Shoes. I’ve been in love with shoes since I’m 17 years old. I learned early on what a great looking pair of shoes could do to any outfit. They can elevate a simple dress or common jeans and tee. A crappy looking pair can take down the most expensive, elegant clothing one can possibly own. I’m constantly checking out people’s shoes. The style, whether they “go” with certain clothing and let’s not forget the fit. Tis the season for sandals and flip flops and it never ceases to amaze me how many women will walk around wearing open toe shoes/sandals/heels that are obviously a size too small. I’m taking toes and foot hanging over the side. Toes touching the ground. It’s especially disturbing in Manhattan I mean New York is one of the fashion capitals of the world…
Years ago I wouldn’t go to work unless I was wearing heels. I used to work in an auto parts store and I loved dressing for work. It wasn’t strange to be a woman working there, my boss felt men/customers behaved better if there was a woman present. That there would be less cursing and off color remarks. I guess he was right I never felt disrespected when I worked there. Although my co-workers and I shared many politically incorrect jokes and remarks to each other. We wouldn’t get away with it today.
I even wore heels when I worked at the allergist’s office giving allergy shots. I was known for my shoes and I loved it. I wasn’t on my feet for the whole time I would be up and down sitting so wearing heels was doable.
Today going to work I’ll only wear flats. I see plenty of women going to work in Manhattan wearing heels and I admire them. I don’t see myself running for the boat or subway in heels. The need for comfort has taken over… When I see my almost 18 year old daughter going out and wearing heels I admire her so much. I love her style. She reminds me of me at that age when you never felt the pain of the high heels. You chose beauty over comfort.
I do have some heels left in my vast shoe collection, they just don’t see the light of day that often. Maybe that will change; maybe not.
I’m the heaviest right now than I’ve ever been in my life aside from being pregnant. I loathe it; seriously. I tried Weight Watchers and managed to lose 10 pounds but then fell off the wagon around Easter and I’ve had a very difficult time going back to counting points and wondering if I was over my point allowance, did I use up all my “extra” points for the week? I was inspired to try Weight Watchers from my cousin Toni who was and still is doing great on the program. I’m back to being inspired by her and back to following the program. Hopefully I’ll keep it up and lose more weight. I’ve always been on the thin side. I know smoking did help with keeping my weight in check. I’m not advocating smoking cigarettes as a weight loss aide but whether it be the nicotine or any of the other (God knows how many) chemicals in cigarettes there’s something there that keeps your appetite from being out of control.
My husband is wonderful and has never mentioned my weight gain, he tells me not to worry. I think he’s concerned that I may stop taking the anti depressant that caused the weight gain. I won’t do that, it took me long enough to find the right combo of meds to make me not be depressed. I would not want to start over again. If I have to choose being happy and overweight/thin and depressed I’ll chose happy and overweight. I can’t tell you what it took to admit that and even type it out. I really don’t enjoy shopping for clothes anymore. Don’t get me wrong I still do my thrift shopping gig but I get a bigger kick out of shoes and bags more than ever before. There’s no judgement or “fit” for shoes and bags. The right shoe or bag can elevate anything you’re wearing and just make you feel fabulous.
I’ve also ventured into the love of watches. Don’t ask I don’t know where that one came from. I’m thinking much like shoes and bags; with wearing a watch it really doesn’t matter what size you are. Finding watches while thrifting is not easy, there are people who thrift or yard sale shop specifically for watches. I’ve managed to find a couple of nice ones but nothing much to write home about.
So here’s to being back on Weight Watchers and keeping track of points and staying within the lines of their rules.
This past Sunday I attended the church my sister belongs to. It’s an Episcopalian church much like the one we grew up in. The building was absolutely gorgeous with beautiful stone and wood structure and the most amazing stained glass windows especially those at the altar. The altar itself was lovely. I really enjoyed the priest, he wasn’t so serious he that he would be unapproachable, yet serious enough that you knew he meant what he said especially during his sermon.
I couldn’t help but compare “my” church to this one. We don’t have a fancy altar nor do we have stained glass windows. I wouldn’t even say we have a traditional altar per se, it’s more of a stage where the musicians and singers are set up and the Pastor speaks. High on the end wall hangs a simple cross. When I first started attending my church I was taken aback by all the musicians and singers on the “altar”. But I quickly got over it once the music and singing started. We sing contemporary Christian songs with older hymns thrown in here and there such as “That Rugged Cross” and “Amazing Grace” there are more (I am a friend of God) but I’m not so familiar with them to name them so quickly. I love our music worship time. To sing and worship our Lord in language that comes so easily to the tongue…it’s something that is wonderful and heartfelt.
The Episcopalian church has a formality to it. Stand, sing, sit, kneel, stand, sing again, sit, communion, etc…I’m sure there’s a particular order I’m just not used to it anymore. In my church we stand to sing and worship the Lord, we also stand in respect to reading a passage of the bible. It’s usually the passage the Pastor is going to preach on. Then we sit and our Pastor will preach for about 45 minutes to an hour, I’m guesstimating that time frame, I’ve never officially timed our Pastor. I really enjoy listening to and taking notes on our Pastor’s sermon. I like to go back and read what I’ve written and reminisce on the sermon and how it made me feel and how close to the Lord I felt. How much I felt in my heart that the Lord was speaking to me.
It was interesting to go back and attend an Episcopal church after attending my church for the past 8 years. I do prefer my church and our style of worship. To me it seems more heartfelt. I remember I tried to return to the Episcopal church I grew up in. But I left feeling empty, spiritually unfed. And they offered nothing for my children, barely a Sunday school and no youth groups or activities. My church has “kids church” every Sunday that my 9 year old attends and youth groups for middle and high schools. I love it. My older girls attended youth group and grew so much in their walk with the Lord because of those groups and their leaders.
I’m not bashing the Episcopal church I simply can’t help but compare what I have now to other worship styles. Especially after attending service so recently. I realize every church has their own style and customs, some dating back years and years. This post is not to disrespect any church that does things differently than mine does.
My Alyssa is graduating high school today. Today. She’s thisclose to turning 18 years old. I don’t wonder where the time went I was there I know how fast it all flew by. It wasn’t always flying by so fast there were days of excruciating slowness but I don’t remember them in detail so much. Much like labor pains those memories fade.
Alyssa is much like an oldest child rather than 2nd born. She was our first girl and our first typical child. I remember her as an infant (such a pretty baby even as a newborn), then toddler. In Pre-K she was the pretty little girl with long curls who clung to her mother’s leg and cried and cried. Grammar school graduation was sweet, Junior high grad was even sweeter. High school years that went so fast I stand in amazement at the woman she’s become in the past 4 years.
I feel incredibly blessed this morning. Blessed that my God has given me the privilege to raise this baby He gifted me with. I sit here holding back proud tears and remember all the times she’s made me proud, all the times she gave me the honor of being her mother. Even the times she made me want to rip my hair out. In gifting her to me, God gave me the opportunity to parent a very typical, very beautiful, very unique child.
While raising Thomas I often referred to the poem “Welcome to Holland” by Emily Pearl Kingsly: (http://www.our-kids.org/archives/Holland.html). There were too many times to mention that I mourned the fact that I didn’t sign up to be a special needs mom. That no, I did NOT want to be in Holland. Alyssa gave me the opportunity to visit “Italy”; the typical world, the world I thought I signed up for when I first became a mother. And for that I can never thank her enough. I don’t even know if she’d understand why I would be thanking her.
So I wish my girl all the best this world has to offer. She loves God and she loves me. What more could I ask for?
I haven’t been to church in about 4 weeks. And I won’t be able to attend my church this Sunday due to a family obligation. I miss my church. I miss hearing the preaching of the Gospel. It’s funny because years ago I never gave it a second thought that I didn’t go to church. I used to look at people sideways who made church a priority in their lives. Now I am one of “those” people.
I’ve been enjoying the small group I’m co-leading. Although I have to admit the way the bible study book we’ve been using “Unlocking the Treasure: A Bible Study for Moms Entrusted With Special Needs Children” by Bev Rooseboom, sometimes brings me back to a time in my life with Thomas that wasn’t all that rosy. When I was looked at like there was something wrong with me and not him. Not that I wanted anything wrong with Thomas I just wanted someone to see what I saw and get him and us the help we so desperately needed. The book also makes me realize just how loved I am by God and how awesome that love is.
The women in the group have truly blessed me with their presence and experiences. We have one woman who attends accompanied by her neighbor. The neighbor is an active member of my church. She doesn’t have a special needs child but her perspective of the Lord and surrendering to Him and trusting Him is something that I thoroughly enjoy. We are blessed to have her attend the study even though she doesn’t have experience with special needs children, she has valuable experience walking with the Lord and we’re fortunate that she loves to share that part of her life with us and she does so with such joy that it’s infectious. Everyone should have a “Jan” in their life or at least in their bible study group.
Missing church makes me realize how grounded I feel when I’m there. How I’m reminded of what my Savior has done for me and every sinner in the world. How good our God is, how perfect and just He is. How He is a part of every single moment in our lives. And there isn’t anything that happens, “good” or “bad” without His finger prints all over it. I remember when I was going though a bad time depression wise and a woman I consider my Mentor put her hand on my shoulder and said she sees God’s fingerprints all over me. I can’t tell you the comfort that statement gave me. I wasn’t in control at that time but God was. He was there every step of the way even when I convinced myself he wasn’t. God is so good.
We’re still awaiting placement to the group home. The next step is for the agency who owns the group home to screen Thomas to ensure he is a good match with the residents already living there. We’re also waiting for the room to become available for Thomas. There’s been a holdup or two with the young man who is moving out of the group home. But this is all okay. I’m seriously in no rush for Thomas to leave his current living situation. The residential school he has called home for the past 4 years had been truly a Godsend. When we consented for Thomas to attend this school, to live there; this new school had some mighty big shoes to fill as I adored the school Thomas attended when he lived at home. Now the rolls are reversed. Thomas will most likely attend that same school again when he moves here and they now have to meet the standards of the present school.
I’m really going to miss his staff at the residential school. They have all been wonderful. They do not have easy jobs, being caregivers to special needs children, adolescents and young adults like my son. The patience required for that job is incredible. There is one man that my son has grown to love and his name is Danny. Danny is so very caring and patient. He’s usually the one who helps Thomas call home and supervised the evening routines. Thomas has never expressed that he was mistreated in the least. If anything it was Thomas who mistreated the staff/Danny by giving them/him a difficult time taking a shower or cursing at them/him. My son may be speech impaired but wouldn’t you know the curse words come out crystal clear.
I’m really going to miss Thomas’ social worker. Dawn has gone above and beyond her “duties.” She has taken the time and energy to truly know Thomas and our family. She and the other social workers truly know these kids they are entrusted with. And it shows when you see them all together at say the prom or other gathering. The staff get fully involved with the kids.
So after all that praise I’m in no hurry for Thomas to move, yet. I am looking forward to him living closer to us. I keep envisioning just popping over to see him and say hi. Or Tommy getting Thomas on a Sunday morning and him spending the day with us without the underlying stress of knowing one of us is driving him back. It seems like a double edged sword I want him to soak up all he can from the school he’s at now yet I can’t wait for him to be closer to us and be a more “complete” family unit.
Yep, it’s that time again…bathing suit season ~~shudder~~. I decided to hit TJ Maxx for their selection and low prices. And believe it or not their dressing rooms were not set up for failure like most major department stores. Last year I went to Macy’s and the lighting in their dressing rooms seemed to emphasize every wrinkle, flaw, cellulite you name it. TJ Maxx on the other hand had bright enough lighting but not the glaring fluorescence that will highlight every flaw you already know you have and don’t need the extra reminder.
I ended up with your basic one piece suit, black and white. Its nice and fit well. Last year’s dilemma over wearing a bikini is no longer a dilemma due to the lovely weight gain I’ve experienced due to much needed medication. I’m not okay or happy with the weight gain but I’m not letting it rule my life as it had in the past. I’m not going to rock the boat and change medication that is already working well in the hopes that I will lose weight. I’d rather be this weight and mentally healthy than skinny and depressed.
Alyssa came home with her yearbook from high school. It was nice to go through it with her and see all the pictures of her and her friends. It brought the reality of her graduating all the more to the fore front. Today she showed me all the nice and wonderful things her friends wrote. It was sweet to read. Especially when the writer was someone she’d known since grammar school. I wrote to her as well. It was easy to write to her, the words just flowed from my heart to the page. Then…I got choked up. Especially when I wrote how God has blessed me with her and now I must let her go to have even more experiences. I’m so proud of Alyssa. She made me grow as a mother while I watched her grow into this amazing young woman. And I have the privilege of watching my younger 2 daughters grow in the same manner.
I’m still amazed at how fast the past almost 18 years have flown by. It does seem like yesterday that I was this young overwhelmed mother of (then) 2 children. I used to put Thomas and Alyssa in the double bus like stroller and walk the neighborhood with them. We were regulars at the Italian deli a few blocks over. Things were much simpler then but to be honest I wouldn’t go back even if I could. Once around that merry go round was enough. I enjoy my Alyssa these days, don’t get me wrong she can exasperate me like no other and she still leaves her stuff all around the house and she doesn’t empty the dishwasher… but I do enjoy her company. She is thoughtful and sweet and most important she talks to me. I pray for her future and that she will enjoy the brightness of it.
So my Alyssa will be graduating high school next week. Incredible… because as most parents we still remember her when she was a much younger child and the silly, funny things she would do. I’m amazed at how fast time flies by and even more amazed at how not so fast the minutes and hours and days go when waiting for things to happen. Like waiting on the IRS to send us information pertinent to Alyssa receiving her financial aid packet. The time has flown now that we are a week from graduation but time seems to have stood still in regard to the IRS getting our information to us.
The milestones for Alyssa have been nothing less than remarkable. She was stunning at her prom, as were her friends. All the makeup and hair up do’s were simply gorgeous on all of them. Although at that age all the girls could have worn a paper sack dress and still have been beyond beautiful. They went to the beach for the weekend after the prom and from what I can tell it was pretty uneventful. For that I’m so, so thankful.
This past Friday at our church high school youth group meeting they had a special event honoring the graduating seniors. It was great, the youth leader set things up as if he were interviewing each senior on the Tonight Show. Asking them what impacted them the most about youth group, what had their parents taught them that stood out the most, etc… It was really nice and some of them were so funny telling stories that made us all laugh out loud. Afterwards all the seniors were prayed over, it was so moving.
As for the group home placement and Thomas, I guess no news is good news. Tommy and I met with the agency’s nurse and psychologist last week and we liked them both. I’m thinking the last thing for the agency to do is screen Thomas to ensure he is appropriate for their group home. Its the hurry up and wait issue that bugs me. I’m not a good “waiter” for lack of a better word. At the meeting we discussed Thomas returning to the former school he attended before he went to residential. He would stay there a year until he turned 21 and then attend a day/vocational program. I’m thrilled with that plan as Thomas could then “graduate” from that school. Of course a CSE (committee on special education) meeting would have to be held to change Thomas’ placement and I doubt the board of ed will deny moving my son from expensive residential school to less expensive public day school. I just want all the pieces to fall into place…now. But I know things will happen in God’s time and his time is always perfect.
Spike was 14 years old this May. His health hadn’t been the greatest but we just adapted to his needs. For the past 3 years Spike had been receiving insulin shots to control his diabetes. My poodle’s official diagnosis’ were diabetes, COPD and a collapsed trachea. Giving him his insulin twice a day was something both Spike and I were accustomed to. He wasn’t as active as he had been and often slept most of the day. He was also deaf and had cataracts that we weren’t sure how much he could actually see. But we grew accustomed to how Spike was and honestly all and all he was fine. Until last Wednesday night.
After I let him outside for the final time of the night Spike came in and started walking cross legged and into the wall. After a while he then started having seizures. It was terrible we didn’t know what to do for Spike. We found out which 24 hour veterinary ER to bring him to and off we went at 10:30 pm. Upon arrival the tech whisked Spike away to an exam room leaving Tommy and I to fill out paperwork and just wait for an update. Eventually the vet came to talk to us and let us know in addition to what we already knew about Spike she found other things wrong with him. And that his blood sugar was very low which likely caused the seizures. They were giving him IV glucose to bring his blood sugar back to a normal level. We were told they wanted to keep him overnight to the tune of $1200.00. Tommy and I were speechless, that wasn’t an amount of money we were looking to spend at that moment. We decided to just take Spike home and then to our vet the next day. It was then the doctor started taking treatments off the bill, lowering it to a little less than half of the first estimate. Interesting… The doctor left us alone to make a decision, when she returned she informed us that even with the IV glucose, Spike’s blood sugar level was still dropping. I said that there has to be more wrong with him than initially thought and the doctor agreed with me. She then asked if we had considered letting Spike go.
Tommy and I talked it over and decided that letting Spike go was the best decision for him. It was if his body was just shutting down and had had enough. I stayed with Spike, stroking his fur and hugging him and crying while the doctor administered the medications that allowed Spike to move from our world to the next. We miss him. We have another dog named Riley that is a mix of golden lab/golden retriever. Spike, even though he was a much smaller dog; was the alpha dog between the two. For the first couple of days Riley didn’t see to know what to do with herself. Lelly took Spike’s passing pretty bad she was crying the morning when we told her. I’m supposed to give the extra vial of insulin and syringes to our local vet, but I’m not ready. There are times I’m just sad, sad that our family member of the past 14 years isn’t here anymore. He was such a good dog. Never barked for no reason, didn’t beg at the table. We could let him out to the front yard while we sat on the front patio and Spike wouldn’t go any further than our next door neighbor’s house. He wouldn’t run away, just pee on the tree in front of our house and then come sit on the patio with us.
There will never be another Spike, and that’s ok