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Monday, December 29, 2008


Somewhere amidst the constant "go" in our lives is a blog post or two. I know there is. I just have so little time to pause and reflect these days. I'm tired a lot and busy a lot. And yet, it just seems there is not a tangible lot to show for it all. Today was a fine example. I'm showered and dressed and ready to face the day by 8 am and standing out in the yard by 8:01 am waiting for the fur-child to poop. Thankfully it is Spring in December right now and reached nearly 60 degrees today. A week or so ago windchills were in the negatives and I was dressing the dog in fleece and myself in anything and everything warm that I could find, and begging the fur-child to do his business super fast. As in, POOP ALREADY, wouldya??!!!

By the time I come back inside, the boy-child has finally stopped whining about wanting his daddy and accepted the fact that Daddy is at work. I have him dressed by 8:20 am and the girl-child is dressed by 8:30 am, and I am frying "white and yellow" eggs for the boy-child, who will not eat "cheesy eggs" (scrambled with cheese), which happens to be the only kind of eggs the girl-child will eat. I make a mental note, for the eleventy-seventh time to buy another small skillet at the Stuff Mart today so that I can multi-task even more and make two different kinds of eggs at the same time. The boy-child is famished and has talked me into bringing him cereal while his eggs are cooking. And "bread" (not toast, mind you...and no butter either--just bread). And yogurt with blueberries. All the girl-child will eat is Rice Krispies, and I have to manipulate her into eating some yogurt before I will allow her the second bowl of cereal. Meanwhile, I am scoping the grocery ads. It's THAT day today. We are all kinds of off-schedule with the holidays.

I'm checking for great deals at all the area stores and making my list. The Stuff Mart price-matches, after all. Then I'm thumbing through the coupons. I pull out about 100 outdated ones. I typically have $20 in coupons to use per visit. I haven't done my job for a week or two and the coupon collection looks a bit thin. ...pause to flip an egg and pour another bowl of cereal. It's pushing 9:00. I can't find Dear Son's favorite cup despite a brief canvass of the entire premises. Son is whining in the background that he wants his "blat cup!" which means he will settle for none other than his black Klean Kanteen. I'm at a loss, and so I do what I frequently do when I can't find stuff: I call Dear Husband. He suggests the cup is still in the family mobile after coming home from Grandma's birthday party last night.

I almost have my list ready and coupons are scattered everywhere when the phone rings. It's 9:15 am now and it's my secretary. I have a message to call back the psychiatrist that is treating one of my more crazy clients in an inpatient hospitalization. I ordered this patient back to the hospital ten days ago because she wanted to kill herself again. The kids are now done with breakfast and it looks as if the entire kitchen has exploded. I send Dear Daughter to brush her teeth while I search for a washcloth to wipe the blueberries off Dear Son. I make the quick decision to call the psychiatrist back immediately. If I don't do it now, I will be busy and distracted until 5:00 pm at which time I will realize that it's too late. I park the kids in front of the t.v. and admonish them that they better keep quiet while I'm on the phone or there will be heck to pay. It's amazing how they can turn into demon-kids the second I get on the phone--especially if it is a work related call. They are amazingly obediant and allow me a good 15 minute phone chat with the psychiatrist. We agree on a game plan for the release tomorrow morning of said patient.

Now I'm running way behind. The kitchen is still inside out, I have to figure out how to fit twenty tons of recycling in the family mobile before we can pull out of the driveway, Dear Son needs my constant supervision and assitance to brush his teeth and go potty, the dog needs to go potty again too, because he never went the first time, and despite Dear Daughter claiming to have brushed her hair, it looks like she took an egg beater to it. It's 9:45.

I put the dog out on his lead in the yard while I brush Son's teeth and help him elminate in his Peter Potty. I give the kids the choice to finish watching their t.v. show or play in the yard with the pup while I attempt to fit the recycling tonnage in the family mobile. The more I pull out of the garage, the more I find. I keep shoving, and shoving, and shoving, I pray for the sake of all that is good and holy that the recycling center is open today or I will not be able to fit the groceries in the car.

Dog in, kids out...after the whole jacket and shoes ordeal (that's an entirely separate post). 10:20 am and we are finally on our way. Bank deposit first, followed by brief meltdowns that the teller at the drive up didn't offer a lollipop. I pull a couple from my secret stash in the car to keep the monsters quiet. It works like a charm through the entire recycling ordeal. The parking lot is crammed. Everyone who lives in a 20 mile radius is parting with their Christmas trash. I wiggle into the fold like a piggy at the trough and proceed to part with my own Christmas trash. Thankfully there are two cardboard dumpsters now, though the paper dumpster was packed to the brim. I stuff and stuff and stuff handful by handful. There was no way I'm dragging this crap back home again. Apparently I wasn't the first to come along with that attitude. By some miracle I get every last bit shoved in.

It's nearly 11:20 and we've just reached the front doors of the Stuff Mart. It takes a ridiculous amount of time to do the shopping deed. It always does with the kids in tow. The next hour and a half is filled with bickering and arguing and bribing and scolding. Two different people comment how well-behaved my kids are during the entire ordeal. Each of these people happened upon us during the only two moments the monsters shut up and quit antagonizing each other and myself.

We make it through somehow and I pile the stuff in the family mobile next to the recycling bins, thinking of how we will consume it all and discard the wrappings, and in a couple weeks I'll be packing more crap into the family mobile to recycle again. I try not to pause too long on the futility of it all, lest I find myself in a full blown depressive episode.

It's nearly 1:30 and I have groceries to unpack and lunch to prepare and a dog to take out (he STILL didn't go) before I can get the boy-child to bed for a nap. He is exhausted, as am I--only I know I won't be getting any naps and I'm only hopeful that he will. He is not fun to be around when he's tired and cranky, and even less fun to be around when BOTH of us are tired and cranky.

At 2:30 lunch is done, most of the groceries are put away, half the dishwasher is unloaded, and the kids' lunch dishes are still on the table. I have to take the pup out again--he STILL hasn't done his thing. The kids don their shoes and jackets and come out with me again. This time the pup does his thing in relatively short order. I hand the leash to Daughter while I assemble the new single-handed super dooper pooper scooper I just purchased at the Stuff Mart. The kids and I go on a turd hunt. I know he did it near the Tulip Tree somewhere. Despite the five acres of yard, I know the approximately 20 foot radius where the poop occured. I think. I warn the kids to step very carefully so they don't land their feet in the poop, only to have Dear Son point out to me the squished poop pile. Too late. I angrily ask which of them stepped in it only to discover it on my own shoe. I use the super duper pooper scooper anyhow and discovered it does well even with squished turds.

By about 3:15 we are finally in Dear Son's room to read a couple books. Lights out at 3:30 followed by thirty minutes of non-stop begging and pleading to "get up." I don't allow it. I lie next to him wishing he'd quit waking me up with his nagging so I could get a little cat nap myself. He finally falls asleep, but I'm wide awake with all the stuff in my head that I need to get done in the next hour and 45 minutes before I have to leave for work. It's 4:00.

I take a twenty minute breather next to my daughter on the couch who has found the t.v. again. After vegging for 20 minutes I allow myself to notice the disaster that surrounds me. Puzzles, games, toys, dolls, transformers, dog toys, and more litter the living room. Christmas was just the other day, after all. In the next room I can still smell the remains of breakfast, and now lunch. The task appears daunting, and I yawn before getting up to strip the king size log bed and throw the sheets in the wash. It was a chore I never got done over the weekend. It's getting chilly in the house and so I start a fire in the stove. Dear Son wakes up from his nap extremely grouchy and insists I hold him. It's 5:15. I leave for work in 30 minutes. I'm not dressed for work yet and my own hair now looks like I brushed it with an egg beater. I manage to correct these issues all while holding my fussing 35 pound just-turned-three-year-old, and I still have 15 minutes to spare. Good thing "messy" is in as far as hair goes. Mine is right in style.

The dog wants to go out again and Dear Daughter wants to play outside before it's dark. She keeps asking if it's Spring and apparently doesn't believe me each time that I tell her no, and that acually Winter just officialy began a few days ago. We all go outside until Dear Husband arrives home just in time for me to leave. I have two sessions scheduled tonight. It's 5:45.

I make it back home at 8:10. Dear Daughter is parading around the house buck naked after her bath (when exactly does modesty set in, anyway?) I change my clothes and put clean sheets on the log bed while I wait for Daughter to get dressed.

By 9:30 the kids are tucked in and I survey the house. Kitchen is still a mess. Dishwasher is still half loaded and half unlaoded. Puzzles, games, dog toys and the like are still strewn all over the living room. Various holiday messes STILL linger about the house. I have a long day tomorrow. Two sessions before lunch, then just enough of a lunch break to come home to let the dog out (I'm seeing theme here) followed by seven more sessions, all back to back over the next seven hours. All in all, I will deliver the kids to Grandma's tomorrow and do nine sessions before I return home to tuck the kids in bed. The house will really stink by then, as I will have another round of breakfast remains to clean up by then.

I'm too tired to care any more tonight. Good thing we are on break from school. I'm not sure where I would fit in the homeschooling right now. Despite not doing school today, I reflect on the feeling that it sure seems like I did a lot today. And yet, a quick glance around my home would argue otherwise.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I can't really explain it...I think I can attribute it to stress...I'm not thinking clearly...I've gone a little too loose in the noggin...I convinced my family to adopt a puppy. And voila! We are now proud owners of Cooper.

I can think of hundreds of reasons why owning a dog is not a good idea. I can also think of at least a few reasons why it is a good idea. I CANNOT explain why I wanted a dog. Those that know me well are aware of my past love affair with a couple cats. One in particular, Frederick, who stole my heart for 19 1/2 years. Losing him a couple years ago was beyond traumatic. I thought I would NEVER invite a pet into my heart again after that. I also got very busy with this parenting two kids thing, and the last thing I was interested in was managing a pet in addition to a 10 month old and a just turned three year old.

Fast forward to the past several weeks. The kids have been infatuated with kitties and puppies. Husband wanted a kitten...if we were going to talk pets, that is. Having been a cat person for the whole of my adult years, I'd never before considered owning a dog. So why the interest in a puppy? I can't explain it. I do know that I wanted nothing to do with cat litter again after spending nearly 20 years of my life dealing with it. I also dreamed of having a companion my kids could enjoy running around with outdoors and who was a bit more interactive. And besides, we DO have five acres to share with a pup. Yes, I know dogs are much higher maintenance. Yes, I thought long and hard about it. Yes, while I am a very responsible adult, I am still not positive a dog was the right choice.

Nonetheless, we accepted him into our home--Cooper, who is a bit of a castaway. We did not buy him from a high dollar breeder. We intentionally chose a mutt of sorts. I'd much rather rescue a needy soul, but we did want to choose a breed that, with our best guess, would be really good with the kids. I stumbled across someone needing to part with their Boston Terrier/Boxer mix puppy. Fortunately he was not a newborn puppy. I'm not THAT insane. Cooper is about 8 months old, and very charming. While Dear Husband gave into my whims for a pup this time, I think he got his part of the bargain fulfilled as well. Cooper, so far, seems to act more like a cat than a pup. He is extremely laid back and doesn't do much more than lie around and warm our laps. We haven't had the chance to "frisk him up" outdoors as it was 18 degrees today. Cooper is doing great with going potty outdoors and has not had a single accident indoors, but it is pitiful. He barely has any fur to keep him warm, and it is quite clear that he does NOT tolerate the cold weather well. He shivers uncontrollably outdoors in the biting wind. So I took pity on him and made him a little fleece jacket to wear outdoors. I'll have to post a picture of that later.

The kids adore him, although Dear Daughter confessed to having hoped for a puppy who would play "fetch" with her. I am hopeful that this extremely docile doggy will have some spirit and animation after he adjusts to this change in his life. I'm beginning to wonder if he thinks he's supposed to hibernate during the winter. He has slept the whole day away.

He only spent a month in his previous home, and before that he was apparently an indoor doggy until his owners had to be away from home too many hours and locked him in the shed outdoors before they finally pawned him off to a friend's home and then several weeks later to our home. So his life has been turned upside down quite a bit in his few short months. I would much rather have a docile, laid back puppy than one who is too hyper and destructive, but I'm beginning to wonder if we went too far in the "right" direction with this little guy.

Yes, Cooper IS wearing a sweatshirt in the above picture. That just goes to show how laid back he is. And besides, it was REALLY cold today! Who can argue with a high of 18 and a low of 4?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Three of the Best Years Yet!

I can't really explain where I've been lately, because it's all been a blur, and quite frankly I don't remember anyway.

BUT...I do know that since my last post we have put up the Christmas tree, a specimen that is more attractive than last year's, I have baked some Christmas cookies with the wee ones, and we have celebrated my second born's third birthday. And yet, if I thought the past several months have been a blur, I can't even begin to explain what happened to the past three years.

On the eve of my second born's birthday anniversary I reminisced the hellish experience of nine months of pregnancy during which my body packed on an extra 50 pounds, I got an average of two hours of sleep per night, and I sweated non-stop like a fat man in a sauna (even when it was 10 degrees outside). I also experienced the typical flashback memories of the three days of excruciating labor pain and three sleepless nights I endured followed by the final decision of my doc at 2:30 in the morning that my boy-child must be born via the "slice and dice" method after all. Turns out his nine pound 23 inch body was too big to enter the world the way nature intended. I began to have PTSD reactions in memory of my first c-section experience as I was wheeled down the hall to the OR. Both my husband and my mother had been at my side for every minute, but now I was alone as the ceiling tiles whizzed past me overhead. They would join me again shortly dressed in OR garbs complete with funny shower cap looking hats and shoe booties. Then I overheard my doc talking with my mom (who is a labor and delivery nurse in the same hospital) about perhaps knocking me out with a general anesthetic as there may not be time to numb me up well enough for surgery. We were waiting on the anesthesiologist to arrive, but couldn't wait any longer. My son needed to enter the world quickly.

The anesthesiologist arrived just in time and drugged me up nicely for surgery. He was attentive to my anxiety and gave me an extra little "cocktail" in my IV to help manage that. Meanwhile, I was trying to hum myself into oblivion, but it wasn't working. I couldn't remember how any tunes went, so it was just random humming fueled by nervous energy. My son came out squealing and the medical staff squealed with him with cries of how big he was. The process of stitching me back up was long one punctuated with narration from my doc about nicking my bladder during the surgery and adding another stitch to manage that, and how the scar tissue from the previous c-section slowed the stitching process. Then the flipping and twisting and turning of my body while I was numb to my neck and unable to move. I remember being turned and left a few minutes to stare at the bucket of blood that was apparently suctioned from my body. It was a nice final touch to the whole ordeal.

Then to recovery. Alone. Dear Husband went home to take a nap and tend to Dear Daughter, who was 2 1/2 at the time, and I waited for the screaming bundle to be returned to me following his bath so that I could try to forget the fact that I had been sliced across my middle an hour previously and that my body was still numb from the chest down and I still could not move my legs. The exhaustion was so intense that that alone gave me the urge to have to throw up. Somehow I had to nurse my newborn and change his runny diapers despite my own misery.

I then traversed some memories of the lasting pregnancy battle scars that are my forever evidence of what I endured to give this child of mine life. These include the extra ten pounds that have never come off, probably due at least in part to the hypothyroidism this pregnancy also left me with, and the other ongoing hormonal imbalances of too little progesterone and too much prolactin. The only good news as far as physical scars go, is that I escaped it all without a single stretch mark. Not that I'm sexy enough to sport a bikini or anything like that, so it's not much to brag on.

But the best evidence of this whole experience is the sweet boy-child that I have the privilege of holding in my arms every day. The child who tells me sweetly how beautiful he thinks I am and who tells me, "Mommy, I love you!" and offers me kisses for no particular reason. The child whose impish chubby face I wake up to every morning because he still insists on climbing into our bed in the wee hours every morning. The child whom I can't imagine my world existing without, and the child who was worth every bit of the challenge and trauma I endured to get him here. He is healthy and happy, and I'm blessed beyond words. He is infatuated with superheros (especially Spiderman and Ironman) and guns and robots. He is all boy and makes a great contrast to his Princess of a big sister.

I don't know if my wee-est child still qualifies as a "baby," but I've a feeling he'll remain my "baby" even as he turns thirty someday. He pined for a Darth Vader birthday party this year because he developed a mysterious infatuation with the character several weeks ago. And so we indulged him. We enjoyed having Grandpa and Grandma H and Great Uncle Ron and Great Aunt Pat help make it special. While we wish we could have included Grandpa and Grandma M and my children's cousins, whom they've never met, we are well aware that Oregon is a very long way away.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Boy! Thanks for being mine!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Balancing Half-Assed-Ness with Whole-Hearted-Ness

I'm not a half-assed sort of person. I tend to endorse the ideal that anything worth doing is worth doing well, or right, or whatever fits the circumstance. However, I fear my blog has become half-assed. I've hung in there, and I will continue to. But I can't keep up with the few bloggers I read semi-regularly. I say semi-regularly because I just don't have the time to read anyone regularly (every single post). I have several blogging friends that are most definitely not half-assed with their blogging endeavers. They write a dozen posts for every one of my own. They comment prolifically at other people's places. I just can't do that. I barely keep my head above water homeschooling my kids, managing my part-time career as a pychotherapist, and keeping the funky smell in my house at bay when the dirty dishes and dirty laundry stack up. I'm haunted by memories of my friends' comments when we were all in our mid-twenties. They all had kids; I did not. They would come to my house and gasp incredulously as to how CLEAN my house was. Now I get it. Now I have kids, too!

I succombed to peer pressure recently to join Facebook, and the experience is much the same. I just don't have time to research the dark alleys of my past to find old friends or to keep up with communicating with all of them. I also don't have time to post several times a day to any cyberaudience about what I am doing at whatever given moment. Nor do I have time to read logs of other cyber personalites' postings about what they are doing at whatever random moments. So I guess I'm also a half-assed Facebooker. So what?

Don't misunderstand me. If you are a prolifc blogger or a prolific Facebooker, I don't look down on you or make any assumptions. That's your business and your life to lead. As for myself, as long as I can manage to be wholehearted in the things that are bigger priorities in my life, I can accept that half-assed-ness in these other areas doesn't win me any cyber-popularity contests.