When it was still just Matt and me, we decided we wanted a dog. No real reason why, we just did. We went to the shelter on a Saturday, not expecting to find the one, but hopeful. We came armed with a copy of our lease stating it was OK to own a dog, cash and an open mind.
We walked up and down past all the cages. There were a lot of beautiful dogs, but none that really stuck out. Clipboard in hand, we were told to write down the names of three dogs we’d like to see in a private room.
“That one’s okay looking…Casey. Write that down.”
“What about that one? He looks nice, too. I’ll write him down.”
We got to the a third aisle and it looked like the cages were empty. As I turned to walk away, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. I turned and saw this brown dog crumpled in the corner. Actively trying to make herself as small as possible. While no dog deserves to be in a shelter, this dog seriously didn’t deserve this life. She looked petrified.
I squatted down and started talking to her. Her papers said her name was Sweat Pea. Obviously someone didn’t know how to spell very well, but I could see where they came up with the probable name, Sweet Pea. She was sweet. Scared, but sweet.
Matt wasn’t near me, but I stayed there, squatted down trying to coax this sad, emaciated dog to come near me so I could get a better look at her. She started to sniff, but as soon as Matt came around the corner, she went back to her corner and hid her head under her oversized paws.
“OK, I got a volunteer. They can have Casey in a room for us to see.”
“Matt, I want to see Sweet Pea, first, if that’s OK.”
“The dog all alone on the other side. Please.”
When I told the volunteer what dog I wanted to see, she immediately puffed her chest up and said, “That dog can only be handled by females. She is afraid of men.”
“Well, if she’s going to be afraid of me, I don’t think it’d be fair to adopt her. Can we please see how she does with me in the room?” Matt asked.
After a long pause, the volunteer agreed. She wasn’t arrogant or against us adopting that dog, she was just very overprotective of her. She was a fragile dog. Broken.
We went into the room and waited for Sweet Pea to be brought in. I sat on a chair, Matt stood. Nervous. She was brought into the room and immediately tried to find a place to hide. Instinct told me to get down to her level, so I squatted down and let her sniff me. I checked out OK. She wouldn’t go near Matt. The volunteer started saying how it was a bad idea to put the poor dog through this, but as she said that, Matt said, “I just want to see if she can trust me,” and squatted down, hands on hips.
Not one second after he squatted down, did she stick her head right through his bent arm, and Matt looked at me and said, “We’ll take her.”
Sadie was adopted on a very sunny Saturday. She was only 10 months old and still hadn’t been fixed. So we couldn’t take her home until Monday after her surgery. I asked if it was OK to give her a bath preop, and they said it would be fine.
I showed up at the shelter the next day and was brought to the back with her and I gave her a good scrubbing. Turns out, that brown dog was in fact a cream dog with tan patches. But as I washed her, taking my time, looking over her entire body, did I see the life she had lived in those short 10 months. I could feel every rib. Her nose had readable newsprint on it. She had scabs up and down her legs and hips. She had belt marks. A piece of her ear had been slit. Her nose was pink and raw.
She was the most beautiful dog I had ever seen. She had the face of a survivor.
There were rumors that Sadie was a part of dog fighting ring. The one volunteer who showed me where to have her washed up mentioned it. While that can’t be confirmed, because she was found wandering the streets of Wilkinsburg, she showed signs of being a submissive – the dog that gets used to pump up the other dogs prior to fighting.
I wouldn’t doubt it.
After her bath and towel down and some snuggles, I showed her back to her cage for the last time. As I walked away to head home, with an empty heart, she let out the saddest cries. Cries I never even knew a dog could make.
She knew I was her family and she didn’t want me to leave her.
We picked her up the next day and she has been spoiled ever since. Newspapers still make her hide and we couldn’t have them around for while. She is overprotective of her family and when someone she loves comes over, she whimpers with joy.
I read somewhere a quote about how when you adopt and animal, you save their lives. But in reality it’s them who save ours. Sadie wasn’t the easiest dog to own. It took her two years to get fully housebroken and I threatened to bring her back I don’t know how many times. (I totally wouldn’t have, but it’s a good threat to carry around.)
Sadie-Dog is a good dog. She’s affectionately known to my friends on Facebook as a photo bomber. She’s probably in 90% of the photos I post. The funny thing about that is, if I were to try to take her photo, she puts her head down in shame. So truly, every photo she bombs, she truly bombs it unknowing.
This is one of the first photos ever taken of her. She was 20 pounds underweight and healing from surgery and other wounds…
But she was at home, no doubt about it.
And put up with Matt’s antics.
Oh, Sadie Dog, you have been a lot of work, but in the 9 years you’ve been in our lives, you’ve made it better. Something brought us to the shelter that day to find you. Something told me you’d be my dog. That you’d listen to me, and when I cried, you’d put your head in my lap. You give the best hugs and you have the softest ears. You may have been broken in the beginning, but you’d never know that now.
The hardest part about owning a dog is knowing that their time with us is short. But not having her in my life wouldn’t have been a life I’d want to live. Simply put, she’s the best dog ever.
Dearest little Audrey Rose,
I’ve been staring at the cursor blinking for about five minutes now. I’m not quite sure what to say to you. How did we get here?
I hope you know that you’ve absolutely turned my life upside down. It started with a feeling. A feeling I had deep down inside, and then that dream where I had a little girl and named her Rose.
Well here you are, Rosie. You’re here and despite the fact that you started out in a backwards sort of manner, you quietly went about your way staking your claim in the family.
While you can’t know what you’re missing if you’ve never had it, I know deep in my heart that if you weren’t here, I’d feel a little emptiness. You’ve done such great things in your short little life.
What have you taught me, sweet girl?
You’ve taught me to be brave. To look fear of loss right in the eye and not back down. That sometimes the unknown is worth fighting for.
You’ve taught me ongoing patience. You don’t rush, you don’t worry. You reassured me over and over that you’d crawl when you were ready, and you did. You’re showing me now that you’ll walk when you’re feeling brave enough. And I’m OK with that.
You’ve taught me how to stop and smile. Having so many kids at once means my brain is always in over drive. I have to get this done, this done, and that done. Now. But sometimes you crawl up to me, grab my pant leg and smile at me, almost to say, “Mom. Remember what you always say, ‘Life isn’t supposed to be so hard.’”
You’ve taught me not to push my limits. I’ve had to learn how to stop and assess the situation. And trust me, you tell me if you’ve had about enough. You’re also extremely vocal.
But, being as you’re the youngest of four, you have to be.
Rosie, I know loss. I’ve seen it, I’ve felt it. It’s the most numbing, awful feeling ever. I almost lost you, and that’s enough. To see you smile, hear you squawk at your shoes as you triumphantly wave them in the air, watch you slap your hands on the ground as you crawl somewhere with such purpose – that’s it. That’s all I need. Ever since I held you in my arms the first time, and cried – oh I cried, I swore to myself I’d never take you for granted. Never. You make every day brighter, more honest. You give me purpose.
Today you’re one. One whole year old.
The color of your eyes are still a mystery, and walking still scares you – but you? You are incredible. I’m so glad I get to be your mom.
We still have a very long road ahead of us, but that’s cool. My favorite part about being a parent is always knowing that nothing will ever be the same. Every day something changes. You learn a new word, decide you no longer like a certain food, figure out how to climb the stairs…every day is an adventure.
But one thing is for certain, you are a sweet, sweet girl who will grow into a sweet, kind kid who will (hopefully) still go somewhere with purpose.
And never stop smiling.
I’ve wanted to write about what happened at Uintah Elementary school for a while now, but it’s made me so angry. I honestly didn’t know what else to say except that what happened was absolutely atrocious, unfair and I felt absolutely sick over it. Just sick.
And I could just write that and let that be that.
But what good is my opinion? Does stating the obvious do any good? It isn’t enough for me that I could say, “This isn’t fair. What they did is awful and they should be reprimanded.” It just isn’t.
For those that have absolutely no idea what happened at Uintah Elementary, let me paraphrase. Some sixty or so kids had negative balances on their lunch accounts. These days, all transactions take place with an electronic system, not like when I was in school and we paid cash. No cash, no lunch. (Or punch cards, remember those!)
Now, they are a little more forgiving and when they reach a certain amount of negative balance, kids are not allowed to buy regular lunches, rather they are to have a designated lunch of either PB&J or fruit or something.
But in Uintah, they were having computer issues or something, and when the kids came through the line, and their cards were swiped, it showed they had outstanding balances, and their lunches were taken from them – and thrown in the trash.
The kids were then given fruit as their meal and basically shamed in front of their entire school. Some of the kids shared lunches with those who had theirs taken away, but really? Really?
Ugh. Just let that vision sit in your head for a little bit.
Food. Taken. From children.
I mean, really. Who does that?
Aside from the obvious waste, why would you ever take food from a kid? Why should a child be punished because of their parent’s transgressions? How do they know that those kids may only have that lunch to eat all day? That they may not get a dinner?
So yes. I can sit here and say, “Boo! That’s awful! I feel sick!”
Instead, I decided to do something.
This isn’t a post to say, “Look at me! Yay!” It’s a post to say, “Did you know you can do this? Because you can.”
Did you know that you can call your local school district and offer money to pay off some negative balances? You can. Because I did.
Last week I emailed the food director of our school district and told him my request. Today I still hadn’t heard back, so I called. When I spoke to a woman who said she was in charge of food balances, and I told her what I wanted to do, she put me on hold for a long time. When she came back on the line, she said she’d have the director call me back.
When he did, he – for lack of better words – was flummoxed. Apparently this has never happened and he wasn’t quite sure how to go around it. He asked me many times if I was sure this is what I wanted to do, and I told him that, yes, I definitely did. He asked me to write out my request and sign it – for auditing purposes – and drop a check off. He hated asking me to do that, he said he wished he could just accept a check and be done with it, but I understood completely. I told him I’d drop it off tomorrow at Claire’s school, and he said he’d give the principal and guidance councilor a heads up. He then sincerely thanked me, and that was that.
Listen, I’m not made of money. I don’t have some giant disposable income. We’re living off of one solid income, but we do just fine and then some. Matt works extremely hard so I can work extremely hard at home. So the money I make at the gym? It goes to savings. It’s a sad amount I make there, really, and it isn’t missed. So why can’t I take a month’s income from the gym and pay off a few kids’ lunches? Why not? In the grand scheme, what’s a few hundred dollars?
To some, it’s everything.
Matt was skeptical of my request to do this. When I told him that the food director was completely unsure of how to handle it, and was thanking me every other sentence, Matt said, “Well, why do you think he would be that way?” I said, “I don’t know, because no one’s ever asked him to do this before?” He said, “Exactly. Why would anyone do that?”
Matt didn’t mean it to be all, why would someone do good. It was more, why would someone do that when they could donate to a cause or put it away for their kids’ college funds.
I get that. I do.
I shrugged my shoulders and told him, “Well, I could be out buying 200 dollar hand bags. Instead, I’m buying 200 dollars worth of lunches for kids.”
That’s not a dig to those who like expensive handbags, it’s just me. It’s who I am. I remember a friend of mine in elementary school who when he would come home from school, came home to an empty house, like me because my mom worked, but he had very little food in his kitchen. I remember him eating tuna out of the can almost like a rabid dog. I remember him sitting next to me at lunch eating whatever he was allowed to have on a reduced/free meal plan.
I remember days when he only got an apple.
I remember seeing him look defeated. I even remember once when he asked me why his parents couldn’t afford for him to eat. He said he was so tired of feeling hungry all the time.
We all have reasons why we do what we do. When I read that article, the nine year old in me woke up, and she was pissed. So if some day when one of my kids are off at college and I’m short 200 dollars to buy them a book, I won’t feel bad. Because I know that my money was well spent.
Last summer, after I had checked the mail, a postcard had come advertising dance class. On it, it had little girls in tutus and immediately you exclaimed you were going to dance class. Never mind the logistics of it all, you were a self-proclaimed dancer.
As soon as Audrey wakes up, every Thursday, you go straight to your room, grab your dance bag and dress yourself in whatever leotard and tutu combo you deem good for that day.
You wait patiently as the class before you finishes up. You mimic their moves and swirls and leg lifts while singing to yourself.
When your turn comes, you quickly rush over to where Miss Kathy opens the door and comments on your fancy tutu.
After class finishes, you rush out the door exclaiming, “Mama!!” with a face beaming of pride.
From the moment you’ve started showing personality, I had a feeling you’d be the strong willed kid you are. You’ve always made your demands known and never shied away from what you really wanted.
I love your spirit, the way you can always manage to make me smile. The way you do everything with such passion and purpose. You turn putting dishes away into an enjoyable time by yelling, “I’m shaking my butt, mama!!” as you put the silverware away.
Your favorite song is Macklemore’s, “Ceiling Can’t Hold Us,” and when it comes on, you lift your hands up and start singing along.
Your other favorite song is the “Queen Bee” song, and for those who aren’t well verbose in Maelie, that’s “Royals” by Lorde.
You still give the best hugs.
You change your clothes a minimum of three times a day.
You’re a princess fancy-pants who enjoys dresses, dancing, legos with Luca, superheroes with Claire, and you choose to watch the Justice League over Barbie’s Dream House on Netflix. You’ve named Audrey “My Baby” and I feel bad for anyone who tries to claim it’s not your baby.
Last year on your birthday, I wrote to you my wishes for you. They are still true today.
“That one day, you’re going to grow up and be five, and then ten and then sixteen and then out of the house. And when that day comes, I want you to always remember what I told you on your second birthday. That no matter how big the world may seem sometimes, you can always come home. If someone tells you that you can’t do something, you do your best to figure out how to do it, and you do it right. Always strive to be the best person you can be and never settle. If you find that life is getting too complicated and confusing, take a deep breath, because life isn’t supposed to be that hard. It’s challenging and scary sometimes, yes, but it should always be worth the hard work you put into it.
I never want you to feel sad, and when you cry, I want to cry, too. But always remember, tomorrow is another day and you can try again.”
Yesterday, while I was cleaning up, you said, “Want to dance with me, mama?”
Always, Mae. Always.
When the registration for the Pittsburgh Marathon opened up, I immediately registered Matt and I for it, after he basically dared me to do the full again.
After the whole knee thing, I had to rethink doing the full. Plus Matt’s got a goal of finishing the full sub 4 hours, and I just can’t do that. My only paid gig right now is based off the health and ability of my body, so I really shouldn’t mess with that, right?
So I downgraded myself to the half and then had my registration get swapped over to the Animal Rescue League.
Oh, I’m such a sucker for an animal.
Earlier in the week, my mom’s boyfriend’s barn burned down. That barn held everything he loved short of my mom and it simply burned down. I’m 95% sure he’d rather the house had burned down.
Any how, there were some barn cats that had been living in there. A mama and her babies.
Yes. I’m going to go there.
We think the cats died in the fire.
Yesterday my mom went out looking for them. She had seen paw prints and blood in the snow and the food had been eaten, and she hadn’t lost hope.
Then I got this text:
That’s one bad ass kitty, right there. She was alive, but her eyes were swollen shut, she had been obviously burned and she was so cold.
Mom found a vet nearby, they looked her over, declared her surprisingly healthy, and home she went with mom.
A friend suggested that she be named Phoenix. I’ve since dubbed her Nixy.
That cat has arose from the ashes for sure.
Still no word on the other cats, but to have that one tiny soul saved…something good came out of it.
So here we are. Animals. They rule over our lives, don’t they? My mom dropped everything for that cat and I know for sure I would have done the same thing. That’s kind of the same thing the Animal Rescue League does. I’ve seen what they do for those animals in need. Especially their rehab abilities with dogs.
Yes, this is a pitch.
Claire’s running the kid’s marathon again for the ARL. She’s got a nifty donation page, located to the left of the screen. Claire gets it, that money is required for the animals, but moreover, she knows they need things. So she asked me to, again, create an Amazon.com wishlist for the needy animals once more.
She said to me that she likes to see what the animals get directly.
I get that.
So. Tonight or tomorrow or later in the week, while you buy your makeup or your undershirts, or you need more batteries, do you think you could add even just one thing from her wishlist to your shopping cart?
As Claire says, “All the animals ever do is love us.”
In case you’re new around here, this kid is super giving. Just today she offered to shovel the neighbor’s sidewalk with Luca. Luca is currently trying to earn 30 dollars by doing extra chores around the house for a Flashlight Friend. It’s ingenious, really. He gets a dollar per extra chore, but if he’s bad, I deduct a dollar.
I’ll wait for my parent of the year award.
So anyhow, Luca suggested he shovel Carrie’s sidewalk and while doing that, began struggling because a four year old can only push so much snow. Claire jumped up and said, “Luca! I’ll help you!” And together they shoveled Carrie’s sidewalk and part of her driveway.
So please consider.
And if that doesn’t sell you, then look at a photo of a cute baby in a snowsuit.
Last week, a family member said I’m looking thin and that she hoped I was done losing weight post baby.
Weight is a tricky thing. Body image is even trickier. What one sees isn’t what the other sees, and when are we really happy?
When I was 16, I had a great body. It was free from stretch marks, I was in a healthy weight range and my jeans fit me well. But I still didn’t feel as if it was what it should have been – or could have been.
Now, here I am, 13 years later with a body that’s birthed four babies and I’m finally becoming satisfied with it. But what changed?
Let’s get real here. I’m 5’8″ and weigh 145. That’s within the healthy BMI range, if that’s your thing, and I fit into my jeans well enough.
But is that too thin?
I don’t think so.
Do I have wiggle room to come down? Sure.
Am I trying to?
It’s been a hard mental struggle hearing the comments from some that I’m too thin. It just feels so personal. So judging. Immediately I start to question everything I do. Do I work out too much? Am I eating enough? Am I over training?
But then I come down, and I look at myself and then ask, “Cassie, do you know what you’re capable of? Do you know your limits?”
Yes, yes I do.
Every week minimum, I spin three times a week, because I teach. I also look forward to Friday Body Pump. I try to get in to BP Wednesdays or Sundays, but that just depends on how I feel or the kids and such.
On top of that, I’ve begun training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. I’m not going for time or a PR, but I do want to finish it without any pain. So I’ve been running a minimum of a mile a day just to get the body used to the pounding running requires.
If I’m tired, I stop.
If I don’t feel good, I skip out.
If something hurts, I stretch it out.
Do I ultimately want to have a smoking hot body? I’m pretty sure everyone would want that, if that was an option.
Will it happen? Meh. Who knows.
When I was pregnant with Claire I obsessed about looking on the internet for postpartum workouts and ways to get my body back in shape, fast. By the time I got back to pre-pregnancy weight, I was already pregnant with Luca. Same for Mae. After Mae, I was convinced I was done having kids, and I was getting my body back, slowly but surely. But I made a promise to myself that it was going to be about health, not about bikini model thin. Because, let’s face it, three kids and many stretchmarks later, I realized my modeling days were long over.
I joined group fitness, became a certified instructor and committed to become a healthy, strong person for my kids to look up to.
One thing I don’t talk to my kids about is weight. We talk about being strong, healthy, capable. I think it’s very important, especially with having the job that I have, to make sure my kids know that I don’t expect them to be able to do the workouts that I do. Are they welcome to join me when I workout at home? Of course. But it’s not mandatory and it’s certainly not used against them. Their body image, positive or negative, starts with me and how I see myself.
That’s why I’ve chosen to see myself for what I am.
I buy workout pants that have a wide waist band to hold in the lower belly and stretchmarks. Let’s be honest – those aren’t going anywhere. Plus, it makes me feel better.
Some days I look at my legs and see only where I need to improve, not that they take me through sometimes six days a week of hard, hard work.
But most days I see Mae looking at me, and I smile and say, “Mama’s strong, huh?” And she says, “I want to be just like my Mom.”
It’s a fine line, body image. A very fine line. Some will see those photos and think, “Wow, there’s a lot of room for improvement,” whereas some may think, “That looks healthy.” I can’t change other peoples’ opinions about myself and who I am or what I look like. What I can do is continue to work hard and do the things I love to do, with the outcome that I earned this body. It’s the only body I get.
What my hope is that my girls will always view themselves for what they are. Strong, beautiful, capable women who have beautiful bodies, inside and out. That exercise is good because it makes you feel strong and happy. That being a badass is more important than being frail and dainty. That being who they are is paramount.
Last night, I posted a photo on instagram (and later facebook) with this caption:
“Every few months I take a photo of myself to see my progress. Some days I feel like there’s been none or that I’ll never have the body I want. But today, when I took this photo, I had to give myself some credit. Am I supermodel thin? Heck no! But that body has carried four babies. One just under a year ago. If I keep going the direction I’m going, I may not have the body I’ve envisioned, BUT, I’m farther today than I was yesterday. So I’m going to keep with it.”
I like Wednesdays. Usually for me it’s a lazy day. But yesterday was not.
Last week, during all the sick madness, Mae missed dance class. So I planned on making that up yesterday. Along with going to the gym, picking Claire up from school, and basic house chores, it hit me around noon that I had a really busy day ahead.
So the day started with getting the go ahead from my gym boss that I could add in a Body Pump class of my own, starting in March. I tried out a new smoothie recipe that included kale, which I despise, but it’s healthy and blah, blah, blah, but it was good! Well, not awful. I got my marathon bib changed to a half bib. I vacuumed the upstairs while Audrey crawl-cried after me, then folded clothes while she was on my lap. I put her to bed, then ran a few miles on the treadmill while Luca and Mae ate peanut butter crackers on my mom’s elliptical. I fed the kids lunch, put Mae to bed for her nap, sent Luca off to his room for quiet time (best time of the day!) and foam rolled my legs.
This is all so fascinating, I know.
When the girls woke up from their naps, it was time to pick Claire up from school. On Wednesdays she has math pentahlon where they play logic games and compete against other kids their age. It’s really neat. Anyhow, we loaded in the car, drove to her school, got out of the car into the ridiculously cold wind, grabbed Claire and then hauled our butts back into the car.
Times like these, I wish it were the 80′s again. That way I could have left the kids in the car for all of the three minutes it took me to grab Claire and go. But I digress.
We headed to the gym where the kids immediately started running and playing. I brought Audrey with me to set up my bench and she crawled all over the big exercise room and checked herself out in the zillion mirrors. And ate an orange.
After getting my ass kicked at Body Pump, we headed over to Mae’s dance class. Matt met us there, grabbed the other three and went home to make tacos. What a man.
So after dance class, we ate tacos and the kids went to bed. (Yay 8 o’clock!) Then I filed our taxes and put henna in my hair, almost missed Sidney Crosby’s sick goal, and got ready for bed.
But then Matt came to bed with his laptop open and started asking questions about his marathon training plan, to which I dialed my friend Jen’s number and handed him the phone.
Then came sweet, sweet sleep.
That was my Wednesday.
I try not to complain. I really do. I find it counterproductive and I think, for me, it just adds to the anxiety.
But a few weeks ago, as you know, my kids were all sick. Audrey was at the ER, and the other three were all suffering from various colds and ear infections. I’ve dragged the kids to the doctors so many times now that when we show up, they smile at me and send us straight back to the room.
Each and every time we’ve gone, I’ve hoped that it was all in my head and I could get on with my day, but each time it was something. An ear infection, questionable strep throat, Audrey so congested she’s retracting while breathing and needed hour long nebulizer treatments…it just hasn’t stopped.
Sunday I made the mistake of patting myself on the back – that I got all the kids through their illnesses before Matt had to go to Seattle on business.
I was wrong.
Out of nowhere today Mae spiked a fever and had rather violent chills and refused to eat dinner. She cried as I made her go potty. She cried as I put her favorite nightgown on her. And she cried when I told her I couldn’t lay with her until she fell asleep because Claire was downstairs feeding Audrey dinner.
When I sang her “Twinkle, Twinkle” as I always do before bed, she didn’t even sing the final word ARE like she does every night. My heart broke.
I guess you could say I’m angry. For the past few weeks I have been beyond stressed and maybe it’s my stubborn pride, but I’ve asked for little help and I’ve hardly complained. And I’m paying for it now. I’m so tired. I’m frustrated. I’m drained. I’ve been fighting off this cold for a week now and I think I’m just refusing to believe that I, too, could end up sick.
Put yourself in my shoes for one minute if you could. Imagine packing up three sometimes four kids in this weather. Dragging them to the doctors. Explaining to them that they need to be on their best behavior. Having them wait to be seen. Holding a baby who wants to crawl all over the place. Trying to keep your face calm as your kid gets their throat swabbed. Getting them to put their coats back on while holding the baby. Answering the endless amounts of questions. Listening to Mae scream because she can’t zip her coat. Getting them back in the car. Listening to Mae scream as she fights her car seat belt. Trying not to yell. And then doing this again and again and again.
I haven’t been able to do simple things like grocery shop in weeks. Matt’s had to stop after work and I haven’t been cooking like I usually do. For me, that’s upsetting. Every single ounce of normalcy has gone so far out the window lately that I don’t even remember what it’s like to bake cookies. Or not serve up leftovers, or hell, eat sitting down. Someone’s always sad or snotty or sick and I just can’t.
I’ve seriously run myself so thin I don’t have anything left of me to give.
So for the first time in months, I cried. I threw one giant pitty party and didn’t feel regretful. If there’s one thing I’ve earned, it’s that.
And what I think is most upsetting is that tomorrow is Thursday. Mae’s favorite day of the week and she may have to miss dance class.
So Matt’s taking a red eye home and should be home in questionable zombie form by 9 am tomorrow. My mother in law will also be here to help. I’m hoping with wine. Because along with the tears, I earned that.
Three weeks ago Mae fell off one of the counter stools and a screw fell out and I threw my hands up and said enough. They were garbage and I knew it, but they were just for the kids, so whatever. They didn’t have to be amazing, just functional.
They stopped being functional, so I sucked it up and ordered nice upholstered leather stools that work for everyone.
But that’s not what this story is about.
It’s about the cardboard boxes they came in. Two weeks ago when they arrived from UPS, we put them together and shoved the boxes aside. Audrey was using it to help her stand and we left it there.
Those boxes are still there. It’s not because I’m lazy (this time,) it’s because the kids have had such a good time playing with them that I haven’t the heart to recycle them.
So far they have been a jail, a slide, a boat, safe ground from the lava below, the batcave, a reading nook, bunk beds, a castle, a Darbie dreamhouse, and a fire truck.
Oh, and a trampoline.
My head hurts when I think of all the money we waste every year on toys and such at birthdays and Christmas. Though, to be quite honest, we really don’t spend much at all, but even so, a box. The kids have had more fun with a box than they have with half the things they own.
My kids have incredible imaginations. I’m constantly in awe of how Mae and Luca take their plastic dinosaurs and somehow have a game that lasts for hours.
Sure, they nag me all the time to play video games and what-not, but I simply tell them no and guess what? They figure out something else to do that requires imagination and thought.
Right now I can hear Luca playing with his Legos in his room and having a great time.
Seriously wish I could be more like that.
Sunday morning I took Mae to Med Express for an ear infection. While waiting for her prescription to be filled, I met Matt in the parking lot with all the other kids so I could take Audrey to Children’s Hospital for what was later diagnosed as RSV.
My day sucked.
Today, I took Audrey, Mae, and Luca to the doctor’s office so Audrey could get follow up care. After getting all kinds of attitude from the scheduling lady and Mae screaming at me and literally dragging her feet while we tried to get out the door, I was already over today. But then it got better.
Just kidding, it totally didn’t.
1. A semi truck nearly hit our car on my back road.
2. Mae was still flipping out.
3. We had to go to the doctors.
4. Luca quietly tells the doctor he has an ear infection too, which leads the doctor to look at me and say, “I thought you said it was Mae and Claire who had ear infections,” and I respond, “Yes, that’s who,” and she looks at Luca’s ear and laughs and says, “He has one, too.”
5. The roads were so awful.
6. When we were nearly home I realized that I forgot to pick up Luca’s prescription.
7. After we turned around and got the prescription, there was a police officer blocking my way home. A semi-truck was stuck in the tunnel. My only consolation was that I hoped it was the truck that nearly hit us.
Luca, being the sweetest thing, said, “Nothing’s going to stop us now!” when we drove the 10 minutes around the back way home and were turned on to our road.
BUT! On the way home we stopped at Oakmont Bakery because that was just as important as picking up Luca’s meds. Trust me.
To give an update on the henna, it’s amazing. Today is day three in what should be where my hair color settles in as and I couldn’t be happier. Seriously! If you want red hair, this is the way to do it. I’m over the moon with the final product and I stop every time I pass the mirror because the color is so vibrant. The photos really don’t do it justice.
But here are some any how.
So here’s a recap. This is day one:
This is day two:
This is day three:
I was worried at first, because everyone talks about how soft their hair was post henna, and mine wasn’t. Today? Insanely soft. Coppery and soft.
So that makes me happy when the past 9 days have been crap kid health wise.