Eff You, Pollen!

Hey Pollen,
Eff you. Eff you and all your effing pollen-y goodness that is NO GOOD for ANYONE.
I am so sick of allergies. I'm sick of the runny nose, the scratchy throat, the itchy eyes. I'm definitely sick of the stupid allergy pill that if I skip for more than one night suddenly causes me to be a nose-blowing, eye-watering disaster of a human.

Every year around this time-when the weather FINALLY starts getting nice (i.e. stops raining for more than 4 hours and the sun makes a glorious appearance), my eyes get swollen and red, and my eyelids get really dry and disgusting looking. Within a matter of half a day, I go from this:

to this:
I'm not kidding.

When it first started, I bought some allergy eye drops. Those didn't work, so I bought two more kinds. Those didn't work. So I bought three more kinds. I only opened two of them and smartened up and realized that I needed something stronger and went to the eye doctor. Where I got two prescription eye drops-a steroid for temporary immediate relief, and an ongoing type to use for the next 6-8 weeks to prevent the flare ups.

Total spent on all this: approximately $169.00 (not counting the eye drops I can return because I didn't open them).
Worth it? Most definitely!! It sucks when the sun is shining, the sky is beautiful blue, birds are chirping, wild animals come up and let you pet them, butterflies land on your nose - and I can't stand to leave the house because my eyes burn during the daylight and they water like I'm crying and are swollen like I've been crying for hours and hours. And I can't wear makeup, obviously, as it ends up on my hands, my cheeks, the side of my face, etc - everywhere except my nasty swollen eyes.

And so, in conclusion....eff you pollen. I win this battle.

I Love You Back!

photos via
omg, his face...SO serious!! He means this more than anything in the entire world!!

It seems most of my family and a few of my friends range from slightly dislike to extreme hatred of this man - but can we all acknowledge that it is pretty cool that when someone yells "I love you" from the crowd, he takes on the most serious expression possible and lets that person know in no uncertain terms-"I love you back." Leader of the free world, acknowledging random people in the crowd.

There's actually a website about it even: http://obamalovesyouback.com/ - which the white house site actually responded to...love it.

Love is underrated. Spread the love people.

I love you back. All of you who are reading this. All three of you. You are loved by me!

Happy Birthday to My Pops! (aka The Return to Iowa)

A couple months ago, my aunt sent out an email to everyone in the family except my parents declaring that a surprise birthday breakfast party was being planned for my dad - and my sisters and I set in motion: Operation Iowa Birthday Surprise.

One sister and her daughter were flying out from Seattle.
Myself and her son were flying from Portland.
Our other sister was driving from South Carolina with her husband and two sons.

We all converged on this tiny little town in Iowa on Friday night and spread out at some of the relatives homes (we have a lot of relatives in Iowa). And then Saturday morning-BAM-surprise surprise surprise!
This is a brilliant idea for any birthday that sucks (i.e. 40+).

It worked out perfectly! Here's a video of our surprise party:

And some random wonderful photos.

It has been years and years since this group has been together.
(and sadly this group photo is missing the two boys who are away at college)

This is an Iowa back porch.

Its fun taking photos of ourselves...there were 8 people standing nearby who could have taken this photo with her camera.

My beloved niece and my beloved Uncle Jerry - he's like a big teddy bear. Kinda like Ted....

Wanna know what Iowa looks like? It's this view. Everywhere. Flat flat flat. Lots of farms and fields. And flat.
Photobombing dog.

Not just one time either!
SO pretty!

This is my favorite 2 yr old right now. All round things are apples. I fed her an orange and called it an apple. I also wanted to hear her cry and some people thought that was mean....I didn't want her to be hurt, I just wanted to see how she cries cause it's kinda cute (for the first 30 seconds). On our last night, she cried for me when her mom wouldn't let her pick up the 8lb bowling ball. She came to me for comfort and it was perfect.

I haven't seen my cousin Michelle since 1990. She's WAY older now, with a husband, three kids AND a grandbaby. Yikes!

We worked on this puzzle for about an hour. The baby destroyed it in about 90 seconds.

LOTS of laughs were had by all!
Unrelated to the party completely - my parents house has an unused attic space that has these super steep stairs to get up to it. They don't plan on using the space and the stairway is too steep for anything, so my mom uses it as a bookshelf! GENIUS!!!!

Foster Parenting Adventures: When Children Lose Control

When you have a child who has trauma in the past, you just never know what is going to spark a memory or a thought that will spark something within them that causes them to lose the ability to maintain composure. As a certified therapeutic foster parent, I’ve been through a lot of training, during which I was introduced to the idea that you will be attacked, your house will be trashed, you may have a need to call 9-1-1, you may have a false claim of child abuse of some sort filed against you, etc.  The training was intense. I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed at the real-life examples the various trainers were sharing, and couldn't comprehend how I could possibly remember all the information I needed to know to be a successful foster parent. You just have to hope that the worst-case scenarios don't happen to you

I have been a foster parent for exactly one year. In that time, I have had seven or eight different kiddos in my house for respite care and had two “incidents” where a child tantrumed to the point of needing to be put in a hold.

The first one was with a boy who has a history of tantruming daily, so his was not a surprise. The second one was last month, by a girl I’ve had about twelve successful visits with in the past few months.  Unfortunately, it was a doozy of a tantrum that involved quite a bit of non-essential damage-ripping papers, throwing books and clothes, and a little over-the-top ridiculousness –she dumped a bag of cat food in the middle of the room and then threw handfuls of it at me across the room, repeatedly.
The thing about the therapeutic kids  is that they just can’t necessarily control themselves. There is just something not connecting correctly in their brain and, as such, there’s not really much you can do for them when they cross into tantrum mode.

This tantrum went on for a couple hours in the am. At some point, she was in the bedroom, had already torn up everything she could- there was nothing left in the room, the bedding was in a pile in the corner, she had broken a piece of the bed frame (by jumping on it in just the right spot) and she was just exhausted. Containing her to the room was the best thing that I did that morning. She was great after she cried and we hugged and I assured her I wasn’t mad and wasn't going to punish her and we talked about what was right and wrong. She cleaned up the room with my direction and then we went to the kitchen and made lunch together.  Life was just fine...

Lunch was great, we watched a short cartoon, cleaned up our plates and got comfy on the couch to watch a movie and take a rest as we had discussed. Unfortunately, she still wasn’t quite right….and she started another tantrum. This one was throughout the house, I couldn’t quite get her contained to one room and the whole house took a bit of a beating. The training I was provided  tells us that we don’t ever unnecessarily touch the kids in the program. We don’t hug without permission, and then it’s a side hug only.  We don’t grab their arm if they are preparing to strike at us, we just deflect or step away. There’s just so many rules!
I feel like I did a stellar job of following the things I learned in training. It went on for hours and hours...But at some point, I reached my limit and had to call  the emergency hot line. I was told later that I did an excellent job, very calm and soothing voice reinforcing that everything was okay and I wasn’t going to be mad. One of the quotes they told me later that made them feel really confident that I was doing well was that I was heard saying something like, “ it’s okay if you hit the TV with that plastic wand (a cat toy) because I know you are not going to hurt yourself doing that and I just want you to feel safe. I won’t be mad at you if you continue but I’d really like you to stop and use your words.”
Patience was mine that day!!

Eventually I had to put her in a therapeutic hold as she was getting to the point where she was nearly hurting herself running from room to room, sliding under the coffee table, throwing sharp things, etc. After a few minutes, she stopped struggling (but not before getting the chance to bite my arm) and just broke into tears. And from there, she took a nap and was fairly normal the rest of the evening and into the next day.
At some point, she made some comments to me that I had to report to her case worker– and that led to me testifying in court last month. Such a sad, crazy experience that I hope I don’t have to repeat anytime soon.  It’s just heartbreaking to see kids going through such a traumatizing and scary event. I don’t think this is anything they can control or understand. It’s just a part of their life. And we think we have it rough...


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