Thursday, December 31, 2009

December 2009 Round Up

Created using Big Huge Labs Mosaic Maker.
Click mosaic to biggify, or see my December 2009 Project 365 Posts.

What books and/or magazines did I read this month?
Wait, I'm supposed to *read* the books? I thought they were just decorations for the built in bookshelves in our new den.

What movies and/or tv shows did I watch this month?
At the Theater: Avatar (good to very good; MUST be seen on big screen in 3D) and The Princess and The Frog (okay to good; missing something that I can't articulate).

On the Tube: No new movies, I don't think, and virtually no other movies. I really can't even recall what we watched for rest time films. We did watch the short series on NBC called "The Sing-Off." It was an all a capella group competition, 3 nights one week, then one night the following week. It was wonderful! We also got Friday double shots of Dollhouse.

What special days did I celebrate and how?
Spent Christmas with my family, as always. Also got to see much of my mom's family at her mom's house on the 23rd, including one of my cousins and his pregnant wife, neither of whom we have seen since their wedding.

What gifts did I give and/or receive?
We received two housewarming gifts, one from our local realtor and one from the realtor who helped us find our local realtor. And as an unexpected surprise, my friend Charisse sent me a beautiful ornament from the very evil site she introduced me to on the board. Lots of Christmas gifts, of course, but I always feel odd when listing those out. I'm sure you'll see or hear about most of them as the year goes on. (But if anyone wants to share their favorite slow cooker recipes, I'm all ears!)

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?
I picked up Dad's cold over Christmas, which took about 4 days to become a sinus infection, bronchitis, and ear infection. Still not over it as the new year dawns, but so glad I went to the doctor early when I did, or I'd be "nearly dead" sick by now.

What fun things did I do with my friends and/or family?
Sadly, there was very little that was fun about December. It all felt like work, either at work, on the old house, on the new house, or prepping for Christmas. We only squeaked in 2 movies on the 28th, and even then, I was sick as a dog, so they were enjoyable and distracting, but not "fun fun."

And while it absolutely was not fun, we enjoyed seeing all of DH's relatives at his grandfather's funeral. Obviously, the situation was no fun at all, but it is always so great to see extended family.

What new foods, recipes or restaurants did I try this month?
After hearing about it from so many folks, we finally tried Five Guys Burgers and Fries. It was good, but a bit on the expensive side. Nice for an occasional change, but not a place we are likely to frequent. I had a new cookie recipe to try, but I never got around to making it. Just ran out of time.

What special or unusual purchases did I make?
New fireplace screen (to replace the pile of boxes we were using to block the firebox from the cats), and rugs for the den and dining room (which were delivered on Christmas Eve, Merry Christmas to me!). I also bought several curtains, but they didn't work and I have to return them.

What were this month's disappointments?
DH's grandfather's death, of course. My laptop that stopped working, which meant my CD calendar will be late, and I didn't have time to make my own Christmas card insert (had to use premade, which just bothers me). I also never got to my November 2009 Round Up, which was not completed until after New Year's. I only managed to watch a single Christmas movie (usually I watch quite a few), but it is the best one: Muppet Christmas Carol. We tried installing a light in the dining room ceiling, but there were all sorts of frustrations with it, and after we got it connected and all the way up, we realized that the rod that screws in is too short, so we had to take it all back down. We ended up with no light in there for Christmas (or New Years!).

What were my accomplishments this month?
Another two items off the 101 Things List. That puts me at a total of 28 items for the first year after 38% of the time has lapsed. A few of them I already know won't get done, but I need to work a little harder on it this coming year.

76. Clean the inside of the windows. DH did this right before we got to the next item.

90. Put the house on the market. And there was much rejoicing in the land!! Now to wait for an offer.

And Project 365 is complete. Very hard to believe, and it was quite an experience. I'll do some thoughts on it later.

That assumes that the two huge problematic and now escalated projects at work don't kill me first. Did good on the super-huge hurry up project that is demanding to be complete in only about 40% of our usual cycle time. Other one will be... interesting as it unfolds. Wish me luck; we need a lot of it to hit our target date. I may not come up for air at work until March sometime.

What were Luke's accomplishments this month?

We had his first official parent-teacher conference of the year (the state requires two a year). He received glowing reviews. He is generally well-behaved and very honest (that was news). "He will tell the truth, even if he knows he will get in trouble." And he can't do that at home why? Socially, he gets along well with the other kids. "He talks a lot. He needs to listen more when we are teaching." Gee, I can't imagine where he gets that from (cough). It's not that he's not paying attention. Even when you think he's not, he is listening and can recall what you said. The problem is that it is distraction to the other children. We've talked to him about it, so hopefully it won't continue to be an issue. From a learning perspective, he is doing great! "He knows all of his letters and his numbers. He knows his shapes and his colors. I really don't have much else to teach him." As nice as that is to hear, it is also frustrating. Why am I sending him to Pre-K if you can't teach him anything?

Luke slept until 8 AM Christmas morning. Yes really! No one was more surprised than all of the grown-ups. He seems to be enjoying all of his gifts. Things were going well until the "cat in the night" incident (part 1, part 2). I'm not sure he'll ever sleep fully and soundly in his room again. ::sigh::

Anything else noteworthy to record?
I surely can't think of anything. I really need to just take the entire month of January off and recover, but that is highly impractical.

Monthly Round Up courtesy of Katie the Scrapbook Lady.

Currently feeling: hoping 2010 is a little less bonkers

It's going to be a long new year

As expected, last night's semi-success at getting the child to sleep in his room again was just temporary. He was simply too tired to fight anymore then. Tonight? Plenty of energy and took over 2 hours to get him to stay in bed (somewhere around 10:30). I can't fight him like this for another couple of weeks; I don't have the mental or physical energy. We'll try various other tactics over the coming days. Wish us luck.

Currently feeling: so tired

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Luke update: tentative success?

I'm not sure if we've had real success, or if he was simply exhausted, and I may have just jinxed myself by blogging about it, but I did finally get him to stay in bed starting around 9:30. DH worked with him from about 7:30-9. I took over after that, and it took a bribe and a promise, and as I said, it may have actually been exhaustion that won out, but right now, he's in bed and we'll take it. I told him that if he could stay in bed, close his eyes, and go to sleep, he could open one of the Transformers Mighty Muggs my parents gave him for Christmas. They were sitting on the top shelf in his room, and at some point while trying to get him to stay in bed, he pointed and asked to open one. We weren't saving them for any special reason, we just hadn't opened them yet, so I made the deal: stay in bed and sleep, and you can have one tomorrow.

He did get up again once after that, saying that he was too scared to close his eyes. I went back in his room, tucked him in again, and told him that he didn't have to close his eyes if he didn't want to. He could keep them open as long as he wanted, he just had to stay in bed. Haven't heard a peep since then. His eyes were droopy already when I left him that last time, and I know DH had already told him that very same thing about an hour before then to no avail, so I really think it was just exhaustion overtaking him and not anything really that I said. But regardless, he's been in bed for nearly an hour now. I desperately want to go check on him, but I am not about to wake him accidentally! I am, however, fully expecting him to wake up sometime in the night and be scared again. Baby steps, though. If we can get him to sleep in there, even a little, for the next few nights, I hope he will eventually get back to being okay with bedtime.

Thanks for listening. I'm sure there will be more to come.

Currently feeling: going to attempt to sleep some myself

A suspect emerges

Luke is still terrified of his room. Even with the full on 8 AM sun streaming through his bedroom window, he did *not* want to be in his room this morning. At. All. He went in with me long enough to grab a shirt, but he begged to be allowed to change clothes somewhere else. I left his door open, hoping that watching the kitties going in and out would help the fear subside. Instead, it almost seemed to make him more aggitated. "No, don't go in there, Cleo. There's nightmares in there!" (He picked that up from DH last night, who was convinced that it was a nightmare, even though I didn't think he'd had time to go back to sleep.)

As things have unfolded this evening, we may have finally discovered what really happened. As we were working through all of Luke's objections at bedtime, it suddenly came out that a cat may have been in his room. I don't think Luke was hiding that information or holding it back, I think he didn't realize it until he was "talking through" what happened. "But I saw it! I saw the hatch open, and then Bengal jumped on my bed." Ah-ha! As I mentioned in my previous post, Luke had come into our bedroom just before 3 AM to ask if it was time to get up (um, no). Knowing Luke, he probably left his bedroom door open, and being the Fluff of Opportunity that he is, Bengal likely took that as an invitation and waltzed right in.

I highly doubt that Luke had time to actually fall asleep enough to dream in the time that lapsed between tucking him back in bed and the screaming. That has been the most baffling thing about this whole ordeal. It was less than 5 minutes, and he takes after me in that respect (takes me forever go to back to sleep, too). Here is what we have surmised: either he was still awake, or he was just starting to drop off when Bengal decided he needed to look out the window. Imagine if you will: you are a 5-year-old child in a dark room that you've only lived in for a month, lit by a single night light, and you see the floor length wooden blinds to your left pulling away from the window all by themselves, with you laying in bed not 3 feet away, followed by a bang as the blinds slam back down against the window and a giant dark thing that you can't really see jumps on your bed. I know the thought gives grown-up me the willies; as a child, I'd have been screaming bloody murder, too. I can only imagine what it was like for Luke.

Now, knowing all of this (and putting a lamp with a low watt bulb on his chest of drawers) has helped him be in his room and lay in the bed without being as afraid. But as soon as DH or I leave the room (with the lamp still on!), he is petrified again. I am trying so hard to do what is right for him, but I have warring parental instincts right now. Part of me says we should stay in the room with him, but that is not a precedent I care to set. How many nights will it take for us to ever leave the room if we start that? But would that be faster/better than the constant up and down that we are having so far tonight? (We're at the 80 minute mark at the moment.) I don't think one night of successful sleeping in the room will cure it. It is going to take several nights for the fear to recede, and even longer for it to disappear completely (if it ever does). But is staying with him just validating that fear, telling him on some level that there is something to be afraid of because we wouldn't be staying if there weren't. I have no idea what the right thing to do is.

More than anything, I hate that even though I have experienced such feelings myself, I have no way to help him. Honestly, I never really got over it, I just learned to cope, to live with it. I had a bunch of stuffed animals, sometimes a flashlight, and occasionally resorted to sleeping with the room light on (once a year or so even now, as a married adult in my 30s, I still have an occasional "bathroom light on" night). DH is somewhat frustrated that telling him that it's not real and it can't hurt him is not helping. I know it won't help! But you still have to say it, over and over and over. The only things that got me through many a frightening night as a kid was squeezing my "friends" to death and chanting "it's not real, there's nothing to be afraid of." It didn't really make me any less afraid, but it gave me just enough of a grip on reality that I could stay in my bed until I was just too tired to stay awake anymore. But all of mine were either dreams or something frightening I had seen on television (or read in a book), and I always had that to fall back on. "It was just a dream. It's not real. It was just a television show, it was just a book, it's not real."

Luke's experience was not a dream. It *was* real, and he *was* awake, which isn't helping. Having a rational explanation after the fact is not doing any good at all. "Bengal was being silly. He just wanted to look out the window. He didn't mean to scare you. We'll make sure Bengal is out with us and that your door is closed tight so he can't get in. You're fine! There's nothing to be afraid of. It was just Bengal."

Nothing but empty words to a terrified child. I feel so helpless.

Currently feeling: miserable

Terror in the Night

Time required to go from in bed dozing but not asleep at 3 AM when the child start screaming hysterically, to finding the child petrified but physically unhurt in the hall: 5 seconds

Number of distinct scenarios this mother can imagine in those 5 seconds, ranging from mundane to absurd to horrific: 6 (along with about 50 refrains of "oh my god, please be okay")

I am quite sure those were the longest 5 seconds of my life. I'm still shaking from the adrenaline buzz, and highly doubt that I (or the child) will be getting any more sleep tonight. He is convinced that there is some purple thing coming through his bedroom window. Neither DH nor I can see anything new that hasn't been there for the month we've lived there. No new lights, nothing unusual outside. DH even laid down on the bed with the lights off to see if he could figure out what happened.

Luke had been up just a few minutes before asking if it was time to get up, so he could not have been asleep very long, if at all. But there is no faking the visceral terror he clearly feels at the thought of going back in his room without the lights. We could get him back in bed, but once I turned the light off (he has a nightlight, same one he's always had in the same place he's always been), even with both DH and me in the room with him, the thought of laying down again in his bed was too much and he physically pushed off DH who was trying to hug him and calm him so that he could leave his room and go out into the hall.

Despite clearly remembering being scared like that, both as a child and an adult, I have absolutely no idea how to help him. I, at least, now have DH to huddle up with in bed, but having Luke sleep in our room (which was his request) is not a precedent we care to set. He and DH are tucked in the den right now with the lights dimmed. I'm trying not to add any additional unusual elements to the environment by sniffing every 2-3 minutes, so I'm back in our bedroom (wide awake now, of course). It's been about 45 minutes since I tucked them in, and I've heard Luke fussing every 5-10 minutes, which is probably about how long it takes him to start dozing off. I can hear the fear in his little voice all the way down the hall, even if I can't make out his actual words. Clearly, he is still "seeing" whatever it is whenever he closes his eyes, and I can completely sympathize (the movie SE7EN, anyone?). I see many long nights ahead.

Part of me feels like this is my fault. DH almost never remembers his dreams, maybe once a year at most. I'm the one who has nightmares like that, and I'm the one who, when being perfectly honest with myself, is still more than a tiny bit afraid of the dark. Another part of me simply cannot shake the feeling that there could have been something (someone?) out there. At least at the old house, there was no chance of someone being outside his 2nd story window, but here? It is possible. I find that to be the most fundamentally disturbing aspect of this whole ordeal. I may sleep with the light on myself tonight.

Currently feeling: exhausted

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Move Along, Mr. Cough

Okay Mr. Cough, I've had enough from you. I've put up with you and Sniffle Nose for 3 days now, but once you started trying to corrupt Lungs and Right Eardrum this morning (which would only lead to them inviting Bronchitis and Ear Infection to the party), I called in the big guns. I have Antibiotics & I will use them! Move along now.

Currently feeling: unwell

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

To those who celebrate it, I wish you the Most Merry of Christmases.

And to each and every one of you, I wish you nothing but love and peace for the coming year.

Currently feeling: treasuring the gift of family and friends

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Anyone need a house?

We have a great 3-bedroom 2.5-bath starter house (finally!) officially on the market in metro Atlanta! Anyone interested?

Currently feeling: hoping for a quick sale

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Transfiguration: A Conversation with Luke

It took me a brief moment to figure out what on earth he meant, and then I couldn't stop laughing.

Luke: I have a callapiller (sic) at my [imaginary] home. He will turn into a raccoon and then be a butterfly.

Currently feeling: still giggling

Friday, December 18, 2009

Still here

Didn't want anyone to worry, so I thought I would pop in. I am unlikely to get much of anything posted until after Christmas. Too too too much to do, including a super-hot project I was handed on Thursday. So much for the "quiet period" at work. But I am here, we have gone about 10 days without any sort of catastrophe (knock wood), and I feel like we might finally be starting to breathe and settle in to the new house. I have been making some small notes as the month has rolled along so that I don't forget anything blog-worthy, I just haven't had time to flesh them out into anything more than a few bullet points. (Twitter and/or Facebook is getting a little more info in the "short burst" format, but not much, so don't feel slighted. It has mostly been complaints about the weather. COLD!!) I have a Christmas greeting slated to auto post on Christmas Eve, but that's probably it until sometime the week of New Years. Hope you are all doing well!

Currently feeling: attempting to prep for Christmas and escalate a project simultaneously

Saturday, December 12, 2009

House warming gifts

We have received two wondeful house warming gifts since we moved in. I wanted to give a big public thank you to both of them.

First, we received this absolutely beautiful frame from our realtor Jayme. "I know you love your pictures." It is styled perfectly for our tastes and our home. I absolutely cannot wait to load it up with photos and get it hung.

Next, our "other realtor" Elizabeth, who saw my lament about moving on Twitter and helped us find Jayme in the first place. She sent these amazing cookies that are made by a local (to her) bakery in Arizona. Three each of 4 different flavors, and each cookie is about the size of my palm and over half an inch thick. Mm-mm-mm!!

I'm feeling more homey already.

Currently feeling: house-warmed

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Crazy Hat Day

Yesterday was Crazy Hat Day at school. However, both Luke and I completely forgot come Tuesday morning. He was rather devastated when we arrived and he realized it. Being the amazing wonderful mommy that I am, I made the 2 mile round trip back home to try and find something, even though I really had no idea what I was looking for. As I hunted through the hat collection, I remembered his Cars ear hat that we got this year at Disney. Perfect!

(This photo is from March on the way home from Disney.)

As I brought it into the classroom, his entire face lit up, but the best part was yet to come. I put it on him, and as he returned to the group (they were sitting on the carpet for group time), a chorus of little voices immediately went up: "Oh wow, that is so cool!" Oh yeah, best mommy ever! LOL

Currently feeling: the magic of Mickey ears

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Project 365: Hold Please

Well, it was bound to happen at some point this year, I just had a feeling. My laptop is still not working at present. Not sure what the issue is, other than the hard drive is not engaging (spinning) when I press the power button. I didn't hear the mythical crashing drive noise, but who knows. I think it is still under warranty, but I just haven't had time to investigate, but replacing the hard drive won't bring back my data.

I have a back up of all of my photos at least through the end of October. I may or may not have backed up again right before the move, I can't remember now. I know I have not backed up since. (Nor can I lay my hands on my back up drive, but that's a different issue. It's around... somewhere.) My laptop was also the only computer loaded with editing software, so I can't even tweak my pictures (and I am not uploading unaltered photos if I can help it). All of the photos I took in the meantime are still on memory cards that I have access to. It's just the time and effort to download them and re-process them that I don't have right now. With all the other craziness, I'm not sure if I'll get caught up by the end of the year, but I will try. Right now, it is very nearly midnight at the end of yet another very long day, and I must go to bed.

I am still taking photos, and I shall return. Eventually.

Currently feeling: completely frustrated

Monday, December 07, 2009

Why am I being punished?!!

Oh, for %$#& sake! Now my laptop won't boot. You know, the one one with all the Christmas recipes and menus (replaceable), my Christmas card list that I was going to finish up with this week (may or may not be replaceable), and the CD calendar that I spent the better part of 3 DAYS putting together back in October so that I wouldn't have to scramble come December (don't have the time to replace it at this point). WHY AM I BEING PUNISHED?!! Y'all put in a good word for me with whatever higher power you believe in, because I am seriously starting to think this punishment does not fit whatever crime the universe seems to feel that I committed.

I've rebooted, I've popped the battery and left it out for over an hour, I've done everything I can think of. The hard drive simply is not engaging when I press the power button, so I can't even load it in safe mode to try and save anything (like pictures, which are all still (thankfully!) on cards that I have access to, but I still have to re-download and re-process them all). I'm so angry I'm in tears. I know life isn't fair, but geez! I'VE HAD ENOUGH!!!

Currently feeling: seething

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Empty Nest: A Conversation with Luke

I think this conversation may have been prompted by us telling Luke that we were going to see Steve's Dad (it's his father who passed away), even though he started asking these questions many hours later. Luke has meet him a few times, but the most recent time was a couple of years ago and I'm sure he doesn't remember.

Luke: Why when I'm a grown-up do I not live with you?
DH: Well, after you go to college and get a job, you'll have your own stuff and you'll want to put it in your own house.
Luke: But I will miss you!
Me: You will still see us. Remember that Nana and Papa are my mommy and daddy. I used to live with them, but now I life with you and Daddy. But we still see them a lot. They come to see us or we go to see them.
Luke: But I don't have a car.
DH: You will when you get old enough.

Currently feeling: awww

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

So far, December is not really better

I know, I am woefully behind. Thanksgiving was pretty bad. I had a kidney stone that started killing me just as we sat down to eat our big family meal. Two hours on the hard bathroom floor to pass it, plus a 2 hour nap afterwards pretty much wiped out turkey day itself. Sleeping off the pain meds erased most of Friday for me as well. Saturday went okay; I did get some rugs picked out for the new house, though I haven't had time to buy them yet. Then Sunday as we were leaving, I closed Luke's thumb in the car door. It's not broken as I feared, and he's fine, but it just seemed like the perfect end to such a crappy month.

December has to be better, right?

Or not. Steve's grandmother just called. His grandfather died last night. He has been in failing health for some years, and she did email Steve within the last week or so to say he had been moved to hospice care, so it's not a surprise. Doesn't make it suck any less, though. We were already discussing going down there this weekend anyway, I just hate that we didn't make it. We'll be going to the funeral on Saturday (have to wait for extended family from North Carolina, Washington DC, Texas, South Dakota, and Australia to arrive).


In the meantime, I have to come up with something for both myself and Luke to wear. Luke should be pretty easy. Thanks to Mom, I already have some nice shirts for him, just need to get him some pants (he only has jeans right now). Me, not so much. I haven't worn business clothes in almost a year, since the last round of holiday work parties. I pray they still fit. It *might* be as "warm" as the 40s and raining for the service, and I'm wearing pants, whether it is "proper etiquette" or not. Might also break out the long wool coat I bought back in January. Summer funerals are no fun in the heat, but I think cold and rainy will be worse.

Currently feeling: just trying to keep it together