Monday, May 31, 2010

Impending Doom Caught on Film

My poor Mister.

This weekend, he took hits to both areas of his person

and his ego.

He learned that,
unlike Chuck Norris,

certain parts of his anatomy are NOT made of steel.

The recovery was not pretty.

Being the sensitive wife that I am,
(read: I may have been laughing)
I did not take a photo of the afternmath.

Miles, however, recovered quite well from that squishy collision

and was able to take a stylish ride
around the campground on a motorized beer cooler.
The envy of both every 5 year old boy
and every man over the age of 30.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Things I Wish I Learned Before I was in My Mid-30's

* If a spider bites you and you think the rash you develop is ringworm, it isn't. Go and see a doctor before your infected arm begins to ooze itself into oblivion.

* Better to chow down a bowl of your least favorite cereal for dinner than take 5 children to the grocery store at 4:45 pm.

* Summer is short. Walk around your gardens each evening with a glass of wine or cup of tea or margarita, gazing at what is growing, and visit with your neighbors on the porch or even over the fence.

* Never underestimate the healing power of a bedtime story.

* In your twenties, buy a mixer from Goodwill. Then save your pennies and buy a KitchenAid. A KitchenAid is a miracle in and of itself. Buy one in a fun color. You will be able to pass it down to one of your children.

* Same with cookie sheets. Better to buy one excellent $25 sheet that will be going strong after 5 years than buy several $5 Target ones that are health-hazards within a calendar year.

* Pride goeth before a fall. Hard. Every time.

* Sex is a great escape that strengthens your marriage, relieves stress and feels frickin' awesome. So why not have as much as you can, when you can?

* Never take out a perennial garden and replace it with grass, thinking the grass will be less maintenance. It won't be, and you'll be replacing it in 2 years with another perennial garden.

* No one cares what your house looks like. And your kids will trash it anyways. Focus on making it a home instead.

* Little things like buying fun and different Popsicles make a summer for kids.

* You can never fake that you practiced your violin at a violin lesson. So don't even try.

* Read trashy novels and watch trashy tv and be proud of it. Cheap, easy escapes should never be underestimated.

* No matter how wonderful your skin is in your 20s, it will lose elasticity in your 30s. It will. So be prepared. Buy the high quality sunscreens, even if you are cheap, and start taking pharma-grade Omega 3-6-9's.

* Don't give a flying f**k about what anyone else thinks. You are entitled to your own thoughts and opinions, however unpopular they may be. My Mister has been telling me this for 10 years. And he's right (see that, Babe? I can totally admit when you are right!)

* A good haircut and cute shoes feel great.

* Everything is a season. Some are long. Some are short. But it's just a season. So relax and try and enjoy what you can.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hitting the Pavement

Guess what I will be doing August 21st?!?

I will be running this:


with the Corey Waters and the Angie B and whatever other awesome gals who may join us.

I just registered this morning. And now I'm feeling a bit woozy.

One, because I actually not only get to meet Corey, but I get to run a half-marathon with her! And Angie! Who totally rocks but doesn't blog so you'll have to take my word for it! :)

Two, because that's the longest distance I have ever run. And being a type-A sorta gal that I am, I need a plan and I need that plan now. Then I will feel less woozy.

I have been working hard at doing things for me. This is one heck of a absolutely awesome way to do something just for me (and the shape of my derriere)

Corey, I'm gonna try really, really hard not to be a starry-eyed dork around you. I would feel totally awful if you had to return from Wisconsin and blog: guess what? I finally met a bloggy friend who actually is an IRL psycho!


Monday, May 24, 2010

Zero to Fifteen

One hot, sunny and fun opening weekend of Camp

+

A mega dose of a spoiling grandma

+

lots of junk food that we typically don't eat at home

+

no schedule

=

Holy Emotionally Dysregulated Boys, Batman!

While the weekend was great fun, I'm *this* close to thinking that going away isn't even worth the behaviors we work through upon our return home.

Sigh.

Both of my little guys are emotionally delayed. Miles began showing us signs about 8 months ago, and for the past 6 months, we have been plugging along, working hard with him.

Keenan has much thicker walls up. Plus he has some language delays, learning delays, motor skill delays. This realization took us much longer with him because of these factors.

One of my little guys also deals with some major anger issues in addition to the emotional delays. We call him our "Zero to Fifteen" kid.

For most normal people, you can rate their emotional state on a scale of 0 to 10, both on the love and anger spectrum. 0 being just chill, with little emotion, and 10 being Ecstatic or Irate.

For instance, when we find a $10 bill in a coat that we haven't worn since last year, we might feel a 4 or maybe even a 6 on the happiness scale. Or if we find a parking ticket on our car even though our meter is only 3 minutes past due, we might be a good irritated 4 on the angry scale.

For our son with these emotional/anger issues, feeling a 3 or 5 or even an 8/9 on either happy or angry scale is not the norm for him. In fact, it is pretty much non-existent.

Cross him, with something even as minor as a "I'm sorry, but your green shirt is in the laundry," and watch out--because he's probably gonna hit a good 12 on the angry scale.

So give our child, say, a sucker, and he'll be at a solid 15. He'll do cartwheels and cheer and give you high fives and say Thank You a thousand times and get really, really LOUD with his happiness.

For those who don't know our child, or who forget about or don't truly understand his emotional delays, they will watch this little guy get so, so, SO happy over the sucker they just gave him.

And, inevitably, they'll turn to me and say, "Look at how beautiful he is! He just LOVES life, doesn't he? So full of happiness and joy!"

Hey, I thought those things too, for the first few months he was home. Until I learned that actually, it's not that at all.

It's so sad that my little guy has had so much pain and trauma and fear in his life that he cannot regulate himself. It breaks my heart to see the barriers and coping mechanisms and brain differences that exist within him.

And yet, I'm human too, and it is so emotionally dysregulating to live with this all the time. There are many times I want to turn to the gushing, isn't he just joyous?, party and snap, "No! There is nothing joyous about it! It's just one of the many faces of trauma!"

I don't, but I do let it eat at me enough where I need to blog it to have a cathartic moment.

I have big hopes and dreams, different ones for each of my children. For my one little guy, I hope that someday, he can feel those 3's and 7's on these scales. Someday, I hope someone can give him a piece of gum, and he'll stick it in his mouth, mumble thanks, and hurry back to his game of Frisbee with his brothers.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Shotgun Update

* We opened up Camp at Kelly Lake this weekend, and the temp nearly hit 90. This means Summer has Officially Begun. We also have nice but very crazy neighbors. I mean like certifiable c-r-a-z-y. Should make the trailer park pretty interesting, I tell ya.

* I am so my Polish Grandma Fran's granddaughter. Last week I took apart our entire King-sized bed so I could Dyson under the entire thing. Plus I moved all of our (heavy) dressers and Dyson'd underneath those as well. All things I haven't done in the 4 years we have lived in our home (hey! The furniture is truly heavy) 3 canisters full of dog hair, cat fur, dust and dander. That part probably doesn't do Fran proud, but if I weren't genetically related to her, it likely would have never occured to me to clean so thoroughly and obsessively.

* I don't know if this makes me a Good Mom or a Bad Mom, but I promised Hatfield and Atticus that when they finish this year's curricula, I will buy them each a DSi. I hate video games, especially those little handheld things, but they have long been asking, and they are good about keeping usage of that stuff within my guidelines. I refuse to let them do the pre-texting thing with each other, because we are related and live in the same house which means we talk to each other, but other than that,I feel okay with it. In school, we had hit a slowdown, and I thought it would be a great way to jump start things. I wasn't wrong. They are blowing through some of the tough work which had them down. So I guess I'm a smart Mom, but the ethics good/bad thing is still up in the air.

* Seriously, could Glee get any better?!?! And Doogie Howser?!? LOVE him!

* It's probably disrespectful to refer to N.P.H. as Doogie Howser, but I mean no disprespect. I was just the age when D.H.M.D. was on the air and I had a mega-crush on the lad. So my whole tweeny-crush on him began then, and it continues now.

* Miles has really gone through a huge amount of emotional growth and is like a different child. We have our moments, oh yes, but my Lord, it's nothing like it was.

* Yet alas, lest you think we could get away with just one of them going through all this muck? Now our little Keenan is now going through a lot of anger and grieving. It is so heartbreaking, although I know that it's all things he needs to go through. Some days absolutely suck, with a capital S-U-C-K. But, I understand more this time, and I feel hopeful. I'm growing just as much, if not more, than they are. What a learning experience of a lifetime, although I would have been fine having gone through it just once.

* On the TMI front, something bit my arm and now I have ringworm. It's horrible and itchy and burns and absolutely horrible. Ewww. Also, I have been sick for the past 13 days. First I had the stomach flu. That was fun. Now I have a horrible chest/sinus cold. And no voice. My kids think the no voice thing is awesome.

* We have new friends who have a daughter Hatfield's age, a son Atticus' age, the husband loves UFC, and the girlfriend is a hoot. The winter was so rough on us, as a family, and it is nice to breathe some new life and fun and friends into us.

* Last year I was in a rummage sale with my BFF Becky B. at her home. I got rid of a TON of cwap. So much so that I thought, no way can I be in a rummage sale next year (2010), because I got rid of it all. So. Wrong. So. So. So. Wrong. Cwap multiples. Because next week the Mister will be carting over twice as much stuff for us to sell. Shameful.

* Would you rather be a Spartan Soldier or a Ninja? Why? Atticus would like to know.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Now THAT'S lucky

You know that saying about how if a bird poops on you, you'll have good luck?

Well, Mister (Oblivious) came in from doing some yard work and sat down at the table for dinner. He promptly heard a chorus of six voices yelling, "Ewwwwwww!!!!!!!"

"What?" he asked. "Do I have spinach in my teeth?"

"No Dad! A bird pooped on you!!!" was the prompt reply.

"Where?!?" asked the Mister.

"I'm gonna get my camera!" Hatfield announced to the enthusiastic approval of her siblings.



While photographing the bird poop, Hatfield then stated, "Ewwwwwwwwww!!!!" for a second time.

"What???" asked the Mister.

"Dad, you have more bird poop on you!"

"Where?!?!?" he asked.



By this time, the children were rolling on the floor laughing.

After photographing the second glob of bird poop, Hatfield noted that upon closer examination, the second batch was much drier than the first batch. Which she deduced to mean that the Mister was pooped on by two different birds in a 2 hour period.

"Funny, I don't feel all that lucky," the Mister lamented while the kids picked themselves up off the floor and all shoved themselves onto one table bench. Because no one wanted to be by Bird Poop Man.

And I guess he's not. Because he's going to be doing that load of laundry all by himself.

Channeling Tupac

Recitals are over and with that, so is the 09/10 dance season. While I'm happy to have the huge free-up in our schedule, I'm sad at the same time because the kids were just so darn cute in their dances, and I never tired of watching them.

However, I cannot let the event go by without giving a HUGE THANK YOU to the Mister, who participated in the Dad's Dance for all 5 recitals, for everything he does.

* I am grateful to my Mister because for 3 months, he went to dance practice every Tuesday night at 9 p.m. to learn a hip hop routine with 45 other Dads. He never complained, not once. Not when driving there through a blizzard, nor when there was a tornado warning with torrential downpour and lightning.

And if that schedule wasn't enough, he went to a dozen practices on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons, with the kids who didn't always want to go. Yet he always had on his big ol' smile and carried along his perpetually cheesy sense of humor, and the kids always came home stating they had a great time.

* I am grateful to my Mister because he always encourages our kids in activities that captivate their interests and hearts. He's always willing to learn and participate. He does not expect our kids to only be interested in what Dad is interested in.

* I am grateful to my Mister because when Hatfield and I came home last night, at 10 pm, after her last recital, he greeted Hatfield with a dozen pink roses.

* I am in love with the fact that my Mister is confidently delusional enough to channel a bit of Tupac and wear his costume bandana like this:

(Once I figure out how to download photos from my new phone, I'll put the actual picture in)

* I am grateful that my Mister not only tells our sons, but he shows our sons, that Real Men Dance.

So, thank you, my dear man, for all that you do. We are so lucky to have you.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bring It

48 Hours
5 Dance Recitals
21 Dances Performed by Four 5FC Members
9 Pairs of Shoes
8 Costumes
4 Packs of Hair Nets
3 Pounds of Hair Spray
2 Blinged-Out False Lashes
1 Devastatingly Cute Kid in a Tuxedo Bodysuit
(this picture is
SO being shown at your wedding's dress rehearsal dinner!)
1 Bottle of Wine
with the Mister's and My Name on It
Reserved for Sunday 9 p.m.
to Celebrate the Fact that
We.Did.Survive.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Survey Says

What's that saying? If you wanna know a person, don't ask that person but those closest to them? . . is that even a saying? Beats me.

Now, you may think you know all about me, because, I dunno, I'm self-absorbed enough to write 752 posts about me and my life on a blog.

Alas, you all have so much to learn! And apparently, I have so much to learn about myself, too.

Thankfully, I have my children to help me (and you) out.

For Mother's Day, my Triple Threat made me cards at 4-K. On the front is a very pretty handprint flower, and on the inside, my children filled out a form called "All About My Mom." Here are their answers. (I did take the my writer's liberty of rebuttal, which you'll find in the parenthesis below their responses.)

All About Mom
by Keenan

My mom's name is Mommy.
(Off to a good start, my boy!)

Her favorite color is Yellow.
(Whoa! 2 for 2!)

Her favorite food is Rice.
(By now, Keenan's thinking: enough about my mom, let's talk about me!)

Mom's favorite restaurant is McDonald's.
(Seriously, WTF?!?!?)

Mom's favorite game to play is Cards.
(I'm a closet gambler.
Whew.
I feel so much better putting that out there on my blog.)

Her favorite TV is Movies.
(Not really,
but I am fond of putting a movie on
if it guarantees me 30 minutes of peace)

My favorite thing to do with my mom is Just Play.
(Awwww. . . )

For Mother's Day, my mom would like Flowers.
(Bingo!)

My mom is Awesome because She Makes Me Lunch.
(Funny he says that,
because he is my kid who never eats lunch
unless I threaten no school, no play, no etc.)

All About Mom
by Miles


My mom's name is Sarah Cruz.
(so he did listen to me!)

Her favorite color is White.
(I'm guessing he mistook for my race.
Cause I'm white,
And he's chocolate,
and Cousin Maisie is pink)

Her favorite food is Salad.
(Yum-o!)

Mom's favorite restaurant is The Ducky Restaurant.
(Apparently, my boys missed the memo that Mom is a vegetarian)

Mom's favorite game to play is The Matching Game
(he means Memory.
And I must be a very good actress
because I'd rather pluck my eye out with a spork than play Memory.
But I play it every day,
over
and over
and over
again.)

Her favorite TV show is Elf
(You sit on a throne of lies.
You smell of meat and cheese.)

For Mother's Day, my mom would like A Race Car
(Miles made it 7 questions before
he decided to bring it back to himself.
Therefore,
I shall bequeath him more in my estate
than Keenan or Paloma.)

My Mom is Awesome because She Gives Us Nice Food
(I'll remember you said that
the next time I serve you brussel sprouts, kid)

All About Mom
by Paloma
(Why was I a bit scared to open my card
and see what Po wrote?)


My mom's name is Sarah
(I'm just grateful she didn't say,
No match for me.)


Her favorite color is Yellow.
(Wow, Po!)

Her favorite food is Salad.
(Yes, I do like salad)

Mom's favorite restaurant is The One What Talks Like the Boys andThe One That Likes Me.
(she's referring to Los Magueyes.
She is treated like Princess Paloma there.
The wait staff, who all have strong accents,
often carried her around while she was a toddler,
talking to her,
giving her treats and showing her off.
)

Mom's favorite game to play is Ring Around the Rosie.
(do I even know that one?!?)

Her favorite TV show is The Packer Game. She Loves It.
(I'm laughing so hard I can't even bring myself to respond.)

My favorite thing to do with my mom is I love to sneak into her bed and sleep next to her.
(What the heck does she mean, sneak?
The kid comes in with banners and a 21 gun salute!
I haven't had a full nights sleep in over 4 years!
Sheesh!)


For Mother's Day my mom would like A Heart of Chocolate or Chicken.
(As Atticus would say:
Mom wants a Chicken Heart?!?
Gross!!!
)


My Mom is Awesome because She Loves Me and Gives Me Chocolate
(Whoever said bribery is bad was stupid.
It's working here, folks!)




Wednesday, May 05, 2010

It's Mine, All Mine!

Insert evil victory laugh (here.)
Please excuse me while I wholly and unapologetically neglect my mothering, household, wifely and blogging duties while I happily devour the 10th book from the most delicious vampire series ev-ah.

Upon my return I shall explain why Sookie Stackhouse and the accompanying tv series saved my sanity and made me a better mother, nicer wife, faster runner and cleared up my complexion all at the same time.

(Okay, I'm lying about the complexion part, but I happen to think this series is just all that.)

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Paloma's Soccer Debut

A few notes about this video:

1) She did not learn the dance from me.

2) The kids were playing Sharks and Minnows, which is why everyone is running around haphazardly (although my daughter is just standing there). We do understand the basics of the actual game up nort' here.

3) Notice Miles in the background, streaking by. I tried panning him a few times but he was too hard to track on my camera.

4) Again, contrary to whatever the Mister posts in the Comments section, Paloma did not learn the dance from me.



We are SO proud.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Quote of the Day

Our Triple Threat (minus Keenan) started soccer this evening.

Upon it's finish, Miles was exhausted from running up and down the field, a constant blur because he can run faster than any kid there.

(I'm being serious; this is the truth and not just a Mama Brag. Granted, it is also that, but it's genuinely the truth. The boy can R-U-N)

Paloma was exhausted because she spent the evening doing the Soccer-Shake-Your-Booty-Dance on the field while watching the other kids play.

(Unfortunately, I'm also being serious here. I'm sure every other adult out there was watching Po and thinking, "Huh, I bet that kid's mother is a Pole Dancer.")

Miss Mighty Po, upon returning to the car clutching the coveted chocolate chip granola bar given out as the team treat, remarked:

"Whew. I need to eat this chocolate to make me feel like myself again."

Man, I love that kid.

May's Mantra: Get Serious about Play

This is my schedule today:

8:30 am Haircuts for Miles and Atticus
9-noon Homeschool, while somewhere in there making play-dough for the 4-K
Noon- 3:15 4K for Paloma, Miles and Keenan
1:00 Chiro for Moi
1:30-3:00 More Homeschool, Laundry, Dinner Prep, etc.
4:00 Dance for Atticus
4:15 Dance for Paloma
5:15 Dance Pickup
6:00-7:00 Soccer for Paloma, Miles and Keenan
6:15-7:00 Dance for Hatfield

Today starts our two-week stretch where our Dance season and our Soccer season overlap. While I'm always careful not to overschedule our kids, this is just a stretch that I cannot do anything about. Because the Scheduling Fairy has a sick sense of humor.

Needless to say, May's Mantra: Get Serious about Play is sorely needed.

Last month, April, was one of the suckiest of all time for me. Challenges with the kids, with the marriage, with my energy level, with migraines, bad news in the extended family, more deaths in the extended family. I felt as if I spent most of the time walking around dazed, wondering, Is this really my life? 'Cuz I'm not so sure this is what I had in mind.

This month, May, however, seems to have gotten off to a Wonderful Start. Which is such a relief, because I needed to turn this ship around.

Yesterday was one of the best days ever. The kids and I spent two hours at a local park, hanging out with Jill and her girls, and another new mom friend named Angie, who is just about the nicest person I ever met, and 3 of her kids, including her son and daughter adopted from Haiti.

I owe Corey a huge THANK YOU! for facilitating this meeting.

How funny is it that it takes a friend in Virginia to set you up on a "blind date" with a gal who lives less than 2 miles from your own home?

So here's the deal:
To spend two hours at a park,
watching your children joyously play with people who look like them
(you transracial families out there know what I mean),
while you spend two hours talking
and visiting
with a Mom who is dealing with her own attachment challenges
and who completely understands you
and who is so willing to share her own experiences
and give you great, honest, constructive feedback
and who makes you laugh
is
absolutely
amazing.

I came home on Cloud Nine, feeling like I was gonna cry, but in a good way. It was such a happy relief. The kids came home on Cloud Nine, having a great time with Jill's girls and Angie's kids at a great park.

It was just what we all needed.
And we have set up another playdate for next Saturday.

It was a great way to start off May with a focus on Play.
I am so ready and willing for this month to begin.
Let the Games Begin!