Thursday, March 31, 2011

sick boy.


notice the speckles around his eyes & on his cheeks from throwing up so hard?

my poor little fella.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

when weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth meet a hormonal pregnant woman.

that is IT.  


IT!


i was waiting to write about the woes of this pregnancy when the black cloud of plague had finally parted and moved away from our house, but it seems like that is never going to happen.


never.


so i'm just going to write, and write honestly.  it may sound like complaining, and it probably is.  but i just don't care anymore.  if anything, this a reminder to myself when i am no longer pregnant what actually happens to me when i am, so that i will be well aware next time of what i am getting into.  you know, in case the next one is planned and all of that.


i am laying next to a sleeping-in-between-violently-vomiting-caleb, and listening to leah cough into the baby monitor, and i am propped up sitting in my new sleeping position so that i can breathe between my own coughing attacks.


here is the thing about this pregnancy.


i had the normal everyday-24-hour-nonstop nausea that started at week 2 {i'm not exaggerating here, that was how i knew so quickly to take the test} and went until almost 4 months along.  but i endured it, hoping for that soon to be rush of feeling better and having more energy.


into the second trimester, the migraines started.  knock on wood, i can actually say that those have calmed down. 


at 20 weeks i suddenly felt like i was punched in the nether-regions so severely that it was painful to put on a pair of pants, roll over in bed, not to mention actually walk.  that feeling has not subsided, and there is nothing so far that i have found that can ease the pain.  i thought i was going crazy until i sent a facebook message out to my recently pregnant friends, asking if any of them have experienced the same thing.  and was relievedslashdisappointed to find out that it is, in fact normal.  not for everyone, only for us lucky ones.


this is separate, by the way, from the sharp, jabbing pain {aka round ligament pain} on both sides of my abdomen that i get every time i roll over or get up too quickly.  not the same thing, or even close.  that is a fleeting pain, like a charley horse.  this nether-regions pain is constant.


at 22 weeks i had what i can only imagine was a pelvic bone pop out of joint for an entire day, leaving me bent over, unable to even stand up straight.  that day i had to call ben crying, asking for him to please come home early because i couldn't even imagine picking up leah to put her in the tub & pull her back out, let alone walk up the stairs to get to the bathtub.  my fear was that it would continue, and i was going to have to call in for extra help.  luckily, at about 2am that night, i sllllooowwwllyyy rolled over in bed and cried out in pain as something in my lower abdomen/upper left thigh made a loud POP! and i immediately felt relief.  


but let's just try to chalk all of these things up to the woes of pregnancy, shall we?  


that's fine, i can deal with it.


what i can't deal with, and had a somewhat emotional breakdown last week over....is that i have these things going on combined with what has felt like continual sickness between caleb, leah and myself since, oh....october?  november?  


two sinus infections, strep throat, the stomach flu twice, on top of just the "normal" flu and colds multiple times.  round and round and round we go.  i was so excited during spring break that we were actually healthy and the thought crossed my mind that we were through the worst of it.  then the weekend came, and it looks like we still aren't, and with this new barfing caleb i am doing all i can to muster up positive thoughts that the rest of us will avoid this one.  because honestly, i'm still recovering from my last one that started two weeks ago!


it's interesting for this self-proclaimed germaphobe to now have the tables turned.


when now, we are are the germ.


i have done more laundry in these few months than i have in my entire lifetime combined, i'm sure.  i keep changing sheets, pillowcases, washing blankets and stuffed animals and towels.  i have sanitized everything.  i wash our toothbrushes in the dishwasher. i vacuum and dust, and lysol wipe it all down.  bathe the kids every day. it's never ending.


so yes, i had an emotional breakdown.  last thursday to be exact.  after coming home from my doctor's appointment, discouraged that i had another sinus infection, that it hurt just to walk, that both of my kids were sick, and that i felt like i hadn't really enjoyed this pregnancy....that is the truth.  not really, not for one minute.  


i had called ben who was watching leah during my appointment, to tell him that the baby was confirmed a girl, and he said on the other line, "oh, that's great.  congratulations."  not in a mean way, but in a somewhat distant way.  and i became really sad, because i knew the tone in his voice echoed exactly my own feelings.  i have been distant from pretty much any joy i am supposed to be feeling right now, because the only thing i have been feeling for the past few months is,


push, push, push.


i push myself to do just the daily household responsibilities.  i push myself to do anything more than that like deep clean.  i push myself to wake up to take caleb to school in the morning.  i push myself to fulfill my church calling....which should be a relatively simple one, yet in true karma fashion, we are constantly getting sick either the day before or the day of that 11-15 girls are supposed to show up to my house for an activity.  i push myself to do anything fun with my friends, i push myself to put make-up on.  i push myself to go on a vacation, and while i'm on that vacation, i push myself to do anything but sleep.


not only have i pushed myself physically when i haven't felt well, but i think the real straw that broke the camel's back is that i've pushed myself emotionally.  i have been worried about caleb, and about his legs, but i haven't really let myself go there yet.  because we've just been coping with so many other things, i have not dealt with and really let myself feel the worry.  a couple of times i have talked about my concerns, and that i'm anxious about the upcoming tests.  but mostly i've just pushed through.  


i'm also anxious about this upcoming baby....i always get anxious about newborns.  probably because my first experience with one was traumatic and my second experience with one was just exhausting.  those 10 hour crying bouts took their toll as well.  i'm usually the one pregnant girl who doesn't want the baby to come early, no matter how uncomfortable i am.  so knowing that the months are creeping by and i'm getting closer to "go time" without really working through or dealing with my anxiety about it is also taking its toll.


for 90% of the week, i am on my own in this.  ben is gone almost every week day by 6:30 am, and not home until somewhere around 9:30 or 10 pm.  he used to have fridays clear, which was so fantastic.  but lately his homework has been piling on, so he has been gone most fridays to meet with professors or to do hours worth of homework.  saturdays are our only day to work on the yard, and try to help me get caught up, and to spend a little time together.  on sundays he has a church calling, so even if i do feel well enough to go, i am usually home with one of our sick kids and have to go to the 1:00 sacrament meeting by myself.


so thursday, i rushed home from the doctor so that ben could leave for class, and walked in the door feeling completely deflated and discouraged.  


and started to cry.


"iamjustsosickofbeingsickandtiredandourkidsbeingsosickandtired!" i blubbered with tears streaming down my face.


and ben, who is so good to me, gave me a big hug and told me how sorry he was.  


i knew that he is just as overwhelmed in his situation as i am in mine.  i know he feels alone with the weight of his schoolwork and providing and helping, just as alone as i feel in my position.  we are both being pushed to the brink again.


and the problem is, when people have offered to help, i don't know how to take them up on it.  sure, want to me to send over my vomiting child to play with yours?  can you help pop my pelvic bone back into place?  can you put some mascara on for me?


so instead, i isolate.  


which i know isn't healthy, i just don't know what to even ask for, when asking for help.  so i just don't.  


except on facebook, which i am absolutely certain my friends are seriously sick and tired of me venting about our million diseases and how sick of it i am.  i'm grateful for their support though, and even though i feel like a total whiner, it helps just to have someone say that they're sorry for what we're going through, or that they've been there & it will get better.


i'd like to say that once the tears with ben were through, that i felt better.  but holy cow, thursday was an emotional roller coaster for me.  


i completely fell apart in my therapy group, so much so that when i could feel it coming, i almost got up and left just because i knew it was going to get ugly.  and i think i should have listened to that instinct, because i have never cried so hard in front of a crowd before.  you know when you can't even get words out because your throat is so tight?  and then when words come out, they squeak out instead of sound normal?   and when i was actually getting the words out i felt like such a big, enormous baby.  


i'm sobbing over being sick so much?  really?


the girls were all really nice, and didn't treat me like i was a wuss.  and have been really kind and concerned since then, but it's just so hard for me to get all vulnerable that way with people.  i have had support.  andrea has been such a good friend, and so great to listen to me complain, and to show up with a treat at just the right time.  and there are friends in the ward who have reached out, and i know i need to let someone help.  like i said though, i just don't know what to ask for.


sigh, sigh, sigh.


this writing is good, it definitely helps.  it helps me to put things into perspective.


life is not unbearable right now.  but i'm also going to let myself say that it has been hard.  i've been through harder things, but that doesn't mean that this isn't hard on me.  


i have been taking care of caleb in between writing this.  my poor little guy.  it's so hard to not be able to take this from him.  the way things have been going though, i'm sure i will get my turn.  okay, that's cynical.  honest, but cynical.  


i'm going to go and cough up a lung and then get as much rest as i can now, since caleb is finally sleeping.  


and as soon as this black cloud has parted, you will see the most positive post ever from me.  


i know i should edit this, a re-read it before i post it, because i may regret it in the morning.  but i'm totally not going to.








thanks for letting me vent.








and p.s.?  i just emailed our landlords with a request for a mold inspector to come out here.  just in case.

Monday, March 28, 2011

tinker-leah.

leah used to hate, and i mean hate....tu-tu's.

well, now i can't get her to take it off.



she's still a bruiser, but she's becoming more girl-y by the day.



and makes the cutest little fairy,
nap hair included.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

well, with now 99% positivity, we can say....

this baby is a girl!

thank heavens for my facebook friends, who gave me the tip to drink some orange juice
 about 20 minutes before the appointment to get this gal hopping.  
it totally worked.

ben and i are a mixture of excited, surprised, and a little bit trepadacious as we look at our currently 2-yr old daughter who is throwing a big emotional fit on the floor as i write this because she can't balance a plastic ring on her head.

i haven't broken the news to caleb yet, maybe we will take him to disneyland so that the devastation of having another little sassy lady pouncing around the house will be lessened by the magic and glory of disney.

if only we had the moneyslashtimeslashprivatejet so i don't have to endure the car ride.  someday, right?

and yes we have had a name picked out since we first found out i was greatwithchild, we had both a boy name and a girl name we have decided on.  and no, we don't care about telling people the name we've picked, mainly because we don't really care if others like it or not. because we do, and that's what matters, right?

so, since i'm sure the suspense is killing you..... {don't worry, i know it's really not}

introducing, 
the fetus called

june.

june ellen, to be exact.  yes, a june born in july.  

unless she wants to be a june born in june, which at this point in my life i would kinda be okay with.  
you know, as long as she's healthy and all of that.

so there you have it, folks!


much like my instinct when it comes to directions, 
i am now completely in distrust of my 'instincts' 
when it comes to guessing the gender of my kids.
because so far, i've been wrong 3 out of 3 times.
go figure.


i will quite possibly be writing about the woes, 
woes i tell you!
of this pregnancy.
because it's been a doozy.

i hate the thought of ending the strader family line
at just 3 kids, due solely to the fact that
my body hates being pregnant,
but i'm telling you.
the thought has crossed my mind more than once or twice.
 

we shall see.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

spring break, you almost bested me.

when i realized that last week was going to be spring break, i was honestly excited.  the thought of having no schedule, just relaxing with the kids and taking it easy sounded fabulous. 

i was thinking of pre-kindergarten days where we could play games, and go to parks and not have to worry about working it into school-and naps-and-homework times.

however, something happened this week that i have only gotten glimpses of in the pre-spring break, late afternoon of school days.

my kids
love to
FIGHT.

i'm not talking about all out swinging and punching....though if leah had her way and caleb were more prone to violence, it could easily turn out like that.

i'm talking about the constant yelling back and forth, leah taking caleb's toys/pillow/pen/whatever he had in his hands, then caleb freaking out and losing his mind about the unfairness of life and how this next baby in my belly had better be a boy because he does not want another little sister.

i realized how completely unprepared i was for this new development between my kids.  not that their fighting was unusual....but it was more the constant, extended period of fighting that turned old at about 11 a.m. on monday morning, spring break day 1.

i should have known.  i should have planned things to fill their time like most moms do.  creative art projects and time-consuming activities.  

but, i didn't. 

so i dug deep into the archives of the "what in the heck are we going to do today?" part of my brain, and finally thought of an idea.

we brought caleb's tent downstairs, got snacks and turned on a movie.










ahhhhh. 

peace and quiet.

for about 20 minutes.
then it turned into,

"mom! leah's kicking me!"

and 

"caycub brudder, STOP IT!"


shriek.
scream.
squawk.


i almost started ripping out pieces of my hair.


so for spring break, i found myself desperately trying to scrounge up plans each day.  and that desperation brought me to doing things that i usually never do.  see, i'm a "schedule" type of mom.  i know, i know.  my poor children.  but in order to survive this pregnancy without seriously falling apart, the schedule has saved me.  lunch at this time, naps/quiet time at this time, dinner at this time, bedtime at this time.  not only do i find myself relying on this schedule, but i've found that when i get even 15 minutes past what is normally dinnertime, the kids start whining and asking for snacks, and getting on each other's nerves.  

anyway, during spring break and out of desperation to keep my kids from driving their mom insane, we went off the schedule.

we went swimming 15 minutes before the normally-scheduled dinnertime in ice cold water.  then to a park, and then home for baths and dinner.  yes the kids were exhausted by the time they went to bed, and so was i.

we went to an aquarium with friends, leaving right before leah's naptime to start the adventure of weaving in and out of spring break crowds.



 


 {leah riding the carousel, in her sugar-crashing-sleep-deprived stare}




we went a couple of hours past the point of no return for leah and yes, she had a total meltdown as we were leaving and on the way home.  and then she woke up in the most awful mood from her shortened nap.


caleb was allowed to skip quiet times or come out early in order to play with his friend who lives two doors down.  and yes, that meant i had to skip my normal rest-time in order for him to do this....which i know doesn't sound like a big deal to others, but that rest time is sacred to me.

but,

we made it.

and we actually had fun.

the kids were generally more happy than just stuck at home and on our schedules, which meant that we were all more happy.  so i learned to be a bit more spontaneous, and to let go of our precious schedules a little.

however.

this gave me a teeny taste of summer break.  when i will be as round as a blueberry, much like this:



and exhausted, and my kids will be bored and full of unexpressed energy.  for more than just a week.



holy toledo, i'm going to have to come up with a serious plan.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

inspiration for dr. strader

my hard-working, facial-hair growing husband
is starting to get a move
on his dissertation for school.

which is like 150 pages or something insane like that.

YIKES!

so, i found a couple of inspirational prints to hang up in his office.
you know, to keep the mojo going.

this:




referring to one of his favorite songs.

{print found here.}



and this:



 because he knows i'm kinda anti-facial hair  
{even though i still love him with or without his fuzzy face}

{print found here.}



and last of all, my personal favorite...this:



because those who are long-time readers of this blog know
that when he has had no one else to turn to for a listening ear,

{print found here.}


i sure do love this guy,



even when he makes me cut his hair so it's no longer curly {i love the curls!} 
and has not been able to break his habit of throwing wet towels over our
bed,
treadmill,
chair,
anything else with an ability to hold a wet towel.
for 8+ years now.


8.
+.
years.


but, i know how hard he's working for us.

and there is no one,
no one!
i would rather pick up towels for,
or who
i'd rather spend my life with.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

it's only life, after all.


 {i absolutely love this etsy shop
& will be purchasing from it!}

i took caleb to the doctor today, his regular pediatrician.

her words echoed the thoughts of ben and i, that the leg pain he's been having lately is associated with his cerebral palsy and wants to rule out the possibility that his spinal cysts haven't grown.
we have been told for a couple of years to look for signs like this that could indicate the cysts growing & putting pressure on his spine.

so she ordered another MRI, blood work to check other possibilities, and a consultation with both a neurosurgeon and orthopedic specialist here.

even though i am reassured to hear her opinion is along the same path as mine, what we have ahead {again} is hard to hear.
i know we can handle it.....we've handled it before, along with much worse....
but it still is pretty un-fun to know what is going to lie ahead for mr. caleb.



so after the visit, we came home and ate lunch.
leah went to sleep, and it was just caleb and i.

i decided to focus on just having fun with him, so we played his favorite game.  3 times.

as we were playing, i turned on my favorite pandora station, the brandi carlile station. 
a few songs in, and one of my all-time-pick-me-up songs came on,
indigo girls "closer to fine."
it was the live version....it doesn't get better than that.

i sang along to the song while we played the game, and usually the words and melody put me in such a good mood, but this time was different. 
i don't know what happened, but i looked at caleb and listened to the lyrics and started to cry.

I'm trying to tell you something about my life
Maybe give me insight between black and white
The best thing you've ever done for me
Is to help me take my life less seriously, it's only life after all

Well darkness has a hunger that's insatiable
And lightness has a call that's hard to hear
I wrap my fear around me like a blanket
I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it, I'm crawling on your shore. 

i think it was that last part that hit me, about fear.
i've been working so hard on not fearing the unknown anymore, 
or fearing my insecurities anymore, 
or fearing being hurt,
or fearing what others think of me anymore.

but when it comes to caleb....to my children....it is a different fear than the one i work on inside of myself.

it's a fear that comes with a huge weight of responsibility.  and sometimes that weight is more than i can work through easily.  it keeps me up at night, and wraps its icy fingers around the warmth of happiness and peace and acceptance.

i remember a couple of months ago, writing that as i was learning life's lessons i was worried that then what i had learned would be put to the test.
so i guess that's what this is.  
how to move forward with faith and not fear, 
knowing we aren't just humans wandering around here on earth 
without someone else aware of us.

we have a purpose, and it's to come closer to God.
whether it's through lessons about myself, 
or lessons i learn through others.
such as caleb.

he has to learn these lessons too, 
and maybe going through these physical challenges at a young age
will help him learn them sooner,
bring him closer.

so as much as the mother in me wants to protect him from pain,
trying to prevent that, from him feeling it
could also prevent him from learning
how to overcome it.

he and i finished playing the game, and then he gave me the biggest hug.
"you're the mom i love the most in the world,"
he said as he hugged me.

i hugged him back, then tickled him
as we went up the stairs to his bedroom to clean his fish tank.

i came back down, and listened to the song one more time.
but instead of crying, i let the words lift me up and remind me
that we're all in this together.

we're all searching for answers, and looking for signs,
and hoping for someone to tell us we're doing the right thing.
especially in times that feel so un-clear.

and i know,
i just know
that we're going to be okay.



There's more than one answer to these questions
pointing me in crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

when "normal" rears its ugly head.



it started last thursday night.

"mom, my leg hurts," caleb said to me, as he hobbled up the stairs to brush his teeth before bedtime.

"okay buddy, it probably just means that you're growing.  i'm sure if you get a good sleep, it will feel better in the morning," i said back, hoping that i was right.  that this was just a "normal" growing pain for kids his age.

but i was wrong.

at just after 7am on friday morning, i was woken up by caleb's whimpers, as he crawled to my side of the bed.

"mom, my leg still hurts so badly i can't walk now.  i need to go potty, but i can't stand up.  will you help me?"

i quickly got out of bed, gently picked him up and carried him to the bathroom, where he shook while trying to put weight on both legs.  

his words filled me with dread, even though i tried to not get too worked up.  no mother likes to hear that their child is suffering, and i could tell that this pain in his leg was not "normal."  my mind went back several days worth of memories, trying to link it to something.  was he jumping off couches?  more active than usual?  was he wrestling with ben? 

caleb has had leg pain before.  he used to wake up in the middle of the night crying out, clutching one leg or the other.   i would comfort him, and he would go back to sleep, but then an hour later he would wake up again.  it would continue that way until i would give him some pain medicine that would help him sleep.  most of the time he would wake up the next morning as good as new.  i would ask friends and family members if their kids would do this, and they said yes, that it was normal.  caleb grew out of those after a while.

but for about the past 6 months or so, this new leg pain, where he was unable to walk during the day, has happened a few times.  but in those instances, i've always been able to think back to something that could cause it.  once was when he worked extremely hard during a physical therapy visit.  once was when he had come down with the flu and had a really high fever.  one time he and ben had been wrestling, and his leg had been twisted.

and this last friday, as i tried to think of something...anything that could have caused this, i couldn't think of a reason.  i asked him if he remembered getting hurt, what did he do yesterday, did he sleep funny?  and he said no.  

the pain was so bad that he stayed home from school, and literally couldn't walk anywhere on his own.  just trying to get him to take a few steps made him cry.  i gave him medicine, and set him up on the couch with a heating pad.  i was grateful that ben was there to help me, because even though caleb isn't big by any means, he's still a 5 yr old kid, and the couple of times that i had hauled him up and down the stairs wore me out.

we had him take a long bath that night before bedtime, then gave him a leg massage.  the weird thing is, in the past when he's had leg pain, if we push or massage a certain area, he would cry out and we could tell where the pain was coming from.  but not this time.  i tried everything, actually hoping to figure out where he was hurt, but nothing was painful to the touch.  it came when he was actually trying to lift up his right leg, or put any weight on it.  so as ben and i talked about it, it seemed like it was probably coming from his hip or pelvis, which was unusual.  

the past times we've dealt with this type of leg pain, it usually went away in 24 four hours, so i wasn't extremely worried, just crossing my fingers that it would be over soon.

saturday caleb woke up, crying and crawling to me again.  

that day he had a friend's birthday party to go to.  i knew it was going to be hard for him to go, mainly because the party was centered around a big bounce house, and i wasn't sure if he was going to be able to go in it.  so i tried to prepare him for it, and told him that we would bring a chair for him so that if he wasn't feeling good, he could sit down.  but i tried to be honest and let him know that he would most likely be missing out on some of the things that he wanted to do.  he started to cry, and i hugged him, telling him that i knew it was hard and that i was sorry this was happening during a party.  

i told him that he didn't have to go, and we could rent a special redbox movie for him and get a treat, but that i thought that he could still have fun at the party even if he couldn't do everything.  he said he wanted to go, so we went.

he sat for a while in his chair, but then said that he wanted to get up and go play with the other kids and give the bounce house a try.  and luckily, it worked for a while.  but the kids at the party were in and out of the bounce house, running up a big hill to get a drink, or into the house to go and see the cat.  i tried to give caleb his space, and let him do what he felt comfortable doing.  

at one point, i saw him hobbling up the hill, tears streaming down his cheeks, yelling for his friends to wait for him.  they were too far away though, and didn't hear him.  i walked over to him and asked if everything was okay, and he said,

"well i'm just really sad because i keep trying to follow them, but i can't go as fast and they aren't waiting for me.  and as soon as i get to the top of the hill, they run back down it to go and jump some more.  then when i get to the bouncy place, they only stay for another minute, and get out again.  i just can't keep up." 

you can imagine that broke my heart, especially because there was not much i could do.  his friends were just being kids, they weren't being malicious.  and i didn't feel right about giving them all a big speech about how they needed to wait up for him, because i didn't feel like it was a really appropriate time for that.  

caleb came to the party knowing that it would be hard, he got out of his chair knowing that he was going to be unable to run the way he normally does.  i'm not blaming him at all, i just felt hopeless in the situation, and wanted to be able to help him through it, because i honestly didn't know when or if his leg was going to get better.  

caleb's mild cerebral palsy has caused him physical delays since he was 6 months old.  but up until about a year ago, he didn't recognize it, and ben and i tried to never make him feel like there was anything different that separated him from other kids.  he started to notice though, and has made several comments to us about not being able to run as fast as his friends or the kids on his soccer team.  when we have gone to the zoo, he ends up needing to sit in the stroller for a while, while the other kids his age can walk the entire time.  and he knows that he's not "just like his friends."  

when he did recognize it, we told him that it was okay, that the most important thing for him to do is try his best, and that no one in the world could be as good of a caleb strader that he could be.  the pep talks seem to work, but i keep wondering how much longer they will hold out.  

we haven't told him yet that he has cerebral palsy, mainly because at this point in his life, he's not extremely affected by it.  he knows that he was sick as a baby, that he had seizures, because he saw pictures that were taken of him during EEG's and in hospital visits during one of his many stays, and asked us about them.  during his last MRI, i explained to him that he has some cysts on his spine that the doctors need to make sure aren't growing.  with his physical therapy, we have told him that he is going to build stronger muscles and help his balance.

ben and i have tried to figure out when is the best time, and we just decided that if there is a procedure or something that is daily-life-impairing that comes up, we will tell him.  it's hard to put that label on your kid.  it's hard to tell them they are different, and no longer "normal" because it seems like no matter how positive of a spin you put on it, this label could have the potential to turn into a crutch at some point, or some way to alienate them from the crowd.  and even though i know that in the big scheme of things, everyone is different in one way or another... i know that peer acceptance and wanting to fit in is an extremely important part of growing up.  especially for caleb, who seems to crave that acceptance so badly.

so anyway, back to the birthday party.  

i gave him a hug, and explained again that his friends weren't doing it to hurt his feelings, they were just having fun at the party and that they still like him.  i told him that this would be good for him to remember...that if ever he saw someone else struggling, that he's more sensitive to it and help them because he now knows how it feels.  

i suggested that maybe he pick one place to play, and when his friends came through, to play with them, and then if they left, i would be there to hang out with him if he wanted me to.  that it would be easier than trying to chase them around.

i asked him what he wanted to do, and he said to go back to the bounce house.  so we did.  i stood back when the kids were there, and then when they left i would throw a ball back and forth to him to entertain him.  it worked out much better, and eventually the kids all stayed in the bounce house and started playing a game, so i went back up the hill and sat down.

it's hard to navigate these situations.....to know the right thing to say to him.  to validate his feelings, and acknowledge that what he's going through is hard, but also to work on trying to not make him out to be a victim in this.  to help him take control of his situation and do what makes him feel best, and still confident, when he's feeling so inadequate next to his friends.

i know that there are other kids who have gone through things like this.  kids break their arms, or hurt their legs, and go to parties and have to miss out on things sometimes.  i also recognize that it could be worse, that there are wheelchair-bound children, or even more difficult situations others are in.  i think that i just saw a potential for this always being the case for caleb....to be behind, to constantly be trying to catch up.  it might not be, but there's a bigger chance that it might be.

today....sunday....he is still hobbling.  he is walking on his own, and things seem to be getting better, but he still isn't walking right.  since we're now going on day 4 of this leg pain, i'm going to call his pediatrician in the morning to get a referral for a specialist.  we haven't had one so far in arizona, we've just been able to work through shriner's hospital for follow-ups and consultations when we visit utah.  but i think it's time.

tonight ben and one of our friends gave caleb a priesthood blessing.  whenever he is given one by ben i'm always reminded of the words that were said during his baby blessing.  that he came to this earth with physical challenges, that he was strong, and would be able to overcome them.  

i don't know what exactly that means, but it's just a reminder that God is aware of caleb.  

i have always felt that and been sure of it, even more sure than i have been that God is aware of me.  that surety is such a comfort during times like these, when the balance between fear and faith has a tendency to start to weigh more heavily on the fear side.

it's hard for me to talk about this with others.  most friends and family don't really even know what's going on.  i don't know why it's so hard for me....and that when i have been asked by people in church or at the birthday party....i downplay it like he just sprained it and it's not a big deal.  i guess because, maybe it isn't a big deal?  and why get people worked up over nothing?

i have been this way a lot with caleb's situation, though.  i don't talk much about it even though it's actually extremely difficult on me emotionally, and i worry a lot about him and about his future.  i worry that i'm not doing enough, being as proactive as i should be.  i worry that i'm doing too much, and stressing myself out over nothing.

i worry.

but like i mentioned before, i do know that God is aware of him.  i know that caleb is capable of handling whatever comes his way, just like the rest of us are.  and i also know that i am his mom, and am capable of helping him navigate through this.  we are both strong enough for whatever is ahead.

we're all going to go through hard things.  all of us.  each wrapped in our own special, individualized package.  and it's how we face these hard things that defines our character.  to run from them, or fear them, or get angry and bitter about them will only make it harder on us.  

my hope is that i can help caleb to look at these trials with an understanding that we have the capacity to do anything if it's God's will, and that he knows what is best for us.  

to have faith in that.

and most of all to know that he is, and always has been, so much more than "normal."

Monday, March 7, 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011

5 months-20 wks.

here are a couple of pictures of me tonight, halfway through this pregnancy.



and here is one from when i was 20 weeks pregnant with leah.  

not sure if it's the angle, or if it's really true that you pop out quicker with each one.



all i know is, i feel big. 
like that i've quadrupled in size in just the past couple of weeks.

i also know that i am really loving the belly band,
this is the first pregnancy i've worn it and it's so nice
to be able to still wear my normal jeans 
without cutting off the baby's circulation,
and still being able to sit down without my pants falling off.

i highly recommend it!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

24 months of sunshine.



there is a lot to write about.

a visit from my dad, stepmom & stepbrother,






family bowling for our first time,




a visit from our good friend from north carolina, angel,



our spontaneous 24 hr. trip to the city of sin,






the fact that i'm going to start trauma work in group therapy and am seriously excitedslashnervous about it,

finding out {sort of} what this little baby is, and holding off to share until we actually "know" {ben's request--he's kinda funny that way},

how i feel like i have been pretty much forced to overcome my germaphobia based on our entire family being stricken with one disease after another for pretty much 2 months off and on,

my continuous work on "the fear cycle" that is totally changing my life,

that for the past 3 nights in a row leah has done some of the funniest things in her sleep and is unfortunately developing my crazy sleep habits,

how everyone in the house here got haircuts {including our daughter!  shhhh.  don't tell her dad, we'll see if he even notices.}  {and p.s. it was only a little bit and she looks soooo much better.}

or the time that ben shoved a cupcake in my face... telling me it was payback for our wedding cake {nice 8 year grudge},

or when i paid him back for his payback {see you in 8 more years, SUCKA!!},




but most importantly, on sunday how we celebrated the life of this little lady:


2 years of getting to love another little human, and then being blessed to have that little human be this beautiful girl?  



yes we've been busy, and there is a lot to write about.

but on sunday, i got to slow down and again recognize one of the biggest blessings of my life.  


that i am her mother.



happy birthday leah baby, little miss pee pee, sweet pie, sassy pants, lee lee, sunshine girl.