Friday, July 30, 2010

New Perspective

A while back, my son bought a digital camera with some money he'd received as gifts from relatives. He's been highly pleased with it and loves to take photos. Lately he's also learned to shoot videos and is even more excited.

He's taken literally hundreds of photos since he got the camera. Some - OK, many - of them are blurry, out of focus, etc., just like any other beginner photographer. Some of them are average. And a few of them I just love.

His favorite subject is cats. Not really a difficult subject to shoot considering that we have six of them. This one is his cat Hermes.

Clearly he loves getting down on the perspective of the animals. Many of his photos are shot from the floor. A few were shot while standing on his bed. I had to giggle when I realized that, but he's at least mastering two vital aspects of photography that I'm still trying to figure out!

This is a shot of one of his best friends. Seven-year-old boys are so vibrant!

My last favorite shot is one of girl cats, Tempest. I love how her face is shaped. He captured her very well and managed to get a well-lit photo! That's also a tough one!

Finally, I offer a montage of videos he took of himself over a few weeks. He is a hoot, and Oz and I laugh riotously whenever we see these. I'm sure in 10 years he'll kill me for him, but hopefully the little bit at the end is enough to remind him that he really loves me. He is an awesome kid, and I'm so glad to have him, and I can't wait till he discovers more about photography and cameras in general! Experimenters unite!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Food bloggin' time!

I love food. There is no good reason why I shouldn't weigh twice what I do given the Foodiness of Me. There's just something zen about getting into the kitchen and creating good food, whether it's a classic, heart-warming, soul-soothing dish or something completely unique that nobody else has ever heard of.

The other day I felt the urge to create a blueberry sky pie. I hadn't made one in the entire 10 years that Oz and I have been together, and he'd never even heard of it. I have discovered most people haven't. I'm not even sure where I first heard of it, but I knew what it was supposed to taste like and roughly what was supposed to go in it, so when I found this recipe on, I ran with it.

Start with graham cracker crusts. The recipe makes two pies (plus a little more) so plan accordingly.

These plus some blueberry pie filling are all the ingredients you'll need.

Yes, I made my own blueberry pie filling with the berries the kids and I picked a few months ago. And I made the crusts.

Cooking is zen. Usually because I tend to ignore the children and their shenanigans while I'm cooking, but I made the crusts after they went to bed one night, so clearly I get more out of it than a moment's peace and quiet.
Mix together the softened cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk and frozen lemonade.

Fold in the whipped topping. Resist the temptation to lick the spatula. Lick the inside of the whipped topping container instead because something's gotta give.

Add the blueberry pie filling and fold that in, too.

Overfill both pie shells, add lids, and refrigerate.

Eyeball what's left and think about giving it to the kids because that'd make you the BEST MOM EVER.

Remember that you're supposed to be on a diet and then wonder why you put yourself on a diet the same day you plan to make pie and figure that if you're going to be that self-defeating in the first 24 hours that you deserve every ounce you've ever put on.

Eat the leftovers.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

NOT for the faint of heart (or those who have just eaten)

I'm not joking.

Really I'm not. If you have any sort of squeamish stomach, you should stop reading now.


I've warned you! If you read on, it's at your own risk. I am not responsible for the contents of your stomach past this line.

Fair enough.

M1 had a fish die the other day. He discovered it behind the neon-colored (and yet often covered by algae) ceramic jar he has on the bottom of his fish tank.

As I was fishing it out - no pun intended - he said to me, "Mom, can I keep it?"

"Can you what???"

"Can I keep it and study the bones?"


This is where I realized that I've truly crossed some sort of line in between normal parent and home-educating parent of Science Boy.

"Sure, stick it in the lizard tank."

Now... lest ye think I'm *completely* bonkers, let me back up a tad. When the lizard died a week or two ago, I thought about cleaning out the entire vivarium, but I'm lazy and it didn't happen yet, even though the chickens will enjoy it when I do. The lizard tank had long been a self-sustaining mealworm farm as long as I occasionally threw in some of this stuff we'd bought to feed crickets ages ago, so we had beetles and worms galore scooting around the tank.

And when the lizard died, the beetles and worms... kind of... well...

They munched on it.

So I figured they'd do the same with the fish.

Look away now if you've gotten this far out of morbid curiosity but have a weak stomach in reality.

This is day 1. M1 was very excited to see how quickly the beetles and worms flocked to their new dinner. And he took a picture.

By the next morning, they had completely cleaned out the carcass. Completely. All that was left was skin and bones. The only good thing about this entire process was there was no smell whatsoever! (Ok, so then M1 decided that if the skin was WET, they'd eat the skin, and he sprayed it with water and I freaked about the potential for smell because I don't want Eau de Decomp in my house and told him to leave the heat lamp on so it'd dry out as quickly as possible, which he did and it did and all was right again... well... as right as it gets when you have a dead fish in a lizard tank being consumed by worms and beetles... yeah, I'm special...)

Then M1 took the carcass and parked it under his microscope (I really need to get him a nicer one... but good LORD, they're expensive) and checked it out.
These are his observations. I have told him that as long as he understands his writing - he's dysgraphic - I'm not worried about spelling for things like scientific observations. He likes that. Oh, and he would like you to know that on Day 2, it's supposed to say, "Eyes *GONE* and skin split." Because that makes it better.

Mmmmmm eyes....

Sorry. I do know better. I just can't help myself.
Finally he put the dried out skeleton into a glass jar and wrote a label for it with the common name "golden gourami" on one side and the scientific name "Trichogaster trichopterus" on the other.

And then he threw a fit because I made him learn to pronounce the Latin name properly.

And when his next fish dies, he wants to dissect it so he can see its heart.

Heaven help me, I'm not ready for this. Pass the Latex gloves, surgical mask, goggles, and puke bucket. This could get worse before it gets better.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Guess what??


(Never let me ask questions when I'm feeling immature. It gets bad. Very bad.)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Going green with laundry

So a while back I got the harebrained idea that I should make my own laundry detergent. I blame The Hive Mind, a homeschool forum that I frequent. But it did sound like a good idea. My biggest problem was that my washer MUST have liquid laundry soap. I used powder when we first moved in and clogged up the leach lines within a year and they had to be replaced. It was a mess, and I have NO desire to repeat that particular fun. I'm sure Oz shares this sentiment.

Then the Duggar Family Laundry Recipe was shared on the forum, and I thought, ya know, if they can make it work with their entire clan, surely it'll work for mine, right? And the best part was the ingredients are cheap, cheap, CHEAP.

Oh, and it has no dyes. Or scent, unless you add it with essential oil. I'd been buying the Tide Free & Gentle for a long time, but I'll try anything once.

Almost anything.

It was extremely easy to make. Since Oz flipped his lid about having 10 gallons of untested laundry detergent in the house (and I have nowhere to store that much, anyway), I did the math and worked out how to make 2 gallons at a time. I started by grating 1/5 of a Fels-Naptha bar into 4/5 c. of hot water.

It wasn't *quite* the funky green color you see here. It was more of a yellow. But the bar melted beautifully into the water.

These are the only other ingredients. A dab of one and a tad of the other (and I threw in about 2-3 T. of vinegar as a water softener) along with a gallon of water, and...

Voila! I had what was supposed to be detergent. Boy, was I skeptical. The recipe said to cover it up and let it GEL overnight. It was water when I stepped away from the pot and decided to see what would happen, but I was definitely not sure it was going to turn back into any form of a solid.

One should not doubt. It wound up being somewhere between Jell-O and pudding in consistency.
Half of the mixture went into each jug along with an equal amount of water (yes, more water), and I was in business! I tried it on a load of knits in cold water and a load of towels in hot water, and it seemed to do just fine! It didn't get out a salsa stain that I had forgotten to pretreat on a yellow tank top of mine, but it got it as far along as the Tide would have, so I'm happy.

My vote? Two thumbs up for homemade liquid laundry detergent!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Because I Like to Blog

Posts that I plan to have upcoming this week (assuming all goes well and the world doesn't implode):

1. Homemade (liquid) laundry detergent. It's currently sitting on my stove thickening overnight. I'll finish it off tomorrow, take a few photos, and see how it actually works in action.

2. Blueberry sky pie and other recipes. I'm on a food kick. And Oz is going out of town this week, so I can make moussaka! *drool*

3. M1's science experiment and observations. Let's just say it involves fish, bugs, and death. He will be supplying the photography.

4. Probably an update on the girl's fits and boy's foot, scheduling for fall, and thoughts on the fact that school starts 11 days from now. O_o

Friday, July 23, 2010

When the boy's away, the girl will play

The boy went to camp this week.

It was a YMCA camp called 1/2 & 1/2, so they spend two days at the day camp and then climb on a bus early Wednesday morning and go out to the camp till Friday afternoon. My boy has been away from me overnight plenty of times but always with a relative and never with a fractured foot, soooooo... I was a tad nervous.

He wasn't!

He had a blast and got to go hiking and inner-tubing and swimming and horseback riding and is covered in scratches and bruises and will probably sleep till about 10 tomorrow morning (OK, so 7 if I'm lucky). I'm sure he'll go back next year.

And so the girl wanted to know what *SHE* got to do special because her brother was away at camp and could we play tea party, please?

So I happily decided that instead of plastic and pretend, why not have real tea instead? I found this china teacup at a local antique store and got it for the girl a few months ago to replace a different cup and saucer that had been broken. The pattern, if you're interested, is Schumann's Dresden Flower pattern "Empress."

She loved the idea of having a real tea with mama using her real china cup. She selected a mint herbal tea and I fixed her a bagel, cucumber slices, and grapes and broke out the china plates, too. She didn't wind up caring for the tea, even with sugar, but she thought it was so neat to have tea with mama just like the grown-up teas that I host once or twice a year.

Then she wanted to play Princess. Since she couldn't decide on just one color for her fingers or toes, I let her pick two. Each. And I curled her hair (which totally didn't stay curled even long enough for me to spray it, thanks to the humidity) and let her put on a dress. She even got to pick where we took her out for dinner and brought a purse with a fake cell phone that she kept answering. Parental guilt ran deep about that one, but it was cute. By the end of dinner, her new name was Princess Pygmalion Pickle Purse.

Now brother is back home and all will get back to normal. It's been a hectic couple of weeks, but it's been fun!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A whirlwind day

M1 fell off his bike Sunday night. He crawled (no, actually crawled) into the house saying that his foot hurt and refused to walk on it for ages. He's prone to melodrama when it comes to wounds, so I told him if he couldn't walk on his foot, he wouldn't be allowed to go to the YMCA camp this week that he's been looking foward to all summer (that order has caused much parental guilt now). He hobbled around the rest of the evening and went to bed. He got up yesterday morning and told me that the pain was less (5/10 instead of 8/10), so I let him go to camp. He came home with a swollen foot, more pain, and a bruise coming up on the bottom of the foot. The pain was on the outer edge in a very specific spot. He was going to be devastated if I didn't send him to camp, but the mom in me had to take him to the doctor. I'd have taken him to urgent care except it's a bigger copay and he was already nervous about the x-rays.

This morning, then, I called the pediatrician's office and got told to bring him right in. The nurse practitioner who works with the pediatrician had an opening. I tossed the kids and breakfast into the car and hauled them in. X-rays were taken, and because the x-ray tech likes us, she always shows us the films once they're developed. It had been a long, long time since I'd seen an x-ray of M1's foot. When he was born, he had 12 toes - six per foot. (He also had 12 fingers but they weren't fully developed and were tied off just like the cord.) He had to have the two extra toes surgically removed because they would have hindered him developmentally and made shoes impossible to fit.

I digress.

Looking closely at two of the views, a chip fracture seemed pretty clearly visible to me, the tech, and the nurse in the room. The NP saw it as did another physician in the building. So while technically we have to wait for the official radiology report because foot fractures are notoriously hard to diagnose, we're treating it as a chip fracture.

That's the bad news. The good news is that because it's only a chip fracture and hasn't impacted any growth plates, he can walk on it as long as he's comfortable - no running - and so was able to go to camp! He took good care of his foot today, refusing to climb a rock wall or do running games. There's something to be said for the Independence of Aspergerdom. We elevated and iced it tonight, though he'll be at an away camp for the rest of the week. I worry, but I know he'll tell a counselor and have me called if it gets worse. We go back in three weeks to get it x-rayed again.

Anyway, so we left there, went back home, got his lunch and bag packed and hauled him to camp. M2 and I swung by her school and grabbed some clothes out of the uniform closet (yay free!!!) before going back home to finish off some chores and get lunch before...

We headed to her psychiatric appointment.

I like the guy. He's conservative when it comes to both diagnosing and medications. He didn't try to pressure M2 into talking but instead let her play with blocks almost the entire time and didn't react at all when she refused to look at him when he asked her to clean them up. That was good. Very good.

He said that the Intuniv that she's on right now is probably the safest med he can try since it's been studied in the short-acting form in kids as young as 3 and found to be safe (which I knew, but he didn't know I knew). It seems to make her sleepy and has cut WAY back on the tantrums at home already; the jury is still out on social situations. Anyway, he also refused to diagnose her with bipolar but said, "It's in my head..." for later. Her official diagnosis right now that he wrote down is: Generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety, rule out mood disorder/bipolar.

What does all that mean? Well, it means he doesn't think it's a sensory issue. She has a few but nothing major. Nothing worse than the rest of us! It means that he's not even considering bipolar medication right now, which is fine by me because of all the nasty side effects that come along with them, particularly in the weight arena. If we do decide that Intuniv isn't cutting the mustard, then he's going to try anxiety treatments first. We go back in a month, since school will be well and truly started by then and we should know how she reacts to all that. In the meantime, I'm going to see about getting M2 in with the psychologist that M1 has used in the past and who M2 knows and likes. Maybe we'll be able to get some help in dealing with the tantrums and figuring out triggers since I haven't been able to do that so far. And if we go through the anxiety treatments or her manic/depressive cycles escalate, then we can consider a mood disorder further. I have charts to fill out for mood changes over the next month to see how she's doing. I'm anal retentive enough to do it.

After all that, you'd think my day was over, right? I wish!!! I brought M2 home, and she had a blast the rest of the afternoon. She got permission to play with her gerbil in the bathtub because it can't escape. The cats kept following her into the bathroom, so I told her to shut the door. Which she did. And about that time I had a nap waylay me in the middle of a book and leave me stranded on the couch for 30 minutes. When I woke up, I realized that she hadn't come out of the bathroom at ALL during that time and that if I was going to pretend I was a good mom, I needed to find out what was going on in there.

It's never a good thing to contemplate.

She had the gerbil in the tub, as directed, and had lined the tub with Kleenex so as to collect the poop more easily when it was time to put him up. She had gotten into her drawer of "make-up" and hair clips and had pinned her hair in about six different places and decided to wear BLUE lipstick. I still maintain it was supposed to be eyeshadow, but it's fake make-up anyway, so I don't think it matters. Her lips were pretty much glowing blue. I put the gerbil back in his cage and she cleaned up the Kleenex mess, and then she wanted a dress to go with her hair and make-up, so I let her change into a dress.

Apparently just letting her have that half-hour in the bathroom caused this to be "the best day ever." When we got M1 from camp and brought him home to shower, elevate, ice, and eat pizza and salad in front of the TV with M2, she told him so. He said he'd had a great day at camp. More camp stories tomorrow while I'm pining for him since he'll be away for two nights with me basically unable to reach him. I know he won't miss me, but I'll miss him!

Guess I'll just have to keep busy. I'm sure M2 can find something for me to do.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Oops, I did it again

This post could also be entitled "My Weekend in a Nutshell," but what fun is that? Much more fun to gank the title of a once-popular song by a once-popular singer.

Speed Bump would like to acknowledge that everyone in the house is a little bit cuckoo to begin with. Nothin' like taking a picture of a male dog in fake pink pearls to let you know that your mental status might be a little bit off.

On Friday, M1 and I went down to Oklahoma City to visit Granny. He stayed up late, commandeered the air mattress (I got the couch, which was fine by me because it was quite comfortable), and woke up early. After breakfast, we headed to the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History. A most excellent place. I highly recommend it. Highly. Photos? Why, yes, I do have a few, thanks for asking. But they're on my phone and I'm not up to the mental challenge of downloading, editing, and posting them right now. I'm a little bit brain-fried.

Oooo fried.

Fried pickles.

Fried pickles with wasabi Ranch...

Caz's Chowhouse...


I'm a little bit ADHD this weekend. Just a tad. I haven't been able to sit still for more than five minutes since M1 and I got home.

I've been busy making this giant pile of mess otherwise known as Stuff That Needs to Go to Goodwill. Except for the Doodleboard and the markers. Because if I got rid of M2's art supplies, she'd probably tear me limb from limb.

Except that she hasn't thrown a fit since Thursday. I'm in shock. Me likey the meds. I think she does, too.
Here's the trash pile that went along with the Goodwill pile.

I cleaned out EVERYTHING. I started in the utility room with one cabinet. Just one. And then the urge to purge morphed into a very large, ugly thing that kept me busy for hours and hours, which was a good thing because I was feeling a very unexpected and involuntary urge to cry every time I sat down, but my goodness... the productivity!!!
This is that first cabinet. I started with the middle shelf because it had stuff falling out. I found fourteen... FOURTEEN... packages of catnip. They all came with the corrugated scratching boards that we buy, and I have a mild case of Hoarders. It's genetic. I'm fighting my very core to throw these things out. It's a big step.

This was the last cabinet that I did today. It had a box of eight glasses in it before as well as almost everything you see here. The glasses are now in the kitchen cabinets (which I also went through) where they belong. I also purged a tablecloth, 10 placemats, and a table runner. The fact that two sets of silverware (one silver that was my grandmother's and one stainless steel and gold that I got for free), six tablecloths, eight napkin rings, eight placemats, 24 napkins, and a whole set of paper goods still fit in this tiny cabinet is testament to my mother's influence. This is the stuff I couldn't part with because I *use* it.

Hoarders, I tell you. I've just learned to hide it well. OCD hides many a hoard.

This is my proudest accomplishment. Every shelf of this had books falling over the edges before I started. Now I have room to spare.

Oz, be warned. Space in a bookshelf MUST be filled. That's not hoarding; that's a neeeed. I'm sure a trip to the bookstore is in my future.

OK, so it was probably in my future, anyway, but I'm all for pretending.

Just like I like to pretend that the house is clean now. Never mind the fur wads on the floor or the toothpaste fingerprints on the bathroom mirror or the overflowing trash cans or the dishes in the sink. The important thing right now is that when I open up any drawer or cabinet in this house, nothing falls out!

Friday, July 16, 2010

School thoughts

So it's that time again, when I have to sit down and start looking at what we're going to do this school year. I've been getting curriculum figured out since January, making decisions on what to stick with, what to supplement, what to change, etc. I'm not big on change and M1 generally likes what we have (I try to pick everything with him in mind, and I'm usually not far off), so I'm simply throwing a few more things into the ring and calling it good.

If you look on the left side of the blog, you'll see what we're going to be using. Yes, it's a long list. No, we will not be doing everything every day or even every week, but it'll all be there for use as desired. The only things I'm putting my foot down about are writing (which he hates) and math (which he tolerates but is quite good at when he pays attention). Those *will* be done daily.

Let's start from the top. The first three are all handwriting curricula. Yup, that's a lot. But we'll be doing these daily and there's no way I intend to finish all the books except Writing Strands. He's finally up to grade level on handwriting, though I'm sure there will be some remediation and review at the beginning of the school year, so I'm only going to have him use HWT about once a week. He can pick the day, hour, and location lol. The other four days of the week we'll be using Writing With Ease, which is a very basic book, or Writing Strands, which will stretch his imagination a bit more. He's a lot more excited about WS than either of the others, but there are only 12 or 13 lessons, so I'll use it every few weeks as a treat.

Bribery is a good thing.

Spelling Workout is a nice, easy spelling program. He's nearly done with book B and book C is in the mail. He likes this program. It's not too hard, has short little assignments, and is black-and-white which is a major bonus for Mr. Distractibility. Plus the words are printed in both print and cursive so he can practice reading it long before he starts to write it.

First Language Lessons is a grammar book we started last year. It's the only program I'm thinking of throwing out sometime this year, but I already had the book, so we'll see how it goes. If it does get tossed, Shurley English may take its place. He's got a solid grasp on the English language, so I'm not too worried about swapping if need be or even tossing the whole subject out the window and just teaching him as we go. Who knows. A lack of grammar won't necessarily kill him at the age of 8. Or ever. Though I *am* nicknamed the Grammar Nazi by my darling spouse, so the boy can't escape without some knowledge of the topic.

Story of the World is history, and he's excited about it again, as am I. I see a lot of reenactments in our future, with little Army men or dress-up gear or both, and of course more 'feasts.' The Middle Ages is my favorite time span in all of history, so I'm going to be going all-out on this one.

Math-U-See. He does well when he focuses. Again, I'm sure we'll have to review, but he knows the stuff solidly. He's getting tired of straight addition and subtraction, so I know he wants to get through the current book (Beta) and get to the next one so he can start learning other stuff. Not to say that Beta doesn't cover other stuff... he just gets so darn impatient with math. Maybe I'll have to invent some games.

REAL Science Odyssey and E=mc2 are both science programs. I actually have a third book called "Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding" that we'll touch on, but its use will be minimal, I think. I say that. Science is his major field of interest, so I really have no idea how much we'll be doing. I have a rough outline, but he really leads this one much more than any other subject, so who knows. It'll be fun, that's for sure, because he loves space and geology and all the stuff we'll be studying and knows a lot of it already, so we can spend a lot of time getting into the nitty-gritty of it all and delve nice and deep. I'm really looking forward to it.

The rest are electives. I gave him the option of giving up Latin after getting a basic grounding last year with Song School Latin, but he wouldn't have it and insisted on continuing, so I picked up Minimus which is published by Cambridge. It's cartoon-based. Need I say more? Le Francais Facile Jr. is a simpler version of a three-year French program. I don't think we'll get through even the junior version in one year, but if he's learning, that's what counts. Plus, I know NO French. OK, so I don't know Latin, either, but I'm more confident there for some reason. Logic Safari contains simple logic problems for him to solve. He likes these a lot and finds them easy. This book won't last past October, I'm betting, but there are more in the series. Dance Mat Typing is an online BBC typing program involving a dancing goat. It's a hoot. Finally, Complete-A-Sketch and Artistic Pursuits are art programs. Complete-A-Sketch is the one I showcased in May (Post Here), and Artistic Pursuits mentions different artists and uses different mediums while showing off age-appropriate drawings so my boy doesn't feel as inadequate in his own efforts. Plus it ties in with the history we learned last year and some we'll be learning this year, so that's also a plus. M2 may use this program with us. She'll like it, I know, even if M1 doesn't.

So there ya go. All updated and ready to go. Hard to believe that summer vacation is almost over! M2 goes back August 5, assuming she can get her act together (oh, crap, I need to go uniform and back-to-school shopping!), so we start the same day.

Time's fun when you're having flies...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sweet surprise

I was downloading photos off my camera when I found these gems. I didn't take them; M2 did. She discovered my camera in one of her moods the other day and took a ton of photos, but I had forgotten she had taken them. Not all of them were this good, of course, but given that it was her first time to successfully operate a camera, I think she did well.

Kuro, Moose Cat Extraordinaire, sitting next to my bestickered laptop and ubiquitous mug. I don't go anywhere without that mug.

Me, trying to look nonchalant and failing miserably. I love how she caught my wrinkly neck and hair that desperately needs to be washed and TOTAL lack of make-up. Honesty in photography right there. Vogue should take a hint.

Oz in his hugely tall glory. He's laughing at his girly-wirly who was so excited about taking photos.

The only canning photo I got. Those peaches (and one bonus nectarine) were delicious. Note the giant pile of tomatoes in the background along with the ones on the windowsill still ripening. Ignore the dirty dishes in the sink.

My spice rack, or at least one shelf of it. I don't know what it is about this rack, but both of my kiddos love taking pictures of it. One day I'll get all the photos off of M1's camera and share some of them, too. He's only got about 400 on there to go through.

Time to go close up the chicken coop!

BIG sigh of relief

I apologize that my posts haven't been up to snuff lately. I know at least a couple of you read my rant that I posted the other night before poster's remorse set in. Thankfully, that situation ended well for everyone and the appropriate words were said by all. I like when the drama dies a quick, painless death. I know that I've been rather obsessive lately about M2 and her situation, and I apologize that it's taken over the blog. I realized just how much it had taken over yesterday when I was canning more food (blackberry jam, peach preserves, peaches, and tomatoes) and didn't take one single photo. I hope to get a *real* garden post up by the end of the week. It won't be pretty, but it'll be something!

Back on M2, though, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel. She has started her medication and didn't have a single fit yesterday. Not one. I didn't even realize how much I had been (psychologically speaking) holding my breath and tiptoeing around hoping to avoid meltdowns that came anyway. I don't know if the lack of tantrum was due to medication or not, but not having to deal with a screaming child was lovely. Today she's at Grandma's, and she can generally hold it together around other people. She'll probably lose it when she gets back tomorrow, just detoxing, but not having her and M1 bickering all the time is mentally satisfying, too. Even he is breathing a sigh of relief. School starting back in up in a few weeks should be good for everyone.

I also got in touch with a pediatric psychiatrist who takes our insurance and set up an intake appointment for next Tuesday. So quickly! I am grateful. I know there will be pile upon pile of paperwork to fill out before then, but who cares?? My girl is going to get some help, and that's what matters.

I am doing much, much better. I am starting to really laugh again and think in terms of humor - I didn't know how much of that I'd been suppressing, too, but in addition to coming off of Stress Cliff above Meltdown Lake, I'm also coming out of a giant London-sized brain fog.

It's a good, good feeling. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Rant and disclaimer

Thank you all for your comments, but given the nature of my raging case of foot-in-mouth syndrome, I've had poster's remorse and decided that just in case people find this blog and decide to read past posts, I'd be safer off keeping some things to myself. Seriously, though, I really appreciate all the kind words! Thanks for being a great sounding-board.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Ok, so I can't eat chicken. It's a headache/body itch/intolerance thing. And this post has nothing to do with chicken, really. It's all about the culmination of M2's psych appointment with the pediatrician today so I could get reassurance and hear from the lips of someone who sees A LOT of kids that I'm not making crap up and trying to make my girl into a crazy loon when she isn't.

Turns out...

*I'M* not crazy.

She is.

While diagnosis is a dirty word when it comes to bipolar, that's more than likely what the diagnosis will be, especially as she gets older. The doctor said that with our family history/genetics and the total combination of M2's symptoms, that is what the whole picture looks like. We're going to try the ADHD drug Intuniv with her, because the pediatrician said that she's had good luck with it in aggressive ADHD children who don't necessarily have huge attention issues and it may help regulate her moods, which would be a good thing because I don't want her going to kindergarten and beating up her teacher (who happens to be a nun... beating up nuns is generally frowned upon, methinks). Plus, who wants to put their 5-year-old girl on an SSRI or an atypical antipsychotic and deal with the side effects that go with that? Oh, and we're going to be calling the developmental pediatric place in town and making an official appointment with the psychiatrist there to get more of a real handle on medications if the Intuniv doesn't work; if it does, we'll just go in for therapy with the psychologist we've already used for M1.

So that's the plan and the whole shebang in a nutshell.

I'm going to go drink some wine, do some work, and crash. It's been a heckuva ride. Thanks for sticking it out with me.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Four bags of trash

A few days ago, I went all Toy Nazi on my kids' rooms.

I had to pretend to wake Possum Girl up first. I love when she does this. She NEVER naps. OK, I lie. She naps maybe - MAYBE - twice a year. Most days she goes to her room for rest and talks to herself or her toys for an hour-ish. But the instant I open the door, no matter where she is or what she's doing, she drops like a rock and fakes sleep. Sometimes there are toys in her hands or hats on her head or she's wedged in a corner and she just flops back against the wall. I can't help but laugh. It's just so darn cute.

We didn't have a lot to clean out in her room. She goes through her toys about two or three times a year and gets rid of several things regularly. Honestly, when I told her to clean out her toys, she made a HUGE pile of stuff, and I have to talk her into KEEPING things.

"Babe, don't you want to keep Jojo?" Jojo is her gray stuffed kitty that she has been attached to since she found it in a store one day with her aunt and uncle when she was about 18 months old.

"No, she can go."

"Won't you miss her? You sleep with her every night!"

"Well, yes, but I have lots of toys."

"Darlin'... if you love the toy, it's okay to keep it." I say this to her every time we clean things out.

"Oh...," she says like she's never gone through this before, "OK, then. I'll keep that... but that's all."

And so the story goes, item by item. We did get rid of a sack of stuff, but most of it consisted of containers that she no longer needed, things like a doctor kit whose items had long since been relegated to drawers instead of the plastic box it came in. She also insisted on rearranging her closet so she had more room. More room for more toys? Well, no, that'd be logical. More room for her and her friends to sit in. They love to climb in her closet.

Then she insisted on posing for photos in her room that involves a plethora of pink. Girl loves pink.

Also... Girl got Ego.

This is the "after" photo of the boy's closet. The "before" picture had it overflowing with stuff and those drawers couldn't have fit in there AT ALL. He shrieked like a stuck pig when I told him we were going to get rid of *A LOT* of stuff, but when he realized the meaning of the word "priority," we started making progress. I told him he could have 20 items in his closet, plus the drawers. The first stuff he got rid of? Lots and lots of broken toys. Dozens of empty (and broken) Easter eggs, a broken Hot Wheels toy (which was HUGE and which I'd been trying to get him to dispose for age), etc. He was amazed at the things he decided he didn't ever need or use.

Then we went to the toy bins there in the background. By the time we cleaned out all the bins, this is what his room looked like. The giant pile on the left is the trash pile; the pile on the right is the keep pile. That's right. That trash pile was ginormous. M1 was feeling SERIOUSLY proud of how much he was getting rid of, and we were finding all sorts of laundry in the process.

And as the pile of trash grew, so did the pile of laundry. The boy has a laundry basket in his room and has had one since he was born, but getting him to use it is a whole other story. He hates putting clothes in the hamper. I have no idea why. But he would much rather stash laundry in random places around his room and have me get upset at him later when he comes whining to me about his lack of socks, shirts, and underwear. After we got done cleaning, he did an entire load of laundry that he hadn't seen for months. I can only pray that he gets past this anti-hamper fetish before puberty, or his room is going to be home to a very special sweaty-boy funk. Pray for me, wouldja? I don't think I could smell that and live.

This was the final trash pile. Most of the books there are actually magazines, but there was a whole stack of Level 1 or Level 2 science-related readers that we'll be taking to Goodwill since he had most of the information in them memorized but they're still in great shape. If anyone wants them, lemme know and I'll send 'em to you for the cost of shipping or get them to you personally if you're local. I can send you a list of titles, but they're things like "The Sun" or "The Solar System" or "Insects." Things that he loves.

This is his book basket now. Say hi to Vixen the Cat there, who graciously decided to clean her butt for the photo. Back to the book basket. Boy has a serious love of science. Everything facing right and all the stuff in the back is nonfiction. The fiction 'aisle' is everything facing front on the right. He loves fiction, don't get me wrong, but he doesn't re-read it 1000 times like he does with the nonfiction. And we didn't get rid of a single reptile/amphibian book. It was verboten. He did another stuck-pig shriek when I asked if we could, so I let that one drop.

And then I bagged up the entire trash pile. I stuffed those bags so full I could barely move them and it still took three to get rid of the entire pile.

Proud but exhausted, this mama is thinking now about birthdays (M1's is in October) and Christmas. They're coming way, way too quickly. And it all means more stuff to clean out. Maybe this year I'll just get them all gift cards and call it good. Think they'll go for that?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Thank you!

I felt I needed to get on here and say thank you to everyone who commented about the appointment on Monday. We're just going to see her pediatrician as a starting point; same as we did for M1. If the pediatician honestly thinks there's a problem, then we'll continue on to the pediatric psychiatrist, again, same as we did with M1. I fully intend to take a ton of stuff with me - pictures she's drawn, a mood log (because holy cow - RANDOM), and if I can find a way to bring the fit videos with me, I'll take those, too.

In the meantime, she's been very busy being 5. Even with all the issues, she's still a kid who loves to have fun and I do try to help her have that when I can.

She still loves to color and draw and "do art." This particular day she had the show Oswald on her mind. It was her favorite cartoon for a long time. She wanted to draw the character Daisy and got just past this before ... OK, so it ended badly. But it was beautiful while it lasted, and I'm so glad she loves art. Don't tell her, but on kids.woot the other day they had a huge art box and Oz and I bought it to save for Christmas. It's got everything from pastel crayons to watercolors to markers and everything in between. She'll love it.

I also dyed her hair "pink" the other day. I put that in quotes because we just used Kool-Aid and she's five and she couldn't handle being in foil any longer than was absolutely necessary.

So it's BARELY pink. There's a tiny bit of what might almost be a hint of pink around her face, and she's happy. She wants to redo it sometime and make it pinker, which is fair enough, but when you go to a private school, pink hair is frowned upon which meant I needed to make sure it was going to wash out completely by the beginning of August.

I'll have a humorous post up tomorrow. At least, I'm aiming for humorous. Sometimes I think my sense of humor is a little off compared to the rest of earth's, but I'm gonna give it a shot. Let's just say the kids and I cleaned out their rooms yesterday and the results were... interesting. 'Till then!