Not the best start to the week....

Saturday - My car overheated and stopped running, but just as we were pulling into the driveway.  Not too bad.

Sunday - I woke up with the cold everyone else has had.  It is a head cold with a super nasty headache and a crazy amount of sleepiness.  I spent all day in pjs.  Doing a lot of lying around again today.

Monday - Stella had trouble with being left again.  She carried on for about 30min and finally decided I wasn't going to take her with me and I was going to leave, so she went to class.  She decided she needed to snuggle (get a hug) if she started to cry.  Miss Miki said that would be just fine.  There was one more episode of crying and then she was fine the rest of the day.

I went and peeped (hung out with my peeps - it's what we do when we send the kids to quasi school) and then did a bunch of errands.  Found out what I need to do to get a new Driver's License since mine is NOT turning up.  I did some Girl Scout stuff, made an appt for my car, and called in the final tax numbers.  Going pretty well, I headed out to do the last two houses from last week armed with the code for the gate of the one that was unreachable last week.  That's where things went downhill for the day.

You see, I had Brian's car as mine wasn't working.  He had gotten a ride into work and was hopefully getting a ride home.  I drove 3 miles up the side of the mountain, entered the gate code and proceeded.  The roads were washboard-y and rutted, but dry.
The roads were not this nice

I didn't see the house yet, so I kept driving.  The roads started turning to snow, ice and mud.  There was no where to turn around.  The road was one narrow lane with rocks, trees, cliffs, etc on the sides.  Not somewhere you can do a y-turn in a giant sedan.  There weren't many driveways, and those that were there, were unplowed, muddy and steep as well.  I kept going thinking that the road must loop around. 
Not this nice either, sadly

Nope.  It dead ended in a "cul de sac."  I attempted to turn around and was stuck.  I rocked back and forth.  I emptied the car and trunk of anything that might give traction.  I gathered sticks and rocks to put under the tires.  Nope, I was stuck.
Ok, it wasn't nearly this bad.


Ok, I am out in the middle of nowhere behind horsetooth on a private road where you need a code to get in.  No one knows exactly where I am, just vaguely that I'm doing houses this afternoon.  I have no cell reception.  The few houses that are in this "subdivision" are mostly summer vacation homes.  I need to pick my kids up in less than an hour.  Brian has no car to get them even if I COULD get a hold of him.  He has no car to pull me out, doesn't know how to get to where I am, doesn't know where I am, doesn't know the gate code.  Stella's freaked out by being left at school and here I'm not going to show up to pick her up.  I've abandoned her.

I started to cry. 

And I started to walk.  The first driveway had a couple who do live there year round (with their dog and cat, who I got to pet - and experience the calming effect of petting animals.  It's not total, but that unconditional love does help.)  The wife taught at Front Range and could give me a ride.  They had a phone that worked (with Skype) and let me call the quasischool who got someone to take the girls (which they loved - thank you so very, very much, Deanna) and called Brian.  Then, the husband was able to pull out the car so I could escape the mud hell that was my life for the last hour or so.

That night, after delivering my car to the shop, I drank TWO beers.  That, according to my children, is getting drunk.  So I guess I was drunk last night, though it didn't really seem that way to me.  It did relax me some, I was a bit tightly wound.

Tuesday - Slept late, woke with a worse headache, which made me really glad I had canceled Girl Scouts.  Got the call on about my car.  Water pump, timing belt, ty rods, assorted seals and whatnot.  Damage? $1200-1300.  Crap.  Well, at least the tax refund will be submitted tomorrow.  It'll be a bit tight until that comes in but we'll make it.  Somehow we always do.

Now, it's time for a nap.  I've done my meager duties that had to be done today - girl scout emails, submitting the houses, making my kids clean up various messes they had made, made them also do something productive (no, Sandis, watching How I Met Your Mother is not educational.)  So yep, it's naptime.

Parks to visit

   
Going to visit the beauty that is our world makes me want to see more and more and MORE of it.  I keep thinking of all the parks and other places I want to visit, with my children, preferably.  Well, the children keep growing, despite my admonishments to STOP THAT RIGHT NOW.  (they claim they can't stop growing - pshaw, I say.)  So I need to get to some of these destinations soon, before they grow up and move away.  Or grow up, stay here and become snarky teenagers (as opposed to snarky 8-10 yr olds) who don't want to vacation with their parents.  Here are some of the places I'm hoping to get to see:

Parks:
Yosemite 
Grand Canyon
Oregon coast (tide pools)
Ozark National Scenic Riverways & Mark Twain National Forest
Mesa Verde
Chaco Canyon
Bryce Canyon
Glacier National Park

Cities/Countries:
Washington DC (to see the Smithsonian)
San Diego, CA
Toronto, Canada
Germany
Ireland

Drugs on the road

    
Can I just say I love drugs? Seriously, our family's quality of life is so vastly improved by pharmaceuticals.  It is amazing.

So, we went to Moab and the car trip was so nice! There was hardly any bickering at all - and it's a 7 hr trip one way. Stella said her anxiety med and Sandis' depression med made it so they didn't fight.  She claimed she didn't even want to fight w/her sister.  She went on to say that her "sitting still" medicine made riding in the car so much easier.  I was glad to hear from her that the ADHD meds help.

Sandis has been so giggly in the last few days.  Yep, my daughter is back.  It took 3 days of medication and then BAM, they started working.  Same timeline as Stella.  Their play therapist was amazed and is reconsidering what she recommends to her clients based on what she's seen with my girls.

Today I worked.  When I work, I drive around and take pictures of houses for insurance companies.  For hours.  With kids in the car.  It's fun.  Yeah well, it's not terrible.  We listen to audio books, they do some fun workbook-y stuff.  And then after about 2.5 hrs, they are usually at each other's throats.  Today, we were out for 4 hours and not a single incident of screaming, beating on heads, stabbing with pens or anything of that nature.  (For the record, the kids to that to each other, it's not me stabbing them, though I will admit to screaming occasionally.)

Drugs.  I tell you, they are the BEST! I need to start a "just say YES!" campaign.

Back from Moab



We are back home from our quick trip to Moab (left Friday, back Sunday.)  Lots to say but I'm too tired.  Here are a couple highlights that you should look for in posts this week:

  • Stella's meds worked wonders on the drive.  Most pleasant car trip with the kids ever.  
  • I'm going to make a list of all the National/State parks I want to visit with my kids.  I've got about 8 yrs to accomplish it before Sandis departs.  Probably only about 2-4 yrs before she starts eyerolling at the very mention of a vacation with family so I'd better get crackin'!
  • We met up with our friends the Cobles and I have pics of their adorable kids :)
  •  Ice Castle! We stopped at the Ice Castle in Silverthorn on the way to Moab.
  • Brian ran a 55K faster than last year's time AND he was able to drive home.  Not bad.  
  • Girl Scouts, Girl Scouts.  I've spoken with the Junior leader and I think we have a plan worked out for next year for Brownies/Juniors.  

Ok, that might be more than a week's worth of writing considering I have to take the girls to a dog show in Denver tomorrow, two therapy sessions and a tax appt on Tuesday, Girl Scouts on Wednesday, NCHA meeting Thursday, swimming on Friday plus a birthday party sleepover on Friday/Saturday for Sandis.  Oh, and work in there somewhere, I imagine.  And unpacking, the worst.  And I know my addled brain is forgetting some other stuff I'm supposed to do.  So, look for it in the upcoming week(s).

Back from Denver, again

It seems like we're in Denver once a week lately.  Probably because we ARE in Denver once a week lately. It's not going to be changing in the next few weeks either as next week we head down to see a dog show and the following week is psych appts.  Maybe the week AFTER that we'll stick to nearby towns.  Maybe.

So today we headed down to Denver for Sandis' psych appt.  She and I had filled out the checklists and surveys about depression and anxiety in advance.  Why? Because I was thinking ahead last week when I took Stella in and had asked for them.  So the PA looked over those documents and we chatted about Sandis' issues.  Basically Sandis has been classically depressed lately - no desire to do things, even fun things, touchy, crying, sad, withdrawn, etc.  I could give specific examples, but hey, I've already done that today.  And I don't feel like typing out a long involved diatribe about how she over-reacted to something and clung to me for 1/2 a day or cried on the bed for a hour over nothing at all.  In any case, the PA agreed that Sandis sounds depressed.  No surprise that this coincided with Stella's getting better either (pretty classic pattern for a variety of reasons.)  The PA prescribed prozac, a lower dosage that Stella but the same med.

So I'll have two kids 10 & under on anti-depressants. Not ideal, but then again, my adolescent life would have been much, much better if I had had anti-depressants.  And if I had had some other things different as well, but anti-depressants would have helped, for sure.  And why should I deny my children being happy and being themselves, who they are meant to be, because of a social stigma, because of a fear of "pill pushing?"  I'm not going to.  This is alternative parenting too, just like attachment parenting or free range parenting or homeschooling.  I am going against the norm and the idea that kids are just kids and everything will be fine.  I am actively making things better for them no matter what it takes.

Easy path, no.  But what path is easy? None that I've ever found.

Just another manic Monday



Yes, today went much like last week.  Only worse.  And better.

Stella was quite sure she could not do the day without me.  I, and her therapists, believe she can.  She made it about an hour before calling me in tears.  Another hour passed, another tearful call.  I was about ready to break because I HATE doing this to people.  You know, "here's my weepy, possibly puking, daughter who will suck all of your attention and distract everyone.  I'll be off running errands and doing whatever I like.  Have fun!"  Which is NOT what I'm thinking, of course, but that is how I feel.  Anyway, the director of the school called and said they could handle it.  It would be better if I didn't come.  I expressed my concern of what I was dumping on them and they assured me that it was fine, they were fine, Stella would be fine.

After call #2, when she realized I wasn't coming, Stella pulled it together and went to class.  She managed the rest of the day with only a bit of sorrow but no more tears.  When I arrived, she was completely fine and chatting away with me about something or other that happened during the day.

So it was an emotional rollercoaster (worse than last week), Stella was a wreck (worse than last week), but I got the support of the quasi-school (BETTER!!!) and feel relieved.  I can dump off my wailing malcontent without guilt.  Whew! I still drained the emotional well today, but I'll get through this mess somehow, someway, someday.


Fijit

 
fijit  adj  \ˈfi-jət\

1 morally very bad : evil
2 a : fierce, vicious
   b : disposed to or marked by mischief : roguish
3 a : disgustingly unpleasant : vile
   b : causing or likely to cause harm, distress, or trouble
4 going beyond reasonable or predictable limits : of exceptional quality or degree

My older daughter is now the proud owner of one of these, purchased with her own money:

It sings in an annoying robotic voice.  It has no off switch.  It has no volume control.  Kill me now.

Sunday, again?!

Catch up time! It's been quite a mixed up week around here.

First of all, I was on the wrong day all week.  That makes for missing out on things, well, almost.  I *almost* missed girl scouts again.  How?  Well, it was Wednesday and I thought it was Tuesday, for one.  Also, the Juniors meet every other week rather than on the 2nd and 4th weeks of the month like the Brownies do.  Usually this is the same, but now it's not.  Ok.  Still, we made it, only about 10 minutes late - which was the same time several others arrived, some even came later, and the leader was still standing outside talking to the moms, so we were basically on time.  I'm calling it good.

What else...oh yeah, Stella's crazy breakdowns.  Well, they upped her Prozac dosage and told her to deal.  Basically, they said what we've heard before, she's old enough to deal with these situations and needs to work through them without me coming to the rescue.  She did just fine at church school today.  Gave me a big hug when I dropped her off, didn't ask me to stay (did, however, ask to stay w/me in church, which I declined.)  She looked a bit apprehensive when I picked her up, but overall seemed unscarred by the experience.  We'll see how quasi-school goes tomorrow.

The girls have been making Valentines all week.  Not that they are getting very many made, but they are able to spread the mess far and wide and spend a considerable amount of time doing it.  Then after all this time, money, effort and little output, they told me they were "bored" of making them and wanted to be done.  Um, no.  You must make one for each child at the party.  Seriously, it's only 15 each, they can do it.  Dorks.

Snow! Yes, winter has re-arrived in Colorado.  We had snow of some sort the last 4 days, which is just wonderful :)  I love winter, it is so beautiful.  The kids are thrilled to tromp through the snow each and every time the go to the car.  They go out sledding in our backyard every day (with talk of rebuilding the ramp, not sure how that's coming along.  It's all made of snow by them, so I'm not terribly worried.)  Our new dog is a crazy snow-lover too.  I laugh so hard watching her out the window jumping, twisting, snapping at and in the snow.

I had two, count 'em, two, nights out last week.  One was knitting night and the other was a Slumber Party (probably NSFW).  Both fun in completely different ways! 'Nuff said.

I've not done any new organizational projects this week.  Right now I need to do regular old house cleaning, blah! Really, I'd like to just take a nap.  I have taken a 1-2 hour nap several times in the last week and I think I'm getting too used to it.  It is really quite nice, though I should probably do things like clean up the house, or really, force my children to clean up their crap which would take care of 90% of the problem after which I could vacuum and be done.

One last thing, my husband needs his own Nook.  He is using mine on a fairly regular basis now.  Not that he wouldn't give it up to me if I asked, but we could each be using one simultaneously in bed at night rather than me having to wait for him to fall asleep to get mine back.  Yeah, it only takes him 10-20 minutes to fall asleep but in that time, I could be reading instead of playing Drop7 or cribbage or Rummikub on my iTouch.  We need to find a refurbished regular one (not color, like mine, he doesn't want that) so we can pick it up with some of his Xmas money (mine was birthday money :).  Sadly, all the refurbished ones got bought up before the holidays so we need to wait for some of those to break down before we can get one ;)

Girl Scout Cookies

The tally so far, 154 boxes sold.  3 official, 3 unofficial booths to go.  Looks like the girls will earn their giraffe stuffed toy (160 boxes needed) which was the goal.  I'll be glad when the selling is finally over.

Sllliiiddingggg.......

Stella is sliding backwards into her separation anxiety again.  It started a few weeks back with not wanting to go to quasi-school on the day her sister was sick.  Then she didn't want to go to church school without me. She was hesitant to do Girl Scouts without me. Last Monday, they called me from quasi-school because she was crying at lunch time.  Then, hallelujah, this past weekend, she managed childcare at church on Friday night as well as church school on Sunday without tears or much clinging.  Today I dropped her off at quasi-school only to have them call me <2hrs later because Stella was sobbing.

First off, I ran home and got her meds, which she had forgotten this morning.  This behavior pattern has been on and off for weeks, and she HAS been taking her meds, so that was not the reason.  Still, I wanted her to wait a bit before I showed up to "save the day."  Plus she did need to take her meds.  And I wanted to call and get her back in to the psychiatrist in Denver (appt: Wednesday.)  Then I went back to her school where I spent the rest of the day in 2nd grade classes, which I'm pretty sure I passed the first time around and don't necessarily need anymore. 

For those who know the saga or have been reading the blog for awhile, you know that we have done a lot of different things regarding her issues with being without a parent.  I have researched, read and tried numerous books, ideas, plans, etc.  I don't need advice anymore, I need this to end.  The kid needs to be able to spend 6 hrs in a safe environment where she knows everyone and has been going for THREE YEARS without needing me to run back before she cries herself into a puking frenzy (and yes, that happens.)  Sigh.

I love her to pieces, I really do.  It is just so physically and emotionally draining to deal with all of this.



Saturday afternoon...

It's Saturday afternoon and I should be enjoying my free time but instead am fretful.  Here's my list of minor annoyances that are such 1st world problems I really should just slap myself

  1. There's a gorgeous view out the window, but I can't see it because I have to pull the curtain across to keep the sun out of my eyes.
  2. I want to go to the store to buy cheap blankets to make these stuffed animal holders but Sandis won't go out of the house until her preferred pants are dry.
  3. I will have to pry the children away from their endless games of frizzle frazz (don't ask me, it is kind of like Mario only with a bouncing/swimming ball and pointy fishes/devils) to get them to leave the house.
  4. If I pry the children off the computers and try to leave, Stella will insist that she is STARVING even though she has denied hunger numerous times this afternoon.
  5. And food.  I realize that I am unable to make myself food.  The motivation just isn't there.  I'd rather eat pretzels and bananas w/peanut butter than make myself something.  I routinely will eat rice w/vegetables and a sprinkle of cheese so I don't have to think of anything to make.  I don't know why.  It's not that I'm doing something so important I can't get away.  Or that I don't love a great salad.  Or that I can't cook - I like to find a recipe and make it.  I'm just so unmotivated in the thrice daily food procurement.  Thank <insert deity here> that Brian is the main cook around here.
  6. I have a headache again today for like the third day in a row.  I never get headaches.  I'm guessing it has to do with the head cold that is at the edge of coming on but I keep insisting is just allergies (which it really could be, I swear!)
  7. I should do some cleaning/organizing project, or at least put away laundry, but meh.

And with that, I am remembering I haven't taken my meds today.  That could be part of my problem right there.  Another part is that I wait for the weekends like some sort of mecca from the week's daily grind and they never live up to the hype.  There's no wonderful family project or all day togetherness.  No reading the day away guilt free.  No getaways.  Not that we don't get some of that some of the time, but in reality, weekends are simply a weekday with 4 of us here instead of 3.  I want the fairytale and I get, well, I get real life.

Get over it, girl, and go take your meds!

Hair dye :)

Hair dyeing went much better today.  Here are the results.

Stella w/fuchsia pink

Sandis' turquoise
My purple streak as photographed by Stella.

Both girls w/Tonks

Homeschooling in interesting places

Last night we went to the mall to get new, darker pink hair dye for Stella.  We had to walk through the majority of the mall to get to the hair dye store, aka Hot Tropic, because it's in the middle, interior portion.  Doing so we passed the calendar store which had a sign out front claiming 4 days left until they close for the year and 75% off all calendars.  I went in for ~$10 and picked up:


We will now be learning a new word and a history fact each day - ha, homeschooling without even trying!

BTW, Sandis pointed out that all of these calendars claim 365 items when in fact it should be 366 because of the leap year.  I wonder if they'll take Feb 29th off? Or if they just couldn't be bothered to change their cover design template other than to change 2011 to 2012?

As a side note, Stella is currently working on her math while sporting a plastic bag on her head under which is an entire bottle of fuchsia pink, bubble gum scented slime.  Let's hope it still looks pink when she washes it all off.

Hair dye :(

The kids have been wanting to dye their hair and since we had no plans for today, I gave in.  We started with the bleaching and it didn't go well.  The bleach was patchy.  Stella had decided to do her whole head and she looked brindle :(  Sandis and I each did a streak which was better but not perfect by any means.

So, off to the store for another, and different brand of, hair bleach.  Back home for a second round of bleaching.  It didn't help as much as I would have liked, but it did look better.  On to the coloring.

Mine was purple which turned out to look more blueish-gray.  Sandis turned out fairly well, a pretty teal color.  Stella's cotton candy pink was barely noticeable even in her bleached hair.  A lot of time and effort for mediocre results.

We did run to the mall and pick up some more pink, fuchsia this time, which we'll try on Stella tomorrow.  I told her I would NOT bleach her hair again. I have reservations about bleaching it in the first place, putting those nasty chemicals on my kids' heads, I'm not going to do it 3x in 2 days and totally fry her hair.  When I told her that, she assured me we would not fry her hair and that was just silly.  I had to explain that I didn't mean putting her hair in a hot pan of oil. Yes, that would be kind of silly, wouldn't it? Then again, who thought up bleaching your hair to white and adding pink/blue/purple?

On a better note, I did organize and clean the top of the fridge today.  I hate cleaning things in the kitchen - always so grimy with that dust/grease mix.  And we don't even fry things! Anyway, threw away some things, put the kid place mats into the give away pile.  Washed all the pot holders and tossed those that weren't all in one piece anymore.  Took all the tea out of the boxes and packed them into sandwich bags.  Those teas that didn't have identifiable bags, I cut the box tops off and put them in the bag too.  Two bins on clearance and we have a bin for lunchboxes, a bin for potholders and a smaller bin that we already had on hand for tea.  It's lovely to open the fridge and not fear a tea box falling on your head :)

Nail Polish Rack

   
The rack is all mounted and filled with way more nail polish than anyone could use in a lifetime, so here is the picture I promised!
Now I need to find something to do with the 30 spice jars that came with the rack.  Glass w/pretty copper lids, all with the shaker insert.  I'm thinking there must be something I could make as holiday gifts with them.  And maybe do a little row of vases with them too.