Posted in Kids

Grown and Flown

If you are a mom and have teenagers and are on Facebook, please check out the FB page called Grown and Flown. Oh my goodness! It speaks to me in a way that I haven’t been spoken to in SOO SOO SOO long!

These are not the moms in the trenches of potty training and sleep training and learning to crawl. These are not the moms getting together for playdates. These are not elementary school moms commiserating about PTO and playground duty.

These are ME. Teenage angst. Teenage sleep issues. Teenage anxiety. College and scholarship searches. Sleeplessness and hormones (for mom, that is!, as well as for the teens!) and stepping back to let the chicks start to try out their wings. And fail. And pick themselves up again. Hopefully.

Almost every day, there is a post or two that I stop and read and find myself totally agreeing with, or having more understanding of.

Where we are, where I am, is tough. Emotionally, socially, financially, medically…it’s just a VERY TOUGH YEAR.

Yesterday we completed Laura’s FAFSA. I’ve known it was coming, and known we had to deal with it, so when an article (On Grown and Flown!) mentioned it, I took a deep breath, typed in the phrase on Google and off we went. It took awhile, but now it’s done. With Bennett doing a gap year, only one was required. Whew. We’re currently waiting on the SAT’s to make their way to the Admissions office of West Chester University. That’s all they are waiting on, having just received her transcript this week.

It’s gettin’ real, people!

The teenage years are not for the weak!

Posted in Health, Kids

Neurology Out, Psychiatry In

So, in the good news/bad news front, the EEG and MRI are both done and both show only the expected. Which is:

Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) is a type of brain injury that affects premature infants. The condition involves the death of small areas of brain tissue around fluid-filled areas called ventricles. The damage creates “holes” in the brain. “Leuko” refers to the brain’s white matter. “Periventricular” refers to the area around the ventricles.

(Quick Back Story: My first pregnancy was quadruplets (please feel free to read back posts for more about that!), which ended in a premature birth at 25 6/7 weeks. Baby A, Connor, passed away about 12 hours later. The other three all had various and sundry issues from the birth, one of which was called Intraventricular Hemorrhage, or a brain bleed. Bennett’s was a Grade II, aka NO BIG DEAL. Laura and Ethan both had a Grade IV, or THE WORST POSSIBLE. The neonatologist said there was a possibility of a “vegetative state”. Which, obviously didn’t happen, thank the Good Lord.)
The MRI only showed the results of that prematuring, and the EEG basically showed the same thing. So, what’s going on with Laura is NOT neurologically based (as far as they know), it’s more psychological.
What that means, at least to me as a parent, is that we need to step it up a notch with the psychiatrist. Our current one, well….he’s ok. We see him because we have to. The practice has hired a woman who is an adolescent psychiatrist (YAY!), but she’s still going through the process of getting approved by insurance companies. Which is no bueno at this point, because that can take up to three months and Laura can’t wait that long.
I have a call into the secretary at the practice to see where she is in that process, and am investigating other options. Unfortunately, our insurance company’s website is not that great when it comes to specific information about doctors–they can give me general psychiatrists, but not specifically adolescent ones. Sigh. I want Laura to be doing better. Talking to the MRI nurse about why we were there (Laura wasn’t in the room) and how the person I knew three years ago is NOT the same kid I see every day now. I want her back, if possible. If it’s not possible, I want her to be getting through this life far better than she is right now.
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.


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

If I Could Talk to Me Back in May

I would put my arms around that poor woman, who was totally freaking out, and tell her that not only would it be ok, but it would really, honestly, for-true-and-for-real be REALLY OK.

Ethan and Laura have been learning some amazing things–so many skills that will take them through life. In the way of things, I’ve actually learned a really important thing as well.

I will be able to handle them going away to college. All of them. I will not die in the process.

This summer has not broken me. Sure, I’ve missed them off and on. Sometimes quite a bit off, actually–meaning not at all! I’ve visited Ethan each Sunday since he’s been gone (He and I even went to McDonald’s yesterday!), and we’ve texted/talked with Laura a few times each week. While I really look forward to having them back on Friday and finding out what all they’ve been up to in person, not seeing them all day long has honestly been fine.

Who woulda thunk? ME! Saying THAT!

So, basically, this summer’s programs? Win-win all the way!

Posted in Kids

Down to Two Kids

Last Sunday we dropped Ethan off at his summer program, IDEAL, for four weeks. I cried. It was HARD.

Yesterday we dropped Laura off at her summer program, The Summer Academy at Penn State. I didn’t cry. It was still hard.

So much had been leading up to those two events…mental energy, worrying, shopping, physically gathering everything needed, worrying some more, planning….both of them have been on my mind for the better part of probably 9 months, and definitely in the forefront for more than a month.

And now both are gone. I made dinner tonight for just the four of us. Two parents and two kids. It. Was. WEIRD.

For his part, Ethan seems to be really enjoying the program and getting stuff out of it. He’s learned how to make sandwiches (!) and does so each day.  Today he did his laundry for the first time. He’s tried–and liked–granola bars, french fries, garlic bread and lasagna. He had SECONDS of lasagna. He has NEVER EVER EVER EVER had seconds (and not for lack of me trying to get him to!). My mouth literally dropped open when his dorm manager told me about it.

I had–and still have–high hopes for these summer programs and how well the kids will do. In 20 short days we pick both up (splitting the job unfortunately because both end on the same day). I can’t wait to see how they’ve grown and changed!

Posted in Church

God’s Leading Even If I’m Clueless

Today was the culmination of a week of seemingly random occurrences that only this afternoon I put together.

  1. Last week? Week before? I used the Lord’s name in vain. I honestly NEVER do that, and it shocked me. I internally noted that I feel like things are very different with me not going to church.
  2. Catie and Ethan had a dentist appointment. Afterward we dropped by the vet office to pick up dog meds. After THAT, we drove home, but that took us past the church we visited a few times back around Easter. Catie remarked that she wanted to go again.
  3. I had a two hour conversation with my sister. This, in itself, is insanely rare. During the conversation we discussed many different things, but two of them were church and how my family has not attended in a long time and my feelings about that, and her meeting someone from her past and their reconciliation.
  4. Last night I determined that I would go to church–that even if I slept in to 7:30 I still had plenty of time to get ready for the 9am (first) service. And this morning, when I got up, I still determined that I would go. I got a shower first thing, which helps keep me on track, and I told each family member that I was going and they were invited. Only Ethan chose to go with me.
  5. Because I got there early and only had Ethan, I had more choices in where I sat. I chose the fifth row on the right hand side.

Now, all those things seem to not be very connected. But this morning, when I glanced around and saw someone I haven’t seen in 12-14 years because we had a falling out, well, God used all those things to get me to the place where I could say hi after church, hug her and apologize for what I had said all those years ago. She was very “it’s water under the bridge” about it, but to be able to say I was sorry after all those years of regretting and it being on my mind and heart–it was amazing. We now live very close to each other and she got my number.

It was a GOOD day and I’m so very glad I went to church!