Small Successes



Sherry Antonetti of Chocolate For Your Brain now hosts this meme at  and so I’m gonna try this week getting back on the ol’ success wagon so here goes nothing:

1. Tuesday I caught up with all the laundry and actually got a load of dishes in and out of the dishwasher.

2. I have all the tax paperwork organized…now that I am sure I am allowed to file, let the fun begin.

3. I have had a beautiful and fruitful discussion on faith with my neighbor/book club leader. I am so blessed God brought her into my life!

What successes do you have? Big or small, please share them!


Measured Disappointment

Today was awards day at Shelby’s school. Shelby got an award. The Gifted Gator award. It was a new award for her so I was kind of excited to see her get it.

Well, Will was whiny, I couldn’t get any pictures and 90% of the kids in kindergarten and first grade got the same award. It was disappointing because I had tried to find out more about the award beforehand and the school had nothing about it in the handbook, the website or anywhere. And to make matters worse, I feel bad about being disappointed. I’m happy Shelby got all Cs and Ss for her special classes and is doing satisfactorily, no doubt, but I don’t know it warranted ceremony. I’ve never been a huge fan of participation awards and that’s essentially what this award was. The kids who got citizenship awards…now they were individually recognized and had behaviors to back up why they got them. That deserved the pomp and circumstance. But, sadly, Shelby’s award really did not.

It wasn’t a total wash. Joey clapped enthusiastically for every child and I was really proud of him for that. Shelby’s behavior was stellar. I ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in literally five years. And when Shelby’s name was announced, her friend Lars, who is in her class, said “YEAH!” and started clapping. That touched my heart. Here was a child with autism cheering on one of his peers with autism. It was a total win for both of them, even if only his parents and I knew it.

Monday Shelby’s classroom teacher will give out more personalized awards for the kids during a smaller ceremony. This is much more our style. Shelby will be recognized for real accomplishments and it will be celebrated with people who know her and appreciate her.


So, today is better, right?

First off, the boys and I got out the door ON TIME this morning to get Joey to school. Huge progress, HUGE!!! This was after I made Shelby the ultimate breakfast of the last slice of garlic bread which she insisted was ALL her little tummy would accept. And it’s warm outside today. And sunny.

And guys, for real, I got three loads of laundry washed, dried, folded and put away. And dinner is in the crock pot cooking. And the dishwasher is running now. I’m on track with prayer. And this after the shenanigans of yesterday and then an acid reflux attack last night (totally my fault for not putting sugar in the sauce on the homemade meatball sub). And today I got a cat nap not because of tummy troubles but because I felt like I earned it.

I feel revived and productive. No, not everything I wanted to get done today did, but so much did that I know I really was in the right by taking it easy yesterday.

Only bummer today, I ran out of Mio yesterday. I’m still not digging plain water and the Mio really helped out a lot but it is so cost prohibitive…I know, first world problems.

Minor Mommy Annoyances

Last week Shelby had a GI virus. She doesn’t get them super often but since she is still in diapers, they are a rather big pain. As most readers know, Shelby was diagnosed with autism at age 2. She is now six and a half. And while changing her diapers (and sometimes having her “help” by attempting to change them herself) and trying to get her to sit on the potty and do SOMETHING is annoying, something else is even moreso. People’s “suggestions” that her problems are solely diet related and they KNOW the solution.

It’s annoying because we’ve investigated all of that. The majority of her GI issues are viruses. She goes to public school. She has to have assistance in washing her hands and sometimes she puts things that are not food in her mouth. Like a lot of kids. But because autism is in the lexicon when it comes to Shelby, immediately people who do not know us well, particularly other parents on the autism spectrum will pipe up with diet advice. She’s gluten-intolerant or allergic, no, it’s soy! No, it must be casein! Au contraire, we’ve eliminated, she still got sick and worse yet, she went on a hunger strike.

Right now gluten sensitivities are on the rise it appears in the general population. Or at least it appears that way. So even more people tend to be quick with their arm-chair diagnoses. The only time Shelby has ever had issues with food we’ve narrowed to two foods. Fast food french fries and corn/popcorn. Now corn is one of the alternatives to a gluten-free diet, so we’d be really in the hole if she was gluten-intolerant. But it’s not a vegetable, it’s non-soluble fiber, so she maybe has a sensitivity to that. The french fries seems to just be a fast food thing because fries at home have no affect on her and it happens with fries from all fast food places.

And Shelby doesn’t have diarrhea more than an average kid does (I live with two, so I should know) and it typically coincides with a virus going through her classroom or the boys having one. I know people mean well, but we’ve lived in “autism-land” for four and a half years now, so, yeah. We kinda know our kid and her habits. And I realize that plenty of people both off and on the autism spectrum have benefited from eliminating these things from their diets, but that means nothing for anyone else necessarily, truly it does not.

In the grand scheme of things, this is a pretty minor annoyance I live with but I feel like it’s one that people should be aware of because no one likes receiving parenting advice and that’s kind of what this boils down to. And for an issue that I’m not really “battling” all the time.

And so it goes…

Mommy-guilt. Today I was lying in bed most of the morning because of the latest heat-guided missile event in my intestines in the last five days. I only feel relief while lying down. They are random, uncomfortable and mostly annoying. We can’t find a trigger, I think it’s just a weird virus as my kids have all recently had lower GI viruses. The other most likely scenario is that it is hormonal, because it’s not unheard of in my storied history.

Whenever I have to spend time in bed like that, it makes me feel worse because every second in bed is one where I’m not cleaning or playing with someone. Only Will is home today, and he was more than happy to watch a video and play with cars and trains. He loves making up scenarios. Thankfully, dinner tonight is leftovers and I did feed him lunch. Still, it’s annoying, I realize I do need to take care of myself and that while some pushing through the pain is okay, completely ignoring my body is a mistake too.

Boy did I ever learn that this past Christmas. Waking up Christmas Eve with the muscles in my upper back and neck spasming was an ugly wake-up call. I couldn’t drive myself to mass (Jeff offered to take me, but I was scared of them getting worse while at mass and not being able to get myself out the door and then there was the issue of a couple of our kids having sniffles and illness likes to snowball here).  I was pretty much useless to clean, cook or do anything. It was supposed to be Jeff’s vacation, but being the awesome father and husband he is, he jumped right in. He even gave me a get out of jail free card for his family’s Christmas gathering Christmas Day, but I made it. I’d had building tension that I ignored, no pain, no gain, Kristen! It’s Christmas, no time to rest!

But I felt awful, we didn’t make the gingerbread Spongebob Pineapple I promised. (It’s still here, waiting to be opened.) We didn’t get any cookies made and poor Jeff in taking care of me, forgot to buy potatoes to bring to his family’s dinner. (Christmas Day he got instant ones from Walgreens and doctored them so well, no one was the wiser.) Yes, that was totally my fault. If I had gotten a bit more rest, if I had stretched my body a little more, if I had neglected Jeff’s presents a little and paid to go to urgent care, if I had LISTENED to my body and slowed my stubborn butt down, none of that would have happened.

I try not to think of these days as a wash when I force myself to lie down for a couple of hours. But I can’t stop thinking of breakfast dishes in the sink, a little boy playing by himself (he will often snuggle me if I’m really not feeling well), and the thousands of other things I’m ‘neglecting.’ I wonder, did Mary or Elizabeth or Hannah or any of the Biblical mothers ever go through this? This mommy guilt? What about St Anne? Or Sarah? Or Rebekah? Or Leah and Rachel? Or is this a guilt trip found only to us mom in the 20th and 21st centuries?

Jennifer Fulwiler’s post about when she finally got the diagnosis of the pulmonary embolisms helped her to let go of some of that guilt resonated deeply with me. Both because I have been guilty of the degree of laziness she describes and because of the enormous weight I attach to moments when I can’t be productive. My mother has often told me that every generation of moms has different pressures, different distractions, and different expectations that makes life difficult. I am beginning to realize how true that is, and I am trying to cut myself some slack, really I am. It’s difficult, but no one said this whole mothering thing wasn’t going to be.

Seven Things I found on the Internet and need to share (code: my life has been told in posts already this week…so….)

— 1 —

This story is over at People  Magazine. People Magazine! Amazing stories like these of parents who chose life are getting picked up by msm…so celebrate!

— 2 —

Today is the feast of the Conversion of St Paul, read Jimmy Akin’s post on things to know about St Paul.

— 3 —

At a Rosey Outlook on Life, Violinmama shares the beautiful pro-life art her young daughter created.

— 4 —

Is Michael Bloomberg’s ban on Big Gulps ridiculous, perhaps, however, this right here, is bat-shit-crazy.

— 5 —

If you are not a reader of Mary Tyler Mom, you should be. This piece is tear-jerking and beautiful.

— 6 —

Ann Voskamp gives us a wonderful survival plan.

— 7 —

Finally, Katy of I Want a Dumpster Baby celebrates her twins and sobriety.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!