Ice is the New Black

So last weekend the state of Texas was shut down due to a nasty ice storm. This was no surprise to me because although I was raised up north, I’ve been in Texas for almost 20 years. (Clue: They don’t use salt here – just sand(??)).

To some, my title quote may indicate a reference to a certain Netflix series regarding a prison sentence but that is not the case. My four days iced in with my handsome husband and 3 maniac kids was a perfect fit. Just like that little black dress or the sleek black pants that ALWAYS make you feel good about yourself. It was a completely relaxed little vacation from the world.

We didn’t clean (much) or decorate for Christmas or worry about anything. My son came up with a new term “relaxed homework.” This refers to his new style of laying in bed, watching television or listening to music while completing homework. (Granted, there is a TON of rechecking going on in this process) It’s easy, slow and low pressure.

My husband played video games with my son, like together…at the same time. While they played they talked. They really talked.

The girls played in the ice and went sledding and played in the ice. They also watched cheesy lifetime holiday movies until we were all begging for them to change the channel. (Spoiler alert: The girl gets the guy…always)

I cooked for real. There were a lot of OOOHs and AAAAAHs when I presented the variety of soups, breakfast items and creative lunches. I felt like a chef lauded by millions (or 4 – whatever) when I presented the final dish Monday night. Shrimp and grits with fresh green beans was a big hit.
I also got a boatload of laundry done but now I’m just bragging.

Now they are predicting another storm front next week. Yeah, I’m praying for ice.

Q&A After A Very Bad Day

So my dad died last week. (Way to rip off the Bandaid, Amy) I know, sorry for that. I wanted it to be out there and now it is. I am not ready to publish details (and I may never be ready – so get over that now) but I will share this much: He had a lung transplant 2 years ago and it rejected.

So here I am sad, without my Daddy and I thought I would share some of the comments/questions I have received, (My thoughts at the time) and my actual response. There really is no right or wrong thing to say and every comment in this post was said with genuine love and concern — that’s why I found them so funny.

Q/C. Do you miss him?

A. (Uhm…wow) Yes, very much.

Q/C. Did He Smoke?

A. (Does it matter?) No.

Q/C. How long will it take to cremate the body?

A. (How long have you been retarded?) I don’t know, a few days.

Q/C. Is there anything I can do?

A. (If you’re Jesus, then yes, yes there is) No, but thank you for your thoughts.

Q/C. He was sick for so long. At least you knew it was coming.

A. Awkward pause…

Q/C. Were you close?

A. (again, does it matter?) Yes, very.

Q/C. Is it too soon to talk about the details?

A. (What? Really?!?!) Yes. It’s a bit “close to the surface” right now.

Q/C. I am here if you need to talk. / You know I understand. / My heart is breaking for you. / Let me handle (Fill in mom or work duty here) this week. / Can your kids come play with mine? / May I bring/buy you dinner/lunch/drinks?

A. (I think I love you! You are officially on my list of favorite people. Godsend!) Thank you.

In addition to being dumfounded by kooks, I was shocked by the sweetness, graciousness, beautiful words and speedy actions of so many of my friends. You are the reason I am able to giggle and roll my eyes at the crazy comments some people make. I can’t wait to see what you all have to say (or experiences you have had in this arena).

I Called 911 on Tuesday, What Did You Do?

Tuesday morning, my son woke up with an upset stomach. No fever, no vomiting, just a couple of bouts of diarrhea. At 7:20, I dropped his sisters at school and came back to take him to middle school.When I came in he said he REALLY didn’t feel well. The mommy bells in my head were going off so I told him to lay down on the couch and rest with me. I set my alarm and decided we would see how he felt at 8. At 7:53 he started kicking me and I thought he was having a bad dream so I touched his leg lightly and said his name…he didn’t respond. I stood up and saw my son on his back seizing; arms and legs pulled into his body, eyes rolled back in his head and what sounded like gasping. I rolled him on his side and got my phone to call 911. All I could think was “Dear Lord, Please DO NOT take my baby today.”

It is by the grace of God that I was able to recite my name, address and phone number to the 911 operator. I was shaking uncontrollably. It was about that time when he stopped seizing and lay there completely unresponsive – with his eyes open. “OH GOD HE’S NOT RESPONDING!!” I shrieked. The operator calmly asked, “Amy, is he breathing? Is his chest moving?” Yes, he was breathing. She talked me through the worst of it; reassuring me as I locked up the dogs and cleared the way for a stretcher to get through the house to him. he was motionless for about 5-6 minutes when the firefighters arrived.

He wasn’t lucid until they had him loaded on the stretcher. He saw my face and looked very worried. The face quickly changed when they asked him where he was – he looked like he thought they were crazy for asking him if he knew his own living room.

In the ER, all his tests (CAT scan, blood work, etc…) looked good. Wednesday he went to see his pediatrician who referred us to a neurologist for an EEG and ruined his life by telling him he was not allowed to play in his first baseball game of the season that night. She cleared him for all activities by this weekend except television, video games, swimming and baths.

Apparently, it is not unusual for adolescents and children to suffer a first time seizure. “Each year, 120,000 children seek medical attention because of a first or newly diagnosed seizure. Of such children, approximately 37,000 develop recurring seizures or epilepsy. Many first seizures result from an event such as trauma, hypoglycemia, or a high fever. Such provoked seizures might recur whenever the precipitating situation is present, but they generally do not require long-term treatment.” (http://www.gillettechildrens.org/fileUpload/Vol15No2.pdf)

I would have liked to know this, so I am sharing my horrifying experience with you. File this away in the back of your mind, parents: If your child has a seizure, clear the area, turn them on their side, time the seizure, and do not put anything in their mouth (My son bit his tongue). You will FREAK OUT and that is okay.

I will be praying for my babies, your babies and all of you tonight.

Color Me Happy

Can colors really make a difference in our mood? Think about when you wear a sleek red dress, a soft white sweater or those tall black boots. Color can dictate the way we act and react. I truly believe that color has an effect on the mood of a room. I have butter yellow walls in my dining room, bright and light blues and greens in the bedroom and soft neutrals everywhere else. Don’t get me wrong, I love a red dining room as much as the next gal (mine was red before yellow) but I have become hyper-sensitive to anything that can add to the already ever-present kid-on-kid smackdown bouts in our house. I am constantly looking for a way to reduce the stress on my over-scheduled, overachieving children.

For example: My son has had a hard time going to sleep at night. He seems very stressed. I thought it was middle school stress and helped him manage it using essential oils and a soothing routine. Last summer he got a quilt from my mother. This amazing quilt has flaming basketballs stitched on a black background. This weekend when we washed the quilt, I didn’t get it dried in time so he had to use another quilt with soft neutral colors. When I came up stairs to start our calming routine he looked calm and fresh. He said “I really like my room like this. Its just so bright and happy!” He was asleep within minutes.

The color chart above seems to work and I have found that these ring true in most cases. Some say its the intensity of the color, some the vibration. I dont really know what it is for certain but I know that colors really have an effect on our mood and emotions.

 

 

Can You Hear My Heart Beat?

Twinlog – Post 1

“Listen, Amy, I’m not getting a heartbeat. We need to go to the sonogram room and check things a little more closely. No need to panic”

Not the words I was hoping to hear at my nine-week visit to the obstetrician. I’m having a baby and this is happy stuff. No heartbeat but don’t panic!? REALLY?!?

The longest 10 minutes of my life (to that point) was the time it took to get me to the sonogram room and on the table. I was at this visit alone, my husband was traveling. I came on my lunch hour for a quick heartbeat check. This was not my first rodeo. I had a healthy 2 year old at home.

The doctor began pressing the sonogram scanner (or whatever it’s called) uncomfortably against my already bulging belly and there it was on the screen. Two little bubbles with two little heartbeats. “Well, it looks like we found the heartbeat or should I say heartbeats. You are having twins!”

I burst into tears!

Didn’t We Just Do This Last Year?

So I went and checked my “New Years” post from last year (http://keepthefaithdaily.com/new-new-shiny-and-new) and it feels like I may be a hamster on a wheel here. I didn’t set the same goals this year and the bitterness is decidedly less evident but ultimately I am still trying in different ways to be a productive person and help others…and the clock (or cute doggie watch) keeps ticking. So here is what I am going to do….trash it all.

I’m tossing my resolution to be nice, ditching the theory that somehow I can become a better person and create happier energy everywhere I go in one year. Lost is the image of myself as Glenda the good witch spreading comfort and joy to those around me.

The trick is this, I have been working toward this goal and succeeding little by little for years. I am betting outside of weight loss and independent wealth, you have done the same thing. Anyone who has made a conscious effort to be “better” probably is and its not a limited time engagement – its every day, all the time.

This year I am working toward certifications and notable ways to get better at what I do but I was doing that last year and I will be doing it next year. You dont have to put a target on the wall or a label on this year to achieve…although I do recommend a good vision board and motivational essential oils;-)

A 19th Century Prayer for the 21st Century

I came across this prayer this morning and found it comforting. I hope you will find comfort in it too.

Come Holy Ghost, Creator blest
And in our hearts take up Thy rest:
Come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
To fill the hearts, which Thou hast made.

O Comforter, to Thee we cry,
Thou heavenly gift of God most high:
Thou font of life and fire and love,
And sweet anointing from above.

Praise be to Thee, Father and Son,
And Holy Spirit, with them one;
And may the Son on us bestow
The gifts that from the Spirit flow.

Louis Lambillotte

Holiday Stress Made Less

This is the time of year we all tend to rush more, spend more and generally stress more. Worries about clean houses, appropriate gifts and party invites can make this a time for blood pressure to rise and bank account balances to fall.

I am no exception to the rule. We traveled across country for Thanksgiving again this year. I worried about what to pack, what to eat, what to entertain the kids with and everything in between. As our departure approached, I started a new meditation routine. I began meditating every time I worried about something outside of my control.

It didn’t make all my worries disappear or magically solve my concerns but it did allow me time to take a step back and look at the situation from another perspective…and it worked. for example: I didn’t scream out loud when I forgot the food I packed for the trip and I barely winced when I returned from dinner with a friend to find my daughter had vomited and refused to allow my mother in law to care for her while I was out.

The payoff for this mindful exercise; a week of being mothered and spoiled by my Mother-in-law. Late night talks followed by early morning fun with the kids were topped off with amazing food and warm cups of tea.

Thanks to a little meditation and preparation, I am thankful for a great holiday and hope to continue this through the coming weeks of more holiday fun and stress. I wish the same for you.

Call Me Crazy…No Really

So as I have posted and posted this month, I have been pushing to get our house and health in order before the holidays hit.┬áHome organization has been the theme beginning with getting the girls room in order, then the master closet (Nightmare) in order and now, the “spare room” will become my office (until one of the girls decides she can’t stand to live in the same room with her sister and …blah blah blah…drama drama drama…boom, I’m out of an office). Anyhoo, back to the spare room.

My husband literally threw many large items into the spare room while we were organizing. I expressed my displeasure in a not so subtle way (expletives happen). Since then, every time I open the door to that room I am instantly mad at him in an equally heightened manner. (in a groundhog day, re-do, kind of way)

Because he became weary of my constant fits of anger, we made a plan to rent a truck and take the broken furniture and extra stuff to the dump and donation facility this weekend. When friday rolled around and the driveway was truck-free, I was fit to be tied. I called him and delicately asked when he would be picking up the truck to which he responded “I don’t think this weekend is a good time with all the kids activities. Why don’t I just take the day on Monday and do it myself,” and those were the last words spoken before the onslaught of my criticism about plans not kept etc.

After I hung up, I realized what just happened. He offered to do this horrible job BY HIMSELF so that he could lessen the stress on me and the entire family and I reacted like a spoiled child who didn’t get her way. I must be crazy! I dialed him back immediately and apologized profusely for being an idiot, looking a gift horse in the mouth and such.

His response: “(shocked silence)…Is this really Amy??”

Lesson learned.

Worst Before Picture EVER!!

Its just so bad and so embarrassing but here it is:

This is my master closet. Messy, dirty, disorganized and a MAJOR point of stress for both me and my husband. About a month ago, I decided to get this closet in order and since then, I have chipped away at this “closet chaos.”

I had a plan in mind for months (that is how long it has been this way) and all the plan got me was, well, a plan. So I gave my husband (Scott) free reign and said ” do what you want to do,” and he did.

He extracted most of the items on the floor and I started on the extra items (boxes and bags of “stuff” thrown in the closet over the 10 years we have lived in the house). ┬áToday the closet is not done by any means but it is much better.

I have faith that I will complete the project before the holidays. There is a lesson here and I’d like to say it is “make a plan and stick to it” or “this miracle change can happen overnight” but the truth is when you load up on crap, it takes a lot of time and work to get it out…and sometimes that means you have to just start work and hope for the best.

You can look at this closet story as a metaphor for life – clearing out the bad stuff and whatnot but the real life takeaway is this. Sometimes you just have to fish or cut bait.