Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Last Thing on the List

In one week, Preston Dean Shaffer will be here.  ONE WEEK.  The mix of emotions that I am feeling right now is absolutely all over the place.  I have been a very busy bee over the last few weeks - trying to get everything lined up for Christmas and the birth of our son at the same time!  It's been crazy, to say the least.  Today was a big goal for me - Colin's big Christmas program at his preschool.  I've been a bit nervous that something would happen and I would go into labor before I could attend this event and it's VERY important to Colin.  This was kind of my final thing that I really felt like I needed to accomplish and now it's done! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Proud Mommy

Today was one of those wonderful days when you realize that maybe all the hard work is paying off.  Maybe - just maybe - you are raising a really good boy.  :-)

Colin has been having a great year at school - his therapy has REALLY been paying off and for really the first time ever, Colin has managed to make some friends at school without the help of a teacher.  This has also come with new challenges for my sweet boy, including becoming fast friends with a bit of a troublemaker.  We shall call him "Joe" for writing purposes.  Joe has a much older brother and right off the bat this year, Colin started coming home with some new phrases, sayings and behaviors that were obviously learned from someone in class.  All relatively harmless stuff, just things that were a little too old for a pre-K group and would rather Colin not pick up on.  Colin has also shared with me some of the disruptive things that Joe has been doing in class and how he sometimes got Colin involved.  So, we talk a lot about Joe and I always just remind Colin to pay attention to himself and his actions and not worry about what others are doing and just follow the rules of the class.  (Colin can be a bit of a police officer when it comes to school)  Well, last night Colin broke down in tears and shared with me that he and Joe had to sit in the time-out chair during circle time.  He was absolutely beside himself because he had never had a time out at school before and he was just inconsolable about it.  I finally managed to get out of him that Joe had been bugging Colin to play some kind of "slapping" game and Colin kept telling him no, but to no avail.  The poor little peanut - as he was telling me the story he kept saying, "I didn't want to do it, Mom!  I said no over and over again!  He wasn't listening to me!".  The teacher caught the two of them talking and they both got sent to a time-out chair because there is a strict "no talking" rule during circle time.  Colin was horrified!

So as I held Colin on the couch and we talked about the episode, I suggested he sit somewhere different tomorrow - away from Joe.  He welled up again and said that Joe would be upset if he didn't sit by him and he didn't want to lose his friend.  He was so worried about doing the right thing and also not hurting Joe's feelings.  It was then that Colin looked up at me and said, "Mommy, I know.  Can you ask Miss Sandra to move me away from Joe?  You can tell her that I want to be good and I don't want to sit by anyone that will get me in time out ever again.  And you can tell her that if SHE moves me, Joe won't be mad at me and think I am a bad friend.  Is that okay?  Can you please tell Miss Sandra that?!"  I must say, this was a very proud moment for me.  The fact that my socially challenged 5 year old came up with this plan - on top of being so insistent on not getting in trouble and still being a good friend - it just made my heart swell with joy.

When we got to school this morning, the first words out of Colin's mouth when we entered the building were, "Mommy, PLEASE don't forget to talk to Miss Sandra!".  When we walked up to his classroom to check in, he said, "TELL HER NOW, MOM!  Don't forget!!".  It was adorable.  Miss Sandra said, "Clearly you have something to tell me!"  :-)  I gave her the scoop and told her what Colin said.  She was VERY impressed.  She told me that Colin is not one to get in trouble and she LOVED that he came up with the plan to sit away from Joe.  In fact, she said she "couldn't believe he came up with that on his own" and that it was a great idea and she had no problem being the bad guy. When I picked my sweet boy up today, he was in one of the best moods EVER.  In fact, when he turned to say goodbye to his friends, about 5 kids (including Joe) jumped up and HUGGED him!  All at once!  It was the sweetest thing I have ever seen!  Now, Colin is not one for hugging and touching like that, so I saw the sort of pained smile he gave and he said, "Miss Sandra, can you help me out of here?"  HA!!  He said it very sweetly and his teacher cleared away the huggers and Colin ran out to greet me.  I got a subtle thumbs up from his teacher and Colin immediately launched into the story of how perfectly everything worked out and that Miss Sandra asked him to sit over by her and Joe was not mad at all.  He was absolutely jubilant over how things went.  And this mama is absolutely jubilant over the fact that she has one of the best boys in the whole wide world.  It's just been one of those good days, I tell you.  :-)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Thousand Dreams Come True

Big News from a Big Brother!
Hello, old friend.  Are you surprised to see me?  There has been a lot going on during the last 4 months.  I turned 35.  We celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary.  Colin turned FIVE YEARS OLD two weeks ago.  I found out that I am pregnant.  We've been busy.  :-)
His first picture - 8 weeks pregnant

I AM PREGNANT.  Almost 20 WEEKS PREGNANT.  WITH MY SECOND SON.  I had to take a second to look at that on my screen.  It's a miracle.  It's my dream come true.  It's real. 

My 35th birthday was the one I was dreading.  Once you turn 35, you are considered to be of "Advanced Maternal Age" or AMA.  I have always known that and for some reason during my years of infertility, I took solace in the fact that at least I wasn't 35 yet and that there was still time for it to just happen.  That's pretty foolish, but still it was something that stuck in my head.  I always assumed that I would be done having my babies by the time I was 35.  As my 35th loomed large in front of me, I won't deny that I was mournful.  A friend from growing up had just announced her pregnancy in the days before my birthday and it served to remind me that I truly was done with just Colin.  I had been working very hard to come to terms with our family of three and while I did have mostly good days, it was still a challenge not to think about what I was missing.  The person that I just KNEW was missing.  My mom was in town for my birthday and she took me to lunch while Colin was at school.  I vented to her about how upset I was with this particular birthday and she tried to comfort me.  Little did we both know that I was pregnant at the time.  On Sunday, April 29th, I turned 35.  As I sat at my computer that afternoon and began thanking all of my friends for their Facebook messages, the thought crossed my mind that my period should be here.  The first random thought was that I might need to add tampons to the shopping list.  I pulled up the calendar on the computer and started counting back the days to figure out when I should start.  As I kept counting, I realized that I actually couldn't remember when my last period was.  I kept going back and racking my brain and for the first time in literally years, I couldn't exactly place the day.  It was disconcerting that no matter how I looked at it, I had to be late.  And then I was FURIOUS.  I was not about to take a pregnancy test and suffer my millionth negative result on my birthday, of all days.  I was actually mad that I let the thought even creep into my head.  I had been working so hard to be happy and let it go, but I couldn't stop staring at the calendar that afternoon and wondering.  I managed to wait until the next morning after I dropped Colin at school.  I ran by Walgreen's and got a test.  I had already gone to the bathroom about 30 minutes beforehand, but I still took one when I walked in the door.  The two lines were bright immediately.  I proceeded to take the other two tests in the box during that day.  Bright pregnant.  Finally.  I was in total and complete shock.  I still am, if I am being honest. 

The oddest part of infertility is something that I had never thought about before.  It is the time after you get a positive pregnancy test.  I have never been so scared in my whole life.  When you spend years trying to get pregnant, seeing a positive test is earth shattering.  The joy and relief are so strong, but the fear is crippling.  I never expected that, but it has been the reality.  I couldn't get excited for a long time.  I was terrified that it was going to go away, certain that it couldn't be real.  I had waited so long that I was sure that if I lost the pregnancy, it would kill me.  Honestly.  Since my first pregnancy ended in miscarriage, I was almost too scared to function.  I couldn't talk about it, even with family.  Each office visit has provided momentary relief, but within no time, the fear is back.  It sounds so silly, but I have been so petrified that things were going to go wrong.  I couldn't even discuss baby names or nursery plans.  At my last appointment in July, I found out that we are having another boy.  I saw his precious face and hands and feet and body.  I saw his beating heart (as I have at each visit).  He was so clearly my baby boy laying there in my warm body and I finally started to let go of the strange fear.  I will admit that it's not totally gone.  My next appointment is on Thursday and I have spent the last few days wondering if I should be feeling more stuff by now and if maybe he's not okay.  And then I make a huge effort to shut myself up.  I am the size of a house.  I am clearly having a baby and I need to let go and let God.  But boy, this is harder than I thought it would be.  I cannot wait until he gets here...I hate to rush my last pregnancy, but I can't help but wish he would come out and let me feel him in my arms.  He is due on December 27, 2012.  Colin was a c-section, so this one will be, too.  Dr. White thinks he will probably come on December 21st.  That would have us coming home from the hospital on Christmas Eve.  He is our Christmas miracle.  He is my dream come true.  All of this unnecessary fear kept me from blogging.  I needed to wait.  But now I am ready to shout it from the rooftops.  My miracle is coming! 
12 weeks and beautiful already!

Colin is over the moon.  His response has been even more amazing than I dreamed it would be.  We are all literally blissful.  The floodgates should now open - I have so much to share about what is going on.  Today, it's just about saying the words here and finally writing it down without fear.  We are going to be a family of four.  Finally.  Thank you, God!   
16 weeks - It's a boy! 
* I started a post on the day I took the pregnancy test, April 30th.  I didn't finish it and it was left as a draft.  I decided to post it as is - I know I will love to read it one day, despite not finishing it.  So that is the post below that has just popped up.

Monday, April 30, 2012


I turned 35 years old yesterday. It was a beautiful and rather uneventful day and I spent the majority of my time thanking everyone for my Facebook messages and playing on my new iPad. Sometime during the afternoon, I started thinking about my period. So much has been going on with Colin lately and for the first time in years, I couldn't recall the day my last period started. When you are trying to conceive, you ALWAYS know when your last period started. In fact, you generally know exactly what day in your cycle you are on at any given moment. But the past few weeks have been overwhelming and yesterday it hit me that my period should be starting soon. I pulled up the calendar on my computer and tried to think back to when I had my period. Not at any of the birthday parties we have been going to...not at Easter...hmmm...maybe the week that Jer did the Tough Mudder race? This was driving me crazy yesterday. Mostly just because I always know these things and it felt foreign to truly not remember, even when I gave it a lot of thought. My breasts have been sore all week, which is normal for me before my period starts, so I have been absentmindedly waiting on it to show. It was only yesterday, on my 35th birthday, that I realized I might be late. I thought briefly about buying a pregnancy test after Colin went to sleep, but talked myself out of it. No way was I going to spoil my happy birthday with a negative pregnancy test. I have seen hundreds of them and as usual, I swore off of pregnancy tests last month. :-) I let it go and enjoyed the rest of my evening. I requested Thai for my birthday dinner and Jer picked up a whole bunch of deliciousness, including an order of drunken noodles with chicken and tofu for me, as well as pot stickers and an eggroll. I generally don't eat that much in one sitting (I tend to be a grazer and eat small amounts all day instead of a big meal), but I ate the entire order last night. As I tucked the last bite of noodles into my mouth and wondered what I might find for dessert, I had another fleeting thought about being pregnant. It was an ungodly amount of food to consume in one sitting and there I was, still craving more food. When was the last time I ate that much?? I pushed the last couple of veggies around the plastic takeout container and fought the urge to think about the possibility. The worst part about infertility is the monthly disappointment, and getting your hopes up about "signs" always think you have signs or symptoms and then you are never actually pregnant. I was battling this a lot last night because I knew it, but yet I had "known" before and been wrong. I went to bed last night after sifting through my 100+ birthday Facebook messages and thinking a lot about how many wonderful friends I have been blessed with. I remember my last thoughts being about how special a Facebook birthday makes you feel. I forgot to turn on the baby monitor before bed, so I awoke this morning to the faint sounds of Colin calling for me from his bedroom. I sat up in bed and cocked my ear to the sound as Jer walked out of the bathroom fresh from his shower and dressed for work. I jumped out of bed and took off for Colin's room and immediately sucked in my breath from the pain in my chest. I am never this sore and it was in that moment that I realized I was going to break down and buy a pregnancy test after I dropped Colin at school. The morning went normally and after I dropped Colin off, I actually circled the parking lot, internally debating with myself. I did not want to go buy another box of those damn tests for no reason. I always jump the gun and buy tests about 1-2 days before my period starts and I am just so tired of it. But today was different...I still can't put a finger on the first day of my last period. I have it narrowed down to 3/22 - 3/28 and that would definitely mean that I am late today. I flew into Walgreen's and bought the pack of tests, all the while berating myself for being so silly. I got home and walked straight back to take the test, despite the fact that I had gone to the bathroom not 20 minutes earlier. Sure enough, there was not much to test with and I just tossed the partially used test on the counter. The moisture line wasn't even registering yet, so I figured I would wait and test again after a few hours. About 5 minutes later, I walked back into the bathroom and literally almost passed out. There, plain as day, was a positive pregnancy test. A POSITIVE PREGNANCY TEST. Not faint, no squinting required, honest to goodness positive pregnancy test. I proceeded to say the phrase, "OH MY GOD" about 200 times. I paced the bedroom. I didn't burst into tears, as I imagined I would if this ever truly happened, but I dropped to my knees and prayed and thanked God and prayed harder. I then paced more, attempted yet again to calculate the date of my last period and went online to look for a due date. I called my mom. I paced. I tried to watch a show on the DVR. I called my doctor and left messages for his nurses. My official appointment is May 17th and I go tomorrow for bloodwork. 

*edited to say that this is as far as I got on this post, the day I found out I was pregnant.  It was left as a draft and I decided to publish what I had for posterity, despite not finishing the post.  :-)  ~Chalna 8/4/2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Tuesday

It's TUESDAY.  We don't do anything on Tuesday.  It's the best day ever.  Colin doesn't have school and it always feels like the first chance we have had to do absolutely nothing.  Sometimes we get dressed, sometimes we don't.  We always make a giant mess.  And by "we", I mean Colin.  My brilliant son is not satisfied to just lay out some trucks or play with his legos.  Nope.  My son likes to turn the living room into a city/zoo/pool/construction site/hotel/ can really change out any of those options on any given day.  He turns the stack of dirty clothes into a mountain on top of his trampoline and plants a flag there.  He takes out every tool bench he has to create check out lines at his grocery store.  Today, he dumped his entire craft box onto the living room couch and created "art stations".  He used popsicle sticks of various sizes and glued them TO my kitchen counter.  Granted, there was paper there somewhere, but everything got glued to the counter regardless.  I don't care a bit...Elmer's Glue wipes right up and I hate standing over him when he is trying to create something and bark in his ear about making a mess.  Kids are supposed to make messes.  He is having a great time and I shall clean it up later.  No big shakes.  It's a good thing for Colin that he was born with a mom who was not worried about disasters.  ;-)  He asked me to bring his table from his playroom into the kitchen so that he could arrange a battle.  The battle is between the creatures that he made out of Playdough and his army men.  My house looks like a large bomb exploded.  When Jer gets home from work, I plan to send the boys to the park so that I can clean up the mess.  We always like to have a clean slate for another day of "creating".  But in case you are curious, or have only been to my house when it is tidy (in other words, when I was expecting company and pretended that we don't live in a trash heap), please enjoy this window into our Tuesday.  ;-)

The "art stations".  So lovely.

Notice the purple sticks glued to my counter? 

The constructed battle scene with playdough creatures and army platoon.

This makes sense to Colin...I am doubting the need for chocolate eggs and Christmas microphone, but whatever.  ;-)

While all this was going on, I cooked.  I have just taken up Thai cuisine.  Thai is one of my most favorite things on the planet and I have been trying my hand at more Asian stuff these days.  It's the most delicious food, but usually requires a trip to the Asian market or Central Market at the least.  I've been working on my Thai pantry and things are coming along nicely.  Just moments ago, I completed the most delicious thing I have ever made.  Okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration.  Wait, no it's not.  I crafted what is basically a cheaters version of sticky rice with mango that is the Thai dessert staple.  I could live off the stuff but there is no way that I am going through the actual process of making sticky rice, which starts with soaking rice for 3 hours.  UM, no.  I made this with orzo pasta of all things!!  It turned out AH-MAZING.  It is going to take all the willpower in the free world not to finish the whole batch this afternoon.  I have also perfected my peanut sauce, which I made a big batch of last night for a chicken cabbage salad.  I saved the rest for today and have my chicken satay marinating as we speak.  I am making chicken satay "sandwiches" for dinner, using the marinated grilled chicken, cilantro, a cucumber/jalapeno salad, and the peanut sauce.  I was going to make them on ciabatta bread, but ran into some naan at the store that spoke to me, so I am going to serve the sandwiches open face over a warm piece of naan bread.  I am pretty sure that I just combined cuisines from more than 3 countries there, but whatever.  I love to cook.  Have I mentioned that lately?  ;-)

HEAVENLY!  This is seriously some of my best work. 
The weather is absolutely stunning right now and I know that we are heading back into the 110 degree hell known as Texas summer, so I am trying to soak it up.  You know, by staying in the house in my pajamas and cooking.  ;-)  We did manage to spend some time outdoors and we were shocked to see that one of the bushes in our front yard is covered in different kinds of butterflies!  I LOVE IT!  I got the camera out and used it as an excuse to do a little photography practice.  Colin tried so hard to catch one so that he could get a closer look, but they were not having it!   

So there you have it for one random Tuesday in April.  And now, since it's 2:26pm, I think I will go get dressed.  And eat another piece of that dessert.  And peel the popsicle sticks off the counter.  Or something.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


It's 7:00am.  The Easter Bunny has delivered.
My handsome man...a little bit later.

An old pro at egg hunts! beautiful! 

The Easter loot...the bunny was good!

School Easter Egg Hunt Day!
Easter weekend was wonderful and busy and a little bit crazy.  Even with all the drama surrounding Colin's anxiety, we managed to make it a happy time and for that I am incredibly thankful!  On Saturday we went to our sweet friend Pierce's 3rd birthday party and I was really proud of Colin.  He did freeze when we first got there, despite the fact that it was held somewhere that Colin knows well and with only his friends in attendance.  But he walked in on his own.  We circled the party and he was clearly upset and avoiding any and all eye contact.  But I whispered to him on several occasions that we could leave whenever he wanted to and he didn't want to go.  He was scared, but he knew that he wanted to be there and was willing to work through it.  We sat off by ourselves for a good while, but after about 45 minutes he snapped out of it and joined every bit of the party.  It's quite a process, but we are so blessed to have people surrounding us that understand and love us no matter what.  Everyone was so supportive and helpful and I just can't put into words how great it feels to be in a group of people that I know are not judging us.  It was absolutely no big deal to anyone that Colin was upset at first and nobody gave us a second glance as we sat by ourselves.  Our friends are a safe place for my whole family and I don't know what I would do without them.  Colin comes across as very angry and volatile when he is panicked and keeps his head down, cries and won't talk when spoken to.  But this is all his defense mechanism.  And I don't have to worry that anyone in my close circle is thinking badly about us.  Even though I don't care what strangers think, it does feel nice to know that I am around people that understand and love us no matter what.  The party was so much fun!  The Roberts family always throw the best birthday parties! 

That night, I spent a couple of hours putting the Easter Bunny stuff together and I packed the eggs with prizes that I found at Dollar General and Target.  I bought everything I could find that was small enough to hide in an Easter egg.  I was determined that Colin get the prize eggs that he was so upset about missing out on.  I think I went a bit overboard, but it was well worth it to see the joy on his face.  He told me a couple of times that the Easter bunny must have known that he had trouble with the egg hunt and sent him special treats.  That made my whole day. 

Colin woke up at the crack of dawn (as usual) and we hunted eggs by the light of the moon.  There was no putting him off when he woke up, of course!  I regretted the decision to let him wear pajamas to bed that are about 8 sizes too small because the pictures of the hunt are not exactly his finest fashion moment.  But, oh well.  ;-)  My skinny peanut can still wear his 3T pajamas and loves them, so who cares.  But they are SERIOUSLY too short now.  I need to buy some new summer ones asap!  Anyway, after the hunt, I whipped up a banana cake with brown butter icing (JOY) and we got dressed to head over to Jer's parents house.  Colin had even more treats waiting there and loved his yearly egg hunt in their backyard.  It rained and stormed all afternoon, but it was still a great day.  There is only one thing that bothers me a bit and that is the fact that we haven't been to church yet with Colin.  I really miss church on Easter Sunday and it reminds me that we really really need to figure out a way to become active church members, but I just don't know how to do it.  Colin has never been able to attend church services because he can't be dropped off in a crowded Sunday school environment.  Church is everything that scares him - a large building full of strangers, lots of noise, being dropped off with different faces, everything that causes his panic rolled into one outing.  It just won't work.  And he can't sit through big church yet, so we have waited.  That was the MAIN reason that I made sure that Colin went to a church preschool.  I thank heaven above that he has been getting a steady stream of christian teaching while going to school.  He loves Jesus and God and we had lots of great conversation regarding the true meaning of Easter.  So I feel blessed that he is getting a chance to learn about Christ even though we can't quite do church yet.  And on another note, is it strange that at 34 years old, I still refer to it as "big church"?  HA! 

Anyway, I really do have lots more to write about and lots of post topics running through my head, but I am going to call it quits for tonight.  I have an episode of Smash burning a hole in my DVR and I must watch it.  But I told myself that I was absolutely not going to put off blogging anymore, so I am patting myself on the back for waiting until after the Easter update.  :-)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Here and Now

I am an eternal optimist.  It's what I do.  I am certain that regardless of the trial, things are going to turn out okay.  I want everyone to be happy all. the. time.  I really do think that everything is always going to be fine...better than fine...wonderful.  There are times when my unflappable optimism is an asset.  But there are times when I don't know what to do with myself.  It has been exactly two months since my last post and the real reason for that is my complete and utter hatred of writing unhappy thoughts.  Isn't that silly?  It's my blog, my place to journal our lives, something to look back on to recreate the story of us when I can't remember it anymore.  Life has ups and downs and I am certainly aware of the fact that it's not all raindrops on roses for anyone.  I am at least somewhat rational and aware that it won't hurt a soul if I actually write about everything.  However, the last couple of months have been rather trying and at the end of a busy day that was wholly lacking "whiskers on kittens", I would much rather park it on the couch and lose myself in the latest episode of Smash.  And on another note, how freaking awesome is Smash?!  :-)  But I digress...

Colin is having a hard time.  A really really hard time.  See, I just wrote that phrase and then paused while I wondered how to go on with the story.  There is so much and it's all so much greater than words on a page.  He is beautiful and healthy and we have a wonderful life.  We are blessed.  I like to focus on that.  But there is a lot more to the story.  His anxiety disorder is overwhelming him right now and as his mother, it's a lot.  Our daily life is a minefield at the moment.  I suppose that things have always been like that in a way, but I was always able to carry him over the obstacles in our path.  He is too big to carry now and while I am still holding his hand, he is having to learn to walk beside me through them.  Does that make sense?  I hope so.

His fear paralyzes him from deep within and the examples are plenty.  I could write all night and not begin to share everything that has happened.  I tried to pick him up from school after getting a haircut and he wouldn't come out of the classroom or allow me to touch him.  Some days he can't go inside the grocery store and he can no longer get a haircut.  I had to invest in my own salon tools and have taught myself how to do it via youtube videos and prayer.  (just don't look too closely at his hair and it's fine)  ;-)  We miss parties and ball games and now he can't get himself inside the school.  That is the only one that we can't let go of and now going to class involves back entrances and teachers holding him down so that I can leave while his screams echo around me.  That one breaks me into a thousand pieces and shatters every ounce of bravery that I have.  And I always just manage to get myself back into my car before I crack.  I have to lay my head down on the steering wheel and cry until it feels better and I remind myself that he. is. going. to. be. fine.  And HE IS.  I am down on occasion, but I am not out.  And don't all mothers do this?  Carry the weight of the world on our shoulders so that our babies don't hurt?  My load is far lighter than so many others and I know this and am thankful. 

We had a parent conference with his therapist yesterday and she said something that really hit me.  She told us that we need a chance to mourn the loss of the childhood we thought he would have.  Which is so perfectly true.  I can't keep trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.  He is probably not ever going to be on the baseball team or in every possible school club and activity ( his mother was).  He looks like me for sure, but he is Colin and he is going to like what HE likes.  And that is okay!  I could honestly care less!  But I have been trying so hard to give him what I thought was the perfect childhood and I need to start paying more attention to what he actually wants rather than my idealistic image of it. 

The good news is that we have a team of the absolute best professionals in the world helping Colin and I know that we are going to turn the corner soon.  Everyone is already helping in every way they can.  As the mother bear, I do find myself wanting to stand in front of him and keep judging eyes away from my baby.  But I also truly and completely don't care what others think.  Today, we attempted an Easter egg hunt at our pediatrician's office.  He is so sweet and hosts the most adorable hunt in the yard beside his parking lot.  I thought Colin might like it because of it's small scale and he was so so so excited to go.  He even got out of the car and walked up to the festivities!  When we left the house, I assured him that we would drive by first and check it out and he could decide if he wanted to try it.  He hopped right out when we got there and walked up into the crowd, which was just a miracle.  He even lined up with all the other 3 to 6 year olds (there were probably 20 other kids his age, 50 total at the whole event) with his basket, all ready to go.  But when Dr. Martin's wife yelled, " Get Ready, Get Set, GO!", he froze and burst into tears.  Heaving crying and literally frozen on the little curb in front of the grass.  I tried everything to calm him down, but he was beside himself.  He stood there rooted to the ground while all the eggs were hunted.  He took his deep breaths and then pulled himself out of my shirt and asked if I would go with him and hold his hand.  But, of course, the eggs were all gone.  And then it was a real breakdown when he realized that he missed the whole thing.  He went into full panic attack mode where I can't touch him or calm him and we just have to ride it out until I can break through to him.  And these are the moments when I feel the eyes on us...Colin raging and screaming...but today, I did not care.  Not a bit.  One extremely wonderful mom (just one), took a handful of eggs out of her daughters basket and quietly placed them in the one I was holding while Colin screamed.  And I wanted to wrap my arms around her and thank her, but I couldn' I mouthed my thanks and said a little prayer of gratitude for the people in this world like her.  And you can bet that I held Colin in the car and told him that the Easter bunny was going to bring him the very best Easter egg hunt in the free world and it would be a thousand times better than anything that could have been in those eggs he missed.  Which reminds me, I really need to go back to the store before tomorrow night.  ;-) 

You know what else his counselor told us?  That Colin was brilliant and blows her mind constantly.  She said that while we do need to mourn the loss of what we pictured for him, we need to also enjoy the special gifts that we are lucky enough to be apart of.  And I didn't need that advice at all.  Colin is the most amazing boy in the world.  Listening to him talk and simply being near his mind is more joy than I could have fathomed.  He is awesome.  He likes to watch heart surgery online.  He spends half an hour making an anatomically correct heart as decoration on an Easter egg.  He contemplates the universe.  He accepts absolutely nothing as fact and needs to see what makes everything tick.  He is, quite simply, the coolest kid I have ever met.  So this blog is going to perk up.  I am going to write about the amazing things that come out of his mouth.  I am going to write about how much smarter he is than me.  I am going to write about our bad days and I am going to write about the outstanding ones.  I want to remember all of it and the majority IS silver white winters that melt into spring.  Well, not exactly in Texas, but you know what I mean.  :-)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Let's Make Stuff, Shall We?

Doesn't this look delicious?
I need to stay away from Pinterest.  It is killing me.  I only thought Facebook was the greatest sucker of one's time...Pinterest is far worse.  I will put Colin to bed with the full intention of quickly checking my email and then heading into the living room to watch shows on the DVR and relax with Jer.  Then I look up and it is 11pm and I am knee deep in chocolate cakes, soap scum removal and debating the merits of making my own headboard out of old doors and a glue gun.  Or something.  I am clearly out of control.  As I type this, I am eating a corndog mini muffin.  That's right, CORNDOG MINI MUFFINS.  I saw the recipe and made them for Colin.  And he loves them.  He ate 3.  I have had 47.  I am going to have to run for an extra hour tonight after this debacle.  And then there was the great Nutella dip disaster of yesterday - I saw Nutella fruit dip front and center when I logged into Pinterest and since Colin lives for Nutella, I decided it must be made.  While he was at school, I whipped up a batch (which is just Nutella and Greek yogurt - so simple!  so easy! why didn't I think of that?) and presented it with a flourish when the little man got home.  He was super excited for chocolate fruit dip and even posed happily for the above photo.  Then he tasted it and spit it out all down the front of his shirt.  That was awesome.  As it turns out, my child does not appreciate the quality tang that accompanies Greek yogurt, despite the cup of Nutella added to it.  I then proceeded to eat a pint of strawberries dipped in it because, oddly enough, I happen to think it was fan-freaking-tastic.  I had to pour out the rest of the batch because there is only so much that my skinny jeans can handle.  I hate Pinterest.

I was a busy bee while Colin was at school yesterday!  On top of eating my weight in chocolate fruit dip, I finished up a couple of projects for the kiddo.  I extended his bulletin board around the corner in his room so that he would have more room to hang his awesome school work and he LOVES it!  After seeing the way it turned out, I plan to extend it to the floor.  Bulletin boards are so cheap and Colin adores hanging up his art.  I added the string of lights on a whim and Colin thinks it is just about the coolest thing ever.  It's rather rigged at this point, but it's pretty cute regardless.

How did I know that Star Wars would be the first poster taped to his closet door?  ;-)
I really love Colin's room.  When I found out that I was having a boy, I wandered into a little shop in Southlake Town Center that was full of custom baby rooms.  Everything was ornate and beautiful and thousands of dollars.  I was just piddling around and thinking about buying a frame (about all I could afford in this shop) when I stumbled onto a cabin/lodge themed boys room.  I knew instantly that it would be the room for Colin.  I wanted something different and special and this was so perfect.  I spent months collecting things from all over the place to make the room come to life.  My mom even made a "fishing" chandelier to hang from the ceiling!  Anyway, it has morphed over the last few years into a little boys room rather than a nursery, but I still love it so much.  Everything about his room is cozy and warm and I hope he remembers it always as being a place to feel happy and safe and loved.  It's a great room. 
A shot from New Year's Eve - we rarely get this side of his room in pictures
The view of his new bulletin board from the door
And now for the most important news - I have Colin's space/Star Wars/science themed playroom well underway!  We painted it an awesome grey color before we had new carpeting installed in December.  I got his name on the wall using cool iron signs from Hobby Lobby and yesterday, I found the Star Wars posters!!  I bought 3 and framed them with cheap poster frames from Hobby Lobby.  Colin LOVES it.  I should really get a trophy for this one - that child almost cried from joy when he saw it!  While my dreams of a shabby pink room full of ballet slippers has indeed been forever crushed, this is still pretty awesome.  ;-)  I was struck by how much this looks like a boy's room, a BIG boy, rather than a baby or toddler.  His playroom doubles as our office space, but it is clearly decorated entirely for a space loving little man.  I have a lot more to go; I want to get rid of the plastic bins for toys and put in shelves, etc - but we are well on our way! 
Long ago, in a galaxy far far away
there lived a woman without any girl stuff...  ;-)

On the other wall, I hung a GIANT map of the world.  We decided that with a pilot for a daddy, Colin should get to track where he goes.  We have started pinning all the locations that Jer flies to and it has been so much fun for Colin and a fabulous learning tool.  We look at his flight route and then check out details about whatever country he has gone to.  Jer is going to China next month, so that will be a fun one to mark down!

cutest baby EVER
In closing, Colin actually fell asleep on the couch this week - which is totally unheard of in this house.  It was so stinking adorable that I had no choice but to take a picture.  Look at those precious little feet!!  Sometimes I think that I love him so much that it's going to break me in two.  :-)  However, I quickly realized why naps aren't a good thing - it took about 4 years to get him to bed that night.  I sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star about 350 times.  But that wasn't so bad, either. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

This Week

Evidence that Colin is brilliant.
The above picture is disgusting not exactly attractive, I know.  Yes, that is a bath rug and yes, that is playdough stuck to it in various locations.  But that is beside the point (if you are able to pretend you don't see the playdough).  We usually eat dinner while sitting at the kitchen counter, where I have bar stools arranged for seating.  Colin has never been comfortable sitting in the stools and recently he began pulling up toy bins and ottomans in order to reach the counter and stand up to eat.  He actually eats much better if he can stand, so I haven't minded the switch...with the small exception of how easily he can slip off his makeshift step stools.  None of them are designed to hold his weight and our ottoman even has wheels!  I told him that I would be on the lookout for a more acceptable solution and saw this little cheapo stool at Hobby Lobby yesterday for the lofty price of $4.99.  I gave it a shot and Colin quickly pointed out to me that he didn't feel safe and that it was "too slippery".  We stuck the stool in his playroom and went about our business.  When I called Colin to the table tonight, he headed for his bathroom.  I wasn't paying much attention as I was plating food and when I went to serve Colin, he was standing there with a huge grin on his face.  I looked down to see the giant bathmat with his stool on top.  He said, "Look, Mom!  It won't slip at all anymore!  We can just use it this way."  I do not have a CLUE how he thought of this on his own.  He must have noticed that the stool was more stable on the carpet in his playroom and then decided to try out the bath rug variation.  All I know is that we never said a word about it and he figured it out on his own.  Hence the ultra classy picture.  I love Colin.   Here are more lovely shots from our week:

Colin and his kitties

Colin on top of his "mountain".  The view from the top is always best.

DJ Jazzy Colin
This week has been all about Pinterest - I am on one of my kicks again.  I have so many projects that I want to take on and I knocked out this easy one first.  I made custom dry erase boards for the kitchen using two cheap frames and some scrapbook paper.  It's awesome!  I have to write myself big visual notes constantly and I usually use a sheet of note paper and stick it on the counter where I can see it.  I have come close to hanging dry erase boards in the past, but they are so ugly and my kitchen is right in the middle of things.  This is already working perfectly!  The frames just happened to fit nicely under our family picture and I think they look super cute.  It will be fun to switch the paper our for holidays!  I think they are a bit plain as of yet, but now that I see them hanging, I am planning to add some cute lettering inside the frame.  Stay tuned!  It's an easy start - I have a bunch of cool projects planned for the playroom that are going to be much more work, but I am excited to hone some new skills.  I am even planning to tackle some sewing - like with a machine - but I am nervous about it.  I have never considered myself crafty in the least bit.  The only exception would be my odd ability to write pretty letters, but I don't think that counts.  I have talked myself into giving this crafty thing a try because 1) my mom is excellent at making her own awesome decorations and 2) I never thought I would be a good cook and now it is my passion.  So I suppose even an old dog can learn some new tricks.  :-)
Chalna actually crafts. 


Thursday, January 26, 2012

January Stuff

A very well mannered lunch date at La Madeline
A random update of random things on a random Thursday seems to be in order.  January is it's usual self...totally lacking in Christmas cheer, but here nonetheless.  I have been feeling rather blah for the last couple of weeks, but nothing out of the ordinary.  I have never been a big fan of this month.  :-)  The good news is that it's almost over!  I am feeling a burst of energy at the moment while I contemplate how much glitter I can use for Colin's class Valentine party and gearing up for a vacation to the cabins in Oklahoma with literally every single one of our best friends.  AWESOME! 

This guy is the best lunch date ever!

A handsome boy at school
Colin is blowing me away at the moment in all sorts of ways.  It seems like he has changed overnight again and that he is much older and wiser right now than he was even last month at this time.  We have the most amazing conversations and I wish almost daily that someone was over my shoulder with a video camera to document the unbelievable things he says.  We added a third day on to his school week when we got back from Christmas break and it was the best thing we have ever done.  Only 6 children attend school in his class on Fridays, so we added that day to his schedule.  His teacher reported back after only his second Friday that he is a completely different child.  He loves the tiny group and the back and forth that he gets to have with his teacher and the other students.  He has 23 kids in class on the other two days, so this is a huge difference and one that is suiting him extremely well.  He told me that "Fridays are peaceful" and "I wish it could be Friday every day!".  Bless his heart.  Any child on earth would do better with a small teacher to student ratio like that, but Colin REALLY thrives in that environment.  It makes me long for a giant trust fun so that I could send him to private school forever. 

After Mrs. Courtney reported to me that Colin was not interacting with the other children at recess and only wanted to play with her, I told Colin's therapist about the situation.  Courtney was giving Colin obstacle course like things to do (run to that fence and then gather up 5 rocks and then run back to me) in an effort to get him moving during their outdoor time and not just talking to her.  When I mentioned this to his therapist, she popped right in with the idea of Courtney taking another child of similar temperament and asking that kiddo to do the tasks with Colin.  Sheri thought that teaming him up with another child would help him create a relationship that he was struggling to do on his own.  Well, she is brilliant because it worked perfectly!!!  I feel so blessed that we have a teacher who is willing to try new things and had no problem implementing Sheri's advice.  She tried it immediately and asked Gabriella (who Colin already clearly liked) to join in.  They played that whole recess and have been best buddies ever since!  Courtney was excited to tell me about the success and has reported back that they play together all the time now.  And - the BEST part - Colin told me on Monday that when they went outside to play,  Presley asked Gabriella to play with her.  Presley is one of those girls who doesn't want to play with boys and won't include Colin.  (Girls will be girls, after all!)  Gabriella said, "No, thanks.  I am going to play with Colin."  Oh, melt my heart and soul right there!!  I could just kiss that girl!!!  Colin was puffed up and grinning from ear to ear when he told me this and I had to hide my face because I teared up right on the spot.  That precious girl has no idea what that moment did for Colin, but it certainly did a lot.  He talks about her constantly and refers to her as his best friend, which he has never done with a school friend before.  He has already informed me that he is making her "a special Valentine that is not Star Wars and has extra hearts and stickers" and also told me that, "We have to stick the stickers on carefully because Gabriella might cry if they came off and I DO NOT want to make Gabriella cry!".  I hope she doesn't break his heart right away.  ;-) 

Colin and his best girl, Evi
This month has also arrived with another big change for Colin - reading and writing.  He has always struggled with his grasp, ambidextrous issues (switching back and forth constantly without favoring a hand) and low tone in his arms.  We still go to bi-weekly OT for this, but he has never been interested in writing and is very awkward with his grip.  He is a perfectionist and never likes doing something he isn't automatically good at.  Therapy is clearly working all the way around because out of the blue, his skills have jumped leaps and bounds.  He writes his name on everything now and practices all the time.  It looks great!!  He is clearly proud of this accomplishment and is constantly asking to play with his markers and workbooks, which is new and amazing.  He used to throw his markers across the room when the "C" in his name didn't look right to him and now he sits and happily writes the whole thing.  He doesn't even get upset when part of it doesn't go right - like running out of room and not spacing properly to complete a word.  He just shrugs it off now, which is a huge step for the little man.  He also loves to sound out words around the house and figure out how they are spelled and can get the first letter of almost any word figured out on his own by sounding it out.  Today's exception was "knob".  He was pretty mad when I told him there was a such thing as a silent K.  ;-)  This interest in letters and words is brand spanking new and brings me so much joy.  As the only "literary/artistic/math sucks" leaning member of this family, it gave me a sigh of relief.  Ha!  I think he is going to be reading soon, honestly! 
My son, the genius baker.
Also going in full force this month is Colin's intense obsession with all things Star Wars.  He now owns all 6 films on Blu-Ray, as well as Star Wars underwear, pajamas, shirts and shoes.  He has the light saber (thanks, Mimi!) and tons of the Lego stuff, too.  He loooooves it.  His favorite of all the films is "The New Hope" and he watches it from start to finish constantly.  He loves the Storm Troopers, Darth Vader and Obi Wan Kenobi (which is Oki-One-Benobi when he says it).  I can't get over how he isn't scared during any of the just never know with this kiddo!  Jer is loving this turn of events, let me tell you.  :-)  Here are a few more snapshots from our month...

Super cool dude and a dog
Colin in his fort with Enzo and Evi (the black heap on the chair)  :-)
Fine fort workmanship for a January day.  Colin dictated the sign to me.  ;-)
My latest creation - polenta with garlicky swiss chard and olive oil fried eggs! 
Lastly, as a note that actually does not involve my son, I am heavy into my cooking these days.  I have been trying to branch out and try new techniques and push my skill level and I am having the BEST time.  That is a whole other post, but suffice it to say that I am still in love with all things food related.  :-)  And there is your random January update post! 

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Shadow

Colin.  He is gifted.  He is brilliant.  He is funny (if you like knock jokes that don't make sense, like I do).  He is having a hard time making friends at school, although he doesn't know it yet.  The teachers can't get him to play with the other kids at recess...he only wants to play with the conglomeration of adults trying, no doubt in vain, to get a moment of peace in the Texas sunshine.  I like to think this is because he is way too smart for a bunch of 4 year olds.  :-)  Colin is hard to explain, although I have been muddling through it on this blog since he was 6 months old.  He sees an awesome therapist who is doing a great job with him.  He loves school.  He makes the most hysterical faces and comes up with the most brilliant things to play.  He is loving in the extreme and he is my shadow.  Literally.
Sometimes, I forget that he is different.  I keep deleting the word "different" because everyone is different and I just hate that word, but for the sake of making sense, I will leave it.  To say he is smart is too cliche...he knows all the same letters and numbers as every other four year old and he can't read yet and when he writes his name you can only just now actually read it.  In these ways, he is so normal.  It's something all together different with my Colin...his observations on the world are what remind you that he is gifted.  He lives in a special space where everything is just more.  He sees more, hears more, tastes more, gives more.  His latest teacher mentioned his giftedness to me this morning.  If you are around him for any length of time, you see it.  He says things often out of the blue that are so profound, they bring tears to my eyes.  Sometimes they are so funny that I find myself crying tears of laughter.  And sometimes I ache for him.  Sometimes I want to turn it off for him, let him be normal, let him be four.  But really, when it comes right down to it, I don't want to change him.  I just want him to be happy.  I want to give him every single opportunity to be whatever he wants to be.  I want to eliminate his fears and pain, but what mother on earth doesn't want that?  As my husband loves to say, "We all have stuff".  And we do. 
Colin had his very first night with a babysitter in December and it went swimmingly.  Her name is Rachael and she is just right for Colin...a college student who is about to graduate in early childhood education, a quiet and respectful person, and clearly more responsible that I was at age 21.  Everything about her is calming and she came over to get to know Colin before the big night, which was awesome.  When she arrived to babysit, she brought crafts to make puppets and stamps and Colin was sold immediately.  We had absolutely no problem leaving the house and he was perfect while we were gone.  The telling moment came as we spoke to her at the end of the night.  She was telling me about how fun and interesting Colin is and how he questioned everything she said and shot down some of her anecdotes.  She tried to tell him about Santa Paws, a dog that Santa has....Colin was not having it.  He explained to her that he sees Santa everywhere and has lots of books about him and nowhere does it show a dog.  Therefore, she is obviously mistaken about the existence of said dog.  She told us several other examples and said, "I quickly figured out that you guys must be realists that tell Colin exactly how it and don't encourage whimsical things...he seems so grown-up and takes apart everything that I say to him!"  I couldn't help laughing while I explained that we are absolutely NOT those kind of parents.  We encourage whimsy and make-believe and childhood joys constantly, but Colin was born too smart for his own good.  I am about the farthest thing on the planet from a realist.  LOL!  We plan to have her back soon and I am so glad that Colin enjoys adults so much. 

The picture at the beginning of this post is the perfect way to describe my days with Colin without using a single word.  I grabbed my camera before I sat down so that I could get the shot.  We are literally inseparable.  He does not do a single thing without me.  If I am cooking, he sets up a palate on the kitchen floor and moves all his toys there.  He doesn't like to play alone and enlists me in all kinds of games that always involve me playing the part of student or child and him the part of grown-up.  The only way I get to cook is by telling him that I am the cafeteria worker at whatever place he is currently running.  Last night, he was the tour guide at Legoland and I was the child on the tour.  Or he runs the grocery store and I am the patron.  Or he is the waiter or hotel worker or teacher or life guard.  I spend hours huddled in homemade forts, tucked in beside at least two of our pets and a mountain of books.  We play puppets endlessly and Lego's in heavy rotation.  We sit together at the computer while he asks long laundry lists of questions he wants to me look up the answer to.  We watch his favorite music videos and often we move the living room furniture while he leads me in dances.  From the moment he opens his eyes until the moment he shuts them, I am actively engaged with him and ensconced in his world.  He is simply not one of those children who will run off and do his own thing.  If he wants to watch a "Colin show", he wants me to be on the couch with him.  And he doesn't sit beside me, he sits in my lap.  As he is getting bigger, his lanky little legs stretch almost all the way to my feet and that is my constant view...his precious little toes floating above mine, television running in the background.  He usually begins his chant of, "Mommy, sit on the couch with me!  PLEASE!" right as I am finishing up dinner prep.  I will always hurry to get things into the oven and then run off to grab my Nook, a pad of paper and pen and whatever cookbook I am currently scouring.  I spend our time in front of the television with my head cocked to one side, using one arm to hold Colin in my lap and one arm to flip the pages in my reader or cookbook.  Sometimes my neck gets a crick in it from looking over one shoulder for too long and I switch sides.  He lays his head back against my chest and my face is always resting on his sweet smelling head as I read.  We do this all the time, this little scene on the couch.  Every morning that we don't have school, every late afternoon and sometimes in between.  He likes lots of blankets, his mama and Enzo to be with him at all times.  There are those moments when I wish that he would let me have a spare second to myself...I am human, after all.  But I think it is a gift that my sweet boy wants to do nothing but be near me, hold my hand, play with me, sit in my lap, cuddle into my arms.  He can do it forever as far as I'm concerned. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Post that Almost Was

I wrote a LONG post about the first weekend in December. A LONG POST. A beautifully written, carefully spell-checked masterpiece about the start of the Christmas season. My parents came and spent several amazing days with us, my mom and I shopped ourselves silly and I even got to turn into Cinderella and get all dressed up for a fancy party.  I spent a couple of hours writing all about it.  And then I deleted the whole damn thing.  I was SO mad.  So angry, in fact, that I didn't write at all over the next three weeks.  I am admittedly a bit of a weirdo when it comes to my writing.  Pouring out my heart and soul only to have it disappear with the click of a mouse did something to my brain.  I just could not bring myself to start over on that post and then I didn't want to write anything.  I can be a 3 year old like that.  :-)  So now, I am going back in and finishing all of these stories about the last few weeks because it was AH-MAZING.  We had the PERFECT Christmas season!  And it all started with this party on the first Saturday in December.  But I refuse to re-write my post.  So just trust me, it was great.  The rest of the posts are going to be back dated because I started them all, but didn't finish them.
Our friend Bryan invited us to his parents big Christmas shindig and it was an absolute blast!  We attended it with the Turners and Roberts and we gave those parents a run for their money!  Bryan and Eren are two of our very best friends and their parents are so wonderful.  We have gotten to know them all pretty well and even more so after we drank the better part of their collection of wine.  ;-)  It was a fantastic night and I really did feel like a princess to be all dressed up like that.  It is very rare and I won't forget that night any time soon! 
Happy Bejeweled Mama
I still can't believe I got to wear this out!
Colin LOVES it when we leave.  Can't you tell?
We clean up good!  I love Jer's tie...I wonder who picked it out?  ;-)
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