End of an era

So – it’s over.  At 2:45 this afternoon, Jake finished high school.

He left this morning with camera in tow insisting there would be pictures.  I tried all day to text chat him wondering how the day went.  He never responded.  I figured he was mad at me because I reinforced the idea that he ask this girl he has an insane crush on to the movies.  What could he lose?

Finally at 3:00, fifteen minutes after the moment came and went, I called him.

I found out the reason he didn’t text was that his phone was close to dead (and we’re talking on it???) and it was a busy day.  Day went well.  There were some tear inducing moments.  He took 30 pictures.  The school paper misspelled his name and has him going to the wrong college.

And the girl?  Just as he worked the nerve to ask her the alarm went off for a fire drill.  (How sad!)  He thinks he might text her later.

Then he asked if he could hang up and get back to his basketball game.

The ceremony is tomorrow night.  I think it will be a recap of his day…take a few pictures.  Probably a few things misspelled (hopefully not the diploma!).  Maybe a date with the crush girl (not at the ceremony of course).  And a few tear inducing moments (especially for Mama).

Back from the Land of the Dead

I am happy to say I’m back from the dead.  Or at least it felt like I had died.  At least a dozen times.

A week ago yesterday I started the day stressed – alot of drama over The Beast (Jake’s car).  I was pretty much angry at everyone.  But noon, my skin on my neck and scalp started to tingle.  Then it started to burn.  It wasn’t just any burn.  It felt like a legion of fire ants marching under my skin x 10.  The muscles in my neck started to ache.  Then, as I tried to eat my lunch it took two swallows to get my yogurt down.

Thinking I was having an allergic reaction to something (even though I’m not allergic to anything), I made an immediate appointment to see my doctor.  By the time I got to the doctor I could add dizzy to the list of symptoms.  Fortunately it wasn’t an allergic reaction.

It was shingles.

I wouldn’t wish shingles on my worst enemy.

I was given three prescriptions – an antibiotic, meds for chicken pox (which shingles are but the adult version), and prednisone.  I nearly passed out at the store as I waited at the pharmacy for over an hour to get my medication.  Then it was home and off to bed…or at least as close to off to bed as a wife and mother of three gets.  I attempted to go to work the next day and was sent promptly home partially due to fear of catching what I had (I wasn’t contagious) – and partially because I looked something close to death warmed over.

At it’s worst I fought with chills and fever all at the same time.  My muscles ached.  I was constantly tired.  It took three days before I could swallow normal.  And until just a day or two ago it felt as if a low level electric current was running through my muscles.

 My family, who were  some of the causes of my stress, have been angels.  They’ve cooked, they’ve cleaned, they’ve given extra hugs and kisses and cuddles (even when it hurt to cuddle – but it’s the thought that counts!).  The hubby has gotten the car for me, taken chairs to track meets so I can rest and kept the house in line.  He’s been the best.

I still have muscle aches and am unnormally tired.  But it’s nice to feel alive again. 🙂

To my family – my Mother’s Day Wish List

This post is to my famly – to my husband and children who always ask me what I want for Mother’s Day and to whom I always answer “Nothing.  Just to spend the day with you”.

This year…there is a list!  This year I would like one/all of the following…

I am happy with an Kindle.  I don’t need a IPad.  And children – do not pick this one with the idea you can borrow it.  You won’t be. It’s Mine!  Mine!Mine!Mine! 

I miss my IPod in the car.  I love my playlists.  And you can’t find my eclectic combination of Trans Siberian Orchestra/Blondie/Rihanna/Nine Inch Nails altogether on one radio station.

I have five books on my “must buy in the next month” list.  I appreciate a discount.

Of course I will always take my weight in

I will appreciate any gift you give me from a hug to a macaroni necklace.  But in case you would like a hint…

 

The Holy Grail of Shoes

As normal, my weekend will be chaotic

Tomorrow starts with volleyball at 10:00 following with Alex’s fashion show at 2:00.  She is a model in an American Girl Fashion Show being held as a fund-raiser for the children’s museum.  Unfortunately the museum and the fashion show are about 40 minutes away from our house.  And since she informed me after practice last week that she was all sweaty we have to squeeze a bath in there somewhere.  And add in picking up Grandmas.  Yep…chaos.

The boys are loving every minute of it.  They love their baby sister but for them attending this fashion show would be a fate worse than death.  We aren’t mean enough parents – we’re allowing them to stay home.  Since they have worked their tails off at track it’s probably good for them to have a day to recover.

Anyway I digress…

I went out for my lunch to find Alex a pair of white sandals.  It’s the only part of the outfit the children’s museum doesn’t provide.  And with Easter only a couple of weeks white sandals should be in abundance, right?

Wrong!

I guess the “in” color this year is silver. 

Granted I only had the chance to look at one store but it’s one of those stores you would guess would have them.  My outlook at finding them tonight looks bleak, especially with club track this evening that I really can’t miss.  With the “second job” taking a momentary downswing I was hoping for a night to relax.  I have a copy of Catching Fire on the bookshelf begging me to read it – no better night than tonight to start.

Well, as they say…no rest for the wicked.

After making coffee with my espresso maker for two days I got a surprise – a call from my hubby who was standing in Target looking over coffee makers.

After debating which was the best one he bought me a brand new Mr. Coffee coffee maker!  It’s programmable, it’s beautiful and, after making my first pot this morning, it makes delicious coffee.

I have the best guy ever…and I am so spoiled!

Mouse

As I’ve stated before, it’s that time of year again.  But this is an entirely different time of year.  It’s the time of the year to address the white elephant in the room in our family.  For most of the year we go on as a normal All-American family with busy schedules for both the parents and kids.  But come about March we are always starkly reminded.

We have a sick Mouse.

Mouse was a nickname given to Alex when she was a baby.  She didn’t cry.  She squeaked.  And it was about that time we noticed something wasn’t completely right with our daughter.

She was always a spitty baby.  But at one she went from spitty to outright vomitting.  It would happen every three weeks like clockwork.  She would start out her cycle like a normal toddler for about two days.  Then she would become less energetic.  She would sit on the floor of the playroom at my mother-in-law’s daycare and watch the other kids play.  She didn’t have the energy to play with them.  It broke our hearts.

And at the end of three weeks all hell would break loose.  She’d start vomiting.  Then she would just lay there in her crib and stare into space for a few hours.  Then magically she would pop up and demand something to eat, usually mac and cheese.  And the whole three week cycle would start over – and over – and over.  She had to be hospitalized once for rehydration.

I argued alot with physicians.  If I didn’t like one, I’d find another.  Finally, a year and a half later I found a caring, wonderful doctor, Dr. Bishop at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, to look at her and run tests.  He diagnosed her.  Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome.  The bad news – she was the youngest case he had ever heard of and didn’t know how to treat her.  He gave her medication but predicted it probably wouldn’t work for long.  He was right – it lasted three months.  However in the meantime I did research of my own and found that the foremost authority in CVS was in Chicago.  Dr. Bishop transfered her to Dr. Li in Chicago happily.

Dr. Li examined her and took her history.  It took three hours during which Alex happliy played “catch me if you can” with the giggling receptionists.  He confirmed the diagnosis and prescribed her meds.  They worked.  Within a couple weeks she was a normal child for the first time in her life.

Having CVS in our lives has been a roller coaster.  We have good stretches.  We have bad stretches.  Alex has been hospitalized six times.  It’s rough on the boys – it kills them to see their baby sister suffer.  They have become overly protective – more than standard brothers would be.

But if it did anything, it turned my baby girl into a fighter.  She makes no excuses for anything.  She tackles things head-on and makes the most of the opportunities she’s given.  And, other than a pill she has to take at night and a new regimine of aromatherapy to help her sleep, she is a completely normal nine-year-old.

This time it started with one specialist, the neurologist, cancelling our appointment and rescheduling it for the following week.  That call followed a long white knuckled fours hours praying that Dr. Li (who is now in Milwaukee) could squeeze us into a full schedule booked into September.  Thankfully prayers were answered.  We go to Milwaukee to see them both in June.

Then the entry forms for the CVS 5K run/walk for a cure arrived in my e-mail inbox.  We talked and started making plans to participate.  I even came up with a name for our “team” (the five of us in our family) – The “A” Team.  For Alex’s team.  Sort of hokey but it works…

And with the start of spring begins the storm season.  Violent storms are Alex’s primary trigger – the stress gets to her.  She weathered the first thunderstorm well with unusual spunk cracking one liners the entire time.  That’s my girl!

We will weather this time of year as we always do – as a family.

It’s that time of year again

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With spring just around the corner (thank goodness!  I am not a winter girl!) it’s just about time for track season. 

The fellas have already started practicing for high school – with a senior and freshman I am looking for a good used cloning machine.

But soon club track will start.  The whole family gets involved.  The kids compete, I (and starting this year Jake) coach and Brian plays sports parent.

This year started with a trip to St. Louis so Jake could take his USATF Level 1 Course.  He  dutifully spent three days in a classroom.  The rest of us played.

We went to Budweiser to see horses, the manufacturing process and free samples of beer.

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Jake was able to escape…so we all went to the City Museum.

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Where, of course, my kids get into the ball pit and start a dodgeball fight. *insert exasperated sigh*

Then Sunday we visited Union Station – a historical site/hotel/mall.

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Other driving through a massive snowstorm to get there and another to get back home we had a great time. 

And Jake passed his test!…just in time to get handed his coaching duties for the year.

The Number 8…and Volleyball

Tonight was Alex’s first volleyball game.  She is #8.  Her brothers were #8 at some given time with the sports they played.  Must be our lucky number…or the Y sees an Andersen and says “oooh…number 8!”

It became a family affair.  Her older brothers were drafted to keep score.  Grandpa was there.  Brian was able to watch for a few minutes before he had to leave for work.  I was a little late since games start the same time I get off work.

It didn’t take long for the crowd to place me as Alex’s mom.  When they did the comments started.  

“How old is she?”  (She doesn’t look nine.  She looks six.  When strangers ask her how old she is she always pipes back “I’m nine but yeah I know I look like I’m six.”)

“She is SOOO cute!”

“She is doing so well!”

She was the game sweetheart.  And, shortly after I got there, she scored her first point with a crafty serve. 

Above all she had fun…and glowed the whole night.  I’m surprised she even took her jersey off. 

I don’t think either of us can wait until her next game on Wednesday night.