Exciting Things!

Anthony's 1st Birthday 47

Exciting things are happening here in my tiny blogosphere. Exactly a month ago, we transferred all of my content from my old private site to this new, public site.

And now? My Trader Joe’s Meal Plan won the PINterest incentive blog hop over at croppedstores.blogspot.com. It will go live tomorrow, with 31 different pinners putting it out to their hundreds of followers. I’m so beyond stoked!

Also, thanks to Pinterest, this little bloggy blog is getting around 200 hits a day! That’s also pretty rad. 200 is not much in the blog world, but it’s better than I ever expected after a month.

Lastly, Jesse and I  decided to purchase a domain name and a web hoster, rather than using the free-ness of wordpress. There were just too many limits to what we wanted to do, the least of which is that wordpress does not allow paid advertising (an eventual goal).

So…for any blogger or wordpress followers….the new site will launch tomorrow, hopefully! We still have a few more kinks to work out. I’ll be posting it here tomorrow morning, waiting a few days, then be setting this blog to automatically forward any visitors over to the new site.

Whew! It’s gonna be quite a week! I’ll also be posting a few paleo/gluten-free recipes that we’ve been testing/experimenting with, along with showing our new bathtub remodel!

Thank you all for reading. It really really really means a lot to me 🙂

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Under the Umbrella of: “This Conversation Really Happened”

Cayucous BBQ AJ and Gregory

Our recent foster care situation has forever opened my eyes to how many children are out there, waiting for a home. Through my research, I’ve also learned that the greatest need is for babies with ethnicity or disability. Even greater is the need for sibling placements– someone willing to take 2-3 kids from the same family in order to keep them together.

I truly cannot understand why there are more “minority” babies out there than “white”. Maybe people want a “cohesive” looking family, and it’s easier to pretend they are your biological kid if they look like you. But isn’t the beauty of adoption that it’s NOT biological? That it’s NOT cohesive, but it works anyways? That love breaks through the barrier that is blood and race?

As I’ve we’ve done more and more research, one thing has become clear– if we adopt someday, I WANT a baby of a different race than us. I will ignore all the white babies and go straight for the one with dark skin. Add some medical disabilities in there. I want THOSE babies. All of them.

The hubby has tried to gently inform me that my recent obsession with the less-wanted might, just maybe, just maybe, have to do with my grieving process over C, our last foster placement.

Whatever, I say. The heart wants what the heart wants.

We’d been talking about this for weeks when the topic came up at church, during coffee hour. With the hubby beside me, I was explaining to a fellow English teacher and our choir director that if the situation was right, we would love to adopt someday. I kept going, talking about how many babies are unwanted because of their race, and it was making me mad, just talking about it.

“I want an african american baby. Period.” I said firmly.

The English teacher smiled hesitantly, and said, “You mean, through ADOPTION?”

“Yes,” I said. “Of course.”

He smirked. “Because….” and he looked at the Hubby.

“Because there is a limit to what I can do for you” Jesse said.

“Huh?”

“Well, I only make a specific breed of baby.”

And then I got it. They were making fun of me.  All 3 guys were howling with laughter.

“Yes, of COURSE, through adoption.” I said, irritated. “What else could I mean?”

Wrong question.

The English teacher smiled again. “Well, I just wouldn’t want you to go ‘looking’ for a different father….”

And then Jesse came in with the coup de grace.

“I mean, you do understand that I’m not a multi-ink pen? Click a different side and you get a different color?”

The analogy that took it too far. Forever mortified. Thanks, Hubby.

 

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Children and Disabilities

Gregory piano playing 11:12

Recently, I’ve doubled my piano student load in order to pay the bills around here. Don’t worry, 15 students= 7.5 hours of work a week, with hardly any drive time since they all live in my town. I’m not going crazy…yet.

One of my new students is on the autism spectrum, recently diagnosed. The mom has talked to me many times about his issues, constantly apologizing for the way he behaves.

But you know what? He is quickly becoming one of my favorite students. Granted, I don’t have to get him to finish his chores or homework. But a 30 minute piano lesson can be a surprising pressure-cooker for behavior.

One of the things I noticed right away is that when he does talk, it’s whatever is on his mind, right there in the moment, hurtful or not. This is one of the things his mom warned me about, saying that he has a very difficult time understanding social situations and having any sort of empathy for others. Most of his therapy has been suppling him with memorized phrases to say in different situations, like, “I’m very sorry I hurt your feelings, I won’t do it again.”

I find his honesty a breath of fresh air, quite honestly. When I asked if I could write finger numbers on his hands, he  looked down at the floor and said, “That is the strangest question anyone has ever asked me.” Haha, right? How many kids have THOUGHT that, but never said it? He’s never pretending to be excited, he’s never pretending to understand. We need people like this in the world, people who cannot pretend, who cannot feign emotion.

But I leave his house every week, thinking about the emotions associated with childhood disabilities. Many times, I’ve tried to put myself in the place of the mother of a child with a severe disability. Would I feel like I had failed him in some way? This thought had never occurred to me until I had kids of my own. When I look at AJ’s little hands and feet, I think, “my body GREW those!” It’s the craziest realization that I think can only belong to a mother. If he had a disability of some sort, would I grieve that somehow, my body had not supplied the needed ingredients to give him a normal life?

My kids have inherited many of my traits, both good and bad. I see this most clearly with Gregory. He has social anxiety issues, and watching him struggle at the library’s story time (he won’t sit within a mile and begs to go home) or shut down on a play date causes my heart to hurt. I was just like him growing up. Even once I learned to conquer my social anxiety, being around people was an absolute chore. In fact, it’s still a lot of work for me to attend social functions, parties and playdates. I am saddened because I know that Gregory will have a lot of the same work ahead of him. I am saddened that he didn’t get Jesse’s outgoing personality instead.

But I also know that this social anxiety as a child is what caused me to read all the time. While other kids were out making friends, I was reading every book I could get my hands on. I spent hours every day, locked in my room writing. It’s made me who I am today. So, perhaps my “disability” as a child one of my greatest assets. We need people in the world who are willing to lock themselves away and write, just as much as we need the ones who are always moving, conversing and getting stuff done.

From now on, I am determined to think of disabilities as opportunities instead.

Family Command Center

First and foremost, a disclaimer: I am not claiming to run a perfect household. On the contrary, these things are tools so that I can one day HOPE to have clean clothes and dishes on a normal basis 😉

Over the past couple of months, I’ve worked hard to perfect our family command center in the hallway and on the side of the fridge. I had a lot of strict criteria for this space– extremely functional, uncluttered AND pretty.

command center 7

Absolutely essential, first and foremost, is our large wall calendar from Amazon. Our phones are synced with our schedules as well, but a visual calendar makes sure that nothing falls through the cracks. Electronic calendars only work if you use them– visual ones are right there in your face every day.

Next in line in importance is the weekly meal calendar. I used this free printout from Jenny Collier, and had my dad blow it up into a big 11×14 copy at his work. Jesse then laminated it for me so that I could use dry erase markers on it. Having a meal calendar may seem like overkill, but it makes our household run so much more smoothly, since Jesse is often the one who starts dinner on the weekdays since I am teaching piano. Before we started doing this, we were constantly finding ourselves staring at a pantry full of food, wondering what we should eat, deciding to go out to eat instead. “Fail to plan, plan to fail”, I’ve heard it said. It also forces me to make grocery shopping a one time a week deal.

command center 3

Gregory also has his own little chore chart (free from Dandee-Designs). I give him little stars whenever he completes any of these things: making his bed, putting on his clothes by himself, putting away his dishes, brushing his teeth, and putting away his toys.  There aren’t many stars on it right now because he keeps ripping them off later 🙂 Oh well, boys will be boys!

command center 2

Then there’s my dollar store frame trifecta.  I have my weekly workout calendar (free from design finch) to keep me motivated, my daily cleaning schedule and my weekly cleaning schedule (free from Blooming Homestead).

command center 4

The daily/evening chore chart is one that I created myself, just because I couldn’t find anything I liked on Pinterest (gasp!). You can click here for the free printable: Daily Chores.

Daily Chores

Why do I have two different cleaning checklists? Honestly, because the weekly one has extra chores on it that I don’t always know if I can get to during my morning routine. Basically, they’re my “wish” list, but I don’t need to feel devastated if they don’t happen. The daily chores are the ones that NEED to happen if our house is going to run.

Last but not least, I have a Valentine that Jesse gave me last year, hung right at eye level. Every time the going gets rough, or it seems like I can’t get everything done, I’m reminded that I’m enough, either way 🙂

command center 1

Internet Privacy

I absolutely LOVED this short article on Momastery today about internet privacy. It’s insane and incredibly discouraging how little the teens of this generation understand about the internet. For all of their technology smarts, teens (I’ve worked with them for the past 7 years), are incredibly dumb when it comes to Facebook, blogs, etc.

My boss at my old school in Ft. Worth used to say that young people have NO idea what it is to have a public image and maintain it. They don’t put two and two together to realize that if they post skanky photos on the internet, SOMEONE is going to find them, someday. Even if you “deleted” it, someone else may have saved it. Many employers seek out a person’s Facebook, first and foremost, before deciding to hire. They won’t just stop at your profile either– they’ll investigate who your friends are too! For this reason, one guy I know went through his contacts and deleted everyone who didn’t help promote the image that he was dependable. A friend likes to party and has pictures to prove it? DELETE. A friend posts mild profanity on their wall? DELETE. In his short 22 years, he had already learned the hard way, and wasn’t going to risk another job.

Sadly, I don’t even think it’s just teens. There are people I went to high school with who are CONSTANTLY posting pictures of themselves, scantily clad at Halloween or various parties. My first thought is always, how are you comfortable with former teachers (who you are friends with on FB) and future employers seeing that? Don’t you realize you are embarrassing yourself?

And teens who post their cell numbers on Facebook? Don’t get me started.

Anyways. Rant of the day.

Rough Month

You guys, August was just one of those rough months you kinda want to forget ever happened. I should add that there were a few exceptions– we visited our friends in Southern CA that were here from TX, we got a visit from the Shelbys, and we went to Big Sur. Oh, and our AMAZING  7 Year Anniversary trip. So those were definite highlights that I don’t want to take for granted.

But there were a couple big sucky things.  I’ve wanted to write about them, but then another thing would happen and I wanted to wait and see how it played out first. And it always got a bit worse, so I’m glad I waited to write about it in one neat post, rather than let bad stuff string along into a saga.

First of all: I lost my teaching job at NCCS. At first, it was just “your 3 classes got dropped down to 2 and no one told you, sorry you had to find out like this”. Then it was “We’re not sure if we’re going to have the enrollment to keep the AP classes separate from the normal ones”. And then it was, officially,  “We definitely do not have the enrollment to pay you. Wanna teach for free?”

Finding all this out, mid-August? Totally craptacular. Luckily, we have a savings account for the first time in our 7 years of marriage, so we weren’t panicking….but we were saying, “Holy Crap, that’s a third of our income, gone like that! With only 7 days notice!”

Luckily, Jesse’s job is secure (he’s now the only English teacher in the HS). And I still have 9 piano students. If I had known I wouldn’t be teaching, I would’ve had all summer to build up my clientele, but with only 2 weeks before school starting, I wasn’t sure I could pull in enough students to pay the bills.

Whaddya know, God is really really good. In just 2 weeks, I’ve pulled together 2 extracurricular Latin I courses, one with NCCS after school and one at a homeschool group. I also got a flood of emails from interested piano students, and I start teaching 7 new ones next week!

So, the long and short of it is: As of right now, we can pay our bills, AND put a tiny amount into savings every month. Granted, we won’t be flying around the US to vacation or see anyone for the time being, but we will be far from starving. God is SO good, I cannot say that enough. On the plus side of this arrangement, I only have to work from 3-6pm, 4 days a week! That’s actually less than I was working before. And it won’t put strain on Jesse’s prep time because my awesome mother and mother in law are stepping in to help babysit all 4 days so Jesse can stay at school and get stuff done!

Second of all: Right on the heels of this, I found out that the reason for all my headaches and tummy aches is gluten. I’ve been trying to eliminate various foods all summer to figure out why I’ve been feeling so crappy, and I saved gluten for last because I really REALLY didn’t want it to be that. I love pasta! Bread! Donuts! Unfortunately, (or, fortunately, actually), after 4 days off of gluten, I feel better than I have in months. It’s undeniable, at this point.

I really wasn’t ready for another project to take on at this point. I’m starting up 3 different avenues of business right now to pay the bills, and it takes a lot of coordination and behind the scenes work. The boys and Jesse are not about to stop eating gluten any time soon, so I’ll be alone. Also, we are on a vegan fast every Wednesday and Friday (due to Orthodoxy), and being gluten free is really hard when you can’t eat meat or dairy.

So, it’s good news in the sense that I finally feel better. It’s bad news because I really really wanted it to be something other than gluten.

Lastly: After months of going back and forth, being hot then cold, our foster daughter C finally decided that she does not want to do the work that’s required to live with a family. She has chosen to stay at her school up north and eventually transition out of her group home to an in-between foster situation before aging out of the system.

While this is a relief because we no longer have to wonder about when she’ll be coming back, we are very sad, mostly for her. To not have any family is a very sad and scary place to be, so it’s crazy to think that attaching to a family is even SCARIER than that. She has never learned how to go back and fix relationships, and has a 5 month expiration date on every single relationship in her life, save the one she has with her old foster mother of 7 years. Her “survival instinct” makes her blow up every situation and relationship and restart, like a video game. She doesn’t realize that this is not normal– in fact, she does it on a QUEST to be normal, sadly. She has layer upon layer of self-deception going on (borderline multiple-personality disorder), down to the point where she re-tells the narrative of whatever happened at a particular home, just to deceive new families, social workers, police officers, etc. into believing that it was someone else’s fault. Whenever anybody figures out what’s really going on, she blows it up and moves on to someone new that she can manipulate.

And her attachment issues run so deep, that I am very afraid for when she decides to have kids or any sort of romantic relationship, especially since her mom and grandma had the same attachment issues which lead her to where she is today. If the issues cannot be fixed, they just repeat themselves.  The odds of a fatherless teen having a baby before 20 are high, and the odds of an orphan are astronomical. It makes me mad to think that a child who was abandoned at birth will just continue abandoning everything else in her life. I’ve talked to many other people who’ve fostered teens who were abandoned, and it’s the same thing. It makes me feel so helpless to change things. You can’t help someone who won’t let you near them.

We are still grieving on a day to day basis. One minute, I’ll think I’m okay, and then the next minute something new will crop up and I’ll realize I haven’t healed yet. That’s how grief works. I want to let myself go through this process of grieving, as painful as it is, because the alternative (shutting off my heart), is an even worse solution. I want this to grow me and make me stronger, not harden me. Part of this growing and grieving is to know that it’s OKAY to remember that we loved and love her, even if she only pretended to love us to get what she wanted. I don’t have to cut her out of my heart and life– what I had for her was very real, even if it didn’t turn out like I wanted.

So, there you have it– my crappy August. Here’s to September being better!

30 Things Even YOU Didn’t Know About Me

The good, bad and the ugly. Just keepin’ it real here, people.

1. I used to have a GIANT silver dollar-sized raspberry birth mark on my lower lip. It didn’t go away until I was 7.

2. I was sent home one day in Kindergarten for KISSING A BOY. His name was Todd. I remember the conversation with my mom, and I just kept saying, “But MOM! He was so CUUUUTE! I just HAD to kiss him!”

My 1st year of Kindergarten

My 1st year of Kindergarten

3. I attempted to try out for a musical in junior high. I got so nervous, that when it came my time to sing, it came out like a squeak. I ran off the stage crying.

4. When I got my Kindergarten shots, I was so scared and outraged that I kicked the doctor square in the nose with my shoe. They had to bring a few nurses in to pin me down and give the shots in my leg. They hit a nerve and I was unable to walk for a week.

5. I used to take my brother’s stuff and sell it back to him in order to get his allowance money. When that didn’t work, I would convince him that nickels were worth more than dimes because they were bigger, thus our “trades” were in his favor.

I convinced Keith to do many things, back in the day...

I convinced Keith to do many things, back in the day…

6. I was once a cheerleader. I was also politely asked to quit. Long story.

7. I did gymnastics for a few years as a child, and then again in college.

I was always doing flips off of furniture...

I was always doing flips off of furniture…

8. For a few years in a row, my friends and I pogo-sticked the entire Templeton parade route!  I mastered a few tricks, like jumproping while pogosticking! I actually tried a cartwheel with the pogostick…didn’t end well….. My goal was to break the world record, which was something like 15 hours straight. I made it to 2.

pogosticking, 1995?

9. I have always been gung-ho about the pro-life movement. When I turned 8, I had all of my friends bring baby stuff for the pregnancy care clinic instead of presents for me.

10. I hated jam, yogurt, and pizza growing up. My mom used to pack me special lunches whenever I went to birthday parties because I was so picky.

12-13 years old, inner tubing

11. I have been reading since I turned 3. I used to bring chapter books to preschool because I wanted to impress the snot out of people. Instead, I was always alone.

12. I went to Europe on two different occasions. Both times, I spent over $300 in phone calls to Jesse.

On the Eiffel Tower, 2006

On the Eiffel Tower, 2006

13. I couldn’t figure out what to title my first Torrey paper. Jesse threw out “Destiny’s Children” as a joke, but I thought he was serious. I failed that paper. The title also made the “Top 10 worst Torrey paper titles” list for the program. Yup, I’m kinda famous.

Big Sur 2003

Big Sur 2003

14. My friends and I made it a point to go clubbing in every major city that we visited in Europe. We nearly succeeded, until we got lost near the Moulin Rouge at 1am. As a mom, I look back and can’t believe how stupid we were and that we survived.

15. I was heavier in high school than I was in college. Kinda bass-ackwards.

16. When I was 12, I wrote a letter to the CA state senator asking her to make abortion illegal.

17. I interned at a pro-life clinic for 2 years in college.

18. I used to be really good at the violin. I played for 4 years, and even used to perform on Saturday nights at a local bar with my fiddle teacher!

19. I won a magazine story writing contest when I was 10.

20. I was always coming up with ways to earn money. Once, I convinced my friend to dress up like an orphan with me. We went door to door singing for money. We made like $10! My mom made us give it all back when she found out.

21. I was homeschooled for 4 years and loved it!

22. I broke up with Jesse for 3 weeks at the end of my freshman year of college. I had just turned 18, and I was super scared about how serious our relationship already was. Those were the most miserable 3 weeks of my life. When I told him I wanted to get back together, he said, “Well, I’ll have to think about it”. OUCH.

2 years later! So glad he didn't give up on me! :)

2 years later! So glad he didn’t give up on me! 🙂

23. I FELL ASLEEP during my second don-rags (read: massive final that decides your semester grade) in Torrey. Years later, I heard freshmen talking about, “that one student who actually fell asleep” and I said, “Hey, that was ME!” They were not impressed.

Freshman year, 2003 with roommates

Freshman year, 2003 with roommates

24.  I was almost arrested in Italy. Long story.

25. I used to go swing dancing 3-4 nights a week.

26. As a kid, I was bit by a dog. I was terrified of them for YEARS, and would even walk the long way to the mailbox so I didn’t have to pass by our neighbors who had a dog.

27. My first year of life, I had 2-3 ear infections every month. I was ALWAYS sick. No one knows why, I just eventually grew out of it.

1989 Kelly

28. I was bit by a spider in high school and had to go to the hospital for intravenous antibiotics several days in a row.

29. I used to have dozens of pet rats! I loved them so much!

30. My left foot is HALF A SIZE bigger than my right!

Life Lately, According to my iPhone

Anthony books 11.5 months

Someone just discovered books

Anthony highchair 11.5 months

…and how to get out of his highchair

Gregory midnight wakeup 3:2013

A little midnight cuddle. He came down the stairs, half awake, and said, “G’morning, Mama!”

Gregory scab nose 3:2103

Life with boys– he got wild and fell down the stairs! Scared us half to death

Gregory:Dadda fort 3:2013

The boys made a fort! Entertained G for hours

Gregory at table March 2013

This kid has always LOVED food

Gregory with Dadda's gloves March 2013

Playing with Dadda’s new yard gloves

Gregory with smoothie 3:2013

Green smoothies– hey, it’s how I get him to eat Spinach and Kale!

Gregory with toys 3:2013

A day with toys

misc. and all that…

I'm sure we all feel like this, at one time or another

I’m sure we all feel like this, at one time or another

Here’s to the start of a new week. Last week kind of sucked. I threw my back out on Sunday night and had to attend two rounds of electro-therapy at my chiropractor in order to get it back in order. On top of everything, Gregory and I both got sick. Runny noses, fevers, coughing, sneezing, massive headaches from congestion? You name it, we got it.

We thought for sure that Baby Wee was going to get it, ushering in his very first illness ever (I’m pretty much in shock about his lack of illness, seeing as he lives in a house with teenagers, teachers and a nurse, ALL who bring home a variety of germs! Plus he crawls around sucking on EVERYTHING). But he didn’t! Not even a fever, just a clear runny nose for a day.

He did have a couple of really rough sleeping nights, where both Jesse and I were at our wits end. One morning, it took me a few hours before I fully “forgave” Wee for the night he gave us…I am pretty sure that his chunky lil’ body was fighting off the bug we all had. Btw, I am so thankful to have a husband who will get up with the baby at night, just so that I don’t have to 100% shoulder (literally, this kid is large!) the responsibility! His help enabled my sprained back to heal itself quickly.

Adopting a foster child is hard guys…hard hard. HARD. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and this is coming from someone who had two babies au naturale. And it’s not even hard in the ways I thought it was going to be, most of the time. I thought that all the “acting out” due to attachment issues would be the hard part, but, turns out, all of our training prepared us for that. We have a plan for the various scenarios, and it’s comforting (plus, all the knives, razors and drugs are locked up…).

What I didn’t realize would be so hard was the emotional pain. Not mine, hers. Watching someone have to go through that journey, finally coming to grips with the fact that they will never be with their biological mother and father…it’s heartbreaking. This experience has given me a whole new outlook on depression, pain, and sympathy towards others who are going through something that’s unconscionable for my experience. It’s a very exposed– a very RAW feeling– to suddenly realize that you don’t know what the other person is going through, you actually NEVER will, but you’re still supposed to be their main rock and support. Parents are “supposed” to have all the answers, and it feels like being on a stage where you don’t know your lines.

Gregory is such a little chatterbox right now! He knows all of his shapes, letters and colors, and loves to point them out. He even drew a triangle last week! He knows about 6 songs: “O Theotokos”, “The Eyes of All”, “Gladsome Light”, “Close Your Eyes” (James Taylor), “You are my Sunshine”, and, of course, “Happy Birthday”. His little versions of all these are adorable and priceless….when we can get him to perform, that is!

Anthony crawls around the house like a bandit, grabbing everything in sight and chewing it to death (teething?). He still barely eats any solids– around 1 serving a day. I try to go for 2 servings, but he’s just not that interested. He still nurses 6-8x/day though…sometimes I can get him to go for a 4 hour stretch, but he’s screaming and turning purple with rage by then, so we try not to let things come to that. Good grief, the kid is almost 10 months old. We have to get on this solids thing!

Anthony is also very very attached to me, which is adorable and also slightly annoying. He cries and follows me around the house and the kitchen when he wants something. Sometimes, if I’m in the kitchen, trying to make food, he literally goes in circles chasing after me. There are times where it drives me mad and I NEED my space, so I hide to eat my cereal, or I get another family member to distract him while I make an escape to another room! He always seems to know, though….

We should have a house update coming soon. Until the appraisal goes through, I am going to remain suspicious. We have purchased and delivered a new fridge to the place, so I guess we’re feeling semi-confident, but we’ve been hurt too many times to get too excited just yet.

School-wise, we’re reading some really fun books right now. In my 8th grade class, we’re reading Red Badge of Courage, which is one of my favorites to teach Junior High. We also have a “Castle War” coming up once we have all of my moving boxes at our disposal. Dr. Kleist taught me well, I’m afraid…In my Honors class, we’re reading Crime and Punishment at a break neck speed. The kids almost mutinied when they got their first two reading assignments– about 80 pages of reading a NIGHT! Muhahaha….now, I think they are finally numb to the pain and anguish 😉

I have more piano students than I can reasonably teach in a week, so I will be off-shooting my business and getting a “partner” of sorts! Stay tuned for that 🙂

What else…my dad and I did our 2012 taxes last night, hoping to get some $ back so we could buy Jesse a nice car…turns out, we OWE $28. No fair. I guess the government doesn’t see us as poor any longer, har-har. My dad pointed out that we did make quite a bit more this year, so I guess I shouldn’t be too mad…but it was nice getting several thousand back last year. I also kind of hate Turbotax. Watching that number at the top go UP and then DOOWWWWWN and then back up again definitely raised my blood pressure.

Not much more to report, other than I’m in the middle of a painting project. More on that later!

The "before"-- this bad boy just a major update.  MAJOR UPDATE! (yes, that I was a "how I met your mother" shout out...

The “before”– this bad boy just got a major update. (salute): MAJOR UPDATE! (yes, that was a “How I Met Your Mother” shout out…)

Nightmare

Although this happened a few days ago, I wanted to write it down so that someday, when Gregory is a teenager, I can remember.

Tuesday night, Gregory woke up at 4am screaming his head off. Because I was nursing Anthony at the time (welcome to my life), I asked Jesse to get up and comfort him. “He must’ve had a nightmare,” I said, because I could tell from his screaming that he wasn’t just uncomfortable, he was terrified.

I heard Jesse pick him up and hold him. A few minutes later, I heard Jesse try to walk him back into his room. Every time he stepped foot in the door, Gregory flipped out again, scared to death.

So Jesse brought Gregory back to our bed. It was the first time in months that Gregory had slept between us, and even though I almost always have Anthony asleep beside me, I was really happy to have Gregory there with us. I really miss those days when he would stay still long enough to snuggle.

He was shaking head to toe. I tried to calm him down with a few hugs and kisses, but the only thing that worked was putting my hand in his.

I’ll never forget how tight he grabbed my hand, still shaking from his nightmare. Eventually, his breathing slowed down and he was calm enough to sleep.

And that’s how we fell asleep. Gregory snuggled between us, holding my hand for dear life.

He may be an independent toddler, often saying, “No hug!” when I ask.

But he still knows that Mommy will always be there to comfort him when life gets scary. I hope that he never forgets that.

And I hope I never forget that he needs it.