Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ocean City Vacay: Day 2

No vacation would be complete without be awoken at 6:15 by little girls that wanted to go the beach! We were up and at 'em quite early.

These first pictures were taken starting at 7:40 am!

So to answer the riddle of what is plastic, has Elmo and Cookie on it and a long string?

A kite of course!

Amelie and I attempted to fly the kite, but Daddy was the one that got it going!

Amelie enjoyed it a great deal.

Violet got a kick out of it as well.

Linus? Well, he was distressed that Elmo was so high in the air. He kept looking up and saying, "Oh, no Elmo."

He held the kite for a spell, but wasn't super interested.

After our early morning digging session, we headed to the boardwalk again! We got two giant lemonades to share.

And of course we got two ice cream cones to share. (More on that back here.)
Linus savored his ice cream while making friends with the people sitting on the bench behind us.

After a nap, we headed back to the beach for some more digging.

I love this shot of Amelie.

Amelie took this one of Duncan and I.
I forgot my sunglasses and bought the ones you see above for $3 on the boardwalk on Friday morning. Duncan claimed they looked like I was leaving the eye doctor and I tried to explain that it's the current style. But to his delight, they broke a little more than 24 hours after I bought them. So, I'm back to my stretched-out, not-in-style ones again.

Linus liked it when Daddy buried his feet!
It was an incredible second day!

A Day Three Riddle: Beach-boardwalk-condo-beach-condo was the pattern for Day Two. What could it have been for day three?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Ocean City Vacay: Day 1

So many pictures! I just can't decide which ones to share.
I'll start with my favorites from day one.
Yup, all from one day.
And two more days after that one waiting in the wings.

Here we are set to hit the beach for the first time.

We're almost there!

As soon as we hit the sand, Linus kept squatting down to dig. He'd stand up, take a few more steps, and stoop down to dig some more. He and I got pretty far behind the girls and Daddy!

Once Linus realized they were so far ahead of us, he took off in their direction!

We dug, and dug, and filled up buckets, and dumped them out, and dug some more. Did I mention filling up buckets? What about dumping them out?

We got water to make wet sand for castles.

Linus was beside himself with delight. He couldn't decide where it was best to dig. Here? Over there? But what about that spot right there? There was so much DIGGING SAND!

We ended our first day with dinner on the board walk. Dough Roller anyone?
It was a great first day!
A Day Two Riddle: It's plastic, has Elmo and Cookie Monster on it, and a really long string. Any guesses? Check back soon for the answer!

Monday, May 25, 2009

First and Last Days

Amelie's first day of pre-school on
Tuesday, September 4, 2007.

Amelie's last day of pre-school on
Thursday, May 21, 2009.

Kindergarten, here we come!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hello From Ocean City!

Kohr Bros. only takes cash.
We only had enough on us for two small cones.
Consequently, Duncan was able to shoot one cute video.

Amelie's thumbs up is about the ice cream.
I'd say it also applies to this, our first family-of-five vacay.
Fun stuff. Majorly fun stuff.
Thank you, Lord, for generous friends with beach condos!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

On Mental Health (Part 2)

Thank you so much for all of your encouragement to keep posting on this topic! I must say that I've doubted myself many times over the last week, as I've thought about my next post. I'm not shy, at all, when it comes to talking about how I've suffered and do suffer from anxiety and depression. I'm not embarrassed to admit that I'm on medication and have been for years. I'm even not ashamed to talk about how helpful counseling was or to admit when I have an appointment with my psychiatrist. However, I don't usually go into details about the specific subjects of my anxiety. This is because I know how irrational my mind is being! I'm thankful for the ability to recognize this truth. But, I just can't help the cycle that goes through my brain, regardless of how irrational and ridiculous I know I'm being. And my fears can be, well, embarrassing.

So, I'll swallow my pride and plow on, regardless. To pick up where we left off, Linus was born and my life was full of all of the anxieties that go along with having a brand new baby. This baby spent a week in the NICU, was my smallest baby, and seemed more fragile than either of the girls. So, I worried when his temperature was too low, when he had a stuffy nose, when he didn't seem to be nursing enough, when Amelie sat on him accidentally, when Duncan fed him formula that might have had a broken seal (long story), when he slept too long...should I continue? I think you get the picture. And then, about a month after he was born, my main source (as I said before, there's always a main source for me) of anxiety shifted.

Let me back up to the summer of 1996. Some of you faithful blog readers lived through that time with me. I was a camp counselor at Pine Springs Camp and was admittedly fearful that I'd have to deal with a puking camper. I had always been vomitaphobic. (There's a real term, but I think mine sounds better.) And wouldn't you know? I had to deal with vomit, in some way, shape, or form, nearly every week of that summer.
Fast forward 11 years.
I'm a mother of three. No longer a camp counselor. And while I had dealt with vomit in my own kids, it hadn't been anything major in my three and a half year stint of motherhood.
And then,
it happened.

We came home from a weekend away. And Violet threw up out of nowhere. And thus began my new focus for my anxiety: I was afraid that my children would throw up. Since October 2007, this has been the main focus of my anxiety: vomit.
Are you kidding me? Isn't dealing with puking kids a badge of motherhood? Isn't it something that happens to everyone? And I'm AFRAID of it? Yep. All of that is true.

When I admitted to Duncan what my problem was, his response was simple.
"Yeah, good. It's something that will happen (as opposed to aliens landing in your yard or dinosaurs running around your house--two honest-to-goodness anxieties that some personal friends have had) and I've seen you deal with it in very appropriate ways. So, good."
Well, thanks, I guess?

So what does this anxiety look like?
It looks like lots of hand washing. Making sure my kids eat healthy foods that have been washed and prepared properly. It means more hand washing. It means that every sound I hear over the monitor at night could mean someone is throwing up. (I've seriously considered pitching said monitors.) It means eating out in a restaurant with the kids is a struggle for me. It means that traveling is a real struggle--rest stops, public bathrooms, restaurants, etc. It means cleaning hands with wipes when we can't get to a sink. It means that I make sure my kids stay on their sleep schedule, because being well-rested helps the immune system. It means that I make my kids eat a lot of yogurt. It means I pick up toys and books that are in and around their beds, and all along the path to the bathroom so that there is a clear puking path. It means that my stomach drops whenever I hear of someone with a stomach bug--immediately thinking of whether or not we have a physical connection with them. It means fewer trips to the library upon finding out how disgusting books are from there. It means incredibly dry hands for me and the kids in the winter. It means avoiding play dates or at least a struggle with wanting to avoid a play date. It means making my kids put their hands on their heads while waiting in a public bathroom, so they don't touch anything. It means constantly thinking about these things, pondering how I can keep my kids healthy, keeping them from getting germs that could cause them to vomit. Always. Thinking. About it.

So what does this anxiety look like when someone is actually in the midst of vomiting?
It looks like me scrubbing carpets, wiping floors, stripping beds, doing laundry, holding bowls, rubbing backs, holding back hair, reading stories, watching tv. It doesn't look like me running away or hiding in a closet. I think it looks like a pretty normal mom doing her job. Duncan remarks every time at how he's amazed at how calm I am when I face my biggest fear. The only way I can explain it is that for me, the anxiety lies in the anticipation, the possibility of my fear being realized, what will be ruined in the process, how big the clean up job will be, who will be affected, or where it will happen. (It's always a struggle to sleep at someone else's home.) And once someone has vomited, well, it's over! There is no anticipation left. The fear has been realized and it needs to be dealt with.

There's so much more to share...what I learned in counseling, the recent strides I've made and things I've learned, how my faith plays into this whole thing. But those will have to wait for the next post(s). Thanks for bearing with me. This writing process is quite therapeutic in itself. So, I'm fairly certain I'll keep it up.