Saturday, September 29, 2012

Countdown to Homelessness: 2 Days

To say my family is unhappy with John would barely even begin to cover how they feel about him.  In particular John has made my mother angry.  She called and texted a few things to him that sounded threatening.  In particular she sent a text to him that said to "watch your back sucker!"  LOL    It appears that based on that text John was able to get a order of temporary protection on my mother.  How crazy is that?

Today is Saturday and I will be selling all that I cannot fit into my boxes or my car.  It is a LOT!  It makes me sad to lose these things.  Some of the stuff I am having to give up are the outside toys I found for the children, their toddler beds, several pieces of furniture, ALL of my furniture for sitting (couch, love seat, chairs), my drier,several small kitchen appliances, microwave, and a whole bunch of miscellanous items.  I am hoping I make some good money from the sale but on the other hand it really does break my heart to lose so many of the children's things.  I am not even sure when I could replace these things. In the end I guess it is for the best since I am not sure where we will be in Phoenix.  Most of the items are too big unless we can live in a house somewhere.

I feel like I am losing everything.  I know I am not and I have tow U-Haul Boxes that say otherwise but that is the way it feels.  There is still SO much in the house.  I will have to get rid of a lot of things I really want.  I want all of this to end but everything keeps moving forward.

Today, I am selling my life.  : (

I am sure part of the melancholy of this post is due to the lack of sleep.  Not only is there a lot to do but idiotic me packed my mattress and I had no where to sleep.  So I have gone about 24 hours without sleep.  I am tired!



Friday, September 28, 2012

Countdown to Homelessness: 3 Days


Photo Credit: collegeboxes.com
Sorry I have not updated what has been going on but I have been both tired and busy.  John took the children for the whole day yesterday and I was suppose to get U-Boxes (U-Haul's version of PODS) to store my stuff in and then I could move it once I knew where I am going.  I had to stand at the U-Haul place for about an hour and a half yesterday trying to get everything worked out.  It was a complete mess.  I was not able to get the boxes delivered.  So John keeping the kids yesterday was partially a mess because I could not pack like I wanted to.  I ran around though and went to a couple of doctor appointments and followed up on several things I had been working on.  I literally left the house at 10am, when John got the children, and did not return until 3:30pm when the landlady said she was coming by to talk to me about the house. I was SO busy.  I had an hour at the house before John dropped the children off.

Today I am hoping I will get stuff packed.  My parents collected money from the family (even extended relatives) to get me the U-Boxes so I can have somewhere to store my stuff that will be easy to ship when I know where I am going.  My parents were also able to find me a cheap ($150 per week) extended-stay hotel.  Being that cheap I can't imagine the place will be nice but at least is it somewhere to go!  I am taking two of the crib mattress.  This way two of the children will sleep on the crib mattresses in the floor while one of the children and myself will sleep in the bed.

For state and federal aid purposes we are still considered homeless. Being in a hotel is considered being homeless by the government but at least I will not be rolling into Phoenix with NO WHERE/NO PLAN on where I was staying..  It will be rough living in such cramped conditions with all of them.  I am not sure what I am going to do about getting a sitter.  What am I suppose to tell them?  Come to my hotel and watch the kids all days.  I know it is boring and cramped here but try not to kill any of the kids when they get on your nerves.  I don't know.  That will be another problem for another day.

I have to go to a doctor appointment for myself this morning.  We will go to that.  Once I am done we will leave and go pick up some helpers to pack.  I will have to miss a doctor's appointment for Joseph at 11am because the U-Boxes will be delivered between 10am and 11am.  I have to be here for the delivery plus I don't have the the time to drive 40 minutes across town to make the appointment, spend the time there and drive back.  This sucks too because it was an appointment with the pulmonologist.  I am NOT happy U-Haul is making me miss this appointment!

John will be by at 6:30pm tonight to pick up the children.  This is technically his weekend.  I am hoping everything will be packed by then.   Keeping my fingers crossed!  I will try and update what I can I would guess that more of my updates will be from my Kindle or phone so bare with me.  : )

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Countdown to Homelessness: 5 Days


Today I finally got some good news.  My uncle Walt happens to be in Phoenix in tow weeks to visit some family members on his side of the family.  I have never met them.  Though he is not in good enough shape physically to help with the moving part it will be nice to have a friendly face in town. My uncle has never seen the children.  That will be fun.

My parents were also able to get some money together and will be able to help with paying for two weeks in an extended stay hotel. It will be something cheap but it will be a place.  I am suppose to start my new job on October 15th.  This is good in some ways because it is sooner than expected.  On the other hand it is bad because I will only have two weeks to make everything happen.  To get into town, scout out a place to live, find a sitter for the children, get the children enrolled into the services they need and take them to where ever else we may need to go.  Mostly I am worried about getting the three of them enrolled in services.  For three children that is a process that can take, easily, a month to set up working on it all most full-time.

Still, it is overall good news and I am just hanging in there.  Something of a plan is coming together.  Maybe this will work!

Fun Projects with Chalk and Chalkboard Paint

Who doesn't love chalk?  There is something fun about taking that colored stick of chalk in your hand and creating something out of nothing.  My children LOVE chalk and we have used sidewalk chalk quite a bit but I have been looking for new and fun ideas with chalk.  Here are a few things I have found.

Where are we going to draw?  Here are a few ideas that you can do with chalkboard paint.

Photo Credit: shine.yahoo.com

Chalkboard Dresser

What a beautiful and great idea!   This is a piece of furniture that can grow with a child. You start off labeling the drawers for their clothes and as they get older you can put little "booster" sayings like, "You are great!"












Photo Credit: shine.yahoo.com


Here is another great idea. What about re-purposing the frame of a broken mirror by making it into a magnetic chalkboard.  Tape off the edges of the frame.  Spray the inside with a couple of coats of magnetic spray paint.  Finally add a coat of chalkboard paint.  Now you have a functional item that would be great in an office or a child's room!









Photo Credit: Designsponge.com



What a beautiful and fun way to learn geography!  I really like this idea and what a great way to re-purpose an old globe!  I also love that the supply list is short.  You need two colors of chalkboard paint, a one inch brush, a thin liner paint brush, a paint color to outline the continents, chalk and a globe. Click on the link to take you to the project instructions. 








Photo Credit: bgh.com


If the traditional black and green chalkboard colors do not work for you or your decor it is possible to make your own custom color.  Just use the ratio of one cup of latex paint to 2 tablespoons (Tbsp) of unsanded tile grout. Use a paint stirrer to mix. During application, gently sand the dry layers of paint between coats with 150-grit sandpaper. Apply several coats for best color.






Now it is time for some chalk!  First lets look at how to make your own chalk.

Photo Credit: ohmyhandmade.com

This recipe makes beautiful sidewalk chalk using Plaster of Paris and tempera paint.  This is a fun craft idea and a great way to get the kids involved!







Photo Credit: kinderart.com


This is a great idea of smaller children.  You take chalk and dip it either into white tempera paint or glue and color with the chalk.  It creates a different effect that you traditionally see with chalk and the paint/glue help to affix the chalk to the paper. 








I LOVE this idea and it is SO easy to do!  You take salt and place it into a zip lock bag along with the color of chalk you want to shade the salt.  Have the children rub the salt and chalk bag until the salt is colored.  Pour the salt into bowls.  Have the children design a picture and let them fill in small portions of the picture with a thin layer of glue.  Sprinkle the colored salt on the picture.  Continue working section by section until the picture is complete. 











Has Hell Frozen Over Yet?

Photo Credit:  america-report.blogspot.com
I know my husband (he left at the beginning of July) has been reading my blog.  At least occasionally.  I know because of things he has said.  I am surprised!  He had not read what I wrote before.

John arrived at my house this evening.  James was SO excited!  As I was getting ready to leave I asked John if he could take off from school on Friday so I could go and see my regular doctor to get refills on all my maintenance medications before I left town.  Plus I was hoping he would take the children early so I could see about trying to get a moving van and get the house packed and moved.  John said he would not be able to get Friday off.  It was a high demand day for subs (what difference this makes I have NO idea) and that progress reports had to go out.  He did not want to leave that duty to a substitute.  I kinda understand that one but on the other hand it is not every day that your wife and children are leaving for another state.

John said the best he could do was Thursday.  He said he could take half a day off on Thursday.  I asked if the whole day was possible but he said no.  So I asked if he could show up early (instead of 6pm) when he picks the children up on Friday.  John said why was I asking for things at the last minute.  That he has plans.  Why didn't I ask earlier?  First off, let me think for a moment, I may be a bit scatter brained lately because of all the stress I am under.  It could be because I have been busy making calls and trying to get information together to take to Arizona. Set up doctor appointments (here and there).  Get the children and I to our needed appointments over the last three weeks.  Make calls to try and keep us from being homeless in Arizona.  Writing in a blog asking for help from strangers because my husband, and father of the children, is not helping in any way with the move.  I am sorry but I have been a bit busy!

It had dawned on me last night that I would need somewhere to stay Sunday night.  I asked John tonight if I could stay at his place on Sunday with the children.  His first response was no.  He said he was not comfortable with it. What???  I was stunned.  I took a moment to get myself composed and said I am the mother of your children, your wife of all most 13 years and you cannot let me spend one night at your place since I have no where else to go???   He sat there and was thinking.  After a bit I told him never mind.  If it is going to be that hard of a decision then don't worry about it.  He said he should be able to think about my request since it was another last minute item I am bringing up to him.

Then he said something along the lines of why would I have thought he would just say yes.  Well, it could have to do with I would have said yes so I NEVER thought he would have said no or had to think about it. I walked out of the house.  I stood outside the door for a moment and then realized I had forgotten a post-it note I wanted.  I went back inside.  John said he was ok with me staying there.  I told him, again, not to worry about it.  He said he was not going to get in a fight with me.  He would leave before it came to that.  I said, "You are not leaving.  You are going to spend time with your children. I am leaving."  I walked back out the door.  As I am getting in my car he comes outside and says, "I would like you to stay.  It will be the last time I get to see the children."  Notice there was no mention of me.

I left.  I was heartbroken.  John has been so cool to me lately.  James telling me about some woman named Shawn.  His refusal for me to come to his place, the fact he smelled SO strong of cologne (I did NOT get) tonight the smell lingered in my house and he was texting makes me think he has some other woman in his life.  This hurts me.  I have asked him to get couples therapy with me.  I wanted to try and keep our family together but I am not getting that same feeling from him.  I can't be the only person trying to fix what is broken.

I called and talked to my mother.  Normally I call and talk to my friend Krissi but she has been busy with her own family drama so I have been bothering my mother.  She forwarded me a text tonight after I had left the house.  It was from John.  I did not know she had been texting him.  It said:

Cathy, I have helped Michelle with anything she has ASKED me to do.  If she does not ask, I will not do it.  Please do not respond to this message, and please do not contact me again. Thank you.

At least he was polite.  John and my mother have a very strong dislike for each other.  The part of this message that bothers me the most is John saying he has helped me do anything I have ASKED him to do.  That is NOT true.  Plus, wouldn't a TRUE man volunteer to help?  I had told him in the beginning I was not sure how I was going to make this happen.  I was worried.  John did not help.  He told me, "Don't worry. You will get everything figured out.  Wasn't it you who said where there's a will there's a way?  If you really want this job you will make it work."   I did say where there is a will there is a way.  The problem is that the way can sometimes get REALLY ugly!  If it was just me that would be one thing.  I could ride it out.  It is NOT just me though.  There are THREE disabled four year olds that have to come with me.  I have no problem suffering for my mistakes or judgments in life.  On the other hand I don't wish for my children to share my punishment.

As I said too, if John was a TRUE man wouldn't he have volunteered to help?  He was the one who left the house and left us financially stranded with no warning.  At least my first ex-husband did not do that.  I was seething with hate being cooped up in an apartment with him for four months but at least there was an exit plan when we BOTH left.  If John was really happy that I got this job in Phoenix wouldn't you think he would be excited for me/us?  He would be over and asking what he could do to help?  That the move would benefit ALL of us (financially).  Instead of being cheerful and helpful I have to ask, no beg, for help.  Even when I ask for the help it is not what I want.

After talking to my mother and telling her about John telling me I cannot come over to stay at his place Sunday night, and though he changed his mind, my mother was as surprised as I was.  She said for me not to worry and I could get a hotel room.  She said her and my dad would pay for it.  I am thankful.  After finding out his attitude I don't want to ask for anything. Part of it is pride but part of it is because I don't get what I am really needing.

I wanted to be there for John.  I wanted to love and be with him but how does he expect me to do that when this is how I am being treated?  Worse yet, this is how he is treating his children?  I am not sure what the future will bring.  I am not sure how I am going to make things happen but somehow I will work it out.  I will ask EVERY stranger I can find for help if I have to. I will do this without John.

If I have to ask John it may well be a cold day in hell before that happens.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Countdown to Homelessness: 6 Days


Today I had some help come over.  I realized that I have done pretty good in packing.  There was not a lot to pack.  I was able to get some stuff packed and boxes moved.  That was VERY helpful!  I need  a storage room now.  I think I will be able to get a storage room tomorrow.  If not then, Thursday.  That will be cutting it close since I really wanted the house cleaned out by Friday.

Still don't have a plan and I am going to have to find a place to stay when I get to Phoenix.  I have no idea what I am doing.   At least I can laugh about it today...lol.


Things Every New HOM-to-be Mom Needs!


I have been putting together a list of things that every High Order Multiple (HOM) mom needs. Surprisingly I did not get a lot of input from the other HOMs.  I think they, like myself, suffer from memory loss during those early days.  You stay SO busy in the beginning and sleep deprived that the details are hard to remember. This gets me to the first thing on the list...

1. Please, please, please find the time and get a blog or something.  I know I kept several logs of records on my computer but I lost them when my computers (yes, plural) died.  So I have NO idea, for the most part, when the babies started to smile, babble, talk, sit up, walk and ect.  With multiples it is hard to keep all that information straight for each baby.  By keeping the information in a "cloud" you will not lose it and you will be able to record those precious moments. When life slows down, say when the kids are about 10, you can record those moments in a baby book...lol.

2. Boppies.  In the beginning I had bassinets since they took up less room.  When the children were out of the bassinets we had them in Boppies to sit up and for feeding.  They really are a HUGE help!  The Boppy is still SO loved in the family I have four of them.  Joseph uses a Boppy as a pillow at night.  It is the perfect size for him since he is a side-sleeper.

3. Bouncers.  When the children were not in bed or the floor they were pretty much in a bouncer.  Especially after feeding.  Preemies often have reflux issues.  Please know the signs for reflux and get help for your baby if needed!  You will need at least one bouncer per child!

4. Bottles.  Even if you are breast feeding at some point most HOMs will have to use bottles.  Find some you like.  For us it was Dr. Brown bottles but I think EVERY baby is different.  Make sure you find some bottles and get at least four per child. In the beginning I had 10 bottles per child and was using 8 of them per day.  The extras were for when I was behind in bottle washing.  :  )

5. Bar Mop Towels. I bought these from Costco and got a LOT of them!  I had about 60 of them at one point.  I got solid white ones so I could bleach them.  The babies refluxed a lot and I was constantly wiping up barf, formula, food or something.  Once dirty, the bar towels can be thrown into the washer with some bleach and come out as good as new.  Other people have used cloth diapers.  I like the bar towels better but I am sure that is another personal choice thing.

6. Baby Wipes.  This is a matter of personal opinion.  I really like the Huggies One & Done.  They are thick with a soft cotton-like feel. Also they do not really tear apart easily.  If they dry out you can add a bit of water and they are good as new.  I still use wipes and diapers.  Neither Margaret nor Joseph are potty trained.  I use the wipes for EVERYTHING!  Cleaning butts, wiping faces, wiping hands/feet, cleaning surfaces and anything else.  Amazon is my favorite source for wipes.  I buy the tubs of wipes and then I buy refills to refill the tubs.  I keep buying refills until the tubs are starting to fall apart.  Then I buy more tubs...lol.  I can get 8 tubs for $24.  Not too bad AND it is delivered to my door!

7. Diapers.  For diapers I like Pampers.  I find them to be softer and fit better.  I figured out, in the beginning, we went through 6 diapers (on average) per day per child.  So we were going through about 2 cases per month and now I use one case per month.  Again, Amazon is my favorite source for convenience. There used to be good reward programs out there (Amazon Moms and Babies "R" Us) but I don't think anyone is running anything anymore.  Keep an eye out for your best price.  I do have a Prime membership with Amazon so I can get the diapers quickly.  Otherwise I find Babies "R" Us is the best place to pick up diapers in person.

8. Portable Mini Cribs.  I am not endorsing any particular brand.  I LOVED these because I could roll them to where ever I needed them.  They were small and I could easily fit three in a room.  When we had to travel we just took their cribs with us.  These worked great until they stood up and got too tall for them.  About 14 to 18 months.  After that I moved them to a toddler bed.

9. White Noise Machine.  This is a personal preference also.  I love this because it allows for a constant noise at night that is soothing.  It also kinda "trains" them to sleep to the noise.  It works pretty well. LOL

10. Carseats.  In the beginning, because the babies were so small, I got GRACO snugrides.  If you google them you will see they come in a variety of colors and styles.  When I went out shopping I would put one carseat up top where children sit and two down inside the basket.  I would grab a second basket for actual shopping...lol.  When the babies got bigger I was doing research and the Sunshine Radian carseat was the ONLY carseat that could fit three across in a standard car.  They have been bought out by a company called Diono.  They have the Radian r100.  I think it is the same carseat that I purchased originally.  I have been VERY happy with my carseats.  We have used them for FOUR years and we are going to get new booster style seats (when I have the money) from the same company.  The Radian80 is very expensive at about $225 per seat but they were the ONLY car seat we had to buy in four years!  The Radian r100 is priced about the same but you may want to make sure three of these will fit across the backseat in a standard car.

11. Strollers. This is another super hard question to answer.  I can tell you about the two strollers I had and what I liked or not about them.  One of the strollers I had was a Foundation Quad Stroller.  I liked that I had an extra seat where I could put my diaper bag and anything else that amused me.  Overall the stroller was not that bad.  My biggest problem with the stroller was the weight.  I have this huge E-350 van.  I had to lift the stroller, as dead weight, from the ground to my trunk.  It sucked!  LOL  The stroller weighed about  50 pounds empty.  Too much for me!  Otherwise I liked it. The second stroller I LOVED!  It was a Runabout triple stroller.  It was not as heavy as the Foundation stroller.  Since the stroller does not fold you do need to figure out how you can haul it.  They do make a tailgate carrier for it.  Since it has stadium style seating the kids could see over one another and it was SUPER easy to fit through a standard doorway.  The Runabout was BY FAR the easiest stroller for me to roll around with all the kids.  If anything I had to be careful because the stroller could start to roll away from me...lol.  The length of the stroller allowed me to tilt the front wheel up and have it hit my tailgate.  Then I just pushed the stroller in. It was SO easy for me.  I was sad when James got too big for the seat at 3.5 years old.  :(  When the children were small I either left them in their Graco Sungride carseats or I put them in the Runabout.  Other people have mentioned to me that the Graco carseat stroller frames. You can link them together with various products on me market.

12. Books.  The only book I got to read was Dr. Barbara Luke and Tamara Elberlein's book, "When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads: A Complete Resource."  This was a great book and provided a lot of insight for me.  Especially what I needed to be taking in vitamins to create four people at once...lol.  I am sure there are other resources but this is the only one I read and can vouch for.

Can't stress strongly enough.  You've GOT to have a schedule.  You may not like it but it helps to keep all the kiddos on the same track doing the same thing.  That is important if you ever hope to sleep again!

The other items I think you can figure out and get your own.  I am sure as I think of things I will come back and add to this post.  I am hoping that other HOMs will leave comments and let me know the tools they found most useful.  I would LOVE to hear other people's experiences!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fun Glow In the Dark Projects for Kids

Here are some end of summer Glow in the Dark project ideas (all photos came from Babble.com).

Faeries in a Jar
1. Cut a glow stick and shake the contents into a jar.  2. Add diamond glitter  3. Seal the top with a lid.   4. Shake.

**WARNINGS AND TIPS**  Glow sticks can be found at the Dollar Tree.  Be sure to read the warning on the back of the glow stick package. Use nontoxic glow sticks but they may stain clothes.  Necklaces and bracelet glow sticks may be easier to cut than a standard glow stick.



Glow Bathtime

Let the kiddos have fun by taking the glow stick into the tub.  You may want to use the larger glow sticks for this to make sure none of them go down the drain!






Make a Firefly
How sweet is this?  I grew up in a rural area of the South and I remember watching the fireflies come out at night. There is something magical sitting outside in the muggy heat of summer watching the fireflies twinkle in the distance.  It was even more fun to catch them!  If you can't catch your own you can always make them!

To make one you need a 20 ounce green plastic soda bottle, empty and cleaned out (label removed).  One glow stick and three 12 inch pipe cleaners in green for the legs.


Glow Stick Balloons

To make the glow stick balloons...

Get white balloons and some bracelet glowsticks.  Crack the glow sticks make them glow.  Once they are glowing blow the balloons half way full of air and insert the glow sticks.  This may take a few tries.  Once the glow sticks are inside finish blowing up the balloons and tie off.


Glow in the Dark Bowling

Take soda bottles (clean and labels removed).  Add water for some weight and stability.  Add a glow stick.  Use a soccer ball or some other ball heavy enough to knock the pins over.







Did you ever wonder HOW glow sticks are made?  Watch this...


Countdown to Homelessness: 7 Days


My little wanderer: Margaret
Today is Sunday and I took the day off.  The children and I had such a great day overall.  Today we just enjoyed spending time together as a family.  I have been SO stressed that I needed a break and so did the children.

Tomorrow we will be packing the last of the stuff.   I will be able to use the last of my respite time to pay someone to be at the house while I pack.  They will keep the children out of the way and I can get things done without worrying about them getting hurt.  When I tried to do this the other day but Margaret kept wandering off and going out into the street.  Luckily we live on a road that is not super busy but cars do drive by often enough to make me scared.

Tuesday I will get some money and I will rent a storage room.  It will allow me to have somewhere to take all my things.  Got to get all the stuff out of here by Friday since the electric will be shut off.  I REALLY want to be out by Friday so I won't be stressed.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Where's Your Nose?


To get three children to be doing ANYTHING at the same time in the same way is practically a miracle!  LOL    I got a few good shots of the children I will share.  It probably will be the last pictures I get of the three of them together in Henderson, Nevada home.  I will miss this place!



In this one at least EVERYONE has their eyes closed...lol.  It is rather sweet!                                                















This one COULD have been cute except for Joseph's expression...lol.  Otherwise it is a good picture of Margaret and James.

Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week!


Photo Credit:  miraclesformito.com

This week has been Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week.  Many people have NO idea what mitochondrial (mito) disease is and I know I did not until last year.  This is the reason getting the muscle biopsy is SO important for me.  It is one of the ways you can test for mito disease.  This maybe something Joseph is suffering from.  

In gaining information on mito disease I have met many people who struggle to live on a daily basis.  You see, mitochondria are the power houses of the cells in your body.  When mitochondria do not function properly your body is robbed of the energy it needs to function.  If this continues over time major organs are effected including the brain.  

Symptoms of mito disease can be ANY of the following:

Brain:                                                     Nerves:
Developmental delays                              Weakness (May be intermittent)
Dementia                                               Absent Reflexes
Neuro-psychiatric disturbances                 Fainting
Migraines                                               Neuropathic Pain
Autistic Features                                     Dysautonomia (problems with automatic functions of the body)
Mental retardation
Seizures
Atypical cerebral palsy
Strokes



Muscles:                                     Kidneys:                                Heart:                                                   
Weakness                                   Renal Tubular Acidosis           Heart Blockages
Cramping                                      or Wasting                           Cardiomyopathy
GI problems
Dysmobility
Irritable Bowel Syndrome               Liver:                                   Eyes and Ears:
Hypotonis                                    Hypoglycemia                       Visual Loss/Blindness
Muscle Pain                                 Liver Failure                          Ptosis
Gastroesophogeal Reflux                                                          Ophthalmoplegia
Diarrha or Constipation                                                             Hearing Loss
Pseudo-obstruction                                                                  And other symptoms

Pancreas & Other Glands:                                     Systemic Failure:
Diabetes and exocrine pancreatic                           Failure to Gain Weight          Short Stature
  failure (not make digestive enzymes)                     Fatigue                                 Respiratory Problems
Parathyroid Failure (low calcium)                           Unexplained Vomiting

Think Mitochondrial Disease when three or more organs systems are involved!

Please read the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation website for more information.  It is a great resource staffed with great people! (The hyperlink is there. It is just blending in...lol)

PS.  In case you did not catch it... The color for Mitochondrial Awareness is green.  So if you have seen homes with green lights on the front porch or green ribbons around this week you can bet they know someone with mito.    : )

Countdown to Homelessness: 8 Days


Photo Credit: minimalisthome.com
I had grand ambitions to have a garage sale today but I just can't get it together.  I don't have a lot of places to display the things  want to sell and I need to get the things that have been packed out of my way.  I was hoping to get some money to rent a storage room.  It looks like I will not be able to take much with me so every thing else has to be stored.  I will be taking the crib mattresses of Margaret and Joseph's beds.  Our clothes. Some kitchen and food stuff.  That will be it.  Everything else has to make it to storage, be sold, given away or thrown in the trash.

I spoke to my mother again last night.  I like talking to people when I am having anxious fits. LOL   She said she and others have thought about it and "they" think I should come back to Alabama.  I reminded her we have had this conversation before.  If I went back I cannot make it.  She said I could with her help.  I told her, "Why would I want to give up a job that I have worked for professionally?  A job that would allow us to support ourselves or be close to it along with State benefits? Plus, it would be a slap in the face to the 235 people I beat out for this job position.  I AM TAKING THIS JOB!"  She kinda chuckled at that point and said, "That's true.  You were offered the job over 200 people."  Maybe she got my point this time...lol.  This job is basically everything I have worked for and wanted professionally.  I am only sad because everything is happening a year sooner than I wanted.  I am mostly worried about Joseph.  I don't want to put his health at risk but other than that I am happy for us all.  I just have to figure out HOW I am going to make the transition happen!

Photo Credit: nvenergy.com
The electric company, I am afraid, will have to wait for their payment.  I have pretty much been convinced NOT to pay them.  This means the power will be shut off in the house on Friday.  I checked with John to make sure he was taking the kids this weekend.  It is suppose to be his weekend.  When I spoke to him he said he was not sure what I was doing.  I said I would be in town and taking care of the house.  That I did not have enough money to leave town until the first.

Me: I wanted to make sure you were taking them on Friday because the electricity is going to be shut off John: What are you doing about the water, gas and cable that are still in my name?
Me: Call and have them turned off on the First.  Then take the money out of the child support like you have been doing.
John: Okay.  That will take away some of your money to move.  I could skip paying them for a month and take the money out in November.  At least you should have a paycheck by then.
Me: Okay.

What else was I going to say?  You could cover the $250 worth of expenses since you did not help with any of the moving expenses?  I could but then again I did not want to pick a fight.  I would imagine I will be hurting for money just as bad in November since I will be trying to catch up with expenses and pay child care.  At least this is a problem that will move to November and I can worry about it then.

One day at a time.  It is ALL I can handle right now....one day at a time...




 

Friday, September 21, 2012

When it Rains...


I went out to the welfare office today and then went to the DMV.  On the way to the DMV the air conditioning went out in my van.  My van is old and I have been having problems with it.  After John left I had to cancel several appointments during the height of summer because I was afraid my car would not make it across town.  My brakes have never been fixed either.  This was something I told John I needed to do the month before he left.  So it is LONG over due.  

I was contemplating taking some of our stuff to Phoenix on a trailer if I could get the money together but now I know that will not be possible.  I would NEVER attach a heavy trailer to the back of the car without getting the brakes repaired first.  The air conditioning needs to be fixed too.  The hot weather is so rough on Joseph!  Just another thing, to add to my VERY long list of things, I cannot take care of right now.

On the plus side today I did make it to the DMV and got my driving record to send to my new job.  Hopefully I can get my job offer letter soon.  I also took care of getting handicap placards for my van.  With Joseph this will be a HUGE help!  When I get to Arizona I will not be able to get new plates for my van right away.  I will be working too hard on saving my money for other things.  So I wanted to make sure I had everything up to date in Nevada.  I was SO proud of the children at the DMV.  They were SO good the two hours we were there.  

I am rather upset with John though.  James watches the clock like a hawk and waits for three o'clock to come everyday so he can call John.  Today we were at the DMV so he was distracted but he noticed the clock on the wall (analog).  He said it's three (can only tell the hour...lol) and he wanted to call daddy.  I told him no. I was trying to fill out paperwork and it was SO busy and noisy there I thought it better to wait.  James never asked to call again today.  I was thankful of that though at 7pm he got excited thinking John was coming over.  I had to remind him John was not coming.  James cried a bit and then came to hug me and said, "I love you every day."  It broke my heart!  I knew he wanted daddy.  I cannot believe that John never called and asked to speak to James.  James all most always has to call first.  He knows how James is about seeing and talking to him.  By poor baby James!

Countdown to Homelessness: 9 Days


Photo Credit: pective.com
Who needs a daytime soap opera when you can just read about my life?  Isn't my life at least as interesting as a soap opera?  The only difference is my life is oh SO very real!   There is no one to say, "Cut!  Time for an edit. Let's get the writers together and redo this script!"  It would be nice if that were true.  Or better yet the Easy button from Staples.  If that thing really worked I would get my hands on one now!  LOL    After having my mini-meltdown yesterday I am better.  How could I not be when James is worried about me?

James saw me crying this morning.  Our conversation went something like this...

James: Why are you sad mommy?
Me:  I was just reading something on the computer James and it made me sad.  It's ok. (I lied but the truth is too complex to explain and it is not something for him to worry about.)
James: Don't be sad.  It will be better tomorrow.  (Don't know where he got that from!)
Me: It will be, won't it James!
James: Yes. I'm gonna give you a BIG hug.  I just love you everyday.  (That all most made me cry again...lol)

James can be a terror but he does have such a sweet side to him.  It's amazing!

I got myself together and stopped by the welfare office.  I was not kicked out but that was because I was not there long.  I was told I had to fill out the application form.  It is 20 pages or so.  I had to bring back some proof that John was no longer in the house with me (since we are still legally married), everyone's birth certificates and social security cards, my bank statement, proof of SSI benefits, title to my car and I can't even remember what else.  I got a list...lol.  I knew I would not get any help from them soon for my electric.  My electric was going to get shut off Monday.

I called the electric company.  I spoke to a lady there and she said I had to pay the past due balance of $407.00 by Monday or it was going to get shut off.  I told her I only had $70 to my name.  The soonest I would have any money is the 25th.  She said she could give me until the 28th to pay but I would have to pay half the total balance.  So by the 28th I have to pay about $360.00.  At most I will get $700 from John so that will take at least half of my money until the first of the month.  Then I will get the social security disability for the children and I will have $625 to get to Phoenix, have food, gas and a place to live until the 10th.  I need about $200 for food and diapers, $100 at least for gas so that leaves me $300 for a place to live. Impossible, no, but VERY difficult!  This does not take into account moving or storing any of our stuff.

Photo Credit: OneYearBibleBlog.com
The lady at the electric company said I should call 211 (the state number for referring to community services).  I called the 211 number and told the operator that I needed help with energy assistance.  The operator was straight up and said, "I am sorry but the community partners we refer people to are out of money.  You can call back next month and see if any of them will have any money then."  I am feeling like my life is the Story of Job.  I very much feel like this verse on the right.  I will complain because I have lost all hope.  What else beside complaining do I have?

I still have not heard back from the lady at the regional center here.  I am glad she is so concerned about me and my family.  The days are counting down.  There still is no plan.  My life rather sucks at the moment.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Countdown to Homelessness: 10 days


I have been writing this blog and detailing my experiences.  I have a badge on the right of the screen where I have been trying to raise money to keep the children and I from being homeless but so far I have only been able to raise $55.00.  Thank you to those that have contributed!  I had over 3,800 page views in the last month.  If everyone had contributed just $10 I am sure I would have reached my fundraising goal by now or close to it.  Please contribute if you can!

I was recently reading a post from a Facebook friend about how she has felt "let down" by her friends.  That she had been sick and in the hospital for all most two weeks and during that time only one friend called to check on her.  That was it.  When I read her post I was sad but I understood her feelings.

Here I am, a well educated woman, with three disabled children and I am about to find myself homeless.  I am fortunate in that my homeless situation should not last forever because I have been offered a job but that does not make the experience any less frightening or anxious.  Today I have been feeling so anxious that I feel nauseous. 

I have a few friends in town that know the situation I am in and none of them have offered to help (they are older though so I am not sure how much they could physically do).  The part that bothers me most though is hearing them say, "Don't worry Michelle.  You are a good person and things will turn out okay."  I am sorry but I missed where that happens in real life.  If anything I commonly see good people suffer all sorts of horrible things.  I think that is why I like talking to my friend Krissi lately.  She knows where I am.  She has been though it herself.  The only fortunate thing for her is that she never got as far as losing her house but it was close.  When I speak to her she offers me no false hope.  It is refreshingly nice.  

When I spoke to my mother tonight I was told God will help to make it happen and don't give up because somehow the money will appear.  Really?  So far the answer is, "No, it's not."  I have tried calling my oldest son, who is currently unemployed, to help me but his fiance is pregnant.  She will not let him leave her to come and help me.  Another possibility is my uncle.  He is an alcoholic and drug addict but is currently on the straight and narrow.  Should I risk my children being with him?  I don't want to and I am not sure he would even come anyways.  Random strangers answering an ad?  Even scarier thought but what choice do I have?

That is me up above.  I am a woman defeated.  You see me with tears in my eyes, dirty from sweating all day packing and tired.  I don't know how to stop the train wreck that is my life at the moment.  I have to be out of my current house at the end of the month.  I am facing having my electricity shut off on Monday.  I am hoping I can convince the electric company to leave it on for a bit.  At this point I owe them $700 for two months electric and a deposit.  I am sure I will have to pay them but that will cut into the money I need to move and survive for next month.  All I have done this evening is cry.  When I got back John did not offer to do anything to help me get to the welfare office.  I am on my own.  You have NO idea what the welfare office is like here.  People never bring little children in because they will kick you out.  It is the craziest thing I have ever seen but that is what happens.  The respite provider I have been using has taken a full-time job so she cannot help me.  She gave me the names of two other women but one said she would not watch my three children alone.  She said they were too much for her.  The other lady would not answer.  

I have reached out to the local regional center and this is the email exchange...

Hi Michelle,

I am doing quarterly updates on the kids. Could you please tell me how each kid is doing in terms of health, school, and additional services (speech, physical therapy, and Occupational therapy).

Also in order to receive respite for the next quarter, I need to know the name of the provider that you have been working with and whether or not respite has been helpful.

Thanks so much for your time


This will be pretty easy. SO far the children have, overall, been healthy. We had several trips to the dentist but so far things haven been good.

I have not signed the children up for school services for this year.

The kids had been going to private therapy. Margaret had been going to occupational therapy and Joseph has been in physical therapy. A month ago Joseph started to walk. His walking is very unsteady and wide legged but he is making it.

My husband left us in July. The children and I have been trying to make it but we are going to be homeless at the end of the month. I am not sure what we are going to do so therapy has stopped for now.

Respite has pretty much been a no go. I cannot find someone to come to my house to watch the children. The lady I had been using has found a job so she can only watch the children on Saturdays. That is not when I need someone. The other numbers I have called and no one seems to answer, want to watch so many children, or in town any longer.

That should catch you up.

Thanks,
Michelle


Thank you so much for the update. I am very sorry for your current housing dilemma. I can send you a list of community resources that may be of some assistance. Quarterly respite is due and I need to know if you would like me to take the kids off the list. If you do not anticipate using the respite voucher, then I will have to take them off the regular list so that children on the waitlist can use the respite. Please let me know ASAP so I can notify the respite coordinator. Sincerely.

The list of community housing resources would be useful. Please send that information. I want to use the rest of the respite voucher for this month. So please send the most recent list of respite providers. As for next month take us off the respite list.

I have not completely decided yet but we may move to Arizona at the end of the month.

Thanks,
Michelle


I know, I know. I lied to her (only about leaving for AZ) at the end but it is only because I want to see what she would do. So far I have not heard back from her and I sent her my response yesterday. Notice she did not say she would HELP me find a place.  Our regional center is basically useless.   : (  

Not sure what I am going to do tomorrow but I guess I will start off with calling the electric company and seeing what I can do.  The countdown to homelessness has begun...

PS.  To add insult to injury today I just realized that the little outfit the nurses sent home to me that Martha wore is NOT right.  She did not wear those clothes.  I realized it today when I came across the box with the outfit in it.  When I found the picture the NICU nurses took that day of Martha I knew as soon as I saw the romper again that was NOT what she wore.  I never had her little clothes.  :' (   

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Angry Mom


Photo Credit:  sheknows.com
Angry mom helps to describe me in so many ways right now.  The first way I am angry is at UCLA.  I still had not heard anything from them so I thought I would try calling again.  After waiting on hold for 20 minutes I finally got through to speak to a human.  I asked to make an appointment and I was told to hold again while I am transferred.  Someone picked up soon after and said they could set the appointment for the muscle biopsy.  Finally I thought!  I was going to make the appointment.  The woman said the doctor only does the muscle biopsies on Mondays and Wednesdays.  She asked which day I wanted and I said I was not sure.  I asked when is the first available appointment.  The first available appointment was October 26th!  Not only is this after I have to leave Nevada but it is right after or close to when I am suppose to start my new job.  Aaaaggggg!  So now I am not sure what to do.  I need to get the muscle biopsy done for Joseph.  I have been working on this really since LAST year and this year I have been trying to get an appointment since the beginning of August I think. Now that I am going to Phoenix and I asked the geneticist, who is wanting the muscle biopsy, if she knew of anyone who can do the procedure there.

The next thing that got me angry today is the Nevada DMV website.  I got a call from my new job in Phoenix.  I have been asking them for a job offer letter for the last three weeks.  I was told they could get a letter together for me but not until they can get my driving record.  I did not get this call until 3:30pm.  I looked online and you can order your driver's record from there.  I thought, great, and I got everything together to place the order.  When I put ALL the information into the computer I hit the process order button and I got sorry but our systems are down.  Aaaaaggggg!!!  I was told I cannot get my job offer letter until I get my driving record to them so something else to hang me up.

Finally I have noticed I have a lot less patience with the children right now.   I have turned into an angry mommy with the children.  I don't want to be like that to them.  I really don't want to be like that when I have so little time left to be with them before I have to be gone all the time too.  James cried to me several times today because John did not come by tonight or yesterday.  I am worried about him feeling abandoned when John will be gone and then I will be gone too.  James is all ready asking me to come to my room and lay down my bed next to me.  He snuggles close and I let him play the Kindle.  It makes him happy and I enjoy the time with him but this is something he has never done before.

I know my anger is related to me being stressed, depressed and anxious. Why shouldn't I be?  I have about 10 days to be out of my home.  I am not fully packed.  I have no help in getting packed.  I have no place to put my stuff even if it was packed.  I am not sure what I will be able to take with me.  I have no idea where we are going and I am worried we will be homeless.  I don't know who will be watching my children, how I am going to be able to pay for it and how/when I am going to be able to start my new job.   There are just so many things in the air. I may need to see a doctor for something to help me control the stress and anger.  This is a lot to be going through!

Story Time with James_Part 2

Here is the second part of the Pinky Dinky Doo story by Jim Jinkins.









News Bits


There have been SO many interesting bits of news going on but I have been too busy to write on them.  I am taking a "bit" of time today to report on some items.

Photo Credit: activistpost.com
The first is a scientific study recently released on the hazards of Roundup herbicide and Roundup- Ready genetically modified (GM) maize (corn).  This study was published on September 19th in Food and Chemical Toxicology.  The title of the article is Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize.  Once you read the article you will change your mind about GM foods!  Wow!  The study used rats and came to several interesting conclusions.  The abstract highlights the findings...

The health effects of a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize (from 11% in the diet), cultivated with or without Roundup, and Roundup alone (from 0.1 ppb in water), were studied 2 years in rats. In females, all treated groups died 2–3 times more than controls, and more rapidly. This difference was visible in 3 male groups fed GMOs. All results were hormone and sex dependent, and the pathological profiles were comparable. Females developed large mammary tumors almost always more often than and before controls, the pituitary was the second most disabled organ; the sex hormonal balance was modified by GMO and Roundup treatments. In treated males, liver congestions and necrosis were 2.5–5.5 times higher. This pathology was confirmed by optic and transmission electron microscopy. Marked and severe kidney nephropathies were also generally 1.3–2.3 greater. Males presented 4 times more large palpable tumors than controls which occurred up to 600 days earlier. Biochemistry data confirmed very significant kidney chronic deficiencies; for all treatments and both sexes, 76% of the altered parameters were kidney related. These results can be explained by the non linear endocrine-disrupting effects of Roundup, but also by the overexpression of the transgene in the GMO and its metabolic consequences.

Highlights

► A Roundup-tolerant maize and Roundup provoked chronic hormone and sex dependent pathologies. ► Female mortality was 2–3 times increased mostly due to large mammary tumors and disabled pituitary. ► Males had liver congestions, necrosis, severe kidney nephropathies and large palpable tumors. ► This may be due to an endocrine disruption linked to Roundup and a new metabolism due to the transgene. ► GMOs and formulated pesticides must be evaluated by long term studies to measure toxic effects..


I have mentioned several times I suffer from autoimmune and endocrine problems.  What really scares me is that my mother and I seem to suffer from some sort of pituitary dysfunction.  How interesting that the GM crops fed animals show the same thing!  Makes me believe, more than ever, that you should avoid GM foods whenever possible and we must push for labeling of GM food!

News stories on the finding from the journal article can be found HERE (this one is rather graphic with photos of the rats) and HERE.  It is interesting that the best articles on the subject are coming out of Europe and very little is being said about it in the U.S.!

Update:  Like any controversial subject there is all ready opposition to the study.  To read a recent news story on the skepticism of the study click HERE. Also here is a group of scientists voicing their opinion of the study HERE.

My last thought on the subject is who is funding the journal article on the toxicity of Roundup and who provides funding and grants to the scientists speaking out against the study?  Everything usually relates back to money.
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Photo Credit:  shraderlaw.com
For those who have used a thickening product to feed your child this is disturbing news!  The FDA has issued a warning to people using SimplyThick.  SimplyThick is added to thin liquids or foods to help increase the viscosity of the food and make it easier to eat and keep down. The FDA is advising people NOT to give SimplyThick to babies born before 37 weeks of age and are warning people to evaluate the risk of SimplyThick to infants of ANY age.

The FDA reports 22 infants developed necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) after being fed the thickening agent SimplyThick – using as directed.  NEC is a condition where tissue in the intestines gets inflamed and dies. Of the 22 infants who became ill, 21 were born premature.  Half of the babies developed NEC while still in the hospital and the other half at home.  Fourteen of them needed surgery.  Seven of the infants passed away. NEC symptoms include a bloated stomach, greenish-colored vomiting and bloody stools. Investigations are currently being conducted if SimplyThick is the only thickening product that is causing NEC or if other thickening agents are also putting infants at risk.

To read more on this article please click HERE
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Here is a great story about a film called Food Stamped.  Sadly, the free preview of the movie is over but there is a great article on the film.  Food Stamped looks at buying a healthy diet using the budget given to someone on food stamps.  It is a great article and gives some tips on how to feed your family a healthy diet for ONE dollar or less per serving.
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My last news bit is a recipe for Gluten Free/Dairy Free Caramel. Mommy blogger Heidi focuses on gluten-free recipes and went through three versions of her recipe before coming up with a recipe that made the entire family happy.  She has several pictures on her site including the one I added here of an apple dipped in the caramel. What a great idea for Halloween! Yum!

Dairy/Casein-Free Chewy Caramels

Ingredients:
1 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread
2 1/4 cups packed Brown Sugar
2 cups MimicCreme Unsweetened Vegan Cream (use So Delicious Coconut Milk if allergic to tree nuts)
1/2 cup Honey
1/2 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup
1 tsp. Pure Vanilla

Directions:
  1. Line an 8x8x2-inch or 9x9x2-inch cake pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan.
  2. Generously butter the foil. If desired, sprinkle walnuts over bottom of pan. Set pan aside.
  3. In a 3-quart heavy saucepan, melt Earth Balance over low heat.
  4. Add the brown sugar, MimicCreme (or So Delicious Coconut Milk), honey and Lyle’s Golden syrup; mix well.
  5. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils.
  6. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.
  7. Reduce heat to medium; continue boiling at a moderate, steady rate, stirring frequently, until the thermometer registers 248°F, firm-ball stage. **Adjust heat as necessary to maintain a steady boil and watch temperature carefully during the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking as temperature can increase quickly at the end.**
  8. Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer.
  9. Stir in vanilla.
  10. Quickly pour mixture into prepared pan.
  11. Let stand about 2 hours or until firm. When firm, use foil to lift it out of pan.
  12. Use a buttered knife to cut into 1-inch squares. Wrap each piece in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Store at room temperature.



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Story Time with James - Pinky Dinky Doo: Where are my shoes?

James is reading this book for the first time.  I had to help him occasionally with some of the words.  I think he did pretty good since this book is meant for ages six to nine.  Hope you enjoy!

The entire video was too long so this is the first of three parts...




Where did the Motivation Go?


I was so tired when i got up at 7:00am this morning.  Since I went to bed about 1:30am that gave me about 5.5 hours of sleep.  For me this is normally enough but not lately.  I am not sure why. I ended up being able to take a nap of sorts (I was lying down and the kids played around me) from 1pm to 3pm. I got up but I am still tired.  Part of my problem I think is the interrupted sleep.  The second problem is the lack of motivation I am feeling since I have no plan. I basically have 10 more days to pack and clean out this house and ....then what?  

When I laid down for a nap I had James crawl into bed with me, then Margaret and finally Joseph.  I had the three children in the bed with me and they were all playing with different things quietly.  I thought about how much I would miss doing things like this with them.  It is not that it can't ever happen but it will be rare.  I will be gone to work and someone else will have to fill in for me.  They will get to referee fights, fix meals and kiss boo-boos while I am gone.  It makes me sad.  I feel like my children still need me, especially Joseph, but I have to leave them with a stranger while I try to make money to support us.  I have enjoyed my day with the children even though I should have been packing.

I called UCLA, still nothing!  I cannot believe I can't make an appointment to get this muscle biopsy done.  I am furious!  At this rate I will not be able to get it done before I leave town. Sigh!  I SO wanted to get this done. Then I had a call from the endocrinologist and I just cancelled the appointment.  He is only giving thyroid medicine to Joseph and to be honest he is not my favorite doctor so I am not too disappointed.  Tonight I will be looking for doctors in the Phoenix area and calling to make appointments.

Life trudges on.  I have no idea what is coming but the future will one day become my present and I guess I will not have to wonder what it will hold for me any longer because I will be living it!


Still Up....UGH!


Joseph saying "Cheese!"
I am STILL up!  It is because Joseph is STILL up!!!  You have NO idea how unusual this is!!!  Of course he is doing this the night I needed to go to bed early.  Normally I put him to bed and he immediately falls asleep.

I have put him back to bed several times now.  He is standing up in bed.  Turning on the light and turning off the noise maker. I have gone in there four times now. The last time I went in there I swatted him on the butt.  He started to cry a bit.  Margaret, from her bed, looked at me tired and haggard.  This is funny only because Margaret is normally the one keeping the boys up...lol.  James, all of the times I went into the room, did not twitch a muscle.  LOL  

Joseph has now been asleep, I guess, for the last 15 minutes.  He has not moved out of his bed in any case.  I will not be able to make it on 4.5 hours sleep tomorrow.  I am just getting too old for that!  Guess I will have to reschedule the blood draw.  Ugh!