Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Philadelphia Marathon...Done!

Two days ago I ran the Philadelphia Marathon. I am DONE and couldn't be happier about it. I had a goal of completing within 5 hours and I finished in 5:13, so I was a bit slower than I had hoped. But I can honestly say I gave this race everything I had and I still ran faster than I did the Boston Marathon four years ago so I really can't complain. I ran not one but two marathons!
My friend and I at the finish line on Sunday
This was the first time I went away without Christopher and I was really nervous about it. I made sure he stayed at our home with people that he loved. At night, his babysitter "Pammy" stayed with him. During the day two of my friends entertained him and he knows them all quite well so I knew he was in good hands. But I still worried about him because I know he has real separation anxiety due to his trauma history. Was he going to be able to handle two days away? Was I going to be able to handle two days away???

I am very relieved to say that all went well. I called home several times and Christopher seemed happy and well cared for the entire time.

That didn't mean I didn't worry about him and miss him The Entire Time though.

I thought about Christopher just about every waking moment and I missed him SO much! And of course I felt terribly guilty about the fact that I was doing something for myself for two days instead of dedicating myself 120% to caring for the physical and emotional well being of my child...all by myself as a single mother of course.

For the last three years, I have focused completely on Christopher's needs over my own and I've been happy to do it. I mean come on...this kid needed someone to seriously love on him and the attention he's received has made a dramatic difference for the better. He's really a different kid, in a very good way/ But after three years, I'm spent and I realized that I need a little break occasionally.

So that's why I trained for this marathon. I missed having something that was just about ME. I've made sure that Christopher had great care while I was of running and he really enjoys the time he has with his babysitters, so that has helped. This is probably because when I'm home, I'm cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and running errands, while the babysitters just play with him. It's like a great big play date several days a week for him. Who wouldn't love that?

That said, I've gotten this break all out of my system, for a while at least, so I'm back to focusing on the kiddo again. I want to spend more time playing with him and less time being distracted and/or exhausted. I want to focus on doing homework, to ensure he's meeting his potential academically. I also want to just sit on the sofa with him, doing nothing and enjoying our time together. Christopher's at a great age and I want to enjoy this time for as long as I can. Someday he's going to be a teenager that has no interest in being with mom so I am going to enjoy this time while I can. That is, until I need another break, of course

Sunday, November 16, 2014

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

This morning I ran 11 miles with the Melrose Running Club. This was our last long run together before a group of us heads off to Pennsylvania next Friday to run the Philadelphia Marathon on the 23rd. It's a bit chilly out today but dry and we had a great run.

It's amazing that I, a single working mother with a behaviorally challenged former foster kid could train for a marathon but I've been truly blessed with the most amazing community of friends through the Melrose Running Club.

Whenever I've fallen down (which I did twice, scraped and bloody), they've been there to bandage me up. When I needed help with childcare, they stepped in to watch Christopher. They refused to let me run alone at night in the dark. They got me through some hot weather long runs where I didn't think I'd be able to finish but did because they were there running beside me. One week when I was feeling overwhelmed with life, I almost started crying on the running trails and they hugged me and said it would be okay. And after a good night's sleep, it all was.

After spending so much time with these amazing, warm, compassionate people, I know that if, God forbid, some illness or accident were to befall me, that they would be there to help me in whatever capacity I needed them. It goes without saying that I would do all the same for them as well. Quite frankly, the friends I have made through the Melrose Running Club have become my community and I feel truly blessed to have them in my life.

Just two of the amazing rock stars that I ran with today
I recognize that this lovely community I am a part of is very special and not everyone has this much support. For example, I have a dear friend from college who is a faithful reader of this blog and I feel so badly for her because she is going through a very difficult time right now. I wish I could be there to help support her but she lives so far away from me that all I could do is send money and a lots of virtual hugs. I know she's having a tough time navigating life on her own right now and I wish she had a community of support like I have because I think she could really use some help. I hate hearing how difficult life is for her right now. Hugs to you my friend.

I'm also a member of a Facebook support group for parents of children with ADHD and I see the struggles these parents have; very similar to many of the ones I've experienced as well. When life gets them down (which sadly, it often will) they come to the support group looking for a little understanding and camaraderie from a group of people who get what it's like to raise a child with ADHD. It's hard! And with so many people getting in your face to tell you that you're just a bad parent because ADHD doesn't really exist, sometimes it can feel even harder. How can you pick yourself back up when people all around you are telling you it's your fault for being down in the first place? Life can be so demoralizing.

At one time in history, we thought "it takes a village" to raise children. Nowadays everyone's so isolated and doing everything on their own, which makes the daily grind so difficult. On top of that, people can be so unbelievably judgmental! Plus, we're at a point in America that seems to be dominated by people who are all about "me, me me" and there is a serious lack of compassion, even from people who claim to be Christian. I have to say, you can claim to be whatever you want but unless you choose to be kind and supportive towards people who are suffering, then you are not following the path that Jesus forged. Selfish and Christian are mutually exclusive and frankly you need to pick one.

That is why I feel so blessed. I have friends who truly care about me and are there to support me when I need them (and I am happy to be there for them as well). It's a tough world out there and we all need all the help we can get. I hope our society stops choosing to be so selfish and narcissistic but in the meantime, at least I've got my community and you know what? I will take it.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Just Another Day in the Life

CRYSTAL_eThis isn't me but sometimes I feel like this sure could be me: overworked mom multi-tasking with cleaning, shopping, laundry and the occasional quick work out so you can somehow manage to keep your sanity And as for that smile on her face? That's not happiness. It's called embracing the chaos. That smile is frozen there on her face due to lack of sleep. Trust me...been there done that. Too many times.

Lately it seems like I keep saying, "this weekend I'm going to..." and I finish that sentence with, catch up on emails to friends or organize the spare room or do something else equally productive. For example, I really need to swap out my old wallet for a new one because every time I open it now, I have to hold onto my credit cards in place because the sleeve that holds them is ripped and they've on more than one occasion, come flying out all over the floor in front of me, so I have to stop whatever it is I'm doing (buying groceries, going through the turnstile at the train station, etc.) to pick them up. And I'm always afraid I'm going to miss picking one up and some random stranger will max out my account just because I'm too frazzled to switch out my wallet.

But then somehow the weekend comes and goes and it's Sunday night and somehow I've gotten none of these things done. How is that? 

It's because my life is CRAZY. Sometimes just super crazy. Like for example, last week, I had a one hour lunch break before I had to be back for a work meeting, so i decided to run a quick errand. I drove the car literally two miles, parked in a parking lot of a sunny, warm fall day, came back to the car and...it wouldn't start. Ugh. Seriously? I asked around for anyone with jumper cables and thankfully a very nice man responded yes. He jumped my battery, I thanked him profusely and then he handed me some Jesus literature.  I was like hey sure, thanks. Good to know that Jesus was looking out for me in downtown Malden I guess.

After that experience, I took the car directly to the gas station up the street to have them replace the battery since it was obviously dead. Took them literally 30 seconds to tell me, nope. It was the alternator. Double ugh. Long story short, my car runs again but I am now $360 poorer. The good news is that I did manage to somehow miraculously make it back in time for my 1pm meeting. Impressive right?

Earlier this month, I also discovered that my dog walker was stealing from me! I've noticed stuff disappearing over the course of the last few months but they were such random things (Christopher's flip flops, my Uggs, etc.) that I really just thought I was losing my mind. I also thought that maybe i was just cleaning the house and forgetting where I put them. But I live in a small condo and that argument could really only just go so far.

Then one day my Kindle disappeared and I knew something was going on. I turned my condo upside down and it was just gone. So I emailed the woman who owns the dog walking service I use and asked her if she had heard anything about Kathy (dog walker) stealing. She said OMG, I was the second person in just a few days to say the same thing and she was now totally disgusted. 

Okay on the one hand I was relieved because I finally knew that I wasn't actually losing my mind, On the other though...SHE'S disgusted?? I am the one who's seriously disgusted. I let this woman voluntarily into my home, paid her money and she stole belongings from my 6 year old son? Who steals from a child??? The dog walking service replaced my stolen stuff and I changed my locks thankfully but this did NOT make me happy. By the way, changing your locks yourself is HARD. It took me several hours and a lot of F-bombs before I finally got it right. I am not destined for a career as a locksmith, that is for sure.

In other unrelated news, my dog has horrible seasonal allergies and the poor thing is literally scratching himself raw, like he's got the DTs or something. I feel so badly for him. And I feel badly for me because he would wake me up in the middle of the night scratching, and shaking my bed and I wasn't getting any sleep for weeks on end. I gave him liquid Benadryl but he hated the taste and would run away and hide under the bed, which made giving it to him rather difficult. Not to mention, Benadryl only lasts four hours so he'd wake me up at 2am with more scratching and then I was really awake.

Turns out if I change his diet to this super high end dog food, the scratching is cut way down. I went to Petco last weekend and spent $40 on dog food for just one 12-lb dog and that was with a coupon. Seriously, this dog eats more expensive food than my son and I do!

Oh and on top of all this, I am also training for a marathon! I will be running the Philadelphia Marathon on November 23 with several friends from my running club. Thankfully I'm in taper mode now so life is a bit calmer but I've been running a LOT the last few months to prepare my body for 26.2 crazy miles through the streets of Philadelphia. I've fallen and scraped my shins twice and also pulled one calf muscle but I'm all healed now and excited for my race. Hoowah!

And that my friends is why I said I am not able to change my wallet out or organize my spare bedroom right now. Because I'm insanely busy! The good news is though that I did email my best friend who I kept saying I need to email and she wrote me right back saying she was happy to hear from me. So check that off the To Do list. Only 400 other items to go!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy Halloween!


Happy belated Halloween to all my loyal followers! And a happy All Saints Day today.

This year, my little dude dressed up as the Minecraft Creeper and I was the Cat in the Hat. We got a fair amount of use out of these costumes this year too because there were just so many events to attend. On Monday we went trick or treating at Texas Roadhouse and then inside for dinner.They had little stations set up in the parking lot where you could get candy and coupons from area businesses. On Tuesday I had the Melrose Running Club Ghost Run (yes I washed my costume before wearing it again!) and then yesterday, Christopher could wear his costume to school where there was a costume parade featuring the Kindergarteners and first graders. O course after that, there was Halloween night trick or treating. Whew. Yeah I'm tired today.

It was no small feat getting this costume together for Christopher either. He really wanted to be the Minecraft Creeper but the head mask was an adult size and I knew that it would be too big. But he reeaally reeeaallly wanted it. And he promised that he would wear it all night (right) and begged me to buy it for him. So I did. After that, I went to Amazon to buy a Creeper-themed sweatshirt I saw. After I ordered it, I waited. And waited. And waited some more. On. Oct. 27 I finally sent the vendor an email asking, hey where's my sweatshirt? They wrote back saying it was out of stock. Um, seriously? When were you planning to tell me that the item I bought and paid for wasn't in fact going to arrive??? 

So at this point, I am scrambling for back up costumes. My friend loaned me her son's old cape and Batman costume but Christopher refused to wear either. He still wanted to be a Minecraft Creeper, big head and no sweatshirt be darned.

So all I could do at this point is get him some camouflage clothes (shirt and shorts), put the head mask on and call him Minecraft. It wasn't the most well-coordinated costume, considering the amount of time I put in. I went to Party City twice! But he was happy, so that's what really matters I guess.

Christopher loved his Minecraft head when we went trick or treating on Monday night and also for the costume parade at school. However trick or treating in the dark did not work so well last night. That head came off about 10 minutes into the night and guess who got to hold it the rest of the time? Yep...me. I decided to be a kind, generous mommy and give the kiddo my Cat in the Hat hat so that he was more costume-y. And thus, the Creeper in the Hat was borne.

For the last three years, we've gone to the Beacon Hill neighborhood in Boston for some of the country's best trick or treating. I mean, where else can you walk along cobblestone streets next to beautifully decorated homes while also getting candy from the wife and daughter of our current US Secretary of State? In the picture below, that's Teresa Heinz Kerry on the right (wife of Secretary of State John Kerry) handing out candy to kids. It is not the same experience from when I was a kid, that's for sure.


This year was great because (a) Halloween was on a Friday so today we get to chill out and recharge and (b) this was the first year that Christopher didn't get completely overstimulated and was able to control himself all evening. That was huge! The last two years I dealt with a kid who would try to run away constantly or who had some epic meltdowns, which would make us have to leave immediately. This year no such problem. We spent about two hours trick or treating among the throngs of people and then called it a night at 8:30.

The weather held off yesterday but today's pouring down rain thanks to a nor'easter coming for a quick visit to New England. That means we'll have a great reason to be lazy and do nothing all day today. After such a busy week, I have no complaints on that one either.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Practical Solutions for Saving Children

Image result for happy children image

This week I read a couple of articles about children and foster care that really disturbed me:

Scary Mommy shared a story about the heartbreak a foster child feels, not understanding why no one will ever love him. It does not end well. Articles rarely make me cry but this one affected me for a few days.

Children's Rights posted an LA Times article about the effects of the latest recession on impoverished children. The statistics are incredibly depressing. Did you know that:

  • Five children die every day from gun violence
  • One child dies every seven hours from abuse or negect
  • Child poverty is at its highest level in the last 20 years
I also learned about the death of 2-year-old Colton Turner. This was a little boy well known to Texas Child Protective Services. Several complaints of abuse had been lodged against the mother. Family and friends said the child was being abused by the boyfriend. There were photos posted to Facebook that were apparently very disturbing. CPS talked to the mother each time but said they didn't see any examples of abuse even though there were photographic examples of bruising on social media. So life goes on until finally the boyfriend kills the child and buries his tiny body in the woods. Only then does the police department jump into action and launch an investigation. Um...it's a little late now don't ya think?

It makes me so sad that I keep having to read stories like this over and over and over again but nothing ever seems to change. The thing is, there are some really practical things we could do to protect children but no one ever wants to change the status quo because of "parent rights". Instead we just keep reading these stories of horrific abuse and terrible heartbreak and then go on about our day until the next story comes along. What about children's rights??? This is SO not the way things should be!

I've thought about it a lot and I think there are some pretty easy ways that we could improve childhood safety. Here are some examples.
  1. Adequately staff DCF so that there are enough resources to follow up on all accusations of abuse and neglect. Yes I know that would cost taxpayer money but this is a subject definitely worth the investment
  2. Change the laws so that a bio parent has a finite amount of time to get his/her act together. I say 18 months tops. Bouncing children back and forth for years on end only causes further trauma. Then by the time the state finally releases the child for adoption, the child is too old and very difficult to place. I am sure that's what happened in the case of poor young Steven in the Scary Mommy article and that's just sad. There are too many children out there like Steven.
  3. Parental probation: When parents regain custody of their child(ren) the foster care system should require probation for the parents. The parents had to follow a service plan in order to regain custody so we need to make sure they are following it by staying away from people they need to be staying away from, remaining employed and drug free. There should be inspections of the home, employment checks and random drug tests. Someone convicted of stealing a candy bar from the grocery store will get probation but abusive and neglectful parents have no such requirements. That's just crazy.
  4. Create a Big Brother/Big Sister program specifically for foster kids. These kids need someone stable and caring in their lives because everything and everyone else around them creates total chaos for their lives. This would also help DCF keep tabs on children who might be falling through the cracks now.
These are just a few of the way that we could do a better job of protecting and caring for at risk children in our country. It's an election year so how about we decide to hold our elected officials accountable for the children of our state? I know I am going to email this story to both Martha Coakley and Charlie Baker, who are the gubernatorial candidates for Massachusetts. What will you do???

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Please Say a Prayer for a Child

There are very few times that I've asked someone to send a prayer. I'm just really not the praying type. I prefer to act than to pray but there have been a few instances where I've felt I needed the collective help of the community to solve a problem.

The first time I sent out a prayer request was when I was trying to become a mom and I asked friends and family to pray that an angel would bring me a little boy or girl to love...and believe it or not, just a few months later it happened, and very quickly at that. The Universe heard our prayers apparently.

Three years later I am sending a prayer request for my friend Mama B. She and her husband have been foster parents to "Mickey" since he was 10 months old. They wanted to adopt a baby and when they found out about Mickey, everyone was thrilled beyond belief. He wasn't free yet but at their disclosure meeting, they were told that Mickey was low legal risk and would be available for adoption soon.

Unfortunately, the courts didn't agree and have dragged out the process for over two years now. Bio mom wanted him back and it didn't matter that she was a homeless, drug-addicted prostitute who disappeared for months at a time. The courts decided to give her a chance. Again.

Then last year, bio dad appeared out of nowhere and decided he wanted custody of little Mickey too. Bio Dad was abusive to bio mom. He was also in prison awaiting trial for murder. Not a good guy.

A few months ago, Bio Dad escaped from prison and he's now on the run, living who knows where. My friends found this out when a local police officer knocked on their door and told them to be careful. Apparently Bio Dad had seen some paperwork at the DCF office he wasn't supposed to see and now had the names and address of my friends. They were told Bio Dad was armed and dangerous and could very well be on his way to their house. Of course they packed up their belongings and went to a hotel to be safe, at their own expense, I might add.

They have since gone home and there is no sign of Bio Dad thankfully. However now Bio Dad's Sister has appeared out of the woodwork saying she wants custody of Mickey! Of course Mickey has no idea who she is, as this woman has had no interest in him for the last two years. Also Bio Dad apparently used to store his illegal guns at his sister's house. She's clearly no law abiding citizen here.

The reason I'm asking for prayers now though is because Mickey's trial is next week. If the judge decides to, he will remove Mickey from the only home he's ever known, taken away from parents who love and adore him, to live with complete strangers, just like that.

My friends are scared they will lose the toddler they love with all their heart. We are all also scared for Mickey's safety. He would be leaving a warm, loving home to live in squalor with complete strangers who simply will not love him the way Mama B and her husband do. Mickey hasn't been traumatized by foster care yet but my friends won't be able to protect him any longer from the harsh realities of the world if the courts take him away. And this child so desperately deserves to be protected. He's only 2 years old!

By the way, while all this is going on, my friend Mama B's own father is dying of Cancer. She can't go visit him two states away though because she wants to spend as much time as she can with Mickey in case she loses him next week. The whole story is just too heartbreaking.

That said, I am hoping this story is worthy of a few prayers and all I ask is that you take a moment to pray for the safety of little Mickey and for a positive outcome to this difficult situation.

Thank you very much.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Why Gluten Free Works for Us

Science Proves Gluten Sensitivity Isn’t Real, People Are Just Whiners

There's an article making the rounds of Facebook entitled "Science Proves Gluten Sensitivity Isn’t Real, People Are Just Whiners" that you can find Here if you're so inclined to read it.

As the mom of a kiddo who's on a gluten-free diet, articles like this tend to piss me off. Not because there is disagreement about the benefits of a gluten-free diet because I actually think healthy debate is a positive thing and I'm all for better education about what people choose to eat. And I get that some people are just jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon as yet another fad. If Jimmy Kimmel makes fun of you because you don't even know what gluten is and you're on a gluten-free diet, well, you might want to read up on your dietary options.

What bothers me is the headline has to mock people to make its point. Quite honestly, if the only way you can get your point across is by making fun of people, then you are immature and your argument has no credibility in my opinion. I don't argue with children.

I don't really care what some hipster, trying-to-be-too-cool, I-act-like-I-know-everything-but-I-still-live-at-home-with-my-parents "author" has to say about anything. They haven't lived any sort of real life yet and I don't see it as my responsibility to educate them.Whatever. Just go back to posting your ironic photos on Instagram of you and girlfriend at SXSW, stay out of my family's health choices and we'll all be fine.

For the grown ups out there though, let me tell you a little bit about what a gluten-free diet has meant to us. My son, because of his early childhood experience with trauma in foster care, has severe ADHD. He was put into foster care at the age of 2, bounced around NINE homes and finally landed with me at the age of 3. This was extremely traumatizing for my little guy and although he has a stable, loving home now, the damage has been done. His brain just didn't develop the way a "normal" child's would and he is extremely hyper, lacks impulse control and has trouble learning. We get care through the Developmental Medicine Center at Boston Children's Hospital and I also keep him on a strict routine, strict diet and make sure he gets enough sleep. It's a small sacrifice on my part to see a huge difference in his behaviors and that makes it all worthwhile.

My son's diet is both gluten free and artificial dye free and both help his behaviors tremendously. For the record, I don't think he has a reaction to gluten per se but more of a reaction to the wheat, which breaks down into a simple carb, spikes his blood sugar and makes him go crazy out of control.

So the issue really is wheat....not gluten. But no one really says let's have a wheat free diet. It's a gluten-free diet. It really is just a name though.

Of course, people might say that we've been eating wheat for thousands of years without issue so why are so many different people all the sudden saying that they're intolerant of gluten? The fact is, we've been eating wheat for thousands of years yes but we have only been eating "modern" wheat for a few decades. It's a fact that the modern wheat we eat today is not the same wheat we ate a generation ago. The Dwarf Wheat we have today is more compact and it is also processed differently so it's much less nutritious and jam-packed full of carbs. Through processing, we are now able to mechanically separate the nutritious components of the grain (the bran and germ) away from the endosperm, which is where most of the starchy carbs are contained. This change has led to an obvious reduction in nutrient density, contributes to rampant weight gain and gives refined wheat the ability to spike blood sugar very fast. That's where my son has his issues. Rapidly spiked blood sugar in a kid that has ADHD is never a good thing.

That being said, I will admit that recently I started to speculate whether my son was really affected by gluten or if it really was all just a myth. So a few months ago, I started to relax his diet because he was not gaining weight and he complained about missing bread. I felt like a guilty mommy denying my son something he loved so much. So I started letting him have peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast, which he LOVED.

Unfortunately, I did not LOVE his peanut butter sandwich breakfasts because all the behaviors came right back and he started acting completely out of control again. I couldn't get him dressed in the morning and we'd be late for camp or school. Every day was a constant battle and I was starting to feel overwhelmed.

It all came to a head one morning last week when I was worn out from a night of insomnia, stressed about the day of work ahead and the kiddo was running around the house, screaming and throwing his toys. He wouldn't put on his clothes, was downright mean and mocking to me and then on top of it all, ended up peeing in his pants. I lost it and started yelling, which made him cry and which made me feel terrible. This is not the kind of relationship I want to have with my child and it certainly would not work long term. Something had to change.

Since then, I've put Christopher back on his strict gluten-free diet and it has worked tremendously well for him. He still has a lot of energy in the morning and requires some redirection to get dressed but I am at least in control of the situation and that's a good thing. When I drop him off at school in a good mood, I can relax and feel good about our relationship and about my parenting. If it means he's not getting whatever he wants for breakfast, well that's just the price we have to pay for a good life.

Unlike Buzzworthy, NPR has news written by actual grown-ups and there's an article that says there is still a great deal to learn about gluten that science hasn't figured out yet. This is especially true regarding how diet affects kids with ADHD, Autism and learning disabilities. We definitely have a lot to learn. I would also like to recommend a book called Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis. It's very enlightening.

For the record, my son ate Leapin' Lemurs GF cereal mixed with Corn Chex for breakfast an hour ago and right now he is quietly watching a video on the Kindle while I type this blog post up. I certainly cannot complain about that!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Welcome to First Grade!


Two weeks ago, my little man started first grade and thankfully he loves it.

The night before was a little rough because he doesn't handle new experiences all that well (I think we can all figure out why) so there were quite a few tears and wails of "I hate school....don't make me go!" And I had a heck of a time getting him to go to sleep that night. 

And that morning he clung to me like I was his last lifeline and when he had to line up with the rest of his class, he seriously looked petrified. Poor thing. So I of course worried about him all day and hoped he was okay.

Thankfully when I picked him up at 2:15, he came out with a big smile on his face. (Whew!) I asked him how his day was and he said, "I had an excellent day. I didn't punch a single kid."

I know that sounds funny but when Christopher gets overwhelmed or overstimulated, his ADHD takes off and he has been known to hit a kid at summer camp or in soccer on a few occasions. So he must have been pretty worried that he wasn't going to be able to control himself at school. Thankfully that wasn't an issue. School really is easier for us than summers are.

The great thing about school that is that it is ideally suited for kiddos like Christopher. The classrooms are low stimulation (except for recess), rule-based and highly structured. Christopher thrives in an environment like that. Plus it helped that he's already spent a year there, had friends already and also kept his skills fresh over the summer with a reading/math workbook. 

Since then, school has continued to go well and he has come home with a lot of "happy faces" on his school work. It took a week for the before school program and after school program to start so it's been a bit stressful for me, trying to juggle work and family but we can finally get our routine in place now, so that's good. Of course there are still these "teacher appreciation days" where there's no school so I have to figure out what to do with him on those days so I can work, which is annoying. Quite frankly, I'd appreciate my son's teacher more if she would just go to school and teach. But I digress.

The only bummer is that I found out that the school psychologist has left, which means Christopher no longer gets weekly therapy through the school. I remember when I met her last year I had told her that his previous therapists kept leaving and that it was stressful for him to keep getting attached to someone, only to see them leave. She told me that she had been at this school for 16 years and wasn't going anywhere so I could feel confident in knowing that he could build a long, solid relationship with her. Yeah, that didn't even last a year. 

Other than that though, I'd say all in all, a good start to the school year. Let's hope it continues on in that way.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Testing Our Boundaries

It's been a busy summer and I just started training for the Philly Marathon because I really need something I'm doing for myself. For the last three years it's been work work work and mom mom mom and there's been zero me me me. So it's time to change that dynamic a bit. It's been really busy and kind of exhausting but I am really finding that I have more energy and that I"m happier so that's good.

For the most part, Christopher's been great but we have had some challenges sprinkled in there as well.

For example, a rough day this summer was the day that I discovered that Christopher decided to secretly stop taking his ADHD medicine.
I was at work that day and I got a call from YMCA camp asking me to pick the kiddo up because he was having a bad day. It was noon and I was confused but I left work to get him. According to the staff, he was hitting, kicking, and licking the other kids and spat at a counselor. Fun right? Not really.
I picked him up and asked him why this happened today. All I got was a shrug and an "I don't know". 
I was driving home and kind of at a loss. Out of the blue I decided to ask him, "you took your medication today....right?" He puts his head down and says "no."
I said, "what do you mean you didn't take your medicine? I gave it to you this morning".
He replied with, "I wanted to see if I could make it a day without my medicine, so I hid it behind the TV."
"Seriously? Well guess what...we know what happens without your medicine now don't we???" Yeesh.
I took the kiddo home and got him into bed for a much-needed nap and I went back to work on the computer. He woke up and seemed to be better so I thought, great, crisis averted.
I decided to keep his normal babysitter for the evening because he seemed like he was fine. And I really needed a run! So the babysitter arrived that evening and I went off running.
After the run, I checked my phone and had several missed calls from the babysitter, which is never a good sign. Uh oh. I quickly called her and she was practically in tears because Christopher was acting so crazy.
The babysitter had asked him to do his summer workbook pages that I've had him doing. I guess it was a really bad day for that though. By the time I got home, he had thrown lemonade at the babysitter, torn up the house and covered himself in kiddie "slime" he found in a drawer somewhere. He was locked in his room and the babysitter was shaking scared because she'd never seen him like that. Sigh. 

Funny enough though when she left I was able to calm him down pretty quickly, get him to clean his room up, gave him a shower, put some lavender-scented baby lotion on him and then put him to bed with books. I think some of the behaviors must stem from separation anxiety because of how quickly he was able to calm down. 

So the big take-away here is....Christopher REALLY needs his medication. I know it's normal to test boundaries but this is just one boundary that cannot be tested. On the one hand, I was annoyed with him but on the other, I was relieved that the solution was simple: Just take your meds. I was really afraid the Concerta wasn't working anymore and that would be horrible. This is a relief thankfully. Lesson learned though. From now on I will be watching him physically swallow the medication every single day so I can be 100% certain he's taking it. Since then, we've had no problems (knock on wood) and I hope that continues!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Summertime Ups and Downs

Here we are at the beginning of August already. How is it that summertime flies by so quickly and the winter just churns on and on and on and on and ....

Anyway, we've had a lot of fun this summer and as many great times as we have had, Christopher's been way off his routine more than I had wished. This does create some issues for him too.

For example, when Christopher gets really over-stimulated with lots of activity and other kiddos around, his medication simply stops working. So a few weekends ago when we were up in Maine, you would not even know he was taking meds. He was hitting, kicking and fighting with his cousin which really made me lose my cool a few times.

Also, even though his medication is a 12-hour lasting dose, it does wear off at some point. So here we are at dinner in a lovely restaurant with extended family and Christopher starts to melt down. Loudly. I even had to put my hand over his mouth at one point to keep him from scaring the other patrons because he was that loud. Luckily my family helped out and were able to calm him down because this frazzled mom was staring to feel overwhelmed.

One day this past week Christopher went to bed way too late and woke up way too early so he didn't have enough sleep. That day he was like a walking zombie all day and I felt bad for him. I tried to get him to take a nap but he wouldn't do it, instead just choosing to stare at his toys for a while. This was way out of character for him and I made sure that the following evening he got to bed earlier. His medication really does require that he get enough sleep and this is clearly what happens when he doesn't get it. Poor kiddo.

Last but not least, being off of his normal strict routine seems to exacerbate his PTSD and all of the sudden, once summer started, Christopher became deathly afraid of all bugs; spiders and black flies especially. He shrieks loudly, darts his eyes back and forth and runs to me, needing to be held. Let me tell you, in New England in the summertime, there are a lot of bugs so this has been an issue for him. I keep trying to remind him that he's safe but he's struggling with this the most. I will say that this past week on Cape Cod, he was not the only child afraid of the bugs because one of my sister's friend's daughters was also afraid. Plus my niece became scared yesterday as well. So I don't think that this fear is entirely uncharacteristic of children. However when you have a child who has experienced trauma, I guess the reactions are all just a whole lot stronger.

Now onto the good stuff. We had so much fun in our travels this summer. Best of all, my sister and her kids, who live in Colorado, were visiting this summer so we got to spend TONS of time with them. We just love them so much!

One weekend, we went to the new Legoland Discovery Center here in Boston. The kids had a blast but man, it was loud and exhausting. I was glad to come home after that experience.

On the following weekend, we went to Maine to see some extended family. For my brother's birthday, we all went to the local bait/tackle/gun shop to enjoy a fresh lobster and clambake. It was a unique setting...but very tasty.

We just got back from a week on Cape Cod where we got to stay at our family's lighthouse. Yep....my grandmother bought a real lighthouse in 1936 and it's been in the family ever since. We were truly blessed with amazing weather too so no complaints there.


It was fun because we got to host a lot of friends and family and enjoy a beach with hardly any people on it. How often does that happen in the summertime?



We all get clamming licenses so that we can go clamming and enjoy really really fresh clams that evening. I have to say, those are the most amazing, tasty treats. Nothing beats a fresh, grilled clam!



Even my dog loved the vacation. Nothing like getting wet and dirty in the sand with your family!

When we weren't traveling hours away, we managed to enjoy some closer to home activities this summer as well. For example, here's a photo I took in Gloucester last weekend, where we went for a day trip with a good friend of mine.

And even closer to home, I had a few barbecues this summer right on my front porch. The weather didn't always cooperate--for example it poured down rain on the 4th of July--but that did not deter me. I'm not going to melt. I just braved the elements for a while and next thing you know, I had some yummy grilled salmon and corn on the cob.

So yes we've had to take the good with the bad this summer but still things are better this year than they were last summer when Christopher was just so out of control. A year ago I didn't know what to do about Christopher's behaviors. He was just stuck in overdrive, couldn't slow down and would just get violent with other little kids. I also didn't know about the need for routines and a clean diet and we were still on the wait list for our intro appointment at the Behavioral Medicine Clinic at Children's Hospital. Since Christopher started getting treatment there, life became so much easier. Routines plus clean diet and medication have made a huge difference, along with Christopher just maturing and also believing more that this is his forever home. Each year it does definitely get easier. So that's great. The tough thing though is that as much as I'd love to be able to help other kids get out of the foster care system, Christopher is still such a handful that I just don't think I could handle another child with any sort of special needs. And let's face it, all kids from foster care will have some sort of special needs, right? The trauma alone will mess with a kid's head and they will need help. I just don't have it in me to do more though. My hands are full!

Today is Friday August 1st and I'm still on vacation till Monday. Plus it's an absolutely beautiful day so I've decided to keep the vacation fun going. I've got a few errands to run and a ton of laundry to do but that can all wait till tomorrow when it's supposed rain all day. I think I'll take the kiddo to the beach today. More memories to come!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Hatred



Sigh....my heart is so heavy now. I've been reading so much, probably too much, about the illegal alien children that have wound up in our country. So many children trying to escape terrible lives, leaving everything they've ever known and trying to find safety and security here....only to face deep hatred from racist bigots who forget that they are the offspring of immigrants themselves.

My heart breaks for these children but it also makes me realize that I have to work harder to protect my own son from the harsh realities of the world in front of him. You see, my little guy is the son of an illegal alien and someone that these people would hate if given the chance.

My son isn't a nameless faceless number. He is a living, breathing, kind, loving, funny, smart child with real feelings. He loves soccer and Angry Birds and Mine Craft. He loves his family, his dog and his beloved bed pillow, which he carries around as his very own security blanket. He also has brown skin and a birth parent who's an illegal alien. It's amazing how many people would be willing to overlook all those amazing positive qualities and only focus on the color of his skin and his origins. But that is where we are in 2014 unfortunately.

I generally don't let racist bigotry and ignorance of complete strangers get to me. I have been lucky to mostly align myself with friends who are as a rule, very compassionate, thoughtful, supportive people. However the hatred and anger is just so profound and it's everywhere and so impossible to escape. Protesters are screaming at children, waving AK-47s and "fighting back against an invasion" of young children. Even Facebook friends are writing things like "ship them back" and "Mexicans are no good". It's all so overwhelming. If I can't look to my friends as beacons of light in this crazy world, then I don't know what to do anymore.

It's a little overwhelming for me. My biggest question is I guess, how do I ensure my child knows that he is special and wonderful and loved by the world in which we live? How do I ensure that he is not hurt, physically or emotionally by people who want to hate him just because of the color of his skin or the origins of his background? Lastly and most important, why can't people look beyond skin color and ethnicity in this day and age and see the wonderful person in front of them?



I would also like to know how my friends could see pictures of my little guy on Facebook and tell me he's so beautiful and he's so wonderful but then turn around and say horrible things about illegal alien children. Christopher is one of those children you are hating on! How do you not know this? And most importantly, how do you hate on children in the first place. They are children!!

I really question how we call ourselves a Christian country but yet lack so much compassion and empathy towards our children. I don't go to church much but I do remember pretty clearly that Jesus loved all his neighbors, not just the wealthy, white ones carrying guns. Black, white, brown, rich or poor...these are all God's children and it seems that has been forgotten by quite a few supposed church-going people.


Luckily my son is only six years old and pretty oblivious to all the hatred that exists in the world right now. But I do dread the day that someone shatters his innocence and makes him feel like he's not worthy because of his origins or the color of his skin. That truly scares me as a mother. I just want to protect him forever and I know someday I won't be able to do that.

In the meantime all I can do I guess is let him know that I love him and let him know that there are good, kind kindred spirits out there. They may not be the loudest voices but they are out there. And I also continue to hope and pray for a better world for all of us because really what else can I do.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Hobby Lobby Doesn't Care About Children

I know that the headline above sounds somewhat salacious but in reality, it's true. Hobby Lobby today did something that will put more children into harm's way...all so they could save a few bucks. Shame on you!

Hobby Lobby sued the Federal Government (and won) because it believed that forcing companies' insurance to cover birth control was anti-Christian. Putting the whole "separation of church and state" argument aside, the Christian thing would really be to help struggling families, not to pay them minimum wage and then deny them basic healthcare coverage.

Not to mention, this decision just puts more kids at risk; at risk of abuse, neglect, hunger and even death. People who can't afford or don't want children should not be having children and denying them birth control does that.

But Hobby Lobby is Christian and they love children. Really? Well let's just examine some statistics showing how much our Christian population really cares (or doesn't care) about the children in our country.

Today alone...
  • Four children will die from abuse or neglect. Source
  • 16 million children will go to bed without enough food in their bellies. 16 million! Source
  • 397,000 children will suffer through the fear and insecurity of foster care Source
  • The US ranks dead last among developed countries in providing paid parental maternity leave Source
Those are some seriously sobering statistics. You would think the conservative, Christian Hobby Lobby would be doing something to put a stop to abuse and neglect. But they are not.

That said, why aren't the Christians at Hobby Lobby helping feed the nearly 400,000 kids nationwide who don't have enough food? Because they really don't care.

Why aren't the the Christians at Hobby Lobby fostering children so they don't age out of the foster care system? Because they really don't care.

Why aren't the Christians at Hobby Lobby providing safe haven to children so they aren't hurt or killed by their parents? Because they really don't care.

Why aren't the Christians at Hobby Lobby paying their employees above minimum wage so they can afford to have children? Because they don't want to spend the money.

Why don't the Christians at Hobby Lobby provide paid parental maternity leave? Because they don't want to spend the money.

You get the gist.

Let's face it. Hobby Lobby doesn't really care about children. They care about money. It costs money to provide employees with affordable health insurance benefits and they want to cut costs wherever they can. What better way to do this than to say that they care about children and to rally the Christian cause behind them? Christians will jump on the band wagon and meanwhile the children of our country will suffer even more. Wonderful.

If they really believed in children over money, then they wouldn't allow their 401K plan to invest in contraception manufacturers. But they do.  

Letting children suffer abuse, neglect, pain and even death has got to be the least Christian thing I know of and yet that is what Hobby Lobby supports. If Hobby Lobby really was a Christian organization, they would be out there protecting children....not just thinking of ways to line their pockets with more money. Shameful.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

There's a Kindergarten Graduate In The House!

Today was the last day of school and great news...Christopher graduated Kindergarten. He will be going to First Grade next fall. Hooray!


It hasn't always been an easy year but I have to say that the school, the teachers and the after-school program have (mostly) been great. He has received excellent medical care and therapeutic services as well. All of this has worked together to make my kiddo the Kindergarten success that he is.

Christopher started off the school year with a diagnosis of ADHD and Learning Disability NOS (not otherwise specified) from Boston Children's Hospital. He tested at the Borderline Retarded level for some areas. I was really concerned.

So we start with medication for the ADHD and miraculously, the learning starts to go through the roof. Christopher wasn't suffering from a learning disability or mental retardation. His brain was just going way too fast and he needed something to help slow it down so he could learn. That is where the stimulant medication came in. He takes it in the morning before heading off to school and he's able to pay attention and focus now on school work long enough to learn. It's amazing.

Christopher can read, write and perform simple math. In his report card, he received mostly "Satisfactory's" and his teacher wrote that his understanding of topics is at grade level. That's a testament to great medication and hard work and patience from his teachers but let's also give Christopher some of the credit. He worked hard this year! I am very proud of my little man.

On his report card, there were a few instances of "Progressing" that still requires some work. Christopher's less mature than other children in his class and that's due to his trauma history. When he gets frustrated he will often start crying...sometimes very loudly. I still get the occasional temper tantrum. It's a little weird to see these behaviors of a toddler coming out of a child of nearly 7 years old but he's got a lot of early childhood trauma to work through. He also has ADHD and that presents some challenges as well. But he's in good hands I believe so I think he'll get there.

So congratulations Christopher! Now let's have a great summer.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's (and Single Mothers) Day!

I'd like to give a great big shout out to all those parents out there playing the role of dad in any way possible. That includes fathers, grandfathers, foster dads, dad-like role models and of course...the single mom who is both the mom and dad to her kids. Yeah...I'm patting myself on the back here.


Sometimes I worry that my kiddo is missing out because I'm a single mom and he doesn't have a dad in his life. Then I remember that he did once have a father in his life who beat his birth mother, got arrested and then abandoned his child. He knew his child was put into foster care and did absolutely nothing about it, all the while Christopher suffered. This "father" let his child suffer so much that the little guy has PTSD now because of it. Shame on you "dad".

One of the things I have had to struggle with on Christopher is his propensity to hit when he's angry or frustrated. We've been working on it a lot and he's become tons better. Last summer, he would eat something with sugar and artificial dye in it (Yoplait Gogurts and slushies were the worst), pick up a stick and in a zombie-like trance, start hitting any child within his reach. It was really creepy to watch actually and got him into lots of trouble. His nanny and he were escorted out of the Easton Children's Museum by an armed guard once because of this behavior. A therapist afterwards told me that the sugar/artificial dye combo were hitting his young, not-fully-developed brain in such a way as to trigger subconscious memories and he was just reliving behavior he had witnessed as a very young child. Armed with that scary information, I changed his diet the very next day. No more artificial dye...no way. It has made a huge difference.

I've also removed gluten and processed foods (ie anything that can break down into simple sugars), had him evaluated and treated by a behavioral pediatrician at Boston Children's Hospital and he continues to receive therapy through my advocating at school. I make sure my kid gets the help he needs to be happy and successful in life.

Lastly, I've started giving Christopher an allowance for doing chores around the house. He gets a dollar every Sunday if he picks up his toys, puts his dishes into the sink after each meal and puts his dirty clothes into the laundry basket. He will also lose 5 cents per episode whenever he hits his mama. Last week was a bit rough and he only got 45 cents but this week he did much better and he is going to receive his full dollar. I actually see him thinking about hitting before he does it and that's exactly what I'm trying to get him to do. He is learning to control himself now and that is a good thing.

If Christopher had stayed with his birth parents, he would have absolutely grown up to be an abuser of women. I have no doubt about that. But because he was removed from that environment at an early age and has received the appropriate guidance he needs, he will grow up to respect women.

So all that said, I don't feel at all guilty that Christopher doesn't have a dad here. His supposed father failed him so badly and this single mom has had to be the one to pick up the pieces. He's a happy kid now and that's what really matters.

Anyone can be a Father but it takes a very special person to be a daddy.

So Happy Father's Day to all you special daddies out there. Hope you all have a great day!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The ADHD Mom and Children's Parties: No Fun!

As many of my readers know, my son was diagnosed last September with ADHD and we've had a great deal of success using a multi-pronged approach of diet, structure and medication to treat it. Our normal day to day lives are so much easier now because of that approach. And that's a very very good thing.

What are you supposed to do when you can't follow your normal routine though? Do you keep your child from going to parties that would be fun for him but a nightmare for you? Or do you say let's let him have this one day of fun and you just suck it up because you want to give your kid a "normal" life?

Case in point: Friday night starting at 6pm, Christopher's school had the end of the school year "Spring Fling". It was an ice cream party (no real food) with lots of sugar and artificial dye, loud music and crazy loud little kids running around screaming. Describing the evening as "chaotic" would be an accurate assessment.

I was nervous about the event and also tired from a long week of being a hard working career-building single mom. But how could I say no to Christopher going when all his friends would be there? He'd cry on Monday if he missed this opportunity.

I will say though that the event as well as the next 24 hours were no fun for me. First of all, the party was at the end of a long week and Christopher was tired. It's a lot harder to control yourself if you're tired. Also, his meds had long since worn off so he didn't even have that going for him. The party was SO loud and so Christopher was completely over-stimulated. Not to mention, Christopher ate so much sugar...for dinner. This kid is normally on a gluten free, dye free, processing free diet so for him to eat all this crap with nothing healthy in his stomach was basically like giving him crack as a snack and letting him loose on society. He was a whirling dervish of chaos waiting to happen.

As much as I hate the idea of being a helicopter parent, I had to shadow Christopher the entire party to ensure he didn't hurt himself or the other kids. To make it even more "fun", the school provided these blow up beach toys in the shape of ice cream cones and the sun. This picture below isn't the exact toy but it's similar. They're made out of the same material as a blow-up beach ball and Christopher and the other high energy boys spent the evening pummeling each other with them. I had to pull another kid off him multiple times, his best friend was so wound up he was literally jumping off of furniture with them and Christopher kept whacking kids to the point that I was afraid he'd hurt someone.

Fun right???

We finally left after 2 hours and went home. I walked the dog, gave Christopher some real food, got him a bath and let him unwind for a bit watching the Kindle. By the time he got into bed, it was 10pm, which is a full hour past his normal bed time. He was exhausted. So was I.

The real fun began on Saturday after Christopher woke up at 5:30am with only 8.5 hours of sleep. He was off schedule, off diet and now didn't have enough sleep and we had to go to soccer at 8:30. Normally he is an amazing little soccer player but this day he was whiny, sluggish and cranky. I was tired and cranky too, so that was not a great combo; even worse considering I'm the coach of the team. I had to send him into a time out at the other end of the field at one point, screaming and crying, leaving my team behind. Thank goodness I have an assistant coach who could take over for me. Sometimes, I really wonder what the parents of the other kids think about us.

After the soccer debacle, I canceled plans for the rest of the day and took Christopher home. I was hoping he'd nap but no, he was just all sorts of cranky all afternoon. Considering I had also been awake since 5:30, I was pretty cranky too. Ugh.

Nothing made me happier than putting Christopher to bed at his normal 9pm bedtime last night. I went to bed soon thereafter and we both woke up in much better spirits today. Thankfully it's still the weekend and we have another nice day to enjoy outside.

Meanwhile, tomorrow (Monday), one of Christopher's friends has a birthday party starting at 5pm. I'm like, are you kidding? A party for 6 and 7 year olds on a Monday night? Initially I had RSVP'd yes for the party but I think after the weekend's festivities, I've changed my mind and will RSVP no. It's one thing to have a party and then have the weekend to recover. It's a whole other story to do this on a Monday and then have to go to school (and work) all tired and cranky for the next four days. No thank you.

But now it's time to get outside and enjoy this great weather. Happy Sunday to all.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day is for Freedom...and Family

Happy Memorial Day everyone! We are just back from a weekend visiting family that lives just a few hours away in the next state over. I brought the kiddo and the dog and made an adventure out of it as always. Lots of barking, yelling, running, jumping and the occasional sounds of fighting, crying and ultimately making up. Just another day in the life.

One of my nieces is getting married in a few months and so her engagement dinner was the motivation for our trip away. I'm glad that we had a reason to make the trip because I probably wouldn't have gone away otherwise and it was nice to see everyone.


It certainly didn't hurt that the weather was better than originally forecasted because we were able to spend both days on the beach. My kiddo played with my god-daughter and collected crabs and other critters in the water the entire time while her mom (one of my best friends from high school) and I relaxed on the warm sand. Occasionally my neurotic dog barked at passing seagulls but aside from that, the beach was pretty peaceful.

It got a lot crazier once we left the beach because the kids were over-tired, hungry and way over-stimulated. So that's when the yelling, fighting and crying started to kick in. I will say I went back to my brother's house each evening, happy for my bed, for these were some long, loud days. It was great to be at my brother's because he always had a glass of wine waiting for me too. Gotta love that.

I was nervous about how my kiddo would do at the engagement dinner last night because yesterday was such a long, busy day. I was afraid he'd get there and just melt down. Smart mama that I am though, I took him back to the house after the beach, got him showered and dressed and laid him down on the sofa for an hour-long nap. We were late for the dinner but I don't care because the kiddo was in good spirits and held it together for the entire evening. Not one complaint and yes that's rare. Especially after the day we had had so I definitely recommend sleep. Sleep is good.

Christopher always brings his Angry Bird toys with him wherever he goes and last night that worked out well because it was quite the ice breaker. All the cool kids wanted to be with Christopher and his Angry Birds.

I will say, I was beyond exhausted today and the 2-1/2 hour drive back home was a bit rough. We got back home mid-afternoon and I immediately climbed in bed for a nap while my little guy happily reunited with all his Angry Bird toys.

Now it's time for dinner and I could really use a trip to the grocery store but I really don't feel like I have it in me to pack up the kid (whining and crying because he hates shopping) and go out again. So maybe I'll just hold off till tomorrow...you know after a long day of work when we'll both be tired again. Ugh.

Happy Memorial Day all.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Springtime Means SO Much Going On

The long winter of my discontent has finally ended and the beautiful springtime weather is finally upon us. In New England, that type of weather lasts for 10 minutes (practically) so we locals always try to take as much advantage of nice weather as we can. This is especially after this past winter, which was colder and longer than any I remember in recent history. Thank you El Nino.

Anyway, with a goal to accomplish as much as I can before the weather turns cold again, I've got a To Do list that's as ambitious as as that of two people. No one can say I am not goal oriented.

Yesterday for example, we took a day trip down to Cape Cod for our family's annual work weekend at the Stage Harbor Lighthouse. It started off as a rainy day so soccer was cancelled but it was forecasted to stop raining by 10am, which it did. So we made the last minute decision to trek down to the Cape, which I'm glad we did. It turned into a gorgeous day.

Christopher had a great time learning how to hang shingles from his uncle
And then also spent quality time searching for crabs and clam shells with his cousin
I did a little cleaning but mostly spent the time outside on the beach with the kids and my dog.
It was a beautiful day but after driving down there for two hours then spending all day there in the sun and driving home two hours, I'm worn out today! But there is no time to be tired. Why? Because my latest goal is to sell my condo and buy a single family home. I need more space!

My condo's open house is at 1pm today and I've got a few things to do before the realtor shows up. I've got to vacuum, put laundry away, sweep, declutter, etc. etc. Then I need a trip to Home Depot to get a new welcome mat for the front porch and get a duplicate key made. No day of rest for me today.

I wish I could be my kid and dog who are lazily relaxing on the sofa right now. Not me though...I've got a long list of things to do. And no partner to share them with so I'd better hop to it. This is where it's hard to be a single parent because I'm already exhausted. I am happy that my son is so content but man, it's tough.

But the good news is, uploading photos and blogging were two items on my To Do list that I can now cross off for today. Yay! Now onto the rest of it.