Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Phew! The month of December sure flew by for us. Between school (for Monster Boy and I), finals, work, holidays, birthdays (Monster Boy is now 7 - guess I need to update that sidebar!)and just general craziness, it feels like we haven't had time to breathe in weeks.

We are having a nice, quiet New Years Eve here at home this year. Daddy Mac has been plagued with stomach issues the last few days, so we are doing a movie/game night with the kiddos. I'm kind of looking forward to it.

I'm excited to report that Miss Sunshine has been in underwear for 8 days now, with only 2 accidents - one of which was during naptime so it really doesn't count. She is doing great, finally! I'm excited and sad all at once. I'm not ready for my baby to grow up yet.

Monster Boy is doing great, too. Ready to get back to school and see his friends, but having a good break all the same. He got suitably spoiled for his birthday, and has been enjoying playing with all his new gifts.

I finished out my first semester back to school with a 3.93. Darn plus/minus grading scale - I got an A- in one class, which kept me from a 4.0. But I still feel like I did great this semester and I am feeling better than ever about my choice to go back.

Here is hoping that 2012 continues to bring happy news to our family (I will update about Miss Sunshine's IEP evaluation next post), and that it is wonderful for all of you as well! Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


I can't seem to stay caught up on here.  I apologize for that.  (Not that I think that many people are reading or are really bothered by that, hahaha.)

I'm taking ten minutes tonight to breathe before it's back to the grind again.  Tomorrow starts our week of absolute insanity and it shapes up something like this:

Monday:  Daddy Mac works
               Monster Boy has school
               Mommy and Miss Sunshine have Mom's Day Out
               Daddy and Monster Boy have Boy Scouts
               Mommy has to study for Philosophy final
               Miss Sunshine goes to grandma's for the night
Tuesday: Daddy Mac works
              Monster Boy goes to school
               Miss Sunshine has Mom's Day Out
               Mommy has Philosophy Final
               The whole family goes to Monster Boy's school concert
Wednesday:  Daddy Mac Works
                     Monster Boy goes to school
                     Mommy and Miss Sunshine go to work at the nursery
                     Mommy has a Chemistry Final
Thursday: Daddy Mac works
                Monster Boy goes to school
                Miss Sunshine goes to Grandma and Grandpa's
                Mommy has a Psychology Final
                Mommy, Monster Boy and Miss Sunshine go to work at the nursery
Friday:  Daddy Mac works
             Monster Boy goes to school
             Miss Sunshine and Mommy go to Mom's Day Out
             Mommy and Miss Sunshine go for Miss Sunshine's IEP evaluation results
             Monster Boy and Miss Sunshine go to Great-Grandma's
             Mommy and Daddy Mac go to Daddy Mac's work holiday party
Saturday:  Daddy Mac works
                The whole family has Monster Boy's birthday party complete with roughly 20 7 year old guests
                The whole family goes to see Christmas lights with Aunt, Uncle and cousins
Sunday:  The whole family goes to mass
              FINALLY we get a day with no other plans.  Although I am sure something will pop up by then...

Are you tired?  I'm tired just typing it out!  This time of year is just total insanity for our family and it seems like we don't even get a chance to BREATHE until well after New Years.   Between all the school stuff, for both Monster Boy and I, all the work stuff for Daddy Mac and I, all the family Christmas get togethers, Monster Boy's birthday, New Years Eve plans, and all that fun, we are just go go go the entire month of December.   I keep telling myself things are going to get easier and every year they just seem to get busier.  One day soon, I know things will slow down, and then some crazy part of me will probably miss this craziness.  But for now, I'd just like a chance to breathe...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Family Time

In the craziness that is our new life with me going to school, working, Monster Boy going to school, Miss Sunshine going to Mom's Day Out and play dates, and Daddy Mac working 12 hour days six days a week, there is very little time in our lives for "family" time.

It's sad, really.  But, I also know it is temporary.  And come January, I will no longer have night classes, so that will make a huge difference in our time together (HOORAY!).

Last night, though, we had a little break.  Normally we go to dinner with my Grandmother on Fridays.  (Yes, my children are incredibly blessed and have not one, but THREE, living great-grandparents).  Last night, however, she had plans, so we had the evening at home.  I made dinner (baked pork chops and fries - because I was tired and it was easy!) and we all sat at the table to eat as a family (we ALWAYS eat together.  No TV eating in this house!).  After dinner, we got the kids in their Jammie's and then all headed downstairs.  Daddy Mac built a fire in the fireplace that we finally, after four years of living here, got around to having cleaned.  Then he popped up some popcorn for all of us.  And we snuggled in, with Christmas tree lit and fire burning, on the couches together and watched "The Polar Express".  It was wonderful.  The kids had a great time and it was so nice to just have a bit of bonding time together.  Then we sent the kiddos off to bed, and Daddy and I cuddled back on the couch by the fire and watched "A Christmas Carol".  We don't get to do this nearly often enough.

I think that family time is always important, no matter the size or make up of your family.  After all, what can be better than spending time with the people who matter the most?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I'm trying...

I've started at least three blog posts in the last few days.

None of them really seem to go where I want them to.  I tried a post about what I am thankful for, but it seemed so syrupy and sappy and, well, just NOT what I wanted to say.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for a lot of things in my life, but I just couldn't seem to get what I wanted to say to come out right in words.

So then I started a general update post.  But it just didn't seem to fit the bill either.  I tried again, and yeah, no dice.  I'm not sure what the issue was with that, but again, it just didn't seem to say what I wanted it to.

So now you get this.  Random musings about what I was TRYING to say and can't.  I'll toss some quick updates in there, and then I'll get down to what has really been on my heart these past few days.

Life is pretty much the same as always here.  A struggle to find enough time to fit in everything that needs to be done in our days.  In some ways, I like the insanity, but in others, well, I miss the ease that life had before. But, I know these days are worth it, and we will manage, as always.

Monster Boy is doing great in school.  Parent Teacher conferences went well - he is ahead of the class in pretty much everything, which we already knew.  His teacher asked if we had any ideas on how to keep him interested since he is so far ahead, especially in reading (he is reading at a third grade level - in first grade!).  We are brainstorming ideas but haven't really come up with anything that we think will fit well into the set up she has for his classroom, so suggestions are welcome!

Daddy Mac is working hard as always.  I don't know what I would do without that man.  He is an amazing husband, father and person in general.  I certainly wouldn't have survived the last few months, let alone the last few years, without his love and support.

I am as crazy busy as ever.  School is going well - I'm pretty much kicking butt in all my classes, which makes me very happy.  But, I am ready for this semester to be over.  And, while I am taking a full course load again next semester, two of my classes are online, and two are in classroom.  Which means less time on campus, and more time with my kiddos.  Also, no night classes next semester, which I think will make a HUGE difference in how busy I feel.  Fingers crossed that I can continue with the good grades after this semester is over!

And let's not forget Miss Sunshine.  She is crazy.   Seriously.  She is at THAT stage.  You know, that fun stage right around the age of three where kids are nothing but attitude?  Yep.  That stage.  Sometimes all I can do is laugh at her, because she is just so funny when she is trying to cop her little attitudes with me.  Of course, I make sure she can't see me, because that would just feed in to the attitude.  We are STILL trying to potty train.  I have been blessed with extremely stubborn kids.  And, apparently, extremely stubborn kids are not good potty-trainers.  I know she knows what to do.  She can go days, several in a row even, with zero accidents.  And then for a week it's non-stop accident after accident.  I just don't even know what to do anymore.  I had hoped to have some success this long weekend with getting her in to underwear, and yesterday thought I had it.  She went the ENTIRE day with no accidents, telling us when she needed to go potty, just doing great.  And today?  Well, today, she pooped in her pants.  Not just once, but twice.  I just don't even know what to do with her.

And then, I realized this week that we are nearly TWO YEARS post-palate repair.  Two years!  That's just crazy to me.  I can't believe it's been that long.  We have been so incredibly blessed in the last two years.  This week, she has her evaluation with the school system for an IEP.  It's a two day process - they will do testing, they will watch her interact with other children, they will watch her interact with Daddy and I, they will do lots of things.  I have high hopes that they will release her from care - she is actually ahead in speech now, we don't notice any unusual behaviors that might indicate other developmental delays, and I think that she just no longer requires services.  BUT, and this is a big but, I simply don't know.  And I won't know until after these evaluations are done - which makes me very nervous.  So, I try to focus on other things.  Like the potty training... So that I don't spend countless nights worrying myself to death.

I will update after her evaluations, and have some ruminating for you all on life with her cleft (including some links to some pretty cool sites that I HOPE you will take the time to check out!).

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Changes, again.

I've made a few changes on the blog.  Minor ones, that you may not notice right away.  But, if you have been here more than once, you might take a look around, and let me know what you think.

I plan to update the banner soon, with newer pictures and graphics.  Of course, things like that take time, and time is a precious commodity in our house these days.

I meet with my adviser this week to plan my schedule for next semester.  Some big changes are going to come with this meeting.  Depending on if I can work it out to take a certain class online, not too much will change.  But if I can't, I have to completely redo my schedule, including the work schedule.  Which means less work, less money and things will be even tighter.  And it means that we will likely have to put Miss Sunshine in some type of full time care, rather than the Mom's Day Out programs we have been able to utilize so far.   Which means things will be even tighter with money.  Fingers crossed that things work out the way I want them to.

It's nearly time for Christmas - and with Christmas comes birthdays!  Both of the kid's birthdays are fairly close to Christmas - so soon I will no longer have a 2 year old and a 6 year old - I will have a 3 year old and a 7 year old.

Miss Sunshine is now on yearly visits to Shriner's!  Hooray for progress!  I think one of the tubes that we just had replaced is blocked again, I will be taking Miss Sunshine in for a hearing test soon to see what is going on there.  We had our first local dentist visit, and Miss Sunshine does have a pronounced under bite - not unusual in a child with cleft palate.  We did expect this, as her palate is likely growth-restricted due to the scar tissue from her palate repair.  It should grow somewhat normally, but most children who have palatoplasty (palate repair) have a pronounced under bite due to a smaller palate and roof of their mouth.  What this will mean in the future, we aren't for sure.  Obviously we are talking palate expansion.  Whether they will be able to do this with orthodontic devices or whether it will require additional surgery we just won't know until she gets older.  She is still missing the right upper canine - her left one finally decided to make an appearance last month.  She does not have all of her two year molars yet, so there is still hope that her canine will eventually show up.  They tried to take xrays to see what was going on, but she just couldn't hold still enough.  We will try again in March when we go back.

We had parent teacher conferences for Monster Boy - and he's doing GREAT!  He is reading at a third grade level (he is in first grade this year) and is ahead of his class in both math and science.  We are having some issues with fidgeting, talking out of turn and not fully listening to instructions, but we have put a plan in to place we hope will help with some of these things.  I think, and his teacher agrees, that a lot of the attention issues are due to the fact that he is just so far ahead of the rest of the class.  So, when he finishes work up early (which according to his teacher is pretty much daily), he will get another worksheet on the topic they are studying, to hopefully allow the rest of the class to finish before he hits the "bored stage" where he starts messing around.  He lost tooth number four this weekend, and was super excited that he pulled it out all by himself (this is the first one he pulled on his own!).  It's funny, when your kids start losing teeth, their baby teeth seem so small in their mouths, and yet, when the adult teeth start coming in, they seem so HUGE!  My baby boy is growing up so fast, I wish I could just freeze time some days.

Daddy Mac is doing well.  He fell down the stairs on Thursday, moving a table, and hurt his back.  Not badly enough to warrant a trip to the doctor, or so he says, but enough that it's causing him discomfort and he's having a hard time sleeping in our bed because it's too soft.  He slept most of the night last night on the couch after falling asleep during a movie (I didn't have the heart to wake him) and said that it felt a bit better today.  Hopefully he is telling the truth and not just saying that to, *ahem*, get me off his back.  (Okay, okay, bad pun, I know.  I just couldn't resist.)

I hadn't really intended to write a novel tonight.  But, I guess it was time to catch you up on life in the Mac household.  Hopefully I will be able to post a bit more once the holiday break gets here (although, as a mom, it seems like the phrase "holiday break" is an oxymoron - anyone else feel that way?).  And, if my schedule works as I hope it to (again, all dependent on one class and whether or not my adviser will allow me to enroll in it as I am missing one prerequisite) then I will actually be taking fewer hours next semester, and should have more time on my hands.  We will keep our fingers crossed that things work out the way I'm hoping for!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I knew going back to school would be hard work.

I vastly underestimated how exhausting it would be.

I do know that it is worth it.  This is going to mean great things in the future for our family.  But days like today, it's hard to keep that in sight.

Miss Sunshine is napping right now.  I should probably have taken advantage of that fact and done some napping myself.  Instead, I decided to go through Monster Boy's drawers and start the transition from summer to fall.  BIG mistake.  Why is it that small boys are so hard on furniture?  I've spent the last twenty minutes fixing his dresser after discovering broken tracks on two of his drawers.

I have the decorating bug, and no time to decorate!  I want to move Monster Boy's room around again.  I want to move Miss Sunshine's room around again.  Things just never seem to really "fit" the way I want them to after I move their furniture.  I want to repaint the kids bathroom - it's a sage green and lately it just feels dingy to me.  I'm thinking a warm, buttery yellow will brighten it up in there nicely.  Of course, finding time and money to paint... well.  It's a thought at least.  I want to replace the flooring in Miss Sunshine's room.  The whole house, really, but at this point that is not feasible.  Miss Sunshine's room is a priority though.  Her carpet is sorely in need of replacing.  And it's a small room.  We want to do hardwoods - but know we can't afford it, so we will settle for laminate.  So, I'm thinking we will start with her room, and just do one area at a time until we get it all done.  Her room first, then Monster Boy's.  Then the hallway, then our room.  The living/dining/kitchen will have to be done last because it will have to be done all at once.  And perhaps even the hall will have to wait until then.  But for now, Miss Sunshine's room is the priority.  Hopefully we'll be able to pick some stuff up by the end of this month.  That is our goal.

Things are tight right now though, so it just may have to wait, much as we don't want it to.  Right now, we have to concentrate on our needs, not our wants.  We are trying.

And all of that, plus time with the kids, time for work, time for school, time for cleaning and studying and laundry and... well, you get the idea.  Add all of it up, and you get one very tired Mommy.   And it's only going to get crazier from here.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Monster Boy had soccer game number three today.  I see great improvements in his playing with every week that passes.  And today, best of all, he scored his very first goal!  He did great today, and I was so very proud of him.

Miss Sunshine has assessments coming up in a few weeks.  She is in the Early Intervention program through the state of Kansas for mostly speech, as she has no other developmental delays.  She's not currently speech delayed any longer, but they have been continuing her services since she qualifies due to her cleft.  The way EI works in Kansas is that up to the age of three it's handled through one company.  After the age of three, the school system takes over.  Since Miss Sunshine will be three this coming February, it's time for her to transition.  They will do full evaluations in all areas on her - speech, eating, psychological, everything.  I have no doubt that they will find her developmentally on track and recommend little to no services, but you never know, and these kinds of things are so nerve wracking.

I am excited to say that I am currently pulling a 3.92 in school (It would be a 4.0 but my university uses a plus/minus grade scale and I am 1% point off for an A in one class, so I have an A- instead, which is lower than a 4.0).  I am feeling GREAT about my decision to go back to school after finding this out.  I am more confident now, despite some difficulties in every day life, that this was the right decision to make for both my family and myself.

Things are about to get crazy busy around here so I probably will not be around as much, but I will still try to keep up.

Monday, September 26, 2011


The past four days have been a blur.  I barely remember anything.

Thursday morning, as I was getting the kids and I ready for school, my phone beeped.  It was a text from my stepmom, telling me my cousin was in ICU.  I immediately texted back, asking if I should skip class to come up there.  She texted me back that it was up to me.  I had a review for an upcoming exam (which is now tomorrow) and several assignments due, so the entire drive to Monster Boy's school was filled with me mentally arguing with myself over whether or not I should go to class or the hospital.  (I should clarify that this cousin has multiple health problems and this is not the first time he's been hospitalized for things).  I had finally decided I would try to squeeze in a quick trip to the hospital (conveniently located across the street from Monster Boy's school) and then head on to class.  Well, as I was pulling in to the parking lot, my phone rang.  It was my dad.  And he was crying.  And he told me I should come NOW.  That is NEVER a good sign.  Ever.  I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have actually seen my father cry.  So, there I am in the parking lot with Miss Sunshine, knowing I can't take her in to the hospital, trying to figure out what to do.  My dad says he will wait outside with her while I go in.  I call Daddy Mac and ask him to come get her - I am already in tears at this point and haven't even made it inside the hospital.  He leaves work and comes to get her as I head downstairs.  I get to the ICU and every single one of my family members is there, and crying.  This is not good.  The next few hours passed in a blur, but mainly I remember praying.  HARD.  For any kind of miracle God could give us, but mostly to please save my cousin.  And then, just when the doctors were saying no, he turned a corner.   He is still in critical condition, and as of last night was still on a ventilator (although they are supposed to try taking it out today).  But, he is still alive.  And four days ago, they told us he wouldn't be.  Each day he gets stronger and stronger.  Each minute is a miracle for us.

I have never believed as much in the power of prayer as I do now.  Because this weekend, I saw it with my own eyes.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


All day today, I remembered.

I remembered being woken up by a phone call from a friend, asking if I thought a mutual friend of ours was okay.  I was ALL kinds of confused.  And then she clued me in - the first tower had been hit at the World Trade Center, as well as the Pentagon.  Our friend worked at the Pentagon (she was not there that day, thankfully).

I remember heading to class, listening in horror to my car radio as the second tower was hit.

I remember coming out of class, going to the student union to get a drink, and seeing everyone standing in silence and shock, watching as the towers fell.

I remember going to class where my professors were in as much shock as the rest of us, and pretty much just sat there for the hour of time we were there.

I remember the days of fear that followed - my sister was supposed to be on a flight that day to come home for a visit - obviously her flight was canceled.  She made it home a week later, and I remember being nervous the entire time I knew she was on the plane.

I remember life before 9/11/2001.  And I know life after.

My children will never know a life where that day does not exist.  It was before their time, but, much like Vietnam was before mine, they will hear the stories, they will see the pictures, and they will grow up knowing that their world is forever different because of what happened.

And today, ten years later, I still remember.  I will ALWAYS remember.

Monday, September 5, 2011

I have a ladybug in my EYE!

Miss Sunshine has developed quite the imagination (and personality) lately.  We had a very interesting conversation on my way to work the other day, and it went something like this:

(I am driving and Miss Sunshine is in her car seat behind me.)
Miss Sunshine - "Oh no!  I have something in my EYE!"
Me - "Something in your eye??  What is it?"
Miss Sunshine - "I don't know.  It's a LADYBUG!"
Me (trying not to laugh) - "A ladybug?!  How did a ladybug get in your eye?"
Miss Sunshine - "I don't know.  It's a BABY ladybug."
Me (still trying to hold in the laughter) - "A baby ladybug, huh?"
Miss Sunshine - "Yeah.  Don't worry, he's not scawy"
Me (little giggles are beginning to sneak out) - "Oh, well, I'm glad he's not scary then."
Miss Sunshine - "Yeah.  Don't huwt him!  Don't squish him!"
Me (giggling harder) - "No, we wouldn't want to hurt him.  That would not be nice."
(I have reached the gym, and open the door to take her out)
Miss Sunshine - "Be caweful.  He is scawed of you!"
Me (cracking up at this point) - "He's scared of me?  Why is he scared of me?"
Miss Sunshine - "I don't know, but he is scawed.  You must be scawy.  Be nice, okay Mommy?"
Me (almost in tears at this point) - "Okay, I'll be nice.  Let's put him down now so we can go to work, okay?"
Miss Sunshine - "Okay.  I put him wight hewe, okay?  You stay hewe baby ladybug.  I see you later.  But don't get in my eye again, okay ladybug?"

Sigh.  That was the best day I've had in a long time.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

It is that time of year again!

September is Craniofacial Acceptance month!

I'd like to post a note that I posted on Facebook for our first Craniofacial Acceptance Month.  I feel like so much of what I posted then still applies now...

We have joined a group called the Children's Craniofacial Association. Averie's cleft palate is considered a craniofacial anomaly. The CCA has designated September as Craniofacial Acceptance Month, and I am trying to help get the word out. There are so many different craniofacial defects, and while we are blessed that Averie's defect is fully correctable, so many of these kids will go through difficult and painful surgeries, recoveries, and even ridicule over the course of their lives. I think it is important for everyone to spend a little time educating themselves about craniofacial defects and what they could do in their area to help. You can visit the website for more information about their work and the types of anomalies they provide assistance for. They are also selling bracelets similar to the Live Strong bracelets as a fundraiser. If you are interested in purchasing a bracelet (for $1 each), please feel free to contact me. They are available in five different colors - purple, royal blue, lime green, teal and orange. Help us spread the word!

You can find more information on the Children's Craniofacial Association HERE.  

It would mean a lot to us and our family if you would all take a few minutes to just check out what the CCA is all about, perhaps even consider a small donation, or take the time to educate someone else you know about what our children face daily.  

Saturday, August 27, 2011

More potty frustrations...

I hate potty training.  Honestly, I despise it with every fiber of my being.  It is hands down my least favorite part of parenthood.

I have been blessed (or cursed, depending on how you want to look at it) with EXTREMELY stubborn children.  They are both very much the "dig in your heels and refuse to budge" type of kids.  Monster Boy took nearly a year to fully potty train.  Not because he didn't "get it", but because he simply didn't want to be bothered to stop whatever it was he was doing to actually GO to the bathroom.

I'm quickly discovering that Miss Sunshine is stubborn in a whole new way.  She is excited about going to the bathroom, and does very well in underwear when we are out and about.  However, this child will NOT poop on the toilet.  Why?  I have no earthly idea.  She doesn't hold her poop like many kids will, she's not afraid of the toilet or pooping on it that we can tell.  She just won't do it.  She will stand there right in front of me and poop in her pants thirty seconds after I have taken her off the toilet and telling me she didn't need to poop.  I simply don't know what to do at this point.  I don't want to put her back in diapers because I'm afraid we will lose all progress we have made with pottying (little as it is - out and about in public she stays dry perfectly find.  At home is another story) and I don't want to have to completely start over.

I really wish there was an Easy Button for this...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It's Potty Time!

We are potting training here in these parts... Miss Sunshine is somewhat motivated - she likes her big girl panties and wants to wear them often.  However, she still does not tell us when she NEEDS to go.  She will go if we tell her to.  And sometimes, but pretty rarely, she'll come running up and tell me "I needa go potty!".   But often, if I'm not right there telling her to go, she'll just go in her underwear.  And I have yet to successfully get her to poop on the potty.  SIGH.  Have I mentioned that potty training is my least favorite part of parenthood?

Monster Boy is doing great at school.  His class was mixed up a bit, and he's sad that a few of his friends from last year aren't in his class.  But, some of his friends from before school are in his class this year, so that helps.  He LOVES his new teacher.  He has to give her a hug every day at the end of school - it's so adorable.  The little girls are already fighting over who gets to sit by him at lunch and who he is going to play with at recess (at least, according to him they are...).  I'm going to be in trouble when he gets to high school, I can already feel it.

I've made it through my first two days of classes - so I have been to all my classes once.  I plan to sit down this weekend and figure out an action plan for studying and such - I expect I will be spending quite a bit of time hanging out at the Starbucks by our house so that I can have uninterrupted study time.  But I wanted to get through the first week of classes and see how things panned out there first.  I'm still pretty nervous - I have to take Chemistry this semester, and honestly, science has never been one of my strong areas.  It's feeling pretty daunting - although I do like my professor and hopefully that will help.  My other classes I feel pretty confident about - they are right up my alley and I know I can do well.  I think if I can get through the first round of tests with high scores, I will feel much more confident about this semester.

Daddy Mac has been wonderfully supportive through all of this and I cannot thank him enough for how awesome he is.  His volleyball should be starting up again soon, and I know he is looking forward to that.  It will be good for him to get out of the house one night a week, especially since I have night classes two nights a week and he's going to be on his own with the kids until after bedtime those nights.

That's life in our house for now!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Final Countdown.

T-Minus one week and counting until I am officially a student again.  I'm wondering why in the world I am so nervous about this.  I'm not sure if it's the thought of being so much older than the other students in my classes, or what.  I'm going to be a wreck the first day, I am sure.

Monster Boy starts school the day after tomorrow - I discovered last night that he is nervous as well, and I'm beginning to be more nervous for him.  He seems to be feeling a lot of pressure to do good in school this year.  I'm not certain where this feeling is coming from, because we have worked hard to reassure him that as long as he tries his best, we will be happy no matter what.  I think it's likely because of all the people telling him how smart he is that he is feeling this pressure.  The reality is, my child is extremely intelligent.  At the end of Kindergarten he was testing close to second grade level in reading skills and comprehension.  He can complete some second grade level math, can calculate monetary amounts, tell time, and do all kinds of skills that are well above a child who is just now entering first grade.  I have no worries about his grades.  Rather, I worry about whether or not he will find school stimulating enough, leading to behavioral issues.  Add to that the fact that we still don't know who his teacher will be, and which students will be in his class (there are two K's and First Grades at his school - I am guessing that they will mix the students up a bit this year, and I worry about how he will handle this, even though he does know all the kids in his grade).  Monster Boy has never done well with change, and I fear this is an issue we will face each year at the start of school.  He will start counseling up again once school starts - in fact, I emailed his counselor today to ensure that he will be added to the list.  I know that she will help him with coping skills for change and such.  I hope that things will get better as the year progresses, much as they did last year.  Only time will tell.

Miss Sunshine will be starting Mom's Day Out the first of September.  I am also nervous about how she will do.  She needs this - she is literally attached to my hip, and she needs to be exposed more to being away from me.  I do think this is going to be very difficult for her, however.  That is why we chose the Mom's Day Out program rather than a daycare setting.  It is a teacher she already knows from going to work with me, an environment she is used to, and smaller class size.  Plus, it's only five hours two days a week, so it is not overwhelming for her.  I hope to be able to work my schedule next semester around this as well, so that I can continue to utilize the program (They do not offer classes Monday and Wednesday, so if I have to take classes those days we will have to put her in daycare.).

The next few weeks are going to be big changes all over the place in our household.  I hope we can deal with them all well!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Being grateful.

I have a tendency to approach life negatively.  I have never been a glass half full kind of person, although I have often wished I were.

Some days, it's like a black cloud hanging over me.  I have battled depression for many years now.  I went un-diagnosed for many years, was finally diagnosed after Monster Boy was born, felt I was on the road to recovery, was at a GOOD place for the first time in I can't remember how long.  And then Miss Sunshine was born.  And we found out about her cleft.  And I spiraled nearly out of control with grief and depression.  I blamed myself.  Let's all be honest here - any mother of a child who has any kind of medical issues, be they visible or not, blames themselves in some way.  Whether it's a "What did I do to cause this" or a "What didn't I do enough of to prevent it?", those thoughts creep their way in.  I had a very hard time dealing with Miss Sunshine's cleft, for a long time.  I latched on to the inability to breastfeed her and manifested all of my grief, my pain, my anger, everything, in to that.  I cried myself to sleep so many nights I can't even begin to count them for you.  I didn't even FEED my own child for nearly three months.  Honest truth here - I couldn't.  I was not strong enough to do it.  Well, and for the first three months, every time she ate, I was hooked up to that stupid breast pump and literally couldn't feed her myself.  And I cried, bawled, so hard the first time I gave her that bottle.  I lost what little sleep I could have had over her weight, the way she ate, her hearing, her ears, her surgeries, everything.  I hate, despise, that aspect of her cleft.  See, with Monster Boy, I went through a rather intense emotional journey during my pregnancy with him, and I never really got to enjoy my pregnancy.  I still feel robbed of that.  But his infancy.  Oh, how I reveled in being a mother, in holding him, nursing him, everything.  He was a joy and in some small way that helped make up for the strain of my pregnancy.  With Miss Sunshine, I was able to share in my pregnancy with Daddy Mac.  We were both able to be excited, and enjoy, my time being pregnant with her.  But her infancy.  I still feel robbed of the excitement of that.  And then, I feel guilty for feeling robbed.  But, I'm being honest here.  Nobody wants to watch their child struggle, to deal with surgeries at such a young age, to know they hurt and that you had no choice but to willingly put them through pain.  It's heart wrenching.

But today.  Oh, today.  Today, I found joy in my child.  It was nothing spectacular, or exciting, or even new.  But today, after work, after nap, Miss Sunshine was running around in all her totally-excited-crazy-two-year-old glory.  Talking up a storm, laughing, playing with the dog, with me, with anything and everything she could get her hands on.  And I looked at my little girl, and I realized, she's not my baby anymore.  She's growing up.  She's beautiful, smart, funny, and only TWO!  And oh, how much I feel I have missed out on, being depressed, and stressed, and sad, and unhappy.  I don't want to waste another minute being that way.  Logically, I know, I will.  But for now.  Oh, for now, I'm going to be grateful for this journey.  It is one I never would have imagined I would have taken, but I am all the better for it.  And so, today, I sat Miss Sunshine down on my lap, and I played with her hair (it is amazing how I can't get this child to sit still for a simple pony tail, but an intricate design involving a dozen teeny tiny hairbands and ponytails and she sits like a statue) and I painted her nails (Thank you, Piggy Paint, for an all natural, non toxic nail polish safe for small children!) and her toes, and I laughed and I giggled, and I hugged her, and I held her, and I loved her.  And tomorrow, it will be Monster Boy's turn.  Well, not the pony tails or the fingernails, but you get what I mean.  I'm going to strive to be grateful for what I have, instead of worried over what I don't.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

These last days of summer

I can't believe summer is nearly gone.  Monster Boy goes back to school next week, and I follow the week after.  Miss Sunshine will start attending the Mom's Day Out program at the gym I work at on my school days, rather than full fledged daycare.  This is a good option for us financially, as well as being a good transition for her to me being gone.  Next year, she will start preschool at the same school Monster Boy attends (I was pleasantly surprised to discover they have 3 year old preschool!) and the second semester will go to preschool and daycare afterward, as, if all goes as planned, I will be starting my clinicals and she will need full time child care.

We are spending this week getting up bright and early to get back in to school routine.  Which is SORT OF working.  Monster Boy is getting up bright and early at any rate.  We have decided he is old enough to need to bathe daily now (he has eczema, dry skin, and overly sensitive skin all combined, so up to now we have been bathing him every other day to avoid drying his skin out too much), and gave him the option of showering at night before bed (apparently he is too big for baths now, or so I have been informed!) or in the morning before breakfast.  He chose morning, so he has to get up half an hour earlier than last year.  So, Daddy Mac wakes him up before he leaves for work, Monster Boy hops in the shower, eats his breakfast, brushes his teeth (which I now have to monitor as he has started trying to avoid actually brushing by simply running water in the sink for a minute or so to try and trick us in to thinking he actually BRUSHED) and get dressed, and then off to school we go.  Or, will, once school actually starts.  He has done well the last two days with getting out of bed without fighting.  Me, on the other hand, I have not done as well.  I'm trying to make myself get up before he does to exercise but have failed miserably.  Instead, I get up when he does, help with breakfast as needed (he prefers a small breakfast like yogurt or granola, which he can manage himself, but sometimes likes oatmeal or something that requires cooking) and get in to gym clothes so that we can head to the gym once Miss Sunshine awakes - or, starting next week, once we drop Monster Boy off.

I'm ready to get in to our new routine and see how everyone does with Mom going back to school - including Mom!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

She is done with surgery!

Everything went great. Right up until she woke up!

In reality, our morning started off bright (or dark, really) and early at 4:30. We headed up to the hospital, and the entire drive all she would say was "I hundry" or "I need my cuppy". I knew it was going to be a long morning. We got checked in, and she did not want to put on the hospital gown. So we had tears over that. Then we started and restated Tangled about ten times as she would stop it, say she was done, then five minutes later want to watch it again. They took her back at about 7:30. They had to carry her to the operating room since she refused to ride on the bed. They paged me about fifteen minutes later to tell me it was done. I met with her surgeon, who told me he went with a larger size tube in her ear to see if it will last longer. He did wind up replacing both tubes, but only the right one is the larger tube, as her left tubes have lasted much longer. He did say there was no fluid in her right ear when he went in, which was a surprise since she failed a tympanogram just over a month ago. He said sometimes they will get an air bubble from the anesthesia, and sometimes it means the muscles of the palate are beginning to function, so it is possible this will be her last set of tubes! That is by no means a guarantee, of course. And even if they are, there is a possibility of other procedures being necessary. We really just can't know until we get there.

Miss Sunshine was NOT a fan of the anesthesia. I could hear her screaming from about two hundred feet and two brick walls away, which was hard for me. She continued to scream, cry and throw fits of epic proportion for another hour until we got the all clear to eat and drink. A cup of milk and a donut later and she was good, and has been going nonstop ever since. We have another two hours here before we head to the airport, so it has been a LONG day, but the end is in sight!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

In Chicago

Well, Miss Sunshine and I are here. We survived a very long day, are in bed and ready to rest up for the even longer day we are facing tomorrow. We have to be at the hospital at 6 am, which means we have to leave the hotel by 5:15 am, which means we have to get up at about 4:30 am. Surgery will probably start around 8, if it is anything like last time. It shouldn't take long, and then we just wait for her to recover from the anesthesia. Last time she did run a fever afterwards, and we nearly missed our flight home as a result. So this time I had them schedule us for a late flight, just in case. Which of course means she will probably be fine, we will get released early, and I will be stuck for hours at the airport with a tired, cranky toddler. I am hoping that they will let us stay at the hospital long enough for her to get a bit of a nap in, since I know that will not happen at all once we hit the airport...

I will update after surgery tomorrow, but for now, I had better get some sleep myself...

Monday, July 25, 2011


I'm trying out posting from my phone today, so bear with me. My phone really likes to randomly correct words into strange choices, so if a sentence all of the sudden makes zero sense, now you know why!

We heard from Shriners on Friday, and Miss Sunshine and I head back NEXT WEEK (gulp!) for her ear tube replacement. It will be another up and back trip - nothing like having to fly with a child who literally had surgery that morning. But, as far as surgeries go, this is a fairly minor procedure. And we've done this routine once before, so I'm sure things will be fine. We were also able to space out our flights fairly well, so she will have lots of time to rest and recuperate at the hospital before we head out. Last time, she spiked a fever after the procedure, so I have my fingers crossed that we don't encounter that again. Of course, if we do, what better place to be?

Enrollment for Monster Boy is this week, too. I can't believe he is already in first grade! He is so ready for school to start up again. He has been going stir crazy lately. It has been so hot here that I haven't been able to let the kids play outside, which has been rough for him especially. Hopefully it starts to cool off soon so they can get back to burning energy the good way.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Waiting for the rain...

Literally and figuratively.

It is HOT HOT HOT here in the Heartland right now.  Like, triple digits for going on three weeks, with no end in sight hot.  Miserable hot.  There is a song by Seven Mary Three called "The Oven".  It's about the state I live in. And it is a perfect description of the weather here right now.  It literally feels like you are standing in an oven when you go outside.  Add to this horrendous heat a significant lack of precipitation, and you have every person in the state holding their breath and begging for rain - which is not in the forecast any time soon.

Here around our house, we are also "waiting for the rain".  I don't know about Daddy Mac, but for a few weeks now, I feel like storm clouds have been building over us, waiting to unleash their fury.  If you've read my blog before, you know I frequently refer to our trying times as storms.  I have a feeling when this one hits, its going to be a doozy.

I don't even really know how to explain why I am feeling the way I am right now.  Sure, things are tight, money wise.  But no tighter than they were a year ago at this time - in fact, probably less so.  I know that sometime things will start to level out, as they always do.  We always make it through, one way or another.  Health wise, we have all been doing well.  I don't know why I have this feeling, I just do.  It's like waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Or some other tired old cliche.  Or waiting for the storm to hit, as I like to say.

I'm trying to "let go and let God".  (Wow, I am just FULL of those cliches today, aren't I?).  I'm trying to have faith that things are not going to be as bad as I have imagined or built them up to be.  Perhaps it is all the changes approaching us - nerves about my going back to school, about finding child care for Miss Sunshine, about how Monster Boy will do in First Grade as opposed to the more relaxed atmosphere of Kindergarten, about how the tsunami's in Japan have affected the car industry and what that might mean for Daddy Mac's job... so many things going on and running through my head right now, so that I can't seem to calm my thoughts down and just breathe.  I have never dealt well with stress, and lately it feels like I am stressed to the max.  And I'm just not sure what to do about it, because none of the factors contributing to my stress are tangible things that I can exert any control over.  I'm trying to get to a place where I can calm myself, maybe head off the impending storm, or at least take adequate cover.  But since I don't really know what it is that I am stressed out about, it's kind of hard to do that.

Daddy Mac is very much a "take it one thing at a time" kind of person.  You know, those people who "don't stress over it because stressing over it doesn't change it"?  I am SO not one of those kind of people.  And I know he means well, but because he's not, he just really doesn't understand me right now.  He tries, with all his heart, and I know it bothers him that he can't "fix" whatever I think is wrong for me, but he just can't because I don't even know what it is that is wrong, much less how to fix it.  It's just one of those things I have to weather on my own.  I know, once we get settled in to our new routine, that things will seem better.  It's just the getting there that has me so worked up.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Back in school

Well, it's not really back to school time here yet.  We have another month before that hits, although enrollment for Monster Boy is this week.

But really, I'm talking about myself.  After much thinking, discussing, and even praying, we (meaning Daddy Mac and I - we are a partnership so we make major decisions together as a team) have decided that going back to school is the best option for me at this point.  I met with an adviser yesterday, established a plan, and now is the time.

I am going back to school to get my nursing degree.  I have decided to pursue a BSN - Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  There were many considerations that went in to choosing this route rather than getting an ASN, but this was ultimately the decision I made.  It will take me approximately three and a half years to complete this, as I need several science courses that I did not have to have for my prior Bachelors Degree.  I do have the option to double up on those science courses, but as they are all lab courses, and I have been out of school for ten years now, my adviser, Daddy Mac and I have all come to the conclusion that I am much more likely to successfully get admitted to the nursing program at the college of my choice if I spread them out.  The reason behind it is this:  because I have been out of school for so long, they will only look at my cumulative GPA starting with the classes I will begin this fall.  I need, at a minimum, a 3.0, and at least a B in ALL of the science classes, to have a good chance of being accepted to the nursing program.  Ideally, I would need to have higher grades - as the average GPA of applicants to this program is typically between 3.2 and 3.4.  Admission is based on a points scale, with roughly 90% of the points tied to GPA and the scores in the three specific science courses I need - for example, a student with a 4.0 and A's in all three classes would have a total of 70 points.  A student with a 3.5 and B's in all three classes would have 56 points.  There are only 60 open positions each semester in this nursing program, so it is VITALLY important that I do as well as possible in these classes.  To that end, my decision on how to schedule my courses is set up to give me the best opportunity to achieve the highest GPA possible.  Because I have been out of school for so long, I want to ease my way back in.  I know it will be culture shock and that it may take me a few weeks to get things straight - and I desperately want to succeed at this, so I am trying to give myself every opportunity there is to do it.  I have the faith in myself that I can pull off all A's, now I just need to prove to myself I can do it.  The first time around, my GPA was not nearly so stellar, mainly because I was a bit more concerned with my social life than my school life - I freely admit that.  This time, I am hoping that the different place I am at in my life will make a noticeable difference in my performance at college.

Fingers crossed, but I'm jumping in right off the high board here!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I love my children...

I will not lie - my kids can be hell on wheels some days.  Absolutely.  Today, for example.  Most of the day was pretty good.  Church this morning, where they behaved astoundingly well, went good.  We came home, did lunch, and put Miss Sunshine down for her nap.  Which she did not take - but instead got out of bed, put on shoes, played with her dollhouse, banged toy furniture against her wall, threw her pillows and blankets on the floor and tried to hide under them... well, you get the idea.  Okay, obviously no nap.  So off to the water park we go.  The kids had a BLAST.  It was a scaldingly hot 110 degrees here today - so pool time was an ideal choice.  We had a good time, and headed home for dinner.  Miss Sunshine is in the midst of potty training, which is going fairly well.  She is finally interested in sitting on the potty, at least, so that's promising.  Well, we get home and she decides she needs to go potty - and without telling us, goes in, manages to remove her diaper, puts her little seat on top of the toilet, climbs up and settles in.  And THEN yells at us that she's going potty.  I go in to check on her and get informed that she needs her "Pie-a-see" (can you tell I frequently have to boot my kids out of the bathroom when I try to use it?).  Alrighty, then.  Whatever.  I leave, and go back to the living room - where I have clear view of her in the bathroom.  She spends several minutes in there singing and generally making noise.  And then it gets quiet.  You moms know the kind of quiet I'm talking about - the "your small child is definitely doing something they are not supposed to be doing" quiet that makes you nervous to go see what it is that they have done... So, I bravely venture in to the bathroom, to find my daughter covered in shampoo - which apparently got left on the side of the tub after her last bath.  She has been shampooing her hair while sitting on the toilet.  I mean, rubbing it in and all.  Sigh.  Well, on the bright side, she DID need a bath tonight... (And it only took rinsing her hair four times to get it all out...)

Some days, all you can do is laugh.  

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Happy (Belated) Fourth of July!

The Fourth of July has long been one of my favorite holidays.  For us, it's a time of family, friends, fun and most importantly, remembrance.

For as long as I can remember (and probably even longer than that) we have headed to a tiny little town here in the midwest where my aunt and uncle live for every Fourth.  Out in the middle of nowhere, with fewer restrictions on fireworks, we would have our own private shows right in their back yard.  My uncle was a Vietnam Veteran, and the Fourth of July was a very important holiday for him.  It's a celebration of epic proportions (at least in the eyes of small, and not so small, children) for our family, and I have never missed one. We lost my uncle several years ago to lung cancer, but the tradition he started lives on in remembrance of him.

Miss Sunshine is still rather unsure of fireworks.  The noise doesn't seem to bother her, she likes the lights (OOH, Look Mommy, Pitty!), so it's mostly us yelling "No, stay back, HOT!" every time she ventures to close that probably has her on edge.  Monster Boy, on the other hand, has no fear.  He LOVES lighting fireworks (well, okay, what six year old boy doesn't?) watching them pop, smoke, light or whatever they may do.  Parachutes are probably his favorite - he loves chasing the darn things.  One of these times he's going to get burned, but no matter how many times I yell at him to stop, he keeps right on going.  I suppose this is one of those lessons he'll have to learn the hard way.

We started off our morning with quite the event - Monster Boy lost his second tooth!  It's been rather wiggly for a while, and that morning he came into our room with the request that Daddy pull it for him.  Well, Daddy was a bit too squeamish to do it, so Mommy got the honors.  I had my doubts about if it would come out - it was super wiggly but not quite to that "part of it hanging out wiggly" phase.  I grabbed a paper towel, moved it back and forth once, and pulled gently.  And out popped that tooth with barely any effort at all!

Monster Boy with his toothless grin.

After that excitement, it was time to head to our events for the day.  First up was my grandmother's for a little lunch with her family.  After a few hours over there with the kids lighting off some smoke bombs and snakes, we came home for a nap.  Once the kids were up and moving, off we headed to our final destination for the evening.  Boy, was it a HOT one this year!  But the kids had a blast.  

Miss Sunshine in her Fourth of July Finery

Getting started on the fireworks

Whatcha doing?  (Our new favorite phrase)

After a few hours in the heat and sun, it was time to sit down and cool off with some popsicles. 

And then on to the show!

Then it was home with our terribly exhausted kiddos to bed.  Well, the kids went to bed at least.  Daddy Mac and I got the pleasure of being kept awake until three am by the neighbors behind us shooting off mortars every ten minutes from the time we got home until the time we called the cops to get them to lay off.  Sometimes, especially when you have to get up for work in three hours and your dog is hysterical and waking up your kids, you just have to be that cranky neighbor.  That got to be us this year, unfortunately.  I would have liked a better ending to our holiday, but we had a blast anyway, and I am grateful for that. 

One thing I made sure to explain to our children, however, is the importance of remembering WHY we celebrate this holiday.  And taking some time out of our day to give thanks to the men and women, past, present and future, who put their lives on the line to give us the right to have the celebration we do.  THEY are the real reason for this holiday. 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Looks like another surgery...

Miss Sunshine and Daddy Mac made the trip to Shriner's in Chicago for clinic yesterday.  By all reports, Miss Sunshine behaved very well.  Daddy Mac said she especially had fun playing "pull out Daddy's earphones and then insist he put them back in so we can pull them out again" on the plane ride to Chicago.

Most of the clinic visit went well.  Teeth look good, and the dentist doesn't feel that we need to do anything about her frenulum - while it is lower than some children's, it does not seem to be affecting the placement of her teeth, so we are to just keep working with her on brushing her teeth to hopefully eventually desensitize it to the toothbrush.  They did say we certainly had the option to have it clipped if we so desired, but it's not anything that HAS to be done.  We will be doing some more research on our options there - I certainly don't want to put her through another medical procedure if not necessary, but I also don't want this to affect the health of her teeth.

The speech therapist was THRILLED with her progress.  Her speech is right on.  She did say she is slightly nasal, but not anything that they would worry about or that even at this point they would consider another surgery for!  BIG sigh of relief there.  She did, however, inform us that we should NOT have her adenoids removed because that would create issues with the nasality, and if she ever should need a tonsillectomy, we need to have our local doctor coordinate with them prior to surgery so that we don't run in to any issues there.   I never even thought about adenoids affecting the quality of her speech, so that was news to me.

Developmentally she is perfectly on track, which we already knew.  I had no concerns there.  And neither did the child psychologist, apparently.   The plastic surgeon took a quick look in to make sure everything still looks good and pronounced that perfect.

Hearing, well, that did not go so well, but we were anticipating it.  She did pass her hearing test in her left ear. Her right ear, however, tested positive for fluid and for muffled sounds.  Apparently, yet again, the right tube is not functioning and will have to be replaced.  The ENT didn't say much in regard to putting in permanent tubes, which was something I had been wondering over.  This will be the fourth tube in that ear in less than two years.  The tubes she currently has are designed to stay in between 12-18 months.  So far, hers are lasting roughly 6 months.  They will be calling us to schedule the replacement surgery for the right ear and will evaluate her left ear the morning of surgery to see if there are any changes to it again.  Looks like Miss Sunshine and I will be heading back to Chicago sometime soon for yet another procedure!

Monday, June 27, 2011

A little discourse and a poem...

Tomorrow Daddy Mac and Miss Sunshine head off to the big city of Chicago for her one year (that is now over eighteen months!) post-op and clinic with Shriner's.  This will be the first trip to Shriner's EVER that I have not gone with her.  Daddy is of course up to the challenge, but the control freak side of me is having a VERY hard time letting him take over here.  It is time, though.  He wants to be more involved, he wants to help me not have to deal with the stress all on my own, he wants THIS.  I need to let him have it.  I will not, however, be surprised if, when he gets home, he informs me he never wants to do this again!  I'm kidding, of course, he will be more than happy to handle a trip if I need him to.  She is, after all, his "baby doll".

The kids are having an amazing summer.  Last summer, I was beyond stressed.  Monster Boy was, well, a monster.  His behavior and attitude were horrendous.  Miss Sunshine was, well, a mess.  We were worried about her speech, her development, her weight, her growth, just her in general.   It was a very long and very stressful summer, for all of us.  THIS summer has been night and day different.  Don't get me wrong - I still frequently get a show of six year old attitude, but in general, Monster Boy has been practically angelic.  He is listening well, being so very helpful, doing what he is told to do, or asked to do, with little to no complaints.  Miss Sunshine, well, we aren't nearly as worried about her these days, so there is that weight lifted at least.  I sometimes think, though, that Monster Boy has been so good to give me a break since she has been so bad!  We are full on into the terrible twos, and at this point, I am DREADING the terrifying three's.  She was a late starter with the terrible twos, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that just maybe we have skipped the two's and she's getting the three's out of the way early.  Only time will tell, I suppose.

And last but not least, another poem for you.  I know you have been waiting with baited breath (or, you know, not...) so here it is.  This is a poem I actually wrote in college.  In fact, it didn't even start as a poem, but as a song.  I came across it the other day, and as I was reading it, instead of picturing myself in the poem like I did when I wrote it, I saw my daughter.  And I prayed that night, with all my heart and soul, that she NEVER feels this way.


She spends 3.95 on a magazine
Trying to be what they say she should be
and she wonders why
She has no self-esteem

And every day she stares in the mirror
Looking at everything she dislikes

And every night she cries
She's so tired of having to try

And she wonders why
She has no self esteem

And as hard as she looks
And as hard as she stares
She never sees
The beauty that's there
And she wonders why
She has no self-esteem

Friday, June 24, 2011

Hey, Batter Batter Batter...

Remember chanting at the opposing team in baseball?  Apparently, they don't do that anymore.  Who knew?

I realized with all these posts of Monster Boy and his foray into baseball playing, I haven't included any pictures.
They haven't done team pictures yet (apparently this is all the thing these days, and who knows if we can actually afford them, but they are taking them tomorrow) but I do have some action shots from his most recent games.

For your viewing pleasure!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's baseball season!

Monster Boy started baseball a few weeks ago.  He LOVES it.  He does seem to do better at this than at soccer, but as long as he is enjoying it, I really don't care how good he is.  He and Daddy Mac have worked hard on fielding and grounding balls, and he does very well at that.  Now, if we can just get him to understand that he needs to throw the ball to his teammates rather than run it in to them, he'll be all set for field play.  They are going to work together on batting this week.  It's great to see them spend some time together, just the two of them, playing ball in the back yard, even if it does mean I have a two year old girl and a dog both standing at the back door yelling/barking at them the entire time.

We are still trying to settle in to something of a summer routine here.  I've been tossing around the idea of getting them signed up for classes at the local library or something, but haven't made it that far yet.  I did get Monster Boy signed up for the summer reading program at our public library in town, and he's already a third of the way to his goal, even though he has until the beginning of August to complete it.  He just loves reading as much as his mom does (which is a LOT) so he is busting right through those books.  I think we are going to make Wednesdays library day, and head up to the library for a bit each Wednesday to turn in old books and check out new ones.  We are currently reading the last few of the Beverly Cleary Ramona series now, and I'm not sure what we will move on to after that.

Miss Sunshine had her first meeting with her new speech therapist last week, and it went GREAT!  We are going to continue seeing her every six weeks at this point, just to make sure she is maintaining her speech, but she is now age appropriate, or even a bit advanced in some areas.  It's SO reassuring when we hear that.  We have had several new acquaintances comment to us recently about how well she talks for a two year old, and, as many of you probably understand, my heart just sings every time I hear that.  When you are dealing with a child with speech delay, and they finally catch up, to have people, strangers, affirm that to you is just a wonderful feeling.

Both kids have been doing amazingly well behavior wise so far this summer - such a vast change from last summer and the constant battles it felt like we were fighting.  We have had to impose a time limit for Monster Boy on TV/Computer/Video Games, as he tends to get "in" to something and obsess over it to the point of ignoring everything else, but he has accepted that readily and hardly complains when we inform him his time is up.   Miss Sunshine is, well, two, and all of the lovely things that go along with that.  We still haven't started potty training, as I just feel she isn't ready.  I don't want to force it on her until I know she will have success with it, and at this point, although she likes to tell us if she is wet or poopy, she does not consistently do it, and it's rare indeed that we manage to get her on the potty chair and actually have her go.  She just does not seem to have the desire to do it yet, although she desperately WANTS to be a big girl and will tell you that big girls go on the potty chair.  We started too early with Monster Boy and it was a disaster, so we are taking our time with her.  Also, since she has another trip to Chicago coming up next week, I figured it would be better to wait until she is done with that before trying.  I know that the trip itself will be stressful enough, no need to add stress to Daddy Mac's trip!

We are still chugging along here as well - the new car is perfect for our family and even though it puts yet another strain on our finances, we are finding ways to make it work.  We certainly were careful not to purchase something outside of our budget, it's just that we were used to having that extra money every month that is now taken up by a car payment.  Add to that the fact that I have lost hours at work (a long story perhaps for another time) and it just makes our budget tighter.  We have many money saving plans in the works though, we just have to power through the next month or two and then things will be on a more even keel.

I have taken the steps needed to go back to school myself.  I already have a Bachelor's Degree from K-State (Kansas State University, for you non-local readers) but the degree itself is in Sociology and hasn't been much help in finding a job.  We've been tossing around the idea of me going back to school since I got laid off, and I finally bit the bullet and turned in my FAFSA and applied to two schools here locally - both of which I was accepted to.  I am working this week on getting all the rest of my paper work (transcripts, forms, etc) turned in for my financial aid, and then hopefully will be able to meet with an advisor some time in the next week or two at each school.  Then will come decision time.  I plan to go back to get my nursing degree - I just have to choose between an RN program or a BSN program - which will decide which school I will be attending.  (Of course, this requires applying and being accepted in to the programs, but I have faith I will get in, and the first semester I will actually be picking up a few required classes needed for this degree that I didn't have to have for my other degree).  I'm going to look at how long it will take for each degree - there is a possibility that because I already hold a BS, I may be able to complete the BSN in about the same time as the RN, and if that is the case, then I will go for the BSN.  Otherwise, I plan to pursue the RN. (Also known as the ASN).

Many changes are headed our way, I can feel.  For now, I am just working away at what I need to do to get to those points.  Wish us luck on our new journeys!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summertime fun

It is officially summer time here in our household.

We have spent the last few weeks adjusting to our new schedules, with Monster Boy being out of school, my work schedule changing again, baseball season starting up, and all the other fun activities we want to get in as well.

Monster Boy started baseball a few weeks ago.  So far, it is going marginally better than soccer, although I fear he has inherited my athletic ability - which is nil.  However, he has heart and a lot of it, and he certainly gives it his all.  At this age, that is all you can ask for, and as long as he enjoys playing whatever sport, I am supportive of that.  Just as I would be if he came to us and said he wanted to take ballet lessons.  To me, it isn't about him being the best at anything - I just want him to enjoy what he does.  If he happens to be good at something, well, so much the better.

Tonight was his second game.  I felt like he did fairly well at it.  He had a couple of actual hits (they don't keep score yet, and each child is thrown five pitches and if they haven't successfully hit the ball fair by the sixth pitch they hit off of a tee), got tagged out once at first (concentrating too hard on where the ball was and not where he was running to), tried to slide head first in to second - I don't think he realized sliding would HURT and he missed the base by about ten feet - but he did get up and manage to make it to second base before he collapsed in tears and I had to run out to the field, carrying Miss Sunshine, to get him.  After a quick once over, some walking around to stretch out his knee, which he said hurt, and some baby wipes to clean up his elbow and the palms of his hands, he was back in the game, and even managed to do some good fielding and score a run his next turn at bat.  He really seems to like this, I hope it continues.

Miss Sunshine is FINALLY getting her eyeteeth in.  Yes, she is nearly 29 months and still does not have all her teeth.  Since she didn't start teething until 15 months, I have not been letting myself worry too much over it - but it has been about six months since the last tooth she got, so I was beginning to wonder a bit.  But the right bottom tooth popped through the gums this weekend, and the left lower one is almost there.  The top still aren't nearly as close, but her gums are swelling so I can tell they are working their way in.  Unfortunately, this means I have a two year old with the attitude of a teething one year old right now.  It also means Miss Sunshine and Mommy both are not getting much sleep at all as she is waking up several times per night.  I'm not a big fan of dosing her up with Tylenol or Motrin unless it's really necessary, and she's not running fevers with these teeth.  She won't let me use Orajel on her at all - she screams bloody murder and then cries "It's too spicy, Mommy, too spicy" when I put it in her mouth.  I'm about at the point of giving her the medicine just so I can get a full night of sleep.

We also will finally meet our new speech therapist tomorrow!  We have been playing phone tag for literally weeks now - we did have an appointment scheduled for the middle of May, but then Miss Sunshine got sick and ever since then we have been just missing each other working on getting a new appointment scheduled.  We finally managed to connect last Friday and now have an appointment scheduled for her tomorrow morning.

Speaking of that appointment tomorrow morning, I'd better go finish cleaning up the kitchen and living room - Monster Boy and I did a lot of work in there today, but I still need to vacuum and mop, and I'd like to get to bed at a decent hour tonight!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rolling on

We bought a new car today.  Well, new to us, at least.  Amazingly, Daddy Mac's work was able to get him a phenomenal interest rate and a great price on a vehicle that will meet all of our needs.  It's a bit intimidating to think about having to have a car payment again - it's been three years since we've had one - but at the same time, it will be nice to have a newer, more reliable vehicle at our disposal.

Monster Boy still has a rash, and I am on the hunt for PABA free sunscreen.

Miss Sunshine has a major attack of allergies going on, and I feel so sorry for her.  Her nose is a constant faucet, she's sneezing like crazy, and even occasionally coughing from all of the drainage.  She has to be miserable, but she's putting up a good front.  She's still hyper and crazy like normal.  In fact, as I type this, I am listening to her tell her Minnie Mouse doll a story through the baby monitor, when she is supposed to be napping.

I am awash in a sea of never ending laundry today.  And I am almost out of detergent, which is not a good thing. I have no motivation whatsoever to go to the store to buy more, either.  And Daddy Mac is supposed to go play volleyball tonight.  He did mention the possibility of skipping this week, as today has just been one of those "I'm stressed out for really no reason" kind of days for me, and I think he knows that I would be much happier if he were home tonight instead of out.  Perhaps I will call him to verify this information, and request that he please pick up detergent, and something for dinner, on his way home.   I need to go grocery shopping, too, but I was hoping to be able to put that off for a day or two, until I am more motivated to actually tackle it.  The laundry, however, simply cannot be put off - especially after spending a weekend at the lake.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Rough waters ahead...

Sometimes, I feel like my life should be a script for a soap opera.

I'm trying not to be in a "poor me" mood today, but I'm only having moderate success at this.  I apologize in advance if this gets whiny, I'm really not trying to whine.

Miss Sunshine lost yet another ear tube recently.  The same ear we have had difficulty with all along.  She goes back to Shriner's for her cleft clinic at the end of this month, and I know this means another surgery, minor as it may be, for us.  Perhaps we will get lucky and there will be no fluid, but based on her behaviors since the tube fell out, I have a sneaking suspicion luck is not going to be on our side with this one.  I'm pretty sure her other tube will need to be replaced as well - it does not look like it is sitting correctly in her eardrum any longer.   I'm hoping this time they will go with a more permanent type of tube (it is similar to a metal grommet, rather than the plastic tubes they have been using up to now).  I know that going this route means a later surgery to remove those tubes and then a graft to patch her ear drum, but I'd really rather do that than have to continue with replacing her tubes every six months as we have been now.  Especially since she may need them up to the age of seven or eight years old.

Monster Boy has been having his own set of problems.  He has some of the most sensitive skin I have ever encountered (and I have fairly sensitive skin myself).  We went to the lake this weekend and I slathered him in sunscreen, as I am supposed to do.  He was fine the first hour or so of sun time.  And then he broke out into an awesome rash.  Head to toe.  And still has it.  The doctor told us to use his prescription hydrocortisone cream (did I mention he has really sensitive skin) to help with the rash and let him know if it doesn't clear up in a few days.  We are tossing around the possibility of him having something called Photoallergic eruption.  Essentially, it's an allergy that is created by a combination of some chemicals and sunlight.  Alone, without both components, he is not allergic to these items.  But combined, he is.  And we have no way of knowing WHAT chemical might be the trigger, although it is apparent that it is something found in sunscreen.  We are going to try out an all natural sunscreen to see if that works.  I do know that he can play outside without sunscreen with no issue.  And I can put sunscreen on him, but he won't have a reaction until he is outside with it on.  So I really have no idea what to do there.

As for Daddy Mac and I, well, relationship wise, things are great.  Unfortunately, our car engine blew this weekend.  And it's a twelve year old car - not really worth replacing the engine in.   Sigh.  We had been talking about buying a newer vehicle, but that was still about a year down the road.  Now we have to figure out a way to make it work before we were ready.  So, it's budget review time.  Because we have to squeeze a car payment out of somewhere.  Ah, well.  It will all work out in the end, or at least I'm holding out faith that it will.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

When did that happen?

Monster Boy "graduates" from Kindergarten tomorrow.

I'm always vastly amused by all the "graduations" they have out there now.  Monster Boy went to preschool for two years (three year old class and four year old class) and didn't have a "graduation" from either one, but I see many friends on Facebook with pictures of their kiddos in graduation gear.  Caps and gowns, the whole nine yards.  Now, I'm not saying anything against this.  At ALL.  I just find it amusing, is all.

They are having a little graduation ceremony for Monster Boy tomorrow.  Nothing big - no caps and gowns or anything of that nature.  Just a little presentation in his classroom before school lets out for friends and family.  He  is very excited.  I'm wondering how hot it's going to get in his classroom with all those people in there.

But, it's bittersweet.  I can't believe he's already in school, much less getting done with Kindergarten and getting ready to go to first grade.  And, I'm a sap, so I'll probably cry, or at least tear up, tomorrow in his classroom.

Miss Sunshine is getting a new speech therapist.  Her old therapist, who we love, is leaving the nonprofit that provides her care - they have had a lot of budget cuts this year, along with some other financial issues - so I'm not sure if this is a voluntary leaving or not, but she did call us personally to tell us that she was leaving and we would get a new therapist.  Which I thought was wonderful of her.  So now, we get to start new, with a new person.  Miss Sunshine is pretty reticent around strangers, so I imagine it's going to take some time to get her warmed up and we will be seeing more of the speech therapist than I'd like this summer.  That's okay, though, you can't get too much therapy, right?  I know that Miss Sunshine is well on track now, and our only major concern is her nasality.  I'm hoping that the new speech therapist feels the same way.

But, for now, I'm just going to go finish making dinner.  And wait for the rain to let up...

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I just got home from vacation.

A REAL vacation.  You know, the kind where you don't have to worry about if your kids are destroying something, or if that shopping excursion is going to turn your two year old into a demon if they miss their nap, or if that's a kid friendly restaurant you are headed to.  A child-free vacation.  I haven't had one of those since, well, I had kids.

I did miss my kids terribly.  And my husband horribly as well.  I talked to Daddy Mac daily, got updates on the kiddos, and even talked to Monster Boy and Miss Sunshine (who, in true "girl" fashion, monopolized the phone and refused to give it to anyone else for the duration of the call).

And now it's home again and back to the grind.  But I can still look at pictures of my feet on the beach and remember how nice it was when I need a little getaway...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I tend to avoid writing on here when something is particularly upsetting to me.  I might come back after a day or two to address what happened, when I am more calm and able to tell it in a funny or otherwise not angered way.  Today, I cannot do that.

I rarely use my blog to "address" things.  But something got called to my attention last night on Facebook that I simply CANNOT ignore.  I can't wait and let myself calm down about it.  It's something that NEEDS to be addressed, now.

In case you haven't seen what I'm about to go on a tirade about, well, here it is...


It is from New York Magazine.  They commissioned several cartoonists to make caricatures of Lady Gaga.  Most were typical - make her look like some kind of alien, robot, superhero.  Why THIS particular artist (Tim Hensley) chose to illustrate her with a cleft lip is BEYOND me.

I first saw this last night.  I didn't click on the image link when it appeared on my Facebook page, as I felt that the picture itself was offensive enough.  I made the mistake of clicking on it this morning.  Yes, the image is offensive.  But even more so, is the caption that the artist felt necessary to include.  Really?  REALLY?  "Birth  defect through elective surgery"??????  First of all, it CAN'T be a birth defect if elective surgery created it.  Secondly, we, as parents of cleft children, watch our children struggle SO MUCH with the surgeries to repair this and you are going to glamorize it?  This isn't even TOUCHING on my feelings about the phrase of "birth defect"  (I've said it before, and I'll say it again... My child is NOT defective.)

I know people speak before they think.  It happens.  I expect THAT.  This.  Well, there just aren't words strong enough for my distaste of this.  This is something that took time.  And thought.  And planning.  And never once, along the way, did it occur to you, Mr. Tim Hensley, that THIS was a BAD idea????????????  This isn't some fictional scenario.  People, children, are born, daily, with this condition.  A condition that requires numerous surgeries, starting as young in some cases as SIX WEEKS OLD.  Six weeks!  And you are going to make a cartoon out of it?  Our children face enough bullying and ridicule in this world, without taking in to consideration their clefts.  You, sir, have opened the door for even MORE opportunity for ridicule.  My daughter does not have a cleft lip.  She has a cleft palate.  But we are all one community, and I know I speak for many when I say "SHAME ON YOU."  Seriously, for shame.  To glamorize, to bring down, to ridicule, to make a joke out of what our children face every single day - the stares, the whispers, the surgeries, the pain, the scars...  I don't know your situation, sir.  I don't know what lead you to believe that this was somehow an appropriate thing to do.  But I can tell you that in all the cleft groups I belong to, there is an almost universal outcry of outrage over this.  That alone should tell you something.

I certainly hope that New York Magazine takes a step back to reflect on this.  I hope Tim Hensley reflects even more.  And then, I hope, that they issue an apology, an explanation of why he drew it and why they allowed it to go to publication - even if only online - and then I hope they do something productive, something POSITIVE, to highlight cleft awareness and what our children face daily.  Do NOT minimize this.  Do NOT push it under a rug.  We demand respect, for everyone who faces life with cleft.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms (any kind of moms) out there!

It's going to be a quiet day in the Mac household today.  I figure we got enough adventure yesterday that today we are going to take it easy.

Speaking of yesterday's adventures... Well, the day started off much as usual.  Daddy Mac headed off to work, the kiddos and I got up.  I settled Miss Sunshine into her booster seat with some yogurt for breakfast and started working on the sink full of dirty dishes I had in the kitchen.  My goal for the day was to get the house nice and clean before Daddy Mac got home from work.  Yeah, that didn't happen.  Ten minutes in to my cleaning day, I stabbed myself with a very sharp knife.  On the back of my hand right on top of my first knuckle.  Slid it in from the tip back about three quarters of an inch.  After staring stupidly at it for a minute, I ran it under some water and then applied pressure.  I had Monster Boy call Daddy Mac and tell him to come home to take me to the ER.  At this point, the only person in the house who is dressed is Monster Boy.  So I call my grandmother and ask her if she can come sit with the kids so they don't have to go with us to the ER.  Then I attempt to dress myself while my hand is still bleeding.  Managed to pull on shorts and a t-shirt.  I have not showered or anything.  Daddy Mac gets home and I have him get Miss Sunshine dressed and help me brush my hair.  I did mention I am right handed and I, of course, stabbed my right hand, didn't I?  My grandmother arrives and off we go... My biggest fear a this point is that I have hit a tendon with that darn knife.  After sitting in the ER for nearly two hours, they call me back, check it out, declare the tendon safe, toss a couple of stitches in there and send me on my way in roughly fifteen minutes.

So now I have to keep it clean and dry, and no swimming, which is less than ideal considering I leave for Florida in three days!  Such is life, I suppose.

Obviously today I am taking it easy - I'm still in quite a bit of pain (stitches really are painful - this is my first ever foray into the world of stitches despite two c-sections) from the cut and my tetanus shot - so I plan to pack for my trip and otherwise be lazy.  Lot of laundry needs to get done - I'm hopeful that maybe Daddy Mac will just pack it all up and head to the laundromat with it while Miss Sunshine naps... we shall see!