I'm on a journey to find health and happiness through a more holistic and green lifestyle.

I find the world to be abrasive. =) That is to say, I feel the need to armor myself, physically and emotionally, in order to face life. Don't we all? Maybe. For whatever reason, it has become a priority in my life to rid my immediate environment of irritating things. And I'm sensitive! So there is much work to be done. But. I have thought for a long time that the things I come in contact with every day, and the stuff used to clean and maintain these things, need to be gentle and non-toxic. I have had eczema my entire life. For a long time I just dealt with it, and accepted that sometimes it's bad, and sometimes it's not, and that it will fluctuate a lot. Gradually over time I have come to find that certain things, fabrics, cleansers, materials, are more irritating to my skin than others. Stress can exacerbate it. In more recent times, I have realized that every aspect of my life improves when I improve conditions for my skin. Hah! What a concept! Thus my (long time) interest in going green, and my more recent desire to live a more holistic lifestyle. (I think I've felt a desire for a long time to live in a harmonious way with myself, my surroundings, and nature, but didn't have a name for it.) Anyhow, this blog is a journal of my trials and errors, and basic crooked path to find a balanced and peaceful existence for myself and my family. Thanks for your interest! I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Candida Diet - One Week Down

It has been one week since I started the candida diet.

So far so good! I am very pleased with myself for getting through the first week. I have continued to have lots of nibbles around me all the time, and have brought a number of ok foods with me for our current weekend away from home. I've been lucky in that everyone we are visiting with seems to be contributing to the meal preparations, so everyone gets what he/she wants. Although I do feel hungry today, most of the time I have felt satisfied. I just fed myself a burger for lunch, and surprisingly I still feel hungry ten minutes after finishing it, which is strange. But generally I have been ok. I haven't missed things too much...I do miss cheese a bit. But I think I only really miss foods when I'm not satisfied by other foods....which just means I need to up the foods that make me feel full. And keep nibbling! Which I can do.

So, since beginning this diet, my bloated belly symptoms have completely disappeared. Coincidence? Maybe. I had the same belly symptoms some weeks ago, and it went away without a special diet. I guess the truer test will be to see if it returns again any time soon.

Other symptoms? My sinuses have been clearer. Related? Not a clue. But I was getting sinus issues practically on a daily basis, and now it's much less persistent. Improvement!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Candida Diet - Phase One

The hardest part of any diet is getting through phase one. I seriously admire anyone who diets, for whatever reason, and is successful. It's hard!! So here I am, once again, faced with adjusting what I eat for a proposed physical improvement. The reason I typically give myself for going off of a diet is that I am HUNGRY, which I hate. I eat a lot. And much of that is filler foods, like pasta, bread, wheat. This time, I have help with choosing foods and purchasing them, and that has made the initial couple of days MUCH easier! And I'm not hungry. In fact, I am munching all day long on nuts and whatnot, and eating very fulfilling diet-friendly meals. Ok. The real test will come when our company leaves, my support system, and I am left to fend for myself. I will try to give myself incentive....

Here are all of the symptoms I have, which may or may not be addressed through diet: bloated belly, fluid in the ears and tinnitus, sinus issues, eczema, scalp rash, sneezing, foggy brain, memory issues, focus problems, scattered thoughts and actions....

I will start by reporting that yesterday and this morning my belly had NOT been bloated or upset. So far so good!

Around noon I started getting a little bit of belly upset, which has lasted on and off all day. Just a very minor, I don't know...cramping? Or something. This might (or might not) be die-off, when you get symptoms as the yeast dies off. I also had that hunger that I always get with these diets. It just means that I did not feed myself enough foods that stick to my ribs. I know that I can, as I have had none of this the last two days. I will do better! But I am very nervous about having my support system go away tomorrow. =(

I am eating lots and lots of nuts, rice, rice cakes and salad. The salads taste SO good. My body is LOVING them. My dressing is lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. I really love it.

A nice bonus to this is that my daughter, who really eats like crap, is eating some better stuff. She LOVED kale chips!! Awesome. She is also enjoying tomatoes a lot lately, with a little bit of salt and olive oil. Yum!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Candida Diet

This is my second post about my recent issue with a very bloated belly. I've bonded with the idea of it being caused by a yeast imbalance. This is because I have a history of yeast infections not caused by any of the "typical" issues. It's also because I did some online searching on my symptoms, and that was one of the possibilities. It just makes sense to me, I guess.

Anyhow, the cure is a diet....not my forte! But my current bout with belly bloat happened to coincide with a visit from family, one of whom has dietary restrictions of her own. She also happens to be very confident about food choices, and enjoys meal planning and preparing. Hurrah! She shopped and came home with an abundance of foods that are on the "ok" list for a candida diet. Left to my own devices, I would certainly have waited at least until Christmas was over to face the burden of eating a yeast starving diet.

So here on the eve of Christmas day, I am feeling a bit better. My belly had an episode after eating rice cakes with guacamole (???) but otherwise I have been feeling fairly well. I screw up here and there, such as serving myself and eating one bite of cranberry sauce before catching myself, and eating an entire serving of mashed potatoes and serving myself a second before being reminded that potatoes are not on my list. Argh!! But the same family member gently reminds me that eating is good, and that I shouldn't feel bad for doing so. How I wish I was surrounded by that kind of reassurance all the time. Hubby confronted me last night about how difficult it is to cook around dietary restrictions - sigh! I want my mommy! Anyhow, I will do the best that I can do, and try to heal myself. I will hate it, but perhaps it will help some other things along the way. If I can get two weeks under my belt, I am hoping the changes will provide the continued motivation.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bloat, Mope

My belly is bloated. Really, really bloated. What the? There are no other symptoms. I don't feel sick. This happened a few weeks ago, and resolved in about two days. What is going on? My first reaction was that I am having a yeast overgrowth. The last time this occurred that is what I concluded, but what the heck do I know? And why would it be happening now? I looked online for information about yeast imbalance and diet recommendations. Well, it's about as exciting as the GAPS diet, which I tried back in August. That sucked. It sucked! This time I decided that rather than try to suddenly deprive myself of everything on earth that tastes good and makes me feel full, I would consider skipping the "cleanse" part of the diet, even the "stage 1" diet. I went right to the list of "ok" foods. I swear, just reading the list made my stomach start grumbling. There's nothing on it. I would starve inside of a day. I hadn't eaten much for lunch, knowing instinctively that veggies and whole foods would be the way to go. I ended up eating two tomatoes with salad dressing that I made and an apple. Well, that was wrong. Vinegar is terrible. And apples don't make the cut either. I scoured the pantry looking for a snack, and found some pistachios. Nope. They might have mold, which is bad. The hell with this! Dear hubby was willing to adjust his dinner plan to follow the anti-yeast diet. I told him to forget it (with great appreciation) as I would very likely dump the diet in no time anyway. Ugh. So I have made a deal with myself. If my symptoms are still present after two days I will reconsider the diet. Damn I hate diets. But it would be lovely to get rid of this belly, not to mention some of the other symptoms that I have that are listed on the yeast diet website...fatigue....skin issues.....etc.....

Another issue is that I cannot find my way around a kitchen. I don't enjoy cooking, and I can't think of clever ideas for meals. So that makes special diets that much harder. BAHUMBUG.

Though my belly feels a little less tight at the moment. Will eating this bowl of pasta be a really big mistake?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Trying My Hand At Selling What I Sew

Well I did it. I listed one of my tote bags for sale today! I really don't know whether I hope it sells or hope it doesn't! I made it for myself, but I am so curious to know if there is a market for them. I could have a little side business...


Sunday, November 28, 2010


I've got the blahs.

Usually the blahs last for a few days, then my spirits start to lift again. This is an extended blah. And I'm having trouble moving past it this time.

Now I know me, and when it gets cold, I have to start making myself get outside every day, or I get seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and start to feel nervous, shaky, down.... I know from past winters that if I get out every day for at least 15 minutes, I can go the whole dark season without getting SAD. I don't think this is just SAD. First of all, it's early. It's usually February when I start to get the typical SAD symptoms. Secondly, this blah is a little different. I just feel discouraged. And lonely. And tired. I basically start to look forward to going to bed as soon as I wake up in the morning. That's depression.

So. I am a QMHP. (qualified mental health professional) So I should be able to make a treatment plan for myself. The tough part is sticking to it. But the first step is agreeing there's a problem. (I feel like dog doo) The second is making a plan to do something about it.

Service plan for WF 41 YO presenting with: Depression

Week 1: Get outside every day for a minimum of 15 minutes
              Exercise every other day for a minimum of 10 minutes (aerobic exercise)
              Make a social plan at least 1x/2 week period
              Get 8 hours of sleep every night

The third step is to implement it. Today I informed my family I was going for a walk. The kids ultimately decided they were going with me. After about 20 minutes of them "getting ready" while I waited, we headed out the door. Neither is enthusiastic about such things, but neither wanted to stay home with Papa, so they ended up walking to the end of the street with me. My DD decided to "beat us home" and ran back. Awesome. I ended up carrying my DS, but he walked a good bit of the way. So we all got out. (Hubby too) It's a good start. Maybe I'll set up an incentive chart for myself. Childish, maybe, but it helps me. Maybe the social plan can be my reward.


Monday, November 22, 2010


So this is where my mind has come. Time and time again. So I have been researching......

Today I discovered a school called Calvert, based in Maryland. It is both a physical school and a homeschool curriculum. And it's very interesting. The things that have overwhelmed me about the idea of homeschool are these:

*Much more work for me, when I am already overwhelmed and totally lack "me" time
*How would I know what to teach? And could I teach all that needed to be taught?
*How do I get credit for DD for having done the school year?
*Where do we find a local homeschooling community?
*How do I know if I'm pushing too much, too little (unlikely) or just the right amount (academically)?
*What about DS?

A person with whom I've gotten kind of friendly, also the kids' Kindermusik teacher, homeschools her daughter. I started to chat with her over email. She is very willing to share with me and answer my questions. She pointed me in the direction of a website that answers some of the logistical questions I have, particularly the one about getting credit for doing the work. It explains exactly what you need to do in order to inform the school district of your intention, what they will send you, how you submit an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) (I think they had another term for it, like IPEP or something like that) and how to submit quarterly progress reports. It also reviews testing requirements, and what occurs if progress is not being made. Very, very helpful.

A little more research online brought me to the website of the Calvert School. A great many more questions were answered. This is a school that will send you a complete year-long curriculum for any grade you choose, from preschool through 12th grade. This means a daily lesson plan! Wow! That takes a HUGE amount of anxiety out of the prospect. And after reading a sample lesson plan, the anxiety is down even more. It is likely far less than I would have insisted that DD do, and far more reasonable! I have no clue.

Hubby and I have discussed it a bit. His work day is his work day, not sure he is willing to be flexible with that, but maybe. If I figure it all out and present it to him in a way that looks good.

DS....well, he'd either have to attend a regular preschool, or get homeschooled also. DH does not like the idea of him being homeschooled as well. I would be ok with him attending preschool, but would he? After his two days in nursery school earlier this year, he has acted so traumatized by the whole experience I think it may be challenging........... Anyhow, that will be figured out if this ever becomes a reality.

Anyhow, I have no plans to make the switch at this time. But I am thinking it over, and I feel much better about it all after reading all of this stuff.

And thank you, dear K, for reaching out to me! My far-away friend homeschools, and she is glad she has been doing so. Her child had some difficulties in a traditional school setting, as does mine.

I welcome any thoughts or experiences please!

Down In the Valley...

Monday morning. The only day my daughter has school this week. And she's in hell. She is now saying, with great frequency, that she hates school. In the same vent she stated that "this school is the best" and yet she still hates it. And I hate forcing her to go. Day after day after day. I feel like a giant, walking conflict every morning. And it sucks. And I find myself saying in my head "I hate my life." Over and over. But is that true? No. It's not true. I love my life. No I don't. But I really COULD. I just feel that my bookshelf is toppled on the floor in a giant heap of a mess. And my daughter's is toppled on top of mine. And hubby's has toppled nearby, and is tangling in with ours. And I'm at a loss. I have undiagnosed ADD and when I see a mess, any kind of mess, I walk around in circles baffled as to where to start with cleaning it up. It is true tangibly, and it is true metaphorically. And so. I basically feel unfinished all the time. And my environment, physical and mental/emotional, is cluttered and unkempt.

And I'm the only one who can do something about it. So where to start?

Medication? Nope, I'm nursing.
Help? Whom?
Delegate more? Trying
Find a better situation for DD? Trying!!!
Find some joy for myself? Trying.
Clean my physical environment to help my mental environment? I try and try and try and get nowhere.

Anything else?

My typical day, represented in one 10 minute interval: Take a sip of coffee and set my coffee cup down. Start to walk somewhere, maybe the bathroom. Get distracted by DD, who says "You HAVE to see this!!" Go over to see whatever it is, for the 200th time that day. Speak some dully enthusiastic words to her, and start to head away. DD starts a conversation which draws me part way back. I inform her I"m headed to the bathroom. She asks if she can go too. Of course. I go, and she asks me to stay with her while she goes. Rolling my eyes, I stand near the bathroom door. She wants me to come in the room. Then DS wants to come in. I'm in the hall. DD wants DS to shut the door. She dawdles, and takes several minutes to get down to business. I am processing the fact that we have no one to care for the cats when we're going to be away, and notice that the cat box is, as usual, in need of attention. I then scold DD for playing in the bathroom sink, something that drives me crazy and she has been told endless times. Then the phone is ringing and it's DH. I'm on the phone, so the volume in the house rises exponentially. I walk away from the bathroom so I can hear, and DD is calling me back in urgent tones. Not an emergency, just her anxiety. DS is pulling the toilet paper out in a stream. DH is sounded extremely put-out by having to wait to talk while I redirect the kids. I rush them out of the bathroom, transferring his annoyance on them by being impatient and irritable. I put the tv on, and listen while my DD loudly protests my selection of shows. I walk away from the tv so I can try to hear DH, and trip over the cat, who wants to be fed. Now where did I put my coffee?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

School Evaluation (child anxiety)

I have just returned from my daughter's mid-year school evaluation. The news is this. She is not following through on her work. There are days she does no work at all. She is frequently sitting outside of the classroom and requiring a teacher to lead her into the room. She is a rag doll. Dammit.

I informed them that we have reached out to a local provider, but will be unable to see this person until the end of December. The head of school informed me that we can request services through the school, and that she will initial this process. We need help. She needs help.

I am so discouraged and confused. Her behaviors at home have come almost back to baseline, as she has gotten over a recent cold. She is sleeping well, eating well, and her OCD behaviors are declining. But things are not improving at school. I don't know what to do.

Do I consider homeschooling to keep her on track academically? She will do work with me. Her focus is not always the best, but she is willing enough. At the moment she is basically wiling away the time at school, then doing some reading, and occasionally other work, at home. I said to my husband a few minutes ago that that is an expensive play date! But homeschooling would keep her from being around kids all the time, and from the classes she claims to like, such as music. But having her repeat grades is not going to help this situation at all.

I hope we kind find someone great who can help guide us. So sad.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cycle Complete?

It seems that DD's anxiety cycles, and there seem to be very specific triggers. This past cycle occurred while DD was sick with a bad cold, and seems to be done now.

This morning, DD was calm. All the way through the morning routine. She said her usual stuff, such as "I don't want to go to school today," and "How many days left of school?" and "I wish the day was shorter" (which I agree with) and so on. But the anxiety was not there. The panic. The fear. Not there today. And she ATE. This little girl has not eaten anything for breakfast for a long time now. That wasn't new when she got sick. But it was something I had forgotten about her. That she goes in cycles with appetite, too. That has been true since she was a very little girl. For a week or two, she will eat small amounts, then things switch, and she eats lot more for a couple of weeks. Then it switches back again. So with the end of this cold and this anxiety cycle, her appetite has risen HUGELY. We have been using our new juicer a lot, and while DD is very interested in the juices, she typically does not drink much. This morning we juiced three pears and one carrot, and she drank quite a bit. YES! She also ate some bread with peanut butter that I had put out. Excellent. That does not mean my sweet girl is cured of anxiety, but it means that for right now, she has returned to baseline. Ahhhh.....

Just to throw this in there, I have asked DD not to eat any dairy for one week to see if it makes a difference in the frequent belly aches and gas she complains of. She has been diary-free for only about two full days now (we started Sunday lunch time) but she has not complained at all about stomach discomfort or gas pains so far. She has also been agreeable to taking a probiotic each morning over the last several days.

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Sewing Blog

I have started another blog. Yeah, I know. I'm a blogaholic. But this one will actually get a lot of use. Like this one. It's a showcase for the stuff I sew. And I sew nearly every day. It's my salvation. =)

If you're interested, you can check it out here. New Sewing Blog


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Clean Up Time (child anxiety)

Ok, so now that we have our heads around DD's most recent anxiety surge, it is time to help her try to understand what has been going on. She has been through two weeks of not being able to focus on her work very well, and feeling very uncomfortable in her own skin at school. She has been, according to the head of school, coming into school, and sitting by her cubby until she is literally lead by hand into the classroom. To hear DD tell it, she has been physically carried into the classroom. But the head says no, she either verbally requests that she walk into the room, or she takes her by the hand and leads her in. In any event, she has been avoiding the classroom altogether until she is made to go. Ugh. So now she is feeling embarrassed, and is "afraid" to simply do as expected, and walk in the room.

As usual, on the way to school, I tried to pep-talk her into making some better decisions for herself. I reminded her that by continuing to sit aside, she is drawing a lot of extra attention to herself, something she claims she does not want. By walking in to the classroom as expected, she may draw five seconds of attention on herself, and then things will just move on. That five seconds has her paralyzed. I hope she faced it this morning.

The problem is that she is now starting to feel physically better, but she has created quite a situation around herself in the mean time. At school, she has behaved out of the norm, and has caused those around her to react differently to her. At home she has behaved out of the norm, and has caused us to react differently to her also. We are getting back to normal, and are not thrown too much by recent events. (Ok, we were thrown quite a bit, but we're recovering!) At school, this is all new to them, and DD knows it, and feels very, very awkward, now that she's ready for things to return to normal. Only she can do that, and she does not like to be her own motivation! She prefers to be "forced" to move in the "right" direction. This somehow comes more easily to her than making a good decision for herself. Odd. But true.

Anyhow, I attempted to communicate some of this to the head of school by email yesterday. I tried to explain that DD would like to try coming in to the room, but wants to know that no one will say anything to her if she does. Head of school did not understand what I was asking at all, and asked if I wanted her to let DD sit in front of her cubby all day without asking her to come in to the room. NOOOoooooo!!!! Shoot! I was trying to be helpful by letting her know that DD wants to get back to the normal routine, but wants reassurance that no one will make a big deal about it. It can be very hard to communicate meaning and feeling by email. Anyhow, that sucked, but I think after several emails back and forth she semi-understands what I am saying. Not completely, as she plans no to talk with DD but to use picture cards (sighs) but anyhow.................

My fingers are crossed that she got brave this morning and got into that classroom. I told her that she can choose between an entire day of discomfort, or a minute of discomfort this morning, and a normal day. What will she do?

Just an added note, DD is sleeping much better at night these days. She is getting over the cold for one thing, and the white noise of the vaporizer (and the humidity, too) are helping a great deal.

Monday, November 8, 2010


This morning before leaving for DD's school, hubby called. He just wanted to know if the kids were still feeling ill from the cold that has been battering them for a week and a half now. I was in the midst of trying to get a very reluctant DD out the door. I told him I'd call him back.

This morning, DD informed me (many times over) that she was NOT going to school today. I got our things together, but them and my son in the car, and went in to collect her. I slept for a long time last night, so I wasn't feeling the aggravation I often feel, but instead tried to calmly pep-talk her into getting ready to go. Although she had gone upstairs to "hide" she got only as far as the top of the stairs, and didn't resist when I picked her up and carried her to the car. All the way to school I talked with her about doing the best she can and focusing on ten minutes at a time and blahdeblah. She informed me she would not be getting out of the car. High anxiety day. Wow. We got to school, and in the half-minute before one of the teachers came out to meet her and the other kids, she informed me that the teachers might have to carry her in to school today. What? I asked her to explain. Basically, from what I could understand, she had at some point refused to go from point A to point B at school, and she had been told that if she didn't come herself within 3 minutes, she would be carried. She informed me that more like 10 minutes went by, and then she was carried to where she was asked to be. Oh! Ok. What I said to her was that I was getting some idea of why school was suddenly so stressful for her. That there was, in fact, an event that upset her. We didn't have much time to talk about it, but I reminded her that today did not need to be a repeat of that day. She then started to worry about what she would do if she had to use the bathroom. Oh no. This is old stuff from her former school, and NOT good. I reminded her that if she had to go, she would just go. She said she wouldn't be able to. (NOOOooooo!!!) At this point the teacher was there, and we had to move on. I plucked her out of the car, and gave her a hug..... and got back in the car. She walked slowly up the path, as is her thing lately. Off I went.

When DS and I got home, I left a second message for a psychologist I have tried to connect with before. Then I called DH. And something weird happened.

Instead of telling him I was worried and sad and anxious and that DD had a terrible morning, I proceeded to explain her behavior. As we talked, suddenly things started to fall in to place. I don't know why, but somehow, the entire past couple of weeks just made sense. No, we didn't figure out why DD carries all of this anxiety with her, or why it manifests one way sometimes and another way another time. But her recent surge in anxiety symptoms, and her poor coping skills of late make more sense. Now that I move back and take a look at the situation as a whole.

If you picture an "average" person dealing with a terrible cold, you see a person who has a week or two of decreased focus. A period of time where coping skills are a little off because the person feels generally unwell. Things are a little harder to manage. The person may want to sleep more than usual. Stuff like that. Then you take DD and give her a terrible cold. And she experiences everything that the "average" person does. But three times as much. The "average" person starts to feel better, and gradually returns to normal functioning and production. The recovery time is fairly predictable. For DD, the response to this upheaval is much, much stronger, so of course the recovery time is much, much longer. I picture a chart. The "average" person follows line A. When given the terrible cold, this person moves to productivity line C, or an average, predictable amount of decrease in functioning, focus, stress management, increased sleep, etc. DD, and people like her, move to line F, or extreme upheaval in ability to function in a "normal" capacity, practically no ability to focus, very poor stress management abilities, fatigue but inability to recognize the need for extra sleep, which results in a refusal to settle down to sleep at the usual time resulting in a decrease in sleep...you get the picture. And for the "average" person, the recovery from all of this is predictable as well. A little extra TLC, a few days, and normal functioning returns. For those who have traveled to line F, the return takes longer, and is much bumpier. Normal sleep patterns gradually return. Normal stress management comes back in fits and starts. And so on. A silly sort of way to explain all this maybe, but it is really what occurs. And how easily I forget!!

So, while going through this cold, which has lasted now for over 1.5 weeks, she basically shut down at school, faced a very uncomfortable situation at school which required her being physically moved from one place to the other, and created a very uncomfortable situation for herself. So now, as she gradually recovers from the cold and things start to return to normal for her, she has to go and face all of that at school. UGH. Anyone facing that would have a lot of emotion around it, and facing it without being able to justify it and understand it would just be harder.

I am hoping I can help her to understand all of this. I hope that it helps us to be better prepared the next time around. I hope most of all that I can help her to be more forgiving of herself when things become overwhelming, which for anxious people is a far greater challenge than for others. I hope I remember to see the whole picture next time.

White Noise! (child anxiety)

Three nights ago, as I listened to my two kids hack these dry horrible coughs during the night, I vowed to break out the vaporizer the next night. I got it all cleaned up and ready to go. Saturday night I set it up and turned it on. I read to the kids as usual, and waited for my son to fall asleep so I could start the (new) nightly process of listening to my daughter go through her list of statements and questions, then go downstairs. Every night I wait about 15 minutes, then go to "check" on the kids, something my daughter has been insisting on. After a few minutes, it became obvious that neither kid was going to sleep, and I felt my irritation rising. After a couple of minutes I announced that I was going downstairs, and would check on them in 15 minutes. I left, certain that my 3-year-old would follow me down the stairs in less than one minute. I came down, and listened through the monitor. Nothing. Huh? I looked at DH and shrugged my shoulders. Not a peep. Just the whisper that the vaporizer makes. 15 minutes went past, and DH offered to go up to check on them. Both were sound asleep. After the couple of weeks we've been having with nights that seem to get late quickly with at least one and sometimes two restless, anxious kids, I was astounded. I informed DH that if the vaporizer had anything to do with it, we would be running it every night for the rest of time. Sunday night comes, and DS actually falls asleep on my lap during dinner, having missed his nap. (We had a small make-up birthday party for him yesterday, after having to cancel his party last weekend due to illness) I put him on the couch where he slept while we finished up. I went upstairs with DD to get her ready for bed. She complained of being very cold, and I instructed her to get into bed while I went downstairs to collect DS. I set up that beautiful maker of mist..... and headed downstairs. I brought DS up and put him in the bed. I turned to DD to read some books - what?? I whispered her name. Nothing. She was asleep. In the 3 minutes I had been downstairs, this little girl had conked out!!! I was astounded. I turned out the light and tiptoed my way out of there. Yes, a couple of minutes later she realized what had happened and called out. But when I went to tell her what had occurred, she obviously didn't want to back up and start the routine over. She was done. She and I said good night. She did call one more time, for a bathroom break, and that was it. Both children were asleep. Just like that.

Please oh PLEASE let it keep working!!! =)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Breaking Point (child anxiety)

My daughter is upstairs screaming her head off. And I am spending my "break" writing about it. It is impossible to get away from her anxiety problems. We are at a breaking point.

What's new today? Nothing. Why is she freaking out? All I can do is guess. She is frustrated because we all started to go for a walk this morning, and ended up coming right back. First of all, both kids insisted that I go, when I had no desire to. I now have the cold the kids have had for over a week, and I just want to be in. And my hubby enjoys taking them outside. But the won't accept that. So I reluctantly agreed. But it took so damn long to actually be on our way that I set out pissed off. A few meters down the road, both kids are frozen. I agree to go back and get DD's gloves. DS insists on going with me. We get inside, and he wants to stay. DD has also followed me back, but is furious that we don't want to head out again. Hubby agrees to take her, but she rejects this offer. Mind boggling frustration. And this is just one example! Then she has only eaten sugary Gogurt and apple sauce today. So she's hungry and starting to have a sugar meltdown. I slice her a piece of bread and put cream cheese on it. I know, lovely diet. But the girl will hardly eat a thing, so I am happy that she's willing to eat anything non-sugary. Then she wants me to tell her it's ok to eat every. single. bite. And I won't. I agree to tell her it's ok to eat every four bites. And the negotiations begin. She says she won't eat. And I tell her that's fine. Which is not what she wants to hear. And it goes from there. So then I start to help DH clean the house, and we are having a couple of people over later to celebrate DS's birthday. His party had to be canceled last w/e due to his illness. She freaks b/c she doesn't know where I am (I'm upstairs, headed back down.) DH tries to intercede, and she's screaming at this point. He then announces that I am going to go take my break (my weekend morning breaks always end up being closer to afternoon breaks....) She's at the door to the basement screaming and blocking my way. But even within this meltdown she has to get her OCD stuff out: "Tell me if you're going outside, set the time, blahblah."

So here I am, unable to enjoy my time because I am so worried about all of this. I am sick to death of all of this, and the fact that I am so confined that I can't move one inch in either direction without tripping over a child.

And then MIL is coming over today, and she has been in a "helping" mode which is generally anything but. She has all kinds of ideas about how to "manage" DD's issues, and there are times when I'm up for hearing those ideas, and times (like now) when I am not. I hope I can hold my tongue. Her advice on the phone yesterday was to take DD to a play this afternoon. Yeah, right!

Anyhow, I will now try to focus on something else for the rest of "my" time.

This sucks.

A while later, I made myself some bean soup. I decided to feed some to my daughter. She said it was the best bean soup she's ever eaten (she'd had it before, actually.) She ate a ton.... and of course her mood improved dramatically. I did point this out to her. (Gently) I hope she can start to make the connection. Sighs. She has been feeling good ever since.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Frazzle Fried

Please, take me at my ugliest, and add more rocks and boulders to my back and shoulders. Why not?

The other day I had a total temper tantrum. I flipped my lid. I had had enough. It was day's end, and I was sitting in bed waiting, desperately waiting, for my son to fall asleep, so I could go downstairs, enjoy a beer, and get away from it all for a while. But my son would not fall asleep. And this is my routine kid! The other one has simply had to adjust to me leaving the room while she is still awake. It was the straw that broke the camel's back, and I flipped out. I yelled at everyone. I cried. I stomped and stormed. And then after we had all spent a spell downstairs and gone back up again, and my son DID fall asleep, and I tried to leave the room, and my daughter yelled, asking me where I was going.... I flipped again. And again we all ended up downstairs, and again I stomped and stormed and cried. Until I just got too tired. And of course realized what had been true all along. That no one. No one was going to bed until I reset myself and got back into the routine. And so I did. And we all went to bed.

Did it help? Did all of my outpouring change anything? No. It just flattened me for the next day. Although I ended up going to sleep fairly early, I felt as if I hadn't slept at all. Though hubby did decide to come home the next day (I didn't ask) in the morning and spend the day helping out. I guess my volcanic eruption may have indicated I was over the edge! And that was nice. But man did I feel bad. I yelled at everyone. I kept everyone up later than necessary. I carried on like a child. Great job, kiddo! All I got out of it was confirmation that I, too, am coming down with the awful cold that both kids have been dealing with.

Oh yeah, so there's that, too. Last weekend was DS's birthday. Sunday. But Thursday he is, out of nowhere, so sick I am worried. He is feverish, lethargic, vomiting, eating nothing, moaning.... the kid is miserable. I make the decision to cancel his birthday party for Saturday. By day's end, it is obvious that DD is getting it too, so I decide to keep her home from school on Friday. So we all hunkered down, and made the best of it. The weekend came, and hubby was here to help out. Sunday arrived, DS's birthday. Also Halloween. Thank goodness DS didn't really seem to notice or care that the party hadn't happened on Saturday. A small blessing. Sunday we celebrated as a family, giving him gifts throughout the day. He seemed very happy. We geared up for Halloween - not something you skip regardless of illness, earthquake, flood..... DD got her costume together. DS didn't want to wear one. We weren't even sure til the last minute that he would be willing to go trick or treating. But in the end, he was enthusiastic. So out we went. And it was Cold. The kids enjoyed themselves, but after a while first one, then the other, headed for home. Too cold! And DD simply wasn't feeling well enough to do more. And that was fine. The kids enjoyed answering the door for the rest of the evening.

The next morning, two ill kids came downstairs with me at 6:30 a.m. I called DD out of school again. Tuesday she went, though really she could have used the week. She was reluctant. Take a child who has anxiety issues, give her a bad cold, and completely throw her off-schedule, and you've got a picture of DD. Not happy. But she made the best of it. Regardless, illness intensifies anxiety in anyone, and for one for whom anxiety is high in a normal situation...anyhow, she's been needy, intense. But overall, pretty good. But constant. So it was Tuesday night .. and that's where I started this blog post.

Bedtime, no sleeping kids, mama flips out, everyone goes to sleep. (not DH, of course, who stays up very late in order to get his time) Wednesday the kids are up early with me, as usual. Both are ill, tired, and in need of some reassurance. DD is home again. Regardless of my needs, however acute, theirs come first. We hunker down again. Hubby calls early, and informs me of his plan to come home. And he brings food. Nice. Very nice. I have not been able to shop in days and days, and the pickins are getting slim. The day moves along. I have informed the family that I've decided to move half of our family bed (one queen mattress) into DD's room this weekend. Everyone seems ok with that. While I realize I will be playing room-tag for months to come, I need to start the process. DD is so acutely attuned to my every move at the moment, I blink my eyes in the room where she's sleeping and she wakes up. It's time to do something different. It'll be a process, I know. Maybe a lloonngg process. And hubby will very likely continue to sleep in the other room, basically adding to our time apart. (He comes home from work, and 20 min. later I go take my "break." We eat dinner together and spend time together with the kids until about 8:15 p.m., when I take them up to bed, and, most often these days, go to bed myself. He stays up late and gets up and out before we're awake.)

This morning, we're up, and while the kids watch tv, I get us ready to take DD to school. Her ability to cope is coming to an end, and she insists, over and over again, that she's not going to school. I make my best attempt to pep-talk her through, and I get her there. Before getting in the car, she tells me that I'm forcing her to go to school, and she hates me. I know she doesn't hate me, but geesh.

So DS and I are home, and I'm too tired today to even buzz around and get things done in the house. While I don't have the obvious symptoms of cold that my kids do (both kids hacking up a lung this morning =( I'm fighting the bug, too. Popping ears, no energy...

To add to this, I've been trying (unsuccessfully so far) to connect with a professional to help us help DD with her anxiety issues. I have called three providers so far, with no luck. I'll just keep trying...

Ok, I'm drained. Enough for now. Off to drink my water with lemon. =) And for the record, I write all of this stuff not to elicit sympathy but to "dump my bookshelf" so that I can rethink and reorganize. It really does help me to get my head around it all. So if you've come this far, thanks for reading.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tick Tock (child anxiety)

My daughter has started to count. It doesn't come across as obsessive in and of itself. She counts while she waits for things to happen. Like, when she goes to bed at night. I read to her, wait about 10 minutes, and head downstairs. She counts the time until I go to check up on her. Or, if she has to wait her turn on a particular toy. Or stuff like that. She tells me she "counted to 100 3 times" or similar. I try to talk with her about "being in the moment" or trying to think about things that she likes rather than counting. She will complain that certain things take a long time. Sighs. Just another manifestation of her anxiety and difficulty with transitions.

Today I told my son that I would give him a chocolate chip for every time he used the bathroom. (He just turned 3) My daughter wanted to know if she would get a chocolate chip for the same thing. (She's 6) I told her that she needed to work on something that would be challenging to her to earn the chocolate. I told her that each time she takes a bite of food without asking me first, she would earn a chip. She instantly said that she couldn't do that, that she was NOT ok with that! I explained, with the old instant frustration coming up inside, that that is what she would need to do, and that I was asking only that she try. Sighs.

Anyhow, another day, opportunity for me to try to be a more patient, more informed parent and allow my children to teach me what they need. Baby steps.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

OCD (child anxiety)

When I last wrote, I expressed my frustration with trying to figure out why it seemed that I was hitting walls while trying to move forward. I likened it to moving through a maze, and bumping into walls several times before realizing I need to turn. And so on.

So here's an update.

I came to the conclusion pretty soon after writing that last entry that I simply need to be focusing inward right now, not outward. My family needs me, and the rest of the world can wait. Here's a brief run-down of what brought me to this conclusion.

My DD, who manages a lot of anxiety at the tender age of six, is experiencing a "peak" right now. Why? Who knows? Does it matter? Maybe. But here it is. She is refusing to go to sleep at night unless I'm in the room. My response, for the last 5 or 6 days, has been to inform her that I would not be staying in the room with her all night, but would do what I've always done. Read her and her brother a bunch of books, sit with them for anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes, then go downstairs. She has always gone to sleep during this period of time, and I leave. Suddenly this is not acceptable to her. So I informed her that I would stay with her for about 10-15 minutes after finishing books, then I would go downstairs whether she was awake or not. And I have been. The first couple of nights, I checked on her every 10 minutes. This wasn't working for me, as I'd barely sit down on the couch before I was heading upstairs again. And if I was late..... "Mama!" through the monitor. Yeesh! Not good. I informed her that I would be going for longer periods of time. I have managed 15 minutes. But this girl is going to sleep after 10pm every night. And she insists on getting up when I do, at 6:30 a.m. Needless to say, she's not getting enough sleep, and I am not getting any down time. Ugh!! So then today, I email DD's school to request a book they bought about child anxiety, and to let them know about some other behaviors I'm starting to see. I get an email back from her head teacher saying that while she had been making very good progress up until last week, this week she is refusing to do her work, and is in fact curling up in a ball on the floor. Wow. So I write to inform her that while there is nothing on this end that would precipitate this behavior at school, she has been losing sleep. Her diet is also pretty poor at this time.

So then there are the new behaviors at home. Which are likely due to the loss of sleep, but who knows. She is starting to show obsessive/compulsive traits. At the moment it's all verbal. She has to ask me if she can go to the bathroom. She has to ask me to promise not to go out of the house in the evening when I take my evening "break." She has to ask me the same question when she's going to sleep at night. And now she feels the need to ask if she can eat. Every. Single. Bite.

And I have to say, given some family history, this stuff makes me nervous. A recent visit to the ped. for my son resulted in a conversation about DD, and the name of a psychologist nearby who specializes in this stuff. She, not surprisingly, is not taking new patients, so we are on a waiting list. But I don't want to wait. So after a conversation with a family member who knows someone in the field, I ended up with another recommended person. A psychiatrist. And this one had been recommended by a friend in the field some months back. I actually had a conversation with this person back then, but decided not to follow up with him for a couple of reasons. One is that he is expensive. Really expensive. And he doesn't take insurance. The other reason is that he basically told me on the phone that he would likely just refer us to a social worker anyway, so why don't I send him a list of social workers who take our insurance, and he'll pick one. I didn't. But now we are back to him again. Apparently he is the "best" in the area, according to the family member's friend. So I left him a message today, and we'll see what transpires.

In the meantime, DD needs more sleep. And I guess if that means I commit my evenings to being up there with her for a while, well, it really is a small price to pay. I will need to find more me time during the day, because I need some. And to give up the little bit I have is really not ok. Everyone who works 8 hours is supposed to get one hour for lunch and two shorter breaks. I have my one hour in the evening, and my sometimes evening. And I work ALLLLLLL day, and part of the night.

Ok, life is telling me it's time to get back to it. More soon...

Monday, October 25, 2010


Sometimes I wonder if challenges are placed in front of me for a reason.

I know that many people before me have wondered the same thing. Perhaps those with faith are more familiar with these feelings. I don't know. I am not a religious person, but I have spiritual ideas sometimes.

Perhaps it is like being in a giant maze. When we keep insisting on going down the "wrong" passageway, a wall is put up again and again, blocking us from moving forward, until we realize we have no other choice but to turn, one way or another.

My body hurts from hitting the walls.

My job at the moment is raising my children. And I work on it, day in, and day out, and sometimes during the night. I work hard. I allow myself little room for selfishness. I am trying, really trying, to be a good mother to my children. One has a real anxiety issue. It effects everything we all do, day after day after day. As with any "dis" ability I do my best to help her navigate these waters. And it's not easy. She hits those maze walls so much more often than the rest of us seem to. But she bounces back and tries again. And again. And again. So while I rub my bruises, I try to rub hers. To get in the way so she doesn't hit so often. To help her understand the need to regroup and set out again. And to go easy on herself. Add to that our little guy, who charges ahead in the maze, finds others along the way who want to and are willing to help him navigate his way, panics, and runs back to me and DD. And back, and forth... "Mama do it!" So to all of this bouncing and running and turning around in circles add DH, who jumps in every now and then, attempts to help with something, gets a double dose of Mama-do-it, gets frustrated, and flares up... and you've got the basic foundation of my every day life. It's like a dance. And it's all good. It's what I do!

So I try, like anyone, to find outlets. Things to help me recharge, so that I can go back in the ring with gusto. But for reasons I don't understand, the outlets I choose turn in to maze walls.

I want FRIENDS. This is the most confusing part of my current and recent life that I just don't understand. Don't get me wrong. I have some people. And some who genuinely show an interest in seeing me more than once a month. Ok, one. And that is nice, and I am most grateful. But I want more. I want to be part of the neighborhood bunch. There are a huge amount of families with small kids in the neighborhood, and so many of them are friends. Good friends. Why not me? It's not as if I'm not out there trying. In my capacity. No, I don't go out at night right now. And it's likely I won't for a while. No, I don't have a lot of time away from my children. But true friends don't care, they find time to be with you. I tried for months and months to invite people over for play dates. Every week. Sometimes twice a week. Some tried. But it got to the point where more often than not, no one came. And that depressed me, so I stopped inviting. The other day I took DS to a neighborhood play date, and there was a houseful. A HOUSEFUL. Just like that. Maybe it's because we don't go to the public schools. But that's not enough reason. Maybe it's because I'm shy. Maybemaybemaybe. The result is that I'm not IN.

I have found that my most peaceful time is my one hour a day that I spend alone. And that is not me. Not the happy, well-balanced me. But right now, my recharge time is spent along, in my basement, sewing. And I truly love it. I do. But the genuine me doesn't want an escape. So what's this about?

And I worry. For all the hard work that I feel that I do, day in and day out, I am given more to try to figure out. A relationship that has always come easily, with few bumps, is now much more confusing, painful, and filled with cracks. What does it mean? So I hide in my "work" and hope that things straighten themselves out.

And I worry about my father, who turns 90 in March. I think about him all the time. But to complicate even that, our relationship is odd. Not bad. It's good! He champions me more than anyone else in the world, and I him. But it's odd. And confusing. But he helps me to feel better about myself. Without many words, he just has a way of gently encouraging me to be better to myself. He tells me to be more selfish. Because I'm worth it. That's nice. That's really nice. I need someone to help me feel important. The others, family, are too far away to be involved in my life. I sometimes think, lately, of what it would be like to live near the others. Would I feel better? Probably. Why can't I create that for myself here?

So I feel burdened, and I feel that life is zooming by, and I feel that I'm missing something. And I don't know how to change it. And I wonder what the message is. What am I supposed to be doing? How do I achieve the balance I so badly yearn for? Am I supposed to stop seeking, and turn inward? Find peace in what I have and stop trying for something else? Why do I hurt? Why do I continue to want things I don't have? Isn't what I have good enough? I don't understand.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hills and Valleys (child anxiety)

It is proving to be a challenging week. And it's only Tuesday.

Last week, like any, came with it's ups and downs, but everyone worked hard, and did his and her best. As everyone does, we all faced some challenges, and we all found ways to recharge. My daughter managed this along with the rest of us. She faces life with an undiagnosed anxiety (disorder? condition?) whatever, so her ups are often a little more up than the rest of us, and her downs can be a bit more down. Not a problem, it can just take her a little bit more time and proper conditions to come back to her baseline.

By Friday, we were all ready to be done for the week. DD verbalized that she didn't want to go to school. She said that while she likes school, "I just like you better, Mama." Her way of saying she's pooped and needs to rest. I gently encouraged her to face the day the best she could, try to be in the moment, and go easy on herself. I told her I couldn't wait to come pick her up, and I meant it. The attachment parent in me wanted to keep her home. The anxiety built in to me knows that I needed her to spend some time at school in order for me to recharge. Because I was anxious.

We had planned for a couple of weeks to go to my father's for the weekend. I had decided to go on Saturday, and return on Sunday. This sets my nerves on end in several ways. For one thing, I would be traveling with the kids on my own. I have done so countless times before, but it's always a little anxiety producing. And then there was the packing. I am a lousy packer. I am disorganized by nature, and find the idea of creating a small amount of core items out of a giant mess of a house very intimidating. And I tend to forget something each time, so I worry about that. And I try to do all of that while entertaining a 2-year-old. So I walk in circles all day feeling frustrated. Add to that the fact that DH has been a tense mess and is looking SO forward to us going away, so he can have some recharge time for himself. So when, three days ahead of departure day, I develop a headache (unusual for me) and DD complains of a "thick throat" I start to wonder if we are coming down with something that will necessitate a change of plans. I worry much more about the absolute crushing disappointment DH will display at even the slight suggestion that we MIGHT stay home, than the possible illness itself. Then there is the typical and anticipated transition anxiety that DD experiences with any change in routine. And on top of that, the more recently and most likely short-lasting phase that DS is going through, where he begs me not to take him anywhere. And this is what I was carrying as the week wore on last week.

After about 2.5 days, my headache, which was only minor, and somehow sinus related, went away. DD did not complain about her throat after the one morning. We were on for the trip. Friday I dropped an exhausted (school-exhausted, if you know what I mean) DD off at school, and headed home to pack. DS started in with his statements that he didn't want to go. DH had decided to come home early to help. He helped DS get some things together, and when DD came home, he helped her to pack. I managed the rest.

Saturday morning, and DS is in full-blown toddler-mode. He does NOT want to go! I do no know what to do. DH is starting to get upset. DD is just looking at me saying, "So, are we going?" As DH gets progressively upset and angry, I decide that I am going, come hell or high tantrum, because I'm pissed at DH. I bring all of our stuff to the door, he packs it in the car, and we're ready to head out. I, in a rare moment, express my feelings at DH, and we are now having an argument. Over the roof of the car we agree to talk about things later, and we leave.

Three hours later, the kids and I are in NJ. DS had quickly turned his upset to anticipation (attaboy!) and the kids were happy to be there. My father started the list of "things we could do" and I suggested that maybe our visit was short enough this time that just being there was enough.

We end up outside, playing, which the kids love. This fall they have fallen in love with the idea of jumping in his leaf piles in the front yard. I stand near the road, and watch. Suddenly, my daughter approaches me and says, calmly, that something had poked into her leg. One second later she is screaming. She has realized that she has been stung by a bee, and it's still there. My father materializes at this point, and wipes the bee away. DD is hysterical. I get her inside, and over the coarse of about five minutes, manage to convince her to get her pants off so we can look at the sting. Over the next 30 minutes, with a constant minute of screaming, minute of calm, minute of screaming, minute of calm (repeat) I manage to look up bee stings on my computer and take care of things. We have managed to get upstairs to our bedroom, and after a few minutes, DD informs me that she is hungry. I go downstairs to make sandwiches, and my father comments that the kids don't eat at meals but eat when they want.  The rest of the day is fairly uneventful, though my daughter periodically feels she cannot walk, which means hauling her down narrow spiral stairs.

The next day is a travel day, but I'm not in a big hurry to hit the road. Hubby and I have been checking in with each other. We are just hanging out, and plan to leave after lunch. We end up in the front yard again, with the fabulous piles of leaves. The kids are pretty happy, and I am trying to get up packed up as I'm able. DD starts screaming. Shreaking. She has been stung again. I fly over to her, as done my son. Somewhere in the hysteria, I realize DS is crying, and I wonder if it's sympathy panic. No, he is bent over his hand. He, too, has been stung. As I do my best to grab them, I feel a sting on my temple. I grab them and get us inside. Screaming, hysterical children, and my adrenals are firing whatever they have left to fire. As he did Saturday during the first sting situation, grabbed his medical bag, and put a can of First Aid spray in front of us. I used it. The kids requested to go up to our bedroom, and right away requested sandwiches, just like Saturday. What an interesting reminder that kids crave routine! I made them. DS, as is his nature, was fine once the sting settled down a bit. He sat there watching a DVD with his sandwich. Crisis over. DD, as is her nature, was upset longer, and needed more time and efforts to settle back down. I add to this that I was on the phone with DH when the second stings occurred, and I rather abruptly hung up, surely leaving him very concerned on the other end. So I called him quickly a couple of times during all of this to fill him in and reassure him that all was well in the end.

After a while, we make it back downstairs. DS picks up the First Aid spray, which was sitting on the carpet. I tell him to be careful, that's it's medicine spray, and suggested he not spray it. He's two, and pretty good, but ... more screaming. He had sprayed the stuff directly into his eyes. I grab him and wash his eyes out with water, and hoped like crazy that that was the right thing to do. I wiped his eyes with a cloth, and he settled down right away. Phew.

My stress exhaustion was settling in in a big way now, and I still faced a three hour drive with two kids. By now I just wanted to get us on the road. I suggested to my father that we eat lunch early. He got right to it and made us some food. Now DD, who had pretty much settled down at this point, reminded me that she had really wanted to go on a picnic for lunch. I had zero desire to do anything more than eat and take off, but DD can be very insistent! To her absolute credit, she suggested that perhaps we could set up a table in the living room and have a picnic there. Yes! I could do that! I informed my father, and he set things up. We ate. Add in to all of this that DD is in this phase where most foods are not appealing to her, and she really doesn't eat much at meal times when we aren't at home. She had basically been existing on peanut butter crackers since we got there. Anyhow, I ate. I then packed the car, got the kids in the car, and left.

The ride back was fine. We arrived fried, and happy to be home. DH, to his credit, had bought stuff to make pumpkin pies with the kids. He got DD engaged in that pretty quickly. My much anticipated and desperately needed evening "break" time arrived, and I headed to the basement where my fabulous sewing room exists. I put my attention on a sewing pattern I've been making, and allow myself to disconnect from things for a little while. We eat dinner, relax for a bit, and I take the kids upstairs to bed. DD is still very wired. DS conks out gratefully. DD also falls asleep. I start to get up. She is just barely over on my pillow, and I decide to try to gently remove it, so the kids don't take it over before I come up to bed. Big mistake. DD wakes up, and an anxious DD won't go back to sleep. My dander is up in a big way at this point. I need her to go to sleep!! I am so in need of some time to unwind that I feel desperate. It is not to be. I inform her that I'm going downstairs to tell Papa that I'm staying up there. I go down, make myself a drink (!!!) and head back up. DH, to his credit, comes up too. We read together, and DD finally falls back to sleep. I go to bed, too.

Monday. Ugh. None of us wants to face it. But we all do. What choice do we have? I remind DD on the way to school to take things one minute at a time, and just do the best she can. I remind her that the weekend was not exactly relaxing (!) and that we didn't get time to unwind, so to go easy on herself. Then I remember that I have a dental appt. I inform DS, who of course starts his pleas that we not go. We get there, and DH has met us. DS reaches his arms to me, but I tell him I will meet him afterwards. The visit is fine. In fact I have a pleasant conversation with the hygienist after she compliments my tote bag, which I made. She enjoys crafting, and we chat happily about it all. Then the dentist comes in. He checks my teeth and all that, then out of nowhere starts telling me how important it is to get out without the kids. ??? Where did this come from? I hadn't said a word other than I spend my time chasing my kids around. He looked at me, and said, "You look tired. Take care of yourself." Whoa!

The rest of the day kind of goes. DS was outside on his tricycle about 45 minutes before we had to go pick up DD from school. He asked to go to the end of the road to an area we call the dirt hills. I told him we didn't have time, and he throws a mini-fit, indicating to me that he is ready to nap. I get us in the car and drive. He does not go to sleep. @#$%! I drive and drive and nothing. I finally take us to a nearby store, and we walk around for a while. Then we drive some more, until it's finally time to get DD. Everything is well, and the afternoon/evening goes pretty smoothly. The time for my evening "break" comes around again, and I head downstairs. Within a couple of minutes, I hear DD screaming and crying. My heart sinks. I understand what is happening but it still makes me feel sad. She is tired. Exhausted. She has not had the relaxing weekend she needed to regroup, and she's just reached her limit. She is at the door of the basement insisting that she needs me. DH protects my alone time any way he can, and the tension quickly rises to a fever pitch. After a while, the noise settles down. But I am sad. And tired. And done.

Bed time comes, and DD informs me that she may not be able to sleep again. We talk about it for a bit. But I'm irritated. I can't help it. Her anxiety results in my being kept on a very short leash, and I am quite protective of the little time that I do get to myself. And this new "thing" is compromising some of that. After some while, she does fall asleep. (I sat near the kids this time, NOT between them as usual, and had my pillow out of the way BEFORE DD went to sleep!! I was able to very quietly get myself out of the room. Phew!

Then I get downstairs and DH is in a lousy mood. He is cursing the difficulty he has in putting a lunch together for DD, who is so picky there really is very little she will agree to eat. I agree to do it, and he heads to the couch. I put together a lunch, and after some while, finally land on the couch. DH and I actually get a little time to watch part of movie, and I head to bed.

And so it's Tuesday. Onward we go. DD asks me daily to promise that I won't leave the house during my "break." She asks me nightly to promise that I won't leave the house while she's sleeping. She insists on getting out of bed when I do, even though she is still tired, and could sleep for another half-hour. She usually falls back to sleep on the couch. She asked me this morning if I had any doctor or dentist appointments. And so forth.

Thanks for listening.

Monday, October 18, 2010


On the top of my blog, in my blurb, I mention that I find the world to be abrasive. When they were handing out bumpers, I must have been in the rest room. So things that would not bother most people, or not bother them much, get through to me, and hurt. Now I have lived with me for a long time. When you get bumped enough, you start to hold your hands out to ward off some of the incoming -whatever-. I have developed ways of managing. But I will always be me, and stuff still gets through.

When I started this blog, I began my mission to find ways to feel better. To find natural ways to take care of myself, and my family. And it has been helpful. Really. I am feeling a whole lot better, in general, than I was back then. It's a process.... but I stop and compare every now and then, and I'm much closer to being the balanced me I have been striving for. And there is no finish line. It's a lifestyle, and I'm happy with the direction I am taking. It's not just my physical self (or that of my kids,) it's my mental well-being, my sense of self.

I have always been someone who takes on the mood of the room. I learned a valuable lesson from a smart lady about 10 years ago. She said, "Don't ride the roller coaster." (Perhaps the smart lady will see and recognize this statement!) It applied to the situation at the time, but it has lasted me all this time, and I've said it in my head a thousand times. It means regardless of what is happening around you, take a step back and keep your head. Basically. And it works! If I really put my mind to it, that is.

So here I am in my current situation, applying it as needed. And that means finding ways to make myself happy, even when things are chaotic and less than stellar in my little corner of the world.

So inward I go. I mentally separate myself. Instead of seeking out people who will change my mood for me, I'm finding ways of doing so myself. This may seem obvious to many, maybe even most, but for someone like me, it's work. And it does help. But I have to remind myself to do it. It does not come naturally.

I was going to give examples here, but I keep erasing. I guess this is all I have to say about this for now!

This is not quite the post I wanted it to be, but I'm posting it anyway. Maybe I'll wrap my head around it and formulate some real thoughts, and maybe I won't. Whaddevah.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Another One?? (child anxiety)

Ever since I tried nursery school with my son, about a month ago, he has been a different kid. Mind you he went for TWO days, and seemed to enjoy it for quite a while before hitting a wall (figuratively.) He did leave both days crying and upset, but I think that was from being tired and overwhelmed with the length of the class, not the activities or expectations. He did well both days until hitting that proverbial wall. But he views it differently. He says he hates school. And his experience with it has changed his opinion about other things.

Today I had my heart set on taking him to a new program at the Children's Museum. He likes the Children's Museum, and has asked to go there a number of times in the past. But today he did not want to go. In fact, he pleaded with me not to take him. What the?? I think it was the idea that it was a "program." But he has reacted this way to other events as well. We were invited to a neighbor's to play last week. We got all the way to the time we were ready to leave, and that was it. He dug his heels in. He begged me not to take him! I explained that it was just to a neighbor's to play, and we could leave any time we wanted, and he would probably know some of the kids.... nope. He did NOT want to go!

DS was not like this at all before trying school. He has never been shy, and still isn't. He is outgoing, unafraid, and confident. He is like this with adults and kids of all ages. So I don't know what's going on. Of course, kids all go through phases of being more or less shy or worried about separation from parents. That's all normal. I guess I worry about it because of DD's anxiety issues. He is not like that at all. It is very likely, however, that he picks up some cues from her, and that some of his reactions are influenced by her. An example of this is in the evening when I take an hour to myself. This is something that occurs every night, and has been in place since DD was little. It is part of our every day routine. DD goes through phases of accepting my being away for the hour, and phases of being anything BUT ok with it. As a general rule, DS is not disturbed by my brief absence, and takes it very much in his stride. But when DD is in full blown anxiety mode, he becomes upset, too, and goes through brief periods of panic when I am getting ready to leave the room. Keep in mind, I don't leave the house most of the time, I just go downstairs. And about five minutes before the hour is done, both kids are yelling down the stairs.

Anyhow, so at the moment, my leash is short. Even with DD at school for 6.5 hours a day, I still juggle the fallout from the anxiety that we all live as a family. I guess I need to put it in perspective, and writing about it helps me to do that. I can't over react to his age-appropriate anxiety. I have to figure out a good balance between gently encouraging him to be brave and get out for fun programs (that I attend with him) and following his lead with genuinely needing to be home and quiet.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I have been down this road before, and crashed and burned. I need to exercise. There simply isn't an excuse good enough not to, and the benefits are endless. Maybe I need to do what I did years before to help me change my lifestyle a bit. I literally wrote down daily internal and external benefits. And used other motivators. It worked. It really did. So perhaps I can use that again. And maybe using my connections on Facebook would help, too. People motivators. But the main motivator has to be me. So here goes for today.

I exercised for 10 minutes today. For five minutes, I jogged around the house while DS was sleeping. For another five, I walked up and down the stairs. Then I stopped.

Internal benefits:

I got warm pretty fast! I had to shed my fleece, that I had been wearing all day.
My legs got a little sore. Wow, how quickly muscles get weak!
Exercise produces endorphins, and as we head toward S.A.D season, we need all the endorphins we can get.

External benefits:

The cats thought I had lost my marbles, which amused me no end.

I'd love to hear from anyone who needs a boost in this department, too. I am 41 years old and get no regular exercise. I read every day about illnesses and cancers and problems and depression, and many natural, easy, healthy ways to combat them. I can do this. It beats the (possible) alternatives......

Monday, October 4, 2010

Just Stuff

It is that time of year in this area of the world for all of the S.A.D types, like me, to start getting out in the light. Yeah, I get seasonal affective disorder, which for me usually means feeling agitated for no reason, lasting for about a week. I have come to find that if I walk most days for about 15 minutes, I can go the entire season without this weird physical reaction to the lack of outdoor time and light. But I've run into a snag. My children freak out if I leave them. Even if it means going around the stupid block for a walk. So here I sit in the basement of my house, in a room with no windows. Not a good solution to my impending jitters. And it's gonna be a bad one this year, if my instinct is on. I feel it. I have been blue anyway, a result of the stress that comes with being a full time me to a bunch of people and animals, two of whom have anxiety issues of their own. Sigh. So. The trick is to achieve what I need while balancing and managing what they all need, or think they need, too. I did, in fact, get outside today. We had friends over, and spent some time in the back yard. So that counts. Exercise? No. But that will have to be done at another time. hm. Ok, so involve the kids in that, too, somehow. DD would love to go to the YMCA. DS? Not so much. Go without him? Not likely. He's in his own little panic-mode at the moment. Hard to move these days. I feel strongly that taking DS to school for two days had a terrible effect on him, even though I was there in the next room. He hated it. Today at a library program he charged into the fray, as is his style, but after a couple of minutes, looked for me in a mini-panic. He again charged into the situation, but a couple of minutes later needed to check in with me. He was never like this before school. Oh, and he has not attempted the bathroom a single time since school, something he was doing on his own once every couple of days before then. So my needs, whatever they be at any given time, need to be snuck in there with the needs of the others. I can do this.

As I write this, my kids are yelling down to me. They know my "break" ends in the next couple of minutes. I can be in the basement, but not outside.

I'm tired of the things that have brought me some meaning in the last months. I get so excited to list something in my Etsy shop, and become so disappointed when there is little to no interest in what I make. Then I wonder why I bother with it. Because it's fun, in a way. But the let down is not fun. So instead of creating and piling up all these random things that sit in my sewing room collecting dust, I need to refocus my efforts. I love to sew.  But I want to sew for my family. And that's it. Subject to change without notice! But really. Why bother with the rest of it? It's just frustrating.

My break has ended. I need to stop here. I'll post, because I don't know if I'll remember to or want to continue with this mind-stream.

Another mood for another day. Bye.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Guessing Game (parenting)

Something is going on with my little boy. He wouldn't let me go out to dinner last night, even though his grandmother was here, and he is very comfortable with her. He couldn't fall asleep last night. He was up at least an hour later than usual and said he wasn't tired. He finally went to sleep when I went with him. Then he was up before 5 a.m. today. And when a child is off, the entire family is off. What could be going on?

The obvious first thought is illness. Poor goob. It's possible. Seems as if he was fighting something last week. But I guess it is that time of year for all sorts of bugs to come home with DD from school and with DH from work. But he doesn't have any of the usual symptoms, like runny nose. Still possible and most likely.

It could be tension. Could it? I don't know, but I believe that stress plays a bit part in how smoothly the routine goes in life and at home. Two weeks ago I took him to school. He was very excited about it. Too excited. He did great, but after a short time became overwhelmed and too tired to continue. He was encouraged to continue anyway, and he was in total meltdown mode when we left. His second day of school was similar. He did great for about an hour and a half, then was completely done. Once again the pressure was put on him to continue, and that was too much. Another total meltdown as we got ready to leave. After that he didn't want any part of school, even though the majority of the experience was positive. I took him out, making the decision that he simply wasn't ready yet. I was hoping that I got him out before the anxiety became a lasting thing, but I'm not sure I made it. He seems to have a school hang-over, at the tender age of 2. Darn it.

Then sometimes there's a little tension at home. DS had agreed to let us go out last night, but once we were in the car, he became very upset. Grandma grabbed him, and that made things worse. He entered panic mode, which is where he was when I got to him. DH was very frustrated that we couldn't go out, something he looked forward to very much. So he was upset, and felt angry at DS. Then DD, who battles with pretty intense anxiety, waffled about whether she was comfortable with us going out or not. (I honestly thought she would be the one to get in the way of the outing, not DS) So she went back and forth between starting to cry at the prospect of us going out and the prospect of us NOT going out. By the time we were in the driveway, she almost needed us to go out. She had simply gotten her head around that plan, and had worked hard to get herself to that place. And then there's me, monkey in the middle. All the time. I understand DD. I understand DH. I also understand grandma with her gentle urging to go despite the kids' upset. (just not the way I work) And I empathize with DS. I know that there is something wrong, and if all was well, he wouldn't be acting and feeling this way. Instinct says to hug him rather than push him into this situation.

So who knows? Instinct is a strong thing, and I'm following mine. That's all I can do.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Coconut Oil

Two nights ago I purchased this jar of coconut oil. It seems that coconut oil was popping up everywhere: on my Facebook Eczema page, and in searches for holistic-minded natural remedies and such. I saw it again and again. So I did some brief online research. Why had I thought that coconut was not a good idea? Here is some of what I learned: LINK

Now of course there are resources on the internet that claim this is all hooey, and that movie theaters and food manufacturers stopped using coconut oil in their products because it was shown to be bad for you. I guess you have to read the research and decide for yourself. 

I have decided to put it through its paces. 

There are many ways in which people use coconut oil:

Food. People use it in place of other oils in such foods as popcorn. I used it to make a grilled cheese sandwichs this morning. It was easy to cook with, made delicious (and yes, reminiscent of movie theater popcorn smells) popcorn, toasted bread well for the sandwichs, etc. And it did not take a lot of the stuff. I will note that coconut oil burns easily at higher cooking temperatures, so keep the temperatures down. 

Hand/Skin Lotion: I have been using the oil in place of my usual hand lotion (another oil) and it has worked fine. It does not seem to irritate my sensitive (eczema) skin, it absorbs easily and is not greasy feeling after being rubbed in. 

Hair: I haven't tried this one, but apparently people use coconut oil in their hair, and it supposed to make the hair super soft. I am dying to try it. Being a non-shampoo user at the moment due to a rashy scalp, I am looking for ways to keep my hair clean and conditioned that are all natural and not too irritating. I'll report back on my trials with that! Here is what I learned at eHow: LINK Sounds like work, but once in a while... Anyhow, I'll give it a try.

Pets: I have read that coconut oil can be helpful in pets with various conditions, including constipation and hair balls. You can read more about that here: LINK You can actually buy cans of the stuff that are marketed for pets. (A funny aside is that the can I saw for pets on Amazon.com was much more expensive per ounce than what I bought for myself!)

Some information I have learned along the way: Coconut oil melts at 76*F. It is a solid at room temperature in cooler areas. It burns easily at high temperatures, so keep your temperatures down when cooking with it. 

As always, I'd love to hear from anyone with experience!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Natural Hairball Remedies For Cats

This morning I found evidence that my two cats, a male and a female, were not feeling well. First of all, last night I found that their water bowl had been diminished a lot. Now I know that cats, as a general rule, do not drink a lot of water. Some weeks back our girl kitty had been drinking a lot of water for several days. A trip to the vet resulted in our needing to remove cat treats from her diet, due to finding of crystals in her urine. During this two week trial, I had also removed dry food, after conferring with the Holistic Moms Network.  Not the smartest time to remove the dry food, of course, because when her urine tested clean, it was impossible to know if it was simply from removing the cat treats, or if it had something to do with the dry food.

Fast forward a few weeks. I bought some more dry food. I did so because the cats are getting big, and are starting to eat us out of house and home. They eat Newman's Own Organics canned cat food. The cans are 3 oz - in other words, small. The two of them were eating five cans a day! At a dollar and change a can, it was getting ridiculous. So I did some research and bought some Organix Feline Formula Adult and Kitten dry cat food. This is, from what I can tell, good stuff. It is made from organic chicken, brown rice and flax, and is minus a lot of the stuff that other dry cats foods contain and are supposed to be bad for them. Anyhow. A few days ago we introduced the dry food in place of the canned for one meal, and they devoured it. Yay! thought I.

So then yesterday, the female cat was drinking, and I noticed the bowl was low. Oh no. But wanting to be sure, I decided to wait a day or two. The bowl was fine this a.m., but I could tell the cats weren't right. For one thing, there was wet food left over from their feeding last night, which has never happened since getting them. Then they left a fair amount of food this morning. Hmmm... Then my daughter stepped in something.... uk. Ok, so there were a couple of piles of cat barf on the carpet. And they were full of fur. Ok. So is the problem crystals in the urine? Or is it hair balls? Or is it both?

I know the solution if the problem is crystals. So I'll give it another day or two, and see if the girl kitty continues to drink a lot of water. Easy solution: no more dry food.

I didn't know the answer for the hair balls, so I did a quick Google search on "natural hair ball remedies for cats." The answer? Psyllium fiber. Metamusil! Wow! As I read about it, I found that it makes perfect sense. If it helps us, why not the cats? Here's one link I found. Though this link does not mention hair balls specifically, it mentions several other conditions for which psyllium fiber is recommended by vets for cats.


This website, and many others, recommend Psyllium Nigrum for cats, which is the same seed husk fiber source as is used in Metamucil. This is a neat site in general.


I'm gonna try it. Starting today, I'm going to mix a small amount (if you try it make sure you know the recommended doses) in with their canned food. I'll report back in a few days if I see any changes or improvements.

If anyone has any experience with this, I'd sure appreciate hearing about it!

UPDATE: I put a teaspoon of flavorless psyllium fiber in the cats canned food, mixed it very well, and gave it to them. Both cats took one sniff, and would not eat one bite. I replaced it with a can without the fiber, and they ate it right away. So much for that! I may try again with a much smaller amount, but I'm thinking this is not the remedy for my cats!

Now to try coconut oil.... trial in a separate post!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Yay Montessori =) (child anxiety)

Today my daughter finished her third week at her new school, our local Montessori school.

Me: So, (daughter), now that you've been at your new school for three weeks, which school would you say you like better? The new one or the old one?"

DD: The new one is MUCH better.

Me: =) =) =)

When I asked her if she was happy it was the weekend, she replied, "Yeah. Sort of. I'll miss hanging out with my friends."

So happy!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Calmer Seas (child anxiety)

Time to update on DD.

Things are settling down nicely. Phew! DD's biggest complaint after school yesterday was that someone had moved her plant. =) I got a nice email from her teacher yesterday, too, that said that during a movement class, DD had gotten up in front of the class with another student and done a dance! Ok, she has officially surpassed me. I don't do that!! Very proud I am, yes indeedy.

That doesn't mean that she doesn't still get anxious in the mornings. She does. Dry heaves are not uncommon. Or the complaint of a belly ache. But she likes school.

We went to a school picnic two days ago. Several kids came up to her asking if she wanted to play with them, or sit on their picnic blanket with them, etc. It was very cool. She shied away from them for the most part, but I think that was more a result of me and her father and other parents being there. Something tells me she would have been off with them in a flash had it been school recess or something. And occasionally during the night she would forget herself and start to run off. Very good stuff.

I am working with her on reading every night now, as she won't read to the teachers at school. But I am not giving her a hard time about it. As I've been telling hubby in the evenings, she's made such incredible strides, and completely because she chose to, that I do not feel the need to pressure her about the reading and lessons at this point. I'll just work with her at home to be sure she's keeping up. Her reading is very slow and reluctant. We worked on it a bunch this summer, but a couple weeks before starting the new school, we stopped. It really shows that she hasn't been working on it for a while. Her confidence has decreased, and her reading is elementary at best. But she'll get there. When she decides to!

And a quick note on the little girl in DD's class. DD told me a few days ago that she thought this girl wanted to be friends with everyone in the class but her. That seems to have completely changed. For one, she approached DD a lot during the picnic, and was very friendly with her. Then I get the email from the teacher saying they performed a dance together for the class. And DD informed me yesterday that this same little girl has invited DD to come to her house on Halloween. Awright! =)

Words from a proud Mama!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 7 of School (child anxiety)

Ah. That's better!

First of all, I got up with the alarm this morning, and both kids stayed asleep. Nice. I had some coffee, I checked my email, and just enjoyed a few minutes to myself.

Hubby brought DD down. She curled up on the couch with her cats as usual, and watched tv. So far, same ole, except that DS was still in bed. Very unusual, as he's usually the first of us to wake up. I told DD that I would provide her with something to eat if and when she told me she wanted something. I accept that the idea taht food makes her ill in the morning, especially foods with strong smells, so I'm not cooking these days.

DS finally wakes up, and joins DD. I get a box of Cheerios, and he and I happily munch on them. With about 20 minutes to go, I announce that I am going to get the kids dressed. I do so. No problems....

As usual, when the time draws near to leave, I get up and start racing around. This is just what I do. I put things in the car, and do this I do that.... DD gets up and starts to go through her routine, too. As usual, she has her "as we're going out the door" stuff she "suddenly" remembers she needs, but even this is not too frenzied today. She gets her cloth (a wash cloth. She started this at her old school. She takes a cloth with her every day. It's almost like her security blanket. In prek and K, she would chew on it, yuck. Now she just has it, I think.) She will usually jump into the bathroom at the very last second. Honestly, I can't remember if she did so today. This particular part of the routine has relaxed some, now that she is comfortable using the bathroom at school. Once in the car, DD complained of having a belly ache. I told her I was sorry, and as always, was genuinely sympathetic. After all, the poor thing got this condition from me! She said something about being anxious, and I found myself suggesting she try to focus on the moment. At this moment, I explained, she is with me and her brother, in the car, and we're fine. I could really use this advice myself! I am anxious about going away this weekend, just the kids and me. Be in the moment, Mama! =)

Drop-off was fine. She timidly got out of the car, took her stuff from me, and walked with me as far as the path, where the assistant teacher was waiting with a few other kids. She slowly walked into the building, with a wave to me and DS.

I left thinking that she is adjusting. No barf today, only a sort of resignation to the situation. Of course I wish she looked forward to going. She doesn't. But she is becoming accepting of it, and she seems to be joining in while there. Her teacher did inform me that DD won't talk to her during lessons, but that she will talk with her about other subjects. The teacher feels she will "come around," and I hope she does. I am going to focus on the amazing things she has done in the 6 days of school she's had so far, and process other areas of growth later! I did ask the teacher to let me know if there are areas I can help out with at home.

Anyhow, she's looking forward to a weekend away. A nice reward for all her hard work. =)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

SIGH (parenting)

Maybe I beating this topic to death, but I think it helps me to vent when I'm in the thick of all of this.

First of all, darling daughter IS adjusting to her new school, and seems happy enough most days. But she is throwing up every morning before we leave. Today she couldn't eat anything, and was panicked about having not eaten before going to school. I wasn't too worried about that because I know that she can grab a snack at school whenever she feels the need. Anyhow...

So today DS and I picked her up, and all was well. In fact, the kids miss each other a lot during the day, so they're very cute after school. He had told me during the day that he missed her. She came home with a picture she drew for him, with his name written all over it. Cute. Nice.

So at some point, we were just talking, and somehow the topic came up of a function my husband and I have to participate in for our son's school. It's a fund raiser, and we're being asked to work two five hour shifts to help with it. Of course my first thought was that there was no way I would get away with being gone for five hours at a stretch, so hubby and I had already agreed that we'd split the shifts. So anyhow, my daughter and I were talking, and the subject of the fund raiser came up. She asked what it was. I explained it to her, and she was excited at first. She wanted to be involved. I explained that it might be fun for a while, but five hours in a row might be a lot for her. I explained that she and her brother would just hang out with whichever of us wasn't working. She immediately got upset, saying she was going to stay with me wherever I was. I explained that I would be working, and it might get boring. She then said she'd stay home. I told her that was fine, she would only need to leave the house briefly so that hubby could come relieve me, or vice versa. She became so upset by this thought that she actually broke out in tears. (She is SIX years old) She said she was concerned about needing to use the bathroom on the drive. UGH. I told her that she'd be driving in to town and back. She went on and on about it. I told her she was being ridiculous. She said she wouldn't drive with her papa because of the bathroom. My entire insides felt like they became tied in knots. Seriously, this is getting beyond ridiculous, and it ticks me off that I have to be so confined by her anxiety!! I am so sympathetic so much of the time, but when I can't move, I get annoyed. Pissed! Anyhow, she asked me how long there was until the fund raiser. I told her that it is a MONTH away, but that even if it was a day away it shouldn't matter, because it really is not a big deal! I told her it was an obligation that her father and I have, and that it really has nothing to do with her. But she is insisting that she won't leave the house while I am away! So now my husband will be confined to the house during those shifts, not to mention our son. It's so frustrating! I suggested that we might have to get a babysitter because hubby and I will have to leave the house. She actually agreed to that plan, and said that grandma would need to stay at the house with her, and that our son would have to be with her! Her conditions are maddening!! Yes, folks, we're talking about something that is not occurring for a month! Oh!

Just needed to vent. =)