children

Too soon T-Mobile fees lice ad, too soon!

This commercial came on the other night, and the whole family cringed:

 

It isn’t a coincidence that lice is a 4 letter word.  It is the worst non life threatening thing ever!

Please feel free to laugh at my full lice account from March of 2015:

Lice is Evil

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I am winning my migraine battle. No, for real, I am!

I have had one migraine in the past year.

Let me repeat that.

I have had ONE migraine in the past year.

If I would have written this yesterday, the number would have been two.  So, I was patiently waiting out yesterday, so I could say those awesome words of one migraine in the past year.

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I had one on September 7, 2015, following a fun, partying weekend which I believe the migraine was the payment for the fun.  See here.

And I had one on Cinco de Mayo of this year.  See here.

I have no special secret sauce, no explanation for this.

In terms of typical migraine triggers, I’ve had above my fair share.  My stress level for a large portion of 2016 reached levels that I don’t believe I’ve seen before.  That resulted in lack of sleep, lots of wine, chocolate, and definitely not eating as healthy as I have in past years, yet a decrease in migraines.

So, what’s working for me?  The constant continues to be my daily anti-migraine smoothies, Butterbur with feverfew, and B-2.  Same as the year prior where I had 9, and the year before that was my most migraines logged at 23.  The year of 23 resulted in having multiple migraines per week.  Each of my migraines last from start to finish: three days.  So, you can see why having one in the past year, that’s pretty freaking awesome.

Maybe I’ve grown out of them.  Maybe the lovely hormones that have come with me in my mid 40’s have assisted with keeping my migraines at bay.  If so, I’m hoping those same hormones aren’t resting me up for some huge whopper of new crap in the future. Trying not to let myself get too anxious with that though.

My second birthday of my little blog here just passed yesterday.  It’s definitely become somewhere that when I’m not writing about migraines, I’m expressing everything from my love of my cat litter box, to challenges with my kids, Pokemon GO, and a plethora of other stuff that no longer takes space up in my head once I write about it and click “post.”

Thanks for all the support I’ve been given over these past years!  I’ve loved it, and I really appreciate when some of my words strike a chord and relate with others!  Hope I’ve even gotten you to laugh a time or two! 🙂

Over the past two years, I’ve written 127 posts, and as a combination, those posts have been viewed 7,764 times.  That’s wild man.

Here are the top five posts viewed over the past two years:

  1. Thoughts on my 17th wedding anniversary…
  2. My husband is my best friend…NOT
  3. 3 tough questions my kids asked me over the weekend.
  4. Our children’s reality, uncomfortably numb.
  5. Atta-Boy Migraine!!!

And the one that started it all:

‘Winning’ (Charlie Sheen reference of course) the endless game of migraines (for this quarter at least)

One migraine in the past year.  I am definitely winning!

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Pokemon GO, you are exactly what I need!

Hi, my name is Jenni, and I’m a 45 year old adult who is pretty heavily addicted to Pokemon GO.

Now before you dismiss me for that, read on, because I feel my reasons for loving this game are pretty solid.

First of all, let me put it out there, that my new “hobby” of Pokemon GO may be the nerdiest thing I’ve even been involved in. And this is coming from someone who used to be thoroughly excited to clip coupons from the newspaper ads on Sunday mornings and organize them into my Dollar Store accordion coupon pouch.

A couple of weeks ago I was volunteering at my 5th graders school, putting together first day packets.  There were 4 moms there including me, and a couple of students.  I nonchalantly, and rather fishingly asked, “So, do any of your kids play Pokemon GO?”  And the response from two moms was “Yes, and so do I!” We talked Pokemon for the rest of the packet assembling with our Pokemon GO apps open on the tables.

Shut the front door.  I’ve found my tribe.

When the game first came out and my son began explaining it to me, I told him, “Wow, that is an absolute brilliant app.”

He showed me this a day later, and it was hilarious (truly no political agenda here, just funny), and oh so true to what my friends were posting on Facebook about their kids walking their dogs and getting out of the house for walks and bike rides daily:

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Then I started seeing seeing stories of the game’s therapeutic benefits, which as a Recreation Therapist, really spoke to me.  Getting kids in hospitals out of their rooms, getting high anxiety, or isolative kids and adults out walking in their community…amazing.

My son told me I should download the app, I did, then I got hooked.  Not sure why.  I’ve never been into any game other than my tried and true Words With Friends.  Our family does like to Geocache when camping, so maybe it’s because Pokemon GO is a bit similar to geocaching, in that you need to find things, and Pokemon GO has constant findings and rewards.

I have to admit there was a bit of nostalgia seeing all of the Pokemon names.  My son loved Pokemon cards when he was young.  I still vividly remember the time that he exclaimed, “Mom! I have coughing and wheezing!”  To which I of course replied “What?  Are you ok?  When did that start?” Turns out he had Koffing and Weezing Pokemon cards that he just got out of his new deck.

Back to present day, I don’t know about your house, but in mine, having two teenagers and one preteen, conversations can be sparse at times.  I have awesome kids, but sometimes, the dialogue can have constant splashes of attitude.  For now though, it’s not uncommon while playing Pokemon GO, to hear one sibling say to another “I just evolved my Caterpie into a Metapod, look at how cute and funny he is!”  A whole new non confrontational language and conversation piece.

This has been a new activity that I can share with my kids.  We all enjoy it, and are all super interested in it.  Most days after I pick them up from their schools (an hour event to get all 3 from 3 separate schools), we head somewhere for about 1/2 hour to an hour to play Pokemon GO together, usually enjoying a smoothie along the way rather than just heading home eventually ending up in our separate activities or interests after recapping our days.  Recently, when we go somewhere new, or out of town, we talk about being excited for what Pokemon may be there.  (I know, nerdy, but hey, I’m good with nerdiness.)  Being able to have fun doing something together with my 16 year old son, my 13 year old daughter, and my 10 year old daughter is truly awesome.  I don’t know how long the thrill of this game is going to last for all of us, but I’m going to enjoy it while it’s here.

I posted the following on my Facebook page a few weeks back:

I totally thought this was funny when I read it. Then I started thinking about it, running around finding ‪#Pokemon‬ is a break from the crazy that is needed for a moment.”

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Honestly, life gets hard.  Scary stuff happens, and things get stressful and hard to handle.  A check out from reality is needed and welcome sometimes.  This app allows me to decompress, to mindlessly look for cartoon characters to pop up, and get excited about new ones I haven’t caught before.  In all honesty, it combats my stress and anxiety at times by being able to go on auto pilot for a bit.

Last night, my husband was out of town, and I took my 3 kids out to dinner downtown, where we were all excited to go because there’s a lot of Pokemon GO action!  As we were leaving the restaurant, a couple who was sitting outside watched us as we walked by and judgmentally said, “they are all looking at their phones.”  These are the times where I believe I need a shirt made with the motto that I tell my kids sometimes when they get concerned about others, “You Do You.”  Basically, mind your own business, worry about yourself, you don’t know what other people are going through.

Frankly, if catching a Squirtle, Leveling Up, or having three of the four of us in a frenzy while in the car taking turns to try and catch an Arcanine that has ??? as the CP value brings me or my family joy, I’m all in.

The glory of being 45 and having this hobby, I honestly don’t care what anyone else thinks.  Although, let’s be truthful, I’m not going to put a Poke ball on my purse or anything, it’s just that I can’t care about what people don’t understand.

Poke on friends!!

For my tribe, you get me:

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If I were to talk to middle schoolers…

Middle school sucks.  Not the school in particular, the years of middle school life.  I know because I’ve been through middle school, watched one of my children go through it, and currently have one in middle school.  Kids are trying to figure out who they are.  Many start to make bad choices.  Others struggle with trying to keep on the right path.  Socially, emotionally, hormonally, things are on warp speed.  We’ve had our share of incidents through these years.  The incident I refer to below probably won’t be the last.  All is fine now, and my daughter does not know I’m writing about this, so if you my family, please don’t mention it to her.  Because of the stellar attention and actions from the administration at my child’s school, it was able to be determined that the student’s intention was not to threaten my child.  This incident in fact, opened a door to the student that may have never been opened in order to get some attention and assistance that was needed.  

If I were to talk in front of middle schoolers today, this is what I’d say:

My daughter was threatened by another middle school student last week.  I’m not going to go into the details about it.  The reason is because some of you may be scared hearing about what happened, and others of you may think ‘what’s the big deal about that?’  So, I’ll let you use your imagination.  Unfortunately, some of you may have your own experience with being threatened that you can relate to.

I feel that negative experiences at times are perfect opportunities to realize some positives.  So, I’m going to focus on some positives.  Some of these are general, some are specific.

Thank you to the student, who each day, walks up to my child and tells her something nice to make her smile.  Each and every day.  We should all be so lucky to have someone think of us and want to make us smile everyday.  You know who you are.  Thank you for your attention, and for making her smile.

Thank you to my child’s friends.  Both old and new.  Thank you for the laughter, the good times shared, or just sitting next to each other at lunchtime, those moments are important.  Friends are an extension of family, people my child can depend on.  Thank you.

Thank you to my child’s teammates.  No matter which sport, thank you for pushing my child, for picking them up, for constantly confirming what it means to be a team.  Being part of a team allows for a sense of belonging.  That is so important in life.

All of you here are a community. Your community became larger coming into middle school from elementary school.  Being in a community brings a feeling of needing to protect it.  When someone threatens a part of your community, you need to work together to make sure everyone is safe.  When you hear students talking about other students, and hurting them, or hurting themselves, that’s a warning sign. Even if you are hoping they are joking, it’s not something to take lightly.   It’s not your responsibility to decide whether something is or isn’t a ‘real’ threat to your community.  Parents, teachers, principals, counselors, those are the people you go to when you feel that your community needs to be protected from something.

YOU MATTER. Everyone matters. The person who is making the threat, they matter too.  Be proud of your community, and work to do your part to keep it safe.  You don’t ever need to feel embarrassed about something that you feel scared or uncomfortable about.  If you are not feeling safe, or feel someone else is not safe, those are real feelings, and always worthy of attention.  Your feelings do not have to match others.  If you are uncomfortable with something, tell someone.  YOU MATTER.

*You Matter is one of three essential messages used in the aMasongrace project @ amasongraceproject.com. 

Part 4: Our children’s reality, uncomfortably numb.

I read this article just a few minutes ago.  It hit me right in the gut.  It’s so similar to my exact feelings.

“Not a single morning goes by that I don’t drop my son and daughter at school and wonder for a split second — that’s all I allow myself — whether they will be murdered by a gunman that day.”

The full article can be found here:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/ct-oregon-shooting-school-lockdowns-balancing-1002-20151002-column.html

Every single night, I pray that my kids, and all kids, and schools will be safe the following day.  I will continue this.  But I just don’t know what else to do.

I get so mad, and I question so much when these school shootings happen.

Do I homeschool?  That keeps them safe from school shootings, but not movie theaters…

I told my husband this morning that I am starting to wonder what my little piece of political power, my one vote, holds.  That is something that I need to keep looking into, and in the end it may change how I’ve voted in the past, it may not.

This post is Part 4, because I’ve written about my children’s school drills three previous times.

Our children’s reality, uncomfortably numb. (Part 1)  My kids take on what a ‘cool’ lockdown drill is.

Our children’s reality, uncomfortably numb. (Part 2)  My first lock down experience while my child was at school.

Part 3: Our children’s reality, uncomfortably numb.  My children’s conversations in the car about the recent changes in an active shooter drill, and their nonchalant comments about the probability of being shot.  All while I am about to pass out at the wheel while listening to them!

Again, as I have said often, I fully support my children’s school and they are doing their very best to keep my kids safe.

But I wonder, big picture wonder, what the hell is enough to keep them safe anymore?

Part 3: Our children’s reality, uncomfortably numb.

I was planning on publishing this in a couple of days, a recap of a conversation with my kids from last week.  But today, I subbed at my youngest’s elementary school, and participated in an ‘Active Shooter Drill’.  Laying flat, listening to the alarm, having administration bang on the doors to check that they are locked, all while meeting the eyes of little ones who some are nervous, some are still chatty, it’s hard to not get a little emotional that this is our reality.  I likened it to military, where God forbid anything like this ever happens for real, kids and staff would go on auto pilot and do what they have practiced, and practiced well.  So, I thought today was appropriate for the following post.

The actual conversation in the car after I picked up my children from school:

My 4th grade daughter:  We have a new way to act if we are on the playground for the stranger drill.

Me: Oh?

4th grader:  Ya, you don’t lay on the ground anymore, you run zig zag around the playground, or to the school to see if a class is open.  It makes it harder for someone to shoot you.

Me: Um, ok.

4th grader:  And someone asked a silly question, they asked what if the bad guy broke the window in the door and then just reached in and opened the door?

Me: Oh, I don’t think you need to worry about..

10th grader son interrupts:  Oh, that can totally happen, he could break the window with his gun and then just come in and start shooting then.

Me (in cold sweats, and clearly the only one in the car uncomfortable with the conversation):  Stop this conversation now please!

4th grader (totally nonchalant, with absolutely no emotion):  I totally think the old way was better.  You just lay down.

Me (calming down a bit thinking that I liked the old way too)

4th grader:  Because then you’re laying down and they just shoot you and it’s over.

Me:  Ok, that is it, no more of this talk, I can’t do it.

10th grade son and 7th grade daughter:  Snickering.

Me to my 10th grader:  Do you have drills?

10th grader:  Um, no.  Maybe we had a fire one last year?

What is going on?!!!

All 3 of my kids are in the car, chatting away like we’re talking about a recent movie seen, or what type of toppings they would order on frozen yogurt, and with each sentence stated by one of my kids in their calm, matter of fact voice, this is me:

And I could not make up this next part if I tried…  Playing outside later that night, my 9 year old says ‘hey mom, this is how we are supposed to run if there is a stranger on campus drill at school.’  And she proceeded to run across the grass, pretty much having fun, in a zig zag pattern.  She then wanted me to try.  As I had to almost laugh that I was going to run the ‘stranger zig zag pattern’, I rationalized that I was playing with my kid, so that’s good right?  After my zig zag debut, my 9 year old gave me a look like ‘ya, you’re a goner if it ever happens.’  So, I lost in the game of zig zag pattern stranger running?  I have no words…

Maybe it’s good that they are so matter of fact with all of this.  But it blows my mind still.  Again, glad that there are procedures in place to make our kids safe, and so thankful for my kids schools and their teachers.  But I have to almost laugh at the panic it creates in me, while my 3 kids are in an almost zen place when discussing this topic.

In case you missed it, here is why this post is labeled as number 3:

  1. Our children’s reality, uncomfortably numb (1)
  2. Our children’s reality, uncomfortably numb (2)

Our children’s reality, uncomfortably numb.

Today, day 3 of the new school year, I experienced my first real ‘lock down’ of a school my child was inside of. There were no children walking out of the school during pick up time, which was strange. My friend who’s daughter I drive home along with mine texted me to ask if there was a lock down at their school. What? As a matter of fact, there were 4 police cars down the road I was parked on. I called the police department after it had been 10 minutes since my daughter and her friend should have been in the car, and they stated that the lock down had just lifted. The lock down was due to police activity near the school. I am very thankful for the quick and proper response the school gave, yet it was still unnerving to say the least. As every day, I am thankful for the schools my children attend, and the wonderful teachers that are with them each day. Still wish this wasn’t their reality though…

You can't argue with crazy

On the way home in the car just now, my 3rd grader talked for 15 minutes about the lock out drill they had at school today.  She said they have a new code word, and that today, one of her friends was in the bathroom when the drill (so, so, thankful it was a drill) occurred.  If you’re in the bathroom, she told me, you stand up on the toilet and stay quiet.  There’s a whole different protocol if you are outside on the playground, or in the hallways.  She must have said 9 times how sorry she was for the friend who was in the bathroom when the drill happened.

Ok, a couple of things:

  1. I am numb that this is our reality.
  2. My freshman son asked why in the world they have those drills, I explained they have to be prepared, because this type of thing has happened…

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It’s all going to be ok, Back to School edition…

I find myself telling my kids as they are getting older things that my friends and I have been telling each other for years.  As they are facing challenges and disappointments that come with an increasing age, I have found myself giving them the tools of ‘it will be better in 5 minutes’, and ‘the first day is the hardest, it will get a bit easier every day after.’

As my middle child went to middle school for her intro half day last week, she was nervous of course.  My words to her were, ‘focus on 12:08 when the school day is over, at that time, it will no longer be new, and no longer be as scary.’

And after the conversations with my children are done, I then start telling myself the same things.  Man, this worrying about your kids thing just gets harder and harder with some of the things growing older presents.

There were times in my life that I couldn’t see around the moment I was in in order to see the possibilities of the future.  And only through living life have I learned, that it really is better in 5 minutes, and the second day is usually easier than the first.

So, I will continue to tell my kids, and I mean it when I say ‘it will all be ok, I promise.’

As school starts tomorrow, and I look into my crystal ball and see myself waking up repeatedly throughout tonights sleep, I will tell myself as I often do in the middle of the night ‘everything is ok’ and allow myself to go back to sleep.

I hope the little things I say (mantras?) that help me move on and not get too tripped up on things actually help my kids rather than make me resemble Bob Wiley more and more.  They humor me at least making me feel as though they do help!  🙂

With the first day of school comes the enjoyment of a routine (and a quiet house), which will only too soon be replaced with  missing the kids and wishing for summer to return quickly!

Here’s to a safe school year, and strength to all of the wonderful teachers that spend each day teaching our kids!

Accused of being born with a silver spoon in my mouth…

Born with a silver spoon in your mouth = to have a high social position and be rich from birth. (Cambridge Dictionaries Online)

I have told this story to my kids multiple times, each time the outcome is still surprisingly amazing to me…

One summer as a young teenager, my mom and I went on a float trip down the Truckee River from Tahoe City.  We’d all done this trip as a family many times.  This particular time, it was just my mom and I, and we were using a raft that we had brought for the 3 hour trip, rather than rent one from the two companies that pump people into the river on rafts for a nice chuck of change.

We had just recently gone back to school shopping for the upcoming school year.  I was able to pick out one new outfit and one new pair of shoes.  I remember this very clearly.  It was a big deal, this one new outfit and one pair of shoes.  Years prior, and again in future years, there were additional items added to the one outfit, one pair of shoes, but during this period in life, it was one of each, and I knew it was important and to be appreciated.

I brought my new pair of white Keds back to school tennis shoes with me on that float trip with my mom.  About 1/2 hour into our trip, one of my brand new pair of shoes went over the side of the raft, and got carried away with the current below instantly.  I was already a kid that worried in general.  Now, this float trip, I sat in a silent worried agony.  The guilt of losing a new shoe that I knew was worked hard for by my parents was disabling to say the least.  I was old enough to know, that at this time in our lives, replacing those shoes wasn’t something that would just necessarily happen.  I was old enough to know not to suggest ‘just write a check for new ones’ as I had believed in my younger years that as long as we had the paper checks, we could buy things.

Two hours of trying to enjoy myself with my mom on such an awesome float trip with beautiful sights and fun stops to swim, while secretly suffering in guilt and worry was taking a toll.  Forget ‘how do I get from the river through the parking lot with one shoe’.  It was more ‘how do I go to school with one shoe’.  I don’t remember talking about my worry to my mom, I just dealt with, ‘you get one outfit and one pair of shoes’ in my mind repeatedly.

With about 20 minutes left in the raft trip, I was enjoying myself.  I sat on the edge of the raft, feet in the water looking around.  I looked down into the water, and I kid you not, my overboard white Keds shoe was tossing and turning with the current along the bottom of the river, directly under our raft.  I jumped in, got the shoe, and carefully placed it with it’s pair for the duration of the ride.

When I tell this story to my kids, they just can’t believe I found my shoe, what a cool surprise.  For me, when I tell this story, all the feelings of worry and guilt from that day come to surface, along with the sense of relief that I felt in not having to burden my parents with an additional purchase.

When I was in my young 20’s, I worked in medical billing for a large clinical laboratory.  A conversation with another co worker ended with her saying in a snide voice ‘Well, I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth.’  Maybe she had this impression of me because I was a carefree young 20 something that spent her money on rent and beer while counting down the days until a trip to Cabo with my roommates that we saved for, rather than using my paycheck for real life things like kids and medical expenses.  Maybe I had talked about my family back at home, my parents and two brothers that go on cool trips like Hawaii and dude ranches now, and that is why she had this impression of me.  Not sure what exactly gave her the impression that I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I was offended as hell.

I called my dad that night.  I thanked him for working so hard all his life for us.  For picking things up and making a better life than it even had been before.  When I was a young teenager, my dad’s partner in business literally ran away in the middle of the night with all that the business had, leaving my dad in a situation forced to make very hard financial decisions for our family.  As an adult and as a parent, I can now realize that those years for my parents must have been extremely stressful.  As a kid back then, I was happy.  My brothers were happy.  My dad worked his ass off and was able to enjoy the result of the stock market boom.  A bit of irony that I of course had already moved out of the house when Hawaii, dude ranches, and a Corvette were part of our family’s  picture, but it’s all good.  I’m not too sure what my dad thought about that thank you call, but I’ve always remembered it.

I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth.  And I didn’t like being accused of it.  I think I was so offended by the comment because it took away from how hard my dad, and my mom worked to allow for our family to enjoy, and not to struggle.  And for that woman to just see the end result rather than the work behind it, was offensive and disrespectful. It felt like a slap in the face to the struggles, and hard work that was done in order to enjoy some pretty cool experiences.   A great life, whether in Hawaii, or diving in the Truckee river to retrieve my miracle lost white Keds.

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Taking a lesson from my husband.

It was about 7:00 pm on a Thursday. Dishes were on the table, dishes were in the sink.

Kids were getting their showers done, finishing homework, reading.

I cleaned up, did all the dishes, washed down the table and counters, mopped…ha ha, who am I kidding, I hate mopping, I swiped a wet towel across the kitchen floor under the sink area and called it a day.

It had been a while since I had seen my husband.  He had disappeared into the backyard somewhere.  Not unusual.  He often goes outside to make work phone calls, and evening time is not out of the ordinary.

Dishes done, house picked up, children clean, hanging out, ready for bed. It’s 8:30 now, and I’m folding a load of laundry.  I asked my husband if he could bring in the next load for me.

After he did, I asked ‘Hey, where did you disappear to earlier after dinner?’ He said ‘I was throwing the ball to Mara for about 20 minutes.’

This is Mara: IMG_5066 I had to laugh.

Amazingly, I wasn’t annoyed or anything.  Just laughed.  I thought ‘man…this guy…not bad.’

Then I thought, I need to disappear for 20 minutes and just go and throw the ball to Mara sometimes.  Stupid that I never think to just disappear.  I always seem to have something to do. Although, I think that if I disappeared for 20 minutes unannounced, all I would hear is this, real loud:

My husband gets away with his buddy at least once or twice a month to go fishing.  Down time.

For some reason it takes an act of Congress for me to get away with my friends.  We all mean well, and we talk about getting away.  Hell, we practically dream of getting away for a weekend.  We talk about where we want to go, what we want to eat, and the spa treatments we’d get.  But too often, our grandiose dreams end up just being that.

There have been times in my mothering life, that I have gotten away.  Vegas with my friends, drinking at the craps table at 11:00 am, so awesome!  Spa treatments and excellent food along the coast.  And hotel movie jammie days (the husbands just don’t get those ones, they think it’s a waste of getting away.  Whatever, they are heavenly.)

Few and far between though.  Way too few and far between.

For now though, if you can’t find me, I’ll be in the backyard throwing the ball to Mara.  With earphones on though.