Friday, October 31, 2014

Netflix, Cakes, and Birthdays

*As a reminder, I am part of the Netflix Streamteam. I am being compensated for sharing with you, but as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

On Tuesday, my oldest baby turned 15.

Okay, so she's not a baby anymore. But, I still remember when she was so very tiny. 

Her birth day
When I was pregnant with her, and I found out her due date was at the end of October, I was determined that this baby would NOT come on Halloween. 

You see, my family owns and runs a pumpkin farm. So, we do a lot of Halloween stuff. We think about it long before October arrives and those who work there are cleaning up from it after October 31. 

Halloween when she was 5

I'm not sure why, but because of all of this, I did not want my first born to arrive on Halloween.

Thankfully, she cooperated and came on October 28. 

Now, at 15, she is so upset that she didn't wait to be born until Halloween. She thinks nothing would be better than a Halloween birthday! She loves Halloween.

Another cake I made her
This extends to her movie/tv selections. She likes horror films, scary tv shows, and all sorts of things I do not like (because I am a big baby and this stuff scares the living day lights out of me!). She recently watched American Horror Story (the first two season) through Netflix. I stayed on a separate floor of the house and watched more uplifting shows like Criminal Minds. Well, okay, maybe not more uplifting, but less scary and less gory and more crime show (which I love). 

(Side note: So thank goodness, Netflix allows us to stream on two devices at once, so we can both get our fix!) 

But, one thing we can all sit down to watch is Nightmare Before Christmas. Now, my 15 year old LOVES Nightmare (Before Christmas). And Jack. And Sally. And it's a show we can all watch together! 

Her cake this year
It seems that Nightmare is especially popular now. Or maybe it's always been and I just didn't notice. So with her upcoming birthday, and knowing that Nightmare has streamed on Netflix more times this month than I can count, I knew her birthday would have a heavy Nightmare presence. 

And then she asked for a Nightmare cake. Well, actually, she e-mailed me links to these gorgeous, fabulous, and very professional cake pictures she found with subjects like "Can you make this?" "Or this one" "Oh, I bet you can make this for me."

Um. I like to bake. I can bake a cake. I can frost it simply. I am not a cake boss or the next great American baker or even a cake decorator. But I dove in head first and gave it my best effort. Because she is, after all, my baby

So I set out and had an amazing awesome cake in my head, that I pulled some parts out of some of the pictures she sent me. 

My gorgeous 15 year old!
Naturally, the cake didn't turn out how I pictured it. But it turned out. And I think I did an okay job. And she liked it - since it is her day, that is all that counts in my book! 

I'll spare you all my weepy thoughts about my baby growing up, but I will say, she's turning into a pretty amazing woman, despite all the horror movies she watches ;-) 

And, I've been warned that Nightmare Before Christmas will be watched many more times between now and Christmas. Which is fine by me! 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Perfect Moment

"Mom," he called to me as I was standing on the bridge taking his picture, "You have to come down here! It's beautiful. Quick! Come!"

An elderly couple holding hands was passing by us. The man looked at me "Mom, he's not lying. It is very pretty down there. You should go look. Have a good day!"

So I walked down and I saw a great waterfall that wasn't visible from the bridge (though it was audible). And I saw a beautiful little creek going down the path.

But mostly I saw a boy, who was clearly in love with nature. We stayed in this spot for about 20 minutes. He splashed the water with sticks, wondered if he could jump onto rocks, and watched leaves and sticks travel down the water to see if they would go to the right or the left. It was a glorious.

It is a small moment of our day. But it is a good moment.

Without going in to too much detail, mister man is struggling with some areas of responsibility and I am struggling to parent him these days. There is often not enough laughter. There is me getting frustrated, mad, confused. There is him getting frustrated, mad, confused.

He is an eight year old boy. The world is so big and there is still so much he doesn't know. And even more stuff he doesn't know he doesn't know.

He's not a bad kid - on the contrary, he's a great kid. He has a good heart. He cuddles with me still. He shares his stuffed animals with me so I have something to sleep with at night.

But he can be wild, active, bouncy, he doesn't always listen and he doesn't always do what he's supposed to.

He's only eight. And yet, he's eight years old! We've joked that he tends to act about five.


That's important.

He was five when I was diagnosed with cancer. Just five years old. Old enough to know something was up. Old enough to be scared when I was sick. Old enough to know I was at the hospital. Old enough to know that people were worried about me. Old enough to worry about me himself.

And yet, so young. Too young to fully understand it. Too young to have to deal with all that crap. Too young to have so much time with a mom who was sick and wasn't always capable of doing what she should have done in that moment.

It didn't dawn on me until the spring the connection between things. I didn't get it.

Now I do. And my heart breaks. My heart breaks for him ... this boy who I feel confident will grow up to be a great man, and yet, we have such moments of struggle.

As I've said before, I feel I'm supposed to tell you that cancer was a gift! And my kids came out the other side better than ever! And it's awesome! And great! In some ways, they have come out better - they have empathy, sympathy, they understand that bad things can happen in the blink of an eye. But, even with that, it's still tough. It was hard on all of us, and that includes my children. 

So I've been trying to do better, to parent him better, to help guide him. I try to get him outside more. I've reversed tactics and have given him more responsibility. Initially I thought well if he can't do what we're asking for, ask for less. But no, he doesn't need lower standards, he needs higher ones. New rules are in place. New rewards are in place.

He's been spending time in the kitchen with us. He comes alive in there. He wants to help, he wants to do well!

And we had this moment, out at a local forest preserve last weekend. And it was glorious. Truly, truly glorious. I spend a lot of times these days thinking about all the things I've done wrong for my kids (some things I have no control over, some I do). I know it hasn't been all wrong. But this moment at the waterfall, was perfection. It was a perfect moment. I will hold on to it in my heart.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Oh, hi

So, um, hello.

How is everyone?

It's been a while since I've been around.

The end of September and October have been crazy months. Lots of ups and downs. And busy. I can't even tell you how many doctor office's I've been in - between myself, the kids and granny.

The husband is working two jobs - his normal and one seasonal (at a pumpkin farm! In the haunted house! He is literally a monster this month!)

And me? Well, I've just been trying to get through it all.

October is kind of a weird month for me. Because there is pink everywhere. And well meaning people want to talk about breast cancer. And friends want to share links with me of October campaigns done right, and some done horribly wrong. This month? I just want to avoid it all. I want October to be the month of Halloween and fall and baking apples and seeing the leaves change colors! Not the month of boobs and cancer and pink and all the crap about how I'm such a survivor because I fought hard and ra-ra-ra-sis-boom-ba-breast-cancer-is-awesome! (No, no one actually believes that, but sometimes, I'm not going to lie, I really wonder if maybe some people actually do think that).

It's been a month of ups and downs. One kid had to go to a specialist. I thought I would die taking him as it was a hematologist/oncologist and, well, I had a lot of baggage to carry into that appointment. But the doctor feels that everything is okay and that we should just go home, relax, and carry on with life as normal.

Which is funny because I still have no clue what normal is. Things change a lot around here.

I have one child in school. As in she gets up every day, gets on a bus, goes to school, comes home and does homework. I always knew she'd go to school for high school, but it's here now, and I miss her. Okay, most days I miss her being home all day. It's different and it's new and she is adjusting so well, but there were some bumps along the way. It's to be expected. School is different than what we did here. But it's also good.

I went in to see a hematologist, who while was a very kind doctor, couldn't offer really any more information than my oncologist in regards to my low iron. So I decided to bite the bullet and start working with an allergist to desensitize me to iron. Except I called a couple and they said they couldn't do that. So. I'm back to where I was before and kind of feeling really annoyed with it all.

And then there is everything involved with helping granny. I haven't talked about it much here - it's awkward because I never know what to say really because I don't want to share her stories here. But the gist is, when we sold our house, it was to move in with her and help her out. There is more to helping her than I was expecting. And she has her own fair share of doctors appointments. So I'm trying to juggle everyone's schedules. A few weeks ago she fell twice in a week and broke at least one rib (though I really think two, except we never x-rayed the other side because lungs sounded okay and there isn't much they can do for that anyway). She's healing, but she wasn't feeling well for a while. And I slept on the couch to be close in case she needed something. All things out of our control. And granny is one of the sweetest people ever and constantly thanking me (even though it's not necessary), so it's not hard to help her. But it is sometimes because it's another thing to juggle. (But mostly it's not).

Basically, October has been a month where I've pretty much managed to do only what needed to be done.

Plus some knitting. Because it is cheaper than therapy. I've been taking pictures of things, but now I have to just actually post them! Soon ... at least, I won't let another almost month go by before I share them!