Spring is in the Air

Holy crap. I haven’t blogged in two months? TWO MONTHS?! That’s the longest I’ve ever gone since I started blogging to begin with. And the longer I’m away, the harder it is to pick up again.

I’ve been in a funk. I mean, a FUNK.

If I didn’t have children depending on me, I may not actually have gotten out of bed for a long time. I was going about my days, muddling through like a zombie. I have not been taking care of myself very well, and I have been letting things slide. Like the blog.

I’m making changes though. Big ones. Getting back on track with my health, with my life, with my writing and other creative outlets. It’s going to be a long, hard road. But, I can do it.

Like I said in my last entry, I’m in therapy now. And it’s been great. I’ve been holding a ton of anxiety about cancer and my future and all of that, but also anxiety about things I haven’t thought about in years. It’s a bit cliche to say so I suppose, but my therapist knows exactly the things to ask me to get me to open up the past and figure out how it’s affecting my present and how it might affect my future, and that’s helping me feel more in control. She’s fantastic. If you live in the city and are looking for someone, I can pass on her number.

Two months ago, I was hopeful for the future. And I knew the work that had to be put in. But I wasn’t quite ready to do it yet. I’ve had a lot of very eye-opening, you-gotta-figure-this-out-lady moments lately, and I’m ready.

Thanks for your patience.

Some stuff you guys missed while I was away pouting:

1. Ferris turned 18 months officially. He’s getting to be quite the little dude. He’s adventurous and tough, but very sweet and kind. He LOVES animals. And his new favorite thing in the universe is Thomas the Tank Engine, both playing with brother’s forgotten train sent and also watching Thomas on the TV. Other current likes: climbing, snuggly blankets, milk, climbing, opening doors, slides, trucks, climbing, puzzles, walking around the neighborhood, climbing, and trying anything that anyone else is eating or drinking. Dislikes: when daddy leaves for work, falling down, having his teeth brushed, getting pushed too high in the swing, having toys taken away from him, split pea soup.

2. I went and turned 35. Which is a big part of some of this “rebirth” I’m feeling right now. Not only is it one of those milestone birthdays, but my therapist was telling me that our bodies and lives tend to move in these 7 year patterns. And 35 is a multiple of 7. I’m ending one 7 year cycle and beginning another. She asked what I’d like to do in the next cycle, and I surprised myself with all the answers I had. It’s going to be a good one I think.

3. The one year anniversary of my kitty’s death came and went and I handled it so much better than I envisioned I would. I think I’m finally moving into Acceptance territory with my grieving. Which is good for his memory and good for me. It’s opening up some space in my brain for other things. Exciting changes.

4. Bowie spent his entire Spring Break two hours away at his grandparents’ house. He had a ton of fun, and we got a little break from each other. A much needed break from each other. It gave me a chance to focus on Ferris for a while and focus on the house a bit. And when he came back, it was such a great feeling to welcome him home. Even though he had a blast, he still missed us all a lot.

So yeah, time marches on, and all of that. Thanks for sticking with me.

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My New Year Starts Today

One year ago today, I went in to see my dermatologist, and with Ferris wailing in the background, she cut off the small, suspicious looking mole on the outside of my right thigh, and sent it off to the lab for the diagnosis that would upend my entire life.

From surgery and resulting issues with breastfeeding Ferris, to the financial upheaval of all of it, to the mental impact of getting a cancer diagnosis at age 34, it was a bumpy ride. But, I’m happy to tell you that today, one year after it all began, that I am finally starting to figure it out.

It took me a long time to realize that the bad things that happen to you in your life are not the hardest things you have to do. After all, you are still here, you have survived the bad things. The hardest part is taking the new person you are after they are over, and figuring out how the rest of your life will be for that new person. People (myself included) are always waiting to “get over” the bad things that happen. But I finally figured out that you never get over anything, you simply move on. You are changed, maybe even damaged, but you have the rest of your life to live. It’s really, really hard, but you have to forge a new road for yourself, the old one is gone.

We recently paid off the significant medical debt we had accumulated, both for my melanoma (surgery, office visits, tests, lab work and biopsies, oh my!) and also for my time in the hospital having Ferris, which had happened just 5 months prior. Looking back at the year, I don’t have a clue how we managed, but we did. And it is like taking a huge breath of fresh air every time I remember we don’t have medical bills saddling us down anymore.

I also followed through with one of my plans for the new year and found myself a therapist. I’ve always been a pretty anxious person and a worrier, and so, as I mentioned recently, the whole experience shook me to my core. I’m having trouble dealing with all of that in itself, but also in conjunction with the whirlwind of other major events that happened around the same time (registering Bowie for Kindergarten, having my 19 year old cat put down, appearing on Good Morning America) that I think kind of distracted me from mentally handling the cancer, and I thought it might be a good idea to talk to someone about that. I’ve been to see her three times now, and it’s been really good. Right now I leave there feeling wiped out. Just drained. Maybe that’s how therapy goes, I don’t really know, I’m new at this. Or maybe over time it will be easier. I can feel things lifting, getting lighter and lighter, little by little. I think it’s working out.

A year ago, I didn’t even know that thing on my leg was cancer. All I knew was it didn’t look right, and a doctor should probably look at it. I am SO GLAD I made the appointment. Or I might not even be here today!

Today it feels like the actual start of my new year. I’ve been in kind of a holding pattern since 2014 started. Glad that 2013 was finally over, but not quite sure what comes next. Today feels significant. Today is what comes next. Today and the rest of the days. I’m changed, but I’m still me. And I can do this.

 

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Year in Review 2013

2013 was a big one. Full of twists and turns, ups and downs, surprises and losses. I’d use the old cliche about emotional roller coasters, but truth be told, I stayed pretty much at the same sad, anxious, emotional level all year. I held things together by using my family and my bloggy community as duct tape. It was really hard to write this Year in Review, which is why it’s being posted so late. Lots of inward observation and reflection. Which gets a little exhausting. I’m hopeful for a happy, healthy, well-adjusted 2014.

1. What did you this year that you’d never done before?

Had to have a pet put down. Had melanoma. Had a lymph node removed. Sent a kid off to elementary school. Appeared on national television.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I’m sure I resolved to lose weight, as I always do. I didn’t lose any, I actually gained a small amount, but the gain has leveled off. I’m also sure I resolved to save money. We’re trying. *cough* MEDICAL BILLS CAN BITE ME *cough cough*. More realistically, I’d like just overall stop and smell the roses when it comes to my boys. And I’ll resolve to save money *this* year, because the aforementioned medical bills were recently PAID IN FULL (woooot!). Barring any injury or illness this year, we should do all right.

3. Did anyone close to you die?

My sweet, sweet kitty, Nashua Bean. I’ve had a hard time grieving for him because he was, after all, just a cat. But, also a good, sweet friend for nearly 20 years. He brought so much joy to my life, with nothing expected in return but love, food and scooped poo. He had such a kind soul, and I know he’s somewhere, watching over me.

I also lost a dear friend and favorite high school teacher to breast cancer. She was something really special, and she will be missed by many.

4. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

Money. A therapist. More time to myself. My new Etsy shop up and running. More blog posts. A lot less in the cancer department.

5. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

My melanoma diagnosis. The day Nashua died. The day Bowie started Kindergarten. Ferris’ first birthday. My brother’s wedding.

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Finally getting to the dermatologist and getting the cancer before it got me.

7. What was your biggest failure?

Not properly processing my cancer emotionally, and not allowing myself to fully grieve for my cat, and thusly letting myself fall apart emotionally.

8. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Surgery. It was a beast. And I had some nerve damage, so my leg still hurts a bit.

I somehow managed to avoid the norovirus (knock on wood) which Bowie had three times, two of those times within a week of each other.

9. What was the best thing you bought?

My surgery.

10. Where did most of your money go?

Bills still from having Ferris. Cancer bills. Pants for the boys. (They grew SO FAST.) Milk. Rent.

11. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Being cancer free! After spending a week thinking the cancer had spread, it was the hugest feeling of relief I’ve ever experienced.

12. What song will always remind you of 2013?

The song “I’ll Follow You Into the Dark” by Death Cab For Cutie for some strange reason always did, and always will, remind me of Nashua. I think from now on it will make me remember when he died.

13. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?

b) thinner or fatter?

c) richer or poorer?

a) Sadder, I think. But, it was a hard year, so I’ll cut myself some slack.

b) About the same.

c) Poorer. Still. We’ll get there someday.

14. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Traveling, spending time with family, hugging my boys, exercising, crafting, reading. Writing.

15. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Yelling at Bowie. Leaving Ferris to play by himself. Worrying.

16. How did you spend Christmas?

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas day a few hours away at my in-laws’ house. All of my husband’s brothers were there from their many scattered locations, and it was the first time in a long time we’d all gotten together, so it was a lot of fun.

It was also the first year Bowie really got into the Santa thing, and we all had a ton of fun with that.

17. What was your favorite TV program?

Mad Men. Parenthood. Orange is the New Black. Downton Abbey.

18. What did you do on your birthday, and how old are you?

I turned 34. I honestly can’t remember what we did. It was right after the cancer thing. Right before Nashua died. Sandwiched in between two major events. I think we might have gone out for dinner? Anyway, most days I can’t even remember if I’m 33 or 34, so I’m sure my birthday was as insignificant as my age.

Happy 2014 to everyone, and may it treat us all a little better than 2013 did.

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The One Where I Kinda Bum You Out

I suppose if I’m going to hog this domain name, that I could actually blog once in a while. Thing is, along with all the hubbub and running around and preparations we make for the holidays, I’ve also got this looming dark cloud over me lately.

I am really out of sorts right now because recently, one of my favorite teachers from high school passed away at age 52 from breast cancer. I was a student of hers for many years, and she was a warm, wonderful woman and a great mentor. I had always meant to pop into the school and visit her, but never did. Something beat me to it: CANCER.

I think her death reopened something inside of me about my own cancer that I had locked up and buried deep, deep below layers and layers of myself. All of a sudden it hit me like a brick to the forehead: I have had cancer.

Living in the online world, cancer touches you from far and wide. I was reading that a blogger that I follow who was treated for stage 3 melanoma only to find out she had stage 4 ovarian cancer, has had her ovarian cancer return for the third time. And her story now has me really worried about the BRCA gene mutations. These mutations are commonly known as increasing a person’s likelihood to develop breast cancer, but can also mean increased likelihood of other cancers, including malignant melanoma. I don’t know if I’ve been tested for this mutation or not, I plan to ask my dermatologist if this was part of the blood work I had done in March. But, I would make it my (uneducated hypochondriac) guess that if you get cancer under the age of 35 then you might have the mutation.

So cancer has been on my mind lately. REALLY been on my mind. Not just because of these things, but also because I’m looking back at the last 10 years of my life and thinking of all the abuse I put my body through. I didn’t really take care of myself at all. Junk food, diet soda, alcohol, no regular exercise, heavy anxiety, all of this takes its toll. And only NOW am I realizing this.

I’m afraid I’ve done things to my body that I can’t take back, and can’t fix. Because my lymph node came back clear last spring, they ended up not giving me a full body scan. I did have a chest X-ray, so I know my lungs are clear. Which is a good thing. I also had a physical with my gynecologist over the summer, who said everything looked and felt fine to her. But I have the nagging, nagging, NAGGING feeling that they’ve missed something, overlooked something. Because I’m so young, they’re not looking hard enough, not taking things seriously. Of course, I’m way too chicken to go in and ask for the scan. Not only can we not afford it, with $3,000 left from our $15,000 owed out of pocket from the past 2 years, but also I’m afraid they will find something. Which, yes, of course, it’s better to be informed. But being informed means not living in ignorant bliss. Though I would not call my current state of being “bliss” either.

I think when they told me I had cancer, even though they had caught it in time, and it hadn’t spread, I’ve been treating that diagnosis as the beginning of the end. I am now headed to the end of my life. Rather than treating it as the new beginning that it should be. I know that kind of thinking isn’t normal, but I can’t really help it. I need to figure out how to change how I view life and death.

After the cancer diagnosis, there was the actual surgery, which was pretty much the beginning of the end of me breastfeeding Ferris (which if you’ll recall, I had to stop doing when he was 8 months, because he was confusing me with the bottle and biting me until I bled). And there was the false alarm, where the surgeon told me the melanoma had spread to the lymph node, only to call me a week later to say, “No, whoops, sorry about that. You’re good.” That was very difficult. And I’m still wondering, “Are you sure? ARE YOU ABSOLUTELY SURE?!”

I’m trying to focus on 2014. A new year brings new hope, new promise, new life. But, for a person with anxiety issues, a new year also brings new challenges, new problems, new struggles. I barely made it through this year. What if next year is worse?!

I have some changes in mind for 2014, things I can do to better myself and my life, and hopefully help the year not be worse than this one was. I’m trying to be optimistic, and I’m trying to dig myself out of the dumps, if only to not be such a bummer. I want to get the anxiety under control, I want to change the diet a LOT, I want to get past this depression, or whatever funk I’m in, so I can enjoy every day. Every hour. Every minute.

I knew a blogger that found out she had melanoma, and died just months later. I’ve been given a longer time than she was given. Knowing that I need to do more with my time is obvious, but actually following through without feeling so down and so sorry for myself is another game. A game I plan to OWN.

Thanks for sticking with me, folks.

 

 

 

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Hi! I’m Still Alive, I Swear!

You guys! I’ve missed you. I haven’t blogged in eons, and I’m so sorry. I’ve been crazy busy! Which I know everyone says. And I fall firmly in the “let’s stop the glorification of busy” camp. BUT.

Being an elementary school mom is mad cakes. The handouts that come home. I could reshape them into a whole tree. (And this is San Francisco!) And each one is asking something from me: volunteer in the classroom, volunteer at this event, you’ve got a parent-teacher conference coming up, we need a dish for this event, can you bake something for this event, hey guess what we want the parents and teachers to get together for a night out so if all that other stuff doesn’t have you too bogged down…

And then there’s the matter of my second son, who we might as well just call Spiderman or King Kong at this point because the kid can climb ANYTHING. I turn my back for 10 seconds, and he’s scaled another structure in our house. Or at the library. Or in our hotel room. Or at Target. So, when he’s awake, there is no put-him-down-to-roam-and-play. It’s me getting up every 10 seconds to peel him off his latest conquest. It keeps a lady busy.

And then there’s the matter of our latest little venture away from home. My little brother Jeremy got married in Florida this past weekend. My baby brother! Married! It happened.

We flew from San Francisco to Fort Myers, stayed for 4 days and then flew back. It was a whirlwind (wonderful!) weekend that included the longest flight that Bowie has ever been on, and our first flight as a family of four. So you can imagine the fun that was had. There was even a lady that told Ferris to “shut up, kid!” when he cried on our 6 a.m. flight bound for home. Yep. She did. Amongst other things. Turns out most of the other people on the flight were annoyed but once they figured out what a raging bitch this woman was, they were more sympathetic. Some of them even commiserated. One guy flew 18 hours with his one year old. Dude deserves a MEDAL OF HONOR.

I have about 100 small drafts of blog posts just hanging out in my drafts folder. But I know that doesn’t really help you guys out too much. The past month has just been one thing after another and I can’t find the time to sit and type, nor can I apply the necessary brain power to coming up with new post ideas. I even picked my computer up when we returned from our trip and had to wipe a layer of dust off of it.

To help liven this apology post up a little, I offer you 3 interesting things I found on the Internet this week. Love you guys, thanks for tuning in and still reading.

1. Whenever you think you’re having a bad day, just remember that you’ve got it better than a good percentage of the rest of the world.

2. This anti-bullying video puts what kids go through into an adult perspective. It really hit home for me. I’ve always been against bullying, of course, but I didn’t know how to relate to a bullied child until I saw this. Powerful stuff.

3. Turns out, I’m not just shy, I’m totally socially awkward.

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I Am the Face

I still think about the baby I miscarried. Every day. Some days, just a fleeting thought. Other days, I cry a little bit about it. It’s hard to believe it’s been 2 1/2 years, because sometimes it can still feel like it just happened.

In the days shortly after, I thought that if I could just get pregnant again, I could forget all about it and move on. Nine months later I finally got pregnant with Ferris, and I did not forget all about it, and did not move on. Quite the opposite, actually. Not only was I fraught with worry for the ENTIRE pregnancy that something would go horribly wrong, but I also felt so guilty for being so happy to be pregnant again. That maybe at some point I actually would forget the baby I miscarried.

Then I thought when I just had the healthy baby boy in my arms, it would help me stop being sad at least. But then, Ferris arrived, and nope. I didn’t stop being sad. Of course I was, and am now, a lot less sad than I had been before, but there’s still a little bit of hurt that lingers.

Today is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day. Looking back, the one thing I wish more than anything else (aside from not miscarrying to begin with) was that I had been exactly that: more aware. I was completely clueless. And wrote on my blog at just 7 weeks that I was pregnant. So my loss was fairly public. Which was good in some ways, not so good in other ways.

Miscarriage is something that just isn’t talked about, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why. It happens to so many women. It happens to one in four pregnancies. ONE IN FOUR! So why are we keeping ourselves so in the dark about it?

Of course I knew it was a possibility. I had heard about it, knew a little bit about it. But I so naively thought it was something that only happened to women with fertility issues. I can’t believe I thought that! And I’d been pregnant and had Bowie, no issues at all, so I thought I was in the clear. I can just get pregnant again, nothing to worry about at all.

I know why no one talks about it: it’s unpleasant. To say the least. It’s a total downer. Its’ awkward. How would that conversation even go? It’s not information you’d necessarily pass on, unless someone you know is actively trying, or is newly pregnant. So what would you say? “Hey, congratulations on your pregnancy! You know you have a 20% chance of losing it, right? Just wanted you to know.”

But, something we can do is come together on Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day, share our stories, and hope that we can simply bring a little comfort to a woman who miscarries tomorrow, next week, next year. Help her feel a little warmth in her coldest hour, knowing that she’s not alone. And it’s not her fault. And she can grieve in whatever way, and for however long, she needs to. Because the pain can linger for a long, long time. And there’s nothing worse than dealing with that kind of pain, and thinking you’re alone. You’re not alone. We’re here. All of us. You will get through, and you’ll be ok.

 

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The Playground Structure that Taught Me Something About Myself

Most of the playgrounds in San Francisco have been remodeled, rebuilt, revamped. And they look great, and modern, and they’re lots of fun. Take a look at these pictures of the completely amazing playground at Dolores Park for an (exaggerated) example.

There are a handful that have not been updated since, oh I don’t know, the 70s? 80s? The dangers and hazards at these things are a work of art, yet they oddly draw me in as a mom. They look like the playgrounds I grew up playing at. And I like that.

One such park has no official name, but has been dubbed by the neighborhood the Blue Boat Park, or more simply, the Boat Park. It’s close to our house, and is a neighborhood favorite, and we’ve been there many times for play dates, birthday parties, or just the Mom-needs-to-get-out neighborhood jaunts.

There’s a bunch of stuff at this park for the kids to play on, including, as the name suggests, an old blue boat that rests in the sand, a gloriously tall and skinny metal slide, old school monkey bars and wood, tons and tons of unfinished wood. There were, until recently some amazingly dangerous baby swings, but those have been replaced.

There’s one structure in particular that at first had me a little worried. It’s a wooden structure with a crazy, curvy, old school metal slide and a fire pole. The only way to get up in order to go down the slide or fire pole is to first go up a simple ladder made of metal tubes. Or to go up the slide the wrong way, a neighborhood kid favorite. The structure is also really tall, so you can’t lift your child up onto it.

 The tendency, I think, for a modern American parent is to go up on playground structures with their kid, at least the first few times. Especially if they’re under the age of 3. And especially if it looks like this one. But on this structure, you can’t. There’s just no easy way, or safe way for that matter, to do it. So, Bowie, like all the other kids, had to patiently wait until he was big enough and coordinated enough and brave enough to climb the ladder himself. And that day did eventually come.

I didn’t think a whole lot about it, beyond our first day visiting that park, and being a little disappointed about it. Until the other day when I saw a mother trying as hard as she could to carry her small daughter up onto that structure. She tried and she tried until she realized that it’s not safe to do, and then she finally gave up. But she said, “The city should really just take this one down.”

What? A play structure that’s been there no doubt for decades, and has delighted thousands of kids, needs to come down because you can’t carry your 18 month old to the top?

Now, some parts of my momming are very Type A and helicopter-y. I will admit it. And it’s a constant struggle for me to try to keep all of that anxiety at bay and sometimes just let my kids be kids. But, until I saw this frustrated mom at the Boat Park, I had no idea just how well I was doing with that, and also how far I’ve come since being a new mom.

Once I figured out Bowie was going to have to tackle that playground structure on his own, that was it for me. I didn’t put any more thought into it. I didn’t think the structure was a hazard, or that the way it was built wasn’t fair to the smaller children, or that it needed to come down. I didn’t get worried when he finally did figure it out and went up there all alone. I just shrugged my shoulders and went about my day.

That playground structure is a parental exercise in letting go. And I learned from that exercise that I can let go, when they’re ready, and when I need to. We’ll chat about this again when they’re teenagers, but for now, I’m proud of myself.

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One.

One year, you guys! ONE YEAR! How has it been an entire YEAR already?

One minute, you’re fumbling with putting a newborn into a carseat, and the next minute you’re picking out a big, chocolatey cupcake for them to tear into.

In some ways, I CAN’T believe that an entire year has slipped by. It has gone so fast! But, then I look back at the many things our little family has been through this past year and ok, it really HAS been a year. Much to this mama’s chagrin. I’m still trying to wrap my head around Kindergarten, and then the baby has to go and turn one. Good grief.

So yeah, Ferris. One. Already. From snuggly little ball of baby love to dimply big boy toddler. So fast!

Likes: kitchen drawers, swimming class, brother, brother’s room, milk, graham crackers, baths, sitting in shopping carts, music, pooping in his sleep in the middle of the night, books, cars, trucks and kitty’s water bowl.

Dislikes: diaper changes, wipeouts, leaving brother’s room, people who eat in front of him and don’t share, sippy cups, washcloths, hats, the safety straps on shopping carts and me going to the bathroom before getting him from his crib in the morning.

He is starting to talk a lot, mostly just using his favorite phrases, “What’s this?” and “What’s that?” But he says mama and dada, and knows how to ask for a baba. He’s learning to say brother and Bowie. When you hand him a Matchbox car, he says vroom. And he has a sign that he makes, where he points with his right index finger at his open left palm. I never taught my boys to sign, so I’m not sure what it means. And it probably doesn’t mean whatever it’s supposed to mean. At first I thought it meant “more”, because he’s usually doing it in his high chair. But, I’m not so sure. Time will tell, I suppose.

He’s been “walking” for a while now. He likes to take a few steps, and then just crawl the rest of the way because it’s faster. But, but, BUT, it’s like he knew his birthday was coming or something because yesterday, after his afternoon nap, he was walking all over the house, hardly crawling at all. And this morning he was (literally) doing laps around the living room. He is READY to be on the MOVE. (Gulp.)

Dear Ferris,

I’d like to tell you that I hope the next few years of your life go much slower than this one did, but I know from experience that just isn’t possible. So instead I will just tell you to have fun now that you’re a not a baby anymore.

You’re a toddler. You’re a KID. Still snuggly and soft like a baby, but a little less so with each passing day. You’re toddling around the house like Frankenstein today, but tomorrow, you’ll take off running into the big wide world.

The past year has been an exciting one for our whole family, and you were along for the ride, no complaints, like a little trooper. Thank goodness for baby carriers and helpful family members.

Now that brother is in school all day, we get to spend lots of one-on-one time together. For one year, until you start preschool. So, I want to enjoy it as much as I can. I look back on that time with Bowie so fondly, I can’t wait to see what adventures we go on.

This time (press time, noon-ish) last year, I wasn’t even in labor yet, but little did I know I’d be cuddling you by 9 p.m. And then the real adventure began, because your arrival made me a Mom of Two. Uff-da.

Love you baby, ahem, big boy,

Mama

 

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Bowie Approved

[NOTE: Giveaway has ended.]

Kindergarten is different from preschool in so many, many ways. He’s gone for twice the amount of hours per day. There’s homework. He’s dog tired when he gets home. But, the biggest difference for me as Mom is: lunches. Lots and lots of lunches.

Now, we could shell out the measly $3 a day for hot lunch, but that adds up. And if they’re serving something he doesn’t care for, then there’s no guarantee he will actually eat lunch. So, at least for now, I’m packing his lunch.

It’s hard to think of different lunch box combos and ideas every single day of the week. I mean, I have read countless blogs that are heavily focused on creative non-sandwich lunch ideas for kids. And I’ve studied them and pored over them. I think I’ve gotten the gist of it.

But I can’t always have all of those foods on hand at my disposal every morning. Usually I have a couple kinds of fruit, some crackers, maybe some meats and cheeses, and dinner leftovers (provided he actually liked and deigned to eat that dinner). And I mix and match all week and then try to get something different for the following week.

Even though I’m trying my best to give him variety, he’s still got a touch of the pickies, and we don’t go through food fast enough for me to have a zillion different options on hand all the time. So, I know he’s getting a little burnt out on certain stuff.

I usually stick one of his water bottles in there with just water in it, because milk will get too warm, he can’t have the amount sugar in a juice box (it affects his behavior), and soda isn’t allowed (not that I’d even give him soda at all, but you know, not an option). So, I was so excited to discover Drazil Kids Tea.

It’s got a healthy tea blend of Hibiscus, Rose Hips, Rooibos, Pomegranate, and fruit pieces, with a touch of juice for flavor (35% less sugar than a juice box), and best of all they come in easily packable individual serving sized boxes, like boxed juice. It’s packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, has no added sugar, no artificial flavors, and is caffeine free.

Bowie is a big fan of tea, he drinks all kinds of it all the time. When he was small, he would find my cups of cold Earl Grey around the house, abandoned and/or forgotten by me, and finish them, and then ask for more! So, I knew these would be right up his alley.

I toss them in two or three days a week. I vary it so he’s always pleasantly surprised, and it adds a little bit of fun to the monotonous packed lunch. Once in a while he will even thank me after school for putting one in his lunch.

Drazil is available in markets across Northern California, and is also available on Amazon.com.

It’s a great, delicious, nutritious way to add a little variety to their day. I approve. And so does Bowie!

And one of YOU, my lucky readers, can win some Drazil Kids Tea for free! Just:

1. Leave a comment below with your favorite lunch time ideas for kids.

2. Head to Facebook and “like” the Drazil Kids Tea page.

I will pick a reader at random to receive some Drazil! (Winner will be picked after 8pm Pacific Time, September 11, 2012. Winner will be notified shortly after.)

Good luck and thank you!

 

I was compensated for this post by Drazil Kids Tea, but all opinions are my own.

Posted in Eat All the Things, It Gets My Approval, My Boys, This Crazy Ride Called Parenthood | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Kindergarten

Today we finish up the first two weeks of Kindergarten. I’m still having a hard time believing I’m an elementary school mom now (PTA membership and Room Mom days on the horizon and EVERYTHING). But, I’m sure by the end of the year, after all the packed lunches, morning announcements, Pledges of Allegiance, permission slips and homework that it will all feel natural to me.

The Friday afternoon before the first day, we were able to go see the school, see his classroom and meet his teacher. He was very shy at first, and a little hesitant to even go into the classroom. But, once he started seeing his name all over the room, and once he found his cubby and desk, it was like he’d been going there all his life.

There have been some…behavior issues. But his teacher can already recognize that he’s triggered by lots of commotion and noise, and being with a lot of kids at once. He’s completely fine in the classroom, even sitting nicely at his desk or on the rug and listening when she’s talking. It’s lunch and recess that give him trouble. And it’s largely a product of him reacting to what other kids are doing and saying, much more so than in preschool where he was often the one starting stuff. I’m not going to worry too much about it right now, he’s still adjusting, and so are the other kids. Instead I’m choosing to focus on the fact that he’s behaving in the classroom. A year ago I’d never have thought he could do it.

When he gets home from school, we have the typical “what did you learn today?” “I don’t know.” conversation. But, then if I just sit and listen, as he gets to talking, I find out that he painted, played Mr. Potato Head, saw preschool friends at recess, went to the gym, had a music class, went to the library. He’s definitely becoming a full-fledged elementary school kid. And loving it.

Posted in And how was your week?, My Boys, This Crazy Ride Called Parenthood, update | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments