Sigh.  Where to start?!?  It’s been awhile since I sat down to write and ponder what’s been going on in our lives, so, I guess, this post will be a bit of a hodgepodge as these last couple of weeks have just rushed on by…

Well, last week was Christian’s spring break.  It was a struggle.  From a former-teacher’s standpoint, I understand the NEED for a spring break.  From Christian’s standpoint, I wish there was NEVER a break from school.  Our routine get SO messed up that it’s hard to get anything done.  It’s hard for Christian to stay dressed.  It’s hard to keep the peace between siblings.  It’s hard to keep my patience and sanity.  It’s hard to find something to do that pleases both kids.  It’s hard to keep up with the toileting issues that always rear their ugly heads anytime a major routine change happens, such as a LONG break from school.  Sigh.  We did manage to move a few of Christian’s therapy shifts earlier to help eat up some of the length of his days.  The kids and I went to visit my parents 45-minutes away and made animals at Build-A-Bear Workshop for their early birthday gifts from Grandma and Grandpa.  Christian was a little overwhelmed with all of the choices at the store, so I started making executive decisions for him, which turned out fine in the end.  (Especially when we got home and I realized that he wasn’t playing with his animal because I had put jammies on it.  Come on, Mama, animals don’t wear jammies!  I took them off the dog and then Christian LOVED his puppy!! 🙂 )  Liv got really shy there.  She refused to interact with the ladies in the store, but she knew what she wanted and found a Hello Kitty and dressed it in Hello Kitty jammies.  Yeah, she LOVED it!  🙂  Liv then stayed at Grandma & Grandpa’s overnight.  Her first night EVER away from us.  She did great!  She did so well in fact that she didn’t want to come home the next day.  😉  Who can blame her???  She had TWO WHOLE people’s undivided attention!  She certainly doesn’t get that around here.  Liv is looking forward to the next time that she gets to do that!  🙂  Oh, and the weather last week was BEAUTIFUL!  I couldn’t have ordered better weather.  It was warm.  It was sunny.  We were able to spend time outside.  🙂  (I just had to keep an eye on my little nudist.  He’d run out there with his clothes on and a minute later he’d be running laps in the yard TOTALLY in the buff, losing his clothes somewhere under the slide all while the neighbors were outside eating their supper.  Sigh.)  Christian started refusing to use his words towards the end of the week making it extremely hard to communicate effectively.  One of Brian’s grandmas broke her leg and ended up needing surgery.  (It went OK.  She is still recovering at the hospital.)  We had an Easter egg hunt with the kids in our living room on Saturday (since we were going to be gone most of the day on Sunday).  They had a blast.  Then we celebrated Liv’s Golden Easter Birthday here on Saturday, too.  She was excited!  🙂  Gifts, pizza, some soda, cake, playing with Neighbor Girl…Liv was a happy girl.  On Sunday, we rushed out the door after Brian was done milking to get to church.  We got there a few minutes late and didn’t get to sit in our usual spot.  Sigh.  Christian did OK, but struggled after 20 minutes.  And as pretty as Easter lilies are, they make me nauseated and headachy as I am very allergic to them.  We ended up leaving the service as communion started as wrestling Christian was getting harder and he was starting to “wet-noodle.”  We wanted to get out before he started his angry screams with hitting.  So, back on the road to my parents for the day.  I brought C’s jammies as I figured was better to have him wearing the jammies than streaking around all day in his underwear (or less).  I was happy that I thought of that before we left the house.  Liv enjoyed playing with her cousins, and celebrating Easter, and being the “Birthday Princess Flower Girl” for the day.  I enjoyed seeing my family and chatting a bit.  And it was nice to have some extra help in the backyard when everyone went out.  I stood on one end of the yard while the other end was guarded by other family members.  Thank you!  We only lost C once when he stealthily snuck through the house without making a sound.  Thankfully I found him hiding in the back of one of the cars in the garage inside of running down the street!  😉  After awhile, C wanted to snuggle with me in the dark, quiet basement, so I obliged.  We fell asleep just before supper, so when Brian woke me we decided to just let Christian sleep since he was tired enough to be napping and couldn’t eat anything that the rest of us were having for supper anyway.  Well, perhaps that was a mistake on my part.  I woke him a 1/2-hour later and then couldn’t get him to settle down once we got back home.  One day I’ll learn my lesson.  😉  I was a little nervous on Monday morning about getting back INTO our routine.  C wrestled me a bit getting into his clothes, but as soon as we pulled into the parking lot at school, he giggled.  He smiled.  He did his happy dance and then ran and galloped while “happy singing” all the way up to the school doors!  Amazing!  He was SO happy to be back!  🙂  (And I couldn’t have been happier for him, either.)  Therapy went well on Monday afternoon.  All back to routine!  🙂  Liv spent most of the day playing-up her Diva attitude while I attempted to pick-up the house and run errands.  Then she and Neighbor Girl played a LOT, which is wonderful, but they were also fighting and Neighbor Girl asks a LOT of questions.  More than Olivia does.  I didn’t know that was humanly possible.  And C went back to having accidents in the basement after his therapist left.  I was a bit frazzled.  (OK, that’s an understatment.)  I was ready to have everyone turn in for the night, so I could have some quiet solitude.  I basked in it before bed.  It was lovely. 🙂  Unfortunately, 1:30 rolled around with a wetting accident in one room, so I immediately started laundry.  2:30 started vomiting in the other, which continued for the next few hours.  5:30 came with a cry about the couch being peed on and then the vomiting started again.  Then I started not to feel so well.  Some of that just stemmed from major sleep-deprivation and having dealt with the middle of the night pukes.  I happily accepted Brian’s offer of taking Olivia to the store with him while he was home over his break.  Yes, I would rest with Christian.  And we did.  For 15 minutes.  Then I heard THAT sound.  Then I was covered in THAT stuff.  Eww…that didn’t help me feel any better.  😦  Poor C.  As I was getting myself out of my icky clothes, my phone rings.  C’s senior therapists.  Yes, we will cancel therapy today.  Thankfully, she was nice enough to come and stay with C for a couple of hours while ran to the store to buy additional carpet cleaning supplies.  I had used a week’s worth in 12 hours!  Oh, and she brought me Starbucks! 🙂  Thank you, AZ!  That really made my day!  🙂  Liv and Brian headed out to a Brewer game with some of his family after milking, which was fine with me.  I really just wanted to rest.  (And so did C.)  And that’s what we did.  I kept Christian home yesterday, too.  He just wasn’t himself yet.  I’m glad I made that decision even though that meant that I had to miss meeting up with a friend.  😦  (SM, I hope we can make it work out sometime soon!)  Liv was bored, but such is life some days, right?!?  But, today…Today Christian was back to his normal Christian-self.  He fought me getting dressed, (I mean, REALLY fought me!) but we finally managed to get out the door, and into the car, and then the kids fought ALL the way to school, BUT as soon as we pulled into the parking lot Christian was happy! 🙂  SO HAPPY!  🙂  And I was glad, as I wasn’t sure how it would go, but he dragged me up to the school building.  Happy screaming.  Happy running.  Happy jumping.  Sigh [of relief!]  I’m so excited that he was happy to be back!  🙂  And now, I should get back to my Liv, who has been hanging on my arm for the last 20-minutes…  😉

Christian LOVES his "Kipper" from Build-A-Bear now that the jammies are off! 🙂

Liv with her "Hello Kitty." Yep, that's what she named it! 😉

To my mother-in-law,

I love you!  Thank you SO much for taking Olivia ALL day yesterday.  Doing so allowed me to shop in peace.  (Even though you ended up taking her shopping with you!)  🙂  It was relaxingly lovely.  [insert contented sigh here] 

I was allowed to rest, which I’m especially grateful for since my kidney stones seem to finally be on the move — ouch! 

Christian was able to have two uninterrupted therapy sessions without her trying to answer all of the questions and/or take over as the therapist.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.  The words don’t seem quite enough, but that’s all that I have at the moment.  🙂

Towards the end of yesterday, I was letting my many stressors pile up on each other and I was feeling extremely overwhelmed.  The tears were hardly below the surface.  My patience was spent.  The guilt was lingering.  Tired was draining me by the minute.  Crazy didn’t feel too far away…

…and then Liv talked to Grandma (my mother-in-law) on the phone.  She is a most wonderful lady.  Grandma asked Liv if she’d like to come visit in the morning.  Without hesitation, Liv responded, “Yes!” 

Crazy backed off.

Crazy comes when it looks like there is no end to the stress.  And with our new sleeping arrangements going on, even the nighttime is stressful.  There is no break in the day (unless I get out to exercise).

This mama needed some respite.  At home. Not running errands.  Just being here.  In the quiet.  Knowing that everyone I love is being cared for by people I trust.  That stress can be alleviated (if even just for a couple hours).  Even though I was exhausted, I felt a calm sweep over my body, just knowing that I’d have a real break today.

And while I have SO much that I want and need to do around the house, my BIG plan is to nap.  In peace.  Setting the stress aside until I’m better rested, therefore better able to handle them.

THANK YOU, Grandma, for providing my mini-vacation today!  🙂

Ah.  The dentist.  Not a favorite person in our house.  However, today both of the kids had appointments with him.

I had recruited my dad to meet us at the office, so that he could stay with Olivia and color while I took Christian to the back and wrestled with him to get into the chair and the horrible, yet necessary papoose(?) board.  Christian did put up a fight.  With huge tears.  With terror in his eyes.  With the word, “scary,” coming out of his mouth.  With Mama’s heart-breaking.  😦  But he actually calmed for the tiniest bit towards the end of the teeth-brushing.  That was a first.  That made me SO proud of him!  🙂  And NO cavities.  Hurray!  Now we don’t need to go back until August.  Whew!  🙂

Christian’s turn was first today.  I was thinking that I would take Christian back with Olivia and I while her teeth got counted in the dentist’s office, but my dad said that he would stay with Christian in the waiting room.  (Bless his heart!  I could hear Christian through the door running laps in the waiting room and dashing up the stairs to the employee lounge/lunch area.  Christian’s speed cannot be underestimated! 😉 )  Anyhow, Olivia picked her toothbrush out, had her teeth counted (very nervously), and had NO cavities, too!  I was one happy Mama today!!!  🙂  In about 5-minutes time, we were done. Yay!

(Thanks, Grandpa, for helping out today!  I really, REALLY appreciate it!!!  🙂 )

Funny thing…because of the no cavities the kids received coupons for a local restaurant for a free hamburger, cheeseburger, fries, ice cream cone, cookie, etc.  Since Christian can’t really have any of those things, we settled for the free soda (just seems ironic coming from the dentist).  The kids were so happy on the way home.  🙂  Except I was a little nervous when Liv announced that she had “pee in her butt” when we were 10 minutes from home.  Thankfully, she was able to hold it until she got in the house and on the toilet.  Whew!  😉

I consider this surviving the dentist with flying colors!  🙂  I’m so thankful that the day went SO well, that the snow stopped before we had to get on the highway, that we didn’t run out of gas, and that my vehicle found its way to a Starbucks drive-thru on the way home.  (Sometimes, Mama needs a treat, too! 😉 )

Tomorrow morning is Brian’s surgery.  Hernia surgery.  Outpatient surgery.  “No big deal.”  But, really, any time a loved one of mine goes completely under for any kind of surgery, I get a little nervous.

I was there for Christian’s tooth extraction surgery when they were broken off and infected.  (When he came to, he wrestle three nurses to get the IV out of his arm, and he was only 2!  They asked me to come back and hold it in for them.  He is a surprisingly strong little man!!!) 

I was there when Olivia was put under when she had her renal reflux problem taken care of.  She was only 18 months old, but pulled through with flying colors. 🙂

Now, it’s my turn to wait for Brian.  My husband.  My love.  My partner.  As he goes under.  I have to say that my anxiety has gotten the best of me.  I’m pretty nervous.  I have already had a nightmare about it.  But I try to keep reminding myself that I am not in control of these things.  God is.

I will pray that He guides the hands of the surgeons as they repair his hernia.  I will pray that He guides the anesthesiologist as he provides the medication needed.  I will pray that He brings my husband through this surgery safely.  I will also pray that His will is done, whatever that may be.

If you are so inclined, please say a prayer for my husband and all involved in his surgery tomorrow morning.  I will be so very grateful!  Oh, please also pray for the grandparents/therapists who will be watching/working with the kids tomorrow, as we will be gone before they get up, making their “routine” very unusual for the day.

On Thursday, Christian was graced with his very own “Big, Fancy Bed.” 🙂

I’ll set the stage for this post by telling you that Christian has not slept in his own room for about 2 months.  The first month, he wanted to sleep in bed with Brian.  (Brian & I had decided that if he’d actually sleep we didn’t really care where it happened.  Yes, we have been that sleep-deprived.)  So I had been sleeping on the couch or with Olivia in her bed.

After a month of this sleeping arrangement working pretty well, Christian decided that he wanted to sleep in Olivia’s bed.  Well, Olivia decided that she wanted to sleep with Daddy in “Mommy & Daddy’s bed.”  Fine.  So, musical beds we go, and everyone slept OK.  Christian woke up that first morning in Olivia’s full-sized bed and exclaimed, “Oh, my big, fancy bed!!!”  Too cute!  But Brian and I got to thinking that maybe, just maybe, if we could find Christian his very own “big, fancy bed,” he would sleep in his room again.

Brian had mentioned this “big, fancy bed” story to his parents and they mentioned that they had a full-sized bed that they were considering getting rid of.  Hmm…really?!?  Excellent.  🙂 

The big change happened on Thursday.  Christian’s twin-bed moved downstairs to become a pseudo-daybed (which I was thinking could also serve as a bed for anyone who needs to be up with him in the middle of the night with his weird winter sleep habits).  The full-bed moved into Christian’s room.

Christian was a little upset when he first got home.  (Yeah, I didn’t know exactly when this was going to happen, so I hadn’t prepped him with a social story.  Oops!)  He was running around saying, “Sleep?  Sleep?” very nervously.  But then Grandma brought over some super comfy flannel Santa sheets, and Olivia convinced Christian to jump on his new bed a few times and then it was OK.  😉

Well, until bed, then he got a bit nervous again, so I slept in the “new bed”, too.  He seems pretty happy about the bed now.  (Especially since he found a spot on the footboard where he can balance his letter blocks.  😉 ) 

So, with “Big, Fancy Beds” in both kids’ rooms now, I’m hoping that we can gravitate everyone back to their original sleeping places.  (One can hope, right?!?)

Eager anticipation.  I couldn’t wait!  My sister (who I hadn’t seen in 1-1/2 years), my niece (who has really grown), and my godson (who I had never met) along with my dad (who I hadn’t seen in awhile) stopped in to visit yesterday afternoon.  My sis and her family live in Arizona.  (Unfortunately, my brother-in-law couldn’t come with, but this time of year is a little hard for pastors to step away from their congregations.) 

Olivia had been waiting as patiently as possible (for a 3-year-old) to see her cousin (who is 4).  Their personalities are a little different, so it took a little while for the girls to warm up to each other, but they seemed to have a lot of fun dragging Grandpa into the ball pit and playing doctor on him.  (They would both like to be doctors (among other things) when they grow up. 🙂 )  It was wonderful to meet my godson.  He’s a happy little man, too cute!  And lovely to visit with my sis.  I’ve missed just sitting and sharing a cup of coffee with her.  It was just fabulous to have them here!  I don’t think that we’ll be able to see them again until Sunday (when my family is celebrating Christmas), but it was SO GREAT that they could stop in.  I loved it!  (And Olivia had loads of fun playing with “Funny Grandpa” and her cousin.)  🙂