Thursday, November 20, 2008

Way overdue for an update/ Wendy

well, it seems that I am way overdue for an update around here. If I still have any readers after this extended silence, I'll do my best to bring you up to speed. :)

We moved back to Athens offically at the beginning of June. I missed Asheville (and the lovely mountian climate) alot this summer! Mid-June, we drove to VA for a family vacation in Williamsburg, and we had a great time! However during our trip, our 15 year old Belgian Sheepdog, Wendy suffered a stroke as she was being boarded with the vet. I have to wonder if the stress was too much for her given her age. :( Wendy came home, but her health declined alot after the stroke, and mentally she was not the same dog.

In August we began a educational adventure- virtual public schooling! How does this work? Well, much the same way that college level distance learning does...however the younger the child, the more hands on assistance and teaching the parent must do. For example, S is in 6th grade. He is pretty self sufficent- attending online classes that make use of web conferencing software, completeing and submitting his assignments online, etc. D, who is in 3rd grade, still needs quite a bit of teaching, especially in subjects like math. But both boys are doing very well, and flying through the curriculum. D had advanced an entire grade level in math by September, and S has just completed an entire grade level in math this week..the week before thanksgiving. Granted, I've been encouraging them to focus alot on the math, as it's been a weak area in the past..but man oh man!

However we discovered in August that it was impossible to get any serious work done with Baby J at home. He was far too distracting. Cute toddler antics trump the boys interest in schoolwork any day! (Not to mention, both boys and I have we couldn't make that arrangement work at all no matter what we tried!) So right after labor day J began attending preschool at a local church and he's loving it! He goes to school from 9-12 Monday through Friday. We get alot done during that time, and finish the rest during his afternoon nap. We save late afternoons and evenings for extracurricular activities. Both boys are in martial arts, and a fine arts progrma that meets on Thursday afternoons. I'm looking for another social outlet for them...cub/boy scouts maybe? 4-H? I'm not sure. Suggestions are welcome! :)

We've battled almost chronic illness this fall since J has been in preschool. Cold upon cold, ear infections and stomach bugs. I'm hoping that all settles down soon as his immune system adapts to all the new germs he's around. Speaking of J, he turns 2 this I suppose I can no longer call him Baby J.

And lastly, I mentioned earlier how our belgian sheepdog Wendy had been in declining health since her stroke in June- this afternoon we went to the vet because things had really gone downhill the last week or two. He confirmed that she was in kidney failure and was severely dehydrated. There was nothing that could be done to correct or help support her kidney function at this point. And given the cognitive problems she had suffered since her stroke, her chronic and painful skin problems she'd been having, and her terrible arthritis, we decided if was time to release her rather than allow her to continue to decline and suffer needlessly. Making that decision has got to be one of the hardest and most gut wrenching choices a pet owner must make. We are all grieving her loss deeply. None of the boys can remember a time in their lives without her. The older two boys are taking this very hard, and J is confused. He asks "Where Ninny?" (his version of "Wendy") and says "cry?" when he sees the tears falling. I suppose he will forget about her altogether soon enough...though the rest of us never will. She was an amazingly smart and loving dog. She was adopted from a dog rescue as a middle aged dog, and quickly won our hearts and the hearts of just about anyone who got to know her.

So I want to end this post by honoring Wendy- who was the smartest dog I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Wendy girl, I love you more than words can express. You have been my friend, playmate and protector of my children, guardian of our home. You were the 4 legged vaccum that never let food thrown from a highchair hit the floor, and you sounded the alarm whenever anyone dared knock on our door. You were truely a member of of our family, and your absence will leave a painful hole for us. But I hope that where ever you are now, there are sunny days with grassy fields full of squirrels to chase and lots and lots of tennis balls.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Something has happened with my eldest child lately. Suddenly, I'm wierd and lame! But only in public..appearantly at home I'm still fine and he enjoys my company quite a bit. He is especially particular about our interactions around his peers.

S left on a 4 day, 3 night class trip this morning. There was no hug for mom as he boarded the bus with his classmates this morning. The best I could get from him was a reluctant handshake. It appeared he'd rather walk away and pretend he didn't know me. Ahhhh...emerging adolesence!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Preparing to move and little thespians

Helloo faithful friends!

I apologize at my silence, and lack of updates. I haven't been much in a writing mood recently..which doesn't mean anything is wrong..I just haven't been writing.

So here's the scoop: last week D and his class had an amazing opportunity...some West Afriacn performers came to his school and worked with his class for a whole week. They learned about African dance, music, culture, and a bit of Swahili! They were also invited to perform with the group at a local arts festival. This was a big deal!! Here is my 8 year old in his youtube debut:

My 11 year has a class play tonight...he's excited and rather nervous. So I'll perhaps have some photos or video to share of him as a norse giant.

And we're moving, in 2 and a half weeks! W00t! I've begun the packing/cleaning process..but there is still plenty to do!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ok, update

It has been brought to my attention that I haven't posted in some time, and therefore people are wondering where the heck I am and what's going on.

Well, here's the last few weeks in a nutshell-

We came back to NC and Molly is doing very well. She's going to be just fine, though she stil needs to be carried up and down steps and may need to be for a while.

We've spent the last week and a half dealing with a nasty virus that is a stomach bug and upper respiratory crud all rolled into one. None of us escaped it. D was the first to get sick followed by S and baby J, and finally me and DK. (That's what he gets for spending weekends with us!) So far, D is now well, and the rest of us are still sick, but recovering slowly. (I say optomistically as I sniffle and rub my aching sinuses)

I can't tell you how eager I am to move back to GA. Taking care fo 3 kids alone is no fun...make that 3 puking kids and it's REALLY no fun!

S is turning 11 on Friday and he's so so excited. There are about 6 more weeks of school and they are packed full! Book reports, science fair, school play, spring carnival...etc, etc etc. I'm sure it was always this way, but this year it seems so much more overwhelming.

Gotta J woke..but I'll post more soon. I promise.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

More on Molly

After that last post, Molly had to go back to the vet because she was refusing to drink and hadn't urinated in 24 hours. She wound up staying for 4 days. For a number of days she was unable to urinate at will, and only when either the vet would compress her bladder, or her bladder would become so full she'd have an accident. Poor thing.

But by Saturday she was able to come home, and she's doing very well now. She eating and drinking and has control over her bladder again, and is hobbling around very well. She looks rather pitiful hobbling, but the vet said it's important we make her walk a few times a day to help in healing. She has some horrible abrasions on her belly that look alot like burns (the vet called it "road rash") but they are getting better too. She takes her medicine very well too. Mostly, she just wants to be close to us and loved.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Molly comes home

Things were a little up and down with Molly today. This morning the vet told me that she still hadn't urinated, her hind end was flopping over when they tried to stand her up and they were concerned about some other internal or neurological injury. Well by early afternoon those issues has resolved themselves and Molly seemed to be doing as well as a dacshung who met an SUV could be doing.

But she was eating, and drinking, and the vet gave the go ahead to see how she did at home tonight. She is going to be my constant companion in her laundry basket bed for the next few days, because she is completely unable to move herself. (Doxies just don't do well on 3 legs) And she needs alot of care...but within 2 weeks he expects she'll be able to get around (carefully) again.

We are all so happy to have her home!!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Luckiest dog around

They say cats have nine lives... let my introduce you to my little dacshund Molly. Molly has had more close calls than I can count. As a tiny puppy she was a champ at wiggling under the fence, and we always were able to catch her before she got hurt. She's prone to a horrible condition called HGE (hemorrhagic gastroenteritis) We've almost lost her a couple of times to that condition. A year and a half ago she leapt off a bed and ruptured a disk in her back. That could have paralyzed her, but didn't.

Well today was her closest scrape ever. This morning around 11 am I answered the door for a gas company representative who was scheduled to do some work. He said "There a young lady sitting down the road here holding a dog who's just been hit. She seems pretty you know if it might be one of your neighbor's dogs?" I said I'd go see what I could do.

I walked, barefoot, across my yard and across my neighbors yard, and since I didn't have my glasses on, all could see was that she was holding a small brown dog. The college aged girl was crying and said "Do you know who's dog this is? It's a dacshund." I said "Well, my neighbors have 3 dacshunds, and I have one." But in my mind I had ruled out the possibility that it could be Molly because she was in the house..or so I thought. My mind was whirling with the fact that I didn't have my neighbors cell phone numbers, and how would I reach them if one of their dogs had been hit. It never occurred to me that when S let them out to use the bathroom,only moments earlier, our two very bright dogs might have knocked down a gate and escaped the yard.

When I got closer I saw that it was Molly. I said "Oh my God! Molly... oh...hold on!" And I ran back to the house. (Well, I hobbled fast) and began shouting at children to get their shoes on and telling Doug (who was on a business call) to get off the phone. I grabbed the baby from the crib, slipped on some shoes and hurried back out. After buckling the baby in the car, I hurried back to Molly and the waiting woman and gently wrapped her in a towel. The young lady was crying and apologizing profusely, and I was choking back tears and thanking her profusely for staying with Molly. She said never even saw Molly..she just felt a thump and heard yelping. (I cringe as I write that!) I do wish I had gotten her name or had some way to contact her. I'd like to tell her that it wasn't her fault..and we in no way have hard feelings towards her. It was our fault that our dogs escaped the yard.

Molly was very alert, and very happy to see me, but yelped everytime I shifted her. Her hind leg was hanging at a funny angle and she had some deep gashes. We jumped in the car and headed to the vet. The vet sent us home after they got her set up with an iv and so forth because evaluating her would take a good bit of time, but he seemed optimistic.

After wringing my hands all day, waiting for an update, I finally got one. Miraculously, there are no broken bones. Her hind ankle was dislocated, but popped easily back into place. Her cuts and wounds have been cleaned and stitched and her hind leg is in a cast. She was alert and very happy to see us later in the afternoon when we went to check on her. If she eats and drinks and goes to the bathroom tomorrow, she can come home tomorrow afternoon. And getting our old wooden fence replaced with chainlink is now top priority. And until it is..dogs are walked on leash.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Dear sweet Meredith

Just as I feel like I'm picking myself up and moving forward again, new details get released.

Now I feel sick. I want to vomit. My chest is heavy and I can't breathe. I am so angry, sick, disgusted...and amazed at Meredith's strength and bravery all at the same time.

Meredith, you are truely my hero. Rest in peace my friend.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Quickie Update

Just a quick post, because it's late and I should be sleeping. :)

D LOVES gymnastics. He worked hard in class, and despite being the smallest (and least strong) he worked very hard and I was very proud of him.

We are all doign well. S is very excited about an upcoming overnight field trip to an underground lake in TN. J has morning activites 3 days a week and so we're keeping busy, and then fun and playing wears him out for a good long nap.

I'm doing well too. Feeling tired and like jello again tonight becuase I had a good water aerobics class. My food hasn't been so good the last week or so. When I discovered I had lost 22 kbs I loosened up with my eating too much and some of the weight crept back on. Why do I do that? It's silly..but I always have! Once I start to be successful I feel like I can slack off, and I wind up shooting myself in the foot! Refocus, Kathy, refocus!

Next week is spring break forthe kids, and I'm greatly looking forward to being in Athens with DK and spending the week together as a family.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lack of sleep

Two nights ago when all was quiet I wrote a letter that I've been sitting on since Meredith's memorial...a letter to her family. Afterwards I couldn't sleep, and found a friend on line, and we chatted and cried (think I was doing most of the crying though) until 3:30 am. Well just as I was settling in to sleep at about 4 am, Baby J decided it was morning. And well, that was that. I caught a 2 hour nap when he napped later that day...but that was all. I seemed to be doing alright on such little sleep, but I was so silly. The boys thought it was great..and I must admit I was enjoying myself.

It caught up with me today however..I've been wiped all day. So I skipped water aerobics and I'm trying not to feel too guilty about it. I hav extreme irrational paranoia that the weight will come back over night if I loose my focus. Well, actually, based on past experience, that fear may not be so irrational. Today, I did however take baby J to a playgroup for toddlers that was fairly active, I took him to a playground, and then chased him all around the kids school at pickup maybe I got my exercise in anyway...

Tomorrow D begins Gymnastics and boy oh boy is he excited!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Weightloss. Gymnastics, and toddler antics

I've officially lost 22 lbs since about the second week of January. I'm going to water aerobics religiously and semi-following the south beach diet. (well I'm mostly following it) Yay me! 22 lbs is sort of a drop in the bucket in terms of what I need to lose overall, but it's a good start.

My middle monkey, D (the 8 year old) wants to begin gymnastics. There's a place near our house that offers boys classes for 8 and up, and he's psyched. I can't imagine a kid more built for gymnastics than D. He's lean, wiry, and has vast quantities of energy to burn. He does random things like shimmying up a climbing wall perhaps the rings will present him with sufficient challenge.

And lastly, I took Baby J to a Le Leche League toddler meeting today. I don't particularly need the breastfeeding help, considering J is my third baby, but I am starting to feel like he needs the social interaction. He didn't quite know what to make of all the little people his size. This is a completely new experience for him! And he was rather uncertain about the little girl his age who was determined to put a hat on his head. J would toddle away, and she'd follow holding out the hat. Wherever he went, she was right behind, reaching for his head. Whenever he would pause to look at something, she'd assault him with the knit cap. He was rather unsure of her (and the hat) and she was determined!

Thursday, March 6, 2008


I overheard the following exchange at Earthfare last night between two boys who looked like they were just out of highschool.

"So what's this Marcy was telling me about you claiming to be half American?"
"I never said I was half Amercian...what are you talking about?!"
"Marcy said you said you were half American..."
"Dude! I said I was an AFRICAN American!"

Just made me giggle...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Jello legs, Busted lip, and Gecko Eggs

It's quiet and all the monkeys are sleeping....whew.

Today I returned to my sleep apnea doctor, and he wasn't terribly impressed with my progress because I'm still exhausted most of the time. So he wants to see me in another 3 months. I walked away with a new type of mask however, which may help.

I went to water aerobics again this evening, and man oh man, do I feel like a lump of jello after that class. The funny thing about water exercise is you don't realize how hard you're working, because you never break a sweat. That is, until later, when you feel like jello...

So then back at home, baby J is toddling down the hall, and D (the 8 year old) decides to stop him and bring him back the room that we were all sitting in. But instead of stopping the toddling monkey, D accidentally tripped him. Baby J hit the hardwood face first. I heard D scream, and about two seconds later I heard the baby scream. You know a child is hurt when initially you hear nothing, the babe's mouth open wide in a soundless scream with a purple face...then comes the deep breath and the shrill scream of pain that says I REALLY got hurt this time. Blood was all over his face and it took me a few minutes to determine where it was coming from. The older two were panicking, and kept saying "he's bleeding...he's bleeding!" Thank you captain obvious! I do have to say that S was a tremendous help once I began giving him orders. "Grab a wet paper towel! Hold his hands so I can look!" All his teeth were intact, but he had busted his lip pretty good. Poor baby, and poor D. He was really hard on himself, despite the fact that it was a total accident.

And in other news, S's female leopard gecko, Sarah, appears to be about to lay eggs. Apparently she was impregnated by her cagemate, Ken. Some of my readers will find this very very humorous.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Sleep tight

Even bouncing baby monkeys fall asleep eventually. *yawn* I'm exhausted today...

Monday, March 3, 2008

Chest Pains and Sprinting (though not together)

Once again, it's late and quiet. Except for the 15 month old monkey bouncing around in his crib... but at least the big monkeys are asleep.

I think I'll be able to adapt to this lifestyle for the next few months. Not that I like it or anything, but I'll make it through.

I talk to DK several times a day, the boys do too. I have worked out a regular routine with our sitters...they'll come over in the evenings and wrestle the monkeys while I go out and have some time to myself. I intend to spend most of this time at the Y, getting back in shape. I hit water aerobics tonight and had quite a scary experience... I was pushing myself to my limits, which considering how overweight and grossly out of shape I am, isn't alot. When I got a terrible pain in the middle of of my back. I inhaled deeply and it got sharper. I made my way to the side of the pool and hung on, terrified.

My internal mental dialougue went something like this: "I'm having a heart attack in the deep end of the YMCA swimming pool. Who's going to take care of my kids? Who'll know to contact the sitters and call DK? I should have lost this weight years ago. Stupid I'm having a heart attack and my kids won't have a mom! How could I do this to myself, to the kids, to DK? Wait... *stretch* oh... *stretch*'s just a muscle spasm between my shoulder blades..."

Then I just stretched it out and resumed exercising. But yeah, loosing weight is priority one.

And an unrelated topic: Baby J actually sprinted today. The days of wobbly toddling were certainly short lived. This evening he began fiddling with a power outlet, trying to remove the safety covers and I said sharply "Baby J, NO!" He jumped, startled, and sprinted clear across the room. S, my almost 11 year old, and I burst out laughing. Evidently, he thought no one was watching...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Halfway through my first week on my own

DK is living and working in GA now, and I am in Asheville with our 3 sons. It's too quiet at night after the boys are in bed. These next 3 months are going to be very hard...I have no friends here, though I do have some babysitters I can call on. No one to talk to really. No one's company except the children and the occasional parent or teacher I speak with at their school. Though those conversations are usually very brief and superficial. So now I have to think, when all is quiet, and it's sinking in how much I have been pushing aside greif.

In the last 3 years I have lost the only 3 grandparents I ever knew, 2 friends, and 2 pets. I never permitted myself time to fully grieve any of those losses. I suppose because I didn't want to. I didn't want to feel and I didn't want to hurt. It hit me like a whammy tonight when I was talking to my 8 year old about migraines. I told him that I didn't know of anyone in my family who got them besides me. Neither of my parents, nor my sisters do that I know of. He said "What about your grandparents?" I said "I have no idea." And he replied "Why don;t you call and ask them?" and I told him I couldn;t..they had all died. And suddenly I was choking back tears...and it hit me... Gram, Mama, Papa...all dead. Jay and Meredith...dead. And I realized that I was doing what I'd always done....faced the pain as long as I had to...until after the funeral, and then convince myself that the deceased was on an extended vacation or something.

So now I'm alone in Asheville, with 3 boys to care for, no friends to lean on, and all these suppressed feeling of greif come bubbling up. Great.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

DK moving back

We are gearing up for DK to move back to GA to begin working on Monday. We promised the boys they could finish up the school year here, so I'll be remaining here with the kids. There is more stress brweing around here than anyone should have to deal with.

DK is stressed, I'm stressed, kids are stressed. Baby J is blessfully unaware. I'm trying not to let on how anxious I really am, but I am. I have no support system up here really. I have 2 very sweet ladies who help me with cleaning who will also help me with babysitting...which I am very thankful for. I enjoy their company immensely..very cool people. But that's about it.

Not to mention I'm now insane about personal safety and locking the doors and so forth. I double check them multiple times before I can fall asleep. I used to take for granted that my little corner of the world was safe and nothing really horrendously bad would happen. I have lost that sense of safety.

My friend, Meredith Emerson, was abducted and murdered about 6 weeks ago. I haven't had a decent night's sleep since then, and I expect it'll only be worse once DK is spending the work week in another state. I usually hold together very well during the day, but at night when the house is quiet and I'm alone with my thoughts...that's when it's really hard.

I'm rambling... I'm hoping I can begin posting more upbeat things soon.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Month from hell

January sucked....and that is the grandest understatement I have probably ever made.

I lost a friend, and the world lost an amazing person. I lost my sanity for a while there. My husband lost a job. And my children lost their sense of innocence and security in the world. That was a nutshell I guess.

Things have to go up from here...they just have to.