Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wrap it up with a bow and send it off with a kiss

Today is the end of the always amazes me to write that out  It feels like the Y2K scare was just last year doesn't it, and here we are bracing for the start of 2012.  Gosh, thinking back to Y2K and all the "fear" is almost funny.  I was pregnant with Haven around that time (she was born in May) so I really only cared if there would still be popsicles if all the world's computers stopped working...popsicles helped with my morning sickness :)

So here we are, the end of another year and as I have stated before, I don't do resolutions because they get tossed aside like a prom dress.  So instead I will wrap up our year with a tidy little bow, and feel content that I think we did the best we could in our endeavors and we tried to live life to the fullest and appreciate what we have been given, well, at least most days we did!

This year had it's trials, mainly dealing with Finn's health issues and trying to figure out what was going on with him.  Now we know and have begun working through getting him what he needs, such as therapy and visits to specialists.  I will say, that he has come so so far, and back in July I would not have imagined we would be where we are.  He is still lagging in some areas, but I am watching him make progress every day and I am excited to see what he will accomplish in the coming year.  This year Grayson finished Kindergarten and started First, Brittan finished Third and started Fourth, and Haven finished Fifth and moved into Middle school.  They are great kids and doing well in school and they make me incredibly proud daily.  Teagan turned two and holy smokes she is a riot!  This kid is destined for something big, I can't explain it but there is just something about her personality and her wit (yes she has wit at two!) and she is smart and sweet and just naughty enough to keep me hopping. Oh and my Finny, he is such a sweet boy, smiley and happy and lately he has been showing a bit of a temper which makes me laugh.  These kids, without them our lives would be sad and lonely and boring, I am so very thankful for all they bring to us and for being lucky enough to be part of the team that is parenting them and hopefully raising them into five fantastic adults.

Personally work has been great and I am lucky enough to have my FT gig and PT gig.  I feel appreciated and respected at both and given that so many people are without work right now, I am thankful every day that I have my positions and that Ryan has his job and that we are both afforded flexibility in our schedules so we are able to be here for our kids.  I completed the first three chapters of my dissertation this year and had my first defense a few weeks ago and was approved with just a few small happy that I am moving forward!

Looking ahead I think this will be a big year for us.  We are meeting with a developer soon to discuss building our dream house.  We are also beginning to search for land to build that house on.  This summer we will either be moving or finalizing the house for us to move or rent it out since our cut off to move away is Summer 2013 due to the kid's ages and stages in schooling.  It is a scary and exciting time here as we begin these final steps, but it is time to make these changes for our family.

I wish you all a Happy and SAFE New Year, remember it is not about today or tomorrow, but all the days that follow.  Make resolutions to be present, open, joyous, and truthful as those are easy to keep, and remember to tell the people in your life that you love and appreciate them, you can't say it enough.

See ya on the flip side!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A disaster of epic proportions

I had a bright idea.  I thought we could load the kids up on Monday and head up to a few areas in West Virginia to see if any of the houses I saw online would be a good fit for our family.  I also wanted to see how the areas "felt" to us.

It started off badly and we should have stayed home, but we went anyway leaving late.  That meant we got to WV late, and stopped for lunch late, and the place was reaaaaaaaally slow, and the kids were restless and well, we should have come home, but we pressed on.  Then the houses sucked.  Well they were beautiful big houses on huge lots, but they were on the side of a mountain...not ideal for our needs.  Then we almost ran out of gas in my huge van in the middle of nowhere.  Disaster.

So we have come up with a different plan to look for houses and I think this is a better idea.  Hopefully within a year we will own new land and be on our way to building our dream home!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Very Merry

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas, Hanukkah and holiday season.

The week was a whirlwind.  I had my first dissertation defense on Tuesday and was approved with only a handful of small changes...woohooo!  We then began holiday overdrive.

My parents arrived Thursday and on Friday the big girls went out for a special Nana day and Grayson had a special Papa day and well, the babies and I went to the grocery store :)

Saturday my sister and her family came and it was a total blast.  We were supposed to then go out to dinner for Ryan's birthday but we were beat so we ordered in and everyone watched Elf :)

Today was as mad as anyone can imagine Christmas morning with five kids would be.  The children were overwhelmed with their presents and completely overjoyed.  We had a nice family breakfast and then basically laid around all day and it was wonderful.

So thankful for my beautiful family, and the love and joy they bring me.  Hope you all have had a wonderful holiday season thus far...onward to new adventures tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cram in that holiday spirit

When I was a kid, finding the holiday spirit was easy.  Everything was done for kids, the displays, the songs, the cookies.  What I did not realize then was that someone actually had to make those things happen, and now as a mom, I have come to realize, sadly, that it is on me.

So I bake the cookies, a bazillion different kinds and 12 million dozen of each.  Then when the kids raid the freezer where they are stored and eat them all up, I bake a bazillion and one.  I wrap...and wrap....and wrap. Five kids plus lots of prezzies equals hours upon hours of wrapping, like 6 hours of was insane.  I have about three more things for my kids and then my parents, my niece and my nephew to go and we are officially done. and I can hang up my scissors and tape for another year.

So today I got up and out the door at 9 so I could run to the bigger town south of us and get the last few errands done.  I had three stores and the farm to go to and even leaving at 9, I would be lucky to be home by noon. Left the kids with the hubby and off I went.  Then I got to Best Buy and grabbed my stuff and wallet was missing.  Crap.  I then remembered that I put it on my end table last night before I began wrapping (again) and I didn't grab it on my way out the door.  I also did not have enough gas to get home since gas is cheaper in that town and I planned to fill up, if you know, I had a wallet.  The only saving grace was that I had the hubby's car and he had the big van, so he had to load everyone up and drive down to bring me my wallet.  It took them an hour, since they weren't dressed and well, they are slow, and by then I was in tears and stressed and I hadn't even had any coffee!  When he pulled up, I burst into tears like a baby because I had so much to do, and the hubby kindly offered to go to the farm for me to save me the extra drive and stop.  So off I went to the three stores, got what I needed and made it home to clean like mad and bake those replacement cookies.  Now getting ready to serve dinner and then work so that maybe, just maybe, tonight I can watch a festive show or movie to get more in the spirit.  Seriously, we need to get on that whole "elf" idea!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Being grateful

I am trying to see things from a new light since it can be so easy to allow "hardships" to get us down. See, we don't really have real hardships, we are never hungry or cold or unable to afford the things we really need...want yes, but need, those are always covered. I went to the foot/ankle doctor since the ankle I sprained in October when we were at Disney is still hurting.  The negative view-poor me, my ankle hurts and I have to wear a brace and may need surgery.  The positive view-How lucky am I that we got to go to Disney with the kids and that I have excellent health insurance so that I could go to the doctor when the pain got to be too much.

I, as usual around this time, am stressed about money after paying for Christmas.  Negative view-why don't we have more money so that I don't have to be stressed for no good reason.  Positive view-how lucky are we that we worked hard and saved and this year made enough to get the kids all their needs and most of their wants paid for in cash so we don't accumulate debt.

I also wish we could move, but sadly the market is just not there yet.  Negative view-Stupid housing market, we want to move and are paying an absurdly high mortgage for a house we don't want.  Positive view-How thankful I am that we bought a big, yet in need of major work, house when we only had two kids in a great school district.  Then we fixed the house up and made it a home, and while not ideal, it is ours and we are comfortable.  Also we are not terribly underwater like so many friends and even though our mortgage is very high, somehow we manage to pay it.

Another huge stress right now is work since it is the end of the term.  So much to do, grading out PT school and getting FT school tucked away for the week off.  Then there is my school that is demanding and Ryan's job that has been on the edge for two years.  Negative view-I am so overwhelmed, there is too much to do.  Why don't we know about Ry's job will they ever tell us if layoffs are happening?  Positive view-We are so lucky to HAVE jobs!  I have a FT and a PT that are consistent and reliable.  The PT gig even has me developing online courses for them so I can teach more, so very lucky!  Ryan has a job still two years after layoffs started and we know that if he gets laid off we get a good severance package and I can switch us over to my company for benefits.

These last six months with waiting on Finn's results and navigating the possible outcomes have taught me to look at all we do have, and when I do, we are very lucky and blessed.  I hope you are lucky and blessed too and can see all you have and not what you don't.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

As if I wasn't busy enough this week

you know, with closing out classes at PT school, kid's events, the FT job and oh, you know, Christmas to prep for...I now have my first dissertation defense on Tuesday.

The first three chapters are done and ready.  The outline for the presentation is ready.  I am just not sure I am ready!  I have to put the powerpoint together tomorrow and finalize it Friday.  I will then write my "script" so I can be prepared for the presentation.  I am beyond nervous, not because I think it will go badly, I mean, my committee has seen everything up until this point, but because the presentation includes a defense and one of my committee members can be really hard to deal with.

So very nervous, but also anxious to get over this hurdle!

Monday, December 12, 2011

What a week of ups and downs!

Oh last week, you were a bear to deal with!  It started with one of our blow up decorations being stolen on Monday night, then two days of horrific rain, one kid's bus hitting a mailbox, another kid's basketball game and then Thursday night the people came back and stole our awesome Santa plane and in the process destroyed almost everything else.  Poor kids were destroyed Friday morning.  We pulled it together the best we could, I gathered what we could save and moved it and then headed out to get the groceries for a get together we were having Saturday.

I stayed up all night Friday to keep an eye on things so that the kids would not have to wake up to something upsetting again.  Thankfully nothing happened and Saturday we went to the pancake breakfast at the kid's school, which we do every year, and then came home and cooked and cleaned and prepped for the party that night.  Time came and guests arrived and the yucky stuff from the earlier days disappeared as kids had fun with friends, ate tons of sweets and had a blast.  The adults all seemed to have fun too and after everyone left we all collapsed into bed!  Sunday was quiet, we cleaned up some more and basically hung around the house to recover from all that fun.  Around dinner the doorbell rang and out next door neighbors were there with four HUGE blowups that they no longer used.  My kids were thrilled and I was so touched.  It was so sweet to bring them over and the kids felt so loved and we were able to tell them again that while there are terrible, Grinchy people in the world, we choose to surround ourselves with amazing, kind and wonderful people and that is what the holidays are about.  So thankful for the kindness of friends for lifting my children's spirits!

Today was quiet.  Britt had a sore throat and stayed home andFinn had his first day of therapy. It went really well, he was cooperative and seemed to react well to the therapist.  Today was educational therapy, basically we are working on communication and cognitive skills, tomorrow the physical therapist will come and I think she will be thrilled to see some of the skills Finn has been working on.  We are so thankful for access to excellent doctors, services and support through this whole process.  Finn is such an amazing little boy, he is so determined and that overrides the limitations his condition provides.  We watch him work daily to fight against the weak muscles or poor coordination to get that toy or climb up that item, etc.  He will not be held back, and that is amazing to watch.

Today, today is a good day.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Here is the thing...

I love my family. Like LOVE them to bits and pieces and think they are the best people in the whole wide world.  Don't get me wrong, they have their faults, but I really, really love them.

So that is why I get so damned pissed when people screw with them.  Like, seriously pissed the hell off.  Finn turned one on Saturday and not one.single.member of my husband's family even called to wish him a happy birthday.  Is calling expensive or hard?  Nope.  Oh, did I mention that not one.single.member of his family has SEEN the baby?!  Yep, not one.  So how do you think that makes my husband feel, that his mother, father and brothers have not seen his youngest child yet?  Yeah, makes him feel pretty crappy.  How do you think that makes my kids feel, that their grandparents and uncles have nothing to do with them?  Yep, pretty crappy. How does that make me feel....angry.

But see here is the thing....all those people are the ones who are missing out.  They don't get to know my amazing, smart, sweet, funny and kind kids.  They miss all the cute stories and all the accomplishments.  They will not be invited to graduations and weddings and they will have no place in the lives of these children when they grow into adults and go on to do amazing things with their lives.  See, you don't get to miss calling for first days of school, birthdays, dance recitals and award ceremonies and get included.  You don't get a place in their hearts when you don't care that they almost died from an allergic reaction, that they needed an MRI, are hospitalized or that they have been going through major genetic testing and scaring their parents out of their wits.  See, in the end, you lose.

WE are fine.  WE don't NEED you, heck, at this point, we don't WANT you.  See, we are stable and successful.  We pay our bills and do just fine. We educated ourselves, we worked hard, we built our lives around our kids and know we will be parents FOREVER, because it takes that kind of commitment.  We have a support system and we know that when OUR kids are grown, we will be in their lives and we will have a place in their hearts.  WE know that when we are old, our kids will take care of us.  WE know that we are doing a damn good job of raising good people, it is too bad YOU don't get to know how they turn out.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

One year old!

I cannot believe it, but today our sweet Finny turns ONE!

We are so lucky to not only have been blessed with five children to love and raise, but with some of the greatest kids around.  So thankful that Finn joined our family, our life and family is complete with his addition and I am so happy to welcome him into his next year!  Happy birthday Captain!

Friday, December 2, 2011

What a day!

It was quite the day today.  It started off innocently enough, the three big kids left for school and I planned to get some cleaning, laundry and Christmas baking done since I just had the two littles.  I was feeling a bit rough since both babies and I had colds, but I figured it was because it was morning so I brewed the coffee and got down to business.

Then the babies fell apart, at like 8:30 am.  They were two mini meltdowns, both sobbing all the time, Teagan screamed at me incessantly about nothing, they wanted to be held, put down, carried, sung to, read to, backs rubbed, didn't want to be touched. it.was.awful.

Somehow we magically made it through lunch, during which poor Finny fell asleep in his highchair.  I put them both to bed, started to make my lunch and put a batch of cookies in the oven to bake and was looking forward to sitting on the couch for an hour and just being still.  Then the phone rang, and it was the genetics counselor from Children's Hospital with Finn's tests results.

We found out that he has the dominant form of cutis laxa, which surprised us a bit since I don't have any symptoms except my heart and none of the other kids have the symptoms.  We were relieved because this form tends to be more mild, but it is also incredibly, incredibly rare as in only a few families are known to have it worldwide. So, now we need to get everyone else tested to see if we just have the deletion that causes the heart condition or if somehow things changed for Finn and that is why he has more organs involved and other issues.  This is going to be quite the ride, we already have the ball rolling on physical therapy, but now we need to be aware of other health concerns.  Only time will tell us how Finn will be impacted, but I hope that the information they have is correct and that the form Finn has is less damaging.