Monday, December 31, 2007

Amazing story

Recently, I've been visiting the DS Forum on iVillage. The other day there was a post from someone that I thought was especially impressive. I asked for permission to share it here. Take a minute to read it and please be praying for safe arrival of the little one.
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Here's our story:

Part I
Young couple elopes to Vegas in Oct 2005...what happens in Vegas dosen't't always stay in Vegas as we conceived little Emily Grace there. Super excited about our new little girl soon to join us. Find out after quad screening we have elevated risk for downs. Shocked-we're only mid 20's (big misconception that it only happens when you're over 35) Hold out hopes and stay positive. Have level II found several soft markers. Still hold out hope and have amino. Found out week later Emily does in fact have Downs. Mourned the loss of our typical child dreams for about one day and then look at the blessing that we've been presented. Our little one would teach everyone else tolerance. Go for another level II at 20 weeks on St. Patricks Day 06 to check on development. Emily's little heart wasn't beating. Devastated, went through labor and delivery.

Do the testing just to be on the safe side-this must be a fluke as it is in 99% of the case. Nope, moms a translocation 21 to 14 carrier. Who would have though! 4 in 6 chance of each pregnancy after resulting in Downs.

Part II
Find out where having another little one. Girl again. Finley Hope. She's not looking to great from the start. Really behind in development - several issues. We don't do an amnio this time because we know moms a carrier of Downs so pretty sure this little tike has it too. We hold out faith but again at 24 weeks 1/12/07 this little one passes on to be with her sister. Back to labor and delivery to go home with no baby.

Part III
So now what do we do. Moms trying to get off the 40lbs from the first two pregnancies. We think about going the scientific route and do IVF but I'm too inpatient. "Come on honey" I tell my husband "3rd times a charm". Well first time we try it's a ringer! Pregnant again. We have no problem conceiving you see just having a healthy baby. So we are on this journey again. Hoping and praying that this time we will have a different outcome. For the love of Pete I've been pregnant for the last 3 Christmas's in a row and still no baby. I think I'm due right! We know that this little guy, Grant Thomas, has DS, but I don't care. We will love him just the same. Keeping the faith yet again for a healty guy to arrive 5/6/2008.

So there's our long story. Pray for us that little Grant makes it! I look forward to sharing lots of tips and advice with you all! God is love!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Pack up, move out.

This morning we packed up our stuff (6 trips up and down the stairs to the car...ugh), vacuumed the carpet to look spiffy for when Rachel returns, and headed out. Well, not out exactly. I took Braska to get her glasses adjusted, amazing what such a little person can do when yanking off her glasses with one hand. Then I decided to go down to my in-laws' place to pick up a few things we forgot when we left Tuesday. And since I was down that way, I went by a hair place I found when we were there last weekend. They had time to get me in, so I dropped Braska at her grandma's and went back to get all fixed up.

Here's the goofiest face ever, I think...mid-foil processing.


Here's a few afters...it didn't really work to take one straight on, in order to get the full effect of the color outcome.


There's a bright red and blonde going on in there.


An interesting thing about the stylist who did my hair...she asked about if I had kids, etc. I chatted about Braska and her stuff. The stylist had a little girl about 6 weeks older than Braska. She asked about knowing about the DS, how she thought that only women over 35 could have babies with DS, etc. There were some bits of info I was able to get in there, and that's always good. She looked at pictues of Braska from her one-year shoot, and she said, "Awww, she doesn't even look like the typical Down syndrome kid. I don't see it very much at all." I had that little moment where I almost instinctively said, "Thank you," in response to a compliment, but then I didn't. I wasn't sure what to say, so I just said she was our little peach and we thought she was pretty great. Another case where she didn't mean anything by it. I ended up taking Braska back by there after I picked her up to say hello to them. Thought I'd use it as a little seed of awareness.

So my little vacation is over. It was good to have a few days. I got some journaling done, which I've been slacking on in a major way. I'm just no good at writing things with an actual pen and paper. I'd rather sit down and type. But that doesn't work in the whole process, apparently.

I got a bit of cross-stitching done, some good quiet "be still and know" time, got in some great programs from KSIV...yes, I actually choose Christian talk radio programs over other options. There was also plenty of HGTV and Food Network, of course. Those are my normal favorites. But there was no cooking, unless you count tossing some chicken nuggety things on a cookie sheet and into the oven. Surprisingly, I got a bit of laundry done, some cleaning, and I even changed the direction of the way her dryer door opened...something that should have been done 16 months ago when she moved in. All in all, it was good, mostly just time to have no interruption except for Braska's requests to be moved from one play venue to the next. I got some good pondering in, some handling of issues long overdue, planning the next few weeks and what needs to happen in them, preparing for what may be some rough seas ahead, and I feel pretty much ready. That's saying alot for me...feeling ready almost never happens.

When I left this morning, this was the view...the sun had come out, the fog of the last few days finally lifted, and it was time to get on with things. I felt that was pretty symbolic.


Thanks, Rach, for letting me borrow your space for a few days.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

My vacation home

This was my view this morning as I stepped out onto the balcony.

I will most likely never have a real vacation home, and that's ok. But when the stars align just right (or my sister goes out of town), I have access to the next best thing...a super sweet condo with high ceilings, comfy sofa, wireless internet, a little granite and steel, garden tub, laundry room, and plenty of very large TVs. Sound like a decent resort, right? And the cost... can't beat it, no way, no how. Little sis has come a long way.

So why vacation at this time? Well, we were here (St. Louis metro) for Christmas, went home that night, and then turned around and came back, just Braska and me, the next morning. Braska's g-button stoma site was looking a little concerning to me, having changed some in the last few days, so I called her GI and they agreed they needed to take a look. So on the road again we went. Since I'm back again and Rachel's gone till the middle of next week, why not have some free time in my old stomping grounds? Braska doesn't have therapy during this time anyway due to the holiday weeks. I can work from here, which I've been doing and actually keeping up. Woo Hoo! Even though it's a big complex it's surprisingly quiet. Lots of young well-to-do professionals who work alot and seem to play elsewhere. When they are here, things are still quieter than our neighborhood. I'm still surprised.

Tonight we went to my brother's house for dinner and visiting. I hadn't been to their house since the wedding...actually the last time I was there was Easter weekend 2006 when we made our big announcement.

We'll be here til...well, who knows. I don't think anyone has even noticed we're gone yet back home. Rach comes home next week, so we'll get booted then, if we're still here. For now we'll hang out, maybe see some friends, and enjoy our little resort.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Another one in the books

It was a fun weekend of family frivolity. We have a picture to prove it. If you need further proof, check out what Braska or Muncher had to say about it.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Wishing you all a very blessed Christmas!

Hope you all have a wonderful day with family and friends!!



Friday, December 21, 2007

Glimpse of the future?

I don't live in St. Louis. I used to, and I hope to again someday. But I do receive email newsletters and such from the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis as a resource and to familiarize with what they have going on. Today I got the Friday Blast email, and it had a note about St. Louis Life. St. Louis Life is a new residential facility and program for young adults (18 -30) with developmental disabilities in O'Fallon, MO. I just finished looking through their website and watching the video tour of the site. It's beautiful! What an awesome place and program!

I have no earthly idea or way to know where we will be, where Braska will want to be, or what will be happening in our lives when Braska gets to this stage in her life, but I just love that something like this is out there, providing a great place for people to spread their wings a little. That's encouraging to me. Check it out.

ALSO, in the info from DSAGSL was a link to some pics from their Young Moms Luncheon. It so so so makes me want to get to be in that club. A bunch of young moms all with young kids with DS chatting about what's up? It's like blogging in person...wait, maybe I should think about this. Anyway, here's the link to their pics including some adorable little kiddos. I would love for Braska to get to have so many little buddies.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Lost bits

There have been so many times in the last couple weeks when I've thought of things I want to talk about or just throw out there for fun. I need to start carrying a little notebook around with me in order to jot them down. I could put them in my PDA/phone, but I'm not so good with the texting even if it is full keyboard. So here's a few semi-random things that I meant to give some time to... aren't you lucky you stopped by today??
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December 14, 2006, the day we brought Braska home from the hospital...finally. Then and now. I hope to try to recreate this pic every year. It's the first one after the day of her birth with she and I together.

We've come a LOOOOOOOOOONG way, baby....you and me both.
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I watched a show last week--I won't mention it or link it because I don't want to even accidentally be blamed for endorsing it--that I normally purposefully avoid even though it's watched in the other living room in our house. I watched it because it advertised having a DS character (this was not the ER episode), and I wanted to see how they dealt with it. I wasn't all that impressed with the actual storyline, but there was an exchange between two characters that I thought was interesting.
He said, "What would you do if you had a kid with too many chromosomes?"
She said, "How do we know that the rest of us aren't just missing a chromosome?"
(Might not be perfectly verbatim...didn't write it down right away.)
Interesting.
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Some things aren't funny. This is something I've been putting together in my mind for some time, and it'll have to wait for further elaboration. But it's important to me...humor is good, laughter is great, but some things just aren't funny and shouldn't be laughed off "just because"...family or not. I've seen so much of that kind of laughing do serious damage to whole lives.
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On Saturday, 12/15 we joined up with a couple small groups to do some caroling at a couple nursing homes here in town where members of our church reside. I haven't done this in many years, but it used to be part of our family Christmas tradition when I was younger. Granted, we are not actually part of either of these small groups from our church...we're kind of like the honorary small group members who don't actually attend small group. I wish that were different, but baby steps... Our friends are super enough to include us on social occasions so we jumped in. (My husband would say he was more dragged in, really. See his take on the night here.) It was fun to be with our buds again...we don't get together nearly enough anymore. And all the kids were at sitters, so we were fancyfree....well, as fancyfree as you can be on the churchbus visiting elderly and singing Christmas carols. But it was good. It snowed the whole time as we were in the middle of this past weekend's snow storm. It made for a nice setting.
A few pics of the evening...smiles on the bus. There were goodies and hot cocoa circulating to keep us happy and warm.
After we got done, we went back to the church to hang and eat more goodies. We borrowed Oasis, which is the teen auditorium area. It's pretty darn nifty, I say. Booths on the side, cafe area, with air hockey, video games, and such on the second level.


The girls gabbed as the guys played, for the most part. This is Jennifer S, me, and Karen K.

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Today was a pretty good day. I felt more like myself today, getting out, talking to people, interacting with adults. Here's how it went...
7am--Up, shower, get Braska up and fed, get us both dressed and ready.
7:45am--Leave the house!! Take Belle to the groomer.
8am--Use the time on the north side of town to run errands. Post office to get stamps, Target to return a gift, Wal-Mart to get things we need, gas station to fill up before weekend trip.
9:20am--Return to pick up Belle and head home.
9:30am--Check email, reply to work issues, finish a project.
10am--Freshen up and dress Braska for going out. (Previous outfit was for errands. Pathetic, I know.) Prepare diaper bag and collect Braska's stuff for feeding while we're out.
10:45am--Leave house heading for lunch meeting.
11:10am--Arrive early at the Olive Garden. Make a few phone calls in the car while I have a minute.
11:20am--Go in, get seated, etc. Have nice lunch w/good friend/work contact. Fed Braska while there. (I'm getting used to doing her tube feeding in public. I don't even notice if people look anymore.) Did some business, got caught up, and relaxed a bit over soup and salad.
12:50pm--Head to the mall (big deal, I NEVER go to the mall). Managed to get gifts for BIL#1 and #2. Found a clearance pair of boots at Payless, stood in line for Santa, got pics of Braska with the very nice St. Nick. (Soon to be posted on her site. Gimme a day or two.)
2:20pm--Arrive home, feeling like I actually got out, and loving it!
The rest of the day was a bit less eventful, but that's ok. I got out. I had adult conversation. Man, I miss that something fierce.
I didn't do a dish, clean a room, unload the dryer or any of the many other things I needed to do, but I still feel good about the day.
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While I was out today, getting gas, a guy came out of the convenience store with a brown paper bag, obviously holding one of the tall beer cans. (Yeah, I watch Intervention. That's how I know. Disturbing, yet very enlightening show. I've learned alot of helpful things that I've had a chance to use, but that's for another time.) He gets in his car, closes the door, fiddles around with some stuff, then opens the beer can in plain sight, downs quite a swig, then takes off. I don't like it. Not at all. He is putting my child at risk, and I don't care for it.
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Target is expensive. While I was there today, I thought I'd use my newly obtained store credit to get the things I had on my Wal-Mart list. So I went to check them out. Now I don't usually know what anything costs. If I need it, I just get it, so I can't tell you how much a pound of meat is or what my deoderant costs or anything like that. BUT I do know what diapers and Braska's liquid food costs. And wow, even the Target generic brand was 15 to 20% more than I pay at WM. All the items I looked at were a few dollars more expensive. I just couldn't do it. Even though it was "free money," I couldn't do it. I didn't think I'd become this person, but I guess I have. Looking at price tags. Guess it's about time. I don't know how all you Target shoppers do it.
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One last thing for now:If you're looking for more wit and sarcasm than the normal person can provide, check out M's blog. He's been posting again after a bit of a hiatus, and they're worth checking out. *Disclaimer (made with love):I cannot be held responsible for the content of that blog.*

Saturday, December 15, 2007

4 books in no time

When we travel back and forth to St. Louis, we like to listen to audio books on CD. Through our Thanksgiving "tour" and a little time listening in town and some in the house while I'm cleaning the kitchen or something, we've covered four books.

Here's the list...
King of Torts by John Grisham

It Ain't All About the Cookin' by Paula Deen

Vanishing Point by Marcia Muller

Fingerprints of God by Greg Iles

That's impressive for me, as I don't read fiction at all...but in the car it's good. We generally forget to pick up the books before we leave, so we swing by the library on the way out of town and I run in to grab 4 or 5 options that look interesting in some fashion. I did pretty well this time.

King of Torts was interesting to follow, and we kind of "called it," figuring out the order of events at the end, but that's ok. Paula Deen's book was one I listened to while M was sleeping...he wouldn't be going for that in his waking time. It was pretty interesting, I must say. Not what I expected; quite a colorful past she has. Vanishing Point was one that I've done in town and at home, but it's been a good way to pass the time while cooking or cleaning. And Fingerprints of God is a little weird and seems to have two stories in it that I'd prefer to be separate. We've not actually finished it yet, as we started it on the trip, but it's 11 CDs! So we've been doing it in little bits at home, but we're rarely in the same room in a situation that allows for listening to anything other than the TV. I will probably renew this one and we'll finish it on the Christmas drive.

Some people read this many books in this amount of time, but I'm pretty impressed that I can say I've "read" something lately, something other than my typical relationship helps, motivational/spiritual helps, etc. Pick up an audio book CD before your next trip!

Real snow!!

Finally we got some actual snow, the kind that comes down all day and night and is so darn pretty to watch! Granted, we had to drive in it last night, and that was no fun. Even in town it was pretty hard to see and navigate with the heavy snow and the wind, but we made it back home.
A funny thing about this snow storm...my husband and I discussed last night how our church would notify the 1200+ people who would normally be there on a Sunday that there would be no church if they chose to cancel services. We weren't sure. Maybe a cancellation list on a local radio or TV station? We found out this morning...I got an email. (The wind is bad at our church, as it sits in a wide open plain in the middle of corn fields outside of town, so when it snows, it's always way worse at the church. But this is the first time they've cancelled in the 6 years we've been going there.) And to add to that, I also got a text message from our old church, where I occasionally still show up a couple times a year. Ain't technology fun?

Our court Saturday morning.

The court Sunday morning. About 8 inches of snow.(Notice our neighbor has already shoveled his drive. He's good.)


Our drive and walk Saturday morning.
Our drive and walk Saturday afternoon...that's the husband beginning to shovel.

Our walk and drive Sunday morning.

Anyone for a swim?

A very cool snow thing... when we arrived home last night after a Christmas caroling party at about 10:40 pm, our neighbors were shoveling our driveway in the midst of the heavy snow and wind. We turned into the court and I said, "Someone's shoveling our drive!" As we got to the drive, we saw who it was. The neatest part? They said they thought we were in bed asleep, and they were doing it to help out. They wanted it to be an anonymous thing! That's cool. They are the best! I made up a container of the goodies that we came home with and gave it to them as a thank you. How blessed are we?!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Road trip follow up

The one-day trip that was supposed to fill last Thursday spilled into Friday. When we came out of the doctor's office to the choo-choo bridge (That's what we call the big glass walkway from Children's to Barnes Hospital and the parking garage...it has a train running all around it way up high.) it was snowing and already getting dark. I called my dad for an up-to-the-minute weather report to see how things were looking on the route toward home, and it was quickly determined to be more risky than I care for when attempting the trip. Instead we headed south a bit to the in-laws' place. (Have I mentioned how handy it is that they're just right there?)

It turned out good that we stayed til the next daylight, as the road home was littered with cars, semi trucks, and a few toppled SUVs in the medians and ditches.


It wasn't that there was so much snow, but there was a layer of ice on everything except the main road itself. I can imagine that in the dark and drizzle, it would have been quite difficult to stay between the lines.

When I pulled into my court, it was slip-slidey time. I even had a little spin out trying to get up what little slope is my driveway.


It's good to be home, warm, safe, and cozy.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Shop talk

Saturday I was at Wal-Mart shopping for a few items, more than one of which was in the baby section. I've always thought that when people are actually shopping in the baby section, they seem to slip into a friendlier mode, talking to others who are also in their world, discussing ages, genders, and latest milestones of their kids.

As I was standing in front of the shelves full of baby foods, cereals, and juices, there was a lady who came up from my right side. She was talking to the man a few steps behind her who was dutifully pushing the shopping cart piled high with their coats and scarves. There was no kid in sight. I should specify that she was talking LOUDLY. It was almost as if she was unabashedly inviting people to stop and listen to the earth-shattering things she had to say. As she walked up to where I was looking through the Graduates items for Lil' Crunchies, she stood about 12 inches from me and sighed very loudly. She said, apparently to the man, although she didn't direct it toward him, "I just WISH he would eat! What do you think we should try this time? Or do we just give in and let him eat the same two things." The man made no response, just followed as she passed behind me and then stopped on my left side. She continued, still sounding like she was trying to share this info with someone a few aisles over, "Nobody gets how frustrating this is! I wish we could go back to when he just took a bottle. "

Since I hadn't found what I wanted yet, I considered walking around the next aisle and waiting for them to finish and leave before returning to search some more. But that seemed silly. Before I realized I'd decided to say anything, I heard myself blurt out, "I know feeding can be stressful sometimes." "Well, WE are trying to get him to start taking some solids, and he only wants a few particular ones," she replied. "It's been like three weeks, and I don't know how long I can take this!" She had such a martyr's air to her, at least I think that's why I said, "Aw, that is hard. My daughter has a feeding tube." I surprised myself, let me tell you. She hesitated for just a second, and she said dismissively, "Well I guess I should be thankful, then. "

Thank goodness, I spied those evasive Lil' Crunchies, and grabbed them up. I said, "I'm sorry it's frustrating for you," smiled as sincerely as I could, and I walked away.

It got under my skin, and that surprised me. She had no way to know what feeding issues meant in our house, and I'm sure they are just as frustrated with their particular set of circumstances. There was just something about her more-distressed-than-thou air that was too much for me. It was almost like she wanted some kind of medal of courage for hanging in there, and if she did, I'm sorry she felt like she needed to look for it in a Wal-Mart aisle. I gotta say, that poor guy looked like he'd been hearing that song for a very long time.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

It's a small internet

On Thursday I received an email from a senior editor at Consumer's Digest. He said he had been Googling for a story about people who have used a cleaning service, and apparently he happened upon this one. How weird is that? He asked if I'd be interested in talking to a reporter. I was in St. Louis, so when I checked my email that evening, I replied that I would be happy to chat with a reporter. He wrote back to tell me who would be contacting me.

So the reporter called today. She was super nice, and we talked for almost half an hour. I just talked about my experience with Merry Maids and why I stopped using them. The bottom line on that is this...Since you have to have the clutter put away for them to clean, it wasn't worth the price to have them come and basically just wipe down the shower walls, kitchen sink and counters, dust, and vacuum. I'm not trying to be derogatory toward them, but in my situation, it wasn't what I needed. I need someone to come in who knows where I keep my kitchen stuff and will put away my laundry...that kind of thing. I need a mini-me, really.

The reporter's going to let me know when the story or report or whatever runs in a few months. I'll let you know.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

On the road again

I try not to repeat post titles, but this one is destined to be a fave. I can't believe I've circumvented it for all this time already.

We are headed for St. Louis again today. We're going to aim to do a one-day trip which means 3 hours down, get glasses at St. John's, then to Children's for swallow study and visit with Dr. R to check on the g-button. Then we'll race home to try to catch the Bears/Redskins game tonight. (Yep, that's right, we get NFL Network. Sorry to those of you who don't.)

God give us travel safety, good visits, great people to work with, and help Braska be in good spirits. Amen.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

First evening snow

I love snow. When M got home from Tuesday night MTG with the guys late tonight, he came and said it was snowing. I got all silly and did a few jigs after he opened the blinds and I could see. This is my view...I could watch it all night. We probably won't get much more than 1/2 inch, but it still counts in my book.

Multilaptasking

I didn't accomplish nearly as much today. This is a peek from my perspective for a slice of my day.

That's Braska on the left side, Cede (say-dee, as in Mercedes, her full name) on the right side, Belle on the foot of the recliner snoozing on my leg, and my computer, obviously. And yes, I'm still in my PJs in the middle of the day. Perk of working at home. Funny as it is, this is not really a rare occurence in a typical day for me, except we don't always get to have Cede for a visit. Believe it or not, I did get some work-work done during this time. Yeah, I'm that good.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Raisin Bran Life

Just finished making dinner. Like with ingredients combined to create parts of a meal, all together making what most people might call "dinner" or "supper."

Here's the thing. I don't cook. Now, mind you, it's not that I *can't* cook, it's that I just simply don't. Why? Because I'm married to man who doesn't eat real food, and I have a daughter who also doesn't eat. And I got tired of cooking for one (me), usually after I had "cooked" for one (him) in the form of mac n' cheese or some such boxed item. SO...therefore, I don't cook.

I would be happy to live on Raisin Bran, even a generic. Yeah, that's how far I've fallen. When M is busy or it's just me and Braska, I practically do live on it. Throw in a Slim Fast shake here or there, and I'm good for a long time.

I used to cook. Even when I lived alone after college, then when I had a roommate, and even at the very beginning of our marriage, I did actually cook. But when I learned that my husband preferred, yes that's right...preferred Hamburger Helper to homemade dinners, I took the easy way out. It eventually slipped even further, as now HH is a "real dinner," as opposed to things like mini-tacos in the toaster oven, nachos, grilled cheese, and frozen pizza. While you're shaking your head, realize this....he actually LIKES this stuff, at least as much as he likes any food. He doesn't like to eat anything, really. He says that eating is a hassle, and he's jealous of Braska's ability to receive sustenance without putting forth effort. He even talked of seeing what it would cost to do an elective g-tube. Yeah, crazy, I know.

He likes turkey, if it's pulled/shredded and dried out about 10 minutes then salted. He will eat lasagna sometimes, tacos usually, chili occasionally, and chicken bits here and there, that's chicken breasts cut into small pieces or pulled then cooked again with seasoning until they're pretty dry. The hard part, really, is this... even food he "likes" are not always acceptable. Like tacos could be considered a favorite, but it is possible for me to have all veggies chopped, meat seasoned, and shells warmed and he'll walk in from work and not want tacos. Or I could make homemeade lasagna, one of my best offerings, which he does like, but after spending all the time to make sauces and layer and such, it wouldn't be a surprise if he didn't feel like lasagna that night.

SO in order to avoid such things, I've just gotten in a pattern of not planning at all. That's hard for me, as I am WAY a planner. Dinner time is the old college style "what do you want, I don't know, what do YOU want" kind of thing. Then I stand and look at a bare fridge and sparse pantry and give him options of mini-ravioli, beef ramen (which he actually CHOOSES sometimes), or popcorn. It's a sad place we've come to, but he really doesn't mind.

I, on the other hand, have fantasies about dinner time. Meals planned out ahead of time so that I can order my day appropriately and shop more efficiently. It's when we set a crock pot of beef roast and veggies on the table with rolls and salad. We sit down and chat about whatever comes to mind, things of the day, what's new with the kiddo. It's comfortable and relaxed. Even after 10 years, I still have that dream. Is it any wonder that we have a child with feeding issues? I don't think it's a coincidence...and the speech/feeding therapists that we've seen don't either. They keep trying to get us to sit at the table and include Braska. But our dining room is generally just a walkway from the hall to the kitchen. I keep thinking I'll do it with her, just us two, even if it's not a group thing, but I haven't. It's just easier to stick with the norm...catching up on DVR shows while I eat off a TV tray and he eats at his computer across the room. We're not eating the same things, so we don't usually even eat at the same time....well, sometimes that works out. Braska usually is already done with her 5 minute straight-to-the-belly dinner before we start. Then I fix whatever he's eating, then I decide what I'm going to eat and I make it.

Wow...didn't mean for this to become all about our eating, but it is kind of interesting, or pathetic maybe. We admit it. We're not deluded into thinking this is the right way, it's just survival on my part, and it pretty much the way he's always known.

So anyway...back to tonight. I have been very upset at the state of things and how bad they've gotten. Our house is trashed, like the worst it's ever been. This is completely unacceptable to me, but thankfully in a way, M doesn't mind. He never says a word about it... so at least I'm not being hounded. That's a good thing. But I don't like it. I don't like that we've been doing take-out too often, that we haven't been actually eating food, non-boxed. So today, after a frustrating therapy session that made me feel like I would NEVER get things right (not the therapists fault, she's good), I decided that I was going to get something accomplished today. So I started with the kitchen. I always start there. It's the one place I can dig into and actually finish. And when it's done, it looks so great.

Since I had a clean kitchen, I was more in the mood to put forth an effort to make something. So I decided on chicken, rice, and salad. This is on the "usually" list of acceptable things. We haven't had it in a while, so that makes it a better bet. I went through the process of the chicken (thawing, dicing, cooking, seasoning, cooking more until dry) then I saw an onion. This is rare because I don't usually buy produce because it always goes bad. M hates onions, so I got an idea. Why I thought of this, I do not know. I decided I'd make my own onion rings. I LOVE onion rings. I don't remember why I bought this onion, but who cares. I did a quick web search for batter recipes and there I went. I managed to keep an eye on the chicken, start the rice, chop the salad veggies, make the onion batter, slice the onions, and get them in the oil all in stride.

Man, they were good!!!! Check out how pretty they are!

In the end, M had a nice dinner of chicken bits, rice, and salad, followed by vanilla ice cream. I had part of a chicken breast, tomato, and onion rings! Now that's dinner!

I'll hold onto my dinner dream. Someday I may get there, but I'll not hold my breath. Raisin Bran will continue to be my friend, but at least for today, I accomplished a few things that made me proud.