Saturday, January 24, 2015

Broken Hearts

Please pray for my family. On Thursday we lost my dear nephew Zane. He was only 20 years old, a beautiful, vibrant, intelligent young man. We are all in shock. It just can't be real. Someone wake us up from this nightmare. Tomorrow morning I head to my sister Dana's home to be with her for the next week. I wish we lived closer to each other and not half a nation away. A week is not enough time to hug her, touch her, share with her. I love her so much and I can do so little. So very little. Please pray. We need it so much right now.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

What's Up?

We have been super, super busy around here. Lots of fun and lots of not-so-fun things happening. Here is a quick update.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday we travelled for about 35 hours total in the car to visit family. The boys travel well, amazingly! Here are a few highlights. I still have one more camera of pics to download so I am missing some people and activities.

We saw and played in real snow! This is the first time my boys have ever seen snow. We had to buy some snow gear when we got to Iowa because you can't get mittens and heavy coats in Houston. There was not a ton of snow, but there was enough and the right quality to build a snowman.

Jon decided to make a snow angel while at my parent's house so he went out onto the snowy deck, plopped face down and began to move his arms and legs up and down. He quickly came up, face full of snow, gasping for breath. We all watched and laughed!!! He had only seen it on TV and din't have a clue how to really make a snow angel. He still had fun!!

At my in-laws ranch we got to bottle feed a 2-week old calf. This little guy was not getting enough milk from his Mom and was close to death when they brought him to the barn, made him a warm spot and started bottle feeding him. We petted him and loved on him and he was the sweetest little guy. When Levi found out he was destined to be meat on someone's table he cried and cried. Levi, not the calf. Sweet boy with such a kind heart.

We named the calf Sir Loin, even though they do not name the cattle because they do not want to get attached to them. Sorry, we still got attached and will continue to think of him as a sweet calf living on the ranch, forever the size of a large dog.

We visited some buffalo that were very friendly. This is the bull of the herd and all he wanted was to lick you and to have his head scratched.

He was huge, but not as big as some buffalo I have seen. Maybe they were Beefalo, a cross between cows and buffalo???? Still an amazing experience.

We saw amazing sunsets on the ranch. Looking out across the couple hundred or so acres of family land. It makes me want to go lead a simpler life.

At my parents house we actually stayed in a resort hotel with an indoor water park. This is a picture from the last time we visited there. This time we were the ONLY family in the resort the beginning of the week. They were so awesome and turned on the pumps each day just for us and turned them off when we were done. It gave my folks a break each afternoon and the boys a chance to burn off energy.  There are two indoor water play areas and it was all ours. We felt so spoiled!!!!

One last photo. This little guy is struggling as he does every year at this time. I love him so much and I hate to see him struggle. Buster has been sticking very close to him, doing his best therapy dog work and it is helping. Such a sweet boy. He deserves the best in life!!!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Stinky Scalp Syndrome…It's a thing

  Ever since we brought Jon home he has had a distinctive 'smell' about him. It ranges from mildly annoying to downright nasty stank. I would smell him (usually the top of his head) and immediately haul him off for a bath or shower. I would scrub him and scrub him but he would still smell when he dried off. It would be better, but the smell was still there. I chalked it up to some sort of weird body chemistry, switched him to men's deodorant shampoo/body wash and kept on scrubbing him. I have even been known to spray his hair with Febreeze (desperate times folks) when we were on our way to church/etc and he was especially odiferous.
  Then one day I began googling 'stinky kid', 'stinky head' and 'my kid smells bad'. This is where I found out that there is actually something called Stinky Scalp Syndrome. It is believed to be an overgrowth of the wrong kinds of bacteria/fungus on the scalp. Normal washing does not remove the bacteria/fungus, it just rinses away some of the stinky residue. The noxious organisms continue to cling to the hair strands and scalp and quickly begin churning out their toxic funk again. So now I knew why this poor child was so smelly and why my efforts to keep him clean were not working.
  The next step was how to treat the scalp? I saw many posts of people being given antibiotic and anti-fungal lotions, potions, rinses, etc. Every single person reported a temporary improvement followed by reoccurrence of the smells, even with continued treatment in some cases. Some of these treatments had some very unpleasant side affects, too, like burning skin, intense itching, dry flaking scalp, etc. That didn't sound like what I wanted to put on my young son's head. I kept searching but didn't really find what I was looking for, so I turned to my knowledge of science and the steps we take to keep bacteria and fungi from contaminating our work. It seemed to me that some of the solutions we used were antibacterial/antifungal and also safe on the skin. Aha! I was onto something.
  I ended up using liquid Lysol in a mild solution. I dampen his head, rub it in and let it sit until it dries. Then he showers. At first I used it three days in a row with amazing results. He smelled clean. Then I went to once a week and he stayed clean smelling. I still thought that was a bit much, so now he gets a treatment about once a month. I am happy to report he has had no side effects and he smells great!
  Note, I am not endorsing using Lysol or any other product on your child or on yourself. This is definitely not a recommended use for their product. I am simply reporting what worked for us after many other things failed. Use at your own risk!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Keeping them Active

Here is the thing. My boys love their computers and gaming devices. They would quite happily sit in front of a screen all day long working out only their fingers. A little screen time is great, but too much is a bad, bad thing. We strive to find lots of active things for them to do. We have a trampoline, acres of land, 4 wheelers, a horse, and a pond. Still, when it is summer in south Texas it is hard to find outdoor activities that won't kill you with the heat.What is a good thing to do? Swimming! We are putting in a pool. It is 16 feet wide by 41 feet long and goes from 3 ft to 9 ft deep. We didn't out in a spa because the thought of crawling into a hot tub in 100 degree heat was a negative. Here are some progress photos. It just completed filling with water yesterday so I will update photos for you.

 Oh that red Texas clay. This was a hard dig for the guys.

Nice and deep.

Did you know you can order a case of silly string off of Amazon? Yep, you can!

Friday, September 05, 2014

As summer wound down….

  I used to think I was a pretty good Mom. My kids hit all the milestones ahead of schedule. They grew and thrived and had good manners in public. I made the critical mistake of patting myself on the back. Rookie error. Or maybe girls are just easier for a Mom. Whatever the reason, I have come to realize that  I am not so much a good Mom, as a Mom who has learned serious survival skills. Let me tell you a few stories from this summer with …..The Boyz. (Play scary music)

  Someone, who appears to be named "Not Me" cut the electrical cord to my exercise bike's display panel. With toe nail clippers.

  I found a toad in my kitchen, just hopping along and looking like he was completely confused. (Can a toad look confused?)

  Someone cut a hole in a brand new shirt the very first time it was worn. Why? Well heck, why not? Here are scissors, whatever can I do with them? Aha! I shall try them on my shirt! Genius, I tell you!!!

  There are chips under the couch, licorice behind the TV, juice bags on the stairs, a banana in a dresser drawer, chicken bones in a bedroom, and little dirty handprints 7 feet off the ground. I don't even WANT to know how those got there.

  One child cannot find his shoes. He has several pairs. He has worn shoes each and every day, but he CAN NOT find  his shoes. This is a daily occurrence and he blames……wait for it…………………Me. Of course. Because when he is asleep I wear his shoes and then hide them. I am just that mean. I think for the school year, since this is a re-occurring theme, I will get him a pair of pink ballet slippers so that on the days he cannot find his shoes he can wear those to school.

  One child wore his brand new school shoes to climb the giant dirt pile, after a rain. Nice.

  They ate an entire LARGE bag of chips in one day. For breakfast.

  Boyz. Pray for me…..

On My Last Nerve

  One child here is struggling mightily. He threw up at Open House (anxiety). He has lost his backpack. He forgot how to brush his teeth. He moans and whines and tantrums every day. He cannot find any shoes to wear. He is having potty problems (laundry has been very disgusting). He makes a horrible mess when he eats. He cut a hole in his shirt 'trying out' his new school scissors.

Hopefully as he settles into the new school year he will adjust and calm down. Until then, I am hanging on by my fingernails…..

We are considering moving him to the small private school I am teaching at this year. Can't decide if the small class size would be the answer to help him with his anxiety or if it would harm him in his social development. If we don't challenge him with new situations how will he ever develop the skills to deal with them? We can't keep him in a bubble but we don't want to send him over the edge either. Ugh, why does parenting have to be so hard????

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Rebound, Fallout, Twerking RAD

  Like that title? That is my brain after spending 9 days slaving away pouring cement, etc in Costa Rica, only to return and immediately begin suffering from the intestinal equivalent of a tsunami. I no longer wish I would die and I have actually ventured out in public a little bit, so I must be getting better. I am not sure, though, since the fog in my brain is thick enough to block out all rational thought.

  Those of you with RADlets know the drill. Something changes, anxiety hits the roof and our special ones devolve into a grab bag of less-than-pleasing behaviors. In the past the change could be very minor and still elicit things such as shredding all food, nightmares, destruction of belongings, nasty temper tantrums and potty issues. (Remember the many weeks of poo? I do!) Over time it took larger and larger changes to set Jon off, and the fallout behaviors have become less and less destructive.

  So these past few weeks have been ALL change. First school let out, then my job changed, then off for a week of vacation, and a week after we returned Mommy took off for 9 days. Then Mommy gets laid out with a horrible case of the traveling ICK. Changes of global proportions. Anxiety inducing changes of epic proportions.

  How has Jon been? A little clingy, a little more mean to his brothers, and he tends to get into a cycle of anxiety where he has to make constant non-stop noise, whether he is talking, making sound effects or singing. That's it. Unless he is saving up something really big to hit me with down the road, I have gotten off very lightly. Extra hugs, re-direct the meaner behavior and remind him he is making noise, then engage him in a real conversation. Abso-freakin-lutely amazing!!!! He is going to make it! I see a "normal" kid. An active, smart NORMAL acting kid.

Halleluia…Halleleugia….Hallelughi.. aw heck. I can't spell it. Praise the LORD!

Now if I can just get him to pick up his dirty clothes….that would be a miracle. LOL!

Oh, by the way, I must have been gone a lot longer than I realized, because this is what I found when I returned.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Our trip, continued

The first few days of our trip were fine. We got along and worked together, but emotionally we still danced around each other. Both of us were a bit snappy and quick to see offense. Then one night we both blew. (I would love to say I was perfectly calm, but I cannot lie. My feelings were hurt and I was exhausted physically and emotionally) We finally went to bed but I slept little that night.

I spent the night praying and asking God to show me how to let this child of mine feel how much I loved her, how much she could trust me, how safe she is with me. About 4 am it came to me. Peace. At that point I knew what I needed to do. (I fixed this pic. I didn't realize I had made it too big and accidentally cut out Ashley. Don't read too much into that. It wasn't a subliminal Freudian moment…)

I had to let Ashley know that I was making every attempt to see things from her perspective. That it was okay the way she felt (even when I knew she didn't have all the facts). Her feelings were not wrong, they were legitimate. Instead of trying to show her why she was wrong because she didn't know everything, I just needed to validate her feelings. So I did. And we had the most wonderful discussion ever. She made the effort to see my perspective, too!

She is an awesome person. So intelligent, so loving, so empathetic. She is a very hard worker, too. I still think she is a very old soul in a young body. She just has an air about her that is other-wordly.

I know she loves me and she told me she thinks I am a great mother. We are just two very different personalities who went through a lot of pain in her first years. Hers was physical and mine was emotional. Do you know how hard it is to sit next to your tiny baby's hospital crib and hear the alarms go off and then stand out of the way why the staff works to get her breathing again? Do you know what it is like to hold her when they stick her tiny body over and over trying to get an IV line going, only to have the one they finally place in her scalp blow and create a huge goose egg? To hand off your little baby to strangers as they take her to the OR, all the time praying she is not scared and alone? She has every reason to blame me. I was the one constant when she was in pain. As hard as I tried I could not make the pain go away or comfort her enough.

She is an amazing person. I am blessed to be the one she calls Mom. I am equally blessed to be the one she blames. I want to be her soft place to fall, her rock, her anchor. No matter what, if she has pain in her life, I will be there, and she can blame it all on me. I will gladly do that for her!