Tuesday, December 30, 2008

my Sweetie did this quiz, so I am doing it too

1) Are you really ready for 125 questions? HA! I laugh at you! After renumbering...there's only a couple more than 100.
2) Was your last real relationship a mistake? hmmmmm
3) Do you believe in God? Absolutely
4) Who did you last say "I love you" to? my son
5) Do you regret it? nope
6) Have you ever been depressed? mhmm
7) Have a best friend? Oh YES!
8) What is your relationship status? Complicated...at least that's the choice I've got posted on Facebook.
9) How do you want to die? Fast
10) What did you last eat? Smashed Potatoes
11) Do you bite your nails? yeah
12) When was your last physical fight? 10th grade? 11th?
13) Do you have an attitude? always! most pleasant :-)
14) Ever been arrested? not once
15) What is your real name? the one my momma gave me
16) Are you gonna get high later? not today
17) Do you hate anyone at the moment? hate...such a strong word
18) Do you miss someone? hmmm....yes, but not for long
19) Twirl or cut your spaghetti? twirl
20) Do you tan a lot? only if I can't avoid it
21) Have any pets? nopers
22) How exactly are you feeling? well fed
23) Ever eaten food in a car while someone or yourself is driving? um, yeah
24) Ever made out in the bathroom? *blush*
25) Would you take any of your exes back? prolly not
26) Are you scared of spiders? only when they're touching me against my will
27) Do you regret anything from your past? nah. everything has made me what I am today.
28) What are your plans for this weekend? weekend? Let me get through Wednesday night...then we'll talk.
29) Do you want to have kids? not any more
30) Ever kissed somebody that name starts with an C? hehe...yes
31) Do you type fast? very
32) Do you have piercings? YES How many? 4
33) Want any more? maybe?
34) Can you spell well? I spell relatively well.
35) What are you craving right now? sleep
36) Ever been to a bonfire party? does anytime in the last week count? or do I need to go back 2 weeks??
37) Have you ever been on a horse? no :( maybe in Heaven
38) Kissed someone in a pick up truck? yeppers
39) Have you ever broken someone's heart? yeppers
40) Have you made a boyfriend/girlfriend cry? yeppers
41) Would you live with someone without marrying them? Do my kids count?
42) What should you be doing? paying a bill
43) What's irritating you right now? the bill
44) Have you ever liked someone so much that it hurts? mmm....yeah
45) Does somebody love you? YESS!!!!!
46) What are your favorite colors? Blue. Green. Yeah, that's about it.
47) Have you ever changed clothes in a vehicle? again, in the last week? or do I need to go back 2 weeks?
48) Do you have trust issues? probably not enough
49) Have you ever shaved in the kitchen sink? not in years
50) Do you have a good relationship with your parents? fo sho
51) Do you believe your most recent ex thinks about you? why believe so, when i know so
52) Who was the last person you cried in front of? a dear friend
53) Do you give out second chances too easily? maybe 2nd chances. Just not 3rd or 4th chances
54) Is it easier to forgive or forget? forgive
55) Is this year the best year of your life? no. not even a little...except for the parts that were
56) Did you have a childhood nickname? I think so
57) Have you ever walked outside completely naked? tsk tsk...like I could answer that!!
58) Do you think you're a good person? no. Thank God for grace!!
59) Do you believe everything happens for a reason? completely
60) What is the last thing you did before you went to bed last night? pooped
61) Is there anyone you wish was still in your life? my sister
62) What is bothering you? my dry lips
63) Have you ever been out of state? cheah
64) Are you listening to music right now? no
65) Do you like Chinese food? yeah, but not as much as Mexican
66) Do you know your father's b-day? I do
67) Are you afraid of the dark? nope
68) Is cheating ever okay? nope
69) Are you mean? hmmm.....only when necessary
70) Can you keep white shoes clean? for at least a couple of weeks
71) Have you noticed this survey stopped getting personal? sort of
72) Do you believe in true love? depends on what you think true love means...
73) Are you proud of the person you've become? Yes.
74) Do you like the outside? the outside of the internet? the outside of my car? the outside of my office? the outside of my house? There's just too many outsides to choose from
75) Are you currently bored? not so much
76) Do you wanna get married? probably not again...i dunno...we'll see
77) Is it cute when a boy/girl calls you baby? yeah, as long as that boy/girl isn't my progeny
78) Are you hungry? not anymore
79) Do you have a bank account? unfortunately, yes
80) Do you like Subway? it's not too bad
81) Would it be hard to kiss the last person who kissed you? not even for a second
82) Your best friend of the opposite sex likes you, what do you do? like 'em back
83) Do you talk like your friends? it's possible....when appropriate
84) Have you ever seen someone you knew & purposely avoided them? um...this week or last?
85) Do you have a friend of the opposite sex around whom you can act your complete self? Yes Indeed!!
86) Who is the last guy you talked to? Mini Mann
87) Does it matter if your boyfriend/girlfriend smokes? nah
88) Do you go to church? Yep
89) What's going on between you and your best friend? too much distance
90) Who's the last person you had a deep conversation with? probably Sweetie
91) Have you ever regretted letting someone go? sort of
92) Do you enjoy piercings & tattoos? on other people
93) What do you wear more: jeans, sweats, pants, or shorts? jeans
94) You're a Sharpie marker, what color are you? black
95) Where do you go if you are butt naked and locked out of your house? Get in my car, go to a friend's house and CLOSET SHOP!!!
96) Do you prefer to shower at night or in the morning? Morning
97) Have you ever said you'd never love again? not once
98) Do you want to please everyone? sometimes. does that answer make you happy
99) Have you heard a song that reminds you of someone today? *sigh*
100) Has someone ever made you a promise & broken it? people are people, after all
101) Are you alone? in the room, presently. yes
102) Do you have any older siblings? I do. She's in Heaven, though...lucky girl!
103) Did you speak to your father today? I actually did!!!
104) When is your birthday? March - the best month of the year!!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It just wouldn't be the holidays without it!

Alright!! Everyone, sit down....gather 'round. It's that special time of year!!!

I promise there's no RickRoll here, but the link beckons to you...click me. Click Me. Click Me! CLICK ME!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


tonight I wish for a few of things...not enough things for a full 365Grace post...

I wish for an amazing night's sleep like I had last night.
I wish for an amazing morning like I did this morning.
I wish that when I wake from said amazing sleep, my neck will not hurt in a fashion similar to how it doesn't hurt right now.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Lights and Gray Hairs

I've been driving around for a few nights and noticing some things about the Christmas lights in my area. There are rules about lights, ya know. What I've been seeing is that some of these rules are being broken...quite awfully, no less.

Let's talk about the rules and we'll see if you know what I'm talking about.

1. Icicle lights...I'm pretty sure these should be outlawed. I've only seen them on one house that made me stop and say, "wow, that's actually pretty" and those were blue and white teeny tiny lights hung under the facia so it was clean looking from the street. That, and the blue and white tiny lights carried through the entire theme of the house's decoration. Nothing about the house didn't fit in with the rest of it. Next rule...

2. Lawn Ornaments - These are just weird. Often, there's a porportion issue. The animals are the same size as the crazy blow up penguin or half the size of the teeny spiraly lighted tree. Lawn ornaments appear to me, to be more of a statement of the homeowner that indicates the level of cash they're willing to drop for the beasts. Oh, and there's always somebody in town that'll throw one deer on the back side of another deer therein causing the small children in the car to inquire what those deer are doing.

3. Blanket lights - Not okay. Especially not okay if you need to trim your hedge.

4. Single row of lights running along the roof line of the house without symmetry or without control. You know what I'm talking about here. Multicolored lights without a pattern. Or one where the pattern is clearly intended, but there's a break down somewhere and the pattern gets out of whack. Red, Green, Red, Green, Red, Red, Green. People? You can fix that. It's worth fixing. Or when the lights are dangly but should be tight? Your house wants to look good. Go ahead. Give those last 15 minutes of effort to tighten them up.

I know there are more rules about Christmas lights, but those are the ones I'm recalling right now.

Onto the gray hair news...I think I've found one on my head. My sister found her first during high school, but my grandma on my mom's side didn't get gray hair until she was like 70 or something. I don't think my mom has any grays. I don't think I'm particularly ripped up about it, but it's notable at least. It might just be a blonde hair that's growing out from my last color. Time will tell.


I'll be okay. No really. It's a natural part of life.

Although, it's almost enough to convince me to go back to my natural color instead of continuing to dye my hair to match my eyebrows.

More grace

1. Excitement to get back to my workouts
2. T-shirts that don't mind tears and snot
3. Friends that show up completely unexpectedly
4. 12 hour Sudafed and CVS being open late
5. Puppy kisses

Friday, December 12, 2008

Day 3?

I pay no mind to your Julien calendar!! Today is day 3. Love it or leave it. It's my blog and I'll count how ever I want to.

1. Loose buttons
2. Reverse in a manual transmission car
3. Fridays!!!
4. Awesome friends
5. Strong hands that strum my sore muscles

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

day 2

  • Squatting 5 lbs more than my body weight and the endorphins this little activity affords my brain.
  • Heat packs and warm water that help to ease my muscles and lubricate my insides.
  • Carmex - I'm using it a bit oddly, but it's really doing the trick on my new heel cracks
  • Clean boys that bathe themselves
  • Nearly normal poop - One day, it'll be 100% normal again and I'll be a happy girl with happy insides.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Grace - 365

The idea here is to post 5 things every day that have graced your life. Hmm...I didn't exactly ROCK NaBloPoMo, but I'm willing to have at least the start of an idea of something to post. I hope that at some point, duplicates are acceptable. Well, I'm the boss of this blog, so for me, they are. I'll try to make sure and put the badge up whenever it's one of these here, qualifying posts.
1. Sleep. Sometimes, it's hard to come by. Sometimes, it's available in abundance. I love it no matter the mechanism required for me to obtain some.
2. The soft snuggly skin on Mini's neck when he's asleep next to me.
3. Getting all my laundry done - washed, dried, folded, and put away - in one unexpected evening.
4. Grammar. 'nuf sed.
5. My son's teachers who encourage me to believe that someday, he just might grow to be a good, albeit sensitive, man.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Main Entry:
Latin vernaculus native, from verna slave born in the master's house, native
1 a: using a language or dialect native to a region or country rather than a literary, cultured, or foreign language b: of, relating to, or being a nonstandard language or dialect of a place, region, or country c: of, relating to, or being the normal spoken form of a language2: applied to a plant or animal in the common native speech as distinguished from the Latin nomenclature of scientific classification 3: of, relating to, or characteristic of a period, place, or group ; especially : of, relating to, or being the common building style of a period or place
— ver·nac·u·lar·ly adverb

Just in case you weren't sure, I'm apparently a bit of a Yankee. I find myself living in the south these days and I'm rather enjoying it, as I've said before. Though, it does appear that there are some words that I use that are just a little silly to these southerners. Things like sliver (splinter) and pop (soda). Apparently, crayons has 2 syllables and caramel has 3. I'm learning more and more of this southern tongue, but I'll probably always have more oatmeal in my pantry than grits.

All that said, I'd like to reveal the results of this fancy little quiz, just to prove that I'm quite possibly capable of playing for both teams!

You Are 50% Yankee, 50% Dixie

You're a pretty even split of Yankee and Dixie. You've probably traveled around a lot in your life.

Moreover, I blame the midwest! ;-)

Your Linguistic Profile:

55% General American English

20% Upper Midwestern

10% Yankee

5% Dixie

5% Midwestern

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Hooray for me!!

I finally did it. After, literally, years of wanting to, I added a label cloud tonight.

Go Me!

Now, I'm sleepy and going to go nigh nigh.


Today was Thanksgiving and I've just got to say, it was absolutely wonderful. I took the kids with me over to a friend's family's house for the festive meal. What a fun bunch they are! It was awesome to meet new people. To watch the boys play Wii, Elefun, the slot machine!! To see through a window into my friend's life. The growing up. The embarrassing stories. The 1st grade papers! HA!!

Good times were had by all. Thank you so much, my friend, for sharing your family with mine and making this holiday so enjoyable for us.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A real live original - from me!

Here's a first from me. A recipe!!

Tonight, I had a hankering for some onion soup and no moolah with which to purchase some delicious soup from the Red Onion. So I set about with the mission of using what I had in the house to create something delicious that hopefully would meet my need and be tolerated by the children.

The boys and I loved it. Sweetie, regretfully declined.

3 for 4 isn't that bad, in my opinion, and I love onion soup and she doesn't...so, I'm gonna share my original creation.

3 cups of water
3 cubes of chicken bullion
2 small onions chopped in big chunks
a dash of garlic and pepper
A bunch of mozzarella
1 package of small refrigerator biscuits (though not the Grands-just the cheap ones)

Here's what I did:

Boil the water with the seasoning.
Once boiling, add the onions.
When boiling again (about 10 minutes), lower heat to simmer while the rolls bake.
Bake 2 rolls in each large muffin tins for about 7 minutes at 400.

Then, I pulled the rolls out, popped them into smallish, oven safe bowls, poured the oniony soup over the biscuits and topped each bowl with mozzarella cheese. The bowls then went into the oven and baked until the cheese was a little brown. There was easily enough for 5 servings and since Sweetie opted out, I had 2 servings as did the Middle Mann.

Again, I thought it was delicious, and the boys gobbled it up!

Give it a try and tell me what you think? Maybe add some flare of your own and send me the advice!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

People! I need prayer

Alright, I'm headed out of work on Friday realizing that this is perhaps a sort of bad day. Not only is it payday, that was already fully spent, but it's also the day before vacation. Do y'all know what happens when I take vacation??

Needless to say, I'm worried. Pray for me. I'm off this whole week. Hopefully, I'll just sleep a ton. Hopefully, nothing bad will happen. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of a new trend for me. I'm totally on board for a new trend in my life. I'd love for bad things to stop happening when I'm off work on vaca.

You might be able to help. Pray! I welcome it. No matter your faith basis!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What can I do?

I love text messaging. I text all the time. Text allows me to keep in contact with people I just don't have time for. It's quick. I find it thoughtful - though I know I'm somewhat in the minority on that, at least for people in my demographic. Most of all, it's easy.

Last week, I got a text from a friend of mine. I've known her since before she was in Junior High. Tonight, she texted me some pretty huge news. Huge like, life altering. hasn't told her mom. way outside the path she was on. news. I'm not really surprised by the news. Not shocked at it's existence in any regard.

Years and years ago, I was in a similar spot at a similar age and my church and the Christian community I was involved in then had very strange ways of 'being supportive' that generally involved being shut out, shunned, unwelcomed. It was horrible. I was still me. I was clearly in need of more Jesus. I was in a place of softness in my heart where I would have actually welcomed love like Jesus'. I got it from Him, just not His church. It was sad to me. Really really sad.

Fast forward a few years later and I began to understand a new idea about this sort of thing. The reactions of the Church became very clear to me during this time. At that time, my response to this new understanding was something I've come to understand as righteous discontent. The only real solution to this discontent is to actually do something about it. Something to cause change - something to right the wrong that causes the discontent in the first place.

THEN! some schtuff went down for a friend of mine. It was awful. Truly truly awful. Hearts hurt. Lives broken. You know what? The part that broke my heart the most was that there was again, someone in deep need of Jesus love and the Church didn't give love. They gave rules. They gave counsel. They gave words. They didn't give love. One person, maybe three or four once everything was said and done, loved my friend.

AND THEN!! Some other schtuff went down for a different friend of mine. The church had an opportunity to Love. The church didn't make that choice. Again. I loved my friend. I let her know, in love, that she was Loved. That it didn't make her choices right or wrong or good for her or bad for her. Those were questions she'd have to get answers for. She knows my opinion, but she also knows that I LOVE her. Even if she makes more bad choices. She's loved. Even if she hurts herself because she didn't do the right thing. She's loved.

So, about this text convo I'm in the middle of, this girl. I love her. I hate some of the things she does to herself, but I know. I've been where she is. The only person who loved me through that was my mom. Terrifying. Nearly inconceivable. 100% Lifeline. I don't know if my friend has that sort of safety net in the area where she lives. I know that I can't certainly make choices for her or walk the road of consequence for her, but my goodness! I'm sure as the sun will rise that today's modern church sure isn't going to love her. Especially not if she goes back to where she came from.

I can't be her mom. Can't be the answer. I can't be anything more than love for her. It's so hard to be love from so very far away.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

me? an award winner?

Blogging is really all about community. Shortly after I started blogging, I met a new friend. She's an awesome blogger and it's been so cool to watch her grow as both a writer and a incredible little techie. Coding blogs all over the place, she does! So impressive!!!

...and she awarded me with this awesome little award. I'm completely honored and will follow up promptly by completely all the rules associated with the award. For now though. I just can't wait to get it up on my site!

Thanks, Girl!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

One of my favorite things

A lot of years ago, I saw a most wonderful movie. Then my daughter saw it.

We spent many many afternoons watching this movie again and again.

Today, in the midst of my not wanting to put the house back together, a most wonderful thing happened. This movie came on TV. When it started, Sweetie looked at me from the across the room and said, "You know? I used to pray that I'd get powers like Matilda." It wasn't the first time she'd told me this.

I must tell you that I'm now fully convinced of the movie's awesomeness since Mr. Busy himself - the smallest in the land - has been COMPLETELY captivated throughout the whole thing. Of course he's busy during the commercials, but as long as the movie's on, he is absolutely enamored.

As it ended, Mini-Mann stretched and proclaimed, "What a great movie that was! The last part of the movie was my favorite. Wasn't it yours?" I think I may just have to get the book for him.

Moments like that give me hope for him; for all of us!

Somethin's a'brewing 'round heah

I think there's this little something that's been brewing in me for a few days. I've been trying to avoid it, but the reality has pretty much hit me between the eyes.

I've got the flu.

I've been working on a fever for about 4 days. Achy back since Monday. Coughing. Sneezing. Snotty head. No energy. Crabby. No motivation.

I greeted the day officially rather late. Oh sure, I was conscious ever since the smallest boy woke up. Answering parental questions. Giving permission for things that wouldn't cause permanent damage to the children or the property.

Now that I'm up and the coffee's brewed, I'm looking around at all the wonderful goodness my Mini-Mann crafted up this morning. It's gonna take most of the energy I have to make things right in here.

I really look forward to feeling better very soon.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I woke up awful early today, on my day off. It ended up being a good thing. A very good thing.

I was slated to spend the day at an audio conference at church. However, when I signed in, I discovered that I was, in fact, signed up for the video portion of the conference instead. This was a bit nerve wracking at first, but it ends up that I actually know quite a bit about video, too.

During lunch, several of us were sitting around, talking about why we enjoy working in AV. The conversation then turned to the unusual phenomenon of the high school AV club and how there were never any girls in that club. Most possibly because girls didn't "get it" back in the day and the boys who were in it were weird, geeky boys with few social skills.

We then, collectively, determined that those awkward boys probably ended up being the most successful graduates in our respective classes. Then we all laughed at the idea that perhaps we are just trying to ride on the coattails of those AV high school boys in hopes of fantastic financial success. It was a fun conversation and a great conference. I was challenged creatively and I pulled off a decent showing.

Yay ME!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Today is the wild and crazy second Wednesday of NaBloPoMo.

I've gotta say that this year's gotta be about the hardest on me to keep up with. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I post, but I seriously have so very little to say, it's just hard.

I got a call today, on my way to the gym, asking for my help at church tonight. I mixed sound for the youth band. It was a nice change of pace, but I really do miss that I didn't get a workout. The endorphins, I've found, have become a dear friend of mine. My brain has come to rely on the reality of relief that those chemicals provide to me. I so prefer the self-medication of endorphins to any other form of self-medication, including those silly little anti-depressants that I still find myself in need of.

Last week, while Middle Mann was in the hospital, I forgot to take my meds as I so often do when there's tons of stuff going on. I mentioned to a friend later in the week that sometimes it seems like it would be better to be diabetic than depressed. At least that way, it would be obvious to those around me when I forget my meds! This person indicated that probably wasn't a good idea; that he'd had a friend die because of that.

Fine. I'll stick with depression. Ugh!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

G'bye Momma...

So sad, I am tonight. I drove my momma to the airport and bid her farewell.

I can't say enough how much awesomeness she brought with her to my home this past week. She was completely amazing.

And now, I have the arduous task of trying to keep the laundry up and the floors clean and the dinners made just like she did!

Monday, November 10, 2008


It's crazy! Here it is, only the 2nd week of NaBloPoMo and I'm running out of steam. I'm sure it couldn't be that there's been a ton of stuff going on. It couldn't have anything to do with sleeping in weird places or awkward positions. It couldn't have anything to do with the lack of a real schedule since pretty much the beginning of the month.

I'm with Zoot! Writers block has set in!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

...the rest of the story

From where I left off:

After the CT scan and the x-rays, a couple of things were determined. It did appear that his ventricals were a bit dialated and it also appeared that the tube for his shunt that runs down from his head to his tummy was broken. They weren't 100% convinced that his shunt was failing so they decided to do a little procedure to determine for sure if that was the problem. When they initially did the tap, his pressure measured 18 mmHg. After they did some draining and lowered his pressure to about 10, he started perking up. It was good to see him coming around. They drained his pressure down to about 3 and he was definitely feeling better. He was given permission to eat until midnight and it looked as though he'd be able to hold down the first food in more than 24 hours.

I called one of the awesome ladies we go to church with and asked if she could come to the hospital to hang with him while I ran home to get a change of clothes and pick up some dinner for the boy. She came with a friend and hung out with him. I completely appreciated her willingness and availability to relieve me for a little bit.

I got back to the hospital and he chowed down on the food I brought him. He ate until he was FULL. The ladies left and the anesthesiologist came to do his intake for the surgery. He'd just finished asking all of his questions and got ready to start his exam. It'd been about 2 1/2 hours since the shunt was tapped and just as he got ready to check my boy's vitals, Dude got a look on his face that sent me grabbing for the bucket. Lo and behold, he lost every bit of his dinner and started to feel the head pain again.

Within another hour, he was in a room in the PICU and hooked up to some serious monitors. Very quickly, it became quite clear that the shunt malfunction was very detrimental to his basic functions. His pulse was in the low 40's and his blood pressure had dropped into the very low range (70/35). She called for a neurosurgeon to come and check on him as well as to review the admission orders since no pain meds were noted on his orders.

Two residents arrived in short order and once again began to tap his shunt. They drew off about 5cc's of CSF. At that point, the resident began to struggle with the draw. He started manuevering around inside the shunt valve trying to get more fluid off, to no avail. At that point, my little guy said in perfect form, "uh...ya know...my head would probably feel better if you'd quit digging in my brain..." It was the Classic Middle Mann sort of comment and the residents stopped trying. His vitals recovered nicely with even the minimal release of extra fluid.

It was recommended that I get some sleep while I could. It was about 2:30 in the morning.

Around 5:00 am, his alarms started going off. His breathing had begun to slow to the point where he wasn't taking a breath once every 25 seconds. The monitor is hard coded to sound at that point. I think the sound of the alarm is intended to either wake the patient or the parent. Once I was woken, I sat up quickly and touched him - recommending he take a breath. He did and we slept this way for about 30 minutes with a reminder to breathe every couple of minutes or so. The nurse came in with some pain meds for him to try and take off the edge since he was really starting to get uncomfortable with the headaches again by this time.

Neurosurgery came through for rounds around 6:00 and examined him. His vitals were scary low and the shunt tapping was only relieving his symptoms for about 3 hours. He was scheduled for surgery at 1:00 pm which would have meant 2 additional taps before surgery. After their exam, the team met to discuss the plan. It was decided that because of his condition, it was in the best interest of everyone that the entire surgery schedule be shuffled and he was taken to surgery first at 7:00 am instead of last at 1:00 pm.

He made it through surgery with flying colors. It ended up that they only needed to replace the tube from the valve to his tummy, where the break had been seen on x-ray. This was the best possible outcome with the least risk for additional complications.

Because there hadn't been any invasion of his brain during surgery, the only requirement for his discharge was that he needed to pee. This turned out to be quite a struggle for the sweet, post surgical boy. He tried and tried and tried some more. Around 10:00 pm, the nursing staff finally agreed that he'd tried enough and they "went in" to relieve him. Just as the catheter passed through the place where success is no longer an option, he announced, "Whoa! It's gonna work!" We stayed that night, and apparently, while I was sleeping, the nurse came in the middle of the night and accompanied him to the toilet for his first successful pee since before surgery.

Upon waking, breakfast was served and discharge commenced. Wahoo!! We got to go home!!!!

My mom had arrived on Tuesday evening and greeted us nearly rested when we got to the house. She's definitely been a huge help and I'm so glad she was able to come and help me during this time.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

After surgery

After surgery
Originally uploaded by Everyone's crazy
This was the best smile he could muster in the recovery room following his unexpected, but very necessary shunt revision surgery.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A much better day...whew!

Well, today ended up being a much better day than yesterday.

It was certainly busy and filled with much to think about and ponder and consider and contemplate about. I'm going to make it though. The pink eye in Middle Mann's right eye is looking much better. Mini Mann isn't going to die anytime soon - even with threats of bugs in his room if he doesn't clean it up. Sweetie experienced her first consequence of being a driver and forgetting to turn your lights off. AND Grammie got to see the mall in our town and she was impressed!

All in all, I'll take a Friday over a Thursday anyday!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Days like these...

Some days, you'd think I actually have the world under my control. Things fall into place and questions aren't asked.

Today was NOT that sort of day. Work was STRESSFUL! Home was STRESSFUL! That whole other thing that's not at home anymore, but is sort of like an infection that you just can't kick? STRESSFUL!!!

Ugh! Today would be a perfect day to have one of those islands to escape to. I completely wanted to jump off today on more than one occassion.

Though, I suppose that without days like today, I'd probably appreciate Fridays a whole lot less.

Hooray! Friday is tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Does Twitter count?

Whew! What a few days it's been.

I came home from New York last Thursday and on Friday, my middle mann came home from school and said he had a pretty bad headache. He rested and took some ibuprofen and felt better, but then he felt worse again...we cycled through this all day Saturday and Sunday, but on Sunday at church, he started with the throwing up. Although, he reported that his head felt better following the puking, (doesn't that sound just like a migraine?!) when he asked for some food, he threw that up too! (doh! hrmmm?)

When he woke up Monday and threw up just because he greeted the day, and then snuggled with me for an hour and threw up just because the minute changed...I had a sneaking suspicion that we were dealing with a little more than a cluster migraine.

I took him to the pediatrician. He threw up there a couple of times and they sent us off to the University hospital. He was very well cared for and after a few hours in the ER, a CT scan, and a couple of x-rays, they decided that indeed he would probably feel a lot better if his shunt was working. He was scheduled for surgery on Tuesday morning and admitted.

There's a little bit more detail to the whole surgery story, but I'll end this post by saying, he's MUCH better. Its failure was the best sort of failure a person could hope for and the surgeons didn't need to go into his brain at all. They were able to replace just the tube that runs from the shunt valve down his chest and into his tummy.

We came home this morning and he's nearly back to 100%.

I hope I get NaBloPoMo points for Twitter. :-)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Some people...

I live. I breathe. I'm sure there are things that I think that other people don't agree with. Thank goodness for diversity. That said? What is the deal with some people?

I'm discovering that it's as though there is a large segment of the populous that gives off an air of perfection to those around them. As though, the opinion housed in their mind is the ONLY opinion about anything and everything.

I would like to find a way to tactfully reveal to people like this the error in their perspective. To open their eyes to the reality that exists for the rest of us - where my opinion is exactly that. Mine. Not anyone else's. I'm happy to admit that my opinion may not be correct, but at least I'm willing to own it and not fuss about the fact that yours is perhaps diametrically opposed to what I think or believe.

Goodness! I'm pretty sure the rules of life are pretty simple. Love God and Love People. Pretty much? Those small minded jerks? They need to learn a little more about love and step off their nasty little soapboxes of hurtful opinions. Ugh!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Help a sista out!

So, here's my first Craig's List posting. Perhaps you remember how much my sister loved crafting. Stamps and cards were probably among her favorites.

Well, if there were stamps of hers that you loved, let me know and let's see what we can do. It's time to spread her love for stamping and maybe make a little money in the process.

I'll be putting up additional listings on Craig's List with pics and I'll probably put together some sets in the coming days. There's so many stamps here, I just don't know how best to market them all.

Feel free to comment here if you'd like to hand pick from all that's here.


It's that time of year!! Hooray and let the pressure begin!

I'm soooper glad it's November 1st. Happy Blogiversary to me. This is the 3rd 11/1 I've spent in blogland and also the 3rd NaBloPoMo I've participated in. Right now, I'm planning on participating rather silently on the off chance that failure ensues, I'll only have myself to disappoint. My Lappy has kindly agreed to help me out in a new way; blue screening upon boot. gotta.love.it. NOT!

So, until I return to work on Wednesday, I'll be borrowing Sweetie's lappy to make my posts from.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Revealing more than I realized

The internet has opened up so much real estate for the lives of the people of our world. I use 'real estate' rather loosely, but my intent is that the space between each of us has shrunk significantly in that we can access so much of each others lives without really knowing anyone in real life.

I recently learned a little lesson here on the interwebs that was very overdue, in reality.

I've always felt pretty safe online. I protect the kids names here and I've rarely considered my own name as threatening, since it's a pretty common name and I've never been able to find anything out about myself online. Nothing really juicey anyway. This feeling of contented safety left me the other day when I made a new friend.

I was at a pre-Gator-game party and met a bunch of people. We exchanged names and talked a bit while we were there. On the way out, we exchanged phone numbers. I really didn't think anything of it. I'm a grown up. I like people. I've often exchanged info with single serving friends and never heard from them again. Truth be told, exchanging phone numbers wasn't threatening, it was actually very helpful.

In reality, the lesson I learned here had more to do with my online presence than having given my phone number out. The person I met GoogleStalked me based only on my name and my city. I'm super glad I'd shared my number so that I could find out about the gaping hole I'd left in my online privacy.

Here's my recommendation to you. Ya know how sometimes you take pics of your kids outside of your house that you post online? Think about the fact that there may be a street sign in your shot.

Also, if you've never checked the Street View of your address on Google Maps? Give it a try. You might be surprised what you see.

I've found a new love and I'm not ashamed to admit it!

I think if you've known me for about a day, you have probably figured out that I have got me some really dry feet. My heels are almost always cracked and I've tried everything to make it better.
Seriously? Everything.

Been there. Done that.

Then about a year ago, this fancy little product came on TV and I was all about the commercials. This drew significant ribbing from my family since they KNOW how much I've struggled with the dry heels. The commercial always showed this really gross ending to the fantastic smooth heels that loomed so closely. This ending requires the user to throw away the shavings.
Can I just tell you? I've had my share of pedicures and I've shaved my heels with enough devices that the thought of something catching all the sluff instead of me having to sweep up after the event? Well, that's nearly benefit enough AND reward enough for me to endure the teasing I knew would happen if I went ahead and tried this little device.
Alright ladies and gentleman, I did it. I braved the ribbing. I broke down. I picked the pink one in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. I paid the lady her ten dollars and ya know what? I could be a freaking HEEL MODEL!!! Seriously? Such smoothness! The bliss is nearly uncontainable.
Thank you, Ped Egg. Thank you so very much!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

My first time...

I went on a business trip last week and I had the awesome pleasure of heading back to the place I left a little over a year ago. It was my first time back since that early morning last August, when the car was packed up and I started the 5 day journey east with the kids.

I got to stay with my parents and drive my daddy's car. My momma cooked for me and did some laundry, took in my clothes so they'd fit, and even took me shopping. It was such a privilege to be spoiled during those days in their home again. Being with my folks was absolutely the best part about the trip.

I took ^that^ picture on my last day. We went down to the waterfront in Des Moines and walked out on the fishing pier. It was a beautiful day and seeing the Sound was just what I needed after such a heavily charged, emotion filled week back home.

I find it somewhat difficult to call Seattle home, now, especially having been back. Riding home on Sunday afternoon from the airport, anticipating hugging my kids and just being home was new again and freshly exhilarating.

There have definitely been times during the last year that I wanted nothing more than to go back to Seattle. Thinking that's where my home was. I know it's rather cliche, but what I learned most about my trip "home" is that when all was said and done, I actually left home and visited a place I once lived.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What are the real words to that song?

Tonight, I was in the car with my boys listening to this song and my Middle Mann started singing along...though he seemed to be giving tribute to his sister and their mama.

His voice has definitely been deepening and he raps right along with the man on the song, but when it comes to the girl part, he says, "She got it from our Mama!"

Here's a little snippet of the song, in case you don't want to risk a RickRoll on the above link

Friday, August 29, 2008

it's a love/hate relationship

My car and I usually get along pretty well, but this week we were forced into a new understanding about each other.

Namely this: driving her 80 mph in 98 degree weather with the AC on MAX is apparently not okay. Li'l Miss made it very clear to me about 30 miles into a 100 mile drive that she was a bit hot and bothered. I lovingly stopped and offered her a nice, cool, drink of antifreeze, but she really didn't have anywhere to put it. I made her take it anyway, just hoping to impact the boiling point a bit. It worked for about 10 minutes and then she was all hot and bothered again!

I had to think quickly since I was driving to Orlando without a minute to spare. I had a car with a bad attitude before and I remembered quickly what made that little car happy. So, I gave my little trick a whirl. I turned on the heater. Low and behold, she calmed right now and ran at a normal operating temperature. It was rather difficult to tolerate the heat she required, but I was determined to make it to my destination and not be late. There were people waiting for me. Software depended on me! I depended on my car. So, I sacrificed every bit of hydration I had in me, including the 36 ounces of water I drank on the way just so she'd be comfortable running all the way there.

I was absolutely drenched with sweat when I got onsite. Visibly wet from head to toe. Thank goodness I'd worn a tank top under my shirt. I took the top shirt off about 10 minutes after leaving the gas station, so it was at least dry when I got to my destination. Thank goodness!!!

I did my best to rehydrate throughout the evening, but I ended up falling asleep shaking, with the chills.

The next morning, she was perky and happy and very willing to let me use the AC as I drove 20 minutes or so to the site. She was perfectly happy to drive another 20 minutes later in the day when I needed to get somewhere else. She was even happy for the next two days! ...on the short jaunts.

I thought we'd all but made up for good.

Apparently, today, she'd had a change of heart. Apparently, she doesn't like to run in the middle of the afternoon on the Interstate. Apparently, 98 degrees is just a little too much for her to handle, even at 7o mph. Heck! She started getting stupid cranky on the off ramps when I was barely moving!

We reached a bit of a truce about an hour from home today when there was a sudden rain burst. I was able to only have the heater halfway on and she stayed operationally cool. Not an ounce cooler on the blowing air into the car, though. No. Only exactly one click before the half way mark on the hot side of the little lever thingy.

That rain felt good to me too. I drove through it with my window down and my arm hanging out. It was absolutely wonderful for both of us!

Then, right around 5:30, when I got off the freeway and stopped for gas in town, she relented. I rolled up the windows and carefully began to embrace the AC she let me run. I didn't over do it. All the way cold, but only on the 2 setting for the fan, and not with recycled air. She was actually letting me have AC and I completely needed it!! I drank twice as much water on the way home today, so I'm not shaking tonight as I post this.

I let her have a couple hour break and then I took her back out for another 4 hour drive. She did great. The passengers were reasonably comfortable and I only had to move the fan into the warmer than colder side once. That little episode was barely noticed by my riders, and for that I'm very grateful. I didn't want to have to get all embarrassed on her behalf when I had company in the car.

It was great company too and I am so honored to have been given the opportunity I was tonight. Thank you, my dear!

Since she was such a cranky little bugger this week, I've decided that when I get the Kia fixed next week, she's just going to be an in-town car. She seems to behave nicely in town. Sometimes, you just can't take the kids out, ya know? Or at least not during the day!

Monday, August 25, 2008


I get to control the remote now.

It's been a long, long time since this was possible, and I just have to admit; I have no clue what to do with it.

I keep finding myself stuck on the Discovery Health network at night. Finding the Mystery Diagnosis show, I'm transfixed. I love to try and figure out what the deal is with these unique patients.

It's like I was meant for something bigger than this. Who could have known?!

Also? I can't wait for the fall seasons to start to watch Grey's and The Office and Scrubs...is that still on? OMG! I'm so behind!!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

too much

I have heard the cry of the masses and I'm posting something!!!

There is so much going on right now, but it's difficult to get it all out. Maybe I'll use the default bullet list.

  • Softie moved out of the nest in July.
  • I'm a single mom again.
  • There were major layoffs at work
  • I still have a job.
  • Most of my friends don't work with me anymore.
  • Sometimes, I feel a little survivor guilt about that.
  • Friends that weren't laid off, quit.
  • The first (since I started this job) full version release is underway at my job.
  • I'm busy with that. Crazy busy. It's perfect for me.
  • School started.
  • I'm busy with that. Crazy busy. Not as much confidence here, but I think I'm pulling it off with grace inspite of my lack of confidence....

I think that's about it. Things are actually really great. We're all getting along so well and there's patience all around for each other which is nice and new and refreshing. I have some projects in the air right now with the house and I've taken the before pictures....oddly enough, the after pics are just not, um, how you say? uhhmmmmm....coming together like I'd wish they would.

But! Isn't that what the weekend is for?!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

interesting...I have been reading a lot more. perhaps, I'll look this one up.

You are Emma Woodhouse of Emma! You like being the queen of your social circle (small and provincial as it may be), and feel it's your duty to help those less influential than you. You often meddle in the affairs of others, though you do it with a pure heart. You are often deluded in your flights of fancy, but your good intentions and creative spirit make you someone anyone could like.

I am Emma Woodhouse!

Take the Quiz here!

Monday, July 7, 2008

July. I believe I'll skip you next year.


I'm not sure that you're good for me. Except that you are. I find your gifts mostly hard in the beginning, but in the end, highly beneficial improving life-changing.

When did our relationship begin, July?

About 5 years ago, it was in July when we first faced foreclosure. That little package came back a couple years later. Thanks for breaking the seal.

Maybe that wasn't it. Maybe it was 4 years ago. Isn't that when you took my sister's mind that July 8th?? When her brain bled and her ventricles stopped draining? When her tumor got angry and started wreaking havoc on her short term memory? When she spent 3 weeks in the hospital and then came home to live with me?

And then 3 years ago, July 8th? You tried to do the same thing to a dear family friend. His brain wasn't tumor filled, but what's up with you an the brain injuries? Especially during you?

2 years ago, there was guy, great guy, preaching on Sunday morning. It was the 16th. At the end of his sermon on "The God of Second Chances" you stole his brain too?! (maybe that was God and not you. Maybe He's not all about the second chances after all...regardless! I blame you, July.)

Last year, you didn't do too bad. I got this great job and started the whole process of moving across the country. I may be alone in the belief that this was actually a blessing, especially in light of your gift this year.

This year? Wow. Thanks. I actually got just what I wanted. Only problem? You dropped it like a nuclear bomb and let it blow up all over my kids hearts. They'll be okay. No, really. Don't take your gift back. Just let us (those who remain here, that is) recover. Let us take our high pressure showers and salve our wounds.

We'll be ready for you next year. Unless we skip...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I have another question for Florida

Hello again, Florida. We need to talk.

I'm a fair skinned young lady. I don't mind the tan you rest upon my skin. There's just one little problem. I don't want my face and neck to age due to your power bestowed so effortlessly.

There's just one little problem. I sweat too much and I can't keep the spf on my face. Mary Kay had given me some decent coverage, but I sweat her off in about 10 minutes - even before leaving my house.

I've tried the actual sunscreen stuff too. Thanks, but the flaming reaction my delicate face has to that is so unwelcome and basically, I think, worse than premature aging. I can't walk around with burning redness and eyelids swollen. That basically defeats my whole purpose.

Alright, so Florida, here it is: What am I going to do with you and your blasted wonderful sunny-ness? Will you and my face's need to stay young looking ever cooperate? What will the road to this cooperation look like? Will there be a sign? Some direction to follow? and will it run into my eyes? Because that's pretty much a downer...just in case you weren't sure.

Where the Smurfs live

Since moving to Florida, I'm struck by the influx of the little blue creatures that MUST live under these things. They are insanely large mushrooms that grow up in about a day.

Where previously, there were none, within a day, there is an entire village.

The only thing that doesn't make sense to me is that the smurfs were said to have been 3 apples tall...I just gotta tell ya, there're big parts of me that just don't buy that. Not unless the apples are the size of the little red berries on the holly bushes.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The joy of counting

This morning - well, more accurately it was afternoon, but I'd only been awake for about 20 minutes - my Mini Mann counted. He told me, just before beginning that he had counted to 105 yesterday and then he asked me if I wanted to see.

Of course I wanted to see (or watch) him count to 105!

He blew way past 105 all the way to 187 before things started to get really exciting. He started spewing joy from the inside straight out of his body. It was leaking everywhere. The impending reality that he was going somewhere great with all of this counting...somewhere that he'd never been before. Some thing was coming soon on this accent in numbers that he didn't know to expect. It was something wonderful. Terribly unexpected!

When he arrived at this magical place of enchantment he squealed. Literally.



He got to 200 and then he didn't know what to do with himself!

Uncharted. Territory. AAAHHHHH!!!!!

It'll be good to look back on this in a few years and remember that there is joy to be had in numbers. I'll make sure and remind him when he gets to multiplication.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

It's too quiet here...

What the heck is up with that?!

Do you think crazy might be trying to run away with my sanity?

Survey Says??

Pretty dang close to correct - 100

Monday, June 2, 2008

What languages can you speak?

We're sitting here enjoying our not-tomato free, not vegetarian lasagna and Mini Mann is miserably watching us while he's not currently being fed...hahahaha! We're so mean to him.

So, apparently, when he's bored, it's time for all of us to talk about the different languages we know.

Middle Mann then asks, "Uh, Mom? Can you speak FrAAAnch? Whoops! Sorry 'bout that."

Then Sweetie says, "Yeah, pardon his Fraanch!"

Saturday, May 31, 2008

a fun little quiz

You Are a Comma

You are open minded and extremely optimistic.

You enjoy almost all facets of life. You can find the good in almost anything.

You keep yourself busy with tons of friends, activities, and interests.

You find it hard to turn down an opportunity, even if you are pressed for time.

Your friends find you fascinating, charming, and easy to talk to.

(But with so many competing interests, you friends do feel like you hardly have time for them.)

You excel in: Inspiring people

You get along best with: The Question Mark

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

more of me

Sunday, I spent the better part of the evening reading old posts here and I've come to a bit of a conclusion or two or three.

1. I don't respect the blog in the way I did in the past.
2. I should write more.
3. Maybe I'm not as out of my mind as I think I am.

Sunday was Michelle's birthday. She would have been 39. Alas, she ended her journey at 36 1/2. It is funny to me, in this very moment, that she would have cared to note the 'and a half'. She always noted the 'and a half' in her 5'2 1/2" height. I miss her. Church was amazing. I wish she had been there. I wished I could have talked to her. I wish I could share with her the inside of me right now. She'd tell me that she loves me. She'd tell me that sometimes life isn't always handed to us the way we wish it were.

She would have understood me. She would have loved me inspite of what's inside me right now and she would have been encouraging in the ways that are right. She would have laughed with me that maybe indeed, I am not depressed, but rather bi-freaking-polar just like Cinda-freakin'-rella.

I think it's quite possible that I'm not actually out of my mind, but rather a full understanding of my being is imperceivable inside the limitations that exist inside the understanding I'm currently aware of and will only be fully realized in the Heaven that awaits me.

Probably, part of why I'm still here and she's not is that they're not ready for me as yet. Also, maybe there's more for me to do here; for me to accomplish, to understand, to bless with all my being. HAHAHA! Mostly, that's doubtful. But apparently, embracing me and loving me is important for me to do. To build up myself with God's grace is my calling, perhaps.

I do find it strange, admist all this, that God is so clear and easy for me to understand and so terribly difficult to explain. Also strange. When I read through my "seriously? I am out of my mind" posts, it was so strange how many of those labeled posts relate in some way to God.

Also, I'm pretty sure my period is about to start. That would make SOO much sense.

How 'bout that?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A little self reveal

This is the post where I tell you about the crazy places I live in.

These places are all in my mind (thus the URL).

I really do live on a tenuous string of sanity. I manage pretty well from day to day with the ever present help of my chemical romance, Zoloft. I joke heartily of the need for meds each day, but the reality is that I require medication to function. This reality breaks me sometimes. I absolutely hate the meds. HATE...HATE. HATE!

The saneness you think you see in me, where you think I'm as normal as you, is 100% due to my medication.

My need for medication really pisses me off.

I've been consulted by people about the whole "should I take meds" thing and my response is always the same. "Taking medication to affect change in the chemical imbalances in the brain that cause functional changes is the same thing as a diabetic person who takes insulin. It's nothing to fight. It's just a necessary thing!"

Funny, that when the rubber met the road for me recently, I found myself complaining about how AWFUL it is that I have to take STUPID medication just so I can get up in the morning and even then barely think straight to someone. I confided my hatred for my meds with a new friend of mine. This friend has type I diabetes and has been on insulin since the age of 12. I was quickly informed by this friend that I was talking to the wrong person about not liking the reality that I require a chemical to sustain normalcy. The reality that I can even take meds, when someone like my Middle Mann has no choice but to endure life as it rolls toward him, should comfort me more than piss me off.

Lately, I'm not convinced that Zoloft will be my life long friend. Or least not the at dosage that I'm curently on.

My world has been rocked recently. The rocking action that knocked me down from my string of sanity is really just a little thing. Just a simple email, probably sent with the best of intentions, but an email that rocked me nonetheless.

I try to learn from everything. A situation. A circumstance. A relationship. A song. Right now, I'm learning not to hate the meds, and I'm learning how to better prepare for the unforeseen mental side swipe that can strike from nowhere.

My Middle Mann - Part VI

From where I left off...

....His development was pretty boring for the next couple of years. Honestly, he didn't change much.

Until about 3 months before his 2nd birthday.

He got a little sick one day. A little more uncomfortable than usual. He never seemed completely comfortable, but this was definitely different. He couldn't keep anything down. Actually, it was so bad that I couldn't even wipe his face with a damp cloth without him throwing up.

I was completely at a loss for what to do.

So we went to the doctor.

He was diagnosed with extreme dehydration and admitted to the hospital for fluids and observation. It was the strangest thing to me. Strange, because when they admitted him, they ordered a CT scan of his head. I really didn't understand that, but the lack of clarity only lasted a short time.

His shunt had failed.

There was no reason for this. It just happened. I'd been warned that it may, though I had no idea what to look for. But in a few short hours, I learned what his symptoms may look like if it ever happened again.

He had a second brain surgery, though he didn't look nearly as alienesque as the first time. He didn't have any physically altering symptoms, specifically head swelling. He did have a complete shutdown of his systems. There was the obvious digestional shut down, accompanied by a loss of visual function. He was completely dehydrated. In fact, when they tried to use a catheter to get a urine specimen, his little bladder was completely empty.

He came through surgery flawlessly. Woke up and acted mostly like the little man I'd come to know, and life just went on.

Did I mention that I knew what it might look like if it happened again? Yeah, it did. 2 months later.

Apparently, the first time, it got plugged up because the pressure valve that was originally used enabled for significant decompression of the ventricles. So much so that the brain tissue was able to, over a period of two years, completely block the shunt's flow. It was gradual, but when the blockage was complete, the disintegration of function was hasty.

The second time it failed, I discovered it was because during the first replacement, he suffered an additional bleed in his brain. The shunt grabbed some of that blood and since it's not a native internal object, the body didn't do the work of cleaning up the blood inside the shunt.

The really great thing about the 2nd replacement is that when my dude woke up, he really woke up! The doctor - who walked out of every surgery completely free of wrinkles (something that makes him just delicious in my mind) - decided to use a different pressure valve in this shunt. It was a higher pressure valve, so there would be marginally more pressure inside the kiddo's head so that the brain tissue wouldn't be impacted and the possibility of another bleed caused by the shunt would be reduced.


He tore the dressing off his head within 12 hours after surgery. He started sitting up. Scooting around on his butt. And within a year, he was walking! Granted, it was only when he was holding my hand, but the 2nd day he did the walking thing, we went to the mall, and he walked the WHOLE way around. He was ready to meet the world and the world needed to watch out! (check out that run on sentence...)

About the time he was upright and walking, he started going to school by way of the short bus. He was 3 little tiny years old and he started riding the bus the same day as Sweetie started Kindergarten.

We had IEP meetings and goals were set. He was suddenly so big and I learned things about him I hadn't known before. Things like he could put his shirt on all by himself. It's strange how when you have a special kid, other people can make them do more than they'll you'll let them do.

As a mommy of a special boy, I do everything I ever did for him. Once he went to school, there was an unknown about him there. The teacher and the assistants and the therapists didn't know that he couldn't do what I knew he couldn't do. So, they just expected that he could. And actually, they were right!

He has continued to blow my mind with his development. He can walk and talk and eat and grow and think and read and add and subtract. The reality hits me from time to time that when he was 4 months old, I was asked to sign a DNR.

I talked to his pediatrician, who left private practice to work exclusively with kids like mine, about 6 years later. He told me things I never knew. Those things have stayed with me in a special place that I go to when I need a little encouragement. At the times when I'm convinced I'll never be able to die because of my baby's need for me.

That doctor told me that when we were at his office nearly every day, he was as certain as the morning comes, that I would ask him to take my baby from me. He was certain that my baby wouldn't make it very long. He was certain that my baby would never really function.

His certainty was so significantly rocked as a result of my baby's life, that he had to re-write his conclusions about what could happen with babies like mine.

Now, my little baby is nearly 14 years old.

He loves NASCAR. He loves people. He loves music - singing and playing and listening. He adds 2 digit numbers and subtracts without borrowing. He reads at a high 1st grade level. He can't wait to cheer on anyone and everyone he can. He's competed in Special Olympics and taken the Gold!

He is an amazing creation. I can't take credit for his awesomeness anymore than I can for Sweetie's. God is so good and has blessed me through my kiddos.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My Middle Mann - Part V

It's going to take me forever to get through the story of my dude this way, but with this post, I'll try and get pretty close to present day.

Buckle up. This could be a long post!

When he was about 4 months old, he started occupational therapy. His first goal was to be able to tolerate 10 minutes of handling (basically being held) without screaming and then crashing into sleep for the rest of his session. It took him about 6 months to reach that goal.

One day, while I was buying groceries, I noticed a baby, younger than my own, facing me in the shopping cart ahead of me in line. That baby looked at me. Right in the eyes. I didn't notice before, but my baby boy hadn't done that. Ever.

I mentioned this to the neurologist and the pediatrician. It was so hard to convince them that I meant it when I said that I didn't think my baby could see. They tried repeatedly to dissuade me from calling him blind, but can I just tell you this? A mother knows. No matter what. A Mother Really Knows her kid.

There is actually a test they can do when someone is asleep that can tell how much signal gets into the brain through the eyes. My baby failed that test.

When he was 4 months old, we had a follow up appointment with the neurologist. During that appointment, the doctor noted that he seemed to spit up quite a lot. He was a runny faced kid, no doubt, but I didn't think it was too much. He didn't drool ever, but he did give back a lot of his lunch no matter what meal it was.

The neurologist recommended seeing a gastroenterologist and the gastro's recommendation was to start my dude on some Zantac. For real. The same stuff they make for grown ups, only this was for babies.

After one day on the new medicine, his life changed. He didn't scream anymore. Even when he wasn't in his swing.

My baby's tummy was hurting all that time. Ugh! It broke my heart to realize that I didn't notice his reflux. I just thought he spit up a lot. I was able to get over the guilt of that when I realized that while he was on Zantac, he didn't poop. So, they started him on another medicine to help him poop. That was good, though it was a difficult drug to find. It had to be compounded every single refill. If you know me, you know I really stink at the pre-planning crap. So, he'd go a few days without pooping and I'd realize that I should probably get a refill on that magic drug. I would, and he would poop. Amazing!

He started to demonstrate a little bit of a personality during this time and we noted that he was happy. For the first time in his life!

A couple of months later, he started to be fussy again, so I worked with his OT to teach him a couple of signs. He learned 'more' and 'all done' and that met his needs for the next few months. Who would have thought that a developmentally delayed kid would want to communicate at 6 months?? But he did. He really did!

I learned during this time that doctors practice their job and I, as a mother, am expected to actually do mine. I learned that doctors would respect me if I told them 'what for' in a respectful manner. That if I presented my case effectively, they would listen. AND maybe they weren't right at first and that it was my JOB to make sure they kept investigating to find the real answer to my boy's realities.

From the time he was born, lots and lots of prayers were raised asking for healing. Honestly, I was kinda tired of asking God to heal my baby. I had begun to understand and accept that God has until Heaven to heal my baby fully. He will be whole in the end and that's really enough for me.

No matter, there was a healing service at my parents church when my middle (though not yet middle) mann was about a year old. My parents really wanted me to go. They wanted him to be prayed for again. Again. Seriously? I was okay with the fact that my baby wasn't whole here. Since that was very much my plan - to be fine with a baby that was broken - I went to the service. About 5 minutes before it was over, I really needed to get my little boy.

I brought him from the nursery into the service itself and before all was said and done, the pastor prayed with him.

I gotta tell you, I was skeptical at best.

But, my baby was happy the next day and he seriously rolled to a toy. He saw the toy and rolled over to it.

Life was never the same.

Also, the seizures stopped after he was about a month old. It took the better part of a year to get him off meds for it, but I did it. Also, I had the vision test re-done after he rolled to that toy and he passed the second time. That, apparently, isn't supposed to happen.

His development was slow at best. There were therapists that came to our house. There was therapies that we went to about 3 times a week. There was still a lot of fussing and he didn't eat solid food like normal babies. He only nursed. For one and a half years.

Thanksgiving always brought some gift to me from him. His first year, it was a friend we took to the hospital instead of him. The second year? He ate stuffing and drank egg nog! FIRST SOLID FOOD EVER!!!! YAAAY! Unfortunately, Thanksgiving food isn't available all year long. I made egg nog from scratch for a while, but then I just got tired of it and nursed him until he was about 3 years old.

Eventually, he figured out the cup and food. Although, the texture of stuffing remains his favorite.

His development was pretty boring for the next couple of years. Honestly, he didn't change much.

Alas, I did not get really close to his current age, but we're about the 3 years old. That's some progress comparatively! Hopefully, I'll be all caught up in Part VI!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

My Middle Mann - Part IV

I brought him home and began the arduous task of trying to understand what all was really going on with my baby. He had doctor's appointments just about every day to follow up with neurologists, developmental pediatricians, and neurosurgeons. When he didn't go to the doctor because of some preventative reason, he was at the doctor trying to figure out why he was so fussy.

He cried all the time. Not a normal, baby needs to cry, kind of cry but the kind of cry that makes even the least affected person want to throw whatever is closest in an effort to make it stop. If he wasn't nursing, he was screaming. Sleep didn't seem to happen for this little guy. Just screaming and eating. Eating and screaming. Hour after hour after hour. Week upon week upon week.

The doctors didn't have any idea why, except that he had such significant brain damage from the bleed in his brain he'd suffered about 4 weeks before he was born.

His massive brain injury occurred while I was pregnant.

I'd been garage sale-ing one warm Saturday afternoon in May in the neighborhood next to my parents. I was walking along with my mom and my Sweetie when suddenly, I dropped to the ground in pain. It took a couple minutes for me to catch my breath. When I was able to stand and then walk again, the baby had dropped and I suddenly had more room to breathe. Something wasn't quite right the rest of the pregnancy. It was terribly uncomfortable. It actually felt like the baby was crooked in there. And the hiccups? Oh how I wished they would stop, but they were pretty constant for the whole last 4 weeks.

I talked to the nurse and the doctor about it and they both told me not to worry. That everything was different with every pregnancy and just because it didn't happen last time doesn't mean it's not perfectly normal this time.

After about 6 weeks of the constant screaming and the daily trips to the pediatrician, I was given a new medication for my little guy. It was to help him sleep. So that he could rest and grow and so that I could a little too. I found out about 7 years later that it was a terribly outdated form of sedation and also that there is no reversal agent for it. Good thing he kept waking up screaming!

I gave him the meds about 3 times a day so he could sleep about 12 hours. It worked that well for about 3 days. Then the number of sleeping hours decreased slowly until he was only sleeping about 4 hours a day. I took him in for some developmental testing when he was about 10 weeks old and they suggested I get a swing for him. One of the sweet battery operated ones.

We went through 3 sets of 4D cell, 100 hour batteries a week for a few months. I know. It's a lot...But! He was able to spend some time awake and not scream during the day and that hadn't happened at all before then. It was a MAJOR improvement. He swung day and night. He would sleep there during the night for a couple of hours at a time. I slept on the couch right next to the swing so I could grab him and try and soothe him as soon as he would wake.

It was a nice change to have the start of a schedule. I was so glad to be living with my family during this time. They helped me so much with my Sweetie and she came with me to all of her brother's appointments, everyday, and was always perfectly behaved. I honestly thought that was normal behavior for a 2 1/2 year old. Little did I know, she was already going on 30 even at that young age.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My Middle Mann - Part III

In those 4 days, his head size increased nearly a full inch and all of it was fluid. It was already huge to start with. During the MRI, the tech let me sit and watch the screen as the images were taken. There was so much about the pictures I was seeing that didn't make sense. Large areas of black. The expected midline was virtually non-existent. I asked tons of questions, but the tech wasn't able to tell me anything. I hadn't seen an MRI before, but I'd read plenty of A&P books in my days to know that much wasn't right.

He was admitted into the NICU and prepped for surgery. All the risks were explained (so I thought) and I signed all the consent forms.

It took about an hour once they took him back.

The creature that was wheeled out of the operating room looked nothing like the baby I gave them. His head was terribly deformed and he looked more like a looney toon than a baby. His forehead was small, but from about the middle of his head back was HUGE! and his cheeks were equally fat. I knew he was mine since the same people brought him out as took him and his arm band said it was him, but oh my, I was physically nauseated at the sight of him. I had bad dreams all that night about how he looked. Even now, I can remember that feeling.

Fear came screaming at me and there was no way to hold it back.

He was plugged in to just about every monitor I knew about and in the NICU, I had to scrub in like a surgeon just to be allowed into his area. Since I've always wanted to be a doctor, the scrubbing in was sorta cool. My hands were terribly dry after a day or so. All in all, his recovery was splendid and on his 7th day, most everything had been disconnected. He was breathing on his own and was nursing. He didn't even have an IV and was discharged to the Special Care nursery in anticipation of discharge from the hospital the following day.

Once in the Special Care nursery, I was responsible to provide him with all of his primary care needs. It was a nice transitional place where skilled support was available if I needed help, but for the most part the job was mine.

He started with some hiccups. I'd had a baby before and I thought maybe feeding him would help the hiccups to stop. It didn't help. He had the hiccups for about 30 minutes before I mentioned it to the nurse. She listened, but really didn't think much of it. She told me to keep an eye on it and let her know if it continued.

Well, it continued for about 4 hours. I reported back to her about every 15 minutes and once she finally stood still long enough to confirm the behavior, she called down to the NICU and let them know about it. I honestly had so little idea about what would become the life of my little boy and was seriously taking in information faster than I knew how to handle. Clarity would elude me for months.

After a couple more confirmed episodes the nurse and I took my baby back to the NICU so they could confirm or deny the existence of the strange hiccups.

There was a new flurry of activity and people wanted me to settle him down and try to get him to sleep and stop moving so much. I tried to convey to them that newborns don't work like that and I was doing my best, but if the arguing directly next to me would move away, it might be easier for me to do what they wanted.

At that point, the neonatologist stepped over to try and break up the argument when I spotted the hiccups again. He took my dude and worked him through that episode of hiccups and said that it was impressive. He ordered up a bunch of meds and looked at me and told me that we wouldn't be going home the next day.

Middle Mann needed to get a new IV placed so they could give him a loading dose of seizure medicine. Getting a new IV in him would prove to be the first of many many procedures where he was simply too strong for 4 adults to hold down. Once they'd tried more than 10 times, I had to leave. They ended up putting a tube down his throat and gave him the meds that way. And he promptly threw most of it up.

And then he slept. For a few days.

About a day after he woke up, they checked his oxygen saturation and hooked him up in the carseat so that he'd have good sats all the way home and we left on day 10 of his life.

My Middle Mann - Part II

The next day that the doctor was open, I got a call from his nurse. She indicated somehow the doctor had noticed that I'd spent some time in the ER and was worried that with so much rejection, I might not come in again until it was too late. She had an appointment waiting for me in about 45 minutes.

My dad took me and the doctor took me back promptly. He confirmed that (SHOCKING) my water had actually broken and I was going to have a baby. Then he directed me to a different room in his office where he had an ultrasound machine. He wanted to make sure the baby was in a good position for delivery and so he started to perform an ultrasound.

He confirmed that the baby was head down and rear facing which was very good. Then he said two words you never really think doctors say. Uh-Oh.

To be clear, doctors shouldn't ever say that. Ever.

He started spouting off a bunch of words I had never heard before and said the whole plan needed to change. I would be going to a different hospital because they were more equipped to handle the baby with the issues that were present and I needed to get there now. It was about 11:30 in the morning.

I didn't even know where that other hospital was or what was really going on. I was scared and unnervingly calm at the same time. I went out into the waiting room and explained to my dad what little I understood. Luckily he knew where the other hospital was and brought both me and Sweetie there.

Having babies involves a lot of hurry up and wait. About 2 hours after we got there, my mom and the rest of my family got there and I was wheeled up for another, official ultrasound where more diagnostics could be assertained.

We learned it was a boy and I told my dad a secret that I had been keeping only from him. I wanted to name my boy after his dad. It was a much better option than Zeek which I'd been toying with outloud and he was very proud.

We also learned that his head was huge and filled with fluid. The doctor promised me that if he had one reason to take the baby cesarean, he would. I met some of the staff from the NICU and was informed that as soon as the baby was born, he would be taken away to the NICU and depending on his state, might be returned to me. This was not a part of the plan in my mind ever, but alas, I did not ultimately have much control over the plan. (a lesson I wish I could remember more often)

They pushed Pitocin through an IV so quickly that my whole arm got super cold and finally at about 7:00 it was time to push and the doctor was out for dinner. Nice. It always works like that, right?

I was moved into a delivery room and encouraged to do my best to wait. Thankfully, I did not have to wait very long. My sister and my mom were in the room with me helping me out. The doctor arrived and I pushed 6 times. On the 6th push, they helped out with a little suction, and then the doctor gave me my baby. My quiet, heavy baby. I held him for about 2 minutes before the nurses scooped him up and I was wheeled back into my room. The hospital staff kept me busy with all sorts of questions and I sent my dad to Taco Bell for dinner.

Eventually, they brought my little guy back to me and said he could stay with me through the night. He was stable and looked pretty healthy. I'd meet with the neurosurgeon in the morning and we'd go from there.

I learned so many words during the next 24 hours and I found out that I knew a bunch of stuff already. Namely, that this little baby was the most stubborn feeder I'd ever met. I tried nursing him for about 3 hours before I started crying in earnest and asked my mom for help. She took the little guy and gave me a break for about an hour. I tried nursing him again and it finally worked a little. Nothing like Sweetie, but he was trying. In hindsight, his struggle to figure it out is quite clear.

The rest of my time in the hospital was very uneventful. In fact, he was discharged with me less than 24 hours after delivery. I was able to bring him home right away. He had an MRI on day 3 and brain surgery was scheduled for day 4. He had hydrocephalous and would need to have an appliance surgically implanted in order to address the significant amount of fluid up there.

My middle mann - Part I

Back in October I wrote a little something something about my Sweetie and I think it's about time to tell y'all a little something about the Middle Mann. There's certainly plenty to talk about when it comes to him, and well, I need to think about something other than what's in my own head right now.

There is a preamble to getting to know my now big-ish dude. I'll spare most of the narsty details and just say that there was a genetic donor who shall remain free of any credit for the awesomeness that is my boy. This procreative participant was in the Army and served in Kuwait following the Desert Storm conflict participating primarily in the clean up following the conflict itself. It is of note, though not scientifically proven, that the kids of those vets have a significantly higher chance of having some sort of impact during the maternal cooking time. (vague enough?)

The whole being pregnant thing sucked just as much the second time as the first less all the morning (who am I kidding? it was all freaking day) sickness. I had other stuff to deal with while I was pregnant, namely finding a new church, moving out of an apartment I couldn't afford, separating my belongings from the jerk donor, obtaining a restraining order to ensure I would not continue to be physically hurt, paying down the $600 phone bill that was racked up during a 60 day deployment to Somalia, and admitting to my family that everything I'd been telling them for the preceeding nearly 2 years was a lie and that I needed help and love and safety.

My family was shocked by all this revelation, but amazingly stepped right back into my life; the life I had completely shut them out of, and they loved all over me without fail or question.

The last six months of my pregnancy proceeded with me living in my parents' house with my 2 1/2 year old Sweetie. I worked hard in my parents house and paid some rent and bought our food. I was on public assistance for the time being, but I only planned on taking about 6 weeks off after I delivered.

Labor eluded me. I learned how it feels to have an irritable uterus. Dehydration was the order of the day. Dehydration which led to cramps and contractions that did little more than tire me out. The weekend before I delivered him, I spent 2 nights at the hospital trying to convince them that my water had broken. To no avail.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

How cute is this?

I'm totally digging this jacket! I wish it cost more like $15 instead of $79. Because of this, I'll not buy it and just think some day in the future, "Gee, I wish I had a cropped orange and black houndstooth blazer to wear with my cute black skirt and a pair of imaginary orange tights!"
My imagination holds the coolness of my wardrobe!