Park it.

I'm a bad mommy.  I hate going to the park.  I'm not one of those mamas who is good as going somewhere just to sit.  And that's what you do when you take your kids to the park--you sit.  I'm not a good sitter unless it's in front of the T.V. and Teresa is getting advice from Caroline about how to handle all of her family's drama.  

I've tried to take books to read, but it just doesn't happen.  With two boys at the park, you've gotta keep an eye on things.  But yesterday was a beautiful day.  A cool 75 degrees.  I would be nuts not to force the children outside.  However, the one thing I could do was take pictures.

Of course, we made a coffee stop before the park.  Nothing wrong with sipping on a non-fat misto if you've gotta sit there.

Love this new sign at the park.  Just in case you don't understand what it means to pick up after your pet, here's a visual.

Instead of actually playing basketball, they used the ball to set up booby traps.

The Cheese did a lot of sitting around too.  Apparently, parks aren't his thing anymore.  

The Monkey--always my little poser.

The tornado slide--the one thing that never gets old, or is too old to enjoy.  I enjoyed it as well, I just didn't let the kids take my picture.

paying attention part 7: a hard pill to swallow


The Cheese sat on the kitchen counter.  I stood in front of him, a box of Tic-Tacs in my hand.

"We're going to practice with these," I told him.  "These are a little smaller than the pills that you have to take, so it should be easy-peesey-lemon-squeezie!"

I am a mother, proud of my capabilities as a parent.  Teaching a 9 year-old to swallow a pill?  No problem.

15 minutes, 6 Tic-Tacs, and a whole lot of frustration later, we discovered that the Cheese could not, would not swallow his pills.  Just wasn't going to happen.  God bless the doctor for having the foresight to give us capsules that I could open into a spoon full of applesauce or yogurt for the Cheese to swallow down.

The next morning, after breakfast and before school, I did just that.  I held the spoon up to his mouth with the instructions to swallow it down.  This is going to make your breaks work better I reminded him.  Help him slow down that Ferrari brain.

I starred at him, waiting for his head to spin on its axis.  Waiting for him to projectile vomit.  Waiting for him to whimper or scream or both.  Instead, he hopped off of the counter and ran upstairs to play with LEGOS even though he was supposed to be brushing his teeth.

The decision to medicate our child wasn't an easy one.  We hadn't entered into it lightly.  But we decided that we needed to take a step forward in helping and for us this seemed like the best first choice.

You know what clinched the decision for me?  I read in something that used the comparison between medication for ADHD and glasses.  If your child needed glasses to see better, you wouldn't hesitate to get them for him.  Medication for ADHD is like getting your child glasses: they help him to focus better. Well, we had to get glasses for the Cheese when he was 5 and obviously we didn't hesitate.  So why would we hesitate now?

Of course, there were side effects.  Right away we saw his appetite decrease.  During the day he wasn't eating at all.  I told the Golfer that if you noticed some of the pills missing not to be surprised.  They sounded just like what my diet needed.  (I'm kidding of course.  Sort of...)

We also saw that he had trouble falling asleep.  The medication was a stimulant after all, so his sleeplessness wasn't a surprise.  Both of these were common side effects and would hopefully dissipate over time.

The good news was that the teacher saw the benefits right away.  Suddenly he was getting all of his work done in class and wasn't bring home any homework.  He passed three of his multiplication times test in a week.  She said that he was sitting in his seat and (hear are the words that we really wanted to hear) he was paying attention.

But this was only the first week of his being on medication, and as great as some of this seemed, we would soon discover that this wasn't the magic pill that we had been hoping for.

paying attention part 6: the appointment

:: photo found here ::

I'm not going to lie.  I almost started to cry as we walked into the building.

I'm not sure the exact reason.  We had waited weeks for this appointment and I had woken up feeling the relief that the day had finally come.  But as we walked into the building that was labeled The Institute for Neurosciences and Human Behavior I felt my emotions starting to get the best of me.

Armed with my folder filled with teacher and parent evaluations (the Vanderbilt Assessment Scale to be exact), insurance information, and even some school work examples, we waited outside the doctor's office. I tried not to stare at the eating disorder patients that solemnly walked in front of us and out the back door, most likely on their way out for a smoke break and not a lunch break.  We tried hard not to stare at the girl who had written up and down her legs in what appeared to be a black Sharpie marker.  Thousands of words squeezed in between the freckles of her ghostly white leg.  I stared at the Golfer with eyes that silently cried, "Where the hell are we?"

When the doctor finally opened his door, we stood there awkwardly.  Did we all go in?  Just the Cheese?  Just the parents?  First the Cheese and then the parents?

Reading our minds the doctor said, "Why don't you all come in?"

The appointment was short and sweet.  First he met with us as a family, then just with the Golfer and I, and then finally with the Cheese alone.  During our time alone with the doctor we shared our concerns:

  • He was a bright boy who we worried would start falling through the educational cracks due to his inability to concentrate.  
  • He would have hours of homework every night because he couldn't get it completed in class.
  • Simple tasks like remembering to brush teeth and tying his shoes were becoming huge issues.  
  • He couldn't pass his multiplication facts because he couldn't finished the timed-tests (i.e., the answers were right, but he couldn't finish in the 5 minutes allotted.)  
  • He couldn't follow simple, one-step instructions at home.  All of this was causing lots of friction between the Cheese and us, and we were worried about our relationship with him.
  • He seemed unhappy and constantly, continually out to lunch.

"Does your son show any signs of depression?  Anxiety?" the doctor asked us.

You see, usually there are secondary conditions that accompany the ADHD.  Frustrations with peers and parents, social isolation, and rejection can cause these other issues to pop up.  We had no idea.

Yes, we told the doctor.  We see a lot of anxiety in our son.  He worries unnecessarily.  He cries easily and has trouble controlling his emotions.  He is our sensitive boy and always has been.

"Is there any depression in the family?  Any psychiatric disorders?  Substance abuse?"

Uh...yeah.  Uh, huh.  Yep.  Definitely. (But that's another blog series entirely that I will share later.)

Turns out, as the doctor talked to our son one-on-one the anxiety was very apparent.  So much so that the doctor seems just as worried about the anxiety as he was the ADHD and gave us a referral to a children's anxiety clinic.

Not something that I had expected.

Before we knew it, we were given a two week drug protocol to follow with instructions to call the doctor at the end of the two weeks.  We walked away feeling that we had taken a step forward, but feeling just as confused and worried and concerned about our son as when we walked in, if not more so.  I guess you could say that we were feeling...anxious.  Seems that anxiety might run in the family.


Reunited and it feels so good.

So my 20 year reunion was a great, fun time.  No really, it was.  I couldn't wait to see all of my old friends: Christie, Kim, Lisa, Karen, Kio, and Amy just to name a few.  Everyone looked awesome--just like we did 20 years ago (at least that's what we kept telling each other all night long.)

Gone was all of the pretense of high school.  Gone was worrying about what your classmates think (of course that doesn't explain why I spent a lot of money on new clothes for the event.)  Gone was all of the stupid stuff that makes high school...high school.  

I would have posted these pics sooner, but I've been trying to find the old pics from high school that "match" these new ones.  I dug out an old box of pics and ended up spending an hour going through all of them, which made me realize that I needed to organize them all, which reminded me that I needed a lot of new albums to put them in, which made me run to Target to buy some new ones, where I totally forgot about the albums and bought breakfast blend K-cups, 4th of July T-shirts for the boys, and toilet paper instead.

And we wonder where our son gets his ADD.

This pic is of Christie, me, and Lisa.  Somewhere there is a picture from our graduation just like this...but if I go to look for it again, I might never finish this post.  I always thought Lisa was the most beautiful girl in our class, inside and out, and she still is.  (And her two little boys are the cutest kids on the planet!)

I love this pic.  It's of everyone at the reunion from our elementary school: Monroe Elementary.  It's a little fuzzy, but it shows so many of the people that I grew up with and still count as dear friends.

clockwise (for those who care) Kio, me, Cole, Claine, Alicia, Sean, Susan, Kim, Nathan, Andrew, Ryan, Bryan, Karen, Kyra, and Laura.  And there were so many missing!  I'm talking about you Susan, Nicole, Jeannie, Jane, and others!

Oh how I've missed these two friends!  Kio and Karen were two of my first and best friends when I moved to Norman in 1981.  The memories we have together are long.  The one bad thing about the reunion?  I didn't have nearly enough time to catch up with these two.

Here I am with Amy and Karen.  In high school we had a little group called the BASKETS (all of our names put together.)  Yeah, we were one wild and crazy group.  (Can't hear the sarcasm in my voice, can you?)  We did however get caught by the cops tee-peeing my boyfriend's house, but that was the extent of our craziness.

So I didn't make the Golfer go Friday night but I did drag him along for Saturday.  Turns out, he was a bigger hit than I was at the reunion (not that that surprises anyone.)  Guess that's what you get when you're married to a guy who's won a National Championship.

Here's one old pic of Christie and I that I didn't have to dig for.  Here we are at our Junior Prom...

And here we are 21 years later!  Our hair isn't quite as big, but I think we look exactly the same.

And here I am with my other dear, dear friend Kim.  She made me look like a squatty midget in her heels, but I still love her.   Oh how I miss living close to her! 

Yes, the reunion was great.  I loved seeing everyone and I loved seeing how happy and successful everyone has become.  There were so many people missing but it was so great to see everyone that I did.

See you guys in 10 more years!

R.I.P. Freddie

So when we were down in Coronado I got a frantic, early Saturday morning phone call from our friend who was housesitting and watching our dogs.

"Steph...I don't know what happened...I let the dogs out last night...and then this morning...I think Freddie was attacked last night.  Maybe coyotes.  I don't know.  Half of his skin is gone.  He's just lying there.  I don't know.  What do you want me to do?  What should I do?  Should I call 911?"

Not the phone call I had ever expected to receive.  The boys and I were a good 3 hours away at the beach and the Golfer was 1300 miles away.   

"Don't call 911.  Give me a second.  Just hang on.  Let me...I don't know what.  Just let me call you back."

So I hung up.  I didn't even have that much info about what had happened.  The obvious first thought for most people would be to call the vet.  Instead, I called my husband.

"Honey, something's happened with Freddie.  He's been attacked somehow.  I can't deal.  I can't handle this.  Call him.  Find out what's going on and call me back."

Have you ever wondered how you would react in an emergency or an emergency like your pet getting eaten by wild animals?  Would you panic?  Would you freeze?  Would you know what to do?  Would you choose not to deal and let your spouse deal with it?

Yeah, me too.

Long, long story short, it seems that a pack of coyotes got into our yard sometime in the night.  Our other dog was in her doghouse, but our Freddie, well sweet Freddie would just sleep where ever.  Of course we'll never know exactly what happened, but we have lots of bunnies in our yard, so we have a feeling that the coyotes were looking for a late night snack and stubbled upon our dear Freddie.

Unfortunately, Freddie didn't make it.  There was too much damage to his little body and he was too old to survive the surgery.  We had adopted Freddie when we moved to California so we had 5 great years with him.  To give too much thought to how he died is just that...too much.  Heartbreaking is a good word for it.

Obviously we did not tell the boys what happened.  The Cheese would never step outside again if we told him the truth.  Instead, I simply told them that Freddie had passed away in his sleep, which I like to believe that he did.

"Mom?  Can we go adopt another dog?  Can we give another dog a good home?" the Cheese asked through a sniffle.

Every bone in my body wanted to say,  "Yes, sweetie.  Of course we can.  Get your shoes.  Let's go right now."

Instead I said, "No, sweetie.  Not right now.  Let's just love on the ones we still have."

Absent from the web. Not my life.

Have you been missing me?  Somehow I doubt it.

May was a little crazy.  Just to quickly fill you in, here's the month in reverse order.

The Golfer was gone for Regionals (which they won!) and then the National Championship (which they didn't).  They might not have come home with the trophy, but did manage to have this cool pic taken by Golfweek.

Before that, the Big Cheese had his Big Performance: Third Grade Play--"Vacation to Mars"

He was one of Saturn's rings.

 Before that we headed down to Coronado for some sun, a little sand...

...and some fun.  (And plenty of Cheez-Its by the pool.)

Because before that my best friend, whom my children affectionally call "God Christie" came for a special 2 week visit.

But before that was Mother's Day and I awoke to these lovely pancakes.

And before that was the Mother's Day Tea at school (which is where I left you last.)

So I haven't been neglecting you on purpose.  I've just been very...occupied.  And now, we head back to  my "hotter than hell" hometown of Norman, Oklahoma for my 20 year reunion this coming weekend.  Don't count on my posts occurring on a regular basis until my return.  Wish me luck!

Mama's Senior Pic, circa 1991