Wednesday, July 27, 2011


On the heels of Anna's 'diagnosis' for lack of a better term - and referral to a psychologist - we met with the principal of her school.  We'd intended to meet with her all summer anyways - mostly to discuss the fact that she's already completed the skills and basic curriculum of first and second grade.  Naturally, we've been concerned that she wouldn't be challenged, start the trend of bad behavior, and - well - you know the rest.

So we met with her yesterday morning.  For two hours.  TWO hours.  And Oh My Gosh.  I triple-heart this woman.  I want to bottle her up and put her on a shelf to talk to about my kid at will.  Deonne and I felt SO much better after talking to her.  I think part of the reason she is such an awesome principal is that 1) she is very down to earth 2) she was once a guidance counselor and 3) was once a teacher in the classroom.  So she knows what she's talking about - and has seen it all in her years of teaching/administering.

In a nutshell, she affirmed what we'd thought was the case with our child - starting the conversation with 'we're dealing with an incredibly bright little girl who is not only gifted but greatly so.' 

She listened with an open mind to our laundry list of concerns/issues/struggles with our child.  And let us know that the problems we're seeing are not atypical for extremely bright children.  Her unwillingness to share her day at school with us or engage in conversation at the end of the day is normal.  For her.  Her brain is on super-speed all day long - and she needs that time to decompress.  She's always thinking, always analyzing - so her blank stare into our eyes when we're talking to her is normal.  For her.  Her brain is three-blocks ahead - in another direction - and has totally moved on from the conversations at hand.

But what made us feel even better is that she really listened to our concerns - not just the global ones but the tiny minute ones - like the repeating herself in whispers after she makes a statement and the shaking in rage she's experiencing lately when she's really angry.  Or the complete conversations she has with herself when she's riding in the car or playing in her room.  By herself.  Or how a nuclear bomb could go off when she's watching TV or looking at a computer screen as she's so absorbed in it.  Or how she's become so emotionally fragile these last few months that every reprimand or conversation gone a direction she doesn't agree with or a wrong look ends in complete emotional collapse.

We talked about how bright she is - that her reading level is off the charts - but more than that - she's not just reading at a high level but comprehending.  About how she 'gets' the instructions the first time - and quickly understands math and projects and completes assignments then looks for more.  We talked about how she (the principal) already had a plan in place that she'd concocted over the summer of what teacher she wanted Anna to have (who I am THRILLED about) who has experience and a background in children with special needs.  And about if after the fall semester it looks like Anna is just surpassing the curriculum and needing something extra - she was not opposed to pulling her out to the ALERT program in the spring term (ALERT starts in 2nd grade - but because the units change each year - if she goes into ALERT as a spring 1st grader she won't repeat the following year.)  She said - and I believe with every fiber of my being - that she'll do everything in her power to help Anna succeed.

And then.  The best part.  She opened up her school and all resources there to help our child.  I'm teary eyed just typing this.  We told her that we'd been so concerned that we'd visited the pediatrician and had the referral to the psychologist.  And she didn't laugh at us - or think we overreacted.  Rather she said that as a first step - why not let her work with the excellent one available at the school - let her observe our child - work with her - and if need be - bring in outside help and let the two experts collaborate as the school psychologist will have the history available of what she saw in the classroom.  She said if at any time we feel like things are not getting better or her behavior takes a turn for the worse that she'd call an emergency meeting between the new teacher, the psychologist, and perhaps another teacher from another grade who is experienced in extremely bright children.

Basically, she's dedicated to making sure our baby succeeds.  That she will receive not only the academic challenges she craves but the social growth she needs.  And I couldn't be happier.

So the plan is to 1) get Anna back on a routine.  She's been off-kilter all summer - some of that may be due to a lot of unstructured time at her summer camp.  She's a kid who needs a set routine to function well.  2) Let her new teacher get to know her - observe her - come to her own conclusions about Anna with no prompting or stigma from the principal.  I liked that.  A lot.  I don't want my kid starting the year with preconceived assumptions about her.  3) If the behavior doesn't improve, or (Lord help me get worse) we'll have the school psychologist start observations + work with her.  4)  If that doesn't help - we'll go from there.

But I'm much more secure than I was last Friday - knowing we have a plan in place - knowing the teachers and staff at her school are aware of her special skills - knowing we have a direction to go.

August 15 can't get here fast enough!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sell Crazy Someplace else, We're All Stocked Up Here.

This is probably going to be a long post.  A VERY long post.  Consider yourself warned.

I feel like I need to start by stating firmly and clearly (even though it goes without saying) that I love my daughter with every fiber of my being.  I'd lay down my life for her.  Lord knows we went through hell and high water to conceive her and bring her safely into the world, and from the moment she took her first breath, she has been the center of my world.

And as much as I love my child - or rather because I love my child so very much - I have to admit when there are problems.  If you've read this blog for any length of time - you know that we struggle with raising this child.  Constantly.  And we have given every excuse in the book as to why she is the way she is.  She's tired.  She doesn't disengage well.  She doesn't transition well.  She's so bright that she's constantly thinking of other things so she can't focus.  She's off schedule and she craves routine.  She's getting sick.  Give us a chance and we'll come up with an excuse.

I guess that's a normal parental response - looking for a reason why your kid is so out of control - any reason that might in any way explain their behavior. 

Until eventually, the behavior problems start to stack up - the odd things your child does start to stand out more and more - and you realize there might be something more to the story.

We reached our breaking point this morning.  Anna has been off - extremely off.  And no amount of excuses can excuse the behavior.  It's the same old junk we've dealt with since she was 18 months old and began to exert her opinion - but amplified.  And now - instead of just screaming at us when she thinks she's right and we're obviously wrong - she completely falls apart. 

Deonne turned the t.v. off this morning so that Anna could focus and (gasp) eat her breakfast so she'd have energy for a fun filled day at Monkey Joes for camp.  You'd have thought he pulled her fingernails out with a pair of pliers. 

Complete dissolution.  Screaming.  Sobbing.  Purple lips.  Slobber.  Big tears.  Snot flying.  And wailing.  Oh, the wailing.  And when we tried to calmly ask her what she was so upset about - there was no response.  Just more screaming and crying.  And sadly, the only thing to do when she gets like that is to scream back - scare her into stopping and listening.

And this isn't atypical. Every time we're around our child (as in mornings, evenings, and weekends) the above is pretty much what happens.  Something sets her off.  She dissolves.  Or, she'll blatantly ignore us when we're talking to her - prompting us to lose our patience - and thus our temper - resulting in more screaming.

There's more shouting and screaming and tears in this house than an episode of Real Housewives New Jersey.  And I'm only half-kidding.

So I called 'uncle.'  I made the appointment.  Called the pediatrician.  Took her in.  And heard what I expected to hear - but didn't quite know how to hear.  He thinks Anna needs some help.  He knows her history - and has been there through the last five years of trying to temper her and help us get her on track.  He sympathized with me when I said 'I realize all kids are disobedient by nature - but this isn't normal.  It's affecting our family.'  Thankfully he didn't think it was something like autism or aspergers - but did admit that there could be something in her 'hard wiring' that is making her like she is.  And the recommendation?  A child psychologist.  He's referring her to one now.

I was okay when I heard all of this - until he looked me in the eye and said 'this isn't your fault - you didn't do anything wrong' and that it's a normal reaction for parents to feel guilty.  At that - I tried really hard not to let the tears fall that started brimming.  Unsuccessfully, I might add.

So long story short - my daughter, my child, may have something wrong with her.  Yeah - I know - an emotional disorder isn't something 'wrong' - but that's what it feels like right now - and this is my blog - so if I want to write it - I will.  And before you tell me 'don't worry' and 'it'll be fine' - I'll respectfully ask you not to.  Because that may be true - but right now it doesn't feel that way.  Right now I'm scared.  And worried.  And frightened.  And I think it's okay to feel that way. 

And in all honesty, there's select few people I can hear that from and actually believe it.  One is my mother....the person I desperately want to talk to about this, but impossibly can't.  Now is one of those completely unfair and unfortunate times when I want to stamp my feet, shake my fists, and scream 'I want my mommy!!!'  She's the only one who has been able to talk me off the proverbial edge for the better part of my life.  I miss her.  Which totally exacerbates the issue at hand.

So we wait for the referral - as we completely trust our doctor.  He unequivocally stated that if he were in our shoes - if this was his child - he would go to this psychologist to see 1) if there is a problem and 2) how to fix it.

I suppose there is some relief in that - knowing once and for all if there really is some emotional/behavioral/neurological issue with my daughter.  But ignorance is also bliss.  Bliss indeed.

It's a hard place to be - on one hand, I support the decision to see what is going on from someone who is professionally trained to do so.  On the other, after reading all of that John Rosemond stuff that effectively poo-poo's child psychology as complete psycho-babble, I wonder if this is the right step.  And coupled with all of this - I'm frightened to find out what the recommendation will be.  To medicate my kid?  I don't want to kill her spirit - just get her to listen and obey and get a better handle on her emotions.

This is one of those things they don't tell you about when they place that tiny bundle in your arms for the first time. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I Want To Be A Dentist

Who can forget this lovable character from the classic Rankin and Bass holiday special "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer?"  A displaced little elf who has no desire to pursue his seemingly genetic duty of Toymaker.  Because he wants to be a Dentist.

Hermey has been on my mind a lot the past few days.  Apparently we have a Dentist in the making.

James has decided he wants to be a Dentist when he grows up.  Which is kind of funny considering he is terrified of actually going to the dentist.  He does like to constantly stick his fingers in his mouth, though, so perhaps that has something to do with it.

Whatever the reason, this is his vocation of choice (this week.)  We'll see how long it lasts.

Especially after his routine dental check-up and cleaning scheduled a few weeks from now.  I'll be sure to keep you posted.

But for now I can't get the image of my silly child - elf hat and pliers a'la Hermey - working as a dentist.

I'm giggling as I type this.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Did Someone Say Cheese-steak?

So.  The News.  The topic of many late-night discussions, sleepless nights, festering, and angst.

Long story short - things are not going to change for our family in the near future.  Status Quo seems to be the phrase of the season 'round our house.

Longer story - in cryptic terms - because I'm still not authorized to go into much detail on a public forum - is that yet again, D had an opportunity to advance his career.  What seemed like a golden opportunity.  The kind of thing that comes along once in a career.

A good friend asked me is this A job or THE job.  To which I could easily answer, THE job.

So he went through the process - discussions on the phone (several of them), flew up to meet with the heads of the company (heck - even got a snazzy new suit for said meeting) and loved it.  All of it.  The potential city of relocation, the opportunities presented during the discussions, and came away thinking we would soon be packing our bags.

However, it wasn't meant to be.  For a weird turn of events occurred - and for reasons I can't explain (and honestly don't understand) - it didn't work out.

End of story.

For now.

But D.  He is SO disappointed.  Not in himself - this company narrowed down candidates from all over the country in a struggling economy (above the loads of engineers that are all vying and competing for the same positions) to him.  Disappointed, rather that he isn't moving along in his career and has to remain in his current position.

I wish I could explain more - but I can't.  All I can say is that for the first time, I'm worried.  I'm REALLY worried about my husband.  He's SO down.  His current position is aging him.  It's causing him to have health problems.  He's extremely over worked.  And grossly underpaid. 

And more importantly, he's lost his smile. He doesn't find joy in the things he used to - like playing with our children, visiting with friends, or even the simplest of things like grilling outside with a cold beer in his hand.

And that worries me.

But what makes me mad (and protective - after all - my husband is my best friend - hurt him and you hurt me - and that whole defensive-mama-bear in me rears her ugly head) - are the insensitive comments he's received since this all started.  So to all of the people out there (who shall remain nameless) in their lack of support of this wonderful person - who wants only to better himself in all aspects of the word - from a sense of accomplishment in a job he actually likes, to being financially stable and being compensated for what he is worth, to providing for his family in a career that brings him pride - well - you can SUCK IT.

Change is hard.  And I fully understand that when you've lived your entire life in one itty-bitty tiny corner of the world - change can be extremely hard.  But don't force your inability to change on my husband.  Don't force your weird almost-jealous thoughts of complete non-support on our family. 

Rather, smile.  Realize that change can be a good thing.  Congratulate him on wanting to do more - to be more - and for getting as far as he did with this opportunity.  Shouldn't there be some pride in knowing that he was the ONE candidate this company actively went after?  Encourage him (to quote from the genius marketing strategy of the armed forces) to be all that he can be

And if you don't like it?  SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE.  And for the sake of all that is good on this Earth, do NOT say stupid things like 'I told you so' or 'be thankful for what you have.'  Because that's just mean.

And realize, eventually, THE job that is meant for my husband will arise.  And we WILL relocate - should said job be out of the confines of this city (which I'm 99.9% certain it will.) 

In the meantime, please say a prayer for my spouse.  Because he is hurting.  In all the years I've known him - through thick and thin - through loss and job changes and numerous ups and downs - I've never seen him like he is now. 

I don't know how to help him.  So please pray. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Matilda Jane Trunk Show

Matilda Jane

I've come to adore this line of clothing.  It's cute, sassy, flirty, girly, sometimes funky, and well - just gosh-darn fun to wear (and to see your daughter wear.)  I always get loads of compliments when Anna and/orI wear it - and a lot of questions of 'where did you get that?' and 'where can I buy that?'  The new line is debuting on August 1 and I can't wait!

Two friends and I are hosting a trunk show (early in the season so hopefully things won't sell out) - and would love for you to either attend in person to dish over the super cool clothes - or to place an order if you're not able to make it.  If you choose the latter - you can use the 'Wish List' function on the website - then send it to me and we'll get your order placed.

If you can make it to the trunk show - be prepared for some bubbly, treats, fun conversation - and best of all - the chance to oodle over the fall line and try on all of the pieces. 

Wednesday, August 3
4-7 pm
1517 Heatherwood Road

Hope to see you there! 

Friday, July 15, 2011


"Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different." ~ unknown

I’ve always been of the opinion that I’m a good forgiver – but not a good forgetter. That I can *somewhat* easily forgive the errs and hurts that go hand-in-hand with being in relationships with others, but struggle tremendously with the forgetting part. Because by nature, I’m one to fester. I’ll mull something over and over in my mind – replaying events leading up to the hurtful event – trying to figure out what went wrong, or how it could have been prevented. All the while telling myself that I forgive the act – but just can’t seem to forget that it happened.

And then today, I came across this quote. And I realized, I’m not such a good forgiver either. Because I don’t tend to give up on the ‘what could-have-beens.’ I don’t put the past behind me (to quote the Lion King) – rather – I seem to hang on to it – carrying it around with me in my trunk of emotional baggage.

It’s a hard thing to do – letting go of the hopes and dreams that the past could have been different. Letting go of the beliefs you had in others – that when you trusted them and grew your friendship that they be your friends ‘forever.’

I fear I’ll always struggle with this. I know the ‘right’ thing is to just let go – move on – say ‘oh well’ and ‘that’s that.’ But it’s a really hard thing to do.

Prayer. I think I need pray about this. And ask for help. A lot of it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Joe Cool

Guess who found his big brother's old sunglasses buried in the back of the closet?

 Mr. Jack  Who L-O-V-E-S these glasses.  And refuses to take them off.

I have to admit - he is pretty cute.  And seeing him perched on his booster seat at the end of the table - with his glasses on - smacking his lips and enjoying his breakfast - he totally looked like he needed a Corona - not a cup of apple juice - to accompany his meal.

Hilarious.  And precious.

Happy 4th of July!

The July 4, 2011 holiday weekend was a really nice one for the Party.  Full of all things red, white, and blue ... patriotic decorations across the lake house screened porch, reading patriotic books about the history of our country, Uncle Sam, and Old Glory, crafting activities, swimming, boating, tubing, eating yummy summer foods, visiting with family, celebrating not one but TWO July birthdays, and of course, fireworks.

Fireworks were always my favorite part of the July 4 celebration.  What kid doesn't love sparkly lights showering down from above, right?  This year we braved the scary waters of Lake Murray at night and ventured down the lake to see the annual fireworks display.  It didn't disappoint.  Huge fireworks booming overhead set to patriotic music from a local radio station, reflections of the fireworks on the water, and a warm summer evening.  The kids liked it (sort of.)  The water was really rough from the thunderstorm that had passed through a few hours before dusk - and there were loads of boaters doing the exact same thing we were doing - so lots and lots of waves.  And waves on a pontoon boat make for a lot of ups-and-downs.  Meaning poor little Anna (who had spent entirely too much time in the sun all day) got seasick.  Thankfully she didn't actually barfola over the side of the boat - but she was definitely green around the gills.  She was happy when the show ended and she could curl up under a blanket at the back of the boat for the 45 minute trip home.

It was during the firework boat ride that we started to think something was awry with Jack - super grouchy, fussy, not wanting to eat or drink much - who ended up having a fever by morning - prompting a trip back to Columbia to the pediatrician's office that was thankfully open Sunday morning.  A quick exam + throat swab confirmed strep throat.  Thankfully something treatable - and by the next morning he was back to jumping and bouncing and being the happy-Jack we know and love.

Sunday afternoon Deonne's family arrived to celebrate the holiday together.  It was really nice to see everyone together - and to see him have such a good time with his older brother.  I don't think the two get much chance these days to just have fun, like kids themselves, as our visits are typically way too few and far between and much too short.  But Sunday they could relax, and play, and go tubing and knee-boarding, and act like teenagers again.  And, yes, act like t-total dorks comparing 'apps' on their new smart phones. 

We celebrated two July birthdays - our nephews - who have suddenly become big teenagers - where did the time go?? - with cupcakes and a cookie cake and of course, singing Happy Birthday.  Our kids love to celebrate birthdays - and adore their older cousins - so participating in their birthday celebrations was big news for them.

A sudden summer thunderstorm came up in the evening - causing the entire family to rush into the house.  I have to admit, it was kind of nice to have us all together in one place (when said brothers started comparing and contrasting 'apps.')  Thankfully it didn't last too long - and didn't dampen the spirits of the pyrotechnic boys of our family who lit fireworks from the dock - giving us a fiery and sparkly end to our celebration.

It was a really good weekend - despite the strep throat and the thunderstorms.  I was exhausted by the time we made it home Monday evening - faced with mountains of laundry.  That's always the hard part about coming home from a vacation or weekend away, isn't it?  The reality of life with three kids and the incredible amount of clothing and towels they can go through in a 72 hour period.

I would be remiss to say that I didn't think about my own family quite a bit over the weekend - remembering the 4th of July celebrations we shared when I was a child - shooting fireworks in the backyard (with me, admittedly, cowering in the corner - too afraid to hold a sparkler - I liked seeing fireworks - not touching them) - or seeing them from my dad's boat on the Columbia River.  I thought about my mom and step dad - and the annual 4th of July party they've instituted since my mom came home from the hospital following her stroke - and how badly I wanted to be there.


That's really the only word that comes to mind.

One More Superhero

Do you remember this post from earlier this year?  Well, have I got news for you.  We're thrilled to announce that we have added a new superhero to the arsenal of heavily muscled characters that protect our simple abode.

The Incredible Hulk has joined the ranks of Spiderman, Ironman, and Batman.  

And I couldn't be more thrilled.

Thank you Sarah Dippity!!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A List

I'm taking a brief break from the fun 4th of July festivities posts (there are more to come).

I need to take a moment to purge.  To dump horrible thoughts from my mind, to cleanse my spirit, and be a therapeutic outlet.  And what better place to do it then through the written word.  My written word.  From my little corner of the world.

So.  You know what I hate?  I'll give you a list.

Number 1:
Fake people.

Number 2:
People who want to act like they are your friend when it is convenient for them - when they can get something from you - or when they think it (for some reason) makes them look good.

Number 3:
People who are completely self-centered and as such, clearly not the people you thought they were when you became friends in the first place.

Number 4:
People who swear up and down that they are your friend - who end up talking smack about you behind your back.  Seriously?  That is SO 7th grade.  Time to grow up. 

Number 5:
People who think so little of you that they purposefully don't include you in the important events in their life - even though you bend over backwards to do the 'right' thing for them - at all cost, time, and expense.  Who you try your best to teach your children to remember at important times - but who don't take the time or effort to reciprocate.

Number 6:
People who you relied on to be a pillar of strength and support - who you confided in, trusted in, believed in - who end up being hurtful, selfish, and anything but.

Number 7:
People who your children came to love and trust - who ended up hurting them by not following through with promises, ignoring them during said child's important times, and completely forgetting that they were (at one time) someone who they looked up to.  And by the way - I loathe this item the most.  I can deal with betrayal.  I can deal with fickle people.  Lord knows I've been down that road before.  I'm an adult.  I can handle it.  It hurts, yes.  Tremendously at times.  But when you hurt my child?  That's a completely different story.  I may be the idiot who forgives and tries their best to forget - only to be disappointed and hurt time and time again.  But you only get one shot with my kids.   Hurt them once or disappoint them once and you're done.  GAME OVER.

Makes me wonder sometimes - am I just that bad of a judge of character?  That I willingly put my trust and faith - and that of my children - in people who are just - oh, I don't know the word - a complete and utter disappointment?

I'm so over this.  And in a strange way - it kind of feels good.  I've done my best to try to be the better person, to do the right thing, to hold my head up - ignore the wretched behavior and move on.  All the while, hurting inside and being so disappointed that I cared so deeply about something that was, in all truth, something so fake. 

But I'm done.  I've given all I can give - all I WILL give.  I'm done keeping up fake pretences for the sake of being polite.  Yeah - it's safe to say - I'm pretty pissed off.  But you know what?  That's a much better emotion to feel then the constant sadness that comes from disappointment.
Liberating relief.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Party's July 4 Weekend Begins!

We're back at the Long lake house this celebrate the July 4 weekend with more boating and swimming and fishing and playing. So much fun!

The kids started out the morning with a patriotic craft - making sun visors to wear in the blistering South Carolina sun. They had a great time - and loved selecting stickers, carefully arranging them, and then trying on and wearing their hats.

Jack especially loved this activity. You can't tell at all, can you?

And then it was time to help Daddy fly the American Flag from the flagpole by the water.

James was happy to learn the proper way to fly a flag as well as the mechanisms involved in running the flag up the actual flagpole.
 Jack was just happy to be there.
Ta Da!
Old Glory flying proudly.

Then it was time to show off their cool sun visors.

I personally think the pajamas complete the kids' ensembles - don't you agree?

The Party's July 4 Weekend Begins!

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Celebrating America's Birthday

James' preschool class had a cookout on Friday to celebrate America's birthday.

Hamburgers.  Hot dogs.  Watermelon.  Brownies.  Chips.

You can't get more American than that!

It was really nice to attend the celebration - the two of us - with one child.  And I think James adored having one-on-one time with his mom and dad - with no interruptions or competitions with his siblings.

A fun start to the July 4 weekend!

Sweet Days of Summer

This is what our weekends have looked like this summer. Swimming, floating, and bobbing in the water.

Evening boat rides to watch the sun set and see the sky turn puple.

A few 'time outs' for not listening in the water and causing safety concerns. 

 Learning how to 'captain' the boat (something James takes VERY seriously.)

A few afternoon naps - despite heavy protests - when little bodies just can't go anymore and need a break.

What more can you ask for the lazy days of June?
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Friday, July 1, 2011


Photo taken from City of Columbia Facebook Wall Photo
Look what sweet little somewhat-behind-the-times Columbia is getting!!! 


I know.  A new grocery store as a blogging topic?  Really?


This is exciting news for so many reasons - new development and revitalization (new jobs + increased tax base + re-using existing infrastructure)  to help the area - yeah, I'll take my brownfields hat off now...

And another option for grocery shopping, beyond the familiar walls of the Social Pig (Piggly Wiggly) and Publix that I frequent, and the occasional trip to the Gamecok Bi-Lo.

I'm thrilled.  Big news.  Exciting news.  And as my good friend Ash pointed out - with all of the recent new developments in Cola-town - (Mast General Store recently opened on Main Street), it's anyone's guess what is next to come.

Hint:  We'd REALLY like a Trader Joes.  Or a Costco.  Pretty please?  With a cherry on top?