Tag Archive: Mom


Slow As

Things have been slow and kind of sepia toned around here. Everyone was sick, about three week worth of, and I’ve been depressed. I’m not through it yet, but I seem to be on the ever so pokey upswing. There is no sickness. Everyone is better, except me. I am trying. I swear.

For me, I kind of shuffle along wondering what the hell is wrong with me for a while (usually for a day or two, but this time for more than a week) feeling ill, but not really being sick; lethargic; sad; hypersensitive; easily irritated; TIRED; and negative. Then I open my eyes one day and see that I’ve fallen into the bottom of a well that seems so deep there is no view of sunlight at the mouth. It’s like I’ve fallen swift and silent to the deeps of depression. Gently landing at the silt lined bottom so that I don’t even know I’m there until I finally gaze around myself and see the truth.

The climb out is slow and laborious. It feels like swimming through molasses: draining and sucking, cloudy and opaque. The first step out for me seems to be the moment I recognize my mental surroundings and pinpoint the hallmarks of what’s happening to me. Then as I process that I find that I can talk about it a little. Let my people know what’s up. Cry at them some and begin the painful process of beating myself up over my failings. It’s a backwards way to function for sure, but that is where I am right now.

I’m doing more. Participating in life more, but it’s like this quicksand that is sucking at my brain and body and refusing to let me go. I feel bogged down and the effort to function, even minimally, is so, so, so hard. I have kids, though, people, and I homeschool them. Somehow that saves me. I have a purpose. One I cannot shirk. So I do not, at least so far as my kids are concerned. Me on the other hand? Eh.

The evenings seem to be the worst.

When I come to the end of my rope with my kids. When I look around and see how much I didn’t accomplish. When I stare into the fridge and just wanna go get hamburgers. When I look in the mirror and hate what I see. When I recount what crap I’ve put into my body when I wasn’t even hungry. When I go to bed feeling like I’ve failed again for one more day. Egads. That’s freaking depressing.

I get up even though I don’t want to. Mostly I don’t shower, but I did this morning. I haven’t been doing what my PT said to and my back has started acting up again. So I stretched this morning like I’m supposed to. First time in a long time. I put on clothes. Sometimes they are clean and sometimes not depending on whether I’ve been able to wrangle up enough energy and care to get some laundry done. I get out the clothes for the kids and order all types of brushings to occur. I brush my own teeth. Brushing my teeth is a must no matter what. I fix the kids’ breakfast and get my first cup of coffee and make Pieces’ lunch for preschool (four days a week) and I do morning e-checks: email, facebook, google+, news feed, blogs I follow. Then I set up Chi’s workbook work and go over it with him before taking Pieces to school. Then I come home and school begins. This can take anywhere from an hour per kid to four hours total depending on their attitudes and how much challenge they are up for. A snack time for the kids occurs about halfway through school and after school comes lunch. What we have varies on my energy level.

For Depression. I haz it.

Then we pick up Pieces and run errands if there are any to be had. At this point, I should come home and work with Pieces on reading and maybe do a load of laundry and clean something. But what’s been happening since the holidays expired is a whole lotta nothin’. I am mostly completely done. All I want to do is crawl under the covers and sleep until the next day starts. I’m having a hard time even having kids over to play with my kids because I don’t want to be around anybody. I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to socialize. I avoid the phone like the plague and I don’t write or do anything else creative. I’m in the middle of crocheting a gift for my cousin who had a baby right after Christmas, and I struggle to work on it (Sorry, Bec!). I’ll get it done, but at this rate, Little Jack might be heading into Kindergarten.

I’m mostly saying all of this as an explanation for my lack of posting. I have almost nothing positive to say and I’d rather stay positive here, especially since this depression feels so effing self-centered. So I’ll stop now before I get even more sick of myself, but I’d like to say one last thing.

Pieces read a book. He was ever so proud of himself. It was the first book of Level One of the BoB books. It had about 5 different words, but he really got what we were doing with those letter sounds he’s been working so hard to learn. It felt really good right when I really needed it to when his face lit up and he announced to his dad that he “read a book about Mat and Sam. They sat. On each other and by each other.”

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I’m not real big into the whole “New Year’s” thing. I don’t, on the whole, look back at my year with grateful fondness, or wistful nostalgia, or even apathy. It was a time period. It passed. What’s coming up this afternoon? Tomorrow? Next weekend?

In the same vein, I do not look forward with gleeful hopes of major lifestyle changes. I don’t plan lists of resolutions that will get dumped and/or forgotten in the first few days of the year. Sure, I have things I’d like to change about myself: lose weight, eat better, get more exercise, be more patient, smile more, laugh more, etc. But this dreamer is a realist and I know that making a giant list of “THIS IS WHAT I’M GOING TO DO, DAMMIT” is just setting myself up to fail which injures a self-esteem that wobbles from assured and confident to shattered and bewildered and back again.

Those things I’ve listed? I like to think I work on them always. I’m far from perfect and I’m a professional rebel. I question all authority, even that which I have over myself. “Self,” I say, “Self, sodas are bad for you. They rot your teeth and they are addictive and they make you fat(ter).” Self gives me the finger and has soda. So I have to play mind games with Self and trick it (me). (I AM NOT CRAZY!)

So, anyway. What I thought I wanted to say, was that with all the above mentioned things in mind (that’s YOU keeping those things in mind since I already know them), I was thinking about this year passed. It was a year like any other, I guess. It had bad, dark moments, months even, but then the light always broke through and things got better.

There were things like:

My back. It was awful at the beginning of the year. I was heading into month four and I was still almost completely stuck lying flat, no sitting or standing. Very little vertical allowed or even possible. The pain was awful. I saw my chiropractor two times a week until March or so and then I saw him every week until August when I was finally able to start physical therapy. Now I go once a month and physical therapy is over. And you know what? I’m better. I’m still at risk for surgery, but I have tools to help myself, now. Yoga for one and Tai Chi for another. Pain is minimal and sometimes gone altogether which is a revelation!

Chi. His third grade year was so much better than his second grade year thanks almost entirely to Miz Eff, his third grade teacher. We fretted and worried and planned and prepared and still I just knew that Chi was going to bomb that End of Grade test, but when we got his scores, he was among the top 5% in his grade. And all with no drama. He just let that test roll right off him as if it was nothing. I’m still not sure if it was nothing because we prepared so much, or because Chi was just inexplicably unaffected. Then we started homeschool in the fall and that has exceeded my wildest imaginings for what it would do for him. He is wholly himself. He hops around on his exercise ball and answers questions. He will even write a few sentences with no complaints. He loves school. He is more calm and collected than ever and seems so at ease in his own skin. A first.

Pynni. The start of 2011 began the odyssey that pushed me over the edge and made the decision to homeschool. It has been a hard row to hoe with her, but we seem to have hit our stride. I can only guess that most of our issues stem from how her Kindergarten experience damaged her self-esteem. It took four long months but she is reading. The light returned to her eyes when she was reading a short book to me and as she struggled through and sounded out all the words without any help from me, I touched her cheek to get her attention and said, “Pynni. You’re reading. Do you realize that? You. Are. Reading.” A grin that became a full on smile that lit the room (I swear) dawned across her face. Every so often, now, she’ll be reading quietly to herself and turn suddenly and say to me, “I really love to read!” All of that has made school with her easier, quicker and more enjoyable for the both of us.

Pieces. My fabulous, jolly little man is in preschool again and again it is all business. He loves it, but he is very serious about school. And it turns out, he may be my smartest child. He knows all of everything he is supposed to know for Kindergarten already. I’m going to start teaching him to read.

Doodle. He lived with us for most of 2011. Things got strained at the end. Things that are too personal, and still yet, painful to put down here. He moved out and then promptly got a new job and moved away. I will not be seeing him much anymore, although we talk on the phone. We have a very special relationship, my brother and me, and distance has never interfered, but I miss his presence. With his move comes the reality that his kids won’t be here much anymore, but we will get them here for a week or so every summer. I can be happy with that. Content? No, but happy and grateful for any amount of time for sure.

Grandad. My maternal grandfather was hospitalized after Thanksgiving. He’s had bypass surgery before and due to his age and heart issues, he is no longer a candidate for bypass surgery. Things were very sketchy for him there for a bit. He is very at peace with where he is in life and what his life has represented. He is a Godly man who has spent much of his adult life ministering to those in need, and I don’t mean preaching. His life is such a great example of what being Christian means. I can look at his example and be less jaded. Still, I am not ready to say good-bye and I am very grateful that he pulled through and is at home recovering.

Yeah, 2011 was mostly good. I’m sure I could month by month it and list all the things, good and bad. But I won’t. 2011 ended and I’m moving onward, but resolutions? Nah. I’m constantly working on bettering myself. One thing, though. I’m making my cousin a scarf or something, even though she hasn’t blogged SINCE JUNE!

So, I don’t know how many of you have sensory issues, but it turns out that I do. These are things that I’ve always just “dealt” with because I thought that was just how life is. I’ve said it before, but I’ll reiterate: I cope. It’s what I do.

So for ease of organization. A list. A litany, if you will, if my visual ills.

  1. I’ve always had issues with my eyes. I have stupid good eyesight. I can see very far away from myself without having issues reading things close to my face. Off and on throughout my life, I’ve had to wear glasses for reading, but that never seems to stick.
  2. I’m terribly nightblind. I have a really hard time seeing at night. My theory on this is that I naturally focus further away from myself than the beams of my headlights reach. It makes me feel like I can’t see because my natural focus distance is all shrouded in darkness. I don’t know if that makes me not truly nightblind, but there you are.
  3. I can’t stand pointy things. Pencils, straws, construction cones, fingers…many many things. An example of this is eating dinner out with friends and/or family and everyone having a straw in their cups. It just about kills me, all those straws taunting me with their poking, as if they are just waiting to gouge into my eyes. Intellectually, I know that won’t happen, but it doesn’t make those poking straws go away or hurt my eyes any less. Another example is teaching school. My kids incessantly fiddle and fidget with their pencils. THEY POINT THEM AT MY EYES ALMOST CONSTANTLY. What the hell is wrong with them? Don’t they know that HURTS me? *ahem* Anyway, so I’m constantly redirecting and/or stealing the pencils to keep them from poking deep into my retinas and digging into my brains. It is a physical, painful reaction to these things for me and it makes my sick to my stomach when it happens. Funny? Maybe. My reality? Definitely.
  4. Light hurts my eyes bad enough you’d think I was a vampire. It’s bad enough that lights on anywhere in the house at night will wake me from a dead sleep. Hurting me. srsly. But I can’t watch TV in the dark. It gives me a headache. There has to be light on in the room with me or in an adjacent room where the light spills in through the doorway or something.
  5. I don’t like 3-D anything. You remember those posters from the 90’s that were all the rage? Where you stare at them with relaxed eyes and see the hidden image? Yeah, I HATE those. They hurt me in a visceral way. And 3-D movies? FUHGEDABOUDIT! no way. They make my eyes feel all wonky and misshapen and give me a headache and motion sickness (which is really a whole other sensory issue. Hello, vestibular system!).
  6. My eyes are the wrong shape for my eye sockets. This is fact. I can feel it, and you can’t tell me otherwise. They are big and bulbous and they feel gooey and gross. If I press the heels of my hands into my eyes, everything gets better. When I was pregnant with Pieces, I went to the eye doctor because my eyes were such the wrong shape and hurting me all the time that my brother, who was living with us at the time, said, “Well, go get your eyes checked.” Which sounds so simple, I can’t believe I didn’t think to do that for myself. Of course, I could see fine, but I could barely look at things anymore because my eyes WERE THE WRONG DAMN SHAPE AND SIZE! So I went, and the Optometrist says, (please note: these are not direct quotes, but a general synopsis of a five year old conversation.) “Well, you are the slightest bit farsighted, but other than that, and the barest hint of an astigmatism, you are fine. Except, what you describe to me says you notice the astigmatism and that just shouldn’t be. Most people can’t tell anything is off when it’s this slight. It’s not even necessary for you to have vision correction for this, but because you are WHINING SO LOUDLY seriously miserable, I will give you a script for lenses, but you won’t have to legally wear them to drive. In fact, you shouldn’t have to wear them all that much.” HA! HA, I say! Those glasses have been like a freaking revelation for me. When I wear them, I feel like I’m wearing sunglasses, because the sun doesn’t make me turn away and hiss. My eyes are suddenly my eyes again and they don’t feel wrong. They don’t feel wrong shaped or too big or gooey or anything. I WEAR THESE GLASSES ALL THE TIME.

It was supposed to be a pic of Pynni and I but we had a photo session stow away.

I believe these things could be applied to Pynni. When she complains about her eyes, I feel like she is describing myself. I’ve even tried looking at things out of the corner of my eye to see if it makes the POKING better (I can’t see that it does anything but strain the muscles of my eyes). And I took her to a Pediatric Opthamologist. Yesterday. All of her eye muscles work exactly right. She has fantastic eye sight. She has extremely good distance vision. She has a very slight astigmatism. Now, at the time, I just nodded and smiled. I was trying to be okay with the outcome of this appointment. She’s FINE! She has NO EYE PROBLEMS!

But she does. She has eye problems. She rubs her eyes constantly and complains about pain and looks askance at so many things. I don’t know why I didn’t say, “but I have that very same astigmatism and glasses cleared so much of those symptoms up for me.” Maybe because he’d just finished telling me not to take her to an optometrist (with a bit of a sneer to be honest) because that would be an enormous waste of money. He recommended getting her tested for a learning disability (which is valid) and taking her to an occupational therapist for assessment for a sensory integration disorder (this at my prompting. He admitted to not know much about sensory issues).

The further I get from this appointment, the more clearly I see that I have to get her glasses. I at the very worst it won’t help anything I will have wasted money trying, but my every instinct tells me this will help. Occupational therapy for visual sensitivities is difficult at best and Chi’s OT told me that auditory and visual sensory issues were the hardest to treat because there isn’t much you can do but plug your ears and cover your eyes to make them better. The most you can do is address other issues (and wear noise canceling headphones) and reduce the amount of sensory sensitivities in that way making the ones you can’t directly address easier to bear. Right.

So I’m going to (another bullet point list, aren’t you EXCITED?!?):

  • Take Pynni to that Optometrist and bully him into glasses
  • I think that will help Pynni tremendously and address her issues, but
  • I will be scheduling a meeting with a child psychologist (psychiatrist? I can’t ever remember which is which) and have her assessed for a learning disorder.
  • If that doesn’t yield any results, and if the glasses aren’t the answer I suspect they will be, then I will get her assessed by an OT, one that is a visual specialist, preferably.

Anyway, I feel very positive now that I’ve decided to make my own diagnoses based on facts given to me by a very competent, if moderately condescending (not to me), eye doctor.

Dear Chi;

Happy #10, Chi!

At 3:11am on this day ten years ago, you were born. You were plump and healthy. You did  not cry. Your eyes were wide and alert and the doctor had to put a knuckle to your chest to get a peep out of you. The minute she removed that knuckle, though, you stopped crying again. What got you going, finally, was being wiped down under those bright lights. All the poking and prodding finally got to you, I guess.

You slept a lot during that first week, and I didn’t have to fight you to get you on a schedule. Turns out, that was going to be the mantra to live by with you. Schedule. Schedule. Schedule. But that’s alright because I like schedules, too. Also, it turns out, that the poking and prodding and bright lights would make you cry for years to come. Sensory processing disorders are like that, and yours manifested very early on.

I’ve always been so happy with you no matter how difficult the little things have gotten. I love that you are your own person. I love that you don’t do whatever everyone else around you is doing. I love that fads pass right by our house with nary a pause. I love that you are so fabulously odd and so wildly unique that I’ve yet to meet a kid that reminds me of you. I love that your imagination is larger than the universe and that you can slip into that world so effortlessly. I love your perspective on things and the comments you make about what is going on around you. I love that sarcasm makes no sense to you. I love that you will explain sarcastic comments and figures of speech to those around you, namely your brother and sister.

I love what a great big brother you are. I love that you would be content to have 10 younger siblings. I love how snuggly and loving you are. I love your soft heart.

Things will be difficult for us: namely navigating a world designed for the neuro-typical. But we will always be there for each other and you will always have me.

I can’t believe you are ten, and yet somehow, that’s just right. Happy Birthday, Chi. I love you more than I can ever express and beyond.

~~Mom

Do you remember, Mom?

Do you remember, Mom, teaching me to make cookies? The dough was always my favorite part. I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, watching the Sound of Music and Little Women over and over and over with me? Watching Singing in the Rain? I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, how we were too chicken to try out the subways in NYC until the very end of our trip, and how we swore we’d go back, just to use the transit system properly? I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, the awesome birthday parties when I was growing up: the backwards birthday party, the slumber parties, the parties centered around really fun games, the McDonald’s Caboose parties? I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, singing songs to each other and to my kids? Do a deer, Favorite Things, Second Story Window, and others? “Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes. Snowflakes that  stay on my nose and eyelashes. Silver white winters that melt into spring. These are a few of my favorite things.”  I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, when you would wet my hair and braid it? Sometimes it was one braid and sometimes two, but always it was this perfect French braid. I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, when we would sing in the car together? I would sit on the armrest of the Malibu like it was my own personal chair and we would belt out songs. I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, teaching me the nursery rhyme song and how much fun it was to try and come up with as many nursery rhymes as we could? “Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard to get her poor dog a bone. When she went there, the cupboard was bare so she threw it out the window. The window, the window, the second story window. With a heave and a ho and a mighty throw, she threw it out the window!” I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, teaching me to play Nardle? I remember playing over and over, and having SO much fun. I ended up teaching friends, I liked it so much. I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, building a snowman in the snow? I think we were in Ft Smith, which means you were pregnancy encumbered, but I had a blast. Thanks to you. I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, drying my hair and ironing it on the ironing board? I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, laying face to face on the bed (or floor or where ever) upside down to one another? Do you remember the funny upside down faces and the laughing? I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, playing boardgames in the camper at the end of the night when we all went camping? I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, just you and I going to the movies and seeing tear jerkers and crying on each others shoulders? I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, going for drives and getting Sonic sodas and beef meximelts from Taco Bell? Do you remember sitting at the lock and watching the river flow by? I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, going shopping in Little Rock, just us? I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, swimming at Meemaw and Grandad’s house for hours on end? “Fish on land!!” I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, going to see all those musicals? I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, teaching me to play the piano? How I preferred to memorize the songs as opposed to reading the music? How I hated theory? I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, all those duets we loved to play together on the piano? You always played the bass clef because I was ruined from playing the clarinet for so long. Bass clef required all kinds of counting and figuring out what was what for me anymore. I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, being there for the birth of my children? I remember.

Making Memories

Do you remember, Mom, holding me and loving me? Yeah, all those times you’ve always been there. I love you, Mom, I’m so thankful for you and all the memories we’ve made. I may not know your birth story the way your mom tells it to you, but I know your life story as I’ve lived it with you. I look forward to all of the memories we will make going forward and all the times you will hold me and love me.

Happy birthday, Mom. I love you.

Lamp Post Academy

We just wrapped up our second week of homeschool at Lamp Post Academy and I’ve learned a few things.

    1. Mornings are the best time for school because the kids are more alert and their attention spans seem longer.
    2. Chi has some sort of mental block with doing math problems when they are presented to him in 10 rows of 10.
    3. Pynni is much more advanced in mathematics than Saxon starts out in the First Grade year. Today was day 8 of school and Pynni completed Lesson 26 today. I think she is still beyond a lot of what we’re doing, but Saxon gradually introduces new concepts and spends a lot of time reviewing previous concepts, so when the book started in with addition, I stopped jumping ahead.
    4. Pynni is too far advanced in reading to be taught side by side with Pieces, so I have Pieces stay upstairs, which he hates when Pynni is downstairs with me. I have been able to move Pynni forward by 30 lessons because she knows all her letters and their sounds.
    5. I cannot effectively teach Chi and Pynni math, writing, grammar, and reading simultaneously. For example: I was trying to teach them math at the same time by giving Chi his warm-up worksheet and then doing the lesson of the day with Pynni. Then, while Pynni works on her daily worksheet, I do the daily lesson with Chi. Problem: Chi can’t pay attention when there is too much going on in the room and his noise canceling headphones do not help. With writing and grammar and reading, Chi is too advanced and answering questions based on a narrated passage is something Pynni is just learning to do while Chi can answer those questions with detail and extrapolation in complete sentences.
    6. Pynni was taught to memorize sight words in Kindergarten and is struggling with phonics, but she is actually able to read some Dr. Seuss books only 8 days into school that she couldn’t have read before.
    7. I have come up against the “I-don’t-knows” from Pynni that her subs last year must have encountered. She seems to think it’s cute to get the answers wrong a couple of times before getting the right answer. The REALLY irritating thing is that she KNOWS the right answer. I know this because I hear her mutter the correct answer under her breath before she deliberately, and with a coy little smile, answers incorrectly. INFURIATING.
    8. I’ve instituted a positive reinforcement strategy and award them stickers for completing a subject with no-fuss. They turn their sheets of stickers, which they can potentially fill in a week, for prizes. I’ve had to increase the cost of the prizes, otherwise we’ll go broke.
    9. Right now, due to having to teach each child individually to meet Chi’s needs, I teach Pynni math, grammar, writing and reading before bringing the boys downstairs for joint penmanship. Then Pynni and Pieces go upstairs while I do the same with Chi. I may have to alternate kids every other subject because Pynni gets done with the sitting after math. I’ve tried jumping-jacks after each subject to get her more alert, but it is short lived. I’ve tried giving her gum to stimulate her, but she just smacks it and blows bubbles while planning how to incorrectly answer questions. I just don’t know how Chi will tolerate that.
    10. School time with Pynni can be as short as 45 minutes or as long as 2 hours depending on her cooperation and attitude. This fluid time does not suit Chi at all. I’m planning to start with Chi next week and then transition to Pynni. I let you know how it goes.

      Silly to the MAX

    11. I’m having to take deep breaths and practice “raw spaghetti, cooked spaghetti” to be okay with Chi hopping all over the room during school. He IS learning and paying attention. He IS. (“Have patience, have patience, don’t be in such a hurry…” etc. It’s my constant mantra)
    12. Using white boards, and chalkboards makes Chi much happier than having to put pencil to paper.
    13. Pynni has some sort of visual sensitivity. I’ve noticed some signs of this before, but it hasn’t seemed to effect her in broad terms. These past two weeks she has complained of her eyes hurting and she rubs them during school almost constantly. She rarely looks directly at anything that is in writing. She told me it hurts to look at things so I like it sideways. I’m going to talk to her pediatrician about it and she may not be severe enough to need an OT, but I’m going to need to do some reading on it and see if there is anything I can do to help her. Chi’s OT said that visual and auditory sensitivities are the hardest to address with visual being even harder than auditory so there may not be anything except help her learn to cope.
    14. I really can do the school part of the day at any time if I need to.

Well, it’s been fun and frustrating, eye-opening and challenging. We will add the two new language arts next week and after our break in mid-September we will be adding Biology and History. Should be entertaining at the very least.

Mine was prettier.

I spent between four and five hours one day setting up this app I had purchased for the purpose of organizing my homeschool. It’s an app for teachers and has a grade book and class roster and attendance sheet, etc. IT DOES EVERYTHING! for the low, low price of $30!

Except be useful.

It used iCal to set up the schedule, which I did when prompted and when I wrangled and worked and struggled and cursed and STILL couldn’t get the lesson planner part of this app to work right, I just entered my lesson plan into each “event” in iCal. I got everything completed through the end of 2011.

Then the app wanted me to “sync the calendar” which I was hesitant to do, but what the heck, I’d bought this app to help streamline my school year.

Yeah, well. The app sync’d the iCal stuff incorrectly and DELETED EVERYTHING from iCal in the process. All that work was gone, and since Time Machine had encountered an error first thing that morning? No backup. Yeah.

I cried. A lot.

So I started again. Things went faster this time because I didn’t have to look through every single book and read lessons to decide what to do when. I was able to plug the info into the calendar again. I only did the first four weeks of school, which takes us up to our first break.

Then I tried to eliminate the messed up schedule out of the app and…

My Hero!

Yeah, it DELETED EVERYTHING in iCal. Again. So yeah. I’m done with that app whether it was user error or not. I am not a computer noob. I am fairly proficient tech-wise and I know enough to troubleshoot system issues if not always fix them so I really don’t think it’s that I’m too dense to figure this app out. But, you never know.

I was crying, and well, to be honest, throwing a bit of a temper tantrum about it when my husband came home from work. My brother told him that he needed to write a program for me to do the things I need. Hubs looked at me and said, “Just use Google docs and calendar. That way it’s saved off site and won’t be accidentally deleted.”

Genius.

So, that’s what I did. It’s not perfect and doesn’t do a few things that I really wish it did, but what it hasn’t done is fail to sync correctly with iCal and DELETE EVERYTHING.

Kids Galore

It has been a crazy busy summer. Five kids are loud. Five kids are messy. Five kids eat A LOT. Five kids make a lot of dirty laundry. Five kids are needy.

And yet, as summer draws to a close as we near the day that Kip and Mae will return to their mother, I find that I am not relieved.

Five kids are loving. Five kids are funny. Five kids are snuggly. Five kids are helpful. Five kids are entertaining. Five kids say the silliest things. Five kids make my heart HUGE. Five kids fill the minutes and hours and make them fly.

Part of my heart will head to California in less than two weeks and I am at a complete loss. How do I impart my love for the two that are leaving? How do I leave them with certain knowledge that they are loved, here at my house, unconditionally?

I will miss these kids tremendously and I will look forward with excitement to Christmas break, when we will get to see them again.

Kip, Chi, Pynni, Mae, and Pieces

I may write about some of the things we’ve done this summer later. Right now, I just want to hold them close to my heart.

Well, we are in the home stretch. School for my elementary kids ends on June 10. (Pieces’ last day of school was last Thursday) We’ve successfully navigated this year and it was a hard row to hoe, but every obstacle brings a learning experience and I can only hope that I’ve learned…something. Patience? One can hope.

Chi finished the EOG’s and was none the worse for wear. AND HE PASSED!  He got 3 out of a possible 4 on the reading and combined math tests with 2 requiring a retest and 1 meaning “sorry there is no hope for you”. So, yay! He has, since, struggled with the changes in his daily schedule because, well, it’s the end of the year and there’s retesting for those who got a 2 which puts all the kids who passed in different classrooms where they have to be quiet. (and in case you forgot? Chi is almost NEVER quite, during sleep included.) Still. It’s close to the end and I can’t help but breathe a giant sigh of relief.

Both of my kids have moved on to the next level. I will be teaching it to them. I’ve discovered that it’s possible to be so excited about something you can’t sit still and paralyzed with a sick fear of making the wrong decision all at the same time.

Large Feelings

If I had been told, prior to having children, how difficult, how wrenching it would be, and I took those words to heart, I would never have become a mother.

If I had known then, how hard it was to raise a truly unique individual, one who doesn’t meet anyone’s definition of normal (yeah, yeah, I know that whole “what is normal anyway?” crap, but until you’ve met or loved or dealt with a person on the spectrum, you truly have no idea (I put myself in that category, I assure you)), I would have shied away from starting a family that included more than furry children. If I had known how whole my heart had been before it had been touched with children, and how it would tear into little pieces every time one of them hurts, I would have insisted on more birth control. If I had even an inkling of how children in my life was going to completely throw me into an identity crisis that could have killed me; had I known beforehand that I would struggle with the face staring at me in the mirror for years after the birth of my son; had I been able to divine the future and see that I would give up my dreams of continuing education indefinitely for children; I mostly likely would have run screaming in the opposite direction of parenthood.

Had I known the ramifications of unprotected sex, truly understood them, I would have clamped my knees together and demanded a damned chastity belt.

But then.

I would never have experienced how large my heart could grow to accommodate these children. I would never have seen my husband hold his babies in his arms and feel my love for him grow exponentially with each one. I would never have completely fallen apart at the thought of losing one of my kids and then found the iron core within myself to fight for their happiness. I would never have heard their little voices laughing with the sheer, unadulterated joy of life and breathing. I would never have gotten to view the world through the eyes of a child as an adult. I would never have looked into the clear eyes of my children and seen the purest, truest kind of love shining back at me.

I would never have known what it is to be someone’s parent and not their best friend.

I would never have been able to embrace the ways in which my parents’ raised me. I would not be able to look back at things I’d considered unfair or uncaring at the time they happened and see the love of my parents blazing out at me. I would never have experienced the bliss that I feel whenever my kids run and hug on my parents.

I would never be able to look my mom in the eye and tell her that I know. I know and I love her and I’m grateful.

Being a parent is hard. There are no words that can hold the amount of effort, the amount of pain, the amount of fear, the amount of irritation, the amount of lost sleep that being a parent contains.

But there is so much that makes it the best experience of my life.

Not the least of which is the end of I and the beginning of we.