Thursday, August 28, 2014

A New Reality

It has been a beautiful summer.  Perhaps not as hot as it could have been, I for one like to stockpile the feeling of the sun on my skin for the cold winter months when I can't remember what it feels like not to have goosebumps, but a pretty summer nonetheless.  We've made a bunch of trips to the island, spent plenty of weekends relaxing at home, and have tried to make the most of the summer.  I even started a bit of creative writing, which made me surprisingly happy.  I won't say that what I was writing was all that great, but I'm fairly confident it didn't suck, and that's something!  I was interrupted from my writing by an onslaught of bookkeeping duties and just when those were letting up again I've been consumed with something entirely different: figuring out how to keep my kid healthy.

About a month ago Ben starting having some stomach troubles.  It didn't seem severe, he wasn't in a lot of pain, didn't complain that much, but spent an increasingly larger amount of time on the toilet every day.  After force feeding him bananas, probiotics and even cutting dairy out of his diet, we went to see the doctor for some help.  Last Friday we found out that Ben tested positive for Celiac Disease.

I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was.  I still am to be honest.  And as I've researched and read about Celiac my surprise has gone from frustration to horror to sadness to determination.  I've known, sort of, what celiac is since I was just out of high school.  I've actually been tested for it several times, but I don't have it.  I knew that it was essentially an allergy to gluten, something that I, a die hard fan of all things bread related, couldn't possibly comprehend having.  So when I was told Ben has celiac I was not really sure what we were talking about.  Did he actually have celiac, or was it a gluten sensitivity?  Was it something he could outgrow?  Could he still eat small amounts of gluten or did it have to be eliminated entirely?

Our pediatrician was less than helpful, telling us only to stop feeding him gluten.  Fortunately I have good friends and a knowledgeable family who was able to point us in the right direction.  We're getting him a referral to a GI doctor to confirm the test results and hopefully help us figure out how to adopt a gluten free lifestyle.  I've done some reading and realized that celiac is not the same as a gluten sensitivity.  While we all know someone right now that has cut gluten out of their diet, they don't necessarily have celiac disease.  Gluten sensitivities also make people feel pretty crappy so cutting gluten out of their diet makes them feel better.  Celiac disease, however, is an autoimmune disease.  Instead of gluten just making my kid feel crappy, his body actually starts attacking itself causing damage to his intestines.  Obviously, damaging your intestines really isn't a good idea, so the gluten has got to go.  The more I read, the more I discover just how difficult this is to do.  Gluten is in EVERYTHING.  And even if it isn't in it, there's a good chance it's been around gluten.  And, as I've been reading, the longer you stop eating gluten, the more sensitive you can become to exposure to gluten.  Any exposure.  It's mind boggling really.  Depending on how sensitive he is to gluten, we may have to eventually get all gluten out of the house all together, meaning none of us can eat gluten around Ben.

This is NOT what I expected when I took him to the doctors last week to figure out why his stomach was bothering him.  But this is our new reality.  I will be packing his lunches now for the rest of his childhood.  I will be bringing all his food with us when we travel.  When he goes to school he will likely be grouped with the other allergy kids to keep him healthy.  When he goes to friends' houses and birthday parties I will be bringing his food.  I will be that mom.  The one that makes their kid was their hands a zillion times day, feeding him weird things like raw almonds and bread-less sandwiches.  The one that makes him eat granola bars instead of cupcakes and macaroni and cheese that tastes like cardboard.

It really sucks, and it's still very overwhelming.  I know that things could have been worse, much worse.  Celiac disease isn't a death sentence, it isn't something that's going to noticeably affect how he grows and develops.  It is going to change him though and it's not something that he'll ever outgrow or stop being aware of.  There will probably be times when it makes him really sick.  But he will get better and he will learn how to live with it.  And so will I.  I will embrace being that mom.  I will be the best that mom that you've ever seen.  Because my kid is awesome and he WILL be healthy.

Sunday, June 1, 2014


Today was about as perfect as it gets.  Morning chores indoors, while the air was still a little chilly, and the rest of the day spent outside in the sun.  Perfection.  Ben and I finished planting veggies in the garden, planted some Lily of the Valley in the yard and set up our white-trash patio.  (White trash patio consisting of a beat up picnic table, four decent looking lawn chairs and the grill all artistically arranged in our driveway.  Classy, I know.)  When that was finished we filled the pool.  And of course I'm talking about a kidding wading pool because we obviously aren't classy enough for any other sort.  Ben and his Ninja Turtles has a blast fighting off bad guys in the high seas.  We spent time on the swings, the trampoline and playing Care Bear hide-and-seek.  (Don't ask.  I played Care Bear hide-and-seek and I still can't even tell you what it was.)  We ended the day with hot dogs and turkey burgers on the grill and a few sparklers.  While I won't say that days like today make the long freezing cold winter worth it, I will say that it makes me appreciate the beautiful days more.

Yay for summertime!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

School Break!

I made it.  School is finished for the summer.  This was without question one of the most challenging semesters I can remember.  Governmental Accounting was actually less interesting than it sounds, if you can possibly imagine, and the math class I thought would be fairly easy turned out to be a hellish nightmare of "math" that I'm fairly certain is only ever used and practiced in this particular math class.  Example from one of my homework assignments:  "If Christmas is on December 6th, then 8 is an even number."  True or False.  Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.  That's not math.  That's just Hell.

With that said, I still managed to do well in all three classes, but I need a break.

So what do I do when I need a break?  I read.  And what do I read when my favorite author is publishing a new addition to my favorite series?  I read the whole damn series AGAIN because I have a very serious problem.  This is (I think) my fifth time reading Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series from start to finish.  I think there are probably about 6,000+/- pages since each book averages near 1000 pages and there are seven of them.  Not including the series of "short stories" that accompany them, which I likely won't read unless I have time before the June 10th publication date.  I had thought I would just read the first book in the series and then the last book in the series.  But, like I said, I have a very serious problem and I find myself nearly halfway through the third book with no signs of stopping.  Fortunately, my son has become obsessed with Legos and can sit happily for a good hour or so building castles and houses and playing with the little Lego figures.  This makes me feel considerably less guilty about ignoring him while I indulge myself in complete and utter escapism.  Ahhhh, the powers of a good book.

Once I finish the series, and the new release out in a few weeks (and yes, I'm actually contemplating taking a personal day on the release date to I can try to inhale the new book as fast as humanly possible...I have a VERY serious problem), I have quite a few summer projects to tackle.  Mainly, painting the trim around the new windows, which I have managed to put off since November, and cleaning, which I have managed to put off since...well...let's just say it's pretty dusty in here and leave it at that.  Plus we need to squeeze in as much island time as possible while it's beach weather. Summer in Maine is just never long enough to get everything done, especially when your favorite hobby is sitting in the sun reading and not doing the items on your summer project list.

Oh well, it will all get done at some point, especially the reading.  Priorities you know...

Happy Summer!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

NIAW 2014

I had been meaning to write a blog for the last couple of weeks.  But I admit it, I'm lazy.  Lazy and also really busy.  But this week is the 25th Anniversary of National Infertility Awareness Week, and that's important enough for me to take a minute and do my part to raise awareness.

Most people who know me well know that my son was conceived through IVF.  It's something I am willing to talk freely about and share my experiences with, now that it's over.  At the time, while we were going through multiple IVF attempts, it wasn't something I talked about or shared.  It was hard to explain and it was hard to handle failure.  I perused online chat rooms and forums for little bits of support, but I didn't have anyone close I could talk to and share my experiences with.  It was a hard, lonely journey.  A journey that I wouldn't wish upon anyone.  Which is why I try to take a few minutes every year during National Infertility Awareness Week to remind people that 1 in 8 people are suffering with infertility.  1 in 8 people want to have a baby, and are struggling to get pregnant.  And, very likely, 1 in 8 people are struggling silently with their emotions because they feel alone.

Educate yourself.  Educate others.  Because someday, someone is probably going to need your support.

Here's my STORY

And here are some other good resources:


NIAW 2014

What You Can Do

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Sad Goodbye

It has been a long week.  One that began in Florida and ended at a funeral home.  Bags are still unpacked, homework isn't finished and above of all, we are all saddened by an unexpected passing.

On Monday, Don's grandmother had a heart attack.  Ironically, we had just been talking a few days before about how well she was doing and how fortunate she was to be living on her own in her own home at the age of 88.  Needless to say her passing was unexpected.  I'm not a religious person, and I'm not sure where I stand on divine intervention, but I do know that something must have brought her out to the grocery store that afternoon where she was surrounded by people who called an ambulance when she wasn't feeling well and ultimately kept her alive after she collapsed.  Because of that, we were able to make it home so that Don and his family could be with her when she passed, peacefully and quickly.

She was a tiny lady, but she will be missed in a very big way.  Even from the first time I met her, when I was just dating Don, he told me just to call her Grammy, because everyone did, and he was right.  She was every one's Grammy.  She was everything a grandmother should be, the very definition of grandmother.  Kind and caring, with never (and I mean NEVER) a negative word to or about anyone.  She truly sought to see only the best in everyone, a trait that I admire and wish that I could emulate.  And if there is one thing grandmothers are known for it's spoiling; and Grammy was a champ.  She loved her family and I think every member of it knew, without question, how much they were loved.

Today was the funeral and it was a wonderful goodbye to such a sweet woman.  The place was filled to capacity, and then some, with people who cared for her and wanted to share stories about her.  It was beautiful and moving and sad.  She will be missed by many.  And I am one of the many.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Two Hours Later...

I know, I know, everyone is bitching about the snow.  But it took me TWO hours to get home from work tonight.  TWO HOURS.  That's two hours of listening to the smack and screech of the windshield wipers covered in ice scraping over the windshield, also covered in ice.  That's two hours of driving with the window down because the heat has to be BLASTING in order to keep the windshield from completely freezing over.  Which didn't even work, by the way.  Two hours of cold toes because the God Damn Heat has to be BLASTING on the window, and ONLY on the window so that a teeny tiny patch of window remains clear.  TWO FREAKING HOURS.  I think I've earned the right to bitch for a minute.

There was a certain novelty of watching the thermometer on my dash dip below zero last month.  Just how cold could it get?  Seeing -17 on the dash, at the time, was pretty damn cool.  Waking up to -7 last week, randomly, was considerably less cool.  Did you know it's impossible to buckle a child in his car-seat when you're wearing mittens?  And do you know how fast your fingers get cold when it's -7 out and you can't wear your mittens?  Pretty damn fast.

This morning I told Ben it was going to snow again and he got all excited.  I told him I am ready for spring.  I am ready for shorts and t-shirts and flip flops.  I'm ready for grass and sand and the beach.  He quickly changed his mind and decided he's ready for spring too.

We're all ready for spring.

Instead I got a two hour car ride home in the snow.

I am so done with winter.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Is it March yet?

Ahhhh....peace and quiet.  No one is home at the moment, well, that's not exactly true, both my adult stepsons are here, but since they're asleep and rarely make an appearance for anything other than food or showers, I am alone for now!

January was a miserable month, and I am glad it's over.  I just wish the cold weather would realize it's over and start warming up just a smidge.  You know it's been cold when you remark to your child how warm and spring-like it feels only to discover that the temperature is 23 degrees.

School started up again for another semester and I've got an especially mind numbing selection of classes this time.  Governmental Accounting and Intermediate Accounting-Part II.  For fun, I've mixed in Finite Math, whatever the hell that means.  I will (sheepishly) admit that the math class is kind of fun, though I had completely forgotten that logarithms existed and I kind of wish I could have kept it that way.  My fingers are crossed that I might actually have this degree wrapped up by the end of the fall semester.  It depends entirely on the scheduling at YCCC, which I have discovered doesn't cater to working students as much as they may think it does.

In other big news, we celebrated a few birthdays recently.  Jake, my oldest stepson turned 21.  Do you want to feel old?  Go have a beer with your kid.  I think Don's suffering a bit more than I am from this new development, mainly because Don is old and I'm not.  (Don't worry, he doesn't read my blog, he won't be offended.)  But this certainly is an adjustment.

And last week, little Ben turned FOUR years old.  And I am suffering from this much, much more than my husband.  My little guy isn't a baby anymore!  I can't even call him a toddler, or a little kid really.  He's just a kid now.  A kid!!  A kid who's going to be in school before I know it!  The plan is to sign him up for T-ball this spring.  So be prepared for some amazingly adorable photos and videos of Ben playing t-ball.  It should be especially fun since he is about the tiniest four year old I've ever seen.

And the last exciting development in our world, is the impromptu planning of a family vacation in March!  Not only will Don and I get to take Ben to Florida to check out Animal Kingdom and Legoland, we will be going with my father and step-mother!  I have never been on vacation with my father and am looking forward to seeing him attempt to "relax."  (If you know my father I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.)  I am also secretly hoping that he has a Florida wardrobe of Bermuda shorts and Hawaiian shirts, but that really seems unlikely.  And if that isn't enough excitement, my SISTER will be joining us all in Florida as well!  It has been nearly a year since I've seen her and I can't wait to see her again.  I know Ben is excited about seeing Aunt Kelsey as well.  What started out as a "wouldn't that be nice" has actually turned into a family vacation and I am thrilled!

It seems my peace and quiet is coming to an end.  Back to the never ending mountain of homework!

Friday, January 10, 2014

An Open Letter to Junk Mail

Dear Get BIGGER with Free Sample,

Thank you for not emailing me with an offer to enlarge my manhood.  For far too long I've been concerned that my email address, which starts with the word "princess," might be construed as too masculine.  I see now that you have finally identified that I am part of the 50% of the population that does not appreciate your weekly/daily/hourly offers to increase the size of my penis.  This due to the fact, of course, that I don't actually have a penis.

I'm truly glad to see that you have finally focused on attempting to enlarge something that matters to me.  Because, like the majority of women, I would in fact like to have "Boobs as big as balloons."

I appreciate that you have cut to the chase here.  No offers of inches, no promises of 40% growth.  You are bringing it right to the table.  "As big as balloons."  Yes.  Now that is a visual I can get on board with.  Balloons.  In my bra.  Thank you Get BIGGER with Free Sample.  I now know what perfection looks like.   And perfection is: "Boobs as big as balloons."

I think I'm going to go get some balloons today.



Gotta Love Spam!!

Friday, January 3, 2014

How to Snow Blow the Driveway

Step 1:  Call husband energetically offering to snow blow driveway so he doesn't have to do it in the dark when he gets home from work.

Step 2:  Bundle up in at LEAST 75 layers.

Step 3: Grab Blowtorch.

Step 4:  Hold Blowtorch on iced up shed lock for one minute.  Try not to catch shed on fire.  Try key.  Drop blowtorch in snow.  Swear profusely.  Get blowtorch started again.  Try not to catch shed on fire.  Blow out small fire.  Try key again.

Step 5:  Gently lower 5000 pound snow blower to the ground.  Resolve not to tell husband about the crash landing and possible denting.

Step 6:  Open choke, set to run, pump fuel thingey, pull cord.  Pull cord.  Pull cord.  Pull cord.

Step 7: Open choke, set to run, pump fuel thingey, stand on snow blower, pull cord.  Pull cord.  Pull cord.

Step 8:  Kick snow blower.

Step 9:  Text adult child living rent free in the upstairs bedroom to come down and start snow blower.

Step 10:  Make adult child pull cord.  Pull cord.  Pull cord.  Pull cord.

Step 11:  With (finally) running snow blower begin walking up and down driveway.

Step 12:  Get face full of snow.

Step 13:  Adjust blower thing to other direction.

Step 14: Get face full of snow.

Step 15:  Repeat steps 12-14 while walking up and down driveway until driveway has considerably less snow on it and face has considerably more.

Step 16:  Leave snow blower parked haphazardly at top of driveway.  Resolve to let lazy ass step-children or husband put it away and finish the shoveling.

Step 17:  Make tea and resolve that next time you want to do something nice for husband, bake cookies.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Little Light Dusting

This is me with the figurative Pledge and rag in hand dusting off my blog for 2014.

I may have completely ignored my blog for the majority of 2013.  Whoops!  I did sit down several times to write, but it is harder than you think to start writing when you've taken a break for weeks/months at a time.

But I'm here now to report that 2013 was a pretty spectacular yet dull year.  And that is a-okay with me! We did have a few big moments, Marcus graduated from High School, Ben was fully potty trained and learned to write his name, Jake moved in...then out....then in again, and Don and I worked hard managing our money and were able to hire someone to replace (almost) all the windows in our house.  We are also in good shape to replace the bay windows and siding this spring.  Yay for home improvement!

But aside from those few items of import, 2013 was really pretty uneventful.  Just a lot of work, school, play and happiness.  I'm not sure you can ask for much more than that.

As for 2014, it is so far on course to look exactly the same as 2013.  Plugging away at my accounting degree, wishing it was a bit more interesting, working too many jobs but enjoying them, spending time with my favorite almost-four-year-old (yeah that's right FOUR), reading and, hopefully, writing.

I'm not going to set myself a lot of goals for 2014, but I do want to read less (perhaps I am the only person in the world with that goal?) and write more.  There is a woman and a story in my head that have been hanging out there for a while, and I think I need to see what happens when they appear on paper.  Probably nothing.  But then...maybe something.  I guess I'll find out in 2014!

Happy New Year!