Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Borders' Loss, My Gain

A few weeks back when Borders was having their liquidation sale, I bought several books I didn't really need, but I also snagged a huge bulletin board for $10.  The same size at The Container Store was $70 and this one was in great condition and needed just some paint and fabric (it's Dwell Studio and unfortunately at $16/yard was more expensive than the actual bulletin board, but I fell in love with it).  This morning I finished it - and it looks great!  I can't wait for Jeff to hang it up in the girls' room.  Yes, I have a fear of hanging things on plaster walls so I need my husband to do it for me.  I'm excited to see the cute things that M & JJ want to put up.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tackling the To-Do-List

There have been 3 or 4 things on my to-do-list for awhile now and I've crossed a few of them off in the last few days:

Dr.'s appt. (Friday)
Finish bulletin board for girls' room (in progress)
Get maternity & kids clothes ready to sell/get rid of (in progress)
Thompson Center paperwork (currently working on and taking a break to talk about how laborous it is to fill out pages and pages of questions regarding the last 6 years of M's life.)

Seriously - I should have kept better records when she was a baby because I can't remember when she first rolled over or ate her first grape, or gave her first monologue.  NO, she has wasn't waxing poetic as a toddler, but I do remember the first time she said "I love you" and sang the alphabet, and it was way earlier than she was supposed to because it freaked.me.out.  Thanks to the wonder of camcorders, we have a few of these things on tape so the exact dates are known.  I remember being worried about JJ because she was 18 months and didn't know all of her colors and geometric shapes.  Not to worry, I was told.  That's what they call NORMAL. 

Filling out these forms makes me feel, once again, that I am way more in touch with M's development than JJ's.  It brings on the mom guilt even more.  Also the fact that M got her educational diagnosis of Autism in March and her neurologist suggested back in May that we go to the Thompson Center and I am just now getting around to finishing the stack of forms.  What can I say, I was overwhelmed.  I always feel overwhelmed.

I went to counseling this morning and of course severely depleted the supply of Kleenex in her office.  And now I have golf ball eyes for the rest of the day.  I swear, sometimes when I pick up the girls I think their schools think I'm on drugs because my eyes are red and puffy.  And you would think after 4 years I would be done with counseling, but after several starts and stops, I am right back there.  And I recently started over with a new counselor, which is so hard because you have to retell things so that they have context.  Exhausting.  So after I got back and realized that I couldn't really go anywhere else today where people might see my face, I figured I would finally get this packet ready to go in the mail.  It's taken me all afternoon, but I am almost finished.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Damn you, flip flops.

You are the choice of shoe for my 6-year old, and I hate you.  You are the reason that the soles of her feet are now permanently black.  I blame you for her skinned knee last week on the way to school and this morning for the twisted ankle because you provide absolutely. no. shock. support.  So I had to drag my daughter a block and a half to school with a few "we've all been there"'s and "rough morning, huh"'s tossed my way as she screamed at the top of her lungs.  And it's all your fault.  I would like to hurl you into the fire pit this evening while I have a stiff drink to celebrate.  But I know the power you have over my child and that would reduce us to hillbillies the next day when she walked in barefoot to school.  My search for a replacement for you has cost me lots of cash - Five Fingers for kids, indoor soccer shoes, many a pair from Stride Rite.  I know this is strong, but I might hate this aspect of her Asperger's/Sensory stuff more than the withholding of stools.  Yes, I may despise you more than cleaning up poop. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Barn Light Electric Giveaway!


Even if I didn't live in a 75-year old house, I would still love mixing old and new in my decorating style. One of the ways I've done this is with lighting. We have old schoolhouse lights in our kitchen that I love. And now that the kitchen is finished we're working on the bathroom renovation.  And Barn Light Electric is where I would like to purchase the lighting - which is why I need to win their giveaway!  Of course, when I looked for ideas for the bathroom, I saw more lights for the other rooms of the house.



The Triple Botswick Bath Light for the upstairs bathrooms (even the non-gutted one).


Small Radial Cast Guard CGU Sconce, 93-White, Frosted Glass


Two Barn Light Radial Cast Guard CGU Sconces for M & JJ's room (to go in each built-in bed, because hey, I'm already dreaming).

Halstead Semi Flush Ceiling Light, Polished Nickel

The Halsted Semi-Flush Ceiling Light for the powder room downstairs - or the upstairs foyer - or both!

Small Cape Cod Barn Lantern, Weathered Bronze

And a Cape Cod Barn Lantern right outside the front door.

Winning would make me really, really happy.  :)

Want to join in on the fun?




1. Look around online at Barn Light Electric and pick lights you'd love to win.

2.Share your picks on your blog and link to the lights if you can.

3.Copy and paste these rules at the bottom of your blog post.

4. Once your post is up, you must email your blog link to: contest@barnlightelectric.com to be qualified to win. The contest ends October 12th, 2011.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ahhh, a wonderful Fall Saturday

After two sad and depressing blog posts, today I am filled with the spirit of Fall.  It's only 2 pm and if the day ended right here I would be satisfied.  A refreshing 8.2 mile long run this morning in the cool autumn air with two amazing friends where we got to vent and work towards our half-marathon goal.  Afterwards, a Mediterranean breakfast sandwich and orange juice at Bread Co. (Panera for all those outside of STL), which after said long run tasted like the best breakfast sandwich I had ever eaten - Jen & Ellen expressed the same sentiments about theirs.  Something about a long run that makes everything you eat afterwards taste even better than usual.  Then home to hear about the girls' awesome soccer practice where they BOTH wore their soccer cleats.  Woohoo!  M also wore shoes last night to her school's Fallapalooza festival so maybe we are turning a corner - but I won't get my hopes up yet.  They also made their team shirts - tie dye - I love this team.  I am so glad that my friend Heather organized it and my friend Erin lets us play in her huge backyard.  And the high school boys that run the team are magical and get them to actually listen and play.  I took a glorious warm shower and after putting on my Mizzou black & gold (GO TIGERS!), I made hard-boiled eggs with JJ.  Our neighbor gave us some fresh eggs from his chickens so I had to use up the store bought ones.  Then I used the apples from JJ's class trip to the orchard on Tuesday to make an apple crisp that will make our friend Barb's house smell so good while we're watching the football game tonight.  I wish every day could be this wonderful. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Friends

I just had a great walk & talk with a friend.  Starting at our house, walked a mile or so to Starbucks, then back again with frappuccino in hand.  There is a comfort level there where I don't question if she still likes me after I say something stupid or if I reveal too much of my ugly past that she will cut and run.  I've had this happen many times and I'm usually fearful of repeats so I don't open up.  I've even had worse than just the cut and run happen, as I mentioned in my running post.  And that has truly messed me up. 

I grew up placing friends at greater importance than family.  That may sound cruel, but my family history would explain a lot.  I invested a lot in my friendships, usually more than I got back, but I was ill-equipped to really be an adequate friend while I was younger because I hadn't had good examples.  My parents didn't have close friends and my siblings and I weren't really taught to be friends with each other.  And while chaos was all around me - drugs, yelling, divorce, etc. - I was too immature to be there for friends while they were going through tough things.  I would retreat and lose friendships. I was always friends with those who were okay with being surface-y, but not too deep.  I often befriended those who moved to my town for a short time, then moved away again soon after.  Those who didn't know where I came from.  I look back and see so many missed opportunities - if I hadn't been so scared. I have reconnected with some, and I'm thankful for that, but I'll never get back those bonding moments that I just wasn't prepared for.  There's one friendship that I don't have a second chance at because she was killed in a car accident my senior year.  I started pulling away from her my junior year because I didn't trust her or her reasons for being my friend.  It was my own insecurities that led to the demise of a great friendship.  I couldn't have prevented her death, but I would have so many more memories of her if I hadn't mistrusted her. Despite all my efforts to isolate myself, I still managed to come away with best friends who I am so grateful for.  They won't give up on me even if I tried to push them away.  They are family to me.

Despite being wounded by my past and the actions of those I thought were friends, I am still taking risks with new friendships.  I know I won't always be safe and I am much more guarded now than I used to be.  I just need to find that balance again so I don't shut people out who are meant to enrich my life.  The walk today was refreshing and I shared a little bit more about my life - and I didn't have that sick feeling afterwards where I worry about if she thinks of me differently or whether the friendship will fizzle.  She is a true one, a safe one.  Actually, I see a lot more of that in my life now.  Maybe it's because I'm learning to be vulnerable.  I can't say that it's because I'm becoming more comfortable with my past, because I know that's not true - I'm still working on that in counseling.  It's funny, someone once told me (yelled at me, actually), that I needed to go to counseling.  I was already in counseling at the time, but I've needed much more since then, thankyouverymuch.  I don't know if I'll ever get this life thing down on my own.

Another thing I'm thankful for when it comes to my current friendship situation, especially with how it affects our girls, is our House Group from church.  It's a diverse group of men and women, some single, some married, some older than us, some in the same place, some just starting out.  They come over every Wednesday night and M and JJ get so excited.  I love having our house filled with laughter and noise and I can tell that they do too.  It's redeeming to now have a home that I feel safe in and that my friends can come over and share life with us.  Because of this, I hope our daughters will grow up with a different perspective on friendship and how important it is.

Things I Would Spend Money On If I Had Any

1. A gas fireplace insert.
2. A new couch.
3. A plumber for our gutted bathroom upstairs so Jeff wouldn't have to do it himself.
4. An eliptical trainer.
5. Furniture for our enclosed porch - I like the brown wicker stuff from Pottery Barn.
6. A lot of things from Pottery Barn.
7. Fabric from the fabric store that I am in love with.  Green with brown stripes - beautiful.
8. Elfa shelf system for the girls' playroom.
9. Lumber to build beds for the girls' room to look like many of the pictures I have saved on Pinterest.
10. A carpenter to do the work so that, once again, Jeff doesn't have to.  Wait - Jeff won't be doing that anyway - he says we have to finish the bathroom before we do anything else.  But I highly doubt the bed project will ever happen.
11. A vacation to somewhere warm.
12. New jeans.
13. Cozy sweaters.
14. Shoes that M will actually wear.
15. A new garage door/opener.
16. Actually, just an entirely new garage. 
17. A custom closet.
18. World peace.  Saying that will help me get all of these things, right?

Monday, September 19, 2011

One foot in front of the other....

That's a mantra I used to repeat to myself on my really long runs, usually 10 miles and up.  Yesterday I was having to tell myself that on my 6-miler which is my current "long run".  I've been a runner since jr. high, but I've recently been in a slump. 

When I was in 9th grade, it was easy to find motivation to run.  Getting out of my crazy house for some stress relief was reason #1.  My parents lived really close the MKT trail (also known as the Katy Trail), so I would either run a few miles or bike to the next town and back.  10th grade I had a really cute boyfriend who only lived 4 miles away, so I would run to his house and sometimes if I wasn't up for the run home, he would drive me back.  The duration of high school I ran cross country to keep in shape for soccer because I was a midfielder and we did a heckuva lot of running.  There was a trailhead that was unknown to most that I would go to on my own just to run in the empty fields and by the creeks that wound throughout.  Getting away from everything was my main goal and I loved that I was all by myself.  I would go there in college too, but by then other people had discovered it.  Jeff & I would go there a lot.  He knew that if I was having a rough day, that's where I would be and he would come and find me out there sometimes.  We had some of our best talks there.  It was where he would propose to me years later.  He knew it was a really special place for me.  I haven't found somewhere here that brings me as much peace as that place.
I kept running in college.  Still for stress relief, but mostly because that's what I did.  It's who I was.  I didn't feel right unless I had been running.  I wasn't an every day runner, but I had my routines; my set days. I would go to my old high school to do speedwork/run bleachers and would run into my old coach sometimes.  I think he was happy that I was still running but probably a little disappointed because it looked to him like I was more dedicated than I was while I was on his team.  :)  Jeff & I started to run together while we were in school and that's something I really miss doing with him.  I know a lot of people who run with their kids in a jogging stroller, but M's capacity was about 2-3 miles and then she had a full meltdown.  It doesn't do much for stress-relief to push a screaming kid while trying to run. 
When we moved to Rockford for Jeff's job, we joined a running club called Road Crew.  I loved it and I really miss it.  It's another reason I love my M.O.THE.R running group so much.  I had never run over 8 miles at this point and that was just in XC practice.  We did hill work, speed work, tempo runs, etc. and became better runners.  I was pretty good in my age bracket in local races and the Road Runners club I joined.  I still have my 5K, 10K, 1/2, and full PR's from then in my head.  Jeff & I trained for and ran the Chicago Marathon together.  Then we moved back to St. Louis 2 weeks after that.  We kept running, did another half marathon, but it wasn't the same without our group.  And then I had M a year and a half later.  While pregnant, I walked EVERY DAY with my friend Melinda.  In rain, in snow, in negative temps.  So I was in pretty good shape when she was born, but afterwards....running with a chest full of breastmilk HURTS.  I did not envy my friends who had to deal with cup sizes bigger than a C their entire lives.  I could see why many of them had breast reduction surgery.  But I got through it and returned to normal size.  I kept running but was not one of those women who gets better after having babies.  We used to run in Rockford with a lady who would win races mere weeks after having a kid.  We saw her name in Runner's World a few years back for winning the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco.  And she has 4 kids.  How do they do it?!  Natural talent and lots of babysitters. 
When I got pregnant with JJ, I was busy chasing around M, but didn't get my running in.  And I had to go to physical therapy for a twisted SI joint, so working out wasn't tops on priority list.  So when JJ was a few months old and I thought I would just click out an easy 3-miles, my body said hell no.  Many ortho visits ensued and the message was clear that my body wasn't what it used to be. 
I finally started to get back into it and was doing pretty well when I was really hurt by someone I thought was my friend.  I thought that I would turn to running again to deal with my stress and sadness, but the mind/body connection is a funny thing.  The person that had hurt me had once told me that she starting running because she was inspired by me. Yeah, in a Single White Female sort of way.  So I think I subconsciously chose to not be anything like that person.  To not obsess over running, to not place my value in my physical appearance.  I didn't want to find my identity in running, and I think I also wanted to punish myself by not taking care of my body.  I would listen to the negative tape of messages in my head that told me I would never be the same.  That was 2 years ago and I am still recovering.  But now I am surrounded by amazing women who are real friends and who love me well.  I have a great running group again.  And I am getting my confidence back, running and otherwise, from that emotional blow. 
I went for a long run yesterday.  In the rain - one of my old favorites.  When my mind started messing with me, I focused on "one foot in front of the other" and "running is just hard" - another mantra from years before.  And the thought of a warm shower when I got home.  And I made it - with no breaks.  And I didn't let the negative voice compare the me now to the me then.  6 miles was a great accomplishment yesterday - I don't care if I used to do 10 miles every Sunday back when we were in Rockford.  That was over 8 years ago.  This is my new long run.  And I want to erase those old PR's from my head so I don't compare, but only celebrate my new accomplishments.  Next Saturday I'm doing 8 with two dear friends that are such an encouragement to me.  After a long drought, I feel hope.  For the first time in quite a long time, I feel like a runner again.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sick and Wrong


I don't think this picture even needs words, but I will say how terribly gross it is to dress your toddler in Baby Frederick's of Hollywood lingerie.  Zulily needs to fire the copywriter who wrote the description of the collection, which consists of slutty rompers for 2-year-olds, because there is nothing classy about this look.  Well, I guess they were just doing their job and covering for the no-taste buyer who wasted their company's money and reputation due to what I can only guess was not enough sleep or caffeine on said buying trip.  And the sad look on the little girl's face screams "I want to wear appropriate clothing for my age!"  I'd bet that her parents were just looking for a little extra cash to supplement their attempt at being on  Toddlers & Tiaras.  This outfit will hang in the closet next to daisy dukes with words splashed across the backside, midriff-baring tees with demeaning phrases, and other clothes that solicit to pedophiles. 

Seriously.  Anytime I question whether I'm messing my kids up, I will just refer back to this picture and any mother/daughter pageant/dance show on TLC.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Should I just be a feeder blog for SRMM?

Seriously.  I love this woman.  Today's post really hit home because it's something I've been worried about for a long time with M.  Last year she was asked on a total of ZERO playdates.  It was so sad the first time she saw one of her classmates going home with another.  Being the rule-follower that she is, she was more upset by the fact that Susie was going home with Katie and her mommy and not her OWN mommy like she's supposed to than she was about being left out.  I don't think she even understood the concept of a playdate.  After explaining it, she said she wanted to have the twins in the class over for a playdate at our house and my anxiety set in.  What if she just stopped playing with them and shut herself in her room?  What if she had a meltdown?  Only the first of those two happened and it went fairly well.  Then we had H over to play and again M chose to do her own thing but H didn't seem too upset about it.  I keep telling myself that it's only because it was the end of the year that there was no reciprocity, but the lack of invites for the first 8 months of school still broke my heart.
I know we're only in our second full week of school, but I'm already aware that M is viewed differently by the other girls.  I can't blame them after the screaming and crying scene the first week at drop-off.  And I don't see any other 1st graders carrying their stuffed animals in a mini travel carrier every day.  (Today: Snowflake the cat. Yesterday: Sealy the seal.  At least she's not pushing them in the baby stroller this year.)  I know the looks will increase once the weather cools off and she's still refusing to wear tennis shoes - only flip flops.
I know she's capable of making friends - thank goodness for Summer Adventure where she met her best friend, L.  It was amazing how well they clicked.  And he is an exceptional kid.  His mom also ROCKS and has become a dear friend of mine too.  But L goes to a different school and he's a boy.  There's nothing wrong with having a best friend that's a boy, but a girl needs girlfriends.  Her primary activity at recess is being chased by the boys - and I've been informed by one of their moms that they can NEVER catch her (SO PROUD) - which doesn't bother me either because I did the same thing at recess when I was her age, but I was running with other girls.  Not by myself.  When you ask who her friends are she mentions girl names too, but I don't think the feelings are mutual.  If they were, they would have had a playdate together already since they were in the same kindergarten class last year. 
As I'm writing, I realize that all of these deficiencies are Asperger's related but that doesn't stop me from being sad.  If anything, it makes me grieve more the loss of her not experiencing the same kind of friendships that I had.  Granted, I have had my own issues with friendship and how to be a good friend/have a good friend.  I've actually thought about writing on that subject but first need to figure out some really creative alternate names for people I want to exploit discuss. 
That's not to say that I'm not at fault for most of my friendship fails.  Jeff & I both come from homes where our parents didn't really have anyone over.  Seeing my parents with friends now is weird to me - though I'm really thankful that they are socializing more because they need good friends.  We never learned how to be friends from our parents.  We're not even close with our siblings. There's a lot more reasons for that, but I really believe that parents need to foster that in their children.  We try SO hard to teach JJ & M to encourage each other, love each other, and rely on each other because they are the only the sibling that they will ever have thanks to a need-to-be-scheduled trip to the urologist  and they are going to be friends for life.  This is usually in the middle of a mini-war between them, so the response we usually get is eye-rolling or more screaming. 
I'm thinking about writing a letter to the moms of M's Girl Scout troop to help the other kids see that she's really awesome, just limited in her social abilities.  I got the idea, of course, from the comment section of the post referred to above.  I'll have to look at the video she mentions to see if it's something I should pass along.  And I would probably have to direct them to this post too.  I need all the help I can get. 

M & L this Summer


Who wouldn't want to be friends with this cutie?  :)


***I really wasn't fishing for playdates with this post, but I am thankful for my 3 sweet friends who offered.  I'll take all of you up on it!***

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Thankful....

...that M's teachers love her and really get her. 
...that after a bad first day in music class (it was too loud), that they are excusing her from that and she'll go to art class instead.  And after Friday's screaming and trying to run out the door after me, that 1.There were teachers strong enough to hold her back and 2.That there is a new plan in place for drop-off and the last two days have been great.
...that so far they have let her wear flipflops to school every day.
...that she enjoys Adventure Club after school. 
...that JJ likes her new classroom at Pre-K and has friends.
...that I have friends who want to help (even if I don't know how to ask)
...that even though I feel lost and I don't know where I should be, that my husband loves me. 
..."                                                                                             " that my kids love me.
...that we have a home, even though it's a mess and it's not very big, but it's ours.
...that it's going to be Fall soon.
...that I'm running again without pain.
...that I know what I'm fixing for dinner tonight and it's only 2:30. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Posts to Come

So yesterday's post was kind of surfacey, not very deep or what I have been thinking about writing lately.  I have several posts that I've written in my head, but then I self-edit and they never end up here.  There is a lot on my heart and in my head that are stirring my emotions, but I'm afraid of laying it all out there, perhaps making someone angry, possibly being rejected.  I've been self-editing my whole life.  Always worried of truly exposing myself, being the people-pleaser, facing the disapproval and thoughts of others.  But my thoughts are always filled with these things and isn't the point of blogging to get it out of your head?  So maybe I'll risk and write what I really want to write.

Jeff's out of town on a business trip to Chicago - I hate it when he goes on business trips.  This time he asked me to go with him, but we couldn't find a babysitter.  I was so excited about the possibility since it's been 3 years since we had an overnight without the kids.  And that was my 30th birthday in Chicago.  The first night away I'd had from the girls.  We fought a lot that weekend because there were things going on under the surface that we hadn't broken yet.  It was a couple of weeks later that we started our 3 years of marriage counseling.  So if you do the math, I've been away with my husband just once since having kids 6 years ago.  I think we're overdue.

Monday, August 1, 2011

3 great rugs I bought today on MAJOR clearance

An upholstery store nearby was having their floor sample sale so I went in just to see what they had.  Our couch is almost 10 years old and it looks 20 after having juice spilled on it, baby mishaps, muddy shoes from the kiddos, you name it.  We were told by a cleaning company that they didn't want to take our money because it might not look much different after they worked on it.  Of course, when I went in, everything I loved were the only couches NOT on sale.  But I did find 3 Dash & Albert gems - I LOVE this rug company.  I'm still kicking myself (seriously I might lose sleep over it), for not buying the runner that matched the slate blue moorish tile 2x3.  On sale for $15 - selling right now all over the interwebs for $190 and no less.  :(  Oh well, it's mate was $10 and it will serve a purpose until I find a more fitting rug for our kitchen.  I passed on it because we already have a rug for our entryway and it's not long enough for a runner.  But when I was working in the kitchen today I realized that I could have put the runner against the longer wall of cabinets and put the smaller one on the other side so my work spaces would be cushioned.  I had always envisioned a bigger rug for the middle of the floor but realize that the option I just described would be much better.  I called back and of course it had been sold.  The sale opened today and they had a line outside the door at 8:30.  We had breakfast at Bread Co. and then went to Target to buy school supplies.  Oh well.  Here are the beauties:


For the back door.


In front of the kitchen sink.



The landing upstairs.  (This one is beautiful and the picture doesn't do it justice.  Also the pink lego box and legos scattered everywhere kind of clash.  But the gold in the rug matches the wall color perfectly.) 

Price for all 3 rugs:  $55.  Retail value:  a whole lot more.

But I still can't get that rug runner out of my head.  :)


******************

This morning:

So I've gotten over the runner thing (almost), but this morning I'm regretting my purchase of the rug upstairs.  The gold is a perfect match, but the other colors just don't sing to me.  So it might be heading to Craigslist soon. :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Just got back from a quick run - my running partners knew what I didn't, a second huge storm is about to sweep through St. Louis.  No wonder they stayed at home.  Next time I'll check the weather. 

Quick update: 

The summer with the kiddos has been good so far, but not without it's bumps in the road.  M lasted only a couple of days at art camp before they told us that they couldn't accomodate her special needs.  Thankfully, I talked to the director at the summer program at her school and she can start there today.  I hope that the money is refunded to the Special Education Foundation and that they can transfer it over to the new camp because our funds are low.

Jeff just got out of the shower so I'm going to hurry and take one before the storm hits!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Can't Sleep

My mind is racing with lots of things and I can't seem to settle down.  If it wasn't crazy, I would go for a run outside right now.  I spent a majority of the night looking through baby pictures of the girls.  Happy and sad.  Things were so messy in my life when they were babies.  Not that they aren't now - just a better mess. 

Jeff let me take a nap today because I wasn't feeling good this morning, but maybe I slept a little too long.  I must have needed it though because even the loud banging noises from the bathroom being demo'd didn't bother me.  JJ did visit me a few times and woke me up with an accidental whack to the head.  :) 

There have been tons of things that I've wanted to blog about since my last post, but our Summer is off and running.  I'm working part-time, we're still renovating the house, and life in general is full-speed ahead.  Here are the things I WOULD HAVE blogged about if I'd found the time:

Our Awesome 10th Anniversary Dinner (made perfect by a surprise violin serenade from a 1st chair of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra)
Mom-Guilt (what's new?)
Running (so thankful for my M.O.THE.R. running group!)
Our house projects
Summer weekend plans
Books I'm reading
My Facebook dilemma (Should I Stay or Should I Go?)

Well, 4 am is sneaking up on me and the girls will be awake in a coupe hours.  Maybe I should try again.

Friday, May 20, 2011

One Liners

I am exhausted from this morning's events and it's only 10:15.

Drop-off was pretty horrible for M this morning. 

Her routine had a glitch and it set her off.

I had to literally run away while a teacher held her and she screamed.

Then I ran into a friend while I walking home and the tears I had been holding in started to pour out.

I'm so thankful for that talk - I needed to cry because I don't do it enough.

I have a list of things to do and I don't know if I'll get them all done.

I feel like anyone else would have already completed at least 3 things, but I am a mess.

I am excited for the Women's Retreat with my church that starts today.

I still need to pack.

Looking back at JJ's baby pictures makes me sad because I wish I had done things differently.

I was so burnt out from giving 150% to M that I wasn't even giving 100% to JJ. 

The colic didn't help.

I'm picking JJ up early today so we can have some quality time together - I don't need more regrets.

On the agenda: donating toys to Shriner's hospital and painting nails.

I hope M isn't screaming at school anymore and that her day has turned around.

I wish I hadn't missed my run this morning because my cough/cold doesn't feel that bad right now.

I love my running group.

I'm listening to DMB "Grace is Gone" - one of the best songs to listen to when I'm sad.

Now I need to listen to Glee Cast's "Raise Your Glass" to cheer me up and get me going.

I need to get on to that list.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Braids make everything better

As it is the Murphy's Law of my life, I am extremely motivated today and don't even want to sit for a second - and I have to pick up M early to take her to the neurologist.  Don't get me wrong, this appointment is something that I want to do also, but I am really enjoying organizing and listening to Ben Harper and Big Head Todd & The Monsters (next to each other alphabetically in our iTunes), at a high volume in my house, all by myself.  I have nervous tummy today because of the appt. though.  I just wish I could hang out in his office for hours and ask the tons of questions that we have.  It just seems to go by so fast and then I leave wishing that I had asked more questions.  Jeff can't be there today because the important people that work for the company that he's been working on a project for for the past year & a half just happened to choose this week to come and visit.  And since their project is the sole reason that he was hired in the first place, he kind of has to stay at the office.  Bummer.  We've never been to the neuro doc without the other.  But, because he rocks, he wrote out two pages of notes/questions for me to take with me.

I hope the rest of the day is a good indication of how the afternoon will go.  M let me braid her hair this morning  - that almost never happens.  We were early getting ready so I took her to Bread Co. for a bagel - I really needed a vanilla latte so this was great too.  She was being so sweet.  She did hop around and pretend to be a leopard, but we got smiles instead of evil stares.  Probably because she had cute braids. 




Drop-off went well too, and I even stopped by for lunch and hung out on the playground for a while before heading back to home to continue my cleaning and jam session.  Why can't all days be this awesome?  *I might be jinxing myself by saying that....the day isn't over yet.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Momma said knock you out...

This morning started cheerfully as we had Muffins with Mom at JJ's school.  Miss M had to come along because Jeff had to be at work.  For an hour, all seemed right with the world as I sat with my two little ones and ate muffins, read them The Three Billy Goats Gruff and Rumplestilzkin, and looked at the green beans and peas that they are growing.  And then I took M to school and that picture of bliss was shattered. 

M still has severe separation anxiety, even though she is 6 and she has been going to kindergarten for 9 months now.  She kept attempting to follow me as I left, and her para wasn't at the classroom yet to help me restrain her.  In a change of events, instead of racing after me as I try to leave as she usually does, she made a run for the front door of the school.  She was halfway out when I wrapped my arms around her to prevent escape.  I felt something sharp on my hand and then I noticed the blood.  Yes, another proud moment as a mother - I knocked my little girl's front tooth out.  Yes, it was already loose for awhile but the skull-splitting screams and amount of blood, combined with people staring, made me feel like crap.  And I was looking forward to having lunch with her tomorrow, but that was a consequence that I said would be taken away if she didn't have a good drop-off.  That and no scooter today or tomorrow.  Which also sucks for me because that is the only way to get her to school on time.  If we walk, she stops at every blade of grass to see if there are signs of insect life.  Or jumps in every single puddle.  Or just stands there, looking at the sky. 

It's only 9:45 and I want to go back to bed and start over.      

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hopeful

This is what the girls were singing this morning on the way to school:

"Jesus is better than Easter eggs!  And God is the best person in the world!" 

At least some things are sinking in. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A follow-up to Sunday

After my rough day on Sunday, Jeff decided to catch up on my last month or two of posts.  I asked him what he thought of my post and he said "I don't really check your blog much because you don't post that often".  True.  But I'm trying to be better at it.  So, he read it later and after showering me with praise for being a literary blog genius (hardly) - he said he was worried about protecting our kids.  He knows that I need an outlet so I don't go crazy with the stress (too late), but he wishes he could be there right next to people who are reading the posts so he can stand up for our kids because they are pretty. freaking. awesome.  For instance, if people think things like, "why don't you try a special diet?", or "maybe you need to discipline her better", or "she seems totally fine to me all the times I've spent a mere 30 minutes around her", he can then puff up his chest and prepare to kick some a** to defend our babies like a crazed duck at Tilles Park.  (I used to be scared to take M there because they were really violent when they had ducklings.)  He doesn't want people to judge her (& JJ) because they are incredible people.  Truly amazing individuals.  And while I might get frustrated with them and some most days I think to myself "we are DEFINITELY done having children", I love them more than anything else in this world.  There is nothing "wrong" with them.  They are both unique and have different strengths and abilities.  M might have a diagnosis on the Autism spectrum, but she is insanely talented in her artwork and super creative and also very loving.  JJ might be a drama queen, but she is the funniest kid, loves her friends, and always surprises us.  I understand Jeff wanting to shake people who think something totally different to that effect.  I love how he loves and protects our girls.  But I hope that those who read my blog will be reading because they get it.  Because if you don't, then you really shouldn't waste your time reading my blog anyways. 

But you should check out this blog

stark. raving. mad. mommy.

I just found her the other day through my friend Katie (thank you!).  Today's post is wonderful.  And the other day when she had a Top Ten of what you shouldn't say to a parent whose child is on the spectrum.  We need more moms (and non-moms!) out there who don't judge.  Isn't there some unwritten code of womanhood that we look out for each other?  Well, there should be.  I have unfortunately been the subject of a woman's ignorance to the code and it just plain sucks. 

Tonight we have a fun dinner with our house group from church and the girls are invited.  I love the people who are hosting.  I love our whole house group, actually.  I am really thankful for them.  I'm thankful for everyone at our church - there are some beautiful women there (and I'm talking about what's on the inside.  That's what counts anyways.), who encourage me and love me regardless of anything.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Rough Day

I'm having a rough day today.  I should be enjoying a day with my girls while Jeff is fishing, but nothing has been going right.  I didn't get to go to church - which I desperately need because I've worked in the nursery two weeks straight and I need to be spiritually fed - because after I dropped off the girls in their classrooms, I heard screaming from the hallway outside the auditorium.  I had a feeling it was my kid.  And it was.  I attempted to get her back in her classroom and I was able to listen to the sermon for about 5 minutes before the teacher came and got me.  So we left.  And JJ wouldn't take a nap today no matter how hard I tried.  And she NEEDS it because she had her birthday party yesterday and she's coming off of a sugar high so she's really cranky.  I need to think of something for the next 8 hours until my wonderful husband returns home so I don't feel like I'm giving up on motherhood today and my girls feel loved.  It's HARD right now.  I wanted to cry in church because everyone was looking at me and none of them understand.  At least I didn't break down crying like I did last month at Party City when M pulled all of the balloons out of the bins and spread them all over the floor and the snotty moms gave me dirty looks and muttered to themselves that "she should really clean that up".  I love the people at my church so I didn't feel exactly the same as the Party City day when I wanted to shout: "JUST BUY YOUR CRAPPY JUSTIN BIEBER BALLOONS AND GO!  YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE TO HAVE A KID WITH AUTISM!" 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Peace and Quiet

It's 4 o'clock in the morning and no one else is up in the house but me.  It's kind of nice being in the peace and quiet - it doesn't happen often.  I fell asleep putting the girls to bed (again), and J swears he came in and tried to wake me up.  I vaguely remember this.

I realize it's been three weeks since I last blogged - we have been so busy.  We had our meeting with the care team who evaluated M to discuss her IEP eligibility and without a doubt she qualifies.  So her official IEP will be written on March 31st.  Wow.  It's been 3 years since we first started down this road and it feels so good to finally have an answer.  There are many more things that I still don't have an answer for, but at least having one is something.  The meeting was good - I love her school.  I was composed and tear-free when they were talking about the test results (most of it we already knew and it was consistent with Asperger's), but when the lady from SSD (Special School District for those not in St. Louis), said the thing that impressed her most was what the school was doing for her already without an IEP that they aren't even required to do.  Even though we I already knew this too, I started crying.  It's true - they have been unbelievable in finding ways to help M.  And we know that they love her, and not just because they tell us.  Ever since December, after her suspension (I can't remember if I blogged about that, but probably not), she hasn't had any more incidents.  Just to be clear - the suspension was more about giving the school a couple days to put an emergency schedule in place for M.  A few people I talked to were shocked that they suspended a kindergartner, but the environment was just too chaotic for her.  She spends time one-on-one with different teachers throughout the day and then she's in the classroom with an aid a few times too.  As soon as the IEP is in place, she'll have occupational therapy at school too.  And she's starting to work on reports and projects with the REACH teacher individually.  I think she's doing something on horses.  Have I said how much I love her school? 

What else have I been up to?  I went to visit one of my best friends in NC, which was a gift from J - it was wonderful.  So good to see her since it had been 2 years and because it actually felt like Spring there, which I can't say for St. Louis. Snow.  Seriously.  I am SO sick of snow.  We're supposed to get more this weekend. 

M's birthday party was last weekend and it was so fun to have lots of gigging girls at our house.  She wanted to have stations with different activities so we had necklace making at one, fake tattoos at another, and decorating a little canister that later became their goody bag.  I will post pictures in another post because I just don't want to mess with it right now.  J and I stayed up very late making her cake.  She requested a laptop cake.  Mostly because she asked for a laptop for her birthday and because we told her we couldn't do that, she opted for a cake that looks like one.  That will be the last 3-dimensional cake I ever make.  And I think that fondant is like drywall - a professional should be hired.  Except my husband rocks at drywall - it just takes forever.  But we both failed at fondant.  He was more successful than I was, but it was still 4 a.m. before we went to bed last Friday night.  And we started making the cake on Wednesday night by cutting out the keyboard.  Thursday we baked and Friday we decorated.  I'll post pictures next time - I'm too tired.

Speaking of being exhausted after not getting enough sleep, I think I should go crawl into bed.  Goodnight.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Out of the dark

We lost power last night and had to hang out in the basement during a rough storm last night.  Miss M educated me on all facts surrounding lightning while we rocked in the glider and JJ slept on her crib mattress.  So glad that we haven't gotten rid of those things yet!  And today JJ FINALLY went back to school after being home sick for over a week with strep.  I'm on meds too - because JJ likes to give mouth kisses when you least expect it.  I'm exhausted after a week at home with her and I'm reminded of how awesome stay-at-home moms are.  She fought hard to stay home and showed up at her classroom in only her nightgown, no shoes, no socks, no coat.  And it is just 40 degrees here today.  That's how she rolls.  Which might be why her immune system was compromised in the first place.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chicago weekend

I had a great trip to Chicago this weekend with my friends.  So great that there are really no pictures to post!  I do have two that we attempted to take at breakfast yesterday (in the mirror) so here's all I've got:


We ate amazing food all weekend:  M's House, Nookies, a great Mediterranean grill in Lincoln Square, dinner at DaVanti Enoteca and breakfast at The Breakfast Club.  And of course we finished it off with a trip to Ikea.  My friend M has lived in Chicago for at least 7 years and has never been there!  She got some great stuff too - especially the stool for her kitchen counter.  I got some drapes for our guest room and some fun play food for the girls.  A got some baby shower gifts, and a play rug and table & chairs set for her little guy. 

We didn't have time to watch "Pretty in Pink" that M rented for us, but we got to meet her wonderful neighbors and friends and A and I had over 10 hours of interrupted talk time - AMAZING!

And J was great with the girls back at home.  There was another haircut incident, but it only involved stuffed animals and dolls this time.  They raked leaves, picked up gumballs in the yard, went out for ice cream, watched movies, went to Lowe's, etc.  Sounds like we all had a good time.

Last night we took the girls to the Magic House (St. Louis Children's Museum), and the girls had such a great time.  We usually split up and each follow one girl because they're interested in completely opposite things.  So here's a few poorly taken pictures of JJ playing in the construction zone and in the Legislative Branch of government:


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It started Thursday morning....

....at 5:45, Miss M crawled in bed with me while Jeff was in the shower.  JJ showed up a minute later on the other side of me.  Then M said she didn't feel good and threw up all over Jeff's pillow and the sheets.  It smelled so nasty - unlike any other puke that she has spewed.  I scooped up all of the chunks - seriously, it looked like her tummy hadn't digested any of dinner from the night before - and Jeff took the sheets downstairs straight into the washer.  Usually Thursdays are just me and JJ, but it was three's company now that M was sick.  After Jeff left for work, I hopped in the shower.  When I got downstairs, the girls were watching TV and there was raisin bran ALL OVER THE RUG.  So I got out the vacuum.  Since M is afraid of the vacuum - still at 5 years old - the two of them went upstairs.  M came down before I started and asked if she could empty the dress-up bin (plastic Rubbermaid bin) and pretend that it was Fruitsnack's tank.  (Fruitsnack is her pet alligator [plastic].)  I said okay, as long as no water went inside of the bin.

So I vacuum for about 10 minutes and then head upstairs to check on them.  This is what I find:




They emptied all of the soap into the bin, climbed in with Fruitsnack - and Ariel - and the suds are overflowing onto the floor.  I put them both in the shower to get all of the soap off and while I'm scooping out water of the tub, my iPhone drops out of my kangaroo pouch of my sweatshirt and into the soapy water below.  I've had enough friends do this that I know a bag of rice is my best chance of immediate repair. 

At this point, I'm already about to lose my cool because in case you haven't been watching the news, the state of Missouri was covered in snow for the last month and we haven't been out of the house much. 

I need to do some laundry and check on the throw up sheets, so I get some washable markers and poster board for the girls and encourage them to make fun, brightly colored posters for our house.  Of course, my kids are brilliant and don't limit themselves with paper, so when I come upstairs from the basement, they have decided that their hands and feet make better canvasses:
Oh, look! They match her dress!



They have been walking around with their "artwork" so there is marker on the rug, on the couch, on the wood floor - EVERYWHERE!  I get a washcloth and wipe down their hands and feet.

After this, I resort to turning on the TV so I can clean up the rest of the mess.  My kids don't really watch TV if I want them to, so they want to play with something else.  I've had the playdoh hidden away for quite some time, but because it's freezing outside and markers are already out of the question, I figured I'd let them play with it at the kitchen table.  I am out of the room for less than 5 minutes - how dare I use the bathroom or run upstairs to put clean sheets on the bed! - and I return to them making "recipes" with the playdoh, which means that they are mixing water into it.  Yuck & disgusting.  Playdoh & water do not mix well.  I start yelling at this point and I throw away all playdoh and swear that we will never get more.  I put all the playdoh toys in the Goodwill bag. 

Then Miss M vomits again, this time making it to the bathroom, but I feel so awful for her as she shakes and quivers from being so sick.  She still hasn't eaten anything so she's dry heaving and crying and just a mess.  I feel sorry for her and she's been begging me for days to paint her face because the face painting from Sunday school had to be washed off only hours later and I told her I would paint it again sometime this week.  I go into the kitchen to clean up the brushes.  It's too quiet, so I go back into the living room.  I guess it's my fault for painting her face like a cat:  cats like to climb on windowsills.


The two little kittens


I wish I hadn't painted her face before she started climbing because this picture would have been an awesome framer.  I will probably still frame it because she's some sort of animal most days anyway.


Later on in the day, JJ finds some safety scissors and cuts a hole in M's favorite pants, while she's wearing them.  This is upsetting anyways, but also because my girls don't have but 3 pairs of pants between them that they are actually willing to wear.  At least they were from Target on clearance instead of the ones from miniBoden.  But M is all kinds of upset about it so I put J in time out.  The rest of the day is full of screaming, fighting, JJ telling me she wouldn't love me anymore if I didn't give her a Hershey kiss, etc. And you wouldn't have believed I had a sick kid if it weren't for the lingering smell of puke and the stains on my sheets.  M was fine the rest of the day and it appeared to be just a one day stomach bug because there was never a fever and no throw-up past noon.  By the time Jeff got home I was exhausted.  I literally fell on the couch and couldn't move.  I was SO looking forward to both of them being in school the next day.....

Until the next morning when I went out to start the car and NOTHING.  I cursed in my car and had a mini-meltdown and called Jeff to tell him that I was going to lose my mind.  I couldn't even get the keys out of the ignition and the sliding door wouldn't close (it had started to open when I pushed the button on the way out the front door, but had stopped, slightly ajar), so this constant, annoying beep rang in my ears.  I took the girls back inside, called AAA and waited an hour for him to arrive.  I could have walked M to school during this time, but I didn't want to miss them coming to jump start my car (this is all I thought it might need), so we waited around.  Once he got there and popped open my hood, he told me I might want to take the girls inside because there was an animal in my car.  M is an animal lover and the AAA guy and I thought that it might have been injured and stuck while I was driving and it might be gross when he pulled it out.  Not the case.  The *#&@^$ rabbit was still alive, uninjured and had happily chewed through all of my wires.  Not just in one place, MULTIPLE places.  He had a whole day of my car not moving due to M being sick.  And it has been insanely cold, so my car was the perfect place to keep warm.  And apparently in their efforts to be more "green" cars have wires that are coated in soy.  I wonder if they thought about the fact that animals would find that tasty.  I would have taken a picture of the rabbit, but my iPhone is dead.

So we are going on the 6th day of minivan being in the shop.  If it weren't for my wonderful neighbor, Kim, letting me borrow her sweet Infiniti SUV that day to take JJ to school almost 4 hours late, I would have had to call someone to fill in for me while I ran away.  And yesterday my amazing friend, Gail, picked up JJ and I to take us to our church playgroup and then my sweet friend Maddie let me borrow her car -which was honestly my dream car for the longest time.  I love you more than ever, Volvo station wagon.  And the heated seats have been nice - except it's not freezing anymore.  It's supposed to be 68 degrees tomorrow - hallelujah!  We're heading to the park tomorrow if JJ doesn't have another drama presentation like she did this morning.  That girl is going to be a great actress someday. 


Monday, February 7, 2011

Feeling stuck

Today I had really high hopes of accomplishing major things: 

Cleaning my entire house
Removing the glue from the walls in the guest bedroom to prepare for painting
Clean up my grandfather's tool carrier so I can paint it and put plants in it
Call the unemployment office to ask why I'm not getting any $ from them even though I filed in December
Find a way to make $100 more each month
Read more of the Asperger's book
Do one nice thing for myself (kind of a goal I've tried this year for every day - it doesn't always happen)
Blog
Get dinner started
Yoga or Running
Find hooks for front hallway for the girls' backpacks and coats
Get together a bunch of stuff for Goodwill
Laundry

So I only have 20 minutes until I pick up M from school and I have only accomplished Blog, get dinner started (which really means that I've just set the chicken out to thaw), called the unemployment office (they gave me an email to write to but didn't tell me what I'm supposed to be writing about and then hung up), and cleaning up my grandfather's tool carrier - which took up my whole day because it's completely caked in mud and oil. 



And I watched Marley & Me while doing that so it wasn't as painful.  Now it's drying out on the table so I can sand it later.  I think I'm going to paint it an off white, similar to what it looks like it was originally painted.  It's been sitting in our basement of all of our 3 houses for some time so I really wanted to finish it.  Although, I don't think my husband will be very impressed that cleaning a family heirloom took hours and hours of my time.  And honestly, I'm kind of wishing I had done the yoga this morning first thing.  I could see if M wants to join me when she gets home, but I remember trying that before and she didn't stay interested too long.  I'm just in a rut, feeling stuck, whatever you want to call it.  And watching Marley & Me has made me even more of an emotional mess.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year, New Posts

One of my resolutions this year is to actually post on this blog. In order to do that, I think I'm going to use this blog for less of a "look what craft I made" blog and more of a "my daughter has Asperger's and our life is crazy and hectic and overwhelming" blog. I need an outlet for all of the stuff we are dealing with. So it may not be as enjoyable to read about, but hopefully it will help me with my stress and frustration throughout the year. Which is part of my bigger resolution: to be less stressed by taking care of myself. Which will hopefully result in our family being less stressed. The first step was to become a stay-at-home mom again, even though I didn't see that as part of the plan - but God did. I think I will look for something part time eventually, but only something that allows me to pick up M right after school since she can no longer attend after-care. (I'll cover that later.)
Don't worry, I'll still post house renovation pictures. That's part of the less-stressed me as well: getting our house finished!
I'll leave you with pictures from our Fall shoot with my friend, Erin, and some of the new kitchen in progress.
Happy New Year!

We still have to finish the cabinets with crown moulding and replace the framing around the windows, install the faucet and appliances, and pick hardware, but it's beautiful already!
The trash can is where the stove will be

I love the new quartz countertops and wood floor

Jeff shaped the opening to match the original ones in the rest of the house.  I love how open it is without the wall there and with the light that the new door (once a window) lets in.  The dining room will be painted the same color as the kitchen.  Not sure about what color to paint the living room, entryway, and the rest of the house, but I am open to suggestions!  The paint color in the kitchen is Fallow & Ball's Dauphine.

Just a reminder of what it looked like when we moved in:




And the pictures of our family:

JJ

M

More to come soon....:)