Thursday, February 26, 2015

Screaming into the void

Adam has a friend who has several children. One of them, his son who is about ten, died last night.

It wasn't unexpected but it still sucks. It's horrible. My heart goes out to the family.

And, selfishly, as I was driving the kids to school and trying not to cry, I was screaming in my head, "I can't, I can't, I can't. I can't do another funeral. I just can't." I had flashes of the last time I saw my niece, I felt her in my arms. I wanted to kick something, to throw something, to scream that this- child loss, knowing people whose children have died- needs to stop. I just can't.

The thing is, I will. I will go to the funeral, I will buy the card, I will hug the parents. I will suck it up and deal because whatever trauma and flash backs and stuff I have to deal with, it's nothing compared to the parents.

I will remind myself that these children, our friend's son and my niece, are so very lucky. Their lives were too short but they were filled with love and peace. To die peacefully surrounded by the ones you love and who love you is a gift. To feel only love your entire life... that's not something everyone can know. A short life, in the womb or out, is still a blessed life.

Yet I want to scream into the void, "Why?!" Why these children, why these parents? No one deserves this.

But maybe it's good that no one deserves this because what would we be like if we did?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Oxygen! It's Awesome!

Whoa. Oxygen. It's amazing. Addicting. Who knew well-oxygenated blood could do so much?!

Okay, I should back up here a moment... or several months. Warning: I'm about to get all TMI on you.

I turned 35 in August. I swear that very month, my body went, "You're old!" and began to crap out on me. My next cycle was six weeks long. This was completely different than my post-baby normal of a period every month, lasting only about 3 to 4 days. I've had cycles of varying length and heaviness my entire life so to have a period that was less than a week and fairly light left me VERY happy. I had a few months of super-heavy-painful cramps but some medication took care of that. I was in happy period land... until I turned 35.

My mom said my cycles might go long-short for awhile so I chalked it up to normal. Then in December I had a very, very heavy period. (This is about to become TMI, peeps.) I had two days of bleeding then nothing. I thought I was done but when I used the restroom during Mass, I had some really heavy bleeding. It reminded me of the first few hours or days after you have a baby only it was pure blood, no clots or anything. Of course I didn't have a tampon on me, so I went home to get one. I began to feel shaky, tired and weak. I thought I was coming down with something so I sent a sub to the nursing home instead and went home to sleep.

Even laying down and sleeping, my period was still heavy and I still felt so tired. After a few days, though, I was back to normal and my  next period was heavy, but nothing like the one before it.

Except... I wasn't so normal.

The first week back from vacation I was fine. I had energy. Well, a reasonable amount. Then I began to get really tired, even after a good nights sleep. I thought it was just part of getting back into our routine. Then I had a period and, well, I'm always tired around my period. But I was still tired. Coupled with some hair loss and swelling I finally made an appointment with my doctor. I had been putting off because I didn't want to hear about how much weight I need to loose (I KNOW OKAY!) but it seemed like my thyroid had finally given up.

Nope. I was anemic.

Anemic? Well, that makes sense. All the symptoms I had (including the sudden need for a two hour nap in the middle of the day and STILL being tired!) are signs of anemia. The doctor told me to take iron and vitamin C and to come back in three months for a re-check.

I took my first iron pill that day and PEOPLE. Energy! I had a little breakfast and then went to do some pre-planned organizing and rearranging. I kept going... and going... and going... At one point, I stopped for some lunch and realized I wasn't tired. I wasn't stopping for a breath (something I had been doing and thought it was because of my weight) and I wasn't "I need a nap" exhausted. In fact, Joe and I snuggled to watch a TV show and I didn't fall asleep! I couldn't believe it was working already and joked to Adam that if this was a placebo effect, I'd take it!

The next day was just as awesome. I helped both Camille and the boys in their room and began plans to declutter the house over the next few days. Adam joked he was going to hide my iron. I said the real test would come this week, when I was working and on my feet more.

Well, it's Tuesday. Yesterday was good. George snuggled against me and napped but I didn't! I felt pretty energized and clear headed when I was coaching. I was more tired than the night before, and fell asleep around ten, which I consider a reasonable bed time. It's one pm now and I am feeling a bit of a mid-afternoon slump but nothing like before. My stomach is a little "Eh" but I have really upped my diet of iron rich veggies and cut back on caffeine, both of which is likely playing a part.

I'm giving myself one full cycle to see how this goes (I'm also starting medication to help with the heavy bleeding) but if this energy keeps up, I might even get up early to go swimming!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Whirlwind trip

About three weeks ago, I had arranged to visit my parents for a few days before Christmas. The thought was that the kids and I would drive down after Joe's cello recital, have "Christmas" early and then drive back after only 2-3 days. Just as I was talking to a friend about this, my brother sent a text that he was coming to visit!

We hadn't seen each other in 18 months, so I was STOKED. I changed my plans with my parents and the kids and I drove down on the 31st. We had a huge dinner with my parents, sister and her family. George had his first sleepover ever with his cousins and did great! In fact, he spent two nights with them! He's been asking for a sleepover for ages and this was a great way to test the waters, so to speak.

The next day, Joe went to hang out with friends and my sister and I hit the mall. We went to All the Stores!!! that you can't take kids into. Our brother arrived that night, just in time for another HUGE dinner. All our kids were so excited.

Unfortunately, that night Joe got sick. He spent most of the night throwing up and he slept the entire next day. Literally. He dragged himself to the recliner in the living room, slept, woke up to take a bath, and went back to the chair. He didn't even have the energy to drag a shirt over his head. My mom roused him enough to take him to bed and he slept all night. He woke up Saturday his usual, snarky self.

And really, really, really unfortunately, a bug seems to be going around. Camille threw up once, as did Cole. George has been hit the worst. The poor boy rarely gets sick but when he does, he makes it worth it. He was complaining of his stomach hurting Saturday morning and then threw up riiiight in the middle of family pictures.

Oh, yes. You see, my sister and I went "Everyone will be together! Let's do pictures!" She got the photographer, we picked a color scheme and everyone looked lovely and charming. We got a group shot of our parents and the grandkids and then kicked the kids out to do group up photos. Five minutes later, Joe ran in to tell up George had puked. Poor boy. And poor my extended family, who will now get the stomach flu.

But! Happier note! The pictures are going to be awesome! I'm so happy we have them! The visit itself was perfect, seven insane kids and one demented cat and all! Just a word to the wise: if you want to do family pictures, do them at the beginning of the trip, before your parents have stuffed you full of turkey, ham, bread, cheese, pasta and lots of wine. Otherwise, your pants might not fit. I have no idea how I know this...

Christmas Re-Cap

Wow, where to start. We've had a little more than two weeks as a family and reality will hit Monday morning. I do not want reality to hit and am firmly in denial that I will have to drag my butt out of bed at six in the morning. Nope. Nope. Annnnnnd nope!

We  began the season with presents at my in-laws. They helped us by a new TV so their gifts to us were light, which was perfect. They got the kids one outfit, books and ornaments. Cole also got a game. I received a pretty, new infinity scarf that I just love. I wear alot of solid colors (in short, I have the wardrobe of a goth business professional) so I love scarves to brighten things up!

Christmas was awesome. I had a touch of insomnia and was awake beginning at 3:30. It was actually very peaceful to sit cuddled in the recliner, typing, with the Christmas lights and presents around me. Camille and George woke at six but played in her room for 45 minutes until everyone got up. Santa brought baseball cards and chocolate in their stockings which kept them occupied until the coffee brewed. Once we were all fully awake, they tore into their presents: a Sonic Screwdriver, Chicken AT-AT walker... thing ("MOM! IT IS NOT A THING!"),  a sewing kit so someone leaves my sewing stuff alone, lots of Star Wars and Percy Jackson.... and science kits. Oh, and LEGO. For a solid week the kids have played nicely with each other. There has been some Star Wars/LEGO mash up going on in the dining room and a Nerf war daily. Happy kids, happy parents.

The day after Christmas our music teacher, and friend, took the little boys to see Big Hero 6 while we took the older kids to see A Christmas Carol at the KC Rep! I won tickets through a website and the show was awesome! It had some cool special effects and just the right amount of audience interaction. Joe was "meh" about the whole thing but Camille really liked it!

I've been so spoiled. Adam and I have taken turns sleeping in and the kids are old enough to get their own breakfast, so we can sleep past seven. Everyone has been helping with the cleaning. It's so nice to see my husband for more than just and hour in the evening. We've been watching lots of Doctor Who together and drinking pots of tea. He's even watched a couple episodes of "Outlander" with me. He doesn't care much for the show but he doesn't hate it, so there's that. (Kinda like me and "Top Gear." It's okay but I'm not in love with it.) I've had help with the speech therapy runs and TKD. I'm not ready to go back to school and work! Bah!

Monday, December 22, 2014

2014: The Year in Review

Wow, this year has gone by fast. At the beginning of the year, I decided that I wanted our theme this year to be peace, hope and healing. I think I did get my wish! We had a fairly peaceful, quiet year. I feel a bit more healed after the mess that was 2013. As for hope... depends on the day, honestly, but yes, I am seeing more hope for the children in certain areas.

I finished my book, began cross-stitching again, made more crochet hats for the NICU and discovered my love for reading. As of the last count, I have read 39 books this year! I think I've read more than that but I know I forgot to record some.

And now, the highlights

Camille turned 8! I gave everyone a Goo-Be-Gone recipe and Cole began saying some of the most hilarious things! No, he hasn't stopped either!

Camille has a Snow-Much-Fun! party early in the month. My old laptop died an EPIC BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH. The kids had school conferences and I blogged about how I hate some people. 

Adam had a birthday and Camille informed us that life is half over when you turn 40. At 35, neither of us were amused. I discovered The Hunger Games. We had more meetings at school, more "games plans" for our children and God and I were not BFFs. Hey, we were on speaking terms but eh.... I realized I was living in a Good Friday and hoping for Easter Sunday. After all, Every IEP is a Little Lent. 

Cole turned four. Joe turned ten. Easter and our 12 year anniversary. Our community was hit with two tragedies but love won in the end. I also learned that our parish is going to be getting the CGS program and we received a sign via a lady bug that everything will be okay. 

Camille's first Communion and the March for Babies! We marched with my parents and sister's family and it was so much fun!

VBS went much better than I ever thought it could. George and Cole played t-ball and George was on FIRE. My sister had a healthy baby and Camille and I began taking Communion to people in nursing homes.

Our Annual Trip Up North. Adam went to Spain for a week and I Did All The Things around the house. George learned to swim on his own!

School began, I had a birthday and did not burst into a hysterical sobbing mess when George began kindergarten

The Royals kept winning and I was a baseball widow. I found a grey hair and began looking into hair dye in bulk. I also began coaching swimming again, yay!

Mooooore baseball and Halloween. And, oh, blue fever. Baseball. So done with baseball.

NICU Thanksgiving, George turned six and grew about a foot!

Crazy-ness and fun. Adam and I will be seeing all our siblings over break and we are both excited!

It seems like nothing much happened and, in some ways, I'm okay with that. 2013 was so nuts that I needed this year of peace, hope and healing. I wanted the peace and hope and healing to go on into 2015 but I hope to add some good excitement into the mix. Maybe I'll find a summer coaching position! Or we'll go on vacation! Something fun, filled with family bonding. Wouldn't that be awesome?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Mundane Family Stuff

As if life with the Herd could ever be boring! (Could it be? Please? Just one year?)

George has his piano recital Saturday. I actually ironed his dress shirt, forced him into a sweater and scrubbed him until he shown. He looked so handsome! I was afraid he would refuse at the last minute or would make it to the stage and not do anything- but he didn't! He did great! Of course, the kids in his class are 6 to 8 years old, so it was about what you would expect for beginning students. George kept looking for us in the crowd and I finally stood to the side with the other picture-taking parents so he would see me and play. He did; he tried very hard but the "drums playing without a drummer" confused him. Still! He got up there, played and did an excellent job!

The other day, I heard "Mary had a little lamb" coming from the playroom. I walked in and CAMILLE was playing it! She taught herself some beginning piano from George's book! I am so impressed!

Joe's recital is Saturday and I've been hearing the cello more frequently now. He's beginning to out grow his half size cello and will need a 3/4ths one soon. Adam's already begun looking for one. We're going to keep the half-size, though, since George has shown an interest in it. We joke that he can't begin until he grows into it!

We took the kids to the zoo on Sunday. Santa was diving with the penguins and we knew the kids would like that. They did, although it was a creepy Santa with all his scuba gear on. I mean, really creepy. You could have your picture taken with Santa and the penguins. I thought it would be Santa in front of the tank but no, he was in the water, in front of the glass! Creepy, creepy.

It was warm and lots of animals were out. Since there was a football game going on, it wasn't crowded and the zoo keepers were able to talk to us. We learned that there will be baby penguins before the new year, which elephant is the "alpha female," how elephants talk, that all the penguins have names and more. Even the lions were out and we heard them roar! It was pretty cool!

The not cool part? The bird show, where my family chose to sit next to one of the perches so the damn birds were flying over us. Oh, then as we walked by the elephant enclosure, one of them was flinging dirt at people. Yeah, I almost got elephant dirt flung on me. Cute. Not.

The last day of school is Friday, so I'm making a list of all the fun things we can do over break. We've hit the zoo and I think the little boys want to go to the children's museum. Add a bounce house or two and a trip to visit my parents and we will have a busy break!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

2015: The Year of....

The past few years seem to be marked my a general upheaval in life, either externally, like a new baby or a move, or internally. (Emotional turmoil for the win!)

2013: The Year I Did or Experienced All the Hard Things
2014: The Year I Rediscovered All The Things I Love

I want 2015 to be the year I get my body back. I want to finally, this fall when Cole is in K in the mornings, to go to the gym. Get rid of the 40 extra pounds. I'd like to feel good about my body again. I NEED to do but I've made promises like this before. Can I? I'll let you know in a year.