Tuesday, June 23, 2015


According to Greek Mythology, Sisyphus, was punished by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, repeating this action forever.

My son is my personal hero.  My son has very painful arthritis yet, for the most part, many folks wouldn't necessarily realize just how sick he is.  He puts on a good show, he hides his stiff hands, masks his pain, and stretches his sore and stiff limbs discreetly.  It affects his everyday life greatly, it takes him a lot longer to do simple things, and he is unable to tie his own shoes anymore.  His hands won't cooperate.
A few weeks ago, he walked into the doctor's office and pronounced he had enough of monkeying around with medications, he looked right at the doctor and said, "Pull out the big guns, I want you to give me your best stuff."

So they did, and Mr. Boy started chemo treatment.  It's been rough, he is exhausted all the time and falls asleep mid sentence sometimes. The hardest part is just when he feels better, it's time for another dose.  He takes it every week and it is beginning to feel like groundhog's day around here.  It's a constant cycle and it's a mental game to keep him going, keep us going, and do it week after week.
The good news is that is working, we see little improvements here and there, and today they could actually see a measurable improvement in his mobility.  We joke that he is Sisyphus, pushing a boulder up a hill all week long and just when he reaches the top and pauses to take a deep breath and enjoy the view, the boulder is back down at the bottom of the hill.  Time to start pushing it back up the hill, but we are hoping one day we can stop pushing that boulder up the hill and enjoy the view at the top of the hill for the rest of our lives.   We have hope for the first time in a long time, and that is a gift, to have hope that we can,  Hang On Pain Ends. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

How to have your own Ultimate Super Mega Summer!

I love summer!  That should be a surprise to no one.  Ever since we had our remodeling summer, I've tried to make a big effort to have a kid friendly summer.  (My kids remember the remodeling summer  as our 'Home Depot Summer", since we pretty much spent all our free time in Home Improvement stores. It was also the summer we were mistaken for being homeless. )

I get this question all the time, "Why do you love summer so much? Don't the kids being home make you crazy?"   and I've had several people ask me how to have their own Ultimate Super Mega Summer.  Here's the truth, my kids make me crazy, but I love not having to pack lunches or waking sleeping children for school a lot more.  When they get a little nutty, I have tricks to distract them.

1.  Have a Routine  
My kids know when they wake up, they have chores to do.  Beds are made, rooms are tidied and they tackle their daily list.   Cereal... it's what is for breakfast every day during the summer.  When the kids were little, I put milk in a tiny plastic pitcher, perfect for little hands to get their own cereal.   Yes, sometimes they make a mess, but it can be wiped up pretty easily, and they know to do it.  My kids also have to do a worksheet or flashcards in the morning.   Once the chores are done, they get a little time with their screens. It's a great motivator!

2.  Make a Summer Bucket List
We make a list of all the things we want to do during the summer on the last day of school.  In my dreams, it's a cute thing we put on our wall, but the reality is it's a piece of paper with my notes on it. Some of the items on our list are super simple, such as "Eat Popsicles!" or "Play Hide and Seek."  Every week we try and pick 2-3 things from it to check off the list.   This year my family made a goal to find the best donuts in Los Angeles, so there are lots of donut shops on the list.

3.  Set out a craft
This was a paper craft, costume wearing is optional.
Every week, I try to have a craft that I leave out.  Sometimes it's simple as a shiny new box of sidewalk chalk.  One week it was watercolors, which I left out on the deck.   Sometimes it's a little more elaborate like these bubbles in a bucket with a lid.   Whenever someone says, "I'm bored" they are told to either work on a craft or grab a bottle of Windex and wash the windows.   I'm not kidding, I hand my kids a bottle of Windex every time they say they are bored.   I haven't heard an "I'm bored" in about two years.  Other activities we've done is a tub of flour for them to dig buried objects in, kinetic sand, playdoh, etc. The key is rotate them week to week.  I have a pinterest board full of this stuff.

4. Have a read aloud book
Every summer I pick a book to read aloud.   You have to find a time that works for you, but for us it's the last half hour of the day before Mr. Man comes home.   We have read the Wind in the Willows, The One and Only IvanFarmer Boy, Ribsy,  and this summer we are reading Harry Potter.  Harry Potter is new for AK, but Mr. Boy is happy to hear the story again.

5.  Have fun!
Summers, like Popsicles don't last forever.  
"...but the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three on them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4, and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in a hurry to get on to the next things: dinner, bath, book, bed.  I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.”-Anna Quindlen