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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Just go with it

There are times in my life when I have epiphanies: crystal clear moments of seeing who I really am or what is truly important in life.  I recently had a big one.

 Last night, we experienced the wonder of preschool celebrations: the holiday singalong.  Dozens of preschoolers dressed in their holiday finest, singing Christmas songs on a stage in front families loaded down by cameras, video cameras, and cell phones.  All of the kids were beyond adorable: smiling on the stage, waving to their parents, jingling their bells...all except one.  Dallas.  Yep, my kid didn't want to go on stage.  Not one bit.  No way, no how.  I honestly didn't mind, or I didn't think that I minded.

I was actually pretty happy that he was feeling some stage-fright as soon as we arrived at the theater.  Little boys were in ties, Christmas sweaters, and khakis while girls were sparkly in holiday dresses with glittering tights and fancy shoes.  Dallas was in gray sweatpants, a shirt in an entirely different shade of gray, a blue hoodie emblazoned with a skull, and his favorite Spider-Man gym shoes.  Needless to say, I was a touch mortified that I hadn't made him get gussied up before we left the house.

His teacher convinced him to sit in the front row so he could join in the singing and jingle-belling with the rest of his classmates.  He sat beside me with his hood over his head Unabomber-style and happily sang the songs from his seat while the rest of the class sang on stage.  I couldn't seem to shake the tense feeling I had, though, about why he wouldn't just suck it up and go do what he was supposed to do.  I didn't want the other parents to judge me on his behavior.  Serious selfishness, right?  I did my best to mask my tension from him because I didn't want him to sense that I was embarrassed by his choice.  I was embarrassed for me, sure.  But I also didn't want him to stand out and be...different.

About halfway through the program, the kids stood up to do the "Reindeer Pokey."  For those of you not in the know, you put your antlers in, you put your antlers out.  You put your antlers in, and you shake 'em all about it.  And, really, that's what it's all about.  I noticed Dallas slowly scooting out of his chair, and I told him he could go up on stage if he felt like it.  He smiled at me and climbed up on the stage.  There he stood in the front of the pack, hood up, looking slightly rumpled, and danced his little booty off.

Working the antlers


And in that moment, watching him on the stage, every bit of embarrassment or tension I felt melted completely away.  This kid was having a ball, and he didn't care one bit what anyone else, on stage or in the audience, thought about him or what he was doing.  For a second, I could see him as a teenage boy and a young man, just doing his thing, living his life, and being happy.  I ceased caring if other parents were wondering what the hell this kid was doing or why he was doing it.  I truly and deeply lived in that sweet moment, and I felt all the joy I imagine Dallas was feeling.

Shakin' his tail all about


As soon as the song was over, he sat back down beside me and stayed there until the final two songs when he decided to finish on the stage with his friends.  After the last song, the teachers invited the students to take a bow for the audience.  Dallas's bow was so big, so proud, and so elaborate that he almost fell over.  I was so proud of him for knowing exactly what he wanted to do and for having the courage to do it his way.  Quite frankly, I'm in awe of how he lives his life with such honesty.  I was proud of myself for letting go of what I thought I was supposed to be thinking or feeling.  Dallas may not march to the same drum-beat as everyone else, but I love whatever sound he chooses to hear.
No frills, no fancy...just my boy

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fun, family, and forty

Whoa.  I can't believe the last post I wrote was about Halloween, and now it's after Thanksgiving.  One thousand apologies for my lack of blogging, my friends.

We have had a busy month, as usual.  We started November with a fabulous trip to Disneyland, our first time there.  Yes, we're Disney addicts.  I say it loud and proud.  It was a weird sense walking into Disneyland Park in Anaheim; it was like deja vu only I had never been there before.  It was just as magical as walking into the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, but yet, it was completely different, too.  One of the great things about Disneyland is that everything is in walking distance from each other.  Our hotel, the gorgeous Grand Californian Resort and Spa, had a separate entrance to Disney's California Adventure (DCA).  It was fantastic at the end of a long day (or sometimes a long morning) to walk right back into our hotel from the park.  Getting to either DCA or the Magic Kingdom was ridiculously easy: a ten minute walk at the most.  It was wonderful not to have to worry about transportation and building in extra time for buses or boats.  We had mostly great weather, although it ended up raining the last couple of days.  But not even small showers could ruin our magical time.
Finding treasure on Tom Sawyer's Island

Lottie and Dallas with Dale

Dallas and his lady love, Minnie


Periwinkle and Tinks with the kids at Pixie Hollow

Entering Disneyland Park


One of the best parts of the trip was getting together with Trevor's cousin Jonathan, his lovely wife Karen, and their son, Jackson.  Jackson is seriously one of the most gorgeous children I have ever seen, and his smile is like sunshine.  Lottie and Dallas spent plenty of time fawning over him, and it was really sweet to see the three of them together.



During the trip, I celebrated my fortieth birthday.  I can't imagine how I could have had a better birthday than spending it with my family at one of the most magical places on earth.  I mean, right?    Turning forty has been completely painless, I gotta say.  I was definitely more conflicted about turning thirty: I was at a fairly unsettled point in my life.  I was still too worried about what was going to happen in my life, what other people thought of me, and what I thought of myself.  Now it's different.  I'm settled and I'm happy with where I have landed.  I'm comfortable in my own skin, and I'm not afraid of others' opinions.  It's not because I don't care, but it's because I'm secure in who I am.
Mama turns 40!
That's a feeling I hope that I can pass along to Lottie and Dallas.  Both of my kids have such distinct and individual personalities, and I don't ever want them to think they have to change for anyone, not even me, especially me.  Do they drive me insane and frustrate the heck out of me?  From time to time, sure, but I would rather be rattled by them than have kids who have no energy, no creativity, no skills, no spark.  If turning forty has taught me anything, it's that I'm grateful for who I used to be, who I have become, and who I continue to be.  Frankly, I'm pretty damn awesome, and I'll be even more awesome when I empower my children to embrace who they are and revel in their own awesomeness.
The kids at Goofy's house

My sweet, feisty, generous, amazing offspring

Monday, October 22, 2012

Halloween Humbug

I am not a big fan of Halloween.  There.  I have said it.  My name is K. C., and I don't like Halloween. I'm the only one chez Wells who isn't a fan, though, so I have learned to go with the flow.  Dallas's favorite pastime is to pore over Halloween catalogs full of costumes and gory decorations.  Not surprisingly, he has had more nightmares as of late.  Fun for all of us.

Last week, I took Lottie shopping for her Halloween costume, and I was frightened by what I saw.  I wasn't scared of the ghouls or goblins or the bloody skulls: the costumes are what terrified me.  I expected to be slightly horrified by the teen girl costumes because they seem to have become sluttier and sluttier.  But I was shocked to see that little girl costumes are starting to trend the same way.   Everything seems dark and trashy and WAY too grown up.

Credit: http://images.buycostumes.com/mgen/merchandiser/18595.jpg
Yes, I understand that Halloween has its origins in some dubious stuff: festivals of the dead, Samhain, etc.  (Most of my knowledge comes from the movie Halloween, so I realize that what I know might not be on the up and up.) But I do know that Halloween is supposed to be scary and creepy.  However, my kids are 4 and 5.  I don't think they need to be dark and creepy for Halloween.  I mean, what ever happened to dressing up like a puppy or a piglet or a box of Tide?


Not only were many of the costumes too old for Lottie, but they just seemed...wrong.  Why does a kid have to be"Scary Miss Muffet" or "Scary Little Bo Peep"?  Why can't the choice just be a normal Muffet or Peep?  And does Miss Muffet have to have an off-the-shoulder dress with chunky heels?

Credit:http://images.celebrateexpress.com/mgen/merchandiser/60954.jpg?zm=1600,1600,1,0,0
(This is the Bratz version of Miss Muffet, by the way.  Lottie keeps insisting that she's going to get a Bratz doll from Santa for Christmas.  Dream on, kid.)


I saw Lottie starting to light up at the sight of some of the costumes that were not age-appropriate, and I steeled myself to talk to her about it.  Luckily, she ended up choosing a "royal princess" costume with a LONG skirt and LONG sleeves, so that conversation didn't have to happen.  I'm sure some people are reading now and thinking, "A princess costume?  She's going to grow up to think that men are going to ride up on a white horse and rescue her!  That's so anti-feminist."  Um, first of all, no.  And second, no. Third, that's nuts.  I grew up knowing about princesses myself, and I'm no shrinking violet.  When it comes right down to it, I would rather my five year old daughter dress up like a princess than most of the other costumes I saw.  

Maybe I'm old-fashioned; maybe I'm a prude.  I just want my daughter to enjoy being a little girl as long as she can, and I want to enjoy it along with her.  If that's wrong, so be it.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Risky business

Let me start out by saying that this post has NOTHING to do with the presidential debates.  I haven't watched either of them, and I don't plan to watch the last one.  I voted last week, so I'm done with politics for the year.  Let me also say that this isn't a post about stay-at-home-moms versus working-moms.  Women are hard enough on each other as it is, and I am not going to perpetuate that tired discussion.
Credit: http://www.northernsun.com/images/imagelarge/No-Drama-Button-(0724).jpg


Now, on to the post...

I was surfing the 'net the other day, and I came across an interesting discussion on a board about whether or not it was just careless to be a stay-at-home-mom in this day and age.  The poster said that she felt like women who chose to stay home, as opposed to women who were thrust into the position, were taking a risk and not planning for a possible future reality of not being able to stay home anymore.  The phrase that really struck me was being "dependent" on a spouse.

I get the point: I truly do.  We can't predict the future, so we never know what exactly is going to happen in our marriages or our lives in general.  A spouse could leave or die, and then, according to most people, the stay-at-home-mom is screwed.  The premise there is that all stay-at-home-moms are financially dependent on their spouses or partners, and that's just not true.  But my main issue is that we are ALL dependent on someone in our lives no matter what our careers may be.  An attorney needs his clients to pay.  A doctor is dependent on his patients and insurance companies.  A clerk in a store has to have customers coming in to buy things.  A mechanic relies on customers who need things fixed, as does a plumber or an electrician.  A farmer has to constantly worry about the weather: talk about unpredictable!  If I were still teaching, I would be dependent on my students in order to qualify for any kind of raise: I would be under the thumbs of pre-teens and teens to up my financial worth.  Frightening, no?

No, I don't think that choosing to be a stay-at-home-mom makes me more dependent than anyone else on the planet.   It doesn't mean I'm tempting fate or not being true to myself.  I'm also not ignoring the future and all the uncertainty that comes with it: I'm as financially and mentally prepared as I can be for whatever fate decides to throw my way.  I'm living my life the way I want to live it in this moment.  I can't do any more than that because all we have is now, so I'm going to enjoy my now for as long as I have it.

"I wanted a perfect ending.  Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end.  Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." --Gilda Radner

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Get outta my dreams...

Get into my car!

I have been doing two different car lines, four times a day for the past six weeks or so.  Holy cannoli, have I seen a lot.  Allow me to give you, the wonderful readers, some car line tips.

1.  Don't smoke in your car while you're waiting for your kid.  I mean, really?  There is even a sign in the parking lot that says the school is a no-smoking zone.  C'mon.
Credit:http://standupforamerica.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/no-smoking-sign-premises.jpg
2.  Do put your phone down and say hello or good-bye to your child.  I have seen so many parents drop their kids off in the morning with nary a wave because the parents are too busy jabbering on their cell phones.  Maybe the parents make a special point to say goodbye before the actual drop-off, but I sort of think the kids deserve a little hug or kiss or something as they're getting ready to walk into school.

3.  Don't park in the car line if you plan on leaving before it's your turn.  At least twice, I have had parents come up to my car window and ask me to move my car over a little so they can drive between the cars in the two lines to get out of there.  I know everyone is busy; we all lead crazy, hectic lives.  But if it's that important to get to an appointment or get out of the parking lot, leave a little earlier.

4.  Do pay attention when you're in the line. If the rest of the cars have moved up five car-lengths, it's probably a hint that you should do the same.

5.  Do not pick your nose.  Those car windows?  They're made of glass.  We can ALL see what you're doing, and it's gross.
credit: http://debbieschroeder.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451d6e069e2016760293d0a970b-500wi


6.  Do try to relax.  Stop looking at your watch, tapping your fingers on the steering wheel, and shaking your head.  The kids will come out soon, and then you can get back to your ├╝ber-important life.

Just some car line guidance from your friendly neighborhood CarLine Mom.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Luck

I read this article today about a woman who pretended to have bladder cancer, and for her pains, she was given meals, cash, and even had her wedding paid for by friends and family.  She's not the only one who has pretended to be sick in order to gain from her lies.  One woman recently faked a cancer diagnosis, breast cancer no less, in order to get money for breast implants.  Uh huh.  Classy.  I feel sick and furious and sad that anyone would go to such lengths for money or attention.

I wouldn't wish cancer on anyone.  Anyone.  It's horrible and frightening and absolutely life-changing.  I can't pretend to know what it feels like to have to go through treatment after treatment in order to fight cancer: I was lucky.  Every doctor I saw and continue to see has said that if someone has to have cancer, thyroid cancer is the "best" kind to have because it's easily treatable.  After two surgeries, my cancer is gone...for now.  It could recur, but the chances of that happening are pretty slim.  There's that luck again.

Although I haven't had to have chemo or radiation treatments, I'm still affected by it all.  Days go by without a thought of what happened, but other days, I wonder why I got so lucky when others I know have had a terrible time dealing with illness.  I think about the fact that I lived with cancer invading my body, and I didn't even know it.  I think about the fact that it could have been so much worse, and for some reason, it simply wasn't.  Lucky.

But the thing is, it's never really over.  The cancer could return, and that's something I have to live with.  When I get a little tickle in my throat, I wonder if it's back.  When I am feeling particularly run-down, I wonder if it's back.  When I cough, I wonder if it's back.  The worry lives in me like a tiny fly, buzzing around my brain, my heart, my stomach.  I know it's there, and I don't know how to get rid of it so I can go back to the way things were before.  Of course, I can't.  I'll spend the rest of my life with the nagging thought that something could be slowly growing inside me, taking over my body without my knowledge and without my permission.

These people who have pretended to be sick should have to go and talk to parents who have lost their children to cancer.  They should have to talk to people who have watched their loved ones slowly waste away because of the cancer monster.  They should volunteer at a hospice center or a children's hospital, deliver meals to survivors, or drive patients to treatment.  They should talk to survivors who have to go back year after year, always hoping they hear that their cancer hasn't returned.  But the one thing they shouldn't do is have to deal with their own cancer diagnoses because no one ever should.  I did, and I was lucky.  But not everyone is.

Credit: http://livestrongandsore.com

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September morns


I haven't blogged much at all lately, but it's not for lack of desire.  I'm simply exhausted by the end of the day, and that's usually the only time I have to sit down with the computer to write.  The morning routine has evened itself out but, man, it's tiring.  

I get up around 6:15 every morning in order to have a little time to myself before the nuttiness of the day begins.  I usually have until 7:00, but occasionally, Lottie decides to make an early start of things and begin her daily chat-fest while I'm still in the shower.  Good times.  Normally, I wake the kids up at 7:00, but that always takes a few minutes of groaning, yawning, stretching, and protesting before they're both actually up and at 'em.  They begin breakfast although something usually distracts them and I spend the next twenty minutes or so saying, "Let's concentrate on eating, guys." I probably say that forty times in those twenty minutes: you do the math.  Then we all troop back upstairs for dressing and grooming, and my phrase of choice is, "GUYS!  IT IS TIME TO GET DRESSED!" Because, you know, jumping on the bed or playing pirate is much cooler than getting ready for school.  By the time we get everyone zipped, buttoned, brushed, and washed, we're already late to get Dallas to the 8 AM drop-off.  Luckily, we don't live too far from school, and we're rarely the only car running behind.  Once Dallas is out of the car, Lottie and I run errands.  I can't drop her off at school until 8:30, so I try to use those thirty minutes to my advantage.  Running errands with Lottie is interesting, to say the least. She inevitably asks for candy or a toy no matter where we are, and getting her to move along is like herding molasses.  If there aren't any errands or if we have time before her drop-off, I park the car in the Flint Lake Elementary driveway, and we read together.  I know Lottie really enjoys the quiet reading time, as do I, but I have a feeling her favorite part of this activity is that she sits on the console in between the two front seats while I read to her.  Rule-breaking!  In front of the school!  We could get arrested!  When the clock says it's time, she heads out the car door to school, her backpack making her look a bit like a drunken, albeit adorable, turtle.  

I'm home by 8:35 with a few minutes to relax and enjoy the silence.  I eat breakfast (which I can't eat any earlier due to my apparent inability to absorb Synthroid, thus necessitating two hours between taking the meds and food entering my body) and decide which task I am going to tackle.  I'm usually just getting into the groove of cleaning out the basement storage area, going through the kids' closets to weed out old clothes, or scrubbing the showers when I look up and realize it's 10:45.  Sigh.  I take five minutes to try to disguise the fact that I'm a sweaty cow and leave to go get Dallas.  I always end up feeling like I should have accomplished more in my two hours and ten minutes of freedom, but I know I do as much as I can.  One of these days, I'm going to blow off any attempt at working, lie on my bed under a blanket, and read all morning.  

And those are my typical mornings. Most times they're enough to make me feel like I have lived a whole day by 8 AM.  They're rushed and hurried and stressful, but I also get to hear hilarious and bizarre conversations that I wouldn't otherwise get to hear.  And if I'm really lucky, I get some sweet morning cuddles from both of my snuggly little cubs.  

For those of you who are thinking that I need to enjoy the crazy mornings with my kids because soon enough they're be running out of the door in the mornings without a backward glance, I say I won't notice because I'll still be under the blankets fast asleep.  So bring it on, my friends.  Bring.  It.  On.  (Kidding.  Sort of.)

--And for those of you who have asked, my thyroid levels are still out of whack.  They're slowly coming down but not as quickly as the doctor and I would like.  Once again, I have a higher dose of Synthroid, and I will go back in six weeks to have my levels tested again.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

1,460 days

My dearest boy,

It's impossible to believe that I wrote this blog to celebrate your third birthday an entire year ago.  So much has happened in the past year, and throughout it all, you have remained your sweet self.


Bubble boy


You have handled the biggest change of the year, The Move, with as much grace as a three year old boy could have.  Sure, you have had your moments of meltdowns, but those have been few and far between.  Overall, you have really taken to our new home in a new town with joy and ease.  I was worried, to tell the truth, because change isn't usually your bag.  When faced with a new situation, you tend to hold back, let things unfold, and then decide what you think about it all.  But with The Move, you were ready to embrace something new.  It helped that we had visited Valpo so many times and that we had family here, but it still could have been really difficult.  You have taken to your new school...I think.  You are happy when I drop you off and happy when I pick you up.  Often, that's the only clues I get to however your day was.  You're not big into talking about your activities of the day, but you share things with me throughout the week in little bits and pieces.  That's just who you are, though, so it doesn't bother me in the least.  I'm on a need-to-know basis with school information, and I suppose that's something I should get used to.

At one of Kate's volleyball games

You're still really, really obsessed with pirates.  Your new room is loaded with pirate paraphernalia, and you love to play in there.  One of my favorite things that you do is your "evil" pirate laugh: you fancy yourself as quite the scurvy cur.  I'm pretty sure you would wear your pirate costume 24/7 if I would let you.  Quite frankly, I have let you from time to time because it was a lot easier than arguing with you.  We recently went to the courthouse in town, and you were in full pirate regalia.  You couldn't take your hook inside because no weapons were allowed, but that's about the only time you haven't had a hook or sword in your hand.  You're also crazy about super heroes, the Avengers in particular.  I know next to nothing about all that stuff, but you don't seem to notice or care.  We have supplied you with enough super hero shirts and shoes to last you a lifetime...or at least until you grow out of them.

I'll throw you in the brig, me bucco! 


Your current favorite thing to do is browse Halloween catalogs.  There is something about dressing up like a rough and tough guy that really appeals to you.  I wish I knew if that was because that's how you see yourself or if it's who you wish you could be.  Either way, it's fun to watch you change your mind a million times a day about what costume you want to wear for Halloween.  You also love to sit at a little desk in your bedroom and look at books at night.  I wish that you wouldn't feel the need to pull every single book off the shelf every single night, but I can't complain too much about reading.  And you do read.  You know how to spell like nobody's business, and you read a crazy amount of words.  I'm not sure you understand how wonderful that is for so many reasons.  Not only is reading awesome but you use books to entertain yourself all the time, so I know you're going to learn the joy of losing yourself in a book.

Don't bother me.  I'm reading. 


You have become braver and more confident in the past year.  You used to be afraid of being in the pool, but you have come to enjoy it.  You don't mind getting dirty as much as you used to as long as it's all in the name of fun.  (Or if Lottie tells you to get dirty.)  New things can still stress you out, but somehow you have learned to adapt to them quicker than you used to.  You're growing and maturing so quickly that it easy to forget sometimes that you're only four years old.

Splashing in puddles on S. Ashland Ave. 
Mud fun


You say "sometimes" when you mean "sometime" and it makes Lottie crazy.  You tell your sister that she's being "undorable" when she annoys you.  You like to call people "bilge rat" and "scurvy dog" when the mood strikes you.  I mean, you're a funny kid, and you have absolutely no idea how hilarious you are.  You make us laugh, and that's the best gift of all.  One thing that I admire about you is the fact that you know exactly what you want: you know who you are.  You like to play your own games, and you enjoy taking some time alone.  If someone offers you something or wants to do something with you that doesn't appeal to you, you simply say, "No, thanks."  You are politely unapologetic about doing your own thing.  I think we could all learn from that.

Making silly faces at Cinderella's Royal Table

You still love to cuddle me, and I take advantage of that every minute that I can.  I know that someday you won't run up, kiss me, and say, "I love you so much, Mom." You might still give me a one-armed hug now and again, but you won't want me to snuggle with you in the morning before school.  You won't lay your big head against my shoulder when you're hurt and just need your mama.  But in my heart I know that you will always be my sweet, tender, smart, empathetic boy.  That's who you are, and that's who you will always be.

Snuggling with your fire truck 

Daddy and I are so proud of you every day, and we love you so, so much.

Pic pirate,  (Not a typo - just a private message to Dallas)
Mommy

Aaaarghhhhh!

Precious down time

Loud noises are still not exciting

Monday, August 27, 2012

Week of firsts

It has been a busy start to the school year chez Wells, and overall, it has been a good one.  Well, it has been a good one for the kids.  I'm not sure I have been the most stellar school parent, though.

Lottie's first day of Kindergarten was, to be expected, insanely exciting.  She was all ready with her backpack and her new dress, ready to conquer Flint Lake Elementary.  The whole family walked her in, gave her lots of hugs and kisses, and left.  No tears from anyone, not even me.  Does that make me cold-hearted?  I saw a squadzillion posts on Facebook of kids' first days of school and parents wiping away virtual tears.  No tears for me.  I didn't exactly do a happy dance, but after the crazy summer we all had, I was ready for routine...and quiet.  And frankly, I knew Lottie was ready to start Kindergarten.  She is a bright, friendly, sweet little girl, and I knew she was ready for something new and exciting.  No one loves an adventure more than my girl, and adventure is calling her.

To add to the excitement, Lottie lost her first tooth!  After a few days of wiggling and angst, the tooth fell out.  Man, she is cute with it gone.  Serious cuteness, no?

So, let's get to the non-stellar parenting.  I'm so used to the preschool way of doing things that I didn't realize that Kindy is a whole different ballgame.  For instance, kids in preschool have drinks provided to them; that doesn't happen in Kindergarten.  Lottie had lunch for the first two days of school without a drink of any kind.  Whoops.  The kids are also supposed to take a snack to school because it's a pretty long day for a bunch of five year olds.  I did, indeed, provide a snack for the first three days, but I didn't find out until the morning of day four that Lottie had no idea that the snack was in her lunchbox.  This despite the fact that I had told her specifically on the first day where her snack was in her bag.  Apparently, she assumed that I hadn't been packing her a snack, so she told her teacher she was snackless.  Miss J probably thinks I'm a total dolt: no beverages, no snacks.  And so begins my reign as WORST PARENT EVER.

Dallas has had a good first week as well.  He likes his school and his teacher, but he's far less effusive about it all than his sister.  His views on school are pretty monosyllabic, but that's just Dallas.  He occasionally gets loquacious about what he did on the playground, but most of his three hours a day of school is kept a closely guarded secret.  I suppose he'll share when he's ready to share.  And just so he's not left out, here's his cuteness, too.

I hope the good times at school continue for the kids because it sure makes my life easier when things are going smoothly for them.  And, you know, my happiness is paramount to everything.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Random doc a go-go

Last week, we headed back to Lexington for a few days.  Trevor had to work, and I had my next blood test to look forward to at the endocrinologist's office.  As I mentioned in a previous blog, my regular doc was out of town, so I was going to be seeing his partner.  I had never met the guy before, and I was worried that he wouldn't take my symptoms seriously.

The nurse drew my blood, and I waited in the packed waiting room for over an hour while the lab was getting my results.  There was not one free seat available, so I never got up once for fear of losing my comfy plastic chair.  I had my Kindle to keep me company, but I think I did a lot more people-watching and eavesdropping than reading.  I'm only human.

As soon as I was called in to see the doc, I could feel my heart start to race.  What if my levels were great and the exhaustion is from something else?  Worse, what if the exhaustion is all in my head?  Fortunately, sort of, my TSH levels were down significantly from my previous reading, but they were still no where near where they should be.  The doctor wants me between a 0.1 and a 0.2: I'm currently at a 22.  I was happy that the levels are dropping but frustrated that they're still so high.  The random doc said he would up my meds - again- and see if we could get the levels down.  I was a little taken aback because everyone who knows anything about thyroid meds is surprised by how much I am taking.  I asked the doc if I was a total freak for needing such a high dose.  After he stopped laughing, he assured me that I was not a freak at all.  Apparently some people metabolize the meds quicker than others, and my body needs what it needs.  Whew.  I'm not a total head case.  Well, not for that.

The doc said he didn't need to see me again for six months, but that doesn't work for me.  I cannot and will not feel like this for six more months.  SIX months?  No way, no how.  I need my energy, I need to not be fat as Jabba the Hut, and I need some relief.  Word.  So I booked an appointment with a doc here in town so I could get the test done sooner.  Plus, even though I really like the practice down there, I don't want to do the six-plus hour drive every two months until this is all fixed.

The doc did an ultrasound while I was there to make certain that there had been no regrowth of my cancer since the surgery.  After making the obligatory "It's a boy!" joke, he said that the ultrasound was clear: no cancer.  Even though I'm still not feeling 100%, I was relieved to hear that I'm still cancer-free.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The moving plague

If you saw my last post, you'll know that Lottie was really sick the day we moved into the new house.  After a day on antibiotics, she was feeling back to her normal self.  I was happy that she felt better, but I was a little sad in a way because she was back to being loud, loud, loud.  I was particularly annoyed with her constant talking as I tried to unpack boxes, but I didn't know at the time it was because I was also getting sick.

On the Sunday after The Move, I started feeling a little under the weather.  I chalked it up to all the stress of dealing with the shiftless movers and the constant exhaustion from the thyroid issues.  But when I woke up Monday morning, my throat hurt and my ears were hurting.  I had to take Lottie back to the doctor for her follow-up appointment that morning, so I figured I could call and see the doctor myself while we were there.  Au contraire.  When I called to get an appointment for me, I was told that because I was a new patient, there was no way I could be seen that day.  I was already on the edge, and hearing that news didn't sit well with me.  I hung up the phone and promptly burst into tears.  I wasn't sixty seconds into my tantrum when my cell phone rang with a call from a Lexington number.  It was my endocrinologist's office calling to say that my next appointment had to be rescheduled because both my doctor and his assistant would be out of town.  Uh huh.  GREAT timing.  I had been waiting for this appointment because I know that my thyroid medication still isn't working, and I need some answers before I start Hulk-smashing everything in sight.  Already in tears, I explained to the nurse on the phone that I was driving six hours to get to the appointment, and there was no way I was going to give up my slot.  She was very kind and said I could keep the appointment and see another doctor in the practice.  Crisis averted.  But I was still sick and feeling worse by the minute.  I visited a Minute Clinic at a local CVS and was diagnosed with an ear infection.  I left with a prescription and the hope that I would be much better the next morning.  You know where this is going, right?

Credit: http://www.rolemommy.com/sore-throat1.jpg
Tuesday morning arrived, and I felt worse.  My best friend Tiffany was coming from Colorado that day with her daughter Frankie, and I was willing myself to be instantly well.  I ended up sending T to pick them up from O'Hare because I didn't trust myself to make the drive.  I was so happy to see them that afternoon that I think I psyched myself into thinking everything was okay.  I continued to take my antibiotics, but by Wednesday afternoon, I knew something was still wrong.  I went to an off-hours clinic here in town out of sheer desperation, and wow, that was an experience.  The nurses were mean, the exam room was dirty, and I'm pretty sure there was blood on the wall.  That doctor said that if the antibiotics weren't working, my problem was probably viral.  He did a strep test and a mono test, and he promised to call in THREE DAYS with the results.  Three days?  Was he kidding?  (And, by the way, I never heard back from him.)  He sent me on my way with a prescription for cortisone pills and the advice to gargle with watered down Benadryl to ease my throat pain.  There were more tears from me, though this time I waited until I was alone in the car to lose it.  I was, as always, exhausted, I was in pain, and nothing was helping.  The next morning, my mom called and told me to get up and get dressed: my dad was taking me to another doctor.  I guess even when you're almost 40 years old, you're still your parents' baby.  My dad drove me to Franciscan ExpressCare where I filled out more forms and waited for someone else to dismiss my pain.  I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by a great nurse and seen by a very kind doctor.  The doctor did another strep test and mono test, and I had immediate results: both tests were negative.  The doc was at a bit of a loss since the other antibiotics hadn't worked, so she decided a shot of something from the penicillin family was the way to go.  I was skeptical but I also knew I had nothing to lose.  By that afternoon, my sore throat was 90% gone.  I was thrilled but also waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Friday morning dawned beautiful and pain-free.  Yippee ki yay!!  I was able to go to the fair that afternoon with my dad, Tiffany, and the three kids and FINALLY truly enjoy their visit.  I don't know what my ailment was or why the oral antibiotics didn't work, but I'm grateful that I finally found someone who knew what she was doing to help.  Thanks, Dr. Pumputis!

There is no way I would have made it through the last few weeks without my family and friends.  My parents have been indispensable: they have helped with the kids, the house, and meals.  My brother and sister-in-law have moved furniture, watched the kids, and made us laugh and feel at home.  My buddy Jim Long came from Indianapolis to help unpack boxes and kick-start the organization process.  And Tiffany watched the kids while I napped during all of the sick, organized my kitchen, and kept me company while I was super-crabby and miserable.  T knows when to make me laugh, when to hug me,  and when to buy me chocolate. It can't get much better than that.  Thanks to all of you who have helped make the last few weeks bearable.

Now would be the perfect time to rest and get into a routine, right?  Negatory.  We're leaving for Lexington tomorrow morning for four days.  Trevor has some work to do there, and I have the appointment with the random endocrinologist Monday morning.  All I really want to do is finish putting things on the walls in my house and get fully settled-in, but I suppose that can wait until next week.  All that AND kindergarten registration.  Should be a typical few weeks to come.  :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

I'm back!

Holy cannoli, has it been a long, long, LOOOOOOOONG few weeks.  We closed on the house in Valpo, stayed at my parents' condo in Lexington while I packed up the rest of the house, and moved to Valpo all within less than four weeks.  So it should be no surprise that I have been offline for a little while.  I'm tired.  Really tired.

Overall, things on the Lexington side went well with The Move.  The movers showed up when they were supposed to at all three locations: the condo, T's office, and our house.  It was a crazy-long day for the movers, but luckily it had cooled down to the low-90's after having been 100 degrees just days before.  The guys all worked really hard all day and into the evening.  I was with them most of the day until it was time to get the kids from T's parents and get them ready for bed.  T stayed at our house to supervise the last few hours of the move, and at 6:59 PM that evening, I got a text from him that said, "They might not be able to get everything into one truck."  At that moment, I wished I had some smelling salts because I felt some true Victorian vapors coming on.  The movers ended up taking everything to their headquarters in Louisville to do some rearranging, and somehow, we only ended up needing one truck.  One enormous, tightly packed truck.

All of our earthly possessions were piled on the front lawn.  Classy.


We drove up to Valpo on Thursday: Trevor took Judy in his car and I took the kids.  I think he made it in 5.5 hours, but it took my crew about 8 hours.  We had more potty breaks, obvi.  The kids were great, though, and the trip was pretty smooth.  Lottie didn't seem to be quite herself, but I figured the excitement of the whole process was too much to handle.  I was wrong.

Friday morning, the driver from Lexington, Mike, showed up with the ginormous truck.  I was hoping to see the rest of the crew from Lexington with him, but I was sorely disappointed.  Instead, we had three guys hired from a random day-labor company who were supposed to help Mike unload the truck and move all our stuff.  I have nothing against day-labor workers, but these three guys didn't know the definition of the word labor.  Poor Mike was the only one who knew what to do and how to do it.  We had AJ, a friend of my niece's there to help us, but he couldn't do as much as he wanted to do because the truck just wasn't getting unloaded.  My brother, who has experience in the moving business, texted all morning to see how things were going.  I texted him at noon with the news that the truck was maybe 25% unloaded.  Plus, one of the three stooges left before noon, mumbling something vague about needing insulin, and never came back.  So we were down to Mike and two doofuses, and backup promised by the company was nowhere in sight.  About 45 minutes later, my brother, my knight in shining armor, showed up to show the guys how things were supposed to be done.  He got right in the truck, clapped his hands, and told the guys to get things moving.  With Matt's help, things finally got unloaded.  I guarantee that without Matt, we would have been unloading that truck for days afterwards.  Not a lot was where it was supposed to be, the house was an insane maze of boxes, and everyone was tired and sweaty and peckish.  But it was done.

My parents spent the day tag-teaming between helping at our house and watching the kids at their house.  By Friday morning, it was obvious that Lottie's ennui was more than just The Move: she was sick.  My mom took Lottie to the doctor and had to hold her arms down while the nurse did a throat swab.  Serious gaggage.  Lottie didn't have strep throat, but she did have an ear infection and tonsillitis on the remnants of the tonsils that were removed three years ago.  She had a temperature of 103.5 and fell asleep in the doctor's waiting room, and if you know Lottie, you know that the last time she napped was at the end of the Bush era.

My poor girl mid-yawn.  



With some meds and a lot of rest, she was back on track pretty fast.  The same couldn't be said for me.
That will have to be the next blog post, though.  There's only so much drama one can handle in a single report.  But I'm back and I'm home.  It feels good.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Boxes, tape, and a Sharpie

I have been spending an awful lot of time lately with my BFFs: boxes, packing tape, and a Sharpie marker.  The sound of ripping tape has become music to my ears because it means things continue to move (pun intended) along.

It has been a crazy couple of weeks for all of us.  We drove up to Valpo for my niece's graduation open house on June 16.  After staying a couple of days, we came back to Lexington and moved into my parents' condo so I could pack up the house without living full-time in the chaos. We went back to Valpo on June 27 and returned to the condo in Lexington on July 2.  It has been fantastic to have another place to stay, and I'm grateful to my parents for letting us take over their place.  But, man, it's exhausting running around town all day, every day.  Two days a week, I drop the kids off at summer camp at their preschool then go straight to the house to work.  At 1:00, I pick up the kids, hang out with them for a while at the condo, then take them to their grandparents' condo, conveniently located in the same subdivision as my parents' condo, for the afternoon.  The other days of the week, Nicole has the kids until noon, and then from 2:00 on, the kids go to their grandparents' condo again.  My in-laws must be exhausted from all the kid-time, and I'm so appreciative of their help.  Without them, I would have never gotten as much done as I have at this point in the process. 

I would say I'm about 75% finished packing up the house.  Then again, I tend to be hard on myself, so the percentage might be a little higher.  I am throwing things out and donating other things like mad, but we still have an insane amount of boxes.  Make a box, pack the box, tape the box closed, label the box, make an "x" with the appropriate color designation -red, white, or blue- for which floor it will go to in the new house, and repeat.  My mind is starting to go a little numb.  (And, yes, I am being that kind of packer, the kind who has color coding for each floor of the new house.  You know why?  Because the day the truck is unloaded, things are going to be crazy enough without me having to look at every single box and tell the movers where they go.  If that happens, I. Will. Lose. My. Mind.  So mock the big X's of red, white, and blue tape if you will, but I think it's pretty awesome.)

We returned this week from closing on the new house in Valpo.  Woohoo!  We got the keys on Thursday, and we immediately noticed that it was a little warm inside.  At first, no one was worried because it was 100 degrees outside, but when it was still warm on Friday, we knew there was a problem. My dad called an HVAC guy, and indeed, the air-conditioner was broken.  Kaput.  Gone.  Done.  Buh-bye.  At least we're starting our Hoosier adventure with a bang!  And did I mention that during the majority of the most recent trip to Valpo, Trevor was in Vegas for work?  Uh huh.  That's how he rolls.  And it was either raining or a squadzillion degrees? Thankfully, the new AC is scheduled to go in tomorrow, and I know that the guys who have been painting every room in that house will be grateful when it's finally less than 85 degrees inside. 

So, it has been a little overwhelming, and I know it's not going to get better anytime soon.  I'm still exhausted from the thyroid issues.  I'm not great at waiting under normal circumstances, but waiting for the Synthroid to kick in while I'm trying to get The Move underway is almost impossible.  The doc won't do another blood test to check my levels until the first week of August, so we'll be trekking back to Lexington then.  My poor car has had enough of the 6+ hour drive and being covered in Skittles, M&Ms, and the cries of "Why does it take so long?"  But the Flex has to suck it up and return me to the doc so I can try to get my groove back. 

But when I really look at it, things have gone pretty smoothly so far.  The kids have adjusted well to the constant travel, the new living situation, and the general schedule upheaval.  (Hey, Karma gods, don't feel the need to punish me now by making them go crazy, okay?  I'm teetering on the edge as it is.)  I hate that I'm not spending as much time with them as I'm used to doing, but the house has to get packed.  The truck is coming in less than a week, and I want to be ready.  I think we're all ready to start the new chapter. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Rules, schmules

It has been around since the beginning of time, but I'm not sure I ever gave too much thought about it until now.  I wasn't raised with the idea; I guess it never occurred to me to think twice about it.  But since becoming a mother, I have finally realized that the world is wrought with double standards.

Men are tough; women are shrews.  Women are sensitive; men are weak.  Girls can play with cars; boy shouldn't play with dolls.  Seriously?  Utter nonsense.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately because of something that happened this week.  Lottie and Dallas were playing dress-up one afternoon, and they decided to play a hilarious trick on me.  They dressed up like each other; in other words, Lottie dressed like a fireman and Dallas dressed like a princess.   They both thought it would be funny to make me think they had traded places, and I did get a good laugh out of it.  I took a picture of the end result, of course, and I thought it was beyond adorable.  I shared the picture with some other people, though, and I was surprised by the response.

Everyone thought it was weird.  A few people thought it was cute and weird, and a few people thought it was bizarre and weird.  The undertone of the second group was that there was something inherently wrong with it.  As a parent, I don't think anything is wrong with my kids; they're absolutely perfect.  Lottie is a daredevil who isn't afraid of anything.  She'll climb a tree, jump into a pool with wild abandon, pick up a worm after a rainstorm, and cover herself in dirt from head to toe.  She also has a heart of gold and worries about everyone and everything.  Dallas is afraid to try new things, likes to play by himself, hates to be dirty, and loves to spend time with his mama more than anything in the world.  He also loves pirates, pretend weapons, and wrestling with Daddy.  They both love things that are usually reserved for the opposite gender, and neither one of them seems to notice or care.  Lottie is just as comfortable wearing a princess dress as she is wearing a pirate costume.  Dallas loves to be Captain Hook, but he also spends time with Lottie's dollhouse.  Trevor and I bought Dallas a play kitchen for his big Christmas gift, and he loves to cook in it, especially for me.  I refuse to see any of that as weird or wrong; that's just who my kids are.  So my three year old son dressed up like a girl on a lark one day.  So what?  Lottie was dressed like a boy, and no one seemed to care about that.  Sure, there are women firefighters, so that's perfectly acceptable, but she was dressed like a male firefighter, a fact she was quick to clarify.

I want them to grow up in a world where they can do whatever they want to do and be whomever they want to be without fear of repercussions.  Of course, I want them first and foremost to be kind, loving, productive human beings.  Other than that, I don't care if they dye their hair purple or wear their underwear outside of their clothes.  I don't care if Lottie brings home girlfriends or Dallas brings home boyfriends.  What I do care about it not who they turn out to be, though.  I worry about what other people's reactions to them could be, and that scares me.  I don't want my kids to be hurt or maligned because, let's face it, some people are cruel.  There was a story online last year about a photograph of a little boy wearing nail polish in a J. Crew advertisement.  Some people said the thought of a little boy wearing pink polish was "disgusting" as were the boy's parents for allowing it.  There were others who were more accepting and believed that kids should be allowed to explore.  I hope that my kids meet people from the latter group and not the former. I hope that as Lottie and Dallas grow and mature, the world grows and matures as well.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Packing and dragging

I have been just the teensiest bit busy lately.  Go figure.

The kids are out of school (boo!) but summer school starts a week from Monday (yay!).  Don't get me wrong: I love them and love spending time with them.  However, trying to get the house packed with them around is a Sisyphean task, and the time is drawing closer to The Move.  Things have to get done, and they need to be done soon.  I want to pack as much as I can now so I can have at least a little bit of time before The Move to have fun in Lexington with the kids and see some friends as well.

All of this is made more difficult by my own fatigue.  Since I had the total thyroidectomy a couple of months ago, I have been really tired.  I don't mean the normal end-of-the-day tired; I mean I-can't-make-it-through-the-day-with-a-clear-thought-or-without-a-nap kind of tired.  Having two little kids running around makes the nap situation impossible, and loads of caffeine haven't helped, either.  I wake up after a full night's sleep feeling utterly unrefreshed and unwilling to start the day.  I have never been a morning person, but it's really getting ridiculous.  My follow-up appointment with my endocrinologist was scheduled for the first week of July, but I knew I couldn't make it that long without seeing him.  I was able to get an appointment to see his Physician's Assistant, and when I got off the phone, I wept with relief.



As soon as I got to the office the day of my appointment, the nurse took a blood sample and sent it off to the lab.  I had to wait an hour for my results before I could see the PA, so I was glad I had my Kindle with me.  (And, by the way, what's up with that scheduling?  My appointment was at 1:00: shouldn't I have arrived at noon for the blood test so my appointment could really be at 1:00 instead of 2-ish?  Call me crazy, but that just might have worked!)  As soon as I finally saw the PA, she asked me to describe my symptoms.  That wasn't difficult because there were almost too many to list.   After my litany of complaints, she told me that a normal TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) level is 0.4 to 6.0.  The doctor is actually trying to keep my level to the lower side, around 0.4, because too much TSH in my system could trigger regrowth of the cancer.  The PA studied my lab results and let me know that my TSH level was at a 42.  So, yeah, things were pretty out of whack.  I cried then, too, because I was relieved that the fatigue wasn't just in my head.  The PA upped my dose of Synthroid immediately, but the meds take a long time to work.  She said it could be months or even over a year before I feel like myself again.  Hey, thanks, PA.  (There may have been more tears at that point, but I don't want to embarrass myself further.)

Synthroid, cruel mistress of my fate


I totally understand that my body has been through a lot, and as my awesome hairstylist Justin said this morning, apparently the thyroid just isn't something to mess around with.  Logically, I know it's going to take time and adjustment to get me to the level where I need to be.  Emotionally, though, I am totally OVER it.  I don't have time to be exhausted: Mama has a house to pack.  I want to see my friends before we move, get pumped up for my niece's graduation party (and have I mentioned she's going to play volleyball at Purdue next year?  Squeeeeee!), finish packing, play with my kids, and not feel like I'm living in a dense fog every moment of every day.  This isn't who I am.  I do everything at warp speed, and I love crossing things off my daily to-do list.  I do not love feeling sub-par at best.  I had faith before that everything would turn out okay after the surgery, and I have faith now that I'll return to normal again someday.  But, man, I really wish that someday could be today.

Okay, I'm done whinging.  (That's a little Harry Potter reference for y'all.)

By the way, does anyone out there want to buy my house?  Please?  :)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Nap, anyone?

Not in our house, no.


We haven't had regular nap time in a long time chez Wells.  Dallas quit napping when he was two years old.  You parents will understand how heartbreaking that is.  He probably still needs a nap from time to time, but no way will the kid ever succumb to sleep in the middle of the day.  The bonus is that he goes to bed by 7:30 PM, so I get some time to myself in the evening.

Lottie, of course, hasn't napped in ages, either.  She currently has a cold along with terrible seasonal allergies, so she's a real peach to be around.  Combine the runny nose and itchy eyes with Daddy being busy all week at work in trial preparation, the last week of school looming, return from Walt Disney World let-down, and The Move coming up quickly, and you have one testy gal.  Yesterday morning, she got up waaaaay too early for her own good, and mine, and spent the rest of the early hours of the day whining, pouting, and being generally disagreeable.  Knowing that she had a birthday party to attend today, I reminded her that I wouldn't take her to Chuck E. Cheese unless her attitude improved.  I might as well have poked a sleeping bear with a stick.  After my little talk with her, she looked at me with her ice-blue big eyes and said, "Mommy, you're a good mom, but you're not the best."  Then she turned on one heel and flounced away.  My answer was to tell her I was trying, but quite frankly, my first reaction was to tell her that she wasn't exactly the best kid, either.  You'll be happy to know I bit my tongue.

Sometimes even the mighty can't resist a little nap.

I don't need no stinkin' nap!


After lunch, which she refused to eat, I laid down the law: we were all going to have a mandatory rest period.  I had to take Dallas to a birthday party yesterday afternoon from 4-6 PM, and I wanted him to rest as well.  Their choice was to either snuggle in our bed with me or stay in their own rooms.  Dallas chose to "rest" in his own room, and Lottie picked the big bed with me.  After about thirty minutes of squirming, talking, insisting she wasn't tired, and getting all up in my grill, Lottie finally fell asleep.  Houston, we have napping!  I dozed a little bit, but my main goal was to get Lottie's mood improved.  Dallas played happily alone in his room and eventually joined us for some hugs.

After the successful rest, I decided that I may not be the best mom, but by getting Lottie to take a nap, I may be the smartest.  :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Is there a support group for this?

Hello.  My name is K. C., and I'm a Disneyholic.



We just returned from our yearly trip to Walt Disney World.  People always have an opinion about our vacations: either they think it's wonderful or they don't get it at all.  The naysayers think we're crazy to go to the same place over and over or for taking little kids on a trip that they won't remember.  Bah humbug is what I say to that.



I have been going to WDW with my family since I was a little girl.  I have amazing memories of being there with my parents, my brother, my grandparents, my aunt, and my cousins.  We went so many times together that I lost count.  I knew that when I started my own family, I wanted to continue the tradition.  Luckily, I was smart enough to marry a man who loves WDW as much as I do, and he is ready and willing to go as often as I am.  We have taken the kids with us every time because that's what a family vacation is all about; quite frankly, I can't imagine going without them.  (Well, I can imagine it, but I'd never do it.)  We have gone with my parents, Trevor's parents, and my brother and his family.  We even took our fabulous sitter, Nicole, with us one time because we wanted her to experience the fun with us!  We get to see Trevor's aunt Ruth and cousin Meg while we're in Florida as well.



One of the great things about WDW is its concern for people with food allergies.  It's not a true vacation for me when I have to worry about what Dallas is eating, and that happens everywhere we visit except WDW.  As soon as I make our dining reservations, I note Dallas's food allergies on the reservations.  At the restaurants, a chef comes to our table to either tell me what Dal can and cannot eat on the buffet or to create a special allergen-free meal just for my boy.  There are always a ton of options available to him, so he doesn't feel like he's missing out on what the rest of us are eating.  That's reason enough for me to return again and again.



As far as the kids not remembering the trips when they're so young, I call shenanigans on that.  Lottie has been to WDW eight times now; Dallas has gone six times plus once in the womb.  They DO remember previous trips and comment on them all the time.  On our most recent trip, Lottie remembered being at a restaurant two years ago with Aunt Ruth.  She also remembered her favorite ride, the Great Goofini, with no prompting.  And even if the kids wouldn't remember the trips, so what?  Trevor and I remember them, and that's what counts.  We have photos and memories of each trip to share with the kids as they get older.  That logic just doesn't make sense to me anyway.  The kids won't remember the books I read to them when they were little, so does that mean I shouldn't read to them until elementary school?  Should I basically keep them in the house all day since they won't remember going anywhere?  I think not.  The happiness in their faces is worth every penny we spend, every crazy travel moment, and each minute we're away from home.


Each trip we have taken has been a different experience.  When the kids were really little, the pace was slower and the rest periods much longer.  Now that neither Lottie nor Dallas will nap any more, we tend to explore the parks until mid-afternoon when they get pretty tired.  During this trip, both kids were water bugs.  We spent a lot of time at the pool at Bay Lake Tower.  I knew Lottie would be all about swimming, but Dallas has never liked being in the water.  I was stunned that he absolutely loved being in the shallow end of the zero-entry pool.  They both wanted to spend a lot of time at the pool, and Trevor and I obliged.  It was great to have Pop Pop there, too, to give T and I a little break from the chlorine.  There were some evenings that we walked over to the Magic Kingdom in the evening, but we didn't do it every night like we have in the past.  Swimming so much made for two tired kids!  And this was the first time we let the kids stay awake to watch the fireworks.  As expected, Lottie loved them, and Dallas was unhappy about the loud noises.  Despite the noise, it was really cool to have that moment with them.   (Note: it was cool for me, but poor T almost had a stroke.  We watched the fireworks show from the top floor of Bay Lake Tower, and he wasn't too fond of having the kids up so high.  And he thinks I'm the worrier?  Ha!)



WDW is truly a place where a kid can be a kid.  With how quickly kids seem to grow up these days, I'm thrilled to watch my children run, play, laugh, and act their ages.  They both know that the characters are just people dressed up, but that doesn't stop them from being enchanted with each new person they meet.  Lottie earnestly told Ariel all about our upcoming move to Valpo, and Dallas blew kisses to Tigger, Pooh, Piglet, and Eeyore.  They both dressed like pirates and carried swords around with them wherever they went; no one even gave them a second look unless it was to compliment their choice of clothing.  I think that's the way childhood should be; kids should be who and what they want to be without pressure or judgement.  




So we'll continue to take our kids to WDW and other places as well.  I definitely want them to experience the world and all it has to offer, but I also want them to have happy memories of time spent together as a family in a place full of magic and wonder.  



Sunday, April 22, 2012

And so it begins...

I have been a little MIA in the blogosphere lately.  I have great ideas for blog posts, and when I sit down at night after the kids go to bed...I'm too tired to write.  The last few weeks, I have been getting back to normal (or as normal as I get) while my new thyroid meds start to kick in.  However, I don't really have the luxury of time to sit around while the meds do their magic due to The Move.

The Move is happening in eleven weeks and three days.  That may seem like plenty of time to get everything done, but I assure you, it is not.  I have to declutter and pack up a 4,400 square foot house while trying to manage taking care of the rest of my usual chores.  In addition to kid stuff, mowing, laundry, more kid stuff, and then some kid stuff, I'm keeping the house in "showing" condition and packing as much as humanly possible every day.  So far, things are going pretty well.  I have gotten rid of a lot of stuff - a LOT - by donating it to a local church.  As an awesome bonus, Fausto, who has done  house painting work for us in the past, comes and picks everything up from us.  Score!  The trick is to get rid of things while the kids are at school or otherwise occupied.  If they're around, every single thing I try to put in the donation box becomes the VERY BEST TOY EVER IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD.  Quite frankly, I sort of have to pull the same shenanigans with Trevor.  I found a box of files that had some of his old phone records and random bills from when he was in law school.  Uh huh.  I'm really glad he moved those from house to house without ever opening the box.  So, bye-bye bills.  Bye-bye college textbooks.  Bye-bye gross, sweat-stained baseball hats.  (And you just know he's going to read this now and immediately begin to squirrel things away.  Here's a tip for you, T: you had better start bolting things down because Mama's going scorched earth and there's nowhere to hide.)



It's not just that it costs about a billion dollars per pound for a long-distance move.  I mean, that's a huge factor, but it's more that I am ready to live a simpler life.  I want less...stuff.  Less stuff to clean, to care for, to worry about, to move, and to contain.  I want to spend more time with my family and the people I love.  I want to spend more time doing what I love to do and enjoying each day as it comes.  I'm always going to have the memories associated with the things even if I don't have the things, you know?  If the whole cancer brouhaha taught me anything, it's that being happy doesn't come from having things; it comes from appreciating all of the intangibles in life.  Peace comes from forgiving, starting over, and moving on; it doesn't come from holding on to what you don't need.  Don't get me wrong: I still have stuff but I think a lot less of it will help me focus on what's really valuable in my life.