Thursday, January 24, 2019

Emotions emotions emotions.

Decembers was a month rife with them.

When Jeffrey and I first got married we were Christmas Eve shoppers. I remember our first married Christmas. We were newly weds... with a newborn... yeah, we had a honeymoon baby. It wasn't in our plans, it was God's plan. We adapted. But I remember going out on Christmas Eve to the Walgreens down the street because that was the only place open at 11 the night before. I remember those gifts, too. Jeffrey got me a clapper. As in "Clap on, clap off. Clap on. Clap off. The Clapper." I hatted it. It didn't work for turning the lights on and off with clapping, but every time Keith cried, it would turn those lights on, which would make the baby cry even more. Clap all you wanted, though, and those lights stayed off. Of course, who is going to be clapping to turn lights on and off with a sleeping baby? He thought it was the greatest gift ever! He also got me a foot bath massage thing. As a 25 year old, I thought it was stupid. Now, I would love the crap out of that thing! I was young and naive and only had 1 child and plenty of energy. Oh how times have changed. But my point was, we used to wait until the very last hour to buy Christmas presents.

Now, I am a Black Friday Shopper, baby! Not in the way you might think, though. I stay nice and cozy in my home. I sleep in, stay in my pajamas and slippers, and often times, even shop from the comfort of my bed while watching a movie with my kiddos. But I take advantage of the deals. I get all of the shopping done that weekend. And then when the gifts arrive, I spend a day wrapping and organizing, so that by December first, every gift has been wrapped, and Christmas is wrapped and put away and we have a relatively stress-free month!

That was the plan this year.

That is what I did this year.

I made my in-law gifts, and I just had to finish knitting some hats, but otherwise, it wasn't a big deal.

But then my grandma got sick.

She got sick on the 8th of December.

We had a family party planned for the 22nd.

She got a little worse.

On the 12th we were told to say our goodbyes. I was lucky enough to be able to go and do that.

I was able to go and see her again on the 13th. The difference in just a day was astronomical. She passed away just a little after midnight that night.Since the family party was already planned and people were already flying in from around the country, it was decided that the funeral would be planned for the day of the family party, a week and a half away.

And so Grandma's viewing was the 21st of December, and her funeral was the 22nd of December.

I don't remember a whole lot about that month, honestly. I remember a lot of hustle and bustle. I remember rushing to finish the hats and add a few finishing touches to the Koeslig boxes I made for my inlaws for Christmas (more about that later). I remember that my dear friends from Oklahoma suddenly planned a trip to Utah... for the week of my grandma passing away, and I really wanted to see them, but good heavens, they had the worst timing in all of the cosmos because seriously, I had everything else that was so important happening right that week, and couldn't they come at any other time of the year? Did they have to pick that very week? But I made it happen so that I could see them and meet them in person. Melissa has become one of my best friends. She and I  have never met in person ever, even though we talk almost daily on the phone, and it was important to me that we met in person, so we made arrangements to meet. It was a blessing to meet here, and just crazy and funny how it all happened to be that week.

Grandma's funeral was beautiful. How could it be anything but. She is a beautiful soul, and left behind a legacy that flourishes in her children and grandchildren. I was her favorite grandchild. Everyone said that, but I know that it was really me. I used to ditch school and go visit her instead of go to my classes. Her house was right across from my high school, and I would lay out all of my teen drama, and she would give the best advice, and a listening ear, and we would eat rolos, and fun sized snickers and other candy bars. Seriously, the best grandma in the world! All my cousins said they felt like they were her favorite, too. She had a talent in making everyone feel so loved and special and like they were the most important person in her life. She was spunky and fiery full of life and to the last. I can't tell you how many times I have tried to sit down and write about her, but it has been too hard to have the words come. I haven't struggled with her death. I am so happy for her to be with my grandpa, and with my aunt Florence. She was lonely, and she was so tired of her body aching. She used to say, "Oh my aching back!" when something annoyed her, and I thought it was the funniest thing. But I am happy that she is no longer in pain. But to write about it somehow makes it... final. Real. Permanent. Which is not something I am ready for. I feel like I have a much deeper understand of the Plan of Salvation than I did at the last death I went through. I feel like this time has been even easier, and yet, it is still hard to write about. Usually writing makes it easier but this time around writing is making it a lot harder, which I really don't understand at all. I suppose I have just been running from it, living in denial or something. Anyway, it has especially been hard watching my family go through the loss of my grandmother. Specifically her children. It makes me sad to see how much they have been struggling.

Like I said, emotions!

Christmas came and went. It was lovely.

New Years was much the same.

I started to de-clutter my house in a massive way. Before the Marie Kondo Netflix special, mind you. I just want that to be known. Not that it's important, but it is to me. I have finished the kitchen, the kids bathroom, my bathroom, Arcadia, and the boys room. I am currently working on laundry. I have sent about 6 big bags to the DI and I think I'm about half way finished. Yay! I am looking forward to attacking my room and the family room. Toys will be thinned out drastically and I am so excited!

I also went to the doctor about my migraines again. I went to the neurologist. I didn't like the neurologist. He basically said "lets try all these medicines." I was very disappointed that he didn't even want to attempt to find the problem. I went in to see the allergist last week and he did the poke test and.... I am allergic to nature.

Ahem. Let me rephrase that. I am severely allergic to nature.

Let's let that sink in for a moment.

I don't think I need to go into any detail at all what that means. If you have read this blog for even a little bit, you know how addicted to nature I am. You know that I live and breathe nature, so for me to be severely addicted to nature was quite a blow... except it wasn't.

I sort of shrugged it off when he said that. I just thought, "Hmmm. That's annoying. I guess I need to buy more Clariton when I go into the Mountains." Those were my literal thoughts, friends. You can't scare me out of nature with the threat of severe allergies!

While they were doing the test, though, my head pain increased exponentially, and I wanted to curl up into the fetal position, and I wanted to cry and hold my husband's hand. He of course, wasn't there, and I, of course, couldn't because that would compromise the test. So I lay there in pain, tears running down my face, praying silently into the pillow for the pain to stop, and wanting very much to go home and have a proper cry in my own bed.

The results of the test are as follows:

If it is outside, I am allergic to it. Severely. It will give me hives and probably contributes to my migraines. Also, cats, dogs, horses, and feathers contribute to the pain. Food wise, I am going to starve, and lose a lot of weight. I can no longer have sugar, honey, artificial sweeteners, agave, meat, (I can have eggs and fish), barley, soy, dairy, celery, corn, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts, navy beans, cucumbers, ginger, or sesame seeds. I have noticed a huge decrease in migraines by cutting these out.

And then when I went home from the doctor that night, I got the flu (influenza A) and didn't leave my bed for about 4 days, and thought I was going to die. Not literally, but I have never in my life been that sick. It was horrible! I really have never been that bad, to not even be able to get out of bed! I will be getting the flu shot next year. Keith was in bed next to me for half of that. Faye, Kip, and Vince also got it, but theirs was for like a day because they had the flu shot. It was amazing to see the difference in severity. Just yesterday was really the first day I was able to be up and about. Today is Thursday, a week exactly from when I caught it, if that gives any perspective on the matter.

Like I said, it has been a few months of emotions, emotions, emotions. But I think now, we are all caught up.

Except for one thing.

When Grandma passed away, I was given her beautiful couches. As a child, I wasn't allowed to touch her couches. I loved them so much, and always admired them. Now, they are in Arcadia, and they make my heart so happy! They have really changed the whole atmosphere of this room from frumpy and comfortable to sophisticated and classy. And they always make me think of Grandma, every time I come in here. That and the goose that stands guard my armchair. Jeffrey named it Gwendoline. I guess I'll write about Gwendoline and Koselig boxes tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Sleep in Heavenly Peace


Last night things got real. I got the kids to bed, the kitchen cleaned up, I straightened up the living room, bathroom, and Arcadia. It was 10:30 and I really needed to go to bed. Especially considering I had been up since 2:30 am with only a small nap (thanks mom for watching my kids so I could sleep!). I really needed sleep. Instead i choose to plan. I love my planner and I love planning out my week. I love being able to glance and see everything that is happening in my week. I stayed up until 1 planning for my week and you know what? It felt really good!

And then, I had the audacity to plead in my prayer last night, for all the children to sleep all night long so that I could get up and have a morning devotional the next morning. I told Heavenly Father that I would get up at 6 so I could pray and have a scripture study, and them I went to bed.

Six o'clock came much earlier than I expected it to, but I managed to pull myself from my bed around 6:30. I went in to Arcadia, got dressed, and knelt down to say my morning prayer. I was so excited and grateful that my kids had all slept all night long and I was about to start a scripture study!
And then Kip woke up.

Typical.

So I went into his room, pulled him out of his crib, and we sat in the story chair. I rocked him and opened my LDS Library app, determined to get some sort of gospel study in this morning. I decided to re-read Rhee talks from the Christmas Devotional.
Heavenly Father loves us. He is aware of our needs. He is mindful of our desires. He wants our happiness more than anything.

As I read the talk by Sharon Eubank, rocking my baby in the dark, tears flowed as I was struck by how personal they were to me at that moment.
She said
Our Heavenly Father is exactly like this. He sees little children, trying. Our efforts don't always succeed, but he knows how hard we are working--sometimes gritting our teeth and plunking through a disaster--and He loves us for it. For all of our dissonant, out of tune, unrecognizable music, He sent His beautiful Only Begotten Son, who is love's pure light. Jesus Christ will repair every bad note and redeem every sour overtone if we turn to Him and ask for His help. Because of the birth, the Atonement, and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can all "sleep in heavenly peace."

I have been struggling with the fact that I try so hard and yet I seem to always come up short. I want to have a morning devotional every day, and yet my baby wakes up before I get the chance. I want to go to the temple desperately but every time I try to go something comes up. And let's be frank here, finding a sitter isn't the easiest thing in the world. And so reading those words this morning was like balm to an open wound. I have been carrying this guilt around for so long. Ever since I was pregnant with Vince, actually.

What a merciful and loving Father He is to help me find those words, just when the guilt is so strong. I am overwhelmed with gratitude and so grateful i could read those words in my measly morning devotional.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Tiny House Confusion

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I love that people get so excited about living in tiny houses. I love that there are people out in the world who want this. Having lived the first 3 years of marriage in 700 sq ft and with 2 kids, it wasn't fun. And then, we lived with my in laws for 3 more years, and that was no picnic either. It was really hard not having actual space for all of our stuff. I really don't understand why someone would voluntarily do that to themselves. When we moved into Moon Hollow, it was like heaven! We had all of this space to fill and to spread out in! And fill it up we did! See, Jeffrey and I were both raised with the philosophy that it is better to hang on to things "just in case" rather than buy said object years in the future. Essentially, we have been treating our house like a storage unit. Add to that the two more babies we had since moving in here, we have accumulated quite the collection of stuff.

It is no wonder that I have been feeling like I am drowning over the past few years. Since Kip was born it has intensified and I have scarce been able to get my head above water, it seemed, or above all of our stuff. See, when I was pregnant with Vince, Jeffrey noticed that I was really struggling to get things done. I was sick a lot and holy Hannah, the migraines! And so he told me that he was going to take over doing laundry for me. And he was wonderful in keeping clothes for the kids mostly washed. Except being a man who is not burdened by attention to detail the way I am, he merely washed the clothes and gave them back to the kids. He didn't weed out the ones that were too little, or had gone past their expiration date (Faye is really good at loving her clothes and using them to the last thread of their life.), he merely would wash them and put them back into their respective baskets.

This meant that the accumulation of clothes was ridiculous! Add to that the many wonderful people who have given us clothes, so I didn't have to go shopping for clothing for my children in such a long while! And we now have MOUNTAINS of laundry. Most of it is no longer useful for my children, and yet it continues in the laundry rotation. Beth is now 5 but I am finding clothes of hers from when she was 2 or 3.

I have had a continual feeling of being overwhelmed and smothered ever since I was pregnant with Vince and my house wasn't properly cleaned.

It is no surprise, then, that I have been drawn to things like Allie Casazza's minimalizing motherhood course, or Marie Kondo's The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up book. I have been devouring these things this past month, and I cannot even articulate how wonderful it has been! I have been taking bags and bags and bags of things to the DI, and emptying our cupboards and closets of things that we don't need. I am dreading tackling the junk drawer, but I am going to do it. Probably sometime next month, after I have taken care of the really big things, like the mountains of laundry and toys that are not played with but instead just strewn about the house. I have to tell you, though, that listening to the audio book, or the pod cast while cleaning is either brilliant, or a very bad idea. I was cleaning the kitchen. As I listened to Marie Kondo talking about minimizing, I was putting the dishes away. I looked into my cupboards and stopped. We had far too many dishes! And so, while listening, I removed a large chunk of the dishes from the cupboard and put them in the DI pile.

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I took that pile to the DI yesterday. Yay!

With the minimalism mindset, though, it has made Christmas shopping rather difficult. We didn't want to give the kids things they wouldn't use, and we didn't want more stuff to replace what we had just gotten rid of. However, I am very happy with the things we found for each child. They really are only getting one thing, but they don't need more than the one, and I think they will be quite happy. We are getting a few games, and a membership to some local museums, so I'm sure they will be quite happy with that.

But friends, I am so excited! The kids bathroom is finally and actually clean!

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I have been showing Keith and Faye how to use cleaning wipes to wipe down the counters and toilet once a day so that it will stay clean. I have high hopes. The kitchen has been clean for nearly a week now!

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I don't think it is understood how amazing this makes me feel. I crave a clean house, and when my house is clean, my stress levels are much diminished, and I can be the sort of mother that I have always longed to be. There is hope on the horizon!

I know that this isn't really exciting for anyone but me, but I am honestly quite thrilled with the state of my bathroom and kitchen, and living room. I have been able to maintain the messes, and keep it clean, and for that, I want to do a happy dance! The boys' room has even stayed clean!

Now, let's talk about Kip. I don't remember if I shared about him before, but the child does not like to sleep. As such, I don't get to sleep. It has been a very sleep deprived 15 months thus far, and I am over it. I went to bed at 8 last night because I was so exhausted, and he woke me up at 10. 12, and then I was up from 2:30 on. He also hates water. Bath time is beginning to get a little better, but it still takes him a long time to adjust to the water and to actually sit down. As such, shower time for me is incredibly difficult. He doesn't sleep, so I can't shower while he is sleeping. He hates water, so I can't put him in with me. I can't let him roam the bathroom while I shower, either, because he inevitably finds the toilet scrubber, no matter how well I think I hide it, and either tries to "help" me be washing my walls with it, or he tries to eat it. I am not sure which disgusts me more. So today, I was incredibly stinky and tired. I called Lisa, and she was an angel and watched the boys so I could run home and shower. It was glorious to actually shower without worrying about what Vince was getting into, or having someone banging on the door or barging into the room! I got clean today! And then, my mom called me and said that I could bring the little ones over to her house, and I was able to get a nap as well! I feel incredibly spoiled today, I'm just saying. Don't ever underestimate the power of a nap and a shower!

Because seriously, clean house, clean Amy makes for an incredibly happy Mommy!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Exploding Emotions: Motherhood Edition

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It is mind boggling how there can be so many emotions felt in one day. Today, my day began with fear mixed with annoyance and bliss.

I woke up from a simply mahvelous dream. It was so vivid and sunny and warm in my dream. I was being treated like a queen, and I really did not want to wake up. Especially to a baby who was fussing. I lay still, paralyzed. It was 5 in the dark no-one-should-be-up-at-this-hour-especially-not-a-baby-especially-not-me hour. I tried to quickly find his binky and slip it into his mouth, hoping he wouldn't notice and wouldn't wake up completely. He did. I scooped Kip up, and we quickly slunk out of my room where Jeffrey and Vince were still sleeping. I went into the kitchen and got Kip some milk, and then we retired to his room where I sat and rocked him in the dark, humming, and hoping he would go back to sleep quickly. He did, but not a deep sleep. I rocked and hummed for nearly two hours. Every time I thought he was asleep I tried to lay him back in his crib, and he would jump up, screaming, and throw his binky Apparently he isn't a morning person. I was super annoyed because I really wanted to shower today, but if he woke up, that would be out of the question. You see, water terrifies him and so I can't put him in with me. And I can't leave him to roam the house because he is just a baby. I can't let him roam the bathroom while I shower, either, because he is super helpful and always manages to find the toilet bowl cleaner, and then either helps me clean the walls and everything else he can reach with it, or tries to eat it. Neither are ideal, and both gross me out to the umpteenth degree. And today there would be no showering during nap time because I was babysitting, and I just don't feel comfortable doing that. Besides, there are far too many variables. A 1 year old, two 2 year olds, two 5 year olds, and 8 year old, a 9 year old, and an 11 year old. And so, around 7:15 I just gave up. It was time to wake the other kids up and get them ready for school, and I had to say goodbye to my one chance for showering for the day.

Yes, you read between the lines correctly, I stink all day, and I am proud of it! Bwahahaha!

And so, already, by 7 am I had experienced a full range of emotions, and the day had just begun. Especially since I had stayed up late wrapping Christmas presents. However, that is also a good thing, because now they are wrapped, and put away, and I can actually enjoy the season with the children, instead of fretting about what I haven't finished yet. I aim to enjoy this month, and I will thwart anyone who dares stop me. But my point here was that I was already tired from staying up late wrapping presents last night.

I fought the kids off to school. And by that I mean, I fought with them to get dressed. Properly. Because shorts when the high for the day is still going to be below freezing is just not acceptable. And clothing is a MUST! Beth just doesn't like to get dressed for some reason, and I very nearly leave her every morning. She prefers sitting on the heat vent with a blanket wrapped around her, watching as the heat billows out the blanket around her, the warm air from the vent swirling around her, keeping her oh so cozy and warm. I can't say that I blame her. I did teach her that trick, and I love that she has really picked it up and run with it. She is my little furnace sitter, and it makes me smile. Except when we are late for school!

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I took the boys with me to the grocery store. It was sort of funny how many people stopped me and asked if they were triplets, or if they were all mine.

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Even more humorous was the audible sigh of relief from most of them when I told them that the middle boy was not mine. After that I didn't have the heart to tell them that my other 3 were in school. People act like 5 kids is a ridiculous amount of kids and honestly, most of the time I don't feel like it is. Just when I'm trying to herd them. Then 5 is an insane amount!

I did a bunch of errand running today, and I was so thankful for the DVD player in the van. Normally it annoys me to all get out, but today, it was really nice. The kids were entranced with the old stop time animation Christmas movies, and I was able to get my running around done without much of a hitch. Relief!

When we got home, I checked the mail, as per my habit, and I was so excited to see that the Christmas present that Jeffrey (I) bought for me (myself) was in the mailbox. I didn't expect it until January because it was coming from China, but, hey! It made me happy!

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It is a gorgeous ring, and was less than a dollar, so I splurged when I was doing the Christmas shopping for all the kids. I really should wrap it and let him put it in my stocking for me. Maybe I still will. But I really did enjoy wearing it around today. Every time I looked at it, it made me smile. Of course, I have already treated it so it won't turn my finger green, or turn a brassy copper color. Clear nail polish all the way! Because that is how I roll. After Keith flushed my gorgeous wedding ring down the toilet and I mourned its loss for years, I decided I will never again own diamonds. I don't need them. I am perfectly happy with costume jewelry, and if my children decide to dispose of it, I won't have to cry over both the cost and the loss. I really love the nature elements of this ring, though.

And then it was nap time. Joy of Joys! Hallelujah, hallelujah! Jack went down for a nap. And then Vince. It was really hard to get him to sleep while Kip wanted to play. I finally resorted to sitting on my bed with the two of them, and putting on a show. Keith drifted off rather quickly, and Kip tried to wake him up over and over and over. You know, sometimes I think they might as well be twins with how they act.

And then it was Kip's nap time.

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Just me and the baby, cuddling. I love those moments. I love how he snuggles close, and I can smell the baby lotion on him. I love the gentle caresses of my arm that he does as he is drifting off. I love that he sings along with me when I am singing him to sleep. I love all of it! Well, I love most of it. Just not the hour that it sometimes seems to take him to actually drift off. Ugh! Except I do love that. Just not when I am trying to get things done. It's a very ambiguous thing, really.

Once I got all of the boys sleeping I started on cleaning the kitchen. The deal I had made with the girls was that if we could get the kitchen clean, we could make gingerbread cookies. Ginger snaps, actually, because I just gave away all of my cookie cutters because we never used them. The girls put forth a valiant effort, but frankly, just got bored. 8/9 is a hard age to stay focused on something. Especially since Keith was wanting to play with them, and so they all went outside and I tried to finish up cleaning.

I eventually relented and once 2 counters were cleared off and the dishwasher was running, I started on the cookies. The oven was pre-heated, and I just finished mixing the dough when I looked to my recipe for the next instructions, and it said to chill for at least 2 hours. I am not sure why it had started with pre-heat the oven if I was supposed to chill the dough, but that is what I needed to do, and so that is what I did.

I have to be honest, it is really hard to know that there is a bowl full of cookie dough in the refrigerator, and I can't have any of it. I just don't agree with that at all! I may have to stop baking yummy sweet things from now on if I don't get better self control. I have really noticed a decrease in migraines since I started to cut out sugar. But that doesn't mean I don't really miss it. And it isn't the sugar so much, as the amazing flavors and blends of spices. Like ginger and molasses. Yum! I suppose smelling it can be nearly as satisfying, right? Right?!

The kids' mom came and picked them up and I promptly enforced a Mom Time Out. I locked the door to Arcadia, and sat down and just breathed. I sat in my reading chair with just the inside fairy lights on, and the outside Christmas lights creating a soft colorful glow through the window. It reminded me of when I was a child. That was one of my favorite things, seeing how the outside Christmas lights made my room so cozy and bright with the colorful lights. It just seemed to be warmer inside when the lights were on. I loved falling asleep to the glow, and hated the rest of the winter for its dark cold nights and lack of the big bulbs outside of my window. As I sat and breathed in the memory on my chair, slowly detoxing from the noise.
"And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise! That's one thing he hated! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!" ~Dr. Seuss
I don't hate it all the time, but I do think that years of migraines have made me especially sensitive to  noise. But when there is a house full of children, and they are told they must be quiet because of sleeping babies, the sound just seems to erupt out of them, despite their best efforts. And the sound is usually in the form of loud giggles, and laughter, and joyful screaming, and it is so hard to get upset over those kinds of noises...

...except when there are sleeping babies in the next room, that is.

And so, after a brief detox, which mostly came from transferring the emotions and the chaos out of my body, through my fingertips, and into this post, I got to put the little boys to bed once more, and once more I pondered on the many emotions in a day. Sometimes I can't help but wonder if Ron Weasley was actually on to something. A slightly stunned silence greeted the end of this speech, then Ron said, "One person can't feel all that at once, they'd explode.” 
"A slightly stunned silence greeted the end of this speech, then Ron said, "One person can't feel all that at once, they'd explode.""~ J.K.Rowling
Which is precisely why I blog. So I don't explode too.  But I'm not sure I would explode in the same sense that Ron was thinking. I think I would have so much joy and happiness, and all those other emotions, and they would just burst out of me, all the time. Which honestly, isn't completely a bad thing, right?

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Exploding Emotions: Motherhood edition. I'm trying to decide if this is something the medical community needs to learn about, or what. Either way, it is a very good thing I have a chance to sometimes sit and write and organize my thoughts.

At any rate, I've been up for nearly 18 hours now, and I may start hallucinating about my bed very soon. Instead, I'll just go find it.


Monday, December 3, 2018

Pour Some Sugar On Me ---- but please don't actually

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***There is no real purpose to this photo other than it makes me happy. It was incredibly foggy the other morning, the morning where everything went down, and I like to remember that there was a little bit of tranquility that morning. The boys and I drove around for a few minutes before we began the rush and craze of the day, and I just had to get out and take this picture because it made me heart calm and full of peace. Who knew how much I would need it later in the day? ***
"I'm allergic to sugar, it makes me swell." ~Gina Judd
For the past 11 years that I have been blogging, migraines have been a very strong topic here. It is something I have lived with virtually every day for the past 28 or so years. It hasn't always been a blinding migraine, but there has been fairly consistent head pain for that long. It is always there, my constant companion, pain. I guess it has sort of become a part of my identity, which is really sad, if you ask me. No one should have to become accustomed to living in pain.

When I was pregnant with Vince it got so bad I finally called my doctor. Up to that point in time, I just referred to them as "really bad headaches" but I didn't think they were migraines because I didn't see an aura. I didn't get the lights, or the fuzz, or even light sensitivity. It was just a pain in my head, in one spot, that would become unbearable.  When I went in to see my doctor, he told me that what I had been experiencing for most of my life, were migraines. And he offered to do something about it!

I was so excited and had so much hope! He got me on a medicine and about a month into it I discovered I was pregnant with Vince, and so had to stop immediately. No research had been done on pregnant women, nor would there likely ever be. That is just not ethical! And so I had to stop immediately. But I planned to start again as soon as I finished breastfeeding Vince...

... except 9 months into his life I found out I was pregnant again. Which again forestalled taking any medication until after he was born and done breastfeeding.

Finally! I was able to get started on the journey to fix my head! I went to the doctor and he prescribed a new medication that is supposed to prevent migraines. It is an injection that you administer to yourself once a month, and it should keep you migraine free for a whole month. Also, to help the migraine that I was currently suffering from, he gave me another injection of torrid, a migraine medication that should have stopped the migraine right then and there, within the hour.

Three days later, the day I took that gorgeous picture of the thinking bench near the pond, Kip had a well child visit, and while there I mentioned that the medication didn't seem to be working, and my head was still in substantial amounts of pain. And so he prescribed me with imitrex, a rescue medication. That is supposed to be only taken when nothing else has helped and the pain persists. Hence the name, rescue medication. I went down to the pharmacy, got my promised pain relief, and then got the kids into the car, including picking up the sweet little boy I get to watch sometimes. I had a busy morning ahead of me. I had to go straight to pick up Beth from school, and then Taelynn, the little girl I watch. While I was driving I started to get really hot. I couldn't figure out why. I began to sweat. My head seemed to get worse. I got Beth, and then we parked the car, waiting for Tae to get out of school. I noticed that my face began to feel funny, but I didn't think anything of it. It seemed to go numb in spots, and tingly in other spots. I got the girls and we went home. They were hungry and wanted me to start on lunch immediately, but I really didn't feel well and had to lay down on the couch in order to recover. I mustered up enough strength and made sandwiches for everyone, and then went back to the couch. At this point in time my throat began to feel tight. No like it was difficult to breathe, but just really tight.

I decided it was time to call my doctor.

I called and left a message because they are always crazy busy. I asked what the side effects of the imitrex were, and what I should do about the things that were happening to me. Of course, they told me to make an appointment and get in as soon as I could. I called the mom of the kids I was watching and asked her if she could get them 20 minutes earlier than she normally would have so that I could go to the doctor. She is a sweetheart and was very obliging.

I got into the doctor's office and they hooked me up to an EKG machine to check my heart. Apparently that medication is known to cause heart problems in people. My heart was fine, thank heavens! They gave me an antihistamine shot to counter the effects of the imitrex, and within 20 minutes my throat was no longer tight or scaring me.

But that put us back at square one. What could I do for this pain, as nothing seemed to work for it at all!

My sister had been here for Thanksgiving and she recently found out she is allergic to all joy in foods. At least that is how I interpreted it. She can't have dairy, eggs, wheat, blueberries, sesame, or coffee. The coffee is the only one that isn't a blow to her as we don't drink coffee. She is the one who used to joke about being allergic to sugar. As we were discussing her new dietary needs and how difficult it was but how much better she felt already, it got me thinking. Perhaps my head pain was a result of food allergies... I began to watch how I felt when I ate and I made a disheartening discovery. I was at Adrienne's house and she had cheesecake. Not just any cheesecake, either, mind you. She had pumpkin cheesecake! The spicy, creamy, decadent dessert that makes my heart happy! However, I noticed, as I was eating it, there was a spike in the pain in my head. It suddenly became much more intensified, and so I put two and two together. I must have a dairy allergy.

I was so sad as I contemplated all of the creamy soups I would no longer be able to eat, or the cheese. Mostly I was sad about the cheeses. It seemed cruel and unnatural, but I decided if it could help to ease my head pain, I guess I would give it up.

Saturday I had the wonderful privilege of going to a holistic health conference in Provo. While I was there, I was lucky enough to get a session with a practitioner. I told him about my migraines, and he began to check some things with me. He said that I do have an allergy to milk, but it is hardly consequential. It is so slight, it wouldn't be causing the problems I was describing. I may have done a little happy dance then and there, and contemplated a cheese plate of epic proportions. The practitioner then continued; because I had had such a reaction with cheesecake, what else in cheesecake could be causing my problems. Sugar? We both sort of laughed at that, because who is allergic to sugar? Actually good and proper allergic to sugar? He decided to check it anyway, just to be thorough.

My body gave out a resounding YES!

In case you were wondering, Me. That's who's allergic to sugar.

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I mean, I know it is bad for me and all, but actually allergic? There's got to be a support group for this somewhere.

Still a bit skeptical, last night I decided to give it a test. I had a candy cane, some cocoa, and another piece of cheesecake. Call me a masochist. But I really wanted one farewell piece of cheesecake. I scarcely slept last night because of the pain in my head! Today was no joke, as I tried to navigate a day with another migraine. I was sad when I realized I couldn't put the pumpkin spice creamer in my tea this morning because of all the sugar in it. I was sad when I couldn't make cocoa for myself. The family went out for Chinese tonight, and I stayed home with the little boys. I don't like Chinese food, but I love the fortune cookies! Except, I was severely disappointed when I remembered, once again, I can't have fortune cookies anymore. I have book club on Wednesday and am supposed to be bringing a trifle. I was so excited for that, but I guess I just wont be taking part in enjoying it. Not to worry, though, because I'm sure that by the time I am finished with our dinner I won't really want any dessert anyway, so it won't be much of a loss then, anyway.

This is going to be a huge shift in my lifestyle, friends. I mean, if there had been sugar eating Olympics, I could have taken the Gold home! In every living last category! Except peanut butter. I just don't like that. But Beth would have picked up the slack there, so Moon Hollow would have been adequately decorated. I'm just saying.

On to live a life without sugar. I am sure it is going to be a very fun transition figuring out how to give up something I am hopelessly and ardently addicted to. Yikes! But really, if it will help the pain in my head, I would walk across coals for that! Just not the ones that were on fire. And I would prefer to wear my shoes. But still! Stay tuned for my sweet but sugarless life. TBA

I didn't sleep last night but Vince certainly did. He slept so late this morning that he flat out refused to take a nap today. I did at one point get him into his bed, though, and as I read him stories, he fretted over his little toy robot. He kept fluffing the pillow, tucking the sheets around the toy, and cuddling up to the cold hard plastic thing in the most uncomfortable-looking but lovingly way.

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Vince didn't end up taking a nap. But robot did. I guess that's half the battle, right? Getting the toy to sleep?

Sigh, that boy is the most amazing and funniest little guy I have ever met, and I get so tired because of his antics every day. But I wouldn't have it any other way. I guess I get all the sweetness I need from him and his brothers and sisters. Who needs sugar when you have Littles like them, anyway?

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But butter? Now that is a whoooole different ball game, as you can see from Vinny's toast!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Termination Letter

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Moon Hollow Family Enterprises
November 27,  2018

Dear Tuesday,

This letter is to inform you that your employment with Moon Hollow Family Enterprises will end effective immediately.

You have been terminated for the following reasons:
  • Failure to alert the family that morning had come, thus making everyone nearly late and hungry as per no time for breakfast.
  • You failed to properly clothe children for the cold weather allowing them to  leave their coats home. Upper management was reprimanded by school staff.
  • Vince was super Vince-ified today. Lucky for you he was not naughty, just overly curious, adventurous, and busy. Fortuitous for you he didn't pull a stunt like he did on Monday's watch; going outside to play in the snow wearing only a diaper and boots while management was rocking the baby to sleep so they were unable to stop him or retrieve him. He did come in before neighbors called CPS, and before he got too cold, which was Monday's saving grace. He did immediately go back out yelling about snowballs but again, that only lasted 5 minutes.
  • I (Mother) had only one goal today and that was to clean the living room, but somehow, Tuesday, you thwarted me at every turn. The children were extra clingy, extra needy, and extra fight-y. They followed me around promptly pulling out everything I had just cleaned. You failed in the simple task of helping to distract them elsewhere.
  • The oven is full of burned on butter, causing too much smoke when turned on, this ruining dinner's plans
  • All of the pots and pans have begun to flake off their non-stick coating, making them unusable. Mother was forced to throw her last one away today, making food preparations impossible. More than that, it signified am end of an era as those pans  had been a wedding gift. Why you allowed them to be thrown out on your day is beyond Management's comprehension, when you were already skating on thin ice.
  • On top of everything else, it was found that you have been pilfering Sleep. None of the babies were found with it, to the extent that Kip was still awake at the writing of this, having had no nap, mind you, at 11:30 pm. 
  • Finally, you made the dog need to go out to poop twice in one night! Middle of the night, mind you. That was just not cool.

This decision is not reversible.

Miraculously, Mother was quick to think on her toes and found multiple ways to allow life to continue at Moon Hollow Family Enterprises. When the Littles were causing irreparable damage she took them and the dog for a walk. When the bigger kid fighting became overwhelming she separated and assigned chores. Keith was assigned to help install Christmas lights. When Mother became overwhelmed and angry by the consistency of your messes, Tuesday, she concocted a plan. Jeffrey would get home, they would eat dinner (something quick and easy, not what was previously planned), they would get into the van, go get report card donuts, Mother would bring along hot chocolate (laced with melatonin) and we would go see the Christmas Lights at the park. 

Plans were executed with the hiccup that someone had accidentally thrown away Kip's pajamas (I suspect it was also you but don't have proof). But Tuesday, we defied you! T

he park was beautiful and not crowded and not too cold. We were even able to participate in the Rotary Club's game of finding the elf to get a prize! 

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As we were walking along, some lovely young men (without coats *gasp*!)  gave us a candy cane with a sweet little message about the meaning of Christmas and the symbolism of the candy cane.

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I was so happy about that, loving that our Family Night was able to take a spiritual turn. I plan to print out a bunch of these sayings and go somewhere with the children to hand out candy canes with this sweet message as well. I loved that! It gives me great hope for the world when I see people going around doing good for no other reason than to do good. 

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When everyone got home from an incredibly delightful evening, the kids put themselves to bed. Except for the baby, who insisted on staying awake until midnight. The very same baby who had refused all naps during the day, another example of your fine handiwork! 

Tuesday, you will receive compensation, including pay for unused leave, severance pay, salary owed, etc. 

You are requested to return all company property, and training for the next Tuesday who will be replacing you.

Keep in mind, you have signed a confidentiality policy and as such are bound to keep the craziness within Moon Hollow Family Enterprises to yourself. 

If you have questions about policies you have signed, your compensation, benefits, or returning company property, please contact Mother within the next 5 days.

Sincerely,

Amy
Aka Mother

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Attack of Both the Dog and the Head

Onyx loves to run away. We have put up a little chicken wire fence in the backyard, but it seems to be one of his greatest joys in life to find holes in our security, and to break free and run away. As he runs, he looks back, tongue lolling out, eyes wild with excitement, and he r-u-n-s! The excitement and joy trail behind him like the intoxicated pheromones of a frustrated teenage boy. To see him run is just a joy...

...except for the part where we have to somehow catch him and bring him back home. That bit isn't so fun. The kids go chasing after him, and it is a wonderful lark to him. He eats it up and wants to do it more. However, Onyx has tried this stunt a few times at twilight, and Vince has felt it his duty to go chasing after the dog.

We decided this was no longer safe for our children, and so we decided to invest in an electronic fence. I never wanted to do that, but when my children's safety comes in to play, no holds are barred and I will do what I have to in order to keep them safe. In the meantime, we have been forced to only take Onyx out on a leash, and that includes when he needs to relieve himself. Sigh.

The electric fence was ordered, and Keith and Faye had the dog outside on Sunday, letting him do his business when the neighbor's dog who had gotten out, came over into our yard, hopped the measly fence like it didn't exist, and went after our dog.

The dog fight was epic and horrible and traumatic for Keith and Faye who didn't know what to do, and didn't know how to stop it. When the other dog finally grew tired of beating up on my dog, he went home, and Onyx limped into the house, scarcely putting any weight on his front left paw. It was bleeding a bit, in many different places. The poor thing was so scared! We pampered him a lot that night, and he fell asleep licking his wounds.

Monday dawned bright and beautiful. Nearly as shimmery as my beautiful 9 year old. Faye came up into my room, grinning from ear to ear, and just plopped herself down on my bed. Her eyes were big, and her smile was even bigger. I loved how the new morning light was creating that sleep halo around her head from the mussed up hair. I smiled at her, and started to sing Happy Birthday to her. She smiled even bigger. I gave her a quick squeeze and sent her off to get ready for school.

Onyx hadn't eaten since before he got attacked, and he had been busy all night licking those wounds. After taking the kids to school, I ran a bunch of errands, including getting scones for the kids. I checked them out of school and let them eat the scones and honey butter in the van while I ran into the pet store to get a cone for our dear Onyx. The kids were in heaven with the surprise treat. The scones really are heaven. They are billowy and light, and oh so perfect! They went back to school, and I got home and put the cone on the dog, along with a bunch of neosporin as per the instructions of the vet at the pet store.

And so now, we are building a fence. Not just to keep our doggy in, but to keep other dogs out and to keep my kids safe. My backyard neighbor had nearly all the hardware for a fence and they so graciously gave it all to us. I am so blessed to have such wonderful neighbors!

I feel bad that Faye's birthday wasn't the epic focus on her moment that birthdays seem to be. But we did have a lot of fun on Saturday. I made her favorite foods for dinner on Monday, though. We had crack chicken, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. I also made an incredible recipe for cheesecake. It is one that I was given when I was 19, and had lost it, but I remember it being absolutely divine! Luckily my sister still had the recipe and she shared it with me. It takes 4 hours to chill, and I finished baking it at 6, so I popped it into the freezer in hopes that would speed things up and help us be able to eat it that night. Shaun and Lisa stopped by with their kids and had dinner with us. Sadly, they didn't get to enjoy the cheesecake.

While we were eating dinner, my day long headache suddenly intensified into a migraine of epic proportions. I was coughing and every single cough felt like my head was being split open. We sang happy birthday to Faye, and then I went to bed. I couldn't bear the pain any longer.

As luck would have it, I had scheduled an appointment with my doctor to discuss my headaches a month ago, and my appointment was yesterday! I went into his office with a headache, and we discussed possible causes for them. We then discussed possible treatments. I am not going to lie, I missed most of what went on in that appointment because my head was hurting so much, and I had Kip with me. Keeping him out of stuff is a full time attention job. But it was decided on a new medication that was recently released that is said to have phenomenal results with migraines. I had to get 2 shots for this medication, but it takes about a week to fully work. It prevents migraines, and lasts for about a month. Which means, I get to take it monthly. A shot to my stomach. Yuck, but so worth not having the constant pain that I have been dealing with for the past... 28 years or so. Yeesh! I did have a brief few years where the pain decreased significantly when I started taking Plexus. Plexus is a wonderful health and wellness company. They focus in gut health, inflammation, and blood sugar balance. Focusing on those three things helped so much with the pain! But the pain has slowly been coming back and increasing, so it was time to do something else so that I could function as a human being, and more than that, so I could function as a mother! I do have to say, healing my gut has been an amazing journey and I am so glad I embarked on it nearly 3 years ago! But back to my current state. So I got 2 shots in my stomach, and then, to deal with the current head ache I have been having, I got another shot in my arm. That one hurt the most! The good news, I don't currently have a migraine!!! My head is in a bit of pain right now, but it is so insignificant, it is scarcely worth mentioning! I am so excited to see if it actually works!!