Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Did I mention that we've moved?


So in the weeks leading up to our move, I really let myself go. In every sense of the word. Chad was already in Phoenix, I was barely pregnant and feeling AWFUL. The children watched their yearly limit of television in three weeks. They also ate their yearly junk food limit in the same period of time. I vomited my lifetime limit in those same three weeks. Even though, I must have borrowed from my next life because the vomiting only slowed down about a month ago. But never fear! I will still manage to throw up at least once weekly still. A word of caution, do not mix a gyro and mint chocolate chip ice cream, FYI. Now that you're thoroughly disgusted, an emotion I surprisingly evoke in people when discussing such delicacies, let's move on.


While we were on a family vacation in Hawaii we discovered that Mr. Mead had gotten a great job in. . .Phoenix. And they wanted him to start in . . .three weeks. To add to this news, the very next day I bought the worlds most expensive pregnancy test in Maui and we found out I was also prego to boot! A week later once back in Texas we listed our house for sale. It was the first week in February and we thought it would take a couple of months to sell. The kids would finish their school year and we'd move out at the beginning of summer. Ah, the best laid plans.


Our house sold in two days. We got a little bit of a bidding war between two interested parties and got over our asking price. After a much heated contract negotiation that lasted waaayyyy past midnight, we had to be out in three weeks. But we managed to keep our mineral rights, so we still are the Texas oil giants we envision ourselves to be. The moving company packed us up, many teary goodbyes were said and we were off!


It's a fourteen hour car trip to Phoenix and we were loaded for bear. We had all the essentials, the children, the dog, the cats (one of which has already been eaten by a fox and the other is currently listed on craigslist (do you want him?)), five and a half pounds of junk food, pillows and blankets we slept on in our last night on Blanco Circle, bleach, plastic forks, starch (nicely pressed shirts are a must), butter, Gatorade, a going away box from my friend that made me cry all the way out of my familiar surroundings (about an hour and half), Texas cookbook and many other important/innocuous items. Some of those items in our defense either had to be thrown away or come with us, moving companies have rules! People. The butter, well, I had just bought a humongous amount of butter from Costco and I couldn't just leave perfectly good butter behind, you see.


Ten hours later we left the Texas border, it is a very large state if you didn't already know that BTW. We got as far north of Mexico as we could bear and stayed the night in Las Cruces, NM. Thanks to the trusty Ipad we found a great hotel that would take our literal zoo of a family. We got two adjoining rooms, feed all the children and pets, cleaned up and relaxed. Early the next afternoon we got to our house in Mesa (we found a great house to rent for a year while the Phoenix real estate market calms down). Unpacked the car, and explored our new house. Lily preferred to do it in the nude of course.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

You're fired!


Owen had another life lesson yesterday taught to him by his blessed mother (and yes, my blog I think I will begin to refer to myself as blessed, history according to Jamie). Anyho, the boys often will ask for extra chores as a means to earn money. Lily still has no concept of wanting to work for toys. She simply throws whatever her heart desires in her mothers shopping cart at Target and Viola! Luckily by the time we get to the register she has usually forgotten about the ten precious objects that she simply must have and I unload them for go-backs (job security man!).

I digress. So, Owen, yesterday wanting to earn money and my house being especially messy he was hired for day labor (did I ever tell you about the time that some "real" day labor we had hired to help us move came back the next morning to rob us?) I really digress but these are some sweet memories.

This was a lot of fun (read with a sarcastic tone for full effect). We were moving from Dallas to Southlake and Mr. Mead and his love for moving prompted him to hire people to do the heavy lifting. There is something about moving that sends the usual cool and collected Mr. Mead into a state. He doesn't start out this way but anything can set it off; changing rooms a box goes to, a stubbed toe, lint on his shirt. Love YOU baby, BTW. To alleviate this, we've learned that Chad's best skills are in moving management. Sure he'll pitch in with a stray couch here or there but he shines with directorial roles and crowd control.

In Dallas there is a known place where a bunch of illegal immigrants go and wait to be picked up for day labor. Perfect! THAT place is a trip, if this tells you anything about our first apartment in Dallas it was literally two blocks from this location. Yes, the Meads have come along way, and thankfully we weren't murdered or afflicted with any long term diseases from the Park Avenue apartments. Picture this, and do not get bogged down with the obvious sad implications for these fine men and their families, stay with me, people!


So, you're in your car and you pull up to this large group, anywhere from fifty to two hundred men all standing around a parking lot. You slow your car down, they see you, the crowd moves in on your still moving car. Once you come to a complete stop you know what it is like to be Lindsay Lohan on her way to a court appearance. They surround your car, if your doors aren't locked they are opening them trying to secure the position by hopping right in (we learned that once the hard way!) The window rolls down and the negotiating games begin. Mr. Mead commands the scene with his impressive Venezuelan Spanish language skills and three men are chosen for the task.

We make the move from Dallas to Southlake without much excitement. Since they were the ones moving us they knew of our plans to return to Dallas that evening to spend one last night in our old house. They were paid and profusely thanked for their hard work and we proceeded back to our Dallas home. Where we immediately changed our minds about sleeping on air mattresses, quickly cleaned it up and set out for our new, bigger and better home in OZ.

Fast forward to the next morning. Picture your house the day after you move in. Chaos. Stuff everywhere, children opening random boxes prompting uncomfortable conversations about mommy's underwear, you get the picture. Cue, time for Daddy to leave! Ha. Oh, the early days of Chad being an attorney, working ALL THE TIME, oh the joy. So there you have me, Owen and our then baby Luke all alone in our new house with Mr. Mead at his office in Dallas. The boys were both in the office with me when I hear the little beep beep beep whenever a door opens. I know instantly that it was not good.

Adrenaline surges through me, I shut the boys in the office rush out to the middle part of the house. Standing between the shocked familiar faces from yesterday and my children, I scream a unearthly scream that I don't think I could replicate if I tried. I screamed for Chad to get his gun that these guys were in our house, pretending that Chad was in our bedroom (hoping that the memory of my six foot five pure muscle (oh yeah) of a husband would cause them to think twice). Thankfully it did. They tore out of the house so fast and took off in a red jeep. This whole encounter was probably only forty-five seconds long but whoa, it was intense. I discovered that the night before on their way out of the house they had unlocked the door leading from the backyard to the garage. Making for a potentially easy break-in had we not been there. Oh, memories.


Okay. Where in the world was I, what is this post even about. Ah, Owen yes. He was hired to clean this mess up. Unload the dishwasher, wash the dishes, vacuum and sweep all the tile, wipe the counters and put away the eighty-two random toys that were strewn throughout the house. For $2.50. I know, I know, I am too generous but he is my first born son, after all . Our usual even tempered boy was struggling, complaining that Lily was re-messing his work back up, "you don't say, how frustrating that would be!" I say with a huge grin on my face.

I encourage him to get it together and continue, I'm not paying you to listen to you complain. That is reserved for your unpaid regular chores, after all! He unloads the dishwasher, I walk in the room and he has unloaded the wrong dishwasher. He has carefully put away an almost completely full dishwasher of dirty dishes. Leaving the other dishwasher still full with bright, clean dishes. I guess having two dishwashers does have one dis-advantage. I show him and tell him to put back all the dirty dishes and start over. OH THE DRAMA! The crying, the wailing. NO no no!!

So. I do what any cruel and heartless mother would do. I fired him. It makes me laugh out loud to think of it. Am I terrible, yes a little I'm sure. But I wasn't in the mood for a motherly pep talk, "you can do it son! come on think of all that money $2.50, all for you!"

Instead he got a dose of the real world from me. Personally I believe that all mothers need a bit of a cruel streak. To prepare their children for what is really out there, for disappointments and harsh realities. Lucky for my children, this mama DOES!


Monday, May 23, 2011

Daily dose.


I caught this moment back in February. I had kicked them outside so I could get my recommended dose of quiet for the evening. If I don't take my pill every night I turn into "mother who people see and say to themselves, I'm never going to be that kind." Thankfully if they already are a mother they would just say a quiet prayer for me and offer me an "I've been there sister!" look. If you have been reading my blog you may recall the Gamma problem post. If not, enjoy and come to understand me more. :)


One thing that kids do so well is, living in the moment. I'm usually pretty good about that. I will look out my window; see them all running around, collaborating, smiling and I take a moment and feel blessed. I know I am in easy sweet years where some of the largest problems we face are who spilled cereal all over this couch and then the ensuing complaining of "why do I have to clean this up, I didn't do it!"

Kids don't fret over what the future holds and worry about how they will handle what it may or may not bring. But at times, especially now that is when I feel pain, sadness and fear. I don't worry about the next fifteen years, I worry about the fifteen to fifty year mark. Everybody thinks a sweet little boy with down syndrome is cute and loves them when they are six. Does the same stand when they are thirty-five? When children act like children it's okay and not frustrating, but how will they treat an adult? Where will he live when he is twenty-five, with us?

These thoughts and unknowns are hard for me. I have declared myself impatient since I could even say the word impatient. My mom loved to tell me growing up about the time I declared to everyone, "why can't I have just a little more impatience!" Now, even though I have an understanding of patience vs. impatience and when one word is appropriate, I still feel quite the same frustrations that my five year old self did at my own limitations.

There is a wide spread categories of "functioning" that a person with down syndrome can fall into. How will our son do? We won't have an idea until he is much older of what his future will be. I feel a little bit like, I received a phone call telling me that my child was in an accident. But that is all I know, I don't know if he is paralyzed, has a broken arm or just a headache. Even though when I think about it deeper, I'm in the same boat with my other children. I don't know what the future will bring. If they will make choices that will bring them happiness. They very well could get into drugs, sex and rock n roll. Hopefully they will for sure get into rock n roll but you get my point.


That nothing is done. No future has been decided. I guess part of our job as parents is to have moments where we agonize over pitfalls that those we have been entrusted to care for may fall into. The sadness that those things would bring for them and us, because of how much we love them. Chad came home tonight from work and saw me quietly trying to hold back the tears of a mothers worry.

I love that man, he allows me moments where I am weak and not full of faith. He encouraged me to tell him my worries, listened patiently to all of them, even the silly ridiculous worries of, "are we going to have to get a babysitter when we want to go the movies when our son is thirty?" "Possibly, he said, but lets not worry about all this right now Waimy. It will be okay, we don't know what the future holds and that is just how it goes. Feel these emotions, be sad and cry over it and then, let them go."

So I am trying, I've spent a couple of hours this evening fretting over my children. Over things I cannot control. Fretting over not being able to plan and control all the details of their life. Something I need to plan for, is to plan to be surprised, I guess.

. . .working on that, and savoring these sweet childhood years.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Luke & DukeDuke

Luke is our official pet lover. The pets seem to love him best, even though his love is definitely tough love. Luke is very rough with the pets. Duke, pictured above, has been a welcome addition to the family, but his close proximity to wild animals (e.g., rabbits, prairie dogs) has presented special problems.

You see, we have this wonderful doggie door in our new house. Duke, loves to chase the above-mentioned animals and occasionally he catches them. Well, if you're like Duke and I, sometimes you like to dine al fresco and other times you just like the climate controlled indoors. Duke, to our dismay, has opted for the dine-in option on more than one occasion.

One morning, we woke up to find Duke munching on a rabbit--right in the middle of the living room. Yeah, carpet is so much more comfortable than tile. The mess be damned! Thankfully, this was the week AFTER Easter; if it had happened a week earlier, the kids would have been traumatized forever. "Mom, Duke's eating the Easter Bunny!"

If I haven't proclaimed my deep love for Duke, then let me do so here. Sure, it's only skin deep, but as Jim Carrey said in Liar, Liar "My teacher tells me beauty is on the inside." "That's just something ugly people say." Thankfully, Duke is super-cute, so we don't have to look past to whatever inner-beauty he may possess.

When we go on walks, we let Duke run without a leash. Unfortunately, this has attracted other's attention to his outer-beauty. Duke was quite a ways away from us on a recent walk. We could see him, but we were standing back from the road a bit, and lo and behold, a passing car stops and tries to scoop him up. Thankfully, Duke loves the beautiful people too and immediately bolted in our direction when the passerby tried to scoop him up.

So, Luke must be doing something right, because Duke is as committed to this family as we are to him.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Come as you are.

I had a bad morning today. Feeling low, overwhelmed, afraid, tallying up my own limitations and wondering if I will be enough for you. My emotions are full of conflict. You are the child I have yearned for, the child I couldn't give up on having. Days after having Lily I had such strong feelings that there was another child for us, meant for us. I savored the experience with Lily, feeling such gratitude for her, for how easy it all was. Having experienced such trial and difficulty in the early days with our boys I knew in the depths of my being, joy. How special it was; when she cried I fed her and it was enough. I was all she needed, I knew exactly what to do for her.

I prayed for you, at every birthday balloon launching my wish was for you, my son. To come and complete our family. To join us and share our lives together. And now you are coming, different than I envisioned, but, now this is just for you as I want you to know the most important part of all my emotions. That, it doesn't matter. Not to me, I still want you just the same. I want to see your first smiles, first steps that all too soon move into games of chase where I have to be more and more clever to catch you. Everything is so tender for me now but I couldn't go another day without expressing the only part of all this that matters. How wanted you, my sweet son are. That I'm getting your nursery all ready, right next to my room so I can rush in at night and feed you. That today at Target I'm spending your dad's hard earned money so you will look dapper. Wondering if you will look more like your dad and Owen or Luke and I.

I know you are in Heaven waiting, where you are one of God's most valiant spirits. That you in all your knowledge and understanding offered to come here to be our teacher. You are coming here exactly as you should be. The only things we will teach you is how to fit into our temporary world on earth, but you will teach us eternal principals. Principals of kindness, unconditional love, resilience, how to be less judgmental, more patient, more willing to look for the beauty in each situation. I wanted you to know all of this, that even though we haven't met officially I know who you are.
That I was meant to be your mother. Together with your dad and brothers and sister we will stand by you and help you to fulfill your purposes in life. We will be enormously proud of your accomplishments. Sometimes, when people look at us and maybe feel pity or sadness we will just smile because we know. That we're the lucky ones, that we got in on what matters in life.

Since we're chatting and all, I have to let you know, I am far from perfect. Just know that up front and cut me some slack. I am impatient, having my house clean matters too much to me, if I don't get enough sleep I am CRANKY, sometimes. . .I shout at my kids, wish that they would just be quiet, and I have, even, hide from them when I just needed a moment alone. Oh, and sometimes, when they cry, and I don't know why but it makes me laugh just a little. Then I love on them and make it better.
Finally, know that we will be us. We will laugh much more than we do anything else. Play music too loudly an sing off key. Your dad and I will sleep in every Saturday morning while you kids collaboratively destroy our home. Then dad will make us all waffles while commenting how much better his are than mine. There will be much teasing because, after all nobody should be too proud that they can't be teased. Mostly though, there will be that joy.

. . .see you soon my son.

P.S. I want to thank all of you who have taken time to comment, email me, text me or call. Having people who believe in me builds me up in the moments when my own doubt creeps in. So, thank you and love you all.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Are you thinking what I'm thinking.

Don't my boobs look enormous? I posted this earlier but then messed around trying to figure out how to make my pictures bigger. The process of that somehow deleted the photo leaving only the tawdry line. Have your imaginations been running wild? Wondering has she totally cracked up and started posting inappropriate photos of herself. Secretly. . .hoping. You perverts. For shame. Check back tomorrow though because cracking up is like, so totally within the realm of possibilities. :)

On another light note I had my first really good laugh tonight and wanted to share it. I laughed so hard that I almost peed my pants while tears of hysterical laughter rolled down my cheeks. Go here if you need one too.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I'm eating cake for breakfast.

Why? Well as if it needs any explanation (it is chocolate cake after all). But I will indulge you, there are a variety of reasons. 1. I have little to no self control. 2. I'm pregnant. 3. It was Owen's ninth birthday yesterday and it looked lonely. 4. The cardiologist reported ( a report that he said was subject to change at any point, depending upon my proceeding ultra sounds of the heart (don't cha just love doctors :))) the our sons heart defect (tetralogy of Fallot) looked like he wouldn't need to have surgery immediately. Depending upon a variety of factors once this guy comes out we can wait anywhere from weeks to years to operate. Yeah! (my capacity for good news has grown DRAMATICALLY. . .can't you tell?). 5. I'm mourning the news of Monday (delivered from the happiest person on the planet (more on that later)), our son, has one extra chromosome.
Awhile back I copied this from a website and thought I would hang it in my boy's rooms. I ran across it this morning and tears sprang to my eyes. They've been doing that frequently, but I am getting better. I look at my three beautiful children and reflect upon our road to where we are. At the beginning of the trials with my boys I would never have imagined the sweetness that is my life with them now. I know it will be the same with our new son that God has seen fit to send to us. It is hard, I am sad for myself, sad for how much my life will change. For how hard it will be. But I know that I'm only looking at the negative side without giving light to the goodness that will inevitably come.

With all of the trials we have been through I've been amazed at how with time things become easier. That as more is demanded of you, your capacity to do it grows. Eventually it is just normal and you don't even think of it. That as your strength grows it is no longer a burden.
I love the proverbs quote, it touches upon my mothers hopes for her children. That they will bear one another's burdens. That they will be each others biggest fans, allies, sources of strength, loyalty, caretaker at times, lifelong friend. Before I had multiple children I would never have understood how important this is to a parent. -To love one another-

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Here I am.

I'm not sure where to start. It has been awhile and a lot has changed, even though all the important stuff remains. I've been meaning to get back to blogging for awhile but haven't. We have so many concerns facing us now and I didn't know if I could blog without emotionally vomiting on innocent readers. Disclaimer: you probably will be emotionally vomited upon. I feel a little like my life is un-recognizable; for instance last night I asked Chad to go to a ward party. Who am I? I am no longer living in my beloved Texas. And I am carrying a little boy whose future is uncertain. It should be no surprise I guess, the way it all began. He was a surprise you're having a baby! baby.

When we found out we were pregnant, we immediately had the concern that the baby would be afflicted with the same disease our sweet boys (i.e. rough and crazy; in print I always describe them much more angelic than reality. It is my prerogative.) Owen and Luke have. One in four were the odds. Oh, the days of worrying about that. I wish I could still be naive enough to have that be my greatest worry. It is amazing how bad news goes. Initially, you think this is the worst thing that could happen. Then. . .you hear even worse news and you think, NO! I'll totally take that other bad news. Give that first one back, please. Then. . .thinking the worst has possibly happened you get even more news and now you're thinking. Seriously. Seriously. How can this be happening too. Shock is really the only word that can shed any light on the feelings.

Being a mother can be at times the cruelest experience one can have. You love your children so much, any pain or difficulty they experience feels magnified within you because of that love. Weeks ago I went in to a perinatologist to prepare for an amnio to test for the hyperinsulin mutation that our boys have. She did an ultra sound that raised concerns of our baby having Down Syndrome. His neck thickness was on the high side of normal. Dr. Russell suggested a blood screen that could tell us what our risk level was taking in many different factors. For reasons UNKNOWN I wasn't too concerned and left the office without taking the simple finger stick. I called Chad to tell him "WE'RE having a BOY!!!" not the GIRL I had convinced myself I was having.

I mentioned in passing the doctors concerns about some of the measurements, we got off the phone and I went home. Shortly there after Chad called and sweetly asked me to go back and take the test. His thinking was, "why not put our minds at ease when we see that our statistical risk is not increased significantly." HA. This rational makes me laugh now. We were so pure, expecting only good news. Oh, the innocents lost; maybe one day we will get that back (in a far distant future, do I sound jaded? I do and I hate that.) So I went in, had the blood test and promptly forgot about it.

Days later we got the call that due to my blood work our risk had gone up significantly. From 1 in 480 to 1 in 10. Now I was worried. Worried, worried worried. I worried about what if he had both conditions; Downs Syndrome and HI. That would be a nightmare. I indulged myself in that worry for about a day. Then I decided why borrow problems from tomorrow when all of it is still uncertain. About two weeks later we went in for the amnio. They were unable to do the procedure because my placenta was detached, yet another marker for Downs Syndrome she stated. During the ultrasound she mentioned in passing that she thought she saw something concerning about the heart but couldn't be sure. THAT DID NOT EVEN REGISTER. I only remember it now given the recent chain of events. So we went home, deflated and hoped that over the next three weeks my placenta would re-attach.

Last Friday was the rescheduled amnio. We went in, hoping that my placenta would be attached. When I was called back I asked, "Can we just skip this whole ultra sound since we've already done two extensive ones? (I just love how naive I can be at times!) The tech looked at me and said absolutely not. Okay, I think you're just wasting your time, since we've already seen everything twice and we're already going to do the amnio. . .is what I'm thinking. We get started and she spends approx. forty five minutes looking at his heart. This should have been my first clue. But it wasn't.

The doctor comes in after to begin the amnio. But before that she promptly drops a bomb on Chad and I. She begins with, "I'm sure you're curious why we were so insistent on the ultrasound of the heart."

. . .Um, no I wasn't until about two seconds ago. The lights have finally turned on in my brain and now I AM WORRIED, again.

"Well, we are seeing four major defects with his heart and cannot find a pulmonary artery in the heart."

(in my head). . .oh crap! Can you live without one of those? . . .I don't think so. Maybe? Then, slowly reality sinks in and tears roll down my face. This isn't one of those statistical risk things, this is happening. It is no longer what if he has -fill in the blank-. It is the progression of bad news. First you think you've heard the worse and do not want it. Then you hear worse news and wish you could say, "Hey, I'll take that first bad news over this." Then, unbelievable you hear devastating news and bargain, "I'll take the first two, no problem, please!!"

This is where we are today. Tomorrow we find out if he has Downs Syndrome. The doctor managed to get in through my tears that the heart defect only adds strength to the possibility of Downs Syndrome. "Why, thank you. It would have been terrible for me to go two whole days with the irrational hope of only 1 in 10." Ah. Now that we are so close to knowing for sure, when it has been weeks of uncertainty hanging over us I am afraid. What if he is afflicted with not just one but all three of these conditions. How can we handle that? Where will he be born? How will we take care of our three children and go out of state for the delivery? What will his life look like?

Today, these thoughts are consuming me and I do not know how I will handle everything that is asked of me. Tomorrow morning we will know more, then Wednesday we see the pediatric cardiologist who will tell us how severe the defects are and what can be done. Then sometime over the next two weeks we will hear about the hyperinsulin.

So, there you have it. I blogged for the first time since August. I've got a lot of other stuff to fill you in on as well. This is just the elephant in my room that I had to get out. Consider yourself: emotionally vomited upon.

. . .just be grateful that you missed the one I did from the pulpit a couple of weeks ago! WHOA. That is a post in and of itself.