Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Jack Attack

The Jack Attack. That's what we're calling it.
It's the term we use whenever we are talking about the tumble I took down the stairs the other day. A tumble I took, by the way, while I was carrying London to her room.

I'm a person who is used to clutter. It's just how I've always been. I have always been pretty good at knowing where to step to get around the vacuum cord, even when I'm carrying something I can't see over. I just don't trip on things, or step on things, even when the house is full of landmines in the form of left shoes, board books, remote controls, and every freaking Fisher Price toy in the universe.

But about a week ago, I succumbed to the efforts of my youngest child trying to cause me great bodily harm. Think Stewie from Family Guy.

London had been sick that day, and since I had to keep bathing her after she puked, I just took her upstairs for the day so we were close to the bathroom and I could get some things done around the house and still have her close to me. Husband and K were at scouts and it was just me, London, and the littlest person of the family, Jack. He's one, and he's such a putterbutt. He just goes all over the house, upstairs and down, finding things and moving things and generally just being adorable.

Husband and Kannon get home and husband sees a Lego train car on the stairs. He moves it back to it's proper place in the Lego basket and comes upstairs where we talk about our days. About ten minutes go by and I decide that it's time to take London back to her room for bed.

I picked her up like I always do, which is like cradling a baby with her legs draped over my right forearm and my left forearm under her neck. She tall these days. She's nine years old, after all.

Our home is a split-entry house (brilliant, right?) and I made it down the first set of stairs without incident. I got the the landing safely. I didn't even know what awaited me.

I took one step down the next set of stairs and things were fine. No hairs on the back of my neck stood up. It wasn't until I moved to put my right foot down onto the second stair that I felt it. A Lego train car. It took my heel right out from under me and even as I was barely registering that I was going down, I was screaming. I knew this was going to be ugly-- falling forward down the stairs while carrying my 48lb daughter who has no way to catch her own fall.

My left shin hit the edge of the stairs and I felt like it cracked. My right knee somehow hit something and hurt just as bad as my left tibia.

It was one of those experiences that happens so quickly, and yet WHILE it's happening, it seems to go on forever. You simultaneously have complete thoughts about it all and yet you can't even think fast enough to consciously react.

We ended up on the floor, me wailing (mostly out of horror of what just transpired, and a bit out of pain from the fall), and London still in my arms. She was still and quiet. I thought she was dead. Thomas rushed down the stairs and Kannon came out of the bathroom right at the bottom of the stairs; right where I lay bawling on the hard floor. Thomas grabs London and puts her on her bed. Kannon is fighting back tears and is scared to death over what is happening. I'm finally able to ask how London is after a few moments and Thomas tells me she's totally fine and that he didn't even think she hit the floor.

Eventually I scoot back up the stairs on my butt and manage to get to my bed. My left leg is already swollen below the knee and my right knee feels like fire. My elbows and arms are fine so I'm not sure how I caught myself or managed to keep London from hitting the floor.

After a little while, we decided I better go to the ER to just have things checked out. My inlaws came up to sit with the kid and off we went.
They took x-rays of my hips, my lower left leg, and my right knee.

The doctor came in after about 30 minutes and told me nothing was broken. Sweet. He asked if I wanted pain meds and I said I'd probably be fine with a muscle relaxer (my neck and lower back were really starting to hurt by this time) and tylenol.

Then he showed us a spot on the x-ray that he wanted to make me aware of. There was a spot below and behind my right knee where the bone was more white in the films. He said something about how he and the radiologist agreed that it WASN'T cancer, but that if I ever start getting pain in that area, to have it checked out because that's what bone cancer looked like. Or what this spot could turn into... or something like that. I was still kind of wigged out that the word cancer was being brought up when I only came in to make sure my shin wasn't cracked.
When we got home that night, Thomas looks at me and says, "I can't believe you fell for Jack's signature move... the Jack Attack!"
It was so dumb it was funny.

And guess what was at the bottom of the stairs tonight when I went to tuck London in... Yep, a damn Lego train car.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Special Needs Superstars and Why It's Ok For My Typical Kid to go Without

Logging in just now felt like running into an old friend who you often think about but never take the time to reach out to. I've had so many thoughts rattling around in my brain lately; like coins in a soda can. Noisy and hard to ignore, but equally difficult to get out.
I'm not too proud to admit that many of my thoughts recently have involved some kind of resentment.

This time of year is always kind of bittersweet... I love the spirit of the holidays-from Thanksgiving to Christmas- but I always struggle a little to keep a smile on my face when all I can think about is how I wish London could run around with her cousins, or eat the stuffing that my mom makes that I love so much, or help decorate the Christmas tree. Or anything at all, really.

To keep my mind in a positive place, I try to do whatever good deeds I can for people who I feel need a little help or a little extra cheer. And one of my favorite things is reading stories of good people doing good things simply because they can.
There's no shortage of stories like that floating around Facebook, and I find that many of the families in the special needs groups that I belong to are recipients of such kindnesses. It's truly heartwarming. And sometimes heartbreaking.

Let me explain.

You know the old saying, 'the squeaky wheel gets the oil'? That's very much true in some of the groups I'm in for special needs families. There are superstars. There really isn't any other way to put it. These kids are incredible and strong and they are fighters to their very core. They have news articles written about them, and strangers from all over the country and even the world follow them on social media. They get donations pouring in from people and organizations all over. The posts about these kids are always met with countless comments and sympathy.
None of this is necessarily a bad thing.

But what about the other kids? What about all the other parents who are quietly struggling to make their ends meet? What about the ones who don't post about how hard their life is and about how they can't afford everything in the world and how their hearts are breaking because of the emotional toll that this special needs journey is taking on every aspect of their lives?

I've sat back and watched the same people get help and handouts from organizations over and over. I've seen how their Christmas's are plentiful because of generous people who want to do a good deed. I've noticed how they get things taken care of for them whenever they mention that money is tight. I know that the siblings of these special needs kiddos often get a bunch of crap just because they have a brother or a sister who is medically fragile and requires a good portion of the family income to care for. There's equal parts of incredible and irritating in all of this.

Incredible to know that people are willing to reach into their pockets and give of their resources. Incredible because so many people want to make a positive difference. Incredible because nobody wants to see a kid go without simply because they have a sibling that requires a lot of extra care and attention.

Frustrating because it seems to always be the same families in all the groups. Frustrating because they aren't the only ones hurting. Frustrating that they call the attention to themselves so often, knowing full well that by doing so, they are bound to get money or gifts.

Let me be clear here: I'm not saying every person who receives any kind of assistance or help like this is exploiting their child in order to get free shit. But, seriously, it seems like some of them use their kid's situation to have bills paid for them or to have Christmas provided for their family.

Let's talk about the siblings or kids who are medically complex and have special needs. They go through a lot of crap. They have often seen things that many people never have to see in their life-- like seizures and procedures and medical tests. Chances are they've felt scared that their sibling might die. They probably have felt jealous about the amount of attention their sibling takes from them. They have almost definitely missed out on fun activities because their family can't afford them or they can't do them due to the health of their sibling. Maybe Christmas doesn't involve mountains of presents to unwrap.
I'm ok with that.

I'm ok with my child knowing that they sometimes had to go without because of our unique situation. I'm ok knowing that my other kids might not get everything on their Christmas lists because money is tight. I'm perfectly fine if some stranger DOESN'T swoop in to provide games and toys and gift cards for my kid on Christmas...
It might be hard on them now, but I hope that one day they would look back and see that that's what family is. It's sacrificing for each other. It's leaning on each other and sometimes going without a new video game in order to pay for medication. It's doing whatever it takes to ensure everyone is taken care of before making sure that everyone has STUFF.

I find myself resenting those "superstars" a lot. Sometimes I DO want someone to recognize that my other kids have had to deal with a lot of grown-up shit even though they are just kids. Once in a while I want people to share my daughter's story with admiration and, yes, sometimes it would be pretty damn amazing to just have all my needs taken care of every time I post about them on Facebook.

But here's the thing: our needs ARE always taken care of. By hard work, smart money choices, and sometimes the help of people who love us. We are so incredibly blessed to have family and friends who will step in when we need someone to watch the kids or when we need help with home repairs. I've done fundraising before where I'm blown away by the generosity of people who don't even know us. I hope that when my boys are grown, they can look back on their childhood and feel proud about the choices we made and the times that they missed out on something because there were more important issues. I hope they learn that being a squeaky wheel isn't who they want to be.
If the meek truly do inherit the earth, then I hope they are meek and humble and kind and willing to make sacrifices for those they love.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

365 of 30: Days 28, 29, and 30

Things have been pretty mundane for the past few days. I admit, I haven't done anything truly significant to spread happiness to others, but I have been happy to have my family all back together!

The husband went hunting with his buddy on Sunday so it was just me and the kiddos at home. It was a low-key pajama day with lots of movies and lots of laundry! Sometimes those are just the best kinds of days- no reason to leave the house, nowhere in particular to be, and you can just float along all day. We certainly floated on Sunday.

On Monday I picked up my teeth bleaching trays from my dentist! I am so excited to have them done and I had decided that Monday would be my last day of soda. I figured if I'm investing in a whiter smile, I better stop wasting money on something that is not only bad for my teeth, but bad for my health in general.
Well, I totally cheated. I drank the last of a bottle of Pepsi I had in the fridge earlier today.
I regret nothing. I'm bleaching my teeth as I type this. No more soda!
If you're feeling down, consider a diet change. Even if it is as simple as cutting out something less than stellar for you body. I'm not one who can go without sugar or bread, but I think if I really try, I can stick to this no soda thing. I'm keeping Excedrine and chocolate on hand for the headaches.

Today was another low-key day. K woke up puking, London seemed extra sleepy, and Husband had a ton of errands to run. I stayed home and played 14,793 games of tic-tac-toe with K.
He's so fun to play games like that with. He could just keep going and going for hours! Sometimes I let him win, sometimes I win and try to teach him about being a good sport if he loses.

Well, today, he actually, genuinely beat me! TWICE! I know it's such a simple thing, but I was so proud of him! K is the type of kid that just hurries through everything without stopping to learn about what he might be doing. He's just so into the adventure of things that it can sometimes be difficult to get him to focus. Well, today he focused, and took his time, and thought about his moves and he won! It was the best thing!!

On another happy note, I found out that a friend of mine is expecting her first baby! I am so excited for her and her husband to start this amazing adventure called parenthood! They are going to be amazing parents!

Seriously, do babies just bring the Happy or what??

Which brings me to my next thought... if you know me, you know I want another baby. It's no secret. Husband and I have been on different pages about this for some time now... ok, maybe not different pages entirely, but more like different paragraphs. He's very logical in the way he thinks and makes decisions and I just go with whatever my heart tells me.

I'm not announcing anything.

But I did finally say some stuff and express some feelings that I have never expressed to Husband about this particular subject before. We actually talked about it all. It was nice to just get all my feelings out in the open rather than being ashamed or embarrassed or feeling silly- even if we didn't end up with the exact same thought process on the subject.

 Now I have some Walking Dead to catch up on and some shut-eye to get to.
Keep smiling!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

365 of 30: Days 20 through 27

Lots has happened and things got busy since my last post!

In preparation for my husband to come home working over seas for the past several months, K and I got new haircuts (sorry, London, your crazy mop of hair had to wait), we cleaned up the house a bit, and tried to make it look like I kept up on the housework while he was gone. Truth is, we really didn't care too much about how the house looked, we were just excited to have him home!

K didn't even recognize him at first when we picked him up. He's got a pretty good-looking beard going on! :) We grabbed some burgers on the way home and just relaxed for the rest of the day. Happy much??? I think so!! It's nice to know that he's home safe after so much travel. Kudos to you moms out there with military husbands! I don't know how you keep it together so well while they are deployed! And for the men and women in uniform- thank you! Thank you for the sacrifices you make day in and day out!

After the husband got home, it was all about hearing his stories and catching up. I think the time away gave us each a deeper appreciation for each other. Our marriage, like every other marriage, isn't perfect. But we keep at it, and we work through things.

We started season 4 of The Walking Dead, we had dinner with friends, we shopped for Christmas presents, we had Thanksgiving dinner with his family... it's been a good week! I kind of dread going back to the normal routine. Can't it just be no school and no work forever?? :)

Until next time- SMILE!
If you just feel like there's nothing happy in your day, maybe you need to BE the Happy! Slap a smile on your face and fake it til ya make it, if that's how it has to be. Some days, when I was overwhelmed and didn't have the spouse to help me out after an especially long day, I just had to force my smile and pretend that I really wanted to watch All Dogs Go To Heaven for the fourth time that day.... And guess what, sometimes it helped me to get out of that funk, even when I had to force it.

Friday, November 21, 2014

365 of 30: Day 19 Pick It Up, Put It In The Sack

The park near us always seems to be a disaster. Always garbage everywhere. I blame the delinquent teenage skateboarders and their less-than-classy girlfriends. Every day when I drive by, it irks me knowing that people are just too lazy to pick up their own trash. Pure laziness.

So I decided that after I picked K up from school today that we'd go for a trash-collecting stroll and do a little bit of good for the earth and my fellow park-goers.

Someone has to do it, right?

So we go our latex gloves on, strapped a leash on the dog, readied out garbage sack, and ventured forth.

Kannon thought it was a fun game to look for trash to pick up and he was THE best sport about it! He looked along the bike trail, on the soccer fields, in the gutters, and around the skate park. 

One trip around the park and our bag was completely full! 
I talked to Kannon a lot about why we should never litter and he put it so perfectly when he said,
"so some naughty people make the earth dirty and all the nice people have to pick up and make the earth healthy again, right mom?"

What an honest lesson... the good people are always cleaning up after the naughty ones. I'm so glad that he understood what we were doing and why. He was so happy to be able to help the earth and I couldn't have been more proud!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

365 of 30: Day 18

London had some appointments today and on the way home we stopped for lunch at one of my favorite burger joints. I was in no mood to get London out of the car to go inside. In fact, I usually eat while I drive because I'm constantly in a state of hurry.

But not today. I at least parked the car, let K climb up front, and we finished our lunch while laughing and talking. I didn't once utter the words, "hurry up" to him. It was just nice.

He asked me so many questions and sang a song from Mary Poppins to us. He asked my if I'd teach him everything I know. He pretended to be The French Fry Monster. His mouth and cheeks were covered in ketchup. He asked if he could be a doctor when he grows up. He asked if he could be a teacher when he grows up. He asked if he could marry me. He informed me of how he gets out of his nightmares. (he opens his eyes and sees his room so then he's out)

He wanted me to tell him all about trucks. I tried my best. I think he might even understand that there's a difference between a truck bed and a bed that we sleep in. He told me he would really love a truck to haul rocks. He didn't know where he'd take the rocks, but he was pretty sure there would be rocks in his truck.

I needed his running commentary today. I need more talk and less rush. More meals together and less eating on the go. I needed that little bit of Happy in an empty parking lot.

Lay Off The Leggings Already!

I'm so bored with the Great Legging Debate. There are countless blog entries, Facebook posts, and Tweets about why women shouldn't wear leggings.

Yes, you're right, leggings look best worn with a long tunic or a dress. Don't our bums always look better if they are covered up??

Yes, some people aren't grasping the concept of sheer. Sheer leggings are a no-go. Sheer anything is a no-go if you ask me.

Let me just address the top three reasons I've heard lately on why leggings aren't pants...

*Leggings aren't pants because they show every little bump and dimple and roll... it's implied that that is the reason leggings don't look good. Well, way to perpetuate the notion that women should be ashamed of their bodies. It's almost 2015- can't we all admit that cellulite is just part of life, especially for women, and there's nothing to be embarrassed about? Sure, there are genetic mutations that make some women skin-dimple-free, so is it then OK for those women to wear leggings as pants because they don't look 'gross'? And here's what I totally don't get: it's women judging other women this way! Women, who know what it's like to be judged that way, are doing the judging. I agree that we should all avoid the camel-toe issues that are far too prevalent with leggings, but come on...

*Leggings are too revealing and shouldn't be worn because men will have impure thoughts. Well, that sounds like a personal problem between you and your husband and you should talk to your clergy leader about it. I will not be held responsible for your husband's damnation. What about tight maxi skirts that are so popular right now? What about the fact that the only reason so many women's cracks don't hang when they bend down is because they are wearing garments? What about fitted tops? Should we resign ourselves to wearing potato sacks just so you can think your husband has only clean thoughts? And what about putting leggings on little girls (and boys. Yes, it's real!)? Can we not do that because we don't want to put bad thoughts into the mind of pedophiles? Newsflash: those thoughts are already there and thicker pant fabric isn't going to stop them.

*Leggings are not for fat girls. Um, they totally are. I'm no waif, and I'll tell ya right now that my yoga pants get my through the week sometimes. Here's the thing, jeans aren't all the comfy, but put them on someone with extra poundage and they are SO uncomfortable! I know I don't look hot in my yoga pants. I really do. But sometimes putting my jeans on and feeling them squeeze my jooby-jell over my waistband like a fat caterpillar only makes me sad and want to drown my sorrows in a dozen cupcakes. Like, why can't I just sometimes get dressed for the day and live in the delusion that I have a pair of pants that actually fit over my ass? Can you just give me that???

I think as soon as labia-revealing short shorts are condemned every summer, we should just leave leggings alone. Stop trying to put women down for this trend... it makes us all look worse than if we wore leggings every day.

Here's a post I stumbled upon earlier that had me cracking up... Everyone chill about the leggings, m'kay?