Sunday, February 24, 2013

Take A Deep Breathe ... and JUMP!

I’m starting a new venture. I’m nervous, excited, hopeful, scared and motivated … all at the same time.  A few years ago I first I came into contact with Young Living essential oils through a friend who was using them to transform the way her household functioned.  She had a son experiencing some problems and in her quest to help him she decided to rid her home of as many chemicals and unnatural products as possible.  In her effort to replace those products she came across Young Living.  She quickly became a devotee and her excitement over the results they were seeing in their own home intrigued me.  I also wanted to help my own son and try to have as “green” a home as possible.  I have no idea what is going on in our world today that is being ravaged by cancer & other scary diseases but I CAN see that for too long I’ve trusted blindly the companies that make the products that I spray in my house, wipe on my furniture, slather on my children and swirl with our clothing.  I’m not a scientist – I don’t know what is causing all this cancer but I’m also not an idiot and I know that all these products we are using can’t be good for us.  In some way they have to be contributing to the problem!
So I started slow with my first essential oil purchase.  I got some lemon oil, lavender oil and a blend called Purification.  The more I used them the more intrigued I became.  I sprinkled a few drops of lemon in my grimy tub with a spritz of vinegar and a sprinkle of baking soda and presto-chango my tub was gleaming!  I rubbed purification on my babies’ bodies before we headed outside and the mosquitoes that ate us alive previously were kept at bay.  I used lavender in my wash, on boo boos, to freshen my smelly cars and in my bath to soothe aching muscles. Then I read that Sage oil could be used in place of deodorant and I was totally excited. I mean I totally have to use the clinical strength deodorant to just try to keep my sweaty pits at bay.   And you know what?  It worked!!! And so then I got some more.  And some more. And then about a year ago I realized I should go ahead and sign up as a distributor so I could purchase for myself at wholesale prices.
When my distributor package arrived I thought a bit about making the oils my business and sharing them with others.  But life got in the way and I convinced myself I didn’t have time.  And then people started asking questions as they saw me using them (or smelled me using them!).  I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm as I tried to explain the oils.  Which led to more questions.  And prodding from friends to have a party where I could share what I knew and give them an opportunity to get on my essential oil bandwagon.  Well those first proddings were last May and finally all these months later I am ready to jump in and start sharing my growing passion.
I’m nervous! I hate rejection!  I hate failing.  But you know what made me finally ready to start was getting to the place that I can view this not as a success or failure but as chance to share something that really intrigues and excites me.  Sure there is a business opportunity to it.  And sure, if that turned into something that would be cool.  But even if it doesn’t I’m ok with that.  Because I’m getting to use a product I love, that is doing amazing things in my home and for my family.  And I am doing the best I can to not keep it to myself but to share it with others!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Morning In The Life

What do you do all day?  I’ve been asked that before in a most sincere and polite way. I think people who don’t stay at home (or even those who do but who’s young are in a different life stage) are genuinely curious about my life.   So I thought’s I’d give just a quick preview of 50 minutes in the life of me!

6:30 – wake up.  Quickly peruse email to see if I have one from the husband.  Read it. Check weather app.  Try to brush my teeth and potty before any children become attached to my person
6:35 – make first attempt at waking children up
6:36 – start making lunches and start coffee
6:40 – make second attempt at waking children up
6:41 – pull out breakfast stuff
6:45 – start screaming at children that we WILL be LATE if they don’t get up NOW
6:50 – pull Ainsley’s body out of her bed, set her at table and plead with her to begin eating. 
6:52 – the next 20 minutes look something like this
Jake what else do you want to eat?
Ainsley please eat.
What do you need now Jane Dare?
Ainsley please eat.
Jake go get dressed.
Jake, get dressed
Jake stop doing that and get dressed.
Ainsley please eat.
Jake are you dressed yet?
Ainsley you are going to run out of time to eat and go to school hungry and cry.
Jake take your medicine.
Reid put Jake’s medicine back on the counter.
Jake I know your pills are “yucky” now that Reid touched them, please just take them.
Ainsley, seriously you are going to be late! Go get dressed
Jake go brush your teeth.
(finish making lunches)
AINSLEY OH MY GOSH WE ARE LEAVING IN 2 MINUTES!  What are you doing still not dressed??? What have you been doing in your room?
Jake brush your hair.
Jake get your shoes on.
Jake get your jacket on.
Jake pack your backpack.
What special is today? Do you have your library books? Where are they? I don’t know! Why don’t you know???
Ainsley please tell me you are ready. 
7:10 - Get in the car everyone.
Jane Dare you cannot decide you MUST get dressed now the minute we are walking out the door.
Reid I am not going to make you a paper airplane right now we are late.
7:13 – WE ARE LATE!  Move it, everyone in the car!
No, Yes, STOP THAT! Please buckle up, please don’t touch him, I didn’t say that, no you can’t bring that to school.  Where is your jacket?  Are your shoes in the car? Why don’t you have socks on?  You need money for what??? Why aren’t you buckled yet? No I can’t reach that I’m driving. Yes you do have to take your umbrella. No you may not take 8 stuffed animals. 
Give me a kiss, hurry now, don’t forget your backpack. I love you. Have a good day!!!

And that is only the first 50 minutes of my day.  The rest is quite similar.  I’ll spare you (for now)!

Photo credit to Pamela Wandrey

Thursday, February 14, 2013

You Might Be Training For A Marathon If ...

If your drying rack is always set up and covered in running tights, shirts & sports bras that you don't trust to the dryer.  

If your garage has a space that looks like this:

And your closet has more (your newer pairs)

But wait, there's more!  How on earth could you look down at these puppies and not smile.  They make me happy just to put them on!  They are a 1/2 size too small and I need to exchange them with Road Runner Sports but I don't want to part with them for long enough!

And if this is the contents of your purse.  In case you can't make out what is below I pulled it out for you in the next picture.

My Garmin GPS watch, Clif blocks (black cherry with caffeine - the only way to go), a power bar (I usually have a KIND bar too but I ate it this morning after my 14 miler), a pepper spray (my kids think I attack dogs with it - somehow that explanation went terribly wrong), a Hammer gel (also caffeinated), Oakley sunglasses that I love (found them on the side of a busy road- bet a bike rider lost them.  hmmmm, so sad.) and my Nathan belt that holds my phone, pepper spray and toilet paper when I don't have big enough pockets in my tights or shorts.  Toilet paper?  Oh yes, toilet paper.  When you spend a lot of time pounding the pavement or trail nature is bound to call.  I don't mind nature being  my potty but I do mind nature being my Charmin!

A dedicated spot in my bathroom that holds my ear warmer, body glide, head lamp, reflector light, ipod, waterproof pouch and garmin charger.

And finally, if your hair looks like this the majority of the time.  I can always get a shower after a run but the hair is often out of the question!  See, the dryer is still up.  Same dryer, different day.

And if on the way out of their house they  have one of these babies hanging around.  You know, important to hydrate!  I'm actually thinking of cheating on this one with a pack that has pockets on the front straps. I feel kind of guilty.  I mean, who does that to a faithful camelbak that has seen me through so much.  But I need more.  I just do.  I'm sorry old friend. 
And that, my friends, is a good way to walk through someone's house and know if there is marathon training going on!

Monday, February 11, 2013


It’s a funny feeling after you’ve written a post like this one.  On one hand its exhilarating to have shared so freely and opened my heart up to the world.  Talking about Jake and his developmental struggles is to unleash a torrent of emotions, struggles, fears, hopes and pleadings with God that I have kept closed in for a long time.  I’m so blessed to have so many people who love and care for my children.  And so many of those people didn’t know the whole story because its just exhausting to try and really tell it over and over again.  I’m thrilled that now more can know and pray for him and watch with us as we see the work our Father has in store for him.

On the other hand … I’ve just opened my heart up to the world (yes, those are the exact words I used above) and that can be terrifying.  What if no one had commented?  Or what if it didn’t make any difference? Or if it caused others to treat Jake differently.  To expect less from him.  To patronize him.  To pity me.  What if?

In the hours after I posted that mini-novel I had to fight the urge not to jump in and edit my post.  Not to add to the story in an effort to explain.  I wanted to be sure people knew he was high functioning.  That he is so much like any other little boy.  That he isn’t weird.  But isn’t that just my pride and lack of faith and trust?  Jake speaks for himself.  Anyone he who has ever met my boy can see that.  He has a way of touching people deep in their hearts and connecting with them in a way I never could.  I literally cannot tell you how many people feel a special bond with Jake.  To know him is to love him.

So I’m sure there will be lots of time in the future to explain both what Jake’s ASD IS and what it ISN’T.  After all this blog wouldn’t serve much of a purpose for those special little people among us if I didn’t elaborate.  But for today I’m going to resist the urge to back pedal.  Resist the urge to explain away.  And embrace the truth of what is.  And that is that I am the mother a precious, perfect child of God.
Watch Jake and his newest trampoline hi-jinks!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Ho, Ho, Ho and Misteltoe

(Back when Jake was first diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder I needed to write but I wasn't ready to share.  So I wrote a number of blog entries for that day in the future when I would be ready.  I'm going to start with this one.  It was from the first time I had to acknowledge my son's autism).

The title has nothing to do with this actual entry.  Rather that is a line from the Charlie Brown movie that was playing in the back of the car today.  Jake loves Charlie Brown . . . he went through such a Charlie Brown phase that he called everyone “Sir” (a la Marcy) and went around constantly asking people “where’s the pumpkin pie, where’s the mashed potatoes “ . . . caused a lot of confusion to those who weren’t in the know.
Today was Ainsley’s 5th birthday and we celebrated it Pinehurst style with a to-do at the bowling alley.  Ever since I mentioned that this was how we would party on A’s big day Jake has asked me if he would be invited.  He was so excited, so looking forward to it.  And in typical style once the party arrived he was a mess.  Today was the first time I actually used the word autism to describe my son – and it hurt so badly I wanted to curl up in a ball and sob despite the fact that I was putting candles on a cake in preparation to serenade my sweet little girl.  I didn’t use the word flippantly – I used it because Jake was being, well, Jake and I didn’t know what to do with him.  He didn’t want to bowl, he sulked around and hid from the other kids, he started to cry and then to whine that he just wanted to go home – begging me to just let him go home.  My dad tried to pull him aside to talk to him and he ran from my dad.  In short, I didn’t know what to do for or with Jake and I was in the midst of trying to be a hostess to our guests and mom to the guest of honor . . .
I was so grateful my parents were here.  My dad finally was able to get Jake to go to the arcade with him where they played games for a bit.  But as luck would have it  we started Jake back on his Ritalin today (after giving him a break over the Christmas holiday) and so he had no appetite.   The popcorn, soda and cake held no appeal for him.  My mom looked over at me, bewildered as I felt, and asked if this (meaning his behavior, not lack of appetite) was because of the medicine.  I looked back at her and matter-of-factly said “no, this is because of the autism” and then we both began to cry.  I barely pulled it together as the candles were glowing and the wax began to run and pool on the cake’s shining buttercream frosting and sang out as heartily as I could “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Ainsley, happy birthday to you”. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Our Own Worst Enemies

It happened again today.  A friend of mine posted a question on Facebook asking for suggestions on how to treat her toddler’s dry, chapped lips.  Her friends immediately began responding with their favorite remedies and suggestions.  It didn’t take long before “that mom” chimed in. In this instance, that mom responded to the previous suggestions in disgust.   Vaseline/aquaphor is a petroleum left over. Yuck, if I wouldn't put it in my mouth I wouldn't want it on my babies lips!”

I’m sure that mom could easily defend herself.  In her mind she is just trying to help, just sharing her thoughts and knowledge, just trying to help a sister out.  But what she actually did was make every single one of the 11 moms who commented before her (suggesting those very products) feel/seem less than…. less than her with her knowledge of beauty product safety.  Less informed, less discerning, less concerned with her children’s health and safety. 

We can all easily identify that mom.   We’ve been in playgroups with her, she has sat at our MOPS table, we’ve sat at the computer and watch her wield her words on Facebook.  In the blink of an eye that mom can take us from green to yellow (or red!) on the mom scale of performance contentedness (bear with me – I’ve got preschool behavior charts on my brain).   Sometimes it feels like it is impossible to discuss any topic related to our kids without opening ourselves up to the possibility of being wounded.  Whether its how much juice we give our kids, how much tv we let them watch, what kind of produce and dairy products we buy (GASP – you don’t buy organic, free range, grass fed meat that get’s its tushy wiped when it poos and its teeth brushed with fluoride free toothpaste each night?!?!?)  Any of those topics, and many more, open us up to being hit by “friendly fire” from another mom.

Aren’t we supposed to be on the same team here?  We are all in the trenches raising kids in a world that is anything BUT helpful!  Instead we so often turn on one another to make ourselves feel better about our decisions.  Do you notice what I did there?  I took it from a “that mom” scenario to a “we” scenario.  Because, guess what! We have all been guilty of this.  I’m the first one to raise my hand and admit I’ve let a phrase slip out of my mouth that is really a condemnation disguised as an opinion!    So let’s just all take a minute here and agree to really think before we open our mouths (or worse let our fingers fly on the keyboard!).  If there is a good chance that the words you are about to share could take another mom down a peg or two then maybe its NOT actually helpful.  Maybe it’s more harmful… and hurtful!  Maybe think about rephrasing your comment to  remove any hint of “I’m better than you”.  Let that chance to really zing those other moms pass you by.  Be the bigger mom.  Really, truly.  Because I assure you what is gained in those few moments of personal victory is a loss for moms as a whole.  We need one another!  We need to support each other and love each other and be REAL with each other.    And maybe, just maybe, when we stop building ourselves up by knocking our sisters down we will open our hearts to the real growth that is going to make a difference in our lives as moms.  Then we will model for our children the kind of people we want them to be.  We will be living by example and not just word.  And those kids, the one we are trying so hard to raise into decent human beings, will be infinitely better for it.  Better than all the organic, hormone free, vaccine delaying parenting decisions in the whole wide world – combined!  Take that!!

(Stepping down from my soap box.)

Look, I'll go first!  You want real?  Here is a picture of my 5 year old.  Taken last week.  With a pacifier in his mouth.  Somebody call CPS!!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Who Wants to Party

(I'm too tired to edit or send it to my awesome editor (my SIL Allie) so read at your own risk).

Finally, the long awaited post on what arrived at my doorstep at 8 am last Monday morning.  I think that my ears are specially tuned in to hear the wheels of a delivery truck on my asphalt driveway.  So I was surprised to hear that familiar (and oh so beloved) sound so early in the day as I was putting the finishing touches on my makeup in my bathroom.  I went to check it out with my two little helpers hot on my heels and we all squealed with delight at the sight of the Fedex truck sitting in front of my door!

I thought it was kind of funny that he took so much care to enter my name into his computer correctly and then I looked at the package and realized why.

Alcohol!?!?! SWEET!!!

So I pull it inside and rip that baby open to find this (this picture does NOT do it justice)

A basket FULL of Godiva chocolate products and a bottle of champagne.  I was absolutely floored.  And the ribbon says "Is deployment over yet?"  SO cute!!!  It turns out that a sister in military wifehood and dear friend of my brother and sister-in-laws wanted to do something to encourage me and make me feel loved.  I can't imagine anything that could have done it more than just the simple fact that she took the time (and expense) to make me a priority in her very busy life - tracking down my address, checking to see what kind of treats I liked ... all while raising two kids, working full time and keeping tabs on her stud-pilot hubby!  Leah (and Mark) your generosity touched me more than I can even express.

Its hard to put into words how lonely it can be sometimes.  There are days I wake up and don't talk to another adult at all!  Weekends are the worst because the busy-ness of our week comes to a screeching halt and the void left by Ryan's absence is felt so deeply.  And even though I know my friends are there waiting for me to reach out I feel like I pull into my shell even deeper and tighter.  I hunker down.  And then its easy to let my mind play tricks and to feel forgotten.  After the initial flurry of messages and support when he leaves the days start to tick on and the loneliness grows deeper.  Which is what was so fantastic about the timing of Leah's gift.  It let me know I wasn't forgotten.  I felt like I got a great big hug from so many miles away.  And I know the loneliness will creep back in and that's ok.  I'm ready for it.  Because when that pity party starts up again I've got a whole basket full of chocolate and booze that tell me its going to be one heck of a party!