Monday, September 24, 2012

Super Busy Post of Brain Sludge

We have been uber busy this past few weeks. I am just listing these as they spill out of my head for my own memories. Feel free to skip this one. lol

1. School. Prepping for school this year was a little different than in years past. Cristian was going to be in Pre-K. The first year of 'real' school...
Let's rewind. For the last 3 and a half years Cristian has attended a Montessori school and a Christian school. The Montessori was our fave, fave, fave...but after moving away from Helotes it just wasn't an option. The Christian school was great until June. When they moved the kids up to spend the summer with their Pre-K teacher...who then spent weeks just babysitting them. I was not impressed with this 'summer schedule' and the lack of any real teaching or schedule. Cristian did not adjust and started regressing and showing signs of anxiety. But, being the good helicopter mom that I am (I totally wear that title proudly), I stepped right in. After speaking to the administration and getting the old 'it takes all kids awhile to adjust' and 'she is just a free-spirit'; I pulled him. Our new church had a school (Pre-K through 12) and it is basically next door to our house. After meeting the director and taking a tour I knew it was the right place. He had one week between old school and new school, so Dru came and stayed for the week so I could go into work. It was perfect.
So...since his new school provided supplies, I only had to shop for a new backpack and lunch accessories. Cristian would be taking his lunch and snacks for the first time, so I needed a few different sized containers. I also had to buy a new nap mat and make a cover and blanket.
Academy was out place for a backpack. Once we arrived and I saw the wall of Barbie and Avengers I thought we might be in trouble. But, my sweetie settled on an Austin clothing company $6.99 special. I threw in the Avengers spiral and pencils as a compromise. I do not buy character clothing, backpacks, shoes etc. so I try to compromise when possible. He actually has one Cars outfit that he got as a gift and I let him wear it for bed. Sorry, I'm just not a fan.
So, I got everything ready and even made his two teachers a little first day gift. He was so excited on his first day. Carlos came to the house and we took him to school together. He was thrilled. I got pictures. They are on Facebook. I will need to download them to this computer and update this post.

2. Church. Like I said, we are in process of joining an amazing church. I have attended (mostly) Methodist churches my whole life and I love the traditional services. However, our new place is not traditional and I even surprised myself that I love it so much. Music is my thing. I have always loved to sing even though I am not necessarily good at it. I sing all the time and Cristian doesn't seem to mind that I'm no Whitney Houston. He sings right along with me. All those years with the traditional hymns were nice...but...the contemporary songs I hear every Sunday now are exactly what I have been missing all these years. The worship is mostly music and it is perfect for me. I never knew I could really tap into my faith like I do now. I have always had a strong relationship with God. I have been a believer for so long and I have never felt disconnected from my faith. But worship has never been moving to me. Always just a comfort in the tradition. There is just something that I have found in that building. Something between the music and the people. The Holy Spirit just comes alive there and prepares me for battle...the battle of Monday through Saturday. Oh, and smooched between the amazing music is the message. Pastor Sean is amazing...he relates the Word to life..current life. I always feel like he is talking right to me as each message seems to be just what I need to hear that week. We missed service this week and I am really missing the refuel and it is only Tuesday. I need to get more involved. There is a class I need to take (when they offer it again) so we can join officially. I am also planning to join a small group soon and start meeting people. I am hesitant because I don't want to ruin it. You know, us humans, always messing stuff up with our sinning and cliquish behavior.

3. Life after death. This past week I attended two funerals. On Monday, I drove to this very tiny town to attend Mandy's father-in-law's funeral. I never met George's dad, but I love me some George, so it was important that I pay my respects. George is exactly who I would have picked for Mandy...probably because he is the male version of me in many ways (ha!)...but really because he loves her and her children. And they all love him. He is the sweetest guy with a heart of gold. And he is a straight shooter...which I can really appreciate. In addition, George has a sweetheart for a mom and a hilarious brother who fits right in with our clan...too bad he lives in Yankee territory. Lol! So after the service and the reception, I took the girl and angst-filled boy with me for the long ride home. I left chatty Cathy with Mandy. Ha! We had a nice drive to get Cristian and then on to Mandy's house for dinner. I've always loved Mandy's kids...I think of them as my family...but spending time with them as teenagers has been such a delight. I helped Mandy and George move this summer and was able to spend several weekends with them. Having conversations with teenagers is actually really fun. Their opinions and viewpoints are enlightening and highlight their excellent upbringing. I know I haven't been involved with them on a day to day basis in several years...but I was around allot during their early years, so I guess I can take a lot of credit for how great they are now. Ha! I'm kidding...sort of. Actually, I had to tell Mandy later that night what a great job she has done with them. They are really cool kids. I'm sure they would hate knowing that I said that. But, I don't care...they are really awesome. So after dinner at Mandy's, Cristian and I came home...much to his dismay as he wants to stay at Mandy's for ever...she lives in the country and they have a train track across the field. Need I say more? He loves the place!
We had got word on Sunday that my Uncle Steve's mom had died. It was such a shocker. She was only in her later 60's and it was sudden. Mom and I just loved Kathy and we really wanted to attend the service. So, Tuesday afternoon we packed up and headed East. Cristian was able to stay at his dad's and not miss school, so I was happy that worked out as it did. Mom and I stayed at Ellen's and were able to see both of the new baby girls in our family. Precious babies gave me baby fever. Kathy's service was lovely and I was doing OK until they played that song by (I think) Steven Curtis Chapman...I Can Only Imagine. Oh man, I love that song and it was perfect, just perfect. When we got to the cemetery, I realized that Steve's parents had bought the tomb right above my Grandparents. That actually made me feel so much better. Knowing that Kathy would be right they next to my Granny and Papa and that they were there to welcome her home. I miss them so much.

4. Work. Well, we had a reorg at the office earlier this summer. My position was revamped and I was moved into a new department with a new manager. I basically do the same thing, but will also be taking on a few new tasks. It should be an interesting challenge. My new manager is really kind and gracious and has been supportive of my team as we transition. There were a few bumps along the way, but I have moved on from those and am feeling good about the change. This week I will be moving cubicles. My new team is on the other side of our wing and so I have to move. Tomorrow, in fact. I cleaned out my cube last week in preparation, so I am eager for the move so I can unpack my things and settle in my new digs.

5. My School. Oh, you mean you didn't know that I am going back to school? Well, I am. On October 22nd. Don't be jealous! I am thrilled. Lamar has an online program that is completely online and self paced. There are regular semester length classes and also 8 week condensed classes. I can't wit to get started on finishing my degree...finally!! It should take me somewhere between 1 1/2 and 2 years. I am a Junior, so it just depends on how much work I can handle. I started with just 2 classes during this first condensed session, so we shall see. Never, never, quit. Unless it is smoking, of course....then, never, never, start.

OK, I suppose that gets us up to speed on the latest happenings. There are a few more notes about Cristian's school challenges I wanted to cover, but that's enough for tonight.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The lastest is

Just a list of stuff for me...

Cristian stuff...mostly according to the man himself

1. Wearing a 5T and 11W shoe.
2. Favorite color: red
3. Favorite foods: popcorn, chicken nuggets, bananas, water & sweat tea
4. Loves outside, especially the playground, pool, and taking walks
5. This summer we have been to: East Texas for Reina's baby shower, Sea World (multiple times), Aunt Mandy's for Drucilla's birthday, Inflatable Wonderland for Sean Anthony's birthday, Schlitterbahn with Daddy
6. Favorite store: Costco (for the hot dogs and yogurt)
7. Prefers 'little pants' (shorts) to long pants & red shirts (which he owns none...silly boy)
8. Favorite toys: race cars and Captain America
9. Favorite book: Max and Ruby Easter book...who says you only talk Easter in the Spring?!
10. Favorite grown-up: Mommy (I was the only one around, so I'm thinking this is out of sight out of mind because Grammie is seriously his favorite.)
11. Favorite baby (stuffed animal) to snuggle: All of them! ( he says)
12. Best Friend: Sean Anthony
This summer was Cristian's first big boy party at the jump place. He is also starting a new school this fall. A private PreK-12 school opened right down the street from our house, so he will attend this year for PreK. I will be very excited next year when he can start public school and save me some money! Private school is expensive not to mention after school care. Argh! But, it is an amazing program, so we are excited. He can't wait to go to Big School. Looking forward to starting in just a few weeks!


C: Hey mom, do you member lasterday when we colored pictures?
Me: Lasterday?
C: Yes, lasterday? You member?
Me: I member. (he,he,he...lasterday?!?!)

C: Mommy, can we talk? (as we get ready for bed)
Me: Sure buddy, what's up?
C: Don't you want me to have a baby sister?
Me: Of course, but where will we get one?
C: Let's get alot of money and go to the baby store, then we can buy a bunch of baby sisters.
Me: Ummm, ok.

Me: Cowabunga!
C: Horse Abunga!

***It actually took me a minute to understand what he meant. He is so literal...such my child. He heard 'cow' - 'abunga' (two words), so his answer was (an animal) 'horse' - 'abunga'. Hilarious. Then he came at me with this little gem...

C: Funny Clown Car Abunga!
Me: hahahahahaha!!!!

The other say we went to get haircuts, but Cristian's stylist had a wait. We added his name to the list and then left to run next door to HEB. The minute we got out the door Cristian was all in a huff..

C: Mom, I need a haircut. We can't leave!
Me: No worries, baby, we are going to come back. We put your name on the list.
C: Good because my hair is furry.

He is really growing up, he even let Carla use the clippers around his ears. He has always been pretty annoyed at haircuts, but this time he sat so still and didn't even need me so much.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Goals for the year...6 months late.

Ok, ok, I know it is July and most people state their goals in January. But, honestly, I wasn't really sure what I wanted to accomplish this year and so I've been coasting for awhile and I've finally decided to cut it out and commit. So, here are the three BIG goals I want to accomplish over the last half of this year.

1. Register for school. I want to finish my degree via Lamar University Online. Step 1, register. I actually started the application some time back, but I didn't have all my transcript info. Finishing the application and pressing SUBMIT would really only take an hour or so.
Update - registered and starting Oct. 2012!

2. Lose weight. I know how much weight I want to lose overall, but in 6 months I'm not sure what a realistic goal should be for that amount of time. Instead, I am committing to 1 hour per day of activity (walk with Cristian, work-out DVD, swimming laps). Whatever really, just one hour per days off. I am also back on weight watchers. No meetings, just me using the point system on my own. The third part of this goal is Meatless Mondays. I am trying to eat less meat, so I'm starting with one meatless day a week.

3. Find a church and get involved. I have been listening to services from several churches in my area via the WWW for awhile now, but I have yet to visit in person. This week will be Cristian's first time to attend church in over a year. I know...bad mom. We watch church on TV and that counts for something. But, I really want him to have a church home. A place to learn about Jesus and to fellowship with other believers. Cristian attends a private Christian school and they have chapel one day a week, so he does get some exposure there...but I want Sunday mornings to be a time for our family to worship together. Once I decide on the place, I am most looking forward to joining a Bible study. I've never been apart of a small group before, so that will be a new adventure for me.
Found one! RCCC is the place to be. Perfect fit for us, tons of familes with littles and a great community.

Well, there they are, my 3 goals for the last half of the year. I will try to update every week or so with my progress. Here's to hope the beginning of 2013 includes school, church, and my skinning jeans.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Influence and Dog Poop

I know I don't have a dog, but I'll get to that in a bit.

My fears of peer influence are starting to come to fruition. Cristian has been talking about super heroes alot lately. We don't watch or chat about them at home. His best buddy at school has been teaching him about all the major heroes and how they fight the bad guys. No harm done really, but I hate that he is learning things that I didn't 'approve'. This is the internal struggle that kills me the most. My plan for my life has changed so much over the years. I never put much thought into homeschool etc...until I had children. Now, I am so disappointed that I wasn't properly prepared so that I could have stayed home with Cristian. I love his teachers and have been happy with the schools he has attended...but leaving him open to influence at this young age bothers me. I know I can't protect him from the world...but at almost 4 years old I would like to protect him a little while longer. At least until his emotions and brain are mature enough to comprehend some of the craziness of this world.

Yes, it is just super heroes...but right now it feels like so much of a bigger deal. poop. I live in an apartment complex that is filled dog owners and their dogs. There are no weight restrictions here, which means you get some pretty large piles. There are plenty of disposal areas stocked with little green bags, but poop has kind of been an issue since we moved it. A few months after we got here a flyer was placed on our doors about fines etc from not picking up poop. Things have gotten better, but occasionally I still see some here and there. Yesterday, Cristian and I were swinging on the playground right outside our front door (our unit looks out over the playground and the convienient) and I noticed a man and his dog. We live near an Airforce base and a big Military Hospital, so we have lots of Military familes in our complex. The guy out with his dog was in a wheel chair, missing both of his legs from the knee down. I've seen him before, but I didn't know he had a dog. He drives a beautiful black Cadillac CTS and he gives me the little two finger wave from the steering wheel when we pass leaving or arriving...I guess because we both have Cadillacs. Anyway, I watched him and his dog and then they went back into their unit...and it dawned on me. There are several wounded warriors living here and maybe that is part of the poop problem. I mean, how would he pick-up poop? Well, I guess he could use one of those claw things, but then what...put the poop-filled claw on his lap while he wheels over to the trash? Seriously? Not on my watch. So, I did what any proper citizen would do. After our playtime, I went back outside armed with a baggie and picked up his dog's poop. It was disgusting and totally part of the reason I don't have a dog. But, I would do it again.

Living in this complex has given me several opportunities to explain sacrifice to Cristian. I don't use the word 'war', but we do talk about how the soldiers protect us from the bad guys. He knows the big red Hospital is where the doctors help the soldiers when they get sick or hurt. He thinks wheel chairs and prosthetic legs are really cool...which I love, because they are. Giving freedom back to those that have fought for ours.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Show Us Your Life - New Friends

Linking up to Kelly's Korner again this week hoping to make some new friends in the area. Other than my wonderful coworkers, I don't really have any close friends living near me.

If you are here from Kelly's Korner, I'm am thrilled to "meet" you! Ha! My name is Stacey and I am a thirty-something single mom in San Antonio. I grew up here, but moved around alot after high school. I have been back in the area for some time now, but most of my close friends have all moved away. I was married for several years and I have two boys. My oldest, Philip Cole, was born in 2007 with Trisomy 13. He was with us for a couple of days before going to be with Jesus. My second baby, Cristian, was born in 2008. He is an amazing little guy and the center of my universe. I have been single for a little over a year. I would love to find the right person to spend my life with the have lots more babies, but right now I am really focused on planting some roots and getting my ducks in a row.

I recently went to a Dave Ramsey seminar and was so inspired. I don't have much debt, but there was so many simple things that I didn't know about managing my money. I have kind of reached the pinnacle in my current career and am looking to make a change. I'll be going back to school this summer. Not sure exactly what I want to do when I finish, maybe teaching, maybe accounting. I have been working for a publishing company for 12 years and I am ready for something new, something different. I'm excited even though I'm not sure of my destination yet. Cristian and I have been looking for a new church. We have tried a few in the area, but haven't decided yet. I am very indesicive and always worry I will make the wrong choice, so getting passed my own weirdness is a challenge..but, I'll get there eventually.

Just a little bit about me and my little. Looking forward to meeting you!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Show Us Your Life - T-13, Our Miracle Baby

I'm a little behind the 8 ball the last few weeks. I have been neglecting my blog...again. But today is different. I get the chance to spill about my little miracle Philip Cole, so of course I am on it!
Kelly from Kelly's Korner is hosting Show us Your Life - Moms who have lost children. Of course, this is the group no one ever wants to join. Losing a child is the most devestating thing that has ever happened to me and here is my (our) story.

About half way through my first pregnancy (October 2006) I got a call from my doctor. That in itself was weird, because usually a nurse would call if the office needed something. My doctor told me that he needed me to come in the very next day for a sonogram. My blood test from my appt. earlier that week came back flagged. He made the sono appt for me and we hung up. I was pretty freaked out and left the office early and cried the whole way home.

Of course, now (over 5 years later) I can readily admit that I already knew something was wrong. At the time I chalked it up to “this is my first pregnancy.” But, now, I can say now I knew all along…from the day I took the home pregnancy test.

So, the next day my husband and I went together for the sonogram. The technician was amazing and sweet, but it only took a few minutes for her to see that the blood test was not a false positive. My doctor came in and asked that we go to a specialist. The specialist would have a better quality sonogram machine and could tell us more about what might be wrong with the baby. The only part of that day that was good was finding out the sex of our munchkin. We were having a boy…exactly what we had hoped for.

The very next week we went to a specialist and then to another specialist the next week. In the end, we were not given a diagnosis. We were told it could be Down’s syndrome or something else, they just wouldn’t know without an amnio.

For us, termination would never be an option. For us, life and death is only decided by God. So, having the amnio was a risk I wasn’t sure I wanted to take. However, having a diagnosis would give us more information about our son and allow us to find the appropriate doctors to help him. I have a cousin who’s 1st daughter had been very ill when she was born. There was no indication of her illness before birth, so my cousin and her husband and their doctors were caught completely off-guard and unprepared. Their little girl only lived for 4 months. I called my cousin for support and advice. Was the amnio worth the risk? After speaking to her, we decided it was. Having all the information, including a diagnosis, would help us provide the best medical support to our son.

I had the amnio at 8am on a Wednesday morning. To be honest, my husband and I both thought he probably had Down’s Syndrome. I have a close friend from High School with Down’s and she is amazing. She is 34 and has a job and is just the sweetest girl. She graduated from high school with me and she is my best friend’s cousin, so I have watched her grow up. Of course, she still lives at home and I’m sure she has had some medical challenges. But, she is what I was basing my fears on…and having a child similar to her was not scary for me at all.

We were expecting to have to wait 72 hours for the results of the amnio, but my specialist had put in a rush at the lab and we got the call at 5pm the very next day. Philip Cole did not have Down’s Syndrome. He was diagnosed with Patau’s Syndrome, or Trisomy 13. There are several different version of Trisomy 13 and Philip had the most severe, Full Trisomy 13. I hung-up the phone and melted onto the floor of my kitchen. My husband got home a little while later and after an hour of tears we googled. We found the website on our first search. This site changed our outlook. I signed up for the online support group and met some amazing families who gave us the support we desperately needed then. In fact, I am still in contact with several of the moms I met through that site. We shared Philip’s story on the site, the link is in the side-bar on the right.

After many doctors appt. we decided that the best course of action (or non-action) was Comfort Care. Philip’s condition revolved around a brain that was just not created properly and in the end would most likely not be able to lead the functions of his body. We wanted to make sure that the time we had with him was sent snuggling with us and our family, and not in a NICU surrounded by strangers. Every family must choose what is right for them and this was the right choice for us based on the medical information we received and many, many prayers.
Despite our doctors expectations, Philip survived the pregnancy and after a long induction was born via cesarean at 2:08am on March 7, 2007. He was 8 pounds 13 ounces and 21 inches long. He breathed on his own. He peed, he pooped, he burped. Other than his little feeding tube that ran into the side of his mouth (his cleft lip and palette prevented him from sucking on a bottle…even the specialty bottles didn’t seem to work for him) and his IV on his hand…he had no other medical intervention.

Our entire family came to the hospital and showered our precious boy with love. He was such a sweetie and only cried when they stuck him for his PKU (I can’t blame him for that one…in fact I didn’t know why they even had to take that test at all). On our second day in the hospital, Philip’s temperature dropped and we were told that he would not be with us for much longer. He lived for 32 hours and 58 minutes outside the womb and died in my arms.
The days after he died were a mix of emotion. Times when I cried for hours and never felt hungry. Other times where my family would make me laugh and my scar would hurt. One of the nurses told me about using cabbage leaves in my bra to keep my from getting engorged. So, in the middle of the grief and the funeral planning I was trudging around with cabbage in my bra. It just doesn’t get more real than that. Sometimes I just had to let go of the grief and laugh at the spectacle of it all. When calling around looking for a “Youth-sized casket” (as Philip was too big for a baby one), my aunt got into a bit of a tiff with a funeral director who insisted that selling a “used” casket was illegal. They did get it sorted out, but that definitely became one of those ‘funny despite the grief’ stories.

The Saturday after Philip died we celebrated his short life with a lovely service at our church. We were completely over-whelmed with the amount of people that came to support us.

Through this journey with Philip Cole I never hated God or turned away. You always hear stories of other people and their challenges and you think “If that were me, I would just die. I couldn’t take that kind of pain.” There were days were I did feel completely overcome with pain and grief…but on those days especially I leaned on Jesus. There were other days where I did smile and things felt (sort of) normal again. I will never be the person I was before, but because of my little miracle Philip, I am a much better person now. A little over a year after Philip went to be with Jesus, the good Lord blessed us with our second little miracle, Cristian.

Cristian is now a very healthy almost 4 year old. He is super smart and very sweet and knows exactly how to make me laugh and push my buttons. I am a better mom to him because of the lessons I learned from Philip. I am a more patient mom and a more loving mom. I cover him with kisses several times a day. Cristian knows his big brother is in Heaven with Jesus. He doesn’t quite get it at this point, but it is important to me that he knows his full family.

I am a single mom now, co-parenting Cristian with his and Philip’s dad. Their dad and I are very close friends and are committed to maintaining a grounded family unit even though we are no longer married.

Losing a child is devastating. Hearing other families stories still puts me in tears every time. However, I would not trade my experience with Philip Cole for anything (unless that anything was a healthy Philip Cole, of course). His short life brought so much to our family. He gave me strength in God that I didn’t know I had. I was always a believer, but leaning on God so completely was something I had never done before. That leaning was the only reason I came away from it with a positive outlook. Don’t get me wrong, I still miss him with all my heart, I still cry in grief sometimes and I would give anything… But, I cannot change what has happened, I can only move forward. Life keeps going…which is completely frustrating and annoying when you first lose someone you love. How can people keep moving forward?? You just want the world to stop. But, it doesn’t. And, with time and faith, I have found that wounds do heal (mostly) and you can find the positive if you search your heart and you pray a lot.