Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Birthdays and Thanksgiving

So this year Thanksgiving fell on my birthday.  I actually like when this happens because I get to see the people I love.

My present to myself was sleeping in.  The last 1.5 hours of that I wasn't really sleeping.  I stayed buried in my covers with my eyes closed and stayed on the edges of sleep and consciousness. Lovely.

I came downstairs to coffee, donuts and the Macy's day parade.  I stayed in my jammies and peeled 9 lbs of potatoes with giant balloons and bad lip syncing in the background.  I happily opened a new pair of running shoes, the new barefoot contessa cookbook and Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling.  M made me a cute card on the computer with pictures of all the things I love.  The last page was a picture of all of us in Hilton Head. Very sweet.

Around 2 we headed over to K's folks to hang out a bit with his siblings.  His Uncle Philip was visiting from England and it's always nice to see him.  It was a fun afternoon and all the kids had a blast playing with the cousins.

We headed over to my parents in time for the start of the Skins game.  Again, the cousins all had fun running around outside together while the adults watched the game and got dinner ready.  My 96 year old grandfather was there so we all took turns sitting next to him and keeping him company.  Dinner was good and and my 9 lbs of mashed potatoes were well received.

The weather on "black Friday" was absolutely lovely and we spent the morning raking leaves together as a family.  I dropped A off at a skate park in the afternoon while I got my hair cut and colored.  My sisters S and C brought me out to dinner to celebrate my birthday that night and surprised me with some lovely presents.

We also celebrated K's father's 70th birthday this weekend with the whole family.  We had an adult-only dinner in Georgetown Saturday night and a family brunch with all the kids after mass on Sunday.

Yes, we had our normal kid drama.  Yes, there were annoying political conversations (arguments) among K's siblings.  Yes, my sister-in-law with marital problems was a mess.  Yes, CA and KM were absolutely annoying and hard to deal with on Thanksgiving.

But, yes it was a wonderful 4 days of family, love and fun.  A nice little respite from the normal crazy.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Part of my job is that I work within the Center for Response and Security Lessons Learned.  We do research on issues that can be gleaned from all kinds of incidents such as terrorist attacks or hurricanes. In our house this morning we all learned a bunch of lessons. 

E got in a minor car accident just outside of our neighborhood.  She's fine, the other driver is fine.  Not too much damage on either car.  She admitted it was totally her fault.  She was tired and wasn't paying attention.  Lots of tears and embarrassment that she made a mistake.

Here's what we learned:

1.  Hopefully E is going to learn that she has to be more careful.  We are not setting these boundaries and rules with her driving to be jerks or to assert our power.  It is for her safety.  She also has to realize that sleep is extremely important and if she's going to continue her swim schedule and drive, she HAS to get enough sleep without exception.

2.  We're also hoping that E realized that she's not perfect.  She makes mistakes just like everyone else and if she does make a mistake the wheels aren't going to come off the bus.  There will be consequences, but we still love her and aren't going anywhere.

3.  K and I handled the situation pretty well (patting ourselves on our backs).  I got the rest of the kids up after her phone call and he went to go find her (it was literally outside the entrance to our neighborhood).  He'll do a cost benefit analysis to figure out whether we'll claim it with our insurance or pay out of pocket.  Our insurance has already ballooned with her on our policy and this could make it even higher.  Thank goodness the woman didn't call the cops or she could have gotten a citation and lost her license (she's still in the probationary period).

4.  The other kids saw us deal with the situation calmly and without anger.  We need them to know that they'll make mistakes in their lives and we'll always be there to help them.

With the holiday looming tomorrow, we are obviously thankful that E and the other driver are okay and that it wasn't more serious. We've learned a lot about life perspective in the last 3 years. While I honestly wish that this had never happened and we wouldn't have to deal with the mess of getting both cars fixed, etc., I'm glad that we all learned these lessons.  Especially E.  In the long run, I think we'll all be the better for it as individuals and as a family.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Good

I often ponder about whether or not I'm a debbie downer by nature or that it's been the circumstances of the last three years that has shifted my focus to see the negative over the positive.  I honestly don't remember the old Peg in order to have the perspective to make a reasonable judgement.  I do tend to write about the hard stuff here because this blog has been such a great outlet for me to express my feelings, get good advice or plain support and understanding.

This morning I decided to make a list of the good things in the last few days as a reminder.  Drum roll please...

1.  Within and hour of the big blowup the other night with E and the panic attack by M, this is what I found when I came upstairs after hiding out in the basement talking to C.
She is an absolute trip.  The boys enveloped her in their love and wackiness and pulled her out of the negative.  They are so funny together.
2.  After some thinking and a night's sleep, I realized that E's explosion and our fight was actually a good thing.  She holds everything in and probably needed to have that emotional release.  We've been back to normal and her texts, jokes and demands have continued without skipping a beat.
3.  My sweet little L continues to bust is out like a rock star in school.  He is really proving himself to be quite the artist.  It's not only his great fine motor skills, but the imagination displayed in his creations is awesome.  I look forward every day to dig into his backpack to see his latest masterpiece and listen to his explanation of the story he was telling.  Everyone loves him at school and the teachers all come up to me and tell me how cute and funny he is.  The twins teacher even mentioned to my sister during parent teacher conferences on Monday how awesome it is how close the cousins are and that the three of them sit at their individual class lunch tables so they can be as close as possible to each other.
4.  Speaking of parent teacher conferences, all of them went very well last week.  A was only .9 off in his grade point average from getting first honors and all his teachers are so proud of his grades.  M is obviously working really hard and her grades were much better.  E has a 4.63 GPA which is pretty amazing given her swim schedule and 5 AP classes.  D is his usual awesome academic self and more importantly his teacher told me how happy she is to see how kind he is to all of his classmates and his leadership among his peers.  Yay!!
5.  K had a follow-up ultrasound on his leg on Monday and the clot is dissolved!!  The relief for both of us is huge.  He can start some gently running.  No contact sports or heavy machinery (that's a hilarious notion if you knew my husband...he is not the handiest of people).  The one disconcerting thing is that there has been damage to the vein and there is scar tissue formed and we're not sure what that means for his long term treatment.  We're taking the good news though and running with it.
 6.  Our 17th wedding anniversary was last Sunday.  We really didn't celebrate because of the busy day, including K and D driving home from NC for a soccer tournament.  I gave him a new golf bag which was a direct request from him.  He actually only gave me my gifts last night which included a cool hoodie and pull-over sporty nike shirt.  Not very creative, but  I really like them.  I decided to react really positive and ignore the lack of thought and tell him how much I really liked them.  This made him so happy.  I could see how proud he was of himself and it made me feel great.  I need to do more of this with him.  I'm starting to look forward to our little trip down to Florida in a few weeks.
7.  D started playing basketball for school this year in the CYO program.  He usually plays for our local rec team with K as his coach, but asked us if he could play for school with his friends.  The level of play is supposed to be a bit better, but it is definitely not going to be logistically very convenient.  We've waivered back and forth with our decision.  Last night, though, at practice as I watched him slicing and dicing through the lane and high fiving his friends it was wonderful to see how happy he was.  Watching him play left me with this overwhelming feeling of gratefulness for this little boy.  He can be such a pain in my rear, but seeing him so happy reminded me what a great and fun kid he is.  We had a nice talk on the way home in the car.  I need to always remember to give all the kids one-on-one attention when I can, but D really seems to need it.
8.  We are big readers in our house.  I love books.  We recently had the book fair at school and I may have gone a little overboard, but the kids are loving all the new books (it is for a good cause after all or at least that's my excuse).  A in particular has been devouring all the new purchases.  I'm currently reading the latest Rick Riordan (Mark of Athena) and absolutely loving it without embarrassment.  A finished it first and it's so fun talking about it with him as I read it.  L picked out some hilarious books to and curling up with him on the couch at night plowing through "our stack" has been lovely.
Anyway, while things still suck on so many levels, I need to have these reminders that not all is bad.  We are still a loving, fun family.  I am determined not to let the negatives define us.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Tonight was a bad night.

E had a bad day at school.  She was obviously on edge as she picked fights with her sister at dinner.  With me she was fine, though, and she shared about her day and made plans for the week.

The boys and I were siting in the family room while I did some work on the computer and the boys flitted from some weird football game and the cartoon on tv.  E walked over at some point and asked about when we're going to let her drive by herself to swim in the morning.  Currently, we let her drive 15 minutes on a two lane, 45 mile an hour road where she meets her coach and heads to practice.  It's been working fine.  At some point, we think we'll let her drive herself, but not now.  That would involve her driving 30 minutes down a road in which people drive 60+ miles per hour.  All of this at 4am and all of this on the same road in which her parents were killed.  Technically, she's not even allowed to be on the road till 4 am anyway, so we are skirting the law by a few minutes.

When I said I don't know and that it may be never, she lost it and called me a liar.  She always catches me at the wrong time and knows how to push my buttons. The manipulation started and the fight escalated.  I called her out on the multiple lies the past week from her (mistake by me) and she started sobbing, lying some more and then more sobbing.

Enter M.  She started having a panic attack and crying for us to stop fighting.  Shaking, freaking out, and yelling at us to stop yelling.  It was awful.

E finally went upstairs and locked herself in the bathroom.  M had locked herself in their room.  I got M out of her room and headed to our room, where K was hiding out.  We both finally got M to calm down and eventually go downstairs with the boys.

I went in to talk to E and she was hysterical.  She couldn't talk.  She couldn't stop crying.  I felt terrible.  We talked calmly.  She kept saying, "I don't want to be like this.  I don't want be the typical drama teenager.  I don't want to feel this way.  I don't know why I'm crying."  It was so sad.  I hugged her from behind, kissed her on the head and told her I loved her.  I left her crying softly and trying to study her AP history.

Meanwhile, everyone else went bonkers downstairs and were sprinting around and screaming like banshees.  Lovely.

I called C.  She talked me off the ledge.  I eventually got everyone settled down and in bed.

This is just so hard.  I never know if I'm saying or doing the right thing with the girls.  It's all so complicated.

This was a very bad night indeed.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Beaver Fever and Other Things

I should be working.  The election results coming in on the tv are just distracting enough to make me want to pause from the work and write a quick update.

Last night I brought M and two of her good friends to see Justin Bieber (or according to L "Justin Beaver").  The screams, the tears, the jumping up and down and hugging was hilarious.  We had a wonderful night and M claimed it was the "best night of my life!!"  It was fun to be part of it.  She had no voice this morning, but rallied and went to school on time and even made soccer practice tonight despite getting home at midnight.

M sending her love to Justin.

Last Saturday was baby H's first birthday party.  S hosted a birthday party at a local farm.  Unfortunately, the weather was cold and overcast, so none of the kids hit the farm and stayed in the rented party room.  It was still fun.  I decorated the cake for the occasion and despite my disappointment in the sheep, I was pretty happy with the result.

K and I are still wrapping our heads around his health issues.  I really am trying not to think of what could have been, but given my life experience in the last three years, my mind often wanders towards the negative.  We still have no idea why this happened, which worries me that it could happen again and that time we won't be so lucky.

He's bringing D to a soccer tournament in North Carolina this weekend.  The doctor said he can go as long as he stops every hour and gets out and walks around.  I'm worried he's not going to do it.  I'm worried he's going to forget to take his medicine.  I just plain worry.

I am not sure how I feel about my meds still.  I'm faithfully taking them.  I'm not sure I'm having the same profound effect.  It's been a little over a month since I started so my brain chemistry should be adjusted.  My therapist on Monday suggested I should talk to the doctor about increasing my dosage.  I'm not keen on going in this direction and am hoping the extreme stress of the last month has impacted the effectiveness.

I feel like I'm in a bit of a limbo.  In between states of being.  Not as sad as a week ago. Not completely happy.  Stress is the underlying current flowing through it all.  There's always something to be done and something not getting done.  Speaking of, I better get some paid work done tonight.