Saturday, June 28, 2008

Support . . .

I just read a post pver at Marla's blog that reminds me of something I wanted to blog about. . .

I think that blogging has helped me as a mother of a special needs child in more ways than any therapy, medication or psychiatrist could! Just knowing that there are those who go through what I do like Kari or Claudia or Torina or Barb and so many others is the best therapy I could've possibly paid for. I love reading their stories and know that I am not alone. They understand when I weep for my child or want to choke the life out of him. They get it when the professions don't. They cry with me and rejoice with me.

Maizie has found out she is not alone in her tiring and scary illness, CVS. She is finiding out there are things that work for other children and the mom's are willing to make her things that help them. How special is that?

I have witnessed this in other spots on the blog-o-sphere. Nineteen weeks ago Mandy found out she was pregnant with twins after a long history of infertility, treatments and such. She recently lost her babies. I wept for her. So many people left comments and encouragement for her. She says there is no way she could get through the past few weeks without the constant support from her blog-friends.

FosterAbba and FosterEema are going through a legal battle to keep their foster child and adopt her. They are battling the system and a nasty social worker who seems to have it out for their "queer" (her word not mine) lifestyle and family choices. Their blog-friends have rallied around them and given them the encouragement to fight. (right now their blog is still private)

Jo has continued to battle food issues and "failure to thrive" with Little Man, her adoptive son. He is now eating on his own and has a smile on his face more than not. We have witnessed a small part of his journey and encouraged her along the way. (and seen lots of cute grandbaby pictures along the way!)

My point? Blogging can help more than liquor, LOL. Go visit your friends and maybe even some of mine . . .

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I'm with ya sister . . .

Kari has been struggling lately with the rages that her son exhibits due to his prenatal alcohol exposure. He and his sister were adopted by Kari and her husband Mike years ago. Their birth mom showed up at the house a couple weeks ago unexpectedly on Anna's birthday. She informed Kari she was pregnant again and hoped Kari and Mike would consider adopting this child as well.

Kari has a wonderful heart. She has a great outlook when it comes to sympathy for her children's birthmom. I am not so gracious. I'm angry with her that this illness she stuck her son with was 100% preventable. I am pissed that she was so selfish. I am irritated that she ruined the life my son could've had. Kari has a much more pleasant attitude than mine. She sees this woman's drinking as the addiction it is and understands she didn't make this choice out of selfishness. I wish I could have her outlook and her grace. I am learning.

Kari works for an organization that advocates for children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. She trains families, professionals and foster parents on the disorder and what that entails for the children they are taking care of. She "gets" it. She lives it. That doesn't make it any easier.

Right now they are struggling with rages. They are blessed to have a program in Minnesota that provides PCA (Personal Care Attendants) hours that provides a care giver to be with each child for a certain numbers of hours a week. I'm jealous. I would kill for a program like that here. Does that make it any easier to deal wth the rages and the daily struggles of FASD? Nope. There are not PCAs in the middle of the night when Anna has night terrors or when Ben wakes up at 4:00 am ready to start his day. It still sucks just as bad. She loves her kids. She wouldn't choose differently now knowing what her life is like. I wouldn't either . . . but it still sucks.

Dustin had been really having issues with stealing. He steals everything. Food is a big one. He doesn't really eat it either. He hides it, hoards it. And we know when we go get something I knew was in the kitchen, or when the dog is trying to dig a hole to get under the couch. Last night he stole a whole box of Little Debbie Cakes and the dog ate all but one, and proceeded to puke today. Dustin is angry and grouchy and foul. He is a teenage boy but with the tempermant of a 2 year old. He is not fun to be around right now. I adore him, but I could choke the life out of him. (not really) His newest thing is throwing himself on the floor and saying, "Geez mom! You hurt me!" when I haven't even been near him. Nice.

He is also the world's biggest whiner! He grumbles, and whimpers, and cries under his breath if he doesn't get his way. It's really easy to say ignore it, but much harder to do when you've been ignoring it for 45+ minutes. This is usually when he perseverates on something. If he gets it in his head he wants to do something, or eat something, or go somehwere he will NOT let it go. He has dogg-ed determination when it comes to getting what he wants. It would be easy to send him to his room when this happens, but the waterbed would be drained, the toilet overflowed, the upstairs set on fire or the dog would be skinned if I let him out of our sight. He has to be constantly supervised. It's tiring and frustrating and now I'm being the whiner.

I hate this disorder. I hate what it means for my family and my child. I hate that I cannot hire a babysitter to have a nice dinner with my husband. I hate that I have to think about the bleak future I see for my son. I hate it and yet I am filled with love for this little boy who didn't ask for this. He didn't ask to be born with a hole in his brain. He didn't ask to be physically abused by a parade of boyfriends in and out of his house as a toddler. He didn't ask to be shufled around from foster home to foster home. He didn't asked to be thrown out when he was "bad". He didn't ask for this life.

He simply wants to be loved and safe and happy.

I'm trying, Dustin, I'm trying. . .

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

One heck of a headache. . .

Today the whole family loaded into the van and headed to Indianapolis to the children's hospital for a follow-up appointment with the pediatric rheumatologist. McCartney has been doing very well in physical therapy and we have seen much improvement both in her muscle tone, her joint flexibility and a decrease in her complaints of pain. We have also seen some improvement in her behavior which supports my theory that her chronic pain was contributing to the horrific behavior. She is still strong willed and is super attached to me, but she is much more compliant and actually happier than she has been in months. Chronic pain can do horrible things to our psyche.

I had an appointment with a dermatologist last week for the "lumpiness" I have in my legs and now in my arms and hands. She did confirm that it was indeed Erythema Nedosum probably brought on by strep. I started a new med and the lumps are shrinking. A good side effect was that the med also helps my Plantar's Faciitis which is a painful foot condition. The not-so-good side effect happens to be headaches. I am struggling through them hoping that my body adjusts to the medication and the headaches cease.

This morning, heading to Indy with a car-full of kids, and husband I thought my head was gonna blow off my shoulders. I took some Ultram (which is pretty much useless for one of my migraines) and headed out the door with hope and some caffeine. I though if I ate and took more meds I would be fine.

The headache took on a life of it's own.

I have not had a headache like this since before taking my preventative medication and pre-children. My poor, sweet husband had to hear "My head hurts" and "I want to die" about every 17 seconds. By the time we arrived at the children's hospital I was sweating, chilling and so nauseous I could barely think straight. While talking to the doctor I had to control myself so I didn't blow chunks all over her. I held it together until I hit the parking garage and made friends with a trashcan. I'm not sure I will be able to eat a sausage biscuit from Burger King for the rest of my life. It is not fun coming out of your nose. I had to have Robert pull over on a couple side streets to puke my guts out for the next half hour or so. My poor husband. He wanted to show Harrison the new Lucas Oil Stadium where the Colts will play this fall and everyone got excited. And loud. Like a wonderful mother I screamed, "Will everyone PLEASE shut the hell up!" with snot and tears flying. Not a stellar moment, but I did say please.

Do you know what my husband did? He drove without a sound to a nearby park and took the kids out of the car to play so I could have a quiet, air conditioned nap. Then later, knowing I would yak from the smell of food, he took them to Steak and Shake while I napped some more. What a guy! I came home took a vicodin and I am functional, not 100% but not cursing at my kids either.

I love drugs.

I love Robert.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Zoo Pictures 2008 . . .

A fun day was had by all unil it began thundering and we scrambled to the car before it rained. More pictures can be seen over at our Rouse Family website. I love that we have a wonderful children's zoo and you can get a membership for the price of less than 2 normal visits.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Superstar . . .

Okay, not really, but my picture graced the front page of the Business Section of The Journal Gazette this morning. I was pumping gas yesterday when a man came over and said, "I'm from the Journal and I'm working on yet another story about gas prices, can I photograph you?" I said, "Yes, but don't get my ass in the picture."

I thought for sure they would blur out the bumper stickers. I think I'm more excited they're there than me. The kids at the daycare sure did like seeing me in the paper though. In their eyes, I am a superstar . . .

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I LOVE my Dyson . . .

So, a few months back I posted that I broke down and bought a Dyson vacuum. I thought I'd pot some thoughts. Several of you commented that you were jealous. All I have to say is run right out and buy one . . . NOW. It is the most awesome vacuum I have ever used. Here is my list of reason I will marry my vacuum one day . . .

1. It has never lost suction. It still vacuums like it did right out of the box. I have now used it daily for 3 months.

2. I have birds. If you have birds, you know the mess they make. It vacuums bird debris with one swipe. The attachment is wonderful for getting into the small cage corners.

3. The ball is amazing. It really does make it very easy to maneuver. It rolls well and tuns on a dime.

4. I actually vacuum less. I still vacuum daily, but not multiple times because it gets everything. It also gets the deep down dirt so it doesn't come back up when you walk across the carpet.

5. We have an old house with primarily wood floor and large area rugs. I rarely get out my broom and dustpan. The floor attachment is awesome and it goes right under the sofas, the table, the bird cages and the computer desk. I even use it in the kitchen.

6. I can sit the Dyson at the bottom of the stairs and vacuum all the stair with the hose and small head. I don't have to lug it up the stairs while I am doing each and every step.

7. I use it to clean my ceiling fans. It works fabulously without all that dusty crap flying all over the room.

8. It is purple. How can a purple vacuum not make you smile.

The only thing I could say badly is that I would love to see an automatic cord reel. Are you listening Dyson? I'm lazy and I hate to roll up my cords.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Gardening, painting and bugs, OH MY! . . .

I have worked my tookie (my nice word for ass) off on my house these past few weeks. Our home is by no means a show home, but I try to make it presentable. A little money in paint and landscaping goes a really long way as long as you take care of the small things. The outside took a beating this winter and living near a well traveled road makes it awfully dirty. I power washed a month or so ago, and for the last couple weekends I have been painting the porch railings and uppper trim but I still need to conquer the porch floor which I do not look forward too.

This weekend I went outside and found millions of weeds popping up in the beds around the house due to the horrible rains we have been getting. I have these little skinny planters between the house and the side sidewalks which were now terribly overrun with weeds. I worked on the 2 longest and removed all the landscape rocks, pavers and brick borders, laid down new weed fabric then put everything back. This included picking rocks out of dirt and weed mess for hours! It was back breaking, filthy, tiring and sweaty, but man it looks good! (My nails took a real beating!) I also transplanted some big ol' hostas and filled in some sparse areas. I love to work in the yard because you can always see the difference in the end. McCartney loves to help, so I hope I can foster some love of gardening in her also. If I could just get her past the bugs . . .

I wish we had a bigger peice of land, I would love to grow more of our own food. With the small backyard it is nearly impossible. We do have some container tomatos and they look fabulous and are sprouting tomatos already. My red onions (that I planted in an old recycling bin) look like they are doing well, and this year I planted a raspebrry bush in an old washtub and it is getting huge with all this rain.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Strep is NOT my friend . . .

I have blogged here, here , here and here about my struggles with strep. My mom, myself and McCartney are all strep-carriers. It sucks. I get everything strep related and it stays active for quite sometime in my body.

About 3 summers ago I had a horrible case of erythema nedosa which are some really painful, red and UGLY bumps that you typically get on the legs. They can be caused by many things, but caused by strep in my case. It took about 3 months, many doctor's visits, several doses of steroids, and leg ultrasounds to get rid of them. I was lumpy for a whole summer. Truly attractive let me tell ya.

I have not had many issues with strep for the past year. 2006-07 was BAD. I struggled with a reoccuring infection and with several bouts of strep throat. I have been lucky lately. Two weeks ago my luck ended. The knots are back. I have about 6 on my left leg and 2 on my right. Thankfully I have a new doctor and he doesn't dink around. I had bloodwork done and my ASO titor was off the charts which signals a massive strep infection. I am on a heavy duty dose of meds, but I am still concerned I will spend this summer as I did several years ago . . . LUMPY.

I hate strep.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

And the thunder rolled . . .

Last night I took the littles to the mall for their bribery gift. I have been shamelessly bribing them to stay in their bed and not come into mine. They got their goal and I spent too much money, but have had some good night's sleep for 5 days in a row.

On the way home, a storm was brewing. By the time I was on Lake Ave. about 2 miiles from home it was horrific. A big brach broke off a tree and hit our windshield. I cannot believe it did not break! I pulled over to the side of the road to catch my breath because it scared the crap out of me and lightening struck a tree about 10 feet from the van. I decided we needed get home. As I neared home I realized my neighborhood was out of power and many streets were impassable. I had to backtrack several times before I found an unblocked street to simpy get home. The kids were freaking out and I was tired of the storm. Finally we reached home and Robert headed out to see if he could help. The storm died down pretty quickly, but left quite a straight trail of distruction in my neighborhood.

We went to get something to eat hoping the electricity would come back on while we were gone. No such lick. We sat of the neighbor's porch watching the kids play while we waited. The worst part was that the houses across the street had service, but we didn't get so lucky. Thankfully the electricity came back on near midnight.

Monday, June 09, 2008

C.R.A.Z.Y. . .

Today begins my crazy summer! I have 77 field trips in the next 10 weeks. I will make more popcorn and cotton candy than I care to count. I will drive hundreds of miles in a mini-bus. Over those weeks, I will be burnt, tanned, hot, soaked, sweaty and exhausted. It is a fun and tiring and crazy job. Out of those field trips, I will go to the pool 40 times. . I am excited to get this summer schedule underway. Today we go to a local bowling complex that has a 3 story "ball pit" with air cannons that "fire" balls, a large funnel that you can fill with balls and "shoot" up into the air and huge slides. It is a blast! Then I am headed to my first pool trip of the year. Once I get over the trauma of being in a bathing suit in public it will be great. . . I love the water.

The crazy part is, I have been doing this portion of my job for 16 years and for the first time, I will have one of my own children on the trips. It should be fun!