Thursday, December 31, 2009

Out With the Old....

Here we are. New Year's Eve, 2009. In a few hours we will be ringing in the new year. I wishing for a year of hope and promise. I've made a couple of small changes so far, one of which is Brandon's medication regimen and the other being my hair. Okay, my hair isn't a small change. It's quite drastic! I do love it, though.

I'm liking the whole look without the glasses, so I'm considering contacts as well, but we'll see how that goes.


I've been out of work since Sunday night. I woke up feeling feverish and not well, but I thought I could tough it out. Wrong. I made 3 hours into my shift before I had to call my boss to relieve me. I came home, ate a bowl of soup and went to bed. I stayed there for about 36 hours before I even had the strength to stand again, and even now, its rough to be up for more than 10 minutes or so. I kept a fever of 99.9 the entire time I was in bed. Once the fever broke, the coughing began. Let me tell you, I prefer the fever. Nothing like trying to use my touchscreen phone when a coughing fit hits me. I hit the wrong tab every time.

Rob was kind and took care of me while I was sick and kept the house tidy. Once I was able to raise my head for a while, we moved my laptop to beside the bed so I could keep up with the world. I have some wonderful friends on the Internet who've made me laugh until I cough until I can't breathe. Got to love a friend like that! I plan to meet up with them again later tonight for some New Year's Eve shenanigans.

Since I am home sick from work, I can't be out traipsing all over just because it's New Year's Eve. It was horrid enough taking Brandon to his appointment with his psychiatrist today, but it had been postponed three times in December, and we really needed to discuss how he is doing. The medication we had him on was adding to his aggression and compulsive behaviors and he has lost more weight that we are comfortable with from his lack of appetite, so we switched up the meds. But I digress. I was talking about New Year's...

So instead of traipsing around this evening with my wonderful hubby and kids, I will be enjoying New Year's Eve from the comfort of my warm bed and the light from my trusty laptop. The hubby and kids are headed to a family evening at church and then to a friend's for pizza making and to watch the ball drop on TV. The beauty of all of this is....

I'm going to be alone!

No kids, no hubby and complete control of the remote! I can't think of a better way to spend an evening. Okay, I can do without my lungs trying to escape my body every 20 minutes or so, but other than that, I am giddy with excitement trying to figure out which movie to watch first!


Since I've been a very bad blogger and let Christmas slip by without posting, I wanted to add that Christmas was wonderful. Financially, I didn't think I would be able to pull it off, but at the last minute it all came together. I got the kids what was on their lists, but not their dream gifts. I was prepared to tell them Santa wasn't able to make enough, but at the last minute, my mother in law was able to get them each their one dream gift. Matthew's was a DSi, which is the newest version of Nintendo's handheld system. Brandon's was a Spiderman bike. The look on their faces was pure joy. Santa still lives on in our home for another year.

Here's to a Wonderful, Blessed, Joyful, Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Spirit.

In 15 days, it will be Christmas. I don't know how I got to this state of mind, but I'm downright giddy! Our tree is up and decorated (thanks to the boys, who always do a wonderful job) and I can't stop listening to Christmas music on the radio at work. We have a tree up there as well, and lots of garland. I went a little crazy with the garland, but that's okay because my sister went a little crazy with the outside lights!

For those that don't know, I work in a convenience store. It's owned by one person and we have just 3 employees: the owner's brother, my sister and me. It's a very laid back job. No uniforms or name tags. I usually wear jeans and a ratty tee shirt because on my shift, something gross is usually getting cleaned. We have old gas pumps outside. So old, that they don't have credit card readers! People actually have to walk in to pay me. We have a lot of regular, neighborhood customers. We get to know them and they get to know us. New customers get confused. They will begin a conversation like "remember yesterday, I was telling you...." or "you just carded me this morning!" They're stunned to realize that my sister and I are not the same person. We do resemble each other strongly. The best part is when she's there with me and someone comes in the store and does a double take, realizing there are two of us and not just one person working all day long.

For the past week at work, I've been listening to Christmas music and wearing a jingle bell necklace. When I am in the mood, I wear reindeer antlers. The customers love it! I dress up for all of the holidays. I wore head to toe green on St. Patrick's day, complete with glitter covered hat. On Halloween, I wore a green wig and a glow in the dark tee shirt. Antlers aren't really a stretch.

Two days ago, I had one of my regular customers come in the store. He shook his head in disbelief when he saw my antlers, making the comment he hadn't finished digesting his Thanksgiving dinner yet and wasn't ready for Christmas. I told him I couldn't help it, I was full of Christmas Spirit this year as I cheerfully rang up his purchase. He laughed a little and said he'd probably walk in to see my sister wearing a Santa hat. I showed him our collection to choose from for her to wear. I think he said something about us being crazy as he left. Last night he came back.

He told me he was starting to get into the Christmas spirit and it was because of me. He said he'd thought about me that day and it cheered him up and put him in the Christmas spirit. I shared with him the reason for my silliness and love of the holiday this year.

I told him, last year, my baby died. The last thing I wanted to do was celebrate anything. I was numb and went through the motions for my other kids. The two previous Christmases were difficult because we didn't have family around and could not travel because of Tommy's complex issues. I told him this year, I felt free. Free from the grief that consumed me last year and I I felt like Tommy was giving me permission to be happy. I told him I would always, always miss my son, but now is the time to celebrate and to find the normal again with the family I have left. I could see from his face that he walked out of there changed inside. Even from Heaven, Tommy is still touching people's hearts.

I haven't bought one gift yet. I usually wait until the last minute because the boy's tastes change hourly. I also have no place to hide anything. In my last update, I wrote about giving of myself to my kids for Christmas. Our family has never experienced a typical Christmas, so this year, I am trying to give them wonderful memories. I'm 38, and can only remember a few gifts I got for Christmas as a child. What I do remember is the way the house smelled when my dad baked cookies and no matter what, I had an apple, an orange and walnuts in my stocking every year. I want my kids to be excited about what Christmas means than what they can get.

Today, as I was walking the kids to the bus, Brandon asked me if he could have another surprise today. I asked him what he wanted to do after school today and he couldn't decided. He just wanted it to be a surprise! We settled on baking a batch of brownies while we color pictures and make paper airplanes. I hope when he's an adult spending time with his own kids, that he looks back to the December when he was 6 and remembers parades, brownies and coloring with mom. I hope Matthew and Brandon both feel loved more than ever this Christmas and no matter what is under the tree, they have memories of how they felt and not of what they unwrapped.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Love and Time for Christmas

Christmas is coming up fast. There's not going to be much to go around, but I'm determined the boys are going to have so much fun that they won't notice the amount of gifts not under the tree. I've spent the past two days doing the most fun things I've ever done with the boys.

Last night we watched "A Christmas Story" after homework was done. We had a great time and lots of giggles filled our home. Today, they came home with big grins asking what today's surprise was going to be. Trying to keep a straight face, I told them we had to go to town to run an errand. They didn't believe me. (Of course there was a surprise!) We stopped to get a little drive-thru dinner and drove to a parking lot in town to eat. So far, so older gentleman knocked on our car window and asked if the parade was going to go passed where we were parked. Busted. Tonight was our town's Christmas Parade. I'd been planning this for 2 weeks and I almost pulled it off. Oh well. The cat was out of the bag.

When it was time, the boys and I got out of the car to watch. I noticed the traffic was turning at the light in front of us instead of a block down, so I knew we would have to move if we were going to see. We didn't have to go far, just about a half block down. The boys were thrilled! They thought the parade was going great, the best thing they'd ever done until the first float threw candy at them. Holy Cow! You would have thought they were throwing $20 bills the way my kids scrambled the sidewalk to pick up each precious piece and shove it into their pockets for safe keeping. By the end of the parade, they had three full pockets each of candy, coupons for free cookies, pencils and Liberty crowns.

Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, fire trucks, classic cars, horse drawn carriages, floats and Santa himself. We stood in the cold for 90 minutes as the parade slowly crept past us (with a huge gap every 5 or 6 entries). The best part was when the Salvation Army rode passed and handed out hot chocolate to the crowd. It was cold! 38 degrees at 6 pm. I couldn't feel my toes by the time Santa rode by shouting "Merry Christmas".

When we got home, we dug the tree and decorations out of the shed, I assembled the tree and strung a string of musical lights and let the kids to whatever they wanted to the tree. It looks fantastic! Tomorrow, I head back to work, so there won't be any surprises for the rest of the week.

I don't have a dime to spend on my kids right now, but I totally believe in Christmas Magic. And overtime. I plan to get them each a few small things, but there won't be any giant gifts under the tree. Honestly, if I can keep up these awesome surprise days when I have days off, then by the time Christmas gets here, it won't matter what's under the tree. It will be about the special time spent with mom and dad watching movies, going to parades and whatever else I can dream up. I have 6 more days off until Christmas, with my last day off being Christmas Eve. I'm thinking one night can be cookie baking night, and another another night we can do a fun craft to create a gift for the grandparents. We can share the story of the Nativity another and I hope I can instill in them the reason for Christmas and not the gifts behind it.

My gift to my children is me. I can't wrap my time up in a pretty bow or put a price tag on what it is worth. My kids will still expect gifts under the tree, but I am hoping their hearts will be full of Christmas love well before the day on the calendar.

Diagram of Tommy's Heart Defects

Diagram of Tommy's Heart Defects
Double Inlet Left Ventricle with Transpostion of the Great Arteries