A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.
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Monday, July 06, 2015

Fireworks, and the Fourth

The park next to us held it's 4th of July fireworks on the 3rd of July (I don't understand this phenomenon btw why do people do stuff on the 3rd? Is it for rain dates?) so we loaded up the crew and headed over. Our plan was that we'd eat festival food and hang out and then watch the fireworks. Upon arrival we realized that the food tents were running out of food. There was no food. Thus - there was no dinner.

Some strangers gave us these.
These were FREAKING good. They also gave us these.
So we're now officially those hippies taking and eating food from strangers at festivals. Nobody tell my dad, he hates "damn dirty hippies".
But the fireworks went BOOM BOOM BOOM and four children and two adults were mesmerized. Afterward we supplemented our dinner of various chip products with some Waffle House which was tasty and greasy in a horrible way.
For our 4th celebration we stayed home with our own little fireworks and some chicken on the grill. It's probably the best chicken I've ever made on the grill, and it was amazing.
We used a combo of regular old barbecue sauce with some mustard sauce we got from Maurice's Piggy Park on Spring Break, and it's really the only 'mustard' based sauce I have ever in my life liked. It's amazingly delicious and everyone should try it. While I was cooking, a little mouse named Charlie tried out the pie.
I'm guessing he liked it.

Our own fireworks were less spectacular but I think the kids liked them anyway.

It was as good Fourth of July.

Monday, June 29, 2015

It Was A Pretty Terrible Two Days

One year ago today I buried someone who was like a ray of sunshine in the world. She would laugh, and smile and look at everyone with joy. I really liked her, and I know I couldn't have done anything to change the way things went. She wasn't well, and her body decided it had enough.

I was lucky in that I got to say goodbye.

I went to the hospital and was horrified to see the dying person she had become. I smiled as big as I could, and told her how great her hair looked (they had been fiddling with it when I came in) and how glad I was to see her. I knew as I watched her struggling to talk, to stay awake, that I was speaking to her for the last time. It felt surreal, knowing I was choosing the last words I'd ever have with someone. There is a lot of importance in that, those last words. What do you do with them? How do you choose the LAST thing you ever say to someone?

We did her nails, and she whispered "Your makeup." Busted. I had come to visit without my makeup on. It was her pet peeve. She never left the house without full face makeup, and every birthday would give me a new makeup kit from Ulta and remind me "You have such a pretty face! Wear some make up so everyone can see!" She was like my Jewish mother, in fact she was a Jewish mother. You couldn't refuse her anything.

I laughed, and said "I know, I forgot my makeup. I PROMISE I won't forget anymore! Forgive me!"

She smiled, and her painkillers kicked in and she slept.

That's the last thing I ever said to her. I promised to wear my makeup. I've actually done a pretty good job of keeping that one. I wish I had said something more meaningful. I wish my last words had meant something but maybe to her they did. She was really big on me wearing my makeup.

I woke up the next day, after her funeral, and felt like I had put it behind me and was ready to move forward. It was a Monday and a pretty nice day. It was a busy day and a good day.

Shortly after noon, as I ate leftover tacos in the breakroom - I got a messsage saying goodbye forever. Goodbye, forever. Someone I loved a lot had decided they were done with this world. He sent a text message to a few of us, turned off his phone, and blew his brains out.

I know what the last thing I ever said to him (that he heard) was a response to the question "Will I get unemployment do you think?" I answered, "Yeah but you can't live on it. You'll find something. Don't worry."

Yeah, but you can't live on it.

Those words are burned in my brain. You can't live on it.

I said something else, but I don't think it was ever received. I said "STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING RIGHT NOW!"

You don't ever know what the last thing you're going to say to someone is going to be. I'm haunted by both stories, I wish I had said something different in both cases. Nothing would have changed in either case I don't believe. The real ego of it all though, is that those last words are just for me. I'd like to look on myself and say "Yay me I said something meaningful aren't I awesome?" Not like it matters to the dead the last damn thing you say.

I suspect the dead weren't thinking of me at all in either case, as they died.

Last words are haunting me. I'm lost thinking of them, even though they don't matter. Maybe it's just a stage of grief.

Tomorrow those of us who got a text to say goodbye, a short list of friends now bound together by an unspeakable day, we're going to spend some time together. We couldn't really think of anything to do that made sense so I think we're going to lunch or something. I just want to be with them, in a space with them, where we are safe from that day like a shield against the past. We all survived the grief of that day and the days that followed. We survived those moments when no one else would understand our rage, when it was too much to stand and we just went to lunch together and didn't say much of anything.

Today I spent most of my day holding my breath. 6/30/15 is coming. One year. He's been gone one year. I don't know how someone who was as much a part of my life as my elbow can be gone a year, much less forever. But that's the truth of it.

I didn't know how much a part of my life either person was, or the joy they brought me until they were gone. I wish, if nothing else, I had ever told them that.

Chris read this at Chuck's grave. Chuck loved this song.

...and nothing else matters.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

My Stomach The Great Betrayer



I have this ongoing stomach thing that I take an army of medication for. Officially diagnosed as "gastritis" it basically means I have to be aware of what things will cause me to internally combust in a horrible ball of pain. It also means that I can't be sure what will affect me. Sometimes I can have something, sometimes not - it's a crap shoot. 

I drank beer on my most recent trip - no problem. I drank beer the trip before. However last night I'd been looking forward to having a beer, this new Root Beer called NOT YOUR FATHER'S ROOT BEER . I gotta go on record to say that THIS is a tasty beverage. It was just delicious, I recommend it HEARTILY to those without stomach issues.

I sat down last night at my first real night back home ready to try out the new WoW patch (my shipyard is awesome) and to enjoy just one of these lovelies. I wasn't sure how it would sit, but having just had beer a couple of nights before, I felt pretty confident I would be ok.

Right about the time I got to the bottom of the bottle, my stomach said "HEY THIS IS A NO!"

It starts out with a sharp centralized poking pain in the middle of my stomach. It grows and burns, until the pain feels like it's actually pushing outward through my back and front simultaneously. It could actually be burning a hole in my spine, based on the pain. 

I would like a "heads up stop drinking/eating" pain. Like maybe a preliminary burn - or something that would prevent me from filling my stomach with death fire ingredients.

But no, it waits until I've crossed the line and then punishes me relentlessly. Last night somewhere after the pain reached it's zenith I started to chill and ache. Why? I don't know. I piled on two sets of pajamas and socks and crawled into bed, I was so cold - despite the hot poker now seeking escape out my back. Julia came and kissed me and told me I would feel all better once I was asleep. 

She was right. 

I had one sip of coffee this morning, and a bagel -haven't had a damn bagel in forever it was good. I had all my medicine and I'm on my fourth Tervis Tumbler of water. My stomach doesn't hurt, but their is ghost aching going on - barely perceptible but it's there. I'm considering having part of a coffee to keep the caffeine demons at bay but only considering it.

I don't know if I made myself an ulcer or it was just the constantly inflamed stomach going on that impacted me. I'm reading about things I can do to reduce my inflammation and thinking I need to try something DIFFERENT. I probably need to go back and do another scope and talk to a doctor about it again. 

That is a DAMN good beer though. I cannot possibly say how sad I am that I'm not able to drink it. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Autistic Isn't Bad

Julia is struggling with "AUTISTIC". She understand that Autistic means the twins don't talk. But tonight she told me that she's a good girl, she talks so she's not autistic.

I stopped her there and told her that autistic doesn't mean bad.

"But they scream all the time mom, that's not being good."

Well, sometimes that's spot on, sometimes they are misbehaving. I can't speak for your autistic kids but sometimes mine are STRAIGHT UP MISBEHAVING and screaming is part of it. Sometimes though, sometimes that's something that they're lost in, or caught in, and while I won't say they can't help it - it's something they struggle with.
I kept it simple and told her that they can't help it, but that we love them and they aren't bad boys.
She says she understands.
She and Lou have such an abnormal life, this life with two little boys who have so many challenges. It makes me feel bad for all that they don't get to have (we can't get the Charlie will eat it) or do (we can't go there because of the twins sorry guys) and all the ways that their life isn't "normal". I also know that it makes them strong, and it makes them better people. I believe my mother's credo "LIFE ISN'T FAIR" as one of the only truisms in this universe.

So they're learning it, not just hearing about it.

We work really hard to bring normal days into this life, but it's never completely normal. Or typical. Or whatever word makes you feel better about the fact that I said normal. It's really just semantics.

But pretty pictures of flowers make everything better.

That's apparently an opium poppy by the way. Anyone else question if these are a good idea to leave around? 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Father's Day Theme: BACON

Once upon a time, when we were childless, we walked into a restaurant for breakfast on Father's Day. A small child was excitedly waiting for their father to unwrap the amazing gift that had been chosen for day. We watched with amusement as Dad unwrapped, and looked across the table at Mom like she had lost her mind - yet pretended that this three wick candle was the heart's desire of Dad's everywhere. The child squealed and beamed, oh this was the PERFECT gift for Daddy, Mommy was RIGHT!
Mom looked pretty smug and I'm sure that she had the floral ring already picked out to go around that sucker. Something like this.
OH YEAH. That's the stuff.  (If you didn't live this life in your 20s don't start now, it's over.)

It was this moment, observing Mom being selfish and Dad being a good guy that we vowed not to do that to each other in the future. Unless we specifically asked for something bizarre and out of character, we were NOT going to do that to one another. I think we've done a pretty good job of it.

For instance, I'm on a diet - YET I got up early yesterday and made him a FIESTA of bacon treats, starting with Alton Brown's Lacquered Bacon.
I did have a couple of pieces when it was all said and done. I have to admit, this is probably the best bacon treat I've ever had and this fat girl can eat some bacon. Pre-diet me would've had a lot more, so that's just proof it's really for him. He loved it. But I wasn't done. I wanted to bake him something else with the fancy bacon I bought so after I searched pinterest forever and couldn't find exacly what I was looking for, Christa gave me a link to Joy the Baker  and I decided on Peanut Butter Bacon cookies.

They were so so so good.


They are sweet and salty and everything good about both bacon and peanut butter. Everything. I could eat my weight in them, but no - down fat girl down.

After we fed Dad a special dad breakfast...we headed out for our annual adventure.

I wrapped the bacon plus served him regular bacon, yes that's right - TWO KINDS OF BACON FOR BREAKFAST. YOLO.

We made our annual trek - well it's supposed to be annual but we don't always make it - to Brasstown Bald. I'd tell you that it's sort of amazing, the air is fresher, it's awesome, it's almost a personal moment of peace and calm at the top of the mountain but I think you have to go without four kids to actually get that experience. It is beautiful and for a short time we make sure that our Daddy is the tallest Dad in Georgia.
It was a gorgeous day. We didn't spend as much time up on top as might have done as it was a minefield of dogs (cue Miles freaking out) and also we got there a bit later than we wanted. But fun was had regardless.
Inside the visitor center there are lots of activities, Louis and Julia sawed a log, and both did the lottery for plots of land. Poor Louis got worthless land, he would've been one screwed pioneer.  Julia got awesome land full of timber. Maybe she'll let Louis come work her land with her.

One of my favorite moments of they day happened quietly when no one was looking. I was watching the twins and looked over to see Scott and Louis looking out the window at the mountains. They were caught in silhouette because of the light and I couldn't believe what I was looking at.
There stands our baby almost as tall as his father. He's still a little boy at 12 but yet he isn't. I remember the day we brought him home perfectly, I remember wondering how we'd ever carry him around as he was so big and heavy.  Now he's turning into a young man. He's the reason we ever started having a Father's Day. He's the reason we truly became a family. We thought we were before him, and we would never have known the difference. But when he came into our life he changed us forever in ways I can't explain, but if you're a parent you know what I mean.

The guy who didn't want kids, is a Father of four and loves them all so much. And it all started with a little blonde boy who stole his heart 12 years ago.
Our lives are chaotic and noisy and messy, but yesterday in the chaos, noise, and mess, there were mountains and THREE kinds of bacon. I think it was a pretty good day.
And I'm pretty sure his present was a damn site better than any three wick candle.
We got him The Witcher Three. Because we're geeks.

All of us.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Why Do You Have Snakes In Your Backyard

The backstory here is that we're struggling to get someone to come mow our yard. We had a redneck and various members of his redneck family who would come and mow for us, but they flaked out. Since then it's been a nonstop stream of flaky and stupid when you JUST want your yard mowed. Call a big fancy lawn service? They want to sell you lawn service - like chemicals and stuff. You wouldn't think this would be that difficult. I will give you money to mow my yard. If you mow yards for a living, this seems like it might be a good thing. Apparently it's not. Or lawncare people are the flakiest on the earth.
 My favorite interaction though, is the company that came out, discussed the job with my husband, brought their equipment but left because they didn't think they brought the right mowers. Did I mention it's rained every day and we're about to call the yard a prairie? Ok it's not that bad but IT NEEDS MOWED.
The same company texted my husband and asked why we had snacks in our yard. This seems like and odd question but it turns out after the correction was received, she meant SNAKES. Why do we have SNAKES in our yard?
Well, when said lawncare pseudo-professionals were here, they asked how he felt about snakes. Husband answered that we had a few black snakes, grass snakes etc - we live right next to a forest so yeah they're around.
Right about then, they left.  Hmmmmmmm.

Why do we have SNAKES in our yard?
I asked on Plurk and FB how we should have responded to such an inane question. Thanks for your awesome answers:

  • Because we needed them to eat the rats. We are gettign aligators to eat the snakes and then gorillas to kill the alligators. Then winter will come and kill off the gorillas.
  • "Satan"
  • They Missed the Plane
  • Woodpile?
  • We tried giving them their own bedroom but they didn't like the color
  • Oh DANG they got out again?
  • They like the smell of our children
  • Ritualistic fodder, must keep them somewhere
  • Because of previous contractors who asked too many questions
  • Because Obama
  • St Patrick Visited Ireland instead of us
This question was so puzzling until the next text when she said "They said you put snakes in your yard."

So apparently they sent braniacs out here who ran away because they thought we had a yard full of snakes, intentionally. This is painful.

Mixed character Meme. It made my day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Sometimes It's Not Autism

Sometimes it's not, no really.

For instance, yesterday, my Miles could not be soothed. He was upset on and off all day. He's got this new thing he'll do. He lets out this closed mouth yell, which to me sound s a bit like the bark of the raptors in Jurassic Park.
Ok maybe not exactly like that but it grates on my nerves the same.

Miles makes this noise, and then Charlie screams. Then after that Miles goes after Charlie, to pull his hair, to pinch him or scratch him. This happened about 6542 times yesterday. It's like the sound is a battle cry. IT'S ON! he's saying. And it IS on as soon as he does it. From that point on if you stop him, he LOSES HIS MIND. He'll directly disobey you to get to Charlie to hurt him. Charlie who stands a head taller than him doesn't seem to know he's got 40 pounds on him or more and could take him. Charlie cries, Miles screams, and mom & dad LOSE THEIR DAMN MINDS.

Last night at bed time, he kept leaning down and grabbing at Charlie and making the faux raptor noise and Charlie would scream. About midnight I sent Miles down to spend time with his dad, thinking he just need "something". Unsure what. But being in that bedroom wasn't it AT ALL.

When I got home from work this evening I learned that last night he had a fever. He was sick.

Regular children act out when they are sick all the time. How much more so autistic children who lack the language to tell you they don't feel good? It's so hard, having these little guys who can't tell me. I have to remember to check for fever, just like a baby.

Parents 0, Autism 1

Next time Autism. Next time.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Return To High Heels

It seems like I've been in a nonstop state of foot problems for the past few years. I broke my foot working in one of our branches. I broke a toe. I broke THE OTHER TOE horribly. Or was it the same toe? I can't even recall.

The last toe break in conjunction with my tendonosis in the same foot is a combo that's rendered me a victim of comfortable shoes for some time. I've done physical therapy to repair the atrophy in that foot (huge fan of the TENS machine here). But wearing heels had slipped away. My toe, previously broken, would go numb and then start shooting bolts of fire-death-pain up my foot into my ankle. My knees seemed to hate the heels. I wore heels to our holiday party for a few hours and frankly, my hips took months to forgive me. I'm not sure they've recovered.

So I'm not sure what I was thinking when I picked out wedge heels for new work shoes. I'm kind of lazy in that I want to slip on shoes just any shoes and walk out the door. They need to meet my needs for dresses, slacks, capris, skirts and jeans. I need magic shoes. Generally I've met that need with this or that sensible shoe that missed in some category. I've had some Clark's walking shoes that were BRILLIANT but not really quite so perfect with skirts. My Clark's were comfy enough that I'd honestly just slap on some black tights and pretend the went with skirts too.

But after taking my "work shoes" for a stroll a few times, I've realized something. I can wear heels again. Sure, they hurt. Heels suck. But heels are BRILLIANT. And I can WALK in heels, I was lucky to have a mother who made sure I knew how to walk in heel (heel to toe girls, roll your foot and walk with confidence).

So today I broke out this pair of heels I got a few years ago,right before the last BIG BREAK of the toe. I bought these heels and I couldn't ever wear them.
They're Liz Claiborne and they're awesome. I rolled around in them today like I was a pro at heels again. When I lived in Florida I was in heels nearly every day. No problem being in heels. None. Today I have to admit, I felt a bit like myself again.

I have a couple more pairs hanging in my closet, collecting dust. Who knows, they may get to come out for a run some time soon?


Monday, June 15, 2015

30 Minutes on the Total Gym

I won't be able to fix typos today, and for that I apologize. That's mostly because I'm MOSTLY numb right now. I think the correct term is muscle fatigue. It's a thing that's good for you. Like most things that's good for you, it's bullshit.

I don't mean it's bullshit in a "this is an untrue thing" sort of way. I mean, it's a big ball of terrible and miserable and it makes you feel bad in some way that is supposed to make you feel good on the other side of whatever barrier you have to get through. At some point in time, I will feel great afterward. I will feel strong, and positive and like this.

That day has not arrived.

I have not eaten right, I have not worked out enough and I only have myself to blame.  There is this part of me, though, that is just pissed off because I CAN remember this not hurting so much. I can remember not feeling DREAD AND DESPAIR at the thought of the work out. Maybe I didn't love it but I didn't just think how much more I'd like to go eat some chocolate covered cherries. (The cheap ones from Walmart, not the good ones). I guess in my big long constant justification stream, I don't want it to be EASIER I just want it to NOT HURT SO FUCKING MUCH.

I burned off 300 calories allegedly a few minutes ago, and perhaps that's true as I'm still struggling to use my arms properly. My legs will be fine if I just sit here.

The worst part to me lately is while I am working out, I feel pissed off. Not at me, not at my diet or my weight, or the fact that working out is requisite. I don't feel a calm and peace, or sense of renewed energy. I don't get whatever you get from endorphins or whatever. (I have never experienced this and consider it a lie, like cuddling after sex.) As I'm slogging away hauling my own body weight up and down a sliding board I start thinking of all the shit I'm pissed off about.

And I get madder.

By the time I get off, the people I am pissed off at are lucky they aren't in my sight, because I would probably set them on fire. My time of introspection and personal improvement just ends up being 30 minutes of me getting wound up about things that I have done my best to ignore and push away, or at least let go because they weren't worth me being upset about anyway.

It feels like if I ramped up my workouts the way I actually should, I would end up being one really hard to get along with bitch.

Luckily I'm not armed.



Sunday, June 14, 2015

For Special People

Yesterday was one of our favorite events, the Spectrum Family Fishing day event. We always really enjoy it, it's a day just for our families with Special little guys - a day where no one will stare at you if your kid is screaming or flailing or stemming for no apparent reason.
Three of four kids caught fish - Miles caught a leaf. They like the idea of the fish, but neither Miles nor Charlie will do much but want to reel the line in. But Charlie was fascinated by his fish, he gave it a good grab. Sorry fishy. Lots of fish were caught by lots of kids this year it seemed, it was really a happy day for little fishermen.
In my mind I'm always very Captain Quinn about it.
In reality I'm someone's dorky mom trying to remember how to cast. It's the thought that counts, right?

They always also offer horseback riding for the little people too. I wasn't sure this year how Miles would take to it, he's been really afraid of dogs for the past year, and sometimes other random animals. He's never been afraid of horses BEFORE but he also didn't used to be afraid of dogs so, I wasn't sure.
He loved it. It was a short ride but a lot fun for my four little guys.
It's a pretty good day when a family of six can go horseback riding, fishing, and have a picnic all for free, thanks to some wonderful people who host this event every year. We have fun, breathe fresh air and cavort in the outdoors with other families who live our weird lives.

For one day, we're just like everyone else.
It's pretty awesome.

We decided to end our day with more outdoor fun so we broke out the grill for the first time this season. Some tree frogs had decided my grill was the place to be.
After I evicted them Charlie and Julia helped me make some delicious although somewhat burned hamburgers. Hey it's my first grill of the season, give me a break.
I slept like the dead and the kids let me sleep till 8:30 this morning.

Seriously, it was a great Saturday.