Monday, February 28, 2011

Who are these Imposters?

Friday night was not my friend. It all started when my son couldn’t find his beloved Hershey Bear. We searched high and low before bedtime but he was nowhere to be found. After much coaxing and hubby laying down in his bed with him for a bit, he fell asleep. Mommy enjoyed relaxing a bit and a little Twitter #wine party before heading upstairs. Not more than 30 minutes later he was awake and crying. I settled him back down and laid with him for a bit. This was repeated often over the next 2 hours before I finally accepted defeat and crawled into his bed for the rest of the night. It wasn’t pleasant for either of us I’m sure. He tends to move around in bed and a twin bed is not big enough for the two of us. Add my neck/shoulder/back problems and you can see that I was in trouble.

I rolled out of his bed about 6 a.m. and crept back to mine. I woke to my cell phone insistently demanding to be answered. I guess it was the second time my husband had tried to call. Oops! I was so tired that I slept through the first one and my alarm set for 7 a.m. never went off. It was now 8 a.m. and my son had to bed ready to leave for hockey by 8:30. Miraculously, I pulled my aching, sore self out of bed and woke the boy up. Even more surprising, he didn’t roll back over and go back to sleep. In record time I showered, got my daughter up, they both got dressed and we were out the door by 8:35. Not bad, I have to say.

I should have known something was wrong. I blamed all my aches and pains and exhaustion on a bad night of sleep in the boy’s bed. I couldn’t have been more wrong. There I was shivering at the rink trying to stay warm and awake enough to drive home. I’ve had plenty of Saturday mornings where I’m dead beat and I’ve never almost fallen asleep driving to and from the rink or sitting there watching the game.

I’m grateful that my kids chose to be understanding and good. Most of the time when I’m feeling off they tend to nag each other and me more. Not this time. Hallelujah! They got snacks and kept themselves entertained. Barely any arguments. I slept off and on from 11-5. I finally admitted the obvious. I had a nasty virus taking over my body. I took my temperature and it was 100.4. That said it all. I was supposed to go to mommies night out at a friend’s house. That was out.

My husband was very understanding too, if not as attentive as I would like. I’m not complaining, just stating a fact. He did keep the kids occupied and would send them up periodically to see how I was doing, get me some food or water. Again, a very grateful, sick mommy.

I’m feeling better today. Hubby understood that even though my fever is gone and I’m not so achy that I’m exhausted and need rest. The kids have been off for the past week and go back tomorrow. I need to be as close to 100% as possible. He got them out of the house and took them to the rink for a few hours. It’s peaceful and quiet now. Now time to nap.

Later, I’m going to blog about what a bad, sick mommy I was.

P.S. Hubby did all the dishes for me too! I was so excited. I guess between him and the kids there were almost no plates, bowls or silverware to be had.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lost in a moment

Do you ever just wake up in the morning in a mood, be it good, bad or otherwise?  Lately, my main mood is tired.  As I've posted, my son hasn't been sleeping well because of nightmares.  Therefore, I haven't been sleeping well.  It's gotten better but I'm still exhausted.  Enough said.
This morning I woke up around 6 because said son wanted to climb into bed with us.  Husband had a rare day of going into work late.  So, I slid over and he snuggled up to me for a while before the two of them were up and off to watch tv and eat breakfast.
I layed there half asleep, willing myself to go back to bed.  It wasn't to be had of course.  So, I do what I always do when I'm tired in bed and can't sleep.  I got on my handy dandy phone and checkout out twitter and facebook.  I'm a self proclaimed twitter addict. 
However, I had one of those "lost in a moment" moments when I went onto facebook.  For those of you have been reading my blog a while you'll know about my ex-bullying mommy friend.  We're no long friends on facebook and she blocked me.  Which I'm more than fine with.  However, we share a few mutual friends.  It breaks my heart when I see posts that she's obviously responding too.  I don't miss the friendship.  That's not what gave me pause or put me into the moment.  It's the feeling of waste.  The time and energy I wasted in that friendship.  The effects it had on both of my children.  I mourn the peace on the block.  It's hard to be neighbors with this family. 
Seeing this just put me in a sad mood.  I miss not feeling comfortable walking past their house or seeing them in the school yard.  I miss my kids being friends with theirs.  Not because they needed those friendships but because of the peace and comfort of everyday life.
Conflict makes me sad and uncomfortable.  Does this make sense?  I've moved past the moment but will forever mourn the past.  Hopefully one day, I will be fully comfortable and at peace again.
Do you have someone in your life that makes you feel this way?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mommy "Me" time

Hallelujah, my dad took the kids for a few hours and gave me my sanity temporarily back.  My dad may drive me nuts but for this I thank him from the bottom of my heart.  He said he misses the little monsters.  He hasn't seen them much this winter even though him and my mom live next door.  There's been various colds and viruses around and I didn't want the kids over there catching them.  Long story mom is always sick.  She doesn't take care of herself, never leaves the house and is a slob disorganized mess.  She's the opposite of my father in many ways.  Plus she smokes.  The house reeks of it and she claims to smoke "outside".  That's what she calls opening the door a crack and puffing out it.  Ok, enough of my ranting and back to the subject at hand.  SANITY!  Mine to be exact.
Grandpa is taking the kids out to see the movie Gnomio and Juliet.  He wanted to take them last week after school one day but I had to put my foot down.  As nice as the quiet would've been I would've been paying for it after with a rushed dinner, showers and homework.  So not worth it.  My kids know how to get him to spoil them too.  He'll be treating them to popcorn and soda.  I try to limit soda in the house and my popcorn is the lite version.  They will be in heaven.
There are so many things I could do with these few hours but I'm going to keep it simple.  I just had a nice, relaxing soak in the tub while reading Kate White's "Hush".  I put on clean pjs and I'm relaxing here at the computer.  I have a bottle of water and a plate of nice red, juicy strawberries at my disposal.  the news is on low so I can listen to anything that catches my interest.  I'm blocking out all the war and violent stuff.   It just depresses me and I chose not to hear it right now.
In a bit I'll make myself a light lunch, meal plan for the rest of the week since the last two days were too hectic and maybe (just maybe) start laundry and do the dishes.  I could pass on both items but I'm all out of comfy pants and I hate looking at dirty dishes (since my dishwasher has been broke for almost 2 yrs).
But for now, I'm just going to kick back and relax.  A nap, while tempting, isn't on the agenda because I want to be awake to enjoy the serenity of it all.
Jealous, aren't you?!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Apple Delight Quesadillas

I wanted to share a yummy dessert I threw together.  You can either use the recipe for Warm Cinnamon Apples or a can of apple pie filling. 
My kids fell in love with the combination of the crisp outer layer, warm melty cheese and syrupy sweetness of the apples.  They have already begged me to make it again. 
I love that this is quick, easy, nutritious (sugar can be adjusted or sugar free pie filling can be used) and inexpensive. It's also very versatile.  You can substitute other fruits or pie fillings....i.e. cherry, blueberry, bananas and more.  Enjoy!

Apple Delight Quesadillas


Flour Tortilla Shells (taco size)
Warm Cinnamon Apples (recipe below) or 1 can apple pie filling
cream cheese (I use light cream cheese)
cooking spray


1. Spray small skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium
2. Lightly spray one side of tortilla with cooking spray
3. Flip tortilla over and lightly spread with cream cheese
4. Take a spoonful of cinnamon apples/pie filling and place on half the tortilla
5. Fold over creating a semi-circle and place in heated skillet
6. When first side is browned flip over and repeat
7. Slide onto plate and enjoy!

***for an extra yummy treat you can sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or top with ice cream.
Warm Cinnamon Apples


4 McIntosh apples, peeled and sliced (about 2 lb.)
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon butter


1. Toss together apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in Ziploc bag.
2. Cook apple mixture, 2 Tbsp. water, and 1 Tbsp. butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes or until apples are tender

The Warm Cinnamon Apples are also a perfect addition to breakfast over oatmeal or a side for dinnertime.  This is also a family favorite that I serve quite often.

I hope everyone enjoys these.  Feed back appreciated!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Daytime fears bring Nighttime nightmares

Every child has bad dreams from time to time, nightmares we call them.  Some are mild and others are strong.  Some children have them more frequently and worse than others.  The important thing is to speak openly to our child(ren) about them and try to understand what triggers them.  With listening and understanding we can make it better, if only for a little while.
By looking at my 8 year old son you would have no idea that he suffers "chronically" from nightmares.  He has a strong, stubborn personality.  A tough exterior.  Maybe the nightmares have made this a coping mechanism.  I'm not a psychologist, so I don't know.  He is also outgoing and friendly.  I'm glad for these characteristics.  I worry that the nightmares will turn him into a quiet, sullen child.  At this time he saves those mood only for me. It's a blessing and a curse. Especially on mornings after long nights of tossing, turning, moaning and crying.  Sometimes he sleeps through the moaning and crying, though it can appear he's awake.  Other times he is awake...wide eyed and terrified.
As a toddler he had what is called night terrors.  These are very strong dreams where the child screams, cries, shakes uncontrollably.  They can be as stiff as a board with their eyes wide open with terror.  I never got use to them.  Never wake a child from these.  I would attempt to carefully guide him back to bed if he was out of it.  I would rub his back and whisper to him softly.  Eventually, after what seems like hours, he would calm and fall back to sleep.  He's slowly grown out of the worst of these.  Those seemed to be more like faceless fears, if that makes sense.  His nightmares seem cyclic almost.  The fears always seem to be simmering under the surface and something will bring them back to the forefront of his mind and it's off and running.  In November (thru late January) of 2009 it was the movie "Home Alone" that set them off.  He had seen the movie numerous times before with no negative reactions.  Seeing it that time though brought everything on.  It started when he was afraid to go upstairs.  He was sure someone was in his room with a gun.  The nights following that we're rough.  Crying before bedtime and nights riddled with nightmares from the moment his eyes closed until the wee hours of the morning.  Then, they slowly subsided.  Before and since then, some of his fears are: someone breaking in, guns, ghosts, monsters (this one I think is resolved) and fire (major house fire in our community on Christmas 2010) to name the main ones.  Oddly enough, he is not afraid of the dark.  Though sometimes shadows will effect him.
All kids have fear.  I realize this.  But these constant fears are gripping and squeezing the life out of him.  It effects not only how he sleeps but how he functions the next day.  So far, his nighttime fears are not obvious to the outside world.  By this I mean, he contains it to home.  I think it would really effect his mental state more if he had problems while he was in school or socializing with friends.  I want to do what's best for him and I don't know what that is.  I've read that some people say that you should acknowledge to the child that it's ok to be afraid and determine ways to handle it.  That approach makes the most sense to me and it's how I've been proceeding.  Others say that parents should be firm that there are no such thing as ghosts and to basically tell the child to suck it up.  I just can't do this one.  I feel that would just weaken his fragile mental state at this point. Am I wrong?  It's so hard to know what the right thing is for a child.  Especially since he is not 4 years old.  He can vocalize more of his fears but being older makes it harder in many ways.  I don't want to provide him with a crutch but I do want him to become strong mentally/emotionally and accept his fears.
One major stumbling block right now is my husband.  I feel he doesn't understand that our sons fears are concrete, real to him.  I patiently try to talk to Jacob about what is going on in his dreams and to brainstorm ways for him to cope.  Realistically, they are not just going to go away because we're willing it away.  I do have nights and mornings where I am cranky and do not handle it properly.  Those times I deeply regret because I know it's not his fault.  My husband does not take the same approach as me and I worry that this could be doing more harm than good to my son. Sometimes he is patient and understanding and I cheer.  But most times he just repeatedly tells our son that his dreams are not real, they can't hurt him and he'll then play on the fear.  This makes my son cry.  I'm sure it makes him very uncomfortable and self conscious.   i.e. the other night my son didn't want to go upstairs to get ready for bed because he was afraid of ghosts being up there.  We both rationally tried to tell him that it was ok and that his sister was already up in bed.  He still refused to go up alone.  My husband said he would go up with him.  Then said, I'll meet you up there.  That, to no surprise, didn't fly. Don't say you'll go up with him and then say you'll meet him.  It's not the same.  So, hubby went up before him and then right before son got to the stairs there's hubby at the top of the stairs with a dark blanket wrapped around him and a Storm Troopers helmet on.  Way to scare the kid more.  Sometimes, he'll even call him a sissy or a girl.  I guess he thinks it's all in good fun and that it'll toughen our son up. I feel it whittles away self confidence.  We've gotten into many disagreements on how to handle this.  It saddens me that he is too stubborn to see the potential damage he is causing with his actions.
We've been struggling with this for years now.  I don't know what to do.  Is it "normal" for 8 year olds to have constant nightmares?  I just don't know.  I would love to take him to a therapist but our health insurance, like many Americans, is horrible.  We have to meet a $3500 individual deductible before they will cover anything.  My heart is breaking and I don't know where to turn.

Friday, February 18, 2011

My body is falling piece at a time

Sitting in a chair once more at PT. This is the end of week 2 of 8 weeks. As my Twitter followers know...I threw my back out in late January from just coughing. Originally, I hurt my lower back at work back in July of 2009. I was lifting heavy boxes and compensating for my neck/shoulder injury a few years back. BAM! The back seized up and the rest is history.
I re-aggravated the neck/shoulder in October of 2009. Once again, I was working. I couldn't seem to catch a break. I started PT and was doing it fairly consistently until August 2010. At that point I was cut off and I've been making due. Then with that fateful sneeze I laid myself up for 4 days and a trip to my doctors.
So far, the PT on my back seems to be helping. Unfortunately, it has aggravated the neck. We're trying to put as little stress on it as possible. I had PT Wednesday morning. That night my neck/shoulder were tight and I had a horrible tension headache. Headache is gone now but the tension is still there. Praying they don't torture me too much today. I don't want another tension headache and the additional pain that comes.
Update:  Yep, I was tortured.  We agreed to adjust the one exercise that is similar to a push up with a hold count of 10 seconds.  It puts too much stress on my neck.  But there is now added torture.  I have to get up on all fours with my back like a table.  I have to alternate raising my left arm out in front of me and then the right.  10 times each.  Then the same with each legs.  If that isn't bad enough the final one is where I where I stretch out the right arm and the  left leg at the same time and then alternate it with the opposite....10 times each.  Oh the torture of it. The good news is that I didn't feel like I was straining the neck area as much. 
The major torture came when my therapist did this really light pinch/roll across my lower back.  It shouldn't hurt.  I'm so tight it felt like he was either pinching my with all  his might or giving me shots with a needle.  Thank goodness we have a good relationship because I told him numerous time that I hated him and that he was taking pleasure in my pain.  He knows I wasn't serious, but damn that hurt a lot! He says it's really tense.  It does feel looser since his torture.  Now I have to drink lots and lots of water he said because he released something in my skin and I'll dehydrate easy.  So, I'm on my third glass of water. 
Hoping next week brings less torture.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Too much quiet isn't always a good thing

The house has been errily quiet since 7:45 tonight. Why you may ask? Us moms pray and dance to the gods for nights like this. However, when we get that rate gift we don't know what to do with it.
Little Bee went over a friends house at 4:30 to sleep over. It's 3 houses down the street. At 6 she claims to be a master overnight guest and can recount every sleepover she's had since October.
The house definitely got a bit quieter when she left because my son had no one to torment. Or so it seemed. My stepdaughter, Kay, is over this weekend so he dogged her nonstop. It's sweet for the most part but can become annoying as he follows you up to the bathroom or drapes his 80+ lb body over you while watching tv.
Grandma invited him to sleepover since grandpa is working overnight. So he headed over there before 8. This after refusing to go upstairs to use the bathroom because he was suddenly afraid of ghosts. I guess grandma had Ghost Hunters in earlier when he stopped in after hockey. We were ready to push him out the door. My patents live next door to us, so it's easy. We were longing for peace and quiet.
We chowed down on the chocolate chip cookies I made and watched Wedding Crashers. Then it just got quiet as Kay decided to go upstairs and Skype with some of her girlfriends. It's too quiet here. It is after midnight, but usually the boy is in his bedroom next to ours tossing about and mumbling. He is a very restless sleeper.
I'll have to make due with the dinging of the heating vents or I'll never go to sleep. I'm beat and tomorrow (well, actually later this morning) is a big day in our house. Little Bee is skating in her first competition. Wish her luck (and mommy 7 hrs of good sleep!).
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Friday, February 11, 2011

Bullying through my eyes

Earlier this week I was privileged to participate on a Twitter chat (#ptchat) concerning bullying. The chat focused on girl bullies. Bullying is a topic extremely close to my heart. I was bullied as a child from fourth to twelfth grade. I will not tolerate bullying in my children or others. I think I'm going to make this an ongoing topic in my blog.
This post will touch upon my bullying experiences. I was a shy, introverted child. My father worked long hours and my mother was a housewife. I got along well with my peers as most kids do in the early years of school.
In fourth grade my school district took its third elementary school and divided the students between the two remaining schools. My tormentor came from this school. I was a tiny child, one of the smallest in that grade. Believe it or not, this girl was smaller than me. Looking back I believe she picked on me to raise herself up and put herself into a power position. Bullying can be about self esteem/self image.  She wasn't confident in herself because of her height and this was her compensation mechanism. Sad, but true I believe.
A lot of my memories are muddled with time and the need to forget the painful details. This girl was just mean. Plain and simple. I didn't provoke her. We had no shared history. Life was hard enough as it was because my family was struggling financially and my mom rarely left the house. I was not active in any activities because my dad was never home and my mom full of excuses.
One clear memory is of this girl approaching me in the bathroom during fourth grade. It was one of those times before/after lunch where the whole class lines up and walks together to go. She got in my face and threatened to beat me up. No provocation at all. I remember trembling and trying not to cry. I was terrified by this pint size bitch. No one stepped in on my behalf. I honestly don't recall how many girls witnessed this. It may have just been the two of us.  I've obviously blocked it. I wish I had the strength to stand up for myself or tell the teacher. My teacher wasn't really the approachable type, so the idea barely crossed my mind.
Over the years it progressed from there. It wasn't always that girl. It was other girls that got pleasure from taunting a shy child that was awkward in her own skin. The boys joined in too. I was called names, snickered at and made fun of in so many ways. Thank goodness I was never physically hurt. I was hurt mentally and emotionally which is just as bad. I'm glad details have faded because I learned to move past it. It didn't help that my mom was socially awkward.  I had no one to guide me into womanhood.  I learned on my own how to do my hair, make up and try to take care of my acne ridden face.  My parents didn't consider buying me any special skin products or take me to a dermatologist.  That opened me to more bullying and my self confidence was already low.  I started wearing glasses in fifth grade.  There was no such thing as thinner lens then.  Mine were extremely thick and I had the ugliest plastic frames.  My self image was zero.
I try to focus on the positive now that I'm older.  There was some good that came from this though it took years to develop.  I was struggling in school until half way through fifth grade. I started focusing on school work since I had to social life. My overall grades went up and I became a much better reader.
I had neighborhood kids that would play with me some days after school but would not hesitate to cut me down in school. It made then feel cool, I'm sure. We moved between sixth and seventh grade. I didn't change middle schools but I did move to a new neighborhood, a few houses from an acquaintance. We became good friends and I slowly allowed myself to open enough to become close friends with two other girls. These three girls gave me strength and confidence. I came out of my shell around them. I became a leader, even if it was only in our small group. Though I was still bullied daily these girls helped change my life. In essence, they saved me.
There were definitely moments where I hated my life. I would cry and rally to God asking him why me. I had dark, depressive days. I thought about ending it all some days because the mental, emotional pain was more than I thought I could bear. But, I found reasons to keep going. My tight knit group of friends gave me that. I was a different person in school than I was at home. They saved my life because I never went further than thinking of ending it. I never acted. I found positive things to focus on and get through those dreadfully bleak hours.
Parents, please keep an open dialogue with your children. They may not always want to talk but they will know you are there. Listen and try not to judge. Don't always offer advice. Sometimes that's not what they need. Be supportive. Look for changes in behavior, even if it's minor. Make your presence known in school. Be a positive influence. Teachers and other parents are more likely to approach you if you make yourself available. Be nice and supportive of their friends. They may come to you in confidence if they think something is wrong with your child. You set the tone. You're the adult. Be aware of those who negatively influence your child. Handle them accordingly without banning them from your child's life. If you do, you child will find ways to defy you. Sometimes it's about subtly. Be subtle and your child will eventually see that negative influence themselves.
Be there. Listen. Support. Help stop bullying.
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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Winter Rant that Went South

Oh my God! I’m about to lose my mind! Actually, I’m sure I’ve already lost it. Why, you might ask? Winter is insanity! It needs to be renamed something special because this is beyond winter. It’s EXTREME winter. The winter from hell, if there’s such a thing since snow and ice would melt and then boil in hell. But, I digress. This particular winter has stolen my sanity. I’m so tired of having to juggle things, reschedule appointments, entertain my cabin fevered kids and finally deal with my crazy ass Father. There, I said it! Crazy ass Father. He’s honestly the thing that drives me most insane. Beyond insane. I’m actually going to start a blog dedicated to him and my mom. See, they live next door to us. And not just any old next door, but 2 family house next door. Trust me, it’s worse. I love my parents. I really do. I don’t know why I feel I have to stress that but I do. Maybe it’s because I feel so guilty about the way I feel. And don’t judge unless you’ve been in my shoes. I don’t think many could live this close to their parents or in-laws without some type of WWIII occurring occasionally. As they, are our parents, tend to think they know more about how we should live our life and perhaps raise our kids. I guess I should count myself lucky that the in-laws don’t live closer. Dad insanity today started last night. I got the “back your van down to the bottom of the driveway” lecture. I didn’t want to because A) I still had errands to run and B) I’m tired of being the one to back my big ass van down the narrow driveway that’s on a hill. We can’t pull in and turn around anymore because we didn’t shovel everything out after the first storm and it’s now frozen solid. My hubby always is at the top because he leaves for work by 4 a.m. or earlier during bad weather. Hubby decided to park on the street last night because he almost got stuck on an icy spot on the driveway. Dear Father, after hearing Hubby spinning his wheels in the driveway, decided to go and park there without putting ice melt down. I get up this morning at 5 and see that there’s way more snow outside then we were supposed to get. I need to get off the street so the plows can get by and I don’t get towed. I have to call the Father and ask him to finish pulling down because I need to get into the driveway. We do have a municipal lot nearby but it’s always full from overnight parking. Can you even imagine the lecture I got about not putting my van down there yesterday evening? Oh my goodness, you would think that I asked him to dance naked outside in the snow. Like a 2 year old he yells at me over the phone. I can hear him on the other side of the wall stomping down the stairs. He slams out of his house and pounds his fist on my front door. Amazingly, the kids don’t wake up. I’m thankful for this. He spins his tires on the ice trying to pull out so he can back in. I guess he should’ve taken his own advice. Pissed, he finally just pulls all the way down the driveway and slams back into his house. I get a call minutes later that I let go to voicemail And what do you think it said? I’ll let your imagination run wild….I can say the words “fuck” and “bitch” were used. Breaks my heart that my father can not be a rational human being and thinks it’s okay to talk to people that way. Especially his own flesh and blood.

Sorry for the rant. This post was really supposed to be on how much I hate this winter. Dear Dad’s grumpiness and poor attitude doesn’t help. This weather brings out the worst in him. He’s going to be really pissy when he has to snow blow/shovel. I’m not supposed to do it because of my neck/shoulder injury. I’m never going to hear the end on what a bad daughter I am. Can we move now because this has gotten old in the last two and a half years. BTW….we carry 65-70% of the mortgage but he acts as though he’s doing us a favor. We need to get out of this craziness. Wish us luck and sanity!