Thanksgiving

I don’t have as much time to get deep like I usually do.  I can’t really explain what gratitude means to me, and how I go about achieving it.  I thought about re-posting last year’s thanksgiving post, but that didn’t seem right.  I am in the middle of making 9 loaves of banana bread, and have to pack for our long drive for festivities.  In my busy haste, I feel the urge to take some time to say what I am so very thankful about this season.

So here’s how it started… My family Thanksgiving festivities were planned for one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been to.  Not only is the house surrounded by beautiful scenery, but it’s full of wonderful childhood memories.  The problem was, I felt that our immediate family couldn’t go because there is something in the wonderful house that throws our severely allergic child in to the early stages of anaphylaxis.  We don’t know what it is… and of all places!

Here is what I am so deeply grateful about:  My aunt, the hostess and her daughters so graciously moved the whole event to another site, many miles away just for the sake of our kiddo and so that we could attend.  My Uncle and Aunt, the new hosts selflessly took on the huge event with little time to prepare.

I had emotionally prepared myself for accepting yet another sacrifice in the name of my child’s health.  I wasn’t emotionally prepared for the amazing sacrifice my family made for me and my child!  I was practically reduced to tears when I found out that the place was changed. 

So, THANK YOU family, for your compassion and support.  I LOVE you all!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

My Doggone Day

My doggone day was the ending of a week-long climax.  It started when the kids and I went out of town.  We had various errands and events to attend.  While we were gone, my sister-in-law visited with her boyfriend and his friend.  Roger stayed behind to host and visit with them.  My sister-in-law is a compassionate person who seems to have a strange relationship with animals.  There were a few years in her past when she thought that she was going to study to be a veterinarian.  As she studied, she worked for a while at a veterinary clinic as a technician and then went on to work at the animal hospital in Salem.

I call her the animal whisperer.  For some reason, animals come from far and high to her.  Sick and unwanted, they seek her out and she is always looking for ways to help the poor creatures.  One of my very favorite stories was when she had her two daughters and our oldest sitting in the backseat of her car as they were driving back from some event in the dark evening.  They witnessed a car ahead of them hit a deer and continue on.  Shocked, and being the person that she is, she stopped to check the deer out.  It was not moving, but still breathing.  That crazy woman, with three little girls in the backseat of her car bawling for the poor deer, picked it up and all by herself  loaded the thing into the trunk of her little car.  She sped to where she worked at the animal hospital with grand hopes of saving the creature.  After looking at the deer, I am sure that the veterinarian who was working that shift must have thought that really, the real patient there wasn’t the one with four legs.  After a little bit of examination, it was determined that the deer should be euthanized.  Roger and I agreed that probably, that doctor was thinking that his freezer space was needing a bit of free deer meat to fill it up with.  Later, after all this excitement happened, we got a call from my dear sister-in-law all upset that she may have ruined our daughter with this crazy event. We calmly told her not to worry, that everything was okay, but what I really wanted to do was thank her for giving me the biggest laugh I have had in a long time.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise when out of the blue, a stray puppy showed up at our back doorstep during her visit.  She convinced her brother (Roger) to let it in the house.  He grudgingly agreed.  She bought some puppy food for it to eat, and promised that she would find it’s home, or if it didn’t have one, find one for him.  After asking around town they found out that the dog was abandoned.  That’s when her boyfriend put his foot down… by no means was it going home with her, so that puppy stayed behind at our house.  When the kids and I got home, of course we had three kiddos who instantly fell in love with the thing.

We had a week to decide what we were going to do with the puppy.  It really was a very good puppy aside from the normal annoying puppy behavior.  I found myself hiding furniture behind closed doors for fear the legs would become chew toys.  We all fell in love with it, but it became apparent that with our little one’s crazy over-active immune system– his asthma, it couldn’t stay with us and we had to find a new home for it.  Our kiddo said, between asthmatic coughing fits, “Momma, make me feel better, I need medicine…  doggie not make me sick, we can keep the doggie…ack wheeze cough”.

Both the police department and the local Vet suggested that we take the puppy to the nearest pet shelter.  The thing is, the town, heck the whole county doesn’t even have a single shelter.  We had to travel to the nearest city which was roughly 70 miles away.  That wasn’t a problem, (we thought) because we were going that way anyway for two birthday parties, and a craft sale for me, which was a tradition, so we could make the drop-off on our way.  All spiffied up, we piled into the van ready to tackle our long, busy, hard day.  The dog found its way all the way in the back of the van on the empty seat next to our middle kid.  Not long after we started moving and we were on the road, did the dog want up front.  After a bit of struggle, the puppy finally made its way up front.  I was sitting in the front seat and was the lucky one who got to hold it.  Have I mentioned it was at least 30 lbs and quite possibly bigger than my 3-year-old?  I wasn’t crazy about holding the thing for 1 1/2 hours up and down the winding roads through the canyons and hills, but I told myself that it was the last chance I could enjoy this new thing that I fell in love with, and should enjoy the moment as much as I could.  Ha.

We started out with it shaking. It calmed down and about the time we hit the canyons, he started to drool.  Great.  This would be the time I came unprepared, without napkins in the car.  Why the heck didn’t I remember to bring some rag towels as well?  The drool increased by the second, and soon it was hanging from both sides of the dog’s face.  I have an iron stomach when it comes to baby spit-up, poop, snot and even baby vomit.  When it comes to dog spit, however, I loose it.  I started to gag as I found just one napkin… a wimpy one from Subway or something, but at least it helped a little.  Gingerly I wiped and gagged, wiped and gagged, wiped and gagged.  Roger found it pretty funny about my predicament, and between giggles concluded that the dog would be fine as soon as we got off of the winding canyon roads and onto the straight highway.

Did I mention that Roger was having a bad judgement day that day?  His first offense was the comment about being better on the highway, the second, for some dumb reason, he decided it was a good time to eat the banana that he brought along with him.  I wondered how on earth he could stomach food with a dog sitting not more than a foot or so away from him with two six-inch strings of drool hanging out of its mouth.  We had just gotten onto the highway, and I had come to terms with having a dog slobber drenched lap, when all of a sudden the puppy started to heave. 

It’s funny what fear and sheer panic does to a person.  I found that all of a sudden my vocabulary was reduced to just one single word.  All I could muster was a nervous and loud, “Roger! Roger!” Not knowing what was going on he went into defense mode…you know, the normal husband, what-am-I-doing-wrong-now? kind of mode.  With his tone of voice knocking a few more words into my vocabulary, I squeezed out, “he’s throwing up!”. 

With all the panic and chaos, I realized that I was subconsciously pushing that poor puppy partially off my lap and into the corner of the small leg space next to the dash and the door.  I resolved to the fact that there was no safe way Roger could slow from 65 mph, let alone find a safe pullover before the dog emptied his stomach.   Again, great.   I had dog-drool drenched pants, and now vomit at my feet… and still two birthday parties to go to. 

Although Roger had compassion for his poor, stinky wife, he still found it completely hilarious and started to laugh hysterically.  With all the years I have been with him, I have never, ever seen him laugh so hard.  I started to gag again, which made him laugh even more.  His uncontrollable laughing caused him to aspirate his banana that he was still chewing away on.  Now, we were all speeding down the highway in our minivan missile with Roger laughing and choking, and me gagging.  I was amazed with how he was able to keep the van in a straight line the whole entire time!

We finally made it to the shelter, all in one piece, and me totally beyond my ick factor.  Finally, I could get out and get some fresh air.  Ha.

The whole family walked into the shelter, the kids with tears rolling down their faces, as the dog tagged along on the leash.  We didn’t get helped right away since the receptionist was on the phone.  I casually looked around the room as I waited for her to get off the phone when I suddenly noticed that the puppy we brought in was pooping right on the floor! Again, with my panic, all I could muster was a nervous and very loud “Oh my gosh he’s POOPING!!!”.  Everything stopped.  I am sure I came through loud and clear over the phone conversation the receptionist was having.  I was surprised that, I swear, every single employee in that building came out of the woodwork to watch the event.  I had to hold back the strong urge to say, “I have no idea who that dog is… or that man holding his leash.”

That was not the end of it.  As soon as the bomb was dropped (and it was HUGE) the mushroom cloud spread across the room in a split second.  Our entire family yelled in unison, “OOOOooohhhhh”.  I am convinced that all living creatures in the room suffered nerve damage from the potent gas that rose from the poo.  Once I came too, I noticed that the receptionist was magically off the phone.  We convinced (well, tried) the employees that the puppy really was good, and said our sad goodbyes. 

That was it.  That was the end of the icky part of the doggone day.  I made sure of it.  There was no way I was getting close to my sister-in-law’s pigs (the 1st party).

My fall for the fad

I don’t do fads.  Mostly because I hate it when people say “you should do this, you must buy that in order to fit in”.  I don’t like being told what to do, and my you-must-rebel flag goes up.  The other reason is usually I have no money, and by the time I am able to invest money into the majorly discounted item, it’s over and done with, and there is a bigger and better fad that has taken it’s place.

I do admit, I have fallen for a few.  Like the nose douche.  Most of you out there call it the neti pot.  I first saw it on Oprah and Dr. Oz was telling the audience about how much it is a must for hygiene and health.  Who doesn’t trust Dr. Oz? And who doesn’t jump when Oprah says jump? It sounded like a pretty neat and simple device.  It looks like a little miniature teapot that you stick up your nose and tip warm water ever so gently up there to rinse out the mucus, allergens, germs and junk out of the sinuses.

You know, I don’t think I have too much of a problem, but it sounded so good that I had to try it.  How bad could it be to have clean sinuses?  I tell you, there is no such thing as a free ride.  Those clean sinuses come with a price.  As soon as you start, and you tip that nose douche towards those poor sinuses, you feel as if you just jumped off of a 50 foot cliff into a pool of water with the force of about 2 G’s… without remembering to plug your nose. 

I know someone who accidentally blew chunks of m&m’s out of his nose when he started to laugh once.  Even those small shards of candy coating and lumps of milk chocolate passing through the sinuses had to feel better than the stream of water from that fire hose, eh-em, neti douche. 

Although I like the idea of having clean sinuses, the nose douche has found its way under the bathroom sink.  Maybe someday, when I desire that ‘fresh feeling’  I will try the torture device again, but for now, I think I will stick with my dirty sinuses.  In this case, I have to agree with my 3-year-old who often screams at bath time, “I LOVE DIRTY!”

We Are All Human

I try to keep in mind that we are all human when dealing with my kids.  I can’t criticise them when I do the same thing.  I can’t get on them if my room is messy just like theirs, I can’t be mad at them if they break something by accident just like I do sometimes, and I can’t expect them to remember to bring things with them all the time, because I forget things too.  I often have to slow down and think, if it were me that just genuinely forgot my homework at home, how would I want to be treated?  I had to do that just recently when we were about 6o miles away from home, on our way for a weekend trip when one of my kids remembered that her antibiotics were still at home.  There was no choice but travel the 60 miles back home to get them.  She was devastated which made me slow down and bite my tongue before I let my frustration be known.  It very well could have been me who forgot something important.  I realized that I wasn’t frustrated with her, I was frustrated with the situation.  And that is what I told her. 

I was cleaning out my file cabinet when I found a poem that a good friend of mine, an extraordinarily talented woman, wrote a few years ago which wraps up my thoughts about how kids are just as human as we are, and they need a break from our sometimes very strict expectations.  It is easy to become so strict because it’s our job to teach them these things, and while caught up in the rush of life, we get tense and forget, that these beings (human beings) are just like ourselves.   We are all human, we all forget things, break things, and even make accidental messes.  So here’s the poem, that really, could apply to anyone, not just children: (please excuse the bullets.  I couldn’t figure out a better way to print the poem the way I wanted)

                      We Are All Human

  • I misplaced my keys today.
  • I looked for them in every way-
  • High and low and near and far
  • And finally found them in my car.

 

  • But yesterday I lost my car!
  • I looked everywhere, both near and far.
  • I went to shop and forgot
  • Where I parked it in the lot.

 

  • This afternoon my little Sue,
  • Who is very smart and just turned two,
  • Forgot her doll, and I heard me say,
  • “Too late!–But you will learn that way!”

 

  • Ouch! She’s a person, though she’s small.
  • I let her go and get her doll.
  • Do I expect that Sue should be
  • A better “rememberer” than me?

 

  • Everyone is going to fall…
  • Will lose a car, forget a doll.
  • Don’t be too harsh, remember you
  • Are probably only human too!

 

  •                                –Penny Higgins
  •                                                                                                                                                                                  

My Halloween Treat

Each year we seem to create new traditions for every holiday, and Halloween is no exception.  I was reminded by my kiddos about some of the supposed traditions that we started last year.  Such as, “Remember Mom, we went to the kids party at the church last year, we have to go again this year!”

Traditions on Halloween have become a little harder each year since we have had our little guy on the scene.  For me, that is one day when it has been difficult to deal with his food allergies.  The first few years have been easy because he doesn’t really know what he is missing.  Earlier this year his Grandmother found at a health store, some lollipops that he could have.  To him, that’s the only kind of candy he knows and I worried it had changed everything about Halloween.  This year, people gave him lots of candy, and I think he knows that he can’t eat a single one, because he never asked.

It is important to me that we keep with traditions as close as we can.  He didn’t ask for the allergies, he didn’t ask to miss out on the childhood fun.  So, even though he can’t eat the candy, we still buttoned up that kiddie fire fighter suit, and dusted off the trick-or-treat bucket.  We took our annual trip around the neighborhood, rang the doorbells, and knocked on the doors.  Our little guy had perfected the system so much so, that when he forgot to say “thank you” (for something he can’t even eat) he wouldn’t let us go on until he went back to say it.  From then on, we looked like some crazy strict parents on the street curb yelling, “did you remember to say thank you?” as if he was going to get in trouble if he wasn’t polite, but in reality, we said it for our own selfishness.  We didn’t want to stand there arguing with him  and convincing him, “well, just remember to say it at the next house”, then caving in and going back.  We wanted to keep moving.

After walking pretty nearly half the town, something amazing happened.  He came to a door were the treats were a choice of chips or fritos… two of which were something he could eat! My kid had something in his bag that he could actually eat!  All that work, all that worry and sorrow started to melt away. 

We went on to the next houses until we got to a friend’s house.  The friends are a wonderful older couple who happen to have their own beehives in their backyard.  Earlier in the year they gave us some honey and discovered that our little guy loves it.  When they saw him come to the door this Halloween, they surprised him with a small jar of honey!  His eyes got big, and he smiled even bigger.   He had a jar of honey all to himself!  He made sure that he gave a great big thank you… no reminders there.  When we got back out to the street, our hearts melted even more,  as he exclaimed “I love honey!” 

We were all tired, so just one more house, and we went home.  As soon as we walked through our door he said, “I want my chips and jar of honey”.  I could tell that he was excited about what was in his bag… that it wasn’t just candy that really wasn’t his, stuff that he worked hard for but had to surrender to his family members.  He had his own special stuff, stuff that he didn’t have to give away, right there, in his bag.  He found his honey and gave it a great big hug and clutched it tightly as we walked to the kitchen.  Fighting tears, I went along with him, finding that I was strangely excited about my fantasy that he too, will have a Halloween sugar high just like the rest of them on this night. 

We were victorious against those evil food allergies once again.  My baby got to experience the joy of trick or treating and the excitement of  the yummy gifts he had in his Halloween bag, even if there were only two things.  The night was complete.  All Halloween traditions were met.