Faith, Family, Friends, Fellowship, Food, and Fun

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Curse You, ADD: A family's journey

Most of my friends know that Lauren(8) has ADD. She wasn't diagnosed until the middle of first grade, even though some of the symptoms starting showing up a few weeks before she started Kindergarten. Since I worked at her school in KG and 1st grade, I visited with her teachers frequently about my concerns. Her KG teacher, Mrs. Baskett, was just wonderful. She told me that Lauren did handle things differently, but she didn't expect her students to be like robots, all acting the exact same way. She also said that with Lauren's determination, she will be a CEO one day.

I'll talk about her diagnosis in another post. This morning I was faced with another ADD meltdown and on my way to take the kids to school, I decided I would track our experiences through blogging.

On Thursday mornings Stephen leaves bright and early so he can attend a men's group at church. That means I am all on my own for morning routine. We have it down to a science. Stephen makes the kids' lunches before he leaves and I wake the kids up, make sure they get dressed quickly, prepare their breakfast, and remind them to brush their teeth and hair. Sounds simple, right? I don't have to remind Caleb (7) to do anything. As a matter of fact, I wake him up 15 minutes later than Lauren and he still runs circles around her. At the beginning of the school year, Lauren was barely getting it all done before we were walking out the door. I am pleased to announce that now we have about 15 minutes to spare.

So this morning Lauren had extra time and she asked me if she could do my hair. This was a very strange request, Lauren doesn't usually ask to spend time with me. I really didn't want her pulling on my hair and tangling it, but I knew it was an important moment to bond so I agreed. She gathered my hair into 6 rubber bands (I have really long hair right now). She tried making the design where you make several ponytails at the top of the head, then take half from one ponytail and half from another to make a new ponytail. When she was finished she said it didn't look very good. I did my best to assure her that it was great and all things take practice to get better.

Just as we do every morning, I went upstairs to carry Abby and Spencer down from their beds. That is a signal that we are getting ready to leave. When I told Lauren and Caleb to get their backpacks, Lauren decided she needed to look for her Kanani chapter book. I told her she did not have time, we had to walk out the door and that she had plenty of time to look instead of doing my hair. She insisted that one of the kids must have moved it. This is part of her ADD, she always blurts out that someone else must have moved things that she can not find. I told her not to accuse others and that we had to leave. She proceeded up the stairs. I grabbed her arms and lifted her in the air and put her down on the couch while telling her, "Lauren, you are hyper-focused. You need to stop right now. We are going to school." She burst into tears. This surprised me because she usually does not 'get it.' She said, "I have done something REALLY, REALLY bad. I have done something AWFUL." I was totally surprised, when she gets hyper-focused, we usually can not redirect her for a long time. Then she said, "You hair just looks so bad."

See, ADD! She totally missed the part about not getting her book and we were going to school. This is NOT the way I like to start our day. I just want peace and happiness for all. Then, something else odd happened, Abby tried to console her, "Lauren, Mommy's hair looks really good." That just touched my heart. Abby is only 5 and doesn't usually know when to say things like that. I got the kids to the van and then it was Spencer's turn to throw a fit. He was upset because I slid the carseat buckle up his chest. He waited until I had buckled myself in to tell me he wanted to do it himself. So I had to get out and slide it down so that he could slide it back up. I buckled myself in again and he cried, "I can't do it." I unbuckled again, and we agreed to do it together. Then on the way to school, Lauren said, "Mommy, my Kanani book was in the van."

See, ADD not only affects the patient, it affects the whole family. I have a friend whose daughter is an only child. She has much more patience and less frustration with her daughter because she is not also being a mommy to 7, 5, and 2 year olds.

I will continue to journal here about our experiences with this invisable disability. I look forward to sharing stories with other people who are being affected by ADD/ADHD.

Future posts:
How ADD affects her schoolwork
Lauren's delays in learning household/school routines
Teachers who get it, and teachers who don't!
Trying new medicine
I don't feel as close to her as my other kids
Trying to find what makes her happy
Mess after mess after mess (more than the other 3 combined)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring Break 2013

We don't usually get the opportunity to go out of town during Spring Break. but this year we had 2 life-changing events to attend so we spent an entire 7 days catching up with some of my favorite people.

Sunday morning I spent 3 hours, yes 3 hours, packing. I never knew it took me so long, I have a list of things to pack for trips so I'd say I'm more organized than most when it comes to packing. We drove up to little bitty ol' Rendon, Texas, where Stephen was raised. We unloaded and took his mom to meet his brother and our sister-in-law for dinner.

Monday morning we said goodbye to a wonderful man, David Arnold.

He suddenly lost his battle with cancer on February 19. I say suddenly because one day he was up and moving around with energy and that night he went into a deep sleep and didn't "wake up". He slept for 31/2 days before going home to rejoice with the Lord.

I have never been to a military funeral. I've only seen them on TV. It was touching. After the Navy Sea Bee presented the flag to my mother-in-law, he remained on his knees and took off his personal Sea Bee pin to give that to her as well. He had tears in his eyes as he thanked my mother-in-law for his service.

Here's a rare picture of the entire Arnold gang. We spent the rest of the day at the house watching movies and playing outside.

Tuesday morning I took the kids to see Mandy, Shane, Aidan, and Owen. We finally got to see their beautiful new house. After one little love-spat between Abby and Owen, the kids got along really well. I regret not taking pictures.

Stephen spent that time with his mom and brother, cleaning out Dad's things. When we got back to the house. the kids ran amuk in the open and vacant motorhome garage while we enjoyed the amazingly beautiful weather.

Tuesday night I got some bestie time. I met Hyla at Five Guys. Why on earth did they wait until I moved away to put a Five Guys in my favorite shopping center? Again, no picture :(

Wednesday we stayed put and around lunchtime I changed the channel to FOX News to get an update on the conclave. The caption said that smoke was expected within seconds. I stood in great anticipation until it happened. I saw the white smoke. I immediately texted my Aunt Joanie, who was on a pilgrimage with her church, and said I hoped she was getting to see the smoke in person. She immediately called me. She said the group was in France, did we have a new pope? I told her yes and she got to share the news with her fellow pilgrims. I'm, not sure why, but I felt that was a huge honor.

I promised to text her the name and information as soon as it was revealed. What an exciting day, indeed.

That night we joined Dirk, Jennifer, Sean, and Alex for dinner and fun at their house.  I just love how my kids get along so well with others, no matter where we go.

Thursday morning we headed over to the Ross house, where we spent the next 4 days. That night some of my friends from our old Young Adult Ministry group came over for a mini-reunion.

Friday morning I got to join Rochelle at her Mom's Group at Good Shepherd in Colleyville. It was amazing to see that their group is pretty much like our group. I also got to see another YAM friend at the meeting.

Friday night we went to meet my Goddaughter, her sister, and their dad, at CiCi's in Grapevine. It has been wonderful to reconnect with them. As soon as someone teaches me how to get pics from my phone to the computer, I'll post pictures. The highlight of the night was when Spencer blessed us by coming into the dining area with no bottoms on. Gotta love potty training!

Saturday was relaxing. The kids got to go to their first wedding as my niece, Jessica, married her love of 7 years, Brad.

Caleb, Abby, and Spencer tore up the dance floor. They enjoyed the chocolate fountain and candy bar. It was a great way to end the week.

Sunday morning we attended mass with the Ross family and then headed home. It's always so hard to say goodbye to good friends. It's funny to me that I didn't know Rochelle that well when I lived in Fort Worth. We were in the same YAM group, but it seems like we were never grouped together. In the last 3 years we've gotten to be like best friends. She and Tommy open their home to our tribe and we always enjoy just sitting around the table and having good conversations. Her older kids are just as wonderful, always there to offer help and love the kids. It hurts me to be so far away from them.

And just like that, it was over. Back to reality. I'll just spend the next 2 months trying to plan another friend-filled trip to Fort Worth.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Angry Birds Birthday Party

My oldest son turned 7 today. He wanted to have an Angry Birds party so I did what most do these days and I searched Pinterest for ideas. I was extremely short on time so I picked a few things that I thought we could pull off quickly.

My wonderful and amazing hubby printed these on cardstock for me. He saved the images for other decorations and labels that you'll see below.

Stephen also downloaded a font that was close to Angry Birds and made this banner. I just used scrapbook paper to frame out each letter. The wooden bench came with our Little Tyke kitchen set. The napkins and plates came from the party store and Wal-Mart.
 I bought this little grapevine wreath last year for my Lenten display. It was perfect to display this nest. Since Easter is in a few weeks, it was easy to find some white plastic eggs.

I found these gummies at Hobby Lobby, too. They are gluten free- that's just as important these days as nut-free. We also found some Angry Birds cheese crackers at the store. I served fruit and veggies as well.

The cake:
I have learned to stop wasting hours planning my kids' cakes because they have their own ideas. This was Caleb's plan. My hubby has become quite the expert in fondant rolling and shaping, wouldn't you agree?  The blocks are wafer cookies that he wrapped in fondant. The flash made the green icing appear to be different colors, but I assure you it looked great in person.
Goody Bags:
Stephen made these bookmarks to put in the goody bags because I just needed more ideas, I didn't have time to run all over town finding Angry Birds items. He used a picture of Caleb in his Halloween costume.

We found some Angry Birds graham crackers, the plastic eggs, a little maze, and some stickers. Stephen made labels with AB pictures. He made extra labels and we used them on cups and juice boxes so everyone could write their names on them. I noticed it worked because the kids kept up with their drinks and didn't come back for more and more.

Mother of the Year Award

And the Mother of the Year award goes to..................................................

Not me!

Well, not that I was up for it or anything, but I am still feeling awful about Caleb's party yesterday. See, I have known for months that we would have his party on March 2. I've known that it was also the date that College Station ISD students who read more than 250 pages would be going to the Texas Aggie basketball game so I knew I'd have to plan around that game. Well, this year March just snuck up on me. Maybe it was because we made a day trip to Fort Worth to say goodbye to Stephen's dad and be with his mom who had a stroke that morning. Maybe it was because I had something on my calendar every single morning last week. Maybe it was because there are only 28 days in February, I don't know, but last Sunday morning I woke up in a panic because I realized that his party was 6 days away, NOT the 13 I thought. I jumped out of bed and completed the few invitations we had before church. I knew that most of Caleb's class would be able to come with such short notice. I ran into some good friends as I was dropping the kids off in their Sunday School classes and I told them about the party, followed by, "I know it is really short notice, and I am so sorry. I understand if you have plans." Then I was reminded that the 2nd graders were making their First Reconciliation at the same time as Caleb's party. EPIC FAIL on my part. A few sweet friends told me not to worry, just keep this one small. So, if you are one of the dear friend I forgot to contact, I am so sorry, it was not intentional.

A dear friend and mother of 5, who is the RE director of her Parish in OK posted that she was on her retreat this past weekend when she realized today is the Youth Mass and she forgot to find anyone to usher, lector, serve Eucharist, it does happen. We are human and we are forgiven.

Thankfully, kids (especially Caleb) are so grateful for whoever shows up and whatever I threw together. It was a success in his eyes and that should be good enough for me...but I am still thinking of a few friends who were left out and I'm so sorry!