Friday, August 22, 2014

It’s Been a Loooong Week

Sophie was sick M-W so I was home with her for three days, working from home; well Jamie had her ½ day Tuesday. She’s had a nasty, nasty cold since last Friday which made the rounds through her dad’s side and on Wednesday we decided it was time for the doc, who prescribed “pink bubble gum medicine – my favorite” for a sinus infection. 24 hours later, she was pretty close to her normal self (though I’m still giving 12-hour cough medicine in addition) and happy to be back at school. Her teacher had called me Tuesday evening to check on Sophie, which I thought was very nice, and I got to meet her Thursday evening at Open House.

Anyway, Thursday I was actually looking forward to going into the office as I was going stir crazy and getting stuff done between a playful puppy and a sick kid is very difficult indeed (though Sophie did nap – and that’s how we knew she was *really* sick). But Wednesday, Kylie came down with diarrhea and vomited once so I couldn’t leave her in her crate even for 3 hours until Jeff came home from lunch. So I held her on my lap as I worked and she was suuuuper sleepy and I got scared and thought she might be dehydrated from the diarrhea considering she is only 5 pounds so I held a cup for her to drink from which she loved and made a vet appointment (she had to meet her new doc anyway) and lo and behold: she didn’t have any diarrhea all day until 5 minutes before I needed to rush out the door to get Soph from school to get to the vet appt; and then at the vet appt she acted all “Kylie” and was puppyish and energetic.

Good news is she was/is not dehydrated and the doc did give her some meds for the diarrhea (how many times can I use that word in one post???) and she is eating and drinking and all morning she was being a little stinker but I’ll tell you what – that time between 3:30am and 6am? She was an angel sleeping on Mommy.

Jeff came home at lunch for Kylie and she had pooped in her crate, probably ate it, so he took her out, cleaned it out, gave her a fresh towel AND a bath.

We went from having one dog in diapers leaking all over the house to having a puppy pee and sh*t all over the house. Jeffrey says, “I told you we’d be changing diapers and cleaning up poop!” Ha. Ha.

While all this sickness is going on, I’m having major sinus headaches and am praying I don’t get what Sophie has and then today Jeff tells me Marcy told him Ethan woke up with a sore throat. Lovely.

PLUS it is 100+ here and there has been an excessive heat warning ALL WEEK and through the weekend and into next week and the air is thick and humid and it is just GROSS. What I’m saying is, it’s not helping with the allergy situation or the cabin fever situation and is contributing greatly to the overall THIS WEEK SUCKS AND IS MISERABLE feeling.

Oh, and I think I have gout and sat in my primary care’s office for FIFTY FUCKING MINUTES and still didn’t see the doc and popped out and asked a staff person and she didn’t act like she gave a shit so I’m never going back.

So THEN. Yesterday I get a call from Tom. He leaves a looong voicemail but you know, the guy tends to ramble. I never, ever listen to my voicemail; I just call people back. So I call him back and he starts off with “Well your mom’s colonoscopy went pretty well” and I was like “HUH WHAT WAIT HUH?????” because this was the first I’d heard of it. He assured me she had no pain or issues and that it was a routine thing for her age but she was heavily sedated and no, no there is no reason to come down; she might not even know who you are because of the anesthesia that is wearing off and oh yeah by the way there were a few tiny complications so they were going to keep her overnight. It’s supposed to be an outpatient procedure. I told him, “MAKE SURE you call me if Mom has to spend the night.”

Then I was busy. Kylie’s vet appointment, open house, grocery shopping. People, I didn’t eat dinner until 8:20pm and that is COMPLETELY UNLIKE ME. (I’m like a “OMG waiting until 6pm is torture I WANT TO EAT THIS TABLE” type of girl normally).

So I didn’t call last night but I did call this morning and Tom tells me mom DID have to spend the night and then he mentions words I hadn’t heard from him before like:
Tube thingy that goes down a person’s throat when they are put on the ventilator (yes that’s the official term)

Apparently my mom had “complications.” Well no fucking shit. She’s 66 and has had a stroke and is overweight and on and on.
She has severe acid reflux and so she apparently coughed on the table while they were doing the procedure and some fluid got into her lungs.
So I called Tom and told him I was not happy with him AT ALL and my mom said “sorry” and I’m making Jeff deal with the kids tonight so I can go down and see her and no I am not bringing Sophie because my mom has IVs in her and the tube thing in her nose for oxygen and Sophie is still traumatized about finding my mom on the ground after her stroke (who wouldn’t be??) and “oh by the way, your mom wants to tell you something. [Pause] Oh, she wants me to tell you that she has pneumonia. Just a little bit.”
I am going down there to check out this situation for myself and I think you get a “little bit” of pneumonia like you get a “little bit” pregnant.

JEFF IS LIVID with Tom. This situation is ridiculous don’t even get me started I have to go pick up Sophie.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why Can’t Men Do Anything?

*Warning: RANT AHEAD* (don’t worry, it will be quick)

Why can’t Jamie call counselors?
Why did it take 5 weeks for Jeff to install the dishwasher?
Why is there a jungle in our backyard?
Why do *I* have to research puppy training classes?
Why do *I* have to make the first vet appointment?
Why does Marcy (Jeff’s ex) plan a vacation for next spring break NOW when Jeff had told her WEEKS ago that we would like to take Ethan on a family vacation?
Why do *I* have to plan all the vacations?

Seeking Professional Help

I need professional help in several areas:
  •  Interior decorating
  •  Landscaping
  • Money management
  • Vacation planning
  • Fashion consulting
  • Puppy training
  • Cooking
  • Organizing

In return I have no skills to offer anyone.

In truth though my biggest focus right now is Sophie (isn’t she always?). She had a panic attack last week – which she gets from time to time – and I held her close and she cried and it was heartbreaking. She told me, “Sometimes things get so jumbled up in my mind that then all I can do is explode and crying is the only way I can let it out.”

She was exhausted that night from soccer practice and then Ethan told her she didn’t pick up all her toys (we asked both kids to go down to the basement and pick up and Ethan was right – he did, but she didn’t) and I don’t think she liked that very much because Ethan can be competitive and I think Sophie took it as a criticism (she internalizes criticism like I do – and twists it around in her head (like I do) – i.e. “You didn’t pick up your toys so therefore you are lazy and messy, always.”) and also the next day she woke up with a sore throat and a headache so I think all of those things (getting sick+tiredness+criticism) combined into one big meltdown.

But she has been having more nightmares lately and also she’s recently become afraid of flying and she used to be a travel champ (she was in Florida with Jamie, TT and Sutton this July) and a new one cropped up: elevators.

When she was crying and I was holding her and she was hyperventilating and I was trying to show her how to breathe and calm her down and then after she finally did calm down I asked her if she was sad.
“I don’t know.”
I asked her if there was anything going on at school that she hasn’t told me about that was making her upset (school started that week – last week).
“School is not the problem.” But she couldn’t tell me what WAS the problem.
Are you worried?
“I don’t know.”
Are you scared?
“I don’t know.”

My verbal girl didn’t have any answers and I as a mother didn’t know how to help me because she couldn’t articulate. I can’t believe this came out of my mouth, but I didn’t know what else to do:
“Do you want to go talk to someone – like a professional – about your feelings?”
“Yes but then that means I’m not normal,” she wailed. Oh, the crack in my heart. I told her that it didn’t mean she wasn’t normal; that I’ve been to a counselor and so has daddy and so has Ethan and we all need a little help from time to time. That a professional could help her sort out her feelings and sometimes it’s easier to talk to someone that is not in your family.
Sophie: Why?
Me: I don’t know; sometimes it just is. I want you to be able to talk to me about anything but sometimes a professional can help you articulate what you’re feeling and work through that with you.
And then she hit me with:
Sophie: TT is the easiest person to talk to in my family. I don’t know why, she just is. She just gets it.
Right to the gut with that one. Yes I’m glad she has someone to talk to. I wish it was me.

She said she didn’t want to go to the school counselor even though she’s nice and I’m pretty sure it’s because she’s embarrassed and doesn’t want people to find out she’s going to the school counselor.

We had a three-way call between me, TT and Jamie that night to discuss. That was different…interesting. TT and Jamie did actually – believe it or not – try to make me feel better about Sophie saying TT is the easiest person to talk to – Jamie said, “Well, she plays the ‘big sister’ card. I’m always the one who comes down with the hammer.”

Sophie asked me how I would find someone for her to talk to and I told her I would call her pediatrician to get recommendations. And every day since she’s asked me if I’ve found someone yet.

I did find some people – the pedia gave me two that specialize in anxiety in children (because that’s what we need) – but one is out of network and the other is only taking appointments from 9am to 2pm. Ugh, she’s in school and I’m not taking her out for this. So that’s not going to work. (She’s in school from 9am-4pm which is really annoying on all kinds of levels, that’s it’s so late). To complicate matters, she’s under TT’s insurance (bc it’s better than Jamie’s and they pay for it so that saves me) so I can’t really look anything up; Jamie sent me a link and a list yesterday for counselors near him. HA! I told him, “Do another search for those near ME, unless you plan on taking her every Wednesday.” So he did but the search site SUCKS and I don’t think all of those really specialize in childhood anxiety so that means a bunch of places to call when I’ve already been on the phone the past two days calling and waiting for return calls.

I told Jamie I would like HIM to call some people but we know that’s not going to happen and it’s up to me – GRRR.

Fourth Grade!

Where has the time gone??!

She was not entirely in the mood for posing.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I Blame the Super Moon

I am going to blame the super moon for my current bloating, anxiety, sadness and overall crankiness. Also for the fact that I feel as if I got NO sleep last night – I am dragging today; my mind is foggy and taking a looong time to wake up. It’s not *entirely* the moon’s fault; Jeffrey is feeling it as well as he literally bitched at me for having an apple core on “his” outside table – an apple I was IN THE PROCESS OF EATING WTF. Can men PMS?

Also I think I have MORE anxiety over this fourth grade school year than either Sophie or Ethan. Yes, the kids started school this week – I cannot fucking believe I have two fourth graders – where has the time gone??? Yes I know for you east coasters it is WAY early to you, but we go on an August to May schedule here, instead of Sept-June. Though this school year I think may very well be the earliest we’ve ever started back.

When we went to do “meet the teacher” and Sophie’s supply drop off last week, she was sad and upset that she only had two friends in her class. Until Ethan and several of her BFFs said they also only had two friends in their classes. Then she got excited. Remember, she still doesn’t know a whole lot of people here since last year was her first year in the school and all of her sports activities are done with the Catholic church which we don’t even go to, and those kids go to the Catholic school. Her elementary school doesn’t offer sports at this age so…I mean, they have PE but not soccer teams, basketball teams, etc.

Her dad & I had to switch days this week because he’s traveling for work so I took Sophie to school yesterday and she wouldn’t even let me take a picture of her under the balloon arch the school puts up every year at the entryway. In fact, this was the best I got:

Yesterday *I* had to call *her* 40 minutes after school got out to see how her day went – even though she PROMISED to call me RIGHT AFTER. I didn’t get much from her AT ALL. I got more from Ethan that night which is surprising, but it’s probably because I kept firing questions at him during dinner.

Last night I was bored and didn’t feel like reading so decided to give myself anxiety by looking back to my files from 2010 when we took Sophie to occupational therapy for her eating issues. I kept a food journal FOR MONTHS and guess what I discovered? She LITERALLY has not added a new food to her repertoire in the past four years. This is my biggest parenting fail, by far. I found a really good blog by a woman who has a son with food aversion – a term my cousin Kim told me about – which is what I think Sophie has – it goes way, way beyond picky eating. I don’t have the energy to get into all of it now, but just trust me. Anyway, the blog has some resources that I need to check out, and I’ve already added one of the recommended books to my Amazon cart. (And NO, books on regular picky eating kids WILL NOT HELP. Your definition of picky eating would be my child eating like a total champ; it would be my version of her eating anything and everything).

What else?
I will try to end on a good note:
Kylie likes to playJ (Jeff says this 1,000 times a day, and now Sophie does too. I have some cute videos of Kylie playing that I haven’t uploaded yet. Most of my pictures of her are her sleeping because that is the only time she is still!).
Even better:
My cousin Jessica had a baby girl on one of my BFF’s birthdays, August 5th. Her name is Luna Rae and she is adorable, with a full head of hair. 

Jess lives in CT and I would love to meet Luna and hold her but I am already booked with travel for the year so my next option would be Jan/Feb. Ugh, winter.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Lots of Love

Sophie made this doll for Sapphire and wrote her a sweet note:) I'm proud to have a girl who always thinks of others. I hope this becomes a very special doll for Sapphire.

Friday, August 01, 2014

I’m Melting…

…from cuteness.
I’d like to introduce you all to the newest addition to our family, acquired just yesterday, our brand new baby girl Kylie:

No, we did not name her after the Kardashians. I didn’t even know there was a Kardashian named Kylie—that shows you how out of touch I am! My friend has a daughter with the same name, spelled “Kiley” and I’ve always loved it. Plus we have a neighbor and good friend named Kyle, so he thinks we named our dog after himJ More importantly, it was a name the whole family agreed on!

Long before Chloe passed, we had been talking about getting a Wire Hair Fox Terrier. Jeff had one, Maggie, for 17 years. It’s also the breed he had growing up, so he knows this breed very, very well. Wire Hairs aren’t that common of a dog and you are very unlikely to find them in a shelter. We have been monitoring one rescue site for over a year but as you might imagine, many of those dogs are older and have issues (dental issues, skin issues, whatever). Given that we just treated Chloe for Cancer over the past 8 months which included chemotherapy, home medicine regimens, diapers, etc., a dog with any type of issue from the get-go was not something we had the energy (emotionally or physically) to endure at this time. So, we started investigating breeders. We don’t plan to breed or show our dog but Jeff really, really wanted a purebred and he really, really wanted a puppy. Since a human child is non-negotiable, I gave in on letting him have a furry child.

We know that it is very soon after Chloe has passed and we really didn’t expect to find a dog (we had our hearts set on a girl) so soon. Jeff has been researching and contacting breeders over the past couple of weeks because we knew that a girl puppy might not be available for a while. In fact, we found a breeder in the Chicago area who has a girl who is pregnant and her puppies would be available in November. The house has been SO lonely without Chloe. I’m sitting in our sunroom and I peek out onto the deck and expect Chloe to be there, sitting in her corner. We eat pepperoni pizza and I peel a piece off and…have nobody to give it to. Nobody to greet us when we walk in the door. Sophie has been depressed and extra clingy to me. But our family also doesn’t want to be lonely. Last week when we were driving to/from Rend Lake for our “big” summer vacation (haha), we were playing a game of “Let’s name our future puppy.” And ever since then Sophie has been bugging Jeffrey, asking him every single day, “Did you find a Wire Hair yet??”

Jeff called me on Tuesday and said, “Oh My God, I found one.” It was a breeder that my friend recommended and is a quality, reputable breeder located only five minutes from my office! Jeff had actually talked to this breeder WAY back in 2011, before he met me and Chloe. Jeff shopped all week and got the right food, dishes, etc., etc. We decided to keep it a surprise for the kids and here is what we did:
I was still at the office, and Jeff came home from work early to get the kids. He told them he had to go drop off some insurance papers and that I would meet them there. As predicted, the kids whined about it like, “Why do you have to drag us along blah blah blah.” We told the breeder ahead of time that we were keeping it a surprise from the kids. It’s a man and his wife and they breed and show Wire Hairs but didn’t get into it until their 40s (they are in their 60s now). Well we pulled up to the house and the garage is open and we meet the husband and shake hands and introduce the kids and Sophie sees pens in the garage (plenty of fans blowing in there too) and says, “Oh My Gosh! I think I see a Wire Hair!” and there is Kylie in her pen, happy as can be, like, “Oh, who came to see me today?” And they let us pick her up and hold her and the kids went first then I got to hold her and I said, “Jeff, I really think we should take her home.” And Sophie goes, “Oh I wish!” And this was like 10 minutes into our meeting with our “insurance guy” (HAHAHA) and it never occurred to the kids what a RARE coincidence it was that our “insurance guy” just happens to have a girl puppy of the EXACT breed of dog we have been looking for. HILARIOUS. So then I looked at the kids, and I go, “Well, we ARE taking her home…Meet Kylie!” And their mouths dropped open and Sophie jumped up and down and shrieked with excitement and Ethan, less demonstrative, was smiling ear to ear and of course the kids had to ask several times, “For real??” and then they realized we had kept it a secret to surprise them and they both declared it THE BEST SURPRISE EVER!!!!!

The wife was talking so fast, giving Jeff grooming tips, showing him a catalog of products they use for their dogs, etc. Lots of information and the kids are talking over everyone and there was just a LOT of excitement in the air as you might well imagine. We got to meet Kylie’s mom, who is all white, and Kylie’s dad, who is a champion, and has beautiful brown, black and white coloring. Then Sophie and I had to jet to Vacation Bible School where she showed EVERYONE the pic of our puppy and told the surprise story and of course we LOVE VBS but she also couldn’t wait to get home to snuggle with her new friend.

Nobody could EVER replace Chloe, but this family was ready for Kylie and I know one thing – Kylie will be surrounded by love at all timesJ

Incredibly, she slept through the night in her crate and started stirring just a minute before my alarm went off at 6am. Then she did typical puppy things like explore, sniff, play, pee, and then took a nap. WE ARE ALL IN LOVE. IN LOVE.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Top 10 Things I Want My Children to Know when They Turn 10

This fall, my children turn 10. Double digits! I can hardly believe it. In just a couple of weeks, they will enter the 4th grade (yes we start VERY early here, but we get out just before Memorial Day). I am school supply shopping this weekend and the kids are anxious to find out who their teachers are. I was thinking of the age of 10 and that it is indeed a milestone of sort. I have talked to several parents who have children older than mine and they say ages 8-11 are their favorite. They are still young enough to want to be with you/around you; they haven’t yet completely abandoned you for their friends, and they aren’t officially tweens or hormonal dickheads (although the pushback is evident in our house – and we are trying to nip it in the bud). I was thinking of how “wise” I thought I was at 10 whereas today I feel like I don’t know a damn thing, LOL. So, then this list just started coming to me and I decided to write it down. I think I will give it to the kids on their birthdays. (*I am still working on most of these myself).

Top 10 Things to Know at Age 10
10 – Do your best. We are already so, so proud of the people you have grown to be. All we ask is that you always try to do your very best. In school and academics, in sports, in other activities, in interacting with friends and with classmates and teachers and parents…we don’t expect you to be perfect; you’ve figured out that we certainly are not. But we try to do our best every day too. Some days we miss the mark, but the good news is, we get to start over and try again tomorrow!
9 – It’s all about perspective. When you are in elementary, middle, and high school, the school world becomes your world. It seems like it’s the only thing that matters. Like it’s the only thing out there. But it’s not. It’s just part of your world, and a tiny fraction of the bigger world around us. When you are freaking out about something, step back and take a moment to think, “Will I remember this in 1 week? 1 month? 1 year? Is it WORTH this much emotional energy? Or can I shrug it off and move on?” Remember, there is ALWAYS someone out there who is better off than you, and there is ALWAYS someone out there who is worse off than you. Maintaining perspective will get you farther in life than those who cannot manage that type of vision.
8 – We have been there. Even though we are “old” and “uncool” (J), we have been there. We were 10, 12, 14 once too. We have probably experienced similar things you will experience in middle school and high school. Please give us some credit and talk to us. We promise we will do our very best to withhold judgment. We will offer advice when asked and will try to withhold it when all you need is for us to listen. Hugs and ice cream help tooJ
7 – Be a leader, not a follower. It is always better to lead than to follow.
6 – Look up! Instead of worrying about which text message you might miss, LOOK UP. Look at the world around you. See what you are missing when you are too busy with your phone or iPad or whatever other electronic devices they invent by the time you are old enough to own one (No, you are not old enough yet).
5 – Stand up for others. If you see someone getting picked on or bullied, stand up for them. Chances are, they did nothing to deserve it and they might not have the confidence or the skills to stand up for themselves. Your act of kindness could literally save their life.
4 – Be kind, even when people aren’t kind back. This can be hard to do. People will say unkind things; some people are jerks. But the kindness you put out into the world will come back to you 10x. This doesn’t mean “be a doormat” or that you can’t stand up for yourself. You can, and you should stand up for yourself. Just do it in a way that doesn’t stoop to the other person’s level.
3 – Always be true to yourself. What does this mean? How can you be true to yourself when you are still growing up and might not be sure who you are or who you want to be? It means be true to your core beliefs. Your values. Your morals. Listen to your gut (it is often your guardian angel guiding you). If you think something feels “off” or “wrong,” it probably is. If you feel it is the right thing to do, it most likely is.
2 – We love you – always, forever, no matter what. Yes, like God does. Our love for you is unconditional. This means there is nothing you can ever say or do that will prevent us from loving you. This does not mean that we won’t correct your behavior or discipline you. But even when we’re doing that, we still love you, the person. In fact, parents who discipline do it because they care – we care about the people you are growing up to be, and it is our job to help you become the best version of yourself. You’ve made us both incredibly proud over the past 10 years and we expect that you’ll continue to make us proud over the next 10J
1 – God loves you – always, forever, no matter what. That’s called unconditional love. Even if you stray from Him, you can always come back, and He will be waiting with open arms. He will never, ever leave you (and neither will we).

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Generous Souls

A few weeks ago, Sophie was wandering around the house, bored and looking for something to do. I suggested she get her rainbow loom down – you know, the toy she hadn’t played with since October/Nov after begging for it and finally receiving it for her birthday. (Oh but it was all the rage last fall!)

So she started making bracelets and then said, “Hey! I could sell these to make money for Summar & Sapphire!” I swear she came up with that idea all on her own – I had nothing to do with it. She worked on the bracelets with her babysitter all day, sitting out in the sunroom, having a grand old time. Ethan came home that evening and naturally Sophie’s supplies were still spread out on the table. Sophie told Ethan her plan and he got right down to work with her!

They worked on their bracelets for a couple of weeks and then the next time Ethan came back from his mom’s, he brought some supplies and inventory with him. Sophie is amazed at the complicated bracelets Ethan can do and decided to charge $1.50 instead of $1 for special designs like “starburst.” (I only know how to make the most basic one).

Then one Friday Jeff and I took off the afternoon to hang with the kids and they asked, “When can we have our sale?” So we decided the very next day to do it and started making flyers. Sophie suggested adding a lemonade stand.

Then later Sophie and I went shopping for lemonade and pitchers; I made copies of the signs, and me and Sophie and her BFF Taylor went down to the pool to hand them out, put them on neighborhood doors, etc.

The next day we got ready by moving tables into the garage, posting our flyers, making the lemonade, setting up fans as it was HOT HOT HOT…and Sophie got out my old cash box and we were ready!

Since I did help with the flyers and did all the set up, I let the kids get to it in the hot garage once the sale started. Hey, I did my part! Besides, they were excited. We used our “Team Sapphire” poster from last year’s “Lightthe Night” walk (for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) and the kids took turns holding the poster and flagging down cars. They also partook in the lemonade – Sophie said it was the best she ever tasted. Taylor helped with the sale as well, and none of the kids would drink the lemonade free. They kept coming back into the house to get change from their piggy banks to pay the 25cents per cup.

Sophie ended up donating $50 from her own piggy bank and of course most of our friends/neighbors who came wound up giving us $20 for just two $1 bracelets. The kids even extended their retail hours by staying open later then we all jumped in the pool, and ended up selling a few more bracelets there. If we were smart, we would have had the entire sale at the pool but oh well – lots of folks didn’t have money with them anyway (or so they said). All in all it was a pretty big success, especially after Sophie and I took the bracelets to church and Ethan’s final tournament game after that. We ended up raising $240+ for the Ruelle family. Sophie and Ethan picked out special bracelets for each Ruelle family member and we sent them along with a check for the total amount. They sent us this picture back with a heartfelt thanks:
I’m so damn proud of my kids!

If you would like to help out the Ruelle family, and/or would like to read more of their story, please visit their website at