A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.
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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ka Is A Wheel That Turns

Birthday number 11 arrived for the twins and we celebrated with an awesome dinosaur cake and our Aunties Suzie and Debbie were even here for the fun.
As always they ate their ice cream and ignored the cake but I think they were mostly excited by the light up balloons their daddy got them. They're pretty cool. I came down from getting ready to go out and they had the lights turned off and were playing balloon battles with the aunties.
Our original plan had been to go bowling but between league night at one place and 99c bowling at another, we couldn't get near a lane that would suit all 8 of us, so we'll have to make that a plan for another day. Instead we headed up to Lake Lanier and went to Vinny's for some of my favorite local pizza. I always think of Judy who loved Vinny's when we are there, she recommended it to us.
So another birthday passes and now it's been eleven years since we went from 3 to 5 in one day. It's been a long time, sometimes were harder than others but I love these little guys so much. They have a lot of challenges in front of them, namely middle school, and I'm excited to see how they grow. They've changed and learned so much in elementary school, more than I ever thought that they could.

Here's hoping for another 11 years of growth and improvement for my special little guys.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

I'm A Bad Drug Addict

Meaning I'm not good at it. I don't enjoy it. Narcotic drugs and I, we aren't friends. Sure, there have been some in my life that gave me a mellow high and a ton of really deep sleep. These have been few and far between. Mostly drugs of the narcotic sort have to be saved for pain so bad that I am willing to endure the night terrors, the crying jags, the overwhelming feeling of everything in my life being wrong and bad. Then there is the itching, the need to claw through my skin until I can see daylight on on the other side can be incredible.

I finally stepped my pain pills down, and they took the pain's edge away. Yesterday the pain was a bit like an ice pick being repeatedly jabbed into the socket where once there was a tooth. Today it's more like a butter knife. Still unpleasant but not as jabbing, more like "hey why are you poking me with that butter knife?" sort of thing.

I feel like I have some sort of mortification of the tooth socket going on. It's going to be sin free when this is all over, I tell you.

I have to get my shit together today, I have to shower, for one, and sort of NOT LAY DOWN ALL DAY. I feel like this would be a positive. The down side is I'm still really weak, I feel like I was really physically taxed, I'm just tired and dizzy and weak. I'm hoping that if I only take ibuprofen today that it will fade, surely it's just the narcotic.

My kids have been very sweet taking care of me, when they haven't been annoying by not being quiet when I so desperately needed it.
Julia especially has been drawing me special pictures to make me feel better, and has been giving me check ups regularly with her doctor kit. She tells me I have tooth-hurty-itis which seems correct. Her prescription is usually for me to nap, which I've fully supported honestly.

Today the twins are supposed to have soccer but it rained like a bitch yesterday and I'm just not feeling like standing around in a mud bog watching a bunch of special needs kids play soccer. That probably makes me a bad person, but honestly, I don't think I can do it today. I probably can't do anything much but I am considering trying not to nap and calling it an achievement.

Or maybe no nap before noon....my will is fading.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Much Needed Oral Surgery

I have to say that the science of dentistry isn't what it was even ten years ago. Things are so much better and different it's amazing. I got a root canal and a crown ten years ago and some time between now and then I got an infection in the root. I never really felt it, but it showed up on my x-ray and my dentist told me last year that it HAD to come out. It was apparently degrading the bone. Well, turns out over his past year, I could TELL that the tissue under the tooth was soft and things weren't as they should be so this year I decided it had to be done.

It wasn't that bad. I got the gas and this time they increased it more after I told them that last time I felt like I was in the grips of a total panic attack in a place with 10X the gravity of earth, which was undesirable. They gave me a bit more and I admit, I did feel more relaxed. Not the "loopy" you see on TV but just calm.

After they turned my jaw to stone with the little torture pinches of numbing, they put a big old rubber thing on one side of my mouth mouth between my teeth and he went to work.

Oddly, it was pretty fast. Previously upon extraction there was yanking and pulling and an epic use of force that was pretty painful even when numb. This guy said that he felt like if he used a little finesse I'd stay comfortable and he did just that. He actually gently rocked and wigged the tooth, then pulled, then repeated. I knew it was going well when he said "AHHH I GOT IT" and right about that time a terrible smell washed over me.

I'd describe it as burning death. I don't know what else to call it. He'd gone to work in my mouth doing something I couldn't define, then I realized he'd gotten the crown off and was getting the tooth. He mumbled about infection, ah that's the smell, and asked if I was still ok. I said I was, or sort of gurgled that I was as I couldn't move my mouth because of the block in my right teeth.

At this point he says, "I'm going to go in and cut out this infection, raise your hand if you feel anything" and goes into my mouth with what looks like scissors and a scythe, a tiny tiny scythe.

The sound was the worst. Crunching, bonking into bone, bonk bonk bonk that resonated into my head. Eventually it started to feel like he was dislodging my jaw, as he kept mumbling about cleaning, and needing this or that. Then they squirt some blue stuff at it and say "ok we got it" and take the block out from between my teeth and we're "done".

The dental assistant told Scott I needed a frosty, ha, and it sounded like a good idea. However, eating a frosty while you have a mouth with huge gauze filling with blood is less than ideal. In fact, it's not actually pleasant. The gauze gets soaked with both frosty and blood because you can't control your numb head.

The pain crept up slowly and stealthily like they said it would and settled into a roar from my jaw to the center of my head. I have two kinds of meds for pain and I'm employing them both.

Mostly I feel exhausted and tired, I'd say it's from the drugs (maybe) but I also feel like the mental stress of the whole thing was really taxing.

I asked them to let me see the tooth, the root broke as he pulled it out, but just into two pieces which pulled out fine, it didn't actually look bad. What did was the gobs of infection he pulled out which he also showed me, and omg what a horror show that this was IN my mouth. I just feel disgusting, how can that nasty mess have been inside me and I didn't realize it. I told my husband maybe I won't have horrible morning breath now, but he seems to think this wasn't it as it was contained.

A girl can dream.

I'm glad it's over.

Next up, a couple of root canals. Yippee yi yay yay.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

If Something Happens...

When you have your first kid you see this little saying around quite a bit, it goes something like "Having a child is letting your heart walk around outside of your body." It's something like that. I feel like that sentiment is a pale comparison to what it's really like.

Yesterday we had storms, which isn't unusual. The Gulf of Mexico sends warm moist air up into Texas and that air goes rolling east across flat Mississippi and Alabama and by the time I gets here we have a real gullywasher going (I miss Stan Wood the Weatherman on Channel 8, he was AWESOME). We do get some tornadoes, not many because of the hills and trees but it can happen.


Yesterday was one of those days. When everyone's phones start going off with tornado warnings and you bring up the radar and yes indeed, that's rotation & all the weathermen are saying stuff like "this is not a drill take cover" you know it's spring in Atlanta. Still, I was at work, the storm was down where I was and I felt pretty safe in a big old brick building. I watched the weather, so we could be aware if we needed to move to a safe room and then to my surprise it moved north.

Toward my house.

We were pretty lucky all in all with this storm. I think there might've been a tornado or straightline winds west of us, for us in general we go hail and what my husband and I like to call "evil" skies. If you've ever been in a tornado, you'd know that sick colored sky in a minute, it's bizarre. The schools were very proactive and held the buses to be safe and really, everything landed exactly as it should have. No funnel dropped on my neighborhood. Or any that I know of actually.

The two moments that caused me pause was when I texted my husband a heads up that the storm was coming for him, and realized he wasn't home, he was on the road with my little girl. Waiting waiting waiting for them to say they were home safe was nerve wracking. He said they got into the house just as the hail started, and it got so cold you could see your breath.

There was so much hail that it kicked up the chlorine from the dispenser in the pool causing foaming and frothing and then it all froze over, which I missed. He said you could SEE it freezing over. That's just tornado weather if nothing is, for sure.

But then, he tells me later, that my son sent a text. To say that there was a tornado and that if something happens he loved us. My heart came out of my chest and exploded. I asked him later if he was scared, and he laughed and said "yeah a little" so I didn't press him. He told me they watched WallE and sat together in a corner of the safe room.

I'm so glad they have a safe room.

I hate spring suddenly, like I have never hated anything. Go away spring storms. You scared my love and I just can't have that.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Your Dose of Imagacillin

First of all, if you would like to experience the live birth of a real Cabbage Patch Baby - you can go HERE . The video isn't great because of crowd noise and I keep talking because I'm excited HEY BABY! 

Julia is five today, and we decided to make it very special by travelling north to BABYLAND GENERAL where the real Cabbage Patch babies are born.

Once inside the girl thought we were just shopping at an amazing toy store, and wandered around aimlessly for a while, overwhelmed by all the things and not sure WHAT to do. 
Very shortly after we arrived though, the call was made for everyone to come to the Cabbage Patch, a special delivery was on the way. Julia was interested, this was very different - and then something amazing happened - the baby that was born said she wanted to come home to live with Julia!

What are the ODDS? It was pretty amazing.

She went from "oh this is nice" to "MOMMY THIS IS AMAZING!" pretty quickly.

It was all her Daddy's idea and he hit the nail on the head with this one. He was sidelined dealing with Miles who once again didn't feel like participating in anything we were doing.
I know he feels like he missed the magic, but he didn't. The magic came home with us and it sitting beside me right now.

It wasn't a perfect even, but most events in this family aren't. What it was though, was ours and I know a five year old who has a new best friend.

Her name is Ella.
She's so amazed that her baby has the same birthday as her. It's adorable.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

It Went Fast

Five years ago today I was mentally preparing for something I didn't want that was the means to something I wanted more than my own life. Five years ago today, I was on a countdown to Julia's birth.
We went to the Fernbank museum and looked at the dinosaurs. We drove to Alabama on a whim and ate some BBQ that I can't quite remember. It was just the first non "chain" place we ran into. We did all the things because the next day everything was going to be different. The next day we would be six instead of five.

It's hard to get my mind around this. She's going to be FIVE tomorrow. In the fall there will be Kindergarten and the beginning of her steps away from me. I don't like it. I want her nestled in my arms forever.

But she won't stay. So we do new things and I hope create moments she'll remember forever, even when I'm gone. I ask her if she knows how much I love her and she says "I do because you kiss me all the time."

She's right, I do. Sorry, NOT SORRY.

I didn't realize how different it would be to have a daughter. It isn't "better" it's just different in an awesome way. Possibly because I can take her out for mani-pedi and get little flowers painted on her toes for no reason other than that I can.

They are the littlest toes in the house. My last baby isn't a baby, but she will always be mine.

Five should be an adventure. I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Ups and Downs of the Travel

The down side of travel started Sunday night as I held a weeping four year old in my arms who was begging me not to leave her to travel for work. I cried too as she told me she needed me home so that she can take care of me. "Who will take care of you there? Who will protect you if I'm not there?" she asks me. I tell her I don't know and feel my own mortality and a future where she does in fact take care of me loom.

The next bit came when I barely made it to the airplane on time because of ATLANTA TRAFFIC AND REASONS which mostly had to do ATLANTA TRAFFIC but also they Braves might have been playing I don't even know, I was too busy not letting people who were texting while driving NOT KILL ME. Which was fun. Not.

I had plans of eating at the airport.but being late and barely getting to the gate on time made that impossible. I rushed to my seat as our crew was in a hurry to get going. At that point I realized ....I was sitting on the engine. Oh hell, that's going to be loud I thought.
It can only be loud if you take off though. And since we were missing some piece of paper that apparently this giant steel bird requires to fly we sat. And sat. For 90 minutes we SAT. I read half of a new gunslinger novel by Stephen King which I had sworn off but now I'm back with the ka-tet once again like a bad penny that keeps turning up.

Eventually we took to the sky. There were biscoff cookies for late lunch and black coffee which wasn't bitter and that made it better.

I got to have a fun dinner with my gorgeous friend Ardith who is so VERY fancy and lovely. I am so underdressed! But really it was so much fun we're going to do it again sometime. I got to meet her husband and experience the amazingness of Toronto which had me slackjawed in awe at this place. I had NO IDEA Toronto is this massive insane city like New York or Chicago.
That photo does not EVEN do it justice. I can't wait to go back and maybe see more in the day. We checked out the Lakeview that was on Diners and Drive Ins and it was awesome. Except they had no malt. Seriously? No MALT???? WHAT IS UP!? YOU CALL YOURSELF A DINER?

I told the guy I was crushed, but I settled for a chocolate shake.

I'm driving around the city in a little tiny car that I covet. It's SO tiny and zippy I love it.

Tonight after a great day at work catching up on my work life, a storm was rolling in. I settled in with the end of this most current tale about Roland the Gunslinger which is different that Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner and finished my book while the windows shook, leaving the drapes open to watch the huge clouds move across the plain. It was a lovely storm.

I ordered my food in and ate fish and chips without any regret and a coke for dinner and one for later which I didn't need but I confess I enjoyed.
For reasons unknown they took my request for ketchup to mean a vat of ketchup. The fish mas meh, the fries were ok. But I ate my dinner in my pajamas and watched TV mindlessly which was brilliant.

It was a good spot for peace and calm for two nights. Thanks hotel room, I feel refreshed and recharged.
I got a vacation to recover from my vacation. Working during the day time isn't even a hardship when you get some mindspace in the evenings.

And now I can't wait to get home, because there are five people I want to kiss and hug and tell them how much I love them.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

And We Had To See A Plantation

Our last day of vacation my family gave in to Mom and we did something girly, we went to a plantation. I picked this one out of the stack of brochures the front desk handed us on check in simply because it's been continuously functioning since the 1600s. I think that's fairly interesting. Plus - they shot part of North and South there and I'm old enough to have watched that mini-series with great enthusiasm back in the day.
A row of live oaks this spectacular needed a southern belle seated at it's entrance, so I grabbed the first one I could find. Seriously, no one should enter this lane other than horse drawn carriage, it's just spectacular.
We learned a lot while  we were there, such as this was the only two story gin house ever built, and that this plantation actually built very nice slave cabins - out of brick, however let's don't forget that they are still slave cabins so "nice slave cabins" is the worst sort of oxymoron. Also the owner had a brick making factory so it's not like he was OUT anything but building from brick. I appreciated that our guide made a firm point of telling the visitors that these all originally had dirt floors and these wooden floors and steps were built for tourists - I think it's valuable for people to understand things like that. 
The house has changed hand many times over the years, and this is like the third or fourth actual house on the property. I'd really like to SEE the others, I wish there were paintings or photos of any of them.
The gardens out front were pretty but I wasn't wowed by them. There were some really nice roses however, and now I'm wishing I didn't hate gardening so much because I'd love to have a nicer flower bed out front. I know exactly what I want but man, ugh, outside? Digging? I don't know if I'm that tough. Probably not.
Interesting Charleston fact I learned on our carriage tour, Charlestonians do not have a southern accent. I realized when our guide said it (Our guide was David Crosby I swear just ask my husband) that I hadn't HEARD a southern accent the whole time I was there. Apparently Charlestonians have more of the east coast accent like you'd hear up north. 

It was a beautiful and lazy southern day, therefore a perfect day to visit a plantation in my opinion. There was a lot of good history lessons being taught, we were lucky who to have tour guides and docents who weren't afraid of telling ugly historical truths which I totally respect and want. 

It's a good bargain too as EVERYTHING in the place is included so you don't have to pay for this and that and the other thing. The house, which I was MOST looking forward to, was sort of the most disappointing. It's a modern house, built in 1936, and the interior walls were taken from the OLD house so it's supposed to be an homage. The current family furnished it with period pieces from the 17th and 18th centuries but it's a mish mash. Also our docent said the library walls were aubergine and they were indigo so I subtract fifty points from her docent score. Maybe they were aubergine ONCE UPON A TIME.

I found a post card but the walls have clearly been painted since these photos were taken.
But just for my own ego, THIS IS AUBERGINE:
THIS IS INDIGO:

THE WALLS WERE INDIGO BLUE BECAUSE IT USED TO BE AN INDIGO PLANTATION! BAD DOCENT BAD BAD BAD. This is a guess by the way. But it makes more sense than saying that those walls were aubergine.

Even if the paint job was recent (and sloppy).

Ok but I really liked the place. The house tour was, meh, lovely. Here are three rooms, don't take any photos because some BS about it being a private residence still (a private residence you make me pay to come inside and you don't actually live in? Ok got it.)

It was quite gorgeous but kind of a let down especially since NOTHING was original in the house. But the rest of the place? It was really amazing and gorgeous.

Delicious ice cream was a perfect part of our day.

We didn't get to see everything because there were some dogs there, and we're still dealing with massive DOG FEAR and as we were about to drive home we just decided it wasn't worth it. We visited two of the slave cabins (each one had a lesson about slave life) and missed the Gullah performance which was a bummer. But all in all, it was a great stop.

Many hours, one storm and one Cracker Barrel dinner later we fell into bed about 1230 am, glad to have gone but so happy to be home. I slept like the dead, happily in my own bed and refused to wake at 7 am when Miles informed me it was "Time to get up now."

It was a great vacation.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Requisite Beach Day, And Another Woman's Hair Up

I was reminded very quickly when we arrived at the beach that there is a reason for pony tail holders (or hair ups as they're called around here since the girl renamed them) or hats at the beach. My long over processed hair immediately began whipping left, right, front and back until I looked more like Cousin It THAN Cousin It. Julia found treasure on the beach, a pony tail holder. You might think, ewww, that's gross. People, you can cook food in sand. It was hot so I was hoping any nastiness has been baked out, I was desperate. I figured worst case scenario I get lice and shave my head. I was willing to take that chance. 

The beach itself was full of beach fun like sand castles and  digging. Because, well you know, BEACHES.
It was hot, in the 80s. The wind was cool, the sand was nice and toasty on ones toes. The water however, omg Atlantic Ocean EFF YOU.
Ice effing cold. Death cold. Gripping claws of icy demons from the depths grabbing you and reaching for your soul cold. Ok, that's what Julia and I thought anyway. The boys liked it a bit more than that. 

What we did have though, was no meltdowns. The beach you see is one of Miles FAVORITE places, he loves even the ice cold surf. We had a day of sun and sand and some very cold water.  

We headed out to a local Mediterranean place (very tasty) called Manny's and had an uneventful dinner where pizza and Greek food was consumed happily by everyone. Despite the cold water it was one of our better days. 

Things went wrong at the beach like they always do everywhere we go. Charlie pooped in his swimming suit - which was kind of amazing and surprising, he's NEVER done that. How do you handle that? Well we realized it as we were leaving, so we just threw them away. We carry spare clothes everywhere we go.

I've talked a lot about the tantrums and the stress of autism raining down on us as we vacationed but I just wanted to point out one thing - none of this is abnormal or "bad".  This is just our life. The most important thing isn't how the tantrums interrupt or disrupt something, the most important thing is how we don't stop. We don't cave in, we don't cease activity or outings because of bad behavior.

Our hostess at the diner that evening, without either of the boys doing or saying anything knew they were autistic. She asked what Charlie wanted to drink, and when Scott answered "Oh he doesn't speak" she smiled and said "Oh it's ok, my brother is severely autistic too." She then went on to talk to us about how much more independent he is now, and that she thinks he might be able to live alone one day. Obviously he's much older than my boys, but her calm acceptance of our different family made me just LOVE this place. About halfway through the meal, as everyone gobbled down their delicious food and the boys watched the various TVs on the wall she stopped back by and said, "They're really doing great." We explained to her that we go out all that time with them and she told us about her mom teaching Autism pre-k, and her family.

It was a perfect end of our last "vacation" night. I don't know that girls name but she gave me hope. I'd like to thank her but I forgot to. So if you're ever in North Charleston - seriously go to Manny's. They're good people there.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Questionable Coffee, Fort Sumter and an Aircraft Carrier

I am sitting in my mostly darkened hotel room while half the family sleeps. I'm up writing and enjoying some really vile coffee. Enjoying is a really loose term. I've offered to share it with the twins and after the first drink they're looking at me like I'm a loon. WHY WOULD WE WANT THAT VILE WOMAN they seem to be saying. I don't blame them. It's not good at all.
Yesterday was another roller coaster of chaos in the land that is autism parenting. Some days we're just not good at this.
We started out our morning taking the ferry to Fort Sumter.
I've always wanted to see Fort Sumter, and today (we were there yesterday) is the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. It seems meaningful to be here now. I would've liked to have gone today except then I think about yesterday's chaos and then add in more people no nevermind I will pass.
The oldest boy was here four years ago with the Boy Scouts. He got to participate in the Flag Raising which I wish had gotten to see, that's the stuff that makes mothers proud you know. But he got to show me all the things he has told me about since he was here.
And he got to show me things he missed before - like this shell still stuck in the old fort's wall. There are a few, which is fairly awesome to think these have been there 150+ years. The girl found a cannon just her size she declared, and stood behind pretending to fire it yelling BOOM BOOM BOOM!
One of our best moments of the fort came from our little family terrorist Miles, who stopped to read one of the placards. He read more than either of us realized he was able to. Was he reading with comprehension? Well I hope so because he understands \English - so it was kind of fun, he read us the first full sentence on his own with very little help and a bit more. At 10 that might not seem like a lot, but for our little guys that was major. Charlie couldn't come closed to it.
It was beautiful at Fort Sumter. I really am glad I've seen it now. And even if the twins don't ever really understand it I'm glad we saw it too. It was really lovely for an old fort.
One of my favorite artifacts inside was the large Union flag that was raised as the screw you to the secessionists back in Charleston. It made me laugh, that takes balls knowing you're alone and outnumbered and still standing tall. It's worn but it's still a great flag.
It would've probably been an ok day if we'd have stopped at that point but we had a full day ahead of us....next up was the USS Yorktown.
The USS Yorktown is the biggest thing I've ever seen on water and I cannot get my mind around the fact that modern carriers are way way bigger. I don't even know how that's POSSIBLE frankly. 
Louis and his dad once spent three days on this ship with the Boy Scouts so this was their opportunity to show us around. I have to admit, It was pretty damn impressive. 
Being in the hangar was hard to keep it straight that you were on a ship. There were just tons of airplanes, a diner, a museum, so many things and it just seems like a big building instead of a ship.
I mean how big is it? The snackbar/diner has an airplane hanging over it. A FULL SIZED AIRPLANE. 
Miles had decided before we got on the ship that he wasn't having it. So it was again another day of up and down with autism. This time the tantrums were a bit worse and the happy times were shorter which made for stress for us all. I'm not really sure if it was because he was out of his element, if he simply hates airplanes and or ships, or it was some other thing we don't understand but he was REALLY mad at us about halfway through exploring the ship.
These creepy mannequins kept scaring us, they've be randomly positioned in crew areas and when you didn't expect it BAM mannequin. 
And obviously I took this picture because ....HIIIIIWAAAYYY TO THE DAAANGER ZOOOONE. It was a moral imperative.

The flight deck was also amazing - and it was up there that Miles really decided to start showing us how done with all of this shit he was.
There he goes, stomping off away from the rest of us in protest. Thank God the flight deck has fences around it for us mortals, I was worried a bit being up there during this tantrum but it wasn't too bad. 
Julia drove the ship for a bit. Her exact words were, "Oh I'd LOVE to drive the ship THANK YOU!" Such a lady. 
Ice cream snack time gave us another break from tantrum. I feel like I may have set a record for most diapers changed on the USS Yorktown. YAY ME! 
One of Louis' favorite parts of the tour is the recipe for 10k cookies that they have posted. Can you imagine? It's pretty hilarious. And only one quart of water! What a tedious pain the butt job.

I really enjoyed Fort Sumter and the Yorktown despite the crazy of autism trying to jerk us around. Miles spent his day in and out of tantrum for no reason. It was heartbreaking and stressful and hard and well, annoying. The ships photographer captured a perfect tantrum. It was so bad they gave us the picture for free.
That picture is a perfect summary of our lives.Louis and Julia and I are just going on trying to smile, Charlie is staring at him like WHATS WRONG DUDE and my poor husband is exasperated. This is who we are most days when the cameras aren't rolling. 

It was a good day but a hard day. There were things to enjoy, lots of laughter and smiles but more tantrums. I hope autism gives it a break today.