Saturday, October 29, 2011


Maybe this isn't the best place to vent these feelings, but I have to get them out somewhere...

I'm at the edge of a very dark, angry place and I'm doing my best not to take the final step into the abyss. I'm extremely stressed out. Right now I'm extra concerned about money because my husband has been out of work for a few months. I chose not to work full time in my life right now, so that I can stay home and raise our daughter, because we can afford it IF HE'S WORKING. Which he's not. I do not like using our savings to pay monthly bills, but I don't exactly have a choice at the moment. How will we pay our mortgage if this unemployment continues? How will we feed our child? How will we pay her medical bills?

That's the extremely huge fear I'm dealing with. Barry has amazing health care coverage through his union that, thankfully, extends out six months from the date he was laid off. Without this, I don't know how we'll go about getting my Emma all of the proper care and medication that she needs. I know there are programs to help, but I don't want to change doctors. The ones we see have been huge blessings in our lives.

Should I find full time work with benefits so I can make sure that my family isn't royally screwed in a few months? Where will I find a teaching job in the middle of the school year? What will I do with Emma during the days if Barry can't watch her because he's job hunting or working side-jobs?

My husband and I love each other. We're very different from each other, except that we are both excessively stubborn. We also have the same long-term goals, and hopes. Unfortunately, I take out all of my frustration, anger, fear, and worry on him. I'd like to punch him in the mouth when I see him next, but I'll probably just give him a hug and a good, stern talking-to.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Super Hero Emma!

Not a single tear, scream, or cry today during Emma's weekly injection.

The hubby was not home, so I had my mom come over to help out. Em sat in Grammie's lap, watched me get everything ready, then was completely brave during the injection. I counted to three, poked her, then Grammie and I counted to ten together while I gave the methotrexate. (The shot is completely over by the time I get to seven, but I apply pressure with my finger for the last few seconds.) That was it.

My daughter is my hero.

I understand when moms of little babies are heartbroken each time they take their child in for a vaccination. Most people can empathize with those moms, because no one likes to see a kid cry. Can you comprehend what it's like to give your own crying baby an injection every seven days? It's a much easier process when she's not screaming at me, so I am grateful that my girl is becoming so strong and brave. At the same time, I hate the fact that my not-even-two year old is getting accustomed to shots. JA seems to be full of these two-sided victories.

In related news, during Emma's failed attempt at a nap today, she started crying out, "My 'tuck, bed!" She said it over and over with a bit of panic in her voice, so I went to investigate. If you can't speak Emma-talk, that's her way of saying, "I'm stuck in my bed!" The poor thing put her foot through the slats in her crib and turned her ankle just enough so that she couldn't pull her foot back through. I did my best not to let her see me laughing when I rescued her.

She may be brave, but she's still a silly little kid. Thank goodness.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

World Arthritis Day & Vomit in the Bath

So, today happens to be the one day a year dedicated to raising awareness of arthritis around the globe. I know that arthritis is the leading cause of disability in this country. 1 in 5 people have some form of arthritis. 300,000 children in America have Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. It's a crappy disease. Emma has had it for five months now. Just five little months of chronic inflammation, discomfort, and medication. Who knows how many more months she'll deal with this. It's likely that she'll never know life without arthritis... unless we find a cure. 

Rather than dwell on the negative, today I tried to spend time thinking about the good in my life. Here are a few of my favorites:
  • A wonderful house, family close by, and food in the pantry!
  • Friends! Old friends, new friends, good friends!
  • Faith 
  • An early diagnosis and treatment for Emma's arthritis. 
  • Free PT/OT through California Children's Services! Em just qualified! 
  • A husband who loves me. 
  • An incredible daughter
Let me tell you a story about that amazing daughter...

We made a great dinner tonight, yummy breaded chicken, asparagus, and rice, followed by strawberries and grapes for dessert. It was delicious! Then I stuck the kidlette in the bath and got into bedtime mode when I noticed that she was starting to drink the bath water. GROSS! I got her a cup and some fresh water and she went to town practicing her drinking skills. Since she hasn't mastered the fine art of drinking out of a regular cup, I thought it was brilliant to let her practice in the tub. She can spill all over herself, choke and sputter, and it doesn't make a mess! So I gave her more water. She gulped down too much, coughed too many times, and before I knew it, the complete contents of her stomach made an appearance in the bathtub. Awesome.

While I worked on cleaning up the beauty that was the tub, Barry wrapped Miss Em in a towel and took her to the kitchen where he commenced dinner number two, because I do not want send her to bed with an empty stomach. While sitting on a chair in nothing but a towel, Emma starts saying, "My poo poo." Emma is amazing, but she doesn't know the difference between number one and number two. I ran, grabbed the potty, and stuck her on it. Usually she doesn't sit on the thing for more than a second, and she's never used it for it's purpose, but tonight, sitting on the potty on the chair at the kitchen table, Emma peed! Our first glimpse into potty training success! It was splendid! (Yes, I'm genuinely excited and actually blogging about this.)

I guess the point of this story is that you never know what's going to happen. Everyone is always learning. I'm still figuring out the do's and don'ts of motherhood. (Don't give your kid too much water on a full stomach. Got it now.) Sometimes yucky, unexpected things happen, but you just clean it up and move on. It helps to have someone to support you, to help during the difficult times. Then, when you're in the middle of the madness, you just might see a moment of success, a step in the right direction. Growth and development happen when you least expect, and those little moments of awesomeness are rays of light during a storm.

That's my message to raise awareness about arthritis. That's my message to remind me to hope.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

20 Months

That means we're just four months away from having a two-year-old on our hands! How did that happen?!?

Life is going pretty well around here. Emma's arthritis is still munching away at the same joints. Her knee is improving; the swelling there is hardly noticeable most days. Her ankle's swelling is also down, but it's still obviously swollen. The range of motion in that ankle isn't improving, but I'm not cranking on it during PT as I probably should be. She's running and climbing and getting around really well, which is wonderful. I'm starting to really worry about her fingers. Those little, swollen sausages haven't changed a bit since the onset of this madness. Trying to convince her to hold a crayon or a spoon the correct way is not going so well. I'm afraid of the challenges she is going to face as she grows. Will she be able to learn to write her name? Tie her shoes? Button her own pants? We've got to get the disease under control...

Emma's language skills continue to improve. She's also mastering the art of demanding things and being a bossy little kid. It's frightening. "MY HAVE IT!" comes out of her mouth a lot when she's playing with Addison. Those two are teaching me patience while I'm trying to teach them about sharing. It's awesome.

She is going to sleep very well on her own, thank goodness. Most nights she sleeps straight through, for about eleven hours, which is wonderful. The only downside is that now we wake up around 6:30 A.M. I get a lot more done every morning. (When I'm motivated.)

My happy girls loves to sing and dance, go for walks, play outside, try to pick up the cats and give the dog treats. She enjoys swinging on the swings at the park (finally!), going down slide, looking a bugs, hiding under pillows and blanket. She is fond of spitting out food and handing it back to me while saying, "I don't like it." She throws splendid tantrums, sometimes cuddles her water cup and pretends it's a baby doll, and is trying really hard to help us dress and undress her. She JUST started saying "Um..." which I don't like. She's telling me what foods she would like to eat, which I do like! She counts to ten, with help. On her own it's just, "One, nine, ten!" She says the most heartwarming prayers, "Dear Father, Christ. Amen!"

She makes my life better.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

All Shook Up

I need to vent.

When we moved here a little over three years ago, we had nothing but positive vibes. The first joy was that the house was for sale by actual people, not owned by a bank! The place is small, but the lot is large and there's plenty of room for improvement. The neighbors were all really nice people and everything was fantastic.

About a year and a half ago, our good luck with neighbors came to an end. Old man Bob (the sweetest man ever who lived next door) and his wife moved away. We then became acquainted with the landlords. One was nice, the other, not so great. Some drama ensued, but things have been quiet now for a while so it's not so bad.

The guy on the other side of us was pretty cool. Not someone you'd feel comfortable meeting down a dark alley at night, but we knew him to be friendly, caring, and a good neighbor. Last winter we accidentally offended him by making noise after dark. Mind you, it wasn't even 7PM and when he yelled over the fence to knock it off, Barry and the guys cleaned up and came inside. However, a week or so later when Barry tried to apologize, Neighbor Man wouldn't hear it and refused to accept an apology. Things between us haven't been quite as friendly since. Now, we've managed to make it even worse. Through a few separate events we have unintentionally made Neighbor Man hate us to the point that he wants to beat Barry up and tries to get in a fight with him any time they can meet on public land.

My first response has to be, REALLY?!?! Really?!?! People act like this outside of elementary school? It's ridiculous and absurd and upsetting. My second response is fear. I do not like living next to someone who thinks the best way to solve problems is with his fist. What happened to civilization? To acting like a grown up and working together to find a solution? He won't even let us apologize, he just wants to hurt my husband.

So, we've taken to praying for the guy. It's weird and challenging and it may not even help him at all, but it's helping us learn to forgive.

 "But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you." (Luke 6:27-28)