Just Another Day in Paradise

Today is one of those days I had to hit head on with all cylinders firing…so I started last night. Here is what had to be done BEFORE I backed the minivan out of the garage at 7:40 a.m.

-Pack three lunches: Bailey must have a lunch from home due to her food allergy, Lily is basically Rain Man (4 items only and they are usually the same. If there will be a fifth item, she needs to know in advance), and Riley didn’t want school lunch. Bailey forgot her lunch box at school and I don’t have a spare anymore. Her lunch is in a Ziploc freezer bag because our brown paper bags are in the back of my van. You know, the logical place to keep them. Her lunch may or may not have survived.

-Pack two after school snacks: Riley has a basketball game an hour away and eats lunch at 10:50 a.m. so she is starving after school. Lily has cross country practice and it’s really hot today so she will need a quick snack and some water. Her water bottle is currently sitting on the kitchen counter. I will take it to her when I pick Bailey up from school (which is code for “It will still be on the counter at 10 p.m.”).

-Pack two sports bags: Refer to the above mentioned basketball game and cross country meet.

-Today was school picture day for Lily and Bailey: This is the one day of the year Lily allows me to smooth her very thick hair with a curling iron. You know what? I’m over it. She can wear dreadlocks next year if she wants. Bailey then wanted her hair curled. She was convinced I would burn her. She is burn free. In your face six year old!!

Everyone made it to school with their backpacks, extra food, and picture worthy hair. I worked picture day for three hours and then came home to do laundry, prep some dinner for tonight since I won’t have time to cook later, and watch some Food Network. The Food Network wasn’t essential but I like to pretend I will make something I see on TV today.

Carry on friends. It’s only Tuesday. We can do this.

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I’m No Forrest Gump

Lily (age 9) and I are going to run a 5K in less than two weeks. We’ve been training for 11 days. This is the dumbest idea I’ve ever had. I wanted to help her get in shape for cross country and forgot that I’m 38 and hate to run. But it’s too late to turn back. I can’t disappoint my kid and I paid $40 for the race registration and $30 for matching tank tops. Cute tank tops go a long way when you feel like your ankles will fall off. I’ll write more about this journey later in the week. Right now I need a Pepsi.

Eggs and Epi Pens

My youngest child, Bailey, is allergic to eggs. She can’t have just a taste or something baked with egg as an ingredient. She is very allergic and has been since she was a few months old. We found out when Bailey was one and took a tiny bite of her birthday cake. She immediately broke out in hives and I threw away her cake. It was a very pretty cake that I baked and decorated myself. I was super pissed. My anger was not directed at my child but at the fact that she could not rub cake all over her face like a normal baby.

Fast forward a couple of months and we were dealing with a child who was also allergic to milk and later, peanuts. Bailey also has tons of environmental allergies. I learned a LOT about food labels, how hard it would be to eat at a restaurant, and got to purchase a handy dandy epi pen. I practiced what to do if Bailey ever had a life threatening allergic reaction. Thankfully that has never happened and I feel confident it never will. She is very self aware and never eats anything that hasn’t been packed for her. It’s a lot for a six year old but she is very healthy and this is an issue WE can control. Bailey’s sisters are vigilant. They would probably sacrifice their bodies if they thought she was about to eat something with egg.

Bailey outgrew her milk allergy (she found out real butter is truly a beautiful thing) and also the peanut allergy. I was so relieved. A few weeks ago her doctor dad and I decided to have her undergo an oral food challenge to see if she had outgrown the egg allergy. I baked a cake and in a controlled environment (Benadryl, epi pen, etc) Bailey would eat increasing increments of cake. Dad timed each level and our goal was to get to one teaspoon of cake without any hives or breathing issues. The process took two hours and Bailey did great! I stared at her face and neck. Stephen would examine her throat and skin for any signs of reaction. I let myself imagine a life without the damn epi pen and with french toast. We made it to the end of the challenge and there were no outward signs. I was going to buy Bailey her first donut.

As we left the doctor’s office Bailey was complaining of stomach pain. She had mentioned that her belly hurt around the one hour and thirty minute mark but I didn’t think it was a big deal. I was wrong. Bailey got very sick. The rest of the day was spent watching her body get rid of the whopping few ounces of cake. She cried. I cried. She said she was sorry she failed her test. I cried harder and told her that she had done a wonderful job and that stupid test didn’t matter.

Why am I telling you this story? It isn’t for sympathy. Bailey has a very minor health issue. In the great scheme of things it’s really okay. We have been dealing with this for five years so it changes nothing in our routine. I am sharing because it is so easy to think “why is this happening to MY kid?” I have had some very angry moments. I have definitely asked why in the world didn’t she outgrow her egg allergy by age 6 like the statistics showed.

And then I’m brought to my knees when I hear a college friend is at a children’s hospital with her son who is fighting cancer. Or I have to help my nine year old understand why a girl at school has to wear a pump to make sure her diabetes is controlled.

We all have battles but let’s keep them in perspective. I will do this by whipping up egg alternative meals that Bailey will most likely hate like a normal kid and I will always have my epi pen handy just in case.

Baby I’m Worth It

Do you ever wonder about your self worth? Ever have a bad day and wish you had a different job/house/life? I imagine we all have moments of doubt or even envy. We are human! I am a stay at home mom and a lot of my days are less than glamorous. I’m okay with that and I’m not going to use today’s blog to rant about my job or pull an “An Open Letter To My Awesome Self” kind of moment (I’m over all of the “open letters” people. Just talk to yourself like the rest of us.)

Today, with the help of Fifth Harmony’s latest (and probably only) smash hit, I want to share some exciting news… Baby, I’m Worth It!! Worth what??? I have no clue. I just know that what I’m doing day in and day out is worth it and guess what? YOU are worth it too. We all are.

If you are a teacher and woke up this morning counting down the minutes until you could escape that class full of wild children for the weekend, that’s awesome!! Your job is freaking hard and I couldn’t do it without a flask in my purse. But you ARE making a difference every day.

If you are a doctor (like my dear husband) and every person you saw today Googled and self diagnosed before they came to their appointment, that’s okay!! Bill their insurance anyway. And remember, you went to medical school so you would know what to do when the truly bad stuff happens and that’s why we NEED you.

If you are a construction worker, police officer, caretaker, or any other profession, whatever you are doing is worth it. Please don’t let the actions of crazy people make you think otherwise.

If you are straight, gay, bisexual, transgender, Democrat, Republican, Independent…. You are worth it. Heck, even Donald Trump is worth it because he’s a person (super crazy person but still qualifies as having worth).

So this is your pep talk for the day. You ARE worth it. Embrace your worth. *And I’m sorry for putting that song in your head….

***I have been on an extended break from blogging. If you have a topic you would like me to consider please leave a comment!

Winter Solstice Baby

Today is my birthday. Today is also the winter solstice and is the shortest day of the year. Based on the last three days, I’m grateful that darkness will come early.

On Friday night Stephen and I were supposed to have a rare night out while the girls stayed with my mom. I was looking forward to putting on my pj’s at 6 p.m. and renting a movie. Wild night my friends…. But my mom got sick (most likely because she helped me with school parties on Thursday) so plans changed. It wasn’t a big deal. We took the girls to a basketball game and they only went to the concession stand four times which is definitely progress. I still had those comfy pj’s on my mind and relaxing on the couch after the kids went to bed. And then Riley dropped a paint filled ornament and it shattered…all over our new carpet. The paint is bright blue. My carpet is NOT bright blue. As soon as we made sure she didn’t cut her hand, I started cleaning. Two hours later most of the paint was gone but there’s a noticeable blue spot that will require professional help. The relaxing night had disappeared along with my personality.

On Saturday I went to a yoga class and then braved Walmart. When I got home Bailey wasn’t looking so great. By noon she had a low fever. By 8 p.m. she had a high fever and threw up as Stephen was putting her to bed. So we moved her to the couch, stripped the bed, and prepared for a long night. Stephen sent me to bed (and I went without much protest and while I should be ashamed, I’m not) and he took the night shift.

Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m. I got up and Bailey had a temperature of 103.1. She was miserable. Lily came downstairs shortly and said, “Happy birthday mom!!” I managed a polite thank you and started another load of laundry. Stephen made me a lovely breakfast and a mimosa. He cut me off after the first cocktail because I had to teach Sunday School in a few hours. Riley and Lily did a wonderful job in their bell choir performance. When we came home Bailey’s fever was higher. I knew we weren’t going to be celebrating my birthday as planned and while I was disappointed, I hated seeing Bailey so sick.

Instead of eating out we will be grilling some steaks and I might polish off that champagne. I’ve decided to wait until next year to turn 38 but if you already bought me a gift, just drop it off. I can make an exception for presents.

All Dogs Go To Heaven

I’m not an animal person. I always had pets growing up but only became attached to a few. The first was my cat, Colors and the second and third were dogs. One was an Australian shepherd named Star and the other was a golden retriever named Clarence. *Clarence was born during the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill debacle and whenever he did something less than tasteful, my dad would shake his head and blame it on his namesake.

Golden retrievers became a staple of the Mullins homestead seven miles from town. After Clarence lived a nice long life we got Max. Max was also a rascal and liked to disappear for days at a time. One time he was gone so long we had to go look for him. After a few weeks things were looking bleak. It turned out someone decided to keep him and chained him up next to their house. My dad offered a reward and money always talks. He got a tip, rolled up to this houses, and brought home our dog. It’s a thousand wonders he didn’t get a rifle pointed at his nose.

The last golden my dad brought home was Buddy. My mom was very sad after Max disappeared for good and didn’t want anymore dogs. Dad was never good at listening to such declarations and he decided they really needed another retriever. He found out about a puppy in…Cynthiana of all places and the rest was history. Buddy came home to Hindman about 10 years ago and had the luxury of roaming all over the hills behind the house. His pastimes included dragging in elk antlers, barking at all hours of the night, and trying to sit in your lap even though he was huge. I didn’t grow up with Buddy like I did the other dogs but I really loved him and my kids adored him.

When my dad died, Buddy looked for him. It was one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen. He couldn’t understand why dad was gone so suddenly. I knew how he felt. Buddy became extra protective of my mom. In fact, he wanted so much to love her and be next to her that he once flattened her in the driveway and nearly sent mom to the hospital.

My mom moved away from Hindman a little over a year ago and her new home is in town. There is no yard and no place for Buddy to roam safely. She knew he would need a new place to live. My wonderful friend, Sandy, and her family offered to take him in and he would live on their farm. It was a terrible decision for my mom. She wanted desperately to keep him but knew that he would hate being confined. So I took him out to the Vanhook farm last November. I cried all day. I told him I was so sorry that he couldn’t live at my house. I told my dad I was sorry. Stephen had to leave work and help me because I just couldn’t do it. But I knew deep down that Buddy would love his new home and I was right. He got to ride around in the back of a truck. He had other dogs to play with and even got to sleep inside most nights. Buddy was meant to be a farm dog. For 13 months he led a charmed life that while different from what he was used to, was truly wonderful.

Buddy died a few days ago. He did not suffer. He simply left this world quickly and quietly. I’ve heard that all dogs go to Heaven. I think for Buddy, that means an endless supply of dog treats, elk antlers, and long rides in the back of a farm truck. Best of all, it means he finally found my dad.

*A special thank you to Robby, Sandy, Caroline, Ben, and John Embry Vanhook for taking such great care of Buddy for our family.

If I Wrote A Christmas Letter….

Dear Friends and Family,
Merry Christmas!! You won’t hear any of that Happy Holidays crap from the Moses family. Just ask the man of the house, Dr. Moses. He will wish you a Merry Christmas and you will LIKE it. *We had an incident in Lexington recently where he basically forced his religious beliefs on other people.

2014 was another amazing year here on Carl Stevens Road. Stephen and I dedicated ourselves to getting in better shape so we started a high intensity interval training class. Two of our wonderful very muscular friends run these classes and wow, they can bring the pain. Sometimes we chuckle as we are walking gingerly around the house about how much “fun” we are having. Seriously, it’s awesome and I really think these classes will keep me in yoga pants WAY past 40. My apologies in advance. I also love when we go out to eat and my husband orders a bran muffin with yogurt while I’m tossing back a Coke and asking for another basket of bread. I love that he drinks lots of water. It’s adorable.

Stephen works extremely hard at the whole doctoring thing so I can stay home and do nothing all day. Turns out doing nothing is really exhausting because I’m expected to clean, feed, chauffeur, pay bills, and shower EVERY SINGLE day. I’m hoping to hit my stride by spring.

Our baby started school this year. She is super smart like her mommy and may be a pathological liar but that’s okay. (I’ve heard that she’s been kicked in the face, a kid was attacked by a skunk at recess, and her teacher’s aide looks exactly like Miranda Lambert. *That last one is true.) This youngest one still thinks I’m awesome and when she prays each night over dinner I sometimes get a “very, very, very awesome” right before she says amen and tells me how much she hates the food.

The middle child is a million laughs. She wants all sorts of weird stuff for Christmas and we, I mean Santa, will deliver on a couple of these requests. We learned the hard way one year that the Mind Control Game truly was the item her heart desired more than anything in this world. That game has provided lots of fighting material for our three children. I feel truly blessed that her grandparents gave it to her for her birthday.

Our oldest is 10 going on 25. She isn’t on board with 99% of the things I say and I know soon that will number will be 100%. She is also very smart and really good at tricking me into things like getting a kitten. I remind myself daily that someday I will miss this age and stage of her life and then I have a big glass of wine and laugh hysterically.

Last but not least, I’m nearing 38 and I wore a strapless sequin top to a party last weekend. Obviously my sense of humor is still very much intact. Bring it on 2015.

Sincerely,
Stephen, Cassie, Riley, Lily, and Bailey Moses (and Cleopatra the stupid kitten STILL living in my basement)