Monday, March 31, 2008

I'm just not sure...

I've been taking Effexor for over 2 years now....faithfully, every day, taking that little pill and knowing if I've missed it because of that lovely dizzy/woozy feeling. I'm wondering, though, if maybe it's not really working for me anymore, at least not like it used to.

My emotions are just all over the place these days, mostly down. And I hate complaining, and feeling like this blog is nothing but a downer, but it does help me to at least get these feelings out in some form....but I think that's part of the problem.

I've got so much to be thankful for, and a very full life when you consider----marriage, 2 active kids, a job, church responsibilities and activities, a house and all that goes with it, a cat with diabetes, performing with community chorus, belonging to 3 volunteer boards (for the chorus, and one each for the kids' schools), etc etc etc. But I'm pulled in so many directions and don't feel like I'm doing much justice to any of it. Nor am I terribly happy with the whole package sometimes, truth be told.

Then, last weekend we went to visit family in the town where DH and I both grew up. We still have some friends there, and try to get together with them whenever we're in town. DH has known them since high school, and I have for almost that long. They're all married too, with kids and houses and jobs, but.....DH and I both came away from this most recent gathering feeling down again. We visited 2 couples (with kids), and none of them have had pregnancy problems, preemies, or ASD issues. Both families live in big, nice houses and were chatting on about their new 50" plasma TVs and a trip to Aruba given to one of them as a bonus from work. Lovely, huh? Not a lot in common with our family in that we are as 1 1/2 teachers in a small house and still watching the archaic TV I bought when I got out of college in '93.

Why should any of this matter? Why be jealous, what will it accomplish? Nothing, I'm sure, but I can't help it, I guess. I know, I know, the cost of living and the real estate market here in the Lowcountry is much higher than where these people if we could transport ourselves up there, maybe we'd have a bigger house, etc, but we love it here and don't want to move.

Plus, my job has so many ups and downs, but in last weekend's company it was definitely a DOWN. Those other couples are so involved with successful music programs and they have NO idea what it's like to do what I do here daily. They can't even sympathize well, b/c they really just are that far removed from what this job is like, they can't even imagine it.

Then there are the parenting ups and downs.....some of both, but the downs are hitting me pretty hard lately. Little E is still quite a challenge, keeps me hopping night and day, and Big A has to be handled with kid gloves to avoid meltdowns over things as tiny as even just hearing a news guy on TV say that Hillary *might* end up dropping out of the race.

I used to feel like the meds helped me roll with things better, but now I'm not so sure. It's more like I'm just treading water, getting by, functioning well enough to survive but not much more than that. House--stays just above the verge of being condemned; Job--I know what my class is doing today, but not much beyond that; Parenting--can I just make it through tonight with a minimum of screaming and meltdowns, and get them to bed at a decent hour having eaten some things that are relatively good for you? ; marriage--don't even ask, we never see each other except to say hi and bye.

But I want more, I want better, I want happier. Is what I'm living just the way it is, the way most people have it but I just think otherwise? I'm scared to stop the meds, but if they aren't there something else that would? I feel like even in this post I've just rambled, no real direction, just bouncing along from tangent to tangent, getting by, which is exactly my point. What are my goals? What am I working towards in my life? How can I be all things to all people and yet still be something to myself? Hmm, guess I'd better be visiting the doctor and seeing what new miracle drug I can try.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Lowcountry SC Places to Visit

Thanks Lori and Amy for the idea for this. Unlike you guys, I guess, I happen to live in a pretty popular tourist destination, so it will be hard to limit my list to 10, LOL......but I'll choose the 10 I like best!

(in no particular order unless I say otherwise! :) )

1. eat at the Charleston Crab House or Gilligan's. There are tons of local seafood places, but these are the best IMHO. And you've GOT to have seafood if you're on the coast, right?

2. Take a harbor cruise, or even take the ferry out to Ft. Sumter. Did this last weekend, and it's a must for history fans!

3. Walk the Battery and make sure to go past Rainbow Row. Views are incredible!

4. Stay at the Number Two Meeting Street B&B. Did this for my 10th wedding anniversary....expensive but wonderful!

5. Walk through (and shop!) in the Market district. If you start saving now, you might even be able to buy a sweetgrass basket.

6. If you're traveling with kids, go to the Children's Museum of the Lowcountry. A great way to spend an afternoon, and not terribly expensive. Great fun for kids from infants up to at least age 10.

7. Visit a local beach....I like Sullivan's Island and the Isle of Palms.

8. Tour a historic plantation...I'd recommend either Boone Hall or Magnolia.

9. The Charleston Museum is great, very educational about the history of the city and surrounding areas.

10. This is a bit outside the Charleston metro area, but worth a trip: Cypress Gardens. Several movies have been filmed here, including The Patriot (Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger). You can use one of their canoes to paddle yourself on a ride around the blackwater swamp, and you might even get up-close with an alligator (we did!).

Hmm, maybe I missed my calling, should have been a travel agent or something, LOL! You guys let me know when you're planning to be in my area, ok? I love to be a tour guide!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Baby, I'm amazed

Andrew is just so smart sometimes that it's scary. But it's not just "smart" in the traditional sense, even though he's the things he notices, things he remembers and thinks of, even days/weeks/years after the fact. He still manages to surprise me, though, even after all this time.

For several months now, he's been in a phase of posting signs all over the house, for various reasons. Some have been politically oriented (he's a Hillary fan, sadly), or lists of favorite things (foods, colors), or holiday greetings (we've still got Happy Easter in the living room, and I took down Merry Christmas not too long ago).

But a couple of weeks ago, he came home from school one day obsessed with the idea of making our own, in-home, art museum. I didn't really understand what he meant or envisioned---then he got out the sign-making paper. Next thing I know, I saw this:

...which was hanging on the hallway wall near his room.

The home art museum was to have a Masterpiece Exhibit (gotta love his 1st grade spelling!), a Sculpture Exhibit and a Pointillism Exhibit (he spells it "pointalisam"). Later that night, he made "sculptures" out of playdoh, and he and I drew some fair examples of pointillism. The masterpiece exhibits are TBA at this point. I asked him where he'd learned about this stuff, especially pointillism......was it in art class at school? (he goes to an arts-infused school, so it's not out of the realm of possibility) But he said he'd learned those words on the Jump Start Artist CD-rom computer game that we gave him. How many 6 year olds do you think are talking about pointillism and explaining what it is to their mom? (his version: it's a picture made out of tiny, tiny dots. Pretty good explanation, huh?) But these huge words and "out there" concepts just seem to soak into him........he retains them and then they pop back out when you least expect it. If you ask him who he sat with at lunch today, however, you'll probably hear "I don't know". That's what is so freakin' frustrating about the autism spectrum. Well, it's ONE of the frustrating things.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Fabulous new blog template!

First of all, I must bow down in thanks to Chels , who created the awesome new ROCK, girlfriend! I can only begin to imagine how much work went into this behind the scenes. Thanks sooooo much, I love the template and it is gorgeous!

Secondly, let me tell you about today's fun in the Lowcountry. We went to Ft. Sumter (insert comment from history geek: Ft. Sumter is the site of the start of the Civil War in 1861), which is in Charleston Harbor and requires a 30 minute ferry ride each way. Weather was great, and we had a blast. We were exhausted by the time we got home, but I think a good time was had by all, and we had (mostly) good behavior from the boys. Here are some of our pics:


This is inside the ruins of the fort. As usual, little Mr. E wasn't looking when the pic was snapped:

The boys standing on an old artillery site. Above them are the various flags (Confederate) that have flown over the fort.

On our way back to the ferry dock:

The ferry leaves from the Patriots Point monument (site of aircraft carrier USS Yorktown). They have military memorabilia there, like this cannon. The bridge behind us goes into Charleston.

DH and the kids in front of the Yorktown ship.

Friday, March 21, 2008

musings on Easter weekend

Just a bunch of random thoughts running through my head on this Good Friday night, when my boys are asleep (ALL of them, LOL) and I'm being an insomniac, as usual.........

~Tonight is "couch bed" night, as Andrew calls it. We got a sleeper sofa not too long ago, and he's come up with the idea that on weekend nights or other special occasions, we can sleep out there as a treat. Treat, my butt, b/c the thing is NOT very comfortable. But I digress.....So right now, DH is asleep on the couch bed, Andrew is almost asleep but watching Food Network, and Ethan is going to sleep on the carpet under the couch bed. His idea, by the way. He's got a little fortress under there, with a blanket, pillow and about 5 stuffed animals.

~Dare I say this? I think I'm (gasp!) beginning to get tired of the 24/7 political news and coverage. I know, you're shocked, but there's only so much one can take of the constant parsing and dissecting of every single word that comes out of a candidate's mouth......or even the mouths of their staff, friends, etc. And every day there's a new (invented) "scandal", and every day there are 36 new polls which all have conflicting information in them.........get my point? And guess what? We've still got almost 8 months of this yet to go!!!!!!!! AAAAHHHHH!

~I have had way too little patience tonight with the kids. :( Found myself snapping at them, a lot, and I hate when I do that. Ethan had a really tough time settling down tonight, and it just gets so frustrating when he's climbing on you, rolling all over the bed, getting under the covers, then out of the covers, over and over and over.....I felt like a punching bag due to the number of times I got hit and kicked. Unintentionally, I suppose, but since I was in the vicinity of his Tasmanian Devil-like movements, I was in the line of fire.

~Still having nonstop arguments with myself, inside my head, about food and weight. I mean NONstop. Like what? you may ask. Hmm, things like:
*I have no clothes that fit me, and what I do wear looks bad
*I want to buy some new clothes, refuse to buy bigger sizes. I could just buy a smaller size, because "I'll lose the weight to get into them", right?
*I'm tired/frustrated/stressed/emotional right now, so that justifies me having a big piece of that damn chocolate cheesecake that DH put in the refrigerator. Somebody's gotta eat it.
*I look horrible, and everyone around me seems to be losing weight. What is wrong with me? I know that I truly do want to lose weight, be healthier, look better for summer, etc. So what is the insurmountable roadblock that stops me from doing it? I wish I knew.

Wow, these musings have gotten depressing, huh? ;) Well, maybe I can wrap it up on a lighter, happier note. I have a lot to be thankful for, both on this holiday weekend and in general. When I say prayers with Ethan at night, we usually talk about the things we want to say "thank you" to God for. I try to remind him (and myself) of even the little things, or things that many people may take for granted in a blessed country like ours........having plenty of food, a warm, safe place to live, having so much of so many things like clothes, books, toys, etc. We say thank you for our family, our schools, our teachers and friends. I know that, despite my emotional struggles and the difficulties of parenting my special boys, I am very lucky and blessed. Happy Easter to all, and I'll work to try to remember my good fortune a bit more.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I've been tagged....

by Lori at House of Tafka. :)
Thanks, chick, this is a first for me in the world of blogging! :)

The rules:
1) Link to the person who tagged you.
2) Post the rules.
3) Share six non-important things / habits / quirks about yourself.
4) Tag at least three people.
5) Be sure the people you tagged KNOW you tagged them by commenting what you did.

Hmm, 6 non-important things/quirks about me.......

1--I am a hopeless Diet-soda-aholic. You don't even want to know the amount I drink on a daily basis. Any kind will do in a pinch, but my preferred choice is either Diet Coke or Coke Zero.

2--I actually enjoy watching old black-and-white movies. "The Philadelphia Story", musicals, "How Green was my Valley", etc. Classics......but I think I'm one of only a few people my age who still enjoy these.

3--My nighttime "escape", after my family's all in bed asleep, is to take a soaking bath in really hot water......while eating a snack and reading Newsweek magazine. Guilty, your honor, of the charge of nerd-dom.

4--I always thought I'd have a girl (or girls). I was the "girly" type.....wearing dresses, not playing in the mud, etc, and just assumed I'd have a little girl someday who'd be just like that. Instead, I'm the mom of 2 rambunctious 100% boys! But as time goes by, I'm discovering how wonderful that is, and that this is exactly what I was meant to have!

5--I've never been outside of the US, but have always wanted to. It just never worked out, and I'm not sure it ever will. My dream trip would be to England (London specifically). Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus, Westminster Abbey...........OMG! Oh well, maybe when I win the lottery!

6--I bite my fingernails. To the extreme, even the point of bleeding on occasion. Always have. It looks yucky, and only for short (and rare) periods of time have I been able to stop it. It's a sensory thing, I think, as well as a nervous habit.

Ok, I'm tagging Angie at Writers Block, Betsy at Belphia, and Jen at Unique But Not Alone. :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

to medicate, or not to medicate?

That is the question. We go to the pediatrician on Thursday for E's 4-year-old checkup appt. So, in the meantime, I'm running through every possible scenario in my mind, of how it'll be when we discuss the dreaded 4-letter acronym......ADHD.......and what to do about it.

We haven't seen the ped in quite a while, since my boys have the annoying habit of only getting sick on weekends, when the ped is obviously unavailable. We end up at urgent care, which works fine, but means the ped is WAY behind the times on what's up with E these days.

It seems pretty clear to anyone who spends time with E that there is a hyperactivity/impulse control/aggression issue. Is it officially ADHD? Guess that remains to be seen. For a while before A got diagnosed on the autism spectrum, I had my suspicions and my "mother's intuition" telling me that something wasn't right, and leading me toward autism once I began to research and read. Well, same thing here. The more I learn, the more I think ADHD. And it's depressing. I know I have blessed little to complain about, if ADHD is the worst thing that my formerly 1.5 lb baby has to deal with, but still it's not something you'd wish to have.

All along, even when it was just talking hypothetically, I've always said that modern medicines exist for a reason. They do help people, and have a benefit in many cases. So many people go into "crotchety old person" mode when discussing these kind of've heard it, stuff like: "well, in MY day we didn't have those newfangled drugs. We just had to discipline our kids and make them behave" etc etc etc. But I've always said that if it ever was necessary for a child of mine to take meds, and it would help them, we'd do it without question.

Well, can I take back the "without question" part? Because the closer it gets to the time in which meds might really be prescribed, the shakier I'm getting about the concept. Is it a cop-out? Isn't there more I could have done, or could be doing, before resorting to a chemical solution? Will he have to be on these meds forever? What are the potential side effects? Are the long-term effects even known yet?

Part of me just wants to go in to the doctor on Thursday, throw myself at her feet and say "DO SOMETHING, HELP ME!!!!!!!" Then I'll gather up my prescription for mind-altering drugs and be on my way, right? But the other part of me is worried, thinks that I might be pushing too heavily and too quickly for meds for only selfish reasons......because I'm tired, because I'm stressed, because I'm at my wits' end with him and am just giving up. In other words, don't expect me to work hard and bring about improvements in his behavior on my own, just let the chemicals do it.

And even if we do choose to try meds, which one? I dread the thought of having to go through (possibly) several different drugs before finding one that seems to work without turning my little bundle of joy into a zombie, etc. And going back in for follow-up blood tests to check levels, etc....oh joy, won't that be fun for a 4 year old?

I guess the only redeeming fact in all of this, if you can even call it that, is that preemies have been proven to have a higher incidence of ADHD. Therefore, maybe it is NOT all in my mind, maybe I'm NOT just a lazy mom, maybe there is a true, real, physical reason for his behavior and his struggles with control. We've dodged so many bullets with him in 4 years....IUGR, PDA, failure to thrive, being on a vent, inability to eat, etc etc etc. Today, other than these behavioral/aggression problems, he is a healthy, smart and thriving little boy. And I never hesitated to let NICU docs give him indomethacin for that PDA, right? So if his difficulties have a biological cause, they might respond to a biologically-based treatment......?

Well, I'm not really any closer to deciding what to do yet, but it helps to talk it through. I do know that if we end up choosing meds for him, I'm NOT going to be broadcasting it in our social circles, etc. There's still a certain stigma attached, at least around here anyway. Guess that's another post for another day.

Monday, March 17, 2008

"As Long as He Needs Me"

Ok, so among many ways in which I am a nerd......I love love love Broadway musicals. Especially the old stuff. DH can't stand them, so I don't get to watch them much on TV, unless he's not here. Some favs are Oklahoma, South Pacific, Oliver, The King and I, etc. Told ya I'm a nerd.

Well, just after Christmas I auditioned for a local community chorus group, called the Singers of Summerville. Check them out here. What's our next concert going to be? Broadway Musicals of the 50s and 60s! We're doing West Side Story, Camelot, The Music Man, etc. And Oliver!

A couple of weeks ago, the conductor told us to come in ready to try out for one of the many solo parts, if we wanted to. I was deathly ill with a nasty cold and my voice sounded quite frog-like, so I decided not to try out even though I did want to. Well, she decided to just start calling on people, whether your hand was raised or not (a true teacher!). And she called on me, to try the solo on the song from Oliver called "As Long as He Needs Me". It's a sweet, sad song about a lady staying in a bad relationship because she thinks she does some good for the guy, he needs her, etc. (fast forward to later in the story, he kills her.....but that's beside the point, right?) I croaked through the try out, very embarrassed....but tonight she came up to me at the end of practice and told me she does want me to do that solo! I'm nervous, but excited too. I get much more stressed out about singing solos than I do about playing them on my trumpet, etc. But I'm flattered that she chose me, so I'm going to do my best and try to enjoy it. Concert is April 5, so that gives me a few more weeks to agonize.....oops, I mean "practice".

Friday, March 14, 2008

a surreal moment

Well, as I type this, I'm listening to the Catholic rosary being recited over my school's intercom system. I was raised Catholic, and have taught in this school for 4 1/2 years, but it still is a bit surreal..........and I'm trying to get my schoolwork and class prep done before the kids come in (only 35 minutes from now), but it feels strange to do so while being accompanied by "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee........". And that Catholic upbringing was so firmly rooted that I still find myself instinctively reciting the answers right back "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen".

I really need to walk up to the office and make some copies of some music and turn in a purchase order. Bet that would be frowned upon, though. They probably wouldn't be thrilled that I'm blogging right now either, but I'm in my classroom alone, so........

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I'm afraid to jump

Well, yesterday I posted about a dilemma I find myself in.....related to jobs and whether or not to change schools/districts for next year. My sweet cyber-sisters are commenting, saying "do it, girl" etc, and I appreciate the support. :) But one disclaimer first: there's not even really an official job opening yet, in that other district. There always is, though, every year, so I know there will be one, just maybe not one in a school I'd prefer, etc. Beggars can't be choosers, right?

When I was little, I was deathly afraid of the DOWN side of escalators. I could go up just fine, but then we'd be at the top and I'd be frozen, unable to step on to start going down. I remember standing there with my parents, them encouraging me, holding my hand, etc, and I had one foot poised in mid-air, waiting for the right moment to step out......and waiting.......and waiting. I think it was the fact that the "steps" were moving. Unlike regular stairs, you can't just look down to a stationary spot, move your foot and place it on that spot. You've got to time it, watch how it's moving and how fast, then time your movement to land exactly where you predict the step will be at that moment in time. Truth be told, I still am not crazy about the down escalators. I ride them now, and I don't tell anyone about my little phobia, but it's not my favorite thing to do.

So here I am, waiting to step down and wondering if the time is right. Problem is, I've been standing in this spot for the past 4 years. Each Spring, I keep raising my foot, holding it over those moving steps........looking at it, watching, thinking.......then deciding that maybe just staying where I am will be ok. Next year, same thing. So I put my foot back down, and go through another year. Then I raise my foot, and watch.........seeing a pattern here?

I'm just afraid to step, that's the bottom line. I don't know where this escalator travels to, and whether the place it'll take me to is worse somehow than where I am now. And, there's this: During the first couple of years that I was back to work (after being a SAHM for 2 years), I spiraled down into a major depression and major state of "overwhelmed-ness" with all that was going on in my life. Andrew had just been diagnosed on the autism spectrum and was barely talking, Ethan was a failure-to-thrive baby who was barely eating, and I was juggling so many therapy appts. and doctor visits that my head was spinning.

It was a very low point in time for me, and a very scary one to think back on. We're all doing much better now, and I am coping (most of the time) with the help of good cyber-pals, medication, and the fact that my days aren't SO overwhelmed any more. I am very attached to my time during the day (hours that I'm not in school), in which I can clean house, shop, go on field trips with the kids, or just (gasp!) watch TV and/or be online. I'm used to having that time, not working all day long at my "real job", and I'm more than a bit afraid of that changing. Having this time for me, even if it's just quiet time to take a quick nap or watch ER reruns while doing dishes or folding clothes.......I think that time helps keep me sane, keeps my head above water so to speak. If I changed jobs, I might not have that time anymore, or not as much. Part time music teaching jobs aren't easy to come by. And I truly am afraid to lose it, wondering if I'll go back to that "all-overwhelmed-all-the-time" state, which I absolutely could not handle. I know that many, many women do work full time AND raise a family, but I guess I doubt my capacity to do it. I already hate how busy we are with the kids in the evenings, and I cherish our time to just hang out at home and do nothing. Don't want to lose that, or be constantly rushing to pick them up (late) from school, run home, cram dinner, do homework and crash. What kind of a life is that?

But I need the career fulfillment too, see? And the interaction with adults outside of my family......real, live, breathing people who are above the age of 6. So I want to keep working, need to keep working. How much is enough? How much is too much? Does this humongous, rambling post even make any sense any more? Decisions, decisions. Can somebody point me in the right direction, please? Anyone?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

OMG, now what?

Ok, my job situation just got a heck of a lot more complicated.

DH forwarded an email to me.....from the Music Supervisor in the district where he teaches. This man is a friend of ours, a fabulous guy whom I've known from back when I used to teach in that district too (1993-2001). Well guess what? He's retiring!

All along, since taking this current job, I've been debating each year about whether to leave here and try to get back into that district (BCSD). And I've always said "well, F is my connection there, so if I'm going back to BCSD I'd better do it before F retires". He knows me well, and DH too, and likes us. I sing in a community chorus with him. 3 years ago, he offered me a job in BCSD, and I turned it down, saying "I want to give this job a fair chance, and feel like I've done all I can here before leaving". Well, is that time now? I think F would pretty much give me any job I wanted in BCSD.....but when he's gone, I'm just another music teacher looking for a job, and I will stand out from the others in no way whatsoever.

I feel like I'm on a ship that's moving in one direction, and being approached by another ship going the opposite way. They're about to cross paths, and if I want to jump off of my ship and onto theirs, this might be my only chance. If it passes by, it may not pass again and I'll have missed the opportunity. Is this a sign? A signal that now's the time to jump? I've been asking for a sign, a way to know what do to for this difficult now what?

mean mommy

Have I said recently that parenting is tough? I did? Ok, well let's just say it again, shall we?

I truly feel like a first-time parent again when it comes to dealing with Ethan. He's my first NT child (neuro-typical, not on the autism spectrum), and therefore many many things ARE new to me in parenting him. Andrew rarely, if ever, challenges my authority or what I ask/tell him to do. Same to DH. But Ethan, on the other hand, does this 24/7. And I feel like very little that I do is helping to get him onto the right track, either.

So last night, I was "mean mommy" and I hated it. I took the boys to a concert that DH was conducting for his band. There have been instances recently that Ethan showed he could behave acceptably in a concert---sit in your chair, listen, don't talk/sing/kick chairs, etc. On the way there in the van, we talked about the kind of behavior I expected, and offered that any kids who did behave well would be taken to Sonic for a treat afterwards.

Well, let's just say that I had to drag Ethan out of the auditorium before DH's band was done with their second piece of music. I tried a million times to ask him to turn around, sit right, be quiet, stay still, etc, and I got nowhere. I put him in my lap and held him there, as he fought me and even reached out to bite me! I put my hand over his mouth in frustration, and said into his ear "DO NOT TRY TO BITE ME". His response? Laughing. So I just took him out into the lobby until DH's band finished. We went back in, got Andrew, said goodbye to DH and went to the car. Oh yeah, and it was raining by this point.

So I told Ethan we were now going to Sonic to get something for me and Andrew, but not him. I had to, right? Otherwise, what's my word worth? And I wanted to drown my sorrows in a Reese's Cup Blast anyway. Andrew got one of those too, and I ordered nothing else. Whoa, was that hard to do. He cried and cried, kept saying "I'm being good now, I'll be good in the van", etc. When parents say "this is harder on me than it is on you".......they aren't kidding.

He kept asking to get an M&M blast, but when the roller-skates girl came and left....nothing for Ethan. It hit him, and he cried harder. "But Mom, I want a blast" over and over. I tried to calmly remind him why, and then I had to basically just start ignoring him...yeah, right. But I needed to NOT keep repeating myself and trying to explain and justify what I did. Andrew tried to chime in and say "it's because you were bad" but I had to ask him to please stay out of it.

He cried all the way home, but thankfully I got him distracted at the house with a new toy he got at last weekend's party. And some rainbow sherbet ice cream out of the freezer. Still didn't stop me from feeling like mean mommy, though. Hoping I did the right thing and that we won't be back in this exact same spot anytime soon.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Go Diego Go birthday bash!

OMG, the relief, that this birthday party for Ethan is finally over! I obsessed and stressed about this for, make that months.....worrying about who might come or not, what games to play, crafts to make, snacks, cake, get the picture.

But in the end, it turned out great and was a huge success! Several kids came, both from his preschool class and one from our neighborhood. And one even brought him a gift to school on Monday, saying she'd planned to come but been called away at the last minute!

We had a Diego pinata, made "rain sticks" out of papertowel rolls and dry rice, and went on a treasure hunt on a nature trail (seems to have been the most popular event). He got WAY too many motorcycles, monster trucks, transformers and all of those other big boy toys, and a fun, sugar-filled time was had by all. Here are some of our pics:





Happy Birthday, miracle baby! Can't believe you're 4 years old.......

Friday, March 7, 2008

My baby boy is turning 4!

Sniff, "baby", my last-born, is turning 4 tomorrow. 4 sounds so much older and bigger than 3 does, don't you think? It's like he's officially not a baby or even a toddler any more.......but a "big boy" as he'll readily tell you if you ask. He took brownies to school today for his preschool class, and then we'll have a celebration tomorrow with just our family (and presents sent from relatives out of town). Then, on Sunday we're having a party with preschool classmates and a little girl who lives next door that he wanted to invite. What a weekend!

The party theme is Go Diego Go, and we're having it outside at the pavilion area behind our church. PLEASE Lord, let the rain stop in plenty of time for things to dry up so we can play outside, do a treasure hunt on the nature trail, gorge ourselves on candy from the Diego pinata, etc. :) Only 4 kids have RSVPd to come so far, but these families are notorious for not RSVPing, but then showing up anyway. Hard to know how to plan, but oh well...........

The first half of 2004 was pretty much the scariest 5 months of my life. Beginning in January, I was put onto bedrest at home due to the onset (AGAIN!) of severe preeclampsia. There's no cure for it (other than delivery), or even a treatment that's guaranteed to hold off the progression of the disease, but some believe that strict bedrest can help. In my case, it seems to have done so. In February, an appointment with a maternal/fetal medicine specialist ended in immediate admission to the hospital, and the next couple of days were filled with intense fear and grief. I was only at 24 weeks, and we were being told by just about every medical person in the hospital that my baby boy (for whom we still hadn't settled on a name) would not survive if delivered anytime soon.

We hung on somehow, though, and I stayed horizontal in the hospital from Feb. 12 to March 8......when little Ethan Hunter was delivered by c section, weighing only 1 lb., 9 oz. Then we began our second journey through the NICU, this time for 11 weeks. There were plenty of scary moments, and many many long days and nights living in a hotel near the hospital and trying to maintain some kind of a life for our then-2 1/2 year old.

So when days like tomorrow come around, it makes me think back, obviously. I know that as time passes, memories fade, especially about how much something hurts.......either physically or emotionally. I think that's what's happening to me. After 4 years, I've repressed or blocked out a lot of the extremes of our fears of losing Ethan, but I still get shivers up my spine when I do think back to how close we came to NOT bringing our baby home with us, and how much of a miracle he truly is. Happy Birthday, little man, Mom and Dad and Andrew love you SO much!


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

more political ramblings

OMG, what a night it was! I did my usual nighttime stuff, after the kids are in bed......wash/dry/fold clothes, work on the computer, and listen to political coverage on TV. When I went to sleep (around 11) I had NO idea I'd wake up to find that Hillary Clinton had won both Texas AND Ohio! Ohio was looking bad (for Obama) as I turned the TV off, but not Texas. WTF?

So, now the question is: Was this result a good or a bad thing for the Democratic Party, going into November? Guess it depends on who you ask. Most of the so-called experts on TV and talk radio have basically proven that NO ONE really knows what's going to happen, no one can predict anything with certainty, and that the tried-and-true expectations just don't hold water any more. Everything is new this time, when we're dealing with the first viable woman candidate and the first viable black candidate.

Bottom line for me: I want to see a Democrat elected, period. Not John McCain, who says we could be in Iraq for 100 years or more. So I'm trying to keep my eyes on the prize, so to speak. And if that means we've got to choose Hillary, I guess that's what we'll do, but I won't be thrilled about it. But, how electable is either Hillary or Obama going to be after weeks and weeks and weeks more of primary time? In which they both get to beat each other up and spend tons of money trying to make the other look bad......and then in the end, try to come out smelling like a rose to go forward into the general election. Not gonna happen, I fear. And meanwhile, McCain gets to revel in his un-opposed status, while raising tons of money and going ahead with general election strategies against both of the Democrats. Ugh!

Stay tuned for Pennsylvania, I suppose. In APRIL! Guess I've just got to console myself with knowing that I've done what I could, voted when my state had its turn, and now I just get to keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Likes and Dislikes

Thanks to a great friend and PE sister (you know who you are!) for giving me the inspiration to create these lists. The items are in no particular order, just as they come to mind as I listen to election coverage on TV............

*my boys and my DH
*Diet Coke
*my online sisters at "Preeclampsia Survivors" and "Autism Island"
*Barack Obama
*oldies music from the 60s
*soaking in a bathtub of really hot water
*amaretto sours
*pepperoni pizza
*Howe Hall Arts-Infused Magnet School
*Sirius radio
*reading (historical fiction, etc)
*playing the flute and trumpet
*our new local outlet mall
*living in the Charleston area
*chocolate chip muffins
*reading books to Ethan
*going shopping with Andrew
*medical dramas like House and ER
*Broadway musicals
*"Gone With the Wind" (movie and book)

*"fake" people
*very cold weather
*most reality shows
*red wine
*losing my temper
*being late for anything
*dealing with most confrontation
*feeling fat

Ok, that was cathartic. :) Thanks for reading! These are just the tip of the iceberg, obviously.............LOL, but it's interesting looking at them in this format.