Archive for January, 2013

Give me 50!


We go through seasons in every area, don’t we? I know I do.

I even go through seasons of trying different consequences for my kids’ disobedience and disrespect. I’ve tried everything from corporal punishment, to being sent to your room, to losing a privelege, to being grounded, to having extra chores, to soap in the mouth… I’ve tried many things…with different levels of success.

The latest?

Give me 50! Give me 10! Give me 20! Give me 4!

Jumping jacks, push ups, sit ups, laps around the block.

Seriously. Why not get some good sweat, pain, and exercise at the same time you’re teaching a lesson?! I’ve decided it’s a great form of “punishment” for boys. Especially the time when one of them did 2 laps around the block in the rain when it was 30 degrees!

(Now before you go calling CPS, my boys have good coats and rain jackets hanging in their closets — I just haven’t been successful in giving them the good sense to put them on their cold little bodies; and it was pretty much done raining; and it was 37 degrees, which is darn near 40 degrees which isn’t below freezing!)

But did it get that boy’s attention? Ummmm, yeah.

I love the fact that push ups and sit ups can be done anywhere. At home, in a parking lot, at church, at Walmart … In fact, one of my boys gave me 20 sit-ups at basketball practice last week. Funny thing is, he chose to do them outside in the freezing cold weather instead of doing them inside the gym so that none of his teammates would see him doing sit-ups for me!

Truth is, we are trying to exercise more, get healthier, slim down, etc… so I think this “punishment” is a great choice! Love it!

Disobey? Do something good for your body!

Bother and annoy your brother? Get up and exercise!

Slow to obey? Well, hurry yourself around the block a couple of times!

Give me 20!

Love it!


photo credit: and

Painful, Tear-Inducing Conversations

Sounds like this might be a tear jerker, eh? Well, believe me, it was practically a tear jerker for me, but thankfully we were able to laugh together in the midst of the pain …. 😉

I’m not positive that all parents experience this — I’m hoping y’all do — but it seems like Paul and I experience it all too often. Those conversations that you have with your children in which they appear so clueless, so … not-with-it-all, so …what-the-heck-is-going-on-here …. I obviously don’t know how to explain it. But as usual, please tell me I’m not alone here …

The scene: Paul checked out the graphic novel of The Lightning Thief for Zippy. Zippy, very excited, began reading it immediately. By dinner time he had read a couple of chapters. Below are some painful snippets of our dinner conversation:

Zippy: Elliot, is Luke in The Lightning Thief?

Elliot: Well, yeah! He’s like one of the main characters!

Zippy: I know that, but …

Me: What??? What do you mean you know that?? You just asked if he was even in the book!!

<shaking head>

Zippy: Elliot, does Luke fight Aries for the lightning bolt in The Lightning Thief?

Elliot: (with a how-could-you-be-so-stupid tone) It doesn’t have anything to do with the lightning bolt.

Zippy: (genuinely) Then why does he fight him?

Elliot: (frustrated) Because Aries was trying to get it!!

Silence … as Zippy and I just look at each other … stunned, … confused.

Me: (amazed at where I think this conversation is headed) Trying to get what?? (I nearly hated to ask…)

Elliot: (with his now-Mom’s-being-stupid tone) The lightning bolt!

Me: But you just said it had nothing to do with the lightning bolt!!

<shaking head, fighting tears>

Then Elliot informed Zippy that Rick Riordan (the author of the original novel) didn’t even write the graphic novel. I jumped in and informed my know-it-all teenager that Rick Riordan’s name is, in fact, on the book. Elliot was surprised and stood corrected.

Zippy’s response was a genuinely confused yet interested, “What book?


And that’s when I started screaming and yanking out clumps of my own hair.

How do I do it? And why do I have to do it? And how do either of them have intelligent conversations when I’m not there to help??!!

As I said, we all had a good laugh at their … their … odd and clueless … amazing … weird … clueless …. Oh, sheesh. I guess I have no words. Just shaking my head.

Conquering the World

Garage Door

Garage Door (Photo credit: lobo235)


How can accomplishing one measly task make me feel like I just conquered the world?


Why can I not wipe this silly grin off my face?


I feel like a conqueror!


I completed a household repair of sorts.


For a week or so my garage door opener has been very tempormental. It has finally cooperated nearly every time, but I have to push and push and push and mash each time I raise or lower the garage door. Twice it has failed to work, and one of the boys has had to get out of the car and go push the other button, which is a pain.


Well today I arrived home from a meeting in the middle of the day, and the door would not open. Push. Push. Push. Mash. Mash. Push. Nothing. I decided that I should go immediately and get a new battery for the remote. I drove to Radio Shack, which is not far from my house, hoping they could help me.


I walked in the store carrying my garage door remote and was greeted kindly by a young man who appeared to be about 11. (Why is it that all of these employees are looking more like grade school students than employees these days?? A musing for another day …)


The end of the story is that this boy young man was able to help me — replace the batteries and send me on my way for less than $15. I was thrilled. I wanted to let his mommy his boss know how happy he made me. But I decided to stick to the old pay-and-just-leave routine.


Once home, of course, the remote didn’t work since its batteries had been removed. (I say “of course” here because I’m pretending I wasn’t sitting in the driveway for several minutes pushing and mashing the button and grumbling about that little boy little punk young man who didn’t know what the heck he was doing. He probably put the batteries in upside down. That’s what they get for hiring such pip squeaks. Until it hit me that the batteries had been removed and probably it wasn’t going to work until it was reprogrammed. I was going to have to figure out how to reprogram the remote. My apologies for the things I muttered about the nice young man who helped me.)


I quickly googled “program garage door opener” which took me to some helpful youtube videos of how to do the job. I grabbed the step ladder, headed to the garage, checked the brand name and model number of the garage door opener, and found an appropriate video. I carefully followed the extremely complicated, multi-step process the very simple 2-step instructions, and voila! the thing was good as new!




I had done it!



I had conquered the garage door remote!


And I was thrilled with myself for my accomplishment!

Thrilled. Victor. Conqueror. Happy, happy woman.

Wanna piece of me?? Huh??


(Pathetic, isn’t it?? Please tell me I’m not alone here …)


Of Course She Knows

Recently while eating lunch with friends, I allowed Chloe to play with my phone, an iPhone4. Paul doesn’t agree with my decision to allow Chloe to play with my phone and often suggests that I do otherwise. He fears that she will mess something up.

To be sure, the girl has a history of “messing things up” on electronics. She has created a password on a computer’s harddrive, literally locking us out of it forever. She has hidden and/or deleted numerous things on different phones and computers. She has added a password to my voicemail, locking me out of it for weeks. She has downloaded lots of different apps and programs in a mere split second. Sometimes she returns the phone or computer or ipad with a less-than stellar screen — oftentimes there are smudges or some nasty stuff on the screen. Yes, these things happen. But they are nearly always fixable.

Mostly what Chloe does with my phone is listen to my voicemails, take photos, watch youtube, look at photos, and most recently navigate to her favorite Our Ordinary Days post.

Well, this particular day recently Chloe played quietly with my phone throughout lunch. When it was nearly time to go, I got my phone to put it away; but I noticed a new icon on the top of my screen. It was a padlock with a circle around it. Seeing a lock on my screen made me a little nervous, thinking she had probably added a password to my phone and I would be unable to unlock it if it went to sleep. Ugh.

I asked Paul and our friends at the table if they knew what this new symbol was, but no one knew what it was. Paul immediately went to the Settings in my phone and made sure we would not be locked out if it went to sleep, but the lock with the circle around it remained up top, teasing us.

Paul went to work trying to figure out what she had locked. Our friends went to work trying to figure out what she had locked. To no avail.

What would we do?

A bit later while Paul still struggled with my phone, our friends texted to say that the lock with the circle around it meant that the portrait lock was on. Portrait lock? What in the world? Paul went to work searching for the Portrait Lock. No luck. Nowhere.

Finally, I grabbed the phone from Paul and gave it to Chloe.

“Chloe, see that lock up there?” I asked calmly. “Will you make that go away for Mom?”

She set to work. We couldn’t see the screen and didn’t know what she was doing. Was she playing? Was she searching youtube? Was she videoing Dad’s frustration? Was she actually fixing it for me?

After about 15 seconds I asked her if she had fixed it for me. She nodded Yes. I asked her to give the phone back to me.

And guess what? The lock and circle icon was gone. She had fixed it in a matter of seconds. Now, why had we not asked her 20 minutes ago to fix it??!! Of course she knew how to fix it. She was well aware of what she had locked and how she had locked it.

So now the question is: was she just laughing at us the whole time we were struggling?

<sigh> What a funny, funny girl!

(In case you’d like to learn to lock your iphone in Portrait Orientation, you can learn how to by watching this video.:))

Just Say “No”

“Say ‘No’ to things that other people can do so you can do the things that only you can do.”

I have heard this advice several times at different conferences for parents who have children with disabilities. The sentiment hits home every time I hear it.

Life with a child / children with a disability is full and hard. It has challenges that other families don’t normally face. And the primary caregiver of that child is taxed and pulled day and night. It is true that there are many things that only the mom (or only the parent) of the child with a disability can do.

Only Mom can stay up all night caring for the child’s needs.

(I am using ‘Mom’ since it’s my musings…but I know sometimes it is the Dad or the Grandparent who is the primary caregiver. Don’t be offended.)

Only Mom can attend all the school meetings required for a successful school year.

OnlyMom can take the child to the numerous doctor appointments.

Only Mom can do homework and practice and therapies (usually).

Only Mom can be a full-time advocate for the child.

Only Mom can do the at-home therapy routines built into the day.

Only Mom can ensure that the Ts are crossed and the Is are dotted at home.

Only Mom can sift through all the research and the advice.

Only Mom can schedule the appointments so they coordinate with school, lessons, and other committments.

Only Mom can ensure that the child’s sensory diet is regulated each day.

But guess what?

Someone else can be roomparent at school.

Someone else can be in charge of the party at church.

Someone else can headup the ladies’ Bible study.

Someone else can host the Mom’s group.

Someone else can volunteer at the hospital.

Someone else can babysit your friend’s child.

Someone else can be team Mom for the basketball team.

Someone else can even cook dinner, if needed.

Someone else can even do the laundry, if needed.

It makes sense when you think about it. And this past year, for the first time ever, I did a pretty good job of saying ‘No’ to things that someone else could do.

I said ‘No’ to being on the planning committee for VBS. I said ‘No’ to being race director for the school 5k. I said ‘No’ to helping with the Christmas musical. I said ‘No’ to being on a couple of committees at school.

These are all good things, and they are things that I helped with in the past. But I am in a season of realizing that some things need to give so that I can do the things that only I can do.

The bummer is that even though I’ve gotten better at respecting my limits and my boundaries, I have beaten myself up with guilt at different times for not being a part of those important things. I hated not helping with those things when those teams really needed the help. But I’m positive that it was the right decision for me and for my family for me to say ‘No.’

So that’s one thing I hope to change this year: to allow myself the freedom to say ‘No’ to things that someone else can do — and to not accept guilt for it.

Do you need to hear this message today? Do you need to allow yourself to say ‘No’ to something to ensure your being available to do the things that only you can do?

We can’t do it all. But we do have a responsibility to our family … and to ourselves … to be available physically and emotionally. Just one of the things I’m learning …

photo credit:

A Scare

Zachary’s asthma had been inching back into view the last couple of weeks. It started slowly, and he required nightly breathing treatments at bedtime. Then, he started needing a treatment at bedtime and one or two during the night. Then, cold symptoms appeared, and Zachary got more miserable. By the time we got to our out-of-town destination to celebrate Christmas with family, his asthma was getting out of control.

We ended up going to ER the next night after returning back home since the rescue medicines that we have at home were not making much of a dent in his coughing and wheezing. That trip to ER ended up being a 10-hour experience that lasted from 8PM to 6AM. It was brutal, being there all night long and getting no sleep at all.

Zach was diagnosed with walking pneumonia, bronchitis, and bronchospasms along with his asthma. At the end of the 10 hours, his stats had improved enough to head back home.

We came home, crawled into bed at 6:30AM and slept for 6 hours. We continued treatments and meds throughout that day, New Year’s Eve.

At 6:30PM Zachary asked if he could stay up til midnight to see the new year in. I responded with an “absolutely not!” Then, less than 30 minutes later, Zippy had showered and crawled back in the bed before 7:00PM.

That night proved to be a bad asthma night, too. We continued treatments each time Zippy woke up coughing and wheezing. How it happens with him is he breathes in pretty decently, but the air gets stuck in his lungs, and he can’t exhale. He coughs violently to push the air out of his lungs. The medicines work to open up the passageways, stop the spasms, and allow the air to enter and exit more easily.

Finally at 1AM, Zippy woke up in a coughing fit. He vomitted several times and was in a violent coughing fit having lots of trouble with every single breath. In between heaves, I heard him say to himself very matter of factly, “I’m dying.”

He is well aware how serious asthma is and knows that he could have died from asthma several times in his life.He also has heard stories of when he had pneumonia when he was 5 and knows that pneumonia can be deadly, too.

He came back to the bed and we began more treatments which were terribly slow to help his breathing. He was in pain and was really struggling to breathe. I looked up from working on the nebulizer and meds to see his very large, very panicked eyes, and they were brimming with tears.

“Am I gonna die?” he asked with thick, very real fear.

“No, Baby. You’re not gonna die. We’ve got this,” I tried to assure him.

But he wouldn’t be convinced and the tears started falling and the wails started sounding. He was sure this was the end and that he was dying.

I had to give him a stern talking to about not crying. Crying at a time like this would do nothing but exasperate the problems, causing more mucus and more issues. I reminded him that now was not the time to cry and tried to assure him that he was not going to die.

“We’ve got this,” I said over and over. “But you have to keep breathing. Don’t talk; don’t cry. Your job is to breathe. We’ve got this.”

In a whispered voice between gasps of air, he asked me to get Dad and Elliot. He wanted them in the room and wanted hugs from them. He told me later that he remembers one night when paramedics were in our house working on him during an asthma attack, and Elliot was watching, with terrified eyes, from the hallway. For some reason, that’s why Zippy needed him in there now.

I didn’t get Elliot, but I did go get Paul to be with Zachary, who was still in repiratory distress.

Just so you know, I realize I really should have called 911 at that point, but I decided to give it another minute. Thankfully, things started to turn around really shortly.

I laid there beside him with my hand on his chest, feeling and listening carefully to each breath. I kept checking in with Zachary, asking if he could feel the medicine helping or not so I’d know whether to call the ambulance or not. He said each time that it was getting better. Finally, one time when I asked, he noticed his voice was stronger and it didn’t hurt to answer me, and he got a little spark in his eye.

“I did it! It’s gone for now!” he said with a big smile and an amazing amount of relief.

And, yes, it was over for now. This terrible attack was done, and we could rest for a bit.

We laid there together and tried to relax back to sleep while I kept my hand on my boy’s chest. When I noticed his eyes still open, I knew he was struggling with a fear that 11-year-olds shouldn’t have to struggle with.

“You can go to sleep, Baby. I’m not going to let you die,” I said, realizing the trust he had to have in me at times like this.

“Will you wake me up if it gets bad again?” he needed to know.

“Your body will wake you up. You can go to sleep. It’s okay,” I told my scared little boy.

And he closed his eyes and was asleep in 60 seconds, feeling secure enough to give in to sleep.

I laid there with my hand on his chest, listening to his breathing for a long time. I wished that I never had to say such a phrase to my child: “You can go to sleep, Baby. I’m not going to let you die.” The things I never thought I’d have to say…

But then I thought of people I know who have been in the position that they couldn’t make that promise to their child because their health was so bad and was so out of their control that they couldn’t promise their child that they wouldn’t die while they were asleep.

And I was thankful. Thankful for my son … and for my other two children. Thankful for how blessed and healthy we all really are. Thankful that I could promise Zachary with confidence that I would take care of him. Thankful. So thankful.

Happy New Year!

I love a new beginning! A fresh start!

A time to start some new goals and turn over some new leaves.

A time  to make changes. A time to make improvements.

A time to do some things that I’ve been intending to do for weeks or months.

A time to become the new you … the new ME!

Love it!

I’m definitely planning on making some changes in my life and in my family’s lives. I am challenging myself and my family in several different areas. And I’m looking forward to succeeding at it. I’m looking forward to the feeling of success and to the feeling of accomplishment.

I may fail as I have so many times before. But that won’t stop me from trying!

Perhaps 2013 will be the year!

I’m refraining from sharing my goals today … but I’m hoping that I’ll give you some good, positive reports soon about our progress.

Bless you, friend, in the pursuit of your goals today and this year. Let’s make 2013 a great year of family, happiness and success!

Here’s to US in 2013! 🙂


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