Wednesday, May 28, 2014

tonight...

What do you do with a bunch of nervous, anxious energy? And no husband to temper your growing craziness? Apparently you rearrange your whole upstairs.

Let me back up.

Remember when the girls and I went to Chicago? Yeah, while we were gone, my husband surprised the girls by adding this in Lola's room:

He painted Anna and Elsa (from Frozen).

They are incredible. He is so talented.

Well, a couple of weeks ago, Millie started going through a tough nighttime phase, when she fought bedtime every single evening, screaming and shrieking and crying and then screaming some more.

We're pretty good about not giving in but, well, it's Millie. She's the happy one. And it was getting harder and harder to listen to her cry. We'd check on her, of course, try to comfort her, but it always made it worse.

So ... one weekend, desperate, we tried letting her and Lola sleep together. A we never heard a peep from either of them.

The next weekend, same thing. It was fantastic.

In time, we began revisiting a long-standing discussion: Should the girls share a room? We've danced around this for some time, but always ended up on the side of, "Sure it sounds great now, but what about when Lola's 7? Or 10? And she wants her own space?"

But last night, after listening to Millie again cry herself to sleep (on my own since Ray is now gone for his summertime assignment), I thought again about those Frozen sisters on Lola's wall and decided, What would it hurt to just try it?

So after talking with Ray this morning, we agreed to "give it a go."

Which in BethanyLand translates into, Dive in.

After work, I moved about 85 percent of Millie's furniture into the new "Girls' Room"...

Yes, it's cluttered. Very much so. Which is not my style at all, but it will work for now.

What made it all worthwhile were the smiles, claps and cheers from both girls as it became clear what was happening. Millie, especially, was over the moon. She kept signing "Millie, Lola, friends."

At bedtime, they both happily climbed into their beds, putting their heads together and wished each other sweet dreams.




I never heard a single cry.

Actually, stike that. There were tears. From Lola, when she found a patch of poison oak or something on the bottom her foot.So we had to deal with that a bit.

But, really, they did both go down fabulously.

And that made me very happy.

But what made me happiest was just how excited they were to be together.

So what happened to Millie's old room, you're wondering?

Well, it now has become my office/crafting/scrapbooking room. With a changing table. Ha.

Everything is (obviously) still in flux. And I'm sure I'll be arranging things over and over again for a few weeks, as we get settled. But I am excited to have my desk back upstairs. And a table for my Cricut and my scrapbooking works. It needs to be larger. And I need to empty Millie's closets for storage.

But for now, I'm happy.

And very tired.
- Bethany

***
Oh, you want to know about the "nervous, anxious energy"? That's another post for another day, but I basically found out this morning that, as we expected, Millie will qualify for speech with the school district starting next fall but won't qualify for school-based (or center-based) services. It's not that I'm opposed to or upset about this -- I don't personally believe that a special-ed classroom would be the best fit for her -- but I just feel kind of overwhelmed, confused ... scattered, even. My thoughts are all over the page. I'm taking a day to kind of digest it before I get into it too much further here. And what better way to sort out some of those feelings than by rearranging the house. :)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

two years

This coming Sunday will mark the two-year "anniversary" of when I took Millie for what would become her first of many evaluations.

I thought I was overreacting. Ray thought I was overreacting.

I expected to go in, feeling sheepish and silly, and then leave feeling even more sheepish and silly.

Instead I left scared. Sad. Ashamed.

(I believed it was my fault she was so behind, that we weren't working with her as we should, that we hadn't been doing enough one-on-one time, as we tried -- apparently unsuccessfully -- to balance now having two kids.)

May 25, 2012, was the beginning of ... everything.

I mean, we often refer to our lives in different stages: childhood, teenage years, high school, college, etc. Ray and I often say "before we were married," our Fridley (Minn.) years, and our Bemidji years.

Now we have a whole new slew of eras: the before-kids years, the only-Lola years, and then Millie... We have the "before we knew" years, that "really dark sad time" (late 2012 to early 2013), and the current time, which has yet to have a name, but we often just think of it as our "new normal,' when things are good, stable, happy, but we're still juggling a hell of a lot more than we'd ever imagined.

So two years. To say it feels like two decades is not a stretch.

A year ago, we were so incredibly happy. She had just learned to walk. Just shy of her second birthday. We were celebrating. And euphoric.

Today, we're still celebrating. We're signing, all of us. We're singing and playing and praying and praising and dancing.

But it's still hard.

Sometimes it just punches you in the gut. The last few weeks have been that way. Life, in general, keeps throwing up little speed bumps, (like, did I mention I broke the tub and flooded the basement last week?) which is to be expected.

But, in addition to that, we're also going through the arduous process of more evaluations for Millie as we look to find out what services she will receive from the school district as she transitions from the birth to 3 years old program to 3 to 5 years old.

And while it's all going fine, everyone is super helpful and friendly and fun, it's also ... a gut-punch in some ways. To fill out questionnaires on what your your kids can and cannot do, what they understand and don't understanding, and, my personal favorite, the number of words, sentences and phrases your child uses on an average day, it can all be overwhelming at times.

But we do understand the need for such evals, to determine where she will best fit as she moves forward. It just provides a few ... pains as you check 16 "no" responses in a row.

That said, there also have been many, many moments of joy and fun.

One favorite involved a piece of white paper. She was asked on the first to copy a circle, drawing her own version of the circle down below. Millie can do this. And she did. Quite well.

They flipped the paper over to reveal on the next side a plus sign, and they asked her to copy this. Millie knows how to do vertical lines, and on rare occasional she can make a horizontal line, but she hasn't quite grasped how to make them intersect. And she hates to fail or to show that she can't do that.

So this little girl, not quite 3 years old, she picked that paper up, looked through the paper, and copied the circle from the other side that she could see through the flimsy sheet of paper.

And then she grinned proudly.

- Bethany :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Flashback!

So I could tell you all about my crappy week, all about broken bathrooms and flooded basements.

But I'd rather just stick my head in the sand for tonight and, instead, look back on a much happier time: Easter.

I never got around to posting pictures from Easter because of our impromptu Chicago trip, which was quickly followed by our veterinary visits, work, school, therapies, and new evaluations.

Better late than never, right?

***
Easter was simply wonderful. I honestly can't recall a better family experience in recent memory.

Millie has been obsessed with colors lately so the idea of putting colors in cups blew her mind.

Then, when she soon learned we were coloring eggs, she went absolutely nuts. (Seriously, I bought a few egg dye kits on clearance and I'm debating whether to break them out this summer just for the fun of it all...)

Here she is asking, with her index finger, "One more time, Mommy. One more time." (And at this point, I was only dissolving the color tablets...)

Here she is signing, "Orange." Her most favorite color.

***
Once we got the first batch of eggs into the cups, we let them sit for a while, to get them really vibrant.

It was the perfect time to start my other project.

I very much wanted to do something with the girls that was kid-friendly but would also focus on and further reinforce the Easter story to them. Thankfully, Ray was more than happy to put it all together, with the girls' "help" of course...



(Note: I take zero credit for coming up with this idea. I found it online here.)

We decided to leave the tomb closed, as we made this on Good Friday. We agreed to open the tomb Easter Sunday, when we returned home from my dad's...

***
Then, with Calvary all set to go, it was time to get back to the eggs.

Here, Millie is signing "color" -- it's not the "true" ASL sign though. She made this up on her own at one point several months ago and I'm all for encouraging her to find her own voice, so to speak, so we go with it.

Here, she is just beaming with Ray. Such a special energy these two have together, it just melts my heart...

I love this photo (above). You can almost hear her saying, "Be careful Daddy. Careful Daddy! That's my egg!" The awe of childhood.

***
Easter weekend was spent at my dad's place, where we went into town and took part in the local egg hunt.

First, the girls won a few small trinkets...

Then they won some big prizes! They both won new bikes!

Lola, of course, insisted the training wheels come off and got to work...

She obviously has yet to master the two-wheel thing. But she's getting awful close.

***
We had the traditional egg hunt Sunday...



And then we went home, where we knew we had one more special job awaiting us. 



Happy (much belated) Easter.
- Bethany

Friday, May 9, 2014

marriage...

Life. It makes me laugh, and cry, but mostly laugh.

Here's a not-very-recent-but-kind-of-recent email exchange between myself and Ray.

Me: FYI, I'll be working late-ish tonight, like til 6ish. You probably should get Millie, just in case. And tomorrow, I'll be home to help with gymnastics but afterward, at 7 p.m., I'm going to the airport for an interview for a while.

Ray: Okay

Me: Thank you. Also, we need milk if you're buying groceries.

Ray: Lola and I will stop before I get Millie.

Me: ty (thank you)

Ray: Fyi I have a meeting on Tuesday that might go till six.  It's a Tuesday so you'll be on your own at gymnastics for a bit, is that okay

Me: I'll make it work. I have an interview from 4-5:30 that day but I'll figure it out. I do have school board Monday though. At 5. So you'll be doing it all that night.

Ray: That's fine

Me: Okay

Ray: Go Team Wesley!  A marriage is so different than what I thought it was.

Me: Um, in a good way or bad way?

Ray: Neither just it's not all about love.  Don't get me wrong you need that but you also need to work together and put up with each other.  I feel like all we do is juggle life.

Me: But isn't it love that makes you want to help and vice versa? I mean, it's love that makes you willing to compromise on things that you really don't want to, because you know that the other person needs you, depends on you. But I do agree. I think that's why marriage is often referred to as a partnership, or spouses as partners.

Ray: Fyi usually fear is why I help you.  :-)

***

Happy weekend.
- Bethany

Thursday, May 8, 2014

fingers crossed...



Mustang is at the vet now.  Hoping for good news..

- Bethany

 ***

UPDATE: He's doing better.

His eye is healing, albeit slowly. They told us to up his medication from twice a day to three times a day and we'll bring him back next Thursday.

Still too early to say whether he'll be permanently blind in that eye...

It's been a rough ride for our pooch. He keeps spiking fevers and last night, he, um, lost control of his urinary functions and seemed to be disoriented and lost, not knowing where he was or what was happening around him.

He woke up more chipper again today.

So, here's to hoping...

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

quick hits...

Sigh. I'm so behind.

I can't possibly adequately cover everything that's happened in the last 2-3 weeks so here's a few bullet points to catch you up, in case you're wondering what's been happening.

1.  Easter was beautiful and wonderful. Both girls won bikes at a local egg hunt. Which was quite funny and very exciting. The girls loved Easter and church and spending time with lots of family members. It was perfect.

2. We came home late Easter day and found that the cat had somehow gotten out while we were loading the car. She spent about 36 hours outside and was not happy with us when we returned.

3. My uncle died. So the girls and I made a whirlwind trip to Chicago to be with family for the funeral and associated events. It was there that Lola met Lola...

4. The cat began acting funny. And one day her fur got ... icky. So Ray took her to the vet and found that while she was outside she was apparently attacked by another very large animal and, after shaving her down, they found some rather depp bite marks all along her back that had gotten infected. How we didn't notice this, I have no idea. She got antibiotics and seems to be recovering well.

5. However, at some point either prior to her diagnosis or right after (I tend to think before...) she somehow managed to get Mustang in the eye. And he got the infection in his eye. And how he's, well, blind. Hopefully temporarily, but it's been a week now with the medication and he seems to be more miserable now than before. He goes back in Thursday...

6. Millie is now into the next phase of evaluations to figure what, if any, services she will get from the school district for the coming year. She "graduates' from the birth to 3-year-old program this summer and is transitioning into the 3- to 5-year-old programming.

7. It's also May. Which means I'm knee-deep in work stuff, as I'm mostly an education reporter. So I've got like seven graduations coming up, prom, testing season, editing and proofing for the next issue of our magazine, etc., etc., etc., not to mention that now Lola is in school and extracurriculars, so we have her end of the year programming, shows and celebrations. Just life, I know. But it's a crazy time in life.

8. The garage door broke this morning. Not sure why.

9. Millie is apparently having nightmares and is waking up fairly regularly from 2-4 a.m.

10. Memorial Day/weekend is right around the corner so that means (sad face) that;s it is only about three more weeks before we lose Ray for the summer. He'll be working out of town six days a week through about September. We're thrilled for the work and the extra $ of course, but it's always a tough adjustment.

So that's where we've been.

Our chaotic, beautiful life, as always. Just like yours, I am sure. We live the life we cultivate. And we love ours, 98 percent of the time. I just wish the puppy would get better.
- Bethany