Category Archives: O’Baby

Exciting times we live in

So many important things are going on right now, good and not-so-good, that keep me busy and thinking all the time.

My brother Greg survived a significant heart attack and subsequent double bypass open heart surgery.  Getting the call from my Mom was the biggest shock of my life.  But he’s a few weeks out now, the cardiac surgeon has released him from his care, and the cardiologist has set him up with cardiac rehab in a week.  Greg’s physical and emotional worlds have been rocked and he’s struggling to reconcile his old activities with his new limitations.  He’s doing so well.  I’m so proud of him.

Mom’s been his rock all this time.  She’s been busting her hump, trying to give him the support he needs, encouraging him to do more each day.  She’s on the front lines in this war recovery effort.  She’s a saint and we have to get her a really big gift this year.

Bill’s company was bought out and he started with his new employer last week.  So much frustration and uncertainty over small and big things.  I worry that he’s too stressed out.  I do what I can to keep things calm and comfortable around here, giving him loving support and meals that he likes.  He works so hard.

I’ve started to give my grandboys some learning opportunities while I watch them.  We have a Letter of the Week, with activities and hands-on projects, and I’m working on coordinating a weekly field trip.  It’s really hard to go out with three little men, but even if it’s to the playground, that’s something.  Doing preschool stuff makes me feel like I’m not just sitting on my butt watching them do stuff.  I’m actually working to prepare them for school!  And it brings me great joy when the ‘light bulb’ goes on and I can see that they’ve actually learned something.  They’re so proud when they succeed!

The Cubs have had their best year in so so long.  It’s been so wonderful to watch this season.  They seem so relaxed and happy, like they’re having a great time.  The Wild Card game is Wednesday, and I can’t wait!  Maybe I’ll make a poster…

Ryan and Michela are finally married!  It was a wonderful wedding, thrown by her wonderful family, and we were all so happy.  We danced every dance.  New moves were invented, toasts were given, babies were exhausted.

Stefanie and Kevin and Elliott are moving into a rental house in less than two weeks.  It’s a big step, and they’re so ready.  I can’t wait to see Elliott playing in his own yard with the dogs, Stef cooking in her kitchen, Kevin mowing the lawn.  And they’ll be so close by, too.  Yay!

Caitie has been dealing with so much crap, but still has manage to mostly keep her shit together.  She is currently looking for a new job, since the first one was not right for her.  I have faith that she will find something that will fit her needs and allow her to grow, build a clientele, and earn lots of money to support her boys.

Declan is so tall now, and he’s still growing.  His voice is low, he shaves, he wears the same size clothes and shoes as his brother and dad.  And he’s becoming more mature in other ways, too.  I know he could take care of any baby or kid in the world, and keep him/her safe and happy.  It’s in him and it’s wonderful.

The grandboys are my joy.  Owen is in second grade and has long blonde hair.  He can catch any ball you throw to him and run like the wind.  He is a wonderful boy with a strong love for his mom.  And he has no teeth in front.

Ollie is our sensitive one.  He wears his emotions on the outside, so he is joyful and goofy one minute, sulking and quiet the next.  He’s bright as they come and loves to learn.  I also heard him mediating a babyfight between the younger two the other day.  He was so calm and patient.

Elliott is his own man.  He is slightly smaller in stature than Theo the giant baby, but he holds his own.  He is smart and sweet and is excellent at all sports.  He’s not afraid to catch any ball!  I can tell he thinks a lot, and he’s got a great sense of humor.

Theo is a tornado.  He runs through the room, hair all bushy and disheveled, destroys whatever he sees someone playing with, then turns to you with a brilliant smile and reaches up for a hug.  He pushes the other boys’ buttons and laughs to see their reactions.  He snuggles hard and is a joy to be with.

Sure, not-so-good things happen.  Some days are diamonds, some days are stones.  But life is good.  With this wonderful family of mine, it’s certainly never dull.

Proud as can be

I’m feeling kinda smug today.

I decided to take all the apples we picked a couple of weeks ago and make applesauce. The apples weren’t in the best shape, but I didn’t want to waste them. I figured How hard could it be? Then I thought I’d take it a step further, and CAN my applesauce. I went to the walmart and bought jars.

When Owen was delivered to my door this morning, he and I put on our aprons and got to work. He washed all the apples in the sink, then I cored and quartered them and cut off all the brown spots. Owen put them all into the eNORmous pot and stirred them so they would be coated with a citric acid solution (to prevent browning). This was very hard work, this stirring.

Then we set the pot to simmer on the stove until the apples were mushy and the house smelled like heaven. After gym class, Owen and I stopped at the walmart (again) and bought a canner (a special huge pot with a rack in it). While he ate lunch, I ran the mushy apples through the blender to make a smooooth tart pink applesauce. It was pink because I was able to keep the peels on – Fiberlicious!

I washed the lids and bands and jars, then kept them simmering in some water on the stove until I was ready to use them. Then I filled the jars with the applesauce, put on the lids and bands, and submerged them into the waterbath. After boiling the water for longer than the required time, I placed my beautiful jars of pinkish-tan applesauce on a towel on the counter. I could hear the lids seal themselves with a ‘thupping’ noise. They all were successfully sealed! I did it right!

I had extra, so I refrigerated some for immediate use, and put the rest in the crockpot. I simmered the applesauce all day until I had some tart apple butter. I like to use that instead of oil in my baked goods, especially in muffins.

I washed tons of pots and pans and utensils, but it was so totally worth it. I feel like I accomplished something I have wanted to do for a long time. I am proud of myself. And when Owen gave his mother two jars to take home, and told her that he and I made them with our own hands, he looked pretty proud too.

Next mission: cheese-making!

Decompression

A day with Owen can purge pretty much anything from a person’s subconscious. I feel exhausted from running around with him all day, answering questions, thinking of fun things to do, keeping him happy and busy. But I also feel cleansed and clean. I am renewed.

Tomorrow, I get to recover from my day with him. I have the day off and I don’t have any set plans. I will walk Decky to and from school, blow off my eye doctor appointment, get Bill some new shirts and pants, and make a nice supper. I may even work on painting the powder room. Maybe.

I’m kinda getting used to the drywall and spackle decor in there. 🙂

Friends and family

For a while there, I was fretting that I wasn’t a good friend. Wasn’t attentive enough, wasn’t there for people. It was true, to an extent. But it wasn’t the whole picture.

My old friends and I grew apart. Their interests are not mine. I don’t like to shop, or wear fancy clothes, or watch Real Housewives. We don’t hang out with the same people. They are wonderful women, and I know they would still be there for me if I needed them, as I would for them. And I’d still like to hang out with them occasionally. But we are different and as our kids have grown older, it has become evident.

So then I wonder, do I have any real friends?

I realized today that the people I talk to the most, the ones I have the most in common with, the people I really, really like are my family. They get me, I get them.

Bill and I have grown up together. He knows me better than I know myself sometimes, and still loves me anyway. I am happy just to be with him.

My kids are some of the most wonderful, special people I know. Stefanie would give you the shirt off her back, and a couple bucks if she had some. And a place to sleep. She has a generous and courageous heart. Caitlyn is an exceptional mother and gives valuable insight. Ryan is a protector of the weak and has a strong moral compass. Declan’s wacky sense of humor and his offbeat thought process keep you on your toes. Owen demands and deserves the best from us and keeps us honest. Kevin and Koby are sons I would have chosen for myself.

My parents and siblings are people I could tell anything. My mother feels everything I feel, only more strongly. She is my emotional rock. My father has high expectations, but backs them up with big hugs. My sister is all out there for you to see and love. She lives her live courageously. My brother would take a bullet for any of us, then display it with pride.

I am fortunate enough to have in my life some very cool, funny, compassionate, smart individuals.

I work with many wonderful people too. I don’t call them my friends, but they’re much more than acquaintances. They are my work family. I don’t love them all, but I accept them for who they are, and I acknowledge their value to me. They are my brothers and sisters in my work world. They get me there, in that parallel universe.

So I do have friends. I even have some who aren’t family and who don’t work with me, just not many. But that’s fine with me.
I’m not an island after all, I guess.

News of the day

Thought I’d update since it’s been a while. And so much has been going on!

I am on my seventh week of methotrexate. I don’t feel anything but mild nausea, maybe a little inattention and spaciness, but that’s it. It’s no big deal. The iritis and scleritis are gone. The CT of my orbits and sinuses was negative, so there is really no reason for my behind-the-eye pain and headache. So I will just forget about them and carry on. I see my eye doctor and the orbit doctor next week, so maybe we can figure out why my left eye stays swollen.

Koby and Caitlyn are engaged and plan to marry toward the end of June. Her ring is beautiful and they are both so happy planning their honeymoon. We’re just psyched we get to have Owen while they’re gone!

Stefanie’s shower is this weekend. We have been planning and working on this for a while and it’s finally almost here – we’re so excited! Stefanie is gonna pass away when she sees what we have planned. I can’t wait!

Bill has figured out how to make separate playlists for his ipod so he can rotate content periodically, so he’s really happy. He’s working on this project for hours each day. I’m not so happy about this. He’s also in the best shape since he was a young man. He’s feeling great and I’m happy for him.

Ryan had the hardware in his leg removed and is now just about fully recovered. It was rough on him, but he got through it. I’m just glad it’s over and we don’t have to think about it anymore. He stays busy with work and friends and Michela. He seems happy but tired. I think he’s looking for a change.

Decky is busy drumming and playing tennis. He’s not been sleeping very well lately and I think it’s due to stress at school. He really doesn’t like it. They’re considering him for the gifted program, but the evaluation takes a few months. If he gets in, he’ll get out of his classroom for a while each day. I’m crossing my fingers. His second grade teacher is a fierce advocate for him. She’s a blessing to us.

Work is work. I gave my presentation to the nurse practice council last month, and now it looks like more people want me to give the talk to their departments. I don’t think I’ll be doing that until I get part-time status back. Why do all the extra work when I don’t get any credit toward the clinical ladder for it?

And I’ll be getting the veins on my left leg taken care of soon. I thought I would never bother with them again, but my brother has inspired me to do it. I have another thirty or so years left on these legs so I guess I better do the maintenance. I don’t want major problems down the road.

I haven’t been exercising lately because my eye pressure has been elevated. I’m hoping that gradual weaning off the steroid drops will resolve that issue, and I’ll be able to get back on the treadmill (or out on the trails) soon.

Cait and I leave for Chicago Friday, so we’re hustling to get everything done and settled before we leave. It’s stressful, but we’re going to have so much fun!