Thursday, June 30, 2011

Arrival is near...

We have an arrival date for Sven (not his real name) - he will be here August 1.  That is ten days earlier than originally expected. We are all excited, but I am a little nervous.  What if he doesn't like us? Thinks we're weird (ok, that might be a given)?  Hates our rules and wants a new family? 

I have a whole list of things to do before he gets here - finish up his room (ie:  do everything to it that we've meant to do while Sous Chef has been in the room), get kids relocated to their new rooms, do some other repairs on the house, spruce things up.  I feel like we are getting ready to put our house on the market.  And in a way we are.  We are trying to "sell" it to our newest family member.

Family member.  I think my biggest struggle will be trying not to treat this new person in our home as a guest.  Of course, we will do that for a few days or so while he gets settled, but at some point, he will have to take on chores and responsibilities just like our other kids.  You know when you have a "guest" cleaning toilets and bathrooms like the other three boys, they are no longer a "guest" and are officially family, right?  These bathrooms get dirty pretty quickly, so he may feel like family faster than I, or he, imagines.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Time, Time, Time...

It's that time of year. The time when you hear things like, "I can't believe my baby graduated from preschool/middle school/high school/college" or "I can't believe my baby is going to HS next year" and "Time goes so fast". We hear it a lot right now. And it is often followed up with "It breaks my heart!" and "How did this happen?" Sometimes there are even tears. Not all the time, but occasionally. I never know what to say to these people. Why? Because I don't get it. I don't get why mamas (I rarely hear a dad say these things, so for the purpose of this writing, I will use moms) are sad that our kids are growing up. I absolutely love watching my kids grow older and taking on new challenges and becoming their own people. I am thrilled to see my oldest start high school next year. He is excited and I can't imagine not being excited for him. I can't imagine my heart breaking that each year he, and my other children, are doing what we do - evolving through time, learning and experiencing new things, experimenting with who we are and what we want to be. It's an ongoing process for all of us - babies/toddlers, adolescents/teens, young adults and even us full grown adults. And it makes me happy to watch and be a part of it all. The "my heart is breaking" thing? I.don't.get.it. My nephew went off to college out of state a couple of years ago. I asked my SIL if she cried. She said something along the lines of "How could I be sad? He was so excited all I could do was be excited for him." THAT I get.

And before you call me a cold hearted bitch, I get that time goes by, often very quickly. Sometimes it goes so fast I lose track of it. Like the other day at the doctor's office when I told him my middle son had strep throat a month ago. They looked in his file and it was actually three months ago. Oops, time got away from me. But there are times when it goes really.really.slow. For me it all adds up to time is moving along at just the speed it was meant to move. When I look at the big picture, I realize time is doing what it was meant to do - giving us the space we need to evolve, to learn and experience new things, to experiment with who we are and who we want to be and then move on to the next step and do it all again. It's just the right amount of time and at the right pace.

I do get sentimental. I do look at pictures or have a memory and think "Look how cute he was as a baby!" or "Oh my, that was so much fun." But the entire time I have been a parent when people have asked me "What's your favorite age?" my response has been "The age they are now." I meant it and continue to mean it. (Except maybe for age three. Three makes the terrible twos look like a cake walk.) There were so many cute, fun, loving, fulfilling, adorable, memorable times with my kids and there continue to be, even with the moody teenager. Times I wouldn't change or give up for anything, but I don't want to go back. I like moving forward.

So for all those mamas out there who will spend the next few days/weeks lamenting over their children growing older, I will try to be sensitive. If you know me well though, you know sometimes I struggle with that, but I promise I will try.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Get your eyes checked. A PSA from your friend Jo.

Remember when I posted a picture from January 1 excitement and said I hope this isn't any indication of how the rest of the year would go?  Well, I think it was.  In the first quarter of 2011 the following events have happened:
  1. The wounded eye
  2. My dad had a cyst, that was between his brain and his skull, sucked out through his nose.  All is well now.
  3. My mom had rotator cuff surgery.  On her other arm.  She also needs knee surgery once her arm heals.
  4. I have a lump in my boob that is a cyst.  I have a follow up in six months and if it is still there I am demanding it be removed and if my doctor refuses I will find one who will remove it.
And drumroll, please....I now have to have surgery on my eyes.  MY EYES people.  And before I go into all of the gory details of MY EYES, I want to tell you all - go get YOUR EYES checked.  Even if you are not having vision issues.  I went because my glasses were getting old and worn out and I wanted new ones.  My vision had not really changed much, but I knew the eyeglass place would require a current prescription, so I made an appointment and went to the eye doctor at the end of February.  And that was how it all started.

We got through all the vision stuff, you know "better now or now?" "better with this or this?" routine.  The doctor made some notes and I was figuring we would get onto the numbing drops, dilation and all that stuff.  She then says, "I cannot dilate your eyes today.  You need to go see a glaucoma specialist because you have narrow angles.  If I dilate your eyes I am afraid those narrow angles would close off completely."  I assumed that would be bad.  And boy was I right.  Because if those already narrow angles close and stay that way?  Blindness sets in in one to two days, often without warning.  And if you do have warning signs and symptoms, they are often attributed to something else - migraines, stomach flu if you have vomiting, or some other more common illness.

So last week I saw the glaucoma specialist.  I was supposed to be there for four hours and I had to have a driver because the dilation he would do would be pretty serious stuff.  Way more than a regular eye doctor.  An hour later I'm told I am finished.  He can't dilate my eyes either, for the same reason as my regular eye doctor, and I need to have surgery.  And the surgery can wait no more than two to three weeks.  Oh, and they can only do one eye at a time so I have to do this twice.  Fuckin' awesome.

I have since been reading about narrow angles in the eye and closed angle glaucoma.  As my doctor explained, I DON'T have closed angle glaucoma.  My angles are narrow, not closed, and the pressure in my eye is normal and my optic nerve looks great.  There is no scar tissue or permanent damage to indicate that the angles have ever closed and opened again, so all of that is good.  If I don't have the surgery, though, I am at very high risk of developing closed angle glaucoma and that is bad.  Very bad.  At least for those of us who wish to keep our eyesight.

So in less than two weeks, I will trek to the eye institute and have a tiny hole burned in my eye, in between my iris and my pupil, that will act as a drain to keep the fluids flowing and compensate for those narrow angles.  Then the next day, I will go back so he can do it again to the other eye.  He normally waits a week in between, but due to his schedule, my schedule, etc. it would have worked that it would have been longer than a week in between and he doesn't want to wait that long.  I tried to talk him into doing them both in the same day, but he wouldn't agree.  I was happy he agreed to two consecutive days.

So there is your PSA for this week.  Get your asses, and your eyes, to the eye doctor.  Pronto.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Can you believe it?

I'm here.  I'm really here.  Living and surviving and even having some fun as we worked our way through a snowy and cold winter!  I am happy to say, our daffodils have buds on them.  I love that the sun goes down later now and our trees will be blooming soon.

With all of that, there really just isn't anything exciting going on.  I can't think of anything snarky to write about, I haven't been in any confrontations with raging drivers and my clients at work have been fairly normal.  Though I do often complain on Facebook about people who have gross feet.  I won't massage gross feet, so don't ask, because the answer will be "no".

We have "met" our exchange student via online methods.  He is 15 (he will be 16 when he gets here) and he is from Sweden.  I will not tell you his real name, but my BFF calls him Sven, so I probably will, too.  That is not his real name, though, and she is concerned she might call him that to his face.

How, do you ask, will she call him Sven to his face when she lives a 24 hour flight away in Guam?  Well, that's easy.  She's moving back to the states in April.  She'll be within a days drive on the east coast!  Yay.  We are excited.

I am all abuzz with the Royal Wedding and am hosting the Gala of the Year to gather all my friends who want to either stay all night, or join us at about 4:00AM that morning to watch the wedding together.  I will be sporting a tiara and a replica of Princess Di's, now Kate's, ring.  It's true.  It arrived today.  There will be Buck's Fizz (British name for Mimosas), Welsh cakes, and other breakfast assortments along with English Tea and a real wedding cake.  There will be a British flag to welcome the guests and engraved matchbooks as a party favor.  We will even have quite a bit of memorabilia on display, as one of my friends is quite the Anglofile and Royal Family Expert and collector of all things Windsor.

So that's it.  One of these days, I hope to get back to blogging on a more regular basis.  Of course, I think that frequently...

Friday, February 18, 2011

I always forget how much grooming is involved prior to visiting the gyno

I was running late the other day.  I was in the shower trying to hurry when I realized, "Damn, I better shave my armpits.  And my legs."  You see, in the winter, I don't do this on a daily basis, especially if I am running late.  Then I realized, I better groom things a little "down there" too.  I was going for my annual exam with the gynecologist.  If you're like me, you don't want any of those pesky pubic hairs being "ungroomed" in any way for fear they might get caught in the speculum or some other god forsaken medical device and rip out a hair or two.  Ouch!  This really isn't an issue if my appointments were ever in the summer time, but my annual exams always fall in the middle of winter.

So there you have it.  Way too much TMI.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ssssmmmmoooooth!

You know I am always trying some new hair product or another.  You also know I like to write about it.

My hair drives me batty sometimes.  It's wavy, it's curly and it's frizzy if I don't do anything to it - blow dry only and my hair looks like a big puff of cotton candy, air dry and it's curls in some areas, waves in others and frizz all over.  Get me a good round brush and some kind of iron, and I can get it under control fairly easily, but it's still a pain and god forbid, it get damp in a rain shower or it's humid outside, because I am doomed.

I kept looking at this product at Ulta called Liquid Keratin.  The initial kit was $69.00.  I kept mulling it over but never bought it.  Then I started hearing and seeing stuff about the Brazilian Blowout, which is nothing like a Brazilian bikini wax, in case you are wondering.  Then I started looking at other salon smoothing treatments.  Basically, I didn't want to pay 100's of dollars every 3-6 months.  If I do that, I won't be able to afford the Botox I hope to get this year.

So I finally broke down and bought the Liquid Keratin kit.  Really, what could it hurt?  Well, after I started thinking about that, I had all kinds of crazy thoughts - it could fry my hair and it would all break off, I could go bald, I could have a horrible reaction and break out all over my scalp and neck.  The list went on.  But I am brave and adventurous when it comes to my hair.  It's just hair and it grows back. At least it always has.

I used the product as directed.  I love it.  My hair is definitely not straight, which is fine, I wasn't going for straight.  I was going for smooth.  And I got it - at least about 80-90% smoother than before.  And it says I can still wear it curly if I want.  We'll have to see about that - once the heat and humidity set in.  I am using the shampoo and conditioner that go with the treatment and I will be doing the treatment again when it's time (6 weeks-ish).  I definitely will saturate my hair more the next time since I went a little light the first time.  And no, I was not paid to say this.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Another boy makes SIX!

Our family is growing.  We are so excited.  Come August, we will have FOUR boys in our home, not including MG or Ace, the cat.  Have you fallen on the floor yet in shock?  Well, get your rear back into your chair, because I am NOT expecting a baby.  In fact, boy #6 is a teenager.  If all goes well, we will be hosting a foreign exchange student for the 2011-2012 school year.  We are in the process of filing the paperwork (which is equivalent to, or more cumbersome than, applying to college!), getting background checks (we have to pass a State Department clearance), collecting references, etc.  All of this needs to be done very quickly because our school district has a cutoff date of April 15.  We will get to review profiles and choose a student who hopefully will fit well into our loud and chaotic family.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Any of you readers who have any tips, suggestions, advice for being a host family, please feel free to leave your info in the comments section!  We can use all the help we can get.