Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Jock Straps and Tackle Boxes

I have to laugh being the only girl in a male-dominated household - there are many first for me on a daily basis and there are a lot of things that just make me scratch my head. 

Here is an actual conversation between my husband and I yesterday -

DH:  Oops, I forgot to stop by the store and pick up a jock strap for Logan.
Me:  Do you want me to do that on my way home from work?
DH:  Can you please?
(long pause)
Me:  What do I look for?  I've never had to buy one of these before!

First time buying one of those, certainly not the last!  And the even more funny story comes from our 9 year old son trying one on the first time!  Let me just say we were all giggling and it was a hilarious family moment! 

On the same day as this whole jock strap experience, me, the mother to boys that I don't completely understand why they do the things they do, or smell the way they smell (ha!) was cleaning the bathroom when I found a small tackle box in the magazine rack next to the toilet.  Really?  A tackle box?  I guess that's just good time management on my sons part, but just another thing that baffles my female mind. 

Boys are so fun and I enjoy being the princess of the house.......sometimes! 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Life Lesson #5 - Money does not grow on trees

I have heard myself say this numerous times throughout the summer - my kids are bombarded with television ads for new toys, their friends get something new and they just have to have it or they will die, or they look through the Sunday ads and the bright colored Toys R Us ad screams "YOU NEED ALL OF THESE TOYS".  Aaaaahhhh!!!!! 

My children see me clipping coupons, watching our pennies, and being as frugal as possible because we do have some debt, we are paying for full-time childcare through the summer and we are living in this poor economy right now doing the very best we can.  So when they ask for "stuff" it just drives me nutty......I have tried and tried and tried to teach them about giving and appreciating what they have and waiting until holidays and birthdays for gifts, etc. - but the lesson just isn't sticking. 

We talk about chores and allowance so that they can earn their own money, but that really hasn't taken very well - it probably has something to do with parental consistency - of which, Randy and I falter on a little!  My type A personality probably has a little to do with that.....the mind set of "Oh, just let me do that" gets in the way sometimes!  I need to have a talk with myself about that!  ha! 

I have been very proud of Logan for putting much of his birthday money, well, in fact all of his birthday money into savings.  He says he is saving up for an X-Box......mmmmmkkkkkkaaaaayyyyyy......the Nintendo DS, Playstation 2, and Wii apparently aren't enough to satisfy him.  I remember my parents buying an Atari set for me from a garage sale when Atari was soooooo over and then I remember having Nintendo 64 video game system when I was in the 5th grade and I think I had all of 4 games TOTAL.  There is seriously something wrong with this picture......but what can I do about it??? 

I feel a little overloaded with technology sometimes.....something I've discussed before.  I mean you can call anyone at any time, text them, download music anywhere, reach your Facebook friends whenever/wherever, GPS a location with the touch of a button, Skype someone who lives in Guam, Twitter where you are eating lunch, and there is soooooo much more - the iPads, iPhones, etc., etc., etc.  On Sunday I told the children to turn the television off, turn off all video games, and we sat at our kitchen table snapping green beans.  I loved it, it made me remember doing that very same thing with my grandmother at her kitchen table.....the kids hated it and Noah acted as if I had sentenced him to jail. 

As much as I want to simplify, I just don't see it happening.......how to I turn my technology reliant family into a self-reliant, technology occasionally family?  And I have to chuckle that I'm blogging this.....from my computer, with my cell-phone sitting next to me notifying me that I've just received a text......ha! ha! 

Friday, July 16, 2010

New beginnings

I should really blog more because I feel like I have a lot of things going on that others can relate to and if I can help one parent feel as though they are not alone in the struggles of having a child with anxiety, ADHD, ODD, etc., then I think it's worth it to take a few minutes to just type out my story.

My last post was in March and a lot has gone on since then - both of the boys ended their school years successfully, the boys played on the same baseball team for the first time ever (and probably the last), we have gone on a family vacation, there have been lots of celebrations, and tons of summer fun! There have also been moments of sheer frustration, tears, temper tantrums, calls to apologize to people that Logan wasn't kind to, and times when I have talk myself off of the "parenting ledge". Logan's diagnoses and treatments have certainly helped ease the frustrations of parenting a child with Logan's "quirks", however it doesn't mean that there aren't those moments that I haven't prepared myself for when Logan has a meltdown.

We are getting ready to go into a new school year and I feel like we are armed this year with everything we need to have a successful year. We met with Logan's teacher at the end of the school year and talked to her a bit so that she and Logan are both prepared for what is in store. I think back to last summer and it was about this time when some unusual behaviors began to surface in Logan and knowing what I know now, I know it was from anxiety. This year we are armed with a few counseling appointments before school begins and I know that will help him walk into school on that first day with less anxiety than he would normally have.

The baseball season was a rough one - whew! Having both boys on the same team worked out great schedule-wise, however the boys struggle to really get along because of Logan's anxious/worry-wart/slightly Type-A nature and Noah's free-spirit/go with the flow/laid back nature. And we had a real contrast in ball-players this year - a few with lots of experience and a lot with little experience. The boys had fun.....but there were moments when Logan who is ultra-competitive lost it and I found myself using all of the things I learned in counseling to calm him down.

What I find a lot of the time is that when he is getting upset he can calm himself down, however, when a coach or a parent or even a teammate says something harsh - he loses it. I see it happening and it's like the moment before I can stop it from happening a word/a phrase/a negative comment is made and "BAM" - he's spiraling downward. The thing I noticed this year is that when those break-downs happened I was more prepared and so calm about it, where as in the past I was embarrassed, frustrated, angry, etc. Counseling has really been good for all of us.....it helps Logan calm himself down and it helps us to be the best parents we can be for Logan and Noah.

There is a stigma of parenting a child with a personality like Logan's - I'm learning to have tougher skin, but when he has a melt-down and says something to a coach or a teammate that isn't kind and others look at you like it's your fault, that is tough to take. But I'm finding out that no parent/child/marriage/friendship/etc., is perfect and you should never judge others when you yourself are not perfect.  This year has definitely been one where I've learned so much about relationships and about why other people do things they do.  And I've learned a lot about living your life out loud and not living your life for others.

I find that Logan and I have a wonderfully functional relationship amongst all of the dysfunction. I understand him more now than ever, and I look back at the years of frustration, tears, pain and wish I had known how to calm both he and I down in those moments of sheer anxiety. But I know now and we're moving forward. Please note that not every day is perfection - one minute he's telling me that I'm such a wonderful mommy and the next minute he "hates" me.....we're a work in progress!! ha!

This new school year brings new beginnings for our children and I'm looking forward to them.  Logan is going to play football and was told that he will wear his dad's number (#33) this season and he is really proud of that.  My brother will be one of his coaches and I know that he's going to look out for Logan's best interests and all of the coaches in the football program are really positive and the kids learn a lot about life/teamwork/being the best you as well as football.  I can't wait to see what this year brings for our little family.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

We were on a break

I have taken a break on blogging, partially because my crazy life hasn't allowed for much down time. Kids, work, remodeling our home, marriage, helping others, finding out I'm allergic to chocolate.....I'M ALLERGIC TO WHAT?!! Anyway, life has taken me away from writing down the goings on in our little life and here is a recap of our events in the past month.
  • Logan is doing well, he was asked to participate in two days of intense psychological evaluations that will give us insight into how to counsel, parent, and educate him. Those results should be in soon......I can't wait; but I'm a little scared to see it all on paper.
  • There have been really good days and some really bad days. Let's just say I've cried more in this past month as a mother than I ever have. Parenting a child with challenges takes a lot out of you and there are moments when you want to scream "why can't my life be normal", but then I look at my life in that very next moment and feel incredibly blessed!
  • Randy and I are re-carpeting our bedrooms, closets, and hallway in our house and so once again, our house is a disaster - BUT, it looks really good and I told him the other day that our house is not new, but I love it and I love the location and we take one major project a year to complete and have updated it so much - so we're making it our own.
  • Last Wednesday I found out that I'm allergic to quite a few things - soy, tree nuts, cocoa nut (which includes chocolate and cola), and something in the carrot family. So I am scurrying trying to figure out what I can/can't eat. AND I'm seriously thinking about starting a food blog to help others with these weird allergies. When I find the time of course!

So there, in a nutshell are some of the things that have been preventing me from sharing with you my life stories. Hope life has been treating you well!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Today has been a good day....baby steps

My husband and I quietly picked up our children from their after-school program yesterday - fingers crossed that it had been a good day. They both survived the day - minor infractions for misbehavior, but they both survived - so far so good. As we drove home a little 8 year old hand was on my shoulder with a very quiet voice saying "I'm sorry for my behavior this morning mommy, I hope you didn't cry all day".....well, I hadn't cried all day, but I was definitely crying then.

Homework was done without incident, dinner was typical - family banter, discussions of how everyone felt their day went, and afterwards my husband and my oldest son played Connect Four and my youngest and I played Super Mario on his DS (my secret addiction). The evening was quiet and the issue came at bedtime, like it always does.....one child can't sleep for one reason or another and they end up in our bed.

This morning our oldest son did everything without incident, the youngest was a bit of a pill - not wanting to wake up - no biggie, and the only time I raised my voice was when the boys argued for the millionth time about who was getting out of the car first. As I type this I just came up with my solution.....one can sit in the passenger seat and they can both get out first. Now, however, the argument will be who is going to sit in the passenger seat! Oy vey!

So far today has been a good day and we take our baby steps into the rest of the day with hopes and prayers of continued peace for our family. I feel completely wiped out by the stresses, but I hold hope that the future will bring us answers, tools for success in raising our children to the best of our abilities, and ideas on how to handle mornings like yesterday morning. I am actively searching for a support group of some sort for my husband and I....the few that I have found in this area don't quite meet our needs. However, there are some options for us.

Living with children who have ADHD, ODD, anxiety issues, or any other out of the ordinary behaviors is difficult and you really do have to take it day by day with little to no expectations of what you are going to get from them every day. The element of surprise is something that could trigger anger in a parent - if something sets your child off that you weren't expecting you have to just go with it and not try and force it. I'm a little bit of a Type A.....so I am trying to re-train myself not to be so controlling. Our children are learning, we are learning......it's not easy, but we will get there. We will get there right?

The same boiling water that hardens the egg will soften the carrot. So it is with children. Everything depends on the individual’s particular reaction to stressful circumstances. ~ Hide or Seek

Monday, January 25, 2010

What is to become of me?

When I started my blog I never really pinpointed what exactly my purpose was for blogging - frugal living, advice on life, a look at my journey in everyday ordinary life......when people find out I blog they want to know what it's about - well, it's a little bit of everything. I think at the time, whatever my focus is is what I blog about. Well, right now my focus is my family and the challenges that we are facing raising a child with ADHD, anxiety issues, and ODD. In addition to that, there is the thought that our youngest child has ADHD as well, not so much anger driven, but hyperactivity driven. So many challenges as parents right now and I think that I'm going to document our journey here because that is my focus right now.

What I know so far.......I'm tired, I'm tired of looking at my son and not knowing what kind of reaction I will get from him if I ask him to do something. I'm tired of walking on eggshells for fear that one word, one movement, one statement will send him into a rage that will impact our morning, afternoon, and/or evening. And most of all I'm tired of being tested as a mother and I often wonder where the love comes from within me because there are days when I'm getting nothing but hate in return.

We have more psychological evaluations coming up that will give us more of a sense on how to counsel our oldest child, how to parent him, and how his education should be structured. I'm excited, but apprehensive about this - I always fear they are going to come out and say something like "Well, the reason he has these issues are completely and totally your fault". However, the knowing is what's important and what I look forward to the most - I look forward to knowing how we move forward, not so much the "why" of it all.

The challenges of our youngest child are more just being ornery in class, not listening, running around like he's powered by a motor, and I feel like having dealt with the many idiosyncrasies of our oldest have prepared us for these "minor" issues and we can deal with them. However, it doesn't make it any easier to hear a teacher say that she feels there is something wrong with him. That's my baby and I think he's perfect no matter what, I think both of my children are....but it's the judgement of others that I fear the most in this entire situation.

Today I'm refocusing on my life and what each day brings. This morning was difficult and emotional and challenged every being in my body - it challenged our marriage, my relationship between my oldest son and I, and at one point I was crying so hard that I threw up. Not a good way to start my day......but I got through it and I'll get through the evening with my children once I get there. And I'm searching for support groups in our area for parents dealing with similar issues to figure out how my husband and I can get through this.

Day by day as a family we will face these issues and meet them as they come. I know there are good days and bad days with variables of how good and/or how bad.....so in knowing that I feel prepared. I just hope and pray that my children both know that my husband and I love them dearly and will do anything for them - that's how it's always been and how it will always be.

"Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body." Elizabeth Stone

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Never give up. Never ever give up.

Sometimes in life you have a goal that nags you - it's one of those goals that you set but it's easy to set aside when life comes your way.......pay off all your debt, finish school, lose 10 pounds, run a marathon. Run a marathon? WHAT? Who wants to do that and WHY?

Well, I have always wanted to complete a marathon, not because I'm a super runner and could totally blow everyone out of the water, it's something that I personally would like to accomplish. I just have always said I would like to run one. I watched the documentary "The Spirit of the Marathon" and one of my favorite quotes was "There are people that are competing and there are people that are completing" - and I am in it to complete it and my only competition is myself.

Running has always been a good release for stress.....and if you have read my posts lately, you know that our little family is incredibly stressed at times - so I should be a really GOOD runner! ha! Last year I started training for it and got half-way through and my Lupus flared up and knocked me down for months. I had declared I was running for someone else and felt disappointed when I couldn't complete it.....this year I'm running for myself. I'm running to prove to myself that I have the ability to face a challenge head on and the discipline to prepare for it.

I have in the past run a half-marathon - I did not train for it properly and I was terribly, terribly overweight. I finished it and that's about all I can say - it wasn't pretty and I know that given the opportunity to do it again, I would have prepared my body better for that race. So right now I am registered for the marathon and am going through the training to complete it - given that my Lupus stays quiet I will be able to put a check mark next to "run a marathon" on my "To Do Eventually List". Now....gotta go, gotta get those miles in!

Monday, January 11, 2010

On the road again

I'm trying to play catch up again....I was gone for a few days celebrating my sister's birthday in Arizona and the kids had snow days and I haven't been feeling well.....so I'm playing catch up with life AGAIN! And we are leaving late Wednesday night to drive to Alabama to visit my parents who are "snow birding" for the first time this year. On the road again.....and this my friends will be the second longest road trip for my little family and I'm a little stressed because the first one was not so fun!

I'm going to take you back to the summer of 2005.....life was very stressful back then with two little ones (2 and 4 years old to be exact), I was running a home daycare business, Randy was terribly busy at his job as a sheet metal worker, and on the side he competed in archery - 3-D Bow Shooting. He qualified for nationals in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and decided that the entire family should go out on this trip - we would drive and it would be fun!

Our road trip was a 19 hour nightmare due to construction, we left bright and early in the morning - even though I suggested leaving at night so the kiddos would sleep, it rained almost the entire time we were out there - so I was stuck in the hotel room with toddlers, I was in a strange city and would take the children on walks when I could - but was scared I would end up in a bad neighborhood, we barely saw Randy because it's not like you can go into a building and watch their shoots - they are actually walking through the woods, and I believe our marriage was a little shaky upon returning from that trip. We survived and the children have no recollection of their mother having melt downs, trying desperately to entertain them over the long weekend, and I actually think they don't remember the trip at all. My husband remembers competing, because that's what he did majority of the time and has very little memory of the "other" stuff. I however, remember it all.......like it was yesterday! ha!

Now, I believe that we are given challenges and that we take from them things that we're supposed to learn. I was supposed to learn patience and compassion and it taught me that as a mother I was capable of driving my children around in a strange city and finding ways to entertain them and making it seem like an adventure! The highlight was going to Hershey, Pennsylvania and I believe the chocolate is in fact what saved me. ha! Again, we all survived and there are little to no scars in the memories of my husband and children in regards to that trip - and I grew up a little bit as a mother, a wife, and a woman.

So, in looking ahead at our up and coming road trip - we are going to drive mostly through the night, the boys both have handheld games, we have a DVD player, a GPS, and the boys who are now almost 5 years older will be able to handle the stresses that come with travelling a little better than they did when they were so young. I am looking forward to my children seeing the ocean, spending time with my parents, sweet tea, fresh seafood, and having a chance to learn from the challenges that might be hidden in our little road trip.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Patience Is A Virtue

My patience was tested on January 2nd while trying to travel to Phoenix with my niece and nephew for my sister's surprise 40th birthday party. We were scheduled to leave Bloomington on Air Tran at 5:46 a.m. through Atlanta and arrive in Phoenix at 12:35 p.m. Unfortunately that did not happen and we ended up in Phoenix at 11:30 a.m. on January 3rd. Long story short, I was tested and I believe I handled it all very well and can say that I have been to Phoenix long enough to know that I'm going back there SOON!

In all of the travel madness, I finally got a chance to read almost all of "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert - I am in the homestretch of the book, but have SO many pages marked with quotes for my life that just fit me so well. This was the perfect read for the new year and I am going to leave you with this little snapshot of what I believe to be my mantra for this year. This goes along well with my "I am only going to put my time and energy into the things that matter" goal for this year.

Happy New Year all!

"There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under the jurisdiction. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I can read and eat and study. I can choose how I'm going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life-whether I will see them as curses or opportunities. I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts."