Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Piece of Heaven

Crazy busy, that's where I've been. Play dates, a school concert, shopping, cleaning, laundry, driving, a preschool meeting, coffee dates, reading, planning, cooking, learning to crochet, birthday parties...the list goes on.

This past weekend we had some special guests - 3 little girls who stayed with us while their parents and older sister went on an exciting star-studded trip to Toronto. I should have taken some pictures, but I was too busy with several of the items from the above list. We had a fantastic weekend, and I'm pretty sure all 6 girls were thrilled to have unlimited time together for two whole days and nights. Notice I didn't mention Connor, who spent most of the time he was home (I kindly arranged a sleepover for him Saturday night, plus he had a birthday party Sunday afternoon) hiding out in his bedroom, only coming out to eat and use the bathroom. I maintain that someday he will be overjoyed to have our home overtaken by pretty girls, but for now...sorry son. We do love you.

One of our guests just happens to be a talented (10-year old) crocheter, and she kindly and patiently walked me through crocheting a flower. 
I have since done a few more, and I think I'm getting the hang of it. I am perhaps unreasonably excited by this slight accomplishment, but there you have it. What I will do with these flowers I'm crocheting remains a mystery, but I know one person who might like some to put on hats for cancer patients for her charitable organization she is just getting up and running, Creating Smiles For Hope.

Spring Break is upon us next week, however much it does not feel like Spring. Last year we spent a few days during the break at Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio, which was seriously one of the most magical places we have ever visited. We thought about returning this year, but then remembered the dangerously lacking safety standards and the fact that we now have a very feisty and high energy almost-2-year old who would not take kindly to being toted around in a Baby Bjorn. Nor would my back take kindly to it. So Hocking Hills will have to wait for another year. The kids and I will be taking a short trip with my mother-in-law, and hoping for some kinda almost decent weather so we can at least be outside some of the time.

What I'm really daydreaming about is another of my most favorite places in the whole wide world, Captiva Island, Florida. We haven't been there in a few years, and oh how I miss it. I would like to be lying on its beach right now, reading a book and watching dolphins frolic in the waves. You can walk from the boat docks on one side of the island, where manatees are almost within arm's reach, to the beach side of the island, which is literally covered in beautiful sea shells, in about 5-10 minutes. Sea urchins, starfish, sand dollars, crabs...all right there.

Lucy sitting on thousands of shells

Back when we had 3 kids
One of our many beach finds
I would love to share more pictures of Captiva Island, but naturally I can't seem to find anymore at the moment. It's a miracle, really, that I found a disc with these few on it (at 2 o'clock in the morning). I love that there are no McDonald's or any other fast food, no Walmart or any other big chain store. I love having breakfast outside at the Key Lime Bistro, I love the Christmas tree on the beach at The Mucky Duck and I love ordering 5 kinds of cake from The Bubble Room and having a little taste of each. You know how some vacations don't really seem like vacations at all, and after a few days you're more than ready to go home? Well after 2 weeks on Captiva Island, I am ready to stay for 2 more weeks. At least. I think I could live there, even though it's a 45 minute drive to the mainland (and groceries that don't cost an arm and a leg). I could just alternate between pool and beach, take turns at all the wonderful restaurants, browse the little shops, stare at the sea life, take a boat ride every now and again...for a very long time. Someday, Captiva Island, I'll be back.  

***Don't forget to enter my Nutella giveaway!! The deadline is March 31st!***

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It's All Good

Last weekend, I was able to spend some time with a few of my awesome friends.  A couple of the ladies have March birthdays, so we went out to celebrate Friday night. We were not actually asked to leave, but boy let me tell ya, it was coming. Saturday I got to see some of the very same ladies again for a different kind of birthday party...one for a 3-year old. As you can imagine, it was fun in a completely different way. For example, no one was trying to hide anyone's credit card so they couldn't buy anymore drinks. Nor was anyone shamelessly singing karaoke. Or picking up (literally...picking UP, off the ground) random strangers. Just sayin'. Not that any of those things happened Friday night. This is purely hypothetical. I swear.

And now it's Spring! Finally! Spring! But wait, I just looked outside and Spring just happens to look quite a bit like Winter at the moment. Hmm. Abracadabra! I choose a different state! A warm one! Please?!

I paid off my library fines last week, so now I am free to check out tons of books again. One of my favorite things to do! Yay! 

I got some new jeans at Target for $6...and I didn't try them on in the store and they fit me perfectly. Yay!  

I went to Joann's and bought some yarn and crochet hooks and a book about how to crochet which turned out to be totally useless. But YouTube! There are videos for everything on YouTube, including crochet lessons. Yay! Plus childrens' books about crocheting from the library, which are right about my speed. I've been practicing my stitches. They look pretty but I can't yet get my rows uniform. When I figure that out perhaps I can actually make something.

Things, in general, have been going really well. But I have this mental problem. Happiness scares me.  I know, I know, I know...how stupid, right? Do I think I don't deserve it for some reason? Am I really a pessimist posing as an optimist? There is this nagging fear in the back of my mind that it can't last, that I've filled my quotient. I'm trying to combat that fear with rosy thoughts of rainbows and unicorns. Because, elusive happiness, I do deserve you. So there.

**P.S. Don't forget to enter my Nutella giveaway! The deadline is March 31!**

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bad Guy Genes

Lucy told me recently that bad people have red eyes. Wouldn't that be nice? If only it were that easy to identify evil doers. I had to explain to her that usually bad people look just like everyone else and we can't tell just by looking at someone if they are good or bad. On the plus side, since I'm fairly certain she has never met anyone with red eyes, I suppose that means I can assume she thinks everyone she knows is a good guy.

I keep saying "good" and "bad" as if categorizing people is that clear cut. How about the mostly good but sometimes bad? Or the 97.6% bad but 2.4% good? No one is 100% one or the other, right? There are always shades of gray...sometimes very murky shades of gray.

However, the fact is, someday my little girl is going to get smacked in the face with the real life knowledge that bad people don't just exist as conniving villains, empowered with magical abilities (or not), trying to take over the kingdom in a princess tale. If she meets one for real (am I naive to hope she won't?), he or she won't have red eyes, nor probably even a sinister smile, or a bone chilling cackling laugh.

She'll watch the news, or read the newspaper, or click on a link...and she'll see the horrible things people do in real life. People who are moms and dads and teachers and doctors and priests. Regular people, sometimes sick, sometimes crazy, sometimes deranged, sometimes seemingly possessed, sometimes enraged. Maybe good people who make a mistake they can't take back. Or maybe manipulative people who really are mean and horrible to the core but want you to believe they're just misunderstood.

There's a big world out there. Sending my kids out into it is scary. Fortunately, I happen to believe that the majority of folks are mostly good, and I think I do a pretty good job of surrounding my kids with wonderful and loving people. Unfortunately, I can't always control who they are with, and they're going to have to learn to be wary and cautious to a certain extent. That is, until the bad guys start being genetically mutated into red eyed beastly creatures who are easily and non-mistakenly recognizable. 

** United States Residents Only: Don't forget to go to my Nutella post and enter to win a Nutella price pack! Just "like" Michigal" on Facebook, and leave a comment about Nutella in the comments section of the Nutella post (don't forget to include your email address) by March 31!**

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Breakfast With Nutella Plus A Giveaway!

I'm not quite sure how this happened, but somehow I made it past my 36th birthday before trying Nutella (pronounced new-tella) for the first time. If you've never had Nutella before, it is a hazelnut spread, generally sold near the peanut butter at the grocery store, that tastes like the insides of Ferrero Rocher chocolates. Well heck, if I had known that, I would have tried it a long time ago! When MommyParties contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in hosting a Nutella breakfast, I thought it would be a great excuse to have some friends over and try something new. They sent me some fun gift bags of goodies to share with my guests, and a large jar of Nutella for sampling.

Here are some facts about Nutella that I will refer to when I want to convince myself it's fine that I've had maybe one (or three) tablespoons too many:

  • Nutella does not contain hydrogenated oil or trans fat
  • Nutella is very low in sodium
  • Nutella contains no artificial colors or preservatives
  • Nutella does not contain ingredients derived from gluten cereal; wheat, barley rye, oats, or triticale
  • Nutella is Kosher
  • Nutella does not contain peanuts or peanut ingredients, nor does it come in contact with peanuts during manufacturing
Turns out, most of my guests were already fans of Nutella. Where have I been?? I had pretzel rods and French bread to pair with the Nutella, plus fresh fruit, scones, shamrock cookies (the leprechauns left them) and an egg dish. I was going to make waffles as well, but let's just say my darling daughter is going to get a little lecture after school and my waffle maker is outside in the trash.

Since a few people were unable to make it to the party, I'm offering up the chance to win one of my leftover goody bags. This is what's inside: 

  • Nutella sample pack and coupon
  • Nutella recipe cards
  • Nutella tumbler mug
  • Nutella spreader
All you need to do is "Like" Michigal on Facebook (link on the right side) and leave a comment below about Nutella by March 31. On April 1st a random winner will be chosen. Sorry, but United States residents only.

**P.S. Please leave your email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win!**

In the meantime, visit Nutella's website for a $1.00 coupon. 

Note: I was not paid for this review. I was sent samples and goody bags as described above.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

To My Japanese Friend: Wish You Were Here

Mariko, where are you now? The last time I saw you, I was 8 years old. Your family was so good to me, and we had some fun times together. I remember when you guys took me to a water park, my first time. Surf City. I can clearly picture the fake beach and the tidal waves coming from a far off wall. I'm pretty sure I was thinking, in my 8 year old way, "Oh boy! My mom would freak out if she saw this place! Drowning danger!!!" Of course she knew I was there, but I couldn't help but feel a little like I was doing something I shouldn't be doing.

You and your family took such joy in all things American. All of you smiled a lot. I used to eat at your apartment often, or you would bring me out to a Japanese restaurant with you. What I remember eating is white rice, lots of white rice. You had special little bowls for rice.

When your dad finished college and you left Arizona to return to Japan, your parents invited me to go to Hawaii with you, where you were stopping for a vacation on your way home. I thought long and hard about this invitation, and declined for two reasons. One, I knew my mom would miss me. Two, I was afraid of flying and I knew I'd have to fly home alone. Actually I don't really think I was afraid of flying, I had just heard my mom talk about how much she hated flying and figured it was the thing to do. But the idea of flying solo on the return trip, that did make my tummy do sickening flip flops. The funniest thing is that for years I thought about how I had missed out on a trip to Hawaii. Recently I realized, who am I kidding? My mom would have never let me go on an airplane to Hawaii without her. My mom would never have let me get on an airplane to Hawaii with her for that matter. Not to mention we were totally poor. But somehow I thought that possibility existed and I had blown it.

You gave me your hamster when you moved back to Japan. Poky was a good little guy, and he moved cross country to Michigan with me less than a year later. He rode in the backseat of our crowded car, having more space than any of us in his very own cage.

We kept in touch for years, Mariko, but somehow we eventually lost contact. I wish we hadn't. I wish I knew right now that you are safe and your family is safe. I hope you are.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Is This It?

There has been so much devastation happening in the world in the last decade. Bombings and floods and earthquakes and tsunamis. When Bethany was not even a month old, I remember getting a call from Chris on the morning of September 11, 2001 telling me to turn the TV on. I turned it on in time to see an airplane fly into the World Trade Center. It was surreal. We felt like the world had been knocked off kilter. Things like that don't happen here. Things like that happen on CNN.

When Connor was one and a half, I found myself glued to the television for hours on end watching coverage of the tsunami that hit Indonesia on December 26, 2004. I was horrified by the survivor stories, saddened and depressed by the accounts of loved ones swept out to sea, and utterly transfixed by the round the clock news updates as the death toll climbed...and climbed...and climbed.

Months before I became pregnant with Lucy, hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Shore on August 23, 2005. Our television was on at all hours, updating us on the latest catastrophic consequences of this domestic natural disaster. Bethany and Connor watched so much of the news coverage that when we found out Lucy was going to be a girl (in April or May of 2006), Bethany suggested we name her Katrina.

Many other disasters occurred...in Chile, Haiti, New Zealand, Australia. Flooding and earthquakes of epic proportions. I tuned myself out because I get too affected and too depressed, so I stopped obsessively following the news for these events. Not to mention the wars, and the terrorism, and every other terrible kind of newsworthy happening. Which pretty much means I don't watch or read much news these days.

And now it's Japan. I've tried not to become obsessed, but it's hard not to. The impact is impossible to imagine. Watching the videos, looking at the pictures, reading the stories...is so heartbreaking. Is this the end of Japan? Will it be the next Atlantis? (Which, coincidentally, archaeologists think they have found - and they think it was likely wiped away by a tsunami. Read about it here). People stranded on rooftops...cars and houses and fences and junk all piled in huge random heaps...entire towns razed...food and water shortages...and add to all that nuclear meltdowns. I'm afraid to ask how much worse it can possibly get.

So, is the end immanent? Are we truly seeing the end of days, the beginning of the apocalypse, divine warnings? Or is this the natural course of things that can be expected every few thousand years? Or just arbitrary, meaningless crap that is happening for no reason whatsoever?

Whatever the cause, whatever the reason, for now life goes on. There is still joy to be found every day. There are still things to learn and kids to take care of and messes to clean (that laundry, I can personally attest, is not doing itself), and weddings to plan and celebrations to be had and relationships to foster. So, like Robin Williams proclaims in Dead Poets Society (and please don't tell me you haven't seen it...you have to see it...that's like saying you haven't seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off): Carpe Diem. Seize the day. Today's the day your life belongs to you, fully and completely, right this very minute. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Date Night at the Greektown Casino Hotel

Like I mentioned we were going to in my last post, Chris and I went out last night, just the two of us. His mom had a voucher for a free night at the Greektown Casino hotel and $50 in bonus play for the casino, and since her husband is out of town and the voucher was about to expire, she generously gave it to us (with the bonus play too!). Aren't we spoiled? Being spoiled is fun! Did I mention she also came over and spent the night at our house to babysit our kids? 

We're not exactly gamblers, but still we were excited to get out for an evening. Our first pleasant surprise was the free (!) valet at the hotel. Our next pleasant surprise was that the hotel is really nice. We loved our room. We would decorate our whole house exactly like our room was decorated. Because I'm a dork and totally and completely uncool, I took some pictures. Of our hotel room 13 miles from our home.

Since we were in Greektown and all, for dinner we had...Mexican. It was our first time eating at Loco's, and we both enjoyed our extraordinarily cheese-filled dinners. I ate so much I felt like a stuffed cow, but it was just so good I didn't want to waste any of it. And then I had dessert. Because that's just what I do.

After dinner we headed over to the casino where we were faced head-on with more of our uncoolness. It took us an embarrassingly long time to figure out the slot machines. We stuck with the penny slots and cashed out every time we won anything over $1. Yes, that's right, one dollar. We made that $50 bonus play last us a few hours, and ended our casino foray with enough money to pay for our breakfast this morning, with a few bucks left over. Yay for free money.

Back at the room I got to enjoy one of the most wonderful showers I've ever had the pleasure of partaking in and the super comfy bed, which I called home until 11:00 this morning. The night we spring forward an hour for daylight savings time turned out to be perfect timing for us to be gone overnight, especially because I've been particularly sleep deprived lately. So Friday night I shared the couch with a fussy space hogging toddler, and Saturday night I got endless slumber on a king size bed of clouds. Fair trade I suppose. 

Also, my book review for The Atlas of Love has been published here. You should head over there and check it out. Luxury Reading is a really great website if you're into books, as I am.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

That's What Friends Are For

I am having a crazy busy but fun week. But wait, that could probably describe every week of my life. Because with 4 kids, how can life not be crazy busy and fun every single day?

I had coffee with a friend one day, which was fun because I got to talk to a grown up, but also because I got to chase Mathilda around Starbucks while half the people in there gave me dirty looks and the other half thought it was cute that she was running from me while looking over her shoulder and laughing at me. Another day I had lunch with a friend, which was fun because I got to eat a meal and talk to a grown up without any of my children present. I also had a fantastic hour and a half long walk and talk with yet another friend, which was fantastic until my hand and arm started going numb and then my chiropractor told me the next day I shouldn't do that anymore. I worked in Lucy's preschool class, which is always fun because I get to hang out with my kid and a whole bunch of other sweet preschoolers. I hosted a preschool board meeting at my house, which involved lots of cleaning and shuffling children around, but was also fun because I enjoy spending time with the preschool ladies. I went to parent teacher conferences for Bethany and Connor, which were both great. I read a good book, The Atlas of Love by Laurie Frankel, which I also wrote a review on that will soon be published on luxuryreading.com. Mathilda and I did some more shopping at Macy's, where I bought $138 worth of clothes for $23. For myself! Tomorrow night Chris and I are going out, just the two of us. Overnight!

Those are the highlights I can think of at the moment. Well there are lots of others too. Like rainy Wednesday, when Lucy walked outside and said, "boy this sure is a lovely day" without one ounce of sarcasm. And Mathilda falling asleep last night while I read to her and Lucy - a first! (the falling asleep part, not the reading part) Like getting an email from Connor's teacher letting me know that several of the grades on his report card were wrong - the real grades are better. Like Bethany and Connor making their own lunches Thursday morning, without being asked, even though it was a half day (they had forgotten, but they had lunches ready to eat when they got home from school). Like convincing Chris we should go to IKEA soon because I think we finally figured out where I can have a sewing area but we need some stuff to facilitate our plans (might not seem like a big deal, but IKEA is Chris's nemesis. seriously).

So back to that book, The Atlas of Love. I won't give away too much, but it's a story about friendship that has really had me thinking about friends this week. I am blessed to have some wonderful friends who are supportive and generous and fun and loyal. Making friends is not easy for me. It just isn't . I'm not an open book. I'm quiet, very quiet, around people I don't know well. Not everyone is patient enough to get to know me. It's hard for me to be comfortable enough to open up and let down my guard. I'm doing slightly better nowadays, but I missed out on lots of opportunity for friendship in college, which is when the book takes place. I don't think I made a single friend in college. Not one. So reading about college friends who made a commitment to raise a child together made me nostalgic for a time that never existed for me. Not that I didn't have any good times in college...I just never met anyone during that period of my life who would have happily and lovingly stepped up to help me raise my baby, had I become pregnant during that time, which of course I didn't. I didn't let anyone get to know me well enough to care enough about me to be willing to make sacrifices for me. I was on lock down for a long time, and I'm not sure why. Sometimes I feel like the lone introvert in a world of extroverts. Spending time with friends does makes life richer and fuller and generally more worthwhile all the way around. For awhile I kind of forgot that, but I'm glad I've remembered now. Maybe this is just a super long-winded way of saying I love my friends. Thank you for all the wonderful ways you complement my life.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

No Girls Allowed

Connor had some buddies over to celebrate his birthday on Friday evening, which was really great because typically he is just floundering in a sea of girls. I love that when he is with his friends his number one most commonly used word is dude, and when he is not with his friends he never ever says dude. I'm sure he enjoyed playing Mario Brothers with his friends way more than he enjoys playing it with his 4 year old sister, who is the most lazy video game player ever. I'm also pretty sure he was thrilled that the boys in the house were outnumbering the girls for once. Besides playing the Wii, the kids each made their own pizza, played Bey Blades and Lego Ninja-whatever-you-call-'ems, ate cake and ice cream, and that's about it. 

After Connor's last guest had left, Chris and I took all 4 kids to his mom's to spend the night. Which turned out to be a good thing since Chris woke me up at 3:30 in the morning to let me know our basement was flooding. And then I was up, like for the day. Fun night that was. Gotta love living in a flood zone. But we got lucky and moved everything that needed to be moved before anything got ruined, and got a plumber out pretty early Saturday morning to snake our line (damn tree roots + snow thaw + rain = bad news).  

The irony too was that after all the snow melted it snowed yet again Saturday. Hahahaha. Pay no attention to me as I use every ounce of self control available to my being to not lose my mind while I'm not very patiently waiting for Spring's arrival.  I am dreaming of a green backyard with no mud, flowers blooming all around, kids riding bikes, leaving the house without being bogged down in winter gear, ice-free sidewalks, turning off the furnace and opening the windows, cooking on the grill, and open-toe shoes. Soon...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Here's To You, Connor George

I clearly remember the day Connor was born, March 3, 2003. My doctor scheduled an induction 10 days early because I was contracting and dilating for weeks before my due date, yet never felt anything stronger than Braxton Hicks contractions. He was concerned about me maybe delivering in the backseat of my car or in some random public restroom if we waited any longer. When I arrived at the hospital at the appointed time, I was already 7 cm dilated (which I thought was crazy at the time, and it is pretty unusual, but I was also 7 cm dilated when I got to the hospital to be induced with both Lucy and Mathilda). Connor came into the world nice and easy, a foreshadowing of his mellow and sweet personality. My labor and delivery were quick; Connor was born less than 3 hours after I arrived at the hospital. Our camera would not work so Chris sprinted to the drug store adjacent to the hospital to get a disposable camera. It seemed to take forever for the nurse to clean him and for the doctor to stitch me up. I remember waiting impatiently to hold him. And he sat there so nicely with the nurse, drinking his little bottle with his tiny ankles crossed. 

Bethany was 18 months old when Connor was born, which blows my mind because she seemed so grown up to me already at that point, and she was younger than Mathilda is now. I love that she doesn't remember a time without Connor, that the two of them have been two peas in a pod for 8 years now. Countless times they have been mistaken for twins.

Connor let me hold him and cuddle him, a welcome change from his independent older sister, who only wanted to be put in her crib when she was ready to sleep and never wanted to be held once she became mobile. He was cautious from the start, never taking a step until he was sure he wouldn't fall. He didn't fuss much as a baby, and continues to this day to be pretty much about the most easy going kid you could meet. 

Like me, Connor is introverted and quiet. Like Chris, he has a crazy sense of humor. By the time he was 2, his parlor trick was naming just about every Star Wars character you could think of. For years he had a fake laugh that we asked him to do all the time, and a deep, distinct voice. During his preschool years, he proclaimed himself to be "out of kisses" for over a year, and then one day they were back in stock and that was the end of that. A thumb sucker since infancy, Connor let us know he would be done when he was 5 years old. He woke up on his fifth birthday and never sucked his thumb again. Connor is quirky, silly and smart, and gobbles up books just as I did at his age (and forever more...). He's imaginative (there was that comic book thing), yet he's a total realist and can't pass up an opportunity to remind Lucy that those princesses she loves aren't real. My son valiantly carries on in a world full of girls, which I imagine will bring him much happiness and popularity when he's in high school and his friends are all interested in his sisters and he's interested in his sisters' friends. Until then, however...he deals quite well with the inundation of Barbies, princesses, fashion shows and sparkly make-up.

I would love to include a nice photo montage here of Connor since birth, but since I haven't yet begun to work on that goal of mine to organize all of my photos, I only have readily available, at the moment, pictures from the last few years.

5th Birthday - 2008
Preschool Bike Day
Tongue Roller
Holding a big snake in Florida
6th Birthday
Holding Mathilda at the hospital
7th Birthday
We celebrated Connor's 8th birthday with a family dinner at home, hamburgers and fries - birthday boy's pick. I made a brownie cheesecake, which looked pretty and tasted good.

Happy, happy birthday Connor Patrick. You have been a wonderful joy in my life for the past 8 years. Thank you for the being the very best son I could ever imagine having.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

That Whole Mean Girl Thing

Having three daughters, drama is most definitely not a new concept to me. However, I am seeing the drama of pre-adolescent girls manifest itself in new and ugly ways lately. Bethany has some friends who take drama to a new level. Ugh. My sensitive girl is having a hard time dealing with hormonal friends who want to be besties one day and never want to speak to her again the next day for reasons she is finding it difficult to ascertain. Jealousy is rampant...ridiculous one-upping stories are being told, and punishments in the way of withholding friendship are being doled out for imaginary or grossly exaggerated offenses.

The entire fourth grade put together an endangered animals museum after school today to share with families. Each child had done a report on an endangered animal and created a model to display. Chris and I fought the crowd with three kids, one in a stroller, and found Bethany sitting at her station in tears. A friend with whom she had been having a jolly good time just a couple days ago was angry with her, and Bethany couldn't quite figure out why. So badly I wanted to approach the little girl and tell her to get her butt over to Bethany to apologize STAT. To ask her if it was making her feel good inside knowing that she was hurting her friend and making her cry. I walked right past her. It was hard not saying anything to her. Really hard. But I know I can't fight Bethany's battles for her. At least not this kind. I can only listen and advise and hope she chooses her friends wisely and treats them as she wants them to treat her. 

I remember similar incidents at that age...running to the girls' room in tears, confused and wondering what I did wrong to invoke the wrath of a mean girl who was also my good friend on better days. The thing I didn't know then was that maybe I didn't do anything. Maybe it had nothing to do with me. Maybe this girl was having feelings and emotions she couldn't understand and was taking it out on me. Maybe she had an urge to just be a bitch and didn't yet know how to get that urge under wraps. Maybe this girl who messed with Bethany today is actually a really good kid who just hasn't figured out yet how to deal with emotional highs and lows and bad moods that make you want to punch someone hard. Maybe she was ticked about something else and took it out on my daughter. Maybe Bethany did do something to tick her off.

Whatever the case, seeing my girl with tears running down her face and a look of heartbroken confusion makes me just want to hug her tight and put her in a protective bubble. I hate that she has to learn these lessons. I hate that she has to deal with people hurting her. But I hope that she learns enough from it to remember what it feels like so she takes special care not to make anyone else feel like she has been made to feel. I hope she learns how to be a better friend because of it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Skeptics: Take Note

Since my health scare last month, when I wound up in the ER, I've been seeing a chiropractor regularly. After studying x-rays of my spine, he concluded that there is a whole lot wrong with it, including some congenital abnormalities. He thinks it is entirely possible that all of my symptoms were caused by my problematic spine. I'm still going to follow up with an MRI and a neurologist as soon as I can, but in the meantime I'm being adjusted a lot. 

I don't know how he just feels along my spine and knows where to tap with his little thingamajig, but somehow he does and I have noticed a huge difference in how I feel. I'm pretty sure I had just gotten used to a new normal of stiff shoulders and a stiff neck, because I didn't even think much of it until the stiffness started to disappear almost immediately after my first adjustment. After nine adjustments, I'd say 5 out of 7 days the stiffness and pain I was used to experiencing almost constantly is 80-90% gone.The pretty severe headaches I was experiencing 2-3 times a week have dwindled down as well; I've had just 3 over the last 3 weeks, and for the most part they haven't been as bad. When my Aunt Rose (*wink*wink*) came for a visit recently, I didn't have my usual day of cramps/exhaustion/misery that I always have during that time. In fact, I felt great.  The numbness and lack of feeling in my right had I've been experiencing quite a bit since my first episode back in November have improved as well.

Are all of these positive things I'm noticing a result of chiropractic adjustments to my spine? I'm thinking yes, there is a good chance of that. I've been keeping a health log, for a couple reasons. I want to monitor any odd symptoms and how I'm feeling in general in case I do have another one of my episodes. And I also want to track my progress with the adjustments. It's not quite been a month since I've started and I'm anxious to see how the next few months go. I'm feeling blessed and optimistic, and a little less scared of another frightening occurrence.