Posted in Bible Study, Kids, Vacation

Quick Catching Up

I just checked on my blog and somehow a whole month has passed since I posted? I guess that gives you an idea of what life has been like around here!

To catch you up:

Catie’s period FINALLY stopped. Even better, her hemoglobin is back up to normal range. We’ve switched meds to try something new and see if we can have less side-effects from the medication. It’s only been a few days, so the jury is out. I love our new nurse practitioner through duPont.

Laura, on the other hand, is going quite downhill. She met with a neurology nurse practitioner this month and had had an EEG. She has an MRI on Wednesday. In the meantime, she’s been starting a sentence, stopping in the middle of it and doing nothing until I prompt her with part of the sentence. It’s quite unnerving and is making me think seizures. We’ll see what the MRI and EEG show.

(The boys are doing well, thank goodness!)

I’ve started bible study on Thursday mornings at what will hopefully be our new church. We visited a few times off and on, but have struggled to make it a regularly-scheduled Sunday morning thing. One fun thing about bible study–there’s a large group of women, who break up into smaller groups. One gal who “happens” to live in my neighborhood (where we still don’t know anyone!) is part of my small group!

Jim and I are going away next weekend to Jim Thorpe, PA. This will be our 4th time going to their Fall Festival, but our first time actually staying in the town. We’re both very excited about getting away, and the kids are thrilled to spent the weekend with Nana. Win-win!

I’m very definitely back into the swing of driving kids to and fro, with their doctor visits, drama practice and work thrown in the mix this year. I try to remind myself that this is a season–even next year will be very different!–but sometimes it’s a little overwhelming.

 

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Posted in Addiction, Family, Health, Kids, Me, Vacation

End of Summer Update

Y’all, I’m sorry. I never mean to disappear over the summer, but it almost always seems to happen.

Looking at a week left until school starts (two seniors, a junior and a sophomore), I’m processing all that has happened over the course of the last 10 weeks. Like the rest of 2018, a lot of it didn’t look like what I had expected. Ethan went to Diller Vacation home, came home and immediately left for a four week program, IDEAL. Laura spent three weeks at Penn State’s Summer Academy. We spent 12 days away from home, 9 of them in Michigan and the others traveling to and from.

That was the expected.

Unexpected, well, that would include a plane ride off the island in Lake Michigan, a transfusion for Catie, a night over in a hotel just the two of us and a plane ride back. (by plane, picture a Cessna, and not a 747!). We still don’t have answers for WHY she is having this bleeding (a period since February except 3 weeks in June). The current course of meds is making it lighter, but has not stopped it. I’m trying to get an appointment at duPont instead of staying at the OB-Gyn’s. While they have been great with me, I’m not thrilled with the level of care with my 15 year old.

Unexpected would also include the death of Ethan’s best friend, the daughter of one of my closest friends. Which, even as I type that, brings tears to my eyes and hurt to my heart. I loved her like a daughter and don’t know how to live life without ever hearing her sweet, soft voice asking for Ethan on the phone. Or to see them, snuggled up on the hammock or a couch, talking and sharing time. If I ever (EVER) tried to picture him actually being romantically involved with someone, it was her. I’m trying to figure out what friendship with her mom will look like when it was our children’s special needs that brought us together. I WILL be her friend. I just don’t want to hurt her.

Unexpected has been my raging-out-of-control addiction. It started before Michigan, so I can’t even blame it on Devon’s death. It certainly helped me avoid grieving, though. And hey, that’s been GREAT. (that facetiousness, people)

Unexpected has been the decision to go forward with another round of SI joint injections on Friday. I’ll be sedated this time around, and have much better expectations of recovery and the pain involved. I flared last time; most likely I’ll flare this time. I have four full days of nothing planned, and then it’s driving the kids back and forth to school. I’ll manage.

Unexpected has been the washer breaking, the hall bath leaking, another spot on the ceiling today that we have NO idea where’s it coming from, and other financial woes. HOWEVER, unexpected has also been a promotion for my husband FINALLY. He’s been working towards this for several years and it’s amazing and wonderful for him to have the recognition that we as his family have thought he deserved. Yay for my husband!

So, yeah. The unexpected has mostly ruled this summer.

Posted in Kids, Me, Vacation

We Made It

Whew! The hardest academic year–by far!–is finally finished. Bennett and Laura are now seniors (Ahhh!), Ethan is a junior and Catie is a sophomore. While the greater part of me is sad, there’s a tiny part that wonders just what this upcoming year will bring. What will I be typing here next June (through a heavy veil of tears, I’m sure!). What they will experience and feel as they come to the end of high school. I’ll let you know in 12 months–we’ll meet back here, ok? 🙂

In the meantime, we have a small breather of a few weeks for them. Physical therapy for my back continues–some days very well and some days (like today) slowly and painfully. We meet with our lawyer on Monday to start our wills and special needs trust. Trying to made decisions with 60+ years in the future for Ethan is somewhat daunting. I hope and pray that we are able to fund that trust and that it is enough. A few dentist appointments, med checks with the psychiatrist, and bloodwork and endocrinologist–well, there goes June.

Ethan leaves on June 30th for his summer camp, comes back on the 7th and then leaves on the 8th for his 4-week-long summer program for the visually impaired. Then Laura leaves on the 14th for Penn State for her 3-week-long summer program for the visually impaired. They both come back on the 3rd of August and then we leave on the 9th for Michigan. Wheee! There goes the summer!

I’ll do my best to post–I’m not that great over the summer, but I’ll try. I know, I know, “Do or do not, there is no try.” But still, I will.

 

 

Posted in Addiction, Vacation

Apparently We’re Homebodies

The family all took a trip to the Lewes/Rehoboth DE area this week. The vacation was supposed to be from Saturday June 28 through today, July 5. Actually, we would have been leaving RIGHT THIS SECOND if one big thing hadn’t happened.

Hurricane Arthur.

When my brother (who was also in Rehoboth) first mentioned the hurricane, my response was “What hurricane?” Hah. Double hah. By the time it hit two nights ago it was a category 2! We spent a great deal of Thursday cleaning the house and packing everything up. Once finished (or almost), we headed to the boardwalk, did some rides, had dinner and ice cream and then headed back to pack the car and finish cleaning the kitchen. We left for Pennsylvania around 8:30, although we took a quick side trip to the Candy Kitchen, the home of expensive but tasty fudge, salt water taffy and assorted very large lollipops. We pulled into our driveway at 11:08, much to everyone’s relief. There is nothing quite like sleeping in one’s own bed in one’s own house. And we got out just in time. When I spoke with my brother the next morning, it was raining an insane amount (and who wants to be cooped up in a house on vacation in the rain?)

The weird thing was, once we knew about the rain and that we’d be coming home early, both Jim and I were happy about it. I love planning vacations. I love going on them. But EVERY TIME I go away, I miss my home and can’t wait to get back.  While our current plan for next year is Michigan, a part of me wonders if a “stay-cation” might not be a better choice. No worrying about the dogs or cat, no massive driving (Michigan is 17+ hours driving and a ferry ride, plus hotel stays each way). We obviously have a year to think about it, though!

Following up on my last post, I contacted my accountability partner the very next day. I installed accountability software on my phone the very next day. I deleted all those books the very next day. I still say being a sex addict SUCKS EGGS and always will, but it’s a lifelong journey that I’m on. I may take a short detour every once in awhile, but so far I’ve always found my way back to the main road.

Posted in Jim, Marriage, Vacation

Lemons into Lemonade

I have lived nearly 45 years within easy driving distance of the Philadelphia historical section and have never seen it. That was my driving force in planning my 18th anniversary weekend this year. I had it all planned out–seeing Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed. Seeing the Liberty Bell. Visiting all sorts of historical sights and learning more about them.

Perhaps you’ve heard, though, of our government shutting down, including the national parks, of which many of the historic sites in Philadelphia are a part? Yes, I thought you had.

My plans were in place until early this past week and then BOING! I turned away from them and made new ones. Friday night we drove to South Street. We stayed at the corner of 4th and South, which I would never, EVER do again. IT WAS SO LOUD!!! We’re from the suburbs where there are noise ordinances and if someone breaks it we get to call the cops. And sleep. Philly? Notsomuch.

Saturday morning, after a late rising, we had breakfast at Milk and Honey . YUMMY! We walked up to the historical section of Philadelphia and walked past many things that were closed and some that were open. We chatted with a security guard who told us about the slave quarters that were outlined because he worked where he worked and overheard the speech so often he knew it to share. We spoke with a hammered dulcimer musician, in colonial costume, who was handing out maps with places that were still open circled. Jim bought one of his Christmas CD’s. We went to The Constitutional Center. Learned a lot and had a great time in the air conditioning. For it being early October, Philadelphia was actually quite hot.

We walked to Elfreth’s Alley, which is the oldest continuously-lived-in neighborhood in our country. And this is where it gets cool. There was a truck in the middle of the alley and a carpenter was coming out of #116. He left the door open and I peeked in. I motioned for Jim to peek too. He did. The carpenter saw us and asked “would you want to come inside and see?” HECK YEAH!! So he showed us around. #116 is actually two houses, back to back, that were built by two brothers. The current owner has had it gutted and completely joined together. The interior wall between the houses is gone and there is now only a fireplace in the middle facing each side to show where the wall was. We saw where the slaves would have lived. We saw the upstairs–going both up and down spiral staircases. Swoon!

After our impromptu tour, we did the official tour a few doors down. Nice, but not nearly as neat.

Taxi time!

The Franklin Institute was next and, in my humble opinion, WAYYYY overpriced. We wanted to see the Spy Exhibit, so paid an extra fee. The exhibit was interesting and informative, but not worth the amount we paid. The institute itself was a lot more for kids than I remembered. We grabbed a pretzel to tie us until dinner, having skipped lunch.

Taxi time!

Our dinner was at the Marrakesh Restaurant. Oh Em Gee. The food was AMAZING. 7 course dinner. Great atmosphere. Pretty decent service. Fun interaction with other people eating there. I could devote a whole post to the food. Suffice it to say, if you ever get a chance to eat there, DO IT. But don’t eat lunch. And wear stretchy pants. And pace yourself, because whoa, when Jim and I left we felt sincerely overstufffed and in some discomfort. And we brought our fruit and pastries (courses 6 and 7) home!

I just want to throw out a hello (and a punch) to the guy next door who decided that he had to follow his drumming muse at 10:30 and 11:30 PM.

Today we just had breakfast out at Sam’s Morning Glory Diner. The biscuits were MAMMOTH and I again brought food home (Bacon!) instead of feeling uncomfortable. We left the city a little after noon.

All in all, one of our best anniversaries. We spent some serious time just being a couple, instead of Mom and Dad. We got to do a little part of Philly, eat some amazing food and experience some new things (parking his truck in a tiny parking garage was sure interesting!) together. And it never, not for one moment, felt like we were “settling”. We’ll just go visit the historical sites another time.

Posted in 7 Quick Takes, Kids, Marriage, Me, School, Sick, Vacation

7 Quick Takes Friday

 

1. You know how you know something is coming up and you know you need to plan it and at some point you’ll get around to it and then life happens and you keep putting it off until it’s only a week away and then you freak out and do massive research on the internet and email your husband a bunch of ideas all at once (which of course he can’t look at because he’s at work) and then you freak out some more because you used to be such a great planner and life is just changing around you and you can’t plan anymore and …

Yes. This was me yesterday about our anniversary getaway next week.

2. I happily stumbled onto this website about tours  and relaxed. They do guided ones (for a pretty decent fee), self-guided free ones and then ones where you download an audio guide onto your iPod and use it to walk around. Door #3 sounds like a winner to me! The audio guide is something like $15 (much cheaper than the guided tour) and will let you go at your own pace (and sneak in a side trip to Elfreth’s Alley which is right near Betsy Ross’s house). For those of you who have never heard of Elfreth’s Alley, It is the oldest residential street in America. Dating back to 1702, it has been continuously lived in for more than 300 years now.

3. Finishing up our 4th week of cyber school and fine arts school. Monday morning the gal that I share carpooling with (she does mornings and I do afternoons) called and said that just as she got to the parking lot of the fine arts school Laura threw up. She took her in and cleaned her up as best as she could and then brought her back home (L threw up 3 more times on the way home). 1) Thank goodness she had leather seats! 2) What a nice woman! Having your own kid throw up and dealing with it is just not pleasant. With someone else’s kid (and I’ve dealt with that personally!) is just grosser. Laura’s fine and we’re left wondering what in the world THAT was?

4. Are your kids into Minecraft? Holy cow, do Bennett and Laura love it! We got it for their birthday and they have spent any and every allowable moment on their computers playing it. I love hearing their conversations–they regularly use the word “smelt” in conversation, and I heard obsidian the other day. If nothing else, it’s teaching some excellent vocabulary! 🙂

5. I’m halfway through the Great Wardrobe Changeover. Except for winter boots, Laura and Catie have all the clothes they will need for the winter, and they are all put away in their drawers. Today I’m hoping to finish the boys’ clothes. Ethan still doesn’t care what he wears as long as it fits comfortably, but the other three have all developed tastes in clothing. Laura, especially, has changed dramatically in the last 6-8 months. Her taste…grew up, for lack of a better phrase. I bought several shirts for her that she pooh-poohed and when we went to Goodwill (because, COME ON, they have all the popular teen clothes there and for $3!) she picked several that I would never have guessed she would have liked. So no more shopping for Laura–she has to come with me.

6. I was reading another blogger talk about her “new normal”. I think we’re at that place as well. Huh. When they were really young, I often used that term with regards to medical issues. (e.g.: Ethan has a g-tube. Dealing with that was our new normal). Nowadays we are in a much better place, albeit busy. Last September I would have stumbled out of bed at 5:30 to get Bennett and Laura up, followed by Ethan at 6:15, followed by Catie at 7. All would be gone by 8:35, and start coming home at 2:35. Finances didn’t allow for extra-curricular stuff, except for band and chorus which were provided through the school. So my driving was mostly pleasure-oriented, with the occasional band practice or concert.

This year, wow. Our “New Normal”:

Monday: Me up at 6, Wake Laura as soon as I can.  Ethan’s bus comes at 7:30 on Mondays (team mtg at school), so he gets up at 6:45. Wake Catie and Bennett at 7 after Laura leaves. Ethan leaves at 7:30 and Catie out the door at 8:35. Bennett starts schoolwork whenever he wants as long as it’s before 8. Make him have breakfast around 9-9:30. Leave the house at 2 to pick up Laura at school. Something really easy for dinner because Catie has horseback riding lessons and we leave at 6:15.

Tuesday: Ethan up at 6:15, everyone else at 7. Nice, easy day.  At night , make sure Laura has clothes picked out and lunch made for next day.

Wednesday: Ethan and Laura both up by 6:15 to both be out the door at 7. Catie and Bennett up. Catie drum lessons at school so I will need to both drive her and pick her up, which will be challenging. Leave at 2 to get Laura. Drop carpool gal off at home. Drop Laura off if i have time, otherwise drive to Catie’s school and pick her up.

Thursday: Repeat Tuesday morning. I have bible study that night, so easy dinner that Jim can make or I can make really quickly and Jim can grab if he’s getting home late. 1x/month Laura has PT during the day.

Friday: Repeat Tuesday morning getting ready. 2x/month Laura has Orientation and Mobility lessons mid-morning. 1pm every week Bennett has guitar lessons.

Friday night: THANK YOU, GOD! We made it through another week!

I do want to say that I’m not complaining. I know we have it easy compared to you sporty parents. We are not a sporty family (for which I’m somewhat grateful!), so the whole lifestyle of living in your car and spending all Saturday at endless soccer tournaments or swim meets is completely foreign to me. All I’m saying is, this sure is different than the past few years!

7. I have had the blessing of eating lunch with my three closest girlfriends all within the past month. And this after seeing none of them all summer. Catching up, eating yummy food, just talking and sharing and laughing and crying has been WONDERFUL. (Even if I did forget Laura’s orthodontist appointment during one of them! Oops!)

Happy Fall Y’all!

Posted in Kids, Vacation

Almost Two Weeks Into Summer

So, wow. As of tomorrow the kids have been on vacation–and sleeping in–for two weeks. It’s been lazy and lovely, weathery and wild, and not-so-surprisingly, the best summer we’ve ever had.

If you are just joining the party, I have 11 year old (almost 12!) triplets and a 10 year old. And yes, in years past that was NOT A GOOD COMBINATION.

But they are getting older. And better behaved, thank you, God! They love their PC’s (with Daddy doing computery stuff, we had extras so they are blessed with each having their own). They love TV. The love the pool. They love their friends and playing and pretending and I’m just so glad they are HERE instead of 3 years old and at each other constantly.

Jim and I talk about how he’d love to go back and enjoy those early days. I say I’d like to be a fly on the wall and watch me. Or be able to talk to myself and say “I promise, it will get better!” because I certainly didn’t believe it at the time.

So, all that said, it’s been a good two weeks. Next week is VBS for the youngest (older ones are too old), the following week Ethan starts Extended School Year (what he calls Summer Camp), the 15th we start Camp Good News and the 22nd they do NASA’s Summer of Innovation.  So July is going to be BUSY!