Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What My Kids Have Taught Me

I was talking to someone the other day, and it made me think about all the different kinds of teachers we have in our lives. I've been lucky to have so many people in my life who have taught me so many valuable things.

Once, I was told by a new-agey spiritualist that our souls are connected to every person in our life, and that we all have something to teach each other. I've always liked that philosophy.

The most powerful teachers in my life have definitely been my children. As a mother, it's part of my responsibility to teach my kids the best way I know how. However, I think in the short period of time I've been lucky enough to be their mom, they've taught me so much more. Here are a few valuable lessons I've learned(some apply to both children of course).

K's Lessons
- You can wear pink, and still be tough enough to kick someones butt
- Sometimes it's fun to be a girly-girl
- Getting stitches is no big deal as long as you can have an orange Popsicle
- Hand sanitizer removes Silly Putty from hair
- An ice pack makes any injury all better
- Blonds can be brilliant
- Nothing is better than a good long cuddle
- Wearing a bathing suit to long can give you a butt rash
- Bindi the Jungle Girl is not half as entertaining as her father
- Stealing is not only wrong, but seriously humiliates your mom
- Unconditional love can be easy
- The words to every Hanna Montana song
- Diva-tude and fabulousness comes naturally to some
- Children are the purest beings on earth, no matter how sassy they sound
- Kids are not afraid to tell you just how big you look. Daily.
- Grandparents are one of life's greatest resources
- Your parents know a lot more than you thought they did
- Pushing your brother's buttons is hours of fun
- That your mother's best revenge is for you to have a daughter just like you

G's Lessons
- A&D ointment does not come off furniture
- Peeing outside is one of life's greatest joys
- Cashiers are very patient people
- Brilliance does not always lead to happiness
- Kids can be heartless to each other
- A good teacher can make all the difference in a child's life
- There is no end to the amount of questions a person can ask in a day
- Patience
- Forgiveness
- Being a mother means having your heart broken over and over, and continuing to love
- Autism is a fascinating and infuriating thing
- Boundaries exist only to grow
- I don't know nearly enough math
- Pokemon is really complicated
- I know nothing about Star Wars
- Little boys can be neurotically clean
- Walk away. Cry. Go back for more.
- When a hug is rarely given, it's all that more precious when you get one
- You can go for days without food or sleep
- Being a new, single mom, is one of the scariest things in the world
- The square route of 16 is 4
- When someone relies on you, you can find resources within yourself you never dreamed of

Monday, July 28, 2008

Back Aboard The Diet Train

On Saturday I went in for my ever-so-joyous annual exam. As with any visit to the doctor's I was asked to step on the scale first thing. Now, it's been a while since I've stepped on a scale (I refuse to own one, and I knew I'd gained weight, but I was well and truly shocked to see the number that came up. I'd crossed the weight line I'd vowed never to cross. I sputtered a bit, and tried not to weep.

Angered at myself, and my ever-growing caboose, I knew it was that time: Diet Time.

I'm a big eater, and I hate to diet, but at this point, I have no choice. I can't afford to move into the next clothing size. My doctor already suspects I have sleep apnea. Oh yeah, and I hate looking at myself.

Instead of a hard-core, super restrictive plan, I'm going to follow in the footsteps of my boss who recently lost 35 lbs and just start cutting down. I put Splenda in my coffee this morning. I bought frozen diet meals (Lean Cuisine and Smart Ones) for my work lunches for the week, and brought the entire week's worth in today so I wouldn't forget my lunch during the week. This will save me both fitness-wise, and financially. A whole week's worth of frozen lunches was the same price as one indulgent lunch ordering out.

I also bought 100 calorie snack packs of a few different snacks. Let me tell you, 100calories is not a lot. I try to eat slow. It's still not a lot. My boss claims the first two weeks are rough, but it gets easier after that. This is going to be a long two weeks.

It's time to get tough, and time to put my superior will power to use. I need to be healthy for my kids and myself. I need to sleep better, and feel good about myself. I need to put my pants on with ease.

If anyone has any good weight loss tips, please share.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

And Now For The Down Swing...

It's been a long time since G has had a real, full blown fit. The summer has been smooth. Day camp has kept him stimulated, and left him pleasantly exhausted at the end of the day. He had a 9 day hiatus to Vermont to visit his grandparents and a gaggle of cousins.

Even though deep down I knew it couldn't last, I chose not to think about it. One of the most unpleasant aspects of his Asperger's was in a kind of remission, and I was enjoying the ride.

And then there was Tuesday.

Tuesday morning, I was frustrated to discover that not only had G forgotten to bring his bathing suit home for the billionth day in row, but he had also forgotten his water bottle and lunch bag. In a fever of pure desperation, I told G that if he forgot to bring home the forgotten items, as well as the alternate bathing suit I was packing for him, then he wouldn't be able to play his Game Boy after camp.

The Game Boy, a 13-year-old antique he inherited from my brother, has been G's most recent, and most enduring obsession. I knew it was the one item I could use to my advantage.

When I went to pick him up that afternoon, I checked his backpack, and, low-and-behold, only the lunch bag had made it into the bag. With a deep sigh, I told him no Game Boy for the night. And that was that.

G's face screwed up and turned red in an expression I was all to familiar with. The tears began to leak, and the angry grunts and growls issued from his throat. I tried to get him into the car as quickly as possible, but he refused. I told him if I had to carry him to the car, he wasn't going to enjoy it. Finally, with many whispered prompts, he stormed to car. As I began to drive off, he kicked the seat, and punched the window. I stomped on the brakes (I was only going about 5 miles an hour in the parking lot) and hollered for him to cut the crap.

I swallowed down my boiling anger and embarrassment, and tried not to squirm from the guilt of my own outburst. Apparently the patience that I had worked so hard to build had been made weak from lack of exercise.

The rest of the night was a wash, and there have been touchy moments ever since. I'm working on rebuilding my fragile patience, and trying not to let the other life stresses eat at it. G is who is, and there's no changing it, only making the best of the bad moments, and enjoying the good. Bearing it with bravery when he screams that he doesn't want to go home in front of all kinds of people I don't know. Basking in the amazement of people who can't believe how smart he is. Smiling at the bewildered cashier when G begins firing random math equations at her. Holding on to the tender, heart trembling moments when he asks me to chase away his bad dreams at night, or hugs me, without me having to force my affections on him. Loving him with all my heart.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Back To Normal

Yesterday I had my big craft show in Boston. For the most part, it went very well. Right up until the point where an insane thunderstorm rolled in, drenching us, our merchandise, and forcing the market to pack up early, trembling in fear that our metal framed tents would be struck by lightning.

When I arrived home, soaking wet and fresh off a two hour drive, my kids were home to greet me, finally home from Vermont after a 9 day vacation at grandma's. I hugged them both as much as possible before bedtime, surprised at just how much I had missed them.

At bedtime, Gabe, usually so emotionally removed, began to cry over how much he was going to miss his grandparents and visiting with his cousins. He pleaded with me to move us back to Vermont. I explained that his cousins didn't live in Vermont, only grandma and papa, and that sometimes grownups had to make tough choices as to where it was best to live for their families. I held him and sang to him, and got him calmed down for bed.

This morning it was tough to rouse the troops for our regular weekday morning routine, myself especially. Packing the camp lunches, making breakfast, packing backpacks, etc. The kids were groggy and lolled on the couch. When I delivered them to summer camp though, they had perked up, and their counselors and fellow campers were quick to say how much they had been missed.

And so we try to get back into our rhythm. The only changes now are that GH will be working some evenings, including tonight, which means I'll get to prepare dinner after work as I used to. It's going to be a rough one tonight. Not that GH will be doing this often- apparently he told the woman who does the schedule that he only wants to work part time for now. I almost had a freakin aneurysm when he told me. But that's an entire post onto its self.......

Monday, July 14, 2008


GH officially started his new job this past week. It's taken a big weight off my shoulders, making it a little easier to breath. Go job go!

My mother also came down this weekend and nabbed the kids for the week. They're now off in Vermont, frolicking with their cousins, while GH and greedily watch adult TV in the living room, and eat sumptuous, exotic foods that the kids would absolutely wretch over.

The past few days have been joyful and relaxing in a way they haven't been in a long time. The tension lifted, and GH and I have had some time to reconnect and be kind to each other, rather than snapping and panicking over our various anxieties. We enjoyed a 2 1/2 hour dinner, where we just talked, and took the ferry out to explore the Casco Bay islands that we've never seen. It's been lovely, and I think when the kids return, they'll come home to two, much happier, parents.

Monday, July 07, 2008

World's Busiest Weekend- Now With More Photos!

The Fourth of July was spectacular this year. Considering we had to out run a fireworks killing downpour last year, we deserved a good one. We picnicked with our neighbors on a hill overlooking the ocean with the rest of the city of Portland Maine.

The kids enjoyed sparklers and cheap glow sticks pre-show:

And I enjoyed the wonderful world of fried dough goodness :)Yummmm....

Saturday was spent shopping and putting together K's 6th birthday party. It was a fairy themed party, and I came up with several craft activities for the kids to do, including wing making, wand making, crown making, cookie decorating, and a pinata.

My personal masterpiece of the party was a special fairy cake. It featured a chocolate centerpiece cake covered in purple fondant, and then 10 dancing fairies made of fondant over a strawberry cupcake base (K's choice).

I was up until midnight on Saturday, hand painting all of the faces, and piping in their hair in royal icing. It was perfect, and I was so pleased with myself. It's a dream of mine to someday create cakes with Duff on Ace of Cakes.

However, I did not account for the humidity that fell over my lovely cake. In the morning, the fairies were all sagging inward, looking a bit worse for the wear.

This fairy looked like she had been up all night crying over her sad fate of being devoured by sticky fingered children. Or possibly she was just a crack whore. It's hard to say with things:

These fairies looked like they might have drank to much and made-out a bit in the wee hours:

But, I didn't have much to worry about, because the kids all seemed duly impressed.

The pinata was cute as all get out:

G and his little boy buddies just loved ripping her adorable little head off, and beating her with a metal bat. Fun times.

It was a great party, even though not a lot of kids came. My fault for having a party Fourth of July weekend. But still, it was lovely. And I"ll always treasure the photos of my sweet 6-year-old fairy in her handmade wings.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Summer Lovin'

Our finances are once again on a rare upswing, and today I totally indulged myself at the local farmer's market on my lunch break. For the first time this summer, I allowed myself to wander through the fragrant vegetables, the vibrant flowers, and the delicious homemade goodies.

Unfortunately the tomatoes and cucumbers weren't out yet, but I did manage to snag some turnips, baby carrots and fresh basil. And for lunch? I bought homemade bread, the stinkiest artisan cheese I could find, fresh strawberries, and an amazing honey butter. There's nothing like real honey, straight from a bee's behind. Pure heaven.

It's amazing how a few extra dollars can ease the anxiety, the mental craziness. Hopefully we can make this wave last as long as possible.

On that note, I finally managed to track down a free standing clothes line for the back yard, and we'll get it up this weekend. I can't wait! This will help cut our electricity bill big time. I'll also be investing in a small chest freezer this week to freeze veggies from the garden (if any ever actually grow) and meat when it's on sale. I'm really pumped, and I foresee money saving goodness.

For the fourth, we'll be watching a spectacular fireworks display over the ocean- one of the perks of living on the coast of Maine. I hope everyone else has a great fourth as well!!!!