Friday, September 28, 2012

our day

I'm pretty sure Beckham has been ready to potty train for nearly a year.  He totally knows when he needs to go, he goes off to hide, asks to be changed, etc.  I have been putting it off because, despite wanting to give him the benefit of the doubt, I knew how he would react to the potty.  He didn't like it one bit.  He slowly warmed up to it the first day and even had a few successes.  As we persisted though, he resisted.  He had an accident and cried and cried.  This is the kid who has a meltdown if one drop of milk spills from his spoon while eating cereal....just imagine how he acted when his legs and pants were wet!  If I asked him if he needed to go, or even said anything relating to underwear, the potty, etc., he got a smug look and turned the other way like I hadn't said anything.  Or, he would change the subject and talk to me about Mightming Matween.
Instead of pushing him and traumatizing him, we are going to give it a little break and try again in a month or two.  This little man is a stubborn one!  We did have a fun day together, even though our (MY) actual goal didn't get accomplished.
How does Becks feel about potty training???.....

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

learning to toughen up

Yesterday morning was awful. I took Beckham to his first day of "school".  He is just going one morning a week to Skills for Living and Learning.   The lady in charge is a client of mine and we've been discussing this school and their different approach for months now.  I have talked to her about Beckham and this seemed like a great option for him.  His physical therapist also thought it would be greatly beneficial to him.  The coordinator, Susan, specializes in working with kids with Sensory Integration Disorder.  I hate labels, and try really hard not to put my kids into a box.  It has become fairly clear though, over the last few years, that Beckham shows signs of having a bit of a sensory issue.  He is getting better in a lot of ways, but things like hating sand, being afraid of his potty, insisting on his jacket being on/off, hating crowds, and having to predict and control his environment are all common traits of a sensory processing issue.  I think for him this will be something that he can outgrow.  Some poor kids have it so intensely that they can hardly function and it's so sad.  I am grateful that for Beckham, it is mostly just frustrating for both of us trying to figure out what he wants and what works best for him.  I am learning though, and am usually able to predict what he will want and how he will react to any given situation.  I have not learned, however, how to help him control his out-of-control emotions and screaming when things are going wrong for him.  One step at a time, right?
Yesterday we walked into the school and he seemed so excited.  He ran around to check things out.  We got into his classroom and there was only one other child in there.  A cute rolly-polly little boy.  We built a tower and played while I caught his new teacher up to speed on his little personality.  Music was playing and we sang songs.  He seemed so happy.  Then a bus came in bringing four other little boys and a girl.  All of the boys had been in this program before and seemed well-adapted.  When the structure of the day began, Beckham started to have a hard time.  He didn't understand why the teacher wouldn't let him play with the blocks.  Finally, he sat with the other kids and listened to the activities for the day.  He was involved, so I went with Susan to get a copy of my insurance card.  I was gone all of about 20 seconds when I heard my little boy running through the halls screaming, "Mama! Where are you? Where is my mommy?!?!"  I ran out to get him.  I told him where I had been, and felt so bad that he had gotten so scared.   We went back into the classroom where the kids were starting their little yoga routine.
He felt uncomfortable and beelined it to the door.  The teacher ran over to get him and he screamed at her and started hitting her.  I felt so bad for them both.  I took Becks over to a little couch where I snuggled him and we watched the kids do their yoga.  It takes Beckham a long time to feel comfortable with a new situation, a new place, and new people.  I had thrown him into all of the above.  I could feel my eyes burning and willed myself not to cry.  I kissed his head as he cuddled with me and couldn't help the tears from falling.  What am I doing to this poor child? Is he ready for this? Will this even help him? Are things always going to be hard for him? Will he make friends? I just want to take him home and protect him forever....  I tried to hide my tears from the teacher, but she totally saw. 
After yoga the kids got to go to the "Gorilla Room".  It's an indoor jungle gym with all kinds of things to help stimulate the kid's senses.  There are noise makers, slides, swings, a ball pit, ladders, tunnels, tents, etc.  It's so much fun.  Beckham was really excited to be in there.  I got a moment to chat with his teacher again.  I got all teary telling her about how I felt embarrassed about how he acted, but I also felt so sad for him feeling scared and uncomfortable.  She was very sweet and reassuring.  While we were talking he thought I had left and again ran out the door screaming.  She went to get him this time.  I talked to him about how I had to go for an hour to work but that I would be right back to get him.  I told him his teachers were his friends, and that they would take good care of him.  I waited until he was busy and left.  I cried the whole way to work and questioned what the heck I was doing.  I am such a baby.
After my appointment I went back to get Beckham.  I walked in half expecting to hear screaming.  There was my little boy, talking to his teachers and seeming like he wasn't any worse for the wear.  He saw me and ran to me throwing his arms up.  He had a smile on his face.  My heart felt more at ease.  I picked him up and he became goo like he always does when I hold him--I've started calling him my 30lb newborn.  I hugged him and kissed him.  His teachers said that he did great.  When he noticed I was gone they reminded him I told him I was leaving and would be back soon. He just said, "Okay, Mama be right back, in one hour."  We walked hand in hand to the car.  As we were driving home he said, "Hey Mama, I had fun at stoool.  They toot dood tare of Bettham."  I smiled at him and felt better.
I just need to remind myself that things with him take time.  I have to remember that these hard and uncomfortable experiences are helping us both to grow.  He is smart and understands things that I explain to him.  When I talk to him and let him know what is going on, he can figure it out and become more comfortable.  It will take time, for both of us, but I think in the end we will get tougher and a little more brave.

Friday, September 21, 2012

he's flying

I have a kindergartner.  My little man is a kindergartner! I don't know where this time has gone, but it has flown by too fast.  I've been so excited for Kaden to start school.  I am so happy for him because he is ready, absolutely ready.  He is ready to take this new world by storm.  He has been excited all summer, and when he learned it was August he asked me "what number of the day is it?" every day.  He just could not wait to start on this new adventure.  He's a social butterfly and ready to make a gaggle of new friends.  He loves adults and couldn't wait to be best friends with his new teacher.  He's sweet and respectful and has good manners.  He loves learning.  His life really just could not get any more exciting.  I love that about him.  An extremely common phrase emerging from his lips is, "This is the best day, EVER!"
I was excited for him, but also apprehensive.  I just prayed that it would be as good, as exciting, and as adventurous as he has been dreaming.  I found myself praying my little heart out in the days leading up to the start of school.  Please let him feel confident and secure.  Please help him make friends--good, nice friends.  Please don't let anything happen to hurt his little heart.  Please help him be nice to everyone.  Please help him listen and pay attention.  Please let this be as great as he is hoping...  I understand that challenges and learning to find one's way is a necessary part of life.  I just don't want that part of life for him yet.  I don't want anything to burst that boy's happy bubble.
I helped him pack his backpack with all of his new, colorful, school supplies.  --We had spent a day together the previous week shopping for new pencils, markers, paints, folders, lunchbox, backpack, and the works.  He was beside himself all day.  He got me to himself and he literally would have completely jumped out of his skin or had a heart attack had he been any more excited that day.  It was too cute and I was smiling from ear to ear (and almost crying) all day.--  We got in the car and drove 3 miles to school.  I listened to him jabber the entire way.  He was ecstatic.
We got there right on time...or so I thought.  Apparently the bell rings 5 minutes earlier than I thought.  Seriously, have I mentioned my self-proclaimed nickname is "Ball Dropper"?  We got out of the car and I had a lump in my throat watching him pull my arm and run to the door, with his gigantic backpack bouncing against his legs.  We walked into the school and found his class.  He let go of my hand and ran up to his teacher to say hello and give her a hug--of course he was the highlight of her day! (He is his Mama.)  Then, it was like he remembered I had come in with him.  He turned to me with the biggest grin, ran to me to hug and kiss me, "bye Mama!!!! I love you!!!".    Bye Buddy, you have the best day, EVER, okay?  "Okay Mom!"
I quickly turned to leave and felt my eyes burn.  I am that mom who cries when her baby goes to school.  I am surprised I only cried for a minute.  My heart hurt, but felt so happy at the same time.  He is blossoming more and more, finding his own way, and he is confident and happy. 
School could not be going any better.  Kaden acts like I'm a celebrity when I pick him up.  He runs to me excited to show me everything he's worked on that day.  When I ask him what his favorite thing of the day was, he always says, "Everything Mom!  Everything today was so great!".  I'm still aching in my heart a little.  I miss that kid so much.  I miss his presence in our home, but I think about him all day long and imagine how happy he is.  He is where he needs to be.
Every morning when I drop him off, he leaves me at the curb and runs the entire way to meet his class.  He holds his arms out and twinkle toes his way, backpack bobbing up and down.  Why does this make me want to cry?  It makes me so incredibly happy, and hurts a little, all at the same time. 
  He is spreading his little wings and flying.  I couldn't be more proud of that precious little boy.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

becks and daddy

When Matt comes home he is such a good sport.  His legs are so tired and his feet are always hurting.  No matter how he is feeling, he always comes in the door with a huge smile on his face and greets the family with hugs, kisses, and genuine happiness.  He treats us like he's been excited to see us all day.  He is always happy to help me or play with the kids.  Even if sometimes the playing looks like this:
I love these sweet pictures.  I love how Matt is lying on the floor and Beckham is so happy.  Besides, that's the way Becks usually plays anyway.  Matt is such a sweet and loving Daddy and I am so grateful for that.
And this is what Beckham does when he listens to music.  No matter how loud or soft it is, he likes to cover his ears and often closes his eyes. Maybe he feels it more that way....

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

our trip: grandma's

I knew I should have filled the gas tank that 14 times I thought about it.  I wasn't sure how far the car would go on a tank. I waited until the empty light turned on and decided to get serious about finding a gas station.  We were on the interstate for a long, long time. I ended up passing through an automatic meter on a toll road (big ticket!).  I actually worried spikes or something would come up through the ground when I didn't exit to pay.  After thinking about this for 2 seconds, I realized that would be completely insane and dangerous.  I finally took an exit expecting to see a gas station.  Southern California should have a gas station at every block for how many cars there are. 
Somehow I managed to pick the exit into McMansion capitol.  We drove and drove, through beautiful hills surrounded by gated estates and golf courses.  We saw cars that cost more than I make in 5 years.  It was beautiful and smelled like money and fresh cut grass.  I couldn't really soak up that beauty because my 5-year-old was crying in the backseat, just sure we would end up stranded. He's just got no faith in me, I tell you. Not that he should at this point!  It's not like we were in the ghetto, although I felt just as out of place.
We drove and drove and drove.  Finally, after going about 15 plus miles through McMansionville, we entered into a more normal looking part of the city.  Still, block after block and no gas station!  I said, "Babe, I am pretty sure the cars of the rich and famous don't need gas. Or their drivers fill them up at some obscure hidden gas station designated for the 1%."  Finally, I stopped and asked someone at a doughnut shop.  We filled up while I had Matt browse through the owner's manual to find out how many gallons the tank held.  I put in 16, and we found out it holds 20! I could have gone another 120+ miles.  Then he reads that the empty light comes on, but there is actually a reserve tank. Although,  it is wise to find gas as soon as possible.  Why would they tell me that? You know I will bank on that reserve tank; that's just how I work.
We rolled into Grandmas and had dinner.  It was actually my first time ever being there.  The boys were so excited about her pool and ended up getting in fully clothed.  We had a nice relaxing evening together. I was so impressed with all of the citrus trees. I would have been in Heaven living there.
That evening, after the kids were asleep and everyone returned from the reception, we looked at Grandma's things and spent hours going through countless photo albums.  I always love to look through pictures and imagine what life was like for that person.  It was really fun to imagine the earlier years of Matt's grandparents.  I think I really am one of the most sentimental people in the world.  As everyone was going through Grandma's things, deciding who got what and what would get taken away, my heart hurt a little.  It just felt so wrong and sad, but I know it was necessary.  I think that if my parents ever die (which is doubtful, since they will live forever, you know. They have to!), I am going to need the house to accidentally catch on fire.  Otherwise, it will take me the rest of my life to have the courage to go through everything.
I was so touched by Kaden and the way he interacted with Grandma.  I had told him about her being very sick and weak, and explained how important it was that he play quietly and try to stay calm around her.  He was so excited to see her and didn't seem to notice that she looked so frail.  He just wanted to be by her, so he hauled his toys in and sat on the floor right next to her and played so quietly, every now and then talking to her.  I think she loved having him near and I melted seeing him be so gentle and quiet.  He talked about her a lot on our trip.  He talked about how she will feel all better when she gets to go live in Heaven.  He talked about how happy and thankful he was that she gave us her car.  He talked about how much her family will miss her, but how happy her husband would be when he saw her.  My heart was, and is, bursting.  This kid never ceases to blow me away with his sweetness, his understanding, and his love.
I really loved our time at Grandma's house.  I was so sad to say goodbye to her.  I knew it would be the last time we saw her and that is always so hard.  I felt frustrated not feeling like I knew how to express adequately how grateful I am, we are, for everything she has done for our little family over the years.  She has been so kind, loving, and supportive of us.  I hated to see her hurting, but was so glad that she was able to hold on to see her whole family all together.  I know that is what she wanted most, and what makes her most happy.
Beckham did pretty well at Grandma's, except for when he saw a fly.  Sadly, he saw a lot of them and I don't think one fly in a 50 ft radius escaped him.  He had been stung by a wasp 2 or 3 times on his face before vacation, so to him, every bug meant pain.  He was petrified.  He screamed and screamed.  I felt bad for him, but his screaming is so stressful and I have to really talk myself into not freaking out on him.  At one point on our drive home there was a fly in the car.  I was tyring to understand Beckham in hopes of not totally losing it with him.  I said, "you know Matt, I guess we need to just see it how he does.  It's like if there was a viper in our car right now...I'd be screaming my head off too..."  Sometimes, if I try to understand things as he does, I am able to get a glimpse into why this poor boy gets so bent out of shape sometimes.
These were just a few silly pictures of the boys in Matt's very, very dirty and cracked glasses.  That poor guy, he needs a wife that remembers to fix things like this.  We took these while trying to quietly entertain them in the bedroom.  Keeping two little boys quiet and under control is rough!

Friday, September 14, 2012

imogene pass run

Somehow my friend Angie and I talked each other into doing the Imogene Pass run.  She did it once before when the course was altered because of bad weather and swore she'd never do it again.  Peer pressure gets the best of all of us, and we signed up to run this 17.2 mile course over a mountain.  I think in my situation, ignorance is bliss.  I could only imagine what it would be like, but didn't know from experience so I didn't let myself get too worried about it.  It was a little disconcerting, however, when I would mention this run and get a deer in the headlights look from someone with a "you're crazy!".  Maybe we are a little crazy.
Imogene Pass run starts in Ouray (7,810 ft) and goes over the mountain to Telluride (8,750 ft).  The towns are 8 miles apart "as the crow flies", and about 50 on the road.  The pass is just over 17 miles,  climbing up to 13,114 feet in elevation at the summit.  The pass is a rocky jeep/atv trail, and the terrain is sketchy!  There could not be a more beautiful place on earth; I'm convinced. 
Angie and I headed to Ouray after I got off of work.   We decided to take a little 2 mile "shakeout" run at the summit of Molas Pass on our way to Silverton.  I am not sure if this was a good idea or a bad one. I had a great time running, but the tougher time at elevation scared me a little.  The minor headache I already had turned into a horrible one!  When we got to Ouray we joined the masses for a spaghetti dinner and overview of the race course.  Again, not sure if it was a good idea or a bad one. I like knowing what I am getting into though, and what I can expect.  The guy going through the slide show was hilarious and we were again warned that this race "is extremely difficult, even for the the best athletes". Oh dear.
We checked into our motel and I started guzzling water.  My head was pounding and I knew I was dehydrated.  We headed out on the town in search for something to eat for breakfast the next morning, only to realize that everything closes at 7! We found a chocolate/ice cream shop and scored free milkshakes and banana bread.  A funny story, actually.We stayed up too late chatting (of course!) and I think I got up 5 times because I drank way too much water.  Every time I woke up I panicked just a little because my head throbbed.  I didn't sleep much, but when I woke up in the morning I was incredibly thankful my head felt significantly better.

 It was so nice because it was just us. Our husbands and kids were taken care of and we got to have a little girl time with no responsibilities. I had so much fun with Angie, but we are a bad combination. I put her in charge of our room key because I lose everything. Turns out, she is as bad as I am. The jury is out on who actually misplaces more things. We were a mess! We got up early and after finally locating all of our things, headed to the start. We were in a sea of people and lined up too far back. It was weird looking around though.  Everyone looked so legit and like they'd done this thing a thousand times. Everyone looked like an athlete, and more prepared than I felt.  The race is much more crowded than I expected (1500 people!).  It took a long time to get around people. It was probably good to be forced to start out slowly.
This is the first big hill leaving Ouray.  This race really is crazy.  You start climbing and climbing and other than a few very short flats and downhills, the climb is relentless until the summit.  After about mile 6 most people are power-hiking with a few moments of running.  After mile 7.5 there is pretty much no way to run it, unless you are a descendant of a mountain goat or a Sherpa.
It took me a good 3 miles to warm up.  I felt so stiff and just off.  After that though, I felt great.  My legs were definitely tired, but I was surprised that the altitude didn't seem to affect me at all.  I can actually say that the miles went by so fast and I was loving it.  There were so many fun people to talk to, encourage, and man people say the funniest stuff when they are suffering up a mountain.  The scenery was absolutely incredible and it's too bad the terrain was so crazy because I had to remind myself to look up and take it all in.
It is steep I tell you!  23% grade for miles 8 to 10.
We reached the summit after a grueling couple of miles.  I think our pace was around 24 minutes/mile for those last two miles, which I felt was moving right along considering how steep it was!  Toward the top I could feel my legs cramping up, especially my injured foot/ankle, and they were more tired than they've ever been.  Despite it, I felt great.  There were people on the summit cheering and lending a hand up the final steep step and I felt like I wanted to cry.  "Angie, isn't is amazing that we can do this?!" It felt like such a huge accomplishment. 
I learned that hands and fingers do not work whatsoever up this high. Completely useless.
This kind of thing really makes you feel hardcore.  I know there were hundreds of people in front of us.  We didn't run the entire way up, but man I was impressed with our "incessant forward motion."  (And can you see all those tiny little people on the trail behind us?)  My legs began to tighten the minute we stopped.  I grabbed some hot soup from the aid station, knowing the salt would help.  The aid stations were AMAZING.  They had peaches, bananas, oranges, m&ms, snickers, pretzels, cookies, gummie bears, and little baggies to load up and carry.  It was like an all you can eat buffet, and I was more than happy to spend a few minutes stocking up on goodies.
The descent was nearly as steep as the climb.  On tired legs it is rough. I had imagined this part would be a rest, but the downhill actually tortured me much more than the up.  My calves started cramping so badly that I nearly fell on my face about 15 times.  I felt like I had no control at all and that I couldn't trust my legs or feet.  It was so, so weird; I have never, ever cramped like that before.  They were full charley-horse cramps that I had absolutely no control over.  It was the strangest thing.  Angie was bounding down the hill like a bunny rabbit and I told her to leave me like 50 times.  I didn't want her to feel pressure to wait up.  What a sweet friend to stop and make sure I was okay. (Surprisingly, the cramps didn't really hurt that much.)  She waited for me to stretch every 5 minutes and hobble over the rocks.  Finally, after a few miles the banana and soup must have kicked in because the cramping stopped.  My legs still felt really tired, but I finally felt like I could actually run.  We cruised down the last 5 miles at quite a nice pace and passed lots of people.  We continued to stop at aid stations though, while others kept on, so we passed the same people about 4 different times.  I am sure that was annoying.  The road was so rocky and uneven and my legs and ankles were hating it.  I just wanted something even slightly smooth.  No such luck.
This was the first view of Telluride, about 3 miles from the end.  So beautiful.  We finished together in 3 hours 57 minutes.  I had no expectations or goals, just to try hard, and we felt so good about our time.  We were strong and steady and finished in the top 1/3.  We got on the bus back to Ouray and when we got off we were moving slow!  I decided that my legs cramped because I hadn't slept well in days, and I drank way too much water practically diluting myself of electrolytes. Lesson learned, I hope.
I was absolutely starving and this was a sweet reward.  After our lunch we headed over to the hot springs.  My legs were aching so bad when we got there and when we got out of the water they felt 90% better.  We drove home and I camped on the couch the rest of the night.
This race was amazing and unlike anything I've ever done before.  It's probably the most difficult physically challenging thing I've ever done.  I couldn't have asked to feel better or have a more enjoyable time.  I am so happy Angie and I did it together and stuck together.  I think we helped each other at different times and it was so cool crossing the finish line together.  I actually loved this race, and I will definitely do it again.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

humbled by a 5-year-old

It was one of those mornings that is just a bust from the beginning.  We got up too late, I had to get myself ready for work, while also getting the kids ready.  Matt was sort of on his own and I kept reminding him to eat breakfast and pack his lunch.  We scrambled out the door and I got the kids buckled, knowing Kaden would get to school 3 seconds before the bell rang.  I was about to pull out of the garage when I realized I had forgotten the bag with Beckham's clothes and diaper. Yep, we were running so behind the poor kid was still in his pajamas.  I ran in the house to get them and realized Matt had gotten distracted.  I got annoyed.  I was already feeling bugged by the morning and that sent me over a little and I snapped at him. I felt bad but I ran out slamming the door behind me.  Exasperated, I got in the car and put on a little smile for the boys.
You did a good job getting your school stuff ready this morning.  I'm sorry we are running behind, Kaden.
-Did ya forget somethin, Mama?
Yeah, I did. 
-Was it your patience?
Yeah, I guess I forgot that too.  I'm sorry.
-Oh it's okay Mama, you'll find it again soon. I'm sure of it!
What a sweet little boy.  At first I felt bad.  Actually, I was already feeling bad for being so grumpy and I was pretty sure that my day started off wrong and would probably be tainted.  Then I thought about what he really said.  His innocent little remark made me think.  It was up to me to find it again.  I decided to make the day good and forget about the rough start to the morning.  I felt so happy thinking of my little boy all day; his quickness to forgive and forget and see the happiness in absolutely everything.  I needed his sweet reminder and his unconditional love this morning.  My day did turn out really good, and I thank him for it.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

happiest boy on earth

Last Saturday morning Kaden came running into our bedroom like he always does.  So happy and ready to greet the day.  "Kaden, you get to spend the day with Nana and Papa. They have a surprise for you!" He bounced around all morning saying "YAY!" over and over.  We packed his little backpack; he got a good breakfast.  He nearly exploded with excitement when they showed up to get him.  The best thing about it was that he didn't even have any idea what the plan was.  He just knew he got to spend time with Nana and Papa, and he got them all to himself.  I cannot even imagine how he felt when he realized how they would spend their day together.  My parents are so good to my kids.  I cannot begin to express how thankful I am that we live close and my kids are growing up with such a close relationship and special bond to them.
I don't think anything in the world could make this little boy happier than riding the train.  He loves it so much, and it's even more special that he gets to watch his uncle fire and engineer.  He got the special treatment just like he did last time.  What a lucky little boy. 
I'm pretty sure there is hardly anything better than surprising this boy.  He is the most excited, grateful, happy kid on earth.  His excitement and joy make you feel like a million bucks.  It's no wonder he came home with a new sweatshirt, train, and picture for his wall.  His sweet smile and overwhelming happiness just make you want to shower him with more.  Plus, isn't that what Nanas and Papas are for?
He was so tired on their trip back and slept a good part of the way.  When they got home he was happy, exhausted, and dirty.  His face looked amazing. He was covered in soot and his bathtub was so gross when he got out. I hope this sweet little boy always stays so happy and excitable. I never want anything to change that about him.
I've said it a million times, this boy is joy; he is light.