Friday, September 25, 2015

This was the awesomest, softest astrotuf I have ever beheld.  I really, really, really want some.  The grass in Texas hurts.  Super pointy.  Also, fire ants.

You guys, my kids are sad.  It's okay to be sad.  But this is a new kind of sad.  They wake up and are kind of okay.  We laugh, dance to some silly GoNoodle videos and I tell them I love them a lot.  Then they go to school.  I wait 8 hours.  Impatiently.  Then I pick them up.  They aren't smiling.  WonderGirl hugs me really tight.  The Dude is looking at the ground.  I take them home and we snack on treats.  We snuggle.  The smiles slowly return.  But not all the way.  We read, snuggle hug and kiss, and then they go to sleep and it starts all over again.

We are trying really hard to make life cheery.  We go to the beach, we sneak out for treats, we swim, we have dance parties with a wicked cool laser.  But school is just... intense.  It's cold.  I can't describe it.  They come home sad.

I put these notes in his lunchbox:

But they still come home sad.  Moving is hard.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

and everything is okay. really.

I've spent a year trying to put my thoughts together.  This year has been difficult jam-packed.  I can't narrow it down to just challenges, triumphs, heartache or adventures - because it's been all of them.  Usually at the same time.

A year ago, the Dude was diagnosed with autism.

Not every therapist and doctor we have worked with has agreed that this was the exact fit for him, but they all agreed that it was the diagnosis that was universally accepted and would get him the attention he needs no matter where we lived.  I've had multiple counselors tell me they didn't think autism was the right fit because the other people in his school with autism had much more difficult symptoms, and they don't want him to be slapped with a label.  A stigma.

I'm not saying that to belittle the well meaning counselors who have said it.  I'm saying that if I didn't get this label for him, he'd instead have other labels.  Clumsy.  Obsessed.  Emotionally supercharged.

I've been to so many therapists, specialists and doctors, and have filled out questionnaire after questionnaire about him.  The "no" or "seldom" column is checked more often than not, and as I run down the lists of issues he doesn't have, I remind myself to be thankful that his challenges are snack-sized.

We have been blessed by amazing angels and therapists to guide us from 18 months on.  As much as I wanted to ignore it - and I REALLY wanted to - I couldn't.  I believe in God for many reasons, but one of the biggest is that He has shown time and time again that He LOVES the Dude and has made sure he has had the very best chance to be his best.

Sometime I think his biggest challenge is his sweet heart. He feels things more than anyone I've ever known.  His joy, sadness, and everything in between are so powerful, I don't know how he he has strength to do anything other than just sit around and feel.  EVERYTHING. And right now, with this move and the death of his grandma, his feelings are powerfully difficult to manage.  I'm so grateful he can articulate what he is feeling, but the weight of them are so great, I'm amazed at how he can function at all.

I don't know if you can see it, but this was the happiest, most excited moment of any human thatI have ever witnessed right here.  He was shaking - I literally thought he was going to explode.
If I didn't know that his body just didn't react to life like most other people, I'd be obsessed with thoughts of  maybe he's just breaking down because I haven't taught him as well as I should have... maybe he just needs more xyz... maybe if he just buckles down.... "  I would think this was an issue I could just hope away, work away, pray away, teach away.

I would have.  But I never got the chance.  And I'm grateful for that.

I'm writing this for anyone out there who might have a triangle-shaped child who is struggling to be pushed into a square hole.  It's okay.  Ignoring it and hoping it will get better will only hurt them.  I'm saying that because I have been blessed to be dragged into accepting all of this for years, but I know that if I hadn't been blessed by so many strong and wise voices, I would have tried to sweep it under the rug.  I'm an ostrich at heart (so many metaphors... )  Embracing it and then running with it helps them, and it helps you.  Miracles abound.

Years ago, one of my favorite bloggers in the history of ever posted about her son's diagnosis, and it stuck with me.  Like superglue.  You should go read it here.  And then just read her entire blog top to bottom because it's that awesome.  I've gone back to that post time and time again, sometimes just to read the last sentence:

we have autism and everything is going to be okay.

We have autism.  And everything is going to be okay.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

this picture has no connection to any of the content of this post.

We are in Texas.  School starts next week.  The Dude turned 6 and I inadvertently invited 30 children over to my house for a party.  I did not know 90% of them, but that's neither here nor there.  I am a veteran of accidentally inviting hoards of children to birthday parties.

I will get back to regular sporadic blogging once school starts.  Spoiler alert: I'll be a blubbery mess.

PS - Our Wisconsin house is under contract again and should be closing in the next weeks... fingers crossed!

Monday, August 3, 2015

thank you, Colorado.

My month in Colorado is done. We have a house we're renting for a year in Houston, our stuff was delivered there this morning, our house in Wisconsin is under contract again (fingers crossed!),  and we just picked up the husband at DIA so he could drive us down. I kept swearing I could do it alone,  but he insisted. I don't blame him,  he loves us and I'm a pretty terrible driver.
The kids are really nervous about being the New Kids,  but I think I might be more nervous. Does that fear ever go away?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Till we meet...

I can tell myself how wonderful it is that she's no longer in pain.  I can tell myself how thankful I am for the knowledge that she is wildly happy to be with her ancestors.  I can tell myself how wonderful it is that we are all sealed together for eternity.

But it doesn't stop the ache when my kids cry for her.  At least I'm comforted by the fact that they have a lifetime of examples of a wonderful Nana to inspire them.  Me too.

Monday, July 13, 2015

summer 2015

I'm filling out an application for a rental property in Houston right now, and some of the questions are... personal.  My credit history I get, but my height and weight?

When we last met, my summer was roaring towards some sort of plan.  The actual application of the plan has been a little messy.  We had a contract on the house in Wisconsin and an idea of what house house we were going to buy in Texas.  But then buyers couldn't get funding and that fell through, so the house is still on the market and the likelihood of finding one in Texas is kinda looking like mission impossible.

So that's up in the air.  But I'm here in Colorado with my parents, trying to keep the kids from freaking out.  They miss the home they knew and are scared about the new one.  I can't blame them.  I'm also trying to help them understand what hospice is and why Nana (husband's mom) is there, and that she won't be on earth for very long.  Heck, I'm trying to understand that for myself.

There have been so many tender mercies along the way this summer - and all in all, there are adventures being had and happy memories being made.  But I wonder what what I'll recall about this summer when I look back years from now.  I hope I can still recall the good memories over all the big scary tornado-y winds.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

road trip

Current location : somewhere in Tennessee.

Destination : a wee bit of Georgia for my 8th year as a Blarney Girl at the Scottish festival up in the freaking gorgeous north Georgia mountains.

Next up : back to Wisconsin to pack like a fiend for just under 2 weeks.

And then : head to Colorado for a month to hang with my parents.   (AWESOMESAUCE)

And then then : to Texas,  where we hope all will be good with the nice house we're buying with an orange tree in the back.

Also of note : the husband cut my hair and it was actually really good.

Also also : cross your fingers please? Here's to hoping for smooth sailing...

Also also also : I need to buy shorts.. I'm already dying in 80 degrees. If anyone has tips on how to survive a southern summer,  I'm all ears.

Monday, May 18, 2015

sweet release

Yesterday, in anticipation of our move, the hubs was released as bishop of our ward.  Of course, I bawled all morning. I was unprepared for the mad rush of feels for the ways he has been strengthened and we have been blessed.  I also didn't realize how chaotic the norm had been until after the meeting was all over.  It's hard to explain, but I'd gotten used to not having a husband at church. I don't mean that in a negative way - I learned that the best thing I could do for him was to stay back and give him space to let him do what he needed to do.  In the process, I was crazy blessed with help from those around me.

And then all of the sudden, I had him back.  The weight he had been carrying was visibly gone.  I can't even describe it - it really was something I could see as much as sense.  He got home and rested for the first time in so long that I can't even remember.  I'm grateful for the journey.  I'm also grateful for the little breaks along the way.

Now if someone would just get on up and buy our house, we could get on to the next adventure... (I'm also tired of keeping it "show" clean.  NOT NATURAL.)

Monday, May 11, 2015


Womanhood and motherhood look different in every woman.  I've met many who just seem to take to it like a duck to water, but after being a mom for so long, I've learned that it's a crazy endeavor for everyone anyways.  To anyone who has been reading this since I started this motherhood thing, it's pretty obvious I was not a duck.  I'm still not a duck, but I'm getting closer.  Motherhood was not something that has come naturally to me, and that's even before the insane breastfeeding psychosis and mental problems that are kept at bay by a large amount of daily medications (and chocolate).

That being said, I've been blessed far beyond what I deserve.  For all the mistakes and messes I've made of these poor kids' lives, they came to me brilliant and resilient to compensate.  I mean, for someone who clearly did not have any idea or inclination of how to be a mom, I sure did end up with some freaky awesome humans.

And that is why I believe in God.  He knows me, He knows them, and He is with us.  I can't do this on my own, but with Him, we are doing it.

Happy Uterus Awareness Day!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

status update

I'm in Houston scouting out the scene this weekend with the hubs and my sainted,  perfect, amazing, incredible, awesomesauce mom is watching the kids back in Wisconsin.

We skyped briefly this afternoon and I asked if they were being good to Gamma. They agreed that she was,  but then added this :

WonderGirl: But she doesn't like marshmallows!
The Dude: She's trying to kill us!

Sounds about right. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Letters to my daughter #5

I have to write this down before I forget.  I want to remember it and I want you to have this to look back on someday if you are lucky enough to have an amazing kid like I do.


When I picked you up from school yesterday, you looked worried.

"I had to go to the nurse today.  When I bit into my sandwich at lunch, my loose tooth got twisted around and really hurt."

"Ugh, I'm sorry.  What did she do?"

"She gave me some ice."  You paused. "She told me there was no such thing as the tooth fairy."

Mental note: write strongly-worded note to school nurse. "What did you say?"

"I told her I already knew that." Another pause. "You and dad are the tooth fairy, right?"

Oh, those questions.  You've probably noticed that I've been dodging them for a while.  Remember, I've never been a mom before so everything you're experiencing for the first time as a kid, I'm experiencing for the first time as a mom.  That means I'm just starting to figure these things out... so I punted.

"You should ask dad."

Later on, your tooth got realllly twisted and you were bleeding and screaming and crying, and I couldn't help but smile.  I'm so sorry, I know you were scared.  But it was really kind of funny and if I'd been heartless enough to film it instead of get you ice and some tissues, you would have watched it later and laughed too.  And then as fast as your screaming started, the tooth simply fell out and the drama was over. (for you, anyway.)

You decided to slip it under your pillow, just in case.

This morning I was woken up by your beautiful face and a gold dollar that you held up to my nose.  This time, you were not to be deterred.

"Did you do this?  I mean, there's no such thing as the tooth fairy, right?  Right?"

I took a deep breath.

"Raising kids is a huge job for moms and dads, right?"  You nodded.  You were finally going to get answers and were not about to interrupt.

"One of our jobs is to help you believe in magic. We have to help you grow an imagination that can do amazing things for the world. One of the ways we help you believe you in magic is by being a little magic ourselves.  Does that make sense?"

Emphatic nodding accompanied by the sweetest, most understanding smile.

"Being the tooth fairy helps us to be just a little magical.  Can you let us be magical?"

Fast nodding.

"So this world-wide conspiracy of the tooth fairy is - "

"Actually not worldwide," you interjected. "In Russia for example, there's this mouse that - "

"Fine, this household-wide conspiracy is to help bring some imagination and magic to our family.  Can you help me keep the magic going?  Don't tell the boys yet?"

"Yes," you smiled even wider.

"Will you let me keep being the tooth fairy?" I asked.

"Yes," you said. You gave me a hug and made me feel magical.  Thank you so much for that.  That's one of the things I hadn't expected to enjoy quite so much as a parent.  I thought I'd feel left out because there was no fairy bringing ME stuff anymore, but for some crazy reason, being the fairy is even better.

You continued - "and just because it's magic doesn't mean it's imaginary.  Like this one dragon that has adapted to live in Antarctica.."

At this point I can't remember all the details, but you went on a dragon tangent while I dragged myself out of bed to be the Breakfast Fairy and the Lunch Packing Fairy.

And then, you were nice enough to pose for about 20 pictures until I got it right (sorry it takes me so many tries.  This is just another thing I'm learning).

I really wanted to remember this moment.  Thank you.

I love you so much it's kind of redonkulous.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

moving update

SO.  We're listing the house.  That means it has to be clean.  CLEAN.  I DO NOT DO CLEAN.  This might just kill me.

We've been attempting to take pictures of the house in the brief moments when things are clean.  Behold, a picture of our kitchen that isn't a disaster:

Of course, this is what the room next to it looked like:


My superawesome mom is coming this weekend to watch the humans I spawned so the hubs and I can head out to check out the area we've decided to focus our house/school hunt on in Houston.  I've actually never even been to Houston.  Ever.  And I'm kind of sort of terrified.  Because a few years ago we went to Austin to scope things out when there was a job offer out there, and I can't say I cared for it.  I know everyone says Austin is the best part of Texas, but I lived in Denton (north TX) for 5 years and Austin looked a lot like Denton to me.  Wonderful people, uuuuugly landscape.  And the houses are on top of each other.

My current view and house are pretty ideal.  Nice big yard, at the end of a street, across from a park, safe neighborhood?  I don't know if I can count on getting any of those in our price range in Houston.  Ulp.

Wish me luck.  Please.