Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Summer Craziness

I often get the response- "Oh, you are a teacher. Must be nice to get the summers off." Well, yes, it is. Oh, I still do work for school. I am in charge of some testing, so every Monday and Wednesday night I set up online testing. I have gone to school for a few hours at a time to test. I have 2 workshop days coming up. BUT it is nice to have the summers off. There is one thing that I never have time off from... FAMILY! We have had an extremely busy summer. Remember my last post about the swim Nazi? Well, she is a miracle worker. After two weeks, Anabelle and Jack are swimming. Not the dog paddling, struggling to stay afloat swimming. I mean legit SWIMMING! Anabelle is swimming using her arms and legs. She is even underwater swimming and diving for toys on the bottom. Jack is swimming so great, too. He is not very excited to dive and retrieve things on the bottom, but he is swimming. Both of the kids feel comfortable jumping in and swimming in the deep end. Really, the swim lessons were some of the best money we spent this summer.

Russell is rearranging our furniture one piece at a time. He is pushing and walking behind anything he can grab. Yesterday, our bar stools and our kitchen chairs were in the foyer. He gets hung up in a certain spot and just abandons his furniture and searches for more. He has 4 of his front teeth now, and blonde hair. This morning, he decided to get up at 5:45. He and I went downstairs, and by 8:00, I rocked him down and he took his first "nap" of the day. Early mornings are no fun, but the time with just him can be great. He will be 1 next month. I can't believe it, but at the same time, I can.

Josh and I went to a beach wedding in Seagrove, FL this past weekend. My mother-in-law kept the kids for us to leave on Thursday and return on Sunday. We had so much fun! About 15 couples from college were there. The wedding was beautiful, and we were able to relax. My father-in-law told us an hilarious story about Bea (mother-in-law) and the kids. She put Russell down for bed, and Anabelle asked her to cuddle with her for a minute before she went to sleep. Jack was downstairs. Bea was only in there for a minute, and when she came down, Jack was gone. She started to panic. Long story short, she found him in our bathroom using the restroom. She kept telling him how scared and worried she was. With big brown eyes, he looked up at her and said, "I really sorry Bea, but I really had to poop." He is a ninja... fast and sneaky so I totally get it. One reason he had to go upstairs is because the little stinker locked the downstairs bathroom door from the inside, and they couldn't get it open.

Josh is doing great. He has had some really good days. Yes, there are days that are better than others, but we really can't complain so far. Someone made the remark to him,  "Wow, you really have a tough life." (They were being sarcastic.) It really hit him the wrong way. I don't think people realize that sometimes, life is tough and not everyone can see it. You can really look at that statement two ways.
1. Yes, life is tough. MS diagnosis is tough. Fatigue is tough. Overwhelming feelings are tough. Tecfidera side effects are tough. Future planning is tough. Worry is tough. Mood Swings are tough. Raising a family of 3 kids is tough. Work is tough.
2. Life is great. Being alive and breathing is great. Taking a nap is great. Feelings of peacefulness are great. New and improved medicines are great. Looking forward to the future is great. Enjoying the moment is great. Good moods are great. Raising a family of 3 kids is tough great. Having a job is great.
I guess there will always be a glass half full and a glass half empty approach. It really is about perspective.

I really intended to blog more this summer, but with all of the activities and things going on, it has been harder than I thought.
I have a special post coming up that has been on my mind. Being at the beach for the wedding has really made me think about it. Josh has also given me part of his story to add to the blog. He is working through the other part, so hopefully I will post that soon.

Anabelle is with me at work right now. She and I are going to leave here and have some girl time today. Love her and her sassy self...

Happy Tuesday. Hope it is a great one-

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Swim Nazi

Before anyone gets offended by the title, our swim teacher refers to herself as the "Swim Nazi." Well, actually "Swim Nazi, Jr." Her mother is the original, and their title comes from way back when the "soup Nazi" was popular on Seinfeld.

We signed Anabelle and Jack up for two weeks of lessons with the swim Nazi. Pricey? Yes. Worth it? Oh yes. Swimming is a survival skill that I think everyone should have. I witnessed this first hand when Nashville flooded. I saw our daycare teacher being rescued on a mattress because she couldn't swim. We decided to go full force with the swim Nazi.

Today marks the 4th day since they started. Jack is jumping in, coming up for a breath, then putting his head under water and swimming to the side. Anabelle is doing the same thing; she was able to do this after day 1. They encourage moms and dads not to stay, but let them know it is okay to hide in the bushes and watch. Today, Josh decided to stay and watch. He was pretty amazed at how well our kiddos did. Jack, when he is with us, is still convinced he is going to sink and stay at the bottom. Bless his heart-

Not much is going on in our household, which is nice. No snakes or other creatures to report on. Russell has started back to MDO, so I am planning on doing some fun things with the 2 big kids.

Josh is feeling pretty good. For that I am so thankful. The heat can be kind of hard on him which causes him to be tired. However, sometimes it is hard to distinguish between MS tiredness and 3 kids tiredness. I know the MS fatigue is brutal, so I am hoping this is more from 3 kids, swim lessons, and tons of stuff for work. I do think he has had experienced some minor spasticity in his foot, but it clears up once he is up and going. If this is all he has going on right now, then Praise God! I know of so many other people who deal with much worse each day. OR, he couldjust be getting old. (HeHe)

I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend. I hope the same is in store for you-

Monday, June 2, 2014

Summer Break... And We're Off!

The last few weeks have been somewhat of a blur. I was scheduled to have surgery on the last day of school, but the Tuesday before surgery I left school with 102.5 fever and tested positive for walking pneumonia. I have had this before. After all, I work in a germ factory. I was given 2 shots and antibiotics. I felt better a few hours later, but my surgery was canceled. My brother, who was coming to keep my kiddos during the surgery, decided to come visit and brought my nephew William. We all had THE BEST TIME. The SEC Baseball Tournament is played 5 minutes from our home every year. We were able to watch some baseball and just visit. Jack is obsessed with William, and for once, Anabelle was kind of left out. It was great to see them all have so much fun.

Here is a rundown on what all I want to talk about. Since I am so scatter-brained, I need to make a list!
1. World MS Day
2. Comfort Zones
3. Making Others Understand
4. Baby Birds and Snakes (EEK!)
5. Atlanta

World MS Day
In the mail a few weeks ago, we received a postcard advertising World MS Day from the MS Society of Alabama/Mississippi. The postcard also gave us information on redeeming free tickets to the Birmingham Barons game and a free hot dog and coke. (I love hot dogs so I was hooked just by the hot dogs!) Josh put the postcard on the kitchen table. I picked it up later that night and asked him why part of the postcard was blacked out. The heading was: Celebrate World MS Day, but the Celebrate had been marked out with a sharpie. Josh informed me that he felt like the Celebrate was a little much. I couldn't agree more. Celebrate? Nope. I am not going to celebrate MS. Recognize? Yep. I will recognize it. Honor? Yep. I will honor those who are battling this disease. We both agreed that Celebrate was just an odd word to use.

We took some friends and went to the game. We stopped at Good People Brewery to hang out for a bit before going into the stadium. It was raining a little so we were glad to take cover. The weather for the game ended up being perfect. I am pretty sure we spent 30 dollars on concessions. Jack was even on the "Kiss Cam" with our friend Grace. Seriously, the kid has some moves. He was on the jumbo tron again dancing. Overall, it was a fun night, and I am glad we were invited.

Comfort Zones and Making Others Understand
Since the official diagnosis of MS, our comfort zones have changed. Josh's comfort zone more than mine, but you know the saying- Where you go, I go, so our comfort zones are pretty identical. It is hard to explain this to our friends and family. Whether we want to admit it or not, MS has changed Josh and I. I said at the beginning of this that I wouldn't let it change us or control us, but the fact is, MS has changed us.
Chaos- Josh can't do chaos anymore. Big crowds, crazy kiddos running around, unorganized things- he just can't do it. He tries, but there are times when we shoot each other the look and know that it is time to head to a calmer environment. He can't help it. The MS takes a toll on a person mentally and physically; he just can't help it. He and I recognize it, though, and try to remember it is part of having the disease and not a sign of who Josh wants to be.
Isolation- We don't want MS to isolate us, but the truth is, there is no place more comforting than your home. The place where things are normal, and "how do you feel?" and MS aren't the topics of choice. Don't get me wrong, Josh is fine with people asking him how he is, but at home, he doesn't feel like MS dominates his presence.

Baby Birds and Snakes
Well, as I type, my husband is climbing an extension ladder at our home to try and get Puddles the cat out of a tree. He said she is about 35 feet up. I will update on how that goes...

This sweet cat has now brought us a baby bird. She didn't kill it, just pretty much wounded it and played with it. We watched two huge redbirds dive bomb her under the deck to try to get her to release it. Heck, I even chased her a bit, but when I realized the bird was wounded, there wasn't much I could do.

The other day, my sweet friend Elizabeth B. posted a video on Facebook of snakes coming out of a snake hole. It was utterly disgusting. Josh is deathly afraid of snakes. To the point of dry heaving and running until he is miles away. One time, when we were dating, we decided to take an old truck out on some land near my parents' house. We walked to the truck with a gas can. My dad had informed us that the keys were in the glove box. When I opened the glove box, about a 4 foot long snake slithered from inside the glove box to behind it. I looked back, and Josh had dropped the gas can and was already back to my parents' porch. Seriously, he left me for dead. Anyways, I decided to show Josh the video, because I thought it would be funny. He actually almost lost it when the first snake came out of the hole. Looking back, it was a mean thing for me to do. A little while later, when mowing the yard, he came upon a pretty sizable snake. Kinda shook him up, but the snake was long gone with 10 seconds. So, that night, Anabelle and I were snuggling on the sun room in a chair watching TV. Josh walks in and immediately says, "What is THAT?" (There may have been a choice word in there...) I looked down and saw a skinny, about 10 inches long, snake just be-bopping along the floor next to our chair. I threw Anabelle toward the kitchen and yelled for her and Jack to run. They went to the deck and watched the chaos through the window. Here is how this went down.
Josh- " I am going to trap it with a broom."
Me- "Nope. We need a shovel so we can chop it's head off."
Josh- "Seriously, Lori?? It will mess up the hardwood floors. I am going to get the broom."
Me- "If you don't chop it's head off, it is not going to die."
Josh proceeds to slam the snake with a broom. Well now the snake is thoroughly pissed off. The front part of the snake is now going crazy. Josh is yelling at me to do something, but I can't find anything to grab.
Josh- "Get the metal spatula!"
Me- "What? Okay!"
I grab the long metal grilling spatula. The snake is still going crazy.
Josh- "Do it!"
Me-" I can't do it if he is going crazy!"
Josh then steps on the snakes head. Now is my time to ..... STAB!
Josh- "@#*^!! That is my toe!!"
Whoops! My first stab attempt hit Josh's foot. I then managed to cut the snake in half. Sounds gruesome, right?
Me- "You know the snake is still going to be moving even though it is dead, right?"
Josh- "Whatever. Just get rid of it."
Sure enough, he lifts his foot and the snake's tail is going nuts. Josh seriously ran out of the room at this point.

For the rest of the night, Jack would randomly yell snake, which sent Anabelle running for the deck and me to the spatula. We would have to do a search, then give Anabelle the all-clear to come back in. After researching the snake, it was probably full grown. It is native to Alabama and not venomous.

I called my brother and true to being Mike Simpson's son, he said, "Dang Lori. You killed a good snake." He then proceeded to freak me out by saying where there is one, there is probably another.

I have come to the conclusion that the snake came in through the pool bag. I left it outside overnight and brought it in the next day. I am not sure if the snake snuck in the bag or not, but I am telling myself this so that I don't freak out about the snake's siblings possibly being in my house:) I also told Puddles she needs to earn her keep. Quit killing cute things and take care of real business.

This past weekend, I went to Buckhead for a girls' trip to celebrate one of our best friends from college getting married. I had a blast, and it was worth every penny and every hour I was there. I needed it. I needed a weekend that I was only responsible for myself with no agenda. Josh was awesome with the kids and never made me feel guilty for going. He gets it. I get it. Everyone needs time to themselves. One night, we went to a place called The Establishment. I am pretty sure I did not fit it, but it was fun. The parking lot looked like an exotic car dealership, and every person looked like they were on People Magazine's Most Beautiful List. I don't think the Honda Odyssey would have fit in.

I told Anabelle before I left that Mommy's need to take trips, and lots of times, it makes them a better Mommy. When I returned yesterday, Jack asked if I was back from my field trip. :) I was so glad to see my babies and Josh, but it was back to the real world, really quick!:)

Oh my gosh!! I forgot to mention that I went to IKEA for the first time!! That place is magical. Seriously, it is awesome!! I bought Russell a new highchair and a few odds and ends for the house. I am going back soon to just shop and enjoy.

Russell's new IKEA Highchair (Notice all of the Puffs on the ground. One day he will figure out the whole picking them up and getting them to his mouth:)

My best friend Lindsay and I in Atlanta!

Puddles Update:
Josh said he climbed up the tree another 6-8 feet after climbing the 30 foot extension ladder. He grabbed her, and she held on for dear life for the climb down. In the future, we were told she will eventually come down if she's hungry.  I am just glad he got her. I am a little attached:)

Hopefully I will be blogging more. I have been a little lax the past week or so. Josh and I talked about his story to post, and he has been brainstorming all that he wants to write and let people know. I can't wait to read it!

Happy Monday-