Everything Is Horrible And Wonderful

I read this memoir because I listened to the author on a podcast. At this point I can’t even remember which podcast but I loved the author and immediately put it on hold at the library.

The book is the story of her brothers struggle with heroin and the year following his death. She finds out about the addiction 3 days before her wedding! Its tragic, heartbreaking, funny, light, and covers all human emotion in one story.

She takes you on a journey through being there for her brother and what his addiction looked like to her and her family while she’s dealing with things of her own. It also follows the year after his death. She elegantly takes you through the stages of grief without actually calling them out and you feel the weight of her grief all the way to the end.

We recently had a loss in our family and I was instantly drawn to the say she describes the final stage of acceptance. It’s not accepting that the person has passed or that they are gone forever. Its accepting that the grief you are carrying is the new normal. You learn to want to live again and to not let it drown you but essentially its accepting your new normal in this world without them. You learn that when something happens that you want to tell them about, to smile at their memory and the fact that they would have enjoyed it.

She made you laugh through the book and made you feel like you knew him. I think he was amazing and I never even watched his shows. He said something that she loved and I am equally drawn to it. He said “we are all horrible and wonderful and figuring it out”. I think that’s the exact quote but I’m sorry if I got it a bit wrong.

But isn’t that the best quote ever? Doesn’t it describe everything in life? We are all horrible and wonderful. Life is horrible and wonderful and we’re all just trying to figure it out as we go.

We go through season and in every season things are horrible and wonderful. Even when things seem absolutely horrible (let’s be honest they do sometimes) there is something wonderful in that. Either in knowing that it can only get better from there or crying your eyes out only to have your 4-year-old ask you if you think she can fly if she jumped off the tall side of the couch. “No sweetie save the stunts for gymnastics please”.

Life is full of moments like that. I am blessed to be surrounded by people who know how to make me laugh when I’m crying. Whether its bringing up blasts from the pasts or jumping in with stories of their misery that are comical when it’s not happening to you. Thanks guys! I’d say misery loves company but I know you’re doing it to make me smile. Mostly to stop the ugly face crying I’m sure.

Ending on a happy note Rylan tried on flower girl dresses for us and holy moly! I wasn’t sure how she was going to be (let’s be honest she has a stubborn mind of her own). But she was brilliant! I brought in 3 dresses and the first one she came out like Cinderella and was turning and spinning and LOVING the attention! So much so that now whenever she puts on anything she likes me to go into another room so she can make an entrance and I can cheer. This happened last night when she put on PJ’s. She walked into the living room and did turns while we cheered and clapped. As I write this I’m a bit concerned we are raising a narcissist.

Eh screw it. One day people won’t do that. The time is now!

Sick of Summer

As a pluviophile learning to love summer I think I’ve been doing really well! We have had the best summer ever so far. Partly because I’ve branched out of my bubble and am actually doing things. Its amazing how much fun stuff is when you actually go.

Its also because Rylan is older and able to talk and do things for herself. She’s also wanting to do things to and actually play with kids which just blows my mind. I mean the first time we were out and she said “mama can I go play with those kids?” I literally got tears in my eyes.

So here we are enjoying summer (still shocked by this) and then BAM!!!! Rylan wakes up with a runny nose and cough that sounds like a dog who’s been de-barked. What the actual hell.

Determined not to crash and burn on the summer of fun I’m trying to find ways to make this not suck.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

The obvious is Pedialyte popsicles. We’ve tried this in the past when she was younger and it was not a big hit. My hope is that since she’s older and helped me make them that she’ll be more interested in it.

As I’m sure you’ve figured out I’m not a normal mom. So it should come as no surprise that we have those little red solo plastic shot glasses. We don’t take shots of alcohol at all! But Rylan loves to drink water out of them. I save them for special occasions like when we bbq outside or when she’s sick and I need her to get as much fluids as possible. I know there’s not a lot in them but we set the timer for every 15 minutes and its a game for her.

We live on the corner of an intersection that gets a decent amount of traffic. Our house also has a ton of trees in the front and no shade at all in back. So we’ll be in our front yard on blankets enjoying the shade and eating pedialyte popsicles on blankets while yelling at people to slow down.

I don’t actually have a ton of tips. It basically comes down to anything goes as long as it keeps everyone somewhat happy. By happy I mean not drenched in tears or other bodily fluids.

I’ve got the essential oils going and am just hoping for the best! Finding the silver lining that I get quality time at home and on meds she actually naps.

Lots of reading time for both of us. I thought since I was reading about climbing Everest she would be interested. So laying with her I started reading out loud. She put her hand on my book and asked if I was reading for me or her. I said “I figured I’d read out loud so you can listen too”. Very seriously she rolled over and said “don’t”.

Open for more suggestions but so far doesn’t feel like I’m in Hell. We are surviving.

He’s Still My Best Friend

Not all people are animal people. But we are. Hard core. Our dogs are like members of our family. Yes its me saying this. The same girl who considers locking the cat out in the cold.

Just for the record the cat is now a family member. Now that I can let her out and she comes back and is actually calm and relaxed. She also comes in from being outside when I call her which is a bonus. So Reba can stay. And maybe snuggle me at night.

Anyway, Barry was 13 years old. Possibly a little older and had started to really slow down. The only thing harder than thinking about a pet dying is trying to prepare your 3 and a half year old. She’s pretty dang smart but kids have a way of surprising us.

I tried prepping her and holding her telling her “bubbas” was getting older and one day he wouldn’t live with us that he’d pass away and go run around with Jesus. She said “so we’ll just get a new bubbas”. Okay clearly I went about that wrong. So I just let it go.

Then Wednesday the 9th we had to put him down. He couldn’t walk and was clearly in so much pain it was hard to watch. He was having trouble breathing and wouldn’t even get up when I got home. He only attempted to walk when Pat got home.

It was the worst. I mean it was wonderful the way they have it set up. Our vet is the best and they have this beautiful yard you go to and they lay down a blanket and you get to hang with him for as long as you want while they sedate him first. Anyway its still the worst!

Pat and I were beyond devastated and still a few weeks later I’m barely able to write about it.

We had to tell Rylan.

I pull her in my lap and say “sweetie Barry passed away and went to heaven to be with Jesus”

Rylan: “so we’ll go visit him?”

“no sweetheart he’s up in heaven we wont be with him for a long time” I pull in her for a hug and tell her I know he was her best friend but before I can finish talking she pushes me away very angrily and yells  “HE’S STILL MY BEST FRIEND MAMA” and runs off down the hall.

Tears in both mine and Pats eyes we go to comfort her,except she doesn’t need it. She’s playing with her toys and is totally fine. To her Barry is still her best friend. That doesn’t change just because he isn’t with us in our house.

The last 3 weeks have been a grieving process roller coaster. Some days you remember things about him that make us smile. Some days Rylan comes in the house and says “I miss Bubbas”.

We picked him up from the vet where they very sweetly gave us his paw print in a ceramic circle the way new parents do their newborns feet. Ironically we have the kit to do Rylans and have never done it! Rylan looked at it with us and asked if Barry sent it to us from heaven. I’m letting her think he did.

Bailee our 7 year old lab was so devastated that Pat thought it was a great idea to go get another puppy. A 7 week old English lab we have named Hank. No matter how hard I protested that I wanted to name him Marshall, Rylan and I were out voted.

Hank has brought joy and is so fun but we are still devastated and learning to live without Barry daily.

Rylan is absolutely right. No matter what, no matter where, Barry is still our best friend.

Summer Fun

I can’t believe it. I’m loving summer! Yup you read that right!

We have planned quite a few things and have been having so much fun! A few Pinecrest trips already and a Pinecrest movie, Mammoth Lakes with the family, already a few lake trips and days on the houseboat.

I had a procedure so I haven’t been able to work out the way I was which is a bummer but I’m going to come back strong. I haven’t written much since Barry passed away but we got a new puppy. Which means I am also running low on sleep! Before I had my procedure I was taking Bailee for hikes and walks and can’t wait to start that again!

Its going to be so nice on Mondays to drop Rylan off at school and take her for a morning hike before it gets too hot! Pretty excited and she’s doing so good! She still pulls on the leash but is way better and I feel like she’s starting mature a bit. She’s a big sister now!

Its such a bummer that Pat has had to work every day since March! He still manages to make time for us because he’s amazing. But I still feel bad doing things without him. We aren’t going to his family cabin at Bucks lake this year. It doesn’t seem fair to do things and go there without him.

Rylan is loving summer so much too. Which is good! I don’t want her to inherit my dislike for summer the way she’s adapted my dislike of babies!!!

Her baby cousin is the cutest thing ever and yet at 2 months old she still acts like he’s a little terrorist out to ruin her life. He can’t walk, talk, or take her toys and yet when he’s around she goes into a kind of panic mode! Screaming and crying when he cries and clinging to me wanting to be in a different room than him at all times.

It was funny the first time. Its been 2 months. Its not funny anymore!

They came swimming with us and she whined and cried for 2 hours because he was there. NOPE! I let her cry. she had her floaty on and would get in the water and be okay until she looked at him. ugh. Its not like its a sibling but I love them we will be spending a lot of time with them! She needs to get over it!

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Sick Parenting

If you haven’t given your sick toddler fruit snacks for breakfast when their sick just so they’ll eat something, are you even a parent of a toddler?

That happened this morning. We spent Saturday in Urgent care and yesterday in the doctors office followed by the Emergency Room. Diagnosis: Pneumonia.

I learned a lot about our family in this Emergency process. I learned  my 3 year old can play opossum with the best of them. That’s right faking lethargy. I mean she was sick and tired and just wanted to cuddle but she wouldn’t even react when the doctor is listening to her lungs or to the pulse ox on her finger. Didn’t lift her head from my chest when a doctor or nurse was in the room.

When we leave the office she’s instantly Chatty Kathy asking pat where he was, and what took him so long to get there, and if we are going home, is he coming, why is he riding with us, and the best…telling us she’s fine and just wants to go watch Goldie and Bear. Opossum.

What I didn’t learn and am still trying to figure out is how do you parent a sick child? Where is the line between giving the fruit snacks for breakfast and totally losing control of your French parenting lifestyle goals? We try to be French and have a frame work of rules. I know we fail a lot but we have to have goals right?

For the most part we do okay. She listens pretty well and knows when we are serious about things. She gets time outs and yes I’ve patted her on the but before. But do you spank a sick kid? Do I put her in time out because she’s crying over the wrong color gummy vitamin? That seems a bit harsh since she clearly doesn’t feel good. On the other hand eat the damn gummy or cry in your room mommy is also tired now too.

Still this is a struggle for us. When you do stick to the rules and when do you let things slide because quite frankly when I’m sick the rules and expectations of me can suck it.

Its been a few days since I started writing this and I’m no closer to figuring it out. The only thing I can say is that she is a champ at taking medication! Even yucky antibiotics. She takes it herself and I feel like she’s in training for tequila shots. She takes the meds, has a juice chaser, and gets a gummy vitamin treat right after. Lick the salt, take the shot, suck the lime? I swear I’m a good mom! We can get concerned when she starts asking for chasers.

I think our saving grace was that I can use “doctors orders” for a lot of things! Threatening with having to go back to the hospital has also worked really well in my favor when trying to get her to do things. So bribes and blackmail is what it sounds like. Basically no different from my normal parenting style. Awesome.

To be clear there was a ton of cuddle time in my house. It was the silver lining that when she’s sick she just wants me by her side snuggled if the couch. Can’t complain about that one bit her snuggles are the very best. My hair can wait a few days to be washed anyway.

I found this podcast and am obsessed. Sounds like a tangent but its relevent I swear. It’s a parenting podcast and seriously the best one I’ve found yet! Here are  two links that literally had me laughing out loud while I was doing dishes and driving to and from work.

This is on sick day hacks   the other is on Whats up with toddlers

Seriously I feel like these girls are my spirit parents. One is great with research and both are just hysterical and so real. Refreshing and great with advice. Better advice than bribes and blackmail!

104 Degree Panic Attack

“Where the thermometer? I think she has a fever!” I yell to Pat as I’m changing Rylans diaper.

“She doesn’t have a fever we just checked it an hour ago” Pat rolls his eyes as he hands me the thermometer.

I love that he can roll his eyes while doing what I want. No matter how ridiculous he always humors me.

That was a little less than 3 years ago. Every new mother has a thing. For me her thing was her temperature. I can feel the judgment from here, yes I’m sure I had more than one thing but at this point the fever was my biggest obsession.

I took her temp constantly and was always worried about her having a fever. She ran super hot all the time. Mainly at night and that hasn’t gone away. I’ve just learned that if I have to question if there’s a fever or not… there’s not.

Which brings me to this past 2 weeks ago. She woke up crying and when I picked her up there was no doubt she had a fever. We snuggled on the couch and she was so warm I considered turning on the AC.

I took her temp and as expected it was 102. It ranged from 100 to 104 for the next two days. I know I should have taken her to the ER right away but I work in a medical office I know how this goes. It’s a virus and there’s nothing they can do but alternate Tylenol and Motrin and keep her cool and do baths…yadda yadda yadda. So that’s what we did.

Come Thursday morning her temp had started to go down on its own but we made an apt for her anyway. Turns out it was a double ear infection! One of which had possibly ruptured! Awesome job mom.

Nothing makes you feel like a worse mother than NOT taking her to the doctor, only to find out she has a ruptured ear drum. I will no longer question whether or not to take her in. If I’m thinking about I’m doing it. Bring on the hypochondriac comments I’ll take the punch.

My 3 year old sassy pants did not even complain this whole time. The same kid who threw herself on the ground and screamed because I tried to put the wrong pants on her never once mentioned that her ears hurt. That’s the only thing saving me from really believing I’m a terrible mom.

Not even a week after this happened she’s feeling better and wanting to read stories before bed time again. We were reading the book “The Sleep Fairy”. To whoever bought that book for me I think you owe me money for it. Who busy a book as a present that makes the parents buy their children presents every night they sleep in their bed by themselves? We are on a budget! I’d rather her sleep in bed with me!

Luckily for me my kid is a little weird and after listening to the whole story cuddled in to me very concerned. She put the book down and said “mama, if the sleep fairy tries to come in my room and put something under my pillow while I’m sleeping….I’m going to scream.”

I’ve never been more proud! Glad she’s feeling better and back to being feisty. Next time we are going to the doctor. Then I’ll buy her a present!

Hard is Hard

Rylan is less than a year old and I’m trying to get her down for a nap while visiting my sister-in-law in Chico.

She’s flopping around and trying to talk and crawl away and is refusing to nap. I get frustrated and finally give up and take her to the stroller because I know that works. I’m frustrated and don’t have the energy to force it.

I come out of the room huffing and puffing and go to take her outside. My sister-in-law asks what happened and I start to tell her.

She laughs. “So she’s not crying or fussy, she’s just….awake?”

Me: “well yeah but its annoying I know she’s tired and going to get cranky and she needs to nap.”

I get why she’s laughing. It sound ridiculous when I hear it back to me. Later over a glass of wine we talk about it. She makes me feel better by reminding me that even though Rylan is a great baby and I have no idea how easy I have it, my hard is hard for me.

So while she can handle things and has infinitely more patience than I do, to me… this is hard.

Fast forward to Rylan being almost 3 and still I know how lucky I am.

She listens well and reasons for the most part. She argues at bed time and I want to pull my hair out. I’m sure there are a million moms that would look at our bed time routine and laugh at how frustrated I get. But its hard to me.

We all have no clue what going on in each other life and its so easy to look at every situation and say how you would do it differently. But you know what? It might not work. We all have to do what we know how to do and make changes where we need to in order to make things work for us.

For instance my hard right now (aside from bed time) is a kitten. Who would have thought that something that weighs just over 1 pound can make want to drink. Given, it was 3 weeks old when we were gifted it.

Gifted is a strong word. It was a trash can kitty my cousin found and my Aunt asked if we wanted it. I didn’t. At all. My darling, sweet, animal loving husband was supposed to be the bad guy and say no… he didn’t say no.

We’ve had it a week and its slowly getting better. Not going to lie, the first couple days I was cussing out my aunt dreaming of dropping it off on their doorstep knocking and running away.

The ONLY saving grace was how happy this damn kitten made Rylan. I mean they are buds. Rylan will sit and watch her iPad and this stupid kitten will cuddle on her back and sit in her lap and just snuggle. The smile on my kids face made me realize I couldn’t drop her off at the fire department. Wait is that kittens too?

So my point is everyone’s hard is hard. It doesn’t matter if we laugh at it and dismiss it or fully understand we could not handle that its hard. We all have support systems you just have to find yours. Find your people, your tribe, the one you can open up to about locking the kitten in the bathroom and turning up the radio so you can’t hear it cry. Thankfully my tribe is pretty big. They all understand me.

They also laugh at the fact that now that the kittens getting older and getting a personality she’s turned into a total little psycho.

I’ve had to delete 3 paragraphs from her stepping on my keyboard and throwing me off. In case you are wondering why she’s still living with us here are a few pictures.