We spent the day with family the other day. It was nice. I love my family. I enjoy seeing them. I enjoy having my kids interact with them. It's fun.
It can also be trying. There are a select few family members who are just not nice individuals. This is not about them. I could write a book about them. A textbook. An Abnormal Psychology textbook about them. C-R-A-Z-Y!
This is about my son and my cousin.
I come from a large family. My youngest cousin is 6 or 7 I believe. He's young. My oldest cousin is in their mid-30s. There are a lot of us. My three year old is drawn to my youngest cousin, we'll call him A. The boy is drawn to A because they are both kids. A is another playmate for the boy. Someone to have fun with in a party full of adults. Makes sense to me.
A does not see it this way. I really don't know how A sees it.
Every time we see A he has his handheld game system. It's the same one that the husband has. It's the same one that the boy loves to watch other people play on because they play better than him. He just loves to sit and watch people play. That's it.
Apparently, A does not like that. Apparently A does not like having the boy around. Apparently A only wants my son around him on his terms. A does not welcome the chance to play with the boy. As a matter of fact A treats the boy like, well, shit. And it makes me feel a lot of things.
Watching A walk away from my son on Saturday and watching him tell my son to leave him alone and watching him ignore him made me so mad and at the same time very sad.
My son didn't realize that A was being mean. He didn't pick up on the fact that A just wanted to do what he wanted to do and not deal with my son. The boy didn't get that A wanted to be left alone to play his game and watch TV.
Then the pool came out and the giant sprinkler ball. All of a sudden A was all about the boy. All of a sudden A wanted to play and have fun. Not necessarily with the boy but with the boy's toys. Part of me wanted to go up to A and tell him he didn't get to play with the boy's pool and cool ball. Part of me wanted to shake A and tell him that he doesn't realize how fun the boy is and how friendly he is and how he just wants to play. I was just so pissed.
Children are so innocent. My son had no idea that A was being a little jerk. He had no idea that A didn't want to play with him or have him around. I did. My husband did. Everyone did. It made us mad. It made me sad to watch my son being ignored and pushed out of the way by someone who is family. It upset me that I couldn't go over and change A. I couldn't go over and shake him and tell him to stop being such a snob and jerk to my kid. The whole situation made me sad.
At the same time I was glad that my son couldn't see what A was doing. I was glad that he had no idea that A was being a jerk and he just kept following him around. I was glad that my son could not be hurt by A's actions because he didn't realize what their intentions were. I hate when my son experiences pain and I especially hate it when it comes at someone else's hands. There are going to be so many more times that my son will know exactly what is going on. When he will realize that he's being excluded. When he will see that someone like A, or A himself, is ignoring him and not wanting him to play. I can only hope that we teach him that it's not ok to do that to other kids. That it's not ok to make someone feel that way. That it's not ok to exclude someone just for the sake of exclusion.
I was so sad for my son on Saturday. It still makes me sad to think about it. My son's innocence is a precious quality that I know he won't have forever but for now, I am glad that he is immersed in it. I am glad he sees the world and those around him with mostly rose colored glasses, I hope they stay on for a long time.
Monday, June 30, 2008
We spent the day with family the other day. It was nice. I love my family. I enjoy seeing them. I enjoy having my kids interact with them. It's fun.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:29 AM
Sunday, June 29, 2008
I read this blog called Sharing the Journey. I found it in the early days of my PPD. It's an excellent blog and has a lot of resources for families dealing with PPD.
The most recent post highlights and organization called Jenny's Light. I encourage you to read about Jenny's Light and to visit the other links on Sharing the Journey and Jenny's Light.
Sharing the Journey has a lot of resources for those who are dealing with PPD or trying to help a family member dealing with it.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 12:05 PM
Would you like to know how many times I used the phrase, "because I said so" over the past few days?
Ok, well maybe not THAT much but it's pretty damned close! And each of those times I've thanked God that my kids don't have the wherewithal to stop, look at me, and say, "What the hell kind of justification is that!??!"
When my son wanted to go outside this morning in just his pajama top, dirty diaper and no shoes to color on the patio I, shockingly, said 'no'.
"Because you don't have any clothes on, it's going to rain and I need to change you!"
"But WHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYY mommy?!"
"Because I said so!"
"Ooooooooookkkkkkkk." In the whiniest voice EVER!
When I wouldn't allow him to take out Nemo (the new, now dead fish) and play with him.
"No, Nemo can't play outside of his bowl/margarita pitcher."
"No and that's it!"
"But mommy, why?"
"Because I said so."
Seriously, he has no idea that he should look at me and totally question my reasoning. I've given him such the BS answer for his questions and I can't believe that he hasn't caught on yet. I'm pretty sure that if my daughter could form full sentences and words that did not come out sounding like they were Middle Eastern she would look at me after feeding her the "because I said so line" and say, "Whatever woman! That's not a good enough reason! I'm doing it unless you tell me exactly why I shouldn't in 10 words or less!!"
I don't remember how old I was when it finally clicked in my brain. I don't remember how I reacted when my mom used that line on me and I finally realized that it just wasn't good enough. I do remember though. I remember at some point realizing that 'because I said so' just was not going to cut it for reasoning. It was probably around the same time that I realized that the "we'll see" response actually meant, "there's no way in hell we're doing that!" I also remember thinking that I was NEVER EVER going to use 'because I said so' with my kids. My kids would be so much smarter and wouldn't ever accept that reasoning.
Apparently I was wrong.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:16 AM
Friday, June 27, 2008
I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this....
We took the kids to a carnival last night. It was a lot of fun. The boy loves rides and games and apparently so does the girl. She ADORED the carousel and wanted to do everything her big brother was doing!
The boy went on a ton of rides and then to finish out the evening we let him play some carnival games. We won a fish. His name is Nemo. We're taking bets on how long he'll live.
The boy won something at every game he played. Literally. And they weren't crappy prizes. I mean they were but they were ok crappy prizes. He didn't win because he's a master of carnival games. He won because this carnival practices a policy of Kids Always Win.
Last night I really liked this policy. I thought it was an excellent idea. The games weren't anymore unreasonably priced than normal carnival games. It wasn't like they were jacking up their prices to justify having each kid win. It was just nice. A great way to boost a kid's confidence and have them win no matter what. I hated walking away from the carnival with a ton of crap we don't need. (Nemo doesn't count!) But I liked that I didn't have to deal with a screaming three year old who wanted a prize and didn't get one.
This morning, my feelings are a bit changed. I started thinking about if it really was a good idea to teach kids that they always win. Yeah, this is a totally isolated incident. We don't go to carnivals on a daily basis and when we go down the shore he definitely won't be winning at every game. But, this is applies to things outside of carnival games. This applies to life.
Last night it was great that the boy won. We pretty much got our money's worth. But what happens when we do go down the shore and he doesn't win? How do we explain it then? I see this type of mentality in teaching even. A kid may fail a subject or four and is allowed to make them up as if there never was a failure. Or they don't turn something in on time and concessions are made so that they can still turn it in with minimal consequences.
Why aren't we teaching our kids that sometimes they won't win? Sometimes they won't get what they want. Sometimes there will be negative consequences. Why are we almost overprotecting our children?
I'm guilty of it. I know I am.
I have a three year old. I cave a lot more than I should. I give in to what he wants a lot more than I should. Last night before we left for the carnival the boy was not listening at all. He was running all over the place. He was not hearing a single word we said to him. He wanted to do what he wanted to do. Then he fell. He scraped his knee. I was dealing with the stroller. My husband had to deal with him. The boy has a major fear of band aids and antiseptics and anything having to do with "medical" related things. He's had this fear since the hospital. After the fall last night he FREAKED when the husband wanted to clean him up and put on a band-aid. I walked into this in the middle. The husband was getting frustrated and the boy was screaming. Instead of allowing this to play out and letting the husband be in charge I jumped in and offered the boy a juice box. I figured it would calm him.
It did. Until the husband took out the band aid. Freak out resumed.
We got everyone settled in their car seats and we were ready to go. The boy was wearing a band aid and whimpering from the back seat. The husband and I talked.
"You can't reward him with a juice box when he freaks out like that."
"You can't freak out on him because he's afraid of band aids and having the cut cleaned."
"He needs to learn that sometimes he has to do things he doesn't want to do or he won't like."
"He needs to be comforted when he's scared like that. Not told to stop and sit down."
I saw the husband's point. He saw mine. I stepped into a situation that I really was not a part of and I did reward the screaming with a juice box and it didn't help. It just showed the boy that when he screams, regardless of why, he'll get some type of reward. The husband understood that the boy still harbors a lot of fear from the hospital and the experiences there but also thinks we need to start helping move past those experiences. He's right.
I gave in last night and tried to give the quick fix and make it all better. It did not help and it won't help the next time he gets hurt and does not want a band aid. It's easier for me to make the quick fix than to deal with the problem. Is it possible that we're doing that with a lot of other things, too?
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm over thinking this. Maybe they're just carnival games and nothing more.
What do you think?
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:59 AM
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
School is done. It's me and the kids. It's fun. It's work. It's annoying. It's terrible. It's tiring. It makes me want to scream. It makes me laugh. It makes me cry. It makes me happy and sometimes it makes me long for work. But it's good. It's exactly what it's supposed to be.
Right now, I feel the stress. I feel the frustration. I feel tired.
I've spent the past two days running around. I've been to two doctors for the same child. Check ups mainly Although, one was the dentist- a first time visit! More on that later. I've been to the park. I've been to see grandma and pop-pop at work. I've been to Wendy's- the drive-thru- twice. I've been to a softball game, the husband's- not mine. I've been to three different gas stations. And the only place I haven't been? The only place I really need to go? The supermarket.
In our travels over the past few days. These days of vacation. I've had at least three people make comments that have made me want to punch them in the face. Mind you, these are people who I would normally show respect to but their words just set me on edge. Their looks drive me C-R-A-Z-Y.
I took the boy to his ear specialist yesterday. This is the doctor that really changed our son's life. He gave him back the gift of hearing. He gave him the ability to breathe through his nose and to smell things. He gave us the gift of no snoring. He has given these gifts to many other people as well. That's why his friggin' office is always packed! The whole visit took about an hour. (That's a positive! We've had to wait two hours or more before!) We headed out and proceeded to wait for the elevator.
Those of you with at least two children and the double stroller, aka 18 wheeler, know that getting into normal sized spaces can be difficult. Getting into the elevator was proving to be quite difficult. Around our 7th minute of waiting and letting three elevators go by because people didn't want to make room we encountered my first potential victim. An elderly woman. A woman who seemed nice enough. She engaged my children in conversation. She smiled at them and "played" with them while waiting for her elevator. Then, as I was making sure my son didn't take his bright blue lollipop and stick it to the carpet or very nice wall in the doctor's building, she said it. " My goodness they're so close in age! You must have your hands QUITE full!"
I stopped. Dead.
"Actually, they're two years apart. Not too close." And then I chuckled at her hands full comment. She didn't respond just smiled for a moment more. The elevator arrived and you know what she did? She got on an empty elevator with one other person and before I could maneuver my Mack truck of a stroller over she closed the elevator door on me and my full hands.
So, we waited. My blood boiled and eventually my attention turned back to the fact that my three old had wrangled himself out of the 5 point harness and onto the floor. Awesome. My hands overflowed.
Today was the dentist. I love our dentist. Seriously, he's great. I love most of the hygienists in his office, they're friendly and remember just about everything about you and are so gentle on your teeth! This was the boy's first ever dentist visit. I was nervous. He wasn't. He was a STAR! It went great! Our hygienist carefully cleaned his teeth and kept him calm and enthralled with all the tools and toys. Then the dentist came in. My next victim.
He said hello. Took care with my little guy. Gently lifted him right ways in the chair. Showed him his special "flashlight" and started taking a look at his teeth. He chatted with me briefly and then gave the boy a pat on the head. Then he saw my daughter, whining from having to sit in her stroller for an hour, playing with her brand new toothbrush. "How old is she?" He asked, already knowing that the boy is 3.
"She's 15 months." I replied, anticipating what was coming.
"Oh wow! You must have your hands full! Who gives you more of a run for your money?" He chuckled as he uttered the dreaded words.
Rather than saying, I don't have any money-I have two kids and I teach high school. I said, "Well, she's really all over him at this point so it's pretty equal." And we finished our conversation while I kept my grip on the stroller handles to make sure I didn't wrap them around his newly thinned out neck!
You know what? My hands are full. They are full because my children are energetic and wonderfully fun. They are full because life is stressful regardless of whether or not your kids are 12 months, 24 months, or 120 months apart. They are full because my son likes to pick dandelions and rocks and hand them to me and tell me he loves me. They are full because my daughter likes to pick up the little pieces of dirt or food on the floor that my vacuum has missed and hand them to me. My hands are full because God has blessed me with two wonderful children who often run me completely and totally ragged but at the end of the day come to me and fill my arms and heart with love.
I sat at lunch today with my parents and my kids and I shared my encounters of well meaning, but often annoying individuals and their comments, and I realized that my hands will always be full and I am so incredibly lucky for that. I think of what my hands used to be full of and it does not even come close to what they are full of now.
Yes, my hands are full. Yes, it's a lot of work having two kids. It's a lot of work having one kid. It's a lot of work having more than two. Yes, my life is hectic. Yes, I'd love a day where I don't wake up to poop or cranky babies with molars coming through. Yes, I'd love a moment on the toilet where someone isn't banging on the door asking for juice boxes or candy. But at the end of the night when my arms are full and my heart has burst from all the love I've received it makes the rest of the crap go away. It makes the fullness of my hands seem like nothing.
Yes, my hands are full. Yes, I'm tired. Yes, I long for work some days. Yes, I crave a moment alone sometimes. Yes, it's only the beginning of the Summer.
Yes, my hands are full and I am eternally grateful for that and you should be too because if they weren't so full I'd punch you in the face! Or my kid would!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 3:02 PM
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 7:15 PM
Monday, June 23, 2008
Do you ever feel like you don't belong?
I don't necessarily think that not belonging or feeling that way is a bad thing.
For much of grade school I did not feel like I belonged with my classmates. I always got the "speech" from teachers, "Mountain Momma, you're much more mature than a lot of your classmates. You have to be the leader, the example." I heard it from my parents, too. At points it was an honor. At other points it didn't matter. I wanted to belong. I was like every other kid out there, I just wanted to be liked and invited places.
The first year of high school was about finding the people that I did belong with. That wasn't too too hard what with a class of only 35 girls. By senior year I was comfortable with my friends. I was well liked by almost everyone. I was a leader in my classmates' eyes and my teachers' eyes. I was experiencing a sense of belonging but it would not last because high school would not last. That was ok. I still have the friends that I want to belong to.
College. Forget it. My freshman year suite I totally did not belong in. Not even close. It was filled with sorority girls. All different sororities sorority girls. I was so far from being a sorority girl that I could have started my own anti-sorority. I belonged on the Crew team. For a period of time. I belonged in the small close knit friends that I had made. I belonged, briefly, with those associated with the Hockey team. Eventually, I found I belonged with a few girls who were my friends- my true and loyal friends. They are the ones I am still connected with. The ones with whom I still belong.
After college came marriage and work and mommyhood and everything that goes along with all of that. Finding where I belong is harder. I don't belong in the SAHM playgroups that have been established in my town and the surrounding towns. I don't belong in the corporate sector. I don't always know where I belong. I have my friends from long ago and from not so long ago. I belong with them. They are not near me, sadly. We are not in close proximity. We talk. We email. We text. We do all we can to be together but in these days of $4 gas and busy schedules, getting together doesn't always work. I am looking for the place where I belong outside of my friends.
I began looking for alternate means of belonging. I turned to my church- nothing really. I found a sense of belonging at my job. I love my co-workers. They are funny. They are comforting. They are friendly. They are wonderful people. I turned to the internet. Initially, I wanted to find other moms near me, in a similar position. I was looking for a sense of belonging to a community within my community. I found a different type of community.
I discontinued my PPD therapy because my insurance would not cover it. I was not done recovering. There are days I feel like I'm still recovering and that's ok. I write as part of my own brand of therapy. I let out my feelings because I need to put them somewhere and I don't write in a journal. My closest friends hear these feelings usually before I share them on here. Writing them on here opened me up to a new type of belonging. I wrote what I was feeling, sometimes thinking I was the only one feeling those things, and other people would come out and say "I've felt that same way." Or "I went through the same thing." I found people who shared things in common with me and it was nice to have that sense of belonging.
I am not here to get readers. I am not here to make money off of blogging. I am not here to become famous from my writings and my feelings. I am here to put it out there and just write. If you want to read it, great. If you want to comment, also great. I know that people are reading because I see the numbers change each day. It doesn't matter why you read. If you want entertainment- ok, I don't think I'm all that entertaining but, ok. If you have a connection with my words and experiences, I think that's wonderful. I'm glad that I've put them out there even if there is only one person who finds that connection they were looking for. If you're reading just because you're nosy, that's ok too! I have stuff I read just to be nosy. I enjoy knowing about people and blogs are the perfect way to find out about others. If you're a stalker...well, weird but....um, ok.
I go through up and down times. I go through times where I want to share everything and where I don't want to share anything. That's true of real life.
Sometimes, I just don't want to talk about it. I don't care who you are.
I still have a sense of belonging because there are people out there who I feel I have connected with on some level. I've connected with one or two in real life. We are friends. As corny as you may want to make that, we are. If we lived closer, if we had met on the playground, if we had worked together, we would have become friends. This was just the vehicle for making friends. But I also feel like I'm not nearly as ingrained in all of this as other people may be. I'm not nearly as connected as I've found other bloggers to be, and that's ok with me. I do not belong in certain parts of the blogosphere and at first that bothered me. I felt left out. I felt hurt. I felt like I was back in grade school and I wasn't popular. Now, I'm ok with it.
I put my words out there for you to read. It doesn't matter to me why you read, I'm glad you do. It doesn't matter to me if you comment, although I enjoy when you do. I belong here regardless of how many readers or comments I have. My words belong, when I want to share them. I still long for that sense of belonging to a community within my own community but I have found that my words help me to create a sense of belonging to something outside of myself and outside of my community.
I am ok with not belonging to the popular crowd because I belong to me and my words belong to me.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:46 AM
Saturday, June 21, 2008
We didn't get in until close to 2am last night. It was great.
We went into the city to see RENT. My parents had given me tickets for Mother's Day and the husband and I used them last night. It was fabulous. This was the second time I've seen the show on Broadway but the husband's first time.
He loved it.
I highly recommend you see the show, if you haven't, before it closes on Broadway. The original cast (the best version IMO) is touring starting in January of 2009 and we're going to try and see that but even if we can't, I am so glad we had the chance to see it last night!
I didn't take any pictures. Well, not true. I took one really piss poor one of the RENT sign outside the theater and that was it. Sorry to disappoint.
As I sat there and watched this show I was mesmerized. Seriously. First, I love the music. The show truly is a work of art. But second, I think the theater is sometimes such an underappreciated art. I think it's incredible that these men and women get up on that stage night after night, day after day, and perform in such a way that tells us an incredible story and makes us believe it. They make you feel with their performances. They bring into their world with their characters. It is always just an incredible experience whenever I see a show. It doesn't matter if that show is on Broadway or in a high school cafe-gym-atorium, it's almost a lost art in a lot of ways.
After getting in quite late. After running, in heels, through Penn Station to make our train and then sitting next to two drunk middle aged men who clearly could not hold their liquor. After having a fun filled, music filled night with my husband. I was tired. I was keeping my fingers crossed for my kids to sleep past 8am. No. Such. Luck.
When I finally dragged my butt out of bed I really felt awake even though I could have slept for hours more. I was refreshed. I had energy. I was looking forward to the Summer Saturday that lay ahead. So far, it's been a pretty good one. I'm not sure where my energy has come from but it's here and I'm not fighting it.
The kids and I dressed and headed out to a local farmers' market. We bought some delicious bread and saw some alpacas for sale. They even got free cookies. (The kids, not the alpacas.) Then we picked up some bagels for everyone for breakfast. DEE-licious! After breakfast I scrubbed down the pool and put the girl down for a nap. The boy and I enjoyed some outside time- he in the pool, me in the sun reading. The husband headed into work. The kids enjoyed lunch and then we headed out for a walk. Now, after fighting with the boy about going back out to the pool- I wanted to, he didn't- we're hanging inside. They're playing, I'm blogging. I'm awaiting nap #2 for the girl and maybe even a nap for the boy. Those naps? They'll give me my shower opportunity.
Not so sure what's on tap for this evening. Maybe a trip to Blockbuster and a stop at MickeyD's, although I got some fabulous Challah bread so I was thinking about some breakfast for dinner! It really doesn't matter what we do at this point, today has been such a nice day that the evening could not possibly disappoint!
These Summer Saturdays are what I live for. I hope they carry into Mondays, Tuesdays and beyond. I hope we have Summer weeks and Summer months. Times of fun outside and walks through the neighborhoods. Times of friends and family. Times of parks and pools and farmers' markets and maybe even a few more alpacas!
There really is 'No day but today!'
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 2:54 PM
Friday, June 20, 2008
I haven't had much to say lately.
It's been a crazy few weeks. Work is done. We thought the boy had chicken pox- he doesn't- just some random rash. (Yuck). School is ending for the kids, too. Summer is starting tonight at 7:59pm and I'm super duper excited for these next 10 weeks.
In celebration......some randoms!
You've already heard- no chicken pox! FAB!! He does have some random rash that the doctor doesn't know the origin of. Could be the fact that he's been in the pool quite a bit lately. Could be the sunscreen. Could be the increase in ice cream. Could just be some random rash. Now, he's all drugged up and it appears that the rash is clearing. YAY Allegra! We're teaching him how to slather on tons of lotion so we don't always have to do it. It's quite messy.
Our central air broke in the middle of the heat wave. We rocked it old school with fans and windows open. It wasn't so bad. I was convinced that we wouldn't have ac all Summer because I was not paying an arm and a leg to fix our unit. They came to fix it. It was less than $140! Turns out some animal chewed through some wires....yum!
We have air back.
The windows have been opened everyday since we got the unit fixed.
At least we're saving energy and money!
They finally came to mow our lawn after 3 weeks. Thank goodness, I was starting to feel like I was living in "Out of Africa".
I was beginning to consider starting my own mini lawn mowing business. I'll mow your lawn and weed whack for $40 bucks, once a week. Thank God it didn't come to that!
I'm glad it's Summer. It's time for the beach. It's time for mommy playgroup to start up. (More on that later). It's time for backyard pools and park time and tanning. It's time to enjoy time at home with the kids.
I'm excited and scared.
It could be a very long summer with two kids and a mommy who wants a vacation.
I miss work a little bit. I miss my co-workers, I miss some of my students, I miss the routine. But I am so excited for the days ahead.
I am so excited for getting away and getting a break!
So, I've started a playgroup. Most of my friends work all year round. Some are teachers so they're off during the summer but not the majority. We decided that since most of us aren't really traditional playgroup people and most of us have friends who aren't moms we were going to start our own playgroup. We're going to do our best to get together once a week at each other's homes or at the beach or zoo or park or wherever and just enjoy the company and conversation. It gives the kids a break and the moms a break, too. Plus, we're inviting our non-mom friends, too. Why should our fun be limited to moms?
You live in the area? Come and join. Email me if you're interested mcgearstella at gmail dot com.
Many of you have noticed my new design and thank you for the compliments! I have to give most of the credit to Maria. She hooked me up with site that I pilfered this background from AND she did the header for me! She is super dee duper talented in this department as well as in the writing department! Go on over and check her out! Thanks Maria!
Remember my non-New Year's resolution? The one where my son was going to be potty trained? Yeah...not so much. At first, totally felt like a failure. I was embarrassed to bring him in to my pediatrician for his check up. Luckily, he had just come out of the hospital and she was focused on that rather than his inability to poop in the toilet. Actually, when I told her how upset I was about him not being trained she brushed it off. She said he would go when he was ready. He would let me know when it was time to go on the potty. He's a boy, it can take longer. Ok.
He's been letting us know that he's ready. Slowly but surely. More and more each day he asks to go on the potty. More and more he keeps his pull up pretty dry. More and more we're getting closer. So, yeah, I'm not a failure it just took some time and it took us backing off a bit and letting him make this decision. I just sort of wish it had come a little faster!
Speaking of poop......I saw the GI doc yesterday and now I get to collect my poop on a card and mail it back to her. Doesn't that sound great?!?! It's gross! I have to have a few other tests done but overall, the appointment was not so bad. I can get some medicine to help me and take some supplements and we'll see what the next tests say and go from there. I was pleased with the whole outcome except for that whole poop on the card thing.....
My kids are at their last day of school at this very moment. I know they're having a good time. I'm having a good time, too. I went for a run this morning. I've been vegging on the couch and in a little bit I'm getting up to get ready for tonight. The husband and I are heading into the city for a night out and a Broadway show. I'm super excited! I'm even going to wear that Vera Wang dress that I was supposed to wear a few months ago but it didn't show up on time.
Maybe I'll even take a few pictures to share! ;)
I think I'm back. I've missed writing. I just feel like I haven't had much to say. I've avoided certain topics. I've ignored writing completely, most days. I'm looking forward to Summer and all it brings with it. I'm looking forward to unwinding and letting go and enjoying the days ahead with my kids and my friends at my side.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 12:34 PM
Thursday, June 19, 2008
I came home from work the other night and this was sitting at my front door:It was not sitting out in the open like that or anything but rather in it's own box and then in a shipping box.
I was so excited!
I paid $15 bucks for that machine. BRAND NEW!
Not from Ebay.
I answered a survey. I said I would talk to people about my new Senseo Coffee machine and now I am.
I love coffee. Seriously.
I love flavored coffee. I love regular coffee. I love Irish coffee. I love Mexican coffee. I love iced coffee. I love those frou frou coffee drinks. You get the point.
I hate paying a lot of money, or any money for coffee. Even going to Dunkin' Donuts and paying for coffee- even though theirs is the best- kills me.
My husband doesn't drink coffee unless he's on vacation. Don't ask.
We never make coffee here, unless we have company. I don't like to make a pot and then have any go to waste or have to worry about cleaning the machine. Well, now I don't have to.
My brand new Senseo lets me brew a single cup of coffee with no problem and it's delicious. Seriously good. The machine came with a bunch of free pods. The pods are what you use to make the coffee. It also came with coupons for more pods and even coupons for me to share with you guys so you can get your own Senseo. I have three $20 off coupons for anyone interested. Just leave me a comment and I can send it to you!
This machine is super easy to use. It does not take up a lot of space and it takes maybe 2 minutes to brew a delicious cup of coffee! I LOVE IT!
There, now I've shared my love of coffee and my new Senseo with you.
Work is over. My child has some random rash that the doctor cannot diagnose so she has set me and him up with new drugs to help him feel better. He does not have the Chicken Pox. Thank God for small miracles! It's nice to have Summer officially started!
I'm going to have a cup of coffee!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 8:43 AM
Monday, June 16, 2008
It's amazing what rolls off your back after you've experienced something so much larger.
The boy was in the hospital back in February. It was bad. It was scary. I would never wish anything like that on anyone, even my worst enemy. I will never, ever, forget the experience.
I sit here, now, awaiting a call back from my pediatrician. My son may have the chicken pox.
He may not.
If this had happened 6 or 8 months ago I probably would have freaked out. I probably would have loaded my child in the car and headed to the hospital to have him checked out.
Not so much.
I called my mom- the doctor. (Not a medical doctor but she does have Dr. before her name, now.) She kind of laughed. I laughed, too. It's not funny if he has the chicken pox but if he does it's just kind of like the icing on the cake at this point. If he doesn't, that's GREAT! Anyway, called my mom she told me to call the doctor. I really didn't need her to tell me to do that but I was kind of hoping she'd tell me there was no way on God's green Earth that our chicken pox vaccinated child could possibly have the chicken pox.
No. Such. Luck.
So, now I sit and I wait for the pediatrician to call. I'm really not worried. Yeah, it will suck if he has the pox. Yeah, I have another child to consider. One who has not been vaccinated. But you know what? He's not in the hospital. He's not having trouble breathing. He's not pale and lifeless. He's itchy as all get out. He's himself, except he feels the need to remove his clothes to make it easier to get to the itch. And my daughter? She'll be fine, too. Maybe if she gets the pox we won't have to vaccinate. God knows how much she LOVES shots!
If he's got the pox we'll deal. We'll get some calamine lotion. We'll keep him home from school. We'll make him nice and comfortable. It's amazing to me how much I've "mellowed". I hate when my kids are sick, even if it's a cold, but it no longer makes me crazy. My kids are clearly resilient. They have wonderful doctors who care about them and take excellent care of them, and me! If he's got the pox, we're in great hands.
If he doesn't? Well, I don't really know because if he doesn't he's got some nasty rash that I have no idea where it came from! GROSS!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 8:09 PM
Sunday, June 15, 2008
My daughter's new thing is to pick up pictures and the camera and say, "Who's that baby?" It comes out more like, "Who dat babeeee?"
It's quite cute.
She just picked up my copy of Memoirs of a Geisha and has been walking around the living room asking the above question. She finally plopped down in her boppy, you know the one that she should have been using as a newborn but now uses the same way old people use hemorrhoid pillows, and opened the book and began to "read".
How can you not laugh at that?
She loves to read. She will sit and look at books for what seems like an eternity to a toddler. It's great! Each day she does something that amazes us. Each day she comes up with a new way to hurl her body to the ground and throw a temper tantrum. Each day she finds a new way to terrorize her older bigger brother. Each day she finds a way to remind us of the true miracle she is.
My kids are so very different. Parenting my son the first time around was so incredibly different from parenting her. She's a complete and total spitfire. My son was easy going and calm. She now has a three year old example to follow and emulate and she does an excellent job of both of those things!
Each day is such a learning experience. Each day is such a gift. Each day is such a test to my patience (most days). Each day is a reminder of how God truly works in mysterious ways and how if we just trust things will work out how they are supposed to.
My daughter was never supposed to be and now she is. How lucky am I?
Pretty Damned Lucky, I'd say.
*Aside-I'd like to wish all those dads, grandpas, godfathers, honorary dads, anyone who is a father figure a very Happy Father's Day! I hope you have a wonderful day filled with lots of love and fun!*
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:04 AM
Thursday, June 12, 2008
So, I JUST realized that in changing everything on my blog, I lost my blogroll!
Actually it's not totally gone, I saved my old template but I haven't gone into it yet!
Leave me a comment and leave me your website and you'll make the roll!!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 10:57 PM
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Another new look....no new title.
Waiting on a change from Maria.
Let me know your thoughts....I'm liking this one more than the giant girl in the header!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:33 PM
So, what do we think?
I'm trying out new looks....instead of moving.
I lost a bunch of stuff on the side but it's saved in my original template so I can bring it back.
Leave a comment.
Tell me your thoughts.
Be honest because I'm not sure I'm in love with it.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:03 PM
Monday, June 9, 2008
There are a lot of things I do "wrong" as a mom.
There are even more things that I do completely and totally right as a mom. It took me awhile to believe that but I absolutely do. I also don't bother comparing myself anymore. My kids are great. My son, while not always 100% behaved, is really a good little boy. He is friendly. He is kind. He is sensitive. He is polite. And he's learning to share. I have to give my husband some credit on him but seriously, I'm a great mom. My daughter is incredible, too. She's still developing her brutish little personality and I have to take complete and total credit for that!
This I know.
You know what else I know?
There are things I wish I did better.
I wish I cleaned up their toys more and kept the house neater. The house isn't dirty. It's messy.
I wish I had pushed sign language harder with my son. He couldn't communicate for so long and sign could have helped him. He turned out fine, though.
I wish I didn't let them watch TV...or as much TV. I'm actually working on this one. The TV is coming closer to being off more than on.
Finally, the big one. The one that really "inspired" this post. And of course, the back story....
We were out by the blow up pool the other day and my daughter was getting pink. She had been dipped and slathered in 400SPF lotion because her skin is whiter than white thanks to my husband and father's blood, yet it appeared she was still getting red.
She needed a cover-up. A T-shirt.
I ran upstairs to my son's room thinking I would grab one of his shirts because it would cover her more. Plus, how cute is it when a little kid is in a bigger kid's or parent's t-shirt?!?!? Well, I went into his closet and was looking for a t-shirt. I wanted a light colored one, white preferably. I found tons of white shirts. Or shirts that used to be white. Now they are white with brown. Or white with green. Or white with tomato sauce. I grabbed the least viciously stained one and took it down to my daughter.
So, what do I wish I did better?
I use bleach. I use colorsafe bleach. I use dye free detergent. I have tried everything.
I am not on top of the stains.
The clothes aren't ruined but I hate putting my kids in "dirty" clothes. I need to do laundry more and maybe this summer is the perfect opportunity. Maybe I need to be like Kelly Ripa and carry a tide pen with me. Maybe my kids should just walk around naked and eat naked, then I wouldn't have to worry about them getting crap on their clothes!
I wish my Stain Management skills were more up to snuff. I think I'm going to work on that.
What do you wish you did better? How would you work on it?
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 4:58 PM
You suck today. You've been great for so long. You welcomed my thoughts and opinions. You "introduced" me to new people and brought me together with old friends. Today though, Blogger, you suck.
Today, I discovered you've been hiding comments from me. I haven't been receiving notifications that I've been getting comments. It made me sad to think that no one was commenting. Now I realize they were but I just wasn't being told.
Maybe it's Yahoo!'s fault. Maybe they've been holding back on my emails. But why? Why would they do that to me?!?! Why would you hold back such nice words and expressions of kindness from me? Just to make sure that it's not Yahoo! I'm switching my notification address.
Blogger I've considered leaving you before. This just adds to my list of why I should leave you! I want private posts- you don't have that.
I want better templates- you don't have that.
I want to be notified of my comments- you don't do that. All the time.
Blogger, it's time to shape up or you'll be shipping out! Private, password protected posts are calling my name. Cool templates with multiple pages are calling my name.
WordPress is calling my name......
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:26 AM
Friday, June 6, 2008
My grandmother is coming to stay at my parents on Sunday.
For Two Weeks.
I love my grandmother. Seriously, I do. I count myself very lucky to have her still with us. As a young child she was my favorite grandparent. She let me get away with everything. Well, almost everything. There were a number of wooden spoons broken over my hands or backside. She bought me whatever I wanted- Barbies, Toys, food, games, WHATEVER. She was who I used to call when my parents would argue, which was rare, and I wanted the argument to end. I'd call her, talk to her for a few minutes give her the low down and then hand my mom the phone. That did not always go over well at my house but it made me feel better. I would spend my summers with her and my grandfather at their house in Florida. They took me to Disney and Busch Gardens. They took me on day cruises and to the beach. They kept me occupied and provided me with tons of memories. They were my favorite grandparents for a long time, she was my ultimate favorite. And really, I think I'm her favorite- or I was.
My grandmother was spunky and outgoing and fun. She was a Social Studies teacher for years. She loves America. Like seriously loves America. Like you've never met someone who loves America this much. Seriously. She is a great cook- or was. She was pretty much up for anything. She could talk to ANYONE. She was the crazy lady with the bright red hair who talked to you in the supermarket and you walked away better for the experience. She wrote her name in, and so did many of her friends and neighbors, any time she voted. She secretly smoked cigarettes for years on end until we finally made her stop because she always had Bronchitis. In retrospect, we should've let her keep smoking. She was incredible. Seriously incredible.
Then my grandfather got sick.
Then my grandfather became completely dependent on my grandmother's care. Not that he wasn't before.
Then my grandmother lost herself in her sense of duty, commitment and care for her husband.
My grandmother, from what I know, has always lived her life for her husband and her family. She "quit" smoking because my grandfather didn't want to marry a woman who smoked. She secretly smoked in the bathroom. (The stories I could tell you about the bathroom and cigarettes!) She moved to Florida partially because she wanted to but mainly because my grandfather wanted to. My grandmother had always wanted to travel. She wanted to see the United States. She wanted to see our country from an RV and from the open road. Not my idea of fun or the ideal vacation but she would have LOVED it! My grandfather didn't want to. They moved to Florida. There seems to be a lot that she gave up or put aside for him.
My grandfather was sick for a long time. It came on slowly. He stopped. He stopped being involved in things. He stopped doing. He stopped using his brain. The Alzheimer's took over at that point. He had other medical issues, too, but the Alzheimer's was what really took him down. That, coupled with the Parkinson's. For the early years of the disease my grandmother cared for him. She reminded him when he forgot. She gave him what he needed. She dealt with his mood swings. It, like it always does, became progressively worse. She stayed on top of things because she was caring for him. Her mind stayed fresh because she was reading pill bottles and doctor instructions and bills and trashy romance novels. Her spirit, not so much.
The Memorial Day after I graduated from college my then fiancee and our friends traveled to Florida. We went to Disney and then continued down to South Florida to spend a few days with my grandparents. They had never met my future husband.
This was the turning point for me.
This was when I discovered it was bad.
I laid in my bed, in my room, the room I always slept in, my door open waiting for sleep. Then I heard it. Crying. Someone was crying. I thought the future husband was watching TV in the other room before he fell asleep. Then I heard my grandmother's voice. She was comforting my grandfather. And then the words, the words that rocked me to my core, sobbed by my grandfather
"I am so scared, Anne."
I wanted to get up and close the door. I wanted to forget I heard it. I wanted it to be a dream. It was not. I rolled over, cried and went to sleep. We drove back home a few days later and I shared it with my mother.
My grandparents were living in NY with my aunt and uncle within months.
My grandfather died a few years later.
My grandmother has never recovered. She was never sick. She still is not sick. She has had every test, procedure, X-Ray, MRI, CT Scan, known to the medical community. While she is not sick we did discover that she had a stroke, probably within the last year or two. No one knew. This accounts for her memory loss, maybe even for a little bit of her depression and motor problems. But it does not account for the loss of spirit and self that occurred in the past 10 years.
Some days, I cannot stand to be around my grandmother. I feel horrible writing those words but they are the truth. She's a whiner. She wants everyone to take care of her. She wants to complain and she wants to be sick. I can't deal with that. I know what she was like. She knows what she was like. She wants someone to live their life or lives just for her and her needs. The person that should have done that isn't here anymore, he died.
Some days, I enjoy being with her. She ADORES my kids. She loves playing with them and kissing them and loving them. And my son? He cannot get enough of his great grandma. I think that is just the most fabulous thing. He asks about her. He even is starting to crack jokes about her constant "headaches". (My grandmother is a Tylenol junkie. Seriously. We give her vitamin C and tell her it's Tylenol. It gets the job done.) She loves to tell stories of my mother's cousin who shares the same first name as my son. She makes comparisons between my relatives and cousins and my kids. Some days, I get glimpses of the grandmother that I had growing up.
Those are the days I am grateful for. Those are the days I want to remember.
My grandmother is coming to stay with my parents on Sunday. She's staying for two weeks. I'm not excited for her visit and that makes me sad. My son is beyond excited to see his great grandma again. I have to wonder if he sees her spirit where I cannot anymore. Does he experience her the same ways that I did? Am I missing something?
My grandmother is a woman of incredible strength and determination. She has not had an easy life. I try to remember that. I do my very best to remember the endless junk food and toys and trips and summers together. I do all that I can to remember her as I know her to really be. She is sad now and I don't want her to be.
My grandmother is coming to stay with my parents on Sunday. She's staying for two weeks. I am going to do all that I can to see her through my son's eyes. He clearly sees the crazy red haired lady in the supermarket and he is so much better off for having experienced her.
I am too.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 10:06 AM
Thursday, June 5, 2008
What's the matter with me?!?!
Sometimes, I just don't think before I jump. I see the cause. I see what it is and I say, "I can do that! I want to help!"
And then I'm done.
I just signed up for this.
I don't run. Ever. Well, no, that's not true. I run in loops through my living room, dining room, and kitchen chasing my kids as part of our little game. That's about it.
I do Tae-Bo. I walk. I'll even do the Firm and that beach body workout...I can't remember it's name, occasionally. But I don't run. I haven't for years. See, I have this knee that was artfully reconstructed and made almost new and I'm afraid to push it too much. I have this other knee that is just waiting for the right time to go out on me like the first one did. Running makes my knees angry. They yell at me. They scream at me. The swell at me.
Running makes my lungs angry, too.
Yeah, ok, I'm OUT O SHAPE.
There I said it. You don't have to.
I'm in better shape now than I was 3 months ago. I've got that going for me.
The race isn't until October. Also got that going for me.
But now? Now I have to start running.
So, today or tomorrow- you know just as the massive heat wave is starting- I'm going to start this.
Because you know what?
This one is important to me.
I'm doing it for her. I didn't know her. We were both Hawks. We are both Hawks. I knew her friends.
I'm doing it for my students. They don't see the importance of being safe in dating. They don't recognize the signs and I want them to see them before it's too late.
I'm doing it for my best friend. She knows why.
I'm doing it for my daughter and your daughters.
I'm doing it for me.
It's not about the running. It's about the awareness. It's about the message. It's about letting it be known. It's about making people safe.
Come and join me. You have time to get ready....we'll do it together and spread the word!
Ok, it's a little bit about the running.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 8:43 AM
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
*Disclaimer: This post may venture into "gross land". There will be talk of poop and all things related. Just letting you know*
I love my friend MJ, she's incredible. She doesn't live near me. We used to live together. She is my best friend. My daughter's godmother. She has incredible strength and determination. She is an incredible person. Someone I would and have trusted with my life. So, I knew when I shot her an email this morning she would respond quickly and with exactly what I needed.
I was in need of a blog post. I have one in the hopper but it's serious and I'm not sure I want to post it yet. I posted it someplace else and I plan to share it but I want to make sure it's right. It's been brewing for awhile and I'm just not ready to post it here. But I needed something to fill the space. See my brain? It's like mush right now. I worked most of the weekend either on grad school stuff or on real work stuff or at our garage sale. I feel like it should be Thursday and it's on Tuesday. It's been a long week and it's only the beginning.
MJ hears it all from me. She knows about the ins and outs of my life. The ups and downs. Fears and Joys. She knows it all and still loves me. So, when I emailed her with "I need an idea for a blog post for my other blog." She came back with something that made me laugh out loud. She took what she knew has been going on and something I had not considered blogging about and made it funny. It was perfect and that is how my title and this topic was born.
I went to the OB/GYN a little while ago...maybe last week. I had fears of Ovarian Cancer in my head because truly I was experiencing all the symptoms associated with it. I even mentioned this to my doctor and she completely understood why I had made this association. Normally, she chuckles when I share my fears with her. She didn't this time. This time she listened to my fears and sort of "agreed" with them and then gave me an ultrasound. She was looking for the indicators. Luckily, she didn't find any. She found a cystic ovary but nothing else to indicate Ovarian Cancer. Thank God. You know what else she found in there?
A Churning Bowel.
I hate that phrase. It's gross to me. She must have said it about 20 times. "Wow! Your bowel is really churning away!" Then it was "Oh my goodness, look at that churning bowel!" Then to the med student in the room, "Do you see how her bowel is just churning and churning?" Finally, enough was enough! No more churning unless we're talking about butter!! She laughed and explained why it was a big deal that my bowel was going so crazy. It appears I have what is called Irritable Bowel Syndrome- IBS. No Big Deal. Unless of course I have to poop, then it is a big deal because the churning bowel will need to empty itself- immediately!
My new mission? I have to go and see a specialist. I have to see a Gastroenterologist. Honestly, I'm really not worried about seeing him or her. I don't think he's going to reveal that I have bowel cancer or anything like that. To be quite frank, up until two or three days ago I had zero intention of actually going to see this specialist. I had planned to live with this. I had planned to alter my diet and deal with the effects. It's bad but I can deal.
So, why am I scared shitless? Clever, right...shitless....poopy doctor....get it? Well, I'm not really scared, I am just, well, obstinate.
I hear GI specialist and images and visions and ideas pop into my head. I have visions of exams that are more unpleasant than a pelvic. More invasive than being checked during labor. More uncomfortable than an internal ultrasound.
Ideas of instructions on how to collect my own poopy sample float into my subconscious and occupy my brain all day long. Ideas of enemas and colonoscopies perpetuate my thinking constantly.
I am so against showing anyone my poopy place. I am so against anything having to do with poop. I am just uncomfortable with poop- especially my own.
I know, I know- everybody poops.
MJ has reassured me repeatedly that this visit will not be that bad. She has told me over and over again that even though the doctors have the choice of going to look like weird men, they are probably quite good at what they do and I should just suck it up and deal. She has guaranteed me that they won't be looking for a poopy sample or giving me an unpleasant exam in the first visit. I guess I have to believe her.
My symptoms has increased and gotten uncomfortable as of late. It has been determined that I'm going to have to bite the bullet and make a visit to my local poopy doctor. I'm not looking forward to it. AT ALL. The only comfort I can take in getting treatment for this not so much fun condition is that if I shit my pants while there it's much easier to obtain a sample!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 10:18 AM