school.  School was getting ready to start and I remember being at a store with Mother, something like a Family Dollar store,  and literally begging Mother to buy me a couple of pairs of pants there that were really cheap.  She finally broke down and bought them for me but she did not do so happily.  I felt guilty for making her buy me some clothes but I had nothing to wear to school.  Mother always complained that I had expensive taste.  Yeah right. How could I have expensive taste when I had to beg her to buy me a couple of $4 pair of pants?  She was so damned cheap when it came to my needs that I remember one year wearing shoes that she had duct-taped because the sole was coming apart.  I had to wear those shoes to school!  So of course, the other students seized upon that to continue their ridicule of me.  Mother continued this pattern until I was finally able to make a little bit of money from babysitting to take care of my own needs.  I remember even saving some of my school lunch money to take care of basic needs other than clothes.  I remember wanting clothes for Christmas.  I got clothes all right; in the form of underwear.  I never quite understood how Mother prioritized things.  On the one hand, she detested buying clothes for me, but yet, she made sure that I had braces on my teeth.  She hated taking care of my other basic needs but when I tried to get a real job to make my own money to take care of myself, the parents balked and said that I would have to provide my own transportation to the job.
Things have changed over the years, of course, and Mother doesn't seem to have a problem buying things for me. But still to this day, I always have a twinge of guilt when Mother does do something for me.  I don't want my kids to have such a guilt complex.  That's probably one reason that I probably go overboard in the clothes department.  Maybe, just maybe, one day Jackie will appreciate that.  In the meantime, her life will hopefully be simplified with a minimal choice of outfits to wear.
I remember last year when Mother was visiting.  On our way to the airport for her to go back home, Mother commented that she didn't know what to do for Jackie since she has plenty of clothes.  I commented back that she's probably never seen a little girl's closet so full of cute and pretty clothes before.  That was a mistake because she immediately became defensive and started talking about how she sacrificed so much so she could buy me some really cute outfits.  Too bad that she didn't realize that she was just dreaming at the time because I sure as hell do not remember her sacrificing SO much for me.  In fact, I was always left to feel like I was such a burden, which I'm sure I was to so many people.
My kids will know that their basic needs will always be met with no hesitation.  And my kids will always know that they are not burdens.  As challenging of a child Jackie is, I do love her and she will know that she is not a burden.  Jackie is a challenge but we really do treasure her.
Whew, blogging is so therapeutic. Okay, now if anybody truly needs some clothing, I have size 4 & 5 girls.  Otherwise, I am going to just place them in the next consignment sale and return the huge bag of Gymboree clothes to A's mom.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Yes, I Use a Leash On My Child

Okay, I realize a lot of people are offended when they see little children on leashes.  I use one for my son and I don't give a crap about what people think anymore.  It's my way of having a little more control over my son and helping him to be more safe. 
The type of leash that I use is a backpack type with a stuff monkey.  It harnesses in the front of the child's body and it has a "tail' aka leash attached to the backpack.  Ben likes his, he thinks it's cool, and he and his sister like to play and pretend that one is walking the other.  Sort of like puppy, er, monkey.  I was a little self-conscious about using it at first but then I had to consider what would be best, Ben's safety or my dislike for attention.  Ben's safety comes first, of course.  And you know what?  Most people think it's actually cute when my son is wearing his out in public.  That makes me feel much better about using it. 
At least I'm not using a dog leash with a collar around my son's neck.  Now that?  Is just plain wrong.  For many reasons with choking being a huge concern.  Which brings me to my post today.
I went to the commissary this afternoon to buy a few items.  Since I knew I wouldn't need a grocery cart with which I could strap Ben into the seat, I put Ben's harness on him and off we went inside the store.  We were just a few feet inside the store when this kind lady came up to me with a huge smile and commented how cute Ben's leash was.  Then she proceeded to share with me that when her son was little, they didn't have those type of cute kid leashes so she bought a harness at the pet store to use on her son.  I caught my self before my jaw dropped.  I just politely said "Thank goodness times have changed" and I was left with this horrible mental image of her son with a dog harness around his body.  I was left wondering how she even got a dog harness to fit comfortably around her son.  Think about it, most dogs are barrel-chested and dog harnesses are made to accommodate that.  Plus, dog contours are different from human boy (and girl) contours.  Hmm, I wonder what size the lady got for her son? 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Crying Saga Continues... Again

Well, after a good streak of no-cry mornings before school, Jackie is back at it.  I don't know if it's related to yesterday's ordeal.  But even so, I have a very difficult time being compassionate when Jackie cries over trivial stuff.  Like this morning.
This morning started out fine.  I woke to Jackie laying on the floor of my bedroom, probably waiting for me to wake up.  As soon as she noticed I was awake, she wanted her breakfast.  I had her go change her clothes while I got her breakfast together.  Everything was fine until it was time to finish getting dressed for school.  Last night, we had together picked out an outfit which consisted of a cute sundress and shorts to wear underneath.  Jackie decided this morning that she did not want to wear that outfit and started to cry.  Well, it was 5 minutes before we needed to be at the bus stop and I told her she had no choice but to wear this outfit.  "I want to wear real clothes", she said.  Real clothes?!  Seriously?! Was she not already wearing real clothes?  Then she said that she wasn't going to church and those were church clothes. Whatever.  I had no clue that dresses were for church ONLY.  Well, too bad. There was no time to decide on a different outfit.  It takes Jackie a half hour to decide what she would like to wear and then dress into said outfit.  She is just a slow-moving child.  She pokes along.  So no, I was not giving in to her.  We had to go before she missed the bus.  So, like her usual crying self, the water works continued all the way to the bus stop and even as she got onto the bus.  Gee, those people at the bus stop are probably thinking that I beat the crap out of Jackie.  And I have difficulty being compassionate toward her during these episodes.  Ben, bless his heart, stepped in for me and as soon as he saw the bus coming around the corner, Ben ran up to his sister to give her a hug.  She pushed him away.  Ben was not accepting that and insisted on hugging his sister.  He was being so sweet.  I gently told Jackie to let her brother give her a hug before she got on the bus.  So she just stood there and let him embrace her.  She did not reciprocate but that's okay.  She got on the bus, red-eyed and slightly disheveled, and as the bus took off, she looked out the window at me so sadly.  Is my heart starting to harden?  Because I so did not feel guilt this time like I usually do?  Although, I do feel a little like mean mommy for not feeling guilt.  Argh, I can't win for losing.  Either I feel like mean mommy or guilty mommy.  
Now I'm off to another very busy day. Ben has speech therapy, then I have to move furniture so our carpets can be cleaned this afternoon.  Then off to another appointment, Jackie's soccer practice, then Zumba tonight.  I HAVE to go to Zumba as that will be the only time I have for exercise today.  No exercise = no happy Mum.  

Monday, September 20, 2010

Red Letter Day

Jackie got her first red note today.  Red notes are not good. 
I got Jackie off to school this morning and in a good mood.  No meltdowns, no crying, although I had to prod Jackie to move more quickly.  Ben and I hung out at home until noon when I had a personal training session at the Y.  My day was incredibly busy from that point on.
Jackie's school dismisses at 3:00 so Ben and I got there a little bit early to wait for Jackie to be dismissed.  Once school was dismissed, the doors opened and kids started to file out and wait in groups for their rides.  Ben and I spotted Jackie right away but as soon as Jackie came through the door, I knew something was wrong.  Her little friend, B, appeared to be holding on to Jackie in an effort to comfort her.  As soon as Jackie saw me, she just started sobbing.  I immediately got down to her level and comforted her and asked her what happened.  Jackie was so upset that she couldn't even clearly tell me what happened.  Her friend, B, tried to explain.  All I kept hearing was that she "got a red light."  Now I should explain that the Kindergarten teachers use a green, yellow, and red light system for the kids' behavior during school.  Jackie's teacher puts a sticker chart on the students' folders.  Each box represents each day of school.  So, if the student exhibited good behavior all day, s/he gets a green mark.  If a student had to be warned, a yellow mark.  If a student continued to violate rules, then a red mark is issued. 
So, I immediately looked at the front of Jackie's folder but there was no mark.  Jackie was still inconsolable and kept saying something about the "red light."  Then I realized that she wasn't saying "light" at all.  She was saying something about a red NOTE.  So, I looked inside the folder and there it was, a red note explaining the reason for the red note.  Apparently, Jackie and 2 other children ran from water fountain to water fountain to drink water while they were supposed to be on bathroom break.   
I got Jackie and Ben into the car.  While in the car on the way home, I asked Jackie to tell me exactly what happened.  She told me what happened and even included the names of those involved.  I have no clue who these children are but I was pretty sure that Jackie was not the leader.  She is definitely not a leader type and is more of a follower.  It was obvious that Jackie was very, very upset because she called her teacher mean, stupid, and not fair.  Then she begged to go back to Zion Lutheran School because she never got into trouble there.  I had to explain to Jackie that her teacher was not mean nor was she stupid but that she was doing her job by teaching students that they had to obey or face consequences.  Of course, I explained it on her level.  I do have one question, though, and that is, did the kids get a warning or were they disciplined immediately?  These are just 5-year old kids and most kids that age, if left to their devices, will play around like these kids did today.  Jackie was just so upset that she messed up and that made me tear up.  My heart ached for my little girl. 
Jackie pleaded with me not to tell her daddy because she was afraid that he would be mad at her.  I reassured her that he would not be mad at her but he would be a little disappointed.  I told her that he had to see the red note because the note explained that we, as her parents, needed to talk to her and explain why today's behavior was not appropriate. 
By the time we got home, Jackie had stopped crying.  We immediately left again for my Zumba class at the Y.  After we got back home from that, I took Jackie to her friend B's house for a Girl Scout Daisy meeting and I immediately left from there for another meeting regarding Girl Scout cookie sales.  After that meeting, I went back to B's house to finish out the Daisy meeting there and retrieve Jackie.  B's mom, N, was hosting that meeting at her house and since we live just 3 houses apart, Jackie and I hung back for a few moments until everyone else left.  I started to tell N what transpired at school today but Jackie had already beaten me to it.  Jackie told N about the red note and N was so sweet when she explained to Jackie how she can't follow what everyone else does unless the teacher tells her to.  N was pretty sure that Jackie was not an instigator, either, especially in light of the fact that her daughter, B, had previously told her mom that one of the culprits from today's episode is always in trouble.  That probably explains why there was probably no warning given to the kids.  Since one of those kids seems to always be in trouble, then it would not seem fair to give one or two of the other kids a warning while the ringleader got the red note.  So, they all got the red note.  It bothers me but hopefully, Jackie learned the lesson of not copying what other people do.  
Hopefully, Jackie will love her teacher again tomorrow and ignore the troublemaker.  I really like Jackie's teacher so far, and I'm sure she felt bad about giving Jackie the red note. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Plea For Help

I need help.  Well, actually, I'm not the one needing help personally. I'm trying to help a precious soul find a new home.

Okay, here goes.  I'm trying not to be judgmental about this family but I just hate, hate, HATE when people don't keep their commitments when it comes to helpless members of the family.  As most of you know, I coach a soccer team of 5-year olds.  The mother of one of the boys on my team, I'll call her J, is getting ready to have her 5th baby any day now.  The family is military and they have orders to PCS to Alaska mid-October.  In addition to the soon-to-be 5 kids, the family currently includes 3 dogs and 2 cats.  Well, at least, for the next couple of weeks.  Two of the dogs will be going back to a rescue organization here where they originally came from.  I'm not sure what is happening to the cats.  But the third dog is a blond lab.  The family brought him back from Germany when they came back stateside a few years ago.  The dog is 7 years old now.  He is a great dog and was raised with kids. He is great with the kids.  J told me that the family is going to have this precious dog put to sleep because they won't be able to take him to Alaska due to the move.  And unfortunately, the dog is in early stage of heartworm (very treatable! and preventable!) and if they take him to the pound, he would be put to sleep, anyway.  They brought this dog over from Germany!  And now they are going to dispose of him! Because there won't be room in the family minivan for the move to Alaska.   Now, I understand that with 5 kids and a minivan towing a small trailer, space will be severely limited. Especially when traveling from this area cross country and through Canada before reaching Alaska.  Ten days is a long time with kids to travel in this way.  But there are other options available to keep this dog as part of the family.  I realize airfare for a pet can be expensive but with advance planning, one might be able to find a deal on airfare. There are also pet transporters available.  But, I'm trying not to judge and I do understand this family's situation.  But this dog's situation still disturbs me.  I personally would do everything within my power to keep my pets with me or arrange for their care until I can have them re-join me.
If I didn't already have 2 dogs, I would take this dog, no problem.  I've always wanted a blond lab but I refuse to purchase a dog from a breeder as there are so many other dogs in shelters in need of permanent homes.  I admit that I do have a full-breed mini Aussie but he was a rescue.  Our other dog is just 100% mongrel. 
Okay, so I am now asking for help in finding a home for this precious lab.  I am also willing to financially assist with the expense of treating the heartworms.  Since we are by no means rich, one way that I am hoping to raise funds for this dog is to sell Avon.  I have an Avon account through which I order items for myself and just a couple of friends.  Needless to say, I don't make any money from Avon right now.  But, if anybody is interested in buying anything from Avon, I will donate all the proceeds to the care of this dog.  I want to help him find a home where he can continue to provide the unconditional love that he has provided to his current family for the last 7 years.  Or even better (or maybe not?), perhaps I can raise enough funds to send him via airliner to Alaska after the family arrives and gets settled.  Then whatever funds are leftover can be used for the heartworm treatment.  I know the family loves their animals and I'm sure they're feeling overwhelmed right now, especially with the arrival of a newborn coupled with moving preparations.  I wish they had planned better for the welfare of their pets in case of a situation like this.  The packers are going to be packing up the family belongings in just a couple of weeks. 
Please, anyone who is reading this, help me help this precious dog.  It would be great for this dog to be able to live out the remainder of his life in a loving home where he can return the love unconditionally. 
I've never felt comfortable asking for help but when it comes to animals and children (especially those with special needs), I have a real passion for these causes.  Please help me spread the word about this beautiful blond lab. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dog Food Diet

I just had to share this story from one of my favorite websites,  It just about made me pee my pants from laughing so hard. 
Okay, this is copied and pasted so if there are spelling/grammar mistakes, they aren't mine.

Dog Food Diet

"While waiting in line at my local Wal-Mart with a 50lbs bag of dog food, I had a woman ask me if I was going to feed my dogs. Now I’m a big fan of “here’s your sign” so this is how I responded… “No actually I’m on the dog food diet, you just carry around a small bag of dog food and any time you get hungry you eat a handful. Works great, last time I lost 30lbs, but I ended up in the hospital for a week.” By now everyone else in line is listening including the woman who asked the stupid question and I knew she was about to ask another one. I had to hold back laughter when she said “OMG, what happened? Did you get sick from all the dog food?” Without cracking a smile I responded, “Nope, I was sitting in the road licking myself when I got hit by a car.” Everyone in line busted out laughing and the woman stormed off. I have to add though, I didn’t make up the story myself I heard it on a comedy show and had to use it when the oppurtunity prosented itself."
 Copied from

Sunday, September 12, 2010

There's Hope for Dumb Dog After All

It was a beautiful night for a run so I took Dumb Dog for another run tonight.  Dumb Dog did much better than the first time.  However, Dumb Dog did try to chase a frog but I was able to get her back on track right away. Then Dumb Dog tried to trip me when Dumb Dog tried to go see a baby in a stroller.  Thankfully, I was able to save myself from flying onto the sidewalk.  So, not too bad for Dumb Dog tonight with just 2 incidents. There's hope for Dumb Dog after all.
I'm determined to get Dumb Dog in shape, physically and behaviorally, for this fund raiser that I would like to do in October.  That is, if Dumb Dog does not succeed in her quest to trip me and cause physical harm.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dumb Dog + Dumb Owner = Dumb Idea

Okay, this is for my friend Noel, who suggested that I blog about this story.
So today, I did not get to the gym at all.  And I'm in the "feeling fat" mood.  The day started and ended well after several stressful days dealing with my daughter so I was very grateful for that and didn't feel too bad about not making it to the gym.  After all, I had a very busy day with getting my hair cut and re-highlighted, paying the 2nd installment of real estate taxes that were due today without penalty, going to the rental for a re-inspection, working on my stuff for this weekend's recycled kids sale.  I had to get dinner cooked for the family, clean up, then I went to singing practice.  I really, really wanted to get to the gym to go running, at least.  Since I was unable to fit that into my schedule, I decided to go for a run this evening.  With the dog. The dog that I was considering running with in a fundraiser for a pet rescue organization. 
So, I got the bright idea that I should take Lucy, the dog, running around the neighborhood.  It was already dark so I thought great idea, she can train for this race alongside me while at the same time, she'll be my protector while I run in the dark.  So, I got the leash and Lucy started turning circles in excitement.  I should have taken this as a sign.  But no, I knew she needed some practice for this upcoming race.  So, we head out the door and I was immediately jerked forward by the dumb dog trying to catch a rabbit that was hanging around the front yard.  So back inside we went for the prong collar.  Of course, being the pessimist that Tim is, he suggested that the prong collar WOULD NOT work with Lucy.  Oh, yeah?  So, I set out to prove him wrong.
Lucy and I head back out.  Now I should say that I usually start out with a fast walk to warm up before running.  That's without a dog in tow.  Not tonight.  The dumb dog and I took off running right away and not by my choice.  I finally got Lucy reigned in and we went back to a fast walk, well, maybe a little faster than a fast walk.  More like near-running.  Lucy then started her zig-zagging pattern. She had to sniff one side of the sidewalk and immediately move to the other side, then back to the other side.  And it wasn't a slow pace, either.  The dog was running while doing this zig-zag craziness.  Then I tripped.  On the dog.  We got just one block from the house and I probably tripped  at least 5 times over the dumb dog and I was beginning to doubt that I would make it home unscathed.
Finally, we got around the cul-de-sac a block from the house and finally, I got Lucy under control.  Well, I thought I did until Lucy suddenly lurched into her zip-zag fast trot again. GAH!  And I tripped.  Again.  I re-wrapped the leash around my hand once more and made it just a little tighter.  I was beginning to think Tim may be right about the prong collar not working on Lucy.  Lucy seemed oblivious to the darn thing. 
Finally, it seemed that I finally broke through to the dumb dog.  She was finally running alongside me in a straight pattern.  After several more yards I finally breathed a sigh of relief.  Tim was wrong and I was right.  The prong collar is working.  Finally.
We were going at a good pace until Lucy got the leash caught around her leg.  Twice.  That should not have happened by the way I had the leash wrapped and the tightness of it.  So, while continuing to move, I quickly unwrapped the leash and we continued on our way.  And doing good.  Until... Lucy started growling which startled me.  Then I realized the culprit. Tomorrow is trash day and most of the neighbors had their trash sitting curbside.  Lucy was growling at somebody's black trash bag.  A trash bag! Dumb dog.  I just pulled her along and continued on our run.
When I came upon the back cul-de-sac, one of the neighbors had all of their cars blocking the sidewalk so Lucy and I ran onto the pavement and immediately after passing those cars, we ran back upon the sidewalk.  Well, at least, I did.  I don't know where Lucy thought she was going but I know that I almost flipped over the dumb dog.  We got back onto the sidewalk and everything seemed to finally go smoothly for nearly the rest of the way home.  Finally, the dumb dog was getting it.  She might be race material after all.  Toward the end of our run, though, I was pretty much pulling Lucy along.  At least she wasn't zig-zagging me along.  In fact, Lucy was acting like she was going to die from exertion.
Finally, we made it back home and Lucy couldn't get inside the house quick enough.  She immediately went to her water bowl and sucked the water down.  Not sure if Lucy is really cut out for this but as dumb as the idea is, I'm willing to give her another try.  The prong collar did work.  After several minutes, that is.  Now I need to figure out how to get the dumb dog to quit tripping me. 
And to all my fellow animal lovers, I really do love my animals.and we take good care of them.  However, Lucy really is not the brightest candle on the cake.  You know that book, "Marley & Me"? You should read it.
Here is a picture of the dumb dog.  She actually sleeps like this sometimes.

Out of the Mouth of Babes

I'll get to that in a moment but first, I want to say that yesterday afternoon ended up being a much better day and it even extended through this morning.  After I got Jackie off to school, Ben had his speech therapy appointment.  After Ben's therapist left, I headed out with Ben to the YMCA to work out a little bit.  I ran although I seemed to struggle with my breathing a little bit.  I walked a little more afterward then made my way downstairs where I worked some on the weights and treadmill.  From there, Ben and I headed home where we just hung out until it was time to meet Jackie at the bus stop. 
As soon as Ben saw the bus coming around the corner, he ran toward the curb with his arms open wide to greet his sister.  It was the cutest thing.  As soon as Jackie got off the bus, Ben embraced his sister and hugged her tight.  It was just so precious and warmed my heart and it helped to take away the sadness and guilt that I had been feeling since the morning.  The bus driver was so touched by my childrens' actions and kept saying "how cute, how sweet, how precious."  It really was precious and I wish I had my phone ready to take a picture.
We got back to the house where Jackie immediately grabbed Ben's bin full of Little People and dumped them.  Ugh, I thought for sure that Jackie was still upset from that morning. I'm not sure why Jackie did that.  I asked Jackie to pick them up whereupon she called Ben to come help her.  I told her no way was that happening as she very clearly was the only guilty party in dumping the bin.  And it was no accident; it was very intentional.  But after threatening to take away certain toys, Jackie picked up the Little People and put them back in the bin.  Then I had her sit next to me so we could go over her day at school. 
Jackie told me about computer lab and lunch.  Then she told me that she had to watch everyone while they played a game.  She said Mrs. G said "Jackie, go sit down and watch because you're not paying attention." Whoa! Jackie in trouble?  Now Jackie may be a handful around us but she was always very well-behaved in preschool and now in Kindergarten. Jackie also complained that she didn't win a lollipop because she had to sit down during the game. 
Tim and I have always said that if either of our kids are ever in trouble at school, we want to get both sides of the story, especially if the kids blame the teacher or others.  Tim and I both have siblings who always blamed their troubles on teachers and/or other students.  Mother never got the teacher's side of the story as she always believed her little boy.  Of course, this got him nowhere and it still carries on today.  Tim and I want our children to learn to take responsibility for their actions but also support and protect our children if there truly is a problem with a teacher or student. We will not automatically take our childrens' word as the truth we will get both sides of the story before we make judgement. 
Thankfully, Jackie did not blame her teacher for anything but she seemed to be confused about why she was in "trouble."   So, I emailed Mrs. G and told her about my conversation with Jackie and even apologized if her behavior was carried over from that morning's debacle.  And that Tim and I wanted to know what happened.  Mrs. G is a wonderful teacher.  She reassured me that Jackie was no trouble and even commented that Jackie "is as sweet as they come."  I don't know why but that brought tears to my eyes.  Jackie really is a sweet little girl, when she wants to be and that's what I really, really love about her.  I also love the fact that she has been such a trooper through all of her therapies and surgeries.  Thank you, Mrs. G.
Okay, so back to how the day went.  I took Jackie to soccer practice in the evening.  Since I am one of the coaches on Jackie's team, Jackie tends to whine to me a little more when she doesn't get the ball enough or get her turn at something as often as she would like.  That's one of the things that I don't like about coaching Jackie's team.  But Jackie did a great job working with her teammates and at turn-taking.  I was proud of her.  After practice, I got the kids home and gave Tim instructions about bedtime routine before I headed out to my Zumba class.  I really needed Zumba last night and it was a great workout.  We have a new instructor for Tuesday nights and she is very good.  Between all of the Zumba classes I've taken, I've experienced 4 different instructors.  S is pretty close in comparison to M, they're both high energy and fast-paced and I get the best Zumba workouts with both of these ladies.  After I got home from Zumba (close to 9pm), I was not pleased to see that Jackie was still up.  At least she was dressed for bed  On the other hand, Ben wasn't even near ready for bed and it was 9:00!  Is it too much to ask for certain somebody to complete ALL duties as a parent for the couple of nights that I go to the gym?  So, I immediately got Jackie into her room to pick out today's school outfit and then into bed.  She was pleasant and didn't fight me at all.  Whew, thank god for that.  Then I set to work on getting Ben ready and he balked and ran from me.  I just threw my hands up and told Tim that it was his turn.  It took awhile but Tim finally got Ben in bed.
This morning, I got a late start as I didn't hear my alarm.  I have my alarm set on my cell phone and I did not realize that my phone had been set to mute.  Fortunately, I woke up right before 7:30 with 20 minutes to spare to get Jackie up, dressed, fed, and out to the bus stop.  Jackie was in a great mood the entire time.  No crying, hallelujah! I quickly put on some clean clothes and put my hair up in a clip, at least, what little hair I have.  I knew it didn't look good but I didn't time to beautify.  As we're walking down the driveway to head to the bus stop, Jackie said "Mommy, your hair looks funny."  And kids are brutally honest.  It looked bad, actually it looked scary with pieces of hair sticking up in all different directions.  Of course, this made me feel a little more self-conscious about standing with the other parents.  Thankfully, I didn't have the BO or stink breath to go along with the skank hair.
Jackie got on the bus cry-free for the first time since started Kindergarten.  This morning has Jackie (and me) in such a good mood that I momentarily considered that I should over-sleep until 7:30 every day.  But, nah, it's just a tad stressful when you have just 15-20 minutes to get a child out of bed, dressed, fed, and out the door for school. 
After Jackie got off to school, I took Ben to the sitter's house.  I went to my hair appointment after which I went to pay our second installment of our property taxes due today without penalty.  I got Ben from the sitter's house and now we're just hanging out at home until Jackie gets home from school.  I'm enjoying this rare moment of free time with no appointments, no errands, just nothing.  Nice!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Can I Please Have Just One Cry-Free Day

I must admit this morning that the excitement of having my daughter home from Florida was short-lived, extremely short-lived.  It has been nothing but a cryfest and screamfest since Jackie's been home.  And I am at my whit's end with it.
This morning actually started out just fine.  Jackie woke up, got dressed for school, ate breakfast. Everything was going smoothly. Until...  I brushed her hair and she wanted a barrette.  So I get a barrette and place it in her hair.  She takes it out and goes to the bathroom and starts crying while she's brushing her hair.  The hair that I had already brushed and put a barrette in.  What the heck, now, is she crying for?  Well, now she's crying because she wants long hair and she wants it now.  Grrr, a month ago she wanted to get her hair cut short again.  So it got cut short.  Nothing makes this child happy.  NOTHING!
This has been a daily occurrence.  She can wake up as happy as ever, eat breakfast, get ready for school, but then...  something happens, no matter how minor, to set the child off into a crying frenzy.  I don't believe we have even made it to the bus stop without crying.  She cries because she doesn't want to wear her AFO or splint, she cries because I didn't put enough milk in her cereal, she cries because she doesn't want to wear the clothes (clothes she picked out the night before with my help), she cries over something that happened last week, she cries because she really didn't want the shower the night before, she cries because the dog looked at her funny.  GAH!!!!! She finds a reason to cry and I am sick, sick, sick, of it all!  For once,  I would like to walk the child to the bus stop without crying going on in the background.  What is it with this child?  I've asked her about school.  She loves it.  Is anybody mean to her? No, not since the 2 hitting incidents a couple of weeks ago.  Does she like the bus?  Yes, she loves the bus and doesn't ever want me to take her to school or pick her up.  Is her teacher mean?  No, she loves her teacher. I'm just at a loss and frustrated with this daily routine of crying for no real reason.
This morning, I walked her to the bus stop, crying again.  Over wanting long hair.  She did not let up the entire time we waited for the bus.  I finally had to just walk away a few yards away to get away from the her noise.  No worries, as she was always in my line of vision and there were also a couple of other parents there.  I just can't figure the child out.  Finally, the bus came (not soon enough) and Jackie got onto the bus and sat down.  I could see her looking through the window at me with a scowl.  I feel somewhat guilty and on the verge of tears for not sending her off with the usual hug and kiss.  But I'm just so frustrated.  She has been in constant meltdown mode since she came home from Florida yesterday.  And apparently, there were also issues with her behavior while she was in Florida.  The child just is not happy.
Perhaps it's time to consider professional help for her?  Is she really becoming that much more aware, at her age, that she is a little different than her peers?  And it's affecting her self-esteem? I know she is very much aware that her left foot is different and she points it out to others.  But if she's embarrassed, then why does she point out her foot?  And she is becoming more aware that not every kid her age goes to therapies, wears AFOs or wrist splints, or limps.  Could this be part of Jackie's problem?  Now, Jackie has always been a crier.  She's been a challenge from day one of her life.  But, gee, what is the deal with her lately?  Now that she's getting older and should be getting out of the daily crying phase, she is now on the prowl for something to cry about.  She must keep up her daily ritual of crying.
I'm frustrated.  I couldn't wait for that bus to show up this morning so that I could have a somewhat quiet day.  Hopefully, Ben will be pleasant today so we can run errands after his speech therapy.  And I need to get a work-out in sometime after 3 days of nothing.  Maybe I'm the one with the problem. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Tomorrow Can't Get Here Soon Enough

Gah! I've had a headache pretty much all weekend and I believe it's resulting from my shoulder pain.  I woke up very, very early Sunday morning to a raging headache and my shoulder was in a huge knot and very painful and difficult to move.  I took some painkillers and surprisingly, I was able to get up and get me and Ben ready to meet my best friend at her church.  After church, I came home and rested since I was still in pain.  But by early evening, I felt better, enough so that I met my best friend for a nice walk.  After walking, I took Ben to the park playground.  When it was time to leave, Ben went into a meltdown, one more violent than I have ever seen.  He kicked the back of the passenger seat, he writhed in his car seat, he was throwing his little toys at me from the back seat, he was screaming at the top of his lungs.  Now Ben has a temper but wow, I've never seen him that angry.  That was THE WORST meltdown that I have witnessed from Ben.  I'm not even sure I would classify it as a meltdown.  It was violent.  And he's just 2 1/2 years old.  The only thing that seemed to make him quit screaming for a moment was when I rolled down his window.  So, I made it home in one piece without yelling at Ben and immediately after getting Ben out of his seat, I put him back into his stroller and took him for another nice walk around my subdivision.  The walk seemed to calm Ben down tremendously and he played nicely with the neighbor girl while I mowed the front lawn.  But then bedtime came around and the meltdown process began again.  Ugghhh,
When I woke up this morning, I woke up to more shoulder pain, another headache but mild, and one of my hands was stiff and painful, the type of pain when you're deficient in potassium.  I was really looking forward to my little girl coming home today and that helped to get my mind off of the pain.  My friend came by for a little bit, then I did a little cleaning around the house.  Mother called me around 11:00 to let me know that she got Tim and Jackie to the airport and they should be en-route to Birmingham by then.  Then she "warned" me that Jackie was very active this morning.  Then when she took Jackie to the bathroom before getting on the plane, Jackie insisted on being independent.  Apparently, Mother still wanted to help and when she smacked Jackie on the bum, Jackie had a mini meltdown.  Then she ran from the bathroom toward her daddy and yelled "Mimi hit me, Mimi hit me."  Ugghh.  I didn't really know what to think except that I was feeling a little guilty because Tim was going to be dealing with a sassy kid by himself.  Around noon, Tim called to tell me that the plane landed in Birmingham and that it was going to be delayed for nearly an hour before departing for St. Louis.  I could tell that he was stressed. When I asked what was going on, he explained that since there was going to be a longer layover, he and Jackie went to the Pizza Hut at the airport.  The line was incredibly long but Jackie insisted on pizza.  So they made their way, finally, to the front of the line only to be told that there was just one cheese pizza left.  They both wanted cheese so Tim told Jackie that they would have to share the pizza.  When they sat down to eat, Jackie started screaming that she did not want to share and that she wanted to eat all of the pizza.  Tim nor I like attention drawn to us so he just threw his hands up and just let Jackie have her way.  Jackie ended up not eating all of the pizza after all and since she had her hands all over it, Tim just threw it away.  My solution to that situation would have been to just box up the pizza and leave.  But they were at the airport so there was nowhere for Tim to escape.  I asked to speak to Jackie and she immediately started crying to me that her daddy didn't want to talk to her.  I had a stern chat with Jackie, then told her to apologize to her daddy.  Apparently, Jackie's behavior on the plane from Birmingham to St. Louis was not much improved.  He was bringing a little monster back home.
Since I knew that Tim would be hungry by the time he landed in St. Louis, I went through a White Castle drive-thru close by the airport before going to pick Tim and Jackie up.  I think he was glad that I thought of him in that way.  He was famished.  Jackie seemed happy to see me and especially her brother.  We got home and I thought all was well.  But not even 15 minutes later, Jackie went into another all out meltdown.  Over what? A coloring book.  Ben got ahold of one of the 233 (insert sarcasm here) coloring books that her Mimi gave her while in Florida and Jackie did not want to share.  Again.  It seems that Jackie had a problem sharing with her cousin all weekend and now it was carrying over to her brother.  I explained to Jackie that since she got so many coloring books from her grandmother, she needed to share with Ben.  That was not going over with her.  So, the coloring book went into time out.
Finally, the kids started playing together nicely with their zhuzhu hamsters that Mother got them.  And I was able to get dinner finished and served.  I accidentally dumped Jackie's plate onto the floor.  Then Ben dumped just about a half can of Parmesan cheese onto his plate.  I got everything cleaned up and got Jackie ready to go to a friend's house for a little bit.
Before I left for the friend's house, I called our new tenants to let them know that Tim was home and ready to take care of the 2 minor issues that were pending inspection from our township.  There was no answer so I left a message for them to call me back.  While visiting K, I kept my phone close by in case the tenants called me.  After leaving K's house, Jackie and I headed back home but halfway home, Jackie went into another meltdown.  Why?  Because I wouldn't turn up the stereo volume full blast.  It was already loud enough for me and I have more hearing loss than Jackie does.  So, no, I was not turning it up more.  Finally, I just turned off the stereo and Jackie screamed and kicked the back of my seat and the door the rest of the way home.  I got home and since she continued her meltdown, Tim put Jackie into her room.
Since I knew the tenants were expecting the repairs tonight, once I got home and while Jackie was melting down, I stepped outside and called them again and left another message.  Well, a few minutes later, I received a call from my friend, N, saying that she had received a voice mail from me but that it must have been meant for somebody else and since it sounded important, she called to let me know.  I felt like such a dufus although I can laugh about it now.  I just didn't double check the number that I was dialing.  N lives in a neighboring state and the new tenants are originally from the same state as N and from the same are code as N.  So when I picked the wrong number from my cell phone, I just looked at the area code, not the entire number.  Oops, I was wondering why the tenants weren't calling me back.  So, I got ahold of the tenants and explained to them my mistake.  They just laughed and we decided to just take care of everything tomorrow.
Jackie finally calmed down enough to come out of her room and get a shower.  She didn't even fight going to bed.  Wow!  I thought for certain that the night would end with another of Jackie's meltdowns.  But she pleasantly surprised me for the first time today.  Ben, on the other hand, fought bedtime again.
As much as I was looking forward to seeing my little girl today, that excitement was short-lived as I was ready to put her back on the plane bound for Tampa within the hour of arriving home.
Here's hoping for a better tomorrow, pain free shoulder and pleasant children.  And in case of meltdowns, may I successfully employ another day of no yelling.  I am pleased with myself that I was able to keep my cool amidst all the storms today.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Long Awaited Conversation

Tonight ended on a great note after a bad day.  I've talked about bullying in previous blogs and I've talked about how the bullying affected me and still affects me to this day.  The social network, Facebook, has brought about healing in some ways.  Recently, actually months ago, I accepted a friend request from a former fellow student from my years in Swansboro, NC.  At first, I was reluctant to accept her because I was a little leery.  Leery because this person was one of the meanest people to me during our school years together.  We started out as next-door neighbors and even though we occasionally played together, she was still often very unkind toward me.  I never understood why as all I ever wanted to do was be her friend. 
After several years of us being neighbors, N's parents bought some acreage in another neighborhood and they moved, although we still attended the same school.  At school, N was just as mean as ever toward me and I tried to avoid her.  I thought she was well-liked by the other students but looking back now, it was more like everyone was nice to her to stay on her good side.  But I was nice to her, too, and she was still mean to me.  So what was the difference?  I know now thanks to Facebook.  And I'm grateful for Facebook that we are friends again.  Friends for real this time.
Recently, I received a note from N apologizing for the things she did to me during our childhood.  She explained why she treated me the way she did.  It really had little to do with me and it had a lot to do with how she felt about herself.  It was easy to pick on me. I was touched and it brought me to tears.  It meant the world that she was apologizing and I knew she was sincere.  We exchanged numbers so that we could talk and soon after that, I had a voice message on my cell phone from N.  I was so sorry that I missed her call as I was really looking forward to talking to her.  I knew she was going to start back to work this week so I waited until the weekend.  I was going to call her tonight but she beat me to it and called me while I was getting a few groceries.  I promised to call her as soon as I arrived back home.  Although I felt awkward at first, it was so wonderful talking to her.  We talked a little it about our families and what our parents are up to.  One thing I remember about her parents is that they always seemed so nice to us, although I never really got to know them too well.  Unfortunately, N's mother has passed. Before we finished our call, N again apologized for treating me the way she did.  I'm just so proud of how N has turned out.  She has a beautiful family and she enjoys her job working with children.  I'm looking forward to talking again with her in the near future and possibly even one day pay a visit as we live less than a day's drive apart from each other.  It really made my evening to be back in touch with N who has turned into a wonderful person who genuinely cares about people.  Oh, and she loves McD's sweet tea like me!
N, thanks for looking me up.  I really look forward to growing our friendship, in a great way.  And thanks for the nice comments about my family and for the encouragement.  You really are a beautiful person., inside and out. 

Guilt Complex

My husband has often told me that I have  a guilt complex.  For a long time, this offended me.  Why did he think I have such a guilt complex?  I never understood then, but I realize now that he's right.  I do have a guilt complex.  I feel guilty for anything that ever happens, even if it does not involve me or even if I am doing something to defend my rights.  As I reflect back on my life, I realize that I took the blame way too many times for things that I had nothing to do with, all because I wanted to keep peace and make people happy.  But you know what? It's about time that I quit taking on other people's crap and start looking out for myself.
I think this behavior started at a very young age at home and at school. And I can now understand some of the reasons why I have such a guilt complex. 
I don't talk about a certain individual much because I have no relationship with that person, who also happens to be my parents' son.  And there are reasons why I have no relationship with him.  He violated me in every way you can think of.  He stole from me and denied it.  He would do something in disobedience and blame me.  He caused a lot of tension in the household due to his behavior. Unfortunately, despite all the threats from the parents, he still got away with too much.  If he got in trouble, we both were often punished.  So, it was no surprise that even outside the home, I was looked at with suspicion.  I remember being a part of this girls' group at a church that I attended and as I got a little older, there were a few fundraisers that I was not allowed to participate.  Why?  Because I had a brother who stole and lied and cheated.  Which meant that I was a guilty party, too, since I was not allowed to be like the other girls and take stuff home to sell.  That hurt.  A lot.  And of course, I carried the guilt of someone else's transgressions. Again.
I remember as a very young adult, not even a year out of high school, one of my aunts had a very large house from which she rented out one of the rooms.  I was looking to move out of the parents' house because their son kept snooping through my room and stealing from.  Even after I put a lock on my door, this person still found a way to get into my room.  I had no privacy whatsoever and no way to protect my belongings.  I was fed up with him getting away such crap.  So, I asked this aunt with the big house, if I could rent a room from her as I not yet able to afford my very own place.  Her reasoning for denying me?  You got it, my parents' son.  She learned a hard lesson, she said.  So again, I was blamed for his trangressions.  And it wasn't even as if he and I were so close that I would have invited him over to steal.  To show how close he and I were, he has never, ever been to any place I have ever lived since moving out on my own. 
I encountered many situations even throughout my young adulthood where I was cast the first glance of suspicion.  I am an honest person who does not steal, cheat, and who can be brutally honest at times.  I have too much of a conscience.  If I even notice something that I was not charged for after shopping, I've been known to immediately go the store to get the error corrected as soon as I notice it.  I just don't want to live with the guilt of "stealing" something even if it was not intentional. 
So why do I have such a guilt complex still?  I honestly don't know why.  But one possible way that I am working to overcome that is that I working on being more assertive. With the help of a professional, of course. 
So, lately, I've been trying to put this assertiveness training into practice, with some fumbles of course.  But in order to stop being a doormat and learn how to say no, I have to just keep practicing being assertive and it will hopefully improve soon. 
One example of this has to do with my personal training schedule.  Now I should say that I have met new friends since joining the Y and I do enjoy working out with some of those friends occasionally.  And that includes the personal training sessions, although I do prefer to have at least one session a week one-on-one, which is what I am paying for.  So, today I reminded the trainer that I would like at least one of my sessions next week with just her and I and she agreed.  Of course, I felt guilty because I'm afraid that it's an inconvenience to her and then I felt guilty because one of the other clients likes to have a partner to work alongside during training. And I hate when I offend people with my decisions.   But I also need some one-on-one sessions for the individualized training.  After all, that's what I'm paying for.  So, I'm trying to kiss the guilt goodbye with the hope that my friends and others truly understand my needs.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Such a Beautiful Day... For a Traffic Rant

Yes, today is a beautiful day.  Not too hot and the sun is out after 2 days of rain.  Ben and I slept in a little bit before starting our day. The day started with an appointment with the personal trainer.  It was quite a workout but unfortunately, my shoulder started giving me a little bit of trouble.  I suffered an impinged shoulder earlier last year and I went to several months of physical therapy.  It helped but my shoulder occasionally will pop like crazy.  I got through today's workout okay but I'm sure I'll feel a little pain tomorrow.  That's okay, though, because no pain, no gain, right?
After I was finished with the workout, I got Ben out of the playcenter so we could run a few errands.  Oh, what a beautiful day to run errands.  The weather was perfect, no rain, not too hot, a little windy.  Perfect weather for driving with the windows down and the moonroof open.  Our first stop was home where I grabbed the mail, the keys to the rental house, and my list of things I needed to purchase for the rental house.  From home, Ben and I headed to Walmart where I encountered several idiot drivers.  Drivers who like to just stop in the middle of the road and just sit there while traffic piled up behind with no way to get around because said driver is blocking the way out.  Then driver decides to inch his way forward until he decides to come to a complete stop again until finally, 3 minutes later, his passenger decides to take her time, another 3 minutes, to get out of the car.  Grrr.  Thankfully, said driver had moved up just enough for me to turn right into an aisle where I encountered yet another idiot driver who tried to ram me head-on.  What is it with people who think they are entitled to an entire acre of pavement so that nobody else can get around.  But, then I remember, this is Walmart.  What else should I expect.  I finally made my way around to the far edge of the parking lot where nobody could mess with me and Ben and I went inside to take care of business. We got what we needed, including padded mailing envelopes, and since Ben was so good throughout the store, I rewarded him with a gross Walmart donut.  We went back home so I could some other stuff ready to mail. 
Mother had sent a big box of stuff a few days ago for the kids.  There was a variety of stuff from clothes, school supplies, a couple of small toys.  There were also several articles of clothing that inadvertently was mailed to us that should have gone to Mother's other grandkids.  So, I had to get that stuff ready to ship to those grandkids.  Once I got everything done, we headed to the Downtown Belleville post office where I also had a certified letter waiting for me.  Ben was such a trooper throughout all of this.  After spending a fortune shipping out 5 large envelopes of stuff, Ben and I headed out for one more errand.  As I'm driving through Main Street in downtown to head out, I get stopped behind yet another idiot driver.  This time, he was blocking the main road in our direction.  With his blinker on.  Why he was waiting for that particular spot was beyond me because there was nobody else around who appeared to be moving their car out of the way for this idiot.  Grrr again.  What is it with these people?  Finally, he signals for me to go around him.  Yeah, right.  I've done stupid things but I'm not that dumb to go around and crash head-on into oncoming traffic.  There was no room whatsoever to go around this idiot and he kept motioning for me to go around into the oncoming traffic.  And of course, traffic was building up behind me.  Finally, I got around the idiot and headed toward our next errand.  And again, all the idiot drivers are out on such a beautiful day to annoy those who truly want to enjoy such a beautiful day.  This time, I was behind a driver when suddenly he stops, right in the middle of the parking lot lane, and pulls up out of his window, beeps his horn, and yells at another car whom I can only assume he recognized as another idiot friend.  So, they exchange pleasantries, all the while I'm not feeling so pleasant, for a few moments.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I didn't even look pleasant when one of the idiot's passengers looked behind at me and immediately turned back around.  Oh yeah, I'm fairly certain I looked flamed by this time.  Again, there was no way for me to get around this idiot unless I backed out, which I did eventually do.  I just left without taking care of the last errand.  I just couldn't take anymore idiots today.  We finally made it home where I'm trying to relax for a bit.  I still need to go to the rental house to take care of some minor things. Then I may risk encountering more idiot drivers and go to the Friday Zumba class. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ben's Bloodwork Today

This morning after Ben's speech therapy, I had to take Ben to get the first of 2 blood tests.  We had to to go the Scott AFB lab for the FISH test.  The other chromosome test will be performed at a children's hospital in St. Louis.  Ben and I arrived at the lab for the FISH test.  Apparently, there was some confusion at the lab about which bodily fluid was to be tested.  The original form from the pediatrician's office (not the developmental pediatrician who originally ordered the test) stated the FISH test was for amniotic fluid.   Amniotic fluid?!  What the heck?  This is a 2-year old boy, not a pregnant female, who is being tested.  Ugh, I just don't understand why the peds office couldn't just approve both of the tests to be performed at the children's hospital.  So, we had to wait for the correction to be done.  Then there was confusion about which tube to collect the blood in.  Gah!  Finally, the confusion about everything was settled and Ben was called to the back to get his blood drawn.  I thought for certain that I was going to be in for a fight and was hoping that all this personal training that I've been doing would pay off.  Because the boy is strong and does NOT like to be held down for anything.  So, after verifying my ID and patient information, the lab technicians got to work trying to find a good vein.  They helped me position Ben in my lap with my legs crossing over his and me holding his free arm across his body.  Ben balked at this at first but then when he saw the needle, he immediately went still and just watched while I looked away.  The lab technician pierced Ben's skin and he did NOT even flinch.  Whoa, I had to look to see for myself that the needle was in Ben's arm.  I was just so proud of Ben.  Unfortunately, the technician could not get the needle into his vein so she removed it and decided to let the other technician try on the other arm.  By this point, Ben was starting to get slightly agitated but when the needle went into his other arm, he again went still and just stared.  Ben just blew me away with how still and quiet he was.  Thankfully, the second attempt was successful and the blood started to flow immediately into the vial.  Ben must have thought that was the coolest thing.  He just seemed so amazed by it all.  The technicians were very impressed with how well Ben did.  I'm just so proud of my boy.  I promised him a special treat for being so good.  As soon as we got home, Ben was rewarded with a bowl of ice-cream.  And yes, that is a special treat for the kids in this household.  They usually don't get ice-cream unless they eat all or most of their dinner.  So Ben enjoyed his ice-cream and now he is sitting on the couch watching his favorite TV station, Sprout.  So far, today has been another great day with Ben. 
As much as I miss my little girl, I am kind of enjoying the quieter and less messy atmosphere for now.

Update on Jackie's Plane Trip

Jackie did very well on her first plane trip.  Tim called me when they landed in Charlotte on Tuesday evening and said that Jackie did well after an initial freak-out.  Upon landing in Charlotte, Jackie's ears started to hurt and Tim said that Jackie started to freak out a little but he gave her the gummy bears and some gum and that seemed to help calm her.  Then while they waited for the next flight, Tim treated Jackie to Pizza Hut.  By the time they finally arrived in Tampa, Jackie had fallen asleep and even slept through the landing part.  I was so proud of Jackie that she did so well.  My parents were at the airport to greet Tim and Jackie.  The parents took Jackie home with them to spend a few days while Tim went to stay at his mother's house.  I was so worried about how Jackie would react when she woke up the next morning but there was no need to worry after all.  When I finally got ahold of Mother yesterday, she told me that when Jackie woke up, she laid there for a moment, then reached over and patted her Mimi's face (Mother) and then asked "are you awake."  That's just like Jackie.  Funny.  I sure do miss my little girl.
She got to eat a fun, sugary breakfast of cocoa puff cereal and cinnamon roll yogurt (sounds gross).  Mother said she ate it all.  Of course, I'm the mean mommy because I rarely buy the sweet, sugary breakfast stuff here.  My kids are so deprived at home.
Mother had physical therapy that morning and Jackie went with her since her Poppy went golfing.  When I finally talked to Jackie, she seemed happy and like she was really enjoying being with her Mimi.  She also told on her Daddy that he left her gum on the plane.  Bad Daddy!  How dare he leave her gum behind.  But I'm not surprised as that is just a regular occurrence with Tim.  That's one reason that I didn't pack any of Jackie's really nice clothes for fear that half of it would get lost or left behind.  Sorry, Tim!
Ben must be recovered from his traumatic experience of being left behind.  He and I had a very nice day together.  Now we're getting ready to face more trauma in just a little while when I take him to get the first of 2 chromosome blood tests.  I'll update about that later.