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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Afraid to Say Much

I have about one minute to post something and am afraid to say much because if I start, I might not be able to stop. I really, really tried to be "glass half full" this trip. Really, I did. My glass is near empty right now. It started when there wasn't a plug in our aisle on the plane for the DVD player (ours in November had one and for some reason, we don't have a battery for ours). It was the longest 2 1/2 hours of my life. I had Gia on my lap wanting to get down and crying when she couldn't and throwing every snack I gave her at the person in front of us and chucking the binky, book or toy on the floor. I had Isabella on one side of me asking every ten minutes, "Are we landing because my ears hurt?" I finally had Gia almost sleeping and right by her head, Belle decided to open a bag of crackers. Then Leo, who decided a burrito would be a great thing to eat before we got on the plane, felt no burp should be stifled. I was sweating and kept thinking, Why am I not skinnier?

Being here at Leo's mom's has been hard because Gia is not at an easy age and hasn't slept that great. There are open ceilings so any conversations are loud ones even if the people aren't loud but Leo's mom and Arnie are loud so it is even harder. I wanted to go out for sushi with everyone but Gia fell asleep on me because that is the only way she'll sleep through the noise that is my other kids, Leo and his family so they went without me. Leo's mom and Arnie thought they could babysit but there was no way I was going to put her down once she was sleeping. It took forever to get her to go to sleep. It's a joke trying to do anything with everyone because everyone wants to do different things. The highlight so far has been the delicious salted, caramel hot chocolates at their Target. I sat in a Walmart parking lot for an hour while Leo looked for little fish to catch bigger fish with. Gia was napping so he thought that it would be okay.

The silver lining and glass half full is that the weather is really nice and we've been able to go to the pool (where Gia likes it for 10 minutes). The first day swimming, Belle had a split lip and Tommy thought he almost drowned (he swallowed some water). Good times.

Sadly, there is so much more that I don't even know if I'll ever be able to post about. I don't know who reads this but I know Leo does and why fight twice? We are headed to Orlando tomorrow. I am hoping that someone has a giant, frozen, strawberry margarita waiting for me by the pool.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Nice Parent/Mean Parent

Can you guess which one I am? I am the mean parent and I am so tired of it. I want to be the nice one but if you have two nice parents, no one brings any clothes to Florida. When you only have to pack for yourself (Leo), you are automatically the nice parent because you are not stressed out. I will say that while I don't like that he gets to be the nice parent all the time, I am very grateful that he took care of the arrangements for this trip so I can't rag on him too much.

I have taken procrastination to a new level. I think I am in full blown denial that we are leaving tomorrow. I hate packing. It used to be hard enough packing for myself. I do not know how to pack lightly and with Gia in the mix, there is just so much stuff. The other kids don't help much but seem to need to hang out with their friends until the very last minute. I was fine with that since it aided in my procrastination of packing but then...the dreaded question came up, "Can we have a sleepover?" Ugghhh...we are going away for a week and I have million things I need everyone to do so why am I a jerk for saying no?

There are a few families that are meeting in Orlando. One of Nico's best friends isn't going to Florida but we were trying to talk them into coming so they came over. I felt terrible saying no to the sleepover but Nico hasn't done one single thing to help me get ready and he has been notorious this week for needing me to do something for him and not really doing his share around here. My feeling is that the gratitude level should match the inconvenience level. If I have to drive enzymes to his school during Gia's nap, he better be shouting thank yous and hugging and kissing me and not dare ask me to drive him to a friend's house later. Leave it to Nico to get grounded for being disrespectful the weekend before we leave. If he isn't a lawyer with his natural ability to argue, it is just wasted skills.

This, by the way, is a GREAT way to leave for the first part of our trip which is to Leo's mom's. We are staying with her and Arnie from Sunday night until Thursday morning and while there, I am ALWAYS the mean parent. I am also the inept parent who doesn't care if my kids have coats on, eat vegetables or have culture in their lives. Apparently, I also don't know how to dress while in Boca Raton but that is for another discussion. After 22 years of a turbulent relationship, Leo's mom and I are finally on good terms but it takes very little for all of those feelings to come flooding back. We had a great time when they met us in Orlando in November but that was only for two days and we weren't sharing a living space. Usually, I look very forward to going because they babysit every night so Leo and I can have some time alone. It is so nice to go out to eat and then we always end up at the two-story Barnes and Noble which I LOVE! This time we have Gia and as much as my mother-in-law would like to believe that just because they have a genetic link, Gia will automatically love her, the reality is that Gia doesn't stay with many people so I am not sure how much alone time I'll get. I keep getting the image of everyone out having a grand old time with me back in the townhouse with a very crabby baby.

I will most likely not get a chance to blog while gone but I am sure there will be a lot to post when I get back. Wish me luck to survive Spring Break with four kids, a plane ride with a one year old, a husband that doesn't like to do much, no t.v., the inlaws and Orlando where Leo doesn't want to go to any parks (I LOVE the parks because there I am the nice parent). I least I am getting away from Chicago weather so when Gia is crying on the plane, I'll remember that. From Thursday to Sunday we will be with good friends so I am looking forward to some hanging out away from the demands of everyday life. Hopefully, the friends that aren't coming will throw caution to the wind and drive down and crash with us.

While writing this, Nico woke up and apologized for being a jerk (even knowing he is still grounded from hanging out and can't play the xbox until he is done packing) so there is hope that something I said to him got through and he realized he was out of line. I have a feeling I won't be the nice parent until he is away at college...just in time for the others to still bring out the mean parent.

Friday, March 25, 2011

My Reality TV

This is a post that is because I need to lighten things up both on here and in my head. By this time, most of the tv shows I watch are over so I thought I'd share who I am rooting for in each of them (if you watch any of these and haven't yet, don't read this post):

Celebrity Apprentice: I used to love Dionne Warwick's music. I remember my mom playing her records when I was little. I am very sad that in reality she is a whopper of a *itch. I still can't stand Star and Jose can leave at any time. On the women's side, still rooting for Marlee. On the men's, still John Rich or Mark McGrath. Gary Busey is a train wreck and I feel bad that with his brain injury, Trump uses him like a circus clown.

Top Chef: I am rooting for Richard but only because I really don't like Mike. I wanted there to be an upset with Antonia beating Mike but it was not to be. I really wanted Trey to win but he left way back when.

America's Next Top Model: Molly, though she is a little snarky and Hannah, because she seems normal. I can't stand Alexandria or Monique. They are mean, mean, mean.

American Idol:I was really surprised this week but I guess that is what they wanted with all the theatrics. I still don't have a favorite. I still like a bunch of them. Haley is our CF nurse's niece so we were so thrilled that she will be going on tour!

Real Housewives of OC and Miami: OC has become rated R and there isn't one housewife that is likeable. I think it is funny that they edit it to show how competitive the two moms are. Can't stand "one-uppers" (you know, the ones that when you tell them in passing that your child made brownies for you and they come back with their child made them a seven course meal). Miami is a little easier to watch. I can't help but like Cristy. She reminds me of my sister in that she is tough as nails and doesn't put up with any crap. I don't like Lea and it hurts my eyes every time Marysol or her mom (who does remind me of someone)are on the screen.

Bethenny Ever After: I only watch this when I can and don't DVR it but I TOTALLY agreed with her on the inlaw issue and thought Jason was being ridiculous but that might be my own baggage clouding my viewpoint.

I love my TV.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Not All the Answers but Some

Driving to Lutheran General Hospital sucks the energy right out of you. I will elaborate later but I am exhausted. The lovely, 12 year old doctor (I'm kidding but seriously, when did all the doctors start being younger than me?) does not feel like it is arthritis of any kind. That was a HUGE relief! She really thinks it is erythema nodosum which is "reddish, painful, tender lumps most commonly located in the front of the legs below the knees. The tender lumps, or nodules, of erythema nodosum range in size from 1 to 5 centimeters. The nodular swelling is caused by a special pattern of inflammation in the fatty layer of skin." Several things cause it with strep being the most common. They are ruling out Crohn's Disease, Sarcodoisis, Lupus and Ulcerative Colitis and if you know me, you know that I hate that phrase..."ruling it out" because I have heard it before and what they were ruling out was what the kids had so when I hear it, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. They took 6 vials of blood which left Tommy weak. Once they rule out all of the scary things, they are going to put him on a low dose of penicillin to keep the erythema nodosum at bay. We won't know anything for a week or so.

They think the dizziness is from sinusitis and are giving him antibiotics. The chest pain they think is from baseball. I am tired just trying to figure it all out.

There were a few funnies along the way that if I remember them, I'll post tonight. Looking forward to going to Barnes and Noble to erase this exhausting day.

Scary Dream

I couldn't sleep last night and when I finally did, I dreamed that I was in a park where lions and tigers were roaming free and I was petrified. My kids were all excited and going right up to them but I knew they were going to hurt them or possibly kill them. I was trying to keep them away from all of them but the animals kept coming by them and the kids kept wrangling free. I was begging Leo to help me but he just kept saying, "It's fine." I woke up right when Tommy wandered into the open lion's cage. The first thing I thought of when I woke up was, am I feeding Tommy to the lion's today? He woke up with a bloody nose which he normally doesn't get and normally doesn't send me into a panic but why today of all days?

I will post when I get back from the doctor. It will be fine. It will be fine.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Feeling Anxious

A funny conversation with Tommy yesterday on the way to bringing Nico enzymes because not only did he forget to bring them but he forgot to tell me the nurse was out of them, too:

Tommy: Why does my chest still hurt?
Me: I don't know why your chest still hurts. Maybe we'll find out on Thursday. You know, there might be a chance that they won't let you get on an airplane if you are still having chest pains. (It was probably not smart to say this to him but this thought did cross my mind and I thought if I said it, it would mean there was no way that would happen.)
Tommy: You know, I think I am going to feel much better tomorrow.
Me: Tommy, are you faking this? Does your chest not hurt anymore?
Tommy: Mom, why don't you believe me? I swear, it really hurts. My own mom and you don't believe me. (He looked like he might start crying and his little, raspy frog voice cracked a little.)
Me: I do believe you. I wouldn't have taken you to the ER if I thought you were faking but I really hope you aren't crying wolf. (There is dead silence.)
Tommy after about five seconds and very confused: Mom, I didn't say anything about a wolf. We weren't even talking about wolves. I don't even know what you are talking about. That was really random, Mom.

Apparently, my son did not know the "Boy Who Cried Wolf" story.

I'm nervous about Tommy's appointment tomorrow. I want to say that I have faith that everything is going to be okay. I want to believe that a kid who is already in a battle for his life won't have to battle something else that will threaten to stop him from doing the things he loves. I know my faith will bring Tommy and me through this eventually but right now I am having a normal, human reaction to having to face things I don't want to and that is that I am scared. I am afraid that in the need and want to find out what is wrong with Tommy, the answer will be something more scary than what we are already dealing with. I've been on the other end of bad news too many times to count and I don't want to look back at this time as "before we knew" and "after we knew". People that have never had bad things happen to them think I am dramatic, a littel crazy and that I am overreacting. I really hope they are right.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Our Trip to the ER

We still don't have answers. We got there at 11:00 and didn't get back until 7:00. At first, they listened to what I was saying about his chest pains and having pains when he would breathe. As soon as I mentioned CF, they sort of threw up their hands as if to say, "What do you expect?" I hate that they attribute everything to CF but that's the thing...maybe everything is and I am just not used to it (or a little in denial) because we don't deal with the illness side so much as we do the preventative side. The nurse listened and heard a crackling so I was thinking, "Okay, give him some meds and send us on our merry way." They sent him for an xray and at that time, he was pretty weak and it dawned on me that I told the triage nurse he was dizzy but didn't tell the nurse when we got into the room. I panicked and couldn't find his nurse so I told the assistant sitting at the desk. The doctor went in and introduced herself and said she looked at the xray and it looked clear. "Like a kid that doesn't have Cystic Fibrosis." She listened to his lungs and said they were perfectly clear. In that moment, the happiness I felt at hearing those words..."like a kid that doesn't have CF" clouded my focus and I forgot to ask the doctor about the dizziness.

I want to interject here that Leo is against me ever taking the kids to the ER and when I insist that they go, he texts or calls me every two minutes telling me what he thinks is going on. He throws in a few suggestions of what to tell the doctors and asks a thousand questions. It is great fun on my end.

Anyway, the Advil they gave him thinking it was a pulled muscle wasn't helping and at about 3:30, he complained that he was still dizzy. The nurse came and I asked her about it and what do you know? The assistant never told her. It sent them all in a panic but not enough to run any tests, just enough to keep us there for a few more hours. There was a discrepancy between the pediatrician and the CF doctor about giving Tommy a steroid or not. The CF doctor won (I'm glad) and no steroids. I have a hard time telling the doctors what to do but I didn't think it was right to put him on steroids when the chest xray came back normal and they didn't do any labs on him. I'm always afraid to demand things like that (labs) because I have seen way too many Lifetime movies or Law and Orders about Munchausen Syndrome which if you know me, you know I am the farthest thing from that. Besides the Queen of Chaos, I am also the Princess of Denial. However the people at CDH don't know me so I am afraid to say too much. Finally at 7:00, he was released with NO ANSWERS other than his lungs were clear and he was probably dehydrated which I'm not really buying but with no labs, I guess we just don't know. A whole day gone that I will never get back.

Thanks for all the prayers. If you can keep them coming for his appointment at the rheumatoid specialist on Thursday, I would appreciate it. It just doesn't seem right that a child that has cystic fibrosis and asthma would also battle juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. I pray that this won't be one of those, "Well, life isn't fair" moments.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Never a Dull Moment in the Midst of Chaos: ER

I have to take Tommy to the ER. He was sent home with chest pains and dizziness. What the Hell happened from here to school because he was fine when he left here? I can't take him to his regular doctor because he'll send us to the rheumatoid specialist and we are going on Thursday. The CF doctor is too far so CDH it is. I'm taking him because he is lethargic and says it hurts a lot when he breathes but with Tommy's history of feeling this way and then getting to the ER and feeling absolutely fine and getting no answers, I don't know what to expect. If you are someone that prays, please pray that if we get answers, they aren't scary ones.

Thanks goes out to my friend, P.L. for going to get him and my sister, Gina for coming to watch Gia while I take him.

For the record, I know I could list countless others that would come if I called. Very blessed in that area.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Food Quirks

My food quirks might be a problem. I don't think I can ever yell at Nico for his weird obsessions with certain foods. I am the pickiest eater. I think I have always been. My dad used to hate going to McDonald's because I would only eat a plain cheeseburger and he hated waiting while they made it. I only like cheese pizza so when we are out ordering, I am the pain in the butt reason why we have one that is half whatever and half cheese. I hate when people say, "Can't you just take the pepperoni off?" Yuck. That taste seeps through. Anyway, I am picky but there are certain foods that are on my "have to have" list.

Scrambled eggs (1 egg and 1/4 egg beaters) with a little bit of cheese.
Green Tea
Nachos with Baked Tostito chips and Target brand reduced fat cheese (BEST reduced fat cheese. It melts like regular cheese)
Swanson's Chicken broth, Minute Rice Microwave Cups and Asiago Cheese (fastest bowl of soup that tastes like my mom's homemade)
Lean Cuisine's Spinach and Artichoke Panini (I know they are going to come out that this isn't as good for you as they say because it is so good.)
95% Fat Free Microwave Kettlecorn (I know they are going to say this is full of fat someday)
Apples and Chunky Peanut Butter

Quirks that fade in and out:
Turkey Melt Sandwiches
Celery and Cheddar Cheese Spread
Kellogg's Vanilla Almond Cereal
Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies (only because if I make them, I eat all of them so I don't make them very often)

Quirks that once were but were discontinued or too hard to find:
Wild Cherry Clearly Canadian
FrankenBerry Cereal
Swiss Creme Soda
Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate (but only Marshmallow Lovers). I can get this at regular stores but my Target stopped selling it.

The three reasons and latest obsessions for why I think this might be a problem are:

Strawberries and Baker's Dipping Chocolate
Starbuck's Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
Black Cherry Propel (which is hard to find in the six packs)

Yesterday it became very clear that I am obsessed with these three. I practically burst into tears when Leo surprised me with a Starbucks (and went out of his way to get it for me) after the night I had. It was so freaking good and I instantly felt like I could tackle the morning and all it brought with all of the kids here and on no sleep. Then I lit into Tommy because he and his friend snuck some of my Propels in the basement with them. I have about 100 juice boxes and 10 cases of pop but instead they sneak those. I asked Tommy why he didn't ask first and he said, "Because you would have said no." Nice. After the lecture about if you know my answer would be no, then don't take it because when you get caught, you'll be in trouble, I realized I am that weird mom of our friends growing up that wouldn't let us have the good stuff when we went over to their house. Yikes! When did I become her? You know that friend, right? You'd go to their house and they would never have good snacks (I do have good snacks though. You can ask anyone that has seen my pantry.) and when you'd finally find some, they'd say, "Oh, those are my mom's. We can't have them." So, has this realization made me want to share my black cheery? No, way! I am just going to buy the easy to find berry ones and give them those. Look, I gave up Coke about a year ago and I hate the taste of water so black cherry Propel is the only thing I drink (unless you count wine, vodka or margaritas). You know it is a problem when after two days of not having them, you run out to Target at 8:30 on a Saturday night to buy strawberries and chocolate. I'm pretty sure they are the reason that I'm afraid to get in a bathing suit in a week and yet, they are like my little treat at the end of the day. Kind of like a reward for everyone still being in one piece.

This has me I the only one that is like this? Leo isn't at all and the only thing I remember my mom being like this with was Shoestring Potato Chips. I the only one willing to admit to it?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What is Happening???

I have entered into some kind of nightmare where all of my kids have a friend sleeping over, Leo stays out late playing poker and Gia is up ALL freaking night and then for good at 4:00am. Now, on a normal night, I would let her cry but because we have three kids here that don't normally sleep here, I didn't want the whole house up at 2 and then 3 and then again at 4. I am not going to go into specifics because it would make this too long but to give you an idea of how the night went, a half hour after Tommy's friend came over, Tommy was standing on top of one of Gia's toys trying to find a bubble shooter behind my wedding album perched on top of a 6 1/2' shelf (for the record, it would never be where he was looking). He was literally hanging from the shelf. The image of the whole thing falling on him flashed in my mind as I became, "Tommy's mean mom that yells really loud." Isabella, who never wakes earlier than 9 on weekends was up at 6 and when she and her girlfriend were laughing loudly after I finally got Gia back to sleep said, "Geez, someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed," when I told them to be quiet. I deserve some sort of reward for the restraint I showed in that moment.

Why, do you ask, does every kid have a friend sleeping over when I hate sleepovers so much? Because at some point, if you don't say yes, you really do become the weird mom and then the fear is that because you are the weird mom, your kids become the weird kids. I feel the same way with playdates during the week. I don't like those either because with all the stuff going on with baseball, tumbling, tutoring, homework, dinner and Gia, the last thing I want to do is shuttle the kids around to their friends' houses from the hours of 4 to 6. I was told that EVERYONE thinks I am sooo strict because I always say no. Am I alone in thinking that their social lives aren't top priority? I mean, I hope they are making good friends and being good friends but do we have to spend every free moment with the friends? Are ALL the other kids getting together and forming unbreakable bonds that my child will not be able to join once the weekend comes? I am exhausted because I have fallen into that trap of not wanting them to be the weird kids. Shame on me because on top of not feeling that great and being incredibly sleep deprived, I am now so tired I can't see straight and that has made me become the mean, mean, snappy mom.

I had big plans to spring clean this weekend and the only thing I see in the near future is a nap but first I have to go buy Dunkin Donuts because I am not the "let's have a big, healthy breakfast" kind of sleepover mom. I am the "I was up all night so you are getting the food that takes the least effort to give" kind of mom.

Edited to add that the time on the blog shows when I started typing it. It is actually 8:00 now.

Friday, March 18, 2011

My Big Night Out

On Wednesday night, I got my well needed break. I took Nico to practice. Did I mention that Nico practices where an ex-boyfriend of mine works? If that isn't a reason enough to move further than ten miles from where you grew up, I don't know what is. I can't really pick Nico up in my standard pajama bottoms that could really pass for pants you could wear in public, no make-up and a goomba (for those that aren't familiar with that, it is an ugly half ponytaiil twisted into a scrunchie). I admit that I have hit an all time low for standards in how I will go out in public. It's a pain to pick Nico or Tommy up from there because I have to look okay without looking like I tried to look okay because I don't care how you ended with an ex, you don't want to look like you sometimes feel which is ragged and run down. You never want them to think, "Glad I dodged that bullet."

Anyway, I went to Barnes and Noble, which if I didn't say so already, is my favorite place to go and relax. I get a big hot chocolate and either sit at a table and write in one of my books or I browse the shelves. This time I was on the hunt for animal books for Gia and one on how to write short stories (I know you are laughing at that one but that is why I need a book). Since the ad thing didn't work out, I am going to try and do what I set out to when I started this blog and that is enter a few contests. A lot of them are for short stories so I was researching that. Yes, I did spend money on more books that I don't need but Gia looks so darn cute when she is sitting there looking like she is reading and yes I could give her a napkin and she can look like that but still...

I left there at 9:30 and decided that I really needed to make an appearance at Lifetime before they revoke my membership. On a sidebar, I did call them to find out when I didn't have to reserve a spot for Gia since that is what keeps me from going during the day and they said, "One." I got excited and they added, "and walking comfortably." I said, "See you in six months!" Anyway, at that time of night, it did feel a little more "meat markety" than normal. Remember the Zumba post? Well, LOTS of women were there in that get up (half shirt tank tops and tight pants) while I was in shorts, t-shirt and goomba. It was bizarre and to add to it, when I walked into the locker room, I went to a section where no one was using. All of the lockers were open and some girl, who knows nothing about personal space, walking very close to me, chose the locker right next to the one I chose. I wanted to laugh and ask her if it was a joke since there were 20 other lockers in that same section that were open, but she was totally serious. I went upstairs to the treadmills and found an older one that was surrounded by a bunch of empty ones so I could walk fast or run awkwardly alone and what do you know...the same girl went and got on the treadmill next to me. Shortest workout at Lifetime ever.

By the time I showered and left, it was close to 10:30. I debated going grocery shopping because it was either late and tired or early, tired and with Gia. I decided to go then and spent the next hour and a half at Meijer. I don't know what it is about places that are open 24 hours but the lighting in there makes you feel like it is in the middle of the afternoon and Meijer has things that Target doesn't (like black cheery Propel and hair products that swear they will tame the frizz and cute inexpensive clothes for Gia and most importantly, very tiny wine bottles that you can put in your purse to take to friends' houses). Did you know there is a whole herb aisle that promises to take care of anything that ails you? Before I knew it, it was midnight and I panicked. What was I doing in a store at midnight??? Why wasn't I asleep or at least at home? Then I looked around and there were some scary, weird people (and shockingly some kids) that shop at midnight and even scarier was the realization that I was one of them.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Angry Week- School Rant-Part 2 (long)

I want to start this rant by saying that Nico has had a few teachers that I think he is having a positive experience with and the principal is a great one that I think truly knows the students and cares about each of them. Each time a problem has come up, he has handled it promptly and he is very easy to talk to. Having said that, Nico can't be done with middle school fast enough. He had one of the worst teachers I have ever encountered. How she is still allowed to teach is beyond me. She has done irreparable damage to his confidence that he'll ever understand math. She is the kind of teacher that if a kid doesn't understand it, it must be because he/she wasn't paying attention, not because of the way she is explaining it. This problem didn't start the year Nico entered middle school and Nico wasn't the first one to struggle with her. Kids have had problems with her for years. Just saying her name gets a reaction from people. If so many kids struggled with her, why is she still there? To make an incredibly long story shorter (Have I ever succeeded at that?), she gave him B's all last year so that she wouldn't hear from us. He learned NOTHING (got D's and F's on tests but was allowed to correct them and A's on all homework and there was a lot of homework). She still heard from us because I couldn't understand why a kid who never struggled with math was struggling so much. Why was he doing all of the homework right but failing the tests? Instead of answering my questions she came back with, "With everything you have and that Nico has to deal with, why do you care so much about his math grade?" I found that to be incredibly insulting. Because he battles CF, we are supposed to be okay with him failing math? We found out that the class was considered advanced and that others were struggling, too. How in the world did he end up in an advanced class? It was based on ISAT scores and his grades in 5th grade, so again, ISATs, thank you for nothing.

Fast forward to this year and though his teacher has been very helpful and is a very good teacher, Nico has the class last period and I think both of them are ready for the day to be done. I'm sure that does not help her patience or his concentration but with a tutor, he is getting a C. He gets A's in every one of his other classes but thinks he is dumb because he struggles in math. His big fear is that he is going to have to repeat this class and he is not that far off. He has to pass a fraction assessment that he has apparently already failed once. If he does not pass it by the end of the year, he has to repeat the first half of Algebra 1. Why is this the first I am hearing about it? The counselor last year said, "Wait until high school. You have no idea what goes on and the teachers don't call the parents for anything." That is fine but he isn't in high school right now. I'm more mad at Leo and me for not pushing the issue of him repeating last year's PreAlgebra class. I was just so angry that it was a wasted year that I had hoped with a different teacher, he would catch up and it would finally click. I don't care if he repeats the class if it means less of a struggle for him but he really doesn't want to because he is already "embarrassed that I am stupid in math". I am angry that my son is at risk for having to repeat this class and no one bothered to tell me.

I am angry that it doesn't matter how confident he was or how good he once was at this subject, his teacher last year blew it to pieces. The effects of that experience now linger and will affect his placement in 8th grade and then in high school. It is absolutely his fault that he can't get past having a bad teacher. He will undoubtedly have more and will have to learn to rise above them to still succeed. The anger and frustration comes because I thought I did everything I was supposed to in order to help him. I went to the teacher at the first sign of trouble. When she did nothing, I went to the counselor. When I still felt like I was getting the run around from the teacher after the counselor's involvement, I went to the principal. I brought up him switching to basic math but the same teacher taught it and the principal said based on his test scores, he was where he should be and that he wasn't the only one struggling with this new program and that he would stay on top of it (and he did). I suppose in hindsight, we should have gotten him a tutor but who does that when their child is getting a B?

I guess if I am being honest, I need to admit that I am angry at Nico which in turn makes me angry at myself. When I see Leo help him or I try to with my limited math skills, I see the defeat in his eyes. I'm angry at him because he doesn't even open his mind to try to understand it and that is when I see myself and all of my own struggles with math. I see how math was always hard for me and for some reason there was a block there that I couldn't get past. In high school I dropped from Algebra 1 to Basic Algebra because I couldn't get higher than a C and I was a straight A student and that math grade was bringing down my GPA (I was a junior in high school which blows me away that he is doing it as a 7th grader. Which again brings me to, just because they CAN do Algebra in 7th grade doesn't necessarily mean they SHOULD). I was so relieved when he was in elementary school and he was good at math. He had Leo's math genes! He wasn't going to struggle like I did. Half the battle with math (or anything,really) is confidence in yourself that you can do it. One teacher (or anyone) that tells you that you can't and you are fighting an uphill battle. I am angry at myself for not working through my own struggles so that I would be better equipped to teach him how to work through his.

To add to the math stress, this year one of Nico's teachers told him, "I know all about CF and your mom is overwhelmed with your sickness. She is stressed and scared because she doesn't know how long you have to live." This teacher also told him when he was talking out of turn, "Do you think that because you have a physical disability, you can talk whenever you want?" She obviously doesn't know him at all or she would know that he plays football, basketball and baseball so I am unaware of the physical diability. Those that think I live in denial, it is because of people like this. The principal talked to her and told Nico he could drop her class but he didn't want people to ask what happened so I let it go.(Do I need to repeat why homeschooling is not an option?)

In the end, I try and remember that life is so much bigger than 7th grade math or middle school. Years from now, I hope it won't be this math experience or the stupid things people say to him that he remembers. I hope it is that his parents supported him through his struggles and frustrations and he came out no worse for the wear.

It's Been an Angry Week So Far: School Rant-Part 1

Let me first say that this post has nothing to do with the teachers that I am friends with or even Tommy and Belle's teachers this year (love, love, love them and if they could have them every year until middle school, I'd gladly be on board). When I was a teacher, I swore I would not be a pain in the butt parent. I knew what it was like on the teacher's side and I thought it would be easy to stay quiet. It is easy to be quiet when the teacher is a good one and there are LOTS of good teachers out there. I worked with most of them. For some reason, our school always had two teachers that gave minimal homework and two that gave a ton (we got lucky this year with the twins). Nico always had the ones that gave a lot. Let me say here that I firmly believe that just because a 3rd grader or 4th grader CAN do two hours of homework, doesn't mean they SHOULD. When I would ask the teacher about the excessive homework, she/he would say, "We are getting them ready for next year." I heard it every year and what I want to know is, when do they get to be in the grade that they are in? It was hard when Nico would come home everyday saddled with an hour of two of homework and his friend who had one of the other teachers had none. He did not goof off and he was a good student so it wasn't as if he struggled to get it done. It was just a lot. It was so frustrating that it wasn't the same across the board and that wasn't the case in 6th grade either. One of the "teams" gave a ton of homework and the other gave hardly any. Guess which one Nico was on? He entered 6th grade and we braced ourselves for all the homework all of his teachers said he would have and it never came. This was not the case for all 6th graders. Some of Nico's friends did have hours of homework. Nico didn't because of when he had Study Hall (second to last period). He was and continues to be smart to use that time wisely and he gets most of it done there. So really all of the homework he had in 5th grade was just that. Let me say here that I am all for meaningful homework. If they have to read a chapter and write a summary, great. If they have a math worksheet that reinforces the concept that they learned that day, sounds good. Do I think they should have them on the same day? No. Especially when they have to write their 15-20 spelling words in a sentence that has to have more than eight words in it (do not even get me started on the useless spelling know a great way to learn how to spell a word? As boring as it effective, write the word three times but instead they are doing a word jumble because it sounds more fun. How I cringe when I hear, "Mom, can you help me find...) and then read and write in their reading log. The homework that makes me crazy is the busy work. Kids are already busy. They don't need a useless worksheet that the teacher got off the internet. What I do see happening is that our curriculum is so heavy and our class sizes are so big that it is impossible for the teachers to fit it in the day so the overflow is what makes it home. Many times the kids will come home and have a question about a concept and I'll ask them what they learned in school and often the answer is either, "We didn't do this in school" or "She/He went really fast and I didn't understand it." I don't necessarily blame the teachers but I still question why some classes have a lot and some have hardly any and how do I get my kids on the list for the ones that give hardly any?

Some have said if I don't like it, I could homeschool them but I'd like to keep us all alive, so that is not an option.

Nico's middle school experience really is another whole rant so I'll save that for tomorrow since this is already long.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

So Angry

I don't know if complaining about Google on a Google blog is against some Google policy but since to them I am a breaker of Google policies, I don't care. I have said before that I follow the rules. It's not in me to try and cheat the system or not obey the general rules of being a good human being. I even have a stack of things I have to return to stores because Gia has taken up shoplifting. She grabs things from shelves or I give her things to keep her occupied and I don't know what happens between the time I give them to her and the time I pay because they aren't in the cart but then when I get home, they are in her coat or in her diaper bag. Anyway, the point is, I am returning them because I follow the rules. According to Google, I break the rules and was trying to cheat them and destroy their integrity by making $8 a day. My blog was sited with "invalid ad clicking" or activity or whatever. I appealed it and they turned it down. I really wanted them to reinstate it so I could get rid of them myself because the whole thing is making it really hard for me to want to continue. I was not allowed to even mention that I was finally getting paid to write because to them, that was just as good as saying click on the ads to make me rich! And I WAS so excited to say I was a paid writer. I got sucked into the whole, if I am getting paid, then I must be good, frame of mind and that is NOT why I set out to do it. Although it did start because I was looking for writing jobs online and when I saw I could get paid to do this, it was like a dream come true. It seemed too good to be true and guess was! They aren't even going to pay me what I made before they shut it down which makes me think they never intended to. I am so angry and not just about the money but about the fact that I am allowing it to weigh on me, creating a "why bother" attitude.

I know it is just an obstacle and that God knows, I know what that is like and maybe I care too much about something so small but I am losing sleep over it because I feel "icky" about it. See...the whole thing saps creativity. I can't even come up with a better word than "icky". It's ironic, isn't it? I write this blog as honest as I know how and they are accusing me of being dishonest. The funny thing is that I had people tell me that the ads on the site were "awesome". People told me they signed up for coupon ones, message boards and spent a huge chunk of time on sites that my blog linked them to. Sounded like it was a win/win. I loved that people were reading and finding things of interest on my blog and now I feel like I should have never put the ads up because it has muddied the whole thing. It never ceases to amaze me how much of the business world I dislike and this is just another example of how I don't belong in it. I don't care about it. I just love to write. I want to move my blog to another host and as you might have read in the previous post, I am challenged in that area. Now that I think about it, maybe that is how I got into this mess in the first place.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I Told You and a Raccoon Update

I told you I wasn't very good with technology. Leo just brought it to my attention that I posted the "Technology" post twice. I have no idea how that happened. Pretty funny that it was that post that I messed up on. I could delete one of them but I think it's a great example of the irony in my life.

The raccoon has been caught and taken to a forest preserve where I hope he will live a long and wonderful life far, far away from here. Thank you to Leo for setting the trap and our very good friend, T for taking it far, far away. No more posts ragging on Leo about not taking care of it. You both are my heroes!


I sometimes amaze myself that I can figure out the technology I use every day. I am dependant on my cell phone, my computer and we've already discussed, my DVR. What I do understand of each of these is very limited and I admit that I sometimes miss my life before I had each of them. My cell phone has been a tremendous help in freeing me from being tied to my house if the school needs to reach me but I will admit that I don't always want to be found. I feel this way when I am at Barnes and Noble and Leo wants me to come home earlier than planned (in all fairness to him, it has happened maybe twice). I could have turned my phone off but there is something about knowing it is there and being compelled to answer the phone that is playing "Solsbury Hill" by Peter Gabriel. I wonder if I am alone in this but I need to turn my phone off when I get into my car because there is some compulsion that comes over me when my phone beeps that there is a text message. Who is trying to reach me? Someone has something pressing to tell me. Maybe it is someone with a request or an opportunity that if I don't answer, I will lose out.

Before my computer, I was on time to places, I got things done around the house, I went to bed at a decent hour and I even left the house from time to time. I work on the blog or one of the books I am writing so I am pretty much on my computer before the kids wake up in the morning, whenever Gia is sleeping or otherwise occupied or after the kids go to bed. If emails come in, I get them right away and usually answer them right away because if I don't, I'll forget to. Don't get me started on Facebook. It is like People Magazine for the people you know and it is so addicting. I am grateful for it because I have connected with so many friends that I had lost touch with and it is a great way to get my writing out there but I could have done without finding out people I know are devil worshippers or having girls Leo once knew trying to get in touch with him through me (I mean...who does that?).

Let's face it, if I didn't have the DVR, I would have been sleeping last night at midnight instead of watching Celebrity Apprentice. Can I just say here that I'll never listen to the song, "That's What Friends Are For" without thinking about how much of a jerk Dionne Warwick is and I never liked Star Jones and now I have a new reason not to? I can't wait to see both of them fired. I have new respect for Barbara Walters for firing Star from The View. I hope Marlee Matlin wins from the women's side. I am rooting for John Rich, Mark McGrath or Meatloaf (because the song "Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth" is one of my favorites and he is an emotional guy and I am an emotional girl and I love how hard he works for his charity) from the men's side.

I'm sorry for repeating myself but Time Change be damned! It is wreaking havoc over here. Gia fell asleep yesterday at 4:30 and slept until 1:00am. Nico g.ot up only after three times of me going in to wake him up (that makes me crazy) and after his shower fell asleep wrapped in a towel at the foot of the shower. I want to go to Lifetime today but have a feeling Gia is going to be all off again today. HATE the time change!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I sometimes amaze myself that I can figure out the technology I use every day. I am dependent on my cell phone, my computer and we've already discussed, my DVR. What I do understand of each of these is very limited and I admit that I sometimes miss my life before I had each of them. My cell phone has been a tremendous help in freeing me from being tied to my house if the school needs to reach me but I will admit that I don't always want to be found. I feel this way when I am at Barnes and Noble and Leo wants me to come home earlier than planned (in all fairness to him, it has happened maybe twice). I could have turned my phone off but there is something about knowing it is there and being compelled to answer the phone that is playing "Solsbury Hill" by Peter Gabriel. I wonder if I am alone in this but I need to turn my phone off when I get into my car because there is some compulsion that comes over me when my phone beeps that there is a text message. Who is trying to reach me? Someone has something pressing to tell me. Maybe it is someone with a request or an opportunity that if I don't answer, I will lose out.

Before my computer, I was on time to places, I got things done around the house, I went to bed at a decent hour and I even left the house from time to time. I work on the blog or one of the books I am writing so I am pretty much on my computer before the kids wake up in the morning, whenever Gia is sleeping or otherwise occupied or after the kids go to bed. If emails come in, I get them right away and usually answer them right away because if I don't, I'll forget to. Don't get me started on Facebook. It is like People Magazine for the people you know and it is so addicting. I am grateful for it because I have connected with so many friends that I had lost touch with and it is a great way to get my writing out there but I could have done without finding out people I know are devil worshippers or having girls Leo once knew trying to get in touch with him through me (I mean...who does that?).

Let's face it, if I didn't have the DVR, I would have been sleeping last night at midnight instead of watching Celebrity Apprentice. Can I just say here that I'll never listen to the song, "That's What Friends Are For" without thinking about how much of a jerk Dionne Warwick is and I never liked Star Jones and now I have a new reason not to? I can't wait to see both of them fired. I have new respect for Barbara Walters for firing Star from The View. I hope Marlee Matlin wins from the women's side. I am rooting for John Rich, Mark McGrath or Meatloaf (because the song "Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth" is one of my favorites and he is an emotional guy and I am an emotional girl and I love how hard he works for his charity) from the men's side.

I'm sorry for repeating myself but Time Change be damned! It is wreaking havoc over here. Gia fell asleep yesterday at 4:30 and slept until 1:00am. Nico got up only after three times of me going in to wake him up (that makes me crazy) and after his shower, fell asleep wrapped in a towel at the foot of the shower. I want to go to Lifetime today but have a feeling Gia is going to be all off again. HATE the time change!

Time Change, Sleep and Money

I woke up today with every intention of going to church. Nico doesn't have baseball for once and I really want to get back to going. Two things happened that stopped my efforts. The time change and Leo let me sleep in. Why do we even need the time change? There are already not enough hours in the day and now we lose one? You'd think it wouldn't be that big of a deal but Gia isn't sleeping and the other kids keep asking for breakfast and it's already almost 1:00. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate and needed the sleep. Leo woke up with Gia and like a dad that knows his daughter, fed her away from me so she wouldn't cry and compel me to get up with her. When he wakes up with her, I can't help but feel how much he loves me and cares about me being okay because one more night of not sleeping and I would not have been okay. When I go more than two nights without sleeping well, I get weepy and short-tempered and I think he sensed that was happening. I appreciate his efforts and won't complain tonight when he plays basketball. Why is it that the minute you CAN sleep in, you can't sleep? I stayed in bed willing sleep to come back but a million thoughts kept it from coming.

I really do think money is the root of all evil. I set out to do this blog so I could kickstart a writing career. Along the way, I found that I really love writing it. The money/business part of it has muddied it somewhat. I have a friend whose daughter is so creative that she really could sell her work but she chooses not to. I never understood it until now. If I ever do try and make money writing, I'll need to have someone else handle that part of it. For me, once you mix business and money with creativity, the creativity part gets weighed down and spoiled a little (which my friend's daughter probably knows). It's funny, I remember when I got an interview for the teaching position I wanted. I was so excited because the competition was so cut-throat. When I told Leo how it went, he asked me how much it paid. I had no idea. I didn't even think to ask. I wanted to teach. I wanted my own classroom. I couldn't wait. The money never even occured to me. When I got the job, I was ecstatic. Leo, again, asked how much I was going to make and again, I forgot to ask. I just didn't care. I was going to teach and them paying me was just a bonus. Let me sidebar here and say I am pretty sure this is why I have to raid the money jug we have periodically. I feel the same way with writing. The money just messes it up. Now if I was offered money to write, I am no dummy...I'd take it and have Leo deal with that part.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

American Idol and other TV issues

This week's question on The Patch(if you don't know what that is, comment and I'll fill you in) was, "Is it hard to find quality television programming to watch with your kids and how do you regulate what they are watching?" This is a great question that lends itself to a lot of different answers. I really do believe that there is no right answer here. I will tell you where I stand but I, by no means, think it is the "right" way. Unless it is rated R or TV14 for sexual content or nudity, I am okay with them watching and I do have blocks on the tv. If it is questionable, Leo or I will watch it with them or before them. We are lucky because we have three kids who ask questions and talk a lot so if they see something that confuses them or scares them or causes them to want to talk about it, they do. The only rule I have is that I will always answer them honestly but it is for their ears only. If they are asking, it is because they are ready to hear the answer. Their brother or sister might not be. It is their friends' parents' job to answer their friends' questions. Not theirs. ER and Grey's Anatomy have led to discussions about gang violence and illnesses that are worse than CF. I will say, since I am comfortable in the land of denial, that I don't watch those shows anymore. Teen Mom, as you know from previous posts, have led to discussions of a path I do not want them to go down. Intervention is a great one to use as a learning tool. Let's just say I don't think my kids will be huffing any computer cleaner after being freaked out by that episode.

Restricting the shows they watch went out the window when the twins were watching their shows on Disney and the kids on there were so disrespectful to their parents that it didn't seem like King of Queens or Everybody Loves Raymond was so bad. Then when Nico was younger, he'd look forward to watching the football games on tv with Leo. Every other commercial showed barely dressed women or men fighting over beer. Don't even get me started on the "Viva Viagra" commercial. Nothing says father/son bonding than when your 7 year old son asks his dad, "What's a 5 hour erection?"

American Idol is the one show that we all watch together. We look forward to it every season and it lends itself to lessons learned as well. One lesson is that the sky is the limit for them to fulfilling their dreams and that even if you are told no, you should keep trying. They each have their favorites...Tommy usually likes the rocker, Belle usually likes the sweet, quiet girl and Nico likes whatever girl is deemed the "hot" one.

Thursday night's lesson was what a jerk Ryan Seacrest has turned out to be. I get that his job is so useless that he has to create a need for him to be there so he tries to drum up drama but the whole, "You are all safe...(uncomfortable pause)...(contestants cheering)except for Karen" was just mean. Then when they pulled the other three. I don't remember which three except that Haley and Ashton were two of them. When he made Haley think she was safe by saying Ashton wasn't and then said she wasn't either, it looked like it was solely to make Haley look stupid. Even Tommy said, "That was mean." I get that it is just a show but still...there are other ways to create drama and let's face it, the people that are watching now are still going to watch with all the drama or without. I will continue to watch because we do it as a family and it is fun to root for our favorites but now it will be with the message that what Ryan is doing is mean and that is not how you should treat people that are trying to make their dreams come true.

Like I said, it's doesn't work for every family...but for now, it works for ours.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Why? Why? Why?

I wonder if Leo is the only one that does this. Why, please tell me why does he WAKE me from a deep sleep to tell me things like, "The baby is crying", "The alarm is beeping", or "The boys are coughing". If he is already awake, why can't HE handle it?! I get the baby is crying one and don't mind that one as much but once in awhile, it would be nice if he would just deal with it so I could sleep. The other two make me want to cause him physical pain especially since I have asked him several times to fix the alarm that keeps beeping. It is the same one that beeps right when I get Gia to sleep or when I just crawl in bed or like last night, at one in the morning. I was so tired last night that I fell asleep at 10:00 which is really early for me. To be woken up by him yelling (I can't hear very well when I am wide awake. I don't know why he thought I'd be able to hear him mumble in the middle of the night) and at that point, why didn't he just get up and do it himself, puts me in a bad mood this morning. I can't even get it off my chest because he woke up at 5:30 to go play basketball. As for the boys coughing, they have CF and are going to cough and unless they have woken up from it, save that little nugget of information until the morning when I am awake.

On a brighter note, I love the day after the cleaning lady comes. The house is still clean and I don't have to feel guilty writing, reading a magazine or taking a nap thinking I should be cleaning the house.

And on an even brighter note, from that fundraiser where my dear friends gave me the idea of writing a blog, I won a Girl's Night Out at Entree Kitchen so I get to relax a little while making my life a little easier for the coming week. I can't wait to tell the kids to go ask their father when they ask, "Can so and so come over?" because I won't be home. Although Leo's way of handling the kids' social lives involves letting them all go to friends' houses so he can have a relaxing evening since Gia goes to bed at 7. Inevitably, a sleepover happens because he can't say no, doesn't care and really doesn't have to deal with the kids waking up at the crack of dawn. Now that I just said that, I bet anything that is going to happen which makes this a less brighter note.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Short Post: Lent and other sidebars

I said in a previous post that I feel very conflicted with the Catholic church (don't want to debate...just my personal views) and we, as a family, attend a Christian church but old habits die hard and I've been giving something up for Lent since I made my First Communion 33 years ago. I have given up swearing...yes...I admit, I curse. It lasted all of a half hour. I ran out of milk and with Belle home sick, I didn't want to leave her to go get more. Driving alone makes not swearing very hard but today is a new day and I am going to try again.

Why is it so hard to get ready for the cleaning lady? My house was clean all weekend. What happened between then and today? She is coming at 9:00 (which is why I don't have much time to write) and it feels like I am trying to straighten up after a tornado. While we are on the subject, why does Nico think the whole house is his closet? Every one of the rooms has an item of his clothes in it.

Because of the blog, I have gotten a great Valentine's gift and dinner when sickness struck my household (Thank you, thank you, thank you, K!). Had I known that would happen, I would have started this a long time ago.

Sorry this post is a short one but I don't want my cleaning lady to run screaming from my house.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Florence Nightingale I Am Not

I was sick a lot as a kid. I was allergic to everything and if I was around something I was allergic to, it would end up in a really bad asthma attack. My mom was the best when I was sick. She would set me up on the couch so I could watch television or if I was really bad, she'd wheel the little television into my room. She'd make me toast or stay up late with me making me tea. This nursing someone back to health gene obviously skipped a generation. I am more of the frame of mind, "If we ignore it, it will go away and if it can't be ignored, then let's go to the doctor, get medicine and deal with it with the least amount of attention or drama to it." All of the kids have had surgery for something or another. The boys have had polyps removed from their sinuses and Isabella has had her urinary tract fixed so that she doesn't have reflux anymore. In those cases, I put aside my own issues with illness and think I was pretty good at nursing them back to health. I can be very sympathetic to children that don't feel well when they don't fight me on taking their medicine, don't fight me on doing treatments and don't fight me on taking it easy and going to sleep early to get their rest. When they fight me, all sympathy flies out the window. One conversation that particularly wears on my nerves is this one:

Child: Do I have to go to school tomorrow?
Me: If you have no fever and you get a good night's sleep, you should probably go to school tomorrow.
Child in a very whiny voice: I don't waaannna go to schoooool tomorrooooow. What if I don't feeeeeel gooooood? I can't even taaaaalk. How am I supposed to learn?
Me: Why don't you try and go and if you feel bad, you can call me and I'll come get you.
Child: Oh my God, Mom! If I call you, you'll kill me!
Me: Yes, because I killed my last child that called me from school.
Child: You know what I mean. You'll get mad if you have to wake Gia up to come get me (I wouldn't like it but obviously I would do it.)
Me: I won't get mad. If you feel that bad, stay home.
Child:I can't stay home! I have ______ tomorrow and I can't miss it (you can fill in the blank with a test, a project, a group thing...with anything really).
Me: So you are going to try and go to school tomorrow if you don't have a fever?
Child who now starts to cry: I caaaaan't.

I calmly walk away because this conversation happens every time one of them is not feeling well and I have hit empty on the patience meter.

I especially have no patience for Leo when he is sick. I have never met a man that is more of a baby when he gets sick. I know all men are babies (Sorry, men that are reading this. I am sure you are the exception) but he really does take the cake. He is sick right now and I'll give you just a little sample of what he is like:

Leo leaving for work yesterday: I’m not well. I don’t think I am going to make it.

I admit I ignored him. I didn’t talk to him all day. Isabella came home from school looking and feeling like she was sick. I texted him that he had to take her to Urgent Care because our doctor was gone for the day. He texted me back that he was not doing well. I told him that it was a good thing he was going to the doctor. When Leo walked in the house, he had a frown on his face like he was in pain.

Leo: Feel my head. I think I have a fever.
Me feeling his head: You are cool. You don’t have a fever.
Leo: It’s like 99 and you know adults have no tolerance for any kind of fever (he says this EVERY time he doesn’t feel good. When the kids have a fever of 102, he’ll say, “If that was us, we’d be dead. We’d never be able to stand it”).
Me: I know. You’ve told me that 100 times.
Leo: My knees are buckling with this fever. I don't think I am going to make it tomorrow.
Me: What is tomorrow?
Leo: Work.
Oh, Geez. C’mon he wasn’t even warm. They went to the doctor and without testing either of them, they decided to treat Leo for strep throat because the kids had it ten days ago and they’ve extended Belle’s antibiotics but apparently there was no mention of her cough. She came home crying because she has to take the medicine for ten more days and then instead of taking the medicine, cried that she didn't feel good. Leo asked me to carry him up the stairs since he was so weak with his 99.6 fever. He went upstairs while I cleaned up the kitchen. I went upstairs to find him in the bed wearing every piece of Rams sportswear and wrapped in the comforter.

Leo: I'm finally warm. Three Advil and nothing. I am not doing well.
Me: Sorry to hear that. Maybe you should go to sleep and you'll feel better in the morning.
Leo:I can't sleep with this fever. Maybe you can go get me some orange juice.
Me: We don't have orange juice.
Leo making some sound that sounds like a cross between a goose and a cat with a hair ball: Belle said we did.
Me hating that sound: We have Sunny Delight.
Leo: Well, that won't work.
Me: You know what might? Sleep.

After that there were a couple more hairballs and a few moans when he shifted positions. Then there were a few mumbles of "I am not doing well" and a promise of "wait until this fever breaks and I start to sweat" and I can't forget the enormous sighs telling me he wasn't happy that I was still watching television at 10:00pm.

I know as a mom I should be better at this stuff and I am big enough to admit that I am not and I know it stems from fear. I don't like when my kids are sick so I want them to get over whatever ails them as soon as possible so things return back to normal. I think before CF came into our lives, I was better but now, knowing something more serious or worse than strep or the flu lurks and I just want to keep it all away. There is a fear when the boys get sick that I won't know how to help them or that it will lead into somethng worse so any sign of illness has me in "let's take care of it and move on" mode.

Not that the hairballs in the throat or the constant coughing that he has done since we were juniors in college isn't attractive, but with Leo, it is unsettling to see him weak. I know that isn't fair and he is human but he is so strong and the rock of this family so when I see him crumble faster than a cookie, it again puts me into the mode of "don't complain, take the medicine they gave you, suck it up and move on." Maybe there is a little resentment because I can never not feel good. Even if I don't, and I tell Leo, he immediately does the goose/hairball thing and says, "I know. I am not feeling well either." If he is sick enough to miss work, he'll stay in bed all day sleeping it off. In the last 13 years, I think I have done that once. When the mom is sick, it just does not matter. She is still expected to do everything she always does. The only difference or at least with me, is that she feels like crap doing it, so she is crabby and miserable. I usually load up on Advil or some other over the counter medicine (because who has time to go to the doctor)and go about the million things I have to do that day because no one is taking care of Mom when she is sick so if she doesn't do it, it won't get done.

P.S. In case you were wondering, Belle is staying home today because I told her she needs to learn how to cough without throwing up and she is now sitting on the stairs crying that she can't go by Gia and that she doesn't know what to eat because she doesn't know what sick people eat. Leo is still sleeping. Ugghhh...going to be a long day.

People Magazine Wants Me Back

I mentioned in an earlier post that I love the question game so here is the first question. What do you hoard? Webster says the definition of hoard is a supply of something, often hidden. The verb is to keep (as in objects or thoughts) to oneself. We are all hoarders of something...mentally, emotionally or physically. For example, I mentally hoard thoughts of Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch is his real name but the thoughts are mostly of Tim Riggins)or to be more mature, "to do" lists. I emotionally hoard fears of something happening to Leo or my kids and physically, I hoard magazines. It used to be books but when I figured out they were collecting dust since I don't have time to get absorbed in a whole story, I switched to magazines. Normally, I dread the school's fundraisers but when the magazine one came around, I was giddy. It was a win/win situation. I could get a bunch of subscriptions while helping Nico earn money for the school. Leo couldn't really complain since it was for our son's education and who doesn't like a magazine subscription? It's like getting a gift in the mail every month. At one time I had People, Good Housekeeping (which is ironic because there were always articles about how not to hoard), Redbook, All of You (great coupons), Faith and Family (I got this one when I was teaching RE but now that I am not, this will be an easy one to stop), Parenting and Family Fun. Now that I have seen them all in print, I admit...I might have a problem. Actually, I had a feeling I had a problem and saw that we could save money so I let a lot of them run out. Today, in my inbox was a message, "People Magazine Wants You Back!" Like the magazine addict I am, I clicked on it and the window is still open. I want to go back. I am trying to come up with a good reason to go back. It will be cheaper if I go back to being a subscriber than if I buy the magazine and let's face it...I will buy the magazine. I love sitting down for the 15 minutes I get before the next issue I have to deal with comes up and having a bowl of cereal, a plate of nachos or a bowl of strawberries and chocolate while reading a few pages of a magazine. I love the ideas in them that make me feel like I can save money, redecorate my house, be a better mom, travel to fun places with my family or realize that there is more drama in Hollywood than I could ever have here in this house.

The scary thing is I found something more tempting to hoard than all of the magazine subscriptions. I found a website that lists all mail order catalogs and they are all free. You can just click on the ones that interest you and every month another little gift. I can't help myself. Each catalog has things in it that might tame the chaos in my life. I page through Solutions catalog and I just know there are things in there that will help me be more organized. I page through LTD or Lakeside (LOVE these two) and there are so many inexpensive things that I really had no idea I wanted. I thumb through One Step Ahead and circle all the things that will make being a mom to a toddler easier. What I don't understand and really don't enjoy is why I am on Athleta's mailing list. I know I didn't put myself on a mailing list for a catalog that has a young, fit woman dressed in a bikini top and cargo pants on the cover and it makes me feel like a lazy slug when it comes. I do love the clothes in it and the possibility that someday, I'll have enough energy to do the activities that all the women in the catalog look so fashionable doing. Maybe by then, I'll also have the money to afford the insane prices they charge for their clothes. A girl can dream...

So again, I ask...what do you hoard?

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Monday, March 7, 2011

How Leo and I Came to Be (Part 2)

Before I finish the story, I just want to say that I hesitated before writing and posting this topic. I mean, this story might only be interesting to Leo, me and my kids, who ask me constantly, "Tell us again how you and Dad got together." The reason I went ahead and posted it was because I want people to understand who Leo and I are before they read about the things that have happened. Does that make sense?

Anyway, I felt so guilty that I didn't go to class for two days (and because I hate conflict, I avoided Leo) and went home that weekend to fix things with my boyfriend. He never showed up for our date and tired of being treated that way, I asked my best friend to take me back up to school. On the way, we got in a car accident. We were hit head on going 60 mph. I could make that as dramatic as it was or at least more than I just did but with all the rest of the drama that has unfolded in my 40 years, the car accident was just a blip on the radar. It was a big blip and really the beginning of my "bad things don't just happen to other people" mindset. I broke my back, the dashboard crushed my knees and I hit my head on the windshield. The seatbelt saved my life. I had to leave school and remember being mad at Leo for not even calling to see how I was or not coming to see me. Right after I got home from the hospital, my boyfriend and I broke up for good. I think something happens to you when you come close to dying. You have a very low tolerance for crap.

I couldn't wait to go back up to school and date. I wanted to experience the freedom of college while not being tied to home or tied to a guy. Four years is a long time to focus on two people as one entity. I was ready to focus on friends and all the fun we were going to have.

I dated a little bit after the car accident (The Rebel) and then Leo finally called. There was some confusion about no one telling him what was going on and since I avoided him after we kissed, he thought I didn't want to talk to him. We made plans for him to come over the next night and when he walked up the sidewalk, I saw him do a double-take. I lost weight from the accident, dyed my hair and was tan. I was flattered that he noticed and oh, my God, he was even hotter than I remembered. His tan made his blue eyes even more piercing and when he smiled at me, I was hooked. Any chance of dating anyone else when I went back to college flew out the window that night. He was so easy to be with and that time when we kissed, there was no guilt. We made more plans for that weekend and ended up spending the weekend hanging out with his friends. We went to Lake Geneva for the day for our first real date and when the past Leo, much like the present Leo waited until the last minute to get money and the machine ended up eating his card, I had to pay for the Lake Geneva date (should have been another foreshadowing to his waiting until the last minute to do things but I will say he has more than paid me back...being that I am a stay at home mom right now).

We agreed that we wouldn't get serious and that we could see other people though at that time, I had no interest in other guys. As the years went on, that subject would come up from time to time (like in the post about things that shaped me) but it never went anywhere because when I fell for Leo, I fell hard. That was the beginning and this year will mark 22 years together.

I love thinking about how it all began because it is truly one of those stories where I was not looking for love (I already had it when we met and was not wanting to get serious so soon after coming out of a long relationship) and I know Leo, at 18, was not looking to fall in love but it didn't matter, it found us. One of my favorite songs that reminds me of when Leo and I got together is Van Halen's, "Love Comes Walking In." Fits perfectly with what happened so I am sharing it here. Enjoy!


Sunday, March 6, 2011

How Leo and I Came to Be (Part 1)

When I went to college (NIU), it was with the understanding that I was just going to go for two years. I wanted to get married to my boyfriend at the time. My mom set an example that I wanted to follow. I wanted to fall in love and have a lot of kids and create for them the world my mom created for my sisters and me. My parents told me that I had to go to school for two years and after that, if it wasn't for me, I could leave. They were very smart because once I was in college and I tasted the freedom I didn't have at home, I wanted to stay.

What I love to think about and analyze when I think of how Leo and I met is how completely in love with someone else I was at the time. When I walked out of my dorm room to see him walking in the hall (he was good friends with my neighbor...thank God for co-ed dorms), I was totally thrown for a loop when I saw him. I was always attracted to tall guys (me being all of 5'2) and he was 6'3, built like a football player, had striking blue eyes and was HOT! From that first moment that I saw Leo, there was a pull to want to know him. I had only had that pull two other times and never as strong as then.

I got the chance the following night at a cheesy dorm mixer. The pull was even stronger when we talked. He told me his name was Leo and from the sound of his voice, I thought he was Italian. Not that being Italian was a big pull for me but my grandmothers used to tell me, "Date the Irish boy but you are going to meet a nice Italian boy" so when I thought he was Italian, I thought they might have been on to something. There was a big group of us that were hanging out at the mixer and when we decided to go to another party, we both ended up near the back of the group. When Leo walked down the stairs, he tripped down the stairs. I was so busy laughing at him, I tripped down the same ones. By the time we stopped laughing at each other, we were in the back of the group by ourselves. We continued talking and the subject of me having a boyfriend never came up. When the party moved to the lounge on my floor, I brought him to my room so he could see the hundreds of pictures I had on my wall of the my boyfriend and me. I thought I was off the hook but the next night when we hung out again (he was SO cute and he made me laugh and I was homesick and boyfriend would have been furious) he was surprised when I said I had a boyfriend. When I asked him who he thought the guy was in the picture, he said my brother even though I told him the night before that I had four younger sisters (should have been a foreshadowing). When he told me he was Russian, it was my turn to be surprised. When he asked why I thought that, I told him, "Your name is Leo and you sound just like Rocky Balboa."

He very quickly became my best friend up at school. He was protective of me and sweet and so funny and his personality only made him more attractive. When I was with him, I felt giddy and when I thought about him, I would get butterflies in my stomach. We were together all the time and the chemistry between us was so strong that one night we almost kissed (did I mention how hot he was?). I told him I would never cheat on my boyfriend but if we ever broke up, I didn't care if he had a girlfriend, I was going to find him and kiss him.

At the beginning of April, my boyfriend and I broke up. I got a phone call 30 seconds after it happened from Leo. "You coming over?" We made plans for him to come over the next night. We stayed up all night waiting for when the moment felt right. We were watching MTV and I didn't want our first kiss to be to Guns and Roses', "Welcome to the Jungle" or Skid Row's, "18 and Life". I would have liked BonJovi's "I'll Be There for You" or Poison's, "Every Rose Has its Thorn" but we finally settled on and kissed to Def Leppard's, "Love Bites." He left and in the middle of the night, while replaying what just happened, my boyfriend called saying he wanted to get back together.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Mysteries That I Can't Escape

There are some mysteries in my life that I would love to get to the bottom of but sadly, I think they are just always going to be a part of my life.

1. Why do my kids never have to go to the bathroom when I ask them to try and go but the minute we get in the car and start driving, they have pee right then or their bladder will burst? This also happens in doctor's offices, church and right when they start their treatment.

2. How is it that my sons can go on the football field and take a hit that I think will level them and cause them to sit on the bench injured for the rest of the game but get right back up to play or play basketball so aggressively that they will dive for a ball skinning both their elbows and knees but completely freak out when they have to have a blood test or a flu shot?

3. We are all aware of the missing sock after being in the wash or dryer but I am confused when I clean the basement and I only find one sock (I find several different kinds of one sock). Where is the other sock? At some point was someone walking around with one sock on and one off? Why in the world were they doing that? It's even more of a mystery when I find one of a sock that I know I didn't buy which means one of their friends was doing the same thing. Am I missing out on something by wearing two socks all the time?

4. I know I am not alone in this: How is it that I can go to Target for one thing, come out having spent $100 and forget the one thing I went in for. I just did this with diapers. I forgot those but somehow Disney books on tape and a tub of bubbles made it in the cart.

5. When I go to the doctor with the kids, if I am worried about something, it usually ends up being nothing but if I go thinking it is nothing, it ends up being something. This is not true of the ER, though. The "Mother's Instinct" has yet to fail me. Every time I have brought my kids in, it was something (except Tommy's leg bumps, which is why it is so frustrating that we still don't know what it is. We go March 24th).

6. I still can't figure out how I am sometimes so busy that I forget to eat and I still gain weight (I know...not healthy but if I am being honest, it does happen).

7. It's always a mystery what happens to my children's appetites during the meals I cook and how those appetites seem to return right as I finish cleaning the kitchen.

8. Why are the children perfectly healthy for events that I am less than thrilled to go to but sick right before vacation?

9. Why, when I have money to spend, can't I find any clothes that either look good or are the style I want but when I have no money, they are everywhere?

10. Why do the kids have no homework on days when we have nothing but are swamped when we have a million things going on?

11. I'll give you an example of the next mystery: The nail clippers were on the counter for about a week. I had them out to remind me to do the kids' nails. I would pass them a thousand times and there they were. The minute I remembered to cut their nails, I went to get the clippers that were there ALL week and they were gone. Where did they go? I asked everyone if they moved them. Nope. I found them in a place I would never have put them and the mystery still remains of who put them there. The same could be said for hair bows, hair clips, wallets and keys.

12. Why am I wide awake when Gia goes to sleep but the minute she wakes up, I am so tired, I fall asleep sitting up?

13. Why does my DVR run over with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or World Poker Tournament but cuts off on the rose ceremony of the Bachelor or who goes home in America's Next Top Model?

14. The saddest and most frustrating mystery is: Someone invented that little spill stopper at Starbucks (it's a green stick you put in the hole you drink out of for you non-Starbucks drinkers) but we still don't have a cure for cancer, diabetes or CF.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Nothing Good Comes From the Dentist

This is not a dig on dentists or hygienists, I happen to really like mine. I don't have very good luck at the dentist myself so I don't know why I thought my kids' luck would be better. I was hoping they would inherit Leo's teeth but they have not. Yesterday, I took Tommy and Belle to our new dentist. I took them out of school at 2:00 and didn't get home until 3:30. It felt like I was there for 5 hours. To give you an idea of how it went, Tommy was in his room until dinner and Belle was crying because I told her she couldn't eat right at that minute because she just had fluoride (she wouldn't even have been home from school yet but she was insisting that if she didn't eat something she was going to die).

I should have known that the visit was not going to go well because when I walked in the waiting room, which most closets are bigger than, it was 100 degrees. Tommy went first and Isabella did a great job of helping me keep Gia entertained (of course every Lego went in her mouth so by the weekend, she should have a rip roaring virus). Isabella fights me every time she has to brush her teeth so while she was sitting there, she kept saying, "What if I have a cavity? Are you going to be mad? I don't think I have one. I'm scared. What does it mean if I have one? Does Tommy have one? He lies and says he brushes his teeth but trust me, Mom. He doesn't." When in doubt, throw your brother right under the bus. When Tommy came out, the dentist said he has to be better at brushing the front of his teeth and he has an opening in one of his molars that needs to be filled. No decay yet but needs to get taken care of at another appointment. Tommy looked like he just had surgery. I ask him what was wrong and he replied with a mouth full of spit, "I'm afraid to swallow. It tastes bad." Gia started getting antsy and Tommy picked that time to ask to go to Dairy Queen. The conversation went like this:

"Can we go to Dairy Queen?"
"I don't have money for Dairy Queen."
"I have $3"
"That's not enough."
"You can pay the rest, can't you?"
"No, I don't have money for Dairy Queen."
He grabbed my purse. "Tommy, put that back." He completely ignored me telling him three more times. "Tommy put that back before you are grounded for not listening."
"OH MY GOD!!! YOU HAVE $20 FOR DAIRY QUEEN!!" The receptionist was laughing and Gia was crying and I was sweating.
"You are grounded for not listening."
"Why can't we go to Dairy Queen? You have money."
"It's not for Dairy Queen." It's for Starbucks but he doesn't need to know that. He proceeded to act like a child that doesn't ever have consequences for acting that way in public (like a real brat but I'm not sure I can say that). He was aggravating Gia and telling me he didn't care that he was grounded and that it was "stupid" for me to ground him for looking in my wallet. After I told him that he was going to bed at 7:00, he changed his tune.
"It's not my fault. They gave me loopy gas and that's why I'm acting like this." They did not.

I COULD NOT WAIT FOR THE VISIT TO END! When Belle was done, she didn't want to talk about it. Why? Because she had 4 cavities!!! She does a good job brushing the front but not the back. Will that lesson EVER be learned? I had to make two more appointments for her (which now equals three more times of the experience I just went through...good times). Gia went down for a late nap which wasn't fun later, Belle was crying because I told her that when she was able to eat, it couldn't be fruit snacks (one of her favorites), and because Tommy was mad about going to bed early, he yelled in front of Gia's door and slammed his door waking her up. He's going to spend a lot of time alone this weekend.

I know as their mom, I have to take them to the dentist but it is just like asking for more chaos in my life. Will there ever be a time when I go, they get their teeth cleaned, I feel like a capable, responsible parent and everything be great...see you in six months?


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Being 40 and a Mom to a Toddler

This is going to be the shortened version of a post that will be to come. Being a mom again at 40 to a toddler (a very new toddler since she just turned one) is one of the greatest things ever! I recommend that everyone do it! She makes me laugh so hard at the littlest things. She keeps me feeling young. So much of how I see the world through Nico, Tommy and Isabella's eyes is jaded by mean teachers, school and homework that is hard, unfairness in sports, mean kids, lost loves (even though they are 13 and 9!) and diseases I want to go away that to see the world through Gia's eyes, is exciting and new and fun and light and to have that again is a blessing. I think she is teaching me more than I am teaching her. She teaches me to live in the moment. It's frustrating for everyone that I spend time with but I can't plan to do anything. I live moment to moment. If someone calls me and asks me to go to lunch two days from now, I'll have no idea what to say but if you call me that day, chances are, I'll be able to go. I love that she forces me to be spontaneous. She teaches me that the milestones (walking, talking, giving up the bottle or pacifier)that I was so hurried to get through with the other kids, are better spent enjoying every moment until she reaches them. She continuously shows me that my heart is capable of stretching to fill the love I have for my kids. She shows me every single day that there is a God and that His timing really is perfect. If he answered the prayer for another baby when I first asked 8 years ago, I wouldn't have been in the place I am right now appreciating every little bit of her. I wish there wasn't so much pain before she got here but it's amazing that all of that feels like it happened to another person. It's like watching someone else's Lifetime movie.

I absolutely feel like the teen mom whose friends are off having a grand old time with no children to worry about (at least not while they are in school) but I also have the greatest excuse in the world when I don't feel like doing anything. It's probably hardest when I try and juggle the older kids needing to get somewhere and Gia needing a nap. I thank God for the friends I have around me that help me get my kids to their practices or don't mind coming to get them so that they can still have a social life. I feel bad that a lot of the playdates have to be at my house but secretly, I really don't mind because usually, I love being the house that the kids are at (unless Gia didn't sleep well and then I really want to nap when she does and won't if there are other kids at my house). I miss that it used to be easy for us to leave the kids with grandparents or an aunt and go to Vegas for the weekend. Leo and I might be able to do that again at some point but for now, I think we need to do separate weekend trips where either we both get to go somewhere or neither one of us goes anywhere (because I am all about fairness and if he ends up going to Vegas and I don't get to go anywhere, there is not a blog big enough for the anger I would feel or need to vent).

There are obvious drawbacks to having a baby late in life or things I thought I would never have to do again: I'm not looking forward to potty-training again. I will be the oldest mom at Kindergarten Round Up. Tommy informed me that when Gia is 60, I'll be dead because "no one lives to 100, Mom." Isn't he a sweet treat with his little nugget of knowledge?

I'm ready for the challenge of how many hours of sleep will I get before she wakes up to be over. Although, I don't care how tired I am, when I go in that room in the morning and she smiles one of those, "I am so happy you are my mommy and you came to get me," smiles, my heart melts and I feel like I can take on the day. Being 40 and having a toddler...wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tonight's episode of Parenthood

The Asperger's storyline is It hits too close to home. "Will I always have it?" Max asked his parents while they were telling him he had Asperger's. They did awesome, by the way. I don't remember telling the boys they had Cystic Fibrosis. I don't remember it being one specific conversation. I do remember that question. "Will I always have CF?" I wanted so badly to be able to say, "No" but instead said, "Unless they find a cure for it, yes." I remember making sure Nico was okay with that answer. He was seven and he wasn't. He looked at me with his big blue eyes filled with tears and said, "I don't want it when I go to junior high." After I assured him that they were working really hard on a cure and that they had to be close, I went upstairs and cried. I cried because I didn't know if I handled it right. I cried because I hoped I sounded matter of fact in talking about it and not sad but mostly I cried because I didn't want them to have CF. Even though he is going to be 13, he still asks me once in awhile, "Mom, will I have CF when I go to high school?" or "For sure I won't have it when I go to college, right?"

I love this show so much but after watching it and bawling, I think I know why I am obsessed with the Real Housewives series...NOTHING hits close to home in those.

ISAT Annoyances

I won't go on and on about how much I absolutely hate ISATs because I could. I didn't mind them for the first few years that I taught because I taught second grade and we didn't do them. We had some standardized testing which I didn't mind because it was nice to just write testing in my plan book and not have to plan anything. Other than that, I think the whole testing of an elementary kid is stupid (I know...very intellectual word to use). I had kids that were so bright and so smart and the minute you put that test in front of them, they froze. I had other kids who didn't get it at all and just put anything. My favorite was when a child turned in his test, there was a nice pattern of colored dots that formed his initial. He would have gotten a terrible score but how creative was that? This is my own opinion but one stanardized test is not going to show you the best of the kid taking it. The only kids that do well are kids that are trained well in taking them. I remember right before I left teaching, every institute day was tailored to the ISATs. There was no time for creative writing anymore. The writing had to be narrative, expository or persuasive. Nico had to write his speech for the CF event one year and he was stuck. I told him to just write from your heart and he said he couldn't. He needed a topic sentence with three reasons for why he hated living with CF. I have news for the ISAT people...there are a lot more than three reasons for hating CF.

Anyway, as a parent, I hate ISAT week. Everyone is so tense. The kids (or at least mine) are nervous that they won't do well. Nico is afraid of what they mean for his classes next year or in high school. Isabella is a nervous wreck that she won't finish the "extended response" and I don't even know what to say to ease her nerves other than, "Just do your best" to which she replies, "Moooommm, you don't get it!" She is right. I don't and I don't care. I don't care how they do on them because if they don't do that great and it places them in a lower class with less homework and less frustration, then GREAT! Will this mean they won't get into Harvard? Probably. Was there a chance in Hell that they were going to Harvard before they took the ISATs? Nope! So we are good.

I don't appreciate the note that comes home the Friday before they start either. "Please make sure your child gets a good night sleep and a healthy breakfast." there goes the all night party and Snickers for breakfast that we usually do on Sunday nights. I resent that just because of ISATs, they want to tell us to make sure of that. Someone tell me why pretzels are a healthy snack normally but during ISAT week, they are not? Good thing I had grapes in the house, huh? I also really resent having to cancel Nico's orthodontist appointment. He was supposed to get his braces on and getting an appointment there is like trying to get into the White House but God forbid you take your kid out of school during ISATs! So now he is getting half on next week and the other half after Spring Break. I feel bad for him and really don't get why the freaking orthodontist can't just put them all on in one sitting like all the other orthos in the area (but that is for another post)? If you ask me, what is going to serve him better in life? Straight teeth or his ISAT score. I think straight teeth.

I want to care and think I should because I am an educator and was a good student but I just don't think they accurately show who a student is and what they are capable of.

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