Tuesday, April 7, 2020

My Entry for the Spring Fling Writing Contest 2020

I'm participating this year (and for the first time) in the Spring Fling Writing Contest that Ciara and Kaitlyn host for the KidLit community.  It's really fun, a perfect distraction from COVID19, and you can read more at the contest's website. I hope everyone is hanging in there this spring! Stay safe and healthy!

Title: Welcome Spring!



Ba, ba, ba,
La, la, la,
I’m a little lamb,
Here to bring you spring jam. 
Cheep, cheep, cheep,
Peep, peep, peep,
I’m a little chick,
Here to bring you spring picnic.
Hippity hop,
Flippity flop,
I’m a little bunny,
Here to bring you spring sunny.
Let’s all sing,
And welcome spring!

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

3/4/20- Parent Confession 6

Well it sure has been a long time since I wrote anything on this blog, and I'm sure it will be a long time until the next post, ha.  To catch up, we moved into a new house and everything is going pretty well for us.  Except for cold and flu season.  Although I think everyone is having a tough cold and flu season right now.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people sitting, people eating, child, table and indoor
In the new house (August)

Right around Halloween time, I got the weirdest eye infection.  It lasted 2 weeks and required antibiotic eye drops, steroid eye drops and oral antibiotics.  And unfortunately poor Jack and Bobby ended up with the same eye infection that never seemed to end.  Jack had to go to the children's hospital and receive an IV antibiotic, but he kept calling his hospital room his hotel room and the staff gave him two different sets of Lego.  He was a trooper, and Bobby and I were a wreck.

After that, I was like surely it's going to be smooth sailing through the rest of cold and flu season.  Then I got bronchitis around New Year's. Bobby and Jack seemed to escape unscathed though, and we headed to a family vacation in late January to Legoland California.  We had a great time.  But last week, Jack had some wheezing.

Bobby and I took him to urgent care, and the doctor thought allergy induced bronchitis/asthma.  The kid got an inhaler, oral steroid, and oral allergy med.  He took the inhaler no problem, but he refused the oral medications.  And I don't blamed him.  Both oral medications tasted gross.  Yes I tasted them, and they were gross.


Jack kept spitting them out.  So what's a parent to do? Bribery of course.  I told him he could have Kool-Aid before and after taking the oral medications.  That seemed to do the trick.  But of course now he wants Kool-Aid just cause.  And when he got his IV at the hospital (in November), he was bribed by a Lego set.

That's my parent confession.  We bribe with toys and sweets to get Jack to take medicine.  And honestly, I don't care who judges because a spoonful of sugar really does make the medicine go down.  I much rather he take his medications and get better than him continuing to spit it out, and if a bribe is what it takes, then it's worth it to me.  Any other parents relate?  And of course stay healthy this cold and flu season and don't forget to wash your hands constantly.  Take care friends!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

8/7/19-- New House

It's been such a long time since I've written a post on here.  Part of the reason is we bought a new house! Another part of the reason is I've had a flare up of my Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I've been working to get the RA in check with rest and new medication, but there are some days where I still feel completely fatigued and not up for doing anything.

But as a family, we've been enjoying our new house.  We have lots of space, and we're across the street from friends.  Jack loves that the new pool has a diving board and that he has a Lego room (yes, we have so Lego that they get their own room, haha)!  Bobby and I are having fun planning a new backyard and picking paint colors and furniture for the inside. Every weekend, I'm like this is the weekend we're done unpacking and painting and can just enjoy the house, but dang, we keep coming up with new projects (which really is a good problem to have 😁).

Sidebar-- I've also learned that when it comes to redoing the back yard, no such thing as a residential landscape designer/architect exists in the Phoenix area (commercial yes, residential no), so fingers crossed, Bobby and I picked nice plants and layout for said plants.

The other semi-big change in our life is that Jack has started Junior Kindergarten at the same place he went to preschool.  So Junior Kindergarten is in between the Pre-K and Kindergarten at Jack's school, and so far he is loving it.  He packs a book everyday, and his teacher sends so many pictures of all their classroom activities (a typical day has them doing 10 different activities)-- so Jack is plenty busy learning new things!

So that's just how life is for me in this moment of time.  One day is bad; the next day is good.  I'm trying to not let house remodel, work and bad health days stress me out, but sometimes that's easier said and done.  Walking the dog everyday, munching on dark chocolate, and getting a massage is my stress relief plan of attack, and hopefully the good days will be more than the bad days. That's the RA lifestyle-- I try to focus on the good and take plenty of naps on both bad days and good days.  Take care friends and family! xoxo!

Cutest Jr. Kindergartner Ever!

Friday, March 29, 2019

3/29/19- Pug

Last Friday our sweet, old pug Chap's crossed the rainbow bridge.  Passing of a pet is never easy, and this time felt extra hard having to explain it to Jack.  We knew it was coming. Chaps was 15 and had been struggling with his arthritis and getting up off the floor since November.  We weren't even sure he'd make it to Christmas, but thankfully he celebrated another Christmas with us.

The past few months have been hard for me; I've been very sad, in a funk, depressed watching Chaps rapidly age.  Thankfully Jack was blissfully unaware of Chaps' health issues and treated Chaps with the same love and gusto as he did for younger Chaps.  Margaret Renkl wrote a beautiful essay on "The Pain of Loving Old Dogs," and Chaps, like her Clark, keep exceeding his life expectancy that you get this crazy idea in your head that your pet is going to out live you. Jack, and Bobby and I too, thought Chaps would be around for many more years.

But then the inevitable happens, the dog starts to lose all bladder and bowel control, and you know it's time to say goodbye.  Saying goodbye to your beloved pet is hard, but then having to explain to your four old that the dog is dying, well that was one of the worst talks of my life (worse than when my mom tried to talk to me about birth control).  And you have to be direct with a four year old.  You can't say the dog is sick and the dog is going to sleep, because then the four year old might think that if they get sick or go to sleep that they're going to die. 

After we explained death and Chaps dying to Jack, he did seem to grasp that it meant Chaps won't be living in our house anymore.  And just when you think your child is at peace, Jack will ask where Chaps is or cry that he wants to pugs (our other dog isn't a pug, but I guess we use the term pug so much that he must think all dogs are pugs).  We have a nice framed photo of Chaps at age 6, with his goofy tongue hanging out, and now it's in Jack's room so that Jack knows Chaps is always with him (us) in memory.

For Bobby and I, it's the memories of having a pug stand between you and the cabinets as you cook or prepare food, knowing that if you drop food, you'll actually have to clean it up since there's no longer a pug to immediately in hale it (the other dog doesn't really care if bacon is frying up in the pan; she's odd, but love her anyway).  It's not have a pug stick his nose into the bathroom while you brush your teeth and then again wedge himself in between you and a cabinet.  In hopes of toothpaste falling, I guess?  Or laying on your foot while you watch a baking show, and the foot starts to numb, but for some silly reason you don't want to move it, because distributing the pug seems rude. 

No more pug to scatter Legos everywhere as he defiantly charges through the toys.  No more pug to push the sneeze button.  No more pug to embarrass you in front of friends and family as he's getting too friendly with someone's leg. No more pug to wonder into the garage and get stuck out there cause you didn't notice that he followed you.  No more pug to trip you as you stumble down the hallway to feed him.  No more pug to make your pillow, to hug and hold when your sad or happy. 

I miss him terribly, and I know Bobby and Jack do too. I've owned a quite a few pets now in my life, but I think Chaps was the kindest, sweetest pet I've ever had.  We love you so much Chaps, and you leave us so many funny and happy memories. We hope after crossing the rainbow bridge, that you're getting all the treats and cuddles you desire.  Peace be with you sweet pug.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

2/16/19- Parent Confession 5

Yesterday I took a two hour nap.  Actually maybe it was 2.5 hours.  I didn't set out to nap that long, but I forgot to set an alarm.  Actually I didn't think I'd need an alarm.  But that's kind of been the story for the past month.  I've been really tired.  One might even say fatigued.

Being fatigued isn't something new for me.  It kind of comes with the autoimmune disease territory.  But the fatigue makes me feel super guilty.  See when I take a 2.5 hour nap late on a Friday afternoon that means Bobby will be picking up Jack from daycare.  And Bobby already does drop off because me and mornings do not get along.

So for the past month (probably even longer), Bobby's been dropping off and picking up.  He's also made dinner and played with Jack every night.  Bobby is the primary parent.  And it makes me feel guilty.  I'm the mom, so I'm supposed to be the primary parent.  Isn't that what society tells us?  So by society standards I'm a horrible mom because I'm not the primary parents.

But mostly I don't care what society thinks.  Society can go nag other people (cough, cough, may I suggest the current president? I think he could use a little more nagging).  I don't judge my parenting abilities by an outdated patriarch; in fact, I stopped judging myself by the patriarch some time ago.

However, the guilt I feel comes from Jack asking me to play with him or help him with something, and I have to tell him I'm too tired to do so.  It also comes from guilt when I don't communicate with Bobby how I'm really feeling, and he stresses out about picking up Jack because he hasn't heard from me (either cause I'm napping or I'm sleeping  with my eyes open, watching TV and not hearing my phone).

It's Jack and Bobby's opinions and feelings that matter most to me, and I know I've disappointment them both a little recently.  Jack thankfully recovers quickly, meaning he's moved on to the next toy or activity, forgetting I've told him I can't play, and Bobby is really good at communicating his needs (that he needs me to call him!) and of being supportive of what my body needs (a two hour nap!). I'm a lucky mom.

So my resolution to feeling less guilty about my fatigue, which limits my abilities and what I can do as a parent, is to communicate better with Bobby about how I'm feeling.  To be honest, and call him or text him at 3pm or 4pm that I am tired and probably going to take a 2 hour nap, can he get Jack please?  And then to find ways to interact with Jack that are low key and on the couch: watching a movie together, reading books, coloring, playing quite games, and so on.

Being a parent can be tough at times (perhaps even many times), but having an autoimmune disease on top of parenting can add an extra layer to difficulties of parenthood.  That's something we don't often talk about, the difficulties of parenthood.  We talk about the joys, but there's often difficulties too.  But maybe that's why we talk about the joys more often.  Because when we come out of the difficult times, the joys and triumphs of parenthood are so much sweeter that bitters pale in comparison.

I guess what I'm really trying to say is that I know soon enough I'll have more energy (been working with my doctor on plan to have more energy), and that this guilt I have of not being the primary parent, of feeling inadequate, will all be forgotten.  Well, I wrote it down, so I guess I'll have a reminder somewhere, haha.  But I know the difficult time will pass and mostly be a faint memory, and I'll be having too much fun and joy to dwell on the guilt.  May we all have selective memories of joy when we look back on the journey of parenthood.  All the best.  Now please excuse me, I need to go take a nap.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

1/22/19- Happy 2019!

2019 has been off to a great and yucky start for me.  Bobby, Jack and I went to Legoland the first week of 2019, and while we had a very fun time, Bobby and I both fought off of colds.  Then this past Sunday, I went to bed by 8:30 am and woke up Monday morning with aches, a minor sore throat and some congestion.  So I have another yet another cold (maybe the first cold never fully went away?).  But there's been lots of good time too-- launching rockets, building Lego sets, hanging with friends and family, and judging Future City regional competition.  Maybe I have a reoccurring cold because I'm having such non-stop fun.

And as much as I enjoy all the fun, I've felt pulled into many directions.  Like trying to keep up writing new posts for both blogs, making sure I don't fall behind at my day job, writing new books, trying to volunteer for STEM outreach events and answering every school request that comes my way and of course being mom and wife.  It just feels like too much.  I need naps.  So here's my 2019 New Year's Resolution-- do less.

Yep, I know it just sounds like I'm becoming a slacker, and you're right I am.  I just don't care if you think I'm a slacker.  I've very comfortable with being a slacker. For me, tt's nice to do less.  It makes one less stressed and worried. Leaves rooms for more naps.  And it means I'll actually be enjoying the moments with Jack instead thinking about all these work or volunteering I have to do. One of my favorite quotes is from the wise Ferris Buller, "life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."  So if you invite me to something this year, and I politely decline, it's not because I don't like you, but it's because I'm trying to achieve my New Year's Resolution of do less; I don't want to miss life.

What's your New Year's Resolution?  Whatever it is, I wish you a very happy 2019!


Friday, December 28, 2018

12/28/18- Lucky Thirteen

December marks 13 years of dating for Bobby and I.  And November marked 12 years with our pug Chaps.  When Bobby and I were planning our wedding in 2007 (2008?), we made a wedding website, and on it we talked about our fur babies.  Hope you enjoy the pug's origin story (and haha, if we had only known what having human kids and fur kids at the same time would be like, and of course we love our "mixed" family very much)!  Here's to another 13 years!

*Bobby's Side*
Ok, let's get this straight right off the bat - Suzanna and I don't have any kids. We're not even close to ready for them.

However, we do have three amazing and wonderful dogs, but it wasn't always that way. There hasn't always been three and they haven't always been amazing or wonderful.

When Suzanna and I started dating, she had a dog. His name is Bear. Now Bear is a bear of a pomeranian. Yep, that's right one big little dog. He's nearly 30 lbs and at the top of his head he's knee high (check the photo).

After we bought the house, we started talking seriously about getting another dog. In fact, a few months before we bought the house, we had found a great "little" Bernese Mountain Dog. I grew so attached, I named her Charlie. But we never took Charlie home, and it turns out this may have been a good thing.

For nearly the entire time that we had been dating, Suzanna had been talking of a trip to Atlanta to visit her aunt and then roll up to the Carolina's to visit one of her best friends. She has always spoken very highly of all of her aunts, but she was excited to go and visit her Aunt Kay because Kay always wanted her to visit and she thought Kay would love me.

As life sometimes goes, we never managed to make that trip. Much to our extreme regrets, Kay passed away shortly before Thanksgiving of 2006. But she left behind two very special guys just for us. I'll never forget going to the airport and fetching these two scared little dogs - a pug and a shih-tzu - who had just taken a flight across country at a time that was also very hectic to them.

At first Gomez (the shih-tzu with surprisingly a very fitting name) and Chaps (the pug) struggled to adjust. They lost any house training they had gained and seemed depressed and standoffish, much as you would expect foster children to be. But after awhile, they began to accept their surroundings. They took almost instantly to Suzanna (probably because she looked so much like Kay) and eventually took to me too.

Now, despite every family's moments of frustration, the five of us have formed a wonderful tight-knit family. I would like to think that if Kay were looking in on us from time to time she'd be so happy to see how well her boys have adjusted to life here in Arizona.

*Suzanna's Side*
Haha, I think most people that know us, know that the dogs are our kids. We're not at that place in our life to have human kids.

I was totally nervous to have Bobby meet Bear because Bear doesn't like strangers. He barks and barks and barks at them, which isn't neccessarily a bad thing when you're a single girl living by yourself. Bobby wanted to see/meet Bear the first date, but I waited to do that introduction. The time came, and even though Bear barked and barked and barked, a few hours later, Bear was licking Bobby. I think after I had Bobby feed and walk Bear one day when I had to work late, that Bear was forever Bobby's dog too. I'm sure Bear enjoyed his one on one time that he had with Bobby and I, but I think Bear likes having someone to boss around (he totally tries to wrangle Chaps, kinda funny if you ask me) and be with him while we're at work.

Bobby already shared the heart breaking and heart warming story of how we got our other two dogs, but I will also never forget going to cargo wing of delta to pick up one pug and one shih-tzu, shaking, whinning, and scared in their crates. My heart melted in that one single moment. Chaps and Gomez have two distinct personalities, and we are so happy to have them as part of our family. I think Kay would be happy too. We love all 3 of our dogs very much.