Saturday, December 29, 2012

The One With A Merry Christmas!

We're back!  Its been a crazy few weeks for our family since I last wrote.

We decided to go visit my grandparents who live in Wisconsin right before Christmas.  Of course we only had about a 4 day time-span to fit all the traveling and visiting in, and we decided it would be best for Little Man if we drove up (planes and a screaming scared toddler don't mix well)(Also I am still kind of nervous about air pressure changes and his shunt).  We were also all recovering from the plague that had been sweeping through my friends group around that time.

The drive was about 14 hours each way and we spent just two days with my grandparents, but it was well worth it to us.  My grandparents are both 89 years old, and my grandmother is in the mid-stages of Alzheimer's, so any chance to spend a little time with them is precious.  I hadn't seen them since Little Man was a year and a half old and I was still married to Ex, so it was definitely time to catch up.   Grandpa was tickled pink by everything Little Man did, and he seemed to really like Hubs too - if their night drinking beers at the local tavern is any indication...  My grandmother was pleasant and in a good mood the entire trip despite being a little confused most of the time.

Little Man and his great-grandpa

Of course there was a teensy downside to vacationing with Little Man.  His insomnia is much more obvious when you share a bedroom with him.  Over four days we got maybe 12 hours of sleep total, and it was awful.  Little Man was up all night singing, rocking, talking, and generally being a huge pain in the butt.   Part of it was probably the new place/bed situation, but still - we're not going to be sharing a room with him again anytime soon!

After we got home from Wisconsin we had just two days til Christmas with our families!   Our house was clean, thanks in large part to my amazing brother-in-law who steam cleaned the entire house while we were away, but our shopping and wrapping wasn't close to being done! So we scrambled a bit and were finally done about ten minutes before my mother and sister walked in the door on Christmas Eve!

Christmas Eve was a delicious night of Southern food, card games, and one of my family's favorite pastimes - a beer tasting.  We know how to party out here.

All questionable beers probably picked by Mom - who is not a professional beer drinker.

This of course caused a late start on Christmas morning.  But presents were opened, all of us felt loved and spoiled, and we managed to get over to the in-laws by 1:30.  My mother-in-law had an amazing spread of appetizers and we stuffed ourselves on deviled eggs and clam dip (ahhhh I want more now!) and opened even MORE presents before we left for my godparent's house and our last stop that night.

Somehow more food was eaten and more Christmas was had - and everyone was very happy.  Oh - and not a single picture was taken on Christmas.  Embarrassing.   I made Hubs take Little Man's picture in front of the tree the next day, but seriously I think they're going to revoke my Mom-Card for this one.

Merry December 26th.  Not even in cute clothes.
That pretty much catches you up on life for now.  Hubs is off work til January 7th, so we're spending time together watching movies and being lazy while Little Man spends a week with his dad for the holidays.  I'll probably be back later this week with another big post.  Happy New Year!!  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

RIP Sweet Keurig

Mini Keurig 
Christmas '10 - Christmas '12
May She Rest In Peace

At first I thought my Keurig was protesting my attempts at making my life less dependent on caffeine.  "Decaf coffee?!  Are you shitting me?  I will spray grounds all over this counter if you try that crap."

Yes, I assume my Keurig has a potty mouth.  She is a bitter bitter woman.

After four fruitless attempts at convincing Miss K to brew me some decaf, I stuck in a decidedly more delicious smelling pod of regular, and she spit back out a nice cup of coffee.  Whew.  Crisis averted.

I cleaned her up and she seemed to appreciate the effort.  It was just like old times.  She made me a few more pods of regular coffee.  She spit out another attempt at a decaf (hey, it was a different brand, I wanted to test the theory!!!), and I cleaned her again.

Apparently it was the straw that broke the camel's back.  She is now only brewing half-cups of regular, and no cups of decaf.  I haven't even TRIED to make cocoa.  I know that would set her off.


I can't blame her.  We have abused her for many years now.  On the weekends we sometimes brew 4 or 5 cups in a day.  (Yes, its ridiculous, yes, we should brew a whole pot, sometimes we can't think clearly at 8 am)

So today I am enjoying a very strong half-cup of regular coffee.  Probably a good thing, because Little Man is sick again and has serious coughing and sinus problems that have had me up since 6:45 AM.   I'm trying desperately to stay healthy, but it probably means I'll be sick again too.  All three of us have our flu shots now though so hopefully we're going to dodge that bullet.  -_-

I better go enjoy my coffee.  A half-cup stays warmer significantly less time than a full cup. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

The One With Anxiety

Not mine, Little Man's.  Although his anxiety is causing me a ton of anxiety, which in turn is making Hubs kind of bonkers.  But it begins with Little Man, unfortunately.

We had another visit with his behavioral psychologist last Friday, and mentioned some of Little Man's newest quirks;
* TV shows that he loves one minute are incredibly upsetting the next, to the point of him collapsing on the floor in hysterical tears.  This can come even after we've watched the same show on  loop for 3 hours - suddenly whatever is happening is no longer good.

* Hugging himself and pinching his arms when he is upset about something.  To the point where he can bruise himself.

* Crying so hard in the middle of the night that he can't calm down, for seemingly no reason.  He'll cry so long he loses his voice.

*Periods of time where he is laughing hysterically at something and then seconds later is melting down in a puddle of tears.

We'd been chalking up all the behaviors to Little Man being four years old.  Ya know, he's had too much sugar and is a wild child today, or he's been up for too long and he's so tired...  He hates that episode of his show.  He doesn't like that sound, or food, or ambient lighting.

But his psychologist is concerned that a lot of these behaviors are actually labile mood swings, which he assured us are very common in children with brain injuries.  And also that Little Man might have some anxiety issues that might be resolved with medication.


I know it isn't a bad thing to need medicine to manage psychological issues.  I know that if we put him on medicine and it doesn't work, we can take him off it again.  I know that if it is actually an anxiety problem holding him back from further development, then I will kiss this doctor and thank my lucky stars that we found a way to help Little Man.

But I hate the idea of medicating him.  It brings me back to Little Man as a newborn, completely sedated with phenobarbital every day.  It makes me think of how hard I had to work to find Keppra and beg doctors to release him to our care despite the fact that liquid Keppra is apparently equal in cost to liquid gold, and there was no way we could pay for it on our own.  When I hear the word "medicate" all these memories swirl around my mind and overwhelm me again.  I feel hopeless and like I'm not doing enough for Little Man.

I don't like that I feel this way, but I do.

And so Little Man is going to head back to Kennedy Krieger to get evaluated by some of their specialists, and they will determine what plan of action and what medication would be best for him.  More doctors, more driving, more therapies.  It is a never ending cycle.  I am feeling a little blue about it today, but hopefully my anxiety about Little Man's anxiety issues will be resolved soon.

*Bigger Sigh*

In better news, Hubs is doing well, I am doing well, and we're enjoying life as it is settling back into our "normal" routine.  I have one more weekend of playing clarinet in a pit orchestra with our local theatre group, and then we are heading to visit family in Wisconsin for a couple of days.  Christmas will be here before we know it, and Little Man's bedroom is slowly coming along!   Just keep swimming...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The One With Stinky Laundry

I love Pinterest.  It no longer enthralls me for hours like when I first got it, and spent too many hours pinning everything on the Internet to my boards.  But I use it for everything from finding dinner recipes to alleviating that o'clock midday slump with some humorous pictures.

That being said... A couple weeks ago Little Man's pajamas started smelling really bad.  Little Man is still in diapers (so.over.diapers.) and now we get the free diapers from MediRent.  Since they are 100% free, I can't bitch about them too much.  But they definitely don't contain the scent and/or mess as well as the pricier Pampers Cruisers.  Which I swear by, I don't care what is on sale.  Anyways the new off-brand diapers are cheaper and flimsier, and when you take them off it smells pretty horrible and not at all baby-powder fresh.

So it was no surprise that his daily pajama outfits started getting a funky odor.   We made a few extra sets of jammies and called it a success, except now the jammies were still smelling like funk even after a cycle through the wash machine.  Or two or three cycles.  And I was about to resign myself to going to Costco and spending $40 on a couple new pairs of jammies that I was going to have to tear the feet off of the minute we got home.

But then Pinterest saved my life, in that I saw this post about cleaning musty smelling towels with baking soda and vinegar, because vinegar is an anti-bacterial or something... Whatever, it was worth a shot.  When I tried it on the towels it was like I had just purchased a set of brand new fluffy bath towels that smelled normal again. (Don't judge me, your towels smell funky too right?)  

So then I tried it on the worst of the worst jammies, and voila!   The horrible ammonia smell and little boy funk was gone, and the outfits now have at least another month or two of wear in them!  It is a time consuming and wasteful process, yes.  Doing 3 rinse cycles probably doesn't help the environment.  But since we have a set water bill as long as I don't do anything crazy like fill up the neighbor's pool... hey, it works out for us.  I guess if I was feeling ecologically conscious I could rinse them the first two times in the sink.  But I usually do a massive load of the jammies with the worst of my towels too (you know, the ones you use to wipe the dog paws after a rainstorm or the ones that got left in the wash machine wet for too long)... and so I just use the machine.

 If you too are finding yourself with stinky clothes or musty towels - try this rinse.  I swear you'll be shocked.

-1st time through the wash = 1 cup of white vinegar
-2nd time through the wash = baking soda.  I think I use about 1/2 cup for a medium sized load, but I just pour a bunch in the "powdered detergent" space of my front loader
-3rd time through the wash = detergent/softener as usual

Happy Washing!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The One With Presents And Heartache

I'm taking a break from updating about the wedding to talk about something that always weighs heavily on my mind this time of year.  Jim from "Just A Lil Blog" touched on it today and now I can't stop thinking about it.

Christmas presents are hard.  Any present for Little Man is really hard.   Every year it gets harder and harder to buy him things that he will show any interest in...  Or that is appropriate for him to play with at his developmental age.

We have piles and piles of toys laying around the house for him to play with.  There is a toy organizer that has books, blocks, light up toys, pop up toys, ride on toys... every toy you can imagine, we probably have one.

Unfortunately, Little Man gives no &*@#! about toys.  We'll wake him up in the mornings and lead him over to the boxes of shiny new toys and he walks away to bounce repeatedly on the furniture and hum to himself.  If I (gently) force him to play with a toy, I can sometimes get 20-25 minutes of (constantly interrupted) guided play before he loses his schmidt.  But there is nothing that holds his interest, or that he seeks out on his own.

Every year just before his birthday or Christmas come the phone calls.  "What would Little Man just love for Christmas this year?!!"

In past years, I tried being creative.  "He loves Thomas!  Get him Thomas toys!"  But then we end up with train sets geared for 2 years+ that sit untouched in his closet with their teeny tiny plastic parts.  

Then I got a little smarter, or so I thought.  "Toys for 18 months or younger, he chews everything."   Most of those toys are sitting in our toy pile, occasionally chewed on or played with Mommy/Little Man/therapist style.

His birthday in July was the first time I finally accepted what I'd known all along.
"Little Man does not need toys or books or anything kid related.  Clothes or gift cards would be great."

Of course, he ended up getting some toys from well-meaning friends and family.  And I tucked them away in his closet, hoping that one day I will get the chance to pull them out and watch his face light up with joy.  I want so badly for him to be able to play with anything, enjoy something other than endless repeats of Thomas DVDs.  But Little Man is who he is, and he likes bouncing around watching trains on television, and toys would just be a distraction from his daily jumping routine.

So for Christmas this year, Hubs and I aren't buying Little Man any more toys that will remain untouched, or books that he will rip to shreds, or stuffed animals that will get their faces chewed off.  We are redoing his bedroom with bright blue paint.  We are putting up wall decals of his favorite trains.  We are getting him a brand new Thomas rug and Thomas sheets, and a "big boy" bed to put them on.  We are getting him a Dutch door for his bedroom to make him safer at night.  (And by "we" the grandparents and great-grandparents are helping too, that's a lot of big ticket gifts for a four year old!)

He won't open these gifts on Christmas morning, and he won't hug us and tell us what great parents we are for getting him exactly what he wanted while he plays with the toys for hours.  But I think that when he sees that giant Thomas the Train looking at him on his pillow, or his wall... he will walk over to it and just stare for a minute or two.  And he might even give him a kiss.  And then I will know that we got him something really wonderful for Christmas this year, even as it hurts my heart a little to watch him walk away as we unwrap our gifts without him.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Our Vegas Wedding - Part 3

Serious slacking being done over here.  But hey, my vacuum is cleaned out and washed thanks to Pinterest, so I've clearly been doing something...

Our wedding morning dawned bright and early.  Which was rough, because I am SO NOT a morning person.  I kissed Hubs goodbye and raced down to Christophe's Salon to get a full morning of hair and makeup done.

On the bright side, I was the only person there at 9 am besides my stylist Eric, so it was nice and relaxing.  After I settled in with my cup of tea, he asked me for a picture of how I wanted my hair done.

Um.  Oops?  Was I supposed to research that ahead of time?  

So I told him I wanted a fifties hairstyle, with the curls.  My exact words.  And he was magical and French, and it took him no time at all to make my hair look beautiful.  Whew.

Then came makeup, and a woman whose name I can't remember right now asked me what I wanted done.  So I told her to match the hair and whatever she did I'd be happy with.  And I was - so it worked out.

The minute my makeup was done I had to rush to the chapel for the 11 o'clock wedding.  I got into the bridal changing room and couldn't stop shaking.  I was ridiculously nervous.  My sister finally came in to get me into the dress, and I tried to hold it together.  At one point the minister tried to drop by and got a full view of my fancy bride underwear as we were tying my corset.   After that people started knocking.  Hahaha!

Fifteen minutes after I arrived, the ceremony was ready to begin.  As the wedding planner brought me into the hall, I ran into my mom and my mother-in-law, who were waiting to walk down the aisle to light the tapers for our unity candle.  This almost made me cry, but I held it together and a got a quick hug from each of them before they began the ceremony.

After the moms walked down the aisle it was my turn to make my big entrance   I had decided to walk down the aisle alone, because my brother would have been the one to give me away.  In honor of him, I walked down the aisle to "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" by Israel Iz Kamakawiwo╩╗Ole, which was one of his favorite songs.  It was really nerve-wracking to walk in all alone, and I have several pictures of me making awkward faces while I enter because I was terrified.  But then Hubs met me halfway down the aisle and helped calm me down a bit.  

I was still shaking so badly that Hubs held my hands the entire ceremony, and it didn't take too long before I was holding back tears as we said our vows.  I'm a huge sap that way though.  We lit our unity candles to the Beatles song "In My Life" - which was a nod to spending the night before seeing the Love show with our friends and family, as well as the lyrics which we felt had amazing meaning to us both.  Seeing Hubs smile at me when he heard the song start was a moment I won't ever forget.

The ceremony was brief but meaningful, and if I hadn't been so emotional I probably would have winked at my sorority sisters as the minister recited First Corinthians - a nice surprise!   After the rings and the kiss, Hubs and I walked down the aisle as Husband and Wife to the theme song from "Friends".  Totally "us", absolutely perfect.

Before we could say hi to anyone we were whisked away to our photography session, which was part of our Hollywood Glam package through the chapel.  30 minutes later, we were finished and ready to meet our family and friends who were waiting outside... 

It's official!  Hubs and Wife!

We took dozens of pictures with friends and family, and enjoyed post-ceremony cocktails.  All the nerves were absolutely gone as I got to talk to the girls about what they thought of the look and ceremony, and the boys bonded over 32 oz margaritas.  

Our reception was at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant in the MGM, and it was absolutely amazing.  They had a private area in the back of the restaurant set up for us, and we had picked a menu we thought everyone might like - Caesar salad, salmon or chicken, passion fruit cheesecake, and of course - the cake!  The servers were adorable, and when they heard that I only like sweet wine, kept on bringing me Riesling instead of the Chardonnay everyone else was drinking!  The two hours flew by, and we took full advantage of the open bar and delicious food.  I got to spend a little time with everyone who'd come to the wedding, and I felt like a princess the entire day.   I was so excited to give out our wedding favors too!!!  They were playing cards with our names and wedding date printed on each card - they turned out so cute and I was thrilled everyone seemed to like them.

After we cut the cake and got wine to-go, Hubs and I went back to our room to relax and take naps.   We got a great surprise before that though- one of my friends had come up and put a "Mr and Mrs" banner on our door, and there was champagne and strawberries waiting for us in the room.  

We ended our wedding day with karaoke night - apparently a local favorite, as we were some of the only tourists there.  Most of our friends met us out at the random out-of-the-way casino and we waited forever with ridiculous rules to get our chance to sing karaoke, but the company couldn't be beat!  By one am, we were all exhausted again and ready to call it a night.  We stumbled back to the hotel and collapsed - and we still had a full day in Vegas left!!!

One of my favorite pictures from our photo shoot.  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Our Vegas Wedding - Part 2

Friday dawned bright and early despite all the partying from the night before.  Hubs and I lazed around the room with coffee and breakfast sandwiches until I met my mom and sister downstairs for some shopping.  Then we left for the courthouse in yet another limo!  By that point I felt ridiculously spoiled transportation-wise, since until Vegas I'd never been in a limousine in my life.

After we sped through the courthouse we ended up back at the MGM for a quick happy hour at Emeril's New Orleans Fish House.  A must try if you are ever at the MGM,  we loved every thing we ate there.
We lucked out with our bartender and ended up getting some amazing free appetizers, and then kept ordering drinks and food as various family members stopped in to join us.  We ended happy hour(s) with a champagne toast with both our families, a moment I really enjoyed.

That night was dinner and show - we had tickets for a group of us to all see LOVE by Cirque de Soilel.  Before the show my mom, sister, two of my friends and their guys headed with us to Samba, which featured an all you can eat Brazilian BBQ.  The meats were all good, and next time Hubs has vowed to go back with an empty stomach so can eat twice as much.   Between the food, the great drinks, and the even better company, it was a nice relaxing Wedding Eve dinner.

Being cuddly before Cirque began...

The show was breathtaking - the music, the acrobats, the dancing... I loved every minute of it!!  Poor Hubs was so tired from the time change that he might have dozed in a couple spots (it was a 9:30 show)... but he liked all the parts he was awake for (sorry hun!).   After the show almost all of us were ready to crash and call it a night, but one of my best friends had been recruited into steaming my wedding dress with me back at my hotel, and she (and her husband) generously gave up more sleep in order to make sure my dress was pressed and ready for the next day.  Lifesaver.  [K- You know I never would have gotten it done.]

And so Friday went off without a hitch.  Next would come the best part - wedding day!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Our Vegas Wedding!! - Part 1

Today I am finally well enough to start writing the posts that at least three people have been waiting for! ;)   Hope it was worth the wait...

So Thursday morning started late, of course.  We had to get the pets to the kennel, the Little Man needed to be washed and packed up for a week at Ex's, the bags needed last minute everything - our plan was to leave at 9:30 and we definitely left the house closer to 10:30.   By the time we dropped off Little Man, we ended up doing the Home Alone dash through the airport, racing to our gate just as the last two people were boarding the flight.  Of course that means on Southwest that we didn't get to sit together -ugh- but I made friends with a nice couple and we watched movies together the whole flight.  I assume Hubs had fun, he sent a beer my way with apologies as a celebration, and we were on our way!

When we finally navigated our way to the MGM and talked to the wedding guests (most of them had arrived on an early morning flight), we made plans for that night's bachelor/bachelorette party.  After a quick dinner in the food court everyone went back to their room for naps/drinks before the night began... and it was an absolute blast.  Nothing went according to plan of course, because that's how I roll... the guys and girls decided to stay together instead of splitting up, we left an hour late because of excessive picture taking (and because girls take forever to get ready), everyone was exhausted, there were no cabs to be found - but somehow it all managed to work out amazingly.  We got the guys in free everywhere because there were plenty of girls with them, because there were so many of us we got pulled out of the long cab line to a limo service that was even cheaper than two cabs would have been... Everything just worked out great!

I had so much fun that night, and I couldn't have asked for better support from my friends.  They took care of all the hassle of collecting money and calling the limo driver for return trips, getting us into a club without waiting in line, making sure I didn't get kicked out of a club due to a drunk girl stealing my tiara - it was fantastic.  It really hit me that night that everyone had gone out of their way to make my wedding an amazing event that I would never forget.  I knew right then that a destination wedding was a perfect choice for us.

Because my best friends have not given me permission to make them famous, I leave you with pictures of me and Hubs enjoying our night in style.

He cleans up nice doesn't he?  

I hated my shoes, but they were oh so cute. 

Limo kisses for the future Hubs.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The One With Germs

Still here, still sick.

This is fairly typical.  Usually if I get sick I am A) An absolute trainwreck and B) can't shake it for days.  Little Man is the total opposite, he'll be running around the house giggling and swiping at his running nose, stop to puke, and keep on laughing.  If he stops moving you know he feels terrible.

Me?  I spent all of Friday and Saturday sleeping.  I would wake up only to cough and text Hubs to bring up more tea and medicine.  I got up to go to the opening weekend of Sound of Music, and then came home to dive under the covers and sleep more.  I managed to make dinner Sunday night and then collapsed in a heap on the couch.

This morning the Little Man and I are both still sick, but somehow he's running laps around the house and I am camping on the sofa with my tea and tissues.

I'll have what he's having next time.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The One Where We're Alllllll Sick Now

Yep.  Of course now that Little Man has come down with a case of the Runny Sneezys, we're all up to our elbows in snotty tissues and wet pillows.  Too much info?  Yeah, maybe.

He wipes his face on the pillows if I don't wipe his face fast enough when he drips.
Even more info, you're welcome.

Of course, even though Hubs has been doing 90% of the nose-wiping, I caught the crud first.  So I've been a sweaty feverish mess since this morning, with all the goodness that goes with it.  Hubs has been great with the watching/feeding of the whole family though.  He made pancakes.  And heated up nuggets.  And ordered Chinese.

I didn't say he was gourmet, I said he was feeding us.  Still great though.

I'm just hoping I feel better for tomorrow - I have lots of food to eat.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

We're baaaaack!

Dun dun dun dunnnnnn we're married!  I am so excited that Hubs and I are officially Hubs and Wife, it's still so unreal.  It feels a little like nothing has changed, and then of course, I remind myself that everything is going to be changing for the better.

I will have to post a long-winded update about the wedding soon, but I'm not in the mood today.   Nothing personal, blog-reading pals!  We landed at the airport at 9:15 last night, and picked up Little Man from Ex's house at 10 PM.   Got home just before midnight, and I decided it was very important to unpack everything right then so I didn't have to this morning.  Then someone posted pictures of the wedding online and I had to view those... and we didn't turn the lights out until 2 or so...

And then of course, when we picked up Little Man something seemed a little "off".  Ex assured us nothing was wrong and that the long weekend had been amazing/perfect/too good to be true.   Hubs and I were not really convinced, Little Man was too quiet and his voice a little raspy.

We got him home and ready for bed, and he just curled up in a ball and fell right asleep.  A bad sign.

At 3:30 in the morning we hear him wake up screaming and coughing.  Which usually means vomiting is going to follow.   We calmed him down and got him set up with a movie so he finally exhausted himself into a fitful night of sleeping and waking around 4:30 or so.  He's very sick today, and I keep checking his shunt site worried that it is shunt related since he never did end up vomiting.

I'm trying really hard not to blame Ex for this sickness.  Kids get sick all the time, I know this logically.  But every.single.time. that Little Man comes back from a weekend with Ex, he is sick.  Without fail.  And if it is a long weekend, like when we went to Florida or this last time - he is always very sick.

I don't know if it is the fact that Ex and his mother smoke, or that the house is old and moldy, or some other kind of trigger.  I don't know if it is pure coincidence.  I just know that I am less and less interested in letting him stay there overnight.  Hubs and I both were saying last night we just want to be a fly on the wall to see what happens when he stays there.  Something is going on, I just don't know what it is.

Right now Little Man is sobbing, stuffy, and feeling awful.   And all my mother hen instincts are telling me this isn't okay.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The One Where I Get Married For The First Time All Over Again

Tomorrow morning we leave to get married.  HOLY SMOKES BATMAN.

We are heading out to Vegas with 28 of our closest friends and family, and it is going to be an amazing, epic, fantastic, legendary weekend of fun.

I just finished packing, got my very first spray tan, my nails done, and my eyebrows all cleaned up.  I feel ready, but also not ready.  Makes no sense I know, but that's what it is.

I feel like this is my first wedding, even though it is not.  I suppose it is because I feel like this is the first day of the rest of my life, the day we will begin our family, the day we commit to making a home for all of us. 

I am in a completely different place than I was when I got married to Ex. I would never say I regret that marriage or the short time we had as a family, I feel like he supported me through one of the more difficult periods of my life.  But we were not compatible in the long run, and so I am also forever grateful he had the foresight to realize that I was much better off without him we didn't make a great team.  My "failed marriage" makes me cherish every single moment I have with Hubs, and it will make me value our marriage all the more. 

I am in love with Hubs, and we are an amazing team.  I am finally at peace with who I am and who I will become.  I am no longer lost in my own skin.  I don't have doubts.  I don't have fears.  I have confidence that this is the person I am meant to be with.  We've seen the worst and the best in each other and dealt with it together.  He loves all of me just as I love all of him.

And so I prepare for tomorrow like I have never done this before, because I haven't.  I haven't walked down the aisle as this person, this happy, well-adjusted, healthy person that I am now.   This relationship that we have is a special and wonderful new chapter in my life, and I am ridiculously excited to start it.

It is going to be a beautiful wedding.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The One with the Tiny Dress

One week til the wedding of the year!  If the year we are counting from started from September 23rd, because there was a pretty epic wedding the day before I really can't compete with (nor do I want to, it was awesome)...

It has been a busy couple days, with the elections wrapping up and finding out on Monday night that my wedding dress needed alterations.  YIKES!

When I bought the dress several months ago I got an amazing deal.  There was only one problem... that day when I tried it on, the bridal store employee stood behind me fussing with the zipper/corset combo swearing that it was "only a little too small" and if I lost maybe 5 pounds it would EASILY zip.  So I took the plunge and bought the dress of my dreams at the price of my dreams, and kept on chugging at my weight loss goal.  I ended up surprising myself with my dedication to weight loss, and was relieved to realize I had lost 15 lbs since the day I purchased the dress.  I went to try it on on Monday night and was actually worried it might be a little loose!!  But as my mom tried zipping the dress we realized that it was not going to fit unless I removed a rib.  

Normally if I heard a story about a girl buying a dress too small and then being offended that come wedding time it didn't fit, I'd probably laugh. I think it is ridiculous that some women place so much stock in what size their dress is instead of worrying if it fits them properly and makes their body type look great.  But I didn't buy my dress because I was positive that one day I'd be small enough to fit into it.  I bought it because it was ridiculously cheaper to buy the dress off the rack in the sample size (8) than it would have been to buy it in the size the store said I would need (the next size up, 10).  Like over half price cheaper.  I was between sizes then as well and they said it probably wasn't worth it to get the ten if I was going to keep working out and losing weight.  Oh - and I am all about a good deal.  So when the bridal shop also told me that if I lost five pounds it would probably not even need alterations, I was totally sold.  Besides, five pounds is a bad stomach flu.  I had 5 months to lose weight.   Easy as pie, no problem, fork over that dress please thanks.

Anyways, long story short, dress didn't fit even with all the weight loss.  Shame on me for waiting that long to try it on and being so sure it would fit.  But with the help of my besties (they are amazing) I calmed the eff down, emailed a couple seamstresses, and found one that would rush the job and get alterations done by tomorrow night.  For sixty bucks.  Total, including the rush fee.  Today, I feel like a champ.  Monday, not so much. I drank a lot of wine.

And when I look at the pictures of myself from the first time I tried on the dress at the shop versus trying it on for the seamstress/mom this week... I am reminded that just because my dress didn't fit does not mean that losing the fifteen pounds doesn't make a difference.  I felt great about my body this week and am so pumped about showing it off a bit in Vegas!

This week coming up should be insanity... I have orchestra rehearsals several days, driving up north to pick up my dress Friday, finishing up the shopping and packing for the trip, all in addition to the usual household stuff I take care of during the week.  But I've gotten a sudden burst of energy and excitement and I am so ready for this wedding!!!   I can't wait!

Monday, November 5, 2012

The One Where I Do My Civic Duty

During lunchtime my senior year of high school there was a table set up outside our cafeteria by the state government.  It was a friendly reminder for the brand new eighteen year olds to register for the draft and to vote.  Pretty smart idea, because I doubt I would have registered to vote anywhere else at that point in my life. 

I filled out the form and absentmindedly checked the box that said "Would you consider being an election judge?"  I didn't even know what it meant at the time.

I became an assistant judge for the 2004 primary elections, and at eighteen years old was the youngest judge in the room by forty years.  The job was simple, I had a giant paper book filled with names and had to check off people as they went to vote.  The other retirees I worked with didn't seem to take me seriously, and I didn't care - it was just an easy paycheck.  But then the new touchscreen voting machines needed to be fixed and I was able to help.  By the general elections all the little old ladies were telling me next year I needed to apply to be a Chief Judge.   Seemed easy enough, same work I'd been roped into that year but with a better paycheck and fancier title.

So from '06-'12, I have been a Chief Election Judge.  And I am still the youngest in the room, albeit by a tiny bit less now.  Tomorrow marks my tenth election day and I'm looking forward to seeing my usual team at our prep meeting tonight.   I'm preparing for a fairly horrific election day, reminiscent of the 2008 election dramatics - but I am hoping to be pleasantly surprised.

That was a fairly long-winded introduction to what I really wanted to say which is - Get involved!  It is easy to distance yourself from the way your government works, or complain when it doesn't.  If you are truly interested in seeing how the election works and how your community feels, then become an election judge.  It is absolutely worth it. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The First One In November

Halloween at our house was pretty quiet.  I was in a funk all day yesterday, so when Hubs got home from work he ended up being the one dressed up and handing out candy while I made baked mac and cheese (whoops wedding diet, but so worth it).  I'd gotten all the Halloween out of my system earlier this month with a couple Halloween parties anyways.

 Me and Hubs as Sally and Jack from "The Nightmare Before Christmas"
I went to another party that weekend and did full face makeup for Sally.  Credit to one of my bests for helping me get it all just right :)
See, I didn't skip Halloween!   Although my mother called that night and insisted that Little Man should trick or treat.   He didn't seem too interested in the idea...

Managed to sleep through all the doorbell ringing and dog barking that accompanies Halloween Night!

Little Man passed out at exactly 6 pm, thereby missing all the designated tricking and treating time.  Obviously I was heartbroken.  As I ate my mac and cheese in my pajamas and watched Survivor.  Yep, totally heartbroken.

This was actually the first Halloween in three years where Little Man hasn't been sick and cranky, and where I even managed to get him in a picture where he was remotely interested in keeping his costume on...

For some reason I keep trying to put him in costumes with a hood or headpiece, and he just hates those.  It isn't my fault, he got one picture as a baby in this Winnie the Pooh outfit where he is so freaking cute that I want him to take another just like it... and instead of getting cute, I get miserable shark/dog/frog/whatever it is that year. 

So Happy Halloween from our house to yours!  I'm going to get back to eating leftover candy and pretending like I'm getting housework done today. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The One Where This Wedding Is Creeping Up On Me...

Less than three weeks til the wedding, and I am slowly turning into a nervous wreck.

I don't know if I've mentioned before that I hate planning.  I'm sure I have.  If not - I do.  The only times I've planned events that have gone successfully have been times where someone else helped me get through it.   Or that time I decided to throw a 26th birthday party even though I was on Day 2 of a horrific stomach virus.  That actually went really well, despite the warning signs.

But seriously, I sent out invites to my first wedding via Facebook because I didn't think to get enough wedding invitations - from Staples, where we'd picked them out.  I'm that kind of planner.

The last couple days I've been Facebook chatting nonstop with a group of my friends who have urged (possibly begged) me to make some sort of concrete plan for when we get to Vegas.  So I (or maybe one of them) found a website and booked 17 tickets to see Cirque de Soilel while we're out there.  I thought that would really be the extent of planning, because hey that's a big outing, but now I'm slogging through websites (also given to me by the girls- thank God) trying to find restaurant and club reservations - because apparently you can't just walk in to a club out there! 

The part that gets me hung up when I plan is that I try really hard to please everyone, and then worry that I'm not doing it right.  I want everyone to have fun, everyone to feel comfortable, everyone to know that they are being considered... and it makes my head explode with the pressure.  And then I invariably end up pissing someone off because I am too wound up to realize that I am making a huge error somewhere, and that just perpetuates the stress... you get the picture.  

So today I am covered in itchy hives, and was up last night til four in the morning tossing and turning and freaking out.  Hubs got rudely awakened more than once by my sniffles that I am ready for this wedding to be here so I can go back to not ever planning a huge outing ever again.  I also managed to do something bad to my abdomen last week that feels like my skin is being stretched super thin on the right side... I keep looking down to see if I'm getting stretch marks there!  I assume it is probably a pulled muscle.  Or my liver trying to break free.  Something like that.  I can't wait for health insurance.

I'm taking the day off from planning.  I hate that I get myself all worked up and start to dread something I should be enjoying.  This is going to be a great wedding and a fabulous vacation with a group of people I love more than any other people in the world.  I need to relax and breathe. 

Wish me luck.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Rock Me Like A Hurricane...

We've spent our hurricane making hot apple cider and gingersnaps, and having spinach lasagna "dinner" at three pm because we were afraid the power would go out.  Of course we had a great time with movie marathons and Facebook chats too because we never ended up losing power [Knock on wood!]

Hurricane Sandy is staying up late and making plenty of noise outside.  We are very fortunate that so far we have been relatively unscathed by this one - Irene was not nearly as kind as Sandy seems to be.  While we lost some siding on the house and had no power for 18 or so hours during Irene, Sandy has only managed to make the basement walls a bit damp and flicker the lights a few times. 

It seems unreal when I watch the devastation that this hurricane is unleashing on places like Ocean City and New York... I just keep being glad we are all okay and safe and my family is safe.  I'm sending out good karmic thoughts and prayers to everyone I know that is experiencing the worst of this storm.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The One With An Explosion

Yesterday was our follow-up appointment at Little Man's clinic.  Of course, I'd made this appointment three months ago, and so was completely surprised totally prepared when I got the automated reminder call the night before.  We were to discuss the changes we've seen since I started him on melatonin... um... three months ago.


Yeah we still haven't started him on melatonin.  A multitude of reasons, mostly my sheer laziness at finding a pharmacy that carries the liquid form (they don't) and then leaving the prescription there to order it (whoops did you need his insurance card?) and then not being able to find his insurance card (um it's red with a big Medicaid logo?) and changing insurance providers (REM FTW).

Laziness though, mostly.  Little Man goes through spurts of sleeping through the night where I decide it isn't necessary to add medicine into our daily routine. Then he goes another two weeks without sleeping and I get motivated to get the prescription.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

It was a fairly typical appointment, the doctor came in and questioned us about life in general and gave us 4 new specialist numbers to call.  Then she reminded us he was due two vaccines and left at 3:45 telling us we'd be seeing a social worker and a nurse before we were allowed to leave.

Nurse came in a few minutes later to stick the Little Man with his shots.  Obviously he hated them, and I rewarded him for the screaming with about 6 or so graham crackers, applesauce, and fruit snacks.  I read the vaccine warnings and tried to figure out a game for Little Man to play that wasn't as gross as his favorite activity of smushing his face against the dirty office mirror.

We waited and waited... I fed him more snacks and prayed I wouldn't run out of food.  I let him play the mirror game.  By 4:45 I gave up and burst out of the room in a fit of anger.  Looked up and down the hall and there wasn't a soul to be found in the clinic except a little old lady doctor.  We'd clearly been forgotten.  I bit my tongue and informed her we were leaving and to have my doctor email me please.  She seemed shocked when she saw my form (it says your arrival time) and asked me to wait just a moment longer and she'd see what had happened.  Lovely thought lady, but I'm out of patience and your head is detachable.  We left.

So my GPS gave me a lovely route out of the city where I had to smoothly reach for the car lock button as I tried not to look panicked... and we made it to meet one of my bests for dinner at TGI Fridays by 5:30.

I savored the glass of white wine and fried appetizers (I'm nothing if not classy) and got Little Man his favorite restaurant meal of chicken fingers and fries.  He ate all the fries, a granola bar or two, and some fruit snacks.  He smiled hello at the little old couple seated at a table close enough to us that we could hear their conversations.  It was all going so well.  Until I looked over at Little Man and he was turning a little green...

I guess we'll never know what sent him over the edge.  The copious amounts of snacking that day combined with vaccines that had "may cause nausea" as a side effect is my first guess.  But suddenly I was holding the basket of chicken fingers under his mouth as he vomited out the entire days worth of snacks.  Seeing it seemed to gross him out enough that he pushed the basket away and was ready to bolt... except he needed to do it again.  Ughhhhhhh. 

Little Man was now smiling and looking much better sans stomach contents.  Well, looking less green tinged, but now he was covered in vomit.  The nearest bathroom was on the opposite end of the restaurant, and the place was packed.  It took me a solid minute of staring before I could figure out what we were going to do next. 

The little old man reached over and handed me a stack of napkins as my poor friend K offered to pay the check so we could run out the door in shame.  Luckily we were hidden away in the back corner of the dining area so I pulled myself together, whisked him out of the highchair and whipped off his shirt.  Wiped him down with the inside of the shirt and the handy wipes they give you for buffalo chicken wings.  Tossed it all in his backpack and stuck him in his jacket as we walked calmly through the restaurant and to the parking lot, his jeans covered in vomit and me pretending like this was totally normal.   And that it totally wasn't vomit.

We drove the two hours home while I prayed that it was a one and done deal.  It was, thankfully.  He got a warm bath and a quick snuggle before heading to bed and sleeping a solid 8 hours. 

And you thought the explosion was going to be me at that doctor's appointment.   Silly you.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The One For Ann (And All Her Friends)

Ann Coulter.  I have nothing nice to say about you, so I really try not to say anything at all.  It is a value that one of the many people who helped raise me into a responsible adult imparted on me.  I am not saying I'm perfect - far from it.  But I know the difference between a little bit of snarky gossip and spouting off a mouthful of batshit crazy hate.  You, Ms. C, tend to do a little too much of the latter.  So today I'm going to tell you how I feel about you - and it isn't going to be nice.

Normally when I see you pop up on television I am in the process of changing the channel.  I try not to watch any political "news" because it makes my head explode and it is kind of boring.  It means I miss a lot of the things you say on a day to day basis, and I like it that way.

But you can't hide from crazy forever, and so when I saw your Tweet that went viral yesterday it made my blood boil:

I don't know you in real life Ann.  I don't know what has happened to you in your past to make you such an angry and hateful person (and I refuse to read your books to find out).  You seem to be very comfortable using derogatory words and nasty comments as a way to get a little fame.  Most of your "journalism" consists of putting down the people you disagree with by using hate speech.  Why do you think this is okay?  Why do 1,119 people think that this kind of speech is okay?  Why aren't you as a public figure more ashamed of yourself for using this kind of language and instead adding more fuel to this fire?  Why are you still being sponsored by a major "news" network?!?!

But I can only control myself, and I can control my words.  I choose not to associate myself with people who take no issue with tossing that word around.   I choose to speak up when someone offends me with that word.  I choose to carefully pick a different word when I find something stupid, offensive, or disagreeable - unlike you Ann.

I look over at my son watching his favorite t.v. show this morning and my heart physically hurts.  Someday he will be at school, and someday he will make another little kid mad or hurt or confused - because that's life and those are kids.  Maybe he will steal their toy, or run into them while walking down the hall, or even just flap his way into class.  And then I worry that that little kid will have no problem calling my son a retard.  Why would they?  They hear that word from their parents, or they see it on tv and no one cares.  Maybe their parents and Ann Coulter use it "properly" - you know, as a way to describe a guy that cuts them off in traffic or a political candidate.  But these kids, they aren't going to be able to discriminate when it is or is not "appropriate" to use that word.  That is where I am not okay with this.

I care, and some day Little Man will care about the "r-word".  I certainly don't think that we are going to eliminate the r-word from our vocabulary anytime soon. There will always be people comfortable saying it among their friends or as a joke. There are the people that consider me to be overreacting when I flinch at their flippant use of the word. There are the people who are "allowed" to use the word because they have a disability, who are taking back the negative language. Yes, all of these things are going to continue, and we have no way of stopping it as much as it breaks my heart.

But I hope that maybe, just maybe enough people will be offended by a public figure using this word that there will be some backlash for Ann Coulter.  That she won't be able to get away this kind of talk just because it wasn't the n-word or the c-word or the s-word or any other hateful speech I can come up with off the top of my head.  I hope that Ann gets a great big karmic slapdown. 

I know life isn't always fair like that though.  So if life can't hand her a plate full of karma, I can hope for something else.  I hope that there are parents sitting down with their kids tonight and explaining to them that what Ann Coulter said is wrong and why it is hurtful and not funny or satirical.  I hope that they explain to their kids that she is not making the right word choices.  And I hope they maybe think twice before they use that word themselves.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The One With Change

I finally changed my profile picture tonight, after 3 glasses of wine and a lot of tears. 

I love you big brother.  Thinking of you every day.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The One With Bedwars: Volume IX

Yesterday as we were putting the couch cushions back together after their deep cleaning (pee is a hard smell to get out of couches) I got a phone call.  It was my favorite social worker with a little news update.

She'd just called to check in on us, since the denial letter has made the rounds over at her office.  No worries, someday we might get approved.  In the meantime, I can get you overnight nursing, whaddya think?

Um.  What???!!!
Say that again??

I spluttered and stammered and couldn't seem to find the words to say what I was actually thinking, which were - WHAT THE EFF?!?!  So instead of purchasing a bed which would be a one-time cost, or even just the "canopy" that Medicaid is denying... you're offering us a human being full-time until he can sleep through the night???!  You know, one that you have to pay a decent hourly wage since she is a nurse who probably has to have had some sort of backround check to prove she isn't a serial killer!

I was floored.  See, Little Man's chewing on everything is fairly benign to us here at home - but every time I bring it up doctors will call it pica.  Which seems a little inaccurate to me since he doesn't actually ingest anything, but whatever, you're the doctors and I'm just here every day watching him.  So since he "has pica" (see what I did there) and is also escaping during the night, we can qualify for night nursing.

I appreciated that the social worker called us to talk about the denial.  She's great, don't get me wrong.  I love that she is being proactive and trying to get us help before I rip my hair out from lack of sleep and stress.  But this is ridiculous.

If he were seizing at night or on oxygen or something medically necessary I wouldn't hesitate to get a night nurse - but this goes back to my original feeling of he's not that needy.  We are so incredibly lucky that Little Man is very low maintenance despite the multitude of medical things going on with him.  I wish Medicaid would stop trying to eliminate an anthill with a rocket launcher.   The original bed we asked for was $1500.  They told me that was unreasonable and applied to get us a bed worth at least twice that amount.  Now their next brilliant plan would be even more expensive?!  I just want a simple solution, to a simple problem.

I told the social worker that we'd consider the idea but I needed to talk it over with Hubs.  He instantly vetoed the idea of anyone in the house all night (he's really uptight about privacy anytime, so I knew that was going to happen).  I agree with him, but only because I think it would be so awkward to have someone get here at what... eleven or so to watch him sleep all night 50% of the time?   Or have them sitting up there if I decide to stay up late and watch bad tv?  I can't imagine how that works.  And I feel like it would be an insult to every parent and child who actually want and need nighttime help. 

Little Man went to bed last night at 2 am and was up this morning by 6:45 am.  I am running on fumes and strong coffee, but I'm here.  I don't know what our next step is going to be, but I'm hoping I figure it out sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The One With Panic!

Today is a great day generally.  It's my mother's birthday.  It is also my grandpa's birthday.  Best birthday gift to a dad ever, so I hear.

Today is also a really effing stressful day.  It is exactly one month til my wedding.  Goodbye nonchalant attitude!  Goodbye "Oh yeah I'm not really thinking much about it."  Goodbye "we have time til the wedding, I'm not worried."

I'm starting to panic.  I went from completely fine and calm to OMGTHEWEDDINGISCOMING.  I'm having nightmares that everyone hates being in Vegas together and they all regret coming.  Or that I served fondue at my wedding and the pots wouldn't turn on so all I had was cheese lumps.  Or that I can't find a dress or a veil or anything...

I have a To-Do list, which basically says "Get Everything Done".  Every time I look at it I freak out.  Every time Hubs asks me to do something wedding related I snap at him like he's just asked me to solve the problem of world piece in twenty minutes or less.  Last night I freaked out at him because at 11:30 PM he casually brought up that it might be nice to settle on a cake design by the next morning.  No really, the "fight" ended with him going "I just don't understand what happened, I wanted to look at cakes and now you hate me?"

[Sidenote: I don't hate him, and I am baking him gingersnaps today because I was acting a fool.  Yes I bribe him into forgetting I'm crazy, isn't that what everyone does in relationships?]

I am also 4 pounds away from my wedding goal weight, which is going to be hard to get to because I'm eating my feelings. 
Why don't I feel better??


So while I want today to be a positive day, and deep down I swear it is... please don't be surprised if you see me FREAKING OUT.  Or eating a bag of popcorn covered in butter.  Both of these things are interchangeable.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The One With A Little Controversy

Hubs is working from home today because we had to drive Maximus the kittycat to the vet for his big day... he's getting declawed.

Yeah, I know, declawing is terrible/inhumane/the worst decision ever for a cat.  But it had gotten to the point with Max that we had to either declaw him or send him back to the shelter.  Not only is he destructive to all the furniture in the house, he uses his claws on us or the Little Man accidentally often enough that we were just worried about what could happen.  Little Man also still has the little kid mindset of "loving too hard" and sometimes squeezes on the cat or dog (or us) without realizing how much pressure he is using.   The dog is an older peaceful dog so she doesn't even flinch.  We just squeal.  The cat - well he sometimes doesn't play nice.

Anyways, we're feeling anxious and hoping everything with Max goes well today.  We heard from the vet already and Max is out of surgery and doing well, but they keep him overnight for observation.  I think in the end, all of us will be happier - so we just have to trust our judgement on this one. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

The One With A Memory

September 27th, 2009.

Little Man was a couple months past his first birthday, and we were an emotional wreck.  His daily therapy sessions with Infants and Toddlers were torture, he'd scream the entire 45 minutes until they left without being able to accomplish anything.  We couldn't go out in public, because his fear of strangers was so overwhelming that if someone looked directly at him he would cry until we had to leave.  No one could tell us much about his future except to tell us to wait and see what happened next.  In addition to all the social anxiety, he wasn't able to walk or even pull himself to standing.  His right leg and arm had so much tone that it was like trying to pull teeth to get him to stretch out either one.

That night my Ex and I were driving the two hours from my mother's house to our little apartment.  It had been a particularly rough day, even Grandma wasn't immune to Little Man's stranger phobia.  I don't remember what we did or what we were listening to on the radio... or if Ex and I were even talking to each other.  We were both burnt out and overwhelmed.

And I looked back into the car, and saw Little Man staring out the window... and I just sobbed.  It was just an intense sense of grief for what I felt I had lost.  I just wanted Little Man to be able to be anything he wanted to be.  I wanted everything for him.  I wanted the baby I'd dreamed about for nine months, and this baby was so different than everything I imagined.

I looked over at Ex and just begged him to tell me if he was thinking this too.  Did he worry every waking moment the way I did?  Did he get discouraged and sad all the time?  What if Little Man never walked or talked, what if he was going to stay just like this for the rest of his life?  Was it always going to be this hard for him, this hard for us?  Why couldn't anyone tell us what was going to happen next?

I don't remember what the Ex said.  Maybe he agreed, maybe he didn't.  In the end, I only remember that I walked in the door to our apartment with a heavy feeling in the pit of my stomach and put the Little Man in his crib while we ran him a bath.

I walked into the nursery to grab him for the bath, and there he was - standing up in his crib.  He was holding on to the side of that rickety old crib for dear life, and was more leaning than standing - but there he was.

I shrieked for Ex to grab the camera, and he ran into the room and snapped a shot of Little Man's first standing moments.  I was squealing and clapping like a fool, and Little Man was so startled by all the attention that he fell back onto his little butt.   He must have only been standing a second or two and so I figured it might be awhile before we saw it again.  Instead, all that clapping seemed to energize him, and he pulled himself right back up in front of my eyes.

For the second time that night I started sobbing.  And also clapping and smiling simultaneously, which must have been fun to watch. 

This is the smile of someone who knows he has just made his Momma proud.

That moment is still one of the most vivid and amazing memories of my life.  That was the moment I realized that Little Man was going to be okay.  It was the moment I realized I was going to be okay, and that we could do this.

Lately I've been so discouraged with how slow progress has been for Little Man.  He's four now and still not talking.  He doesn't play with toys appropriately or enjoy long cuddles with me while reading stories.  But then I go back to this memory, and I know just like I did then that we will be okay.  Less than three years ago I was worried that he'd never be able to stand, and now he can run.  I know life with Little Man will never be normal, he'll never "catch up" to other kids and he'll always need us in his life in some capacity.  But I can't predict what will happen next, and I need to stop trying.  Enjoy the journey and love all the memories we're making along the way, which are all the more special because I'm not expecting them.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The One With So Many Mistakes In One Photo

Remember that time I warned you that it might be impossible to take a good family photo? 

I wasn't lying.

We went to Target a few days ago to get our fall portraits/Christmas cards done.  They did a decent job last time and the photographer was willing to work with our... unorthodox methods for getting a decent photo out of the Little Man.  Since the same photographer was going to be there for this set of photos, I had high hopes for success.

We got there just as a Nice Young Woman (NYW) was finishing a job interview.  The Original Photographer (OP) remembered us and walked us back into the room where you get photos.  NYW speaks up and asks if she could "help" the OP with our session.

Mistake #1.  OP agrees.

Now we all know that Little Man hates loud noises.  He also hates strangers.  NYW did not know that Little Man hated both, she just saw your typical whiny four year old who did not want to sit still for a picture, and was being bribed with fruit snacks to even stare straight ahead.  I'm standing behind the photographer singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider song quietly, because it normally elicits a giggle if I do the voices right.  Yeah, there are voices to that song, I can teach them to you later.

Mistake #2. NYW thinks I am not singing loudly or perkily enough, so she starts singing the ABC's at the top of her lungs and shaking a rattle.  A mother-ducking rattle.  I bet you know what happens next.

So Little Man is freaking out, dealing with two strangers and loud noises and being left in the center of a room without anyone picking him up while he is freaking out... And then...

Mistake #3.  NYW tries to tickle Little Man.

Well that goes over about as well as could be expected.  Which is that it doesn't.  At this point, I tell NYW to please back off, Little Man has special needs and she does not know him. 

"Oh have you tried feeding him a gluten-free diet?"

What the what?  SERIOUSLY lady I'm trying to keep him from losing his schmit and you're asking me about his diet as if that might be affecting his picture taking skills today? 

"I know that my son really loves calculators.  You should give him a calculator, I bet he'd really love it."

Is this really happening?  Please don't make me lose it.

Mistake #4.  OP is only snapping one picture every minute.  And every third picture has a piece of NYW's head in it as she is reaching in to the frame to snap her fingers in Little Man's face (Lord give me strength) or "make him laugh".

I suggest we take a break from the traditional portrait and stick Little Man on a little log thing with a pumpkin in his hand.  Mostly because I need to quietly hint to NYW that she is a little much for Little Man to handle, and also to get all the eyes off him so he can calm down.  And he'll love chewing on the pumpkin stem.

NYW takes this time to inform me that her son has special needs too, and that is why she knew so many things.   I had kind of already figured.  She offered to teach me some basic sign language and started signing random words to "teach" me.  I politely let her know that we already sign at home and use a PEX system right now. Then I smiled extra wide to indicate being happy and well-informed on things because I was starting to develop a tension headache and we were running low on fruit snacks. 

OP decides then that it is time for a couple of family shots.  I thought I had dressed for success in a plain black t-shirt, since I would be photographed from the waist up. 

Mistake #5.  Taking full body portraits.  Hellooooo muffin top.  Also my hair was looking sad and wonky, which was news to me.

Have I mentioned that Hubs was here too?  He was apparently too busy being pissed at OP for Mistake #4 to notice how much NYW was annoying the crap out of me.  Neither of us noticed the other was about to lose it.  Man, are we in sync as a couple.

Mistake #6.   Timing was way off.  Little Man was minutes away from passing out from exhaustion, and he was not having any more of this nonsense once he realized that these strangers were all going to be all up in his business.

So we struggle through about six or seven more minutes of poses, and Little Man finally just gives up.  He is a mess.  My nerves are shot.  Hubs keeps chiming in with the ever helpful "I think we're done, I think we're done."  And I know we haven't gotten a single picture I'm happy with, but ya know what?  We're done.  We're so, so, done.

We had coupons for 50% off the entire portrait package, so we knew we'd get a couple sheets of Little Man's best poses.  And the OP guilted me into buying an 8x10 of the "best" family shot, because we needed one.  I'm such a sucker.

Oh.  I guess you want proof that these photos are as horrible as I am saying they were.  You're thinking... "They can't be THAT bad."

[Put down the drink.  Just in case.]


 Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The One With A Bedroom Dilemma

I'm losing my mind.  Hubs and I don't really sleep anymore.  We just nap. 

The newest alarm system is a closed bedroom door, with the baby gate in front of it.  I was starting to hum the tune from the old toy alarm during waking hours, and it was driving me bonkers.  So now the toy alarm has been relegated to the bathroom for a potty toy (oy, don't even go there) and we have the gate alarm.  When you hear the gate crash down, you wake up and grab the kid and stick him back in bed.  A flawed system probably, but one that prevents him from making it all the way to the stairs without us noticing. 

The problem is that I see no safe alternative to not sleeping.  Sure, we could get a wall-mounted baby gate that Little Man can't knock down.  But then we have no way of knowing if he is awake and roaming his room, and I'm pretty sure he would learn very quickly how to climb over a gate. I have come very close to locking him in his room.  At four thirty this morning, it was very very close.  But I just can't justify it, knowing that something could happen to him where I wouldn't be able to rush in and help him... Maybe I'm being paranoid, I don't know.

Our latest decision is that the crib has to go. At this point he can climb out of it in less than ten seconds.  It is becoming more of a hazard than any kind of help, he hasn't gotten hurt climbing out yet but we can't be sure it won't happen.  So it is going to be a mattress on the floor for now.  Which I'm pretty sure is going to mean extra wakeups for the first few nights til he realizes he has to stay on the mattress and go to bed.  Ughhhhhhh. 

I'm hoping the prescription for melatonin -we finally found a pharmacy that has it - will mean he is at least getting a full eight hours.   It worries me a little that the kid is not sleeping more than five hours at a stretch.  Pretty sure his growth will be stunted or something, and he's already gonna be a small fry. 

Well I need more coffee or this day just isn't going to work out.  I wonder if Medicaid would approve an IV of coffee directly to my veins since that bed thing isn't going to work out...

Monday, October 8, 2012

The One With More BedWars

Disappointment doesn't even begin to describe how I felt when I opened up our letter from the insurance company.

"The request for a medical bed w/canopy is denied.  Reason: Called primary care physician and they were not available, talked to on-call physician and they could not give a valid reason for medical bed."

Say what???  So basically, you made a phone call and didn't reach my doctor immediately.  Then you talked to another random doctor who didn't know Little Man or anything to do with his case, and you decide that is enough information to proceed with this denial?

UGH.  I want to hit something.  I want to drop off my son for an overnight visit with the insurance company and have them see how "unnecessary" it would be to get the medical canopy. 

The REM social worker told us that a denial would be most likely at first and we'd have to reapply with more ammunition to refute their denial.  But this denial is useless because there is nothing to go on.  And now we are five weeks out from the wedding and losing the REM coverage anyways, so its looking less and less likely that we are going to get a bed. 

The only thing that kept me from dwelling on the denial this weekend was that we had an amazing time at a local wine festival, and I got to spend quality time with my little sister and my mom.  We took Little Man to the festival with us and he had a blast running around outside and playing with his auntie.  That night we stayed up til two in the morning playing cards and drinking wine, making popcorn and being ridiculously competitive.   We haven't had a chance to have one of our family nights in awhile, and I'd really missed them.

Little Man being a party animal at the festival

Anyways, today will be spent working on our appeal for the bed, and recovering from the crazy weekend.  Hubs is off til Tuesday so hopefully we can get a few house and wedding errands done.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The One Where I Admit To Being A Horder

Yesterday I cried when Hubs came home with the groceries.  They were tears of joy.  That is absolutely not a lie.

My name is Tara, I am a hoarder.

I have always been a hoarder of some kind, since childhood.  I had a shoebox filled with sheets of stickers I wouldn't use because they were too beautiful.  Chapsticks I didn't want to apply because they smelled great.  A bag of erasers in cute shapes I wouldn't touch.  A giant bin of crayons and markers.  Every Polly Pocket ever created.  Two dozen Tamagachi's (remember those?!?) and a zillion Barbies. 

I hated (and still do honestly) that moment when you run out of something you want.  The feeling of knowing I couldn't run out of something, that I would always have a back-up... I have no idea where it came from, but it was always there.

Fast forward to adulthood.  I've managed to streamline my hoarding and make myself look less crazy.  Well, moderately so.  I still have way too many t-shirts and prom dresses in my closet, and maybe fifty or so nail polish bottles.  And a box of every note ever written to me from elementary school til college.   Plus enough books to start a library.  But... BUT... They are managed.  My books are on shelves, my notes have a box in the back of the closet. 

The only aspect of my hoarding I can't hide is my stockpile.  When I moved in with Hubs, I brought over a few cans and boxes that I was able to hoard in my tiny townhouse.  We stacked them neatly on a metal shelf in the basement, and I joked to Hubs that they were our "apocalypse supplies." 

Since then, my coupon-loving Hubs and my inner hoarder have combined to make a stockpile that would make my depression-era grandma proud.  Yesterday we finally outgrew our metal shelving unit and we added my mother's sewing table from her college days.   The McKays in the neighboring town is moving locations so their entire store is 30% off.  Hubs went kinda crazy.

I'm getting teary again...but seriously.  TADA!!!
I swear I don't normally cry over the ability to add to my obsessive collecting tendencies.  But I was so shocked when Hubs came home with bags of groceries that were not only able to be added to my treasure emergency stockpile, but that they were all the "right" things!  With our new clean(er) eating habits, I was worried that him shopping alone would have been a disaster.  He managed to not only find great deals, but also healthy foods.
So I cried.  Plus I might have done a happy dance.  Several times. The tears might or might not have also had do with hormones.  But whatever.  It was awesome.
Now don't eat my stockpile.  I'm enjoying looking at it too much. 
Dammit, this is the stickers all over again.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The One With Belated Wordless Wednesday

Little Man and the pumpkins from your nightmares!

Hubs and a tired and giggly Little Man checking out the water

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The One With Politics

The first presidential debate is on tonight.  Great.  Wonderful. 

Does anyone care? 

No, honestly, get off the whole "This is going to showcase who the better speaker is, watch my candidate 'win' everything and hit all these talking points" schpiel. 

Does anyone really think that this debate is going to change anything??

Does anyone really think that American voters haven't decided who they are voting for yet?  That they are waiting for this debate to somehow clear things up for them?  Does anyone really think that anything one of the two candidates will say will sway people away from the other?

If you do, I think you're kidding yourself.

There was a time when the presidential debates mattered.  A time when this would be one of the first times many people heard the candidate's opinions and listened to them speak at length. 

This is not that time.  Our candidates now have been campaigning from the minute Obama lowered his hand from swearing to uphold and honor the presidency of the United States.  We've had four years to watch them go at each other.  We've had four years to watch one of them work, and the other discuss how they would do it differently.  We've heard all their arguments already, their pros and cons.

What am I actually going to learn from watching this debate?  If I am one of the Americans that has a genuine interest in policy and government action, my assumption is that my candidate has said everything important and/or surprising that he needed to say prior to this debate.  I could catch highlights on the morning news, and skip about three hours of discussion on issues I've already heard ad nauseum.  I will continue to support my candidate, because one debate really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

If I am not that American - then I will not be watching the debate anyways.  I will catch the bloopers and criticisms on my news or comedy shows, and I will feel justified in continuing to support the candidate I already support based on the reaction of others.

So great - the debate is on tonight.  Just like it has been on every night for the past four years.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The One Where We're Famous At Target

I decided to call and make our appointments for Christmas card pictures today, because my planner told me to.  I love this thing.

We use coupons for everything we can (a dolla makes me holla honey boo boo) and I happened to have two coupons for free portrait sessions at Target and some sort of package deal.  Score.  Then more magic happened.  Let me put it in a play for you:

Scene: Exhausted Mom looks at the planner in her hand.  Damn.  Christmas cards.  She sighs.  "You're right though Planner, I will not remember to make an appointment for pictures before the wedding, there is no time after the wedding... GAHHH!!"

*ring ring ring*

Me:  Hello, I'd like to make an appointment for a portrait session on Friday.  If that is available.  If not, then maybe next Friday?  Or whenever, it's really up to you.  Just tell me when to show up.

[That is actually exactly how I sound on the phone, I am incredibly awkward and have a fear of anyone who works in retail.  I know.  It's weird.]

Target Employee:  Okay... Friday at noon is good.  How many of you are there?

Me:  Three.  Two adults and a child.

TE:  Okay and how old is the child?

Me:  Um he's four, but more like two, he's going to um... be really difficult and will not listen or follow directions or smile....

TE:  Wait... were you guys here last year? 

Me:  We were the family with the gummy bears...

TE:  YES I remember you guys, no problem, see you Friday.



Last year's portraits were not so much a shining example of beautiful family time so much as... "Dammit we are a family and you will be in this photo if it KILLS ME!".   I had warned the photographer that getting a photo of Little Man smiling was not nearly as important as getting a photo of him looking at the camera and where Hubs and I looked great.  Because getting Little Man to smile on cue is next to impossible.  Of course, he also chose that day to have a massive temper tantrum.  So I bribed him to stop screaming with fruit snacks.  Lots of fruit snacks.  4 bags, if we're being honest.

I give it a B- for effort.
Hubs and I look great, although I am doing that thing again where my eyes get tiny when I smile.  Little Man is looking at the camera.  His hair is... passable. You try combing that!!  But if you zoom in really close... you can see evidence of our bribery right there in his open mouth.  Whoops.   Whatever, it's going above the fireplace.
On second thought, I give this a B+.  Especially when I consider what our pictures might look like this year.