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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cleanin' Out My Closet (A.K.A. "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie")

Have we all read the story about the adorable little mouse that when given a cookie, keeps getting distracted by other things only to end up back at the cookie?  Well then, you know exactly what it's like when I clean out a closet.

I have a fairly decent sized walk-in closet in my bedroom.  (Well technically off of my bathroom that's attached to my bedroom).  Since I don't have an extensive wardrobe and neither does my husband, the closet lends itself to being able to store other things as well.

This basically means that a lot of clutter and madness ends up in there and I have officially had it.

I decided that this week (that's right, I said WEEK)  I would be devoted to cleaning and organizing this thing once and for all.  It's Wednesday and I have created more of a mess than I had in the first place.

Here's how it went down.

First , I decided to put all our old mismatched photo albums and boxes of pictures into nice new matching albums that I purchased....two years ago.  So I had to take them all out of the shelf in my closet and they are now in piles on my dining room table.

Then, I unearthed a ton of frames that I no longer use.  I decided that I should "Nate Berkus*" those bad boys with some spray paint and give them new life, but it's cold and I can't do it now, so I guess I'll get a bin out of the basement and set those aside for a great spring day.

Now, I have a giant empty shelf in the closet that I need to put something on, so I contemplated moving our printer and shredder in there since the printer is wireless and we are limited on space in our bedroom/office.  I was just about to move everything when I realized that we have no outlets in the closet.  Stop. Call husband on realities of getting outlets.  Sigh, possible, but it will have to wait. 

Next, I decide that even though it's not a finished basement, now that the kids are getting older, I think I can move most of my craft stuff downstairs.  My daughter really likes using it and we have a spare table that we can set up down there and I can actually leave projects out while I'm working on them.

I head down to the basement and spend some time clearing an area to put my closet craft stuff in and I get completely distracted by other things that aren't organized down there.

Is it any wonder why it's Wednesday and it literally looks like I managed to clear one shelf in my closet while the rest of my house exploded?

This blog may be a glaring expose' into adult ADD, but I know eventually I will get back to the cookie....er..I mean closet.  I could totally go for a cookie though.

*Using "Nate Berkus" as a verb is totally acceptable.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Jenny-ology

My dad has asked me to help him put together his genealogy.  I am really excited to get started.  Since his dad passed away a year ago, he's definitely been more interested in remembering about all his relatives. 

This weekend we spent some time with my Grandma, I love when she tells stories , I could listen to them all day.  She is my last living grandparent.  I adore her, she is so sweet and never wants to be a bother.  I really cherish any amount of time I get to spend with her.  I love that she knows my kids, I'm so blessed.

She told us a story this weekend about how when she and her sister, Lorrette were little , her dad gave Lorrette 5 pennies for the collection at church.  Lorrette didn't know what the pennies were for , so she went and bought herself an ice cream at a chinese restaurant, the best part of the story is that Grandma still got such a kick out of it.

Another story was about how an uncle came to visit and when he got up in the morning and picked up his pants, all his change fell out all over the floor.  He called my grandmother in and asked her to pick it up, and then he said she could keep it!  She said she had $1.12 and she was so rich!  She said she didn't spend it for a long time because she liked feeling rich.  


My Grandparents, Fall 2010,  at my cousin's wedding.  They were married 61 years.

My husband, the kids and I really like the show "Who Do You Think You Are?".  It's so fascinating to see where people come from and how they unravel little mysteries about their pasts. 

I won't delude myself into thinking that we'll find anything as exciting as these celebrities do.  After all , they have entire production crews investigating their family trees and finding the most interesting branches. 

I can't wait to see where this journey takes me, and I think it will be a great way to spend some quality time with my dad as well.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Just Another Merkle Monday

Ahhhhh...the house is quiet again.  I really do love having my kids home for February vacation, but there is something amazing about that quiet cup of coffee on a Monday morning.

I was feeling so well rested when I got up this morning that I made my kids quesadillas for their lunches.  I know it's nothing earth shattering, but I mean, the cheese has to melt and cool, so yeah...

Last night was rough.  In an unusual turn of events, my son was all set and ready to go.  Set his alarm, got all his stuff ready and seemed genuinely excited about getting back to a schedule.

My daughter had a complete meltdown.  She told us that she didn't want to go to school, its boring, you just do the same thing every day and she just wants to be home.  This kid LOVES school.  As far as we know, everything is going smoothly and she has lots of great friends.

We settled her down, got her to bed, discussed the importance of an education (math is important, you need to read higher than a 1st grade level, blah , blah, blah).  We attempted to sit down and watch the Oscars (mostly to see what movies we should watch 5 years from now...get it?  we NEVER get to the movies), when she came downstairs crying hysterically.

At first, we did the usual parent, "Come on, what are you doing up, it's time for bed" and then she said,
"I tried to sleep , but I can't stop thinking that if I go to school , you and Daddy will die."

WHAT THE *&^^**@(#&*@( !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What do I do with that?!

Here's what went through my mind.
- Oh wow, didn't I just blog about how I would also get these kind of thoughts at bedtime?  Is she taking after me?  Ugh...why couldn't she just inherit my love for birthdays!?
-Is this for real, or is she that good at acting that she's trying to convince us that she can't go to school tomorrow?
-Am I going to die if she goes to school?  Is that how it happens?  Great.

My husband went into the , "That's crazy, that's not going to happen!" song and dance with little acceptance on her end.  We comforted , we brought her upstairs and I finally managed to say, "I know its hard to stop thinking about a bad thought once it gets in your head, what's something super happy we could think about?"

We decided that our upcoming trip to North Carolina was a happy thought.  We talked about what we would do, who would be there and I left her to think about what she would pack for the car, for the beach, etc.

Eventually she was sound asleep and when she woke up this morning, she didn't mention a word about her fears.  I asked her quickly at the bus stop if she was excited to go to school and she said, "Sort-of!" with a smile.  I'll take it.

I then veeeerrrry carefully crossed the street.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

So Awesome I Could Cry...

There are some days that my kids are so awesome , I want to cry.  When those days coordinate with PMS, it's a perfect storm. 

Today my daughter had a play date with a girl in her class.  My daughter LOVES this girl.  She draws pictures of her, tell us all about her, and begs to have play dates with her. 

Her friend is almost 8 years old and has a syndrome.  I don't really want to go into a lot of detail on here, because hers is not my story to tell and she is so much more than this syndrome.

I am so used to seeing my daughter in the role of, "Let's play this " and " I want to do this", it was so amazing to see her play just as happily with someone who can't verbally communicate with her and to see them really have a ball together.

I think back to when she first asked me about getting together with her and I was such a wreck.  It seems so silly now, especially since that I've met the mom and she's just about as awesome as can be. 

At the time, I was nervous about how they would play, I wondered if my house would be an appropriate place for them to play and whether they would even have any interest in playing with us When I actually called and left a message , I received a call back from a mom who had never received a call for a play date for her daughter.  She was so excited to get the call and get the girls together.

Throughout the playdate, she kept thanking us and she kept saying it was so wonderful of my daughter to think of her daughter.  I hope I was able to convey to her that this get together meant just as much to us as it did to her.  I didn't want her to think we were doing this just to be nice, my daughter genuinely likes her daughter.  She told me today that this little girl is her best friend and I went in my room and cried a little.

As much as I like to teach my kids life lessons, this one was all my daughter and I feel so lucky that I was there to witness it.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Random Thoughts for the Week

This past week hasn't been very productive.

I was sick.  It was just a bad cold , but it really knocked me out.  I feel like I neglected everything; my house, my kids, Valentine's Day, my birthday and my blog!

Luckily, I have a great husband , who has promised a "do-over" this weekend for my birthday, but honestly it was still a great day and I felt very loved.

Ok...so being sick gave me lots of time to watch news, catch up on shows and watch some terrible tv.  It also gave me lots of time to lay around thinking about things. Here are my random thoughts for the week.

-Why does the guy on the carpeting/flooring  commercial ( I can't remember which company) act like he'd be all put out by 50% off and then says, " What's next free?" Umm, yeah, that would be great..anyone listening , I WILL TAKE FREE HARDWOOD FLOORS!

- There seems to be a lot of chatter on Facebook regarding honoring soldiers and Whitney Houston.  I think there's always opportunities to keep things in perspective, but there's no way these things should be compared.  She's a human being who was loved by her family and fans, despite her flaws.  She has no control over how those people choose to mourn or honor her and it doesn't take away from anyone else's loss.

- I got caught up in a Teen Mom 2 marathon.  I decided I wasn't as upset that these moms were immature as I was that they all had professionally colored hair, nails done, extensions and cooler phones than me. 

- Except Janelle, that girl is so incredibly messed up, as much as it may seem wonderful that her mom is raising Jayce, didn't she also raise Janelle?

- I had a moment this week that made me realize how frustrating it must have been to be my parents.  For every time I said , "I don't know"  I apologize.

- I also realized that I love getting presents both practical and impractical.  I was as thrilled to receive a gift certificate to get my nails done as I was to get new silverware and a car organizer. 

- I kind of like writing checks.

- Are we really buying roll covers for our back up toilet paper?  I just want to know.  They're pretty and all, but I'm not getting them unless you do.

I'd love to say, "I promise I'll write more next week!" , but its school vacation week and we're going to gut and reorganize the kids' rooms, so I'll probably be too busy banging my head against a wall.  Repeatedly.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Good Kids

If you want to feel like a rock star, go and visit a 1st grade classroom.  You will find a room full of little people who are genuinely excited to see you.  I help out in my daughter's classroom on Thursday afternoons and every time I walk in the door, I am greeted with adorable little smiles and loud whispers telling my daughter that her mom is here.

They're so eager to make a connection with you.  One child reminded me of the time we saw each other when he was getting his hair cut.  Another told me that he met my in-laws at Stop and Shop.  I try to reply to them with as much enthusiasm as they're giving me, it's pretty adorable.

This was pretty much going to be what I was going to write about today, and I was even going to say that now that my son is 13, I miss the days when his friends and classmates were excited when a parent came into school.

Then I went to the Middle School last week.

I was picking up my son for an afternoon appointment and I happened to arrive as the students were changing classes.  I could not have been more surprised to hear, "Hi Mrs. M!" I looked up to see one of my son's friends, walking with a group of his friends, with that same smile I had seen in my daughter's class, just happy to see me and thought he'd say "Hi."  It may seem like such a small insignificant thing, but it really made my day.

As I continued to the office, I heard at least 3 more, "Hi Mrs. M!"'s.  A boy that lives in my neighborhood even held the office door open for me.  As I was waiting for my son, another friend walked in the office and was asking if my son was okay. 

It is so easy to write off middle school aged children as moody or to think that they are only concerned with being cool, but I will not make that mistake again.

My son has managed to surround himself with some pretty amazing friends. I know that they're not all perfect, I don't expect them to be, but in those few minutes at the school, it reaffirmed to me that we are so lucky that these boys are in his life. 

It's really comforting to know that these boys have each other.  I know that things may change as the years go on, but I will always be grateful that they navigated middle school together.  I hope my daughter gets to experience the same thing, I want to be cynical and say girls are so different and dramatic (being one, I have some experience) , but I also want to trust that she may just surround herself with some wonderful friends, and I won't take it for granted.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues.....

 I have a hard time getting over sad events.  I have always been an emotional person.  I've talked before about how I cry when I'm happy or sad.  I wear my heart on my sleeve and that's just the way it is.

However, after I had my son, I was an emotional mess.  I would like to say it was the stress of being a new mom and the hormones, but I was dealing with crippling emotions and I've never really talked about it.

In hindsight, I wish I had gone and talked to someone.  The problem was, for the most part, I was fine during the day.  I was busy, working, and taking care of my baby.  Night time was a different story.  One sad or scary thought would have me curled in the fetal position, crying for hours.

One night, it was something as simple as laying my head on my husband's chest and hearing his heartbeat.  It took all of 10 seconds for me to think about how fragile life is and what would I do if I lost anyone I loved and had I done enough to let the people in my life know that I loved them?  I would stay awake for hours, worried and upset.

Current events would creep into my thoughts at night.  I remember when one of the guilty in the Oklahoma City bombing was executed, there was a resurgence of information about the victims and the survivors and those who had lost their loved ones.  I was completely unable to stop thinking about them.  I cried and cried, it was unimaginable to me that 6 years later, these people were able to talk about it and somehow keep moving forward.  I was convinced that if it happened to me, I would be completely stuck.

I would love to say that this only lasted a few months after my son was born, but that would be dishonest.  I really think that I was only back to normal after I had my daughter.  I don't know why this happened.  There isn't any medical reason for it, I'm sure.  I literally feel like I was out of whack and somehow everything went back to my "normal" after I had her.

I am still emotional, recent events in Washington, where Josh Powell killed his 2 beautiful boys and himself, upset me, I think about them a lot.  I don't know why it doesn't cripple me like it used to, it's just as horrifying and upsetting.  I think in some way, age and maturity had something to do with it, but I also know that somehow my little girl changed something in me that I can't explain.

I don't know why I've decided to share this now.  I think if I had known that anyone was going through what I was, it would have been such a comfort.  So if anyone out there ever felt this way, you're not alone!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

AY-YAI-IRITIS

This morning my son got up and jumped in the shower like he always does.  I was slowly getting out of bed when he came in and said, "I don't think I can go to school today, my eye is killing me."

Ummm, yeah , nice try pal.  I quickly tried to think if there were any tests or anything going on today or was he just tired from having basketball practice last night.  Then I looked at him.  His left eye was slammed shut and he was struggling to keep the right one open as well.

So the questions began.  "Did you get soap in your eye?"  "Did you get scratched or anything?"  "Is it itchy?" "Can you open it at all?"  The answer to all of these questions was, "No."

That exhausted my limits of what to ask when your child's eye hurts, so I had him lay down, I applied a warm compress and called the school to say he wouldn't be in.

I went with the assumption that he had pink eye, since that's all I really know that can be wrong with eyes.  I thought maybe a scratched cornea, but I would think he would remember something happening to him to cause that.

I waited for the doctor's office to open and called, assuming they would just call in some eye drops and we'd be on the mend.  Well you know what they say about assuming....

They said that they would like to see him and said we should just head on over.  We arrived about 30 minutes later and were told it was not pink eye.  Our doctor thought it might be more of an inflammation, but where the remedy for that was steroid drops , he wanted to send us to someone to be sure.

It's worth noting that my son's eye was incredibly sensitive to light during all of this, so he was wearing sunglasses the whole time and slouched over from the pain.  I'm pretty sure people thought I was dragging my hungover son all over town today.

It's also worth mentioning that I have an irrational fear of getting around Worcester.  It's a city that makes no sense to me, it's my Everest, and someday I will conquer it.

So at 10:10 a.m., my doctor's office is asking if I can get to Worcester for an appointment with an ophthalmologist at 10:45.  My inner dialogue follows...
"Sure, that seems like enough time"
" I wonder where it is?
"Crap!  My husband has the GPS!"
"Wait, my new phone should have something"
"Oh it does, but I can't look at it and drive at the same time, maybe my son can...oh yeah, he can't see..lovely."
"Okay, there's something here that says I can download something to talk to me"
"I hope this works"

So, a small freak out later, I have my phone basically telling me to drive straight for 10 miles and take a right.  Of course.

We arrive at the next doctor's appointment and I am getting nervous.  In walks the doctor and let me tell you, this man was amazing.  He immediately set me at ease.  He was so kind and funny with my son.  He told him what he was going to do and he was honest when things would be uncomfortable.

He sat down with me and explained that my son had an inflammation in his eye called Iritis.  Apparently there are white blood cells in his eye and they're not supposed to be there (who knew?).  So basically his eye is freaking out.

As I sat there while he explained that there's no real reason why my son got this, I suddenly found that I had a lump in my throat.  I was so overwhelmed in that moment.  I was grateful that we had been so lucky to get 2 appointments for his eye by 11am.  I was relieved that there was a diagnosis.  I was nervous that my sometimes catastrophic imagination got away from me and got nervous when I heard terms like "lupus" and "arthritis".

No matter how old he is, I will worry about my boy.  He was such a trooper today, especially when I have to put drops in his eye every hour.  He's rocking a pretty sweet eye patch and he even gets to stay home from school tomorrow.  We go back for a follow up on Monday and I look forward to the opportunity to really thank the doctor who may have just been doing his job, but he did it well and I am so grateful.