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Friday, May 17, 2013

Head, Shoulders, Bees and Hair Bees and Hair

My Aidan has some quirks. We all do, don't we? Some of Aidan's quirks are new and some are old. Some are things he's been struggling with since forever and some things are new challenges for him.

An old struggle is Aidan's fear of bees. Every summer for the past few years, Aidan has been terrified of every insect he sees, but mostly of bees. Since it's Bee Time again now, Aidan's therapists and I have been trying to figure out, again, new ways to help him with this phobia so that he can enjoy the summer. 

Aidan has never had a bee sting. He has never been present when anyone else has had a bee sting. He just has an ever-present fear of the pain that would accompany a bee sting, if he ever got stung. 

Another thing we're struggling with right now is the fact that periodically, Aidan feels the compulsion to cut his hair. He finds a scissors and takes a bunch of snips. Then he gets extremely upset, crying and expressing frustration over the feeling that he "needs" to cut his hair. He knows he's not in trouble when he cuts his hair, because we can tell he's really struggling with some internal demons, not trying to misbehave.
I've been trying to figure out the pattern for this behavior. All our boys have OCD, but Aidan's is the most noticeable, and impacts his life the most. Other times Aidan has had hand-washing rituals. He would have to wash his hands a certain way each time, and if he got interrupted he would get upset and have to start all over again.

I've taken all the scissors in the house and put them where Aidan cannot reach them. The other night, Aidan came downstairs and told me he needed to bring Ben a scissors upstairs. I asked what Ben needed it for. Aidan said he didn't know but Ben needed it RIGHT NOW. It sounded fishy and my Mommy Radar went off. Aidan was making eye contact and telling me adamantly that his brother needed a scissors. I asked him if he wanted the special dessert we were having now or if he wanted to take a bath now. His eyes lit up about the dessert. I yelled upstairs to Ben that if he needed a scissors, he'd have to come and get one himself. He called back that he didn't need a scissors, that Aidan wanted to cut his hair.

Aidan started getting very agitated, and started freaking out about how he needed to cut his hair. He begged to take "just a few snips." I told him matter-of-factly that we weren't doing hair cuts tonight. I got Aidan's dessert ready, and encouraged him to sit down with it and watch some SpongeBob, because, I explained, if he took his mind of cutting his hair, he would feel better. 
Luckily my plan worked. Aidan was able to calm down and move away from the need to cut his hair that night. I talked with Aidan's counselor and Occupational Therapist about these challenges Aidan is having right now to see if they could shed any light on how I can help him.

Of course my Gurus To My Children unlocked what we think may be one of the keys to Aidan's hair struggle. After we all spent some time brainstorming, the therapists said that Aidan feels like he needs his hair short in order to control his appearance, in order to make it feel "normal." He doesn't like it when his hair gets even a little bit long because then he doesn't feel like his normal self. This is one area he can try to control in what feels like an out-of-control world.

Aidan's counselor, Mr. H, is someone he has finally been able to connect with. Mr. H said that today he was talking to Aidan about his own hair and how he liked it a certain way, etc. Mr. H said Aidan just opened right up about how he sometimes cuts his hair. Usually in the bathroom. Because he likes it short. I guess Aidan was a fountain of information! My Aidan! Freely communicating! With a counselor! About his problems! Awesome. 

We're still working on the bee issue, but the therapists of course have an incredible plan for that too, and Aidan has agreed to participate in the plan, which is huge for him! 

On the drive home from Aidan's counseling tonight, I wondered what in the world families do who don't have therapists. I said yet another silent thank you prayer for our therapists, who continue to solve the mysteries my children present me with. 

Then I thought how most families don't have therapists because they don't need therapists because their kids are developing "typically." And probably they don't need to hide their scissors so their kid doesn't snip his own hair because of a compulsion. And probably most kids play freely and happily outside when it gets warm out, and don't have to hide indoors on the off chance they catch site of a flying insect.s  Hm. 

Whatever. Our family has an army of therapists, and I'm so grateful for their insight, patience, creativity, persistence and compassion every single day. Since we don't have typically developing munchkins, I'm glad we have therapists. 

Hopefully we're on our way to conquering our issues with bees and hair.

Friday, May 10, 2013


A couple weeks ago, our Sunday was such a great day. There are not many days when I can say that an entire day was great, but that day was one of them! The whole day-- great. 

On Sunday two out of the three boys agreed to haircuts. Great!

On Sunday I bought paint AND was able to paint Jonah's room a beautiful blue that he picked out. Great!

On Sunday we met our Ollie. We've been searching for Our Dog for so long, and we know Ollie is It. He is a two-month-old Shih Tzu puppy, who is the cutest thing I have ever seen in my life. He's like a little walking Ewok teddy bear. He has the sweetest personality. He loves to be snuggled, but will just as happily rest alone in his little puppy bed. He is so little that no one is scared or intimidated by his size. Even Ella has wants to hold him! Shocker! I'm not having any allergic symptoms because he has hair instead of fur. No one has had a meltdown because of barking because Ollie doesn't bark! Unless he wants to play. He did whine a little on the ride home because he wasn't sure about his crate, but then he just quieted down and relaxed. Sheesh! We've never had such a great, stress- free First Day Of Puppy Ownership!

Jonah is in heaven. In fact all the kids are just so happy with their new Ollie. Ella said this afternoon that she was going to ride her bike. I said she needed to stay on our driveway. She said ok, she was just going to follow "her boys" who were outside too. I said "your boys?" She said "Yeah, Jonah, Aidan, Ben and Ollie. My boys." She always calls her brothers her boys, but now Ollie apparently has joined the crew. 

Ollie is the only one who can get Aidan to willingly stop playing computer games. Ollie will pester Aidan until Aidan looks up, smiles, and says "Aww, Ollie, do you want to play with me?" And then the two of them are off on a puppy-boy adventure. It's awesome.

Ollie is so snuggly, he will let anyone hold him anytime. He doesn't wiggle, doesn't whine. A couple times on Sunday Jonah held Ollie while Ollie napped, and Jonah just pet him and smiled quietly. Obviously outrageously content. I knew once we found Our Dog that this is how it could be. That Jonah would be so content. It's great to see our boy, who is so frequently irritated and agitated, sitting calmly, just happy.

Aidan, Ben and Ella are tickled pink with Ollie too. We've spent a lot of time playing with him in the back yard. The grass is almost taller than him, on his 2-inch little legs. He has to sort of hop around, he's too little to even run. He is playful and curious, and very sweet. Aidan looked at me on Sunday at one point, with the BIGGEST smile on his face ever, and, with eye contact (!) said "Mom. I am SO happy we got Ollie today." Ahhh, love it. Everyone is happy. Ella keeps saying "Where's our doggie? I want to play with our doggie. I'm happy we got our doggie. He's a KEEPER."
There has only been one small snafu with our Ollie. Ella is very perturbed that we couldn't buy the pink leash, pink collar, pink doggie bed, pink blanket, and pink food bowls. AND she's very upset because she wanted to name our new puppy "Sugar" (which she pronounces 'Soogar' because we're still working on the 'sh' sound in speech therapy). Or "Donut." She insisted that the dog is a GIRL and the dog's name is Sugar. Or Donut. So we compromised. We told her the puppy can be called "Ollie Sugar Newsom." Sugar can be his middle name, like Marie is Ella's middle name. Ella reluctantly agreed to this. Maybe we can tackle the whole "I want Ollie to be a girl" issue a different day. At least we agreed on his name.

Of course there is the extra work of puppyhood now, cleaning up accidents and things like that. But little Ollie is a great addition to the family. And it's wonderful to see my kids light up about something. It's fun to spend time as a family, playing with our new dog together. It's great to know that no one is freaking out because of sensory overload from the new addition to our family. Now the kids have a good reason to be up even before their normal wake up time of the crack of dawn. They have a puppy to feed and take out and play with! 

Sunday was a great day. It is great to see my sweet kids so happy. Welcome home, Ollie.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Community of Mamas

Our community suffered a terrible tragedy last week. Anna Harvey, a single mother, was killed by a car while riding her bike home on her birthday. She has two daughters, a 4th grader and a 1st grader. Aidan was in the same class as Anna's daughter last year. Anna and I have crossed paths many times over the past few years- at the park with our kids, at birthday parties, at school events...I didn't know her well, but I knew enough to be deeply affected by this loss.

The thing that is the hardest for me to comprehend is how these two little girls no longer have their Mama to share their days with. This hits close to home. We see tragedies on the news about Sandy Hook, or women being kidnapped and held hostage for a decade, or devastating tsunamis and earthquakes. And each time a tragedy happens, I'm deeply affected. I've always been this way, even as a kid, where the pain that others are experiencing a world away is palpable. But when a tragedy happens in my own community, of course it's even harder to deal with. 

I've been trying to think of ways I can help Anna's little girls. Nothing will bring their Mama back to them, but I wish I could just hug them and never let go. I want them to know they are loved by this community. They are being held up by all the Mamas in this community (and the Daddies too). This Community of Mamas will always be watching out for these girls. The girls will not know all of us, but we know them, and we will be watching out for them, in case there is even a chance we can ever make their lives just a little more peaceful or comfortable.

Because the bottom line is, this can happen to any of us. We could be doing the most usual, unsurprising thing, and the next second just be gone. You never know when your time will come. And if my time came too early, I would want this Community of Mamas watching out for my kids. I would want them to be sending love and prayers through ESP to my children. My community is small and constant. Everyone knows everyone, and wherever I go I run into friends. I love it here. I love that all the Mamas know my kids, and would help them if they ever needed it.

My sweet friend, who has a heart bigger than our solar system, has thought of a way to make a difference for Anna's girls on Mother's Day, and to let them know that there are so many people supporting them. My friend is organizing a gift to bring to Anna's home the morning of Mother's Day, which she will leave on the porch anonymously. She has contacted all the mothers she knows who would be involved in Anna's kids' lives, asking if anyone wants to donate anything for the gift. You should have seen the Facebook messages flying the past few days. Every Mama wants to help. Every Mama wants Anna's girls to know they are not alone, even though their Mama is their Angel now. My friend's home is likely to be filled to the brim with donations from this Community of Mamas.

I went to Hallmark this morning, on a mission to find something that would be just right to donate for this Mother's Day gift. The two dear Hallmark Helpers who were working today had no idea what an emotional mess was walking through their door at 10:17 a.m. The darn ladies kept harassing me with kindness, in true Hallmark fashion- asking me if they could help me find anything, asking what I was looking for in particular...

As I was looking around, I began to think what a terrible, horrible mission I was on. I was looking for a gift for two little girls whose Mama has died, so that they would know they are not alone on Mother's Day. How do you explain that one flippantly to a Hallmark Helper? I started feeling more and more emotional. 

Finally, I told one of the Hallmark Helpers that I could not tell her what I was looking for because if I did, I would cry. But then I started crying just telling her that. So through my sobs (Literally. Sobbing in the middle of Hallmark. In my family they are known as Daddy Sobs- because my dad and I sob the same way: the sob grabs us and comes all the way from our toes out to gulping, gasping fits of tears. A teeny bit embarrassing, but I had no control over it at that point.), I told her about my terrible mission. I didn't even know Anna that well, but this has affected me so deeply because I think of my children, and her children, and I cannot imagine their pain right now, and I do not ever wish any child to have to feel that kind of pain. 

The Hallmark Helpers were great. They gave me hugs to stop my sobbing (but couldn't stop the tears from leaking down my cheeks, no matter how sweet the ladies were), and showed me some different options for my gift. I think Hallmark must do some therapeutic training for all their employees, in case someone comes into the store in a fragile emotional state and breaks down. Because these ladies handled my Crazy with gentleness and finesse. They deserve a raise. 

I left with what I hope will be a little something that can help Anna's girls remember her. Nothing will fill this void for them, but it's just the least I can do as part of this Community of Mamas. Thank you to my amazing friend who thought of it. 

I've been hugging my kids extra long this past week. They're just so small and fragile and wonderful. And life is so unpredictable and difficult sometimes. I want to shield my kids from every heartache. Every Mama wants to do that for her children. And if anything were to happen to me while my children are small, I am thankful that I live in this Community of Mamas, where friends want to help each other, and they care about each other, and want to make a difference for each other. I'm proud to be a member of this Community of Mamas. I'm going to be sending prayers and love to Anna's girls every day. I know they will see their Mama Angel again someday, and until then, they can count on this Community of Mamas to be there for them.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Ellie's Swallow

Isn’t it funny how certain sounds can bring memories rushing back? A certain smell or sound can hand you a memory you’d long forgotten. Sometimes the funniest, most random things jolt a memory for me. Here’s one of those random things.

I met my best friend when I was about 8 years old. She was a missionary kid from Denmark and her family came to our mission in Africa when we were both in about 3rd grade. Ellie is the opposite of me in many ways: she is slender, graceful, and blonde. She has the best laugh in the world. She is hilarious, generous, and has such a sensitive, good spirit. She makes the world brighter everywhere she goes. She is an inspiration, she is courageous, she is amazing. She’s still my best friend.

Ellie lives about a trillion miles away from where I do now. We have very separate lives. We rarely see each other, rarely communicate other than the occasional email or facebook post because when it is evening where Ellie is and there is peace at her house, my house is bustling with Kid Energy and noise- homework, after school activities, friends in the backyard.

But there is something between good friends that is just there, it never changes. I think about Ellie all the time. I wonder how her family is, what she is doing right now…and I know that whenever we see each other again, we will pick up right where we left off a couple years ago when we got together. There’s something magical about a friend like Ellie. No matter how much time or distance is between us, we just are meant to be friends, and that’s the way it will always be.

Our time together in Africa, at boarding school especially, will always tie us together. When I think of my childhood, Ellie is a huge part of it. She is in most of my memories. I remember when she first came to our mission, she didn’t speak much English and I certainly didn’t speak any Danish, but we were meant to be kindred spirits and we made it work. We used to sit in the tree out by the clothesline, seeking refuge from the hot Sahara sun, and sing all the songs we knew. I’m sure everyone in a 2-mile radius appreciated that. We made up our own language. We traded stickers. We got each other through homesickness and childhood scrapes. We were, and are, sisters. We have so much in common, as far as personality and soul, there was surely a reason we were put together on the African continent so many years ago.

I go to the chiropractor a couple times a month for help with chronic neck and shoulder pain (due to stress- can’t imagine why I’d have any stress in my life!). My favorite massage therapist looks a lot like Ellie. She is from Europe, and is petite and blonde. And she has fingers of steel that untwist all my pain. But the thing I love about her most is the sound she makes when she swallows. Whenever she swallows, it’s just like Ellie is right there with me, because it sounds exactly like Ellie’s swallow. These two little women do not make crazy-loud-hippopotamus swallow sounds, by any means. But there is something about the way they both delicately swallow that is identical. So every time I see this massage therapist, I not only have my pain taken away physically, but I also feel close to Ellie during that 45 minutes because I close my eyes, remember the sound of being with her, and think about all our amazing memories.

Isn’t that funny? That the way someone swallows can bring me back to all my memories with my best friend. It comforts me that I can find a time and place to hold Ellie close to my heart. A time and place where my best friend doesn’t seem so far away.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Cupcake Wars

Whew, this morning kicked my booty. Aidan had an enormous, 45-minute meltdown over a cupcake. He demanded a cupcake that I had baked to share at Ella’s preschool picnic later today. We said Aidan could have one after school, when I pick the boys up early to go see their psychiatrist. That was not acceptable to Aidan. Picture a toddler having a tantrum. Only my boy is a 7 year-old first grader.

It’s so hard when your kids appear to be typically developing kids, but have issues in their brains that prevent them from acting like typically developing kids. Sometimes as a parent I even forget that my kids have special needs. I forget that one of the traits of having ADHD is having a developmental lag of about 3 to 4 years. So when you think of it that way, my 7 year-old was acting like a 3 year-old this morning, which is developmentally what we should expect. But when a big boy is throwing a hissy fit over a cupcake, it’s hard to remember that he is acting that way in part because of his disability.

I sometimes think about what it would be like to have a child who had a physical disability, instead of all the “invisible” ones my kids have. I know having a child with any type of special need is extraordinarily challenging. I think there must be a different set of challenges when you have a child with a physical disability. You probably never forget that your child has challenges, because you can see them. When you’re out in public, maybe strangers stare too long at your child. But if your child uses a wheel chair, no stranger would expect that your child should be walking. When your child looks “normal,” strangers stare at them because their behavior often doesn’t match society’s expectations of “appropriate.” People expect your kid with invisible disabilities to act “normal.” And sometimes I expect that too, because I forget how my children’s brains are different, their nervous systems are different, they experience the world differently than I do.

I have been attending a CHADD (Children and Adults with ADD) conference during the past couple weekends, hoping to gain some ideas about how to help our family function more smoothly, make sure I’m doing everything I can to help the kids, and just get some support for the challenges we face. It’s been a great experience. It’s just such a cool concept that there are support groups for any challenge anyone faces in this country. It really helps to know you’re not alone.

The people who lead the conference are parents who also have children with ADHD. So far, I haven’t learned anything new, but it’s been great to know that what we’re doing at home is a good way of doing things. Helping the kids stay organized, making things clear and concise, having ways to help them remember when to take a shower, when to take meds, things like that. The number one thing they keep saying at the conference is just that as parents you have to stay calm. I love this- they said you can’t let your child’s mood run the household. You have to rise above it and prevail as the person who is actually in charge and sets the tone for the family. That is so important for us.

Our boys have comorbid conditions, meaning that not only do they have ADHD, but they also have other diagnoses like anxiety, a mood disorder, Tourette Syndrome, etc. All of these diagnoses carry mood issues with them. It’s really easy to be run over by the horrible moods in our home. It’s really easy to just let the power of the anger and depression the boys feel crush me. I have to remind myself every day, sometimes every minute, to set the mood for my children. I have to stay calm (which is definitely not always possible).

When I used to work with people who had disabilities, it was easy to stay calm. I never yelled at them. I never showed frustration with them. I never lost my patience with them. Partly because it was my job to work with them, and then I got to go home and have a break from my stressful work. Now that I “work” with my kids who have disabilities every single day (and night), I lose my patience frequently. I yell sometimes. I get frustrated with them. I know that’s all normal parent behavior, but I wish I were better at being Mommy. I wish I had an eternal spring of patience.

Sometimes when I’m really exhausted and stressed and quick-tempered, I think about how I would treat my children if they were my clients at a job. I look at them as individuals who have a disability. I take myself out of my crazy life and try to act like a professional who is helping a child who has special needs.

When I do this, it really puts things in perspective for me. I’m able to see that Aidan’s behavior this morning was really just frustration being expressed in a disability-expected way. He was acting how I can expect him to act when he is frustrated and angry and doesn’t get his way. I have to change the way I deal with him in those moments, not the other way around. Because at this point he is not capable of changing how he reacts to disappointment. That’s a work in progress. That’s why he gets counseling, speech, OT…that’s why I have to be patient with him. Aidan is still learning, and his brain is still developing.

Sometimes I wonder what it’s like to have a child with a physical disability, because I wish I didn’t let myself forget that my kids do have disabilities. I wish sometimes that it was right in front of my face in a visible way so that I would be reminded that they are doing the best they can, and I have to do the same. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

It's Nice to Have a Brother To Love

Things changed over the past couple weeks. We thought we'd be selling our home and moving to a bigger house that fit our family better, but things changed and we have decided to stay where we are. We've decided to make things work in the house we have. It's a long story. Bottom line, if I didn't have my family and friends, I'd be in a very deep, low place right now. 

We put the house on the market two weeks ago. Two hours later, we had a showing, before the house was even listed on any websites. Later that night, Alex and I decided we just couldn't sell the house. We had to call the realtor and take the house off the market. She said that the people who had seen our house were interested and were at home "crunching numbers." I figured our house would go fast. But within two hours, that's just flattering! All those walls I scrubbed, windows I washed, cupboards I polished, baseboards I dusted, flowers I planted, drawers I cleaned out, doors I all paid off. For two hours, at least.

I felt angry and numb at the sudden decision we had had to make. I had lived, eaten, and breathed "packing the house" for three solid weeks. Day in, day out. Every fiber of my being was solely focused on getting things packed, donated, or thrown away so we could successfully sell. And now all of a sudden it was all gone. I was crushed. 

The next day was Saturday, and I knew if I stayed in the house, I was going to have a mental breakdown. I thought about who I could call to help me. Mom and Dad were out of town. My next thought was my brother and sister-in-law. I had been numb until I called my little brother. When I heard his voice, I broke into tears. I asked him if it would be ok if some of us came to visit. I didn't know how long we'd stay, or who was coming, but I needed help. He said of course I could come, we could stay as long as we wanted, and any of us could come. 

When my brother and I were young, we went to boarding school in Africa. It was a small school, maybe about 10 kids total, grades 1-8. My brother and I have a special connection because of the years where we relied so much on each other at school, when we didn't have our parents. This was the first time I've ever really, really needed my little brother's help since we were little. And of course he was there for me. My brother and sister-in-law welcomed us into their home for the weekend, and they healed my soul.

Ben, Ella, Aidan and I threw a bag together, popped some sleeping bags in the van, and took off for the 2 hour drive. Jonah and Alex stayed home. Alex wasn't feeling well and Jonah just felt like staying home. On the drive, the kids were great, amazingly. I couldn't stop crying, but I just put on my big ol' sunglasses and let the tears roll and the kids were oblivious. 

We spent the weekend playing with cousins, shopping, visiting a candy store, talking, brainstorming about what was next for our family, and just soaking in the love at my brother and sister-in-law's home. I will just always be so grateful to them for helping me. I was raw and upset, and they listened and loved me. I will aways be grateful. Our family is always there for each other when it counts. 

The kids all wanted to sleep in the same room with me that night, so we all snuggled into one of our cousin's rooms. As I fell asleep that night, I listened to the breathing of three of my children around me and tried to "just be" with the big changes that were happening for us. Being with my peaceful, sleeping children comforted me. 

Until we, of course, had to play musical sleeping bags during the night. 

It was still worth it to stay overnight.

There is a book our kids love called "Brothers Are For Making Mud Pies." It's a great book about all the ways brothers can love you and you can love a brother. It says in there "It's nice to have a brother to love." That is so true. And sister-in-law, I have to add.

As we left my brother's home, the hugs my family gave me filled me with strength to face real life again. I was armed with emotional armor that my brother and sister-in-law had lent me. I was ready to stand up and tackle life again. I didn't cry under my sunglasses on the way home.

As I gingerly drove up our driveway, looking at the open garage gaping with boxes that were filled with all our belongings, I was worried about what was coming next. But I decided I had to get out of the car and deal with the garage and its boxes. So I took a deep breath and I did. 

The kids had to get used to the idea of moving, of painting the rooms they loved, of packing up their toys, books, and loved things. Now they've had to get used to the idea of not moving. They're happy they get to stay in the neighborhood we're in, with all their buddies. And as each day goes on, more friends and neighbors find out we're not actually moving, and the joy that these sweet people throw around me when they find out this news keeps me uplifted and going forwards. I feel loved and valued as a part of our community, and I cherish that.

My sister-in-law, brother and I brainstormed a lot that weekend about how to make our family fit better into our home. My sister-in-law had a kooky, awesome idea. She asked if we'd ever thought of Aidan and Ella sharing a room. Duh! Why hadn't I ever thought of that before? The more I thought about it the more I loved the idea. Jonah and Ben really need their own rooms for emotional reasons. They are dealing with things, because of their mood disorders and ADHD, that other kids don't have to experience, and they need a place in the house that is theirs. A place that they are not irritated to be in. Ella and Aidan love to be with someone. All the time. They get along well most of the time and love to be together. I like having a Girly Room, but now it is just going to have to be half of a Girly Room. 

Last week, Alex and I presented Auntie's Amazing Idea to the kids. Everyone loved it. Jonah knew not to make too big a deal about getting his own room, because then Aidan would probably throw a stink about wanting his own room too. But Jonah looked at me with all his excitement bursting at the seams. He was thrilled. Aidan and Ella were equally as joyful. Ella knew she was a Big Kid now, getting to share a room is a big deal at our house. Aidan couldn't wait to read Ella books in their room, he said.

Ella and I moved the rooms around. There is a little bit of painting that still has to be done, but the furniture and clothes are where they belong now. Jonah's room is painted a soothing blue that he picked out. Everyone is happy. Well, everyone has been happy except for Aidan on the first night reality sunk in that he had to share a room with someone new. He got very worried at bedtime, and just kept repeating in a tiny, unhappy voice "Why did we do this? Why did we do this?" But now he's happy. Ella asked me once if she could snuggle in Aidan's bed if she woke up too early. I said no, we have to let everyone sleep if they're still sleeping. Aidan had overheard, and popped out of his chair where he'd been hunkered down. He said enthusiastically "Mom! Ella can come and snuggle with me if she wakes up!" So sweet.

Everyone is getting acclimated to the new room setup. Ben and Jonah are content, each with their own spaces. Now I just have to redecorate Ella and Aidan's room, and it'll all be good. 

This whole house thing has made me remember what I love about our house and our neighborhood. At least I was able to purge a billion pounds of junk from our home. And half our stuff is still in boxes in the garage, because I just don't have the heart to start unpacking it after all the work it took to pack it in the first place. I'll get to it eventually.

Everyone has readjusted. Although Ella keeps bringing up the fact that she really had her heart set on moving. Ok, Miss Diva. Just like when I face struggles with the kids, I have to have time to mourn and be angry and sad...and I feel those things hard and deep. And then I'm able to slowly pick up and move on. If my sister-in-law and brother hadn't been there for me during this crazy time, I just don't know what I would have done. I thank God for my family every single day.  

I think there's a reason for everything. So I guess we were meant to stay here for now. And I'm ok with that. Finally.

And it sure is nice to have a brother to love. And sister-in-law.