Wednesday, April 25, 2012

We Are Essentially on 34th Street

Miracles do happen.  I am starting to believe there might actually be a Santa, an Easter Bunny, a genuine chance that my VitaMix might transform my skin into JLo quality glow and beauty.

First, Cole successfully attended, participated in, and completed an entire swim lesson on Tuesday. After being asked to leave his prior swim lesson, and then his gymnastics class on Monday I had little hope this might ever happen.  It was pure joy.

Side note:  You know what else is pure joy?  The adorable factor running rampant around here that has a good chance of assaulting me all summer long.  Love.

Second miracle, I am typing this from the safety and joy of MY computer. A nerd-man named Chris came over to my house to replace my hard drive, talked to me a lot about kale, and listened to me threaten him when I told him I wasn't going to let him leave my house until I could surf the web for Gap purchases all night and he had heard every tearful moment of my journey to have the computer fixed. 

It's possible I totally creaped him. 

He shared a scary tuna melt recipe on his way out the door so I think he actually might have been in love with me.   I'm not going to be able to leave Alex for him though because the recipe including spreading mayonnaise on a piece of bread and got worse from there.  He claimed he doesn't serve any sides with this, just several tuna melt sandwiches.  I was afraid.

He did fix my computer though...

Third miracle, I am actually starting to fall in love with one of the funniest looking dogs ever.  I was worried that I might not ever love like I loved Indiana, but we officially have a new dog. 

A strange mix of Chinese Crested and Maltese has resulted in...Bea The Wonder Dog.

I can't wait for Christmas now that Santa could actually be coming!  I'm going to start writing letters now. 

It's also important for you to know, though not important enough to write a post about:

1. I am in LOVE with the new show New Girl.  If you aren't watching, you are missing out.
2. I figured out a delicious kale smoothie recipe.
3. I bought three shirts today at The Gap for less than $7.  I love The Gap.
4. Ben & Jerry's has life altering fro-yo, raspberry and fudge chunk.
5. I can't stop reading these stupid Stephanie Plumb novels, currently reading about 2 a week.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I Assume Most People Cry At Church For These Reasons...Or Not

I found myself crying in church this morning.  Tears streamed down my face as I sang along to Amazing Grace and listened to some preachin' on the Gospel of Mark. 

I would like to say that I felt so moved by the spirit of God, or so humbled by the power of the message being delivered, but I would be lying. 

What kind of a church goer would I be if I lied right now?

The truth is that getting ready for church this morning, like most mornings, was an emotional and dramatic process that left me feeling empty and full of rage.  Nothing says church like some rage.

Kidding, Mom.

Both boys fought through the highly complicated process of finding socks and basically decided life wasn't worth living if they had to find their own foot coverings.  There was much rolling on the floor and dressing in pirate vests without shirts underneath, and crying, and definitive statements about footwear never having a place in their lives again. 

I still don't understand what was going on with the shirt removal and pirate vest wearing since they weren't even playing pirates, but that just further goes to so you what I'm up against here.

By the time Alex and I had ditched the kids with better people than ourselves, since they felt called to actually volunteer to spend hours of time with lots of children they weren't required by law to care for, I was spent.  The last few weeks, fine years, of struggling with Cole's emotions and then my own had me back to feeling overwhelmed and drenched in failure as a Mother.  Yay church!

I'm very uncomfortable with all the rock concert style singing and whatnot that goes on at the beginning of our church service, but I also secretly love it, don't tell.  I'm so complicated.  This morning was my favorite band, primarily my favorite singer.  Hearing his Eddie Vedder- loves-Jesus voice sing Amazing Grace made me feel, well it made me feel more sad honestly, but in a get-it-all-out sort of way. 

If this were a college frat party (and often the beginning of church feels a bit like that to me in an orderly and non-drunk sort of way,) I would totally be swooning all over this man and his oh so lovely voice. I might even stand and squeal in front of him or something. 

Alex takes great joy and comfort in the fact that I haven't done anything close to that, yet. 

So I cried at the beauty of his voice, the words of the song, and my exasperation with my entire parenting situation though the musical intro of church.  It was therapeutic and I felt a little better until we reached the part in the sermon where the pastor started talking about his five year old daughter's struggles.

I felt horrible joy at hearing that his own daughter went through a challenging time, (this is why I'm in church people, I realize there are some slight imperfections in me.)  I hung on the edge of my seat to hear the solution which had carried her and their family through this difficult time.  Since my blog post last week and my repeated Facebook frustration status updates, I have received a lot of really fantastic advice about options to try with Cole.  I genuinely don't know what I did before I could just ramble on and vent and have everyone else tell me how to proceed to actually make progress on the trials of life.  Thank you Al Gore for the Internet.  Amen.

As soon as the magic solution was uttered though, I was right back to tears.  Jesus Eddie Vedder might as well have starting strumming and singing again because I was emotionally wrecked again. 

You know what had helped her? 

Of course it was time spent with the Jesus Storybook Bible and some extra careful censorship of TV, etc. That's great and all, but if there is one thing Cole has down it's his time with Jesus.  He often prays when things are bothering him and 99% of the time only wants to read his Jesus Storybook Bible at bedtime.  He talks to me about turning away from sin and carries a small New Testament Bible around nearly all the time.

All of his own doing.

I'd love to take the credit for it, but Cole and God have their own thing going on and I'm a very little part of that.  Solving Cole with more Jesus?  Not what he needs. He needs more reasonable emotional control and some application of a few of those amazing chapters from the Bible.

I've tried to use the Jesus card with his behavior but it doesn't work.  (Not to imply that Jesus is a card to be played.)   I've even thought about getting Cole a W.W.J.D. bracelet or possibly tattoo to heighten his connection between his choices and his chosen love for all things Jesus.

I've even  threatened the wrath of Jesus if he doesn't shape up.

Just kidding.

None of this is working for Cole. 

Not yet anyway. 

I have received so many amazing suggestions and if you are wondering if I am pursuing your suggestion, the answer is yes.  We are doing EVERYTHING.

We have contacted a behavioral therapist for some suggestions and strategies for navigating the emotional and volatile world of Cole. We are going to an ENT to have his tonsil and adenoid size evaluated due to his horrible sleep patterns.  We have contacted a whole health doctor to talk about how food might be playing in to how his body and mind are working. 

I foresee a dairy free house in our future after reading a good portion of the book, "What's Eating Your Child," which is my current obsession.  I find myself wondering about Cole's zinc levels and wondering if we could make all this go away with some kale and quinoa? 

We have new charts and rewards and consequences.  I'm ordering the behavior books you have recommended and started re-reading the books I have. 

I am doing a lot of praying with Cole about ant bites and patience and joy.

Thank you for all your kind words of support and encouragement.  Each and every comment, email text, and call was so appreciated...though not all returned due to the evil which is still Dell. 

(Computer hard drive allegedly will be replaced in the next few days...ALLEGEDLY.)

The good news is that now my phone is giving me problems with reading emails and doing small tasks like, oh say, turning on.  I realize that's not good news but I really wanted to use that phrase somewhere in this post. 

I guess the good news could be that if you like Jesus and Eddie Vedder, I've found a guy you should meet....or cry to as he sings Amazing Grace. It's just so freakin'good. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Have You Ever Been Kicked Out Of A Swim Lesson? I'm Asking For A Friend - PYHO

You must know that my life is currently under attack.  My very being is under fire.  I'm not sure how things are going to work when all of this ends, assuming that it does end. 

Here it is...Cole is trying to kill me. 

No, he hasn't found firearms or how to discreetly give someone rat poison, that I'm aware of at least, but he is slowly but surely chipping away at every fiber of my sanity and my sense of self.  He is crushing me. 

Let's not tiptoe around it and say he's going through a rough phase or he's tired, let's just put it simply...he has some very serious issues that I am failing at figuring out.  If I don't get our shit together I'm going to be saying things like, "Cole, did you remember to call your parole officer back?"  or "Since Cole's license was suspended" or "Cole's an artist." 

I am scared...mostly for him, but also for me.
Yes, there is a small, tiny chance that all of this has absolutely nothing to do with me and I am simply his Mom and therefore at the receiving end of his challenges and it's my role and alleged joy to be the one to help him through this.

Or he's trying to kill me. 

This morning was very similar to most days around here, yogurt requests and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and some profound whining about having to go to swim lessons.  Cole doesn't like swim lessons, but for the most part he goes and does it once we are there.  I think he even likes it once he's in the water.  Today though he was having no part of it. 

After kicking and screaming for 10 minutes he was finally asked to leave for the day.  Every time an instructor tried to talk to him he screamed louder, in their faces.  He also kicked aggressively, at their bodies.  There was zero swimming and all sorts of staring.

This was unpleasant all around.

(Yes Mom, I know Kyle and I never did anything like this.)

Doesn't he look sweet?

He is sweet, but lately it's buried under a pile of challenge and obnoxious that you have to routinely talk yourself out of punching in the face. 

Cole is difficult.  Recently he has been moody, excessively grumpy, verbalizing hatred for everything from his family to his pencils and screaming, a lot...about everything.  He almost always pulls it together for other people, almost.  He doesn't get in trouble at school and he cooperates at friends' houses according to the other Moms, but they could just be scared of him and lying to me so he won't lash out at them again, there's really no way of knowing. 

Around me he's a mess. 

A mean mess.

Today shouldn't have really surprised me, but it did.  I still can't really believe my child did that.  I have a difficult time wrapping my head around all our challenges with him lately. He is sweet and silly and cuddly...and then seemingly over night has become sullen and impossible to work with on even the most basic of tasks, like putting on shoes. 

I fear I will soon find him smoking behind the garage, covered in obscene tattoos  that say things like, "My Parents Blow."  Is there anywhere a four year old can get a tattoo?  Surely he'll need me to sign off on any permanent ink slander, right?

He hasn't been an easy child at any point, but the level of disrespect and defiance is so elevated recently that I actually feel frightened.  How am I going to help him and save the rest of us from the toxicity of a child acting like this in our home? 

The other night, after a particularly challenging exchange turned tantrum with Cole, I snapped at a simple question Aiden asked me.  I was so flustered from trying to deal with Cole that I couldn't handle being kind for a moment to my other children. 

This is where the fun compounding of Cole's issues displays itself. 

I now felt wrecked with guilt on top of my exasperation. 

Where the hell is that Nanny Jo lady to give us a Naughty Mat charged with magical powers that can solve all the ailments of the world?

The best/worst part is that shortly after Aiden retreated to his room due to my obvious frustration, he brought me this note.

Can you read his kindergarten writing? I'll translate.

Beer Mom, I know that you are having a hard time with Cole. Love Aiden.  To Mom.

I assume he intended to write Dear Mom, but I prefer Beer Mom. 

I love and appreciate that Aiden understood that I wasn't' angry with him, just frustrated with the situation with Cole, but it breaks my heart too. Cole unsettles the house. 

I unsettle the house when I am wrapped in the chaos and draining nature of Cole. 

We're doing charts and rewards and consequences out the wazoo and none of it appears to be making a dent.  I am currently looking in to radical diet transformations and professional counseling and possibly even chiropractory, only because I keep hearing about all these random problems solved by someone cracking your back or casting a spell or whatever it is a chiropractor does. 

Surely something will give, right? 

In the mean time I guess I'll find peace rather than guilt that Aiden sort of gets how difficult things are and Stella is blissfully unaware.  I'll keep doing charts and doling out the consequences and bracing myself for the cruelty of the unsympathizing and judging stranger as I wheel a restrained and screaming Cole through the grocery store....again. 

I'll keep clutching him to me in parking lots and while crossing the street, obviously driven by some primal love that I currently can't even feel through all my frustration and anger toward him, and I'll pray that's still there when all of this ends because right now I mostly just don't to deal with him at all.


Linking up to Shell's Pour Your Heart Out.  Go check it out!

Monday, April 16, 2012

I Wish There Were Exciting News, But There Simply Isn't

After last week's post, I devised the perfect plan for blogging success and self esteem elevation. My goal was to wait 23 days exactly between all posts, convinced this would elicit  an onslaught of the lovely and encouraging messages and comments I received after finally posting last week which caused me to beam and feel so loved. 

Unfortunately, I have no self control and am forced to post again about, well…nothing. 
My apologies.
Since I think we can all agree that returning to my normal computing life is top priority, I’ll update you on the computer situation.  What more can you ask for in blog entertainment?

Bad news everyone, my computer is still rebelling against me. Even after sending it off to the equivalent of one of those scared straight facilities for troubled teens, it still refuses to cooperate in the slightest. I am so disappointed in it.  Aren’t you?
So, like the severely troubled teens that are unresponsive to even the harshest punishment, it has to be killed and then brought back to life. That is what happens, right?

I have a feeling this computer saga will last at least through the end of the week.

Michael Dell must HATE my blog.

(I assume someone with his level of power and success has surely been reading for quite some time now. It's probably part of the business plan.)

I'm explaining this to you all so you can go ahead and lower your expectations of hearing the intricate details of every fascinating aspect of my life over the next seven days. You are simply going to have to miss out and I am sorry for you for that. It's surely going to be a doozy.

Or a doozie? Or a duzie? Surely you know what I mean here. I'm a stay at home mom to three kids and possibly a new dog...the excitement level is high.

For example, I just called Time Warner Cable and talked to them for 25 minutes, I'm getting ready to go make a smoothie, and then I'm going to the dermatologist!

I'm not sure how you'll survive without these types of updates.

Very quickly though, before Alex decides his paying job is more important than me sharing the details of my smoothie ingredients and dermatology diagnosis with all of you…imagine, I think it’s vital for you all to see the cuteness I will be forced to endure this summer.

Swimming season has begun here for Stella.

It’s simply painful because it's so cute.

I’ll be back with more updates as soon as possible.

Random thought of the night. I saw Angelina's engagement ring which Brad allegedly spent a year designing and it's really, really ugly.  Am I alone in thinking this?  Do you think she's pissed?  She is the woman that used to wear vials of blood around her neck, perhaps Brad felt the expectations weren't too high? 

Discuss amongst yourself....and get back to me on your vote of so ugly that a vial of blood might be better, or Brad designed it so it must be wonderful. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I Feel Like I Could Write A Rap Song About These 23 Days, But Don't Worry, I Didn't

You probably feel as though you are hallucinating right now. 
I know I shouldn't assume to know what you feel, but I'm confident at least 60% of you feel caught off guard at being forced to read my every thought again.  The other 40% of you could in fact be recreational drug users and you actually are hallucinating due to things completely out of my control....unless you are doing meth due to my previous infatuation with starting that habit, which can be read here or here, to be more productive and skinny, if only I could prevent my teeth from turning into those of a carnival worker. 

(No offense carnival employees, unfortunately you guys and the people with the circus have a pretty creepy reputation and obviously are without dental.)

The point is, drugs are bad....but I'm back.

Well, I'm back-ish.

Many* of you have sent emails, tweets, and comments pleading with me to come back so I figured I must.   I can't ignore the masses. It's no one's fault but my own that I've spun a web of intrigue and suspense with my always exciting life of child tantrums, dinner preparation, and cleaning woes from which no one can escape.

Where have I been?  Very good question.

I think the real person to answer this question is Michael Dell, unfortunately he doesn't know or care about me so I tried to contact Susan Dell.  As it turns out, Susan Dell doesn't care about me either.  Apparently the whole family has a heart of stone.

My computer, much like the Dell family's hearts is basically a stone now too.  It's essentially a very expensive, fun looking accessory for the writing desk next to my bed.  It gives the appearance that there could be life and productivity there, but really it's not going to do a damn thing.  I hate it. 

Why oh why didn't I get a Mac?  Never again Michael Dell.  Never. Ever. Again.

I assume this threat carries a lot of weight with him, and of course Susan.
So my computer basically won't start.  Alex and I have been through Dell tech support, our own very reasonable and ineffective solutions, and now a very costly trip to The Geek Squad only to be told it's probably the hard drive which Michael should have fixed from the beginning.  It is so much fun to deal with this that I really hope to never have a fully functional computer again. 

Alex has graciously offered me his computer, but I usually write at night (because that's when I am in my zone, if such a thing exists,) but my husband is so selfish that he actually needs his computer to work at night.  He is totally underestimating my ability to draw in approximately $10 a month by writing these posts.  It's as if he doesn't value my financial contributions to this family. He's so narrow minded.

I don't even know where to start with reporting the last 23 days.  I actually feel like I have a ton to share, but we'll just hit some highlights for now in an effort to actually be able to post this before Alex has to take his laptop back from me to "make money." 

How about top 5?

A few days after my computer officially revolted from being involved in any more of my brain dumps, I became attached to my iPad, knowing it would never turn on me.  One would think that I would try to keep at least reading blogs and commenting, or posting photos of what is happening in my life so as to not leave everyone is the dark, but that isn't exactly what I did.  I hope no one is scared of the dark like Cole, that's an unfortunate state.

I turned to Netflix, and stayed there for five days.  During that time I watched 44 episodes of my newest obsession....The Vampire Diaries.  It is as classy as it sounds and oh so very intriguing.

I spent all my time walking around with my iPad and ignoring all responsibilities which could not be handled while following an intricate plot of vampire and witch mysteries entangled with a very emotional vampire-human love story. 

This isn't something I'm proud of, but I feel like this show might be a large part of my life now so it's important for you to know that I'm obsessed so you can familiarize yourself with the characters and plot lines so you'll understand my references and analogies moving forward. 

It's so good people.  Oh so very good.  You must watch it. 

A few months ago I became infatuated with the VitaMix.  I had seen the demonstration at Costco, listened with fascination to friends that owned one talk about how they were better people because they had one, or something like that, and started watching You Tube demonstrations on all the wonderful things it can do....there are only so many Vampire Diaries episodes out there.

Watch this one to get a general idea of it's awesome powers.

I became convinced it was the only thing that could keep me healthy and my more importantly it could transform my lackluster hair and skin into something akin to Jennifer Lopez's or I was even willing to settle for Jennifer Garner.  Any Jennifer hair and skin would do. 
I priced them and decided to just watch JLo in her fast wardrobe change Kohl's commercials with the knowledge it wasn't going to happen for me.  Spending $400 on a fancy blender didn't seem reasonable, to Alex, I was actually surprised they didn't cost $1000 for how much the YouTube videos made me believe it could change my life.

Then  I went to the dermatologist because I had some weird skin thing growing on my face and other random parts of my body (try not to be grossed out by me) and when she said they could be from an autoimmune disease, the first thing I thought of was the VitaMix.  I would have never been in that doctor's office if I could blend a whole apple and a bunch of kale to a sip-worthy, life saving beverage.

Then Alex surprised me with one and now we are even more obsessed.  I use it at least twice a day, we are eating all kinds of crazy healthy things, and I now look exactly like JLo.  Also my skin growths are going away and I am convinced it's because of the VitaMix, though it could also be the prescribed steroid cream I apply twice a day. 

It's difficult to pin down the true healer here.

Just yesterday we took in a rescue dog.  We are currently in the trial period with her, but I have a feeling she's here to stay.  She's a 9 pound mix of Maltese and some weird circus looking dog.  She's adorable in that ugly sort of way, but I'm sure the VitaMix will quickly change that. 

What does JLo's dog look like?

She's as sweet as can be. 

She plays with the kids and sleeps all night and is already house broken.  She can walk on her hind legs for a really odd long period of time so I'm sure we could put her in the carnival for some extra cash if things get tight or we need another VitaMix.  The best part is that she was rescued from a dog hoarder's home so she has very low expectations for cleanliness and regularity of food. 

Name is to be determined.  The kids are currently throwing out all sorts of suggestions like Italy, Millie, Paige, and Nya (any Lego Ninjago obsessed families out there?)  The important thing is that we change her current name...Beyonce. 

We just returned from a family vacation to Washington DC to visit my brother and his family.  The trip was great, but we have decided that we can no longer fly anywhere, ever.  It's going to be a very long boat ride next time we have to go visit family in Greece, but flying is out of the question.

Our departure flight was jacked due to the tornadoes in Dallas last week, which I am sure caused much more trauma for some people than our missed flight, but I would have to actually hear it on a case by case basis before I made the call because we were really annoyed.  We didn't get to leave until the next 4 am, not the ideal travel time for a family with three kids under six.

Thunderstorms also messed with our return flight and made me think that possibly God doesn't want me to see my brother or our nation's capital.  My brother is pretty sarcastic sometimes and his daughter chewed a whole pack of gum one day, so maybe he lacks good parenting. Can we really be around someone like that?

(My kids only eat 90% of the pack.  Kids need boundaries and I'm good at creating and enforcing them.)

My niece and nephew are all sorts of cute, and bilingual, which makes them more marketable of course.  I also adore my sister-in-law so it's always fun to be with her. I usually enjoy my brother's sarcasm too so I guess God's just going to have to work through his issues with the two of us hanging out.  My parents made the trip to DC too so it was truly a family event.  It isn't a family event without Tractor.

We did all the usual tourist things like walking to bakeries, riding public transportation, and walking by monuments, well two monuments.  The kids were infinitely more excited to ride the Metro than to see the White House, I assume they thought they might be able to score some drugs in the subway or watch someone throw themselves on the tracks, they are very dark children. 

Here are a pathetic few photos to give you a glimpse in to our DC vacation world.  I apologize for not capturing any of our time trapped in the airplane when I thought I was going to vomit, Cole was losing his mind and Stella was wooing nearby passengers, Aiden had my iPhone. 

This photo was actually taken at The Austin Children's Museum, which my children haven't yet realized totally blows.  We should have been flying over Mississippi when this photo was taken.

Stella was very adamant about having her own seat on the DC City bus.  This independence did not quell her curiosity about everyone around her though, particularly the weirdos.  (We are trying to teach our kids to not use this word, but the truth is that it's just fun to say sometimes.  Don't tell Aiden and Cole, please.)
Aiden was the only child willing to pose for photos in front of monuments.  There are approximately 300 photos of Aiden around DC, as if he were our only child.  It would have been a substantially less stressful trip if he were in fact our only child.  This isn't mean to say because if he were our only child I wouldn't miss Stella and Cole.  Right?
Cole and his cousin decided they were far too out of the loop on thier current events, prompting a subway reading of the paper.  This is simply adorable.
Do not be deceived in to thinking that Aiden and Cole actually are sweet to one another since this is the second photo of them hugging.  I'm reasonably confident Aiden punched Cole after this photo, or Cole might have stolen something imperative to Aiden's existence, such as a Lego.

See how Aiden is basically forcing everyone else to pose with Abraham Lincoln?  He's essentially siding with the South.  Abe would be so pissed at Aiden.
Alex and I like to pretend that we are on a vacation alone.  In this photo we are ignoring all three kids at The Lincoln Memorial, because we think he would have wanted it that way.

This got so much longer than I thought it would be.  My apologies.

Today, I took a very brave step.  It was pet defense day at our house, not an actual holiday contrary to how it sounds, it is simply the day the bug man comes. I finally worked up the courage to tell him there are little black worms in my shower. 

(I confess their existence here.) 

It was embarrassing and humbling. 

He was very kind and completely restrained from asking me why I was such a crappy housekeeper that there were actual bugs growing where we bathe.

It's been sprayed, I will definitely keep you all updated on the worms. 

Please don't stop reading my blog based on my promise to talk about this in the future. 

That's the five highlights folks. I promise to make my best efforts to post again sometime before another 23 days have gone by, but we'll see.  I did just think of three things I forgot to tell you, who knows, maybe I'll be back tomorrow...

*In this particular sentence the word many will be defined as "three."  As in a mere three people were concerned about my lack of blogging.  Those are now the three most important people to me on Earth and I have changed by IRA and life insurance beneficiaries accordingly.  Jenn were the first to ask so please don't kill me for the money.