Friday, October 31, 2008

Lessons Learned

My family has just finished a roller-coaster ride of a week and a half. I have cried more tears and felt more anger than I have in a long, long time. (Maybe not the tears, but definitely the anger.) I'm not going to go into detail about what has happened to us - and many of you know - but what I've learned these last 10 days are pretty huge life lessons.

* Listen to the voice of truth! God is the voice of truth and the rest of the world will try to undermine and undercut what God is saying. I have listened to so much "advice" these last few days, and the voice of truth kept repeating in my mind and despite what other people said, I knew what I needed to do.
* Revenge belongs to the Lord. This is what I want other people to know. Mark learned this lesson last year when he had difficulty with an old job. When someone hurts me or my family, I can not retaliate. I have to trust God that make things right. This is a tough one, but forgiveness is soooo important!
* I learned why the Bible says to forgive seventy times seven. I think that is how many times I am going to have to forgive a particular person before it actually sticks in my heart!
* Often times the enemy is myself. I think this goes back to the first one... Ryan's therapist wasn't my enemy, my interalizing of the situation was. The negative self-talk is my enemy. God takes care of the enemy - and in this case, the voice of truth was louder than the voice of the enemy.
* Nobody will ever understand what it is like to raise special needs kids unless they have personal experience. Walk a mile in my shoes... Sometimes it's easier, but often times it is much, much harder!
* Everyone wants to help the underdog but sometimes you are up against a brick wall. I want the "system" to change, but it might not. And that really sucks for parents of special needs kids.
* Mark and I have a huge network of people who love us, believe in us, and support us.
* I am going to have to be much more paranoid about my children. I can't be so trusting and I have to learn to live with the fact that the rules are different for us. Even if I don't know the rules!
* Starting over is harder than starting from the beginning.
* I am not alone - much of what I'm facing, others have gone through this before.
* Raising kids and trying to make the best decisions for them is really, really hard!
* Know who your friends are (or who is on your "side") and when you are right - they will stick by yourside like glue.
* Not reacting, but thinking through things is really, really tough!
* God is so faithful and good!!!
* I need to be more tenacious!

Now I have to figure out where to go from here with all of this and pray that God gives me my next steps.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

7 things

Travis tagged me...

Here are the rules:

1) Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog
2) Share 7 facts about yourself, some random, some weird
3) Tag 7 more people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs
4) Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

I do have a problem, though. I don't know 7 people with blogs that I think would play along. But I will do my best!!

1. I am an aspiring neatfreak and a wanna be organized person. I have these really cool baskets for all the toys and stuff and every know and again I sort the baskets and get the toys organized. I prefer my house clean, but it isn't often meeting my standards. My hardest part is the kitchen floor. I will mop and then 3 minutes later, it's a mess. I spent last spring scrubbing my grout - and it's dirty again. I even sealed it! My bedroom closet is a mess and I need to organize that next. I've been doing one closet a weekend. Guess what I'll be doing on Saturday? Wrong... I'm going to be in South Carolina visiting a friend. Oh and I don't think it helps that the love of my life is not-a-neat-freak. He isn't a slob, but he would rather leave something that fell on the floor rather than pick it up... But to be fair, in knew this when we were dating. He had a dresser and two twin beds in his room. The dresser was more or less empty. The non-sleeping bed held his clean clothes - just piled on the bed. I don't know where the dirty ones were - I didn't ask!!

2. I sometimes get really bored at work, even though I have a ton of projects to do and there are always teachers I can work with. I just sometimes enjoy the peace and quiet that happens in my office. And I'm a huge procrastinator - why do today what I can put off until tomorrow? In fact, right now I'm in a meeting and we are talking about blogs. Guess what I'm doing.

3. I sometimes forget to have my son do his homework. Gasp - and I'm a teacher!! Along the same vein - I'm a reading coordinator (literacy coach is the technical title) and I haven't the foggiest idea how to get my oldest to learn to read.

4. I totally fell in love with my husband again on Wednesday. I always loved him - but he was exactly what I needed and he surprised me by having the right words in a really tough situation. I am confident God put the words in his mouth - and that is cool too!

5. I am way too honest and open. Surprise, surprise as I bare my soul for the whole world to see. I admit when I'm a slacker and maybe I shouldn't. I am usually the first to tell the world of my guffaws.

6. I am a pessimist. When it comes to me, the glass isn't even half empty. It's empty. This is something I'm totally working on and have made great gains -especially in light of the horrific week I've had. I have made huge leaps and bounds in this area, so my glass is filling up!

7. I hate Halloween. My hatred is not because of witches, ghosts and things from the dark side. Nope, it's the pressure to have a costume. My mom used to sew these beautiful and complicated costumes - Tweety Bird, Bugs Bunny, a shark, etc. I never had the costumes with the plastic "outfit" and mask. So I don't want to dress my kids in the generic costumes from Target or Walmart. But I can't sew and I'm too cheap to buy the nice ones. So I feel this tremendous pressure to make my kids look cute. Plus, Zach HATES costumes. Last year, the boys went as roads. I took dark blue t-shirts, glued two yellow ribbons down the front and glued cars on it. I figured Zach wouldn't mind. He screamed!!! I guess cars aren't supposed to be glued to your shirt. So this year, what am I going to do for Halloween?? Too much pressure!!

I am tagging, Kate, Amanda, Mark and Crystal.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Not Me Monday continued

I just returned from the geneticist and accumulated some more to add to the list. Plus, I'm seeking prayers...

* I did not get a late start and drove upwards of 80 mph to get there. I also did not have to raid the coin jar to get enough money to pay tolls for the Sunshine Skyway. I also did not feed the boys a healthy lunch from a drive-through in the back of Mark's newish car.

* I did not drive home from the geneticist going the speed limit because both boys fell asleep and I wanted "nap time" to last as long as possible.

* I did not almost burst into tears in the geneticist because I Ryan fell. Ryan didn't bite his tongue and hit his almost smashed in teeth. He did not bleed like a fiend and he did not start screaming. (Deviating from the I didn't protocol)I pick him up, assess the situation and then start snuggling him. All the while, the doctor's assistant sat there - with no expression. No concern, no worry, no care, no emotion! I'm tearing up because I hate that he is hurt, again. The guy was all put out that he couldn't keep asking me questions because Ryan was crying! So I try to answer questions, think through the past year and tell him what specialists we've seen. (Actually, he should have asked... "who haven't we seen?") All the while, I'm tring to figure out where the blood is coming from and how to make it stop. I asked for a cup and there wasn't in the room. The guy SIGHED and got up to get one!! Um, my kid bit a gash in his tongue. How dare I ask for a cup!!

* So I wasn't already upset about all that... After the doctor's assistant grilled us, we had what didn't feel like 12 years to wait for the doctor. Ryan wasn't obsessed with throwing his books in the trash can. It was a hole in the counter and he thought it was great fun.

* Then the doctor came and I totally don't deserve "mother of the year" for this... I didn't forget to get a carbohydrate transporter deficiency test run last year. Ok, don't I feel like crap?? I know remember where I dropped the ball. All the doctors were pointing fingers about who should order the tests. So I lost track and never fell through. Prayer moment: Pray that I get it done this year!!

* I didn't get home and turn Seasame Street on so I could have 50 minutes to do the chores I didn't do this morning - only to vent on my blog. I would never do that. I am the best parent ever. Can't you tell?

* So here's where I need some prayers, please: I need Ryan's neurologist to call me because I think he's having more seizures and he keeps falling. Could it be the meds? I want to get these tests under our belt and I am praying that God would make the path smooth. I also need to figure out which splints I need to order for Ryan's legs - and that they don't break the bank. I also want prayers of protection for Ryan - he looks horrible - tongue gash, fat lip, bumps on his forehead, and a cut on his head. Each time he falls, I just fall apart a little bit more. Plus I'm just beating myself up which never helps. Oh yeah, I need to get Ryan to the dentist to look at his awful banged up teeth. I don't have dental insurance for him! Ugh another point of stress.

Thanks! I promise to laugh about all this in another hour or so.

Not Me Monday

Here I am again, doing the game originated by McMamma. I am not going to bare my soul in today's blog...

* I am not so horrible and uncompassionate that my husband drove himself to the doctor at 4:30 this morning because he was passing kidney stones. I truly offered to take him - but being the nice guy, he wanted the kids to sleep a little longer. They don't normally wake up between 5 and 6 am anyway... And I did not secretly be frustrated with the situation because I was supposed to run 8 miles with Meg this morning. Although, I was not secretly glad I could put the 8 miles off until Friday. And I was not a little (secretly) upset when Mark was going to stay home today and ruin my relaxing morning.

* I am not skipping work today. I am not excited about the genetics appointment my kids have today. I did not decide to take the whole day, send the kids to school and think about organizing closests. And I am not annoyed with a huge project on my work-plate that I would avoid it for another day. I mean, I always bite the bullet and get this stuff done.

* I am not hoping that our geneticist orders some tests to determine if there are any x-linked syndromes lurking in our genes. I am not nervous that Dr. Loscalzo will tell me to have my pediatrician order the tests only to have the pediatrician tell me the geneticist should. This did not happen the last time. I am not nervous that these tests can only be done in Miami. I do not have an aversion of going to Miami for medical stuff. I have not had 2 fiascos there already.

* I am not putting off cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, dusting, and other cleaning to blog. I love doing that stuff and the computer takes up way too much time. I should just get rid of it.

* I am not neurotic enough about saving money that I'm making a list of how much our grocery staples cost so I can compare the prices at Walmart with the sale ciruclars. That would take way too much time. Besides, who needs to save money?

* After $180 I am not still battling ticks! I did not remove one from my sock today.

* I am not showing off my cute kids in the pictures below. By the way, that is not another boo-boo on Ryan's head. And he did not nearly knock his teeth out on Sunday. And I was not complaining that my life is unexciting and I did not heed Travis's warning!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Conclusion(?) of mompetition

I haven't put any pictures up lately, so I will add those before I share my latest scoop.

Ryan is running to first base at Challenger Baseball this morning.

I don't want you to worry... I have not been upset and over the edge that I'm not doing enough for my kids. I carried this whole guilt around with me for a little while. Wednesday morning, I told the story to my office-mate who is a speech language pathologist and a friend. (I call her Momma Boone because she and I have been on several mission trips together and she always manages to take care of us - like the mom in the group.) Anyway, Momma Boone reminded me that as a parent, less is sometimes more. We tend to over program and over schedule our kids - with the greatest intentions - but kids need down time. She pretty sternly (but with love) told me to knock-off the guilt and get over it. Then a little while later, my old PT sent me an email comiserating with me and telling me the story of another mom who is annoyed with other therapy moms (as opposed to soccer-moms or hockey-moms...). The mom Gretta the PT was talking about has a 2 year old with very low tone and isn't sitting yet. While waiting for PT, some other lady bragged (well, probably mentioned) that she is so tired now that her child is walking all over the place. This made the other mom end up in tears! So I immediately wanted to go hug her - although I don't know her... Then the 3rd thing that made me feel better was Open House on Thursday night. Zach's therapists and teacher were talking about how far he's come and described something he did. His OT said she just welled up with tears and wanted to cry! Ok, so I'm back to my less-psycho self.
But I did come up with an award for these "perfect" moms. I will never do this, because it's not Christ-like. But for the sake of bearing my soul (because isn't that what blogs are for?), I will share my idea and then let it go. Remember in Caddy Shack when they put the Baby Ruth candybars in the pool and they looked like turds? Well I was thinking I could carry around snacksize Baby Ruth bars and give them out as "prizes" for being such the perfect mom! In my mind, they would symbolize poop, but to the moms, I'm just giving them chocolate. Don't worry, I won't do this, but the thought crossed my mind - often enough to repeat it!

You know what, I just wondered this... a soccer mom usually has an SUV or fancy mini-van. What does a therapy mom drive? Do we get little window stickers with a silhouette of our kid doing therapy? Just wondering...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


** This blog comes with a disclaimer. You need to know right from the start that I love my children exactly the way God has created them. And I know they are a precious gift. So don't judge me for what I'm about to blog!

I thought I just invented a word, but google shows 742 hits. Soon, there will be 743... Anyway, I thought of the term this evening coming home from hippotherapy. I have suffered from mompetition from the moment I got pregnant with Zach and I think I've been on the losing end ever since. I mentioned all this to Mark during dinner and he was like, let it go! So easy for a dad to say! Who are you afraid of, momma bear or papa bear? Exactly, momma bear because our love is fiercer. I'm not saying papa bear doesn't love his kids - but our's is fiercer more often.

Anyway, I mention all this, I guess as a way of repenting. I am guilty of mompetiton more often than not - and with 2 special needs kids, it seems that most of my mompeting is who has it worse. So awful, I know - you'll hear about on Not-Me Monday. But tonight's round started at hippotherapy. (See, right there I have it worse - I have to take both kids to physical therapy on horse back!) This mom brings her son and sits next to me and she recognizes me from church. She gently asked what my kids' exceptionalities are. Right there gauntlet has been thrown, if only in my mind. I don't have a diagnosis. I know what they don't have, but I have no clue what they do have. I asked the mom about her son and she told me. She was careful to point out that he is "high functioning". Well, there's a point for her. My kids are clearly not high functioning - at least at anything appropriate, I don't think WWF wrestling counts.

So as the conversation continues, she keeps earning points. Her son is in outside therapy. Mine aren't. Her son goes to the exclusive special-needs school in Bradenton. Mine don't. She doesn't work. I do. On and on it went. Then to make me feel better, because she knows she is winning, she does more for her child, and that she's probably more mentally-balanced than I am, she starts going on about health problems to make me feel better... Her son is diagnosed with asthma. Been there... I restrained from counter-point with talk about seizures or the other junk we deal with... I imagine she didn't know I was mompeting and that she didn't intentionally try to make me feel bad - it just automatically happens to me!! I go there!! And like Mark said, I should let it go. But I can't because this is where my attitude starts to spiral downhill and I start beating myself up. Like I'm not doing enough. (And I'm probably not because right now I should be playing with them and not blogging.) I also know at this point that rationally, I should step back and laugh at myself, but I'm feeling like such a slacker that I can't.

We head home and the song, "The Voice of Truth" comes on the radio. And I just start sobbing because the song is sooooo right - the voice of truth tells me a different story - God knit my children together - just the way he wanted them. But I can't stop crying and feeling sorry for myself. At this point I realize that once again, I'm psycho. And when it's time to teach the kids how to drive the car, the first thing they will do is turn on the radio, sob like a lunatic, and sniffle - because that's what Mom does when she drives!

This whole incident reminded me again of ____ (I can't think of the word/expression/idea). I need to realize that God is in control and use this as an opportunity to once again release my boys to His plan for them - and me. I need to sympathize/empathize with other moms - not compete. Motherhood is way to hard to compete against someone else! But just for kicks (and to make you win - compare you motherhood journey to mine). I bet I will "win" this mompetition:
* How long did it take you to potty train? (I am on year 4 with Zach)
* When did your youngest walk independently (Ryan was 3)
* How many hours a week did you spend at therapy for each of your children? (3 hours/week with Zach and 2 hours/week with Ryan)
* How many receptionists of specialists know your voice? (We have at least 2 that recognize my voice - neurology and genetics)
* How many medicines have you used to try and control a child's seizures? (Ryan has gone through 5)
* How many knots the size of baseballs are routinely on your kid's head? (Ryan has at least one a week - and that is with the protection of the goober hat)
* How many of you stopped saving for your child's education because you realized they won't go to college? (I have and that SUCKS!)
* Which of you has a 7 year old in 2nd grade who still has on his IEP that he will identify his colors correctly? (I do...)
* Which of you wishes her child were autistic? (I do so I could get more services.)

Ok, I'm doing it again. It's time to enjoy my boys and play a riveting game of "cars" and it's time to appreciate the precious gifts the Lord has given me. And despite what I write or lead you to believe, I love my children fiercely and on most days, I wouldn't trade them for the world. And, what mom out there hasn't said the same thing?? So here's to laughing at the situation instead of crying!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Not me Monday - week 3

So here I am mentioning some "Not me" things on a Monday... The idea came from my friend Travis and the link mentioned on the left. I have to say, this is great fun - and free therapy. There is something refreshing about admitting my slacker-habits in a denial type format... So here goes my list:

* I am not battling ticks at my home! I am not neurotically vacuuming my home three times a day. And I do not consider the cinnamon-smelling organic tick spray to be room deordorizer. I would never spray it on my carpet just to have the room smell less like dogs and boys.

* I am not obsessed with the Goodwill in Englewood that sells things by the pound. I would never go through the shoe bins and resell Mephisto sandals I bought for $0.99 on eBay and get $92 for them. I am not that cheap! I would also never sort through my children's Lego collection and keep the generic Megablocks and sell the Legos. I am not that addicted to eBay. I guess I must not have much going on in my life that I have time for that. Along the same line as the ticks and sorting toys, I would not look forward to a Saturday morning of organizing closets and toys. I am not that big of a geek. Also, I would never buy my children's birthday gifts at Goodwill for a dollar...

* I did not get on the scale 4 times to make sure the pounds it said was true. I was not excited about being down another 5 pounds. That does not make me want to run faster and farther in the mornings.

* I would never put Dora on TV so I could blog! No way... And I am not sitting here wishing that I had a more exciting life so I would have more posts.

I honestly can't think of anything else exciting in my life! So this lame list will just have to do! I am not suffering from a writer's block. Not me...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Not me Monday!

I don't think I explained Not Me Monday very well... And I probably won't do any better of a job this week, but the tag line is, "Being brutally honest and living to tell about it..." You know why I like this so much? Because none of us are perfect and we do ourselves as Moms, women, and Christians a disservice by pretending we have it all together. I love hanging out with the people who are just as crazy as me - and don't pretend they have it all together! So part of my platform as a mom and a friend is to admit that I'm a slacker. To admit that I'm not the best mom in the world and I don't even come in as a competitor for that title. I'm ok with that because with God as my rock, I am doing the best I can and He reminds, guides me and helps me with the areas where I can do better! And as a mom of 2 special needs kids, I am especially sensitive to this and I used to get so competitive, but when your kid doesn't walk until he's 3, you don't win. When your kid still poops his pants at age 7, you don't win. So here's to all of us who screw up and can laugh about it!

Anyway, here is my week in summary:

* I would never let my children eat food that fell in the sand! I would never ignore the fact that my children are coated in sand and have an extra bit of grit when they put their teeth together. My children only eat sandwiches. [If I did, you would see a picture of it on Saturday's blog...]

* I would never stay out until 1 am scrapbooking! I must be responsible and go to bed at a reasonable time. But then again, I would never get that far behind in my scrapbook that I would have to stay up that late!

* I would not come home from a reception and immediately put the kids down for a nap so I could be the first person to blog about Jen and Donnie's wedding. What is this a competition?

* I would never laugh at my children's expense. I would never let my 7 year old dance in the middle of the drum circle at Nokomis Beach. And I would never let a hippie-jester looking dude come near my child. And my child would never bolt when some hippie-santa-looking guy came near him. Mark and I would never laugh at our child when he bolted. Even if the guy looked like this:

* I would never let my children dance with a belly dancer!
* I do not let my kids roll around in the sand at the beach and then put them to bed all sandy.

* I would never prepare for a huge presentation the day before, only to find out that most of my video links don't work. Then later beg a video from a co-worker because I knew he had it!! I also would never space out when they made an annoucement about the new location for said presentation. I would not almost show up at the wrong place!

* I did not hurry home from work so I could post my not-me's before the kids got off the bus. And I did not pray the bus would be late so I could down load the pictures before they grab the camera.
* I did not hurry my family from visiting Mark's new "toy" at the hanger so I could do laundry. I just love laundry... Mark did not get really excited about the fact that he will be flying Agape's new King Air this week. Because, you know, Mark does not like airplanes! Speaking of airplanes, I did not pick a bunch of books for middle school boys to read that all had to do with airplanes - because I do not have any background information about airplanes.

* I do not take pictures of my friends when they are being silly and have their hair wet. Nor would I spend an afternoon unloading pumpkins from a truck.

* I do not enjoy God's beautiful creation - like this sunset. I am all work and no play.

* I do not carry my camera with me all the time so that I could start adding pictures to my blogs! I also did not spend precious time looking at blogs when I should be preparing for above mentioned presentation tomorrow.

* And finally, I do not love reading other people's Not Me Monday posts - especially yours Travis!!

* P.S. I did NOT just find a tick crawling across my computer! I will pretend that I never heard my vet's advice about ticks, "There are 2 ways to get rid of ticks: many visits by the exterminator or burn your house down. But if you burn your house down, they will just come back later."
*P.s.s. My first reaction to my husband telling me he has cases of spray lubricant at work for sale was NOT - or are you selling it on ebay? I do not have an ebay-selling addiction!

Mr. and Mrs. Ellingsworth

Jennifer and Donnie got married today! Jennifer is part of the Agape family and we were able to share in her ceremony today. I have been to many weddings and some are my favorite and some were nice... Jennifers was one of my favorites! It was low-key, but gorgeous! She got married on the beach and she didn't fuss with a tent, chairs or tons of flowers. She had God's creation as her backdrop! What could be better than that? The weather was perfect - mid 80's and a great breeze. Jennifer looked beautiful, Donnie was handsome, and their son is adorable - as always. Do you want to know my favorite part? She was barefoot! How fantastic is that?? I wish I were barefoot at my wedding! If Mark and I ever renew our vows, I want it to be just like their wedding!! Afterwards, we all went to the Gardner's house for the reception. As always, Stephanie did a beautiful job and was a fantastic hostess!

While Donnie and Jennifer were busy getting married, the boys filled this Tupperware with shells and sand. Before the ceremony, the wanted to wrestle - so I think shells in a bucket is much better. BTW, that is NOT sand my child is eating, it was the pretzel he found in the sand. Oh - we brought the pretzels too - it wasn't just some random treasure he found. (This might somehow show up on my Not Me Monday...)

Mark and I before the wedding. My hair is really much cuter than this picture. It was windy - and I really have eyes - not just some comic-strip slits!! Mark looks like that all the time - minus the Terminator sunglasses...

Opening day at the ballpark. The boys started Challenger Baseball today. This is Ryan's first season and he is happy to be out in the field running around this time. I asked Zach to help his brother, and he did - for about 2 minutes. Each child gets a buddy to help them play. But honestly, it is a chance for kids to run around inside a fence and the parents sit around and chat. What could be better? I also love how they have 5 or 6 balls on the field, so after someone bats, all the kids find a ball and think it's THE ONE! It really is classic... Be watching for more pictures.

On tonight's agenda is the drum circle on Nokomis beach. Apparently, this is amazing and fun! We will catch the sunset and dance to drum music! Hopefully the boys will love it...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Just Pictures...

The tractor I tried to sell. Good thing it didn't sell! Although, when Zach kept running into things, I told Mark that he would be teaching Zach how to drive!

Why do I spend $80 a week for physical therapy on horseback? The boys could just have a session with dad!

Old roommates from college... Pictured are Gauthie, Borse and Boesel. We have real names, but we always went by last names and after 15 years, we still don't use the first name! Can you tell who lives in Florida and has summers off?