Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First day of school

Wow. I can't believe this day is really here. This spring, when we were trying to figure out what school to go with - sending in applications and going through interviews - it seemed that this day was light years away.

And now it is here.

I was nervous. You were not. I nearly cried. You did not. I'm so proud of you. I don't know where you get all your confidence - but it is one of your best qualities. You were so excited and funny. Posing for pictures like a model (your choice) and squealing when we saw Andrew, then you grabbed his hand and followed your class into the school with barely a look back at me.

I can't wait to pick you up and hear all about your day.

Love you buddy!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

BTS Shopping - the dream and the reality

A quick update on this post:

Jack and I hit Target last weekend to get his Back to School supplies. We had been talking about it for a while and I was super excited to go do this together. Jack - not so much.

I always loved going shopping for back to school stuff, and, as this is his first year in "real school" I wanted him to be excited too. I had promised that he could pick out any backpack that he wanted, which he was looking forward to. We also had many discussions about lunch boxes - he wanted a themed lunch box, but I knew those were likely going to be too small for our needs (I have to pack lunch and snacks next year, so it needs to be roomy). I explained to him, multiple times in advance, that he would get a plain lunch box, but he could pick any thermos or other containers to in it, and those all had superheroes and characters on them. Good compromise, right? Riiigggghhhhtttt.

So we go to Target (BTW - this was in late July and the BTS sections were CLEANED OUT! I hope they plan to restock soon.) and hit backpacks first. Of course, they were sold out of the Ben 10 one Jack wanted, but he picked a Bakugan one instead, and seemed fine with the alternate choice (or so I thought).

Then, we hit the lunch box aisle. Now, remember, I had prepped him multiple times in advance that we were getting a plain lunch box, and while he was initially not thrilled with the choice, he had agreed. Before we left the house. So I again thought that picking the fun thermoses and containers would be fun for him. Again, not so much.

We argued for 20 minutes over which one we were getting. He HATED the one I picked. Didn't give a rip about the thermoses but was desperate for ANY box that had characters on it. Oye. Definitely not the picture perfect mother/son bonding experience I was hoping for.

Ultimately he agreed to the box I picked, and he chose his accessories so we could get the hell out of there. (Also? Mommy had to really let go of her need for everything to match since he picked a Transformers snack container, a Spiderman thermos and another container that had the Clone Wars on it. I'm still twitching over that!).

All in all, he really was good, just not nearly as into this as I was. And he is super excited to start at his new school, so that is awesome.

Of course, the next day, he told me, quite sadly (little manipulator), that he REALLY wanted the Ben 10 backpack...and I am a GIANT sucker, so I found one on (free shipping!) and ordered it. It will be here tomorrow. He's finally excited. SUCKA!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Go White Boy, Go White Boy, Go!

Seriously - talk about hidden talents!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Target cart is empty...

Quick post to capture a random and annoying week we will be purchasing Jack's school uniforms (!), which means:

a) he's growing up (sob!)
b) back to school stuff is starting to appear in the stores :-)!*
c) I really need to cut back on the random t-shirt purchases at Target and/or Carter's** since he won't need as many clothes as what am I going to do when I'm bored/depressed/feeling sluggish and can't justify any more shoes for myself?


*I CAN NOT FREAKING WAIT to go BTS shopping with Jack to pick out his own backpack and lunch excited!

**I love the Carter's store...the clothes for older (read: non toddler) boys are still so cute, colorful (CHEAP!) and devoid of scary skull images (I'm talking to you! Target boys department!). It was a sad day when Jack moved out of the 5T sizes and we ventured into the "other" side of the aisle in our beloved Bullseye store. Those clothes are NOT CUTE! and Jack still is. So there.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Scenes from a Vocabulary Lesson

Location: Local fair/carnival
Time: Lunch
Characters: Me and Jack

Jack: "Mommy, can we go back to the rides after lunch?"
Me: "I doubt it buddy, it is Benny's nap time (and mine)"
Jack: "What does 'doubt' mean?
Me: "Doubt is when something is probably not going to happen, but you aren't quite sure." (I'm 'doubtful' that this is the complete and accurate definition, but it was relevant to the moment.)
Jack: "Well, there is NO doubt that we are going back to the rides today!"
Me: !!!

End Scene.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A whole year...

It is a gorgeous day here in Southern California. Sunny, clear and warm. Spring has sprung, flowers are in bloom and it is a perfect day to sit back and celebrate the life of a little girl who left us one year ago.

One year ago we lost Maddie Spohr and her passing has inspired thousands of people to write, donate, love, cherish, and count their blessings. In her passing, there has been a movement to keep her memory alive, surround her family with love, celebrate her life and work toward a cause to help others.

A few days after Maddie's passing, inspired by the energy of the online world as we all grieved with Mike and Heather, I found the courage to put some words on "paper" and write my first posts. The first was just a warm-up, flexing my fingers. The 2nd post was for Maddie.

Today I'm wearing purple in Maddie's honor, I'll make a donation in her name and on April 24 I will March for Babies here in LA with many other members of her team.

We miss you every day Maddie. I believe that the beauty of today is your way of sharing the beauty of your existence with those of us here thinking of you.

Big hugs to Mike, Heather, Annie and Rigby today and always.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Good news...and other fun stuff

We recently learned that Jack had been accepted into a local private school for kindergarten - and I'm still just over the moon about it. We didn't think we had a chance for acceptance because it is a church-based school and we are not parishioners - plus the competition was pretty stiff (30 spots and 45 applicants), but he got in! His test scores were awesome, which I knew they would be, and I'm so very proud of him!

In other silly story news...Benny spent a large portion of tonight sticking his fingers down the back of my pants. Clearly I either need a belt or to keep them pulled up more often. He thought it was hilarious, but I prefer that he not find my crack so entertaining.

This weekend I stalked another mom to find out the brand of shoe she was wearing. They were cute little yellow sandals, and I desperately coveted them on sight, but don't know her well enough to be all "hi, I'm in love with your sandals...where did you get them? what brand? I must have them!), so I just gazed longingly at them for a while, wishing I had the guts to ask her about them. Then! I looked up from fishing a piece of half chewed pizza crust out of my bra (thanks Benny) to see that she was standing in front of me with one knee on a bench, so the bottom of her shoe was facing me. I was able to read the brand off the sole, and when I got home, started Googling until I found them! They will be mine very soon!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Happiness is...

Listening to Jack try to say Modern Marvels and turbo detonator (martyred marbles and turbo deponator).

I love his lisp.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lovely Layla

It was a tough day in a small corner of the online world today - we lost little Layla Grace to neuroblastoma sometime early this morning.

I say "we" because, although most of the 40,000+ Twitter followers, FB fans and other online friends never met Layla or her family, we've been following her journey closely, praying for a miracle, hoping that she would find peace and crying for this beautiful little girl while holding our own kids closely. "We" are grieving with her parents and sisters. "We" are more aware of the disease that took her and will help spread the word to help prevent similar tragedies from happening if we can.

This is a shining example of the good that comes from social media. Entire communities are built around the words of others - their stories, daily successes and tribulations, tragedies and joyous events. We celebrate, grieve, pray, hope, laugh and cry with the other members of our community.

I'm fairly new to this - I struggle to find the time and inspiration to post and tend to be hesitant about engaging online. But I also truly care about these people that I follow - whether it is my daily laugh from Amy, a check in with Heather and her family, social commentary from Jessica and Erin or shopping finds from Maggie - I look forward to these interactions every day.

This is why I found myself dreaming of Layla last night and checking Twitter this morning on a regular basis, hoping for good news from Layla's mom, but also knowing in my heart that it was unlikely. She had a tough day yesterday, was clearly deteriorating and it was time for her to go, to be at peace and without pain.

My heart broke when I read that she had passed, as it had been breaking these past few weeks while following her story. I cried most of the day, whenever I read more Tweets from others (and sobbed when I inexplicably subjected myself to a video montage of her photos).

I'm not one who prays very often, but I definitely did for Layla and her family. I still am.

One of the many gifts that Layla brought to this world was a reminder for parents to cherish the here and now with their kids. To recognize that life is short.

I'm going to strive to think of Layla every day when I hug my boys - even when they are pushing me to the edge of sanity (tonight) - I'm going to strive to take a deep breath and find a way back to solid ground. To slow down and kiss their cheeks while breathing them in.

Love to you Layla - you are eternal.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Finding the good

We are stuck in a rut - and it isn't one that I seeing us getting out of very soon, so I'm trying to remember the good things about this time in our lives. The things that make me smile and laugh, the things that make me wish the boys would stay this age forever, and the little memories that I don't want to cherish.

  • The feel of my boys' squishy cheeks against my lips when I kiss them (a lot!)
  • Benny's sweet little voice when he says: outside, mama, dada, gak (Jack), alldun, nigh nigh (night night), Sascha (our cat) vs. the screeching that accompanies just about every other form of communication
  • The awesome conversations I have with Jack about superheroes or his Wii prowess, and how I'm constantly surprised by his vocabulary
  • The way Michael and I can't keep a straight face when Jack busts into our room at 10 p.m. with his newest stalling tactic all ready for us
Fortunately, there haven't been any major catastrophes lately, but we are stuck in this damn rut right now and it isn't a great place to be. This is the hardest part of being a working mom - I see the kids in the mornings and evenings, during the toughest parts of the day, and that is about it. It is very difficult to find time for myself or to even leave the house beyond the treks to daycare (I work from home). The kids are awesome, but also very challenging right now and we try to be home together as much as possible so we aren't stuck doing the yucky bedtime chores alone (worst part of the day = arriving home from daycare...cranky!).

I think my desire to lift out the good things these days is influenced by Layla Grace - a little girl in Texas who is losing her battle with cancer. I don't know Layla or her family, but have been following her story online. My heart breaks for them - I can't imagine the pain they are dealing with in losing their baby girl. And yet, as so many have said, Layla's struggle is benefiting others. People are praying for her, even if they aren't regular pray-ers. People are hugging their kids more, slowing down to enjoy the moment instead of rushing through their days. I'm so grateful to Layla's parents for sharing her with us all. She's a wonderful gift to the world and I wish her peace.

Monday, March 1, 2010

When did he get so big?

That is a question I ask myself daily - when did he get so tall? So smart? So funny? So sweet? Jack will be 5 in May, which means he enters Kinder this fall and starts Little League this week. We have begun searching for the right school - applications are in, testing is this week, and while I'm perfectly comfortable in both of our options (and one is a sure thing, which helps take the pressure off), I'm still nervous. We are applying to our local Catholic school - and as we aren't active parishioners yet, we are pretty low on the list for acceptance. I'm not at all worried about his abilities - Jack is more than ready for school (LL is another story, but we'll try it out) - but I'm just not ready for him to be a Kindergartener. These days, he is more and more amazing to me - his vocabulary is awesome, his imagination blows me away and his hugs are exactly what I need after a long day. He's also super sensitive, gets his feelings hurt often and feels the stresses of our household these days (usually generated by his brother, Benny the Screecher). But he works it out - attacks his fears head on and figures out how to make something work.

This kid - I tell you - he's the best.

Love you buddy.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A milestone I was hoping wouldn't happen until he was much older

I've always been very lucky with regard to my health - never been seriously ill, broken a bone or been seriously injured...until I had kids. Prior to getting pregnant with my first child, I think I'd been to an ER all of once in my life. Then, I had Jack - contracted a serious blood infection following his birth and spent 10 days in the hospital. Fortunately - I had good health insurance and good doctors, and after a slew of antibiotics, I was no worse for the wear and was able to get on with my new life as a parent.

We have been lucky with our kids health too, and this is not something we take for granted. We are grateful every day for their health, especially as we know that not every child has that gift.

Last month, our lucky streak was broken as we had to admit Benny to the hospital for 3 days of IV antibiotics and a minor surgical procedure to treat an MRSA infection. Basically, he had an abscess that we had been treating , under the care of a doctor, for several days before determining that the infection was spreading and the meds just couldn't keep up. I knew that an ER visit to drain the infected site was a possibility, but when the doctor said she wanted to admit him for several days of IV meds, I was pretty shaken.

So I called my mom and cried...just for a bit...then I drove to the hospital's entrance and in we went.

We were admitted on a Thursday evening - the nurses in the pediatric wing were awesome. Benny was given the cutest little hospital gown, and he trotted around his room with his diapered tushie hanging out for a bit, until it was time to insert the IV. Oye.

I knew it would be tough - but it was worse than I imagined. Benny's chub + tiny veins = 3 separate attempts (and more than 3 sticks) to get the IV in the first time. I held him the first time, my husband took the 2nd and 3rd sessions. Once it was in, he was tethered on a 3 foot leash that meant he could be in the crib or our laps...that was it...for 3 days.

I have to say, he did amazingly well, considering the circumstances. Most of the time, he was in a good mood, happy to play ball, push the fart button on his Farley Farts book (hysterical) or just hang out in our laps. He's a little flirt and charmed the pants off the nurses and techs.

My friends Marci, Jen and Chris immediately leaped into action when they heard what was going on. Marci brought coffee and toys the first night (including the fart book), and showed up with breakfast on Friday. She stayed with Benny and I prior to the surgery, which was awesome as Michael was stuck at work and didn't make it to the hospital until mid-way through the procedure.

It is hard for me to write about the pre-op period. Benny hadn't been allowed to eat since midnight, so by the time the late morning procedure time rolled around, he was done. In the pre-op area, he was hysterical - screaming, thrashing, totally inconsolable...for an hour. He was so out of his mind that I'm not sure he could even see me any more. I was so pissed at the nurses who were ignoring us, effing around trying to figure out his weight (after weighing him), and at the assistant surgeon who was late (I know he probably wasn't just running late, but had been at another hospital, but I was still mad - I needed a villain to blame at that point). I was crying right along with Benny. Marci was in the waiting room and Michael wasn't there yet - fortunately one of the nurses saw what was happening (Benny was fighting me tooth and nail) and got him some Versed to try to calm him down. It didn't work, but at least she tried.

Once they took him from me, I ended up sobbing in the waiting room for a bit before pulling it together. Michael had been in contact with Marci so he knew where to find us.

The surgeon came out really quickly and let us know that the procedure went really well and that the nurses were just trying to start a new IV (he had blown out his first one during the pre-op fit). After an hour, the anesthesiologist came out to explain that while the procedure took all of 10 minutes, the new IV took an hour, so Benny was under a lot longer than we had expected. Fortunately, he was fine and we were allowed to see him.

Benny under anesthesia was actually funny - he was half conscious...would pop his head up and say "mama!" and then conk out again. The staff thought he was adorable - and I had to agree. But mostly I was just glad to hold my baby and know that the worst was over.

Once I knew he was in good hands in recovery with his daddy, I rushed home to shower, then met Marci, Jen and Chris back at the hospital. They brought us lunch and kept us company for a while - again, awesome.

After that, things were pretty uneventful. Benny was on IV antibiotics to fight the infection. The culture that had been growing for 5 days finally confirmed that it was MRSA, and also told us which meds it was susceptible to. (Don't get me started on how long the culture took - I know from my work that there are rapid PCR tests for MRSA that can provide results in an hour, but the technology isn't available at our hospital, apparently. Argh.) This meant they could finally give him exactly the drugs that he needed to fight the infection, rather than just the broad spectrum antibiotics that he had been on (which turned out to be the wrong meds for his type of infection - double Argh!).

The new IV was in his arm (previous one had been in his foot) and to protect it, they had put a stabilizer on him, which meant it looked like he had a cast. As they say, kids are adaptable - he managed to work his hand free from the tape so he could sort of use it, and regularly clocked whomever was holding him in the head with his arm/weapon.

One of the things that bothered me the most about the hospital visit, once I knew he was not in any real danger (aside from the anesthesia, which I wasn't thrilled about but had to be done), was the potential length of stay. We had been given a variety of potential discharge times - everything from one to four days. Not knowing stuff like that makes me crazy, so I tried not to think about it. Fortunately, he was discharged on Saturday evening, which was earlier than we were hoping for.

It was awesome to have him home again.

While all this was going on, Jack was being shuffled around a bit. My parents took him Thursday night and Friday until Michael got home from the hospital that evening. Michael's parents drove up from San Diego and hung out with Jack during the day, and then, once we knew Benny was being discharged, I came home while Michael stayed to handle the exit.

I hadn't seen Jack since Thursday morning, which was really tough for me. I had spoken to him, and he knew what was happening, but didn't seem all that concerned. He was napping when I got home, and when I went in to wake him up, he burst into tears and said he had gotten tired of waiting for me in the living room (?). I cried too. It was clear that the situation had been tougher on him than he had been letting on.

I started this blog post a couple of weeks ago, right after all this happened, but wasn't really able to finish it. I think I wasn't ready to think about it all, but I knew I wanted to capture what had happened.

At this point, we are all doing really well. Benny is off his antibiotics and doing great, and Jack is too. I'm glad this is behind us, and would like to avoid another such milestone happening any time soon!