Friday, November 18, 2011

Month of Gratitude - Day 18

My friend, Brandy, and I have been trying to get together to walk, talk, and visit since she moved a few months ago.   Seems like every time we make plans, something happens with one of our kids, cars, husbands, or houses.  When we made plans to meet today, I jokingly said, "OK, I'll see you at 10:30 on Friday.  Pray that nothing tragic happens for either of us between now and then." 
 So, the fact that I had to cancel shouldn't have come as a surprise. 

Daniel has been sick the past week or so.  Just a cough and cold.  Then a few days ago, his stomach was hurting, but only for a few hours and nothing serious.  Then, last night, while we were eating dinner, I was sitting across from him.  I literally watched a small hive appear on his cheek, and then watched as the redness around it grew throughout dinner.  At first, I didn't say anything.  Then, he started scratching at it so I asked him about it.  (While panicked thoughts filled my head, 'oh no!!  What could he be eating NOW that he is developing an allergy to?!') 
"Dan, does your cheek itch, because it looks like you're getting hives?"  To which, he jumps up and says, "oh yeah, that reminds me - look at my leg," as he pulls up his pants' legs to reveal hives all over his calves on both legs

My initial reaction:  "what did you eat today?"  "are you sure you didn't eat something you shouldn't?"

Nothing we could figure, so he took his prescription medicines for all his allergies, along with a double dose of Benadryl and went to bed.  This morning, he woke with hives all over his face, legs, arms, chest, back, even his poor little ears!  :-(  And so, off to the Dr. we went.

The doctor, whom I like a lot, said that it's basically a secondary allergic reaction to the virus that he probably had last week, or as he likes to call it,
"SSR as a result of SSV"
(translation:  Some Sort of Rash as a result of Some Sort of Virus) 

My poor little buddy.  It's always something with him.  He really hasn't had it easy with all his food allergies, environmental allergies, and sensory issues.  But the thing is, you'd never know it.  He rarely complains.  He rarely acts miserable.  I know he's going to be the child of mine who ends up with a broken bone someday, which I don't realize until days later, and then end up feeling like a schmuck when the doctor asks when he did it. 
When I reel off the list of all of his food allergies, people often say, "oh, poor kid".  His friends' moms call when they're having birthday parties and feel bad about not having anything that he can have.  When we go trick-or-treating and he can't eat 99% of the candy that he gets, the other kids feel bad for him.  And yet, most of the time, Daniel is totally fine with it.  Occasionally, he'll whine that he can't have something, but usually, he just takes it (and everything else) in stride.  As his mom, it's hard to manage all the allergies, but truthfully, he makes it SO much easier than it could be just by his very nature.

Today, hives and all, I am thankful for my middle child, Daniel.

He is:



You mean your kids don't get thrilled over getting their own laundry basket filled with tinker toys and empty toilet paper tubes for Christmas?!


Hey!  So what if I play hockey but still drink from a sippy cup!  I like it!

Who doesn't paint in nothing but their underwear and a smock?
For my next masterpiece, I shall dump all the crayons and markers, use them to draw all over the table, and then stand on it!










And Such A Blessing!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Month of Gratitude - Day 16 - Reason for the Season

Today, I am thankful for special celebrations like Christmas, 
but even more than that, I am thankful for the reason behind them!

Twice in the past week, I've had people ask me a question.
 The same question.

"Have you started to teach Markos about Christmas?"

My answer was the same to both.

"Yes, we've started to talk about it, but there is still a lot that he doesn't know."

Both times, their responses to my answer surprised me.  They were along the same lines as well.

"Oh, good, because we were just talking about Santa...."

In both cases, I think I confused, or maybe just surprised the people I was talking to.  They were about to embark on some Santa thing with him; I had said that I had started to teach Markos about Christmas; and I hadn't even mentioned Santa Claus to him yet.  Well, ummm, yea.  That's about it.

We've never really put a huge emphasis on Santa.  Santa visits our house, but we just don't make a huge deal of it, especially in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  Certainly, when I'm just starting out teaching a 5 year old, who hasn't really ever experienced Christmas like WE do Christmas, I am not going to start out with Santa.

Honestly, I still don't know HOW to even do the Santa thing now.  How do I explain that Santa didn't visit the children in Ethiopia?  Why didn't Santa bring Markos toys or candy or new clothes all those years?  Was he on the naughty list?  Maybe he and all his friends and family in Ethiopia were bad?  Why does Santa only seem to visit the rich kids and not the poor kids?  How do we explain that?!  (OK, this post wasn't really supposed to get into that, but it is something I'm struggling with!)

The real point is.  I want Markos and my other kids to know WHY we celebrate Christmas.  I want them to know that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ!  I want them to know WHY we give presents.  I want them to know WHY we put a star on top of our Christmas tree.  I want them to know WHY we set up that nativity scene every year and what each piece represents.  I want them to know, because it is the reason that we celebrate.  It is the only reason to have Christmas.

Today, I let the boys set up little trees in their room.  As we did, we talked about the shepherds and the angels.  We talked about the star in the sky and how the Wise Men followed it to baby Jesus.  We talked about how they took Jesus presents. 

I haven't made it to Santa, or Jingle Bells, or mistletoe, or pretty girls...

Because I'm starting at the beginning.....
Jesus' birthday.
Born in a manger.
God coming to Earth.
Shepherds in a field.
Angels singing.
Wise men following a star.
Presenting the Christ child with gifts from afar.

If you're wondering, so far, Markos knows that Christmas is the celebration of Jesus' birthday.  
That Jesus came to Earth to show us how to live and then to die for us to save us.
He knows that Jesus was born in a stable because the inn was full.  
That angels appeared to shepherds in a field and a star appeared in the sky.  
He knows that some kings, also called Wise Men, followed the star to find Jesus and they took him gifts.  He knows that is why we put a star on top of our tree.  
And, that is why we give presents at Christmas, on Jesus' birthday.

That's it.  That's as far as we've gotten.  That's enough for now.  We'll get into Santa another day (after I figure out how!).  Just to get this far, we had to talk about the tooth fairy (long story).  We sang the birthday song to Jesus.  We talked about why we get presents when it's Jesus' birthday, and why we have cookies instead of birthday cake.  There will be a lot of firsts this Christmas season.

But Markos has already learned about Christmas.  The real reason we celebrate Christmas.  He started to decorate his very first Christmas tree and he put the star up on top all by himself, all the while knowing that we put the star there to remember how the star appeared in the sky and guided the Wise Men to Jesus.  

This is going to be a very special Christmas!!  
So very happy that Markos is here to celebrate with our family this year!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Month of Gratitude - Day 15

Today, I am thankful for Christian preschools, daycares, and Mothers-Day-Out programs.

Being a stay-at-home mom is hard work.  

It's a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week job.

No vacation time.  No sick leave.  No personal days.  No pay.

When you're doing this unrelenting job called motherhood, you sometimes need a break.  Sometimes, that break isn't even for relaxation or for fun.  Sometimes, it's to take one of your other children to the doctor or to the hospital.  Sometimes, it's to visit the doctor yourself, to have some tests runs, to have your teeth cleaned.  Sometimes, you just can't do it all by yourself.

If you are fortunate enough to have family that lives close-by and can help you, and you're participating in this Month of Gratitude, then I hope you have listed that as one of your things that you're thankful for because it's a blessing.  I don't have that luxury.  My parents are 2+ hours away.  My sister is 10+ hours away. 

True, I have some close friends who are always willing to help, but they have their own children and their own jobs and their own responsibilities.

But thankfully, I have always had good, quality, Christian childcare options close to home. 

Because of that, I can also be thankful for:
  • all the field trips I've gotten to attend
  • all the classroom parties at which I've been able to help
  • all the naps that I've gotten to take
  • all the visits to the gym or cardio tennis classes
  • all the doctor's appointments at which I've been able to concentrate
  • all the lunches with friends, but without kids
  •  all the uninterrupted hours of homework time for me to go to grad school
  • all the time spent unwinding and refueling - at Bible studies, book studies, or even just goofing around or chatting with friends online

There's plenty more that I've been able to do because my children were playing at preschool or daycare, but I better go because I have to pick Markos up from day care in 3 hours and I still have to take down the Halloween decorations and clean the house so we can get ready to get out the Christmas decorations!!