Yes, it is!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

How Zumba Changed My Life

 I was recently asked to be a guest blogger for another website.  What an exciting opportunity that is.  Especially because it is a guest post about Zumba and how it helped to change my life.  Here it is:
Until a few years ago, I never had a problem with my weight.  I was always very thin, with no form, just skinny.  After I got married, I put on a few pounds but I was still considered to be thin.  After I gave birth to my daughter 7 years ago, I was able to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight in a reasonable amount of time.  It wasn't until several months after my son was born that I began to gain and retain the weight.  Initially, I was able to lose the baby weight quickly.  My son was exclusively breastfed during his first 6 months of life as he refused any kind of bottle and formula but since he was such an easy baby to care for, I didn't mind that he just wanted my milk.  But, I soon noticed that I was always hungry and I started to eat more than normal for me. As a result, I started to gain weight.  Now I realize that my body was just trying to keep up with my son's hunger.  After I weaned Ben, I continued to gain weight as I continued to eat junk food and drink soda.
I know my husband was worried about my weight gain.  He would make comments but act like he was just joking.  That only pushed me further away from the idea of getting back into shape.  I became more depressed and anxious.  I ate more.  I became more sedentary than ever.  Finally, soon after Ben turned 2 years old, I realized that I needed to gain control of myself again and get myself back into shape so that I can be healthy for my children as they grow up.  I didn't want my children to suffer all because I wasn't taking care of myself.  So, at the urging of a friend, I checked out the local YMCA.  And I haven't looked back since.
I had heard about Zumba and thought it sounded interesting.  I had no rhythm so I wasn't sure if I would even like it.  I went to my first Zumba class in February 2009 and I was immediately hooked.  And I was so sore the next couple of days but it felt good.  I found out about additional Zumba classes at some of the other YMCA branches and eventually I was doing Zumba 3-4 times a week.  Within a couple of months, I noticed a small difference in how my clothes felt.  I started to feel more confident.  About 5 months after joining the YMCA, I started working with a personal trainer for strength training.  This added another boost to my confidence level as I started to tone up more.  I eventually added running, kickfit, and cross fitness to my fitness routine.  I was feeling so much better than ever, the depression had lifted, I felt more confident.
Living in the Midwest during the cold, darker Winter months caused me to be a bit more depressed than when I lived in the south.  It gets so cold here (at least for this southern girl) and cabin fever starts to set in as I do not enjoy venturing out into the cold.  But going to the Y greatly helped to improve that situation, especially because it allowed me a short break from my high maintenance kids while they played in the children's center at the Y.  I knew my kids were safe there while I took care of myself.
Within a year of joining the YMCA, I had lost 18 pounds and lost 4-6 dress sizes.  At first I was disappointed that I lost just 18 pounds but was back to my pre-marriage size.  At first glance, it doesn't seem like a lot of weight to lose for 4 dress sizes but my doctor reminded me that since I am more muscular than before, I would also weigh a little more. No matter, I still felt much more confident that I was finally back on the right track to health and fitness. And healthier eating.
Over the past nearly 2 years, I have come to enjoy exercise, especially group exercise.  Exercise isn't always fun. In fact, most of the time (except during Zumba) it is hard work and I'm looking at the clock to see how much longer.  It is actually the good feelings that I experience after exercise and the results that help me to enjoy the exercise and to keep going.
Zumba gave me the boost that I needed to start and keep up with my fitness routine.  I was hooked from the beginning.  The beauty of Zumba is that it can be tailored by each participant to whatever level they are comfortable with.  I remember when I first started that I didn't worry about the arm movements. Most of the Zumba movements in each routine are repetitive which makes it much easier to learn the steps.  So after a couple of classes, I quickly learned what to expect with each routine and I was able to confidently add the arm movements. 
Zumba is a great way to lose weight, gain shape, and it is also a great cardio workout.  It is such a fun way to get exercise.  Zumba is good for people of all ages, shapes, weights, and even those with limited mobility.  Zumba Gold is especially good for those with disabilities or limited mobility.
Two years ago, I never thought that I would ever consider becoming a fitness instructor of any kind.  But this Sunday, I am going to take a certification class to become a Zumba instructor!  I am so nervous and excited. My ultimate goal is to teach the special needs and senior/disabled population.  I have a heart for these groups of people and I am excited about the opportunities that I will eventually be able to open up for them.   Eventually, I would like to add other fitness certifications.  I am excited about being an inspiration and encourager to others who are in the same place where I once was.  I am excited about helping others get started on their own weight loss and/or fitness journeys.  And lastly, I am so thankful for the boost of confidence that I received from attending my first Zumba class nearly 2 years ago.

Monday, November 28, 2011

New Addiction

I am addicted to yet another animal related website: http://www.beaglefreedomproject.org/index.php.  I'm just a sucker when it comes to reading about animal rescues.  And I'm proud to say that I've never purchased a dog.  All of my pets have been rescues, including my mini-Aussie. 
I love beagles and they are one of my favorite breeds. They are such cute, funny, and friendly critters. I once had a beagle mix named Pickle and I still have fond memories her.  I was heartbroken over her loss.
The video from this new website brought tears to my eyes.  And it warmed my heart to watch those little beagles experience daylight and the feel of grass beneath them for the very first time. Dogs are the most forgiving beings and they provide the most unconditional love.  Humans could learn a few lessons from dogs.
Enjoy the video: http://www.beaglefreedomproject.org/video.php.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lucy's CCL

Lucy, aka Dumb Dog,  has a torn CCL.  In humans, that would be the ACL.  I noticed Wednesday evening, after Lucy came from outside, that she was not putting any weight on her hind left leg.  When Tim came home, I told him about it.  Tim figured that Lucy must have hurt her leg while chasing Dugan, my 12-pound mini-Aussie.  Dugan is an incredibly fast runner and Lucy tries her best to keep up with him.  So, we decided to observe for the next couple of days.  Lucy didn't seem to be in pain, even when I squeezed and pulled around that area.  But by Friday, Lucy still was not putting weight on that leg.  I called the veterinarian who was able to see Lucy right away.  The vet felt around Lucy's leg and knee. He compared how it felt to the opposing leg, too.  He asked about Lucy's activities.  Lucy was such a  trooper through it all and didn't even yelp in pain.  Finally, the vet determined that Lucy tore her CCL.  He went on to explain the different treatment options available, all of which are surgical.  There is just one vet in that office who does the suture surgery, which is the least expensive and typically for less involved CCL injuries.  The vet is going to talk to this other vet/surgeon to get his opinion if this treatment would be adequate for Lucy.  Otherwise, Lucy will need to go to a specialist and possibly undergo a more expensive surgery.
Poor Lucy, as healthy as she is, is a bit accident prone.  She suffered a punctured eye injury in March of last year.  After being on 3 different medications and having to wear an E-collar, Lucy's eye was saved, although it has shrunk a bit over this past year.  Needless to say, Lucy looks a little sad.  So now, she is has this scary looking eye and she is hobbling around on 3 legs.  Lucy is a sight to behold now.  On top of that, the neighbors down the street must think this is one unloved dog after they spotted her wearing her "bad dog" t-shirt.  She is, after all, a misfit.  But she's a lovable one.  And she thinks everyone, including fellow canines, is her friend.
After having a spate of out-of-pocket medical expenses in these last 3 months, I've been trying to think of ways to help us fund Lucy's surgery. I'm going to try to take on more substitute teaching jobs now that I've been able to move some of Jackie's therapy appointments.  And I'm going to make and sell holiday baskets.  So, if any of my local friends would like to help me fund my lovable misfit dog's surgery, please consider buying a holiday basket from me.  I also have inventory left over from a jewelry business.  If you're interested in looking at some of that, please let me know. 
Here is a picture of some of the baskets that I made for my kids' teachers last year:

Here is Lucy:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I'm A Veteran

Yes, according to my daughter, I am a veteran.  And I must agree.  I may not wear a uniform or fight in wars but I am in a battle of some sort nearly every day.  Depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, fighting children, fear, etc.  I am survivor.  I am a veteran of everyday life battles.  And lastly,  I'm a proud wife of a military veteran.  
So, enjoy this sketch that my precious daughter made for me today.  Is it cute and comical or what?  I love that girl so much.  She never ceases to amaze me with her talents.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Love Thy Neighbor...

so the Bible says.  And I used to do just that.  Until recently.  I thought we had great neighbors until recently when I wrote a blog post asking for advice regarding 2 feuding neighbor girls and it was starting to involve my daughter.  Things with one of the neighbors went downhill from there.  Then I wrote a blog post inspired by a comment that my hubby made.  In that post, I talked about J giving a birthday invitation to one of the neighbor girls and that if the girl showed up, then I would do the christian thing and welcome her. Well, apparently, this upset the neighbors.  Again.  Here is the post. 
So, the father of this child came over last Sunday afternoon to confront me about that blog post. I asked why he was even reading it and he stated that he wasn't but that his 13-year old daughter is reading it.  I asked him why the hell his 13-year old daughter was reading my blog.  His response was that my blog is public (which it is) and that his friends are like "oh my god."  Whatever.  I realize my blog is public but if somebody is going to have their 13-year kid police my blog, well, then they have a problem.  It's not my problem.  This is my blog, I will write what I choose to write.  But, I admit that I didn't handle the situation well.  The stress of that and everything else just sent me into a tailspin.  I slammed the door in the father's face and screamed to him to get off of my property.  I then grabbed a few of my things and left the house. 
I'm so thankful for the support from my fellow bloggers, blogging networks, and personal friends. It's because of you that I am not giving up on my blogging.  And blogging has opened up several different exciting opportunities for me.
And, in a way, I am thankful for the neighbors.  Thankfully, my family survived (barely) my absence for a few days this past week but it made my hubby realize that some changes needed to be made.  And he's doing a pretty darn good job, so far.  He realized that he needs to protect and support me, value me, treasure me, make me feel loved.  I am a fiercely independent person but I still needed these affirmations from my husband.  I am feeling more loved than ever right now.  And I am finding it easier to reciprocate.  We have a way to go but I have more hope than ever. And my kids?  They've been great.  And so much more fun.  I love those kids.  I love my family so much.  So, thank you, Neighbor, for helping to orchestrate (albeit indirectly) the events that led up to this positive outcome. 
Speaking of the neighbors, I do miss the friendship that we had at one time.  But I have to admit that I am enjoying less whining from my daughter and I don't miss breaking up the bickering that occurred between our girls.  They probably think that I don't care about any of them at all but that really is not the case.  If it came down to it, I would help out in an emergency.  That's just how I am. 
So, A, if you're reading this, go give your parents the latest update. Okay?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thankful Day 5

Today, I am thankful for the excellent medical care that my daughter receives for her mild disability.  Ever since J's diagnosis at age 6 months, J has seen her share of specialists; neurologist, ENT, opthalmologist, orthopedic surgeon, occupational & physical therapists, speech therapist, orthotist, etc.  Most of J's specialists are at St. Louis Children's Hospital, a top children's hospital.  I feel very fortunate that our insurance coverage has approved nearly all of J's care.
I'm thankful for J's physical therapist who has treated J since she was 9 months old.  Julie was (and still is) a huge support for me when J was still a little baby. Being fairly new to this area at the time and having no family near us, I had no support system to help me through the difficulty that I experienced during J's first year.  I am so thankful that Julie came into our lives during that time and not only did she treat J but she also recognized  how desperate I was as a new mom struggling to come to terms with J's diagnosis.  In addition to dealing with J's diagnosis, J was very colicky and I was experiencing post-partum depression. I remember being resistant to Julie's initial attempts to reach out to me but I am so thankful that she did not give up on me.  And I am so thankful for the bond that we have developed over the past 6 years.
I am thankful that we have the medical coverage that allows us to seek excellent care for both of our children.  And I am even more thankful that with the great care (including Early Intervention services soon after diagnosis) that J has received, her disability is considered to be mild.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I Am So Thankful...

...that I don't have to home school. 
Thank you, Lord, for a public education.  Thank you that my daughter has a great teacher who is better equipped than I am to be a teacher to her.  I just do NOT have the patience for pokey-ness, especially during homework time. But, thank you, God, that J is making straight A's so far. 
Now, I think homeschooling is a great thing.  For some people. It is not for everyone.  I think homeschoolers are some of the smartest people I've met.  Before J was born, I often thought that I might consider homeschooling her.  But as J started to show her strong will and her penchant for drama, I had second thoughts about homeschooling.  By the time J reached preschool age, all thoughts of homeschooling went right on out the window.  Thankfully, J is already a very bright kid and doing well in public school.
I'm not going to say that I will never homeschool my children but for now, it is not the right choice for us.  J is doing very well in public school right now.  If it ever gets to a point where it is no longer working out, then we would more than likely consider private school.  I just know that right now, homeschooling is a last resort for us. 
So that is what I am thankful for on this day. A public education; I just can't thank God enough for that. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I'm Thankful For My House

Today, I am thankful for my house.  With so many people in our country losing homes to short sales or foreclosures, I am so thankful that we, as a family, are able to afford our house.  My house may not be big, but it is a very nice home.  Sure, it would be nice to have more living space and we could if we got our basement finished.  But, that's not a priority right now.  At least, not financially.  On paper, we could afford a little bigger house but I would rather be able to afford to do things as a family rather than be house poor due to a huge mortgage and higher taxes. We live well within our means. Of course, having 2 special needs children requires that we make every effort to live within our means in order that we can pay for all of their medical expenses. 
I am so thankful that, because of our financial responsibility, my children are able to live in one place long term without the fear of having to move any time soon.  I know that we will eventually need to find a bigger house, especially because we need would like a 3-car garage.  And I'm sure the kids will want bigger bedrooms.  But for now, I am content with our house.  And when the time comes to move up, I hope that we will be able to find a good deal like we got with this house.  We were so fortunate to snatch this house through a short sale (pre-forclosure) deal and the house was not trashed like so many foreclosures that you might hear about. 
 Thank you, God, for my house.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thankful Day 2

Today I am thankful for 2 good feet.  About 2 months ago, I endured a very painful flare-up of plantar fasciitis.  It was extremely painful to walk on my left foot.  This started on a Friday night.  The next day on Saturday, I continued to have extreme pain and ended up not going to the gym to work out.  On Saturday evening, I went over to our rental home to finish changing some blinds.  I had just finished changing the very last one when the step ladder gave way underneath me.  I felt immediate pain in my right foot and I knew right away that I must have fractured it.  Within minutes, my foot was severely swollen.  I slid down the stairs on my butt because it was so painful to walk on either foot.  It was extremely painful drive home but thankfully it was just a couple of blocks. I went to the ER the next day where it was confirmed that I incurred a serious fracture in my right foot.  And not only did I have plantar fasciitis in my left foot, but I also had bone spurs. 
A couple of days later, I was able to get an appointment to see the orthopedic surgeon.  The ER nurse had made it sound like that I made need a cast and possibly even surgery. Thankfully, the surgeon did not see the need for surgery and he also had me continue to use the boot instead of placing a cast.  The first couple of weeks were extremely painful.  And I gained a new perspective on what my daughter probably experienced after her last major foot surgery.
During these last couple of months when I was sidelined from the gym, as depressing as it was, I gained a new appreciation for having 2 feet to walk when they aren't injured.  I really took my feet for granted before.  And also during this time, my left foot which was affected by plantar fasciitis, was able to get much needed rest. Two weeks ago, the doctor released me to return to the gym but no running or anything that required jumping. 
This morning, I went to the doctor for a 4th follow-up visit and an x-ray.  The x-ray showed that the fractured bone had shifted, which is why I have a knotty area where the fracture was.  But thankfully, the doctor was confident that it doesn't require further treatment.  The doctor also released me fully to return to previous activities although it will still be a few weeks before I can comfortably run again.  But that is due to the left foot, not the fractured foot. My left heel has started to flare up again so the doctor gave me a prescription topical anti-inflammatory to try.  If this doesn't help, then the next step is an injection.  I am hoping and praying that the topical medication will work and that I can avoid the injection.
So, today, I am thankful that my feet are in good working order, although not yet 100%.  I am thankful that I did not require surgery.  And I am thankful for the new perspective that I gained during these last couple of months.  And lastly, I am so thankful that my feet are well enough that I even registered to attend a Zumba instructor certification class in another month.  I am so excited about that.
And lastly, I really appreciate having 2 feet and I no longer take them for granted.  I love my feet, as ugly as they are.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Thankful #1

I am so thankful for the gift of my precious daughter who was born 7 years ago today.  I enjoy sharing her birth story which you can read here
Happy Birthday sweet girl Jackie!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

It's the Christian Thing to Do

Oh really, Hubster?  Wow, that's the first time I have EVER heard that coming out of your mouth.  I never dreamed I would ever hear that coming from you. But, I guess you're right.
This morning was spent with Jackie going to the post office to mail off her birthday party invitations, going to Sam's Club to pick out a cake, and going to a craft store for party ideas.  Almost the entire time, Jackie asked me if I sent any particular person an invitation.  She just wanted to make sure I didn't leave anyone out.  I had to remind her a couple of times that those invitations that didn't get sent out are those that are going to kids that we will see within the next couple of days.  As soon as we arrived back home, Jackie insisted on taking the remaining invitations to a couple of her friends who happen to live on our street.  Can you tell that Jackie is very excited about her birthday party?  Then before I knew it, Jackie had taken one of the extra unaddressed invitations over to another particular neighbor girl with whom I've had some issues recently.  I have written about the situation in the last few blog posts.  What's done is done so now I just wait and see what happens with it.  It really doesn't even matter to me at this point if the girl shows up.  Jackie is oblivious to what is going on and I'll be happy to keep it that way.  She's just too young and innocent to get caught up in all the crap that has happened. 
So, tonight at dinner, I told the hubster about how Jackie took one of the invitations to this child and Tim's response nearly sent me into a state of shock.  He NEVER, EVER says anything like that. So, I will try to be a good, christian girl and welcome this particular child to the party if she should show up.  Thankfully, the party is not at my home and is in a public (and hopefully safe) place.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Must Read

I recently read a blog post that touched on so many issues that I face as a mom.  This particular mom has 4 children, 2 of whom are special needs.  So many of the words she wrote could have been written by me.  It definitely should be read by everyone, especially those who think any person with any type of disability is less worthy than themselves.
I am so thankful for my beautiful children, even with all of their needs and therapy appointments.  Yes, I have my bad moments where I just feel stretched to the max and think that I just can't take anymore.  But, once I get through those moments, I look at my children with such awe.  I can't help but think, "are they really mine?", "did I help create these beautiful little people?". I often find myself sitting on the edge of their beds at night, in amazement at what I've been given.  And, I admit, sometimes a twinge of sadness will come over me just thinking about our struggles during these last few years. Then, just as quickly, I feel amazement that those 2 beautiful little beings are such gifts to me.  I love my children and I wouldn't trade them for anything.  My daughter may never be a world class gymnast.  She may never be a world class pianist.  But she is perfect to me and she has so many other talents to offer. My son?  Well, only time will tell.  I never dreamed that I would have a child with special needs, much less two of them.  But this is the life I've been handed and I wouldn't have it any other way now. My children are just perfect the way they are.
Have tissues ready and enjoy this blog post: my-angry-down-syndrome-awareness-post

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What Am I Teaching Her?

Or is my daughter just a little clone of me? 
Jackie has been on a roll lately. Tonight, during the kids' bedtime ritual, Jackie said her prayer first.  Then it was Ben's turn.  At first, he didn't say anything so when I said, "Ok, then it's time for bed", Ben decided he was going to pray after all. But again, he stalled.  During this time, Jackie and I were sort of snuggling together.  But, when I tried to look at Ben to see why he still wasn't saying his prayer, I heard Jackie quietly telling me, "just ignore him, don't look at him, don't say anything to him, just ignore him."  It was very difficult to stifle the laughter.  She sounds just a little too much like me when I'm trying to encourage (and of course, telling her to ignore him, don't say anything to him, don't look at him)  Jackie to just ignore her brother when he tries to antagonize her.
I realize that so many people (well, just about everyone) think Jackie looks exactly like me (I disagree), but dear Lord, please help me to raise her to NOT be like me.  My prayer is that she will be a MUCH better person than I'll EVER be.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Inspiring Story

Being from Tampa Bay, Florida, I still keep up with the news from back home.  Today, I had the pleasure of reading a very inspiring article on the website of my home newspaper.  Although my daughter is not as severely impacted by cerebral palsy, she did have problems with balance, just like the young man in the article.  I can relate very well to his mother in regard to the frustration and the fear for our children's futures.  Like the young man's mother, I never dreamed that I would have a special needs child, much less 2 special needs children.  But, I love my children and they are perfect to me.  I wouldn't trade them for anything.  Well, maybe sometimes. Have tissues ready and enjoy!
Here is the link to this beautiful story.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I Have Too Much Time On My Hands?

I have decided that I will NOT give up my blogging, although there will be some changes in the near future.  I'm still working on some ideas.
In my Farewell post, I had talked about some reasons about why I was going to give up blogging but I have since decided that I am NOT going to allow other people to dictate what I should or should not do.  I don't particularly care if I don't have the support of the hubs, either.  He has his hobbies.  I have mine.  I haven't demanded that he give up his dirt-biking even though it takes away from family time.  So, therefore, I will continue on with my hobby of writing, especially because it does NOT take away from family time.  (In fact, I'll let you know, Neighbor ((since you think I have too much time on my hands)), most of my writing is done late in the evening or into the night AFTER everyone else is asleep.) 
There was a comment left on my Farewell post that I am going to cover in this post.  I'm fairly certain that I know who wrote the comment.  So contrary to them thinking that I have too much time on my hands and that I should drop every single thing that I am doing to hover over my children so that they won't be kidnapped, I am going to cover what my weeks consist of.  So take that, commenter, Neighbor!
Apparently, this particular person thinks I have too much time on my hands.  They also think that I must think I'm a martyr.  And, they apparently value their own children more than I value my own children. And blah, blah, blah.
This person apparently has no clue how much I truly have going on in my life.  I have 2 children who require special services.  My daughter goes to physical and occupational therapy appointments, in addition to whatever specialty appointment she may require.  My son goes to speech therapy.  In addition to that, my son attends a 2 1/2 hour per day program where he receives additional speech services.  Just this past week alone, I had to drive my daughter over to St. Louis Children's Hospital  3 different times for different appointments.  Three times in one week!  I burn up a lot of gas just taking my children to appointments. In addition to that, I take Jackie to gymnastics one night a week.  She is also a Girl Scout and I take her to those meetings and whatever activity they have.  We have temporarily stopped piano lessons due to conflicts with all of the appointments. Jackie and Ben also go to children's choir practice on Sundays after which they go to another program (Awana).  Every day after Jackie gets home from school, I supervise her as she does her homework and in the evening, I supervise as she does her reading assignments.  Ben goes to private speech therapy once a week.  It was initially recommended that he receive private therapy 3 times per week but there was no way that I was able to fit that into my schedule with all of Jackie's appointments and activities.  As a logical person can see, there is no way that I am able to work full-time at this time.  On the occasional days that I don't have an appointment to rush to after school, I substitute teach if there is a need at one of the schools.

In between tending to my children's needs, I must make time to keep up with my fitness routine.  This is so important to me on so many levels, mental health being one of those reasons.  And with the cold weather arriving soon, it is even more important for me and the kids to get to the gym where the kids can play in a warm, safe environment while I work out.
And somewhere in the middle of all of the above, I still have to find time to grocery shop, do laundry, cook meals, shop for shoes.  So, tell me, do you think I have too much time on my hands?  And martyr am I?  No, just a mom trying her best to take care of her 2 kids with special needs in the midst of a chaotic life.
In fact, Neighbor, I'm going to provide a run-down of what the past 7 days have been like for me, starting with last Friday.  Friday afternoon, I had to pick up my daughter from school and drive to St. Louis for her 3-month eye appointment.  I had to remind the hubs to pick up my son from a babysitter. Then I had to rush home and prepare dinner for the family.   On Saturday, I cleaned house in the morning.  I had to get groceries.  Then I had to go shopping for shoes that I could fit onto my still-healing fractured foot.  The hubs took the kids to his dirt-bike club event.  Then I had to drive out there to meet them and do the wifely thing and hang out for awhile.  On Sunday, I attended church with my family.  Then we came home and I had to feed my family some lunch.  Then I went to the gym for a class.  Then I came back to take  my kids to their Awana club.  On Monday, I took the kids with me to the gym for a class.  Then I rushed back home to prepare dinner.  Then I had to rush back out to take Jackie to gymnastics.  Then we had to rush back home so Jackie could do her homework before bathtime and bed.  On Tuesday, I had to pick up Jackie from school early, again, to take her to yet another appointment (neurologist) in St Louis.  But on the way there, I had to stop at a Metrolink station to pick up Mother who had just arrived here from Florida.  The doctor was a bit delayed so I had to rush home again.  Because of the time constraints, I went ahead and got take-out for our dinner that night.  Then I had to set up a temporary bed for Jackie since Mother was taking Jackie's bed. Then homework time.  Then I had just enough time to get to another class at the gym. On Wednesday, I had to run several errands with Mother. Then I picked  up the kids from school and supervise Jackie during homework time. Then that evening, the hubs and I went to look at some property and take care of other matters while Mother took care of the kids.  Then we came home where I did my motherly duties of getting the kids ready for bed. On Thursday, I rescheduled Jackie's occupational appointment (again, in St. Louis) so that I could attend her parent/teacher conference after school dismissed.  But before that, I had to pick up Ben and rush him home to his grandmother and then turn around and go back to the school for the conference.  Then I had to go to the grocery to get additional ingredients for dinner.  I had to prepare dinner and get my family fed.  After cleaning the kitchen and leaving instructions regarding the kids, I went to the gym.  Today (Friday), thankfully, there was no school but I still got no break.  I had to drive to St. Louis again for Jackie's occupational therapy.  Then while I was over there, I took the opportunity to shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.  Then I had to get home because Ben had a speech therapy appointment in the afternoon.  Then I had to prepare dinner for the family.  After the kids played outside for awhile after dinner, we left to do some much-needed shopping elsewhere.  Somewhere in the middle of all that, I had to  do the usual household stuff.  So, tell me Neighbor, do you still think I have a lot of time on my hands?
As far as the possibility of my children being kidnapped, children have been kidnapped from under a caretaker's nose.  I don't want my children to be kidnapped, but good grief, I am not going to be a helicopter parent.  My children are supervised well enough for me to be comfortable.  And beside, if this other neighbor truly valued their children more than I value mine, then they would perhaps make certain that their child would not ride their bike in front of cars.  If I was a helicopter parent, then meals would not be prepared, laundry would not be done, house-cleaning would be even less than it is now.  I feel safe enough in our particular neighborhood that I can continue to allow my children to play with their friends outdoors if I feel the need to visit the bathroom, check dinner that might be cooking, put away laundry, let the dogs out, etc.  Oh, and by the way, Neighbor, the hubs does not value my children more than I do.  Who is the one who takes care of most of their needs?  In fact, Neighbor, I have to remind him that he ought to keep a look out for the kids whenever I leave the house.  Think about it.  It's too bad that you feel the need to judge my parenting skills when you really should step back and take a look at your own.  Not that I'm judging, though. My own children are not allowed to play unattended inside of my vehicles and invite their friends inside. 
There is more that I could say about the ridiculous comment that was left by this person but I'll just leave it at that.
This evening after dinner, another one of Jackie's friends came over to ask if Jackie and Ben could play outside. I told Mother to hover over my precious children outside while I finished cleaning up my kitchen. After I finished in the kitchen, I went outside where I noticed the neighbor kid, who is twice as big as Jackie, riding on Jackie's scooter.  I let her know that she should get off the scooter because if she breaks it, she would have to replace it.  My children still have their toddler scooters and this particular child is over the weight limit for these scooters.  Then she got on Ben's scooter but this time, I reminded her to be careful to not break Ben's scooter.  Then she ran off but I didn't think anything of it until the father came over and told me that if I didn't want his child on the scooter, then to tell her to get off.  Well, I did that the first time when she was on Jackie's scooter.  It's really a shame that what started out to be a blog post asking for advice on handling the conflict between two neighbor girls (before it involved my own child), turned into a neighbor dispute all around.
Thankfully, I've had nothing but support from my own friends (especially my bloggy friends) and that's all that matters.  And despite the negativity from the neighbors,  I still care enough about ALL of the neighbor children that I won't hesitate to come to their aid if the need arises.  In fact, since Jackie still thinks of this particular neighbor kid as her best friend, I have told her that she can play with her but it must be outside and where I can see her. 
It's a real shame that this whole situation has just turned everything upside down.  And it's too bad that the hubs thinks that this is proof that we should always be anti-social.  To be honest, for a few days, this whole debacle had me a bit depressed.  But, forget him, forget the neighbors, I still have good friends within my neighborhood whom I enjoy seeing and exchanging pleasantries and vice versa.  For that I am grateful. And I'm happy again.  Thank you God!

I'm Back

Yes, I'm back but I'm not certain how long it will be at this URL.  For awhile now, I've been tossing around the idea of changing the format of my blog and perhaps even trying a different website.
I've heard from several friends who were disappointed about the possibility of ending my blogging.  But guess what?!  I have decided that nobody is going to stop me from doing the things that I enjoy. Nobody, except God.
I want to share a quote that I recently read that confirms my decision to continue my blogging:
  "Never sacrifice who you are just because someone has a problem with it."
I love it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Farewell

I think this is my last post.  I've enjoyed writing and sharing my struggles and triumphs in mothering special needs children, being a wife, and just plain being a mess.  I've enjoyed hearing from others with whom I share a common bond.  I enjoyed the encouragement about my writing skills.  I've enjoyed the encouragement about my struggle with faith issues.  I appreciate all of it.  But unfortunately some things must come to an end.  And this is one of them. 
I had not planned to end this so abruptly but apparently, the hubby thinks that we should live in a bubble.  We should not get close to neighbors and now that there have been some issues that have transpired between neighboring children (and mine), hubby thinks that's proof of why we are not to get close to anyone. And as for my blog, well, apparently a young neighbor found it and brought it to her parents' attention.  They read the last blog post where I explained a certain situation and sought advice/suggestions about what to do.  Refer to the last blog post to understand.  These neighbors were not too pleased with what I wrote. But I'm glad they saw it, though, because it prompted these neighbors to come over and talk to me after I had tried several times to call and/or ring their doorbell to no avail to try to talk to them about how I was feeling about what's been going on between all of our kids.   It seems there are some very hurt feelings (perhaps rightfully so?) from my blog post and they felt as if I was seeing certain children as a scapegoat.  Which is not even the case.  I care about all of those children and I want my children to continue playing peacefully with the neighborhood kids. But frankly, I was at my wits' end with all of the whining from Jackie, the hitting, feeling like I'm stuck in the middle of neighbor disputes, etc.   Even though I'm glad the neighbors found and read that blog post, I was surprised that they went as far back as nearly a year, possibly in an effort to see where else I may have gossiped. They found the blog post where I updated everyone after Jackie's very scary and traumatic injury.  Apparently, my use of one word caused some hurt feelings in that post. It was a benign use of the word /finally/ and not at all intentional to negate anybody.  At. All. But that made me feel as if there could be other people who out there who might attempt to cause harm by trying to dig up old garbage.  I can assure my readers, though, that nobody is going to find garbage in my blog. 
Last night, after the neighbors left,  it was already late and I had to get the kids into bed by myself, thanks to Tim abandoning me to his room after the meeting.  I was up until past 3AM, unable to sleep, re-reading that blog post (and the one about Jackie's injury), and having thoughts running through my mind all night about what transpired during our "meeting".  I've always felt like I need to take the blame for whatever situation occurs in my life and this was no exception.  I finally came to the conclusion that my children just will not be able to play outside unless I am hovering over them.  Apparently, the apparent lack of supervision is bothersome for some people although my children are mostly supervised while outside. (Well, their dad is more of a slacker in this area) I usually sit in a chair in the garage but lately have been sitting it in the front yard while the kids are outside if there is no other parent observing. But when I need to start dinner preparations or need to do something else inside, I intentionally leave the inside garage door wide open (as well as the front door) so that I can hear and somewhat supervise the children.  But that will no longer work because that makes it appear that the children are not being supervised.  And like I said, this is bothersome for some people.  So, unfortunately, my children will have to start spending more time indoors.  Without friends.  But that's the price we'll pay to avoid further problems. Whatever their father decides to do when I'm not home, well, that's up to him but I'm staying out of it.
Now the reason I am ending this blog is because the hubby apparently thinks that we should live in a bubble.  He said that we should not become close to the neighbors (which I really don't feel too close, I just felt that we have great neighbors).  He's the type that we don't ask for any type of help from neighbors, although he is more than willing to help whenever a neighbor has asked for any type of help.  He says that our children should fight their own battles, including when it becomes physical.  I'm sorry but I have a problem with the physical part, especially because Jackie seems to be a target for hitting by too many people, including her brother.  Now I realize Jackie is a very whiny child (which drives me to the point of near insanity at times) but she does not deserve to be physically battered.  I don't make a habit of intervening between the little fights among all the friends unless it turns physical.  But apparently I'm in the wrong. No? I don't know. Perhaps reading my last blog post will help you understand what's going on. 
So, in accordance with the hubby's wishes, I shall no longer share my life or share stories about my children. Or share struggles and triumphs.  I shall go to live in my own little bubble and go back to my reclusive ways from here on out.  Having my children had brought me out of my own little world and it forced me to become more outgoing.  And for that, I am grateful. Even though I never felt fully comfortable being outgoing, it was fun while it lasted.  So thanks to all my bloggy friends for your "friendship", albeit temporary. Like they say, some things last for just a season.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Neighbor Drama

In all the years that I have owned a home, I have rarely encountered problems with neighbors.  In fact, I have been very blessed with good neighbors.  But lately, I have been feeling a little stressed about the drama going on between the neighbors on either side of me.  And I do not like the feeling of being an unwilling participant in the drama.
A few months ago, the house on the west side of us was rented out to a very nice family.  The family includes 2 daughters, one of whom is 11 years old. (I'll call her A) The other little girl is just 2 years old.  The family is also military.  They spend a lot of time outside and are very friendly and don't hesitate to talk to us. 
The neighbors to the east of us were really good neighbors when we moved into this house nearly 2 1/2 years ago.  The younger girl, T, is 8 years old (18 months older than Jackie), and she and Jackie hit it off right away.  It was so nice that Jackie had a playmate right next door.  But, as time went on, I noticed that Jackie seemed to be more whiny and would cry more often while and after playing with T.  I learned that T had some struggles but I didn't want that to be the force that would prevent my children from playing with T.  So, I just continued to monitor while the kids played and I had no problem reminding or even reprimanding T whenever she started to step out of bounds.  I really tried to work with T to be a better playmate.  I know what it felt like to be an outcast as a kid and I didn't want T to feel like that in my home.  I wanted T to feel welcome  and loved in my home.  And she seemed to respond well to me whenever I had to intervene.  T's mother and I seemed to have a good relationship and we would share what was going on in the relationship between our girls.  I really liked having these people as neighbors.  But lately, I have been wondering about it.  When Spring/Summer rolled around and the kids started getting out more, I had no problem with T coming inside my home to play.  But I started to notice that whenever Jackie asked if she could play over at T's house, the answer was no because their house was a mess.  Whatever.  It's not as if a little 6-year was going over there to critique the state of their home.  And plus, T always helped to leave Jackie's bedroom and my living room in disarray.  That started to get old.  It didn't matter if I reminded everyone to clean up after they make a mess, T always seemed to suddenly have to leave before taking time to clean up.  I finally told T that Jackie was limited to having one friend inside and if somebody else was already over, then they would all have to play outside.  So, when T started to become good friends and playing more with the 11-year neighbor, I was sort of relieved because it meant less whining and crying from Jackie.  Jackie and Ben were already good friends with the kids across the street and they played so much nicer when T was not there.. 
Unfortunately, the friendship between T and A started to deteriorate after a short time.  Unfortunately, knowing the history of one of the girls, I can understand why the relationship went under.  But I also am not going to take sides. I like and care for both of these girls.  If it involved my own child, then of course, I would get involved.  But I could totally understand why A's mom refused to let her daughter play with T any longer. But, I am not going to stop being friendly to either mother just because their girls are not allowed to play with each other.  Whenever I am outside and if I see both girls outside, I just monitor the situation, especially if either one tries to involve my daughter, which has occurred.  My little girl, who is not even 7, has been told by one of the girls that if she talks to the other girl, then she will no longer be her friend.  I had a little chat with this girl and told her that she will not be permitted to give my much younger daughter an ultimatum.  I am the mother and I am the one who will give ultimatums. 
A couple of weeks ago, we had a situation such that Tim came inside from mowing the lawn, to ask me to call Jackie in.  It appears that one of the girls was trying to start drama again by trying to get Jackie involved in the conflict between these 2 older girls.  Gah!  I just didn't know what to do as I have never been faced with this until recently.  So, I called Jackie in and explained to her that she is not to listen to T or to A whenever they try to get her to take sides.  Of course, I explained it on her level.  I also reminded her that she is friends with both of these girls but that it was rude to start out playing/riding bikes with A, only to run over to T when T called Jackie over.   Already, my daughter is being told her she can be friends with and Mama Bear is coming out.  It was quite stressful for me because I want to keep my relationships intact with both neighbors even though I have felt a decline with T's family.  I think the reason for that is because I will no longer use their older daughter to babysit for reasons that I am sure they are very aware of.  
The other neighbor girl, A, came over later to see if Jackie would ride her bike with her.  Sure, no problem.  I explained to A that I don't want Jackie involved in any of these older girls' conflicts to which A readily agreed.  Interestingly, I have never had a problem with A being inappropriate with my children.  I told A that she was also welcome at our home but that if T was also there, I wanted them to at least be cordial to each other.  A was in total agreement. 
So, tonight, all the neighbor kids were outside playing and riding bikes.  It was a beautiful evening.  Another neighbor came walking by with her cute little dog and she stopped to chat with me and A's mom.  A's little sister was also out there with us.  T was also riding her bike around.  Then all the kids decided to play in the front yard.  My kids, the kids across the street, A and her sister, and T.  My front yard was milling with activity.  After a few moments, I noticed T leave but didn't think anything of it until a few moments later.  My neighbor and I were still chatting with the dog-walking neighbor when I heard T's mom yell something to T, who was back in my yard.  Then I noticed A and her sister come walking back toward where I was still chatting.  I could see by the look on A's face that something was wrong so I stepped over to where the other kids were and noticed they were all eating popsicles.  All except A and her sister.  A's sister had already started to cry.  When I asked who brought the popsicles over, T admitted to it and then immediately said that she had just enough for herself, my kids, and 2 kids from across the street.  Hmm.  I immediately explained to T that if she was going to bring popsicles over to MY house to pass out, then she must bring enough for EVERYONE who was at my house.  It was not right to leave others out, no matter how much disdain she may have for certain people. So, I went to my basement freezer to get a handful of popsicles to send home with A and her sister.  As I handed the popsicles to their mom, she started to exchange a few words with T.  Then she started to tell me how she felt about T and what she has witnessed and how terrible it was that T's dad even witnessed some of the inappropriate behavior toward A and did nothing about it. And on and on.  Ugh.  I know she wasn't yelling at me but I almost felt as if she was wanting me to take sides.  I feel terrible about what has happened between these girls but I am not surprised that it ended this way.
All I want is to be friendly with both of these neighbors without either one of them trying to get me involved in their conflicts.  I just want my children to be able to play in peace and harmony with whomever they are friends with.  I don't want my children to suffer the consequences of other parents' actions.  I just want to be good neighbor.   And I certainly hope that both of these neighbors can respect that.
If any of my readers have any advice, please feel free to share.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Shameless Brag

Jackie has always been a good student.  In preschool, her teachers would tell me that Jackie is a smart little girl.  She is also very gifted in the arts.  Of course, I am a proud mom, especially knowing how much Jackie has been through in her short life, so far.  Early on, Jackie's neurologist gently warned me about the potential for learning disabilities, even though it was evident that Jackie was smart.  All I could do was pray that Jackie would not have to struggle with learning.  Learning always came easy for me and I had difficulty understanding the possibility of Jackie having learning disabilities.  But thankfully, with Early Intervention treatment and then the Early Childhood program, Jackie seemed to excel.  Jackie did so well and her speech improved to the point where I felt comfortable enrolling Jackie in a private preschool program the year before she started Kindergarten.  It was at this preschool that I realized Jackie's aptitude for art.  I was amazed at some of the drawings and paintings that Jackie would bring home.  She truly does have a gift in music and art.
During Jackie's Kindergarten year, Jackie continued to excel.  Jackie resumed going to speech therapy to "clean" up some lingering issues.  It was during this time that I noticed a few minor issues and I couldn't help but worry about the potential of them becoming major issues.  In fact, one of the areas Jackie went to speech therapy for was to work on comprehension and paying attention to directions.  Still, Jackie continued to receive high marks in class.  
This year in 1st grade, the first few weeks were mostly just review.  Jackie complained about how easy the work was and I began to worry that she would soon become bored and start to slide downhill.  But thankfully, Jackie's teacher started to expand to other learning areas.  Jackie has homework sent home nearly everyday.  It usually takes Jackie around 10 minutes to finish it. But lately, I've been getting frustrated because Jackie started to make mistakes with her homework.  I realize now it is because she's in a hurry and not paying attention to the instructions.  Any fleeting thoughts of homeschooling in the near future have thoroughly been tossed out the window.  Jackie responds so much better to other teachers as evidenced by the work she brings home.  She has made all As, so far. 
This past Friday, I was asked to substitute for another teacher at Jackie's school. The classroom where I was to sub was right across the hall from Jackie's class.  Jackie was disappointed that I wasn't subbing in her class.  Me?  Not so much.  Unless it's an emergency, I won't be a substitute teacher in Jackie's class.  Today's substitute teachers actually teach, not babysit and I just know Jackie will not like me very much if I had to teach her in the classroom. 
During a break while all the first graders were at their "specials", I went over to Jackie's class to talk to her teacher. I found out that Jackie made 100% on that day's spelling test, which I was not surprised about.  Jackie's teacher agreed with how smart Jackie is.  In fact, Mrs. W said that if she was allowed to rate her students, Jackie would be at the top.  That made me feel so proud of Jackie.  And it was a sign to me that Jackie is on the right track and that she may not end up experiencing learning difficulties, thanks so much to Early Intervention and Early Childhood.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Jackie's Prayer

Jackie is almost 7 years old and lately, I've been thinking that she is probably ready to start saying her own bedtime prayers.  I used to say bedtime prayers with her on a regular basis until a couple of years ago.  I was not very consistent over the last couple of years and pretty much had quit until recently when I started to say a short and sweet bedtime prayer with Ben and Jackie.  It's usually the same prayer: prayer for good behavior, prayer for Jackie to continue to become stronger, prayer for safety at school, etc.  Just simple and to the point and on the childrens' level. 
Tonight, I gave Jackie the opportunity to say the prayer.  She smiled shyly at first.  Then finally she started to say something.  Her prayer started out like this: "um, (whispered sigh), um, (a little squeak), dear Jesus, um, please make Ben stop hitting me, . . ."
I couldn't help but chuckle at Jackie's serious and innocent request.  But let's hope that God answers her prayers.  Poor thing cannot get a break from the hitting her brother inflicts upon her.  We have done everything we can think of to extinguish this behavior to no avail.  We have even given Jackie permission to reciprocate but she is just too sweet and loves her brother too much to inflict harm. 
So God, I hope you heard Jackie's request. If you would kindly do us a favor and knock some sense into Ben about the hitting problem, it would be greatly appreciated, especially by Jackie.  As you can see, it was the very first thing she prayed about.  Thanking you in advance.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Eye Rolls For Pat Robertson

Here it is, nearly 2 days later, and I am still quite bothered by a statement made by the infamous Pat Robertson.  He believes divorce is okay in the case of one spouse having Alzheimer's disease.  Whatever happened to the "better or for worse"?  Divorce is already rampant enough and now this quack of an evangelist is advocating divorce because of an incurable disease.  In case you missed it, here is a link.  Just unbelievable.  Reprehensible. Hypocritical.  So a person suffering from Alzheimer's is just as much as dead in Robertson's eyes.  I find this man disturbing on so many levels.  Robertson professes to be such a strong christian.  I'm trying to live a christian life but this man almost makes me feel ashamed to even profess that.  I will say that that supposed christian man does not speak for me.  
My grandmother died nearly a year ago.  She suffered from Alzheimer's disease.  I resent the idea that Robertson is saying that my grandmother was already "kind of" dead.  So disturbing.  My grandmother was alive until she took her very last breath.  I'm pretty sure Robertson will be advocating euthanasia next.  Let's get rid of all the Alzheimer's patients by euthanizing them.  Let's free up the healthy spouses so they can move on with their lives.  After all, we're such a throw-away society for imperfect humans, anyway. 
Pat Robertson came up with his crazy idea for divorce in response to a question regarding a man who began seeing somebody else after his wife began to suffer from Alzheimer's disease.  Instead of advocating divorce on Biblical grounds because of infidelity, Robertson responded that the man should divorce his wife and start all over again because the wife is already pretty much dead. I want to know where in the Bible does it state that Alzheimer's disease is the same as death.  But we've got to give the quack credit for making sure that he reminded the caller to make sure that somebody is taking care of the wife with Alzheimer's disease.  Now this part really makes no sense. On the one hand, Robertson is saying that Alzheimer's is a kind of death but on the other hand, he is making it clear that custodial care for the "kind of dead" wife should be set in place.  Uh oh, my wheels are turning again.  Is there such a thing as a "kind of death"?  I thought one could either be dead or alive.  In my opinion, you are alive until you take your heart stops beating and you take your very last breath.  I mean, we don't bury people unless they really are dead, right?    Like, no heartbeat, no breaths, no brain activity dead, right? At least, that's what I thought death was; cessation of life.
But I've been thinking. In a way, Pat Robertson might be right.  He just gave the wrong answer. (Or maybe, he just doesn't know what he's talking about as indicated by his statement that an ethicist should be consulted in addition)  After all, if a man was already seeing somebody and he is still married to the wife with Alzheimer's disease, then there is biblical grounds for divorce.  Am I right? 
Pat Robertson, you just might be onto something. And you might be even more onto something if you give some of your millions to start a foundation to help take care of the "sort of dead" Alzheimer's patients who will surely be abandoned in droves because of your outlandish comments. 
Okay, now I'm going to get off my soapbox and share a link to a beautifully written commentary on Pat Robertson's comment.  It's a must read.  Here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

MOPS

I heard about MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) several years ago when Jackie was a baby.  I never got involved with it except for one year when I helped out in one of the toddler classes.  The meetings took place every other Monday during the school year. I can't tell you why I never got directly involved with MOPS.  Perhaps it was because I was still in my own fog of depression after a year of post-partum depression and dealing with a special needs baby who also happened to be very colicky. Looking back, that was probably the time that I most needed to get involved.  I think I had a difficult time being around women who seemed to have it all together and whose children were perfect. 
Yesterday, my neighbor invited me to check out the MOPS group at her church which happens to be located right next to our subdivision.  I told her I would come to the next meeting to check it out.  That next meeting just so happened to be this morning.  So, after I got Jackie off to school, I got Ben and me ready to go to MOPS.  Unfortunately, we ran a few minutes behind and we ended up getting there 20 minutes late.  I was sort of relieved that the meeting had not yet started.  A lady showed me where Ben's class was meeting. I got him signed in despite Ben's protests.  I should have taken this as my first sign as Ben usually does not protest getting the opportunity to play with other kids.  I went to the room where the other mothers were at.  I looked around and most of the tables were already full.  Many of the other mothers looked up at me as if they were questioning who I was.  But nobody welcomed me in.  They just watched as I limped around looking for a seat.  I felt quite uncomfortable.  Was it my boot on my fractured foot?  Was it my lack of style?  Did I stink?  Who knows what was going on in those women's minds.   I found my neighbor and let her know that I was there. And I recognized another mom from the speech therapy center.  I quickly scanned around for an available seat. Since it was quite full in that room and nobody seemed willing to help me, I just left the room. I went into the hallway for a few moments pondering what I should do.  I finally decided to go get Ben and leave. So that was my 10-minute experience with MOPS.  I didn't feel comfortable right away after we got there anyway and I should have gone with my gut instinct..  So, Ben and I won't be going back.
I've heard that MOPS is a great organization for mothers. And I'm sure it is.   I was sort of looking forward to meeting other moms that I could possibly relate to and possibly even make new friends.  Unfortunately, it just was not a good fit for me and Ben. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I'll Never Forget

I'll never forget where I was and what I was doing on the morning of September 11, 2001.  At that time, I was telecommuting for the company that was I employed with.  My morning routine after waking up included turning on my work computer, taking my dog outside while my computer booted up, then coming back and turning on Good Morning America.  I was still living in Florida at the time and my then-fiance (now husband) had just been deployed to Egypt.
The morning started out as a beautiful September day in Florida.  I had my TV tuned to Good Morning America (GMA) while I worked at the desktop.  Diane Sawyer and Charles Gibson were still anchoring GMA at the time.  Since we were on Eastern time, GMA was shown live.  I remember a few minutes before the broadcast was to come to a close that morning, Charles and Diane came back on with breaking news that it appeared that a small plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers.  My eyes moved away from my work to the TV.  At that time, there was speculation that it was an isolated incident.  Then, just a few minutes after 9:00, as I sat there watching the TV, I noticed in the background behind Charles and Diane a plane fly into the other tower.  I knew at that very moment that this was no accident and that the WTC towers were under attack.  Again.  I immediately called somebody in the personnel department at work.  I told her to turn on the TV because the WTC towers were on fire. Within minutes, news hit the airwaves that a third plane had been flown into the Pentagon and that another plane was currently unaccounted for.  Soon afterward, that 4th plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.  I was in disbelief.  I could not take my focus off of the TV.  I was scared.  Scared for the many people who I was certain had perished.  Scared for Tim because I was not sure where he was at that moment.  And most of all, I was scared for our country.  I also became angry.  Angry at the senselessness of the attacks.  Angry that nobody caught onto the terrorists' plans.  Anger at the profound loss of life.
MacDill Air Force base, where Tim was stationed at that time, was put on immediate lockdown.  I was taking a class at the local university.  The university at that time was embroiled in a well-known case involving a professor who was linked to a terrorist group.  Because of that, I was a little anxious about the safety at the university.  Thankfully, everyone was released from classes and the campus was closed for the remainder of the day.
After the initial shock of the attacks wore off, I started to worry about Tim and his fellow airmen.  He had left the states, in a military cargo jet, from Dover just the day before the attacks. All I could do was pray for their safety and that I would hear from him soon.  Tim's mother called me the next morning, asking if I heard from Tim.  I had not. Tim's middle brother had been stranded in Canada because all flights had been canceled.  When I told Tim's mother that I had not heard from Tim, she immediately broke down crying.  She knew Kevin was okay by now but she was scared for her baby boy.  I finally heard from Tim the following day.  Each person on this deployment had just 4 minutes to call one person each.  Tim had just enough time to let me know that they were safe in Egypt but were not unloading the plane, yet, until they received word about  any changes in plans.  It was possible that everyone would be sent back home to fight war.  When I called Tim's mother to relay the news to her, she immediately cried tears of relief.  By this time, Kevin and his colleagues were able to obtain a rental car for the very long drive back home to Florida.  Needless to say, Tim's mother was very relieved that the 2 sons who had traveled out of the country were safe. 
A few days after Tim's initial call, I received another call from him.  This time, he was able to talk a little longer and update about the deployment.  They were going to keep the mission going in Egypt but I had to prepare for the possibility that our wedding plans may change.  Since security on all the military bases was drastically increased, we may not even be able to get married at the base chapel.  So we discussed the possibility of going to the courthouse to get married in case Tim was sent to war upon his return from Egypt.  I just had to believe that everything would work out.  I continued with the original wedding plans.  I had to include a note inside each invitation informing of a possible sudden change in plans. Thankfully, Tim and I were able to keep our original wedding plans.  However, we were unable to travel for a honeymoon.  The Air Force had imposed a travel restriction and Tim had to be able to arrive at base within 2 hours.  So, we just stayed for a couple of days at a nice hotel at a local beach.  I admit that I had some anger toward those hijackers for causing such disruption in our lives.  But how selfish that was when so many lives were lost and so many families were broken up on that previous 9/11.  I should have been thankful that Tim was alive and well and that we were able to even have the wedding. 
I will never forget the thousands of images that were shown on TV during the ensuing days and weeks following 9/11.  I will never forget where I was when it happened.  Or what I was doing.  I'll never forget watching that second plane, in the background behind Charles and Diane, crash into that tower.  I'll never forget the images of people, so desperate, jumping out of windows to their ultimate demise.  I can't really tell you which images are more disturbing. It was difficult to sleep.  But most of all, I'll never forget the unspeakable pain that our nation experienced on that day, September 11, 2001.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Holiday World

We had this trip planned for the last month and a half.  It was nearly derailed a week ago when I suffered a fracture in my right foot and bone spurs in my left heel.  I was in extreme discomfort. Tim asked me throughout the last week if we should cancel our weekend trip.  I refused.  I did not want to let my children down, especially Jackie.  Jackie has been looking forward to and talking about playing in the giant water park and riding some of the wild rides in the other park.  She has become my adventurous girl and I love it.  I knew Jackie was very excited about this trip because beginning earlier in the week, she kept bugging me to bring up her suitcase so she could get pack.
Then the weather forecast predicted a blistery hot day for Saturday and scattered storms on Sunday.  Tim and I went back and forth about whether to just make it a one-day trip (it's just 3 hours east of us) or go ahead and keep it a 2-day trip.  Finally, late Friday evening, we decided to just keep our original plans for the 2-day trip.
We arrived at Holiday World on Saturday afternoon after getting a little bit delayed start in the morning.  Jackie couldn't contain herself and immediately told us her plans for which rides to visit.  Heheh, we had to remind her that there were other people in our family to consider.  She was just so excited.  We visited some of the rides in the main park for a couple of hours before we finally ventured over to the water park. I noticed the park seemed to be more crowded than on any of our previous visits, even despite the extreme heat. And full of rude people, too.  One of Ben's favorites in the main park was the bumper boat ride. He could ride that thing all day if he was allowed to.  And this was where I had my first encounter with a rude person.  I was walking (er, hobbling) around to the other side of this ride so I could better see Ben.  I began to go around this man who was talking to another person when this man suddenly started to back-up.  I stopped because I didn't want him to step on my fractured foot. (Even with the boot on, it still hurts when it gets hit or stepped on).  Then I said kindly "excuse me" since this man was obviously clueless that he was starting to back over me.  Well, he whipped around, looked at me, then said sarcastically with an Arab accent and a snarl, "excuuuuse ME!"  I just shook my head, thought "whatever" and "RUDE!", and then walked away.  Any man who is going to force his wife (I'm assuming it was his wife) to wear covering from head to toe (in the extreme heat) doesn't get much respect from me.  You could only see this woman's eyes but I could sense that she kept casting lofty glances toward me.  I did finally sneak a picture of that but out of respect, I won't post on my blog.  Her husband might come after this rude American, anyway.
We finally ventured over to the water park where nearly every square foot was filled with a body.  Since I was limited on which rides I could go on, I hung with Ben in one of the kid pools while Jackie went with her daddy on some of the bigger water rides.  After a little while, Ben and I went to another section where we were to meet up with Jackie and Tim.  As I pulled Ben in the wagon to our next destination, I felt a slight tug on the wagon and when I looked back, this woman had one of her stroller wheels stuck under my wagon.  Then the woman looked at me and shouted at me "EXCUSE YOU!"  I just looked at her and told her, not so sweetly, "Excuse you, I couldn't see behind me" and I continued to hobble along. I was just hobbling along the railing, intentionally trying to stay out of the main traffic.  And this RUDE woman had the nerve to think that I was in control of her mistake when she was the one who was trying to get around me because I wasn't moving fast enough for her.  Whatever.  I just hope that she has a little bit more consideration if one of her family members was ever diagnosed with 2 lame feet.  But, I was not about to let rude people spoil the fun for my children.  Ben and I finally found Jackie and Tim at one of other kid water areas.  Ben ran to his dad while I took the boot off of my foot.  As I hobbled along the water's edge to catch up with Tim, I noticed this young woman walking toward my direction starting to veer into my path.  I tried to move out of the way but with my feet problems, I was not able to move quick enough and she bumped hard into me.  I stopped for a moment because I nearly lost my balance.  The young woman did say "excuse me" sweetly but I guess when I stopped to regain my balance, I must have intimidated her because then she said "but you ran into me, too!"  I just said "it's okay" and hobbled on.  I was ready to go at this point.  But my kids were having so much fun and it made me so happy to see my kids having so much fun.  I just wished that I was able to run around and have fun with them.
After spending about 4 hours in the water park, we finally convinced Jackie that it was time to go see some of the other stuff in the other park.  Whew! I was ready to get out of that water park.  Just way too many people for me to deal with right now.  The main park was crowded, too, but it was bit more tolerable than the water park.  And not nearly as many rude people.  However, I was a bit uncomfortable with so many people gawking at my boot.  I know it's not pretty.  I think even my kids and husband are embarrassed by it.  I know I am.  But then a few others commiserated with me.
The next day at the park, we were greeted by severe weather.  After the lightning passed over, most of the rides re-opened, even despite the rain.  Thankfully, the park handed out rain ponchos (or you can buy a better one at one of their shops).  The rain continued off and on until afternoon with the occasional rain drop/drizzle until evening.  But the kids enjoyed the rides and Jackie, being my adventurous girl, went on some of the bigger rides with her dad.  I can't believe that my little girl is tall enough for nearly all of the adult rides now at Holiday World.  But as skinny as she is, Tim and I couldn't help but chuckle about our fear of Jackie just slipping right through some of the security harnesses/belts.  The only rides that Jackie was not able to ride with her dad were the big roller coaster, Pilgrim's Plunge, the tower ride, and the big swings.  I have to admit that I do feel a bit anxious whenever Jackie rides on one of the bigger rides.  But, I am not going to let my fear hold Jackie back.
All in all, it was a nice weekend for us as a family (even despite Ben's unwillingness at times to cooperate) but we will make sure to avoid such a busy holiday weekend next time.
I highly recommend Holiday World to all my friends, preferably during a weekday. And especially if  you take children.  Entrance is fairly affordable, especially compared to other amusement parks,parking is free.  The park also provides free sunscreen and free soft drinks throughout the park. The kid rides are spread throughout the park, not just in one section.  Very family-oriented, it is clean, safe, alcohol-free, and most importantly, it is smoke-free (there are a couple of out-of-the-way smoking areas).  The park usually doesn't tolerate offensive clothing or language.  I say "usually" only because I couldn't help but raise my eyebrows at some of the clothing choices.  I mean, one lady had this swimsuit on which made me wonder why she even bothered to put anything on.  It was that bad.  And this boy, who couldn't be more than 5 years old and weighing at least 120 pounds, wearing swim trunks that kept creeping down to show half of his butt crack and his belly hanging quite a bit over.  The swim suit was obviously too small.  Seeing that boy makes me appreciate the effort I put into trying to teach my kids healthier eating habits.
This was our third year of visiting the park and we have enjoyed it every time.  And Jackie is already talking about going again next year.  Hopefully, I'll have stronger-than-ever feet by then and we won't encounter so many rude people then. I love watching my kids having so much fun and I love it even more when I can fully join in the fun.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Labor Day?

After I picked up Jackie from school this afternoon, she asked me if there was a holiday on Monday.  I told her, yes, there is.  I then asked her if she knew which holiday it was.  Labor day, she said.  I then asked Jackie if she knew what Labor day was about.  Jackie proceeded to tell me that "they" were talking about it at school.  When I asked Jackie what "they" talked about, she couldn't quite tell me.  So, I told Jackie that Labor Day was all about me.  I could see through the rear-view mirror that Jackie was in deep thought.  I told Jackie that day was to celebrate all the moms who went through labor to have their children.  And I told her that we were going to celebrate "Mommy" on Monday.  I could see Jackie through the rear-view mirror sort of pondering what I just said.  Then:
Jackie: "Well, I wish I could have just a sister.  Not a mean brother.  Put him back." 
Ben:  A resounding, throaty "Noooo".  Actually, it was more like a growl. 
They really do love each other.  And yes, I really do know the real reason for Labor Day. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ben II

My son has a new friend.  Ben named him Ben.  Ben II, to be exact.
Yesterday at school, Ben's class made little people.  It was actually sort of a cool idea that the teacher used.  The little people are made out of paper bags and old wallpaper samples. When I picked up Ben from school, he was excited about his boy.  We put the boy in Jackie's booster seat for the ride home.  We forgot to bring the boy inside last night and when we got into the car this morning, Ben immediately noticed his boy and started laughing.  He was so cute. When we arrived at our first destination this morning, Ben grabbed his boy hoping to bring it along.  Uh, no way.  I told Ben that his boy would be much safer in the car.  Can you imagine the sight of us entering through the ER doors?  I mean, here I am with 2 lame feet and limping like a 90-year old, Ben had purple eyes from an allergic reaction, and then there is paper boy.  Thankfully, Ben was convinced that I told him the truth.  I'll just re-educate Ben later about the dangers of leaving little people alone in a car.
When we got home this afternoon, Ben brought his boy inside.  He was so proud of that thing, except that the boy had lost both of his plastic eyes by the time we got home.  I figured Ben would toss paper boy aside shortly and forget about it.  But, as luck would have it, Ben is attached to paper boy now.  He insisted paper boy needed to sleep with him tonight when I tucked him into bed.  And we gave him a name.  I asked Ben what his boy's name is.  Ben said "Ben."  Ben like you?  Ben nodded affirmative.  Ben really likes his name. So, Ben II it is. 

Oh Happy Day

Oh what a happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away.  Remember that song?  Well, it's a good thing I do because I need Jesus to wash my sins away after the day I had today. Gah!  Frustrating!
Last evening, Ben's eyes suddenly started to become swollen.  Then they started weeping.  Then Ben started to cry and complain of a headache.  I doctored him up with tylenol and allergy eye drops.  The tylenol seemed to help Ben until he woke up crying again before midnight.  I gave Ben some more tylenol and put more drops in his eyes.  He kept crying that he wanted to sleep with his daddy.  After having slept on the couch with my foot elevated for the last several nights, I had planned on relocating back to my own bed.  But alas, my baby boy needed his daddy so I gave up my spot.  Again.
I woke up before 6:30 this morning just so that I could place a call to the appointment line at the base pediatric clinic (which opens at 6:30).  Finally after being on hold for nearly a half hour, I was told that there were no more acute appointments available for today.  Great!  I called as soon as the lines opened and I still was turned away.  This has happened the last couple of times that I have tried to make acute appointments for the kids.  I was told that I needed to go to either the local urgent care or the emergency room.  I refused a referral to the urgent care clinic because the minimum I or my kids have waited has been 3 hours. And that was just to go to triage.  So, it was off to the ER.  When I walked into the ER with Ben, we were quite the pair, Ben having purple eyes and I limping in with my foot in a huge boot.  Needless to say, the staff were initially confused about who the patient is.  Thankfully, we did not have to wait very long before we were called into an exam room.  A little while after vitals were taken, a very nice doctor came and examined Ben.   Ben was smitten with her.  She looked at his eyes and in his ears.  Apparently there is some kind of mold or pollen that has been causing problems with the kids.  I can't remember the name of it.  It makes sense because earlier this week, Jackie had a very mild allergy attack that affected her eyes, too. Ben also has a bit of an ear infection. Even as pathetic as Ben looked with his alien-looking eyes, everyone thought he was so cute.  The doctor sent us on our way with prescription for eye drops and oral antibiotic.  The doctor recommended that we wait to see how Ben does with the eye drops before we start him on the antibiotic.  I agree as I am not one for seeking treatment for mild ear infections. 
After Ben and I left the ER, we went to the base pharmacy to get the prescriptions filled.  I also had my prescription with me to get an anti-inflammatory cream for my left heel.  The pharmacy was quite busy and I had to wait a little longer than usual after I got our line number.  Finally, our number was called and I handed our prescriptions to the clerk.  When the clerk handed me the information sheet for my prescription, I realized that it was not for the cream. It was a prescription for pain medication.  I asked the clerk to cancel it as I already had pain medication at home.  I didn't care much for the orthopedic doctor I saw on Tuesday and now I'm even more disappointed.  I remember the doctor explaining how this cream works and how often I can use it on my left heel and he warned me not to take too much of the oral pain/anti-inflammatory medication that I already had whenever I use the cream.  So, apparently, the doctor was not paying much attention when he handed me my prescription.  And I should have double checked the script.  The clerk then entered Ben's prescriptions.  Then he informed me that this pharmacy did not have the right eye drops for Ben, not even a substitute.  Gah!  Just my luck.  I left the antibiotic prescription to be filled and left to go to Walmart. Thankfully, Walmart was able to fill the prescription for the eye drops. 
Being that Ben looked a bit scary, I wasn't sure if I should send him to school in the afternoon.  He felt and acted like his normal self.  Physically, I think he could have attended but I didn't want to make any of the other parents paranoid.  So, I ultimately decided to keep Ben out of class today.  Ben was so disappointed.  I was, too, as I had a lunch date, the first one in awhile.  I was really looking forward to some adult time since I've missed out on my gym times. I thought about calling Ben's regular daytime babysitter but I didn't want her to worry about Ben spreading anything to the other kids, even though Ben was fine.  So, I called and emailed a friend but never got a response. I tried to call Ben's teacher but the call wasn't going through.  I decided to just go by the school to let Ben's teacher know that he wouldn't be in class today.
Since I had nothing else to do, I decided to just go ahead and take care of getting my temporary handicap tag. I dread going to the DMV as you will see why next.
As soon as I pulled up to the parking lot, I knew I was in for a wait but I didn't realize just how long until I received my line number. I waited.  And waited.  And I waited even longer.  After more than an hour, I even called another DMV office 45 minutes away from here and was told that there was no wait at that moment.   The Belleville DMV, I don't have kind words to describe that place.  After today, I vow to never step foot inside that place again.  It is always my experience that the employees are unhappy (rude) and they waste customers' time by chit chatting between customers. And I'm not talking about just a few words being exchanged.  I'm talking about these people sitting there in their chairs carrying on long conversation about whatever.  Or they will sit there in their chairs and wait 10-15 minutes before they decide that they should probably wait on the next customer.  And they are SLOW, like intentional SLOW, when they fill out paperwork or sign off on something.  I hate that place.  And, the WEIRD really comes out there.  I'm not sure which is worse, Walmart or the DMV.  For instance, Ben and I were sitting in front of a couple of young mothers with their very young infants.  A dad and a grandmother were among the mix.  The two young moms were strangers but started to talk about their new little ones (birth date, measurements,etc.) Then the mom of the baby girl asked the other mom if she circumcised her baby.  No whisper, nothing.  Just normal conversational voice.  Almost as if she was asking what color eyes.  Weird.  Actually, beyond weird.  I'm fine when friends talk about that stuff but to outright ask a perfect stranger such a personal question is just bizarre.  Well, the other mom said "yeah, and he didn't like it one bit." 
Ben gave me a break today and was pretty good there so I didn't turn into the quintessential Walmart mom.  Whew!  Thank you, Lord.  I definitely didn't want to add to the weird mix there.
Weird things happen at that place ALL the time.  I'll never forget the time when this lady (actually not sure about that) came in strutting her stuff, in front so all could see, wearing some sort of pink outfit.  She was wearing very high heels and black fishnet stockings, too.  The skirt of this outfit was so short that it literally came up to the butt line. LITERALLY.  No lie!  I recently told about this to a friend and she didn't believe me because it just sounded so outrageous. But outrageous it was.  I mean, even the people sitting next to me sat there with their jaws almost hanging.  We all sort of looked at each other and none of us spoke words.  Just a few raised brows.  People! The weird seriously comes out at that place. 
After I finished filling out my forms, I had to change seats and I unfortunately ended up sitting next to a little bit smelly person.  Finally, after nearly 2 hours, my number was called.  I actually ended up with a nice guy. He asked how my day was going and I honestly told him that I was aggravated.  He asked if somebody was messing around with me and my son. Nope, it was just from being around weird people and having to wait for nearly 2 hours amidst the weirdness.  And my feet were hurting. He apologized.  That's the first apology I've ever received from a DMV employee.  But still, I will never set foot inside that place again.  I will gladly make the 45 minute drive to another DMV office where the employees actually work and get the people out in a timely manner.  At least, that's what I've been told about that particular location. 
Illinois is in such terrible financial shape.  There are many reasons for that. I have my opinions about how restructuring school districts can help improve that.  But that's beside the point.  I think the state ought to take a good look at the Belleville DMV and they will see our tax dollars hard at waste.  Wasted to pay employees who roll their eyes at customers, who watch customers continue to wait unnecessarily long times, who carry on conversations in between customers.  I'm always amazed at the number of employees and the amount of time wasted by those employees just standing or sitting around.  It's just plain ridiculous. 
And I hope Jesus forgives me for the words that formed in my brain and at my lips after such a frustrating day.  Oh Happy Day cometh tomorrow.  Hopefully. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I Think My Friend Is Right

I fractured my right foot.  My friend, Lisa, made a statement that I was not too sure about.  She said that this was God's way of getting my attention.  I was a little confused by this. Why would God want to get my attention by causing me such great physical pain?
The problem actually started this past Friday evening.  I had been taking care of our tenants' dogs.  I took the dogs for a walk on Friday evening.  Everything went well with that, the dogs were well-behaved, and I didn't trip or fall.  But later that evening, my left heel started to become extremely painful.  I had been having pain for several months but I just attributed it to the plantar fasciitis.  I quit running several months to try to help the condition improve.  However, I continued to work out and go to Zumba and Kickfit classes.  As long as I didn't land hard on that heel, I was fine.  Until Friday night.  By Saturday morning, it was painful to walk on it.  But I was determined to get some house-cleaning done.  Tim had taken off to do his thing and left the kids with me.  I tried to clean house but after a couple of hours, I had to give up.  Between the extreme pain in my heel and the kids fighting and whining something fierce, I just collapsed onto my bed.  By Saturday evening, the pain had subsided some with the aid of ibuprofen.  The tenants had 4 window blinds that needed replacing so I decided to get that done that evening.  I got the kitchen blind done and 3 of the bedroom blinds finished.  As I went to put the curtain back up on that last bedroom window, the step-stool gave way beneath me and I landed on the floor. I started to get up but fell back to the ground because of the extreme pain in my right foot.  I barely made it down the stairs.  I quickly gathered everything and cleaned up the mess and hobbled out to the car. By this time, it was after 11 pm.  As I drove back to my house, I had a feeling that I may have done more than sprain my foot, especially because it really hurt when I pressed my foot on the pedal in my car.  I made it into the garage where Tim greeted me at the door, thanks to the dogs waking him up.  He helped me get into the house and onto the couch.  I noticed my foot was very swollen.  Great, now I have 2 feet in extreme pain.  I took a couple of ibuprofen and I ended up sleeping on the couch where I kept my foot elevated on a pillow.
When I woke up this morning, the pain seemed to be slightly better. Last night, I wasn't so sure about going to church with my family.  But this morning, I thought that I would be okay.  Lisa was going to drop off some crutches for me to use.  We got to church where Tim was kind enough to drop me off at the front door before he parked the car. By now, both of my feet were really hurting again.  It was almost impossible to walk without hobbling.  Of course, people noticed which made me feel a bit embarrassed.  I was able to get us a seat and within a few minutes, the rest of the family joined me.  Then suddenly, Tim and Ben were gone.  It was just Jackie and I.  It appears Ben was having bad behavior again so he spent most of the church service in the car with his daddy.  By the end of church service, my feet were in much more pain, probably because I was unable to elevate them.  The pastor's wife, MaryLynne, insisted that I go to the emergency room.  Tim, of course, agreed.  I was trying to justify not going.  I hate waiting in ERs and I was hoping to just wait to call the doctor first thing on Monday morning.
So after church, we went home for lunch.  Then Tim took me to the ER.  Surprisingly, there were no other patients in the waiting room.  I was seen immediately for triage then taken to a room.  (I was in and out of that ER in little over an hour.)  X-rays were taken of both of my feet.  The verdict:  a serious fracture of the 5th metatarsal on my right foot and serious bone spurs in my left heel.  No wonder.  And both of my feet are pretty useless right now.  So, I have a boot on my right foot and I have a pair of crutches.  It's still difficult to maneuver, though, because the weight bearing still causes pain on my left foot.  I have to all an orthopedic surgeon tomorrow.  It's very possible that I may have a cast placed on my right foot, although I am hoping the doctor agrees that the boot will be sufficient.  The bone spurs?  I don't know.  Several people have already told me that so-and-so had to have surgery to remove the bone spurs.  Mine are pretty bad, so who knows?  I hope I won't need surgery and the doctor can recommend a more conservative treatment.  I do know that I need to have one of my feet pain-free.  I've always been thankful for good health.  But I've always taken my feet for granted.  No longer will I take my feet for granted.  Believe me when I say that it is almost impossible for me to walk on either of my feet.
This morning, when I was talking to Lisa, she shared my concern about my fear of not being able to go to the gym.  Then she stated that God was trying to get my attention.  At first, I was a sort of confused.  Why would God get my attention in this manner?  And if he was trying to get my attention, then why couldn't the fracture occur in my already lame foot?  The thought of missing out on Zumba, Kickfit, and working out was depressing me.  This past week, I made it to the gym just twice because the fitness rooms were closed all week for the floors to be refinished.  I am usually at the gym 5-6 days each week.  So, I was already feeling a bit bummed about missing my workouts and classes.
Tonight I was talking to another Zumba friend/instructor and she was so encouraging.  Having been a professional ballet dancer in previous years, this friend could understand what I was feeling and what I was worried about.  She has incurred injury that had sidelined her, too.  And she came back stronger than ever.  I sure hope that happens for me.  While I was talking to her though, it suddenly occurred to me that Lisa might be right.  Maybe this was God's way of getting my attention.  If I had not fractured my right foot, I would not have gotten a definitive diagnosis of bone spurs.  I had not planned on seeking treatment for the pain as I figured the only thing the doctor would say is to rest, rest, rest. And possibly some physical therapy.  There is no way that I can just rest, rest, rest.  Maybe for a day but not for an extended period of time.  So, thanks to my fractured foot, I was also forced to seek treatment for the left foot.  But I would still like to ask God why he couldn't just let me break the left foot instead of the right foot.  Because now?  I walk like a 90-year old lady. And I have double the pain.
So, hopefully I can get an immediate appointment with the orthopedic surgeon tomorrow.  It's going to be extremely difficult for me to be sidelined for 6 weeks.   But I will never, ever take my feet for granted again.