Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Waiting Room

Tuesday was such a cluster@#$% that I can't even describe it.

Here's a snapshot instead:

30 minutes before Grayson's appointment:
  • Quick, quick,
  • Hurry, scurry, 
  • "It's ok kids, we'll be there soon,"
  • "Careful in the rain, Mommy, the roads look wet."
  • Uh Oh I think we're lost, 
  • Following directions, turn around.
  • Wait, which way was south again?  
  • Let's go back this way, I think this is south.
At the time of Grayson's appointment:
  • Can't seem to find the road.
  • Where is the damn road?
  • This says we are on the right road. Is the map is wrong?
  • The damn map is all wrong, they wrote the map wrong!
  • HELP
(Calling office phone to let them know we are lost but on our way.)
  • Omg, Please answer your phone.
  • You're at lunch?  Of course you're at lunch.
  • Ok fine, I will call back at 1:00
  • It's 1:05, I'm going to have words with someone if you don't answer your phone.

Fifteen Minutes After the time of Grayson's appointment:
  • Hello taxicab driver, can you PLEASE tell me what in the SamHill I am doing wrong!?
  • Oh, this road also goes across Reston Parkway?
  • That makes sense.
  • I've been driving up and down the wrong road for 35 minutes
  • Yes, yes, I have. 
  • I hate myself
  • And now I'm 20 minutes late
  • Oh, heeeere's the right road.
  • 2 minutes away from the wrong road
  • I hate myself 
  • Ok, kids hurry scurry
  • rush, rush
  • Let's go!
  • "Hi. Yes, I realize we are late but we were soo lost and we called but..."
  • "We have to wait until when?  You will try to squeeze us in two hours from now?" 
  • "I hate you.  I mean, thank you.  We will be back at 2:45."
  • "C'mon Kids, hurry hurry."
  • "Let's go get something to eat."
So yes, Grayson did get seen but it was a very cursory neurologist quickie that made me feel shameful and criminal like getting lost in Northern Virginia area is a reprehensible felony.  Maybe it is.  That would explain a lot about the last four years of my life.

Doctor Dan was kind with Grayson despite the fact he was rushing us through the exam.  He rapid fired  twenty-two questions about headaches and family history at me yet smiled warmly at Grayson.

Turns out, according to Doctor Dan, kids just sometimes get migraines no matter what they eat or how much stuffed cotton they shove in their ears to muffle their senses. (I have some in my ears as I type, this sh*t doesn't go away.)  There are a few key triggers to look out for and track down but in the meantime, he may get more.

As Doctor Dan sees it we have two choices:  daily tabs of medicine under the tongue to try to prevent Grayson's migraines or two separate medications to alleviate symptoms at onset of migraine. 

If you and I have been friends very long, you already know what I said.

"Um, you don't want to scan his brain?"

"No, I don't." said Doctor Dan. "Your family history does not give me any reason to. But I do want to see him after he has three more migraines.  Which by the way it looks, will be after the New Year."

"Screw you, A-Hole. "Thank you, Doctor, for making time for us today."

Before we made more smoke, I collected two prescriptions for medications that will hopefully help soften the blow of the hila monster inside his my son's head.  The tricky part is getting them in him before the migraine tries to eat him alive, beginning with his sugar sweet forehead.  Because once it's underway, there is no turning back or softening its attack.  

So, here we are days later with a little boy who is
  • positive robbers are coming in his room at night
  • asking me to home school him because school is "just too loud."
  • begging me to get the "headache pills" today because his head already hurts a little
  • telling me he his life is too hard for him
Needless to say, I'm not ok with waiting for answers.  Maybe they don't really plug a little boy's brain up to an XRay machine in real life like they do on Grey's Anatomy but dammit if someone doesn't spend a truckload of time talking with him and explaining to us what is going on.

We cannot sit here patiently in a waiting room anymore.  Not if my little boy's health and happiness is at stake.  Not even if I am twenty five minutes late.. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fingers Crossed

Today is a big day.

 In a little while I take Grayson to see a specialist about the migraines he's been having. All those "24 hour flu bugs" I thought he was having since the summer? Not flu bugs. All migraines. He has been vomiting from the pain in his head. I feel like a world class idiot for not seeing it before.

 He had a monster episode this past Saturday that finally had me putting the pieces of the past few months "illnesses" together.

This one.  I can hardly stand it.

Saturday's migraine was so bad all I could do was hold him in my lap to keep his fists from punching his own forehead. He was crying in hysterics so hard that I was having a hard time keeping my own composure.

Many times he begged me, anyone to make it better.  He said he wasn't going to live through the pain. An hour later, I was actually starting to worry about this myself as I was watching the pain climb and explode in his head instead of recede from the medicine we gave him.

Finally, when he (literally) passed out twice in my arms and woke up in agony, clawing at his forehead again, I got up to call the emergency line. He sat up to projectile vomit. Like the exorcist. Everywhere.

 "I barfed," is all he could say after it was over.

"Holy shit" is all I could say after seeing a waterfall shoot out of my son's body.

By the time I got him to his pediatrician that night things had not settled down. He had scratch marks all over his forehead from trying to claw out the pain by hand.

His pediatrician examined him for a total of 6 minutes.  He confirmed it was in fact a migraine and asked him a few questions.  Then he left the room and returned with a sheet of Pediatric Neurologists.  "Make an appointment for him this week.  Next week at the latest."  I completely fainted in my mind but just nodded and said, yessir, in real life.  Then, he told me to keep Grayson in the dark, no stimulation whatsoever, no lights, nothing...all quiet.  He said the only relief will come when he could fall into a deep sleep after the migraine episode was over.

I picked all four feet of him up in my arms and carried him out to the car.  He was still writhing and crying in pain.  I shook my fist at the sky and cursed myself for letting him get so bad off.

He projectile vomited on the way home.

"What happened? Where are we going?" he asked me and then my own panic set in. I drove past the speed limit to get my baby home and in bed.

Finally, 8 hours AFTER the migraine started, Grayson fell into a deep sleep on our bed and didn't budge all night long. I know because I was staring at him all night. Pale green face and dark circles under his eyes. The whole thing was too intense.

He woke up the next morning happy, like we didn't just experience The Exorcist in our living room the night before.

Because I only work at the speed of Mach 3, I threw out every single piece of crap food in our house containing chemicals, preservatives, or dye.  None of it belongs in my kids' developing bodies.  None of it is going to poison my family any more.  Frozen waffles?  In the garbage.  Pop Tarts?  Deep sixed pronto. 

Then we went to MOM's organic market and spent $120.00 on three bags of groceries.

"We have to figure out a better plan," was all Andy said to his crazy wife who thinks she is going to organic her way out of her son's pain.

So today, we are going to see one of those blessed pediatric neurologists to find out what is up. Please don't ask me what I had to do to get an appointment this week. The waitlist started in January.  I will deny any and all accusations of Starbucks gift cards and sweet talking the receptionist.

The other important meeting is going on right now. Andy meets with the monitor who is the person in charge of our lives. Or at least where we live our lives after next summer. And no, despite how much fun it is to picture a four-legged creepy desert monitor with a long wippy tongue, it's just a dude in camouflage sitting at a desk. Nobody really ever wants that job, monitor. How awesome can it be to figure out exactly where 2352413498760946 Marines make the perfect fit elsewhere in the world?

 Let's just say I'm glad I gave up the caffeine. Cause today would be a three pot kinda day. Please feel free to comment and tell me to calm the freak down. I will be obsessively checking FB, Twitter, and everything else in the waiting room while at the doctor's office. That is, if Abby isn't feeling salty. I love you guys. Thank you for being a friend. (P.S. I special love you, Otter. This card is coming with me today as my good luck charm. My treasure. xoxoxo)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Weekend in (a Bajillion) Pictures

Thanksgiving weekend started out swimmingly.  

We got all gussied up to go to my mom's for dinner.  (Well, Grayson wore sweats and we were just happy Abby had clothes on) Even had time to try a family photo shoot.  It didn't work but it was worth a shot...or twelve.

 (So cute, a blinking grape!)

 "Darnit Honey, something's wrong w/the timer..."


Once we got to our destination, we enjoyed family time,

 (Mom & me)

 (My brother, Matt & me with fewer teeth and my Leno chin)

some living room dancing, 


a little post eats napping, 

some just catching up,

and lastly, some evil spells cast on all by Rapunzel.

Thanksgiving Day was relaxing, fun, and easy.

The day after Thanksgiving we decided to stay clear of shopping malls.  Instead, we decided to go look for a Christmas tree.

 First we met some friends at a nearby orchard.

The kids romped and ran their hearts out between Christmas trees.


But weren't too busy to make new friends.

The mommies weren't too busy to play too.

 After while, everyone spotted the perfect tree.

Nope, not that one...

This one!

Within minutes, the boys sawed it down like big men.

 Let the angels rejoice, our tree is coming home!

Last night was spent decorating.


Andy and I helped just a bit before we took leave with tea on the couch like the middle aged people we are quickly becoming.

This year it was a welcome relief to watch the kids do most of the work.  

And as you can see, the kids were just as proud of their finished product.

Or their toosh, not sure which.

And of course, we can't have one day go by undocumented by a pale and very plaid mom.

A mom who is proud of her family that tries hard to shove a lifetime into minutes, and love into a shoe box.

(By the way, here's how our Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes turned out.  Kids picked everything out themselves.  Abby only snuck out two presents and hid them in her room for herself.  Baby steps.  Giving is hard work when you're almost four.

 Grayson's box

Abby's box - minus a stuffed cat and a mini skateboard

 G giving the finishing touches.

And lastly, their letters.  I hope the recipients get to write them back some day.  That would be so cool.

Oh, we are also the most inefficient Samaritans as we totally missed the drop off dates.  Never fear, the post office will still deliver if I can get myself there this week.  Odds are bad considering I still have a boxed up Halloween ninja costume, size 10-12, needing to be returned in the trunk of my car.) 

So how did you spend your Thanksgiving holiday?  Did you travel far or stay home?  Did you wear Barney purple like I did all weekend?  How did you spend your Black Friday?

However things went, I sincerely hope it was a wonderful weekend for you all.  

I am grateful to have you stop in here.  Thanks for reading and may you all have cozy socks on because holy winter, it's getting cold outside.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I Sure Do Blink a Lot

From my family unrest to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! Roll the videotape!
(And here I thought I was going to capture a sweet memory.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thankful for Book Club

I have missed books.

Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other quick and dirty substitutes have elbowed their way into the mainstream, leaving books to the devoted few.

In college, I coveted my class books and refused to sell back any literary gems at the end of any semester.  I didn't want to part with the stories that filled up so much of my heart and mind.

This, of course, has resulted in towing along approximately 300 lbs in hardbacks over the years throughout our many moves.  Probably only 3 oz on a disk if I took the time to scan them.  

The surge of connection felt through reading other people's blogs is addictive and so very entertaining but it cannot compare to reading an actual book.

There is a slow introduction of character you pick up with every page, hints and nuances of someone's inner map and desires.  Not an "About" page.

There are chapters where you fall in love, get angry with, and choose sides.  Not an abbreviated status update about forgetting to drink coffee over the weekend (mine).

A good book brings personalities to life, offers up friends with whom you can identify or reject without repercussion, and scenery you can't wait to wake up to in the morning.

When I wrap myself in a blanket and crack open pages of a book, I am setting out to listen and follow, not talk or guide the way.

The one-sidedness of it is a relief.

Today, as I stare at my new novel to finish, I am thankful to Book Club for bringing books back to my life.

This month's book is Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

I'm only on page 7 or so but already, I love the little girl with amber curls and scared eyes.  I can't wait to see where she takes me.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Gimmies

Now that the kids are getting older, we have a small issue regarding Christmas.

The children have The Gimmies.


They think Santa will bring them 29 presents. Each. 

Not sure where Abby came up with this number but evidently she and Grayson share the opinion that 5 or 6 six presents from Santa is insultingly meek. His sleigh is magic and bottomless and it's his job to bestow upon good girls and boys an obscene amount of Lalaloopsie dolls and Ninja Turtle figurines.

I can remember circling everything Cabbage Patch Kid in a Sears catalog when I was their age so they come by it naturally.

To extinguish The Gimmies and help them give of themselves to bring joy to others, we've employed a few strategies but none work so well as asking our kids to participate in Operation Christmas Child.  

She and her family have been doing this for years and I promise you that once you read any of her posts, you will be scraping the bottom of your closets in search of shoe boxes too.  (But you don't have to, you can use plastic ones, order them online or ask your local church where to pick them up.)

We have been excited to participate this year but I had no idea how psyched the kids would get. All I had to say was that we would be shopping for kids who might not get a visit from Santa this year. 

"No visit?" 

"From Santa?"

A woeful set of eyes stared back at me appalled that such sacrilege existed.

"No visit from Santa," I answered back wondering what kind of pickle I got myself in.  How am I to explain why or how Santa chooses some cities and not others, spoils some continents and neglects the rest.

Thankfully, the kids never asked.  Instead, they got busy making lists of things they want to buy with their birthday money, their allowance money, my Starbuck's money, Andy's Dunkin Donut's money.  

The Gimmies just did a U-Turn and headed back at us but it's ok.

Because today we will be heading out to purchase things for six year old boys and four year old girls who will be opening their shoe boxes this Christmas to find presents and a homemade Christmas ornament, painted especially for them.

Maybe then they will know that Santa has not forgotten them after all.

Maybe now my kids will feel it's just as important to give 29 presents as it is to receive them.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

House Rules

Like my brother says, Sparrow makes good on her name flying the coop every chance she gets.

Sparrow's chances increase when my husband is home.

You see, my husband is really great at many, many things but one thing forever eludes him: closing the garage door. He is just a Keep the Garage Door Open kind of guy.

So, in earnest effort to keep our dog (and children, not in that order) safe, I have declared with my mighty broomstick: HOUSE RULE: Garage Door Down. It's a rule. We don't break rules in this house. We eat, drink, and sleep rules around here because it's all I have left. I have no more youthful glow, no more poetic outlook, no more frozen yogurt in the freezer therefore rules are the only captain guiding this ship.

SO, yesterday Husband comes home to change out of uniform and head back out to the library until close. Simple evolution, maybe ten minutes.

At minute five, Husband offers to stay back with kids while I quickly walk the dogs. Agreed! I open the kitchen door to grab the leash to put on the dog who has just bolted ass down the driveway and into the woods across the street.

"What the??? Who left the...? Why in the world would you...? It's a RULE!"

And then I completely lose my sh*t. Or regressed into a four year old, either description works.

Spinning in some kind of puffy jacket circle of hate, me and my many layers begin rant: "It's a RULE, YOU HAVE TO KEEP THE GARAGE DOOR DOWN...I'm not NOT NOT going to get her. YOU have to go get her. I'm NOT going to get her AGAIN after YOU left the garage door down AGAIN. I am NOT, I WILL not, I HAVE not." (Wth? Olde English?) As my tongue picks up speed inside my mouth, I realize I have spun my sorry butt downstairs to yell, pout and stomp my feet in our basement.

After seeing I'm not helping matters, I go peek on Husband to check what kind of progress has been made in Find Lost Sparrow so I can stop spinning once and for all.

Husband has not made visible progress. He is there, one foot hiked up on kitchen bench, untying his four mile long lace Marine boots.

"Aren't you gone yet?" Good one, Einstein. Definitely tough one to figure out on the physical presence of him still in the kitchen. "I cannot go out like this, in uniform. I am trying to get out of uniform to go get the dog." He says rather evenly like a normal human being.

"WHAT?! I could've already ran up the street by now and found her but blah blah bladitity blah blah..." I prattle off un-evenly as I make haste past him, through the garage, and down the street.

Sparrow is gone. I do not even know which way to start.

I stand stone still to listen: Rustling leaves. Dogs barking down the street. Man walking toward his backyard with annoyed expression. All great signs!

I find Sparrow at a nearby house, sniffing the fence of some little cockapoos or yorkapugs or something small breed and aromatic.

She ducks my first attempts and we play a nice round of Hide & Seek before a young boy walks toward her (on his way home from school) which scares the bumblebees out of her enough so I can grab her collar.

On our way home, Grayson catches up with me huffing and puffing about the keys, do I have the keys.

House keys? Ummm, no. I barely have my sanity, boy, I for sure did not grab house keys.

Grayson runs back to Husband who is in our garage wearing civilian clothes and holding what looks like a spatula.

"We're locked out of our house, Mommy!" Grayson sings through hops of sheer delight.


My husband and I do not even speak.

I check the back for open windows. Not a chance, I am like a freaking rockstar Mole Person and never leave anything unlocked when I'm alone at home with the kids. With my garage door down.(!!)

Within minutes (?!?!?!)we are back in. I will not tell you how or give more details other than to say my husband is very resourceful with garage tools (not the spatula) when he needs to be.

Dude cannot close a garage door to save his soul but he can get his family back inside a warm house within minutes.

And really, when you think about it? I'm the one who let her go. House Rule# 2: Always CHECK to make sure garage door is down.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


As you can tell by the infrequent postings, life has gotten busier than the usual break-neck busy. Between school volunteering (Yay, I'm a real volunteer mom now!), kids' conferences, Marine Corps Ball, Book Club, and all the things a mom has to do to keep her brood healthy, this little blog has been sitting here silent.

Today I'm grateful for a slow morning so we can catch up.

Wanna see USMC Ball pics?


This year's ball was much different from last year's ball. There was less of a party atmosphere and more of a serious feel with all the attendees being from Command and Staff College. I think when people study together it doesn't exactly build the same camaraderie as when they work and/or save lives together. We still had a great time and I met two beautiful ladies with whom I talked politics (one was a former lobbyist) and the other Special Education while we gawked at all the red carpet gowns before us.

I was even the veteran wife who never once saw her Marine and didn't pout. After bumping into another wife who stood broiling in a corner, madly texting her husband to find him, it all came rushing back. Ah, I remember those days. When you thought that song was about you.

"Just think of it as a big fraternity party." I offered knowing it was pittance. She was exquisite in her royal blue gown. Her hair had been carefully twisted and tucked into place, a small row of sparkling flowers holding it all together like a promise.

"Well, yeah. But this is my first ball and..." She didn't need to finish. I remember.

What I wanted to say is that it's not about your pretty hair or your fancy shoes. It's not even about how fierce your arms look in your strapless gown.(She did bring her guns out, I tried not to envy). This night is about honoring those men and women in the service who have given their time, sweat, tears, and sometimes lives for freedom. This night is to stand honorably before them and give thanks for the job they do when the rest of us sleep on our soft pillows at night. It's what I wanted to say but didn't because I remember. I remember when I thought it was a date night, too.

Thankfully, her husband turned the corner after a few minutes and I excused myself quickly in hopes they could reconcile because Pretty Mama was miffed.

Andy and I found each other an hour or so later and headed down to the bar to say goodbye to his mates and my new former lobbyist friend.

"Come to yoga with me," she sad.

"Yes. I love yoga," I lied. Grayson and Abby taught me cat and cow position from their preschool. That and downward dog are the only things in the world I know about yoga.

"Great. Here's the address, you will love it. Now, what are you drinking? Is that a Sprite?"

And we chatted for the next hour about brothers, Nancy Pelosi, chihuahuas, Schipperkes, and adoption. We bonded over her red wine and my second Sprite (I still managed to say inappropriate things to a group of lovely spouses and shatter a wineglass with my purse).

And now I have a yoga class to attend somewhere in D.C. with a girl who may or may not remember we became besties at the bar.

Maybe I should text her first.