Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Because we also love Chick-Fil-A

Hi, I'm here and alive and well, but just busy...I'll be back tomorrow for a much needed quiet day at home. In the meantime, watch this!


Friday, April 17, 2009

Fortuitous Fotos Friday

Don't you love alliteration?

Ok, so, my camera has gone to that great photo booth in the sky. The official word is that the repair would cost almost as much as buying a new camera, and that Canons usually only last around 3 or 4 years anyway. Is anyone else aware of this little piece of information? Still, I like Canons, and more importantly, I already have some accessories and such that would fit another Canon. So, in short, I've decided to get another Canon, but a much cheaper one. If I'm going to be replacing it every three or four years, I'll not be buying the $350 model, thanks so much.

And all of this was to bring me to say that I've cleaned out some photos from just before my camera died and wanted to post a few here. These are from Christmas. Christmas in April! Yay!

Before mass on Christmas Eve. Notice that Jack is already untucked. Aren't my babies pretty though? I think I should have some more.

Oh, and you may be wondering why Kain is dressed like a cow. Well, that is simple. Our parish has a pageant on Christmas Eve. Kain was cow #2.

The church nativity after Christmas Eve mass.

On the altar steps.

Maria and Tess in new Christmas PJ's.

The backside of Tess's PJ's.

Tess didn't last long into the evening.

Our family New Year's Eve party. Jack missed most of it. Lightweight.

Happy New Year's girls!

Kain on a ham dinner high.

Also, Fortuitous Fotos Friday will be an ongoing feature. When we were moving things around to make room for the piano, I found a stash of over a dozen rolls of film! Combined with film I've used in the last few weeks, I now have 15 rolls of film to be developed, and I have no idea what is on most of them. So, I'm having them developed a couple at a time and I'll post the fascinating results here!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I should have kept reading before I posted. Check it out! Very cute.

Still, a bit pricey for my blood. I wish I could sew worth a darn.
Aren't I just the bloggingest thing you ever did see?

I just had to stop in for a laugh, because I have been trying to catch up on my very backed up google reader and read this post at Testosterhome, and see, I have also been pining away for a fanny pack.

For different reasons though. I am constantly writing notes to myself, and I am also constantly needing something to write notes with and finding myself without the necessary materials to do so. It occurred to me that I need a giant dry erase board tied around my neck, or at the very least, something that I can use to attach a post-it pad and a pencil to my body. A little pouch of some kind, something that would hang from the neck, or maybe from the waist,,,and then realized I was thinking of a fanny pack.

Think they will make a come back?

What about something like a chatelaine? You know, those things that housewives of the past used to carry around sewing needles and such? Someone go invent something....

The Kain Update

It's been a while since I posted a Kain update. That's because life with Kain flows with the tides. Some weeks he is doing very, very well. Other weeks are absolute hell on earth. There is rarely anything in between. That's because Kain has been diagnosed bipolar, we've been told. See, read this here...Kain has pretty much everything on this list, with the exception of self-mutilating behaviors and cruelty to animals (THANK YOU LORD). The child described at the beginning? That would pretty much BE Kain.

I came up with a good metaphor for life with Kain. You remember the twister scene in the Wizard of Oz, right? Ok, work with me here...Dorothy is skipping home to see Aunt Em. The winds are picking up though, and so is the music. Trouble's brewing, you know it. She runs for dear life, looking for shelter from the storm.

That's me. I'm Dorothy. Kain's the storm. You follow? Come on, think the music from that scene in your head, "Duh da duh da duh dum, duh da duh da duh dum, DUUUUHHHH!" The house is spinning, the winds are howling,,,

this is Kain during a down cycle...raging tantrums because we aren't having pancakes for dinner even though it's Sunday, screaming at me because he thought I was teasing him when I hummed a song under my breath, yelling names at Maria during mass because she walked too fast on purpose. Then, the house lands. Thump. It's suddenly, shockingly, over. Even for Dorothy, she says, "Oh!", in this surprised little voice, remember? It's over. She opens the door in Munchkinland. "We welcome you to Munchkinland, tralalalalalala!"

And now Kain's in an up cycle. He's happy. More than happy. He's giddy. He feels good, after weeks of feeling bad, and he can feel the difference right away. He literally wakes up singing, "I feel so HAPPY today Aunt Mel", and I'm floored, because, I'm sorry, weren't we all mixing up the cyanide Kool-aid like 12 hours ago? WTH?

And that is life with Kain. Typically, anywhere from a weeks to a couple of months goes by before we get a twister, and then the giddiness which is accompanied by very good behavior. The behavior slowly becomes more balanced and normal again. He may have another giddy episode here or there, but eventually the twister comes again.

They (the psychiatrist/therapists) have been discussing this with me since the beginning. I have waffled back and forth with my acceptance of this over the last couple of years. Kain, after all, is not a child that woke up in an Ozzie and Harriet kind of environment with these symptoms. He's got a lot of reasons to be a bit, as my mom says, "Not Right In The Head". I'm not unfamiliar with bipolar disorder. There is a pretty extensive family history of, as the article stated, depressive disorders, alcoholism, and bipolar disorder. I'm not personally affected, but several close family members are, and I pretty much grew up with this. I'm very aware of how devastating it can be for both the person with the disorder and their families. So, in short, I don't *want* Kain to be bipolar. Accepting this means living with it long term, you see, and I would much prefer the problem to be a little more fixable, thank you very much. Plus, I figured it was a moot point. Whatever the cause of his behavior, whether it be chemical or environmental (bipolar disorder is actually thought to be both), we still have to deal with the behaviors. Does it really matter what the cause is?

Yes. Turns out, yes, it does matter, because we are much better able to handle his behaviors if we understand the cause. If Kain his hoarding bottles of maple syrup under his bed because of the carb-cravings and impulsiveness related to his disorder, we will deal with that quite a bit differently than if we think he's just being a defiant pain in the can. I handle his stream-of-consciousness 12-hours-a-day rambling conversations a lot differently if I know he is in a manic phase right now and just has to let some stuff spew out of his head than if I think he's just being demanding of my attention and getting on my nerves. Having a diagnosis doesn't make the symptoms easier to deal with, but it makes them easier to understand, and that, in turn, makes me more understanding.

It also makes me more proactive. Accepting a diagnosis gives me something to focus on, something to work with. It's something I can research, something I can learn about and gives me concrete things to help him with. This isn't going away. But I know what bipolar disorder looks like in adults. I know it is devastating. I also know that the symptoms CAN be managed, he can grow up to be a good person and functioning adult. In fact, some of my favorite adults in the world are bipolar. :)
And it gives my family somewhere to go. This disorder is very difficult for us to handle. When he is in a down-cycle we are all under enormous amounts of stress. We are, for example, starting Gregory Popcak's telecounseling service this week expressly for the purpose of help the rest of the members of our family deal with this disorder, because frankly, dealing with Kain's moods is enough to make us all feel pretty bipolar. Ironically, knowing this isn't going away is forcing us to find concrete and permanent ways to cope.

Instead of letting him feel shamed and despondent over behaviors even adults struggle to manage, I can let him know that I do understand how hard he has to work and actively help him find better ways to function. I resisted the diagnosis because I thought it would mean giving up hope for his future. Instead I find just the opposite. It's not his fault, and it's not my fault, that we haven't "fixed" him in the two years he's been with us. We will never "fix" him, and that was a pretty unrealistic goal. But we can help him. It gives me hope. We can help him. We can do this.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

what part of spring are you?

You Are Blooming Flowers

You are an optimistic person by nature. In even the darkest times, you are hopeful about the future.

You feel truly blessed in life and can sometimes be overwhelmed with emotions.

You have an artist's eye. You are always looking for beauty in the mundane.

You have a good sense of aesthetics, especially when it comes to shapes and color.

This was a fun one, give it a try! I am definitely an optimist, thank you Lord for that one, and I do have an artist's eye, if not an artist's talent, heh.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter quick takes

Best Easter Moments---

- Removing our crown of thorns and purple altar cloths and placing lilies and our tall white Easter candle in its place.

- "Unburying" our Alleluia. I had snuck out the unfinished wood letters, painted them white, and added glittery pink and yellow flower stickers. I unwrapped the purple tissue paper from our makeshift candelabra we'd been using for praying the stations during Lent, and then rewrapped it in gold wrapping paper leftover from Epiphany. It came out quite pretty. But no pictures to share until I get my "old school" film developed.

- My baby girl, frilly and pink, in her very first Easter dress.

- My tiny boy in his first tiny tie.

- My first attempt at "Easter Pie", a recipe from this book. It was a bit complicated but very rich and very yummy. I love old recipes full of tradition, and this one is wonderful...33 layers of phyllo dough, one for each year of Jesus' life, 12 eggs, one for each disciple. I think we have a new official family tradition.

- Maria, singing the "Hallelujah" in the choir at the mass on Easter morning. She got to be at the microphone, and she did great!

Regrettable Easter moments-

- Kain's constant tantruming over one thing or another. Holidays don't really bring out the best in him, and he was in a "down cycle" anyway, so it was especially rough sailing.

- The vigil. I love the Easter vigil mass, but it is now officially too long and too much. We won't do it again next year.

- The announcement our priest made at the end of mass,,,he is being moved to another parish.

Funniest Easter moments-

- My first attempt at egg bread. I let it rise too long the second time around, so it was comically huge and not very wreath-like, but it was still pretty and very good!

- Kain coming into the kitchen at the moment of frantic-pitch meal preparation involving many layers of phyllo dough in the above mentioned pie, swinging his Easter basket over his head, and knocking the globe out of the ceiling fan onto the ceramic tiles where it smashed into a billion shards. Ok, it wasn't funny at all at the time, I just remember shrieking, "OUT! GET OUT!", but it'll be funny someday.**

- John sitting on Jack during mass. Not starting to sit on him or almost sitting on him, but full on sitting on him, which caused everyone to collapse into fits of hysterical giggles in the middle of a very long Easter vigil. John has a history of sitting on crazy stuff. He never, ever looks before he sits. That's not really a good habit to have in this house.

**Note to self, buy new globe for kitchen ceiling fan. Also for living room ceiling fan which broke in a similar Kain-related incident months ago.

Hope you all had a Happy and Blessed Easter. And remember, it's not over! It's not a day, it's a season!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Wrapping up Lent

Ok, gang, Lent's just about over. We are starting the Triduim today. For my separated brethren, that means the last three days before Easter--- Holy Thursday (the Last Supper and institution of the Eucharist), Good Friday (Jesus' passion and death), and Holy Saturday. We are scrambling to come up with some last minute plans. John's car has sustained an $1100 repair and is at the dealership this week. Since he is working today and tomorrow, he has the van and I have no transportation to Holy Week services. :(

So, here are our plans---

Today, Holy Thursday- We have been watching Jesus of Nazareth this week and will continue it today, and we will keep working our our Lenten Bible readings. We are behind on them and so we'll be pushing to catch them up over the next couple of days. We will have a washing of the feet at home too.

Good Friday- Hot Cross Buns! More Jesus of Nazareth! I'd like to do a Veneration of the Cross here as well, and we will observe a silence (as best we can here) from 12-3, then say the Stations just before 3pm.

Holy Saturday- Coloring eggs and other preparations for the big day. Our plans have changed because rain is forcasted on Easter, so we will be home for Easter Sunday instead of at my mom's. I find myself suddenly needing to come up with an Easter dinner. We will put resurrection rolls in the oven and then go to the Easter Vigil mass.

Easter Sunday- Maria and I will return to church for a very early mass. She is singing in the choir. John and the littles will probably stay at home. We'll come to do egg hunts and baskets and brunch.

Ok, that's the gist! My camera is a bust, so I am cameraless...I've ordered a replacement. In the meantime, I'm going to try to hunt up my old school camera for Easter. I've been interrupted 247 times during this post. Oh, these fun, fun school-free weeks! haha!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

friends, real and virtual

Beck wrote a post on friendship and posed the question, "Is it easier to make friends as an adult than as a child?" I started to leave a comment but realized it would be really long and border on hijacking her post, so I moved here instead....

A THOUSAND TIMES YES. I was painfully shy as a child/teenager. People who know me in real life now may not believe it...but some might. I've had friends tell me they thought I was a snob when they first met me because I seemed standoffish, but I'm not, really...that was just my inner 12 year old showing.

But it's still hard as an adult. I wonder how many friendships we lose out on too due to superficial judging. I've been very aware of this in myself lately. We recently made an unexpected visit to a park...not to meet anyone, it was a "we have to kill some time" kind of thing...and I found myself scanning the other mother's at the park and silently picking them apart. C'mon, man, don't judge me! I don't mean in an ugly sort of way, I just mean people-watching, sizing things up, watching them with their children and the way they interacted, assessing their clothes, their speech, and knowing that I would likely have far more in common with this mom.....

than with this one....

Not only is there the matter of finding someone you click with, there's the time constraints, on both sides, to deal with. Since we're not 12 years old anymore, we all have so much of our own stuff going on...and your expectations have to click too. There is a woman, a real life friend (no she doesn't read my blog, hehe...that would be really passive aggressive, huh?) that I just dearly love to spend time with and have been friends with for years. But we hardly see each other. She just doesn't seem to need to spend much time with people. An introvert, I guess. Or else she hates me and doesn't know how to tell me. Definitely one of the two. There have been times I've really needed a friend and have tried to lean on her more than she seemed to want, and my feelings were definitely twanged by that experience. This happened fairly early on in our friendship. We had been getting along famously, we had everything in the world in common, and then she just kind of pulled back. Around the same time a close family member was dying and I called her, twice, and she didn't return my phone calls. That really hurt. And soon after *that* she had a close family member dying (I know, aren't we tragic though?), and I tried so hard to be there for her and she made it pretty clear she didn't need that at all, and I thought, well, she's just introverted and private and not everyone feels the need for constant verbal diarrhea that I do, and I let it go, only to find out that she *did* need the support, she just was accepting it from EVERYONE ELSE WE KNEW. Like, literally, everyone else knew everything that was going on and was speaking to her on a regular basis but me. So, being the 12 year old that I am, I pulled back too. Maybe that's not fair. Maybe she had her own stuff going on at the time that had nothing to do with me. Maybe she was dealing with a death in the family and was a little too wrapped up in all of that than to worry about my inner 12 year old, but there it is. I felt burned again, and there were a couple of other instances that just made it clear that she probably didn't think we had as much in common as I did. And while we are still friends, and I do love her dearly, and she is really a very sweet woman, we will probably never be any closer than we currently are, because she doesn't seem to need that and I'm not willing to put myself out there to her like that again. And that makes me kinda sad. And the ironic thing is that sometimes when I do see her it feels like the tables have turned, that maybe she is feeling a bit neglected by *me*, which makes this all very exhausting and ironic and....

I did say that this was *easier* as an adult than it was as a kid, right? Ok, maybe *making* friends is easier as an adult, but *keeping* friends was definitely easier as a kid when a love for Cabbage Patch Kids was all you needed to bring you together.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Happy Birthday!

To John, my dear husband and April Fool's baby.

The kids are devastated that John is working today. They consider it absolutely unfair that he would have to work on his birthday, though I've explained the them that birthdays are not considered a national holiday. I've also told them, much to their horror, that if they were in public school they would likely have to go to school on their own birthdays as well.

We had planned to come up to John's work and surprise/embarass him with one of these cakes today. It's a bit of tradition to make a corny April Fool's cake for his birthday. But we are having some trouble with one of the cars at the moment. Unless I want to get up very early, load up the baby, drive for an hour, then come home and do it all again tonight, we are kind of stranded at home until tomorrow. Frankly, I love the guy and all, but I'm not really motivated enough for all of that. So, we are making some cookies for dessert tonight and we will do the whole cake/presents thing tomorrow.

In the meantime, Happy Birthday darlin'. I love you, you are my best friend in the world, and I thank God every day for you. (sorry, old pictures,,,,camera getting fixed tomorrow!)