Friday, April 30, 2010

Proud Mommy

Lexie has been turning in to such a big girl lately. I'm not sure when it happened, or how it happened, I just know I turned my back one day and when I turned back around my "little girl" had turned in to this little adult. We still have our struggles. There are times she thinks she is a lot bigger than I want her to be. We fight about bedtimes, bored time activities, whether or not she actually HAS TO finish her dinner. She has to be prodded, reminded, and sometimes sternly scolded when it comes to things like cleaning up after herself or getting ready. But for the most part she is very capable of doing responsible things and taking care of herself. She is loving school. Her spelling and writing are getting much better, she has gone from reading eight page beginner books to reading chapter books, and she is flying through the math concepts she brings home. She really seems to crave learning, and she has a very bright and capable mind.


I got a call on Tuesday that Lexie had been chosen as "Eagle of the Month", an honor at her school to reward the students that have been working hard. Each teacher chooses one student a month to be honored, and they get a certificate from the teacher, a little treat of some sort, a mechanical pencil, and lunch with the principal. I have loved watching Lexie's interactions with the principal at her school. Mrs. Sanford made it very clear at our first back to school night that she didn't like "going to the principal's office" to be a punishment. She does not want students to be afraid of her, and she likes getting to know them on good terms instead of just the bad ones. I thought this was all just talk, but as I have watched how the school works I have seen that it is really true. Almost every accomplishment that each grade has lists "a trip to the principal's office" as one of the rewards that the student gets for finishing. Lexie says she keeps a bucket of candy in her office and each student gets to pick one when they come to visit, and lunch with the principal is one of the highest honors in the school. I found out from a friend last night that the principal also comes to the classrooms when there is a big report or assignment that the students have to present to be in the audience supporting them. I love how positive the school is, and I love that Lexie is able to go there. It is such a blessing for us to be where we are right now.

We got to the presentation a little bit late (only about two minutes, they had just barely started) and Lexie was sitting with a couple of the other students and their parents. She came to stand with us in the back, and we listened as the principal read a general description of what an "Eagle of the Month" was. It was the normal things you'd expect: friendly, good worker, on task, etc. but then on the bottom of each certificate was a place for the teacher to write a paragraph about why this particular student was chosen. I don't remember what exactly was said in Lexie's paragraph, but one phrase really stuck out in my mind. The teacher said that Lexie "is always aware of everything going on in the classroom". I know there have been multiple times in our house where Lexie is involved in everything. I've caught her checking the doors to make sure they are locked, lunging for Phillip's hand when the front door was open to make sure he didn't run away, picking things up when he drops them, telling me his drink is empty when I'm not paying attention. She is very aware and I think Cory and I have both been frustrated multiple times by her needing to know EVERYTHING and not being satisfied with a simple answer. My mom has pointed out quite a few times that she is the perfect big sister for Phillip, because with his needs it's necessary to have someone that is going to watch out for him and be aware of everything around him. I need to be more appreciative of that. I am so blessed to have my little girl, and I love her so much.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Oh....My....WEEK!!!

My mom called me at about noon on Monday (a week ago) and told me that Phillip had just come home from school and was acting a little "different". Well, yes, I have a "different" son. I soon realized this was not what she meant. She called me about a half an hour later and told me I needed to come home, something was not right. I pulled Cory away from his job (not too hard, he loves time off as much as I do) and we headed home. We stopped by Mom's to pick up Phillip, and as soon as she answered the door I knew something was wrong. I couldn't hear him, couldn't see him, there was no sign that he was even there. She told me he had fallen asleep on the couch. This is extremely rare for my little boy. He does not take naps. EVER. We have a hard enough time getting him to go to sleep at night. I picked him up, and he cuddled in to my shoulder and went back to sleep. I wrapped my arms around his back, and realized it was burning hot. My mom let us use her thermometer, and that confirmed my worst fears. A fever of almost 103. Ever since Devon's fever that ended up in the emergency room when he was five I have been scared to death of one of my kids getting a fever. We took him home and gave him some Tylenol, and he promptly went back to sleep. He slept pretty much all the way through to Tuesday morning. I called in to work. I was pretty sure I'd be back the next day, this was Phillip. This is my boy that eats horse manure and dirt. He has the strongest immune system EVER. Then, when I went to check on him at eight thirty after getting Lexie off to school, I noticed the throw up. It seemed like every time I went to check on him for the next two days there was throw up somewhere. Phillip is not a child who will sit still when they throw up, or is even aware enough to hold something to throw up in. When his stomach starts hurting him bad enough to throw up, he runs. He runs in circles around his room for as long as his energy can sustain him, and then he falls down. He'll wait for a minute, and then get up and run again. This goes on until he throws up. What this results in is spotty trails of throw up all over his room. I'm amazed at how much came out compared to how little went in. The only thing good about this is after he's done he is tired enough to sleep.

Finally, on Wednesday night, I decided something had to seriously be wrong. He wasn't getting any better. This was more than just a bug. I called his doctor's office and found out that his doctor was not in that day. I (sobbingly) told the nurse that his doctor is the only one who can treat him. He has special needs and I'm not sure how well another doctor would do with it. Hearing her say "Oh, is this Phillip?" meant more to me than you could possible imagine. Up until this point I had not said my name or his name. Let's face it, I didn't want to forever be remembered as the mom who cried over a little throw up. Knowing that not only my doctor, but my doctor's staff knew him well enough to remember him gave me the courage to take him in to see a different doctor. I made the appointment, and my mom drove us up there. He cried and whimpered the whole way, and then in the waiting room he began his "preparation rounds". The five minutes we were out there seemed like almost an hour, but he didn't throw up. Once we were in the room, he was able to lay down on the exam bed, and he seemed to calm down a little. The doctor came in, and I asked if he had been warned about Phillip. Examining him is not a job for the weak. He kicks, bites, screams, hits, and throws himself on the floor. The doctor smiled, and said yes, he was prepared. His son has special needs also, and he's familiar with them. He goes through the examination with minor fits from Phillip, and then comes the part I've been dreading. The strep test. I hate them, everyone I know hates them, and I hate knowing that I have to help him torture my son. Cory held his hands, I held his head and legs, and the doctor held his face and did the swab. It was over very quickly, the doctor was amazing. Unfortunately, we could not get Phillip calmed down. The doctor told us he was almost positive it would come back as negative, and we could pack up and go home. They would call us with the results. We had everything packed up and were ready to leave, and he came back in. It was positive. We made the decision to get a shot instead of a prescription, which meant another twenty minutes, and another torture session. We were just glad to have a diagnosis. That meant drugs which meant a quick recovery.

Thursday night, Phillip had his first poopie diaper in five days. I took it as a sign he was doing better. Friday morning, we had one more episode of throwing up, and then it was over. He still seems really frail. He's obviously lost a lot of weight. My mom says he acts like a scared little animal. I'm not sure if he's having flash backs of what it was like to be sick, or if his body is rebelling as it's trying to get better, but he is just not the boy I had before. This is the first time he's been really SICK. I'm hoping he gets back to the little boy I knew. He was just starting to come around in so many things. I miss my baby boy.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Money, money!!

Cory and I have been working for quite a while on getting a budget in place, since before we were married. He has always been VERY on top of his money (kind of a necessity with his previous situation) and I have not had the tendency to pay very close attention. As my dad puts it, once you turn on that faucet it is very hard to turn it back off. I figured that before I married this wonderful man I would like to stay married to I should probably learn to stick to a budget. The first few weeks (ok, months) were very scary. It was hard for me to come to terms with how much money I was actually spending. It wasn't a ton, but I wasn't sticking to the budget I had decided on for myself, and I knew there was no way I could be a contributing member of a household if I wasn't able to help with any of the bills. There was no way Cory could do it all himself, and I knew I had to change. I started being more aware of what I was spending. I'll be honest, there were times I was not as careful as I should have been, but I always tried to be more careful after something like that to make up for it.

We decided not to have a joint budget until after we were married. For me, that was partly because I knew it would be a big (HUGE!!) change, and it was partly because I didn't want him knowing how much I spent. I knew money was tight for him, for reasons beyond his control, and there were times I liked to spoil him. I went overboard for birthdays and Christmas, for both him and his kids, because I knew I could at this point and it would be awhile before we were in a position financially to be able to do that again. He was always grateful, but the question always came up "Are you sure you're ok to be spending this much?" I always told him I was fine, and most of the time I was, but I didn't want to be affecting our joint budget with money that I was spending so carelessly.

So now we are married. For the first month I was able to talk Cory out of doing the joint budget thing. We were in the process of setting up a household, we had just gotten married, we found excuses to go out to eat a little more than we probably should have, we splurged at the grocery store. A lot of this was my fault, and I put a lot of things on the card that was still "mine" so we wouldn't have to worry about it. Finally, the time came to bite the bullet. Cory already had a budget in mind, he had done a really good job at figuring out pretty much what everything should cost and we had a pretty solid budget. I thought we were just fine. We seemed to be doing well, we knew how much money we had, we weren't running out. But finally, the inevitable happened. We had our first "money fight". I call it a fight. Cory calls it a discussion. Just one more area where we have very different opinions. I won't go in to details, but this is one of those very rare occasions where we were both right, we just didn't see it the same way. We got everything worked out, we still have money, and more importantly we are still married. It's the little reminders like this that make me feel human. I like that we don't have a "perfect marriage". We don't see eye to eye on everything, and we're not afraid to fight (or discuss) it out. We are getting pretty dang good at getting the other person to see our point of view and really trying to listen to what the other person is saying without being defensive. I love that our marriage is REAL. Just one more thing I love about being married!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Easter Then and Now

I love Easter. It has always been a big holiday in my family. It is my Mom’s favorite, right up there with Christmas, because of what they both symbolize in our religion. My mom is one of the strongest people I know in our faith, and Easter symbolizes a blessing that without it there would be no chance of continuing in our life as we know it after we die. It is very spiritual, and my parents both tried really hard to keep it that way as we were growing up. We would do the whole traditional Easter celebration on Saturday (the Easter eggs, Easter baskets, and the Easter egg hunt) so that Sunday could be focused totally on the spiritual aspect of the day. We would go to church, listen to the amazing talks, lessons, and music numbers that they had that day, and then come home and have an amazing Easter dinner. A good majority of my life has been focused on food, especially good comfort food, and Easter dinner was no exception. We had my mom’s amazing au gratin potatoes (that I have NEVER had any that even come close to comparing), green bean casserole, ham, frog eye salad. It was a huge spread, and we looked forward to it every year. Dinner would be full of good conversation, family moments, and eating so much we couldn’t move afterwards. Shauna would always carve her ham in to some weird shape, Mom would be trying to get everyone to have “just one more serving” as she realized how many leftovers she’d have to fit in the fridge, and the rest of us would be glad to have real food in our stomachs after 24 hours of stuffing ourselves full of Easter candy.

Easter now is very different. Now I am the one in charge of making sure the eggs are colored (didn’t happen this year), the eggs are hidden (candy ones hidden, happened at eleven o’clock at night), and the Easter bunny has all necessary things to fill the baskets (took some massive outside help). I was considering trying to cook the traditional Easter dinner myself. It would have been the biggest thing I’ve ever cooked, and I’m sure it would have turned in to a major disaster. Luckily, my parents invited us over to their house and I didn’t even have to attempt it. The one good thing about being in charge of Easter is I get to pick what Easter candy gets to be used in the celebrations. What that means is I get to pick a bunch of candy that I like, let the Easter Bunny use it to fill the baskets, and then I get to take it away and eat it all myself. I LOVE jelly beans, and I love seeing all the new kinds of jelly beans that come out around Easter. It seems like every candy company out there tries to find some way to get some of the Easter craze. This year, I tried two new ones. Hot Tamales came out with spice jelly beans. I bought them up in Idaho, and they were all gone before Easter. They were not my favorite, but they were pretty good. My only complaint is they didn’t have any black ones. Spice drops are one of my favorite candies, (I am definitely my daddy’s little girl) and they aren’t the same without the black licorice. Lifesavers had new pastel candies for Easter, with new flavors to go along with them. Pina Colada, Cotton Candy, Melon Blend. They were all good, but I was REALLY excited when I saw they came in jelly beans too. Those have been my favorite this year. I’m hoping they come back next year.

We had a problem this year with Easter being on the same day as Lexie’s birthday. I have always believed that kids who have a birthday on or near a holiday always get cheated, because their birthday always seems to end up getting lumped in with the holiday. Lexie is the only one that I have had to worry about (now it’s Cory too, poor guy was born a week after Christmas), and I wanted to make sure she knew her birthday was special, even though it was on Easter. We took her a few days before and bought her a bike. It is her first bike, and looking around at all the other little bikes I was reprimanding myself for not getting her started on one earlier. She is big enough now that she has a long way to fall as she’s learning to ride. I found a bike online. I was looking for one that was girly, but generic so she wouldn’t outgrow it too fast. I found a great, bright pink BMX bike with training wheels that was at a reasonable price. Mae Mae agreed to split it with us, and we found a matching helmet that was actually on sale. It was available in the store, so we loaded the kids up and took them to the store with us to pick it up. I was excited for her to get it, and she was excited to finally have it. Of course, being seven and the emotional little girl that she is, the bike is still in the box because she has been unable to make it through a full day without having a meltdown. We’re hoping it will happen before she grows so much she no longer fits it. We’ll see how things go.