Tuesday, August 30, 2011

To whom it may concern...

To:   The random person who keeps sending gifts to our house

From:  Peg

First, I know you think you are doing a kind thing.

However, the girls' parents died almost 2 years ago and sending them silly little presents, strange bric-a-brac, and gift cards doesn't change that fact.  Stuff isn't going to make them feel better.  On the contrary, it furthers the impression they seem to have that they are entitled to special prizes...this is something we are trying to counter.

Second, not including a return address or name and signing the cards "Cheers!" isn't sneaky...it's creepy.  Your anonymity makes us all feel unsettled.  It's weird.

Third, when you started including food items (ordered from an online service) and including the insert our last name family and the insert girls' last name family on the package, it doesn't get less creepy or better.  It actually really annoys me.  We are the insert our last name family and not some hybrid.  The four girls are still their own family, but just because we adopted E and M our identity as unique family unit has not changed.  Also, the food you order sucks...the cookies are dry and way too sugary.

Fourth, there are 5 children in this house.  Only 2 of them lost their parents, but all 5 of them are adjusting and struggling through this new life.  Singling out the girls is really uncool. The boys already feel like the girls get way too much attention from us and our extended family.  Again, it undermines our efforts to treat all of the children the same and have the girls, in particular, regain a sense of normalcy.

Please stop.  I'd ask you directly and explain our reasons in a calm, rational way, but you don't include your name in a stalker, "watching our family" kind of creepy way.  Again, please stop.  It's extremely annoying and I've already got enough on my plate.

Thank you.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Here we go again...

The little kids (A, M and D) started school today.  We've now got 2 6th graders and a 4th grader.  E starts her sophomore year in high school tomorrow.  L doesn't start preschool for another few weeks.  The kids did fine today.  A and M were pretty nervous about starting middle school and so far, so good. 

I haven't posted in a few days.  I've been pretty overwhelmed by the impending start of school and the chaos that comes with it.  That and a little earthquake and hurricane scare have created a little bundle of stress in the pit of my stomach.

I don't want it to start.  I don't feel ready to go back into the stress of homework, practices, driving, etc...

Swim team made me feel like we didn't really have a summer until it was over.  The respite I wanted for this summer didn't come to fruition.  My dining room is filled with junk.  Our office is still in shambles.  My plans for organization are still on the back burner.  I'm just not ready.

I'm so glad I've got therapy tomorrow--I've been off for 2 weeks and I could use it. 

I create posts in my head all the time, but they never seem to make it to the screen.   I know this space is for me to write about what's going on with me, but I also worry about coming off as such a whiner.  I'm so conscious about being the "debbie downer" amongst our friends and neighbors that it seems to have permeated this space. 

I feel trapped in this never ending marathon and I don't want to be in the race.  I think this rambling post reflects that.  I'll try to do better tomorrow.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I've tried to do lots of things to help myself feel better in the last two weeks...

--I've been in desperate need for a hair color for months.  The kids were in the habit of calling me grandma.  I'd be lying if I said it didn't bother me.  I'd normally go to my hairdresser (the lovely Lan) but I just haven't had the time.  C and I were hosting a baby shower for S and I couldn't face the 30-something set feeling like an old lady.  I called my friend Jess down the street, bought a hair color kit, and we colored and straightened my hair.   I also went and got my brows done...yay!  Combined with a cute new outfit, I got lots of compliments at the party about how great I looked.  It was a lovely night.

--I got myself and the boys to the dentist and even got the follow-up ortho appointments for the boys.  I am ashamed to say that we hadn't been to the dentist since 2 weeks after the accident.  For some reason, the dentist just fell off the radar.  I'm glad I finally got us in.  I know this is something for the kids too, but it's been hanging over my head and having it done makes me feel better.

--While at the beach, I tried to stay technology-free.   I didn't check email,  facebook or blogs.  I rarely checked my phone.  It was a nice break.  I also spent an entire afternoon on the last day by myself at the beach reading.  Everyone else went jet skiing.  I could have gone to watch, but decided to take the time for myself. 

--A few nights ago, A and I finally went and saw Harry Potter together.  I loved it.  The tears that flowed down my cheeks multiple times during the movie were very cathartic.  Hanging with my sweet, funny A was also great.

--Yesterday K booked our trip to Montana in a few weeks to a friend's wedding.  We have been waffling about whether or not we should leave the kids.  I am so excited.  We are actually going a day earlier than expected so we can join in on a whitewater rafting trip and big dinner the night before the wedding.

--Last night I played soccer for the first time in many months.  I was almost giddy as I pulled up my socks over my shinguards and laced up my copas (my Adidas cleat of choice).  Being on the field was wonderful.  Running, sprinting, receiving and delivering passes, dribbling with ease through the opposing team, all combined for an almost meditative quality.  I know that sounds strange, but for me, I've always been happiest in the purest sense while playing.  I got a blister.  My right hamstring is sore today and will most likely be worse tomorrow, but it was completely worth it.

A great list, right?  Lots of things that I did just for me.  I actively did things to feel more like myself. 

So why don't I feel better?  Why have I woken up every morning this week with that all too familiar pit in my stomach?  Why haven't I been able to eat?  Why has my anger been particularly bad?  I woke up Wednesday morning and I was simply furious at the world.

I feel so profoundly alone in this struggle, but at times I just want everyone to go away. 

I'm tired of talking about everything that is our complicated life.  I'm tired of feeling like such a failure and whiner. I'm tired of being in such a funk.  I'm tired of grief sneaking up on me and forcing me to hide my tears from my 4 year old.  I'm tired of my 4 year old worrying about death and everyone leaving him.  I am tired of dealing with 2 traumatized girls.  I am just plain physically and emotionally exhausted.

I am still searching for something to help.  I'm still trying to find my equilibrium again.  I have faith it will happen again someday.  I wish I had more clarity about when that day might come.  I wish I had more control about making it happen myself.

Monday, August 22, 2011


We just got back from a week at the Outer Banks with K's family.  It was a good week overall.  Lots of cousin time, games of Boggle, reading on the beach, skateboarding, nighttime ghost crab hunts and huge family meals.  My parents came down for two days to hang with the kids.  I think it was a first step to getting used to being at the beach without Jeanne and Mike.  I think they had a good time.  E was an absolute delight and going with the trend her sister was a handful.  She spent her entire time with my niece who is 11 going on 17, so M continuously bent the rules (eye makeup, leaving house without telling us) and did a lot of talking back.  I tried hard to spend some time with each of the kids individually during the week.  M seemed like an elusive eel slipping threw my hands every time I tried to rein her in.  The boys also missed her and were getting sick of my niece dominating M.

One afternoon, I was walking down to the beach with L, carrying all the assorted tools of the beach (beach chair on back, boogie boards, buckets, umbrella) all while trying to hold his hand.  It dawned on me that this year the trek to the beach with him was more difficult because for the first time I wasn't pushing him in a stroller and using it to carry all the beach equipment.  I then realized that I'm stroller-free.  This made me really sad.  My big boy is growing up.  Moreover, we are most likely strollerless forever.  This made me really really sad.

I'm 40 years old.  When the accident happened, I was 38 and we definitely had not "closed shop" in the fourth kid department.  There are 5 years between D and L and since the older boys are so close we thought about how nice it would be for L to also have a sibling closer to his age.  It wasn't a guarantee that we'd have another kid, but taking in the girls has pretty much shut that door.  I also know that there are many families out there that don't get their family the way they planned it either.  We are lucky to have our three beautiful boys.  But I also have memories of my sister S saying she wouldn't take the girls because she wanted her "own" family and that she'd resent C and I for getting our families the way we wanted.  Sometimes I feel like saying to her, "well, guess what S, maybe we weren't done and this wasn't the family we planned either."  Even if we didn't have another child, this is definitely not the life we had planned for our boys.

More and more our family is beginning to gel.  Tonight the kids all played together happily and at one point D and E were curled up next to each other, sharing earphone and listening to a new song on E's ipod.  Those two are always at each other and it's nice to seem them hanging out.  August 13th was the first year anniversary of when K and I stood before the judge and legally became the girls' guardians.  We had a fun, busy day and barely even remembered what had happened the year before.  But I still feel like I'm grieving our old family and our plans for the future.  I know I should be grateful for what we have.  I know I should be honored to be able to take care of these two sweet girls.  I also have to be honest with myself, though, and acknowledge that I still yearn for the what was and a little sad about the what won't be.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I don't think it's a word, but I liked the sound of it for this post. :)

I feel like the last few weeks (months) I've been doing a lot of complaining about the girls.  I know it's understandable given the reality that it is their presence in our family that is causing the bulk of the stress around here, but I still feel bad.  In a move towards a more positive attitude, I thought I'd write a little about some great things about the girls....


--She has a great sense of humor.  When it's not directed at anyone in the family, she's downright hilarious.  She's been so well rested since we're on the swimming break that we're getting the relaxed, funny E more often.  Last night and today she's been really fun to have around.  The boys are loving it.

--She has wonderful friends.  Other than one friend (the infamous KK), all of her friends are sweet, smart and really good kids.  She does a good job surrounding herself with good people.  The new boyfriend is no exception.

--She works really hard and rarely complains.  Lots of kids have busy schedules and intense schoolwork but not many of them have the same determination and good attitude.  This is no more apparent than in her swimming.  Not many kids would get up at 3:40am , swim, go to school, do homework and not complain about it.  Her intensity in the pool is legendary on her swim club.  I have no doubt she'll make her goal this year of making Olympic trials.

--She is great with her little sisters KT and MG.  When she is with them, she is totally engaged and is so patient and sweet.  I know it really upsets her to see them with CA, but she does a great job keeping a good face in front of her sisters.

--On the same note, E is really good with little kids and is an excellent teacher.  She is now the go-to person for swim lessons this summer and all the little kids (boys and girls included) loved having Coach E as their junior coach.  She stays positive and fun, but at the same time does a good job of instructing in a clear manner.  The kids at our pool are loving it.


--Just like her big sister, M has a great sense of humor.  This is especially true when she's not trying too hard and drops a little one-liner that sends the entire family in stitches.  She and K really enjoy joking back and forth with each other.

--M definitely has a future on a stage of some sort.  Whether it was the angel Gabriel in the Christmas play, cheerleading or the most recent fashion show at camp, M lights up the stage with poise and energy.  For someone who struggles so much with self esteem, it's amazing to see her confidence in the spotlight.

--She has a great fashion sense and is really creative in her designs.  Since she started the Concerta, it's been so nice to see her drawing, creating and using all of the fashion "tools" she got for her birthday and Christmas.

--She really loves the boys and they love her.  Seeing her getting a hug from L or singing their latest rap with A, warms my heart more than you can imagine.

--M is a very social and friendly person.  It has not been surprising to me how easily she has fit in at her new school, our neighborhood and the swim team.  She is constantly getting requests for play dates.

I know I complain about them all the time, but I really do love these girls.  This love was there even before the accident, but our relationship has changed and the love and commitment I have for them is different.  All the kids often ask about who I love more (D is constantly saying I love M more than him).  Whenever I tackle this question, I always respond by saying that I love my sisters and Daddy the same amount, but in different ways.  I love the girls just as much as the boys, but it's still different at this point.  I don't know if I'll one day get to a place that I'll see our relationship in the same way.  I suspect that will be easier with M given her age.  Regardless, I need to remember that there are lots of things about the girls that I really like, even when they are making me pull my hair out.

Love; it will not betray you
Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free
-Mumford and Sons

Monday, August 8, 2011

Moving in the Right Direction

I'm slowing but surely feeling better.  Today has been a good enough day on the UTI front that I drank a diet coke this afternoon.  For the first time in days, I felt hungry at dinner and ate pretty well.  By yesterday I was feeling at about 40% and I'd give today about 75%.  As my "tired of picking up the slack" husband put it yesterday, "40% of Peg is better than none!"  Today I tackled our laundry situation and was able to finally put away clean clothes that have been sitting in baskets for weeks and I feel a bit accomplished having gotten it all done when not feeling my best.  I think these past few days have been a wake up call for how unhealthy I've become when a simple UTI floors me. 

Yesterday was my Grandpa's 95th birthday.  We had a barbecue at my parents and two of my cousins and my aunt from New York came down.  It was nice to see them and we all had a nice time.  We got the usual "how are the girls doing" in hushed tones, but at this point I'm so used to it I simply declare they are fine and try to change the subject.  I usually try to talk about the boys at that point because it still really bothers me that all everybody ever worries about is the girls.  It really gets old after a while.

E and M continue to be so trying.  It's one thing to deal with their grief and anxiety issues in a direct fashion.  It would actually be refreshing to talk about their parents and have a little cry.  But it's quite another to deal with their constant need for attention and getting their way.  On Saturday, when I was at my worst, M actually starting coming up with fake ailments to compete with me as to who was more sick.  E's latest gripe is that I haven't made an appointment with a dermatologist to get a mole removed.  I've tried to explain to her that it just really isn't high on my priority list and that I'll get to it when I get to it.  It is on her shoulder in a location that most people wouldn't even notice.  It is not that big, but it's become a source of irritation since little kids this summer at the pool supposedly asked her what it was.  I know it's tough being a 15 year old girl.  The problem is that she's just one out of 5 kids and dentist appointments, the ADHD medication update and eye appointments have simply taken priority.  There is only one of me and I can't do it all.  As I was writing this actually E just asked me if she could play rec-league basketball or lacrosse this year.  Huh?  When I tried to explain to her that her swimming commitment is about as much as she and our family could handle, I got the sad face and argument about how all these other people get to do all these other sports.  Sigh.

Then there are the boys.  A continues to get his summer reading done, drawing and talking about reptiles and amphibians.  D continues to bother everyone in the house (especially A and M) to get attention.  I had to tell him last night to stay at least 4 feet away from everyone or he was going to be grounded.  L continues to be the cutest 4 year old in the world (just a little bias).

I talked to the boys individually today, at the suggestion of my therapist, about what they thought about this first year with the girls (it's been a year yesterday).  D declared that it's been terrible and it would be much better if I got them to stop bothering him.  He did admit that having M around was fun, but that she mostly wanted to be with A (an astute observation).  He was playing wii at the time so I didn't have his full attention, but he response pretty much reflected his behavior.  A said he felt the year was "medium" and that he thought that it seemed like they'd lived with us forever but he still remembers life without them.  When I asked him if there was anything we could do to make things better he said, "do more herping!" (herping = observing and catching reptiles and amphibians in the wild).  Classic A response.

All in all I have to hope that we're moving in the right direction.  I can only do the best I can each day.  Some days that's going to mean getting lots of housework done and making a great meal, but other days I guess I need to be satisfied with spending quality time with the boys.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


I continue to feel awful in the nether regions.  Usually after 2 doses I feel much better, but it hasn't worked yet.  Then, last night (early this morning) at 1am I woke up with horrible stomach pains and terrible sweats.  I stumbled to the bathroom wondering which end everything was going to come out.  Let's just say it wasn't pretty.  Not sure what the cause was but it made me very nervous to take my medicine today.

I got up this morning late and had another uncomfortable trip to the bathroom.  I was able to chomp down Daddy's breakfast of champions...Dunkin Donuts...and take a shower.  This gave me enough energy to troop L off to his favorite cousin's 5th birthday party.  My boys tend to be on the shy side when it comes to biggish crowds and L was no exception today.  He refused to participate with the group in the games set up and eat lunch.  Once my brother-in-law had the balls and bats out for baseball practice (it was a sports-themed party) he warmed up and ended the party on a good note.  I really think he just wanted Jamie on his own and not have to share time. 

During the party I had the usual "you're doing a great job," "God wouldn't give you more than you can handle," "there is a special place in heaven for you" drive by from my brother-in-law's mom.  Lovely lady, but seriously, the timing was awful.  I don't know how, but I somehow made it through the party and got home.  I proceeded to walk in the house, look at K and declare I was completely done and going up to bed.  There I stayed until about 7 when I came downstairs to my sister S all dressed up to go out to dinner with C and their husbands to the swank new restaurant in our neck of the woods.  She was there to pick up E to babysit for C.  I don't know why but seeing them going out to dinner together without even thinking of inviting us added to my current overall funk.

So, in conclusion...I feel like crap.  Dog doo doo.  Absolute yuck.  I just ate something (another Daddy specialty...pizza) and another trip to the bathroom produced pain.  L is asleep on the couch which doesn't bode well for his sleep tonight.  My malaise amounted to another missed opportunity to de-clutter around here.  I think I'll head back upstairs, climb under my covers with the 3rd Game of Thrones book and call it a night.  Tomorrow has GOT to be better.  Right?

Friday, August 5, 2011


It started when I was going to bed on Wednesday night.  I tried to ignore it on Thursday morning and pretend it wasn't happening.  Last night was the last straw....just called the doctor and got an appointment at 12:45...Sometimes being a woman just sucks...I've got a UTI...ick.  I just explained to L why mommy had to go to the doctor by saying it hurts when mommy pees and he said, 'wanna try using my diaper?  That doesn't hurt."  If only it were that easy buddy.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


This is going to be another random post.  Lots of things are percolating in my head for longer posts, but I don't want my lack of time to keep me from writing and using this space.  Here are a few little nuggets...

Grief.  Loss is a common experience that all human beings will face.  Knowing that at some point in your life someone you love is going to die doesn't make it any easier.  My sister is dead.  My Zhea is dead.  I still don't really believe it happened.  Just thinking about her physically in the ground all alone makes me nauseous.  I miss Mike too at times, but it's not the same intensity and gut wrenching feeling.  Human tragedy happens everyday all over the world.  I don't know why I thought that our family would be immune to this kind of suffering.  I am reminded of our loss everyday because of the girls living with us.  Before they moved in, I felt at times that our little family could hide from it and return to some sense of normalcy.  It's almost been a year, but it still feels strange and new having the girls in our family.  As with everything I hope that time helps us all.

Health.  I am in terrible shape.  I need to get a little exercise before the soccer season starts or I'm going to get injured which would be awful all around.  I want to feel better.  I want to have more energy.  I just can't seem to find the time.   I need to find some inner strength to just bite the bullet and go run a mile.  I am an athlete.  It is so much a part of who I am.  Maybe if I find that inner athlete in me again it will have ripple effects elsewhere (eating, sleep, energy levels).  I was so tired today I felt sick to my stomach this afternoon.  When I got home from work at 4, the kids were just starting a movie.  I laid down on the hardwood floors with a pillow and fell dead asleep.  Uncomfortable, but I felt much better when I woke up.

Stress.  My tense jaw/tic thing is getting worse.  I'm doing it right now while I'm typing.  I hate when I do it, but it makes me feel better.  The hives are back although not as bad.  They get worse at night.  I'm trying hard not to take the stress and tension out on the kids.  As usual, D and his not listening, misbehaving little self is getting the brunt of things.  I don't know how to get him to listen and at the same time I can't control the events causing my stress levels to hit such high levels.  Somehow I need to break the cycle.

Organization.  I'm trying to gets some inspiration in this area from Pinterest.  Just the visual cues are helping my attitude about things.  I also did a little google research on hiring a professional organizer.  I don't think we'll ever actually go down that route due to the cost, but it's been interesting seeing the before and after pictures to give me some ideas. If I could get a handle on things before school starts at the end of the month, I know we'd start the school year on a better footing.  From what I've been reading, it would be really good for M and her ADHD issues.

Marriage.  I'm trying really hard on this.  Some of the work involves a little extra attention in the bedroom.  Some of it is just laughing at his jokes and enjoying the time we do have together at night after the kids get to bed.  I have to remember what a good man he is and how many men wouldn't have agreed to take the girls.  We're going to a wedding in Montana in September just the two of us.  I think it will be a good way for us to reconnect and start off the school year and all the kids' activities in a positive frame of mind.

Well, not many profound thoughts going on tonight, but I do feel good about getting it out.  One step at a time.  Right?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pretty Little Liars

For whatever reason, my boys are fairly truthful kids.  A especially does not lie.  Sometimes his honesty gets him in a bit of a pickle when he points out other's flaws.  White lies are totally beyond that kid.  This honesty also makes him a bit gullible. Since he doesn't lie, he really doesn't think other people lie either.  He also tends to see the good in people, which aids in other's abilities to sell him bridges in Brooklyn.  Of all the boys, D is probably the most quick to lie.  He's a bit sneakier than the other two, but at this point I know all his "tells" and can quickly get the truth out.  Sometimes we call it his little bag of troubles and all is usually confessed by the time he goes to bed at night.  I think L is still a little bit too young to really get into lying full force.

The girls are a completely different can of worms.  M lies at will.  The stories range from the fantastic to the mundane.  For awhile the boys believed everything that came out of her mouth.  Then they started calling her out on everything and pointing out the absurdity.  Now, they simply ignore it or cut to the chase with "you're lying" and leave it be.  The fake illnesses, injuries, and now weird stories about mean friends are exhausting.  It's really hard to believe anything that she says.  I try to give her the benefit of the doubt to start off, but even that is starting to wear thin.

E is a seasoned liar and manipulator.  It's been harder for me to tell when it's happening.  I think I've figured it out though.  It's usually always when she either wants to get her way with something or when she's backed into a corner about being right about something and she "swears" she read somewhere that a certain fact is true.  This morning when I pointed out to her that she had therapy at 4 tomorrow she suddenly stated, "oh...Lynne wants to just talk to just you again and I don't have to be there."  I looked at her and said, "yeah, that's not happening any more.  Lynne is your therapist and it's your time to work on your stuff."  Mysteriously, 15 minutes later, the scheduling was all worked out and my mythical appointment with her therapist went away.

I've told E that I trust her.  I tend to go along with M's silly lies.  But if I'm totally honest, I don't trust them.  I know they are lying.  I'm at a loss to know how to deal with it.  My dynamic with my own kids is just different.  Do I call the girls out on their lies all the time?  Do I just try to model positive behavior and hope it rubs off?  From the beginning we have always been honest with the girls about the big stuff (their sisters, the house, the financial issues, their dog).  I even outed Santa Claus with M because I felt like when she asked me directly I couldn't lie to her at this stage in the game.

I'm not sure where the source of the lying resides.  Maybe their therapists or mine might give me some insight as to the why so I can figure out the best way to handle it.  It's just another way in which my boys are different and I'm a bit unsure about how to parent the girls.  Our new relationship as their parents is still so fresh and fragile, I worry that I'll do something to mess it up, but at the same time I worry about them growing into adults that don't know how to be honest with themselves and others.

Monday, August 1, 2011

And So It Goes...

I have been writing posts in my head for days, but haven't had the time to sit and write.  More accurately, I haven't had the energy at the moments I do have time to myself to write.  As with most things in my life at this point, I only have the time or focus for small things at a time.  In that vein, here are ten things going on in no particular order or priority.

1.  We started M on her medicine (Concerta) for the ADHD.  It seems to be going okay.  I think in my optimism that this is going to solve all our problems, I've been seeing great improvements in areas where I if I'm really being honest, there really hasn't been a huge improvement.  She does seem a bit calmer and maybe more "put together."  She's still a little ball of anxiety and craving attention like crazy.  The fake illnesses and injuries are getting so old.  Then last week after fashion camp she started speaking differently...like one of the girls at camp.  It is driving all of us crazy.  I have to keep reminding myself that M is a work in progress and it may take years for her to settle.  I just wish there was something I could do to help her more, for all of our sakes.

2.  E's boyfriend situation has settled down. We're trying not to make a huge deal out of it.  He really is a nice boy and a total geek (they are a perfect match in that respect).  He's in the marching band, has a 4.1 and has been very nice and respectful.  It's nice to see her having more of a connection with our neighborhood and making friends.  She has such a hard time just chilling out and having fun, that at least for the next month when she has a break from swimming she'll have a bit of a distraction.  My radar is still up, but I'm trying not to overreact.

3.  D had a lemonade stand last Thursday to raise money for "habitat loss for reptiles and amphibians."  He raised $38 selling lemonade, brownies and cookies.  I was really proud of him.  With some help from his Aunt Katey, he organized the whole thing with signs, tables, baking etc...His little brother yelling "Flesh Lemonade!!" as cars passed by didn't hurt either.  Our big problem now is finding an actual organization that works towards protecting habitat for reptiles and amphibians. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.  He wants to write a letter and send the money post haste.

4.  A blogger that I have read regularly for years was in a car accident last week with her family and her husband was killed.  This has really affected me.  Just like with my sister, their accident was caused by another person being negligent. I can't stop thinking about it.  Her poor little boys.  Their oldest is only a few weeks younger than L.  It brought back our accident in full force.  Tragedy hits at random.  I visited Jeanne and Mike at the cemetery after I found out.  Even after almost two years, I still can't believe it happened.  It's still hard to accept they are gone.

5.  My mom spent the day today at the emergency room making it a pretty stressful day.  My mom has a rare neurological disorder called. Arnold–Chiari malformation.  Her symptoms come and go and have recently gotten pretty bad.  Talking with her can often be really frustrating and I sit there wondering if she's really listening.  She often falls asleep in her chair in the middle of the day.  My dad worried about dementia, cancer, etc...A few hours ago we got the news that it's not any of those things and it's still just the Arnold-Chiari.  Huge relief, but at the same time, we all still wonder if there is more we could do to help her.  Our family could just use a break and a little good news.  My dad also doesn't need all this stress.  He was recently diagnosed with diabetes and has had trouble coming to grips with the ensuing changes required in his diet.  It's hard to see your parents getting old.  They've been through so much in the last two years, I wish they could have some peace.

5.  Our house is still an absolute mess. I just can't seem to get a handle on things.  I have fantasies about some anonymous donor sending an organization and design expert to our house to organize our bedrooms, my office, the playroom and figure out ways to get us better organized.  I joined Pinterest and it's helping to inspire me and give my ideas.  I yearn for more time and energy for each day.  I feel like Sisyphus rolling my boulder of laundry, cooking, driving, logistics management up a huge steep hill only to start all over again each day.  I know I need to make a change.  I can't seem to make it happen.  Spending time with the boys or sometimes simply taking a nap takes priority.

6.  A got a new crested gecko last week.  His name is Cruz.  He is very, very cute.  It's made everyone really happy.  We're still trying to figure out exactly what he likes to eat, etc...but it's been fun to have a new addition to A's menagerie.  It has certainly made him happy.  Of course this new addition was tinged with a bit of sadness since it meant that his leopard gecko with gout finally died.  It was a slow and sad demise.  A was prepared for it, though, and took it pretty well.  Frankly, we've gotten pretty used to death and loss around here.

7.  The kids officially started their summer reading today.  A had actually already finished one of the books, but M and D hadn't started yet.  In retrospect, we should have started M a bit earlier but I just couldn't get my act together.  Today we hit both our closing Borders and Barnes and Noble to get books off the list.  Yes, I know we should have gone to the library, but that would mean having to remember to return the books and renew them.  Yes, I can do all of that online, but I have a problem with remembering to do just that.  Of course, this also meant new books for L.  I couldn't resist the discounts at Borders.  A also got the first two books of a series he's been wanting to start (The Ranger's Apprentice?).  I love that he loves books like me and am a sucker for feeding his reading habit.

8.  After a bit of an improvement after our trip to Hilton Head, K and I seem to be back in our funk.  I've noticed that is definitely coincides with periods of what I like to call "too much girls."  At times, the girls require the work for 4 kids not 2.  In the past week, the girls have been very needy in addition to meetings with the bank, letter from the commissioner of accounts concerning our first guardianship accounting, and lot of swim team things.  The boys have not gotten the attention they normally get and I know it bothers K.  I have to have faith that in the long run, the boys are going to be fine, but it's hard not to think about how this is not the life I wanted for them or us.  I'm not the mom or wife that I was and I'm not sure if I'll ever find my way back. It sucks.

9.  After getting sucked into the series on HBO with K, I've become a bit addicted to George Martin's Game of Thrones book series.  I finished book 2 last night and couldn't resist getting book 3 today at Target.  I've always had an affinity for fantasy books, but I wouldn't say that it's a genre that I've read often as an adult.  Of course I've read all of the Harry Potter books several times and have enjoyed reading the Rick Riordan Lightning Thief and Kane Chronicle books with A.  This series has completely pulled me in and has been a lovely escape.  I really don't know what I'd do without books in my life.  They have literally (no pun) kept me sane this last year.

10.  I really want to try to make more of a effort with this blog.  It helps so much to get the words out and process what's going on in my life in a way that's sometimes better than therapy.  I find myself reading and re-reading posts I've written to remember, reflect and find encouragement.  Some comments have brought me to tears, while others give me the courage for action.  This blog helps me feel not so alone in this new life.  I'm not sure how to find the time to do this, but I'm going to work on it.