Friday, March 29, 2013


We've both kinda eluded to Things...sorta.  In a round-about, not-quite-ready-for-primetime way.  It's not my tale to tell.  Not really.  He'll share when he's ready.

But I can share this...he and I deal with Stress much the same way...yet differently than Normal.  Funny thing, that.  We are the opposite of Stress Eaters.  The shiny side of the last few months is that we are both sporting svelter silhouettes than we've had in years.  In my case, since I was 13.  The thing is, I didn't exactly have the extra pounds to lose.  I'm working on reminding myself to eat--yes, I actually need to do that.  In the meantime, I broke down and bought a new pair of jeans.  In a size I can't recall ever wearing before and in a color I've never owned.  Because I'm 41 and I can.

My ankle Issue still continues to baffle the doctors.  The MRI contradicts the bone scan.  I currently have four different specialty doctors attempting to interpret what it all means.  In the meantime, I remain in the Boot.  I loath the Boot.

On a shiny note...the younglings and I are all on spring break.  A week of Nothing stretches out in front of us. No school lunches to make.  No sleepy 2nd graders to coax out of bed.  No early morning school buses to catch.  No alarm clocks.  Nothing.  And it is Welcome.  We have a few plans.  One or two fun things on the books (I'm sure there'll be pictures). Though, it's slightly surreal to think that when we return to school, the girl and I will only have eight weeks of school left.  Then she's on to kindergarten.  Don't blink.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Winter dragging its heels...

The peach tree knew it was spring...someone forgot to tell the weather!

It finally SNOWED!

After watching the snow fall all through supper, 
they could not get suited up and outside fast enough!

Even Bella T. Doggie made a snow her own special way...

Perfect packing snow...I may, or may not, have started the snowball fight.

Schools are already closed for tomorrow.  
Hopefully there'll be some of this left for them to play in!

Saturday, March 23, 2013 pictures...

The day began with putting the finishing touches on 
a sweet purple and pink princess cake 
and delivering it to the birthday girl...

Then we made our way to another birthday party... definitely not a princess party! The birthday boy loves reptiles and his mom found a woman who brings an amazing collection to your house.  Jacob amazed everyone with his immense and impressive knowledge of everything they brought out.  She sat this Tango Lizard (non-venomous) down in front of him and he jumped back thinking it was a Gila Monster (venomous).  They had an albino boa constrictor who was getting over a respiratory issue and ended up sneezing all over a few of them.  I learned something new.  Snakes sneeze.  


Our day ended with the cub scout's annual Pine Wood Derby Race...
the tension and competition was intense!

The boy wanted to make a Star Wars' car, but wanted something unique.  He decided on a Naboo Royal Starship.  His is #11.  It didn't win anything, but he was pretty proud of himself and his accomplishment!

This long, crazy day is done.  

Tomorrow is carved out as a day of rest.  
And we are looking forward to it!

Friday, March 22, 2013

On raising this Boy...

Technically my work day ends at 1pm.  Which is also, conveniently enough, when the wee girl's class is dismissed and we leave together.  Rarely, however, do I have enough to do between 12:30 and 1 to keep me "on the clock".

Today I spent that time, per usual, in the staff office.  Checking email on my phone.  Then I notice I had a missed call from the boy's school.  And a voicemail.  It was his teacher.  His teacher who is actually a long term substitute since his other teacher is currently out on maternity leave. She was following up on an incident from yesterday.  And wanted to talk to me about a picture he had drawn today.

We're raising Calvin.  He draws pictures of aliens invading and humans with chainsaws for ams fighting them off.* He draws pictures of his dad at work.  He writes amazing stories about a Shadow Man and ghost hunters. We've never, ever censored what he's drawn or what he's written. He's 7 years old. He's brilliant.  His imagination is astounding.  And he's our son.  There was never a chance he was going to be Normal.

By the time I listened to the voicemail other co-workers had wandered in.  One whom I share far too much with anyway only because she has six children and the youngest two are friends with my son and our lives overlap on multiple dimensions.  That and I trust her wholly and completely.  As I'm pounding my head on the table she's doing her best to not laugh as she tells me it's going to be just fine.  Another shared a story of her own 2nd grader son drawing an anatomically correct (and, apparently, well hung) leprechaun.  His story? He was just getting dressed and hadn't put his pants on yet.  By the time everyone had shared their stories, had their laughs at my expense they had reassured me (in their on special ways) that it was, indeed, going to Be Okay.

I was able to talk to him before his teacher returned my call returning her call.  He confessed he'd drawn a picture of a person with a sword through his heart. A little more violent than normal but certainly not enough to warrant a phone call.  Until I get the phone call and she said he had named the heart stabbed victim.

Fortunately she made the decision to talk to me first before taking it further. Given the number of stories in the news of schools who have gone way overboard with perceived threats, our conversation could have ended much differently.  For that, at least, I am grateful.

I don't know how to navigate these waters. I certainly don't know how to navigate them on my own.

Yesterday he made a comment that got the guidance counselor involved (and another fun filled phone call).  His reaction statement to his teacher was, "I can say what I want. They're just words. I have Freedom of Speech."

Today I got to explain to him that he's 7. The Bill of Rights really doesn't apply to him. Not only that, the First Amendment has to do with what our government can and cannot do.  It does not give him free reign to say whatever the hell he wants to say. Words have power. And he needed to take responsibility for what comes out of his mouth.  And for what he draws down on paper.  We talked about consequences.  We talked about "red flags." We talked a little about school violence and why his teacher felt like she needed to call me.

I shouldn't have to have these conversations with my 7-year-old. It pisses me off that recent events have schools, and our society as a whole, on edge.  He, and every single other 7-year-old, should be allowed to draw their morbid pictures, write their amazing stories and use their incredible imaginations without their teachers, their principals, their peers, their parents analyzing every single detail.

Again, I'm grateful his teacher talked to me first.  I was able to explain a little about our crazy life, what his dad does, how we are at home. She does know my son well enough to know that he doesn't have a malicious bone in his body.

I'm looking forward to next year when the wee girl is in kindergarten.  And she shares the pictures she draws of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles having inappropriate relations with princesses.

And when I say, "I'm looking forward to it..." I mean, of course, "Someone just shoot me now."

But that would be a "red flag."

*I swear by all that is holy and pure I have never let my children watch "Army of Darkness"! Even though our daughter, upon seeing her dad dressed in a suit and tie, burst out, "Well helloooo, Mr. Fancy Pants!"

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


The boy came home from school sick yesterday.  He's still running a low fever and achy today.  Since himself is currently elsewhere, the boy and I are hanging out watching a special on Mars exploration on the Science Channel.

I have an MRI on my ankle scheduled for tomorrow.  The ortho doc is convinced I tore the tendon since it refuses to get better.

I have a cake to finish for delivery Saturday morning, a birthday party that afternoon and the pine wood derby race that evening.

I don't like it when my children feel icky.  But he's not too bad...just enough of the crud to feel blah.

However, today I have the feeling Someone knew I needed a down day.  And I'm grateful.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The village...

Humans are social critters.  We aren't meant to be alone.  I truly believe that it takes a village to insure we all thrive on this journey we call Life.  I would opine that anyone arguing to the contrary either does not fully understand the concept of a Village or has a very narrow view of what it is.

My childhood and teenage years were spent in a 3rd world country.  I witnessed first hand what a village was.  It was a community.  A community of family, of neighbors, who looked out for one another.  A grandmother who would watch the smaller children while the others were herding the animals.  A mother correcting another woman's child when his own mother's missed the misbehavior.  A group of women who would come together and rebuild a hut what had washed away in the previous night's storm.  No one receiving a hand out, each one giving and taking alike. A community of people who would band together and protect what was theirs.

I'm slowly learning that this concept has its place in 1st world cultures as well.  We've never lived one place long enough for that to sink in.  Until now.

Our village is our church family.  Though small, they are mighty.  When the wee girl was a newborn and, with a husband working midnights I often times felt like a single parent, I knew that all I had to do was get myself and my children to the church--a lot of times, just to the parking lot--and someone would be there to take one.  If my daughter was sleeping in my arms, someone else would take my son to his classroom.  The few times I have been either sick or injured, a friend has come to pick my children up and take them to church, feed them and bring them back home.  Giving me a few precious hours to rest.

Earlier this month, following a couple days of heavy rain, the main drain from our house started backing up again.  Raw sewage filling up our downstair's bathtub. Nothing we did fixed it.  And our paychecks weren't going to stretch far enough to cover a professional to come fix it either.  Our pastor, who knows his way around plumbing, did not ask if he could help.  He simply informed us what the plan of action would be.  He and his eldest son showed up with a rented backhoe and worked well into the night as they dug out the entire length of 80-year-old root infested and broken cast iron pipe and installed new, root resistant PVC pipe.  We will be paying him for supplies and labor.  However, I know for certain he will not charge us what he should.  

Our village is our work family.  For both of us. We've been a part of the preschool family for four years now and some of the amazing women I now work with are among my dearest friends.  We come from different backgrounds, different beliefs, but we're a band of warriors who have each others' backs.  My boss has informed me that any time I need to let our daughter stay longer with the "after school" gang, they will be more than happy to have her.  I also know my daughter loves staying later with her friends which makes the decision free of "mommy guilt." Just as my son did when we were in the long process of obtaining our daughter's arthritis diagnosis.  On the rare occasions when one of us has to stay home with a sick child, everyone merely stretches just a little more to cover for us.

My husband's work community is no different.  They're a tight band, these crazy bomb guys.  Relationships we formed with the same group while still active duty remain strong to this day.  

Our village is the VA. From the very beginning my husband has been looked after, cared for and cared about by the overworked and far underpaid staff at our veteran's hospital.  They have gone above and beyond what they need to do to get him well and whole again.
Our village is our world wide network of friends.  Social media can be a pretty amazing thing.  We simply have to choose to use it for Good and not for Evil.  Not too long ago I was alone one evening while himself was at work, worried about our wee girl who had been dealing with an arthritis flare up and possibly more joints were being effected by the disease.  I sat down and simply wrote, "There's a wee girl sleeping upstairs who could use some warm thoughts and prayers right about now." I was completely and utterly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of responses I received.  Friends and family from all over the world reassuring me that she was constantly in their prayers.  Positive words from friends who would rather not pray. Words of comfort.  Words of peace.

My village is this blog.  Or rather, the friends I've met through it.  There are wonderful, amazing people I've met over the years I've been here sharing my tangled thoughts and scribbles.  I've never met them face to face.  But we are all there for each other--sharing the laughter, the tears, the joy and the heartaches. 

I'm learning how to be a part of all of this. I'm learning, not just to ask for help, but to also accept the help offered.  

Our village is our family.  I would not make it though this journey without them.  That doesn't make me weak.  It makes me stronger.  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Breaking point...

If we could go back, reset time, begin this year over...I would.  But retain my memories so I would know how to deal with situations better, how to avoid the dodgy bits all together and how to come through it all still Whole.

I broke down in tears this morning when someone I barely know innocently asked me how I was doing.  I don't have a road map for what lies ahead.  It's all uncharted.  I know for certain there be monsters.  But we've battled monsters before.

I also know for certain that I/We are not alone this time.  We are incredibly blessed with an amazing support group of friends and family.  And quitting isn't an option.

Broken by Battle
Wounded by War
My love is forever
This to you, I swore.
I will quiet your silent screams
Help heal your shattered soul.
Until once again, my love,
You are Whole.
~Ashley Lambert-Wise

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Two weeks before Spring...

And we get hit with a blizzard! Thunder snow...lightening, thunder, branches falling and snow.  Lots and lots of snow.  In March.  Not exactly "typical weather" for this spot of the country.

The one and only time I stepped outside...shortly after it changed over to snow this morning (yes, I'm fully aware that's not exactly lots of snow...but it was drastically added to!)...

I'm pretty sure my dad's car would much rather be with them in far warmer weather.

With nature roaring outside, they were quite happy to sit and watch from the warm indoors.  The county even shut down and himself was able to come home! Family snow days are the best kind. Even if we really can't go out and play.

Since the temps are supposed to drop below freezing overnight, I have a feeling we'll have another snow day tomorrow!  I don't think anyone around here is going to be complaining.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Adjusting sails...

I'm often asked how we cope with this crazy life.  This is pretty much it...

I don't believe that everything happens for a reason.  I believe that a lot of things happen for a reason, but I also believe in the Random.  We're creatures of free will...not puppets of fate, destiny, God or the universe.  I believe in Grace, not Karma.  I believe in fierce, unconditional love.  I believe in Bending, not Breaking.  I believe in adjusting my sails to find the wind instead of the waiting for the wind to blow my way...and always carry a paddle.  Just in case. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

True story...

When the person standing next to you at physical therapy not only hears your tendon pop, but also hears the explicit painfully growled following the pop...the therapist will order you to get back in the Boot and to stay in the Boot.  On the shiny side, you won't have to complete your set of squats.

My version of "Don't go crazy" and my ankle's version of "Don't go crazy" are not the same, apparently.

I really, really don't like the Boot.

The end.