I Don’t Want Your Advice

I am the mother of a child with special needs, and I don’t want your advice.

There.  I said it.

I don’t want your advice.

I don’t want to hear your opinion about how I parent my child.

I don’t care about some study you read online that says that everything I’m doing is wrong.

I don’t want you to send me articles on Facebook that you skimmed over and think might be “helpful” when “dealing with” my child.

I don’t care about your snide remarks or rolled eyes when I mention that I am getting my child evaluated for another possible diagnosis.

I really, REALLY don’t want to hear about how you think that Sensory Processing Disorder or Autism or ADHD aren’t real.

I. Don’t. Want. Your. Advice.

Why, you ask?  Why wouldn’t the mother of a child with special needs want more advice, more information, more opinions?  Why wouldn’t she do everything in her power to help her child?  Why would she turn away anyone’s well-intentioned suggestions?

I’ll tell you why.

Because I’ve read it all already.  There is nothing out there that I haven’t seen, read, researched, and discussed with our doctors and therapists.  Nothing.  I’m not exaggerating.

No one does research like a parent of a child with special needs.

I have stayed up well past midnight more times than I can count, digging through every article out there, looking for new ways to connect with my child.  From health issues, to education, to social behavior, I’ve read it all.  It’s what I do.

But there is more.

I have knowledge that no one else in the world has.

I know my child.

After reading all of the information that the internet can provide (both valid and complete bullshit), I am as well-versed as a person can be in my child’s diagnoses, but more importantly, after almost 6 years of motherhood, I can safely say that I am an expert when it comes to my child.

I know what will and will not work when it comes to feeding, discipline, safety, and education.

I know that bribery will not work, because there is nothing that my child wants more than doing the thing she doesn’t want to do.

I know that time outs don’t work, but that quiet time in my lap does.

I know that I will probably have to hide veggies in sauces and dips for years to come.

I know that having an escape plan from any public situation is required because my child can only handle so much sensory input before she loses her mind.

I know that my child can not have freedom to walk next to the cart at Target because she will run the second I take my eye off of her.

I know that SPD, ASD, and ADHD are quite real, and anyone who says that they aren’t needs to do some research right after they get their head out of their ass.

I have a team of experts that help me implement the plan we have created to help my child be the very best she can be.  It’s not like I’m just making this stuff up as I go along. Between our pediatrician, specialists, occupational, speech, physical, and behavioral therapists we know that we’re on the right track.  And if something new pops up, I do my research again, and we alter our plan to take care of it.

I love my kids more than anything in the world.

Trust me to know what I’m doing.


Why I’m Tired

Someone asked me why I’m so tired all of the time.  At the time, I just said that I didn’t sleep well and left it at that, but the reality is that there is so much more to it.

Why am I tired?
Here’s why…

I am tired because in almost 6 years, Ellie has slept through the night maybe six times.

I am tired because Laurel is a very willful child who knows how to push every button I have.  Having the same arguments over and over again is mentally exhausting.

I am tired because in addition to her pediatrician and dentist Ellie sees seven different specialists, and it is my job to keep track of all of her appointments.

I am tired because every week Ellie has two half-hour sessions of speech therapy, two sessions of occupational therapy, a session of physical therapy, four hours with a behavioral coordinator, and fifteen hours split between two different behavioral therapists.  That’s right 21 1/2 hours of therapy.  Every week.

I am tired because I am now homeschooling Ellie, and most days she’s too tired to pay attention to half of what we do.

I am tired because Laurel wants more one-on-one time with me, so instead of relaxing on the weekend I try to squeeze in as much time with her as I can, which means that I have to cram things like cleaning in at night…the only other time I have to relax.

I am tired because keeping a house even relatively clean while having small children is one of the most futile battles a person can fight, but with therapists in our house 19 hours a week I have to do my best so they don’t call CPS on me.

I am tired because Ellie’s favorite word for three years has been NO.  She has also recently added the phrase “I can’t” to her repertoire.

I am tired because I have to feed a family of four (three of whom can’t have gluten, two of whom can’t have dairy) on a single, small income.  Not to mention pay the mortgage, the electric, and everything else.

I am tired because I have seen every episode of Sophia the First so many times that I can recite them all.  And the Lorax.  And Frozen.  And Mary freaking Poppins.

I am tired because every time we leave the house, I have to be on high alert, making sure Ellie is secure so she can’t wander off, dart into traffic, or happily go home with a stranger.

I am tired because it is my job to keep track of all of Ellie’s medications.  And Laurel’s.  And my own.

I am tired because I’m constantly watching my kids for signs of other issues.  Laurel may have ADHD.  Does Ellie just have Sensory Processing Disorder, or is she actually showing signs of Autism?  Is that eczema?  Not ringworm again!

I am tired because I don’t get enough exercise, and I don’t eat as well as I should.  How do people fit exercise into their schedules??  Also, pass the ice cream. I’m going to eat my feelings while binge watching NCIS.

I am tired because people expect me to be happy all the time, but most of the time I feel overwhelmed and lonely.  Being a mom is hard.  Being a mom of twins is harder.  Being a mom of a kid with special needs is harder still.  But people make it seem like if you admit that, you’re a bad mom.  I’m suppose to cherish every moment.  But some moments suck.  Some suck so bad that I want to hide in the laundry room and cry and never come out.

I am tired because when people ask how I’m doing, they don’t really want to know.  No one wants to hear that my day has sucked.  They have their own crap to deal with.

I am tired because I don’t see an end to being tired.  When I look ahead, I can’t be sure that I will ever get enough sleep, or be able to stop worrying.  Every stage brings new things to stress about.

I am tired because I’m a mom.

When Inclusion isn’t Right


It is the new “thing” for kids with Down syndrome and other special needs.  Instead of having them stuck in a special education room, separate from their typical peers, as they have been since I was a child, they are included in the typical classroom.  The idea is that having everyone together will promote better understanding of differences for the typical peers, while giving the kids with special needs a sense of belonging and challenging them to be the best they can be.

If you have a child with special needs, and you belong to any kind of parent group (in real life or online), you know all about inclusion.  It is all some groups talk about.  It is the right thing to do!  It is the only way!  You must push for inclusion or you are doing your child a huge disservice!

At least that’s how it seemed to me, when the time came to enroll Ellie in kindergarten.  The thing was, I wasn’t sure about all of that.  Ellie has some pretty significant delays, and I really didn’t feel that being in a typical classroom all day was right for her.  So we opted to have her in the Life Skills (the new name for special ed) class for the majority of the day, with only a small fraction of her time spent in the typical class across the hall.

It worked for her for the most part.  With her speech delays and the fact that she couldn’t even draw a proper circle yet, it made sense for her to be in a smaller class where she could get more one on one attention.  She was being taught the same things as the kids in the typical class, but on a slower schedule. The typical class spent one day on each letter.  Ellie’s class spent two to three days on each letter.  If Ellie got tired (as she often does) she could curl up on one of the little mats and take a short nap, then wake up ready to learn some more.  The kids in her typical class loved her, and whenever she missed school would ask when she was coming in.  We’ve been working on having her in the typical more and more as the school year goes along.  Because inclusion is the way to go, right?

The problem was that Ellie was missing more and more days of school.  The plethora of germs that abound in a kindergarten classroom were doing a number on her health.  While other kids (like Laurel) can get a cold and be over it in a couple days, when Ellie gets sick she stays sick for a week or more.  Then, around Thanksgiving, she got really sick.  And didn’t get better.  After three rounds of antibiotics, several chest x-rays, nebulizer treatments, and missing a month of school we finally saw a pulmonologist who diagnosed Ellie with asthma. With the help of yet another round of antibiotics to clear up the pneumonia she had developed along with a new regime of asthma meds, she finally got healthy.

Then she went to school for a week.

Luckily we’ve been snowed in this entire week, because she’s sick again.  At least it won’t count against her attendance, since the school has been closed.  We are just hoping that she’s well enough to go to school on Monday.  I haven’t looked at the numbers lately, but I’m fairly sure that she’s been out of school almost as much as she’s been in.

During her two months of sickness, Ellie’s pediatrician said something to me that really stuck.

“I don’t think that school is good for Ellie’s health.”

I laughed it off at the time, because really, what was the alternative?

But it’s been in there, in the back of my brain while we’ve worked to get Ellie better, and it’s made me really reevaluate what Ellie needs vs what the Down syndrome community as a whole has been pushing for.  At what point does the push for socialization and interaction with her peers get outweighed by her need to stay healthy?  How much education is she really getting, when she is missing days, weeks, even a whole month of school?  What, really, are the alternatives?

Luckily, we live in Pennsylvania where there are a lot of educational options, from public and private schools to charter schools, homeschooling, and cyber schools.  Laurel attends a public charter school for the arts, but a brick and mortar school of any kind would cause Ellie the same problems as her current situation.  That leaves home and cyber school.  I know myself too well to pretend that I have the discipline to homeschool my child.  I need to be accountable to someone or I will let her slack off.  That leaves cyber school, which will give us the flexibility we need (we’ll actually be able to get Ellie all of the therapy she’s suppose to have, since we’ll be able to do it during the day), the ability for her to learn even when she’s home sick, and keeps me accountable because we have to login every day.

I am meeting with PA Cyber’s IEP team in a couple weeks to talk about pulling Ellie from her current school and enrolling her in cyber school.  I am doing the least inclusive thing I possibly could.  And you know what?  That’s ok.  Because sometimes inclusion isn’t the right answer.  Sometimes your child’s immune system can’t handle being in a class of 20 other germ infested five year olds.  Sometimes interaction with that many kids is too overwhelming for all of their senses.  Sometimes school is just too much for your child’s body, mind, and spirit.

Sometimes you have to listen to your gut, not the mommy group.

I think that inclusion is a great thing, and that it does a lot of kids a world of good.  But it just isn’t right for us right now.  Maybe when she’s older and stronger she’ll be able to handle being in a brick and mortar school.  For now, we’ll keep her home and let her immune system have a break from the constant onslaught of germs and stress that she’s been dealing with since September.  We’ll have more control over her schedule and her education, and that is what’s best for Ellie.




We always blame the single straw
That breaks the camel’s back.
Instead of blaming all the weight
Of the others in the sack.

This week my back broke. It must have, because while I pride myself on my ability to roll with the punches, to accept all of the little things that I can not change, here I sit, completely stressed out and overwhelmed.

What was the straw that did me in?  What, as the mother of a child with special needs, after years of tests and diagnosis and medical interventions, finally floored me?

Ellie may have had a seizure.

After finally getting better after months (yes, months) 0f illness, after getting a diagnosis of asthma, after starting three new meds to control that asthma, after learning how to use and inhaler, a spacer, and a nebulizer, after all of that, and just when we thought we were in the clear..she had a possible seizure Monday night.

We aren’t even sure that it was a seizure, but I caught it on video and the pediatrician was concerned enough that he scheduled an EEG for next week with a neurologist appointment to follow.

It was like I could feel something break inside me.

Suddenly everything has hit me so hard.  One more specialist.  One more thing to obsessively Google.  One more possible diagnosis.  One more thing to lose sleep over (because did you know that kids who have seizures in their sleep can stop breathing and die?  I didn’t, but now I do.)  One. More. Thing.


There went my back.

With worries about seizures came a whirlwind of other thoughts that have been building up inside me ever since kindergarten started.  How we just don’t seem to have any time anymore.  Now that she’s started getting behavioral therapy we have no free evenings.  None.  Monday- physical therapy.  Tuesday- dance.  Wednesday- occupational and speech therapy.  Thursday- behavioral therapy.  Friday- Shabbat and/or more behavioral therapy.  I work every Saturday.  Sunday is the only day off we get, and we are all so tired that we rarely do anything fun.   And she still only gets half of the therapies that she should get.  We just can’t fit any more in.

I’ve gotten to the point of considering home or cyber school for Ellie, even though I love how much she loves school and all of her friends.  At least she would be able to get all of her therapies and then we could sign her and Laurel up for some of the fun activities they keep asking for, like Little League and Girl Scouts.  Because right now, they are out of the question.


I am so freaking tired.

No, everyone is tired.

I am drained.

I feel like I have nothing left to give.

I know that throwing in the towel isn’t an option, though, and that is part of what’s so damn depressing about it.  I have to soldier on.  I have to suck it up, buttercup, and keep on keeping on.  Because there is no other option.  My kids depend on me.  Chev depends on me.  My job depends on me.  My friends depend on me.  No matter how bad I’d like to run away, I can’t.  That’s what being an adult is, I suppose.  But damn it sucks sometimes.

There is a thing called Caretaker Burnout.  If you’ve never heard of it, you are looking right at it.  I know what it is. I know I have it.  What I don’t know is how to make it go away.  No amount of “me time” is going to fix it.  I just spend the time thinking and worrying about the same things I think and worry about the rest of the time.  Someone suggested I join a support group for parents of kids with special needs.  Like I can fit one more monthly meeting into my schedule.  I don’t know if there is a cure.  I think it just becomes part of your life.

I’ve been tired for so long that I don’t remember what it’s like to wake up refreshed and ready to start the day.  But I can still usually put on a happy face and feel pretty optimistic about our prospects as a family. Today I can’t.

Damn straw.

Carrying On

Today is a bitter-sweet day at our house.

Today I am saying goodbye to a faithful friend, one who has really lended me support over the past few years, one on whom Ellie has depended on many occasions.

I am, of course, talking about my Ergo baby carrier.

That’s right, after four solid years of use, Ellie has out-grown her Ergo.  I couldn’t have asked for a better carrier.  My only regret is that I didn’t get it when the girls were first born, because it would have really made those first few months a lot easier.  As it is, the Ergo enabled me to do things that would have been impossible without it, like hiking, going to the fair, and eating with both hands when Ellie was sick and refused to be put down.  I love my Ergo.

All good things must come to an end, however, and it is time to pack up my old friend and send it off to someone else, who I can only hope will appreciate it as much as I did.  While still technically under the weight limit, Ellie is simply too big to fit comfortably in the Ergo now, and it has been getting progressively less comfortable for me to wear her on my back over the past six months.  So farewell, old friend.  You will always be remembered as the single most useful baby item I ever owned.

“But wait,” you say, “You said today was bitter-sweet.  Where is the sweet part?”

Well, my friends, let me introduce you to the newest addition to our household…..

Picture 117The Beco toddler carrier.

Picture 125Holy crap is this thing awesome.

New to the relatively small market of toddler carriers, the Beco is all that I could wish for in a carrier.  Besides the considerable size difference between my baby Ergo, I am loving the way it is constructed.  The waist clip is adjustable from both sides, so it can be clipped right in the middle, which I find a lot more comfortable.  The shoulder straps are SO much cushier than the Ergo, and they are really easy to adjust.  I’m no longer getting strangled by the chest clip, either, which is a very nice change.  I can even wear her on my front, something I haven’t been able to do for a really long time in the Ergo.  There is a little pocket on the waist band, a snap-on zippered pouch, and an adjustable snap-on hood.  It also comes with a super cute little carrying bag, so there will be no more flailing straps in the back of my car.

Ergo Baby on top of Beco Toddler.  Note the size difference!

Ergo Baby on top of Beco Toddler. Note the size difference!

Look how thick the straps are, compared to my old Ergo!

Look how thick the straps are, compared to my old Ergo!

Where can you get this wonder?  Well, I snagged one from Lil Tulips, and it only took three days to get to my house.  You can’t beat that for service!  Now, I know they are pricey at $200, but I really think they are worth the money.  I am notoriously cheap, but I know that I am going to use this carrier for at least two more years, and some things are just worth investing in.

All packed up in the little storage bag.

All packed up in the little storage bag.

Especially when you have a child who has special needs.  Because while a toddler carrier may be a convenience item for most families, it is pretty much a necessity for us.  Ellie simply can’t walk for long on her own, and hiking is pretty much out of the question.  Add in her dislike for holding our hands and complete lack of stranger danger, and a carrier is a must.  I was really worried about what we were going to do when I realized that Ellie was going to outgrow her Ergo before she could walk really well.  Thank goodness for the all of the babywearing mamas out there who have spurred the carrier companies to create carriers for bigger kids!

Ready to hit the trail.  Or the mall.  Whatever comes first.

Ready to hit the trail. Or the mall. Whatever comes first.

So while we are sad to say goodbye to our friend, the Ergo, Ellie and I are very excited to start our Beco journey… one step at a time.

Someone was sad that this post wasnt about her.

Someone was sad that this post wasnt about her.

The Firsts of Special Needs Parenting

This morning I read a great article about the “other” firsts that parents go through that we never really talk about.  Things like the first time you realized that you can’t call your mom to fix things, because YOU are the mom now.  And the first time you realize that you aren’t completely screwing up your kid.  Go read it.  It’s great.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kim-simon/theres-always-a-first-time_b_4641690.html

After I finished reading, I started thinking about the firsts that we, as parents of a child with special needs, have experienced.  So I decided to share them with you.

The first time a doctor looks at you with concern in their eyes and tells you that there is something different about your baby.  Maybe it happens right after your baby is born, when you are exhausted and full of birthing hormones and pain killers.  Maybe it happens a few months later, when your child hasn’t met any of their milestones yet.  Maybe, like me, it happens while you are still pregnant.  But whenever it happens, you won’t forget it.  The doctor with sad, worried eyes, speaking in low, soothing tones about statistics and DNA and special services.  That sinking sensation in your stomach as the words sink in.  The feeling of rising panic and helplessness as you try to figure out how “bad” things are.  The resignation and determination that follows, as you swear to yourself and your child that you will do everything necessary to help and protect them.

The first time someone asks what is wrong with your child.  And the mother bear inside you roars as you calmly explains that there is NOTHING wrong with your baby.  She is just a little different from other babies.  All babies are different and special.  And you will educate them about the syndrome/condition/whatever that your child was born with, and why it is not something that deserves pity, but that should be embraced.  All while screaming profanities at them inside your head.

The first time your child hits a milestone that you have all works SO hard towards.  Kids with special needs often develop at a different rate than other kids.  Laurel crawled at five months.  Ellie crawled at 18 months.  While we celebrated Laurel’s accomplishment, like any parents would, there was a bit more celebration over Ellie’s.  Because she had worked so much harder for it.  We worked on crawling every day for months on end.  Her physical therapist came every week and showed us new exercises to have her do to help strengthen her naturally low-toned muscles.  Mostly Ellie hated it.  She cried.  I cried.  Laurel cried in sympathy.  But one day, right around Christmas of 2011, she crawled across the floor from Chev to me.  And we all cried again, but in happiness.  Laurel danced around us, clapping and cheering for her Sissy.  It was a very good day.

The first major setback.  At some point, you will think that you have this whole special needs parenting thing under control.  Your kid is progressing along in all major areas, a couple of your specialists have told you that your kid doesn’t need to come back, and you are flying high. That is when it happens.  Your kid suddenly stops talking or eating or walking or starts screaming whenever you get them wet or pick them up too fast or dress them in anything scratchy or they get really sick and no one can figure out why.  And suddenly you are back at a new specialist’s office for a new round of tests, or you are meeting with new therapists for evaluations.

The first time a doctor tells you that you don’t need to come back to them.  Specialists are just part of life when you have a child with special needs.  For us, it has been pediatric cardiologists, eye doctors, ear nose and throat doctors, gastrointestinal doctors, and bone doctors.  The first year is a relentless round of appointments, tests, and observations.  But one day, one of the doctors will smile at you and tell you that your child doesn’t need a follow up appointment, and that unless you notice something else that pops up in a few years, they don’t need to see either of you again.  And you leave the office with a bit more spring in your step, mentally checking off a little box in your head:  GI issues….DONE!  And that feels SO good.

The first time you realize that you have GOT this.  One day it will hit you that you really do have this whole thing figured out.  You are an expert in whatever special need your child has.  You can spew off the list of doctors, practices, therapies, and medications that your child is seeing, doing, and taking.  You know who to talk to at the state or county government office that will actually listen to you and try to help.  You know what an IEP is, and have faced down the school board at least once.  But that none of that really matters.  What really matters is that you have learned to put all of that stuff aside and just play with your child.  We can get lost in the red tape sometimes, but one day you will realize that the most important thing you can do for your child has nothing to do with which therapies they receive.  You will find yourself sitting on the floor, playing with trains or stuffed animals or stuffed animals riding on trains, and you will realize that THIS is what it means to be a parent.  Not a parent of a special needs child.  Just a parent.  Because that is what you are.  And you will grab your little one and hug them close (whether they like it or not), and tell them that you love them, that you will always love them, no matter what.  And they will look at you like you are crazy and that is ok.  Because that is what all kids do.



How May I Direct Your Call?


Something you may not know about me is that I work every other weekend at a real estate agency.  I answer the phones and schedule appointments and am basically a glorified secretary.  Its a nice little job that gets me out of the house and away from the kids a few days a month.  I get some adult interaction and Chev gets to bond with the girls.

I’ve been doing this for about two and a half years now, and in that time I have learned a few things about buying and selling homes that I’d like to share with you.  I hope you find it helpful the next time you are on the prowl for a new home.

For the Buyers

Do not call me and ask if you can schedule a showing on a house you just drove past today.  No, you can’t.  Why?  For so many reasons.  Only real estate agents can schedule showings.  If you don’t have one, you need to get one.  And you need to get per-approved for a mortgage.  Then, and only then, can you go see houses.  Which you will not be calling me about, because that is your agent’s job.  And when they call me, I will have to contact the owner of the home, who will very likely not want to leave their house just so you can look at it with no notice.

Do not call me and tell me that you are interested in information on the house we have for sale in Wherevertown, but you don’t know the street name or house number.  Don’t give me random landmarks, like “It’s across the street from the barber shop.” I don’t know where the hell the barber shop is.  Do you seriously think I have a map of the entire state locked away in my head, with every random little business written on it?  No, I don’t.  I don’t have a map at all.  I have a computer program with limited searching ability, which includes things like street names and house numbers, but does NOT include landmarks or vague descriptions of locations.

On a very similar note, do not call me and ask for information on a house based solely on description.  I’m sure it’s a very cute brick ranch home.  Just like the 30 other brick ranch homes we have for sale.  None of which I am familiar with, because my system doesn’t show me pictures of the properties.  I don’t know what any of them look like, unless I actually look them up on a separate system, and I only do that if they are super expensive or really popular and I’m being nosy.  Know the damn street name!

If you don’t speak English, don’t get mad at me because I don’t understand you.  I know very little German, and even less Spanish.  I will do my best to get you to someone who speaks your language, but bare in mind that I am usually the only person in the office on weekends, so I’m going to have to connect you to someone else’ cell phone.  Which brings me to…

If you call me and I connect you to someone else’ cell phone so you can get the information I can’t give you, and you get their voice mail….leave a damn message!  Don’t call me back and tell me they didn’t answer.  It is the weekend.  They are either showing houses to other clients or enjoying time with their families.  They will call you back when they have time to devote to your needs.  Do not call me back and give me grief about them not answering. I am not their puppet masters.  I can’t magically make them answer their phones.  I don’t have some other secret phone number for them that I am withholding from you.  I want you to talk to them.  Then you will stop calling me.  So just leave a damn message and if you have to wait until tomorrow to talk to them, it’s not my damn fault.

Do not walk into my office on the weekend and expect to be able to see an agent.  There probably isn’t one here.  Weekends are busy times for agents.  That’s when they do most of their showings and open houses, in between trying to spend some time with their families.  They aren’t here.  Call and make an appointment.  I’ll hook you up with someone really nice.  But giving me attitude about me being the only one here isn’t getting you anywhere.


For the Sellers

You want to sell your house, right?  Then you have to have it available to be shown.  Setting insane restrictions on when people can and can not see your house isn’t going to make it sell any faster.  Seriously, the less time available the longer it is going to sit on the market.  Evenings and weekends are a must.  I know it’s inconvenient, but that’s just how it goes.  People need to see your house to buy it.  So telling us that we can’t have showings after 5pm or on weekends is going to seriously narrow your chances of selling.  Just let them in.

Clean your damn house.  This should be common sense, but it’s not.  You would not believe the state of some of the houses Chev and I toured when we were buying.  Even in the lower price ranges, like we were, you are still going to turn off buyers if your house is a mess.  Pick up the kids’ toys, make your bed, and get all of that clutter off of the kitchen counter.  Vacuum.  Dust.  For the love of all that is holy, clean your bathroom.  People don’t buy houses that are icky.

But don’t get psycho about keeping your house pristine, either.  It is ok to request that people take their shoes off if the weather is bad and you’ve just had the carpets professionally cleaned.  It is not ok to call me before every single showing and reiterate to me that everyone MUST take their shoes off, no matter what, or you will pull the house off of the market.  I don’t care if you pull your house off of the market.  I’m paid by the hour.  What I care is that you are annoying me over something so trivial it is ridiculous.  If you are that concerned, buy some of those cheap carpet squares and make a trail.

Crate your dog.  Even if your dog is super friendly and has never been crated in it’s life, borrow a crate from a friend and put your dog in it.  Or take it for a walk during the showing.  Or take it to a friends house.  Just don’t leave it in your home to maul unsuspecting agents and their clients.  This goes for evil cats as well.  And parrots with an attitude.  And any other animal you own.  Also, clean the litter box/bird cage/terrarium/fish tank/ect.

Stop being paranoid.  Agents and their clients aren’t going to riffle through your things.  They don’t care about your bills, bank statements, or any other personal paperwork you may have sitting on your desk.  In fact, the less of your stuff they have to see, the happier they are going to be.  They aren’t out to steal your great great grandmother’s crystal cat from Paris.  Your listing agent does not need to come to all of your showings.  You certainly don’t need to be in your house for all of them.  Lock your stuff up if you are worried, but, really, it will be fine.

If an agent doesn’t show up, or leaves the kitchen light on, or forgot to leave a business card don’t call me and bitch at me for twenty minutes like it is the end of the damn world.  It isn’t.  Things happen.  Having a light on for an hour won’t kill your electric bill.  Having to go out for coffee with your husband for no reason isn’t the end of the world.  Not having a collection of business cards of people you’ve never heard of is really no big deal.  By all means, if someone let your cat out of the house, left all of the doors and windows open, or spilled coffee on your couch let me know.  I’ll share in your outrage.  But if the ceiling fan was left on, I don’t really care.  You shouldn’t either.

If you are going through a messy divorce, and you have to sell your house but you don’t want to…..deal with it.  I’m sorry.  That sucks.  But you know what?  That’s not my problem.  Sometimes you just have to suck it up and move on.  Do the right thing.  Let me schedule showings so the house can get sold and you can get this over with.  Don’t ignore my phone calls, or call and cancel already confirmed appointments at the last minute.  Don’t take it out on me, or the agents, or the nice people who want to buy your house.

And finally, for both the buyer and the seller, remember that I am the person who is trying to help you.  I will bend over backward to figure out where that property is, across from the barber shop.  I will listen to you bitch and moan about your ex-husband.  I will do whatever is in my power to get you what you need.  So be nice to me.  Or I’ll disconnect you and blame it on phone troubles.

Oh, yeah.  I totally look like this at work.  *snort*

Oh, yeah. I totally look like this at work. *snort*

A Brave Obsession

My name is Morgan, and I have a birthday party planning addiction.

For the girls’ first birthday, we did a farm theme.  I made 40 cupcakes that looked like various farm animals and set them up around an old toy barn of my brother’s, that I made my mother dig out storage just for the occasion.

You don't want to know how long those cupcakes took to decorate.

You don’t want to know how long those cupcakes took to decorate.

For their second birthday, we did a honey bee theme.  I made honey vanilla cupcakes with little sugar bees on top, bee themed games, and hand fans for all of the guests.

Pin the bee on the hive!

Pin the bee on the hive!

This year Chev and I had agreed on a Little Golden Books theme.  A Shy Little Kitten picnic, Color Kittens sidewalk chalk area, a Saggy Baggy Elephant conga line.  You get the idea.  I had it all planned out, and was just waiting for Chev’s tax return to start buying supplies.

The tax return appeared, like magic, in our checking account three days ago.  Which is the same day that Laurel, out of nowhere, announced that she wanted a Merida birthday party.  Um…what?  Since when do toddlers have opinions about their birthday parties?  Who told my kid she could make such an important decision?  Good-bye, Pokey Little Puppy.  Hello, Angus the Clydesdale.

I don't own this picture.  Please, Disney, don't sue me.

I don’t own this picture. Please, Disney, don’t sue me.

After the initial shock, I did what all normal mothers do…..I checked out Brave-themed parties on Pinterest.  And made a new board.  And started pinning everything in sight, from cellophane wisps to cardboard swords to PVC bows with dowel arrows.  Suddenly I didn’t mind that I have to completely re-plan their party.  Because, lets face it.  I LOVE planning parties.  If only I had the budget to support it.

On July 27th, there will be wisps leading up the walkway to my parents’ front door, which will be sporting a tartan wreath.  Come inside and choose your clan and put on your Merida hair headdress, then meander over to the kitchen where you will find Angus’ Horse Feed.  Imagine, if you will, a cardboard trough filled with popcorn, surrounded by smaller bins filled with lovely things to mix into your popcorn, like peanuts, raisins, M&Ms, and pretzels.  Fill up your plate with carrot and celery arrows, broccoli trees, and tomato boulders.  Try some of the King’s Private Reserve (lemonade) or some water from the Fire Falls.  Then head outside, where the real fun awaits.

Archery!  Yes, that’s right, all of the kids will get a PVC bow and three dowel arrows, and compete in an archery contest.  (Bows and arrows double as party favors.  Parents are going to LOVE me.)  Visit the Crafty Carver and make a bear claw necklace.  Add your own artistic flare to Queen Eleanor’s Chalk Tapestry.  Build your own castle in the sandbox.  Run and scream and have a blast.

Don’t forget to look for the birthday girls, in their kilts and sashes that were made for them by the awesome people at http://got-kilt.com/  And join us for some ice cream cake before heading home with your goody bag of Merida stickers, tattoos, and chocolate Teddy Grahams (for the wee bears).


I feel a great and deep sadness over what has happened in Boston this past week.  So much so, that I’m blogging again for the first time in over a year.

I am sad for the victims of the bombs, of course.  We all mourn with their families, particularly with the parents of the little boy who was killed.  I am a parent and I can not imagine the crushing anguish of losing a child in any way, let alone in an act of terror.

I am sad for the people who rushed to the scene of the bombings, for they will never again be able to erase those memories.  It will be a long time until they can close their eyes and see anything except the horrors of that day.

I am sad for the family and friends of the security guard who was killed by the bombers after they were identified.  And for those who loved the police officer who was critically injured in the line of duty during the first shoot-out, when the older bomber died.

I am sad for the EMTs, nurses, doctors, orderlies, and other hospital workers who had to try to patch the victims of the bombings back together.  And even more so for those who had to break bad news to patients and families.  I’m sorry, we had to amputate.  I’m sorry, you will never walk on your own two limbs again, let alone run another marathon.

I am sad for the people of Boston and the surrounding areas, who stayed locked in their homes in fear while the manhunt occurred.  How do you explain to your children that they can’t go outside and play because there might be bad men out there who will kill them?  How do you take the nightmares away?

I am also sad for the bombers.  How do two young men become killers?  They younger was described as happy, normal, grateful to live in this country by his high school friends.  How does so much change in a year or two?  What causes a child to begin to hate, and to hate so much that killing becomes a viable option?  I am not angry at these young men, like so many are.  My heart weeps for the loss of their childhood joys, their innocence.  They have a mother, far away in Russia, who will never see her boys again.  And for what?  Was is a religious act?  A misguided translation of an Islamic text, used to incite fear and rage?  Was there a trauma in their lives that flipped a switch deep inside of them that made them turn against the world in general?  And what can we do to stop it from happening again?  What can we do prevent the change from happy youths to young men who kill?

I am sad for the people of Chechnya and the followers of Islam.  Because mass media is already blaming you, connecting you, making you all evil terrorists in the populous’ eyes.  Even though most Islamic people are full of peace and love, this will once again taint them.  Even though most people in America have never heard of Chechnya, people will say that they always knew that bad things would come from there.

I am sad for the world tonight.

Feelin’ Funky

weekly writing assignment…  How do/did you get out of a funk or rut?

How do I get out of a funk or rut?  Hmm…… That’s a tougher question than it looks like.

If we’re talking about writing, I just don’t write when I’m in a rut.  There are no deadlines on a blog.  (Except my weekly assignments.  lol)  I just go about my life and wait for something to set my mind rocking.  Then I hope for a quiet moment to type it out.  Which I’m not getting right now, btw.  (Quiet, Ellie, Momma is writing!)

If the question is addressing a funk or rut in general life, I don’t really know how to answer.  I try not to get into funks.  I’m a mom of twins.  I don’t have time for it.  I can’t wander around with storm clouds surrounding me, unless I want the rain to fall on my girls as well.  Because the old saying holds true.  If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.  My bad mood rubs off on them, and then we’re all miserable.

Sometimes, I do get down, of course.  There are days when the girls won’t nap, so they cry.  All. Day. Long.  Or I’m sick.  Or I’m tired.  Or everything is just not going my way.  We all have days like that.

That is were Chev comes in.  She is my rock.  She knows when to listen, when to fix, and when to take the babies for a drive so I can calm the hell down.  She takes my abuse, standing quietly while I curse at her for things that are either a) not her fault, or b) completely blown out of proportion.  She holds me when I cry and makes me laugh when I really need it.

I’d credit Chev for stopping my funks before they start.  We have become a fairly well-oiled machine over the years.  We have a routine that keeps us both sane and funk-free.  Having the girls has strained us at times, be we have gotten very good at juggling.  Because there are some balls you just can’t afford to drop.