Thursday, October 15, 2015

Thursday Thanks Tank #209

I am thankful for:

Phone calls
Cooler temps. I'm talkin' low eighties! Gotta love Florida.
My puppies. They are five months old.
Lemonade stands.
Kind people who stop at lemonade stands. My kids have been doing lemonade stands to earn money for their school. My daughter's teacher had her husband (and dog!) stop by. And one of the last customers donated $20.
A great run. I've enjoyed some nice runs with friends lately but yesterday. I ran on my own and I kept a good pace. It felt great.
New friendships.
My husband wanting to talk to me. This list would be longer but my husband and I kept talking. It's a good problem to have. I just love talking to him.
Sleep... Zzzzzzz.....

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Thursday Thanks Tank #208

I have been going through a desert. I chose the dry land but I didn't recognize it for what it was. It was desolate. Beautiful but barren. Space to breathe but more space than I needed.
I am thankful for being called out of the wilderness.

I am also thankful for these things and so much more:
My friend's husband's safe return from a deployment to Africa. So wonderful to see a family reunited!
The kindness of strangers. Recently my 10 year old and 7 year old did a lemonade stand to earn money for their elementary school. They earned $97.50 in just over two hours. People were more than kind with donations. It was heartwarming.
The kindness of friends and family. Many of my friends, most of whom don't know my kids, and family donated to their fundraiser efforts. Super sweet.
Schools and Teachers. My kids spend many, many hours at school. I am thankful for everyone who is dedicating their time to my kids. Teachers give so much to my kids.
Honesty. I am thankful for those moments when you see a true honesty and it gives insight into the complexity of a relationship.
My recliner. The kids keep trying to claim it. It's my favorite chair and I love it. Sitting in it right now, as a matter of fact.
My puppies. We got 2 miniature schnauzers this summer. They are the sweetest things. It has taken a little longer than it should have to potty train them what with the chaos of our house, but I think they are doing great. My daughter asked me today why I talk to them like my sons. (Oh sweetie, they will still be here when you have all spread your wings to fly away.) Speaking of talking to them... I do it all the time.
A rare moment of clarity. I had the wherewithal (I really like that word, by the way) today to realize I needed to skip an activity to tend to an overrun to do list. Everything had been snowballing for a while and I realized that I could stop and give attention to areas that needed attention. It was good to know what I needed to do and not have any doubt about it.
Maturity. No, am not thinking of mine- ha! I have had several moments lately when I have seen my older sons (14 and 12) seem to mature before my eyes. They are making better decisions. It's so amazing to watch them grow and mature.
Laughter. My family laughs a lot. I love it. Love, love, love it!

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

For the Love of Food- Planning Ahead

If you could only see my kitchen table. It's littered with cookbooks, magazines and printed recipes. My calendar is somewhat on top of the pile, as is a printed month meal planner. I'm not trying to be a great cook. I am just trying to figure out meals that will work for our insanely busy schedule. I am also trying to figure out easy meals (quick to make) that will taste good reheated. During the week, we rarely get to sit down together. So someone usually has to reheat dinner. We have several crockpot meals a week but there's only so many crockpot meals I can take in one week.

This is such a busy season. I know it is only just beginning in some ways. My oldest started high school. My second started middle school. My 3rd and 4th are in elementary school. It's the extra activities that are making meal planning a new adventure for me.

There's not much else to note about this. But if you could see my kitchen table, you'd chuckle.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Thursday Thanks Tank #207: FAAW

I am thankful that my son has not had a reaction to peanuts during elementary school.
I am thankful for the teachers that have worked with me over the years to provide safe options for my son when food was part of a school event.
I am thankful for my son's extremely careful attitude.
I am thankful for a new discovery of Barney's Almond Butter. It's peanut free!
I am also thankful for Blue Diamond Almonds. Also peanut free!
I am thankful for friends who listen to me rant about allergy frustrations.
I am thankful for modern medicine.
I am thankful for understanding from others.
I am thankful that my son knows other students with food allergies.
I am thankful that my husband and I agree on how to manage my son's allergy (including any risks we take).
I am thankful for the companies that take food allergy labeling seriously.
I am thankful our healthy attitude about my son's severe peanut allergy.
I am thankful for FAAN (Food Allergy and Awareness Network) and FARE (Food Allergy and Research Education).
I am thankful for Twitter and being able to do searches on "#foodallergy" or "#peanutallergy"  That took has been invaluable.
I am thankful for FAAW (Food Allergy Awareness Week) and the focus if gives me for the week.
I am thankful that my son has been kept safe.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

My PA Son is Almost Done with Elementary School

It's hard to believe my peanut allergic son is finishing up elementary school. I remember vividly my fear the night before he started Kindergarten. There were tears. After he was in bed, I shed big sobbing tears. I was afraid of what he would be up against in school. Where did the time go? It didn't go fast, necessarily. There were many food allergy challenges along the way. Still, in less than a month, he will be done with 5th grade, headed to middle school and I can hardly believe it.

My son is unique in that he attended four elementary schools from Kindergarten through 5th grade. We were in Oregon when he was in Kindergarten and 1st grade. We were in Nevada from 2nd grade through 4th grade. After 2nd grade, we selected to send him to a new school based on his academic needs. Then, we moved to Florida for 5th grade. It was very interesting to see how different schools approach food allergies. No two schools handled it the same, even the two in the same district. And, naturally, no two teachers handled his food allergy the same.

I've learned a lot.

Much of it can be wrapped up in this: Be proactive. Be proactive all the time. It doesn't matter if the teacher's kid has a food allergy (which we've experienced). Always work ahead and do what you need to do. Chances are great that the teacher or school will not cover the basis the way you will.

Well, I've gotten tired. I had a couple more paragraphs written and then I figured out that I had quite a lot more I could say. I'd like to write more about his elementary school food allergy experiences and what I have learned. So, I am going to save that for another time (hopefully soon).

Monday, May 11, 2015

Food Allergy Awareness Week: Monday

It's Food Allergy Awareness Week 2015.

A few thoughts about this week~

I always wished this awareness week took place in the Fall, toward the beginning of a school year, instead of May, near the end of school.

I do like that Food Allergy Awareness Week starts on Mother's Day. Mothers are ultra aware, constantly providing and doing what's necessary for a Food Allergy kid. I saw several food allergy Mother's Day posts online yesterday and they were wonderful.

I like Food Allergy Awareness week because #1, I take time out of my busy schedule to read what's being said and posted. It seems lame and it is to a certain degree, but being the mom of 4 busy kids, I don't stay up on the latest articles, helpful tips, and food allergy news. I do well just to ensure that my son is safe. So, while I hope to make others pause and think about food allergies this week, the week serves me well because I am more aware of what is going on in the allergy world.

I do not know how I will make others more aware of food allergies. I do not have a plan for that. Maybe it will happen, maybe it won't. But, I know that I am going to sit down with my peanut allergy son this week and talk about his allergy- the good, bad and the ugly.
I am sure that effort will be meaningful.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Thursday Thanks Tank #206

My 7 year old daughter ran in the house this afternoon and told her 10 year old brother, "Alert! Alert! I found a new bug." Then, he jumped up and followed her outside. I watched them eagerly walk together to look at the new discovery. A few moments later, my son walked in and said, "False alarm. It was just a woodchip."
I love moments of discovery- even non discovery. I love the excitement of seeing my kids explore nature.
This past Sunday I did my first triathlon. I'm still sort of stunned that I did it. My running partner had been training for it for a while and I was training with her. Two weeks ago, I decided that I was going to do it with her. It was a blast. I loved it. I see more triathlons in my future. I am thankful for new experiences. I am thankful for my fitness level. I am the most fit I have ever been and it feels incredible.
My parents were in town for a week plus just recently. I am thankful for their visit. I am thankful that I spend time with them. I am at a stage in my life where I appreciate them for who they are and understand them and the struggles they have. They are not perfect but neither am I. Being mature enough to recognize that has deepened my love for them in ways I never imagined. I love that my kids enjoy being around their grandparents. I am thankful for my parents.
Sometimes my husband and I have these moments when we look at our kids and each other and the obvious non-verbal communication is, 'What just happened?' Our kids are amazing. But, sometimes parenting is amazingly challenging. I am thankful for the communication and respect my husband and I have with and for each other. We don't always agree but we do always try to be respectful. When we disagree on a parenting issue, we try to talk privately about it. Our kids know we are a team. I am thankful for the way we work together as parents.

I've had a good day focusing on being thankful.
I am thankful.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Strong Parenting

I am amused by the viral video of a mother smacking her son around for being a part of the Baltimore protests. She's been called the Hero Mom and The Natural Hero. I am amused about this for a few reasons. It is interesting to see what goes viral. The video was entertaining. What causes me the most amusement, though, is how people (myself included) applaud this mother for strongly and physically stopping her child from bad behavior. The Baltimore situation seems to justify the Baltimore mom's use of force. What a strong woman to react without hesitation and without concern for judgment! Her child was in harm's way- both a present harm and a perceived future of harm. So, she did what she needed to do. She pulled him off the path of destruction.
I am glad she stood her ground. I do not have a problem with her being commended for taking charge of her child. Quite frankly, like many others, I found the story heart-warming.

But, there is a disconnect.
The same people who applaud this strong mother would probably be disgusted by a mother spanking a child at the grocery store.
People cringe when they see parents enforcing consequences for bad behavior. We cringe because it makes us feel uncomfortable. We cringe because we do not know if someone will view it as abusive.
Admonishment of children, especially if done in a public setting, is not lauded.
Therefore, character development is often saved for home.
I do not believe it is optimal.
I cannot count the times where I chose to delay a punishment because I was within the public eye. On numerous occasions, I would then either forget to go forward with the disciplinary consequences or chose not to because life had moved on.
I see a society that craves strong parenting but prefers for the discipline of children to be done behind closed doors.
There is a disconnect.
It is both amusing and maddening.

Monday, March 23, 2015

a beautiful moment

On Saturday, I was waiting outside of the middle school for my son to finish a study group. I looked at the sky and was taken aback.

A beautiful moment, almost missed.

There is beauty in the ordinary. There are extraordinary things in everyday life.
Oh, also, always remember to look up.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Morning has broken

It was a fly-by kind of morning.

Seth and I got up on time but we hit the floor running. More accurately, he hit the floor running. He got in and out of the shower and woke up kids as I pulled myself out of bed. I've never been quick to get up. It is harder some mornings more than other mornings and last night we stayed up later than we should have. It was rough rubbing the sleep out of my eyes. I stumbled into the kitchen where I was hit with the urgency of the morning.

Lunches were packed, hurriedly and lovingly. One to two servings of fruit were added. The sliced apples are awesome, fresh and organic, but the fruit sticks were purely to delight the kids. Desert was not forgotten.
Two of the boys went from arguing to punching each other in moments. And then there was the discourse from each one trying to explain what made them right.
My daughter had to add a drawing to her homework. Thankfully, I had noticed last night that she missed that part of the assignment. I didn't feel thankful listening to her cry as I packed lunches. Her tears were due to an inability to draw before breakfast.
Somehow, pictures were drawn.
Agendas were signed. Backpacks were packed up.
I pulled my daughter's hair in a quick pony and attached a bow as if to say, there was effort put into this cute hair-do. It wasn't so, unless you count the water I splashed on her hair, trying to tame it.
Hugs were given.

Seth ushered the kids out the door to his truck.
He loaded a bike for the son that prefers to ride his bike to and from school.
Meanwhile in the kitchen, I noticed Seth's hot coffee in the travel mug on the counter. I slipped on my flip-flops and dashed out the door in my PJs to deliver his cup of sanity. Oh what a sight to see! But no one saw me and my man got his coffee.

They left the house with 9 minutes left before the start of the special breakfast at school for dads and kids. Thankfully, school is .6 miles down the road.

Seth will eat a mediocre breakfast in a cafeteria with the kids. He doesn't usually eat breakfast. He'll help the 3 kids navigate the breakfast line. My kids never eat at school and it isn't easy for them to manage or at least it wasn't the last time they went to the breakfast. They'll eat and listen to a speaker. Seth will get to work late. The kids don't realize what it takes to be there by 6:55. They don't realize the effort that was made. They do love the breakfast and taking their dad to school.

I marvel at the morning that Seth and I had. We had a moment of tenderness in bed just before he got up to go to the shower. Never mind that I was hardly coherent. That moment was real, and important. Love. Once he was driving out the driveway, it was as if we had flown by each other.

This morning was all about love. The kids showed love to Seth by asking him, or in my daughter's case begging him, to come to breakfast. Seth is loving the kids by being there, when it would be much easier not to be. The work we struggle through for the kids- the daily morning grind- is love. Mornings can be tedious, especially busy special mornings, but I appreciate the love that's woven throughout them.